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Rescue Pup

Page history last edited by nate 10 years, 3 months ago

Disclaimer: I don’t own the recognisable characters in this fic. No money has or will be made from this.

 

A/N: I dunno if places like the Puppy Paradise exist but it would be fun/nice to think they do… so in this fic they do :P. I write in 3rd person omniscient so the pov swaps around, this is intentional.  italics = thoughts & memories; bold = emphasis.

 

Warning: Chapter 14 has descriptions of sexual abuse


 

                                                                   

 

Rescue Pup

 

Skip to:


 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Abby was grinning at him, Gibbs knew that look, there was mischief written all over her face.  Two empty drinks cartons sat in the bin beside her desk: extra large ones.

 

“You know, these days you can get all kinds of puppies.” She started off on the random topic.

 

“Uh-huh. That’s nice Abby, I’m guessing you found something on the collar and leash.”

 

“Yup, hair. Can you guess what breed, Mr. Psychic?” She teased.

 

“Surprise me.” He couldn’t keep the smile from his face, she was just too adorable when she was playful, which admittedly was nearly all the time.

 

“Well, it only has two legs.” She hinted and he looked suitably bemused.

 

Her lips formed a slight pout, “Can we get a puppy, Sir?  I know this place; they have all kinds of strays. I have this friend who got hers from there, he was a rescue pup, poor thing.  Some of them just need lots of loving.”

 

“Abs.” He used a finitely patient tone.

 

“He was a cross, but adorable.  She said you can get all kinds there though.”

 

“The hair Abs.”

 

Another pout: this one complete with the pleading eyes.  Gibbs rolled his eyes, his grip on his coffee cup tightened imperceptibly. 

 

“We’ll talk about the puppy later.”  He reassured her.  It was news to him that she’d ever wanted a puppy, in all the time they’d been together, there had been no mention of an interest in owning a pet.

 

“Human.” Her voice said chirply.

 

“Say what?”  He sounded confused and mentally rewound the conversation.  She was almost bouncing in her seat.

 

“The hair, it was human.  Our puppy is of the homo sapien breed.” She swivelled her chair from side to side.  “Male, blond.  The rest is up to you.” Abby handed her boss the DNA profile.  “Now about that puppy.”

 

The ex-marine was already walking away looking at the printout.  “Later, Abby.”

 

******

 

The case was solved and a still slightly bemused Gibbs made his way home.  DiNozzo had been uncharacteristically quiet, as Kate had dropped sarcastic comments, following the revelation that a human had used the collar.  He was putting it down to the guy’s closeness to Abby though.  He often wondered if the others knew the symbolism of the collars she wore to work, with Tony’s reaction he was guessing so.  But it was like Kate had been unable to make the link, like Abby wasn’t ever seen without one collar or another encircling her neck.  He smirked at that.  Cheap dog collar and leash, a poor young guy who’d been unable to buy a proper one, he could pretend it was for a pet as he was buying it.

 

He pushed open the door and was greeted by his pretty goth girl, on her knees and naked as she always was when she was waiting for him to come home; it was the reason he always phoned ahead from the car to let her know he was on his way.  Coming home would lose its appeal if he didn’t have this to look forward too.   Her thighs were parted, but her sex was hidden to him under the leather chastity belt, that she insisted on wearing for him. 

 

Reaching out he twirled one of her pigtails round his fingers. “Hey there baby girl.”

 

Abby grinned at him, turning her head to kiss his hand as she slipped easily from her knees and rose to her feet.  They showed little affection at work, save for in indulgent looks and words, but at home touches and kisses were commonplace.  She leaned in and licked at his neck, breathing deeply and inhaling his scent. 

 

“I reeeeeally want a puppy.” She breathed into his ear, no more than a whisper, air tickling his skin.

 

He was powerless, a puppy sounded like a good idea.  “Ok, go get dressed and we’ll go take a look at this place after dinner.”

 

She squealed happily, did a twirl, planted a kiss on his lips and ran off to their bedroom.  She was going to get a puppy.

 

******

 

Lady Patience Puppy Paradise.

 

“Abby?” Gibbs wasn’t cross as such, his voice was more demanding than annoyed. “Is there something you forgot to tell me?”

 

“Didn’t I tell you they were cute?”  Oblivious, she bent over and petted one of the pups on the head.  “Oh look at that one, he’s a dapple, those bleached tufts are adorable.”

 

“Abby!” Patience was waning.

 

She turned to look at him, her face open with the genuine happiness she was feeling.  “Would you prefer a female? I’m sure they have bitches too, probably keep them separate though.”  She wasn’t sure if she would be able to deal with having a female pup, but if it was what her Master wanted, she would deal with it.

 

“No Abby, I don’t.” Gibbs was feeling exasperated at how oblivious she was, he couldn’t decide if it was a very careful act or if she genuinely hadn’t realised she was misleading him.  He looked at her, giggling as she batted away one of the pups that was trying to sniff her crotch.  He shook his head, took a hold of her arm and pulled her outside, leaving the pups to their mayhem and play.

 

“Did you see one you liked?” She grinned.

 

“You didn’t tell me they were human puppies.”

 

“I didn’t?”  She frowned in thought a moment, “Oops.”  Eyes wide and playful, her mouth quirked up into a not-quite-apologetic smile.  “But you’ve gotta agree they’re cute, right?”

 

“Are you sure you want to do this?” It had been a long time since they had discussed their opinions on adding others to the relationship, but back then she had said categorically that she didn’t want to share him, or be shared.  This was a turn around.

 

For the first time since she’d made the crazy comment she stopped and thought.  They were cute, sure, but they were strangers and adopting a puppy was a big responsibility.  She looked through the window as most of them played together.  Her eyes drawn to a brunette head peeking out from behind a sofa, timid, frightened and isolated.  She couldn’t even see his face but she could see the shivers that ran through him.  He’d been mistreated, she was sure of it, that as much as he wanted an owner and to be taken care of he was scared to death of it.  She turned back to Gibbs with resolve set on her face.  “I want the brunette behind the sofa. He needs us.”  Abby stated finally.

 

Oddly, the idea of owning a ‘human’ puppy wasn’t anywhere as scary as owning an actual pup to Gibbs.  He almost had to laugh at himself.  When she had turned to look at him, her eyes said it all.  He peered through at the one she had picked out; he had crawled out a little and then had backed right back up.  Something pulled at his insides, the same thing that had when he’d met Abby.  He nodded, his smile gradually growing.  “Ok.”

 

They went to find the woman they’d met on their arrival, really he should have twigged the minute he set eyes on her: she had dominatrix written all over her.  Lady Patience was actually the name she went by too, and he could understand that she would need it, surrounded by a dozen human male pups, and however many female ones she kept.   Gibbs had told her the one they were interested in adopting while Abby stood and bounced happily beside him. 

 

The woman smiled, “Ah, Hero, he’s delightful, very timid though he will need a lot of tenderness.  He was a rescue pup, very badly treated.  Now, he holds down a full-time job and would like to keep doing that, but he really is obedient.  He’s happy to be a pup outside of work.  He is interested in other aspects of d/s too, but if you wanted to go that route I think you would need to build a lot of trust before he would start to relate to you in the human terms he requires to play sexually.”

 

Lady Patience went on to explain all about the care of their new pup, insisted on seeing ID, she made a note and told them that she would pay a house call to see how they were getting on.  Gibbs was about to take offence but a gentle hand settled on his arm and he looked into his Girl’s sparkling eyes.  The message clear and he nodded his agreement.  She gave them a care and training pack and Gibbs had to work hard at not laughing at the ridiculousness of it, but she then pointed out to them that he wouldn’t be able to tell them what he needed.

 

Abby and Gibbs were left to wait in the lobby while she went to fetch their pup.  It was testament to how well she knew her boys that she had known exactly which one they were talking about when they had told her.

 

The door was opened as Patience returned, the pup trailing behind her, leash pulled taught and his head down.  He hadn’t even glanced up to see who his new owners were.  Abby had to contain her exuberance, she didn’t want to scare the boy, it was softly-softly as she’d been warned.   She crouched by him and held out a chocolate treat on the palm of her hand.  Tentatively, the treat was sniffed curiously before being picked up in teeth and crunched.  She left her hand there and he sniffed that too before licking it.  The forensics expert’s face lit up with a smile and her other hand petted the short brown hair.  It was only then that the face came up to look at her and her heart nearly stopped in her chest as all kinds of emotion flashed through the pup’s familiar eyes. 

 

There was no reaction in the handsome face but the shivering increased.  Abby stroked her hand through the hair and whispered soothing words, “Shh, Hero, it’s ok, we’re gonna look after you, it’s ok. Trust us pup.”

 

The fact she was there in the first place should have been enough to reassure Tony, but he was panicking slightly at a co-worker finding him like this, discovering his secret.  Her gentle tone calmed him though, she was there to find a human pup, so him being one wasn’t going to be a big deal, he started to settle down, until his eyes flickered up and saw who she was there with.  He yelped as he backed away from his boss.  He was tugging on the leash to get away.  Abby was one thing, Gibbs was another league altogether: the man he’d lusted after for two years wanted him to be his pup, he should be happy but he was just terrified at the idea.

 

Firmly in pup-mode as he was, standing up and running was out of the question even if he’d thought of it.  When he let himself go deep like he did when he came to the pup paradise, he thought and acted like a pup.  Some of the others had trouble letting go of their human attributes, but not him… but then his last owner had beaten it out of him.  Abby looked up at her Master, almost heartbroken, silently pleading with him to do something.

 

Affection was not something Jethro was used to giving to anyone but Abby, there were occasional moments at work when he’d give a look like an indulgent parent to the young man in front of him.  There had been a time when he’d harboured thoughts of what it would be like to dominate him even, but right now; the young man in front of him was worlds away from the DiNozzo who smart-mouthed him at work.

 

He came down to the frightened pup’s level; Hero, he had to remind himself, not Tony.  “Hey, pup,” Gibbs deliberately lowered his voice, the way he did when he was soothing Abby after a heavy scene. “You want to come home with my girl and me, we’ll look after you, get you your own bed and blanket.” He dipped a hand in Abby’s pocket to retrieve another treat and held it out on a steady hand towards the shivering man-pup. 

 

The whining huddled figure in front of them was enough removed from the Tony they knew at work that he was easily separating them, and as stupid as he should have felt talking to a grown man like this, the way he was reacting was enough to obliterate that.  All he could feel was sympathy and anger at whoever had done this to him.

 

Hero eyed the treat almost suspiciously, but it stayed where it was, Gibbs didn’t move towards him and when he took a small step forward it wasn’t pulled away.  The treat stayed on the hand where it was and bit-by-bit he crept forward until he was close enough to lean in and sniff at the hand.  It had come from Abby’s pocket, it was the same as the one she’d given him, he sniffed again that took it into his mouth.  Backing off a bit to eat it, the hand stayed where it was as he heard Gibbs almost cooing to him. 

 

“That’s it boy, you like that? You’re such a good boy, Hero.”  

 

When it was all gone he inched forward again to sniff at the hand.  The whining had stopped and only the occasional shiver ran through him.  He turned to sniff at Abby’s hand again. 

 

Blinking up at them with the most adorable look on his face they could see the moment he decided it would be ok.  Lady P had watched on fascinated, these two had listened to what she had told them and the patience they’d shown her pup convinced her that they would be the perfect owners for him.  She handed Abby the leash with a satisfied smile and again the goth girl had to contain her excitement.

 

“Will you be ok at the other end or do you need a blanket.”  She asked them as they all walked towards the door.

 

“We’ll be fine.” Gibbs reassured.

 

“Our house is secluded, and it has a lovely garden, Hero’s going to love it.” Abby chipped in happily; she showed no sign at all of being perturbed at the idea of having Tony DiNozzo on a leash.

 

The pup plodded along behind his new owners, shivering as the cooler air outside tickled his skin, it was nice though after the heat of inside.  He was glad they’d parked close to the door, the knee-pads gave him some protection but he didn’t fancy much of a walk over concrete.

 

Gibbs was holding open the back door when they got there and he climbed up and in, onto the back seat.  Lady P petted him on the head and said her goodbyes.  Then Abby stroked his hair once and buckled the seatbelt around him in a way that would secure him on the seat without him sitting like a human.  She stroked his hair again and shut the door on him.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Tony had known Gibbs had moved, but he hadn’t known why or where to.  He had thought it was to avoid the ex-wives, the last thing he would have guessed was that it was to move in with Abby.  She had thrown his boss’s jacket over his lap so that anyone peering in wouldn’t get a shock at his naked state, not that he minded either way.  He listened as the other two chattered in the front, the radio played and he watched streets pass by the side windows until they were out in countryside. 

 

It was a thirty minute drive to the house; it was secluded and impressive with a tree-lined drive leading up to it. A sprawling single-level building from the outside it looked to have a separate garage as well as a double one attached to the house; he suspected one of them housed a boat rather than a car.  Hero shifted slightly on the seat as they stopped to wait while double garage doors opened on automatic; that answered his previous musing: there was no boat.  The door was opened and Abby smiled in at him.

 

“How you doin’ there boy?” She scratched behind his ear as she unfastened the seatbelt.  Picking up the leash, she wondered how he was going to manage to get out of the car without hurting himself; it was fairly obvious he wasn’t about to stand.  It seemed like he’d given it some thought or it had been something he’d done before, he slipped into the foot well, then eased himself out.  There was a soft click as his hard-shelled knee-pads hit the concrete floor.

 

The concrete was hard but it didn’t hurt his hands, he was fairly used to it from the puppy paradise.  Gibbs was already at the door, unlocking it with his arms full of the things Lady P had given them.  He waited patiently as Abby shut the car door and locked it then with a little tug to the leash he followed her. 

 

He didn’t enter the house until she gave another tug and a soft, “C’mon, Hero.” of encouragement. 

 

As he stepped over the threshold his hands hit cool linoleum.  His new Master had already disappeared from view and Abby was leaning down to unclip the leash.  There was a mat for cleaning off shoes, which he simply stared at.  He was a pup, his paws might be mucky but he wasn’t going to wipe them because pups didn’t do that.  A memory swept through him like a Hurricane and he started to shake.

 

“Useless animal, trailing muck all through the house, look at it, look at the mess.  I should rub your nose in it...” 

 

He jumped and whimpered as a boot pushed against his backside, the force behind it sending him a good 4 feet from his starting point; he turned to face his tormentor, backing away to the safety to be found behind the sofa.  More hateful words,  “Useless, stupid, thick.” A hand caught his hair…

 

“Hush, puppy,” A caring female voice, but only random words filtered through, “it’s ok,” There was a hand in his hair and he tried to get away, was that whining noise coming from him? “You’re safe, Hero, its just me, Abby.” A soft hand ran in circles on his back.  He stopped trying to actively get away from the hand, as the voice cut through the flashback and he recognised the scent along with the voice.

 

He blinked and looked up at her with haunted eyes.  Abby continued to make the soothing noises as her insides clenched up painfully at the sight in front of her.  She was torn between wanting to hold him until he knew he was safe and wanting to hunt down the bastards that had done this to him: she knew enough to commit the perfect murder and get away with it.

 

The whining quieted and her hand stroked his hair, she had no idea what had set him off, or how to make it better so they could avoid that trigger.  The Goth girl just continued to murmur words designed to calm him, the way she would with a real frightened animal. 

 

“C’mon, boy, lets go in.” She said softly, when he was calm enough once more.

 

That confused him: he thought they were inside.  The hand ruffled his hair and she started through the door, on the other side of the threshold though, was that plush looking cream carpet.  It was both inviting and nauseating: when he stepped on it; when he’d mucked it up; the niceness and kindness would be gone, there’d be trouble… and he’d regret it, it would be like before.  He didn’t follow, just sat and looked at that carpet.  He was aware of her calling to him and he cocked his head to the side and looked up at her with pleading eyes.  ~Please don’t make me anger you, don’t make me dirty the carpet~

 

Abby looked down at him, he was making a soft whining noise, he didn’t want to come in, was he scared of being inside the house?  That made no sense.  She patted her thigh again.

 

“C’mon, baby, it’s warmer inside, you’re safe here.”  She had never really noticed how much patience she had, but at that moment, she was thankful for it.  Offering him a reassuring smile she sat herself on the floor, cross-legged on the carpet, she would just have to wait until he felt ready to take those last steps.

 

Gibbs had gone to his office with the things that Patience had sent with them.  There was a lot of reading material and some bits and pieces that she’d said they would need for him, including a feeding and water bowl.  The pack was full of information on “Hero’s” history, health, favourite toys, habits, favourite food.  There was a section written by Tony about the way he sees his puppy nature that looked like it might prove enlightening.  Lady P had also started a list of things that Hero was afraid of.  Aside from the specific information, there was also a generic guide to training, grooming, health, toilet needs and feeding.  He only flipped through it but Jethro was already suspecting there was going to be a lot of work involved; but it would be worth it.

 

He hadn’t heard his girl moving around and curiously, he set the books aside and went to see where she had got to.  Blue eyes crinkled in slight amusement as he found her, sat with her back to the wall at the entrance to the mudroom that led off the garage.  He looked from her to the human-pup who was sat on his haunches, still on the lino floor.  It had been a good ten minutes since they’d arrived home.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

She smiled happily up at him.  “Hero is just taking a little while to get over his nerves about coming in.  It’s cool we’re just chilling out.”

 

Jethro crouched down, dipped his hand in Abby’s pocket and held out one of the chocolate treats.  “C’mon boy, come and get it.”

 

Suspicious as he was, Hero knew that it was one of his treats in that hand, he could smell the chocolate.  Eyeing the hand, the pup shifted forward onto all fours and took a minute step forward; cautiously watching the hand and the treat in it, then looking up to the owner of that hand.  Inch by inch he made his way forward, until he was within nibbling distance of that hand.  He sniffed at it, then gently picked it up in his teeth and crunched it down. 

 

“See, boy, not so bad now was it.” Gibbs said with soft amusement.

 

The man’s hand stroked through his hair, and he realised there was softness under his paws. He heard the click of the door behind him and a sinking feeling made him turn, moving backwards – further into the house – as he looked down at the carpet checking for the dirt that would set them off, burst the bubble and start the shouting. There were a couple of scuffmarks, nothing too significant; but still he’d learnt that it didn’t need to be.  He whined and backed up further, eyes coming up from the smudges of dirt to his new owners, who were both standing now.  Bad puppy the voice inside his head told him. 

 

They didn’t look angry though; if anything, they looked concerned.  He was confused, hunching back into himself.  His eyes dropped once more to the offending marks, shame and fear written in his posture.

 

Abby looked down at the frightened puppy, she followed his eyes, hoping it would give them some clue as to what he was so scared off. 

 

“Sir, he’s looking at the carpet.” She said, speculatively. But it wasn’t just any part of the carpet.  She crouched to look at it and brushed her hand over it.  A light dawned on her face and she looked up at the grey-haired man from where she was.  “He thinks he’ll get in trouble for getting dirt on the carpet?”

 

Gibbs opened his mouth to call that ridiculous, stupid, but he closed it again when he remembered some of what Lady P had told them.  He shook his head, wondering when exactly he’d gone soft where Tony DiNozzo was concerned.  He realised he’d always had something of a soft spot for the boy; it was what drove their relationship at work and the exasperation he would feel/display at the younger man’s actions and attitude.

 

“Hey, pup, y’know it’s cool… muck gets on the carpet… that’s what floor coverings are for… and steam cleaners.” Abby cut in, practically crawling across to Hero herself. 

 

The thoughts that ran though the ex-marine’s head at that sight were not pure and innocent.  His hands pushed into his pockets and he wondered how their new pet would deal with seeing his co-worker naked.  It was probably best if they introduced that slowly; let him settle in first.

 

Hero tilted his head to the side in a way that she thought was just the cutest thing she’d ever seen.  Her hand came up so slowly, open hand with the back of it to him; she stopped a foot away from his face, not wanting to scare him more.

 

He looked at the hand as it came up, flinching minutely, placated with the slowness with which it moved.  It stopped and he looked at it, until curiosity got the better of him; he inched forward a little; until he was close enough to sniff the back of the hand.  It smelt of her, a scent that was associated with friendship and smiles, a memory of a conversation about making her own perfume - eau de gunpowder.  His whining stopped and he felt himself relaxing.  Hero licked at the back of the offered hand and was rewarded with the sound of her delighted giggles.

 

“You’re such a cute pup.” She declared; and with the same hand, gently caressed his cheek.

 

Gibbs couldn’t help but chuckle at the pair of them.  Once they had gotten Hero to relax around them and the house, there was little doubt that Abby and he would be up to all kinds of fun and mischief.  He was looking forward to it with the sort of light-hearted dread that the Master of a bratty submissive usually felt when he saw that gleam in her eyes.

 

“Abs, why don’t you show Hero round the house and figure out where he’ll be sleeping.”

 

A real pup could have slept in the laundry room, but a human-pup, that was a different matter; he would likely need his own bedroom.  He really had little clue about what to expect or what was needed.  How his pup went from Tony to Hero and back again.  They would need to know that, it would be important when it came to work as well as daily life.

 

“Okey dokey.” She said happily, grinned at the pup, and then stood up and patted her thigh.  “C’mon boy, I’ll show you the den first.”

 

“I’ll be in the study, there’s a lot to read.”  Gibbs informed her, knowing full well that within ten minutes she’d be there with a mug of hot coffee, just the way he liked it.

 

Hero padded round after her, the carpets were thick and plush everywhere except the kitchen, which had slippery tiles on the floor: he didn’t like it, he had to keep his body too tense to stop from sliding and they had stopped there for a little while so that Abby could make coffee.  He’d followed her to the study but hadn’t gone in.

 

The house was big, bright and airy not what he would have expected from the Goth girl he knew from work: all except the den. The den had her art on the walls, neon prints of gunshot wounds and bloodstains.  There was a comfortable-looking black leather recliner, video games, music system and lots of other cool stuff:  he liked this room; it had Abby written all over it. 

 

The family room was big and he knew he would have fun running round in circles in there, it had three large window panels, floor to ceiling and he could imagine himself lazing in the sun in there; or lazing on the scrumptiously soft rug in front of the huge fireplace, while they watched the big TV screen.  The breakfast room was just that, it opened out onto a small terrace, French windows looked out onto the vast gardens and he felt his tail wag just a little at the thought of chasing butterflies on the grass. They didn’t go into the dining room; Abby had just waved at it and told him that they ate mostly in the breakfast room.  He found it comforting and amusing that she alternated between talking to him like a person and a pet. 

 

If he’d loved the idea of the family room the living room was so big and formal looking he hesitated about following her into it, only doing so when she beckoned him the third time.  Three large modern cornflower-blue sofas were arranged in a U shape, the open part towards the even more impressive fireplace.  French doors opened out onto a terrace here and he could see an outside cooking area and tables and chairs with closed parasols, there were also a couple of garden heaters.  Beyond the terrace lay the garden that he’d seen from the breakfast room and it elicited another wag of his rear. 

 

She called to him and he turned to follow her, directly opposite was the main entrance foyer and beyond the door the outside porch.  He was already feeling a little disorientated and she was now talking about how she was going to show him the bedrooms.   There was a powder room; 3 bedrooms; two bathrooms and a laundry room, all decorated fairly neutrally, clean and comfortable.  Abby pointed out the sleeping porch to him, intoning that he might want to sleep out there when it was warm, where he could look up at the stars.  The idea sent a shiver through him; he decided it would feel too much like being told he had to sleep outside.  He gave a slight whimper and she petted him.

 

“Only if you want to, Hero. No one will make you.”  Her voice was reassuring and still happy.

 

She was still happy with him, which was a relief: he just had to keep them happy, be a good pup and not make them mad at him.

 

They headed back towards the living area, but turned off through a door.  “The Master Suite.” She told him, voice and face full of mischief. 

 

The mood of the décor changed as they entered this hallway, the carpet was a rich plum colour, sumptuous.  She tapped on the door off to the right and told him it was the walk in closet.  They stepped into the main bedroom and he nosed around the bed.  Three of the walls were painted a lilac shade while the fourth wall that the bed backed onto was the same plum as the carpet.  The soft comforter on the bed matched the feature wall, while the plump pillows that sat atop of it were a mix of the two colours and a couple of shades in between.  A plum faux-suede chaise lounge stood against the far wall, an archway into a well lit, purely plum room cut into that wall.  She didn’t go there though; she turned and taped a door he hadn’t seen that was in the wall adjacent to where they’d come in.

 

“Playroom, pup, but you don’t need to worry about that.”

 

He wagged his tailed and trotted off towards the plum room where the light was flooding in, it turned out to be coming through French doors.  The room was a fairly large snug.

 

“Ah, you like that room do ya.”  She had followed him to the archway and watched him as he nosed around the large beanbags on the floor and the futon style sofa-bed that was folded up.  She watched him contemplatively.

 

Hero could smell her all over the room; it was calming as he sniffed at the beanbags.  He looked up at her with a cute tilt to his head and she smiled at him.  Crossing the room she sat down on the low sofa and called him to her. 

 

Hero hesitated before padding across to her; she ruffled his hair and fussed him.  He enjoyed the attention and nuzzled his nose into her hand.  Things would be ok so long as he didn’t anger them, wouldn’t they?

 

“You like the house, pup? It’s home now. I was sooo lucky, it was my grandmother’s she left it to me.  It’s so big and it just needed that little something to fill it up, and now we have it.  Now we have you.” She continued to pet him as he listened.  Abby had seen the way his tail had wagged when he looked out onto the garden.  She smiled at him, “You want to go out in the garden, have a sniff around your new territory?” 

 

Hero wagged his tail at that thought, it was a sunny evening, and the grass looked so lush and inviting. 

 

Abby went to the door that led out onto the terrace and unlocked it, pushing it open, she didn’t even need to call him or pat her thigh, he was already on his way out through the door… more space to explore.

 

Chapter 3

 

Gibbs returned to his office, looking at the pile of things he’d brought in with them from the car.  Curiously, he opened the carrier bag: there was a squeaky chew toy that was shaped like a squirrel, it had teeth marks in it suggesting Hero had played with it a fair bit; a small loosely stuffed blue rabbit, with grubby ears; another pair of kneepads that looked a bit more for indoor use than the ones the pup had already been wearing; another bag of the chocolate treats, they were a cookie base with a layer of chocolate on the top, made for humans not animals but they served the purpose; he was surprised to see a pair of leather hand mitts that locked around the wrist, he would have to read the notes to see what they were about; and finally, there was a complicated set of straps that he worked out was a harness, some dog owners preferred them as there was less chance of harming their animal than by pulling on a leash attached to a collar, that hinted at a stubborn streak.  He had a smile on his face as he went through the items. 

 

In the second bag were human clothes, wallet, keys, shoes and toiletries.  That made sense, when Hero became Tony he would need clothes to wear.  It made him take a moment to consider how this was going to affect their working relationship.  He sighed and sat down. 

 

Opening the file, he came to the piece that Tony had written, he recognised the scrawl.  It was like an essay and he wondered if Patience required all her ‘pups’ to write one when they first came to her.

 

My human name is Tony, but I have the spirit of a puppy inside me… his…my puppy name is Hero.  I’ve had a good five years to come to terms with my need to let out my inner pup and I think I now understand him well.  We share a few traits but are quite different in other ways, although essentially we are the same ‘person’.   Hero is a flat-coated Retriever, I gave it some thought and when I’m in puppy mode that’s the self-image I have. I’m not a full-grown dog, still young and still discovering the world around me. 

 

It’s possible that some would think, mistakenly, that the pup is a role I take on… a role-play for a few hours then back to my life… an escapism.  It’s much deeper than that; it’s part of my soul, my spirit.  If anything, Tony is the role-play and the puppy is the real me, people have to get really close to me to see that though, I think.  Is that right? I’m not even sure anymore; there’s probably a balance to be found there somewhere.  Day by day I act the part of the human, I go to work and do the things I do, I act the playboy like I have hundreds of conquests and drool over anything in a skirt.  Really all I want is to run around in a garden and chase butterflies and squirrels (they’re the enemy you know… people think it’s cats but they’re not as bad as squirrels, you’ve really gotta watch out for them.). I’m not saying that I want to do without the human side of me, but I would like the opportunity to let my puppy personality shine through even when I’m in human mode, I just don’t feel comfortable enough with anyone now to do that though.

 

Hero was hurt badly, ended up needing a trip to the vet, I was rescued from an abusive relationship and the only way to totally escape it was to relocate.  I tried not being a pup, almost two years I spent trying not to be, but I started to get depressed at having to act all the time.  That’s when I heard about the Puppy Paradise, and I decided to check it out.

 

Hero is still hurting inside, naturally a submissive pup, obedient, affectionate and loving, but I’m also timid and scared as a result of my previous owner. I like to chew and nibble at toys and other things, can be quite silly and energetic when I’m relaxed sometimes a little stubborn when I’m frightened. I like exercise just as much as I like lazing about in front of the fire and I like to be petted.   I’m always eager to please and would love the companionship of an owner, someone to care for me and who I can play with. I’m still wary of men and find women easier to relax with although my human sexual preference is actually more towards men. Shouting voices make me very scared.  I’m a stray and I just want someone to love me despite all my nervousness and insecurities, I really want to find a home.

 

My human side does have an interest in bdsm play, but having been badly burned that trust will be hard to earn back enough that I will be able to let myself go. I want to serve and please, have a Master or Mistress as well as an Owner, someone who makes both puppy and human feel safe enough that I can be myself without all the acting.

 

The essay was signed with a drawn paw print that made Gibbs smile despite how much of a rollercoaster it had been to read.  It was enlightening to see in print the way Tony thought of himself, and that the man he worked with was essentially a lie; he suspected the playfulness was all real though, even if the womanising wasn’t.  It was heart wrenching that he’d been hurt so badly that he was still scared by things related to it and that he had tried so hard to deny what was obviously his nature.  He rubbed at his face, he wanted Tony to be his boy as much as he wanted Hero as his pup but it was obvious that was going to take a lot of hard work.   He had so many questions for Tony but they would have to wait until he was back on a human level.

 

The ex-marine had decided he needed to lighten his mood a bit, he had just turned his attention to book, "Caring For Your Human-pup" when there was a tap at the door and it was pushed open.

 

As expected, Abby came in with a cup of his favourite coffee, the richness of it teasing his nostrils; she leaned down and gave him a kiss on the cheek as the cup was placed on the desk.  She smiled at what he was reading while giving him a brief shoulder rub.  With a smile still on her face she straightened up and left the room, the door closing with a ‘click’ behind her.

 

He watched the sway of her hips until the door closed behind her, then with a relaxed smile began to read.

 

The booklet was A5 sized and about 45 pages long.  He scanned down the index, it sounded fascinating and he began to read in earnest.  The first section provided an inset into what Tony got out of it, why he liked to be a pup and what he wanted from an owner when he was.  It was insightful; there was a sub-section on communication and training that he read twice. 

 

He realised, as he read, that he had a lot to talk with Tony about.  Things he hadn’t even considered, like using the bathroom.  He wondered if the personal information would answer some of them questions.  It took him ages to read, some parts he read more than once, making mental or written notes.  The coffee had been sipped at as he read and when he’d finished with the booklet he downed the rest of the cooling liquid.

 

With a heavy sigh he started to read the hard stuff.  It started off with some personal information, age; pup breed; favourite foods; favourite toys and games; the trigger word that was talked about in the guide for switching from pup to human and back, which turned out to be using his names, Tony for human, Hero for pup; and there was information about his previous experiences.  A detailed account of the abuse he’d suffered and the resulting things that it had left him afraid of as well as explaining his odd behaviours.  When he moved on, Gibbs’ blood ran cold as he read a doctor’s report on injuries that Tony had sustained.  He didn’t know how Lady P had got hold of it but it made for sickening reading; he was going to have to take a good long look at the guy’s medical records when he went in to work.

 

He rubbed at his face, “Oh Tony.”  His blood had gone from icy cold to boiling with rage.  He banged his hand down onto the desk.  If he ever laid sight on the bastard that had done this to his boy, he would rip them apart, bit-by-bit, slowly!

 

He took some deep calming breaths.  It had been a while since they’d returned from the puppy paradise and they all had to be getting hungry. 

 

Some how he managed to calm himself enough that he could go looking for Abby and Hero, so he wouldn’t scare the poor pup.  Leaving the office he wandered until he reached the living room and through the French windows, spotted them in the garden, the dying sun’s rays still providing just enough illumination.  He stood a moment and watched Hero sniffing at the ground and some flowers.  He couldn’t help but smile.

 

Chapter 4

 

He pushed open one of the doors and stepped out onto the terrace, his girl’s eyes turned straight towards him, a delighted smile on her face from where she’d been watching Hero explore the garden.  She crossed to him and offered her lips, Gibbs accepted and kissed her softly, not lingering or deepening it with his tongue; not right now.

 

“How’s he been?”  He asked, as he pulled her into his arms, her back to his chest, and they both watched the curious pup.

 

“Good, mostly.” She was thoughtful a moment, “He really liked the snug.”

 

Gibbs smiled and kissed her temple, “That’s because it smells of you, and he recognises you as safe, as a friend.”

 

He could almost hear her frown.

 

“Do I even want to know what was in that file?” Abby asked him.

 

His smile faded, “You won’t want to, but you need to.  It’s not pretty, baby girl.” 

 

His tone spoke of emotion in a way she wasn’t used to hearing from him and it caused her to turn to look at him.  His eyes were sad, and if she’d wanted to hunt down the bastard before…well now she just wanted it destroy him totally.  She could; she could make it so he’d never existed, or wished he hadn’t, and when she was done Gibbs could finish what was left. The thoughts of vengeance made her feel better for a moment; of course she hadn’t read that file yet.

 

“Where’s he going to sleep?” She asked.

 

“I’m not sure.  He has issues about being isolated or left alone, I’d prefer to keep him close.”

 

“He could sleep in the snug.” She offered with a smile, choosing deliberately not to examine the reason behind those issues just yet.  There would be time later.  “Will he sleep as Hero or Tony, do you think?”

 

“I’d be happier if it was as Tony for now.” He twirled her dark pigtail round his finger.  “I think the snug would be perfect.  You don’t mind? I know it’s always been your space to get away when you needed to.”

 

She shook her head, making those pigtails swing back and forth cutely.  “He needs it more than I do.” She said, “It can be his space.  He really didn’t like the idea of the sleeping porch.  I was a bit surprised at that, but it makes sense with the isolation thing I guess.  And the other bedrooms are too far away.”

 

He nodded and kissed her cheek again.  “Time to eat, you better call him in.” He told her and headed inside.

 

She nodded, turning to watch him disappear through the French doors.  Hero was still sniffing his way round the garden, there was the distinct lack of excitement that she would expect in other pups, but the curiosity was undeniable, and there was the occasional wag of the tail.  She smiled wistfully before whistling to him.

 

“Hero,” She patted her thigh. “Come on, boy”

 

He turned to look at her when he heard her call his name, at first thinking there had been something bad about his exploration, but she was happy when she patted her thigh and called him to her. He made his way over to her slowly.  As he reached her she turned and went in through the door they’d come out of.  He hesitated, looking up at her, a nervous set to his body.  She called to him again.

 

“C’mon, pup, it’s ok, muck’s allowed, remember.”

 

His tail wagged a couple of times and he went inside.  She shut the door behind him, shutting them both inside. 

 

Gibbs went to the linen closet and picked out a blanket before heading through to the snug, suspecting that Abby would call Hero in through there; since that was where he’d been most comfortable.   He’d been right, and they were there when he passed through the archway.  It almost broke his heart though, as the pup looked up at him then nudged his way round to hide behind his girl’s leg. 

 

He tried to look as kind and harmless as he could, it wasn’t an easy thing for a man like him.  The ex-marine moved to sit down on the futon and placed the blanket beside him.  He raised his hands, palms up to call him over, “Come here, Hero.”

 

The pup peered out at him.  Abby looked down at Hero and put her hand in her pocket before passing Gibbs the last of the treats she had.  He held out the treat on the flat of his hand and waited patiently. 

 

Slowly, bit-by-bit, Hero edged his way out, unable to resist the draw of the treat. He looked at it suspiciously, but as he sniffed at it nothing bad happened.  He knew Abby was there still and he could smell her all around him.  He took the treat.

 

“Good boy.”

 

He was praised, and the man’s hand stroked his hair. 

 

“Sit.” 

 

Hero tilted his head to the side, unsure.

 

A hand pressed down on his rump, gentle but insistent “Sit.” 

 

The word came again and he shifted back onto his haunches. 

 

“Good boy.” More praise and more hair stroking.

 

He couldn’t help but wait for the other shoe to drop.

 

Gibbs looked up at Abby, wondering if he should ask her to leave them to it.  He didn’t need to decide though, as if sensing the question, she moved through the arch and into the bedroom.  Not too far but far enough.

 

He softened his voice as much as he could, “Tony, I need you to come up.” He urged quietly, the blanket lay ready, and he continued to soothe the dark hair.  “Come on Tony, come back to human.”

 

He could almost see the moment the shift happened, puppy characteristics turning to human and a blush crept over Tony’s cheeks. 

 

The older man picked the blanket up and draped it around strong shoulders. 

 

“Welcome back.” He told him, he could see the embarrassment in DiNozzo’s face and body as he pulled the blanket round him. 

 

His eyes had dropped, and he looked like he didn’t know what to say.

 

“Tony, look at me.” He urged, softly.

 

There was a flutter of something across his face before he looked up.

 

“It’s ok, you’re safe here.”

 

“I…”

 

“You’ve nothing to be embarrassed about, we were there looking for a pup.”

 

“But…”

 

Gibbs’ hand stroked lightly down his cheek, “You’re part of the family now, Tony, we want you here as long as you want to be here.”

 

The look of hope, of hardly daring to believe the truth crossed the younger man’s face.  He turned away from the gentle hand, shifting to sit on the ground; he started to take off his kneepads.  He was trying to think of a joke, or some bravado to bluster his way through the situation. 

 

“Look, why don’t you take a shower, I’ll fetch your clothes and we can talk about it.  There’s a lot to discuss.”  His voice took on a tone of dominance.  He sensed a moment of protest building and stood, looking down at the brunette on the floor.  “We will talk about it.” He held his hand out to help Tony stand up.

 

DiNozzo looked at the hand a second before putting his own in it.  He stood and straightened up with a wince; he’d been on his knees a bit too long without stretching.  He expected his hand to be dropped when he stood up; but instead he was enfolded in an embrace, unsure how to respond he hesitated before returning it with his free hand, the other holding the blanket closed.  Before he had time to worry too much, it was over and he was released. 

 

Holding the blanket around him, he followed his boss out of the room and into the Master bedroom, surprised to see Abby sat on the bed looking at him with a mixture of happiness and concern. 

 

“I’ll be right back.” Gibbs said, disappearing out of the room.

 

“Abs…” Tony started to say, before he could say more he had his arms full of Goth Girl.  He’d let go of the blanket to wrap his arms around her and it fell to the floor, he didn’t care as she held him.

 

He felt like he owed her some explanation, they were close friends and there was a whole part of him that he’d not shared with her.  To be fair, he didn’t know about her and Gibbs, but he did know about her interest in kink so it wasn’t a huge leap for him.

 

 Abby pulled back and placed a kiss on his cheek, leaving a smudge of red lipstick.  “It’ll all be ok, Tony, I promise.” She told him, then ushered him towards the bathroom. 

 

The shower felt good as water poured over his body, carrying away dirt, it left behind his embarrassment though.   He knew it was crazy, after all… they’d not laughed or poked fun in any way, not to mention that they were even at Puppy Paradise in the first place.  He lathered his hair with shampoo for a second time, then leaned back under the luxurious strong spray as the suds were washed down his back towards the drain.   He was clean, but he stayed where he was a bit longer.  He had to find a way to face them.  Gibbs was his boss, it was crazy, how the hell was he going to be able to look him in the eye at work after this?

 

But Gibbs’ words kept coming back to him…“You’re part of the family now, Tony, we want you here as long as you want to be here.”

 

He really wasn’t sure what to do or make of it all.

 

He finally shut off the water, stepping out he found a towel and dried himself off before wrapping it around his waist.  Tony headed back towards the bedroom; his clothes were laid out for him on the bed, and shoes sat on the floor below.  He got dressed quickly, returning the towel to the bathroom before trying to remember his way through the house and not knowing where they would even be. 

 

Everything looked very different in his human mindset and from the different height.  He managed to find his way out of the Master Suite, but a wrong turn took him towards more bedrooms.  He turned back the other way and was soon in the big living room.  French doors looked out onto the terrace as the sun was almost gone from the sky.

 

“Boss?  Abs?” He called out, and then murmured, “Beam me up, Scotty?”  It was like being in a strange land, he felt like an alien.  How on earth could they afford to live in a house like this? 

 

Just when he was looking around and feeling very lost, a pigtailed head appeared around a door jam. 

 

“Hey, through here.”  She said chirpily

 

“I guess you really weren’t joking about the chastity belt.”

 

She chuckled, “actually, Gibbs hates them.”

 

“Oh I just bet he does, I heard he struggles to operate a bra let alone a chastity belt.”  He grinned; his joke was lame even by his standards.  He half expected to hear an exasperated ‘DiNozzo’, maybe complete with a smack round the back of his head.  Instead, he was greeted by the sight of his boss…cooking!

 

Gibbs just smiled and shook his head.  Abby had grabbed Tony’s hand and pulled him towards the kitchen table.  She started to chatter at him about work, each making their random quips where appropriate and more frequently where they weren’t. He occasionally glanced towards the stove towards his boss; obviously the forensics expert didn’t have a problem with him being there but he couldn’t gauge the other man’s mood.

 

When dinner was served, as hungry as he was, Tony found it hard to eat.  He could feel eyes on him as he pushed the food around on his plate.  It looked and smelt good, and it tasted great from the few mouthfuls he’d had.  But there was a lump in his throat, a big one, that made it hard to swallow around.  He was nervous of what was going to be said later.  It was so hard to figure out his boss even though Abby was pretty much an open book, and as much as he’d fantasised about Gibbs in the past, he could hardly let himself believe that it was finally going to happen.  He had so much baggage and he was going to have to tell the older man all about it; that would change everything, he knew it would.  No one could keep looking at someone the same way when there had been something that huge shared.

 

Gibbs was tempted to tell Tony to eat up, but knew that hassling him over it would probably only make it worse; so he tried to make the small talk he usually would with Abby and not put any pressure on him by watching him…even though that was against all his instincts.

 

The meal finally finished, DiNozzo had not even eaten half of it; but at least he’d eaten some.  Abby started to clear the dishes away and Gibbs got to his feet.

 

“Come on, Tony, let’s go talk somewhere more comfortable.”

 

He hesitated, looking up into brilliant blue eyes then over at Abs where she had started to wash dishes.  When he looked back he saw that those eyes weren’t going to let up, and like a rabbit caught in headlights he slowly got to his feet, a little wide eyed and his smart-mouthed humour having disappeared yet again.   Where was his comfortable blanket of bad jokes when he needed them?

 

He followed as he was led quietly to the family room, he remembered the rug and thoughts of curling up on it in front of the fire; he raised a small wistful smile.  Tony noticed belatedly that Gibbs had sat on the sofa and was studying him.  He forced his smile bigger, but knew it must look false.  He sat himself down on the seat that was patted in indication for him to do just that.

 

“Tony.”  It was hard to know where to begin, Abby had been the one to approach him about her and Gibbs having a relationship and they’d really just fallen into step with each other easily.  But his boy had been hurt and was wary.  He had to do it right and that wasn’t his strongest point in relationships.

 

“Boss?”  The brunette asked after the pause became uncomfortable for him.  “Look, it’s ok, I know this isn’t what you were probably expecting and knowing Abby when she took you to get a puppy… I was the last thing you expected to go home with and it’s ok, really.  I could use a lift home though, if it’s ok, or I can get a cab and then we don’t need to mention it again, if you’d prefer.  ”

 

Gibbs stared at him, and shook his head, “Tony. You’re not going anywhere so you can quit the defensive talk.”

 

That left the younger man blinking dumbly at him.  Where the hell was his witty humour when he needed it?  Abandoned in his hour of need.

 

“I meant what I said before.” Jethro shifted minutely closer to his boy, not wanting to spook him.  He reached over and put his hand on top of DiNozzo’s.  “You’re part of the family now.”

 

Tony looked at the hands and then up into his bosses piercing ice blue eyes.  He was struggling with this, he could only keep the barrier up so long in the face of such persuasive words; but he’d fallen for them before and he wasn’t going to let it happen again.

 

Gibbs could almost feel the battle going on inside the other man, he was feeling exposed and vulnerable but he was clinging on to the last shreds of his defences.  He tried a new angle.  “Tell me why were you at Lady P’s?”

 

Trapped, that was how he felt at that moment, the truth couldn’t be denied, Gibbs had his folder after all, and they’d spoken with the woman.  She would have told them all about him.  He brought his hand up to rub at his face, closing his eyes against that gaze.  “You know why.”

 

“Tony, I want you to tell me.”

 

His head shook slightly, “I…” When his eyes opened they were looking down at his lap and they stayed fixed there on the joined hands.

 

Gibbs’ hand squeezed the one that he was holding in reassurance, he was there and he wasn’t going to leave until he heard what he wanted… he wasn’t going to leave once he did hear what he wanted. 

 

There was no point in denying it, what good could that do?  And they had to work together.  He started to wonder if he put in for a transfer would it be accepted or would his boss make him stay out of some twisted way of making him suffer.

 

“I was lonely, I needed to be around people who understood and… I hoped that I’d find someone who would take me home.  Lady P does checks on people, I felt safer going to her.”

 

“Before you went to her, how were you feeling?”

 

He tried to pull his hand free, he didn’t want to talk about it, but the grip wouldn’t give.  His shoulders slumped and he sighed.  “I was depressed. There was this big gap and I couldn’t fill it.  I…” He shook his head. “Didn’t matter how much I tried to deny that side of myself it was always there.”

 

“Did going to Lady P’s help?”  Gibbs had to fight the urge to pull Tony into a hug, to wrap his arms around him and stroke his hair.  He wanted to make it all right, to drive away the shadows and monsters of the past.  He pushed down that thought because that could only make him angry at the abuse he’d suffered.  He wondered how much it had cost him to confide that side of him to the guy in the first place.  Another thought to push away until later.

 

“Some. She was kind, and sometimes she’d let me follow her round.  But the other pups could be rough and I didn’t like that.  Then I’d see Owners come and pick one out and take them off home with them, it was always the more lively pups that were picked.  I sort of resolved myself to knowing that I wouldn’t get picked, was kind of scared of it to be honest.  You’d never know what kind of owner you were going to get, but Lady P would always do her best to match them right.” He brought his eyes up to meet Gibbs’ then, “She must have thought you guys would be a good match for me.”

 

Jethro nodded, understanding the realisation that had just occurred in his mind.  “What did you get out of it? How did it help?” He asked curiously, stroking his thumb over the hand he wasn’t gripping quite so tightly now that it was no longer trying to pull away.

 

The eyes dropped from his again. “I could switch off and forget.  It was all about playing, eating, sleeping and being petted.  Work didn’t exist in there, the problems from outside didn’t matter, I could leave them behind when I took off my clothes and strapped on the kneepads.” His cheeks burned at the mention of getting naked.

 

“But the loneliness stayed?” It was a question, but it wasn’t.

 

The brunette nodded sadly, without looking up.

 

“Tony, look at me.”

 

Hesitant eyes came up to meet his, unsure and afraid of what they’d see when they did.  But all he found was concern, compassion, understanding and something that could only be equated with tenderness.  He thought that look on his boss’ face would make him cry, but somehow he held onto it.

 

“You don’t have to be lonely anymore, you belong with us now.  We’re your family and this is your home, Tony, and you’re free to be who or what you want when you’re in it.” Gibbs’ voice was sincere.

 

DiNozzo swallowed as he looked into those eyes, he wanted to let himself fall for the man, he really did, but it was so hard.  He’d found him attractive the whole time he worked for him, harboured a crush and an almost idolisation of the man, he was like a god to him and his approval mattered, his praise mattered, he never wanted to let him down; he wasn’t sure that he could help the latter happening though, if he belonged to him, he was a disappointment as a pet, that much had been beaten into him.  He looked away, tried to tug his hand free again but it wasn’t going to come free.

 

“I can’t.” He said, almost desperately. 

 

“Why? Give me a good reason and I’ll let you go, but it has to be a damn good one.” Gibbs’ voice was calm and reasonable, that was comforting and he tried not to let himself be pulled into the need for that.

 

His other hand tried to peel the fingers away from his, but it was an exercise in futility. 

 

“Why, Tony?”

 

“Work will be awkward.  Don’t you always say that we shouldn’t mix work and relationships?”

 

“When have I ever said that? And work will only be awkward if we let it be that way.  It isn’t for Abby and I.”

 

“I…” Never: he couldn’t remember Gibbs ever having said that! “She isn’t in the field with you though.”

 

“You’ll have my six the same way you always do, Tony, and I’ll have yours. That won’t change.  If anything you might actually start doing as your told.” He gave a soft snort to show he knew that wasn’t going to happen.  “Now tell me why.”

 

Tony shook his head, “Please…”

 

“Not letting you go, Tony, not unless you tell me a damn good reason why.”

 

“Gibbs…” His plea seemed to fall on deaf ears; but even without looking he could feel those eyes on him.  He sighed.  “I’m not… I can’t…”

 

Tony wanted so badly to belong to the man, words couldn’t even describe how much he did want that; but it could only end badly.  He turned his face away as tears prickled at the backs of his eyes.  He wasn’t going to cry, he couldn’t, not now.

 

The hand that wasn’t holding his was gently touching his chin and turning his head to face that gaze.  He was powerless to resist, the touch was barely there but it didn’t need to be.  The tears broke free as his hold on them gave way.  His eyes didn’t come up to meet blue, “I’m not a good pet.” He shook his head, “I don’t want to disappoint you… please.”  

 

Gibbs’ fingers slid up to cup the smooth cheek at the admittance, he had guessed what was behind the resistance, and he had been willing to push as much as he could, without getting heavy, in order to hear it.  The bastard had done a real number on Tony and it made him ache inside.  “It’s not for you to decide, and from what I’ve seen, you’re a damn good pet and I want nothing more than for you to belong to me.  I know it’s hard, I know you’ve been badly treated.”

 

Guilty, embarrassed wet eyes looked away.

 

“It’s not your fault, Tony.  The way you were treated wasn’t your fault and you didn’t deserve it… no one does.”  He was finding it hard to keep the anger out of his voice at the way his boy had been treated.

 

DiNozzo was shaking his head, he couldn’t let his guard down, he couldn’t let Gibbs’ work his way past it.  This just wasn’t happening.

 

The hand that had been holding on to his came up and cupped his other cheek, holding his face gently between them.  “Look at me.” Soft words that, for some reason, he just couldn’t disobey.   His eyes met blue again; blue that no longer looked bright and piercing but was now sad and stormy.  Tony swallowed the lump of emotion in his throat, could feel his sticky tears drying on his face as a gentle thumb stroked over them.

 

“I’m here, Abby’s here, we’re not going anywhere and we don’t think any less of you for what happened, for what was done to you.  It wasn’t your fault.”

 

Tony closed his eyes a moment, took a deep breath and opened them again.  He wished he could believe that, he really did.  Gibbs seemed to believe it though and maybe that was what counted.

 

“Let me take care of you, let me give you what you need, what every pup needs.”

 

“You… you really want to own me?”  He just couldn’t get his head around it.

 

“Tony, I already do, have felt like you belonged to me for a long time, just never recognised it.  I want you here, part of our family, the three of us.  We can take it as slow as you need, baby steps.  We can stick with the pup-play as long as you need, but what I really want is for you to be my boy as well as my pup.”

 

DiNozzo was fairly sure his gulp was almost comedic loud at those words. “Y…you want to be…you want to be my Master?”  His heart was beating furiously in his chest at the thought, fear and excitement, joy and nerves, all mingled together so he wasn’t entirely sure which was strongest. 

 

Gibbs nodded and smiled; “I think you’d make the perfect subbie bro for Abby, as well as being the perfect pup.”

 

That made his cheeks heat up again, his eyes dropped as he flushed red.  His boss chuckled and he looked back up, questioningly.

 

“You look cute when you blush, Tony.”  Was the explanation he received.

 

A smile tugged at his lips in response, even though he tried not to, he couldn’t help it.  There was just something about hearing his boss calling him cute that made him want to grin.

 

“I’m not going to rush you, we can go as slow as you need.  Ok?”

 

There was a moment’s hesitation when Gibbs thought that Tony might actually refuse and ask to be taken home again, he was relieved when he started to nod. 

 

“Ok.”

 

“Good boy.” Jethro smiled at him, his eyes brightening.

 

And the smile that he received made it all worth it, the brunette knew it wasn’t going to be easy, just getting to that point had been hard enough.  The ex-marine wouldn’t put up with his evasiveness and that both scared and relieved him.  He would no doubt fight being emotionally exposed, but part of him wanted it because he so wanted to be with them.

 

“So what now?” He asked, uncertainly.

 

“Now, we all curl up and watch a film until bedtime, you want to choose?”

 

Tony focused on the word bedtime and his posture shifted.

 

“Don’t panic pet, you get your own room.”  Gibbs had been expecting it, somewhat and moved to head off the reaction before his boy could pull away.

 

“Thanks.” Tony sighed and relaxed again.

 

“knock knock?” Abby’s cheerful but quiet voice came from the doorway. 

 

Gibbs waved her in and she grinned, holding up the bowl of popcorn. 

 

“What are we watching?” She asked, deliberately avoiding mention of the obvious fact that Tony had been crying. She sat down beside him so they were flanking him.  

 

“Tony was just about to pick.”

 

 

Chapter 5

 

The movie finished and Gibb’s glanced sideways at the other two on the sofa with him.  Tony gave a small sheepish smile at the way Abby was curled up with her head pillowed on his shoulder.  The older man gave him a genuine smile that was part to reassure and part because the two looked so goddamned sweet like that.  He leaned across and stroked his girl’s cheek.

 

“Abs, baby girl, bedtime.”

 

His voice was so soft and so full of love that it made Tony almost ache inside; only the sleepy weight against him stopped him from trying to break away from the scene.  She was stirring though and making the most adorable murmurs.  He was sunk, he knew it, even if he could walk away from Gibbs, there was no way on earth he could walk away from Abby.  It wasn’t sexual, not really, it was deep friendship – he cared for her so much and she meant the world to him.

 

Fully awake she lifted her head and gave a soft pouty smile, “I missed the end.” Her voice more husky, from sleep, than it usually was.

 

The other two couldn’t help but chuckle.

 

“Baby girl, you’ve seen that film more than two dozen times, you know the ending in your sleep.”  Her Master admonished affectionately, as he pulled her to her feet.

 

DiNozzo couldn’t have kept the smile off his face with the best will in the world.  He wasn’t expecting the hand that was held out to him though.  He looked at it and then looked up into the warm blue eyes of the person it belonged to.  That same affectionate look was on Jethro’s face and it made him swallow, as his own smile disintegrated with his nerves.  He had to force himself to take the hand, sliding his own into it and letting it pull him up to stand with them.  His insides twisted themselves up inside and he couldn’t be sure that his hand wouldn’t be shaking if it were to be released at that point.

 

He received a small nod and a pleased smile, it made his breathing hitch minutely but he thought he covered it well.

 

Gibbs kept hold of both his and her hands, almost pulling them along in his wake.  Tony’s hesitance holding him a couple of steps behind and stretching the arms out; it almost served to emphasise the guidance that was taking place a metaphor for more than just being led to bed.  Where as Abby’s sleepiness made her trail slightly, the occasional yawn escaping her pretty lips. 

 

They stopped outside the door to the Master Suite and he felt uneasy, Gibbs had promised him his own room but they seemed so far away, if felt like some kind of exile.  His stomach felt heavy at being separated from them because the physical distance would make him feel emotionally distant; that he wasn’t good enough to be with them and that for all his boss’ talk of it being his home, he was still an outsider; a guest to be put in a ‘guest bedroom’.  Not that he wanted to climb in bed with them - the thought of that sent him into an internal panic

 

“You want to sleep in the snug, Tony?” Abby asked him, gently.  “The sofa folds out into a futon.”

 

It was almost as if she’d read his mind, his eyes flickered to her face and he felt a wave of both relief and apprehension.  He’d liked the snug, it smelt of her and that was comforting, it was close enough that he wouldn’t feel isolated from them.  But, was it too close? What if he had nightmares? What if they had sex and he could hear them? He didn’t know whether to be turned on by that last thought or not.

 

“Tony?” 

 

The calm soft baritone caught his attention and he realised he’d got so caught in his thoughts he’d vagued off.  He blushed.

 

“You don’t have to, if you’d rather choose one of the other rooms?”

 

“No!” He said a little too sharply, a wave of hurt rushing over him and making him almost snap in desperation.  His cheeks reddened further, but the other two were looking at him with something close to understanding written across their faces. 

 

“Sorry,” he murmured.  “The snug will be fine, so long as you kids behave yourself.” He gave a small smirk a hint of his usual self shining through.

 

The other two chuckled softly, neither one really fooled, the usual DiNozzo would be trying to get them to misbehave and making jokes about how he could watch, eat popcorn and maybe sell tickets; while trying to think of a way he could use this to play a prank on Kate or McGee.  He was trying, but at the same time, it was that which highlighted the differences between the man they were used to and the one who was letting them see his vulnerability.

 

“Deal.” Gibbs chuckled, “for tonight, anyway.” He winked at the brunette and pushed through the door, once more leading them onwards.

 

Abby busied herself, pulling out the sofa to make a bed and then putting covers on it and finding him pillows.

 

“Anything you need?” Gibbs asked him as they watched her; she was too efficient to even dream of interrupting her with an offer of assistance.

 

Tony shook his head, “Just the bed will be fine, thanks.”

 

******

 

They left him alone in the snug, separated from them by only a partial dividing wall and a doorless archway.  Abby had hugged him and kissed him softly on the cheek, he’d expected that.  But he hadn’t expected the full on hug that he received from Jethro or the way it had made him feel so accepted and cared for.  When they’d left him he didn’t move for what seemed like ages, staring at the wall that separated the quietly talking couple.  His mind was a whirling mess as the low lighting cast shadows around the room. 

 

Tony unfastened his shoes and slid them off, then slid under the covers in his clothes.  This all could still be temporary, anything could happen and he needed to be able to make a quick escape when it all went wrong.  He couldn’t relax and he couldn’t let his guard down. 

 

The exhausted agent had repeated that mantra over in his head as he lay there, trying to find sleep and failing miserably.  His body seemed to be taking the command, not to relax, literally.  He could hear soft snores coming from the other room and from the tone of them determined that they most likely belonged to Gibbs rather than Abby, but he was no expert on gender identification from snoring.  It was rhythmic and soothing and he let it lull him. 

 

His mind was still screaming at him to runaway now while he still could.  The suspicious devil on his shoulder proclaimed that they might be nice now but it was only a matter of time before they turned on him.  It reminded him about his ex.  Taunting him with memories of how good it had been in the beginning and then how it had turned sour when he’d started to trust and give himself to the other man.   But the devil wasn’t alone and the tiny timid voice of hope kept repeating that it was Gibbs’, his boss, the man he trusted with his life everyday at work and Abby his best friend; they wouldn’t hurt him, it declared. 

 

Somewhere amidst the internal battle he’d fallen asleep.  The dream gripped him, wrapped around his sleeping mind and played with it.  Gibbs and Abby, treating him with care, looking at him with that affection and understanding.  He let himself fall, gave himself to them and then it all came crashing down.  As a treat, to draw him in and reassure him, became a cruel hand hitting him.  A booted foot, not quite kicking him but, pushing him forcefully away as he’d come for attention.  An ‘accident’ on the floor led to a night spent looked outside, naked and shivering. 

 

He was shaking, a firm hand on him and he tried to scrabble away from it.  Words drifted through the haze and they were insistent.  He whined and whimpered trying to get away.

 

“Tony!” The word cut through the dream, commanding but still gentle. “It’s ok, you’re safe, wake up.”

 

With a yelp, he was awake.  The watery light from early morning filtering through a gap in the curtains, he looked up at his boss and he wanted to just die.  How had he thought he could do this?  It was just stupid; he couldn’t let them close they would just hurt him.  Maybe not intentionally, but they would.  He shook his head sadly, eyes dropping as tears steadily made their way down his cheeks, unnoticed by himself.

 

A strong embrace wrapped around him, Tony tensed at the strength he could feel in it.

 

“Ssh, it was just a bad dream, I’ve got you now.  No one’s going to hurt you ever again, pet, I promise.” Gibbs told him, kissing his hair.

 

The nightmare was still vivid in his mind and the tenderness made a lump form in his throat while a lead brick weighed down his stomach.  All he could do was sob, he didn’t want this…but he did.  He wanted to be safe and he wanted to be with them, but it would all go wrong.  Even with the best intentions in the world, they would see him for what he really was and then they would hate him too.

 

The kind words that were meant to soothe only made the ache inside worse.  If only he was worthy of that, if only it were true.  He knew he didn’t deserve it though.

 

At some point exhaustion had pulled him back to sleep, surrounded by a strong body and soothing words that had only made his pain worse.  When he woke up, Tony was disorientated and alone.  He thought it had all been some warped dream, but his face was sticky with dried tears and the covers held his boss’ scent.  He whimpered quietly before he realised and bit down on it. He looked at his watch, it was time to get up and ready for work.  Work… that was just going to be the most fun experience of his life…not!

 

He almost wished he could roll the clock back to Kate teasing him about kissing the he/she, that would be preferable to the thought of facing this.  Hell, a firing squad would be preferable to him at that point in time.

 

The brunette groaned as he got up off the futon, wondering if he should fold it all away, he realised he didn’t know how it went, so he tidied the bedding and left it.  He’d picked up his shoes and headed out.  When he passed through the archway, his eyes fell on a fresh towel sat on the bed with an unopened toothbrush and razor placed on top, beside it was a blue button up cotton shirt; he guessed the arrangement was meant for him.  

 

The shoes dropped to the floor, he gathered up the towel, toothbrush and razor and headed into the bathroom.  He desperately tried not to think about the acceptance and consideration involved in the act of leaving the things out for him, swallowing the lump in his throat, he went through his morning regime in the unfamiliar bathroom.

 

Tony was clean, he was dressed and groomed and he was stood in the Master Bedroom staring at the hallway that led to the door into the rest of the house.  He knew at some point he’d have to show his face for breakfast but he just wasn’t ready to do it.  Didn’t know how he was going to get through it all.  He felt like he was back at square one.

 

He was an NCIS agent, he could do this; he’d covered for himself before.  All he had to do was find that mask again and fix it back in place.  Taking a deep breath he pulled himself up straight and made his way, as confidently as possible, to the kitchen.

 

“Pancakes?” Abby tossed the question over her shoulder at him, not even looking when he walked in. 

 

She was chirpy, bouncing along to music on the radio; it was pop…not what he ordinarily associated with his best Goth Girl.  Her hips swayed making her short skirt swish from side to side and her pig tails moved with the off beat.  Tony found himself not wanting to fight the warmth that was growing inside him and it was just confusing him more and pulling him apart at the seams. 

 

“Pinch me, I think I just died and went to breakfast heaven.” He grinned and sat down at the table.  He belatedly noted the absence of his boss.  “I see an angel.”

 

She chuckled, softly, looking over her shoulder and shooting him an indulgent smile, hazel eyes sparkling.

 

“Ok, a fallen angel.” He laughed and it didn’t even feel too forced.

 

He watched her skirt and pigtails sway as she bounced to the tune and poured more batter into the pan at the same time.

 

A plate with a stack of pancakes on was set on the table and she grinned at him, “Breakfast is served.  Dig in.”

 

She didn’t sit down, but went to the doorway and called cheerfully, “Breakfast!”

 

Tony’s stomach churned slightly, in the process of loading his plate, at the realisation that Gibbs would be joining them to eat.  He tried to keep the smile on his face, tried not to tense his body.  In his state of apprehension he poured a little too much maple syrup on the pancakes on his plate.  He cursed softly just as his boss walked through the door.

 

The brunette swallowed hard, the man looked good in the morning and it wasn’t the first time that thought had occurred to him.  Abby was talking and setting coffee on the table as she finally sat down and prepared her own plate.  He didn’t hear a word she said though.

 

“Mornin’, Tony.” The calm baritone directed at him.

 

Gibbs was more concerned with getting coffee than the pancakes, priorities it seemed.  He gave the younger man a smile and his voice had been full of an affection that made Tony reel, slightly off balance mentally.  He stuffed a forkful of food into his mouth to avoid having to talk, settling for a nod.  The memory of falling asleep in that embrace in the early hours of the morning playing in his mind like a scene from a movie. 

 

The older man seemed amused by the way he was shovelling pancakes into his mouth and he forced himself to ease off.  Pausing to take a drink of coffee.  He swallowed and cleared his throat.

 

“I need to get my car.” He said, his voice almost shamefully quiet, a hint of apology.  Ok, so maybe he couldn’t bluff his way through this like he had before.

 

Gibbs nodded, clearing his own mouthful before speaking, his fork almost dangling from his fingers as he rested his elbow on the table.  “We’ll drop you off. Then you can follow us in.”

 

Tony nodded, “Thanks.”

 

******

 

It was odd being in the backseat of the car as a human, after the previous days journey.  It felt like it had been days ago, not just the night before.  He tried to relax, but found himself holding on to the seat belt as he watched the scenery pass by out of the side window.  A country song played in the front and Gibbs was humming along while Abby pulled faces at his choice.

 

It was comfortable in a way that travelling with his boss and any of his other co-workers had never been before.  He didn’t feel the need to be the light entertainment.  Tony chewed on his lower lip, lost in his thoughts, unaware of the frequent glances that his boss kept making at him through the rear view mirror. 

 

His car was where he’d left it, parked outside Lady P’s.  They pulled up beside it and Gibbs smiled at him over his shoulder. 

 

“There you go.”

 

He nodded, offering a shy smile back, “Thanks, I’ll see you at work.”

 

“You sure will.”

 

Tony hesitated before pushing the door open and climbing out.  He rounded the back of the car and made his way to his own, clicking the remote to unlock it.  He looked back and Abby blew him a kiss with a grin.  He laughed and raised his hand in a small wave to both of them before climbing in. 

 

They waited until he’d started his engine, before they manoeuvred the car back out onto the road, Gibbs actually drove sedately, checking that the younger man was still there.  It wasn’t like he expected him to do a runner, but he just felt better keeping an eye on him.

 

They reached the office together, meeting him at his car.  Abby got her kiss on the cheek from the boss and they headed inside.  Tony had worried about what would happen, how it would happen, but as they stepped through the doors the other two seemed to go through an immediate shift into ‘work’ persona.  Abs wasn’t as obvious as Gibbs was, but it was noticeable. They rode the elevator together and she gave a small salute as they got off and she made her way to her lab.

 

Tony headed to his own desk and Gibbs to his, NCIS was business as usual, it seemed.

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

It had been a long day and Tony had switched back and forth between wanting to get to the end of it and dreading it at the same time.  He knew he wasn’t pulling off this ‘pretend everything is the same as usual’ act.  He kept feeling eyes watching him but when he looked up there was no one actually looking at him; so either he was getting paranoid or they were extremely good at looking away just before he could catch them. 

 

They all knew, he was sure of it… McGee, Kate, Ducky… the random guy from the mail room.  Ok, so that was getting a little silly, but really, it did feel like all the others could tell just by looking at him that yesterday evening he’d spent a good while crawling round on his hands and knees, naked, at his boss’ house.  In front of his boss!  Damn, but the thought of that made his face heat up.

 

For much of the day he’d had to force himself not to glance over at Gibbs desk or find an excuse to disappear off to the bathroom to hide.  He’d wished they would get a case because sitting round doing paper work, surrounded by his colleagues just became harder and harder. 

 

And then there was the dread, what would happen at home time?  Was he expected to go back with Gibbs and Abby?  Nothing had been said about it, at all.  What if his boss had decided it was far too much effort and they would let him go home and pretend that none of it even happened.  Would that hurt more or less in the long run?  He didn’t know and he had no clue what was expected of him.

 

He’d heard Kate mutter to McGee at one point, “What’s up with DiNozzo today?” 

 

Apparently he wasn’t being his usual annoying self.  He wished they could just get over it and accept that everyone had their bad days.  But Kate couldn’t handle it; she had just kept trying to bait him.  On one occasion a glare from Gibbs had sent her back to her seat, the second time it had required a barked out, “Kate!” to send her scurrying away.  He was miserable and confused; he didn’t know what he wanted.

 

The thought of being turned away now hurt, but the thought of letting himself relax, get involved and then finding out he’d been pushed aside or worse… well, that made him positively wish that he’d be told to go home alone at the end of the shift.

 

“Tony, take this to Abby.”  A large caf-pow carton was set on his desk in front of him. 

 

He looked up at his boss, hazel eyes reflecting the turmoil inside.  He opened his mouth to say something but then closed it under the bright blue gaze.  It wasn’t quite concern in those piercing eyes but it was definitely along those lines.  He nodded, and got to his feet.

 

“Sure, thing boss.”  He stood a couple of inches taller than his boss, at 6’2 but somehow the man’s demeanour always made him feel smaller.   The man in front of him commanded respect, usually he did it quietly, short greying hair speaking of his years of experience and his attitude brooked no arguments.  He made Tony feel young and stupid. He knew that under the other man’s clothes there was a good body, he was deceptively fit, a trained fighter - as any marine would be - but Jethro had maintained his physique and level of fitness.  He was athletic and kept fit himself, sure, but he knew his boss could take him, anytime; the man had his six at work, but at home…? 

 

The brunette shook his head to try and stop the thoughts, to stave off the shudder that threatened to crash along his spine.   Picking up the soda he disappeared off towards Abby’s lab, hoping like hell that the others had missed the hesitation and whatever the hell it was that had crackled in the air between them.

 

Music was blaring out from the lab and Abby appeared to be commanding an invisible army or something.  She looked amusingly serious and Tony had to pause a moment to watch, a smile on his face for the first time that day.

 

He finally knocked on the open glass door and stepped in.  She turned around and grinned at him, clicking the small remote in her hand to turn down the volume.  Then she spotted the soda in his hand and gave a happy noise as she bid it to “Come to Mommy.”

 

She patted the chair before she perched on her desk.

 

He sat down, unable to stop himself from looking at her a little warily.  She was slurping happily on her caffeinated soda like she hadn’t had a drink in days.  She let the straw go and scrunched her face up cutely as the bubbles tickled her nose.

 

“So, do you want me to come to yours with you after work and we can get some of your stuff?”

 

Tony wasn’t sure what he’d expected her to say, but it wasn’t that.  He sat blinking at her, trying to formulate a response when he didn’t even know what he wanted to say.

 

Abby watched him a moment, “C’mon, Tony.” She urged, “Or did you honestly think that last night was a one off and you’d be left to just go home and back to your own devices?  Gibbs can be possessive about his toys. You should already know that.” She gave him a cheeky smile as she swung her feet back and forth like a little girl.

 

He guessed the sensation of blood draining from his face must have been fairly visible as her look of amusement quickly changed to remorse and concern.   The soda was set aside, she’d hopped down and was sitting sideways on his lap in a flash, her arms draped around his neck. 

 

“I didn’t mean like that.” She tried to soothe.  When I say possessive, I mean it in a good way.” She bit her bright red bottom lip.  “He wants to be able to take care of you, like he does me.  It makes him feel good… useful.  That’s important for an old man like Gibbs.” She said sagely, then snickered softly at her last statement and it succeeded in teasing a small smile to his lips.

 

“Better not let him hear you say that.” He told her and pressed his forehead against her shoulder.

 

Abby chuckled softly, her husky voice playful, “Oh he likes it, it gives him an excuse to prove he can give it up like a teenager still.”

 

Tony gave a soft snort.  “I bet he can.”

 

“I know it’s scary.” She told him in a moment of seriousness.  “God, I was terrified at first.  But he’s so… Gibbs.  Y’know? How can you resist it?!”  One of her hands ruffled his short brunette hair and she pressed a kiss on the top of his head.  “He just wants to take care of you, Tony, both of us do.”

 

“It’s beyond scary.” He said so quietly she barely heard him.  “I don’t know this Gibbs.  What he expects, wants… how he reacts.”

 

In a way that only Abby could, she chucked him under the chin with her finger and made him look up at her. 

 

This Gibbs wouldn’t hurt you anymore than the one you work with, Tony.  You trust him to have your back in the field, you can trust him to do the same at home.”

 

He opened his mouth to protest but found a perfectly manicured finger placed over his lips,  “It’s your home now too.”  She gave a small sigh, “I know you’ll find it hard to let yourself trust him, to trust us.   But you were at Lady P’s for a reason: because you needed something.  And we want to give that to you, you’re a cute pup.” She grinned and bumped her forehead against his.

 

There was a war of words in his head; all the reasons why they couldn’t…or shouldn’t want anything to do with someone like him.  He wasn’t worthy, didn’t deserve it, he was bad as a pet, boyfriend, sub, they would see that eventually, even if they couldn’t now.

 

“You belong with us.” She told him, cutting through the thoughts.  “Just give us a chance to prove that to you.”

 

He squeezed his eyes shut, “Ok, I’ll try.”

 

Abby thought he sounded so broken, that all she wanted to do was try and fix the bad things that had been done to him.  She made a silent resolution that she would find the bastard and turn his life into a living hell.

 

Tony pulled back slightly and looked up at her, “What now?”

 

“We move you into our house.” She said brightly, a smile lighting her pale face up and her hazel eyes sparkled happily.

 

The lump of panic caught in his throat.  His eyes widened, they were talking about him moving in with them, just like that? Like it was no big deal at all, he hadn’t lived with another person in years.

 

“If you want we can set you up with one of the other rooms for your stuff  and then sleep in the snug or your room, depending on how you feel?”

 

“I…Abs…” His voice was strained with pain and uncertainty.

 

She cupped his face gently with hands that were used to performing delicate actions.  “Do you honestly think you could sleep at home, on your own, now?” 

 

The Forensics Expert knew all too well what she was talking about; she’d been there herself when she first started to date Gibbs.  After spending one night with him she wasn’t able to go home alone.  She would get there and act like she didn’t miss him like someone had cut off her arm, and then she’d try and sleep… and fail miserably.  The man had that kind of intensity, once you’d had a taster, you just didn’t want to be apart from him.

 

His hands came up and he scrubbed at his face. “I don’t have much of a choice, do I?”

 

She gave him a small solemn smile of understanding, “Not really.”

 

******

 

Tony and Abby stood just inside the hallway of his apartment.  He was glad that their boss had told them he’d meet them at home.  The declaration in the parking lot had made the brunette’s stomach twist and flip flop as if it didn’t know which emotion was more important: fear or excitement.  He was afraid, not so much of Gibbs himself but of proving to be a failure to the man.

 

“I’m thinking: clothes, CD’s, movies, laptop, playstation…” Abby ticked off on her hand as she listed what she felt they needed to pack up to take with them.

 

He didn’t move though, his mind was too full of “what’ll happen when it all goes wrong and I’ve no where left to come back to.”

 

The black-haired girl took his hand and smiled at him, “We don’t have to take everything at once.” She informed him. 

 

He doubted that they could, even if they wanted to, not without hiring something considerably bigger than his car.  He gave her hand a squeeze, trying to remember that this was a good thing; that he was moving in with two people he’d cared about for a long time.  But all he could think was about how many ways it could go wrong.  Taking a deep breath, he nodded at her. 

 

“PS2 first, then clothes, music, and we can fill whatever room is left with the rest.” He decided and pulled her into the living room.  “I’ve still got the box for it, in the spare bedroom.” He told her and disappeared off to retrieve the packaging for his precious baby, while Abby crouched down by the TV and started to sort out the cables. 

 

On his way back into the room, Tony hit the button on the stereo and the room filled with soft Jazz.  She looked up slightly surprised and he gave her a small sheepish shrug, like he had no idea how it got there.  He could do this, he could act like it was all going to be all right, because Abby was his best friend and she didn’t have it in her to intentionally hurt him… unless he did something very bad in which case she knew how to hide the body.  He shuddered and smirked at that thought.   Hell, he trusted her with his PS2 so she was obviously doing something right!

 

Clothes followed, they were taken down off hangers, folded carefully and then placed in a suitcase or bin liner, depending on whether they were smart clothes or just regular wear.  Abby was working on shoes while he was folding clothes, selecting the ones she knew he wore often and leaving the ones he either didn’t or that she didn’t like.  At the bottom corner of the closet a box caught her eye and she bent to retrieve it.

 

“Abs.” He called, her name, seeing her hand just as it made contact with the polished wood.  She looked up at him expectantly and he shook his head, “Don’t… please?”

 

She didn’t know what it contained, but by the look on his face, she could respect his wishes.  She gave a small nod, leaving it alone and joining him in the packing of clothes.

 

“Feels so weird doing this.” He said out of the blue. 

 

There had been some good-natured teasing when they had uncovered out-of-fashion clothes that were bad enough in taste to make DiNozzo blush.  Apart from that occasional banter and the odd question of “This one?” there had mostly been a comfortable silence between them as they worked.  She knew him well and rarely had to check on what he wore most often.

 

“I know.”  She gave him another Abby-smile, he hadn’t realised how many different kinds of Abby-smiles there were, but he was learning to treasure the new ones that he was just growing acquainted with.  This particular one said that she totally understood and was filled with affection.  He was surprised at how quiet she could actually be, he wasn’t used to this side of her, she was normally so hyper and could talk so fast and excitedly that usually it was impossible to shut her up.  He loved her husky voice, but her silences were every bit as enjoyable. 

 

Tony gave a weary smile, he was going to be powerless in all this, it was like driving a car that had no brakes: he knew that eventually the car would have to stop and that to do so would involve a crash, but he just couldn’t help but keep on driving right ahead.  It wasn’t just Abby either, it was the same with Gibbs… maybe even worse because he’d had a crush on him for so long now.

 

Strangely, it took less time for the two of them to pack the majority of his clothes than it would normally have taken him to pack for a vacation.  That sort of amused him. 

 

Abby had made sure that there were some essentials left in the closets; underwear, T-shirts, sweats and a couple of work outfits.  Just so he felt like he had somewhere he could come back to if he needed to.  She didn’t think he would need them, but it was more a psychological thing.  He wasn’t ready to give it all up, and she recognised that, but he needed someone to take care of him… to drive the loneliness away.

 

They carried the filled bags out into the hallway.

 

“Wow, I’m going to have muscles like The Hulk.”  She declared with an amused grin and held up a flexed bicep for his inspection.

 

He grinned and gave it a squeeze, letting out a low whistle.  “Impressive.”

 

“Thanks.” She grinned brightly, and made her way through to the other room, moving her body so that her pigtails and skirt both swung happily.

 

Despite the feeling of impending doom, he couldn’t help but chuckle at her.  “Just so you know,” he called after her, before following, “I’ve always had a thing for big green chicks.”

 

She laughed loudly, “Tone-neee!” her tone sing-songed at him in amused chastisement.

 

After collecting a fairly large plastic storage box, he met her at the CD rack.

 

“Anything in particular or just…everything?” She looked at him and appraised how many they should be able to fit in the box.   “I some how thought you would have more.” She looked back at the stack. 

 

He gave her an impish grin, left the box on the ground and pulled open the top drawer of the sideboard that stood beside the entertainment unit.  “This more like what you expected?”

 

She peered in, “Wow.  I take it back; you are the god of music…I bow down to you almighty one.” she made ‘I’m not worthy’ actions, bowing down with both hands held beside her head facing him. 

 

Chuckling, she straightened up and started to pull the CD boxes out, “Although, I really don’t want to know why you have the Lion King soundtrack.”

 

“Hakuna matata!” He declared tunefully but cut off without singing anymore.

 

They couldn’t fit all his CD’s in the box, she was fairly sure that they would have struggled to fit them in two.  So, he’d had to select his favourites to take with him, even then they’d need to add a carrier bag full.  They tidied the ones to be left behind into the drawer.

 

A bag of DVD’s was added to the growing pile, as was his laptop, books and some games. 

 

The car loaded up, Abby directed Tony home without him having to ask.  He was glad because there was no way he could have remembered how to get there from the last journeys.

 

******

 

Abs had called Gibbs on the way to tell him that they would be home soon and he came out to meet them as they pulled up in front of the house.  To Tony’s surprise the ease with which he had been able to get through the packing hadn’t disappeared the nearer they got, as he’d half expected, and when he saw his boss on the porch, he actually felt quite happy.  He climbed out of the driver’s side feeling nervous and shy all over again, but he had a small smile on his face.  He felt triumphant that he’d managed to get over his fear so far and actually pack some of his belongings up. 

 

Abby was already opening the back and her Master had moved to help her.

 

“You brought a lot of stuff.”  Jethro observed casually, looking over the contents of the car.

 

Tony cringed, eyes dropping as he felt his stomach drop and insides twist into one giant knot; he’d thought the Goth Girl had known what she was talking about, but obviously not… the other man wasn’t expecting this.  “Sorry.” He said automatically, tone quiet and apologetic, “Can take it back.”

 

The older man could have kicked himself, as he watched the tentative light that had been in those hazel eyes flicker out, as his gaze and shoulders dropped.  He moved in front of him and gently rested a hand on the brunette’s shoulder, trying not to let it hurt when Tony flinched slightly. “I don’t want you to take it anywhere except inside.  I just wasn’t expecting Abby to convince you so soon that this is where you belong, enough that she could get you to bring so much.”

 

When DiNozzo tentatively looked up, Gibbs felt an ache in his chest at the look on his face; pure kicked puppy.  He hated that he’d been the one to extinguish the tiny spark that had been there when they arrived back.  As if Tony were made of china, he moved his hands to gently cradle the younger man’s face.  “There’s plenty of room for you and all your belongings, I meant it when I said this is your home now.  You can bring everything you own and find a place for it all.  I promise… and if there’s something you don’t have but need, then we’ll get it. Understand?”

 

There was a small nod in response that made Jethro suspect that it wasn’t really believed.  All they could do was show him, as many times as it took, that they meant what they said.

 

“Let’s get everything inside and then we can decide where things are going.” Gibbs forced himself to smile encouragingly.  His thumb stroking the other man’s cheek, wanting to kiss him gently to reassure him, but at the same time sensing it was too soon and that it would only spook him.

 

It didn’t take the three of them long to unload everything into the house.  Tony was silent the whole time they worked at it.  They would have to fix the damage that the ex-marine had stupidly just caused. 

 

“So, any thoughts on which room you want as a den?” Gibbs asked the younger man. “We can paint it over the weekend if you want.”

 

That earned him a look of uncertain excitement and it tore at his gut, that something so simple could please the younger man. 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

They had unloaded the contents of Tony’s car into the house and all his stuff had been piled in the entry hall.  It couldn’t stay there though and Gibbs hoped that by getting his new pet to pick a room it would help him feel more at home and like he belonged there. 

 

“So, do you know which room you want?” Abby had asked with a grin, she was almost bouncing with the excitement of having Tony living with them.  She was already imagining the mischief that the two of them could get up to.

 

“I… any…”

 

“How about the big room with the en suite at the front of the house.”  She’d suggested, remembering the reaction that he’d had to the sleeping porch, she figured it would be best not to give him the room that it was attached too, also the other room was right beside the laundry and she didn’t want him thinking that he was expected to do everyone’s dirty washing.  “It has that big built in closet too for all your clothes.”

 

The brunette had nodded, he would go along with what either of them suggested; it was their house after all.

 

“That’s settled then.” Gibbs had smiled and reached down to pick up the box of CD’s,  “Let’s get all this stuff in your room.”

 

There had only been a small hesitation from Tony before he’d picked up a black bag in one hand and a suitcase in the other, following his boss silently.

 

“Any idea what colour you might paint it?” Abby grinned, “I can help, I love to paint.  It’s such a bright room.  Not often you get windows set in three of the four walls.”

 

“I’m not sure.” He’d given her a shy smile and listened to her as she carried on chattering hyperactively.

 

That had been two hours earlier. 

 

After moving all his stuff into his new room, the other two had left Tony to sort his things out and settle himself in.  It had been so long since they’d seen him, though and he had to be getting hungry, so Gibbs sent Abby to ask if he wanted some supper.   She knocked on the door and pushed it slowly open, peeping her head around. 

 

Confused eyes looked around the room, it didn’t look like he’d unpacked anything at all.  He was sat with his back against the wall in between the two front windows, a book cradled in his lap and his laptop on the floor in front of him.  He looked up at her with the same small unsure smile that she had seen all too much of over the last day.

 

“Hey, you ok? Bossman sent me to see if you were hungry.”

 

He nodded, and noticed her looking at the laptop. “Battery died, I’ll take it in to work to charge it on Monday.”

 

Abby frowned, “Why not just plug it in here, bro?”

 

He looked at the laptop then back at her, “I… I didn’t… is it ok for me to do that?”

 

She nodded and came over to sit down beside him.  “Tony, what have you been doing in here all this time? I thought you were unpacking.”

 

He looked around and then down at the book he was holding… he hadn’t got past the third page.  “I didn’t feel like it just yet, so I thought I’d sit and read for a bit.”

 

The Goth Girl plucked the book from him and read the title, “Crime Scene Photography?” She screwed up her face, “Tony you could probably write the damn book on it.  Talk about boring, wouldn’t you rather be watching movies or hanging out or something.”

 

He could only look at her for a good few minutes, the time ticked by and neither of them said anything, the colour first drained from his face and then he started to blush.  “I… I thought…”

 

She scrunched up her face thoughtfully as she studied him, light dawned and she felt such a tightness inside at the realisation of just what he’d thought.

 

“I mean… it’s my room right, it’s what it’s for…”

 

She shook her head emphatically, pigtails swinging wildly, “Tony-boy, it’s your room, you can come in here if you want…but you don’t *have* to stay in here.”  She couldn’t help it she hugged him tight to her and kissed his temple.

 

He chewed his lip and looked at her through lowered lashes, “I don’t?”

 

She shook her head again.  “This is your home, the whole house, not just this room, you can do what you please… raid the fridge, watch TV, play computer games.”

 

“I didn’t think Gibbs would want me in the way.”

 

“Oh god, baby, you’re not in the way, you never could be.”  She kissed his temple again, tossed his book aside and grabbed his hand.  As Abby stood up she pulled him up with her.  “C’mon, lets go get some supper and watch a movie, Jethro is choosing so there’s no saying whether it’ll be any good but I usually just humour him.” She winked, not giving him chance to protest she led him to the kitchen.

 

Tony helped her make sandwiches, she’d told him more than once to just sit down and let her do it, but he didn’t feel right letting her do all the work; besides, it was fun to help her and it stopped his mind from wandering off.

 

They put the last ones on the plate and Abby picked up the tray of food and drinks to carry them through to the family room.  Gibbs smiled at them, and for a moment the brunette didn’t know what to do, before he finally allowed a small smile back.  He watched the hand pat the sofa in indication for him and he looked at Abby.  He didn’t want to keep getting in between them.  He didn’t want her to start resenting his presence.  He didn’t seem to have much say in the matter though as she sat down, pointedly leaving a space for him in between them.

 

Tony tentatively sat down, feeling more nervous than he had the night before.  Abby grinned, nodded her approval and shifted the tray onto his lap before kissing him on the cheek, snagging her cup and a sandwich and curling up against his side.  Gibbs could only laugh at the action and the stunned look on the younger man’s face. 

 

Jethro leaned over and picked up his own mug and a sandwich, offering the nervous looking Tony a pleased smile of approval.  He sat back to watch the film. It took a few minutes, but slowly he saw DiNozzo relax, out of the corner of his eye.  He allowed himself a small smile of triumph as he cradled his hot cocoa. 

 

The film passed comfortably after that, the younger man’s arm had come up to wrap around Abby and he’d started to feel drowsy, the movie wasn’t his type, a Western comedy, it didn’t matter, Gibbs liked it.  It happened slowly, he was falling asleep, until he found himself dozing against his boss’s shoulder.

 

Tony was woke by a gentle hand caressing his cheek, momentarily confused by the action, he jerked awake.  A slight blush stained his cheeks as he looked away, “Sorry, boss.”

 

Gibbs was only sorry that he felt the need to apologise. “Don’t be, it was nice.”  He stroked his cheek again, and turned Tony’s chin back to look at him.

 

It was only then that Tony realised they were alone on the sofa and the TV sat in dark silence.  As if reading his thoughts through his eyes, the older man’s eyes creased with his soft affectionate smile, “Abs went to bed.”

 

“Oh,” he nodded. His heart was hammering in his chest, a mile a minute.  The blue eyes studied him closely and he could feel his body responding.  “You probably want to join her.  Y’know, a hot Abs in bed… who wouldn’t want to… not that I… I mean, she’s your…I’m just gonna shut up now.”

 

Jethro couldn’t help himself, he was chuckling at the floundering younger man.  “Tony, it’s ok, you’re family now, remember.”  He pressed soft lips to his temple and then got to his feet, offering his hand, “Bed sounds like a great idea.  You sleeping in the snug again?”

 

His boss had kissed him.  Leroy Jethro Gibbs had kissed him; Anthony DiNozzo.  Ok, so it was only a small one and it was on his temple, but it was still a kiss.  His dick took that moment to assert the fact that it really liked that thought and he had to bite back a groan that threatened to bubble up from deep inside.  It didn’t matter that the kiss was over and that the other man was actually stood looking at him expectantly.  Oh, there’d been a question, he remembered vaguely. 

 

“I think so.” He slipped his hand into the patiently waiting one and was only partially pulled to his feet.

 

Gibbs nodded, “Ok.”  He kept hold of the hand and set off for the bedroom, flipping off lights as they went.

 

******

 

Tony had actually stripped down to his shorts and a T-shirt before climbing under the covers that night.  The ghost of a sensation of those lips against his flesh lingered on, even as he lay there in the darkness and listened to the muted sounds of the other two sleeping.  He was tired, but he was fighting sleep, he was too scared of a rerun of the previous nightmare to just relax and let himself go. 

 

He sighed and turned over for what felt like the millionth time.  Finally, the restlessness proved too much and he climbed off the futon.  Tony padded his way through the arch, heading for the hallway that would take him out of the Master Suite.   Silent feet fell on the plush carpet as he made his way to his room.  He thought that he might as well do something productive while he couldn’t sleep and started to unpack his clothes.  It felt like a big step to him, but he absorbed himself in it and ignored the emotions that it was raising in him.  The closet was just the right size for the clothes he’d brought and everything was meticulously removed from the bags and hung up, or refolded and placed on the shelves at the side. 

 

He was tired and the weak light of the sky, that he could see clearly through the unshaded windows, told him that it was probably around 5am.  It was Saturday morning and he should have been sound asleep in bed, the thought of a lie in made him yawn; the need for sleep had snuck up on him while he’d been working.  Tony flipped off the light and curled up on the bare double bed.  Sleep claimed him rapidly and he was pulled into a, thankfully, dream-free slumber.

 

******

Gibbs stretched out in the bed, the feel of tender lips against his flesh rousing him from his mind from sleep…as well as other parts of his body.   He grinned and looked at the sleep-ruffled black hair as his girl was kissing his chest.  He reached up and stroked a hand through the soft dark locks.  Abby looked up from her task, hazel eyes slightly greener with mischief and grinned at him.  She pressed a finger to his lips, to tell him to be quiet, before kissing her way downwards.  He gave her a warning glare at being told what to do, but that softened as he remembered the man sleeping in the snug.  His eyes crinkled in amusement as he watched her descent. 

 

Her talented mouth moved over toned flesh that was at odds with the smattering of greying hair that covered it.   She teased his navel, swirling her tongue around it before occasionally dipping inside.  This was one of his favourite ways to wake up and she more than enjoyed giving it to him.  They’d not had to do it in silence for a long time and that added a frisson of pleasure to the activity.  Her hands gently pulled his shorts down as he lifted his hips and she couldn’t help but smile brightly at finding him hard for her already.  They just had to hope that Tony wouldn’t come wandering through and get a view of more than he was ready to deal with yet.

 

If Tony was a puppy then Abby was a kitten at heart.  She looked at the magnificent hard dick, tilting her head slightly to view it from different angles and then she pounced.  One hand holding it steady while she lapped almost delicately at the head.   She could feel the tension ripple through her Master as he fought to hold in his groans of pleasure.  It felt good to her to be doing it, she almost felt like the powerful one in the relationship.  She wanted to make him lose control, but at the same time she knew they couldn’t afford to freak her new bro out.  

 

Gibbs buried his hands in her hair and held her head steady with his grip. He was aroused and amused by his girl; unable to stop his hips rocking up to push his erection between her luscious pouty lips.  She took it like the good sub that she was, her mouth relaxing to let him slide in and out, but not so much that he lost any friction.  She’d been talented when he’d met her but she’d only improved as she’d grown to know the things he liked, like the tiny licks around the frenum, and the barely there contact of her tongue over his slit.

 

She closed her lips around him and sucked, her playful tongue rubbing against the underside as her free hand came up to scrape her nails lightly over his stomach.  His grip tightened and he growled soft and low in his chest.  “Suck me.” he chanted in his head, as if she would some how develop telepathy and hear his order.

 

Abby started to bob her head up and down in time with her suction, the hand that had been holding his dick, moved down to cup his balls, stroking and squeezing them within their sac.  She took him into her mouth in a slow sucking rhythm that made his toes curl. She focused her attention on making him cum.

 

Head thrown back and mouth open in a silent cry, Jethro shot his load in his girl’s mouth while she greedily swallowed and sucked every last drop down. 

 

She looked along his body at him while she cleaned him off with small delicate licks.  She was aroused too but she knew that it wasn’t her choice about whether that was relieved and if she was honest; she quite enjoyed the feeling of being on edge while she went about their daily life.  With his grip still firmly in her hair, Abby followed the pull as he guided her upwards until she was lying on top of him.

 

He kissed her nose and then her lips, pushing his tongue inside and tasting himself in her mouth as he dominated the kiss.  He gave a soft moan of approval, his tongue exploring and teasing hers, before breaking the kiss off and swatting her butt playfully. 

 

“Shower, pretty girl.”

 

She gave a husky chuckle and clambered off the bed, wiggling her hips teasingly before she disappeared into the bathroom.

 

******

 

Gibbs took a few minutes to bask in the afterglow of his orgasm before climbing out of bed.  He pulled on his shorts and straightened the covers before heading towards the snug.  Finding the futon empty but Tony’s clothes still neatly piled up nearby, he frowned.   He took a moment, idly scratching his stomach and then the back of his neck; perhaps he’d got up early and was already eating breakfast.

 

A quick check in the kitchen showed nothing had moved from the night before.  Curiously, he headed towards the room they’d designated as Tony’s the night before.  He carefully pushed open the door and stopped at the sight in front of him.  The dark-haired man was curled up on himself on the bed, obviously cold without covers, the bed was still completely unmade.  Gibbs shook his head slightly, noticing that black bin liners had been emptied and that the closet now stood open and almost full. He had a small sad smile on his face as he went over to him and rested his hand on the other man’s shoulder, cool from exposure.

 

“Tony, time to wake up.”  He told him, gently.

 

He jerked awake and away from the hand; hazel eyes wide as he looked up at Gibbs.

 

“What are you doing, Tony?” He asked the younger man.

 

“I’m sorry.” He blurted and scrambled off the bed and away from the other man.  He came to rest against the wall between the windows, sitting on the floor; the exact place that Abby had found him in the night before, not the Gibbs knew that.

 

Jethro was confused, his brow creased in a frown, “Why?”

 

“I should have asked, I’m sorry, I was tired and I didn’t think.”

 

The wide, eyes looked frightened, Gibbs couldn’t help but notice, and there was a bad feeling in his gut.  Tony thought he was in trouble.  He approached as carefully as he could, and crouched down.  He wanted to reach out and stroke the lightly stubbled cheek but didn’t think it would be the best move for right then.

 

As much as he didn’t want to ask, he knew had to, “Ask what, what are you sorry for, Tony?”

 

“I…sleeping on the bed.  I should have asked first, but… I was…” He shut his mouth and his eyes dropped to the floor. “I know there’s no excuses, it won’t happen again, I promise.  Please, don’t be angry.”

 

Gibbs could feel his heart breaking at the fear and sadness that poured off Tony.   “Oh, pet, I’m not angry, it’s your bed, you can sleep on it whenever you want.”  He was looking at the young man and feeling lost, how did he deal with this: the ghost of a cruel master who had made DiNozzo ask for permission before he was allowed to sleep in his own bed?  How could you beat something like that when it wasn’t in front of you to do it physically?

 

“Y…you’re not? But… you said…” The eyes came up to look at him again, the fear had turned more towards distrust and uncertainty.  He thought he was being tricked somehow and that hurt Jethro even more.

 

He reached out to stroke Tony’s hair in reassurance and was hit with a surge of hurt as the other man actually flinched like he was about to be struck.  He wasn’t sure how he kept a lid on his emotions; he wanted to punch the wall in lieu of not being able to punch the bastard responsible for doing this to a normally confident and dynamic man.  But he knew that such behaviour would only make things worse, so some how he held it in check.

 

“That’s not what I meant,” He said, his tone sad but tender, “I was referring to not making the bed before you fell asleep on it.  I guess I don’t need to ask why you didn’t get some sheets and a comforter for it.” 

 

Once more, the emotion-filled eyes dropped to the floor and Tony seemed to struggle to find a reply.

 

“It’s ok, I understand.”  Gibbs said and held out his hand, “We’ll get through this, pet, we will, it’s not going to be easy, I know… but we’ll get there.  This is your home now, you can sleep where you want, when you want, you don’t need permission to do that and you can have as many or as few blankets as you need.”

 

Tony was looking at his boss’s hand, slowly he raised his questioning eyes, they were full of hope and a hint of trust.  He placed his hand into the other one, “I’m sorry, I’m hard work, I know what a pain in the ass I must be.”

 

“No apology needed, Tony.  Family, remember.”

 

The response was a nod and they both got up together.

 

******

 

Tony was quiet through breakfast; the last couple of days had been intense and stressful in a way that was different to usual.  All he could think of was how much he wanted to be down on his paws in pup mode.  He wanted to escape from the thoughts and fears that were buzzing in his brain, they were making him dizzy and he just wanted it to stop for a while.  But he didn’t know if he should ask, or how, so he said nothing; he just focused on eating the egg and sausage on his plate.

 

Abby had kept the conversation flowing between herself and Gibbs as she’d cooked and then while they ate, they gave the appearance of being relaxed but Jethro could feel the tension in the air.  He was worried about Tony, and kept casting glances his way.  At least he was eating this morning, not picking at it like he had that first evening.  The guy had a lot on his mind, that much was obvious.  Gibbs wasn’t without the need to think either.

 

Breakfast over with, Jethro took himself off to his office; he was going to read back over some of the information he had about Hero and see what he needed to do in order to avoid a repeat of that morning. 

 

Tony insisted on helping Abby with the dishes, even though she protested that she enjoyed doing them.  Gibbs’ had even chimed in that it was her who had declined the offer of buying a dishwasher.  It gave her thinking time.  She gave in to him though, because he looked like he really needed something to occupy his mind.  There weren’t even that many dishes to wash and they were cleared, cleaned and put away quickly. 

 

He sat at the table reading the morning paper, occasionally chuckling at the cartoons, while Abby made coffee for her Master.  She disappeared off with it, and Tony was so lost in the paper that he didn’t realise she hadn’t returned.  

 

In fact, Abby had been talking with Jethro in his office, he’d told her about that morning and she’d shared with him the conversation about the laptop from the previous night.  He sighed, thoughtfully, she took the folder from him into the den to have a read of it, while he decided what to do.  He came up with an idea.

 

The first Tony was aware of was the paper being pulled from under his nose and a notepad and pencil replacing it.  He looked up into Gibbs’ face, a questioning look in his eyes. 

 

“I…”

 

Jethro held up a hand in order to stall the apology that was about to fall from his lips.  “I want you to write down all your old rules.” 

 

Tony blinked, looking down at the pad then back up at him.  “All of them?”

 

“Every last one.”  Gibbs filled himself another mug of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table with him.  “Tell me them as you write them down.”

 

An hour later and Jethro’s blood was practically boiling in his veins.  Tony had been so badly treated; some of the rules were just evil.  It was like the man had invented them just to degrade and humiliate him.  He could see the nervousness in DiNozzo, his knee had been fidgeting under the table while he’d been writing and sharing; a number of times his voice had grown so quiet and broken that he’d barely been able to hear him, but he never asked him to repeat what he’d said.

 

The truth was, Tony didn’t know why he was being asked to do this, he wondered if Gibbs was going to make him stick to the rules there as well.  He hoped not, he hated them and some of them were just impossible to follow.  Asking permission to go to the bathroom was inconvenient in itself, but not being allowed to wake his owner up meant that there were many nights he’d ended up messing himself and that again would get him in trouble.  He’d flushed just at the thought of it.

 

He set pen down when he’d finished and looked at his boss expectantly.

 

“That’s them all?”  He asked.

 

Tony nodded.

 

Gibbs pulled the pad towards him and pulled the three pages of neat writing off the top.  He stood up and held his hand out to the other man.  As nervous as he was, the brunette still slipped his hand into it and stood up.  He led him out into the garden to the barbeque area.

 

“Ready?”

 

Tony frowned slighty, uncertain of what he was meant to be ready for, he nodded anyway.

 

Jethro let go of his hand and produced a lighter from his pocket; he flicked it, sparking it into life.  Waiting a moment, he watched the flame flicker then looked to Tony.  “These aren’t my rules, pet.  They aren’t the rules of my home and you don’t need them anymore.”  With that, he touched a corner of the paper to the flame and watched as it slowly started to burn.  “These rules don’t exist anymore, you understand?”

 

Tony was transfixed by the way the yellow flame licked at the paper, scorching it then turning it brown, then black before it became ash.  When over half of the paper was alight, he watched as Gibbs dropped it onto the grill.  He didn’t take his eyes away until all that was left was blackened ash. 

 

He looked at his boss.  He was terrified and relieved in equal measure, they weren’t the rules anymore, and while he could live with that he was scared, because it meant there were new rules and he didn’t know what they were.  A warm hand slid into his again and he followed silently back inside to where they’d left the pad of paper on the kitchen table.

 

Gibbs pulled it too him and wrote on it in large letters.

 

Our Rules: Always have respect for yourself and others.

 

He turned the pad round to show him, “That’s all you need to remember here, pet.  If you need or want something you either take care of it yourself or ask myself or Abs if you need help with it.  If you want to sit down then you sit…wherever you want; if you want to sleep you can go to bed when and where you want; if you’re hungry, get something to eat.  Anything, Tony; you’re not a guest or a slave here, this is your home.”

 

He pulled the sheet from the pad and folded it in half; he placed it on the fridge with memo-holders.  “I’ll leave it here as a reminder. Ok?”

 

Tony didn’t trust his voice enough to speak, sure that it would crack with all the emotion that was welling up inside, so he nodded.  The brightness in his eyes from unshed tears gave him away though.  Gibbs came back to where he was sat and wrapped him in his arms, and held him tight. He let himself relax into it, resting his head against the strong shoulder and breathing in the scent that was pure Jethro.  It felt good, it felt…right and the tears started to fall.

 

 

Rescue Pup - chapter 8

 

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