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Undercover Cover-Up (Sequel to Post Traumatic Stress)
by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 004 Word Count: 9622
Warning(s): BDSM, Disturbing Imagery or Content
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Other Male Character
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Crossover, Episode Related, First Time, Hurt/Comfort
Episode(s): 3-08 Under Covers
Crossover Shows: JAG
Summary: Tony's loss of control worries Gibbs and after a disconcerting private talk with the younger man, Jethro makes a call.
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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Moving around behind Tony, A.J. laid easy hands on the younger man's shoulders.
"There are rules to being the focus of a session, Anthony. Did Jethro tell you about them?'
"No. No, he told me what to do when I first stepped in here... but that was all."
"You were here with Jethro last time. Tell me what you remember."
Tony lowered his head, deep in thought, then responded hesitantly.
"Tell the truth."
"Good. Anything else?"
"No smart-mouthing, limited swearing and don't resist the process."
"Or things I'll wish I never heard of will be attached to sensitive body parts and stay there until my attitude changes."
A.J. laughed and some of the tension eased in Tony's back and neck.
"Well said. You know what a safe-word is?"
"Uh... yeah. It's a word I only use if I'm in trouble. If I say it, everything stops until I'm ready to keep going."
"That's right. It can even be two words, but it's important that it be something out of the ordinary; nothing you'd use in normal conversation. Since you'll also use it privately with Jethro, you might want to choose something that has meaning for both of you."
Tony glanced quickly at Jethro then down at the floor. A.J. could almost feel the guilt and embarrassment pouring off the young man "Anthony?"
"I'm listening, I swear."
"That's not what I'm asking about."
Harm winced slightly, knowing Tony had anticipated, as he'd been warned not to, and would be subject to correction at some point during the session. Tony's response to the comment was thin, tight lips and silence. A.J switched his attention to Gibbs. "Jethro. Talk to me."
"Anthony and I... we haven't gotten around to anything we'd need privacy or a safe-word for. He's not ready yet and I think he's ashamed of that."
"Is he right, Anthony?"
Tony shook his head slightly, but his answer didn't match the movement.
"You haven't discussed this with him."
"No. He guessed. He's good at that."
"Should he have had to guess what you're feeling?"
Tony blanched slightly, but his response was quick and honest.
"No. I should have told him."
"That's right. It's good that you understand that. Now we just have to convince you of the merits of doing it. Have you chosen a safe-word yet?"
"Yes... I have."
Gazing directly into Jethro's eyes, Tony swallowed hard and spoke his choice quietly.
Intrigued, A.J. raised one eyebrow.
"Interesting choice. Feel like indulging my curiosity? No obligation."
"It's, ummm... it refers to Kate Todd. After she died a sketchbook was found in her desk.... she'd made these amazing drawings of each of us. I think... I hope she'd approve of Jethro and I getting closer and supporting each other now that she's gone, so... sketchbook will work."
"I agree. Jethro?"
Gibbs nodded and managed a small smile, unsure his tight throat would function if he tried to speak. Tony had shown little emotion when he'd first seen the drawings and Gibbs had hoped it was simply one more bit of stoicism from a young man who typically held his softer emotions deep inside, no matter what the situation. He was gratified and touched to know that the final gift from Kate had moved the younger man.
"Good. Let's move on, then. Harmon, attach the harness and cock ring, please."
Tony startled and twisted his head around, trying to look back at A.J.
"What? Why? I don't understand..."
A.J. gently returned the young man's head to its previous position.
"Eyes front, Anthony." He scolded lightly, moving around to stand in Tony's line of sight, but out of the way of his apprentice. "Remember what you told me a few minutes ago? Try not to smart-mouth, swear or..."
"Resist the process."
"I'm trying. I... I've spent my whole life *not* showing anyone how I feel or who I am. I can't just change... not so fast..."
"I know you're trying. Since that mistake you've done much better. Keep it up and fifteen minutes from now you'll be released."
A.J. could see the urge to protest burning in Tony's eyes and was pleasantly surprised when the other suppressed it and submitted.
"This will be uncomfortable at first, but it won't hurt." Harm murmured in Tony's ear. "Don't look at what I'm doing, Anthony. Focus on Jethro. Keep your eyes on him and you'll adjust faster."
Grimacing, Tony took the advice and kept his gaze strictly on Gibbs, who was putting all the support he could muster into his own expression. Harm made short work of applying and securing the device, while still being as gentle as he could. Once the procedure was finished and Tony had been given a few seconds to become used to his confinement, A.J. moved directly in front of his subject and began to question him again.
"Once more, just to refresh all our memories: why are you here tonight?"
"I lost control... beat up a suspect."
"Have you thought about why it happened?"
"Yeah... but I still don't really know. He smacked me around, came after me with a knife... I know I was pissed."
"At him or the situation?"
"Him... at first anyway. After a few seconds, though... I'm not sure it was either one. I quit worrying about who and why. I was just... mad and I took it out on what was in front of me."
Impressed with Tony's insight and willingness to explore his motives that day, A.J. knelt in front of the young man, effectively blocking Jethro from Tony's sight and ensuring the focus would remain on him alone.
"Close your eyes... and tell me. I want detail."
"I... I was tied to a chair... back to back with Ziva."
"That's the partner you were working the undercover with."
"Yeah. She... I know she can handle herself usually... but I was getting a really bad feeling about how things were going down. I had to get her out. I convinced one of the bad guys that what they wanted was up in our hotel room... and he untied her. He went with her to get it... but all that mattered was she was free."
"Why was her freedom all the mattered?"
"I don't know... is it time to get this thing off my used-to-be-privates yet?"
"Focus, Anthony. Concentrate and answer the question."
"I said I don't know. Maybe... maybe I just had a sense which one was really dangerous... and I wanted him with me."
"I thought you said Ziva could handle herself."
"That doesn't mean I'm gonna sic the psycho on her."
"Because she's a woman?"
Tony's eyes popped open and he favored A.J. with a faint smile.
"Hell, no! In some ways she's tougher than a lot of guys I know."
As he studied his subject, A.J began to put pieces together and understand where Tony's extreme reaction in the hotel had come from. His heart twisted for the pain the young man was about to experience, but he led him down that path anyway.
"But you still felt it was your responsibility to protect her."
"She was my partner. That's how it works. Partners watch each other's backs." Tony replied, his voice dropping into a lower register as his body tensed.
"And you did that to the best of your ability."
"No? You made sure she was released, you got her out of harm's way..."
"But... yeah, I did that, but it was only common sense."
"I don't understand. Explain it to me."
"She was... if I get beat up or sliced into cold cuts, nobody... she was the one who should have left. That's all I know."
Hating what he had to do, A.J. steeled himself and led Tony around the blind curve and head on into the crash that he prayed would heal him.
"But she didn't did she?"
"No... I mean, yes. I gave her the out and she took it."
Tony's eyes widened and he startled. Only Harm's grip on his shoulder kept him in place.
"God, don't go there... shit, no..."
"She went up on that roof with you. She could've stayed behind at the office, she could have traded places with Agent McGee on the ground, but it just wasn't in her to step out of the line of fire..."
"No... stop, damn it... don't..."
"Making sure Ziva was safe, beating that man the way you did... what was behind it, Anthony? Tell me why you did that."
Tony, sobbing quietly and pulling in hitching breaths, shook his head and tried once more to pull away, but Harm wouldn't relent. He leaned close and spoke softly to the younger man, exhorting him to let go.
"I know... Right now it hurts like hell, but it'll feel so much better if you can just say the words..."
"Just say her name. You know she wouldn't want you to hang on to this... give it up..."
Finally, Tony closed his eyes again and whispered.
"Katie... I did it for Kate..."
"Good. Keep going. Tell me the whole story." A.J. encouraged.
"I couldn't protect her... I was right there... the son-of-a-bitch... he was targeting the women on the team... we knew that... I would have stepped in front of her... it shouldn't have been *her* blood on *my* face... I'm the one who failed... I let my guard down... I need another chance, but I don't deserve one..."
Abruptly, Tony collapsed in on himself, sagging forward. A.J. reached out and ran a gentle hand through the young man's hair then gestured to Harm, who made short work of removing the harness and cock ring. Once that was done, the admiral continued, knowing the battle wasn't quite over yet.
"Anthony. Sit up and look at me. I know it isn't easy, but I want you to sit up straight. Do it now."
Gradually, Tony's spine straightened and he made eye contact with his interrogator, though he wished desperately that he dared to take his hands away from their position on his back and wipe away the humiliating tears still drying on his face.
"You're doing very well. We're almost done. I just need you to finish that sentence for me."
" 'If I got beat up or sliced into cold cuts, nobody...' "
Tony frantically scrambled for some answer the other man would believe, because everything in him was screaming that he couldn't tell the truth this time, no matter what they did to him. When A.J. touched his cheek, Tony felt his determination crack and begin to crumble, but he shored it up and stayed silent. "I can see how hard you're fighting not to surrender this one last thing. You're afraid of his reaction. So am I, a little, but he needs to hear this. He needs to hear you say it. If you got hurt or were suddenly gone, nobody..."
Tony's response was almost inaudible.
"... nobody would notice."
"Almost. One more try, then we go back to the cabinet."
Just in case, A.J. gestured again and Harm rose, walked to the toy cabinet and returned, but this time he stayed at Jethro's side after handing over his choice to his mentor. His caution was unwarranted, however as the walls had begun to truly break apart inside Tony and no matter what he did, he could no longer cement them back together.
"If I was gone... nobody would care."
"Where's your evidence? You're a top agent, Anthony. Don't give me a conclusion that you can't back up with evidence."
"Please, stop... don't do this... if you take all my protection away how am I supposed to survive?"
"Anthony... just let it go. Tell me what's really hurting you, what's eating you alive inside... and this ends."
"I can't... if I say it... it's true... I don't want it to be true..."
"What? I can't help fix the problem if I don't know what's broken."
Tony flinched and crawled a few feet away, now audibly sobbing. A.J followed. Harm stayed back a little, gently laying a hand on Jethro's arm in preparation for keeping him from running to the rescue.
"No! God, no, not you too! Can't be..."
"Anthony talk to me, right now. Let this out. Give it up, son... I know how much it hurts."
"No you don't! You're not..."
"What? I'm not what? C'mon, you're so close..."
"You like old cars?"
A.J. raised an eyebrow at the abrupt change of subject, but flowed with wherever Tony was going.
"Ever see one... by the side of the road or in a junkyard, that you fell for? Didn't matter if all that was left was a- a bumper and a tail light, you made an offer... and you took it home."
"My thing was motorcycles, but sure, once or twice... when I was young."
"It takes a special guy, with time and the passion for lost causes, to take a junker, get it running and shine it up so it's just like it was. Jethro... he's not one of those. He wants it new... or even better, the pieces, so he can... shape it, and bring it to life just the way he thinks it should be."
"You think that junker... is you."
"I've been run head-on into walls, T-boned... wrecked over and over again, my whole life... and nobody ever cared enough to put me back together right. I did it myself the first thousand times, but after a while... I stopped thinking it was worth it. After that I just... kept slapping on new paint, layer on top of layer... so the cracks, rust and old body-work wouldn't show. Then..." Tony finished, his breath hitching. "... then I had to go fall in love with him, damn it..."
"Why is that a bad thing?"
"Because! He... he looks at me and I know I can never hide from him! All the cover-up I've worked so hard to put on... and that bastard sees every patch and-and twisted wire and piece of chewed bubble gum that's holding me together! That's why I haven't let him go past kisses. He sees... he fucking *knows* what shape I'm really in... no matter what he says, he can't really want me. And now you... you saw right through me too."
"What makes you say that?"
"You said I was broken. You knew... God, I've probably been lying to myself all along. I'm a mess... why did I ever think I could make anybody see anything different?"
A.J. breathed deeply then looked back at Jethro. Sharply tilting his head he urged Gibbs forward, knowing it was time for him to take over and praying he would get it right.
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