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Moving Forward

by: ksl (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 030 Word Count: 111544
Rating: ADULT
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Alternate Universe
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Episode(s): 4-03 Singled Out
Summary: An AU where Tony accepts the position in Rota, Spain when Shepard offered it in season four.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

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Gibbs eyed the arrival board and resisted the urge to sigh.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He refused to pace or fidget. Gibbs held himself still and waited with all the considerable patience he’d learned over the years. He ignored the bustling people moving around him, the PA system making the same announcement over and over, and the noise coming from the baggage claim carousels. His eyes scanned the crowd repeatedly even though he knew the person he was looking for couldn’t possibly have gotten off the plane yet.

Ziva’s Mossad contacts had confirmed the man Tony and his team had been following was the infamous Goliath. His real name was still unknown, but they suspected he’d been baptized Jakob Werlitz. If he really was Werlitz, he’d been born and raised in Israel. He’d had some military training, at least the two years the law required of all Israeli citizens, and had gotten a few years of higher education in England.

Mossad had been very interested in his whereabouts, but Gibbs had instructed Ziva not to tell them where the picture had come from or any information they had on his whereabouts. With so many unknowns on the table the last thing Gibbs wanted was for Mossad to bully their way in until he knew more about what Goliath might be acting as a broker for and who the seller was.

Other than La Grenouille, they knew of one other possible buyer. A woman from Ireland who went by the code-name ‘Black Rose’. Gibbs could almost hear Tony snickering over the abundance of ridiculous aliases. Gibbs fought down a smile thinking it was all very James Bond and that Tony was probably as amused by the whole thing as Gibbs was.

A little over a week after he’d gotten Tony’s e-mail regarding Goliath, the man in question had headed for the United States. It was sooner than anyone had expected, but it still felt like a long time to Gibbs. Knowing Tony and his team were following the man and would be arriving on the same flight made for an interminable delay.

Gibbs eyed the arrivals display again. Tony’s plane had touched down just a few minutes ago. McGee was already in position at the rental car company where Goliath had booked a rental under the name Daniel Kenton, the same name he was flying under. Ziva and the Probie were in a car ready to continue tailing Goliath once he picked up his rental.

If anyone on his team thought it odd that Gibbs wasn’t the one in the car tailing their suspect, they didn’t comment on it. Gibbs thought McGee looked more than a little relieved that he wasn’t the one pick up Tony and his team. Ziva didn’t seem to care one way or another, other than to be annoyed at being saddled with their Probie. She didn’t dislike him, but she clearly wasn’t fond of him either. Gibbs wasn’t fond of him either, but so far the guy was showing more staying power than he’d expected. One of these days, Gibbs would have to actually learn the man’s name and try to call him by it.

A new wave of people coming through the baggage claim area made Gibbs sharpen his focus. He keyed his mic when he spotted Goliath among them. He turned his head slightly, raising his phone to make it look like he was simply making a call.

“Heads up, McGee. Target is in the baggage claim area.”

Goliath looked like a businessman. His suit was a bit rumpled from the long flight, tie slack and his dark hair a bit messy. He looked tired, like everyone else who’d been on the plane. He was moving with purpose though, clearly no stranger to dealing with crowded airports. He also wasn’t waiting around to collect any luggage. Evidently everything he needed was in the carry on bag he was towing behind him and the laptop case he had slung over one shoulder. He likely wasn’t planning to stay long then. Although, he could have things stored in the area or have sufficient funds he planned to buy anything else he needed. The ticket he had booked was open ended, and didn’t give any sort of definitive return date.

“Target should be in your area in ten minutes, McGee.”

“Roger that, Boss.”

Gibbs discreetly watched Goliath as the man passed him on his way to the rental car counter. He seemed oblivious to the surveillance. That was good. They didn’t want to spook him or tip him off.

He also looked like he was alone. But Gibbs wasn’t going to assume that was the case. It was entirely possible Goliath had someone on the plane to watch his back. They didn’t have enough intel on the man to know exactly how big his operation was or how many people he typically kept around him. The fact that he traveled on a commercial flight was unusual enough. They’d been expecting a private plane. Gibbs wasn’t taking anything on face value when it came to this guy.

Gibbs started looking for Tony. He was on the same flight as Goliath. Not seeing Tony, Gibbs started looking for his team. He’d seen pictures of Tony’s team, even saw his second in command once briefly on the MTAC screen. It should be enough for him to recognize them.

He spotted Tony. Gibbs felt his breath catch for a moment. Damn, but Tony looked good.

He was wearing jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt, looking like someone coming home from a good, long vacation. His tanned skin made his green eyes seem more vibrant. His hair sported blonde highlights and was tussled. He didn’t look as tired as Goliath had. Tony was smiling, looking relaxed and happy.

Tony was walking with a beautiful blonde woman. She moved closer to him, wrapping an arm around Tony’s waist when a family of four crowded around them. For just a moment Gibbs felt an irrational surge of anger. No wonder Tony was so relaxed and happy. Naturally, he would have found some woman ready and willing to hang all over him. Some bimbo who would no doubt have fallen for his good looks and charm, and probably gave him a blow job in the airplane bathroom. Then he realized the woman Tony was with was his second in command, Miri Callahan.

He also belatedly realized Tony was using a cane. Shit. He’d forgotten that five weeks ago Tony had fractured his femur. Miri had probably seen Tony stumble or thought he needed a little more support with the careless, crush of people around them.

Gibbs started walking toward them. The plan was for him to simply act as someone who’d shown up to give them a ride, a friend or family member willing to pick them up the way hundreds of people did every day. It bothered Gibbs that Tony had initially rejected the idea. He’d seemed to think Gibbs would have preferred to leave Tony and his team to make there own way to the Naval Yard while he and his team tailed Goliath.

“You sure you want to pretend to be friends?” Tony had asked when they’d used MTAC to make arrangements. The connection readily conveying the neutral expression and tone of voice that Gibbs wasn’t sure how to read.

“Won’t be pretending,” Gibbs had told him.

Tony had arched an eyebrow, lips curling into a smirk. “Rumor had it you don’t have any friends.”

Gibbs had rolled his eyes. “I have friends.”

“Hunh. I must have missed that.” Tony chuckled, shaking his head. “See you soon, Gibbs.”

He’d cut the connection before Gibbs could respond. And really, what the hell was he supposed to say to that? It wasn’t like he’d ever introduced Tony to any of his friends or even been a friend to Tony. Nothing in their relationship, at the office or out of it, would have conveyed any meaningful connection. And Gibbs had finally realized, due in large part to Ducky’s pointed comments, how little respect or appreciation he’d shown Tony in the years he’d worked for Gibbs.

Gibbs shook his head. That didn’t matter at the moment. He could hear McGee in his earwig letting him know Goliath had gotten his paperwork and keys to his car. The man hadn’t met up with anyone as yet, but McGee was keeping his eyes out, just in case. Gibbs could hear Ziva acknowledging the information and signaling her readiness.

Gibbs got closer to Tony. He smiled when Tony spotted him and smiled back. Gibbs couldn’t tell if the smile was genuine or not. He resented his lack of certainty and hated the fact that Tony thought his being here at all was nothing more than a show for other people who might be watching.

“Hey, Jethro,” Tony greeted him. It struck Gibbs as odd that this was first time he’d heard Tony use anything other than his surname or ‘boss’. But then, how else should he greet a friend?

Before Gibbs could puzzle out his feelings on the matter, Tony pulled him into a brief hug. Gibbs couldn’t help making the contrast between this hug and the one Tony had given him when he thought Gibbs had been killed. That one had been full of desperation, relief and joy, this one was almost perfunctory. Gibbs hadn’t known what to do with the first one and failed to return anything of it; this one he wanted to extend, to share some of his happiness at seeing Tony in person again after so many months, but Tony was stepping away almost before he could even acknowledge the contact.

Miri gave him a quick hug as well and a kiss on the cheek. She smiled, blue eyes dancing playfully as she winked at him. “I know, a bit forward given this is the first time we’ve met, but you do what you have to and all that.”

Her voice was low, not carrying beyond the three of them. She patted Tony on the arm. “You stay, and guard the carry on. I’ll grab the bags.”

“I’m capable of--“

“I know you are.” Miri smiled brightly at him, and then leaned into kiss Tony on the cheek too. She patted his ass with a familiarity Gibbs found annoying. “But you aren’t going to.”

She walked toward the baggage carousel, not giving Tony a chance to argue. Gibbs was glad she was no longer in arms reach of Tony. And he appreciated having a little time alone with Tony.

“How’s the leg?” Gibbs finally asked, not wanting the silence that descended between him and Tony to become uncomfortable or awkward. It was another indication of how things hand changed between them. Silence had never been an issue before, and normally it was Tony who broke it, not Gibbs.

“My leg is fine.” Tony rolled his eyes. “Don’t let Miri acting like a mother hen worry you.”

Gibbs frowned, nodding to the cane Tony was leaning on. “You sure?”

“That Miri is acting like a mother hen, yeah, I’m sure.”

Gibbs glared at him. “DiNozzo.”

“Nothing you need to worry about, Gibbs.” Tony smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’m full capable of doing my job.”

Gibbs stifled a wince. It wasn’t about the job, damn it. Okay, so maybe he hadn’t shown all that much concern for Tony’s well being in the past as long as it wasn’t affecting his ability to do the job, but he wasn’t completely callous.

“Tony--“

“Everyone else in position?” Tony asked, cutting off anything Gibbs. Clearly the subject was closed. And getting into some sort of argument wouldn’t do much for the cover they planned to establish for this rendezvous.

Gibbs nodded, answering Tony’s question and letting the moment pass. He glanced around, scanning the crowd. “I haven’t seen Rivera.”

“That’s because he’s still in Spain.”

Gibbs frowned. “I thought your whole team was coming.”

“I had to leave someone in Rota to mind the store and deal with anything that might come up.” Tony smiled wryly, shrugging one shoulder. “Rota’s not like DC, Gibbs. There aren’t half a dozen teams waiting in the wings to take over.”

Gibbs smirked. “It’s not as busy there.”

“People are less apt to kill each other.” Tony grinned. “I’m thinking all the sun might have something to do with.”

“I thought it was warm water and pretty people,” Miri said, appearing next to Tony with a duffle bag slung over one shoulder. She offered another one to Gibbs. “Be a mensch, will you and carry that?”

Her pointed look made it hard for him to refuse. They might still have an audience, so it wasn’t an option to tell her he didn’t shlep other people’s luggage. Gibbs took the bag, surprised to find it rather light.

“I kept the heavy one.” She smiled innocently at him. “Wouldn’t want you to put yourself out too far.”

Tony gave her an amused glance. “Now why doesn’t that apply to me?”

“Because you don’t mind putting out.”

Tony laughed. “That’s a nasty rumor spread by people who know me.”

Their byplay made Gibbs’ clench his jaw. He found himself wondering if Tony had slept with his second. It would be a violation of Rule 12. But Rule 12 wasn’t Tony’s rule, it was Gibbs’. It’s not like it hadn’t already been violated. And if Tony and Ziva had been involved while Gibbs was in Mexico, then he was no stranger to sleeping with a subordinate on his team. That wasn’t something Gibbs wanted to think about.

“You two done playing grab ass?” Gibbs asked, his tone sharp. “We have a job to do.”

Tony’s expression morphed into a bland mask. “We know.”

Miri arched an eyebrow; eyes assessing him with a frankness that made Gibbs suddenly feel as though everything he was thinking was suddenly exposed to her gaze. It strangely reminded him of looks his mother used to give him whenever he’d said or done something to displease her. He didn’t like it.

“Just waiting on you, Special Agent Gibbs.” Miri’s voice was cool, lacking the warmth and playfulness that had been evident only a moment ago. “If you’d care to lead the way to the car we can get this show on the road.”

How the hell am I the one in the wrong, Gibbs asked himself. He wasn’t the one goofing off on the job. He wasn’t the one sleeping with his subordinate. Well he had, but he wasn’t doing it now. And he hadn’t even said anything that out of line. Not really. They had a job to do, damn it. That should be the focus.

Gibbs started to walk away, anger adding speed to his usual quick pace. He forced himself to slow down when he realized Tony and Miri were several steps behind. Tony wasn’t just sporting the cane for show; he obviously needed the assistance. His limping gait was nothing like the long-limbed easy stride Gibbs remembered.

Feeling like an ass for having forgotten so quickly Tony wasn’t 100%, but unwilling to admit it, Gibbs waited until Tony was walking next to him. He made eye contact with Tony. He tried to make amends without actually apologizing.

“You sure you’re okay?” He made sure his concern showed in his voice.

“I’m fine.” Tony waved a hand, dismissing his concern even as his more open expression indicated no anger or hostility. “Just a little stiff from the flight, Boss. It will loosen up once I move around a bit more.”

Gibbs looked at Miri. She had made sure Tony hadn’t carried anything, and had physically supported him earlier. If Tony was lying, she’d know. She stared blandly back at him, giving him nothing, not refuting Tony’s claim. She was backing Tony without saying a word.

Tony might have accepted his olive branch offering, but she clearly hadn’t. Blue eyes regarded him steadily, measuring him. He had no trouble reading the distrust and dislike in her expression. She wasn’t making any effort to hide it. Ordinarily that wouldn’t have bothered Gibbs, and he wasn’t sure why it bothered him now.

Gibbs sighed silently. There was no point in getting into a pissing contest. As long as her feelings didn’t get in the way of the case, it wasn’t a problem. Gibbs opted to let it go and continue on to the car. He expected Tony to call ‘shotgun’ like he often had in the past, beating out McGee and Ziva to the choice seat. But Miri ceded the front seat without Tony having to say a word. His estimation of Tony’s training his team went up a notch. He’d obviously trained her to accept the back seat.

Gibbs pulled out with his usual speed. He was half-heartedly hoping Miri would have an issue with his driving, childishly wanting to make her puke, but she settled in the back seat with no sign of worry or discomfort. She seemed fascinated with the view outside the window.

“Sir?”

Gibbs was ready to snap at her, thinking she was talking to him, when Tony answered. “Yeah?”

“If we get this wrapped up in good time, could we delay going back to Spain for a day or two?

“Why?”

“I’ve never been to DC. I want to see the sights.”

Tony looked over his shoulder, smiling at her. “You planning on making Mouse jealous?”

Gibbs frowned. Mouse? Who or what was Mouse?

“Naturally.” She laughed. “He’s never been here either.”

“Sure, if we get this wrapped up in good time, another day or two should be doable.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“You’re welcome, Miri.”

Gibbs wondered if Tony planned on being the one to show her the sights. His grip on the steering wheel tightened. It wasn’t any of his business. It shouldn’t matter to him. It didn’t matter to him that Tony was already making plans to spend time in DC that didn’t include Gibbs or his old teammates. It didn’t matter to him that the only reason Tony was even in DC was work related. It was fine. It wasn’t an issue.

“I’ve got a plan for speeding up the time table and making Goliath talk, ” Tony said casually. “If you’re interested.”

Gibbs glanced at him. They had no idea how long Goliath was planning on being in DC, who he was meeting or when. Speeding things along, and getting the details, was definitely something Gibbs was interested in.

“You have a plan?”

“He’s not going to be afraid of NCIS.” Tony’s smile was feral. “We don’t have anything on him to force him to cooperate. At least not directly. But he’s made a few enemies that we might just be able to threaten him with. People who would scare him enough to telling us what we want to know.”

“You got them on speed dial, DiNozzo?” Gibbs asked dryly.

“No.” Tony waggled his eyebrows. “But Goliath doesn’t know that.”

Gibbs nodded. This was the sort of out of box thinking neither McGee nor Ziva excelled at. Threatening Goliath with people he was afraid of, people who could do real damage was a good idea.

“You have a way to convince him we’re going to turn him over to his enemies?” If Goliath was as tough a nut to crack as Tony thought, the man wouldn’t believe they’d turn him over to his enemies while he was sitting in an American jail cell or an NCIS interrogation room.

Tony nodded. “Miri and I worked it out on the plane.”

“And?”

Tony grinned. “How do you feel about kidnapping?”

Gibbs blinked. “Kidnapping?”

Tony waggled his eyebrows. “Trust me, Boss, this will work.”

It was on the tip of Gibbs’ tongue to say he trusted Tony, that he always had, but he couldn’t bring himself to actually say it. He settled for simply nodding. If Tony’s plan was sound, they’d go with it.

And maybe he’d get a chance to continue repairing his relationship with Tony while they were at it.

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