The First Collar: 1. Part One


Tony took the original tapes to his bank and locked them up in a safety deposit box.


When he returned home, he glanced around the apartment looking for somewhere to hide the backup disk he’d made. His gaze fell on his extensive DVD collection, and he knelt down beside it, looking for the right one. He saw the box set ofSubs and the City that his top before last had given him, presumably under the assumption that *all* subs liked the show. Tony had cringed at the gift and never even opened it. Now he did. He removed the disk from the middle DVD in the set and threw it into the trash with a disdainful flick of his fingers. He replaced it with the copied disk and returned the DVD to the shelf, under a pile of others.


So that was it. That was how his job at Baltimore PD ended – in one great big fat lie.


“Never trust a top,” he said bitterly, remembering the words he’d learned at his mother’s knee. “Never gone wrong yet by following that advice, Mom.” He picked up the half-empty bottle of beer on his coffee table and raised it ironically in the air, saluting his dead mother. “Thanks, Mom.”


He noticed the stained letter that had been lying beneath the bottle, picked it up, and read it through again. No regular police department had been interested in him with his job record. He had very much doubted that a federal agency would be interested, either, but he’d sent his resume off to a bunch of them all the same. The only one prepared to even offer him an interview was NCIS.


NCIS. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.


“What the hell do I know about boats?” Tony muttered to himself, throwing the letter back onto the table. The interview was the next day, and as it was the only interview he’d been offered he supposed he should make an effort to go to it. His heart wasn’t in it though. He was a good investigator; that wasn’t false pride – he knew that he was. So how come he always ended up with his bare ass raised, looking at the floor in some workplace discipline room or other and taking his licks without making a sound? He tried to keep out of trouble, God knows, but somehow he never managed it.


Until Baltimore. He’d really thought he’d got it nailed there. He had worked hard, kept his head down, and he had been delighted when that strategy had paid off. Dana Morley had requested his transfer onto her team in Homicide, and it had looked, for a while, as if he’d managed to turn his life around. He’d been surprised when she seduced him two days into his new job, but hey, he was a red-blooded sub, and she was one hell of a top. It had been a good ride – until he realized she’d set him up from the beginning. She’d chosen him to be her fall guy, figuring that someone as screwed up as Tony DiNozzo would be easy to play. She’d been wrong about that.


“Not a complete idiot,” he muttered to himself.


So he had one job interview and enough money to pay the rent for a month. After that, he was screwed. A hell of a lot was riding on that interview tomorrow.


“No pressure then.”


He threw the letter back onto the table and got to his feet with a grin. When the going got tough, what else was there for a tough sub to do but go clubbing?
He pulled on his usual clubbing outfit of tight black jeans and a dark green shirt, smoothed some product onto his hair to make it look dark and spiky, shouldered himself into his black leather jacket, and headed off out into the night.


The club was called Anon – it was a place Tony came back to every so often, when he was in the mood for something dark and, well, anonymous.


It was a cold, wet night, and the club wasn’t exactly heaving with people. Tony took a seat in the corner and nursed his drink for an hour, just watching. He saw various people hooking up, going furtively into the back room for a play session, or upstairs if they wanted a room for the night.


Tops paraded around trying so hard to look dangerous that it made Tony laugh. If you had to try then you weren’t doing it right. The subs were just as bad – he watched them pretending to wilt, just for the thrill of it. You could project whatever fantasies you wanted onto a complete stranger, after all, just as long as they gave you what you craved.


Tony knew what he craved – and he knew who would give it to him too. He’d been watching one guy for the past twenty minutes and knew he’d found his mark. The top he had his eye on was tall, broad-shouldered, and good-looking in a vacuous kind of way. He clearly wasn’t the brightest button in the box, but then Tony didn’t need bright. He just needed someone he could manipulate into giving him the kind of hard, brutally punishing sex he wanted right now.


He got up and made his way across the bar. A woman stopped him halfway.


“Hey, sweetie! You looking for someone to drag into the back room?” she asked, trailing one finger down his leather jacket. Tony didn’t even crack a smile. He never understood how anyone couldn’t tell the difference between a top and a sub without obvious visual clues. He knew immediately he met a person. Hell – he could tell just by looking.


“Yeah, but not you,” he snapped at her. She jumped away as if stung, and he felt bad for a moment. He didn’t usually take his sour moods out on the people around him. He flashed her his subbiest smile. It wasn’t her fault she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was too drunk to know she’d tried to pick up a fellow sub. “Sorry, sweetheart – wrong orientation,” he told her in a sweeter voice.


She smiled back at him. “Oh man…I’m sorry…” She had the grace to look embarrassed by her faux pas. Nobody liked being mistaken for something they weren’t. “It’s the leather jacket, hon…and you sure looked toppy, the way you were walking, all moody and dark and all. You sure you don’t swing both ways? I wouldn’t mind bedding a switch tonight.”


“Not a switch. Sub all the way,” he told her. “Right down to my bones,” he muttered to himself as he continued on his path, tracking down his prey with deadly intent.


Good-looking-guy, or GLG as Tony had christened him in his head, was still standing by the bar, glancing around, trying to look cool and stern. Tony would have laughed if he wasn’t so intent on getting laid tonight.


“You looking for someone?” he asked, sliding right up close to the guy, getting in his personal space.


GLG gave him a gruff, nonchalant look, but Tony didn’t miss the way his eyes flickered over his body with an assessing gaze. Tony tried not to roll his eyes.


“Yeah. I’m looking for someone willing to get down on their knees and suck my dick tonight,” GLG growled.


“Aw, you’re the sweet-talking type.” Tony grinned.


GLG looked confused. Clearly the art of conversation was not one he’d ever studied.


“Like to say what I mean – and mean what I say,” he said gruffly. “Some subs don’t like that, but what the fuck are you doing in a place like this if you don’t wanna get laid?”


“Good point,” Tony conceded. “Well, you can stop looking. You’ve found someone very willing to get down on his knees and suck your dick tonight, sir.”


The ‘sir’ worked like a charm, and GLG’s face split into a wide grin. Tony suppressed the inner sigh. He wished tops weren’t so easy to play. True, most weren’t *this* easy, but Tony had never yet met one who made it feel real.


“I play rough, boy,” GLG warned.


“Good – that’s what I’m looking for,” Tony replied.


GLG leered at him and reached down to squeeze Tony’s cock through his pants, as if he owned it. Tony was already half hard and the action made all his blood rush south.


“Want to take my ass into the back room so you can fuck it?” Tony asked, watching GLG’s pupils dilate at the words.


“Nah.” GLG waved a hand at the barman and slammed some cash down on the bar. “Gonna take my time with you, submissive. Wanna fuck you all night long.” He leaned forward and spoke directly into Tony’s ear. “Gonna make you scream, boy.” He picked up the key the barman had left for him. “Room 19 – my lucky number. Coming, boy?”


He put a big hand on the back of Tony’s neck and began steering him towards the stairs. Tony went easily. Usually a quick fuck in the back room was enough for him when he was in this kind of mood, but if this guy wanted to pay for all the facilities of a room for the night then he wasn’t going to argue.


Room 19 was much like all the other rooms at Anon; seedy red furnishings, a spanking bench, and a variety of implements in their wrappers because you’d have to be really desperate to play with second hand stuff. The implements were locked away in a rack – you had to insert cash to buy any of them. In one corner was a big bed; its iron headboard came complete with attached cuffs.


“So…” GLG put an arm around him and pulled him close, fondling his ass. “What’s your name, boy?”


“My name is ‘boy’, sir. What’s yours?” Tony said. He wasn’t giving this guy the privilege of calling him by his actual name when he topped him.


GLG laughed. “You can call me Jake – or ‘sir’. I can see you’ve got a smart mouth on you, boy. I might need to gag you.”


“Gagging’s fine.” Tony shrugged. He couldn’t care less about that. “No bondage though.”


Jake pouted. “Aw. But you’d look good in chains.”


“I do look very good in chains, but you aren’t going to see it,” Tony snapped. Then he winced inwardly; this was not the best way to manipulate this guy into giving him what he wanted. “Hey…I just don’t know you very well. I leave the chains for the second date.” Tony gave a wink. “You can do a whole load of other things to me if you want though, sir,” he whispered throatily. “You can spank me, clamp me, plug me, have me suck you, fuck me…whatever. But no bondage, that’s all. Anything else is fine.”


A little gleam crept into Jake’s eyes. “Anything?”


Tony gave an internal sigh, wondering what kind of shit he was going to get asked to do tonight. “Within reason,” he replied, warily.


“Would you wear my collar for the night?” Jake asked. Tony stared at him. “Temporary collar – just for a few hours?” Jake added. “Wouldn’t hurt, would it?”


It wasn’t a completely unusual request, but it wasn’t customary on a one night stand. Had this guy recently loved and lost a sub, Tony wondered, or – worse – had his sub died maybe? Or perhaps the poor guy was just a hopeless romantic at heart.


“Sorry, buddy,” he said quietly. He’d never worn a top’s collar in his life, not even a temporary one for a one night stand, and he didn’t intend to start now. He’d never met a top who was worthy of *owning* him, and had never met one who he was prepared to really submit to, either. He just fooled them enough that they gave him what he needed and then he left.


Jake looked annoyed. “It’s just a collar,” he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the soft, leather collar. It was pretty – nice quality and just a little worn around the edges. Tony wondered who it had belonged to, or whether this guy just used it on all his conquests. Maybe it made him feel like a big bad top, the kind who *could* actually collar and keep a sub.


“Sorry,” Tony said. “Just…see, when – if – I ever wear a top’s collar it’ll mean something. And this…” he waved his hand around the seedy room “is just a one night stand.”


Jake glared at him and then nodded, reluctantly. “I get it,” he muttered. “Don’t meet many subs like you. Kinda traditional, aren’t you?”


Tony gave a wry shake of his head. “Maybe.” He had no intention of discussing his morals with this guy. “Now…” he sank to his knees and placed his hands on Jake’s fly, “Shall we get on with the fucking?” He grinned up at Jake. “You look like a big, strong top. A sub like me would be lucky to suck your dick.”


“Sounds good.” Jake gave a little jerk of his head, giving Tony permission.


“My safe word’s lemming,” Tony said.


“Okay.” Jake shrugged.


Tony doubted that he’d need it because he was going to be the one manipulating this scene, but he always played safe with strangers. Years of watching his father’s subs emerge from one bad scene after another had taught him what not to do. He’d never had to use his safe word in a scene yet though – he was always the one in charge, so it had never been necessary.


Tony opened Jake’s fly and enjoyed the sight of the hard cock that sprang out. It wasn’t the biggest or prettiest he’d seen, but he didn’t care about that right now. Jake put his hand in Tony’s hair and pulled his head close, thrusting his hips forward at the same time.


“Gonna fuck your mouth, boy. Gonna use you like the subby whore you are,” he muttered throatily.


Tony switched off, going into his own little world. Sometimes he wondered if these tops had any idea how stupid they sounded. Real dominance came from within, but these wannabes wore it like a cloak, as if it was something you could put on and take off at will. Tony longed to meet one who actually made him feel something – and whose feet weren’t made of clay.


All the movies had got it wrong, he thought, as he sucked dutifully on this stranger’s cock. They sold the myth that there were tops out there who inhabited their top space effortlessly, and who knew how to make a sub really experience their own submission, but Tony had never met one. Most of them could feign it well enough for him to get off, if he let himself go with it, but not one of them had ever made him feel he was doing anything more than play at it.


Maybe he played too well. Maybe if he wasn’t so good at acting it they’d be forced to really make an effort to get into his head and take him down. As it was, he usually had to take himself down.


Not that he found that too hard. He had a good sexual imagination, and he could pretend he was on his knees in front of some powerful master or stern mistress, their devoted submissive, prostrate in front of them.


Jake came in his mouth with a grunt of pleasure, and Tony swallowed down his come without tasting it.


“Good boy,” Jake whispered hoarsely. “Now get your ass undressed. I wanna see what my boy looks like naked.”


Tony got to his feet and obeyed, slowly. The room was dark, and if he let his eyes glaze over enough, and the alcohol he’d consumed take effect, then he could dream he was undressing for that powerful, commanding top of his fantasies.


He didn’t know what that top looked like, and it wasn’t important. Looks, gender – none of that mattered. What was important was that they were a top to their bones, the way that he was a sub to his. They would see into him, right into his soul, and know him for who he really was. And he would offer up every single part of himself to them, keeping nothing back. They would have his love, devotion and submission because they deserved it, because they’d earned it, and because he trusted them with this precious gift.


“You’re being a romantic idiot. Remember what I told you – never trust a top, Tony!” His mother’s voice resounded in his head in her sophisticated, amused tones, but that didn’t stop him wanting it all the same. He wanted it so much that he ached from wanting it.


Jake sat down on the side of the bed and watched as Tony finished undressing. Tony knew that it would take Jake a while to get hard again; he figured his top for the night would spend some time playing with him, doing a scene, before fucking his ass.


Tony posed submissively, showing off his body to best effect. He slid his hand over his hard cock, milking it gently until the tip glistened with a droplet of pre-come.


“I can’t come yet,” he whispered silkily. “I can’t come until you give me permission, sir. My body belongs to you tonight.”


“That’s right, boy,” Jake muttered, watching Tony greedily, his tongue darting out to sweep his lips in anticipation.


Tony gave a little whimper and removed his hands from his cock. “I want to come, sir. I want it so much. But I can’t until you let me.”


“Yeah,” Jake grunted. “You belong to me, boy. I’ll say when you get to come.”


They were the same old words, and Tony was practically having to feed him the lines; no wonder it was so hard to feel the truth of them. Tony turned to give Jake a full view of his ass. He wiggled his hips, planted his feet wide apart, and then slowly bent over, making sure Jake got a good look at the dark hole between his butt cheeks.


He stayed that way for a while and then slowly stood up again.


“You’re a slut, boy,” Jake said.


“I can be, sir,” Tony replied. “Or if you prefer I can be a shy virgin. I can be whatever you want me to be.”


“Shy virgin? You?” Jake looked amused.


Tony looked down, then up again through his eyelashes. “I’m scared, sir. I’ve never been fucked before.” He feigned a little tremble. “I don’t know how it’d feel to have a big, hard cock pounding in my tight little hole, sir,” he whispered tremulously.


Jake blinked. “Poor little virgin boy, are you?” he whispered.


Tony grinned. He could see that he’d hit the right note here. Poor Jake-the-fake; he was a top who lacked anything by way of natural authority and needed a collar or a virgin to make him feel big and powerful.


“Yes, sir,” he replied, placing his hands modestly over his cock.


“Move your hands away, boy,” Jake ordered. “That belongs to me now, and I want to look at it.”


“Please, sir…” Tony began.


Jake got up and finally became more than just a bystander in the scene. He came over to where Tony was standing and pulled his hands away from his cock. Then he reached down and squeezed it – hard.


Tony inhaled sharply. “Sir!” he gasped. “Nobody’s ever touched me there before.”


“Feels good huh?” Jake asked, grinning at him.


“Yes, sir.” Tony nuzzled at Jake’s jaw.


Jake began to slide his hand up and down Tony’s hard cock. “Feels better than when you do it yourself, huh?” Jake asked, wetting his lips with his tongue again. Tony grinned into Jake’s neck. Oh, he could play this game *so* much better.


“I wouldn’t know, sir,” he whispered anxiously. “I’m from a strict Lenkan sect. As soon as my orientation was known I was forbidden to touch my genitals. My hands were tied to my belt during the day and my bed at night. I even had to use the bathroom sitting down.”


Lenkan submissives were taken into strict training the minute they reached puberty and tales of their sexual compliance were legendary. Tony had never yet met a top who didn’t salivate at the thought of some poor, touch-deprived Lenkan sub being sexually awakened by his first dominant.


Jake was looking at him with dark-eyed lust.


“I was taught that my body belonged to the dominant who would one day claim me and must be kept pure for his use,” Tony continued, watching in amusement as Jake reacted to the fantasy he was spinning. “I wasn’t allowed to pollute my body by touching it. It belongs to you, sir,” Tony said, lowering his head in total submission and glancing up at Jake through his eyelashes again.


He could feel Jake’s cock starting to harden again, pressing into his naked skin.


“Oh…that feels so big,” he whispered. “I don’t think I’ll be able to take it, sir. The priests said that the first time will hurt, especially if I’m claimed by a powerful, strong top such as yourself.” He fluttered his eyelashes. “The kind of top who will use me brutally and show me no mercy,” he spelled out, hoping that Jake was at least bright enough to catch on. “I’m so scared.” Okay, so he hadn’t sounded very convincing as he said that, but Jake didn’t appear to notice.


“You should be scared, boy. I’m gonna fuck that tight little virgin hole until you scream,” Jake told him. Then he pulled him close and kissed him hard. Tony wasn’t wild about kissing his one night stands, but he endured it.


Jake groped Tony’s naked bottom, slipping his fingers clumsily into Tony’s hole.


Tony pushed him away. “Please don’t, sir,” he begged.


“Are you refusing me, boy?”


“I’m sorry, sir! Please don’t punish me!”


Jake’s eyes gleamed; Tony wondered if he even knew that the sub was the one inventing this entire scene. It was like leading a big, stupid bull by the nose.


“You deserve to be punished for pushing me away, you submissive slut. I’m gonna to spank your ass ‘til it burns. Then I’m gonna fuck it until you beg for mercy.”


Jake took hold of Tony’s arm and pulled him over his knee. Tony went easily. Now *this* was what he wanted. Jake rained down spanks on Tony’s upturned ass – they were firm enough and acted as a good warm up, but Tony wanted more.


“That hurts so much! Please don’t use your belt!” he cried.


On cue, Jake pushed him off his knee and undid his belt. Tony pretended to try and run away, and Jake grabbed him and thrust him face down onto the bed. Tony raised his ass helpfully. Jake held him in place, one arm thrust behind his back, and then Tony felt the pleasing thwack of leather on his bare bottom.


Dana had known how to hand out a good spanking, but hers had always been accompanied by mind fucks, and sometimes Tony had come away feeling more confused than satisfied. This was a much simpler spanking. Jake wasn’t a man with any finesse; he just whaled away on Tony’s ass, and that was precisely what Tony wanted tonight.


Tony allowed the spanking to continue until the endorphins started to flow, and then he wriggled. “Please don’t fuck me, sir. My ass is on fire!”


He threw off Jake’s arm and began to crawl across the bed. Jake grabbed him and pulled him back. Tony allowed himself to be held down while he heard Jake fumble for the lube on the nightstand. Tony closed his eyes and counted to ten, trying not to struggle too hard in case he actually got away.


Eventually Jake located the lube and got some on his fingers. He spread Tony’s burning ass cheeks and began lubing and stretching him, all the time muttering things like “yeah…good…tight…yeah…” which didn’t take the scene anywhere very interesting.


Tony pushed back, testing Jake’s strength. Jake was a big guy – tall and solid – but Tony knew that he could take him any time. He might look tough, but Tony suspected he worked a desk by day. Maybe he did something in IT. He sure as hell wasn’t a match for a street smart cop who had been in his fair share of fights. Ex–cop, a little voice in his head whispered, and Tony felt a switch flicking in his head. He needed this to be darker, to really take him out of himself.


He pushed Jake off with total ease and turned over.


“Think you can take me?” he asked, changing the scene effortlessly. “Think you can really *dominate* me, Jake?”


Jake looked confused, but his cock was ramrod hard, poking through his open fly, so Tony guessed he wasn’t thinking very clearly right now.


“Yeah,” he muttered throatily. “Open your damn legs for me, boy.”


“Make me,” Tony taunted. He wanted to feel the power play, wanted to force this top to at least make an attempt at dominating him, rather than letting Tony call all the shots.


Jake didn’t seem to sense the challenge – maybe he thought they were still playing the naïve little virgin boy game. He gave a dull kind of growl and launched himself at Tony.


He was at least nice and solid, and he seemed to find Tony’s struggles arousing. Tony allowed the sensation of being pinned to take him down. If he didn’t struggle too hard, he could pretend this guy really was dominating him. He closed his eyes and went to that happy place in his head, where the top of his dreams took him down, effortlessly, and Tony was helpless in his embrace. This fantasy top knew how to touch him, tease him, and torment him until Tony was a mass of quivering, submissive pleasure.


He needed to believe in that fantasy. He didn’t want to have it ruined by opening his eyes and seeing Jake-the-fake pounding away on top of him, so he dislodged Jake and turned over. He got onto his knees and grabbed the headboard of the bed, pushing his ass out. He yelled as Jake pulled his butt cheeks apart and entered him, forcefully. At least here Jake’s lack of finesse was a positive advantage. Tony grunted with pleasure as Jake thrust into him in a fury of frenzied lust.


Jake took his time, ramming his hard cock into Tony’s hole repeatedly, and Tony flung his head back and gazed at the ceiling. Christ, this was fucked up. A one night stand in a seedy room above a seedy bar. Had it really come to this? Yet he relished each brutal thrust. He needed this. He needed to forget his whole fucked up, sorry excuse for a life.


He didn’t want to think about Dana Morley and how she’d suckered him in and set him up. He didn’t want to think about how his career was on the rocks and how he’d never once found a top to love and believe in. He didn’t want to think about his screwed up relationship with his father, or the fact he’d have to go knocking on the old man’s door looking for a handout if he couldn’t find a way to pay the rent in a month’s time. He didn’t want to think about going to a stupid, pointless interview tomorrow for a job he knew he’d never get.


He only wanted to think about the hard cock pounding away in his hole. It helped.


He heard Jake come with a heavy, gasping cry of pleasure. Tony reached down, took his own cock in his hand, and brought himself off too. It was a little thing, but he was a sub to his bones, and he never allowed himself to come before his top; it was a courtesy he always paid them, however useless they might be.


Jake withdrew and fell down on the bed beside him. Tony sank down too, feeling utterly exhausted. Jake reached out and wrapped an arm around him. Tony considered shrugging it off, but in the end he closed his eyes and pretended it belonged to the strong, commanding fantasy top of his dreams instead.


And they both fell asleep.






Gibbs finished sanding down the part of the boat he had been working on all evening and then stepped back and admired his work. She was coming along nicely, and he felt calmer for spending some time with her.


His cell phone rang, and he answered it.


“Jethro – are you working on that boat?” Ducky – and there was a chiding tone in his voice.


“Yeah, Duck.” Gibbs smoothed some sawdust from the prow with the sleeve of his sweatshirt.


“It’s almost midnight.”


“Uh-huh. Your point?”


“That you should go to bed, Jethro.”


“My sub giving me orders?” Gibbs grinned to himself.


“No, your *doctor* is giving you orders,” Ducky retorted. “You’re more likely to take them from him than from your sub.”


Gibbs laughed. “You know me too well. Why the concern for my welfare, Duck?”


An exasperated sigh assaulted his eardrum. “You really can be maddening, Jethro. Look, I know you’re acting like you don’t care, but losing Stan hurt – you can’t deny that. You’ve been moping around for weeks.”


Gibbs leaned back against the boat, feeling suddenly winded. He’d liked Stan, and they’d worked well together, but it had been time for Stan to move on. He hadn’t needed Gibbs or his collar anymore. Stan might have had a drinking problem when Gibbs first collared him, but he’d fought that and more than overcome it; he hadn’t touched a drop of liquor in a couple of years now.


“Jethro – are you still there?”


“Yeah.” He gazed at the sawdust on the hem of his sweater sleeve. “It’s fine, Duck. I’m fine. Stan did the right thing.”


“Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, all the same,” Ducky said softly.


“Yeah. It hurts,” Gibbs acknowledged. “Just got him trained up the way I like ’em and now he’s up and left and some bastard skipper on a ship somewhere will get the benefit of all my hard work, leaving me to start all over again with some green young newbie. Damn it – I’m getting too old for this.” He thumped his fist uselessly against the side of his boat.


“How are the interviews going?”




“Because they aren’t Stan?” Ducky asked perceptively. Gibbs sighed again. “Jethro…” Ducky’s tone was full of warning. “I know how you hate change, but you need help. You’ve been run ragged for weeks, and Pacci has to return to his own team soon. You can’t keep him on loan indefinitely. In my view, Director Morrow should give you more staff – you do the work of three agents all by yourself, and I’ve always thought that yours is a four agent team.”


“He’s offered, Duck,” Gibbs said ruefully. There was a moment of stunned silence.


“Only you could be so pig-headed as to refuse!” Ducky scolded.


Gibbs grinned. “Guilty as charged. I’m not against it in principle, Duck. Just don’t want people slowing me down. If I come across the right recruits, I’ll hire ’em. In the meantime…”


“In the meantime you have to hire a replacement for Stan at the very minimum,” Ducky said sternly. “Have you really seen no promising candidates at all, Jethro?”


“Nope.” Gibbs shrugged, thinking of the past two days he’d spent cooped up in an interview room with one bright-eyed candidate after another. They’d all had very good resumes and all had been young and eager.


“What’s been the problem?”


Gibbs glanced at the boat, wondering if he was done for the night. He decided that he was and threw the sander back into the workbench drawer.


“Jethro? What has been the problem with the candidates you’ve interviewed so far?”


“Didn’t feel right, Duck. In my gut.”


He held the phone away from his ear as Ducky let loose an outpouring of very British sounding invective.


“You done?” Gibbs asked, when Ducky finally ran out of steam. “There were some words in there that even I don’t know, Duck, and I’m a Marine.” He grinned. “Thought I knew how to cuss in most languages under the sun!”


“You have a thing or two to learn yet, my boy, and I know you set great store by that gut of yours but these are job applicants, not murderers. All you need to do is pick the best qualified, or the one who seems the brightest.”


“Gotta work with ’em, Duck. Gotta put a lot of myself into trainin’ them. They have to feel right. And…” Gibbs paused. “Have to like ’em, Duck.”


“You didn’t like any of those you interviewed?”


“Nope. There was nothing there, y’know? Nothing to connect with – nothing that felt right in my…gut.”


Ducky’s sigh was heavy and audible. “Well, I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to do your job, Jethro, and I know how much you hate interviewing, but you do have to choose one of these poor unfortunates to be your next field agent.”






“No, listen, Duck – I’m not gonna pick the wrong person just because they’re all that’s available. I’ll work on my own when Pacci goes back to his team if need be. I’ll do what it takes. But I’d rather work all hours by myself than take on someone who isn’t gonna work out. And trust me, I’ll know if they’re gonna work out or not.”


“Very well. I’ve long since stopped trying to talk sense into that thick skull of yours.”


“Nah – you haven’t. You keep trying.” Gibbs grinned.


“You’re right, old friend, I do. Tomorrow is your last day of interviewing I believe – tell me that you at least have some promising candidates lined up.”


Gibbs sighed. “Not really – couple of probies fresh out of FLETC and an old pro from the FBI who looks like he’ll irritate the hell out of me. Oh, and a screwed up troublemaker from Baltimore PD who moves on every couple of years and spends most of his time in the discipline room. Must have the hide of a rhino by now – and he’s only a kid.”


“Anyone under a forty is a kid to you. How old is he?”


“Thirty. Like I said – a kid.”


“Well, I hope for your sake that at least one of them is acceptable to that gut of yours. Now, it’s late, and you should go to bed. I trust you’re finished with your boat for the evening?”






Gibbs winced at his sub’s tone of voice. “Okay, Ducky. I’m almost done, and then I promise I’ll go to bed.”


“I suppose that’ll have to do. You’re not invincible you know, Jethro – and I do worry about you, my friend.”


“Don’t. I’m fine. But I appreciate the concern, Duck. I’ll see you tomorrow.”


He ended the call and put the cell phone back in his pocket. He had finished for the night, but he was ornery enough not to want to give his sub the final word on the subject, even if Ducky was a pretty unusual kind of sub. So he got out the sander he’d put away and spent another five minutes on the boat, just for the sake of his own toppy stubbornness. And then, finally, he finished up and went upstairs to his bedroom.


The resumes for the following day were on his nightstand. He recalled the conversation with Ducky and fished out the one for the screwed up kid from Baltimore. He looked through it again, shaking his head in disbelief.


“Why the hell did you agree to interview this one?” he asked himself.


He remembered that he’d almost thrown it on the ‘reject’ pile but something had made him stop. Maybe it was the flashes of sheer brilliance he’d seen in between all the screw-ups. Or maybe it was because he had a feeling that what he really needed on his team was a cop. Not a fresh-faced kid straight out of FLETC, and not a seasoned old hand from another agency.


He wanted someone young enough to train but old enough to have some experience under their belt. His own experience was in the military; he’d had no formal investigative training when he joined NCIS, and he was aware how long it had taken him to acquire it. He wanted someone who complemented his own skill set, and this kid ticked all the boxes. That’s why he’d asked to interview him – that and a feeling in his gut. Of all the interviews tomorrow, this was the only one he was actually looking forward to.


It would be interesting, if nothing else.






Tony woke blearily, wondering where the hell he was. He felt rough hands on his ass cheeks and sighed, remembering.


“Fuck off,” he grumbled into his pillow, refusing to move his legs to give his top for the night access.


“Hey – I paid for the goddamn room. Could’a had you for free in the back room like the little slut you are, but I paid. So I want more than just one fuck outta you.”


“Two – I gave you a blow job.”


“Fuck you. I’m hard, you’re here, and I paid for the damn room. Now open your fucking legs,” Jake growled. “You’re a sub, aren’t you? It’s what you’re *for*.”


Tony almost laughed out loud, but he was too tired and soul-weary to care. He considered saying his safe word, but he had a feeling his top for the night wouldn’t take a safe word for an answer and then things might get ugly. It was the middle of the night, he was tired, and he wanted to sleep. And besides, Jake-the-fake was right – he *had* paid for the room, and for that reason alone Tony felt some vague sense of obligation. It wasn’t as if he cared.


“Okay, but try not to wake me – shouldn’t be too hard from what I remember about the size of your dick,” he threw insultingly over his shoulder.


He thumped his head back down on the pillow and moved his leg so that Jake could have access to his ass. Jake grabbed his hip for leverage, pulled Tony’s buttocks apart, and entered him without bothering with lube – probably as punishment for that last comment. Tony gave a little growl of annoyance. It was sore and rough, but then again he’d told Jake he wanted rough back in the bar, so he couldn’t complain. He was getting what he’d asked for, and Tony wasn’t the kind of sub who changed his mind and then called foul on a top.


Jake’s breath was hot and irritating on the back of his neck. Tony wanted to put his fist through the man’s front teeth but decided to just lie there and take it. He closed his eyes. Jake was right; he was a whore. Jake had bought him for the price of the damn room, and he’d gone along with it because he’d been so desperate to be taken down tonight.


He’d wanted to forget – no, he’d wanted to *pretend* – and it had even worked for a while. Now though, he was just left feeling dirty.


“Fucking subs – you’re all the same. It’s always about you, and what you fucking want. I’m the fucking top – subs like you need to learn who’s boss,” Jake said as he began thrusting into Tony.


“Yeah, you just keep talking yourself up, big man. Maybe one day you’ll find someone who believes it,” Tony snapped.


“Fucking submissive whore,” Jake taunted, panting and heaving behind him. “Fucking piece of subby shit. Feel my cock up your ass, boy? I’m the one in charge here. I’m the fucking top in the room. You’re just the piece of shit I’m using. Should be grateful anyone wants you. You’re a worthless piece of submissive scum. This is the only use for subby whores like you.”


The more he talked the more turned on he seemed to get, and the more enthusiastically he pounded into Tony’s ass. Tony tuned it out. Tops were all the same. It was pointless expecting anything different; his mom had been right.


“Who’s the fucking top, huh?” Jake screeched into Tony’s ear as he came, deep in Tony’s ass. “Who owns your ass now huh, boy?”


“Not you, that’s for fucking sure,” Tony muttered into his pillow.


Jake didn’t appear to hear him. He withdrew, turned over, and a few seconds later Tony heard him snoring. Tony stared into space, feeling the come dripping out of his ass and down his thigh. Was this rock bottom, he wondered? Or did his sorry, fucked up excuse for a life still have some way to go before it bottomed out completely?


He closed his eyes wearily and fell asleep again.






Gibbs got into work early the next morning, in a foul mood. All these interviews were giving him a permanent headache. He knew it was a necessary evil but even so, that didn’t mean he had to like it.


He threw the resume folders down on his desk and flicked through them again. The guy from the FBI was due in first and then one of the FLETC kids. The cop from Baltimore, Anthony something, was third on the list; he was due in at 10.


A shadow fell over his desk, and he glanced up and then stiffened and got to his feet.


“Good morning, sir.” He nodded respectfully at Director Morrow. The director was twelve years his senior and one of the best commanding officers Gibbs had ever worked under.


“Morning, Jethro. Still ploughing your way through the unfortunate victims, I see?”


Morrow jerked his head in the direction of the resumes. Gibbs grinned at him and rubbed his chin ruefully. He liked and respected Morrow – the two of them had an excellent working relationship and were friends outside work. They often went out for a drink or meal, and Morrow occasionally asked Gibbs along to one of his card games with SecNav and various other high-powered people.


“Yeah.” Gibbs winced. “I’d apologise for the complaints some of the rejects made, but…”


“You never apologise – sign of weakness. I understand.” Morrow chuckled. “And on this occasion I forgive you, Jethro, seeing as how I know you’re overworked, understaffed, and not a patient man at the best of times!”


“Stan’s shoes are hard to fill,” Gibbs said wistfully.


“Agent Burley is turning out to be an excellent agent afloat,” Morrow reminded him. “And you, Jethro, need to get your head out of your ass and start building a real team here.” He beckoned Gibbs forward and put a hand on his shoulder. “You’re the one I have ear-marked to lead this entire division, Jethro. I want you to build us a major crimes unit that won’t have Metro pissing themselves laughing every time we show up and try to take over a case. Understood?”


“Yes, sir.” Gibbs nodded, proud of the trust Morrow was placing in him.


“You can do it, Jethro. I have absolute faith in you – even if Jess is convinced you’re going to drive me into an early grave.” He grinned.


Jessica Morrow was a kindergarten teacher, a tiny woman with a big heart and a will of iron – and it was clear that Morrow adored her. Morrow was one of those subs who flew high at work and commanded everyone’s absolute respect, but Gibbs suspected he was a complete pussycat at home. What impressed him about the man was that he never responded to Gibbs as a sub to a top. It was always about the work – and Gibbs never crossed that line. He’d seen some tops try – and seen Morrow chew them up and spit them out as easy as breathing. Morrow was the kind of sub any top screwed with at their peril – and Gibbs liked that about him.


Gibbs had always had a soft spot for subs that needed rescuing, but he was equally fond of the kind of tough sub who could get in his face and go toe to toe with him if he needed it. A good commanding officer had to have that ability – and some of the very best commanding officers Gibbs had served under had been subs; subs like Morrow and his former CO in the Corps, Colonel Ryan.


“I’ll try not to, Tom,” he said with a rueful little smile. “Agency needs you.”


“And you – but not as a one-man band, Jethro. You need a good team around you – start off by finding the right second in command; someone young and bright, someone you trust with your life and who will always have your six, and then build from there. I’ll give you the resources you need – but you have to find the right people.”


“I will, sir.”


Gibbs felt encouraged by the conversation. Morrow was relatively new to the job, but he had big ambitions for the Agency and wanted to make it much more professional. The bad old days, when Mike Franks could make up the law as he went along according to his own sense of right and wrong, were on their way out. Gibbs had resisted at first, but he had come around when he saw how good Morrow was at his job and the exciting plans he had for the Agency. Morrow had taken the time and trouble to get to know Gibbs as a man and not just a subordinate, and he’d been at pains to communicate his vision of the agency to Gibbs. As a result, Gibbs had enormous respect for the new director; he also happened to like the man.


“Good.” Morrow nodded at him and then left.


Gibbs watched him go and then picked up the resume for his first interviewee with only a little sigh. He liked the vision Morrow had outlined; his own team, with a second in command he could rely on. He’d find the right person – his gut was convinced of that.






Tony woke up with a start. There were thick drapes over the window, and he had no idea what time it was. He peered at his watch, trying to make out what it said in the gloom.


8:45. Shit! He was due in that interview in just over an hour. He slid out of the bed and grabbed his pants, berating himself for being such an idiot as to get himself into this situation.


“Story of your life, DiNozzo,” he muttered, yanking on his pants and then sitting down on the side of the bed to pull on his socks and shoes. He didn’t have time to go home and get changed into a more suitable outfit for a job interview. Hell, he didn’t even have time to take a shower, and he must stink of sex and liquor.


He got up, zipped his fly, and then reached for his shirt.


“Hey.” A hand fastened around his wrist. “Where you going, boy?” Jake asked. His hair was sticking up on end, and for a good-looking man he had an ugly leer on his face.


“Work,” Tony said tersely. “It’s late. Don’t you have some place to be too?”


“Nope. Work shifts.” Jake grinned at him. “Come back to bed. Room’s paid for until noon, and I wanna get my money’s worth.”


“Oh, just piss off,” Tony growled, looking around for his jacket.


Jake’s expression darkened. “Hey, don’t fucking talk to me like that,” he snapped, getting up.


He had undressed at some point in the night and was naked – and, Tony noticed, his cock was half hard. He had a nicely toned body, but what Tony had wanted last night was a world away from what he wanted this morning.


Tony shouldered himself into his shirt, saw his jacket lying on the floor, and reached down to pick it up. An arm went around his waist, and he felt Jake’s now very hard cock digging into his ass.


“You had a good time last night, boy,” Jake crooned into Tony’s ear. “I know you did. You like it rough. You want another taste of my dick in your ass.”


“No, I really don’t,” Tony said. “It wasn’t that great last night, and now I’ve seen your dick while stone cold sober, I can honestly say I’m not tempted.”


“You playing the coy virgin again?” Jake seemed confused. He slid his hand down the front of Tony’s pants and made a grab for his cock. Tony grasped Jake’s hand in a steely grip before it got there.


“No, I’m really not,” Tony said in a cold tone. “I’m not playing a scene with you, Jake. That was last night, and I gave you everything you wanted, even when it did fuck all for me. Now it’s morning, and I’m not your boy anymore, and I’m sure as hell not going to have sex with you again. Here, let me spell it out for you: ‘Lemming’.”


Jake didn’t seem to even register that, as Tony had suspected he wouldn’t. Tony wondered if he even remembered that was his safe word.


“Fuck you – get your ass in the air, submissive, I want another fuck outta you,” Jake growled.


Tony rarely lost his temper – whenever he got really angry his fury was always ice cold.


He turned, slowly, wondering if Jake had any idea how far he’d pushed him. Jake was about his height, and he didn’t back down – he just moved a step closer, all toppy bluster without substance. Tony had the grim satisfaction of knowing that Jake didn’t have a damn clue just how much danger he was in right now.


“I said my safe word, now please be polite enough to shut the fuck up,” Tony told him in an even tone.


“Your safe word? What kind of a wuss are you? You need a big bad top to handle you, that it?” Jake taunted. “You want me to dominate you like I did last night? You want me to *force* you, boy?”


Tony reached out, grabbed Jake’s arm, twisted it up his back, and pushed him face down onto the bed. It all happened in the space of seconds, and Jake gave a surprised little squawk at finding himself so comprehensively and easily overpowered. Tony leaned over him.


“For the record, you didn’t come close to dominating me last night, Jake. I just let you think you did. Now, last night was last night, and I said I wanted it rough so I can see why you’re a little confused. But this morning it’s a whole new ball game, and I really have to get somewhere. So just leave me be and this can end nicely. You really won’t like me when I’m angry.”


He chuckled to himself and eased up the pressure on Jake’s arm. “You ever watch that show as a kid, Jake? The Incredible Hulk? About the sub who turns big and green whenever he gets angry and nobody can top him, not even the toppiest tops in the world? Used to love it.” Tony eased up some more, and, finding Jake compliant, relaxed completely and released him.


Jake turned, rubbing his arm resentfully. “What kind of a freaking weirdo, are you?”


“I often ask myself that same question.” Tony smiled pleasantly. He reached for his jacket again and shouldered himself into it. “Thanks, Jake – it’s been a blast.” He turned to go.


“Fucking little subby whore,” Jake hissed behind him.


Tony paused, stiffening, his hand on the door handle. He should walk away, he really should. He was going to be late for this damn interview already, and it wasn’t worth it.


He heard movement behind him and felt Jake’s hand on his shoulder, spinning him around. Jake grabbed a fistful of his hair and pushed his head against the wall, brandishing the collar he’d asked Tony to wear the previous night.


“You’ll wear this when I fuck you, slut,” he spat. “You’ll wear it and call me ‘master’, and I’ll whip your ass good then fuck you into the mattress – and *then* I’ll let you go.”


He released Tony fractionally, but only to try and wrap the collar around his neck. Tony grabbed his wrist firmly, and Jake let out a startled shout of pain. Tony pushed Jake back towards the bed.


“Oh, Jake,” he said, shaking his head sadly. “Jake, Jake, Jake. When are you going to learn that if you want people to take you seriously as a top, you have to really feel it? In here.” He put his free hand on Jake’s chest, over his heart. “You can’t just say the words and expect the subs to fall at your feet – although I suspect that with your looks that’s how you’ve got by all this time.”


He reached the bed and pushed Jake down onto it. He pinned him there with one hand and slammed Jake’s arm over his head with the other, pushing it effortlessly into one of the cuffs attached to the headboard. He snapped the cuff shut with a grim, satisfied smile.


Jake cursed him and began pulling on the cuff. Tony smiled and took hold of Jake’s other arm. He could tell the guy wasn’t used to being overpowered by the look of angry surprise on his face as Tony slowly pushed that arm over his head and into a cuff too. Tony locked it shut around Jake’s wrist and then drew back and surveyed his captive with a look of appreciation.


“See, I’m not a top – never saw the appeal,” he said, surveying the naked, bound man appreciatively. “But I have to admit this isn’t a bad sight. You look damn good in chains, Jake.”


“Fuck you, you fucking whore! Let me go!”


“Ah, sadly I can’t do that.” Tony did up the buttons on his shirt, which was hanging open. “But they come around and check the rooms at noon, so they’ll set you free then. The wait will do you good. Allow you to cool down.” He patted Jake’s cheek cheerfully. “Oh…one last thing.” He got out his wallet, opened it, and pulled out his last few dollar bills. “This is for the room.” He threw them down onto Jake’s naked body. “Hmmm, which one of us does that make the whore now, Jake?” He gave a little laugh.


Jake tugged on the cuffs frantically, looking at him as if he wanted to kill him.


Tony smiled down on him. “So long, Jake. Remember – it’s not the words that make the top – it’s the power behind them; and you don’t have any.”


He strode over to the door and left, without looking back.


He got down to the street and then realized that grand gestures were all very well, but now he didn’t have enough money to pay for a cab. He glanced at his watch again and his heart sank. Was there even any point trying to get there? He was never going to make it in time and besides, there was no way in hell he was going to get this job anyway.


Then he thought of having to go to his father and ask for a handout, and he steeled himself. He might be a hopeless screw-up, but he’d turn up for this damn job interview if it was the last thing he did.



End Part One 


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