a/n - I wasn't going to post this at first because when I started this story, there was quite a purge going on here. Things have calmed down around here, so here it is. I'm currently working on chapter 15 of 17, so it's almost done. Since we can't update any current stories today, I thought I'd give you guys the first chapter of this one instead. Whenever I can get into the "manage stories" you'll get a chapter of Laboring. I actually have two chapters of Laboring ready to publish and five of the next seven roughed out.

Paradox of Love

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.

Mother Teresa

"Welcome back to DC, DiNozzo. Take a long weekend to get settled in, all of you, and you'll be on the rotation starting Monday. Gibbs, a word please." Director Vance didn't look back and he climbed the stairs.

Gibbs turned to the rest of them. "Get out of here, you three. Enjoy your three day weekend." Ziva scurried down to Abby's lab, eager for the promised girls' weekend to start, leaving Tony and Tim alone.

"Come on, I'll give you a ride." Tim picked up his backpack and headed for the elevator. Tony was just a few steps behind him and caught up just as the elevator doors opened. As the metal box started to move, Tony's hand crept down Tim's arm to grasp at his hand. He squeezed Tim's hand once before throwing the emergency switch and pulling Tim close.

"God, I never thought I'd get to do this again."

Tim could feel Tony shaking against him and wrapped his arms around the older man. "It's okay, Tony. You heard the Director, it's wasn't a punishment."

"Sure felt like one." He nuzzled the side of Tim's neck. "I missed you so much, babe. Gonna make it so good tonight, gonna finally be buried in that sweet ass of yours. I've waited so long to be your first."

When Tim stiffened in his arms, alarm bells started doing off in DiNozzo's head. "Timmy?"

Shaking his head, McGee worried his lower lip with his teeth. "Let's just go back to my place and talk first, okay?" McGee pulled away and turned the elevator back on, not looking Tony in the eye, but he flinched when Tony ran his hand across his backside.

Tony wasn't willing to let it go. "Who was it? After all the months you made me wait, who'd you let fuck your ass, McGee?"

"Tony, don't."

Tim was the one that reached out this time, but Tony shoved him away. "You pompous, self-righteous bastard. Did you even wait until we were clear of the dock?" The elevator delivered them to the garage level and he stormed out, ignoring Tim's pleas to listen. A blonde from the accounting department was just getting ready to pull out and he grabbed a ride with her, leaving Tim standing in the parking lot.

"Damn it, Tony, it wasn't what you thought."


He'd given up drinking months ago, realizing that nothing would permanently block the memories of the night that continued to haunt him, but tonight Tim was sorely tempted to get plastered, to have one night when he didn't remember. It was only the fear of what he would do if he was drunk that kept him drinking coffee as he sat alone in his apartment. It was well after midnight when Marty called from the Watering Hole, the gay friendly bar he and Tony had discovered soon after their first fumbling night after a bad case. Tim slipped his shoes back on and was out the door before he thought about what Tony was doing there by himself.

Since it was a Thursday night, the bar was relatively quiet when McGee arrived. He spotted Tony, face down at the bar with Marty keeping watch. "Hey, Marty, thanks for the call."

"No problem, take him home and sort it out, whatever it is, alright?"

That was easier said than done, but Tim just concentrated on getting Tony upright and out to the car. He was panting heavily by the time he got Tony in the passenger seat of the Porsche. Tony opened a bleary eye and glared at him. "What are you doing, McGee?"

"Getting you out of there before you do something stupid." Tim bent down and lifted Tony's feet, swinging his legs into the car.

Tony wasn't sure which of the three McGee's he saw was actually the real one, so he just pointed in the general direction. "Wasn't going to do anything stupid, you've already done it." He looked around as the car started to move. "Where... where are we going?"

"I'm taking you back to my place to sober up, unless you want the Director to find out that you got smashed your first day back." When Tony didn't answer, Tim gave him a careful look. "You're not going to puke in my car, are you?"

"DiNozzo's are never so drunk that we puke, McGeek. Have to uphold the family honor."

The green tint to his skin wasn't very convincing. "Fine, just keep telling yourself that until we get to the apartment."

It wasn't a surprise that he barely got Tony upstairs and in the bathroom of his apartment before the DiNozzo family honor was sacrificed to the porcelain gods. When it was finally over, he helped Tony lean back against the wall and gently washed his face. Red rimmed eyes stared at him. "I think I hate you, McGee."

Tim tossed the washcloth into the sink and sat across from Tony, pulling his knees up under his chin. "Sometimes, I hate me, too."

"Just tell me why. Why him and not me. What was it that made you do it?"

He scrubbed at his face, refusing to let Tony see him cry. "I'm not sure I had a choice."

"What? What do you mean, you're not sure?" Some things can instantly sober up a man; that would be one of them. "Tim, tell me what happened. Who hurt you?"

McGee shook his head as he levered himself off the floor. "It doesn't matter anymore."

"The hell it doesn't." Tony staggered, but managed to get to his feet and followed Tim back into the bedroom. "Damn it, Tim, talk to me. What happened?"

Tim didn't stop in the bedroom, but continued on into the main room, leaning against the kitchen counter. Tony stood in back of him, a supportive hand on his shoulder. "Tim, if something happened that you didn't consent to, then you were raped. Did you report it?"

"God, no." Tim let his head drop further, curling inward as he tried to shut it all out, knowing that Tony would hate him even more if he knew what happened. "He was sick and I didn't fight him. He doesn't remember it anyways. It's over, Tony, let it go."

Tony shook his head. "I can't. Whoever this bastard is, he hurt you and I can't just let it go. Just tell me who it was." When Tim didn't answer, Tony started going through possible suspects in his mind. He knew that Tim had been stuck in cybercrimes, but he couldn't imagine anyone there who had the control over McGee to convince the man not to fight back. "If you don't tell me, I'll go to Vance."

"Please, no, you can't do that." Tim turned and grabbed Tony's shirt. "Please, Tony."

It was killing Tony to be the bad guy, but he was convinced it was the only way. "It'll be okay, Tim, I promise. Just tell me and I'll take care of it." He wrapped his arms around Tim and trailed kisses across his face. "I'll take care of you, I promise. Nobody is going to hurt you again."

Tim couldn't hold the tears back any longer. "You'll hate me."

"No, babe, I could never hate you. Come on, tell me and I'll keep you safe." When he finally felt a trembling nod against his chest, Tony walked Tim back to the bedroom and sat him down on the bed before kneeling down in front of him. "It's going to be all right, I promise. Just start at the beginning and tell me what happened."