Title: Overcoming (Sequel to Back To School)

Author: BuffyAngel68

Rating: FRAO graphic language, sex. Light bondage and gentle, loving D/S

Summary: Gibbs tackles one of Tony's big issues in an unusual way...

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, making no fundage. (If wishes were horses, right?)
Hope they're happier in my hands, though...

FRIDAY EVENING - TWO WEEKS LATER:

Watching Tony from the corner of his eye, Gibbs sighed quietly. The younger man had gone from squinting at his computer screen to hanging his head and rubbing the bridge of his nose with finger and thumb, a clear sign that a severe headache was in his very near future. Laying his work aside and closing down everything in his own space, he rose and moved to Tony's desk, laying a hand on his young protege's shoulder.

"Let the report go for now, Tony. It's been a rough day, rougher week. Time to go home."

"That sounds so good. Can't wait to fall into bed and sleep 'till Sunday."

Tipping the other man's chin so that their eyes met, Gibbs gazed intently down at Tony, delivering a silent message. "Oh. Gotcha. What time?"

"Now. Grab your gear."

"Uh... boss?" Tony asked, curiosity warring with caution.

"On your feet, Anthony." Gibbs replied calmly. Tony instantly responded to the verbal shift.

"Yes, sir. Ready in just a second..."

Bag over his shoulder, computer and lights shut off, Tony followed the older man down to the garage and slid into the passenger's side of his dom's car. Forty minutes later, after a brief stop for groceries, Tony was kneeling in Jethro's living room, head bowed as he waited to be released. Once all the items were put away, Jethro returned to Tony's side.

"Well done, sweet boy. You've come so far..." he murmured as he stroked Tony's neck, freeing him to stand. "Strip and drop everything down the laundry chute."

"I didn't bring anything else."

"I'm aware of that."

"Understood, sir." Tony answered after a momentary pause. As he turned to head for the bedroom, however, he was halted by a hand on his elbow.

"Not this time. From now on, you strip here."

"Here? Sir..."

"I'm not asking anything difficult, Anthony."

"No, sir. It shouldn't be by now..."

"This isn't about trusting me, is it?"

"No."

"What are you afraid you'll do?"

"Disappoint you. I'll forget and cover myself, or let my embarrassment take over and turn away so you can't see..."

"Then you do. This weekend is about getting this out of your way once and for all. If you slip, you'll be corrected and we'll move on."

Tony paled slightly at Jethro's use of the dreaded word.

"Corrected."

"It's not what you're thinking. If you jaywalk or litter, do they give you ten years in prison?"

"Of course not... oh. There are levels. Right."

"In the House, or any time multiple players are involved, correction is automatically a little stronger to make sure nothing gets out of hand. When it's just you and me, you have some leeway. My rule is three shots at the same mistake before I correct you at the lowest level."

"A warning?"

"Exactly. The next level is ten minutes kneeling, alone and in complete silence. Beyond that... we'll discuss it if we end up there. I believe in you too much to think we ever will."

"No, sir."

"Good. Now I asked you to do something and you questioned me, which is your absolute right. We talked it out and I think I gave you a reasonable answer. Agreed?"

"You said I'm allowed to make mistakes, within reason... and that you're trying to break me out of this mindset so I don't think twice about showing you my body. Yeah... yeah, that's more than reasonable."

"Okay, then."

A deep breath or two and Tony finally began to comply with Jethro's request. When he was finished and looked up, he was greeted with a proud smile and a gentle kiss. "Good job. It won't be half the struggle next time, guaranteed. Finish up and come right back."

It was only a few moments before Tony returned, moving swiftly and easily back into proper position.

"What now, sir?"

"You'll be staying this way until Monday morning. I'll be taking you through a few tests and exercises over the next two days and nights, but for the most part I want this to just be a relaxing weekend at home. We'll eat, talk... and hopefully get even closer."

"Home... I'm not sure I ever really knew what that meant before. I've had apartments, lived with my parents in a big house... but I'd hear other people say 'home' like it was something so amazing and... I just didn't get it."

"Now?" Jethro asked, caressing Tony's cheek.

"Now I understand. Home means being safe and cared for and wanted. It means you."

"Wouldn't mean a damn thing if you weren't here. C'mon, let's go get something to eat." He proposed, touching Tony's neck a second time. The younger man took a slow, deep breath, grasped Jethro's hand and followed him into the kitchen.

TWO HOURS LATER:

His reading glasses slipping down his nose a little, Jethro fought off the weariness dragging him down and re-focused on the book in his hands. A few moments later, however, a drowsy Tony whined, grumbled and snuggled closer to his dom for warmth, convincing Jethro to give up the novel as a lost cause. Laying it aside, he kissed Tony gently on the temple and spoke in his ear.

"Was there a message in there somewhere?"

"Full belly. Wanna sleep... but 'm cold."

"Mmmm. It's not that late. Been an eight day week, though... early bed sounds like a good idea. You awake enough to make it upstairs?"

"Barely... like it better here... I'm comfy... don't wanna go crawl into th't ice-cube guest bed..."

"You don't have to."

This statement woke Tony fully and he gazed uncertainly up into Jethro's eyes.

"You mean it? You want me to stay with you?"

"Not just tonight or this weekend. This can be your permanent home... if you choose to stay."

"Jethro... that's a really big step..."

"I know. We'll talk more about it later. Right now we both need showers and sleep."

"Okay. I promise I'll give it serious thought over the next couple of days."

"Good." Jethro replied as he stood up. Tony followed suit and both men headed up the stairs. Once the water had reached a temperature both could agree on, somewhere between Jethro's preference for scalding and Tony's for warm and soothing, the older man stripped as well and the pair stepped in together. Surrounded by heat from both sides and lulled by Jethro murmuring love and praise against his skin, Tony's knees were soon wobbling. His dom chuckled and pulled the young man up. "Hey, no falling asleep in the shower. You start snoring and you'll drown."

"I don't snore. Sir."

"Uh-huh." Jethro snorted faintly. "Let's finish up and get to bed before we *both* drop."

Within a few minutes, both men completed their ablutions and had thoroughly dried off. Jethro turned and headed for the bedroom, Tony close on his heels. When he moved to climb into bed instead of dressing, however, Tony hesitated to join him. Jethro smiled softly and explained.

"You need to get used to me being nude, too. You didn't seem to mind much at the House."

"I had a lot of distractions, if you remember. Besides, it's not that. I actually... I like seeing you. I just suddenly realized I don't... I couldn't help but notice... damn."

"Anthony. Come sit down."

When Tony complied, Jethro grasped his hand tightly and gazed deeply into his eyes, locking the other man's attention on him. "I don't care what area we're talking about, you more than measure up to anybody, including me. In some things,*especially* me, you know that. The only things you can't compete with me about is how much I love, want and need what we're building and how much I want us to keep getting stronger... and far as they go, I hope to God you never stop trying to pass me up."

"That's what you asked of me that first night... that I always try, even if I'm scared or not sure I can do it. Come hell, high water or an embargo on coffee beans, I won't break my promise."

"Good to know." Jethro laughed. "Under the covers, sweetheart. We've both got a long forty-eight hours ahead of us..."

TBC...