Ashleigh Anpilova


Set immediately after Agent Afloat.

Vance is watching the team and thinking.

A Vance-centric gen story.

Written October 2008. Word count: 300.



He watches them laughing and talking and hugging and shaking hands. For a moment a sense of failure flows through him.


He hadn't wanted to give in. He wanted to have DiNozzo back. He'd already made three concessions.


The first by allowing Mallard to remain rather than forcing him to retire. He'd been told that had never been an option; Gibbs would never stand for that.


The second and third by allowing McGee and David to return.


He had intended to stand firm over DiNozzo.


But he'd been over-ruled.


He'd been told he had to let DiNozzo come back.


Because a content Gibbs was the key to this whole thing.

A content Gibbs would be less likely to go looking for trouble.


A content Gibbs would be less likely to dig into things he wasn't meant to dig into.


A content Gibbs would be more likely to do his job and not ask questions.


And it appeared that the key to a content Gibbs was his team.


So if that meant sacrificing Vance's pride, then so be it.


He'd thought Gibbs hadn't wanted DiNozzo back. He hadn't mentioned him when he'd all but demanded the return of McGee and David. But he'd been wrong.


So reluctantly he'd given in. And he'd taken a childish pleasure in letting Gibbs find out from DiNozzo himself; find out when the rest of the team, less two, had found out.


As he watches them he wonders idly where Doctor Mallard is. Why isn't he part of the 'welcome back, DiNozzo' party?


Suddenly Gibbs looks up and Vance takes a step back. He doesn't want to be appraised by that gaze again; he fears it sees too much.


He'll know over the next few weeks if they'd been correct over the key to Gibbs's contentment.



Feedback is always appreciated

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