AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
PROMPT: Decorating Reston House'
SUMMARY: Ducky has invited the team to Reston House to help him decorate for Christmas. Gibbs surprises him in more ways than one.
WORD COUNT: 1,000
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Ducky was halfway through getting the Christmas decorations down from the attic when the front door bell rang. He glanced at his watch it showed, as he'd expected, a little after five past two. Frowning he put the watch to his ear and heard it was still ticking. "Maybe it's carol singers," he said, hurrying down the stairs and across the hall to open the front door.
"Jethro! He exclaimed when he saw who was standing on the front porch. "I thought you were carol singers," he blurted out without thinking then cursed himself for his foolishness.
To his amazement, Jethro started to sing. "Good King Wenceslas last looked out on the something or other." He came to a halt and smiled at Ducky. "Hey, Duck. Hope I'm not late?"
"Late?" Ducky said, feeling almost as if he'd slipped down the rabbit hole. "Er, for . . . ?"
"The decorating Reston House party."
"Oh!" Ducky tried hard to hide his surprise. "Er, no. Not at all, Jethro. In fact you are almost an hour early. The children are coming around at three o'clock, and it's not even ten past two."
Jethro shrugged. "Oh, must have misheard. You don't mind me being early, do you?"
Ducky shook his head. "No, no, of course I don't, Jethro. Not at all. It was -"
"Because if it's not convenient, I can go and sit in the car until the kids get here."
"Why wouldn't it be convenient?"
Jethro shrugged. "You seem, I don't know, flustered. Haven't got someone here, have you?"
Ducky shook his head. "No, of course I haven't. I am just -" He came to an abrupt halt; he didn't really want to tell Jethro he was surprised to see him, not just so early but at all. When he'd mentioned the gathering to the team, he'd got the distinct impression that spending Saturday afternoon helping decorate Reston House with the children was the last thing Jethro had wanted to do. And suddenly it hit him. "Oh, dear me, what am I thinking. Do come in, it's freezing out there." He quickly moved back and ushered Jethro into the house. "Do forgive me. I was -"
"Not that cold. Something smells good." Jethro began to take off his coat, scarf and gloves. He pushed his gloves into his coat pockets and then threw the coat and scarf over the banister.
Ducky pointedly picked it up and hung it on the hat stand. Jethro grinned at him. "I couldn't expect people to come and work and not be rewarded now, could I?"
"Knowing you, course not. So can I do anything?"
"Well there are still a few boxes of decorations to come down from the attic. If you didn't mind giving me a hand to fetch them, that would be very helpful."
"You wait here, I'll get them."
"Are you quite certain?"
"Sure I am."
"In that case, I will go and pour some mulled wine for us, it needs testing before the others arrive. Unless you'd rather have something else."
"Mulled wine sounds good to me, Duck. Thanks."
Twenty minutes later the rest of the boxes were piled in the sitting room and Jethro had manhandled the tree in from outside, but had confessed he was going to wait for the boys to help before he actually put it in place. "Thanks, Duck." He took the pewter goblet Ducky held out to him and took a deep swallow. "That's good. That's very good."
Ducky took a smaller sip and beamed. "I know one shouldn't praise oneself, but I confess it is rather good. Your good health, Jethro."
"Cheers, Duck. Duck?"
"You were surprised to see me, weren't you?"
Ducky felt his cheeks grow a little warm. He glanced away from the penetrating blue gaze that was suddenly holding him captive. "Well," he said, wondering whether to prevaricate a little. "You see -"
"Straight yes or no'll do."
"Very well, Jethro. Yes, I confess I was a little surprised to see you. I honestly didn't think helping to decorate my home was how you wished to spend your Saturday afternoon."
"Oh." Ducky was a tad taken aback at the bluntness. "In that case why -"
"Am I here?" Ducky nodded. "Realized why I wasn't that happy about being here."
"Yeah. See, I realized it wasn't that I didn't want to help your decorate, it was that I didn't want to -" Now Jethro feel silent and took another swallow of the mulled wine.
"You didn't want to . . . ?" Ducky asked gently.
"Doesn't matter. Forget it."
Ducky took a step nearer to Jethro. "Oh, I think it does matter, Jethro. I think it matters very much indeed. Besides, you know me well enough to know that suggesting I 'forget it' is only going to fuel my interest even more and you now what happens when I get inquisitive, do you not? Do not forget I am capable of - What did you say?"
"Said I didn't want to share you," Jethro muttered, glancing away from Ducky.
"Share me?" Ducky knew the surprise he felt was clear in his tone.
"Yeah, with the kids. Wanted you - Ah, hell, Duck, I'm making a mess of this."
"Yeah. You see, it's not just the kids I don't want to share you with this afternoon, I don't want to share you with anyone ever again." Now Jethro looked up and stared into Ducky's eyes. Ducky gasped softly at the look that blazed in the dark blue eyes. "Want you all for myself, Duck," Jethro said his tone husky.
Ducky swallowed hard. He was now convinced he'd fallen down the rabbit hole or had fallen asleep and was having a beautiful dream. "Jethro, I -"
"Oh, what the heck. Come here." Jethro put his goblet down, snagged Ducky's and put that down to, pulled Ducky into his arms and kissed him.
They were still kissing some twenty minutes later when the front door bell rang again and voices and laughter from outside could be heard.