AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUMMARY: It's Christmas Day and Ducky is waiting for Jethro to come down to breakfast where he has a surprise for him.
WORD COUNT: 1,276
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for adriannacoylho. Happy Birthday, Adrianna!
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Ducky hummed Silent Night as he put the final items, the coffee pot and tea pot, onto the table and turned the napkins slightly on the side plates. "There, all done." He smiled to himself as he heard footsteps hurrying down stairs. He glanced at his watch; it was a few seconds after eight - once a Marine, always a Marine.
He himself had been up since six and the turkey was already in the oven and his preparations for lunch overall were well in hand. He'd told Jethro the night before that he didn't expect him to get up at six, but that he would expect him to be down for breakfast at eight o'clock. His quiet, but firm order had been followed to the letter.
Jethro strode into the dining room headed for Ducky, pulled him into his arms and kissed him. "Merry Christmas, Duck," he said, several moments later.
Ducky smiled up at his lover. "Merry Christmas, my dear Jethro." He unlinked his hands from behind Jethro's head and cupped Jethro's face with one of them. "Now, let us enjoy a fairly leisurely breakfast before I return to the kitchen."
Jethro kissed Ducky's cheek before sitting down. "Looks good, Duck," he said, pouring a mug of hot, strong, black coffee and taking a large gulp. "This is great."
Ducky beamed at Jethro and handed him a plate of ham and pork pie and pushed the toast rack and mustard pot towards him. It was the traditional Christmas breakfast he had grown up with, a tradition he had continued to keep over the years.
"Tastes good too," Jethro said, around a mouthful of ham and pork pie, swallowing and following it up with another mouthful of coffee.
Ducky smiled. They chatted on and off as they ate breakfast until finally they pushed their plates to one side and sat enjoying their final cups of coffee and tea. Ducky wiped his mouth with his napkin and placed it back onto the table. He cleared his throat and was somewhat amused when Jethro stood up.
"Just tell me what I'm meant to be doing," Jethro said, swallowing the dregs of his coffee and putting the mug back onto the tray.
Ducky shook his head. "Sit back down, Jethro. There is nothing you or indeed I need to be doing at the precise second. I allowed us an hour 'off' so to speak and we still have quarter of an hour left."
Jethro raised an eyebrow before sitting back down. "Ever thought you followed the wrong profession, Duck?" he said, reaching for the not quite empty coffee pot and pouring the final half a mug.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you'd have made a great military campaign planner."
"Why, thank you, Jethro."
"So you got anything specific in mind to fill the last fifteen, no wait, it's now fourteen minutes." Jethro grinned at Ducky.
"As a matter of fact, I do." Ducky spoke placidly.
"Oh, right." Jethro stared at him.
Ducky took another sip of tea, carefully placed the cup back down, leaned forward a little and stared directly at Jethro. For a moment he was silent; he'd been so certain earlier when he'd planned this, but now - now he suddenly wasn't so sure.
"I'm waiting, Duck."
"Yes, I know. I was just trying to decide exactly how to phrase what it is I have to say."
Jethro shrugged. "Simply?"
Ducky gave him a half smile. "Very well. Leroy Jethro Gibbs, will you marry me?" There he'd done it. It hadn't been at all the way he'd planned to do it. But he had done it. Now he had to wait. He mentally crossed his fingers and reminded himself to go on breathing, to go on acting normally.
Jethro was gazing at him, his eyes wide, his mouth very slightly open, his expression was unreadable, even for Ducky who knew him so well. "Duck?"
Ducky frowned a little. "It's really a very simple question, Jethro, as you yourself suggested I make it. Will you marry me?"
"You want to marry me?" Jethro sounded incredulous.
For a moment Ducky was tempted to laugh. Instead he said lightly, "Well, unless you know of another Leroy Jethro Gibbs, then, yes. I do. I want it very much. You see, Jethro, it's time, it's past time, we stopped wasting time and energy in effect commuting from your house to mine and back again. Everyone who matters to us knows about our relationship and I want to formalize it. We are now legally able to marry and I believe it is time we do that thing. So I ask you again, Jethro will you marry me?" And with that he took a small box from his pocket, opened it and took out a golden band. "Well?" he said, his throat beginning to constrict as he looked at Jethro who was still sitting just staring at him. He shouldn't have done it, he shouldn't have proposed and he certainly shouldn't have done it on Christmas Day when in a few hours time they would have visitors.
"Just still not sure why you want to marry me," Jethro said, looking and sounding bemused.
Ducky smiled and shook his head; he leaned forward and put his hand over Jethro's. "How about because I love you?" he asked gently. "Look, Jethro, if I've overstepped the mark, if I've inadvertently upset you, if it's not the right time, if it's not what you want, then just say so. And let us -" He stopped speaking as Jethro shook his head and frowned.
"You haven't. You haven't. It is. It is," he said, Ducky watched him count off in his head as he answered Ducky's questions. "I'd be more than happy to marry you, Duck. In fact I'd love to. I love you, you know that. I just never thought that . . ." He trailed off.
"That I'd want that level of commitment?"
"Yeah, no. No, Duck. Not that. Just, well, I'm not -"
Ducky chuckled softly. "You, my dearest Jethro, are everything I want and more. You are the only man I want, the only man I have wanted from the day we met. So stop being so foolish and say 'yes, Ducky'."
Now Jethro laughed. "Yes, Ducky," he repeated obligingly. "Yeah, Duck. I'll marry you."
"Good," Ducky said, standing up. "And now that matter is settled, I really do need to get back to the kitchen. You may clear the table and then start to reset it for luncheon, everything you need it already out on the sideboards and don't forget to put the extra leaf into extend it. And then when you have done that you may open the wine. What?" he asked, as Jethro just stared at him.
"Is that it? You ask me to marry you, I say yes, and you just want to go back to the kitchen?" Now Jethro stood up too.
"Well, it is now two minutes to nine and -" But Jethro had stridden around the table, pulled Ducky into his arms, lowered his head and crushed Ducky's mouth with his own. "Well, I suppose we can -" Ducky started to say, when Jethro broke the kiss for long enough to take another gulp of air, before once again putting his mouth on Ducky's.
As he kissed his soon to be husband back and heard the grandfather clock strike nine, Ducky wasn't overly concerned with the extra time being used up. He had, after all, allowed an extra free half an hour in his carefully planned schedule for mishaps or whatever. Kissing Jethro could count as 'whatever'.