Summary: Tim is thinking. Gibbs is watching. Warning: discussion of spanking of adult. Don't like? Don't read!

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just play with them.

A/N: This is part of my discipline series and builds on a larger plot arc. This one won't make a lot of sense on its own.

Thanks to Keydazy for a review of an earlier fic that inspired part of this one.

Warning: this story contains references to the disciplinary spanking of an adult. If you have a problem with that, click on that 'back' button now. You've been warned!

Gibbs looked across at Tim, who was staring fixedly at his computer monitor. The younger man was shifting noticeably in his seat, and a few quiet sniffles occasionally escaped his determined efforts to conceal his discomfort. He'd only spanked Tim in the middle of the day once before, after that April Fools' Day fiasco, and then he'd had the consolation of a degree of camaraderie over the experience. This was the first time Tim had to return to work after a spanking, with a sore butt and a bruised ego, alone in his misery.

He signed off on the report he was reading and cast another surreptitious glance across the bullpen as he reached for the next item on the pile of accumulated paperwork. The normally baby-faced agent appeared even younger, he realised, in the aftermath of a spanking. It wasn't just that he was squirming in his seat like an errant school-boy who had just been paddled... which he had, Gibbs thought, with a rueful smile. It was, rather, the openly expressive vulnerability in his face – Tim was hurting, he was embarrassed, and his usual readiness to obey his boss's orders seemed amplified in the context of his recent submission to painful, personal punishment at his boss's hands. At this moment, the highly-trained armed federal agent reminded him more of a chastised little boy who was desperate to regain his father's approval.

Flicking though the stack of pages in front of him, Gibbs realised that the analogy applied to him as well. Both Tim and Tony were firmly entrenched in his heart and mind as surrogate sons, but, for some reason, disciplining Tim seemed to bring out more overtly paternal behaviour. Tony, with his dauntless spirit and easy acceptance of hard punishments that never seemed to do more than take the edge off of his reckless behaviour, reminded him strongly of himself, and occasionally made him think he owed his father an apology, and a thank you. Tim, who was always visibly terrified before a spanking and eager for the comfort of a hug afterwards, reminded him more strongly of a child in need of affection, as well as limits. He was, in so many ways, harder for Gibbs to understand, his quiet, bookish personality being so unlike his own, but he responded with a father's instincts to his obvious desire for reassurance and forgiveness.

Gibbs realised that he had no idea what he was reading, and turned back to the first page. Across from him, Tim tapped away at his keyboard, his jaw set in obvious determination to ignore the pain. Finally taking pity on him, Gibbs ordered Tim down to Abby's lab to help her with something; most of her computer stations would let him work standing up. Tim leapt eagerly to his feet and hit a few final keys on his computer before gratefully heading off.

Half an hour later, Gibbs passed Tim's desk on his way to the stairs to the Director's office, a stack of signed reports tucked under one arm. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that the screen was flashing a 'save before closing?' message. Tim must have been more upset than he'd realised, he thought, if he hadn't been paying enough attention to manage the simple operation.

Somewhat awkwardly reaching across to the mouse on the left side of Tim's keyboard, he told the computer to save the file. He caught a brief glimpse of the document in question before it blinked from the screen, the columns and numbers meaningless until his eyes tracked to the edges of the screen, automatically seeking out explanatory headings. Longevity spectrum? Pain level?

What the hell...?!