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Series: 1) The Ring, 2) Respite, 3) Death Match, 4) Whore, 5) Broken
Warnings: DARKFIC!!! rape, violence, brutality
Summary: Tony vanishes and Gibbs tracks him into the violence of a human slavery ring. Nothing else matters.
Many things consumed Jethro as he followed the guard to Tony's cell. He needed to kill someone else. He needed to rage at Tony. He needed to fuck Tony comatose. He needed to put his mark all over Tony's body. He really needed to kill someone else.
As the guard opened the door, he smirked and told him, "Try not to break him too badly. Sir wants him ready to go tomorrow for your match. There are some guests coming who want to try out his ass."
Which only ratcheted up his fury, knowing that it would happen every time he had a match, maybe even when he didn't. Tony had sold himself for a day with him. Every kind of ugly word that could be used to describe the younger man sprang to mind, urgently seeking an outlet: whore, slut, cocksucker, fag, useless, disloyal, worthless, cunt. All of them pounded in his head, ready to escape to let Tony know exactly what kind of weak bitch he was.
And then he was in the cell, ready to light into Tony, but stopped short at the sight that met him. Tony lay in a ball under the cot, facing away from the door, curled far smaller than a man of his size had any right to be. His arms covered his head, as if expecting blows to come. It hit him then, that Tony expected to be beaten.
That he expected Jethro to beat him.
Nausea rose fast, right alongside self-loathing, and he took several steadying breaths. Jethro knew, then, just how close he'd just come to destroying them both. Tony's scant sense of self-worth would have been completely shredded, had Jethro called him even one of those words. The young man had always put too much stock in what others thought of him, but even more so what Jethro thought.
He closed his eyes and sent a prayer of thanks skyward. In spite of their surroundings and what they were forced to do, Jethro felt the touch of the Divine in saving him from himself.
Jethro opened his eyes and knelt beside the cot before lying on his side. He thought for a minute, trying to find something to say, and finally led with, "McGee has a crush on you."
For a long minute, nothing happened, but then Tony slowly turned over to face him. Looking puzzled, he asked, "After everything that just happened, that's what you say?"
"Just thought you might want to know," Jethro replied, smiling as best he could.
Tony blinked at him a few times and then observed, "You're a strange man, Boss."
Jethro held out a hand, his smile coming more naturally, and waited. He could be patient when the prize was worth it, and this one definitely was. It took a few more minutes, as if Tony was expecting the other shoe to drop and hit him in the head, but finally his hand reached out to rest in Jethro's. Using it, he tugged Tony out from under the cot and into his arms.
They stayed like that for a long time. Jethro's hand stroked up and down Tony's back while the other man clung to him, face pressed to his throat. Eventually, though, his body protested the hard floor and he had to say, "Let's move this somewhere a little more comfortable."
Tony sighed, but nodded and they shifted to the cot. Carding his fingers through Tony's hair, Jethro kissed him softly and continued to hold his lover carefully, but firmly. Tony was far too thin, his ribs practically visible, his muscles withering from a lack of food and exercise. Gone was the flashy playboy, replaced by an uncertain wraith. "Tony, what do they feed you?"
Pushing onto an elbow, Tony half-laughed and told him, "Nothing you want to eat, believe me. Why?"
"Because you're way too thin," Jethro observed. "Do you eat what they bring you?"
Grimacing, Tony said, "When I can. Sometimes I can't keep it down."
"Does that happen a lot?"
"I don't know, every couple of days, I guess. I can't really tell, you know?"
For the first time, Jethro really looked at his surroundings. Always before, he'd been too focused on Tony to pay them any attention. What he saw sent a shiver of rage through him, but he quickly suppressed it, not wanting Tony to think he'd done anything wrong. He mentally kicked his own ass and thought, What the hell is wrong with you? Pay the hell attention, Gibbs!
"I'm going to fix this," Jethro promised. "And when real food starts coming, I want you to eat it, okay? Do your best to keep it down."
Tony's laugh held a slightly hysterical edge, as did his voice when he said, "What are you going to offer in exchange, Gibbs? There's nothing left to give them."
Oh, I can think of a few things, Jethro thought darkly. Like not taking out every guard they send to get me.
Out loud, he said, "You let me worry about that. Just trust me, okay?"
"Always," Tony sighed, pressing his mouth to Jethro's chest.
Jethro was humbled by such an admission and cleared his throat against its tightness. He hadn't said this in many, many years, but he knew it was time. With how their lives currently were, he might not get another chance. Tilting Tony's face up with a finger under the chin, he said quietly, "I love you, Tony. You're...a part of me now. You always were, but now...so much more. Love isn't strong enough for what I feel for you."
Tears sparked in Tony's eyes, but didn't fall. He blinked rapidly and whispered, "I love you, too, Boss. Take what you said and double it and that's not even close."
"No matter what happens, Tony," Jethro vowed.
Tony nodded and echoed, "No matter what."
***Next story in series: Please.