Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Fiction. I'll Be Around

Moving away, for the moment at least, from my Discovering story in order to post the challenge of the month story. This isn't the story I started out to write for this challenge, but as said story is current standing at 30,000 words and isn't finished, and my m-i-l arrives at the end of the week to spend a few days with us, I thought I'd write a shorter story to fit the challenge instead.

TITLE: I'll Be Around
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
GENRE: Slash
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship. Alternate Reality. Songfic. Angst. Possible ironic humour because of the role reversal I've written.
SUMMARY: Written for Challenge # 17 'Role Reversal'. Gibbs has to deal with the fact that his long term lover, has yet another new lady friend. But Gibbs knows how it will end; how it always ends. The song I've used is I'll Be Around by Carly Simon, and it can be downloaded by clicking on the aforementioned title.
SPOILERS: Vague for several S4 episodes
PROMPT: fic_cd_mix 02.
RATING: PG
WORD COUNT: 2,658
WARNINGS:
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.



Carly Simon - I'll Be Around

I'll be around
No matter how you treat me now
I'll be around
When she's gone

Your latest love
Will never last
And when it's past
I'll be around when she's gone


Gibbs sat at his desk in the squad room and tried to ignore the hushed conversation going on between DiNozzo, McGee and Ziva. They were huddled around DiNozzo's desk and were meant to be discussing their latest case, but they weren't.

Snippets of conversation kept drifting his way; non-working related snippets.

". . . Another one."

". . . I don't believe it."

"How does he do it?"

". . . Not like the others."

". . . Older."

". . . Not a red-head."

"Really?"

"Have you met her?"

". . . Didn't like her."

"Do you reckon Gibbs knows?"

Suddenly Gibbs had had enough. He pushed back his chair with so much force it skidded backwards into the filing cabinet. The noise made his field team jump and look at him; their guilty expressions spoke volumes. He glared at them. "I know," he snarled, and strode from the room, heading for the head, and hopefully some peace.

Once there he locked himself in a cubicle and leaned back against the cool metal. He felt simultaneously angry with himself and foolish for his reaction. Damn it, but he'd really thought that this time . . .

But he'd been wrong.

So very wrong.

Leopards and spots came to his mind.

Oh, yes, he knew. Of course he knew. He always knew. Ducky made sure of that! He believed it was only right and proper, fair and honest, that Gibbs knew. And Gibbs agreed - mostly. It was just every now and then . . .

And especially this time.

Against his will, his mind returned to the previous evening.

~~~~~~~


"Ducky. Great to see you, come in." Gibbs tugged his lover inside his house, pulled him into his arms and kissed him.

Ducky returned the kiss, as he always did, moving further into the embrace and putting his own arms around Gibbs. It felt so good to hold his lover in his arms, to kiss him, to caress him, to be with him. He wondered if Ducky could stay the night, he hoped so. And then . . .

And then it hit him.

He pulled back quickly, automatically catching Ducky's arm to steady him as he realized quite how quickly he'd moved. "Who is she this time?" he asked, his tone bitter.

"Oh, my dear Jethro. I -"

"Don't give me that, Duck. Just tell me who she is."

"Does her name really matter?" Ducky spoke quietly; there was sadness in his tone.

Gibbs sighed; his anger suddenly leaving him. "No, guess it doesn't. Come and have a drink, Duck. Unless you're . . ."

"No, my dear. I'm not. I would very much like a drink." Ducky put his hat down on Gibbs's hall table, let Gibbs help him off with his coat, before slipping his arm through Gibbs's own and leading him into the sitting room.

"Thank you," he said, when Gibbs handed him a drink. He smiled at Gibbs, his fond, loving, affectionate smile; the one that he reserved for Gibbs and only for Gibbs. None of his four wives or his various girl friends ever got looked at or smiled at as Gibbs did.

"Her name is Hollis Mann," Ducky said, after a moment or two.

"The Army CID Lieutenant Colonel?" Gibbs exclaimed.

"Yes."

"But, Duck, she's -" Gibbs bit of the comment. "Sorry," he said.

Ducky looked at him for a moment, before taking his hand and holding it tightly. "I love you, Jethro."

"Yeah, I know you do, Duck. Love you too," Gibbs said. What he wanted to add was 'in that case they the hell do you keep fucking all these damned women? You know what'll happen'.

And Ducky would know.

Just as Gibbs knew.

He'd seen it all. Had been there for it all. Had loved Ducky throughout it all.

Four wives: Shannon, Marie, Alice, Diane.

Countless other women, including Jennifer Shepard.

And what happened?

They had Ducky for a while and then it was over. And once again Ducky returned to Gibbs, and his arms and his bed. And for a while they were happy and then . . .

And then along came another woman and Ducky would be off with her. And Gibbs would be left hurting and waiting, just waiting until she dumped Ducky, or Ducky dumped her, and the pattern would go on and on and on. Repeating itself again and again.

He didn't know why he put up with it. Yes, you do. Yes he did. He put up with it because he loved Ducky so much; had always loved him, and would always love him. He'd go to his grave loving him.

Ducky treated him badly, and Ducky himself knew that. In some ways Gibbs thought that Ducky caused himself more pain than he caused Gibbs himself. In every other way Ducky was a honorable man, a good man, a loyal man, a courteous man; a man you could trust, believe in, a man you wanted to be like, a gentleman, and a gentle man.

But where women were concerned he was . . .

What was he?

Gibbs had heard a couple of terms and hadn't liked either of them. Mind you, given how hard he'd smacked DiNozzo around the head when he overheard him joking about Ducky being a dirty old man and a letch, he doubted if he'd be hearing them again.

And they weren't true anyway. Sure Ducky dated and slept with a lot of women, but there was nothing nasty or creepy or perverted in his behavior. Just the opposite. He was still courteous, honorable, a gentleman and a gentle man. He made every woman feel like she was the only one he'd ever cared for. He brought them flowers, chocolates, held chairs and doors for them, treated them like ladies, each and every one of them. He was very old fashioned really. He had morals.

Gibbs still remembered how bemused and confused Ziva had been, when she first came to work for NCIS, by the way Ducky had treated her. In Ziva's world, men treated women just as they treated other men. They didn't offer their arm to them, or hold doors open, or all the stuff that Ducky did; all the stuff that came as naturally to him as breathing did.

Given how well he treated his women, Gibbs often wondered why the relationships didn't last. Except Ducky didn't treat them well, not really; not when it came down to it. Oh, he was gentlemanly and courteous and kind, but . . .

"Sorry, Duck?" he said, dragging himself from his reverie. "I didn’t catch that."

"I said that I'm sorry, my dear. So very sorry. I - Oh, Jethro."

Gibbs touched Ducky's face. "You don't have to apologize to me, Duck. These things happen. I'm okay."

Ducky sighed. "Maybe you should -"

"No. There's no point. We've discussed that. Many times. I fell in love with you thirty years ago, Duck, and that's that. Can't love anyone else, don't want anyone else. Simple. I've got my boat and . . . Tobias was saying the other day that we hadn't spent much time together. I'll be here. I'll still be here, Duck, when -"

"Hollis and I separate and I come back to you." Ducky spoke quietly, his tone heavy with self-depreciation.

Gibbs shrugged. "Yes," he said, finally.

For a moment Ducky closed his eyes. "Oh, Jethro, I -"

But Gibbs silenced him.

After several minutes, Ducky stood up. "I'll say goodnight, my dear," he said, putting his hand on Jethro's head.

"Yeah, bye, Duck." Jethro didn't get up to see him out.

~~~~~~~


Goodbye again
And if you find a love like mine
Just now and then
Drop a line to say (that) you're feeling fine


"Yeah, Duck," he murmured, still resting his head and back against the cubicle door. "I'll still be here when you come back to me. Unless -" He broke off. He was not even going to contemplate Hollis Mann becoming the fifth Mrs. Mallard.

Yet he knew that if she loved Ducky, really loved him, and he loved her, then he'd be there by Ducky's side, saying all the right things, giving his best man's speech for the fifth time and hoping and praying that this time she would make his oldest friend and lover happy. That's how much he loved Ducky; he wanted him to be happy. And if he found a woman who loved him as much as Gibbs himself loved him, in the way that Gibbs loved him, then -

He closed his eyes and braced himself against the door, before exiting the cubicle and striding to the sink. He splashed cold water on his face for several moments, and then left and headed back to the team. There was work to be done.

THREE MONTHS LATER

And when things go wrong
Perhaps you'll see you're meant for me
And I'll be around when she's gone

I'll be around
When she's gone


"Duck." Gibbs opened his front door to find his old friend standing on his doorstep. Ducky had his hands in his overcoat pocket and his head slightly bowed.

"Good evening, Jethro," he said quietly, still not looking up or moving.

"Well, don't just stand there, Duck. Come in." Gibbs took Ducky's arm and pulled him gently into his house.

Ducky allowed himself to be led into the hallway.

"God, it's good to see you, Duck." Unable to stop himself, Gibbs pulled Ducky into his arms.

For a scant second, Ducky froze. Then he put his own arms around Gibbs, and held him tightly. "Oh, Jethro," he murmured. "Oh, my dear, dear Jethro." His voice was low, and contained a hint of . . . Tears?

Gibbs pushed him away from him a little and looked down. Ducky's face was paler than usual, and his light blue eyes were shrouded. "Duck? What's happened? Is it you mom?"

"No, Mother is fine, thank you, my dear."

"You're not sick?"

Ducky made a harsh sound, like a laugh, but without any humor. "No, Jethro. At least -"

Suddenly overwhelming chill hit Gibbs, and a wave of nausea threatened him. "Oh," he said, not letting Ducky go, but no longer holding him so closely.

He remembered the signs. Almost eight years had gone by, but he remembered. And then it hit him; he knew what he had to do. What he had to say. "I can't, Duck. I'm sorry, but I can't."

Ducky looked up at him, frowning slightly, confusion clear on his face. "Can't what, Jethro?"

But Jethro ignored the question and the look. "Ask Palmer, he'd be delighted. Course he'd probably lose the rings, or trip over the dress, or his own feet, or something, but he'd pleased. Or if you want someone older, ask Tobias, you and he get on okay. Or if you do want to keep it in the family, then ask McGee. I won't suggest DiNozzo, God only knows what he'd come up with."

"Jethro, what you going on about? What is it you wish me to ask Jimmy?"

"To be your best man."

Duck blinked. "You think - Oh, Jethro, my dear, dear Jethro. I am not marrying Hollis. She left me more than two months ago."

The relief raced through Gibbs. And then Ducky's words hit him. "More than two months ago?"

"Yes."

"But . . . But why didn't you -"

"Tell you? Come to you?"

Gibbs nodded, suddenly not certain if he wanted the answer. Part of him was annoyed at his words, at how disappointed and hurt he felt by his lover's actions, or lack of actions. "Yeah," he said. "Yes, Duck. Why didn't you come to me?"

Ducky looked up at him, and suddenly the curtains that had been covering the pale eyes fell, and Gibbs saw so much love in the gaze that he felt overwhelmed. "Duck?" he whispered, slowly lifting his hand and touching Ducky's cheek. "Duck?"

"The reason I did not tell you, my dearest, did not come to you, was because I have been doing a lot of hard thinking."

"Thinking?"

"Yes. About you. About me. About us. About how badly I've treated you - No, Jethro, don't say anything. Please, let me finish. I love you, Jethro. I've loved you since the moment I met you. I wish I could say why I did all the things I did, why I kept marrying and dating women when I knew how much it hurt you. When I knew . . . When I knew deep down that," Ducky broke off for a moment, swallowed hard, put his hands on Gibbs's shoulder, tilted his head back even further and said firmly, "When I knew deep down that you were the only one for me. That we are meant to be together."

Gibbs opened his mouth, but all he could find to say was, "Duck?"

"I'm not going to apologize, Jethro. That would be -"

"Unnecessary," Gibbs finally said.

Ducky half shrugged, given Gibbs the impression that it wasn't the word he was searching for.

"Unnecessary," Gibbs repeated, speaking more firmly this time.

Ducky smiled, and his eyes became even softer and even more open with deep love and affection. He put one hand back into his overcoat pocket and pulled it out again. "I've also been thinking just how to say what I'm about to say. However, more than two weeks of trying to find the right words, the perfect words, the fitting words, have made me wonder whether words are actually necessary."

He opened his hand to reveal a small black box.

After a second or two he opened the box.

Gibbs just stared down at it. He then looked back at Ducky. "Duck?"

"Or maybe they are," Ducky sounded almost amused. He cleared his throat, again tipped his head right back and said formally, "Leroy Jethro Gibbs would you do me the honor of marrying me."

THE NEXT DAY

Gibbs sat at his desk in the squad room and tried to ignore the hushed conversation going on between DiNozzo, McGee and Ziva. They were huddled around DiNozzo's desk and were meant to be discussing their latest case, but they weren't.

Snippets of conversation kept drifting his way; non-working related snippets.

". . . Gibbs . . ."

"Ducky too . . ."

"You don't think . . ."

". . . But when?"

". . . Last."

"Yeah, I do."

Let them talk; he didn’t care. All he cared about was finishing his report, so that he could go home and pack.

Jenn hadn’t been too happy about her Chief Medial Examiner and Senior Field Agent both taking two week’s leave at such short notice. However, she’d realized that it was better than losing her said Chief Medial Examiner and Senior Field Agent completely, which is what she’d have done had she refused.

Plus, she had never liked Hollis Mann. Her and Ducky’s relationship may have ended, like all of Ducky’s relationships with women ended, but she still cared for him. He did tend to have that effect on his lovers; as Gibbs himself could attest to.

But there would be no more lovers now; only Gibbs, now and forever. Not many people would have credited Leroy Jethro Gibbs with being a patient man, but when it really mattered it could be. And it had certainly paid off. It had been a long wait, a very long wait, but it had most definitely been worth it.

As he wrote the final two lines, and signed it, he glanced for the umpteenth time at the gold band encircling the third finger of his left hand.

And he smiled.

Tags: !creator: nakeisha, challenge 17, fiction
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