TITLE: Husbands For Life - THE END
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: The big day has finally arrived.
RATING: NC17 (Overall)
WORD COUNT: 7776
NOTES: So here it is! The final part! I'm sorry it's been so long since the previous part, but due to many different things, the most recent being my laptop dying (I keep all fics on my flash drive luckily so nothing lost there), I then had to get around to buying a new one. I hope that you've all enjoyed the series. Thank you so much to everyone for your comments, and if you've been waiting till it was complete to officially read it, well I hope it was worth to wait :)
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10 - Part 11
The night before the wedding, Gibbs agreed to stay with Tobias whilst Ducky stayed home with Abby to help with any last preparations.
"I can't wait to see you in your tuxedo." Ducky said as he followed Gibbs out onto the front porch where Tobias waited to pick him up.
"I'll see you tomorrow at the altar."
"No getting cold feet now."
Whilst Ducky said it with what he hoped was a humorous air, Gibbs could hear the concern behind it. Gently he cupped Ducky's face in his hands, leaned down, and kissed his lips softly.
Ducky in response wrapped his arms around Gibbs' waist and happily kissed back.
Tobias gave them a few moments, seeing a cloud in the sky that was suddenly very interesting before finally clearing his throat.
"Ah geez, come on, save it for the honeymoon."
Both smiling, Gibbs ran his hand over Ducky's hair and kissed him on the forehead one last time before pulling away.
Not long after Gibbs left, the excited whirlwind that was Abby arrived on the doorstep, carrying an array of bags.
"Abigail, what's all this?"
"Just a few last minute bits that I'll put up at the registry office tomorrow. I've spent most of the day doing the hall with Ziva, Jimmy, and Tim. You're gonna love it.
She put the bags down beside the front door and looked around.
"He's staying with Tobias for the night."
"Keeping the old traditions?"
"Just a few. I've got something old which is my father's pocket watch, something new being the bracelet Jethro gave me for Christmas, Mr Palmer has given me a set of cufflinks as something borrowed, and all I need is something blue."
Abby smiled, and went to talk, but he stalled her.
"I know my eyes are blue. Jethro has already said it."
"I'll sort something out before morning. Now, let's get the kettle on. Tea?"
"Please. You got earl grey?"
As Ducky set about making tea, Abby watched with interest as to the way Ducky was smiling, and how there was even a small spring in his step as he moved around. Leaning against the door jamb, she smile in amusement.
"So, are you excited?"
"A bit nervous if I am truly honest, my dear."
"It'll be fine, I promise. Although I'd be nervous too if I was marrying the boss-man."
"Any day now I'm expecting to wake up and find it was either a long dream that's made almost year pass in a matter of hours, or wake up to find I had been in a coma for all these months and again dreamt it all."
"Well that's not gonna happen. This is all most definitely real."
"I'm glad of that. Any idea what song Tony has for the ceremony?"
"Maaaaybe, but he told me not to tell you or Gibbs. What about your vows?"
Ducky huffed out a laugh as he poured boiling water from the kettle into the tea pot.
"I've written them over and over, but I always tend to go on a bit too long."
"Well what have you got? Can I read them?"
"Sorry, but no. Like everyone else, you'll have to wait until tomorrow."
"So, come on, how did it happen?"
"You and Gibbs. Seriously, I don't think any amount of Tarot cards or crystal balls could have predicted this."
"I have no real idea to be honest. It just...happened."
"Have you always fancied him?"
Ducky blushed bright red, making Abby giggle.
"Of course, I knew it all along."
"Remember when you said a few years ago about how you hadn't been to Paris or to the theatre? And Gibbs asked if you were asking him on a date?"
"That was quite some time ago, Abby."
"I know, but it was obvious you were asking him out."
"Maybe so, but he certainly didn't know that."
"Did you though?"
"I honestly don't remember. It didn't really matter to me because I knew then that he wasn't going to look at me as anything more than a friend. You can imagine my surprise when he offered to take it to the next level."
"So he approached you? Something must have triggered it."
"True, but I have no idea what. At first I rejected the idea entirely. You and I both know that what with his history of women to suddenly change his preference to a man, yet alone something as old as me, just seemed preposterous. "
"Ducky." she pulled him into a hug, "Stop putting yourself down like that. Gibbs loves you so very much. Anyone with eyes can see that."
"I know. Anyway, I told him to properly think about it and come to terms with whether he was willing to risk our friendship. I feared it was a silly little infatuation his mind thought was a good idea at the time."
"But Gibbs doesn't make such heavy decisions on a whim."
"Maybe so, but it just seemed so unlike him at the time. Please understand though that now I have no doubts about his feelings for me."
"I'm glad. Although I think Christmas day showed us all just how much you mean to him. I know he has a loving side to him, but wow, to see it in full bloom like that despite the fact that we were there. He didn't hide any of it."
"Believe me, there is so much more to him than you may think you know." with a small smile and a wink, he handed over her tea.
Sat in Tobias' living room, to two men chatted about some recent weird case events they'd both encountered over a glass of scotch.
Tobias couldn't help but notice how alive Gibbs seemed to be. Even when he wasn't speaking, there was a spark of something there that he'd not seen before.
"Got your vows written down yet?"
"Nope. Just gonna wing it."
Tobias snorted in amusement.
"That really wise?"
"Worked for me before. Hell, when I proposed to Duck, I just went with how I felt."
"When I told Diane about you two, she thought I was joking."
"Seems a lot of my exes think that...what she say?"
"Said that really, she could see you two were clearly close, but never thought you’d both actually get together. You're under strict instructions to treat him right though."
Gibbs couldn’t help but roll his eyes.
"As if I didn't have enough people telling me that."
"Well I'm telling you too, okay? I may not know him as well as you do, but I can tell that hurting him would be a very bad idea."
"Yeah. He's been hurt before many times and seeing him be all melancholy isn't fun to watch. I already know that I can't screw this up. I don't need people telling me anymore."
"So how did you two, you know?"
"Guess I took my head out of my ass long enough to notice. It's weird how things suddenly changed, and I've always been close to him in all the years I've known him, but now whenever I see him I just wanna..." he smiled, "It sounds daft coming from me, but just wanna kiss him and hold him tight. He's been more of a rock to me than any other woman I married after Shannon."
Gibbs gave him a confused look.
"The abominable snowman from Looney Tunes?"
"But I don't want a bunny rabbit, I've got a duck." he said, deadpan until a grin crept onto his face.
They both laughed and Tobias shook his head as he re-filled their empty glasses with a drop more scotch.
Gibbs took his glass back with a smile.
"Well yeah, but not like this. I never expected this. Besides, have you seen what he looked like in his younger days?"
"He looked like Illya Kuryakin, right?"
"Yeah. Hell I can think of a tonne of guys who wish they could have aged as good as Ducky has."
"You got that right. You're both older than me and still got all your hair!"
"Being married to Diane too long can do that to you."
Tobias shook his head again at Gibbs' grin and laughed, his hand unconsciously running over his continuously thinning hair.
"Still doesn't fully explain why out of all the guys you could have gone gay for, you chose Ducky."
"I think I've reached a point now where I'm tired of women and their attempts to change me. Duck knows me well enough and puts up with my faults. He's put up with a lot of my crap and he's never walked away from me...well, not for all that long. I know that things are going to change, and some things have already, but I can handle the compromise."
"No more boats in the basement will be the first thing then? You never told me how the hell you get them outta there."
"Been thinking of getting one of those house sheds as a workshop since the garden space is large enough, but I'm worried he'll think I'll spend too much time in there, rather than in the house with him."
"Probably. That's why I know it's not a good idea. I know that I shouldn't have a new basement to just sit and wallow in my own problems in."
"You're already making changes to yourself for him. You'll both work it out. I may not have seen much of you two together, but earlier, I saw the love between you."
After a few hours more hours of simply talking, Gibbs was sat on the spare bedroom bed, opening his wallet and sliding out the pictures he kept snuggly inside it.
The first was of course a picture of Shannon, smiling at the camera like the angel she was. The next being a picture of Kelly, clearly giggling at something he'd said as it was taken.
The third and final was one of Ducky that Abby had taken a few years ago down in autopsy. Ducky was stood at his light box, an x-ray in his hands and smiling softly. He looked as smart as always in his long white work coat and crisp blue shirt that matched his gleaming eyes.
Abby had given Gibbs the photo not long after the news of their relationship had come out, and he appreciated that she'd known to print it small enough to fit in his wallet. Eventually, he pushed the photos away again and climbed into bed in the hope of getting some sleep, although he doubted he would.
Much to his surprise, he slept for a good five hours and awoke feeling as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.
Showered and dressed, he looked at himself in the mirror and straightened his tie. He couldn't believe that this day had come. After everything he'd gone through before, he'd decided he was never going to marry again, and yet here he was.
"Looking good, Jethro. Nervous?"
"Yeah, I remember how I was when I was gonna marry Diane. Almost got in the car and drove in the opposite direction."
"Why didn't you?" he asked, a small smile on his face.
"I sometimes wonder why as well, but it was worth it to have Emily."
"Is she coming too?"
"At school, but she sends her love." He looked at his watch, "Let's get going."
As they went to climb into their car, a familiar one pulled up to the curb. Diane stepped out and approached them with a smile.
"Oh jeez." Tobias muttered and looked over at Gibbs.
"Diane." Gibbs smiled slightly.
"I'm glad I caught you before you left." she stepped up to Gibbs and touched the lapel of his jacket, "You look good. But then you always did scrub up well when you made the effort. I knew, you know. You and Ducky. It was bound to happen at some point."
"Our second wedding anniversary. You forgot and I ended up sitting at home, drunk."
She crossed her arms and gave him a playful glare before one side of her lips curled into a smile.
"You should have called me."
"I did. You had your phone turned off because you were at the theatre with Ducky."
Gibbs blushed as the memory. To this day he could never really admit it to anyone, least of all Ducky, but he found 'Miss Saigon' very enjoyable.
He'd originally bought the tickets for Mrs Mallard as a birthday gift. At the time she had been having an early days relationship with one of her fellow corgi lovers, but then they parted for reasons still unknown to him and she insisted he came along instead.
"That's what you said then."
"Yeah. You then slapped me."
"You deserved it."
Both of them couldn't help but laugh, and she pulled him into a hug, holding him gently before pulling away again.
"Take care of him, Leroy. Lord knows how he's managed put up with your crap as long as he has. He clearly knows something about you that I didn't. Well, apart from." she smiled and raised an eyebrow.
"Oh please God," Tobias put a hand to his face in frustration, "can we just leave before I lose my breakfast?"
"Well, I hope that this is it."
Her hand reached up to gently stroke his cheek.
"You and me both."
Taking a deep breath, she stepped away, still keeping her smile steady.
"Right, I have got an important meeting to attend to and I'm already late. Treat him right, Leroy, because if I find out you don't-"
"I know, I know. Go on, get outta here."
They watched her leave and Tobias let out a small laugh.
"That went surprisingly well. Come on. Let's go get you hitched for the final time."
Ducky tutted at the hall mirror as he combed his hair for the third time, not knowing why he was suddenly so fussy about the way it looked. With a sigh of irritation, he combed it back into its usual style.
His attention was then drawn by high heeled footsteps coming down the stairs.
"How do I look?" Abby asked, reaching the bottom then twirling around in her ankle length cherry red dress, her long black hair tied up in a braided bun.
"Oh Abigail! You look simply wonderful!"
"Oh, you do. Jethro will be delighted when he sees you."
"I think he'll be more excited to see you." she rested a hand on his cheek and smiled, "You're positively glowing, Ducky."
"I can't remember the last time I felt this happy."
They both jumped when the doorbell suddenly rang out.
"Who could that be?" he said with a look of confusion.
"I dunno. Maybe you should open it." Abby replied with a sly grin.
On doing so, he was greeted by the sight of Jackson Gibbs in a slightly old, but still suitably smart tuxedo.
"Jackson! Do come in."
"Thanks Donald. You look wonderful."
"As do you. I didn't know that you were going to be coming over here."
"Oh, Ducky, I knew." Abby admitted, biting her lip, "Gibbs just didn't want me to say anything."
"Oh? " He looked back and forth between then, "May I ask why?"
"Donald, I know this might seem a bit strange being that Leroy is my son, but well I talked to him about it and we agreed that, and I must add that I would be honored, to walk you up the aisle to him."
"Oh Jack." it was the first time he'd used the short version of the man's name, "I don't know what to say. Thank you."
"Well it was Leroy's idea really. After all, you've done a lot of good for him and he wants this day to be memorable for you as it will be for him."
With a joyful laugh, Ducky pulled Jackson into a hug.
Abby watched for a moment with a smile before switching her shoes over for proper heeled ones for driving and slipping her long coat on.
"Okay you two, so I've got to get to the venue since the guests will be arriving there soon. A car will pick you both up in another half hour so I'll see you both there."
"May I just say now, you look truly beautiful Miss Sciuto."
"Jackson, you flirt!" she said, pulling him into a brief hug, "And you look very distinguished. Now I must go."
She winked at them both before stepping outside and trying to quickly get to her car. Much to her relief, as she got in, she received a text from McGee who was already there and would hold the fort for her until she arrived.
All the planning they had dealt with, this just had to go right. It would go right. Because a Sciuto planned event is always successful.
The main building the reception was being held in was almost like something from the 1800s. The original walls and sturdy oak beams gave the place a nice and homey feel.
By the time Gibbs and Fornell parked up, he recognized a few people going in and couldn't miss Abby standing by the main door.
Upon seeing them approach, she waved at them.
"Gibbs! You're here!" she quickly snapped a photo of him in his suit, "C'mon, Fornell! Picture of the groom and best man!"
The two of them stood side-by-side, smiling and Abby took another few photos before handing Tobias the camera to take photos of her with Gibbs.
Taking the camera back with a word of thanks, she hugged them both, barely containing her excitement.
"Everyone's inside already, and Ducky will be along soon. Oh Gibbs, you should have seen his face when your father turned up."
"I can imagine. Abs, this place looks great."
"I knew you'd like it."
"You look beautiful."
Since she had gotten there she'd received many of the same compliments, and she blushed bright red yet again.
"You guys chose the dress."
"Well, Ducky did. Perfect choice."
"Right, well you two go inside and get ready. I'll let you know when Ducky and your dad arrive."
As they entered, they were greeted by one of the staff.
"Welcome, Mr Gibbs. Miss Scuito has informed me of everything so we'll handle it all. The room you're using his just over here." she guided him to the 'Baltimore Arch' room where the guests were already seated and chatting among themselves.
The room was just the right size, and the aisle ran from the door around to the back of the room then down the center. The decorations were simple, consisting of a few banners and ribbons but made the room sparkle as the light shone from the windows on the opposite side of the room.
Gibbs stood at the front, checking out the small group of people. Jimmy was smartly dressed, arm in arm with Breena. Beside them was Vance and his wife, Jackie, and even Ned Dorneget and Ducky's previous assistant, Gerald. It surprised him to also see the METRO ME, Tom Hubbard, and even ex- director, Tom Morrow, had turned up.
One by one, he shook hands with them, thanking them all for coming.
Ziva sat on the front row, dressed elegantly in an emerald green dress and matching ear rings. Beside her, sat Tim, dressed in a smart charcoal grey suit and preparing his camera to take photos during the ceremony.
Tony meanwhile was sat in the corner, making sure his guitar was correctly tuned. On seeing Gibbs, he stood and strode up to him with a beaming smile.
"Looking good, DiNozzo."
"I could say the same about you. It's not often we get to see you dressed smart like that."
"Car is pulling up, Gibbs."Abby said, clapping her hands with excitement, "Places everybody!"
Gibbs took his spot at the altar and waited for Ducky and his father to appear in the doorway.
The reverend took center stage for a moment.
"Can the guests all rise for the groom."
"Now, Tony!" Abby squeaked in happiness.
Tony strummed along the keys once before beginning to play.
'You light, the skies up above me
A star, so bright you blind me
Don't close your eyes
Don't fade away
Don't fade away
Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
If you stay with me now, we can rule the world
Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.'
Slowly, Ducky and Jackson walked along the aisle around the room and approached the altar. Watching them, Gibbs could already feel tears stinging in his eyes. He blinked repeatedly to try and remove them before they fell, and again he wondered why he was so damn emotional.
'If walls break down, I will comfort you
If angels cry, oh I'll be there for you
You've saved my soul
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
If you stay with me now, we can rule the world
Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.'
Taking their positions, Gibbs looked over at Tony with a small smile. The song was a perfect choice for the words were so accurate, even though he had no clue who the song was actually by.
Looking down into Ducky's eyes, he could see that he too was already welling up slightly with unshed tears.
The reverend approached them and addressed everyone again.
"Please be seated. Good afternoon everybody, and welcome to the marriage of Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Donald Clarence Mallard. We are here to celebrate this special occasion between these two wonderful men, who have found love together and wish to make their unity official in front of all of you here today. My name is reverend Bill Aldred and I am the minister and truly honoured to be here and officiate the coming together of this couple. First, our maid of honour, Miss Abigail Sciuto, would like to read us something."
Abby stepped up to the podium at the side and gently cleared her throat.
"Hi, I'm Abby, obviously. I'm truly delighted to be the maid of honour for these two wonderful men. Setting up this wedding has been a lot of fun, and I can't thank all of you enough for taking time out of your busy lives to be here today. This poem I'm about to read is called "Love Is A Great Thing" by Thomas à Kempis.
'Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good. By itself it makes that is heavy light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven.
It carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all wordly affections, and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity, or by any adversity subdued.
Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down.
Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.
Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent and manly.'"
Everyone clapped and she smiled as she left the podium for her seat next to Tim and the reverend took lead once again.
"And now, they will each read their vows that will be a promise to each other for their marriage. These promises you are about to state have come from your hearts, and so I will invite you each place a ring on your soon to be husband's third finger of the left hand as you affirm your vows. If our best man would please hand over one of the rings."
Tobias stepped forward and handed Gibbs one of the rings with a wink and a smile.
Ducky held out his shaking hand and let out a small but happy sob as it was placed on his finger by an equally shaking hand.
Gibbs took a deep breath. The room was so silent you could hear a pin drop and he did his best not to look out at the small crowd watching them, but his eyes briefly flicked to Abby who silently urged him to speak.
Looking into Ducky's eyes again, so full of happiness and love, he smiled and felt his heartbeat increase tenfold. Clearing his throat, he started to speak.
"Du- Donald, I...I never expected us to be standing here together like this. In all the years we've known each other, you've seen me at my worst. I've not been the easiest person to be around, and there's been times that I've said and done things that have hurt you. And yet, somehow you've always found it in your heart to forgive me and even tell me what needs to be said when I'm too stubborn to listen to anyone else." he laughed, gently squeezing Ducky's hand.
In the corner of his eye, he could see both Abby and Ziva were already gently trying to dab away tears without ruining their mascara and a few sniffs also broke out in the crowd.
"Whenever I've needed support, you've been there with wisdom and love by the boat load. The love I have for you over the years has grown and it keeps on growing by the day. From the day we decided to move our relationship on to the next level, my life has just continued to get better. Thanks to you, I'm moving on from the demons of my past; demons that I should have fought a long time ago, but couldn't do alone. I don't know how you've managed to be so patient and understanding because I would have walked away from me months ago. I'm still convinced that I don't deserve someone as wonderful as you, but I do want to finally start making up for everything I've ever done wrong, and give you all the love you deserve."
The reverend smiled, and Ducky's eyes wouldn't leave the sight of the ring now sat snug on his finger.
"That was wonderful, Leroy. Now Donald, it's your turn."
Ducky took the second ring, almost dropping it as he fumbled with it until succeeding to gently slide it onto Gibbs' finger.
Holding onto Gibbs' hand with both of his own, he lifted it to rest it on his chest. Despite having written out his vows many times, each reiteration was as long as the last, and in the end he knew that when the time came, he would be able to say it without reading it off paper.
"My dear, sweet, Jethro. Since the day we first met I knew that despite your sometimes brash demeanour, deep down you have a heart of gold. No, it hasn't been easy, but nothing really is, and such is life. I've seen so much of the good you've helped create and the lives you have touched and you've even saved my life on more than one occasion. I know you can't see what I see, and I could stand here all day telling you the reasons why I love you, but I know that everyone else here would rather I tried to keep this short. My dearest mother, not long before her passing, on one occasion recognised me and said, "When are you going to marry that lovely young Jethro boy?". I never imagined that it would actually happen, and I hope that wherever she is now, she's seeing this and smiling."
He stopped suddenly, searching his pocket for a handkerchief as the tears ran down his face. A hand on his elbow stopped him and the reverend held out a tissue box. With a word of thanks, he took one and wiped his eyes.
"I'm almost done, I promise." he said, and a trickle of laughter erupted from the group.
Taking a steady breath, he continued.
"Jethro, in the time we've been together as a couple, you have shown me so much love and affection that I never thought possible. I love you, Jethro, with all my heart and soul. If there was anyone that I could spend the rest of my life with, I'm so glad that it's you."
"Ah jeez, Duck." Gibbs muttered, wiping away his own tears with his free hand.
Sensing they were finished, the reverend smiled and continued on.
"That was wonderful. I could see that you both spoke from the heart, and it shows how much love there is. Donald and Leroy, today your lives with officially join up as one, and in accordance with the law of our land, and in the presence of everyone here today, I announce you husbands for life."
Leaning down, their lips met in a brief kiss, and he pulled his now husband into arms. The room burst into applause and cheering, and slowly, the couple walked back down the aisle together, hand in hand.
In moments, Tobias had the car pulled up, and Gibbs opened the door to let Ducky in before sitting on the opposite side, both had been quickly showered in a flurry heart shaped confetti by Abby and Ziva.
As they drove away, everyone else headed for their cars to move down to the next venue.
Neither man could really speak, both wiping the tears from their eyes.
"I'm so happy." Ducky finally said, drying his eyes once again.
With a calming breath, Gibbs replied.
"So am I." his voice broke just slightly and he let out a small laugh, "I love you."
Tobias looked in his rear view mirror and smiled. He'd never heard, and certainly never expected to hear his old friend show such emotion. Then he'd never expected Gibbs to look at anything other than a red-headed woman either.
The celebration venue, just like the reception room, had been planned out to perfection. Gibbs knew he had to thank Abby with whatever she wanted in the world for keeping everything in order.
This room also consisted of being true to its original features. The oak pillars and beams kept the place's character, despite having balloons hanging from each and every one of them. Tables ran along both sides of the room, leaving the centre open as a dance floor.
Gibbs ran his free hand down one of the beams in appreciation of its well varnished texture. Ducky meanwhile eyed up the location of the toilets.
"I hope you will excuse me a moment, my dear, but I must go freshen up a bit."
"Miss Scuito really has pulled it off." Tobias said, taking in the place, "Something tells me there's gonna be a lot of that caf-pow stuff in her future."
"You sure know how to wing it on speeches, don't you?"
"Of course. Looks like Duck did as well."
Shortly, more and more cars started to arrive. Abby walked in, arm in arm with Jackson at her side, grinning and enjoying the attention from her. She dropped the contact though to carefully run up and pull Gibbs into a hug.
"Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs!"
"Abs!" he embraced her and kissed her temple, "You've done a fantastic job with all of this."
"I'm glad you're happy with it. There's just one thing, I totally forgot to ask what song you were going to do your first dance to!"
"Frank Sinatra's Moonlight Serenade."
"Okay, will do."
She let go and headed over to the DJ.
Jackson smiled again and shook his head.
"What?" Gibbs said, unable to stop a smile spreading across his face.
"You're positively glowing with happiness. Son, I never thought I'd see you like this again after Shannon."
"I don't think anyone did, not even me. And you don't have to say it, okay? I don't plan on screwing this one up."
Gradually everyone had arrived and sat down on the available seats.
Gibbs and Ducky took their assigned places at the centre table and Abby chinked her wine glass several times to get everyone's attention before standing.
"Okay, first off, thank you everyone for attending today. I er, I don't have much of a script, but I know I'm not the only one to have just winged it today." Abby paused a moment to grin at Gibbs and Ducky, "It's of course now time for our loving couple to have their first dance together."
Gibbs stood first and took Ducky's hand and lead him to the dance floor. They stopped in the middle, the lights went low, the music started to play, and Sinatra’s voice gently filled the room.
'I stand at your gate.
And the sing that I sing is of moonlight.
I stand and I wait.
For the touch of your hand in the June night.
The roses are sighing.
A moonlight serenade'
"Oh, Jethro, did you choose this?"
"Yeah. Did I choose correctly?"
"You did. I'm so very happy."
"Good. So am I."
Slowly they swayed together, lost in their moment despite the crowd watching and the flashing of cameras every now and then.
'The stars are aglow.
And tonight how their light sets me dreaming.
My love, do you know, that your eyes are like stars brightly beaming.
I bring you, and I sing you.
A moonlight serenade.'
"So, did you find something blue to wear?"
"I decided that you were correct, my dear. My eyes are the best thing in blue that I could have worn. "
"Uh-huh, and I get to see them every day."
Ducky rested his head on Gibbs' chest, hearing the thudding of his heart and smelling the slight hint of old spice. It smelt like heaven to him.
‘Let us stray 'til break of day
In love's valley of dreams.
Just you and I, a summer sky,
A heavenly breeze, kissin' the trees.
So don't let me wait.
Come to me tenderly in the June night.
I stand at your gate
And I sing you a song in the moonlight.
A love song, my darling, a moonlight serenade’
It seemed all to soon when the song was over, and they came to a gentle stop. Without having to think about it, Gibbs leaned down and their lips connected for a gentle kiss. The room filled with cheering, and they both blushed as they retook their seats.
Soon enough the buffet was open, and Gibbs headed up and returned with two plates of food.
"Thank you, my dear. I'm so very hungry. I really should have had a proper breakfast this morning, but I was so nervous I didn't think I could stomach much."
"Well looking at the size of that buffet spread Abby has put together, I'd say we have enough food to last us a few days."
Throughout their feast, everyone seemed happy enough, all chatting and devouring whatever they could lay their hands on.
With a smile, Tobias approached them and whispered to them.
"Gibbs, Ducky, there's someone outside to see you both."
For a moment, Gibbs' stomach plummeted. There's no way Hollis knew where they were celebrating, was there? Looking at Ducky, he could see the same concern.
Trying to ignore his gut and trust Tobias, they stepped near to the entrance, where for the second time that day, Diane stood, but this time with her daughter Emily beside her.
"Uncle Jethro!" she squealed in delight and ran to hug him tightly.
"Hey Em. I'm so glad to see you."
Diane smiled, and gently touched Ducky's shoulder.
"I always knew you enjoyed a challenge, Ducky, but you've really excelled this time."
"At my age, you need a bit of a challenge, and the rewards are worth it."
"I bet they are." she said with a wink, "I wish we could have gotten here sooner, but Emily had after school clubs."
"Is there cake?" Emily asked, putting on her pleading eyes.
"There is, but we haven't cut it yet." Gibbs patted her head, "You two wanna stay and have some?"
"Alright then, but just for a little while…if that's okay?"
Both Diane and Gibbs looked over to Ducky.
"The more the merrier." Ducky said with a smile, standing aside so that they could join the celebration.
"So, Jethro, does this mean I've missed your first dance?"
"I'm afraid so. Go take a seat where you can find one."
As they walked away, he stopped Ducky.
"Duck, You are okay with Diane being here, aren't you?"
"Of course I am. She's of no threat to us, and Emily is so adorable, so I couldn't have you turn them away. I think you and I both feared as to whom it was waiting to see us."
"Yeah, but Tobias would have known to turn her away for us."
"No doubt he would have."
"Guys, come on, it's time to cut the cake." Abby said with a beaming smile, "Tony's been eyeing it up for the past half hour."
"Okay, hold your horses, Abs, we’re coming."
They were lead over to their table where the cake had been placed in their absence. The 3 square tiers where white, the bottom one had a bowtie made of icing attached to the front, the one atop that had an icing boat shape, and on the top tier sat a topper simply reading ‘MR & MR’ in a French script font.
They assumed the position, both holding the handle of the knife as it make the first cut into the middle section. More applauding happened and photos were taken.
As Abby and Ducky handed out the pieces, Gibbs leaned against the wall beside Diane. She looked up at him and saw the dopey grin on his face.
"He looks as happy as you."
"I should hope so."
"I would have loved to have been there for the whole thing. Tobias told me that your speech was quite the tear jerker."
"The closest you got to tear jerker with me was the proposal speech. Apart from that, at our wedding you just read the usual vows and that was it. You never said such sweet things that you apparently said to him today. I really hope you continue to tell him how much he means to you."
"I'm pretty sure you already gave me this talk earlier this morning."
"Well I'm reminding you again."
He rolled his eyes in amusement and their discussion was disturbed by Emily happily clasping two pieces of cake in napkins.
"Okay, come on, let's go to the table to eat it."
"Timmy, come dance with me." Abby said, pulling Tim up from his seat by his hands, but he tried to resist.
Ducky stood and approached her, his hand running across Gibbs' waist as he went.
"Come along, my dear, I'll dance with you."
Slowly, they glided across the dance floor, and McGee made sure to get a picture of them before approaching Gibbs and pulling a seat up next to him.
"Boss, I've got the tickets for Scotland and the reservation for the cottage in Glasgow I showed you."
"That's a good Job, Tim...Thank you so much."
Tim flushed with happiness.
"No problem, boss. I'll give them over to you and Ducky later on."
They sat in silence for a while, just watching everyone happily socialising. In the corner, Gibbs saw the ghostly figure of Mike Franks raise a glass with a grin.
"Jethro? Everything alright, my dear?"
Gibbs looked away back up to Ducky.
"Yeah, Duck, I'm okay."
"What's got you all smiling?"
"Everything I guess."
The team again approached the table, all smiled.
"Gibbs. Ducky. This, is from all of us at NCIS." Tim handed over the envelope to them.
"You open it, Duck."
Tearing open the envelope, Ducky gasped as he read the tickets and details attached.
Gibbs put on a beaming smile.
"Yeah. Just the two of us for a whole fortnight."
"This is...so wonderful." Ducky looked up, once again with tears in his eyes, "Thank you all."
One by one, Ducky hugged each of his co-workers. All accept Vance who he respectfully shook the hand of.
Ducky was bubbling with joy.
"I think I'm going to run out of tears before the evening is through." He said, reaching for a nearby napkin to again wipe away tears.
Diane sat watching as Gibbs wrapped his arm around Ducky’s shoulders and kissed his temple. She smiled up at Tobias who was stood beside her.
"Remember when we were like that?" she asked.
"I think I’d remember when you turned into a man."
She huffed out a laugh.
"It’s one of my finer qualities that you never appreciated. So you really believed those two would get together?"
"I had my suspicions; I just can’t believe it’s taken this long."
"So what about you?"
"I’m comfortable and focusing more on Emily right now."
On the dance floor, Emily was dancing with Abby and giggling about something.
"You know, Tobias, when Jethro kept going on about Kelly, after a while, I started to get annoyed with it. Now I’m a mother, I can understand the pain of losing her and Shannon really was, and how I’d feel If I lost Emily. "
"Wouldn’t miss me then?"
"I wouldn’t say that." She looked down at her watch, "Should see about going. You know how cranky Em gets when she’s tired."
"She gets that from you, you know."
She gave him a playful glare which quickly softened, then patted his cheek.
"Make sure the grooms get home safely."
Gibbs was whispering something into Ducky’s ear as she approached them, and she spotted a blush quickly rising on Ducky’s cheeks.
"Jethro, we're leaving now. Emily needs to be in bed by the time we get in."
"Mom! I'm not tired!" she stropped before letting out an unstoppable yawn.
The two men stood and moved around the table to say their goodbyes.
"Come 'ere, Em." Gibbs pulled her into his arms and lifted her up, "My girl, you're growing up fast."
"You bet I am."
"You take care of yourself and your mom."
"I will." She wrapped her arms around his neck for a hug, "Bye Uncle Jethro."
Giving her a kiss on the forehead, he carefully put her down again.
"Bye Uncle Ducky."
Emily reached out to hug him too.
"Goodbye, my dear." he hugged her and handed her another slice of cake wrapped up in a few napkins, "Don't tell your mother." and he winked.
"I won't." she whispered back with a giggle as she stuffed it in her coat pocket.
They followed them to the doorway and waved them off.
"Ah, Jethro, Emily is a little sweetheart."
"Yeah. Was that more cake I see you slip to her, Duck?"
"Maybe. I just can't believe she called me 'Uncle'."
Gibbs put his arm around Ducky’s waist and pulled him closer.
The air began to get chilly and the night had drawn in.
"Oh!" Ducky said.
"A shooting star, Jethro!"
He looked up, but the sky seemed still.
"I missed it. Hope you made a wish."
"Of course. For now though, I do wish to go back inside. "
"Yeah, it’s getting chilly. No doubt everyone will be leaving soon enough anyway."
As the time got later, guests started saying their goodbyes and Ducky too started to tire. Abby and McGee were clearing tables whilst Ziva swept the floor of confetti, cake crumbs and leftover cocktail weenies.
Gently, Gibbs nudged him.
"Near enough everyone's gone. Want to see about getting home, Duck?"
"Please, Jethro. I'm sorry, but I don't think our wedding night is going to be all that exciting."
He silenced the older man with a kiss.
"All I wanted out of this day was for us to be together and for you to be as happy as you make me."
"You're happy too, aren't you?"
"Of course I am."
"Right, are you two ready?" Tobias asked, still smiling.
"We most definitely are." Gibbs stood, holding Ducky's hands to help him up."Up we go, Duck."
After having said their goodbyes to everyone, they climbed into the back seat of the car, and within a few minutes on the road, Ducky was already asleep.
"When you leaving for Scotland?" Tobias asked, trying to keep his voice down.
"McGee got the tickets for the day after tomorrow. Thought it was best since Ducky didn't know the plans, and it'll give us a chance to prepare."
Arriving back home, Gibbs gently shook Ducky awake.
"We're home, Duck."
"Are we?" he blinked several times.
"Yeah. Come on, let's get things sorted and get to bed."
Having now waved Tobias off, and usual security checks done, they were upstairs in no time, undressed, and lay content each other's arms.
Gibbs let out a long sigh of relief. All the weeks of planning were finally over, and it all went off without a hitch. He certainly owed it to his team for all the hard work they put into it. Ducky heard the sigh and looked up at him.
"Is everything alright, my dear?"
"Yeah…You are happy, aren't you? I mean, the wedding was everything you'd hoped for?"
"It was perfect, and more. I guess I can certainly say that it was worth the wait to make that trip up the aisle."
"Good. Besides, you're the only duck in my pond."
"Oh Jethro, that is so undeniably cheesy."
Gibbs laughed, pulling his husband close to him and kissed the top of his head, "I know, but it's true."
Gently, his hand stroked over Ducky's hair and down his cheek. Within minutes, they were both fast asleep, having officially taken that big step that they both knew they should have taken years ago. None of that mattered now, because they had each other, to have and to hold, now and forever. Husbands For Life.