TITLE: How It Should Be
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship. Romance. Hurt/Comfort
SUMMARY: Set after 'that' scene in Smoked. (A slightly longer summary behind the cut as it contains spoilers).
PROMPT: 10_hurt_comfort. 02 Love
WORD COUNT: 3,258
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
SUMMARY: Set after 'that' scene in Smoked. Gibbs and Ducky take their reconciliation out of the office.
As Gibbs held Ducky in his arms, the final piece of the jigsaw fell into place; now he knew what had been wrong over the past months. It wasn't just that he and Ducky had been at odds with one another; it was that he hadn't held Ducky in his arms for far too long. But now that was over, now Ducky was back in his embrace, back in his arms, just as he should be.
It had been an awful time, firstly leaving Ducky, then being away from him, but then, in many ways the worst of all, coming back and finding his old friend and lover so . . . Distant; nasty even.
Of course, he hadn't helped matters by not attending Ducky's graduation. All my friends were there. It still caused him pain to remember the words Ducky had spoken, as well as the look on his face as he'd said them. The hurt that he had seen on his beloved's face had cut into Gibbs; he never wanted to see it again.
He had avoided Ducky as much as possible, even before the graduation comment, but only because he hadn't known what to say. Ducky had been right when he'd said that Gibbs was avoiding him. But at that time Gibbs wasn't certain he really was back, and had truly believed that keeping his distance from Ducky, if he was going to go away again, would, in the long run, hurt them both less.
However, then he realized that he was back to stay, and somehow it was too late. Ducky was hurting, bitter, pissed off, angry, very un-Ducky-like, and Gibbs himself . . . He hadn’t even tried to find out what was wrong. Because deep down you knew. He'd taken Ducky's lead, slipped into 'Doctor' and 'Dr. Mallard', it was only in his dreams, in the loneliness of his empty bed, that the man he loved more than life was 'Ducky', or his own personal 'Duck'.
But that was behind them now, they'd made up, they'd explained, they'd both, in their own way, said they were sorry, and now Ducky was again in his arms. He had his friend and lover back. Or did he? He had his friend back, but maybe he was presuming too much. And then Ducky moved a little in his arms, pressing nearer to him, without appearing to do so, and Gibbs knew that he also had his lover back. His own body, as it had always done, answered that of his lover's, and he was sure he felt Ducky shiver slightly.
He let his lips come to rest on Ducky's ear, brushing them gently and almost chastely over the top, drinking in the scent he now swore had been the thing that had been responsible for bringing him out of his coma. He could feel Ducky's heartbeat against his body, steady, reassuring, a little quicker than it might be under normal circumstances, but then so was his.
He knew that he had to move away, had let go of Ducky; although the thought of doing so made him ache. However, if he didn't, the stragglers in the office might be treated to far more than just a hug between two old friends, and any of them who ventured to guess quite how deep his relationship with Ducky went, would no longer have to guess. It was one thing to hold your oldest, closest friend in your arms, even with the way his lips were caressing Ducky's ear, but quite another to actually . . .
"Come home with me?" he murmured, against Ducky's ear, making it a clear question.
From the vicinity of his shoulder where Ducky rested peacefully, he heard the quiet answer. "I thought you'd never ask."
With one more touch of his lips to Ducky's ear, it couldn't really be called a kiss, and yet it was far more than a kiss, Gibbs reluctantly loosened his embrace and let his arms fall to his sides. He watched as Ducky rearranged his jacket, buttoning it up and smoothing it down, and grinned as he did the same with his own.
"Meet you outside Autopsy," he said, knowing full well that taking the elevator down together would not be a good idea.
Ducky smiled and nodded, before turning and moving away, he limped badly as he always did at this time of night.
As they stood facing one another in the corridor outside of the now darkened Autopsy, Gibbs had to fight his nearly over-whelming desire to drop his briefcase, pull Ducky into his arms and ravish him there and then. Get a grip, Jethro Gibbs, he ordered himself. You're fifty-two, for heaven's sake, not fifteen. But he struggled to obey himself.
It wasn't so much that he wanted Ducky sexually, although he did, he wanted to make love to him, very much indeed; it was that he just wanted his lover back in his arms again, wanted to kiss him properly, hold him, caress him, touch - Again, he pulled his mind away from such thoughts and tried to concentrate on other things.
"Can you stay tonight?" he asked suddenly, aware that he had no idea what had been going on in the Mallard household over the past months.
Ducky nodded. "I took the liberty of ringing Mrs. Patterson and inviting her to visit Mother this evening."
"You haven't lost another nurse, have you?"
Ducky shook his head. "No, my dear," Gibbs felt a rush of warmth flood through him at the familiar, intimate words. "However, she and Mother try one another's patience all day long, it is only fair that someone else shares the burden during the evening. Although, I must confess, somewhat guiltily, that I have, on more than one occasion found myself staying here later than perhaps is fair to either of them."
Gibbs couldn't not touch any longer; he put his hand on Ducky's shoulder and squeezed it. "Ah, Duck, is she much worse?"
Ducky moved slightly nearer to him, invading his personal space in a way he hadn't done since Gibbs's return. "Not really, no. It is I who have not been my - but let us not talk about that. Take me home with you, Jethro. Take me home and make love to me," he added, lowering his voice.
Gibbs swallowed hard, and again had to resist the urge to pull Ducky back into his arms and kiss him.
Then Ducky added, "Or, if you'd prefer, we could go out to dinner first."
Gibbs blinked. "You want to go out to dinner, Duck?" he asked, his tone incredulous.
Ducky moved even nearer, deliberately letting his body make contact with Gibbs's. He tipped his head back, Gibbs caught the falling hat, looked up at Gibbs through his heavy fringe and said, his tone sultry, "Oh, no dearest, I do not. However, if I allow myself to think of what I'd like to be doing, the chances of us getting to your home are fairly low. And I do not feel that it would be quite dignified for us, at our age, to imitate Mr. Palmer and Agent Lee."
Gibbs blinked. "What?"
"Ah, you haven't noticed. Well, come along, drive me to your home and I'll tell you all about my assistant and our legal expert."
Gibbs blinked again. He couldn't say that he was particularly interested in the love life of Jimmy Palmer and Agent Lee, but it might help keep his mind of having Ducky naked in his bed, under his hands. He slipped his arm around Ducky's shoulders, and they began to move towards the exit. "You going to leave your car here, Duck?" he asked, suddenly realizing what Ducky had said.
Ducky moved his briefcase to his other hand and put his own arm around Gibbs. "It seems more logical to go in your car, given that I will be spending the night with you. Besides, when we compare the difference in the speed at which we drive, if I do not come in the same car as you, you'll be home considerably sooner than I would be. And the last thing I want is for you to become otherwise occupied with your boat."
"No plans to do that, Duck. But if you want to come with me, I'm not going to object. Quite the opposite in fact."
They arrived at Jethro's home even more quickly than Jethro's previous record. To his partial surprise Ducky hadn't passed any comments about the speed he was driving at, he'd merely rambled on about Palmer and Agent Lee. Jethro had listened with half an ear, deciding that not only was he not interested in the love life of other people; it wasn't his business anyway. Neither of them were his agents, and as long as Ducky continued to be happy with Palmer and his work, that was really all that really mattered.
Once inside his house, Ducky carefully and pointedly locked and bolted his front door, before turning around to face Jethro. Jethro dropped his briefcase and, without bothering to take off his overcoat, tugged Ducky back into his arms, pulled off his hat, ignored the mild protest as he tossed it onto the table that stood in the hallway, lowered his head and found Ducky's mouth.
The lips he knew so well and had missed for so many months felt warm, soft, tender, loving and firm under his own, as Ducky met the kiss and returned it, pressing himself even further into Jethro's tight embrace. As Ducky's mouth parted and he invited Jethro's tongue inside, Jethro realized that the overwhelming sheer physical desire to ravish Ducky had become less desperate, and instead it was replaced with the need to take him to bed and spend hours just kissing and caressing him, of making love in their usual gentle and tender way.
Finally he released Ducky's mouth in order to breathe, and looked down at his lover. Ducky looked sublimely happy and at peace, his pale eyes were darker than usual, his lips red and swollen from the kisses, and he smiled up at Jethro in his fond and loving way.
"Ah, Duck," he murmured, pausing to kiss Ducky again. "I do love you." He recognized the desperation in his tone as he said the words; his need to ensure that Ducky knew and believed him, had made itself clear.
Ducky blinked at the tone and a small frown creased his forehead. "I know, my dear," he said simply, he stroked the side of Jethro's face.
"I never stopped loving you," Jethro went on, still determined to make sure that Ducky understood. "I -"
"I know," Ducky said firmly, interrupting him. "Despite everything, dearest, I knew that. And regardless of my behavior, I never for one moment ceased to love you."
"I really hurt you, didn't I?" Jethro spoke quietly, loosening the embrace a little so that he could easily see Ducky's eyes.
Ducky looked up at him, silent for a moment, and as Jethro watched he saw a rush of varying emotions pass through the steady gaze. Finally Ducky spoke. "Yes, dearest. You did. But let us forget that, it is all forgiven."
"Of course. And it is partly my fault that it went on for so long. I should have spoken to you before; I should have told you how I felt. It would have been better than the way I acted, like an ass, I believe is how you described it."
"I am sorry," Jethro said firmly. "Really. If I could -"
"Hush, dearest. We cannot turn back the clock; regret is futile, it serves no purpose. And certainly not when there are far more pleasant things to be doing." He again moved closer to Jethro and tightened his own embrace.
Jethro hugged him, kissing the top of his head, just wallowing in the sheer pleasure of having Ducky in his arms. "I couldn't say goodbye, Duck. Not to you. I -" Ducky silenced him with a kiss.
Their lovemaking began in the shower and continued in Jethro's bed. Hands, mouths, lips and tongues caressed, loved, touched, enjoyed one another's bodies, as they reacquainted themselves with each other.
Jethro had feared that there might be a desperate rush for completion, certainly from him, as the last time he'd been in bed with anyone other than himself had been before he'd left for the assignment that had led him to abandoning Ducky and everyone else. Ducky had spent the night with him, allowing them to enjoy several hours in one another's company, before parting in the morning; Jethro to go to the ship, Ducky to go to the office and wait. However, the rush, the desperate need faded and they slipped into their usual form of lovemaking.
As good a lover as Jethro knew he was, he had never spent so long, hours sometimes, on what could really be described as foreplay, as he’d done over the years, and again did now, as he did with Ducky. Never had pleasuring his partner before himself been of such importance before. Ducky always had brought out a level of tenderness that even Jethro hadn't known he'd possessed.
His mouth on Ducky's, he moved his hand slightly, holding Ducky and stroking him in the way that he knew would give Ducky the greatest pleasure, and finally allow him to climax. As Jethro moved his hand in sure knowing strokes, Ducky simply let his fingers roam over Jethro's back and kissed him with love and passion. Jethro's own erection brushed against Ducky's thigh, which was cool against his own heat; but he could wait until his beloved had been satisfied.
"Ah, Jethro," Ducky murmured, as he toppled over the edge Jethro had held him on. "Oh, my dearest, dearest Jethro. I . . . " his words trailed off as he shuddered in Jethro's embrace.
Jethro smiled, pleased with himself for what he had given Ducky, for how contented his lover now was. "Love you, Duck," he said again, kissing the tip of Ducky's nose.
"I love you too, my own dear Jethro," Ducky said softly. "So very much."
THE NEXT DAY
They wouldn't have been late for the office, but for the fact that they made the mistake of deciding to share another shower. What had started out as nothing more than gentle strokes and chaste kisses, ended with them back in Jethro's bed, with Jethro being offered something he couldn't refuse.
It wasn't, for them, their most intimate way of making love, nor their preferred way, nor something they indulged in often, but as Ducky invited Jethro inside him and Jethro accepted the simple request, he knew that it was the final step in their healing and comforting. The ultimate way of saying I love you; I forgive you; I need you, for both of them.
As he slipped inside Ducky, joining with him in the final way, and looked down into the loving, steady blue gaze, Jethro found the reassurance that until that moment he hadn't realized he'd been seeking. And as he moved them both towards another climax, he wondered how he had ever had the strength to walk away from so much love.
THE FOLLOWING EVENING
They sat at Gibbs's desk sipping whiskey from their coffee cups, which was typical of Gibbs. At least it wasn't some old mug that might or might not have been used to mix paint, or some other odd connotation, in.
As he watched his old friend, Fornell realized two things: one that Gibbs was correct, the toe being in the murdered man's stomach was far more worrying than the fact that they'd gotten things completely wrong concerning the real murderer. However, he decided not to dwell on that anymore. The second thing was that, although Gibbs was sitting with him, talking to him, seemed relaxed, hell he had his feet on the desk, Fornell could sense that there was something else on Gibbs's mind; his attention didn't seem to be quite as focused on Fornell and the case as maybe it should have been. And then it hit him as he remembered the scene in Autopsy when Ducky had started to give one of his long, rambling explanations; Jethro and Ducky were . . . Once again Jethro and Ducky.
He was about to say something when, under his eyes, Gibbs changed. He swung his feet off the desk, stood up and stared across the squad room. Turning in his seat, but not really needing to, Fornell watched Ducky limp across the dimly lit room towards them, his attention completely on Gibbs.
Fornell glanced at Gibbs, wondered if he should tell his friend and sparring partner quite how soppy he looked, decided not to, and stood up. "I see you too have finally made up," he said, draining the last few drops of his whiskey. "About time too, if you ask me."
"Huh? Sorry, Tobias, did you say something?" Gibbs asked, momentarily tearing his gaze away from Ducky to look at Fornell.
"I said . . . Oh, never mind," Fornell added, as Ducky arrived at Gibbs's desk.
The two old friends didn't kiss, didn't even touch, but as they moved well within one another's personal space, Fornell could feel the air around them sizzle and crackle with the pure emotion that emanated from both men.
The words, 'Get a room' which he'd heard one of his junior agents use recently, came to mind, but he decided against using them. Firstly, he doubted if his old friends would hear him, as they were so enmeshed in one another. They were touching now, Gibbs had one hand on Ducky's shoulder and the other held the brim of his hat back; Ducky had his hand on one of Gibbs’s arms. Secondly, he didn't want to push the boundaries of friendship too far, even though they knew that he knew about their relationship beyond friendship; well it wasn't his fault that Gibbs had the unnerving habit of not locking his front door.
So instead he said, slightly louder than was strictly necessary given the quietness of the room, and how near he was to the lovers, "Guess it's time I was off." He waited.
He watched as the words took the long route and finally penetrated Gibbs's brain. "Huh? Oh, right, Tobias. Yeah, guess it is. It's getting late. Give my love to Emily."
"I will. Night then, Jethro. Night, Ducky."
Ducky turned away from gazing at Gibbs to say softly, "Goodnight, Tobias. I hope we'll see you soon under happier circumstances."
"Yeah. You must come over one night, Tobias. Have a drink."
"I'll do that thing." And with that, Fornell raised his hand in farewell, and moved across the office towards the elevators.
As he waited for one to arrive, he glanced back towards Gibbs's desk. Gibbs was pulling on his overcoat and gathering some papers together, while Ducky stood simply watching him.
As the doors closed on Tobias, he saw Gibbs slip his arm around Ducky's shoulders, Ducky in turn put his own arm around Gibbs back, and together they began to cross slowly, heads near to one another as they chatted, towards the elevators.
As the steel box, which he and Gibbs had been in many times alone, sped downwards, Tobias felt as sense of satisfaction pass through him. Once again things were back to normal; the world was back to how it should be.