Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Warnings: Mild Kink/Sex Discussion
Word Count: 1,822
Crossposted: ncisfanfic; ncis_fic; gibbs_dinozzo; ncis_slash; toponbottom
Summary: Rules left unchecked tend to gnaw deep within a person until something triggers the fallout.
Tony's eyes snapped open and he blinked through the darkness of the room, trying to determine what had disturbed him. With nothing noticeably out of place, he scrubbed a hand over his face and through his hair. Considering the case they had just finished, it had likely been a nightmare and he was grateful he couldn't remember it.
Realizing he wasn't going back to sleep anytime soon, Tony rolled out of bed and headed for the bathroom. Once done, he'd probably go in to the office for a few hours and finish his report and thumb through some cold cases. It was better than tossing in bed or staring at the TV screen while thoughts of the dead girl and the blood staining Gibbs' shirtsleeve filtered through his mind.
Working on autopilot, he walked toward the door when his foot caught something on the floor and sent him pin wheeling. He managed to catch himself on the dresser before crashing to the floor. Whipping around toward the floor, he saw the last thing expected.
Curled around a pillow that Tony habitually tossed to the floor during the night was Gibbs. He was dressed in a pair of sweats and a white tee and Tony's gut clenched when he saw the white bandage around the older man's arm. Then Tony's eyes came to rest on Gibbs' face.
The blue eyes staring back at him were nothing like he had seen before. Tony knew the other man held some very deep emotions inside of himself, but Tony had never seen evidence of them cross the man's face. Now he was seeing everything and he wanted nothing more than to hold him in his arms and tell him everything would be okay.
Tony crouched beside Gibbs and reached out like one would to a spooked animal.
"Boss?" he questioned softly. Gibbs didn't respond and Tony grew concerned. "Gibbs? Jethro...?"
Finally, Gibbs blinked and moved closer to Tony by a fraction. Tony closed the distance with his hand and cupped the side of Gibbs' face. He let his thumb trail over Gibbs' cheek.
"Are you hurt?" he asked as he glanced down at the bandaged arm. "Did it reopen? I can call Ducky."
"Not my arm," Gibbs' voice sounded so out of place with the man Tony knew he normally was.
"The case," Tony stated, somehow knowing that it had triggered the state Gibbs was in. "We can't save them all, Boss," he added softly.
"She wasn't that bastard's first and we damn well should have caught it," Gibbs’ voice took on the deadly tone Tony was familiar with and it was warring with the look still in the man's eyes. "Now there's a marine who'll never get to see his daughter grow up."
And Tony got it. He knew that the case wasn't the issue or the little girl laying in cold storage in autopsy.
"And you wouldn't wish that on anyone, would you, Gibbs? Shit happens, shit that ain't right or fair or whatever else it should be. It's just shit and life goes on."
"But life doesn't go on, Tony. Not for everyone."
Tony longed to pull Gibbs into his arms at the broken sound in his voice. However, he instinctively knew that Gibbs couldn't accept that yet. Tony tilted Gibbs' face until they were looking into each other's eyes. He stared for several moments, searching as he came to a decision.
"Why'd you come here, Boss? You've never... I've... What do you need me to be?"
Tony knew that he'd be and do whatever it was Gibbs needed to deal with his past. Doing what Gibbs needed had been his life since he'd met the man, and he wasn't about to stop. Being there for Gibbs however the man let him was what Tony himself needed. It was a symbiosis.
"I trust you, Tony," Gibbs said so softly that Tony barely heard it. And those words caused Tony's heart to swell.
"I need you to- to do what I can't do for myself."
"I've got your six, Jethro. Just name it."
"You ever been whipped?"
The question caused Tony's heart to skip a beat.
"My father had a heavy hand and I wasn't exactly the poster child for obedient children," Tony said with more nerve than he felt. "And military schools in the 80s weren't opposed to a little corporal punishment."
"You ever do the whipping?"
"Played some games with some of the girls over the years. Nothing serious with them, just a little prelude to the main event. But," and Tony hesitated. He was sure Gibbs knew, but it had never been spoken aloud between them. "I've played a little heavier with some of the boys, Boss. Been a while, but I've done it."
Gibbs gave him a measuring look, as if weighing what he could and couldn't let Tony know about what he needed and wanted.
"Only two people ever..." Gibbs trailed off as he clenched the pillow to his chest. "When I joined the corps I was a lot like you get before I smack some sense into your head. My first DI figured out a way to ground me and it worked. Whipped my ass every night and it was the first thing I felt when I woke up in the morning."
Tony gave a smile thinking about a younger version of his boss receiving a military precision spanking on a daily basis. Then his smile disappeared as he realized who the second person was.
"Shannon took care of you when you got out of control, didn't she?" Tony knew he hit the mark when Gibbs' head dipped down.
"Yeah. She didn't let me get away with anything. She had a set of rules to live by. Where I got the idea for mine."
"What rule did you break that made you come here, Jethro?" Tony asked, unsure if he would get an answer.
There were several minutes of silence before Gibbs finally looked up at Tony and said softly, "Five."
"What was rule five?"
"Don't blame yourself for things you can't prevent."
Tony reached out and carded his hand through Gibbs' cropped hair.
"You've been breaking that rule for a long time, haven't you?"
Gibbs just nodded and Tony kept petting his head in a soothing gesture. He had wondered for years if him and Gibbs would ever move past their unspoken game. Since the day they met, there had been a mutual attraction, but neither had acted on it. This wasn't exactly what Tony had expected when he thought of all the ways it could go between them, but he would work with it. Gibbs needed him and Tony wasn't about to let him down.
"I'm not Shannon," Tony said, his voice getting a little harder and stronger. "And I know I'll do things different than she did. But," Tony stopped petting and tilted Gibbs' face up towards his own. "I can give you what you need and you'll probably give me what I need. You have been for years."
Gibbs moved his own hand up to wrap over Tony's as he spoke. "You need to belong and I need someone to belong to me, someone I can keep safe," he said softly.
"And you also need someone to come down on you like a ton of bricks when you get to focused on things you can't prevent, Captain Ahab," Tony said around a smile tugging at his lips. "Do you think Shannon would mind if I kept rule five? Everything else will be different, but I think you need rule five."
Gibbs just nodded as Tony considered what he should do next. It had been years since he had played with a man, not since Baltimore. And he knew that whatever he was starting with Gibbs wouldn't be just playing. It would be something serious and meaningful that came with seven years of foreplay. Tony didn't want to rush anything.
Tony turned his hand within Gibbs' until their fingers were threaded together. Then he tugged Gibbs to his feet and placed an arm around his good side.
"How's the arm?" Tony asked. But before Gibbs could shrug it off, Tony answered for him. "Hurts like hell and you didn't pick up the prescription for the pain meds. You don't let me get away with that shit, so you can't either. Need to start teaching you Tony's rules, Jethro. There's around fifty of 'em," he added cheekily.
Tony maneuvered Gibbs over to the bed and pushed him lightly onto it.
"Sit," he commanded. Then he went to the bathroom and found the bottle of pills left over from his last injury. He filled a glass with some water and walked back to Gibbs who had surprisingly stayed put on the bed.
"Take one of those if you aren't allergic. I'll check with Ducky tomorrow on what you should be taking. And don't say you don't need it," Tony added, cutting off any complaint Gibbs was about to make. "Tony's rule numero uno is 'no lying, omitting the facts or lack of self awareness' and now that you know it, expect punishment if you break it."
"But what if I want it to hurt?" Gibbs questioned so softly that Tony almost missed it.
Tony sat on the bed next to him and placed his arm around Gibbs, pulling him into a half-hug. "I'll give you what you need. Hurting yourself will not be an option anymore. Understand?"
Gibbs responded by downing a pill and half the water.
"Thanks," Tony responded as he squeezed Gibbs' shoulder. "Next up is bed. We both need sleep."
"Not going to punish me?" Gibbs questioned with a challenge biting in his voice.
"Oh, I'll punish you when I'm ready. But..." Tony paused as he thought about everything he needed to do to take on this new role in Gibbs' life. "But first we need to talk limits and I need to pick up a few things. I- You'll be my first since Baltimore, Boss," Tony admitted softly. "And I don't even want to begin to compare what I had before with what we already have, so... I need to wrap my head around it and you probably need to wrap your head around it too. You ever been with a man, Jethro?"
"Just hand jobs and a guy sucked me off once," Gibbs admitted. "Take it you've done more."
"Done everything, Boss. This is me we're talking about," Tony said with a wide grin. "So tonight, just sleep. Tomorrow we'll see."
Both men silently agreed to end the conversation and Gibbs let Tony pull him under the covers. Tony felt Gibbs' body shiver as he spooned up behind him and wrapped his arm around Gibbs' torso holding him close.
"Bed's much better then the floor, Boss. Much better," Tony mumbled as he drifted off to sleep, dreaming of what tomorrow would bring.
Note: I'm not sure I'll do a sequel to this, but you never know when a bunny will strike.