AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship (just)
SUMMARY: Written for Challenge #27 - 'Titles'. The new lovers are about to part for the first time and there's something Gibbs wants to ask Ducky.
WORD COUNT: 1,120
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
A promise is all I want. A promise that you will never forget me.
They stood together, a part of, but apart from, the crowd around them.
The taller man glanced around him; he saw men, women and children laughing, hugging, kissing, holding, crying, smiling, talking. He looked and he found himself wondering if he were the only Marine to be standing with his male lover. Surely he couldn't be?
He turned his gaze to the man standing so near to him; standing so close to him he could easily smell the scent he'd come to know intimately over the past ten days. They weren't embracing, but they were standing close enough together so that their bodies brushed against one another. Close enough to make contact, to give and share affection, but not so close that their stance would be seen as anything other than good friends. At least he didn’t think so; he didn't think anyone would look at them and see he was standing with his lover.
He still couldn't really believe it. Not really.
He still wasn't certain how it had happened.
How he, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a good Marine, a fully, or so he had always believed, heterosexual man, had ended up about to depart on his latest deployment being seen off by with his male lover.
He'd never had any issues with gay men, none at all; in fact his best friend at school had been gay. He'd just never expected to play on that side of the fence. But now he was.
He'd expected to spend a good part of his ten-day leave in bed. He just hadn't expected to spend them in bed with a man.
But he had.
Ten days ago he'd run into, literally, the man he was now brushing against. Dr. Donald Mallard, known to everyone as 'Ducky', had entered his life and had turned it upside down.
As he pressed against Ducky filing away for the long lonely nights the memories of his scent, of his touch, of the way he looked, the way he talked, the way he looked at Gibbs himself, he thought back over the last ten days.
It wasn't the sex, not really. When it came down to it one hand on you was pretty much the same as any other. One body willing to let you slip inside it, even if it was a different place, was pretty much like any other. One mouth on yours, opening beneath your demand, letting you inside, or moving over your body, teasing you, kissing you, licking you, sucking you, was, at a purely basic physical level, like any other.
Okay, Ducky was good. Ducky was damn good. Far better than any and all of the girls Gibbs had screwed. Somehow he knew exactly what Gibbs liked, even stuff Gibbs hadn't known he'd liked. He knew how to hold Gibbs, how to stroke him, hard enough for him to feel it, but not too hard it hurt. He knew how to kiss, God did he know how to kiss; his kisses alone had aroused Gibbs to the point of climax. He knew when, where, and how to caress, when to hold on, when to let go. He knew how to give Gibbs more pleasure than he'd ever dreamed of, or could have hoped to experience. But it was still sex; just sex where the anatomy was a bit different from what he was used to.
So it wasn't that.
It was everything else.
Ducky had talked to him. Shared things with him. Told him about the world. Told him stories. Told him about himself. Wooed him. Taken him to good restaurants. Bought him good food and wine. Educated him, without talking down to him. Taught him about decent whiskey. And so many other things. Loved him?
Even now Gibbs wasn't sure.
Was it love?
Could it be love after such a short time?
He didn't know.
They hadn't spoken of it.
Not as such.
Nor had they spoken of what would happen once Gibbs had gone.
Would Ducky stay around?
Would he wait for him?
Did he want him to?
Should he want him to?
Whether he should or not; he did.
Now he did slip his arms around Ducky. He had to; he wanted to, he needed to. Besides, everyone else was embracing; other men were embracing men, no one would pay them any attention. Ducky went into the embrace willingly, completing it by putting his own arms around Gibbs and holding him. As Gibbs glanced down at Ducky he was suddenly hit by a near over-whelming desire to kiss him.
"I wouldn't if I were you, Jethro," Ducky murmured softly. "I fear that might constitute an instant dishonorable discharge."
Gibbs swallowed. Was he that easy to read?
He never had been. He knew that. His girl friends had all told him so.
He wanted to hold on to this moment.
He wanted to hold on to Ducky.
He wanted . . .
He wanted to ask Ducky something.
He wanted to ask Ducky to promise him something.
But how could he?
It would sound pathetic. Childish. The kind of thing a clinging girl might ask. He couldn't. He wouldn't. No matter how much he wanted to. It wasn't the kind of thing he had ever asked in his life; the kind of thing he'd ever think of asking. He couldn't ask. He couldn't. He wouldn't.
"What is it, Jethro?" Ducky asked, his tone still soft.
He swallowed hard. "Duck," because that's what 'Ducky' had become to him: 'Duck'.
"Will you," he broke off. What the hell did he say? "Will you remember me?" he asked. God that sounded pathetic. He hurried on. "I mean, I know you'll probably be leaving America, but it'd be nice to think you might . . . Forget it," he said swiftly.
Ducky moved a little nearer and tilted his head back even further. "Jethro my dear," he said, his tone solemn. "I promise you I will never forget you. Never," he repeated. "I couldn't," he added very softly.
About to ask Ducky why he 'couldn't', Gibbs was stopped by the 'all aboard' sound. As people around him grabbed one another, held one another even tighter, kissed one another, he tugged Ducky even nearer to him; pressing him so tightly against him he felt Ducky's heartbeat. As he did, he risked putting his head down even lower and let his lips brush Ducky's ear.
Then he let him go, aware that if he didn’t, he would do more.
He grabbed his bag from the ground, brushed his fingertips over Ducky's cheek and began to walk away.
As he did, he heard Ducky say quite clearly, "And I will not be leaving America."