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Paradox of Love chapter 9




Tony looked up when Tim came in, alone, but through the window he could see Gibbs pacing back and forth. "Problem?"


"I don't know, find out in a minute." Tim left the door open behind him and they both watched as Gibbs visibly squared his shoulders and walked up to the porch. In spite of everything else going on, they were both honestly curious about what the older man would think of the place


"Hey, Boss." Speaking to Gibbs for the first time since his arrival, Tony watched as sharp blue eyes took in every detail.


Gibbs looked suitable surprised and impressed. "Nice place, Tony. How'd you find it?"


"It's Tim's, he owns it."


Surprised, Gibbs looked closer at McGee. "Yours?"






When he'd been told by Tony that they had a cabin they were going to, Gibbs had assumed it was someplace they'd rented for the weekend. Now, walking up to the obviously hand built, A-frame log cabin, he wasn't so sure. Renters weren't responsible for maintenance and they looked too settled in and comfortable to be new to the place.


Curious now, he walked through the open door and looked around as the boys watched him closely. For the rustic simplicity of the outside, the inside was much nicer than he expected. Open and inviting, he'd stepped into one large room. The right side held a remarkably modern kitchen, despite the lodge style cabinets that filled the right wall and part of the main wall in front of him A doorway broke the main wall in half, with the rest of the wall being taken up with an impressive stone fireplace. The fireplace was two-sided as he could see the edge of a bed past the pile of logs. Gibbs asked about the place and was surprised by the answer.




"Yeah, I inherited it from an uncle."


Tony wanted Gibbs to know more, needed him to see how much Tim was capable of. "Yeah, but it didn't exactly look like this when you got it."


When Tim just shrugged, Tony kept talking. "The first time we came out here, there was a den of opossum living in the fireplace, the only way to get water was to use a hand pump and it was a long walk to the outhouse."


Tim had to smile at the memories. "Tony wasn't thrilled with the hornet nest in the outhouse."


"No, I wasn't. Told him we had to have indoor plumbing if I was ever going to come out here with him again."


"Yep, so the next week I got the permits and hired someone to come out and install a septic tank."


Of all of Tim's traits, his modesty about things like this was Tony's least favorite. Especially in contrast to his pride in his work abilities. "That's all he hired out. Everything else he did himself, I just helped with the grunt labor. He took the second bedroom and turned it into a hallway and a bathroom – oh, and a closet. Can't forget about the closet." He and Tim were both chuckling and Gibbs knew there had to be a story behind that.


The crossed arms and raised eyebrow got Tim talking as he helped Tony put the food away. "Tony didn't actually ask me to build a closet, but every time we were out here working, he'd hang his clothes in the doorway. Eventually, I got the hint."


That got a rare smile from the older man. "Yeah, I would have, too." Looking around, he shook his head in amazement. "Damn, McGee, I did not have a clue you knew how to do all this."


"I didn't." Tim shrugged as he pulled a couple of water bottles out of the refrigerator. "I'd study and research during the week and print out all the instructions I could find to bring with me."


Gibbs took the offered water bottle, but didn't step back. "I would have helped. Why didn't you ask?"


Tim looked vulnerable for a moment and Gibbs worried that he'd crossed some invisible boundary. Eventually, the younger man shrugged and hitched one hip up on the heavy pine table that served as both an eating and work surface for the kitchen. "I'm the one that inherited the place because nobody else in the family wanted it. They all thought it was funny that poor, geeky Tim got stuck with Uncle Mac's private dump."


"You wanted to prove it to them that you could turn it into something."


Another shrug. "Prove it to myself, more than anything. After we got actual running water in the house, I bought a generator for the water pump and a small water heater since cold showers are no fun. Then when one of the neighbors decided to run power to his place, Tony suggested we do it at the same time, so it wasn't that expensive. Being able to have a refrigerator is pretty nice and redoing the kitchen kept me busy while Tony was – away."


Gibbs walked around the kitchen, running his hands over the cabinets and new countertops. "Did a real good job, Tim. A real good job."


"Thanks, Boss."


Eventually there was nothing else to put away and Gibbs followed Tony and Tim to the sitting area at the other end of the room. There was a loveseat and two chairs grouped in front of the fireplace and when the two younger men sat side by side on the small sofa, Gibbs perched on the coffee table to be closer. Taking a deep breath, he jumped right in.


"Tim, did you have anyone you could go to, after... after I hurt you? Anyone you could confide in?" Ever since he'd remembered what had happened, he'd been looking at Ducky and Vance, waiting, almost hoping, to see the condemnation in their eyes.


"I went to a clinic, told them it was a consensual scene that got a little rough, but I didn't tell anyone until Tony was back."


Gibbs locked onto the first words Tim had said. "I hurt you bad enough that you needed medical attention?"


Tim hated to see the look of self-loathing on Gibbs' face. "I just wanted to make sure there wasn't enough scaring to show up on my next physical. I didn't know how easily it would heal because..."


"Because you were a virgin and I took that from you. Tim, you should have had me arrested."


"For what? For being sick? You were hallucinating, Boss. I knew that if you were in your right mind, you'd sooner cut off your own arm than hurt me like that. So I cleaned up everything, I didn't tell Ducky, and when I left the clinic, I burned every piece of possible evidence."


"Then what, just tried to forget it?"


"Yeah, pretty much. Figured out it wasn't possible to drink enough to forget, so I just locked it all away. Then Tony came home and expected us to pick up right where we left off and the minute he touched me like that, I froze."


Now ashamed of his reaction, Tony picked up the narration, shaking his head in sorrow and fully expecting a headslap. "When he flinched, I just lost it on him, accused him of cheating on me. I took off and just left him standing there with this devastated look on his face while I went to a bar to get plastered and pick somebody up, preferably blonde with big boobs."


"Ah, hell, Tony." Gibbs was sickened to see how much damaged he'd caused to two men he cared so much about.


Tim reached out and took Tony's hand. "Deep down, you really weren't."




"Tony, if you were really trying to pick up a woman, why'd you go to our favorite gay bar?" Tim gave him a knowing look and turned back to Gibbs. "He got himself plastered and the bartender called me to get him home and sort it out."


"I asked him why he'd done it, and he told me he wasn't sure he'd had a choice." Tony shook his head and gave a bitter laugh. "Yeah, finding out that your boyfriend was raped while you were deployed, that'll sober you up in a hurry."


Hearing the "r" word, Gibbs didn't say anything, just concentrated on not losing the food he'd eaten that morning. Not looking anywhere but at Tim's face, Tony continued. "I finally got him to tell me everything, right down to you calling out my name."


Now, Gibbs had to know. "Why am I here? Anyone can see just how much you love Tim, why would you want me anywhere near him?"


"Because it's not so simple, Boss." Tony shifted around before taking a deep breath and plunging in. "I'll admit that I was mad. Those first few days, I was so ready to take a swing at you."


"Wish you had."


"No, see..." Shifting around again, Tony looked at Tim, who gave him an encouraging nod. "Okay, the first time Tim and I had sex it was right after Kate died. We were both hurting and depressed and I'd had too much to drink so Tim drove me home and we started arguing and yelling at each other and the next thing you know we're kissing like there's no tomorrow and I've got my hand down his pants. The next morning we pretended it never happened and swore that it never would happen again."


"But obviously it did. So what happened?"


"You got blown up and then you left." Tony looked up, the grief from those memories still etched on his face. "I got drunk – again – and he took me home – again – but this time when things got physical, I was mad because he wasn't you and I pushed him away."


Tim started speaking softly then, his gaze on his and Tony's entwined hands. "I wouldn't let go of Tony. You were gone and I couldn't lose him, too. And I admitted it to him." Tim finally looked up at Tony and smiled. "I told him that I knew he was in love with you and that I was, too. But you were gone and all we had left was each other."


For some reason the memory seemed to amuse McGee, while Tony's ears turned slightly red. Gibbs couldn't figure out what was going on. "So, what happened then?"


"Well," Tim's smile grew wider and Tony's ears got redder. "Tony admitted it, too, and pulled me closer, told me that he couldn't lose both of us either, but you were already gone so I was stuck with him. Then he kissed me and fell asleep on my shoulder."


Gibbs had just taken a drink of water and almost choked on it. "He fell asleep?"




"On you."


More than Tony's ears were red now. "You know, I am right here." Seeing Tim relaxing and chuckling over the memory, Tony had to chuckle, too, before becoming serious again. "Yeah, well, the next morning we were still all wrapped up together. There we were, two bottoms, one that was still a virgin. We didn't really have a clue how to make it work, just knew that we had to hang onto each other. At first, our sex life consisted of hand jobs, blow jobs and dirty stories about you taking turns fucking us. Eventually we built it into a pretty solid relationship and we started talking about taking that last step. We were packed and ready to come out here for a weekend of sex and I was going to show Tim how good it could be. Then Jenny called Ziva and I into her office and told us that we were going with her to LA."


"And your world fell apart."


Tony nodded at Gibbs' soft words. "Yeah, and by the time the dust settled, I was sitting on an aircraft carrier out on the Atlantic and Tim was alone in Cybercrimes."


Taking a deep breath, he continued, knowing that Tim would never admit his own difficulties and wanting Gibbs to know it all. "There were rumors about there being more to the Director's death than what was officially announced and the first thing Vance did was break apart out team. I was out at sea, Ziva was back in Israel, there's not another agent aboard the Yard that would challenge you, but..."


Startled at how much Tony knew, Tim's eyes flew up to meet his and Tony squeezed his hand as he explained. "You were right, Ducky would have gone to Vance, but Jimmy babbles when he's nervous. All I had to do was to stare at him for about thirty seconds and he buckled."


Gibbs sucked in a breath. He hadn't been expecting that one. "You were targeted at the Agency." When Tim nodded, Gibbs reviewed the few clues he'd been given and the even fewer things he knew about McGee's time in the sub-basement.


Not going to Ducky, but needing to go to Jimmy suggested an injury and the only injury he'd heard about was... "You didn't just trip on the stairs that first week, did you?"


Tim's shoulders sagged as he shook his head. "Something caught my ankle."


"Something or someone?"


It took a moment for Tim to answer as he stared at the floor. "I felt a hand, but I can't prove it."


"Why didn't you come to me?" Gibbs tenderly brushed his hand over Tim's head as he glanced over at Tony, but Tony was only looking at Tim.


With Gibbs' hand resting on Tim's neck, Tony rubbed his fingers across Tim's knuckles. "It should have been investigated, Timmy, at least the security tapes."


Tim finally looked up at both of them and shrugged. "There's no camera on that part of the stairs. I spent weeks going through every tape of that morning and there was just no proof. Too many people used the back stairs. I knew you'd believe me, but you were stuck with the three stooges and I couldn't just dump my problems on you."


Gibbs felt doubly guilty. "I knew how miserable Tony was, but I should have paid more attention to you."


"Why didn't you?" Despite their plans for the weekend, Tony wasn't going to let it progress until this was settled. "He was right there."


"Exactly." Gibbs pursed his lips as he stared over them and out the window. "I couldn't trust myself with just one of you. It was easier with you, Tony, because we had defined roles, but I'd never established boundaries like that with McGee. He was my unknown."


"But that night, you thought I was Tony." Tim chewed his lip, watching Gibbs, wanting desperately to understand.


Gibbs struggled with his answer, not because he didn't have one, but because opening up about something so personal was foreign to him. "In my head that night, it was everyone I've ever loved, including the both of you. I just couldn't admit it to myself, not for the longest time, and then when I realized what I'd done..."


Tony was pretty sure what Gibbs was feeling, but he waited, wanting Tim to hear it directly. Gibbs' mouth worked several times before the words came out.


"I felt so guilty." Gibbs' hand hovered over Tim's head as if he were ashamed to even touch him now. "In the helicopter, just before we landed, I was aware enough that I noticed a smudge of blood on the blanket. At first I just assumed that it was mine. Then I started having these horrific nightmares that I was beating you and tearing your clothes off and... and then I realized..."


Gibbs made a choking sound and started to pull away, but Tim lunged forward and grabbed his arm, holding him. "That's not the way it happened. You didn't hit me, you didn't fight me at all. You tore my boxers, that was it." Knowing it was necessary, Tim took a deep breath and started filling in the blanks for Gibbs.


"You were cold, dangerously cold, soaked all the way through and practically unconscious. I can't tell you how many times I almost dropped you getting back inside. The storm had all the choppers grounded, and the road was under water, so we were on our own. I undressed you and dried you off, got you into one of the cots, but you needed more than room temperature blankets to get you warm."


Shared body heat, it was a basic of first aid and Gibbs nodded his understanding. Tim glanced over at Tony, taking in his support, before continuing. "I stripped down to my boxers and climbed into the bed with you, wrapped my arms around you. Your skin was so cold, it almost took my breath away. Once I finally got you warm, you immediately started running a fever. You were dreaming, hallucinating maybe, and thought I was Shannon., telling her how much you'd missed her. You started touching me and I figured that as soon as you felt no boobs and the wrong plumbing, you'd stop."


"But I didn't."


"'No more teasing', that's what you said. I tried to get away, but you held on and rolled me under you. I should have fought harder, but I didn't want to hurt you."


"That's when I raped you?"


"That's when we had intercourse that wasn't fully consensual." When Gibbs gave him the eyebrow, Tim shook his head. "I'm a trained federal agent, trained by you. I made the decision not to use any of that training to break free. You were sick and I couldn't hurt you. I just couldn't."


Gibbs wondered how he would have reacted if McGee had fought back, and decided he didn't want to know. "Not usually in my vocabulary, but this time it needs to be said. I'm sorry, Tim. You're right, if I'd have been in my right mind I would have never hurt you, but I wasn't and I did. Even before that, I let you down. I was too busy being mad at Vance to pay attention to what was going on beyond my cubicle. You should have never had to face the rumors on your own. You should have never felt like you couldn't come to me. My failure, not yours."


He reached out and cupped both Tim's and Tony's cheeks with his hands. "What I've wanted was right in front of me and I was so busy refusing to acknowledge it, that I almost lost the two of you forever."


After a moment, he pulled back some, letting his hands slide down to rest on their knees. "You guys have built yourself quite a life together, are you sure you still want to try and fit me into that?"


"Yeah." Tony smiled at Tim before turning back to Gibbs as the spokesman of the pair. "We're sure, but we've talked about it and 24-7 probably won't cut it for any of us. I mean, you know, you've got to have your woodworking time and Timmy here is allergic to sawdust."


Gibbs had to smile. "Yeah, there is that."


"But, we'd like you to join us here at the cabin once in a while. When one of us needs the extra support or just to blow off steam." Tony glanced over at Tim before laying down the ground rules they'd decided on. "It would always be the three of us, but any one of us can ask for a night or a weekend together, and that includes you, Gibbs."


Thinking about the rules, Gibbs slowly nodded. That he'd never interfere with their relationship by trying to sneak off with just one of them was a given. Asking the boys to indulge him was something he wasn't ready to wrap his head around yet, but if they asked, he'd do anything for them.


Feeling like an enormous weight was off his shoulders, Tony looked to Tim, still leaving the final decision to him. Seeing the silent question, Tim made a decision as their frank discussion had been necessary, but not exactly a good lead-in to a seduction. "Probably be a good time to decompress for a little bit and we've only got a few hours of daylight left."


Tony totally understood. "Chores?"




Gibbs looked at both of them. "Chores?"


"Yep. Tim bought me a new tire for my doohickey." They laughed as the eyebrow went up.




This entry was originally posted at http://emerald-green37.dreamwidth.org/24046.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2013 02:49 pm (UTC)
Some days, Gibbs really needs to be smacked with a clue-by-four. Idiot. It's good they got the air mostly cleared between them though. And chores are always great decompression. But, somehow, I really doubt the 'not 24/7' thing is going to last. I have this feeling that their relationship is going to end up a solid and full-time and poly relationship in nothing flat. Love this chapter! Will beg and grovel for more!

Love and cherries,
Jun. 6th, 2013 03:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Yeah, he needed this all laid out for him. As far as full time, Gibbs is a loner by nature. He loved Shannon, but I do think part of the reason they worked so well was the fact that he was active duty. The time he had with her and Kelly was sacred and precious to him. I can see it a pretty regular thing, but the evenings he spends at home, building a boat, are necessary breaks even if he "gives up" on dating.
Jun. 6th, 2013 03:01 pm (UTC)
This is just so good! What a perfect segue into a relationship that includes all three of them. I am glad the air has been cleared and they can all move on to the next steps. Tony's clear understanding of what Tim faced on his own is wonderful. Tim confiding in Jimmy and then Jimmy telling Tony after 30 seconds of browbeating is completely in character. The rare Gibbs apology was an absolute necessity for them all to heal and move on.

I love Tony's need for Gibbs to understand all that McGee is capable of when explaining about the cabin. And Gibbs shock at hearing how much McGee did himself. Then to flip it around and realize how much of what Tim did was for the express purpose of keeping Tony happy and comfortable is so sweet. It made me laugh that after all of this Tony throws out that Tim is allergic to sawdust. That just makes the work he's done that much more special. I laughed when Tim and Tony agreed that chores are in order to help everyone clear their heads and Gibbs is left with nothing but a single word response and a raised eyebrow. So perfect. I cannot wait for more!

I hope your grandson had a great birthday and is enjoying his new Iron Man from grandma.
Jun. 6th, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think it was a necessary step in the process and opened up the last of the secrets

Both of the boys are making sure Gibbs knows fully about the other. Tim laying down the law about the alcohol, Tony bragging about all the repairs and updates, all steps to Gibbs knowing them in a way he never has before. Now, wait until Gibbs sees that imported ax and the "doohickey" that Tim built for Tony.

It was a great birthday. Between Iron Man, Plants vs Zombies, Minecraft and Power Rangers he got pretty much everything he'd ever imagined. Now, we need more batteries. Somehow we came up one battery short, so Iron Man shoots, but he doesn't talk yet.
Jun. 6th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
I am interested in how this will work out outside of their fantasies about being together. Looking forward to MORE!
Jun. 7th, 2013 01:02 am (UTC)
Thanks, more soon. Let's see what they do.
Jun. 16th, 2013 05:31 am (UTC)
you are beyond a brilliant writer. besides reading this i've spent at least 2 days stalking your writting in several different sites. (pretty sure it's you) lol. let me tell you i don't think i've cried so much much to suddenly laugh. your writting is AMAZING and some of your other w.i.p has left me wanting more. can't wait for more of anything you write.
Jun. 16th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
*Blushes* Thank you sooo much. More soon on this and a new gen story for my bingo card.

I'm on a few sites, usually with some variation of "Emerald" FF.net is the only site that I keep my gen and adult separate and the NFA storyboard is probably where everything is. Glad to have you with us.
Jan. 8th, 2014 04:49 am (UTC)
I like all the ground rules being on the table before they do anything. Great they cleared the air before they began anything. I'm very interested to see this dynamic - Tim and Tony are no pushovers but Gibbs is for sure the strongest personality. Should be interesting.
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
I think the ground rules were a necessary step to make sure they were all on the same page. Also, Gibbs needed to see just how strong of men they are away from the job where they have to bow to his demands.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )