AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established relationship. Angst.
SUMMARY: Set after: Hiatus. This is the first story in a trilogy. Ducky stays awake whilst Jethro sleeps and ponders on the final words his lover said to him.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
He is asleep beside me, holding me in his arms as though he cannot let me go.
He finally fell asleep a little while ago. Worn out by more than just the lovemaking that began from the moment we entered his house, until his acceptance that even he has his limitations. He was exhausted even before we began to make love, drained by the intense emotional outpouring he had been forced to suffer, as well as the physical assault on his body.
I myself will not sleep.
I must not.
I cannot bear to let a single moment of what might be our final time together to slip by in sleep. So I do what every good doctor knows how to do, even a Medical Examiner in his sixty-third year, I call on the resources we doctors learn from the moment we enter Medical School.
I will remain awake. I will do so until he leaves me.
'I'm not leaving you, Duck. You know that, don't you?'
There was such pain in his voice as he said the words that I decided it was not the time to play semantics with him. So I merely pulled him more tightly into my arms, kissed him and reassured him.
I do not think I can ever recall his lovemaking being so desperate. It was as though . . .
I will not think that way.
I must not.
Instead I will remember the final words he said to me, before he succumbed and let Morpheus take him into his arms.
There were only five words.
Five words. A mere fifteen letters.
Not much on which to place my hope.
But they will have to do.
The words weren't his usual final words; they came just before he gave me this hope. Only this time he added an additional small word. 'I do love you, Duck,' was what he said. And then he repeated the first two words.
But as wonderful as those words were to hear, and I never tire of doing so, they aren't the ones on which I am placing my hope. Why? Because Jethro's love is the one thing of which I have always been assured. The one thing I have always known. No matter what, no matter which one of his wives or lovers he was with, no matter where he was, his love was something of which I could always be certain. Always count on.
No, my hope is pinned on these words.
'I will be back, Duck.' And as with his penultimate words, he repeated the first two.
Ah, my dear Jethro, I have to believe that you have not chosen now to begin to lie to me.