This was written for Dragon for the 2009 SeSa Exchange. Enjoy and please review. This is the first story I am posting under my new profile.

Mastered, or Not

The bullpen was almost empty that Thursday night when McGee sent his report to the printer. The case had almost been sent to cybercrimes, and as a result, his part of the case load had been significantly heavier than the rest of the team's. Tony and Ziva had finished up and made their escapes almost an hour ago, thrilled to have a rare, three day weekend in December. All that was keeping Tim here was the slow printer as he waited for the last pages to finish.

"Final report, Boss." Gibbs started to take the offered folder until he noticed the marks on McGee's wrist, almost covered by the cuff of his shirt. Instead of grasping the file, he reached past the closest side and grabbed both the file and Tim's hand.

"What the hell is that?" A slight twist brought the marks into better view, but also brought a hiss of pain from the younger man. Oval bruises marred the fair skin, some of them edged with slight, crescent shaped cuts into the skin.

McGee shifted slightly to allow his sleeve to slide back down. "It's nothing."

"It sure the hell doesn't look like nothing." Without releasing his grasp, Gibbs used his other hand to unbutton the cuff and pull the fabric up for a better view. Unobstructed, he was able to lay his fingers across the damage. Whoever had done this had a much larger hand than Gibbs. "What happened, Tim?"

The unexpected use of his first name caused him to stumble over his own words. "I'm... It's nothing, Boss. Just a training accident. I... I just bruise easy." He pulled his sleeve back down and re-buttoned the cuff as he let the file drop on the desk. "I'll see you Monday." Gibbs nodded slowly and watched him walk to the elevator.

Tim waited until the elevator had left their level before flipping the switch. Breathing deeply, he leaned against the back wall and willed his body to calm down. It was getting harder and harder to hide his feelings for his boss. Tonight, the touch of his fingertips against his skin had almost dashed every semblance of reason out of his mind. He was pretty sure the quickest way to a position in the Arctic Ocean was to throw himself at Gibbs, so he locked that fantasy away and turned the elevator back on. He had a little more than an hour before he was supposed to meet with Master Don.

Gibbs stared at the elevator long after the doors closed behind McGee. The bruises were bad enough, but he was holding himself very straight when he left the bullpen, as if he were in pain. It had taken every ounce of willpower to not drag McGee across his desk and onto his lap, to kiss away the pain and whatever fear drove him to hide his problems. Gibbs let himself drift for a moment, fantasizing about how he would take care of the young man that haunted his dreams every night. With a shake he brought himself back to the here and now. Determined to at least protect what he couldn't have, Gibbs made sure he had an extra clip before heading out.

Jack smiled, nibbling his way down Daniel's back. They had two weeks leave and he wasn't planning on leaving the bed more than was absolutely necessary until their flight home.

"If you plan on biting my butt, I'll go pester Jethro for the next week and a half." The smirk could be heard in Daniel's tone, but to be safe, Jack changed from teeth to tongue when he got to his second favorite part of his lover's anatomy. "Oh, yeah." Daniel raised up and spread his legs as Jack's tongue worked its way closer to the prize.

Lips and tongue fluttered across one butt cheek before sliding down to caress the back side of the tight balls and then up onto the other butt cheek. Jack waited and when Daniel shuddered, he lifted up on his hips, settling the other man on his knees, leaving his cock hard and leaking with nothing to rub against. He heard the headboard rattle as Daniel strained against the padded cuffs that held him in place. Grinning wider, he made another circuit around the twitching pucker listening to his lover's wails.

"Jack, for God's sake, you're Air Force; can't you hit the damn target?"

The lights were off in Abby's lab, but this time Gibbs didn't want company. He'd seen her and McGee track cell phone locations hundreds of times and he slowly stumbled through the steps he remembered. Eventually he had a location and rushed to close out the computer and head for his car. Chances were that McGee would have moved on by the time he reached the destination, but at least he would have a starting point.

Porsche Boxsters were not all that common, which worked to his advantage as he drove up and down the streets near where he'd tracked McGee. This was an area of urban renewal and was a strange mix of high end condos and burned out buildings. When he spotted the car, Gibbs pulled into a nearby alley and padded close enough to hear the conversation.

McGee was standing next to a shorter man who was locking the bank door. "I appreciate you staying late for me, Mr. Jackson. I promised Master Don that I'd have the money for him tonight."

"Ah, yes, never keep the Master waiting. Will we see you for tomorrow's session, Timothy?" The two of them moved towards the only other car in the parking lot.

McGee looked around the parking lot as Jackson unlocked his car. "No, I think I'd better take the weekend off. My boss noticed some of the bruises and started asking questions."

"He'll be disappointed; he's got some special toys lined up for us."

"I know, but I've already scheduled a private session for later next week so I'll get to experience them before my final test."

Jackson's laugh grated across Gibbs' nerves as he felt the cold fury build up in his gut. "If your boss is fussing about the bruises now, how are you going to explain your condition after your test?"

"That's when I'm taking my vacation. Hopefully I should be all healed up by the time I go back to work."

Mentally, Gibbs was already canceling McGee's vacation and planning how he could make Master Don resist arrest as he watched Tim climb into his sports car and drive away.

Gibbs almost missed it when McGee pulled into another parking lot less than a mile from the bank. This time they were too out in the open for Gibbs to get close enough to hear their conversation as McGee handed over the envelope from the bank, but he hoped it wasn't as bad as what his imagination was piecing together. As he followed, McGee's next stop was for an order of Tandoori Chicken before returning to his apartment.

He knew two things; he needed to rescue McGee before he got in any deeper and he was going to need help doing it. Luckily, his help was on their own vacation only an hour away.

"Jaaaack, do something." It was a good thing their cabin was in the middle of nowhere, otherwise the keening wail would have certainly disturbed the neighbors. He had spent almost an hour working his way closer and closer to his target and was just now letting his tongue work into his lover's ass. Much to Daniel's dismay he backed off, but he needed to be able to answer the question.

"I am doing something, Danny-boy. Would you like to do something else? I think Jethro left some cards here last time. We could play poker." Jack knew if Daniel had his hands free, he'd be in serious trouble, but at the moment he felt pretty safe as he took a bottle of lube from the bedside table and drizzled some down Daniel's crack. He rubbed his finger through the lube and started to work it inside his ass, just up to the first knuckle. Daniel tried to back further onto his finger, but Jack was prepared and slapped his ass cheek at the first attempt.

"Eventually, you have to let me loose."

"Is that a threat?" Relenting slightly, Jack reached between Daniel's legs and stroked the weeping cock, just once as he allowed the finger on his other hand to slide into his ass another inch. As he was adding a second finger, his cell phone rang, buried in the tangle of clothes beside the bed.

Jack froze for just a second, his training kicking in despite the fact they were on vacation half way across the country from Cheyenne Mountain. Daniel made the decision for him. "If you stop to answer that, I will kill you in your sleep." The phone quieted, but instead of going to voice mail, it immediately started ringing again. Muttering curses in languages Jack couldn't even guess at, Daniel dropped his head down as Jack reached out and moved the shirt of the phone display.

"It's Gibbs."

Daniel was not happy at the interruption. "Jethro knows we haven't had a day to ourselves in months. He's not supposed to come join us until next weekend."

Jack was still debating when the room was lit by the headlights of an approaching car. Daniel looked back over his shoulder at him and sighed as Jack flipped open the phone. "You're about a week early." He listened and then shut the phone and dropped his head on the small of Daniel's back.

"He's not here to play, is he?"

"I'm sorry, babe." Jack reached up and undid the cuffs before grabbing a t-shirt and cleaning them both up. Gingerly he pulled his jeans back on, wincing as he tucked himself in. Daniel didn't even bother trying to dress; he just grabbed his robe and followed Jack out onto the porch.

Gibbs was on the porch, pacing, before he realized what he had interrupted. Daniel's attire clued him in and he rubbed at his face in irritation. "Damn, I forgot this was your first night here."

"It's okay, we'll live. I think."

Daniel slapped at Jack and took over the conversation. "What's wrong with Tim?"

"How'd you know it has anything to do with McGee?"

"Oh, please, how many years have you been lusting over him?" Jack grinned and ushered the other two men into the cabin. "I was just about ready to kidnap him myself and tie him to your bed with a big red bow. Now, what's he done?"

"Has some woman latched onto him?" The expression on Gibbs' face told Daniel that he was partially right. "Some man latched onto him?" Daniel knew he'd hit paydirt. "Well at least that answers your question about which way he swings."

"He's abusing him." Gibbs stared out the window, refusing to make eye contact with either of them. "He's in pain, he's covered in bruises and this Master Don is making Tim give him money. Enough that he had to go to the bank instead of an ATM machine. He's got a session planned for him that is going to be so rough that he's taking a two week vacation to recover from it." Gibbs closed his eyes as he dropped his chin against his chest. "God, why does he think that's what he deserves?"

"Does he deserve better?" Jack held up his hand and finished his statement before Gibbs could take off his head. "So, prove it to him. Show him what it is like to have a real lover, not some SOB that gets of on someone else's pain."

"How?" Gibbs looked to Daniel, who had to laugh to himself. The man was almost as hopeless in the seduction department as Jack. Luckily Daniel had a plan already in mind.

McGee woke to three facts Friday morning; one, another vivid dream about his boss had left him with wet and sticky boxers, two, his phone was ringing at 0500 on his morning off, and three, it was his boss on the phone. He fumbled as he reached his phone, "Boss, what's up?"

"Weekend's been canceled, McGee. Pack a bag; I'm picking you up in thirty minutes. We're going to be in the woods, so remind yourself what poison ivy looks like, alright?"

Before he could ask any of the dozen questions in his head, McGee heard the dial tone. One thing he did know about his boss was that when the man said thirty minutes, he really meant twenty-five and so he scrambled for the quickest shower on record as he planned out what he needed to take with him.

It was actually twenty-six minutes after the phone call when Gibbs banged on his door. McGee relaxed when Gibbs pointed at the camping gear. "We won't need that, we've got a cabin at our disposal. Food's taken care of too, so all you need is your personal stuff."

Gibbs watched as McGee picked up a duffel bag and his work backpack. He was dressed in a long sleeved t-shirt and dark pants. The jacket thrown over his arm would make him look professional enough for any work situation and the one draped over his duffel would be warm enough for the snow they were predicting. He felt a flicker of guilt over tricking the young man, but decided the ends justified the means. Once in the car he cranked up the heat. "Get some sleep on the way, McGee."

Tim had no idea what was going on, but he obediently closed his eyes rather than argue. He had no intentions of going to sleep, but the early hour, the movement of the car and the warmth conspired against him and soon he was out for the count.

If one knew the area, it was actually a rather short hike to civilization from the cabin, but he didn't want McGee to know that, at least not yet. With any luck, the isolation combined with McGee's innate desire to please his boss would give Gibbs the time he needed to convince the young man that he was worthy of so much more than he was apparently willing to settle for. He wouldn't force himself on the boy, but he hoped McGee's desires hadn't been so twisted by this animal that he would think he deserved to be hurt.

They were only a few miles out of town and McGee was soundly asleep. He didn't snore like the rest of his teammates, but the soft, snuffling sound he made always made Gibbs want to gather him close. This time he eased his hand into his jacket pocket and took out McGee's phone. He found the button to turn down the volume just to be safe and then buried it between the front seats. His own phone was locked in the glove box. They wouldn't actually be out of touch, but only Jack and Daniel had the number of the Sat phone hidden away in the cabin and would relay any message important enough to interrupt the weekend.

Tim stirred, but didn't awaken when the road changed from paved to gravel and Gibbs' anger at his abuser grew. He was obviously exhausted from more than the heavy case load they had been saddled with for the last month. Less than a mile from the cabin they passed Jack's rental car, tucked carefully behind the bushes, the white color helping to blend it into the snowy landscape. Once he and Tim were inside the cabin, Jack and Daniel would leave in Gibbs' car, leaving them apparently stranded.

"We're here." A tap to the shoulder was all that Gibbs allowed himself as he climbed out of the car. He loaded McGee up with all the bags the second the younger man was upright, and a jerk of the head sent him into the cabin. Once he was safely inside, Gibbs dug out the cell phone from between the seats and tossed it into the glove box with his. Jack slapped him on the back while Daniel loaded their own bags in the trunk and then the two men left in Gibbs' car.

With a sigh, Gibbs looked around. He and Jack had gone in together and bought this cabin years ago. Jack had wanted a place to unwind when he was in Washington to brief the Joint Chiefs and Gibbs had wanted a close get-away that none of his team knew about. Neither of them used it enough to justify sole ownership and occasionally they played together. They were actually close enough to be hooked into the county electrical grid, even though it had cost a small fortune, but to maintain the illusion of remoteness he could hear the backup generator running. By now, McGee would have realized that there was only one bed in the cabin and would have heard the car leave. Yep, right on cue, the younger man stepped out onto the porch, a concerned look on his face.

"Umm, Boss, there's only one bed here; wait, who took the car?"

"Don't worry about it McGee, we're here until Sunday." The snow was increasing and Gibbs took his arm and walked him back inside. There was just one big room in the cabin with a small bathroom tucked in a corner. A cheery fire was in the fireplace, a massive stone structure that covered most of the western wall. Other than the king size bed and nightstand, the small kitchen table and two chairs, all the furniture had been locked away out of sight in a storage shed. A set of binoculars was on the table along with a partial map of the trails into the nearby nature preserve.

McGee took it all in, looking back several times at the big bed. "Are we on a surveillance detail, Boss?"

"I am, McGee." It was now or never and Gibbs plunged in with both feet. "Take off your shirt."


"Not a word, McGee. You are not going to try and convince me that you wanted to be hurt or that you deserved to be hurt. Right now you are going to take off your shirt so I can see just how bad it is." It was plenty warm, but Gibbs stepped back to give Tim some space and used the opportunity to add another log to the fire.

"Boss, it's not what you think. It's..."

Gibbs immediately interrupted him. "I said no talking. Now are you going to take that shirt off or am I going to have to cut it off of you?" There was a flash of insolence on McGee's face before he peeled his shirt off. Gibbs was expecting the bruises scattered up both of his arms, but what he wasn't expecting was the large bruise across his torso and the smaller one on his shoulder.

"Oh, Timmy." Every lecture went out of his head the moment he saw the marks. Gibbs reached out and brushed his fingertips across the larger bruise and felt McGee tremble. "Was this checked? Are you sure you don't have a cracked rib?"

"There was a doctor there who..." With his other hand, Gibbs stopped the words by pressing his fingers against Tim's lips.

"Just nod yes or no. Was it checked?" He waited and there was a nod in the affirmative. "Were any of your ribs damaged?" A moment, then a shake no. Gibbs circled his hand from Tim's lips to the back of his head and pulled it close, until their foreheads were touching, all the while his other hand was caressing his side. The trembling increased as Gibbs continued to stroke across Tim's side with the lightest touch possible.

Gibbs pulled back far enough to be able to look Tim in the eye. "Twenty-four hours, not a word for the next twenty-four hours. I'm going to prove to you that you deserve so much more than what you're settling for." When he saw the resigned acceptance in those green eyes, he pulled Tim back close and started kissing him.

Tim's head swam as suddenly every fantasy he'd had for years was coming true. He tried to protest, to tell Gibbs he misunderstood, but then lips touched his and he was lost in the sensation.

Touch was always Jethro Gibbs' preferred method of communication with a lover, and he put everything he had into this moment. When Tim sagged against him, all protest gone, he walked him backwards towards the bed, still kissing him.

"Gonna make you feel so good, gonna make you forget all about him." He broke off the kiss long enough to whisper against the full lips as he eased Tim down onto the bed, shifting his hands to support Tim's body as he went down. He straddled the younger man as he reached down for his hands. Carefully and reverently he kissed every bruise and mar, working his way up each arm. Once every mark had been cared for, he took Tim's hands and placed them against the headboard, wrapping the elegant fingers around two of the wooden spindles there and ignoring the cuffs hidden behind the headboard.

"Hold on right there." He stroked his thumbs across Tim's knuckles until the younger man nodded. "Good, that's good, Timmy." He nuzzled against the side of Tim's face. "This time I'm driving and you're just going to lay back and learn what it's like to be made love to. We're not using a safe word because you can't talk, but if you let go, I'll stop. Do you understand me?" The nod told him his words were understood, the white knuckle grip on the headboard told him it wasn't going to happen any time soon.

Gibbs worked his way down Tim's face to his neck, nibbling and licking his way down, careful not to leave a mark where it could be seen. Once he reached McGee's chest, he started working the left nipple, licking, sucking and worrying the nub until Tim's entire body was shaking. He breathed across it and Tim arched up off the bed as the headboard creaked ominously.

"Easy, easy." Gibbs realized that he was going to have to do something if Tim was going to make it through to the conclusion he had planned. He shifted off the bed and stood, pulling his shirt off in one fluid move before he stepped to the foot of the bed. As Tim watched his every move, he kicked off his footwear and dropped his jeans to the floor. In anticipation of what he had planned, he had gone commando.

Returning his attention to McGee, Gibbs took the younger man's shoes off, and then his socks. He then climbed onto the bed between Tim's legs and crawled up closer to him. Tim spread his legs easily to make room for him, not saying a word, but he couldn't quite control the gasp when Gibbs' hands grasped the zipper of his pants. Thrilled by his responsiveness, Gibbs let his fingers wander across Tim's stomach and into his belly button before returning to the task of unzipping his pants. Ignoring the boxers for a moment, he backed off the bed, pulling Tim's pants with him.

Once the slacks were tossed off to the side, he worked his way back up the bed, kissing the insides of Tim's legs until he reached his upper thighs. He rubbed his face against the fabric covered cock, breathing in the scent of pure McGee before pulling down the thin cotton. He started at the front first, stretching the elastic to not touch Tim's penis. Free of the confines of clothing, it stood straight up. Thick with a mushroom head, this was the kind of cock Jethro Gibbs could spend hours working. He tucked the elastic waistband under Tim's balls, caressing them with his fingertips as he worked. Next, he slowly eased his boxers over his butt cheeks, trailing his hands across the skin. They fit perfectly in his hands as he knew they would.

Hanging on to the headboard, Tim tossed his head back and forth, gasping and keening under his breath. Hypersensitive to the touch he'd wanted for so long, it was all he could do to not come right then and there. He could feel Gibbs' breath float across his cock as the man made maddeningly slow love to him. Suddenly Gibbs froze and McGee knew what he was looking at.

Gibbs had the boxers halfway down Tim's legs when he saw a long, thin bruise on his outer thigh. He quickly removed them to take a better look at the injury. It was an ugly dark purple, more painful looking than any of the other marks he'd found so far, circling around to the back of his leg. Biting back a curse, he partially rolled Tim onto his side to better see the mark and check for more. The rest of the skin under his hands was pristine and after a kiss to that globe, he returned Tim to his back before rolling him to his other side. That side was much better, with only one almost faded round bruise just above the back of his knee and the known tattooed heart containing 'Mom' on the butt cheek. He started at the bruise, covering it with gentle kisses before working his way up to the tat.

Eventually, he allowed Tim to return to his back once again and nuzzled against the curls surrounding the base of his cock. "Gonna take the edge off, gonna make you feel so good." Not giving the other man time to think, Gibbs licked around the head of his cock before sliding his mouth down over it once and back up, enjoying the taste as he did. Tim was thrashing his head back and forth, but kept a firm grip on the headboard. Gibbs licked his way down the shaft before mouthing each ball.

Wanting this to be about pleasure, Gibbs didn't push the envelope too much before he became serious about the blowjob he was giving Tim. As he worked the shaft he used one hand to roll the tightening balls back and forth while the other hand trailed down to Tim's ass. He stroked one finger over the twitching pucker as he felt Tim fall over the edge.

Tim felt the familiar sensation starting deep inside him and tried to warn Gibbs, but speech was beyond him at that point. If anything, his garbled cry caused Gibbs to suck harder as he came. By the time Gibbs was finished licking him clean, he was hard again.

Reaching up, Gibbs found the lube stashed under the pillow where he had left it. As he continued to lick and suck, he coated his fingers and slid one in Tim's ass, just to the first knuckle, surprised at how tight it was as Tim instinctively clamped down in shock. Gibbs raised up to look at Tim, who was staring back at him with an expression of wonder. "You've never?" The negative shake of Tim's head changed his game plan as Gibbs laid next to him, sharing the pillow for a moment. "No one's ever touched you like that?"

Another shake of Tim's head brought a smile to Gibbs' face as he asked his last question. The subtle thrusting of Tim's hips against the fingertip that was still inside him gave Gibbs a pretty good idea of the answer already. "Do you want this, do you want me to fuck you?" Tim bit his bottom lip when he nodded yes, a move Gibbs found adorable as he pounced.

"It's been a long time since I've deflowered a virgin, Timmy." That earned him an eye roll and he laughed before turning serious again. "Gonna make it good for you, I promise. Gonna take such good care of you." He kissed Tim, slowly deepening the kiss, letting him taste himself, as he carefully worked the one finger deeper inside. One finger became two as he took his time and carefully stretched the tight ring of muscle. When the third finger was added to the mix, Tim was panting and sobbing his desire as Gibbs raked down his neck with his teeth.

Tearing open the condom package, Gibbs moved to kneel between Tim's legs. "It will be easier for you if you're on your hands and knees. Do you want to roll over?"

An emphatic shake of the head was punctuated by Tim pulling his knees back and out, exposing his ass even more to Gibbs, but the older man was still not convinced. "This time I need to hear the answer. Do you want to roll onto your stomach?"

Tim gave a soft smile that reminded Gibbs of how easy it would be to fall hopelessly for the other man. "No, I want to be able to look you in the eye when you make love to me."

"Oh, Timmy." Gibbs bent down and kissed him one more time before turning his full attention to their joining. Making sure Tim felt like the most precious thing in the world to him, he slowly eased his latex covered cock into Tim, letting him adjust to the the full sensation. When he was finally buried to his balls he held very still until Tim started thrusting against him.

Slowly at first, then picking up speed, Gibbs made love to Tim, pouring everything he felt about the younger man into their lovemaking. Tim's legs were wrapped around his hips, helping to keep them close. Changing his angle slightly, he watched for the reaction. All rational thought gone,Tim was almost sobbing as he tossed his head back and forth.

Between the constant rubbing of his prostate and the friction of Gibbs' body hair against his cock, it wasn't long before Tim could feel his second climax approaching. With a sharp cry, he spilled between them.

Despite his attempts to draw it out, the muscles clenching around his cock and the heat of Tim's climax on his stomach was enough to tip Gibbs over the edge. Giving a shout of his own, he slammed against Tim one last time as he followed him over the edge.

By the time Gibbs had his breathing under control, Tim had let go of the headboard and had his arms wrapped around the older man's neck. He shifted them so they were laying on their sides, still facing each other. Tim buried his face in Gibbs' chest, but he could tell the young man was crying. "Did I hurt you? Tim, are you hurt?"

He felt a shake of the head, and Tim held on even tighter, murmuring "I'm sorry" under his breath.

"Sorry for what?" He pulled them apart so he could look at Tim, regretting the loss of contact immediately. "It's time now, Tim, talk to me. He doesn't control you, I won't let that bastard hurt you again."

"He didn't, he never did, but when we got here and I realized what you thought and what you were willing to do to prove to me that I deserved better..."

"Tim?" He reached out and tipped his face up so he could look into the green eyes.

McGee closed his eyes in shame as he admitted the truth. "I've wanted you for so long, and then all of a sudden we were here and you told me not to talk and you were touching me and... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to lead you on."

More confused that ever, with a thousand scenarios running through his head, only one thing stood out for Gibbs. "You wanted me?"

"Yes." Still not opening his eyes, Tim nodded as he bit his bottom lip. With his eyes still closed he didn't see the smile, but he did feel the feather soft kisses on his lids before Gibbs kissed his lips again.

"Good, now I'm going to get something to clean us up. You just stay right here." Gibbs kissed him one more time before climbing off the bed. He disposed of the condom and returned from the bathroom with a warm washcloth. Carefully and thoroughly he washed Tim before tossing the cloth on the floor and climbing back into the bed.

With a shy smile, Tim edged closer to him and Gibbs pulled him closer still. He wasn't satisfied until Tim was draped over his chest, their legs tangled together.

"Who's Master Don?"

"Crap." Tim gave a watery laugh as the last pieces fell into place and he fully understood what Gibbs had thought. "He's not that kind of master. He runs a martial arts school that I attend."

Gibbs stroked his fingertips across the bruises on McGee's arm that started it all. "Martial arts? You mean the training accident was actually a training accident?"

"We had a class on wrist locks that got pretty intense a few days ago. I asked Master Don to not hold back when we were working on them because..."

"Because a suspect wouldn't hold back in a fight." Gibbs finished for him as he began to really understand. "The special toys for this weekend's session?"

"It's a rare weapons seminar. As interesting as it would be, I don't think too many suspects are going to be armed with a bisento or a yawara." He bounced slightly as the chest underneath him shook with laughter.

"You're probably right about that. It sounds like it would have been a fun class though. You'll get to try them later though, at your private session?" Gibbs froze as McGee looked at him, realizing what the older man's knowledge meant.

"You followed me?"

Busted, he had to admit what he had done. "I was worried. You were hurting when you left the squadroom and I thought...

"You assumed." Tim corrected him with a smile. "That sounds suspiciously like a rule I've heard."

Gibbs laughed and swatted his ass. "Brat." He grew serious as he pulled Tim tighter against him. "I was worried. I couldn't bear the thought that someone was hurting you."

Still in awe that he was where he always wanted to be, Tim settled back down, rubbing his cheek on Gibbs' chest hair. "I wouldn't let someone hurt me like that, it would be a slap in the face of everything you've taught me."

Gibbs tilted his face down to kiss the top of Tim's head, overcome with emotions. "Oh, Timmy." Tim responded by kissing the skin under his lips.

"I told Master Don that I wanted my test to be real. That I didn't want anyone to hold back. That's why I'm a little more battered than usual, but then so are they. It's not about the belt color, it's about learning to defend myself and my team to the best of my abilities."

"I am so damn proud of you, Tim." Gibbs grasped Tim's chin and lifted his face so he could look him in the eye. "So damn proud."


"Oh, yeah. So, can you have supporters at your test, or it is private?"

"You want to come?"

"Damn straight, I want to be there if you'd let me."

The beaming smile gave him his answer. "Thank you."

"Besides, I need to thank Master Don, without him, we'd have been dancing around each other for years. That was him you met up with last night? You were paying your test fee, right?"

Tim started laughing. "That was him, but I wasn't paying my test fees." He shifted to raise up on one elbow. "Don and several of business leaders in the community have started a foundation to support victims of abuse who want to escape and start over again. Thom E. Gemcity is underwriting their first six months. That's what I was dropping off to him."

"Tim..." Gibbs really didn't know what to say. No matter how popular the Gemcity books were, that was a huge expense to take on.

Feeling suddenly bashful, Tim rushed his explanation. "Paula introduced me to Master Don's classes. The foundation was her brainchild and after she was killed, we kept it going."

Gibbs was more than surprised at that statement. "Paula Cassidy? I didn't realize the two of you were that close."

"I drove her home after the Boone case." McGee turned thoughtful as he remembered. "Her father was abusive, and Boone stirred up a lot of bad memories for her. The foundation was born that night at her kitchen table. She and Don were working on it right up to when she..."

"When she was killed." Gibbs softly finished for him.

"Yeah." Tim settled back down on Gibbs' chest. "I was offered my publishing contract the day before her funeral and I knew that if I made a success of it, I could fulfill her dream."

"Probie's getting back from vacation today, isn't he?" DiNozzo tossed his backpack under his desk as he sailed into the squadroom. He watched as Gibbs answered him with a smile, something they had seen frequently over the last few months.

"He certainly is." It had been a wonderful two weeks, with Tim tucked away at his home, Gibbs was glad to leave at the end of each day. Now he was just as happy to have Tim back at his desk. Tim's black belt test had been brutal, as predicted, but the younger man teased that it had been harder on Gibbs than on him. He'd never admit it, but Tim was probably right. Only by focusing on Sarah's death grip on his own arm was he able to sit and watch his lover battle two and sometimes three attackers at the same time.

Still smiling, Gibbs watched as Tony picked up an envelope from his desk. Ziva was finding hers at the same time. "It's safe, DiNozzo. Go ahead and open it."

Ziva was quicker and had hers open first. "It's an invitation to the grand opening of something called the Cassidy Center."

"Bring your checkbooks, you two. It's a fundraiser." Gibbs sat down and started booting up his computer as McGee returned from delivering an invitation to Director Vance. He still had a few more in his hand and waved them at Gibbs as he headed downstairs to deliver all but the last two. Those would be dropped into a mailbox, headed for Colorado.

Tony watched not only McGee, but his silent exchange with Gibbs. He had a pretty good idea why the two of them weren't dancing around each other anymore. "Probie is doing this?"

Gibbs had his own, unopened invitation in his hand. "This was Paula Cassidy's dream, and McGee took it on when she died. Thom E. Gemcity is underwriting the first six months of their operating expenses. I think each of us could handle one day's worth of expenses."

Seeing the happiness on Gibbs' face gave Tony a sense of bravery. "Should we consider it a wedding present, Boss?" Behind him, Ziva blinked in surprise at the question.

Gibbs tipped his coffee cup in a salute. "Works for me, DiNozzo, works for me."