AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship.
SUMMARY: Written for Challenge #29 - 'Fortune Cookie'. Set shortly before Lost And Found. Ducky takes matters into his own hands.
SPOILERS: None really.
WORD COUNT: 2,065
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Ducky sat back in his chair, sipping his after dinner brandy and listening to the children giggling and talking and playing their friendly, filial one-upmanship games. For some reason tonight he felt distanced from the rest of the team, in a way he had never done before.
Across the table, sitting directly opposite him, his gaze resting on him, was his long-term friend and lover. Jethro too was leaning back in his chair, his arm resting along the back of Timothy's chair. Ducky doubted Timothy was even aware of it, as he, like the rest of the children, was sitting on the edge of his chair, his elbows on the table, interacting avidly.
The evening had been Abby's idea, although it was Ducky himself (unbeknown to all except Jethro) who would be footing the bill. Jimmy had successfully completed his first year at Medical School, and Abby had decided the team should celebrate with a meal at a nearby Chinese restaurant. It hadn't taken much, if any, cajoling to persuade the entire team that it was a good idea.
As they had been leaving the building, Jethro had caught his arm, pulled him back and murmured the suggestion that he drive them both to the restaurant and then back to Ducky's Reston home. At least Ducky would know where his lover would be spending that particular night.
He sighed to himself as recalled the hastily arranged liaison; he hadn't said 'no' to Jethro, but then he never did. It was partly because he never wanted to say 'no', but also partly because he was never sure when the next 'invitation' would occur – especially not these days since Lieutenant Colonel Hollis Mann had arrived on the scene.
He had no idea at all what Jethro saw in the woman, she was nothing like his 'usual' type, nor had he any idea why Jethro was still dating her, when he appeared not to wish to be doing so. Ducky had never asked him, but then they never spoke of Jethro's other lovers – not even, during his four marriages, his wives. That was as much self-preservation as anything else; Ducky might not be able to avoid the fact Jethro 'cheated' on him, but he had never wished to discuss the matter. He wasn't that much of a masochist.
"Duck." The voice he knew so well cut into his thoughts. Jethro had spoken quietly, but Ducky's ears were attuned to the sound of his lover's voice, and it had resonated across the table to him, even over the loud chatter of the children.
He looked at Jethro and saw him nod his head to Ducky's left. He glanced to the side and saw a smiling waiter standing with a basket of fortune cookies. "Sir?" The man moved the basket a little nearer.
Obligingly Ducky took one. "Thank you," he murmured, putting it down on the table as the waiter went around to the others in turn.
One by one they all took a proffered cookie and opened it immediately. Then the children began to call their own fortune out and pass comment on it and everyone else's, laughing and joking and teasing as they 'discussed' the various merits, or otherwise, of each 'fortune'. Ducky wasn't sure anyone could actually hear anyone else over their voices, but they seemed happy enough. He noticed that Jethro, for once, did break his open; he watched his lover glance at it, frown, hold it out several inches, smile to himself, screw the piece of paper up and push it into his pocket.
In turn Ducky slowly broke his own cookie and unfurled the piece of paper. 'Your future happiness is in your own hands. Seize it while you can.' He blinked and unwittingly glanced up and across the table; Jethro's steady, affectionate gaze met his. As he looked at his lover he saw far more than mere affection in his eyes and instantly Ducky felt his body begin to tingle with desire.
Five minutes later after hugs and cries of 'don't go, Ducky' 'don't go, Gibbs', and Ducky pausing long enough to pay the bill and hand over a good tip, Ducky and Jethro stood outside the restaurant.
Under the guise of opening the passenger door and taking Ducky's arm to guide him inside, Jethro's lips managed to make contact with Ducky's ear and cheek, and as his body brushed against Ducky's, Ducky could feel Jethro was partially aroused. He smiled to himself as he settled into his seat; even at his age he still had the ability, the power, to turn Jethro on. And to do so relatively easily. Oh, yes, he definitely knew where his lover would be spending the night.
SEVERAL HOURS LATER
As he lay in Jethro's loose embrace, his body still warm, tingling and relaxed from the loving Jethro had bestowed on him, Ducky's mind slipped back to the words on his fortune cookie. As his eyes began to close and he snuggled just a little nearer to his beloved, he wondered if he dared follow its advice.
THE NEXT EVENING
"Ducky!" Hollis opened her door to find Dr. Mallard standing there, his hat in his hand. "This is a surprise," she added, hoping her voice didn't make it clear that the word 'unpleasant' could easily come between the two words 'a' and 'surprise'. She was not particularly fond of Jethro's closest friend and despite Ducky's polite and gentlemanly nature, she was fairly sure the feeling was mutual. Thus, she was indeed very surprised to see him standing on her doorstep.
"Good evening, Colonel Mann," he said formally.
She forced herself to smile. "Not for much longer. I officially retire in a week."
"I do hope everything goes according to plan," he said, his tone still relatively formal.
"Um, thank you." She waited, wondering just why he was standing on her doorstep.
"May I come in?" he asked.
"Er, well, I am expecting –"
"I am afraid Jethro will not be able to visit you tonight. Something came up at the last minute at the office that required his attention."
"And he sent you to tell me?" Now she was very surprised.
"Not exactly. May I please come in?" His tone was firm, and suddenly she realized it was not so much a request as an order.
She didn't particularly care for it, but not knowing quite what else to say, she took a step backwards and tugged her robe more tightly around her. "Certainly."
"Thank you." He stepped inside and closed the door behind him.
"Would you like a drink?" She asked the question automatically; her feelings for Ducky aside, she had been raised to have some manners.
He looked at her. "No, thank you. And after I tell you what I came here to tell you, I sincerely doubt you will repeat the offer."
She looked at him, suddenly wondering if he was quite well. This was unlike the Ducky she had met a few times, quite unlike him. His look was chilled, his tone slightly clipped and he seemed to have distanced himself from her. "Oh," was all she said, when it seemed he wasn't going to say anything. "Well, go ahead then," she added.
Ducky put his head slightly on one side as he continued to look at her. Under her gaze she saw his eyes harden and become colder. To her amazement she suddenly felt wary of him and had to stop herself from taking a step backwards. "Jethro is mine," he said calmly.
"I said 'Jethro is mine'."
"Yours?" What was the man talking about? Was he sane?
"Yes. We are lovers and have been for . . . Well, let me say more than a few weeks or even months."
"Lovers? You and Jethro? I don't believe you." She almost laughed at the absurdity at the notion.
"Do you not?" Steel touched his voice, and yet it remained almost conversational, friendly, but in a completely unfriendly way.
As she looked at him, she saw it clearly. He was speaking the truth. "Oh, my God," she managed, putting her hand to her mouth and swallowing hard. "But – How long?" she demanded.
"I am not at liberty to answer that question exactly. But suffice to say almost as long as we have known one another."
"But you can't be? Jethro's not . . . You and him?"
"He –" She broke off and shook her head. What the hell was she doing? "Get out." She spat the words at him. "Get out of my house. I never want to see you again. And you can tell 'your' Jethro that if he ever dares to contact me again, that I'll –"
"Oh, he won't. Good evening, Colonel Mann. I do hope your retirement is a good one." And with that, he nodded, turned and left.
She didn't manage to get to the bathroom before she was violently sick.
TWO HOURS LATER
"Duck!" Jethro exclaimed with pleasure as he opened the door to find his lover standing on the doorstep. "Thought you said you had things to do tonight." He caught Ducky's arm and gently pulled him inside the house.
"I did and I have." Ducky took off his hat and coat, reached around Jethro to lock and bolt the front door. He then moved into Jethro's arms, pulled his head down and kissed him; kissed him in a most demanding, almost forceful way.
Jethro met the kiss and returned it. He was surprised to see Ducky, as when, following Ducky's 'Hollis called and is not able to see you tonight' message, he'd invited Ducky to spend the evening and night with him, Ducky had made it quite clear he was not available. As he kissed Ducky and felt Ducky's body press against his, moving slightly, Jethro sensed something different about his lover.
Finally breaking away in order to breathe, Jethro said, "So what did you have to do then, Duck?"
Ducky moved back a little, remaining in Jethro's loose embrace, but looking up at him. "I went to see Colonel Mann," he said calmly.
Jethro blinked. "Holl? What for?"
Ducky put his head slightly on one side as he continued to look at him. Under his gaze Jethro saw Ducky's eyes harden and become colder. To his amazement he suddenly felt wary of Ducky and had to stop himself from taking a step backwards. "I went to see her to tell her that you are mine," Ducky said calmly.
Jethro blinked and felt his mouth fall open. "You did what?"
"I went to tell her that you are mine. And you are, Jethro. You are mine and I am tired of waiting for you to accept and admit that. You are mine," he said for a third time. "And you will stop bedding women, you will cease to date anyone other than me and by the end of the year you will have moved into my home with me. Now, kiss me again and then you may take me to bed and make love to me. Well?" he said, a moment or two later as Jethro just stood and stared at him, "don't you have anything to say? Or better still to do?"
"Er, Duck, are you feeling okay?"
Ducky frowned. "I assure you I am feeling perfectly well, thank you, Jethro. I am merely asserting my rights. I am merely seizing my happiness and arranging my future. Now, do you have a problem with what I have told you?"
Jethro looked down at his lover and saw, for the first time, a fission of unease flash through the steady gaze and settle on Ducky's face. He took one arm from where it held Ducky, and brushed his fingertips across Ducky's face, letting them linger on Ducky's mouth, which parted very slightly. He smiled. "Nope," he said, in complete honesty. "Not at all. Just wish you'd have told me years ago." His smile widened at the look of surprise that suddenly raced over Ducky's face.
SOME HOURS LATER
"You know what, Duck?" Jethro said, as he reached across Ducky to turn out the bedside light.
"My dear?" Ducky's voice was sleepy, full of love and more contented than Jethro had ever heard it.
"Works both ways."
"This 'mine' business. You're mine too and don't you ever forget it."