Ashleigh Anpilova


Vance is in his office studying his Team Gibbs file.

A Vance-centric gen story.

Written: March 2011. Word count:




It was late, it was very late, when Vance opened his briefcase and pulled out the file on Team Gibbs. Apart from the night staff, the squad room below him was empty; even Gibbs had gone home. Vance had made sure of that before opening the file.


Jackie hadn't been happy when he'd told her he wouldn't be home until the early hours of the morning. She'd reminded him how he'd promised the family would always come first and how he'd vowed he wouldn't work late.


However, he'd stood firm and that was why he was sitting in his artificially lit office, with the clock showing minutes past midnight, staring down at the file and facing a decision he didn't want to make, but knew he had to make. The SecNav had reminded him of that.


Four agents; four agents who had to become three. Like all other agencies, NCIS had to face cut-backs, and like all other agencies the most cost effective, the quickest, the simplest way of making savings was to cut staff. It wasn't anything personal, even though it would seem that way to the agent whose employment he'd be terminating; it was just the state of the country.


Four agents: Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee, David. All of them had their strengths, just as all of them had their weaknesses. None of them was perfect; all of them irritated him at times, some more than others. All of them were first class agents; the agency would miss the one who had to go; he'd miss the one who had to go.


But it wasn't about personal feelings; one of them had to go and he had to make the decision. After all, he'd asked for the job, he'd promised the SecNav he'd take control of the agency, sort it out, make it more efficient, more modern; run it as a twenty-first century agency should be run.


Several other agents had already gone, teams had been recalled from overseas, it wasn't as if Team Gibbs was being made an exception. And as he'd been reminded, the team used to run just as efficiently, had just as high a success rate with fewer agents. One field agent could be lost without compromising results or standards.


One of them had to go, but which one? The oldest and most costly? No, Gibbs was needed. The newest member who in some people's eyes was the least trustworthy? The cop who didn't work in the way Vance liked? The geek who sometimes took more risks than Vance could approve of?


One of them had to go, but which one? Vance had a person in mind; it was the logical choice, probably not a popular choice. However, this wasn't about popularity, it was about making the right decision for the agency.


Four agents; who had to become three. Vance sighed, pushed the file back into his briefcase, grabbed his coat, turned his desk-lamp off and left his office. The decision could wait another day.



Timing Is Everything is the sequel to this story.

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