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Title: Formalities
By: nancy
Pairing: Tony/Gibbs
Fandom: NCIS
Rating: NC-17
Series: 1) Courtesan
Warnings: slave!fic, angst, femme
Summary: Jethro gets roped into a formal affair with unexpected results.


Tony grinned from the bedroom doorway as he watched Jethro fight with the black bow-tie for a few seconds and then stepped forward with, "Need some help, Master?"

"I do not," the other man growled, yanking the knot free and trying again.

Tony stood there for a few more seconds, waiting patiently, and then reached for the mangled tie when Jethro gestured impatiently at him. He had it tied in short order and then slid his hands down the sharply pressed, expensive white shirt. It was a perfect fit, of course, as were the black slacks and the jacket waiting to be donned.

Jethro scowled at him and said, "Are you ready?"

Wisely deciding not to provoke the man's temper further, Tony merely nodded demurely and confirmed, "When you are, Master."

Jethro muttered something under his breath and stalked from the room, snaring his jacket on the way. Tony hid a grin and followed him. The three months since he'd been owned by Gibbs had by far been the most interesting and contradictory in his life. On the one hand, Jethro snarled at everyone except Abby; on the other hand, he was fiercely protective of his entire team. They could be lounging in bed one second and off to a violent crime scene in the next. Tony had been shot at three times, so far, and knocked unconscious once; when he'd come to, the man who'd assaulted him had been just as unconscious and far more bruised.

One remaining constant, however, was Gibbs' hatred for all things formal and political. He had no choice about attending tonight's gala and was making everyone's life miserable until it was over. Tony was both amused and indulgent, though he was careful not to show either to his Master. He reaped the benefits of Jethro's bad mood, after all, when the man had to 'work off some steam' in the gym and then they wound up in the showers to work off a different kind of steam. Plus, seeing Jethro in formal attire was worth any kind of attitude; the man was hot.

Jethro opened the passenger's side door for him, something Tony had grown accustomed to, and Tony waited while the other man walked around and got behind the wheel. The drive to the Smithsonian took a good forty minutes and Tony used the time to just hold his Master's hand and chatter away about McGee's latest foible with Abby and how he wasn't sure Abby would forgive him soon enough to go with McGee tonight.

By the time they parked, Jethro looked a lot more relaxed, though the tension around his eyes remained. He looked at Tony and said, "Thank you."

Tony kissed the back of his hand and replied, "You're welcome."

Jethro's mouth quirked into a brief grin before he tugged his hand free and got out of the car. Tony waited for him to walk around and open the door, climbing out easily and taking his Master's arm for the walk inside. It would be an evening of speeches, dinner, dancing, awards, and music.

Tony couldn't wait to see if he could get his Master on the dance floor.

*  *  *  *

The only bright spot of the entire night was Tony. Jethro couldn't help the smugness from creeping up as everyone's eyes lingered on his Courtesan. He was dressed in fitted black slacks and a deep green, silky shirt that brought out his eyes; eyes that were lined with kohl in the fashion of a Courtesan out at a special event. He was like something out of a fashion magazine, his feet encased in leather sandals that should have looked out of place, but instead gave him an air of ancient appeal.

There was mingling first, of course. Even Jethro understood that the wheels had to be greased, although he did it as little as possible. They met up with Jenny, who looked stunning in an emerald gown that briefly made him wonder if maybe his slave and his boss had conspired against him. She steered them towards a few senators and a bunch of admirals, though the only one he could get any real conversation going with was Chegwidden, who used to be a SEAL.

Abby, McGee, Kate, and Ziva were all at the table after dinner was announced. The food was fair to middling, but at least there wouldn't be any food poisoning. Tony ate delicately in a way that he hadn't yet in Jethro's sight. Each bite was perfectly cut into mouth-sized portions and he never spoke with his mouth full. It was a complete one-eighty from the hearty, large bites he took from burgers and overfilled forks of pasta or Chinese food. Tony's tongue frequently slid over his lips as if to make sure they were clean and that led Jethro's thoughts down an entirely different line of thought.

The speeches and awards portion took the longest, of course, and Jethro would have gone out of his mind with boredom if Tony hadn't been there. The slave made really funny observations and imitations of everyone who ascended the dais that had their table in muffled stitches as they tried not to bring undue attention to themselves. Even Jethro had trouble not laughing, at least until his own name was called for a commendation.

He scowled and looked at Jenny, who just smiled serenely at him. Glancing at Tony, Jethro ordered, "You get it."

Tony blinked at him in surprise. "Are you sure, Master?"

Jethro only had to lift an irritated eyebrow for Tony to jump to his feet and stride down towards the dais. He had to admit that Tony looked completely natural on the small stage, accepting the award with a smile and then leaning briefly towards the microphone to say, "My Master decided I would give you something nicer to look at while accepting the award on his behalf. He thanks the Arms Committee for the commendation with sincerest gratitude."

Laughter greeted the first line and applause the second. It was more than Jethro would have gotten, had he actually gone up there and he decided then and there to make Tony accept all his awards in the future.

Tony sat back down and offered the velvet box, but Jethro waved it away and said, "I never keep the damn things. They would just collect dust."

Though he looked surprised again, it was a thoughtful kind of surprise and Tony winked and commented, "At least it wasn't another Courtesan this time."

There was laughter around the table at that, but Jethro only muttered, "Thank God," only to realize that was the wrong response from the hurt look that flashed over the slave's face. He winced mentally and understood that of course, Tony would still be sensitive about how Jethro had tried to get rid of him at first.

Knowing that Tony had wanted to dance tonight, hoping it would make it up a little, Jethro stood when the last award had been dispensed and the music began. He held a hand out to Tony and asked, "Would you do me the honor of this dance?"

Tony's eyes widened in pleasure and he stood, taking Jethro's hand. "I would love to."

It was a swing band, the music come round again to being trendy, but they were playing the slower standards and mostly couples adorned the floor. Jethro tugged Tony into his arms and rested one over the slave's lower back. A hint of something delicate and spicy filled his nose, the cologne or shampoo different from what Tony normally wore. Jethro liked it best when all Tony wore was the soap he bathed in, but wasn't mean enough to take away the fragrances that the slave so loved.

Jethro turned Tony around the dance floor with moves he hadn't used in a long, long time. None of his wives save Shannon had ever gotten him to dance, which probably told him a lot about how he felt for Tony.

A tap on his shoulder in the third dance interrupted them and he stepped back to find a man he didn't know looking at him. He was tall and broad, probably in his early forties, with sandy colored hair and blue eyes. Jethro stayed neutral as he prompted, "Yes?"

"Mind if I cut in?" the man requested.

Jethro felt Tony tense in his arms and replied, "I do, yeah. Who are you?"


Jethro didn't bother waiting for the rest of the name. If he didn't have a title that forced Jethro to listen, he wasn't going to waste his or Tony's time. He certainly wasn't going to subject Tony to dancing with a stranger.

"Ah, Master? You do know that's Harry Renquist? He's like the head of a multi-billion dollar corporation with government contracts, right?" Tony told him.

Shrugging, Jethro answered complacently, "Nope. Don't care now that I do know. We were dancing."

Tony made a pleased sound and settled back against him for the rest of the song. And three more after that. By the time they returned to the table, Jenny and Ziva had left, Kate was dancing with her doctor boyfriend, and Abby had forgiven McGee enough to dance with him. They had the table to themselves, but Jethro decided it was time to head home. "C'mon, Tony. Let's go."

"Leaving without saying goodbye?"

Jethro caught the surprise in Tony's voice and shrugged again. "They're surprised that I'm still here, not that I'm leaving without goodbyes."

Tony obediently took Jethro's arm when it was offered, but not before snagging the velvet box on the table. Walking out of the Smithsonian, Jethro noticed that just as many people ogled Tony on the way out and straightened in possessive pride. Tony was his and no one else could touch him.

*  *  *  *

Jethro didn't think anything about the Smithsonian event until Mr. Harry Renquist showed up at NCIS a couple of weeks later. He was watching Kate and Ziva argue, amused at the insults flying back and forth, when he caught sight of the man being escorted by Jenny. He was dressed expensively, but it was the way his gaze locked onto Tony that made Jethro sit up and take notice. The Courtesan sat a short distance away, talking to McGee about something that had the younger man grinning and blushing.

Objectively speaking, Tony looked good enough to eat, dressed casually in slacks and a snug shirt. His feet were covered in regular shoes, but his earring glinted in the overhead light like a beacon.

Jethro said loudly, "Anyone who doesn't have something legitimate to work on in thirty seconds gets an assignment. From me."

Like magic, Kate and Ziva swirled apart, each to her own desk, and McGee instantly hunched over his keyboard. Tony stood with a grin and faced him, but it faded on catching his expression. If it matched the irritation at Renquist's intrusion, then Jethro wasn't surprised the grin had disappeared.

Jethro stood just as Jenny and Renquist arrived, motioning Tony behind him with a flick of the finger. Once the slave stood at his shoulder, Jethro felt a little better and greeted, "Director. Mr. Renquist."

"Gibbs, I see you remember Mr. Renquist," Jenny replied easily. "Good. He's requested a tour of the facilities and I thought that since you were between cases, you could attend to him."

Jehro restrained the sarcasm waiting to get out as he said, "I live to serve."

Her eyebrows went up, but all she said was, "I'm glad to hear it. Bring him back to my office once you're done."

Glancing at Tony, he ordered, "Stay put."

Tony nodded demurely and took Jethro's seat at his desk, pulling out a file that needed finishing without comment.

The tour itself was as dry and thorough and boring as Jethro could make it. He went through every single department, including autopsy, and allowed Ducky to ramble on for several minutes. Stories that he'd heard before and could tune out while still responding appropriately while he thought about why Renquist was really at NCIS. It had to do with Tony, he was sure.

In the elevator, he hit the emergency stop button and squared off against the slightly bigger man. "So what really brings you to NCIS? It's not for a tour."

"Your Courtesan," Renquist replied, just as blunt. "I want him."

Jethro's hands wanted to clench into fists, but he stayed calm. "You can't have him. Once a Courtesan's assigned, that's it. Everyone knows that."

Shrugging easily, Renquist informed him, "There are exceptions to every rule, given enough incentive and believe me, I have plenty of incentive to give."

"You're saying you can buy him?" Jethro prompted.

Renquist nodded. "Whatever the price. Name it."

Jethro eyed him a long moment before saying, "There is no price. Tony is not for sale."

"Everyone has a price, Gibbs, even you. Say, your job? Or those of your team? Maybe repossession of that house of yours."

The words washed over Jethro like so much white noise, the threats keeping him rooted to the floor. If he moved, it would be to plant a fist in Renquist's face. Or somewhere further south and a lot more painful.

"On the other hand, if you were to give me a figure, no matter how many zeroes were in it, I'm sure that rule could be broken with no adverse consequences to you or your team," Renquist finished.

Jethro took a slow, even breath and then walked calmly up to Renquist, right in his personal space, just about nose to nose. In a quiet, easy tone, he said, "I'm going to pretend I didn't just hear you threatening Federal Agents. That's my gift to you, considering how much the Navy seems to like you. Don't make the mistake that other have."

Seemingly not cowed, Renquist questioned, "And what mistake is that?"

Jethro's lips quirked into a crooked smile as he leaned in and said, right against Renquist's ear, "Just because I don't kill, doesn't mean I won't."

Stepping back, he calmly unstopped the elevator, which opened onto the office floor seconds later. Jenny stood outside with an anxious look on her face. Whatever she saw on Renquist's face made her glare of Jethro and say to Renquist, "I thought we might go out and get something to eat. On me, of course. Gibbs, I think you have a case now."

Jethro gave her a minor salute and traded places with her on the elevator. He smirked a little at Renquist as the doors closed and then turned to where his team studiously wasn't looking his way.

Tony stood when he arrived back at his desk and asked brightly, "Tour over? All limbs accounted for? No bloodstains to wash out?"

Jethro snorted and answered, "Not this time. Case?"

Kate practically sprung up from her seat as she replied, "Body found in uniform at a motel."

"And you're all still at your desks why?" Jethro asked, pointed.

That caused a mass exodus and Ziva and Kate to begin arguing again, this time over who was driving. Tony preempted them by asking loudly, "Can I drive, Boss?"

Just as loud, Jethro agreed, "Yes, Tony, you may."

He hid a grin by coughing into his hand when simultaneous glares from Kate and Ziva swung to Tony. He was a big boy, though, and could handle the girls just fine without Jethro's help. Grabbing his bag, he followed the querulous team into the elevator and shook his head fondly as he pressed the button for the garage.

The next time Jenny tried to rope him into another function, he wasn't going. This time he had an excuse. He doubted that Jenny wanted to deal with another situation like this one.

The elevator closed on his satisfied grin.