AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUMMARY: Set after One Last Score. Ducky explains something to Gibbs.
SPOILERS: One Last Score
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.
". . . And so my lecturer said - Dr. Mallard, are you all right?" Jimmy paused mid-way through the story he was telling, when he realized Dr. Mallard didn't seem to be listening to him, instead he was watching the clock.
"I'm sorry?" Dr. Mallard glanced away from the clock and looked at Jimmy.
From the look on his face and the frown creasing his brow, Jimmy wasn't sure Dr. Mallard had heard anything he'd said. He forced a smile. "I just wondered if you were all right, Doctor. You seem to be distracted. Do you have to be somewhere?" he asked brightly, as Dr. Mallard's gaze once more returned to the clock.
"Hmm? Oh, yes, as a matter of fact there is somewhere I have to be. And when I come back, you can finish telling me about your lecturer." Dr. Mallard positively beamed at Jimmy and, pausing to pat Jimmy's hand, hurried towards the doors that obligingly parted for him.
Jimmy stood and watched as the elevator doors opened and Dr. Mallard slipped inside.
As the elevator began to move upwards, Ducky felt a frisson of anticipation pass through his body. He was certain he'd timed it just right; he felt a little guilty at having spent the last half-an-hour watching the clock rather than listening to Jimmy, but this was important, and he would make it up to Jimmy when he returned to Autopsy.
Seconds later the elevator doors opened. "Jethro." Ducky didn't even attempt to sound surprised.
"Duck!" Jethro exclamation, however, was heavy with surprise. "Didn't expect to -"
"See me?" Ducky asked calmly. When Jethro gave a half shrug rather than answer, Ducky asked politely, "Well, are you not going to join me?"
"I'm not going to the same place as you, Duck. I'll just -"
"Oh, but you are, Jethro. Now please join me." Ducky spoke the obvious, gentle order softly.
After glancing over his shoulder, Jethro stepped inside the car. Ducky waited until the doors had closed before pushing a button.
"I was going to get coffee."
"Yes, I know; just as you do at this time every day." Ducky spoke calmly as he pushed the emergency stop button and the car stopped.
"What are you doing?"
"Waiting for an explanation."
"About why you have not been down to Autopsy recently. Why you sent Anthony firstly on his own and then with Timothy. Well?" he added, when Jethro said nothing.
Jethro gave a half shrug. "Thought it was better, safer," he added. Ducky just stared at him. "Duck, we agreed we'd -"
"Keep the new status of our relationship just between ourselves for the time being."
"Yeah, exactly. So if I come down to Autopsy and see you, reckon I'll give it away. Look at you differently, speak to you differently, touch your more. I don't know. Just give it away. So I thought it'd be better if I stayed away. Just for a bit, you know. You understand what I'm saying, don't you?" Jethro asked, as Ducky just stood looking at him in silence. "Duck?"
"Well, yes, Jethro, I understand the words perfectly well, thank you. And I do understand you believe your actions to be for the best. However, you are wrong."
Jethro's mouth fell open and he stared wide-eyed at Ducky. "I'm wrong?"
Ducky nodded. "Oh, yes, my dear, quite, quite wrong."
"You want to explain that to me?"
"Most certainly," Ducky replied, it was after all what he'd intended to do. It was the main reason he had been clock watching so that he could ensure he was in the elevator at the exact time Jethro would be leaving the building to get coffee.
"You going to do that today, Duck?" Jethro asked.
Ducky chuckled. "I am indeed, Jethro. As I said I understand you believe you are acting in our best interests and doing the right thing. However, in fact what you are doing is making it perfectly clear that the nature of our relationship has changed." He smiled up at Jethro.
Jethro looked dubious. "You want to explain that to me, Duck?"
Ducky nodded. "Yes. You see, my dear, the children and other people will notice the change. They will take note of the fact you no longer come down to Autopsy to see me, but send the children instead and they will work out why. It's a well known fact that if two people who have hitherto been close friends, as we are, who spend time together, who are tactile, affectionate, intimate, suddenly start avoiding one another, that they are no longer 'just good friends' is, I believe, the common phrase. So you avoiding me to stop people from working out we have become lovers, will in fact make them work out we have become lovers."
Jethro stared in silence for a moment or two. Finally, he shrugged and said, "You sure about that, Duck?"
"Oh, yes, perfectly certain."
"Because it sounds back to front to me."
Ducky put his hand on Jethro's arm. "I thought it might, which is why I wanted to come and explain it to you in detail, before you continued your foolhardiness. But you see, I am correct," he spoke placidly. "So unless there is some additional reason for your absence in Autopsy . . ." he deliberately trailed off.
"Hell, no!" Ducky beamed at the honesty in Jethro's tone. "Course there isn't. I miss coming down."
"That's settled then. So things can now return to normal and I will not be bothered by Anthony, who by the way shows a distressing lack of knowledge about the organs in a person's body. I'll explain later," he added as Jethro raised an eyebrow. "Well, now we have sorted that out, I had better let you go and get your coffee." Ducky reached to press the emergency stop button again.
However, Jethro caught his hand and tugged him towards him. "Not quite yet, Duck," he murmured, pulling Ducky into his arms, lowering his head and kissing him.