AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Angst. Episode Related. Mini Series
SUMMARY: A sequel to: Not Too Old To Dream and If Wishes Were Horses. Set during UnSEALed. Ducky has a dilemma and he isn't certain what to do. Written for Challenge #27 - 'Titles'
WORD COUNT: 1,124
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Ducky had a dilemma.
And for once he did not know what to do.
And for once the one person to whom he could not turn, with whom he could not discuss it, was Jethro. He could not discuss it with Jethro, because Jethro was his dilemma.
For a few months now Ducky had had the feeling, the impression, that Jethro might possibly want more from him than simply friendship. Might want love of a different kind.
The two men had always been intimate and extremely close; they had always touched one another freely and exchanged long, some might say lingering, looks. However, over the past few months, Ducky believed the intimacy, the looks, the touches, the closeness had grown even more so. He hadn't thought it possible, not without them actually taking the step and becoming lovers, but their relationship had become even more intense.
Jethro was touching him more than he had ever done, and in a far more intimate way. Not sexually intimate, but intimate intimate. As he did a mere few moments ago . . .
Ducky lightly stroked his cheek which Jethro had, those mere few moments before, himself touched, patted, cupped, caressed even. He could still feel the warmth and tenderness of the gun calloused hand as it made contact with his skin. He shivered as he recalled it, and he allowed the fission of excitement, which he had hitherto suppressed, to race through his body, making him tingle, making him feel truly alive.
A hand on the shoulder, an arm around the shoulders, a pat on the arm, a touch on the hand, all of those things were the way close friends touched one another. But a touch on the cheek went beyond friendship, beyond even the level of friendship Jethro and he shared.
And it wasn't as if were an isolated incident. There had been other similar touches, plus Jethro seemed to visit him in Autopsy even more frequently than he'd always done. And Ducky ran into his old friend during their working day, more often than he had ever done in all the years they had worked together. In fact only the day before Jethro had followed him into the men's room, not because he needed to use the facilities himself, but so that he could talk to Ducky about something that apparently couldn't wait the few minutes it would have taken Ducky to relieve himself. And not just followed him, but appeared to stand and if not directly watch Ducky, then certainly not ignore him, not by a long way.
Was Jethro trying to tell him something?
Could the impossible be possible?
Had Jethro finally realized that his existence was Ducky's reason for living? Ducky's only reason for staying in America? Oh, that was fanciful, and part of Ducky was ashamed at how pathetic it made him sound. But nonetheless it was the truth.
Had the day come when Jethro had looked at him and seen him as more than just his oldest, closest friend? Had he looked at him and seen that Ducky loved him beyond the love of friendship? And not only seen it but returned the feeling?
Was it possible that his dreams just might be about to come true?
With a sigh of regret, Ducky lowered his hand and shook his head. He was annoyed with himself for his foolish thoughts. Of course it wasn't thus.
If, and it was such a big 'if' Ducky could not really credit it at all. Nonetheless, if Jethro had suddenly woken up and realized he was in love with Ducky, well he would have done something about it by now, wouldn't he?
After all, Jethro had known from the very early days of their friendship that Ducky was gay. Given Jethro's career choice, Ducky had made a point of telling him as soon as he possibly could. He hadn't intended to become close to Jethro, to invest time and energy into their friendship, only for Jethro to find out the truth and walk away. So he had told him and had done so as bluntly as possible. Jethro's reaction had been a simple 'so what'? shrug, a one armed hug and a comment about Ducky not getting rid of him that easily; then the subject had been changed.
And Jethro must know how Ducky felt about him; after all those years he must; he was too fine a Special Agent not to know. Ducky was good, extremely good at hiding his feelings, but he was human; he was also well aware of just how revealing his eyes in particular were. One of Ducky's biggest fears had always been that whilst Jethro had accepted him being gay without any hint of concern or censure, he wouldn't be able to, couldn't, accept that Ducky was in love with him. That Ducky wanted him romantically and sexually; that Ducky wanted to kiss him, wanted to take him to bed, wanted to – Ducky pushed the image away. It was foolish to think that way.
Jethro did know how Ducky felt about him; Ducky would stake his life on it. Thus, if Jethro had suddenly developed romantic and sexual feelings for him, he would have approached him.
Or maybe, just maybe, he didn't know how to. Maybe he wasn't sure what to say, what to do. Maybe he was waiting for Ducky to make a move.
Should Ducky do so?
He really didn't know.
And that was his dilemma.
How did he approach Jethro?
It was an entirely different thing from approaching a fellow gay man, someone he didn't know.
What would he say?
What would he do?
And what if he were wrong?
What if he was still simply wishing it to be thus so much, that he was making the touches, the looks, the hugs, the closeness, the more frequent visits into something they weren't?
Why now after twenty-nine years?
And then suddenly it hit him. He knew why he was wrong.
He knew why his musings were impossible.
He knew why he no longer had a dilemma.
One of Jethro's traits that Ducky both admired and frowned upon slightly, was the single-minded way he went after what he wanted. Thus had his dearest, most beloved friend wanted him as a lover, he would have told Ducky so; he would have seduced him even. He would have made it clear; he would have left Ducky in no doubt as to his wants, his feelings, his desires.
And he hadn't.
So that was that.
Giving his cheek one final touch, Ducky sighed and turned his attention back to the case in hand.
At least he still had his dreams. He would have to be content with those.