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Undercover Consequences

by: Laura_trekkie (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 004 Word Count: 67167
Rating: ADULT
Warning(s): Disturbing Imagery or Content
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Other Male Character
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, First Time, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo, Tony/OMC
Summary: Gibbs and Tony go undercover to try to bring down a people-trafficking ring. Things go wrong and Tony is hurt, but Gibbs is there to help him through it.

Author Notes: Additional Warnings: Non-con (on screen, fairly graphic); peripheral mentions of D/s and BDSM, but nothing much beyond collars and talking about being tied up; British spellings *g*.
Word count: 66,285 ::blinks in shock::
Disclaimer: If you recognise it, I don’t own it.
Notes: Written for NCIS Big Bang over on LJ, www.community.livejournal.com/ncis-bigbang, I’d advise everyone to head on over there to check out all the great fic.

Chatona, not content with being one of the Big Bang organisers, also took the time to make me some great art to go with my fic. You should head over to http://community.livejournal.com/shorikurai/23821.html and check it out.

I’d like to say a big thanks to Sucuri for betaing this monster, and to Chatona and the Big Bang team for setting a deadline. Without that deadline I’d still be writing this thing, after being at it for nearly two years already! My muses are lazy and have been known to ignore me for weeks at a time :(.

This is my first NCIS fic, so please let me know whether I’ve got the character’s voices right. It’s set somewhere in the second half of season one into season two- Kate’s still with us and McGee’s fully part of the team. No real spoilers, if anything can be called a spoiler for season 1/2 anymore, just a very brief mention of the Voss incident.

Please bear in mind that I know nothing about how the JAG and civilian justice systems work. They don’t play a big part in the story, just a passing reference to the sentences the bad guys get in the epilogue, but if either the length of sentence or the speed with which the trials are concluded is laughably wrong, please let me know.

Con-crit and feedback greatly received.

Enjoy…

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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Chapter One

Undercover Consequences


"DiNozzo!"

Tony hated that tone of voice, never sure if it was a simple 'DiNozzo, get over here' or an 'I am so pissed with you right now, DiNozzo'. Gibbs used the same tone for so many situations and Tony hadn't managed to figure out all the nuances yet in the three years he'd known the man. He glanced upwards and saw Gibbs leaning on the metal railing that ran round the mezzanine level, having just left the director's office.

Luckily Gibbs clarified this particular shout with, "Get up here."

Unfortunately, Gibbs had been in with Director Morrow for the last hour, so Tony still wasn't entirely secure in that tone's meaning. Kate's half-sympathetic, half-anticipatory glance didn't help either. So, as he bounded up the stairs and followed Gibbs' retreating back into the director's office, Tony scoured his mind for anything he had done recently that might warrant being hauled in front of Morrow.

He couldn't think of anything and any remaining doubts he had were dispelled by the sight of a rear admiral sitting in one of Morrow's visitor chairs. The man appeared to be not too many years older than Gibbs, but he'd let himself go to seed, his middle age spread defeating even the flattering cut of his uniform. He also had a round face and double chin. His hair was mostly grey, what remained of it, anyway.

"Agent DiNozzo, have a seat," Morrow said.

There was only one empty visitor chair, but Gibbs had stalked over to stand by the bookshelf, so Tony mentally shrugged and sat down, waiting for an introduction to the Navy man. Morrow quickly obliged, "Agent DiNozzo, Rear Admiral Keeffe."

Tony leant across to shake hands, "Sir."

"Agent DiNozzo," Admiral Keeffe returned.

"We have a case?" Tony asked, still completely in the dark.

"We do indeed," Morrow responded. "Admiral Keeffe has been detailing a disturbing human-trafficking operation."

Tony started at that. Not something he'd expected at all. "Slavery?" he said.

Keeffe took up the narrative, "Unfortunately so, Agent DiNozzo. We have been aware of it for some months, carefully gathering intel. One of our ships out of Norfolk that routinely resupplies our base in Bahrain has been returning with refugees from the surrounding areas- Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even a few Afghanis. They're smuggled in the cargo containers and judging by the state in which they arrive, they aren't treated very well."

Here, Morrow offered Tony a folder, which turned out to contain surveillance photos of various stages of the operation, including the sick and dirty appearance of the refugees as they were released from their cargo containers. He scowled, but something didn't add up. "Forgive me, sir, but if you have all this proof, why do you need us? Can't you just shut it down by arresting the captain and his cohorts?"

"Certainly we could arrest the captain and the others involved, but we want the person he's supplying."

"Is he Navy too?"

"We don't know, but think he, or they, are more likely civilian, or ex-Navy."

"So why not hand it to the civilian authorities?"

At this the admiral frowned, but looked uneasy, "The Pentagon understandably wants to keep such a heinous activity as quiet as possible. The civilian authorities are much more likely to leak the information and it was decided to use NCIS if at all possible."

Tony bristled very slightly at that, having been one of those civilians until three years ago. He certainly wouldn't have leaked information like that. Before he could think on it anymore, however, maybe say something he’d regret, Gibbs broke his silence.

"We need to set up an undercover op to try to find out who Captain Nemec meets, who his buyer is."

"Okay, do we have anything to go on? How long have we got to set this up?" Tony asked. He was always willing to go UC and he was damned good at it too. That's why Gibbs used him so often.

"They get in again in three days time. As for information, it took some digging, but we found out that he and his XO, Commander Davies, frequent a discrete club when they are on shore leave. It…" Keeffe tailed off and Tony was fascinated to note a slight blush. He would have thought all embarrassment and the ability to blush would have been thoroughly squashed by the time a man reached admiral.

Gibbs came to the man's rescue, "It's a gay club, DiNozzo, one that caters to the BDSM market."

Tony's eyes widened a little, but he just said, "Okay, what's the plan?"

"We go in together-"

"Together together, or as staff?" Tony questioned.

"Together. I can't see either of them lowering their guard around staff members, especially not new ones. A new couple on the scene is more likely to strike up a conversation," Gibbs said.

"Makes sense," Tony agreed.

Admiral Keeffe seemed somewhat taken aback by Tony's equanimity. He leant forward in his seat slightly and said, "You do realise that you will be required to act as Agent Gibbs'…" he tailed off with a moue of disgust.

"As Gibbs' sub, yes, sir," Tony helped the man along, amused by his distaste.

Keeffe still wasn't satisfied, apparently, "Do you understand what's involved, have you ever been to one of these dens of iniquity before?"

'Oh my god, 'dens of iniquity'?' Did anybody even say that anymore, Tony wondered? He was becoming less and less patient with the man. "Yes, sir. I worked vice for two years, raided quite a few of these places."

Keeffe's face assumed an entirely different look of distaste, "You were a police officer?"

Tony really didn't appreciate that tone, but a sharp look from Gibbs kept him in his seat and his mouth shut. He did shoot a cold glare at the man though.

"Admiral, Agent DiNozzo is my second in command. I trust him implicitly and can assure you that he is perfectly capable of pulling off this op and didn't pick up any 'bad habits' of leaking information in his time as a police officer," Gibbs' voice was perfectly polite, but the tone was arctic. Apparently, it was one thing for him to needle Tony about his work, but another entirely for some outsider to do it.

Internally, Tony basked in this not-often-voiced regard that Gibbs held him in. Sure, he knew Gibbs was pleased with his work - he wouldn't still be his second if Gibbs wasn't, but it was nice to have it voiced out loud sometimes.

It seemed Morrow felt the same way as Gibbs, because he added, "It also would be wise to remember that you came to us for help in a matter that really isn't in our remit. You've already had someone else do the part of the investigation that we would have done and any civilian involvement should really be referred to the FBI."

"Of course, my apologies, Agent DiNozzo. I meant no disrespect, but am merely concerned that you understand what you will be subjecting yourself to."

"Thank you for your concern, sir, but I assure you it is unnecessary. I am perfectly aware of what will be required," Tony said in a tone very similar to Gibbs' earlier cold politeness.

There was a second of awkward silence before Morrow stepped in once again, "Well, Admiral, if we have all the information from you, I'd like my agents to get right on with planning the op."

At the admiral's nod, Gibbs headed for the door, collecting Tony with a glance. Neither man said goodbye to the pompous admiral.

*~*

Kate was sat behind her desk, watching the two men as they walked down the stairs to the bullpen, when they reached her she said, "What did you do this time, Tony?"

"Hey! I didn't do anything. What makes you think I did?" Tony almost-whined.

"You're scowling," she said reasonably.

"So's Gibbs!" Tony protested.

"Gibbs always scowls," Kate shot back. Gibbs scowled at her, but she ignored him and Tony smirked, earning himself a slap round the head.

Kate went on as if nothing had interrupted her, "But you, you only scowl when you've been told off."

"Tell her, boss," Tony pleaded, looking at Gibbs with puppy dog eyes.

Kate also swung all her attention to him and Gibbs waited a few moments, until she looked very eager and Tony was starting to look nervous, even though he was completely innocent. Finally he relented, "Tony's right, Kate, he didn't do anything. He's just pissed at a rear admiral who wasn't too pleased to find out that the man he needed undercover used to be a cop."

"Looked at me like I was little better than a criminal," Tony said, wounded.

Kate frowned and patted Tony's arm consolingly, while latching onto the important part of the conversation, "Undercover?"

"Yep, they need me and Tony to go UC to track down some human traffickers."

"Someone in the Navy is smuggling people? What's the plan?" Kate asked, all business once more.

"That's what we need to work out. Tony and I need to figure out our cover first and then we'll let everyone else in on the planning." That said, Gibbs jerked his head at the elevator and headed off with Tony in tow.

"We'll need to speak to Abs," Tony said, "she'll know where to get the stuff we need."

"Uh huh, but we really do need to get this sorted in our heads first. This isn't going to be easy, DiNozzo."

"We'll be fine," Tony said as they stepped into the elevator.

*~*

Gibbs pressed the button that would take them down to Abby's lab, but almost immediately pushed the emergency stop. Turning to face Tony, he said, "Are you sure you can do this, DiNozzo?"

Tony frowned and said defensively, "Didn't you just finish saying you had every confidence in me?"

'Oops' Gibbs thought. Sometimes he forgot how easily Tony's confidence was knocked. Still, he had to be sure Tony could play the submissive role, or the whole thing would collapse before it started. "Well, I was hardly going to let some uppity admiral disparage my agents. The question remains though: Can you spend the whole time being submissive, however long it takes?"

"I'll be fine, boss. Question is, will you?" Tony said challengingly. And, oh, Gibbs was not having that. He decided now was as good a time as any to see just how well Tony could do. He moved closer, just enough to encroach into Tony's personal space a little and barked, "On your knees."

Tony blinked once in shock and then gracefully sank to his knees, folding his hands in his lap and lowering his head to stare at the floor. Gibbs circled round him, eyeing the kneeling man critically. He was pleased to note that Tony didn't try to follow him with his eyes. "Good. Now, here's the plan," he said, moving to stand close to Tony's back, trying to see if he could psyche him into twisting round. Tony didn't so much as twitch.

"Your father couldn't pay up on a big deal he had with me, so he used you as part payment. I know you don't particularly get on with you father, so you wouldn't have to work hard to find the contempt or bitterness towards him.

"We'll say it was a recent deal, maybe three months ago, that'll give us leeway behaviour-wise; in case you slip into your usual smart ass routine." He said that last to needle Tony, see if he could resist the apparent knock to his talents. Tony didn't move, not even a flinch or tensed muscle, and Gibbs had to admit that he was impressed. It raised the question though: "Just how much do you know about the scene?"

Again, Tony remained still and silent. 'Oh, he is good,' Gibbs thought. "You can speak," he added.

Tony didn't raise his head, but he did break his silence, "I went undercover in a club a lot like this one when I was with vice."

Gibbs considered that. 'That explains it then,' he thought. What he said was: "Okay, that'll work better for us.

"We need a way of keeping you with me, yet also making me seem like a good buyer for their slaves. Suggestions?"

Tony was silent for a while and Gibbs was just starting to wonder whether he'd have to give him an explicit order to speak, when he finally got a response.

"I guess it depends on whether you want me to be afraid of you or not. If I'm playing the frightened, abused slave, then I really don't think many would question your desire to have more than one person to use for your pleasure. I'm sure you could spin some suitably depraved tale about needing a spare in case you break me, or something." Tony spoke calmly, considering the subject material.

Gibbs gave the idea some thought, but eventually decided, "No, I don't think you'd be convincing in that role." He saw Tony stiffen very slightly and spoke quickly, "Before you go getting all offended, I'm not questioning your ability to flinch in the right places and generally appear cowed. I just don't think you could physically convince. You're too healthy looking. I'd imagine, if I'm such a bastard that I get my kicks from hurting you, I'd probably do other things like starve you and we don't have time for you to lose enough weight to look starved.

"What else?" he added.

Again, Tony thought for a while. "Okay, how about this: I'm your personal sub and, although I was given to you without any say in the matter, we actually get along, so you’re keeping me. But you also enjoy training and breaking subs and you found that some people are too lazy to train their own. So you get the benefit of doing what you enjoy and then selling them, making a profit and getting the opportunity to start all over again with a new sub."

Gibbs liked that idea. It would allow them to be natural around each other, one less thing to have to concentrate on, allowing more attention to be paid to their surroundings and suspects. Yet also had the benefit of explaining why Gibbs was in the market for new blood. He looked down at Tony, noticing for the first time that he was still kneeling, head bowed. He grinned at the top of Tony's head, then said, "Yeah, that'll work. If we set someone up as a previous satisfied customer, in case they want any proof, hopefully they'll be convinced and put me in contact with their man to see if anything takes my fancy."

He bent down so he could put his mouth close to Tony's ear, "Good work, DiNozzo," he said in a low tone. He knew he didn't really praise Tony enough, but he also couldn't resist pushing things a bit and was pleased to note the faintest shiver run through Tony. Whether it was because of the praise, or his voice and closeness, Gibbs didn't know and he tried to tell himself that he didn't care either.

He stepped away and said, "Okay, DiNozzo, you can get up now. I'm convinced you can pull this off."

Tony rose just as gracefully as he'd knelt down. As soon as he was upright, the real Tony came back and he smirked at Gibbs, who was forced to swat him round the head, though he smiled faintly as he did it.

Gibbs then hit the emergency stop button again and the elevator restarted its journey.

The elevator quickly reached its destination and the two men stepped out and covered the short walk to the glass doors which opened into Abby's lab. Pushing open the door, they were nearly deafened by the blaring sound of Abby's latest heavy metal band. Wincing, Gibbs caught her eye as she bounced from machine to machine, signing for her to turn the music off, rather than trying to shout over it.

*~*

Abby grinned and bounced over to the stereo. She shut it off and spun to face them. "What can I do for my two favourite guys?"

"We need IDs, Abs," Gibbs said, adding, "and a collar for Tony," with a smirk.

"Gibbs, I--" Tony protested, but was cut off from saying anything more by a scowl.

"O-kay," Abby said slowly as she eyed Tony. She couldn't help the image of him wearing a collar and little else that flashed into her mind. Something must have shown on her face, because Tony flushed slightly. She gave him her most innocent grin and sat in her rolling chair, propelling herself over to the right computer for creating fake identities. "Tell me more."

"There's a captain of a supply ship who's part of a people-smuggling ring. We need to find out who his contact is for unloading the slaves," Gibbs explained.

"Slaves?" Abby asked.

"Well, we assume so," Tony replied. "Nobody's been able to find out what happens to the poor bastards once they hit US soil, but Captain Nemec isn't bringing them across through any sort of altruistic feelings."

"So where will you be going?"

"He and his XO spend a lot of their shore leave in an exclusive, and discrete, club that caters to the gay BDSM market. We need to go in as a couple and try to get close to Nemec. DiNozzo's going to be my sub."

Abby eyed them both with a sly grin, wondering if this would be the thing that finally made them realise their feelings for each other. She doubted anyone other than Ducky knew them well enough to have any idea, Tony and Gibbs certainly didn't, but being in such a sexually charged atmosphere might open their eyes at last. Feeling mischievous, she said, "You sure you can pull it off, Tony?"

Tony gave an exasperated: "Why does everyone keep saying that?"

Abby's grin grew, "I just have a hard time seeing you being submissive. You're as much of an alpha dog as the bossman." Gibbs scowled at that assessment, but Abby was unbowed, simply saying, "Of course he is, Gibbs, otherwise he'd just roll over and play dead like McGee does."

Tony obviously didn't know whether to be flattered by her alpha comment, or offended by her lack of faith in his abilities. He went for a little of both, preening slightly before saying, "I can too be submissive."

"It's true," Gibbs said, "we just tested it." He laughed at Tony's scowl and Abby's prompt demand that he spill the details. "Some other time, Abs," he said, ignoring her disappointed look.

Tony, obviously feeling the need to defend himself somehow said, "I've been undercover in one of these places before, Abs, when I worked vice."

"Tony, you've been holding out on me. I want to hear all about it; you can buy me dinner and regale me with your war stories. So," she said, going off on one of her tangents, "I want to see this, can I go in too?"

"Gay. Bar," Tony emphasised.

"You didn't say gay men. I could take Kate with me."

"Abs," Gibbs warned, in his 'wanting to get things back on track' tone.

"Sorry, bossman," she said, contrite, though it didn't take long for her irrepressible grin to reappear. "So, identities?" She cracked the knuckles hidden beneath black fingerless gloves and poised her fingers over the keyboard, a questioning eyebrow raised in Gibbs' direction.

Gibbs stared off into the middle distance as he worked out his identity. "Jethro Thompson, ex-gunny, dishonourably discharged three years ago-"

"For?" Abby interrupted.

Gibbs refocused on Abby with a frown. "I was getting to that! Assault; the dominating side got out of hand with one of the men under my command."

"Okay. Current employment?"

"Nothing official," Gibbs said after some thought, "several shady deals, including training up and selling on submissives."

Abby raised an eyebrow at that, "Cool idea, bossman. Definitely going to fit right in with these two."

"That's the idea, Abs," Gibbs remarked dryly, chuckling at what she knew had to be a sheepish look. "And it was actually Tony's idea," he added, smirking slightly at Tony's look of shock at the acknowledgement. Abby grinned at her friend and gave him a little thumbs up with one black-nailed thumb. Tony grinned back, then they both winced when Gibbs cleared his throat.

"What about you, Tony?" Abby said, quickly deflecting attention away from herself.

Tony had been lounging against the desk during Gibbs' construction, now he pushed away and started pacing a short route in the space in front of Abby's desk. "Okay, Tony Schofield, son of Sam Schofield, who owns Schofield's Shooting Range in Baltimore." Abby caught Gibbs' raised eyebrow and, evidently, Tony did too, because he shrugged and said, "It'll explain the gun calluses.

"Dear old dad should have several assault charges against him, but nothing with my name in them; he was too careful. When I got too big for physical, he moved to mental abuse, which is why I worked my ass off at the range without getting paid. He let me teach marksmanship, but only because he didn't want to pay for a proper tutor.

"We already decided that you got me as payment for a deal. The shooting range lends itself to that deal being about guns; maybe he hired you to get him some shady weapons, you got hold of them and then he didn't have the money to pay up, hence you getting stuck with me."

He had been pacing towards the wall with the large plasma screen as he spoke and, when he spun to go back the other way, he caught Gibbs second raised eyebrow. "What? It'll help explain why I'm not cowering in fear from you - you treat me better than he did, even if I am still pretty much a slave."

"What?" he said again, more defensively, when Abby and Gibbs exchanged a glance. Abby wondered if Gibbs was thinking along the same lines she was, namely just how much of that was Tony's undercover skills and how much might be personal experience. She knew that Tony didn't speak about his family.

"That's a lot of back-story, DiNozzo," was what Gibbs said. Abby knew that Tony took a lot from Gibbs that he wouldn't take from anyone else, probably because of those unrecognised feelings he had for their boss, but she was under no illusion that asking whether his father abused him would probably get even the bossman punched.

"Well, the more back-story you come up with beforehand, the less you have to wing it in a situation, boss," Tony said with a perplexed frown, either not noticing, or more likely ignoring, the undertone to Gibbs' question.

Gibbs let it go, turning to Abby as she asked, "So, you got a job?"

Tony was on his way back towards the wall again as he replied, "Nope, not anymore, Thompson doesn't let me work unless he needs me to charm someone into a deal." He grinned mischievously at Gibbs as he spun back around once more. Gibbs swatted him as soon as he paced within reach and Abby relaxed as the familiar action soothed the last of her anxiety.

"This Sam Schofield real?" Gibbs asked and Abby realised that Tony had come up with the set up too quickly for it to be a complete fabrication.

"Yep, he was my own Huggy Bear back in Baltimore. Only white."

"What, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, bewildered as usual by Tony's TV references.

Tony eyed him in disbelief. "Huggy Bear? Starsky and Hutch? You really need to get a TV, boss. Starsky and Hutch were two cops and Huggy Bear was their best informant, but he was also their friend, and that's what Sam was to me."

"So he'll go along with your cover, no problem?"

"Yeah. I'll give him a call; fill him in on the details he needs to know. Being in the job he is, he was perfectly placed to hear people making shady arms deals and he helped us out on a few, so he'll know the gist if anyone does call to check up on us."

Gibbs nodded decisively, "Okay, do it."

"Okay, so, anything else?" Abby questioned.

"Yeah, there's DiNozzo's collar," Gibbs said with a somewhat malicious glee.

Tony wasn't phased, however, "I've got one already, boss. That's what I was trying to say earlier."

"You do?" chorused Gibbs and Abby. Why hadn't she known this before? After all, Tony had been on enough nights out at Goth clubs with her over the years.

Tony smirked, "Yeah, the guys gave it to me as a 'souvenir' after that UC case I mentioned. It's in one of my cupboards somewhere, I'm sure of it."

"Okay," Gibbs said slowly, "scratch the collar, Abs, but we will need something set up in one of the safe houses. This isn't going to be an in-and-out op and we need a base. The house on Vine Street is closest to the club. You know anyone in your circle can do a little work setting it up? Nothing fancy, we've only just moved here from Baltimore and don't have much set up yet. Just the bare essentials."

"You know, Gibbs, just because I'm a Goth, doesn't mean I know stuff about the BDSM scene," Abby pointed out archly. She did know people, but Gibbs always said not to assume and she couldn't resist teasing him about it.

Gibbs gave her a look that said he didn't believe her, but still, he soothed her with, "I know that, Abby. That's why I asked if you knew anyone and not whether you could do it yourself."

Abby allowed herself to be mollified and considered a moment before grinning, "Yeah, I think I know just the guy. I'll give him a call."

"Great, thanks, Abs," Gibbs said. He turned away, presumably heading back to the bullpen to let the rest of the team know what was happening.

As Gibbs moved away, Abby took the opportunity to ask Tony about his undercover op, trying once again to wheedle some information out of him. It wasn't to be, though, as Gibbs barked, "DiNozzo." Abby didn't miss the thankful look Tony shot Gibbs as the door closed behind them. She had no doubt that Gibbs had only shouted to get Tony out of her interrogation, not that she thought he'd ever admit it.

She once again turned to her computers and set about bringing up the various programmes she needed to make the relevant documents for her friends.

*~*

Gibbs and Tony stepped into the elevator and Gibbs sent it on its way, raising an eyebrow when Tony reached across and hit the emergency stop button. “DiNozzo?” he queried.

“Listen, boss, I’ve been thinking,” Tony said seriously. “We don’t know what type of relationship Nemec and Davies have-“

Gibbs scowled and interrupted, “Did you miss the part about it being a gay D/s club?” he asked sarcastically.

Tony gave an irritated huff. “I meant the nuances, Gibbs! Are they all cute and loving? Does the dom hurt the sub? Are they pretty tame, or full out bondage- shackles, gags and so on?”

“You got a point, DiNozzo?” Gibbs interrupted again.

Tony frowned, “Yes, I was just getting to it! I’m glad we’re going in on the tame side, but if, you know, you have to make it look good…”

Tony tailed off, but Gibbs thought he knew what he was saying. Still, he wanted to be sure. “You giving me permission to hit you, Tony?” he asked quietly.

“Well, yeah, if you think it will help our cover,” was the hesitant response.

Gibbs took a moment to give Tony’s offer the respect it deserved, then decided to lighten the mood. “I hit you all the time, DiNozzo, what makes you think I need permission now?”

Tony smiled, showing Gibbs he appreciated the shift in tone. “I don’t think a head slap would do if it comes to it, boss,” he said,

Sobering, Gibbs replied, “Hopefully it won’t come to anything at all. Now, come on, we’ve got more plans to make.” He set the elevator on its way again.

The two men stepped out of the elevator once it reached the bullpen and moved to Gibbs' desk with an inquisitive Kate and McGee in their wake. Well, McGee being McGee, he managed to look both inquisitive and faintly terrified.

Gibbs propped himself against his desk and snatched up his coffee cup, scowling when he found it to be empty. Looking up, he caught DiNozzo hastily wiping a smirk from his face and, with a raised eyebrow, said, "You might as well get into practice now," then he held out the empty mug and added, "go make me coffee."

Tony just stared at him, so Gibbs raised his other eyebrow and waved the mug for emphasis, holding Tony's stare until the younger man backed down with a dramatic huff of air. "Fine," he pouted and snatched the mug none too gently, before stalking off to the break room. Kate's request for her own cup of coffee winning her a one-finger salute, though he didn't turn round or slow down.

Gibbs grinned at Tony's back and then at his two remaining, similarly grinning, agents. Both Kate and McGee loved seeing Tony get brought down a peg or two, as he was quick enough to do to them.

Gibbs quickly sobered, however, and handed Kate the file they had received from Admiral Keeffe. She leafed through it, McGee reading over her shoulder, as Gibbs outlined the plan.

Tony reappeared just as Gibbs was winding up his explanation. "Here you go, boss," he said with a smile.

Gibbs took the mug cautiously and eyed the coffee suspiciously. "What'd you do to it?" he asked.

Tony frowned, "What do you mean? I didn't do anything to it. What makes you think I did?"

"That grin you're wearing, DiNozzo," Gibbs answered, now eyeing him suspiciously.

Tony took on an expression of hurt, "I'm a cheerful guy, boss. What do you think I did, spit in it?" He hadn't, but the suggestion was usually enough to make people doubt.

Gibbs put the mug down untouched and Tony's grin returned, this time with a slightly evil edge to it.

Kate, apparently unwilling to let Tony regain the upper hand completely, spoke up, "So, Tony, Gibbs says you're going to be spending the next few days on your knees. Maybe even weeks," she added cheerfully. "You're taking pictures, right, Gibbs?" she enquired. Tony just screwed up his face in a way that would have led to him sticking his tongue out if he'd been a kid. "Very attractive, Tony," Kate said.

McGee was still smiling to himself and Tony latched on to that, sure he could get the younger agent to back down easier than he could Kate. "What are you grinning at, Probie?"

"Oh, I'm just thinking. Gibbs wants me to put a wire on you, but I don't think we can risk putting it on your chest like we would usually. You'll be wearing a collar right? Maybe I can get the wire in there."

Tony's grin was predatory and McGee's humour faltered as he waited to see what his response would be. Tony looked between McGee and Gibbs thoughtfully and said, "You know, boss, I'm beginning to think everyone's got a point. No one seems to think I can pull off the submissive role, so I've had a better idea: You can take Probie in. He's already got the deer-in-the-headlights look down, just stick him in a collar and some nipple clamps and voila."

Tony's grin seemed to grow in direct proportion to McGee's discomfort levels. Kate and Gibbs both chuckled and mental points were awarded to Tony.

Gibbs knew that his team used the bickering to cope with the often unpleasant aspects of their job, hell he did it too, but he felt it was time to get back to the serious matters at hand now though. So when he saw Kate's mouth open for the next volley he stepped in, "Okay, people, let's get back to work. We've got an operation to set up. DiNozzo, call your guy in Baltimore, McGee, get started on the electronics, Todd, get me what background you can find that the navy didn't think we needed to know."

As the team scattered, Gibbs downed the coffee Tony had brought him and headed up the stairs to give Morrow the op particulars and make arrangements.

*~*

Half an hour or so later, Gibbs had finished updating Morrow. Not that McGee knew that, until Gibbs bellowed, "McGee!" while still only half way down stairs from MTAC.

McGee jumped and Tony smirked, asking, "You okay there, Probie?"

'God, between Gibbs and Tony, I'll be lucky if I haven't suffered a breakdown before Christmas,' McGee thought to himself. He glared at Tony and called, "Yes, boss?"

Gibbs had finished descending the stairs and came to stand by the two younger men. "You get the wires ready?"

"Yes, boss. I was just showing Tony his." Tony raised his hand so that Gibbs could see the small plastic box he held. Gibbs took it and McGee had to stifle a grin at the sceptical look that screwed up his face as he saw the pair of tiny discs inside. The bugs were no more than half a centimetre across and so thin you could barely see them end on.

"They're a little small," Gibbs said, proving, in McGee's mind, that the man had no understanding about electronics; still believing that bigger was better.

"They needed to be for where they're going," McGee supplied.

"Which is?" Gibbs asked.

Here, McGee shot an amused glance at Tony, meeting a scowl coming his way, "Beneath the tail of Tony's collar, boss. That way, they're hidden from view, but not really covered enough to muffle the sound receptors.

"As I was just telling Tony, the one drawback to their size is that the power supply is limited and you can't just change the battery. That's why there're two, one for back up, but even so, they're best used as sparingly as is safe."

"So how long do they last?" Gibbs asked.

Ah. McGee fidgeted slightly and glanced down as he admitted, "We don't actually know, boss."

"You don't know?" Tony and Gibbs chorused.

McGee looked up again and found Tony scowling at him, which turned out to be the lesser of two evils when he glanced Gibbs' way and was nearly felled by the strength of his glare. He had to force himself not to step back.

"Don't look at me like that," he defended, somewhat timidly, "I didn't invent them, just requisitioned them. They've only been tested for eight hours running time so far, they should be able to do a bit longer. And it's not as if these are all you've got. You've got your own bugs, boss." He was aware that his words were rushing over each other, but was unable to regroup under the continued Gibbs/Tony staring. He looked down again, snatching up the wires he'd procured for Gibbs' use.

"You've got the more traditional wire and battery pack, or these standard sized adhesive bugs to choose from," he said, handing over another, larger, plastic box with a small battery pack, a neatly coiled mic wire and two thumbnail sized discs.

Neither man seemed massively mollified, so McGee picked up the final box on his desk. "I also got these tracking devices. There're four, in case you need us to track either of you, or anything else."

Gibbs hadn't asked for those and McGee hoped the initiative would earn him back a few brownie points. He waited nervously as Gibbs handed Tony his box back and took the second box from McGee, still frowning. McGee almost forgot to breathe and then berated himself for being an idiot. Still…

Then Gibbs looked up with a smile and said, "Good job, McGee," and McGee nearly collapsed in relief. Tony slapped him on the shoulder companionably, before snapping the lid on his box shut.

Gibbs shut his boxes and stowed them in his pockets, turning to Tony, "You call your guy?"

"Yep, he's fully briefed in his part and willing to do it."

"Good. Finish up any loose ends then get home and get your stuff ready. We're moving to the safe house tonight and will be getting the lay of the land for the next few nights, before the targets get in."

With that, the two men wandered away from McGee's desk and he finally crumpled into his chair with a huge sigh of relief. Maybe, just maybe, he'd be able to avoid that breakdown. Then he looked up and caught Kate smiling at him knowingly. 'Then again, maybe not,' he thought morosely.

*~*

At first glance, even second or third, the safe house on Vine Street looked just like all its neighbours: A two story brick building, three steps leading from the pavement to the front door. That door opened into a hallway with further doors off into the living room, dining room, kitchen, small toilet and down to the basement. The stairs led up to a small landing with three bedrooms, a bathroom and access to the loft space.

What most people didn't know, and wouldn't notice, was that the front door was steel and not the wood it appeared to be; there was a camera permanently trained on the doorway, capturing the face of every single person that approached the door; and the doorbell hid a small, state of the art, fingerprint reader for added security.

Once inside the house there was virtually nowhere that a person could go without being on camera, the toilet and bathroom being the exceptions. Every windowpane was bulletproof glass; every window and external door was alarmed. The basement actually held a small security hub, equipped with a multitude of monitors for the cameras, a computer networked to the NCIS databases to speed up print and facial recognition, and a cot and camp stove so that a two man team could be stationed there for the duration if needed. There was external access to the basement, out of the line of sight of the house's windows, once again reinforced and requiring fingerprints to get in.

Furthermore, for times of extreme danger, the attic space held a panic room, a steel box with dead-bolted door and more fingerprint recognition, as well as camera and communications, all linked to the basement monitors.

Lastly, there was a double-car garage attached to the house, the door reinforced, so that vehicles could be securely locked away, free from tampering and sabotage.

The panic room had never been needed yet, and it was unlikely to see action this time, either. Similarly, the surveillance room was unoccupied, as Gibbs didn't anticipate bringing any of the suspects back to the house. The possibility was always there though, which was why Gibbs had asked Abby to arrange for the basics to be added to the usual décor. Also, he felt that it would help them settle into their characters if they were surrounded by the tools and toys of the trade all the time and not just at the club.

Gibbs and Tony pulled into the garage at around six p.m. Tony had driven home in his own car to pack his gear and then Gibbs had fetched him in the requisitioned car. After all, Tony Schofield was never allowed out of Jethro Thompson's sight and that precluded him owning his own car.

Both men got out of the car and unloaded a large suitcase each. The house was fully equipped, but who knew when, if, they'd have time to do any laundry? Consequently, both had packed enough clothes for a week, along with all the necessary toiletries. Tony's case also held his collar.

They entered the house through the front door, after Gibbs had shut the garage using the button on the key fob. They set their cases on the floor and moved to examine the additions.

The first was quite immediate- the row of coat hooks inside the front door now held a silver chained, leather handled dog lead. Gibbs wiggled it between two fingers, listening to the muted jingling of the links as they moved.

Immediately to their left was the door to the living room. Standing in the doorway, a person faced the side view of an armchair that was against the wall of the front of the house. There was also a window in that wall and a coffee table beneath it, covered in out-of-date magazines. To the right was a couch, on the opposite side to the couch was the fireplace and TV, the remaining wall held another armchair and a door to the dining room. The only addition in the room was a large cushion on the floor next to the arm of the couch, presumably where Tony would kneel next to his master. The three piece suite was comfortable, but not top of the range.

Gibbs nudged the cushion with his foot and grinned at Tony, "At least you'll be comfortable later, DiNozzo."

"Yeah," Tony grinned sarcastically, then added, "I'm not kneeling at your feet once we leave that club, boss."

"Uh huh," was Gibbs' reply. Tony frowned at him and Gibbs smirked.

The dining room held a light-coloured wooden with four matching chairs- ash, if Gibbs wasn’t mistaken. There was also a big wooden sideboard taking up the left hand side of the room, far too large for the few plates, decks of cards and board games it held. The room faced onto the back yard, though the patio doors had long been replaced with an ordinary window for security's sake. The right hand wall held an old mirror and the door to the kitchen. There were scene-setting additions in the dining room, nor the kitchen.

The kitchen was a small room, but big enough for units almost all the way along the back wall, the sink, as was customary in most houses, was underneath the window overlooking the yard. The door into the back garden was at the end of the units. The right hand wall held the small fridge freezer, a washing machine and drier. The back wall had the door into the hallway and the small stove. There was also a microwave, toaster and coffee machine, all a few years old, but perfectly functional.

Tony checked the fridge and then rifled the cupboards. He sighed happily when he found a box of cereal, opening the top and popping a handful into his mouth. The enthusiasm soon waned and he started chewing exaggeratedly.

"Stale, Tony?" Gibbs chuckled.

"We need to go shopping, boss," Tony announced, still chewing the dry cereal. Gibbs frowned at the few bits of chewed up cereal dust that filtered to the floor.

"You know, I'm really starting to see why Kate's always going on about your disgusting eating habits, DiNozzo. And we don't have time to shop."

Tony tossed the cereal in the bin and looked through a few more cupboards. "There's no coffee anywhere, Gibbs."

"Shopping it is," Gibbs replied instantly. Tony chuckled and was rewarded with a slap round the head.

They didn't bother checking out the last two doors downstairs; the basement door was locked when not being used and wouldn't have been modified anyway, seeing as it was never used as part of the house, while the downstairs bathroom wasn't big enough for anything other than a toilet and small sink.

Instead, the two men gathered their cases and headed upstairs. Directly at the top of the stairs was a window onto the backyard. To the right was the bathroom, which had the typical sink, toilet and bath with wall-mounted showerhead. There was also a small, mirrored cabinet above the sink, which had Tony grimacing at the old tube of toothpaste that someone had left oozing and which had started to grow fur in the intervening months. He shuddered and promptly shut the door; glad he'd remembered to pack his own toothpaste.

Turning to the left, there was a narrow landing that ran parallel with the stairs to the front of the house and another window. The master bedroom was directly opposite the bathroom and the two smaller bedrooms were on either side of the hallway at the front.

Saving the best for last, Tony and Gibbs headed for the front bedrooms first. Neither of these should have had anything done to them as, theoretically, Tony would be, if not in the same bed, then at least in the same room as Gibbs. The two bedrooms were identical inasmuch as they contained an unmade double bed with the headboard on the wall opposite the window onto the street, two bedside cabinets, a wardrobe and chest of drawers. Where they differed was in the style of furniture. The left hand bedroom was cream walled and carpeted, the headboard, bed frame and the rest of the furniture painted in gloss white. The right hand room was better with duck egg blue on the walls a darker blue carpet and pine furniture.

Tony picked the second room, deciding, "I can't sleep in that much glaring whiteness."

"I know what you mean," Gibbs concurred, "it's a little too ‘home decorating magazine’."

"Exactly," Tony replied as he set his case down in the age-old method of claiming a bed. "Shall we go see where sir will be sleeping?" Tony enquired cheekily.

"Yep," Gibbs said, already on his way out of Tony's room and back along the landing.

Gibbs pushed the door open and entered, Tony close on his heels. As with the other two rooms, there was a bed, bedside cabinets, wardrobe and chest of drawers, but here the bed was queen sized and there were six drawers in the unit, rather than the three that the other two rooms had. The walls were the same cream colour as the first bedroom, but there was a light brown carpet and the units were darker too, so it wasn’t as glaring as the other room.

Even in this room, the hub of their supposed activities, nothing much had been added. There were sturdy rings attached to the wall above the headboard, two more in the ceiling and a further one low down in the corner opposite the door, where there was also another large cushion like the one in the lounge. There was a note on the bedside cabinet nearest the door and Gibbs picked it up.

"What's it say?" Tony asked.

Gibbs didn't reply, but he did pull out the top drawer of the cabinet. He stared at the contents for a moment before moving over to the wardrobe. Tony took his place beside the open drawer, looking down to see a new tube of lube, leather shackles, several coils of thin, but strong rope. There was also a dildo, which Tony lifted out to examine.

He was turning it round and examining how real it looked when he caught Gibbs out of the corner of his eye. He looked up, saw the enquiring eyebrow and dropped the dildo back into the drawer like he'd been burned, before slamming it shut sharply. Gibbs just smirked and said, "More toys in here," while waving at the open door of the wardrobe.

Tony, still a little embarrassed, cautiously peered inside to see several lengths of chain and a flogger.

"Jerry wishes us an enjoyable time and says to give him a call if we want to add anything to the basics," Gibbs said, brandishing the note.

"How did you get Morrow to agree to a civilian coming in to set this up, anyway?" Tony wanted to know.

"Simple, no one at NCIS has the necessary knowledge to do this. Also he's one of Abby's friends and she wouldn't have suggested him if she wasn't one hundred percent sure he could be trusted. Plus, he didn't get in here alone, he had one of our guys here to supervise at all times."

"Oh, who got that job?" Tony asked with a grin. The grin widened when Gibbs told him Simpson had had that joy. "No way. Oh man, I woulda loved to have seen his face," Tony crowed. There wasn't a more straight-laced, uptight agent than Simpson in the whole building. Tony could just imagine that he'd spent the whole time looking like he was sucking a particularly sour lemon.

"Yeah, that would've been somethin' to see, alright," Gibbs agreed with his own grin. A few moments later he brought things back on track, clapping his hands together once and then rubbing them briskly. "Okay, let's get the beds made, the shopping done and then get down to the club."

"On it, boss," Tony said as he headed back along the landing to his room. A brief search through the drawers yielded nothing, but Tony then noticed a drawer in the bed itself and that did contain bed linen. It was a little musty, but clean. Tony knew that the house was cleaned every three or so months, as well as immediately after it had been used, but the sheets were only laundered after they'd been used and then sat in the drawers 'til they were next needed. Still, once he'd got everything on the bed, the smell wasn't too bad; nothing a bit of fresh air wouldn't cure.

Another hunt through the drawers turned up the key for the window lock in the right hand bedside cabinet. He opened it a crack, not enough for anyone to fit through, but certainly enough to get the air moving. He knew that the window alarm would have activated as soon as he opened it, but it was a silent alarm and there was no one in the basement to see or hear it, so it wasn’t a problem. Satisfied, he turned to his case. He and Gibbs had packed enough for five days, so Tony decided to put it all away in the drawers and wardrobe, rather than leave it all packed up.

Ten minutes later, Tony headed back along to the master bedroom. He leant against the doorframe and watched as Gibbs shut the drawer he'd just filled. Catching sight of the unsurprisingly military-neat bed, Tony said, "Hang on, boss, I think I've got a quarter here somewhere that we can test the bed with." He patted his pockets searchingly.

"Very funny," Gibbs scowled. Tony couldn't tell whether the scowl was because of his comment, or because he was too far away for a convenient head slap. He grinned unrepentantly. "You done?" Gibbs asked.

"Yep."

"Okay, let's go buy some essentials."

*~*

The local supermarket was on the next block, easy walking distance, so they did. Once they arrived, Gibbs announced that Tony was pushing the trolley, citing it as more practice.

Tony didn't complain; it meant he could safely leave Gibbs ensconced in the coffee aisle and take care of the rest himself. He moved up and down the aisles, filling the trolley with a small selection of fruit, a loaf of bread, butter and jam for toast, bacon and eggs and pancakes for if they didn't want toast, a couple of cartons of milk, some cans of soup (just in case) and a six pack of beer. He reasoned that they would probably order in pizza or Chinese in the evenings, and beer was an essential with either of those options.

He was standing in front of the cereal shelf, trying to decide whether he should get a 'grown up' cereal, or risk Gibbs' mocking and go for one he actually liked, when another trolley appeared next to his own. He glanced up and was met with a dazzling smile, attached to a curvaceous blonde woman about his age. Tony being Tony, he smiled back, which was, of course, the very moment Gibbs appeared. Not that Tony knew that until he felt warm breath as Gibbs spoke into his ear, "See anything you like, Tony?"

Tony started slightly and scowled at Gibbs, trying not to shiver at the close proximity. "I'm trying to decide between Shredded Wheat and Cap'n Crunch," he said. He wondered why Gibbs was acting all possessive over him. It certainly couldn't be for the reason Tony wished, so he had to conclude that Gibbs was messing with a possible prospect just because he could and it amused him.

The woman, who, as Tony had feared, was no longer giving him the dazzling smile, just the polite smile one gives to strangers, was at least polite enough to have not simply walked away when it became apparent that Tony was seemingly unavailable. She spoke up now, "You look like a Cap'n Crunch kinda guy to me," she offered.

"What, you mean like a big kid?" Gibbs said. As he spoke he pressed in close to Tony's back so that he could lean round him and drop his coffee selection in the trolley.

"Hey," Tony protested. He didn't really mind when Gibbs made disparaging comments about him around the team; they all knew him and knew he was actually competent, but every now and again it bothered Tony a little when Gibbs did it in front of strangers. He didn't like the idea that these people would go away thinking less of him, without getting to know the real him. This was apparently one of the bothering times.

He stared at the choices a moment longer before Gibbs demanded, "Just pick one, Tony, we have other places to be," and Tony quickly snatched a box of Cap'n Crunch and dropped it in the trolley. He gave a departing smile to the woman and was dismayed to see she was now giving him a slightly pitying look, presumably feeling sorry for him having to put up with Gibbs on a regular basis.

They moved to the check out and Tony announced cheerfully, "Slaves don't carry money," even though he had his wallet in his pocket.

Gibbs scowled but said nothing. It was all reimbursed anyway. He got his own back a few minutes later, once the shopping was all paid for and packed up. "Slaves may not carry money, but they do carry bags."

It was Tony's turn to scowl as he ended up carrying everything. "Come on, boss, it's not like I don't do pretty much your every bidding as it is. I don't need practice."

"So practice not whining about it," Gibbs smirked.

Tony opened his mouth to protest. Gibbs raised his eyebrows. Tony shut his mouth and gave a small huff of air through his teeth. Gibbs smirked some more.

*~*

It didn't take them long to put the shopping away, especially once Gibbs realised that Tony had packed the coffee at the bottom, and he pitched in so he could get the caffeine brewing ASAP.

Tony grabbed his cereal, filling a bowl and dousing it in milk before offering the box to Gibbs. Gibbs grimaced and said, "I'll stick to coffee thanks, DiNozzo."

Tony gave a 'suit yourself' half shrug, put the box down and then turned around so he could lean his back against the worktop while he ate and still see Gibbs, too.

They stood in companionable silence for a few minutes; the only sounds the quiet scrape of spoon on ceramic and gentle bubbling of the coffee. Tony finished eating and was rinsing his bowl as the coffee finished brewing and Gibbs poured two cups. He set one on the side next to Tony and received a smile and a thank you. He nodded slightly, then led the way into the living room.

Once the two men were comfortably ensconced on the couch, Gibbs said, "So, what did you have to do last time you went undercover in one of these places?"

"Pretty much what I expect I'll be doing this time: A lot of kneeling next to my partner, wearing a collar and looking suitably submissive. We didn't try to convince anyone that we were into the bondage scene, just light D/s and the occasional tying to the bed."

"You get the guys you were after?"

"We did," Tony confirmed. He frowned thoughtfully, then added, "In fact, we got more on them when I was on my own. If these guys are anything like the ones we went after back then, they see the submissive as part of the furniture, a slave to be used and ignored. They don't censor themselves, just like people don't watch their tongues around waiters or cleaners. If you get the chance, once we've made contact and you've got your need for new subs on the table, you should visit the men's room, see what they let slip without you there."

Gibbs mulled this over for a while. "We'll see," he said eventually. "If they don't seem like they could be a threat to you on your own, I'll head off for a few minutes."

"I can take care of myself," Tony bristled, only to be brought down with a crash when Gibbs retorted with,

"That's just it, DiNozzo, you can't take care of yourself. Not without breaking our cover."

Tony's jaw snapped shut. He clearly hadn't considered that fact in his hot-headed response to a perceived slight. Gibbs glared at him a few seconds more, until he was certain Tony had got the message. When Tony relaxed against the back of the couch, Gibbs moved his attention to his watch. It was a little after seven. "Okay. I want to get to the club at about 9.30, so we've got time to order in. Chinese?"

"Sure, boss," Tony answered.

*~*

The food was ordered, delivered and eaten by 9.00, it took five minutes to drive to the club, so there was time for them both to grab a quick shower before getting ready.

Gibbs didn't put too much effort into his wardrobe. He didn't need to wear anything out of the ordinary, as long as it was decent. He picked a light grey button up shirt, khaki trousers and tan suede boots. It hadn't been cold out earlier, but just in case, he also picked up his tan suede jacket. The jacket wasn't quite the same shade as the boots, but Gibbs, not being all that fashionably inclined, didn't really care.

Satisfied, he strode the short distance to Tony's door and knocked. "Ten minutes until we need to leave, DiNozzo," he called.

"Be out in five, boss," was the muffled response.

In typical Gibbs fashion, he didn't bother with any sort of acknowledgement, just nodded to himself and headed downstairs to the kitchen, where he was faced with a dilemma: He wanted coffee. The pot had enough for most of a mug, but it was stone cold by now. There wasn't enough time to make a new pot, however. He glared at the pot as if it was its fault, then snatched it up and emptied it into his mug. With a grimace, he put the mug in the microwave for thirty seconds.

Once the microwave pinged, he withdrew the mug and gave a tentative sip. Not the best, but at least it was hot. It'd have to do. He took the coffee and settled on the settee, waiting for Tony to come down.

*~*

'Be out in five,' Tony had said, but in truth, he was already dressed and was sat on the bed waiting for Gibbs to go downstairs so he could use the bathroom for the finishing touches.

He wore a plain white t-shirt, not muscle-shirt tightness, but certainly snug enough to show off his lean torso. His trousers were soft leather, again tight, but not enough to pinch in uncomfortable places while kneeling. The leather was a rich, deep plum colour, matt finished with just enough reflectiveness to highlight Tony's ass and legs. He wore his most comfortable black leather boots, another must when kneeling for a long time and not wanting to cut circulation to his toes. Lastly was the collar. Made from the same supple leather as the trousers, it was about an inch tall and finished with a simple chrome buckle and ring for the lead. There was a chrome tag attached to the ring, engraved with the word 'pet' in ornate script. Tony still clearly remembered getting the collar:


The vice squad didn't have its own store of props, there wasn't room to house it all. Instead they had a deal with a local shop owner, Lady Beth. In return for bits of information and loaning the squad any equipment and advice they might need for an op, she was sold all the items taken in raids and not needed as evidence at a vastly lower price than she could buy them from her regular suppliers. The transactions were always done carefully, so as not to blow her cover as an informant.

Not that Lady Beth passed on huge amounts of information. Her shop was one of the reputable ones, not often frequented by the bad elements. She had a good network of friends, however, and in her line of work; she was always bound to get some undesirables. She usually found enough to make the arrangement profitable for the police as well as herself.

Tony was still fairly new to the squad when the case came up. Subs were being kidnapped and ransomed back to their doms, after the kidnappers had had their fun with them, namely raping them. All the subs were tall, lean young men with dark hair, so Tony fit the description. He was going to go in with his partner Doug as his dom. He needed the right props though, so Doug took him to meet Lady Beth for the first time.

The shop itself was like many of the others he'd been in since joining vice, if a little brighter and cleaner. Lady Beth was a revelation though. Tall and regal, she wore a leather, low cut bodice, a long, straight hanging skirt, leather boots with three inch spike heels and topped it all off with a long leather coat. All her clothing was black and very simply, yet elegantly cut to show off her well-proportioned figure. She had a pretty face with very little make up, just lipstick that was slightly darker than a natural lip colour. All this was set off by her hair, as simple and elegant as her clothes, it fell straight and reached mid shoulder and was dyed a deep blue.

Her appearance wasn't the main thing that surprised Tony, though. It was her manner. She greeted Doug like an old friend, got introduced to Tony and then she'd given him a once over and declared, "I have just the very thing." She made Doug wait at the front of the shop while she took Tony to the back, where she kept the more expensive items.

On his way past, Tony had seen that the cheaper items were mostly black leather and kept at the front of the shop. The items at the back, however, came in a wide range of colours, some finished in real silver and gold, others covered in crystals. He'd wondered whether some of it might be real diamonds, but hadn't been able to see.

Lady Beth had led him straight to the purple collar. She'd picked it up and held it next to his face. "Perfect. It brings out the green in your eyes," she'd declared before getting the matching trousers and leading him to the changing area. She'd eyed him critically once he'd changed and then taken him back into the changing room and showed him a few more tricks to finish off his appearance. "Do you know what you need to do?" she'd asked. Tony had replied that he just had to kneel and keep his eyes down.

Lady Beth had been amused by that, saying, "Yes, that'll probably suffice for your operation, but there's so much more to it than that. If you ever feel the need for a demonstration, you come and see me." Tony had blushed, which had amused the woman further.

She'd declared him finished and led him back to where Doug waited. He'd stared at Tony in amazement, eventually finding voice enough to say, "Fuck, DiNozzo, you'll be right up our suspects' alley."

Tony had been struck by a sudden thought at that point. "How did you know? How did you know we weren't just here for information? Did someone from the squad call ahead?"

Lady Beth had been amused yet again, smiling at Tony as she answered, "A dom just knows these things."

Tony had frowned, unsure of that answer until Doug had clarified, "She means you look like a sub, kid," through wheezing laughter as he all but fell to the floor clutching his side. Tony's frown had turned into a scowl as he glared at his colleague.

Lady Beth had simply smiled at him and taken him to get changed back into his regular clothes.


Tony had told Gibbs that his colleagues had given him the collar as a souvenir, but in truth, he'd gone to return it and the trousers after the case was closed, only to have Lady Beth tell him to keep the items, as they wouldn't ever find a better match. She'd also reminded him of her offer to introduce Tony to the finer points of being a submissive. Tony hadn't ever taken her up on the offer though, not willing to trust a stranger with that much of himself, even if she was attractive.

So Tony had told Gibbs a little white lie, thinking it'd save him a whole lot of questions to say his teammates had given it to him, rather than the local dominatrix with a thing for him.

Shaking the memory from his mind, Tony headed to the bathroom for those final touches. He'd waited until Gibbs had gone downstairs because he didn't want the man to see him half-finished, as it were. He wanted to get the true reaction to Tony in full get up.

As Lady Beth had shown him those few years ago, Tony carefully drew a thin line around each eye with a fine black make up pencil. It was just enough to further highlight the green in his eyes and give him a bit of an exotic appearance, but without really making you aware that he was wearing it unless you were right up close. It also somehow made his eyes appear large and vulnerable, though Tony had never figured out how, always getting stuck on the idea that the black should really make his eyes look smaller.

Lastly, he styled his hair into artful spikes using a gel that contained purple glitter. This wasn't such a stretch for Tony as the eyeliner, as he'd used it before when out clubbing. He stared at himself for a few moments, eyeing everything critically, then gave a sharp nod to his reflection and headed downstairs to get the reaction. He gave a brief thought to how he'd like the circumstances to be different, how he'd like to have dressed himself up just for Gibbs, but he'd squashed that by the time he stepped off the bottom step.

*~*

Gibbs heard Tony start down the stairs and drained his less-than-stellar coffee before setting the mug on the floor; he'd deal with it later. He stood and retrieved his jacket from where he'd draped it over the back of the chair next to his seat and stepped out into the hall just as Tony reached the bottom of the stairs. He stopped dead, staring at Tony's transformation.

After a few moments, Tony started to shift and said, "Is it too much, not enough? Say something, Gibbs; you're starting to freak me out."

Mentally shaking himself, Gibbs replied, "You look fine, Tony." He gave an internal wince. 'Fine?' he asked himself, 'he looks better than fine, he looks down right edible'. He was keeping that to himself, though. Tony might be willing to go undercover as his lover, but that didn't mean he'd want to know anything about Gibbs' real feelings for him. There was no way Gibbs was going to risk saying anything just before they went on an op as each other's back up.

Tony seemed satisfied by the thin compliment anyway, 'and what does that say about his expectations of praise from me?' Gibbs wondered.

Rather than dwell on that, he picked up the car keys from the little table by the door and said, "Shall we?"

Tony grabbed his leather jacket from the hook he'd hung it on earlier in the day, grabbing the lead at the same time. They slung their jackets onto the back seat, as it still wasn't cold enough to warrant wearing them, though it was certainly getting cooler and they'd likely want them later on. Tony sat with the lead in his lap, absently playing with the chain links.

The short drive was spent in companionable silence, each man finalising his upcoming role in his mind. Five minutes later Gibbs pulled into the club car park and they got out, Gibbs going round to Tony's side of the car. "You ready?" he asked.

Tony took a deep breath, then held out the lead for Gibbs and dropped his head down to fix his gaze on the floor.

Gibbs took the lead, recognising the symbolism in being the one to clip it on, the fact that Tony was already getting into his role and letting Gibbs take control. He put his fingers under Tony's chin and gently urged his head up so that he could clip the lead to the collar. He was momentarily caught by Tony's eyes, but quickly shook it off and said, "Right. Keep your eyes and ears open and we'll compare notes when we get back to the house."

Tony knew all that, of course, but he just said, "Yes, boss."

"And no more 'boss' while we're in there," Gibbs said.

"Yes, Master," Tony responded, dropping his eyes once more.

Gibbs gave a sharp nod and then moved towards the entrance, being careful to shield the lead from the bouncer's view, just in case the navy had given them bad information.

As they reached the door, the bouncer said, "New in town? I've not seen you here before." He sounded pleasant enough, but he gave both men the once over as he spoke.

"Yeah, moved here a couple of days ago. I was told this was the place to come for…" and he surreptitiously revealed the lead in his hand, not wanting to be too obvious if this wasn't actually a BDSM club. It wasn't that he didn't trust the navy's facts, but he never really took anything for granted until he, or one of his team, had verified it.

The bouncer just grinned and said, "You heard right, go on in." Gibbs noted the lingering look Tony received from the man as they stepped past him. He suspected it would be the first of many and quickly suppressed a twinge of possessiveness, consoling himself that at least not many would see those eyes Tony had fixed to the floor. Then they were inside the club and Gibbs set his mind firmly on the job at hand.

The room they stepped into struck Gibbs as being much like any other high end club he'd been in: A dance floor, which was bordered on two sides by booths that held two and four seat private tables, the bar on the third side and the fourth side consisting of a raised area, about half the size of the dance floor, that held more tables and chairs. All tastefully decorated in cool purple, blue, green and silver. The front of the bar had a design in blue neon light. The same light was used to mark the edge of the dance floor and to highlight the steps to the raised seating area and the metal railings that separated the seats from the dance floor. The tables and chairs in the booths were the typical high table and bench seat arrangement, but the ones on the raised area were more like armchairs and coffee tables; the seats padded and with arm rests, and the tables at knee height. At either end of the bar was a curtained-off doorway, one clearly marked as the men's and women's rooms, the other unidentified, but with another bouncer loitering nearby. Gibbs decided to keep an eye on that curtain to see who came and went.

The clientele also looked a lot like you'd find in any high-end club: Dressed in casual but smart clothes, many in the season's fashionable colours. They tended toward the older end of the market, rather than the brash twenty-somethings intent on drinking themselves senseless that you would find in the less-salubrious clubs. It was just that here, a good portion of the customers wore a collar and knelt on the floor, rather than sat in a chair.

Gibbs led Tony to the raised table area, settling into one of the comfortable seats where it would be easiest to strike up a conversation with other patrons and where they had a good line of sight on that curtain. Tony sank down next to him and settled against his left leg. Gibbs let go of the lead, resting it over his thigh and used his now free hand to card his fingers through Tony's lightly glittering hair.

They stayed for a few hours, Gibbs nursing a large scotch that had been brought to him by a waiter who had appeared moments after the two NCIS agents settled in their chosen spot.

Sure enough, Tony had gotten stares, which had prompted some of the regulars to strike up conversations with Gibbs, commenting on his attractive sub. Gibbs used the opportunities to find out more about the club, about the regulars, about the curtained off area- which he'd seen people going into, but not coming back out for a long time (if at all) - and generally to get their undercover personas circulating. Talking about Tony and his current companion's sub allowed Gibbs to surreptitiously drop subtle comments about his desire to get hold of more subs to train up and sell on, testing the waters and finding the people who might be useful when it came time to meet up with their targets. It would help them no end if they had a few regulars who knew Nemec and Davies and could introduce Gibbs, vouch for his interest in acquiring some of their 'merchandise'.

After two and a half hours, Gibbs felt that they'd done enough recon and that he'd spoken to enough people for their first visit and they called it a night, heading back to the house to compare notes.

*~*

Once back at the house, Tony and Gibbs settled on the couch and compared notes. Tony ruthlessly squashed the idea that Gibbs hadn't given him the chance to change first because he liked looking at Tony in the club outfit, telling himself that it was just Gibbs being his usual, thorough self and wanting to get the details sorted before they started to fade.

He wasn't surprised that their general overview of the club tallied. They'd both noted the layout and seen the curtained-off area. Tony had, however, seen more detail about the people in the club.

Part of that was because his role allowed him to surreptitiously watch what happened around him. Mostly it was training and personality though. Gibbs was a marine, trained to assess people for the threat they might pose, or, on an individual basis, he was excellent at detecting lies, but neither his training nor his personality was really geared towards people watching in general.

Tony had a cop's mind, though. His training was subtly different and complementary to Gibbs', which was what made them a good team. Tony was able to watch an entire room and pick out small details about the people, not just whether they were potentially hostile. Also, his skill as an undercover operative was his ability to read people and to blend in, so he was able to spot pretence in others. Plus, Tony liked clothes, he liked expensive clothes and he liked watching other people in expensive clothes. He had plenty to see at the club.

The clientele was clearly made up of well-off people, business men and women, high powered lawyers and law enforcement officers, a few military types, he even spotted a judge. They were people more used to wearing a uniform or a suit and they wore their button down shirts and casual trousers in a way that reflected that. It was like they felt somehow underdressed, even if they were wearing Gucci, Armani, Prada and the like.

Tony had counted six wait staff - four men and two women - circulating the tables and booths, while two more women and a man were behind the bar. He'd pegged the elder of the two women, a brunette, as the manager by the way the other staff deferred to her when there were empties to collect and orders to fill, while she acted more like a hostess, greeting and chatting with the guests.

Watching the staff had allowed Tony to pick out some of the regulars by seeing how they interacted. Drinks appearing without having been ordered, familiarity in their conversation and other small details showed those that had been to the club many times before. Tony had noticed that some of the people he spotted had been over for a word with Gibbs, but he'd also spotted several who still needed to be met.

He'd watched his fellow submissives, too and had quickly started to spot the differences between a natural sub and an unwilling one. The naturals- the majority of subs present- knelt next to their doms without needing to be kept there. Even the ones wearing leads were arranged much as Tony and Gibbs had been, with the lead resting over a leg but not held. When a natural sub was touched by their dom they had leant into it and the naturals had been allowed to dance. Sometimes they danced with their dom, other times two doms stood on the sidelines watching their subs give them a risqué show. Tony had seen one such foursome head off behind the curtain and it didn't take a genius to work out that the fabric hid the entrance to private rooms.

In contrast, the unwilling submissives had been rigid next to their doms, though a lot of them hid it well enough that it was only obvious if someone really looked. They were all restrained, their doms never releasing their hold on the leads attached to their collars and they certainly didn't dance. Tony had also noticed that quite a number of the unwilling men and women were of the correct ethnicity - North African and Middle Eastern - to have come from Nemec. Not all by any means. America had its own share of unfortunates and those willing to exploit them, but still, there were enough to make Tony take note.

He finished up his report by saying, "I'll point out the people I think are worth talking to tomorrow."

He listened to Gibbs own report and wasn't surprised that he didn't have much to add yet. The whole reason they'd gone in a few days early was because they needed to build up a bit of rapport with the regulars, find someone who could introduce them to Nemec and Davies, or better yet, the people they worked for, and just generally, and discretely, let it be known that Gibbs was in the market for some new stock to train.

They'd made a good start; Gibbs had broken the ice with a few people and made loose arrangements to get a drink with them tomorrow night. Tony was surprised to learn that quite a few of the conversations started with a comment about him. Sure, he knew he looked good in the leather, had worn it for that very reason, but it was still a surprise to find that a lot of the men and, even though it was predominantly a gay club, some of the women had commented on him. Tony vowed to try and listen in more tomorrow. He'd not bothered this time, trusting that Gibbs would tell him the pertinent facts and so tuning the voices out in order to concentrate fully on the sights. Now he wanted to know what was being said about him.

They hashed out a plan of action for the next day and then Gibbs told Tony to get a shower and change before writing up his notes. It was just after midnight when Tony stepped into the shower.

*~*

Gibbs headed into the kitchen when Tony went upstairs. He would have liked to have carried on looking at Tony in glitter and leather, but couldn't think of a way of arranging it that wouldn't reveal too much to Tony. Instead, he listened to the odd creaky floorboard, opening and closing doors and the sound of running water that marked Tony's progress, while he set the coffee machine running and made himself some toast. As he ate his toast, he thought about everything the younger man had observed at the club, impressed as usual. Also as usual, he hadn't told Tony that he'd done well. He didn’t coddle and he certainly wasn’t the type to give praise once the moment was passed, but he had enough self-awareness to know that he didn’t praise Tony as often as he should. Hell, he didn’t really praise any of his team, except maybe Abby, as often as he should. He just couldn’t seem to change his ways and really, he’d turned out ok despite Mike Franks’ praise-free mentoring.

He'd finished his toast and the first cup of coffee by the time he heard Tony start downstairs and he got up to refill his mug and pour some for Tony, knowing the younger man would see the gesture as an acknowledgement of sorts. He handed the mug to Tony when he stepped into the kitchen.

Tony, who was now dressed in some comfortable sweat pants and a well-worn grey sweatshirt, took the mug gingerly, like he was being handed explosives. Gibbs huffed, "Don't look at it like it's going to bite you, DiNozzo. I put sugar in it."

"How much sugar?" Tony questioned.

"Two spoons."

"Huh," Tony said before tentatively lifting the mug to his lips, giving it a suspicious sniff first. He took a mouthful and held it in his mouth, swishing it about with a look of concentration on his face.

"For Christ's sake, Tony, it's not wine. This is the last time I do anything nice for you," Gibbs growled.

Tony swallowed and gave his verdict: "It's drinkable. And, boss, it's just that I'm not used to you doing nice things for me," his grin taking any sting out if the words.

Gibbs scowled and moved his hand to smack Tony, but the younger man quickly cradled the mug to him and yelped, "You wouldn't risk any precious coffee being spilled, right, boss?"

He pretended to think about it for a moment and then lowered his hand. "But you needn't think I've forgotten this, DiNozzo," he warned.

Tony grinned and said, "Okay, that's good. Now, could you just go and stand over there please?" whilst pointing to the opposite side of the room.

Gibbs frowned but complied, raising an eyebrow at Tony when he continued to eye Gibbs suspiciously for a few moments. Apparently satisfied, Tony set the coffee down on the side, snatched the freezer door open, grabbed the choc-chip ice cream (which he'd argued was an essential on the grounds that if Gibbs was adding coffee to their 'essential purchases' list then he was adding chocolate ice cream) and slammed the door shut again before snatching up the coffee and clutching it like it was some sort of talisman.

"Relax, Tony, you're safe for now," Gibbs assured with a chuckle. Once again, Tony assessed him for a few moments before he turned away, got a bowl and spoon and started serving himself a portion of the ice cream. Gibbs carefully moved until he was directly behind Tony and said into his ear, "That's not really the best thing to be eating at this time of night."

Tony didn't jump at Gibbs' nearness, which meant either Gibbs was getting predictable, sloppy, or Tony was getting better at hiding his reactions. None of these were good options in Gibbs' book.

"I didn't get dessert earlier, so I figured I'd get it now," Tony defended. He offered the tub to Gibbs, "You want some?"

"No thanks. I don't need that kinda sugar rush so close to bedtime. I don't think you do, either.

Tony turned disbelieving eyes on Gibbs, "Says Mr 'Caffeine-intake-off-the-charts', the very same man who just gave me a mug full of caffeine and sugar!"

"Hey, I can take the coffee back again," Gibbs warned.

"You wouldn't drink it now it's been adulterated with sugar," Tony returned.

"No, but I could dump it own the sink."

"You'd never waste precious coffee like that," Tony said, not intimidated by Gibbs' threat.

Gibbs had to concede that Tony had him there. "Fine, but don't come crying to me when you're all hopped up on sugar and can't sleep," he said, giving in with ill grace. Then he gave Tony a clip round the ear as the other man stuck his tongue out. "What are you, five? You won the argument, DiNozzo, don't push it," he growled with mock-severity.

"Yes, boss," Tony quickly responded, though he was still smiling.

Gibbs shook his head. "Get your ice cream eaten and start your notes," he said, before topping up his coffee and heading out to the dining room and settling at the table.

Tony joined him ten minutes later, sitting in the chair opposite. They typed in companionable silence until Gibbs finished his notes and moved into the living room. He eyed the old magazines on the coffee table, but nothing was remotely interesting, so he took a quick trip upstairs to his room and grabbed his book on boat building. Heading back down, he took the chair by the window and started reading.

It was maybe twenty minutes before Tony entered the room. He fetched the TV remote and waved it at Gibbs, "You mind?" he asked.

"Nah, go ahead," Gibbs replied.

Tony settled onto the couch and started browsing the channels. After a few minutes, Gibbs started to get annoyed and lifted his head in preparation of telling Tony off, only to be met with an unrepentant smirk, Tony plainly having been doing it solely to get a rise out of Gibbs. 'He must have a death wish,' Gibbs thought to himself in amusement. He restrained himself to a pointed, "You done?" emphasising it so that, although it sounded like a question, it really wasn't.

Tony tipped his head in a nod and turned back to the screen, surprising Gibbs by switching to a news station. He listened to the headlines, but nothing grabbed his interest, apparently, as he soon switched channels until he found a football game, then he settled in to watch that. Gibbs was half expecting to have to tell Tony off again, anticipating him getting caught up in the game and yelling at the screen, but again he was surprised when Tony stayed quiet throughout. He glanced up occasionally to check whether Tony had actually fallen asleep, but he was wide awake. This was a side that not many people believed Tony possessed, and Gibbs was pleased to be one of the people that Tony was relaxed enough around to let his guard down a bit.

By the time one a.m. rolled round, even though both men were night owls used to staying up late, they decided to head for bed. It had been a long day with them finishing up the last investigation and then having to arrange everything for the op, not to mention the time at the club.

"You mind if I grab a quick shower first?" Gibbs asked.

"Go ahead, Gibbs, I can use the downstairs bathroom for brushing my teeth and such."

They headed up the stairs, then Gibbs broke right for the bathroom and Tony headed down to his room for his toiletries. "Night, boss," he called.

"Night, Tony," came the response, muffled by the closed door.

Tony had finished his ablutions by the time Gibbs got out of the shower, so Gibbs quickly checked that all the lights were out and then climbed into bed, dropping off to sleep instantly in the way that a lot of soldiers could.

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MTAC - NCIS Fic