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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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Finding proof Shepard had been digging into Benoit’s past and his current associates wasn’t hard.

Gibbs wasn’t sure if it was simply that she was careless, thought she didn’t need to hide her activities, or if her illness was to blame. Part of him hoped it was the latter. At least then her failure to make any effort to cover her activities would be excused. He didn’t want to believe that anyone he’d trained, that anyone he’d worked closely with, was that inept or arrogant.

Although, easily tracking her activities might not have anything to do with Shepard at all. McGee was definitely the best NCIS had when it come to computers. And Mouse had proven he was no slouch either. Between the two of them, in less than a day, they’d located all Shepard’s information searches on Renee Benoit. It hadn’t been hard for them to find out how she knew about his daughter. Or the many ways she’d been keeping tabs on Jeanne Benoit. Or how invested she was in finding a way, any way, to bring down La Grenouille.

Ziva’s contacts had been helpful in filling in more information on Shepard’s father. Why the information hadn’t come to light before now was a question Gibbs didn’t feel up to asking. He really didn’t want to know that a member of his team could be keeping secrets from him.

Jasper Shepard’s death, although ruled a suicide, was commonly believed by several in the intelligence community to have been murder. There was no clear evidence, but there rarely was when it came to covert operations. Those who suspected murder thought Benoit was probably not the one who’d initiated Jasper Shepard’s death. His demise was more likely to have been called for and carried about the CIA.

Given the nature of the charges that Jasper Shepard had been facing, Gibbs wasn’t actually sorry to hear the man might have been murdered. If he was selling secrets that would cost American soldiers their lives, he deserved to be put down. But that was never proven. And Gibbs wouldn’t put it past the CIA to have been using Jasper Shepard as a fall guy. With his death the investigation into the possible espionage dried up and that had likely been the goal all along.

Calling in several favors to get access to the information on a case closed more than a decade ago, Ducky and Palmer had been able to review the original autopsy. There was little to support the idea that Jasper Shepard had been murdered, but there were some things that certainly suggested his death was not the straight up suicide it had been officially labeled.

Jenny might well have grounds to seek revenge, and there was no doubt in Gibbs’ mind she’d been in contact with at least some of the people Ziva had spoken to. Why she wouldn’t turn her attention to the CIA was a mystery. Although, since Benoit was on their payroll, technically she was taking on the CIA. And Benoit was the person Jasper Shepard was supposed to have been selling weapons to. He was as good a choice as any for her obsession. It was possible, remotely possible that she was not be planning to kill the man; she might want to simply get him into an interrogation room and find out what he knew about her father. If he wasn’t protected by the CIA he’d have been a good choice for her to bring down. It’s not like Benoit was some innocent bystander.

Unfortunately, even with everything they found there was nothing they could use to prove Shepard was doing anything illegal. Benoit’s position as an arms dealer made all her research legitimate, at least on the surface. That fact that her research went back years and was in no way tied to their recent case wasn’t truly damning.

She was overstepping the authority of the agency, since nothing in the agency’s mandate addressed investigating the international trade of weapons. But nothing they’d turned up showed any clear violation of the law. Investigating a suspected criminal, even one outside the agency purview, wasn’t incriminating in and of itself.

Her motivations, while helpful in proving intent, didn’t actually show proof of any wrongdoing. Not yet at any rate. Given the plan she outlined for Gibbs, she wasn’t far from doing something illegal.

Gibbs knew it frustrated Abby that there was no real evidence for her to examine. Gibbs had put her on lookout duty and had her monitoring Shepard’s movements to give her something to do to help. Leaving a frustrated Abby with nothing to focus on was asking for trouble.

Other than the morgue, Abby’s lab was the safest place for them all to meet at the office. And while Gibbs wasn’t squeamish, he didn’t really want to meet in a place where locking the doors meant turning on biohazard warnings. It was far from subtle and drawing attention to their meeting would defeat the whole point of doing it quietly.

Tony and Miri traded glances after they’d gone over everything they’d found. Gibbs wasn’t sure what was being said between them but it obvious something was going on.

“Best way to get what we need is for me to talk to her,” Tony said.

He’d been ducking the Director for the past two days, but even Gibbs knew Tony couldn’t do it forever. That didn’t mean he had to agree with Tony’s assessment.

“No.”

“Gibbs, we both know it’s the only way we’re going to get anything incriminating.”

“It’s too danger—“

“No, it isn’t.” Tony shook his head. “She’s not going to shoot me, Boss. She’s just going to proposition me. Maybe. We don’t actually know and the only way to know for sure is if I talk to her.”

Green eyes met blue. “It’s the only way.”

“No it isn’t.” Gibbs stubbornly refused to agree.

“Okay, then it’s the best way.”

Gibbs wanted to argue more but he knew Tony was right. He didn’t like the idea. Hated it in fact. He wanted Tony safe, and well away from anything Shepard had in mind. He did not want Tony in the line of fire.

“We can wire him,” Miri said, filling the silence that had deepened as Gibbs had glared at Tony. “It’s the only way to have more than the hearsay we’ve got now. It would be like any other undercover op.”

“I don’t think this is like any other undercover operation,” Bahl said with a nervous laugh. He shifted restlessly from his position near the door when Gibbs turned his glare on the younger agent. He hadn’t been a lot of help so far, but he hadn’t been a hindrance either.

Miri grinned at Bahl. “Not exactly like any other undercover gig, no, because I don’t think any of us have been involved in an operation to bring down the Director of a federal agency but really, not vastly different. The goal is to get information without the target knowing what they are saying will be used against them. We need proof. ”

“We don’t know if she will even tell Tony what she told Gibbs,” McGee pointed out.

“We don’t know she won’t either,” Miri countered.

“Jenny isn’t stupid.” Ziva interjected quietly. “She will know by now Gibbs has spoken to Tony.”

“She may not be stupid, but she’s desperate.” Miri sighed quietly. “She’s running out of time. And she has to be feeling pressured to get this done and done soon. I’ve seen how people react to a terminal diagnosis, and there is no way she’s thinking about anything but making sure everything is taken care of before she dies.”

Gibbs had forgotten that the former team lead in Rota died from cancer as well. Miri had mentioned it before when she’d said the team had lost interest in trying to track down Trent Kort.

Tony put his hand on Miri’s shoulder. She smiled wanly at him and nodded once.

Ducky cleared his throat, discretely interrupting the moment. “But if Jenny knows Jethro spoke to Tony, surely she would change her plans?”

Miri shook her head. “Her knowing Gibbs has spoken to Tony could work in our favor.”

Gibbs frowned. “How?”

“You left her thinking you were pissed about what she planned because she was proposing to use Benoit’s daughter. But she doesn’t have to know you gave that justification to Tony.”

“What—“

“We can spin this as you telling Tony not to talk to her because she was trying to use your agent. That you telling him wasn’t ratting her out as much as it was letting him know not to get involved because he’s your agent and what you say goes. We can add that you didn’t want Tony to take the job because you didn’t think he could do it not because you thought Shepard was off her rocker.”

She glanced at Tony again and then back to Gibbs. “ We can make it about Tony proving you wrong. That he’s not on your team and doesn’t take orders from you any more. That he’s pissed you would have the audacity to speak for him, to refuse an assignment for him without consulting him about it first. Or it could easily be a knee jerk reaction to being told he wasn’t capable of handling the assignment. “

“It would work, Gibbs.” Tony’s expression was apologetic.

It wasn’t like Shepard wasn’t aware of why Tony left Gibbs’ team. And she’d seen them interact in MTAC. So she knew Tony had been pissed at Gibbs. She might not know he wasn’t still pissed because, for most of his time in DC, Tony had been publicly cool to everyone on his old team, Gibbs in particular. And as much as it shamed Gibbs to admit it, he’d been high handed in his behavior in the past, running roughshod over his people before, limiting the information he provided and directing their actions with little explanation.

It wasn’t unbelievable that he’d have done it again because he had actually done it in Shepard’s office. Admittedly this time had been out of concern for Tony, but he’d still spoken for the younger man as though it was his place to do so. He’d called Tony ‘his agent’ and refused to let Shepard use him as a whore.

“What about you ducking her for two days?” Palmer asked. “How are you going to explain that?”

“My phone wasn’t working.” Tony waved a dismissive hand. “Or I could go with I had what I thought was a lead on our missing explosives and was unavoidably out of contact. It happens.”

“Or he simply forgot it. That happens too.” Miri added.

“Never be unreachable,” Gibbs quoted rule three without thinking. Tony had never forgotten his phone.

Miri rolled her eyes. “Right. Whatever. The point is it won’t be hard to explain the lack of contact. “

“It will be my job to convince her anything I say is reasonable,” Tony offered quietly. “Just like any other undercover gig.”

“I still don’t like it.”

“I know, Boss.” Tony looked at him. “If you got a better idea, let’s hear it.”

Gibbs’ jaw clenched. He didn’t have a better option. They hadn’t found anything truly incriminating. And they likely wouldn’t without finding some way to make Shepard incriminate herself.

“DiNozzo. You’re with me.” Gibbs ordered heading for the door. He held up a hand to forestall Abby at her post outside the door as he headed for the elevator, Tony a step behind.

Inside the elevator, Gibbs only waited long enough for the doors to close before hitting the stop button.

“You’re going to break this thing some day.” Tony’s tone was amused.

Gibbs rounded on him, angry that Tony didn’t seem to be taking this seriously. He invaded Tony’s space forcing him to take a step back. “This isn’t a damn game, DiNozzo.”

“I know that, Boss.” Tony’s chin came up. “I know exactly how serious this is.”

“Confronting her is risky.”

“Letting her operate on her own until we find something, if we ever do find something, isn’t any safer.”

“I know that.” Gibbs snarled.

Tony reached out and cupped Gibbs’ face. “I’ll be okay, Jethro.”

Gibbs sighed. He closed his eyes. “You don’t know that,” he whispered.

This was why he shouldn’t get involved with coworkers. It was too damn painful to care this much. And he worried too much about what could go wrong instead of focusing on the case. His perspective here was shot to hell. It would affect things, he’d lose focus and something bad would happen. This was just asking for trouble. If Tony got hurt because he wasn’t doing his job properly, Gibbs would never forgive himself.

“I’ll have you watching out for me.” Tony assured him, cutting of his wayward, not quite panicked thoughts. “I’ll have Miri. And Ziva and McGee. There’s Abby, Ducky and Palmer too. Relax, Jethro. You don’t have to worry. I’ll be fine.”

“You better be,” Gibbs growled, opening his eyes to glare at Tony.

“Hey, I didn’t die when you told me not to.”

Gibbs had never told Tony how grateful he was that Tony had listened to him. He should have realized then how much power he had over Tony. Really, who else would live simply because he’d told them to?

It seemed too late to voice that sentiment now. And he didn’t want to admit he’d been so clueless. So Gibbs opted to turn his head enough to place a kiss in Tony’s palm.

“You sure about this?”

“I’m sure it needs to be done.” Tony leaned in and kissed him gently. “And I’m sure I can do it.”

Gibbs sighed. He’d known what Tony would say. He’d known it when they left Abby’s lab. He just needed to come to terms with it. And to hear Tony say he was truly okay with it. It would be Gibbs’ job to make sure he was backing Tony’s play.

“All right then. Let’s get it set up.”

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