TITLE: The Right Move
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established relationship. Fluff
SUMMARY: Ducky takes Jethro on holiday.
SPOILERS: Mild for 'Grace Period'
PROMPT: 25fluffyfics 05 - Holiday
WORD COUNT: 1,300
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Ducky watched his lover carefully, without appearing to do so.
What he saw pleased him.
The dark eyes were once more bright and alive with the kind of contentedness that had been missing for far, far too long; well over a year in fact.
The habitual dark circles that always surrounded Jethro's eyes were still there, but they were considerably less prominent than they had been in recent months.
The smile no longer seemed forced, and it came more spontaneously and more often.
The tension that had for much too long been clear to see and to feel in Jethro's body had faded, leaving Jethro more relaxed and clearly at peace.
All in all, once again Jethro was Ducky's Jethro.
It had been a difficult time. Indeed Ducky felt that nothing had gone right since Caitlin had been killed. Certainly one thing after another after another after another had gone wrong, including their own separation. And it had all culminated in Jethro very nearly being sucked into a fifth marriage, simply because he could not tell Hollis Mann to go away.
It was then that Ducky had put his foot down. Never before, in their more than three decade relationship had he done so. However, he'd had no intention of simply standing by and seeing this marriage, another one that would end in divorce, probably in record time, take place.
He had not confronted Hollis Mann, although he had briefly considered doing so. Telling her that the man she had decided she was going to marry was actually involved in very long standing relationship with another man, a relationship that would continue even after she and Jethro had married, should have driven her away.
Nor did he confront his beloved. Confrontation not being something that came easily to Ducky, he had feared that before he could actually do so, Jethro might already be married to the woman.
No, instead he had simply booked a holiday, an extended holiday; a cruise that would take them around Europe, including Britain, and had presented Jethro with the tickets.
To his partial surprise, his lover had accepted without a murmur, and they had left Washington a month ago.
Since then every moment had been spent in one another's company, and many of them in one another's arms, as together they re-found what neither had consciously realized they had lost.
"Penny for them, Duck," Jethro said, taking Ducky's hand and beginning to stroke it, his touch becoming more and more intimate.
Ducky smiled and moved a little nearer to the warm, naked body, and began his own exploration of the skin he loved to touch and taste. Rather than answer his lover's question, Ducky instead indulged himself in both touching and tasting for several long minutes, enjoying the way Jethro expressed his pleasure in the attention he was getting.
Pulling out of a long, lingering kiss that was becoming more passionate by the second, Jethro pushed himself up onto one elbow, looked down at Ducky, smiled with both his mouth and eyes and said, his voice sultry, "You want to tell me your thoughts again, Duck?"
Ducky smiled up at his beloved. "You know you're mine, do you not, Jethro?"
Jethro's smile became more loving, as he looked deeply into Ducky's eyes. "Always have been, Duck. Always will be," he added softly, before he lightly kissed Ducky's nose.
"And you know that I have no intention of letting you marry Lieutenant," Ducky deliberately used the American pronunciation of the rank, "Colonel Hollis Mann, do you not?"
"Yeah, think I got that message, Duck." Jethro's tone became more serious, and he pushed Ducky's fringe back from his forehead.
"Good. Or indeed anyone else."
The dark eyes widened. "Really?" Jethro's tone was quizzical.
"Well, at least not any woman," Ducky said softly, mentally crossing his fingers and hoping that he hadn't overstepped the line that he wasn't even sure existed any longer; if indeed it ever had.
The dark eyes widened impossibly more. "That a hint, Duck?" Now Jethro's tone was soft again, but otherwise it was completely unreadable.
Ducky swallowed, and momentarily considered just pulling Jethro once more into his arms and returning to their lovemaking. In fact he moved his hand, reaching up to pull his beloved's head back down, but Jethro caught it.
"Ducky?" he half-growled, employing his 'you will obey me' tone.
Nonetheless, Ducky prevaricated slightly. "And if I said it was?" he asked quietly, never for a second letting his gaze leave Jethro's.
Jethro blinked. For a moment he was silent as he let go of Ducky's hand and began to lightly trace Ducky's features with the tips of his fingers. "You want to marry me?" he said, after a moment or two of gentle caressing. His tone was a mixture of emotions, surprise being one of them.
He'd done it now. He had no choice but to answer, and to do so honestly. Lies had never formed part of their relationship, and Ducky was not about to be the one to break their unspoken vow. "Yes," he said quietly, but firmly. "I do."
Jethro blinked again. "But why?" he asked, his tone telling Ducky that it was a genuine question.
Ducky chuckled softly as the blue eyed became full of perplexity. "Ah, my dear, dear Jethro. Why? What kind of question is that?"
"One that you need to answer."
"Why do you think?" Seeing the frown begin to appear between the grey eyebrows, Ducky hurried on. "Because I love you, my dearest," he said simply, now beginning his own exploration of Jethro's face. "And you love me, do you not?"
"You know I do, Duck. Always have. Always will." His lover's tone was tinged with a hint of mild irritation.
"Yes, dearest, I do," Ducky hastened to soothe. "And when two people are in love, and have been thus for as long as we have, they do often tend to . . ." He trailed off.
"Duck, you've seen me marry four times. Three of them ended in divorces and if -" Ducky silenced Jethro by quickly tugging his head down and kissing him.
For a moment or two Jethro met and returned the kiss; then he broke away. "So why would you want to marry with that kind of record? What makes you think it'd be any different with you?"
"Because you didn't love them in the way you love me," Ducky said simply.
For a moment or two Jethro's mouth opened and shut; the surprise was evident on the handsome face and in the once again wide gaze. Then to Ducky's surprise and bemusement, Jethro started to look around him, lifting the pillows, looking beneath the sheet that half covered them; the hunt culminated in him leaning out of, and looking under, the bed.
"What are doing, Jethro?" Ducky asked mildly, as he watched his lover's actions.
"Looking for my Ducky," Jethro said, coming back to settle next to Ducky. "I'm just wondering who I've come on holiday with." But the twinkle in his eyes, and the way his lips twitched belied his words.
"Ah, well, the Scottish air does tend to do that to me, I'm afraid, my dear. It invigorates and frees one. It makes me do and say things I might otherwise not contemplate."
"That a fact?" Jethro appraised him. Then said, "In that case, I think it's the perfect place for our honeymoon. Don't you?" And with that, he gathered Ducky back into his arms, once more found his lips with his own, and again began to make love to him.
As he accepted everything that his beloved gave him, and offered himself willingly to anything else Jethro might want, Ducky knew that his decision to bring Jethro away on holiday had indeed been the right move to take.