TITLE: Moving On. It's Been So Long
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Team Gibbs celebrate Christmas together, and Gibbs realises that he's never celebrated the season properly since Shannon and Kelly's deaths.
RATING: NC17 (Yes, this part does have a sex scene)
WARNINGS: There will be a few parts that have very brief homophobia. These parts will have the warnings labelled
WORD COUNT: 7592
AUTHOR NOTE: Sorry it's taken me so long to post the next part. This chapter has had me all over the place. So much stuff has been cut to be put back in or re-written completely, but I hope that you enjoy it anyway. :)
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
Ducky hummed a tune to himself as he finished wrapping the last present and placed it under the tree. Happy with his progress for tomorrow, he sat back on the sofa and sipped from a glass of ginger wine.
The past few years had been hard for him, spending Christmas alone for the most part of it since his mother's passing. That though was now about to change for the better.
The front door opened and Gibbs banged the toes of his shoes on the front step in an attempt to remove most of the snow that had gathered on the soles.
"Hey Duck. Sorry I'm late. Had to go pick up some last minute presents."
"That's fine, my dear. Is there anything you want me to wrap for you since I've got all the essentials still here?"
"Nope, I'm good. I don't want you to see what I got you yet."
"Well in that case I'll leave the stuff here for you to wrap them and make some tea. I promise I won't peek, just let me know when you're finished."
He wasn't the best at wrapping. Cutting the paper was rather haphazard and made Ducky jump at one point as he cursed out loud because the end of the sellotape was impossible to find. In the end however, he'd managed it and had successfully labelled each item to make sure they all went to the right person.
"Oh and I forgot to tell you," Ducky called from the kitchen, "Mr Palmer won't be joining us. He shall be enjoying the festivities with Breena and her parents this year. Still, best that he keeps his in-laws happy."
"Yeah, probably for the best. Diane's mother despised me because I wouldn't join in on Christmas day. More often than not Diane went by herself. I've finished wrapping now, Duck, you can come back in."
Sitting down next to Gibbs, Ducky rested his head on the other man's shoulder.
"Wonderful. I can't wait to see what you've got me."
"You'll have to wait until morning to find out though."
"Can I maybe have one after midnight? It is technically Christmas day then."
Ducky playfully put on a doe eyed look, making Gibbs smile and shake his head.
"You really are a big kid, aren't you?"
"Maybe. One might argue that you bring it out of me."
"Do you know what you bring out of me?"
Ducky cocked his eyebrow and smiled.
Within seconds, Gibbs had pulled Ducky's bow tie loose and made short work of popping the top three buttons of his shirt. His mouth then latched to the skin that was exposed, causing Ducky to let out a soft moan.
Ducky shuddered as the teasing mouth started pathing its way up his neck, teasing him when suddenly.
"Oh!" he exclaimed as teeth latched onto his ear lobe, nibbling and tugging slightly.
He'd never had that happen to him before but he immediately knew that he liked it.
"See what you do to me?" Gibbs whispered, his voice even more husky than usual, "See what you spur within me."
"Oh very much so. Of course, the feeling is quite mutual. "
"We'd better do something about that then, shouldn't we?"
Standing and helping Ducky to his feet, he was quick to pull him close again and leant down to kiss him again.
Together, they headed for the staircase, not dropping the embrace as they went until Ducky suddenly stopped in his tracks halfway up.
"Ah, I forgot my cup of tea."
"Don't worry about it, Duck, I'll make you a fresh one later."
It didn't take any convincing to get Ducky to follow him to the bedroom, where he soon forgot about tea entirely.
The next morning, Gibbs awoke to the smell of Ducky's cooking. Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes and looked at the clock. It wasn't long after seven, but they had a busy day ahead so decided he'd best not sleep any longer.
He stood and opened the curtains, surveying the white wonderland that greeted him. It had definitely snowed again overnight, which he knew would make Ducky happy. With a cold shudder, he returned to the bed and sat down where, for a few moments, he allowed himself to sit and remember...
"Mommy! Daddy! Wake up! Santa's been!" the little brunette haired girl yelled excitedly and jumping up onto her parents bed.
"Kelly, sweetie, it's just gone five a-m." her mother said, drowsy but smiling.
"But Santa's been already! We need to open our presents."
"They'll still be there in a few hours time." Gibbs said, also smiling and pulling the girl into his arms, "Just a little while longer and we'll open them. Just be patient and go back to bed, okay?"
"But daddy...I wanna sleep here."
"Come on then."
Shifting himself away from the center, Gibbs lifted the duvet and Kelly slid underneath.
"Merry Christmas, daddy."
"Merry Christmas, sweetheart."
A large clang brought him back to the present, and couldn't help but smile when he heard a very blue curse word erupt from downstairs.
The morning air was certainly chilly, so he quickly grabbed one of his USMC sweatshirts, pair of jogging bottoms and thick socks before making his way down stairs to investigate.
"Morning, my sweet."
Gibbs pulled Ducky into his arms and they kissed slow and deeply. Knowing they'd have to go the day in each other's company and tone down their behaviour for their guests, they wanted to savour the moments they had.
After facing the fact that they both needed oxygen, their lips finally parted again, but the embrace still held firm. It was then Gibbs noticed Ducky's jacket, which was dark red and had a soft velvet touch to it. Gently he ran his fingers along it, remembering that it was the same one from the first Thanksgiving they spent together.
"Everything alright, Duck? I heard you say something that was most unlike you."
"I'm sorry, my dear, I'm just a bit all over the place this morning. I didn't wake you did I?"
"Nah, I was already awake. You been up long?" Gibbs asked, running a hand through Ducky's hair.
"Since around six. When, may I ask, will we be opening gifts?"
"You mean you haven't already?"
"Of course not, I wasn't going to do so without you.
"We could do now unless..."
"Dinner won't burn in my absence."
"Come on then."
With his arm around the shorter man, they diverted to the living room where Gibbs' eyes fell on a very large box wrapped in shiny gold paper and topped with a red bow and his name on the tag.
"I admit, my dear Jethro, that I was unsure of what to get you. I hope that it's good enough."
"Pretty big though. You didn't have to wrap it at this size."
"Would spoil the fun if I hadn't though. Although the bottom of the box isn't wrapped since, as you can see, lifting it by myself would have been a problem."
"How did you-"
"It was delivered yesterday about an hour before you got home."
Tearing away the paper, he looked rather surprised at first, then delighted.
"I recall you saying that your woodturning lathe was becoming unfixable so I thought...well, as you can see."
"You got me a new one." Gibbs said with a smile.
"Oh, and the best bit is it comes with a floor stand so you don't have to clear worktop space to use it. I know it's not much but-"
"Not much? These things aren't exactly cheap! Duck, I love it."
" Not like I have anyone else to spend my wages on."
Gibbs frowned for a second at his words, pulling Ducky back into his arms and kissing him again.
"Thank you. It's exactly what I wanted."
"I'm glad. I racked my brains for-"
He was stopped as Gibbs kissed him, over and over again.
"Jethro, what has gotten into you today?"
"I love you, Duck. I love you so, so much."
He kissed Ducky again, unable to hold back and slipped his hand around his neck and cradling his head, the kiss becoming more and more deeper. Even as their lips parted, he continued to leave little kisses around his lover's face.
"Jethro, you're actually scaring me a little."
"Sorry, Duck, I just...When I woke up this morning, I remembered the last Christmas I spent with my girls; not knowing that was going to be their last. I want us to spend many more Christmases together, and I want each one to be special."
Ducky was rather poleaxed, although he often was whenever Gibbs let his barriers down enough to show his emotions. It was these moments though that showed who Gibbs was underneath his often unfriendly appearing exterior, and this was the man that Ducky fell in love with.
"Now, maybe it's time you opened your presents. I...I hope that you like them. I know I'm not good with getting people presents."
"It's better than not getting me anything, no matter what it is."
Gibbs still looked nervous as Ducky tore away the paper from the first item.
"New bow ties. How wonderful." Ducky said with a smile.
Despite the large collection he already had, he was quite happy to have some more. One had amusing little cartoon corgis on, another had robins, and the third was the colours of the Scottish flag. This now explained to Ducky why several weeks before, he had spotted Gibbs looking through his bow tie drawer.
"They're adorable, Jethro."
He reached for the second small wrapped item.
"Another bow tie."
"This one is only for use for today though."
Looking closely he noticed it was more a gag gift with little flashing LED lights and music. The next item was merely an envelope, but upon opening it, his mouth dropped.
"But it's been sold out for months. It's always quick to sell out."
"Well, I know you love that Gazelle opera show."
"Jethro, how many times do I have-" he stopped when he realized that Gibbs was saying the name wrong just to tease him, "You cheeky bugger. And they're box seat tickets. How wonderful. I noticed there are two tickets."
"You can take whoever you want with you."
"You mean you don't...?" his smile suddenly dropped.
"Now you know opera was never my thing."
Ducky huffed and Gibbs silently berated himself.
"Who else would I want by my side? But I suppose I can't force you to go; I completely understand."
Ducky tried to put on a convincing smile, and Gibbs returned it, but he too knew it was fake.
There was only one present he had left to give him, but now felt that the moment was ruined and was unsure whether to hand it over now. Before he had the chance to decide, Ducky returned to his feet.
"They're wonderful presents, Jethro. Thank you. I love you."
The hug that followed was slightly uncomfortable, and Gibbs cursed silently to himself again.
"I love you too, Duck. So very, very much."
Still holding a slightly forced smile, Ducky removed his current bow tie and slipped on his gag tie and tested it as 'Frosty the snowman' rang out from it in a high pitched trill. Gibbs immediately flinched at how corny it was, but at least the lights looked nice.
Ducky gave another small smile and wordlessly returned to the kitchen. For a few minutes, Gibbs sat down and thought what he was going to do to get things back on track before the others arrived. He knew it was true though, he didn't like opera all that much, and it was two hours long for crying out loud!
Taking consideration though, for Ducky's sake, he could maybe put up with it. He let out a chuckle to himself. All the wives he'd had after Shannon who tried to get him to do things he hated and he was firm in refusing to do them. Yet Ducky brought about something in him that made him more susceptible to his suggestions and requests.
Maybe it was because his last three wives were merely poor attempts at replacing Shannon whilst Ducky most certainly wasn't. He loved Ducky whole heartedly for who he was without question. None of this he would be willing to admit out loud, but he knew that it was true.
Standing and making his way to the kitchen, he hoped that they could make up quickly so that none of the others would have to see them angry at each other.
Ducky was stood at the sink cleaning up some utensils when he walked in. Walking up behind the smaller man, he kissed the top of his head and put his hands on Ducky's shoulders.
"Ah Duck, I thought maybe you'd have wanted to have taken someone much more intellectual than me to the Opera, that's all. I'm sorry for upsetting you."
"There's nothing to be sorry for, but I reiterate, that you are who I would want at my side."
"Then I will happily go with you. I just can't promise I'll be good company. You can take the boy out of Stillwater, but you can't take Stillwater out of the boy."
"Believe me, my dearest Jethro, I have been aware of that fact since the day we first met, yet it hasn't stopped me from loving you."
This time and much to Gibbs' relief, Ducky's smile was genuine.
"Duck, I know I've said it a lot this morning already, but I love you."
"I don't think I could ever tire of hearing you say that. Now you can make it up to me by wearing this today."
Ducky handed a black coloured Santa hat over to Gibbs who raised his eyebrows at the sight of it.
"Abigail was hoping I'd get you wearing a Christmas jumper too, so be glad I didn't buy you one. Although I can really see you in a wooly Rudolph jumper, with a flashing nose, and maybe some little bells."
"Alright, alright, I'll wear the hat." he said with a laugh, putting it on at a jaunty angle."Now is there anything I can help you with?"
"No, it's fine, dearest. I should imagine the others will-"
Before Ducky could finish his sentence, the doorbell rang.
"I'll go get it, Duck."
Swiftly making his way to the front door, he was greeted by the sight of Abby dressed in a knee length red skirt with white trim, a bright red long sleeved top with a smiling reindeer on and 2 small bells attached to the ends of her pigtails that jingled lightly when she moved. In one hand she carried a large container that was obviously the Christmas pudding, and in the other a sack containing presents.
"Gibbs! Merry Christmas!"
"Abby, you look great." He replied, pulling her into a side hug.
"As do you. I never thought I'd see you in a Christmas hat. I've got the Christmas pudding!"
"Ducky's expecting it. He's in the kitchen."
"My dear Duck man, I bring you our Christmas pudding!" she declared, placing it down on the kitchen table where there was a space before pulling Ducky into a hug.
"Abigail, my dear, you look wonderful!"
"As do you. Such an adorable bow tie! Does it play music?"
"Music and flashing lights. The whole shebang, my dear." he said with a wink.
Pressing the center, the LED lights flashed and a very tinny version of 'Jingle Bells' trilled from it.
"That so cute, and I see you got Gibbs into a Christmas hat. I didn't expect that. And best of all, it's black instead of red. I want one! Where can I get it?!"
"Hmm? Jethro, you're wearing it backwards, my dear."
Ducky reached up and turned it around so that the lettering was visible. Looking again, she laughed as she saw the words 'Bah Humbug' imprinted on it.
"That is so you, Gibbs. I love it! Anything I can do to help?"
"No, my dear, I've got everything under control in here. Oh and thank you for bringing the Christmas pudding along. I've got some sherry somewhere that we can pour onto it but for the life of me I can't remember where I put it. Still it's not important right now."
Gibbs re-adjusted his hat, it already felt a bit itchy to wear but he knew he would put up with it for one day. At first he hadn't noticed the lettering on it, but even he couldn't help but smile.
"I'll have a dig through the drinks cabinet and see if I can find it. If you need any help with anything else, Duck, just tell me."
"I will, stop worrying about me, dearest, I can handle all this perfectly fine."
"Okay, but don't overdo it though."
Ducky smiled as he felt Gibbs wrapped his arm around his waist pulling him close and kissing him briefly on the lips. Behind them, both men could feel Abby's eyes watching.
"Enjoying the view are we?" Gibbs asked with a small smile as he broke contact and headed for the living room.
"I'm just happy that you're both happy."
"C'mon, Abs, let's leave Ducky to his stuff and get the drinks sorted out before everyone else gets here."
One by one, the others arrived, and soon the house was full of laughter and chatter. With the usual festive tunes emanating from the CD player in the living room, Abby was following the others around, a sprig of mistletoe on her hand.
"C'mon, McGee. The mistletoe is above us."
"Abby, you do this every Christmas."
"I know, so you should have expected this by now."
Rolling his eyes with a smile, he indulged her with a brief kiss.
"What exactly is this?" Ziva asked, surveying the glass of creamy white liquid with a frown.
"It's egg-nog, Ziva." Tony proudly declared, pouring himself a glass, "One of the staples of the American Christmas holiday."
"Does it have real eggs in?"
"Oh yes. Try some, you'll like it." He smiled at the thought of her making a gruesome face after taking her first sip, but was disappointed as she proceeded to gulp down the half glass she had and was refilling it.
"You're right, Tony, it is good."
Before he could comment further, Ducky interrupted them.
"Okay, my dears, dinner is served."
The table in the dining room was decked covered in a deep red coloured cloth, where rested in the center was a circlette made of pine needles, decked with red bows and finished off with a large red candle that let off the scent of cinnamon.
Each place was set out with wine glass, napkins (each one had been folded into the double star shape), and of course, a Christmas cracker each.
"That's a lot of red." Tony said, taking the seat next to Ziva.
Tim took his seat next to Abby, whilst Ducky and Gibbs sat at opposite ends of the table.
Ducky did the honour of carving out the turkey, and everyone tucked into the other side's including Gibbs' favourite, caramelized mash, honey roast parsnips.
"Duck, your cooking is amazing." Gibbs said over a mouth full of red onion stuffing, "I hate myself for rejecting any previous offers to join you for dinner."
"There will be many more years of Christmas dinners for you to enjoy, my dear. And every other dinner. We can certainly make up for lost time."
Ziva stared at the miniature bits with confusion.
"Is that a sausage with bacon on?"
"Known as 'pigs-in-blankets'."
"Cute, but for obvious reasons, I'll pass. Besides, why do you need to wrap one type of pig meat with another?"
"That's just what we do. Some people even wrap bacon over their turkeys, but lucky for you, Ducky didn't."
Soon the room was silent apart from the sounds of eating and cutlery clinking on their plates. From their opposite ends, Gibbs and Ducky kept catching each other's eye, and Abby smiled as she noticed one of Gibbs' hands form the 'I love you' sign language to Ducky who did the same in return. Unsurprisingly, no one else around the table noticed the exchange.
The meal went down well, leaving them all feeling slightly bloated but very satisfied. After taking a while to let his food go down, Ducky stood and started to collect up plates and cutlery. Wordlessly, Gibbs joined in clearing the table.
"Dessert will be but a moment my dears, I hope you have room. One of you may get the Mallard sixpence!"
"I don't think I can eat another bite." Tim murmured to Abby.
"But Ducky and I worked hard to make that pudding."
"I know, I know, but I am."
"Well make sure you have a dig around your piece for the sixpence and eat that bit if you find it. Ducky will probably just be happy that the tradition continues."
In the kitchen, Ducky started to load up the dishwasher, but Gibbs halted him.
"Don't worry about the dishes, Duck, let's get the pudding out."
"But it all adds up at the end of the day, and I can't avoid it."
"Duck." Gibbs kissed his cheek and gently pulled him close, "We'll deal with it later. Come on."
"Very well. Have you got the-"
Gibbs handed him the bottle of sherry, the top already loosened.
"Do your thing, Duck, but please be careful."
"I'll be fine, Jethro."
Placing the pudding on a large tray he then carefully heated a soup ladle of sherry and poured it over the pudding and lit it. Gibbs followed closely behind Ducky as he carried it back to the dining room, ready to help if anything should go wrong.
Fortunately, Abby had already made sure there was a large clear space on the table to safely put it down, and now had her camera in her hand to take photos of the flaming pudding.
"One Christmas pudding, that dearest Abigail and I made together. I warn you now, there is a sixpence somewhere, so please be careful not to choke on it."
Everyone applauded and carefully, he placed it down in the empty space. They sat in silence and watched the flames peter out before Ducky served generous amounts in each bowl, topped with double cream.
Gibbs let out a sound of delight as he tasted it.
"Duck, Abs, this is damn delicious."
Abby grinned from ear to ear and blushed.
"I'm glad you think so, Gibbs. We can do it again next year, right Ducky?"
"I do hope so, my dear."
Tim dug around in his bowl, eating small mouthfuls in between, struggling and silently praying someone finds the sixpence soon.
"Oh, what have we here?" Ziva pulled a piece of silver from her bowl with a flourish.
"Yay! Ziva!" Abby let out a squeal of delight, again reaching for her camera and taking a photo of the occasion.
" Ziva, my dear! You've got the sixpence! May you have wealth and good health in the year to come. Now, would anyone like any more pudding?"
Everyone vocalized how full they all now were so Ducky lead them to the living room where he and Gibbs took the sofa. Tim and Tony had a brief playful scuffle over the armchair, but after a disapproving glare from Gibbs, they both agreed to give it up so that Ziva could sit. After all, there were floor cushions already provided.
Abby meanwhile, still clutching her camera, took a photo of the tree which was now lit up in all its glory. As she took the picture, she noticed that the angel sat perched on top was not the one Ducky had used in previous years.
"We haven't had a group photo yet." Tim pointed out.
"Oh my god, we haven't! Okay hang on, I'll put it on timer so we can all be in it."
Fiddling around with the settings, she then found the right angle and managed to balance it on a shelf the right height.
"Okay, hopefully this will work. Everyone ready?"
Setting the timer, she quickly sat down on the floor between the sofa and an armchair, and everyone posed. After the flash had gone off, Abby retrieved her camera and smiled at the photo on the screen.
"Wow, it actually worked first time. Tony! Did you have to give Tim rabbit ears?"
"Sorry Abs, I couldn't resist."
"I'm so glad Ziva did the same to you. Anyway, it's time for gifts!" Abby declared, opening her Santa sack she'd brought in earlier and handed out gifts.
Ducky took Abby's present with a word of thanks.
"Our gifts to you three are under the tree just there so do sort them out amongst yourselves. Jethro and I have already exchanged gifts with each other."
"Not all of them, Duck."
"Oh. I didn't realize otherwise I would have-"
"It's okay. I was a bit...shy about giving you this one."
Handing over the wrapped box, everyone simultaneously ignored their own presents and watched. Gibbs could feel everyone's eyes on them, and he tried best to ignore the stares. Instead he kept his eyes firmly on his lover, gauging his reaction.
Pulling at the wrapping paper to reveal the red box, Ducky opened it and gasped at the item inside. Everyone else sat with bated breath as Ducky struggled to get the words out.
"Jethro...Is this...a Cartier bracelet?"
Taking the gold band out and holding it up to the light, he read the writing engraved on the inside of it. One simple word. 'Forever'.
"Oh, Jethro." Ducky felt the tears build up in his eyes, "These bracelets are so very expensive."
Gibbs merely shrugged.
"You didn't have to do this."
"Yeah I did." he responded, taking it and slipping it on Ducky's wrist. "Because you deserve it."
Reaching into his pocket, Ducky pulled out his handkerchief and wiped his eyes. Had it not been for their guests he most likely would have made love to Gibbs there and then on the floor. Instead he opted for pulling him into a hug, holding him tightly.
"You are the most wonderful person I've ever known. Oh my dear, wonderful, Jethro."
The other presents were well received and as they assisted in clearing up the paper that littered the floor, Tony pulled a DVD from his bag.
"So, how about a movie." he asked, waggling a copy of 'It's A Wonderful Life'.
With a sigh, Gibbs looked over a Ducky who smiled at him.
"Alright, alright. Put it on."
"Look daddy!" The young girl on the TV said in her sugary sweet voice, "Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."
Ducky looked up at his lover and smiled, snuggling even closer to him and nuzzling his neck. To his delight, Jethro responded, wrapping his arms further around him, a kiss gently placed on his temple before his head was resting atop his own. This to Ducky was heaven, and it continued to surprise him just how romantic his old friend could really be.
As the TV went dark, Gibbs found everyone at some point had turned to look at them again. All except Tim who had at some point drifted off into a deep slumber.
"Duck man, you've er...you've got the remote." Tony said, trying to hid a grin.
"Oh, so I have." Ducky's face a bright red as he pulled out of the embrace and handed it over, "So who wants another drink?"
"No more for me thanks. In fact I should get going." Ziva said, going to stand. "It was truly wonderful experiencing this holiday with you all."
"It was wonderful having you here, my dear." Ducky said, standing and pulling her into a hug.
"I'll see her out, Duck, you sit down."
The two of them headed back into the hallway, and Gibbs pulled her into a light hug.
"Thanks for coming, Ziva."
"Thanks for inviting me, Gibbs. It was certainly different. It's quite amazing...seeing you and Ducky together...he really means that much to you."
"Yeah." he said, looking away with a blush.
"Take care of him. With a bit of luck, fifth time lucky."
Stretching his arms out with a groan, Tony collected his DVD from the player and packed away his stuff into his bag.
"I admit, I think I'm also ready to take my leave. Thanks for a fantastic meal, Ducky."
Reaching out, they shook hands.
"It was nothing, Anthony. I'm glad you had a wonderful time and thanks for bringing that movie along with you."
"Thanks for suggesting it. As you know, it's tradition for me. Just glad Gibbs put up with it."
"Well you know his bark is often worse than his bite."
"Maybe so, but his head slap is sometimes worse than his bark."
Picking up his stuff, he briefly pulled Ducky into a one armed hug.
"Take care of yourself, Duck man."
Before Gibbs had closed the front door after watching Ziva leave, he was surprised to see Tony standing behind him.
"You goin', Tony?"
"Yeah, boss. Was a great day, thanks for having me. Hope you didn't mind me bringing that DVD."
"No, it's fine. Your tradition after all."
"Ours now, boss. Presuming we're doing this again next year?"
"Dunno yet. That's a whole year away."
Tony nodded, opening the front door again and stepping out onto the porch.
"Well I really do hope that you and the Duck man will still be going strong by then, and the Christmas after that, and...you get it."
Gibbs patted Tony on the shoulder with a smile.
"See you back at the old grindstone."
"Yeah, see ya, DiNozzo."
In the kitchen, Ducky was finally able to do the dishes that he had ignored for several hours. Whilst he did not always have such a need to clean everything immediately after use, with the amount that needed to be done, he would have rather have started sooner than later.
He had however for his lover's happiness managed to ignore them until now and was cleaning up several items and balancing them on the drainer.
Behind him, he heard the chiming of the bells on Abby's pigtails, announcing her presence.
"Ducky, can I help with the washing up?"
"Thank you, Abigail, my dear. Can you dry the items I've already washed? The dishwasher is filled to the brim so these last bits will have to be done the normal way."
Grabbing a tea towel from the worktop, she got to work, smiling as she thought about the day's events.
"I think everyone had a wonderful day. Even Ziva looks like she enjoyed it."
"Well I certainly hope so. I know her beliefs are different and I respect that, so I'm glad she agreed to come today and try celebrating a different holiday."
"Gibbs seemed really happy too. It was good seeing him getting into the swing of the season, even if it was a bit...un-Gibbs-like."
"I think that's just how he is, but it's fine with me."
"That bracelet he got you was really nice."
"Hmm. I feel kind of guilty thought, not having bought him something as expensive too."
Both of them jumped when Gibbs suddenly appeared behind them without them hearing him approach.
"You don't have to, Duck. You've already given me enough."
"Oh, but Jeth-"
He was silenced by a brief kiss.
"You've given me enough." he repeated, "Okay?"
"If you say so."
Abby pulled out her camera again.
"Can I just...take a photo of you two? Come on, you both look so happy."
Pulling off his rubber gloves, Ducky put them down and smiled as Gibbs stood behind him, wrapping his arms around his lover's waist and resting his head on Ducky left shoulder.
Ducky responded by reaching his left hand up and caressing Gibbs' cheek.
Beaming from ear to ear herself, Abby took a photo and looked at it for a moment, feeling tears gather in her eyes.
"Let's see it, Abs."
Passing the camera over, Ducky made a sound of delight when he saw the picture. Despite their height difference they still fitted snuggly together, and both of them looked so happy together.
"How wonderful. I hope you will give us a print out of this?"
"Of course. I'll make sure you get print outs of all the pics I took today."
Gibbs stared at the picture, feeling his emotions building. He'd never seen himself come out so happy in a photo since...
"It's great, Abs." he said, his voice a whisper and he handed the camera back before sharply turning to leave the room.
"I'll be back, I just gotta...hit the head."
Abby bit her lip, feeling suddenly guilty. They all knew it was a lie.
"Do you think I upset him?"
"No, my dear, of course you didn't."
"Then what did I do? I've never seen him as happy as he is in this picture."
"I have. I once saw a picture of him with Shannon and Kelly in his wallet. He looked so content."
"He's never been as happy since they died, has he?"
"From what I've seen. Even when he remarried, each time he was...kind of happy, but never truly happy. His eyes, you see, they didn't twinkle the way they used to."
Abby continued to look at the photo, studying it.
"Until now. You really do something to him. It might be good for him. I mean, he does good for you too, doesn't he?"
"Of course he does. After mother died- no, when she fell ill, I was so lonely. No woman that I briefly spent time with understood me. Look at when I was with Sophie. She almost made me sell this place and even stupidly had me wearing different ties. All she did was try to change me rather than accept me for who I was; who I am."
"And Gibbs does."
Ducky simply nodded with a happy smile.
"Part of me expects to simply wake up one day and find it was just some very long and bizarre dream."
"Oh, don't say that, Ducky."
Abby pulled him into a brief hug.
"Don't say what?" the slightly groggy voice of Tim caught their attention.
"Ah, Timothy, you're awake."
"Yeah, sorry about that."
"It's no problem at all."
Tim was looking around, confused.
"Where's Tony and Ziva?"
"Oh they've already left."
"I think it's time I did the same. Today was really wonderful. Thank you and Gibbs so much for having me join you."
"Thank you for coming."
"Where is Gibbs?"
"I'll go find him. Do excuse me a moment."
As Ducky left, calling Jethro's name.
"Something wrong, Abby?"
"Look at this picture I took of them."
"Wow. Never seen Gibbs so happy."
"I know. Showing it to him made him a bit sad actually."
"Really? How come?"
"Shannon and Kelly."
Knowing what she meant, he nodded just as Ducky returned with Gibbs two steps behind him. Everyone tried to ignore the slight redness around Gibbs' eyes.
"Thanks for coming today, Tim." Gibbs said with a small smile, holding out his hand.
"Thanks for the invite, boss. I'll see you at work the day after Boxing day?"
"So long as we don't get called out to anything, yeah."
"Okay, great. I'll make my own way out and leave you guys to finish washing up."
"I see, Timothy McGee." Abby said with a playful glare, " You're escaping before you get roped into helping clean up."
"Yeah, you got me! Pleeeeeease boss, don't make me!" he joked, relieved when Gibbs smiled.
"Go on,get outta here, Tim."
And with that, Tim picked up his stuff and left. He felt rather sad having seen that his boss had evidently been crying, and the reason behind it. Of course he didn't ever plan to say it out loud, but he was really hoping that Ducky was key to helping Gibbs move on.
"I should get going too." Abby suddenly said, "Leave you two to wind down from the day's excitement."
Both Gibbs and Ducky felt silently relieved and thankful at Abby's words.
Abby approached Gibbs, pulling him into a hug.
"This was such a wonderful day. I hope we'll have a just as great Christmas day next year."
"Yeah. Thanks Abs. So glad you came today."
They parted half way and Gibbs gave her a kiss on the forehead before pulling her into another brief hug.
"Travel home safely," his voice becoming softer by the moment, "and remember to give us a print out of the pictures."
"I'll see you out, Abigail. Jethro, if you wouldn't mind-"
"Yeah, I'll finish up in here."
When they reached the entrance hall, Abby spun around, concern evident on her features.
"Is everything going to be okay?"
"I'm sure it will, my dear. One can only imagine how he must be feeling right now."
"Such a shame that the day has ended with him feeling this way. I just wanna hug him and not let him go until he feels better, but I'm sure you'll do that for me."
"I'll do what I can."
Abby wrapped her arms around Ducky, holding him tightly.
"I know you will, so yeah, everything will be fine. He loves you so much, that much is clear. I think I was the only one who noticed him sign to you at the dinner table."
"He's made a habit of signing that to me of late, hence I learned to do it back."
"It's sweet...There's a lot of sweet things going on with you two. It's amazing in a way. Anyhoo, I should get going and leave you two to...to yourselves. Thank you for the gifts."
"You're very welcome, my dear, and I shall see you in a few days time."
As Abby left, Ducky looked out at the snow. He'd been so busy with making sure everything was perfect, he'd not really taken a moment to enjoy seeing how nice the garden looked. His mother too also enjoyed it when it snowed. For many years when it did, the two of them used to sit on the back porch and watch as the corgis frolicked around. The best times being when the snowfall was heavy as the unfortunate things had such short legs, all but the top of their ears were visible until they would jump up to see where they were going.
With a shudder at the chill of the air, Ducky closed the front door and returned to the kitchen.
"That went as well as could be expected."
There was a long silence as Gibbs focused on cleaning down the work surfaces, making Ducky more concerned since he himself was usually the one making sure the house was clean as possible.
"Are you okay? It's just you just seemed rather upset all of a sudden earlier. I was worried."
"Nothing to worry about. I'm fine."
"I hope you are. I know that you haven't really done this sort of thing in a long time. Not since...well."
"I know, Duck."
Ducky inwardly sighed. He hated it when Jethro would give short answers like that. It was like the shell around him was beginning to close up again.
"Jethro, please, don't close yourself up about this again."
"I'm not, Duck," his tone becoming slightly harsh "I know what you mean and I'm agreeing with you."
Mentally berating himself, Jethro approached his lover and held took hold of hands.
"I wouldn't have given you that bracelet with that word on if I didn't mean it, okay?" he said, keeping his voice at a much softer tone.
Gibbs placed a finger under Ducky's chin, raising his head so that their eyes met.
"At times like this, rule six doesn't apply. It was just...seeing that photo...I realized."
"I'm happy...I'm moving on from Shannon and Kelly...but I'm fine with it. Despite getting married 3 other times, I never really felt I was moving on, just trying to replace what I'd lost. But this. This is different, and I can see it."
Ducky didn't really know how to respond, so simply reached up and stroked the side of his lover's face.
"Love you, Duck. Now, how about we lock up, go upstairs, and make our Christmas even more merry?"
"As if I would say no."
Within minutes, what needed to be done was sorted and they were in the bedroom and stripping each other of clothing between kisses.
Gently Gibbs lead Ducky down onto the bed with him, pulling him on top and claiming his lips again. Already he could feel Ducky's erection starting to poke against his stomach.
"Duck, I know that throughout this relationship I've never let you..."
He faltered on his words for a moment, but Ducky understood immediately.
"It doesn't bother me, Jethro, really it doesn't."
"But it bothers me. I want you to do it. For once, maybe you should...be inside me."
"Oh, Jethro, you don't have to do that."
"I want to. I want to know what it is that you feel every time I'm inside you."
"Well if you're comfortable with the idea, then I guess we can."
The process of preparing Gibbs took a little while, but Ducky refused to go any further until he was sure his lover was ready. As he was stretched by teasing fingers, he was soothed by Ducky's calming words of encouragement.
It made him realize that despite taking it upon himself to prepare Ducky many times before, he never gave Ducky any soothing words, just constantly asking him if he was okay. He made a mental note to do the same next time.
Finally, he was slick enough and seemed relaxed enough to go through with it.
In Gibbs' mind, a part of him was panicking, but he quickly quashed the feelings, knowing that Ducky wouldn't hurt him and would stop if he asked him to. If he did however, he would feel guilty for having wasted their time, and most likely have gotten Ducky's hopes up.
"Do it, Duck."
Taking it slow, Ducky entered Gibbs for the first time, savouring the tightness as he slowly pushed in inch by agonizing inch.
"Jethro, if I'm hurting you, tell me."
Gibbs huffed out a small laugh.
"Duck, I've never done this before. Of course it hurts. I'm fine though."
Slowly, he kept going until he was finally balls deep in his younger lover for the first time.
"You made it, Duck!" Gibbs said with a smile, glad to see one mirrored in return. "Feel good?"
"Most definitely. Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Feels weird. Remind me not to complain about my next prostate examination."
"Tell me when you want me to start. I won't until you're ready."
At first, Gibbs was still a tad on edge, and his muscles unconsciously twitched, making Ducky let out small moans of delight.
Gibbs could definitely feel the stretch, but it wasn't completely unpleasant. With his lover speaking yet more calm, soothing words to him, he took a few slow breaths before giving Ducky the go ahead.
It was slow and gentle, the way that it was often done with the roles reversed. The lubricant was definitely spreading around a bit more now, and any friction there was had gone. Now he could feel and appreciate the smooth slip and slide of Ducky entering him again and again.
Eventually, Ducky thrust particularly deep and Gibbs felt his breath catch in his throat and his muscles clenched tightly as his prostate was hit for the first time.
With a small shudder, Ducky laughed.
"Found my target then? Welcome to the delights of anal, my dear Jethro."
"Ah Duck, please do it again, just there."
For over an hour, they slowly made love, and a few times that Gibbs grew close to orgasm, Ducky waited, promising him that holding back would eventually lead to a glorious climax.
Another half hour or so and it happened. Fingernails digging into the mattress below him and long slender legs around Ducky's waist, Gibbs reached his climax yelling Ducky's name so loud he was sure it probably could have set off car alarms.
His cock twitched frantically, and he was sure he felt splashes of his own completion hit his face. It felt glorious as ripples of delight shook through his body. He felt like he couldn't breathe for a moment.
Ducky wasn't far behind thanks to the stimulation and the sight of his lover's orgasm hit through him. With a wordless cry, he shot his load into Gibbs for the first time, panting heavily and giving a few last little thrusts as he rode out his orgasm to the last twitch.
Exhausted, Ducky lowered himself onto Gibbs' body, arms aching and heart thudding wildly.
"Oh Jethro. That was...thank you." he said, breathing deeply, "You're amazing. My beautiful, wonderful, Jethro."
"Well that was certainly different." Gibbs said, regaining his composure, "Promise you, we will be doing that again."
"My dear, as much as I look forward to that, I must admit I'm very tired."
Gibbs reached out and pulled the quilt over them both, pulling Ducky close to his side and kissing him deep and slow before his eyes grew heavy and soon they drifted off into a peaceful sleep.