AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
CHARACTERS: Anthony DiNozzo, Leon Vance, Clay Jarvis
SUB-GENRE: Episode Related
SUMMARY: Set at the end of Pyramid. Tony gets an unpleasant surprise.
WORD COUNT: 1,000
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
"Take a look. That's who you're handling."
Tony opens the folder and looks at the photograph. He freezes as the face looks back at him. It seems to be taunting him; mocking him. It can't be. It can't be. How can it be? He hears Jarvis speak again, but he doesn't hear what he says; he just knows Jarvis is speaking. All he can do is to carry on staring at the face he knows so well.
He just continues to stare at the photo as shock begins to thread its way through his body. He's both hot and cold; his mouth his dry; he can feel sweat break out all over his body; his throat is tight; his stomach is churning; he feels violently sick. He wants to speak, but he can't. All he can do is to carry on staring at the face he knows so well.
Again he hears words, but he can't understand them; they are just a noise. He thinks he hears his name, but he can't answer. All he can do is to carry on staring at the face he knows so well.
"DiNozzo!" Finally, the sheer forcefulness and power of the voice makes him start and he blinks and looks away from the photo and straight into Vance's eyes. Vance holds out his hand and for a moment Tony doesn't know what he wants. Then it dawns on him: Vance wants to see the photo. He doesn't even try to stop his hand from shaking as he hands the photograph over. He doesn't look at Jarvis. He just keeps his gaze focused on Vance.
Vance turns the photo towards him and glances at him. Shock, surprise, incredulity registers on his face. "What on earth - Clay?" Now Tony does turn to look at Jarvis and he wishes he hadn't. He's seen evil before; he's seen someone who is power hungry; he's seen vindictiveness; he's seen everything bad the world has to offer. But never has he seen it so clearly.
Except he isn't certain he did see it, because in a blink of an eye, it's gone and Jarvis looks calm, cool and collected. "Secretary Jarvis?" Vance says coldly, as he makes the two words ask a dozen questions.
Tony watches as the two men lock gazes and stare unblinkingly at one another. To his disappointment it's Vance who breaks the gaze first. "Secretary Jarvis," Vance says again, his voice like chilled steel. "Please tell me what is going on."
Jarvis glances at Tony, before looking back at Vance. "I told you an agent, somewhere in your organization, is selling top-secret information and they need to be dealt with appropriately."
Vance glances at Tony quickly and then looks back at Jarvis, he nods at the photo. "But this is -"
"Agent Anthony DiNozzo. Yes, I know. He is the agent who is selling top-secret information. He is the agent who needs to be dealt with in an appropriate manner."
Again Vance glances at Tony who just sits; once again he's frozen. Seeing his face looking back at him had been bad enough, but hearing his name, hearing Jarvis saying he's the rogue agent, is much worse - it makes it seem real.
He'd been so pleased, proud even, when Jarvis had spoken to him about the special op. Yes, he'd known it would have meant lying to Gibbs and the team again, but he'd decided he was prepared to do that.
He wanted promotion; he wanted it so badly he could taste it. He was ready for promotion; he realized that now. If EJ's brief time in DC had shown him anything, it was that he'd made a mistake not accepting Jenny's offer of his own team. He wanted his own team; he deserved his own team. And this op would have been his way in. But now . . .
"Then why did you -"
Again Jarvis interrupts Vance. Again Tony sees the pure evil flash across his face; at least he thinks he does. "Do it this way? Lull him into thinking he was going to be working towards finding the mole?" Vance nods. Jarvis shrugs. "Just call it my gift to you, Leon. For old time's sake. Now I want Agent DiNozzo suspended with immediate effect pending a full investigation. I want him escorted from the building now and I want any access he has to the building and anyone and anything within it terminated instantly. Do you understand me, Director Vance?" He stands up and moves to stand next to Vance, getting inside Vance's personal space.
Vance also stands up, meeting Jarvis's gaze, holding his ground before he glances at Tony once more. Then he looks back at Jarvis and sighs. "Yes, Mr. Secretary," he says, his tone once more like chilled steel. "I understand. Agent DiNozzo -"
Finally Tony speaks. "Director Vance," he says his voice high and shaky. He forces himself to stand up; locks his knees together and puts his hands behind his back. He's sure he's shaking, but he can't stop it. "It's a mistake, sir. I am not selling top-secret information. I . . ." He trails off as both Vance and Jarvis just stare at him. "It's a mistake," he repeats, "a mistake." He focuses his attention fully on Vance, willing him to speak, willing him to say something, willing him to reassure him that all will be well. And for a split second he thinks he sees the reassurance. But then it's gone and once more Vance's gaze is steady and cold.
As he's escorted out of Vance's office by two men he barely knows and led down the stairs, past Gibbs, McGee and Ziva, all of who are staring at him, across the squad room and into the elevator he wonders if the look he thought he saw in Vance's eyes had been there or if it had just been his wishful imagination.
"It's a mistake," he whispers, as the elevator doors close on him and the two silent men. "A mistake."