Summary: Tony and Agent Sacks get bored at a workshop on interagency co-operation. Warning: spanking of adult. Don't like? Don't read!
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, I just play with 'em.
A/N: This is part of my discipline series but should make sense on its own. References to Frame Up (3x9) and assumes the on-going tension between Tony and Sacks that is seen in Shalom (4x1) and Smoked (4x10). Set sometime in Season 5. No tags to specific episodes for the events in this story.
The idea for this grew out of a conversation with draggon-flye a while ago, about how chocolate is a better choice than potato chips if you are trying to get away with eating in class, unless... well... you'll see!
Warning: this story contains the non-sexual spanking of an adult. If you have a problem with that, click on that 'back' button now. You've been warned.
It was bad enough, Tony thought, that he had to attend a pointless workshop on interagency co-operation. That the workshop was itself an exercise in interagency co-operation was just too much. And to make matters worse, something he hadn't thought possible on the drive over, the organisers had decided to assign seating. So there he was, stuck sharing a table with Ron Sacks, the FBI agent who had tried to prove him guilty of murder and who took every available opportunity to remind him that he still wasn't entirely convinced that he hadn't bitten into those severed legs.
He hadn't even had a real break at lunch. Unimaginative boxed lunches had been delivered and the participants in the workshop had been expected to eat at their desks to 'get to know' their assigned seatmate. Tony and Sacks had chomped their way through their wraps – vegan! – in silence. It was now mid-afternoon and there were still two interminable hours to get through before he could escape.
Relief came in the form of a short bathroom/coffee break. Tony headed for the coffee, hoping that the caffeine would keep him awake enough for the rest of the day to avoid the head-slap he would likely get if Gibbs looked over and saw him actually napping. To his delight, he saw that there was a large bowl of chocolate eggs at one end of the table. Political correctness had clearly taken a backseat in the face of after-Easter discounts, he thought smugly, snatching two of them as he passed.
All too soon the annoying woman running the workshop called them back to their desks and started droning on about how to handle media relations for joint operations. Tony concentrated on unwrapping the first of his eggs, noticing as he did so that Sacks was similarly engrossed in the same task, but was trying to hide his hands under his desk. Tony glanced over his shoulder but, not seeing Gibbs in head-slap range, shrugged and continued openly peeling foil out of his way.
Chocolate revealed, Tony bit into one end of the egg and nearly choked on the small item inside. He'd forgotten about these eggs with the toys in the middle. He'd only had them a few times when he'd traded for them at school; they weren't something his nanny provided even when he was allowed to have an Easter basket. Removing the orange plastic top from between his teeth, he checked to make sure there were no other choking hazards – how have these guys not been sued?! – and finished the chocolate.
He gave the top an experimental spin – hey, he was BORED! – and winced when it careened off the end of the table and skidded to a stop under some unknown agent's chair.
Sacks meanwhile had liberated a small plastic solder holding a stylised rifle from his egg and was nudging it across the table towards him, making small 'bang, bang' noises. Tony snorted, simultaneously amused to discover his arch-enemy had a sense of humour and was also clearly bored stiff, and mildly put out that he not only didn't have a toy to play with, but was also taking imaginary plastic fire from Sacks's diminutive soldier.
Snagging his second egg, he wrestled it free of its protective wrapper and cracked it open with his thumbs. To his delight, he found another plastic soldier nestled in the hollow space inside the egg. Sending the hapless GI to the battle line, he added a few quiet 'Ack Ack Ack's to Sacks's gun noises.
Within minutes the two soldiers were engaged in hand-to-hand combat instead, manoeuvred by their human alter egos in a choreographed trail across the table-top. Oblivious to the growing silence around them and the stony glare of the workshop co-ordinator, the two agents were lost in their battle and making louder fight noises to accompany the more aggressive posturing of the toys.
The head-slap was completely unexpected and was followed by a firm hand on his arm pulling him out of his seat and forcibly steering him across the room and out into the hallway. A yelp behind him told him that Sacks was getting more or less the same treatment. He wondered when Gibbs had rubbed off on Fornell enough to have the senior FBI agent Gibbs-slapping Sacks, but swallowed the comment he had been about to make when he saw Gibbs's face. The two FBI men soon appeared, Sacks propelled in front of Fornell by a hand between his shoulder-blades.
Tony and Sacks soon found themselves standing with their backs against the wall, staring at their feet like naughty school-boys in an effort to avoid meeting the eyes of their bosses, who were glaring at them. After a few minutes of oppressive silence, they slowly looked up, trying to judge how much trouble they were in. Then Tony caught sight of the glossy magazine sticking out from the leather portfolio Gibbs was carrying. The edge of a boat was just barely visible.
'Hey! You were reading that during the workshop, and you still slapped me for not paying attention?!'
'I don't really care if you pay attention, Tony. But I do care when you have so little common sense that you let the entire room know that you're not paying attention! What the hell am I supposed to tell the Director when that clown calls to complain that you were acting like a fourth-grader? For God's sake, Tony, if you don't want to listen to these things, you sit there and daydream. Or doodle. Or read something. Or you two play goddamn hangman for all I care. How did you get out of grade-school without figuring that out? You do not play Monday Night Wrestling with plastic soldiers!' Gibbs paused for breath before continuing, 'Especially when they aren't even Marines.'
Tony snorted, relieved by the obvious indication that his boss was merely annoyed, not seriously angry with him.
'What he said', added Fornell, addressing Sacks. 'Except the Marines part.'
'Give us a minute, will ya, Tobias?' Gibbs asked, moving off down the hall and peering through the windows in each of the doors. Apparently finding an empty room, he gestured for Tony to join him. Reluctantly, Tony headed towards his boss, pretty sure he knew why Gibbs wanted privacy.
'C'mon, Boss... is this really necessary?' Tony asked, with a pointed look towards Fornell and Sacks, and the room full of people just beyond them.
'You're the one who chose to act like a child, Tony; you can't really complain if I treat you like one. Now get in here.'
He was no sooner through the door when Gibbs pointed towards one of the tables and pulled out the magazine. Tony barely caught a glimpse of the cover before his boss started rolling it into a tight tube.
Meanwhile, out in the hallway, Fornell was informing Sacks that he would be spending the next week running background checks. The tedious assignment traditionally was given to rookie agents; as a punishment detail, it was considered particularly humiliating. Just as Fornell was launching into his explanation of why he thought being treated like a professional novice was an appropriate penalty for behaving like an adolescent, a loud smack from inside the room made them both turn their heads. A few seconds later, it was repeated. Recognition dawned in Fornell's eyes, and he smirked. Leave it to Gibbs, he thought.
'He's not... you know?' Sacks asked, not ready to believe what his ears were telling him.
'Gibbs? Wouldn't put it past him.'
Any lingering doubts were soon resolved.
'OW! Dammit, Gibbs, enough already!'
'You're really gonna make me do background checks like some damn newbie? Just for not paying attention to that...'
Fornell cut him off, jerking his head in the direction of the closed door.
'Unless you'd prefer the alternative...?'
'No! No, that's fine.'
The NCIS agents emerged a few moments later, Tony looking a bit sheepish. Gibbs held out his magazine, still rolled up, to Fornell. Looking pointedly at Sacks, he asked, 'Ya' wanna borrow this, Tobias? In the name of 'interagency co-operation?'
'Agent Sacks? A week of background checks, or...?' Fornell gestured at Gibbs's outstretched hand.
The younger man backed up a couple of paces.
'Background checks. Definitely background checks.'
Fornell looked at Gibbs and shrugged.
'No, it appears that I won't be needing it. This time.'
Sacks's mouth fell open.
The two senior agents shared a grin and started herding their subordinates towards the classroom they'd recently left.
The younger men muttered sheepish 'sorry's to the workshop co-ordinator as they took their seats. After a few minutes of pretending to pay attention, Tony looked down to see Sacks nudging his notebook across the desk so he could read what he'd written.
'You let Gibs HIT you?!'
Tony's initial reply was simply '2 Bs'.
Sachs added a 'B' to his initial query with a huff, then circled it angrily.
'You'd rather do grunt work for a whole week?! I'm done my punishment!'
'At least I can sit down.'
Tony nearly laughed out loud. The first few swats with the magazine hadn't hurt nearly as much as what he was used to getting from Gibbs; the last couple had had even less of an impact, since the magazine had given out and bent almost in half. And Gibbs had made it very clear that the point of the exercise was to remind him that there would always be immediate consequences; it wasn't so much about the amount of pain as it was about knowing that Gibbs wouldn't just ignore such childish behaviour. Tony was less than thrilled that Sacks and Fornell had heard what had happened, but he still thought that he got the better deal.
'plz. a magazine? that's nothing!'
Before Tony could reply, the shrill voice of their tormentor caught their attention.
'Agent Sacks? Would you like to share with us what you've learned today?'
'Uh, sure... When you are working with N... uh... other agencies, be extra careful about not making senior agents angry with you.'
'That's an excellent point, Agent Sacks. It's very important to be careful about what you say and do when you are dealing with colleagues whose reactions you aren't as able to predict, as people you work with on a daily basis. It's the hallmark of good interagency co-operation to...'
She continued to drone on, but very few people in the room were actually listening to her. Tony glanced around the room, noticing the cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin on Gibbs's face and the intrigued expression on Fornell's. Sacks had better be careful about not making his own senior agent angry, he decided.