Ashleigh Anpilova


DiNozzo has a deadline to keep and a decision to make.

An established relationship story.

Written: August 2007. Word count: 454.



Tony glanced at the clock.


He had twenty minutes until the deadline.


Twenty minutes in which to make a decision.


Twenty minutes in which to decide his future.


It was the chance of a lifetime, and he knew he should take it. Grab it with both hands and run. But could he?


Eighteen months ago he couldn't have.


Eighteen months ago he was offered his own team, and he had refused it.


Refused it because he knew he wasn't ready; not really. Oh, he could boss McGee and Ziva around; call for campfires; pretend to lead them. And he did a good job really, but mainly because they were Gibbs's team; they'd been trained by Gibbs.


Eighteen months ago he wasn't ready.


Was he now?


Gibbs didn't need him. Not professionally or personally.


Professionally? Professionally Gibbs had McGee, who was already a far better, a far more versatile, agent that Tony would ever be. And Ziva . . . You couldn't forget Ziva.


Personally? Personally Gibbs had Ducky. That was all Gibbs needed.


Tony glanced at the clock.


His time was up.


He picked up the phone.



Across the room Gibbs nodded.


Yeah, it was time.


DiNozzo was ready.


Okay, so he was leaving NCIS it was their loss but it was time.


Eighteen months ago when Jenny had offered DiNozzo his own team (did they really think he hadn't known?) DiNozzo wasn't ready. Now he was.


Yeah, it was time to say goodbye.


Time to move on.


Time to start a new life.


And not just for DiNozzo.


It was time for Gibbs too.


He'd messed around for too long.


It was time.


He'd tell Ducky tonight.


Ducky'd be happy. He'd always hoped to retire to Britain, and what would be better to do so than with Gibbs at his side?


Gibbs had set his own deadline for his retirement: DiNozzo leaving. It was better that way.


He'd never wanted, not really, despite handing DiNozzo his badge and gun when he left for Mexico, DiNozzo to lead his team. Not because DiNozzo wasn't capable, he was, but because it wouldn't be fair on him. Everyone would compare his leadership to Gibbs's. They'd worked together for so long.


McGee would make a good team leader. He didn't have the same history with Gibbs as DiNozzo had. Wasn't the same kind of person; people wouldn't compare him, his leadership, to Gibbs.


It was time.


Time to . . .


He watched as DiNozzo replaced the receiver and swallowed hard.


He watched as DiNozzo glanced at McGee and Ziva and finally at him.


He watched as DiNozzo stood up, straightened his jacket and walked across to him.


"Boss. There's something I have to tell you."



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