CHANGING OF THE GUARD
There is a change at NCIS.
An established relationship story.
Written: July 2010. Word count: 1,000.
Keeping the expression on his face neutral, Tony left Vance's office. Outside he stopped and leaned against the wall. He still couldn't believe what Vance had said, despite Gibbs confirming it. He shook his head; it couldn't be happening. Vance had ordered him not to tell anyone until he made the formal announcement, but there was someone Tony had to tell.
". . . so, Jimmy my boy, all this will be -" Jimmy's cell phone rang twice; stopped; then rang twice more. Jimmy glanced at Ducky who raised an eyebrow. "Do you wish to see who was calling you?"
Jimmy flushed. "No, that's okay, Dr. er, Ducky, it was a wrong number." He managed a half smile.
Ducky stared at him. "Oh, right," he said finally. "Now, as I was saying -"
"Um, I need to . . . Er . . . That is . . . I think I ate something that didn't . . . Would you mind if . . . ?"
Ducky smiled. "Off you go, Jimmy," he said. "We can talk about it when you get back."
"Thank you, Ducky. Would you like me to bring you a cup of tea on my way ba- er, when I come back?"
Ducky hid a smile. "Thank you, Jimmy; that would be very nice." He watched as Jimmy hurried out of the room. He made his way towards his desk. "Does that young man really think he's fooling me?"
"Talking to yourself again, Duck?"
Ducky turned. "Why, Jethro, what a pleasant surprise. Do I presume that our esteemed Director has spoken with Anthony?"
"Yep. Sure has. We're all meeting in twenty minutes in the conference room."
"Jimmy and I will be there."
Jethro looked around the room. "Talking of Palmer, where is he?"
"Ah," Ducky said. "I believe he has an assignation, shall we say?"
Jethro shook his head and sighed. "Guess it was too much expecting DiNozzo to keep quiet."
Ducky chuckled. "I would say that is a good summation. Jethro?" he called, as Jethro strode across to Ducky's desk, opened a drawer and pulled out a bottle of malt scotch. "Is it not a tad early?"
Jethro looked at him. "Seem to remember a certain doctor of my acquaintance telling me it was 'never too early for good whiskey'."
Ducky chuckled again. "Ah, in that case . . ." He took a glass, tipped his head back and gazed up at Jethro. "To the future?" he said quietly, holding up his glass.
Jethro nodded. "Good as anything. The future." He touched his glass to Ducky's before swallowing the contents in one gulp.
"Jethro!" Ducky chided gently. "I have told you before, one does not . . ."
THE EVIDENCE GARAGE
Jimmy hurried through the evidence garage heading towards the back. No one paid him any attention, but then very few people ever did. It used to bother him; it still did occasionally, but today he was glad of his anonymity.
"What kept you?"
"I came as quickly as I could. Tony!" Jimmy exclaimed, feeling his cheeks flush as Tony raised an eyebrow and leered at him. "If you -"
Tony caught his arm. "I didn't. Sorry, Jimmy," he said. "Look," he tugged Jimmy a little nearer to him and dragged him even further into the depths of the garage. He looked around him, Jimmy looked too; no one was even in sight. "I shouldn't be telling you this," Tony's voice was low, "but I've got to."
Jimmy waited. "Well?" he demanded when Tony didn't speak. "Are you going to tell me, Tony or not? Because I have to -"
"Gibbs is retiring and," Tony paused and again looked around. Then he put his lips near to Jimmy's ear and whispered, "I'm getting my own team."
Jimmy couldn't stop himself. He put his arms around Tony and hugged him tightly. "Oh, Tony; that's great news. I'm so pleased for you."
Tony returned the hug for a moment, then they broke apart. "It's not the team. Vance and Gibbs thought it'd be better if it wasn't. And now I've thought about it, I agree. It'd be too hard giving Tim and Ziva orders. It was okay when Gibbs was in Mexico, because, well . . ." Tony trailed off and looked at Jimmy. "You know," he said quietly.
Jimmy did know. Tony'd never really felt, never really believed, he'd been 'in charge'. He'd done his job and he'd done a good job - even though Jimmy knew he was somewhat biased - but he'd never really felt like the team leader. It was better for Tony to lead a new team. Jimmy'd miss 'Team Gibbs', but then that was over anyway.
"I've got something to tell you too," he said. "I shouldn't be telling you, but . . ."
Tony's eyes lit up. In many ways Jimmy felt as if he was the elder man and not Tony. But he wouldn't change Tony's childlike delight in things for anything. "Tell me!"
Jimmy double checked no one had suddenly appeared. "Dr. Mallard's also retiring," he said, not trying to keep the sadness from his voice. "And I'm taking over his job." Now a hint of pride slipped into his tone.
To his surprise Tony grabbed him, pulled him into a fierce bear-hug and kissed his cheek. "We'll celebrate tonight properly," Tony said, letting Jimmy go.
Jimmy beamed; he knew what that meant. "I better get back," he said reluctantly. He squeezed Tony's shoulder and turned to go.
Tony caught his arm. "One thing, Jimmy." Jimmy raised an eyebrow. "I reckon we should tell people about us." Jimmy widened his eyes. "Well, why not? We're not military; my dad and your mom knows. Let's not do what - Hey, boss! Hey, Ducky!"
Jimmy turned around and almost tripped over his feet. "Dr. Mallard, I was just -"
"Conference room, now," Gibbs said. "Move." Tony and Jimmy moved. They were stopped by Gibbs whistling. "And try to act surprised when Vance makes his announcement."
Tony and Jimmy looked at one another and said as one, "Yes, boss!" before hurrying away.
Gibbs looked at Ducky. "You ready, Duck?"
Ducky nodded. "Yes, yes, I am." Together they followed DiNozzo and Palmer.
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