That's What Lovers Are For

Ch. 1 -

They walked into the bullpen and that was when they all saw it at once. There was Jimmy Palmer, autopsy gremlin, standing shirtless in the middle of the room with a horrific looking rash all over his shoulders and upper back.

"Dear, God…someone fed him after midnight," said Tony, slightly joking, but at the same time serious.

"Jimmy, what happened to you?" Ziva asked, her tone genuinely worried.

At hearing his name, he turned around and seemed to let out a sigh of relief, and Tony had to hold in the sound of a whine as he saw the man's front.

Instead of being scarecrow-like, or scrawny in any way, the younger man's body was finely toned and he had beautifully formed abs and arms. He now understood how he had managed to attract the attention of several of the female agents that he'd heard talking about him in the break room, bemoaning the fact that he had a girlfriend.

And now he understood why he had such a hot girlfriend.

Jimmy always wore scrubs, however, which weren't flattering on anyone, and they had hidden a lot of this man.

"Turns out I am really allergic to henna," he said, walking towards them, and Tony quickly grabbed a couple of things from his desk and started to avoid him. "But I, I can't reach back there, so do you think you could…?"

He didn't trust himself to not act on the thoughts that were running through his head about what he wanted to do to him.

"I'm late for a squash game."

Stupid excuse, obvious excuse, he didn't really care what kind of excuse he came up with so long as it kept him from jumping Palmer's bones in front of his team.

"I'm sorry," said Ziva, not bothering to come with excuse, simply saying, "I've got to get the hell out of here…"

"Please, you guys," Palmer pleaded, following both of them to the elevator, the lotion still in his hand. "It really itches!"

"That's what girlfriends are for!" Tony shot over his shoulder, but to no avail.

"Oh, okay, I can get the top part, I just-"

"Stay, stay, stay!" Tony said, putting his hands up while Ziva protested next to him as well, but Palmer ignored them.

Palmer followed them onto the elevator, standing in front them, invading their personal space, his eyes pleading, and Tony was trying not to reach out and simply pin the man to the wall of the elevator and ravish him on the spot.

Tony pointed to Ziva and said over her, "She'll do it! She'll do it! She'll do it!", but he then heard Ziva say to Jimmy, "I may have to hurt you," and he felt slightly guilty.

Palmer continued to ask them on the way down in the elevator, but they both said no, both of them trying to maintain as much space from him as possible.

As Tony got off the elevator behind Ziva, he glanced back and saw the autopsy assistant looking like a puppy that had been kicked, and he felt his conscience pang him once more, and, waiting until Ziva disappeared into the parking structure, he went back to the lift and caught the door before it closed.


The young man looked up in surprise, his gaze slightly confused.

"Tony? What are you…?"

Tony slipped back onto the elevator and pressed the button for the door to close and then pressed the button for Autopsy. He then gave the man a serious look and then let out a long sigh that was filled with the sound of his resignation.

"Look, if it's really that bad, then you probably won't be able to put a shirt back on until it's taken care of, right?"

Palmer nodded, and Tony gave him a faint grin.

"Well, then, as a friend I should help you out…after all, you said that you'd do the same for us, right?" Jimmy nodded again, and Tony added, "Besides, I don't think that Ducky or the Boss man will be too happy with you being shirtless while doing an autopsy."

At that, a true smile flashed across the younger man's face as he let out a short laugh.

Not that I would mind, he thought to himself, feeling his lower half stirring at the sight, but then immediately chastised himself as well. Down boy. You're just helping out a friend, nothing more.

They arrived at Autopsy and both of them were grateful for the fact that Ducky was out at the moment.

Tony threw his coat over the chair in the corner and reached up and unknotted his tie. If he was going to do this, he was going to be a true friend and not be so uptight about it. He just had to rub the lotion into Jimmy's back and then leave. That was all.

Palmer was surprised when he saw Tony remove his tie, and then was more surprised when he saw him roll up his sleeves and undo the top two buttons of his shirt.

"Okay, Jimmy…turn around."

Still in shock, he turned around and barely noticed when Tony snagged the bottle of lotion that was still in his hand.

"So…" said Tony as he popped the cap off of the top. "How much of this do I need to use?"

Jimmy shrugged, and then winced afterwards, disconcerted by how much it hurt even to do the smallest amount of movement with his shoulders.

"Uh, about the size of silver dollar should work. It has to be worked in pretty deep…" He could feel Tony hesitate behind him when he said this and his shoulders drooped slightly, and he felt slightly guilty for putting Tony into such a position. "…Sorry."

Tony let out a short laugh and then said, "For what? Being allergic to henna? Don't think you can actually control something like that, Jimmy. It's okay."

Before he could correct him, he felt the cold lotion touch his skin and he let out a moan before he could stop himself and Tony smiled behind his back.

It was nice being able to help someone like this, especially Jimmy, so he pressed his fingers more deeply into the surprisingly firm muscle and grinned as the autopsy assistant moaned a second time and then seemed to turn almost boneless beneath his hands.

Feeling much less awkward and much more confident, Tony put in his years of practice into massaging the lotion into the young man's shoulders and upper back.

He worked his fingers up and down, rubbing in the lotion as well as attempting to undo the knots that he could feel in the muscles.

"Geez, Palmer," he said as he worked. "Your muscles are more tense than Butch Cassidy at his final showdown. How can you stand it?"

Feeling lightheaded from the deliciously wonderful massage he was getting along with the lotion, he rolled his head on his neck and lightly said, "I'm on my feet most of the day bent over dead bodies on cold autopsy tables, Tony…it's a hazard of the profession."

He could hear Tony about to ask another question, so he beat him to the answer before he could say the words.

"Doctor Mallard doesn't suffer from it nearly as much as I do because he's…well…he has a lower center of gravity than I do."

Tony laughed.

"If that's a polite way of saying that he doesn't have the problems because he's short, then, yes, that sounds about right."

Jimmy went to say something else, but then Tony's thumb dug into a particularly knotted muscle and he lost all sense of thought, let alone words. The man had amazing hands, and added to the fact that he'd been slightly crushing on the agent for a little over three years, even though he had a girlfriend, he found himself in a very compromising position.

Tony found his hands drifting further up than they needed to, the tips of fingers digging into the tensed muscles at the base of Palmer's neck, and even though he was doing more than was necessary, he found that he didn't want to stop.

Listening to his gut for once, he continued the massage, the two of them both aware of the fact that it wasn't necessary, but neither of them wanting to break the moment.

Tony had slowly become more and more aroused while caressing the younger man's skin and was aware of his erection against his thigh; warm, but not insistent.

Unbeknownst to Tony, Palmer had been having much of the same reaction, and he, too, was aroused, his arousal thick and throbbing on the inside of his scrubs which did nothing to hide the fact that he was turned on by the older man's massage.

Tony's hands slowly came to a halt, each palm resting over Jimmy's shoulders.

"Uh…thanks," said Palmer, breaking the silence.

There was a long moment between them, and then Tony said, "Jimmy…"

They could both hear the raw emotion in his voice and, on an impulse, Palmer turned around, causing Tony's hands to drop, and quickly lifted his own hands and pulled Tony's face down to his, capturing his lips in an ardent and off-guarded kiss.

At first there was a bumping of noses and chins, but then their lips found each other and Jimmy inwardly crowed in success when he felt Tony's hands come up, one hand sliding firm fingers through his hair, the other one gripping Jimmy's waist and pulling him in, their erections rubbing against each other.

They moaned at the same moment, and Tony took advantage of it, sliding his tongue between Palmer's lips, causing Palmer to shudder against him.

Feeling emboldened by the younger man's response, Tony pushed him until he felt them bump up against one of the empty autopsy tables, causing his glasses to fall to the floor, but he didn't even care that they had.

Too turned on to care about where they were, Palmer pushed his hips insistently against Tony's, needing to feel the friction, desperate for the stimulation. It all felt…so good. So right. Tony's tongue plundered his mouth and he tried to reciprocate in kind, but it was hard to keep up with the pace that the man had set.

In the back of both of their minds, they had each assumed that it would feel strange to kiss a guy, and both of them were amazed by how right it felt.

Had it been anyone else, Tony didn't think it would have been the same.

It was Jimmy…and that was what made it so amazing for him. And he tasted good. Very good.

He moved his left hand from Palmer's hair and used it instead to explore the expanse of bare chest that was laid out before him. His skin burned beneath his fingertips, and he felt the younger man shiver at his touch, and Tony grinned.

He gently pulled away from Palmer's lips and grinned again when he heard him let out a slight whimper, and instead now latched his mouth onto the skin at his neck.

Jimmy could barely believe what was happening, and found he was rather helpless against the oppressive wave of lust that was Anthony DiNozzo, even though he, James Palmer, had been the one to start the whole thing by kissing him.

Or had Tony started it when he'd offered to help Jimmy with his back?

Or, on the other hand, had it all started when he'd first asked to have someone help him with his back?

Soon, however, the questions left his mind as his hormones took over and he began to return the agent's affections, one hand deftly pulling on the edge of Tony's shirt and then quickly sliding his hand up underneath it and his undershirt, encountering warm, firm flesh.

He heard a hitch in Tony's voice and he smiled, glad to know that he was getting to him.

Feeling even more bold, he slid his left leg around the older man's, pressing the two of them tighter together, a delicious pressure for the both of them…

…and then he heard a cough.

He froze in his ministrations, but Tony didn't, and he discreetly tried to get his attention by gently pushing him away, but Tony merely pressed against the pressure and murmured into his neck as he still nibbled at it, "No…I don't want to stop…"

Jimmy cleared his throat.

"Tony…Dr. Mallard's here."

At that, Tony snapped away quickly and was recovering his clothing faster than Palmer had ever seen anyone do before. In the space of time that it took Palmer to blink in slight confusion at the sudden loss of Tony's warm body and look over at him, the agent had already recovered his shirt, now properly tucked back in at the waist, his sleeves properly rolled down and buttoned, and was already half-finished with tying his tie.

"Ducky!" he said, throwing the doctor one of his devil-may-care grins. "Didn't know you were there…"

The coroner gave him a stern glare and then arched a slightly amused eyebrow.

"Obviously, Anthony. Now, may I have my assistant back? We have a body coming in from Quantico of a recently deceased Naval officer, and I will need his two able hands."

Tony nodded and headed for the door, grabbing his jacket from the back of the chair that he'd thrown it over and then tossing the bottle of topical ointment slash lotion in Palmer's direction, which he barely caught with unsteady hands, still unsure of how to react to the situation.

"Hope the back feels better, Palmer. See ya!"

And he was gone, leaving Jimmy feeling very confused by the whole situation.

He stood there feeling more awkward by the moment as he became aware of the fact that he still wasn't wearing a shirt. He saw Ducky give him a pointed glare and, after picking up his glasses from the floor and sliding them back on, he quickly shuffled over to the small locker that was in the back corner of the room and pulled out a plain white shirt that he kept for use at the office gym.

He was surprised by how easily he was able to move his shoulders. The tension that usually rested just under his neck and in his upper shoulders was gone.

Not just eased somewhat with the promise of returning, like it was whenever he took painkillers, but it was…gone. Vanished.

"Wow," he said under his breath, amazed by the unfamiliar feeling, but then he heard another discreet cough and he was reminded that Ducky was still in the room, so he quickly grabbed the shirt of his scrubs and pulled it on over the t-shirt.

"Sorry, Doctor Mallard…" He turned around, tying the cap over his head as did so. "So, where are we starting?"

Ducky said nothing, giving his assistant a scrutinizing look as he sat down on the stool next to the closest autopsy table.

He then took a deep breath and said, "Mister Palmer…normally I wouldn't pry into anyone's personal, uh, issues, especially with a fellow colleague and work associate, but when you flaunt them so openly in front of me, I can't help but wonder about several important things."

Jimmy wasn't going to respond, but he couldn't say nothing, so he simply asked, "What do you mean, doctor?"

"Well, the first thing that comes to mind is your significant other, Breena, and how she might react to such…uh, information."

At hearing that, it felt as though a bucket of ice water had been dumped over him. His girlfriend, Breena. Breena. How on God's green earth had he forgotten about her? How had he forgotten about his wonderful girlfriend that he truly cared for?

What the hell had he been thinking? And, for that case, what the hell had Tony been thinking?

"Oh, God…Doctor Mallard, I-I…I don't know what to say, I-I…I'm sorry-"

Ducky cut him off.

"You're apologizing to the wrong person, James."

Ducky used his first name. His proper first name. He was being serious, and Palmer braced himself for the lecture; for the sharp words that he was certain would cut him down to size. Oh, he knew Ducky would nice about it, but it would be the meaning behind them, the disappointment in the tone that he was certain he would hear.

But then he said something that took him completely off guard, and caused him to think.

"Now, the most important question is…to whom will you be apologizing to?"

Palmer said nothing, taken aback by the question, slightly offended by it, but knowing the truth behind it. And he slowly came to the realization that Ducky must have been watching him for quite some time if he had noticed the fact that he had feelings for the older man.

And he also realized that he had no idea what to do.

Who would he be apologizing to?

Ducky gave him a knowing look, tilting his head in his direction and then said, "You can go for now, Mister Palmer. I think I can take care of this one on my own. I think you have enough to worry about."

In a bit of a daze, he turned back around and took off the scrubs, changing into a pair of slightly tight jeans that he hadn't worn in a long time. As he tied the laces on his second-hand army boots, he let his mind wander, trying to figure out what to do.

His mind continued to wander through his thoughts, wading through them practically, and then went through the motions of getting his stuff together, throwing his inherited black bomber jacket over his shoulders, and the next thing he knew he found himself standing in the bullpen in front of Tony's desk which was sans Tony. In fact, the entire bullpen was empty of agents as it was past midnight.

He stared at the empty desk, his eyes taking on a longing look, but serious, so instead of looking like his usual puppy dog self, he was strangely quiet, his eyes hard, jaw set.

He had a decision to make…

…and he no idea what to do about it.

Part 1/?