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Author's Note:
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Tony makes a choice following the events of "Dead Air"

Tony spent over 8 years building his life within NCIS. It takes him less than 90 minutes to raze it to the ground.

The Military at Home bombing had been prevented the night before. The team was given 72 hours downtime as a reward for thwarting home-grown terrorists.

Tony ignores the order to stand down and arrives just before 7am the next morning to do what needs to be done.

He highlights the appropriate portions of the recordings from the car for IA and sends off an official complaint regarding being left in the field without backup by his partners and junior agents.

He also includes dozens and dozens of reports he’d filed, signed by Gibbs, highlighting sections where he made note of incidents Ziva and McGee were insubordinate and/or broke protocol in the field. One or two of these incidents alone could be seen as a fluke. But several years worth of reports highlighting the issues, with nothing being done, and culminating in leaving a senior field agent without backup while he was interacting with suspected terrorists that had already killed at least three people; that is damning as hell.

He lays out his concerns about Ziva’s system access including the logs he’d made when he ran the team of her accessing intel on overseas operations that had nothing to do with their cases. He includes the emails from Vance and Legal telling him to mind his own business when he’d brought this potential security breach to their attention. He also documents everything he knows and suspects about Ziva’s involvement in Kate’s murder, her covering for Rivkin, and his being dragged to Israel to be interrogated by a foreign agency without protection or counsel. He includes everything he knows about Jenny’s relationship with Ziva and Vance’s relationship with Eli David.

He sends the entire package off to IA, the Office of Special Counsel, and SecNav. He cc’s Gibbs and Vance so they will know the storm is coming. Finally, he makes a copy to a thumb drive and drops it in an envelope addressed to Dana Priest at the Washington Post. With her years of reporting on intelligence and counterterrorism, he knows she’s use it thoughtfully and will get confirmation from other sources before going to press with anything. Most importantly, she won’t let SecNav or anyone else sweep it all under the rug.

He emails Jimmy Palmer the information for his lawyer, Ellenor Frutt, who has agreed to sue McGee for defamation, pro-bono, should Jimmy want to do more than just complain about McGee portraying Jimmy as a necrophiliac in the Gemcity novels. Considering the potentially career crippling effect that could have on Jimmy should people take it at face value, Tony really hopes Jimmy gives Ellenor a call.

That done, Tony heads down to the basement. He drops off letters for Abby, Jimmy, and Ducky that basically say thanks for being awesome; sorry I had to bail.

Finally he returns to the bullpen dropping his letter of resignation, his badge, his ID card, and his weapon on Gibbs’ desk. He should feel bad about blindsiding Gibbs like this. But he’s just too worn out to care. At some point the demeaning comments, head slaps, and tacit approval of Ziva and McGee’s outright disrespect had broken the trust and friendship between him and Gibbs. He hadn’t even noticed when it actually broke. But he knew it was well and truly gone when McGee and Ziva laughed about leaving Tony without backup and Tony’s first thought was “How can I do this job without backup?” rather than “Gibbs is so going to fire both of you.”

Because he realized Gibbs wouldn’t fire them. Gibbs would yell a bit. Then Gibbs would blame Tony for not “earning their respect” or some other complete BS.

Tony was a cop and has been an agent for a long time. He’s always been willing to lay down his life to protect others. But he isn’t willing to do that while also having to look over his shoulder because he can no longer rely on his partners to have his back. That is a sure way to end up bleeding out on the pavement somewhere.

Tony knows this is the end of his career. Ratting on his fellow agents, even in a case this egregious, means that no other law enforcement agency will take him. He didn’t hold the line and that’s a liability.

They​ ​will​ ​most​ ​likely​ ​pull​ ​his​ ​security​ ​clearance.​ ​So​ ​that​ ​will​ ​stop​ ​him​ ​from​ ​getting​ ​work​ ​at​ ​any​ ​of the​ ​private​ ​contractors​ ​in​ ​DC​ ​or​ ​with​ ​any​ ​of​ ​the​ ​fixers.​ ​Heck,​ ​he​ ​doesn’t​ ​even​ ​really​ ​like​ ​DC.

He has some money socked away from the trust his mom left him. He’s been max funding his Thrift Savings Plan. He has resources to take a little time to decide where to go and what to do next.

Tony packs the few items he wants to keep from his desk into his go bag. He slings it over his shoulder and heads down the stairs.

Gibbs hears the stairwell door close just as he steps off the elevator and heads to his desk.


Tony stops at his favorite little bistro for breakfast. A cappuccino with a buttery croissant and a side of bacon have him feeling a little less numb. Of course that means the dread is settling in now.

He did it. There’s no going back. He can’t say he’s sorry about it, because it was necessary. Ziva and Tim were a danger to any agent in the field with them. But the cost won’t be just their careers. It was his too, and it will probably be Vance’s and Gibbs’ before everything’s said and done.

The waitress drops by with his check. Her phone number is scrawled along the side. He offers a flirtatious smile, folds the receipt and puts it in his wallet as he takes out the cash for his meal and the tip. She’s refilling another patron’s coffee by the time he gets to the door; he winks at her and heads out into the mid morning sunshine. Time to figure out what comes next.

- - - -

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  1. Bittersweet. Exactly what needed to be done, and hopefully the push for Tony to find something meaningful for his life once more.

    Thank you for sharing it!

  2. Wow -raze it to the ground indeed. Powerful and utterly satisfying even without knowing what’s next. Thanks so for sharing it.

  3. Really cool. Go Tony! Thank you.

  4. I love this. I always love stories when Tony stands up for himself.

  5. Excellent! Canon should have addressed this properly, instead of sweeping it under the virtual rug too…and I have to say that if my manager ever headslapped me, it would be Armageddon – no matter how much I like her, respect her and value her friendship. Just…no!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Delightfully sharp.

  7. Sometimes the only way to deal is just accept that it can’t be fixed, and then move on. No matter how painful.

    Well done.

  8. Awesome. I love stories like this.

  9. That was awesome! Now I wish the show had ended with an episode depicting this… Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  10. Debbie-Anne Nielsen

    Go Tony! Sometimes the only way to save yourself is to burn some bridges. Love this. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  11. I’m such a sucker for “Tony stands up for himself” stories. I really appreciate seeing Tony acknowledge that this is really going to muck up his personal and professional life, but doing it anyway. Thanks for sharing your writing.

  12. Love stories where Tony’s takes all of NCIS to task. Very well written.

  13. Good on you, Tony!

  14. I love stories where Tony leaves. This was perfectly bittersweet and righteous. Go Tony!

  15. Totally wonderful look at how Tony should have, could have handled it.

  16. God, how I wish Tony had packed up and left after ‘Dead Air’. I love Tony, but the way the character has been treated over the seasons is horrific. Hell, he really should’ve taken the transfer to Rota when Shepard offered it. Gibbs did not deserve Tony’s loyalty and Vance has been an absolute bastard in his treatment of DiNozzo. Thanks for this.

  17. Talk about burning your bridges … but when they’re to places you never want to return, I guess you don’t have a lot of options.

  18. Great story!

  19. greywolfthewanderer

    absolutely this! the way canon handled Dead Air made my jaw hit the floor, and that was just one time. nicely done!

  20. This story pretty much highlights when I started doing a final countdown for NCIS and why I was happy when Michael Weatherly decided to leave. Such a waste of a brilliantly played character. Continued good luck and energy with your writing

  21. It was a good one. 😃

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