No Drum Beats for You – NaNo 2014

Title: No Drum Beats for You
Author: Bindingdiva
Fandom: NCIS.
Relationship: Gibbs/DiNozzo
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: PLEASE NOTE: There will be reminiscences of child physical and emotional abuse, and non-con involving adults. If this will trigger, please do be aware before reading. This story is set in the worlds built by Xanthe, in her BDSM Universe and Keira Marcos’ Ties That Bind, but has no links to the story arcs of either series. The main characters in this story will eventually have a D/s relationship, with everything that entails. There will be some spoilers for the second season of NCIS, but it was so long ago I’m not sure anyone needs to be warned. Canon-level violence.

Summary: While Life Bonds are the outcome of long and arduous training, spontaneous Soul Bonds are a myth; a fiction beloved by romance writers and teenage subs. Dom Jethro Gibbs knows this for certain – after all he found and lost the love of his life and never had the slightest urge to ‘bond’, right? So why now, in the Emergency Psychiatric Ward of the Mount Vernon Sanatorium in Washington DC, does he feel an inexplicable pull to a John Doe sub, whose mystery is only outshone by his beauty.

Word Count: 101,818

A/N: Although I know the convention for Japanese names is family name first, I have used the Western convention of given name first, really only to help myself keep track of all the Ibu family. 😀 I had such fun playing in the sandbox that Xanthe and Keira created. There was so much scope to place my characters in the overarching world they both created. If you haven’t read either of these Universes, then some of what is contained here will be a little mysterious – but maybe it will encourage you to read the real mistresses of the genre. There is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from one of Keira’s OC’s, Patrick Sheppard and also the submissive ownership act is also completely her idea. The rumour about Gerard de Sade is a nod to the central story in her Ties that Bind. Soul bonds and life bonds are part of Xanthe’s Universe, as is the idea of a wedding belt. I hope they would feel that I have stayed within the guidelines they have set for authors writing in their worlds. Thank you both for making such a rich and varied Universe.

Banner by Bindingdiva

Banner by Bindingdiva

 

Bethesda Military Hospital

“I hate twilight shifts midweek. I hate them with the hate of a thousand hates!”

“Then why do you always sign up for them.”

Melissa sighed and looked over at her colleague. “Because it’s good money and there are lots of pretty soldiers and sailors to look at.”

Joey snorted, and turned another tile on the minesweeper game on his monitor. “Problems with your Dom, honey? I thought you were all lovey dovey and, I quote, ‘The happiest I’ve ever been’.”

Melissa fingered the fine silver collar around her neck and smiled sappily. “Oh I’m happy, but it doesn’t mean I can’t look at all the toppy eye candy, now does it?”

The male nurse smirked and nodded over to the main doors where a muscled marine was talking intently into a cell phone. “And there’s plenty of that.”

The phone on the reception desk rang and they both scrambled to grab it. Melissa got there first and smirked at Joey as she answered with a perky, “Bethesda Naval Hospital, how may I help you?”

Joey tuned out the conversation and went back to his game. He made a couple of moves and then hissed as he realized he’d fucked up and needed to reset.

“Hey, I need help over here…Somebody help me with this guy…”

Joey looked up at the sudden cry and saw the hunky marine struggling with the slumped form of a young man, his clothes soaked bright red and sticking to his skin. He was bleeding heavily, rivulets of fresh blood running under his unbuttoned shirtsleeves and dripping from lax fingertips onto the tiled floor.

Melissa was already calling for a trauma team as Joey rounded the desk and ran over to the gory scene. He helped the Marine get the man down onto the floor and began trying to locate where the blood was coming from. He hissed in shock as he pushed up one of the blood soaked shirtsleeves to find a wound on the man’s inside forearm. It was a deep, clean cut, almost eight inches long, spanning from his inner elbow almost to his wrist. Joey grabbed the shocked Marine’s hand and got him to squeeze the arm tightly, instructing him to hold it up in the air.

On checking the other arm, he found an almost identical wound and his heart sank. This looked like a serious suicide attempt. He copied the first aid measures and huffed out a relieved breath as he heard the sound of running feet coming across the reception area.

The team quickly transferred the pale, unconscious man onto a gurney and then he was gone, surrounded by nurses and doctors, leaving only a puddle of blood and a concerned looking Marine.

“Who is he?” Joey asked gently.

The marine, whose name-tag identified his as ‘Mabbert’, shook his head. “I’ve no idea. I’ve been visiting my buddy in the ICU and was just leaving when that guy literally fell through the doorway into my arms. He passed out as I caught him.”

Joey shook his head. “I’ll need your name and contact details in case NCIS or the locals want a word with you.”

The marine nodded and followed Joey back to the desk, where Melissa was filling out a report, typing furiously. She looked up as they reached her and shook her head.

“Next time I complain about midweek shifts…”

“I’ll Gibbs-slap you.” Joey promised.

Melissa winced. Oh yeah, that was incentive enough to never do it again.

 

Mount Vernon Sanatorium. Washington DC.

It hadn’t changed one bit. Dark tiled floor, generic art securely fixed to muted blue walls, the tall picture windows overlooking the neatly manicured lawns and pretty flower beds.

This corridor and others like it had been witness to both the best and worst times in his life.

And Gibbs hadn’t been back for six years.

He clenched his jaw against the encroaching memories and debated whether to march out of there as quickly as he’d arrived. He’d almost made up his mind to go when the clicking of heels on the tiles announced that the reason for this visit was on her way down the corridor towards him.

“Jethro Gibbs, I swear you get more gorgeous every time I see you.”

“Nicola,” he greeted wryly, trying hard for a stern look, but he couldn’t help smiling at the sight of her. At just over five feet tall, voluptuous, her warm red/blonde hair piled in a messy up do, four inch heels and a splash of bright red lipstick, she was striking to say the least. Her smile lit her whole face with child-like mischievousness, while at the same time her deep grey eyes seemed to look right into his soul. She reached out and pulled him into a tight hug that seemed to reset his mood in an instant.

Jethro chuckled. “No idea how you do that, you witch. I’m sure it’s some kind of voodoo. If they could bottle your hugs, Nic, the San could cut the bill for anti-psychotic drugs in half.”

Dr Nicola Waverley cuffed her friend and protégé on the arm and pulled him over to a couple of chairs by the window.

“Thanks for coming, Jethro. I know it’s hard for you to be here.”

Gibbs let his gaze drift back out into the gardens. “Why am I here, Nic? We have a standing dinner date every fortnight at your place. I saw you 10 days ago. If you wanted a social it could’ve waited a few days.”

“Simeon and the kids all send their love.”

Jethro snorted. “The kids I can believe – but Simeon…That SOB just wants to convert me to his perverted non-Dynamic, mono-sexual ways. If he’d manned up and collared you all those years ago you would have never been the badly behaved handful you are now.” Gibbs eyes sparkled as he fought back a grin.

“You know you love him, Gibbs. You like having us as friends. I’m sure having the kinkiest, most perverse non/mono couple in the US in your close circle of friends does great things for your relationships with those backstabbers on the Hill.”

“I manage to keep those relationships…interesting, without any help from you and your twisted husband.” He looked her right in the eye and raised an eyebrow in a way that showed he knew she was prevaricating. “Why did you call me, Nic? Is there a case for NCIS?”

Nicola took a deep breath and Jethro felt his stomach clench back up again. Oh, that wasn’t a good sound. It was the sound that meant Nic was going to ask him to do something – something she knew he wouldn’t want to do. In every other sphere of his life, Jethro had no problem saying no, no matter who was doing the asking, but Nicola Waverley had a way with her that short circuited all his bastard tendencies and tapped into his compassion like no one else ever had.

“I didn’t call ‘Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Gibbs’, I called Dr Gibbs…”

Gibbs stood up abruptly. “No, hell no. I love you Nicola – I owe you more than I could ever repay, but you know I don’t do that any more.” Maybe he was wrong, maybe he could say no to her after all. He made to walk away, but her hand on his arm stopped him in his tracks.

“I need you, Jethro. I’m not the right person to treat this man and there’s something hinky about this case.”

“Hinky? Have you been talking to Abby, ‘cause she’s the only one I know who uses that word. Is she seeing you professionally?” He asked worriedly.

“Calm down, Gibbs. She’s designing a new website for The Waverley Trust. If we’re going to attract support for people who want to pursue a Non-Dynamic or Mono-sexual lifestyle, we need to get our message out there and Abby offered her services. I think she’s interested in the subculture.”

She smirked at Jethro’s sceptical frown. “Don’t worry, she thinks Simeon is just as weird as you do, but she loves the kids. She even took the twins clubbing last week.”

Jethro’s eyebrows rose up into his hairline. “Clubbing! They’re not old enough, especially not for the kind of clubs Abby goes to. Nicola Waverley, what were you thinking?”

“Jethro, they’re 19 now. Life has been hard enough for them. Being mono and non-Dynamic makes them different enough, without banning them from the kind of fun other kids have at their age. It’s why we fostered them, why we set up the Trust in the first place, you know that; to give them as normal a life as possible while we try to change the world, one step at a time. So, while they might not be interested in a Dynamic lifestyle, they can still enjoy the dancing and the music, and I trust Abby to look after them. She’s not a little girl, no matter how much you insist on treating her as if she is.”

Her eyes shone with the kind of passionate zeal he was used to seeing whenever she got on the subject of the five teens she’d taken in. “You might not understand my kids sexuality, Jethro, but they deserve to be young and to experience the world. If we hide non/mono kids away how are Dynamic kids supposed to learn not to discriminate and treat them as human beings?”

He nodded, resignedly and patted her hand, then turned again to leave. He’d only managed a few steps when he heard the word he’d been dreading.

“Please, Jethro. Just look over the case file for me and give me a few pointers.”

His shoulders slumped and he huffed out a frustrated breath. She could get to him every time. He couldn’t remember when or how she’d managed to worm under his skin, but he knew he had no chance of getting her out now. He turned to find her standing by the open door that led to one of the observation rooms.

“Nic…”

“Please, Gibbs. This kid needs us and I don’t know how to help him.” She pointed at the door. “That’s the reason you worked so hard all those years ago. He’s the kind of sub you told me you wanted to help then. Please help me help him now.”

Gibbs jaw jumped with tension. He wanted to run away, hard and fast, get home and drink away the memories and the churning in his gut, in the shelter of his basement. But she was right and his conscience wouldn’t let him leave the San if there was someone he could help – even if it was just to point Nicola in the right direction. He straightened his shoulders and walked into the room, seeing the relief in Nicola’s eyes as he moved past her.

Just like the rest of the San, this room had remained exactly the same. A small dimly lit space with a large plasma screen on the wall, a computer station, and a desk with a couple of high-end office chairs. A large blue folder lay on the desk, while the plasma showed the room next door.

Not unlike a quality motel room in size and furnishings, the acute/emergency rooms were used for suicide watch and observing patients with disturbed behaviours. They were square, windowless, and fitted with 24-hour monitoring cameras, which included infrared. There was a King bed, in case a Dom wanted to stay with their sub while they were being treated. A small TV was high up on the wall, and a doorway, without a door led to an en suite bathroom, which was also monitored 24 hours. The floor was wooden and bare except for a small throw rug, where a figure dressed in scrubs was kneeling.

“He was admitted to Bethesda two days ago after he literally fell through the doors, bleeding from wounds on his arms. He was suffering from blood loss, dehydration and has a mid-level bladder infection, which we are treating with antibiotics. They gave him four units of blood in the ER before they stabilise him, and it was touch and go for a while. Bethesda transferred him to us earlier than protocol because there was an outbreak of food poisoning on the Ronald Reagan and they needed the bed. We’ve had him for about 12 hours.”

Something drew Gibbs to the the screen and he stepped closer to the monitor. The sub was knelt sideways on to the camera and his form was perfect, every limb exquisitely positioned in a traditional Japanese pose. It was unusual, not one used by the bigger Japanese Houses like Lotus or Heinan, and Jethro wracked his brain as to where he had seen it before. He took in each element; knees together, bare feet with toes flat on the floor and overlapping but heels apart to form a V, making a rest for his bottom. His arms were behind him giving his spine a slight bow, the backs of his hands resting on the swell of his buttocks. The position pushed the groin area forward and was, in Gibbs opinion, totally gorgeous.

Gibbs continued to study the kneeling man. His eyes were not closed as Jethro had first thought, and while his head wasn’t lowered, his gaze was.

Jentoruātsu.

“Sorry?”

Jethro turned to his friend and mentor. “I was trying to remember which Pleasure House uses that form. I knew it was Japanese but then I remembered – Jentoruātsu. It’s an old Japanese Pleasure House. They specialise in Kinbaku and Kinbaku-bi rope bondage; Shiatsu; using textures and fabrics for sensual stimulation; and a technique called Hanabira tekunikku – Petal technique. It sensitises a spot by continuous rhythmic touching. We were considering a special session when…” Jethro stopped himself and rapidly pulled back into professional mode.

Nicola, as always, read him easily and realised he needed to regroup. She flipped open the file and spread out the photographs inside. As Gibbs began to study the close-up detail of the wounds, she opened a manilla envelope. Jethro recognised it from countless cases, as the type used for personal effects. She tipped out a few pieces of jewellery and a metal butt plug with a silicon end, which had a heavy, flat, silver chain soldered to it.

“He had no ID, wallet, or phone on him. There was no collar but he’s pierced.” She checked the notes from the ER. “Nipples, navel, four hafada – forming a scrotal ladder, and a guiche.”

She passed another piece of what looked like platinum jewellery to Gibbs with a little moue of distaste. “I haven’t seen one of these before but it was inserted into his urethra. They had to remove it so they could catheterise him.”

“It’s a Prince Albert wand.” Gibbs turned it over in his fingers. The slender hollow tube was threaded at the end, where a bead, complete with a ring was screwed on. The other end tapered a little. About a third of the way from the bead, another threaded hole was ready to receive a screw in stud. “You site it in the urethra like a sound. Then you screw the stud through the PA pierce to hold it in place.” He twisted off the large bead at the end. “They’re often used by hardcore Doms who want total control. The bead has to be removed in order to urinate or come.”

Nicola nodded, “That sort of makes sense with the rest of it.” She picked up the plug. “He was plugged and the chain fed through the guiche and ladder then clipped to the ring at the end of the …wand?”

Gibbs knew his friend hated not knowing terminology, and that no doubt the internet would be getting a beating that night as she gathered all she could about this particular practice.

“Yeah, it would act as a kind of chastity device. You’re right though, it is hinky. This kind of control doesn’t go at all with that form.” Gibbs turned to look at the monitor, where the sub remained as still as a statue.

Jentoruātsu literally means ‘Gentle Arts’. Their teachings are all about the beauty of rope bondage and hedonism. They don’t train the kind of Doms who would want this kind of thing. He’s not marked?”

Nicola shook her head. “Not with any House mark. He has a small kanji tattooed on his neck but we don’t have anyone on duty who can translate it.” She sorted through the photos and found one of the subs neck.

Gibbs studied it carefully and then drew back, his eyes flashing with anger. “Ama – Bitch.”

“I’m sorry?” Nicola looked slightly sick. “Is that what it says?”

Gibbs nodded and tapped his fingers on the table. “He wasn’t trained at Jentoruātsu. Their subs are marked with a gorgeous peacock, which almost covers the whole back. Whoever trained him must have had at least two sessions there, to achieve that.” He pointed at the monitor and then gave a frustrated growl. “Trouble is I can’t imagine they would train the kind of Dom who would want this kind of control.” He moved back to the photos of the wounds.

“Also these look wrong. I’d like Ducky to have a look at them, because if I’m right, this was no suicide attempt, but attempted murder.

He looked up at Nicola, who had gone pale. “Apart from that, you’re right. You’re not the right person to get through to him. He needs a Dom. Why haven’t you referred him to Thomas Grant?”

“Thom’s not here. He’s been called to de Sade Quebec. Rumour has it that Gerard de Sade has chosen his Courtesan.”

Jethro’s jaw dropped. That was big news. “Just a rumour, Nic? ‘Cause knowing you, there is more to it than just Thomas going to Canada. He is a member of the family after all.”

“Well…” Once again the mischievous glint sparked in her eye. “I do have it on good authority that Hotchner has also taken leave and a flight North.” She grinned. “It’ll be a man. A male courtesan…how many of those have there been?”

“And do you have any evidence for that assumption?”

“Come on, Jethro, the man is almost Mono-sexual. He’s trained twelve Doms, all of them men and his own subs are male. Simeon was thinking of asking him to front our next campaign.”

Gibbs was about to explode. “Nicola Kathleen O’Hara Waverley. You can’t go around saying things like that. The man is fucking House royalty, for god’s sake. The last thing you want to do for your mission to get Non/Mono acceptance, is to go making slanderous statements about the most powerful man in the world.”

Nicola began to giggle and then outright belly laugh until tears were trickling down her cheeks. “Oh, Jethro, sometimes you are sooooo easy!”

Gibbs huffed out a frustrated breath and tried to rein in the desire to Gibbs-slap the snickering woman. “So, who else do we have? I’ve not kept close track of who’s working here now.”

The giggling woman dabbed at her eyes with a tissue and sat down at the computer, calling up the staffing lists and case loads. After a few keystrokes, she shook her head. “The only Dominant on staff with any space on their case list, and the right training is Dr Harley.”

“James Harley? Well, he’d be worse than useless. Whoever told that man he was a Dom was a liar. He couldn’t Dominate his own right hand. Can’t we call someone in from County?”

She sighed and her amused expression turned to concern. “Jethro, he has no ID, no Dom, no Pleasure House…Which means no medical insurance. We can’t afford to call in from outside. It’s going to have to be someone on staff. As it is I can only keep him in this room for another six hours before I have to put him in Gen Pop.”

Gibbs was appalled. “You can’t put him in general population. Look at him, Nic, they’d eat him alive. You’ll have to work with him.”

Her eyes flashed with temper. “He won’t speak, Gibbs. I’ve been in there and he doesn’t even acknowledge me. He hasn’t eaten, drank, slept, moved or used the bathroom in the 12 hours he’s been here. When they took him out of the wheelchair they’d transported him in, he dropped to his knees, and there he is.” She gestured wildly at the monitor and then dropped her hand in frustration

Gibbs could feel the blood vessel on his forehead throbbing and a block of cold anger forming in his gut. “Did anyone tell him he could?”

The frown on Nicola’s face told him everything he needed to know. She was right…again. She couldn’t treat this sub because she didn’t really understand him. She may be one of the best psychologists in the country, and her non-Dynamic status often made her ideal for the treatment of traumatised subs. But it also meant she didn’t have all the tools she needed to deal with this sub. And whether he liked it or not, Jethro did.

He clenched his fists at his sides. He’d vowed he would never be this person again. He’d buried Dr Gibbs on a cold November day six years ago, but it looked like he was going to be exhuming the body and re-examining the evidence. He took another look at the young man on the screen. It almost felt right that this sub should be the one to bring him back to his previous profession but he had no idea why.

Having made the decision, he was almost desperate to get into that room and give the John Doe some short-term relief, at least physically. The man needed to drink something and eat so he could take his medication – that infection needed to be knocked on the head as soon as possible. If his Dom had been as controlling as Gibbs suspected, then to achieve that he would need to be given clear and firm orders.

There was a flutter of what felt like anticipation in his gut, but he tamped it down and put it down to anxiety.

Considering the best approach for a moment, he began to gather himself. He needed to Dominate without being intimidating; to create a safe space for the sub to let go, to sleep, eat and finally to be brave enough to let them know his identity. Then maybe Gibbs could get some justice for the damaged man.

“OK, but he doesn’t go into Gen Pop. Keep him here until I say otherwise. If you get any grief from the board, send them to me.”

Giving Nicola a terse nod, he walked out the door and took the four steps to the door of the room where the sub was waiting.

*****

Nicola watched with something akin to awe as Gibbs began to change right in front of her eyes. He straightened his shoulders, and seemed to grow by several inches. His face went from his default grouchy, stoic mask, to a cool haughtiness that made him look devastatingly handsome. His ice blue eyes – already Nicola’s favorite feature – sparked with his true intelligence.

She already knew how much he hid from the world. She had been his mentor, his teacher, his supervisor, his confidant, and his confessor for many years. Not many people knew the ‘real’ Gibbs, but even Nicola had never seen this facet of him up close.

He was powerful, and even to her Non-Dynamic eyes, innately sexual. She held back a little shiver and wondered why her stomach was swooping.

Nicola was frozen to the spot. In the small nod he gifted her as he passed, there was nothing of her friend. The man that left the room was completely in control, Dominant and dangerous. She exhaled shakily and turned to the monitor on the wall, determined to watch and learn – even if she’d never be able to put that knowledge into practice.

*****

The corridor was quiet, with only one nurse walking towards Gibbs as he made the short trip from the observation room to the one adjoining. The young man knew the Dom had seen him, as Jethro paused for a moment, waiting for the tall, dark figure to reach him.

“Gibbs.”

The bright smile on Bryan Carver’s face said everything anyone would want to know about his relationship with the other man. Bryan wore his heart, his emotions, his hopes, and fears on his expressive face, his sparkling eyes, and his mobile mouth. But Jethro was too deep in his dominance to give Bryan the greeting he was expecting.

Despite his boyish, excitable demeanour, Bryan was quick and intelligent too. He saw instantly whom he was dealing with, and his deep, subby hero-worship of Gibbs came immediately to the fore. He didn’t quite drop to his knees, he only did that for his own Dom, but his body language screamed submission. The flash of recognition in Jethro’s eyes, told him he’d got it right, as Bryan linked his hands loosely behind his back and dropped his eyes.

“Master Gibbs, how may I serve you?”

“Is your Dom on site today, Bryan?”

“Yes, sir.” Bryan winced as the word left his mouth. Gibbs hated to be called ‘sir’, especially by ex-military like Bryan, who’d been a 2nd Lieutenant Army Ranger, and technically outranked Gibbs. But there was no slap down, either verbal or physical.

“Ask him to meet me here in about 30 minutes. Also I’d like at least two litres of water, a light meal – soup and a roll, perhaps, brought here at the same time.”

Bryan risked cutting his eyes upwards and caught Gibbs laser-focused gaze on the closed door.

“There are also meds written up for this patient.”

Bryan nodded in agreement. “I’ll see to it myself, Master Gibbs.”

Gibbs eyes moved from the doorway to flash at Bryan. The older man lifted his hand and held the nurses chin firmly.

“Good boy.”

And, just like that, Bryan was hard as a rock.

The hand on his face dropped and then Gibbs was gone, sliding through the door so fast Bryan was sure he must have teleported.

He shook himself, made his cock more comfortable in his pants, and set off to do as he’d been ordered. It was only as he was halfway down the corridor that he realised Gibbs was in the San not as a visitor, but as a doctor. He stopped dead and looked back at the door. Whoever the sub was inside that room, they were the luckiest bastard on the face of the Earth. Bryan knew firsthand what a genius Gibbs was when it came to treating traumatised subs.

He needed to find his Dom, and fulfil Jethro’s requests. He also wanted to know what was so special about the sub in that room that Gibbs had come back to the very corridors he’d vowed never to darken again.

So, he only had a little time. He quickened his step, shortening his stride slightly as his cock rubbed deliciously against the seam of his uniform pants. He’d have to tell his Dom about his inappropriate reaction to another Dom, despite it being Gibbs, and no doubt he would be punished.

Bryan couldn’t wait.

*****

He heard muffled voices outside the room, but paid them very little heed. Then he heard the door open and shut, softly.

He pushed down a little flutter of panic.

Various people had come and gone over the last…God how long had it been…Maybe eight hours, perhaps even more. All of them had tried to engage him in conversation, some more insistently than others. It was still strange to hear English spoken with an American inflection even after almost three days in Washington.

It had been so long – so long, he had almost forgotten – but he had fought hard, silently and relentlessly, year after year, to keep hold of his ‘inner-self’.

All of his recent inquisitors had wanted something he couldn’t give. Despite his best efforts there were some things that had been changed in him in the last fourteen years, things he couldn’t fight – didn’t know how to. With their soft voices and their gently worded requests, the visitors to his room just skated over the shield his Dom had built around him. He was afraid no one could breach it.

He shuddered as memories of his Dom, and the horror of the last few days streamed into his mind. He almost wanted to give in, give up, and let them have what they wanted, just to make the pain of it all stop.

Then, suddenly, there was a pull in the centre of his body, so painfully delicious, that he almost broke form without permission, for the first time in a decade. His muscles shook with the effort of not looking up, not moving; not throwing himself at the feet of whomever this was standing in front of him.

The visitor took a deep breath and then spoke with a voice that was rich and layered with Dominance. It was only his physical weakness and years of conditioning that prevented him from getting aroused without permission.

“Submissive, my name is Master Gibbs. I want you to listen carefully.”

*****

Jethro moved into the room to stand in front of the immobile, kneeling sub. When he got within three feet of the man, he was rocked by a charge of electricity that twisted his gut. It made him suck in a hasty breath and he clenched fists at his side, against the urge to gather up the young man at his feet and protect him from the world. He ruthlessly bit down on the reaction. It had been a long time since he’d had chance to help someone like this. He needed to get a hold of his emotions – especially right now. The last thing this sub needed was a Dom who was lacking control – that was the exact opposite of Jethro’s intentions.

He saw a faint tremor pass through the young man’s body and a slight sway towards him. Anyone else would have missed it, but Gibbs focus was finely tuned.

Good, he had the subs attention. Now to break through the conditioning that had him locked and unreachable.

“Submissive, my name is Master Gibbs. I want you to listen carefully.”

Although there was nothing harsh in Gibbs’ tone, it did carry the expectation of complete obedience.

“You have presented beautifully. Your form is perfect, and you would make any Dom very proud, but it is time for you to release. Assume your relaxed position and look at me.”

Gibbs gaze flicked across the sub, taking in the stark white bandages on his forearms, pale against the tawny, almost Mediterranean hue of his skin. His dirty blond hair curled slightly where it reached the base of his neck, and it was tangled. It had obviously been washed at Bethesda and then just towelled dry. Jethro’s hands twitched at the thought of carding through the thick strands.

Waiting for the sub to comply to his order, Jethro moderated his breathing and focused on pushing out a Dominant but safe vibe. If this man had been attacked, and brutally cut open, as Gibbs suspected, then the trauma could have sent him too far under for even Jethro’s innate Dominance to reach.

As two minutes ticked into three, he had to pull on all his patience not to rush the other man.

Then finally…finally, he saw the relaxation he’d been looking for, as the subs hands came slowly around to rest on his thighs and his chin tilted upwards.

Then Jethro’s world tilted too.

Green, green eyes, in a pale, exhaustion smudged face, gazed back at him with dignity and bravery. Jethro swallowed against the rush of emotion the expression elicited and had to gather himself before he could speak.

“Good boy. I realise it might be difficult for you to talk to me and I’m not going to expect or require it, although I would like you to try. You will not be punished for silence, however it is your duty to get well, and I’ll be asking you to do several things to achieve that. I expect you to do everything in your power to comply. Nod if you understand.”

The man nodded hesitantly, but his eyes never left Jethro’s and he saw hope reflected there. Inwardly Gibbs allowed himself a surge of triumph. This was a good start.

“You’ve been kneeling for a long time. It’s time to eat, drink, take your medication and sleep. I have asked someone I know and trust to get you some food and water. I expect you to eat and drink as much as you can when it arrives.”

The young man nodded again, without prompting and Gibbs couldn’t help the slight smile that tipped the corners of his mouth.

“Stand.”

Jethro waited, ready to help if needed, but the sub rose to his feet with amazingly lithe grace, especially considering how long he had been in form. Gibbs suspected the man had spent a protracted period in training for his muscles not to lock up after 12 hours on his knees. However, now he was up, his trembling was far more obvious and Jethro knew he would begin to crash very soon.

“Use the bathroom and then come back and sit on the bed.”

Gibbs watched as a look of panic flashed across the subs face, before he turned and walked shakily to the en suite. Gibbs had intended to give the man as much privacy as was possible in a bathroom with no door, but before Jethro had chance to turn away the sub turned desperate eyes to him.

It took a second before Jethro realised what was going on and then he internally berated himself for his stupidity. The sub had a PA Wand, for fucks sake. It had probably been a while since he’d been able to freely use the bathroom without his Doms input.

He took a breath and fought down a surge of arousal…not at the use of the wand – that was a bridge too far for Gibbs – but for the total control of the subs cock. That kind of submission, the complete surrender of a subs body to his Dom, really tripped his toppiest triggers.

Giving a terse nod, he moved to join the sub in the bathroom. Standing behind him Jethro reached around, feeling the other man relax back into his hold with a trembling exhale that made only a whisper of sound.

The sub was taller than Jethro by a couple of inches and, he could feel through the thin, baggy scrubs that he was very well built. Gibbs felt the movement of thick slabs of muscle as the subs back met his chest. Jethro placed one hand on the tense, hard stomach and with economy of movement, he pulled on the string at the waist of the scrub pants with the other.

He could feel every tremor of the body in front of him and smell the slightly chemical scent of the generic wash products used in hospitals. Overlaying that was a rich, musky male smell. Once again, Jethro had to clamp down on his arousal. He didn’t know if it was just that it had been a long time since he had played, or that it had been even longer since he’d had a man in his arms, but everything about this sub was enticing his libido to greater and greater heights.

He let the pants fall to the subs thighs and then gently grasped his quiescent cock. It was cut, long, and thick even at rest and Jethro was sure it would be a gorgeous sight when fully erect. Gibbs was one of those rare Doms who loved being fucked as much as fucking, and a cock like this would surely be an amazing ride.

As Jethro pointed him towards the pan, the sub seemed to melt into his hold and Jethro gritted his teeth against the desire to kiss the neck directly next to his lips.

Now was definitely not the time.

Time seemed to stop…until a strangled whine jolted Gibbs out of his libidinous haze.

Shit, this boy was fucking dangerous. Either that or Jethro was completely out of practice in his doctor persona. This wasn’t some play date – this was the treatment of a traumatised sub.

‘Suck it up, Marine’, Jethro thought, ‘Start acting like a professional’. Looking down, Jethro saw the cause of the subs distress. His piss was dark with blood and smelled strong and acrid. Peeing must have felt like passing razor blades.

“You’re doing so well. I know it hurts. You need to drink – a lot. We need to flush out that infection. It’ll hurt at first, but each time it will get easier.”

Suddenly it struck Jethro that he had to do something about getting the sub to deal with peeing by himself, and quickly. Jethro wasn’t going to be there all the time and it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask a nurse to do it – they were all subs in this section of the San and there was a good chance the sub wouldn’t respond to them anyway.

Moving quickly before the sub had finished peeing, Gibbs gently grasped his left hand by the bandaged wrist, taking care not to aggravate his wounds, and placed it over the hand holding his cock. He felt the muscles of the other man’s back tense.

“It’s OK, you can do this. You have my permission to touch yourself at least to use the bathroom.”

Gibbs had guessed that the sub had had very little control in his life, particularly over his own dick and so he wanted to move him forward by little steps. This was an acceptable and necessary first step. Moving slowly, he removed his hand but remained as a support for the sub. He heard the other man inhale sharply as his hand hit his cock and Gibbs thought it must have been a while since his Dom had allowed him to touch himself. While total submission was a turn on for Jethro, there was a point at which it became ridiculous, and unless you were someone who had the time and money to keep a sub in deep submission, 24 hours a day, it just wasn’t practical. Jethro wondered if this man had been that kind of pet.

Finally, the stream of urine stopped and the sub, seeming to have exhausted all his energy, released his cock. Jethro pulled the scrubs back up and, after carefully washing and rinsing their hands under the tap, supported the now shaking sub back over to the bed.

Gibbs gently grasped the other man by the chin and raised his head so their eyes met. The green was swimming with unshed tears, which Jethro guessed were from pain and a release of emotion.

“I know you’re tired and overwhelmed. You can sleep soon. Bryan will be here any moment with your food and water. I want you to keep drinking, as much as you can and use the bathroom whenever you need to, whether there is anyone here or not. I will not be happy if I come back tomorrow to find you in the same state again.” Jethro gestured towards the bathroom and gave the man a kind but stern look.

“I also want you to think about telling me your name. I can’t keep calling you submissive.”

The sub made an abortive move with his hand towards the small black character etched on his neck and Jethro felt a surge of anger.

“I’m not calling you that, either.” He stated tightly, but gently. “That is not what you are, do you understand me?”

The sub gave a little nod and then his full lips quirked into a little, tremulous smile.

“Good boy.”

There was a moment as the sub seemed to bask in the warmth of Gibbs’ praise and then, with a tightening of his jaw he drew in breath to speak…

…Just as a light knock came on the door.

Gibbs wanted to scream in frustration. ‘Damn you and your impeccable timing, Bryan’, he thought as he carried on looking at the sub, encouragingly. But the moment seemed to have passed and the young man on the bed chewed nervously on his bottom lip, his eyes flicking towards the doorway. Jethro used his thumb to pull the soft flesh away from the straight white teeth and then let his hand drop away from the far too tempting mouth to the broad shoulder.

With a gentle squeeze, Jethro turned to get the door. But before he had taken a step he heard a soft baritone whisper.

“Tony.”

Gibbs turned and smiled proudly at the other man. “Tony?”

The sub on the bed blushed enchantingly and nodded.

“Yes, M…Master Gibbs…sir. My name is Tony.”

“Thank you, Tony.” Jethro praised and watched Tony breathe a little deeper in relief.

“And your surname?”

As soon as the question fell from his lips, Jethro realised it was a step too far for the traumatised sub. The younger man shook his head and looked down at his shaking, clasped hands.

Another knock at the door broke the silence and Jethro decided that a break was a very good idea. He took a step back towards Tony and gave his shoulder a comforting squeeze.

“It’s OK, Tony. Sounds like your meal is here.”

At the sound of his name, the sub lifted his eyes and Jethro saw how exhausted he was. With another quick press on his shoulder, Jethro called for Bryan to come in.

The young nurse came through the door, deftly carrying a tray containing a steaming bowl, a plate with several small rolls on it, and a medicine cup. He had two large bottles of water, one under each arm. Jethro relieved him of the tray and set it on the end of Tony’s bed.

“Tony, this is Bryan Carver. He’s one of the nursing staff here.”

Tony looked up shyly at the other sub, who gave him a gentle smile and a silly hand wave, which made Tony’s lips quirk at the corners.

“Maybe you could keep Tony company while he eats his meal and I’ll go and talk to your Dom?”

Jethro nodded towards the sub who was looking longingly at the bowl of soup. He knew Bryan would be gentle with the other man, and perhaps be just the right person to make Tony feel comfortable and safe.

“Yes, Dr. Gibbs. I’d be happy to.” Bryan’s eyes sparkled with amusement at the half-hearted glare Jethro sent his way. “My Master is waiting outside.”

“I’ll be back in a short while, Tony.”

Tony nodded again and was already accepting the soup and a roll from Bryan by the time Jethro reached the doorway. It felt almost impossible to leave the room; the need to protect the young man on the bed was still pulling at Gibbs…hard. He set his jaw against the compulsion to stay and strode into the corridor, pulling the door closed behind him.

“Ducky.”

“Jethro. My Boy said you needed to see me. I must say it was rather a surprise to hear you were gracing these halls of healing again, although it is not an unpleasant one. There was a time I would have gambled my life savings that you would never undertake your previous profession again, and I must say that if you decide you are returning here it would definitely be a loss to NCIS, which may cause our dear Director some headaches…”

“I need a consult from you, Duck. We can talk about why I’m here at the same time. Nicola is next door. Why don’t we go in there and I can give you the little we know.”

*****

Bryan watched Jethro leave the room with a little quirk of his eyebrow. The Leroy Jethro Gibbs he knew was never indecisive; never anything less than in control, and in fact exactly the Dom who had sent him, hard and leaking, down the corridor only 30 minutes before. But the man who had just left the room had been struggling with the desire to stay.

Bryan looked back at the sub. ‘Tony’, he reminded himself. Realising Gibbs and his Dom were probably in the next room he decided that any further speculation should be done on his own time.

He’d managed to spend a couple of minutes reading through the report attached to Tony’s medication sheet – although it was marked ‘John Doe’ – and there was very little to go on. The man was obviously exhausted and, whether the wounds on his arm were self-inflicted or not, struggling with a whole load of emotional crap. He knew the sub had been silent since his admission, but obviously Gibbs had managed to get through to him – and quickly too. Bryan was not at all surprised.

He dropped gracefully to sit Indian style on the rug next to the bed. Tony was tucking into his tomato soup as if it was his first meal for a week. Hell, for all Bryan knew it could have been. The sub gave a slightly wary look and let his spoon slide back into the bowl.

“Hey, it’s OK. I know how overwhelming this all must be. I’ve been right where you are now and it was Gibbs that got me back. He’s an amazing doctor and a great guy. You can trust him, Tony. He’ll keep you safe, I promise.”

Tony swallowed hard and Bryan felt so sorry for the other man. Right now, he was feeling like the world was going to end – Bryan knew that feeling. He tried to remember what it was like for him – what he would have wanted someone to say to him. Maybe if he shared a little of his own background…?

Bryan rolled his lips and bit down on the bottom one as he prepared to tell his own story for the first time since he’d sat in a room not unlike this one.

Tony seemed to realise this was hard for Bryan and began to eat again, turning his gaze to his food and giving the nurse the space he needed. Bryan appreciated the concern and his regard for the other man rose.

“When I was a kid I always wanted to be a doctor – a surgeon. I always thought it would be cool to have your hands inside another human being.” He laughed at the vaguely sceptical look Tony cut him. “I always was a weird kid.”

“Well I worked hard at school and got all the right grades. I was accepted for pre-Med at Stanford School of Medicine, and I thought I was set. I went to California for summer break – you know sun, sand, sea and sex, or at least that was my intention. Except on my first night in San Diego, I met Gavin. That man was sex on legs, let me tell you. A real fitness freak with muscles on his muscles, skin the colour of the best dark chocolate and eyes so brown they were almost black and ten years older than me. I’ve always had a thing for older guys.” Bryan gave a little chuckle at the memory. “Man, I fell so hard I’m surprised there weren’t broken bones.”

“We hooked up that first night, played, and then didn’t leave the hotel room for a whole week. We spent the rest of the vacation together – I don’t think we spent a single minute apart. It was a magical time.”

Tony had finished his soup, and was watching Bryan intently, obviously caught up in the story he was telling. The nurse reached over and snagging one of the litre bottles of water, he cracked the seal on the top and passed it to Tony, gesturing at the medicine cup. Tony took two long swallows and Bryan could see the pleasure the cool water gave him. He shot the capsules and tablets into his mouth and washed them down with more water.

“Why don’t you lie down; you’ll be much more comfortable.”

Tony looked at the door worriedly.

“It’s OK. Gibbs will want you to be comfortable and to look after yourself.”

After a moment’s thought the other sub nodded and carefully pushed the pillows against the headboard of the bed, then wriggled up until he was half lying, half sitting, making him comfortable but still able to drink and pay attention.

Bryan felt like Tony was enjoying the storytelling – like a little kid at bedtime. Carver giggled a little at the comparison – it was one he understood all too well. He looked up to see Tony watching him quizzically. He shook his head and carried on.

“Right, where was I? Oh yeah…Now I’m OK with a little spanking and clamping, but Gavin was a middle of the road Sadist with two sessions at La Petit Mort, and if I’m honest, our Dynamics didn’t really mesh. We had fun don’t get me wrong, and he never made me feel bad about it, but I always felt he wasn’t really getting everything he needed from me. Still by the end of the six-week vacation, we’d fallen head over heels.”

“Gavin had been working for his dad in the family factory but he’d always wanted to be a soldier. His dad had died the year before so Gav had handed everything over to his younger brother and was getting ready to go into Basic Training at Fort Benning. Well, even though it meant giving up my dream, I couldn’t face leaving him, so I decided not to go to Stanford. At first my parents were really upset, but once they’d met him, and realised we really were in love, they were very supportive.”

Bryan watched as a little flicker of pain washed over Tony’s face. That had hit a nerve, but Bryan didn’t think the other man was in the right place to even mention it, and he really wasn’t the right person to ask him, so he carried on with his tale.

“He wanted to collar me then and there, but my mom and dad thought I was too young for the commitment. So, we decided to wait a while. The next day we went off to the recruiting office and I was accepted into Basic without any problems as I was accompanying my Dom.”

“I wasn’t sure about the Army at first, but I’d been heavily into track and field at school and we both breezed through basic and graduated at the top of our group as 2nd Lieutenant’s. The CO in charge of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Colonel Selwyn, was at graduation and we were not so gently pushed towards volunteering for the Army Rangers.”

He took a breath and swallowed hard against the memories of those heady days, where it felt like nothing could go wrong and they were the kings of the world. He looked over at Tony and saw the compassion in the young subs eyes. Bryan found himself liking the other man more and more – even though as yet he hadn’t said a word. There was just something about him. Carver wanted him to understand that he knew what Tony was going through and that Gibbs was the right person to help him, so he pressed on despite the pain.

“Ranger Training was hard, but we excelled in different things – which meant we complemented each other both professionally and personally. I did well in the medic portion of training, which wasn’t a surprise, but I also became an interpreter as I had a real ear for languages, which shocked the hell outta me! Gavin was more into the munitions and explosives side of things. He could fire any gun they put in his hand and could blow the wings off a fly at 1000 paces.”

Bryan smiled as Tony gave him a little grin.

“They quickly moved us on to SERE training and finally we were attached to the 3rd Ranger Battalion, back at Benning. We both enjoyed the challenge and took every course available, from amphibious to para.”

“We were having so much fun. We were sent on a few ops but they were milk-runs, and apart from a couple of knocks and bruises, we came home happy and healthy. We’d been talking about collaring and I think Gav was getting ready to ask me. Then we got orders. The two of us were sent to Bosnia, undercover, part of a covert joint op to retrieve an injured member of Army Intelligence from a mountainous area – I never found out what he was there for. During the retrieval, we were attacked and forced deeper into the mountains by rebel forces and during the skirmish, Gavin was injured, shot in the thigh with a high calibre bullet. We holed up in a cave system and despite me trying everything I could think of, infection set in.”

A soft touch to his cheek made Bryan realise there were a couple of tears rolling down his cheeks and Tony had reached across to brush them away. The other sub blushed lightly as Bryan smiled sadly in thanks.

“We were trapped for two days before the Team leader decided take the Intelligence Operative and go for help. We really should have just stayed put and waited for extraction, but the orders had said we had to get the guy out ASAP. I was left with the other two guys trying to keep Gavin quiet as he got delirious with fever. A day later he died of blood loss and the infection.”

“It was so cold; we were so high up there was snow all year round. So we wrapped his body in a blanket and put him outside. I was a fucking wreck and I didn’t know anyone else on the team. They were both Doms; big, Marine Special Ops fuckers, and they seemed to think I should just suck it up. I have to tell you it only took a few hours for the whole thing to go FUBAR.”

Bryan looked Tony square in the eye, letting him see the pain so he could recognise just how far Bryan had come since that dark, dark day.

“They decided, as I was uncollared, that Gavin had not in fact been my Dom, which in their minds meant I was fair game. I won’t give you the details, only Gibbs has ever heard them and I never want to tell that part again, but let’s just say they ‘used’ me repeatedly until rescue came. By the time they found us I was almost catatonic, badly dehydrated and damaged physically and emotionally. I think they planned to throw me over the side of the mountain, but the extraction team got there before they’d finished with me.”

“On return to the States, both of those men were jailed for life for rape and assault of an uncollared submissive, after being given fifty lashes each with a steel tipped bullwhip. I didn’t take any part in their court-martial. After I was admitted to Bethesda, I had a complete breakdown. So they treated my wounds and then eventually moved me here to the San.”

He pushed up the sleeves of his uniform shirt and ran his fingers over the myriad fine silver-white scars on his arms. He saw Tony’s eyes flicker to the long white bandages on his own arms and he made a mental note to make sure they were changed before the other man settled to sleep.

“I was cutting and they said it was in reaction to the abuse I suffered in that cave. They diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Non-Dynamic Syndrome and I was assigned Dr. Gibbs as my therapist. Let me tell you, Tony that was the best thing that came out of the whole fucking mess. He was perfect for me. He saw exactly who I was, recognised when I hid behind my Army training, and used his own skills as a Marine Gunnery Sergeant when necessary. He even pulled out that whole Dom super-power thing he has going on. I know you know the one I mean.”

He winked at Tony, who cut his eyes away and fiddled with the top of his water bottle. Bryan chuckled and stood up, realising it wouldn’t be long before Gibbs was back. He began to gather up the empty plates onto the tray and placed the unopened bottle of water next to the bed where Tony could easily reach it.

“Eventually the whole story came out. Gibbs never made me feel like I was at fault, but he also made me face up to what happened and because of him I began to heal. I finally got back to a place where I could consider a Dynamic relationship again. It was Gibbs who encouraged me to come back to medicine and helped get me accepted to train as psychiatric nurse. He even talked to Dr. Waverley and got me a job here at the San. And I’ve been here ever since.”

The nurse sat on the bed and reached out to pat Tony’s hand. “I know you’re scared and feel like the world is ending. I know you think you’ll always feel this way – weak and powerless. But if you let that man in, I promise you, he will help you find the strength to move on. All you have to do is trust him. And, I know it sounds like I think that’s simple, but believe me, man, I know it’s the bravest thing you’ll ever do.”

The door to the room pushed open, and Gibbs walked calmly into the room, although Bryan’s knowledge of the man told him that Jethro was angrier than he seemed outwardly.

“You about finished in here?”

“Yes, I think so, Gibbs. Tony ate all his food, took his meds, and is making a good way into the water stash.” He turned to the young man on the bed and saw hope there as his gaze fell on Gibbs. He could understand that feeling – Gibbs was his hero too.

“I’ll go and get some clean scrubs, and supplies to redress your arms. You can’t have a shower yet, but I think a wash down might feel nice, yeah.”

He watched as Tony looked to Gibbs, waiting for his permission. Gibbs gave him a nod and a small smile. There was something interesting going on there – Bryan was going to watch carefully. But for right now he had a job to do. Hopefully his little story time would have given Tony the confidence in Gibbs that he needed to open up. He had a feeling the kid could use all the help and encouragement he could get and maybe one day he’d tell Bryan his own story.

Carver picked up the tray and left the room with a deferential nod to Gibbs and grin for Tony. Holding the tray in one hand, he pulled the door to and turned, to find his Dom waiting in the corridor, with a look on his face that said he was mulling over a problem. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that Bryan was almost next to him before Ducky realised he was there. He gifted Bryan with a warm, loving smile, and stroked his cheek.

“You did a good thing in there, my boy. I think you deserve a reward when you get home.”

Bryan felt a little curl of arousal begin in his belly. “A reward…really?” His eyes sparked with boyish mischief and he pressed as close to his Dom as the tray in his hands would allow and murmured. “But you know, Daddy, I don’t think I’ve been a very good boy. So maybe I don’t deserve a reward…maybe I should be punished instead?”

Ducky shook his head at his young lover’s antics. Bryan knew he was happy to indulge his boy’s kinks – after all, they meshed so well with his Doms need to control and discipline. The sub watched as his Dom put on his best, most severe expression, reached around, and slapped him hard on the ass, following through with pressure right on the crack, pushing hard through the fabric to move the plug he had seated there that morning. Bryan watched as the rush of warmth to his face made Ducky smile, evilly, as he slid his hand to the front of Bryan’s pants and squeezed the rapidly expanding erection.

“Yes…You’ve been very naughty. So you’d better keep that hard and ready for me, until you get home. You get off…work that is…in two hours time, am I correct.”

“Yes, Master,” Bryan gave a little moan as Ducky’s hand tightened a little more, bringing him to full hardness.

“Good boy.”

The hand on his cock was gone but the arousal that came from anticipation was even better. Bryan shivered and had to hold on tight to the tray so as not to drop it.

His Dom straightened his bow tie, and turned on his heel, grabbing his raincoat and hat from the chair opposite and set off down the corridor.

“Don’t be late home, Bryan.”

Bryan swallowed hard. Many people would look at the man and see a mild mannered, elderly gentleman and would find it hard to believe he was a Switch, let alone a Dom. But he tripped every trigger Bryan had and he felt like the luckiest boy to know his Daddy would be waiting at home for him.

*****

The glass Nicola pulled from the cupboard was the largest they owned, holding nearly a half bottle of wine, and she’d filled it almost to the brim with Merlot when familiar and beloved arms wrapped around her from behind. The flow of energy between them was butterfly soft, sweet as honey, and completely perfect.

“Rough day?”

“Uhuh, oh yeah.” Nicola took a long swig of the rich red wine and sighed. Simeon’s body against hers always felt amazing, even after so many years together.

“Why don’t you take off those ridiculous heels and come and snuggle for a while. The twins are staying over with friends at the Waverley Centre, so we have the house to ourselves…except for the four-legged menagerie of course.” He gestured at the two bright-eyed terriers, milling happily around their legs, the twin tabby cats stalking along the counter top and the tall, elderly and placid figure of their enormous grey Irish Wolfhound, who had followed Simeon into the kitchen.

She turned in his arms and aimed a half-hearted slap to his broad chest. Even in four-inch heels, her mouth was only in line with his neck and she followed through with a gentle kiss, right in the hollow of his throat. He smelled so good.

“Don’t diss Gandalf, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. They’re my furry babies, you bastard.”

Simeon ran a gentle hand through her hair, loosening the clips in her up-do and letting some strands fall forward around her face.

“I wasn’t dissing them, and they’re really not yours…although why we thought the kids would take them with them when they left home I have no idea. It wasn’t our brightest moment when we said they could each choose a pet on their fourteenth birthday – especially the twins. Five kids, five ‘furry babies’. It’s a wonder I’m not living on the street the way they all eat me out of house and home.”

He pulled a put-upon expression. “And to top it all letting Duncan start the whole ridiculous naming them from Lord of the Rings thing. Do you know how difficult it is for me, taking a dog called Gandalf the Grey for a walk – let alone those two terrors? You try being 6 feet 4 of black, mono/non, civil rights lawyer calling ‘Merry! Pippin!  across the park. It plays hell with my credibility.”

Nicola snorted in sympathy and offered her wine to her husband. He took a long sip and placed the glass on the counter. Moments later, one hand was in her hair and the other on the small of her back as Simeon pulled her in for a warm, intimate, welcome home kiss that made every muscle in her body go loose and pliant.

“Jesus,” she sighed. “You’re so fucking hot.”

“Why thank you ma’am. You’re pretty smoking yourself.” He dropped little pecks around her lips, over her cheekbones and along her jaw line and Nicola felt the stress of the day begin to recede as they wallowed in the joy of each other’s energies.

“So did you have a good day?” she breathed against his skin.

Simeon grimaced and seesawed his hand. “It was so-so. Christine Kelvin, the Director of Bar Non, had some rather worrying news for me. Apparently there’s a new right wing group in town who have some very radical ideas. And they’ve got some serious money and political muscle behind them. They seem to be more fixated on submissive rights than on any issues the Waverley Trust or Bar Non are interested in, but the kind of rhetoric they are spouting doesn’t bode well for any vulnerable group. We may have to look outside the non/mono rights  and legal issues both our organisations deal with.”

Nicola frowned at his obvious concern. “What kind of thing?”

“Oh, there’s nothing concrete, but Chris thinks they might be aiming in the long term for some kind of Submissive Ownership Act. It’s only a small step from there to revoking the rights of other groups – like us for example – to marry, foster, adopt or worse.” Simeon sighed deeply. “It’s a good way off, but there are some major big hitters joining their voices together, including some from outside the US, one in particular from Japan.”

“There may be more traditionalists there,” Nicola mused. “But the old Japanese Pleasure Houses really treasure their subs. I can’t believe they would agree to anything that removes their freedoms or puts them at risk.”

“Let’s hope so.” Simeon pulled away and snagged her hand, pulling her towards the lounge. “So, enough of my doom and gloom. Take off those heels and come tell me about your day.”

Ten minutes later, they both had wine and were curled on the large sectional sofa, wrapped around each other like teens, making out.

Nicola pulled away, her lips kiss swollen, and rested her cheek on Simeon’s broad chest. “Jethro came out to the San today.”

“Shit, really? Why? I thought he’d vowed never to set foot in there again. Not that I blame him really.”

“I called him in. There was this sub admitted…”

Simeon turned to look at her with an incredulous expression. “Nicola Waverley, what the hell were you thinking? You’re not ever cruel or thoughtless but that seems…”

“Hey, wait a minute, mister. Let me finish. This kid came in as a suspected suicide but there was something off about it. It felt like the kind of mystery Jethro could help me with…and…”

“And?”

“It’s time he came back.” Nicola looked at her husband earnestly, and he could see the pain she felt for her friend. “It was awful what happened, but he needs to stop blaming himself. He couldn’t have known how obsessed Hernandez was with him. That man had us all fooled. For god’s sake, I was the one who signed his release papers. If anyone was to blame for Shannon and Kelly’s death it was me.”

Simeon stroked her hair soothingly. “It was no one’s fault, sweetheart. Hernandez was a deluded man. It was obvious to everyone how committed Gibbs was to his wife and child. Only a deranged mind could twist that into some kind of fantasy where Shannon was drugging him and Hernandez had to kill her, and Kelly, in order to ‘save’ him.”

“The pain – the horror of finding your wife and child stabbed to death, by a sub you thought you had helped to heal…I understand the guilt. But he walked away from the San – from the profession he’d worked so hard to gain…” Nicola swallowed some more wine, trying to wash the bitter taste of sorrow from her mouth. “Shannon supported him all the way you know, gave up so much to let him fulfil his dream, and she would have been so horrified that he turned his back on it.”

She frowned and shook her head. “When he came to me and told me why he wanted to train as a psychologist…well I was a little sceptical, you know that. I mean…hard ass, Marine Gunny, Dom with a medical discharge who wanted to help the most vulnerable subs… that was a real stretch.”

Her husband nodded. He remembered the hours of discussion about whether or not Gibbs was genuine.

“But then in that last meeting we had, before I said yes to mentoring and training him, he told me how he’d seen traumatised military subs treated so poorly after they returned from deployment; that they were often perceived as weak and pathetic by their CO’s and fellow soldiers. He said, ‘Dr Waverley, I know you’re non-Dynamic, but I’m sure you understand just how strong a sub has to be in order to offer their complete submission. Many Doms either can’t or don’t want to try to understand. But I do, and I want to be able to help them back to a place where they can be that strong again’.”

Nicola shook her head sadly. “The man I met then was nothing like the stoic, shut-down bastard I see now. NCIS has been a haven for him, I know that. He can bring justice to those victims that he couldn’t for his own wife and child. He puts up this smokescreen with his rules, his supposed dislike for lawyers and shrinks. Listening to him, no one would ever believe we are two of his best friends; that he was a part of the very profession he proclaims he hates so much. But he’s hiding there, Si, and I think it’s time for him to come home.”

Simeon pulled his wife to him and kissed the top of her head. “You can’t save everyone, sweetheart, and god knows no one could ever force Gibbs to do anything. But if anyone can convince him to let go of his guilt then it’s you.” He tipped her face to meet his gaze. “So how did it go?”

The smile that lit her face was wide and bright. “Oh, it went great. I played the whole ‘I’m non-Dynamic and don’t know what to do with this sub’ card. He falls for it every time.”

“He falls for you every time. You know he can’t say no to you – you shouldn’t abuse it…with great power etc, etc. Did he work it out?”

“Of course he did, this is Gibbs we’re talking about, but not until after he’d been in and pulled the man back. Got him to tell us his name and start interacting. I wasn’t lying either and Jethro knew it, even if he was a little pissed he’d been played. I couldn’t ever have got the patient to respond so quickly by normal means. The man needed a Dom and I just don’t have those skills. He’s giving me three weeks. I just hope it’s long enough for him to find his way back.”

Nicola traced the edges of her husband’s full lips with a light fingertip and he shivered under her touch.

“Can we stop talking about work now and go fool around?” she asked coyly.

As her mouth was taken in a hot, heavy kiss, and nimble fingers pulled on the buttons of her blouse, Nicola realised her husband agreed that was a very good idea.

*****

Jethro made the drive back home from the San on autopilot. There were so many things going on in his head that the familiar actions of driving took a back seat to the other more worrying thoughts.

The meeting with Ducky and Nicola had not been as informative as he’d hoped, but they had at least sorted out a few things.

You were right to be concerned, Jethro. There is no way anyone could cut their own arms like this. Both wounds were created in the same way, and seem to have a left handed bias. I would surmise from their length and severity that young Tony’s arms were held out by one or more people while the person wielding the knife cut him.” Ducky peered at the still open cuts shown in the photographs, which were of good quality. “It is difficult to tell without seeing the actual wounds – and now they have been stitched it is harder still – but I would say the weapon used was exceedingly sharp, straight in profile and had been honed to a very fine edge. This wasn’t a hunting or K-bar type knife. I’d say more of a surgical instrument, or even a filleting knife.”

“Anything else you can tell me, Duck. Anything at all?” Gibbs was glaring angrily at the pictures, as if he could intimidate them into giving up more information.

The ME shook his head. “The only other thing of note, is that there are no bruises on the young man’s wrists or arms. It is unlikely that he was restrained with anything – ropes, cuffs or manacles – so either he allowed it to happen, which is unlikely as the pain of cuts like these would be intense and it would be impossible to sit still for, even for the most masochistic person. Or what is more likely is that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Nicola nodded. “His tox screen showed levels of some kind of sedative, but the lab at Bethesda was unable to determine what it was. The report says he was uncoordinated and unable to stand when he presented at Bethesda. Now of course that was partly due to blood loss, but it would stand to reason that a sedative would have had a similar effect.”

Gibbs tapped his fingers on the table almost meditatively. “Ducky, would you take those toxicology reports into the office with you tomorrow and get Abby to take a look – maybe she can work out what he’d been dosed with, I’ll see if I can get hold of any blood they may still have stored here so she can do her own tests. But we’ll need to keep it under the radar – we can’t claim this as an official case without some kind of Navy angle. And as far as I can see there is nothing like that here.

Ducky nodded in agreement and gathered the necessary papers back into the file. “Will you not be in the office tomorrow, Gibbs.”

Jethro blew out a deep sigh and flashed a dangerous glare in Nicola’s direction. “No…I’ll be calling Tom tomorrow and asking for three weeks leave. I’ve pulled this kid kicking and screaming from his safe place – I can’t stuff him back in there now.”

He turned fully to Nicola and pointed a finger at her. “But three weeks and that’s all – no extensions, no other cases, just Tony. Either you’ll be able to take over at that point or, with any luck Thomas will be back.”

Nicola gave him a nod and a smile that lit the room.

“Don’t get too excited, Dr Waverley – I’m doing this for him, not for you!”

“And that’s the very best reason I can think of, Jethro. Thank you, for me and Tony.”

He’d made a quick visit to Tony’s room and had felt his gut churn again when Bryan returned with clean scrubs and more water. He knew he had to leave, to let the sub settle in and take those first tiny tentative steps towards being a little more independent. But closing the door on those sleepy green eyes and tremulous smile and walking away was so fucking difficult.

He was angry with himself for letting Nicola play him like that, but if he was honest, he’d been incapable of saying no as soon as those green eyes had hit his. He hadn’t thought his saviour complex was so over-developed – he worked hard at NCIS to be objective to a fault, never assuming, verifying every last fact. Not just because it was important from a legal perspective, but because he was determined never to be caught out again by someone like Hernandez.

He lived his life by a set of rules that were rigid and all encompassing, and they had given him structure when his world was falling down around his ears. But this kid was blasting through all those self-imposed bulk heads and making him…feel again and he really didn’t know what to do with that.

Turning off the engine of the truck without even realising it’d come to a halt, Jethro let his head droop until his forehead was pressed against the steering wheel. He was tired, emotionally and physically – and yet he felt something in his head that was like bubbling fizzy soda; a tickling sensation that was vaguely positive in feel. If he had to put a name to the feeling, it was hopefulness, and that was something he hadn’t felt since he lost Shannon and Kelly.

Gibbs swallowed hard against the swell of emotion their memories always evoked and lifted his head, intent on filling his evening with the pleasures of the four B’s – Basement, Boat, Bourbon and Bed.

The sight of a sapphire blue, 1958, Porsche 356 Speedster in the driveway made him groan in distress. The car meant he had an unwelcome visitor. He debated starting the truck again and finding a bar, but he knew that was only prolonging the agony. Reluctantly he dragged himself out of the truck, slammed the door far harder than necessary, and climbed the steps up to his front door – which as ever was unlocked.

Siobhan Fielding sat sultry and gorgeous on his couch, as stunning as always, immaculately dressed in a dark blue fitted dress that hugged her curves and accentuated her truly stupendous tits. On the outside, she was everyone’s dream; a voluptuous, red headed, violet eyed, scarlet-lipped temptress.

But on the inside she was a nasty, scheming bitch, who bore no resemblance to the sweet sister that Jethro had married. She also had the thickest skin of anyone he had ever met. No matter how harshly he treated her, the insults he threw her way, she just threw it all off with a flick of her manicured nails.

Those same nails were wiggling over the back of the couch as he walked into the room, beckoning him forward.

“Why, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, as I live and breathe,” she husked, in a mocking southern belle accent that bore no resemblance to the one she’d been raised with. “Come over her and kiss your sister in law.”

He ignored the request and walked through the room and out towards the kitchen, keeping an ear on her movements as he went through the motions of filling the coffee maker and setting it to perc.

“Now there’s no need to be rude, Jethro. You know you want me really. Denying yourself is just too, too ridiculous. It’s been too long since we lost my darling sister and it’s about time you gave in to your innermost desires. You know I’m everything you’ve ever wanted.”

“I know you’re ridiculous,” he countered with a cruel smile. “There isn’t anyone I could want less than you, Siobhan. And even if I was taken in by all the external gloss…” He walked up to her and stared into her truly startling eyes. “…then the dirty dross inside would be a real turn off.”

Gibbs was gratified to see her mask fall a little as her eyes hardened, the carefully disguised lines around them coming sharply into relief as her jaw tightened with fury.

“Why do you keep coming here? I know you’re not stupid, so really…how many times do you have to be told no before you get the message?”

He watched as she pulled her insouciant demeanour back around her like a cloak.

“I went to your office but they said you were out, and that long tall streak of a Switch who works with you said you were at Mount Vernon. After you let that crazy man kill my sister, I thought you would have steered clear of that place.”

She took a large step back as Gibbs got right in her face, but he was a little disconcerted to see her pupils dilate and her lipsticked bottom lip pout out.

“I think it’s time for you to leave. And this time, believe me when I say you are not welcome to return here ever again.”

Siobhan lifted her hand and dragged her long nails gently down his face. “I don’t know why you’re bothering with all those pathetic excuses for subs at the San, baby, when you have a willing and perfectly sane one right here.” She pressed her body against him, her full firm breasts yielding against his hard chest and the scent of her expensive perfume filling his nose.

With a grip slightly tighter than was necessary, he grasped her upper arms and moved her bodily out of the kitchen and towards the front door, grabbing her purse and jacket from the couch as they passed.

“You have nothing that I want, baby. You are a Switch with an appetite for pain, both giving and receiving. I’m a Hedonist with a completely Dominant personality and no Sadistic tendencies at all. Even if I found you the slightest bit attractive – which really I don’t – then our Dynamic would have us at each other’s throats.” He shoved her coat and purse at her chest and gave her a little push towards the door.

“Go away, Siobhan. And don’t bother coming back. I won’t be so nice next time and you would do well to remember I have a lot of guns, I know how to use them, and I have a badge that says I can.” He opened the door and looked at her expectantly.

Siobhan gave him a smile that was more like a sneer, stepped through the doorway and turned back to look at him as she settled her jacket over her arm with studied nonchalance. “I have to get going anyway. I’m meeting an important client from Japan who wants me to look over a proposal for a big financial undertaking. He wants me to present it to a group of backers next week, real big hitters, and there is not only a big bonus in it for me, but the chance for lucrative contacts. There could be some investment potential so if you want to invest that big chunk of life insurance money I know you have mouldering in the bank…”

He slammed the door in her face and pressed his forehead against the wood, fisting his shaking hands in order to prevent himself from following her out and punching the smug, self-satisfied expression right off her face. He stayed there until he heard the throaty roar of the sports car’s engine as it pulled off the driveway with a squeal of tyres.

Swallowing hard against the temper his sister in law had incited, he strode back into the house and down to the basement. The way he felt right now the bourbon was the only B he wanted to spend time with…But then he had a flash of green eyes, full lips and a head of thick dirty blonde hair. He needed to be on the top of his game tomorrow if he was going to give Tony the best chance of finding himself again and a hangover was not the way to start.

“Suck it up, marine,” he growled as he ran his hands over the ribs of the boat, feeling the calluses on his fingers catching on the unfinished wood. He grabbed a sheet of sandpaper and folded it carefully over a sanding block. Maybe he could smooth away his temper along with those rough spots.

*****

The room wasn’t dark, a low wattage emergency lamp over the door made sure of that. But Tony was pleased about the little bit of light as he lay silent and still, and contemplated the pale expanse of ceiling above his head. This was, he realised, the first time in his entire adult life that he could remember being alone at night. It was exciting and frightening all at the same time. He was glad it wasn’t completely dark.

The day had been the same. Confusing and frightening to start with, but by the end of it Tony had felt tentatively hopeful. Gibbs had been the biggest surprise; gorgeous and brooding, and overwhelmingly Dominant, in a way Tony had never experienced before. There was no artifice, nothing overbearing or false about his confidence in his own power, no need to force Tony to behave in a certain way, not like others in the subs experience. Gibbs was exhilarating and exciting but not intimidating or frightening. There was something about the Dom that made Tony feel safe; safer than he had ever felt in his life. He wanted to do something he’d never had the urge to do before – submit, freely and without coercion; he wanted to throw himself at the man’s feet and beg to be allowed to do whatever Gibbs desired.

He’d also felt something that had been missing from his life. It was something he’d heard about from listening in to the conversations of others and from the old TV that Obaasan constantly had flickering in the corner of her room, but he had never been allowed to feel.

Arousal. A slick, sexual curl of feeling right behind his balls that might have filled his cock if he hadn’t felt so ill and fuzzy with drugs. He wasn’t sure he knew what to do with it, but he knew he wanted to feel it again.

And then there was that strange pull and the buzz of awareness of Gibbs in the back of his head. He’d never been truly attracted to someone before so he wasn’t sure if it was normal or if it was the kind of connection that Obaasan had talked about constantly, in her slightly eccentric, kooky way.

He went to turn on his side and moaned as pain shot through him. He could feel the beat of his heart throbbing in the wounds on his arms, but he blocked it out, not wanting to remember…He squeezed his eyes shut against the memory.

Instead he began to play the opening credits to My Fair Lady across the inside of his closed eyelids, using a technique that had worked so many times before, and lost himself in the romance and fantasy of Obaasan’s favourite movie. He’d always been enchanted by the story of the rough and untrained sub who was polished and made perfect by the older, gruff and demanding Dom, before finding out they were Soulmates.

He felt himself being lulled to sleep while the opening strains of the first song rang in his head, as Eliza met Higgins for the first time. Funny how the lead character had never had eyes so ice blue before…

*****

Bryan pulled his key out of the lock and slammed the door behind him. He took a breath to call out a greeting and was stopped by the pointed clearing of a throat behind him. He turned to find Ducky in the hallway, arms crossed over his chest and his foot tapping.

“I thought I told you not to be late, boy?”

Once again Bryan opened his mouth to speak, but Ducky didn’t wait for his excuse.

“Oh no, I don’t think so. You have been very disobedient, and naughty boys are meant to be seen and not heard. Now give me your wrist and then we’ll see about getting you properly attired, before you made to see the error of your ways.”

Bryan shivered with excitement. He loved this scene. His Dom had obviously meant it when he said he was going to give him a reward. His cock began to fill and he felt his mouth go dry as Ducky held out his hand. The sub offered his wrist, and his Dom unwound the thick black leather collar, running it through his fingers to smooth out any kinks from its day on Bryan’s arm.

After a couple of incidents on the locked ward at the San, where he’d been grabbed and nearly throttled by a patient, Ducky had decreed that his collar would be worn twisted twice around his wrist as a bracelet during work hours. Bryan missed the safety and sense of belonging he got from a visible sign of his submission, but having Ducky’s collar on his wrist was the next best alternative. And anything was better than being strangled. That really was not good times.

Ducky pressed the warm leather to Bryan’s lips and the sub willingly and reverently kissed the collar, while gazing at his Dom with soft, adoring eyes. Gentle fingers fastened it around his neck and then stroked the skin below the lock.

“Hmm, well it’s nice to see you have some manners. Now to the bedroom with you and we’ll get you looking more like my boy.”

The need to please his Dom was difficult to resist, but Bryan had a role to play in this scene too and he knew Ducky would appreciate it. Dropping his chin, he looked sullenly at the floor and shook his head.

“Uhuh, don’t see why I should, wasn’t my fault I was late.”

He felt rather than saw Ducky exhale shakily, and smiled secretly. Good his Dom was just as into this as he was. A sharp, stinging slap to his ass shocked him out of his thoughts.

“I can see I am going to have my work cut out for me tonight. Get your naughty bottom up those stairs, young man, or I might have to take a paddle to it.” Ducky took him by the now bare wrist and began to pull him towards the grand staircase.

‘Oh God, yes please’, Bryan thought as he followed on behind, pulling slightly back on the restraining hand.

Their bedroom was large and furnished with an eclectic mix of antique furniture and modern pieces, most of which were props and equipment that matched their Dynamic. Bryan was slightly disappointed when Ducky pulled him past the spanking bench and into the centre of the room, but if he was lucky, it was likely he’d end up there before the scene was over.

With cool and ruthless efficiency, Ducky stripped him of his uniform and underwear, then walked around him, only touching him with his gaze. But Bryan could feel it as surely as if it was physical.

Unlike most subs, Bryan still had all his body hair. He knew many Doms would have insisted on him having permanent removal or at least shaving, but Ducky loved it; said it reminded him that for all their play, Bryan was a grown adult man. He found the feel and look of it a constant turn on. Bryan had been pleased. He was very hairy and it was dark and thick. Shaving his body would have been a nightmare. He often had to shave his face twice a day in order to keep his bosses at work happy, his beard grew in so quickly.

“Time to get you clean and dressed, boy.” Ducky dragged his fingertips down Bryan’s spine until he reached the crack of his ass. Pressing in between the firm globes, he found the flat end of the plug that had been tormenting Bryan all day. He twisted it viciously and pressed it in, right over his prostate. The sub moaned at the sensation, his cock filled to full mast and a small jet of pre-cum jumped from the slit.

“Eager, but don’t get your hopes up too high. Naughty boys don’t get to come unless their daddy says so.”

Bryan swallowed hard and moaned again, as Ducky pulled the plug from his ass. He felt empty and wished he had permission to beg. Then again…he was a very naughty boy…

“Please Daddy, please. I want cock in my hole. I’ll be good, I promise.”

The sharp slap to his bare ass was not a surprise, but the one to his cock was and he fought the desire to come as his Dom wrapped his hand around the straining erection and led him by it to the bathroom.

“I can see I won’t be able to trust you to get clean by yourself so I’ll have to supervise.”

They were soon both naked and under the stream of the waterfall shower, that Ducky had installed solely to pamper his sub. The water was hot and powerful, falling in a broad sheet over their bodies.

For his age Donald Mallard was still in pretty good shape, his muscles still shapely on his arms and legs. Unlike his sub, he was hairless, and his Scottish heritage left his skin milk pale and slightly freckled. His eyes, not hidden here by his ever present glasses, were a deep sea blue flecked with tiny sparks of green. Yes, he was over seventy and carried the lines and flaws of a man who had lived a long and full life, but Bryan loved every inch of him, including his uncut and rather impressive cock, which was well on its way to full hardness.

Ducky squeezed a little shower gel onto a large natural sponge and began to wash the sub all over. Bryan was nearly seven inches taller than his Dom, but he always felt smaller, more fragile under Ducky’s knowing touch. He could already feel himself starting to go down as he relaxed into his lover taking care of him. He gave in to the feeling of love and safety, knowing his Dom would look after him.

“My, you are a dirty boy,” Ducky muttered as he worked on cleaning Bryan’s body, paying extra attention to his groin and ass, teasing his sub with little pinches and touches that made him hiss and moan, running his hands through the thick hair on his chest and around the base of his cock. When all the soap was rinsed away, Ducky took up the wand attachment and checked the temperature of the water jetting from it.

“Hands on your ankles, boy.”

Bryan went into position without complaint, shaking a little with need. He loved this part. Enema’s he could take or leave, finding them a little harsh; uncomfortable and messy. But the feeling of warm water, jetting into his hole and warming and stretching him inside was a real turn on. So much so that he could feel the insistent throb of his cock and the tightening of his balls. He sobbed a little in distress. He needed to hold on, otherwise his daddy would be cross…

“There, there, alright,” Ducky’s voiced crooned in his ear, as he increased the pressure of the water slightly, angling it so Bryan’s prostate was being pummelled deliciously. “There’s a good boy. Come for me…Come right now.”

Bryan’s stomach muscles clenched almost to the point of pain as the anticipation and arousal he had been carrying all day came to an explosive head. He came hard, splattering the tile and his feet, before the water carried it away. He wasn’t completely sure he could hold position, as his knees began to tremble, but a warm arm snaked around his waist, holding him firm as the wand was gently removed from inside him.

“On your knees.”

Bryan slid gracefully and gratefully to his knees and pressed his head against Ducky’s soft belly. The older man’s cock was at full mast, pulsing gently under Bryan’s chin. He moaned as the musky scent of his Doms arousal wafted around him in the humid shower cubicle and he moved his head to press his lips on the skin beneath them.

“That’s it, my clever little one, use your mouth on me, gently, now.”

There was no hurry. Bryan knew Ducky could usually only manage to come once and he preferred a long slow warm up, which meant Bryan got to come several times in a scene. With long, slow presses of his mouth, Bryan covered every inch of his Doms cock with kisses, before sliding his full lips right over the head and running the tip of his tongue under the foreskin.

“Yes, yes…oh that’s lovely. You’re such a good boy, with such a clever mouth.”

Bryan felt a flush of pleasure at the praise and redoubled his efforts to please his Master. He moaned at the taste of pre-come as he pressed the soft skin back to reveal the head of Ducky’s cock. He lavished it with his tongue as he gathered every last drop, insinuating the very tip into the slit as he chased the flavour to the source.

A long groan from above him, told Bryan he was hitting all the right spots. Ducky’s hand fell onto his head and pulled at the wet strands of thick, dark hair just hard enough to be deliciously painful.

Too soon he was being pushed away from his delicious prize and he followed the cock as Ducky stepped away from him and turned off the water. The Dom tipped Bryan’s head and chuckled as he gazed into his dazed eyes.

“Oh you’re falling nicely, my clever, talented, good boy. Come on, let’s get you dry.”

Bryan rose to his feet when told, and followed his Dom out into the bathroom, where he was dried with a huge soft towel.

Back in the Master bedroom, Ducky stood Bryan by the bed and then he noticed the items that were laid out; Butter soft leather pants, with cutouts that would leave his ass and genitals completely exposed, a set of nipple clamps with a Y-chain, and a leash. Bryan swallowed hard and his cock gave a lurch, filling again as the excitement made him ache with arousal.

Taking every opportunity to touch and stimulate, Ducky dressed him in his outfit, feeding his cock and balls through the hole in the pants, and making sure they were pushed up and forward by the edge of the cut out, which acted like an impromptu cock ring. The clamps on his nipples were tight to the point of pleasure/pain and were attached to a long chain that ended in a glans ring with a flat bead, which held his cock up and pressed against the sensitive bundle of nerves under the head. Finally, the leash was snapped onto a small D ring on his collar and Ducky led him by it to the spanking bench.

Bryan was pressed to kneel on the bench and the end of his leash was coiled and hooked, pulling his chest down onto the padded rest. The clamps on his nipples pressed into the tender flesh and he hissed in pleasure. Bryan licked his dry lips and found the voice to plead.

“No, daddy, please. I’ve been a good boy. I’ll do better. Don’t punish me.”

The gleam in his Doms eye and the pre-come wetting the tip of his cock told Bryan the effort would be worth it.

“You may have been a good boy since you got home, but you were late and you know you have to be punished. It’s the only way to make sure you do as you’re told in the future. I only want to keep you safe, Bryan, you know that. You’re my responsibility, my boy, and I love you.”

Bryan curled his fingers around the smooth leather of the bench and trembled in anticipation. He could hear movement behind him; the swish of material and the sliding open of drawers.

After several minutes, his Dom stood in front of him, dressed in a black silk dressing gown which was belted loosely at the waist, the edges sliding open to give a tantalising glimpse of the cock Bryan knew would be filling him before the night was over. Ducky was holding his sub’s favourite paddle and although it was couched as punishment, as soon as Bryan saw it he knew this was the reward he had been promised.

Made of red oak, it had one smooth side and on the converse, a raised carving that read ‘Daddy’s Boy’.

The thought that he would carry the mark of his Doms love for him at work tomorrow and probably the day after, written on his skin in raised welts, made him moan, his arousal ramping up exponentially.

“One hard one with the raised side on each cheek and then we will see how many on your thighs with the flat side after that – depending on how well you take it. You don’t need to count, boy, but I do want to hear you.” Ducky demanded.

The first crack of the paddle on his right cheek made Bryan yell out in pain and pleasure. He swore he could feel each individual letter rising on his skin. The second on the left side was just as hard and Bryan started babbling.

“Uh, yes…please, yes…more, more. I’m a good boy.”

A couple of dozen spanks later and his ass and thighs were burning with delicious heat, and Bryan’s cock was straining, a small lake of pre-come puddling on the floor under him.

The cool silk of his Doms gown slid over the sensitised skin, making it feel like an electric shock throughout his body. He was begging now, crying out to be allowed to come, but he knew he had to wait.

His hot cheeks were pulled apart and he felt the blunt wet sensation of Ducky’s thick cock against his hole. He moaned loudly as the full length, slickly coated with lube, was pushed slowly inside him. It seemed to go on forever, opening and stretching him even further than the plug he’d worn all day.

“Oh, that is so very good,” Ducky breathed into his ear. “You have such a gorgeous hole, so hot and ready for your daddy to fuck.”

On the final word he thrust in hard and deep, rocking Bryan on the bench, rubbing his over stimulated nipples on the leather, which in turn pulled on the ring on his cock.

“Oh please, please…I want to come, Master. Please let me come…”

“In my own time, boy. Patience.”

Then all Bryan could do was hang on and feel. Every part of him seemed to be being stimulated at the same time. His Doms cock was raking over his prostate with unerring accuracy and the pressure under the head of his own cock was driving him higher and higher. Long strokes became shorter and more erratic as his Dom moved closer to his completion.

Just as Bryan thought he couldn’t take any more, Ducky’s hand snaked around to his straining cock and flicked open the catch on the glans ring, allowing it to fall and dangle at the end of the chain. Then in a panting, strangled growl, he heard his Dom say the words he was begging for.

“Come for me, Bryan.”

His orgasm was so instantaneous he almost missed the flash of heat inside him that heralded Ducky’s completion, and his own balls tightened almost painfully as he came.

Buzzing with endorphin’s and wallowing deep in his sub-space, the next few minutes were a bit of blur and the next thing Bryan knew he was naked and being encouraged to lay down on his front, in between the cool soft sheets of their bed. With the warm, familiar body of his Dom and lover pressed to his side and the throb of the thorough spanking still hot and tender on his skin, Bryan slid into sleep; secure, safe and sure of his Doms love.

***** 

The room was bright and warm, with a window overlooking the gardens. Jethro watched as Tony faltered when faced with the option of where to sit; considering the way he had knelt when admitted to the San, he was possibly struggling with the notion of being able to sit at all.

Gibbs got comfortable in one of the plush armchairs and waited. Although he’d used his Dynamic to break through Tony’s initial block, he was determined that the young man should start to learn to have some freedom of thought as soon as possible. More than anything Jethro wanted Tony to have a sense of self again and to feel free to choose. Of course that would all depend on what he’d been through.

Finally, with a wary look in Gibbs’ direction, the younger man slid into the other chair and perched carefully on the edge of the seat. Jethro nodded encouragingly and was gratified when Tony relaxed a little and shuffled back into the chair.

For a minute or two Gibbs just waited, hoping Tony would want to start this first conversation. But the subs eyes stayed glued to the floor and he realised he’d fallen almost into an interrogation mode – let them stew a little, get nervous and they’d spill all kinds of information. That really wasn’t the way he wanted these sessions to go. Tony was a patient not a suspect. So Jethro decided to jump-start proceedings.

“OK, Tony. Firstly, our sessions here will be observed by Dr Waverley from the next room and she might join us at a later time, after we’ve had a few sessions. You’ve had a really bad time, we know that, but I only have the story of the last couple of days. This is our chance to get to know one another and for me to see if I can help you…find a way through the distress I know you’re feeling and make sense of what has happened to you.

There was a subtle tightening in Tony’s shoulders.

“I know that’s a frightening prospect but you’ve already taken the first and most frightening step when you told me your name. I’d like to try take some more steps today. You’re safe here. I won’t let anything or anyone hurt you and while I may push you a little, I’ll never force you to go further than you want to go.”

Gibbs was shocked at the sincerity and veracity of his own statement. He really would protect this man – even with his life. He was surprised at himself. Leroy Jethro Gibbs didn’t let people in, not anymore. But this beautiful young sub with his flawless skin, bright green eyes, and mysterious past had snuck in there in a matter of hours.

He pulled himself away from his musings as Tony’s eyes left the floor. It seemed from his expression that the other man was willing – he wanted to tell his story, but Gibbs could see he was having difficulty starting.

“How about I tell you a little about me, and then perhaps you can do the same?”

Tony nodded quickly. Jethro guessed that any delay was good in the other man’s eyes.

“Well let’s see. My full name is Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I’m 42, and I live here in DC. I’m a Dom as you know, and I’d describe myself as a Hedonist who likes total control. I had one session at La Petit Mort, but I really didn’t fit in there. I joined the Marines straight from college, where I got my BSc. I joined the Marines and after my first tour of duty I was given a session by USMC, as a reward of sorts, at a small Pleasure House in Spain called Placeres del Corazón. I returned the following year, completed my Mastery and was Marked. I was trained as a sniper, got promoted to gunnery sergeant at 26 and then was invalided out of the service the next year after being injured in the line of duty. That’s when I decided to train as a psychologist.”

Gibbs stopped himself from going any further. Talking about himself was a painful enough process without delving into the tragedy his life had become. He hoped he’d said enough to encourage Tony to begin to open up. He smiled softly as he watched the flickering of emotions across Tony’s expressive face. Finally, his expression became resolved and he took a breath.

And Gibbs held his.

“Bryan was a soldier too. You helped him.” Tony’s voice was quiet but not fearful and his speech pattern was careful, as if he was thinking about every word. There was a slight accent there as well that wasn’t from the US. Overall, the sound was really quite pleasant.

Jethro nodded in answer to the question and then slowly blew out the air he’d been unconsciously holding.

“I’m not brave like him, not a hero who has fought or been injured. I don’t know if I deserve your time, sir…Master…?”

“You can call me Gibbs, Tony. We won’t use titles here.”

Tony nodded. “Thank you…Gibbs.”

“And as for not being brave…I once read a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson that stuck with me. It said, ‘Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name’. You sitting right here, making yourself talk to me is so very brave. And you deserve every bit of help I…we can give you. Be honest with me and with yourself. I promise I won’t lie to you. I might not always answer your questions, but when I do I will tell you the truth. I’d like for you to do the same. The truth is the greatest gift you can give both me and yourself.”

“OK, I’ll try…” Tony looked down at his hands, picking at his thumbnails as he gathered his nerve.

“My full name is An…Antonio Archangelo DiNozzo. I’m 26 years old and up until we flew into Washington this week I lived in Japan. I’d been there since I was 12 years old.”

Tony swallowed hard, shook his head, and looked at Gibbs imploringly. “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do this, Mas…Gibbs.”

“You’re doing great. You were born in the US?”

Tony looked relieved. Gibbs was going to have to ask the questions for a while, at least until the young man got into the swing.

“Yes, in Long Island. We had a house there and one in the Hamptons. My mom, Rachel, was an artist and a La Petit Mort consort. My dad Antonio Snr., was a de Sade Dom who ran his own company – a family business.” He swallowed hard. “Mom died when I was 8. I had nannies after that. Dad never had much to do with me. He said he knew I’d be submissive like my mom and I’d never be strong enough to run the company, so I wasn’t worth his time.”

Gibbs was sure if he ever met DiNozzo Senior, he’d have plenty to say to him.

“So you and your dad moved to Japan when you were 12…”

Tony shook his head and looked back up at Gibbs his eyes dark with devastation. “No, that was when my dad sold me to my Master.”

Jethro’s eyes widened in shock, his hands tightening into fists on his lap. “He sold you?”

“Well I didn’t know that then…Two days after my twelfth birthday we took a trip to Hawaii. Dad had a few business meetings there and he said I might as well be useful. I was a really pretty child and I found it easy to make friends. Some of the men he was meeting were bringing their families and my father thought it would make him look more like a family man. But when we got there it turned out he had been misinformed, there were no other kids. So of course I was superfluous. He gave me $300 and told me to keep out of his way.”

The Doms anger was rising and he had to work really hard not to show any of it. The last thing Tony needed right at this moment was any inappropriate emotional outbursts from him. He looked over at the other man. Gibbs was surprised at how open he was being – he hadn’t expected this so soon, especially something with such a large emotional impact. But Tony carried on, seemingly lost in the memory.

“I went to the beach every day, got in with some local and tourist kids of my age and we fooled around surfing and eating junk, spending my dad’s money. It was great. Then on the third day, I got back to our hotel suite and there was no one there. I thought at first my dad had gone off for an overnight stay with one of his contacts, or that he’d found someone to play with. He did that all the time at home, left me in the house – but that was OK. The housekeeper fed me and I used to make sure I set the alarm system every night.”

He looked over at Gibbs, who tried to keep his disgust off his face as he nodded in encouragement. “You’re doing good, Tony.”

Tony rolled his lips and bit down on the bottom one. “But then one night turned into two, and then three and I started to get a little scared. I went down to the reception desk and asked if they knew where my dad had gone. Turned out he’d left and gone home, forgetting I was there.”

“So you were all alone in Hawaii?” The story seemed almost unbelievable, but nothing about DiNozzo’s delivery made Jethro think he was lying.

“Yeah…I didn’t know what to do. The concierge was about to call my dad when a man came up and said he was one of the men Senior had come to meet. He told the guy behind the desk that he would call my dad, and the receptionist seemed pleased to get rid of the troublesome kid. The man introduced himself as Konosuki Ibu and then took me to the restaurant. He let me choose what I wanted to eat and then went across the room and made a call.”

Now Tony was twisting his fingers together in real distress and Gibbs thought he’d soon have to call this session to a close, at least for a while. But the sub wasn’t quite done.

“He came back to the table with his phone and let me talk to my dad. Senior said he was sorry and that he couldn’t get back to collect me for a week, so I should stay with Master Ibu – that he would look after me until he could get there. I should have realised something was wrong right then; my dad never said he was sorry, not to anyone and especially not to me.”

Gibbs had a bad feeling about where this was all going. He wasn’t sure he was going to be the best qualified to help Tony. Maybe Nicola could suggest someone who had a specialism in child sexual abuse.

“At the end of the week we flew out of Hawaii. Master Ibu told me Senior said I should go with him. I thought we were coming back to New York but when we got off the plane, we were in Okinawa, Japan. When we arrived here in Washington three…four…oh however many days ago it was, that was the first time I’d been back here in fourteen years.”

Tony seemed to have come to a natural stop and Jethro noticed he was trembling with fatigue. “I think that’s enough for now, Tony. You did really well. How do you feel?”

The young man sucked in a deep breath and let it out in a rush. “Tired, jittery. No one else knows and it was always a secret. If I told…” Tony squeezed his eyes shut and shuddered.

Gibbs reached across and rested his hand lightly on Tony’s shoulder. “It’s OK, you’re safe here. Only Dr Waverley and I will have the detail of what we talk about and if we feel we need to bring in anyone else, we’ll tell you first.”

Jethro was shocked as Tony slid from the chair to his knees and took up the perfect form he had first seen only 24 hours before, his eyes filled with distress.

“Please, sir, Master Gibbs. I don’t want to talk to anyone else. Just you, sir…”

Taking him gently by the upper arms Gibbs pulled Tony back to his feet. The firm muscle under his hands flexed and bunched, as if Tony was preparing to run. Jethro gentled his touch even more and was gratified to feel the younger man lean in to him slightly. It made his blood rush a little and Gibbs took a step back in order to distance himself, both from Tony and from the feelings coursing through him. He needed to proceed carefully, and he really needed to get himself under control.

The ever present pull to this sub was becoming more pronounced and Jethro was at a loss why it was happening. They were starting to really build trust, but it was going to take time and Gibbs couldn’t afford to undermine that with inappropriate behaviour.

“You don’t ever have to go to your knees for me, Tony. I promise I’ll listen to whatever you want to tell me, but I’ll let you know if I think someone else could help you more. OK?”

Tony nodded reluctantly and unconsciously rubbed at the bandages on his arms.

“Are you in pain, Tony?”

“No, but they itch…real bad.”

Jethro chuckled. “Yeah, I can imagine. It’s good though, means they are healing.” He nodded towards the door. “Do you think you could cope with a short walk? We could go get coffee from the cafeteria and then you can have a rest in your room before lunch. Bryan will be coming around to redo your dressings and then we’ll meet again this afternoon.”

The smile Tony gave him lit his face and made him look much younger. “Can I have hot chocolate?”

“One coffee, and one hot chocolate coming right up.”

*****

“Madame Fielding.”

“Ibu-san. It is an honour to finally meet you.”

“The honour is all mine, and let me say that if I had realised what a jewel you are, I would have made an effort to meet you earlier. Please, address me as Kobo.”

Siobhan blushed prettily and looked up demurely through her eyelashes. She’d been expecting to meet with the elder Master Ibu, but his son was much more her type. Taller than most Japanese she’d met in the past, he was slender with fashionably long blue/black hair, dark eyes and eyelashes women would kill for. She was sure she could work this one to her benefit with no problem at all.

“Thank you…Kobo…You must call me Siobhan.”

The handsome young Dom smiled at her. The predatory gleam in his eye was not off putting to her at all. She loved the chase and more often than not she ended up turning the predator into her prey.

She’d met his kind before – the spoiled elder son of a dynasty, sure of his place in the hierarchy, heir to a fortune and believing himself God’s gift to subs everywhere. He was ripe to be played and she was the ultimate player.

“I must apologise however, as there has been a family emergency and my sister and I must return to Okinawa. Our private plane is awaiting our arrival at Ronald Reagan.”

Siobhan tamped down on the rush of irritation that tightened her shoulders. “I’m so sorry to hear that – nothing serious I hope?”

“There has been a death in the family, but it will in no way affect the matter between you and my company.”

Ibu strode across the hotel suite and gathered a bound folder from the desk. “This is the outline.”

He looked at the large, expensive watch on his wrist. “I have a few minutes if you would like to look it over and ask any immediate questions. I should be back in the US sometime in the next two weeks at which point we can…get down to business.”

He licked his lips as he watched her unbutton her jacket and his eyes came to rest on her 32F bust line. He traced the deep cleavage her dress displayed, before his gaze flickered to her neck.

She knew what he was looking for and also that the lack of a mark made her more intriguing to a man like him. She could play up the ‘mysterious’ angle with the best of them. Like many Switches, Siobhan had chosen not to be marked by her house, preferring to be identified as neither Dom nor sub.

As he handed her the file he ran his fingers over her wrist and then circled it, squeezing gently. Siobhan almost snorted with laughter.

Oh, he thought he was so smooth.

Well she was willing to do whatever it took to get this deal under her belt. As an independent financial and investment advisor, contacts were everything. This deal had the potential to put her right in the centre of a group of Fortune 500 companies. So if Ibu wanted to play then she was quite willing to kneel for this little Japanese princeling, and use her body to the fullest in order to get in with that heady crowd.

She slinked across the room, making sure to give Ibu Jr. a good look at her swinging hips, endless legs and truly spectacular ass. It was always a good idea to leave them wanting more, and with the time constraint she was under she needed to work every angle to its fullest potential.

Sitting on a low armchair, she folded her legs, making sure her red body con dress was stretched high and tight on her thighs, barely skimming the tops of her stockings. She looked up to flash a smile and was happy to see the young businessman almost panting, a most promising bulge in the front of his pants.

She had him interested, and after only 5 minutes. What would he do for her if she had all night?

Dragging her mind back to business she opened the folder on her lap and began to flick her eyes across the proposal. Despite her sexual machinations, she was very skilled in financial matters, especially those involving political angles.

After a few minutes she looked back up, a faint frown on her face. “This all looks very much as I discussed with your father, except there seems to be a bit of a hole in your multi-revenue-asset stream. Wasn’t a substantial portion of the seed funding supposed to be from DiNozzo Industries? Without that the whole proposal will be a much harder sell, especially to the older, more mainstream members of the group – including your political allies.”

Kobo’s face went blank for a second, before he once again pulled on the smug mask he’d been wearing since Siobhan had arrived in the suite. “There have been some complications, but we are in the process of smoothing those out, and I have no doubt we’ll be able to slot the DiNozzo money back in by the time I return.”

Siobhan nodded, pleased with the reply. There were still things she could do with the proposal as it stood, but the $45 million initial investment and the promise of almost double that amount over the next 10 years was what would make the whole deal so interesting to other potential investors in the portfolio. Without that money she would have to think whether it was worth the effort.

She smiled up at the businessman, widening her eyes and wetting her bottom lip in a less than subtle display. Normally, she would have initially underplayed it, especially at this first meeting. But Kobo was being particularly blatant and she thought subtle would just pass him by.

As if playing to her script, Kobo reached over and dragged his fingers across her throat. “It is a pity we do not have the time to go over things quite as thoroughly as I’d hoped, but I will make sure there is ample time for business…and pleasure…on my return.”

Siobhan leaned archly into his touch and was gratified to see his pupils dilate. ‘Hook, line and sinker’, she thought as she gave an exaggerated shiver and a small sigh as he pulled his hand away and went back to the desk.

She rose and began to button her jacket, aware that their short meeting was coming to a close. She gathered up the proposal file and slid it into her Italian leather briefcase, closing it with a satisfying click of the expensive fittings.

“Before you leave, perhaps you would accept these, as an apology for the brevity of this meeting and a promise for the next.”

He held out a small, aqua blue Tiffany’s box, complete with white bow. Siobhan slid her case onto the desk and accepted the gift box with genuinely shaking hands. If there was anything that could get Siobhan Fielding’s undivided attention, it was high-end jewellery.

The lid of the box slid off easily. Nestled inside were a pair of exquisite diamond studs, at least 2 carats each, square cut and, as far as she could see flawless. She looked up from the box with shining eyes and offered it to the expectant man in front of her.

“They are beautiful, and such a generous gift,” she gushed. “Will you help me?”

She tugged out the expensive but rather gaudy gold hoops she had in her ears and put a hand onto Kobo’s waist – to steady herself, of course – as he slid the jewels into her ears.

“Perfect,” he purred. “Maybe we could go shopping for something to complement them when I return.” His eyes raked across her bare neck and gleamed with avarice.

She gave him a sultry look, full of promise, but on the inside, she was shaking her head. ‘Not a chance, buster. Only one man going to get a collar on me and I’ve got a deal more work to do there if yesterday was anything to go by’.

Still it could be an interesting and lucrative distraction. She was sure she could get all kinds of expensive presents alongside the contacts she craved, before she let him down gently. Jethro had very little in the way of financial incentives, so she needed to make sure she’d got a substantial nest egg, before she finally bagged the man she really wanted.

And as Kobo kissed her hand and bowed deeply she could see the disappointment and arousal running through him.

Yes, she had him good. This whole deal had real potential.

*****

Moving the Ten of Hearts to cover the Jack of spades on the monitor screen, Tim McGee sighed deeply with boredom. The bullpen had been quiet for two days, with the promise of nearly three weeks more, although he was hoping to have some time with the Forensic Electronic Information Technology Team before Gibbs came back from leave. Kate had gone gleefully to CT/CI, with a little jaunty wave. He hated cold cases and the idea that he would be stuck alone without his team for the whole three weeks filled him with dread.

Not that he missed Gibbs. The man was frighteningly omnipotent. McGee felt his SSA had eyes in the back of his head; he never seemed to be able to get anything past the Marine. And although Tim identified as a Dom to his colleagues (it was the easiest way to keep face with all the ex-cops and military officers), he knew that the Boss had divined his Switch status very quickly – like within three minutes of meeting him.

The only high point of this hiatus so far, had been when Siobhan Fielding had turned up at the front desk. That woman was gorgeous and stacked…God, what Tim wouldn’t give to have her kneeling at his feet, mouth stretched around his cock, leaving a smear of that unique coral red lipstick. She’d been really flirty and Tim had an idea that she might really be interested in a little play time.

He reached down and rearranged his hard on.

“McGee, stop playing solitaire and thinking about blowjobs.”

Tim nearly shot out of his chair in shock as Gibbs loomed over the monitor in front of him. “B…b…boss?”

How the fuck did he do that? It was all Tim could do not to look around for the spy camera he was sure must be on his cubicle.

And the man was a goddamned mind reader, too.

Gibbs smirked, and threw something at him. Tim fumbled it against his chest and looked down to see a brand new boxed cell phone.

“Set that up with all the bells and whistles, and make sure my cell, home and the office number are on speed dial. Then I want everything you can find out about these names, any links, business or personal, rap sheets, the works. I want it all.”

Gibbs pushed a sheet of notepaper across Tim’s desk. It had ‘Antonio DiNozzo Senior/Konosuke Ibu’ scrawled on it in Gibbs’ messy handwriting.

“Do we have a case, Boss? I thought you were on leave.”

“We don’t and I am…” He tapped a finger on the note. “This is on the QT, McGee. Just you and me.” He shot a look up at MTAC. “No one else, you understand.

Tim nodded quickly. “Rule #4, Boss.” ‘The best way to keep a secret? Keep it to yourself. Second best? Tell one other person – if you must. There is no third best’, Tim recited in his head.

He looked up to find Gibbs was already at the elevator waiting for the car. As the doors opened he turned, “I’m going down to see Abby and Ducky. You’ve got twenty minutes on that phone, McGee. Bring it down to the morgue when you’re done. You can have a couple of days for the other stuff.”

Tim watched as the doors slid shut on the Boss’s stone-faced countenance, then let out an explosive breath and looked back at the note. Two names, nothing else, and no doubt the Boss would expect a complete run down from star signs and Dynamic onward. So much for being bored. Now he just had to hope Director Morrow didn’t come up with that TDY to FEITT too soon, otherwise he’d be pulling some overtime.

He slit the seal on the phone box with his nail and tipped out the top of the line iPhone. That was a surprise. Gibbs usually wanted the most basic, no frills cell, as more often than not they got lost during a fight, thrown in a fit of temper, or, as on one memorable occasion, dropped into a jar of paint thinner during a call to Fornell.

Tim shook his head. He would never understand the man. “Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or…get Gibbs slapped.”

He snorted at his own funny and then began to program the numbers. After all, the clock was ticking.

*****

The day was bright and sunny, but Tony could see from the clothes everyone was wearing as they wandered the gardens, that it was cold outside. He tucked his bare feet under his ass and rested his chin on the windowsill.

He’d been moved from the observation room to a private room late last night. Gibbs had promised him the move and less than an hour later a young orderly and a nurse walked him along the corridor, through a set of locked double doors and into what the nurse had called the private wing.

It was weird. Tony had thought being in a room without cameras would be better, but when he’d tried to settle down to sleep, he’d felt a little scared. He wanted someone to know how he was – who he was. His fingertips drifted over the faintly raised lines of the tattoo on his neck. He’d spent so very long as an anonymous…’thing’.

If he was honest – and he was unfailingly honest with himself – he wanted Gibbs to know him. Their session yesterday had been short but totally exhausting and after their break Gibbs had decided Tony had had enough for one day. Tony had been disappointed, although the idea of spilling the next part of the story was pretty disturbing. While he hadn’t wanted to keep talking about the sad and sorry mess that was his life history, he loved the idea of spending time with Gibbs, for whatever reason.

The strange tickle in his head and the warm, sweet feeling in his belly intensified every time the man was in close proximity. There was something about Gibbs that made him feel safe and…like he really mattered. The rational side of his brain said that was because Gibbs was good at his job, and it was obvious the man cared a great deal. But the romantic soul inside Tony wanted it to mean more; something special.

A tap on the door pulled him out of his deep introspection.

“Um…yeah?” He said quietly, a little unsure. Gibbs had said he was allowed to speak up, that he should. So he needed to be brave and try. He firmed his jaw and set his feet on the floor.

He relaxed when Bryan strolled into the room, with a large duffel slung over his shoulder. It was obviously military issue and had CARVER stencilled on the side. He gave a cheeky grin as he slung it on the bed Tony had made neatly that morning.

“Hey, Tony. Did ya sleep OK?”

Tony nodded and then, with a deep breath shook his head and said, “Well, so-so. I’m not used to sleeping alone.”

Bryan waited a moment but when it was obvious Tony wasn’t going to carry on, he nodded, “I hear you. And this place is not the quietest, even at night. You should put the TV on, that’s what I used to do.” The nurse nodded up at the flat screen high up on the wall opposite the bed.

The younger man shrugged, a little annoyed that he hadn’t thought of that – in fact he hadn’t even noticed the set on the wall. Still now he knew, there would be no long, silent nights ahead of him and that was a real relief.

“I thought you might be sick of schlepping around in scrubs, so I brought you some clothes and a few toiletries. Just shower gel, shampoo, deodorant and some product to put in that gorgeous hair of yours. I didn’t put any make-up in, I wasn’t sure if you’d want any. I can round some up for you if you do.”

Tony just shrugged. It wasn’t something he’d even thought about. Of course, he’d worn it in the past, but this was a whole new world for him. He wasn’t even sure what was acceptable.

Bryan gave him a gentle nudge with his knee, that was ridiculously reassuring.

“No shower today, sorry, but Dr Jeffrey’s is coming to look at you later on and as long as there’s no sign of infection, I guess he’ll say you can have one tomorrow.” Bryan pulled the cord on the duffel and began to unload the contents.

“I figured we’re about the same height, although you have a few inches around the chest on me. It doesn’t matter how much weight work I do I just can’t seem to bulk it up. There’s a couple of sets of sweats, t-shirts, jeans, a button down or two, and this. It was a present from my mom, but it really doesn’t fit, and the colour is all wrong for me.”

He held up a gorgeous cashmere sweater, in a warm moss green. Tony knew it would be super-soft and wanted to put it on immediately.

“I went to the mall on the way home last night and picked you up some soft PJ’s and a couple packs of boxers.” He looked Tony up and down, smirking. “You seemed like you’d be more boxers than briefs kinda guy, and I didn’t think you’d want pre-loved skivvies. Oh, and seven pairs of socks.”

He reached back into the seemingly never-ending duffel of clothes. “I wasn’t sure about your shoe size, so I brought some new sneakers from my closet for you to try. If they don’t fit, then you’ll have to manage with these flip flops till I can get you something different.”

Tony was overwhelmed. He couldn’t believe that a man he hardly knew would do this for him. He had to turn away and look out of the window for a moment to get his emotions under control, otherwise he was likely to start bawling like a little girl.

“Hey, man. It’s OK. I remember what it’s like. When I got here I had two pairs of fatigues and an Army Rangers t-shirt and that was it. Gibbs sent one of the male nurses out shopping for me and I remember how great it was to put on real clothes.”

Tony turned back around and gave Bryan a watery smile. “I don’t…Thank you. It was really nice of you to do this.”

“No problem. When you’re feeling better and out of here we can go shopping together. Looking as good as you do, it would be like going to spend money with a runway model. I can see you looking totally gorgeous in some high-end names.”

Tony dropped his eyes to the floor. The idea of no longer being in the San filled him with terror, and the knowledge that he had nothing – no money, ID, not even the most basic clothes, made him despair and he swallowed back a little sob as he considered what would happen to him. “I don’t…I haven’t…”

“Hey, hey, no sweat. There’s time for all that to get sorted out. Gibbs won’t send you away with no support. He’s a good guy, Tony. You can trust him. And you can always come to me if you need anything.” Bryan’s big warm hand landed gently on Tony’s shoulder and he felt a little of the tension seep out of him.

“It’s all a bit…overwhelming, you know.”

“Yeah I know. Just take it a day at a time, OK?”

Tony was about to reply when the door opened and Gibbs walked in. It seemed like all of a sudden he could breathe easier, and the room was brighter and warmer than before. Gibbs smiled at Tony, his eyes crinkling at the corners. The young sub returned it shyly, his eyes showing just how pleased he was to see the other man.

“Morning, Dr Gibbs.” Bryan grinned as Gibbs came to stand alongside him.

Jethro shook his head. “That smart mouth of yours must get you into real trouble with your Dom. It’s a wonder you can sit some days.”

Carver dodged, but not quickly enough as Gibbs’ hand flew up and caught him on the back of the head. Tony winced but then realised the slap couldn’t have been as hard as looked when Bryan just grinned harder.

“I know…ain’t it great?”

The nurse smirked at Tony, who flushed with embarrassment and a little fear at being involved in his cheeky antics.

“I’ll come and collect my duffel later.”

Gibbs watched him go with another head shake and then looked over at the bed. “Bryan brought you some stuff?”

“Yes, sir. He said he remembered what it was like to be in scrubs all the time.”

Gibbs nodded in agreement. “Well why don’t I go and get us both coffee and doughnuts. Then we can take a walk in the garden. That’ll give you a few minutes to get washed up and changed.” Jethro turned to leave, saying, “It’s pretty chilly out there so rug up warm.”

As the door closed behind him, Tony wanted to chase after him and beg him not to leave. Every moment he spent with Gibbs made every minute he was alone feel twice as long. That safe, warm feeling didn’t quite leave with the other man, but he could feel it stretching away from him, like pulled sugar, into a finer and finer thread of sensation, until he had to concentrate really hard to catch it.

He sighed deeply and then walked over to look at the clothes on the bed.

He’d always had nice things to wear. His Master had made sure of it. But he’d never been able to buy anything for himself. His clothes were always laid out for him, all to cater to the whims of his Dom. So, the idea of choosing what to wear was both exciting and a little scary.

He pulled out the jeans. They were black, straight cut and a nice designer cut. Tony knew his labels, if only from watching TV and sneaking looks at the fashion magazines Kobo and Saeko sometimes left in Obaasan’s little sitting room in the Okinawa house. He pulled out a long sleeved, white Henley and the green sweater and added them to the jeans. He found the package of boxers in a Wal-Mart carrier bag. He ripped it open and separated off a pair. He smiled slightly as he considered Bryan’s judgement on his preference. Tony had never been allowed underwear – so he wouldn’t know himself if he was a boxers or briefs man. Still these looked soft and comfortable, and he knew better than most how uncomfortable it could be to go commando under tight denim.

He slipped out a pair of black socks from the same bag and then picked up the trainers. He wasn’t sure about US sizes as opposed to Japanese but they looked about his size, so he added them to the top of his clothing pile and gathering the toiletries he needed, went into the small bathroom. This one had a door on it but he wasn’t sure he could cope with shutting it. He didn’t want to feel enclosed and unable to see if anyone was behind it. So he pushed it open as far as it would go and stepped inside.

This felt so novel, not just being in the bathroom alone, but actually preparing to wash his own body. He bit on his bottom lip. Being bathed by his Master was actually one of the things he’d enjoyed having done to him– one of the very few things.

There was a bath with a shower over, a toilet, a sink with a mixer tap and a tall set of shelves stocked with washcloths and two sizes of towel. He chose a large towel and carefully folded it over the sink, then pulled down the shower head and hung it over the edge of the bath before turning on the tap. He stripped off his scrubs and kicked them into the corner. His Master had insisted on meticulous preparation when Tony bathed him, and the Japanese turned bathing almost into an art form, so this part felt familiar.

As soon as the water was running steaming hot, he tipped his head over the bath and aimed the water over his head, being careful not to splash his bandages too much. Tony could feel the stitches pulling, but the heavy throbbing ache seemed to have calmed down a lot. He squeezed a large squirt of shampoo into his hand and worked it into his greasy hair. It was heavenly, and after he’d washed away the first lot he lathered again, this time getting a thicker lather. Once it was all rinsed off again, he groped for the towel and gave his head a quick rub, just enough to take off the worst of the water.

Moving over to the sink he pushed in the plug and filled it with more hot water, then wet a washcloth and squeezed some of the gel onto it. It smelled warm and musky, with a hint of ginger. Tony wiped the soapy cloth over his chest and under his armpits, and the feel of the warm cloth against his skin, followed by the tingle of the spice made him moan a little in pleasure. He rinsed the cloth and wiped himself down. More water and gel on the cloth and he began to soap his lower body.

The feel of the slightly rough cloth as it moved over his cock and balls made his breath hitch in his throat. The fizz of the gel joined with the tingle from the piercings as they moved through the tender skin of his ball sac. First, he felt a rush of fear; touching himself had always been completely forbidden. His Master would have beaten him if he’d ever dared to do so. Then as quickly as the fear rose, it was overwhelmed by the burning of arousal. His cock was filling; lush and ripe with pounding blood; unfettered by the chain and viciously restrictive wand that had held him tightly reined for as long as he could remember.

He stared, spellbound, at the sight of his erection and took in the colours and textures. He had no foreskin and the head was plump and dark red. It was much bigger now, pumped full, engorged and hot. He was bigger than his Master had been – much bigger and broader around too. The hole that had held his PA piercing was stretched, but still a perfect circle. He reached down and ran his finger around the edge, causing a full body shiver as the sensitive flesh felt the touch of his own skin for the first time.

Everything began to spin and he dropped the cloth, grasping the edge of the sink with trembling fingers. His head was screaming ‘no, no, mustn’t, can’t, forbidden’, but his yearning cock, his tight aching balls, were yelling ‘Oh fuck YES’. He wanted to feel, to let that steady aching throb become something more, something infinitely bigger. But he didn’t dare – he didn’t know how. The war going on inside made him shake, his whole body getting in on the act. He couldn’t drag enough air into his lungs and the edges of his vision started to sparkle, the room fading to a murky grey.

Tony felt his legs start to give way, but then there were strong arms encircling him, holding him up, and he felt like he might eventually be able to breathe again.

*****

Gibbs made the trip to and from the cafeteria in double quick time. It was never busy that time in the morning; breakfast was over and the lunch lines had not yet started. He’d remembered Tony preferred hot chocolate and had continued the theme with two chocolate glazed, vanilla crème doughnuts for the sub, and coffee with two coffee pecan Danish for himself.

As he walked back down the corridors he thought about his trip to the office earlier that morning. It had been productive to a degree. McGee had set up the cell he had bought and he’d had the full run down of Abby’s results from the analysis of Tony’s blood. What he’d heard had sickened him.

“It’s quite a powerful drug, Gibbs with several proprietary elements from brands mainly used in veterinary products. But there were some elements which I have no idea about. I can break it down into its component parts but together it’s not anything I’ve seen before, or that’s been detailed in any of the journals. I’d say it’s probably experimental.”

“Can you give me any idea how someone would react to it. Would they be knocked out?” 

“I don’t think so. It wouldn’t act like an anaesthetic. If I had to make a judgement…I’d say it would be more of a paralytic, meaning the person dosed with it would be aware but wouldn’t be able to move.”

“Are you saying if they were hurt – cut for example that they would feel it?”

“Maybe…I mean there would be some sedative effects, but if the pain was severe enough then it wouldn’t block it completely. If someone was dosed with this then they’d be unable to move or cry out.”

“Could an overdose kill, Ducky?”

“I don’t think so, Gibbs. It seems to have metabolised quite quickly. The person dosed would have to already have some respiratory illness or weakness – like say pneumonia, for the paralysing agent to stop them breathing.”

So it seemed whoever had tried to kill Tony had thought very carefully about it and had wanted him to suffer. Gibbs needed to get the young man to open up about that night, but he couldn’t afford to rush him. Gibbs clenched his jaw. The idea that Tony was in any danger, set every protective cell in his body on full alert. It would be too easy for him to rush in all guns blazing and make Tony shut down, emotionally. He wouldn’t be able to help him at all that way.

Back at the room, Jethro opened the door with his elbow, pushing it open with his backside. He put the drinks and doughnuts on the nightstand, and then was frozen by the view through the open bathroom door.

Long, lean and golden, Tony stood in front of the sink, half turned to the open doorway. His damp, soapy skin gleamed and the firm high globes of his ass flexed as the young man ran a washcloth over his chest. Gibbs was caught like a fly in amber – completely mesmerised by the ebb and flow of the subs body as he began to wash his cock and balls. The tantalising glint of the scrotal ladder was soon overwhelmed by the vision of his rapidly rising cock.

If Jethro had thought the other man’s dick was gorgeous when it was flaccid then it was truly beautiful at full mast. Thick and at least eight inches, if not more, it was flushed and ripe and it made Gibbs’ mouth water with want. His own cock was making every effort to tear its way through his pants, pulsing with the rising beat of his heart.

He knew he should stop watching; at least let the man know he was there, instead of standing like a statue in the centre of the room, but he was mesmerised as Tony stared down at himself and then reached out with a single fingertip and ran it over the head of his cock. The warm honey feeling that had been plaguing Jethro since he met Tony was in full flow and he felt compelled to watch as his arousal grew.

Then a sudden movement from Tony snapped Gibbs out of his stupor. The young man’s breathing was sounding more panicked than aroused, and Gibbs started to move towards him as he turned and grabbed for the sink, as if it was the only thing keeping him upright.

Gibbs got to him just as Tony’s legs began to give way and he wrapped his arms around the younger man, bracing himself against the wall. Tony was heavy and his chest was heaving as he tried to pull in enough air.

“OK, OK, I’ve got you. Breathe with me, Tony.” He pulled the subs back against his chest and began to breathe deeply and evenly. “Breathe with me, come on you can do it.”

After a minute or two, Tony was still hanging heavy in his arms and breathing in pained little pants and Jethro was thinking about pulling the red emergency cord hanging next to the doorway.

“Tony, I’m here and I’m going to help you with this. But you need to calm down. Just breathe deeply and let it go. We can get through this together. I’m not going anywhere.”

Finally, the chest under Jethro’s arms began to rise and fall in a more measured way and Tony started to hold himself up a little, reaching out for the tiled counter around the sink.

“Good boy, you’re doing really well. Can you manage to walk into the other room?”

Tony nodded and Gibbs stood up, pulling Tony with him. He slid his arm around the subs waist and they walked slowly to the bed, where Tony sat down heavily, his limbs shaky and his head hanging as he stared at the floor.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” he whispered in a half sob as he started to shiver.

Jethro put his hand on the smooth shoulder and rubbed gently with his thumb, greedily and covertly enjoying every touch of the satin skin.

“Nothing to be sorry about. Let’s get you dry and dressed and then you can drink your hot chocolate. The sugar will do you good. And then when you’re feeling a little calmer…then I think you need to tell me what that was all about.”

*****

Tony tipped his face to the sky, closed his eyes, and breathed deeply. The breeze was cool and crisp in the gardens, but the sun was trying its best and when the trees sheltered them he could actually feel the warmth. They were walking, slow and leisurely around the less formal part of the grounds and hadn’t seen anyone else for nearly ten minutes. It was peaceful and calm, but Tony was on edge, knowing eventually that Gibbs would want to talk about his panic attack.

He pulled his hands inside the sleeves of the soft, sensuous sweater, enjoying the feel of it against his skin. Bryan had been right, it did fit him perfectly, and even with his lack of experience, Tony didn’t miss the slight hitch in Gibbs’ breathing when he pulled it on. A glance in the mirror had shown him that the deep green colour made his eyes seem large and luminous in his still pale face.

“Nice to be outside?”

“Yeah, my Master didn’t like to be outdoors, so we never…lingered, you know?”

Gibbs nodded in agreement, but didn’t speak. The silence made Tony feel anxious, edgy. He leaned in to Gibbs unconsciously, his body craving the safety of the older man’s proximity. As soon as he realised what he was doing Tony stiffened and made sure his next stride took him out of touching distance. The temptation was way too strong so a little space was a good idea.

“From everything you’ve said so far, I get the impression your Master liked total control of your body,” Jethro began.

Tony swallowed hard. Here it was, the big question.

“And your reaction in the bathroom makes me think that included orgasm denial? I take it it’s been a while since you came by your own hand.”

“I never…” Tony started and then ground to a halt, knowing the next words out of his mouth would change everything.

Jethro gave him a startled glance and stopped walking. “Do you mean it just feels like that…?”

Tony turned but couldn’t look Jethro in the eye. This made him a freak, he knew it did, he’d been told all his adult life that it did. He didn’t want Gibbs to pity him or be disgusted. ‘Right, of course that’s what I meant, it just feels like it…’, was on the tip of his tongue. But he didn’t want to lie to Gibbs, this was too important…Gibbs was too important and Tony wasn’t sure how good he would be at lying anyway. Something told him Gibbs would be able to sniff out a falsehood before it even left his lips.

“I’ve never come by anyone’s hand, including mine. In fact, I’ve never had an orgasm that I can remember.”

Tony watched as several emotions moved across Gibbs face, too fast and complex for him to interpret them, but it was obvious the older man believed him and was disturbed in some way by the information.

Gibbs pointed to a bench a little further on and they walked to it in silence. They both settled on the wooden slats and looked out at the soft green of the lawns and the muted reds and browns of the autumn trees.

‘Be brave’, Tony thought. “Maybe…should I start from the beginning?”

Gibbs turned and faced Tony, his long leg bent up on the seat, so close that Tony could feel the heat of it. It calmed him and Tony found himself reaching inside for the warm thread that seemed to link him with the other man. He located it easily and relaxed even more as he felt it pulsing with concern and care.

“At first I didn’t know what was going on. I kept thinking my dad would eventually come and get me. He’d always said he’d send me away if I was a nuisance, and I thought it was his way of punishing me. My Master’s family was very wealthy, owned a big company in Okinawa’s capital city and the house there was gorgeous, very grand and traditional. There were two other kids, a son and a daughter, but both of them were a few years older than me and studying at English Universities. I didn’t meet them for several years.

“So the first few weeks, were spent thinking my dad would be coming to get me any time. I knew I’d be in trouble if dad heard I’d been misbehaving so I did as I was told, watched loads of Anime on TV, and began to learn Japanese.”

“Someone taught you?”

“No…I’ve always had a good ear for languages. I learned Italian of course from my mother and father, we had a Spanish maid, and our cook was from Greece, so I was pretty fluent in those too. Japanese was so different though and it took me a while to just learn the basics.”

“That’s pretty impressive, Tony.”

Tony felt a little glow of pleasure at Jethro’s praise and it helped him carry on.

“Eventually I started to get a little…bratty, shall we say. I talked back to my Master and he punished me.”

He watched as Gibbs eyebrows drew together.

“My TV privileges were taken away, no treats or snacks and I was given chores to do in the house by the housekeeper; mindless, stupid things that served no purpose. The boredom killed me, but the more I fought it, the more dull and senseless the tasks became. So I gave in. Did as I was told, didn’t answer back and the TV appeared back in my room.”

“So he didn’t hit you?” Gibbs looked kind of relieved.

“Not while I was a kid, no.” Tony swallowed hard against the memory of what was to come, but it wasn’t time to let that particular demon out of the box.

“One morning, when I was thirteen or so, I woke up to a stained bed – a wet dream, although I don’t think I really knew what it was then. I gathered up my sheets and was on my way to the laundry room, when my Master saw me. I was scared I’d be punished again, but he just smiled at me and said, ‘So it is time’. That evening a man came to the house and I was given a shot. I had that shot once a week for the next five years, and I never had another wet dream the whole time.”

“You got hard though,” Gibbs looked appalled. “I mean teenage boys get hard watching paint dry.”

Tony smiled sadly and shook his head. “Not once. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I didn’t have a single sexual thought the whole five years. It was as if that part of me was…turned off.”

He rubbed his face with his cashmere-covered hand. It was soothing and he continued the stroking motion as he carried on.

“That was when my training began in earnest. My Master spent every moment of every day, for nearly a year, from when I woke to when I went to bed, drilling me, teaching me…moulding me, I suppose. I didn’t go to school, instead I learned tea ceremonies, where to walk and how, when to kneel, how to play the Sanshin, how to dress my Master in his formal kimono. As the months passed, I began to learn how he wanted me to behave. Sometimes, if I wasn’t quick enough in my lessons I would be made to kneel in form for hours, till my muscles screamed and I was shaking with the pain. But he never raised a hand to me, I was never beaten.”

Tony watched the clenching of Gibbs jaw. It made him feel better that Gibbs didn’t like what had been done to him. He wasn’t sure how to explain what it had been…

“I thought it was normal. Dad told me I was a sub and all I’d ever be good for was being on my knees. I thought that was my punishment. But all the time, for the whole five years, I hoped my dad would come for me…that he’d forgive me for whatever it was I’d done.”

There was a subtle tension radiating from Gibbs that made Tony pause.

“Did he…use you…sexually?” Gibbs tone was gentle but his eyes were hard and icy.

“No, not once…not until my eighteenth birthday.”

Tony didn’t think Gibbs meant to let him see how relieved he was, but it was written all over his face. “Did you think…?”

Gibbs grimaced apologetically. “I was concerned you might have experienced abuse I’m not qualified to help you with, and I was worried what you might have been subjected to.”

The feeling of caring and safety warmed Tony from the inside and he was glad of the emotional support. He was going to need every last molecule of it, because the hard part was about to come.

*****

Gibbs couldn’t believe the feelings of relief that coursed through him. Of course, the story Tony was telling was appalling. It seemed he had been chemically castrated – He’d never heard of such a thing and Jethro wanted to talk to Abby and Ducky about that. The use of a drug was chiming with the unknown sedative that Tony had been dosed with. He didn’t believe in coincidences.

Also he knew he didn’t have the expertise or experience to work with Tony through sexual abuse as a child. It was bad enough that as a boy Tony had been moulded into a parody of a geisha while being denied the basic love and affection any child should be entitled to. In common with many abused kids, Tony didn’t seem to see his treatment as cruel of even out of the ordinary. That needed addressing too.

It came down to Jethro worrying about handing Tony over to someone else, and he couldn’t fathom being able to do it. The idea of another person working that closely with the young man set his teeth on edge.

That was a worry in itself. This lost, mysterious sub had slipped under all Gibbs’ defences. The pull Jethro felt to him got stronger every time they met, and even when they were apart, he filled Gibbs’ thoughts, and the night before, his dreams.

The sight of him naked, damp and erect earlier had nearly made Gibbs lose all control. He swore creatively in his head, cursing Nicola Waverley and her meddling ways. He hadn’t wanted to get bound up in this case – in this sub – but he was right in the middle of it now and he owed it to Tony to see it through. And Nicola had been right, Tony was exactly the kind of sub he had trained to help.

‘It’s only three weeks, then you can hand him over to Nic or Thom with a clear conscience, having given him a good start on the road to recovery’, he reminded himself, as he considered how to prompt Tony to begin the next part of his story. His gut told him worse was yet to come.

“I’m guessing your eighteenth birthday was significant.”

Tony grimaced and Gibbs noted that the rhythmic rubbing of the soft sweater on Tony’s cheek was getting a little faster. He stopped himself from reaching out to halt the hand, rationalising that if the other man was getting some degree of comfort from it then it was OK, at least for now.

It was hard though, to see the sub in distress and not give him comfort. Analysing his own feelings, Jethro was shocked when he realised what he really wanted to do was pull Tony into his arms and protect him from the memories. He consciously linked his fingers together on his lap and pushed down hard on any compulsion to touch Tony, but it was more difficult that it should’ve been. His arms ached with the strain.

“By the time I was eighteen I pretty much behaved exactly as my Master expected and the punishments were fewer and fewer. I spent my whole day, every day, with him in his home office or suite of rooms, except for when he went to the company headquarters in central Naha. Then he would leave me behind either in my room, or sometimes with Obaasan, his elderly mother. I slept in my own room at night, but I would dress in the clothes he put out for me – they were always waiting for me when I got out of the shower. For five years, I didn’t go outside the estate at all; no school, no trips, just the house and garden. My Master said I was ‘unfinished’. I didn’t understand what he meant…then when I was eighteen I found out.”

“You were of age.”

“Yeah, that’s it exactly. The week before my birthday, I was given whole body hair removal, including my beard. My hair was always quite light and shaving had been enough to satisfy Master Ibu up until then. My Master watched the whole procedure and I remember the avid look on his face. I hadn’t been completely naked in front of him before and it made me anxious and nervy.” Tony gave a little shudder at the memory. “I think I realised at that point something different was coming – but I had no frame of reference to work out what it was.”

Gibbs watched as the other man’s face reflected his feelings; fear, anxiety and a little bit of shame. “You couldn’t have known what was coming, Tony. You’d been isolated – purposefully separated from anything that would have educated you. It made you more pliant, less likely to question what was being asked of you…you were in effect brainwashed into believing both that you deserved what was happening to you and that it was normal – acceptable.”

Jethro was pleased to see Tony relax a little at that. The other man was obviously expecting to be judged for his ignorance.

“I didn’t realise until the day before my birthday that I hadn’t had my shot that week either. I can’t even remember why, but something happened and I got hard. My Master noticed and he looked so angry – it was the first time I’d been truly afraid of him. He didn’t say anything about it, just gave me a hard plastic sheath and told me how to put it on. I know now it was a chastity device, but at the time all I knew was that it was uncomfortable and ugly.”

Tony leaned back on the bench and tipped his head to the sky, his eyes tightly closed. Gibbs could see he was fighting back tears, and although he wasn’t sure it was the best coping strategy, he didn’t want to disturb the flow of memory. This was important, and it would unlock some of the mystery surrounding Tony, Gibbs was sure.

“The next day I was kept in my room where an asexual masseuse, and a hairdresser/makeup artist, spent most of the day with me. I was massaged and oiled, my hair was cut and styled. My makeup was Eitaro, or so the girl told me. My skin face and neck covered in white foundation, my eyes lined with black and my lips painted with a deep red cupids bow. Then they dressed me in a full, ceremonial male kimono.”

Jethro had to swallow hard. He was glad Tony had his eyes shut. His imagination supplied a visual of Tony looking exactly like a geisha; His black lined green eyes sparkling and that full lush mouth glistening with red. A fucking wet dream. He pressed down hard on his rising erection with his linked hands, gritting his jaw against the moan pressing behind his teeth, fighting to be let free.

Gibbs was furious with himself. He needed either to bring himself under control, or end this session. Tony deserved better than being used as fantasy fodder. Jethro’s iron will won out and he wiped the picture from his mind just as Tony began to speak again.

“I was brought down to the main salon of the house. It was full of people – maybe eight or ten men, I find it hard to remember. I’d been so isolated that even that many people made me feel panicky, but Master Ibu had taught me well, so I behaved exactly as was expected of me. He brought me to the centre of the room and had me kneel.”

He said, ‘Gentlemen. I present to you my Eitaro, the culmination of my life’s work and training. Today he reaches his majority and will be marked and claimed as mine. You have been invited here to witness and participate. This is an honour I bestow on only the most trustworthy among you’.

“He led me to a table, stripped me, then bound me to it with leather and matt black chains; there were so many cuffs it seemed to take forever. My arms were fastened to the table with one set and my ankles bound to my thighs with another, and spread open, locked to rings in the floor. I was completely helpless.” Tony rolled his head to the side and looked straight into Jethro’s eyes. The older man could see the anguish and pain reflected as his eyes shimmered with unshed tears.

“He whispered in my ear. ‘Not a sound, Ama, or the pain you suffer here will be nothing compared to your punishment’. And I believed him, Gibbs. So I kept my mouth shut while he pierced me.”

Tony kept staring at Gibbs, seeming to be drawing some strength from him. “I don’t know if you’re pierced, Gibbs, but it fucking hurts, especially the cock piercing. I wanted to scream – I was screaming in my head, but I was so scared of him – this man that had never really scared me before – and I realised that my Master was not the man I thought he was.”

Tony’s hand drifted to his neck and he rubbed at it fiercely. Gibbs covered his hand with his own, and pulled it down into Tony’s lap. The younger man grasped it desperately and Jethro let him hang on, keeping his own grip relaxed and calm.

“He marked you with that too?”

Tony’s mouth flickered in a parody of a smile. “Yeah: Ama – Bitch. And the next hour proved to me that to him and all the other men there it was all I was.”

Gibbs could see Tony was spiralling down, reaching rock bottom. He was trembling and not with cold. “Do you want to stop, Tony? This is your time; you can stop whenever you want.”

The man shook his head, sharply. “No,” he whispered hoarsely. “I don’t want to have to go back there again.”

“OK, in your own time.”

Tony took a shuddering breath. “He plugged and chained me. I didn’t feel much at that point – I think the endorphin’s helped me there. He used lots of lube but the plug was big – wide and uncomfortable. He released me from the bench and paraded me around, showing me to the men, naked, pierced, chained and plugged. I wanted to be sick, I was so ashamed, but I held on. I don’t know where my head was, Gibbs, but it wasn’t there in that room.”

Suddenly the expression on Tony’s face morphed to one of complete and abject sorrow and Jethro was moving towards him, wanting to hold him, protect him, when Tony’s next words stopped him dead, even as fat, angry tears began to run down the subs cheeks.

“Then my Master pushed me over the bench, pulled out the plug, fastened my chain to the guiche pierce, and fucked me. It was rough and brutal, and I remember the piercings were rubbing on the underside of the bench and I was so scared they would rip out. And then it just got worse and worse, and I thought perhaps that it would be a good thing to bleed to death so it would all be done once and for all.”

“Ibu came really quickly and I remember being relieved that it was all over.” Tony scrubbed hard at his eyes, his expression filled with self-disgust. “I was such a stupid, naïve idiot. It was far from over. Each one of those men took me. There was no touching, no tenderness. Just cocks in my ass, one after another as they discussed how tight my hole was and how lucky my Master was to have such a pretty Ama to fuck. By the end I was crying, I hurt so badly, but at that point, my Master didn’t seem to care that I’d disobeyed him. He plugged and chained me fully again and made me stand up. He put his hand under my chin and lifted my head so I was looking straight ahead. ‘So what do you think of my Masterpiece, Antonio?’

“I thought at first he was talking to me, but then I saw him, my dad, standing in the doorway right in front of me and I remember thinking… ‘Finally, finally you’re here to take me home’. I opened my mouth to tell him I was sorry, but he spoke first.”

Tony’s eyes were streaming with bitter tears, and his words were interspersed with heart wrenching sobs.

“He had this self-satisfied grin on his face. ‘You’ve done well with him, Master Ibu. He took them all so beautifully. I’m glad he has proved to be everything I promised. I take it the second half of my payment will be forthcoming?’ And my Master bowed to him and told him the second payment of $250,000 was being deposited at that very moment.”

“He sold me, Gibbs. He sold his own twelve-year-old son as a sex slave…”

Tony’s jaw was set and his eyes grim and hard.

“…And I knew in that moment that I would never give in, that I wouldn’t let my father win.  I would play the game for as long as it took, even if it was for the rest of my life. They wouldn’t know that I was never Master Ibu’s Ama, not in my heart. I might not have anything of my own or anyone else to care for me, but I would hold on to Tony DiNozzo and Keep. Him. Safe…”

Tony hit his chest hard with his fist.

“…In here.”

Gibbs had no choice. Without knowing how it happened, Tony was in his arms and something inside him reached out, wrapping around this brave hurting soul and pulling it in. He rocked the damaged man in safe arms, offering a bastion of protection from the cruelty of his Master and wrapping him in the care that his own father had denied him.

And Gibbs was going to get some justice for Tony, no what form that came in. Leroy Jethro Gibbs was a Marine Special Ops sniper and he had unlimited patience. Antonio DiNozzo Senior and Konosuke Ibu were right in his cross hairs…and he never missed.

*****

A/N: I know in our world no one but a specialised psychologist would undertake the kind of therapy Gibbs suggests in this next section, but I rationalised that in a world where sexual Dynamics were so prevalent that their whole society was based on them, there wouldn’t be the same taboo’s. Or that’s my take anyway.

*****

Eight Days Later: The San – Dr Nicola Waverley’s Office.

“The cop in me is screaming to wring every last drop of information outta him – make him tell me what happened, who did that to him. It was attempted murder, for fucks sake. I should be looking for some way…But I can’t take the case; there’s no Navy involvement. If I handed it over to the LEO’s then the psychologist in me realises that he’d just shut down, especially when faced with the kind of aggressive questioning they’d subject him to. He’s not ready to tell me what happened that day, let alone a stranger, especially an authority figure like a detective.”

Jethro huffed, his expression filled with frustration.

“And the man…the Dom in me just wants…”

Nicola waited for a moment, but there was no continuation of that thought. She let it go – even though the psychologist in her thought she shouldn’t. Today’s supervision session was fraught with a little bit of tension she wanted to get to the bottom of, and knowing Jethro Gibbs as well as she did, she realised pushing him was not the way to get what she wanted.

“Do you think the attempt on Tony’s life was an isolated incident, or is the perpetrator a danger to others? What does your gut tell you, Jethro?”

Gibbs rubbed at his face, and Nicola could see him trying to marshal his thoughts. It took a minute or so but then he shook his head.

“No this was aimed at Tony, I’m sure of that.”

“Then maybe we have a little time before we need to ask those questions.”

Jethro grimaced. “I thought it was someone close – either Ibu or DiNozzo Snr. But some information has come into my hand’s that takes old man DiNozzo out of the picture – permanently.”

Nicola’s eyes widened at how disgruntled Gibbs seemed. “And that is?”

“He’s dead. Five years ago from pancreatic cancer.”

“That’s a nasty way to go. Painful and extremely debilitating in the later stages.”

“Yeah, Ducky told me the same thing.”

There was a vengeful gleam in Jethro’s eye, which spoke to his satisfaction with the information. Nicola was not really surprised. When Gibbs had come to her after Tony’s first breakthrough session, and told her what had been done to the young man, she had seen the gleam of revenge in his eyes.

She knew his background very well, and his ability to kill, given the right circumstances was obvious. She thought it had only been his long standing relationship with Ducky, and her own skills as a psychologist, that had kept him from going after Hernandez.

What had surprised her was how willing Gibbs was to go to war for Tony DiNozzo, a sub he had only known for a couple of days. It had made her think back to other times in her life, and set her mental gears working.

“Are you going to tell Tony?” She wondered if this was the reason for Gibbs being so antsy. It was a discussion fraught with the potential to put the patient back a long way.

“Eventually I’ll have to. I don’t actually think he’ll know how to react. The anger he feels at his father selling him to Ibu is like another person in the room whenever Senior comes up in sessions. I don’t think now is the right time though, for a few reasons.”

“I can see that. Was there any other family, a wife, siblings, subs?”

“That’s where everything gets a little hinky. It seems old man DiNozzo lived alone except for a housekeeper and cook. There’s no sign of any companions, sexual or otherwise. When he died the house was sold, and all the pieces of DiNozzo Holdings were transferred into an off-shore shell company, with security so tight that even McGee and Abby combined couldn’t get into it.”

Nicola smirked. “Yeah, I thought those two must be your partners in crime. I hope you’re being careful, Jethro. You said yourself you shouldn’t be investigating this. Tom is your friend, but he’s also your boss…”

Gibbs glared at her.

“This isn’t my first rodeo, Nic. Anyway, I wouldn’t put those kids in danger any more than you would yours.

“No, that’s not the only thing that’s making my gut churn. The only information McGee managed to get about Konosuke Ibu was the kind of business profiles even I could call up on Google. It’s like the man’s a ghost. The company he runs, Okinawa Bio-Chem, is covered by all kinds of blinds and double blinds, which makes me think they’re tied up in Government work – either for their own country or others, and that could be anything; chemical weapons, dirty bombs, even weaponised biological agents.”

“The kind of double blinds that make it difficult to find out about an off-shore shell company?” Nicola asked, her curiosity piqued by the mystery.

Gibbs face fell into a picture of irritated surprise; eyes wide, and mouth open. He said nothing, but hitched his phone from his belt and jabbed at it with inelegant fingers. Sending a text message, Nicola surmised, to the hapless Tim McGee. Moments later Jethro was slipping his cell back at his waist and grinning at her with undisguised pride.

“I always said you should have been a profiler, or come to work for me.”

She shook her head sharply and jabbed her finger at him. “No, never, ever. I know what kind of a boss you are, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I don’t need that kind of aggravation in my life. I have a civil rights lawyer husband and five kids to make me crazy, without having that at work too.”

They both laughed and then the room went quiet as Gibbs studied the rug under his feet. She sat back in her chair and eyed him shrewdly.

“So are you going to tell me what has you all turned about?”

Gibbs looked pensive. It wasn’t a look she was used to seeing on his face and it made her a little tense.

“You know how the sessions have been going and the really fucked up way the last fourteen years have gone for him. The fact that Tony has spent all his adult life as a slave; to a man who demanded total control over him, body, mind and spirit; his only surcease the two or three times a week when he was left with the grandmother. I think that woman saved his sanity with her ability to give him an outlet for his intellect and his imagination. I wonder if her alleged love of those black and white films, and US series, all in English, was real or a way of giving Tony something of home to hang onto. We’ll never know, I suppose, but I’d like to think she wasn’t in agreement with what was being done to him.”

Nicola nodded, but said nothing, not wanting to stop Jethro from getting to the point – a point that was obviously causing him some…discomfort.

“It struck me during the last session, that Tony has never really had a chance to explore his own Dynamic, and I was going to begin that process today. Alongside that though comes the possibility that I may have to work with him on practical issues. I don’t think he is functioning sexually at all. I get the impression he’s not masturbating, although we haven’t talked about that yet. I know he can get hard…”

Sheepish was another new expression on Gibbs’ face, and Nicola reflected that perhaps the effect Tony DiNozzo was having on the normally closed down cop, was just as positive as Gibbs had been having on his patient.

“…because I accidentally saw it in the bathroom of the observation ward, but he doesn’t seem to have the knowledge or the will to do anything about it.”

“So you’d like to instigate some sex therapies?”

“Yeah. With a marked sub, I’d request they be sequestered at their Pleasure House, but that’s not a possibility for Tony. I’d refer him to Sam or Leita over at the SDU but I’m not even sure he’d fall under their purview.”

Nicola hummed in agreement. The Sexual Dysfunction Unit was mostly involved with dealing with patients with PTNDS and it was too early for a diagnosis like that on Tony. “You’re right, Jethro. We need to ascertain just what damage has been done to Tony emotionally before we can come to any firm decisions about future treatment. Are you saying you have concerns about undertaking it yourself? It wouldn’t be the first time. Your work with Bryan Carver was very successfully. Why is it I’m feeling reluctance from you?”

Jethro surged to his feet and began to pace. “Because there is something about him that…calls to me, Nicola. I’m worried about getting that close. He doesn’t need my lonely psyche encouraging me to make any more demands on him. He has been pushed around by others for their own sexual fulfilment for long enough. I don’t want undertake this with him unless it’s solely for his benefit.”

Nicola relaxed. Finally, Gibbs was admitting what she had seen nearly two weeks ago. He was attracted to Tony. It was a problem every Dynamic doctor faced when dealing with emotionally compromised patients, and particularly when dealing with someone who complimented their Dynamic as Nicola believed Tony did Jethro.

It was what made her such a sought after and successful practitioner. Not having that sexual imperative made for a more objective view sometimes. Not that she didn’t find some of her patients attractive, but there wasn’t that tripping of Dynamic triggers that often got other doctors into trouble.

Gibbs’ interest in Tony also made her hopeful for her friend’s healing. Jethro had withdrawn more and more into himself and his home, building walls around him that no one seemed able to breach. And yet, here they were, openly discussing how he felt about someone else. It was a breakthrough almost as huge as the one Tony had made a few days before.

“The fact that you are aware of the pitfalls and have considered them, makes me reassured that you are in the right place to guide him, Gibbs. I know you would never begin a relationship someone you are treating, and you should trust yourself. You have the necessary skills, and Tony needs your help. We are fast approaching the third week of your time here, and as loathe as I am to remind you, because you know I want you to stay, you’ll soon be back at NCIS, and someone else will have to take over.”

Nicola tapped her fingernails on the folder in her lap. “I don’t think part of the treatment plan is something easily transferred to another doctor. I’m not qualified to help him, and Thom has just requested another four weeks of leave, which I really can’t refuse for one case.”

Gibbs took a deep breath, held it for a moment, and then let it out in a rush. “OK, yeah, you’re right. I’ll start work with him today.”

Nicola smiled. “Good. Well that’s everything for today. Don’t forget dinner tomorrow night. The twins, Daphne and her husband are all going to be there. It’ll be fun.”

“I’ll be there but I’m not sure our idea of fun is quite the same, Nicola.”

He gave her a jaunty salute and turned to leave. Then something that had been niggling from their earlier conversation about Pleasure Houses suddenly leapt into clarity in the front of her mind.

“Oh, I was wondering…You told me Tony’s form when kneeling was peculiar to one of the old Japanese Houses, right.”

Jethro looked puzzled at the non sequitur. “Jentoruātsu – it means Gentle Arts. The house is in Yokohama.”

“Well you said whoever had trained Tony…”

“…Must have had at least two sessions there. Shit, Nic, you really need to come work for me.”

He was out of the door with his phone to his ear before she had chance to reply. The sound of his terse ‘McGee, find out who’s the House Master of Jentoruātsu Pleasure House…Yokohama…Yes, Japan, where else…’ echoing down the corridor made her chuckle. Poor Tim, twice in one day she’d been the reason for Jethro’s ire lasering his way. She’d have to apologise when she saw him next.

She gathered Jethro’s file and put it on the neat pile on her desk. Before she could go home, there were a few administrative issues to deal with in Human Resources that needed a hands-on approach. There was a particularly prickly Domme in charge there, who sometimes seemed to think it was her mission to make her boss’s life difficult.

“Perhaps I need to channel Gibbs,” she muttered to herself as she trotted down the corridor, her four-inch Laboutin’s making a very satisfying sound on the tile. She glanced down at the round-toed, electric blue, patent leather Magi’s, and gave a sigh of pleasure.

“They say talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, my dear.”

Nicola looked up from her shoes straight into Ducky’s smiling face. The elderly ME had come to a halt in front of her. As usual, he was dapperly dressed, in a tweed jacket and a rather spectacular red paisley bow tie.

Today, however, he had another accessory. Bryan was kneeling at his feet, wearing his collar, which she hadn’t seen at work for a couple of years. He was dressed in street clothes, leashed, and sporting a pair of butter soft black wrist cuffs, which were locked together at the small of his back.

Even after all her years of work and training, she still had to beat down a little shiver of revulsion at the subjugation of another human being. Then she flicked a glance at Bryan, knowing enough of etiquette not to try touching or speaking to him while he was on the leash and in deep submission. The look of complete contentment and soft-eyed devotion on the young man’s face made her breathe easy again. She vividly remembered the damaged young soldier who had come into the San all those years ago, and was immediately grateful for the joy he’d found in the love and care of this wonderful man.

She kissed the old man soundly on both cheeks. “It’s only madness when you answer yourself back – take it from a professional, Ducky. It’s lovely to see you. Are you just visiting or have you been working today?”

“No, I just came to collect my boy. I have a medical appointment and he begged to be allowed to come along. He’s been behaving himself beautifully lately, so I decided to agree and arranged for him to have the afternoon off.” He looked down at Bryan with love, but not before Nicola had noted a fleeting expression of apprehension flow across the subs face.

“Nothing serious I hope. You work too hard, Ducky, what with your guests at NCIS and coming here to lend your expertise.”

Donald patted her cheek paternally. “No, no, nothing to concern yourself about, Nicola, although you are sweet to worry, just the minor irritations of old age.”

“You’re not old, Ducky. Seasoned, perhaps, like vintage wine and mature cheese. Which reminds me, I meant to ask you before. Simeon and I are having our two-weekly family dinner tomorrow night. Jethro is coming and we’d love it if you’d both come along.”

Ducky looked disappointed. “Oh my dear, I wish we could, but Bryan’s mother is in town this weekend and we are having dinner with her. I’m sorry to miss it though – the idea of our Gibbs interacting with your children is very enthralling.”

Nicola chuckled. “You’d be surprised. He’s been a little…softer recently.”

The ME nodded in agreement. “Yes, I have noticed that and I wonder at the timing.” He stopped as Bryan reached out and squeezed his wrist, a wry grin on his face that was more like his everyday persona.

“Yes my boy, I know what your opinion is on the subject, but it is mere speculation and not for public discussion or consumption.” Ducky’s tone was severe, but the look in his eyes was softly amused and affectionate. He tugged gently on the leash and Bryan rose gracefully to his feet. The height difference between them was marked but although he didn’t look cowed, Bryan’s deference to his Dom was written in every muscle. They looked so right together that Nicola couldn’t imagine either of them with anyone else.

“We must go, otherwise this naughty boy will begin to lose his composure, and then I’d have to do something about that.”

Bryan gave a little shiver, but it was of anticipation not dread and Nicola had to smother a grin.

“May we have a rain check on your dinner invitation and maybe join you two weeks time?”

“It’s a date,” Nicola confirmed. She gave Ducky a hug, and after receiving permission, Bryan too. Then they parted company to their respective tasks.

*****

The smell of sausage and pepperoni from the pizza sitting steaming on the table made Tony’s mouth water. It was evocative of his early childhood, when his mom would take him out to a little pizzeria owned by some friends of her family. He couldn’t help feeling a little sad at the thought. He looked shyly over at Gibbs, who grinned encouragingly. Bolstered by Gibbs’ smile, Tony boldly helped himself to a large slice of the pie.

The taste was heavenly. All it needed was a little extra cheese and it would have been perfect, but Tony had no intention of looking a gift horse in the mouth. He chewed happily as he gazed around the small room he had come to know quite well.

His sessions with Gibbs had been overwhelming, traumatic and exhausting, but gradually he’d felt contentment beginning to edge out the constant feeling of despair he’d lived with for a huge part of his life. Gibbs was big part of that – strong, safe, true.

He knew he shouldn’t, but he’d started to make the man a part of his inner landscape; watching him, committing his every movement and word to memory and then playing them back through the endless hours of loneliness when sleep wouldn’t come. At first he’d done it for solace; the thought that someone actually cared was enough to soothe his jangled nerves and the dark memories that chased him through the night.

The last few nights though, Jethro had been appearing in a far different light, which was scarier in some ways than the scenes he was shying away from remembering. Gibbs, strong and Dominant. Gibbs caring and solicitous. Gibbs naked and hard.

Tony swallowed down his mouthful of pizza and took a long drink of the cold soda the older man had brought with their lunch. He knew he was flushing red and hoped Gibbs just thought the pizza was too hot, and couldn’t in fact read his thoughts. Although he wasn’t going to bet on that; the man seemed preternaturally attuned to everything around him.

There was something different about today – not just the take-out pizza and soda. Gibbs seemed loathe to begin their session. Usually the other man was gently encouraging, asking Tony what he wanted to discuss, or reminding him where they had left off the session before. Today he simple sat across the table and was eating, slowly and methodically. Tony knew he had to stop watching when even Gibbs’ chewing was arousing, so he dropped his eyes back to the pizza and picked up his slice.

“I want to talk about the next couple of days,” Gibbs began suddenly, making Tony start and cough a little on his mouthful of food. Gibbs reached over and tapped him on the back until he stopped and then sat back to look at him.

“It occurred to me that most kids work out their Dynamic through experimentation and experience. By the time they’re old enough for their first session in a Pleasure House they often have a pretty good idea of their Dynamic, and also what they want from their pleasure training and where they want to go. You didn’t have that chance. All you know is what was forced upon you.”

Tony nodded in agreement. It was true.

“I don’t know if I was a late bloomer, but before Hawaii I hadn’t really thought about it. I was aware that people had a Dynamic, of course. My dad made sure to tell me that I was a sub, and having watched my mother, I was sure he was right. My dad was pretty hard-core; a de Sade Dom, a Sadist. His friends tended to be like-minded and the odd time I was around for business dinners etc. their conversations about their preferences never chimed with me. I couldn’t imagine wanting to Dominate anyone. Then because of the shots Ma…Ibu gave me, sex and sexuality were never issues I ever thought about.”

Gibbs smiled. “Yeah, I can understand that. My first session at Le Petit Mort was OK, but I found it hard to fit in there. I came to understand myself a little better during that session though and just before I left, one of the instructors told me I should try to get to a little Pleasure House in Spain, called Placeres del Corazón – Pleasures of the Heart.”

Jethro shrugged. “My family had no money so I couldn’t imagine being able to afford it. When the Marines offered me the chance of a session anywhere in the world, I grabbed the opportunity and found myself in the perfect place for me.”

He wiped his hands on a napkin and leaned back, staring at Tony in a way that made the sub feel a little warm and at the same time a little nervous.

“I can’t offer you a session anywhere, Tony. I don’t really think you’re ready for that. But what we can do is start to explore just where your Dynamic lies. Not the one that was forced on you – although that conditioning may be tough to break – but the one that belongs to you.”

“The one that belongs to Tony DiNozzo, not to Master Ibu’s Ama,” Tony stated quietly.

“Exactly. And that’s going to mean talking about your sexual desires, your passions. We’re going to have to explore what you want and maybe, if you feel ready, for you to begin to explore what that means physically.”

Tony’s breath caught in his throat as arousal roared through him like an express train. He was hard so quick he felt dizzy with it.

“With you?” he husked, his heart hammering in his chest.

“I’ll be there, yes. But this isn’t about me being your sexual partner or behaving as a Dom. It’s about having someone to help you explore your sexuality, so that when you eventually leave here and start your life properly, you’ll know what you want from your Dynamic partners and maybe even where you’d like to train.”

Tony felt a pall of anxiety settle over him at the thought of leaving the safety of the San; even more at leaving Gibbs behind. The excitement of moments before was replaced by a feeling a loss that was profound and painful.

“This is entirely up to you.”

Tony realised Gibbs had misinterpreted his reaction, thinking he was worried about what Gibbs had offered. He knew the idea was sound, necessary in fact, and he didn’t want to lose the chance. Gibbs had told him a couple of days ago that they only had three weeks to work together. He’d put the idea out of his mind, not wanting to imagine Gibbs not being around in his life; to have the awareness of the man in his mind, and the warm glow in his gut without the physical presence of the man himself – his chest hurt at the thought. He didn’t want to make Gibbs angry or disappointed in him. So he pulled on the well of determination he’d built over many years and nodded.

“Yes. I’d like us to do that.” He picked up a napkin, wiped his hands and mouth and then stood up, took a breath and then hesitated.

It took all his courage to ask for what he wanted. He’d never had the opportunity before but he knew he needed a little time to beat down the demons that were knocking at his door. The ones that said he’d never be good enough for anyone to want him; the voices of Senior and Ibu as they taunted him; that he was too soiled for a Dom like Gibbs – a strong, safe, truthful man.

“I’d like to go back to my room for a while, maybe half an hour. I want to think about this a little. Otherwise I’m going to waste time. Is that OK?”

Tony nearly dropped back into the chair in relief when Gibbs gave him a huge smile and a look of such pride that Tony flushed with pleasure.

“Sure, I’ll meet you there. You’ll probably be more comfortable in your own space anyway.”

Gibbs had his cell in his hand before Tony left the room, and the young man heard him bark out ‘McGee, you got anything for me?’. He wasn’t sure who that was, but he suddenly wondered if the person on the end of the line was Gibbs’ sub. The thought made him deeply unhappy and twisted his stomach in a strange way.

He shook it off with little difficulty as he began to try to unpick his own perceptions of what his sexual Dynamic was, making the walk back to his room on autopilot. He hoped he could make sense of it for himself before he had to try to explain it to Gibbs, although he supposed, that was what the other man was there for. So perhaps it wouldn’t be quite the difficult puzzle it threatened to be.

*****

“McGee! You got anything for me?”

Tim rolled his eyes and was glad there was no one in the bullpen to see it. He’d only been back at his desk for two hours, after spending a long night in MTAC with the FEIT Team overseeing the takedown of an Internet fraud scam being perpetrated on Navy wives. It was lunchtime already and all he’d intended to do was scan his emails for anything important and then go home to sleep. That looked like a distant possibility now Gibbs was on the phone.

“Yes, Boss. I have the name of the House Master at Jentoruātsu and his contact details.” Tim paused, trying to gather his scattered, tired brain cells into something like coherency.

“McGee! Stop wasting time. His name?”

“Yes, Boss, sorry, Boss. He’s Master Kantaro Roku. I’ve sent over all the contact details I could find to your phone.”

“How about the links between DiNozzo Holdings and Okinawa Bio-Chem.”

“Well that’s been harder.”

“I don’t want to hear the problems, McGee – Tell me what you do have.”

Tim sighed internally. He could never do enough for Gibbs, the man was always pushing for more. The tiny part of him that was a Dom railed against his Boss’s dominance, while the larger, more needy subby part of him just couldn’t resist obeying.

“Seems you were right. The security cover for both companies is so similar that it’s impossible it’s not coming from the same source…”

Out of the corner of his eye, Tim saw someone familiar coming into the bullpen, accompanied by Dornegat, the lead from another team. He straightened as he recognised the unforgettable figure of Siobhan Fielding and he puffed himself out a little, moving files around on the desk, wanting her to see how important he was.

“So DiNozzo Holdings, or at least the shell company, is definitely under the auspices of the same Government information black-out as Ibu’s company. I’m still looking into why that is, but while I only have limited resources getting to the bottom of who or what will take a little longer.”

“I don’t care what you have to do. Just get it done. I want to know how they are linked. Tomorrow, McGee!”

And with that Gibbs was gone. Tim closed his phone careful not to let his visitor see just how cowed and worried he was by Gibbs’ demands. For her part, Siobhan was looking at him with undisguised interest and Tim felt a little surge of pride. That a woman like her could be interested in him…well obviously he was doing something right. His inner Dom stood up and roared as he looked over the woman who was by now leaning over his desk, eyelashes fluttering, signature coral red lips shining and her impressive chest up close and personal.

“Why, Timothy McGee, what a very pleasant surprise. I came up here to give Gibbs some papers of Shannon’s I was holding for him, but that nice young agent said he was still out of the office. Seeing you here makes it all worthwhile though.

Tim swallowed. Siobhan gave off such mixed signals. Her eyes and mouth said sub, but the aggressive jut of her hips and breasts were Dominant. Both made his mouth water. He wanted this woman like burning, and it seemed she wanted him right back. The next words out of her mouth were the proof.

“I was wondering if we could go to lunch, that is if you have time. I’d be really interested to hear about your work, if it’s not…secret or anything.” She whispered the final words breathily into his ear and Tim’s cock stood up and shouted ‘Hell YES!’, which of course meant Tim had to agree.

Siobhan linked her arm with his as they walked to the elevator. Her perfume was heavy with musk; the woman smelled like sex walking. Tim found his mouth working on autopilot as his lizard brain took over.

“So tell me, Tim, honey. I know it’s rude but I overheard you talking about DiNozzo Holdings just now. I used to do some work for them…what’s the deal?”

“Just a little job I’m doing for Gibbs. It’s hush hush, so I can’t say too much. He knows he can trust me you see…”

*****

Jethro checked his watch every few minutes, waiting for the half hour to be up. He’d cleared the table of the detritus of their meal and then looked out of the window into the gardens.

He felt inexplicably sad and anxious and could only chalk it up to it having been a long time since he’d guided anyone through this kind of thing. Bryan hadn’t been the last, but the others were simpler – straight forward cases that he’d been able to pass over to the SDU after only one session. Something told him that would be harder in this case.

Finally, he walked the short distance to Tony’s room, tapping courteously on the door.

Tony stood in the centre of the room, in sweat pants and a short-sleeved tee. It was the first time Gibbs had seen the long, angry red scars on his forearms and he had to school his expression so as not to show how angry they made him.

He gave Tony a smile and then sat in the armchair.

“OK. You need to be wherever you will feel the most comfortable. If you want to be here in the armchair, I’ll move.”

Tony swallowed and worried his lower lip. Gibbs could see he was struggling with asking for what he wanted. But that was the whole purpose of this session and as much as he wanted to, Jethro couldn’t help him.

“I want to kneel,” Tony said quietly. “But I think you’ll be unhappy about that.”

“I’m surprised but not unhappy. This is your session, Tony. I don’t have the power here, you do.”

That seemed to galvanise the younger man. He slid to his knees, graceful and a little more confident. He was not completely in form, although it was still gorgeous, as his hands rested loosely on his thighs, palms up. It exposed the scars even more and Jethro couldn’t help tracing them with his gaze.

“You said…You said I need to begin to explore what I like. Although I was forced to learn this, I always felt a kind of peace when I was in form. My Ma…Ibu used to leave me in form in Obaasan’s rooms and it was always kind of…meditative. I would feel like nothing could touch me.”

“I would say it was a kind of sub-space,” Jethro offered. “But you didn’t feel like that in play sessions with Ibu.”

Tony shook his head. “I was always on edge – waiting for the next thing he wanted. I was supposed to anticipate, but when someone changes what they want all the time that’s very difficult to do. I think he probably liked that…It was another form of control?”

Gibbs nodded. He was amazed and very pleased that Tony was already beginning to analyse the motivations of the Dom who had abused him and see the treatment as just that – an abuse.

“So, is there anything else that comes immediately to mind that you liked. Or something you fantasised about?”

The sub looked pensive and a small frown creased his forehead. “I didn’t dare to dream…I never thought it could come true, you know and thinking about what couldn’t ever be felt like a torture.”

The older man did know. He’d been torturing himself for the last few days, in the shower, in his bed, his hot, diamond hard cock, heavy in his hand and a pair of bright green eyes in his mind. He cleared his throat. Here was not the time for those kind of thoughts. This was all about Tony, not him.

“Let’s try a thought experiment. Do you feel confident enough to close your eyes?”

Tony smiled shyly and let his lids close.

“Right, we are going to build a scenario. First, I want you to allow yourself to think about your Dom…that is the kind of Dom you would want. He or she can be just a generic person, they don’t even need to have a recognisable face. When you have them, tell me about them.”

It was the easiest thing Gibbs had ever asked him to do, but Tony was careful not to let Gibbs know that the person in his mind’s eye was not faceless at all.

“It’s a man. He’s strong, safe and very Dominant. When he tells me what to do, I feel confident that he…that he cares about me and that we are both a part of something…together.”

Tony’s voice broke a little, as longing slammed into him. “That’s the most important thing; that he is with me because he cares for me. And no matter what he asks me to do, I know he’ll always look after me.”

Jethro’s heart almost broke at the sound of Tony’s yearning. It was the basic right of every sub as far as he was concerned. Yet the young man kneeling in front of him spoke of belonging as if it was a pipe dream.

“You’re doing great, Tony. What do you want your Dom to do? What do you want him to ask of you?”

“He doesn’t want to hurt me. I don’t want pain. I know some people do, but pain has never been about anything but horror to me. He does want to control me, though. I want to give him everything, all of me, body, mind, spirit, soul, because I know he’ll look after me, keep me safe. And I want to care for him in the same way. But I’m afraid all of this is just because of what was done to me, Gibbs. Is this just my conditioning?”

Gibbs thought for a moment. “Think about caring for your Dom, what form does it take? Imagine a scenario that would give you the most pleasure, sexually and Dynamically.”

“I don’t think I know…” Tony was sounding a little distressed and Gibbs shushed him gently.

“It’s OK, you do know. I know you’re not non-Dynamic, Tony. You’ve already told me that you want a Dynamic relationship in the few thoughts you’ve shared this session. There is no right and wrong. Just let your imagination fly, it’s OK to do that.”

He watched as the kneeling man breathed deeply and then seemed to grow in front of him. His posture, although submissive to the extreme, was more confident and poised. Jethro felt his own gut unclench. Maybe this would work.

“We are in the shower,” Tony began. “He is standing in front of me, not doing anything. I have a big sponge, one of those natural ones that make great lather. The soap smells gorgeous, like cedar and musk, and the scent is all around us in the steam. The water is flowing over both of us, the spray is hard and really hot…”

Jethro swallowed hard. He loved his showers like that. You could feel it stripping away the day, giving you back your real ‘self’, when the person you had to be in the world outside was washed away.

“I wash him. Every inch of him. And he is pleased with me, smiling with his eyes and his mouth. I’m allowed to touch all of him, but only because he has given me permission. I follow the sponge with my lips, kissing the clean skin and smelling the fragrance of the soap and my Dom. As I make my way down his body, I notice his nipples are pierced, and I run my tongue around the tiny gold rings. It makes him moan a little…I want to make him so happy and proud of how I care for him.”

Gibbs started a little as he realised that the hand that had been resting in his lap, was now at his chest, tracing the outline of his own piercings. He clenched his fist against the longing he had for the scenario Tony was painting with his words. If he could have, he would have stopped the session right there. He wanted to leave, not hear the rest. It was too close to what he craved; what he’d imagined in his own shower. But he’d started the process and it would be damaging to Tony to stop it again. He would maintain and deal with his own fall out in private.

“His…his c…cock, is big and really hard and I kneel to wash him there too. He puts his hand in my hair, just gently and turns me so my mouth is touching the head. I want to taste him so badly. He doesn’t force me, doesn’t do anything really, just holds me and I feel so safe…”

Tony moaned quietly in his throat and Jethro noticed his hands clenching slightly. Then as his attention was drawn to Tony’s lap, he realised why, as his sweats began to tent. This was it…Jethro had to decide to fish or cut bait. If he pushed too hard then he could set Tony back weeks, but if he got this right…”

“Tony,” Jethro said quietly. “What do you want to do?”

“Oh, sir…I want to touch myself. It feels so good when there is no chain to keep me down, when the piercing doesn’t bite and give me pain. Can I…can I please, Gibbs, please.”

“You don’t have to ask my permission to do anything, Tony.” Gibbs was fighting his urge to give this boy exactly what he wanted. To Dominate him, give him the caring control he was craving. He had to work hard for none of that to show in his voice. He managed to keep it calm and even.

Tony gave a stuttering sigh and knelt up sliding his sweats over his ass, hitched them over his erection and pushed them down to mid-thigh. His cock was beautiful, flushed dusky red at the tip. Facing him head on like this, Jethro could see just how well-endowed the man was and it made his mouth water.

He watched, as with his eyes still tightly closed Tony trailed tentative fingers across his skin; exploring the contours of his penis; running his fingers around the sensitive fraenulum; exploring the slit; squeezing and then smoothing the skin covering the hard flesh beneath. His other hand strayed to his balls, sitting high and pulled tight between his straining thighs. He moaned again as he teased the tender skin and rolled the balls in his palm, his thumb traversing the pierced ladder.

Then he began to stiffen and Jethro could see the fear his abusive Master had instilled in him as it began to win through. He had to do something to help Tony break that hold.

“Talk to me, Tony. What do you see, what do you feel?”

Tony relaxed at the sound of his voice, the reminder of where he was. Jethro felt gratified by that.

“I have his cock in my mouth…deep, so deep.” Tony husked and his hand ghosted over his cock, which was wet at the head and straining against his hold. “He tastes so good and I want to feel him right down in my throat. He wants it too, he tells me what a good boy I am, so clever. But I’m to hold on until he says.”

The hand on his cock was beginning to move, a little tentatively; exploring and unsure. After a few passes he seemed to get more confident, stroking and pulling, gathering the pre-come with a swipe of his thumb and spreading it over the head. His breath was stuttering and his words husky and filled with need.

“And he’s pressing into my mouth now, sliding between my lips. But he doesn’t choke me, or make it so I can’t breathe…”

At those words, the murderous intent that Gibbs was nurturing against Konosuke Ibu grew to whole new heights. Tony had been used and abused for so long. If the man had just given Tony a little care…A little love. But then of course maybe he wouldn’t have ended up here, and more and more Jethro was feeling that never knowing Tony would have made his life poorer.

“He cares, Tony. He won’t hurt you.” Jethro hadn’t meant to speak, but once again his words seemed to give Tony the courage he needed.

“And then he’s coming, so hard and I swallow everything.” Tony’s hand was flying over his cock now, the other running through the platinum rings lining his scrotum. He cried out with pleasure. “And I want to come and he says I can, but I’m so scared…I’ve never…”

Tony’s eyes flew open and he looked straight at Gibbs, his gaze so open, so trusting so very beautiful, the large black dilated pupils ringed with vivid green. His skin was flushed red down his neck and onto his chest. The small rings in his nipples standing proud as the brown areola tightened. Tony’s lips were rosy where he had bitten them and his pink tongue flicked out, making them glisten.

“Please…I’m so scared but I want…Oh, Gibbs, I want…”

There was only one thing Gibbs could do, the cry called to the Dominant in his soul and the warm curling thing in his gut reached for Tony as the sub yearned for his first orgasm. “It’s alright, Tony. You can let go.”

He came in bursts of pearly white that shot from him onto the floor. Eyes closed tight, mouth a perfect ‘O’ of pleasure, Tony shook with the force of it. Four times his cock spat as he cried out, “Gibbs, oh fuck…Gibbs.”

Jethro was frozen to the chair, his need so great at the perfect picture Tony made that he was forced to grab his own cock through his pants and squeeze hard until the pain overwhelmed the compulsion to follow Tony over the edge. It was as if they were sharing the pleasure and Gibbs had never experienced anything like it before.

Tony slumped forward and it took Jethro a moment to realise he wasn’t just shaking with aftershocks. He was making little hitching sobs. Without a thought, Gibbs slid off the chair onto the floor, uncaring that he landed in the evidence of Tony’s release, and gathered the crying man into his arms.

He pulled his head onto his chest and rocked him slightly. Soon he could just about distinguish words between the sobs. “Bastard…fucking bastard.” For a moment he thought it was aimed at him but then Tony lifted his head and the look of anguish on his face just made Gibbs angry for his sake.

“He denied me so much…they both did. All those years I thought it was all I deserved, that sex was a punishment, something to be endured. I never felt this overwhelming…ecstasy, Gibbs.”

“It’s over now, that time is gone,” Gibbs reassured him. “You have the right to choose, Tony. I know it’s hard but I’ll help you as much as I can to believe that.”

Tony sighed and rested his head back on Jethro’s chest, his whole body beginning to relax. Gibbs wanted nothing more than to let him stay there…longed fleetingly for his bed, where he could care for the other man properly. But he stamped on the desire and gently moved Tony so he could look at him.

The other man was wrecked. His eyes were red rimmed, but had a look of contentment that Gibbs felt proud to have put there, if only obliquely.

“You should probably get cleaned up and perhaps lie down for a while. I’ll get us some coffee…or chocolate if you prefer and then we can talk about what we found out, OK?”

Tony nodded, reluctantly and dropped his eyes. But he quickly looked up again at Jethro and his gaze was clear and excited. “Yes, I do want to talk about it.”

“OK, that’s a plan then.

*****

Just over an hour later, Jethro was back in the armchair, having procured drinks and made a quick trip to his car for his spare pants, as his others were rather stained at the knee. Gibbs couldn’t help be impressed at Tony’s volume and range.

Tony was sitting with his back against the headboard of the bed, wearing soft washed jeans and another dark tee. He’d fallen into a deep sleep only minutes after he showered and changed, and forty-five minutes later had woken looking refreshed and seemingly ready to talk about what had happened.

Jethro was about to open his mouth to start them off when a sharp rap came on the door. He grimaced angrily as he stood and pulled the door open forcefully. He was surprised to see a pale-faced Nicola on the other side, but the strength of his ire at being interrupted made him gruff.

“For god’s sake, I’m in a session…Rule #22, Nic.”

The woman just shook her head and stepped into the room. “This couldn’t wait, Jethro. I’ve just had a call from Bryan Carver. Ducky’s been taken into Bethesda…They’re not sure but it looks like a heart attack.”

*****

Tony watched wide-eyed as Jethro tore a strip off Dr Waverley and then went almost chalk white at her news. He’d never met Dr Mallard, but knew a lot about him through his many conversations with Bryan over the past couple of weeks. Tony had never had a friend, but he thought Bryan might be starting to become one. He thought the other sub must be beside himself with worry.

“OK, I need to get over there, ASAP.” Gibbs turned to Tony and gave him an apologetic look.

“You need to go,” Tony agreed. “But…can I…I’d like to come with you.”

He saw surprise flash across Gibbs face and felt the need to explain. “I don’t know Dr Mallard, but Bryan might…I know Bryan.” He said, haltingly as he waited for Gibbs to tell him of course he couldn’t come.

Gibbs just stared at him for a few moments, his expression inscrutable. Then he gave a sharp nod and reached into his jacket pocket…fishing out his wallet. He flipped it open and pulled out two $20 bills.

“Grab that phone I gave you and put it, and this, somewhere safe. Keep it with you at ALL times, do you understand?”

Tony nodded as he did as he was told, retrieving the phone from his nightstand drawer and tucking the money into the front pocket of his jeans. He found his green sweater and pulled it over his head while pushing his feet into his trainers, not bothering in his haste to tie the laces.

Gibbs was watching him carefully as he dressed. He held out his hand for the phone and jabbing quickly at the display, entered a string of numbers. “If we get split up, for any reason, you call me, I’m speed dial #1. Make sure your phone is on…never be unreachable, that’s Rule #3. If you can’t get me then use the number I’ve just put on speed dial #4 to call a cab and use that money to come back here – nowhere else.”

He gripped Tony’s arm firmly at the bicep. Tony didn’t want to analyse how much he liked it. “But you won’t need to, because you’re going to stay close, right?”

“Yes, Gibbs,” he promised, meaning it. He was a little afraid of being outside of the San, was unsure who might be out there, but he wanted to support Bryan. The other sub had already lost one Dom, and Tony thought the threat of losing another must be devastating him.

“Right, grab your gear and let’s go.”

*****

Tony thought he’d known fear in his life, but driving with Gibbs was like traversing all nine circles of hell. Tony just hung on to the edge of his seat and closed his eyes whenever the likelihood of imminent death loomed.

Within a very short time, they were screaming into Bethesda Naval Hospital, Gibbs parking the car at a strange angle right in front of the entrance to the looming central tower.

Tony had to jog a little to keep up with Gibbs and he slotted in behind his left shoulder, his stride soon falling in step with the other man. It felt right somehow to follow this man…anywhere. That he would be safe and protected was almost a given and Tony wondered at the force that was pulling him to trust this gruff Dom so completely.

Before long, they were shown to the Cardiac Acute Care Unit. Gibbs accosted a doctor who was sitting at the front desk, but Tony immediately spotted Bryan. He was a picture of despair, his hair awry, his eyes puffy and damp. He was leaning with his head against the wall, his hands in constant motion as they clenched against each other.

“Bryan,” Tony called as he walked towards the other sub, giving a look over his shoulder to check Gibbs knew where he was going. A terse nod from the Dom told him he was OK to go ahead.

Carver turned at the sound of his voice and as Tony reached him and pressed a hand to his shoulder, the other man crumpled onto his chest and began to cry in earnest.

“He had this chest pain and he was hurting so bad, Tony. I couldn’t stop the pain and I think it’s a heart attack. His face was so pale and his lips were blue, and that’s a bad thing, cyanosis…it’s a sign of circulatory distress and I knew it was bad, Tony. But I couldn’t do anything, I was useless. All my training and all I could do was call 911 and hold his hand. What if it wasn’t enough. Oh, God, Tony, I can’t lose him. I know we have a big age gap and eventually I’ll be left behind…I mean that’s why he won’t marry me and I understand, I do…although I’d rather he was my husband for even just a year than not at all…Do you see what I mean?”

Bryan was trembling and Tony could feel the anguish pouring off the other man. He was usually so put together, so in control especially in his work, where Tony got the impression he was really skilled. With a sudden flash of intuition, he realised where all this rambling fear was coming from.

“He’s not Gavin, Bry. Ducky is not Gavin. You got him to the hospital and they are going to help him. You’re not in a cave at the top of a mountain in the middle of winter. Ducky is here in the best place, where there are drugs and specialist doctors. You have to be strong now; he’s going to need you to be on your best behaviour, so he can concentrate on getting well…huh?”

The other sub dragged tear filled eyes to meet Tony’s. All he could do was return the gaze with as much certainty as possible, hoping against hope that he wasn’t spinning false promises. He felt a warm hand on his shoulder and tipped his head to see Gibbs. The older man smiled at him warmly and murmured, “Good boy.”

The praise warmed Tony and he followed behind as Gibbs folded Bryan into his arms and guided him to a row of chairs.

“I’ve just spoken to the doctor…”

“They won’t tell me anything, Gibbs. They just took him away and then it was as if…as if I wasn’t there.”

Gibbs distaste at that statement was written clear across his face and Tony was sure the other man would be making his opinion known on the subject before they left the hospital.

“Well I’ve told them I want to see the doctor in charge of Ducky’s case ASAP and they’ve paged him. I’ll make sure he knows you’re to be kept apprised of everything, OK?”

Bryan sighed in relief. He grasped Tony’s hand and held on tight. Tony was only too happy to offer any support he could. This was a new experience for him, to be relied upon; to be able to offer a friend something that had never been given to him in the past – compassion. That was until Gibbs came into his life. Now he was more hopeful than ever before.

The doctor came back to say Ducky’s specialist was on his way, but was finishing rounds in another ward. Gibbs offered to get coffee for all of them after demanding gruffly that they both stay put, and flicking a glance from Bryan to Tony that the younger sub didn’t understand but Carver obviously did.

He could feel Bryan shivering slightly as reaction set in. He cast around for something to talk about – something to take the worried man’s mind off what was going on in the Acute Unit. He was pleased to get a spark of interest from Bryan with his first comment.

“Gibbs did a session with me this morning to help me work out my Dynamic…”

*****

Time seemed to be dipped in molasses as they waited for someone to come. They’d talked about the session, with Bryan having some good ideas for the follow up discussion. The other sub had also talked about how relieved he was that his mom had cancelled her planned visit for the weekend just that morning.

Finally, a doctor appeared, his hands wrapped around a clipboard.

“Mr Gibbs.”

“Dr Gibbs, actually.”

The other man looked flustered. “Oh, why didn’t you say you were a doctor? I would have got here quicker.”

Gibbs could not have looked less pleased, and his expression made the other man lean away from him.

“Dr Mallard’s partner has been waiting here for almost three hours with no news of his Dom.”

The cardiologist looked over at Bryan and Tony who were sitting closely together, Bryan still gripping hard to Tony’s hand. His gaze was assessing and slightly lecherous. But he only had a moment to stare before Gibbs had stepped between him and the two subs.

“Now I’ll be addressing that oversight with your superiors in due course. What I want from you now is a complete overview of Dr Mallard’s condition and treatment.”

Tony shivered a little at Gibbs’ commanding tone and Bryan knocked against his shoulder, giving him a slightly watery but knowing smile. Tony shook his head to stop the other man from saying or doing anything to draw Gibbs attention and nodded towards them.

“Listen, and you’ll find out what’s going on,” he whispered.

They didn’t have to wait long, as Gibbs led the doctor over to them and nodded at Bryan. The cardiologist made a disgruntled noise, but at a glare from Gibbs, he began checking the admission notes that Bryan had filled in.

“Hello, Mr Carver, I’m Dr Sachs the attending cardiologist for your Doms case. Our tests show Dr Mallard has suffered a severe angina attack. It’s probable, although we haven’t discussed it with him yet, that he has been suffering from chest pain for a while now. He has been given intravenous medication and his pain is already under control.”

Bryan looked distraught. “He’s been tired, lethargic and off his food. He doesn’t smoke but he does like a small glass of whiskey most evenings, however he’d been off that too. He hasn’t mentioned chest pain…but…” The sub blushed a little and then looked first at Gibbs and then Tony. “…You won’t tell anyone this?”

Tony shook his head and Gibbs just raised his eyebrows. Yes, both of them knew they could trust him.

“Well he’s been having some erectile dysfunction, but only for the last week. That’s why we went to see his doctor today. He took some blood and we’re waiting for the results.”

Sachs gave an affirmative hum. “That would be a good indicator, yes. He’s going to have to take it easy for a while, modify his diet and his drinking habits. He’ll be placed on several medications; beta blockers, blood thinners and a nitro-glycerine spray to use if the pain returns and is particularly severe. We’ll be keeping him here for the next three days. He may need to think about the possibility of discontinuing his role as an ME also, but that is a discussion for later.”

Bryan had tears rolling down his cheeks, but looked a little more hopeful. Tony wasn’t sure what everything Sachs had said really meant, but Bryan obviously did, and that made him relax slightly.

“You can see him for a few minutes but then…”

“No…”

Gibbs was again in full Dom mode and the other man didn’t stand a chance.

“…Mr Carver will be allowed to stay with his Dom until he is discharged. He is a fully trained nurse and Army Ranger. There isn’t anything you can’t tell him about his Doms condition, and if I am told that he wasn’t given every consideration and kept fully informed about any treatment regimes, then I won’t just be talking to your superior…I’ll have your job.”

Tony could see Sachs was under no illusions that Gibbs was capable of everything he threatened. The doctor gave a terse nod and turned to Bryan.

“I’ll have someone put a recliner chair in the room for you. If you’ll come with me, I’ll introduce you to the specialist nurse in charge of Dr Mallard’s case.”

Bryan gave Gibbs a bright smile and pressed a chaste kiss to a surprised Tony’s lips before he followed Sachs into the Unit.

As Tony watched him go, it struck him that his own experience of Doms was a twisted parody of the way most subs were treated. He wasn’t a fool, he knew he wasn’t the only abused sub out there, but for every monster like Ibu or asshole like Sachs there were people like Gibbs and Ducky, who cherished and cared for subs and were quietly doing the right thing. He wondered why he’d been trying to hide what had happened to him – to protect people who didn’t deserve his care or protection out of a misguided and deformed sense of loyalty.

“You did good, Tony.” Gibbs voice was warm and all-encompassing, hitting Tony’s ears like an aural hug. It made him shiver and he fought back a moan as the older man’s arm slid over his shoulders. “You feeling OK?”

Tony looked down at his arms. He could feel the slightly sore tightness of the scars under the soft fabric of the sweater.

“Yeah, and…I think I’m ready to tell you what happened to me…”

*****

A Call From Japan

“Master Gibbs, this is Kantaro Roku, House Master of Jentoruātsu. I understand you have been trying to contact me?”

“Roku-San. Thank you for returning my call. I’m a psychologist in the US, working with a young sub who has spent the last fourteen years of his life in Japan – in Okinawa. I am trying to find out anything I can about the man who was…I’m sorry, Master Roku, but the young man was abused for many years and I am disturbed by what I have to tell you.”

“Why do you think I will be able to help you?”

“He displays all the signs of being trained as Eitaro, but he is unmarked, except for a kanji tattooed on his neck that reads ‘Ama’, and he tells me he never attended any sessions at Jentoruātsu or any other Pleasure House for that matter.”

“And the name of this Dominant who is alleged to have treated your patient so foully?”

“Ibu…Konosuke Ibu.”

“I am aware of Ibu. He petitioned our House fifteen years ago asking for permission to train his Eitaro. But when he arrived here and was assessed for his suitability, he was found seriously wanting and his petition was rejected. I find myself very concerned by the possibility that this Master of my House has not only trained a male geisha outside of the auspices of our control, and oversight, but that he has done so, from the little you have said, by means our House would never condone. I assure you, Gibbs-san, that if your accusations are proven then the full power of my house will be brought to bear against Ibu in order to get justice for this submissive.”

“I am relieved to hear that, Master. However, it is too late for any of us to exact deserved judgement on Master Ibu. He died sixteen days ago. However, his son Kobo is also implicated…”

“Kobo Ibu wears the Master Mark of my House. This is extremely disturbing. It appears your enquiry is more complicated than it first appeared. Perhaps you should start your tale at the beginning.”

“Of course Master Roku, it would be my honour. While of course, I cannot give you in-depth information that would break Doctor/Patient confidentiality, I can report the pertinent details, but it is not a pretty tale.

“Tony DiNozzo was admitted to Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a John Doe, with two deep and heavily bleeding wounds on his forearms…”

*****

The Waverley House – Fortnightly Family Dinner

“So Ibu is dead? But…how?”

“He and Tony were in a scene, in the hotel. He had Tony in cuffs, gagged and bound to the bed on his hands and knees. He was fucking him when all of a sudden Tony felt him slump on his back. Poor kid couldn’t see him properly and was too distressed to take much in, but I’d guess it was heart attack or stroke.”

Gibbs took a swig of his beer and rolled the bottle in his hands. He was still feeling a strange mixture of satisfaction and disappointment that Ibu was dead. He was no longer a threat to Tony, so that was good, but he would have liked the other man to suffer a little longer than he did.

However, now there was a new target in his sights, even if he was eight thousand miles away. Jethro wasn’t worried, the sniper in him was always excited by long shots.

Nicola frowned. “So if it wasn’t Ibu who cut Tony’s arms, who was it.”

“Oh, but it was Ibu.” Gibbs kept a straight face, but was laughing internally at Nicola’s expression of total confusion. He waited a moment to see how she’d react but then as she refilled her wine glass, he decided to put her out of her misery. She was cooking dinner, so he didn’t want her completely sloshed before the heavenly smelling meal was served.

“Ibu Junior.”

He couldn’t help laughing as Nicola’s mouth dropped open and she slapped him on the arm.

“I didn’t even know there was an Ibu Jr.”

“They were all here for a big business meeting. Kobo Ibu is the eldest of two children.” Jethro sat down at the big kitchen table and downed the rest of his beer. He nodded his thanks when Nicola passed him another.

“Tony was lying in that hotel suite for twelve hours with that bastard lying dead on top of him. He couldn’t call for help because Ibu hadn’t set up any safety protocols. When his son and daughter eventually returned to the hotel and found them, they called in some people…Okinawa Bio-Chem staff members I suppose. Tony didn’t recognise them. He remembers that they removed the body and eradicated any sign that the old bastard had been there.”

“So they cut Tony? But why?”

“He says that Jr kept going on about how he was honour bound to kill himself now that his Master was dead. They untied him but left on the gag, gave him the knife and shut him in the room.”

“Jethro, how is that boy even sane after everything he’s been through?” Nic looked appalled at the continuing horrors Tony had been subjected to.

“He’s so fucking brave, Nic. I can’t tell you how strong he is. Every time he has to face something new, he just takes a deep breath and tries his best. And let me tell you his best is fucking amazing.”

“But we know he didn’t make those cuts himself.”

“No he didn’t. After an hour, they came back. Kobo screamed at him for a while about how he wasn’t going to let a filthy Ama stand in the way of everything he was working towards. Then the sister, Saeko, gave Tony a shot.”

“The sedative.”

“The experimental sedative…they own a bio-chem facility, so it stands to reason they have access to stuff that isn’t in general circulation. Maybe the meeting was to introduce the product to the US or something.”

Gibbs ground his teeth. The next part had reduced Tony to a shaking heap on the floor and it had taken both him and an orderly to get him up, settled and in bed, where he’d spent all of the night and most of that day, under light sedation. Gibbs had stayed as long as possible and then made sure someone would be with him all night. Tony wouldn’t wake up alone.

“Tony could see, hear and feel everything, but couldn’t move. The woman held his arms outstretched, one at a time, while Kobo took great delight in slicing Tony open. He was still gagged so he couldn’t scream or call for help.”

Nicola’s face was pale with shock. “So they just left him there, gagged, unable to move and bleeding?”

He grimaced. “I think they hoped he’d bleed to death. Luckily for Tony the effects wore off more quickly than they probably expected. He was able to unbuckle the gag and he somehow managed to find his way to Bethesda. He was still so groggy from the drugs he has no real recollection of how he did it.”

“I sent McGee back to the hotel and the rooms were still booked out to Okinawa Bio-Chem, but when they took him up to the suite it was completely clean; no blood stains – although they would probably show up under luminol – no gag, nothing to indicate anyone had ever been there.”

“So what now?”

“For all the reasons I gave you before, I still can’t investigate, Nic and its gone too far that I could risk doing it under the radar. I’d have to rattle too many cages even for me. I talked to Fornell over at the FBI and he agreed to look into it, but when I spoke to him this evening he was coming up against the same roadblocks I did. The only thing we do know, is that Ibu and his sister travelled back to Japan the next day on their private jet. No doubt daddy was in cold storage in the belly of the plane.”

“But surely…Jethro, it was attempted murder…surely they wouldn’t be protected from that by any government.”

Gibbs gave her a humourless smile. “I know you’re not that naïve, Niccy. Okinawa Bio-Chem is a big player in some very murky leagues. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have heavy hitting friends on this side of the pond too. The thing that’s making my gut churn is that Tony distinctly remembers Jr. saying he wasn’t going to let him get in the way of what he was working towards.”

“He was pretty powerless. No name, no status, no money. What threat could he be?”

“Well, we know there is a link between DiNozzo Holdings and Okinawa Bio-Chem…”

A movement in the doorway made them both turn. Simeon came into the room with an interested look on his face. “I couldn’t help overhearing the last part. Okinawa Bio-Chem is the company belonging to the International player in that new consortium I was telling you about, Nic… The ones who want to bring in a version of a Submissive Ownership Act. Are they linked to something you’re working on, because let me tell you they’re moving in some interesting social circles.”

Nicola looked over at Gibbs, who shrugged in agreement.

“Remember that John Doe we had come in as a suspected suicide?”

Simeon thought for a moment. “Vaguely.”

“Well it wasn’t suicide, and all the evidence points to Okinawa Bio-Chem being involved, or at least one of the family that owns it.”

Simeon’s expression showed his understanding and distaste. “But, because they have friends in low places…”

Gibbs nodded and rubbed at his forehead. There were pieces of the puzzle that were just not falling right. He had a notion that just a little nudge one way or another, or another tiny piece and he would be able to see the whole picture. But right now…

Nicola slid her hand around his waist. “You’re not going to solve this one right now, Jethro. Tony is safe at the San and it sounds like Ibu is a few thousand miles away. Why don’t we enjoy a meal and good company? A break might just help it all fall into place.”

He wasn’t sure about that, but at a shove from Nicola he followed Simeon out into the dining room, where the rest of the family were talking boisterously.

“Mom says Ducky is doing better, Uncle LJ. When do they think he’ll be going home?”

Jethro gave Daphne a genuine, warm smile. He would never tell the others but she was his favourite, and as close to a clone of her foster mother as a non-genetic child could be. As a young tween she could always wrap him around her finger, and he had pulled her out of a few tough spots over the years that her mom and dad still didn’t know about, even though she was married now and expecting her first child.

“He’s doing good. Bryan is clucking around him as you can imagine. In the cardiac unit it was hard to tell who was the Dom and who the sub. That boy can give orders when he wants to.”

They all laughed. Ducky was a beloved member of their non-biological family.

“His doctor says he can go home tomorrow as long as Bryan has a few days off to supervise. He’s going to have to be careful and I think he’s seriously thinking about retiring.”

Simeon looked over at him, sighing sadly. “That’s a shame. He’s so good at what he does and so compassionate.”

Jethro couldn’t help but agree. And if Ducky left NCIS he wouldn’t just miss a great ME, but a good friend.

*****

A Call from Japan #2

“You have reached Siobhan.”

“Ah, the beautiful Ms Fielding. It is such a pleasure to speak with you again.”

“Kobo-san. I was wondering when I would hear from you. I left a message several days ago.”

“I apologise, Siobhan-chan, things have been a little…fraught here, shall we say. I hope you will forgive me for the delay. You said in your message you had some information for me?”

“Of course you are forgiven. I could never stay cross with you. As far as my thoughts about you are concerned, I have far too many greedy, needy feelings to bother getting the negative ones off my chest.

“I look forward to…experiencing those feelings when next we meet. But for now…the information?”

“Spoil-sport. Well yes, I was speaking to a contact within a government agency. He told me that he has been asked to look into both the DiNozzo and Ibu holdings as part of an informal investigation. Apparently a young man by the name of Tony DiNozzo is being treated in the local Sanatorium and I wondered if…”

“…Really…That is interesting…”

“If there was anything I could do, Kobo, to help you push forward the investment plan…”

“Anything, Siobhan? Anything at all?”

“For 5% and some playtime with you…and maybe… an emerald or two? Well then yes, the sky’s the limit.”

“Emeralds are too garish…I think Tanzanite in white gold would complement your eyes so much better. Give me 24 hours and I will contact you again. I think we’d have a very good time together, Siobhan, in all things.”

“Me too, Kobo-chan. I’ll be waiting for your call…”

*****

Nicola glanced around the big table as her family were laughing and arguing over the remnants of their meal. Food, wine and good conversation were what these dinners were all about and the kids came home for them as often as they could. They usually only managed to gather the whole family at Thanksgiving, but she saw them individually several times throughout the year.

Daphne sat between her father and her husband Alex, deep in discussion over some political issue. Alex was a magazine journalist, who also helped to write many of the reports for the Waverley Trust that had finally won the few rights that Mono-Sexual and Non-Dynamic children could now claim, as far as fair treatment in the courts and compassionate placement in the foster system was concerned. That was where Daphne and Alex had met and they were very happy. Their baby was due in four months and Nicola could feel the excitement bubbling up.

She had lost her one and only pregnancy at eight months and both she and Simeon had been devastated. Simeon had tried everything he could to keep the baby alive, but eventually she’d had to tell him to stop. He was killing himself and she couldn’t cope with losing both of them. They had fought back from their devastation by first fighting for, and then successfully gaining the right to foster Non-Dynamic and Mono-Sexual kids.

So, the thought of a brand new baby in the house just made her overwhelmingly happy, and she had already spent obscene amounts of money on clothes and toys which were secreted all over the house. Not that she thought she could hide anything from Simeon, but he created the illusion that he knew nothing about it and she was satisfied.

The twins, Tom and Cheryl, had cornered Gibbs as usual. They took great delight in competing to get the most extreme reactions from him. She didn’t have the heart to tell them that he was playing them right back. She’d never seen him out of control – at least not here in her house.

After Shannon and Kelly were killed, he’d been close to the edge a few times, but he had stayed away from her kids and for that she had been very grateful. Even in extremis, Jethro was a good compassionate man, which is what drove him to look for justice for those he helped, both at the San and later at NCIS.

She watched him as he teased Cheryl. There was something…more passionate about him since he had been working with Tony DiNozzo. At first, she thought it was being back at the San, doing the work she personally thought he was made for. But then she’d noticed his expression around the younger man and the gentle and prideful way he spoke about him. She began to have a little hope; hope that Jethro was finally going to open his heart to someone else. The worry was that Tony might be too damaged, but she knew she could trust Gibbs not to take advantage of that. He was also very aware of the professional ethics involved. He would never get involved one of his patients.

But in just a few days Tony wouldn’t be his patient anymore. Nicola wondered whether she should try to encourage Jethro to see the possibilities. Gently and subtly of course – you could never force Gibbs anywhere he didn’t want to go. But Nicola had an inkling that Tony DiNozzo was a direction that Jethro may be persuaded to move in.

There was also a little trickle of thought in the back of her mind that there was more than just attraction going on, on both sides of the equation. Some of their reactions to one another were evocative of another relationship she was very close to.

Tom’s voice, raised in his normal argumentative style broke into her thoughts.

“What do you mean, ‘it’s rubbish’, LJ,? How can it be rubbish? It’s a proven fact.”

“It’s a myth; a fiction loved by teenage subs and romance writers.”

“What’s a myth,” Nicola asked.

Cheryl’s face took on a dreamy expression. “Tanesha Timay and Johnny Rogue have just announced they’re Soulmates. They met for the first time on the set of their latest film and they formed a spontaneous Soul Bond.”

“But LJ doesn’t agree it’s possible.” Tom chimed in. “I’m not a sub and I believe in it.

They will live and die together. It’s so romantic.”

“Someone dying is never romantic,” Jethro said gruffly, his expression dark.

Cheryl was too involved in the story to hear his true discomfort. “Tanesha gave an interview where she said she had a strange feeling in her stomach before they actually touched. Heat, she said, warm like honey and a tickle in her mind. The article said that was her awareness of her Soulmate; the tentative bonds and first stirring of the Kaeira.”

If Nicola hadn’t known Gibbs for years she would have missed the way his eyes narrowed and his mouth got tight. But she did know him, very well indeed. He was disturbed by what the kids were saying and suddenly Nicola’s little trickle became a deluge.

“Johnny was on MTV yesterday and said the full bond bloomed spontaneously when they had their first play session,” Tom continued, exuberantly. “But before that, he was hurt on set – he wrenched his ankle and the next time he saw her she said her ankle was aching. I mean how cool is that?

“Yeah, I mean if she gets hurt, he can help heal her and everything. You can’t think that’s not cool, Uncle LJ.” Cheryl pleaded.

Nicola could see Jethro getting more and more tense as the twins hammered at him with their arguments. Suddenly he stood and smiled tightly around the table. “Sorry, folks, it’s been a hell of a couple of days, and I have a busy schedule tomorrow. So I’m gonna have to call it a night.”

Tom and Cheryl looked upset at his brusque manner, but she was glad when they both gave Gibbs a hug before she walked him to the door.

“Jethro…I…”

“Sorry, Nic. I need to go. It’s been a great evening. I’ll see you at the San tomorrow.”

She watched as he walked briskly down the drive to his truck. Moments later he was gone in a spray of gravel. Nicola felt the warmth of a big body behind her as Simeon enclosed her in big, strong arms.

“Is he OK? That was abrupt, even for him.”

Nicola leaned back against her husband and shrugged. “I’m not sure. I think the kids would say he’s just been hit by the clue-bus. Trouble is I’m not sure what the fall out is going to be.”

*****

The drive home was thankfully quiet, because Jethro’s awareness of the road was almost nonexistent. He pulled up on his drive and gave thanks to all the saints in heaven that there was no sports car on his drive. He thought he’d have probably killed Siobhan if she’d been waiting inside.

He hesitated as he walked through the front door and then turned and flicked the lock. No interruptions, not tonight. He had some thinking to do, some decisions to make.

He took the stairs two at a time and stripped off his clothes. He didn’t bother to shower, just pulled on the tattered USMC tee and worn sweats that were his usual basement wear, before travelling through the house, switching off lights as he went. He pulled out a new bottle of bourbon and cracked the cap, tossing it over to the other side of room. A small amount of moonlight came through the narrow basement windows, but Jethro didn’t need light for what he had to do.

In one lithe move he was underneath the boat and lying on the folded tarpaulin that he’d put there for this very reason. No need to be uncomfortable while he was tying one on.

He took a long swig of the dark liquor and waited for the burn to be followed by the warmth of the alcohol as it hit his stomach.

‘So LJ Gibbs, what are you going to do about this complete clusterfuck you’ve got yourself into?’

He couldn’t be Tony’s Soulmate. He couldn’t be anyone’s Soulmate.

He’d always laughed at the notion of Soulbonding.

Life Bonds, yeah he knew they existed. He’d met couples who had worked for years until their bodies moved and behaved like a single entity. But a spontaneous Soul Bond – a joining of two people on a spiritual level that had nothing to do with hard work and everything to do with a complete and irrevocable compatibility of body, mind, spirit and soul?

No, that was a fairy story on a par with ghosts and aliens, or the existence of the Lost City of Atlantis.

Or so he’d always believed. After all, he’d met and married the love of his life and never felt the need to ‘bond’. It was ridiculous to think otherwise. He wanted to scoff and mock, and say it was all the biggest, steamiest pile of bullshit in the history of bovine excrement.

But in his heart he knew it wasn’t.

He’d been so caught up in Tony’s needs as his patient and the horrific story he had to tell, that he’d made assumptions about everything he was feeling. ‘Way to ignore your own rule #8, asshole’.

He went through his observations of Tony in his mind’s eye. Did the other man know what was going on? There had been a few times when his reactions to Jethro had bordered on…hero-worship, perhaps. He’d had a similar problem with Bryan and they’d got through it in the end. Tony had endured such a lot of deprivation, both emotional and intellectual that it was highly unlikely he any idea about Soulmates or Bonds.

For a moment Gibbs let himself feel hopeful, then he gave a snort, reached around and slapped himself on the back of the head. He flung his arm across his eyes and tried to beat back the despair that was following along behind the decision he knew he’d already made. “Way to go, Gunny. You’re fucking doing it again,” he growled out to the encroaching darkness.

In the end, it didn’t matter who knew what, Gibbs couldn’t allow anyone to die because of him, not ever again. Losing his wife and child because of his inattention was bad enough, but going into a relationship knowing that the other person would die when he did, especially in his line of work, that was totally unacceptable. Better to stop it before it got chance to begin; better for Tony to get a whole new start. He deserved something wonderful, and having an emotionally remote mate in a dangerous profession like Jethro was definitely not it.

He took another deep pull of the bourbon, coughing slightly as the liquor caught in his tight throat. Even if he hadn’t allowed himself to recognise it, from the moment he’d set eyes on Tony, kneeling in the observation room, so fucking gorgeous…to the sight of him flushed and trembling on the edge of orgasm… he’d known Tony was his…was made for him. A gift of the highest price.

But it was a gift he couldn’t and wouldn’t accept.

He’d go back to NCIS and work to get Tony the justice he deserved and ensure the other man was safe. He’d nail Ibu one way or another, even if he had to fly to Japan with his sniper rifle. But that would be the closest he’d get to being part of Tony’s life.

It was safer for Tony that way.

*****

Three Days Later – The San.

Tony was confused and a little unsettled. He had a low-lying headache and his mouth was dry. He didn’t think he was ill, there were no other symptoms but it was distracting to say the least.

And Gibbs was a little late for their session, which was also unsettling. It felt like change was in the air. The trouble was he wasn’t sure whether it was going to be a good change or not.

Tony had seen less of Gibbs too and that was reason enough to feel…unhappy. They still had their sessions twice a day and since he’d told the final part of his story, he’d finally felt like he was getting a handle on who ‘Tony DiNozzo’ really was. That was great of course, but it was such a difficult and overwhelming transition that realising Gibbs was no longer eating meals with him, or visiting in the evening ‘just to chat’, had been slow to register.

Tony was aware of how much he wanted … needed … craved Gibbs. When he allowed himself to dream of the future, Gibbs was the personification of the Dom he envisioned; someone he could really trust with all that he was and could be. It was as if Gibbs had been made for him. Surely it couldn’t just be coincidence that the very person who matched Tony, was the man who was willing to come out of retirement to help an anonymous and damaged sub.

Obaasan had told him, chattering away in her rambling, endearing way, that nothing remained the same – change was inevitable. Sometimes, kneeling silent and unmoving as ordered by his Dom, it was difficult to believe. It felt as though things would never change, that the punishment he was enduring was going to be lifelong. But he had held on to his anger against his father, and deep hatred of his Master, and used them to shore up his limited defences.

The old woman had been his salvation. With her kind words and stories, she had spun a world where being loved and cherished by another person was not a fantasy. She spoke of twin souls who would always find each other, of gods and goddesses who searched the underworld for the other half of them. She was sure Tony’s spirit would call out to his other half and they would save him.

He knew it was a romantic notion, but he felt the truth of it none the less, deep in his heart. There was a connection between him and Gibbs that went deeper than just friendship or sexual attraction.

And up until a couple of days before, Tony had thought Gibbs felt the pull too. The reaction of the Dom to Tony had been like gazing into a mirror, with Gibbs reflected Tony’s moods and needs, giving him everything he needed

At night, alone in the quiet, dark room, he would close his eyes and instead of the black and white films and musicals the old grandmother had loved so much, Tony ran the movie of Gibbs – every glance, every smile, every touch. And night after night he would find his hand reaching down, his cock straining and yearning for the touch of his own hand. But he resisted. Not because he wasn’t allowed – there was no one to deny him; no one held that power over him anymore.

No, he resisted because he wanted, more than anything to have Gibbs be the one to tell him to touch, to help him reach for orgasm and finally to give him the order to let go. He would shudder with the longing for it, clenching his hands in the sheets as his cock strained and pulsed, testing his resolve and his control.

He knew the three-week deadline Gibbs had given was rapidly approaching. He wondered how Gibbs would handle it. Would he come to see him every day? Maybe Tony could begin to venture out to meet with the Dom…a date, like the romantic comedies, where the chivalrous Dom would treat his sub with respect. Then Tony would chuckle; he was hardly some fragile flower. So maybe a sports event? Tony had always loved watching basketball, and it would be fun to go to a game with Gibbs.

The door opened without the usual knock. Gibbs walked in looking worn and…sort of rough around the edges. Tony’s feeling of nausea increased as Jethro sat in the armchair opposite him. Was Gibbs ill? Tony felt a frisson of worry shiver through him.

He tried a smile, but it felt forced and they had a rule of honesty between them. So Tony let it drop and waited, as his anxiety grew.

“We’re…This won’t be a session, Tony.” Gibbs began, his voice harder than Tony was used to hearing.

And then every hope and dream Tony had allowed himself, came crashing down.

*****

The alcohol still flowing in his veins made Jethro sluggish and edgy. He knew he was dehydrated but he had woken under the boat for the fourth morning running, head pounding, and realised he was already late.

He hadn’t even showered, just quickly changed into clean clothes, splashed some cold water on his face and gargled with half a bottle of mouthwash. And as he looked at red-rimmed eyes burning back at him in the mirror, he knew he had to stop.

“Get on with it, Gibbs,” he growled at his reflection. “You’ve put this off long enough.”

Now he was sitting in front of Tony, and hated that he’d wiped away the subs sweet smile of greeting and replaced with the pale, wary look now on his face. But he battened down the screaming voice inside that begged him not to do this and let the hard, uncompromising voice of the battle hardened soldier recite the mantra in his head.

‘This is the right thing, the only fair thing, for both of us’.

“We’re…This won’t be a session, Tony.” Gibbs looked down at his hands, callused soldier’s hands that gave physical testimony to his reasons for doing this. It hardened his resolve and his voice. “We’re coming to the end of our three weeks and we need to discuss what is going to happen next.”

“I’ve spoken to Alice in the Education Unit and she’s happy to give you an assessment, so you can come up with a plan as far as your academic needs are concerned.” Jethro watched as Tony nodded. That was not a surprise to the younger man. They’d been discussing the possibility of Tony taking some courses; either on-line, or if he felt confident enough, at a specialist unit.

“I’ve also asked Dr Weaver from the SDU to take over your sessions. She is a specialist in PTNDS and although it’s not a diagnosis that is specifically appropriate to you, I think she’ll have some new approaches that will help move forward.”

Tony’s hands clenched in his lap and Jethro could see him struggling with the idea of opening up to someone else. Gibbs headache spiked and was joined by an anxious buzzing in his head that tightened his throat. He knew the emotion wasn’t his and pushed it ruthlessly aside, licking his dry lips in order to carry on with his prepared speech.

“I want to say thank you for being so honest in your sessions. You’ve worked really hard and I don’t think we would have achieved half of what we have, in such a short time, without you facing everything head on. If you can keep working like that with Dr Weaver, then I think you’ll do fine.”

The buzz of anxiety turned to outright fear and Gibbs felt his heart begin to beat faster as his own adrenaline response synched with Tony’s. Not able to stay still any longer, Jethro jumped to his feet, marvelling at the control that allowed Tony to remain motionless.

“I don’t understand…”

Jethro felt panicked and it threw him, until he realised it wasn’t his. He stepped over to Tony, not wanting to get into a discussion – he wasn’t sure how he’d cope with explaining his motivations, especially as he wanted to keep them from Tony.

Squeezing his shoulder once, Jethro gave Tony a little shake and then turned to go, saying, “You’ll do,” as reassuringly as he could manage.

He’d almost made it to the door, when Tony’s voice stopped him in his tracks. Cold, inflectionless, and measured, it sounded nothing like the man he knew. Only the sense of the other man’s despair, deep in Gibbs own mind and body, told the full story of what he was truly feeling.

“And what about you, Dr Gibbs. You haven’t said what part you’ll be playing now.”

Gibbs made himself turn to look at Tony, drawing on every single atom of his training and experience as a Gunny and a Dom, so as not to show just how difficult the action was.

“I’ve played my part, Tony. I told you this was just for three weeks. Your three weeks is up. It’s time for me to go back to my real job.”

He saw every word hit Tony hard, like bullets from his favourite rifle, each one hitting a target he hadn’t intentionally aimed for, but in expert sniper style had hit dead centre.

Tony was on his feet in an instant and the anger on his face stopped Jethro’s breath in his chest.

“Can you tell me you don’t feel this…” he said, as he clutched his hand to his stomach, in the very place Jethro could sense the cold press of panic. “Tell me you don’t feel about me the way I feel about you, that you don’t feel everything I do. And remember, Gibbs, ‘The truth is the greatest gift you can give both me and yourself’.”

Gibbs flinched at his own words being used against him, but he couldn’t afford to let any chinks show in his armour. He had to make a clean getaway as soon as possible or risk giving away how much this was costing him.

“Tony, I can’t do that. What you feel…We call it transference. It’s a kind of…hero-worship. After the kind of trauma you’ve been through, it’s only natural to latch on to the person you perceive as… saving you. Talk to Bryan, and I’m sure he’ll tell you we went through something similar. Having someone care after so long…I understand. But I promise you, Dr Weaver is going to care about your recovery just as much as I did. This will pass…”

His voice caught in his throat as Tony’s expression morphed from through disbelief to total despair finally settling into a blank, emotionless canvas. Jethro felt a tearing pain as Tony dropped to his knees, arms behind him, the backs of his hands resting on the swell of his ass, gaze dropped to the floor; the perfect form Gibbs had once found gorgeous was now breaking his heart.

“Tony…”

“Thank you for playing your part in helping, Master Gibbs. I am grateful for the time you have spent on this worthless Ama,” The other man murmured, completely without inflection.

Gibbs couldn’t move, his limbs locked in horror. He could feel Tony retreating, going back to the years of abusive conditioning, as if the last three weeks had never happened. He took a step, his hand outstretched, intent on dragging Tony back to his feet, but he snatched it back at the last minute.

“This is not helping either of us, Tony. I know it’s hard to face another change but soon you’ll see it was for the best.”

Tony didn’t move a muscle and Gibbs felt sick when he realised the gentle, warm feeling in his gut was gone.

Tony was gone.

And he couldn’t look at him anymore; couldn’t let the enormity of what he had done overwhelm him. He had to get out of there.

And as he fled the room, the voice of the closed off bastard, biting and cold, taunted him.

‘This was what you wanted, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. You told yourself it was the sensible thing to do, the brave thing to do…And if you thought it was going to be easy then you lied to yourself the same way you lied to him’.

*****

Siobhan had expected the next time she met Ibu it would be back at the hotel, but his instructions, sent by email, had given her directions to an out of the way warehouse in the Southeast of DC. Her car stood out like a sore thumb and she was concerned that she may need to leave it parked on the street, and that horrified her. The car was her baby, she’d spent a huge chunk of her first commission on it, and it was pretty much irreplaceable.

When she reached the address, a Japanese woman was standing on the sidewalk next to a large black limo. Siobhan breathed a little sigh of relief when she sauntered over and slid into the passenger seat, directing her to drive back towards Downtown. Siobhan glanced at the other woman as they drove away and she realised could see a family likeness.

“You’re Kobo’s sister”

“His younger sister, Saeko, yes. You and I have some planning to do, Ms Fielding.”

“I take it this involves Tony DiNozzo?”

“I understand you know where he is.”

“He is currently a patient at Mount Vernon Sanatorium. I have a contact on security there. He’s going to contact me if there is any change in DiNozzo’s status.”

Saeko hummed a little under her breath and then turned to gaze out of the side window. Siobhan got the impression that further conversation wasn’t going to be welcomed, so she concentrated on getting them safely across town.

“Take a left at the next intersection…Turn in here.”

Siobhan did as directed, and they pulled up outside a nondescript factory building. It was relatively new, with lights burning in the windows, but there was no company name or indication of what the factory produced. She parked in the mostly deserted lot and followed the confident Japanese woman through a small door in a loading bay.

Inside the factory was warm and bright. The walls and floors were polished to a deep gloss and everyone they passed was wearing white coveralls and boots, and a sort of shower cap on their heads.

After a short walk in featureless corridors, they reached what looked to be a manager’s office. An elderly Japanese man sat behind the desk and on their arrival he jumped to his feet and bowed deferentially to Saeko, several times in quick succession.

“Ibu-sama. We are greatly honoured by your visit.”

“Ando-san. This is Ms Fielding. She is an…associate of my brother and will be helping us to deliver the letter.”

“Letter?” Siobhan asked, surprised. After all this cloak and dagger, she thought there would be a little more to her involvement than being a delivery girl. And why did she schlep all the way over here? Saeko could have just couriered a letter to Siobhan from wherever she was staying.

“Ando has been holding onto something for Mr DiNozzo…from his father. I’m not really sure what’s in it, but it is of some importance and this is the safest of our facilities in the US.”

There was something about that little speech that didn’t quite ring true for Siobhan. She was a player and knew what it was to spin something slightly off truth. But she held back her opinion, thinking that the gains from any association with the Ibu dynasty would far outweigh the slight loss of face from letting them think she was a push over. She smiled winningly at the man behind the desk and nodded her acceptance of the explanation.

Ando retrieved a small white envelope from the safe behind him and placed it on the table.

“It is secure?” Saeko asked.

“Completely.” Ando agreed with a slight bow.

Saeko turned to Siobhan. “This is only for Tony DiNozzo. You must make sure it is placed in his hands.”

“I’m not serving the poor guy, am I?” Siobhan joked, the seriousness of the exchange putting her a little off kilter.

“No, of course not, but no one else is to be allowed to see the contents. Those were his father’s last wishes. How you go about that is entirely up to you but you should ensure that you are not linked to its delivery, for reasons I cannot go in to at this time.”

Siobhan smiled archly. “Oh, I have my delivery boy all picked out. And as for making sure our young DiNozzo opens it…” She picked up the envelope between red polished nails and lifted it to her mouth, unaware of the look of sharp concern from the manager. She pressed painted lips to the sealed flap, leaving a perfect coral red print on the pristine white paper. “No red-blooded male could resist that.”

Saeko gave a shark-like smile and bowed her head in acceptance. “Please deal with this as soon as possible and contact my brother by email immediately you have completed the task. In the meantime…”

She gestured at the little man and he reached back into the safe, drawing out a large flat velvet box. Saeko pushed it across the desk towards Siobhan.

“…Kobo asked me to pass this on to you. He said it fulfilled a promise he had made and that he will interested to see if his choice was correct.”

Siobhan flipped the lid and had to hold onto the edge of the desk as her excitement almost overtook her. Nestled in dark green satin was an intricate Y chain necklace of white gold set all along its length with huge tanzanite stones. A pear shaped gem of at least 4 carats made up the dropper that would nestle perfectly in her cleavage, drawing the eye to her best feature.

“Oh yes, this is perfect,” she breathed excitedly.

If this was the kind of gift she got for doing such a small task, then for the future, the sky was the limit as far as she was concerned.

*****

Tony wasn’t sure how long he’d been kneeling; time sort of stopped when he was in form, sometimes it had been the only way to survive the long painful hours on his knees. He was also aware that once he got up, he would have to make a decision about what to do next and that frightened him more than he could say. He’d never had to make a decision on his own before.

There was nothing in his life worth anything. He had no family, no money, no skills, no friends. So either he had to end his life or make the decision to start all over again.

The idea of giving up was seductive. The moment the final words had left Gibbs mouth and he had walked out of the door, he’d taken Tony’s heart with him. The sub felt numb, insensate both in body and mind.

But there was one little part of him; the part that had always fought, had always been loath to give up, that was refusing to let him take that path.

As soon as he rose to his feet, the tears began to fall, but he wasn’t really aware of them. He looked around the room, trying to marshal his scattered thoughts enough to formulate a plan.

His gaze went to the phone Gibbs had given him. It was lying on the nightstand, where it had been charging all night. Gradually, an idea began to take shape.

He actually did have a little money – the $40 from when they went to visit Dr Mallard in the hospital. And surprisingly enough he did have a friend. Bryan had been there for him, right from the very first evening. Tony had called in on him every day up until his Dom had been taken ill. Since then Bryan had been with Dr Mallard at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Bryan had been where Tony was now; and although their experiences were not completely the same, he was sure Bryan would have some ideas about what he could do next. Maybe there was somewhere he could stay for a while until he could map out the way forward; somewhere he could lick his wounds and try to get his head straight.

One thing he did know was that he couldn’t stay here, where everything reminded him both of where he’d come from, and the false hope that Gibbs had represented.

He had to forget Gibbs, put those stupid romantic fantasies to rest once and for all. It was patently obvious Tony DiNozzo was never going to be allowed to have the dream; perhaps it was true what he’d always been told…that he wasn’t worthy.

But regardless, he would keep putting one foot in front of the other. He’d done it for the last fourteen years and he could do it again. Starting fresh somewhere else was better than living in the past and all he could hope was that the awareness of Gibbs would fade with distance and time. Perhaps if he consciously pushed the tickling feeling away, clamped down on the honey-sweet warmth in his gut…

He absently dashed away the tears that were blurring his vision and began to gather things from around the room. Judging by the overcast sky through the window, he was sure it was cold outside. He layered another pair of sweat pants over the ones he was already wearing and slipped the two matching sweatshirts over his tee. Folding his two pairs of jeans and the button-down, he slipped them into a paper carrier that had held a pack of soda that Gi…

‘No, not going there’,

…alongside the green sweater, a couple of pairs of clean boxers, and some rolled up socks. The last item was a paperback book of movie trivia from Bryan. It would while away the nights wherever he ended up.

There were still some clothes in the drawers but he couldn’t risk hanging around in the room for too long and there wasn’t space for them in the paper bag. Sooner or later someone would come in to check on him and he didn’t want to have to explain what he was planning to do.

Tony pushed his feet into his trainers and tied them tightly. One last look around had him catch sight of his tear stained face in the mirror. He firmed his jaw and sneered at his reflection. No, that wouldn’t do at all.

He splashed his face with cold water and patted it dry. Another look told him he was a little more presentable.

He could feel a slight trembling in his belly and rubbed at it reflexively. He recognised the feeling as reaction setting in; he’d felt it often enough after long and difficult scenes with Ibu. Tony knew he couldn’t give in to it otherwise he would just drop to the floor and cry.

Taking this first step was going to be the hardest, so he didn’t stop to think. He pushed the phone and money into his pocket, slid the bag under his arm, and without once looking back, he walked away from the safest place he could ever remember.

*****

“Madame Fielding, it’s Andy.”

“Hey, my sweet boy, we only just got off the phone. You missing your Mistress already?”

“I miss you constantly, Madame. But you said you wanted me to keep an eye on Tony DiNozzo.”

“Yes…Is there a problem?”

“He’s just left the San in a cab.”

“Damn it, I’m half an hour away…Can you follow him?”

“I’m sorry, Madame. I’m still on duty and the other security guard is off sick, so I can’t leave, not for another two hours. I did overhear DiNozzo when he got into the cab though. He asked to be taken to Bethesda Naval Hospital.”

“Oh, well done, you clever boy. I can be there in less than fifteen minutes. I’ll pick you up after work and then I think you’ve earned yourself a nice reward from your Mistress. Perhaps that flogger you love so much?”

“Yes, Mistress. Thank you, Mistress.”

*****

Bethesda Naval Hospital – 10.30 am.

Cpl Neil Mabbert sneezed hard at the cold air outside the hospital. He made another irritated swipe at his stuffed nose. He was pissed that something as minor as a cold, and not even a bad one at that, had stopped him from visiting his buddy, Robert, in the ICU. He looked back at the entrance to the hospital

For the last three weeks, he’d made daily visits. At first it was just to make sure his comrade was still breathing. He’d sustained a serious injury when a generator fuel pump blew during routine maintenance. More recently Mabbert had come along to keep the man’s spirits up. The doctors were still unsure whether they’d done enough to save Rob’s hand and whatever happened it looked like his career in the military was over.

The Dom was pissed at himself too. He’d been holding off making a move – too busy playing the field to recognise what was right next to him. And now it looked like Robert was going to be discharged and they would be separated. His chance to say anything had gone…it would be unfair, as Rob wasn’t even aware of how he felt. So every visit was precious.

“Excuse me, sir.”

Neil looked up to see a beautiful sub standing a respectful distance away, her head dropped slightly as she gazed at him through her lashes. She was wearing a long dark coat that moulded completely to her spectacular figure. The top few buttons were open, giving a glimpse of a deep cleavage and milky white breasts.

He was a little disappointed to see she was wearing a very expensive looking collar, in white precious metal, with large blue/purple stones. She obviously belonged to someone else and was off limits. However, if he was giving up on Rob, then he wasn’t going to stop himself from looking elsewhere.

The Marine pulled off his utility cover and held it in his hands. Courtesy was never wasted, at least that’s what his momma had taught him.

“Can I help you, ma’am?”

The woman blushed prettily, and Neil felt his interest rise, along with his cock.

“I was wondering,” she began hesitantly. “You see…My Dom has given me permission to approach another sub to join us. She’s written a letter for him and I was supposed to give it to him…”

The idea of this sub, a female Domme and another male sub made Mabbert’s mouth water, but regardless of the delicious visuals, he was going to have to disappoint the woman.

“I’m sorry ma’am, I can’t go in there. I have a cold and I’ve just been thrown out as an infection risk.”

“Oh, no…he’s not inside. He’s over there.”

She pointed to a figure sitting on a bench, his elbows on his knees, head slumped forward. Something about him looked familiar but Mabbert couldn’t quite pinpoint where he recognised him from.

“Do you want me to send him over?”

The sub looked a little panicked. “No, no…I…I’m so scared he’s gonna say no. I can’t face him. I was hoping…maybe…”

Her breath gave a little hitch and Mabbert thought he’d probably do anything she asked, she was so enchanting.

“You want me to take it to him? I can do that. Are you going to come over afterwards?”

She shook her head, “My Dom wants to give him some space, so…”

Neil gave her his best, most reassuring smile and held out his hand. The small white envelope had the name ‘Tony’ …something, written on the front but he didn’t try to decipher the rest. He flipped it over in his hand and saw a large lipstick print on the back.

“Sealed With A Kiss, huh. I doubt he’ll be able to resist this, honey.”

The sub gave him a sweet smile, her eyes wide and trusting. Oh, yeah, she was something else.

Neil pushed his cap back on his head and gave her a small salute, before he strode over to the slightly dejected looking figure on the bench. The sub didn’t look up at his approach, so he sat next to him.

“Hey, are you Tony?”

The man’s head jerked around and Neil met the most startling green eyes he’d ever seen. The gaze was wary, like a cornered animal. But there was a spark of strength there too. No wonder the other Domme wanted him – who wouldn’t.

“Yes, sir.”

“I have a note for you, from someone who wants to get to know you better.”

He handed over the letter and the sub looked at it as if he’d never seen one before. The man he now knew as Tony turned it around and around, not even trying to open it. The suspense was killing Mabbert. He reached down into his boot and withdrew a small knife. The other man jerked slightly at the sight of it, his already pale face turning milk-white.  The Corporal kept moving slowly, while using the kind of tone he would on the unbroken yearlings on his daddies farm.

“How about I help you open it – you’re looking like it’s gonna bite ya or something.”

Neil took the letter and carefully slit one of the short ends, handing it back to the silent sub. As Tony took it, there was a puff of white powder that was caught by a slight breeze and blown back into their faces.

Mabbert jumped up in alarm. “Fuck, fuck…what the hell.” He wiped his hand over the residue on his skin and sniffed at it. It was odourless and very fine. A briefing from a few months earlier suddenly jumped into his mind. He could still hear the Gunny’s serious voice…

‘Terrorism is not only achieved with bombs. Biochemical weapons are easily disseminated, in booby traps, foodstuffs or even letters and parcels…’

The sub was still sitting, silent and still on the bench, looking completely mystified about what was happening. But Mabbert didn’t have time to wonder why this man had been a target – if in fact he had. He just knew he needed to get them help. He scanned the area and saw two nurses, obviously on their way back from a break. They were walking back towards the entrance and he bellowed out at them.

“Hey…you…stay where you are, but listen carefully. I’ve just opened a letter and we’ve been doused with a white powder. You need to instigate HazMat protocols.”

He felt movement at his side, but was too intent on getting his message across to look back. One nurse ran inside the building, while the other called out questions and soon there were klaxons blaring and lights flashing in the entrance of the hospital as trained staff in the weird HazMat spacesuits were deployed.

Sure that help was on the way, Neil made a visual search for the woman who had given him the letter, but there was no sign of her. He found it hard to believe a sub who looked like a wet dream would be involved in terrorism, but he knew he wouldn’t be the one doing the investigating. The Feds – or maybe even NCIS would be handed that clusterfuck. Now all he had to do was pray they hadn’t been infected with anything – and if they had, that it was curable. He turned to reassure the male sub…

But he was gone. Neil scoured his surroundings, searching, but there was no sign of him – nothing except for the empty envelope sitting on the bench.

*****

Mallard Residence, Reston – 6.30 pm

Jethro had every intention of going straight to the office after he left the San, but instead he got into the car, broke his own rule by turning off his cell and then drove aimlessly for hours. He stopped for a coffee and walked in a park…somewhere in the suburbs…but the tranquil surroundings had only made his inner voice louder. So he quickly got back in the car, still without any destination in mind.

Part of him wanted to go home, to get reacquainted with the three B’s again, just as he had for the last four nights, but the idea that the bottle was becoming his go-to panacea sat wrong with him. He’d been on the edge of a serious alcohol problem after his girls were killed – a problem that had driven him right to the verge of suicide.

‘This is nothing like that’, he chided himself, ‘just an infatuation’. But the bleak, empty feeling in his gut called him out on his self deception. There had been a moment, less than an hour after he’d left the San, when he’d almost returned, with every nerve in him screaming for him to go back. But he’d fought it, grinding the compulsion to dust beneath the force of his will.

Another part of him felt like he had nowhere he could go, to sort out the multitude of feelings churning inside him.

Now he was hungry, desperate for coffee, and not really sure where the hell he was. A familiar name on a passing road sign gave him a little jolt of shock.

Reston.

Well it seemed as if his subconscious knew where he would get support. Ducky and Bryan would be home, as the ME was on strict medical house ‘arrest’, and his sub was militant about following the doctor’s orders. Apart from Nicola, who Jethro was not ready to face yet, Ducky was the person who knew him best of all.

Gibbs pulled into the driveway of the large, sprawling Victorian. With any luck, there would be coffee available for him, although Ducky preferred tea, and maybe even some of Bryan’s amazing cooking.

He rang the doorbell and was surprised to find it was Donald opening the door.

“Jethro.” The welcome had a slight edge to it. “This is…a surprise. Well, come in, come in, my boy.”

Gibbs followed Ducky as he ambled into the kitchen, only to be met by an absolutely furious Bryan Carver. His face was fixed in a sneer and his eyes had a cold glint to them.

“Yes, do come in, Dr Gibbs. Why don’t we have a chat? Let’s see if you can manage a conversation with at least a word or two of truth in it.”

“Bryan!” Ducky’s rang out, but it wasn’t harsh – in fact the tone was compassionate.

Jethro looked between the two men. “What’s going on?”

Ducky opened his mouth to speak, but his sub jumped in before he could begin. “What time did you leave the San this morning, Gibbs?”

Gibbs was shocked at the subs behaviour. Bryan was never anything but deferential to his Dom, especially not in company. Bryan shook his head when his Dom raised a hand to stop him.

“No, Master, you can punish me all you want when this is done, but I am going to say this.”

He glared back over at Jethro, who was shaken by the vehemence of his tone.

“’Bout 09.15. Why, what’s happened?”

“Oh, I got a call from a friend of mine at Bethesda, about 10.15, to say someone had dropped a note off for me. Apparently this person thought Ducky was still in the ACU.”

Bryan scrubbed an irritated hand through his hair and then stalked over to the island, snatching up a piece of paper obviously torn from a notebook. Bryan pushed the paper into Jethro’s chest and then moved back to the sink, turning his back on Gibbs and pressing the heels of his hands hard on the countertop.

Gibbs flashed a look at Ducky, who simply sighed. “You really should read it, Jethro.”

Wishing he had his glasses, Gibbs spread the crumpled paper on the island and began to read. It was written in a precise, clear hand that was almost calligraphic. The language was a little formal but after just a couple of sentences, his throat constricted as he realised what it was, and who it was from.

‘Bryan,

I came to Bethesda to try to find you, but they tell me that Dr Mallard has been discharged, which is really good news and I hope he continues to make good progress. You must be so relieved.

As I don’t know your home address, I am leaving this with the nurse, and she says she will get it to you the next time she sees you.

I had a difficult session with Gibbs today and he made it clear that everything I hoped for was just a pipe dream. I know you really believed Gibbs and I were Soulmates, based on your experience with your two friends in the Rangers. I believe it too, but Gibbs would not consider it and I suppose you cannot make someone believe something just because you do, no matter how much you want them to. 

Gibbs said that what I am feeling is something called transference. He was very certain about it, and he said you had been through this too, which is why I decided to come to talk to you. You did not mention it when we talked, so I wondered whether it was too embarrassing, or if your Dom didn’t know you felt that way about Gibbs for a while. I hope you didn’t let me ramble on with Soulmate stories just to make me happy, but if you did…then thank you. No one has ever cared enough to make me happy before.

Gibbs has referred me to another doctor but I can’t talk to anyone else about what happened. Gibbs gave me the three weeks he promised, and helped me make the breakthrough for which I am very grateful. You were right, he really is very good.

I have decided to leave the San, and try to find a way to live outside. I have no skills to speak of. Although I can be a model sub I am not sure if there is any way I could make my living from that.

As you know, I do not have any family either, there is no one to go to for help so I am going to have to make it on my own.

 I will probably try to find a homeless shelter as it is a little cold to sleep out of doors. There were pamphlets at the hospital that said there are several in the city. I have $40 that Gibbs gave me when we came to see you at the hospital, but I used some for my cab fare to Bethesda, and I will need to get food too so I don’t think it will last that long.

If you speak to Gibbs, please tell him I hope he forgives me for keeping it and as soon as I manage to earn some money, I will get it back to him somehow.

I will try to get a message to you at the San when I am settled, wherever I end up.

I hope Dr Mallard continues to be well. You should ask him to marry you again. Obaasan always said life is too short to wait to be happy, and I have to think she was right.

Your friend

Tony DiNozzo

A large trembling hand slammed down hard in the centre of the paper and Gibbs lifted shocked eyes to meet Bryan’s.

“I bet you fed him the whole… ‘Truth is the bravest thing’, line didn’t you, Doctor. Made him tell you all the terrible, horrible things that had been done to him; dragged them out of him with lies and false promises. And then, when you found yourself actually feeling something…something real and precious…something most people can only dream about…you hurt that kid more than any bastard father or monster of a Dom ever did. You made him believe in you and then lied to him to what…preserve your Bastard image? Or your cold, dead heart?”

Gibbs could only swallow at the hits Bryan was getting in, each one more deadly than the last.

“Bryan, that’s enough.” Ducky’s voice was firmer now, and it made Bryan’s breath hitch and his eyes flicker for a moment to the floor.

“Yes, Master.” He moved to the kitchen door and then turned, eyes brimming and his voice thick with emotion.

“It does make me think, though. Because, you promised me you’d never lie to me either, Gibbs. So when you told me that it wasn’t my fault that Gavin died…that I wasn’t to blame for those fucking bastards raping me…perhaps… I have to wonder if they were lies too.”

The sub gave a rough sob and fled from the room. The sound of his running feet pounding up the stairs was loud in the silence of the kitchen.

Ducky’s eyes followed the retreating figure and he began to move in the same direction. “There’s coffee in the kitchen, Jethro,” he said, wearily. “I’d better go and settle him down. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Gibbs shook his head, there was no way he could stay after that litany of his failings. “I’m gonna head out.”

The other Dom nodded sadly. “You know where I am if you need to talk.”

Jethro followed Ducky into the hallway. He turned in the doorway.

“Don’t be too hard on him.”

Donald’s soft gaze became diamond hard and just as cutting.

“You once told me you trusted me with my boy; that you knew I’d always do my best for him and he was safe with me. Do not add another person to the list who have begun to doubt that what you’ve promised them was true, Gibbs. Go away and find your own boy, if you have the guts to face him after what you’ve done, and leave me to look after mine.”

Shame slammed down on Jethro, as he heard someone else he respected doubting his word. He opened his mouth to say something in his defence, but Ducky was already closing the door in his face.

Stumbling back to the car, Gibbs had to work hard to stop the meagre contents of his stomach making a return appearance. He slid inside and curled his fingers around the steering wheel, until his knuckles cracked and ached with the strain.

He’d believed he was doing the right thing…Liar

It was safer for Tony…Liar

His professional association with the sub made it unethical…Liar, Liar, LIAR!

Finally, he couldn’t find any more excuses and he let go, allowing himself to feel everything he’d been fighting.

Bryan was right, it wasn’t about shielding Tony, it was about protecting himself; from his fear of loving someone again, of being responsible for a sub… and not just any sub…his Soulmate.

And now Tony, the naïve, inexperienced sub, who had spent the last 14 years in total isolation from the world, was out on the streets with less than $40. Nowhere to shelter, and in his mind, no one on his side.

And why shouldn’t he believe that no one cared, when Jethro had added himself to the long list of people who had used, abused and hurt him. His culpability made it hard for him to breathe.

Jethro had to find Tony, and soon. There were dangers on every corner and the type of people who would see Tony as a goldmine would be quick to take advantage of him.

And if that was Tony’s fate, it would be Gibbs’ fault.

He thumbed on his phone.

“McGee! I need to get out a BOLO for a Tony DiNozzo. 6’2”, dark blonde hair. He has two long, recent scars on his forearms. I have no idea what he’s wearing. He won’t have any ID. I need you back in the office, now…”

*****

NCIS – 0500

Tim watched as his Boss paced like a caged tiger. The BOLO for DiNozzo had turned up nothing overnight. McGee had been a little anxious about the whole thing and felt slightly relieved the man hadn’t been found yet. He still didn’t know why the Boss was searching for him, and what it was in connection with. He couldn’t help thinking he might’ve fucked up majorly by blabbing about the research he was doing on DiNozzo Holdings to Siobhan Fielding, and telling her the Boss was working with DiNozzo Jr. at the San. He tried to make himself believe the stunning play session and Earth moving fuck he’d got out of it was enough recompense for what Gibbs would do if he found out, but he couldn’t quite manage it.

Gibbs desk phone rang and the man had it in his hand in seconds, looking deeply disappointed almost immediately.

“Directors office,” he growled as he moved towards the stairs.

Tim watched him go and wondered what it was about the young DiNozzo that had got Gibbs in such a state.

Only minutes later, Gibbs was standing in front of his desk again. “There was a possible terrorist attack at Bethesda this morning. Apparently, some white powder in an envelope was released. CDC are involved but they are taking their own sweet time analysing what it is. The team Kate is on TDY with are dealing with it and she suggested they send the envelope over for Abby to have a look at it. I want you to meet them at the evidence garage and escort them to her lab.

“Yes, Boss.”

Tim didn’t have to wait long for two men in white overalls and masks, albeit hanging around their necks and not over their mouths. The sample was in a case with the Hazardous Materials symbol emblazoned on the sides and Tim had to admit to being a little nervous around it.

Abby on the other hand was her normal excitable self.

“Don’t worry guys, as soon as I get this in my babies we’ll have a handle on what it is we’re dealing with.

The envelope was in an opaque evidence baggie and Abbey carefully slid it out and placed it inside the secure clear glass box that she used to examine dangerous or unknown materials visually.

Tim watched as she slid the envelope out of the bag.

His heart stopped as he recognised the name written on it. Before he could say anything, Abby had turned it over to find a red lipstick print emblazoned on the back …a very unique and distinctive shade of red…

A shade of red that Tim had been washing off the base of his cock only a few days before.

*****

NCIS – 0600

Gibbs observed McGee as he walked back into the bullpen and up to his desk. The man was white as a sheet and seemed even more antsy than usual.

“Well?”

“B…b…boss…the evidence has arrived. And…and…”

“Spit it out, McGee.”

“The envelope…its addressed to Tony DiNozzo.”

Gibbs leapt to his feet and McGee jumped back at least four feet. Jethro didn’t have time to wonder what was wrong with him. This was getting more and more puzzling. He didn’t believe in coincidences and the fact that Tony seemed to have disappeared off the face of the planet and suspected terrorism had his name literally all over it…What the fuck was going on.

He thundered down the stairs and was in Abby’s lab in just under three minutes, McGee close behind.

“What you got for me, Abbs?”

“I’ve just put a sample of the powder into analysis and we’ll know something in few minutes. The envelope is nothing special, you can buy them everywhere, but it was lined with some kind of silver metal – I’m guessing lead to stop it being irradiated, but it’s very thin and it hasn’t really added to the overall weight. So I could be way off base. Except for the Marine who handled it last, there are no fingerprint matches.”

She took him over to the sample containment box. Gibbs felt his gut churn at the sight of Tony’s name printed neatly on the front. Abby picked it up carefully with tweezers and turned it over.

“This though is very interesting…”

Gibbs stared at the lipstick kiss. It niggled at him, but he was too hyped to pin down the cause.

“Can you get DNA?”

“Maybe, but it depends how thick the pigment was layered on the lips. There’s a lot of grease and sealants in lipstick, Gibbs.”

“Erm…I think…”

“For fucks sake, McGee, what is wrong with you?”

“I have an idea of who that lip print might be from.”

Gibbs focus lazered in and McGee swallowed hard. Jethro watched as every last drop of colour leeched from the young Switch’s face.

“Siobhan Fielding.”

Gibbs thought his head would explode as the pieces started to slot together. “And tell me how you know that, and what it has to do with the project I gave you.”

McGee opened and closed his mouth several times. Gibbs was getting ready to draw his gun on him when there was a beep from one of the bank of machines. Abby bounced over and began to scribble down the information on the screen, before tapping a few numbers and letters into the computer on the counter next to it.

When she turned, her eyes were wide with surprise.

“The powder is a weaponized strain of pneumonic plague. Y. Pestis

Terror hit Gibbs and it was all he could do not to scream. “Plague? You mean like the Black Death?”

“Sorta…except this one attacks the lungs. But Gibbs this is a really, really nasty bug. It’s been bio-engineered. I need to contact the CDC and see if we can’t work out exactly what’s been done to it and if its treatable.” She snatched up the desk phone and was soon talking ten to the dozen.

Gibbs turned back to McGee and pushed him back against the wall of the lab with a jabbing finger.

“Report! I want everything you have, including what you told Siobhan.”

The young agent moved nervously to the monitor, bringing the information on the lab plasma screen. He swallowed hard, wetting his dry lips before he began reading from the smaller monitor.

“10.30 this morning a Marine… Corporal Neil Mabbert, was outside Bethesda main entrance. He reports he was approached by a woman, a collared sub, to pass a letter to another sub who was sitting on a bench on the other side of the entranceway.

“He sat down with the sub and slit the letter open for him with his boot knife. When the sub opened it, a fine white powder was expelled and a breeze blew it onto their faces.

“After ascertaining that this might be a HazMat situation, he called out to a passing nurse who instigated the protocols. The Corporal is now in isolation in Bethesda while they wait for the results of blood tests and Abby’s findings.”

Gibbs gazed at the picture of the corporal on the screen. “What about the sub? Isn’t he there too?” In his head he was chanting, ‘Not Tony, please god, not Tony’.

“Mabbert said when he looked to where she had been, the woman who gave him the letter was gone, and the sub whose name was…Shit…his name was Tony!” McGee’s eyes were wide in shock. “Boss, the sub was gone. Do you think it could be DiNozzo?”

“I don’t know, Tim, what do you think?” Gibbs spat out.

He was so afraid now, the fear a living thing in his chest, which was squeezing tight; had been tight since early this morning.

“Do we have a photo-fit of the woman – was the Corporal able to give a description?”

Once again McGee tapped at the keyboard and suddenly on the plasma, large as life, was the blocky, but clearly identifiable face of his sister-in-law.

“Oh, God. This…fuck, Boss…is this…my…fuck, what did I do?”

The SSA had to turn away from his junior agent, the urge to throttle him with his bare hands was so great. “What did you tell her, McGee? Leave nothing out, and don’t even think of lying to me,” he ground out, fisting his hands at his sides.

“Th…that you had me investigating DiNozzo… and Ibu…but only in the broadest terms, nothing specific.”

Gibbs turned around and his eyes bored into the other man. “And?”

“She asked why you hadn’t been around and I told her you were at the San. I was…” Tim swallowed hard and seemed to know he was on a knife edge. “I was curious about what you were doing there, so before she came around to my apartment that night…”

Gibbs couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Tim McGee had seemed to have the makings of a good agent, if a little green. But this bull shit was beyond the pale. His voice dropped to a deceptively soft and silky timbre.

“So you thought it would be OK to assuage your curiosity as to what I was doing, by hacking into confidential patient files. Then, not happy with that little career ending stunt, you shared that information with someone outside the agency, along with information I told you quite categorically was on the QT! For what, McGee…A FUCK! How did you know the exact colour of her lipstick? You still wearing it around your stupid, traitorous cock?”

McGee was visibly shaking, but Gibbs could find not one iota of sympathy for the Switch.

“If I didn’t need you to help me find Tony, I would fire your terminally idiotic, insubordinate, lying ass right now. But I do need to find him, and fast. Because he is out there, possibly infected with some super strain of the plague, in 30˚ weather. Not to mention the other people he may have come into contact with. Alongside that, he is an innocent in a city where every street corner is crawling with scumbags.

“So you’d better give me some options, McGee, and fast, before I decide I don’t need you after all.”

The Switch rubbed his forehead nervously. “Apart from the BOLO, which has come up empty so far, the only way would be through bank or card transactions, or cell calls. If it was one of us, I could use the GPS locators I upload into our phones, but we don’t even know if he has a phone.”

A surge of hope made Gibbs huff out a shaky breath and he grabbed McGee’s biceps in a crushing grip. “The phone I asked you to set up for me three weeks ago…”

“The iPhone?” Suddenly McGee got where Gibbs was going. “Yes, I thought it was for you, so I tricked it out, just like I always do.”

“Tell me you kept a note of the number.” Gibbs was shaking him, while every muscle in the Doms body was telling him to go, find Tony, make him safe.

Tim was already tapping away at the keyboard. The plasma display split into two halves leaving the photo-fit on one side and a bringing up a map on the other. An animation of the triangulation algorithm booted up and began to draw lines, zeroing in on the signal from the iPhone, until red concentric circles marked the spot.

Jethro was half way out of the lab when Abby’s shout of, ‘No!’, made him look back, his face dark with anger and dread.

“You can’t go, Gibbs. We have to send the Haz-Mat team. He is still an infection risk and you would just be adding yourself to that list.”

Gibbs didn’t care, he wanted to get to Tony; to hold him, reassure him and let him know what an idiot Gibbs had been.

To keep him safe.

But Abby was relentless. “Let them do their jobs, Bossman. They’ll get him to Bethesda and they have the expertise to help him if he’s sick. Meanwhile, I’ll keep working to find out just what we’re dealing with.

“I know you need to be doing something – and when this is all over you’re going to tell me why this sub is so important to you. In the interim, why don’t you and Tim do what you’re the best at.”

She turned and pointed at the screen.

“Go find this woman, find out what she knows and how she’s involved. There’s a Marine been infected, so we have jurisdiction, right?”

Jethro was torn between his heart and his duty. His need to get to Tony was like a living thing tearing at his chest, making it hard to breathe. But he knew she was right. Tony needed to be in expert hands, and Gibbs needed to get his head in the game. It was the only way he would be able to help Tony.

“Make the call, Abby, but you keep me informed. I want a report every 15 minutes, you hear me?”

Abby gave him a jaunty salute, “OK, Bossman, sir.”

He turned to McGee who was grey with shock at the outcome of his actions.

“You’re with me. We’re going hunting for a femme fatale.”

*****

Somewhere in Washington – 07.30

Tony didn’t know where he was and had no frame of reference for the sprawling city. He’d never been free to wander around in Okinawa. Journeys outside the Ibu Estate were infrequent and were always by car and private plane, while leashed by his uncompromising Dom and flanked by the four or five minders that accompanied him.

DiNozzo lifted his head to look at the overcast sky. This was his second day out here in the city. He’d managed to spend last night huddled in a booth in the back of an mostly deserted all night diner, stretching one cup of coffee after another. He’d only eaten a single plate of fries in the last twenty-four hours, nevertheless he didn’t feel at all hungry. Despite the bitingly cold weather, he was overheated, sweating and shaking with chills. His chest felt tight and he could hear the way his breathing was rasping in his raw throat.

Great, the flu, that was all he needed.

He’d used the last of his money to buy a large bottle of water to wet his dry mouth and sore throat. It was empty after just a couple of hours and the few cents Tony had left in his pocket wouldn’t buy him more.

Tony knew he had to find somewhere to shelter before it got dark, having to walk even a few more steps was overwhelming. He coughed hard, the effort bending him over, still clutching hard at his bag of clothes. He swiped at the gunk he’d coughed up with the back of his hand and wiped it on his pants, more than a little concerned to see it held streaks of bright red blood.

His hand fell over the cell that was sitting in his pocket. He could call Gibbs; he should call Gibbs… it was the most sensible thing to do. Still, there was a little bit of him so angry at the other man’s rejection that he didn’t want to go crawling back like the useless Ama Gibbs obviously thought he was.

All his life he had been dependent on others; attending only to their whims and desires, and the kernel of iron self-will that had allowed him to survive that abuse, wouldn’t let him give up on his independence after so short a time.

He was standing at the end of an alley behind a large, boarded up store front. Tattered notices pasted to the wall announced a ‘Closing Down Sale’. The alley gave access for deliveries, he supposed and was composed of a series of loading bays with metal roller doors, which were quiet and deserted. A pile of cardboard boxes in the lee of one of the bays caught his attention. A memory came slamming into his mind that made him gasp in a deep gulp of cold air, causing him to cough again.

‘Do you want to play castles, little man? Mommy has some magic boxes here. If we work together, we can build you the most magical castle in the whole kingdom.’  

He stumbled over to the mound of boxes, his memory replaying a lost time, when his mom was still alive. They had played knights and damsels-in-distress. Tony had a big book of fairytales that his mom read from every night and Rapunzel had caught his imagination so completely, that he’d asked for it to be read to him six nights in a row.

Breathing as shallowly as possible so as not to aggravate his cough, Tony pulled out the two largest intact cartons, and then placed some pieces of the smaller ones inside. Finally, almost too exhausted to succeed, he slipped inside one and pulled and pushed at the other until the two edges were folded enough to slot inside.

Sure that no one could see him, he felt a little safer to close his eyes. He’d seen the looks he been getting in the diner and had recognised the avarice in them. He wasn’t a fool; he knew there were dangers that he wouldn’t even know how to recognise. But here in his little makeshift shelter, he could relax, if only for a short while.

Pillowing his aching head on his bag of clothes, he curled into a miserable, shivering ball on his cardboard box mattress and closed his eyes, hoping a little sleep would bring some kind of relief. Within minutes, his heavy eyes closed and he began to drift away into fevered sleep, unaware of the sickness ravaging his body as his lungs filled and his body began to shut down.

Sometime later, he surfaced to vaguely hear the noise of voices calling his name, but unconsciousness beckoned and he gratefully allowed it to pull him into the blackness.

*****

NCIS – 08.30

In theory, finding Siobhan should have been simple. She was very recognisable, drove a distinctive car, and mixed in the higher echelons of Washington society. Gibbs wasn’t fooled though. She was mixed up in something decidedly dangerous and had probably gone to ground.

McGee was monitoring her cell and he had burrowed into her email accounts, digging up her contacts with Okinawa Bio-Chem and Kobo Ibu. The jury was still out as to what McGee’s punishment for his part in the whole debacle would be – jail time wasn’t outside the realms of possibility, but Gibbs needed his expertise.

For his part, the Switch was working quietly and diligently, no doubt trying to recoup his standing with his Boss.

But even with all their investigative resources the trail had gone infuriatingly cold.

Ibu was back in Japan as per a report from Fornell and the walls around him were as thick and impenetrable as ever, even with the possibility of involvement in terrorist activity. The man obviously had a great deal of pull, so much so that Fornell had been given the order to withdraw from investigating, his boss informing him that a special ‘Task Force’ had been set up. Tobias called Gibbs with the news and made his feelings clear.

‘Task Force, my ass…can we say ‘cover up’? I’ll keep my ear to the ground, Gibbs but I’ll have to play it close to the vest, otherwise I could be getting a visit from Kort or his ilk’.

The Ibu company jet was reported leaving Dulles only a few hours before the infected letter was opened, but there was no record of who had been on board. Kobo had definitely already been in Japan, so Gibbs was going with the idea that it was a minion, or Saeko Ibu the younger sister.

Whoever it was, they were out of reach…For the time being. Gibbs’ trigger finger was decidedly itchy, but right now, he needed to play a long game.

“Boss…The team called in. They’ve got him and he’s en route for Bethesda.”

Gibbs was up and out of the bullpen before Tim had even finished.

“You find her and get her picked up,” he shouted back at his subordinate. “And when you do, you put her in interrogation and you call me. No one else gets to speak to her…especially not you, McGee. Understand?”

Jethro didn’t hear the Switch’s reply, but had to gather enough of his tattered trust in the man to believe he would do as he was told. He’d worry about what to do with Tim later.

Jethro rubbed at his chest, no longer kidding himself about what was going on. Tony was infected, he could feel it; could feel the heavy, thick congestion and the slightly lightheaded feeling you got from oxygen deprivation. Gibbs knew that feeling from chokeholds, chest wounds and the way the rushing wind pulled the air from your lungs as you threw yourself from a plane at 13,000 feet.

The ten miles or so from the Navy Yard to Bethesda seemed like a marathon to Gibbs, but he skidded to a halt at the front entrance only eight minutes later, the sound of blaring horns echoing in his ears.

He barrelled through the double doors, his ID already in his hand and was quickly directed to the isolation unit. To his surprise he was met at the sealed airlock by Nicola Waverley, but his attention was so riveted on the blue lit box in the centre of the room, that he didn’t even acknowledge that he’d seen her.

In the row of ten beds, two were occupied. In one lay a tall, muscled figure – the Marine, Jethro surmised. Which meant that the other…

Oh, god the other body was Tony, surrounded by flashing lights and beeping machinery that the other patient didn’t have. His face was covered by an oxygen mask and several IV’s snaked into his exposed arms. Jethro wanted to go in and cover his long red scars, knowing Tony would be upset that they were visible.

He moved to enter the room, only to have his way blocked by a large and imposing doctor wearing a white coat and a facemask.

Dom, Gibbs thought automatically.

“Agent Gibbs, you can’t go in there. Tony is highly contagious. We’re still waiting on the final blood test results from the CDC, but the symptoms he is showing are classic for pneumonic plague. Corporal Mabbert is not showing any symptoms, and the fact that he had a cold before being exposed may just have saved him.

“The team has backtracked Tony’s path through the city, and it seems there were two people who got close enough to him to be exposed. We have them isolated, but they, like the Corporal are not showing any symptoms, so I think we might have got lucky.”

Gibbs turned on him, his face dark with anger as he pointed at the fragile figure. “Lucky? You call that lucky?”

His throat was clogged with emotion as his voice trembled. “What are his chances?”

The doctor shook his head, and then shrugged helplessly. “This is way more virulent than the original, old world strain. It’s been engineered to be devastating. We’re treating him with broad-spectrum antibiotics, and he’s young and in good health. So unless the CDC can isolate what’s been done to the virus then all we can do is hope for the best.”

The Dom wanted to punch the man for his lack of hope. Jethro’s fear and anger at the injustice done to Tony and of his own part in it exploded in his chest and he launched his fist at the glass wall. But the pain that radiated up his arm only served to remind him how complicit he was in the chain of events that had put Tony in that eerie blue lit box.

“Jethro, stop that! Come and sit down. Talk to me.”

Nicola was gripping his arm, and as it had all those years ago her voice and calm demeanour pulled him back from the abyss.

“This is my fault, Nic,” he whispered. “I drove him out of the San, with my lies. Bryan was right.”

Nicola squeezed his arm and directed him to a row of chairs just outside the entrance to the unit. He resisted, not wanting to be out of sight of Tony, but her pull was insistent. Eventually he complied, once he realised that if they sat opposite the doors, he could still see the dirty blonde head lying motionless on the pristine pillow.

“I was informed what had happened by the staff on duty at the San. Somehow, through one of his nursing colleagues maybe, Bryan found out Tony was being brought here. Ducky called me and I came right away. He’s worried about you, Gibbs.”

Jethro just stared at the still figure opposite, the clenching of his jaw the only tell that he was listening.

“Why didn’t you come to me, Jethro? You know I would have listened, understood.”

“You couldn’t understand, Nic. He’s…my Soulmate. I think we’ve already started a bond and we’ve had nearly no physical contact – at least not sexual. I wouldn’t do that…”

“I know, I trust you.”

“Well you shouldn’t,” Gibbs spat fiercely. “I fucked up so badly and now he’s sick and I can feel it. You don’t know what that’s like, Niccy.”

Nicola took hold of his chin and turned his head so she was looking straightinto his eyes.

“Now you pay attention to me, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Are you listening?

Her gaze was so penetrating and insightful that he wanted to turn away, but she had him trapped and swallowing hard, he gave her a little nod.

Her voice dropped to a low murmur and it was only when he parsed what she was saying that he understood why.

“Simeon and I are Soulmates.”

Jethro’s mouth dropped open in shock – that was the last thing he expected her to say. “Why have you never told me this? Did you know that was what was happening to me and Tony.”

Nicola sighed. “I wanted to tell you; wanted to clue you in, but once again in our fucked up world, Simeon and I are not able to be open about it like our Dynamic friends and colleagues. You know the right-wing bible bashers are always preaching how Life and Soul Bonds are a gift from God? Well they also put out there that they are given only to the most spiritual of Dynamic couples, because they follow the way of God with piety and honour.”

Gibbs couldn’t help snorting, the whole idea was so ludicrous – he was the least spiritual person on the planet and his faith in God had been flushed the day he’d scattered his girl’s ashes across the sea.

“We are working so hard to get Non and Mono people the rights they deserve, but if any of us – and Sim and I aren’t the only bonded who are not Dynamic – then you know those sanctimonious bastards will say we are not truly non-Dynamic, that we just need to be brought back to the path of righteousness. And then everything we’ve fought for would be brought into question. I thought I had a little longer to work out how to talk to you about it, but as usual you did your Gibbs-in-a-china-shop impersonation and it was too late.”

Jethro opened his mouth to let her know she was right not to trust him. He needed to work hard to gain back the trust of many of the people he cared most about, not least the man in isolation just a few feet away.

“Nic…”

The vibration of his cell stopped him mid word.

“Gibbs!”

“Boss, Fielding just used her phone. Balboa’s team has gone out to pick her up.”

“I’m on my way – don’t forget, she’s mine.”

Gibbs snapped his phone closed before McGee could reply. He stood but found his gaze frozen to the isolation unit, where several nurses were moving quietly around Tony’s still form.

“Nic, are you…will you…?”

“I’m staying right here, Jethro. Bryan and Ducky are on their way…” She shrugged at Gibbs’ worried frown.

“You know how stubborn Donald is. It’s better for him that we all give in and let him come here, than subject him to the stress of arguing our case. Bryan won’t let him do too much. Also, Simeon said to tell you that if there’s anything he can do from a legal standpoint for Tony, then to let him know. He has all kinds of contacts both in and out of our sexual and political circle.”

Jethro pulled her into his arms and hugged her tight. “I don’t deserve…”

“Yes you do. Now go, do your job. I’ll keep him safe until you get back.”

*****

NCIS Interrogation Room #3 – 10.00

Siobhan’s gaze flicked nervously around the grey windowless room; her unusually unkempt appearance reflected back by the mirror. She was dressed in soft grey pyjamas, her feet pushed into black leather flats and there was not one scrap of makeup on her pale pinched face. Her mane of red hair was scraped into a tight high ponytail. She’d been sitting in the room for what felt like days, but it had probably only been an hour at most.

For the first time in her life, she was scared. For a woman who liked to control everything, even topping from the bottom in her sexual encounters, this was the closest to hell she could imagine. She had no idea why she was being held in NCIS, she wasn’t in the Navy after all. She surmised it was probably to do with the letter, but there was nothing about her involvement that would mean she should be arrested.

She’d thought she was safe in the motel. It was a few minutes from the airport, as she had been sure Kobo would send her a plane ticket, if not his own plane, as soon as he received her email. Instead, as she was waiting for pizza to be delivered, armed men had crashed through the door and placed her in handcuffs.

The door opened and Gibbs strode in, a blue file folder clutched in his hands and his posture as stiff and dominating as always. It turned Siobhan’s spine to Jell-O and she gave a little shiver of reaction.

But it was also good to see him for other reasons. She was his sister in law and although he had rebuffed her often, she still believed he was interested in her. She was positive that all she had to do was turn the charm up to 11 and he would be falling over himself to help her.

“Jethro,” she purred. “Thank god. Those thugs who came to collect me wouldn’t tell me what this was all about…”

“Shut up, Ms Fielding and read this.”

The paper he slid over the table to her was a waiver forgoing her rights to a lawyer. She accepted the pen easily and signed with a flourish, not even bothering to read it. If Jethro was here she wouldn’t need a lawyer.

“Siobhan Bernadette Mary Fielding, you are being held on suspicion of committing an act of bio-terrorism.”

“WHAT! I…What?”

*****

“Siobhan Bernadette Mary Fielding You are being held on suspicion of committing an act of bio-terrorism.”

“WHAT! I…What?” The shock in her voice was not faked. ‘So, she didn’t know what was in the letter’, Gibbs mused. He sorted through the photos in the file and slid one over to her side of the table.

“Two days ago, you were involved in the passing of this sealed letter, via Marine Corporal Neil Mabbert, to Antonio Archangelo DiNozzo.”

Siobhan nodded, her eyes wide with shock. Gibbs gave a little internal chuckle. This wasn’t going to take long. She’d give up anyone and everyone. The woman had the survival instincts of a cockroach.

“B…But I didn’t know what was in it. I was told it was a letter, from his father.”

Gibbs stared at her, unmoving, waiting for her to decide to throw Ibu under a bus.

It took seconds.

“I got an email from Kobo Ibu – he’s the Financial Director of Okinawa Bio-Chem…”

She ground to a halt and Jethro saw the exact moment when she realised she’d been played by the Japanese Dom. Her violet eyes turned flinty grey and her normally pretty mouth tightened into a thin line.

“If I tell you everything I know can you get me off this ridiculous charge?”

“Depends what you’ve got for me. Terrorists get to spend time at Gitmo even before they go to trial and that can take a long time.

“Gibbs, you’ve gotta get me a deal…You’ve gotta see orange would clash with my hair…”

*****

Downtown Washington DC – 1230

The doors to the factory unit were locked with a keypad and iris-recognition combination that was familiar to Gibbs from the evidence lockers at NCIS. Not wanting to forewarn the occupants, the team ducked low around the perimeter of the building and found the delivery bay door that Fielding had reported. The small access door yielded immediately to the combined efforts of Gibbs’ foot and Balboa’s shoulder and they were inside.

There were screams and cries of alarm from the workers when faced with several men in bulletproof vests brandishing guns, but they were soon herded out of the way by agents and gave no fight.

Gibbs was way ahead of the other team, McGee close behind, as he pushed through several doors to get to the office area. Siobhan described the route to the room occupied by Ando and the safe.

Tim had dug up a bio for the Japanese man and they had managed to identify him as an expert in genetic manipulation, who had originally been based in Hong Kong and then had been discredited when his lack of concern for specimen control had led to the first SARs outbreak.

The two men bracketed the door, Gibbs nodding to McGee to depress the handle. In a flurry of movement, they were inside, only to be met by not just the elderly Ando but a large heavy armed bodyguard, carrying what Gibbs recognised as a Howa Assault Rifle.

The man made to flick off the safety but Gibbs was already in motion. In two steps Gibbs had the rifle snatched from his hands and the butt making contact with the point of the bodyguard’s chin and he dropped to the floor like a felled tree.

Jethro nodded at McGee, who trained his pistol on the semi-conscious man, while Gibbs flipped the rifle around and pointed it at the biologist, who crouched pale-faced and shaking behind the desk.

“Itsuki Ando. You are going to tell me everything you know about the Y.Pestis you engineered and put in that letter, and also what treatment will affect the cure.”

“I…I can tell you about the virus, of course, but there is no treatment. There was no need for it.”

Jethro didn’t think he had ever felt more murderous, but he swallowed down the urge to just shoot the fucker in the head. He needed anything this bastard could tell him, anything that might save Tony.

“What is the mortality rate?”

The Japanese man gave a little shrug. “We do not know, this is a completely new strain, but when the disease was originally rife…85, 90%, maybe. But…”

The bottom fell out of Gibbs gut as the numbers slammed into his brain and his hearing seemed to zone in and out. A 10% chance of survival. He had been sure if they could just find this guy he would have all the answers they needed to save Tony. Now it seemed he just had dire statistics to offer. He firmed up his grip on the rifle trigger as his hand began to shake.

“…suicide gene. It survives for 27 hours.”

“What? What does that mean?”

Did he mean those who contracted it only survived that long? Tony was coming very close to that deadline.

“He means the virus burns itself out after 27 hours,” McGee piped up from his position across the room. “Which means DiNozzo won’t be infectious in about 30 minutes.”

*****

Bethedsa Isolation Unit – 1340

Ducky watched with growing anxiety as Bryan spent time at Tony’s bedside. The young sub had woken for a few minutes just after they had arrived at the hospital and Bryan had insisted on going in to be with him. He was so intent, so passionate, that his Dom couldn’t deny him.

“Please, sir. He’s been alone for so long, I’m his only friend and now Gibbs has rejected him…”

“You promise me, my sweet boy, that you’ll take every precaution.”

“I promise. I’m not planning on leaving you. Anyway, we have a wedding to plan.”

Ducky was shocked at how much he wanted to marry Bryan. He’d always denied it before, citing their age gap, but what Tony had said in his letter had resonated with the older man. Giving his sub even a few years of happiness was better than withdrawing it from him completely, and being married would allow him to make better legal provision for when the inevitable end finally came.

Movement in the isolation unit drew his attention, and he watched as Tony spasmed with coughing, doubling his body over. Bryan was dabbing at the other subs mouth, wiping away the blood Ducky knew he’d been hacking up for a while now.

Dr Pitt spoke to his sub and with one look back at Tony, Bryan reluctantly made his way through the airlock, pulling his mask off his face.

He walked straight into his Doms arms, sobbing with frustration and sorrow.

“You were brave to stay in there, my beautiful boy.”

“He’s dying, Ducky…”

“Aww the Hell he is!”

Ducky jerked, startled at the sound of Jethro’s growl. He watched with growing horror as the Dom slammed his hand on the button for the air lock door and strode into the isolation unit. Ducky’s fears grew as he realised the other man had gone inside without wearing any protection at all.

‘Gibbs, oh my dear boy what are you doing’.

*****

Gibbs strode past the sobbing form of Bryan Carver and headed for his Soulmate. The broad frame of the doctor…Dr Pitt, Jethro remembered…blocked his way and he growled in frustration.

“Who are you…You can’t come in here…”

“I’m his…The bug has a suicide gene. He stopped being infectious thirty minutes ago.”

He pushed past and he was finally where he wanted to be, at Tony’s side. The young man was taking up less than half of the twin bed and Gibbs quickly swung up to lie next to him, pressing his body close to the younger man’s side. The warm honey sweet feeling that had been missing from his body since he’d left Tony so very many hours ago, came rushing back flowing sweetly between them.

An alarm began blaring on one of the machines around the head of the bed and the doctor and a nurse rushed to their side.

“That’s the Kaeira alarm. You’re Life Bonded – why the hell didn’t you tell me?”

Gibbs shook his head, his chest felt clogged and his breathing was getting more and more depressed. There were black spots in front of his eyes, but he fought through the compulsion to let it overtake him and slid his hands through Tony’s hair.

“Tony, listen to me.

Tony’s eyes slowly slid open, their vibrant green dulled by sickness. “Gibbs? Oh God, is that really you, Gibbs.”

Jethro could have cried at the disbelief in Tony’s voice. He’d put that there.

“It’s me. Are you listening?”

Tony nodded his head, his breathing painful to listen to.

“I’m listening… I…I’m listening, Gibbs.”

“You will not die, you got that…I said you will not die.”

Tony’s breathing got weaker, his eyes rolling up into his head.

“Please Tony, I know you have no reason to trust me. I was wrong, so very wrong. Please believe me…You’re going to keep breathing, because I’m not going to let you stop. I’ll be right here, taking every breath with you.”

“You’ll stay with me? You promise?”

“On my life, Tony. I promise.”

*****

“If they’re not Life Bonded then will someone tell me what the hell is going on?”

Nicola joined Ducky and Bryan at the airlock door. “We are almost certain they have a spontaneous Soul Bond. It’s just fledgling at the moment; there’s been no sexual bonding.”

Dr Pitt looked over at her with a mix of disbelief and amazement. “Then there is no way he should be able to do that.”

Bryan pressed a shaking hand over his Doms. “What is he doing?”

Ducky smiled gently. “He’s sharing the disease. Taking on the symptoms and easing the strain on Tony’s body.”

Dr Pitt looked concerned. “If the bond is unfinished then it could be very dangerous for Agent Gibbs. He will have very little control and it’s very unlikely he will be able to hold on long enough for Tony’s body to recoup.”

“Oh I can guarantee Jethro will hold on as long as is necessary. Failure will not be an option.”

All three looked over at the couple, who were wound tightly around each other. The nurses had slipped a nasal cannula under Gibbs nose, and two new IV lines snaked from bags of saline and antibiotic infusions into the back of his hand. Gibbs’ breathing was laboured, but his mouth was moving as he whispered constantly into Tony’s ear.

Nicola caught a worried expression flit across Bryan’s face and she nudged him questioningly.

“What if he hurts him again? Tony doesn’t deserve…” The sub swallowed hard against the emotion of seeing another friend near to death.

“I don’t think that’s going to be an issue at all, Bryan. It was all about fear…But we’ll be here to make sure Gibbs doesn’t get scared again.

*****

Okinawa Bio-Chem Washington DC Facility – 1530

“Ibu-sama, this is Fumiko. I’ve just come from the Washington DC facility.”

“You have a report for me?”

“Yes, sir. The facility was raided by a Federal Agency earlier today. They disabled our bodyguard and took him and Ando-san into custody. The rest of them were questioned and samples taken from the labs.”

Baka! He was supposed to be shutting down, I left orders.”

“Yes, sir, but the staff said he wanted to finish the experiment so as not to lose the data.

“Find out where he is being held, and the charges and report back to me.”

“Yes, sir.”

 “What about Ms Fielding. I have been waiting for a reply to my messages but have received nothing.”

“The operative tailing her reports she was arrested by agents early this morning…before the raid on the facility.”

That yariman. I should have trusted my sister when she said the bitch was not to be trusted. Very well, I will have further orders for you regarding Ms Fielding soon. She will be made to understand that no one plays Kobo Ibu and gets away with it.”

 

Baka – Fool

Yariman – Slut

*****

Bethesda – A Week Later.

The corridor of the isolation wing was quiet and deserted. Bryan walked slowly towards the room of his new best friend, his thoughts spinning over the last few days.

There had been some tough times; hours of nail biting tension where it wasn’t certain whether one or both of the men in the isolation ward would survive. But one of the Soul Bonded pair would dig in, both physically and emotionally and pull the other out of the maw of death. Then everyone would rest a little easier; at least until the next time. As the days passed, the jarring sound of alarms got less and less frequent and just the day before, Tony and Gibbs had been designated as no longer critical.

Bryan had struggled with his feelings for days. The total trust he’d always had in Gibbs, honed in the pain filled days of his own struggle back to physical and emotional health, had taken a big hit. It had taken sessions with Dr Waverley and long talks with his Dom for him to accept that while Gibbs had made mistakes in his treatment of Tony, he had no malicious intent. Bryan had gradually come to accept that his own hero-worship of Gibbs hadn’t allowed him to see his doctor as just a man, with all the inherent failings – especially given the horrors he had seen, both as a soldier and in the tragedy of his own personal life.

The other thing that had eased his mind was the bright, adoring smile that Tony wore whenever the new reality of his life became apparent. Only yesterday, Dr Pitt had told Jethro and Tony they’d be discharged from the hospital in the next two days.

“That’s great news, Doc.”

“You can thank the wonders of your Soul Bond, Gibbs. With an infection so severe and virulent Tony should have been in my clutches for a lot longer, but the fact that there were two bodies sharing the disease has made for a much quicker recovery, and less damage to Tony’s lungs too. He’ll need some gentle PT to start with and then exercise such as swimming would be a really good idea, although not for a few weeks.

Tony looked pensive. “Do I…Am I going back to the San?”

Jethro gave him a gentle smile and stroked a finger down his cheek. “You’ll be coming home with me, love. I don’t want to be separated from you anymore. As long as that’s what you want too?”

Tony’s eyes shone as he nodded. “I’d like to go to your home.”

“Our home now, Tony.”

“What I’d prefer is for you both to go somewhere dry and warm – but not too hot, maybe a mountainous region where the air is clear of pollutants.”

Gibbs grinned, “That’s quite a shopping list, Brad. I’ll have to think about where we can go. But I have some investigative work to do first.”

Bryan tapped on the door of their room. The men were feeling their way gently around their bond. While he was sure Gibbs wouldn’t risk doing anything too strenuous, as even a kiss could leave Tony breathless and uncomfortable, he didn’t want to walk in on anything too intimate.

He needn’t have bothered as only Gibbs was sitting at the desk, engrossed in what looked like reports.

“Hey, Bryan. I wasn’t sure you’d be able to get away today.” Gibbs looked more rested and relaxed than the sub had ever seen him.

“Kate and Abby are with Ducky, filling him in on all the gossip from NCIS, so he’s in safe hands. I thought I’d come over and see what I can do to get things ready for you at the house. Also I think Tony’ll need some clothes and I wanted to make sure I have the right measurements.”

With a flourish, a tape measure unrolled from his hand, like some kind of magician. “Where is he anyway?”

Gibbs grinned. “He’s just been whisked off by the Brad Pitt and the bronchial specialism nurse for a peak-flow reading and chest X ray. Abby and Kate have already got everything in hand at the house. They’ve stocked the cupboards and made sure everywhere is clean and aired. As for clothes, just make sure you get him one of those green sweaters again. The one you gave him was unrecoverable, but I loved him in that…and those tight black jeans.”

Bryan smirked at the obvious lust in Jethro’s eyes. The older man turned in his seat to face the nurse.

“I just wanted to say…thanks. Thanks for caring about him so much, and thanks for sticking a foot up my ass when I needed it.”

Carver looked down at the floor, feeling a little overwhelmed. “I feel like I should apologise. My behaviour was really…inappropriate. I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that. My Master was not happy with me – not for what was said, but for how I said it.”

“It needed saying, and I have to admit you got me to listen. I was so afraid, Bryan and I broke so many of my own rules that day…I nearly lost the other half of my soul doing it. You saved me and you saved Tony, and I’m really grateful. I hope your punishment wasn’t too severe.”

The other man bit his bottom lip and then gazed up at Jethro through his lashes. The look was pure mischief and it made Gibbs burst out laughing.

“You and your Dom are very lucky to have one another – you fit together well.” Jethro paused for a moment. “He’s asked me to stand with him at your wedding and fasten his belt. I want to check you’re happy for me to be involved before I say yes.”

This time he let his smile show his happiness. “You’re his best friend, Gibbs and I wouldn’t have it any other way. One of the reasons I’m here, actually, is to ask your permission for Tony to stand with me.”

Gibbs shrugged. “Tony isn’t my collared sub, Bryan. I can’t make those decisions for him. We are Soul Bonded, yes, but I haven’t asked Tony for a commitment like that, because I’m not sure he’s ready after everything he’s been through.”

“With respect, Gibbs, I disagree. Everything Tony has said to me about you, and everything I’ve observed, tells me he’s desperate for the safety and security that a collar would give him. Your bond is for life we both know that. But I think Tony would like a physical representation of the spiritual ties between you.”

“When did you get to be so fucking smart, Carver?”

“This really great doctor taught me.”

And right there Bryan felt the pieces of his broken trust slot back into place. It was true. Gibbs had given him his life back and just because the man had made a few mistakes, Bryan had written him off. He’d let his own trust issues cloud his judgement and Jethro didn’t deserve that.

“I was going to ask you a favour, actually.” Gibbs looked down at his hands and tapped his fingers together. Bryan wasn’t used to seeing Gibbs like this, hesitant and unsure.

“If I can help and it’s OK with my Dom, then of course.”

“When Tony and I are released tomorrow, I’m going to want a day or two to get him settled at my house and then I’ll need to get back to work.”

“Gibbs, you’ve been ill too, you need to take it easy.”

“The man who did this to Tony, who put those scars on his arms and nearly killed him with a medieval plague, is still out there sitting pretty. I need to find a way to get justice for Tony.”

Bryan clenched his jaw against the anger he felt. “I still have skills, Gibbs. If you need…”

Jethro shook his head firmly. “No, no way. I would never ask something like that of you.”

“You either, Gibbs. Don’t you go planning to take things into your own hands. Tony needs you and if you ended up behind bars or worse…well I can’t imagine what would happen to him.”

“I know…I’m just…so frustrated.”

“Have investigations been undertaken since you’ve been in the hospital?”

“Yeah, and that’s why I need the favour. I want to go into the office, trawl through everything that McGee and Kate have dug up and see if I can find any links, something they’ve missed…just a way in. I can put an agent on the house, but I think Tony needs some company, someone he knows and trusts.”

“Well he probably won’t be fit for shopping trips yet, but there is always the internet…”

Gibbs blew out a huge snort of laughter. “Yeah alright, Carver, as long as you don’t bankrupt me.”

The door opened to admit Brad, wheeling a smiling Tony into the room.

“Peak-Flo was up 15%,” the sub reported proudly, waving brightly when he noticed his friend was in the room.

“Yeah, he now officially has the readings of a 75-year-old woman,” Brad commented wryly as he parked the chair and left the room.

“Well it’s better than the ‘Even a corpse has more breath than you, Tony’ that I got from her two days ago.” Tony quipped at his retreating back.

Bryan grinned at Tony’s put upon expression. “Hey, way to work the pout, DiNozzo,” he teased.

“Do you like it,” Tony asked, turning it on his friend for assessment. “I’ve been practising on Jethro. But it doesn’t seem to have the right effect on him. He just kisses me.”

Gibbs gave a demonstration; a sweet almost chaste kiss, that left Tony a little breathless, but with pink cheeks and sparkling eyes. Bryan’s heart hurt a little to see something so small give the other man such pleasure. It made him all the more resolved to appreciate every moment with his own Dom and not take anything for granted.

“Gibbs and I were just discussing how me and you should do some shopping for home comforts on the internet when we get you outta here. I’m going to come and teach you how to spend all his money.”

Bryan smirked as Gibbs’ glare turned on him, but was soon tempered by the look of full on adoration from Tony.

“Really?”

Jethro’s expression softened. “It’s gonna be your house too, Tony.”

The tears that filled Tony’s eyes were a surprise, and Bryan wanted to hug the other man, but it wasn’t for him to do. He gestured towards Tony with his eyes and then at Gibbs, who looked a little spooked. But Bryan knew it was important that Tony realised his place in Jethro’s life as soon as possible.

“I’ll be back tomorrow to collect you both, and I’ll use my judgement on the measurements,” Bryan said breezily, not wanting to give Gibbs any opportunity to weasel out of the conversation they both know he needed to have with Tony. With a jaunty salute to a glowering Gibbs and a little wave to Tony, he was quickly out of the door, and out of the way.

*****

“That was weird.” Tony frowned as he watched Bryan leave.

Gibbs wanted to kill the male nurse, slowly and with a great deal of pain. He wasn’t ready…

Then he looked at Tony and realised that everything Bryan had said was true. Tony needed to know where he stood. He’d had his life organised for him right down to the finest detail. The psychologist in Gibbs said he needed to be given space, autonomy, freedom to make choices about his life. But the Dom in Gibbs saw a sub who craved safety; who was skin hungry and starved for real affection.

Gibbs knew he was a good Dom, and he was sure their Dynamics would mesh perfectly. After all, if you believed all the spiritual hippy-shit about Soul Bonds, then they were literally made for each other.

Gibbs snorted internally.

He needed to be honest with himself as much as with Tony. The spiritual level of their bond was actually the most highly developed part right then. It was the part that had allowed Gibbs to take the infection from Tony’s lungs into his own body, and share his physical resources to pull Tony back from the brink of death.

They’d done it – together, the way they should, would face every challenge in the future. But for it to work, Gibbs had to be the one to take the first step. Tony didn’t have the skills or the experience and Jethro needed to be his Dom in this as well as his lover. His role as his doctor was over now – with Tony’s permission he was going to ask Nicola to take over his treatment. There was still so much for Tony to work through, and if they were going to be living together, then the sub would need someone objective outside their relationship to help him work through things. Jethro’s anger was too vivid to allow him to be objective.

Instead Gibbs would be there after every session to soothe and heal with love and care.

Jethro shook himself from his reverie to see Tony observing him, puzzled and a little anxious. The older man gave him a warm smile and was glad to see Tony relax.

“He reminded me that there were things I shouldn’t wait to say,” Jethro began. “And decisions we need to make together.”

Tony nodded, still a little unsure.

“You are my Soulmate, nothing can change that. We will live and die together…I know Nicola explained that to you when she came to visit yesterday.”

“I think I already knew most of it. Obaasan was very thorough in her stories. It was as if she knew I’d meet you one day.” Tony gave Jethro a searching look. “Are you still unsure…?”

“No, no, love, not at all.” Gibbs reassured. “Am I sure, yes. Am I happy you’re my Souls Mate – Hell yes. Am I scared, you bet your fucking life I am. I have some stories to tell you about my wife and child and their deaths, and about my life since then, but those are for later. What I want to do right now is ask you what you want.”

Tony looked away and swallowed hard. “I don’t know how to explain, Gibbs.”

Gibbs went over to Tony and helped him out of the wheelchair. Moving slowly, they walked to the bed and once he had Tony settled on his side, propped up on pillows to stop him coughing, Jethro joined him, bringing them face to face. He lay for a few moments, just taking in the welcome sight of the man he loved. Tony’s face was still pale, dark smudges under his eyes telling of his exhaustion. But he no longer looked a step away from death and for that, Jethro was thanking every deity known to man.

“I love you, Tony.”

It was the first time he’d said it when they were well and conscious. His reward was the most incandescent smile he’d ever seen. Tony’s eyes were vibrant and the depth of his love shone in them like a beacon.

“I love you, too.”

Gibbs couldn’t help but kiss him, to try to show him the depth of his passion. They reached the limits of Tony’s lungs quickly, but the dilation of his pupils and his heated gaze were enough to tell Jethro that his message had been eagerly received.

“I want to be your Dom, Tony. I know you have no reason to trust anyone; you’ve been treated so badly, by so many people, including me.

“I still have to win back the trust you gave me, but I promise I will love you, care for you, and keep you safe. Our bond won’t let us lie to one another and I hope you can believe my promise to you. I will always love you and never leave you. I will challenge you, but will never harm you. I will respect your submission and treat it as the gift it will truly be. I will take whatever you willingly give to me and in turn give you all that I am. In return, I require that you hold yourself for me alone and that you accept my right as your Dom to love you, care for you, discipline you, and own you, body, mind, spirit, and soul.”

Tony seemed unable to speak. He swallowed hard and licked dry trembling lips.

“Is that something you want, to wear my collar; to accept me as your Dom and offer me your freely given submission?”

A trembling fingertip smoothed the arch of Gibbs eyebrow, then along his cheekbone and over his nose, to finally trace the bow of his lips. Jethro could hardly breathe. For such a gentle touch, it was searing in its intensity. He could feel the muscles in his stomach jumping as every nerve ending seemed to come alive with Tony’s touch. If he could do this to him with something so simple, then their Dynamic mesh would be explosive.

“If…if I …want…can… it’s…” Tony’s fingers left Gibbs face and fluttered over his own neck, not quite touching the mark Ibu had place there, as he tried to articulate his wishes. Gibbs clasped the trembling hand and held it to his heart.

“Just ask me, sweetheart. You can ask me anything.”

Tony’s expression was so hopeful, Gibbs could hardly bear to look at him, it broke his heart so much.

“I want that, Gibbs, I want it more than anything, but can we get rid of that…” Once again, his hand moved to his neck. “I don’t want your collar to touch his mark. I want to be fresh…new…” His voice dropped to a whisper, “…not his Ama anymore.”

“You were never Ama. You were never truly his. You are Antonio Archangelo DiNozzo, you are my Soul Mate and my love. You. Are. Mine.” Gibbs grated out, fiercely, punctuating each statement with hot dominating kisses. Tony melted into them so beautifully that Gibbs shook with the effort not to press him back against the bed and take him, mark him, make him his.

Tony began to pull away and for a moment, Jethro feared he’d gone too far too soon. He almost grabbed for Tony as the man slid off the mattress and made his way around the bed. But Tony’s ‘feel’ through their bond, was not one of fear or upset, but one of determination. Gibbs sat up and swung around to sit on the side of the bed as he followed Tony’s progress, until the sub stood in front of him

Jethro thought his heart would stop as Tony moved gracefully to his knees, perfection in every angle his body made. His arms moved behind his back, as before, but this time Tony’s eyes remained fixed to Jethro, the heat and intensity of his gaze taking Gibbs’ breath away.

“I am Antonio Archangelo DiNozzo. You are my Souls Mate and my chosen Dom. I will accept your collar and offer you my freely given submission.”

*****

The bullpen was quiet, the lights low with only the pale glow of Tim’s monitor lighting his face as he watched the NCIS screensaver bounce across the screen. He jiggled the mouse to wake up the monitor again, no idea how long he’d been lost in his thoughts.

He should have gone home hours earlier, but he’d been pouring over all the information he’d gleaned about Ibu and DiNozzo Holdings, hoping to find some link…some ‘in’, that would give him a starting point. He’d managed to uncover some recent financials that seemed to point towards some kind of coalition with US companies, but he kept coming up empty to any links with DiNozzo’s company, or even more frustratingly, the case as a whole.

He knew the CI/CT team were involved in their own investigation and would travel the same routes he did. He also knew that the FBI had been warned off and so he had to be careful where he dug. He was in enough trouble without risking IA or even the CIA crawling up his ass.

However, when Tom Morrow had come over to his desk earlier that day and asked him if he was busy, McGee had tried not to look disappointed. He wanted space to investigate, even if he was turning up nothing. Still, if the Director wanted him to look into something then he had no option to refuse. He wasn’t SSA Gibbs, who seemed to be able to defy everyone, even SecNav.

Surprisingly, the Director hadn’t told him to take another case. He had ordered Tim to use any resources necessary to continue investigating any open cases while Gibbs was in the hospital.

But then, without taking his gaze from McGee’s face, he tapped three times on the file containing the intel Tim had gathered on Ibu and Okinawa Bio-Chem.

Now Tim might be green, and he was often not the most perceptive person (Siobhan Fielding being a case in point), but he got the message loud and clear. The Director couldn’t openly order him to keep investigating, but he’d made his wishes known.

McGee also wasn’t an idiot, although Gibbs liked to call him one – which Tim couldn’t blame him for the last time. His own place at NCIS was in jeopardy and he had no one to blame but himself. He was fortunate that Gibbs hadn’t had chance to report his misdemeanour before he was taken to the hospital.

Abby had made it very clear that his behaviour had been completely unacceptable and apart from work related issues, she hadn’t spoken to him since. Kate had been talking to the Goth sub and had been given the low down on what he had done. She’d just shaken her head and given him a spiteful little smile. The two subs couldn’t be more different. Abby was excitable; delightful when happy and mean as a bear when roused. Kate just spent her time trying to get one over on her colleagues, her own insecurities making her difficult to work with.

Tim wished Gibbs was there to give him a smack on the head. He respected his Boss so much, was in awe of his abilities as an investigator and interrogator, and of his powerful presence as a Dom. The Dominant side of Tim was jealous of Gibbs’ seemingly effortless wielding of his big-dick-swinging persona, while his needy subby side just wanted to kneel at his feet and offer to suck it. He hated that he’d let the man down and Tim had no doubt dropped lower than a roach in his estimation.

The more he found out about Tony DiNozzo, the more he regretted his part in the continued abuse the Ibu family had piled on the young sub. He really did want to get justice for the man by whatever means.

As far as his own place at NCIS was concerned, he couldn’t help thinking that maybe…maybe…if he could find a lead to give the investigation leverage, then perhaps the worst that would happen would be a visit to the discipline room. If not, then he could be looking at jail time. His only consolation was whatever happened to him, Ms Fielding would be incarcerated after being publicly punished by a Federal Discipline Master.

He was about to push any thoughts of that manipulative bitch from his head, when he realised she was one of the resources Director Morrow had exhorted him to use. As an investment broker, she would undoubtedly have skills and knowledge that because of the covert nature of his investigations Tim didn’t have access to.

She was still being held at the Navy Yard, as no one seemed to know what to do with her. Tim secretly thought no one dared move her until Gibbs had given the OK.

He checked the clock on his monitor. 07.30. ‘Fuck, I’ve been here all night’, he thought, then sighed in resignation. ‘Well won’t be the last time’.

With a sigh, he sent the financials to the printer and phoned down to the brig for Siobhan to be sent up to Interrogation 3. With any luck, she wouldn’t have had her breakfast yet. Gibbs always said a hungry, thirsty suspect was an easier mark. He’d have to be careful, he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and he already knew she was manipulative and greedy. Still he felt hopeful he might be able to get something useful from her.

*****

“Why Timothy McGee, what a surprise. Does the organ grinder know the monkey is playing in his sandbox? Where is Gibbs anyway?”

Tim channelled the Boss and simply sat silently as he pushed one of the financial reports across the table.

“Where did you get these? I hope you had a warrant to go snooping around in my floor safe.” She sighed heavily. “Not that it matters I suppose. Things couldn’t get much worse.

He felt a surge of pride that his triumph didn’t show on his face. The first 30 seconds and he already had something new. He kept his breathing slow and pushed the second sheet over to Siobhan.

“I never got to find out why the DiNozzo money had been left off this proposal. It would make the whole deal really difficult to sell.” Siobhan muttered, almost to herself as she ran a slightly chipped nail down the report.

She looked up and started a little, as if she’d just remembered McGee was sitting there. Her eyes narrowed and she stared at him for a moment. Tim firmed his spine and waited – every Gibbs interrogation he’d watched rolling through his mind, as he wondered where to go next.

She obviously decided he wasn’t trying to trick her because she began to talk freely and somewhat enthusiastically.

“There was supposed to be a big influx of DiNozzo money in the first proposal I saw; nearly $150,000,000. That’s a lot of zero’s and none of the other players on this list could hope to raise that kind of money, without liquidating assets that they couldn’t access without board approval.”

“So what’s your take on why it was withdrawn?” Tim could feel his gut twist. This could be a big mistake, but he needed to find out what she knew.

“Oh Timmy, Timmy. I know you have something more…aren’t you going to give me the teensiest clue?” She raised her eyebrow quizzically.

“I’m interested in knowing what you think, Siobhan. You’ve got much more skill in this area than I have. I’m just an NCIS Agent. This kind of financial stuff is a little beyond me.”

He saw his blatant flattery hit home and sink in, with her smug, pleased expression. He wondered how he’d ever found someone so egotistical and self-involved the least bit interesting. It seemed her self-satisfaction was overriding her ability to play games, although Tim heard Gibbs voice in the back of his head telling him to watch her.

“Well it’s pretty obvious that baby DiNozzo was in Kobo’s way,” she sneered with hatred, “Which is why the bastard used me to pass him the letter. Although I don’t understand why he didn’t just have him shot or something. I mean it would have been much easier – cleaner in a way. Hire a professional and Bam!…problem solved.”

Her breath hitched and her eyes narrowed. “Unless…” A slow, snide smile split her face. “Oh yes, very clever, Timmy. The answer is no!”

McGee froze for a moment, not sure what his next move should be, but once again she had no patience for silence.

“No, I didn’t know DiNozzo Jr. was Kobo’s daddy’s sub.”

It was on the tip of McGee’s tongue to ask how she had come to that conclusion, but Siobhan was obviously enjoying the sound of her own voice and she pushed on.

“If Old Man DiNozzo was from the old country, then any inheritance his son gained on his death would be linked to a Trattenuto dalla famiglia clause in his will – literally ‘Retained by the family’.

“Those old families are very traditional and if the sole beneficiary is a sub then they consider them incapable of administering the family money. So the right to the inheritance is signed over to the Dom who collars them.”

Tim couldn’t hold on to his curiosity. “So what happens then. Surely once DiNozzo Snr. died the money moved to Ibu.”

Siobhan’s expression was full of her admiration for the system. “No, that’s just it, the capital is retained in the subs name. Only the interest that accrues is in the Doms purview. After all if the Dom dies then the sub is going to need money for his own support. There’s usually an executor named – probably the family law firm, who would invest the money and give the sub an allowance, until they are collared again, when the whole rigmarole starts again.”

She shrugged. “Any sensible man of Ibu’s age would have made sure that the rights to the sub – e.g. Tony Jr. were laid out in his own will, in order to keep the interest from the capital within his family’s portfolio.”

“But you can’t own a sub.”

“Not yet you can’t,” she muttered.

McGee felt a little sick. “What do you mean?”

She tapped her long red fingernails on the table and Tim felt a sick rush of arousal. He had worn the marks of those talons for almost a week.

“This…as I think you well know, Tim, represents a group of politicians, business men and independent International investors, all who want to see a Submissive Ownership Act. Once it is on the statute books in the US, then many other countries, especially those that are particularly traditional, like Japan for instance, will follow right along. So come on, McGee. Tell me. Am I right?”

He was just about to put the question back to her when the answer rushed into the front of his mind.

“Konosuke Ibu wanted to support the push for an Ownership Act so that he could sign over Tony to his son. That way when he died the capital would remain with his family and they could continue to draw the interest. But…”

Siobhan’s eyes were shining with amusement. “…Old man Ibu dies before that can happen. Kobo knows he’s going to lose the right to the interest on that capital and believe me, on a billion-dollar inheritance that’s a huge chunk of change.”

“So Kobo panics and thinks that if he gets rid of Tony he can keep it quiet. So he first tries to make it look like a John Doe suicide…”

“He what?” The woman looked decidedly ill. “You mean this wasn’t the first time he tried to kill that kid?”

Tim winced, but decided the damage was done and it was only minor. “And then when that doesn’t work he uses you to first find out where Tony is, and then kill him with a weaponized strain of the plague. Of course he hadn’t thought it through properly, because if you could find out where Tony was, then so could the family lawyers. They would have lost the capital anyway.”

Siobhan looked disgusted. “And I thought he was a clever operator. Instead, he was a pathetic, fucking idiot, who jumped at his own shadow. Now he’s got me locked up. If I didn’t know Jethro so well, I’d be looking at jail time.”

He smiled then, wide and slow. “Oh, you are looking at jail time, and quite a lot of it I would imagine, that is, after the Federal Discipline Master has taken his piece of you.”

She paled visibly, but kept a cocky expression. “Gibbs won’t let that happen – he’s my brother in law and he likes me…he really likes me.” She winked at him lasciviously.

Tim rose and then leaned across the table, in classic Gibbs style. “Ah but there’s something you don’t know, Madame Fielding. Tony DiNozzo Jr. and Gibbs…are Soul Bonded. You were part of a plot to kill his Soul Mate. I don’t think he’s going to be that enamoured of you now…do you?”

She choked out a little unbelieving cry as he moved to the door. He turned and smirked at her shocked expression as she pressed shaking hands to the table. He couldn’t help but get in a final dig.

“I’m sure the DiNozzo family lawyers will be interested to know he has a new Dom…I wonder what Gibbs will decide to do with the interest on a billion dollars?”

*****

Gibbs’ House – Three Days Later.

Gibbs house already felt like home. Tony was pottering in the kitchen, finding great pleasure in doing the most mundane of tasks – making a simple breakfast of toast and honey. Jethro had reassured him there was no shame in never having made a sandwich or a cup of coffee before, then walked him through the stages.

Now he took every opportunity to try out new things.

They’d been out of the hospital for three days and today Jethro was going back into the office at NCIS, albeit for only a few hours. Bryan and Ducky were coming over to ‘babysit’ and the idea left Tony feeling more than a little irritated, although he knew it was a sensible precaution.

Despite the fact that the flow of Kaeira between them had completely eradicated the Y. Pestis, he was still easily tired, and a little breathless. Still, he was itching to be allowed a little of the freedom that living with Gibbs promised.

They still hadn’t talked much about what form their life together would take; what Jethro expected from him both as his partner and his sub. Tony’s mind was a whirl of possibilities. In fact, there were so many that he found it all quite overwhelming.

In the short-term, Gibbs had sat him down and laid down a few ground rules. Until Jethro was sure Tony was safe from another attempt on his life, he wasn’t to go anywhere unaccompanied. He was not to answer the door or the phone, as they were trying to keep his whereabouts as secret as possible. Tony didn’t know what Gibbs and his team could to do about Kobo Ibu, but he trusted that his Dom would be looking carefully into every avenue of investigation. There wasn’t much else Tony could offer in the way of information. He’d spent very little time in Kobo’s company, as Konosuke had kept Tony isolated even from his own family.

The safety Tony felt knowing Gibbs was working to protect him, was like a thick blanket; warm and all encompassing, but he didn’t feel smothered.

He’d quickly decided to stop worrying about whether his desires, and the ways in which his Dynamic manifested, were a product of the training he received under Ibu’s uncompromising hand. At Jethro’s request, and following on from their first session on his Dynamic, Tony had started to tease out the threads for himself, focussing on recognising his preferences; what he knew he liked and disliked, and what he’d longed for.

The problem was the process had made for some uncomfortable nights. As he lay beside a sleeping Jethro, his thoughts translated into fantasies and then accompanying erections. Apart from long, slow, making-out sessions, with deep drugging kisses that seemed to melt Tony’s from the inside, there had been no sexual contact between them. While Tony could understand that his Dom wanted him to settle in his new home and to be fully well, there was a building need in Tony to truly belong to Gibbs.

He reached and touched the slightly sore area on his neck. The pain was negligible and he didn’t mind the little patch of reddened skin, it would soon fade. The constant reminder of what he had been to Ibu was gone, and with it the last of Tony’s doubts about his place with Gibbs.

When the older man had mentioned Tony’s request for tattoo removal to Brad Pitt, the doctor had swung into action, getting him an immediate appointment with the dermatology department. The practitioner was part Japanese and she had taken one enraged look at the offending mark, and then taken great pleasure in removing it completely. With each stinging pulse of the laser, Tony had felt the last bonds of his old life fall away.

Now he wanted to have his bare neck covered in the collar Gibbs had offered and he had accepted. He wanted them both to become immersed in their bond, and to explore and live their Dynamic to the fullest extent. He longed to be owned, loved, and with an increasing yearning, he wanted to be fucked – to feel Jethro filling him, marking him, claiming him, owning him.

He shivered with the intensity of his need and had to fist his hands at his sides to prevent himself from cupping his growing cock. He wanted his Dom to be the one to touch him and make him come; he wanted his Doms voice to give him permission to let go. Breathing slowly and as evenly as he could, he willed away the urgency of his arousal and, hoping to distract himself, he placed two slices of bread in the toaster and pressed down the lever.

He was half way through buttering the first slice when there was a knock on the door and the cultured tones of Dr Mallards voice rang out as he announced their arrival.

“It’s only us, Gibbs. No need to get out the shotgun.”

Tony grinned at the teasing of the old man. He had a way of smoothing out Gibbs grumpy moods, soothing him with just a couple of sentences. Tony liked him more every time he met him, and the old man’s relationship with Bryan was a constant source of hope and pleasure for Tony. They were good together in the way he knew he and Gibbs could be.

Ducky walked into the kitchen closely followed by a quiet, leashed Bryan. The other sub was relaxed and loose, and Tony guessed they had played hard the night before. He still wasn’t completely sure what the basis of their Dynamic was, but they obviously complimented each other. Ducky looked healthy and vital too, and Tony was relieved to see the older man looking so well.

Tony smiled in greeting and turned to fill the kettle, ready to make tea. It was still hard to make the first move, in conversation or action, but Tony was making himself do more every day.

“Can I make you some tea, sir?”

“Oh, my dear boy, what a truly wonderful idea. Do you have any Earl Grey?”

Tony nodded and turned back to the counter. He found the process of tea making almost meditative. He had been taught the complex Japanese tea ceremony and had been drilled on it until it was second nature to him. He wondered whether Gibbs would let him perform it for him and Ducky some time…he would have to get the proper utensils…

“Are you ready to do some online shopping? Do you have a list ready?”

He was startled out of his thoughts by the grinning face of Bryan almost nose to nose with him. Now the leash was unclipped the other sub was free to interact. His eyes were twinkling with suppressed humour and excitement.

“Bryan, I have no idea what to buy and anyway, I have no money…”

A credit card appeared on the counter, as the warm, solid body of his Dom pressed firmly against his back. Tony’s muscles relaxed as he leaned into Gibbs’ embrace.

“You have a $1000 budget and you can buy anything you like,” Gibbs murmured into his ear. It was all Tony could do not to pant at the dark, sexy tones. Their bond flowed and pulsed with the intensity of their feelings and Tony could feel the hot, hard press of Gibbs cock against his ass.

Jethro spun him around, his mouth owning and devouring Tony in a heart-stopping kiss. It overwhelmed the sub so completely that when his Dom withdrew he followed the movement with a needy whimper, his eyes closed, and his tongue flicking out as he tasted Jethro on his lips.

“Soon, lover…soon,” Gibbs promised into his ear as he calmed him with gentle strokes of his fingers along Tony’s jaw. The Doms eyes were burning as he gave his sub a slow sexy smile.

Moments later, he was patting Ducky on the shoulder and agreeing that he’d say hi to Abby for the ME.

As the door shut firmly behind Gibbs, Bryan gusted out a big sigh.

“Fuuuck, that was hot. You two must be incendiary together.”

Tony blushed, not really wanting to discuss his sex life, or lack of it with the other sub. Ducky seemed to agree as he gave his boy a sharp slap on the ass. Tony watched fascinated as Bryan’s pupils dilated, his cheeks flushing with pleasure as he apologised to his Dom and Tony. ‘So one clue to what works for them’, he thought.

Bryan slid the credit card off the counter and stepped over the kitchen table, and his waiting laptop.

“So you heard the man. Where do you want to start?”

“Is there somewhere we can buy a Chabako?”

Bryan looked confused, but Ducky’s face lit with understanding. “Oh, for a tea ceremony? Can you perform the cha-no-yu?”

“Yes, sir. I am trained in every element of the otemae.”

“How perfectly enchanting, I would love to see that. In fact, I was presented with all the elements for the ceremony by the Master of Lotus Pleasure House. I was instrumental in the conviction of the murderer of a Geisha. He even gave me a full ceremonial kimono, which I have never had occasion to wear. It was a sad reason to receive a gift of such beauty, but I accepted it in the faith in which he offered it, in remembrance of that dear sweet little girl. Why I recall…”

Tony watched with amusement as Bryan gave his Dom an indulgent smile. As the story wound on, an idea began to take form in Tony’s mind and as he waited for Ducky’s tale to end Tony’s eyes strayed to the door through which his Dom had left. Maybe with Ducky’s help he could show Gibbs just how much he wanted ‘soon’ to be ‘right now’.

*****

NCIS

Gibbs was aware of the tension radiating from McGee as he pored over the junior agent’s report and the transcripts of his interrogation of Siobhan Fielding.

His worried face had been the first thing Jethro had seen when he walked into the bullpen, and Gibbs was irritated that circumstances had left the other man free and able to mess around in his case, while he and Tony had been fighting for their lives. His hand was twitching over the phone, the extension number for IA already jumping to the forefront of his mind, when the Switch had silently slid a file across the desk.

“What made you think this was a good idea, McGee. Haven’t you already dug a deep enough hole with this bitch?”

“The…the Director said I should use all available resources to work open cases, Boss. I thought…”

“Yeah, see, that’s your problem right there…You don’t think.” Gibbs stared at Tim until he dropped his gaze. ‘Yes, little boy, you may have got one thing right, but I’m still the big dog’, Jethro thought with an internal chuckle. His amusement didn’t show on his face though, and he watched as the other man paled.

“Does all this pan out?”

McGee nodded jerkily. “As far as I can tell. I’ve been trying to track down a lawyer who could confirm the finer points, but it’s a pretty specialised area of law.”

“I may have a contact I can speak to about that. Where is your playmate now?”

Tim pushed his hand through his hair. “Still in holding, Boss. No one wanted to move her ‘till you’d said you were finished with her. I thought you might want to follow up with another interview.”

Jethro shook his head slowly, a calculating gleam in his eye. “No, I think you’ve covered all the bases here. Let CI/CT have her. I’m sure they’ll think of some interesting angles to question her on. We can always get her back later if we need anything.”

McGee almost ran to his desk to give the order. Despite himself, Gibbs was impressed. The kid had done a good job with the interrogation, except for spilling the news about his Soul Bond…that was private. Although, he had to suppose it would give Siobhan something to chew on while she cooled her heels in the clutches of the team at Counter Terrorism.

McGee’s shadow fell across his desk again, but Jethro took his time acknowledging the reappearance of the Switch. He pulled out his cell and scrolled down the contacts list until he found Simeon Waverley’s office number. He scribbled it on a Post it and then looked up.

“You want something, McGee?”

“I was wondering…I mean…I know I…I fucked up, Boss…”

Part of him wanted to torture the man, let him stammer and splutter his way through his query. But he had things to do, places to go, people to see and Tony waiting back at the house. That was the most pressing reason to get things moving as quickly as possible. So he stood abruptly, almost laughing out loud as McGee gave a little yelp of fear and stepped back. “Conference room – now!”

All the blood left Tim’s complexion, and Gibbs didn’t bother looking to see if the other man followed him to the elevator. He slapped his hand on the control panel, not concerned which button he’d pressed – they weren’t going anywhere. McGee only managed to scurry in before the doors slid closed, and seconds later Gibbs had engaged the emergency stop.

In one fast move, Tim was up against the wall of the car, Gibbs forearm pinning him across his chest and the older man’s burning eyes boring a hole into McGee’s forehead.

“I’m sure you’re wondering what’s going to happen to you now, McGee.”

The Switch just stood silently, his eyes wide with real fear.

“As Tony’s Dom and Soul Mate I ought to just take out my Sig and put a bullet through your head. It would certainly make me feel better.”

He pushed hard against the other man’s chest, letting him feel the leashed power in his body. McGee began to shake. With one last jostle, Jethro moved away and left the other man clawing his fingers against the metal behind him, only just preventing himself from sliding to the floor.

“What you did was criminally stupid, unprofessional and not what I would expect from any agent of mine. You lost my trust and almost condemned an innocent and abused man to death, for the sake of a little playtime with that skanky little cunt.”

Tim remained quiet, and Gibbs found a grudging respect that he didn’t try to dredge up excuses for his behaviour.

“You should suffer Federal Punishment and go to jail. I can think of a dozen charges off the top of my head and I’m sure IA could come up with many more that would see you bullwhipped and sent away for a long time.

Gibbs grabbed hold of McGee’s jacket with one hand and yanked him forward, while the other reached around and gave him a hard, stinging slap to the back of his head.

“But you’ve already found me an ‘in’ to this case, and I think I might keep you around for a little longer in case you can be useful again.” He dragged the other man closer so they were eye to eye and let his voice drop to its most menacing. “But you’re going to have to work very, very hard to regain my trust. I’m going to watch every move you make, every word you speak or write. And you’re going to give every waking minute over to finding a way to get me Kobo Ibu back in the US and in my interrogation room so we can find some kind of justice for Tony DiNozzo. If you don’t – if you fuck up again, I promise I will come down on you so hard that even Abby will have a problem identifying your remains. Do you understand me?”

He could see the flicker of relief in the younger man’s eyes as he croaked out, ‘Yes, Boss’, but Gibbs didn’t want him to think he’d got away scot-free.

He knew Tim enjoyed pain, so straightforward discipline was not going to work, especially with the limited implements allowed for punitive measures in the workplace. However, Leroy Jethro Gibbs was nothing if not creative in his vengeance and the punishment had to fit the crime. Well, McGee’s dick had got him into this mess…

“As for your punishment…You’ll go out tonight to your favourite sex store and buy a silicon chastity device and padlock. Then you’re gonna lock yourself up and bring me the key. Make it a good one…the most expensive…you’re gonna be wearing it for a while.”

If anything, McGee went paler still. “But …you can’t…I’m not your sub.”

“Too fucking right you’re not. I wouldn’t collar you if you were the last sub on Earth. But if you want to stay outside of a jail cell then you’ll do as you’re told.”

The muscles in McGee’s jaw flexed for a moment, before he gusted out a long sigh and Jethro knew he’d accepted the compromise. “For ho…how long…?”

Gibbs gave him an evil grin and slapped off the emergency stop. Almost immediately the car came to a halt back at the bullpen, and Gibbs strode out, calling back over his shoulder.

“Until I say, McGee.”

*****

“Simeon Waverley.”

“It’s Gibbs.”

“Jethro, it’s good to hear your voice. We were worried about you both. How are you feeling?”

“We’re both doing a lot better. The doc says without the bond we would’ve lost Tony.”

“Nicola told me. Congratulations on finally coming to your senses. Are you going to bring him to family dinner next week?”

“I don’t know, Simeon…he’s still a little…fragile, emotionally.”

“Well the twins are away on a camp with the Waverley Trust so it’ll just be the four of us – oh and perhaps Ducky and Bryan, so not too overwhelming. But I’ll bow to your judgement.”

“I’ll ask him. He needs to be able to make some of those decisions for himself.”

“That’s very sensible of you, Gibbs, especially after everything he’s been through. So I guess you’re not just ringing to chat.”

“No, this is not really official and we need to keep it under the radar. I need some information if I’m going to make the most of every opportunity to get Ibu. He’s gone to ground in Okinawa, and there’s a fucking political wall around him both from the government in Japan and here in the US. To get justice for Tony I need to find a way in.”

“I understand. I hope you know you can trust me to keep things confidential. With everything I’ve had to keep secret over the years, whatever this is will be no problem.”

“OK, that’s good. So do you have any knowledge of, or know someone who would understand, a Trattenuto dalla famiglia clause in inheritance law.”

“Shit, Gibbs, you’re pulling out the obscure references now. As far as I can remember it’s a clause only really used by the older Italian families. Is Tony affected by one?”

“Yeah, apparently. I think it might link DiNozzo Snr, Ibu Snr, Kobo and the coalition you are aware of, with the attempts on Tony’s life.”

“Right…Well in that case I think we need to meet. I need a little time to set it up because we’ll need to involve the Director of Bar Non too. Chris Kelvin is a good resource, Jethro. She used to practice inheritance law, she was the one who brought the coalition to my notice, and I trust her implicitly. I should be able to set something up pretty quickly, as long as she’s in DC at the moment.”

“That’s great, Si. OK, I’ll wait to hear from you.”

“Jethro, you do realise if Tony is subject to a Trattenuto clause, then as his Dom you will be responsible for protecting the capital amount, and you’ll have access to the interest. Do you have any idea how much the bequest involves?”

“Yeah…Fuck Simeon…”

“Jethro?”

“Well according to my source, it’s somewhere around a billion dollars.”

“Fuck…Fuck, fuck, fuck…even at the current low interest rates that could give you upwards of $200 million a year. OK, let’s not panic. There are a couple of members of the Waverley Trust board, who work with those kinds of numbers all the time. We’ll get this sorted out, Gibbs.”

“Ha, ha, I’m not the one who’s panicking, but thanks. Who knew being friends with a pervert would be so useful.”

“Yeah well no one ever told me having a kinky bastard for a friend would be such a pain in the arse.”

“I didn’t think that was your thing, Si, you being mono and all…”

“Bugger off, you wanker and let me make those calls!”

*****

Gibbs pulled into the driveway of the house less than four hours after he’d left, but the time had felt interminable. Still, the gentle pulse of their bond had been an anchor point, telling him that Tony was happy, healthy, and safe. It had helped Gibbs to concentrate on the case, and to make a few calls before driving home.

On the way back, he’d stopped to collect the item he’d ordered only the day before. He looked over at the passenger seat and felt a surge of anxiety churn in his stomach. He battled for a moment to get his breathing under control. It was stupid what the contents of that flat box represented and once again the thought that he was making a major mistake reared its head. His hand was twitching towards the ignition when there was a tap on the window.

He turned to see Ducky looking at him with concern. The older Dom pulled open the door and laid a warm hand on Jethro’s shoulder.

“Tony is sitting inside, worried sick…He can feel you stewing out here you know.”

Gibbs frowned with irritation at himself. Of course Tony knew how he felt and he was worrying both himself and his sub unnecessarily. They were Soulbonded; that was an irrefutable fact. Gibbs needed to get over himself and look forward instead of back.

He grabbed the box and got out of the car.

“That young man in there is your future, Jethro. You hold his happiness in your hands…” Ducky caught sight of the box that Gibbs was holding. “…literally, if that is what I think it is. You don’t have to look back anymore, my boy.”

“You a fucking mind reader, Dr Mallard?” Jethro grumbled, half-heartedly.

“No, Senior Supervisory Agent Gibbs. Just a student of the human condition and your friend for many years.”

Gibbs smiled gratefully at the old man, thankful he had him in his life. As they reached the doorway they met Bryan, who held their coats and his laptop bag.”

“You two not staying?” Gibbs frowned.

“Nope…we don’t need to be here for this.” Bryan’s face was a picture of gleeful excitement. Jethro wasn’t sure if it boded well or not. Still, he trusted Ducky hadn’t let the two subs get into too much trouble with his credit card.

He heard the snick of a latch as Donald attached Bryan’s leash and watched with warm pleasure when the bright exuberant young man settled almost instantaneously into a submissive state. For an instant he regretted that he’d doubted Ducky’s care of Bryan a few days earlier, but knew in his heart he’d been forgiven. Such was the way of the mannerly gentleman.

“He’s lucky to have you,” he said to Ducky, warmly.

“And I him. He’s my beautiful boy.” Donald pressed a gentle hand to Bryan’s cheek and the sub turned into it, his eyes soft with love.

Gibbs watched as they drove off in Ducky’s Morgan, before going into the house closing the door gently behind him.

The scene that met him was breathtaking. Every surface was covered in little glass pots containing guttering tea-light candles. The couch had been pushed against the wall and a low table was set up in the middle of the room, two rush mats placed on either side. A calligraphy scroll hung over the fireplace, its black flowing characters seeming to dance in the flickering of the candlelight.

Everything about his homely, slight drab lounge room seemed to have been subsumed into a gentle, elegant, Japanese idyll.

But by far the most gorgeous part was the still, silent figure, standing to one side.

Tony was dressed in a black and white kimono, complete with a complex and impeccably tied obi. Every fold and flap of the garment seemed to accentuate rather than hide his strong beautiful form. His hands were held in an elegant clasp around a small fan. In every angle and curve of his body he was the epitome of a Jentoruātsu Eitaro.

Jethro could hardly breathe as he tracked up the subs body to his face. He felt his cock fill and his stomach clench with want as his eyes wandered the white makeup that covered the young man’s face and throat then disappeared inside the neck of the kimono. His eyelids were accentuated with black liner, the corners daubed with pink shadow that made his green eyes sparkle.

And his lips…Gods his lips were painted with a deep red, the bow and lush lower lip outlined and defined.

Despite the femininity of the makeup his masculinity shone through, from the strong line of his jaw to the broad sweep of his muscular shoulders. Gibbs’ mouth was dry and he hoped he wasn’t supposed to speak, because he didn’t think he could manage to make a sound.

With precisely defined movements, Tony began to take control of proceedings. He moved gracefully over to Gibbs, and gently touching his arm he guided him to kneel at the low table.

Then he began the ritual of the tea ceremony.

Jethro spent the next two hours in a kind of dream state. He was mesmerised by Tony. Each graceful movement was like a dance, as the sub expertly moved through the traditional art form. The warm sweet pulse of their bond ebbed and flowed, seemingly in synch with the give and take of each gesture. It felt at every turn that they were acting in concert, two bodies with a single purpose, and even though Gibbs had no knowledge of the separate parts of the ritual, he seemed to sense his role at each stage.

Finally, Tony replaced the utensils in the beautifully decorated box and sat back on his heels, hands resting on his thighs and eyes downcast. Gibbs looked at his own hands and realised he had been kneeling for the whole ritual and yet he hadn’t felt uncomfortable at all.

He knew it was time for him to speak now, but he wasn’t sure he had the words to describe how he felt. The quiet thrum of arousal that had accompanied the whole ceremony was now rising, becoming something urgent and heated. He glanced around until he located the box he had been holding when he arrived, and reached for it.

“You are so fucking beautiful,” he rasped. “And this was an unbelievable gift. I don’t know how you were able to make something so beautiful out of something that was forced on you, but you did and I’m so grateful. I hope you’ll feel we can do this again.”

Jethro saw Tony’s shoulders relax, and suddenly he knew there wouldn’t be a better time or place. Using the table to help him rise, but taking care not to jolt any of the fragile porcelain, Jethro stood quite pleased that he’d managed it with relative grace.

He took two steps around the table to stand in front of the kneeling sub.

“Look at me, Tony.”

The sub complied immediately and Gibbs was almost overwhelmed by the love in his eyes. He flipped open the box and turned it so the other man could see the contents. Tony’s eyes widened as his gaze dropped to trace the collar nestled inside.

Four strands of silver ball chain, exactly like that used for dog tags, were fastened together at two-inch intervals with flat bars of silver, to make a wide but flexible collar. At each end the strands had been flattened and melded into two bars made to slide one inside the other. A small silver ring was welded on each bar and fashioned to sit side by side when the collar was fastened. There was no ornamentation, no engraving, but next to the collar was a lock; a padlock with two tags attached, all made from beaten silver. The words on them were punched just like authentic dog tags. Two small silver keys completed the set.

Tony’s fingers twitched on his thighs.

“You can touch it – it’s yours if you still want it.”

Jethro watched as the sub lifted trembling fingers and traced the lock. After a moment, he looked back up at his Dom with tear-bright eyes. He swallowed hard.

“Can…can you tell me what they say…I can’t…I can’t see…”

Gibbs didn’t need to look. Gazing back into those painted eyes, he recited from memory.

“The front one reads ‘Gibbs Leroy J, 560 I9 2068, USMC’.”

“And the second?” Tony whispered.

“It says ‘The other half of my soul’.”

Tony breathed out in a long shuddering sigh. With a single, simple movement, he shifted position to take up the Jentoruātsu form. He looked up at Gibbs expectantly.

The Dom placed the box on the table and lifted the collar with steady fingers, sliding the two ends apart.

“Will you accept this collar and honour me as your Dom?”

Their bond rushed with acceptance and joy as Tony lifted his chin.

“I accept your collar and offer you my freely given submission.”

The words resonated through them both as Gibbs slid the cool metal around Tony’s neck. He located the two bars inside one another at the base of the subs throat and they made a faint ‘snick’ that spoke to the superb artisanship of the silversmith. He used the key to open the lock, slid it through the rings, and pressed it closed, turning the key to fasten it.

He turned back to the table and from the bottom of the box, he pulled another single strand of silver ball chain, which held a pair of free hanging dog tags. Gibbs slid the key onto the chain, twisted it fastened and then pulled it over his head. He picked them up and looked at the stamped words.

“Are they the same?” Tony whispered.

Jethro shook his head. “Not quite. The first one is different. It says ‘Antonio Archangelo DiNozzo, then today’s date. But the other one reads the same.”

“The other half of my soul,” Tony choked out.

And then there was nothing in the world that could have kept them apart. Jethro hooked his hands under Tony’s arms and dragged him to his feet, plundering his mouth with a kiss that demanded nothing less than everything the sub had to give. In response Tony melted into his arms, pliant and submissive, waiting for his Master’s will without reserve.

Jethro held Tony tightly against him, their bodies meeting from mouth to toes. “Now I make you mine,” he growled against the painted lips, his voice fierce with the depth of his domination.

“Yes, Master…please…” Tony cried out, hoarsely. “…Always yours.”

*****

Tony was shaking as he stood by the side of the big wooden bed, but Jethro could feel through the bond that it was anticipation and not fear that made his muscles quiver. Gibbs drew back from his sub slightly and centred himself. He needed to be extra careful with Tony this first time. So many negative trips and triggers could be waiting to derail them both and he wanted this to be a good experience for the younger man.

He let his eyes rake over the sub; his sub, his Soulmate.

He was still dressed in the exquisite kimono but the red bow of his lips were smeared from the force of his Doms kisses. It made for an obscenely hot picture; the debauched Eitaro, his painted perfection blurred by the force of his Doms need.

Jethro felt deep, hot, arousal growing in his gut and singing through his veins. He needed to get the talking portion of the evening out of the way as quickly as possible.

“I’m going to give you a safe word, Tony. Your word is ‘Marine’. I want you to use it at any time, whatever we are doing, however deep in a scene we are. If you are unhappy or uncomfortable, if I stumble onto something with bad connotations, anything at all that concerns you, I want to know. That is rule #1.”

Tony wet his lips and blurted out, “I want whatever you want, sir.”

“And this is what I want, Tony. Understand? Now, what is your word?”

“I understand, sir. My word is Marine.”

The shiver that rippled over the sub made Gibbs dominance zing through his blood like a hot knife. This…this was what he most wanted. Compliance, willing submission was the thing that tripped his trigger most.

“Rule #2, you may call me Master or Gibbs but never sir. I understand it’s something you’ve been taught, so for the time being I will not be angry if you slip up, but I expect you to try to remember.”

“Yes, Master.”

“Do you need help to take off your kimono?”

“No, Master.” Tony waited until Gibbs nodded and then began to remove the silk garment. His hands were deft and sure as he unpicked the complex knots and unwrapped the long swathes of fabric. He folded each piece carefully and with ritual reverence, then piled them on the bedroom chair.

Although he didn’t falter, Gibbs could see his hands had a faint tremor and he could feel the surges of arousal and slight apprehension through their bond, but there was no fear and Jethro decided the young man was just a little overwhelmed.

As he began to slip off the black and white silk outer kimono, Jethro took it from his hands. He’d had a vision of Tony, naked and spread out over the delicate cloth. He wanted that…his cock definitely wanted that. He took the garment and spread the silk over his bed.

Tony gave a scandalised glare, and then dropped his gaze with a faint blush. He toed off the little sandals and socks that had completed the outfit. Finally, he slid the plain white undergown over his shoulders. Jethro’s mouth went completely dry. Underneath Tony wore no underwear and the cool white cloth slithered back to reveal Tony’s golden skin, inch by glorious inch.

“Let it fall,” Gibbs ordered hoarsely.

Finally, his sub was completely naked, the pale linen pooled on the floor. From his feet to his neck he was built like a Greek God, all sleek lines, with solid plates of muscle laid over a strong masculine body. His long, thick cock was half-hard, pulsing in time with his racing heartbeat. It rose over high tight balls, decorated with the enticing glint of white precious metal.

From the neck up, however, he was all Eitaro. The white makeup finished in stark lines across his collarbones, which highlighted the golden tones of his skin. And his collar, cool and glinting around Tony’s neck, complete with the tags bearing his name; a sign to the whole world that Tony was his.

Gibbs couldn’t deny himself any longer. He moved steadily around the trembling figure, trailing his fingertips over the faint sheen of sweat that had begun to cover Tony’s skin. He traced the cut of his abs pulling gently on the belly bar piercing his navel.

“Going to get you emeralds I think…to match your eyes,” he mused, half to himself, and he felt, rather than heard Tony’s sigh of pleasure. He moved up Tony’s body to his nipples, tugging on the rings there and watched in pleasure as each nub drew up to a hard point. He saw the sub bite down on the inside of his cheek and realised he’d forgotten one very important order.

“I want to hear you, Tony, that’s rule #3. I want to hear your sounds and your words. Tell me what you feel. I want to hear it all.”

The moan Tony gave was pure sin and it hooked into Jethro’s groin, reeling him closer to his sub. He stepped around behind him, his hands pulled like magnets to the wonder that was Tony’s ass.

Firm and rounded it begged to be mouthed and marked. Gibbs wanted that. He wanted to see the evidence of his passion all over the taut skin. He traced the curve of the cheeks from left hip to crack and over to the right in one continuous line, and for the first time he felt Tony’s knees give a little. He leaned in closer as he dragged a finger down the cleft and across Tony’s tight little hole, breathing words into the shell of his ear.

“This is my hole for my cock, only mine. Never anyone else’s.”

The wave of grateful relief that flooded their bond gave Jethro an inkling of the ways Ibu had used this man.

“I will never share you, Tony,” he promised knowing Tony could feel the veracity of his words.

“Yours, si…Master. Only yours.” Tony’s voice was hoarse with need. Gibbs slid his hand around, smoothing his palm over Tony’s chest and stomach and then curled it around his hard, leaking cock. He began to stroke him, firm and tight, giving him no mercy as he began to cry out.

“Oh, Gibbs…please, please…it’s too much, too good. Please, sir…I need…”

Gibbs wrapped his other arm around Tony’s waist and pulled him in, pressing his naked skin against the roughness of Jethro’s street clothes. The sub groaned deeply as the textured cloth met his bare flesh. Then Gibbs pressed his own aching cock, still trapped behind the zipper of his pants, into the cleft of Tony’s ass.

“Yes, Master, please…want you there…please, oh please, fill me.”

“Not yet.” Jethro’s hands were now both between Tony’s legs, one still jerking him hard, and the other running down the ladder piercing his scrotum. His fingertips traced each ring, gently tugging and turning them, intensifying the sensations for his sub, until he reached the guiche. Tucked under his balls and positioned directly over his prostate, Gibbs knew it would stimulate his sub to the extreme and send him over the top.

But Tony didn’t come. Jethro could feel him struggling, his muscles jerking with the strain of holding back.

“You don’t have to wait, Tony. It’s alright,” he husked in his ear.

“Please, Master…want you to…need you to tell me…Oh, Gibbs…let me…”

Gibbs’ inner Dom roared in triumph as Tony submitted so completely, giving his Dom the power over his first orgasm by another’s hand. He circled his thumb over the sensitive bundle of nerves below Tony’s cock head and simultaneously pulled down on the guiche.

“Come…”

Tony shook with the force of his orgasm. His scream of pleasure echoed down their bond and Gibbs had to grit his teeth not to come in his pants, the sensations were so intense.

The burn of orgasm finally eased into soft aftershocks. Gibbs pressed several open-mouthed kisses to Tony’s neck as he reluctantly let go of his subs cock and spread his clean hand across Tony’s stomach, unsure whether the sub would be able to stand as he was shaking so much.

So he was surprised when Tony took a step forward, turned and sank to his knees. Once again, Gibbs thought he was going to spontaneously combust as his sub grasped Jethro’s come-covered hand. He pulled it to his mouth and began to clean it with his tongue. Tony’s eyes were hazy and soft with satiation, his red stained lips plump and luscious around Jethro’s fingers.

“Do you like that, boy? The taste of your come on your Master’s skin?”

Tony moaned around Jethro’s finger as he sucked it into the heat of his mouth, a sound echoed by his Dom. The possibilities ran through Jethro’s mind and streaked in lines of fire through his gut, zeroing in on the base of his balls. Tony right there on his knees as Gibbs fucked into his mouth; Tony accepting the length of his Masters cock, swallowing around the head as Jethro emptied his balls down his throat.

But not today. Today was for claiming what was his – marking Tony, not just with his collar, but with his mouth, and his cock, and his come.

Drawing on all his willpower, Gibbs gently pulled away his hand.

“Undress me.”

*****

Tony looked up at Gibbs as he sucked his own flavour from his Doms skin. It had happened; one of his deepest fantasies had come true. That one word from Gibbs had dragged the orgasm out of him, knife sharp and bright with agonising pleasure. It was more than he had ever imagined. The difference between the time he had brought himself to orgasm and this were so marked. It was as if Gibbs had mapped his body, found all the high-spots, and then touched them; tapped out a message to the pleasure centres of his brain and then short-circuited them.

And he knew it wasn’t over yet. Gibbs eyes were dark with arousal as he gazed down at Tony. The dominance Tony could see and feel through their bond was rich and full, throbbing with repressed need. Tony knew he would give this man anything he wanted even if it scared him a little, but he also knew he could trust Gibbs not to hurt him

He almost whined when Gibbs withdrew his hand.

“Undress me.”

Tony rose to his feet and began to unbutton his Doms shirt, making sure that with each fastening he soothed and touched his Dom as much as possible. He had told Bryan that Gibbs identified as a Hedonist and had asked him what that actually meant. The other sub had explained that Gibbs would be all about the pleasure he could give and receive. The information reassured Tony that he wasn’t going to be hurt and that pain would not be part of sex as it had been in the past.

Gibbs had given him pleasure already, so Tony was going to do everything in his power to give his Dom pleasure in return.

His deft fingers pushed and pulled at Gibbs clothing, removing and folding his shirt and undershirt. The sight of Gibbs half-naked set Tony’s heart racing. He could already feel his cock getting interested again. After so many years of not being allowed to get aroused, the idea that he could do so whenever he wanted was a revelation.

His Doms body was wirier than Tony’s, his muscles less full and more corded. But the strength beneath the skin was obvious and it made Tony shiver. He dragged his fingertips up over the tight, flat stomach to the broad chest, with dark brown nipples adorned with tiny gold rings. He smoothed his hands across the wide shoulders and down onto his Doms biceps. Tony was under no illusions that despite being an inch or two shorter and perhaps thirty pounds lighter, Gibbs could physically overpower him with no problem at all.

With a start, Tony realised he wanted that and the idea of it made him gasp out a moan.

“What are you thinking,” Gibbs husked, his voice thick with lust.

“That I want you to overpower me,” Tony admitted. His voice was shaking with the uncovering of another part of his Dynamic. “That I want you to hold me, cover me, restrain me…that I can trust you to do it and not be afraid.”

Gibbs pulled him into a deep drugging kiss, his tongue pressing into Tony’s mouth, mapping and searching, demanding his complete compliance.

The kiss went on until Tony thought he would pass out from lack of air. Gibbs pulled back but pressed his forehead to Tony’s.

“You don’t ever have to be afraid. I will hold you, and cover you, and restrain you – but I will keep you safe.”

Gibbs pulled back further and quickly unbuckled his belt and unzipped his pants, pushing them and his boxers down in one movement. Tony dropped to his knees again, almost overwhelmed by the sight and scent of his Doms cock as it jutted out right in front of him. He wanted to lean forward and mouth the dark red head, taste the crystal drops that were rolling lazily down its length.

Jethro wasn’t as long as Tony, but his cock was powerful and had a slight upward curve. His balls were heavy, hanging low and Tony’s mouth watered to mouth them and feel their shape. He had never enjoyed giving head before; it had always been a violent act, made up of forced entry, choking and humiliation. But he wanted to suck this cock, take it inside him in every way possible.

The sub swallowed and licked his lips in anticipation.

“Not this time, my greedy sub…”

The pad of Gibbs thumb dragged slowly across his lips and then pressed between them. He latched on, hungry for his Dom, in whatever form it came. He could taste the waxy texture of the lipstick mixed with the tang of his own come and it made his cock stiffen even more. Too soon it was withdrawn and as Gibbs bent down a little, Tony remembered why he’d knelt in the first place. He quickly untied Gibbs shoes and pulled them off along with his socks, before easing his pants and boxers over his feet.

Tony folded them neatly and then leaned forward again, careful not to touch his Doms cock. It was obvious the other man was painfully aroused and Tony didn’t want to do anything that would push him over before Gibbs was ready. He dropped his head, and placed a small reverent kiss on the top of each of Gibbs feet and then trailed his lips up over his ankles and calves to end with identical kisses on his, slightly knobbly, knees.

“On the bed, face up.”

The was an urgency beneath the strength of Gibbs demand and Tony moved quickly to comply. He wanted…he hoped his Dom was going to fuck him, but he had no thought to his own pleasure, only for that of Jethro.

He lay on his back on the bed, his limbs relaxed, waiting for his Doms will. Jethro stood at the end of the bed, a dark predatory form eating Tony up with his eyes. His big hands grasped Tony’s ankles, and he pulled and pushed at him until he was in the centre of the mattress, his legs spread a little. Then he began to smooth his hands over Tony’s skin from his feet upwards, gradually pressing his own body down on the subs until finally Gibbs covered Tony completely, from lips to toes, his weight bearing down.

Tony began to feel light headed, his whole body feeling insubstantial despite the pressure of Gibbs body on his. It was at the same time the best and most frightening thing he’d ever felt. Tony began to panic. It felt like he might just float away and he reached out frantically, his hands grasping for anything to keep him grounded.

“M…Ma…Marine…” he gasped out.

Gibbs moved immediately to the side, and turned Tony’s face to meet his gaze.

“Talk to me,” he asked, anxiously.

Tony could hear the lust in his voice and he felt a stab of shame that he’d stopped his Dom, especially after he’d said he felt so secure.

“Floating away…I was…” he tried to articulate but found he couldn’t.

Gibbs looked surprised and then gentled Tony’s fear with sweet kisses.

“You were falling, sweetheart…” he began and frowned. Tony was afraid he’d let his Dom down.

“Stop doing that, I can feel you beating yourself up. You’ve done nothing wrong, in fact I’m proud of you for using your word. That feeling…it’s called subspace. It means you were giving yourself up to me, letting go. You don’t have to be in control here, Tony. I will keep you safe. You don’t have to be watchful, I won’t trick you or hurt you. You can let go…”

Gibbs rolled back on top of Tony, undulating his body, sliding their slick skin and hard cocks together.

“Let go, Tony. Give it up for me. Take everything I want to give you.”

It was like a mantra; the hypnotic thrum of Jethro’s need over the bond; the deep, bone-melting pressure of his body; the weight of his dominance; his husky, arousal soaked words, all seemed to free Tony from his fears. He quickly found himself back in that hazy place, where his own pleasure was secondary and all he needed to do was wait for his Doms will.

Tony was aware of Gibbs growing arousal as his cock began to press more urgently into the crease between his thigh and his groin. Gibbs was holding his wrists above his head, his kisses becoming more and more demanding. Tony was moaning freely, although he couldn’t make words.

Gibbs was talking constantly.

“Gonna fuck you, Tony, claim you. Gonna fill you with my come. You’re going to take my cock in your tight little hole and I’ll make you feel so good. You’ll shoot for me again, then I’m gonna taste it.”

Tony was panting, his mind and body overwhelmed by the powerful aura of his Dom. He was so relaxed he almost missed the first touch of lube-slicked fingers on his entrance. Gibbs pressed inside him, gentle but relentless, sliding the full length of one finger in before hooking his fingertip and unerringly pressing on Tony’s prostate. The white zing of pleasure sparkled behind his eyes and raced into his balls, making them tighten in preparation.

‘No no, not yet, hold on’, he chanted in his head, wanting the added jolt of pleasure his Doms voice had given him.

Gibbs prepared him thoroughly; more than he’d ever been given in the past. Every touch took him deeper and was filled with the sweetest pleasure.

Tony was way past ready when Gibbs once again blanketed his body with his own. His Dom claimed his mouth and Tony opened up, welcoming his tongue, enjoying the taste of his Dom.

Tony felt his legs lifted onto Jethro’s shoulders and he opened pleasure heavy eyes. Gibbs in the full height of his dominance was magnificent. His cock opened Tony and the sub gave way totally before the onslaught. His Dom seemed to be at the end of his formidable control as he fucked into Tony with deep powerful strokes that had a stream of meaningless syllables pouring from the subs mouth.

“Mine…my love…my mate…take you, claim you…” Jethro was chanting. “Are you waiting for me, Tony…Are you holding on for my command…Do you want me to tell you…Are you ready?”

“Yes…please…fuck me…let me…please, Gibbs…”

“Mine…Tony…mine…Come for me…Come now!”

And Tony had no choice. The words were all he needed. The pressure that had been building since he first knelt at Jethro’s feet those few weeks ago, the love that had been growing with the bond they shared, all came to a head as they came together. The flash of pressure inside him broke Tony apart and he shook with the enormity of it as he covered his own belly with long stripes of come. The world sparkled around the edges and then slowly, softly, he floated away, with only Jethro’s cock, still buried inside him, keeping him tethered to the Earth.

*****

Counter Intelligence/Counter Terrorism Team Holding Cells – 20.30

“I think you’ll find all my papers in order, Agent. I have authorisation here to visit my client, signed by Senator Filmore. He is overseeing the Task Force investigation into the alleged dissemination of Y. Pestis by Madame Fielding. So if you have a problem with my orders, then I suggest you take it up with him.”

Siobhan frowned at the raised voices. She’d been cooling her heels in the less than salubrious cell since Gibbs had handed her over to the Counter Terrorism team. That had been…fuck knew how many days ago. She really wasn’t sure. She was pissed off and scared in equal measure, partly because of the situation she found herself in, and partly because of the news about Jethro and that slutty little sub DiNozzo. She couldn’t believe that not only had she allowed herself to be played by Kobo Ibu, but she’d been supplanted in Jethro’s affections.

The worst part had been the realisation that no matter how much she tried to talk herself into it, it was increasingly obvious that Gibbs wasn’t playing hard to get at all. She’d been sure she could catch him. Her sister Shannon had been bit of a mouse with a pet Dynamic. She found it hard to believe that a strong Dom like Gibbs could find a true mesh with someone like that. And she had given no credence to her sister’s assertions that Gibbs wasn’t a Sadist of some measure. You only had to listen to the man speak to know he had a cruel streak – it positively made Siobhan’s mouth water.

The door to her cell opened to admit a tall, very thin woman in an expensive power suit. No one would consider her beautiful, her nose was a mis-shapen and her hair was lack-lustre brown. Partner in a Law firm with political affiliations, Siobhan guessed. They only allowed a Domme to be part of their organisations if they were either super-smart, super beautiful, or vicious hard-nosed bitches who had no fucks left to give. She guessed this broad would probably fit in the latter group.

“Madame Fielding, I’m Carlotta Arno of Heinemann, Brincott and Briggs. We’ve been asked to take your case by the Coalition for Legislative Reform and I’m here to fill you in on what is going on.”

Siobhan wasn’t sure whether to be pleased to see her or not. Whilst having any kind of representation was probably a good thing, she was concerned that the Coalition had links with Ibu. That man was poison and she wanted as far from him as possible.

“Who specifically has asked your firm to represent me?”

“I believe the initial request came from…” Carlotta checked the sheaf of papers in her hand, “…Jamison Wainsborough III.”

She felt a rush of relief at the news. Jamie was an old friend. She hadn’t seen him for several years, as he’d moved to Munich when his company had transferred their headquarters to Europe. There was a time when he’d offered her a collar, but he’d wanted a full time sub and Siobhan had long since come to terms with the need to balance the two sides of her Dynamic. Her trust in him was firm and she was happy to accept this offer of legal representation.

“Good, that’s good. They haven’t told me what’s going on. They haven’t even told me what charges I’m being held on.”

“Anyone held on suspicion of acts of terrorism can be held indefinitely without charge, Ms Fielding. I’ve read through the transcripts of your interrogation, both by the NCIS Agent’s… Gibbs and McGee…and by Agent Todd, here at CI/CT. I must say you didn’t do yourself any favours by waiving your rights to a lawyer.”

“Tell me about it. Gibbs is my brother-in-law. I thought there might be some familial loyalty there, but I was obviously proven wrong.”

“Agent Gibbs is well known professionally, for his honesty and his lack of ambition as far as advancement is concerned. You obviously didn’t know him as well as you thought.”

“So what happens now?”

“Well I will represent you as your lawyer and I’ll make it a priority to get you out of here and back home under your own recognisance. You may need to find a substantial bail bond, however. While your benefactor is willing to foot our, not inconsiderable, bill, I think any other financial matters will be up to you to deal with. If you wish I can act as your proxy with the banks in order to facilitate the moving of monies, as you will not be allowed internet access or phone calls.”

Siobhan sighed, completely frustrated. The last thing she wanted to do was dip into her accounts and investment funds, but getting out of the drab cell and back to her beautiful loft apartment and her four-wheeled baby made the idea attractive. And if Jamie had trusted this woman then she was going to be a good bet. He was never one to throw money away willy-nilly.

“Very well, if you’ll draw up something for me to sign…”

A sheet of paper appeared on the desk in front of her and Siobhan looked up in surprise. Carlotta shrugged. “I’m good at my job, Madame Fielding.”

“Well that’s good news for me.”

Siobhan read the agreement carefully but it appeared to be a straightforward power of attorney, for financial matters only. She asked for a pen and proceeded to fill out the information for her bank and savings accounts. There was quite a bit of money in there but…

“Just how much do you think I’ll need?”

“Given what a hot topic terrorism is and the power Congress has given the investigative agencies in matters of Homeland Security, then I would imagine your bail is unlikely to be set at less than $9 million.”

Siobhan’s stomach dropped. That was nearly everything she had in easy access accounts. Any more than that would require the sale of assets and liquidation of stocks.

It was a complete nightmare. And thinking that Leroy Jethro-happy-to-live-in-a-fucking-shithole-with-his-bastard-of-a-slut-soulmate-Gibbs would now think of that as pocket change, well it just made her spitting mad.

She wrote her signature across the form with an angry scrawl. “How soon will I get out of here,” she spat out at the lawyer.

The other woman slid the power of attorney into the file. “I think there’ll be some changes for you very soon, Ms Fielding.”

The woman stood and held out her hand. Siobhan took it in a light grip. A slight pinch on her palm made her look down at their clasped hands. The other woman was wearing a large and ostentatious tanzanite ring; Siobhan thought maybe the band was a little rough. It reminded Siobhan of the necklace Ibu had given her, and despite the fact that the other man was on her must-hate list, his present wasn’t.

“I had some very expensive jewellery with me when I was arrested. Can you find out where they have it and secure it for me?”

“I’ll be looking after everything, Siobhan.” Arno reassured with a tight smile, as she tapped on the cell door.

A few seconds later the Agent on guard let her out of the room.

Siobhan threw herself down on the bed and gazed at the ceiling. At least there was light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe she’d be out of there by the next day, after all it was pretty obvious she was a victim herself. Ibu was a stupid conniving bastard. If he’d talked to her, she would have made things so much easier. Instead of which he’d gone in half-cocked and messed everything up; lost the DiNozzo money with his botched attempts on Juniors life and fucked up everything for her too.

She rubbed at her eyes as a sharp pain made her wince. A migraine…that was all she needed. She reached over for the bottle of water on her nightstand, but missed and knocked it on the floor. Groaning at her clumsiness she stretched out her arm but it felt like lead and the harder she tried to move it the more it tensed.

Her heart began to hammer in her chest as one by one her muscles began to lock up. It only took a few moments to realise she’d been poisoned, probably by the pinch from Arno’s ring. If she hadn’t been so scared she’d have laughed at how James Bond it all was.

Siobhan tried to open her mouth to scream, but her tongue had thickened so much her mouth was completely dry. No sound came as her throat swelled shut. She stared beseechingly at the door to the cell, but of course, no one came running. If they happened to be watching the footage from the surveillance camera in the corner of her room, she would just look like she was sleeping.

Moments later, her vision was fading from grey to black and without a doubt she was dying. The knowledge brought with it a strange kind of calm. Her last coherent thought before her airways closed down completely and her heart ceased to beat, was that if there was an afterlife she was going to come back and haunt the fuck out of Kobo Ibu.

*****

The murder of Siobhan Fielding, right under the noses of CI/CT had put all the Alphabet Agencies into a frenzy of activity. The way it had been achieved seemed like something from an episode of Mission Impossible. An indepth analysis of the security footage showed the supposed lawyer had been wearing a disguise of sorts – a badly applied false nose and a wig. The Agent on guard was subject to an investigation and it was probable he wouldn’t have a job by the end of it, although it seemed he hadn’t been part of the sting operation, just unobservant and stupidly gullible.

Carlotta Arno, was in fact a lawyer with the very firm the murderer had claimed, but the real Madame Arno was 4000 miles away at the time, on vacation in Lund, Sweden. The paperwork was a not very convincing forgery and had never crossed Senator Filmore’s desk. The final link in the possible chain, Jamison Wainsborough III, had unfortunately died nearly eighteen months earlier from heart failure.

So they had nothing – not even the method of murder was traceable. Abby had been called in to analyse the blood and skin samples, and all she could say with any certainty was that death was caused by the concentrated venom of the inland Taipan; possibly the most venomous snake on Earth. One drop of natural venom was said to be able to kill 100 men, so Abby posited that the more concentrated poison applied to the scratch would have been enough to cause the victim to die within 30 seconds or so. It was likely it had been applied to a small pin on the band of the large ring the murderer had been recorded as wearing. The pressure of their clasped hands would have been enough to break the skin and introduce the venom.

While the venom had been concentrated artificially, there was no way that Abby could identify who had undertaken the work. There were many labs around the world using venom as part of both legal and covert experimentation, but there were no academic papers on the process and none of her requests for information had any of the labs admitting to intensifying the potency of the poison in that way.

The FBI and CIA were involved, but there was not word one anywhere as to the perpetrators of the crime. The whole investigation had quickly come to a complete dead end.

Gibbs of course knew who had been responsible. The whole thing had been put together quickly, and although it was sloppy and almost ridiculous in execution, despite everything it had been successful. It was almost exactly the same MO Ibu had used when trying to get rid of Tony. It made Gibbs spitting mad that the seemingly impenetrable wall around the man had closed up in their faces. He knew he could break the bastard in a few minutes in interrogation if only he could get hold of him. But he was sequestered in Japan, where his family was revered. So the chances of extradition were almost nil.

Apart from Fornell, who already knew Jethro’s concerns about Ibu Jnr., Gibbs was having problems getting anyone to listen to him. Even his own Director was loath to believe that it wasn’t all part of a much larger terrorist plot.

They all seemed to think it impossible that something as extreme as weaponised plague and a murder inside a major agency could be simply for revenge. Jethro just thought they were blind, stupid fools.

Revenge…love…money – they were the greatest motivators in the world. All three were motivating him right now.

He glanced over to the passenger seat and met the worried gaze of his Soulmate.

“You’re angry,” Tony said quietly.

Gibbs could feel the other man’s anxiety. “Stop it! I’m not angry with you. If I was angry with you, you’d know it.” Gibbs snapped, still feeling the frustration of his musing during the drive.

“Well, you sound angry with me.”

Gibbs pulled into Nicola’s driveway, stopped the engine and turned in his seat. He was glad to see Tony still meeting his gaze. That was good. It had taken a few days for him to feel secure enough that Jethro wasn’t about to hurt him and for him not to jump to conclusions every time Gibbs was irritated or displeased, even if it was very rarely with Tony. It was taking him a long time to grasp gruff was Jethro’s default setting. Gibbs was working hard to temper his responses to the everyday things that in the past he had blown up about.

The Dom knew they had a long road to walk, and that Tony may not ever be able to throw off the last fourteen years of emotional and physical abuse. But Gibbs was glad his sub was making the first tentative steps into becoming his own man. In some ways, he was still that insecure pre-teen he’d been when he was sold to Ibu and it wasn’t going to be a quick or easy fix.

It would be too easy to coddle him, to keep him in that almost infantilised state. But that wasn’t who Gibbs wanted. He knew Tony had the strength of will and steel backbone to be the man he was always meant to be.

Just surviving for all those years was proof enough of that.

He laced his fingers through Tony’s and sent a pulse of love to him as he leaned forward and pressed a deep kiss to the subs soft lips.

“Not angry with you, just the situation. I promise I’ll try not to stew on things if they affect you, OK?”

Tony gave him a bright smile, “Yeah, OK.”

“So are you feeling nervous?”

“I wasn’t – do I need to?” He asked, chewing on his bottom lip.

Gibbs was about to reassure Tony again and then saw the little gleam of mischief in his subs eyes.

“Oh, very cute.” He took him by the shoulder and gave him a little shake. “I’m not sure you should be spending any more time with Bryan though, he’s a bad influence.”

They got out of the car and their knock at the door was met by loud barking. Tony’s eyes went wide with excitement. “Dogs! I love dogs.”

“Well good,” Simeon grinned from the open door, “because we’ve got three. Welcome to our home Tony.”

He held out his hand and Gibbs gut went warm as Tony looked to him for permission to take it. He nodded and watched as Tony’s hand was shaken, and then followed him in as he was engulfed by the rest of the household; both animal and human.

Ducky and Bryan were already there, and an older woman who Gibbs guessed was the lawyer from Bar Non, Chris Kelvin. He gazed at her assessingly. Probably ten years older than Gibbs, her clothes were elegant, but not ostentatious. She wore a string of beautiful creamy white pearls around her neck and had both a wedding and a dress ring on her long, elegant fingers.

Moments later Nicola was towing him over to meet the other woman, after pressing a large glass of red wine into his hands.

“Jethro Gibbs, meet Christine Kelvin. She’s the woman who got Simeon into the whole Civil Rights Law arena. I know you have things to talk about and I have to get back to the kitchen.” She smiled at Jethro. “Tony seemed excited about watching me cook, is that OK?”

“If he wants to of course he can. He’s never had the chance to play in the kitchen. I’ve started to show him some stuff, but, you know what my repertoire is like. We’ve managed sandwiches and toast, so far.”

Nicola’s grin widened. “Excellent, a new recruit. I’ve already got Bryan press ganged into making his Peshwari rice, and Ducky is supervising from the kitchen table. No doubt we’ll have the complete historical and cultural background of okra by the time we’ve finished putting the curry together.”

She squeezed his arm as she breezed back out again. Jethro turned to see Chris looking at him with a strange expression. He cocked his head in an answering pose.

“You’re not what I expected.”

“You’ve only just met him. I’m sure you’ll see some of the legendary ‘the second ‘b’ is for bastard’ Gibbs before the evenings over.” Simeon smirked at the half-assed glare Gibbs threw his way. “Shall we go into my office and get the business portion of the evening out of the way?”

“I’ll want Tony to be in on anything to do with the money,” Gibbs said as they walked through the house to the large study Simeon had appropriated for his home office.

As they sat down in three of the four leather wing chairs, Chris’s expression was surprised and Gibbs finally caught on. “Come on, Ms Kelvin, you have to have met other Doms and subs before. You know we aren’t all whips, chains, and subjugation.”

The lawyer snorted inelegantly. “I may be Non, Gibbs but I’m not stupid. No, it’s not that. Your reputation, and not just in DC I’ll have you know, is one of a hardass, uncompromising bastard who gives nothing and takes whatever he wants.”

Jethro kept his face blank, just putting a little of his master-interrogator glare in the mix. “And what makes you think I’m not.”

It was Simeon’s turn to snort, “Stop it, you wanker. You need Chris’s help, winding the woman up is not the way to go believe me. She’s just as much of a hardass as you are.”

The woman in question laughed, “Yes, well I’m old enough to know you should never assume anything.”

“Rule #8,” Gibbs agreed.

Chris Kelvin’s eyebrow rose and Simeon chuckled. “One of the…how many of your famous rules are there now, Jethro?”

“Oh, fifty or so.” Jethro sat back in the chair and savoured the wine for a moment.

He wasn’t sure just what the woman across from him would be able to do to help him, but he hoped she had something. He was beginning to think a ticket to Japan was in his future, and he wasn’t quite sure how Tony would deal with that.

“Right, down to business. Let’s deal with Ibu first, huh? Then we can call Tony in to discuss the money issues.”

Jethro gave a nod of agreement. “Go ahead, that sounds good. I’m listening.”

“I’ve been doing a little discrete digging, Gibbs. The Coalition has not been universally well received. Despite their political clout, it was really money that has pushed their agenda forward. I’m sure you’ve realised by now that Konosuke Ibu’s involvement was simply concerned with Tony’s money, nothing more. While what we know of him, and his treatment of Tony, makes me think he was truly interested in ‘owning’ him in particular, I don’t think he was part of the group who think all submissives should be property.”

Simeon grimaced. “It would take the US back forty years or more. It smacks of slavery and you would think we were beyond that bullshit. But these men really believe they should be allowed to own, buy and sell submissives at will, and that any submissive rights are wasted on what they see as nothing more than a saleable commodity.”

Chris hummed in agreement. “That’s a broader topic than the one we need to focus on now though. The opposition to the Coalition hasn’t formed a cohesive group yet, but there are several prominent businessmen and political movers and shakers who have been trying to work from the inside. It’s one of these men I think might be able to help us get Ibu back in the US.”

Gibbs felt cautiously optimistic. He had gathered that official channels were not going to be useful. “You have a plan?”

“Of sorts. It’s very simple actually. This man has been working with Ibu’s company for many years, on legitimate grounds. When he heard that Konosuke had thrown his hand in with the Coalition, he decided rather than speaking out, that he would be quietly subversive. He managed to move several lucrative contracts away from Okinawa Bio-Chem by using his own, like-minded contacts to undermine Ibu’s influence in their field – other companies tendering lower bids for contracts for example, or proposals from Okinawa being held back on the desks of Appropriations officials. It was beginning to have an impact on the company finances, which I think is why Ibu was starting to push the Coalition’s agenda and was what brought him to the US last month.”

Gibbs sat forward and rolled his wine glass between his palms. “So who is this guy and how can he help us get to Kobo? I take it you think there is a way to draw him back to the US?”

“I’d rather keep his name to myself for now, it’s easier that way. As to getting Ibu – they’ve lost Tony’s money, Gibbs. The members of the Coalition needed that money, not just for their plans but to entice others to their way of thinking.”

“Siobhan said something about that in her interrogation. She said she couldn’t see how the proposal would work without the DiNozzo money. It was supposed to add something like $150,000,000 to the pot over the next decade.”

Chris looked interested. “Well that sort of figure would definitely be interesting to the kind of players they were hoping to attract. Siobhan…Is she the investment broker? She could have some information we could use.”

Jethro looked down at his hands again. He knew the information about Fielding’s murder was still under wraps, but this was something the woman across from him had a right to know. If she was getting involved with this, she had to know what Ibu was capable of. “I’m sure she could, but she was murdered a couple of days ago, while in Federal custody.”

He watched as shock and then understanding filtered across the lawyer’s face. She was quick.

“And I take it you have your suspicions.”

“More than – the MO was almost the same as the Y. Pestis; sloppy but effective. She was killed using snake venom. You have to realise, this man is ruthless and it was for nothing more than revenge, unlike with Tony where I think he believed he could still get to the money.”

Kelvin looked resolved as she sat back in the chair and took a sip of her wine. “Well that makes keeping the name of my contact secret even more important. As for me, well, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve put myself in the firing line, Gibbs. If something happened, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been subject to murder attempts, either.”

She raised a sculpted eyebrow at Simeon.

Simeon grimaced and looked pointedly at Jethro. “But Nicci doesn’t need to know that.”

Gibbs chuckled, “Oh don’t you believe it. That woman misses nothing.”

The other man clinked his glass with Jethro’s. “Yeah, you’re right.”

“So, back to Kobo,” Chris continued. “I’ve contacted our inside man and asked him if he would be willing to help us…wait, Gibbs, let me finish,” she reassured in response to Jethro’s glower. “I trust him; we’ve worked together before.”

Gibbs subsided, but was still not happy that she’d jumped the gun a little.

“He’s looked into Kobo’s involvement in Okinawa B-C and it seems the old man kept him pretty isolated from the day-to-day running. Konosuke had given him some oversight of their European holdings, but Kobo was really just a figurehead. I don’t think he really understood the implications of the financial problems they were having, and also the complexity of the clause that kept the capital of Tony’s money in trust for him until the old man died.

“Things look pretty bad for them and there are some shareholders outside Japan who would jump at the chance to pull the company out from under Junior’s feet. They don’t think he has the experience or the ability to baby Okinawa B-C out of difficulty. My contact agrees and thinks it would be relatively easy to convince Ibu that he has found a way to break the will and keep the money within the Ibu family.”

“And in order to do that Kobo would have to come to the US? I thought the capital was overseen by the DiNozzo family lawyers. Aren’t they in Italy?”

Gibbs was trying hard not to get too hopeful, but this had the feel of a good plan – it was simple and played to Ibu’s weaknesses – greed and revenge.

Simeon shook his head. “The money sort of follows the heir, so now Tony is in the US, then the responsibility for overseeing the trust will be removed from the Japanese partnership that have it now, and transferred to whatever firm they choose here. The DiNozzo trust will do that as soon as they confirm that Konosuke is dead and that you have collared Tony.”

“So when Ibu comes over to ‘meet’ with the lawyers, that’s when the whole thing will get handed over to you. I understand there are a lot of Federal agencies involved with the whole supposed terrorist attack, so with Ms Fielding’s murder will you be able to argue that NCIS should pick him up and keep him for interrogation. Because I’ll be honest, Jethro, Okinawa Bio-Chem has some very influential friends who could get him back out of the country without too much problem.”

Kelvin frowned in concern, seeming worried that he wouldn’t be able to pull it off.

“I was pissed on my way here, angry that no one would listen to me about Ibu’s involvement. Now though, that’s exactly what I need. There was a Marine involved in the plague incident and that case is still open. I can pull Ibu in without any problem. Then it’ll be up to me to find a way to make him implicate himself before anyone knows I have him.”

Gibbs sat back with a satisfied smile on his face. He had no concerns about getting Kobo to talk.

Chris drained her glass and set it on the glass-topped coffee table.

“OK, I’ll set it up and call you when I have some idea of a timeline.”

There was quiet tap on the door and Simeon called for whomever it was to enter. A cautious Tony peeked his head around the door.

“Dr Wa…I mean…um… Nicola says to tell you that dinner will be ready in thirty minutes, so you should start…um…’wrapping it up’.”

Simeon grinned and stood up. “I’ll go and see if they need any help. You stay here Tony. I think Chris and Jethro want to talk to you about something.”

Tony came fully into the room and stood looking worriedly at his Dom. “It doesn’t feel as if there’s a problem,” he questioned. “Is this about my Ma…Ibu?”

“Partly, but I hope you’ll think what we have to talk about is a good thing.”

Gibbs held out his hand and Tony moved quickly to grab it like a lifeline. Jethro pulled him towards him, intending to push him into the chair Simeon had vacated. Tony took him by surprise when he knelt at his Doms feet and rested their joined hands on Jethro’s knee.

“You don’t have to be down there, love,” he said gently, not sure if Tony was reacting in a programmed way. But the young sub just shook his head and looked between the two of them.

“I’d like…it feels better.”

Chris gave him a sweet smile and Gibbs relaxed. He never wanted Tony to feel ashamed for making a choice based on his Dynamic – in fact, he wanted to positively encourage it. So he squeezed his subs hand and sent him a pulse of love down their bond. Tony looked up at him through his eyelashes and blushed.

“There is more going on here than your Dynamic,” Chris said, looking intrigued.

“We’re Soulbonded, but it’s not general knowledge.”

Understanding flashed across Kelvin’s face. “Oh, well that makes things even better then. It’ll make convincing the Italian contingent much easier.”

She looked at Tony and smiled. “Tony, did Konosuke Ibu ever talk to you about your dad’s will?”

A little stab of anger through the bond made Jethro wince. Yeah, Tony was never going to let go of his hatred of both men, and fuck it, why should he? Jethro surely wouldn’t.

“No, Madame. He told me my father had died but that was all.”

“It’s OK to call me Chris,” she assured him, kindly. “Well I’m not going to go into all the legal stuff because it’s only interesting to boring lawyers like me, but when he died you were named in your father’s will. A clause in that will means that your Dom is required to look after the capital on your inheritance, and he has access to the interest to do with as he likes.”

Tony stiffened, his expression darkening as he turned to Gibbs. “Is that why Kobo kept saying I was in his way when he tried to kill me and make it look like suicide?”

“That’s our guess. I’ll fill you in on everything later, otherwise we’ll be getting a beat down from Nicola for making dinner late.”

He looked back at Chris, hoping she’d continue, but she was staring at Tony, appalled.

“How…? I’m sorry, Tony, it doesn’t matter.”

Tony let go of Jethro’s hand and slid the sleeves of his t-shirt up to show her the thick, barely healed scars on his arm.

The lawyer went pale and her lips tightened. “Yes, I see.”

She looked over at Gibbs and the glint of stone cold anger in her eyes made him glad he was on the same side. He reached over and took Tony by the wrists, lifting his arms up and kissing the livid scars, before rolling the sleeves back over them.

Tony sighed happily.

“Well, Tony, Gibbs has said that he wants you to be involved in everything to do with that money, so I thought you should just have an idea of what we are talking about. The capital is a very large amount, and therefore so is the interest. Which means, through your Dom, you are going to be a very wealthy young man.”

Tony swallowed hard and Gibbs could feel he was getting overwhelmed and anxious.

“We can talk about this more when we get home,” he promised, “But Chris has a couple of ideas for people we could talk to. We need advice about making sure your family lawyers know about your change of circumstances and what to do to keep the money safe and properly invested.”

“But I don’t know anything about money, Gibbs. I never had any of my own.”

“You don’t need to know anything more than how to spend it, Tony,” Chris smiled, “Not if you don’t want to. But if you are interested in learning more, then I can help you to find people who can do that too.”

Tony turned to Gibbs with wide eyes and took a breath to speak but didn’t quite make it. He looked like a little kid at Christmas as he gazed up at his Dom hopefully.

“What? Ask, it’s OK.”

The sub gazed between his Dom and the lawyer.

“Would there be enough to get a dog?”

*****

“Gibbs and Tony seem to be settling into their Dynamic.”

Bryan shifted on the Egyptian cotton sheets, savouring their coolness on the tingling throb of his heated ass. He felt loose and well used. They’d played on their return from dinner at the Waverley’s and it was the first time Ducky had felt fit enough to take him down properly since his angina scare.

The doctors had confirmed that the impotence leading up to his attack had been due to poor circulation, and the cocktail of drugs had made his Dom a little lethargic at first. The delicious ache in Bryan’s ass was testament to how much things had changed for the better in the last week. For his own part, the sub had come so hard he was sure he wouldn’t get it up again that night.

“They do indeed, my boy.” Ducky was reading, his glasses perched on the end of his nose.

“Tony was really relaxed too. He enjoyed playing in the kitchen with Dr Waverley. We should get him some cook books for a Christmas present, or a KitchenAid.”

“That’s a capital idea, sweetheart.”

“And his collar is gorgeous. It’s exactly right for them, the tags and everything suit Gibbs, and the collar sits really nicely on Tony. Gibbs had it made for him.”

“Yes he did, and it’s lovely.”

The Dom glanced over at Bryan with a smug look that usually meant the sub was going to receive some interesting or exciting gift, either in or out of bed.

Bryan frowned quizzically at his Dom but Ducky just gave him his best ‘ask me no questions’ stare and the sub decided to leave it be, at least for now.

“It must be hard for Tony to trust again, after all those years of being treated so badly. When Gibbs was such an idiot early on, I thought it was going to break him. After he’d survived so much, too. But it seems like they are already finding their way.”

Bryan sighed. He was a romantic at heart and the whole story of Tony’s life and his bonding with Gibbs was almost like one of the romance books he’d sneak a look at when his colleagues left them in the break room.

“It is early days yet, and I’m sure there will be some tough times ahead for both of them, but it is very hopeful indeed. Their Soulbond will be very helpful,” Ducky murmured sagely.

“Why?”

“Well they can’t lie to one another and it helps when one can feel the emotions one’s partner is feeling. There are fewer chances for misunderstandings.”

Bryan pressed his cheek to his Doms chest. “And they’ll die together too. No one left behind.”

Ducky looked down at his sub, his expression sad. “I’m sorry, Bryan. There is nothing I wish more than that I was twenty years younger. I love you so much, but if you decided you wanted to be with someone else, I would rescind your collar, I hope you know that. I would not have you tied to this old man if it is not what you want.”

The subs hand rushed to his neck and he shook his head harshly.

“I don’t want anyone else, Ducky. I love you, and I want to be with you, for as long as we have. It’s just…Sometimes I get a little scared about how I will cope and what will happen when…”

The older man turned onto his side, taking his lovers hands in his and kissing the knuckles tenderly.

“We’ll be married next month. That will give you an added layer of legal protection. I’ll tie up all my assets and the house, and put them in your name so you won’t be penniless. You’ll have support from our friends too. I’ve already asked Simeon to hold onto my will and investment portfolio until you are ready to take it on. If you are careful,” Ducky tapped Bryan on the nose, “And don’t spend it all on clothes and shoes, then there will be more than enough to keep you and the house for as long as you need.”

Bryan pressed his cheek to their joined hands. “I was wondering…would you ask Gibbs if he’d be willing to offer me a social guardianship collar…at least for a while. I don’t think Tony would mind and it would make me feel…”

“Safe…Gibbs has always made you feel safe.” Ducky lifted his subs chin and was upset to see a tear making its way down his cheek. “Oh my dear beautiful boy, of course I will ask him.” He rubbed his thumb over the tear track, following it with several little kisses.

“Now tell me, how far have we got with the guest list? Your mother was going to send you an email with their numbers, wasn’t she and we really need to start culling the lists if we’re going to keep it below 150…”

*****

“Hands on the headboard, and don’t move them,” Gibbs ordered, his voice hoarse with lust. A stab of sensation fired through his groin as Tony did exactly as he was told.

The subs body was slick with sweat and his eyes hazy with arousal. His big, thick cock was standing proud, newly ornamented by a platinum barbell through the PA piercing. It made Gibbs mouth water. He wanted that gorgeous cock in his ass, but he wasn’t sure how Tony was going to react. Jethro didn’t think he’d fucked anyone before.

He straddled the subs thighs, letting the other man feel his weight. He knew Tony loved the sensation.

“I going to prepare myself and then ride you till I come all over you. I want to feel you give it up, deep inside me. Then I’m going to spread my come on you – you can wear it for the rest of the day. You’ll smell like me, Tony…Mine.”

He saw the look of shock cross Tony’s face and Jethro wondered if maybe he’d have to change his plans. Then the sub gave a long, low moan. He was obviously into the idea.

“Yes…Yours. I’ve never…Master, whatever you want…”

Tony’s cock jerked and a stream of pre-come slid down the length. Jethro could resist leaning down and following it with his tongue. Tony gave a strangled cry as Jethro suckled softly at the swollen head and traced the slit with the tip of his tongue.

“You taste so good, Tony. Now, you are going to keep still until I tell you to move. You will hold that rail and give it up for me…understand?”

“Yes, Master.”

Gibbs flicked open the lube and coated his fingers. Lifting up onto his knees, he reached between his legs and began to roughly prepare his hole. Another time he would let Tony do this, or maybe he’d even wear a small plug for a few hours. He loved being fucked, loved the feeling of a cock in his ass. He knew it was something many Doms wouldn’t admit to, let alone allow but Gibbs thought they were all idiots. He looked down at Tony’s cock as it bobbed in time with Jethro’s rough pushes into his own hole. How could anyone turn down the chance to feel of all that inside them?

He skimmed over his prostate but didn’t give it any attention. He wanted to wait to feel Tony and that smooth ball of platinum as it pressed over the sensitive bundle of nerves.

He raked his gaze over his sub. Tony was panting as he watched his Dom, his lips wet as his tongue repeatedly swept over them. His pupils were black with a fine green rim and cheeks were flushed with arousal.

“You ready to fill me up, Tony. I’m going to use you to fill my hole.”

The sound Tony made was pure sex. His hands flexed on the headboard and Gibbs could see that he was battling to do as he was told.

“Do you want to touch me? Do you want to be the one stretching me out? You know how it feels, don’t you, to be filled up with cock.”

Tony cried out and Jethro realised that his words were turning his sub on almost beyond his ability to resist coming. It was time to ride his subs beautiful, hard cock.

He wiped his fingers on the sheet beside him and then scooted forward. Tony’s cock was hot and rock hard as Gibbs positioned it at his entrance.

He slowly sank down onto Tony, feeling every inch as the platinum ball grazed over the slick sides of his hole. The stretch and burn was intense, pulling a pleasured guttural grunt out of Gibbs. Finally, he could feel Tony’s balls snugged up against his ass cheeks and he rolled his hips, causing Tony to whimper and bite his bottom lip.

“Mine to bite, to kiss…whatever I want.”

Jethro leaned forward and claimed his mouth in a punishing kiss, ending with a sharp nip to his bottom lip.

Tony bucked up at the sensation and Gibbs eyes rolled up as his sub pushed deeper still inside him.

“Tell me, Tony,” he growled, panting heavily, “Tell me how it feels.”

“So hot…so…unh, unh…so tight around me.”

“You can move now, Tony. Push up into me.”

Tony bucked up with strength Gibbs didn’t know he had, fucking up into Gibbs as he sat down hard, the slap of their flesh a deliciously obscene accompaniment to the shocking stimulation of Tony’s cock inside him.

“I can’t…Gibbs…please say it.”

“You know you don’t have to wait for me,” Gibbs panted as he began to ride Tony without mercy to either of them, punishing his hole with the thick length of his subs cock. The rake of the piercing over his prostate was almost too much; white shards of pleasure/pain that arrowed up through his body and into his balls, and he could feel them tightening with anticipation.

Their bond began to hum with shared arousal and excitement. Gibbs could feel Tony’s need to come, tempered with his desire to wait. Gibbs never told Tony to hold on; he didn’t want to remind him of the years when he was completely denied the chance. He didn’t care if Tony came before he did, but the thought that he wanted to hold on for his Doms command made a sense of his own dominance build up, hot inside his gut. His hand flew to his own cock, and the feel of his fingers tightening around the head made him yell out.

“Gonna come on you, Tony, cover you with my come…mark you…Mine.

Tony’s head was rolling from side to side, his fingers curled so tightly against the wooden headboard that they were white with the strain. His hips snapped up to meet Gibbs, every muscle in his upper body pumped and bulging with tension as he fucked into his Dom. He was so beautiful, allowing Jethro to use him, own him, even as he was buried inside his Doms ass.

Suddenly it was all too much; the sight, sound, smell, feel of Tony, inside and outside his body, and greater still, inside his mind and soul. With a bellow of completion, Gibbs came hard, striping Tony’s belly with his come.

“Now…” He couldn’t manage anything else, his whole being was being ejaculated as the orgasm ripped yet another surge of intense pleasure that tore through him.

Tony’s back made a tense, arching bow as he fucked up into his Doms body one last time. He drew in a long gasp of breath and everything stopped for countless seconds. Gibbs fell forward as Tony relaxed and he could feel every pulse of his subs orgasm as Tony filled him with come.

“Love you,” he murmured as aftershocks skittered up his spine and made him shiver with reaction.

“Mmmmm.”

He lifted a heavy head and looked at his sub. Long lashes feathered over red flushed cheeks, his mouth parted as Tony panted through his own aftermath.

“Gorgeous…fucking gorgeous.”

*****

Tony didn’t know how long they’d been napping, but his arms ached a little above his head, where they still lay, obedient to his Doms command, although he was no longer gripping the slats.

His Dom was lying on top of him, his warm breath fluttering over Tony’s chest. Tony’s cock had softened and slipped from Gibbs body, but his Dom still straddled him. Tony knew he should wake Jethro up, his muscles would stiffen up otherwise, but he took a minute to just look at his Dom.

Jethro was everything Tony had never let himself imagine. Strong, honest in his desires, a haven for Tony’s still damaged psyche.

But he was holding back. Tony could feel it every time they made love, every time they were in a situation where his place as Gibbs sub was obvious, even in their own home. Tony knew he was damaged, knew there were places he couldn’t go…might never be able to go, because of the abuse he’d suffered, and because of that he knew Jethro was being careful with him. After all it was early days for them, especially as Tony was still finding out just what his Dynamic meant for him.

They fit together though, the sub was sure of that. Their Soulbond hummed with their inborn compatibility. Tony wanted Gibbs to be…his Master. He wanted to be held down, owned…maybe not cuffed and chained, that was too much like Ibu.

Tony looked up at the ceiling and sighed quietly. A flash of memory brought a picture to mind. He and Bryan had been trawling the internet when Tony had asked about Bryan’s Dynamic. During that session, they had flicked past a couple of photos that had made Tony’s heart race. In one, the sub was bound with dark green, silk cord. The pattern of the binding was beautiful, an art form in itself, and the knots were precisely placed. The sub’s arms and legs were almost completely encased in coils of the beautiful rope, his hard cock pushing up from between the strands. He was held fast – ensnared and waiting for his Dom to use him.

That was what he wanted, to be bound up physically and emotionally. Safe in the care of his Dom. Tony wanted that, but he wasn’t sure how to ask for it. And how would Gibbs react to his sub questioning his dominance? He shivered at the idea.

Gibbs head came up off his chest. His Dom looked soft and relaxed, his smile was so filled with love, tears prickled in Tony’s eyes and he felt a little ashamed of his doubts.

“You cold, love? We should get in the shower.”

A gleam came to his Doms eye. “I seem to remember the first time we spoke about your Dynamic, you had a fantasy about the shower.”

Tony groaned as his cock started to fill again, and as Gibbs rolled off him and gave him a dark sexy smile, he let the concerns retreat into the back of his mind.

*****

“It’s all set up, Gibbs. My contact is travelling to Japan as we speak. He was very receptive to the plan we came up with, and thinks he can definitely make it work.”

“That’s good news, Chris. Did he give you any kind of time frame?”

“He seemed to think that the Board at Okinawa B-C and a consortium of shareholders are already putting a great deal of pressure on Kobo to find new sources of financing. The news of Konosuke’s death has reached the DiNozzo Trust and the capital has been withdrawn, so every day their balance sheet is looking less and less healthy. The daily compound interest on a billion is not pocket change and despite his disgusting treatment of Tony, Ibu Senior was clever in his investments.”

“Which makes me very nervous about what happens when it eventually passes over to become my responsibility.”

“Don’t worry. I have contacts who are already dealing with those kinds of amounts daily. They will be happy to help, especially given your relationship with the Waverley’s and your Soulbond with Tony.”

“If Simeon says I can trust you to help us with it then that’s all I need. So how long are we talking before Kobo is back in the US?”

“Two weeks at the outside I think. Can you be ready in that time?”

“I’ll be ready. If we catch him unawares, there won’t be a problem. It would help if your contact could travel back with him so we know how much protection he has, although if the idiot he had ‘protecting’ Ando at the DC plant is anything to go by then we’ll have no issues.”

“OK, I’ll pass that on and be in touch.”

“Chris…Thanks.”

*****

Washington Dulles International Airport – Private Hanger – Two Weeks Later

The whole thing had been ridiculously easy. Chris Kelvin’s contact had dangled the lure and Kobo had fallen for it completely, his avarice superseding any sense of caution. He was arrogant in his belief that he was untouchable and had said as much to the plant. Gibbs didn’t care how invincible he thought he was, the hook was set and all they had to do was reel him in.

Abby had managed to get them a contact in Air Traffic Control and they’d just been informed that Ibu’s jet was a few minutes out. It would taxi into the private hanger where the team was staked out. Gibbs had flashed his NCIS badge at the Immigration Control Officers and muttered about National Security until they’d backed off. He was just hoping his big, bad, bastard act was enough to keep them from calling in to the Naval Yard.

He’d been keeping everything on the down low, especially from Director Morrow and he couldn’t afford anything to fuck things up at this late stage. This was their one and only chance, he knew that. If Ibu as much as caught a whiff of their involvement, they would never get him back in the country again, as well as making him a loose cannon; dangerous for Chris’s contact, but especially for Tony. Jethro didn’t think Kobo would stop until he had eradicated all the people he saw as being in his way.

As the news of the landing and imminent arrival of the jet came through his earpiece, Gibbs checked his Sig, releasing and reloading the magazine before shifting until he could feel the weight of his Model 37 in his ankle holster. Happy that he was as ready as he could be, he nodded over to Balboa and his team. The other Senior Agent tipped a little salute and then concentrated on the open doors of the hanger.

Jethro rolled his shoulders, trying to fall into the vaguely meditative state that sharpened his senses and made him the formidable foe that gave him legendary status, both in and out of NCIS. But he was distracted by McGee, who was crouched next to him. The man had been tense and fidgeting for the last hour.

“Be still,” Gibbs growled. “You need to focus, McGee. I don’t want you backing me up if you’re not focussed. This is going to go down fast.”

“Yes, Boss. I’m just…well, you see…I’ve…there’s something…”

Before the junior agent could get through his stammering statement, the sound of the taxiing jet blasted through the echoing hangar space. Gibbs put everything else out of his mind, as he zeroed in on the job at hand. The jet came to a halt in almost the optimum spot, as if the pilot was in on the sting with them. Gibbs held up a closed fist, indicating that everyone should hold, concealed, until his command. He watched as the plane’s door began to open and the steps unfolded.

First out was a big bodyguard, the bulge of a shoulder holster obvious under his jacket. Gibbs held his team in readiness. He didn’t want Ibu to have the opportunity to dive back in the jet and somehow get away. It was more dangerous to have all the occupants out in the open, and there was always a chance that one or more of them would be injured, but Gibbs knew the team was good and well able to deal with that kind of scenario.

The bodyguard took a cursory look around the hanger, but he was nowhere near as careful as he should have been. It seemed Kobo surrounded himself with people as sloppy as he was. The man called back into the jet in Japanese and the passengers began to disembark. First was a woman with straight blonde hair, who was dressed in expensive office wear. PA or secretary, Gibbs guessed.

She was followed a moment or two later by Kobo Ibu. The company website had been very informative, offering a headshot of the young businessman that would have been at home in a movie promo. He was definitely handsome, and Gibbs could see how anyone swayed by such things could be taken in by him…Siobhan was a case in point. He was talking, animatedly to a tall older man in a business suit; Chris’s contact. It was surprising to Gibbs that he recognised the man, but he didn’t know where from. He put the puzzle from his mind as the three passengers began to walk towards the VIP arrivals lounge attached to the hangar.

With a simple hand signal, the team moved in. The bodyguard didn’t even get his hand to his gun before Balboa had him on the ground and cuffed. The woman gave a little scream as McGee pulled her away from the other two men.

Gibbs kept a loose grip on his Sig as he walked towards Ibu. For a moment, he thought the man would run and the Dom inside him crowed at the possibility,

‘Yes, why don’t run little rabbit, let me take you out of the picture’.

But the sensible, rock-solid Agent knew that was the very worst case scenario. He didn’t want or need any fuss around this; not until he’d had a chance to take a crack at the Japanese man in interrogation.

The contact seemed to realise what was going to happen and grabbed Ibu’s arm.

“What is this, Kobo, what’s going on?”

He was a very cool customer and Gibbs guessed this wasn’t his first UC operation. That made him even more interesting.

Gibbs reached into his back pocket and flipped out his ID. “SSA in Charge Gibbs, NCIS. Kobo Ibu, I’m taking you in to NCIS headquarters where you’ll be questioned in the case of the attempted murder of Marine Corporal Mabbert.”

Ibu’s eyes blazed when Gibbs identified himself. “Gibbs…well how interesting to finally meet you. I think you have something of mine.”

It was all Gibbs could do not to ram his Sig down Ibu’s throat. It took a great effort of will not to snarl, but experience and training rang true, and he kept a blank look on his face.

“We haven’t met before, so I don’t see how that is possible.”

“You can’t hold me,” Kobo turned to their inside man. “Call my lawyers, Natalie has the contact details.”

Then he turned back to Gibbs with a sneer. “I’ll be back on this plane by the end of the day.”

Gibbs didn’t reply, but simply holstered his gun and took Ibu firmly by the arm. He looked over at their contact as they passed him being ‘detained’ by Balboa’s team. Jethro was impressed that his cover was so good that Ibu hadn’t even considered that he’d set him up.

The man gave Gibbs a terse nod behind Kobo’s back. There would be no call to Kobo’s lawyer and the contact would be turned loose just outside the airport.

Gibbs knew he was skirting the very edges of what he could get away with legally. He was just going to have to make use of Rule #18Better to ask forgiveness than permission.

And if the worst came to the worst, then he could just take Tony, and spend the ever increasing interest on his inheritance on an island somewhere, or a boat…Yeah, Gibbs liked the idea of a boat.

*****

The Waverley House

Nicola grinned at the sight of Tony, elbow deep in pasta dough, a dab of flour on his nose and more still down the front of his black t-shirt. She reflected that although he was obviously a grown man, (a gorgeous, fit, very taken, young man), that his excitement at undertaking new experiences was very open and childlike.

“Is that enough?”

“Yes, now it needs to rest for a while…30 minutes or so, while we start to prepare the sauce.”

Tony had asked that they cook while he was with her this morning. He knew Gibbs was involved in something for work, but he hadn’t been told exactly what. Nicola wasn’t sure that keeping it from Tony was the best course of action, but Jethro had been very firm about it. She supposed there was nothing Tony could do to help and knowing what was going on would really worry him. The young man had enough to deal with, she thought.

The dough was quickly wrapped in Saran and placed in the fridge. She was about to give Tony a knife and the onions to chop, when he stiffened and swallowed hard.

“Tony?”

“Gibbs is really pissed,” he blurted out, then blushed. “I’m sorry…”

Nicola grinned. “I’ve had five teenagers in this house, Tony. If you think ‘pissed’ is the worst I’ve heard then you’re sadly mistaken.” She chuckled. “In fact, your Dom has the foulest mouth I’ve ever heard and he doesn’t hold back, even here.”

Tony covered his mouth to hide his grin. “Yeah, I know.”

She saw him relax again and wasn’t sure whether to ask what he was getting along his bond.

“Hmm, he’s still angry but not so bad. That was almost painful. I wonder what happened?”

“I know how intense the emotions of your mate can be down the bond, Tony.” She watched as what she’d said filtered through.

“You and Sim…Mr Waverley?”

She bumped him with her shoulder. “You know what he’d say if you call him that to his face?”

Tony shook his head.

Nicola drew herself to full height and gave a very close physical impersonation of Simeon at his most pompous. “Mr Waverley is my father, Tony.”

“Yes,” came the owner of the voice, “And if you knew him, you’d understand why I don’t want to be associated with him.”

“Yeah, I know how that feels,” Tony muttered, his jaw tight with temper.

Simeon patted him on the shoulder consolingly. “But we are not our fathers, Tony. We are our own men and both of us have the opportunity to make something different of our lives than they wanted to force us into.”

Nicola never failed to be awed by her husband’s ability to distil a huge issue into the most concise phrase, and then have that phrase mean so much. She watched Tony grow taller as the sentiment hit home.

“I’ve been thinking…I haven’t talked to Gibbs about this yet, but…I don’t think he’d mind if I asked you…”

Nicola pulled him to sit at the kitchen table. “Gibbs has a rule about it being better to ask forgiveness than permission. I think anything you say here would come under that, unless he has forbidden you…?”

Tony frowned, “No nothing like that. He has a lot of rules. I’m trying to remember them all. Maybe I should write them down.”

Simeon gave a snort of laughter. “I think they would lose all their potency if they were written down. And of course that would mean Jethro couldn’t change them…I’m not even sure he knows what they all are.”

The smile that lit Tony’s face made Nicola smile in response. He really was a gorgeous man, and so…intrinsically good, despite all he had suffered. Anyone with a weaker personality would have at least fallen to PTNDS, if not a full psychosis.

“So, what were you thinking about?”

“I never went to school, after I was…after I went to Japan. I didn’t even have a tutor. Obaasan used to make sure the TV was on educational channels when I was in her room – unless she was watching a movie. I think she knew I needed to be…stimulated. Also, before he started training me intensively, I did have the chance to move around Ibu’s house. I found the library pretty quickly and there were a lot of Western books as well as Japanese. I read all the time, even hiding books under my bed to read at night. When my Ma…he began to train me, I wasn’t out of his sight unless I was with Obaasan, so that had to stop. I learned to speak the language by listening, but I can only read and write a little, as it’s hard without being able to practice.”

Simeon nodded in understanding. “That’s pretty impressive. Japanese is not an easy language to learn in any format.” He went to the fridge and pulled out three bottles of English beer, flipped off the caps with a butler’s friend and handed one to his wife. He held the other out to Tony who looked at it with wide eyes.

“It’s just a beer, Tony. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it.”

Tony took the bottle and sipped at the dark brew.

He grinned at Simeon. “That’s good.”

He took a longer swallow and then put the bottle gently on the table. “I want to learn stuff…everything. I want to know how to help Gibbs look after the money and I don’t understand the banking system, or about investments and stocks. I’ve been reading on the net, but I feel like…” He waved his hands in frustration.

“I think that’s a brilliant idea. What else do you want to know?” Nicola leaned forward, happy to see excitement in Tony’s eyes.

“I don’t want to be left behind, when Gibbs goes into NCIS. I know I might not be able to be an agent – I probably wouldn’t meet the psyche requirements. But I want to be able to work with him. I want to be there…in case…”

“Jethro is good at what he does, Tony. You must try not to worry too much. Yes, it is a job that carries some dangers, but Gibbs has lots of skills and experience.” Nicola reassured him.

“I’m not really scared of something really bad happening. If he dies then I will too, I won’t be left behind. But what if he’s injured and I could help him…with the bond. If I’m not with him, then he could be in pain or worse because I wasn’t there.”

Simeon squeezed his shoulder. “We understand, Tony. We know what it’s like. And you’re right. Having you right there if he was injured would mean you could help immediately. But you have to realise that Gibbs would be constantly concerned about you if you were with him at work.”

Tony gave an irritated huff. “I’m not fragile. I survived things people would never even think of for fourteen years. I don’t need to be constantly protected by everyone from the things you all think I’m afraid of. You shouldn’t have to babysit me just because Gibbs is at the office. He shouldn’t hold back when we…”

Tony froze in his seat as he realised he was about to say too much.

Nicola was trying to balance a surge of pride at Tony’s growing ability to make his own needs known, with her concern that Gibbs may be trying a little too hard to protect him. She was about to suggest that she talk to Jethro when her husband leaned meaningfully against her.

“You need to talk to Gibbs about this, Tony. Let him know how you are feeling. Things like this have a tendency to grow out of proportion if you let them fester and Jethro isn’t a mind reader, no matter what his super stealthy Agent skills and the way he translates your bond seem to indicate.”

He nodded at the beer on the table. “Now drink up and then you two need to get back to my Arrabiata. I can’t be expected to be brilliant in the Senate hearings tomorrow if I’m not sufficiently well-fed.”

She sent her husband a pulse of love and gave Tony a smile. “He’s right, and we need to get this on the stove. Tomato sauce likes to spend a long time bubbling away. You chop the onions and I’ll get everything else ready.”

The irritation cleared from Tony’s expression as quickly as it had come. He sipped at his beer and then helped her to clear the table.

“So onions can be a trial, but if you are careful how you peel them, you can stop yourself from crying too hard…”

*****

NCIS – Interrogation Room #3

The room was drab and claustrophobic and he’d been sitting there for over an hour. His temper had risen to astronomic heights and he was already plotting how he would make Gibbs pay.

He’d given up on doing anything to the Ama after the second attempt went so spectacularly wrong. His mistake had been trusting that the slut could be relied on to do the job she’d been given. He’d been blinded by her truly spectacular assets. Still the return of his expensive gifts and the proxy she’d signed for her bank accounts, meant that he wasn’t out of pocket. The money had kept a few of the more vocal shareholders quiet, at least for a few weeks until he could get his hands on the DiNozzo money. Patrick had made it very clear that he had found a loophole and Kobo was sure that once he was out of there and on his way home, then a way would be found to make it happen without him having to be in the US.

He wondered how Gibbs had found out he was jetting in. There were any number of ways he supposed, but the whole thing was pretty locked down. He leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head. The best way to fuck up Gibbs was through the Ama. He knew the bastard had the sub hidden away somewhere, but once the money was his then he could buy the best of help, and there would be nothing Gibbs could do to stop him.

He wouldn’t bother trying to kill him this time, though. No, he could use the little slut to grease a few palms. He didn’t know why he hadn’t thought of it before. It would have saved him a lot of irritation. It would only take a few parties where his father’s parody of an Eitaro would entertain his guests with the tea ceremony and his expert playing of the shamisen. Then afterwards he would become the plaything of any and all who wanted him.

Alternatively, he could keep the pretty Ama for himself. He’d never been allowed a chance to fuck it, his father was too protective of his property. Kobo began to spin a little daydream where he used the sub over and over, slicing into him with his knife before fucking him using his own blood for lubrication, while a drugged and restrained Gibbs looked on. It made his cock begin to firm in his pants.

Revenge – it really was the best aphrodisiac.

*****

NCIS – Observation, Interrogation Room #3

Tim McGee nodded to the tech and with the press of a button the bank of red lights on the recording equipment turned green. The Agent fidgeted anxiously in front of the two-way mirror, as Gibbs left to enter the room below, where Ibu had been cooling his heels for over four hours.

His concern wasn’t for his Boss or the outcome of the interrogation. The man could make the hardest of Marines crack and leave them crying for their mommies like a five-year-old. It didn’t matter how hard he tried, McGee could never quite achieve the interrogatory intensity of the older Agent. He tended to work with his intellect – using facts to entrap his suspects. Gibbs just seemed able to intimidate them into confession.

No, Tim’s worry came from a message he’d left and the subsequent response. He couldn’t decide whether he was going to be a hero or a dead man. The tight pinch around his cock and balls was a constant reminder of his last failure. He wasn’t sure what Gibbs would do to him if Tim had got it wrong this time.

“Heads up,” the tech murmured, as Gibbs strode into the interrogation room, “Show’s about to start.”

Tim mustered a nervous smile. As Gibbs slammed the file down on the table in front of a smirking Ibu, the door of the observation room opened. Tim felt the blood leach from his face leaving him feeling light-headed, as a security guard ushered a visitor into the room.

“Sir…”

The visitor shook his head and gestured at the mirrored wall with his head. Understanding, McGee turned back to his observation, swallowing hard at the bile that burned his throat.

*****

NCIS – Interrogation Room #3

Gibbs moved the chair away from the table and sat down, his movements spare and unhurried. He placed a thick file on the desk. It was artificially padded with expense forms, and inter-office memos, although there were a few items in there that were pertinent to the case, however unofficial his investigation was.

A 10 x 8 of the envelope that had held the Y. Pestis was the first item out of the file. He turned it with the tips of his fingers so Ibu could plainly see the name written on the front.

“This was passed to Marine Corporal Neil Mabbert, by an associate of yours…”

Gibbs made an act of checking his notes. He wasn’t sure if Ibu was aware of Siobhan’s links to him and didn’t want to give him even the slightest snippet of information that might help him to weasel out of his culpability.

“…Siobhan Fielding.”

Ibu didn’t look at the photo, maintaining his supercilious smirk and returning Gibbs gimlet stare. Jethro wasn’t concerned. He’d glared down meaner SOB’s in this very room many times. This little pissant was no contest.

“I will not answer any questions without my lawyer. You have no grounds to hold me and I assure you, as soon as I am out of here, I will make sure you regret every moment you have held me, Agent Gibbs.”

Gibbs gave him a feral grin that he knew gave him a slightly insane look, and he watched as the other man’s breath hitched slightly.

‘Yes, you bastard. You’re not as confident as you’re projecting, and you’re well aware that I’m the bigger predator’.

He slid out an evidence baggie containing the actual letter Siobhan had passed on to Tony. Just looking at the little slip of paper that had almost meant death to his sub made Gibbs want to fly across the table and ram his fist down Kobo’s throat. The other man’s eyes nervously followed the gentle movement of the transparent bag, as Gibbs idly pushed it in small figure eights around the table with the tip of one finger.

“You know Tony DiNozzo, of course…the sub your father bought for $500,000 when he was just twelve years old and then proceeded to consistently abuse for the next fourteen years. I’m sure you had many opportunities to see him…up close.”

Kobo wet his dry lips with a quick flick of his tongue. “I don’t know what all this is about and it has nothing to do with me. Yes, I will admit I know the Ama,” Ibu’s face took on a sickly avaricious look. “I never got to share it; my chichi was a little…loath to lend it out, only using it to cement relationships with the heads of other businesses when it would benefit us. I think once its status as the property of my family has been agreed with the DiNozzo family lawyers, then I will have all the chances I need to…sample it.”

Gibbs shut himself down so hard, so quickly, it was a wonder there wasn’t an audible sound. There was a millisecond of ‘want’ where he could see Kobo’s blood on his hands, could hear the sound of his last breath as he squeezed it from his throat. But Gibbs was in control, his armour thick, his will titanium plated and he didn’t show one flicker of reaction to Ibu’s taunts.

He waited to see if the other man would say more; if his gloating would make him careless. What Jethro saw shocked him more than the words that spilled from him. Kobo’s pupils dilated and he licked at his lips – not in an overt gesture, but as an unconscious reaction to growing arousal.

“My father was always so careful with it…treated it like a pet,” he husked out, his breath coming in little pants. “I would not be so…considerate. The Ama needs to be taught its place. It needs to be marked again with the kiss of my knife. It will bleed for me.”

Kobo’s eyes glazed with lust at the idea.

Anyone with less knowledge and experience than Gibbs might have thought he was being goaded, but the psychologist in him could see the deeply psychotic nature of the Japanese man. He was dangerous; not just to Tony, but to anyone who ever dared to provoke him or challenge his worldview. Jethro knew if this man managed to get out from under the charges he was planning to bring, then there would only be one thing to do – put him down like the animal he was, and Gibbs had a bullet ready with his name on it.

He knew he needed to get a real reaction out of Ibu. The sick recitation just highlighted how dangerous he was, but didn’t give Gibbs any legal reason to hold him, let alone charge him. He needed Kobo to admit to his part in the plague letter in order to make a case against him.

With clear movements, he pulled apart the edges of the evidence bag and reached inside. Ibu’s reaction was immediate and extreme. He leapt to his feet, pushed the table away with the heels of his hands, and scooted away into the corner of the room, his chair skittering after him.

“Are you mad? Do you know what you have done, what you have exposed us both to?” Kobo gabbled. He pressed one hand over his mouth and nose, and held the other out in supplication, sliding to sit with his back pressed against the wall.

“Put it back…I’ll tell you…I’ll tell you everything…Just put it back and take me to another room. I need broad spectrum antibiotics, a top pulmonologist…You stupid, fucking bastard, you’ve killed me!”

Gibbs picked up the envelope and walked over to the cowering man. As he got closer, Kobo began to kick out, desperately fending off Gibbs approach.

“I thought you didn’t know anything about this,” Gibbs mused as he pressed the edges of the envelope open, allowing a fine white powder to trickle from it. He huffed out a breath, which sent the particles floating across Ibu’s prone body.

The other man was gibbering in fear, his eyes wide with panic. Gibbs knew he had him and was just about to administer the verbal equivalent of a killing blow, when the door to the room flew open and Director Morrow strode in, his face thunderous with rage.

“Agent Gibbs, you will stop this interrogation immediately. It is not in the best interests of either you or the Agency for it to continue. You are to release Mr Ibu immediately. His jet is ready to depart Dulles on his arrival there.”

Jethro turned a glare of such intensity and loathing on Tom Morrow that the Director took an involuntary step back.

“You need to listen to what we have…” he stated.

“No Agent, you need to do as I order…your position in this Agency is already in grave doubt, don’t make it any worse by trying to make excuses or false accusations.”

Morrow placed his hand under Ibu’s arm, dragged him up onto his feet, and began to hustle him out of the door.

Kobo’s eyes went wild with manic glee. “I told you…told you that you couldn’t hold me. I have friends, I am a very important man.” His face took on a vicious sneer as he ranted, spittle flying from his lips. “And when I have destroyed you, I will have the Ama and it will bleed for me. There is nothing you can do to stop me, Gibbs.”

Jethro thought he might just have a stroke from the rage building in his chest. A small part of him was concerned that Tony would be getting the white hot anger through their bond and knowing his sub, jumping to the wrong conclusions about the reasons. He didn’t know whether to throw the table across the room, punch Tom Morrow or just rip Ibu to shreds with his bare hands. There was a scream building in his throat and he struggled to breathe through the furor in his head.

“He may not be able to do anything…but I can.”

Gibbs eyes zeroed onto the speaker – a tall well-dressed Japanese man standing just outside the room. The contempt in his expression was focussed completely on Kobo Ibu. While Jethro had no idea who the man was, Ibu obviously knew and feared him, as witnessed by the wet spot growing on the front of his pants and the acrid smell of urine.

“Master…Master Roku, I am being victimised by this rokudenashi. You have to know…”

The other man stopped him with a slice of his hand across the air between them.

“What I know is that you, and your father, have dishonoured our House. Your oath as marked Jentoruātsu Masters promised lifelong adherence to the Seven Virtues of Bushidō; Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honour  and Loyalty.  Those who we allow to train their Eitaro, do so keeping those virtues in the forefront of their minds. Your father’s actions brought Jentoruātsu into disrepute, and your subsequent behaviour has shamed us and broken our faith. I find nothing of value in you. Konosuke is beyond my reach now, but you will face Samurai no kokoromi…

He looked over at Gibbs, his eyes glinting with righteous anger, “…Trial of the Samurai in the name of your family. Your punishment will be subject to the will of your peers.”

Roku made a small gesture, and from nowhere two heavyset men entered the room. They bracketed Ibu, locking their hands around his upper arms and dragged him away down the corridor.

The Master of Jentoruātsu Pleasure House bowed deeply to the Director.  “Master Morrow, I apologise for my interruption in the work of your Agency, but I have been in contact with both Agent Gibbs and Agent McGee, regarding the specifics of this case, as both father and son were Marked Masters of my House. I cannot allow the actions of Konosuke and Kobo Ibu to continue to besmirch the ancient and honoured name of Jentoruātsu. I am grateful you allowed Agent Gibbs to bring this whole distasteful issue to a head.”

Gibbs had to admit the guy had a way with words – and with moulding the facts to fit his own version of events.

Morrow looked sick to his stomach. “Master Roku, while I am aware of your rights over the Marked Doms of your House, you have to realise that I have orders from…above,” he explained weakly.

“Director, if you will give me a moment.”  Roku pulled out a sleek silver phone that looked like something from the Sci-Fi films Tony had recently taken to watching. He flipped it open and spoke a single word. Dialling tones could be heard clearly and then there was a long stream of Japanese from both sides. Roku’s voice was hard and uncompromising, most of the conversation coming from him.

Only moments later he closed the phone with a sharp snap and pushed it back into the inside pocket of his, no doubt obscenely expensive, designer suit. “There, everything is in order. If you would care to contact your superiors, you will find that Ibu has been given into my custody. He will be held by my…associates, until I return to Yokohama tomorrow.”

The expression of relief that crossed Morrow’s face almost made Gibbs laugh aloud. With only a few words of thanks to the Japanese Master, and a glare at Gibbs that promised a conversation in his future, the Director almost ran from the room to gain his absolution from the powers that be.

“Many thanks, Master Roku,” Gibbs said, his voice still edged with anger. “Kobo Ibu is…deranged and very dangerous.”

“There is much for us to discuss, Master Gibbs, but this is not the time. I would visit with you, and your submissive. There are things that need to be said and plans that need to be made.”

Gibbs couldn’t help clenching his fists at his sides. Did the man mean to try to take Tony from him?

My submissive has been through a great deal and I will only allow you to see him if he agrees and you recognise that Tony is…fragile at the moment.”

The other man gave a shallow bow and met Jethro’s eyes with a knowing look.

“Master Gibbs, please believe I would do nothing to traumatise your submissive further. But I would be honoured if you would allow me to meet with him.”

There was nothing in the Master’s voice or bearing that made Jethro mistrust him; his gut said it wasn’t a problem, but for once, Gibbs found it hard to even trust in himself. He looked away from the earnest gaze of the other man, studying his feet for a few moments as he gathered his thoughts.

Finally, he nodded. “OK. Should we come to your hotel?”

Roku shook his head slightly. “My hotel is very…public and Kobo will be held there. Do you think Tony would be happier in his own home, perhaps?”

Gibbs was pleased at the consideration of the Pleasure Master and it was true that Tony would find it easier in familiar surroundings. He gave a small smile and, quickly gathering all the knowledge he had squirrelled away about Jentoruātsu so many years ago, he bowed carefully.

“I would be honoured if you would grace my home with your esteemed presence.”

The Pleasure Master looked pleased at how formally the invitation was couched, and bowed deeply in return. Gibbs was relieved he hadn’t insulted or antagonised the man. After all he had single-handedly removed the imminent danger to Tony. He still wasn’t sure what there was to talk about, but he was willing to let his sub meet the Master of Jentoruātsu, if only for him to see what a beautiful man Tony was, despite how cruelly he had been treated.

“Very well. I will attend your home at 6.30 this evening. I’m sure young Agent McGee will be able to furnish me with the address for my driver.” He gestured to the doorway.

Gibbs looked over to see a very nervous and pale McGee standing in the corridor and he nodded his agreement to the young Agent. With movements both elegant and spare, Master Roku left the room without another word.

McGee rushed to follow him, but then turned back, his expression puzzled. “B…Boss…”

“What is it, McGee?” Gibbs was not in the mood for the Switch and his nervous babbling.

“W…well…I know there was nothing left in that envelope. Abby removed all the residual powder and irradiated the envelope…that’s why you could have it in the room…So what was that you blew all over him?”

Gibbs smirked as he pushed his hands into the pockets of his pants.  “About ten of those little paper packets of Canderel…A little ‘sweetener’, you might say.”

A huge grin split Tim’s face and a loud guffaw of laughter gusted down the corridor from Master Roku.

“Oh Master Gibbs, I think I am going to like you,” he called.

At a ‘get on with it’ gesture from Gibbs, McGee hurriedly turned to catch Roku, but before he’d got more than a couple of steps, Gibbs barked his name. Tim only just caught the object his Boss threw at him, and he cautiously opened his hand to find a shiny padlock key.

“You did good, kid,” Gibbs said gruffly. “Now go do what you were told, before I change my mind.”

He watched as McGee disappeared down the corridor with a definite spring in his step, before he walked back into the room, planning to collect up the spilled contents of the file. As he surveyed the wrecked room, Gibbs gave a wry smile. No doubt, he would have at least one fraught interview with the Director, if not SecNav, but it was worth it to know the danger to Tony was almost over. This was not the outcome he’d expected; it wasn’t an outcome he could have imagined in his wildest dreams, but he was happy with it – very happy indeed.

Chichi – father 

Rokudenashi – bastard

***** 

The Gibbs House – Same Day 

The desk was strewn with papers of all sizes and types. Nicola watched from the doorway as Tony sorted two or three documents into a haphazard pile and then, after making what looked like random patterns on the tabletop with his fingertips, he scribbled down something on a pad of yellow legal paper.

Wondering what he was up to, she stepped closer. Gibbs had asked her to be with Tony while he was involved in…something. Nicola hadn’t asked, but she got the impression it was to do with Kobo Ibu. Jethro had explained that he would be busy from early morning, but that he would be back in time to collect Tony for their afternoon meeting with the lawyers overseeing the DiNozzo Trust.

She’d said goodbye to Jethro, still half asleep herself, unused to such early mornings. Gibbs had told her Tony was awake, so after pouring a cup of coffee for both of them, she’d wandered up to the first floor to find the sub. It was a big day for young DiNozzo and she expected he’d be nervous, but instead of pacing the floor, he was busy working on the mound of paperwork.

A quick peek over his shoulder at the pad didn’t help. There were just lines of characters, which she took to be Japanese, and some lists of numbers. He looked over at her and gave a big smile at the coffee she held out, accepting it gratefully.

“You know I’m not sure Jethro has done you a favour enabling your new caffeine addiction.”

“But it’s so gooooood!”

She snorted at the blissful look on his face. In the time she had spent with him over the last few weeks, she had seen him becoming more confident, and relaxed around her. She thought her lack of Dynamic, and also the trust Gibbs showed in allowing her to be with Tony were the factors which let him…let go of some of the ingrained behaviours he had shown at first.

“What are you up to?”

Tony’s face took on an expression of both excitement and surprise at her interest.

“I was talking to Jethro about our meeting this afternoon, and I mentioned that I didn’t have any idea how a simple bank account works, let alone complex investments. So he gave me the file about the bequest from Chris, and his own financial documents to look at and he also pointed me at the laptop. Luckily Bryan had already taught me that ‘Google is my friend’, because to be honest, Jethro doesn’t have a clue.”

Tony indicated the mess on the desk with a sweep of his hand.

“These are his statements from his checking and savings accounts, receipts, copies of the forms from last year’s taxes, his investment portfolio…everything. It was in a real mess and I thought…” he bit his lip. “I could see how it could be organised more sensibly. I was also concerned that some of the balances didn’t look right, so I did some research on the internet and, when I had a handle on it I started checking everything in the file. I thought it would be a good way to see how everything fits together.”

Nicola was intrigued. How could this young man, who had next to no education, begin to understand the complexities of Gibbs finances?

“And what have you found?”

In the next ten minutes, Tony proceeded to blow Nicola’s mind. He had not only organised the paperwork, but he had uncovered a couple of minor mistakes in Jethro’s checking account. More importantly, he had made some discoveries about the investment account, which meant that Gibbs had been denied several thousand dollars of interest on one part of his portfolio.

“Wow! And you say you can just ‘see’ that it’s wrong,” she mused as his explanation came to an end.

“Well, Obaasan taught me my numbers and how to use the soroban, so sometimes when I was in Ibu’s office, I would be able to use what I knew, listen to the conversations, and sometimes even see the documents they were talking about. He didn’t know I could read a little Japanese and so he was pretty careless about what he left around. I realised then that I could divine the…patterns in the numbers and how some of the financial stuff worked.”

Soroban?”

Tony’s head dipped a little and he made the odd little finger movements on the table again.

“It’s called an…” he seemed to grope for the right word. “…an abacus. Obaasan had a small one she was given as a child. She used to hide it under her chair so that when I was kneeling next to her I could practice, and easily push it out of sight if someone came in. She told me once, that Japanese children are taught to use a soroban physically and then to imagine it so that it makes mental math easier. I was determined to learn how to do it. She helped me with little exercises until finally I mastered it. I’m glad I did because…”

Tony’s face went soft with sorrow. Nicola reached out to squeeze his arm and he leaned into her for a moment.

“When Obaasan died, it was like my only friend was gone. Ibu left me with her three or four times a week and they were the only times I didn’t feel like an …Ama.”

“She sounds wonderful.”

He looked over at her, his eyes shining with unshed tears. “She was very old, but she did everything she could to make my life…better, you know? There were a couple of times at first that she would try to tell Ibu that what he was doing was not honourable, but then he didn’t leave me with her for almost a month. After that she didn’t question him again.”

“I suppose she thought it was better for her to support you, than to make it more difficult by fighting him,” Nicola mused.

Tony nodded sadly. “She died just four weeks before we came to DC. I wasn’t allowed to go to her funeral, but I kept vigil on my own the first night. I pretended to be asleep until Konosuke left to sit by her body, but then I stayed awake all night and gave my own thanks for her. There was nothing else I could do.”

“It was all you had, Tony and listening to what she did for you, I’m sure she would have been honoured that you cared for her so much that you would risk defying him.”

She could see from the flickering of his gaze that Tony was ready to stop talking about it, so she deflected his attention once again to the notepad.

“So I understand about the irregularities you’ve found, but what are the long numbers?”

“They’re account numbers. I thought it would be useful for Jethro if we had all his financial information to hand this afternoon.” He turned back a page, and she saw a list of bank names and addresses, alongside relevant phone and account numbers.

“I’ve also studied the file with the information that Madame Kelvin,” he blushed slightly and cleared his throat. “…I mean Chris, gave Gibbs. I think I understand the basics of the Trust and the bequest. There are several possible investment brokers who she says we can trust and I think Simeon put in some legal contacts too.”

“It looks to me like you’re ready for this afternoon. You’ve done a brilliant job with this. I could do with someone like you to be my PA at the San – I’d get a lot more done if I didn’t have to wade my way through stuff like this.”

She watched a pleased smile cross Tony’s face, which quickly turned thoughtful.

“Do you really think I could do something like that?”

“I think you’re going to be a very wealthy man, Tony. You won’t need to work.”

“But I want to. Gibbs won’t stop working and I don’t want to be left sitting at home like some pampered sub from one of those TV soaps. I can’t work with Gibbs. Even though I’ll hate not being at NCIS with him, I know I can’t ever be an Agent. But maybe I could work in the offices…or something…Gah!” He scrubbed his hand through his hair in frustration. “I don’t know anything. My whole life has just prepared me to be a sub and not even a good one.”

Nicola frowned. “What makes you think you aren’t a good sub, Tony?”

Tony shook his head and the psychologist thought he seemed feel guilty about what he’d said. She didn’t want to push him, this wasn’t a session after all, but it was obviously concerning him, and she didn’t want him to go into the meeting that afternoon feeling defensive. She was also aware that his frustration would be echoing along the bond, which in turn could put Jethro off his game.

“I…I think Jethro is holding back, not just in bed, but in our lives. I know he’s worried that he might stir up bad memories, or something. But I know it’s him, Nicola. I could never mix him up with Ibu.”

He tapped on his temple and smiled wryly. “Not with this connection. I mean, right now he’s getting pissed off with McGee.”

Nicola was shocked. “How do you know…you can’t…hear him, can you?”

She hoped not, that would be a level of connection she’d never heard of before and would be enough to send someone mad.

Tony snorted, “No, thank god. No, it’s just whenever he talks about McGee I get a particular feeling down the bond. I’m getting it now along with general ‘pissed off’ vibes, so I’m guessing McGee is getting his ass chewed.”

Nicola couldn’t help the giggles that erupted. Yeah, she could see that little scene.

When she’d calmed down, she turned back to Tony’s lists.

“I think you need to talk to Jethro about how you are feeling; he’d want to know. But it can wait until after your meeting this afternoon. Things will probably feel more settled after that. As for the PA thing – well we can talk to Jethro about that too. You could perhaps come to work with me for a month and then see if you’d like to take it further. I know there are online courses and on-the-job training…”

She stopped when a huge hug enveloped her. She had to admit Tony was strong and felt really, really fit. She could feel faint tremors as he struggled with his emotions. She swallowed down her own feelings and returned the hug, a little more gently.

“It’s OK. Why are you upset?”

He pulled away from her hold, sheepishly rubbing a hand across suspiciously damp eyes. “Thank you…thank you for taking me seriously.”

“It’s not hard, Tony. The work you’ve been doing here is seriously impressive. I have a couple of file cabinets in the office you can weave your magic on. We have family dinner in a couple of days. We could all discuss it then.”

With another flash of his beautiful smile, Tony turned back to the piles of paperwork on the table and began organising, talking as he did so. As Nicola watched, she could understand how that elderly grandmother would risk anything to give him something to hang onto. She sent up a little prayer of thanks to Obaasan and hoped she could see what the risk she had taken had achieved.

*****

Offices of The Granville Rhodes Partnership – 1430

“I’m not sure why you felt the need to bring the submissive to this meeting Master Gibbs. Nothing we have to say here will affect him.”

The lawyer’s gaze flicked over Tony’s collar dismissively.

Tony wasn’t sure whether to be angry or to feel sorry for the two lawyers sitting across the massive boardroom table. Gibbs was at his toppiest and the men didn’t stand a chance.

“We are here to discuss the inheritance that Antonio Archangelo DiNozzo was bequeathed in his father’s will, is that correct?”

Both men nodded in tandem.

“But…” the larger of the two, ‘Granville’, Tony remembered, tried to interject.

Gibbs was having none of it. “Well then I would think he is the most important person here today.”

The fact that Jethro thought him important made warmth swell in Tony’s chest and he sent a pulse of thanks and love down the bond. Gibbs reached out and blatantly took his hand, intertwining their fingers.

“Master Gibbs, the su…Mr DiNozzo will not have any power over the disbursement of the money; he will not have any options with regard to your use of it. I don’t see what…”

“Tony, why don’t you tell these fine…gentlemen, what you’ve found out about the bequest.”

Gibbs squeezed Tony’s hand even as it began to shake a little with nerves. Jethro had told him to be aware of the full scope of the Trust and its disbursement, and he’d studied everything Simeon and Chris had given them and then related it to Jethro. He was shocked that his Dom expected him to be the one speak about it.

A calm feeling of confidence and surety suddenly settled over him and he quickly realised it was coming from his Dom. He squared his shoulders and looked straight at the men opposite.

“The DiNozzo Trust is subject to a Trattenuto del famiglia clause. As I understand it, and you are well aware, that means that the capital amount, while held by my Dom, is not available for disbursement. Investments are in the oversight of the Trust appointed lawyers. Any interest on those investments however, is signed over to Master Gibbs for whatever use he may decide.”

Tony looked down at the file Jethro had been given on their arrival, and his Dom pushed it across the desk to him, a proud and pleased expression on his face. Tony gave him a tiny smile and then turned back to the rather poleaxed lawyers across the table.

“Now, we haven’t had an opportunity to see Konosuke Ibu’s portfolio of investments before now, and of course we will be taking advice from the investment professionals indicated in our own proposals,” he pointed at the file they had in front of them. “But I would imagine we will pull much of the asset allocation away from Japanese interests, particularly Okinawa Bio-Chem, and bring them back here into the US. Once we have an opportunity to study this report fully, we will be able to get into more detail. I feel, given the present economic climate, we will probably look to T-Bonds and other fixed interest securities that will protect the greater part of the principle while at the same time offering a good rate of interest, which we will invest subject to our own needs.”

Tony sat back in his chair, his heart racing. He understood what he had said, was pretty sure it was all sound, but he was waiting for someone to jump up and call him stupid. Once again a pulse came down the bond, but this time it was filled with such overwhelming pride, that Tony’s throat grew thick with emotion.

The elder of the two lawyers, Rhodes, leaned forward and studied Tony for such a long time that Gibbs almost growled at him. Tony felt like giggling at the coiled tension in his Dom. He was ready for a fight that was for sure.

“I did not know you’d had some financial training, Mr DiNozzo. That was not indicated in our files. We were under the impression that you had decided not to undergo a college education.”

The inference there had been any choice in his education or his life rocked Tony and he could feel his anger growing. Who were these men to make judgements on him? They didn’t know him; didn’t know what he’d been through, what he’d suffered…

“Tony was not allowed to attend college. He was kept as a slave by Konosuke Ibu, after being sold to the man by his own father at twelve years old.”

Shock and outrage filtered over the faces of both Granville and Rhodes, and that settled Tony’s anger a little.

“He was abused and victimised consistently, until Ibu died, at which point his son Kobo made two attempts on Tony’s life. None of the interest was used for his education, or any other comforts. To Ibu and his family Tony was merely a commodity. That will not be the case now he is my collared submissive and Soulmate,” Gibbs growled.

His tone was just the right side of menacing and it made Tony shiver a little. He loved it when Jethro went all Ultra-Dom.

Once again, Granville looked to his notes. “Soulmate you say…you mean you have a life bond? How is that possible when you have only been together for…six weeks?”

“We have a spontaneous Soulbond, Mr Granville.” Tony explained. He didn’t feel the sharp look he got from Rhodes was at all warranted. He could almost see the elderly man’s disapproval that he had spoken ‘out of turn’ or without permission. Well, Jethro was smirking at him now and that was all the permission he needed.

“That is beside the point, and not necessary for our claim on the Trust. My submissive will be involved in every area of my life. While I understand under the terms of the bequest he cannot be named on anything pertaining to the principle, the Trust has no oversight on my decisions regarding the interest.”

‘So fuck you’, Tony thought. Jethro was completely right. Simeon had reassured them, no matter how hard the Trust lawyers fought it, Tony could not be prevented from accessing the interest if Gibbs gave permission.

“I have another appointment this evening, so I would like to get this transaction completed ASAP.”

Gibbs gathered up the lawyers file and opened it, pulling out the document that required his signature. Tony had to admire his Dom. The man was about to sign to say he would be responsible for a billion dollars. Inside and therefore through their bond, he was a mass of anxiety and concern. From the outside, however, he was cool and in control. Granville and Rhodes were completely taken in, falling over themselves to agree with his last statement and scrawl their signatures in the proper places.

“As we already have links with your chosen investment brokers and have been contacted by your lawyers, the full information on the Trust will be forwarded by close of business tonight.” Rhodes stood and held out his hand to Gibbs. Tony wanted to giggle when the lawyer winced at the tight grip of his Dom

“We will be in regular contact with your representative, Master Gibbs, but if there is any way we can be of service, please let us know.” Granville shook Gibbs hand, but he also nodded over to Tony, which made the sub feel a little less animosity towards him.

Moments later they were in the private elevator of the high-rise office building, and Gibbs had Tony trapped against the polished wood lining the car. One hand was in his hair and the other pressed hard against his ass as he devoured his mouth in an overwhelming kiss. Tony could feel the long, hard heat of his Doms cock branding his thigh, even through two layers of fabric. His own erection was full and urgently requiring his Doms full attention. With a firm yank on Tony’s hair, Jethro bared his neck and licked the strip of skin just below his collar before sucking on it hard. Tony could feel the blood being brought to the surface. The knowledge that he was being marked by his Dom made him cry out as the sensory overload threatened to make him lose control.

“Gibbs, I’m…oh fuck…close…so close.”

“You coming in your pants, boy, just from my mouth on you, marking you?”

Tony could hear the gloating in his Doms voice.

“Yes…yes Master…”

Gibbs reached over and hit the emergency stop button. The car shuddered to a halt and an alarm immediately began to buzz, but Gibbs ignored it as he quickly unzipped Tony’s pants.

Tony thought he might pass out when Gibbs hand closed around his aching cock. He rocked desperately into his Doms hold. The older man spun him around so they were chest to back and plunged his hand back into Tony’s thick hair. Once again, he manoeuvred Tony’s head and proceeded to place another mark on the opposite side of his neck, while mercilessly stroking his cock in a hard, fast rhythm.

Just as Tony thought his Dom might make him come without permission (although Jethro always said none was needed, Tony wanted to be told) Gibbs lifted his head and growled a single, oh so welcome, word into his ear.

Come.”

Tony’s release went clear across the car, and he felt his knees begin to give out as shock after shock of orgasm lanced through him. Gibbs was relentless, keeping up his hard strokes until Tony was mewling at the over-stimulation, all the time holding Tony hard against him. Finally, he moved his hand away and lifted it to Tony’s mouth. If the sub could have come again, that erotic move would have made it happen. He lapped at Gibbs hand until it was clean, by which time his knees were his own again.

This is building security, is there a problem. Do you require assistance?”

“No,” Gibbs breathed hotly into Tony’s ear, “We managed quite well on our own.”

Tony’s gales of laughter made it hard to zip back up and tidy himself as Gibbs reassured security and flicked off the emergency stop. By the time the elevator finally reached the ground floor, he was almost in control. That was until the doors opened to a worried looking security guard. At that point he could hardly manage to walk for laughing, and then to his joyful wonder and surprise, Gibbs joined him.

*****

The Gibbs House – 18.25

Gibbs felt the levels of anxiety as they crept up, through merely worried to almost abject panic. Tony was sitting on the couch, perfectly still, and Jethro could feel the sub was desperate to get on his knees. But he was just as determined that Tony should not. He wasn’t happy about him kneeling to anyone else and Roku was not his Pleasure Master. Tony may have been trained in some of the disciplines of Jentoruātsu, but he was not a marked sub of that house. While it was right that he should show the Japanese Dom respect, there were lines Jethro was not willing to cross.

He had told Tony about the visit on their way home from the meeting at Granville Rhodes, and his sub had gone so pale Gibbs thought he might actually vomit. Luckily they had only been a few minutes from home, but there was only an hour before Master Roku was due to arrive, so Jethro hadn’t had long to get him settled down. He’d given Tony the option to cancel, reassuring him that Master Roku knew he was only welcome if Tony agreed. His sub had thought about it for a few minutes and then decided that he would like to meet the Jentoruātsu Master, and that his anxiety would only increase if they put him off.

Jethro also thought his sub was as curious about the Japanese man as the Dom was about Tony.

If he’d felt more comfortable with cuffing his sub, he would have restrained him for a while, taken him down. Unfortunately, he was still battling with his concerns and fears for Tony’s psychological well-being. After all, it had only been a few weeks since Tony had been released from Ibu’s clutches, and there were so many waiting traps and pitfalls he knew nothing about.

So, he’d herded Tony into the shower and let the sub suck him off on his knees. He could feel the calm descend on Tony as he worshipped his Doms cock with lips and tongue, while his clever fingers pressed into Jethro’s ass, teasing his prostate. The resultant orgasm had calmed Gibbs too, but he hoped Roku would be on time as neither of them would cope with any delay.

Gibbs knew he could camouflage his own concern from the other Dom, but Tony was easy to read. Added to that, the continuous feedback of the bond meant that when both of them were worried it bounced back and forth, driving the anxiety even higher.

A firm tap at the door made Tony stiffen. Gibbs kissed him gently while running his finger over Tony’s collar.

“He’s just here to visit. You are my sub. I won’t let anyone change that.”

Tony returned the kiss, a little desperately. He jumped to his feet as Jethro stood.

“You do not kneel, unless I tell you to, understand? You kneel to no one but me.”

Tony’s shoulders relaxed a little and he knew he’d said the right thing.

“Yes, Master.”

Master Roku bowed deeply when Gibbs opened the door. He was once again immaculately dressed, but in a different suit. This one was black with silver pinstripes and it accentuated his lean physique and height.

“Welcome to my home, Master Roku.”

“I am honoured to be invited, Master Gibbs.” Roku followed Jethro into the main area, where Tony was standing, ramrod straight in the centre of the room. His eyes were downcast in a show of deference.

“Kantaro Roku, Master of Jentoruātsu Pleasure House, I wish to present my submissive, Tony DiNozzo.”

Aisatsu, Roku no masutā. Watashi wa, watashitachi no ie ni anata o kangei shita koto o kōei.

Watashinoie no meiyo, Eitarō wa watashi no monodesu.”

Tony jerked a little in surprise and Gibbs cleared his throat, a little irritated that this Dom was speaking to his sub in a language he didn’t understand. He got a pulse of embarrassed apology from his sub and Master Roku bowed once more.

“I apologise for forgetting myself, Master Gibbs. Your beautiful submissive overwhelmed my manners. Tony welcomed me to your home and I replied that I was honoured to meet an Eitaro of my House.”

Jethro looked over at Tony, who was blushing prettily. It put Gibbs hackles up to have another Dom make his sub look like that. He had to battle the urge to make Tony kneel and prove his submission. Then he was irritated at himself for the Neanderthal urge. He opted to simply wrap an arm around Tony’s waist and pull him in. The feel of the long, strong body melting into him was grounding and made Jethro relax a little.

“Please, Master Roku, will you take a seat. Can I get you a drink?” Tony seemed to have gained some equilibrium from Gibbs touch too.

“Do you have any bourbon?” The Dom looked hopeful and Gibbs had to smile.

“A man after my own heart.”

Tony went into the kitchen to make the drinks and Roku followed him with his eyes.

“You called him…Ei…Eit…”

Eitaro. They are the male Geisha of my House. So named for the first of them Eitaro Miyagawa.”

“But Tony was not trained in your House. You said Jentoruātsu refused Ibu the opportunity to do so.”

“That is true. The Masters of our House were appalled by the dishonour done to your submissive by the cruel treatment of Konosuke and Kobo Ibu. Now that they are both no longer a danger to him, we would like to offer you both the opportunity to attend a session in Yokohama. Before he lost his way to what must have been insanity, Konosuke was a skilled Dom and an able trainer. If he has imparted just a little of that to Tony, then we would like to observe his skills and hopefully offer him the Mark of our House…to Mark him as Eitaro.”

An audible intake of breath from the doorway made both Doms look over to see Tony frozen in shock. Gibbs strode over to relieve him of two glasses of bourbon, which were tipped at an alarming angle and in danger of ending on the floor. He handed one back to Roku, then with his free hand he towed Tony back to the couch.

He placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and prodded him down, meaning for him to sit, but Tony continued down to the floor and onto his knees, moving perfectly and gracefully into the full Jentoruātsu form at Jethro’s feet.

This time it was Master Roku’s gasp that was audible and Gibbs looked over, ready to reprimand him if he said anything out of line. But the look of relief and pleasure on the other man’s face told him that wasn’t going to be a problem.

“Beautiful…Oh, he is beautiful.”

Aisatsu, Roku no masutā. Watashi wa, watashitachi no ie ni anata o kangei shita koto o kōei – Greetings Master Roku. I am honoured to welcome you to our home

Watashinoie no meiyo, Eitarō wa watashi no monodesu – The honour is mine, Eitaro of my House.

***** 

The Gibbs House – Later that Evening

 “Do you think he meant it…about Kobo?”

Gibbs pushed gently at his sub until he turned around and they were lying face to face, the covers pulled up over their shoulders against the chill of the night air. He studied the young man’s face and was disappointed to see the soft relaxed expression that he’d had only an hour ago, was now gone, to be replaced by a deep frown of worry accompanied by a peripheral buzz of anxiety down their bond.

“I think Master Roku is a very powerful man; all of the Masters of the respective Houses can wield a great deal of power. Every Dom they train who ends up in a position of importance or influence can give them an advantage in all kinds of situations. And then of course there is the House Trial system.”

Tony looked a little confused, and Gibbs had to remind himself that he had been sheltered obsessively from the outside world. He had never had the chance of a true Pleasure training…something which was going to change if they accepted Kantaro’s invitation.

“Each Pleasure House has its own rules and punishments. If a Dom, or less often a sub, goes outside the strictures of the House, then they will be tried and convicted. From what Roku said to Kobo, he will face a trial by his peers – those other Doms who were trained alongside him. I can guarantee, given the evidence against him that he won’t be coming back to the US.”

“But he will be in Japan.”

Tony bit down on his bottom lip, worrying it with his teeth. Jethro hated to see him do it and pulled on his mouth slightly with the pad of his thumb. When the sub stopped the motion, he rewarded Tony with a soft kiss.

“I have a feeling he won’t be in Japan either…well not living anyway.”

A flash of relief was followed by shock. “They’d…kill him?”

“Maybe. We’ll never know as we don’t have to be involved, Tony. There is enough evidence for a House Trial without us having to be there.”

Gibbs could tell his reassurance wasn’t working. “What’s really worrying you about this?”

“You told Master Roku you thought Ibu…Kobo, I mean, was psychotic. Surely, he shouldn’t be punished for being mentally ill. Maybe his father made him like that, or he was born that way.”

Gibbs was overwhelmed by the love he felt for his sub. Despite everything he had been through, all the privation, the abuse, the long lonely years, he still had compassion.

“Your heart is so big, Tony. Master Roku said they wouldn’t allow Kobo to continue to be a danger to you. And he is a danger, baby. If we locked him up, either here or in Japan, he could find a way to get out and come looking for you, and me. He was fixated and nothing or no one would ever be able to change that.”

Gibbs pulled Tony’s willing body towards him and encircled him in a firm embrace. He felt his sub melt at the impromptu restraint, even their Soul link felt fuzzy and relaxed. Jethro thought it was Roku’s invitation that had started this train of thought so it was time to ask what Tony wanted to do. Although Gibbs was unexpectedly excited by the idea of seeing Tony trained and Marked by Jentoruātsu, he was determined that it had to be his subs decision.

“So have you thought anymore about having a session in Yokohama? Master Roku seemed pretty set on the idea.”

Tony opened his eyes and searched Jethro’s face. Gibbs kept his expression open and accepting.

“I want to say that everything is at your will, Master. But I know you want me to make this decision for myself. There are so many things that…scare me about it.”

“Tell me, maybe we can work through them together.” Gibbs lifted his hand to smooth it through Tony’s hair, but the soft, sad whine and little wiggle the sub gave, showed him that Tony was missing the tight embrace. So, he simply returned his hand to its former place and got a deep relaxed sigh as reward.

“What if I don’t have the necessary skills, training, talents to be Marked? What if the training Ibu did with me was so wrong it offends Master Roku and the training Doms? What if I can’t learn to be what they want me to be? I don’t even know what’s expected of me. And can you get the time to go for a full session – how long is that anyway, and what if they don’t Mark me and you decide you don’t want me to be your sub and I know we are Soulmates but that doesn’t mean you have to do scenes with me or even sleep in the same bed and then what if you have to find someone else to have sex with and will I be able to stay in the house and hmmmmf…”

Gibbs kiss was hard and uncompromising. He was a little angry – oh not with Tony, but with himself. He’d been so caught up with catching Ibu and getting justice for Tony, that he’d missed just how much baggage the other man was carrying. Tony was good at denying himself comfort; he’d spent fourteen years being denied, so he had lots of practice. It was up to Gibbs to make sure he received everything he needed – he was his Dom after all. He hadn’t been looking ahead, seeing these worries and pitfalls and heading them off.

Well now was the time. He pulled away from Tony and looked down at his dazed and kiss-drunk Soulmate. He really was beautiful.

“Listen very carefully. There is nothing – no Pleasure House, no job, no Dom, that will ever make me leave you, or have sex with someone else. You are my Soul, my mate, my lover, my sub. You. Are. Mine! Get that?”

Tony’s eyes were wide as they stared back at Gibbs. “Yes, Jethro,” he rasped out, his voice thick with emotion.

“Good. Now as for the other stuff. I could see that in the short time Roku was here he was very impressed with you. I thought his tongue was going to touch the floor when you knelt for me.”

Tony’s gaze flicked away from Gibbs as a flash of guilt clouded his eyes. “Are you going to punish me?”

Jethro frowned for a moment, puzzled by the question. Then he realised why Tony was asking.

“No, Tony. I know I told you not to kneel unless I said so, but my physical actions were a little ambiguous to say the least, and you were in slight shock I think. So no, I won’t be punishing you.”

Gibbs tucked Tony’s head beneath his chin, dropping tender kisses on his thick hair.

“As for all the other stuff – we are invited there for a session, Tony. That could be anything from three months to a year. No one expects you to be perfect immediately, if ever. After all you’re only human. There will be training…for both of us. There’s a lot I don’t know about Jentoruātsu and their methods, in fact you probably know way more than I do. I have no idea what’s expected of me as the Dom of a Marked Eitaro. There’ll be things I need to learn too. And we’d be able to really explore our Dynamic mesh, without all the extra pressures from work and dirt bags, lawyers and sweet but interfering psychologists. We don’t need to worry about money, since the first deposit of interest from your inheritance has hit our accounts with that stupid amount of zero’s.”

He had the other man pressed so tightly against him that he felt rather than heard Tony’s giggle. He knew the younger man had a better handle on the financial stuff than he did, and he got the feeling that there were plans and intrigues in regards to Tony’s skills in that area he was not yet privy to, involving the Waverley’s and possibly Chris Kelvin.

He wasn’t worried. He knew he could trust them all… and that was a warm and unusual feeling.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Tony murmured, his breath hot against the skin of Jethro’s chest.

Jethro waited as the subtle movement of muscle under Tony’s skin, and slight hitching quality of his breath, told him just as eloquently as the buzz in their bond, that his sub was processing everything he’d said. Finally, Tony gave a little wiggle and Gibbs slackened his grip, allowing the other man to look up into his face.

“When can we go?”

He smiled at his sub and dropped a kiss on his forehead. “Ducky and Bryan’s wedding is next week. We could go right after that. I’ll have to let the Director know I’m going to be taking an extended leave of absence, but I have the time, so he won’t be able to complain.”

Gibbs didn’t add that he knew Morrow and SecNav were going to be on his ass about the way he’d conducted the investigation into Ibu. Even though Roku had smoothed the way, Gibbs was in no doubt they would want to chew him out. It was in the back of his mind to use that, no doubt loud and vituperative meeting, to let both men know he was going to resign. The man in his arms was worth more to him than the Agency. Knowing Tony would die if Gibbs sustained a fatal wound while on a case was reason enough not to do it anymore, and Nicola’s pushiness in getting Dr Gibbs back into the San had reminded him just how much he had missed his work there.

He knew he needed to talk it through with Tony, but it could wait. He could already feel the heavy push of sleep over their bond. For the first time since he’d met the gorgeous man drowsing in his arms, he could see a clear path in front of them. They had time to sort out the detail.

With a low happy sigh of his own, he closed his eyes and followed his Mate into sleep.

*****

Monaco Washington DC Hotel – One Week Later

“Ask me another one.”

“Why do you want to remember them all – they are just stupid rules I use to keep my team in order.” Gibbs chuckled indulgently.

“It’s important,” Tony slurred a little. “Simeon says they are the rules you live your life by. So I think I should know them.”

“Simeon is a pervert bastard, you shouldn’t listen to his pervy ravings, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Tony opened his mouth wide in fake shock. “Oh, I’m telling Nicola you said that…she’ll…she’ll whack you with that flat wooden spatula in the kitchen.” He turned to his Dom and nodded knowingly. “She says it’s a spatula but it looks like a paaddllle to me,” he sing-songed.

Jethro snorted and then sighed in capitulation. “OK then, what is rule #….23?” He raised his eyebrows as Tony tapped his chin thoughtfully for several seconds.

“Rule #23 is…”

“Give it up, you’ll never remember it.” Gibbs teased.

Never mess with a Marine’s coffee if you want to live!” Tony crowed. “See that really is a rule to live by or not die by…or something.”

Gibbs laughed and hugged Tony close to him as they left the warmth of the hotel and walked carefully down the marble steps of the entrance into the dark, bitingly cold air of the December night. The faint sounds of the ongoing celebration followed them as they walked towards the parking lot.

The wedding had been unbelievable. The venue was sumptuous in an historic building, the food and wines were exquisite, and the actual ceremony was solemn and romantic.

Tony had watched with pride as his Dom buckled the wedding belt Gibbs had made for Ducky around the Doms waist. It was a beautiful ox blood red leather, expertly tooled, with a motif Jethro had designed himself, intertwining the rampant dragon motif of Ducky’s Master Mark, with the sinuous lines of the Scottish thistle Bryan had received from the House Master of Milis Pian only a few days earlier. The old ME had been overwhelmed when the Edinburgh Pleasure House had agreed to Mark his sub. Bryan had shed a few tears of his own, every time he caught sight of the two thistle heads etched on his collarbone.

The highlight of the whole evening had been a complete surprise to Bryan, but not to Gibbs or Tony. In front of nearly 200 guests, Donald had commanded his sub to kneel at his feet. Bryan had done so without demure and Tony had thought he looked amazing as he gazed up at his Dom. The joy in his eyes could have lit up the whole room.

Tony had stepped away from Gibbs, and carried over a flat black box to Dr Mallard. They had been hiding it for nearly three weeks after they’d collected it from the same artisan silversmith who had made Tony’s collar.

The old Dom lifted out a rose gold collar, whose heavy, flat links were studded with the darkest purple amethysts. A flat bar at the throat was engraved with Donald’s name on the front and ‘is ann le mo ghraidh mise agus is leamsa mo ghraidh’ on the reverse. Ducky had almost broken down as he told their guests that it meant ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’, but he swallowed back the tears as he asked his sub the traditional request made at a collaring.

Bryan had no such restraint and he was weeping freely as he accepted the beautiful collar from his Dom and gave him his freely offered submission.

After that there had been dancing and drinking. It had been the first party Tony had ever attended where the outcome wasn’t pain and humiliation for him. It was a heady experience, and he had drunk rather more champagne than he was used to, which had made him first giggly and then rather dopey. Which was why they had made their goodbyes and were walking back to their car.

“I think you’re ready for bed, my beautiful boy.”

Tony looked over at his handsome Dom. He looked stunning in a dark grey suit and pristine white shirt, the collar unbuttoned and showing the luscious triangle of skin Tony loved to lick. The plum coloured tie he’d worn for the ceremony had been quickly removed and pushed into his pocket. The idea that his Dom could use that tie to bind his hands and hold him prostrate and powerless, made Tony want to throw himself at Jethro’s feet on the slushy grey driveway outside the hotel, and beg to be taken, bound, used and fucked.

“I love you,” he whispered as his Dom pulled him close. Gibbs gave him the sexy smile he craved every second of every day and then kissed him, sweet and possessive. It was the kind of kiss that warmed Tony’s heart and heated his groin.

Maybe it was the false bravery of champagne, the romance of the day, or the evocative fantasy the discarded necktie had stirred up, but Tony knew he was ready to talk to Gibbs about what he wanted from his Dom; that he should stop holding back and treating Tony with kid gloves. More than anything, he wanted to feel that Gibbs was as overwhelmed by their lovemaking as Tony was, and while Jethro was always checking himself that was never going to be possible.

They were still a few hundred cars away from the candy-apple red Ferrari that Tony had insisted they hire for the wedding. He’d explained to a sceptical Gibbs that it was the car Magnum PI drove and his Dom had agreed after much cajoling. He’d hoped that after driving the car Gibbs would want to keep it, but he had to admit that although the car was fast – especially when Jethro drove it – it wasn’t really a very comfortable ride, especially in the gridlock of DC roads. Still it had been a thrilling treat. Tony knew he was being indulged and he loved it.

Tony opened his mouth to start the discussion he’d been mulling over for more than a week, when there was a strange popping noise and Gibbs jerked against him, with a pained grunt. Tony stopped, unsure what was happening, but the angry fear pulsing down the bond told him it was nothing good.

“Get down,” Gibbs snapped, his voice tight with pain.

They both ducked down behind a large black limo, but there was no real cover. The cars were all parked in an open lot; long lines of vehicles with driveways between meant that both ends of the car were in open space.

Suddenly Tony realised part of the feeling coming through their bond was pain, deep and intense. He stopped looking around and began to run his hands over Gibbs’ body, trying to find the source of the pain, but his Dom pushed his hands away.

“No time for that…Gunshot, Tony. I don’t have a weapon…stupid…just ‘cause it’s a wedding…stupid, Marine…fucking stupid.”

There was another of the popping sounds and a hole appeared in the door of the car next to where they were sheltering. Gibbs pulled Tony down onto his ass.

“I don’t see anyone,” Tony whispered.

“They could be anywhere,” Gibbs hissed through clenched teeth. “Tony, you will do as I tell you, without argument, understand. If I tell you to run, then you go, as fast as you can back into the hotel and raise the alarm.”

Tony wanted to agree, he really did, but the idea that he might have to leave his Dom on the floor, in pain just left him feeling desolate.

“No, I can’t, Gibbs. I’m staying with you.” Tony could feel a dark burning pain in his shoulder that was starting to make his fingers tingle and his breath catch in his chest. For a moment he wondered if the last shot had hit him before making the frightening hole in the metal of the car door. But then he realised it wasn’t his pain he was feeling and it ramped up the panic even more.

“You’ve been hit, in your shoulder…I can feel it, Gibbs.” Tony’s hand went unerringly to the mirror of his pain on Gibbs body. He recognised the slick, sticky feel of the blood soaking Jethro’s jacket. “We have to stop it. You need to go to hospital.”

“No, no Ama, I don’t think he’s going to have chance to get to the hospital.”

The voice was familiar and shockingly calm. The slight figure of a woman stood at the end of the car, her face shadowed in the dim lighting of the parking lot.

“Who are you?” Gibbs voice was surprisingly firm and commanding, despite the overwhelming pain Tony could feel through the bond.

“The Ama knows me. And when I’m finished with you…making you hurt and bleed as much as possible…then just before you die, I’m going to take your pathetic little bitch and shoot him right between the eyes. I’m going to let you watch everything you love die, just like you made me.”

Tony’s mouth was so dry with fear for his lover that he could hardly speak. “Saeko…? Madame, this worthless Ama asks for your mercy. Its punishment is at your will.”

Tony felt the revulsion at his words over the bond before Gibbs clamped his hand hard on Tony’s thigh. “Don’t you fucking dare…you are staying here with me,” he growled.

“Neither of you are going anywhere,” Saeko Ibu taunted. “I just want to tell you why before I kill you, so you will know what you have done and can take it to the underworld with you.”

She waved the gun at them both and Tony was terrified that she would change her mind and just kill them. At least if she took a little time there was a chance someone would come out and stop her, or call 911.

“But just to make sure I have your full attention…”

She took another step forward and lowered the gun slightly, aiming at Gibbs thigh. Tony knew that another wound would give Jethro greater pain, maybe even cause him to pass out. He was terrified but he knew Gibbs had more experience with dealing with situations like these. He needed Gibbs to be conscious and functioning. So as her finger begin to squeeze the trigger he flung himself forward, covering his Doms leg with his arm.

The feel of the bullet as it passed through the flesh of his forearm was shocking. It burned like fire and left him dizzy and wanting to vomit. Jethro’s arm came around him and held him firmly across his lap as he probed the wound.

“She just creased you…it’s alright, baby.”

“I’m sorry, sorry…” Tony whispered as Gibbs pulled him in to rest his head on Jethro’s belly. “Useless.”

“No, no. If she’d hit the femoral artery in my thigh I would’ve bled out in seconds. You did good. Just lie still.” Gibbs murmured.

They both looked over at Saeko, wondering what she was going to do next. To Tony’s surprise there were tears coursing down her cheeks as she pointed the gun at him.

“You took my father from me…everything was the Ama. No more trips to the ocean or holidays to Europe. He had no time for me. And then you…”

Her face became a rictus of hate as she looked at Gibbs. “You took our money and now they have taken away the company. Then you took my Ani Kobo, my Koibito, my Masutā, Kororo.”

Her voice became more shrill and hysterical with every word. “Now I have NOTHING! And I will not stop until you have nothing too.”

She was shaking and crying, long rambling threats in Japanese falling from her lips. Tony felt utterly hopeless. Now they were both injured neither could get away, even if running for help was an option. He could feel Gibbs strength waning. He knew he could lend his own, use the Kaeira to heal him as Jethro had done for Tony, but it would leave them both even more vulnerable.

His awareness of Saeko wavered as he felt Gibbs wriggling slightly beneath him. Jethro had managed to inveigle his good arm between them and was trying to reach along his leg. But blood loss and pain had made him weak and Tony could feel him panting with effort.

With one eye on the deranged woman, Tony inched his fingers forward and tapped on Gibbs hand, letting him know he had seen the movement.

“Rule…Rule #9, Tony,” Gibbs hissed almost too quietly.

Panic made Tony’s mind move like treacle and he desperately wracked his memory for Rule #9. A firm tensing of Jethro’s belly brought his attention to the belt buckle pressing on his cheek.

And then he had it.

Of course, Rule #9, ‘Never go anywhere without a knife’.

“Your brother brought it down on himself. If he hadn’t been so greedy…”

Tony wanted to shout at Gibbs for making himself a target again, but then he realised the other man was drawing Saeko’s attention, giving him a chance to reach behind the ingenious buckle and touch the brass clip that released the blade from the hidden sheath in the leather belt.

Tony had been transfixed by the mechanism, loading and unloading the knife until Gibbs had taken it from him with a grumble about it not being a toy. As soon as he had it released, he carefully drew the knife from the belt. He knew it was razor sharp, as his Dom included it in the regular care of all his weaponry.

Tony couldn’t afford to slip as he released the blade, as a cut would be deep and he would find it difficult not to vocalise his pain.  His Dom was still talking to Saeko, his voice conciliatory and calm – nothing like the hot rage he was feeling inside. It thrummed through their bond in a fiery blaze of emotion, and it helped to settle the sick fear that otherwise might have paralysed Tony.

As Jethro said something that made the woman fist both hands to her head in distress, Tony saw his chance. He let the hand holding the dull black blade slide over his Doms thigh and onto the ground next to Jethro’s waiting fist. The older man quickly palmed the knife, holding it by the fine metal handle, its deadly blade pointing up the sleeve of his jacket.

“When I say,” he whispered. “Roll off me and onto the ground.”

Even though the words were quiet, they carried such a powerful weight that there was nothing on Earth could have made Tony disobey. Gibbs waited patiently until Saeko seemed to be so consumed by her grief and maddened anger that she forgot they were there for a moment and turned her back to them.

“Now!”

Tony rolled away, the motion making him want to cry out in pain. Jethro acted like the special ops soldier Tony knew he was, and in one swift move launched the knife.

It moved silently through the air, the dull surface almost invisible in the dark night, as it flew straight and true, landing with dull thud in the base of Saeko’s skull.

Her hands fell to her sides and the gun dropped to the floor with a metallic clatter. She turned jerkily like a grotesque marionette and seemed to hang in the air, staring at Gibbs with an amazed and unbelieving expression, before falling in a crumpled heap on the ground.

Tony felt bile burning the back of his throat, but he would let himself be sick. He couldn’t pass out. They needed help and he needed to touch Gibbs, to share the power the Soulbond gifted them.

He dragged himself back to where Gibbs was slumped against the car.

The spreading pool of blood under his body was testament to the severity of his wound and it terrified Tony. Not feeling the blood soaking through his pants he pressed against Jethro’s uninjured side. He reached into his inside jacket pocket and grabbed his cell, quickly dialling 911.

While he gave the details to the dispatcher, he pressed against his love, trying to keep him warm, but Jethro was crashing and Tony could feel the pull of unconsciousness through the bond.

“You stay with me, Gibbs. If you pass out then so will I.” He pleaded.

Gibbs gave grunt in reply.  Once the dispatcher confirmed an ambulance was on the way, Tony hit speed dial #2 and within two rings, he heard McGee’s voice for the first time.

“Agent McGee, this is Tony DiNozzo…There’s been a shooting and Gibbs is down. We are in the parking lot…”

“Where?”   

“Where the fuck do you think, you idiot, outside the hotel. You just saw us leave! Get someone out here – there’s an ambulance on the way…”

Tony dropped the phone, still connected to McGee and pressed his hand onto the wound on Jethro’s shoulder. The warm thick pressure of the Kaeira began to flow between them and Tony could feel his awareness of Jethro’s wound becoming more intense as his body began to take on some of the injury for itself.

“You hold on, Gibbs…you hear me, Marine?”

“Y…yyyou…gggiving the oo…rders now, Tony?” Gibbs was shivering with shock and blood loss, but still managed to chuckle wetly. “Bet Mc.c…Gee…th…thought you were ch…channelling me th…then…”

“Fucking moron,” Tony grumbled.

And then, they were surrounded by people and the Kaeira was pulling at him, making the pain all-consuming, while their bond broadcast the need they both had to surrender to unconsciousness.

The last thing Tony saw, before the blackness took him, was the pride and overwhelming love in the eyes of his Dom and Soulmate, and with it the promise of safety and care. It was all he needed. He could trust, and let go. 

Ani Kobo – Brother Kobo

Koibito – Lover

Masutā – Master

Kororo – Heart

***** 

Bethesda Naval Hospital – Early Morning, The Next Day 

It wasn’t every day you saw a man in full Scottish regalia striding down the corridors of Bethesda; kilt, sporran, Prince Charlie jacket, long white socks complete with sgian-dubh dagger…the whole kit and caboodle. Dr Mallard certainly managed to do it with style. In step with him was his handsome sub, just as eye-catching in a white designer suit, gold brocade waistcoat, and open necked shirt that showcased a beautiful gold and amethyst collar.

Brad Pitt wasn’t just admiring, he was overjoyed to see them. He was running out of ideas and he knew Ducky was the best person to consult in this case.

“Where are they?” The brusque question was a surprise from normally gently spoken ME, but Brad could understand why. Having your nuptials interrupted by a shooting would make anyone irritated. When your best friend was the one who’d been shot…

“I have them in a private room. I can’t get through to him, Donald. Gibbs is still unconscious and Tony is just fixated.” Brad trailed off as they walked into the room.

He looked over at the bed holding the couple. Tony hadn’t moved since they’d been brought in. His beautifully tailored suit was stiff with Gibbs blood, and gravel and other detritus was stuck to the flakes of mud that decorated the cuffs of his trousers. He was half lying, half-crouching over his mate, his hand splayed out on Jethro’s shoulder.

“We can’t get him far enough away from Gibbs to do a proper assessment, and the goddamn Kaeira alarms have been going haywire. It’s obvious there was major damage from the amount of blood, but we can’t do anything about it.”

Brad was frustrated and concerned. He’d worked with many Lifebonded couples and there were protocols in place, but Soulbonds were so rare, hospitals often had no experience of dealing with them.

“Gibbs was more aware when he was healing Tony from the plague, but they weren’t fully bonded then.”

He watched as Carver walked over to the bed and stood opposite Tony. The nurse reached out a hand and touched Tony’s cheek, but there was no reaction.

“He’s really cold.” The sub gave his Dom a searching look. “What’s going on Donald? Is Gibbs dying?”

Ducky shrugged off his jacket. “Not if I have anything to bloody do with it.”

He roughly pulled out the amethyst cuff links from the cuffs of his shirt, handed them to Bryan and then quickly rolled up his sleeves. He made a visual assessment of the two men on the bed and Brad was impressed by how quickly he came to a decision.

“I think Tony is trying to take on too much. The Kaeira is only meant to allow them to share the wound. Tony is trying to take on the whole thing.” Ducky gently pushed the hair away from Tony’s forehead and dipped his own head to speak quietly to the young sub.

Brad moved closer, wanting to hear what he was saying and hoping against hope that he could get through. The life signs of both men were getting weaker, and he was seriously worried they might not survive the night.

“Tony…Tony, listen to me. You have to stop. You can’t take it all. Jethro will understand. Tony are you listening? Bless you, boy, I know you’re scared for him but you have to let us help you. Gibbs will never forgive me if I let you get hurt.”

Brad’s heart gave a jump as Tony tipped his head to look at the old man. It was the first time outside stimuli had had any effect.

“He’s hurting, Ducky. There’s so much pain and he won’t let me take it, he’s fighting me.” The young man’s voice was shaking with strain.

“Ah, my dear boy, of course there is pain. That is how the body lets us know we need healing. But you are not supposed to take it all, just share it. He’s fighting you because he knows it would be dangerous for you to take on the whole injury. If you did you would be risking your life, putting yourself in as much danger as Jethro would have been if you had not been there to help him. He won’t let go until you do.”

There were tears rolling down Tony’s cheeks as he shook his head. “I don’t want him in pain, Ducky. Please don’t let him hurt.”

Ducky waved to Bryan who came to stand next to him. “Bryan is here and he is going to place an IV in Jethro’s arm. We’ll give him pain relief, Tony. But we can only do that when we’ve been able to assess the damage.”

Brad nodded to the nurse allocated to the room and she bustled off to gather the necessary equipment.

“If I let go…It’s going to be more painful, Ducky. I know what it feels like to have pain like that, pain that pulls you apart. I can take it for him…I can…”

The ME shook his head and squeezed Tony’s arm gently. “If you carry on like this, Tony you will both become weak and you could die. Do you want that to be the thing I remember on my wedding anniversary every year…do you want Bryan to remember it?”

Brad held his breath and for several seconds Tony remained still and silent. Finally, he nodded and Brad felt hopeful for the first time in the last hour. He had never thought of emotional blackmail as anything but bad, but right now, he was going to count it as a legitimate medical intervention.

There was a flurry of activity as the IV stand and accompanying ephemera were wheeled in. The nurse came to Brad with the syringe of painkilling drugs to check. By the time Brad had signed his name on the drug chart, Bryan had already fitted Gibbs with a cannula and they were running fluids.

“Come along, my boy,” Ducky coaxed gently, “Take your hands away so Bradley can find out what’s going on with your Dom.”

With a little whimper of worry, Tony did as he was told, moving stiffly off the bed and into the comfort of Ducky’s arms. But his eyes stayed firmly on the still figure of his Dom. Brad worked as quickly and carefully as he could, cutting away the ruined jacket and shirt. The perfectly circular hole just below Jethro’s collarbone was dark with blood, but not bleeding freely.

“You’ve done a good job, Tony. You stopped the bleeding,” he reassured.

“Please give him the drugs,” Tony pleaded. “He’s hurting; I can feel it.”

Brad continued to probe the wound, trying to ascertain if the bullet had broken the bone on the way through. He looked over at Bryan. The sub had stripped off his fancy jacket and slipped a scrub top over his pristine white shirt.

“Bryan, could you…” Brad nodded at Jethro and the nurse understood what he wanted immediately. The sub grasped the unconscious man by the shoulders and gently tipped him towards his body. Jethro gave a long, low groan.

“You need to do it now…you told me you would give him something…” Tony’s voice was sharp with anger, fear and a touch of hysteria.

Brad knew he needed to work quickly. Tony was a tall, strong man, and despite the energy he had expended trying to heal Jethro, it would be difficult for Ducky to hold him back if he decided he’d had enough. Pitt pulled away the shredded jacket and carefully peeled away the shirt that was stuck with dried blood to Jethro’s skin. Once again, he assessed the wound both visually and with experienced fingers.

“Good, that’s good. There are no bones broken and the bullet passed right through. It missed his heart but I think it nicked an artery on its way through, hence all the blood. You did good, Tony. You fixed that and stopped him bleeding out.”

The reassurance wasn’t enough for the sub and he started to fight Dr Mallard to get back to his Dom. Only a sharp word from the elderly man kept Tony back from the bed. Brad quickly inserted the drug into Gibbs’ IV and then nodded to the ME.

Ducky allowed Tony back to the bed and helped him to lie next to his Dom. Then he took the subs face between his hands, speaking slowly and deliberately.

“You can use the Kaeira again but you must not try to take the whole injury. Just imagine that you are soothing him. Let your bond ease his wound. I warn you, Tony, if you try to take too much I will sedate you and we’ll move you away from Gibbs. Do you understand?” Donald gave him a no-nonsense look that Brad very much admired.

“Yes, sir.”

Tony settled back next to his Dom, and Brad could see Jethro was trying hard to lift his hand to touch his sub.

“Gibbs, stay still. You’re going to undo all the good work your boy has done,” Brad admonished.

“Shot…” Gibbs croaked.

“Yes, we know. We have given you pain relief and then we’ll see how much patching up we need to do when Tony runs out of energy.”

“Not me, Pitt…” Gibbs growled (and how the man could sound so fucking menacing when he was at deaths door, Brad couldn’t begin to work out). “Tony…bullet crease…” He tried to move and the motion pulled on his shoulder, making him cry out.

Brad moved quickly to Tony, who was desperately trying to get Jethro to stay still. “Which arm, Tony? Why didn’t you tell me? No wonder you were in such a bad way, if you were trying to take his pain and yours.”

“Doesn’t matter, he’s more important.”

Gibbs growled, “Tony!”

The sub gave a very put upon sigh and held out his arm. Once he knew about it, Brad could see the long rend in the dark fabric of Tony’s jacket. With Bryan’s help, he stripped Tony out of his jacket and then slit up the sleeve of his shirt.

It was less of a crease, more a gouge. Although the bullet had not actually entered Tony’s arm, it hadn’t merely skimmed it either. The wound was at least six inches long and pretty deep, the edges of the skin blackened by the heat. There was no bleeding, and it looked as though Gibbs’ side of the bond had been working on Tony too.

“This will need stitches, but it’s going to leave a pretty nasty scar.” Brad knew many Doms were particular about blemishes on their subs skin.

“I can…” Gibbs started, but Brad cut him off.

“No, you fucking can’t, you stubborn bastard. You are both just going to lie there and gently…and I mean, gently, let the Kaeira do its stuff. You are too weak to be healing anything completely.”

Bryan smirked as the nurse gave a gasp at Dr Pitt’s response. Brad was too pissed at Gibbs to care.

“There is a new treatment in trials here. The manufacturers are calling it Tollen crème and it looks like it’s going to be amazing. No one’s saying where was developed, but if it works as promised then it could have come from outer space for all I care. Reports seem to indicate it will revolutionise all kinds of healing. It’s hideously expensive though, so it might not be an option,” he said apologetically.

“S’all right,” Tony mumbled, his voice thick with exhaustion. “M’a billionaire.”

Brad laughed but it stopped in his throat as Ducky gave him a nod of confirmation.

“That’s not for spreading around though,” Gibbs stated firmly from his side of the bed. He had his eyes closed and his face was relaxed. He was still too pale but the pain relief and Tony’s presence were obviously making him much more comfortable.

“OK, well I’ll look into getting some prescribed for you and we’ll see if it’s as good as they are saying.”

Brad’s pager began to beep. A nod from Ducky told him the older man would stay to keep an eye on his patients. Before he got to the door, he turned back and felt a pang of longing at the strange tableaux; Bryan was snuggled up against his new husband, the elderly Scot, bedecked in his native kilt standing guard at the side of the bed, while Tony and Gibbs were almost one entity they were so close together. Brad craved that kind of connection, but it was so very rare.

‘Maybe one day’, he thought hopefully, as he hurried off to the next emergency.

*****

The Waverley House – Four Weeks Later.

“Are Ducky and Bryan coming tonight?” Tony was happily chopping carrots at the counter with Nicola, while Gibbs and Simeon observed, beer in hand.

“No, they only got back yesterday. I don’t think Bryan was happy with how much the travelling took out of Donald. They are coming to dinner early next week and bringing their photo album and a DVD.”

Gibbs snorted. “Oh, Si, prepare for a long night…a very, very long night.”

Tony looked over at his Dom and gave him a disapproving look. Gibbs pretended to be affronted, but really he was overjoyed that Tony was willing to show disapproval so openly.

The shooting and subsequent time in hospital had set Tony back a little. He had gone through a period where he blamed himself for Gibbs injury and the problems caused at the Mallard wedding. Both Ducky and Bryan had tried to reassure him but Tony had been inconsolable, especially when the men had decided to cancel their honeymoon in order to oversee the treatment of their friends.

It was only when Jethro suggested they pay for a special trip to Scotland for the newlyweds that Tony had begun to let go of his guilt. They had arranged for a private jet and rented them a castle on the edge of a loch, complete with a chef, valet, and maid. Ducky had tried to talk Tony out of it, but the ecstatic emails they’d received from Bryan told them they’d done well in their choices.

Nicola smirked at Tony and then turned to Gibbs. “You’re coming too, Jethro. I invited you both last week, at the San remember.”

Gibbs chuckled wryly. “Yes, I do remember being invited, but there was no mention of the Mallard honeymoon snaps.”

“Well you never asked.”

Tony giggled as Gibbs poked his tongue out at her. Jethro soaked up the beautiful sound of his sub, happy again. He couldn’t believe what they’d been through in the last three months courtesy of the Ibu family and their sundry hangers-on.

“What’s the word on Okinawa B-C, Gibbs,” Simeon asked, seeming to pick-up on his thoughts.

“As we thought, Saeko was the last living member of Konosuke’s immediate family. There are some distant cousins, but not close enough to have any real influence as far as the company is concerned.” Gibbs took a pull of the rich dark beer Simeon favoured.

“A consortium of share-holders has been granted oversight by the Japanese government, even though the majority holdings are from outside the country. They don’t usually allow it but I think they were embarrassed by events.”

“And of course, Master Roku has friends in high places,” Tony chimed in. “The present Prime Minister and three of his cabinet are all Jentoruātsu Doms and the Emperor’s wife is a Geisha of the House.”

Gibbs could hear the note of pride in his subs voice when he spoke about the House that was going to adopt him.

Apparently, so could Nicola. “Are you excited about your session next week?”

“Well…” Tony said pensively. “More scared than anything else to be honest.” He looked down at the carrot in his hand and tapped the knife on the work surface. Gibbs got up and moved behind Tony, pulling the sub against him. He was gratified to feel Tony relax as he melted into his Doms hold.

Gibbs reached around and placed the knife carefully on the counter, before turning Tony in his arms and kissing him gently.

“Ugh,” Simeon taunted. “I’m glad the kids are out tonight. We can do without you infecting them with your kinky, Dynamic ways.”

Once again, Tony giggled as Gibbs gave his friend a, very British, two fingered salute.

“There is nothing to be scared about, but I can understand. You have no frame of reference,” Nicola pulled Tony back to his chore and shooed Gibbs to the table. “No distracting my kitchen help with your kinky ways, Gibbs.”

“So,” Simeon continued, “Where does that leave the company?”

“They are reworking all their contracts. It turns out they were unhappy with the direction Ibu was taking the company anyway, and there were several trials underway which one member called immoral. They’re not giving away any more information than that, but my guess is some kind of bio-weapon – like the Y. Pestis they used on Tony.” He gave a little shudder and Simeon patted his shoulder sympathetically.

“They’ve insisted on reparations for that,” Tony said with a frown. “They want to make me – via Gibbs of course – a voting member of the board, with a 10% share.”

“Fuck, Tony, that’s huge. Okinawa Bio-Chem is a multi-million dollar company. I wouldn’t even want to do the calculation in Yen. But why do you have to vote through Gibbs?”

“Japan is still very traditional and subs aren’t allowed to hold anything other than nominal positions, usually only when companies are owned by their families.”

“We tried to explain that Tony was already a billionaire, but they felt their honour would only be saved if they made me part of the company.” Gibbs shook his head. “If only they knew he is the financial wizard of our family. I have problems balancing my check book.”

Tony flashed him a smile and then flicked a glance over at the file he’d brought to the house with him. Gibbs knew he had been working on it since the news about the Japanese offer had come in, but he hadn’t really discussed it. He had an idea that there were plans afoot with Nicola for some kind of discussion that evening. Gibbs had no problem listening to any proposals Tony wanted to make. As long as his sub wasn’t in any danger, he was willing to indulge him.

A long ring at the doorbell announced another visitor. Gibbs knew Chris Kelvin was coming for dinner too, which was another reason why he expected some kind of discussion regarding the file.

“Sorry I’m late. There was a problem with one of the cases I’ve been working on for Bar Non and I had to do some last minute changes to the brief.”

Simeon looked concerned. “Anything I can help with?”

She shook her head. “No, all sorted out. Just a glitch involving a temp who thought using spell check on the original court report and then not reading it through to make sure it made sense, was good enough. Suffice to say I had a very confused judge on the phone. It was easily sorted out and luckily she’s one of the handful who are supportive to the cause.”

She gratefully accepted a glass of wine from Nicola and took a seat at the table. She caught sight of the file on the counter and raised her eyebrow at Tony questioningly. He smiled and gave a slight nod, which made Gibbs uncomfortable and irritated. Had Tony been in contact with the woman behind his back? He looked over at Tony and the sub dropped his eyes and blushed.

“Stop it, Jethro. You could melt paint with that glare. We don’t know any more about what Tony has in there than you do.” Nicola chastised. She tipped the last of the vegetables into the pot and placed it on the stove. After wiping her hands on a dishtowel, she gestured to the study door.

“Come on, we have an hour before that will be ready. Let’s all go and see what Tony has been working on.”

Chris looked interested and that along with Nicola’s words gave Jethro strange comfort. It seemed everyone really was as much in the dark as he was. He shook his head at himself. He trusted Tony completely, so why was he being such an ass. He sent a pulse of love and trust down the bond and was pleased to see Tony straighten. In order to reinforce it, Gibbs slipped his arm around his subs waist and pulled him in for an apologetic kiss, which Tony returned with relish.

“Come on you two, Nic only said an hour for dinner,” Simeon teased.

When they got into the study, Tony moved away from Gibbs and began to set up the laptop from the desk, linking it with a cable to the large plasma on the wall. Jethro knew Simeon only used it to watch his favourite British soccer team, Manchester City.

The computer booted up and Tony used a thumb drive from his pocket to bring up a screen which read:

PROPOSAL:

MOUNT VERNON SANATORIUM.

MIDORI TANI UNIT

He then took four sets of stapled papers from the file, and handed one to each of them. He gave Gibbs a worried, hopeful look and then cleared his throat.

“As you all know, I’ve had no education to speak of since I was twelve. Some of my sessions with Nicola have been spent discussing what I would like to do with my life now I am safe, and have love and stability with someone I can trust completely.”

Gibbs felt the prickle of tears at the sweet loving gaze Tony sent his way, as he spoke the words that meant so much.

“As Jethro said earlier, I’ve found I like dealing with the financial side of things and Nicola says my organisational skills are good. She suggested I could perhaps train as a PA or Office Manager. I liked that idea because I really would like to eventually work alongside Gibbs in some capacity, but I know I can’t be an Agent…I’m not even sure I’d want to be.”

Gibbs watched as Tony’s fingers glanced over his forearm before his eyes flickered over to Gibbs’ shoulder. Yes, the whole experience had been nothing but terrifying for Tony, and Jethro had to admit, for him too. Even if Tony had showed some aptitude for fieldwork, Gibbs couldn’t imagine being able to deal with having him in dangerous situations.

“But then, the board of Okinawa BioChem came forward with their proposal. At first, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I wanted nothing from the Ibu family, not even after everything they put me through. Gibbs tried to put the board off, but they wouldn’t listen.”

He tapped on the keyboard and a spreadsheet flicked up on the plasma. Gibbs didn’t even know where to start deciphering it, but both Chris and Simeon looked very interested indeed.

“With a 10% share, at current dividend rates and with good investment, we’ll be looking at nearly $10,000,000 a year. If their projections are correct – and although they look good I don’t know enough to know if they are – then that could double over the next ten years. I don’t need or want the money. Our investments from the DiNozzo money have made us very wealthy. We could live off the interest from the interest and still be stupidly rich.”

Tony bit down on his bottom lip, only stopping when Gibbs gave a little growl of disapproval.

“I probably should have talked to Gibbs about this first, but…” He looked over at his Dom apologetically. “…I knew Jethro would want to talk to you all about it, and I only finished this proposal last night. So it seemed sensible to just talk to you all at the same time.”

Gibbs sent a pulse of acceptance to Tony and backed it up with a smile. “Don’t worry it’s fine, Tony. You’re right, this is what I would have suggested, and explanations of most of what is up there so far would have been wasted on me. I’m probably going to need you all to interpret it all for me anyway.”

The relief that flooded from Tony was almost overwhelming, and Gibbs wondered how the sub had kept that much worry away from him for the past few days. He knew they were still feeling their way, both in their Dynamic and their bond, and Tony had been more than a little unsettled by the events at the wedding. Jethro hoped the session in Japan would help them both feel more grounded.

“Well, it struck me that if I couldn’t refuse the money, I could perhaps come up with a way to help other people like me; subs who have been damaged by abusive Doms, or perhaps where their Dynamic has been changed or skewed by trauma at a young age. The San seems to have a good system in place for those people who suffer from PTNDS, but despite what I suffered I never became Non-Dynamic. If I’d ended up somewhere other than the San; if Nicola hadn’t called in Jethro or he wasn’t willing to work with me, I might have been labelled PTNDS and unresponsive, treated with medication and left to rot. There are no programs in place to support subs like me, and nowhere where they can meet and talk to other people who have been through similar experiences.”

Tony nodded at the screen. “I want to make a proposal to the Board of Governors at the San. If they’ll provide the space, I would use the money from Okinawa B-C to fund, supply and run a unit that would take referrals from all over the US for subs would otherwise slip through the net. It would be named after Obaasan and completely funded by a Trust set up in her name – The Midori Tani Trust.

Nicola was smiling at Tony, her eyes shining with tears and Gibbs could see the pride in her expression. He knew how she felt; he was bursting with it himself. To think that someone who had been so poorly treated could move past it, and rather than wallowing in their own pain, want to use their experiences to help others. It was amazing.

“I would need input from Nicola and Jethro for the psychological perspective, and I wanted to ask Ducky and Bryan to join the staff. Bryan’s experiences and his willingness to share them really helped me to break through my fears about talking to Gibbs. Without him…well it would have taken a lot longer, I think. I also thought Chris and Simeon might have some ideas from a legal perspective…and…”

Tony took a deep breath and Jethro could feel that he was struggling whether to go on. Gibbs reached out and snagged Tony’s hand, giving it a squeeze. He made to let go, but Tony clung on tightly.

“Go on, Tony. You know we will listen and we won’t mock you or make you feel bad for any ideas you may have,” Simeon said.

Chris nodded in agreement. “We’ll be honest about feasibility, etc.”

Tony’s next statement made both of them stare at him in amazement.

“I’d like to offer some places to non/mono people who have suffered the same kind of abuse. I did some research through the Waverley Trust Information Office, and it’s even harder for those people to get support than for subs like me.”

“Wow, Tony, you don’t shy away from the difficult topics, do you.” Chris looked gobsmacked by what Tony had offered.

“I know making such major changes is hard, and if you thought the Board would definitely reject that part of the proposal I would drop it, but only because I want to make sure the proposal would have the best chance.”

Gibbs could see that Tony was earnest in his wish to help and he had an idea of his own. “Even if they were to reject that part, we’d have enough money to work with Waverley to set up a remote project at Headquarters perhaps.”

This time it was Gibbs who got the open-mouthed look, and it almost made him laugh out loud. Simeon seemed set to join his wife in the teary-eyed stakes as he reached out and pulled her into his arms.

“Tony, Jethro…I don’t know what to say. That…it would…”

Gibbs pulled on Tony’s arm and the sub sank to his knees next to him. Jethro stroked a finger tenderly along his jaw and reflected back the happiness he was feeling from his mate down the bond.

“So what part would you play in all of this, Tony,” Chris asked, a little breathlessly.

The young man looked down shyly. “I want to do some training courses and then I thought there might be a place for me in the Unit office or something, so I could build my skills, if you think that would be acceptable.”

Simeon stopped leafing through the paper copy of the proposal and fixed Tony with an assessing stare. “If this is all your own work, Tony, then it’s pretty amazing stuff.”

Gibbs shook his head. “Well don’t look at me, I wouldn’t know where to start, especially with the financial part.”

“In that case, I don’t see why you shouldn’t take on the role of Project Administrator. It’ll take a while for it all to come to fruition, as you will both be in Japan for a while. Once you return we’ll need to firm up all the legalities and make a final, tight proposal for the board. There will need to be specialist staff employed and contracts drawn up for everything from remodelling to light bulbs. In the meantime, we can find you all the training you need to be ready to take on the role when it comes time to open the Unit.”

It was Tony’s turn to be shocked. “But, no I…I’m not…I don’t…”

Gibbs pulled him in tightly, grounding him and letting him feel his Doms strength. The panic flowed out of Tony’s body almost immediately, even if the bond showed he was still floundering at the suggestion Simeon had made. Jethro realised he could do something to ease Tony’s fears a little; to let him know he wouldn’t be alone.

“Perhaps this would be a good time to mention something I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks, and help with some of the plans.”

He let his gaze travel over Tony’s face, his heart full of how beautiful his sub was. The feeling made Tony blush gently, and made him even more attractive, although Jethro wasn’t sure how that was possible.

“With the depth of our bond, I feel it’s wrong of me to continue in a job that puts me at risk of serious or fatal injury. I won’t risk you like that, Tony, you are the most important thing in my life, more than any job. I was going to ask Nicola if I could do some consulting at the San, but this new Unit would use my training, skills and interests to the best effect.” He lifted an eyebrow at Tony. “That is if the Project Administrator will accept my application.”

Gibbs suddenly had a lap full of tearful, laughing sub as Tony covered his face with kisses. Joy blasted down their bond in stereo as they both let the rightness of their decisions settle into their souls.

Jethro wrapped his arms around Tony, holding him tightly as he claimed his mouth in a consuming kiss. He admired the sweet, clever, damaged man so much, and found in him a true mate, for his soul and his heart. Finally, Gibbs could let himself believe that the pain and distress Konosuke Ibu and his family had caused was over. He hoped Obaasan could see the amazing man she had helped to save, and the great work he was hoping to achieve in her name.

He knew his decision to leave NCIS was the right one, and if the new Unit became a reality, they would both have a new chapter to add to their story. For the first time in a very long while, Gibbs found himself excited about the future. He and Tony would live, work, play and love together for the rest of their lives and when the time came, they would breathe their last together.

To his surprise, he found he was all right with that, too.

End of Book One

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