Summary: Gibbs learns about life in the slave center and Tony learns about life as a slave
Tony groaned as he pushed himself on to his hand and knees. He closed his eyes and shook his head to clear the dizziness when the door crashed open.
“What the hell?”
Oh God, he was in for it now. He was definitely going to get beaten for this. Gibbs wouldn’t put up with him defying his orders.
Tony opened his eyes and lifted his head to look at the man standing in the doorway. He was surprised to find himself staring into a pair of concerned blue eyes right in front of him, where Gibbs had knelt down.
Tony flinched when Gibbs’ hand touched his shoulder. “Tony, are you alright?” Gibbs gently asked.
Tony thought for a moment before he shook his head, pulling back and crawling the short distance to the toilet. He felt Gibbs’ hand now on his back, rubbing gentle, soothing circles as he vomited all the water he had drank.
“Jesus, DiNozzo, how much water did you drink?” Gibbs placed a glass of water in Tony’s hand. “Rinse.”
Tony rinsed his mouth, and then placed the glass on the floor beside the toilet. Gibbs grabbed Tony’s shoulders and guided him back to sit against the wall. Gibbs could feel Tony shaking as his head leaned back against the wall and he closed his eyes.
“You feeling better?” Gibbs watched as Tony slowly nodded his head. A loud rumble filled the room and Tony grabbed his stomach. “You think you can get up and walk out to the dining room?”
Tony opened his eyes and looked at Gibbs. He had fully expected to see anger and rage in those eyes, but all he saw was concern and worry. Nodding his head, Tony attempted to get up when he felt Gibbs gently pull him to his feet by his arm. Tony took unsteady steps out of the bathroom and into the hall. Gibbs was quickly at his side, pulling the man’s arm over his shoulder and grasping the man’s waist helping him to walk.
Gibbs sat him at the table, gently squeezing his shoulder. “I’ve got some homemade chicken noodle soup on the stove. You’re going to eat some, no arguments.”
Tony nodded his head once again before placing his head in his hands. Moments later the wonderful aroma of the soup filled his nostrils as Gibbs sat the bowl of soup in front of him. Tony dug in, shoveling one spoon full after another quickly in his mouth, until a hand covered his and stopped him.
“Slow down, DiNozzo, you’re going to make yourself sick again.”
Tony gave another short nod and then continued to eat at a slower rate. Gibbs watched as Tony finished his soup, scraping the bottom of the bowl to get every last drop. Gibbs picked up the empty bowl, noticing the look of disappointment Tony tried to hide as he took it to the kitchen. He returned a moment later with two bowls and a plate of hot French bread.
Gibbs placed the two bowls on the table and the plate within reach of both chairs before taking his seat. Tony sat looking at his hands in his lap. Gibbs picked up a piece of bread and offered it to the man.
“Eat up, DiNozzo, you haven’t had anything since Ducky fed you yesterday and I know that wasn’t much more than a sandwich.”
“That was the best meal I’d had in a week,” Dinozzo quietly replied.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Gibbs felt relieved that at least Tony was talking again.
“Let’s just say meals weren’t their top priority there.” Tony sniped as he took the bread being offered.
“Are you telling me you weren’t fed during your incarceration?”
“If you want to call it that, I personally wouldn’t,” Tony mumbled around a bite of bread.
“Explain it to me, DiNozzo; I can’t fix anything I don’t know about.”
Tony choked on the spoon full of soup he had just swallowed as he started to laugh. “What makes you think you can fix anything? You heard Tweedle dee, they don’t care what happens in those centers. After all, we’re only dirty terrorists, or at least we’re suppose to be.”
“Tell me what went on,” Gibbs gently prodded.
“Well, a normal day would consist of a bowl of watery oatmeal like crap in the morning and, if you were lucky, a bowl of what looked like watered down stew in the evening,” Tony began.
“Nothing in between,” Gibbs fought to keep the shock out of his voice.
“Nope, and if you pissed off the guards you didn’t even get that. A couple of days before I was brought to your facility I got a bit smart with one of the guards,” Tony saw Gibbs snicker at that remark and returned a small smile.
“Okay, I got extremely smart with one of the guards. Anyway, they retaliated by not feeding me. I got no stew that night, nothing at all the next day and only the stew the following night. Then the day I was transferred, of course, they don’t feed the prisoners before transfers.”
“So you’re telling me in, let’s say, the last four days all you’ve had is a bowl of watery stew and the sandwich Ducky gave you.” Gibbs saw Tony nod. “Well, that explains your passing…uh…the incident in the bathroom.”
Laying his spoon down, Tony stared at his hands he had grasped in front of him on the table. “Am I allowed to ask questions about all this or is that against the rules?”
“What do you want to know?” Gibbs asked.
“How does this…how do I…how do they…?”
“Just spit it out, DiNozzo. What are you trying to ask?”
“How do I get my new owner? Will I be put on an auction block, paraded around naked in front of a bunch of leering people and sold to the highest bidder?” Tony could feel himself starting to shake.
“No, Tony, they no longer have public auctions anymore. They put some pictures, some clothed and some not, on a web site for slave sales. They open the action for three days and the highest bidder at that time is your new master.”
“Wait, are you telling me I’ll be sold on EBay?” Tony finally looked up at Gibbs in total surprise. He yelped in surprise at the unexpected slap to the back of his head.
“No, DiNozzo, you’re not being sold on EBay. It’s a specific web site for slave sales. Though, if you think about it, it’s the same principle.”
“So, will they at least let me know who bought me?” Tony could feel the fear building in his gut.
“I doubt it. They’ll have a record of it, but I would be very surprised if they informed the slave who they were going to.”
“So I’ll be shipped and delivered like some package. Then I’ll belong, body and soul to any Joe or Jane Doe who can afford the price,” Tony stated sarcastically.
“Not exactly,” Gibbs replied looking down at his bowl and breaking eye contact.
“Then how does it work, exactly?” Tony snapped back.
Gibbs took a deep breath and laid his spoon down. This was a conversation he had hoped to avoid or at the very least put off for a very long time.
“Most slaves are bought by, shall we say, people of wealth. Celebrities, Politicians, people with lots of money. There have been a few sold to middle class but not many. Slaves sell for a fairly high price. That’s one of the ways they have been able to bring down the deficit so much.”
Gibbs stood and took the bowls into the kitchen, grabbing two beers out of the refrigerator before returning to the table and placing one in front of Tony.
“You’re going to let me have beer? I thought it was illegal to give slaves alcohol?”
“I’m not going to tell anyone, are you?” Gibbs smiled as he took a long draw off the bottle.
“Who the hell am I going to tell out here, a squirrel?” Tony smirked as he picked up the bottle. “So, you were saying?”
“Yeah, as I said, slaves are usually bought by the wealthiest of the population. Because of that there is a little known clause in the law. We used to call it the rich man’s law.”
“The rich man’s law, why do I get the feeling I really don’t want to know about this?” Tony asked more to himself than Gibbs.
“It’s not a law most people agree with, but it’s there just the same.” Gibbs took another swallow of beer before continuing. “This is how it works, Tony. When a slave is bought online the owner has two choices, to claim the slave immediately making them their permanent property or wait to claim the slave after a three months trial.”
“Three month trial,” Tony whispered.
“Yeah, that’s why they call it the rich man’s clause, only the wealthiest can afford it.” Seeing the confusion on Tony’s face Gibbs explained further. “Say a slave sells for ten thousand dollars. If the owner wants the three month trial they have to sign an agreement with the auction house. It states that they may us the slave in any way they deem fit, but if the slave is used as a pleasure slave they must use condoms and lube at all times. If at the end of the three months they choose to keep the slave they then claim them.”
“What do you mean claim them?” Tony asked apprehensively.
“It’s a tradition that dates back more years than anyone can remember. When an owner chooses to keep a pleasure slave permanently, they seal the deal by having sex with them without condoms or lube. It can get pretty rough and they take the chance of damaging their property. During the claiming a collar is placed around the slave’s neck marking them as that particular owner’s property”
Gibbs watched to see Tony’s reaction to all this new info and saw him pale considerably. “This is why they sign agreement on the three month trial. If at the end of that time the owner decides that they don’t want that particular slave they can turn them into the slave detention center. They do not get any money back, only a voucher towards the purchase of another slave and only one third of what they paid for the slave. So only the rich can afford the three month trials.”
“But, what if they, you know, take the slave that way and still try to turn them back in?”
“Can’t happen,” Gibbs assured the upset man. “The slave is put through an extensive exam. They can see any damage or sign of that happening. If they find any sign at all they refuse to take the slave back and the owner is fined an equivalent to five times the purchase price. They are also band from every purchasing a slave again.”
“Now wait just a damn minute,” Tony yelled as he jumped to his feet. “You’re telling me that if my owner chooses he can basically use and abuse me for three months and then turn me back in like a piece of furniture. To make it even better, before they can do that, I have to go through a humiliating exam to see if I’m damaged goods. At which point I will be returned to the person who caused the damage in the first place. Are you all insane or just sadistic?”
“Sit down, DiNozzo,” Gibbs growled. “You asked the questions, I’m simply answering them.”
Tony begrudgingly sat, wiping his sweaty hands on his bare legs, his stomach flipping over and over. “Oh God, I think I’m going to be sick.”
Tony felt a hand pushing his head down to his knees. “Just breathe, DiNozzo, and calm down. You don’t need to pass out again.”
“I told you, DiNozzo’s don’t pass out,” Tony mumbled from between his knees. “I’m alright now.”
Gibbs let him raise his head, noticing he was still extremely pale. “Tony, that’s why I brought you here, so I can help you through all this. I am going to take you through everything you could possibly face while in slavery and teach you how to respond and react. Trust me to have your six.”
“Trust you? Jesus Gibbs I don’t even know you. You tell me my government had framed me and sentenced me to slavery with no trial. You tell me I can be traded back in like green stamps and your job is to train me to face all this crap and you expect me to trust you?”
“Yeah, DiNozzo, ‘cause I’m all you got right now.”