Workin' For The Weekend (Follows Overcoming)
by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 015 Word Count: 14418
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Timothy McGee, Other Male Character
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Drabble, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Summary: The week leading up to Cody's visit is a bit of a roller-coaster for Jethro and Tony, but once the other man arrives, it's all uphill...
Chapter 1Title: Workin' For the Weekend (Sequel to Overcoming)
Summary: The week leading up to Cody's visit is a bit of a roller-coaster for Jethro and Tony, but once he arrives, it's all uphill.
Disclaimer: Yada-yada don't own 'em (except Cody), not mine, made no money... blah-blah-biddy blah...
AN: Yes, I'm aware that the item I describe doesn't exist, (at least I don't think so) but I'm sure I'm not the only one who's experienced, ummm... powerus interruptus at a critical moment... who wishes it was real.
MONDAY NIGHT: 6:30 P.M.
"Yeah... present. Sorry. I've thought about walking into one of these places... just never thought I'd actually have the guts to do it."
"Understood, but I need your input, here. These things we're getting are really personal. The color, size and style have to suit you."
"They come in *colors*?" Tony responded skeptically as he slipped his hand into Jethro's and let himself be led up the single step and into the large, tastefully decorated shop.
"You kidding?" Jethro chuckled, moving slowly forward and drawing Tony with him. "Every shade you can imagine. C'mon..."
"Wow... half this stuff... I mean, I've got a really good imagination and I don't even know where to *start*..."
"Don't sweat it. I've seen experienced doms and subs walk in here and have their jaws drop. Marcus works hard to keep this place on the cutting edge and stocks only top of the line items. No junk or crappy porn in here, I guarantee that."
Tony halted in his tracks and Jethro looked back at him, questioning.
"*That* Marcus?" the younger man asked quietly. "From the club, Marcus?"
"What, you thought he had leprechauns and elves supporting him?" the dom responded lightly. "Being who we are, being a community, is a huge part of our existence, but we all have jobs and everyday lives, too, Tony."
"Well, yeah... I knew that. It's...I'm still adjusting, I guess. So much to learn.... thank God you're not pushing. If I couldn't take this at my own pace, I'd have balked by now, for sure."
Gibbs moved closer and placed one hand over Tony's heart..
"Maybe. Probably. I'm taking it slow for me as much as for you, kiddo... give me time to figure you out. I've always wanted to see inside this castle you've built to protect yourself, but sometimes, in the past... it felt like I was facing twenty foot high walls, boiling oil and a moat stocked with sharks, crocs and piranhas. I don't know if it's pain in your past or just the way you're wired... but you can make it tough to get to know you on the really deep levels."
Tony swallowed hard and had to fight the sudden, overwhelming need to go to his knees. Instead he tightly clutched the hand Jethro was pressing against him as if it were the driftwood keeping him from drowning. "Still? I thought..."
"It's gettin' way better, don't get me wrong. "
"I know you're trying."
"As hard as I can."
"I understand that, I do. Moat's half drained and the crocs and sharks have moved on to better digs."
"I... okay, so I've been hurt." Tony choked out "At the House, in the hammock, I told you... I gave you a piece of it, sir... don't make me regret that, please, God, don't..."
Jethro kissed him lightly to force Tony to take a break and a breath then slid his hand over to the other man's bicep and squeezed for a few seconds. "Yes, sir."
"I know what you need. Hang on for me until we get somewhere private, okay?"
Tony closed his eyes for a moment, pulling himself together, then nodded and went along when Jethro tugged him toward the counter, reached under the front edge and quickly pulled back. Soon the man Tony had met at the club appeared from the back of the store.
"Jethro! Good to see... uh-oh. Maybe not. Upstairs?"
"It's not that drastic. Can we use your office for a few minutes?"
"Of course. You know the way."
"Thanks." Jethro replied with a grateful smile, leading Tony off through a curtain and into the hidden sections of the building. In only a minute or two they were behind the closed door of Marcus' office and Jethro turned to face Tony, who had begun to tremble. "I know. Go ahead and drop."
Tony fell to his knees, his head bowed. At Jethro's soft reminder he managed to raise his chin enough to satisfy his dom.
"Ah-ah. Eyes up. Look at me, Anthony. Better. Why did you need this? What set it off?"
"I know you have to see all of it... all of me before I can take your symbol and be yours forever. I'm just scared because some of it is so damn ugly."
"I can take anything, love. Keep going."
Tony sighed, frowned and shook his head a little, but eventually he chose to speak.
"I started to open up to somebody... a long time ago. Didn't even get close to the worst stuff. They said they couldn't handle it... walked out, never spoke to me again. I was so close to this person. I thought everything was fantastic. When they turned tail and ran..."
"...it ripped you apart."
"Yeah... pretty much."
"You've thought about it since?"
"Only every time I start getting that comfortable with somebody. Hasn't happened much."
"And now it's you who backs away first."
"Hey, you were in the military..." Tony ground out. "You never heard of a pre-emptive strike? Shoot before you can get shot, right?"
Now Jethro knelt in front of his sub, holding his hands up palm out and letting the ache in his heart show clearly in his face.
"You see a gun, Anthony?"
"Why did they do that to you, Anthony? You're too smart not to have figured it out by now. Tell me why they left like that."
"Me. My issues, my crap... it's more than anybody should have to take on..."
"No lying, especially if you know it is one. But I didn't!"
"Three chances before a warning. That was one. Try answering the question again."
"I... Sir... c'mon. It had to be me... didn't it?"
Jethro stayed silent. "Damn it, Jethro, I don't... God. Okay, so maybe she had stuff of her own. Maybe she was at a tipping point, afraid one more thing would bring her world down and her with it. But she said it was *me*. Work, my friends... everybody said it was me."
"None of them agreed to rule 2, did they?"
"What?" Tony whispered, his eyes widening.
"Do you swear to always try, even if what I ask is unfamiliar and frightening, to believe that my priority is bringing you pleasure and seeing you grow and move beyond your own expectations, and to always trust in me... "
"... until the day you prove you no longer deserve it."
"Have I?" Jethro asked, swiping tears gently from Tony's face.
"No... and I don't think you will. I've just had this drilled into my head for so long... I can't get it out."
Jethro pulled Tony into his arms and held on tightly.
"That's my job. Betrayal is over, Anthony. It's not a part of your story anymore."
Tony sniffled faintly into his dom's shoulder and responded almost inaudibly.
"As much as I believe you can make it true just by telling me it is... I know it won't be that easy."
"Easy is boring. You're a challenge and I love that. I love you.."
"You never back down from a fight, I know that much..."
"Damn straight. You ready to go back out and do some shopping?"
Jethro released him and they helped each other up. Their inside hands tightly wrapped together, the pair moved back out into the store. Marcus looked intensely relieved when he saw that they both appeared to be much more relaxed.
"Thanks for the favor, Marcus. It did the trick "
"No thanks necessary, Jethro. You're both welcome to whatever, whenever, you know that. Now, what can I do for my new favorite couple, hmmm?"
"How about a fifty cent tour?"
"Ah, Anthony's first trip to the candy store, is it? I'd love to. Anything specific you're looking for? Just so we can pause in those sections when we get there." Marcus asked as he moved out from behind the counter.
Jethro grinned and handed over a small bit of paper. "Mmm. Excellent taste, old friend. Don't carry that brand anymore... their quality's begun to dip over the last year or so. I do have something that should more than satisfy, though. So to speak." He laughed lightly, leading the way into the store. "Books and DVD's here in the first aisle. Can't imagine you'll be interested in those anytime soon. Not as fresh and new as it all must be for the both of you. Boxed items in aisle two. Body paint kits, massage oil collections, aromatherapy, board games... things like that. The cuffs and harness/ring combos are on the back wall, we'll get to them in a minute. The vibrators, among other things, are on the side wall. Here... this is what I wanted to show you, Jethro. Lovely, isn't it?"
"Wow. Yeah, it looks... Tony?" Jethro questioned when he felt the other man release his hand and slip that arm around his waist from behind.
"I don't know. Needed more contact... like a comfort booster shot. If that's not okay..."
"Of course it is." The dom assured him, stroking Tony's wrist. "Anytime. How about some thoughts, here?"
"Can I hear more about it?"
"Absolutely." Marcus said, producing a key and opening the door to a tiny cabinet near the floor that Tony hadn't noticed. He pulled out an example of the item, free of its packaging, and showed it to both men.
"Silicone outer sleeve, for easy cleaning... but quality stainless steel inside and a thin layer of insulation between the two. " he described, twisting off a cap at the top. "I tested the product personally and the retention is excellent."
"Retention? Of, um... what?" Tony asked slowly, uncertain he wanted to know.
"Heat or cold." Jethro clarified. "You can put hot water or ice inside, whichever is your preference. The wiring is in the shell, Marcus?"
"Mmm-hmm. My personal one has stood up to nearly six months of frequent use. No problems."
"Tight seal, no leaks yet."
"Sounds perfect. Tony?"
"Yeah... batteries go where?"
"They don't. For the most part, batteries are out, thank God. Realizing they're dead in the middle of a promising play session will flatten the mood so fast, you can't imagine. See the contacts on the top of the cap?"
"Like my cell phone. You mean... it has a charger?" Tony asked incredulously
"Just make sure you keep the two far, *far* apart." Marcus advised with a mischievous grin. "If you end up grabbing the wrong one in the morning rush to get to work... embarrassing to say the least."
Tony flushed, but a small laugh emerged as well.
"Trust me, the people I work with... I'd never live it down."
Jethro squeezed the arm curled around him.
"Yeah. Yes, sir. Just... I mean if you don't mind..."
"The green one."
"For your eyes. Absolutely. You still keep the other sizes in the store-room?" he addressed to Marcus.
"I do indeed. Two sizes smaller?"
"That should do." Jethro agreed, sliding a packaged one off the wall rack while Marcus returned the sample to its cabinet. "Without the bells and whistles, though."
"Understood. I'll get that when you're ready to check out. On to the next item?"
Jethro nodded and, still firmly connected, he and Tony followed the store-owner toward the back.
"Sir?" Tony asked quietly.
"Can we... get the other things in green too?"
This show of boldness earned Tony a guffaw and a kiss on the cheek.
2Workin' For... 2/?
"DiNozzo, just calm down, will ya? Abby's on her way..."
"They're my best ones! My absolute best ones! This completely sucks!"
Muffled, smothered guffaws behind him had Tony desperate to turn and shoot a Gibbsian glare at the offender, but his situation left his movement too restricted to get all the way around, so he settled for yelling out his frustration.
"Shut up, Probie! You hear me? Just shut up!"
"C'mon, Tony. You have to admit this is classic..."
Tony swiftly cut him off.
"If you even *think* the word karma I will kick your ass back to the Navy Yard when I get out of this!"
"Yeah, that looks likely." Tim shot back gleefully then responded to a genuine Gibbs scowl and a raised hand pointing in the opposite direction from his ensnared colleague. Once Tim was out of sight, Gibbs approached Tony as closely as he could and spoke quietly to him.
"Just untie the shoes, Tony."
"I know, they're your best ones. I've heard it a hundred times in the last half hour. Abby said she'd do her best to get 'em free and clean' em up, didn't she?"
"Italian leather! This stuff'll never come off!"
"If she can't fix it, I'll see you get new ones, okay? Untie the shoes."
Tony grimaced and hesitated.
"You'll have to lift me out..."
"Nobody's around to see. Even if they did, what's the big deal? Nothing strange in me rescuing one of my agents, is there?"
"Not strange. Humiliating. That idiot perp could've knocked over any of the damn barrels... why'd it have to be the industrial adhesive?"
"You really want me to say it?" Gibbs asked, smirking lightly now himself.
"Not you too, boss..."
"Hey, you had to know all those stunts with McGee's keyboard would come back to bite you in the ass someday. Shoes, Anthony. Now."
Tony let out one last pitiful moan, but the use of his full name brooked no argument, so he complied with the order and, careful of his balance, bent at the waist and untied both his shoes. "Arm around my shoulders."
"Yes, sir." The younger man sighed. Reaching in, Gibbs slid strong arms behind Tony's knees, straightened slowly and hoisted his sub out of his predicament and his precious footwear. As he swiveled to clear him of the mess, Gibbs dropped a discreet, brief kiss behind Tony's ear and chuckled.
"I really am sorry."
"Yeah... I know." Tony replied, allowing a small grin to emerge as he was placed gently on his feet. "I was looking at the suspect, not where I was running."
"That's what you're supposed to do. When Cody gets here, we'll both make it up to you, I promise."
"Yeah? He, um... he knows about falling too, I guess..."
"He does. Had some pretty effective teaching methods, last I knew. If you let him in, he could help you a lot."
"I'm not saying you didn't. That day in the gym, I swear I understood what you were showing me. I just figure the more people who try, the better and faster..."
"Faster is not a requirement. Faster is not a rule. Clear?"
"Okay. Let's get outta here, hmm? The smell of this stuff is givin' me a headache." Gibbs commented, moving off casually, setting a pace that allowed his socked sub to keep up while stepping around and over the debris in his path.
"Now that you mention it..."
"Yeah... a little. We going out to dinner?"
"You, me and Ziva."
Tony smiled wickedly.
"For being insensitive, he gets to stay at the office, do paperwork and wait for take-out."
3Workin' For... 3/?
"DiNozzo! Conference room! Now!"
Tony breathed deeply and forcefully unwrapped his hands from the edge of the desk before responding.
"Of course. Which one, Boss?" he ground out. Gibbs pointed toward the elevator. In moments both men were inside the cab and it had stalled in its tracks. Tony accepted the hand on his bicep gratefully, but this time the reaction was a struggle instead of automatic and easy. He sighed, almost a sob, but couldn't seem to manage words.
"Just say it, baby. I know you think nobody will listen, that nobody ever has... but I'm your present and future not your past. Speak, Anthony. Tell me what you need and you'll have it."
Finally Tony forced out two powerful words, ones he had stopped even thinking about years ago, believing they would never have any meaning to those in the world around him.
"Help me, sir. Please... help me."
"With the anger or the hurt?"
"Both. Mostly the anger."
Gibbs reached out and tipped up his sub's chin.
"It was a six-month old child. You're supposed to be angry."
"I've never felt it like this... it's too much, I can't keep it inside."
Gibbs grinned lightly.
"Like that disgusting sci-fi flick you convinced me to watch the other night."
Tony chuckled brokenly.
" 'Alien'... Yeah, just like that."
"You think the gym will help? A few rounds with the heavy bag, some kick-boxing practice, maybe."
"I don't know... but I'll try anything to stop feeling this way, sir. Can I... before we go anywhere, can I please..."
Tony dropped to his knees with a heavy sigh. Jethro waited him out for a tense minute or two, knowing there were words tangled up in his sub's heart that would eventually fight their way free.
"It... it wasn't my fault. I tried... I couldn't drive any faster... or get in his head and fix him so he'd stop... and let me get there in time. I would've saved that little girl if I could. I need you to know that... to see I did everything possible..."
Gibbs forced back tears and laid a hand on Tony's head.
"I was there in the car with you, Anthony. I ran into that house only seconds after you did. I'm hurting too... I understand."
"We'll go, I promise. You all set, now?"
Tony looked up, swiped at his face with a sleeve and nodded. Jethro lifted him to his feet and embraced him fiercely. "I know it sounds wrong and crazy... but next time it'll be easier."
Tony grunted a semi-coherent negative and clung tighter, as if denial and burying his face in Jethro's chest could shut out the certainty that there would, indeed, be another abused child, another innocent he would be a moment too late to rescue. "I get it. We'll talk about it later." The older man assured his lover, reaching behind him to re-start the elevator and touch the button that would send them down to the gym.
4Workin' For the Weekend 4/?
4:15 P.M. THURSDAY:
"Hey. Calling as promised."
"Like I ever doubted it. You're almost as bad as I am."
"No, no, no." Cody laughed. "Didn't we agree years ago that comparing how anal retentive we are only led to arguments?"
"Which led to black eyes and bruises. Not what I'm thinking for this weekend. I concede."
"Good decision. So how's Anthony?"
"The week's been a little rough so far. We lost a kid. Baby girl."
"Her father got high and threw her against a wall." Gibbs explained, lowering his voice as he saw Tony approaching the bullpen. The younger man was still working through the emotional aftershocks from that tragedy and the last thing his dom wanted was to get him thinking about it again.
"Yeah. That's how we felt. Then Tony had to give up his best pair of shoes."
"Did he now? I have to hear this..."
"He'll tell you when you get here. How's tomorrow night about six? Meet us at the house."
"What do you say we make that ten A.M.? I'll do my usual..."
"Hey, I don't expect a housekeeper, bud. You're a guest."
"I haven't had anybody to cook or clean for in a while, Jethro... and not much motivation. I feel like I need this."
"If you're sure it won't bring back too many memories..."
"I'm actually hoping it does. High time I started to face them. I know if Russ could still kick ass, mine would currently be black and blue."
Gibbs laughed quietly.
"Yeah... he never was one for wallowing or self-pity. No matter what'd happened, if you didn't reach down for your boot-straps in what he thought was a reasonable amount of time..."
"And he didn't mess around, either. Okay, go ahead. Stop by here first and I'll give you a key."
"Key? Key?! Who is this and what've you done with Jethro Gibbs?"
"Go do something physically impossible with your ass and a fishing pole, Bonner." Gibbs retorted mildly. "I've got something worth protecting now."
"True. Is he there full time, yet?"
"We agreed it'd happen after the ceremony. Matter of fact... " he said, subtly dropping his voice again as Tony was now at his desk. "... I'd really be grateful for an opinion about his progress. I think he's doin' amazingly well, but..."
"... you have good reason to be biased. Sure, I'll quietly evaluate him, but I'd rather this weekend be more about fun and getting to know each other. I can't wait to see his movie collection."
"You'll need at least two weeks to go through it with him. That doesn't include watching a damn one of 'em."
"Thanks for the warning. Okay, so I'll drop by and get the key tomorrow morning. Hey, I get to meet the rest of your team, too. That'll be great."
"Yeah, if they don't have work they should be doing when you show up."
"Always, but it gets the right result. I gotta go, buddy. Plans with Tony."
"Gotcha, Have a good night."
"We will. Bye."
Gibbs replaced the receiver and rose to his feet, collecting his coat, gun and badge. "Go home, people."
"Thanks, Boss." McGee replied, unable to completely quell his surprise.
"Yes, Gibbs. Thank you. Should I ask?" Ziva added.
"Should I revoke the offer?"
"No. I am going."
Tony lingered as the other two made their escape, pretending to be searching for something in his backpack. Once they were gone, he looked up at Gibbs with a curious half-grin.
"I heard something about plans. The House?"
"Not this time."
"Patience, Grasshopper. It's a virtue *and* a skill."
Tony laughed brightly as he followed his dom to the elevator.
" 'Kung Fu'! An actual pop culture reference! I love it..."
90 MINUTES LATER:
"Uh, sir... when I said that... I mean.... it was..."
"Relax, love. Nobody's gonna be hitting you."
"Oh, it's Tai-Chi. Hold on, you do Tai-Chi?"
"Haven't for a year or two. Thought since I was getting back into it, you might enjoy it too. It really helps with balance, flexibility and focus."
"You mean falling. This is a lesson."
"Not really. If you get something out of it that helps you there, that's fine. Mostly I'm doing it to release some of the stress this week has dropped on me."
"It has been tough..."
"Go ahead." Gibbs offered as he began to stretch lightly.
"I can't stop seeing that baby. It... I'm trying to move past it. It's stuck to me... the pictures, the sounds and smells. My stomach is touchy, my head aches..."
"I know. Me too."
"You never showed it. You even comforted me in the elevator..."
"You needed me to be strong. That's part of what a good dom is... what we do."
"Yeah, but who's strong for you?"
Gibbs stopped, straightened up and regarded Tony solemnly.
"A.J. and Clayton. You were there... you saw."
Tony's eyes widened slightly.
"But I'm supposed to... they said I have to be ready to take that on... if you need me."
"You haven't been showing me any of that. None of you have."
"It's not time. First you learn your role, learn who you are and everything it means. Then you'll be ready for the guys to teach you to take their place."
"There's a better way. At least I think so."
"Yeah? What's that?" Gibbs responded, genuinely open to whatever Tony was thinking.
"Talk to me. Tell me how you're feeling and maybe you won't end up in that... dark, ugly mental place where you need to be yelled at and pushed before you can let go of your anger and your pain. I know there's the chain of command... you're the dom, I'm the sub, I completely respect that, I do. If you can't or you're not supposed to, just say so, but..."
Tony faltered, gaze searching Gibbs' face for some sign of approval or condemnation. What he saw, however, he couldn't interpret as either one. The older man grasped his lover's hands, brought them up and kissed the knuckles. "Jethro? Sir?"
"Later, okay? We'll talk about it this weekend, I promise. I love you so much, Tony..."
"Ditto. Times a million. Looks like the class is starting. We should find a spot to stand. You'll help me if I get lost?"
"Yeah... not even a question."
5Workin' For... 5/?
Wearily approaching his desk after several hours in the field, Tony suddenly halted in his tracks and his jaw dropped.
Striding in a few seconds behind him, Gibbs couldn't suppress a grin when he saw that Tony's desk had been transformed into a miniature version of a shoe store.
"I didn't tell anybody, boss. You put my head on straight that day. I trusted you to make it right, so... no reason to go around bitching. Maybe McGee played town crier and spread my humiliation to the masses, but I swear..."
"It's not a joke, Tony!" Abby insisted as she ran up from behind and gave him a quick hug. He turned to see the rest of the team following her at a much more sedate and less enthusiastic pace.
"Yeah? Then what's up? Payless going out of business?"
"I only told Abby, Ducky and Palmer." Tim responded. "They set me straight, too. I was wrong, I was insensitive... and this is how we decided to make it up to you."
"It is also a kind of... game. I'm told games are useful for relaxing at the end of a difficult day." Ziva added. "You must try to guess who gave you which pair."
Shooting everyone in general a dubious glance, Tony laid his pack on the floor and settled apprehensively into his chair. Looking over the five sets of shoes, he eventually picked out a pair of fuzzy panda slippers.
"No way, Tony! Look again..."
"Right. No skulls, crossbones or X's over the eyes. That was my only idea."
"They're from me, Tony." Palmer said, a broad grin. "Official souvenirs from the National Zoo. I go at least two or three times a month. The pandas are my favorite exhibit."
At last, a trace of a smile lightened Tony's expression.
"Hope for humanity. Of course, I should've known."
"Whoa, how did you..."
"We'll talk about it someday. They're really cool, Jimmy. Thanks."
"You're welcome." The younger man mumbled, blushing and backing through the crowd, eager to escape.
Letting his hand slide over the remaining selections, Tony paused at a pair of Birkenstock sandals.
"Birkies... has to be Ziva."
"Not me. I would never wear anything I could not run or fight in."
"Shoulda known that too. Okay, own up, ya hippie..." he threw out teasingly. To his shock, it was Ducky who raised his hand. "Uh-uh..."
"I wear them at home, in the evenings and on weekends. I do believe you'll find them the most comfortable things you've ever put on your feet, dear boy."
"You will. My condolences on your loss and I dearly hope our gifts reduce the sting a bit." He said, shaking Tony's hand firmly and turning away to follow his assistant. The younger man shook his head slightly to negate the mild shock of the revelation and refocused on the game.
"Man, zero for two. I better concentrate, here, huh? Wow, Chuck Taylor's... Boss?"
"Sorry. Not playing. I was as surprised as you, remember?"
He looked hopefully at Abby again, but she turned her head back and forth, pigtails flying, silently indicating once again that it wasn't her. Ziva did the same when he glanced her way. "Probie?!"
"They're... an apology. And a request. If you're not still too mad at me... I'd really like it if we could shoot some hoops tomorrow."
Tony managed the latest bombshell with significant aplomb and only a hint of color staining his cheeks and fiercely squelched several comments about whether Tim had any clue how to play basketball.
"I can do that, Pr... McGee. Have to be next weekend, though. I've put off a lotta chores and errands that'll take me most of the next couple days to catch up on. I promise, though... it'll happen." Tony assured him, holding out his hand palm up. Tim slapped it gently, ducked his head and hurried back to his desk. Studying the last pairs of footwear, Tony's brow furrowed. His choices were a stunning set in Italian leather, almost identical to the ones he'd lost, and two matched, floppy, vinyl things he wasn't even sure were shoes at all. Desperate, wondering if, despite the purple and blue tones, they might have some Goth use he hadn't heard about, Tony lifted the rubber items in Abby's direction. She laughed brightly while shaking her head.
"Ziva? It can't be... absolutely no way..."
"Do you see the mesh sections here? They are water shoes. They protect your feet if the path to a pool is made of rough material such as cement or stones. These..." she commented, pointing to the bottoms. "...prevent you from slipping on smooth surfaces."
"Ducky informed me that swimming in heated water for short periods might be good for strengthening your lungs. So. Once or twice a week, for perhaps half an hour... you will come swim with me, yes?"
"Of course. You will not take a chill. I promised Ducky."
"Uhhhh... yeah. Okay. I'll give it a shot."
"Good." she praised, tapping him on the cheek solidly before also retreating to her own area. Tony breathed deeply, staring at the leather shoes. Abby approached slowly and kissed him softly on the forehead.
"I couldn't save your other ones. I really tried... but they were too gucked up."
"But, Abby... how did... I mean... these must've set you back eight or nine hundred bucks!"
"Hey, I'm kind of a unique and rare creature in this building, Ton. I am majorly valuable. The Brass know it... and they pay me like it. Enjoy..." she whispered, favoring him with another kiss then walking away. Knowing his sub was somewhat in shock, Gibbs chuckled and lifted Tony onto his feet.
"C'mon. I'll help you carry these down to the car. McGee, Ziva, you can head home."
"I know. We can talk about it later. Right now a fabulous meal is waitin' on us at my place. I don't intend to let it get cold."
6Workin' For... 6/?
"Cody? We're back..."
"I have ears, Jethro. The one place you never sneak up on is your own house."
"There's nobody here I have to keep an eye on. Not usually, anyway..." Jethro grunted as he gazed around. "What the hell have you done to my place?"
Cody laughed brightly as he emerged from the kitchen. After drying his hands, he patted his long-time friend on the shoulder.
"It's called polishing and dusting. Look 'em up in the dictionary, learn the benefits."
"Real funny. Mmm... ham... and scalloped potatoes. Smells great."
"Now that's the Jethro I know and love. Complain about the changes, *then* notice that I made his favorite meal." Cody teased gently. Peering over the other man's shoulder, he saw Tony, shoes off, waiting patiently on his knees a few feet behind where Gibbs had stopped. "Do I have permission?" he asked quietly.
"Of course." Gibbs responded the same way
"That'll change as he progresses, hmmm?"
"Yeah. I won't hold him to it much longer. He learns so fast and he's come so far already..."
"I believe you, but I'll see for myself this weekend. Go find a drink and relax. Anthony and I will be there in a few minutes."
Gibbs paused then drifted off towards the liquor cabinet, only allowing himself one brief glance back. He trusted Cody more than anyone in recent memory, almost more than anybody he'd ever known, but the bond with Tony was still so new and untested that leaving the younger man in another set of hands, even experienced ones, triggered faint alarms from Jethro's gut that he fought hard to silence.
"Good to see you again, Anthony." Cody offered lightly.
"You too, sir. Dinner smells amazing."
"All compliments gratefully accepted. Your safe-word?"
"Submission is strength, not weakness. No lies, especially if you know it's one before you open your mouth. No breaking prior agreements. No betrayal in any form and no concealing anybody's attempt to make me betray my dom. No hiding anything that could affect my health and safety."
"Trust... and vulnerability."
"Can you elaborate on the second one?"
Tony squirmed a little, but he still replied promptly
"Distorted body image... fractured self-esteem."
"Wow. Very brave. Thank you, Anthony." Cody praised, brushing a hand over Tony's neck. When the younger man stood, the touch was repeated. Tony grinned, ducked his head and moved of to get undressed. Cody watched him for a few seconds before strolling into the living room and joining Jethro by the sofa.
"And?" Gibbs invited.
"Putting together everything I've seen so far... that's a hell of a sub you chose. 'Course, you've got a long way to go, yet, but you'll put back all his missing pieces eventually. Just like Cory and Mac and Belinda."
"Mmm." Jethro grunted around a sip of bourbon. "No. It's different... Tony's different. I thought you understood that."
"He's not as broken, that's for sure."
Jethro placed his glass on the nearby mantle a little harder than strictly necessary and glared at his friend.
"I love him."
"You loved the others... for a while. Once you were sure they'd be okay, you set them free to find their Mr. or Ms. Right and went back to your memories. Are you saying you're in too deep to let that happen this time? Are you telling me you're finally ready to let go of the past?"
"You have to know for sure, Jethro. You have to. You're right, he is further ahead than most can manage in such a short time... but to be here he had to get past the first step, which means you've already made him promises. If you still can't say goodbye..."
Jethro snarled under his breath, snatched up his glass and made a motion as if he was about to throw it against the nearest hard surface, but the anger dissolved as quickly as it had appeared and the tumbler survived. A deep sigh was followed by a reluctant explanation.
"It's not an issue anymore, Cody. She let go of me."
"I'm not sure I understand."
" Every other time I've walked into this house, she just fell in beside me... moved with me everywhere I went. I could smell her, feel her... taste her. When I finally let Tony in, let A.J convince me to bring him to the house so he could help in a purge session they were running for me... I came home and she was gone. Just... gone."
Cody moved close to Jethro and squeezed his shoulder.
"That girl never was one to hang around after the job was finished. Shannon saw you through 'till your second soulmate came along. Now she's moved on to whatever her next mission is."
"Probably organizing and handing out wings and haloes..." Jethro proposed, flushing a bit when his voice cracked. Cody gave him another squeeze and laughed.
"Sounds about right."
"That was a real SOB thing to do, Cody."
"True, but I really like Anthony and I wasn't about to see him get hurt if you were still stuck in ancient history. I figured if you said it out loud... You know I'm sorry."
"Yeah... I know. Go check on dinner. It burns, you're buying me new cookware *and* paying for take-out."
"Greasy fast food, on my watch? I don't think so."
Halfway back to the kitchen, Cody halted in his tracks, watching Tony come down the stairs. "Holy heavenly bodies, Batman..." he murmured under his breath, but toned down his shock and awe for Tony's ears so the younger man's image problems wouldn't kick in and make him shy. "Very nice, Anthony. Very nice indeed."
"Supper's in about ten minutes. I assume you've washed up?"
Tony smirked lightly and showed both sides of his hands. Cody inspected them carefully, a smile also tugging at his lips.
"Good job. Go show Jethro."
Gibbs actually met his lover somewhere in the middle, wrapping Tony in a gentle embrace and leaving a kiss below his ear.
"You're doin' great, baby. I'm so proud of you. "
"He's easy to get comfortable around."
Gibbs pulled back an inch or two, a hopeful expression on his face.
"That mean you're okay with him jumping into anything that might develop tonight?"
"Yeah... yeah, I'm fine with it. Just make sure he's aware of the limits."
"You can tell him yourself, ya know."
"I can." Tony stated, though his face clearly said it was actually a question. "I guess I have to, right? It's part of learning to always protect myself. If I speak up loud and clear, everybody involved knows where my boundaries are and knows what'll happen if they try and cross them."
"Letter perfect." Jethro replied. "C'mon, let's go see what else 'Master Chef' Bonner made for supper..."
90 MINUTES LATER:
"Oh God, no... not Italian leather..." Cody snorted. He was trying hard to express the empathy he genuinely felt, but mirth kept showing up instead.
"Go ahead and laugh." Tony responded easily. "Now that I've gotten a little distance from it, I can admit how funny it must've looked from the outside. Anyway, like I said, Abby replaced those and I got a few other new pairs, too, so it's okay. Man... that dinner was fantastic. You're a great cook."
"Your caramel pecan cheesecake wasn't too shabby either. One of the best desserts I've ever had."
"You should see what's still in my apartment fridge. I've been baking practically every night this week."
"Jethro said it's been unusually rough." Cody prompted, but Tony calmly shot the attempt down.
"I'm sorry. I'm not ready to talk. Trust me, the worst of it will probably come out at some point this weekend... but I'm feeling really peaceful right now and I'd prefer to hold onto that."
"Hey, nothing to be sorry about. I'd much rather that you tell me straight out to back off than let me push you. Just know that when you need to unload, there's a second set of ears around."
"Thanks. Can I, um... I wanna ask you something, but it could be a little... out of line."
"I'll let you know."
"How tired are you? You've obviously worked your butt off around here today and then making dinner and everything..."
"If you're asking do I have enough energy to play for a while... the answer's definitely yes."
"It is? Great..."
Tony shifted his gaze to Jethro, but the dom gestured for him to keep talking. "Right. It's... you need to understand that I haven't done a lot yet. We're... taking it really slow."
"There's nothing wrong with that. I have to know where the fence line is, though."
"Just because you've got a cowboy name..."
"Have you forgotten I was born and raised in Montana? Sometimes it just slips out."
"I was born in tiny little town, but you don't hear me spoutin' off about church suppers or checkers around the woodstove."
"I would if I ever got you back there. Five minutes and you'd sound just as country as anybody else."
"That's what you think." Jethro groused, though he was also smiling faintly as he rose to his feet. "Enough with the history lesson. Let's get these dishes done and the leftovers put away so we can get on with the fun stuff. Gimme a hand, Tony?"
7Workin' For 7/?
Once the kitchen was clean, Cody and Jethro stripped to the waist, cushions for all three men were placed on the hard living room floor and the trio settled into a loose circle within touching distance of one another.
"Okay..." Cody began, "now I need you to tell me about your level of experience, Anthony."
"I'll be more than happy to hear those later on. For now, keep it general."
"Jethro's taken me through touching, kissing, blow-jobs... and other friends of his introduced me to food play, light bondage and vibrators."
"How far did you go with that last one?"
"He, uh... he touched me... pressed it against my... you know, but no penetration. I've asked Jethro if we could wait for that until the night of the ceremony and he agreed. That's about the only thing off the menu, though."
Cody's eyebrows lifted momentarily at Tony's off-hand mention of the special event.
"Has he told you much about the process?"
"Some. I know it means committing totally to each other. We choose a meaningful symbol together and I accept it from him... then we make love. I also know it happens in front of an audience. He... we're both working hard on my image problems so that part won't be so tough on me."
Cody swallowed hard and his jaw dropped open slightly.
"Saving your first time until the actual night... can't say I've ever met anybody brave enough or determined enough to do that. That's a really powerful choice to make, Anthony. I... would you mind if I was there to see it happen?"
"If you want to, I'd love it, sir. I'll take all the support I can get."
Cody turned his gaze to Jethro, grinned and shook his head.
"You said it before." Gibbs responded. "Anthony is one hell of a sub. Hell of a man, too."
Tony flushed brightly, but successfully battled and won out over his ingrained habit of looking down or away when sincerely complimented.
"Open? Responsive?" Cody asked his old friend.
"Like you wouldn't believe. Verbal as well."
"Really..." their guest intoned, his voice growing a bit husky as he re-focused on Tony. "This promises to be an even better weekend than I was hoping. Close your eyes, please, Anthony. Slow your breathing... in slow and deep, out the same way. Good. Very good. Now tell me all about the bondage. Describe it."
"He used silk scarves. He just tied my wrists together and asked me to keep them above my head. I wasn't really tied down."
"And did you have a problem with his request? Was it hard to do?"
"No. I trusted him... and I knew I could get away... get out of the scarves if I needed to. I wasn't afraid. Nervous... but not afraid."
"He talked to me... using another scarf to arouse me at the same time."
"He... he wrapped it around his hand... then rubbed it over my chest and my thighs... and my cock."
"And what was he saying?"
"Some of it was really personal... stuff about me and Jethro. If it's okay..."
"Yeah, of course."
"No problem." Cody assured him, his lips briefly touching Tony's cheek. "What wasn't so private, Anthony? Tell me that."
"Mostly, he was trying to get me to open up, to tell him what I wanted and needed. He thought I was afraid of saying it and being laughed at or rejected."
"Was he right?"
"Yeah... I think maybe he was. He coaxed it out of me... said it was part of the safety system for nights like that. I had to be willing to speak up whether it felt good or it didn't, so he'd know what to do next."
"That's true." Cody affirmed, reaching out and stroking his hands over Tony's shoulders and upper arms. "Keeping yourself safe, even in play, is always a priority. What did you tell him, hmmm? What did the two of you discover together?"
"That my nipples are really sensitive... I like the feel of silk... and I love vibrators."
Cody laughed deeply.
"I can't imagine there's a man on earth who hates 'em."
"Me either. I mean... the shockwaves through your whole body the first time it makes contact... how fast you end up on the edge, fighting to stay in control one more minute... it was incredible."
Cody grinned wickedly and leaned in to murmur in Jethro's ear. After a smothered laugh from his fellow dom, he got his response and turned back to Tony.
"Anthony... I need your permission to try something."
"Something I'll enjoy?"
"Oh, I can practically guarantee it."
"Permission granted, then. Do I get to know what's about to happen or is this a 'wait and see' type of thing?"
"A little of both. You've heard of butterfly kisses?"
"Yeah. It's tickling somebody's face with your eyelashes."
"Right. Well... I call this hummingbird kisses." Cody explained as he and Jethro eased Tony backward and arranged him so that he was mostly reclined, elbows supported on his cushion. Jethro dropped onto his side, shifting his own supportive pillow close enough that he could touch Tony's face and hair and speak softly, but still be clearly heard.
"Cody invented this, love. At least that's what he told me. I've got no reason to think he lied, since nobody else ever did this to me. Far as I'm aware, nobody else even *knows* about it."
"Oh, I've taught it to two or three very special lovers over the years," Cody corrected lightly as he positioned himself between Tony's thighs. "but I swore 'em all to secrecy afterward."
"Not a bad idea." Jethro mused. "If word got around you were the one who created the Hummingbird, you'd have to hire a twenty-four seven security squad to keep the crowds away from your house."
"Possible." Cody demurred. "Okay, Anthony. I want you put both hands over your ears for me."
"This technique has never failed me, but the first time, the sounds that go along with it can be... distracting. If you feel before you hear, you won't give a damn about the noises on your second go round."
"Really." Tony replied, echoing Cody's earlier moment of wonder and speculation. "Now I have to know. Go ahead, sir."
"Hold on tight, sweetness. This can be a wild ride..."
Tony covered his ears, curiosity glowing in his eyes as he lifted his head to watch as Cody dropped his head and licked slow stripes up both of Tony's inner thighs. His next move was to slither his tongue along Tony's abs, back and forth for several minutes, occasionally dipping into his navel. The man below him whined under his breath, twisted, writhed and finally spoke.
"G-God... it feels so good... ju-just a little more... a little longer... before you finish. Higher... my nipples. Please?"
"Your wish, my command."
Shifting up, Cody licked, suckled and delicately chewed until Tony was crying out and arching into the stimulation.
"Yes, yes... I'm ready now..."
Moving back into position, Cody gently drew the head of Tony's cock into his mouth, hesitated a few moments to savor the feel and taste of someone utterly new to him, then backed off and wrapped his fingers loosely around the base, ready to mildly tame what he knew would be an intense reaction. Grinning and itching with keen anticipation, Cody drew a breath and blew it out in a raspberry, aimed directly at the vein just behind the head. "Ahhh! Ohhhhhhh.... Again! Again, again!"
Cody obliged twice more then pulled Tony's erection in fully, released his grip and swallowed every drop of the other man's release. Once they'd both begun to breathe a little easier, he crawled up and mirrored Jethro's position on the opposite side, touching Tony's wrists softly to let him know he could lower his hands.
"Open and responsive doesn't half describe you, Anthony." Cody chuckled, kissing Tony's damp brow this time.
"I... I liked it... wanted it... have to tell you... so I get more..."
"That's absolutely right."
Jethro leaned forward and placed lingering kisses all over Tony's face.
"Now... I need you... to tell me something."
"What? Anything, you know that..."
"Tell me when you're ready for my turn."
8Workin' For... 8/?
Tony's eyes brightened and he twisted his body to the left a bit to steal a quick kiss from Jethro.
"Anywhere, anytime, anything you ask." The younger man replied softly. Hearing the slightest of choked sounds from Cody, Tony stretched the other direction and dropped a lingering kiss on his temple. "Whatever it is, I'm sorry."
"No... never, sweetness. I... I was with somebody for a long time. He was smart, tender, strong... a lot like you. We loved each other the same way you and Jethro do. I lost him to cancer a short while back and being reminded that other people still have that kind of bond... that amazing, passionate love... it hurts, that's all."
"Oh. That's what Jethro meant that night at the club."
"About me needing a safe place? Yeah."
"Is it working?" Tony asked, sitting up fully and brushing one hand lightly through Cody's hair. "If it isn't, just tell me what I can do. Short of a full on booty call... I'll give you whatever you need."
Cody laughed brokenly and curled one hand around the back of Tony's head, bringing him closer. He let his lips brush Tony's ear then spoke quietly.
"I remember saying something about it being a privilege getting to know you. I'm gonna have to come up with a better word than privilege..."
Tony's slight smile and a momentary duck of his head acknowledged the compliment then his gaze was locked back on Cody's.
"So there's nothing extra you want from me? Nothing that might help?" Tony countered gently.
Cody held his breath for a moment, realizing the significance of what he was about to ask.
"Jethro's time. I know how precious that is to you. The job takes so many hours and carves so much out of your spirit, you don't want to sacrifice any of what's left..."
"It's not a sacrifice... believe me it's not. Jethro promised that he loves me, desires me and wants to take me as his permanent sub. I trust his word. You need him... I have no problem with that."
Cody chuckled and felt another fragment of his months long sorrow drop away. Glancing at Jethro, the other dom shook his head and grinned.
"Wherever you found Tony, I want the exact address. When I'm ready I want one just like him."
Jethro pushed up to his knees and shifted to straddle Tony's hips.
"Told ya, there aren't any. Time comes, I'll help you get as close as possible... but this little bit of paradise is totally unique. And all mine." He intoned, reaching out to massage Tony's chest, gently digging his fingertips into the mat of hair.
"Mmmm. Your turn, sir... definitely your turn."
"You sure? Got your breath and everything?"
"Positive. It may take some extra time and work to get me... hard again, but I can be patient if you can."
"You really do have a bad time with the grubby words, don't you?" Cody asked.
"Let's just say... I've had bad luck using them. There are many more reasons... for being thrown out of bed... than just eating crackers..."
"Hmmmph." Jethro snorted, frowning mildly. "For future reference, I love hearing you say those words... and you'd have to do a whole lot worse than that to get thrown out of *my* bed."
"I promise not to ever test those limits."
"Good. Now... back to the fun. What is it you want me to do? Back to the bondage, maybe? Should we explore how long I can lick and suck on your nipples before you go completely out of your mind?"
"Either... both. I did have an idea, though. I mean, if... while you're..."
"Anthony, relax. Anything is acceptable. Just tell me."
"Can I show you?"
"Of course. Go for it."
Instead Tony took a few seconds to contemplate what he was about to do. He couldn't bring himself to push his own envelope at the club, choosing to ask his dom to take over. They were at home now, away from the watchful eyes of strangers, and still he was hesitating. Taking a deep, slow breath, he repeated over and over in his head that he was a beginner when it came to this life. Jethro hadn't judged him for his decision that night so he had no reason to judge himself. He would try again and if it still felt beyond him he would make another attempt sometime in the future. The point was not to give up, not to slip back into the old habit of believing he would never succeed.
"Present and accounted for, sir. Just... thinking."
Dismayed that his hand was shaking slightly, Tony fought past the distress, reaching out to lower Jethro's zipper. He then moved up and released the button at the waist, allowing him access to the boxers underneath. When he lifted his other hand as well, however, intending to draw both garments down to Jethro's knees, the trembling became visible and his dom grasped both sets of fingers tightly.
"I can do this. I *want* to. It's just... it's another new step and you know those aren't always easy for me."
"At the house, I never really dared to even peek. Last weekend, I had the blindfold on. At the club... Not a pattern I'm exactly proud of, but there it is."
"You did that at the club... without looking?"
Cody chuckled softly.
"I'm a witness. His eyes never dipped lower than your face, I swear."
Jethro contemplated that briefly and stored it away for future use.
"Trying not to freak myself out, I guess. Every time you describe making love to me, I want it so much. It's only *after* that my mind starts drifting in the wrong direction. I tell myself I can't totally trust my fingers, you know, that I have to actually use my *eyes*... Then I worry about what I'll see and I chicken out. If I did that at the ceremony, if I let you down..."
Jethro gripped Tony's bicep lightly for a few seconds and, as usual, the flood of anxious words evaporated.
"Recite your affirmations for me."
"Everything I was belongs to you. All I am at this moment is yours. All I will ever be I pledge to you."
"That's three out of four."
Tony flushed, belatedly remembering the one they'd added the previous weekend.
"Oh... right. I am enough."
Jethro leaned forward and kissed him deeply, if briefly.
"And you always will be. Think about what we said after your session at the House..."
"You want me and love me, old and new damage both. I'm not too far gone, and you'll patch me up as many times as it takes. You won't abandon me... or let me walk away because of a hateful man who taught me to see myself as worthless."
"Insight overflowing. I really do adore you, my beautiful boy..." Jethro praised, adding another kiss. "You still want to..."
"Thank you, baby... thank you for everything you are in spite of that hateful man. Cody, can you get around behind me?"
"You want me to..."
"Yeah, if and when it feels right."
Cody swiftly changed position, ready to help bring Tony to orgasm if Jethro couldn't reach or the angle was simply too awkward for the older dom. This meant he was treated (and he did consider it a treat) to the sight of Jethro's taut, bare ass being slowly revealed as Tony finally managed to slide the hindering clothing down and out of the way.
"Anthony?" Jethro inquired gently.
"Eyes are open, sir... boy... are they open... My God... and you're already... ready. Wow..."
"That was watching you with Cody. Seeing you twist and arch up... hearing you ask for what you want and cry out how good it felt... made me wish I was the one sliding you down my throat... that I could be drinking you dry, just like I did at the club."
"Mmm, that was so incredible. For the first time ever... I felt everything... not just the pleasure... but how much I was loved. Have to touch now..."
"Yeah, go on. That's so good, Anthony. Gentle... sweet... just like you... take your time, now..."
"Seeing it is so different... watching your... your cock twitch and leak... it's just for me, isn't it?"
"Just for you, baby... just for my Anthony..."
Surprising both of them, Tony partially sat up, drew a quick breath to help gather his courage and swept his tongue over the tip of Jethro's cock. He then stretched his neck and kissed his dom while speeding up the motion of his hand. "I like it, sir. It's... you."
"Anthony... ah hell... that's p-perfect... just that way... gonna come, sweetheart... don't stop..."
Realizing that, indeed, Jethro would have to perform a painful contortion to bring his sub off properly, Cody slid a hand in and worked on Tony. With his help, the two other men reached orgasm almost simultaneously.
Collapsing back onto his cushion, breathing heavily, Tony looked up at his dom with glazed, half-lidded eyes. Once he'd caught his breath as well, Jethro laughed and kissed the younger man.
"I'd say you're ready for a few hours sleep."
"No... argument... here."
"First we all need to clean up. Desperately." Cody challenged, chuckling lightly as he rose to his feet. "I'm tempted to suggest a triple shower, but I know your stall isn't big enough, Jethro."
"It's... okay." Tony offered, flapping a weary hand. "You guys... go first. I'll just... stay here and... figure out how... to breathe again..."
His expression suddenly drawn and worried, Jethro was at his sub's side in an instant.
"I'm fine. You guys... wore me out... that's all."
"I know, sir. I swear there's nothing... really wrong. I'd tell you if there...was. After this week and all... you and Cody just put me through... you expect me not to be... a little winded?"
Jethro kissed him deeply and also stood, moving to follow Cody. They only stopped when Tony called out.
"Cody, sir? Tomorrow, would you be willing... Jethro said you could show me things... to make falling easier."
"I can. Are you willing to open up more about what makes it hard for you?"
"I'll do my best."
"Then so will I. Night, Tony."
9Workin' For... 9/?
Still holding his jeans together, Gibbs trailed Cody to the full bath upstairs and lingered in the doorway as his friend and fellow dom stripped the rest of the way and turned the water on in the shower. As he waited for it to get up to temperature, he glanced at the other man curiously.
"I know you wrote me about it back when it happened. Can't really remember exactly what it was he went through."
Gibbs laughed, but there was little, if any, humor in the sound and he turned his gaze down, buttoning his pants to help distract him. He didn't like remembering those few appalling days and actively hated the occasional reminder he still had to face.
"God, that's right. He was deliberately dosed. All this time and you still worry like that?"
"His lungs are scarred... always will be. He's made an incredible comeback, but he can't ever stop being careful."
"So rule five must be about his health."
"No downplaying when he's hurt or sick. He has to find Ducky or me the second he knows for sure."
"Damn straight. Don't tell me one through four, by the way. Let him do it tomorrow. Proving he can rattle 'em off will give him a good ego boost."
"Tomorrow... you should know it won't be easy. His trust issues have issues."
"I'm up to the challenge. You coming in with me?"
"Thanks, anyway. I'll wait for him."
"Not like I blame you." Cody replied, lightly grinning. "I won't be long, promise."
Gibbs nodded and turned back to the hallway, intending to descend and check on Tony, but he saw his sub wearily moving up the stairs and moved to greet him with a gentle embrace.
"Hey. Proud of you, baby. You're getting stronger and stronger..."
"I feel it, too. I see it in your eyes every time..."
"His voice isn't in your head so much anymore, is it?"
"No... not so much. I don't know if I'll ever shut him up completely, though."
"We. *We'll* pull the plug on that noise together."
Tony pulled away a bit and offered Gibbs a wan smile.
"I'll take all the help I can get... right up to the last move in the game. I think I have to do that on my own or it won't feel like it's really over... you know?"
"I do. Okay. You got it, love. The final push to get him outta your life is all yours."
"Thank you." Tony responded, kissing his lover softly.
"Anywhere, anytime, anything you ask." The older man said, echoing Tony's earlier vow and making his young sub chuckle.
"I think I've heard that somewhere before..."
"Yeah, me too. Just as true now as it was then."
"I believe that with all my heart." Tony whispered in Gibbs' ear as they moved back into a warm, supportive hug.
A few minutes later, Cody emerged, clad only in a towel and a pair of slippers, and laughed as he moved past them to the stairs, headed to the ground floor guest room where his bags were stored.
"Don't you two ever quit? You'll run out of hormones an' have to start takin' shots."
"Shots?" Tony asked cautiously as Cody's steps faded.
"Testosterone. Trust me, neither one of us is gonna need that for a long time."
"Many more playmates and I might need it sooner than you think."
"In the shower, funny boy. Go on..."
8: 30 SATURDAY MORNING:
Cody slid two heavily laden plates onto the table and savored the appreciative sighs and groans as he went back for his own breakfast. By the time he plopped into his seat, Gibbs and Tony were both fully engaged in their food, so their guest judiciously waited to speak until the others finally paused for a breath.
"I guess it's edible, hmmm?"
" *Incredible* is more like it!" Tony enthused. "I've never had scrambled eggs this good."
"Beat them with half and half instead of water or straight milk and add a touch of Gouda at the last minute. Not so amazing."
"Damning yourself with faint praise, bud. I couldn't cook like this an' you know it." Gibbs admonished lightly.
"Which is one of the reasons we're such good friends. I'm smart enough to never turn my back on someone who loves my cooking and won't try to steal the recipes."
The next half hour or so was essentially silent as all three men focused on their meals. Once they were finished, Gibbs considered offering to do the dishes, but the expression on Cody's face told him his fellow dom had a pretty clear-cut plan in mind, for the morning at least, and it only involved Tony. Smiling and releasing a slow, audible breath, Gibbs leaned back and quickly came up with a reason to take himself out of Cody's way for a few hours.
"Man... now I need to go burn that off. I think I'll head into work and hit the gym. Maybe treat myself to a walk around the lumber yard after."
Tony whirled around in his chair, eyes widening, falsely confident grin twisting his lips.
He was beyond desperate enough to beg Jethro to change his mind, but pride rose up and stopped that idea cold, leaving him with nothing to put in its place.
"Sir, if you... I mean..."
"Go back to the night you first came to me... the night we started this journey. 'Trust me not to hurt you'..."
"... 'not to abandon and not to betray'."
The urge to keep going, to express how deeply he regretted his brief loss of faith, was intense and powerful, but Tony skipped ahead in the conversation they'd had that night and used a stronger memory to overcome the yearning to apologize when there was no need. Slipping out of his chair, he knelt in front of Gibbs and laid his head on his dom's knees. "It takes strength and courage to lay my soul and everything I am at your feet. That I can still trust at all after how I've been hurt... proves I have both of those. True submissives are not weak. *I*... am not weak."
Moved to honor what Tony had just achieved, Gibbs once again stroked his sub's hair and petted his shoulders, as he'd done that night months ago, then kissed him lingeringly on the top of the head.
"No... no, you aren't. Not by a long-shot, baby."
Discreetly sniffing and swiping at his eyes, Cody approached the pair. Tony slowly lifted his head and looked up at the other dom, hesitating, breathing deeply. Then he held out his hands palm up, offering the relative stranger the chance to either help him stand or knock him over, surrendering himself to whichever choice Cody decided to make.
"My God..." Cody choked out before reaching down, gripping firmly and lifting Tony to his feet. "Please, can I kiss him, Jethro? It's the least he deserves, I know, but ..."
Gently grasping both sides of Tony's face, Cody pressed their lips together and held the kiss for several seconds. Tony was grinning shyly when they pulled apart at last.
"I think dishes can wait, don't you? I'm dyin' to see what other surprises you've got for me."
Tony nodded vigorously. "Good. Let's get to work, darlin'..."
As Cody and Tony moved into the living room, Gibbs rose, grabbed his jacket and quietly left the house.
10Workin For… 10/?
15 MINUTES LATER:
“That’s it. Breathe in… hold it… out to the same three count. Nice. You like to swim, Anthony?”
“Sure. I love it, especially in the ocean.”
“Not out here on the Atlantic coast, I’m assuming.”
“I’ve been in a few times, but, yeah, I really prefer warmer waters.”
“Okay. I want you to picture yourself floating, just a few feet from the beach. You’re safe… close enough to shore to get back easily. Got the image?”
“I do, sir.”
“Yeah. Getting there, anyway. This visual really helps.”
“Good. Recite your first four rules.”
“True submissives are not weak, because it takes strength and courage to put everything you are at somebody else’s feet and believe they’ll respect and cherish the gift. No lying, especially if I’m aware from the start that it *is* one. No breaking prior agreements. No betrayal in any way, shape or form, including keeping it to myself if someone else tries to get me to cheat or flirt.”
“Nice job. “
“Do you want my affirmations?”
“Only the last one. The rest belong exclusively to Jethro… just like you.”
“Don’t I know it.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Cody chuckled. “The last affirmation?”
“I am enough.”
“You believe that yet?”
“I’m working on it. You were right there yesterday…”
“Mmm. ‘A hateful man who raised you to believe you’re worthless.’ I remember. That’s not where all the trust problems come from, though.”
“No. Not completely. Ninety percent.”
“And the other ten?”
Tony sighed and dropped his chin a little.
“It took a long time for me to risk opening up to someone… telling them a little of what I went through as a kid. They couldn’t handle it.”
“I’m sorry that happened.”
“Me too. I mean… I was already gun-shy. Seeing her walk out the door just made me… paranoid. After that one-might stands were pretty much it for me. I didn’t dare take the chance on anything deeper.”
“Yeah, until now. And I don’t even know why, really.”
“Think about it a minute. Think about the first time you knew it’d be different with Jethro.”
Tony actually hesitated several minutes, his expression shifting frequently, before he finally spoke up.
“He, uh… he was having a really hard time with something that happened at work.”
“The Ari thing. He wrote me about that. Nasty situation.”
Tony looked up, relief suffusing his face and loosening his tongue. If Cody knew that much he could be much more open.
“A. J. called Jethro… you know A.J., right?”
“Very well, and I know about the House, too. He must’ve thought Jethro needed a purge session.”
“Yeah, exactly. Well, a couple weeks later, we were at work and he said… he said we were doing it again. I was so confused and twisted up over the first time, I just told him I had other plans. He got up, walked over to my desk and wrapped his hand around my upper arm. Not hard, it didn’t hurt, you know… it just felt so weird. Then he ordered me to close my eyes. I tried not to, but I got dizzy and… and suddenly I just couldn’t help doing what he wanted. Once I said I’d meet him at his place that night, he touched the back of my neck and my head was clear again. It scared the hell out of me, but I had to find out why… what it meant that he could do that.”
“Now you understand.”
“Mostly. Only someone meant to be a sub would’ve reacted like that. And what I felt was a little taste of falling.”
“Nail on the head. I’m sure Jethro wishes he hadn’t had to do it that way. It only contributed to your being more afraid when you tried the real thing.”
“I don’t know. It makes sense… I guess.”
“Can you put the fear and confusion of that first experience aside, Anthony? Can you let that go?”
“I’m not sure. Now that I’m aware… maybe.”
“Let’s try, okay? You’re floating in the warm water… sun heating you all the way to the core of your body… relaxed and comfortable… happy and at peace.” Cody encouraged quietly as he reached out and grasped Tony’s wrist. “Gradually, you start to turn… to swing in a slow clockwise circle. As you finish one rotation, you feel yourself going a little deeper into head space… more peaceful, more calm. Perfect. Another rotation… even deeper… even farther down…”
Abruptly, Tony began to violently shiver, opened his eyes and pulled away from Cody, twisting his body sideways. “Anthony?”
“I can’t. I was there, it was working… then it wasn’t. I have no idea why. I’m really just… *so* sorry….”
“Hey, you didn’t do anything wrong. This process is harder for some folks than it is for others.”
“It’s way beyond hard, sir. I’m completely panicking. Jethro… he said I’ll be free of my past, that he’ll help me trust again… but the more I fail at this, the less I believe it’s possible.”
“You didn’t fail, Anthony. When it comes to this, there is no failure. Only levels of success. So you’re stuck on the first level, buddy. There’s nothin’ wrong with that. Once you find an’ break down all the obstacles that’re standin’ in your way, then you’ll move on. It just may take a while to do that. Can I hold you for a bit? Would that help the shakes back off?”
“I’d like that.” Tony whispered, shifting over and into Cody’s open arms.
11Workin’ For… 11/?
“Hey. You ready to get goin’ again?”
“Yeah.” Tony acceded, straightening up gradually. “I am. Thanks for the break. Guess I kinda needed it.”
“Nothing wrong with that either. Everybody has to define the important words for themselves. Strength, courage, love… we all understand them differently and we all see the world through that filter.”
“Unless someone comes along and changes it… for better or worse.”
“True. Jethro’s on the better side, yeah?”
“More than anything or anyone I’ve ever known. My history isn’t exactly roses and lollipops, but he’s showing me I can get past it… get to a place where I live as who I really am, not who I used to be or what other people try and convince me I should be.”
Cody grinned and murmured, his gaze becoming distant momentarily.
“You’re kidding me.” Tony interjected brightly. “You actually know that song?”
“I do. It was one of my mom’s favorites. Petulah Clark I think…”
“Could be. Hard to remember. I always loved that song.”
“That surprises me. Not really your style, is it?”
“That was *why* I liked it. It wasn’t chamber music or any of the stuff my parents listened to and it was a break from the rock and pop I usually favored. Plus, girly music made my dad stay out of my room. He was too afraid of what he’d see if he barged in at the wrong moment.”
“Classic.” Cody laughed. “How old were you?”
“I don’t know. Seven, maybe eight. It was most the rebellion I could get away with, so I took full advantage.”
“Really…. Hell, that could be your answer right there.”
“What could be?”
“Not now, okay? Jethro knows you a lot better than I do. If I muck around without his insight, I could really make a gigantic mess. Let’s wait and we’ll explore my theory when he gets back.”
“Ooookay. So… what are we doing instead?”
“Anything you want. Name it.”
“Some Q and A would be great.”
Tony blushed beet red and looked down before he answered.
“I’ve, uh… I’ve been scanning the internet… for toy catalogs. Just to kind of see how far some of this stuff might go. They don’t get real specific about the how and why… and especially not the where.”
“How about the real world?”
“At the house. Twice. That cabinet…” Tony murmured then let the thought trail off into silence, shaking his head.
“Oh, yes. I know it all too well.”
“Jethro took me to Paper Moon a while back, too. He wanted us to have brand new things to play with… nothing with past associations that could start me wondering.”
Cody’s face lit up.
“Paper Moon… I haven’t been there in forever. I’ll have to stop and visit with Marcus before I head home. So? What treasures did you and Jethro find?”
“A vibrator, padded cuffs… and one of those... harness and ring pieces. There was a lot more stuff I wanted to ask about… but at the time I wasn’t even close to being ready for that conversation.”
“Now you are?”
“It’ll be easier with you. I think…” Tony said, finally raising his eyes.
“Let’s give it a shot and see. What piqued your curiosity the most?”
“Catalog or store?”
“Well… this one site I was checking out had what looked like a hammock… but I read the dimensions and it’d be way too small. They called it a swing, but…”
Cody grinned lightly and felt heat rising mildly in his own face.
“Yeah. That… mostly, I think it’s used for fisting.”
“Fisting… you mean… you can’t be serious.”
“I’ve only experienced it once. Have to tell you it was pretty incredible, but it’s definitely not for beginners or the faint of heart. Took most of a night… about six or seven hours. I’ve never been taken care of like that.. never felt so loved. A long massage with scented oils, soft jazz in the background, passionate, gentle words filling up my head and setting my body on fire… It was almost two hours before he even*started* to prep me and open me up. Every time I got nervous or tensed up even the tiniest bit, he stopped, kissed me and talked to me… waited ‘till I was ready to go on. By the end… well, let’s just say if I could guarantee it’d always be like that, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
A moment later, Cody was shifted sweetly out of his reverie by the sensation of a tissue brushing over his cheeks, wiping away tears he didn’t know he’d been shedding.
“You said you lost someone. Was that…”
“I wish I could’ve known him. He sounds like an amazing person.” Tony offered quietly, continuing to absorb the evidence of Cody’s still raw grief. When he felt the mini-storm had passed, the dom touched Tony’s hand and the tissue was withdrawn.
“You… good Lord, kid, I thought only Texans had hearts that big…”
“It was nothing. I’m just glad I could help.”
“Nothing? Hell’s bells. Sometimes just being there is everything, Anthony. You know… Russ would’ve adored you. He was a sucker for anybody who really cared and wasn’t afraid to show it. From what you said last night, it’s clear you’ve been hurt pretty bad. How did you ever manage to hold onto that caring? How did you not lose it to bitterness… or to anger?”
“I don’t know. Being a cop, I guess. Kinda hard to give in to selfishness and personal angst when you know people are depending on you. Brutal murders, drug addiction, battered wives and kids… seeing all that totally puts your own stuff in perspective.”
“Yeah. Guess it would. Jethro’s able to help, too, I hope?”
“He’s amazing. Wednesday, after… after what happened, he took me someplace private and he let me get it all out. He just took it off my shoulders… soaked it up.”
“Like that tissue.” Cody responded, gesturing to the crumpled item still clutched in Tony’s fist.
“Right.” Tony chuckled.
“You’re not ready to talk, yet, hmmm?”
“About that morning? No.”
“In that case let’s shake off this blue vibe and do something fun…”
15Workin’ For the Weekend 15/?
TWO HOURS LATER:
The trio walked into the house together, Cody and Jethro moving to immediately hang up their jackets and Tony following his usual routine. Cody shot a brief look at his friend and once more received silent permission to be the one who released Tony. The younger man slipped out of his coat as well and returned to stand before the two doms. His focus, however, was completely for Jethro.
“What’s the plan for tonight, sir?”
“One last session. Go get out of your good clothes and into something ratty and comfortable, okay?”
Tony smirked faintly and the other man amended his wording. “Yeah, ratty doesn’t mean more holes than a tree full of woodpeckers. Just so you don’t mind getting it dirty.”
“Intentionally… or just in case?”
“As in ‘we don’t mean to, but you never know.’ Now go on.”
Tony moved quickly up the stairs, Cody grinning lightly as he watched him disappear then turning the look on Jethro.
“You may not mean to, but don’t speak for me, bud. Seeing him deep in an orgasm, so free and unguarded… it just does my heart and soul too much good. If the opportunity comes *up*, so to speak, I might not be able to resist.”
“You damn well better, at least until we know whether your theory pans out. Any fooling around before that would just be a distraction.”
“You’re right, I know.” Cody reluctantly agreed, gazing longingly up the steps. “He’s just so remarkable… ”
Cody suppressed a shudder, left his sentence unfinished and turned away. Jethro gripped the back of his neck gently for a few seconds as he spoke what he hoped was reassurance.
“I know, but you’ll find somebody, Cody. It’s just gonna take a while. Losing Russ is still too raw. He’s too close, too much with you… so tight sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe without smelling and tasting him. One a’these days, though, you’ll come home and realize it’s not that way anymore. Then the person you’ve been fightin’ off, the one you’re determined not to love… their face’ll pop into your head and you’ll know. That’ll be your sign that Russ approves of whoever it is and he’s lettin’ you go.”
Slowly Cody turned back and stared at his fellow dom in astonishment.
“Since when are you capable of saying that many words at once, Jethro?”
“Three guesses, first two don’t count.” Gibbs replied, drawing a barely audible laugh from Cody.
“Second question; are there any synonyms for ‘amazing’ I haven’t used yet?”
“Probably, but I’ve about reached my limit on words for the night.”
“How’d it happen?”
“He thinks the more I talk to him when I’m tied into knots inside, the less I’ll need purge sessions. Little by little…I’m startin’ to believe he might just be right.”
Following that revelation, both men fell silent momentarily as Tony, clad in faded green sweatpants and a rock concert tee from a now illegible band, bounded down the stairs to rejoin them. His excitement instantly transformed the somber mood.
“Okay, Sir? I only found one or two holes and you can barely see them.” Tony teased lightly.
Jethro grinned and dropped a kiss on his cheek.
“I like you better in nothing but skin… but this’ll do fine.”
“Keep that up and it’s gonna turn into that kind of night whether you mean it to or not.” Tony snarked.
“Yeah, yeah. Just you wait ‘till Cody goes to sleep. You and I… will play ‘Quaker Meeting’ grown-up style.”
Tony swiftly ran the childhood rhyme through his mind and his eyes widened, accompanied by a wicked grin.
“Seriously? But what’s the…”
“Later. C’mon…” he encouraged, tugging his sub toward the spot where Cody had set up the cushions one final time. Once all three were seated, Cody began the second attempt at helping Tony to fall, hoping against hope that his earlier idea would be proven right.
“Okay. Remember the visual we used before?”
“Yes, sir. Floating in warm water, bright sun countering the cooler breeze… and I’m turning in a clockwise circle.”
“Very good. The turn is slow… you’re relaxed… peaceful…” he reminded Tony, once again grasping his wrist gently. “First rotation…”
“… I sink deeper into headspace. The second… a little deeper. Sir, I… it’s still not…”
“Hang in there. Just one more circle. You’re safe… only a few feet from the beach. Relax, Anthony. Let calm wash over you… warm, just like the water.”
The limb he was holding began to tremble and Cody knew they had to move soon or their work would be for nothing. He shot an intent glance at Jethro, who slid his hand into place and took over the session as Cody pulled back.
“Anthony. Pay attention.”
“Y-yes, sir. Please… I’m afraid. I can’t do this…”
“You can, Anthony. You can because I give you permission. You have my permission to let go and fall.”
Abruptly, the image in Tony’s head shifted radically. He was turning faster and faster and being drawn farther under the surface with every spin, but the terror had evaporated. In moments he saw himself, not drowning or struggling to breathe, to escape, but standing in a dim, silent space with Jethro by his side. “Anthony?”
“Sir.” Tony responded very softly, his tone utterly serene and composed, with the barest hint of anticipation. Both Cody and Jethro finally drew and released the deep breaths they hadn’t dared to for several minutes.
“Where are you right now?”
“Our world. Nobody else allowed. Just us.”
“What do you see? What’s around you?”
“Not enough light. Don’t need it. I feel you here, that’s what matters. You’re all I need.”
Jethro shoved down the sudden assault of emotion Tony’s words caused and forced himself to focus, to finish and bring his sub back. As he slid his hand up to Tony’s bicep, he could feel the change happen physically. The younger man was still down, but now more alert and aware of the outside world.
“Reach up and find the water, Anthony. Reach… swim back up. I’m waiting for you.”
A few minutes later, Tony began to blink then turned to gaze at Jethro, incredulous.
“Sir… Jethro. I did it. Sir, I did it!”
“You sure as hell did, baby. You sure as hell did…” Jethro choked out as Tony lay down and rested his head in his dom’s lap. Jethro petted and praised his precious sub, distantly noticing that Cody was doing the same for him.
MTAC - NCIS Fic