AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship. Episode Tag
SUMMARY: Set after The Inside Man. Ducky talks to Jethro.
SPOILERS: From Aliyah up to and including The Inside Man
WORD COUNT: 1,000
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for Challenge #46 - 'Time'.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Where everything we say and do,
hurts us all the more.
I knew something was amiss with Jethro from the moment he arrived in the kitchen and kissed me. I knew because, although he kissed me as he always did upon arriving home, it was clear from the kiss he was distracted. I do not like Jethro to be distracted when he kisses me.
"What is it?" I asked.
He looked down at me and blinked. "That obvious?"
I smiled a little. "Only to me. Well?"
He shrugged, took his arms from around me, went to the fridge and snagged a cold beer. "Ziva," he answered, once he'd taken a swallow.
His answer did not surprise me. I believe that, with the exception of myself, Ms. David is the person who has been on Jethro's mind more than anyone else has been since he left her in Israel. "Well?" I asked, when he didn't continue.
"She wants to become an NCIS agent."
I blinked. "Is that even possible?"
He shrugged. "Don't know. She's resigned from Mossad. But -"
"She's not a US citizen."
"Probably a way round it. Vance would know."
He wasn't telling me everything. "And?" I demanded softly.
He spared me a smile. "She asked me to sign the form recommending her."
"Ah," I said. Finally I understood. I didn't ask whether he'd done so; I knew the answer. Instead I walked across to him, took the beer from his hand, put my arms around his neck and waited for him to complete the loose embrace. "Ah, my dear Jethro," I said, stretching up to lightly brush my lips over his. "Do you not think it is time to forgive her?"
I hid my amusement at the look of surprise on his face. "I have."
I shook my head. "No, Jethro, you have not."
He frowned. "Took her back onto the team."
"Yes. But you barely look at her or talk to her. You pointedly ignore her when she addresses you. Have you any idea how much you must be hurting her?" I spoke quietly, gently, but with a hint of firmness.
"What makes you say that?"
"You told me she told you that you were the closest thing to a father she has left."
"She's already had one father hurt her; betray her; let her down; be disappointed in her. Do you truly believe she deserves the same from another one?"
A flash of anger crossed his face as he glared down at me. However, as with any way he looked at me, even his glare was different from the way he glared at anyone else - and for that I was grateful. I knew I was on somewhat shaky ground. I may be his lover of many years standing, as well as his closest friend, but even lovers and friends have lines over which they should not step. I was perilously close to one. However, I believed for the sake of Jethro, of Ziva, and indeed of 'Team Gibbs' it had to be said. And no one but I could say it.
"I'm not," he said, his tone somewhat harsh.
I sighed; at least he hadn't broken the embrace we still stood in. "Oh, Jethro. When she killed Ari, when she killed her half-brother, she told you she was not following orders. She told you she was wrong; wrong about Ari and wrong about you. Do you believe she stood in your basement and lied to you? Lied in such a point blank way? Well, do you?"
He shook his head, then negated the negative by a half nod, before moving his arms from around me and throwing up his hands. "I don't know, Duck," he said finally. He grabbed the bottle of beer again and took another swallow.
"Do you not?" I asked, certain he did. "What does your gut tell you?"
He frowned. "Thought you liked proof and not a gut instinct."
I chuckled softly. "Ah, but I know just how reliable your particular gut is."
I nodded. "Yes. Yes, Jethro, it is. I ask again: Do you believe she stood in your basement and lied to you?"
Again he glared at me; again it was 'my' glare. He locked his gaze with mine and just stared at me. I didn't need him to speak the word - but he needed to. Finally, he closed his eyes for a second, sighed, opened them again and said quietly, "No. No, Duck. I don't."
I nodded. Once again I had been correct in my thoughts. "In that case, my dear, it is time to forgive her. It is time to stop letting her think you are disappointed in her. It is time to stop hurting her. Sign the form and let things move on from there. Show her you really want her back on the team."
"You think she's ready to really be back?"
Now it was my turn to shrug. "No, not really. And yet," I added swiftly seeing the look in his eyes, "she is. Or I should say she's as ready as she will be until she actually talks about what happened. And as you yourself told me, she'll talk when she's ready and not before. I do know that sitting at her desk all day, whilst you and the boys are out working cases, will not help her; in fact I believe doing so will hinder her. She will withdraw even further into herself; she will have time to dwell in depth on what happened, and it will make her more determined not to talk to anyone."
He looked slightly skeptical of my words, but he didn't challenge them. "Guess you're right," he said finally.
I smiled and again put my arms around him. "You merely guess?"
He laughed. I believe it was the first genuine laugh I'd heard in over four months. "Ah, Duck," he said, pulling me nearer to him. And he kissed me. This time he was not distracted.