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Cause and Effect

Chapter Text

My fate is my own
I make my own mark
My destiny's not written
It lies in the dark
I build my own path
I craft my own way
I don't care about the status quo
Or what other people say
But if luck plays a part
In this world filled with doubt
Well... I wouldn't protest
If it helped me out.

Chapter One: A Brilliant (And Crazy) Idea


Tony had the worst luck.

Considering he was likely the first person in one hundred years that had actually had the black plague, this probably went without saying. Not to mention that Tony's life seemed to be the embodiment of Murphy's Law –what could go wrong did do wrong.

With often spectacular results.

Tony honestly didn't go looking for trouble... it just seemed to follow him around. He stumbled into traps unknowingly, got kidnapped by crazed mass murderers and even ran into people he knew at the worst possible places.

He'd run into his boss at a gay bar once. His thirty-years-older than him, married with three children boss. They hadn't been able to look each other in the eyes for weeks.

An argument could probably be made that Tony should retire and spend his life buried under the many covers in his bed. A case could also be made that, at the very least, he should stay away from gay bars and strip clubs.

But Tony was nothing if not stubborn.

And besides, he rationalized to himself, the chances of running into anyone he knew at a BDSM club were surely astronomical. A thousand to one.

And Tony was almost desperate enough not to care.

He didn't visit the BDSM scene often –it was much riskier, for a cop, than even a gay bar and, on the whole, Tony tried not to tempt fate. But, occasionally, things got stressful enough that Tony needed it, as much for his own sake as for everyone else's. When he got far enough along that even one of Gibbs' slaps could make his head swim he knew something had to be done.

Ordering himself a coke (alcohol, unfortunately, just made subspace harder to reach) Tony propped himself against the bar and scanned the crowd. It was a weeknight and, as such, wasn't that busy. Usually, Tony wouldn't have risked coming with so few people to hide among but he'd just suffered through a case that had dragged on for over a week and a half and he was fast approaching desperate.

"You right, sweetheart?"

Tony flicked his eyes to the left casually, already knowing this guy was a bust. Anyone who called him sweetheart wasn't going to pass muster as far as Tony was concerned. He may have been desperate but he still had standards.

"I'm meeting someone," Tony lied saccharinely.

"Does he know how lucky he is?" the man purred, reaching out to run a hand down Tony's arm, "He treat you right?"

This guy spoke like someone off some horrible 50's sitcom. Tony smiled his trademark razor sharp grin and edged away.

"I think I see him. Excuse me."

Tony slipped away, shuddering in distaste and resisting the temptation to brush the imaginary dust off his arm. It was times like these he felt sorry for women –it'd get pretty annoying being constantly hit on by sleazy men who didn't understand 'back off' when they were knocked over the head with it.

Still, if Tony didn't find someone to bring him down soon he might actually have to consider stooping so low. His entire body was buzzing and if he didn't find a Dom before he got back to work he'd find himself challenging Gibbs and pushing his boundaries beyond what was wise. Hell, pushing Gibbs at all usually ended in chaos and anarchy.

Determined not to let things deteriorate that far, Tony scanned the room again. Sleaze At The Bar was still watching him intently, eyes dark, and Tony felt his desperation kick up a notch. He'd go somewhere else but... well, BDSM clubs weren't exactly a dime a dozen in DC and Tony wasn't willing to settle. Not tonight.

He began weaving through the patrons, giving everyone he met a careful once over. Many were female, twice his age or so obviously submissive that they may as well have invested in a neon sign that advertised such a fact. He got interested looks from them all which, dressed as he was, wasn't surprising.

It didn't take long to catalogue everyone and soon the only person Tony hadn't assessed was the man sitting in the corner. He'd been there for perhaps an hour and never lifted his eyes from the book he was reading.

Who went to a BDSM club and took a book?

Unable to tell if the man was a Dom or a Sub without at least seeing his face, Tony made his way over. The man was facing slightly away from Tony and didn't notice his approach so Tony was forced to take the initiate and tap the man on the shoulder, prompting him to turn.

He wasn't sure who was more surprised: him or McGee.


Limp with shock, Tony fell into the chair parallel to McGee's and stared at him. Considering he was at a BDSM club, he was dressed quite plainly. Though still half stunned by shock Tony was also able to tell, in his current state of mind, that McGee was a top. Which, frankly, merited a raised eyebrow of its own.

"This is the last place I thought I'd find you," Tony managed eventually, not bothering to hide the incredulity in his voice, "Since when do you play?"

McGee had the grace to flush slowly, looking more awkward than Tony had seen him in a long time.

"I could say the same of you," McGee retorted, "Though, really, I don't know why I'm so surprised. This sort of thing's probably right up your alley."

"Seriously, McGee," Tony said, shaking his head in continued amazement, "How long? Promise I won't tease you. Frankly, I don't see where I'd have the grounds."

"Like that's ever stopped you," McGee grouched, and Tony had to concede the point, "Since I first started at NCIS. At first, it was just to help me gain some confidence and assertion but eventually... I found I needed it."

That last concession sounded like it cost McGee something to say and Tony couldn't help but be impressed. What McGee said made a lot of sense –poor Tim had been beaten down his whole life. It wasn't unexpected he would relish the chance to be in control. In a word full of uncertainties, being able to dictate what happened could be addictive.

"What about you?" McGee wondered, "I bet you've been topping since college."

Tony wasn't surprised McGee bungled his orientation. With his height, dark looks and winning smile, he got mistaken as a Dom regularly. McGee, who had known Tony for years and no doubt remembered all the times he'd gone toe to toe with Gibbs himself, had even more cause to get it wrong.

"Got it in one," Tony agreed, slyly, "Except for the topping part."

It was worth whatever dignity that cost him just to see McGee's jaw drop and his eyes widen in surprise.

"No," McGee breathed incredulously, leaning across the table clandestinely, "Seriously?"

Tony laughed at the sight McGee made and nodded.

"Wouldn't have thought you went for that," McGee admitted, "I mean, you're very loyal to Gibbs but you spend just as much time challenging him as you do following his lead."

"As senior agent, that's kind of my job." Tony pointed out, "But part of my ability to do that is because I'm a sub. If I don't get taken down I'm absolute hell. Which, of course, only makes it harder to take me down."

"That makes a weird kinda sense," McGee consented, sounding still a little unsure despite that, "I go the other way –if I go too long without asserting some dominance I start to lose my confidence and let everyone walk all over me."

"Hence the both of us are here," Tony observed, "Though I'm at least making a decent go of it. What's with the book?"

"None of the girls are my type," McGee returned defensively, "They're all half my age."

"That guy over there isn't bad," Tony pointed out, "Or is it only girls that do it for you?"

"You go for guys?" McGee blurted, shocked all over again, "You?"

"When I sub –pretty exclusively," Tony acknowledged, "I have some weird thing about being dominated by women. I either fight twice as hard or end up trying to switch the dynamic."

"I can't believe it!" McGee exclaimed, "You're so... so... so straight!"

"I'm also a federal agent," Tony reminded him wryly, "And the best undercover cop this side of the city. I know how to wear a mask."

"I wouldn't have thought you'd care about that," McGee returned, "You're so certain of yourself."

Tony gave McGee an incredulous look. Since, after all, McGee had been working with him for years now and, despite what Tony said, wasn't half bad at his job.

"Except when you're not," McGee confessed, reacting to Tony's look, "Okay, so your insecurities run pretty deep. But even when they're on display they're hidden."

"Even being self assured isn't the same as being a bisexual cop," Tony had to say, "A lot of people would give me a hard time and, frankly, I get into enough trouble without looking for more."

"I'd say," McGee agreed, a little too emphatically for Tony's tastes, "Still, I think it'll take me a bit to catalogue this new information and assimilate it to what I already know. You've taken everything I know about you, turned it on its head, given it a shake, and turned it back."

"I'm your proverbial snow globe?" Tony wondered, bemused. "And your hardly one to talk. I've learnt things I didn't even suspect about you."

"That's true," McGee conceded, "Small world huh? I mean, what are the chances that I'd be a Dom and you'd be a Sub? I can't imagine many people at NCIS would dabble in the scene at all except maybe Abby. And the both of us being at this club on the same night?"

It did seem like an awful big coincidence when phrased that way. Tony knew his own luck but, even then, this still seemed like a bit of a leap. It was as though this meeting had been preordained –which was ridiculous. But Tim was right –what were the odds that two men who worked together would not only be two sides of the same BDSM coin but in the same place at the same time?

And in that moment, Tony got an idea so insane that it was pure genius.

"You're a Dom and I'm a Sub," he began slowly, ignoring McGee's 'didn't-we-already-establish-this?' look. "You're looking for a Sub and I'm looking for a Dom..."

For a long moment, McGee just looked at him blankly. It was clear the exact moment things clicked into place because he blanched and scooted back so hurriedly that Tony was offended despite himself.

"Look, I'm really flattered and all, Tony," he babbled, edging back even further, "But you're really not –"

"McGee!" Tony interrupted with a snap, before that particular train wreck of a thought could become even more mangled.

McGee cut himself off, blinking owlishly one moment and blushing vibrantly the next.

"That's not what you meant."

"Not entirely," Tony agreed dryly, "But thanks for the ego boost. Really."

"Sorry," McGee managed awkwardly, "But you gotta admit it sounded... hinky."

"Dominance isn't just about sex, Tim," Tony pointed out, before pausing to amend, "Well, not entirely in any case."

"I know that," McGee argued, "Otherwise I wouldn't need it so badly. Still, it's a pretty major part."

"Because people make it a major part," Tony negated, "Myself included. What I'm proposing here is a match of convenience. You take me down when I get too wired and I do the same for you."

"I'm not sure if this is a good idea..." McGee hemmed.

"As opposed to going out in public, at the risk of getting spotted, and picking out a stranger to give us what we need," Tony retorted, "I mean, it's easier for you. You're the one tying people up as opposed to lying helpless in an anonymous hotel room."

McGee grimaced, conceding the point.

"Won't it screw us up at work?" McGee wondered, though Tony could see he was seriously starting to consider it, "What about rule 12?"

"It might become a problem if I was your boss," Tony admitted, "But I'm not. Besides, I'm suggesting we do this only when things get bad –I think it goes without saying we don't do it at work. As for rule 12 –McGee, we're not going to sleep with each other. We're not even going to date. I don't think this counts."

"You really think we could pull this off?" McGee mused, "I can't imagine you're an easy sub to get down."

"I'm a pain in the neck," Tony agreed, unabashedly, "I'll fight against you every step of the way but once you get me down... you'll feel your dominance like you never have before."

McGee lapsed into thought.

"If you're answer is no, that's fine," Tony assured, "I just think it's safer than what we're doing now. I don't know about you, but I only get to this point once every couple of months, depending on the cases we snag."

"Me too," McGee admitted, "Maybe... we don't even know if we'll work together that way. It's possible we might know each other too well to be comfortable with it. Why don't we try it out and see how it goes?"

"Test run?" Tony confirmed and McGee nodded, "Your place or mine?"

The look on McGee's face articulated perfectly well that he'd never expected to be asked that question by Tony of all people.

"Mine," McGee decided at last, "I think I need all the advantages I can get. I find it helps to be on my own territory."

Since a lot of Doms preferred things to happen at their place on their terms (which made sense, considering) Tony wasn't surprised by this answer. Instead he got smoothly to his feet and beckoned McGee to follow. McGee did so, looking adorably uncertain, and Tony felt the first inkling of doubt that this would work. McGee said he let people walk all over him when things were bad so, hopefully, his current submission was just a hallmark of that and he'd buckle up once they got to his apartment.

Tony had taken a cab to the club so they took McGee's car –after Tony spent a good ten minutes lecturing McGee on why you didn't take your car anywhere you didn't want to be seen or followed.

By the time they'd reached McGee's place, they'd fallen into the good natured sniping that usually prevailed in their relationship at work. A calm which was destroyed the moment McGee closed the door behind them.

For a moment the both of them just stood there, staring at each other uncertainly. Then McGee, shucking off his jacket, took a breath and visibly bolstered himself.


Tony, deciding to make this as easy as he could, followed the command without being forced. McGee seemed to gain some strength at Tony's easy compliance because he stood even straighter and appeared determinedly thoughtful. No doubt wondering how he could force Tony to submit without fucking him raw.

"Stay," McGee commanded, stalking out of the room.

Tony, not feeling his submission at all, rolled his eyes where he knelt and wondered, yet again, if this was a good idea after all. Despite his doubts, however, he stayed put obediently.

McGee was back in moments, holding a variety of items. The first of which was a blindfold which he busily set about tying around Tony's eyes. The world went out.


Used to that command (if not in this context) Tony did so without thought. There was some rustling and then McGee was tying a ball gag firmly in place. It was then that Tony's head began to swim, ever so slightly.

A moment later, Tony felt his wrist being grabbed and he was pulled to his feet. With sure hands, and without a word being spoken, McGee stripped him of his jacket and his shoes and socks. When he arms and feet were bare, Tony found himself being led. If this were a normal scene, he knew he'd be led into the bedroom but, of course, this wasn't a normal scene.

They stopped walking and, with a single hand pressing down on his shoulder, Tony was told to kneel again. He was feeling his subspace enough to want to fight that order, and hesitated a moment before he knelt.

Then came the ropes.

McGee had clearly done this before, because here there was no awkwardness or uncertainty. Just a single length of rope that slowly bound his feet and thighs, before binding them both together, trapping Tony on his knees. His hands were the next to be bound, this length of rope even longer than the last as it bound his arms together and then to his body. It took a good fifteen minutes but the end result was Tony, bound from head to toe. Tony's subspace shot up a notch and, as such, Tony found himself struggling against the bonds. Not that it helped. McGee had done his job well.

McGee left for a moment (which Tony only knew by listening to his shoes tap across the floor) but he returned quickly, sitting just behind Tony on what had to be a couch. Then Tony was grabbed and gently manoeuvred so that his head lay against McGee's knee and his hair, methodically, began being stroked.

For a long time (Tony wasn't sure how long) he sat there stiffly, fighting his bonds and shying away from McGee's persistent stroking. It seemed like forever before Tony felt the first lick of submission, knowing to his bones that he was utterly caught and there was nothing he could do but sit there and take it.

That thought took his submission up another notch and, another eternity later, Tony found he had given up completely. His subspace was absolute, his bones made of jelly and his head pressing into McGee's hand, which never faltered. For a very long while, Tony let himself sink, feeling safe and utterly content. Feeling like he belonged here, in this moment.

Tony wasn't sure how long they stayed that way –it seemed like hours and no time at all –before McGee's hand drifted from his hair to his shoulder. He touched him once, gently, before his hands drifted even further, to the ropes that bound Tony up. He unwound them carefully, slowly, and the more free Tony became the more centred he felt. Finally, the gag and the blindfold were being removed and Tony was blinking the darkness away and stretching his mouth open cautiously.

He shook his head, still groggy, and looked up to find McGee looking just as drugged out as he was. And there was.... something about the way he observed Tony. He seemed... sure of himself. Totally unconcerned and unembarrassed.

"How long has it been?" Tony wondered, swimming up slowly.

"A while," McGee admitted, "It's... three o'clock."

McGee sounded as startled reading the time as Tony felt hearing it.

"Glad we don't have work tomorrow," Tony managed blankly, feeling almost himself by now.

"I'll say," McGee avowed thankfully, "You should probably crash here."

Tony was too relaxed and too tired to argue. Subspace always took something out of him and all he wanted to do right then was collapse somewhere. McGee's couch would do well enough.

"We'll talk in the morning," Tony promised.

"Fine," McGee returned easily, yawning, "I'll get you a blanket."

Tony stripped off his tight-clinging clothes, happy to be out of them and wishing he didn't have to don them again in the morning –or the afternoon, depending on when he woke up.

"Here," McGee called, throwing him a blanket and a pillow.

"Thanks," Tony returned, busily making himself comfortable. McGee retreated into his room and, utterly at peace with the world, Tony curled up and the couch and quickly fell into a deep sleep.

He didn't dream at all.



Chapter Text

I'm stubborn and wilful
I'm wiry and I'm strong
I'm fierce, I am driven
My body broad and long
I'm capable, I'm honest
I can carry my own weight
I'm thorough and careful
I write down my own fate
But through my mind is solid
And my body tough and true
Occasionally, every now and then,
I'll admit to needing you.

Chapter Two: Breaking Points


The morning was bright and beaming and Tony woke up utterly refreshed.

McGee had surprised him last night. The dynamic between them obviously wasn't ideal but it worked, which is what Tony had been hoping for. He couldn't expect a scene between two people who weren't suited to each other to be easy to manage (which is probably why it had taken so long to get them both to that place) but when they'd finally gotten it right, it had flowed like water.

Stretching himself out and ignoring the many popping sounds the action earned him, Tony got to his feet, shook his head clear, and ambled into the kitchen in search of food. There was some bacon in the fridge and, deciding to be gracious, Tony began the process of whipping up breakfast.

McGee stumbled out of his room just as Tony was frying the eggs, looking rumpled and half-asleep.


McGee made a sound that could have been mistaken for English, taking a seat at the table and looking blearily around the room. Not bothering to hide his amusement, Tony nudged a cup of coffee in his direction and McGee took it automatically.

By the time Tony was serving breakfast up McGee had drained half the cup and looked far more alert.

"Not a morning person, huh?" Tony teased, taking a seat himself and digging in.

"You're far too cheerful," McGee complained sulkily, "Stop it immediately."

Tony grinned but stayed silent, quickly polishing off his plate and watching as McGee did the same.

"Ready for any life-altering conversations yet?"

McGee held up a finger and drained his coffee cup dry. He gave a sigh, half satisfaction half regret, and turned his attention to Tony.

"It was pretty amazing," McGee began, jumping right into the thick of it, "But we're not that compatible. It took me ages to get you down –which might be easier as I get to know what sort of sub you are but might not."

"I noticed that as well," Tony agreed, "Still, it's not like you're looking to collar me."

"True," McGee conceded, "But how will dating work?"

"If either of us starts dating someone we'll talk about it then," Tony suggested, "But it's not like we're having sex here Timmy. Dating wouldn't count as cheating."

"There is that," McGee relented, "And, as obnoxious as you are, I trust you to have my six. You were right when you said going to clubs was risky. As long as we're careful..."

"We're not going to be doing this at work anyway," Tony pointed out, "Can't imagine you trying to tie me up there."

"What about Gibbs?"

"We'll be meeting up maybe once a month," Tony put in, firmly, "We're not dating or having sex. It isn't any of his concern if we get a kick from playing around in the scene... still, perhaps don't mention it to him?"

"That," McGee said emphatically, "Goes without saying."

"Good," Tony affirmed, "I imagine what other problems we encounter will be dealt with as they prop up. Or until you come up with a list of them and pester me with it."

McGee, having to admit that was very possible, still felt it important he make his displeasure clear by glaring daggers at Tony. Tony grinned cockily back which, oddly, made him feel better.

As though nothing had changed, even though everything had.


No matter how successful the experiment in dominance without sex had been, Tony had still expected some awkwardness at work.

That there wasn't any actually threw him for a loop and made him feel more self-conscious about the situation than he would have been if there had been awkwardness. This meant, bizarre as it sounded, that there was awkwardness because there wasn't any awkwardness.

Even to Tony, that didn't make a whole lot of sense.

Tony distracted himself from the issue by observing Timothy. It was interesting, now that he carried this secret around, just how much more he saw. He couldn't help but notice, for example, how confident McGee had been in the days directly after their... session, for lack of a better word. Even the way he carried himself had changed.

Tony couldn't help but wonder what (if any) changes McGee had noticed occurring in Tony.

It was fascinating to see that confidence slowly waning day by day. Still, Tony was sure that he would be asking for one of the sessions before McGee, if only because he seemed more comfortable with their arrangement.

But that was before they snagged The Case.

It involved a missing kid which, straight up, meant that Gibbs would be on the warpath. Unfortunately, since most of the evidence was electronic (bank accounts, camera stamps and a trail of emails) most of the pressure fell onto McGee's shoulders. By the end of the week, he was cringing any time someone yelled at him and was running on so little sleep that his eyes were almost black.

Tony, who had been doing the most legwork and asked to follow up on any and every lead McGee found, was sympathetic in theory but not in practice. Was simply too tired 24/7 to be much of anything to anyone.

He did feel a sliver of it once the case came to a close. Despite all McGee's hard work and dedication, it was Gibbs who cracked the case open by interrogating a suspect. The guy provided them with everything they needed and all that fancy electronic stuff became desirable as evidence rather than essential to solving the case.

The little boy was found an hour and a half later, the bad guy was put securely in cuffs, and the whole team was ready to drop. Even Gibbs, proverbial super marine, looked drained.

"Take tomorrow off," he instructed them, music to Tony's ears. He planned to sleep and not much else.


Tony turned, standing semi-patiently at his desk and observing McGee. Tim's shoulders were slumped so low he was almost bent over. His eyes were weary and dark and his every pore screamed of uncertainty and vulnerability. He seemed a touch away from breaking down completely. He didn't ask, seemed incapable of asking, but Tony knew what he wanted –what he needed.

He nodded.

McGee slumped further, this time in relief, and nodded back. Considering he wasn't in any condition to go out looking for someone to top, Tony bet he was feeling very fortunate (perhaps for the first time) that he had an arrangement with Tony.

McGee left soon after that exchange and, wanting to leave some time between them, Tony reluctantly lingered at his desk, finishing up his report and leaving it on Gibbs' desk before finally packing it up and heading... not home.

Damn it.

Exhausted and starving, Tony hoped McGee didn't have anything big planned. He didn't think he could hack staying up till three o'clock in the morning again.

Luckily, McGee had at least planned for his hunger. Tony walked into the apartment to find the table set. For one.

Instead of another place setting, McGee had placed a pillow next to his chair. Tony, able to take a hint, walked over to it at once and knelt. Watching him, McGee seemed reassured by that action alone. Picking up a piece of bread he held it out to Tony. Tony, a little bemused, raised his hand to take it but McGee withdrew the morsel at once.

"Hands in your laps."

Surprised by the command, Tony nonetheless obeyed. Now wasn't the time to be a difficult sub to take down and if he couldn't be in his subspace, he could at least give the semblance of submission.

When next the food approached him, Tony took it with his mouth, not his fingers. It was a disconcerting experience, being hand fed, and seemed weirdly intimate considering they weren't in a relationship. But it was clear, from the way McGee's shoulders slowly relaxed, that this is what the probie needed. Knowing the tables could very well be reversed the next time around, Tony did as he was asked without complaint.

Soon the plate was empty and Tony, feeling his exhaustion triple-fold now that his hunger had been met, followed McGee automatically to the bedroom. Once there, he allowed himself to be stripped down to his boxers and watched without interest as McGee did the same. Then McGee was cuffing his wrists with leather bands and tying them comfortably to the bed head.

Tony gave his wrists a little tug and found the hold firm but not at all annoying. Which was fortunate, because McGee obviously expected him to sleep like this. Not to mention the blindfold that McGee added next, tied securely around his head.

Then McGee was pushing him onto the bed and crawling in beside him. He didn't touch Tony, not so much as an arm slung around his middle. Knowing that Tony was next to him and bound was apparently more than enough for him.

"You're allowed to touch me," Tony couldn't help but assure him, in case McGee felt he needed permission, "Not about sex, remember?"

It was understandable he'd need to reiterate that, what with him being half naked and tied to McGee's bed. This had 'smoky-hot-gay-sex' written all over it. In normal circumstances Tony would be milking the cliché but he honestly didn't see Tim that way and, besides, he was too tired to want anything at all that would require him to move.

"Go to sleep, Tony."

It was all McGee said, but he was beginning to sound like his old self, which reassured him. Deciding to be a good little submissive, Tony snuggled down into the blankets and followed the order at once.





Chapter Text

You sit there and judge
Stick pins into my body
And interrogate.

It's friendly and kind
This back and forth talk
Which illuminates.

But please be careful
You need to watch what you say
-You must pay the toll.

And please understand
When I answer a question
I reveal my soul.

Chapter Three: Questions and Answers


Tony woke up bound, dishevelled and deeply in subspace.

It wasn't much of a surprise. He'd spent the whole night blindfolded and tied to the head of a bed, cuffs pressed firmly against the pulse in his wrists which, for Tony, was only matched for a trigger point by the back of his neck.

Knowing he had to lay there and wait for McGee to release him only sent Tony swimming deeper. This wasn't a bad way to reach it, actually. He'd slept through the fighting and testing his boundaries stage and gotten straight to the good stuff.

The only downside was the ache in his arms but considering the constant pain was likely what had made his submission possible, Tony supposed he couldn't complain.

He gave his hands a gentle tug and a stab of pain reverberated through his shoulders, making him gasp. His cry perhaps roused McGee, for the next moment nimble fingers were setting his wrists free. Tony pulled his hands down, giving them a gentle roll. They creaked ominously.

"Ow," he complained, blinking his eyes open as McGee took off the blindfold and swimming up to the surface rapidly.

"There's food."

His stomach grumbled in interest and, slinging his feet off the bed, Tony got up in one long stretch. Handcuffs, he decided, were not made to be slept in.

"Coffee?" Tony queried hopefully.

"On the table," McGee affirmed.


Tony all but bounded out to the living room, pouncing on the coffee the second it was in sight and taking a long sip. The pot on the table was already half empty (which explained how McGee was actually coherent) but none of the food had yet been touched so Tony served up two plate's worth, grateful to have an actual seat this time.

"Thanks," McGee said as he took his seat and, looking up and eyeing Tony frankly, he said it again: "Thanks."

Tony met McGee's eyes straight on before nodding gracefully, managing (just) to keep the jokes contained. Now was not the time. The simplest answer was usually the right one.

"Don't mention it."


It didn't make any sense, but Tony felt infinitely at ease knowing it had been McGee who had caved first.

Perhaps it reassured him that he couldn't be turned down when it was his turn. Perhaps he was simply so used to competing with poor Tim that he used any excuse to do so. Or maybe he just liked having the upper hand.

Whatever the case, whatever lingering tension or awkwardness from lack of awkwardness there had been was long gone.

They still snipped at each other fiercely. Tony still joked teased McGee by calling him every name under the sun (through 'Probie' would never lose its panache) and McGee still complained about Tony's mental age and struggled to outdo him on a case.

Despite that, their interactions seemed... clearer. Tony couldn't put his finger on what exactly had changed, but all malice had vanished. Though Tony would never admit to it, there had been times when Tim's comments or his shining successes had cut slightly too close to home. But ever since McGee had caved and requested Tony's help, those cuts had disappeared. Anything McGee said, even in anger, rolled off Tony like water off a duck.

Somehow, there was an understanding between them that had remained elusive before then.

The next time they got together for a session (as Tony had taken to calling it) this unspoken bond only became stronger and though they had always been colleagues they found themselves becoming friends, which was something else all together.

It occurred to Tony, after their fourth or fifth session, that he hadn't known what he was suggesting that night in the bar. Not really.

But they were both in far too deep to back out now.


"How many subs have you had?"

"Seven." McGee answered promptly, not even looking up from the pancakes he was busily devouring.

Trust McGee to not even have to count.


McGee took this for a question, and answered it.

"Jezebel, Anne, Isabel, Lauren, Nicole, Tabitha and Daisy."

"You know them all by name?"

McGee finally tore his gaze away from his plate and gave Tony a wry look.

"And how many doms have you had?" he shot back pointedly.

"Too many to count let alone list by name," Tony returned shamelessly, "I mean really, Probie. Daisy?"

"I tried to stick to ones I knew," McGee explained, "Jezebel was my most regular sub. I actually tried dating Lauren for a while but..."

He shrugged, leaving Tony to figure out the rest on his own.

"Okay," Tony said slowly, "So... what's your idea of a perfect sub?"

A couple of months ago, McGee would have replied with a comment that displayed his rapier wit. It was a mark of how far they'd come that he considered the question thoughtfully.

"Fun," he replied at last, "Someone cheerful and pure and... innocent. Someone I can spoil. That can make me laugh. My ideal sub is fiery and fierce and stubborn. Someone who I can bring down by touch alone."

McGee likely didn't realize it, but he gave away more than he meant to in that description. Tony, not as surprised as he thought he'd be, wondered just how long he'd been in love with Abby.

"What about you? The perfect Dom."

Tony tried to pinpoint exactly what attributes he would hold.

"Pretty much the opposite of your sub," he admitted at last, "Strong, capable, determined. Someone who won't give up on me or abandon me. Someone firm, unyielding and resilient."

Someone who would give him a place to belong.

"Sounds like Gibbs," McGee put in, having no problems with speaking the unspoken.

Tony was perhaps a little too silent a little too long, because McGee's expression morphed slowly from thoughtful to incredulous.

"Gibbs, Tony? Gibbs?"

"Gibbs," Tony said softly, realizing, as he said it, that it was the first time he'd ever admitted to it out loud.

And god, he'd admitted it to McGee of all people.

"But he's such a bastard!"

"I'm aware of his shortcomings," Tony rebutted with a hint of irony, "But he's also the best man I've ever known."

"Yeah, and the most complex," McGee returned, shaking his head in wonderment, "Not to mention he's been married four times. If that doesn't say 'straight' then I don't think anything does."

"Which gives me a very legitimate reason to never ever tell him," Tony agreed firmly, "One of another hundred or so I've thought up actually. Much harder for you."

"What do you mean?" McGee inquired cautiously.

"You're in love with Abby."

McGee gave Tony the credit he was due by not denying it. Then again, this was McGee –he'd probably written poems and sonnets about his unrequited passion and had become so accustomed to it that feeling this way was as common place as smiling.

"So why don't you tell her?"

McGee looked back at his half eaten pancakes, his cheeks flushing with colour.

"I don't know what to say," he admitted at last, "Besides, it goes against rule twelve."

"Rule twelve?" Tony echoed incredulously, "Seriously, that's your excuse? God, Tim, at least mine makes sense! Abby's not a team member."

"She is so!" McGee argued fiercely.

"In practice, not in theory," Tony retorted, "Technically, she works in the lab. Thus, not a team member. As for not knowing what to say –have you tried asking her out?"

"But I know I'd have to specify," McGee complained, "Otherwise, she'd just think I was asking her out as friends, which we've done a thousand times."

"So ask her out and be specific," Tony suggested reasonably.

"...but what if she says no?"

"Isn't it better to know than to suffer?" Tony pointed out, "At least if she says no you can try to move on."

"I could say the same for you," McGee observed.

"No," Tony negated, "Gibbs is a marine, clearly straight and my boss. Admitting my feelings for him could get me fired at worst and treated with pity at best. Nothing good could come of it and the likelihood of him feeling the same way is nowhere near as good as your odds with Abby. Besides, it'sAbby –even if she says no, she'll do it in such a way that it won't feel like a rejection."

"It'll feel like a rejection," McGee disputed firmly.

"Probably," Tony had to concede, "But honestly? I... don't think she will. You're a good guy, McGee. She could do a lot worse."


"It was a compliment," Tony said dryly, "Not that it matters. You're not going to tell her are you?"


Tony huffed in annoyance.

"Your an idiot," he accused, "I've never let my fear of being turned down stop me from asking a girl out."

"You've never been in love with any of the girls you've asked out," McGee pointed out.

"It would have made my life much easier if I had been," Tony responded honestly, "Really McGee. The worst she could do is say no."

"The worst she could do is say yes," McGee argued, eyes wild, "Then it'd hurt even more when she broke up with me."

"That's the stuff of living, McGee," Tony insisted, taken aback by the thought of living his life that way, "You won't lead much of a life at all if you allowed it to be ruled by fear. Don't you deserve to be loved? Doesn't Abby deserve to be loved?"

"Of course she does," McGee returned fiercely, "She deserves everything."

"Who are you to deny her it?"

"Who am I to offer it?" McGee demanded helplessly, "She deserves much better than me. She deserves the world."

"Who says you can't give it to her?" Tony argued, "Can you imagine loving anyone else?"


"So what if she feels the same way?" Tony asked, almost gently, "You might be content to live your life half complete but are you willing to doom her to a similar existence?"

That, finally, seemed to get through to McGee.

"She doesn't feel that way about me," he negated, but it was a shaky argument.

"And you know her heart do you?" Tony wondered sharply.

McGee was forced to acknowledge that he didn't. He only knew his own. Tony, of course, took his silence as the answer it was.

"My advice is to get it over with," he suggested, returning to his pancakes and knowing he'd won, "But if you want the woman you love to continue suffering I suppose that's your choice."

Seeing McGee's expression, Tony grinned. Clearly, this was going to be an interesting day.



Chapter Text

I want to try
To succeed
I tell myself
'Just go'
I tell myself
'You can'
I try to say
'Just do it'
And that
There's nothing
To loose
But my heart
Is a traitor
It beats
Far too fast
It holds me back
And I must try
To ignore it
Because I know
To my bones
That there's nothing
That was every gained
If at first
We didn't try.

Chapter Four: Nothing Ventured

McGee didn't work well under pressure.

This was clear almost at once because the next day, back in the bullpen, it seemed he couldn't do anything right. All that confidence, all the assertive power he'd gathered from their scene, had vanished overnight. Tony had never seen someone come down from that high so rapidly and it was painful to watch.

He fumbled files, bowed his head at Tony's teasing and dropped Gibbs' coffee.

All over Gibbs' shoes.

By noon, everyone was avoiding him with a ten foot pole and it seemed that the more time that past the more nervous he became. If Tony had to guess, he would hypothesise that McGee had set himself a time limit (likely the end of the day) and was losing more and more of his self control as that deadline approached.

Gibbs was snapping at him every five minutes, which only made things worse, and Ziva was eying him like a particularly hazardous explosive. Only Tony was brave enough to go near the man and he'd had more things spilled on him and tripping him up in the last few hours than he had all year. This McGee was worse even than he had been when he'd only first been starting out –Tony hadn't realized just how well McGee had been holding it together then until now.

McGee was well aware of his ineptitude–it showed all over his vulnerable little face. At one point, he actually looked like he was a hair away from bursting into tears.

Which is when Tony acted.

Doubtless he caused a bit of a scene, grabbing McGee's arm and haling him to the men's room. If McGee hadn't been so obviously on the edge of a razor blade and Tony so good at covering his tracks, people would have wondered about them.

"God Tony, I'm freaking out. I am freaking out. I can't do this, I really can't. Every moment is just –"

He cut himself off from his haphazard rambling as abruptly as he'd started, staring in shocked surprise at Tony, who had sunk to his knees.

"What are you doing?"

Tony had to bite back an inappropriate reply, which would hardly be conductive to calming McGee down, and instead bowed his head, looked up submissively through his lashes, and answered honestly.

"I'm allowing you to dominate me."

"Are you crazy?" McGee hissed, not at all calmed but at least directing his energy in a more practical way, "We're at work!"

"And your panicking," Tony returned evenly, "Desperate times..."

"I really can't deal with this now, Tony," McGee pleaded, "Why are you doing this?"

"To remind you," Tony replied gently.

"Of what?"

"That you're a good man," Tony answered, and, for this, he made sure their eye contact held steady, "You're a good Dom Tim. If both of us liked men or were remotely attracted to each other I'd be proud to wear your collar."


"I'd wear one now if you asked it of me," Tony admitted easily, and it was true. If Tim asked him to, he would.

"But I'm rubbish at handling you..."

"I'm a hard sub to get down," Tony parried, "I know it and you know it. I fight the whole way... and you still got me there."

"After hours of work," McGee bitched.

"Which only shows your resilient," Tony persisted, "Not to mention determined and selfless. Abby would be fortunate to get you."

"But what about you?" McGee pointed out, "Who would you have? Who would take you down? I don't want you going back to how it was before."

"Maybe you can help me find someone," Tony suggested, not entirely sure what McGee's taste in men would be like, and thus needing to add an amendment, "I give you my permission to tell Abby –she can help. I think she'd be better suited to picking out men than you."

"Considering some of her past boyfriends I wouldn't count on it," McGee muttered.

"Well make me best man at the wedding and I'll consider us even for any undue pain or suffering on my part, alright?"

McGee blushed, looking half pleased half terrified at the thought of marrying Abby. Tony just managed to keep himself from rolling his eyes at how endearing the whole thing was. Ergh. Emotions.

"The crux of the matter is that Abby is what you want," Tony concluded, his knees aching and wanting to wrap this up, "And you deserve to be happy."

"So do you," McGee returned, though he was looking much more composed by now.

"Let's stick with the plausible plans before we jump right into conjecture." Tony retorted, a little cynically.

"Gibbs doesn't deserve you anyway," McGee declared firmly, "Abby and I will find you someone who isn't a complete bastard."

Tony wondered where the fun would be in that, but held his tongue.

"Which means there needs to be an Abby and you in the first place," he pointed out instead, "So go down to the lab and, when your heart falters, remember me like this. On my knees for you, submitting to you, willing to wear your collar. Don't let me down, Tim."

"I won't," McGee vowed, straightening his shoulders at the challenge, "Now would you please get up?"

Tony did so, laughing and, impulsively, pulled McGee into a quick hug. It was, naturally, a very manly hug with lots of back slapping and, thus, didn't really qualify as a proper hug anyway.

"Shoo," Tony prompted, pulling back and giving McGee a little push towards the door, "And let me know how it goes."

Looking calm and composed, McGee went. Tony watched him leave, hand over his heart and heaving a dramatic sigh.

"They grow up so quickly," he mourned factiously.




Tony was at his desk working (alright, so he was playing Tetris online) when McGee returned. Tony's attention was caught at once but, looking at McGee, it was crystal clear that the update Tony had requested wouldn't be necessary. Abby's answer was written all over dear Probie's face.

He looked as though he could walk on air.

Surprised at how utterly thrilled he was, Tony found himself smiling so hard that his cheeks ached. McGee, catching the look, returned it with a smile that easily outshone all others. Even his eyes were smiling.

He smiled as though he'd won the lottery twice over.

Tony supposed he had and, through his joy, found a flicker of envy. He always went through women (and men) at a rate that made most people dizzy but, looking at how completely blissed out McGee was, Tony couldn't help but long for the same.

Horrors of horrors he actually wanted to commit to someone.

The very thought was terrifying. There was a marked difference in being willing to take McGee's collar as an act of solidarity and wanting one for what it represented. In their world, taking a collar was as serious it got, especially for same sex couples that couldn't legally marry. Tony, who took all forms of commitment very seriously, had never worn a collar in his life and hadn't been able to see himself ever wanting to. Somehow, McGee had changed that.

God, if he was this happy what would Abby be like?

Tony couldn't help but shudder at the thought. He made a mental note to leave off visiting Abby until tomorrow. When she'd have calmed down... slightly.

"You are looking pleased, McGee," Ziva observed, obviously curious as to what had changed when an hour ago McGee was spilling Gibbs' coffee.

"I just asked Abby out," McGee declared, all but shouting his love from the rooftop. Tony gathered they weren't going to keep their relationship a secret.

"I assume she said yes?" Ziva inquired, already smiling.

"Yes," McGee agreed, all but skipping to his desk, "She said yes."

"Congratulations," Ziva wished him.

"Yeah Timmy," Tony echoed, grinning, "Congrats. Set a date yet?"

As expected McGee blushed bright red and glared at Tony. Since he was still smiling wide enough to land a 747, it wasn't at all effective and Tony shook his head in amusement.

"Set a date for what?" Ziva wondered, her confusion just serving to heighten McGee's embarrassment.

"Enough with that, give me details!" Tony demanded, all but bouncing in his seat, "What did you say? What did she say? Talk us through it Probie. Ow!"

"This isn't junior high, DiNozzo," Gibbs scolded, walking past, "Back to work. McGee, hurt her and they'll never find the body."

"Yes sir," McGee agreed, breaking a rule by calling Gibbs 'sir' but making up for it by holding Gibbs' gaze steadily. Gibbs eyed him closely for a long moment before nodding abruptly.

"You'll do," he consented.

"Praise from Caesar," Tony remarked and, falling under Gibbs' stare himself, hastily looked down, "Back to work, I know. On it Boss."

Despite the chastisement, he was grinning the rest of the day.





Chapter Text

All I ever wanted
Was a place I could belong
But no matter how hard I tried
I always got it wrong
And it was you, in the end
Who found me a place to call my own
With your kiss, your eyes, your smile
I knew I'd never be alone
You break me down, you build me up
You make me feel complete
And you never even realize
That that's such an amazing feat
You make me glad to be myself
I'll never feel out of place
I'll never feel I'm not good enough
To show them my true face
So I want you to know I love you
You're my candle; you're my song
And I give to you the most precious thing of all:
A place you can belong.

Chapter Five: A Place to Belong

Tony's apartment was entirely too empty.

It was a preposterous thought if only because all their sessions had taken place at McGee's place. He was startled to find himself wishing that they could have gone out for a drink. He would have drilled McGee for a blow by blow account of exactly what happened in Abby's lab, McGee would spend most the night bright red, and they'd both have had a little too much to drink. Unfortunately, McGee and Abby were spending the night together, apparently eager to have their first date and, as such, such an outing would have to wait until the weekend.

Tony found himself looking forward to it.

In the meantime, he felt like a movie and, skimming over his extensive collection, was unable to scroll past 'Serendipity'. He felt as though he could sympathise with the concept –he hadn't forgotten the vast odds that had brought McGee and him together in that club.

He was only ten minutes into it when the knock sounded at his door. For a second, Tony worried it might be McGee and that his date with Abby had gone drastically wrong. Firmly derailing that thought (and instructing himself not to jump to conclusions) Tony hurried over and answered it.

"Boss?" Tony blurted, stepping aside to let Gibbs in automatically, "What are you doing here? Do we have a case?"

It was obvious they didn't have a case. Gibbs had never come to his apartment with a case –that's what mobile phones were for. Besides, he didn't have a file with him and he didn't have that look in his eyes; the one that took him over whenever they caught something top priority. In fact, Tony couldn't identify the look in Gibbs' eyes right then. Everything about him seemed... slightly out of place. Looking him over closely, Tony tried to pinpoint what had changed.

Gibbs didn't speak. He merely held out his hand below his waist and clicked his fingers once. Tony sank to his knees so reflexively that he was startled to find himself there.

"Gibbs..." he began uncertainly.

"Have I given you permission to speak?"

Tony locked his lips together at once, eyes wide with a hundred questions. They watched Gibbs steadily as the older man paced around him, drinking Tony's stance in without comment. Even as startled as he was, subspace was beginning to cloud the edges of his vision.

"You will speak only to answer my questions," Gibbs informed him frankly.

Cautiously, Tony bowed his head, baring his neck in agreement.

"How long have you been subbing for McGee?"

Tony's first inclination was to blink slowly. Part of him wanted to demand what how on earth Gibbs had found out but the sensible proportion, the submissive part, noted that he'd be better served by answering the question.

"Just over five months," he admitted and, God, had it really been that long?

"He ever fuck you?"

"No," Tony answered at once, taken aback both by the question and by Gibbs' language. The man was a marine and had probably said his share of swears, but Tony rarely heard them.

"Good," Gibbs avowed darkly, "Saves me the trouble of killing him."

Tony's eyes shot up at that. Gibbs' expression was utterly blank and all the more frightening for it. He circled Tony in constant concentric circles, never faltering in his steps. Tony, filled with nervous anticipation, wondered where this was going.

"And how long, exactly, have you been in love with me?"

Tony's brain froze and his jaw dropped. His subspace, a rising tide inside him, cleared significantly under his fear. He was clearly silent too long for Gibbs faltered in his steps and turned his deadly gaze directly onto Tony.

"Answer me!" he demanded fiercely and, unable to help it, Tony obeyed.

"I don't really know," Tony returned honestly, "I only realized I'd given you my heart when you broke it."

That confession halted Gibbs' stride completely. He turned to face Tony head on and, for the first time, Tony could interpret a facet of his expression. In some small measure he was taken aback by that.


Technically that wasn't a question and for a brief moment Tony toyed with remaining silent. But Gibbs wasn't the sort of man to take that kind of insubordination lying down and so Tony obeyed –he always did in the end.

"I felt the first inkling when you lost your memory. When you left me to go to Mexico, I think I knew it then but I didn't admit it, even to myself. Your absence made it impossible to deny but, when you came back and dumped my stuff on my desk with not even a by-you-leave, it tore me apart. And I knew that I loved you... how long have you known?"

Gibbs shot him a rather humourless smile.

"I didn't. You just told me."

Tony reeled back as though visibly struck. His submission collapsed entirely, lost in his self-hatred. Pretending you knew something as fact was the oldest interrogation technique in the book and Tony had fallen for it. What had happened to his reflexive 'deny, deny, deny' strategy? Avoid and evade, that was his motto. And, when worst came to worst, he could always run –he'd done it before.

He wanted to get to his feet, show Gibbs visibly that he wouldn't take this abrasive treatment, but Gibbs held all the cards and Tony didn't entirely trust the soundness of his legs.

"What do you want from me?"

Gibbs had never resumed his agitated pacing and, at Tony's question, he stepped forward, putting a single finger under his chin and tilting his head up until green clashed with blue.


In case his meaning was unclear, he followed this up with a kiss. Only it wasn't so much a kiss as a wilful taking of Tony's mouth. It demanded everything Tony had, everything he was, even everything he could be. It bolstered him up, broke him down and consumed him from the inside out.

"Say no now," Gibbs cautioned, pulled away but keeping hold of Tony's face, "You won't get a chance to say it again."

"You haven't given me anything," Tony protested, frustrated.

"I'll expect your obedience," Gibbs began, his hold bordering on painful, "Your submission. Most of all your fidelity. Unless you wish to see me truly furious. I'm not a small time Dom, Tony. I'm not McGee. I'm possessive, I'm demanding, I'll expect nothing less than everything you have. Because I know that you're capable of giving it."

"And in return?" Tony wondered, feeling foolish for asking. Part of him insisted he take what he could get and damn the consequences, but he'd learned his lessons well and that path would only destroy him.

"I'll protect you," Gibbs promised, his hand on Tony's cheek lifting slightly so that it became a caress, "I'll take care of you. Give you everything you'd ever need. Love you and cherish you with everything I am, every inch of my soul. I'll give you what you've spent the whole of your life looking for."

"What?" it was barely audible, Tony spoke it so quietly. The question earned him a smile that juxtaposed Gibbs' manner entirely –it was as gentle as he was unyielding.

"A place to belong."

Unbidden, a tear escaped him. Mortified, Tony tried to turn his face away but Gibbs' hold on him was absolute. Almost reverently, he kissed the tear away. Which, to Tony's horror, only made his eyes swim with more. With all the control he could muster, Tony held them back.

"You saying no?"

Considering he was asking that, Gibbs looked far too self-assure. As though there was only one possible response. Even more infuriating was the knowledge that he was right –there was never any question about what answer Tony would give.

"I'm not as stupid as I look," Tony rejoined, trying for light but not quite managing it, "Of course I'm saying 'yes'."

"I'll need your safe word." Gibbs informed him, a smug glint in his eye.

Tony was a little startled at that. He realized, belatedly, that he hadn't had one with McGee. Which was, in hindsight, phenomenally foolish of them. And which meant he had to puck one out of the clear blue sky. He wanted something that related to Gibbs, he decided, and, knowing that, it wasn't so difficult to chose.

"Semper fi."

Gibb's lips twitched in amusement.

"That'll do," he conceded, "Up."

He tugged strongly on Tony's hair as he issued the command but Tony required no encouragement. He obeyed at once.


Tony felt his subspace flare into being at that command and so he hesitated. He was hardwired to fight his submission all the way down and though he wanted this with everything he was, he couldn't help but resist. It was his nature.

Gibbs, as though he felt this hesitation, forced his head back, baring his neck, and tugged firmly.

"I said strip," he growled dangerously, getting right into Tony's face.

Hands flying to buttons, Tony began doing so.

"I knew you'd fight me," Gibbs commented, watching those hands work buttons loose with interest, "Don't go down easily but hold nothing back when you do. I know how to handle you. I'm gonna make you soar."

Tony shivered, feeling to his bones just how different Gibbs was to McGee. It was amazing his fingers didn't fumble as they slowly stripped him naked.

"Beautiful," Gibbs observed appreciatively once Tony stood utterly bare before him, all creamy skin and leaking cock. For the first time in years, Tony found himself feeling shy and forcibly shook the feeling off.

Gibbs eliminated all thoughts of embarrassment with another mind melting kiss. This time, however, he had a whole body to take advantage of and did so thoroughly. Tony's skin was caressed, his nipples pinched, his cock fingered, his ass kneaded. Gibbs took such relentless advantage of what Tony offered that Tony felt himself sinking into subspace so fast it was dizzying.

When he finally drew back, it was to seize Tony's wrist and draw him through the living room and into the bedroom. Once there, he placed his thumb on the pulse point and pressed firmly. Tony shuddered violently, dropping his head and struggling to breathe evenly.

"Trigger point?" Gibbs asked, but let Tony's reaction serve as the answer as he tightened his hold further. This time, Tony fell to his knees, gasping.

"While you're there," Gibbs began, voice like velvet as he unfastened his trousers and took himself in hand, "Show me that you're mouthing off is good for something."

Again Tony resisted and again Gibbs gave him no leave. He forced Tony's mouth open with his fingers and pushed himself into the cavern inside. Secretly loving the feel of a hard dick in his mouth, Tony set to work, trying to gather what information he could by feel alone. Gibbs' penis was long, uncut and hard as stone. It tasted like clean skin and something musky, almost earthy, a little bit bitter –which, really, personified Gibbs quite nicely.

Gibbs thrust lazily, using Tony's mouth thoroughly. Tony swallowed around him and, wanting to do a good job of it, brought his hands into the equation. Gibbs' hands never left the back of his neck, leaving no course of retreat, and this, along with the slight lack of air, pushed Tony completely into his submission.

Apparently Gibbs was totally in tune with Tony's reactions because he chose then to withdraw. Tony made a small sound of loss, actually swaying slightly where he knelt. His abjections were cut off the moment Gibbs tugged him to his feet and pressed their naked bodies together. Which caused Tony, in a barely active section of his brain, to wonder when Gibbs had undressed.

Then Tony was being guided onto the bed, Gibbs' hands exploring him meticulously, lighting up every hot spot they found, and Tony's brain lost the ability for rational thought completely.

"Look at you," Gibbs breathed, tweaking Tony's nipples and watching him arch into the touch, "So responsive. It's tempting to play with you a while, appreciate you fully. Keep you on the brink for hours just to watch you squirm."

Tony keened at the thought, doubting he'd ever felt so desperate. Gibbs trailed a hand between his legs reassuringly, penetrating him with a slick digit slowly. Tony hadn't even seen him retrieve the lube.

"Luckily, I'm feeling too desperate tonight to manage it," he said, twisting the finger firmly within Tony's hole and wringing a sound Tony would have been horrified to hear under normal circumstances. "Next time."

The promise filled Tony with warmth. Not from arousal but from contentment. Gibbs had all but told Tony, flat out, that this would not be a onetime thing. That there would be a next time –a lifetime filled with them.

"So tight," Gibbs commented, pushing in another finger slowly, "And just for the record, Tony? I may not say it very often but that doesn't make it any less true: I love you."

A third finger entered him then, and Tony felt full to the brim with emotion, with pleasure, with Gibbs. He let out a muffled sob, turning his head aside and fighting tears for the second time in an hour.

"Look at me," Gibbs disputed, pulling his fingers from Tony's body and using them to tilt Tony's head to the side, "Don't turn away. There's no shame here. No cause for it. You're breathtaking."

"I love you," Tony breathed, unable to contain it and allowing his tears to break free.

Gibbs ducked down to kiss him and, needing the reassurance, Tony opened under his lips blindly even as he pulled his legs wide and felt Gibbs push forward and in.

"Perfect," Gibbs groaned, bottoming out.

It was beyond perfect, it was sublime. Tony hadn't thought there was anywhere else to go but now he found his subspace had been taken to a place he hadn't even known existed before then. He clutched at Gibbs' shoulders tightly, feeling as though he would shake apart from sensation.

"Shhh, it's alright," Gibbs whispered, pressing kiss after kiss against his skin, "I've got you, Tony. Just give it up. Give everything up."

Letting out a heartrending sound that couldn't be identified, Tony obeyed. As though to reward him, Gibbs began to move and Tony began to understand why some people referred to sex as 'making love'. Tony had never felt more loved in his life –Gibbs touched him as though he were something precious, something he valued dearly. He made love to Tony like he wanted to dig himself under Tony's skin.

Tony tilted his head up for a kiss and got one, long and sweet. Gibbs continued to move, his pace even, and, wrapping his legs around Gibbs' waist, Tony arched up and egged him on.

Tony broke the kiss to gasp as Gibbs brushed his prostate and, moving his lips down, Gibbs latched onto Tony's throat and, without warning, bit down. Tony jerked, gripping Gibbs even harder in his surprise and desperate to come.

"Mine," Gibbs murmured softly, voraciously, "Mine."

"Gibbs," Tony pleaded, unable to take it anymore, "Please."

"Say it," Gibbs demanded, unrelenting.

Tony pulled Gibbs in even tighter, sobbing against him as he obeyed.

"Yours," he managed to swear.

Gibbs gave a loud groan, his pace faltering slightly as he mouthed mindlessly at Tony's ear.

"Come for me," he ordered.

Tony did.

Gibbs soothed him through it, firm and dependable, even as he continued to thrust, encouraging every last tremor out of Tony. Breaking him down and building him up at once.

Finally Tony was spent, relaxing utterly in Gibbs' arms as Gibbs thrust himself to completion. He said Tony's name as he came and the sound of it sent a vibration through Tony's soul, akin to an aftershock.

"Wow," he managed at last, boneless but slowly starting to swim up.

Gibbs lowered himself for a kiss and Tony gladly gave it to him, letting out a moan of discontent as Gibbs used the distraction to slip out of him. Tony clung to him, irrationally fearful he would withdraw, but he needn't have worried. Gibbs collapsed onto the bed and drew Tony practically on top of him, not loosening his hold in the slightest. Tony snuggled even closer and sighed happily as Gibbs' hand penetrated his hair and began to pet him, slowly soothing him and bringing him down.

"How long?" Tony asked him when he felt he could manage to string two words together.

"Since I woke up on that dock and saw you leaning over me," Gibbs told him peacefully, continuing to stroke him as he spoke, "After you rescued me and Maddy from the submerged car. That's when I knew I loved you."

"Why now?" Tony couldn't help but wonder, "Why not then?"

"You covered yourself too well," Gibbs told him wryly, "I wasn't about to risk the best agent I'd ever had when I wasn't sure how you'd react."

Tony instinctively wanted to ask if was better than Stupid Stan but retrained himself. Just.

"So now you were sure?" he asked instead.

"Not positive," Gibbs admitted, "But sure enough to take the chance."

"How?" Tony wondered, trying to think where he might have messed up.

"The bathroom door isn't sound proof."

For a moment Tony stared uncomprehendingly. Then it clicked.

"You heard that?" he blurted.

Gibbs just shrugged under him, a subtle shift of his shoulders, but even that felt slightly smug. Tony made a mental note to go someplace more private the next time he didn't want to be overheard. Then again, all things considered, he couldn't rightly complain.

"Which is why you thought McGee and I were sleeping together," Tony supposed, making a slight face at the thought, "I'm sure I mentioned we weren't attracted to each other in that conversation."

"You also offered to wear his collar," Gibbs pointed out darkly, tightening his hold possessively.

"As an act of support," Tony consoled and then, able to tell how little effect that had by how tense Gibbs remained, added "But he didn't ask me and I'm not collared."

"No," Gibbs agreed softly, raising a hand to trace softly at Tony's throat, "Not yet."

Tony shivered, leaning into the touch ever-so-slightly and trying to imagine what that would be like. Wearing Gibbs' collar and belonging utterly to him. It was a heady thought. Tony knew it would happen, too.

One day.


"Aren't you ready yet? Jesus, you're worse than a bloody girl sometimes."

Tony used the mirror to give Gibbs an indignant glare, straightening his tie perfunctorily.

"Easy for you to say," he sulked, ever so slightly, "You don't have to wear a suit."

Gibbs shrugged smugly, managing to look very fine regardless of the fact that he wasn't in a tux. Still, Tony mourned its loss heavily, eyeing Gibbs clothes with regret. Despite all his cajoling and... persuasive tactics... he hadn't managed to wrangle Gibbs into one. Damn it.

"I'm not the one who got myself appointed best man," Gibbs pointed out, watching Tony as though he wanted to rip the tux off him piece by piece, "Don't know what McGee was thinking."

"Apparently he takes his word seriously," Tony commented, though he'd been shocked out of his mind when Tim had asked, "He promised that if he ever married Abby..."

"Also promised he'd find you a good man," Gibbs pointed out, a glint in his eye.

"You shot that notion to hell pretty quickly," Tony reminded him wryly, though he couldn't help but smile thinking back to that particular scene. Still, McGee had impressed him. He'd actually warned Gibbs off hurting Tony and had done it without fainting, which had made it all the more incredible.

"Damn right," Gibbs muttered, pushing himself off against the wall and all but wrapping himself around Tony.

Tony shivered, tilting his head to the side automatically. Gibbs, always one to take advantage of what was given, gave him a thorough kiss that warmed Tony from the inside out.

"Let's hurry up and get to this wedding over with as quickly as possible," Gibbs told him, pulling back reluctantly, "I have plans."

"Oh, really?" Tony inquired, attention caught, "What sort of plans?"

"The sort without dress requirements," Gibbs shot back, giving a soft tug to Tony's hair and making him gasp.

"Stop that," he complained, not really complaining, "I can't go if I'm down. McGee will see it a mile away."

"No letting him dominate you," Gibbs warned, obediently releasing his hold and running his hand through Tony's hair and down to his neck, "I don't care how nervous he is."

"I know, I know," Tony assured tiredly, "I think McGee took that threat of getting married with a black eye pretty seriously. Honestly, I think he'll be too scared to lay so much as a hand on me."

"Good," Gibbs affirmed, pleased.

"There," Tony declared, ignoring the thrill of pleasure he got at how firmly Gibbs held onto him and pretending to be more concerned with his wardrobe, "How do I look?"

Gibbs pressed himself against Tony's back, the hand holding Tony at the base of his neck creeping around to trace a line around the plain leather collar Tony wore.

"Like your mine."

Tony smiled despite himself, drinking in the sight of his collared neck. It was a very simple plain black leather collar but Tony loved it. Besides, it was very comfortable and, being black, went with most his clothing. Which was, of course, essential.

Tony's ring tone interrupted the moment between them and Tony rolled his eyes, already knowing who it was.

"Relax, Probie, I'm on my way," Tony said the moment he answered, "Stress less, alright? You'll do fine."

The babble that spewed forth wasn't comprehensible. Tony sighed and hung up, not even bothering to decipher it.

"We'd better go," he told Gibbs reluctantly, "Before poor Timmy wets himself."

"Be thankful you're not Ziva."

Tony made a face. Abby, bless her heart, had made Ziva a bride's maid. Which not only meant that she had to put up with helping Abby organise the wedding, picking flower arrangements and dresses, she also had to put up with a panicky and overly exuberant Abby.

Suddenly, McGee wasn't looking too bad.

"Thank god for that," he breathed gratefully, making his way to the door, "I wouldn't survive."

Gibbs stopped Tony short as they reached the front door, straightening his tie further and dropping a kiss upon his lips.

"It'll work out," he assured simply.

Tony relaxed, feeling tension he hadn't even known existed seep out of him at the words and leaning into the solidness of Gibbs thankfully. This is what he really thanked god for –the series of impossible events that had given him Gibbs. That had given him a place to belong. As though reading his mind, Gibbs brushed a hand down his cheek, his eyes soft.

"C'mon," it was Gibbs' turn to coax, leading Tony out of the apartment and into the hallway, "We've got a wedding to survive."

Tony, acutely aware of the collar around his neck, smiled and figured that Gibbs was right. They'd had to go through a lot to get here and perhaps happy ever afters weren't magic –perhaps they were earned. Today was the day McGee captured his own. As for Tony... well, Tony already had his.

"DiNozzo! You waiting for an engraved invitation? Get moving!"

And he wasn't letting him go.


The End