AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship. Angst.
SUMMARY: Set after Hiatus. This is the second story in a trilogy and is the sequel to Hope. Jethro is about to leave for Mexico. But how can he say goodbye to Ducky?
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
It's spring. But it should be winter. That would match my mood. That would be right.
But the seasons don't take account of what we mere mortals want. So spring it will remain.
Odd in many ways. It was spring when I first met him. Now it's spring as I'm leaving him.
But I'm not leaving him. I told him that last night. I told him. And he believed me. Or at least I think he did.
How can I walk away from him?
How can I stay?
I love him.
I've loved him for nearly thirty years. No matter where I was. No matter which of my wives or lovers I was with. No matter what was going on in my life. I loved him.
And I always will.
So how can I walk away?
Why would I?
Because I have to.
Because if I stay I'll hurt him.
My going will hurt him. But I have to believe that my staying would be worse.
Worse, because staying will hurt me more. And what hurts me hurts him. That's the way it's always been.
And the same is true the other way round.
Each time I got married it hurt me, because I knew I was hurting him.
He's in my arms, where he's been from almost the moment the elevator doors shut on us and took us away from the devastation I'd just caused.
He fits so well.
He always has.
Fits better than any of my women fitted.
His scent is comforting, as it's always been. And I drink it in, holding it to memory, filing it away for the moment he won't be there.
Ask me to stay, Duck.
But he won't.
I know he won't.
No matter how much he wants to. He won't ask. Because he knows that my answer would hurt him.
Because if he asked, I'd say yes.
Come with me, Duck.
But I won't ask that.
It'd be selfish.
He can't leave his mother.
I know that.
But if I asked, I fear I know what he'd say.
And I love him enough not to make him go through that.
I do love you, Duck. I do.
But he knows that. It's my one comfort.
I will be back, Duck. I will.
I just have to hope he believes that I haven't chosen now to start to lie to him.