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Two Masters

by: Xanthe (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 004 Word Count: 198504
Rating: ADULT
Warning(s): BDSM, Kink
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Action/Adventure, Angst/Drama, First Time, Hurt/Comfort, Mystery, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Summary: Tony decides that he wants more from Gibbs than headslaps. But can Gibbs be persuaded to love again, and is Tony prepared to confront the demons from his past and learn how to trust?

Extract: "You can belong to me, or to the past - but not both. You can't serve two masters."

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

Two Masters: Part Three

Tony was so wrung out from that marathon sex session that the rest of the day passed in a kind of a haze. He was dimly aware of them taking a long, slow shower, and of Gibbs getting dressed again. Then he followed Gibbs around the house while his dom banged in hooks seemingly everywhere - in ceilings and walls in every room in the house. Tony thought he remembered eating a Chinese takeout on the couch in front of a DVD. Then he just stretched out, exhausted, his head in Gibbs's lap, gazing blankly at the TV screen.

Gibbs stroked his hair, and Tony looked up at him, still in a kind of shock. He'd never known sex like he'd experienced today. It was as if Gibbs had fucked him all the way down to his soul. His body ached all over. He could feel the scratches on his back from where Gibbs had fucked him against the wall, and the bruise marks on his hips from where Gibbs had fucked him over the back of the couch. His nipples were sore, his ass was tender from the spanking, and his hole ached from being so well stretched – but he loved every single ache and pain.

He didn't protest when Gibbs dragged him off to bed at some far too early hour. He just got into the bed and offered up his hands for Gibbs to buckle his wrists into the soft leather cuffs that hung from the bed post.

Gibbs clipped his collar to the chain that was also attached to the bed post, and Tony rolled onto his side in his bondage, feeling like he was exactly where he wanted to be.

He felt Gibbs get into the bed behind him. Then the lights were turned off, and Gibbs pressed up against him in the darkness.

His dom held him close, and Tony closed his eyes. This shouldn't feel so good. He couldn't get his head around it. Surely this couldn't end well? Usually whenever the word 'love' was raised in any relationship he'd been in, it was the beginning of the end. Tony had never been comfortable either offering the sentiment or hearing it – so why was this so different? He wasn't sure, and he was too tired to think about it, so he just closed his eyes and fell fast asleep.

He slept for ten hours straight and was woken by the now familiar sensation of Gibbs opening up his butt cheeks and sliding his hard cock between them. He hissed a little as Gibbs went in – all that fucking had loosened him up, but it had also rubbed him sore in places too. The burn soon went away though, and he lay there, feeling boneless and content as Gibbs fucked him lazily into consciousness.

Tony didn't care that his hands were bound, and he couldn't reach his cock to bring himself off. There was something so peaceful about allowing Gibbs to pump into him while he just enjoyed the ride.

They passed Sunday much like the previous day, and Tony realised he had spent pretty much the whole weekend his own sub space. He was loving it so much that he didn't want it to end, and he started to feel anxious about what would happen when they went back to work the next day.

After lunch, Gibbs took Tony down into the basement and clipped him to the wall again. Tony watched as Gibbs began work on some new project.

"You're quiet," his dom said a couple of hours later. “Usually you like to talk at me when I’m working.” He stepped back to survey his handiwork. Tony had no idea what this one was – it looked nothing like anything you'd need on a boat, but it was also nothing like the St Andrew's Cross, either.

"Hmmm," Tony replied. "What *is* that you're working on there, Boss?"

"Spanking bench."

"How many things do you need to tie me to just to spank my ass?"

Gibbs grinned at him. "Helps to have some variety. Besides, I like making stuff for you."

Tony hadn't viewed it that way. "How does it work?"

Gibbs beckoned him over, and Tony unclipped himself and approached the new device apprehensively.

"You place your knees here…" Gibbs helped him put his knees onto two little shelves, and then propelled his body forward so that it was resting on the beam. This had the effect of raising his ass high in the air and forcing his head down. "I'll add some restraints so you can't move. Good thing about this one is that when I'm done spanking you, I can fuck you while you're still tied to it," Gibbs pointed out.

Tony gave a shiver of anticipatory pleasure at that thought.

"But not now," Gibbs laughed, hauling him back. "It's not finished for a start, and I don't have the materials to finish it, either. It needs padding or it'll be uncomfortable – to say nothing of the splinters."

"Hmmm." Tony gazed at the bench, lost in thought. Gibbs tapped his forehead.

"What's going on, Tony?"

"Nothing," Tony shrugged, walking back towards his cushion on the floor and his now familiar bondage.

He was startled, a second later, when a firm arm went around his waist, and an equally firm hand began laying swats on his ass. Gibbs spanked him – hard - a few times, then released him and swung him around. Tony rubbed his sore ass.

"What was that for?"

"What's rule number two?" Gibbs demanded.

"Don't lie to you," Tony muttered.

"Then don't damn well lie to me. Now what's going on?"

"I was just thinking about work. How's that gonna be now, Gibbs?"

Gibbs raised a confused eyebrow. "No different to how it was last week, Tony."

"But…" Tony wasn't sure he could explain it. Gibbs might have spent the week training him, but nothing could ever have prepared him for how he felt now that Gibbs had collared him and fucked him. It changed *everything* in some deep, subtle way that he couldn't put into words.

"I just…what we've been doing…it's…" He floundered. Last week he felt as if he'd just been playing at it, but now it had become real. He had no idea if he could go back to being work Tony again after being *this* Tony. "How can I be your sub at work and not be your sub like *this*," he said at last, gesturing at his naked body, the chain on the wall, and the half-finished spanking bench. "I want to be this all the time, and that's not gonna happen."

"You'll be fine," Gibbs grinned at him. "You're deep in your own sub space this weekend, Tony, but you'll come up again when you get back to work. Habit and routine will kick in. Just remember that I own your ass now, and if I want to fuck you in the elevator, or the van, or the men's room, then I will."

"Trust me, that's not the problem," Tony said, with a wry grin. "The fucking is definitely never a problem. But you said that once you fucked me, you wouldn't give me up easily, and you said this was a 24/7 deal…" Tony trailed off.

"So?" Gibbs frowned.

"Does that mean I live here now?" Tony asked. "Or are you gonna send me back to my apartment? I mean, I'm running low on clothes and…"

Gibbs silenced him with a glare. "Tony – when I said 24/7 I meant it, and there's no way in hell I'd tolerate having to *phone* my sub in the middle of the night when I want to feel his mouth around my cock. So yeah, you're living here now. You have a problem with that?"

Tony heaved a sigh of relief. "No. Just…usually people date for awhile before moving in together."

Gibbs shrugged. "So? That's people – not us. What we have is different. You're my sub – no point keeping a 24/7 sub if you can't fuck him when you're in the mood."

Tony chewed on his lip, gazing at his dom thoughtfully.

"What now?" Gibbs sighed.

"Just…me and you, we're both commitment-phobes…" he began. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "Oh come on – you so are! I don't care how many damn times you've been married, there's a reason why they all left you."

He was surprised to see the little wince cross Gibbs's face. He thought he knew all the man's sensitivities by now – and God knows there weren't many – but he was wrong.

"They did all leave you, didn't they?" Tony asked quietly. "You didn't leave them."

"Nope. I didn't leave them." Gibbs shook his head moodily.

"And Stan?"

"Yeah – he left too. They all left, and they were right to leave. And yeah, they left because I didn't commit to any of them – no matter how many rings I pushed on fingers. I wasn't ever really in any of those relationships."

"Because of…" Tony hesitated. This was the most vulnerable of Gibbs's sensitivities – and the only one that truly mattered to his dom. He knew that. "Shannon and Kelly?" he asked tentatively.

Gibbs stared at him. He looked as if he was struggling with the answer to that one.

"I'm not prying," Tony said hastily. "Just…it seems to me that if you and I…if what we have here is real…I need to know that I'm not like one of your ex-wives, or Stan. I need to know you're as in this as I am."

Gibbs shook his head, laughing softly. "Hell, Tony, you don't even need to ask that question," he said ruefully. "What I've got with you is more real than anything I've had in eighteen years. You and me – commitment isn't an issue here. Not for me anyway. You?"

"No." Tony shook his head thoughtfully. "Seems weird to say it, but no. I've never lived with anyone else, Boss – not as anything more than a roomie. This should be freaking me out, but it isn't. I just needed to know where I stood."

"Yeah – you did, and it's right you asked. We'll figure it out at work as we go along. As for your clothes - we'll go over to your place tomorrow evening and get everything you need."

"What happens to my apartment? I mean, this has all been pretty quick, and…"

"Just leave it," Gibbs shrugged. "No need for you to make any big decisions now. You move in here – you live here – and we'll see how it goes. I know this is all new, and you might feel happier knowing you have a bolthole."

"Hope I won't need one." Tony grinned.

Gibbs was serious as he moved in close though. "Don't want to pressure you, Tony. I want my sub to be here so I can fuck him, but I know that's a lot to handle. I know *I* can be a lot to handle. You ever need space, you tell me, and we'll figure something out."

"Oh, I don't think the fucking is going to be the problem, Jethro," Tony said quietly. "The problem is gonna be me and my never-ending ability to screw things up."

"Hey – I've been divorced three times – don't talk to me about screwing things up," Gibbs grinned. "Let's just take it one day at a time. Yes?"

"Yes, Boss!"

Tony surrendered happily as Gibbs pulled him close and kissed him. Then Gibbs released him and returned to his half-finished wood-working project.

“Hey Jethro!” Tony called him back. “For the record – I’ve never had any trouble handling you."

"Is that so?" Gibbs raised an amused eyebrow.

"Yeah, I've been handling you for eight years,” Tony smirked.

Gibbs laughed. “And doing a damn good job of it too, Tony."


Gibbs went easy on his sub for the rest of the weekend, as they were both wiped out by all the truly fantastic sex. Gibbs was astonished by how easy it had been. He'd expected more problems, especially as Tony was a newbie, but it had all been so simple.

He hadn't anticipated that the sex would be so good, or that he'd like having Tony around as much as he did. He'd expected Tony would be high maintenance, but he wasn't. Gibbs was starting to realise just how much Tony had always put on a performance simply to get his attention. Now that he had it, he was much more laid-back.

Gibbs didn't have any of Tony's anxieties about going back to work. He didn't over-think situations, the way Tony did; there was no point looking for problems where none existed.

They were both so exhausted that they went to bed early. Gibbs finished up in the bathroom and returned to the bedroom to find that his sub was already fast asleep. Gibbs's heart skipped a beat. He had a beautiful, naked, collared submissive tied up in his bed. If someone had told him about this a couple of weeks ago, he'd have slapped them upside the head.

He got in beside Tony, wrapped his arms around him, and held him tight. Tony was dead to the world and didn't even murmur. Gibbs kissed the back of his sub's neck, thinking about Tony's various declarations of love. Gibbs had never found it easy to say those words, even to Shannon. He felt the emotion, but the words always got stuck in the back of his throat. They seemed too big to say, but too small to sum up how he felt.

He kissed his sub's shoulder. "Love you too, Tony," he muttered.

He was glad that Tony wasn't awake, so he couldn't hear how paltry the words sounded.


Tony didn't want to get up the next morning. He didn't want to leave the hazy peace of sub space behind and return to work. He lay in bed, still in his bondage, enjoying the last few moments before he had to put this amazing weekend behind him.

Gibbs had fucked him awake as usual, and his thighs were sticky with the semen that was gently seeping out of his ass. He liked the way his hole still throbbed from taking his dom's big cock, and the sense of sexual satisfaction thrumming through his veins.

Gibbs was singing loudly and tunelessly in the shower. Tony closed his eyes and dozed off to the sound. He didn't want to move. He didn't want to venture back into a world where he had to be anything other than Gibbs's naked, compliant sub.

Gibbs returned to the bedroom a few minutes later, drying himself. Tony rolled onto his side and watched his dom getting dressed. Gibbs finished up and glanced at him.

“I’m leaving. You should get your lazy ass moving, or you’ll be late," he said, bending over to kiss Tony's hair.

"Like I'd dare. My boss has this weird time management obsession." Tony grinned.

"Yeah, and also he doesn't like excuses.” Gibbs glared down at him meaningfully.

"So you don’t think he’d go for; ‘I'm late 'cause my dom was taking so long fucking me into the mattress this morning’?" Tony smiled sweetly.

Gibbs rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Well, I don’t know, Tony. But you’re the one who keeps boasting that you can handle this bastard boss of yours, so if you want to go ahead and try that one out then be my guest.”

Tony groaned. “On it, Boss.” He sat up and began unclipping his collar from the chain tethering him to the bed. “Hey – Boss!” He called Gibbs back as he got to the door. “Can I wear my collar to work?”

Gibbs shook his head. “Nope. Too obvious.”

“But Abby wears a different collar every day!” Tony protested.

“Abby’s a Goth – she’s always had eccentric dress tastes. You haven't. Besides, the collar's private – it's between you and me, nobody else."

“But Boss…”

“I said no, Tony. Now, get your ass up and get dressed because I can promise you something a hell of a lot worse than a time management class if you’re late this time.”

“Yes, Boss,” Tony sighed.

He showered, shaved, cleaned his teeth, and then surveyed the collar on the nightstand regretfully. A thought occurred to him: Gibbs’s objections had been to do with the collar showing – but supposing he could fix it so that it didn’t?

He pulled out his sharpest suit – the grey pinstripe with the waistcoat – and the high collared white shirt and extravagantly full grey silk tie that he liked to wear with it. This was his special occasion outfit – it was the one he’d worn to work the day he’d hoped to go up to Stillwater with Gibbs to meet his dad. Okay, so Gibbs hadn’t let him go on that trip that day, but Tony hadn’t known that when he got dressed.

Tony buckled his black leather collar around his throat, relieved to have it back where it belonged, and then he pulled on his white shirt and buttoned it up. It was tight, but it did cover the collar completely. You could just about make out the outline of the collar through his shirt, but when he knotted the grey silk tie over it you couldn’t see it at all.

“Hey presto!” Tony pulled on the rest of his outfit and admired himself in the mirror. “Not bad, Anthony,” he mused. At least this way he got to wear the collar *and* look pretty damn fine into the bargain. He looked at himself intently. He was different now. He might look the same, but when he went in to work today it would be as a collared sub. His whole life had changed in the course of one weekend.

He arrived at work with two minutes to spare – to find that Gibbs had already gone into a meeting with Vance. He had, however, left a long list of tasks on Tony’s desk which he wanted completed by the time he returned.

Tony worked on them for a couple of hours and then took the elevator down to Abby’s lab, whistling to himself as he went. Abby turned to glance at him as he entered, turned back to her work station, and then twirled around again and did a double take.

“Oh my God!” she breathed.

“What?” Tony put his hand up to touch his tie. She couldn’t possibly see the collar underneath his shirt, could she?

“You, Tony!” She stared at him, a curious expression on her face. “Did you have plastic surgery over the weekend?”

“What? No!”

“You sure?” She came over and peered at him suspiciously.

“Definitely! I spent the weekend doing something much more fun than that.” He winked at her, and she laughed out loud.

“So that’s it! I knew it was something! You’ve been having hot sex all weekend, haven’t you, Tony?”

“Yes, Abby, I have.” He didn’t even try to hide the smug expression on his face.

“Not just hot sex – the best sex of your entire life! Nobody looks that good unless it was really incredible, mind-blowing, swinging-from-the-chandelier type sex!”

“There were no chandeliers.” He grinned. “But you’re right about all the rest.”

“Tony!” She launched herself at him for a hug. “I’m so happy for you! It’s about time you found someone who’s right for you. You’re too nice to be alone. Well, annoying too, but mainly nice. Oh…wait…what’s this…?” She traced her fingers around the collar of his shirt and prodded at it. “Are you wearing a collar, Tony?”

“Well yeah – that’s my shirt collar,” he deflected quickly. “So – are you nearly done with the evidence for the McElroy case? ‘Cause that’s due in court soon and...”

Abby thumped his arm. “No, are you wearing a collar *under* your shirt collar, Mister? I think you are. Here, let’s see it.” She began tugging at his tie.

Tony gave in with a sigh – he knew Abby, and he knew there was no way she was going to let this one pass. “Okay – but you have to promise you won’t tell anyone.”

“Oh right – who am I gonna tell? Gibbs?” Abby smirked.

Tony grimaced. “Don't tell *anyone* – but definitely not Gibbs.” He pulled his tie open and undid the top buttons of his shirt so she could see the collar.

“Oh man, that’s one beautiful collar. Your top must really love you, Tony! Feel the leather…it’s so soft!” She ran her fingers over it appreciatively. “Now, don’t deny that you have marks on your wrists from the handcuffs *this* time,” she said reprovingly.

Tony pulled up one of his shirt sleeves a fraction and glanced at the faint red mark on it. Abby grinned.

“Knew it! Wow – this chick must be GOOD if she’s got you wearing her collar to work. What’s the penalty for taking it off, Tony? As bad as the penalty for buttoning up your shirt that time to hide those bite marks?”

“Uh…no. I mean…that is, I’m not supposed to be wearing the collar to work, Abs,” Tony confided.

“And if your top finds out she’s gonna have your ass, isn’t she?” Abby asked sympathetically.

Tony winced. “Let's not even talk about it.”

Abby raised an eyebrow. “Yikes, Tony, you really do like living dangerously.”

“I know,” he sighed.

“I love it!” Abby clapped her hands together excitedly. “You wanted to wear her collar so much that you risked it? Wow! She’s got you looking ten years younger and acting like the most lovestruck of subs – she must be one hell of a good top, Tony.”

“She is.” Tony grinned. “She really is.”

“Who is what, DiNozzo?” a voice said behind him, and he quickly buttoned up his shirt and straightened his tie.

“Uh, nobody…nothing, Boss!” he said hastily, shooting a glance at Abby. She nodded and zipped her fingers across her lips. “Just…talking to Abby about the McElroy case. It was on your list of things for me to check up on.”

Gibbs sauntered past him and then stopped, and, like Abby, did a double take. Tony held his breath. He was sure the collar wasn’t visible, but even so, Gibbs had eyes like a hawk.

“You going to a wedding, DiNozzo?” Gibbs asked, looking him up and down.

“No, Boss.”

“Celebrating some other occasion?” Gibbs raised an eyebrow.

Tony grinned at him. “Just happy to be alive, Boss. It’s a fine day,” he said, beaming at his dom. Gibbs rolled his eyes and turned back to Abby, handing her a caf-pow.

“So where are we on the McElroy case?” he asked her. “It’s going to court in a couple of weeks, and I want the forensics to be watertight. The entire case hangs on your evidence, Abby.”

“I know, and I’ve gone over everything, like, fifty times, Gibbs!”

“Well – make it fifty-one.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek. If it had been anyone else but Abby, Tony knew he’d have felt a surge of jealousy. But it was impossible to be jealous of Gibbs’s relationship with Abby. She was like the grown-up daughter that Kelly had never had the chance to be, and he knew that Gibbs loved her in exactly that way.

Abby made a face. “I hate it when I have to wear that stupid court suit.”

“I know – but take a leaf out of Tony’s book – he seems to love dressing up. C’mon, DiNozzo, we have work to do.”

He made an impatient gesture with his head and began walking in the direction of the elevator. Tony waggled his eyebrows at Abby and then ran to catch up.

“Hey, Gibbs!” Abby called after them. Gibbs turned. “Did you have plastic surgery over the weekend?” she asked.

Gibbs looked completely and utterly bemused. “What?”

“Nothing. Maybe I’ve been drinking too many caf-pows.” She put the drink down as if it was poison. “Or maybe there's some kind of rejuvenating element in the Navy Yard water. I should run some tests,” she mused to herself, already oblivious to their presence.

Tony grinned and followed Gibbs into the elevator. It had barely started to lurch upwards when Gibbs slammed his hand on the emergency stop button and turned to Tony with a look of intent in his eyes.

Tony took a step back, and then another, until he was pressed up against the wall of the elevator. Gibbs couldn't possibly see the collar showing under his shirt – could he? Gibbs gave him one of his predatory grins, then reached out, grabbed Tony’s tie, and pulled him towards him. Tony gave a squeak of terror, certain that Gibbs knew about the collar - but then Gibbs flipped him around and thrust him face forwards against the mirror.

“I want you to watch me fucking you,” he said, nuzzling the hair on the back of Tony’s head. Tony breathed a sigh of relief. Gibbs reached around and undid his belt, then his fly. He yanked Tony's pants and boxers down forcefully, releasing his hardening cock. “Hope you remembered to keep yourself lubed for me,” Gibbs purred in his ear.

“I did, Boss!"

Tony placed his hands on the mirror to brace himself, and then he watched their reflections as Gibbs undid his own fly. A second later, he felt that monster cock being pushed into his hole, and he gave a little panting gasp. He was getting used to taking it into his body, but even so, it still made his eyes water a little as it went in.

He could see the look of pleasure and concentration on Gibbs’s face reflected in the mirror as he sheathed himself completely in Tony's body. Tony was even more fascinated by his own reflection. He was moaning softly, looking more wanton and sexual than he was used to seeing himself. This must be how Gibbs saw him, and his cock swelled in appreciation at that thought.

He watched as Gibbs began fucking him with slow, even thrusts that hit his prostate every single time. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to all the fireworks that went off in his nerve-endings when Gibbs fucked him like this. Gibbs always seemed to know how to angle his big cock in order to set off the sparks in Tony's body. Tony desperately wanted to take his own leaking cock in his hand, but he knew that was forbidden.

“Please, Boss!” he begged, and then he nearly laughed out loud as he saw himself in the mirror, pleading so pathetically. Christ, he looked an idiot! No wonder Gibbs found him so amusing half the time. His face was flushed, there were little beads of swear forming along his hairline, and he was licking his lips eagerly as Gibbs picked up his pace. "Please…please…please…” Tony whimpered frantically.

Gibbs looked straight at him in the mirror. “Yeah, Tony? You want something?”

“You gotta let me…please touch me!” Tony begged. “Please, please touch me! Bring me off, Boss…I’m dying here…Touch me…touch me…touch me…please...”

It was almost comical to watch himself begging, and Gibbs’s reaction in the mirror. Gibbs continued his effortless thrusting, and then, just when Tony thought it was too late, he felt his top’s firm hand wrap around his cock. Tony gave a hoarse shout of pleasure and started bucking eagerly into that hand. Gibbs rode him hard, caressing his cock equally hard at the same time. Tony couldn’t believe how debauched he looked as he writhed in sexual ecstasy under Gibbs’s forceful touch.

Then he was coming – he’d never watched himself come before, and he gazed at himself in fascination. His face was contorting, and his mouth was opening and closing but no sound was coming out. Then it was over. He came in Gibbs's hand and then slumped forward and rested his head against the cool surface of the mirror. Gibbs pumped into him a few more times, and then he reached his own orgasm, making that low, familiar roar of pleasure.

They stood there, panting together for a minute or two, and then Gibbs withdrew. He tucked himself back into his pants and zipped up, then reached down and pulled Tony’s pants and boxers up for him. Tony fastened his fly, his hands shaking in the aftermath of his orgasm. Shit - that had been hot. Gibbs took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped Tony's come off his hand. Then he glanced around the elevator to make sure that it was clean.

Tony finished zipping himself up and resumed his place at Gibbs’s side, staring up at the numbers above the elevator door. They both looked completely innocent, like nothing had just happened. If it wasn’t for the grin on Gibbs’s face, and the happy glow in Tony’s eyes, there would be no clue at all.

“Oh – just one more thing, Tony.” Gibbs turned to glance at him.

“Hmmm?” Tony was still lost in a post-orgasmic haze.

Gibbs moved so fast that Tony didn’t have a chance to stop him. He swiped Tony's tie open and undid the top few buttons of his shirt, revealing his collar.

“Y’know, I could have sworn I told you not to wear this.” Gibbs raised an eyebrow.

Tony made a face. “Sorry, Boss. I just, that is, I thought that…oh damnit – I’m busted. I have no excuse. How the hell did you know?” he asked, as he did up his shirt and knotted his tie again. “Did you see it when you were fucking me?”

Gibbs grinned. “Nope – knew the minute I walked into Abby’s lab and saw you wearing that fancy outfit."

"The collar doesn't show, Boss – I made sure of that. Look – see." He half turned and gestured at himself in the mirrored elevator wall.

"Yeah – you're a smart boy – you can’t see the collar under it," Gibbs agreed. He snapped his hand back on the emergency button, and the elevator lurched back into life.

“But you’re gonna punish me for disobeying you anyway, aren’t you?” Tony sighed.

Gibbs shot him one of his completely feral grins. “Oh yeah. You bet your ass I am. I’ll see you in interrogation room one at three p.m.”

“Three? That’s hours away!” Tony didn't like the idea of having to wait that long to find out what his punishment would be.

“I know.” The doors opened, and Gibbs turned to glance at him before he got out. “It’ll give you a nice long time to sit and think about your fate.”

And with that he strode away, chuckling to himself.

Tony made a face after him, but he was grinning to himself as he walked back to his desk. He was being kept well fucked, and he was loving every single second of it. There was something about Gibbs's sexual dominance that turned him on like crazy, and his own sexual submission came as easy to him as breathing. Surely it shouldn’t be *this* easy?

He sat down at his desk, clicked onto his emails – and froze.

The name leapt out at him: D. Grasso. And the subject line was "Five Weeks".

"No reply to my last email. Don’t think you can ignore me. I’ll be back in five weeks. You won’t be able to ignore me then.”

Tony glanced over at Gibbs, who was sitting at his desk reading through some paperwork. He could print out the email, take it over there, ask Gibbs to go into the conference room and explain the whole damn thing to his dom – but he wasn't ready to do that. Christ, what kind of basket case would Gibbs think he'd taken on if he told him about that whole fucked up deal with Grasso? What he had with Gibbs was too new and too good for him to screw it up so soon after it had started.

Tony clicked on the 'delete' button. Five weeks – that was a long time. He'd figure out a way to deal with it by then.


Gibbs entered interrogation room one on the dot of three p.m. to find Tony standing there, staring at himself in the mirror, tracing his hand over his shirt collar and peering at it intently.

"You can't see it," Gibbs told him, shutting the door behind him and locking it in one smooth move. Tony whirled around to face him, a guilty expression on his face.

"I know. That's what I told you! I just wanted to find a way to wear it, Boss. So really, you should reward me for my ingenuity, rather than punish me." Tony gave him his brightest and most winning smile.

Gibbs snorted. "Yeah - because I've totally given you the impression that I'm one of those indulgent doms who doesn't give a damn about his sub obeying him. Oh wait – remind me again – what's rule number one?"

"Always obey you, Boss," Tony sighed.

"Yup." Gibbs walked over to him and held out his hand. "Now give."

"But it doesn't *show*!" Tony protested. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "Yes, Boss," Tony sighed. He undid his shirt, unbuckled the collar from around his neck, and handed it over to his dom.

"It's not about the semantics of whether it shows or not," Gibbs told him. "It's about obedience."

He sat down at the interrogation table, his back to the mirror, and gestured with his head that Tony sit opposite him.

"You're going to interrogate me?" Tony asked, sitting down as ordered.

"Yes." Gibbs put the collar on the table between them.

"Just because I wanted to wear my collar to the office?"


"Uh…is anyone watching this?" Tony glanced at the camera to make sure the light wasn't on.

"Don't be an idiot." Gibbs rolled his eyes. "The door to the observation room is locked – as is this one."

Tony's gaze darted towards the door and then back towards Gibbs.

"So what's going on?" Gibbs asked. "Seriously, Tony – the one thing you've never had a problem with all these years is obedience."

Tony shrugged. "Just like wearing the collar."

Gibbs sat back in his chair, crossed his arms over his chest, and gazed at him steadily. Tony gazed back, a hint of defiance in those green eyes. Gibbs grinned.

"Nah. That's not it."

Tony flushed. He glanced at the collar sitting between them on the table and then up at Gibbs again.

"I *do* like wearing the collar," he insisted. "This is new to me, Gibbs, and we’ve only had a couple of days of it – I mean, doing it properly anyway – and you don't know what it means to me to wear the damn thing. After eight years…then what happened over the weekend. That was big. Intense. I didn't want it to end."

"Didn’t end." Gibbs shrugged. "I told you, what we have is 24/7, and whether you're wearing the collar or not doesn't make a damn bit of difference."

"I know – but what I didn't know was how it would feel to wear it – how it would make me feel."

"And how do you feel, Tony?"

Tony looked uncomfortable, but Gibbs figured that his sub had seen enough interrogations to know that he didn't stand a hope in hell of holding out against Leroy Jethro Gibbs in this room.

"Like I belong," Tony said quietly.

"You do belong." Gibbs shrugged. "You belong to me. The collar doesn't make that so – it is so. Although it looks damn good on you, especially when it's all you're wearing." He gave a leering grin at that thought. Tony flushed even more wildly.

"I know," he said eventually.

"Yeah. I figured you did. So it isn't about that – like I said."

Tony raised an eyebrow. "You seem to have all the answers. You gonna tell me what it IS about then?"

"Yup. Like I said, obedience has never been a problem for you – you've always followed any order I've ever given you. Sometimes I've thought I could tell you to jump off a cliff and you would. So, if you're going to disobey me then it's a deliberate act, designed to elicit a deliberate reaction."

Gibbs sat back and gazed at Tony.

"You think I want you to punish me?" Tony asked uncertainly, chewing on his lip.

Gibbs shook his head. "No - I think you wanted my attention, and you were afraid you weren't gonna get it now we're back at work, so you engineered it so that you would. And you and I both know that you don't give a damn whether the attention is negative or positive. You prefer the positive, but you'll take the negative over nothing at all."

"I didn't know you'd figure out I was wearing the damn collar!" Tony protested. "I didn't want you to figure it out."

Gibbs reached out, plucked the collar off the table, and put it in his pocket.

"If I hadn't, you'd have found a way to make me notice it at some point during the day." He leaned across the table and grinned at his sub. "It's been eight years, Tony – and this little dance we've been doing all that time wasn't choreographed by me. You always set the pace and led the way, although I don't deny that I've been a willing participant."

It was Tony's turn to sit back in his chair now, a stunned expression on his face. Gibbs could see he knew that he'd been out-manoeuvred, and that he hadn't expected his dom to see through his antics quite so easily. Why would he? Gibbs had never called him on it before.

"And I was always happy to let you," Gibbs chuckled. "Only difference is – we're not dancin' around it any more. It's for real now, and the rules have changed. You're mine now, Tony – and I'll set the pace and lead the way from now on. So if you need anything, you have to tell me rather than playing around to provoke a reaction. Got that?"

Tony swallowed hard. "Got it," he said faintly.

"Not that I want to cramp your style." Gibbs grinned. "You're always fun when you're playing, and I have no objection to reeling you back in when you go too far. Like today. So, as long as you understand that the consequences will be a damn sight more painful than a headslap, then go for it." This time his grin was more of a challenge than anything else.

"And what are the consequences?" Tony asked with a little grimace. "Although I think I know."

"Yeah. You do." Gibbs got up. "And for what it's worth – you *have* my attention, Tony. 24/7 remember? It works both ways."

The expression in Tony's eyes took him by surprise, although it shouldn't have – he knew Tony's insecurities all too well. He leaned down, put a finger under Tony's chin, lifted his face, and kissed him gently on the lips. Then he stood back.

"Okay. Let's deal with this. Get up, Tony."

Tony got to his feet, a look of nervous anticipation on his face.

"This won't be like it was on Saturday," Gibbs warned him. "No warm-ups, no stoking it up to give you the high and make it feel painless – just flat, hard punishment. You get the good stuff when you follow the rules – and the bad stuff when you don't."

"Yes, Boss. Where do you want me?"

"Over the table." Gibbs gestured with his head. "Facing the mirror. You watched yourself being fucked earlier - now you can watch yourself being punished."

Tony nodded grimly and began bending over.

Gibbs snorted. "For the record, Tony – I only ever punish on bare skin."

Tony grimaced. He pushed himself upright and fumbled with his belt and fly. Then he shoved his pants and boxers down to his ankles and leaned forward over the table again. His hands went automatically to the sides, and he held on tight.

Gibbs moved in behind him and nudged his legs further apart – more to reinforce his own dominance than because Tony wasn't correctly positioned. He made sure to press his clothed body against Tony's naked butt, enjoying the way Tony shivered at the contact.

Then he moved around to the front of the table. He waited until Tony lifted his head to watch him, and then he began slowly – very slowly – unbuttoning one of his shirt sleeves and folding it back to the elbow. Tony watched, transfixed. Gibbs moved onto his other shirt sleeve and did the same. Then he moved his hands to his belt, pleased to see Tony swallowing apprehensively as the implications of that sank in.

Gibbs unbuckled his belt and drew it out from its loops in a fast motion that made a little whooshing sound. Tony swallowed again, but Gibbs didn't miss the dilation of his pupils; Tony might be scared, but he was also excited.

Gibbs decided that his sub needed to really understand what punishment meant. So he placed the belt on the table, right under Tony's nose.

"Think about why you're here, and think about how my belt will feel like on your bare ass," he instructed. "When you've thought about it enough, I'll come back and give you the punishment you've earned."

Tony looked up in alarm. "You're leaving me in here? Like this?"

"I'll lock the door." Gibbs shrugged. "Don't break position. And Tony?" Tony glanced up at him. "Use the time wisely," Gibbs advised.

Then he left the room. He locked the door behind him and went into the observation room next door, locking that too. He was pretty sure that Tony would obey him *this* time, but he had no intention of leaving his sub completely alone in that vulnerable state.

He was the dom, and he took that responsibility very seriously. He was flexing muscles he hadn't used in a very long time – and he was getting the opportunity to really go for it, rather than having to hold himself back as he'd always done before. It was so rewarding with a sub as exciting and responsive as Tony though.

Tony might not like it right now - but Gibbs was giving him exactly what he needed.


The edge of the interrogation room table was hard, digging into his thighs. Tony eased up a bit and rested his elbows on the table. He was acutely aware of two things: his bare bottom, exposed and ready for punishment, and the implement right in front of his nose that would deliver that punishment.

Gibbs's belt was so close he could smell the leather, warmed as it was by Gibbs's recent body heat. It was an old belt – soft and comfortable. It wasn't sleek, and it didn't come with a designer label like so many of Tony's belts. That didn't make it any less an offensive weapon though. Tony could see dozens of tiny cracks in the leather and could tell by the faded brown colour that this was a well-worn belt. He wondered how long Gibbs had owned it, and if he'd worn it in the Corps. Was it *that* old? Maybe. That made him think of Gibbs in a Marine Corps dress uniform, and his cock hardened appreciatively at the thought.

He pushed it away. He had a feeling that he wouldn't feel remotely turned on after this punishment. Gibbs had been pretty clear on the difference between punishment and play – and Tony knew that he could expect no mercy after his disobedience today. He clenched his ass tightly in anticipation. This was going to hurt.

He wished he could stand up, but Gibbs had ordered him not to, and he didn't dare disobey his dom – not considering what had led him to this position in the first place. He wondered if Gibbs was in the observation room next door, watching, and was pretty sure he was. He glanced up at the mirror and managed to squeeze out an insouciant grin for his dom. Gibbs might be in charge, and Tony might be in deep shit, but he was still *Tony* after all.

He shifted, feeling the cool breeze from the air conditioning unit wafting across his bare buttocks. The belt in front of him was such an innocuous little object, sitting there, but soon he knew it would strike a blaze across his ass that would make him welcome that cool breeze.

All this over one small act of disobedience – and yet it meant so much more. Curiously, Tony wasn't upset to be in this position right now. He was Gibbs's sub, and he would have been more upset if Gibbs hadn't taken the time to sweat the small stuff. He might be dreading the punishment that was shortly to come his way, but he was glad Gibbs was enforcing his dominance.

Any dom/sub relationship depended on the willing participation of both partners. They had created a set of rules they both wanted to live by. They didn't have to – they wanted to – and it might not always be convenient, comfortable, or even nice, but Tony wouldn't have had it any other way.

Tony lowered his head, resting his cheek sideways on the table, offering himself up to his dom's will. However hard it was, it felt good inside. It felt right. He was ready. He had disobeyed his dom, and now he was willing to accept the penalty.

The door opened a few seconds later, and he heard it being closed and locked again. Then he saw Gibbs pick up the belt.

He felt Gibbs's hand on his back, pushing his shirt further up his body, and then he felt the belt resting on his naked bottom.

There was a long pause – so long that it almost took Tony to breaking point. He wanted to yell at Gibbs to get on with it and put him out of his misery. The palms of his hands were sweating and his buttocks were clenching in anticipation.

Then there was a sudden movement, a whooshing noise, and the sound of leather hitting skin with a hard crack. He couldn't feel anything at first, but then the pain ripped through him in a blaze of heat.


"What's your safe word?" Gibbs asked.

Tony lifted his head and looked at himself blankly in the mirror ahead.

"Uh…" He tried to collect his thoughts as the after-shock of that first stroke continued to make itself felt. "Um…Magnum," he said at last. "You're going to let me use it? Even for this?"

"Yes, Tony. Even for this. I've told you before," Gibbs said firmly. "Not that you'll get out of being punished – just that we'll do it differently. Might take longer, but if you can't get through this in one go, then I want you to use your safe word. Got it?"

"Yes, Boss." Tony blinked at himself in the mirror. His face was red, and he looked stunned by the pain of that first stroke. "How many are you going to give me, Boss?" he asked, wondering how many he could take, or if he could find a way of pacing himself.

"Oh, I'll just keep going until I think we're done," Gibbs told him unhelpfully. "Or until you say your safe word."

Tony wasn't sure if it was better or worse not to know how many he had to take. He rested his face back on the table again with a resigned sigh. The next stroke was just as agonising as the first, and he wanted to put his hand back to rub away the terrible sting. That wasn't an option though. Gibbs threw down another stroke, making Tony gasp. Then he felt Gibbs's hand in his hair, pulling his head back.

"Watch," Gibbs ordered, and Tony did, fascinated by the sight of himself, lying half-naked and prone over the table, with his dom standing behind him. Gibbs looked implacable as he stood there, one hand holding Tony in place while he laid on the strokes with his other hand with perfect precision.

He covered Tony's ass repeatedly with strong, hard strokes, until Tony was writhing and whimpering. Then, without warning, he moved onto Tony's thighs, laying on a hard stroke that literally took Tony's breath away. Tony half stood up, unable to control himself, and then caught sight of himself in the mirror again. His face was red and there was sweat beading his forehead.

Gibbs paused. "Want to say your word, Tony?"

Tony gazed at himself in the mirror, thinking very seriously about the question. This was so hard! He would give anything for the onslaught to stop, but at the same time he knew that it wasn't more than he could take. Hell, he'd taken far worse in his time, albeit in a different way.

"No, Boss," he whispered, hanging there anyway, halfway between standing and bending, wanting to prolong the respite for as long as he could.

"Then get back down," Gibbs ordered. "I'm not done yet."

Tony fought an internal struggle as he gazed at himself in the mirror. He could see the thoughts buzzing through his mind. He had to force himself back down, because he was the sub, and Gibbs was the dom, and unless he said his safe word this was the only way it could be. He dimly remembered Mulder telling him that it wouldn't always be easy, and he guessed this was one of those times his fellow sub was talking about. It *wasn't* easy to accept Gibbs's punishment, but it was the foundation their relationship was built upon. He liked Gibbs's dominance over him – it excited him, turned him on, and he craved it. In return, all he had to do was submit.

*All* he had to do – and yet it was so hard. He saw Gibbs watching him struggle with himself, a curious look in his eyes, as if he was unsure which way it would go, and what Tony would do next.

"Tony," Gibbs said quietly. "You either say your safe word, and we talk about it, or you bend over and take the rest of your punishment. What's it gonna be?"

Tony took a deep breath, gripped the sides of the table firmly with his hands, lowered his head, rested his cheek on the surface of the table, and closed his eyes. He was willingly giving himself up to Gibbs's domination because it was what he wanted, however hard it was.

He breathed through the pain as the next few strokes whacked down hard across his upper thighs. He was sobbing quietly into the table, but he wasn't struggling with himself any more. Gibbs was right – he had wanted his attention, even if it was negative, and he sure as hell had that negative attention right now.

Then, suddenly, the hard strokes stopped. He lay there, watching, as Gibbs looped his belt back into place and fastened it. Then he unfolded his shirt sleeves and buttoned them at the wrists again. Tony felt his breathing coming in loud, laboured gasps as he tried to recover from what had been the hardest spanking Gibbs had ever given him.

He felt his dom's hands on his boxers and pants, and then they were gently pulled up his legs. He gave a hoarse cry as his boxers made contact with his sore bottom. Gibbs guided him up so that he was standing and fastened his pants for him. Then he looked straight into Tony's eyes.

"Okay?" he asked softly. Tony couldn't speak. He just stood there, shell-shocked. Gibbs put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed affectionately. "Not what you wanted, but what you needed – yes?"

Tony's breathing hitched, and he nodded. "Yes," he sighed. "How did you know?"

"Eight years." Gibbs shrugged. "C'mere."

He pulled Tony close and held his shaking body against his own warm, solid one. Tony thought the punishment was worth it for this moment alone. Gibbs smelled so familiar and so reassuring. Tony rested his cheek on his dom's shoulder.

"Really hurt," he muttered.

"I know."

Gibbs's hands made soothing patterns on his back. He held Tony until his ragged breathing steadied, nuzzling Tony's jaw with his lips the entire time. Then, when Tony had calmed down, he eased him away, turned his face towards him, and kissed him gently on the mouth.

Tony felt his body starting to thrum with the now familiar sensation of endorphins flowing through his bloodstream. It might have been a punishment, but he could feel the high starting to kick in all the same.

"There's always an upside." Gibbs grinned, looking at him intently when he released him.

"Yeah." Tony grinned back, stupidly.

"I need to get back to work. You can do my filing."

Tony sighed. "Okay, Boss," he agreed reluctantly. He didn't like filing, but at least it was a standing up job. He didn't think he'd be sitting easily any time soon. He watched as Gibbs walked towards the door, and then he remembered something. "Boss…"

Gibbs turned, one eyebrow raised questioningly.

"I should have told you this before. Probably thought I could get away with it and that's why I didn't." Tony gave a rueful grin.

"What is it, Tony?"

Tony took a deep breath. "It's Abby. She knows I'm subbing to someone – although she hasn't figured out it's you yet. And…" He made a face. "She knows about the collar. She was hugging me earlier and felt it. I showed it to her. So…you were right about me not wearing the collar under my shirt today. I was the idiot who thought I could get away with it."

He looked at Gibbs in trepidation.

"You want me to bend over the table again?" he asked, his hands going to his fly.

"No." Gibbs shook his head, forestalling him.

"But I screwed up…"

"Yeah – but I already punished you for that." Gibbs gazed at him, a curious expression on his face. "How do you feel about her knowing, Tony?"

"Uh…well, it's Abby, so…I don't mind…but…" he hesitated.

"Go on," Gibbs prompted. "I noticed last week that you let McGee and Ziva think your new relationship was with a woman."

"Yeah. It's not that I'm ashamed of you - or us - or anything, Boss – wouldn't have worn the collar today if I was. It's just that…I suppose I'd like a little more time before we come out to everyone. It's still so new. I want time to get used to it before I have to start explaining it to anyone else."

Gibbs nodded. "I feel the same way."

"You do?" Tony felt a wave of relief.

"Yeah. So, we keep it between ourselves for now. Yes?"

"Yes." Tony nodded.

"And Tony?"

Tony looked up at his dom.

"I'm not ashamed of you, or us, either. Feels like the best thing I've done in eighteen years. I just want the privacy to enjoy it without any additional pressures."

Tony smiled, understanding the reference to eighteen years immediately. He was tired, wrung out, and his ass hurt like crazy, but none of those things mattered right now.

Gibbs strode over to the door and unlocked it. “With me, DiNozzo. We have work to do.”

“On your six, Boss!” Tony said happily, following on behind.


There was something soothing about having Tony doing his filing for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe it was because Tony was uncharacteristically silent and serene while he worked – causing Ziva and McGee to exchange startled glances across the room. Gibbs ignored them. He assumed they thought he was making Tony do the filing as a punishment for some misdemeanour – if only they knew that the punishment was over and had been a much more intimate and painful affair. Gibbs was being merciful in giving Tony the filing – it would be excruciating for Tony to sit at his desk all afternoon after such a hard spanking.

When he had cause to pass by where Tony was working, Gibbs paused and spoke to him, making sure to touch his shoulder or arm every time. A sub like Tony needed reassurance after being punished, and Gibbs knew from experience how well Tony responded to even the smallest of affectionate gestures.

After work, he drove over to Tony's apartment to find the front door ajar, and his sub already there. Tony was standing beside the bed which was covered to groaning point with suits, shirts, sweaters and other items of clothing. Tony turned when Gibbs walked into the room and pointed at the bed in despair.

"Not sure what to bring, Boss. I can't bring it all – there's no way you have room for all this stuff at your place."

"Christ, Tony, how many suits does one guy need?"

Tony grinned at him. "More than three, Boss – which is all I've seen hanging in your closet."

"Weddings, funerals, and court," Gibbs grunted. "No need for more than three."

Tony looked at him as if he'd just said something sacrilegious. "I can see I'm gonna have to take you out shopping, Boss."

"Over my dead body," Gibbs growled. "Shopping for clothes comes in at around number 197 on my list of fun things to do – just above getting married."

Tony looked intrigued. "You have a list of fun things to do?"

Gibbs grinned; his boy was irrepressible – which was just the way he liked him. Being around Tony had been top of his list of fun things for years - Tony could make anything fun.

"If you hurry this along, then we might have time to do a couple of the top items on the list before we hit the sack," Gibbs said, glancing at the massive mound of clothes on the bed.

"Really? Then consider me incentivised!" Tony gave him a lascivious wink and began picking up various items, folding them neatly and putting them in a packing case.

"You don't need both of those." Gibbs pointed at the two suits Tony was busy packing. They were both navy blue, and they both looked identical to Gibbs.

Tony gazed up at him, aghast. "You can't make me choose between the Armani and the Versace, Boss. That would be cruel."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow. Tony sighed.

"Yes, Boss," he said mournfully, discarding one of the suits.

Gibbs suspected it was a good thing he was here, or the whole operation would have taken five times as long and resulted in Tony bringing five times as much. As it was, Gibbs sorted through all the clothes on the bed, discarded anything that looked like duplicates of anything else, dumped the resulting items into one of the open packing cases lying on the floor, and zipped it up. Then he moved on to the next case.

"Don't believe in folding stuff, huh, Boss?" Tony said, wincing as Gibbs crushed one of his suits into the case.

"It's a fifteen minute journey, DiNozzo. And I have an iron. You're coming to live at my place, not Outer Mongolia. If you want anything else, you can always swing by and pick it up another time." He finished packing and turned to see Tony carefully folding various items of underwear.

"Leave those," he ordered. Tony glanced up at him with a questioning look. "You're gonna be naked most of the time when we're alone, and shorts under your work clothes will just slow me down when I wanna get my hands on your ass." Gibbs shrugged. "So you won't be wearing any from now on."

Tony paused in folding the garments, his mouth slightly agape at this news. "You don't want me to wear underwear?" he queried breathlessly. "Ever?"

"Yup. I'll enjoy looking at you in the office and knowing you're naked under those fancy-assed suits of yours. And the fewer layers between me and your ass the better when I want to fuck you."

Tony continued staring at him. Then he threw the underwear back in a nearby drawer, stood up, and grabbed a case.

"We're done," he said. "Let's get moving."

"Something I said?" Gibbs raised an amused eyebrow.

"Hell, Boss, you can't just stand there and talk about fucking me and not expect me to get turned on." Tony nodded his head in the direction of the very promising bulge in his pants.

Gibbs chuckled as he picked up a couple of the cases. Tony reached for a box full of DVDs and then charged towards the front door, with barely a glance back as he left his apartment.

"You still okay with this?" Gibbs asked, as they loaded the stuff into the car. "It's a big change, Tony."

Tony shrugged. "Like you said – the apartment's still here, and a 24/7 arrangement doesn't work so well if we're not sleeping in the same room at night. I'm cool with it. Doesn't feel like it did when Jeanne wanted me to look at cottages with roses around the door or any of that shit. Feels…" He paused, frowning.


"More real somehow. Less about the big, scary words like 'commitment' and, you know, 'marriage'. I'm with you on that one, Boss – that's pretty low down on my list of fun things to do too."

"But it is a commitment," Gibbs pointed out. "I'm not a short-term kind of guy, Tony. No pressure – like I said, we'll take it one day at a time and see how it pans out – but you gotta know what my expectations are, and that I take it seriously."

"I know." Tony nodded. "And I take it seriously too, Boss. I have no idea why it doesn't scare me like it always did before – maybe because it was always wrong before but this feels right. Or maybe because all the hot sex has fried my brain. I dunno." He grinned at Gibbs. "Talking of which - c'mon, let's go back to your place, so we can do some more of that."


Tony lugged a couple of heavy cases up the stairs, following on behind his dom. He was surprised when Gibbs turned left, instead of right, at the top of the stairs.

"Where we going, Boss?"

"Spare room."

Tony's heart flipped. "You’re not going to make me…"

Gibbs turned to him with a sigh. "No, you're not sleeping in there, Tony. It's where we're going to dump all your stuff. It's clearly not all gonna fit in my closet, so you can use the closet and drawer space in the spare room. Makes sense."

Tony liked the sound of this arrangement. Gibbs didn't have a lot of clothes but even so, Tony had already pretty much filled up the closet in the main bedroom with the first set of clothes he'd brought over.

Gibbs opened the closet in the spare room to reveal a completely empty rail which would provide plenty of space for all his stuff. At the bottom of the closet was a large wooden chest. Tony crouched down to look at it, intrigued.

"What's in here?" He fingered the carved lid. It was an elegant piece of work, beautifully done.

"You'll find out later," Gibbs said. "Now get this stuff unpacked. You've got half an hour."

"And then what?" Tony glanced up at him, still crouching by the wooden chest.

"You'll find out in half an hour," Gibbs said, deadpan. He walked over to the door, paused, and looked back. "Oh – and Tony? Don't try and open the chest."

"I wasn't going…" Tony began. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "No, Boss," Tony said, flushing, because that was exactly what he'd been going to do. Not now though. His ass was still sore from earlier, and there was no way he was risking another punishment tonight.

He hurried to get all his stuff stashed away and was just about finished when Gibbs returned half an hour later – carrying two cups.

"You brought me coffee?" Tony reached out a hand to take one of the cups.

"Nope." Gibbs batted his hand away and put the cups down on top of the dresser. "I brought *me* coffee."

"And you brought me…ice cubes?" Tony glanced into the other cup.

Gibbs grinned. "I did, Tony, yes. Now strip."

Tony didn't hesitate – his hands went automatically to his tie, and he began undressing. Gibbs sat down on the side of the bed and took a sip of his coffee, watching as Tony took off his clothes. When he was naked, Gibbs beckoned him over to stand between his open legs. Tony's cock immediately showed some interest, but Gibbs ignored it as it rose to half mast.

Gibbs looked over his sub's body with that intent look he always got when examining a dead body at crime scenes – which wasn't such a good thought so Tony pushed it away. Then Gibbs made a twirling motion with his finger, and Tony turned around so that his ass was facing his dom.

He felt Gibbs's fingers stroke it lightly – and he tensed. The skin felt incredibly tender from its recent encounter with Gibbs's belt.

"Still feels hot," Gibbs commented. "But I know a good way to cool it down."

Tony had a suspicion that he was soon going to find out exactly why Gibbs had brought those ice cubes with him.

"Go over to the chest," Gibbs ordered. Tony did as he was told, and Gibbs opened the nightstand drawer and tossed Tony the small key that was in there. Tony caught it expertly and then gave his top a questioning look. "You can open it now," Gibbs said, taking another sip of his coffee.

Tony crouched down, unlocked the box with the key, and then opened the heavy wooden lid. Inside, in neatly ordered piles, were all the sex toys Gibbs had bought at that shop.

"These are your responsibility now, Tony," Gibbs told him. "You make sure they're washed properly after use and put back in there. If I go looking for something, and it's not there, then that goes up on the chalkboard. Got it?"

"Got it, Boss." Tony gazed down on the toys with appreciation.

"Choose one," Gibbs said. "And I'll use it on you tonight. Just one – I'll choose the other things I want to play with."

Tony sorted through the contents of the box eagerly. He considered the adjustable nipple clamps. He knew they hurt, but he also liked the kind of pain they produced – and he especially liked what Gibbs did with that pain, and how he stoked it up. He fondled a set of anal beads – they looked interesting, and he'd never experienced them before. He rejected the paddles, straps, floggers, whips, and (shudder) the canes. His ass was in no state to handle any more punishment this evening. He paused on various items of bondage, including a leg spreader and the cock gag, before moving on to the variety of butt plugs, dildos, and vibrators that were nestled at the bottom of the chest.

He decided to go for something simple for tonight – and handed Gibbs the vibrator. Gibbs took it without comment and put it on the nightstand. Tony sat back on his haunches and ran his hand over the wooden chest.

"Nice – bet the store you bought it from had no idea you'd be using it for this kinda stuff," he joked.

"Didn't buy it from a store," Gibbs told him. "Made it."

Tony looked up in surprise.

"I don't just make boats, Tony."

"Yeah – the St Andrew's Cross and the spanking bench kinda clued me in to that. When did you make it?"

Gibbs gave him an inscrutable look, as if he knew where this conversation was heading, which was weird because Tony sure as hell didn't.

"A few years back."

Realisation kicked in, belatedly.

"For Stan? For the toys you used on him?" Tony felt an irrational surge of anger. He stood up, his jaw tightening. "Christ, Gibbs! Did you use any of this stuff on him?" He picked up the vibrator on the night stand. "This? 'Cause if you used this on him, then I don't fucking want you using it on me." He threw the vibrator on the bed.

Gibbs gazed at him impassively. "I cleared it out the night I brought you back from Murray's Bar," he said. "Threw the whole lot out. I'd never use anything on you that I'd used on anyone else, Tony."

"What about that whip you used on me that night at Murray’s?" Tony asked, heatedly.

"Never used until that night." Gibbs shrugged. "Still in its wrapper. It's the only thing I kept from my time with Stan."

"Oh. Right. Okay then." Tony bit on his lip.

"Feel like an idiot now?" Gibbs asked him, one eyebrow quirked upwards.

"Oh hell, Gibbs, I pretty much always feel like an idiot," Tony sighed. "It's Stan. I know he's a nice guy, and I know you had a thing with him before you even met me and there's nothing wrong with that but…"

"But?" Gibbs leaned back on the bed.

"But I still feel like he's competition. He's the golden boy, the perfect sub who got everything right."


"And if he came back tomorrow then you'd dump me and take him back," Tony admitted.

Gibbs didn't reply. He just remained there, sitting on the bed, leaning back, watching his sub.

"Aren't you going to say something?" Tony asked.

"Nope." Gibbs shook his head. "I already told you how it was with me and Stan. I never moved him in, or gave him a collar, or asked him to be my 24/7 sub. You know all that. No point me saying it again. You just have to learn to believe it - and I figure that'll take time. Nothing I say will speed it up."

Tony felt more of an idiot than ever now. "Sorry," he muttered.

Gibbs shrugged. "You'll get there, Tony. One day. Now come here."

He got up off the bed, reached into his pocket, and drew out Tony's collar. Tony's eyes lit up.

"You can wear this when we're alone together – but you don't wear it to work again unless I give my express permission. Understand?"

"Yes, Boss."

Gibbs fastened the collar around his neck. It felt like an old friend; warm and snug, back where it belonged.

"And like I said – the toy box is your responsibility now, DiNozzo – so I figure you should keep the key." Gibbs held up the small metal key. Tony reached for it, but Gibbs palmed it. "You can't wear the collar to work – but I don't see any reason why you can't wear this key."

He pulled a long, narrow strip of black leather from his pocket, threaded the key through it, and tied a knot at the end. Then he slipped the looped leather necklace over Tony's head. It hung down low – it wouldn't even be visible under an open-neck shirt.

"Yes?" Gibbs was looking at him intently. “Will that be enough to remind you who you belong to when you’re at work?”

"Yes, Boss. Thank you, Boss," Tony told him, fingering the key. It was perfect. The cool metal of the key, nestled amongst his chest hair, would provide a little kick when he was at work. Not as much of a kick as wearing Gibbs's collar, but it'd do.

Gibbs grabbed his chin and kissed him, and Tony wrapped his arms around his dom and kissed him back, relishing the feel of Gibbs's clothed body against his own naked skin. Gibbs's kisses were usually pretty forceful and this one was no exception. He kissed Tony until he was breathless and then drew away.

"Go stand in front of the mirror – under the hook," he ordered. There was a free-standing mirror in the corner of the room and a hook fixed into the ceiling in front of it. Tony did as he was told, shivering in anticipation, wondering what was coming next.

He gazed at himself in the mirror. The black collar was fastened firmly around his throat and the leather thong with the key on the end hung much lower. He liked how they both looked on him. He heard Gibbs sorting through the toy box, and then his dom came over and threw a couple of wrist cuffs at him.

"Put them on.”

Tony did as he was told and then looked at his reflection again. Collared and cuffed, he looked every inch the sub now. His cock clearly liked the look, as it was now hard and sticking out hopefully in front of him.

While he buckled on the cuffs, Gibbs crouched down and fastened a leg spreader between his ankles, forcing his legs wide apart.

Gibbs stood up, fastened Tony's wrist cuffs together, ran a chain through them, and connected it to the hook in the ceiling. Then he pulled on it so that Tony's arms were suspended high above his head. Now Tony could see himself in total bondage, completely at his dom's mercy. His arms were bound and his body was helpless – and exposed to whatever Gibbs wanted to do to it. Gibbs seemed to sense his thoughts because he gave one of those feral grins.

"Gonna make you watch," he growled. "Just like in the elevator and the interrogation room. I want you to see your own submission, Tony." He took hold of Tony's chin and made him look straight at the mirror. "What are you?"

"Your sub, Boss," Tony replied, gazing at himself. He was bound tight, his legs spread wide, making him acutely aware of how open and vulnerable his hole was. "Yours."

"Damn right you are. And what can I do to you?"

"Whatever you want, Boss," Tony replied, his cock swelling and aching. He could feel himself sinking down into sub space, and it felt warm and welcoming, like diving beneath a blanket on a cold night.

"Good. Watch me own you, Tony. Watch every single whimper and scream."

He moved away, but Tony didn't see where he was going – he was too intent on looking at himself, trussed up, ready and waiting.

Gibbs moved into his line of vision again, holding a cup. He scooped up a handful of ice cubes and warmed them in his hand, rubbing the hard edges off them. Tony braced himself.

Next thing he knew those cold cubes were being pressed against his hot ass cheeks - and it felt so good. He gave a happy sigh and relaxed in his bonds.

"You like this?" Gibbs asked as he rubbed the icy cubes against Tony’s sore skin.

"Yes, Boss."

"How about this?" Gibbs slid one of the ice cubes between Tony's buttocks, and Tony gave a strangled yelp as he felt it press against his hole.

"I dunno…feels cold there," Tony whimpered.

He watched the expressions on his own face as Gibbs played with the cube, holding it against his hole, teasing him with it – and then, without warning, Gibbs pushed it into his body. Tony saw himself contort, his face scrunching up and his arms flexing pointlessly in their bonds as the freezing intruder entered his body.

Gibbs kissed the back of his neck. "Want to say your word?"

"No, Boss." Tony shook his head. He could feel the ice cube, lodged inside his hole, and knew that he was powerless to remove it – and that turned him on.

Gibbs ran another cube over Tony's burning ass cheeks, soothing them, and then, as before, he slid it into Tony's hole. Tony hung there, whimpering. Another one followed, and then another, until the ice cold was freezing him from the inside out.

"Let's keep ‘em there," Gibbs told him, in a voice of pure evil. Tony watched in a state of nervous apprehension as Gibbs picked up a small butt plug from the bed, covered it in lube, and then pushed it into his hole, forcing the ice cubes deeper into his body.

"No…please…" Tony begged, but Gibbs didn't listen to begging. Never had, never would.

Now Tony was acutely aware of the juxtaposition of his own burning ass cheeks and the freezing cold cubes melting inside him, held in place by the butt plug. He could feel ice water seeping out of his buttocks and dripping down his thighs.

"You wanted me to use this?" Gibbs held up the vibrator. Tony nodded eagerly; that looked much less threatening. Gibbs grinned and thrust the vibrator into the cup of ice cubes. Tony could tell by the clinking sound that there were still several in there, and he groaned. "While we wait for that to cool down, I know something else we can do," Gibbs told him, with an evil grin.

He picked up an ice cube, put it in his mouth, and swirled it around. Tony watched the bulge in his dom's cheek, fascinated, wondering what he was going to do next. He soon found out. Gibbs suddenly leaned down, grasped Tony's hips firmly in his hands, and swallowed his cock whole in his mouth – with the ice cube still in it.

Tony shrieked as all that coldness made contact with his hard cock. Then he screamed as Gibbs worked his cock against the cube he was holding in his mouth. Half Tony's cock was pressed against the ice, while the other half was being warmed by Gibbs’s mouth; the sensation was indescribable.

Gibbs sucked him for awhile, and then he stood back and spat out what was left of the cube into his hand. He ran the cube along Tony's cock, making Tony whimper. Just when he thought he was getting used to it, and he could handle it, Gibbs took a step back, gave another of those truly evil grins, and took a gulp of his coffee. He swirled it around in his mouth and then swallowed it. Tony gazed at him, horrified, realising what he was going to do.

"No…no…noooooooo!" he yelled, as Gibbs dipped his head and swallowed his cock whole a second time. The sensation of the warm interior of Gibbs's mouth against his cold cock made Tony scream in earnest. It felt so intense – and he ached with the desire to come.

Gibbs sucked him for a little while, warming Tony's freezing flesh in his mouth, and then he moved back.

"How ya doing, DiNozzo?" He grinned at his sub.

"I…I…" Tony just hung from his bonds, speechless. "You…you're…"

"You're welcome.” Gibbs patted his cheek affectionately. “Now…this should be nice and cold."

He removed the vibrator from where it was nestled among the ice cubes and turned it on. Then he held the cold, buzzing device against one of Tony's nipples, making him squeal and try to twist away from it.

"Stop that." Gibbs slapped his ass reprovingly. "Who do you belong to, Tony?"

"Y…you, Boss."

"Then take what I hand out."

Tony forced himself to stay in position as Gibbs moved that freezing cold vibrator over his nipples, making them stand up in hard points. Then Gibbs stuck the vibrator back into the cup of ice cubes.

"Want to cool it down again. Have something else planned for it," Gibbs told him. “But while we wait…”

He scooped another one of the ice cubes from the cup and placed it on one of Tony's nipples. He held it in there – and, at the same time, leaned in and took Tony’s other nipple into his mouth. It was a special kind of torture; Tony held as still as he could while Gibbs alternated the ice cubes and his own warm mouth on Tony’s nipples. He waited until the ice had thoroughly frozen one nipple before switching around and warming it up while simultaneously cooling the other.

Tony was deeply into his sub space now, and he’d been played with in this excruciatingly arousing way for so long that he was starting to zone out.

Gibbs toyed with him until Tony's arms were tired and aching from having been bound above his head for so long, and he slumped against his bonds wearily. The ice cubes inside his body were now melting in earnest, cold water flowing freely out of his hole and down his thighs.

Tony gazed at himself blearily in the mirror, watching Gibbs’s head as it moved against his chest. Oh God…he couldn’t hang on…he needed to come, and he needed to move his aching arms, and he needed…he wasn’t sure what he needed. He just knew that he loved being the object of Gibbs's totally focussed attention.

Gibbs finished tormenting his nipples and stepped back. He ran the back of his hand gently over Tony’s cheek and leaned in for a kiss. Tony opened up eagerly, moaning as Gibbs kissed him.

Gibbs pulled back, went around behind him, and removed the butt plug. He eased what was left of the ice cubes out of Tony’s hole, and Tony breathed a sigh of relief.

Gibbs put a strong arm around his body and held him up while he released his wrists from the hook in the ceiling. Tony slumped down onto his dom with a sigh, grateful to be allowed out from at least part of his bondage.

Gibbs helped him onto the bed, placing him on his front on a pile of pillows that forced his ass high into the air. His legs were still held wide open by the spreader bar – exposing his hole.

He felt the mattress give behind him, and then the sensation of Gibbs's warm breath on his buttocks, and he gave a sigh of pleasure as Gibbs dipped his tongue into his hole. It felt hot after the ice cubes, and he loosened up as Gibbs rimmed him expertly. He longed to come, but he knew that wasn't an option until Gibbs chose to sink his hard cock into him.

The rimming was fantastic, the warmth so welcome after the intensity of the cold, and Tony felt himself thawing out. He relaxed against the mattress, feeling hazy and happy.

Gibbs finished rimming him, and Tony watched his dom go over to the nightstand and remove the vibrator from the ice cubes. Gibbs held it up with a grin and returned to the bed with it.

"No, Boss…no, no, no," Tony whimpered, but Gibbs took no notice. He lubed the vibrator and then inserted the tip into Tony's hole. "NO!" Tony shrieked. It was so cold after the soothing warmth of Gibbs's expert tongue. Gibbs worked the vibrator deep inside Tony's body, chilling him all over again, and then he turned it on to full speed and began fucking Tony with it, slowly. It purred and buzzed in Tony's body, freezing him and making him tingle with pleasure at the same time. Gibbs pushed it back and forth relentlessly, until Tony was moaning incoherently.

Just when Tony thought he couldn't take any more, Gibbs removed the cold, hard vibrator and replaced it with something so beautifully familiar and welcome that Tony could have cried.

Gibbs entered his pulsing cock into Tony's frozen hole with one powerful thrust. It was warm and powerful where the vibrator had been freezing and mechanical. It heated Tony's icy flesh from the inside out, and he screamed his pleasure uncontrollably as his body slowly, achingly, began to warm up.

Gibbs fucked him hard, his hands heavy on Tony’s hips, and now he was hitting Tony’s prostate with each inward thrust. Tony pushed his own hard cock into the pillows, allowing the friction to work its magic, and before long he was coming in one long pulse after another, white lights exploding in his head.

He was dimly aware of Gibbs still riding him, and then he felt a surge of warmth as Gibbs shot his load deep into his body. Gibbs moved down on top of him, his warm cock still lodged inside him, and rested there for a moment, kissing the back of Tony’s neck, just above his collar.

Then he withdrew, and Tony whimpered at the loss of all that warmth. He felt hands on his ankles, unfastening the spreader bar, and then, at last, he was released. He moved his legs experimentally, relieving the minor cramps that had set in, and then turned over to look at his dom. Gibbs sat down beside him on the bed and stroked his hair back from his head.

“Good?” he asked.

“Evil,” Tony replied. “And good,” he added, with a tired grin. Gibbs laughed out loud and pressed a kiss to Tony’s temple.

“Glad to hear it. Clean up and put the toys away. I’m gonna go order takeout. There’s no way I’m going to bed on an empty stomach. Come down when you’re done.”

Tony had forgotten they hadn’t eaten. Gibbs left the room, and Tony remained on the bed, gazing dreamily at the ceiling. He couldn’t believe how good that had been. He re-lived the whole thing in his head, savouring it – and wondered whether he could persuade Gibbs to do it all over again tomorrow night.

He finally forced himself up and began tidying the room. He wiped down the cuffs and leg spreader and replaced them in the wooden chest in the closet, and then he took the vibrator along to the bathroom and washed it thoroughly. He cleaned himself up too while he was at it, relishing the soothing warmth of warm water after so much coldness.

He returned the vibrator to the wooden chest and then stripped off the pillow cases and threw them into the laundry hamper. He tidied away the lube into the toy box too and closed the lid. He felt a little surge of pleasure as he removed the leather thong from around his neck and locked the toy box with the key.

He replaced the thong around his neck so that the key was nestled against his chest again, and then he wearily turned out the light and left the spare room. He walked down the stairs – still naked - and found Gibbs sitting on the couch in the living room. His dom was watching the news on TV with boxes of Chinese takeout on the coffee table in front of him.

Gibbs glanced up and patted the seat next to him on the couch, and Tony sat down with a weary sigh. He was hungry, but he honestly felt too tired to eat. Gibbs seemed to sense that. He twisted his fork in the noodles and then held it out to Tony. Tony ate without protest. The noodles felt so warm going down – he hadn’t even realised that he was hungry.

He sat there and let Gibbs feed him for the next ten minutes, too wrung out to feed himself. When Gibbs was done feeding them both, he sat back on the couch, and Tony crawled into his lap without even thinking about it. He zoned out to the happy sensation of his dom's warm thighs beneath his head, and his gentle fingers combing through his hair.


Walter Skinner sat with one hand wrapped around a beer and the other wrapped around his slave’s shoulders at Murray’s Bar.

“Think they got held up?” Fox asked him, glancing at his watch. Skinner grinned at him.

“Oh yeah,” he said, with a wink. “How long’s it been? Two weeks since I fished Jethro out from under his boat, while you gave Tony that much needed kick up the ass? Two weeks into *our* relationship, I could hardly keep my hands off you.”

“Still can’t.” Fox glanced meaningfully at the hand on his shoulder. Skinner grinned again. He moved his hand and tousled his slave’s hair.

At that moment, there was movement at the top of the stairs, and the two men they had been waiting for appeared.

“Oh my God,” Fox breathed, gazing at them.

“Oh yeah. They *definitely* got held up,” Skinner snorted. He got to his feet and waved. “Over here, Jethro.”

Tony and Gibbs walked down the stairs together, side by side, their steps in perfect sync. Skinner couldn’t help smiling to himself; they walked like a couple who were having lots of great sex. There was something about how their hips almost touched with each stride, the loose set of their shoulders, and that indefinable glow on their faces.

“Wow – you look fantastic,” Fox commented when they got close.

They did. Gibbs was wearing a pair of classy black chinos and a vivid blue shirt that matched the colour of his eyes. Skinner had never known Gibbs to give a damn about his clothes, so he suspected the outfit was all Tony’s doing. Tony looked as well groomed as always, in fashionable blue jeans and a loose green shirt that was open at the neck.

“Thanks – I took his measurements while he slept and went out and bought him the clothes,” Tony told them as they all shook hands.

“Apparently my Sears sales items aren’t good enough for my sub,” Gibbs grunted.

“Hey – if I’m gonna be seen out with you in a place like this, I want people envying me my good taste in tops,” Tony grinned. “And you scrub up pretty well, Boss.”

Gibbs slapped the back of his head without missing a beat, and Tony’s grin widened. Skinner gave a little smile – he knew just how much those head-slaps meant to Tony.

“Actually, I wasn’t talking about the clothes,” Fox said.

“Fox is about as interested in clothes as you are, Jethro.” Skinner sighed. “He wouldn’t have noticed if you’d walked in here stark naked.”

“I might have noticed that.” Fox grinned. “And it makes no difference if I’m interested in clothes or not, seeing as how my master gets to dress me up in whatever the hell he likes.”

Skinner laughed. “Hey – take a seat,” he said, waving his hand at the empty chairs opposite. “What d’you want to drink?”

They placed their orders, and Skinner dispatched Fox to the bar to get the round of drinks. Gibbs sent Tony with him – and Skinner had no doubt that was an intentional move on his part.

“So, how are things going?” he asked Gibbs when they were alone. “Pretty well I’d say looking at the pair of you tonight. You guys even leave the house these past couple of weeks?” He raised an amused eyebrow.

“Still have a job to do, Walter,” Gibbs grunted.

“Yeah – you have two jobs now though. The day job at NCIS, and the other job keeping that sub of yours well fucked. ‘Cause trust me, that’s one well fucked sub.”

Gibbs gave him his death glare, but Skinner ignored it as usual. Leroy Jethro Gibbs didn’t scare him – although he knew that the man scared the rest of the world. That wasn’t such a bad thing. Walter Skinner knew exactly what Gibbs was capable of, and how right people were to be afraid of him. He wondered how Tony was handling a top as intense and frankly terrifying as Gibbs could be on a bad day. Then again, Tony had been handling Gibbs for eight years and had survived thus far. He was probably one of the few people in the world who *could* handle Gibbs.

Gibbs’s death glare turned into a tight little grin as he glanced over at his sub, who was standing at the bar chatting to Fox.

“Yeah,” Gibbs muttered at last. “Christ, Walter – it’s either a famine or a feast. Went a long time with nothing at all and now…” His grin widened, and he looked like the kid he’d been when Skinner first met him. “Now I feel like a teenager again.”

Skinner laughed. “I hope that doesn’t mean you’re gonna start acting like you did back in boot camp all over again,” he said, with a wink. It was Gibbs’s turn to laugh now.

“Wouldn’t dare, Walter. There’s no way I ever want another taste of your belt.”

“So it’s good?” Skinner took a sip of his beer, gazing at Gibbs searchingly.

“Oh yeah. It’s good. *He’s* good,” Gibbs replied. “I always knew there was something there – some kind of attraction, chemistry, whatever the hell you wanna call it. But I had no idea we’d be this compatible.”

“I did,” Walter shrugged. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. “What? It was obvious, just looking at the pair of you, pining away for each other like damn idiots,” Skinner grinned. “Anyone could see that when you two finally got together the result was gonna be pretty explosive.”

“Yeah,” Gibbs chuckled. “Explosive is the right word for it.” He leaned across the table. “But it’s been so damn easy, Walter - once we finally stopped dancing around each other and got down to it. It’s been a pretty smooth ride. Knowing he was a newbie – hell not just to the submission thing but also to men – I thought he’d have more trouble with it.”

“And he hasn’t?”

“Not as far as I can see. He’s taken to it like a duck to water. I never knew Tony DiNozzo would be able to go from womanising frat boy to gay submissive without even blinking, but he has.”

“I think you need to give the boy more credit for knowing what he wants,” Skinner said, glancing over at the bar, where Tony and Fox were deep in their own conversation. He was glad about that. Tony didn’t have any submissive friends on the scene, and Skinner thought he needed some kind of mentor. Fox could be unpredictable and off the wall, but Skinner had no doubt that any advice he gave Tony would be both useful and sincere. “What he’s wanted for a very long time,” Skinner added.

“Was it like this with you and Fox?”

“Hell no! Most of the first year was a struggle if I’m honest,” Skinner admitted. “A fantastic struggle, and one I relished, but there were times when I’d have been tearing my hair out in despair if I had any.” He gave a self-deprecating grin. “But Fox is a very different personality to Tony – and you’re a very different personality to me, Jethro.”

“Just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Gibbs grunted. “Can’t be this easy forever.”

“You find out what it is he’s hiding?” Skinner asked.

Gibbs glanced up sharply. “Nope. Whatever it is he thinks it’s big, but whether it is or not – I have no idea because he never even gets close to letting me in.”

“That what’s bothering you?” Skinner asked.

Gibbs glared at him again, but Skinner knew how Gibbs used that glare to get people to back off when they asked anything too personal. He had no intention of backing off, so he just sat back with a raised eyebrow.

“Something’s bothering you, Jethro – and it isn’t how damn easy or how good it’s been since you claimed that boy.”

He studied Gibbs intently. His friend liked to keep himself all locked up, but Skinner had always been able to see beneath the surface. As a kid, Gibbs had always allowed the heat of his emotions to over-ride all good sense. He’d had to learn how to master his wild streak the hard way. Tony was a different kind of man entirely. He hid things like he’d been hiding them all his life. Maybe he had - Skinner hadn’t got an entirely good handle on the kid yet. But Gibbs had been one of his Marines – Gibbs was *family* - and Skinner knew him inside out.

“He never says his safe word,” Gibbs confided at last.

Skinner frowned. Gibbs looked up, straight at him. His blue eyes were usually steely, the forbidding expression in them designed to keep people out. But right now he had his guard down, and Skinner could see that he was genuinely concerned.

“Maybe you haven’t done anything that’s made him feel like he needs to say it.”

“Maybe.” Gibbs shrugged. “I can read him well. I know when he’s at the edge, and I’ve never given him more than I think he can handle – but…” He shook his head. “I think he’d take it if I did. I think I could shove him right off the edge and put him in freefall, and he’d take it without saying that word. Question is – why?”

“Because he doesn’t want a safe word?” Skinner suggested. “He wants to surrender to you, Jethro. He doesn’t want to know that he has any control over what you do to him. He wants the thrill. Hell, that’s not unusual. Lot of subs feel that way.”

“I guess,” Gibbs conceded, but his shoulders were hunched.

“You think it’s more than that?”

“I don’t know – because I can’t get under the surface. I get close sometimes, but then he slips away from me. That’s Tony – he’s always been kind of slippery.”

Skinner grunted. Gibbs was a direct kind of guy. He might be intensely private, and solitary to the point of paranoia, but he wasn’t a complicated man. His sub was though – Skinner had no doubt about that. Tony was all kinds of complicated.

“You can’t trust him then?”

Gibbs gave him a dour kind of look. “Hell yeah – I can trust him, Walter. I can trust him not to cheat on me, I can trust him to be a willing, obedient sub, and I can trust him to have my six in any given life or death situation. But can I trust him not to let me hurt him? No – I don’t think I can.”

“Because he *wants* to be hurt,” Skinner said softly.

“Yeah. Or at least he wants something I won’t give him. Something dark. Right now, we’re in the honeymoon period – but there’s a side of him that hasn’t gone away. It’s just in cold storage right now while I keep him distracted with other stuff.”

“Then you wait.” Skinner sat back in his chair. “You wait, Jethro. You wait for him to trust you enough to tell you what’s going on. That’s all you can do.”

“No – it isn’t.” Gibbs gazed at him intently.

“What d'you mean?”

“I have a dossier on him – haven’t opened it,” Gibbs said quickly as Skinner reacted to that statement. “Had it for a few years, and I’ve never been tempted to open it. I didn’t ask for it – I just came by it. I know there are some answers in there, but…”

“But you’re worried you’ll ruin any trust you’ve built up between you if you read it?”

“Yeah. I want him to tell me himself – I don’t want to find out about it from any damn file.”

“Then give him time,” Skinner advised. “It’s only been a few weeks, Jethro. Give him some more time.”

“And what if he lets me put him in a situation of real distress in the meantime, and all because I don’t know what’s going on with him?”

Skinner shook his head. “You’ll just have to watch him closely, Jethro – and trust that famous gut of yours.”

“Yeah. I guess that's all I can do.”

Gibbs leaned back in his chair. He glanced over towards the bar, and Skinner saw the look of naked vulnerability in his eyes. He doubted anyone else would have seen it but him. Gibbs’s gaze was fixed on his sub – and it told Skinner everything Gibbs would never say.

Skinner wondered if Tony knew. Probably not. Gibbs never liked telling anyone how he felt – Skinner was pretty sure that was why both Jenny and Stan had left him, to say nothing of his three wives.

Skinner suspected that the kid standing over there by the bar had absolutely no idea just how hopelessly in love with him his dom was.


"So – how's it going?" Fox asked, as they waited for their drinks.

Tony grinned at him. "Oh it's good. Very good." He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"Yeah – I can see that. You look like a different person. Being submissive makes you happy, huh?"

Tony considered that for a moment. If anyone else had asked it, he thought it would have made his hackles rise, but this was Fox he was talking to – a man who called his lover "Master". And a man, also, who was about as independent-spirited as anyone he'd ever met. Nobody would ever call Fox Mulder weak or needy – his need for sexual submission clearly didn't diminish the strength of his personality.

"Yes, it does," he replied honestly. "But then again, submitting to Gibbs is easy. I've been doing it since I met him. The sex part just makes it fun. I already know how to be his sub – I've been that for years in a way."

"You struggling with any of it?" Fox pulled on that full lower lip of his.

Tony shook his head. "Nope. I'm not saying it's always easy, but you warned me about that."

"Which bits aren't easy?"

Tony sighed. This was typical Fox – always wanting to know the things that Tony didn't necessarily want to tell him.

"Taking punishment." Tony winced inwardly as he remembered the spanking he'd received a couple of weeks previously in the interrogation room. Man, that one had hurt. He hadn't sat comfortably for days. Luckily for him, Gibbs had gone easy on him for a few days afterwards, so he'd had time to recover.

"Really?" Fox continued tugging thoughtfully on his bottom lip. "Wouldn't have thought punishment would be a problem for you, Tony. Thought it was what you wanted."

Tony was saved from having to come up with a suitably deflective answer to that question by the sound of his cell phone ringing. He gave Fox an apologetic smile and fished his phone out of his pocket. He glanced at the caller ID – he didn't know the number, but he would prefer to talk to just about anyone in the world except Fox Mulder right now, so he answered the call.


"Hey, motherfucker."

Tony's stomach did a flip as he heard the old, familiar voice. The irony wasn't wasted on him though. Chief Petty Officer Dale Grasso was the one person in the world he wanted to talk to even less than he wanted to talk to Fox Mulder.

"I think you have the wrong number," he said smoothly. He made a face at Fox and pointed to the phone, rolling his eyes.

"You didn't answer any of my emails, motherfucker, so I thought I'd call. Took me some time to track down your cell phone number...but it's worth it to hear your whiny-assed voice again."

"Well, I can't help you. You're speaking to the wrong person."

"I’ll be back in three weeks, DiNozzo."

"Sorry I don't know who that is."

"You ran out on me. That pissed me off. I liked our little arrangement. I'm comin' to get you, DiNozzo.”

"I don't fucking think so," Tony said, more forcefully than he'd intended. He saw Fox raise an eyebrow and turned away to try and get some privacy.

"I don't give up so easy. You and me – we have some unfinished business to take care of."

Tony felt himself grow cold inside. "Yeah, well, good luck finding someone who can help you. You sure as hell need it. *Motherfucker*."

He snapped the phone shut and turned back with his bright, shiny smile plastered into place.

"Wrong number," he said cheerfully.

Fox laughed out loud. "Yeah. Right. Sounded more like a wake-up call to me, Tony."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Fox shrugged. "Voice from the past maybe?"

"No. Like I said – wrong number," Tony replied firmly.

"And does Gibbs know about this wrong number of yours?" Fox's hazel eyes were glowing intently. He had this really irritating habit of being able to get under Tony's skin, and he never failed to pick up on all the things that everyone else missed.

Tony changed tack, turning deadly serious. "No – and he doesn't need to. This is nothing to do with him."

Fox shrugged. "Sure. Right." He leaned in. "Gibbs is your *master*, Tony.”

“I don’t call him that…” Tony began.

Fox laughed. “You might not use the word, but that’s what he damn well is, Tony. And if I kept a call like that a secret from Walter, he'd string me up by the balls and whip my ass until I hollered for mercy."

"You've been with Walter for ten years – it's different," Tony snapped.

"No – it really isn't. If this had happened to me on day two of my slavery, then Walter would have reacted the exact same way."

"I can handle this by myself. It's my mess – I'll figure it out. Nothing for you to get involved with," Tony told him, in a low, urgent tone. "Nothing for you to tell Gibbs about, either – understand?"

Fox gave him a hard stare. "Tony – there's no question of me telling Gibbs shit. You're the one who should do that. Give the guy some respect. You're in his life, and he's in yours. That means you have to damn well make room for him."

"Like I said – this is nothing. I can handle it. It's just a little…" Tony hesitated. "Local difficulty."

"Were you seeing someone before Gibbs, Tony?" Fox asked. "Is that who that guy is?"

"No." Tony shook his head. "There was nobody before Gibbs. There has never been any guy except Gibbs. Ever."

Fox nodded thoughtfully. "I believe you. But then who is that guy – and why is he hassling you?"

Tony wondered how much of the conversation Fox had overhead. "He's nothing. Seriously."

Fox sighed. "Look, Tony, I've been where you are right now, and it didn't end well." His hand went unconsciously to his chest as he said that, and Tony saw him fingering the outline of his scar through the thin fabric of his shirt. "I nearly fucked things up for good between me and Walter because I didn't trust him. Took me a long time to earn back his trust after that – because he HAD trusted me, poor damn idiot." Fox glanced over to the table in the corner, where their Walter and Gibbs were engaged in an intense-looking conversation.

"You don't know Gibbs," Tony said. "I could tell him about this guy, but if I do, it doesn't end there. It leads on to a whole lot of other questions – questions I don't want to answer. And Gibbs isn't someone who lets things lie. So if I don't answer them, he'll find out another way."

"Right." Fox nodded. "So this is the tip of the iceberg, huh? If Gibbs knows about this stalker person you've somehow acquired, then it opens up a whole can of worms for you, does it?"

"Yes." Tony nodded. "It does. And it's not a can I want opened any time soon." Or ever.

"Interesting." Fox gazed at him musingly. Then he sighed. "Okay, Tony. You play this your way. Let me just say this: You're wrong. No matter what it is that you're hiding, Gibbs *will* find out, one day. If you're lucky, he'll hang on in there and stick with you while you both figure it out – but you can bet it won't be pretty, and you'll pay for lying to him."

"And if I'm not lucky?" Tony raised an eyebrow.

"Then Gibbs will throw your sorry ass out onto the street and have nothing to do with you ever again," Fox said with a shrug. "And I think that's pretty much your worst nightmare, Tony. Rejection, abandonment - they press all your buttons, don't they? You'd rather he kicked you like a dog but kept you tied up at his side than that he threw you out. So think about it."

He leaned forward and patted Tony's arm. "C'mon – time to take these drinks back to the table. Our masters will be thirsty, and we don't want to piss them off, do we?"


Gibbs was surprised by how much he enjoyed spending an evening out with his sub. He wasn't usually a very sociable man. He'd spent the past few years working all hours, and any down time he got to himself he spent on his boat. He occasionally went to a bar for the sole purpose of getting drunk, but he didn't use it as an opportunity to talk to people. He was used to his own company. Tony was different though. Tony *was* a sociable person, and Gibbs knew they had to strike a balance between evenings spent working on the boat and evenings spent going out with friends. The evenings spent having sex were a given.

Tony could make any social situation go with a swing, and Gibbs enjoyed taking a back seat and watching his sub shine with a series of amusing and frankly implausible stories. Fox was a good match for Tony in the implausible stories stakes, and Gibbs and Walter were soon laughing heartily at tales of spring breaks gone wrong, and alien bounty hunters who turned up in the most unlikely of places. Gibbs was never sure how to take Fox, but when Walter's unusual sub relaxed he could be almost as much fun as Tony.

They were having such a good time in the bar that Gibbs didn't hear his cell phone ringing just before midnight. He did feel the vibration though. He reached into his pocket and glanced at the caller display, wondering who was calling him this late on a Saturday evening. His heart skipped a beat when he saw the name: Abby.

He flipped open the phone, his body tensing in anticipation of some kind of trouble. Tony sensed the change in his body language immediately and stopped talking in mid-sentence, turning towards him with a questioning look in his eyes.

"Abs…" Gibbs answered the call, but he didn't get any further than that as a torrent of words assaulted him. Abby's voice was high and frightened, and he could only make out every third or fourth word.

"…came back…been here…apartment…Gibbs, oh Gibbs!...shit…oh God, what did I tread in…?" He heard the sound of crunching glass.

"Abby!" he bellowed into the phone. There was a startled silence.

"Sorry, Gibbs. I just…" She sounded close to tears.

"Where are you?"

"At my place, like I said. I just got in…"

"Stay there. We'll be there in ten," Gibbs told her firmly. He snapped the phone shut and got to his feet. "We have to go," he told a startled Walter and Fox, and then he was off, running towards the staircase. He didn't even have to look around to know that Tony was behind him, matching him stride for stride.

Gibbs ran up the stairs and out into the parking lot without pausing. Tony jumped into the car beside him, and Gibbs drove them towards Abby's place at a breakneck pace. For once, Tony didn't comment on his driving – he just clung onto the passenger side of the car. Gibbs hadn't consumed anything stronger than coke all evening, but he knew he was driving as if he'd downed a dozen whiskies.

"What did Abby say?" Tony asked as Gibbs tore along the highway. "What's happening? Is she okay, Boss?"

He sounded worried. Gibbs knew that Tony felt the same way about Abby as he did. She meant more to them than any other member of the team, even Ducky. Abby was, quite simply, special, and they both loved her fiercely.

"She's upset. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but it didn't sound good. I don't think she's in any harm, but…" Gibbs slammed his foot down even harder on the accelerator, and the rest of that sentence remained hanging between them.

He pulled up outside Abby's apartment with a screech of brakes, and he and Tony were both out of the car the second he turned off the engine. They ran into the apartment complex and up the two flights of stairs to Abby's apartment…and then paused. Her apartment door was hanging half off its hinges. Gibbs put up his hand, and he and Tony both drew their guns at the same time.

"Abby – you there?" Gibbs called, pushing open the ruined door cautiously with his foot.

"Gibbs!" A second later a blur of black and red jumped into his arms, and he held Abby close, relieved beyond belief that she was alive and well. He hugged her for a few seconds, glancing at Tony over her bushy black hair, which was free of its normal pigtails.

Tony located the light switch and turned it on – and Gibbs winced. Abby's apartment had been trashed. Her TV set had been smashed to smithereens and there was glass all over the floor. The sofa was upturned, and the contents of her fridge seemed to have been strewn everywhere.

"Abby – what the hell happened here?" Gibbs asked, holding her at arm's length so that he could look into her mascara-stained eyes.

"I was so scared, Gibbs," she whispered. "I just got back – I was at a party, and I'd had a really good time…I met this really nice guy and…anyway…" She pulled herself together as she caught the expression in his eyes. "It was just a normal Saturday night out. I came home – alone," she said firmly. "And I walked in to find this." She gestured around the room with her hand. "I was scared that whoever did it was still here! I turned off the light and hid behind the door and called you straight away."

"Burglary?" Tony asked, looking around the place.

"Tony!" Abby seemed to see him for the first time. She launched herself into his arms, and he held her as tight as Gibbs had, kissing her hair gently as she sobbed into his shoulder.

"Uh, Gibbs thought he might need back up so he brought me along," Tony said. It sounded lame to Gibbs, but Abby was clearly too distraught to think anything of it.

Gibbs took the opportunity to look around the place himself. His gun still drawn, he kicked open each door cautiously. All the rooms were trashed, but the place was at least empty. He holstered his gun and returned to the living room.

"It's okay, Abby – there's nobody here," he told her softly. "Might have been better if you'd run back out into the street than stayed in here though if you were scared whoever did this might still be here."

"But you told me to stay here! And I was too scared to move anyway," she admitted, her entire body shaking. She disengaged herself from Tony and turned back to him. "And I knew you were on your way, Gibbs, and that everything would be okay when you got here."

Gibbs thought it was lucky they'd been at the bar – if he'd come from his house it would have taken an extra fifteen or so minutes to get here, and he didn't like to think of Abby crouching behind the door in terror for that length of time.

"Boss!" Tony called from the direction of the bedroom. "I’ve found something."

Gibbs took hold of Abby's hand and walked her into the bedroom with him. Her famous coffin bed was standing on a plinth in the centre of the room, same as always, but Gibbs didn't like the expression on Tony's face as he looked into the coffin.

"In here, Boss." Tony gestured with his head at the interior of the coffin.

Gibbs walked over to the coffin, still holding Abby's hand, and he heard her breathing hitch as she looked inside.

There was a skeleton in the coffin – Gibbs recognised it immediately as the piece of "art" that Abby usually kept hanging from the bookcase in her living room. It had been dressed, ghoulishly, in one of her black tee shirts and a plaid skirt. Its bony legs had been placed inside a pair of Abby's big, black, leather boots. There was even a spiky collar fastened loosely around its neck.

There was a piece of paper lying on the skeleton's tee shirt – right above where a real life person's heart would be. The paper was held in place by the sharp point of a kitchen knife which was embedded in the coffin-shaped mattress. On it was some writing:

Next time, the dead body lying in a coffin will be yours, Abigail Sciuto


Within half an hour, Abby’s apartment was full of people. She clung onto Gibbs’s hand as he walked from room to room, directing his agents to take photos and sweep the room for prints and any kind of evidence. Abby might have been a forensics expert, but she wasn’t a crime scene expert, so she allowed Gibbs, McGee, Ziva and Tony to do their jobs. The one thing she couldn't do was let go of Gibbs's hand. Not yet. And he didn't seem to mind. His fingers were warm and firm wrapped around hers, and she knew he'd let her hold on for as long as she needed.

“DiNozzo!” Gibbs called his second in command over. “You’re in charge of the crime scene. We’re gonna take this first box of evidence back to NCIS and start working on it.” He gestured to the box of evidence sitting on the table, which included the note that had been in the coffin.

“Right, Boss.”

“We’re going to NCIS now? In the middle of the night?” Abby asked.

Gibbs turned to glance at her. “Someone has made a death threat against you, Abs. No telling what might have happened if you’d stayed home tonight instead of going to that party. Sooner we start analysing the evidence, sooner we can figure out who is trying to get you.”

She nodded, her eyes big and scared, glad of his solid, reassuring presence beside her.

“It’s okay, Abby,” Gibbs told her gently, squeezing her hand. “Nobody is going to get near you. You know that, don’t you? Me or Tony – or both of us - will be with you at all times.”

“Yes, Gibbs.” She nodded, squeezing his hand in return.

“Good – then let’s get moving.”

He strode towards the door, and she scurried along beside him, still clutching his hand like a frightened child.

“DiNozzo – when you’re done here, call for clean up and get your ass back to NCIS with the rest of the evidence,” Gibbs snapped.

Tony nodded – Abby gave him a scared smile, and he gave her his big, bright Tony grin in return, and then made a thumbs up sign in a clear attempt to reassure her. It worked.

“Oh – Tony – if you find any…uh, stuff, you know, private stuff…just um…well, don’t look at it,” she told him. His grin broadened into something more suggestive.

“What kind of stuff, Abs?”

“DiNozzo,” Gibbs said, in a warning tone. Tony’s smile vanished instantly.

“On it, Boss!”

Abby felt a little better after that exchange.


It was nearly 4 a.m. by the time Tony returned to NCIS with the last of the evidence. He had sent Ziva and McGee home – no point them all staying up. He found Abby in her lab. She looked terrible; her face was even paler than usual, and her mascara had run down her cheeks. Her hair was a sticky mess from where she'd been running her tear-stained fingers through it all evening.

“Hey – how you doing?” He put a gentle hand on her shoulder and squeezed. She smiled at him.

“I’m fine, Tony. But look at you! I didn’t notice earlier, but you’re all dressed up. Sorry if I spoiled your evening.”

“Nah.” Tony shrugged. “It’s fine. Just…you know, out for a few beers with some friends.”

“I think the bossman might have been on a date when I called,” she whispered, glancing furtively at where Gibbs was sitting at her work station behind the glass dividing doors, flicking through some of the evidence in the box they’d brought back earlier.

“What makes you say that?” Tony put his head on one side and surveyed their boss with mock-curiosity.

“Because he’s just as dressed up as you, Tony! And Gibbs never dresses up like that. Whoever she is, she’s got really good taste in clothes too – because there is no way the bossman bought that shirt himself.”

Tony couldn’t help laughing out loud at that. “You could be right, Abs.”

“Dare you to ask him about it,” Abby said, her face brightening.

“You’re on!” he said, a grin creasing his face at the hint of mischief. He figured he could handle the head-slap – or worse – that would come his way if it got her smiling again; and he so desperately wanted her smiling again.

Gibbs glanced up at that moment and saw him through the glass dividing door. He flipped whatever he was looking at back into the box and stepped into the main area of the lab.

“What did you find, DiNozzo?”

“Nothing really, Boss. We swept for prints, like you said, but I’m betting the ones we found will turn out to belong to Abby or her friends.”

Gibbs looked pretty grumpy as he peered into the boxes Tony had brought with him.

“I called for clean up like you said, Boss. So it should be nice and shiny and ready for you when you go home again, Abby.”

Abby gazed at him with those luminous eyes, and he winced. That had been the wrong thing to say. Of course she was scared of going home again after what had just happened!

“Uh – so, Boss…were you on a hot date?” Tony grinned, nodding at Gibbs’s blue shirt. Gibbs turned slowly towards him, one eyebrow raised, his face set in its death glare expression. “Uh…because…usually you don’t dress like that – not that there’s anything wrong with the way you usually dress – y’know, all those Sears sale items are just fine for work – but you don’t usually…” Gibbs’s death glare deepened. Tony trailed off and pointed his finger sideways at Abby. “She made me ask, Boss! It was a dare!”

“Tony!” Abby bashed his arm with her fist, and he winced theatrically. Then her eyes sparkled again as she looked at Gibbs. “*Were* you on a hot date, Bossman?”

“Yes, as you’re so interested, I was,” Gibbs replied, glancing at Tony with a deadpan expression. Tony grinned at him. Gibbs reached out and slapped the back of his head soundly. “And that’s for being unable to resist a dare, DiNozzo.”

“Yes, Boss. Thank you, Boss. Won’t happen again, Boss.”

Tony gave Abby a delighted grin, and they exchanged a surreptitious high five behind Gibbs’s back. Tony was relieved to see that she was starting to look more like the old Abby again.

“Okay – so we need to figure out who would want to make a death threat against you, Abby,” Gibbs said.

“It could be McElroy,” Tony replied, clicking his fingers in the air. “Aren’t you due to start giving evidence against him in court next week, Abby?”

She nodded. “Yes – on Monday.”

“We already know that McElroy’s a bastard, Boss. He’s been up on charges at least half a dozen times before, and he always gets off. Nobody’s been able to pin anything on him, but it’s rumoured he’s intimidated a few jury members – and even a couple of expert witnesses. And Abby’s evidence is particularly incriminating. He could be trying to scare her off testifying.”

“Sounds plausible, but nothing a judge will sign off on without more evidence. Did you come up with any prints on the note or knife?” Gibbs asked Abby.

She shook her head. “Nothing, Gibbs.”

“Okay.” Gibbs looked at them both. “I think we’re done here for tonight. It’s late, and you look wiped, Abby. We'll figure it out – but for now, we could all use some rest so let's go home.”

Abby’s eyes were wide and scared as she looked at Gibbs. “Go home…?”

“Not your place, Abs. No way I'm letting you go back there until this is resolved.” Gibbs shook his head firmly. “No – you’re coming home with me. You’ll be staying at my house under close protection detail until we figure out what the hell's going on here.”

She threw herself at him and hugged him tight. “I was hoping you’d say that, Gibbs! I’m so scared!”

“I know, Abs – but we won’t let anything happen to you,” Gibbs told her, glancing at Tony over her shoulder.

“Okay then, should I go…?” Tony pointed uncertainly at the door. He didn’t want to go back to his own apartment, but he wasn’t sure what Gibbs had in mind. Having Abby stay with them would cramp their style, but Tony didn’t care about that if it kept her safe.

“You’re coming with us, DiNozzo,” Gibbs told him firmly, much to Tony’s relief. He raised an eyebrow at Gibbs who was still being consumed in an Abby bear hug. “I want to keep Abby safe around the clock, and two of us will be better than one while we still don’t know what we’re facing.”

“Where will we all sleep?” Abby asked, finally releasing Gibbs and glancing at Tony. “Just – there are only two bedrooms in your house, Gibbs – well, there *are* three, but one of them hasn’t got a bed in it – just planks of wood and stuff.” She grinned at him.

“We’ll figure something out.” Gibbs shrugged. “You can have the spare room, Abby.”

She gave a happy smile, and Tony’s heart thudded painfully in his chest. He exchanged a glance with Gibbs and knew exactly what his dom was thinking. Abby was special to them – and neither of them wanted to think about what might have happened if she’d been at home this evening when whoever was gunning for her had dropped by.


Abby groaned and stretched – and was surprised when she didn't feel the hard, wooden edge of her coffin. She came to with a start as the events of the previous evening came rushing back to her. She was at Gibbs's house, in Gibbs's spare room. She had crawled into bed at around 5 a.m. in her panties and tee shirt; she didn't have a change of clothes – she didn't even have a toothbrush - but she'd been so tired and wrung out that she didn't care. She'd fallen asleep immediately. Now it must be nearly noon judging by the sunlight flooding in around the drapes.

She got up and went to the bathroom, sighing when she saw her reflection in the mirror. God, she looked like crap! She washed her face and wiped toothpaste around her mouth which was the best she could manage without a toothbrush. It helped a little.

She wasn't sure what to do next, but then she smelled coffee, so she followed her nose down the stairs and into the kitchen. She found Tony standing there, in a bathrobe, pouring two mugs of coffee.

"Ah – just in time, M'lady," he told her, with a mock bow in her direction. "Consider me your personal butler for the day." He handed her a cup of coffee, and she took a sip with a happy sigh.

"Oh man, that's good. Thanks, Tony. Where's the bossman?" She glanced around as if she expected Gibbs to materialise from one of the kitchen cupboards.

"He went back to the office a couple of hours ago."

"Really? Already? Feels like we just came from there."

Tony shrugged. "Yeah, well, you know Gibbs. He thinks anything more than four hours sleep is for pansies – or, you know, officers." He grinned at her. "Besides, his favourite is in trouble – and there's no way Gibbs can sleep easy knowing someone out there is trying to hurt you, Abs."

She chewed on her lip, not wanting to think about that. "I'm sorry, Tony," she sighed.

"For what?" He raised an eyebrow and took a sip of his own coffee.

"For ruining your night and making you sleep on Gibbs's couch last night." She glanced through the open kitchen door into the living room next door. The couch was old and worn but kind of comfy-looking all the same. "He did give you pillows and blankets and stuff, didn't he?" she asked anxiously, seeing no evidence of them on the couch.

"Relax. It was fine."

He kissed her cheek and then led her into the living room. He sat down on the couch, and she sat down beside him. She nestled against him for warmth, wishing she had a bathrobe or something to wrap around her. The house was chilly, and she knew from experience that Gibbs didn't seem to believe in central heating. Luckily, Tony was one of those men who radiated body heat, so she snuggled up to him like he was her own personal furnace.

"Hey – did Gibbs lend you his bathrobe?" she asked, tugging on Tony's sleeve. "Or wait – did you steal it after he left? Does he *know* you're wearing his bathrobe? Hmmm." That led her immediately onto another thought. "I'm surprised Gibbs even OWNS a bathrobe. Somehow I can't see him wearing one – and definitely not a fancy one like that."

"You think he lives in old wood-working sweats or grungy work stuff?" Tony grinned.

"Well, he's Gibbs – so yes!" She settled down beside him again, and he raised his arm so she could tuck herself under it.

"While we're on the subject of appropriate clothing – Gibbs better not come back and see us like this." Tony nodded at her scantily clad form. Abby laughed. "Hey – it's okay for you!" Tony protested. "It's me he'll cut up into pieces so small that not even Ducky will be able to stick them back together again."

Abby giggled again, and then her good mood faded as she remembered why she was here. Last night had been so horrible, and she couldn't shake the queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"Gibbs thinks of you like a daughter, Abs." Tony squeezed her gently. "That's why, whoever this guy is, he won't get close to you. Gibbs won't let it happen."

"He couldn't save Kelly…" Abby began. Tony squeezed her again.

"Which is precisely why he won't let it happen again. He knows he won't survive it happening twice. You're too important to him. And to me."

She glanced up at him and saw the sincerity radiating from his eyes. Tony was frequently nosy, often annoying, and usually hid his true self behind a variety of idiotic pranks and jokes. However, Abby knew very well that the man inside cared deeply about the people in his life and would do anything for them. She had never been fooled by the mask he wore, as she knew so many other people were. Even Ziva and McGee often failed to see the big heart he tried – and succeeded – in hiding. She sometimes wanted to slap them and remind them that Tony's deeds always spoke louder than his words.

He might tease them mercilessly and drive them to distraction with his antics, but it was Tony who had been there for McGee when he'd shot an off-duty police officer. It was Tony who had stepped up to take the brunt of a bomb blast for McGee and Kate the very day he'd returned from work after his bout with the plague. It was Tony who had taken a beating during an undercover op with Ziva and still come up with a plan to save her life – knowing it probably meant sacrificing his own in the process. Abby sometimes wondered how Ziva and McGee managed to forget all these things. Working with Tony could be annoying, but at least it was never dull – and he would always have your six.

She smiled at him and then noticed that his bathrobe had fallen open to the waist, revealing a leather thong hanging around his neck. There was a little key dangling on the end of it.

"Hey – what's this?" She fingered it gently. "You don't usually wear any jewellery, Tony."

"Not exactly jewellery, Abs," he said, flushing slightly. Realisation kicked in, and she grinned.

"It's from her, isn't it? The hot mystery top who has you totally under her thumb! What does the key open?" she asked curiously. He flushed a much deeper shade of red.

"My heart," he told her smoothly, capturing her hand in his and removing it from the key hanging around his neck.

"It's the key to your heart? Oh man! That is so romantic! You're totally in love with this chick, aren't you?"

She gazed at him thoughtfully. In all the time she'd known him, she'd never seen him in love – not really. She knew he'd fallen for Jeanne, but as he'd been undercover at the time she'd never been entirely convinced that was really love. It had always seemed more of a fantasy kind of love to her - a 'what might have been if I was someone else' kind of deal for Tony. Tony had commitment issues up to his eyeballs – so she was intrigued as to what kind of woman had succeeded where so many others failed.

"Yeah, I am," he admitted. "Don't tell anyone though, Abs. It'll ruin my reputation as a player."

She snorted. "Yeah. Right. But…Tony - is she good enough for you, this chick? Does she *get* you?" She suddenly felt anxious. This was the first time he'd ever been in love like this – she couldn't bear the thought of him genuinely giving his heart to someone and then being hurt. It was too horrible to contemplate. Tony seemed to sense her anxiety.

"It's okay, Abs. She totally gets me. Nobody else ever got me like this." He smiled down at her, and he seemed so relaxed about it, and so totally convinced, that she felt reassured.

"Good. She must hate me for dragging you away from her last night." She made a face.

"Oh, she understands. Like I said – she gets me – and I get her – so she totally understands. Now – d'you want breakfast? Gibbs muttered something about bagels before he left. They look about three days old, but they're probably okay."

"Or we could go out and grab something," Abby suggested.

Tony shook his head. "No, Abs. The house is secure, but you're not going out anywhere without two agents at all times. You're on close protection detail, remember."

She sat up suddenly, her earlier queasiness returning. She leaned over and patted his bathrobe pocket – on the opposite side to where she was sitting. His eyes flickered.

"I take it that's your gun, and not, you know, that you're really pleased to see me," she sighed.

He gave her a tight little smile. "Go take a shower, Abby. Then let's both get dressed and eat something before Gibbs comes back, finds us still lounging around like this, and slaps me stupid."

She laughed. "Hey – does Gibbs know he has to ask your new top's permission before whacking you around from now on?"

Tony gave a little snort. "Yeah, right, like Gibbs would give a damn about that. Now go!"

She ran off up the stairs, still giggling to herself.


Gibbs returned home to find Abby and Tony sitting at the kitchen table, up and dressed. Tony had a large pad of paper in front of him and was busy writing on it.

"Gibbs!" Abby threw herself at him and enveloped him in her usual bear hug. "Tony was just making me go through a list of anyone who might want to hurt me."

"Not a very long list." Gibbs glanced at it over Tony's shoulder. "Or maybe you only just scuttled to it the minute I walked through the door?"

They both gave him seraphic smiles, which only served to convince him that he was right.

"Be honest about the list, Abby." Gibbs gestured with his head at it.

"Gibbs! Of course I'll be honest!" Abby protested. "I always am!"

He raised an eyebrow. "No, you're not," he said meaningfully. "Michael?" he reminded her. "Any more deadbeat boyfriends out there that we should know about?"

He saw the deadly serious look on Tony's face - they'd both been disappointed in her failure to confide in them over the whole Michael fiasco. Abby had the grace to look chagrined.

"No, Gibbs. I haven't dated anyone in a while. Hard to trust guys again after that whole thing with Michael."

"Any luck at your end, Boss?" Tony asked.

"Nope." Gibbs shook his head. "McElroy's trial started last week, and Legal won’t let me bring him in for questioning without more evidence. We have no clear link between him and what happened at Abby's apartment last night. We'll keep working it though. Tony – I want you to be Abby's personal bodyguard throughout the court case – you can have access to a rota of agents – I want two NCIS agents with her at all times, and I want *you* to always be one of them."

"Yes, Boss."

"I'll keep McGee and Ziva working on the death threat with me back at NCIS. You keep me informed of *anything* that happens. Now – are you ready, Abby?"

"For what?" she frowned.

"I figure you'll need to go get some stuff from your place – unless you want to give evidence in court tomorrow looking like that?" He surveyed her black leather pants, skeleton tee shirt, and multiple black studded necklaces and belts with a raised eyebrow.

She grinned. "I take your point, Bossman!"


They exited the house in unison, Tony and Gibbs shrouding her from the sight of anyone who might be watching. Abby shivered: this was *serious*.

Tony unlocked the car and got into the driver's seat. Abby started to get in beside him, but Gibbs pulled her arm and gestured her into the back.

"Person being protected always rides in the back, Abby," he told her as she got in.

"Why?" she asked blankly.

"Harder for someone to take a shot through the car windows," Tony explained, gesturing with his hand. She could see his point. If she was sitting next to him in the passenger seat, then someone could target her from head on. She presented a much harder target sitting in the back.

She shivered again as Gibbs got in beside her. She was already scared but felt even more freaked out by how seriously the two men in her life were taking it. Gibbs was like a second father to her, and Tony was like the annoying big brother she'd never had.

She mulled over the conversation about Michael. Much as she loved Gibbs and Tony, she could never date either of them. They were dangerous men – much more dangerous in their own way than Michael had ever been – and while she loved them both dearly, she suspected they'd make lousy boyfriends. Tony's commitment issues and roving eye, and Gibbs's shattered heart and inability to let people in, meant they both came with too much baggage. She hoped there was someone out there for them though. Tony certainly seemed to think he'd found the right person, and Gibbs had admitted he'd been on a hot date last night so maybe there was someone for him too.

They drew up outside her apartment complex, and Gibbs inspected the perimeter before allowing her out. They started walking inside – but Abby noticed Tony wasn't with them. She glanced back.

"He's staying in the car, Abs. Someone always has to stay with the car – if it's left alone at any point, then someone could get in and plant a bomb," Gibbs told her.

"A bomb?" She tried to process that. "You really think someone would do that? I mean, I thought this was someone just trying to scare me..."

He silenced her with a look of pure ice. "Abby, someone dressed up that skeleton in your clothes, put it in the coffin, stuck a kitchen knife through the ribs, and left a note on it, saying you'd be next," he growled. "You think there's any way I'm not gonna take that seriously?"

When he put it like that…Abby felt herself shaking again. Gibbs put an arm around her, but she noticed that he kept his hand resting on his gun butt as they walked up the stairs.

Her apartment looked dazzling. "Wow – I should hire those guys as a maid service," she joked. "My place never usually looks this clean. How did you get them to come out so soon anyway? Usually it takes a few days."

"DiNozzo's doing." Gibbs shrugged. "He can be pretty hard-assed when he tries."

"Oh yeah. I know." She'd seen several people under-estimate him - and live to regret it. Tony's goofy exterior often fooled people into thinking he was an idiot – and they got the shock of their lives when he suddenly turned deadly serious.

She gathered up some clothes and toiletries, stuffed them into a bag, took a sad look around, and then turned and left with Gibbs by her side.

When they got back to Gibbs's house, she took her bag upstairs and unpacked in the spare room. She opened the closet and found that it was already nearly full to bursting with clothes – mainly an array of exquisitely tailored suits.

"Wow, Bossman – if you've got all this nice stuff, how come you never wear it?" she whistled, fingering the sleeve of one particularly beautiful suit.

She hung up her court suit with a grimace – God she hated that thing! She threw her court shoes down into the bottom of the closet - where they hit something. She crouched down and saw that it was a large, hand-carved, wooden chest. She ran her hand over it – it was beautiful work. She knew immediately that Gibbs had made it – it had his hallmark of practicality combined with elegant simplicity. She wondered what was in it. She knew she shouldn't look but her natural curiosity got the better of her, so she tried to lift the lid – only to find that it was locked.

"Hmm, hinkey," she muttered to herself. "A closet full of smart suits he never wears and a locked chest. What does it all mean, Bossman?"

She spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening going through a list of people who might want to kill her. Gibbs had brought back a box full of her old case files, and they went through each one, case by case.

Gibbs was as relentless and thorough as ever and as the evening wore on her head started to ache. It was such a depressing way to spend a day. She thought it was entirely possible that Gibbs would make her stay up all night, until they'd been through every single case file in exhausting detail.

Abby felt herself going quiet. She was anxious about having to give evidence in court the next day. She hated court enough as it was, and now there was another layer of pressure on her. She didn't want to walk into that courtroom and sit opposite the man who was probably trying to kill her. She gazed into space as Gibbs took yet another file from the box.

"Abby!" he rapped out, and she came to, realising he'd asked her something.

"Uh?" She looked at him blankly, and he made an impatient gesture with his hand.

"Concentrate, Abby! I asked if…"

"You know," Tony interrupted smoothly. "I think we're done for the night. How about I call for take out, and we watch a movie?"

"We're not done. I'll say when we're done," Gibbs growled.

Tony turned to gaze at him thoughtfully. Then he gestured with his head towards the living room. "Can I have a word, Jethro?"

Abby was startled; she didn't think she'd ever heard Tony call their boss that before. It seemed to startle Gibbs too, because he gave a little grunt but acceded to Tony's request.

She watched, weary beyond belief, as they went into the next door room. She could see Tony talking rapidly to Gibbs in a low, earnest voice. Gibbs crossed his arms over his chest, looking furious, but that didn't stop Tony. She tuned into their conversation.

"We've done enough for today. Look at her - she's exhausted."

"We're all damn well tired, Tony! But I have to find out who is trying to hurt her."

"I know." Tony's tone was placating. "But she's already scared. You growling at her doesn't help."

"She had a death threat! I don't care if she's dead on her feet – better that than dead for real."

"You're freaking her out!"

"I'm trying to protect her!"

"By working her into the ground?" Tony raised an eyebrow. "Just because you lost Kelly, doesn't mean you're going to lose Abby too, Jethro. Now cut her some slack."

Abby took a sharp intake of breath. Gibbs looked like he was about to snap Tony's head off. Tony held his ground, his gaze firm. Then, suddenly, all the tension seemed to go out of Gibbs, and he deflated like a balloon. He ran his hand through his hair with a weary sigh.

"You're right, Tony," he grunted. "Always know I can rely on you to get in my face when I need it."

Tony smiled, and Abby felt as if she was intruding on an intimate moment. Tony rested his hand lightly on Gibbs's arm and squeezed. They shared a look and then the moment was over. Tony removed his hand and returned to the kitchen.

"So, Abby – what d'you wanna eat?" he asked. "Pizza, Chinese, pizza, Thai, pizza, Indian, or, you know, pizza? Not that I want to influence your choice at all, Abs." He shot her his most charming grin, and she laughed, the queasiness in her stomach subsiding.

They ate the pizza sitting on the couch in front of "Stardust", a movie that Gibbs claimed not to remotely understand, but which she and Tony giggled through. Gibbs sat in the middle on the couch, and it was a tight squeeze fitting them all on.

Abby did what she had with Tony earlier and snuggled into Gibbs. She loved the warm, solid scent of him. He always smelled of safety to her – of sawdust and coffee and something utterly dependable. No matter how dangerous he was, and how scared of him everyone else was, she knew that he would always protect her. He put an arm around her and let her nestle in close.

She got up when the film ended and said good night to them both. She was dreading going to court the next day and wanted to get to bed and hopefully get some sleep, although she didn’t *feel* like sleeping at all.

She paused in the doorway and glanced back. Tony and Gibbs were still sitting on the couch, side by side, shoulders touching, and there was something puzzling about their body language – something she couldn't wrap her tired brain around. She dismissed it and went upstairs to bed.

Much to her own surprise, she was so worn out that she fell asleep immediately and slept straight through until 5 a.m. when her cell phone bleeped. She lifted her head blearily, wondering who could be sending her a text message at this time of night. She sat up in bed, turned on the light, reached for her phone, and clicked on the message without even thinking.

"I see you've gone into hiding. Afraid? You should be. I'm coming to get you, Abigail Sciuto."

She jumped out of bed. He knew where she was! When he said he was coming to get her, did he mean right now? Was he already in the house – or even standing outside her bedroom door at this very moment? Who the hell was this bastard, and why was he trying to scare her like this?

She grabbed her hairbrush to use as a weapon and cautiously pulled open the bedroom door. There was nobody there. She ran down the hallway towards the one person she knew would always keep her safe, no matter what.

"Gibbs!" she yelled, running into his bedroom, still clutching the cell phone.

She paused, frozen in shock. Gibbs was half out of bed, reaching for his gun – and he wasn't alone. Behind him, on the other side of the bed, the side furthest from the door, was someone else.


Tony's head was lifted in sleepy shock, and he was blinking blearily. He was wearing black leather cuffs on his wrists - and they were attached by a chain to the headboard. He was also wearing the black collar she'd seen around his neck a couple of weeks ago, and that, also, was attached to the headboard.

Abby stared, a dozen different things running through her mind at the same time.

Gibbs was Tony's 'hot top'. Gibbs was the one who 'got' Tony, the one Tony was so crazy in love with.


It should have been shocking, but somehow it wasn't, and she wasn't sure why. In fact, there was something almost ordinary about it. It felt so *right*, as if it was the way the world should be.

Everything fell into place; the suits in the closet belonged to Tony. That fancy bathrobe he'd been wearing also belonged to Tony. Then there was the presence of that mysterious locked chest in the closet – she suddenly knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the key she'd seen hanging around Tony's neck opened it. And there hadn't been any pillows and blankets on the couch because Tony was sleeping here, in Gibbs's bed, where he so clearly belonged.

Then time speeded up again, and Gibbs had turned on the light and was by her side, gun in hand. Tony unclipped himself from his bondage in a matter of seconds, with an ease that spoke of frequent practice, and then he was by her side too, also holding a gun. She was relieved that they were both wearing boxers and tee shirts, or she thought she'd have expired on the spot and saved her mystery stalker the effort of killing her.

"Abby?" Gibbs grabbed her arm. "What is it? Are you okay?"

"He sent me a text message," she said, handing him the cell phone with trembling fingers. Gibbs grabbed it, and his jaw tightened as he read the message.

"Tony – check the outside agents," he rapped out.

Tony was pulling on a pair of sweats and some sneakers, and he seemed to have lost the cuffs and collar somewhere along the way.

"On it, Boss," he said, disappearing out of the door.

"Outside agents? What outside agents?" Abby asked blankly.

"The ones I assigned to watch the house when we're in it," Gibbs told her tersely. He pulled on his jeans, a shirt, and a pair of boots and then threw her Tony's bathrobe. Looking down, she realised she was dressed only in her panties and tee shirt, and she flushed and pulled on the bathrobe. "Downstairs. With me. Now," Gibbs ordered, leading the way.


Gibbs took Abby into the living room, sat her down on the couch, and then went over to the window. He twitched aside one of the drapes and looked out to see Tony leaning into a car parked in the street.

"How come you didn't tell me about the outside agents?" Abby asked.

"Tony's call. He said you were freaked out enough as it was."

Gibbs had been sure the outside agents were just a precautionary measure, but he wasn't taking any chances with Abby's safety. There was no way he'd have let Tony sleep in bondage if it weren't for the fact that Abby had three other agents assigned to her – the two outside and himself.

"When did you get the text?" he demanded, returning to where she was sitting on the couch.

"About five minutes ago – I ran straight in to tell you, Gibbs."

Gibbs examined the text again. "No specific threats about the court case, but that doesn't mean it's not McElroy. Sending a text like this on the morning you're due to give evidence against him is a good way of scaring you off."

"He can't damn well scare me off!" she said hotly. "I spent weeks on that forensic evidence, Gibbs. No way he's gonna stop me presenting it in court."

"Then I guess that bastard doesn't know Abby Sciuto very well if he thinks he can try." Gibbs grinned.

At that moment Tony returned to the house. "All's quiet. Reynolds and Smith say nothing suspicious has happened all night. Could just be a scare tactic, Boss."

Gibbs threw him Abby's cell phone, and Tony caught it easily, one-handed. "Get McGee up - see if he can find out where the text came from."

"On it, Boss." Tony disappeared again. Abby watched him go. Then she turned back to Gibbs.

"He looked good in your collar, Bossman," she said. Gibbs's jaw tightened. "Uh…sorry." She clapped her hand over her mouth. "I always say these really inappropriate things in life or death situations. Like that time when Ari was shooting at me, and for some reason I totally started admiring Tony's butt, and…" she trailed off as she saw the expression on Gibbs's face.

"This gonna be a problem for you, Abs?"

"What kind of problem?" she asked blankly.

Gibbs made an impatient motion with his head. "DiNozzo and me."

"What – you mean you being his top?" she frowned. "Why would that be a problem? I was kinda surprised, but only for maybe a second because you two guys totally rock together. I always thought you and Stan looked kinda hot together too, but that's nothing compared to the total hotness that's been between you and Tony all these years. It was dumb of me to think that Tony was being topped by some chick. I mean, firstly, there's no way Tony would ever let a woman top him – he's always gotta be in control around the ladies – and secondly, there's no way Tony would let *anyone* top him but you." She ran out of steam and sat looking at him expectantly.

"Uh-huh," was all he found to say.

Abby grinned. "So I'm right?"

He gazed at her, startled. He had no idea that they were both so transparent. Then again, Abby was Abby, and she saw things nobody else did. "Uh-huh," he said again.

"I won't tell anyone."

"It's not your secret to keep, Abby. I won't put that on you."

"Well, I won't tell anyone all the same. I figure it's still pretty new, and you guys need some time to see how it pans out, so…" she shrugged.

At that moment, Tony returned to the room. "No luck on the text. Burn phone. Probably been dumped by now. Can't even get a fix on where the text came from. What next, Boss?"

Gibbs glanced at the sunlight starting to creep in around the drapes. "Next – we help Abby keep that appointment in court."


Abby walked into the courthouse a few hours later with her head held high. She might be scared shitless, but she wasn't going to let anyone see that. Gibbs and Tony flanked her, and she knew that as long as they were nearby she'd be safe.

They saw McElroy talking to his lawyer in the hallway, and Abby faltered, her steps slowing. Gibbs put a hand on her shoulder. McElroy and his lawyer walked towards them, and she took a panicky intake of breath. Gibbs squeezed her shoulder hard for reassurance. McElroy started grinning at her as he got close, a slow, threatening kind of grin. He didn't say a word – he just inclined his head sardonically at her as he walked by.

Abby released a deep breath, her heart racing.

"Think that's him, Boss?" Tony asked, as they all stood there, watching McElroy disappear into the courtroom. "Is he the one who's been threatening Abby?"

"It's him," Gibbs grunted. "I can feel it in my gut."

Abby gave evidence for the next three days. Gibbs escalated her protection, moving her to a different safe house every night, just to be sure, but either he or Tony was with her at all times.

"You do know we have this really big thing to talk about, don't you?" Abby said to Tony as they sat in the safe house after her first day in court. Tony glanced at the agent standing guard by the door and then glanced back at her warningly.

"When this is all over, Abby, I promise to answer all your questions."

"All of them?" She raised a teasing eyebrow.

"Well…most of 'em." He grinned back. "For now…" He zipped his finger over his mouth and she nodded her agreement.

"I hate this," she sighed.

"I know." He gave her a sympathetic look. "All the moving around, the escorts, the different house every night, the constant surveillance..."

"Oh not that!" she laughed. "That's all kinda fun - like being in the movies or something. No – I hate this." She gestured at the court suit she was still wearing. It was duck egg blue and ugly as all hell. "I miss wearing my real clothes," she said mournfully. "My boots, my rings – my *stuff*, Tony."

Tony grinned. "You miss wearing your collar too?"

"Sure." She waggled her eyebrows at him. "Don't you?"

And they both burst out laughing.


Tony was with Abby every day she was in court. Gibbs dropped by frequently, but he spent most of his time at NCIS, looking for evidence that McElroy had tried to scare off NCIS's expert witness.

Tony missed his dom intensely, but they were both too pre-occupied to do more than exchange the occasional smile in passing – although Gibbs managed to sneak in a head-slap every time they met, which made Tony feel better.

Being threatened seemed to bring out Abby's fighting spirit, and Tony watched in admiration as she presented the forensic evidence against McElroy with devastating accuracy in court. Then she answered the defence lawyer's hectoring questions without hesitation, completely confident in her findings. Tony almost wanted to burst into applause when she was done, and the judge allowed her to leave the witness stand for the last time.

A few hours later, they were in court to watch McElroy being convicted – in no small part due to Abby's evidence.

"We did it! We won!" Abby whooped, throwing herself at him and jumping into his arms. He hugged her tight, and they did a stupid little victory dance in the courtroom hallway. Then they walked towards the parking garage together, her hand tucked into his arm.

She was talking non-stop through sheer relief. "I'm free! I can go home! And you and I need to have a long overdue chat, Mister," she said, with mock severity, thumping his arm. "But do you know what I'm gonna do first?"

"Get drunk?" he suggested. "Leap into bed with Ziva? If so, can I watch?" He gave her a sly wink.

She thumped him again. "No – this!" She took off her shoes and dumped them in the trash as they walked past. "They were killing me! I can't wait to get into my boots!"

They went down into the parking garage, her barefoot, both of them still laughing, and Tony dismissed Reynolds and Smith who had stayed with the car. Tony got in, and Abby got in beside him, still talking. Tony drove off with Reynolds and Smith following on behind in their car.

"First we're going back to NCIS – I told McGee to have champagne ready to celebrate – and then I'm gonna go sit in my lab and just *fondle* things because you have no idea how much I've missed my babies! Major Mass-Spec, and Bert, and everyone! And I'm gonna get changed out of this horrible suit and get into something normal. And you, Tony, are going to tell me what kind of a dom Gibbs is, and whether he lets you get away with anything, and…"

"He's Gibbs, Abs! Do you seriously think he lets me get away with anything?" Tony raised an eyebrow.

"And how you two first got it on and all that stuff," she said without pausing. "And then…"

Tony turned to glance at her and saw the red dot on her head. Time slowed down. He swerved the car to one side, pushing her down with his hand at the same time, and at that moment the windscreen shattered and suddenly there was glass everywhere. At first, all he could hear was the sound of screeching brakes, and then the wrenching of tearing metal, and then, finally, a loud bang as the car rolled over, hit something, and came to rest by the side of the road.

Then there was just a shocking silence.

"Abby!" Tony rolled over, looking for her desperately in the wreckage of the car. She was lying on her side next to him, her eyes closed, blood pouring from her head, staining that duck egg blue suit a dark shade of crimson. "ABBY!"

His legs were trapped, but somehow he managed to wrench them free. He could smell burning, and he had no idea if the shooter was still nearby. If he was, they were sitting targets. He had to get Abby out of the car.

He had no idea if she was dead or alive, and he couldn't give himself time to think about it. He kicked what was left of the glass out of the side window, slid out, then reached back in, grabbed her, and pulled her out after him. He picked her up and carried her away from the car, stumbling as he half-ran, half-walked, desperate to get her to the safety and cover of the trees by the side of the road before the car blew up.

He placed her on the grass and shielded her as he scanned the surrounding area for whoever had shot at them. Then there was a massive roaring bang and their car exploded in flames behind him. He threw himself on top of Abby, feeling the searing heat on his back as he protected her body with his own.

"Abby…" He patted her face desperately, but she was as cold and white as ice. "Abby!"

He heard footsteps and reached for his gun, turning…to see Reynolds and Smith running towards them.

"DiNozzo? Are you okay?" Reynolds yelled, while Smith reached for his cell phone and called for back up and paramedics.

"Sniper," Tony panted. "Got a shot at us. Abby's hurt…don't know how bad…don't know if it's from the crash or if he got a bullet in her…"

He stroked Abby's dark hair away from her face, her blood pooling on his fingertips.

"Abby?" he whispered.


Gibbs strode into the hospital waiting room, and his heart did a little flip as he saw Tony sitting there, leaning forwards, arms resting on his knees. His sub looked up, saw him, and got to his feet. He stood to attention as Gibbs came over to him, and he wouldn't meet Gibbs's gaze. His eyes were flat, dull and…guilty. He looked just like he had after Jenny had been killed.

"Sit rep," Gibbs rapped out, standing in front of him, too close, getting into his space. He knew it was the best way to handle Tony in this kind of situation.

"Abby's still in the ER – I don't know how she's doing because nobody will tell me anything. Wasn't an accident though, Boss. We took fire – at least one bullet, maybe more. Not sure if she got hit, or if she was injured when the car went over."

Gibbs listened intently, using the opportunity to assess Tony's condition at the same time.
His sub had some minor cuts on his face and hands, and his shirt was torn and covered in blood that Gibbs suspected wasn't his, but apart from that he looked unharmed.

Gibbs moved his hand up to Tony's head, but Tony flinched and ducked away as if expecting a blow. Gibbs tried again, moving his hand more slowly so that Tony could see it coming. This time, Tony held still and allowed Gibbs to roll back his eyelids and check for any sign of head trauma.

Gibbs dropped his hand and scrutinised his sub. Tony was deeply distressed – no doubt about it. Gibbs's over-riding impulse was to hustle Tony home, examine every inch of him to make sure he was okay, and then chain him to the bed and never let him out of his sight again. He fought the impulse down – he had a job to do.

"It's my fault, Boss," Tony told him, still unable to meet his gaze, staring at a point just over his left shoulder. "Abby's fighting for her life in there because of me. I screwed up again. It's all my fault."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "How?"

"I was stupid. I didn't follow close protection protocol – I let Abby sit next to me in the car. I was so sure McElroy was our perp that when he was sent down, I thought the danger was over." He shook his head. "That sniper, whoever he was, had a clear shot at her, Boss. I saw the red dot on her head, and I pushed her down but then the window shattered, and I lost control of the car…It was all my own damn fault."

"DiNozzo!" Gibbs rapped out. Tony winced at his tone of voice. "I'll let you know where I'm assigning blame when I get all the facts. Until then, don't piss me off by speculating."

Tony bit on his lip. "Yes, Boss."

"Go back to NCIS and write up your report," Gibbs ordered. There was no point Tony staying at the hospital waiting for news of Abby – Tony handled difficult situations by doing things, not sitting around twiddling his thumbs. His sub was a lot like him in that respect. "When you're done, call me, and I'll give you new orders. Clear?"

"Yes, Boss." Tony started walking towards the door without hesitation.

"DiNozzo!" Gibbs called him back. Tony paused, looking at his feet, still unable to meet Gibbs's gaze. Gibbs grasped Tony's jaw firmly, forcing Tony to look straight at him. "I'm glad you're alive, Tony," he said softly. Then, in a harder voice, "Because you don't damn well have my permission to die. New rule. Understand?"

"Rule number seven, Boss. Not to die without your permission. Got it." Tony managed a faint smile, but Gibbs thought he needed to hear it.

"And get Ducky to look at those cuts." Gibbs gestured to the lacerations on Tony's hands and the side of his face. Tony nodded and left the room. Gibbs followed him – but only to grab hold of one of the medical personnel and force her to go check on Abby.

A few minutes later, a doctor appeared in the waiting room.

"Special Agent Gibbs? You were asking about Ms Sciuto's condition?"

"She okay?"

"Are you a family member?" the man asked, with a frown, looking down at the clipboard he was holding.

"I'm down as her next of kin, along with her mom," Gibbs replied brusquely. "Now tell me how she's doing."

"She's going to be fine. She has a concussion, and she's lost a lot of blood, but we stitched up the head injury – it probably looked worse than it is."

"Was there a bullet?" Gibbs demanded.

The doctor looked bewildered. "No bullet, Agent Gibbs. Her injuries are consistent with a car accident. She's got some minor lacerations and a badly bruised wrist, but I'd say she was lucky."

Gibbs allowed himself just a moment to let the relief wash through him. Then he was back to business again. "Can I see her?"

The doctor nodded and led him down the hallway to a room. Abby was lying on the bed, looking deathly pale, a bandage wrapped around her head.

Gibbs paused in the doorway. There had been no hospital bed for Kelly. She'd died instantly in that car wreck all those years ago. They had told him not to see the body when he arrived home from Iraq, but he had wanted to. He'd needed to know that it really was her, and that she really was gone. Last time he'd seen her, she'd run after him, tears in her eyes, begging him not to go. He'd smiled to cheer her up and waved goodbye. He hadn't known that was the last thing she would ever ask of him. Damn it, *he* had been the one going into combat. He was the one who should have died, not his family.

They had been right to tell him not to look at the body. He'd seen plenty of dead bodies in combat, but nothing prepared him for seeing her, looking like a mangled doll. She'd been badly smashed up in that car wreck – too badly for him to believe she was "sleeping", or "at rest" or any of that crap people spouted. She looked exactly like what she was – dead.

Abby didn't look dead. She looked pale, and tired, and hurt, but he could see her chest rising and falling, and the faint pink tinge on her cheeks. Gibbs sat down in the chair beside her bed and took her hand in his own. She moved her head, and her eyelids fluttered open.

"Hey, Bossman…" she whispered.

"Hey Abs. What you got for me?" he asked gently, with a little grin. She smiled too, in response to the familiar question.

"Jus' a conc'ss'n," she muttered, squeezing his hand. "No need f'you t'worry, Gibbs."

"Is that so?" He raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah." She grinned at him, her pale green eyes hazy from the pain meds. "Where's Tony? He okay?"

"He's fine. I sent him back to the office to write up his report."

"Meanie," she muttered.

"Yeah," he chuckled. "I am."

"Saved my life," she whispered. "Tony – saved me. Pulled me outta car 'fore it 'sploded."

He squeezed her hand again. It seemed that she and Tony had very different versions of what had happened.

"Abs – I need to find out who did this to you. I've called for your mom, and she's on her way. I'm going to leave you to get some rest now, but I'll come back later.”

"Mmmm," she muttered, her eyelids closing. He leaned over and kissed her forehead gently, but she was already fast asleep by the time he left the room.


Tony had just finished writing up his report when Gibbs called.

"She's fine," Gibbs told him before he even had a chance to open his mouth. "She has a concussion, but she wasn't hit by the bullet."

"Then it could still be in the car," Tony said quickly. "We need to bring it in and…"

"I'm already on it, DiNozzo!" Gibbs told him firmly. "Tell McGee to get the evidence garage ready for it. I want him and Ziva crawling all over the wreckage to see what they can find."

"What about me?" Tony asked helplessly. "What do you want me to do?"

"You finished that report?"


"Then leave it on my desk and go home."

Tony frowned. "Home?"

"Go back to the house and get some rest, Tony. I'll be there when I'm done."

"But Abby…"

"She's sleeping. You can see her soon."

"She's really fine?" Tony asked quietly.

"Yes. I posted a couple of agents outside her door, just in case that bastard comes back to finish the job, but my guess is he's already on the run."

"I don't want to go home, Boss. There must be something I can do. I could help Ziva and Tim…"

"Tony, there is no way I'm letting you work on the wreck of the car that you were driving! I've given you your orders – go home and get some rest. What's rule number one?"

"Obey you," Tony said reluctantly.

"Then do it. I don't have time to argue." And with that, Gibbs ended the call.

Tony didn't remember the drive home. He was on auto-pilot. Gibbs's house was in darkness when he got there, and he didn't turn on the lights. He walked into the living room, sank down on the floor with his back against the wall, and sat there, staring into space.

Gibbs had told him to get some rest, and he wanted to obey Gibbs, but he couldn’t do that. He couldn't do that because if he closed his eyes, for even a second, he saw them.
He saw Abby, lying on that grass verge, so white and cold and still. His fault. And he saw Jenny, hazel eyes wide open, lying dead in a pool of her own blood. His fault. And he knew that if he kept his eyes closed for even a fraction of a second longer then he'd see someone else. Also his fault.

"Always your fucking fault, DiNozzo."

He drew his knees up to his chest, rested his chin on them, and kept his eyes wide open as he sat there in the dark.


Gibbs was bone weary by the time he finally got home, many hours later. He walked into the living room, flicked on the light…and stopped. Tony was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall, his arms wrapped around his legs. He glanced up when Gibbs came in, blinking rapidly in response to the sudden burst of light. Gibbs sighed. He had hoped that Tony would be lying fast asleep in bed, but instead he could see that Tony's penchant for sitting on his own in the dark had asserted itself again.

"Thought I told you to get some rest, Tony," he said in a gentle tone.

"Am, Boss. Just resting here," Tony replied.

"That's not resting - as you damn well know." He crouched down in front of Tony and finally was able to do what he'd wanted to do all day – caress his sub. He reached out to stroke his sub's hair, but Tony jerked away from him. "You okay?" Gibbs asked, frowning.

"Me? I'm fine. How's Abby?"

"She's fine too. I just came from the hospital. She's sleeping like a baby. Her mom just arrived – she's built some kind of shrine in the room with candles, flowers, cards, and cake."


"Must be a Sciuto thing." Gibbs shrugged. "How long you been sitting there like that?" Tony didn't reply. "Since you got home?"


Gibbs rocked back on his heels and surveyed his sub. This was a crisis – no doubt about it – and while he was usually pretty good in a crisis, this one was outside his usual remit.

"We found the perp," he said.

Tony's head shot up. "Who was it?"

"Guy named Luke Thurle."

"Thurle – wasn't he in one of those files we went through?"

Gibbs nodded. "Released from prison a couple of weeks ago. Blames Abby's forensics for putting him there. Still claims he's innocent – says she tampered with the evidence, that she's some kind of devil-worshipper out to get him. Guy's a fruitcake."

"You found him? You brought him in?"

"Yeah – the idiot was seen firing the gun then driving off in a hurry. We got a call, went to his place, and found the gun. I interrogated the bastard myself. Ballistics match the bullet we pulled from the car with the gun we found in his house. It was definitely him."

"Nothing to do with McElroy then?"

"Nope." Gibbs shook his head.

"Shit. We got it wrong, Boss."

"Yes. We did." Gibbs gazed at his sub intently. "All of us, DiNozzo, not just you. I got it wrong – felt in my gut that it was McElroy and allowed you and Abby to believe it too - but I was wrong."

"But if I hadn't let Abby…" Tony began.

"Back half of the car is all crushed," Gibbs interrupted him. "If she'd been sitting in the back she'd be dead."

"If she'd been sitting in the back he wouldn't have had a clear shot at her, so he might not have pulled the trigger at all," Tony retorted.

"Spoke to Reynolds and Smith. They were right behind you on the road. They say you reacted fast, got Abby to safety, did all the right things."

Tony gazed at him blankly.

"You got her out of the car before it blew, Tony!" Gibbs said forcefully.

"But I screwed up," Tony repeated insistently.

"Yes, you did," Gibbs replied, because Tony could see through bullshit, and he needed his boss – his dom – to be honest with him. "And so did Abby – she knew the rules about where to sit. And Smith and Reynolds fucked up too – they didn't stop you. And I screwed up, Tony – I was going after the wrong guy."

"No. I was the lead protection officer on duty. I screwed this up, like I screwed up with Jenny. You know I screwed up with Jenny, Boss."

"Yeah." Gibbs nodded. "You did. But Jenny knew what she was doing. She didn't allow you to protect her – she sent you away. And d'you know why she did that?"

Tony shook his head.

"Because she knew she screwed the pooch years ago, and it had come back to bite her. She didn't want it biting you, or Ziva, or me. She got you out of the way on purpose to keep you out of the firing line. She died, but that was a success as far as Jenny was concerned. Hard for us to live with, but she got what she wanted – she kept us safe."

Tony dropped his gaze.

"There's plenty of blame to go around, Tony. Today, and when Jenny died. You can have a share of it, but you can't claim it all."

Tony stared moodily at the ground. Gibbs stroked his cheek gently, but Tony moved his head away. Gibbs sighed – it looked like Tony wasn't ready to forgive himself just yet, and he didn't want anybody being nice to him right now.

His sub looked beat – his face was pale and there were dark rings under those haunted green eyes. Gibbs didn't think he stood a hope in hell of getting Tony to sleep unless he could make it an order that Tony had to obey. Clearly, it was time to get tough.

Gibbs stood up. "Strip," he said, taking off his jacket and throwing it on the couch. He turned back to see Tony sitting there, gazing at him with a shocked expression on his face. "I said, strip," Gibbs snapped.

"You want me naked?" Tony queried in a disbelieving tone. "Now?"

"Yup. See, my sub was in a serious accident, and as his body belongs to me I want to check it for damage. And I don't expect to have to explain my orders. So strip. Now!" He snapped that last word out hard. If Tony wasn't going to respond to him as his boss or his lover, then he'd damn well make sure he responded to him as his dom.

Tony got up slowly. He undid his shirt and eased himself out of it with a wince, then removed the rest of his clothes. Gibbs beckoned him over, and Tony came, wearily.

Gibbs grasped Tony's chin and turned his face to one side so he could examine the cuts and bruises on it. "Did you get Ducky to look at these like I ordered?"


"What's rule number one?"

"Obey you," Tony muttered unwillingly.

"There will *always* be punishment for disobedience, Tony."

Tony's green eyes were sullen. "So fucking spank me. I don't care."

"Punishment doesn't always mean spanking," Gibbs reminded him. "And drop the attitude, DiNozzo."

The sharp words acted like a head-slap, jolting Tony out of himself. "Sorry, Boss."

"Who's in charge here, Tony?"

Tony gazed at him mulishly. "You are," he said finally.

"Damn straight! Now stop fighting me and give it up, Tony."

Tony's shoulders sagged slightly, and Gibbs knew he was winning, slowly but surely.

"Turn around." He put a hand on Tony's shoulder and turned him – and his jaw tightened angrily at the sight of his sub's back. It was puffy and red in places, and when he put his hand on it he could feel the heat. "You got burned here, Tony. Did you get any medical treatment at the hospital?"

"No, Boss." Tony shook his head. "Didn't ask for any. Didn't realise I was injured."

Gibbs pressed his fingers gently against Tony's reddened back. "You can't feel this?"

A flicker of a wince crossed Tony's face. "Yes, Boss. I can now. Just…didn't feel it earlier. Must have happened when the car exploded. Had my back to it. Was trying to shield Abby."

Gibbs took a good look at Tony's back. It wasn't serious, but it had to hurt. He went into the kitchen and got a bowl of water and his medical kit.

He returned to the living room, opened the kit, and fished out a tube of gel. It was the kind of heavy duty, medicated, skin cream he'd used on combat burns in Iraq, so he knew it would work on Tony's injury. It contained a good dose of antiseptic and a light anaesthetic, and he could testify to its pain-killing properties himself. He soothed it into the burned skin gently, taking his time.

Tony was shivering slightly which wasn't a good sign. Gibbs suspected it was a post-traumatic response, but Tony's feelings of guilt clearly weren't helping. Something didn't feel right though. Tony was a trained agent, and he'd been in worse situations. He'd definitely had some near-death experiences before, and he'd rescued team members he cared about from them too. Christ, Tony hadn't reacted like this when Kate had been killed, so what was going on here?

Something specific about this incident had clearly triggered something for him – but Gibbs didn’t know what. There was no point in asking Tony about it right now though; his sub was dead on his feet. What he needed was rest and someone to take care of him – and Gibbs would make sure that he got both.

Gibbs washed Tony's cuts and patted them dry, applying ointment and dressings where required. When he was done, he ran his hands over every inch of his sub's body, examining it in minute detail. Tony shifted restlessly.

“Stop that,” Gibbs ordered sharply. “As I can’t trust you to *know* if you’re injured anywhere, I’m just gonna have to check you out until I’m satisfied. Now stand still.”

“I’m fine,” Tony muttered.

“Not your call,” Gibbs snapped.

Gibbs resumed his examination, taking his time. He noticed how Tony gradually began to relax as he worked on him. Words were useless with Tony right now, but this method of taking his sub down was proving to be extremely effective. Tony always had responded to his touch; whether it was head-slaps, or atta boys, or just straightforward kisses - he had always been able to reach Tony better through touch than words.

"Hold still, boy," he said, running his hands firmly over Tony's ribs. Tony gave a little gasp. "That hurt?" Gibbs pressed the spot again, with two fingers, watching Tony's face. A little flicker of pain creased Tony's features. "Don't think they're broken – could be cracked or just bruised," Gibbs said, continuing to press around the sore ribs. He moved on and found some bruises on Tony's upper arm and an extremely sore looking patch on his ankle, where half the skin was scraped away.

"Legs were trapped in the car," Tony told him. "Had to pull hard to get free, so I could get Abby out."

Gibbs treated the injury and then stood up, a grim look on his face.

"I'm not happy about this, Tony," he growled. Tony blinked. "Your body belongs to me, and you haven't taken very good care of it. If you are *ever* hurt, I expect you seek medical attention. Got it?"

Tony nodded. "Yes, Boss. Sorry, Boss."

Gibbs thought they were getting there. He could feel Tony sinking down into his sub space with each growled order and terse command. If Tony wouldn't accept kindness right now, he would at least accept tough love – and Gibbs had no problem handing that out.

"With me," he said, turning on his heel and walking out the door and up the stairs. They got to the bedroom, and he plucked Tony’s collar off the nightstand and buckled it around Tony’s neck. Tony gave an almost imperceptible little sigh as it was fastened into place. It was only then that he seemed to finally give in and accept the comfortable familiarity of his role as Gibbs’s sub.

"Gonna punish you - like I promised," Gibbs told him as he fastened Tony's wrist and ankle cuffs onto his sub, taking care to avoid his injuries, buckling them loosely.

Tony nodded, his eyes glazed with exhaustion.

"You'll sleep in tight bondage tonight," Gibbs said, gesturing with his head at the bed. "Much tighter than usual. Get in."

Tony slipped into bed and settled down onto his side. Gibbs noticed that he was still shivering.

He fastened Tony's hands together, and then his ankles. Then he looped a piece of chain between the two and fastened that to the headboard. It wasn't very tight, but he didn't think Tony would notice that in the condition he was in right now. Then, finally, he padlocked the chains into place.

"You don't get to clip yourself in and out of your bondage tonight," he said, tapping Tony's head to make sure he was listening. "I've locked you in – if you need to piss, or move around, or you have a problem – any problem - then wake me."

Tony nodded. Gibbs tapped his head again.

"Do *not* just lie there if you need something. Wake me," he ordered.

"Yes, Boss," Tony said quietly.

"Good." Gibbs put his cell phone on the night stand next to Tony, within reach of his bound hands. "I will not leave you alone when you're locked in bondage – the phone is just a precaution." He didn't feel he needed to spell that one out. "You don't get to leave the bed without my permission. Now sleep."

He got undressed and slipped into the bed beside Tony. He noticed that Tony's eyes were wide open, and his sub was staring glassily at the wall. He was also trembling again. Gibbs suspected the trembling was caused by the effort it was taking for Tony to keep his eyes open. His body was exhausted and desperately needed sleep, but for some reason he wouldn't close his eyes.

Gibbs turned off the light and then moved over so that his chest was against Tony's back. He wrapped his arm firmly around Tony's waist.

"Close your eyes," he ordered.

"Can't, Boss." Tony's trembling intensified.

"It’s an order, DiNozzo!" he rapped out. "Not a request. You really want to disobey me on this?"

The breath left Tony's body with a sigh, and Gibbs saw his eyelids flutter shut. They opened again almost immediately. Gibbs tapped the back of Tony's head.

"You will sleep," he said firmly. The chains clinked as Tony moved his legs. Gibbs ran his hand down Tony's body, stilling him. "You are mine, and you will do as you are told," he growled into Tony's ear. He continued to slide his hand confidently over Tony's body, making it clear to his sub who owned him. "Your body is mine – you can't touch it right now, and you sure as hell can't stop me touching it," he said, in a low, commanding tone, straight into Tony's ear. "It belongs to me, and it will obey me. Now sleep."

"Yes, Boss."

Gibbs felt all the fight leave Tony's body as his sub finally surrendered to him. Tony closed his eyes, and Gibbs kept on reminding him that he was there, that Tony belonged to him, and that he had no choice but to obey his orders. He was tied to the bed, and Gibbs wasn't going to let him go any time soon; the only option was sleep. There was no other choice.

The repetition – and the stroking that accompanied it – seemed to work. Tony's breathing slowed and deepened as sleep claimed his weary body at long last.

Gibbs moved his hand to gently stroke his sub's hair. Now he was finally able to give in to the impulse he'd had all day to hold Tony close. He pressed a gentle kiss to Tony's shoulder, and another, and then another. He had wanted to be gentle with his sub, to hold him and take care of him, but instead he'd had to play the hard dom just to get him to rest. He had never seen his sub like this before, or experienced a Tony this lost and scared.

"Christ, Tony," he sighed into his sub's thick, soft hair. "What the hell happened to you?"


Tony blinked. He was lying on his side in bed, and he was aware that his back hurt, his ankle ached, and he could feel dozens of throbbing pains throughout his body – there were little cuts and bruises everywhere. The events of the previous day came flooding back in, and he remembered why he hurt – and why he *should* damn well hurt. It was the least he deserved, in the circumstances. He’d got off lightly compared to Abby. He moved his leg and heard the clinking of chains.

“Hey. You with us finally?”

Tony turned his head to see Gibbs sitting on the bed beside him, fully clothed, a file open on his lap. He was wearing his glasses and peering down at Tony over the top of them.

“Yeah. How’s…” Tony swallowed – his mouth was incredibly dry. “Abby?” he finished in a croak.

“She’s fine. I called the hospital, and she’s doing well. They’re going to keep her in another couple of days for observation, but they’re not worried about her.”

“You speak to her?” Tony asked anxiously. “She okay? I mean, really okay?”

“Yeah. She sounded just like Abby. She’s fine, Tony. No need to worry about her.”

“Can I see her?”

“Not today.” Gibbs shook his head. “She’s got a full quota of visitors today – Ziva and McGee this morning, Ducky and Jimmy this afternoon, and her mom is with her. Also, you’re gonna be in bondage all day, and I wasn’t planning on letting you get dressed, so unless you want to go to the hospital naked and wearing chains…” Gibbs let that hang with a shrug.

“Right.” Tony nodded.

Sweet-natured and forgiving though she was, he was sure Abby wouldn’t want to see him right now in any case. Besides, this was probably part of whatever punishment Gibbs had in store for him today for the total screw-up that had almost cost Abby her life. Tony wasn’t looking forward to that punishment, whatever form it took, but he deserved it – no doubt about that. He remembered how Gibbs had once punished McGee for failing to protect Abby by making him kneel at his desk. This was much bigger than that, so Tony was expecting an exponentially bigger punishment. Sore knees and a certain element of humiliation didn’t really cover this situation.

“I told ya to get Ducky to look at your injuries, and you didn’t. So I obviously can’t trust you to take care of yourself,” Gibbs said to him. “You were in a serious car accident yesterday - you have burns on your back, and cuts and bruises all over. You’re gonna be chained to either the bed or the couch for the day, so I can make sure you get some rest.”

“Yes, Boss,” Tony said quietly, without protest. “What time is it anyway?” He glanced at the bright rays of sunshine stealing in around the sides of the drapes.

“Nearly noon.” Gibbs went over to the drapes and opened them, letting the sunlight come flooding in.

“Shouldn’t we be at the office?”

“Nope. You’re on medical leave, and I’m working from home.” Gibbs nodded in the direction of the files on the bed. “I’m processing the paperwork and reports on Thurle. You can help me later.”

Gibbs returned to the bed and unlocked Tony from his bondage. “You have fifteen minutes in the bathroom – then get your ass out here.”

Tony swung his legs over the side of the bed, wincing as he became aware of a dozen different aches in his body.

“Shit…” he hissed as he stood up, his back protesting the movement.

“Like I said – serious car accident. You can keep going on the adrenaline, but the next day always hurts like a bitch,” Gibbs chuckled. “You probably wrenched a dozen muscles without even realising it.”

Tony felt like an old man as he walked slowly to the bathroom. Gibbs was right – he felt like he’d been hit by a truck. He pissed, showered, cleaned his teeth and shaved and emerged exactly fifteen minutes later feeling a bit more human.

Gibbs was waiting for him in the bedroom, his medical kit open on the bed. He examined Tony again, every inch of him, just like he had the previous night. There was something nice about it. Tony couldn’t remember anyone ever treating him with such careful precision before, like he mattered. In other circumstances he’d have enjoyed it, but not today. Not after he’d almost killed Abby through his own stupidity. Gibbs should be throwing him over the damn spanking bench in the basement and whaling on his ass, not running gentle fingers over his bruises and rubbing soothing lotion into his burned back. It was just wrong. He only submitted to it because he had no choice, but he was glad when it was over.

Gibbs fastened his cuffs and collar back on him, and then Tony followed his dom downstairs on the end of Gibbs’s leash. There was something reassuringly restrictive about it. Gibbs ordered him to sit on the couch in the living room and then chained his right wrist to his right ankle, and his left wrist to his left ankle. They were long chains, giving him a full range of movement, but it was, nonetheless, bondage. Gibbs fastened his leash to a hook in the wall beside the couch, securing it with a padlock.

“You don’t think for yourself today, Tony,” Gibbs told him. “You’re in bondage all day. You’ll do exactly what I say, when I say. If you want to use the bathroom, or if you want anything to eat or drink, then you ask me.”

Tony nodded. He wished it felt more like punishment, but in reality it just felt reassuring. He was so tired – he didn’t want to have to think. It was nice to be able to opt out and let Gibbs take control.

“It’s restrictive because I want to make sure your body gets a chance to rest and recover,” Gibbs told him, crouching down in front of him, a puzzled look in his eyes as if he was expecting some other kind of reaction from Tony. A protest maybe?

“It’s okay. I get it. You want to get me well so you can punish me,” Tony said.

Gibbs straightened up, slowly, an assessing look in his eyes. “Punish you for what, Tony?”

“For screwing up and nearly getting Abby killed."

Gibbs ran a hand over his chin and gazed down on Tony thoughtfully. “I’m not gonna punish you for that, Tony."

“But I screwed up – big time.”

“Yeah, you did screw up, Tony. But did you break any of the rules?”


“The rules – recite them,” Gibbs ordered.

“Rule number one: Obey you. Rule number two: Don’t lie to you. Rule number three: Don’t keep you waiting. Rule number four: No attitude. Rule number five: Nobody touches me but you. Rule number six: No wheedling. Rule number seven: Don’t die without your permission. Cardinal rule: I’m yours,” Tony fired off. He didn’t see how they were relevant right now. This was much bigger than the rules.

“And where does it say anything about not screwing up?” Gibbs raised an eyebrow.

“Oh come on!” Tony protested. “I made a mistake that almost cost Abby her life. I deserve to be punished, Gibbs. You have to punish me.”

“The hell I do!” Gibbs retorted. He sat down on the coffee table in front of Tony and leaned forward to gaze at him intently. “Yes, you made a mistake, Tony, but so did I, and so did Abby – and we’re all having to live with that. I won’t punish you for it.”

“You should. You must.”

“Don’t tell me what I *must* do with my own damn sub!” Gibbs responded angrily. “Who is in charge here, Tony?”

Tony stared at him mutely.

“DiNozzo!” Gibbs rapped out. “Who is in charge here?”

“You are,” Tony replied reluctantly.

“Who decides on your punishment? Who decides what you get punished for, what the punishment is, how long it lasts, and how hard it is?” Gibbs demanded.

“You do.”

“Is any of this your choice?”


“Then we’re clear,” Gibbs said firmly, getting up.

“Are you going to throw me out then?” Tony asked.

Gibbs looked stumped. “What?”

Tony looked straight at his dom. "It's *Abby*, Gibbs. I know what she means to you, and I don't expect you to forgive me for almost getting her killed."

Gibbs stood in front of him, his hands clenched into fists. Tony tensed, expecting the inevitable blow – hell, he’d expected it long before now.

“Do you remember what I said, during that first week, about how it’d be if I took you on?” Gibbs asked, in a deceptively quiet tone of voice.

“You said a lot of things back then, Boss."

“Yeah, but the one thing I told you to be really clear about was that once I'd fucked you I wouldn't give you up easily after that. 'Cause you’d be mine, and I'd fight for you if I had to."


“So – tell me – have I ever been the kind of man who gives up this easy?” Gibbs asked in a deceptively soft tone of voice.

“No, Boss. I guess not. I suppose I just thought…”

“No, Tony, you didn’t ‘just think’ – you aren’t thinking at all!" Gibbs roared. "You’re being an idiot. You’re mine, and there’s no way that I’m throwing you out. I’m not done with you yet, boy.”

Tony stared at him, stunned by his vehemence. “But if you’re not going to punish me, and if you’re not going to throw me out, then what *are* you going to do?”

“So we’re back to your two dead-end options again, are we?” Gibbs growled. "Okay. I will do something. Not either of those two things though; something you'll find much harder to accept. You won't like it, but I'll make you take it, and you will take it, because you're my sub. Wanna argue with me about that?"

Tony shook his head. "No, Boss. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. I promise."

This was much more familiar ground. Whatever Gibbs did, Tony could handle it. However much it hurt and however painful it was. Just as long as Gibbs didn't throw him out.

"Good. Then start work on this while I get you something to eat.” Gibbs threw a file into his lap and then strode into the kitchen.

Tony watched him go, wearily. He wished he could get his hands on some alcohol right now, but that wasn’t a possibility in his current state of bondage and with Gibbs watching him like a hawk.

What the hell did Gibbs have in mind that was going to be so hard? It was a relief to know that he had no choice. Gibbs would make him take whatever he wanted to hand out – so Tony would. No way out. No safe word. No escape. He doubted Gibbs would let him use his safe word for this in any case.

Whatever it was, Tony could take it. He'd make himself take it.


Gibbs went into the kitchen and paced angrily. What the hell was going on in Tony’s mind? Whatever it was, Gibbs didn’t like the glimpse he was getting into it. Sure, he’d always known that Tony had some kind of weird fragility that he was trying to hide – Gibbs had known that for years, long before he had taken Tony as his sub, and definitely before Ziva had handed him that dossier. He’d been aware of it since about the first day he met Tony, but he’d never tried to look into it because it hadn’t been any of his damn business before. As long as it didn’t interfere with Tony’s work, then it was fine. He had enough sore spots in his own personal life to be able to respect other people’s. He’d have kicked Tony’s ass if he’d ever once asked him about Shannon and Kelly, and it worked both ways.

That was before he took Tony as his sub. Gibbs didn’t think he had the option of letting it slide any more. For a start, Tony had nowhere to hide now. He couldn’t just slink off home, do whatever it was he did to cope, and then re-appear a couple of days later with a bright, idiotic smile pasted to his face and his happy, shiny Tony persona back in place. Now that they were living together, Gibbs was getting to see a side of his sub that had always been kept well hidden – and it was proving to be pretty damn revealing.

Tony clearly needed something from him right now, and he'd do his best to figure out what.
He had decided not to allow Tony to visit Abby today for two reasons; firstly, because he wanted Tony to get some rest; and secondly, because he suspected that seeing Abby with that big bandage around her head would only put Tony in a worse state of mind.

Tony might *want* punishment, but Gibbs had a feeling that he *needed* something else – and that was a healthy dose of affection. Unfortunately, Gibbs suspected that affection was going to be the hardest thing in the world for Tony to accept right now.

He took Tony some breakfast and coffee and then sat down on the couch beside him and picked up his paperwork. He had Tony do all the really dull stuff – filling out the forms, cross-referencing previous reports, checking back on the precise quotes from what had been said in interrogation. It was always long, boring work processing a perp, but Gibbs thought it was a good way of distracting Tony.

After a few hours of hard work, Gibbs glanced at his sub to see that he looked exhausted. Gibbs knew from experience that you could keep going for hours after a bad trauma, but the minute you allowed yourself to come down from it, and really relax, then you crashed. Tony hadn’t looked too bad when he’d first woken up, but now he looked like shit again.

Gibbs threw the files onto the coffee table and unlocked Tony from the wall.

“Time for you to sleep,” he said, putting out a hand to touch Tony’s head. Tony flinched, and Gibbs sighed. This flinching was becoming a theme, and it was starting to piss him off. He wondered if Tony was really expecting him to slam his fist into his face – and if he was, why? He’d never done anything like that, and he never would. Tony had to know that.

“Don’t,” he said, in a warning tone. “You’re my sub – I can touch you if I want.”

Tony looked surprised, but he nodded all the same. “Sorry, Boss.”

Gibbs sat back down on the couch beside Tony, put his hand on Tony’s head, and pulled him down into his lap. They’d rested like this dozens of times before, but this time Tony was stiff as Gibbs stroked his hair.

“Relax,” he ordered.

“Relaxing, Boss,” Tony said quickly, but it took a long time for the tension to dissipate from his shoulders. When it finally did, he still remained with his eyes resolutely open.

“What happens when you close your eyes Tony?” Gibbs asked quietly.

“Everything goes dark, Boss,” Tony joked.

Gibbs tapped his head firmly. “Don’t bullshit me, boy. Why is it a problem for you to close your eyes? What do you see?”

“See Abby, Boss,” Tony admitted, still staring straight ahead.

“See her like she was in the car?” Gibbs had known enough men with PTSD to be familiar with those kinds of flashbacks.

“Yeah.” Tony shuddered. “She’s lying on her side, eyes closed, blood…” He trailed off. “There was a lot of blood, Boss.”

“I know.”

“She was so pale. Thought she was dead for awhile until I felt the pulse. Then I thought she’d die before the paramedics arrived. Wondered how I’d ever be able to face you again if that happened. Know she’s like a daughter to you, Boss, and you already lost Kelly. Didn’t think you could stand to lose Abby too. And for it all to be my fault…”

Gibbs sighed and gently stroked Tony’s thick hair. “Firstly, you screwed up, yeah, but it’s not like it was *all* your fault. Secondly, Abby’s not dead. Don’t torture yourself with ‘what ifs’, Tony. It goes nowhere. I should know.”

Tony glanced up at him, a question in his eyes. Gibbs fought with himself for awhile, struggling with his own reluctance to open up, but he couldn’t expect Tony to share if he didn’t give him anything back in return, so he forced himself on.

“Spent about three years after Shannon and Kelly died torturing myself with how I could have stopped it. Kelly begged me not to leave that last day. I just laughed - told her it’d be okay, I’d write to her, and I’d be home soon.”

Tony was gazing at him with a look of rapt attention, and Gibbs knew that however hard it was he had to just plough on and get the job done.

“Never did see her alive again – but I kept thinking – suppose she was trying to tell me something that day? I should have damn well listened. If I had, she’d still be alive.”

“And her daddy would have been tried for going AWOL,” Tony pointed out. “That's not who you are, Boss. You’d never have deserted.”

“I know. Doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it every day and curse myself for being a stupid, stubborn, pig-headed bastard who didn’t listen to his little girl when she was telling him the most important thing he ever had to hear.” Don’t go, Daddy. Don’t go. He rubbed a hand across his eyes. “She died. And I regretted it every day for three years until I realised there was no rewind button. I didn’t get to live in a world in which she lived. Wish it had been me who died, not her. Would have gladly taken her place. She had her whole life ahead of her.”

“How did you learn to live with it, Boss?” Tony asked quietly, and there was an intent look in his eyes. “You said it took three years – does that mean you've found a way, or are there still bad days?”

Gibbs didn’t think they’d ever had a conversation this personal. It was easier to do all kinds of intimate things to each other’s bodies than open up and talk like this. He didn’t find it easy, but he had to admit it did seem to be helping.

“Yeah, Tony. There are still bad days.” He looked down on his sub. “For you too?” Tony went very still. Then he nodded. “You gonna talk to me about it?” Gibbs asked softly.

Tony blinked a couple of times and then shook his head. Gibbs thought that maybe that was enough progress for one day.

“Abby’s fine, Tony, and you have to get some rest. Close your eyes.”

Gibbs thought about blindfolding his sub – Tony responded well to sensory deprivation – but he didn’t want to lock him in with the unpleasant images and leave him with no escape. Tony closed his eyes, but they flickered open again a few seconds later. Gibbs tapped his head.

“I told you Abby’s fine, Tony. Don’t think about her in the car again.”


“Who?” Gibbs frowned.

“Jenny. What happened with Abby brought that up again. Know you were close to her, Boss.”

Gibbs thought there was something in the way Tony seemed at least as concerned about Gibbs’s reaction to losing Abby and Jenny as his own distress. Gibbs just couldn’t get a handle on what it was.

“Jenny had cancer, Tony. You know that. She chose to die in that diner instead of letting the cancer take her. I kinda respect that. You should too. Now close your eyes and get some sleep.” A thought occurred to him. “You know, when I was injured in combat the first time, I was confined to the house for a few weeks after they let me out of the hospital. Couldn’t go anywhere, or do anything - weak as a kitten. Pissed me off. I was a shitty patient; Shannon got sick of me pretty quick.”

“Yeah, I can imagine.” Tony grinned. Gibbs tapped his head.

“I hated having to sleep in the middle of the day, but I needed the rest. Shannon said I was irritating the hell out of her – cutting into her reading time – she loved reading. Started out as kind of a joke, a way to kill two birds with one stone, but she began reading to me. Something about her voice and the kind of boring books she liked too, I guess. Used to help me relax and switch off enough to get to sleep.”

“You’re gonna read to me, Boss?” Tony asked incredulously.

“You ever read a book in your life?” Gibbs grinned down on him.

Tony grinned back. “Sure – read 'The Godfather' when I was eleven – one of the kids passed it around at boarding school. Everyone knew you had to read page 27 – that’s where all the good stuff was. Everything I know about sex I learned from page 27 of 'The Godfather'.”

Gibbs rolled his eyes. “Figures.”

He eased Tony’s head to one side, got off the couch, and went over to his bookshelves. He leafed through the books until he came to one of Shannon’s old favourites. He grinned; this one would do. It had always sent him to sleep pretty damn fast, back in the old days.

He returned to the couch, pulled Tony back into position, and opened the book.

“'Great Expectations?'” Tony read the title off the spine. “Charles Dickens?” he winced. “Sounds a bit heavy, Boss.”

“It’s either this or one of those period romances where everyone is polite and dances a lot, and the feisty heroine holds out for three hundred pages before marrying some wealthy guy with a stick up his ass,” Gibbs growled at him.

“When you put it like that…” Tony put his head down again.

Gibbs opened the book and cleared his throat. He wondered just how much of an idiot he’d feel reading out loud, but the point was to lull Tony to sleep, so he figured it was worth making an ass of himself.

He started reading and the years fell away. He remembered lying here, on this couch, his leg in plaster up to the hip, an irritable growl on his lips that faded when Shannon pulled up the rocker beside him and began to read.

She had a beautiful voice, full of expression, and she’d put on all the different character voices, bringing the book vividly to life. Gibbs had no intention of going that far – but looking down he saw he didn’t need to, because Tony’s breathing had slowed and deepened, and he was fast asleep.

Gibbs carried on reading out loud anyway. The book was much better than he remembered, and he started to enjoy it. Maybe he’d been too young to appreciate it back then, although he’d loved having Shannon read it to him. Then again, he’d have loved it if Shannon had read the phone book to him. The fact she was taking the time to do it, and the love and warmth in her voice as she read – those were the things that mattered.

He carried on reading out loud, stroking Tony’s hair repeatedly the whole time. It felt as if something had started to mend – something that had been a long time broken.


Tony was stiff when he woke. It was dark outside, but a lamp was glowing on the side table, and at some point Gibbs must have slid out from under him, as Tony could hear him moving around in the kitchen. Tony couldn’t believe how long he’d slept and how tired he’d been.

“You awake? Good.”

Gibbs returned to the living room with a tray full of food. Tony eyed it suspiciously. Usually they ordered take out, but Gibbs seemed to have actually cooked a meal – involving what appeared to be copious amounts of vegetables.

“Eat. It won’t kill you,” Gibbs chuckled, seeing the look on his face.

Tony sat up and ate slowly, wondering when Gibbs was going to do that thing he’d told him about. The thing he’d find hard to take. So far, Gibbs had just been kinda nice to him – which wasn’t *Gibbs*, and wasn’t what Tony deserved right now, so he was confused. He suspected that whatever “it” was, would take place after they’d eaten.

He therefore wasn’t surprised when Gibbs returned to the living room after he’d cleared their plates away and gestured with his head in the direction of the back yard.

“With me.”

So this was it. Finally. Tony had no idea what it could be. He gave Gibbs a grim nod and got up and followed his dom to the back door. Maybe Gibbs intended for him to sleep out here tonight. It was cold – but then again Gibbs had told him he wouldn’t like it, and he definitely didn’t like the idea of spending a night outdoors, naked, at this time of year.

"Here." Gibbs removed Tony's wrist and ankle cuffs and chains, much to Tony's surprise, leaving him in just his collar, with the leash hanging from it. Then Gibbs surprised Tony even more by stripping off his own clothes and leaving them in a pile by the door. Tony stood there, uncertainly, wondering what the hell was going on. Gibbs gestured with his head towards the yard. "Follow me."

“Is the yard secluded?” Tony hesitated in the doorway, aware of his own nudity.

Gibbs grinned. “Nobody can see ya. Or me.”

Gibbs walked out into the yard, and Tony followed him around the corner of the house to a…hot tub. There was a head of steam rising up out of it, and it looked warm and inviting. Tony looked at it, and then at Gibbs, as if his dom had gone insane.

“You have a hot tub? You? That doesn’t compute, Boss. It’s kind of like McGee having a hot girlfriend. You and hot tubs really don’t go together.

Gibbs laughed. “Made it myself. Get in.”

He climbed into the tub and gazed at Tony expectantly.

“Wasn’t a request, Tony. I want to play with my sub.”

Tony was even more confused now. He climbed into the tub and gave a satisfied groan as the warm water soothed his aching muscles. Gibbs fastened Tony’s leash to the handle of the tub, meaning that Tony was effectively tied in place. Then he straddled Tony and began gently playing with his body.

He swept his fingers over Tony’s chest, teasing his nipples lightly. Then he leaned down and kissed Tony’s collar bone.

“What are you doing?” Tony asked, gasping as Gibbs went lower and sucked a nipple gently into his mouth.

“Playing with you. Like I said.”

Tony stiffened. Gibbs drew back, one eyebrow raised.

“Your body belongs to me, Tony. I can play with it if I want,” he said in a silky voice.



“It’s nice,” Tony blurted.

“Good. I want it to be nice.”

Gibbs returned to his gentle sucking. Tony felt a wave of rebellion. He put his hands up and pushed against Gibbs’s shoulders, forcing him back. Gibbs's raised eyebrow looked more dangerous this time.

“Why are you doing this to me?” Tony asked pathetically.

“Doing what, Tony?”

“Being nice. Talking to me, holding me, stroking me – hell, *reading* to me so I could get to sleep and now…now this? Why?”

Gibbs took hold of his chin and looked at him. “I told you this wouldn’t be easy, Tony, and you promised me your obedience.”

“This? This is it? This is the thing?” Tony asked in disbelief.

“Yeah – it’s been the thing all day, Tony.”


“You wanted it to hurt? Not gonna happen.” Gibbs shook his head. “This is what I’m gonna make you take. Think you can handle it?”

Tony stared at him in mute horror. Why was Gibbs being this way now, when Tony deserved to be yelled at and kicked around for screwing up? It didn’t make any sense.

“Don’t do this, Boss,” he begged.

“My call,” Gibbs shrugged. “You could have died in that car wreck yesterday, Tony. And this is what I wanna do to you because I'm pretty damn happy that you're alive.”

He tilted Tony’s chin and claimed a sweet kiss from Tony’s stunned mouth. Tony couldn’t fight him. He never could fight Gibbs. And he *had* promised that he’d take whatever his dom wanted to hand out – he’d just never imagined it would be *this*.

Gibbs kissed him for a long time, until Tony couldn’t think straight any more. He couldn’t go anywhere, because he was tied to the damn hot tub; all he could do was sit here, in the warm water, and accept his dom’s gentle, loving caresses.

Gibbs tangled his fingers in Tony’s chest hair and then slid them lower, taking hold of Tony’s cock. “Get hard for me, Tony.”

He fisted Tony’s cock as he said that, and Tony moaned, unable to resist how good that felt. Gibbs knew how to move his hand expertly along Tony’s shaft, and all that warm water swirling around made it feel even better.

He was soon fully erect, and Gibbs continued to stroke him with long, languid movements of his hand. There was something powerfully dominant about Gibbs as he worked. He hovered over Tony, kissing his mouth repeatedly as he gently but firmly stroked his cock. Tony began to shiver – and it wasn’t from cold. Nobody had ever treated him this way before. When he screwed up, he got slapped down, and that was the way it should be. Why was Gibbs – Gibbs of all people – being nice to him? It wasn’t as if the guy had a reputation for being nice; everyone knew what a bastard he was.

Gibbs released his cock, but only so that he could run his fingers over Tony’s body instead. He seemed to find every sore spot Tony possessed, digging in just enough to make Tony wince.

“Muscles got pulled in the car crash. Need to work on them,” Gibbs informed him. “Get out.”

He untied Tony and pulled him back into the house by his leash. Tony saw a pile of towels by the door that he hadn’t noticed earlier. Gibbs wrapped him up in one, snagged one for himself, and then led Tony up the stairs and into the bedroom.

He dried Tony and then gestured to the bed. “Get on it. On your front.”

Tony did as he was told, in a kind of daze. Gibbs found a bottle of some kind of oil in the nightstand drawer. He opened it and sniffed it cautiously.

“One of the ex-wives left it hanging around, but it smells okay. Might as well make use of it.” He grinned.

He straddled Tony on the bed and poured some oil into his hands, warming them. Then he placed them gently on Tony’s back. He worked slowly, avoiding the worst of Tony's burns, and Tony felt his sore muscles gradually begin to loosen. He buried his face in his pillow. He wasn’t sure how much of all this gentle loving care he could take, and he began to tremble in earnest.

“Tony – what’s going on?” Gibbs asked as he worked him with those gently soothing fingers.

“Dunno,” Tony muttered. He raised his head. “Please, Boss. I can’t take much more of this.”

“It hurting?”

“No. It's not that.”

"Does it feel good?"

Tony closed his eyes. "Yes." It did. It was tender and kind, gentle and relaxing. It soothed and calmed him, making him feel loved, and he wished he didn't like it so much.

“Want to say your safe word, Tony?” Gibbs asked.

Did he? It was the closest he’d ever come to it. “No,” he whispered into the pillow.

He willed himself to just enjoy the attention that he knew he didn’t deserve. He felt Gibbs’s hands on his buttocks, parting them, and then he felt those skilful fingers slip inside him. His treacherous cock hardened again as Gibbs oiled and stretched his hole. Gibbs turned him onto his back and straddled him again. He took another handful of the oil and lubed his own hard cock, keeping eye contact with Tony the entire time.

“Please, Boss, please don’t be nice to me like this,” Tony begged.

“You’re my sub, and I want to make love to you,” Gibbs replied. "You know the word to use if you want me to stop."

He parted Tony’s legs and settled down between them, then gently opened his buttocks and snubbed his cock into Tony’s entrance. The oil made it slip in easily, and Tony gave a gasp of pleasure as Gibbs inserted himself fully with a little push. Gibbs rested his arms on the bed on either side of Tony's shoulders and lowered his head to kiss him gently, his cock fully inserted in Tony’s body. It felt so good. Too good.

Gibbs drew back, moving his hips slowly, and then he slid just as slowly back in again. It was lazy and gentle, tender and sweet. Gibbs kissed Tony on every inward stroke and kept eye contact every time he slid back out.

“Why?” Tony gasped, gazing up at him. “Why are you doing this to me, Boss?”

“Because you’re mine, and I want you to relax and feel happy.”

Tony looked at him blankly as Gibbs continued his tender love-making.

“Boss…please,” he whimpered, as Gibbs took his cock in his oiled hand and began stroking him towards climax.

“Come for me, Tony,” Gibbs urged. “Come for me, boy.”

Tony spurted out over Gibbs’s hand with a helpless shout of pleasure. Gibbs grinned down on him and claimed another kiss, then moved faster in Tony’s body until he too came, with a little gasp of satisfaction. He pulled out, settled down beside his sub, and drew the sheets over them both.

Tony rolled onto his side so that he was facing his dom.

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“Yeah. I know. That’s the problem, Tony.”

“I know you. I know what a hard-assed bastard you are. Why did you do this to me today? Why? Why were you so nice to me? Why didn’t you give me what I deserve?”

Gibbs gently stroked the wet ends of Tony’s hair away from his face.

"Who says I didn't, Tony?"


Gibbs woke the next morning with his usual morning hard-on. His sub was still asleep, but Gibbs didn't intend to let him sleep in again this morning. He had a plan for today, and it depended on him taking Tony deep into his sub space to make it work.

He ran his hands over Tony's naked butt and moved Tony's leg forward to gain better access to his sub's hole. Then he rubbed lubricant on his hard cock and pushed himself into Tony's body.

Gibbs loved this part of their morning ritual, rousing a sleeping Tony to wakefulness. Tony sighed and muttered something – after several weeks as Gibbs's sub he was getting used to being woken like this, and Gibbs knew how much he loved it. Being woken in this way seemed to cure him of his morning surliness.

Gibbs started out slow, giving Tony time to wake up – he wasn't always so merciful. Sometimes he rolled over and entered his sub hard and fast, taking Tony from fast asleep to wide awake in three seconds flat. He always liked the hoarse shout of befuddled surprise Tony gave when that happened.

Today he took his time. He ran his hand over Tony's chest and fondled his right nipple gently, making Tony gasp and his eyelids flutter open. Then he moved his hand down to Tony's cock, which was already half hard. Gibbs grinned and kissed his sub's shoulder.

"Your training's had to take a back seat this past week because of the Abby situation," he whispered in Tony's ear. "Time to get things back on track. You can touch yourself." He reached up to unlock Tony's hands from their bondage. "Come while I'm in you or not at all. I'll race you."

He took hold of Tony's hips and began pumping into him with firm thrusts. Tony gave a little squeal and moved his hand down to begin frantically rubbing his cock. Gibbs fucked him vigorously, making Tony pant and moan with each inward stroke. Gibbs felt himself on the verge of coming and glanced over Tony's shoulder – his sub was still moving his hand desperately along his cock, trying to reach his own climax.

"Too late, Tony," Gibbs chuckled, thrusting another couple of times and then ejaculating deep in Tony's body with a satisfied sigh.

"Boss…please…just a couple more strokes…" Tony begged, still moving his hand rapidly.

"Sure – keep going – but if you come now then you're on punishment detail," Gibbs reminded him.

"But you're still IN me," Tony protested.

Gibbs laughed. "Semantics, boy." He pulled out, and Tony gave a groan of annoyance and banged his head back on the pillow in frustration, his hand stilling on his cock.

"Thought I'd work on you today," Gibbs told him, patting his ass affectionately. "Play with you a bit."

"Now?" Tony asked, his tone half anxious and half aroused.

Gibbs laughed. "We'll take a shower, have something to eat, and then I'll work on you 'til lunchtime. After that, we can go see Abby if you want?"

"Really?" Tony rolled over and looked at him hopefully, but Gibbs didn't miss the spike of anxiety in his eyes.

Gibbs kissed his mouth. "Yup. And if you're good while I work on ya, I might let you come later."

Tony grinned, and Gibbs slapped his ass. He was pleased to see how rested Tony was looking; his face had lost its pallor and the dark shadows under his eyes had faded. The shadows *in* his eyes had also receded, but Gibbs was pretty sure they hadn't gone for good. He hoped that a morning spent in intensive submission might get Tony in a good enough headspace to handle visiting Abby later.

They took a shower together, and Gibbs checked over Tony's injuries to find that they were healing fine – he was certainly well enough to be gently played with. They ate breakfast, and then Gibbs took his sub down to the basement. He pulled out the spanking bench he'd made, which he'd finished off with some plush leather upholstery, making it comfortable for Tony to be strapped to for long periods of time.

He blindfolded Tony first – that always helped Tony go down into sub space. Then he made Tony put his knees on the padded shelves, and he bent him forwards so that his torso was resting on the bench. He put a cushion under Tony's chest and angled his head sideways so that he could breathe easily. Then he pulled his cuffed wrists in front of him and fastened them to the sides of the bench. Finally, he tilted the bench forwards, so that Tony's ass was lifted into the air.

This left Tony in a position of abject but entirely comfortable bondage. His knees were apart, stretching his buttocks and making his hole open and accessible. His weight was resting on his chest and knees, and with his hands tied he was completely vulnerable.

Gibbs squeezed a good dollop of lubricant onto his index finger and then slipped it into Tony's hole. Tony tensed as the cool liquid made contact with his skin, so Gibbs slapped his ass lightly.

"Relax," he ordered.

"Sorry – you took me by surprise – wish I could see what you're doing back there, Boss."

"You don't need to see it," Gibbs told him firmly. "You have no control over any of this, boy."

"No, Boss."

Gibbs grinned – he could see Tony going down into his sub space already.

Gibbs retrieved the items he'd brought down earlier and laid them on the workbench. He had something in mind that he hoped would keep Tony pre-occupied during his visit to Abby later and prevent him slipping back into his guilt-ridden mindset of the past couple of days.

He picked up a thick butt plug and went over to Tony. "Mouth open," he ordered. Tony did as he was told, and Gibbs slowly fed the big butt plug into his mouth, stretching out his jaw in the process. "This is what you're gonna take in your ass."

Tony looked up at him again, an expression of arousal on his face that was evident even despite the fact that he was blindfolded with a big butt plug stuck in his mouth.

"We'll work up to it," Gibbs assured him. "You'll wear it all afternoon. You've been talkin’ back too much. Need to remember who you belong to. The plug will keep you focussed."

He removed the plug, and Tony gasped for air. Gibbs tousled his hair affectionately.

"You sure that thing will fit inside me, Boss?" Tony asked.

"Oh yeah - it'll fit," Gibbs insisted. "I'll get you ready for it. By the time I'm done, you'll be able to take it."

Gibbs went back over to the workbench, picked up a vibrator, and covered it in lube. Then he returned to his sub.

"What's your safe word, Tony?"


"Say it if you need to."

He opened Tony's buttocks and slid the vibrator gently into his hole, pushing it in all the way. Then he turned it on. Tony relaxed, making a little humming noise of pleasure in the back of his throat.

Gibbs looked down on him with a surge of pride. It was so damn *good* to play with a sub who relished his own submission like this. He glanced over at the butt plug on the workbench. Tony had no idea what he had in store for him, but Gibbs hoped it would help keep his sub's mind off the worries of the previous day.


Tony sighed contentedly as the vibrator purred away in his ass. He preferred the feel of his dom's warm cock, but this was pretty damn good. He could feel himself drifting off into that sweet place inside his own mind. He was tied and blindfolded, his ass raised up for his dom's attention.

Gibbs slid the vibrator in and out of his ass, and Tony relaxed even more. The vibrator stimulated his nerve endings, making him sigh in pleasure. He wanted to rub his hard cock against the plush leather surface of the spanking bench, but the way he was tied made it impossible.

He was completely zoned out by the time Gibbs removed it. Then he felt his dom’s warm tongue sliding into his hole, and he zoned out even more. He felt boneless, completely lost in the fantastic sensation.
The events of the past few days started to recede in his mind. When Gibbs was doing things like *this* to him, it was all he could think about. He was moaning softly to himself, floating happily on a cloud of relaxed arousal, when Gibbs finished with his tongue and slid his fingers back into him. Two…three…four…Tony moved his head blearily.

“Not gonna fist me are you, Boss?” he asked.

“Not today. Why – think you’d like that?” Gibbs’s voice was a low, throaty growl.

“Head says no…cock says yes.” Tony grinned.

“I’ll remember that.”

Gibbs continued to work his fingers into Tony’s hole, stretching him out. Then they were gone – and Tony sighed happily as they were replaced by the familiar feel of his dom’s cock. Gibbs entered him easily and fucked him slowly, taking his time. He caressed his sub throughout, stroking his bound body, making Tony quiver and hum with pleasure. Tony was acutely aware of his own submission. Blindfolded, tied, ass up – all he could do was lie here and enjoy. He didn’t know if he’d get to come. He wasn’t sure he cared. This felt so good.

Gibbs fucked him for a long time, and then came, deep in Tony’s body. He withdrew and tapped Tony’s ass cheek.

“Hold it,” he said.

Tony frowned. “Hold what?”

“What I left inside you. That big plug is gonna keep it there for the rest of the day.”

Tony grinned and clenched his ass cheeks together. “That’s really kinky, Boss.”

“Well yeah. I know that, DiNozzo.” He heard Gibbs move away and then return. "Okay, now get ready for the plug," Gibbs told him, his voice right by his ear now. He stroked Tony's hair. "You'll wear this plug all day to remind you who you belong to."

"I know who I belong to." Tony grinned up at him.

"Well, I figure a reminder won't hurt. Open up."

He tapped Tony’s ass again, and Tony felt the tip of the plug against his loosened hole. It went in slowly, stretching him wider and wider as it slid in. Then Gibbs pushed it in the last bit of the way, and Tony felt the flared base slot into place. It wasn't as hard to take as he'd feared, although it felt big, filling him completely. He loved that it was trapping Gibbs's come deep inside his body, and that it would hold it there all day.

"Gonna let you up now," Gibbs said, undoing Tony's bonds.

He helped Tony off the spanking bench but immediately tied him with his hands over his head, his back against the wall. Tony's cock hardened again.

"You've been good – so I'm gonna give you another chance to come," Gibbs told him. "Any time you want, Tony."

Tony heard him kneel in front of him, and then he gave a hoarse shout as he felt Gibbs's warm mouth envelop his hard cock.

"Oh fuck!" he sighed, as his dom's lips sucked down expertly. Gibbs knew how to tease, how to swirl his tongue around the head of Tony's cock, and how to make it feel so damn good. Tony tried to hold on, just to prolong the fantastic experience, but he couldn't. He shouted and roared out his orgasm, pumping into Gibbs's mouth and down his throat, and then hung there, in his bonds, utterly spent.

He heard Gibbs get up and then the blindfold was removed. Tony blinked; Gibbs was smiling at him. "One more thing, and we're good to go." Gibbs held up two little items of metal nipple jewellery. "They don't hurt – they're just decorative - but I want you to wear 'em for the rest of the day."

The nipple decorations were in the shape of two little starbursts. Gibbs fastened them carefully onto Tony's nipples, and Tony looked down on them, surprised by how much he liked the look. Gibbs was right – they didn't hurt - they pinched slightly to stay in place though, and he knew he'd be aware of their cool metal caress all day.

"Good boy." Gibbs kissed him, and Tony leaned eagerly into the kiss, enjoying the feel of his top's fully clothed body against his own naked one, and the way it felt to be hanging here, helpless, completely at Gibbs's mercy.

Gibbs drew back with another one of those dry chuckles. "You're such a damn sub, Tony," he said, reaching out to release him from his bonds.

"Yeah, and you're a b…" Tony stopped himself in time. "A total dom," he finished lamely.

"Oh yeah. I am." Gibbs grinned again, looking very pleased with himself. "Now go and get dressed." He jerked his head in the direction of the stairs. Tony started walking slowly towards them, every step making the plug's presence keenly felt. "And Tony?" Tony stopped and glanced back. "I want you to wear the plug for the rest of the day, but if you feel you can't, or you need to say your safe word, then tell me. Clear?"

"As crystal, Boss," Tony said crisply.

He walked slowly up the stairs, aware of the big plug in his ass and the fact that it was holding his dom's come inside him, and the cool metal of the starburst nipple decorations. He didn't think he'd be able to concentrate on anything else all day. They were all he could think about.


They drove to the hospital, stopping off on the way to buy a bouquet of black roses. Gibbs grinned as Tony got out of the car at the hospital – his sub looked beautiful, in jeans and a loose shirt, but he was walking kind of stiffly, so Gibbs was pretty sure he was feeling that plug.

Abby was sitting up in bed when they arrived, looking considerably better than she had the last time Gibbs had seen her. Tony paused in the doorway, gazing at her. The big white bandage around her head and her pale face made her eyes seem particularly luminous, and for a moment Gibbs wasn't sure if Tony was going to get through this. He rested a hand on his sub's ass, pushing discreetly against the plug. It seemed to help focus Tony because his face lit up into a grin, and he bounded into the room and over to Abby's bedside.

Abby signed an introduction to her mom, and Gibbs exchanged polite small talk with Gloria with his hands, while keeping one eye on Tony.

"Hey – you look fantastic!" Tony said, handing Abby the bouquet of flowers.

"You like the turban look?" she grinned at him, gesturing to the bandage on her head.

"Oh yeah. You look like one of those glamorous movie stars from the 40's," he joked. "Like Joan Crawford in 'The Women'."

She reached out and gently touched one of the cuts on the side of his face. He jerked his head away and then covered up the move with a bright grin.

"Just a few cuts. I'm not the one doing all the attention-seeking lying around in a hospital bed," he told her, with a big DiNozzo wink.

"Yeah right! You're just the dumb schmuck who crashed the damn car!" She grinned back happily, and Gibbs relaxed, watching them trade banter.

"So how long will you be off work?" Tony asked, leaning over and dropping a kiss on her cheek.

"I dunno – 'til my hair grows back maybe."

"They shaved your head?" The DiNozzo mask froze for a second.

"Well yeah!" Abby grinned. "I'm cool about it – I've had pigtails for years, so it was time for a change. I thought I might wear it shaved for awhile, see if I like it."

"Like Demi Moore in 'GI Jane'? Could be a good look on you!" Tony joked, the mask sliding back into place again as he threw out the movie references.

"Or, I could let it grow back in and have this really short crop," Abby grinned. "A pixie look. You know, like Jenny used to have?"

Gibbs sighed inwardly. Talking about Jenny wasn't a good idea right now.

"It might be better if I had *some* hair if I wanted to hide the scar, although I'm not sure I do really…" Abby continued, babbling on regardless.

"Scar?" Tony interrupted, in a tight voice.

"In my hairline," she grinned. "I think it's cool – I've always wanted a really dramatic scar. There used to be this kid at high school who had this wicked scar all the way up his arm and people were always asking him about it – he made loads of friends through that scar."

Tony looked as if he was frozen into place. Gibbs made an excuse to Gloria and went over and touched his sub's ass again, pressing against the butt plug. Tony jumped, and the grin returned to his face.

"So – are they feeding you okay in here, Abs?" he asked in a bright voice. "Want me to smuggle in some pizza?"

"Would you? I am SO sick of jello!" Abby replied gratefully.

That seemed to get the conversation back on track. Tony went into a routine about the different combination of pizza toppings he could get for Abby, some of which sounded revolting, and soon he and Abby were giggling happily together.

Gibbs heaved a sigh of relief – it looked as if his methods of focussing Tony on something other than Abby's condition were working.

"Hey – I need to go file the case papers back at NCIS," Gibbs told his sub. "You wanna come with me, or spend a couple of hours with Abby?"

"He'll stay with me," Abby told him on Tony's behalf. "Mom needs a break, and Tony promised me some *details* about something, " she said, with a sweet, knowing grin in his direction.

Gibbs rolled his eyes. He had a fair idea that those details might involve various aspects of his sex life, but Tony looked happy to stay so he didn't argue. Gibbs leaned forward to kiss Abby goodbye, brushing his arm carelessly across Tony's nipples, reminding him of the decorations he'd placed there.

"Be good," Gibbs said meaningfully. Tony gave him a mock salute.

"Always, Boss," he replied, with a nonchalant wink in Abby's direction that implied he had no intention of being anything of the kind.

Gibbs slapped the back of his head, kissed Abby's cheek, signed a goodbye to Gloria, and left.

When Gibbs picked up his sub from the hospital a few hours later, he found him as bright and cheerful as when he'd left him, so he figured that the time spent with Abby had really helped. Hopefully, the message had now been driven home, loud and clear, that she was going to be fine.

Tony was wincing a little as he walked into the living room. Gibbs turned to him with a grin.

"That butt plug bothering you, Tony?"

"Getting dry, Boss," Tony said with a little grimace. "Could use a little lube if you want me to keep wearing it."

"Oh, I think it can come out now." It had done what he'd intended it to do and kept Tony preoccupied all afternoon. "C'mere." He sat down on the sofa and beckoned Tony over, pointing between his knees.

Tony knelt obediently between his legs, and Gibbs began unbuttoning his shirt. Usually he ordered Tony to strip, but occasionally he liked undressing his sub himself, and right now he wanted to keep Tony in his submissive headspace.

"Oh, almost forgot," Tony said, reaching into his jeans pocket, taking out his cell phone, and waving it in the air. "Friend of mine called – Matt Tyler. One of my old frat brothers." He gave a broad wink at that. "We usually hook up with the other guys and go drinking every weekend, but I've been blowing them off since you and I took up, and they're wondering where the hell I am. They're going out tonight, and they want me to go along. Matt kind of wasn't taking no for an answer, so I said I would. Is that okay?"

He gazed at Gibbs from shining green eyes that looked half pleading, half amused at asking permission for something he used to do without a second thought.

Gibbs paused in unbuttoning Tony's shirt and thought about it for a moment. They'd been living in each other's pockets since he'd taken Tony as his 24/7 sub, and while he liked having this degree of control over his sub's life, he didn't think it was healthy long-term. He was also missing the quiet solitude of his basement – he hadn't worked on the boat in weeks. He didn't mind that – working on Tony was much more fun – but a night spent reconnecting with his old hobby did sound inviting. There was also the fact that Tony had just been involved in a serious car accident – he wanted his sub to get over it and for that spark of mischief to return to his eyes. It was Saturday night after all – it wasn't a school night.

"Okay. Be back by midnight and don't pick anyone up," he warned.

Tony laughed out loud. "Yeah, right, Boss. Like I'd dare, knowing you're waiting at home with all those evil implements at your disposal. Besides – rule number five. You know I wouldn't break that one, right?"

Gibbs didn't remind him that he already had, just a few weeks ago, when he'd pulled up his shirt and let Jason Tulley touch his abs.

"You'd better not," he grunted.

He finished unbuttoning his sub's shirt and stripped it off him, revealing his decorated nipples.

"These hurt at all?" He ran his fingers lightly over the starbursts.

"Nah – just nip a little. I like how they look though, Boss!"

"Good." Gibbs grinned at him. He wrapped his legs around Tony's body to hold him in place. "Hands behind your back," he ordered. Tony threw his cell phone down onto the coffee table behind him and obeyed the command, his eyes holding Gibbs's gaze in rapt attention, already sparkling with arousal. Gibbs was turned on by how turned on his sub was, and he felt his cock twitch approvingly inside his pants.

He removed the little starbursts and threw them down on the coffee table next to Tony's cell phone. Then he leaned forward and kissed Tony's mouth firmly. At the same time he pinched Tony's newly released nipples lightly, making Tony shout into the kiss. He swallowed down the protest, holding Tony still between his legs, forcing him to submit. Tony moaned and shuddered, leaning in against him.

Only when Gibbs felt the sigh of his surrender did he release his hold on his sub's nipples. Tony moved his hands up to rub the tender nubs of flesh, but Gibbs grabbed them before they got there.

"I didn't say you could move your hands," he growled.

"No, Boss," Tony shuddered gazing up at him helplessly.

"I'm not done yet."

Gibbs lowered his head, took one of Tony's nipples in his mouth, and sucked it gently. Tony squirmed and sighed happily. Gibbs sucked down harder and then moved on to the other nipple, warming and soothing it until Tony was a quivering, moaning wreck between his legs. Gibbs liked the little noises his sub made. He whimpered so enticingly – it made Gibbs's cock harden even more.

He released his sub and tousled his hair affectionately. Tony looked so beautiful when he was being played with. His eyes always glowed a particularly intense shade of green, and he was never shy about moaning and sighing – and those sounds were music to Gibbs's ears when he was in his dominant mindset.

"Stand up and lose the jeans."

Tony did as ordered. Gibbs circled him slowly, enjoying the sight of his sub's naked body. He was also checking his condition at the same time. His cuts and grazes were healing fine and the burns on his back were already much improved.

"Bend over and grab your ankles," he ordered.

Tony glanced at him in surprise. This wasn't one of the positions Gibbs had taught his sub, but he was in the mood for it tonight. Gibbs raised an eyebrow, and Tony hastily bent over and took hold of his ankles.

"Oh that's good," Gibbs purred. "You look damn fine like this, boy." He ran his hand over Tony's naked, exposed butt, liking the feel of all that solid, pale flesh under his fingers. He took hold of the protruding end of the plug. "Hold on tight," he warned.

He placed one hand on Tony's back to brace him, and then he removed the plug with a firm tug. Tony gave a strangled little yelp but didn't break position. Gibbs examined his hole – he could still feel the evidence of his earlier use of his sub and that turned him on.

He retrieved a tube of lubricant from the cupboard and returned to where Tony was bent over double. He squeezed a generous dollop of the cool lubricant onto his fingers and then rubbed it carefully into Tony's hole, enjoying how easily it opened up to him now after hours of being stretched by the plug.

"Now, stay in that position while I fuck you. You can come while I'm in you – if you can," Gibbs chuckled, because he doubted Tony would manage it in this position.

He undid his fly, grasped Tony's hips firmly in his hands, and slid his cock easily into Tony's hole. Gibbs liked this angle – Tony was bent over almost double, his hands wrapped around his ankles, and he was at a perfect height to be well fucked. Gibbs thrust into him slowly, enjoying the feel of all the surrendered flesh beneath him. Tony was in the most abject position, and Gibbs liked the way his balls slapped against his sub's warm flesh with each inward thrust.

Tony wasn't able to touch his own cock, and Gibbs had no intention of doing it for him. He didn't think it would do Tony any harm to remember that his dom's pleasure came first, and that there would be occasions when he didn't get to orgasm.

Gibbs rode his sub in a leisurely way for several minutes before speeding up and finally shooting his load into him with a roar of satisfaction. He withdrew, tucked his cock away in his pants, and then allowed Tony to straighten up. He was surprised to see the sticky come on Tony's belly where his sub had ejaculated, and he laughed out loud.

"Y'know, anyone would think that turned you on, Tony."

"It was evil. In fact, you've been particularly evil all day," Tony griped.

"Clearly that's the way you like me," Gibbs grinned, with a meaningful glance at his sub's sticky belly. "Now go get cleaned up for your evening with the frat boys."

He enjoyed watching Tony's naked body as he ran towards the stairs, his cock swinging happily.

Gibbs gave a chuckle and went to grab himself a beer. Tony came back down half an hour later, freshly showered and wearing a pair of tight black jeans and a loose green shirt.

"I'm off now, Boss!" he called, grabbing his keys from the shelf and looking around for his cell phone.

"Not like that," Gibbs told him. Tony glanced at him questioningly. "Those jeans are too tight – you can see *everything* as you're not wearing any underwear."

"And whose fault is that?" Tony arched an eyebrow.

"Go change the jeans," Gibbs ordered. "And wear the blue shirt."

"Why? Does this shirt show my nipples or something?" Tony looked down at it questioningly.

"Nope. The shirt looks fine." Gibbs shrugged.

"So, you're just ordering me to change it because you're my dom, and you can?"

Gibbs stared him down. "That's about it, Tony, yeah."

"Right." Tony stood there, uncertainly. "You really mean it?"

"Yup!" Gibbs nodded. "Hey – I'm allowing my sub to go out for the evening, DiNozzo. Didn't say you'd have it all on your own terms. Go change the jeans *and* the shirt."

"Ah, okay – you're exercising your power and authority over me in a mindless way simply to prove to me that I must bend to your evil will. Got it, Boss!" Tony gave him a cheeky grin and then ran back up the stairs again before Gibbs could slap his head.

Gibbs returned to the living room to pick up his beer, chuckling to himself. It looked like Tony was back to being his usual smart-mouthed self, and Gibbs was damn pleased about that.

Tony flurried into the living room three minutes later, wearing a pair of loose, faded, old blue jeans and the blue shirt, as ordered.

"Happy now?" he asked, doing a little jig in front of Gibbs so that his top could see that his orders had been obeyed.

"Not yet. Come here." Gibbs beckoned him over. Tony came, his shoulders hunched up around his neck, clearly expecting a head-slap. Gibbs just grabbed him and kissed him instead. "Have a good night, DiNozzo. Don't be late home."

"No, Dad," Tony grinned. His smile faltered momentarily, and Gibbs was reminded of that conversation he'd had with Walter about Tony's daddy issues. Then the smile was pasted back on Tony's face, as bright and shiny as before. "Don't wait up for me, Jethro," he said, and then he cheekily pinched Gibbs's ass and made a run for the door before Gibbs had a chance to deliver a well-deserved swat to his backside.

Gibbs went upstairs, still grinning to himself at the sheer joy of having *Tony* back. The past week had been tough, and it'd been a while since they'd had some fun and really played. Taking Tony down into his sub space today had been a gamble, but it was one that had clearly paid off.

Gibbs took a long, hot shower, then changed into a comfortable pair of old sweats and went downstairs. He ordered take out and sat and watched the news while he ate it. It was nearly ten before he decided it was time to head towards the basement.

He had just reached the living room door when he heard the ring of a cell phone. It wasn't his ring tone, so he hesitated, disoriented for a moment. Then he realised that Tony had left his phone behind amidst the distraction of changing his clothes.

The ringing stopped – and then started again a few seconds later. Gibbs picked it up and glanced at the caller display, but he didn't recognise the number. Thinking it might be urgent, he snapped the phone open and answered it.

"Hey, Motherfucker," a voice answered. "Miss me?"

"Who the hell is this?" Gibbs growled.

"You know who this is, DiNozzo. Don’t be any more of a stupid shit than you already are. You've got two weeks, loser – then I’m comin’ to get you.”

"Is that so?" Gibbs asked, in a steely voice.

There was silence, then a click, and the call ended. Gibbs glared at the cell phone. What the hell had *that* been about? Who was that man? He had called Tony by name so it clearly wasn't a wrong number. Gibbs didn't like the implicit threat in his words, or the way he'd spoken to *his* sub. His gut told him that something was badly wrong, and he needed to find out what it was – now.

He flicked through the address book on Tony's phone until he came to an entry for Matt Tyler, and then he dialled the number. A few rings later, a man's voice answered.

"Hey, Tony! How you doing, buddy? Long time no speak."

Gibbs frowned. "Is this Matt Tyler?"

"Uh…yeah. Who is this?"

"Leroy Jethro Gibbs," he replied tersely.

"Oh man – Tony's boss? Is he okay? He hasn't been hurt, has he?"

"Not yet," Gibbs growled, his fingers itching to get hold of the sub who had clearly lied to him about where he was going this evening. "Tony left his cell phone behind. He mentioned something about meeting his old frat brothers tonight, so I thought I'd see if I could track him down and tell him I have his phone."

"Meeting the frat brothers?" Matt sounded puzzled. “I live in Hawaii now! Long way to go for a night out! We meet up once a year - the guys come down here for a long weekend over Spring Break, or we meet at Eric's over in California – none of us even live in the same state any more, so it's a big deal getting us all together."

"I see." Gibbs perched against the back of the couch. "So you don't know any of the guys Tony could be meeting up with for a drink tonight?"


"And you guys don't meet up and go out drinking every Saturday night?"

"No. Hell, Gibbs, we're all getting kind of old for that these days. I'm married – got twin daughters, born last Christmas, and the other guys are all settled too. And Tony…he talked the talk, but it's a long time since I've seen him walk the walk. First there was that Jeanne chick, and then he…well, to be honest, we've all been kind of worried about him. We know something bad happened at work, although he never told us the details. He went kind of quiet on us, and then he went away to sea, and beyond the occasional email he hasn't been in touch since."

"Thanks, Matt. I must have misheard him."

Gibbs threw the cell phone down on the couch angrily. He had no way of contacting Tony - no way of even knowing where he'd gone this evening. This had gone from bad to worse in ten short minutes. First, the call from that guy making what sounded like some kind of threat against Tony, and now the realisation that Tony had lied to him about where he was going this evening. What the hell *else* had Tony lied about?

Tony hid things as easy as breathing – and lying to keep things hidden was second nature to him. Now Gibbs remembered just how shiny and bright the DiNozzo mask had been since they got back from the hospital.

"Damn it!" he roared, thumping his fist angrily against the back of the couch.

He'd been fooled, as so many people often were, by the Tony DiNozzo smoke and mirrors act. Shame on Tony for fooling him, but shame on *him* for being fooled. After eight years, he should know Tony better than this. He'd been so relieved that Tony was being himself again that he hadn't seen that he was getting the fake Tony and not the real one. Maybe he'd never had the real Tony. Maybe he'd never even got *close* to having the real Tony.

Tony had always been elusive – just when you thought you knew him, he slipped away from you. Who the hell *knew* who the real Tony was, and what he was trying so hard to hide?

Gibbs wondered if Tony's disappearance had anything to do with the sinister caller, but that bastard had said he'd be back in two weeks, and he'd see Tony then, so clearly Tony hadn't been going out to meet him this evening.

Gibbs realised, with a growl of frustration, that there was nothing more he could do. Tony was gone for the evening, and Gibbs would just have to wait until his errant sub came home.

But then he'd want answers – and they'd better be damn good ones.


Tony swung open the front door and walked unsteadily along the hallway. He paused outside the basement door and glanced at his watch. He grinned; two minutes to midnight. Gibbs couldn't fault him for his timekeeping. Down in the belly of the basement, he could hear the soft rasp of sander on wood. It was an old, familiar sound, and he loved how warm and safe it made him feel.

He opened the basement door and lurched forwards to grab the handrail.

"Hey Boss!" he called. "I'm home…on time." He pointed to his watch triumphantly and then half walked, half fell down the stairs.

Gibbs glanced up as Tony staggered the last few steps and dropped onto his ass on the second to bottom stair.

"Have a good evening?" Gibbs asked, returning to his work, gently sanding down the ribs of the boat. Tony loved watching him work.

"Yeah. Great." Tony nodded vigorously. "I'm drunk," he added, with a little belch.

"I can see that." Gibbs moved his hands forward forcefully, and the sander made a little humming sound. "How was Matt?"

"Fine. Great. He's a good guy." Tony nodded again.

"How many of you were there?" Gibbs asked, barely sparing him a look as he concentrated on the boat.

"'bout eight," Tony shrugged. "Frat brothers," he added. "Good guys. All of 'em. Known 'em for years."

"It's great you all live in DC," Gibbs commented. "Makes it easier for you to get together."

"Yeah. Great." Tony nodded. He got up and lurched over to Gibbs. "Don' I get a kiss?" he asked, leaning forward.

A hand shot out and hit his chest hard, and next thing he knew he had been shoved up against the wall.

"Oh, I don't think so," Gibbs said dangerously. He was pressed up close, his muscles hard and unyielding. Tony stared into a pair of furious blue eyes.

"You know," he said softly, reality puncturing his inebriated state.

"Yeah. I know," Gibbs snapped. "You left your cell phone behind. I called Matt. In Hawaii."

Tony had the grace to wince. "Sorry 'bout that."

"Where the hell were you tonight, Tony?"

"I needed a goddamn drink!" Tony growled. "And I knew you wouldn't let me just go out fucking drinking by myself."

"So it was easier to lie to me?"

"Yes. It was easier to lie to you," Tony admitted. He hated the dull, disappointed expression that crept into Gibbs's eyes when he said that. "Hell, you know me, Gibbs. I told you I'd let you down. You *knew* that when you took me on."

Gibbs loosened the pressure on Tony's chest, but he didn't pull away.

"Someone called for you," he said, his steely gaze never leaving Tony's face.


"Didn't leave his name. Nice guy. Called ya 'motherfucker'. Wanted to remind you that he'd be back in a couple of weeks."

"Oh." Tony bit on his lip.

"Who is he, Tony?"


Gibbs increased the pressure on Tony's chest again, keeping him immobilised against the wall.

"Who is he, Tony?" he repeated.

"Let me rephrase that – nobody you need to know about," Tony replied, in a cold tone.

The expression in Gibbs's eyes changed, hardening. "That really the way you wanna play this, Tony?" he asked, in a deceptively soft voice.

Tony sighed. "It's nothing. Just a guy I pissed off when I was an agent afloat. He gets drunk sometimes and calls me to blow off steam."

"What's his name?"

"I don't remember," Tony lied. Gibbs raised a disbelieving eyebrow. "Look, if I tell you, then you'll go after him with a baseball bat, and he's really nothing. He's harmless."

"Didn't sound that way. He made a threat against you."

"So?" Tony shrugged, looking away. "Like I said, I can handle him…"

Gibbs grabbed his jaw and made him look at him. "He made a threat against *my* sub," he hissed. "He's not just yours to handle, DiNozzo. That makes him mine too."

Tony blinked. "Okay…I understand. Listen – the guy's a bully. He runs a flight deck crew on the Seahawk. I thought he was beating up on his men, so I did an investigation."

"And?" Gibbs's fingers were digging into his skin.

"And nothing. I told the skipper, showed him what I'd found, but he said this flight deck chief was just hard on his men - he hadn't crossed a line." Tony shrugged.

"You disagreed?"

Tony took a deep breath. "Yes. The skipper seemed to think I was some namby-pamby, soft-assed civilian who didn't understand the rough and tumble of military discipline." Tony gave a derisory little snort. "I tried to tell him that after years working under Leroy Jethro Gibbs I sure as hell knew the meaning of military discipline, and that in my considered opinion this crossed the line, but he wouldn't listen to me."

"So what did you do?"

"I took the chief petty officer to one side and told him that if he hurt any of his men again then I'd break his fucking legs. What the hell else *could* I do? Skipper wasn't any help. Doc hated me because I blew his prescription racket. Nobody had my six on that damn boat, Boss. You weren't fucking there. You don't know what it was like. I did my best. I tried to help his men."

"And you made an enemy in the process." Gibbs finally released him and took a step back.

"Yeah. He hates my guts. Calls me to remind me that the Seahawk will be home soon, and that when it docks he'll come after me. That's all. He doesn't mean it. He's drunk. Like I said, I can handle it."

"And like I said, it isn't just yours to handle any more. You're *my* sub, Tony. You should have told me about this. How often has he been calling you?"

"Every week or so for the past few weeks," Tony admitted.

"And you thought you'd keep this to yourself?" Gibbs looked furious.

"I didn't know it was important."

"Some guy calls you regularly to threaten you, and you don't think it's *important*?" Gibbs asked incredulously.

Tony blinked in surprise. "I guess I'm not used to having anyone in my life who gives a damn," he said quietly. "Nobody ever has before, Boss. I've always handled everything alone. I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I figured it'd go away, and if it didn't – well, I'd take care of it."

Gibbs's expression softened. "Okay. That, at least, I can understand. Tell me who this guy is. If he’s a serving naval officer, and if he’s making threats against you, then we can have him up on charges.”

“No!” Tony snapped. Gibbs’s eyes flashed. “No,” Tony repeated in a softer tone. “It’s more complicated than that, and it’s really nothing. This guy…he’s just drunk. It’s nothing.”

Gibbs didn’t look convinced. Tony decided it was time to change the subject.

"You should punish me," he said. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "For lying to you about where I was going this evening. I went to a bar I know. It's kind of an old dive, but they let you sit there and drink yourself stupid. I didn't meet anyone there. I just sat there and got drunk. You should punish me for it."

"That what you want, Tony?" Gibbs put his head on one side and gazed at him thoughtfully.

"Not what I want. What has to happen," Tony told him. He leaned forward and shoved Gibbs's shoulder angrily. "You need to punish me, Gibbs. I'm a fucking screw-up!"

Gibbs stood there, unmoving. Tony thumped his shoulder again, harder this time.

"Oh c'mon! You're fucking angry, Boss. I know you are. A minute ago you wanted to pound your fist into my face. I could feel it in your body. You still do. You want to let rip and kick out. You should do that. I can take it. You'll feel better if you do."

Gibbs reached out a hand, grabbed hold of his shirt collar, and pulled him close.

"Want me to punch you, Tony? Want me to knock you to the floor and then kick you around a bit?"

"Yeah. It'll make you feel better about me lying to you. Just do it, Gibbs! C'mon, what kind of a pussy are you?" he taunted. "Just go with it. Let it out – all the anger and pain. I can take it."

"Oh, I just bet you can," Gibbs growled. He yanked on Tony's collar, pulling him half off his feet, and raised his fist.

"That's it," Tony goaded. "Punch me. Do it! C'mon! I won't fight back."

Gibbs lowered his fist and dropped Tony back onto his feet again. "You honestly think I'd ever punch you?" he asked quietly. "Seriously, Tony? You think I'd lose control like that? You think I'd drop you to the floor and kick you around the place? You think that's the kind of man I am?"

Tony had the sickening realisation that Gibbs had seen right through him from the beginning and had never even been close to losing control, let alone seriously taking a swing at him.

Gibbs reached out and gently touched Tony's face with the back of his hand, stroking softly. Tony pulled away angrily.

"Why, Tony?" Gibbs demanded. "Why would you think I'd do that? Why would you *want* me to do that?"

"She's going to be fucking scarred for life," Tony snapped at him. "They shaved off her *hair*, Gibbs. Her pigtails are gone…" He felt the words choke him. "She's sitting in that fucking hospital bed being fucking brave as hell when she came this close to being killed, and it's all my fucking fault, and you won't even fucking punish me like I deserve. No wonder I had to go out and get drunk on my ass tonight."

"That's what all this is about?" Gibbs asked. "Me refusing to punish you?"

Tony wrapped his arms around his body and gazed at his dom from sullen eyes. "Yeah," he muttered. "I'm sorry I lied to you, Gibbs, but I really needed that fucking drink."

Gibbs nodded slowly. "It's late, and you're too damn drunk to be having this conversation. And I'm too damn angry to be having it with you!" he snapped when Tony opened his mouth to protest. "Go to bed. Sleep it off. We'll talk in the morning."

"Great. Fine. Fucking fine. Whatever."

Tony began stomping up the stairs. He heard Gibbs behind him, following him up into the bedroom. Tony took off his clothes and left them in an untidy heap on the floor, then crawled into the bed. A second later he felt himself being hauled out again by the scruff of his neck.

"Not there," Gibbs growled. "If you sleep in my bed then you sleep in bondage, and you're too damn drunk for that to be safe tonight. You can sleep it off on the floor."

He threw a pillow onto the floor and tossed a blanket on top of it. Tony glared at him for a moment, but he was too tired and too drunk to argue. He threw himself down onto the floor, turned his back on Gibbs, pulled the blanket over his head, and closed his eyes.


Gibbs stood in the bedroom, his hands on his hips, glaring down on his sub for awhile, but Tony just lay there with his back to him, unmoving. Eventually Gibbs turned and left the room, pausing only to kick aside the heap of clothes that Tony had left on the floor.

He pounded down the stairs and back into the basement, went over to the workbench, opened the top drawer, and pulled out the big, brown envelope. He opened it up and drew out the file inside. Tony's face smiled up at him from the photo on the cover, his green eyes happy and shiny, and his wide grin as bright and deceptive as always.

Gibbs was about to open the file when he hesitated. Was this the right move? His head told him that it was, but his gut wasn't so sure.

He stood there for a moment, trying to decide, and then shoved the file back into the envelope.

“Damn!” he growled, thumping down his fist on the work bench.

He reached for his cell phone and called the one person he trusted to give him the kind of honest, impartial advice he needed right now.


There weren't many people for whom Walter Skinner would tear himself away from his slave's warm body at 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but Leroy Jethro Gibbs was definitely on the list.

The door was open, as always, so Walter walked right on in. He found Gibbs sitting in the kitchen, his hand clasped firmly around a mug of coffee.

"Hey." Walter sat down at the table opposite his old friend. "Bad huh?" His gaze raked over Gibbs's tensely muscled shoulders, and he took in the deep, dark anger in his eyes.

In front of him, on the kitchen table, was a large brown envelope.

"Tony's dossier?" Walter asked, jerking his head towards it. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "Well, they put the 'I' into FBI for a reason, and I am Deputy Director over there," Walter chuckled. "Not that it takes a trained investigator to figure this one out. You opened it?"

"Nope." Gibbs shook his head.

"That why you called me?"

"Yup. Want some coffee?"

Walter nodded, and Gibbs got up and poured him a mug of coffee. He handed it to Walter wordlessly.

"What happened?" Walter asked, taking a sip.

He sat back and listened as Gibbs filled him in on the events of the past week.

"Well you said it was all a bit too easy," he grunted, when Gibbs had finished.

"Yeah – I knew it was going too well. Some kind of crisis had to happen, and I guess this is it."

Walter leaned forward. "The boy feels guilty," he said.

Gibbs rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I'd figured that one out, Gunny!" he snapped, in an exasperated tone. "There's an 'I' in NCIS too – stands for the same damn thing!"

"He blames himself for Abby's accident – sounds as if he's got at least some reason to as well," Walter said, ignoring the outburst.

"Yeah – he does. But me and Abby have to take a share of that blame too."

"Well, she's taken enough punishment – and you, you don't have the luxury of it," Walter told him bluntly. "Your punishment is dealing with the fallout. That's always how it is for us, Jethro. You know that. You and me – we're always the ones who have to take the ultimate responsibility. Your punishment is having Abby in the hospital and a sub who is spiralling out of control. That's your part of this mess, Jethro."

Gibbs glared at him.

"What? You didn't call me over to have me sugar-coat this, Jethro. You wanted to hear it straight and that's exactly how I'm telling it."

"Yeah. I know," Gibbs grunted. "Question is – what do I do now?"

"Why won't you punish him?" Walter asked curiously. "If that's what he wants so much? Why not just do it?"

"Feels wrong," Gibbs replied, with a terse little shake of his head. "In my gut. Feels kinda unhealthy. He fucked up, but he's only human. We all fuck up sometimes. And it's not part of our relationship – I don't mind punishing him for stuff we've laid ground rules about, but if we bring in every aspect of our lives and make that punishable too…" He shook his head. "I don't want that."

"I can understand that, but he's feeling guilty," Walter pointed out. "And when he feels guilt to the extent that he's goading you into taking a swing at him – well, wouldn't it be better just to punish him for it and then tell him it's over?"

"I don't think it's that simple. I think there's a helluva lot of guilt there. I’m not even sure it’d *be* over for him, even if I did punish him. I’m not sure that’s how he works."

"Maybe." Walter nodded. He considered it for a moment, weighing up his options, and then he exhaled sharply and ploughed on. "Look, Jethro, there's something I don't usually talk about, but it's relevant, so I'm going to tell you. It's confidential, but I know I can trust you, of all people, not to tell anyone."

Gibbs gave a curt nod of agreement.

"I have a lot of responsibilities," Walter began. "Both in my job, and because I have a 24/7 slave too – he's a job all by himself." He gave a little grunt. "Always was, always will be. Nobody could ever call Fox low maintenance."

"No arguments from me on that score," Gibbs replied with a wry grin. "Tony's not like Fox though. He has his moments, and he's got a smart mouth on him, but he's always been obedient and eager to please. In fact, he's been pretty damn easy to handle up until now."

"Because he's hiding from you – hiding who he really is, the way he always *has*," Walter pointed out.

"Yeah." Gibbs slammed his fist down on the envelope on the table in front of him. "Damn it! I should have *seen* that. I know what he's like for Christ's sake."

"So you fucked up. Like you said, we all do that sometimes. Me too." Walter gave a self-deprecating grin. "Which brings me back to what I was saying about responsibilities. Sometimes, Jethro – not often, and not for a long time now – but sometimes, I get this need for release."

"What kind of release?"

"Physical punishment. I used to go to a good friend of mine, a dominatrix called Elaine. She took care of it. It was always my call – nobody topped me, or tied me in place. I said when I'd had enough and it stopped then - immediately. It wasn't a scene – it was just a kind of catharsis. Can't tell you why I needed it, or why it worked, but it always did."

Gibbs was looking at him in surprise. Walter grinned.

"Hey, Jethro – we're not all such natural born doms as you," he said softly. "And we all have our own ways of dealing with stress. You have that damn boat of yours, and Tony has…well, by the sounds of it he has alcohol, he has sex, and he has you. Now he's asking you to do this for him."

"I won't use him as a punching bag, Walter," Gibbs snapped.

"Of course not! They're our boys, Jethro. We love 'em, despite all the headaches they give us. No, I'm talking about giving him what worked for me. Tell him that you're doing this for him – that it's in his control, and that you're just facilitating what he needs."

"You think that'd work?"

"I have no idea." Walter shrugged. "But if it doesn't – well, then you'll have run out of options, and you'll know what you have to do." He picked up the big brown envelope on the table and held it up.

Gibbs reached out and took it with a grunt. "Yeah, Walter. If it doesn't work, then I know what I have to do."


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