AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Ducky talks about forgiveness.
WORD COUNT: 1,000
CHALLENGE: #42 - A quote from the show. This was inspired by Ducky's 'Forgive me, Jethro', in Lt. Jane Doe in particular, the first two words.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Of all the things Jethro has said to me during our long personal, romantic relationship, the one thing he has never said is 'Forgive me, Duck'.
I think many people might think that was the one thing he should say even more often than 'I love you, Duck', but I do not feel that to be the case. Indeed, I do not believe there is anything Jethro has done to me for which he has ever needed to seek forgiveness.
If he needed to ask someone to forgive him, it should have been his three ex-wives, all of whom he was, I am more than a little sorry to say and ashamed to admit, unfaithful to. However, I know they are the last people he would ever ask to forgive him.
As for me, well, let me say I have always known exactly where I stand with him. He loves me; he has always loved me both as friend and lover, and he always will love me. Oh, dear, that does sound somewhat presumptuous, does it not? And rather self-confident; if not arrogant. However, presumptuous, self-confident, arrogant or not, it is nonetheless the truth. One thing I will never lose, even if I lose everything else in this life, is the love of Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
And along with knowing I'll always have his love, I have also always known that one day he will find the peace, the solace, the self-forgiveness he needs to allow him to devote himself to me and me alone.
Self-forgiveness is the hardest thing of all. And what he may well not be aware is that rather than having fewer things for which he feels he needs to forgive himself over the years, he has had more. You see he married Marie, Diane and Stephanie for all the wrong reasons.
He married Marie in a desperate attempt to try to regain the happiness and fulfillment he'd had with dear Shannon and Kelly. I could have told him, maybe I should have told him, that it would not work. It could not work. Although that marriage lasted somewhat longer than his far too brief marriage to Stephanie and his even briefer marriage to Diane.
He married Diane and Stephanie because he knew at that time he could not give himself to me fully. And also, I believe, there was still the small hope of the 'white picket fence' and the 'happy ever after'. Not that he ever said that to me. We never actually discussed why he was marrying; just as we never discussed Jennifer Shepard, or the other women he felt the need, because need it was, to date and bed.
Had it been anyone other than Jethro, one could say that maybe it was because he couldn't accept what to be accurate is his bisexuality, but would no doubt be seen by the world as being gay. But that is not the case; of that I am as certain as I am that the sun will rise each morning. One thing Jethro has never cared about is what other people might or might not think of him, with, I like to believe, the exception of myself. The fact that he has, and has had for many years, a male lover, a male lover who is, and who always has been, gay, does not and would not trouble him. That is not the man Leroy Jethro Gibbs is.
No, it was simply down to the fact that he has always known that when the day comes and he moves into my home that will be the day when there will never be anyone else. We may not be able to exchange formal 'to death do us part' vows, at least not any that are legally binding, but we will be bound by far more than mere words.
Has he hurt me over the years? Yes, of course he has. I may say there is nothing for which he has to ask me to forgive him, but I am only human. And as one ex-wife became two and in turn three and the number of women he dated turned into double figures, well let us say that each one hurt more than I thought it would. But I never let him see that; I wouldn't. But then I didn't need to; he knew it. And that is yet another thing for which he has to forgive himself.
A friend of mine once asked me why I 'put up with it', why I didn't just walk out on Jethro, or at least deliver an ultimatum to him. He also asked me what I saw in Jethro and what he gave me. The answer to that is so very simple: everything. Which I know is in danger of making me sound like someone in a trashy romance novel, but nonetheless it is true. I do not know if you are aware of W. H. Auden's poem Funeral Blues, which has become far better known by its opening words Stop all the clocks, in particular the first three lines of the third verse. Well, trashy romance novel or not, that is what Jethro means to me.
And even though he has hurt me over the years, the happiness, the joy, the pleasure, the fulfillment, the love, the contentment, the cherishing, the sense of belonging, and so many other things he has given me far outweighs the hurt. Thus, more evidence that there is nothing for which I need to forgive him.
And the day for which I have long been waiting is about to arrive. In true Jethro fashion he didn't make a big thing about it. He simply said: 'Thought I'd move my stuff to your place this weekend, Duck' adding seconds later 'if that's okay with you'. And he smiled, his special smile, the one he reserves just for me. He smiled because he knew only too well he had no need to add the qualifier.