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Overcoming (Sequel to Back To School)
by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 011 Word Count: 19405
Warning(s): BDSM, Kink
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Established Relationship, Romance
Summary: Jethro chooses to tackle one of Tony's big issues in an unusual way.
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
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Jethro found his friend with both hands braced on the bar and his feet back a little, as if he were prepared to be frisked and arrested. Gently, he laid one hand on Cody's shoulders.
"No... this is supposed to be fun night. I'll go home before I bring anybody else down..."
"Damn it, you stubborn cuss... talk to me. You know I won't give up."
Straightening up a bit, Cody dropped heavily onto the stool beside him, hung his head and whispered a name.
Jethro sank down on the next stool, his brows drawing down and his face swiftly losing color.
"He didn't leave me... at least not voluntarily."
"Oh, no. Pancreatic cancer."
"A month ago. You know... I used to think hope was a good thing, Jethro. Now I know better. He fought so hard to stay positive, to keep believing all the official, professional voices were wrong... it didn't do any good."
"I would've been there... hell, I would've walked or crawled to get to you, Cody."
"You remember how it is right after, Jethro. All you want to do is hide, isolate... forget the world that brought you together still exists. I'm just now climbing out of the pit. I was thinking tonight could be another step up... but watching you and Anthony just might be too much."
Jethro slid his hand from the middle of Cody's shoulders over to firmly grip the one nearest to him.
"When Shan died I thought I was done... that nobody in the world would ever be what she was to me. If I hadn't been stuck in that mindset, maybe one of the other three... Anyway, I ignored even the idea that I could have Anthony. I wanted him, but I was scared, angry... and too proud to ever risk making a fool of myself again. Finally somebody opened my eyes... showed me that it didn't have to be the same to be just as good. It is, Cody. Anthony gave me back my faith and my heart. I'm not saying you should be out looking for someone else right now, buddy... just that when they come along you've gotta be open to the possibility."
"Yeah... I can't see it yet... too soon..."
"Come back to the table? Let us make it better, just for a little while?"
"Mmmm... I'm willing to let you try. Plus you really shouldn't leave your beautiful MA alone too long. Most of the group will have no problem resisting temptation, but there are always a few who don't even *try*."
"True. You'll be around D.C. for a while?"
"Oh, yeah. Quite a while. At the moment, escaping memories is high on my priority list..."
"I hear you. I'm thinking about the ceremony. He'll be ready in six months... maybe less. It'd be amazing if you could be there."
Cody lifted both eyebrows and studied Jethro skeptically.
"You've been together how long?"
"A little over three."
"That would mean... not even a year? Jethro..."
"Don't judge him on a five minute conversation. You have to get to really know him, Cody. You'll be as much a believer as Clay and A.J. are."
Cody sobered instantly on hearing the names.
"You're throwing around some serious weight there, my friend."
"Call either of 'em and ask about the play-date we had a few weeks ago."
"He's already... and he did that well?"
"My God. If he's got you this deeply dedicated, I guess I *had* better get to know him. He's heard the standard best friend warning, I imagine." Cody inquired, now smiling impishly.
"I have no clue."
"Let's go find out."
Cody led the way back to the table, halting right in front of Tony. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, television series; season four, Willow to Riley at the frat party." He announced, delighted when Tony's face lit up.
"If I hurt him you'll beat me to death with a shovel. Understood. Trust me, not happening."
Cody half-turned to soothe Jethro, knowing full well that the older man would be utterly bewildered by the exchange, but the soft, distant sound of a gong interrupted him. "Whoops. C'mon Jethro. I'll try and explain over supper."
Shaking his head, Jethro held out his hand to Tony, who gripped it firmly and rose to his feet. The three strolled over to a curtained off area, Tony and Cody gleefully debating the relative merits of the original film over the Buffy T.V. series, while Jethro grinned indulgently and stayed silent, waiting to contribute until they backtracked and began discussing what he considered more worthy films or possibly John Wayne, whichever came first.
90 MINUTES LATER:
Jethro chuckled to himself, reached over and gently pried Tony's spoon and dessert dish out of his hands. The younger man pouted faintly, but didn't argue or fight to get it back. Commenting was not prohibited, however.
Tony grinned suddenly and Cody, sitting on the other side of him, felt warmer than he had in weeks.
"Could be. You'll see when we get home."
"Yes..." Tony whispered, valiantly repressing his gleeful reaction that, nevertheless, was still going on inside. Cody couldn't stop the laugh that bubbled out of him.
"Oh to be young enough that something as simple as chocolate can make you that excited."
"Hey, I may not have gotten very far in this world yet, but I've worked with him for years. He doesn't do anything halfway. If I get chocolate... it'll be world-class quality. That's something to get wound up about."
"Hard to argue with that logic."
The gong sounded again and the large group began to rise and gradually make their way back into the main room. Once again, Jethro offered his hand and he and Tony stood up together. Cody followed a little behind them, intently pondering Jethro's earlier advice to him. He couldn't believe he'd ever find someone like Anthony; that combo of young, smart, sweet and eager was far too rare. Still, the faintest hope that he would eventually care again, yearn and need and desire again, stirred deep within him and he held to it tightly. Just the thought that it might happen, could happen, was somewhere he hadn't allowed himself to go in quite a while. For now, it was enough.
"Jethro, what the..."
Tugged out of his musings, Cody snuck a look over Tony's shoulder. No one had been informed precisely what the entertainment would be and he was curious what could be so shocking as to have stopped Tony in his tracks. Unfortunately, he didn't understand what he was seeing any more than the younger man did.
"I'm with him." he commented, his tone brimming with curiosity and amusement as he studied the dance floor, which, in their absence, had been divided with masking tape into a large four-by-four grid. A sheet of paper with a short message had been placed in each square, but from a distance they couldn't be read clearly. "What's your theory, Jethro?"
"Don't have one..." Jethro replied. "... but I'm sure Marcus is about to explain." he reasoned as he led the way back to the table. Just as they settled in, Jethro's prediction came true. Carrying a microphone, a slight, grinning older man picked his way carefully onto the dance floor and stopped near the center to address the crowd.
"Good evening, everyone! It's wonderful to see so many of you here tonight. I'm sure you're wondering about the strange transformation up here... well, though I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, I've finally done what my community friends have been nudging me to for years now. At last... I'm reading fan fiction."
He paused to give a hooting, cheering crowd a moment to quiet down again. "Yes, I know, you were right. Slash has me utterly hooked. If any of you don't know what I'm talking about, catch me later. I'm happy to pass on the obsession. Now for the explanation of what you're seeing. About a month ago I discovered an online fan fiction competition... called Kink Bingo."
He waited once more until a milder round of laughter and appreciative noises died down. "The idea is that writers sign up and are assigned a board with each space containing a particular kink. They then have to write a piece, short or long, involving that kink somehow. Success is, as usual, measured by completing a whole line of squares. Well, tonight I decided we're going to bring the concept to life. Instead of writing, we'll be doing! There will be two rounds. First we've planned a PG to light R session for the younglings, the shy or anybody with a self-imposed curfew who needs to get home at a decent hour. The second go 'round will be much longer and much closer to NC-17. And before you ask, or, knowing you people, before you complain... yes, we have prizes for those who complete a line. You have ten or fifteen minutes for first level sign-ups, starting now."
Jethro stole a sideways glance at Tony, who had paled slightly.
"I'm okay, sir." He insisted, returning the glance. "Just... taking the idea in. It... it'd fit perfectly wouldn't it? With the goal for the weekend, I mean."
"It might. I haven't seen what they'd be asking of the players, yet."
"But if you approve..."
"It sounds fun. I'd say yes. Final decision would be yours, though."
Tony bit his lip and looked down. Jethro watched him struggle, longing to jump in and help, but he forced himself to stay silent. Believing he knew best made him a good Dom, but it didn't make it true in all situations, so he held back and ached for his sub while Tony made the difficult decision on his own.
"I'd really like it if you'd go look... then come back and give me an idea what the papers say."
"I can do that." He agreed casually. "Be right back."
Kissing Tony on the cheek, he rose and moved off to examine the game board. Cody hesitated, but after a minute or so, came up with a fairly delicate way to ask the question.
"Body image issues?"
Tony tensed a little, but he managed to respond calmly.
"Something like that. I'm working through it."
"That's what you meant by the game complementing the goal for the weekend."
"Hhh-hmmm. Before we got invited here, he... I was spending the weekend at his house. Naked. He's teaching me... Jethro wants me to believe I'm beautiful."
"Hardest thing you've ever tried to do?"
"In my entire freaking life." Tony confirmed, shooting Cody a thin, anxious smile. "Not discussing the reasons, so don't ask."
"I wasn't about to. I'm honored you've told me as much as you have. I really think it's going to be a privilege knowing you, Anthony."
Tony's grin became more natural and relaxed, but he still didn't look up and he didn't answer. A moment later, Jethro returned and cupped his chin, tugging his head up.
"It's mild. French kissing, masturbation, oral sex. PG to a light R rating, like he said."
"But it's... public."
Tony spent several seconds staring into and searching his Dom's eyes for some clue as to what Jethro wanted his answer to be, but the dom ruthlessly kept his expression neutral. If he pushed, even a little, and Tony went along only to please him, Jethro knew he'd never forgive himself.
"It's completely up to me."
Tony took a deep slow breath.
"Sign me up."
"Since you're still what they consider a toddler, we both have to go, so Mama can be sure you aren't being forced or coerced."
"But... you'd never do that."
"I know and so does she, but it's the rules."
"I'm not a kid..." Tony grumped under his breath, making both Cody and Jethro chuckle.
"Remember what we talked about in the car?"
"Oh. Yeah, but..."
"Rules are rules, whether they're yours or someone else's, and if you say respect them, I should respect them. Let's go."
Jethro grinned and tugged the younger man away to the sign-in table.
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MTAC - NCIS Fic