Saying No

Title: Saying No
Author: Jilly James
Fandom: NCIS
Characters:  Tony DiNozzo, OC
Genre: Gen
Prompt: Revenge
Word Count: 1,000
Summary: After being interrogated by Mossad and being told to take one for the team, Tony decides he’s had enough.
Warnings: No beta

– – – –

Tony stepped into the dimly-lit bar, immediately heading for the booth in the back corner—the booth where he and Marcus Skilton always sat when they met for drinks. The bar was fairly upscale and catered primarily to business clientele. It was part of why they went there… federal agents were not the norm—and neither were politicians.

He slid into the booth, being careful of his casted arm, adjusting his sling to take the pressure off his neck once he was comfortably seated.

Frowning, Marcus gave him a thorough once-over. “What the hell happened to you?”

Tony had known Marcus since college. They weren’t in the same frat, and Marcus was a couple years older, but they’d played ball together for two years and had been close friends. Partly drawn together because they’d both wound up in law enforcement. Four years ago, when Tony was already at NCIS, Marcus had moved to the FBI’s Baltimore office, and they’d been meeting for drinks as often as their schedules permitted.

Instead of answering directly, Tony passed a file across the table. “Read that. Then I’ll answer any questions you have.”

Marcus watched him closely for several seconds before nodding and beginning to read.

While his friend went through the information Tony had compiled literally one-handedly during his late-night trip to NCIS, Tony tipped his head back and closed his eyes. He was tired, but it wasn’t the physical exhaustion that was dragging him down. It was everything else.

He’d been told he had to take one for the team, submit to an interrogation by Mossad, when the only thing he’d done wrong was stupidly trying to give Ziva the opportunity to explain herself.

The entire time in Israel, he’d been working through the issues in the back of his mind, not sure what he was going to do. There was a brief moment when it seemed like Ziva was going to stay behind, and that would have solved part of his problem—though it in no way addressed how he felt about Gibbs, Vance and SecNav throwing him under the proverbial bus.

But then Ziva seemingly had a change of mind and boarded the plane. While Tony’s future had been filled with uncertainty, Ziva’s shouldn’t have been—that was crystal clear to him. Even if they covered the whole thing up legally, she had been guilty of espionage. She’d been spying on all of them for years and everyone up to SecNav knew it. That was incontrovertible. Literally no room for interpretation. So when he’d heard that Ziva would be back on the team come Monday, Tony had pulled Gibbs aside to basically ask, ‘what the fuck?’

Gibbs hadn’t been impressed with Tony questioning his decision. Some crap variant of ‘my team, my rules’ had been issued, and, in that moment, Tony decided to say enough.

When Marcus gave an astonished, “Damn,” Tony straightened up and prepared to answer questions.

Marcus closed the folder and drummed his fingers on it for a second. “I assume you gave this to me because you want me to do something with it?”

“That sort of crime at a federal agency is the Bureau’s jurisdiction.”

“NCIS isn’t doing anything?” he clarified.

Tony snorted. “She’s back on the team come Monday.”

“Are you fucking serious?” Marcus asked incredulously.


“You know this will end your career, right? Your chain of command may not be able to do anything to you legally, but they can make your life impossible. And any other agency will say the right things, but behind closed doors, it’s gonna count against you.”

“I know,” Tony replied with a short nod. “It doesn’t matter. I’m done. I have other options—I’ve always had other options. I stayed because I wanted to. And that ship has sailed. I’m not going to forgive my bosses offering me up to a foreign government as some fucking political maneuver,” he nearly spat. He also wasn’t going to let it go that Ziva had attacked him in Israel. He didn’t care that she was grieving. The ache of every bruise and the sharp twinges in his newly broken rib served to remind him that taking the desk opposite her ever again was intolerable.

He could have taken this whole mess to Fornell, but there was too much uncertainty on that path. Fornell’s relationship with Gibbs made it impossible to predict the likely outcome. Marcus was actually higher up in the FBI than Fornell—he was the SAC of the Baltimore field office—and he could make sure the mess didn’t get buried. At least, not without a lot more collusion to cover up a crime.

Marcus was nodding slowly, obviously thinking through issues. “I can kick off the investigation, but ultimately, it will probably get shuffled back to the DC office.”

“Man, whatever. I just want it too well known to get buried without some very powerful people getting a lot of egg on their face.”

“Is this you getting even, Tony? Or doing the right thing?” Marcus asked without any hint of judgment.

“Definitely both. I’m not going to let this slide—she egregiously broke the law. But I’m not shy about admitting that I’d be fucking delighted if my chain of command had to ‘take one for the team’.”

“You’re talking about the director of a federal agency and the Secretary of the Navy, Tony,” Marcus cautioned.

He just snorted, obviously indifferent.

“All right, what do you know that I don’t? I get that you’re pissed, but you’re too unconcerned about the repercussions.”

After considering for a second, Tony replied, “Just between us, SecDef is my godfather. He adores me. I’d never go to him directly with something like this, but if they try to fuck with me, they’re going to get a nasty surprise.”

Marcus blinked in surprise, but then gave a nearly feral grin. “This suddenly got so much easier.”

“Make ‘em hurt, Marcus.”

Tony DiNozzo was finally saying no. And it felt good.

– – – –

Author Note:

The Big Short is a short-story challenge on Rough Trade based on thematic or character prompts. The maximum word count for themes is 1k, for characters it’s 2k. They are not beta’d. I re-read them looking for errors but that is all.

Each short story is complete as is. They will not be expanded on, there will be no sequels, they are probably not connected to anything else, and they are not intended to prompt other writers. If you find inspiration in them, that’s lovely, but please write your own thing. My works are not up for adoption.


  1. Good for Tony, was about time 🙂 Perfect short story – thank you so much for sharing

  2. Excellent story! Like so many moments in NCIS about Ziva, I wish they’d done this in the series. Thank you for this!

  3. Oh… I love this! I always thought it was so completely unfair, illogical and just plain wrong for Vance to throw Tony under the bus and Gibbs basically consenting to it. Both of them, along with -no doubt- the SecNav as well thinking an injured agent guilty of nothing save wanting to give his partner the benefit of a doubt should be delivered into the hands of the Mossad so he could take one for the team. Grrrrr…. And after her ultimatum to Gibbs, after her insubordination, after her espionage against the agency and the U.S., they allowed Ziva not only back on the team but Gibbs sponsored and expedited her application for citizenship. This is not something often addressed in fanfiction. It should be. I love this!

  4. Love this!

  5. Oh yeah – strong Tony is such a delight. Even when feral. And he should have been so at many different points during the show. Very well done. As usual.

  6. By the time this happened, I’d seen several times Tony should have just said, ‘Fuck it.’ and walked away. I like this handling of this time. Good work.

  7. He, he, he… Sneaky Tony is the best!

  8. I am very intrigued with this story. I always love a good story where Tony finally prevails and doesn’t draw the short straw. Hop you have more soon.

  9. Sweet

  10. Release the Kraken!!! Tony’s not taking crap from NCIS/Gibbs/Vance/SecNav any more.

  11. So good when Tony says ‘no more’ to being the whipping boy for the team and Vance,

  12. Yessssssss. This was SO satisfying. Well done.

  13. Damn this is one I wished you would continue. I know you won’t but damn I can still wish.

  14. greywolfthewanderer

    go Tony go!!!! always did hate that whole sequence in canon. so very wrong.

  15. Love the shit that’s gonna get stirred up by this! 😀

  16. I like this Tony’s attitude.

  17. Oh, I really loved this one. And I love the fact that SecDef is Tony’s godfather and the way he’s handling this without having to go directly to him. Gibbs, Vance, SecNav and the David’s won’t know what hit them. And I agree that by Gibbs saying nothing, knowing full well that Vance was in the wrong by hauling Tony half way around the world so that Eli David could torture and question him. And Gibbs not acting the least concerned when they took Tony off by himself. But Vance has shown more than once where his loyalties really laid and that was with Eli David, just as Gibbs has proven more than once that he is willing to toss anyone under the bus to protect Ziva

  18. I love this. I’ve read it several times and I can just imagine the energy thrumming off of Tony as he finally says ‘fuck this noise’ to the whole lot of those assholes. May they all get what they so rightly deserve. In spades!

  19. OPh Yeah! A Tony is fed and just done with NCIS? Yes! Revenge is truly sweet.

  20. Wow, I just found this and although I’m sorry that there will be more, I have to say I love it. This is such an original take on this story line, literally I have never read anything like this before. I would have loved to see the fall out of Tony’s decision, but respect your decision when you say ‘this is it’. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Somehow I missed this…Excellent short story and the little note about SecDef is masterful!

    thank you

  22. “Oh yeah… these are not strays. I don’t run an adoption program.” you aware this is FANfiction ? I mean, regarding this particular story, you’re not the first and probably not the last one who would think of that kind of plot line. A plot that can be write differently.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the “I worked hard on this story so don’t steal it” – Ann Rice doesn’t let people write fan fiction with her stories and characters – but to me it only work for originals stories. You’re already bowering someone else characters and Story, and like I said your plot has already been written by others. I mean 13 millions people, in the US only, watch NCIS. As well written as it was, your plot has nothing original, I read it so many times.

    What I’m saying is I don’t understand how you can be so protective over something that’s actually not fully yours : Characters, story, even the elements used to write your story are not yours. So telling people not use your plot it is a lot hypocritical.

    • I think you failed to comprehend what I wrote. I said the story itself wasn’t up for adoption. No one can copyright an “idea,” and I’m fully aware of that. I even have a page on my site devoted to permission for people who want to do their own take on something. If someone else wants to write their own VERSION of this idea, I don’t give a fuck, but I do NOT give permission for someone else to take what I’ve actually written as part of their own story. That’s plagiarism, and I don’t understand how you can fail to comprehend the difference.

      The comment was about stopping people from writing me and asking if they can “finish” my story for me. Fuck that, do your own work. Write your own spin.

      But you can kiss my ass because you had to be insulting along with your poor comprehension skills. And since you think there’s nothing original here and the 13 million other viewers of NCIS are writing the same things, please stay off my site. You can read the other versions my unoriginal ideas elsewhere I’m sure.

      • I know what plagiarism is. But, do you ?

        According to the Oxford dictionary (
        Plagiarism : The practice of taking someone else’s work or IDEAS and passing them off as one’s own.

        So, Yes, you can copyright an idea. Especially in literature. So i didn’t fail to comprehend the difference, because there is none. Also, you answered that they can take your ideas and run with them. And yet you wrote : “Also, they are most assuredly NOT prompts themselves.” So…they can or cannot take your ideas ? I mean that what prompts are : an idea that people can take and write their own version of it. So witch is it ?

        “The comment was about stopping people from writing me and asking if they can “finish” my story for me. Fuck that, do your own work. Write your own spin”
        Don’t think so highly of yourself. If they really wanted to write a sequel, it was probably for themselves. Sometimes, you read a oneshot and you have idea to continu it.

        Some did and of course they asked permission to take the original. Because it’s normal to do so. The authors always agreed because it’s fanfiction. Your the first one I read that refused completely. And what YOU failed to comprehend is that I do understand that you don’t want people taking your writing without your permission but what I don’t understand is WHY ?

        Like I said it is hypocritical. Because that exactly what you did with NCIS : you took someone else story, stop it at a certain point and continu it the way you wanted it. That’s not different from what people wanted to do with your short stories. Short stories that involve past plot line, characters, places, elements that are NOT yours.

        Finally, I didn’t mean to insult you. Or maybe I subconsciously did because, I found the way you wrote that note pretty rude and condescending. But when I said not original, I honestly only spoke about this story. I mean “If Found, Please Return” was original and I enjoy reading it. I cannot speak for the others as I didn’t read them. And I won’t. The rude way of you answer made your others stories unappealing to me. I get that you felt insulted, especially reading other comment about how original is your story. The thing is they probably never read on ArchiveofOurOwn or because there are many stories with that plot line.

        Last thing : Don’t answer people while angry. It doesn’t made you appear in a good light. just a piece of advise, take it, leave it. i don’t care.

        PS : English is not my first language.

        • It’s interesting how you came to my site and acted in an obnoxious and rude manner and yet have the nerve to be upset that I responded rudely. And, no, you can’t copyright an idea.

          From IP watchdog, since you like references: Copyrights protect expression and patents protects inventions, and neither protect ideas. In both cases the idea is the first critical step, but without some identifiable embodiment of the idea there can be no intellectual property protection obtained and no exclusive rights will flow unto you.

          The work itself, the embodiment of the idea, can be copyrighted, but if someone else embodies the idea differently, there’s no infringement on copyright. I work in the industry, so I understand the distinction. You throwing dictionary references at me just makes you look foolish. The dictionary may use the word “idea” in the definition of plagiarism but the law doesn’t recognize ideas as “ownable.” Also, AO3 has a TOS that defines how they look at plagiarism, and similar ideas, or stories based on the SAME idea, don’t qualify.

          One significant piece of advice is that if English is not your first language, maybe you should ensure you understand what’s written before you take it upon yourself to chastise someone in their own space. And you should certainly make sure you fully comprehend before you add insult to your chastisement.

          And in the world of fanfiction, continuing someone else’s work without their permission is skeevy. Maybe some readers/writers are cool with it but most writers aren’t. I’m not. Hence the pro-active message stating my works were not up for adoption because I got tired of people asking. If you want to ignore my stated wish not to continue my works, I can’t stop you. And please note, since your English is so challenged, that I said to continue the actual work. I never said anything about the ideas.

          The “not a prompt” remark was about something else entirely, but I won’t bother to try to explain since you won’t understand anyway.

          • To take your own words “you failed to comprehend what I wrote.”

            But funny thing, your answer exactly as I expected : with so much condescendence. It only show the size of your ego. You apparently really think you better than others, know better than others.

          • Blah blah blah.

            Here’s the thing, you came on to my site and took such exception to me saying that my works were not up for adoption that you felt the need to spew ignorance all over everything.

            Maybe my ego isn’t the issue since you’re the one with entitlement issues the size of France.

            Also, most fanfic authors don’t put their works up for adoption. That you find it offensive says something really unfortunate about you.

  23. I’ll apologize on their behalf. They obviously MISSED THE ENTIRE POINT. Spend any time on the pit and you see stories up for adoption all the time. What this commenter obviously missed was the fact that this isn’t EAD. These aren’t kernels of story, but fully formed and fantastically finished just as they are. Or maybe they just assumed you didn’t really mean your very clear notes at the end of the fic. Or perhaps they figured the rest of us had said how much we had enjoyed it, so now they needed to be original. Or somethin’.

    I’m sorry that they not only didn’t get it, but had to be rude while they showed off the fact that they didn’t get it. I’m sorry that their lack of comprehension upset you because you don’t deserve that shite, Jilly. No writer does.

    I ADORE stories where Tony says ‘fuck this noise’ in one form or another. The fact that you manage to do it within the word account is all kinds of impressive. My Muses and I are verbose as fuck. Anyone that manages to tell a tale in a limited space? Yeah, utterly impressive to me. YOU are impressive to me.

    I love reading your work. You’ve got an excellent turn of phrase and you suck me in and make me believe. Thank you for the time you take to craft and your generosity of sharing it with us. And extra thank you for sharing even when you encounter folks that behave like they have the personality of a plank.

  24. Thanks for a story with Tony finally fed up with taking the crap he got handed over and over in so many episodes. Really enjoyed the story.

  25. What the writers did in the TV show was horrendous. I only wish the characters would have been investigated on the show. Criminal actions should have consequences. It’s a shame that fan writers have to correct their egregious plots.

  26. I apologise for the rudeness I read in your comments. That whole thing was unnecessary and petty. I wanted to say that I loved this and wish I was talented enough to use the idea and write a come to Jesus moment. Thanks for what you do

  27. I had a lot of problems with NCIS being a proceedural drama that often through procedures out the window – but this episode, almost more than any other was so egregious in violating procedure, the law, basic rights ect.

    To have your immediate supervisor and the head of the agency demand you fly against medical advice to a foreign power and be questioned without legal representation or anybody even knowing you had been removed from the US should have had Vance and Gibbs greeted upon landing and taken into custody. Regardless of Israel being and allied nation, Tony could have literally been put to death and while it would have made a large PR and international relations problem, he would still be dead and it would be all argued out in the media whether or not the ‘trial’ he had been given by Mossad was legit.

    I know that this is a one shot but I would so love to be pointed in the direction of anyone who has fleshed out this scenario into a long lovely tale of just what kind of political and media frenzey something like this would literally explode into if real world consequences were applied to the bizzare circumstances that drove the plot of cannon.

    Great work, I’ve lost about 2 days diving into all your stuff since I discovered this page from a chance comment over on AOOO. Really well witten and thougth out plots

    • Thanks! I’m with you that this episode drove me bonkers on how badly procedure was violated.

      In terms of what you mentioned, have you read the Feeding Frenzy? It’s a writing relay with 13 writers doing 25 individual episode stories to build a unique whole. total word count is a little over 100k. The premise is basically derived from Tony getting help rather than going to Israel and then leaving NCIS. The actual stories are about him finding a new job, but the consequences of Gibbs’ and Vance’s actions are explored in several of the relays. In fact, two of the relays (those written by darkseraphina) are just about the consequences politically and professionally. I wrote 4 of the 25 relays and the legal and professional consequences are played out in some of mine as well. The final relay by Keira Marcos ties up all the legal/consequences stuff. Anyway, it’s not a direct fit to what you mention, but it does tick a lot of the boxes and at least 6 or 7 of the episodes deal directly with the fallout of the Very Bad Decision.

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