NOT SET IN STONE
Gibbs shares his opinions of his team.
An established relationship story.
Written: April 2006. Word count: 2,106.
Jenn was the biggest mistake of my life. She nearly cost me my life.
How she ever became our Director I don't know. Well, I do know, or at least I suspect. She's incompetent and dangerous. She'll stop at nothing to get her own way. She's a tough, two-faced, disloyal bitch.
And what's worse, she might possibly be a traitor.
I don't have proof. I just have my gut. It's always served me well. But I'll be the first to admit that where Jenn Shepard is concerned, my judgment is sometimes not reliable. She brings out the worst in me.
I came that close, closer than any of the three ex-wives who hit me brought me, to slapping her sanctimonious face the day she was prepared to throw McGee to the wolves for doing what she did herself.
I haven't had a moment's peace since the day she walked back in here. One day I'll catch her out. I have to. But until then . . .
Until then, I'll go on watching, waiting and not trusting.
What is Officer David really doing here? Other than sleeping with Madam Director that is.
How Jenn ever swung Ziva's appointment, I'll never know. It's harder to believe than Jenn becoming Director of NCIS.
I don't trust Ziva, not as I should. She'd sell me and my secret out without pause for thought, if she reckoned it'd be in her best interests. She tells Jenn everything. I know that, I've caught her out too often. Her face when I told her to thank the Director was so revealing. She's not as good as she thinks she is.
Yet given half the chance I could really make something of her. She has talent, there's no denying that. She's ruthless. Even more than I am. Taking life is as easy as eating a meal to her. And that makes her dangerous.
She doesn't understand loyalty or teamwork, not really. She's getting better, but she'll never really be a team member. You can't rely on her in the way you should. I don't know for certain how she'll react in any given situation. And that's wrong. I should know.
I owe her my life. I know that. But it doesn't mean I have to like her. Or trust her.
The sooner she and Jenn get out of NCIS the better.
Until then I watch what I say. I play the game. I tell her anything I don't mind getting back to Jenny, and no more.
Tony DiNozzo, my most senior field agent. Been with me longer than he's ever been in one job.
Cocky, brash, arrogant, politically incorrect (but I can hardly talk). Irritating as hell, childish at times, an out-and-out womanizer, and he needs watching more than perhaps he should.
Tony's a good, solid agent. Not as good as he thinks he is. But not as incompetent as he sometimes appears to be. I once told Kate, 'you may not admire his methods, but you've got to love the results'. I meant it at the time, and I still do.
I know he believes he'll take over from me when I retire from the field, or get killed. But he won't. He hasn't got it in him. Sometimes despite his brashness, I think that he knows this. A lot of Tony is a fašade, but I guess that's true of everyone to an extent.
He's insecure in many ways, not that he'd ever admit it. But I know. It's part of the reason he acts so immaturely at times. He wants, needs even, my attention. And if that means a slap round the head well . . . For him it's better than being ignored.
DiNozzo has a lot of faults, a hell of a lot. But there's one thing I know for certain; I can trust him.
He'd willingly take a bullet, even lose his life, for any member of the team. Any of them. For all his games and his show, he's loyal.
If a team member needed him, he'll stand by them, go through hell to help them. Just as he did for McGee.
I like Palmer. He's a good kid. Competent too, Ducky's told me that more than once.
Needs a bit more, hell who am I trying to kid, a lot more, self-confidence. Needs to stop acting like a frightened rabbit every time I speak to him, or go into Autopsy. Needs to be a bit less defensive and trust himself more. Needs to learn to stop calling me 'sir'.
But he'll get there. He's got the best teacher anyone could want.
He's a bit over exuberant at times, especially when he forgets to be nervous of me, and starts telling me about the body.
And I trust him.
He may not be a member of my field team, may cause me to roll my eyes and snap at him, may do silly things from time to time, but he's loyal. He's a good team member, and that matters a lot to me.
And I owe him. It was him really who saved Ducky's life. I've never said anything. Should have done. But what do you say?
He thinks a lot of Ducky too. A hell of a lot. He even sometimes tries to protect Ducky from me, when Ducky's particularly rambling, and I'm more wound up than usual. I never know whether to laugh or cuff him, and I know Ducky feels the same. I don't show it, but it makes me feel good when he does do that. It's what team members do.
Promoting McGee to full-time field agent status was one of the biggest gambles I've ever taken. But one that I have never regretted.
Sure he's green, innocent, a bit wet behind the ears, irritating at times with his self-doubt. He tries too hard to prove he's a man. Has a lot to learn, but nowhere near as much as other agents I've worked with over the years. But he's a good agent, a damn good one. He'll go far. If he wants to.
And it's not just his skills in the field that are good; it's his other skills too. What that boy doesn't know about a computer, or can't make it do, simply isn't worth knowing. His abilities have pulled us all out of trouble more times than I wish to remember. And put him and Abby together and . . . they're unbeatable.
And he's genuine. At one level he couldn't tell a lie to save his life. At another he's already good at interrogation, if pushed hard enough. Give him a few more months and I'll happily send him undercover on his own.
I know he doubts himself and his abilities. Doesn't always think he has it in him. Doesn't believe his background is right for his chosen career. All I can do is to help him realize his own abilities.
He needs different handling from DiNozzo, from pretty much every agent I've trained. And sometimes he does try my patience, but I wouldn't be without him. His loyalty to his coworkers is second to none. He'd die for any of them. He'd kill for them too. And that's a skill no one can teach.
If I knew how to, I'd tell him to stop messing about and marry Abby.
Abby is my surrogate daughter in many ways. She's my little girl. And no one messes with her.
She's brilliant, intelligent, knowledgeable, secure, kind, generous, loving, devoted, and very demanding. Abbs is secure in her insecurity. In some ways she's a child, in other's older than me. She's frenetic, weird, highly strung, yet balanced, bouncy, tiring, indefatigable and talented.
Doesn't like to admit she can't do something, but is the first to tell you it's okay to ask for help. She's learned though to accept help from McGee. They make a great team, so much so that sometimes I keep him out of the field to work with her, but only for the good of the team.
She loves McGee and wants a home and family, but is scared of commitment. Needs a lot of praise and attention, and knows exactly how to get her own way with me.
I sometimes fear she's so intense, so hyper, cares so much, that she'll burn herself out one day.
She hates Ziva with a passion, because she has dared to come into Abby's world and interact with 'her' men. That's how Abbs sees Jimmy, McGee, DiNozzo, Duck and me: 'her' men. Kate was okay; Kate never threatened Abby. She was willing to share us with Kate, but not Officer David. I sometimes think Abby'll be happier than me the day that blasted girl leaves NCIS.
Ah, Abby. I sometimes wish I could protect you from everything that's bad in the world. But then if I could, you wouldn't be my Abby.
DR. DONALD MALLARD
I could write a book on Ducky, and even then I'd never be able to say all that I want to.
So let's just say that Ducky is my past, my present and my future. My one true, and now, only love.
Ducky is all the good in me. All that is good in the world.
Ducky is my salvation. My one glimmer of hope. My light in the darkness.
Ducky is . . .
"Duck. What time is it?"
"A little after six."
"How little?" Jethro frowned up at Ducky. There had been something in his lover's tone that had pushed his 'Ducky's prevaricating' button. Not to mention the fact that the lights in the room had been dimmed far below their usual working day level.
Ducky smiled gently. His eyes softening as they always did when he looked at Jethro.
Jethro glanced at his watch. "Duck. It's nearly eight."
"Well, yes, dear. I know. When you didn't arrive in Autopsy as arranged, I assumed that something important had delayed you. I knew that you hadn't left the building, so I didn't worry. I had plenty to occupy me, although Mr. Palmer may find the new organization of our supplies a little strange. However, I am sure that -"
Jethro cut into the ramble. "Two minutes. Let me just clear up here." He swept the papers he'd been writing on into a bundle, and pushed them into his briefcase.
"Ah. It's that time again, is it, my dear?"
Jethro snapped the case shut and reached for his coat. "Yeah. The ninth day of the ninth month. God, I hate writing Staff Reviews."
"You do make it considerably harder on yourself than you need to, Jethro."
Jethro looked at his lover. "I know. Each year I tell myself I won't. That I'll only write the official ones, but . . . And this year not only do I have to write them on my staff, and yours, I have to write one on the Director!"
"I'm certain that will make interesting reading," Ducky said, his tone dry.
"Yeah, well. I'll show you later." He always did.
"One of these days, you are going to forget and hand the wrong set over. And then where would we be?" Ducky tilted his head back, as Jethro came around from behind his desk, and smiled up at him.
"I'd have a lot more free time to spend working on my boat."
Ducky smiled gently. "And I can sit and tell you some of my endless stories. Don't frown at me, Jethro. You know perfectly well that should you leave NCIS before I do, that I shall retire at the same time."
Taking advantage of the lower lights and the six inch height difference that shielded Ducky from anyone behind him, Jethro brushed a strand of Ducky's hair off his cheek, letting his fingers linger for slightly longer than was necessary. Glancing swiftly around he lowered his head, bent nearer to Ducky and murmured, "Have I told you how much I love you, Duck?"
"Yes, dear. Many times. Now come along, let us go home, and instead of just words you can show me." Ducky's voice was low and sensual.
Jethro began to wonder how many minutes he could take off his 'record' for getting home.
He slipped his arm around Ducky's shoulders, and as one they moved towards the elevator.
One or two of the stragglers who remained in the office murmured, "Night Gibbs, Dr. Mallard."
None of them showed any surprise by the fact the Jethro's arm remained where it had settled.
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