Two Masters: 6. Part Six


Abby groaned and stretched – and was surprised when she didn’t feel the hard, wooden edge of her coffin. She came to with a start as the events of the previous evening came rushing back to her. She was at Gibbs’s house, in Gibbs’s spare room. She had crawled into bed at around 5 a.m. in her panties and tee shirt; she didn’t have a change of clothes – she didn’t even have a toothbrush – but she’d been so tired and wrung out that she didn’t care. She’d fallen asleep immediately. Now it must be nearly noon judging by the sunlight flooding in around the drapes.


She got up and went to the bathroom, sighing when she saw her reflection in the mirror. God, she looked like crap! She washed her face and wiped toothpaste around her mouth which was the best she could manage without a toothbrush. It helped a little.


She wasn’t sure what to do next, but then she smelled coffee, so she followed her nose down the stairs and into the kitchen. She found Tony standing there, in a bathrobe, pouring two mugs of coffee.


“Ah – just in time, M’lady,” he told her, with a mock bow in her direction. “Consider me your personal butler for the day.” He handed her a cup of coffee, and she took a sip with a happy sigh.


“Oh man, that’s good. Thanks, Tony. Where’s the bossman?” She glanced around as if she expected Gibbs to materialise from one of the kitchen cupboards.


“He went back to the office a couple of hours ago.”


“Really? Already? Feels like we just came from there.”


Tony shrugged. “Yeah, well, you know Gibbs. He thinks anything more than four hours sleep is for pansies – or, you know, officers.” He grinned at her. “Besides, his favourite is in trouble – and there’s no way Gibbs can sleep easy knowing someone out there is trying to hurt you, Abs.”


She chewed on her lip, not wanting to think about that. “I’m sorry, Tony,” she sighed.


“For what?” He raised an eyebrow and took a sip of his own coffee.


“For ruining your night and making you sleep on Gibbs’s couch last night.” She glanced through the open kitchen door into the living room next door. The couch was old and worn but kind of comfy-looking all the same. “He did give you pillows and blankets and stuff, didn’t he?” she asked anxiously, seeing no evidence of them on the couch.


“Relax. It was fine.”


He kissed her cheek and then led her into the living room. He sat down on the couch, and she sat down beside him. She nestled against him for warmth, wishing she had a bathrobe or something to wrap around her. The house was chilly, and she knew from experience that Gibbs didn’t seem to believe in central heating. Luckily, Tony was one of those men who radiated body heat, so she snuggled up to him like he was her own personal furnace.


“Hey – did Gibbs lend you his bathrobe?” she asked, tugging on Tony’s sleeve. “Or wait – did you steal it after he left? Does he *know* you’re wearing his bathrobe? Hmmm.” That led her immediately onto another thought. “I’m surprised Gibbs even OWNS a bathrobe. Somehow I can’t see him wearing one – and definitely not a fancy one like that.”


“You think he lives in old wood-working sweats or grungy work stuff?” Tony grinned.


“Well, he’s Gibbs – so yes!” She settled down beside him again, and he raised his arm so she could tuck herself under it.


“While we’re on the subject of appropriate clothing – Gibbs better not come back and see us like this.” Tony nodded at her scantily clad form. Abby laughed. “Hey – it’s okay for you!” Tony protested. “It’s me he’ll cut up into pieces so small that not even Ducky will be able to stick them back together again.”


Abby giggled again, and then her good mood faded as she remembered why she was here. Last night had been so horrible, and she couldn’t shake the queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.


“Gibbs thinks of you like a daughter, Abs.” Tony squeezed her gently. “That’s why, whoever this guy is, he won’t get close to you. Gibbs won’t let it happen.”


“He couldn’t save Kelly…” Abby began. Tony squeezed her again.


“Which is precisely why he won’t let it happen again. He knows he won’t survive it happening twice. You’re too important to him. And to me.”


She glanced up at him and saw the sincerity radiating from his eyes. Tony was frequently nosy, often annoying, and usually hid his true self behind a variety of idiotic pranks and jokes. However, Abby knew very well that the man inside cared deeply about the people in his life and would do anything for them. She had never been fooled by the mask he wore, as she knew so many other people were. Even Ziva and McGee often failed to see the big heart he tried – and succeeded – in hiding. She sometimes wanted to slap them and remind them that Tony’s deeds always spoke louder than his words.


He might tease them mercilessly and drive them to distraction with his antics, but it was Tony who had been there for McGee when he’d shot an off-duty police officer. It was Tony who had stepped up to take the brunt of a bomb blast for McGee and Kate the very day he’d returned from work after his bout with the plague. It was Tony who had taken a beating during an undercover op with Ziva and still come up with a plan to save her life – knowing it probably meant sacrificing his own in the process. Abby sometimes wondered how Ziva and McGee managed to forget all these things. Working with Tony could be annoying, but at least it was never dull – and he would always have your six.


She smiled at him and then noticed that his bathrobe had fallen open to the waist, revealing a leather thong hanging around his neck. There was a little key dangling on the end of it.


“Hey – what’s this?” She fingered it gently. “You don’t usually wear any jewellery, Tony.”


“Not exactly jewellery, Abs,” he said, flushing slightly. Realisation kicked in, and she grinned.


“It’s from her, isn’t it? The hot mystery top who has you totally under her thumb! What does the key open?” she asked curiously. He flushed a much deeper shade of red.


“My heart,” he told her smoothly, capturing her hand in his and removing it from the key hanging around his neck.


“It’s the key to your heart? Oh man! That is so romantic! You’re totally in love with this chick, aren’t you?”


She gazed at him thoughtfully. In all the time she’d known him, she’d never seen him in love – not really. She knew he’d fallen for Jeanne, but as he’d been undercover at the time she’d never been entirely convinced that was really love. It had always seemed more of a fantasy kind of love to her – a ‘what might have been if I was someone else’ kind of deal for Tony. Tony had commitment issues up to his eyeballs – so she was intrigued as to what kind of woman had succeeded where so many others failed.


“Yeah, I am,” he admitted. “Don’t tell anyone though, Abs. It’ll ruin my reputation as a player.”


She snorted. “Yeah. Right. But…Tony – is she good enough for you, this chick? Does she *get* you?” She suddenly felt anxious. This was the first time he’d ever been in love like this – she couldn’t bear the thought of him genuinely giving his heart to someone and then being hurt. It was too horrible to contemplate. Tony seemed to sense her anxiety.


“It’s okay, Abs. She totally gets me. Nobody else ever got me like this.” He smiled down at her, and he seemed so relaxed about it, and so totally convinced, that she felt reassured.


“Good. She must hate me for dragging you away from her last night.” She made a face.


“Oh, she understands. Like I said – she gets me – and I get her – so she totally understands. Now – d’you want breakfast? Gibbs muttered something about bagels before he left. They look about three days old, but they’re probably okay.”


“Or we could go out and grab something,” Abby suggested.


Tony shook his head. “No, Abs. The house is secure, but you’re not going out anywhere without two agents at all times. You’re on close protection detail, remember.”


She sat up suddenly, her earlier queasiness returning. She leaned over and patted his bathrobe pocket – on the opposite side to where she was sitting. His eyes flickered.


“I take it that’s your gun, and not, you know, that you’re really pleased to see me,” she sighed.


He gave her a tight little smile. “Go take a shower, Abby. Then let’s both get dressed and eat something before Gibbs comes back, finds us still lounging around like this, and slaps me stupid.”


She laughed. “Hey – does Gibbs know he has to ask your new top’s permission before whacking you around from now on?”


Tony gave a little snort. “Yeah, right, like Gibbs would give a damn about that. Now go!”


She ran off up the stairs, still giggling to herself.






Gibbs returned home to find Abby and Tony sitting at the kitchen table, up and dressed. Tony had a large pad of paper in front of him and was busy writing on it.


“Gibbs!” Abby threw herself at him and enveloped him in her usual bear hug. “Tony was just making me go through a list of anyone who might want to hurt me.”


“Not a very long list.” Gibbs glanced at it over Tony’s shoulder. “Or maybe you only just scuttled to it the minute I walked through the door?”


They both gave him seraphic smiles, which only served to convince him that he was right.


“Be honest about the list, Abby.” Gibbs gestured with his head at it.


“Gibbs! Of course I’ll be honest!” Abby protested. “I always am!”


He raised an eyebrow. “No, you’re not,” he said meaningfully. “Michael?” he reminded her. “Any more deadbeat boyfriends out there that we should know about?”


He saw the deadly serious look on Tony’s face – they’d both been disappointed in her failure to confide in them over the whole Michael fiasco. Abby had the grace to look chagrined.


“No, Gibbs. I haven’t dated anyone in a while. Hard to trust guys again after that whole thing with Michael.”


“Any luck at your end, Boss?” Tony asked.


“Nope.” Gibbs shook his head. “McElroy’s trial started last week, and Legal won’t let me bring him in for questioning without more evidence. We have no clear link between him and what happened at Abby’s apartment last night. We’ll keep working it though. Tony – I want you to be Abby’s personal bodyguard throughout the court case – you can have access to a rota of agents – I want two NCIS agents with her at all times, and I want *you* to always be one of them.”


“Yes, Boss.”


“I’ll keep McGee and Ziva working on the death threat with me back at NCIS. You keep me informed of *anything* that happens. Now – are you ready, Abby?”


“For what?” she frowned.


“I figure you’ll need to go get some stuff from your place – unless you want to give evidence in court tomorrow looking like that?” He surveyed her black leather pants, skeleton tee shirt, and multiple black studded necklaces and belts with a raised eyebrow.


She grinned. “I take your point, Bossman!”






They exited the house in unison, Tony and Gibbs shrouding her from the sight of anyone who might be watching. Abby shivered: this was *serious*.


Tony unlocked the car and got into the driver’s seat. Abby started to get in beside him, but Gibbs pulled her arm and gestured her into the back.


“Person being protected always rides in the back, Abby,” he told her as she got in.


“Why?” she asked blankly.


“Harder for someone to take a shot through the car windows,” Tony explained, gesturing with his hand. She could see his point. If she was sitting next to him in the passenger seat, then someone could target her from head on. She presented a much harder target sitting in the back.


She shivered again as Gibbs got in beside her. She was already scared but felt even more freaked out by how seriously the two men in her life were taking it. Gibbs was like a second father to her, and Tony was like the annoying big brother she’d never had.


She mulled over the conversation about Michael. Much as she loved Gibbs and Tony, she could never date either of them. They were dangerous men – much more dangerous in their own way than Michael had ever been – and while she loved them both dearly, she suspected they’d make lousy boyfriends. Tony’s commitment issues and roving eye, and Gibbs’s shattered heart and inability to let people in, meant they both came with too much baggage. She hoped there was someone out there for them though. Tony certainly seemed to think he’d found the right person, and Gibbs had admitted he’d been on a hot date last night so maybe there was someone for him too.


They drew up outside her apartment complex, and Gibbs inspected the perimeter before allowing her out. They started walking inside – but Abby noticed Tony wasn’t with them. She glanced back.


“He’s staying in the car, Abs. Someone always has to stay with the car – if it’s left alone at any point, then someone could get in and plant a bomb,” Gibbs told her.


“A bomb?” She tried to process that. “You really think someone would do that? I mean, I thought this was someone just trying to scare me…”


He silenced her with a look of pure ice. “Abby, someone dressed up that skeleton in your clothes, put it in the coffin, stuck a kitchen knife through the ribs, and left a note on it, saying you’d be next,” he growled. “You think there’s any way I’m not gonna take that seriously?”


When he put it like that…Abby felt herself shaking again. Gibbs put an arm around her, but she noticed that he kept his hand resting on his gun butt as they walked up the stairs.


Her apartment looked dazzling. “Wow – I should hire those guys as a maid service,” she joked. “My place never usually looks this clean. How did you get them to come out so soon anyway? Usually it takes a few days.”


“DiNozzo’s doing.” Gibbs shrugged. “He can be pretty hard-assed when he tries.”


“Oh yeah. I know.” She’d seen several people under-estimate him – and live to regret it. Tony’s goofy exterior often fooled people into thinking he was an idiot – and they got the shock of their lives when he suddenly turned deadly serious.


She gathered up some clothes and toiletries, stuffed them into a bag, took a sad look around, and then turned and left with Gibbs by her side.


When they got back to Gibbs’s house, she took her bag upstairs and unpacked in the spare room. She opened the closet and found that it was already nearly full to bursting with clothes – mainly an array of exquisitely tailored suits.


“Wow, Bossman – if you’ve got all this nice stuff, how come you never wear it?” she whistled, fingering the sleeve of one particularly beautiful suit.


She hung up her court suit with a grimace – God she hated that thing! She threw her court shoes down into the bottom of the closet – where they hit something. She crouched down and saw that it was a large, hand-carved, wooden chest. She ran her hand over it – it was beautiful work. She knew immediately that Gibbs had made it – it had his hallmark of practicality combined with elegant simplicity. She wondered what was in it. She knew she shouldn’t look but her natural curiosity got the better of her, so she tried to lift the lid – only to find that it was locked.


“Hmm, hinkey,” she muttered to herself. “A closet full of smart suits he never wears and a locked chest. What does it all mean, Bossman?”


She spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening going through a list of people who might want to kill her. Gibbs had brought back a box full of her old case files, and they went through each one, case by case.


Gibbs was as relentless and thorough as ever and as the evening wore on her head started to ache. It was such a depressing way to spend a day. She thought it was entirely possible that Gibbs would make her stay up all night, until they’d been through every single case file in exhausting detail.


Abby felt herself going quiet. She was anxious about having to give evidence in court the next day. She hated court enough as it was, and now there was another layer of pressure on her. She didn’t want to walk into that courtroom and sit opposite the man who was probably trying to kill her. She gazed into space as Gibbs took yet another file from the box.


“Abby!” he rapped out, and she came to, realising he’d asked her something.


“Uh?” She looked at him blankly, and he made an impatient gesture with his hand.


“Concentrate, Abby! I asked if…”


“You know,” Tony interrupted smoothly. “I think we’re done for the night. How about I call for take out, and we watch a movie?”


“We’re not done. I’ll say when we’re done,” Gibbs growled.


Tony turned to gaze at him thoughtfully. Then he gestured with his head towards the living room. “Can I have a word, Jethro?”


Abby was startled; she didn’t think she’d ever heard Tony call their boss that before. It seemed to startle Gibbs too, because he gave a little grunt but acceded to Tony’s request.


She watched, weary beyond belief, as they went into the next door room. She could see Tony talking rapidly to Gibbs in a low, earnest voice. Gibbs crossed his arms over his chest, looking furious, but that didn’t stop Tony. She tuned into their conversation.


“We’ve done enough for today. Look at her – she’s exhausted.”


“We’re all damn well tired, Tony! But I have to find out who is trying to hurt her.”


“I know.” Tony’s tone was placating. “But she’s already scared. You growling at her doesn’t help.”


“She had a death threat! I don’t care if she’s dead on her feet – better that than dead for real.”


“You’re freaking her out!”


“I’m trying to protect her!”


“By working her into the ground?” Tony raised an eyebrow. “Just because you lost Kelly, doesn’t mean you’re going to lose Abby too, Jethro. Now cut her some slack.”


Abby took a sharp intake of breath. Gibbs looked like he was about to snap Tony’s head off. Tony held his ground, his gaze firm. Then, suddenly, all the tension seemed to go out of Gibbs, and he deflated like a balloon. He ran his hand through his hair with a weary sigh.


“You’re right, Tony,” he grunted. “Always know I can rely on you to get in my face when I need it.”


Tony smiled, and Abby felt as if she was intruding on an intimate moment. Tony rested his hand lightly on Gibbs’s arm and squeezed. They shared a look and then the moment was over. Tony removed his hand and returned to the kitchen.


“So, Abby – what d’you wanna eat?” he asked. “Pizza, Chinese, pizza, Thai, pizza, Indian, or, you know, pizza? Not that I want to influence your choice at all, Abs.” He shot her his most charming grin, and she laughed, the queasiness in her stomach subsiding.


They ate the pizza sitting on the couch in front of “Stardust”, a movie that Gibbs claimed not to remotely understand, but which she and Tony giggled through. Gibbs sat in the middle on the couch, and it was a tight squeeze fitting them all on.


Abby did what she had with Tony earlier and snuggled into Gibbs. She loved the warm, solid scent of him. He always smelled of safety to her – of sawdust and coffee and something utterly dependable. No matter how dangerous he was, and how scared of him everyone else was, she knew that he would always protect her. He put an arm around her and let her nestle in close.


She got up when the film ended and said good night to them both. She was dreading going to court the next day and wanted to get to bed and hopefully get some sleep, although she didn’t *feel* like sleeping at all.


She paused in the doorway and glanced back. Tony and Gibbs were still sitting on the couch, side by side, shoulders touching, and there was something puzzling about their body language – something she couldn’t wrap her tired brain around. She dismissed it and went upstairs to bed.


Much to her own surprise, she was so worn out that she fell asleep immediately and slept straight through until 5 a.m. when her cell phone bleeped. She lifted her head blearily, wondering who could be sending her a text message at this time of night. She sat up in bed, turned on the light, reached for her phone, and clicked on the message without even thinking.


“I see you’ve gone into hiding. Afraid? You should be. I’m coming to get you, Abigail Sciuto.”


She jumped out of bed. He knew where she was! When he said he was coming to get her, did he mean right now? Was he already in the house – or even standing outside her bedroom door at this very moment? Who the hell was this bastard, and why was he trying to scare her like this?


She grabbed her hairbrush to use as a weapon and cautiously pulled open the bedroom door. There was nobody there. She ran down the hallway towards the one person she knew would always keep her safe, no matter what.


“Gibbs!” she yelled, running into his bedroom, still clutching the cell phone.


She paused, frozen in shock. Gibbs was half out of bed, reaching for his gun – and he wasn’t alone. Behind him, on the other side of the bed, the side furthest from the door, was someone else.




Tony’s head was lifted in sleepy shock, and he was blinking blearily. He was wearing black leather cuffs on his wrists – and they were attached by a chain to the headboard. He was also wearing the black collar she’d seen around his neck a couple of weeks ago, and that, also, was attached to the headboard.


Abby stared, a dozen different things running through her mind at the same time.


Gibbs was Tony’s ‘hot top’. Gibbs was the one who ‘got’ Tony, the one Tony was so crazy in love with.




It should have been shocking, but somehow it wasn’t, and she wasn’t sure why. In fact, there was something almost ordinary about it. It felt so *right*, as if it was the way the world should be.


Everything fell into place; the suits in the closet belonged to Tony. That fancy bathrobe he’d been wearing also belonged to Tony. Then there was the presence of that mysterious locked chest in the closet – she suddenly knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the key she’d seen hanging around Tony’s neck opened it. And there hadn’t been any pillows and blankets on the couch because Tony was sleeping here, in Gibbs’s bed, where he so clearly belonged.


Then time speeded up again, and Gibbs had turned on the light and was by her side, gun in hand. Tony unclipped himself from his bondage in a matter of seconds, with an ease that spoke of frequent practice, and then he was by her side too, also holding a gun. She was relieved that they were both wearing boxers and tee shirts, or she thought she’d have expired on the spot and saved her mystery stalker the effort of killing her.


“Abby?” Gibbs grabbed her arm. “What is it? Are you okay?”


“He sent me a text message,” she said, handing him the cell phone with trembling fingers. Gibbs grabbed it, and his jaw tightened as he read the message.


“Tony – check the outside agents,” he rapped out.


Tony was pulling on a pair of sweats and some sneakers, and he seemed to have lost the cuffs and collar somewhere along the way.


“On it, Boss,” he said, disappearing out of the door.


“Outside agents? What outside agents?” Abby asked blankly.


“The ones I assigned to watch the house when we’re in it,” Gibbs told her tersely. He pulled on his jeans, a shirt, and a pair of boots and then threw her Tony’s bathrobe. Looking down, she realised she was dressed only in her panties and tee shirt, and she flushed and pulled on the bathrobe. “Downstairs. With me. Now,” Gibbs ordered, leading the way.






Gibbs took Abby into the living room, sat her down on the couch, and then went over to the window. He twitched aside one of the drapes and looked out to see Tony leaning into a car parked in the street.


“How come you didn’t tell me about the outside agents?” Abby asked.


“Tony’s call. He said you were freaked out enough as it was.”


Gibbs had been sure the outside agents were just a precautionary measure, but he wasn’t taking any chances with Abby’s safety. There was no way he’d have let Tony sleep in bondage if it weren’t for the fact that Abby had three other agents assigned to her – the two outside and himself.


“When did you get the text?” he demanded, returning to where she was sitting on the couch.


“About five minutes ago – I ran straight in to tell you, Gibbs.”


Gibbs examined the text again. “No specific threats about the court case, but that doesn’t mean it’s not McElroy. Sending a text like this on the morning you’re due to give evidence against him is a good way of scaring you off.”


“He can’t damn well scare me off!” she said hotly. “I spent weeks on that forensic evidence, Gibbs. No way he’s gonna stop me presenting it in court.”


“Then I guess that bastard doesn’t know Abby Sciuto very well if he thinks he can try.” Gibbs grinned.


At that moment Tony returned to the house. “All’s quiet. Reynolds and Smith say nothing suspicious has happened all night. Could just be a scare tactic, Boss.”


Gibbs threw him Abby’s cell phone, and Tony caught it easily, one-handed. “Get McGee up – see if he can find out where the text came from.”


“On it, Boss.” Tony disappeared again. Abby watched him go. Then she turned back to Gibbs.


“He looked good in your collar, Bossman,” she said. Gibbs’s jaw tightened. “Uh…sorry.” She clapped her hand over her mouth. “I always say these really inappropriate things in life or death situations. Like that time when Ari was shooting at me, and for some reason I totally started admiring Tony’s butt, and…” she trailed off as she saw the expression on Gibbs’s face.


“This gonna be a problem for you, Abs?”


“What kind of problem?” she asked blankly.


Gibbs made an impatient motion with his head. “DiNozzo and me.”


“What – you mean you being his top?” she frowned. “Why would that be a problem? I was kinda surprised, but only for maybe a second because you two guys totally rock together. I always thought you and Stan looked kinda hot together too, but that’s nothing compared to the total hotness that’s been between you and Tony all these years. It was dumb of me to think that Tony was being topped by some chick. I mean, firstly, there’s no way Tony would ever let a woman top him – he’s always gotta be in control around the ladies – and secondly, there’s no way Tony would let *anyone* top him but you.” She ran out of steam and sat looking at him expectantly.


“Uh-huh,” was all he found to say.


Abby grinned. “So I’m right?”


He gazed at her, startled. He had no idea that they were both so transparent. Then again, Abby was Abby, and she saw things nobody else did. “Uh-huh,” he said again.


“I won’t tell anyone.”


“It’s not your secret to keep, Abby. I won’t put that on you.”


“Well, I won’t tell anyone all the same. I figure it’s still pretty new, and you guys need some time to see how it pans out, so…” she shrugged.


At that moment, Tony returned to the room. “No luck on the text. Burn phone. Probably been dumped by now. Can’t even get a fix on where the text came from. What next, Boss?”


Gibbs glanced at the sunlight starting to creep in around the drapes. “Next – we help Abby keep that appointment in court.”






Abby walked into the courthouse a few hours later with her head held high. She might be scared shitless, but she wasn’t going to let anyone see that. Gibbs and Tony flanked her, and she knew that as long as they were nearby she’d be safe.


They saw McElroy talking to his lawyer in the hallway, and Abby faltered, her steps slowing. Gibbs put a hand on her shoulder. McElroy and his lawyer walked towards them, and she took a panicky intake of breath. Gibbs squeezed her shoulder hard for reassurance. McElroy started grinning at her as he got close, a slow, threatening kind of grin. He didn’t say a word – he just inclined his head sardonically at her as he walked by.


Abby released a deep breath, her heart racing.


“Think that’s him, Boss?” Tony asked, as they all stood there, watching McElroy disappear into the courtroom. “Is he the one who’s been threatening Abby?”


“It’s him,” Gibbs grunted. “I can feel it in my gut.”


Abby gave evidence for the next three days. Gibbs escalated her protection, moving her to a different safe house every night, just to be sure, but either he or Tony was with her at all times.


“You do know we have this really big thing to talk about, don’t you?” Abby said to Tony as they sat in the safe house after her first day in court. Tony glanced at the agent standing guard by the door and then glanced back at her warningly.


“When this is all over, Abby, I promise to answer all your questions.”


“All of them?” She raised a teasing eyebrow.


“Well…most of ’em.” He grinned back. “For now…” He zipped his finger over his mouth and she nodded her agreement.


“I hate this,” she sighed.


“I know.” He gave her a sympathetic look. “All the moving around, the escorts, the different house every night, the constant surveillance…”


“Oh not that!” she laughed. “That’s all kinda fun – like being in the movies or something. No – I hate this.” She gestured at the court suit she was still wearing. It was duck egg blue and ugly as all hell. “I miss wearing my real clothes,” she said mournfully. “My boots, my rings – my *stuff*, Tony.”


Tony grinned. “You miss wearing your collar too?”


“Sure.” She waggled her eyebrows at him. “Don’t you?”


And they both burst out laughing.






Tony was with Abby every day she was in court. Gibbs dropped by frequently, but he spent most of his time at NCIS, looking for evidence that McElroy had tried to scare off NCIS’s expert witness.


Tony missed his dom intensely, but they were both too pre-occupied to do more than exchange the occasional smile in passing – although Gibbs managed to sneak in a head-slap every time they met, which made Tony feel better.


Being threatened seemed to bring out Abby’s fighting spirit, and Tony watched in admiration as she presented the forensic evidence against McElroy with devastating accuracy in court. Then she answered the defence lawyer’s hectoring questions without hesitation, completely confident in her findings. Tony almost wanted to burst into applause when she was done, and the judge allowed her to leave the witness stand for the last time.


A few hours later, they were in court to watch McElroy being convicted – in no small part due to Abby’s evidence.


“We did it! We won!” Abby whooped, throwing herself at him and jumping into his arms. He hugged her tight, and they did a stupid little victory dance in the courtroom hallway. Then they walked towards the parking garage together, her hand tucked into his arm.


She was talking non-stop through sheer relief. “I’m free! I can go home! And you and I need to have a long overdue chat, Mister,” she said, with mock severity, thumping his arm. “But do you know what I’m gonna do first?”


“Get drunk?” he suggested. “Leap into bed with Ziva? If so, can I watch?” He gave her a sly wink.


She thumped him again. “No – this!” She took off her shoes and dumped them in the trash as they walked past. “They were killing me! I can’t wait to get into my boots!”


They went down into the parking garage, her barefoot, both of them still laughing, and Tony dismissed Reynolds and Smith who had stayed with the car. Tony got in, and Abby got in beside him, still talking. Tony drove off with Reynolds and Smith following on behind in their car.


“First we’re going back to NCIS – I told McGee to have champagne ready to celebrate – and then I’m gonna go sit in my lab and just *fondle* things because you have no idea how much I’ve missed my babies! Major Mass-Spec, and Bert, and everyone! And I’m gonna get changed out of this horrible suit and get into something normal. And you, Tony, are going to tell me what kind of a dom Gibbs is, and whether he lets you get away with anything, and…”


“He’s Gibbs, Abs! Do you seriously think he lets me get away with anything?” Tony raised an eyebrow.


“And how you two first got it on and all that stuff,” she said without pausing. “And then…”


Tony turned to glance at her and saw the red dot on her head. Time slowed down. He swerved the car to one side, pushing her down with his hand at the same time, and at that moment the windscreen shattered and suddenly there was glass everywhere. At first, all he could hear was the sound of screeching brakes, and then the wrenching of tearing metal, and then, finally, a loud bang as the car rolled over, hit something, and came to rest by the side of the road.


Then there was just a shocking silence.


“Abby!” Tony rolled over, looking for her desperately in the wreckage of the car. She was lying on her side next to him, her eyes closed, blood pouring from her head, staining that duck egg blue suit a dark shade of crimson. “ABBY!”


His legs were trapped, but somehow he managed to wrench them free. He could smell burning, and he had no idea if the shooter was still nearby. If he was, they were sitting targets. He had to get Abby out of the car.


He had no idea if she was dead or alive, and he couldn’t give himself time to think about it. He kicked what was left of the glass out of the side window, slid out, then reached back in, grabbed her, and pulled her out after him. He picked her up and carried her away from the car, stumbling as he half-ran, half-walked, desperate to get her to the safety and cover of the trees by the side of the road before the car blew up.


He placed her on the grass and shielded her as he scanned the surrounding area for whoever had shot at them. Then there was a massive roaring bang and their car exploded in flames behind him. He threw himself on top of Abby, feeling the searing heat on his back as he protected her body with his own.


“Abby…” He patted her face desperately, but she was as cold and white as ice. “Abby!”


He heard footsteps and reached for his gun, turning…to see Reynolds and Smith running towards them.


“DiNozzo? Are you okay?” Reynolds yelled, while Smith reached for his cell phone and called for back up and paramedics.


“Sniper,” Tony panted. “Got a shot at us. Abby’s hurt…don’t know how bad…don’t know if it’s from the crash or if he got a bullet in her…”


He stroked Abby’s dark hair away from her face, her blood pooling on his fingertips.


“Abby?” he whispered.






Gibbs strode into the hospital waiting room, and his heart did a little flip as he saw Tony sitting there, leaning forwards, arms resting on his knees. His sub looked up, saw him, and got to his feet. He stood to attention as Gibbs came over to him, and he wouldn’t meet Gibbs’s gaze. His eyes were flat, dull and…guilty. He looked just like he had after Jenny had been killed.


“Sit rep,” Gibbs rapped out, standing in front of him, too close, getting into his space. He knew it was the best way to handle Tony in this kind of situation.


“Abby’s still in the ER – I don’t know how she’s doing because nobody will tell me anything. Wasn’t an accident though, Boss. We took fire – at least one bullet, maybe more. Not sure if she got hit, or if she was injured when the car went over.”


Gibbs listened intently, using the opportunity to assess Tony’s condition at the same time.
His sub had some minor cuts on his face and hands, and his shirt was torn and covered in blood that Gibbs suspected wasn’t his, but apart from that he looked unharmed.


Gibbs moved his hand up to Tony’s head, but Tony flinched and ducked away as if expecting a blow. Gibbs tried again, moving his hand more slowly so that Tony could see it coming. This time, Tony held still and allowed Gibbs to roll back his eyelids and check for any sign of head trauma.


Gibbs dropped his hand and scrutinised his sub. Tony was deeply distressed – no doubt about it. Gibbs’s over-riding impulse was to hustle Tony home, examine every inch of him to make sure he was okay, and then chain him to the bed and never let him out of his sight again. He fought the impulse down – he had a job to do.


“It’s my fault, Boss,” Tony told him, still unable to meet his gaze, staring at a point just over his left shoulder. “Abby’s fighting for her life in there because of me. I screwed up again. It’s all my fault.”


Gibbs raised an eyebrow. “How?”


“I was stupid. I didn’t follow close protection protocol – I let Abby sit next to me in the car. I was so sure McElroy was our perp that when he was sent down, I thought the danger was over.” He shook his head. “That sniper, whoever he was, had a clear shot at her, Boss. I saw the red dot on her head, and I pushed her down but then the window shattered, and I lost control of the car…It was all my own damn fault.”


“DiNozzo!” Gibbs rapped out. Tony winced at his tone of voice. “I’ll let you know where I’m assigning blame when I get all the facts. Until then, don’t piss me off by speculating.”


Tony bit on his lip. “Yes, Boss.”


“Go back to NCIS and write up your report,” Gibbs ordered. There was no point Tony staying at the hospital waiting for news of Abby – Tony handled difficult situations by doing things, not sitting around twiddling his thumbs. His sub was a lot like him in that respect. “When you’re done, call me, and I’ll give you new orders. Clear?”


“Yes, Boss.” Tony started walking towards the door without hesitation.


“DiNozzo!” Gibbs called him back. Tony paused, looking at his feet, still unable to meet Gibbs’s gaze. Gibbs grasped Tony’s jaw firmly, forcing Tony to look straight at him. “I’m glad you’re alive, Tony,” he said softly. Then, in a harder voice, “Because you don’t damn well have my permission to die. New rule. Understand?”


“Rule number seven, Boss. Not to die without your permission. Got it.” Tony managed a faint smile, but Gibbs thought he needed to hear it.


“And get Ducky to look at those cuts.” Gibbs gestured to the lacerations on Tony’s hands and the side of his face. Tony nodded and left the room. Gibbs followed him – but only to grab hold of one of the medical personnel and force her to go check on Abby.


A few minutes later, a doctor appeared in the waiting room.


“Special Agent Gibbs? You were asking about Ms Sciuto’s condition?”


“She okay?”


“Are you a family member?” the man asked, with a frown, looking down at the clipboard he was holding.


“I’m down as her next of kin, along with her mom,” Gibbs replied brusquely. “Now tell me how she’s doing.”


“She’s going to be fine. She has a concussion, and she’s lost a lot of blood, but we stitched up the head injury – it probably looked worse than it is.”


“Was there a bullet?” Gibbs demanded.


The doctor looked bewildered. “No bullet, Agent Gibbs. Her injuries are consistent with a car accident. She’s got some minor lacerations and a badly bruised wrist, but I’d say she was lucky.”


Gibbs allowed himself just a moment to let the relief wash through him. Then he was back to business again. “Can I see her?”


The doctor nodded and led him down the hallway to a room. Abby was lying on the bed, looking deathly pale, a bandage wrapped around her head.


Gibbs paused in the doorway. There had been no hospital bed for Kelly. She’d died instantly in that car wreck all those years ago. They had told him not to see the body when he arrived home from Iraq, but he had wanted to. He’d needed to know that it really was her, and that she really was gone. Last time he’d seen her, she’d run after him, tears in her eyes, begging him not to go. He’d smiled to cheer her up and waved goodbye. He hadn’t known that was the last thing she would ever ask of him. Damn it, *he* had been the one going into combat. He was the one who should have died, not his family.


They had been right to tell him not to look at the body. He’d seen plenty of dead bodies in combat, but nothing prepared him for seeing her, looking like a mangled doll. She’d been badly smashed up in that car wreck – too badly for him to believe she was “sleeping”, or “at rest” or any of that crap people spouted. She looked exactly like what she was – dead.


Abby didn’t look dead. She looked pale, and tired, and hurt, but he could see her chest rising and falling, and the faint pink tinge on her cheeks. Gibbs sat down in the chair beside her bed and took her hand in his own. She moved her head, and her eyelids fluttered open.


“Hey, Bossman…” she whispered.


“Hey Abs. What you got for me?” he asked gently, with a little grin. She smiled too, in response to the familiar question.


“Jus’ a conc’ss’n,” she muttered, squeezing his hand. “No need f’you t’worry, Gibbs.”


“Is that so?” He raised an eyebrow.


“Yeah.” She grinned at him, her pale green eyes hazy from the pain meds. “Where’s Tony? He okay?”


“He’s fine. I sent him back to the office to write up his report.”


“Meanie,” she muttered.


“Yeah,” he chuckled. “I am.”


“Saved my life,” she whispered. “Tony – saved me. Pulled me outta car ‘fore it ‘sploded.”


He squeezed her hand again. It seemed that she and Tony had very different versions of what had happened.


“Abs – I need to find out who did this to you. I’ve called for your mom, and she’s on her way. I’m going to leave you to get some rest now, but I’ll come back later.”


“Mmmm,” she muttered, her eyelids closing. He leaned over and kissed her forehead gently, but she was already fast asleep by the time he left the room.






Tony had just finished writing up his report when Gibbs called.


“She’s fine,” Gibbs told him before he even had a chance to open his mouth. “She has a concussion, but she wasn’t hit by the bullet.”


“Then it could still be in the car,” Tony said quickly. “We need to bring it in and…”


“I’m already on it, DiNozzo!” Gibbs told him firmly. “Tell McGee to get the evidence garage ready for it. I want him and Ziva crawling all over the wreckage to see what they can find.”


“What about me?” Tony asked helplessly. “What do you want me to do?”


“You finished that report?”




“Then leave it on my desk and go home.”


Tony frowned. “Home?”


“Go back to the house and get some rest, Tony. I’ll be there when I’m done.”


“But Abby…”


“She’s sleeping. You can see her soon.”


“She’s really fine?” Tony asked quietly.


“Yes. I posted a couple of agents outside her door, just in case that bastard comes back to finish the job, but my guess is he’s already on the run.”


“I don’t want to go home, Boss. There must be something I can do. I could help Ziva and Tim…”


“Tony, there is no way I’m letting you work on the wreck of the car that you were driving! I’ve given you your orders – go home and get some rest. What’s rule number one?”


“Obey you,” Tony said reluctantly.


“Then do it. I don’t have time to argue.” And with that, Gibbs ended the call.


Tony didn’t remember the drive home. He was on auto-pilot. Gibbs’s house was in darkness when he got there, and he didn’t turn on the lights. He walked into the living room, sank down on the floor with his back against the wall, and sat there, staring into space.


Gibbs had told him to get some rest, and he wanted to obey Gibbs, but he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t do that because if he closed his eyes, for even a second, he saw them.
He saw Abby, lying on that grass verge, so white and cold and still. His fault. And he saw Jenny, hazel eyes wide open, lying dead in a pool of her own blood. His fault. And he knew that if he kept his eyes closed for even a fraction of a second longer then he’d see someone else. Also his fault.


“Always your fucking fault, DiNozzo.”


He drew his knees up to his chest, rested his chin on them, and kept his eyes wide open as he sat there in the dark.






Gibbs was bone weary by the time he finally got home, many hours later. He walked into the living room, flicked on the light…and stopped. Tony was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall, his arms wrapped around his legs. He glanced up when Gibbs came in, blinking rapidly in response to the sudden burst of light. Gibbs sighed. He had hoped that Tony would be lying fast asleep in bed, but instead he could see that Tony’s penchant for sitting on his own in the dark had asserted itself again.


“Thought I told you to get some rest, Tony,” he said in a gentle tone.


“Am, Boss. Just resting here,” Tony replied.


“That’s not resting – as you damn well know.” He crouched down in front of Tony and finally was able to do what he’d wanted to do all day – caress his sub. He reached out to stroke his sub’s hair, but Tony jerked away from him. “You okay?” Gibbs asked, frowning.


“Me? I’m fine. How’s Abby?”


“She’s fine too. I just came from the hospital. She’s sleeping like a baby. Her mom just arrived – she’s built some kind of shrine in the room with candles, flowers, cards, and cake.”




“Must be a Sciuto thing.” Gibbs shrugged. “How long you been sitting there like that?” Tony didn’t reply. “Since you got home?”




Gibbs rocked back on his heels and surveyed his sub. This was a crisis – no doubt about it – and while he was usually pretty good in a crisis, this one was outside his usual remit.


“We found the perp,” he said.


Tony’s head shot up. “Who was it?”


“Guy named Luke Thurle.”


“Thurle – wasn’t he in one of those files we went through?”


Gibbs nodded. “Released from prison a couple of weeks ago. Blames Abby’s forensics for putting him there. Still claims he’s innocent – says she tampered with the evidence, that she’s some kind of devil-worshipper out to get him. Guy’s a fruitcake.”


“You found him? You brought him in?”


“Yeah – the idiot was seen firing the gun then driving off in a hurry. We got a call, went to his place, and found the gun. I interrogated the bastard myself. Ballistics match the bullet we pulled from the car with the gun we found in his house. It was definitely him.”


“Nothing to do with McElroy then?”


“Nope.” Gibbs shook his head.


“Shit. We got it wrong, Boss.”


“Yes. We did.” Gibbs gazed at his sub intently. “All of us, DiNozzo, not just you. I got it wrong – felt in my gut that it was McElroy and allowed you and Abby to believe it too – but I was wrong.”


“But if I hadn’t let Abby…” Tony began.


“Back half of the car is all crushed,” Gibbs interrupted him. “If she’d been sitting in the back she’d be dead.”


“If she’d been sitting in the back he wouldn’t have had a clear shot at her, so he might not have pulled the trigger at all,” Tony retorted.


“Spoke to Reynolds and Smith. They were right behind you on the road. They say you reacted fast, got Abby to safety, did all the right things.”


Tony gazed at him blankly.


“You got her out of the car before it blew, Tony!” Gibbs said forcefully.


“But I screwed up,” Tony repeated insistently.


“Yes, you did,” Gibbs replied, because Tony could see through bullshit, and he needed his boss – his dom – to be honest with him. “And so did Abby – she knew the rules about where to sit. And Smith and Reynolds fucked up too – they didn’t stop you. And I screwed up, Tony – I was going after the wrong guy.”


“No. I was the lead protection officer on duty. I screwed this up, like I screwed up with Jenny. You know I screwed up with Jenny, Boss.”


“Yeah.” Gibbs nodded. “You did. But Jenny knew what she was doing. She didn’t allow you to protect her – she sent you away. And d’you know why she did that?”


Tony shook his head.


“Because she knew she screwed the pooch years ago, and it had come back to bite her. She didn’t want it biting you, or Ziva, or me. She got you out of the way on purpose to keep you out of the firing line. She died, but that was a success as far as Jenny was concerned. Hard for us to live with, but she got what she wanted – she kept us safe.”


Tony dropped his gaze.


“There’s plenty of blame to go around, Tony. Today, and when Jenny died. You can have a share of it, but you can’t claim it all.”


Tony stared moodily at the ground. Gibbs stroked his cheek gently, but Tony moved his head away. Gibbs sighed – it looked like Tony wasn’t ready to forgive himself just yet, and he didn’t want anybody being nice to him right now.


His sub looked beat – his face was pale and there were dark rings under those haunted green eyes. Gibbs didn’t think he stood a hope in hell of getting Tony to sleep unless he could make it an order that Tony had to obey. Clearly, it was time to get tough.


Gibbs stood up. “Strip,” he said, taking off his jacket and throwing it on the couch. He turned back to see Tony sitting there, gazing at him with a shocked expression on his face. “I said, strip,” Gibbs snapped.


“You want me naked?” Tony queried in a disbelieving tone. “Now?”


“Yup. See, my sub was in a serious accident, and as his body belongs to me I want to check it for damage. And I don’t expect to have to explain my orders. So strip. Now!” He snapped that last word out hard. If Tony wasn’t going to respond to him as his boss or his lover, then he’d damn well make sure he responded to him as his dom.


Tony got up slowly. He undid his shirt and eased himself out of it with a wince, then removed the rest of his clothes. Gibbs beckoned him over, and Tony came, wearily.


Gibbs grasped Tony’s chin and turned his face to one side so he could examine the cuts and bruises on it. “Did you get Ducky to look at these like I ordered?”




“What’s rule number one?”


“Obey you,” Tony muttered unwillingly.


“There will *always* be punishment for disobedience, Tony.”


Tony’s green eyes were sullen. “So fucking spank me. I don’t care.”


“Punishment doesn’t always mean spanking,” Gibbs reminded him. “And drop the attitude, DiNozzo.”


The sharp words acted like a head-slap, jolting Tony out of himself. “Sorry, Boss.”


“Who’s in charge here, Tony?”


Tony gazed at him mulishly. “You are,” he said finally.


“Damn straight! Now stop fighting me and give it up, Tony.”


Tony’s shoulders sagged slightly, and Gibbs knew he was winning, slowly but surely.


“Turn around.” He put a hand on Tony’s shoulder and turned him – and his jaw tightened angrily at the sight of his sub’s back. It was puffy and red in places, and when he put his hand on it he could feel the heat. “You got burned here, Tony. Did you get any medical treatment at the hospital?”


“No, Boss.” Tony shook his head. “Didn’t ask for any. Didn’t realise I was injured.”


Gibbs pressed his fingers gently against Tony’s reddened back. “You can’t feel this?”


A flicker of a wince crossed Tony’s face. “Yes, Boss. I can now. Just…didn’t feel it earlier. Must have happened when the car exploded. Had my back to it. Was trying to shield Abby.”


Gibbs took a good look at Tony’s back. It wasn’t serious, but it had to hurt. He went into the kitchen and got a bowl of water and his medical kit.


He returned to the living room, opened the kit, and fished out a tube of gel. It was the kind of heavy duty, medicated, skin cream he’d used on combat burns in Iraq, so he knew it would work on Tony’s injury. It contained a good dose of antiseptic and a light anaesthetic, and he could testify to its pain-killing properties himself. He soothed it into the burned skin gently, taking his time.


Tony was shivering slightly which wasn’t a good sign. Gibbs suspected it was a post-traumatic response, but Tony’s feelings of guilt clearly weren’t helping. Something didn’t feel right though. Tony was a trained agent, and he’d been in worse situations. He’d definitely had some near-death experiences before, and he’d rescued team members he cared about from them too. Christ, Tony hadn’t reacted like this when Kate had been killed, so what was going on here?


Something specific about this incident had clearly triggered something for him – but Gibbs didn’t know what. There was no point in asking Tony about it right now though; his sub was dead on his feet. What he needed was rest and someone to take care of him – and Gibbs would make sure that he got both.


Gibbs washed Tony’s cuts and patted them dry, applying ointment and dressings where required. When he was done, he ran his hands over every inch of his sub’s body, examining it in minute detail. Tony shifted restlessly.


“Stop that,” Gibbs ordered sharply. “As I can’t trust you to *know* if you’re injured anywhere, I’m just gonna have to check you out until I’m satisfied. Now stand still.”


“I’m fine,” Tony muttered.


“Not your call,” Gibbs snapped.


Gibbs resumed his examination, taking his time. He noticed how Tony gradually began to relax as he worked on him. Words were useless with Tony right now, but this method of taking his sub down was proving to be extremely effective. Tony always had responded to his touch; whether it was head-slaps, or atta boys, or just straightforward kisses – he had always been able to reach Tony better through touch than words.


“Hold still, boy,” he said, running his hands firmly over Tony’s ribs. Tony gave a little gasp. “That hurt?” Gibbs pressed the spot again, with two fingers, watching Tony’s face. A little flicker of pain creased Tony’s features. “Don’t think they’re broken – could be cracked or just bruised,” Gibbs said, continuing to press around the sore ribs. He moved on and found some bruises on Tony’s upper arm and an extremely sore looking patch on his ankle, where half the skin was scraped away.


“Legs were trapped in the car,” Tony told him. “Had to pull hard to get free, so I could get Abby out.”


Gibbs treated the injury and then stood up, a grim look on his face.


“I’m not happy about this, Tony,” he growled. Tony blinked. “Your body belongs to me, and you haven’t taken very good care of it. If you are *ever* hurt, I expect you seek medical attention. Got it?”


Tony nodded. “Yes, Boss. Sorry, Boss.”


Gibbs thought they were getting there. He could feel Tony sinking down into his sub space with each growled order and terse command. If Tony wouldn’t accept kindness right now, he would at least accept tough love – and Gibbs had no problem handing that out.


“With me,” he said, turning on his heel and walking out the door and up the stairs. They got to the bedroom, and he plucked Tony’s collar off the nightstand and buckled it around Tony’s neck. Tony gave an almost imperceptible little sigh as it was fastened into place. It was only then that he seemed to finally give in and accept the comfortable familiarity of his role as Gibbs’s sub.


“Gonna punish you – like I promised,” Gibbs told him as he fastened Tony’s wrist and ankle cuffs onto his sub, taking care to avoid his injuries, buckling them loosely.


Tony nodded, his eyes glazed with exhaustion.


“You’ll sleep in tight bondage tonight,” Gibbs said, gesturing with his head at the bed. “Much tighter than usual. Get in.”


Tony slipped into bed and settled down onto his side. Gibbs noticed that he was still shivering.


He fastened Tony’s hands together, and then his ankles. Then he looped a piece of chain between the two and fastened that to the headboard. It wasn’t very tight, but he didn’t think Tony would notice that in the condition he was in right now. Then, finally, he padlocked the chains into place.


“You don’t get to clip yourself in and out of your bondage tonight,” he said, tapping Tony’s head to make sure he was listening. “I’ve locked you in – if you need to piss, or move around, or you have a problem – any problem – then wake me.”


Tony nodded. Gibbs tapped his head again.


“Do *not* just lie there if you need something. Wake me,” he ordered.


“Yes, Boss,” Tony said quietly.


“Good.” Gibbs put his cell phone on the night stand next to Tony, within reach of his bound hands. “I will not leave you alone when you’re locked in bondage – the phone is just a precaution.” He didn’t feel he needed to spell that one out. “You don’t get to leave the bed without my permission. Now sleep.”


He got undressed and slipped into the bed beside Tony. He noticed that Tony’s eyes were wide open, and his sub was staring glassily at the wall. He was also trembling again. Gibbs suspected the trembling was caused by the effort it was taking for Tony to keep his eyes open. His body was exhausted and desperately needed sleep, but for some reason he wouldn’t close his eyes.


Gibbs turned off the light and then moved over so that his chest was against Tony’s back. He wrapped his arm firmly around Tony’s waist.


“Close your eyes,” he ordered.


“Can’t, Boss.” Tony’s trembling intensified.


“It’s an order, DiNozzo!” he rapped out. “Not a request. You really want to disobey me on this?”


The breath left Tony’s body with a sigh, and Gibbs saw his eyelids flutter shut. They opened again almost immediately. Gibbs tapped the back of Tony’s head.


“You will sleep,” he said firmly. The chains clinked as Tony moved his legs. Gibbs ran his hand down Tony’s body, stilling him. “You are mine, and you will do as you are told,” he growled into Tony’s ear. He continued to slide his hand confidently over Tony’s body, making it clear to his sub who owned him. “Your body is mine – you can’t touch it right now, and you sure as hell can’t stop me touching it,” he said, in a low, commanding tone, straight into Tony’s ear. “It belongs to me, and it will obey me. Now sleep.”


“Yes, Boss.”


Gibbs felt all the fight leave Tony’s body as his sub finally surrendered to him. Tony closed his eyes, and Gibbs kept on reminding him that he was there, that Tony belonged to him, and that he had no choice but to obey his orders. He was tied to the bed, and Gibbs wasn’t going to let him go any time soon; the only option was sleep. There was no other choice.


The repetition – and the stroking that accompanied it – seemed to work. Tony’s breathing slowed and deepened as sleep claimed his weary body at long last.


Gibbs moved his hand to gently stroke his sub’s hair. Now he was finally able to give in to the impulse he’d had all day to hold Tony close. He pressed a gentle kiss to Tony’s shoulder, and another, and then another. He had wanted to be gentle with his sub, to hold him and take care of him, but instead he’d had to play the hard dom just to get him to rest. He had never seen his sub like this before, or experienced a Tony this lost and scared.


“Christ, Tony,” he sighed into his sub’s thick, soft hair. “What the hell happened to you?”






Tony blinked. He was lying on his side in bed, and he was aware that his back hurt, his ankle ached, and he could feel dozens of throbbing pains throughout his body – there were little cuts and bruises everywhere. The events of the previous day came flooding back in, and he remembered why he hurt – and why he *should* damn well hurt. It was the least he deserved, in the circumstances. He’d got off lightly compared to Abby. He moved his leg and heard the clinking of chains.


“Hey. You with us finally?”


Tony turned his head to see Gibbs sitting on the bed beside him, fully clothed, a file open on his lap. He was wearing his glasses and peering down at Tony over the top of them.


“Yeah. How’s…” Tony swallowed – his mouth was incredibly dry. “Abby?” he finished in a croak.


“She’s fine. I called the hospital, and she’s doing well. They’re going to keep her in another couple of days for observation, but they’re not worried about her.”


“You speak to her?” Tony asked anxiously. “She okay? I mean, really okay?”


“Yeah. She sounded just like Abby. She’s fine, Tony. No need to worry about her.”


“Can I see her?”


“Not today.” Gibbs shook his head. “She’s got a full quota of visitors today – Ziva and McGee this morning, Ducky and Jimmy this afternoon, and her mom is with her. Also, you’re gonna be in bondage all day, and I wasn’t planning on letting you get dressed, so unless you want to go to the hospital naked and wearing chains…” Gibbs let that hang with a shrug.


“Right.” Tony nodded.


Sweet-natured and forgiving though she was, he was sure Abby wouldn’t want to see him right now in any case. Besides, this was probably part of whatever punishment Gibbs had in store for him today for the total screw-up that had almost cost Abby her life. Tony wasn’t looking forward to that punishment, whatever form it took, but he deserved it – no doubt about that. He remembered how Gibbs had once punished McGee for failing to protect Abby by making him kneel at his desk. This was much bigger than that, so Tony was expecting an exponentially bigger punishment. Sore knees and a certain element of humiliation didn’t really cover this situation.


“I told ya to get Ducky to look at your injuries, and you didn’t. So I obviously can’t trust you to take care of yourself,” Gibbs said to him. “You were in a serious car accident yesterday – you have burns on your back, and cuts and bruises all over. You’re gonna be chained to either the bed or the couch for the day, so I can make sure you get some rest.”


“Yes, Boss,” Tony said quietly, without protest. “What time is it anyway?” He glanced at the bright rays of sunshine stealing in around the sides of the drapes.


“Nearly noon.” Gibbs went over to the drapes and opened them, letting the sunlight come flooding in.


“Shouldn’t we be at the office?”


“Nope. You’re on medical leave, and I’m working from home.” Gibbs nodded in the direction of the files on the bed. “I’m processing the paperwork and reports on Thurle. You can help me later.”


Gibbs returned to the bed and unlocked Tony from his bondage. “You have fifteen minutes in the bathroom – then get your ass out here.”


Tony swung his legs over the side of the bed, wincing as he became aware of a dozen different aches in his body.


“Shit…” he hissed as he stood up, his back protesting the movement.


“Like I said – serious car accident. You can keep going on the adrenaline, but the next day always hurts like a bitch,” Gibbs chuckled. “You probably wrenched a dozen muscles without even realising it.”


Tony felt like an old man as he walked slowly to the bathroom. Gibbs was right – he felt like he’d been hit by a truck. He pissed, showered, cleaned his teeth and shaved and emerged exactly fifteen minutes later feeling a bit more human.


Gibbs was waiting for him in the bedroom, his medical kit open on the bed. He examined Tony again, every inch of him, just like he had the previous night. There was something nice about it. Tony couldn’t remember anyone ever treating him with such careful precision before, like he mattered. In other circumstances he’d have enjoyed it, but not today. Not after he’d almost killed Abby through his own stupidity. Gibbs should be throwing him over the damn spanking bench in the basement and whaling on his ass, not running gentle fingers over his bruises and rubbing soothing lotion into his burned back. It was just wrong. He only submitted to it because he had no choice, but he was glad when it was over.


Gibbs fastened his cuffs and collar back on him, and then Tony followed his dom downstairs on the end of Gibbs’s leash. There was something reassuringly restrictive about it. Gibbs ordered him to sit on the couch in the living room and then chained his right wrist to his right ankle, and his left wrist to his left ankle. They were long chains, giving him a full range of movement, but it was, nonetheless, bondage. Gibbs fastened his leash to a hook in the wall beside the couch, securing it with a padlock.


“You don’t think for yourself today, Tony,” Gibbs told him. “You’re in bondage all day. You’ll do exactly what I say, when I say. If you want to use the bathroom, or if you want anything to eat or drink, then you ask me.”


Tony nodded. He wished it felt more like punishment, but in reality it just felt reassuring. He was so tired – he didn’t want to have to think. It was nice to be able to opt out and let Gibbs take control.


“It’s restrictive because I want to make sure your body gets a chance to rest and recover,” Gibbs told him, crouching down in front of him, a puzzled look in his eyes as if he was expecting some other kind of reaction from Tony. A protest maybe?


“It’s okay. I get it. You want to get me well so you can punish me,” Tony said.


Gibbs straightened up, slowly, an assessing look in his eyes. “Punish you for what, Tony?”


“For screwing up and nearly getting Abby killed.”


Gibbs ran a hand over his chin and gazed down on Tony thoughtfully. “I’m not gonna punish you for that, Tony.”


“But I screwed up – big time.”


“Yeah, you did screw up, Tony. But did you break any of the rules?”




“The rules – recite them,” Gibbs ordered.


“Rule number one: Obey you. Rule number two: Don’t lie to you. Rule number three: Don’t keep you waiting. Rule number four: No attitude. Rule number five: Nobody touches me but you. Rule number six: No wheedling. Rule number seven: Don’t die without your permission. Cardinal rule: I’m yours,” Tony fired off. He didn’t see how they were relevant right now. This was much bigger than the rules.


“And where does it say anything about not screwing up?” Gibbs raised an eyebrow.


“Oh come on!” Tony protested. “I made a mistake that almost cost Abby her life. I deserve to be punished, Gibbs. You have to punish me.”


“The hell I do!” Gibbs retorted. He sat down on the coffee table in front of Tony and leaned forward to gaze at him intently. “Yes, you made a mistake, Tony, but so did I, and so did Abby – and we’re all having to live with that. I won’t punish you for it.”


“You should. You must.”


“Don’t tell me what I *must* do with my own damn sub!” Gibbs responded angrily. “Who is in charge here, Tony?”


Tony stared at him mutely.


“DiNozzo!” Gibbs rapped out. “Who is in charge here?”


“You are,” Tony replied reluctantly.


“Who decides on your punishment? Who decides what you get punished for, what the punishment is, how long it lasts, and how hard it is?” Gibbs demanded.


“You do.”


“Is any of this your choice?”




“Then we’re clear,” Gibbs said firmly, getting up.


“Are you going to throw me out then?” Tony asked.


Gibbs looked stumped. “What?”


Tony looked straight at his dom. “It’s *Abby*, Gibbs. I know what she means to you, and I don’t expect you to forgive me for almost getting her killed.”


Gibbs stood in front of him, his hands clenched into fists. Tony tensed, expecting the inevitable blow – hell, he’d expected it long before now.


“Do you remember what I said, during that first week, about how it’d be if I took you on?” Gibbs asked, in a deceptively quiet tone of voice.


“You said a lot of things back then, Boss.”


“Yeah, but the one thing I told you to be really clear about was that once I’d fucked you I wouldn’t give you up easily after that. ‘Cause you’d be mine, and I’d fight for you if I had to.”




“So – tell me – have I ever been the kind of man who gives up this easy?” Gibbs asked in a deceptively soft tone of voice.


“No, Boss. I guess not. I suppose I just thought…”


“No, Tony, you didn’t ‘just think’ – you aren’t thinking at all!” Gibbs roared. “You’re being an idiot. You’re mine, and there’s no way that I’m throwing you out. I’m not done with you yet, boy.”


Tony stared at him, stunned by his vehemence. “But if you’re not going to punish me, and if you’re not going to throw me out, then what *are* you going to do?”


“So we’re back to your two dead-end options again, are we?” Gibbs growled. “Okay. I will do something. Not either of those two things though; something you’ll find much harder to accept. You won’t like it, but I’ll make you take it, and you will take it, because you’re my sub. Wanna argue with me about that?”


Tony shook his head. “No, Boss. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. I promise.”


This was much more familiar ground. Whatever Gibbs did, Tony could handle it. However much it hurt and however painful it was. Just as long as Gibbs didn’t throw him out.


“Good. Then start work on this while I get you something to eat.” Gibbs threw a file into his lap and then strode into the kitchen.


Tony watched him go, wearily. He wished he could get his hands on some alcohol right now, but that wasn’t a possibility in his current state of bondage and with Gibbs watching him like a hawk.


What the hell did Gibbs have in mind that was going to be so hard? It was a relief to know that he had no choice. Gibbs would make him take whatever he wanted to hand out – so Tony would. No way out. No safe word. No escape. He doubted Gibbs would let him use his safe word for this in any case.


Whatever it was, Tony could take it. He’d make himself take it.






Gibbs went into the kitchen and paced angrily. What the hell was going on in Tony’s mind? Whatever it was, Gibbs didn’t like the glimpse he was getting into it. Sure, he’d always known that Tony had some kind of weird fragility that he was trying to hide – Gibbs had known that for years, long before he had taken Tony as his sub, and definitely before Ziva had handed him that dossier. He’d been aware of it since about the first day he met Tony, but he’d never tried to look into it because it hadn’t been any of his damn business before. As long as it didn’t interfere with Tony’s work, then it was fine. He had enough sore spots in his own personal life to be able to respect other people’s. He’d have kicked Tony’s ass if he’d ever once asked him about Shannon and Kelly, and it worked both ways.


That was before he took Tony as his sub. Gibbs didn’t think he had the option of letting it slide any more. For a start, Tony had nowhere to hide now. He couldn’t just slink off home, do whatever it was he did to cope, and then re-appear a couple of days later with a bright, idiotic smile pasted to his face and his happy, shiny Tony persona back in place. Now that they were living together, Gibbs was getting to see a side of his sub that had always been kept well hidden – and it was proving to be pretty damn revealing.


Tony clearly needed something from him right now, and he’d do his best to figure out what.
He had decided not to allow Tony to visit Abby today for two reasons; firstly, because he wanted Tony to get some rest; and secondly, because he suspected that seeing Abby with that big bandage around her head would only put Tony in a worse state of mind.


Tony might *want* punishment, but Gibbs had a feeling that he *needed* something else – and that was a healthy dose of affection. Unfortunately, Gibbs suspected that affection was going to be the hardest thing in the world for Tony to accept right now.


He took Tony some breakfast and coffee and then sat down on the couch beside him and picked up his paperwork. He had Tony do all the really dull stuff – filling out the forms, cross-referencing previous reports, checking back on the precise quotes from what had been said in interrogation. It was always long, boring work processing a perp, but Gibbs thought it was a good way of distracting Tony.


After a few hours of hard work, Gibbs glanced at his sub to see that he looked exhausted. Gibbs knew from experience that you could keep going for hours after a bad trauma, but the minute you allowed yourself to come down from it, and really relax, then you crashed. Tony hadn’t looked too bad when he’d first woken up, but now he looked like shit again.


Gibbs threw the files onto the coffee table and unlocked Tony from the wall.


“Time for you to sleep,” he said, putting out a hand to touch Tony’s head. Tony flinched, and Gibbs sighed. This flinching was becoming a theme, and it was starting to piss him off. He wondered if Tony was really expecting him to slam his fist into his face – and if he was, why? He’d never done anything like that, and he never would. Tony had to know that.


“Don’t,” he said, in a warning tone. “You’re my sub – I can touch you if I want.”


Tony looked surprised, but he nodded all the same. “Sorry, Boss.”


Gibbs sat back down on the couch beside Tony, put his hand on Tony’s head, and pulled him down into his lap. They’d rested like this dozens of times before, but this time Tony was stiff as Gibbs stroked his hair.


“Relax,” he ordered.


“Relaxing, Boss,” Tony said quickly, but it took a long time for the tension to dissipate from his shoulders. When it finally did, he still remained with his eyes resolutely open.


“What happens when you close your eyes Tony?” Gibbs asked quietly.


“Everything goes dark, Boss,” Tony joked.


Gibbs tapped his head firmly. “Don’t bullshit me, boy. Why is it a problem for you to close your eyes? What do you see?”


“See Abby, Boss,” Tony admitted, still staring straight ahead.


“See her like she was in the car?” Gibbs had known enough men with PTSD to be familiar with those kinds of flashbacks.


“Yeah.” Tony shuddered. “She’s lying on her side, eyes closed, blood…” He trailed off. “There was a lot of blood, Boss.”


“I know.”


“She was so pale. Thought she was dead for awhile until I felt the pulse. Then I thought she’d die before the paramedics arrived. Wondered how I’d ever be able to face you again if that happened. Know she’s like a daughter to you, Boss, and you already lost Kelly. Didn’t think you could stand to lose Abby too. And for it all to be my fault…”


Gibbs sighed and gently stroked Tony’s thick hair. “Firstly, you screwed up, yeah, but it’s not like it was *all* your fault. Secondly, Abby’s not dead. Don’t torture yourself with ‘what ifs’, Tony. It goes nowhere. I should know.”


Tony glanced up at him, a question in his eyes. Gibbs fought with himself for awhile, struggling with his own reluctance to open up, but he couldn’t expect Tony to share if he didn’t give him anything back in return, so he forced himself on.


“Spent about three years after Shannon and Kelly died torturing myself with how I could have stopped it. Kelly begged me not to leave that last day. I just laughed – told her it’d be okay, I’d write to her, and I’d be home soon.”


Tony was gazing at him with a look of rapt attention, and Gibbs knew that however hard it was he had to just plough on and get the job done.


“Never did see her alive again – but I kept thinking – suppose she was trying to tell me something that day? I should have damn well listened. If I had, she’d still be alive.”


“And her daddy would have been tried for going AWOL,” Tony pointed out. “That’s not who you are, Boss. You’d never have deserted.”


“I know. Doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it every day and curse myself for being a stupid, stubborn, pig-headed bastard who didn’t listen to his little girl when she was telling him the most important thing he ever had to hear.” Don’t go, Daddy. Don’t go. He rubbed a hand across his eyes. “She died. And I regretted it every day for three years until I realised there was no rewind button. I didn’t get to live in a world in which she lived. Wish it had been me who died, not her. Would have gladly taken her place. She had her whole life ahead of her.”


“How did you learn to live with it, Boss?” Tony asked quietly, and there was an intent look in his eyes. “You said it took three years – does that mean you’ve found a way, or are there still bad days?”


Gibbs didn’t think they’d ever had a conversation this personal. It was easier to do all kinds of intimate things to each other’s bodies than open up and talk like this. He didn’t find it easy, but he had to admit it did seem to be helping.


“Yeah, Tony. There are still bad days.” He looked down on his sub. “For you too?” Tony went very still. Then he nodded. “You gonna talk to me about it?” Gibbs asked softly.


Tony blinked a couple of times and then shook his head. Gibbs thought that maybe that was enough progress for one day.


“Abby’s fine, Tony, and you have to get some rest. Close your eyes.”


Gibbs thought about blindfolding his sub – Tony responded well to sensory deprivation – but he didn’t want to lock him in with the unpleasant images and leave him with no escape. Tony closed his eyes, but they flickered open again a few seconds later. Gibbs tapped his head.


“I told you Abby’s fine, Tony. Don’t think about her in the car again.”




“Who?” Gibbs frowned.


“Jenny. What happened with Abby brought that up again. Know you were close to her, Boss.”


Gibbs thought there was something in the way Tony seemed at least as concerned about Gibbs’s reaction to losing Abby and Jenny as his own distress. Gibbs just couldn’t get a handle on what it was.


“Jenny had cancer, Tony. You know that. She chose to die in that diner instead of letting the cancer take her. I kinda respect that. You should too. Now close your eyes and get some sleep.” A thought occurred to him. “You know, when I was injured in combat the first time, I was confined to the house for a few weeks after they let me out of the hospital. Couldn’t go anywhere, or do anything – weak as a kitten. Pissed me off. I was a shitty patient; Shannon got sick of me pretty quick.”


“Yeah, I can imagine.” Tony grinned. Gibbs tapped his head.


“I hated having to sleep in the middle of the day, but I needed the rest. Shannon said I was irritating the hell out of her – cutting into her reading time – she loved reading. Started out as kind of a joke, a way to kill two birds with one stone, but she began reading to me. Something about her voice and the kind of boring books she liked too, I guess. Used to help me relax and switch off enough to get to sleep.”


“You’re gonna read to me, Boss?” Tony asked incredulously.


“You ever read a book in your life?” Gibbs grinned down on him.


Tony grinned back. “Sure – read ‘The Godfather’ when I was eleven – one of the kids passed it around at boarding school. Everyone knew you had to read page 27 – that’s where all the good stuff was. Everything I know about sex I learned from page 27 of ‘The Godfather’.”


Gibbs rolled his eyes. “Figures.”


He eased Tony’s head to one side, got off the couch, and went over to his bookshelves. He leafed through the books until he came to one of Shannon’s old favourites. He grinned; this one would do. It had always sent him to sleep pretty damn fast, back in the old days.


He returned to the couch, pulled Tony back into position, and opened the book.


“’Great Expectations?’” Tony read the title off the spine. “Charles Dickens?” he winced. “Sounds a bit heavy, Boss.”


“It’s either this or one of those period romances where everyone is polite and dances a lot, and the feisty heroine holds out for three hundred pages before marrying some wealthy guy with a stick up his ass,” Gibbs growled at him.


“When you put it like that…” Tony put his head down again.


Gibbs opened the book and cleared his throat. He wondered just how much of an idiot he’d feel reading out loud, but the point was to lull Tony to sleep, so he figured it was worth making an ass of himself.


He started reading and the years fell away. He remembered lying here, on this couch, his leg in plaster up to the hip, an irritable growl on his lips that faded when Shannon pulled up the rocker beside him and began to read.


She had a beautiful voice, full of expression, and she’d put on all the different character voices, bringing the book vividly to life. Gibbs had no intention of going that far – but looking down he saw he didn’t need to, because Tony’s breathing had slowed and deepened, and he was fast asleep.


Gibbs carried on reading out loud anyway. The book was much better than he remembered, and he started to enjoy it. Maybe he’d been too young to appreciate it back then, although he’d loved having Shannon read it to him. Then again, he’d have loved it if Shannon had read the phone book to him. The fact she was taking the time to do it, and the love and warmth in her voice as she read – those were the things that mattered.


He carried on reading out loud, stroking Tony’s hair repeatedly the whole time. It felt as if something had started to mend – something that had been a long time broken.






Tony was stiff when he woke. It was dark outside, but a lamp was glowing on the side table, and at some point Gibbs must have slid out from under him, as Tony could hear him moving around in the kitchen. Tony couldn’t believe how long he’d slept and how tired he’d been.


“You awake? Good.”


Gibbs returned to the living room with a tray full of food. Tony eyed it suspiciously. Usually they ordered take out, but Gibbs seemed to have actually cooked a meal – involving what appeared to be copious amounts of vegetables.


“Eat. It won’t kill you,” Gibbs chuckled, seeing the look on his face.


Tony sat up and ate slowly, wondering when Gibbs was going to do that thing he’d told him about. The thing he’d find hard to take. So far, Gibbs had just been kinda nice to him – which wasn’t *Gibbs*, and wasn’t what Tony deserved right now, so he was confused. He suspected that whatever “it” was, would take place after they’d eaten.


He therefore wasn’t surprised when Gibbs returned to the living room after he’d cleared their plates away and gestured with his head in the direction of the back yard.


“With me.”


So this was it. Finally. Tony had no idea what it could be. He gave Gibbs a grim nod and got up and followed his dom to the back door. Maybe Gibbs intended for him to sleep out here tonight. It was cold – but then again Gibbs had told him he wouldn’t like it, and he definitely didn’t like the idea of spending a night outdoors, naked, at this time of year.


“Here.” Gibbs removed Tony’s wrist and ankle cuffs and chains, much to Tony’s surprise, leaving him in just his collar, with the leash hanging from it. Then Gibbs surprised Tony even more by stripping off his own clothes and leaving them in a pile by the door. Tony stood there, uncertainly, wondering what the hell was going on. Gibbs gestured with his head towards the yard. “Follow me.”


“Is the yard secluded?” Tony hesitated in the doorway, aware of his own nudity.


Gibbs grinned. “Nobody can see ya. Or me.”


Gibbs walked out into the yard, and Tony followed him around the corner of the house to a…hot tub. There was a head of steam rising up out of it, and it looked warm and inviting. Tony looked at it, and then at Gibbs, as if his dom had gone insane.


“You have a hot tub? You? That doesn’t compute, Boss. It’s kind of like McGee having a hot girlfriend. You and hot tubs really don’t go together.


Gibbs laughed. “Made it myself. Get in.”


He climbed into the tub and gazed at Tony expectantly.


“Wasn’t a request, Tony. I want to play with my sub.”


Tony was even more confused now. He climbed into the tub and gave a satisfied groan as the warm water soothed his aching muscles. Gibbs fastened Tony’s leash to the handle of the tub, meaning that Tony was effectively tied in place. Then he straddled Tony and began gently playing with his body.


He swept his fingers over Tony’s chest, teasing his nipples lightly. Then he leaned down and kissed Tony’s collar bone.


“What are you doing?” Tony asked, gasping as Gibbs went lower and sucked a nipple gently into his mouth.


“Playing with you. Like I said.”


Tony stiffened. Gibbs drew back, one eyebrow raised.


“Your body belongs to me, Tony. I can play with it if I want,” he said in a silky voice.






“It’s nice,” Tony blurted.


“Good. I want it to be nice.”


Gibbs returned to his gentle sucking. Tony felt a wave of rebellion. He put his hands up and pushed against Gibbs’s shoulders, forcing him back. Gibbs’s raised eyebrow looked more dangerous this time.


“Why are you doing this to me?” Tony asked pathetically.


“Doing what, Tony?”


“Being nice. Talking to me, holding me, stroking me – hell, *reading* to me so I could get to sleep and now…now this? Why?”


Gibbs took hold of his chin and looked at him. “I told you this wouldn’t be easy, Tony, and you promised me your obedience.”


“This? This is it? This is the thing?” Tony asked in disbelief.


“Yeah – it’s been the thing all day, Tony.”




“You wanted it to hurt? Not gonna happen.” Gibbs shook his head. “This is what I’m gonna make you take. Think you can handle it?”


Tony stared at him in mute horror. Why was Gibbs being this way now, when Tony deserved to be yelled at and kicked around for screwing up? It didn’t make any sense.


“Don’t do this, Boss,” he begged.


“My call,” Gibbs shrugged. “You could have died in that car wreck yesterday, Tony. And this is what I wanna do to you because I’m pretty damn happy that you’re alive.”


He tilted Tony’s chin and claimed a sweet kiss from Tony’s stunned mouth. Tony couldn’t fight him. He never could fight Gibbs. And he *had* promised that he’d take whatever his dom wanted to hand out – he’d just never imagined it would be *this*.


Gibbs kissed him for a long time, until Tony couldn’t think straight any more. He couldn’t go anywhere, because he was tied to the damn hot tub; all he could do was sit here, in the warm water, and accept his dom’s gentle, loving caresses.


Gibbs tangled his fingers in Tony’s chest hair and then slid them lower, taking hold of Tony’s cock. “Get hard for me, Tony.”


He fisted Tony’s cock as he said that, and Tony moaned, unable to resist how good that felt. Gibbs knew how to move his hand expertly along Tony’s shaft, and all that warm water swirling around made it feel even better.


He was soon fully erect, and Gibbs continued to stroke him with long, languid movements of his hand. There was something powerfully dominant about Gibbs as he worked. He hovered over Tony, kissing his mouth repeatedly as he gently but firmly stroked his cock. Tony began to shiver – and it wasn’t from cold. Nobody had ever treated him this way before. When he screwed up, he got slapped down, and that was the way it should be. Why was Gibbs – Gibbs of all people – being nice to him? It wasn’t as if the guy had a reputation for being nice; everyone knew what a bastard he was.


Gibbs released his cock, but only so that he could run his fingers over Tony’s body instead. He seemed to find every sore spot Tony possessed, digging in just enough to make Tony wince.


“Muscles got pulled in the car crash. Need to work on them,” Gibbs informed him. “Get out.”


He untied Tony and pulled him back into the house by his leash. Tony saw a pile of towels by the door that he hadn’t noticed earlier. Gibbs wrapped him up in one, snagged one for himself, and then led Tony up the stairs and into the bedroom.


He dried Tony and then gestured to the bed. “Get on it. On your front.”


Tony did as he was told, in a kind of daze. Gibbs found a bottle of some kind of oil in the nightstand drawer. He opened it and sniffed it cautiously.


“One of the ex-wives left it hanging around, but it smells okay. Might as well make use of it.” He grinned.


He straddled Tony on the bed and poured some oil into his hands, warming them. Then he placed them gently on Tony’s back. He worked slowly, avoiding the worst of Tony’s burns, and Tony felt his sore muscles gradually begin to loosen. He buried his face in his pillow. He wasn’t sure how much of all this gentle loving care he could take, and he began to tremble in earnest.


“Tony – what’s going on?” Gibbs asked as he worked him with those gently soothing fingers.


“Dunno,” Tony muttered. He raised his head. “Please, Boss. I can’t take much more of this.”


“It hurting?”


“No. It’s not that.”


“Does it feel good?”


Tony closed his eyes. “Yes.” It did. It was tender and kind, gentle and relaxing. It soothed and calmed him, making him feel loved, and he wished he didn’t like it so much.


“Want to say your safe word, Tony?” Gibbs asked.


Did he? It was the closest he’d ever come to it. “No,” he whispered into the pillow.


He willed himself to just enjoy the attention that he knew he didn’t deserve. He felt Gibbs’s hands on his buttocks, parting them, and then he felt those skilful fingers slip inside him. His treacherous cock hardened again as Gibbs oiled and stretched his hole. Gibbs turned him onto his back and straddled him again. He took another handful of the oil and lubed his own hard cock, keeping eye contact with Tony the entire time.


“Please, Boss, please don’t be nice to me like this,” Tony begged.


“You’re my sub, and I want to make love to you,” Gibbs replied. “You know the word to use if you want me to stop.”


He parted Tony’s legs and settled down between them, then gently opened his buttocks and snubbed his cock into Tony’s entrance. The oil made it slip in easily, and Tony gave a gasp of pleasure as Gibbs inserted himself fully with a little push. Gibbs rested his arms on the bed on either side of Tony’s shoulders and lowered his head to kiss him gently, his cock fully inserted in Tony’s body. It felt so good. Too good.


Gibbs drew back, moving his hips slowly, and then he slid just as slowly back in again. It was lazy and gentle, tender and sweet. Gibbs kissed Tony on every inward stroke and kept eye contact every time he slid back out.


“Why?” Tony gasped, gazing up at him. “Why are you doing this to me, Boss?”


“Because you’re mine, and I want you to relax and feel happy.”


Tony looked at him blankly as Gibbs continued his tender love-making.


“Boss…please,” he whimpered, as Gibbs took his cock in his oiled hand and began stroking him towards climax.


“Come for me, Tony,” Gibbs urged. “Come for me, boy.”


Tony spurted out over Gibbs’s hand with a helpless shout of pleasure. Gibbs grinned down on him and claimed another kiss, then moved faster in Tony’s body until he too came, with a little gasp of satisfaction. He pulled out, settled down beside his sub, and drew the sheets over them both.


Tony rolled onto his side so that he was facing his dom.


“I don’t understand,” he said.


“Yeah. I know. That’s the problem, Tony.”


“I know you. I know what a hard-assed bastard you are. Why did you do this to me today? Why? Why were you so nice to me? Why didn’t you give me what I deserve?”


Gibbs gently stroked the wet ends of Tony’s hair away from his face.


“Who says I didn’t, Tony?”






Gibbs woke the next morning with his usual morning hard-on. His sub was still asleep, but Gibbs didn’t intend to let him sleep in again this morning. He had a plan for today, and it depended on him taking Tony deep into his sub space to make it work.


He ran his hands over Tony’s naked butt and moved Tony’s leg forward to gain better access to his sub’s hole. Then he rubbed lubricant on his hard cock and pushed himself into Tony’s body.


Gibbs loved this part of their morning ritual, rousing a sleeping Tony to wakefulness. Tony sighed and muttered something – after several weeks as Gibbs’s sub he was getting used to being woken like this, and Gibbs knew how much he loved it. Being woken in this way seemed to cure him of his morning surliness.


Gibbs started out slow, giving Tony time to wake up – he wasn’t always so merciful. Sometimes he rolled over and entered his sub hard and fast, taking Tony from fast asleep to wide awake in three seconds flat. He always liked the hoarse shout of befuddled surprise Tony gave when that happened.


Today he took his time. He ran his hand over Tony’s chest and fondled his right nipple gently, making Tony gasp and his eyelids flutter open. Then he moved his hand down to Tony’s cock, which was already half hard. Gibbs grinned and kissed his sub’s shoulder.


“Your training’s had to take a back seat this past week because of the Abby situation,” he whispered in Tony’s ear. “Time to get things back on track. You can touch yourself.” He reached up to unlock Tony’s hands from their bondage. “Come while I’m in you or not at all. I’ll race you.”


He took hold of Tony’s hips and began pumping into him with firm thrusts. Tony gave a little squeal and moved his hand down to begin frantically rubbing his cock. Gibbs fucked him vigorously, making Tony pant and moan with each inward stroke. Gibbs felt himself on the verge of coming and glanced over Tony’s shoulder – his sub was still moving his hand desperately along his cock, trying to reach his own climax.


“Too late, Tony,” Gibbs chuckled, thrusting another couple of times and then ejaculating deep in Tony’s body with a satisfied sigh.


“Boss…please…just a couple more strokes…” Tony begged, still moving his hand rapidly.


“Sure – keep going – but if you come now then you’re on punishment detail,” Gibbs reminded him.


“But you’re still IN me,” Tony protested.


Gibbs laughed. “Semantics, boy.” He pulled out, and Tony gave a groan of annoyance and banged his head back on the pillow in frustration, his hand stilling on his cock.


“Thought I’d work on you today,” Gibbs told him, patting his ass affectionately. “Play with you a bit.”


“Now?” Tony asked, his tone half anxious and half aroused.


Gibbs laughed. “We’ll take a shower, have something to eat, and then I’ll work on you ’til lunchtime. After that, we can go see Abby if you want?”


“Really?” Tony rolled over and looked at him hopefully, but Gibbs didn’t miss the spike of anxiety in his eyes.


Gibbs kissed his mouth. “Yup. And if you’re good while I work on ya, I might let you come later.”


Tony grinned, and Gibbs slapped his ass. He was pleased to see how rested Tony was looking; his face had lost its pallor and the dark shadows under his eyes had faded. The shadows *in* his eyes had also receded, but Gibbs was pretty sure they hadn’t gone for good. He hoped that a morning spent in intensive submission might get Tony in a good enough headspace to handle visiting Abby later.


They took a shower together, and Gibbs checked over Tony’s injuries to find that they were healing fine – he was certainly well enough to be gently played with. They ate breakfast, and then Gibbs took his sub down to the basement. He pulled out the spanking bench he’d made, which he’d finished off with some plush leather upholstery, making it comfortable for Tony to be strapped to for long periods of time.


He blindfolded Tony first – that always helped Tony go down into sub space. Then he made Tony put his knees on the padded shelves, and he bent him forwards so that his torso was resting on the bench. He put a cushion under Tony’s chest and angled his head sideways so that he could breathe easily. Then he pulled his cuffed wrists in front of him and fastened them to the sides of the bench. Finally, he tilted the bench forwards, so that Tony’s ass was lifted into the air.


This left Tony in a position of abject but entirely comfortable bondage. His knees were apart, stretching his buttocks and making his hole open and accessible. His weight was resting on his chest and knees, and with his hands tied he was completely vulnerable.


Gibbs squeezed a good dollop of lubricant onto his index finger and then slipped it into Tony’s hole. Tony tensed as the cool liquid made contact with his skin, so Gibbs slapped his ass lightly.


“Relax,” he ordered.


“Sorry – you took me by surprise – wish I could see what you’re doing back there, Boss.”


“You don’t need to see it,” Gibbs told him firmly. “You have no control over any of this, boy.”


“No, Boss.”


Gibbs grinned – he could see Tony going down into his sub space already.


Gibbs retrieved the items he’d brought down earlier and laid them on the workbench. He had something in mind that he hoped would keep Tony pre-occupied during his visit to Abby later and prevent him slipping back into his guilt-ridden mindset of the past couple of days.


He picked up a thick butt plug and went over to Tony. “Mouth open,” he ordered. Tony did as he was told, and Gibbs slowly fed the big butt plug into his mouth, stretching out his jaw in the process. “This is what you’re gonna take in your ass.”


Tony looked up at him again, an expression of arousal on his face that was evident even despite the fact that he was blindfolded with a big butt plug stuck in his mouth.


“We’ll work up to it,” Gibbs assured him. “You’ll wear it all afternoon. You’ve been talkin’ back too much. Need to remember who you belong to. The plug will keep you focussed.”


He removed the plug, and Tony gasped for air. Gibbs tousled his hair affectionately.


“You sure that thing will fit inside me, Boss?” Tony asked.


“Oh yeah – it’ll fit,” Gibbs insisted. “I’ll get you ready for it. By the time I’m done, you’ll be able to take it.”


Gibbs went back over to the workbench, picked up a vibrator, and covered it in lube. Then he returned to his sub.


“What’s your safe word, Tony?”




“Say it if you need to.”


He opened Tony’s buttocks and slid the vibrator gently into his hole, pushing it in all the way. Then he turned it on. Tony relaxed, making a little humming noise of pleasure in the back of his throat.


Gibbs looked down on him with a surge of pride. It was so damn *good* to play with a sub who relished his own submission like this. He glanced over at the butt plug on the workbench. Tony had no idea what he had in store for him, but Gibbs hoped it would help keep his sub’s mind off the worries of the previous day.






Tony sighed contentedly as the vibrator purred away in his ass. He preferred the feel of his dom’s warm cock, but this was pretty damn good. He could feel himself drifting off into that sweet place inside his own mind. He was tied and blindfolded, his ass raised up for his dom’s attention.


Gibbs slid the vibrator in and out of his ass, and Tony relaxed even more. The vibrator stimulated his nerve endings, making him sigh in pleasure. He wanted to rub his hard cock against the plush leather surface of the spanking bench, but the way he was tied made it impossible.


He was completely zoned out by the time Gibbs removed it. Then he felt his dom’s warm tongue sliding into his hole, and he zoned out even more. He felt boneless, completely lost in the fantastic sensation.
The events of the past few days started to recede in his mind. When Gibbs was doing things like *this* to him, it was all he could think about. He was moaning softly to himself, floating happily on a cloud of relaxed arousal, when Gibbs finished with his tongue and slid his fingers back into him. Two…three…four…Tony moved his head blearily.


“Not gonna fist me are you, Boss?” he asked.


“Not today. Why – think you’d like that?” Gibbs’s voice was a low, throaty growl.


“Head says no…cock says yes.” Tony grinned.


“I’ll remember that.”


Gibbs continued to work his fingers into Tony’s hole, stretching him out. Then they were gone – and Tony sighed happily as they were replaced by the familiar feel of his dom’s cock. Gibbs entered him easily and fucked him slowly, taking his time. He caressed his sub throughout, stroking his bound body, making Tony quiver and hum with pleasure. Tony was acutely aware of his own submission. Blindfolded, tied, ass up – all he could do was lie here and enjoy. He didn’t know if he’d get to come. He wasn’t sure he cared. This felt so good.


Gibbs fucked him for a long time, and then came, deep in Tony’s body. He withdrew and tapped Tony’s ass cheek.


“Hold it,” he said.


Tony frowned. “Hold what?”


“What I left inside you. That big plug is gonna keep it there for the rest of the day.”


Tony grinned and clenched his ass cheeks together. “That’s really kinky, Boss.”


“Well yeah. I know that, DiNozzo.” He heard Gibbs move away and then return. “Okay, now get ready for the plug,” Gibbs told him, his voice right by his ear now. He stroked Tony’s hair. “You’ll wear this plug all day to remind you who you belong to.”


“I know who I belong to.” Tony grinned up at him.


“Well, I figure a reminder won’t hurt. Open up.”


He tapped Tony’s ass again, and Tony felt the tip of the plug against his loosened hole. It went in slowly, stretching him wider and wider as it slid in. Then Gibbs pushed it in the last bit of the way, and Tony felt the flared base slot into place. It wasn’t as hard to take as he’d feared, although it felt big, filling him completely. He loved that it was trapping Gibbs’s come deep inside his body, and that it would hold it there all day.


“Gonna let you up now,” Gibbs said, undoing Tony’s bonds.


He helped Tony off the spanking bench but immediately tied him with his hands over his head, his back against the wall. Tony’s cock hardened again.


“You’ve been good – so I’m gonna give you another chance to come,” Gibbs told him. “Any time you want, Tony.”


Tony heard him kneel in front of him, and then he gave a hoarse shout as he felt Gibbs’s warm mouth envelop his hard cock.


“Oh fuck!” he sighed, as his dom’s lips sucked down expertly. Gibbs knew how to tease, how to swirl his tongue around the head of Tony’s cock, and how to make it feel so damn good. Tony tried to hold on, just to prolong the fantastic experience, but he couldn’t. He shouted and roared out his orgasm, pumping into Gibbs’s mouth and down his throat, and then hung there, in his bonds, utterly spent.


He heard Gibbs get up and then the blindfold was removed. Tony blinked; Gibbs was smiling at him. “One more thing, and we’re good to go.” Gibbs held up two little items of metal nipple jewellery. “They don’t hurt – they’re just decorative – but I want you to wear ’em for the rest of the day.”


The nipple decorations were in the shape of two little starbursts. Gibbs fastened them carefully onto Tony’s nipples, and Tony looked down on them, surprised by how much he liked the look. Gibbs was right – they didn’t hurt – they pinched slightly to stay in place though, and he knew he’d be aware of their cool metal caress all day.


“Good boy.” Gibbs kissed him, and Tony leaned eagerly into the kiss, enjoying the feel of his top’s fully clothed body against his own naked one, and the way it felt to be hanging here, helpless, completely at Gibbs’s mercy.


Gibbs drew back with another one of those dry chuckles. “You’re such a damn sub, Tony,” he said, reaching out to release him from his bonds.


“Yeah, and you’re a b…” Tony stopped himself in time. “A total dom,” he finished lamely.


“Oh yeah. I am.” Gibbs grinned again, looking very pleased with himself. “Now go and get dressed.” He jerked his head in the direction of the stairs. Tony started walking slowly towards them, every step making the plug’s presence keenly felt. “And Tony?” Tony stopped and glanced back. “I want you to wear the plug for the rest of the day, but if you feel you can’t, or you need to say your safe word, then tell me. Clear?”


“As crystal, Boss,” Tony said crisply.


He walked slowly up the stairs, aware of the big plug in his ass and the fact that it was holding his dom’s come inside him, and the cool metal of the starburst nipple decorations. He didn’t think he’d be able to concentrate on anything else all day. They were all he could think about.






They drove to the hospital, stopping off on the way to buy a bouquet of black roses. Gibbs grinned as Tony got out of the car at the hospital – his sub looked beautiful, in jeans and a loose shirt, but he was walking kind of stiffly, so Gibbs was pretty sure he was feeling that plug.


Abby was sitting up in bed when they arrived, looking considerably better than she had the last time Gibbs had seen her. Tony paused in the doorway, gazing at her. The big white bandage around her head and her pale face made her eyes seem particularly luminous, and for a moment Gibbs wasn’t sure if Tony was going to get through this. He rested a hand on his sub’s ass, pushing discreetly against the plug. It seemed to help focus Tony because his face lit up into a grin, and he bounded into the room and over to Abby’s bedside.


Abby signed an introduction to her mom, and Gibbs exchanged polite small talk with Gloria with his hands, while keeping one eye on Tony.


“Hey – you look fantastic!” Tony said, handing Abby the bouquet of flowers.


“You like the turban look?” she grinned at him, gesturing to the bandage on her head.


“Oh yeah. You look like one of those glamorous movie stars from the 40’s,” he joked. “Like Joan Crawford in ‘The Women’.”


She reached out and gently touched one of the cuts on the side of his face. He jerked his head away and then covered up the move with a bright grin.


“Just a few cuts. I’m not the one doing all the attention-seeking lying around in a hospital bed,” he told her, with a big DiNozzo wink.


“Yeah right! You’re just the dumb schmuck who crashed the damn car!” She grinned back happily, and Gibbs relaxed, watching them trade banter.


“So how long will you be off work?” Tony asked, leaning over and dropping a kiss on her cheek.


“I dunno – ’til my hair grows back maybe.”


“They shaved your head?” The DiNozzo mask froze for a second.


“Well yeah!” Abby grinned. “I’m cool about it – I’ve had pigtails for years, so it was time for a change. I thought I might wear it shaved for awhile, see if I like it.”


“Like Demi Moore in ‘GI Jane‘? Could be a good look on you!” Tony joked, the mask sliding back into place again as he threw out the movie references.


“Or, I could let it grow back in and have this really short crop,” Abby grinned. “A pixie look. You know, like Jenny used to have?”


Gibbs sighed inwardly. Talking about Jenny wasn’t a good idea right now.


“It might be better if I had *some* hair if I wanted to hide the scar, although I’m not sure I do really…” Abby continued, babbling on regardless.


“Scar?” Tony interrupted, in a tight voice.


“In my hairline,” she grinned. “I think it’s cool – I’ve always wanted a really dramatic scar. There used to be this kid at high school who had this wicked scar all the way up his arm and people were always asking him about it – he made loads of friends through that scar.”


Tony looked as if he was frozen into place. Gibbs made an excuse to Gloria and went over and touched his sub’s ass again, pressing against the butt plug. Tony jumped, and the grin returned to his face.


“So – are they feeding you okay in here, Abs?” he asked in a bright voice. “Want me to smuggle in some pizza?”


“Would you? I am SO sick of jello!” Abby replied gratefully.


That seemed to get the conversation back on track. Tony went into a routine about the different combination of pizza toppings he could get for Abby, some of which sounded revolting, and soon he and Abby were giggling happily together.


Gibbs heaved a sigh of relief – it looked as if his methods of focussing Tony on something other than Abby’s condition were working.


“Hey – I need to go file the case papers back at NCIS,” Gibbs told his sub. “You wanna come with me, or spend a couple of hours with Abby?”


“He’ll stay with me,” Abby told him on Tony’s behalf. “Mom needs a break, and Tony promised me some *details* about something, ” she said, with a sweet, knowing grin in his direction.


Gibbs rolled his eyes. He had a fair idea that those details might involve various aspects of his sex life, but Tony looked happy to stay so he didn’t argue. Gibbs leaned forward to kiss Abby goodbye, brushing his arm carelessly across Tony’s nipples, reminding him of the decorations he’d placed there.


“Be good,” Gibbs said meaningfully. Tony gave him a mock salute.


“Always, Boss,” he replied, with a nonchalant wink in Abby’s direction that implied he had no intention of being anything of the kind.


Gibbs slapped the back of his head, kissed Abby’s cheek, signed a goodbye to Gloria, and left.


When Gibbs picked up his sub from the hospital a few hours later, he found him as bright and cheerful as when he’d left him, so he figured that the time spent with Abby had really helped. Hopefully, the message had now been driven home, loud and clear, that she was going to be fine.


Tony was wincing a little as he walked into the living room. Gibbs turned to him with a grin.


“That butt plug bothering you, Tony?”


“Getting dry, Boss,” Tony said with a little grimace. “Could use a little lube if you want me to keep wearing it.”


“Oh, I think it can come out now.” It had done what he’d intended it to do and kept Tony preoccupied all afternoon. “C’mere.” He sat down on the sofa and beckoned Tony over, pointing between his knees.


Tony knelt obediently between his legs, and Gibbs began unbuttoning his shirt. Usually he ordered Tony to strip, but occasionally he liked undressing his sub himself, and right now he wanted to keep Tony in his submissive headspace.


“Oh, almost forgot,” Tony said, reaching into his jeans pocket, taking out his cell phone, and waving it in the air. “Friend of mine called – Matt Tyler. One of my old frat brothers.” He gave a broad wink at that. “We usually hook up with the other guys and go drinking every weekend, but I’ve been blowing them off since you and I took up, and they’re wondering where the hell I am. They’re going out tonight, and they want me to go along. Matt kind of wasn’t taking no for an answer, so I said I would. Is that okay?”


He gazed at Gibbs from shining green eyes that looked half pleading, half amused at asking permission for something he used to do without a second thought.


Gibbs paused in unbuttoning Tony’s shirt and thought about it for a moment. They’d been living in each other’s pockets since he’d taken Tony as his 24/7 sub, and while he liked having this degree of control over his sub’s life, he didn’t think it was healthy long-term. He was also missing the quiet solitude of his basement – he hadn’t worked on the boat in weeks. He didn’t mind that – working on Tony was much more fun – but a night spent reconnecting with his old hobby did sound inviting. There was also the fact that Tony had just been involved in a serious car accident – he wanted his sub to get over it and for that spark of mischief to return to his eyes. It was Saturday night after all – it wasn’t a school night.


“Okay. Be back by midnight and don’t pick anyone up,” he warned.


Tony laughed out loud. “Yeah, right, Boss. Like I’d dare, knowing you’re waiting at home with all those evil implements at your disposal. Besides – rule number five. You know I wouldn’t break that one, right?”


Gibbs didn’t remind him that he already had, just a few weeks ago, when he’d pulled up his shirt and let Jason Tulley touch his abs.


“You’d better not,” he grunted.


He finished unbuttoning his sub’s shirt and stripped it off him, revealing his decorated nipples.


“These hurt at all?” He ran his fingers lightly over the starbursts.


“Nah – just nip a little. I like how they look though, Boss!”


“Good.” Gibbs grinned at him. He wrapped his legs around Tony’s body to hold him in place. “Hands behind your back,” he ordered. Tony threw his cell phone down onto the coffee table behind him and obeyed the command, his eyes holding Gibbs’s gaze in rapt attention, already sparkling with arousal. Gibbs was turned on by how turned on his sub was, and he felt his cock twitch approvingly inside his pants.


He removed the little starbursts and threw them down on the coffee table next to Tony’s cell phone. Then he leaned forward and kissed Tony’s mouth firmly. At the same time he pinched Tony’s newly released nipples lightly, making Tony shout into the kiss. He swallowed down the protest, holding Tony still between his legs, forcing him to submit. Tony moaned and shuddered, leaning in against him.


Only when Gibbs felt the sigh of his surrender did he release his hold on his sub’s nipples. Tony moved his hands up to rub the tender nubs of flesh, but Gibbs grabbed them before they got there.


“I didn’t say you could move your hands,” he growled.


“No, Boss,” Tony shuddered gazing up at him helplessly.


“I’m not done yet.”


Gibbs lowered his head, took one of Tony’s nipples in his mouth, and sucked it gently. Tony squirmed and sighed happily. Gibbs sucked down harder and then moved on to the other nipple, warming and soothing it until Tony was a quivering, moaning wreck between his legs. Gibbs liked the little noises his sub made. He whimpered so enticingly – it made Gibbs’s cock harden even more.


He released his sub and tousled his hair affectionately. Tony looked so beautiful when he was being played with. His eyes always glowed a particularly intense shade of green, and he was never shy about moaning and sighing – and those sounds were music to Gibbs’s ears when he was in his dominant mindset.


“Stand up and lose the jeans.”


Tony did as ordered. Gibbs circled him slowly, enjoying the sight of his sub’s naked body. He was also checking his condition at the same time. His cuts and grazes were healing fine and the burns on his back were already much improved.


“Bend over and grab your ankles,” he ordered.


Tony glanced at him in surprise. This wasn’t one of the positions Gibbs had taught his sub, but he was in the mood for it tonight. Gibbs raised an eyebrow, and Tony hastily bent over and took hold of his ankles.


“Oh that’s good,” Gibbs purred. “You look damn fine like this, boy.” He ran his hand over Tony’s naked, exposed butt, liking the feel of all that solid, pale flesh under his fingers. He took hold of the protruding end of the plug. “Hold on tight,” he warned.


He placed one hand on Tony’s back to brace him, and then he removed the plug with a firm tug. Tony gave a strangled little yelp but didn’t break position. Gibbs examined his hole – he could still feel the evidence of his earlier use of his sub and that turned him on.


He retrieved a tube of lubricant from the cupboard and returned to where Tony was bent over double. He squeezed a generous dollop of the cool lubricant onto his fingers and then rubbed it carefully into Tony’s hole, enjoying how easily it opened up to him now after hours of being stretched by the plug.


“Now, stay in that position while I fuck you. You can come while I’m in you – if you can,” Gibbs chuckled, because he doubted Tony would manage it in this position.


He undid his fly, grasped Tony’s hips firmly in his hands, and slid his cock easily into Tony’s hole. Gibbs liked this angle – Tony was bent over almost double, his hands wrapped around his ankles, and he was at a perfect height to be well fucked. Gibbs thrust into him slowly, enjoying the feel of all the surrendered flesh beneath him. Tony was in the most abject position, and Gibbs liked the way his balls slapped against his sub’s warm flesh with each inward thrust.


Tony wasn’t able to touch his own cock, and Gibbs had no intention of doing it for him. He didn’t think it would do Tony any harm to remember that his dom’s pleasure came first, and that there would be occasions when he didn’t get to orgasm.


Gibbs rode his sub in a leisurely way for several minutes before speeding up and finally shooting his load into him with a roar of satisfaction. He withdrew, tucked his cock away in his pants, and then allowed Tony to straighten up. He was surprised to see the sticky come on Tony’s belly where his sub had ejaculated, and he laughed out loud.


“Y’know, anyone would think that turned you on, Tony.”


“It was evil. In fact, you’ve been particularly evil all day,” Tony griped.


“Clearly that’s the way you like me,” Gibbs grinned, with a meaningful glance at his sub’s sticky belly. “Now go get cleaned up for your evening with the frat boys.”


He enjoyed watching Tony’s naked body as he ran towards the stairs, his cock swinging happily.


Gibbs gave a chuckle and went to grab himself a beer. Tony came back down half an hour later, freshly showered and wearing a pair of tight black jeans and a loose green shirt.


“I’m off now, Boss!” he called, grabbing his keys from the shelf and looking around for his cell phone.


“Not like that,” Gibbs told him. Tony glanced at him questioningly. “Those jeans are too tight – you can see *everything* as you’re not wearing any underwear.”


“And whose fault is that?” Tony arched an eyebrow.


“Go change the jeans,” Gibbs ordered. “And wear the blue shirt.”


“Why? Does this shirt show my nipples or something?” Tony looked down at it questioningly.


“Nope. The shirt looks fine.” Gibbs shrugged.


“So, you’re just ordering me to change it because you’re my dom, and you can?”


Gibbs stared him down. “That’s about it, Tony, yeah.”


“Right.” Tony stood there, uncertainly. “You really mean it?”


“Yup!” Gibbs nodded. “Hey – I’m allowing my sub to go out for the evening, DiNozzo. Didn’t say you’d have it all on your own terms. Go change the jeans *and* the shirt.”


“Ah, okay – you’re exercising your power and authority over me in a mindless way simply to prove to me that I must bend to your evil will. Got it, Boss!” Tony gave him a cheeky grin and then ran back up the stairs again before Gibbs could slap his head.


Gibbs returned to the living room to pick up his beer, chuckling to himself. It looked like Tony was back to being his usual smart-mouthed self, and Gibbs was damn pleased about that.


Tony flurried into the living room three minutes later, wearing a pair of loose, faded, old blue jeans and the blue shirt, as ordered.


“Happy now?” he asked, doing a little jig in front of Gibbs so that his top could see that his orders had been obeyed.


“Not yet. Come here.” Gibbs beckoned him over. Tony came, his shoulders hunched up around his neck, clearly expecting a head-slap. Gibbs just grabbed him and kissed him instead. “Have a good night, DiNozzo. Don’t be late home.”


“No, Dad,” Tony grinned. His smile faltered momentarily, and Gibbs was reminded of that conversation he’d had with Walter about Tony’s daddy issues. Then the smile was pasted back on Tony’s face, as bright and shiny as before. “Don’t wait up for me, Jethro,” he said, and then he cheekily pinched Gibbs’s ass and made a run for the door before Gibbs had a chance to deliver a well-deserved swat to his backside.


Gibbs went upstairs, still grinning to himself at the sheer joy of having *Tony* back. The past week had been tough, and it’d been a while since they’d had some fun and really played. Taking Tony down into his sub space today had been a gamble, but it was one that had clearly paid off.


Gibbs took a long, hot shower, then changed into a comfortable pair of old sweats and went downstairs. He ordered take out and sat and watched the news while he ate it. It was nearly ten before he decided it was time to head towards the basement.


He had just reached the living room door when he heard the ring of a cell phone. It wasn’t his ring tone, so he hesitated, disoriented for a moment. Then he realised that Tony had left his phone behind amidst the distraction of changing his clothes.


The ringing stopped – and then started again a few seconds later. Gibbs picked it up and glanced at the caller display, but he didn’t recognise the number. Thinking it might be urgent, he snapped the phone open and answered it.


“Hey, Motherfucker,” a voice answered. “Miss me?”


“Who the hell is this?” Gibbs growled.


“You know who this is, DiNozzo. Don’t be any more of a stupid shit than you already are. You’ve got two weeks, loser – then I’m comin’ to get you.”


“Is that so?” Gibbs asked, in a steely voice.


There was silence, then a click, and the call ended. Gibbs glared at the cell phone. What the hell had *that* been about? Who was that man? He had called Tony by name so it clearly wasn’t a wrong number. Gibbs didn’t like the implicit threat in his words, or the way he’d spoken to *his* sub. His gut told him that something was badly wrong, and he needed to find out what it was – now.


He flicked through the address book on Tony’s phone until he came to an entry for Matt Tyler, and then he dialled the number. A few rings later, a man’s voice answered.


“Hey, Tony! How you doing, buddy? Long time no speak.”


Gibbs frowned. “Is this Matt Tyler?”


“Uh…yeah. Who is this?”


“Leroy Jethro Gibbs,” he replied tersely.


“Oh man – Tony’s boss? Is he okay? He hasn’t been hurt, has he?”


“Not yet,” Gibbs growled, his fingers itching to get hold of the sub who had clearly lied to him about where he was going this evening. “Tony left his cell phone behind. He mentioned something about meeting his old frat brothers tonight, so I thought I’d see if I could track him down and tell him I have his phone.”


“Meeting the frat brothers?” Matt sounded puzzled. “I live in Hawaii now! Long way to go for a night out! We meet up once a year – the guys come down here for a long weekend over Spring Break, or we meet at Eric’s over in California – none of us even live in the same state any more, so it’s a big deal getting us all together.”


“I see.” Gibbs perched against the back of the couch. “So you don’t know any of the guys Tony could be meeting up with for a drink tonight?”




“And you guys don’t meet up and go out drinking every Saturday night?”


“No. Hell, Gibbs, we’re all getting kind of old for that these days. I’m married – got twin daughters, born last Christmas, and the other guys are all settled too. And Tony…he talked the talk, but it’s a long time since I’ve seen him walk the walk. First there was that Jeanne chick, and then he…well, to be honest, we’ve all been kind of worried about him. We know something bad happened at work, although he never told us the details. He went kind of quiet on us, and then he went away to sea, and beyond the occasional email he hasn’t been in touch since.”


“Thanks, Matt. I must have misheard him.”


Gibbs threw the cell phone down on the couch angrily. He had no way of contacting Tony – no way of even knowing where he’d gone this evening. This had gone from bad to worse in ten short minutes. First, the call from that guy making what sounded like some kind of threat against Tony, and now the realisation that Tony had lied to him about where he was going this evening. What the hell *else* had Tony lied about?


Tony hid things as easy as breathing – and lying to keep things hidden was second nature to him. Now Gibbs remembered just how shiny and bright the DiNozzo mask had been since they got back from the hospital.


“Damn it!” he roared, thumping his fist angrily against the back of the couch.


He’d been fooled, as so many people often were, by the Tony DiNozzo smoke and mirrors act. Shame on Tony for fooling him, but shame on *him* for being fooled. After eight years, he should know Tony better than this. He’d been so relieved that Tony was being himself again that he hadn’t seen that he was getting the fake Tony and not the real one. Maybe he’d never had the real Tony. Maybe he’d never even got *close* to having the real Tony.


Tony had always been elusive – just when you thought you knew him, he slipped away from you. Who the hell *knew* who the real Tony was, and what he was trying so hard to hide?


Gibbs wondered if Tony’s disappearance had anything to do with the sinister caller, but that bastard had said he’d be back in two weeks, and he’d see Tony then, so clearly Tony hadn’t been going out to meet him this evening.


Gibbs realised, with a growl of frustration, that there was nothing more he could do. Tony was gone for the evening, and Gibbs would just have to wait until his errant sub came home.


But then he’d want answers – and they’d better be damn good ones.






Tony swung open the front door and walked unsteadily along the hallway. He paused outside the basement door and glanced at his watch. He grinned; two minutes to midnight. Gibbs couldn’t fault him for his timekeeping. Down in the belly of the basement, he could hear the soft rasp of sander on wood. It was an old, familiar sound, and he loved how warm and safe it made him feel.


He opened the basement door and lurched forwards to grab the handrail.


“Hey Boss!” he called. “I’m home…on time.” He pointed to his watch triumphantly and then half walked, half fell down the stairs.


Gibbs glanced up as Tony staggered the last few steps and dropped onto his ass on the second to bottom stair.


“Have a good evening?” Gibbs asked, returning to his work, gently sanding down the ribs of the boat. Tony loved watching him work.


“Yeah. Great.” Tony nodded vigorously. “I’m drunk,” he added, with a little belch.


“I can see that.” Gibbs moved his hands forward forcefully, and the sander made a little humming sound. “How was Matt?”


“Fine. Great. He’s a good guy.” Tony nodded again.


“How many of you were there?” Gibbs asked, barely sparing him a look as he concentrated on the boat.


“’bout eight,” Tony shrugged. “Frat brothers,” he added. “Good guys. All of ’em. Known ’em for years.”


“It’s great you all live in DC,” Gibbs commented. “Makes it easier for you to get together.”


“Yeah. Great.” Tony nodded. He got up and lurched over to Gibbs. “Don’ I get a kiss?” he asked, leaning forward.


A hand shot out and hit his chest hard, and next thing he knew he had been shoved up against the wall.


“Oh, I don’t think so,” Gibbs said dangerously. He was pressed up close, his muscles hard and unyielding. Tony stared into a pair of furious blue eyes.


“You know,” he said softly, reality puncturing his inebriated state.


“Yeah. I know,” Gibbs snapped. “You left your cell phone behind. I called Matt. In Hawaii.”


Tony had the grace to wince. “Sorry ’bout that.”


“Where the hell were you tonight, Tony?”


“I needed a goddamn drink!” Tony growled. “And I knew you wouldn’t let me just go out fucking drinking by myself.”


“So it was easier to lie to me?”


“Yes. It was easier to lie to you,” Tony admitted. He hated the dull, disappointed expression that crept into Gibbs’s eyes when he said that. “Hell, you know me, Gibbs. I told you I’d let you down. You *knew* that when you took me on.”


Gibbs loosened the pressure on Tony’s chest, but he didn’t pull away.


“Someone called for you,” he said, his steely gaze never leaving Tony’s face.




“Didn’t leave his name. Nice guy. Called ya ‘motherfucker’. Wanted to remind you that he’d be back in a couple of weeks.”


“Oh.” Tony bit on his lip.


“Who is he, Tony?”




Gibbs increased the pressure on Tony’s chest again, keeping him immobilised against the wall.


“Who is he, Tony?” he repeated.


“Let me rephrase that – nobody you need to know about,” Tony replied, in a cold tone.


The expression in Gibbs’s eyes changed, hardening. “That really the way you wanna play this, Tony?” he asked, in a deceptively soft voice.


Tony sighed. “It’s nothing. Just a guy I pissed off when I was an agent afloat. He gets drunk sometimes and calls me to blow off steam.”


“What’s his name?”


“I don’t remember,” Tony lied. Gibbs raised a disbelieving eyebrow. “Look, if I tell you, then you’ll go after him with a baseball bat, and he’s really nothing. He’s harmless.”


“Didn’t sound that way. He made a threat against you.”


“So?” Tony shrugged, looking away. “Like I said, I can handle him…”


Gibbs grabbed his jaw and made him look at him. “He made a threat against *my* sub,” he hissed. “He’s not just yours to handle, DiNozzo. That makes him mine too.”


Tony blinked. “Okay…I understand. Listen – the guy’s a bully. He runs a flight deck crew on the Seahawk. I thought he was beating up on his men, so I did an investigation.”


“And?” Gibbs’s fingers were digging into his skin.


“And nothing. I told the skipper, showed him what I’d found, but he said this flight deck chief was just hard on his men – he hadn’t crossed a line.” Tony shrugged.


“You disagreed?”


Tony took a deep breath. “Yes. The skipper seemed to think I was some namby-pamby, soft-assed civilian who didn’t understand the rough and tumble of military discipline.” Tony gave a derisory little snort. “I tried to tell him that after years working under Leroy Jethro Gibbs I sure as hell knew the meaning of military discipline, and that in my considered opinion this crossed the line, but he wouldn’t listen to me.”


“So what did you do?”


“I took the chief petty officer to one side and told him that if he hurt any of his men again then I’d break his fucking legs. What the hell else *could* I do? Skipper wasn’t any help. Doc hated me because I blew his prescription racket. Nobody had my six on that damn boat, Boss. You weren’t fucking there. You don’t know what it was like. I did my best. I tried to help his men.”


“And you made an enemy in the process.” Gibbs finally released him and took a step back.


“Yeah. He hates my guts. Calls me to remind me that the Seahawk will be home soon, and that when it docks he’ll come after me. That’s all. He doesn’t mean it. He’s drunk. Like I said, I can handle it.”


“And like I said, it isn’t just yours to handle any more. You’re *my* sub, Tony. You should have told me about this. How often has he been calling you?”


“Every week or so for the past few weeks,” Tony admitted.


“And you thought you’d keep this to yourself?” Gibbs looked furious.


“I didn’t know it was important.”


“Some guy calls you regularly to threaten you, and you don’t think it’s *important*?” Gibbs asked incredulously.


Tony blinked in surprise. “I guess I’m not used to having anyone in my life who gives a damn,” he said quietly. “Nobody ever has before, Boss. I’ve always handled everything alone. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I figured it’d go away, and if it didn’t – well, I’d take care of it.”


Gibbs’s expression softened. “Okay. That, at least, I can understand. Tell me who this guy is. If he’s a serving naval officer, and if he’s making threats against you, then we can have him up on charges.”


“No!” Tony snapped. Gibbs’s eyes flashed. “No,” Tony repeated in a softer tone. “It’s more complicated than that, and it’s really nothing. This guy…he’s just drunk. It’s nothing.”


Gibbs didn’t look convinced. Tony decided it was time to change the subject.


“You should punish me,” he said. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. “For lying to you about where I was going this evening. I went to a bar I know. It’s kind of an old dive, but they let you sit there and drink yourself stupid. I didn’t meet anyone there. I just sat there and got drunk. You should punish me for it.”


“That what you want, Tony?” Gibbs put his head on one side and gazed at him thoughtfully.


“Not what I want. What has to happen,” Tony told him. He leaned forward and shoved Gibbs’s shoulder angrily. “You need to punish me, Gibbs. I’m a fucking screw-up!”


Gibbs stood there, unmoving. Tony thumped his shoulder again, harder this time.


“Oh c’mon! You’re fucking angry, Boss. I know you are. A minute ago you wanted to pound your fist into my face. I could feel it in your body. You still do. You want to let rip and kick out. You should do that. I can take it. You’ll feel better if you do.”


Gibbs reached out a hand, grabbed hold of his shirt collar, and pulled him close.


“Want me to punch you, Tony? Want me to knock you to the floor and then kick you around a bit?”


“Yeah. It’ll make you feel better about me lying to you. Just do it, Gibbs! C’mon, what kind of a pussy are you?” he taunted. “Just go with it. Let it out – all the anger and pain. I can take it.”


“Oh, I just bet you can,” Gibbs growled. He yanked on Tony’s collar, pulling him half off his feet, and raised his fist.


“That’s it,” Tony goaded. “Punch me. Do it! C’mon! I won’t fight back.”


Gibbs lowered his fist and dropped Tony back onto his feet again. “You honestly think I’d ever punch you?” he asked quietly. “Seriously, Tony? You think I’d lose control like that? You think I’d drop you to the floor and kick you around the place? You think that’s the kind of man I am?”


Tony had the sickening realisation that Gibbs had seen right through him from the beginning and had never even been close to losing control, let alone seriously taking a swing at him.


Gibbs reached out and gently touched Tony’s face with the back of his hand, stroking softly. Tony pulled away angrily.


“Why, Tony?” Gibbs demanded. “Why would you think I’d do that? Why would you *want* me to do that?”


“She’s going to be fucking scarred for life,” Tony snapped at him. “They shaved off her *hair*, Gibbs. Her pigtails are gone…” He felt the words choke him. “She’s sitting in that fucking hospital bed being fucking brave as hell when she came this close to being killed, and it’s all my fucking fault, and you won’t even fucking punish me like I deserve. No wonder I had to go out and get drunk on my ass tonight.”


“That’s what all this is about?” Gibbs asked. “Me refusing to punish you?”


Tony wrapped his arms around his body and gazed at his dom from sullen eyes. “Yeah,” he muttered. “I’m sorry I lied to you, Gibbs, but I really needed that fucking drink.”


Gibbs nodded slowly. “It’s late, and you’re too damn drunk to be having this conversation. And I’m too damn angry to be having it with you!” he snapped when Tony opened his mouth to protest. “Go to bed. Sleep it off. We’ll talk in the morning.”


“Great. Fine. Fucking fine. Whatever.”


Tony began stomping up the stairs. He heard Gibbs behind him, following him up into the bedroom. Tony took off his clothes and left them in an untidy heap on the floor, then crawled into the bed. A second later he felt himself being hauled out again by the scruff of his neck.


“Not there,” Gibbs growled. “If you sleep in my bed then you sleep in bondage, and you’re too damn drunk for that to be safe tonight. You can sleep it off on the floor.”


He threw a pillow onto the floor and tossed a blanket on top of it. Tony glared at him for a moment, but he was too tired and too drunk to argue. He threw himself down onto the floor, turned his back on Gibbs, pulled the blanket over his head, and closed his eyes.






Gibbs stood in the bedroom, his hands on his hips, glaring down on his sub for awhile, but Tony just lay there with his back to him, unmoving. Eventually Gibbs turned and left the room, pausing only to kick aside the heap of clothes that Tony had left on the floor.


He pounded down the stairs and back into the basement, went over to the workbench, opened the top drawer, and pulled out the big, brown envelope. He opened it up and drew out the file inside. Tony’s face smiled up at him from the photo on the cover, his green eyes happy and shiny, and his wide grin as bright and deceptive as always.


Gibbs was about to open the file when he hesitated. Was this the right move? His head told him that it was, but his gut wasn’t so sure.


He stood there for a moment, trying to decide, and then shoved the file back into the envelope.


“Damn!” he growled, thumping down his fist on the work bench.


He reached for his cell phone and called the one person he trusted to give him the kind of honest, impartial advice he needed right now.






There weren’t many people for whom Walter Skinner would tear himself away from his slave’s warm body at 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but Leroy Jethro Gibbs was definitely on the list.


The door was open, as always, so Walter walked right on in. He found Gibbs sitting in the kitchen, his hand clasped firmly around a mug of coffee.


“Hey.” Walter sat down at the table opposite his old friend. “Bad huh?” His gaze raked over Gibbs’s tensely muscled shoulders, and he took in the deep, dark anger in his eyes.


In front of him, on the kitchen table, was a large brown envelope.


“Tony’s dossier?” Walter asked, jerking his head towards it. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. “Well, they put the ‘I’ into FBI for a reason, and I am Deputy Director over there,” Walter chuckled. “Not that it takes a trained investigator to figure this one out. You opened it?”


“Nope.” Gibbs shook his head.


“That why you called me?”


“Yup. Want some coffee?”


Walter nodded, and Gibbs got up and poured him a mug of coffee. He handed it to Walter wordlessly.


“What happened?” Walter asked, taking a sip.


He sat back and listened as Gibbs filled him in on the events of the past week.


“Well you said it was all a bit too easy,” he grunted, when Gibbs had finished.


“Yeah – I knew it was going too well. Some kind of crisis had to happen, and I guess this is it.”


Walter leaned forward. “The boy feels guilty,” he said.


Gibbs rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I’d figured that one out, Gunny!” he snapped, in an exasperated tone. “There’s an ‘I’ in NCIS too – stands for the same damn thing!”


“He blames himself for Abby’s accident – sounds as if he’s got at least some reason to as well,” Walter said, ignoring the outburst.


“Yeah – he does. But me and Abby have to take a share of that blame too.”


“Well, she’s taken enough punishment – and you, you don’t have the luxury of it,” Walter told him bluntly. “Your punishment is dealing with the fallout. That’s always how it is for us, Jethro. You know that. You and me – we’re always the ones who have to take the ultimate responsibility. Your punishment is having Abby in the hospital and a sub who is spiralling out of control. That’s your part of this mess, Jethro.”


Gibbs glared at him.


“What? You didn’t call me over to have me sugar-coat this, Jethro. You wanted to hear it straight and that’s exactly how I’m telling it.”


“Yeah. I know,” Gibbs grunted. “Question is – what do I do now?”


“Why won’t you punish him?” Walter asked curiously. “If that’s what he wants so much? Why not just do it?”


“Feels wrong,” Gibbs replied, with a terse little shake of his head. “In my gut. Feels kinda unhealthy. He fucked up, but he’s only human. We all fuck up sometimes. And it’s not part of our relationship – I don’t mind punishing him for stuff we’ve laid ground rules about, but if we bring in every aspect of our lives and make that punishable too…” He shook his head. “I don’t want that.”


“I can understand that, but he’s feeling guilty,” Walter pointed out. “And when he feels guilt to the extent that he’s goading you into taking a swing at him – well, wouldn’t it be better just to punish him for it and then tell him it’s over?”


“I don’t think it’s that simple. I think there’s a helluva lot of guilt there. I’m not even sure it’d *be* over for him, even if I did punish him. I’m not sure that’s how he works.”


“Maybe.” Walter nodded. He considered it for a moment, weighing up his options, and then he exhaled sharply and ploughed on. “Look, Jethro, there’s something I don’t usually talk about, but it’s relevant, so I’m going to tell you. It’s confidential, but I know I can trust you, of all people, not to tell anyone.”


Gibbs gave a curt nod of agreement.


“I have a lot of responsibilities,” Walter began. “Both in my job, and because I have a 24/7 slave too – he’s a job all by himself.” He gave a little grunt. “Always was, always will be. Nobody could ever call Fox low maintenance.”


“No arguments from me on that score,” Gibbs replied with a wry grin. “Tony’s not like Fox though. He has his moments, and he’s got a smart mouth on him, but he’s always been obedient and eager to please. In fact, he’s been pretty damn easy to handle up until now.”


“Because he’s hiding from you – hiding who he really is, the way he always *has*,” Walter pointed out.


“Yeah.” Gibbs slammed his fist down on the envelope on the table in front of him. “Damn it! I should have *seen* that. I know what he’s like for Christ’s sake.”


“So you fucked up. Like you said, we all do that sometimes. Me too.” Walter gave a self-deprecating grin. “Which brings me back to what I was saying about responsibilities. Sometimes, Jethro – not often, and not for a long time now – but sometimes, I get this need for release.”


“What kind of release?”


“Physical punishment. I used to go to a good friend of mine, a dominatrix called Elaine. She took care of it. It was always my call – nobody topped me, or tied me in place. I said when I’d had enough and it stopped then – immediately. It wasn’t a scene – it was just a kind of catharsis. Can’t tell you why I needed it, or why it worked, but it always did.”


Gibbs was looking at him in surprise. Walter grinned.


“Hey, Jethro – we’re not all such natural born doms as you,” he said softly. “And we all have our own ways of dealing with stress. You have that damn boat of yours, and Tony has…well, by the sounds of it he has alcohol, he has sex, and he has you. Now he’s asking you to do this for him.”


“I won’t use him as a punching bag, Walter,” Gibbs snapped.


“Of course not! They’re our boys, Jethro. We love ’em, despite all the headaches they give us. No, I’m talking about giving him what worked for me. Tell him that you’re doing this for him – that it’s in his control, and that you’re just facilitating what he needs.”


“You think that’d work?”


“I have no idea.” Walter shrugged. “But if it doesn’t – well, then you’ll have run out of options, and you’ll know what you have to do.” He picked up the big brown envelope on the table and held it up.


Gibbs reached out and took it with a grunt. “Yeah, Walter. If it doesn’t work, then I know what I have to do.”





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