AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: It is Kate's funeral.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
I hate seeing Jethro in black, because it usually means that we are burying someone about whom he cared. About whom we both cared. You see, Jethro does not attend funerals for the sake of convention; he has to have been touched by the person in some way. Or at least that has been the case since he left the Marines.
Today it is Caitlin we are burying.
It could so easily have been any of them.
Timothy is a very lucky young man to still be alive. It is something for which he will continue to feel guilty for some time.
Tony could have been Ari's chosen victim, after he'd failed to shoot Timothy. Tony doesn’t feel guilty, but if could have taken Kate's place, he would have done.
And Jethro. My own, dear Jethro. It should have been Jethro whom Ari shot. Jethro was his nemesis. Jethro the one he despised. Jethro the one he blamed. But taking Jethro's life would have been too easy. Too free from pain. At least for Jethro.
Like Timothy I have my own guilt. It hides deep inside my soul, dark, black, hideous, wicked. But it is a darkness with which I shall learn to live. An evil with which I have already learnt to live. I am not certain I shall ever share my guilt with Jethro, and yet already I am aware that he knows it. He knows it because he too has a place where he has buried his own self-loathing. In his place he hides the shame he felt when he discovered that it had been young Gerald whom Ari had shot.
Ari is dead now; that is why Jethro was late. Except one look into his eyes told me that no matter what Jethro has said, no matter what will be in his report, he did not end Ari's life.
Later he will tell me the truth, because he always does. Even when maybe I would rather not know.
He is walking now with Abigail and Jennifer Shepard, an arm around each of them, pretending - so many things. I had hoped never to see Ms. Shepard again, and I know too that Jethro had the same hopes. I also know that he feels her attendance is hypercritical. She never knew Caitlin. She should not be here. But she has her role to play, her part in this 'game', just as we all do.
Later the façade will be over and it will be just Jethro and myself. Alone in my bedroom. The only place I believe he ever allows himself to fully be himself. I will watch him remove his black suit; pick it up for him from where he will have tossed it to the floor, and take him into my arms and bed.
He glances around and our eyes meet, and for a second they soften in the way they only do when we are together. Then the shields are raised once more, and he turns back to the ladies, says something, lets his arms drop from around them, and moves away from them.
As he strides off ahead I watch him. Tall and upright; the darkness of his suit contrasts well with his silver hair. Black definitely suits him. It does not, however, become him.