Title: The Gift
Character(s): Tony and Gibbs
Spoilers: Anything after 8.17 One Last Score
Word Count: 1330
Summary: Gibbs gives Tony a gift – in more ways than one
Just to clarify: They aren’t mine, never have been, never will be - but if they were, I would hire a few of you as writers and we would turn this thing around.
It was 2:00 on Sunday afternoon and Tony was on movie #2 of an all day James Bond 007 marathon. He was currently watching From Russia with Love with Sean Connery –as far as Tony was concerned Connery was James Bond – none of the subsequent actors lived up to the Bond that Connery created.
Just as Bond was about to work his 007 magic on the beautiful Tatiana, the doorbell rang; Tony swore under his breath and opened the door to find a casually dressed Gibbs holding a box of pizza and a six pack of beer. To say Tony was surprised would be putting it mildly; Gibbs did not just show up at his apartment unannounced bringing food and drink.
“Hey Boss” greeted Tony trying his best to hide his bewilderment – he hoped that he came across as relaxed - as if it were no big deal to find his boss standing on the other side on his door on a Sunday afternoon - when all the while the warning bells in his brain were blaring.
“DiNozzo” replied Gibbs who smirked at Tony and raised his hands holding the pizza and beer “just thought I would stop by for a visit”
Tony smiled to hide his escalating anxiety, this could not be good- “Sure Boss, come on in, I was just watching a movie”
Gibbs chuckled softly and walked past Tony and settled himself on the couch, opened the box of pizza and popped the lids on two of the bottled beers; he tipped one to Tony who was still standing by the door gaping wide eyed at his boss – so much for playing it cool.
Tony closed the door and walked over quickly taking the offered beer and sat down in the side chair. It was obvious that Tony didn’t often sit in the chair, but Gibbs now occupied what Tony considered his “spot” on the couch.
Gibbs grinned slightly and took a sip of the beer; Tony mimicked his action and then looked down at the beer in surprise – seeing the label for the first time “Duechars?”
Gibbs nodded “Brewed in Edinburgh, Scotland”
“Edinburgh, huh?” replied Tony taking a large pull from the bottle
Gibbs didn’t answer; instead he took a large bite of pizza.
“How did you get Scottish beer?” asked Tony taking another drink of the beer appreciating its smoothness.
“Got connections” replied Gibbs “been saving it for a special occasion”
Tony was back to being perplexed “And this is a special occasion?”
“Could be” replied Gibbs who then turned away to watch the movie “Huh, Sean Connery”.
And that’s when Tony knew that Gibbs knew exactly what he was doing. This was no impulse visit. He knew that Tony would be home today watching the 007 marathon, he knew that Tony’s favorite Bond was Sean Connery – that’s why he brought the Edinburgh beer. It was all about the details with Gibbs. He picked up on all the minutia of details that people unknowingly revealed about themselves and then he filed it away for later use, no information was wasted with Gibbs. Tony knew Gibbs was good, but it took this moment for him to realize why he was good. Gibb’s data gathering wasn’t done maliciously, or even intentionally - it was just who he was, it was the essence of the Gibb’s gut.
For the moment, Tony decided to play along and see where this led, so he grabbed another beer, picked up a piece of pizza and sat back to watch the movie. They finished the movie without further conversation and Tony was beginning to think that maybe it really was just an impromptu visit when Gibbs said out of the blue “Had a meeting with Vance last night.”
Tony really wasn’t expecting that and he almost blurted out something about his new assignment from SecNav, he didn’t want to have to explain to Gibbs why he hadn’t told him, but nothing in Gibb’s demeanor indicted that he was aware of Tony’s new assignment, so he played it cool instead “you did?”
“Yeah, I told him I was planning on retiring at the end of next year.” Gibbs paused slightly to let that bit of information sink in and then continued “I recommended that you take over the team.”
“Boss, I don’t know…”
“You’re ready” interrupted Gibbs “you have been for a while now. But I wasn’t ready to give it up. But now, with Franks… well now I am ready and you are too. You will be a good team leader. I know it, Vance knows it, and you know it too, deep down, you know it.”
Tony couldn’t deny it, he did know that he was ready and he knew that he would be good at it. Maybe not like Gibbs, but he could be just as good in his own way.
Gibbs kept talking “I don’t want the others to know just yet. It would be too much with everything else that has been going on – Franks, Cobb, Levin, Davenport resigning - so let’s keep this between just the two of us until things start to go back to normal, then we will tell them – together.”
Tony again felt the almost uncontrollable urge to tell Gibbs about the new assignment, but he bit down on the impulse, this wasn’t the right time, maybe in a day or two, but one thing was certain, Tony would not be keeping this assignment secret from Gibbs. He would tell him in generalities and Gibbs being Gibbs would pick up on the rest.
“Thanks Boss. I appreciate your confidence in me and I will …”
“Not now, Tony, just let it percolate for a while, then we can talk. Oh and one more thing, you might have need of this, for when I am gone.” Gibbs reached into his jacket and handed him a small wooden box.
Tony opened the box to find small slips of paper with handwritten notes, he picked up a few of them and started reading and looked up at his boss in surprise “Are these the rules?”
“It is” replied Gibbs reaching into his pocket and pulling out a single sheet of paper “Here, I wrote them all down for you, makes it easier to read them, some of those scraps are barely legible anymore, but I wanted you to have the originals. You can use them until you make your own set of rules, find your own path.”
Tony took the sheet of paper and glanced quickly at the listing of rules, many of which he knew by heart, others he hadn’t even heard of yet, he never knew there were so many.
“You forgot one boss” pointed out Tony
Gibbs looked at him with a slight tilt to his head, but didn’t comment
“Rule #12. You forgot to include rule #12”
“Didn’t forget it, just didn’t think it applied for you”
Tony remembered the conversation that he and Gibbs had in his basement just a few short weeks ago concerning this very rule and his relationship with EJ.
“Well, I’m not exactly seeing EJ anymore and I’m kind of embarrassed about the way I handled that whole relationship, it wasn’t professional and it should have been more discrete, I flaunted it as if I had something to prove, and maybe I did, but I am sorry.”
Gibbs looked at him with something that could only be called compassion and said “Tony, your breaking rule 12 - it was never about Agent Barrett. I know it and you know it. I tried to tell you that in my basement, but I never got the chance.”
Tony looked briefly up at the ceiling and sighed loudly before looking Gibbs in the eye “Then what was it about?”
“Ziva” answered Gibbs
“Ziva? What does she have to do with this?” questioned Tony
Gibbs looked him in the eye and clapped him lightly on the shoulder and as he turned to walk out the door he turned and answered “Ziva. Where you’re concerned? She has everything to do with it, always has.”