Not a Guest Room Anymore


Jackson Gibbs shifted on the couch and squinted at the little travel alarm clock he’d brought with him. It was just after midnight – which meant that technically it was Christmas Day. He wasn’t sure what had woken him, but he thought he might have heard the click of the front door closing and the sound of footsteps on the stairs.

Jackson lay there, looking at the lights on the Christmas tree. He’d left them on when he’d retired for the night an hour or so ago – he did love this time of year, and the lights were so pretty. Besides, he wasn’t as nimble on his feet as he’d once been, and it helped to have some light if he needed to use the bathroom in the night.

The couch wasn’t uncomfortable, but Jackson found himself musing on what Leroy had meant when he’d said the guest room wasn’t a guest room anymore. What else could it be? It wasn’t as if the boy needed more than one place to build his boats, and he already had an office in the little room at the end of the downstairs hallway. Jackson knew that the third bedroom was, and always would be, a shrine to Kelly, the entire room unchanged since her death, down to the pink and yellow walls and collection of dolls and stuffed animals on the bed. So what on earth was Leroy using the guest bedroom for these days?

His mind wandered back over the events of the evening. He and Leroy had enjoyed a long, enjoyable dinner together, and finally had the kind of chat that Jackson had been hoping for. Leroy had never been the easiest boy in the world to get to know, even for his own father. They were such opposites in personality and temperament that Jackson often found his son a complete enigma. It didn’t help that Leroy was so bad at opening up and talking about anything personal. Getting the boy to actually communicate with him on any meaningful level had always been a chore – but tonight, for the first time in a long time, Jackson thought they’d gotten somewhere. Leroy had even hinted that there was someone special in his life, although he’d clammed up when Jackson had asked him about it.

Jackson hoped Leroy had someone making him happy; the boy certainly looked more settled these days. Jackson really hoped it wasn’t another red-haired Shannon look-alike. He hadn’t been invited to any of his son’s subsequent three marriages after Shannon died, but he’d watched from a distance as they all fell apart. Maybe now, after all these years, Leroy had finally found someone who understood him and could give him what he needed.

Not that understanding Leroy was easy – as Jackson knew all too well. The boy was downright ornery, just like his mother had been. He was strong-willed, stubborn, and quick-tempered – but he was also the kind of man who’d put his life on the line for you in a heartbeat, without even thinking about it. Beneath Leroy’s intimidating exterior beat a heart of pure gold – most folk just never got close enough to see it.

Someone obviously had though, and that made Jackson happy. He was getting on in years, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he’d be around; the one thing he wanted, more than anything else, was to see his son loved and in love again before he died.

Jackson was just on the verge of dozing off when he heard a strange noise. It wasn’t a noise that he could place at first – it sounded like a cross between a sob and a sigh. It was followed by a light thudding sound – and then another sobbing sigh. Jackson frowned; it was none of his business if Leroy had a woman upstairs, but those didn’t sound like the noises of love-making. And if Leroy was in some kind of trouble then he thought he should investigate.

“He already knows what a nosy old busybody I am anyway,” Jackson grunted to himself, with a little smile.

He got up off the couch, pulled on a bathrobe, grabbed his walking cane, and slowly climbed the stairs.

Jackson paused when he got to his son’s bedroom; the door was open, but the room was empty. The bed was made though, one corner of bedding turned down invitingly, waiting for an occupant. Or two.

“Hmmm…” Jackson hesitated, unsure what to do next.

He was about to go back downstairs when he heard the noise again. There was a light, sweeping sound, followed by a muffled thud, and then that sobbing sigh – followed, this time, by a whimper…and then a voice. Jackson couldn’t hear what was being said – but he was far too intrigued to let this drop now. He’d come this far – he wanted to know what was going on.

The noises were coming from the guest room. Jackson went and stood outside the door, listening.

“Ssh, ssh…just let go…I’ve got you…” someone was saying. Was that Leroy’s voice? If so, it was deeper, darker, and more expressive than Jackson had ever heard it.

“Can’t…how can I when…? Oh God that’s…please…” another voice begged.

Jackson was startled to realise that the second voice was male. He thought the voice was familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. Who on earth did his son have in there, and what the hell was he doing to him?

He knew he shouldn’t – he knew that whatever was going on behind the guest room door was no doubt deeply personal and private, but his curiosity got the better of him. He put his fingers on the handle of the door and slowly pushed it open an inch or two.

The sight that met his stunned eyes took his breath away for a moment.

The guest room was filled with a dozen or more candles, all flickering away, illuminating walls that had been painted a deep, dark, ruby red. In the centre of the room was some kind of large structure, shaped like a big sling – and hanging within that was a man…a bound, naked man.

Jackson couldn’t see the man properly in the dimly lit room, and the candles cast shadows everywhere, dappling his body. His head was hanging down, his dark hair stained with sweat, and he was breathing heavily.

Jackson took a startled intake of breath as Leroy came into his line of vision – only this was a Leroy he barely recognised. His son was wearing a pair of black leather pants and that was it. His feet were bare and from his hand dangled what looked like…some kind of whip, with many soft fronds. Leroy shook it out.

“Do I have to gag you?” he demanded of the bound man hanging in the sling. “I don’t want to gag you, boy…I like hearing you whimper too much.”

He reached out a hand and, considering how sternly he’d just spoken, Jackson was surprised to see that he touched the bound man’s hair with gentle affection. The man leaned into his caress like a cat, desperate to be petted, and at that moment Jackson recognised him: it was Tony DiNozzo – the young lad his son worked with.

“Please…” Tony whimpered. “Please…Master…” Jackson bit back his surprised reaction at hearing Tony call his son that.

“Ssh, boy. We have all night. I’ll go slow – you can whimper all you like – but remember who is sleeping downstairs and keep it quiet, or I promise I will gag you.”

Leroy leaned forward and gently trailed the flogger over Tony’s body. Jackson was grateful he couldn’t see too much because of all the shadows in the room. Then Leroy raised the flogger and brought it down in a light, graceful sweeping motion on Tony’s bare shoulders. Tony gave another of those sobbing little sighs – but now Jackson realised that it was a sound of deep, cathartic pleasure rather than any kind of distress.

“Who do you belong to?” Leroy demanded. He dipped his fingers in a saucer of what appeared to be some kind of oil and trailed them over Tony’s body, making his skin glisten in the candlelight.

“You, Master,” Tony whispered happily, an expression of worship in his eyes.

“That’s right, bubblebutt,” Leroy said, a little grin curving at the corners of his mouth. Tony gave a whimper of protest. “You belong to me, Tony. Don’t ever forget it.”

Jackson didn’t think he’d ever seen his son look happier, or more as if he was really enjoying himself. He watched as Leroy walked back along Tony’s bound body, trailing his fingers over Tony’s naked skin as he went. He wrapped his hand in Tony’s hair and pulled the lad’s head back.

“Was there something you wanted to say to me, boy?”

“Yeah – did you *have* to call me bubblebutt at work?” Tony asked, with a cheeky grin.

Leroy laughed out loud. “It belongs to me – I’ll call it what I like, when I like, where I like.” He slapped the butt in question and then stroked it, and Tony gave a sigh of pleasure.

“Yes, Master. Thank you, Master,” Tony said blissfully. “Love you, Master.”

“Love you too, boy,” Leroy replied, in a low, throaty growl of a voice. There was a look of fierce, proud, tender affection on his usually stern features. He lowered his head and kissed Tony deeply on the lips.

Jackson drew back. He’d seen enough – more than enough probably – but he’d always been as curious as a cat, as his late wife had pointed out on too many occasions, and that was when she was being polite about it.

He closed the door soundlessly and walked back downstairs. Then he sat down on the couch, gathered his blankets around him, and gazed at the lights on the tree again.

What he had just seen should have been shocking, maybe even horrifying, but instead it had been strangely beautiful. Besides, how could he be shocked to see his son looking so happy and so obviously in his element? Or horrified by the way Tony had looked up at his son, with such obvious love and devotion in his eyes? How could he be shocked by the expression of deep, passionate love in Leroy’s eyes as he looked back at Tony? Jackson could only feel happiness at seeing his son so deeply in love with someone who loved him back just as deeply. Jackson might not understand the particular way they chose to express that love, but what had been clear, beyond any shadow of a doubt, was that they both felt the same way about each other.

At that moment, Jackson heard footsteps on the stairs, and Leroy walked into the room. He’d pulled on a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt, but he was still barefoot.

“I…uh…heard a noise…” he hesitated. He didn’t look like that stern, commanding figure he’d been a few minutes ago in the guest room. He looked more like the little kid Jackson had found stealing candy from the store one morning many years ago: scared and shame-faced, but more than a little defiant all the same.

Jackson smiled at him. “I heard a noise too, Son. Went to investigate.” Leroy’s face was a picture, and Jackson had to laugh out loud. “Saw more than I bargained for!” he chuckled. “Now don’t you go blaming that boy of yours for making a noise and waking me up – I’m a light sleeper these days.”

Leroy ran a hand through his hair. He came and sat down on the edge of the couch.

“I can explain,” he said.

“Oh, you don’t need to explain anything to me,” Jackson replied, with a wave of his hand. “I’ve got eyes, Leroy, and I might be old, but I’m not dead yet. I have heard of such things y’know, Son; bondage, S&M, whatever they call it. And I’m far too old to be shocked by anything much these days. There’s only one thing I need to know, Leroy – does Tony make you happy?”

Leroy’s face relaxed and a rare smile curved at the corners of his mouth. His eyes lit up, and he looked twenty years younger. “Yeah, Dad. He does.”

Jackson gazed at his son, fascinated. He hadn’t seen that look on Leroy’s face since…well, since he’d been a teenager, pining after a certain young lady with red hair called Shannon.

Jackson patted his son’s knee affectionately. “Well, I’m glad, Son. All these years you’ve been so lonely and hurting inside so much. I know how much it cost you to lose those beautiful girls. Never thought you’d find comfort at long last with another man – but…each to his own.” Jackson gave a little shrug. “As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters to me. Now – it’s late, and I’m tired, and you don’t want to leave that lad upstairs hanging around on his own for much longer, I’m sure.”

“Well…he kind of likes the hanging bit,” Leroy said, with a wicked little grin. “You sure you’re okay with this, Dad?”

“Hell yes!” Jackson grinned back at his son. “I know we’ve had our differences, Leroy, but since when have I ever been any kind of bigot?”

“True.” Leroy got up, leaned over, and kissed his father’s forehead. “Good night, Dad.”

“Night, Leroy.”

Jackson settled himself back under the bedding with a happy smile and watched his son leave the room. He heard Leroy jogging back upstairs to return to his…whatever the hell Tony was to him.

Tomorrow Jackson would insist that Tony spend the day with them, and he’d take the time to really get to know this lad who had the power to make Leroy look like a teenager in love again.

For now, he could sleep easy in the knowledge that his son had someone in his life that he loved, and who genuinely loved him too.

 And at least now Jackson knew why the guest room wasn’t a guest room anymore.

The End


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