Ziva/Tony, Gibbs/Tony
Dom/sub, bondage

Manipulation in Five Acts

Act I

"Come on, Tony, please?" Abby begged. Tony cringed, hating the fact that he was just not good at saying 'no' when she gave him that wide-eyed look. "It's a balance thing. I can't get in unless I bring a guy."

Normally Tony was in favor of any event that involved large numbers of semi-naked people doing semi-legal things, but he'd learned that Abby's friends were just a little too scary for his tastes. There was tasteful flirting, and then there was freaky-ass women with leather and men who made very explicit offers involving shower gel. Tony was a big enough man to admit that Abby's friends terrified him.

Maybe she realized he was about to say 'no' because she moved in on him, tilting her head to the side and giving him a pout that would make any man offer up his wallet and his soul. "Please? I promise Bruno will be nice and not hit on you this time. I think he only hit on you last time because it was fun watching you try to not have a heterosexual panic."

"Well, yeah!" Tony agreed. Bruno was about three hundred pounds of muscle, so suggesting that homosexuality was gross seemed a little suicidal. "Seriously, Abs, he offered to wax me. That's just not natural."

Abby shrugged. Of course, with Abby, the concept of natural took on whole new definitions.

"Why don't you ask Probie?" he asked desperately.

She shrugged again. "He's busy. He's doing something for his book." Tony frowned at the suggestion that she'd ask McGee if he weren't busy. As far as Tony was concerned, if McGee ever stepped foot in one of Abby's clubs, he'd have an immediate heart attack and ambulances would be involved.


Abby gave him a reproachful look. "The point is that everyone has to bring someone of the other gender, Tony."

"Oh, trust me," Tony said with great confidence, "Ziva has huge balls under her..."

"Ziva!" Abby sang out with joy. Either she was really happy to see Ziva or she was trying to keep him from getting killed. Tony liked to think that she might be covering for him. He turned and found Ziva looking at him suspiciously.

"What were you talking about?" she asked, her voice edged with disapproval and warning.

"Tony says that you have really big balls," Abby offered up cheerfully. Well, so much for her covering for him. Tony put on a cocky grin and matching leer. For a second, he really thought Ziva might do something... like grab his balls and squeeze until he shrieked like a little girl. She'd done that once. It hadn't been pleasant.

"Is anyone working on my case?" Gibbs demanded as he swept into the room and instantly became the center. Tony envied that--the way the man could just command with a word... or a look. A look from Gibbs pretty much sent people scrambling. At one point Tony thought that if he watched long enough, he would learn to do that for himself. He never did. Nope, when the team had been his, he'd inspired... Tony mused for a second. He'd moved Probie to fear and awe, but that wasn't such a hard task. Ziva had followed his orders the way a trained lion might, with an amused look that made it clear she was doing it because it pleased her to do it and that she might eat him at any given time. Abby had clung to him as a substitute for Gibbs, but while she'd sought his attention, she'd never chased after his approval the way she had with Gibbs. No, whatever Gibbs had, Tony would never be able to recreate it. He was starting to think that he shouldn't try.

"Oh! I am!" Abby offered, raising her hand and bouncing on her toes like a school girl with an answer for the teacher. "The dead marine had water in his lungs!"

"He drowned," Gibbs pointed out dryly.

Abby pointed at Gibbs with both hands. "Yes, but he had aquarium water in his lungs. I found traces of Acurel F which is used to fix cloudy water. Gimmie!" She held her hands out for the oversized drink Gibbs had brought. He handed it over.

"Good work, Abby."

"Which suspects have aquariums?" Gibbs asked, turning to Tony and Ziva. Tony froze, his brain spinning as he tried to mentally review all the interviews he'd done. There were a lot... too many.

"Oliver does, Anderson and Chesterfield do not," Ziva said confidently, and Tony glared at her. Suck up.

"DiNozzo?" Gibbs demanded in that tone of voice that made Tony want to scamper off and find something so that he didn't have to feel like an idiot with absolutely nothing, which is what he had now.

"I'm not sure, boss," he admitted with a cringe.

"Then make sure," Gibbs ordered, and then he swept back out of the room. Tony ignored the superior look Ziva was giving him. Yeah, he'd fucked up again, by not being as good as the Mossad agent at memorizing every pointless detail about a suspects' home in one glance.

"They may have had an aquarium where you couldn't see it," Tony pointed out spitefully. Damn, that was good. He should have said that to Ziva in front of Gibbs.

"I searched their apartments when they went to retrieve water for me," Ziva said, her eyebrows raised in a very clear challenge. Tony glared for a second before turning his back and walking out. He could get abused and shot down anywhere; he didn't need to stick around for Ziva to do it.

Act II

"Tony," Abby sing-songed, and Tony cringed. He was so going to cave and do whatever she wanted eventually. He didn't know why he even tried to squirm out of it. The girl played at being a sub, but she never stopped until she got her way. She was a domme in sub clothing.

"No," Tony said as he turned and faced off with her.

"Please?" she asked as she came right up to him and tilted her head in that pleading way she had. "I promise to make it up to you."

Tony looked at her. "Make it up to me?" he asked incredulously. "Which part will you make up for? The three hundred pound man making lewd and lascivious offers or Xena, warrior princess threatening to tie me up?"

"You do put out sub vibes, Tony," she said in an amused and conspiratorial tone. For a second, Tony lost all control over his mouth. He was speechless. He honestly could not even come up with an answer for that.

"I am not a sub," he finally hissed in anger.

Abby took a step back, her eyes wide and tragic, and Tony realized his mistake about two seconds too late, which was always his problem. He fucked up and figured out too damn late to fix it. "Not that there's anything wrong with being a sub," he stumbled over his words. "Subs are... you know, really great." Tony flinched at his own lameness. God, Probie could do better than this. "I didn't mean that there was anything wrong with being the sub," he finally managed to untangle his own tongue long enough to say. "I just don't see myself that way."

Abby frowned at him. "Is that why you won't come with me to Calluna's?"

Tony sighed. "I have to inventory the evidence from the Wolfe case. I have fish to count and coins to list on inventory sheets and pages of weird crap to sort through for evidence of Wolfe's other murders." The fact that Gibbs had given him this job made Tony's chest ache. He was senior field agent, but he got the scut work. McGee was too busy working on Wolfe's computer, and Ziva... yeah, even Tony had to admit that Ziva would set fire to the evidence before she'd sort through hundreds of pages of the guys' pathetic diary. Ziva and paperwork was not a good combination--not unless you counted paper targets with a nice silhouette of a man printed on them. But their skills meant that Tony was, essentially, on the bottom of the totem pole again. The old itching in his feet was starting to bother him, the urge to move on and find greener pastures.

Tony still didn't know what he was looking for, but it was starting to look like he wouldn't find it here either. At least he'd stuck it out at NCIS longer than at his other jobs. A person who switched agencies too often started to look like a problem, and Tony didn't want to be seen as a problem. Sadly, he realized he probably was one. Without him, Gibbs could get a new probie in, someone to do the real crap work without complaining, and the team would be perfect. McGeek would be geek-boy, Ziva would do the ass-kicking, and the new guy wouldn't even know enough to resent the fact that he was the one left to pick through garbage and read serial-killers' diaries.

"Tony, please? You have to come!" Abby stomped a foot. "I'll pick you up at seven o'clock, and wear something really cute. I know you'll have better luck this time," she said confidently, and then she spun and walked away without even waiting for him to argue. The sad thing was that he would be ready at seven. He knew it and she knew it.

"Night, boss," Tony offered as Gibbs passed him. Gibbs gave a grunt and a nod, which was pretty standard for Gibbs, and Tony headed for the evidence locker. Between now and six, he had to find something in that evidence or in the morning he was going to be treated to one more round of humiliate-Tony as everyone else had something to share and he just sat on his ass.



"I told you that you'd like it," Abby said with a smug look and a quick shoulder-bump. She was dressed in her goth sub finest, a black collar with swags of chain that hung down from it, a tight black skirt and red stockings and black boots that went up to near her knees and had small padlocks at the ankles. She wasn't showing any cleavage at all, but her entire tattoo was exposed by a low back on her black shirt, and red opera gloves finished off the look. Tony had to admit that she looked hot. He'd pretty much given up on chasing her, but if he hadn't, this look would have made him follow her anywhere. Then again, he had followed her to Calluna's, so maybe he wasn't that over her.

"Have fun," she advised him, and then with a little wave of her fingers, she vanished into the crowd of dancing, sweating, leather-wearing Doms and subs that mingled on the dance floor. Red strobe lights swung back and forth across the crowd, and Tony felt a rush of shyness that was not his normal MO sweep through him. Normally, when he came to a dance place, he was the first to rush in and target a woman... or three or ten. Sometimes it took some time to find a woman who appreciated his sense of humor and communication style. Right now, he just wanted to find a quiet corner.

He migrated toward the dark corners in the back of the club. Nothing in those corners was exactly illegal—it just pushed the boundaries of the decency laws. A man with nothing on but a pouch connected to a strap that went up between his ass cheeks was chained over a bench while a woman spanked him with her hand, every slap echoing slightly off the concrete wall and making the chained man jump. Tony looked back toward the dance floor and found a chair near the wall. He was never letting Abby drag him to this place again.

"Don't you look delectable?" a deep voice asked. Tony looked up to find a man with leather pants checking him out.

"Hey! Eyes off," Tony objected. The man smiled.

"So, you like to put up a fuss? I can handle that," he offered, stepping closer.

"Federal agent," Tony said reaching for his badge, realizing about two seconds too late that Abby made him leave it in the car. "Who doesn't have his badge, but that doesn't change the fact that you're threatening a federal agent," he finished. Damn it. This place just drained the intelligence right out of him until he sounded like Probie.

"Threatening? Only if you want me too." The guy was older, a square-shouldered man who looked like he worked with his hands all day. Tony had the advantage in hand-to-hand training, but he was guessing this new guy had the advantage in strength.

"I don't," Tony said firmly. The guy stared at him for a couple of seconds and the shrugged.

"Your loss," he said, his voice a good deal colder now as he turned and wandered farther into the shadows.

Tony turned his attention back to the shadows, a matter of watching his back more than any prurient interest. Okay, so maybe there was a little prurient interest mixed in there. He leaned back and watched a woman with cleavage down to her belly button. Oh yeah, he could feel a little prurient about her. Maybe she felt him watching because she turned and gave him a cold stare. Yep, it was hate at first sight, but Tony never let that stop him from appreciating a fine female form. She frowned, and then turned and left.

"Your loss," Tony said softly, echoing the other man's words. Then again, he didn't really have what she was looking for it the whip at her waist was any indication. Tony got hurt at work often enough that the idea of having someone hurt him for fun just didn't do it for him. At least, not usually. He was the first to admit that a spanking sometimes came down more in the pleasure column than the pain one, but any woman with a whip was not really someone he wanted to mess with. Now look at? Oh yeah, he could look at her.

"That one will likely come back and cause you great injury if you do not stop staring," a familiar voice warned. Tony had been leaning back in the chair, but the front chair legs hit the floor and he was half out of his seat before he even spotted her.

"Ziva. What are you doing here?" Tony looked around, suddenly horrified by the thought of someone else from work seeing him, Gibbs or... god forbid... McGee. He never would have worn the tight, black muscle shirt or the black ripped jeans if he thought someone he knew would see him. And he really didn't want this little episode showing up in one of McBlab's books.

"I am people watching," she said with a shrug. "You have often pointed out that I do not understand enough of American culture. Should I not take the advice of the senior field agent?"

Tony narrowed his eyes and looked at her. Ziva taking advice was not only wrong, but disturbing in a potential world-ending sort of way. He should check in the basement for pods or alien dopplegangers.

"Did you come to provide cover for Abby?" Ziva let her eyes travel the dance floor. If Abby was out there, Tony couldn't see her, and Tony didn't want to see her. He might understand the idea of kinky as a general concept, but some of the specifics were a little disturbing. If Gibbs ever found out what she liked for men to do to her, he was going to build her a nice little cage next to the boat and keep her down there. And sadly, she might like it.

Tony didn't answer.

"Maybe you came looking for something for yourself," Ziva said, and her voice became husky and slow. Even though this was Ziva, who sometimes terrified Tony, his cock still reacted to that silent promise of sex. Unfortunately, his cock was stupid, because any time Ziva appeared to be coming onto him, it always ended with a death threat.

"I'm just enjoying the view," Tony said as he very obviously looked Ziva over. She was wearing leather pants that had lacings all the way up the sides to show off her legs. Her top was reminiscent of a old-fashioned corset, low cut, but with a bottom that flared out to make Ziva's already small waist look smaller by comparison. Tony also suspected that that shape hid any number of weapons. The club had a no-weapons rule, but Ziva wasn't the sort of woman who followed rules. The corset also pushed up her breasts and gave her deep cleavage, which Tony ogled. When he finally finished checking her out, he looked up.

Ziva looked amused. "Enjoy?" she asked.

"Oh ho, you know I did," Tony agreed with a wide smile guaranteed to send her running for Gibbs to complain about red lights and sexual harassment, never mind that she was the one who stuck her tongue in his ear in the middle of the damn sexual harassment workshop.

Instead of leaving, Ziva moved closer, trapping him between the chair and her own body. "I think you like what you see."

"Well... yeah," Tony pointed out in his best no-duh voice.

"I think you like what you see quite a lot." Ziva ran her hand up Tony's arm, and prickles of interest and fear made the hairs of his arm rise. "I think you would like to see more." She moved her hand to his chest, and pressed him back, forcing him to sit in the chair while she hovered over him.

"Why, are you offering to give me a show?" Tony asked, forcing a bright smile onto his face.

"Have you earned a show?" Ziva asked. She moved closer, straddling Tony's legs and carefully settling herself on his knees so that he was eye to breast with her. Tony felt a little like he did when he was handling explosives.

"I don't know, what do you think?" he asked slowly and carefully, not really sure if he was about to set a bomb off. What he had earned or hadn't earned... that was a topic that he really didn't want to get into. Things he thought he had earned, he wasn't given. Things which he was given, like a chance at a major undercover assignment, ended up being more than he could handle. Tony kept his hands on the chair and didn't react when Ziva brought her hands up to his shoulders.

"I don't think you have earned anything, but I think you want very much." Ziva allowed her hands to trail down over his stomach and to his lap, where his cock was starting to get very much interested in this conversation. Tony's brain might understand that Ziva was fucking with him, but his cock did not believe that bit of intel.

"My dick is very much wanting any sort of female he can get," Tony said, trying for crude and off-putting. Instead, Ziva smiled.

She leaned forward pressing those breasts dangerously close to Tony's face and leaning over to whisper in his ear. "I am lonely. What would you do to earn my attention?"

Tony's mouth fell open. Either she was looking to blackmail him or she was taking some pretty potent drugs because this was too far, even for their teasing.

"Maybe we should call it a night," Tony suggested. He went to stand up, but Ziva tightened her thighs around his legs, warning him that she was not going to be moved, and his cock was, once again, entirely too willing to misinterpret that signal.

"Do you not find me attractive?"

"I find you entirely too attractive, but we work together. There are rules."

"Red light," Ziva quickly said, proving that she remembered that sexual harassment workshop. "I believe that woman needs to get much."

"Get some." Tony cleared his throat because it was feeling entirely too dry.

"Get some, but would she not already get some? If I believe she does not get enough, would I not say she does not get much?" Ziva asked. Tony might have offered her an explanation, but her fingers were working their way into the waist of his jeans, and this was definitely farther than they had ever taken their teasing in the past.

"I want you bent over a bench, on your knees," Ziva whispered in his ear. "I want you offering yourself to me, giving me your unprotected back so that I might caress it and place kisses down the spine, so that I might slap your ass and watch it turn red." She pulled the button of his jeans loose.

Tony gaped, his mouth and brain temporarily disconnected as he struggled to put this into a reality that he could understand.

"I want to watch you come." Ziva stood up, pulling Tony's now-open jeans so that he had to follow her or fight her, and he didn't have enough brain cells for any sort of coordinated defense. Not with her eyes going over him with such obvious pleasure. Ziva backed up, pulling Tony with her, and every objection, every warning bell was silenced by the sudden need that took over his being. He needed this. He needed this like he needed air, and he couldn't turn her down anymore than he could stop breathing.

She led him across the play area, around a man who was caning another man, past a woman who was walking on a man's chest with her high heels leaving little 'c' indentations in his skin. "Good boy. You are very attractive, Tony, especially when you heel so well."

Tony blushed, embarrassed that such a demeaning compliment could feel so good, but it did. It warmed him so that his cock grew painfully and struggled to break free of demin. It was working for Gibbs that made him so vulnerable to compliments. The man never complimented and every slip was met with a headslap. Sometimes Tony wondered why he put up with it. Most of the time, he knew. He did everything to get a smile out of Gibbs. To get a rare look of admiration, or once, a soft pet on the back of his head, a caress that soothed all the slaps. And now, Ziva's compliment had warmed that same deep-buried coldness that Tony carried with him.

Ziva stepped up onto a low platform and pulled Tony with her. There was a spanking bench here, and Tony stopped for the first time, fighting Ziva's lead.

"I don't think—"

"I do." Ziva stepped close, running her fingers over the back of Tony's head. "I want to see you squirm. I want to know that you are a strong man, and you choose to give me the power only because it makes me happy. I want this."

Tony looked at her, not sure how to react to such a factual statement. On the rare occasion that he hired someone for a bit of mild kink-play, the negotiations were blunt, but almost cold. When he could talk a woman into playing with him, he had learned to couch the requests in euphemisms, to dance around the truth of what they were doing. Well, that wasn’t always true. He'd had the one girlfriend who liked to wear his police uniform and cuff him, interrogate him for hours, and then torture information out of him by getting him so hard it hurt and then refusing to finish him off. But she had always been role playing, and that relationship ended the second Tony suggested that they could be kinky without the roleplay.

"I'm not sure," Tony tried again, and some distant part of his brain pointed out that 'no' was probably the word he was looking for. But if he said 'no,' she might actually take it to mean 'no.' And his cock vetoed any plan that included stopping Ziva.

"I am," Ziva said, her smile even wider. She tugged on him, and he followed to the bench. Carefully, she unzipped his jeans and pressed the denim down to his thighs so that his black thong and bare ass was visible to everyone in the club, and one of those someones was Abby. Tony felt himself blush.

"So responsive. I like that you allow me to do this, that you trust me to make sure that no one sees you who should not. I would never allow you to be exposed," Ziva promised, and the head of Tony's cock pressed up against the thong's pouch. She moved behind him, her fingertips trailing over his exposed ass, and Tony's whole body shivered in response. It'd been too long. It'd been since Jeanne. Ziva pressed against him, her hands guiding him, and Tony lowered himself to the kneeling platform at one end of the bench and allowed her to press his chest down onto the board designed to hold the weight of his upper body. For a second, she lay on top of him, and his erect cock and the feel of another person's hot skin against his made Tony thrust forward, but the bench was designed to leave him dangling and exposed, so all he could feel was the satin thong pressing against his hot erection.

"I warned Ari when he first came, I warned him to not be fooled by your façade. You've killed. You're not as inconsistent or as irrational as you play at. You are an officer, an agent, who has brought down so many powerful men who thought that they were smart enough to deceive you." Ziva stroked his shoulder and then pushed herself up. Tony trembled, uncomfortable kneeling on the bench without hands to hold him there. Ziva came to the side and squatted down so that he was, again, eye to breast with her. He was starting to think she was doing that on purpose, but then she was the woman who called sex an effective interrogation technique. Tony distantly wondered if she was interrogating him, because if she was, he was so going to end up talking.

She tickled her fingers down his arm and to his wrist, encircling it with her grip. "May I? she asked, using her other hand to touch the strap that waited.

"Are you planning on tying me up and leaving me here?" Tony asked, and fear and suspicious cleared the lust from his brain.

Ziva looked shocked and for a second, she could only stare at him with an open mouth.

"What? No. Of course not. Tony, I would not do such a thing. Perhaps this is miscalculated." Ziva still crouched next to him, but she had leaned back onto her heels to put some space between them.

Tony gave a weak laugh. "You have to admit, it'd be a good joke," he pointed out.

"No, no it would not be. I very much desire to..." she paused, making the face she so often did when a word escaped her.

"Tie me up and spank me?" Tony guessed.

"Well, that too," she agreed. She reached out and rested her warm hand against his arm. "I would also care for you. I would very much like for you to fulfill my... interest." Ziva took Tony's hand and guided it to her pants. "I very much would like to... finish this." Tony listened as her English struggled with this subject, but then he was guessing that not even Mossad training covered English words for sadio-masochism. She leaned forward and rested her forehead against his shoulder, opening her legs and pressing on Tony's arm to encourage him to reach deeper into her pants. He found her curled hair and the soft lips that guarded the sensitive clit. She was wet.

He looked at her, calculating the odds of her playing him and the odds of her deciding after all this time that she wanted to have a kinky affair with him. He pulled his hand back before someone could see him and point out that the touching or exposing of genitals was technically illegal.

"Okay," he whispered. She smiled at him and guided his hand into the restraint, tightening it until Tony couldn't move at all before placing a kiss on his elbow. Then she went to the other side and repeated the process. Once he was tied down, Tony found himself relaxing. He'd made his choice, and he couldn't control what happened now. If he'd just made a career-ending mistake, he could only endure it until she released the straps.

Instead she pressed herself against the back of his thighs, her hand stroking up his back, pushing his shirt out of the way before she drew her nails over his hot skin. Tony hissed and arched his back. Oh god that felt good.

Ziva chuckled. "You are hot." Tony might have pointed out that he was hot in more ways than one, but then she put her knee against the backside of his balls and leaned forward.

He gasped. She backed off and ran her nails over his exposed ass. Tony couldn't do anything except squirm a couple of inches to the right or left. So he squirmed. The first slap on his ass came down so hard and with so little warning that he couldn't control a shout that erupted from his mouth. Ziva chuckled again and then delivered two more slaps, these two mere love-taps compared to the first, but Tony's right butt cheek was on fire. Ziva ran her hand over the hot flesh, her body heat leaving a hot trail that tingled long after her touch had vanished.

Air traveled over his skin, cooling and making his body shiver. He looked over his shoulder and found Ziva blowing across the skin she had just spanked.

"Aw crap, Ziva," Tony gasped out. His cock was going to break.

"I enjoy to see you squirm. Your ass turns a very attractive shade of rose."

Tony let his head fall to the bench, and took a shuddering breath. The air went out again as she brought her hand down on his left side, spreading the heat out. Three more hits, softer ones, and then she turned her attention to his balls. He tensed, afraid that she might do something to hurt his boys, but she just slipped a finger inside his thong and ran a finger up the back of them, squeezing them before she reached down and fingered the slit of his cock.

Tony was nearly hyperventilating, his back arching in a vain attempt to thrust, and his cock throbbing. She slapped his ass, and the heat travelled through his to his cock and Tony shouted, coming in waves of need so strong that he could only ride them, gasping for breath and pulling against the wrist straps so that he didn't go flying off into space.

The fog slowly cleared, and he found Ziva again laying on him, her weight holding him down and her fingers dancing figures on his bare arm. Still laying on him, Ziva reached down and flipped open the strap lock that held the wrist strap secure. Tony pulled first one arm free and then the other. And then, because he didn't know what else to do, he lay still under Ziva as her breathing slowed. He wondered if she had come, but he wasn't arrogant enough to think he had the sort of sexual prowess to make a woman come just by looking at him. He'd claim he could, but he didn't believe it.

I shall go back to the table, and you shall follow me," Ziva ordered, her fingers still tracing some design on his arm.

Tony nodded.

She stood up, and he had to struggle to get his own balance. Before he could do anything about his jeans, her hands were there, smoothing his ruined thong and tucking it inside his jeans before she carefully closed the zipper and button. White come streaked her fingers, and Ziva reached up under his shirt and wiped his come off on his stomach.

"Follow," she said, and then she turned and headed back for the table at the edge of the shadowed area where they'd started this madness. Tony did follow because he couldn't figure out what else to do. She sat in the chair where Tony had been sitting and pointed to the floor.

"Kneel," she ordered. Maybe it was because he'd followed so many of her orders already, but kneeling seemed the only natural thing to do. He knelt beside her, and her hand cupped his cheek, pulling him closer until he rested against her leg. The side lacings on her pants pressed lines into his cheek and he could feel her body heat radiating out.

For long minutes, he knelt beside her as she petted him and stroked his cheek and watched the crowd. This wasn't the sort of place where the patrons even noticed a kneeling man, but the general feeling of pleasure, of just *being* slowly faded as Tony became aware of other people and the growing stain on his jeans.


Act IV

"Ziva." Tony stopped, not sure what he should say. He'd talked his way out of some difficult situations, but this was about as awkward as they came. Gibbs' rule twelve came to mind: Don't get involved at work. Did it count as involvement when your coworker spanked you and made you come?

"Tony?" she asked, her fingers trailing down to his shoulder. Tony pushed himself up off the ground, and she looked at him with surprise.

"So, I should thank you for a fun evening. A surprising evening, but a fun evening. I should return the favor some time." Tony was babbling. He knew it, but he had a real dearth of good escape lines prepped for when he found himself kneeling at a woman's feet after coming from a spanking. He had all kinds of escape lines, like for when a woman said she wanted him to meet her family or for when she said she loved him. He'd just never had to find an escape line for this situation.

Ziva stood and looked at him. "You are upset."

"I'm fine," Tony said, shoving her hand away. She looked at him in obvious confusion, tilting her head. He went to leave, and she caught his wrist. He tried to twist away, and she reversed his move, planted a foot into the back of his knee, and he found himself face down on the table, his arm twisted up behind his back. And no one in the club even blinked.

"You will not lie and walk away."

"Or what? You'll assault me?" Tony demanded. Sadly, she could and there wasn't a whole lot he could do to stop her. Instead she let his arm go and took a step back. He slowly stood, watching her carefully.

"I like you," she said, which was funny because most women demanded more than just liking before agreeing to do what she had just done to him. One time, he'd actually had to pay five-hundred dollars, and the woman he'd hired hadn't been nearly as good as Ziva. "You are a good man and an excellent agent," Ziva said, her head high and her voice matter of fact—as though she was rattling off statistics on a weapon. "You often recognize others' motivations with far more facility than do I."

Tony frowned, not sure where she was going, but no way was he going to try and push past her again. He didn't need another reminder of how much Mossad training she had.

She sighed and looked away. "I do not know how to allow someone close to me, not unless I have control. I am trained to...." She stopped and grimaced.

"They trained you to be kinky? That Mossad training is—" Tony stopped dead when she scowled at him and held up a hand.

"They trained me to not look out for the first number." She had a grim look on her face, and she mangled the saying so badly that it took Tony a second to mentally untangle it, and he was used to her verbal acts of murder against the English language.

"Look out for number one," he corrected her.

"Yes, yes," she said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "I enjoyed this. " She stopped and looked at Tony, her dark eyes studying him as though looking for some answer that Tony didn't know how to give. "I needed this."

Tony opened his mouth and then closed it without answering. A woman saying that she loved you was dangerous; one who needed you was like primed C4 sitting in the middle of a firing range.

"You need this," Ziva added, and Tony opened his mouth to argue. When she stepped forward and grabbed his balls, Tony decided that maybe he really didn't have an answer that was worth losing his balls over. "We do not have love, but this feels good. I need to control. You need to have someone who needs you. We are compatible, are we not?"

Tony considered his answer. "I don't think we are," he said slowly.

"So, you do not wish to do this again?" Ziva raised an eyebrow at him. Tony swallowed. It'd felt so good, on his knees, her hand on his head, her voice whispering encouragement in his ear. He'd known what to do, how to earn the approval, how to make her happy. He hadn't been lost in a maze of expectations and demands that he couldn't navigate. It'd been simple, and since Jeanne, since the director's death, since Gibbs' trip to Mexico and then his sudden return, nothing had been simple. He did need this; he just didn't know if he could take this from Ziva's hand.

"I want very much to do this again. I want very much to see you on your knees for me." She reached up and stroked his hair with her fingers. "I very much need to see you on your knees for me, Tony."

Tony could ignore his own need. He had trouble ignoring hers. Silently, he nodded his agreement. Slowly, she smiled.


Act V

Gibbs watched Ziva lead Tony through the dancers and toward the door. He wasn't surprised that Ziva had accepted his tacit offer to ignore the fraternization rules. He'd brought her, he'd shown her Tony sitting in the dark, and he'd left her to decide for herself what she would do. He was just grateful that she seemed to have done the right thing for Tony. The stiffness and fatigue that had been clinging to Tony had vanished, and Gibbs knew that he had found what he needed. Whether or not Tony and Ziva would be able to balance work and personal time was another issue, but he couldn't ignore the danger that Tony would reach a breaking point and leave--not any longer. The other departments might not have recognized why Tony left, or what he'd been searching for, but Gibbs did.

"He shouldn't be leaving with her," a voice said unhappily. Gibbs reached over and caught Abby by the back of her neck and pulled her close. "You should take him." Abby's arms went around his waist.

Gibbs watched Tony's back for a second. "After how he reacted to having kissed Lt Commander Voss and getting hit on by your friend, Bruno, I think it's pretty clear that I'm not the person who should take him in hand." Gibbs didn't even try to deny that he wanted to. His career meant that he kept his own bisexuality private, but he'd long ago stopped trying to lie to Abby. Like all subs, she had a way of knowing and understanding the needs of those she cared about, but then it was in the nature of a sub to watch and serve just like it was in Gibbs' nature to protect and cherish. He tightened his arm around Abby's shoulders. He just wished he had the right skill-set to take care of those he cared about. He didn't.

"He didn't think he was a sub, either, Gibbs," Abby said, her voice verging on a pout.

"He was wrong on that count." Gibbs had been surprised at how wrong. He'd thought that Tony's need to put up a front would have slowed him down and kept him from submitting so fully, but then Tony had been struggling with the need to submit for so long, maybe he shouldn't be surprised that Tony had lost himself so completely.

"She'll leave him," Abby pointed out.

"So would I," Gibbs answered. And he suspected that he would because his track record was not good, not with wives and not with subs. Tony was just too fragile and too new to the lifestyle to survive Gibbs' personal ineptitude without serious emotional damage.

"No, you wouldn't." Abby pulled back and looked at him with frustration twisting her features. "Ziva will go back to the Mossad, and leave Tony all lost. And when subs are lost, bad things happen, Gibbs. You have to go after them." Abby looked on the edge of crying, and that pain pulled at Gibbs, made his protective instincts rise in his chest. He wanted to ease her pain, but all he could do was reach out and pull her close again.

"I promise to look after him if he gets lost, just like I look after you when you get lost," Gibbs promised her. And he did. He couldn't do for her what she wanted; he didn't have it in him to perform the kinks that delighted her. But if a Dom ever went too far, he stepped in and took care of her. That tendency had actually worked against him once because she had hidden a stalker from him out of fear that Gibbs would deal with the weasely little pimple the way he normally dealt with the Doms who pushed her too hard or too far. Marine training did ensure that no one tried to push Abby after being corrected by Gibbs just once, and no one pressed assault charges because the community was just too secretive to take any complaints to any sort of authority.

"Promise?" Abby asked in a small voice. "Do you promise to look after him when this goes really, really wrong?"

Gibbs pressed a kiss to Abby's head. He couldn't promise to take Tony in hand; he couldn't promise to do what Abby really wanted him to do. However, he could promise to look after Tony. "I promise," he told her. "And I always keep my promises."

She looked up at him and smiled. When she looked over her shoulder, Gibbs spotted Sungson watching with barely guarded jealousy. "Go on," Gibbs said with a nod toward the other man. Abby danced away from him and stopped and looked at him for a second with some look in her eye that he couldn't decipher, but then she turned and hurried to Sungson. It was a good pairing. Bruce Sungson had compatible kinks, but he'd been a midshipman, so he had, no doubt, heard stories of Gibbs' temper. It meant that he'd be careful with Abby.

Gibbs sighed and looked out over the crowd. There were men and woman waiting to be chosen. As usual, the subs outnumbered the doms. Normally, Gibbs would push his worries aside and focus on trying to take care of just one person for just one night. Tonight, he couldn't convince himself that he cared enough to bother. Ignoring the hopeful and disappointed looks behind him, Gibbs headed for the exit alone.





Curtain Line

Curtain Line: The final line of a scene or act which gives the cue for the curtain to come down. 

"Hey, boss." Tony shifted nervously at the sight of his boss standing at his doorstep. "Um, something I can do for you?" he asked. Obviously, there was something he could do. He could disappear so that Ziva would come back to the team, and Tony had been expecting Gibbs to ask him to do that ever since Gibbs got in the plane. And now, the time had come. Tony tightened his hand on the door and he waited for this last blow.

Gibbs stood there with that inscrutable look of his. Tony had to give the man credit--he had the best poker face Tony had ever seen. Even now, Tony didn't know whether Gibbs was transferring him to another team or just firing him. After all, with Tony's discipline record, there weren't going to be many team leaders who wanted him, and with Vance in the big office, Tony wasn't getting another shot at a team of his own. Hell, maybe he should have just told Ziva to shoot him. Everyone would have been happier.

"I know, Tony," Gibbs said.

Tony had no idea what Gibbs was alluding to, but he went with this strength, sarcasm. "Okay, I can explain the silly string, boss. It's not...."

"I know about Calluna, about Ziva."

Gibbs soft-spoken words ripped Tony's life apart and shredded any hope that he could come out of this with any dignity. Calluna. The club where he'd been thinking with his dick and let Ziva take him as a sub. He'd knelt for her, come as she'd spanked him, worshiped at her feet. He'd been everything except the person she trusted or the man she'd loved.

Tony turned his back and headed for his couch. "Close the door when you're done," Tony said wearily. He really wanted to be sitting for this next part. Damn, he was an idiot. He fell in love with Jeanne when he knew their whole relationship was based on lies, and he'd kept serving Ziva when he knew she was falling for Michael Rivkin.

But then Michael was the real man. He wasn't crawling for Ziva's attention, he was the hot-shot Mossad officer who simply demanded it. Or at least he was, all the way up until the point that Tony killed him. And the sad thing was that Ziva would have been happier if Tony had died. He knew that. He knew it, and it shredded his heart about as bad as getting fired was about to shred him. Oh well, tomorrow he'd pick himself up, get his cocky face back on and hope Gibbs hadn't shared Tony's sexual preferences with every agency in town.

Rubbing his chest where Ziva had pressed the gun to it and threatened to murder him, Tony closed his eyes and waited for some sort of condemnation from Gibbs. All he needed now was for Agent McBlab to hear about this, and write about the sexually perverted and pathetic agent who got fired in one of his books.

The door closed, and Tony just waited. If Gibbs had fired him quickly and left, that would have been easy. Okay, it wouldn't have been easy, but Tony could have pulled himself back together and had his game face back on before he went to clean out his desk. If Gibbs wanted to push the issue, Tony had no doubt that the older man could break him and leave him crying on the floor. No doubt at all. A little tiny part of Tony wondered whether having Gibbs break him would be worse than having been taken down to those interrogation rooms in Mossad headquarters. There the torture would have been impersonal.


"Yeah, boss?" Tony didn't bother opening his eyes.

"Something wrong with your chest?"

Tony dropped his hand. "Nope." No, it was his arm that actually hurt. When Ziva had laid him out and shown him just how unimportant he was to her, she'd broken his arm again. The doctor had made unhappy noises about a potential need for an operation as he'd reset it. That hurt, and Tony hadn't bothered taking any pills.

Gibbs was perfectly silent, and the little part of Tony that had some common sense wanted to open his eyes and check to see where he was. Tony vetoed any common sense.

The couch tilted. Tony waited.

"She asked me to choose," Gibbs said. Tony nodded. That explained why Gibbs had, even for a moment, chosen Tony over Ziva. Gibbs didn't like getting backed into a corner and manipulated, and Ziva was very good and backing people in all kinds of corners. Looking back, Tony had gone right along as she'd backed him into a corner. She'd even asked explicit permission that first time when she'd tied him over a spanking bench at Calluna, but still, she'd pushed him in a corner and made him feel so much need that his brain had gone on hiatus.

"I chose you, Tony."

Tony just waited, bracing himself for the next part of that statement. 'But I'm sorry I did.' 'But now I want Ziva back.' 'But that was before I knew you were a spineless little shit.' Yeah, Tony didn't exactly live up to Gibbs' ideal of manhood.

"Tony, look at me." The commanding tone forced Tony's eyes open even if he wanted to stay in the dark solace of his own closed lids.

"I know you want her back, boss," Tony hurried to say. Shit, he was pathetic. He was about to get fired, and he was still crawling around trying to make things easier for everyone else. The Mossad director had dug his fingers into Tony's recently dislocated shoulder until the pain was a heat that burned him, and he'd still focused on getting Ziva the evidence she needed to protect herself. He'd still cared more about getting Director David to say something incriminating than protecting himself, even if that led to him getting dragged into some dark corner of Mossad headquarters and disappearing. Vance certainly wouldn't put up a fuss for him. And Gibbs... Tony didn't know where he stood with Gibbs anymore.

"I do," Gibbs agreed. "I don't like the choices her people give her."

And there you had it. Gibbs wanted Ziva, Ziva never wanted to see Tony again, and Tony... he could just go whistle Dixie. Tony had always thought of his life as a modern Cary Grant movie, and sometimes his mind nominated Gibbs for the title role, but he was part of something heroic. Now, he was starting to think his life had a little more Terry Gilliam than Cary Grant--like it was just one big joke interrupted by some illogical and dangerous flights of fancy.

"I don't want her back at the cost of my senior field agent," Gibbs added.

Tony nodded, appreciating the attempt at respect.

"Talk to me Tony."

Tony laughed. Gibbs wasn't normally one for talking, but who was he to refuse an order. He'd followed orders into this mess and he might as well just condemn himself. "Look, boss, if you know about Calluna, then you know you can't trust my judgment. Rule number twelve--don't sleep with co-workers. Not that Ziva and I actually slept together. Well, I don't suppose you have a lot of illusions about who did the cuffing and who got cuffed." Tony put on his best cocky grin. Gibbs, however, didn't show any emotion at all. Oh yeah, this was going to be ugly.

"Rule number twelve is don't sleep with your partner. Ziva wasn't your partner."

Tony's gut clenched, but it was the truth. Ziva was a Mossad agent who had chosen another Mossad agent over him. She wasn't his partner.

"Why did you go to her apartment, Tony?"

"I went through all this with Vance." Tony was just too tired to go through another interrogation, and he really didn't have the energy to fight Gibbs.

"Go through it with me, Tony. Tell me the story so I understand it."

Tony looked over at the suggestion that Gibbs didn't believe him. He'd worked at Gibbs' side for years, and that didn't even warrant a little trust. He was too tired to even feel hurt.

"I found out that the laptop had been accessed from Ziva's place. I went over there to talk to her."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow.

"Okay, it wasn't protocol, but I wanted to talk to her off the record. Of course, now I know that Rivkin had traded laptops with the terrorist, so it makes sense that Rivkin's laptop would have been used at Ziva's apartment, but the evidence.... It looked like Ziva was having terrorists over for tea. I wasn't going to let that information touch Vance's desk without some sort of explanation."

"Because she was your Domme."

Tony blushed. It took a lot to embarrass him, but Gibbs had summed up the whole mess in one sentence. Tony was so tangled in the sexual relationship he'd shared with Ziva that he'd compromised the investigation and put himself in a position where he'd had to fight for his life against a trained Mossad officer. Thank God Rivkin was drunk, or Tony would be dead in Ziva's apartment, and Tony really had trouble imagining Ziva mourning for him the way she had mourned for her real lover.

"Is that why you antagonized Director David?"

"I'm just naturally antagonistic," Tony replied wearily.

"Tony, were you in there as Ziva's sub trying to protect her position or were you in there as my agent trying to get intel for me?" Gibbs' voice was lower now; it carried danger in its tone.

"Does it matter?"

"It didn't until now, but now, yes, it matters." Gibbs leaned forward, his eyes pinning Tony like one of those frogs you lay out right before you dissect it. Director David thought he could manipulate Tony, but he had no idea the kind of pressure Tony was used to working under. "Now that there is clearly a difference, I need to know where your loyalties are."

Tony exploded off the couch. He flew half way across the room and stood with his less injured arm clinging to the entertainment center. Gibbs kept poking this, and Tony didn't know what he was supposed to say.

When he'd been loyal to Gibbs, Gibbs had walked away and left him in charge of a team that Tony didn't have the experience to lead. Hell, the second Gibbs came back, the others had been quick enough to turn on him and remind him that his place was the class clown. So then he'd put his loyalty in Jenny, and she'd asked him to do things that still haunted his dreams. He'd put his loyalty in Ziva, and she had kept him at her feet while she bedded a Mossad agent who'd already killed one American. Where did he put his loyalty? It was pretty clear that he didn't have the good judgment required to know where to put loyalty.


"What do you want me to say?" Tony demanded. "Hey, how about I'm the screw up who's always going to put his loyalty in the worst possible place. There's an answer for you." The anger in Gibbs' eyes stopped the flood of words that wanted to spill out of Tony like pus from an infected wound. Instead he swallowed them, he swallowed the pain and the insecurity and the failure and he digested it so it would seep into every cell of his body.

"I want you to tell me who your gut trusts right now." Gibbs stood up and took a step forward. He stopped only when Tony pressed himself back against the wall.

Who did his gut trust? Tony didn't have an answer for that.

"Tony," Gibbs said slowly. "If Ziva walked in here right now and pulled a gun on me, who do you trust, her or me?"

The thought of that made him want to throw up all the guilt and failure he'd just swallowed.

Gibbs took a slow step forward. "Who do you trust, DiNozzo?"

"You," Tony whispered. The word cut the last tattered strings to Ziva, and he felt the loss of that. The memory of her fingers ghosting over his cheek as he knelt at her feet vanished.  He didn't have a right to remember happiness submitting to her because their relationship was over and it would never be revived.  He'd betrayed her in every way possible. His presence on Gibbs' team had pushed her out of her home. His gun had taken her lover. His report had cast doubt on her loyalties in NCIS.

Gibbs closed the distance and reached up. Tony expected a slap on the head... that was the only contact he got from Gibbs. Instead, the man laid a hand on Tony's arm.

"You'll have my resignation tomorrow, boss," Tony said quietly.

"You think I'd take it?" Gibbs gave him a smile that Tony couldn't return.

"Yeah, boss, I do. I'm so turned around that I'm not safe on the streets, and I know it."

"By the time your arm heals--"

Tony did the unthinkable; he interrupted Gibbs. "I'll still be fucked up." Tony gave a dark laugh. "What, you want an agent that might go to his knees if a strong personality comes along?"

"Tony, how do you think I know about Calluna?"

"Bad luck?" Tony guessed.

Gibbs pulled Tony back toward the couch. "I was there, Tony. I'm a regular there, and if anything, you seem to be on the pretty mild end of the kink scale. You certainly didn't shock me the way Abby has." Gibbs pushed Tony down onto the couch, and Tony stared at this unfamiliar man in Gibbs' body as he went into Tony's kitchen. Gibbs went to Calluna? Even more shocking, Gibbs knew about Abby and hadn't broken anyone into little tiny pieces? The water ran in the kitchen.

"Um boss, have you ever eviscerated any of Abby's partners, by chance?"

Gibbs appeared at the kitchen door with a glass of water. He walked over and handed it to Tony.

"No, only threatened them with evisceration if they pushed too far."

"Define too far." As far as Tony was concerned Abby's foreplay was enough to be too far.

Gibbs shrugged. "She has to set her own limits. But people certainly know that if they violate her limits, I'll be the one who addresses any transgressions."

"Damn." Tony blinked at the thought of Gibbs walking into Calluna and taking out some bastard who had made Abby cry. "Next time you have to do that, can I watch?" Tony actually would like to kill every guy who took a whip to Abby's back, but he was too scared of what Abby would do to him if he tried.

"Deal," Gibbs agreed. "But if you resign, you aren't going to be around to see it happen."

Tony closed his eyes and kept his mouth busy by drinking water. Surprisingly, Gibbs' hand stroked his hair, and Tony's eyes flew open in shock.

"I brought Ziva to Calluna. I knew what you needed, and I didn't think you'd react well to a man making the offer, so I thought she could address those needs." Gibbs made a face. "Tony, you know how I feel about apologies."

"They make you look weak," Tony finished. It was one of Gibbs' cardinal rules.

"Well, I made a mistake. I thought that you would ground her, give her something other than her hate to fight for. What I did wasn't any better than Jenny asking you to sleep with a target."

Tony shook his head. Gibbs hadn't done anything wrong. He'd certainly done a few things that surprised Tony, but he hadn't done anything wrong.

"I made my own choices, boss." A bit of conversation from earlier floated up and demanded his attention. "Wait, what do you mean you mean you didn't think I'd react well to a man?"

Gibbs chuckled. "Abby wanted me to step in, but that was a bad idea on a lot of fronts, including the fact that I didn't feel like dealing with any heterosexual panic. You say stupid shit when you panic, DiNozzo."

"But that means... but... " Tony's brain stopped working. While a lot of people were under the impression that his brain often turned off at critical points, it was actually a pretty rare moment when Tony couldn't figure out what to think of something. Even when he thought Vance was going to give him to Mossad as a peace offering, he still could form plans. True, most of his plans included him dying, but they'd been plans. But right now, his brain was totally incapable of coming up with anything.

"For me, compatibility is more about whether another person is a top or a bottom and what kinks they indulge in," Gibbs offered with more honesty and more openness than Tony had ever seen before. "If a bottom is into pain, I can't go there. I've seen pain in too many real situations to be comfortable using it in the bedroom. I look for someone who wants a firm hand and a lot of bondage. Whether that person is male or female doesn't matter, although I am more likely to publicly show affection for a woman. It's one of the hazards of the job." Gibbs leaned back, and Tony's brain was still not processing the words.

"I'm not trying to push you, Tony. I'm just pointing out that I'm not going to hold your preferences against you. After all, if there weren't any subs out there, I'd have a fairly boring sex life. And being a sub does not make you weak. I've had a lot of strong subs at my feet, but I never had one of them with the guts or the stupidity to go head to head with the Mossad director his his own house."

"But Ziva." Tony closed his mouth. He had no idea what he wanted to say about that mess.

"If she comes back, and I do hope she does, she doesn't get to hold this against you. She's the one who doesn't know where to put her loyalty, and you risked a lot giving her that intel on her father. My guess is that a part of her knows that. She also does not get to cuff my senior field agent again. Her judgment is a little too compromised to trust in that position. Clear?" Gibbs was using his 'don't fuck with me' tone of voice.

"Got it, boss."

"And you will get your head together before that arm heals. This was Ziva's mess, and you don't carry her burdens. You screw up enough on your own, DiNozzo. You don't need to borrow trouble." Gibbs had said similar words a thousand times, but this was the first time he had his fingers slowly stroking through Tony's hair as he said it. Tony looked over, confused and a little freaked out, but at least that emotion pushed out a little of the pain from earlier.

"I'm on it, boss."

Gibbs gave Tony's head one more stroke before he stood up. When Tony looked up at Gibbs, he couldn't help but feel his world had shifted. Without another word, Gibbs headed for the door.

"Take a couple of days off to let that arm rest. If I find out you've broken your arm a third time, I'm going to have to hunt someone down and eviscerate them, got it?"

"Yes, boss," Tony agreed. He knew he had to look like an idiot, but he just couldn't seem to get the smile of his face. Gibbs stared at him for a second, his face devoid of all emotion, and then he turned and walked out the door, closing it behind him. It was an exit worthy of Cary Grant.





Aesthetic Distance

Aesthetic Distance The distancing of the audience from the action on stage so as to retain the theatrical illusion. 


"Tony," McGee complained. Tony danced backwards with a smile on his face. If he was still reeling from Ziva's loss, he wasn't about to share that with McGee.

"Oh, come on McGeek. It was just a joke." Tony dropped into his desk chair.

McGee lifted out a pen draped in limp spaghetti Tony had liberated from the cafeteria. "This is my favorite pen."

"It's a pen. Requisition another one," Tony said with a shrug. After McGee took down a suspect, two local LEOs and an unlucky cook with a giant pot of spaghetti, he really couldn't expect anything less. Tony hadn't smiled that wide in a long time. Even Gibbs thought it was a little funny; Tony could tell by the way he just stared at the scene as all four men tried to get to their feet in the mess.

"It was my favorite pen." McGee threw it in the trash and started pulling handfuls of spaghetti out of his desk drawer.

"The inventiveness of the Italians knows no bounds in pasta or practical joking." Tony put his hands behind his head and leaned back to watch McGee try to separate pasta from paperclips. McGee muttered something under his breath, and Tony smiled. Life was good.

"DiNozzo," a voice snapped, and Tony almost got whiplash he sat up so quick.


Gibbs was striding across the room, and he did not look amused. Tony wondered if Vance was poking at the boss's buttons again. Gibbs stopped in front of his desk and leaned on it, his face devoid of emotion, but Tony would still sense the disapproval, even without the facial expression. "Tonight, be at my house at 8pm sharp." Gibbs said the words quiet enough that McGee couldn't hear. Tony froze. He had no idea how he was supposed to react to this, but Gibbs just stood up and went on to his desk.

McGee looked at Tony, the question obvious in his expression. Tony could only shrug. He had no idea what was going on.

"McGee," Gibbs barked, and the man jumped.


"Get down to Abby and find out who else our dead guy was chatting with."

"Don't you think—"

McGee stopped when Gibbs slowly looked up with one of those Gibbs-looks that made you wonder if your life insurance was paid up.

"I'll just go check with Abby," McGee said before he headed for the elevator, a long strand of spaghetti still stuck to the cuff of his jacket. The elevator door slid shut before Gibbs said anything else.

"Tony, you have until he gets back to get his desk cleaned out," Gibbs said without looking up from his computer. Tony opened his mouth to argue... after all it wasn't like McGee hadn't pulled his own pranks. In the past few months, McPrissy had finally started striking back, so he'd lost any tiny wisps of guilt for picking on someone so soft. All was fair in love and mutual torture among coworkers. However, no one said 'no' to Gibbs, and Tony was not going to be the first one to try. He moved over and started pulling the spaghetti out of McGee's drawer. What a mess.


Tony was standing on Gibbs' front lawn at 7:50, wondering what he was doing here. If Gibbs wanted to chew him out for pulling one or two pranks, he was perfectly capable of doing it at work. Hell, Gibbs was the master of backing someone into a corner and chewing them out without ever raising his voice. Tony wondered, and not for the first time, what Gibbs would be like as a Dom. Ziva had been all about touch. Once a scene started, she wouldn't speak much, and sometimes she whispered words in Hebrew. Mostly she would put hands on him. He knew firsthand how many pressure points the human body had because Ziva would use them. If he moved exactly where she wanted him, her hands were gentle across his warm skin. But if he moved the wrong way, fingertips would find some pressure point to bring him back in line. He'd learned to not move wrong.

"Get in here before someone reports you for loitering, DiNozzo," Gibbs called, and Tony jumped. Hurrying up to the door, Tony tried to calm his nerves, but being ordered to the house was sending his brain off into a dozen different directions—very few of them good. Jenny used to do that—call him for meetings at unusual times. Usually it was when she wanted to go into great detail about the Benoit case and she didn't want the meeting to show up on her schedule. Those weren't his most pleasant memories.

"Hey, boss." Tony gave Gibbs his best smile as he passed the man at the door and strolled into the living room with every bit of casualness he could muster. Gibbs just watched him, and the blank stare made Tony squirm more than Jenny's barely concealed frustration or even Director's David's smug arrogance. Tony knew how to manipulate emotions, but Gibbs never gave him enough to work with.

"Sit," Gibbs said, pointing at a couch as he took a seat in a chair facing it. Tony did, feeling even more uncomfortable. He sat and Gibbs watched him.

"You wanted to see me about something, boss?" Tony finally prompted. He wasn't even going to pretend that he could outwait Gibbs.

Gibbs leaned forward. "You've been joking a lot lately." The words sounded like a simple statement, and Tony knew they were true enough, but he was already marshalling his excuses and defenses by the time Gibbs continued. "I think I understand why, but I've made enough mistakes that I'm going to come right out and ask for an explanation."

Tony frowned and waited for the punchline. Gibbs wanted him to explain himself, and he'd made Tony come all the way out here to do it?

"It was just spaghetti."

"And giving the recruits a hard time?"

"You heard that?"

"Yes, DiNozzo, I did. Commenting on a recruit's flexibility and her history as a gymnast was over the line."

Tony hid his desire to flinch at that memory. Okay, so he'd been a little over the line with that one. "Not my finest moment," he admitted with a sheepish grin that generally got him out of trouble. It didn't look like it was working with Gibbs.

"And when you spent nearly sixteen hours in two weeks on a site dedicated to making strange faces into a camera?"

This time, Tony didn't even try to hide his reaction. Yeah, he'd been an idiot that time. His air guitar had gone to number three, and his psycho face went up to two, which was way ahead of McGee, but even when he'd been playing, he knew he was compromising his investigations. He couldn't seem to get his head in the game. His jokes had always been camouflage. If he acted like the idiotic frat boy that someone turned loose with a badge, then people weren't as careful around him. They let things slip. Hell, the director of Mossad had fallen for that ploy, and even Tony was surprised about that. However, lately he sometimes had trouble pulling himself back out of the role. It was like he was stuck in this costume, and he didn't know how to get out. It was like the need to keep people away from him... the real him... was taking over his life. He couldn't let them get closer than this facade that was taking over his life.

"Tony." Gibbs said the name and then stopped, but Tony could feel the disapproval dig into him like fishhooks, and there really wasn't anything he could say to defend himself. He'd screwed up.

"Maybe it wasn't as funny as I thought," Tony said before Gibbs could say anything even more condemning. Tony didn't know if he could take any more condemnation.

"Oh, it's funny, but I would use the word to mean 'causing suspicion' more than 'amusing'."


Gibbs leaned so far forward that Tony thought he might fall out of his chair. "There's definitely something funny about your behavior lately, Tony, and I'm wondering if you can tell me why you seem to be pushing so hard."

Tony stood up. "If you have a problem with my work, we can deal with it at work."

"Sit down." Gibbs hadn't raised his voice, but the tone sent a shiver through Tony. For a second, he stood by the couch, caught between running and obeying. If Gibbs hadn't been looking up at him with the calm expectation that he'd obey, Tony might have pulled a runner. Instead, he slowly sank back down onto the couch.

"Tell me when you started to lose control." Gibbs sounded so calm, but Tony could feel his heart pounding heavily, like rabbit caught in a trap, and Tony did not like the way his body was reacting to the combination of fear and the deep-set belief he was safe.

"Boss, maybe this isn't such a good idea." Tony scooted back on the couch and tried to hide his growing erection. Geez, of all the times for his body to get the wrong idea, this was pretty high on the list of humiliation.

"I think this is past due. Tony, I'm not going to take this farther than you're comfortable going, so if it makes you feel any safer, I can promise you that I'll stop the minute you tell me you can't handle this. However, you need to objectively evaluate your own behavior lately, so turn a little of your observational skills on yourself."

Tony let his eyes fall closed. The last thing he wanted to do was look at the disaster of his own life. He'd made so many mistakes that he was surprised Vance didn't fire him even if Gibbs was trying to protect him. Hell, he didn't even know why Gibbs was protecting him because somewhere along the line he'd turned from a senior investigator who used juvenile humor into a practical joker who couldn't stop.

"What would make this easier, Tony?" Gibbs' voice was uncharacteristically quiet.

Tony couldn't even answer. When the couch moved, he jerked his eyes open. Gibbs sitting next to him on the couch was a surprise, and Tony had no idea what the rules were for this. He'd stayed with Gibbs once when he had a problem at the apartment, but even then, even back when Tony was still being a good investigator, they never sat this close.

"Tony, I'm not upset."

"You should be."


Tony stared at Gibbs trying to understand where this conversation was going, but the guy had decades of experiences with being enigmatic, and he wasn't tipping his hand at all.

"I contributed to this by encouraging Ziva to pursue you, so I'm not going to blame you for having a very predictable reaction."

"Predictable? I'm falling apart." The words slipped out before Tony could stop them. Honestly, he didn't even know he was going to say it, but the minute the words came out, it was like the words created the reality. Now he did feel like he was falling apart. Cracks were forming even as he sat on the couch next to Gibbs. He was surprised when Gibbs' hand reached out to rest on his knee.

"Do you remember that asshole that Abby was dating?"

"Which one?" Tony asked, happy for the change in topics. "The stalker who just about got her killed or the asshole who left her back covered in score marks from his cane?"

"She liked the one with the cane." Gibbs didn't sound amused, but then Tony wasn't surprised about that. Neither of them was particularly comfortable with how hard Abby liked to play, but they had to respect Abby's choices. "I was thinking of that guy who had her so turned around that she started considering more sensible shoes and dressed like...." Gibbs stopped, but now that Gibbs reminded him, Tony did remember the incident.

"She dressed like an escapee from the suburbs." Back then, Tony didn't even know about Abby's preference for subbing, but the way the normally confident woman had become so unAbbyish had really bothered him.

"She did," Gibbs agreed. "She'd invested a lot in that Top, so when he turned into an asshole, it was hard for her to find her balance. She was too close to the relationship, and she lost sight of herself."

"You're making a point here, aren't you?"

"Maybe." Gibbs wasn't looking at Tony, but he did have the beginnings of a smirk on his face.

"You think I've lost my balance?"

"I think you're a little too close to the problem to see it clearly. You need to get some distance on this."

Tony leaned back and ran his hands through his hair. That's what he'd been trying to do for weeks now... months if he was honest. He'd slipped into this relationship with Ziva, and watching her chase after some Mossad agent... knowing that she needed a man who didn't kneel at her feet... he hadn't handled it well. Now that he looked back, he could see the jealousy and the rage behind his jokes. He hated Ziva for not wanting him. He hated McGee for being a normal man who didn't need this shit to get his rocks off. He hated Jenny for using his need to submit to bring him to heel and he hated Vance for the way Vance looked at him... like he knew. Like Tony disgusted him. Tony took a deep breath and tried to control the emotions that swelled up like the gases in a dead body that threatened to explode.

The entire time, Gibbs' hand continued to rest on his leg.

"Maybe I should take some time off."

"You've had quite a bit of time off."

Tony's hand went to his arm, rubbing the now-healed injury. However, he didn't have any other answers. Even if he acknowledged that he was in trouble, that didn't mean he knew how to get out of trouble.

"Tony, do you need help?"

"A real man wouldn't." Tony gasped as a slightly harder than usual Gibbs' slap caught him upside the back of the head.

"Don't be an ass." The sympathy of earlier had vanished under something a little harder, and Tony actually preferred that. He couldn't handle pity from Gibbs. "Marines who don't know how to ask for help die young. Do I look like I died young?"

"Um, no?"

Gibbs rolled his eyes. "Tony, I lost my balance after I woke from the coma, and running to Mexico didn't change the fact that I was in trouble."

"Until Ziva called you." Tony didn't mean for that to sound so aggressive, but he could hear the anger in his own voice even without knowing where it came from.

"I would have come just as quickly if you called." Gibbs reached out, and Tony braced for another headslap, but this time Gibbs ruffled his hair. "I told you, Tony, I'm a Top. I woke up and I realized the person who had relied on me to be the Top, and the person I relied on to need me... she was gone. She was gone and she'd died so long ago that I didn't even feel like I had a right to be so lost. Ziva's call just reminded me that I had other people relying on me, and as a Top, that gave me some of my balance back."

Tony frowned. "Uh, boss, not that I'm complaining, but what's up with the sudden sharing?"

"Because you need it. It's in the nature of a Top to protect the people in his care just as much as it's in the nature of a Bottom to serve."

Tony shook his head. "What?"

"I didn't see it at first." Gibbs stretched out his arms over the back of the couch and crossed his legs. Since he was in the middle of the couch, the pose crowded Tony, but he just shifted closer to the arm. "You wanted attention. You wanted the attention Ziva had promised you before she took it away."

Tony laughed. "I'm not a five-year-old throwing a tantrum."

"And you're not coming up on fifty and quitting to go sit in Mexico and sulk, either."

Tony blinked as he looked at Gibbs. He'd had a lot of anger about Gibbs walking out on them, all mixed in with his fear that he'd screw up as team leader and his uncertainty with secret mission for Jenny. That had not been a pleasant time, but he'd never accuse Gibbs of sulking. He certainly wouldn't expect to live if he ever did have the thought.

Gibbs slipped a hand around the back of Tony's neck, and Tony shivered at the touch. It was a dangerous place to grab someone, especially since Gibbs had demonstrated on him more than once how easily a Marine could subdue a suspect with a neck hold. However, Tony's cock got all the wrong messages this time around.

"I know some women who could step into this void." Gibbs made it sound so very normal.

"You're offering to pimp for me?" Tony tried to put on a salacious expression, but he wasn't sure he was succeeding. He'd thought about that exact thing—about going back to Caluna and finding someone else to scratch this itch, but the fact was that he didn't want someone to play with him for a night or even for a week before she got bored and moved on. Tony wasn't sure he could handle that right now.

"No. This has nothing to do with sex. I'm offering you a chance to submit." The way Gibbs said it, like he was offering to order in a pizza, made Tony close his eyes and struggle with a growing tightness in his pants.

"Thanks. I think I'll pass." Tony tried to sound as casual as Gibbs, but he couldn't keep his voice from slipping up into that girlish range McGeek used when someone touched his computer.

"Would you allow me to help?"

"Help?" That time Tony sounded almost completely like McGeeky. Hell, he sounded like McGeeky after someone accidentally dropped a coffee with extra sugar onto his laptop.

"I know you're not gay, Tony. I'm not looking for this to be sexual, but we could indulge in a little mutual satisfaction, and then we could take care of any built up tensions on our own."

Tony suddenly realized that Gibbs was very aware of his erection. He shifted to hide it better, but that just made his jeans pull tight and he had to blink as his eyes watered. Okay, this was very embarrassing. Tony opened his mouth to make his excuses before he ran for the door.

"I'd like," Gibbs said firmly before Tony could say a word, "to take your shirt off and use a rope harness to tie your arms firmly behind your back. I think I'd prefer you to lose the shoes, too. Then I'd take you downstairs and tether one ankle to the railing of the stairs."

"And then?" Tony had no idea where those words had come from because he had planned to turn Gibbs down firmly but respectfully enough to not endanger his job. He couldn't afford to lose his job because he was way too much of a headcase to find another right now.

Gibbs tilted his head. "Then I'd work on the boat and we could discuss our open cases. You have a way of seeing things when you don't have your head so far up your ass that you can't see straight. I think I like the thought of you tied and tethered and forced to focus on what I want you focusing on."

Tony opened his mouth and then closed it without answering. Gibbs wanted his ideas. And Gibbs obviously didn't think Tony was all that fucked up because you just didn't accuse nutjobs of having their head up their ass. It made crazy people go a little crazier. "Okay," Tony said before his mouth could check in with his brain.

Gibbs nodded and gave Tony a pat on the shoulder. "Get rid of your shirt and shoes. I'm going to get some rope."

"Um, boss?" Tony swallowed, not sure how in the hell he had gotten himself to the point where he was agreeing to this. Gibbs just raised an eyebrow and waited. "Could I use the bathroom?" Tony tried to look casual about the request, as if he just needed to take a leak.

Gibbs smiled. "Go right ahead," he agreed. Then he was up and gone, and Tony was left trying to decide if he was really going to do this. In some ways, this was no more than a normal debriefing. Gibbs wanted him to sit in the same room and review details from case files. Tony could do that without looking at his computer, unlike McGee. However, Gibbs wanted him barefoot, bare-chested, and tied while they did it. Tony's cock twitched painfully.

Well, hell. He was going to do this. Tony hurried into the bathroom, already pulling his shirt off as he went. He didn't want to keep Gibbs waiting, but he definitely needed to jerk off before the first rope touched his skin or he was going to embarrass himself. There was letting your boss tie you up, and then there was letting your boss see you prematurely ejaculate all over yourself. Tony had certain standards that he had to keep up.





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