Upping the Ante
‘Kate! You and McGee check out the bedrooms!’ Gibbs’ voice echoes from the basement walls as he descends the last three steps, the order answered by a distant ‘On it, Boss,’ from upstairs.
Tony laughs softly, grateful – for once – not to be on the receiving end of Gibbs’ irritation. It had been Kate’s job to fuel the truck this morning and her omission had left them stranded at the side of the road for thirty minutes while McGee jogged to the nearest gas station with a fuel can.
‘DiNozzo?’ Gibbs barks, as he stands in the centre of the chamber and pivots in a slow circle.
‘Am I looking at what I think I’m looking at?’
Tony’s smirk quickly fades as he meets the cold blue gaze. He’s got a pretty good idea what they are looking at, but it always pays to check that he and Gibbs are on the same page.
‘Umm... I guess a – home gym?’ Okay, so it’s not really that far from the truth: he can certainly guarantee that a fair amount of ‘exercise’ takes place down here.
Gibbs snorts – ‘Yeah, right...’ – and wanders away, pausing next to a piece of equipment that could almost be a regular vaulting box– if it wasn’t for the very sturdy looking rings attaching two equally sturdy looking sets of handcuffs to the base. The shadow that crosses his face as he strokes a hand over the well-worn padding sets Tony’s pulse racing.
‘What’s in the lockers?’ he asks.
Tony swallows. ‘Lo-lockers?’
‘Over there, DiNozzo...’
There are eight of them; two tiers of four apiece. He works his way through them, one by one, his blush deepening with each new discovery. He’s not naive, knows things like this exist – has even handled some at drunken, frat-house gatherings – but never this many, this close. It’s unnerving yet – exciting.
‘Find anything interesting?’
Gibbs’ voice, suddenly so close to his ear, makes him shiver. He stammers ‘N-not really...’ and moves to close the door, but Gibbs’ hand grips the edge and pulls it open again.
The toys in this particular locker are probably amongst the most innocuous of the lot, yet still Tony wants to die of embarrassment. If ever he and Gibbs allow their relationship to stray into this world – which, he thinks, is highly unlikely – it will be in private, behind locked doors.
He almost flinches when he feels the pressure of Gibbs’ hand as it comes to rest in the small of his back, and the deep growl of ‘Relax, Tony,’ that vibrates against his ear sends a shiver down his spine. In sheer horror – or could it be fascination? – he watches as Gibbs reaches a gloved hand into the locker and begins picking up the items, one by one. Purple rubber, flesh-toned latex, beads and studs, leather and silk: Gibbs’ hand brushes over them all, some swiftly, others enticing a more lingering examination.
‘How much d’you think all this cost?’ He sweeps his hand in a wide arc that encompasses the playroom equipment as well as the lockers, then drops it back again to Tony’s hip.
‘What... What makes you think I’d know, Boss?’
A shrug. ‘You’re a man of the world.’ Mocking laughter. ‘You surf all those internet sites, read all those magazines... You saying you never used anything like this?’
Tony’s mouth is desert-dry, his heart thump-thumping against his ribs. ‘Me? No! Honest, Gibbs...’ He half-turns, shooting a look at his lover’s profile, trying to decide what the hell is going on here. But Gibbs concentration is still on the contents of the cupboard.
At least, that’s how it appears.
Until the hand on his hip creeps round to rest on – Oh shit! – on his ass, squeezing lightly before slowly, inch by inch, making its way up under his jacket, tugging his shirt free.
In an instant one word zings through Tony’s mind: Payback!
Three weeks ago, on their way to interview the widow of a dead marine, he had dared to get a little more up close and personal with Gibbs that their private code allowed. They had a ‘hands off’ at work, and not only had he broken that rule, he had done so with Kate sitting beside Gibbs in the car. It had been a huge risk, but it had actually been the possibility of Kate turning around and catching him doing it that had made it all the more exciting. What’s more, Gibbs had responded, capturing and squeezing Tony’s hand as if to say that it didn’t matter, that he understood. Nothing more had been said on the matter and once the case was closed they had spent an entire weekend getting to know each other again.
Tony had forgotten what a long memory Gibbs had when it came to such things.
‘So, what do you think?’ Gibbs’ breath is hot against the side of his face, lips brushing his ear. And Gibbs wants to know what he thinks? As if he was capable of any coherent thought at that moment.
‘About the toys? Think you might like to – give something a try sometime?’ He abandons his examination of the too-realistic phallus and turns his attention to Tony. A vinyl glove snags on the fabric of Tony’s shirt as his hand slips inside Tony’s coat, seeking – and finding – one hardening nipple.
Tony groans, legs turning rubbery. Payback – in spades! ‘Jethro... we can’t...’
‘Why not?’ Gibbs leans in to run the tip of his tongue around Tony’s ear. ‘Nobody here but us.’
‘Kate?’ A rumble of rich, earthy laughter. ‘Kate’s up in the bedroom... with McGee.’ A nip to the earlobe. ‘Who knows what they’re getting up to... ?’ He pinches the tiny nub through the thin cloth, twists it – and a jolt of lust goes straight to Tony’s cock.
‘Please what, Tony?’ Gibbs hand moves lower; thumb and finger grip the tag of the zipper, sliding it down. ‘Please stop?’ His fingers briefly tease inside the open fly before he cups his palm over Tony’s erection. ‘Or maybe you want me to strip you bare and spread you over that box thing? Hmm?’ Beneath the shirt, his nails rake Tony’s side, hard enough to leave marks. ‘But what d’you think Kate would say...if she came down here and found you bare-ass naked, with my dick up your ass?’
The image is vivid in Tony’s mind and he moans. ‘Bastard..!’, biting his bottom lip to stop himself from sobbing out his sudden burning need. He loves it when Gibbs talks dirty; it gets him so hot, but now is not the time or place. If this goes on much longer there will be no turning back.
As if on cue, from high above them Kate’s voice echoes through the house, calling Gibbs’ name. Tony tries to pull free, but Gibbs only increases his grip, moving his hand up and down the thickening shaft as he yells back ‘Down here, Kate.’
‘Down where?’ she calls, her voice still distant but, like her footsteps, coming ever closer.
In desperation, Tony grasps Gibbs’ wrist and drags it away from him. ‘I know why you’re doing this,’ he hisses, ‘and you’re right, it was a dumb thing to do.’
‘Yes, it was,’ Gibbs confirms. ‘If Kate had noticed...’
‘I know, and I’m sorry. Okay? You wanna take it out of my ass, that’s fine. You can do what you like to me when we get home – but keep Kate out of it. Please, Boss?’
Gibbs considers this for a moment, then: ‘I get to do anything I want?’
‘Anything.’ He notices how the blue eyes flick to the open cupboard and he smiles. ‘Yeah, even that, if that’s what you want. You know I trust you.’
Three words that change the whole mood of the moment, pulling them back from the edge. He means every one of those words, knows that whatever Gibbs wants of him he will do.
To his surprise, Gibbs sighs and pushes the locker door shut. ‘Only when you’re ready,’ he promises.
Just as suddenly as it started, it’s over and Gibbs is all business once more. He zips Tony’s pants for him, smoothes his shirt, runs shaking fingers through the dark hair to settle it into place. ‘When you’re ready to take that step, you only have to say the word.’
Stepping away, he turns and heads for the stairs, calling for Kate to wait for him up there, and Tony smiles fondly, grateful that his lover is giving him a moment to compose himself before facing the others. He looks at the locker, then across at the ‘vaulting box’ and a ripple of anticipation runs through him.
Why the hell not?
As Gibbs reaches the top of the stairs, Tony calls out to him. ‘Hey, Boss...’
‘Yeah?’ Gibbs pauses, looking back and Tony can read the hope in his eyes.
‘I’m saying the word.’
A brief nod acknowledges the words, a tiny smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. ‘Soon as we get this wrapped up, we’ll talk. Okay?’
‘Okay,’ Tony agrees, and just like that the deal is made.
As he climbs the stairs in his lover’s wake, Tony can’t help wondering if the Monroe sisters would be willing to rent out their basement for a couple of hours.