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18 June 2006 @ 12:49
Fiction. Noticing  
I promised that I would pull all of the stories in this series together to make one archive post in order to make it easier to read for anyone who wishes to read/re-read the entire series.

With one or two small exceptions to formatting (putting in an extra blank line where it was clear the author had meant to put one and ensuring the the divides were consistent), I haven't altered the stories in any way. Thus, there will be slight differences in the spellings of certain words/word usage, etc.

Thanks again to everyone who took part in this.

TITLE: Noticing
AUTHORS: Ashleigh Anpilova (nakeisha), Periwinkle (periwinkle27), Willow (toomuchfandom), Ren (k1mono) and Lonelywalker (lonelywalker)
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
GENRE: Slash
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Jethro and Ducky believe that none of the team are aware of the true nature of their relationship. Then, independently they realise that Jimmy has in fact noticed, but they are confident that no one else has; they both choose not to tell the other of their 'discovery'. However, one by one the team share their thoughts on the nature of the relationship between the two men. Finally, Jethro and Ducky both realise that maybe they were incorrect in their summation.

DISCLAIMER: We don't own these characters, nor am we making any money from them. We merely borrow them from time to time.



Special Agent Gibbs loves Dr. Mallard.

He does.

He told me so.

Well of course he didn't come out and tell me so, but he did tell me. In fact he tells anyone who cares to listen.

I listen.

I'm good at listening.

When you work every day with Dr. Mallard you have to get good at listening. You never know when he's going to break off from telling one of this stories and tell you something important.

It took me a while to realize it. At first I was so in awe of Special Agent Gibbs, so desperate not to do or say anything wrong, so eager to please him and Dr. Mallard, so keen to keep out of his way - I can be quite clumsy and I've seen the look he gives people who knock over his coffee - that I didn't listen to him.

At first when he used to snap 'Duck' or 'Ducky' at Dr. Mallard, I really believed that he was irritated by my boss's ramblings. So I took to trying to intervene and protect my dear doctor from him. I'd jump in and say something; I'd try to stop Dr. Mallard when he had gone off on a tangent, and wasn't giving Agent Gibbs the information he wanted.

But rather than help matters, it only seemed to irritate Agent Gibbs further. Plus Dr. Mallard used to look concerned. He'd look at me and quickly turn his attention to Agent Gibbs, or he'd interrupt me. I didn't know why. I was trying to help him. But rather it seemed to worry him and make Agent Gibbs snap even more.

Then one day I realized why.

Agents Gibbs and DiNozzo were in Autopsy with Dr. Mallard and myself. I was in the background, none of them were paying any attention to me. DiNozzo for some reason seemed more desperate than he normally does to please and impress Agent Gibbs, maybe he'd knocked a cup of coffee over. Dr. Mallard was telling one of this stories, I cannot remember which one - but I'm sure that Agent Gibbs could - which as always did in some roundabout, convoluted way, possibly known only to Dr. Mallard, did have some bearing on the case.

For once Agent Gibbs was letting him ramble. I looked at him and saw a difference in his face, in his eyes. For a moment he wasn't the Special Agent Jethro Gibbs who has always scared me, who seemed so inhuman most of the times, so distant, so angry, he was . . . He was human. He had a very faint smile on his face, and his eyes had softened slightly. He was leaning back against one of the empty tables, watching Dr. Mallard and listening to him.

Suddenly DiNozzo interrupted Dr. Mallard by snapping his name and telling him they hadn't got time for stories. It was something that Agent Gibbs has often done and said - but it was then I noticed the difference.

When Agent Gibbs snaps at Dr. Mallard, his tone might be exasperated, as it is when he snaps at any of us, but it's fondly exasperated, as it never is when he snaps at the rest of us. There it was for all of us to hear and realize and recognize. It was there all the time, in his voice, in the way he said Dr. Mallard's name, in the way he always spoke to him, even when he was really wound-up and irritated.

I wouldn't have been surprised if DiNozzo's ears and head weren't still ringing when he got home from work that day from the slap that Agent Gibbs delivered. I heard it connect from the other side of the room. DiNozzo looked shocked and hurt. Even my beloved doctor widened his eyes and looked surprised as he murmured 'Jethro', in his soft, loving tone.

So there is was. That was the day I knew. I really knew that Special Agent Gibbs loved Dr. Mallard. He told me. He told us all. And now when I listen to him speak to Dr. Mallard, snap at him even, I hear it again and again. It's there, all the time, in his voice for everyone who cares to listen to hear.

Dr. Mallard listens, of that I'm sure. I'm good at watching as well as listening.



I was on edge that day. Close to exploding. But the team couldn’t tell. I hid it. Except from Ducky. I can’t fool him. Can’t even try anymore. There’s no point. He knows me so well. Ducky knew I was wound up. So he began one of his stories. I know the team thinks he just rambles on. Sometimes it exasperates them. But I take comfort in them. Not that I always listen to them; I’ve heard the tales too many times already. They wash over me though like the ocean waves and I know Duck is with me. So he can tell his tales, and I can ignore them, and we understand the real message is ‘You are important to me and I care for you.’ It’s as close as two men can get to declaring their love in public and we are secure because the team sees what they want to see. They miss the rest.

Or so I thought. Because on that day, I happened to catch a glimpse of Jimmy Palmer. Who was looking at me with a little half-smile on his face. And suddenly I knew that he knew. And he’d known for a while because he didn’t look shocked or amazed.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? The one person in the room who isn’t a trained investigator had been the one to figure out our secret. People don’t give Jimmy enough credit. Yes, he’s young and nervous, but he observes and he listens and he’s going to be a very good M.E. if he stays in the field. He’s learned to put the little pieces together into a whole. My Ducky is a good teacher. Jimmy realizes that.

I can trust Jimmy with this. He’s never given a hint in the past that he’d figured us out. I find that I’m glad that he’s the one to know -– Abby would be too bouncy for Ducky, Tony would make annoying remarks and the rest of them might have trouble with the idea. Jimmy treats Ducky with respect. He is interested in learning from him. He’s the only person other than me who ever really listens to the endless stories. That impresses me. He could so easily treat Ducky as a foolish old man.

I won’t tell Ducky; he doesn’t need to know. But in the future, now I know I’ll have someone I can look at when Duck is rambling on and find understanding. It’s a nice feeling. I really don’t compliment Jimmy enough on his work. I’ll have to rectify that in the future.



Oh, dear, I do believe that Mr. Palmer has worked out what my real relationship with Jethro is.

I had pondered for some months whether he would or not, after all sometimes Jethro is not as subtle as he might be when he visits me in Autopsy. I have often wondered whether I should mention something to him, but I have to confess that I do rather enjoy his special attention and the liberties he grants me. Besides it isn’t as if he kisses me or says anything inappropriate, although sometimes the devil in me wishes . . . But that is inappropriate.

However, Jethro does treat me differently from how he treats the rest of the team. I suppose that is only natural, we are close friends, extremely close friends, and have been for more years than I sometimes care to remember.

Jethro’s whole being is slightly different when he is around me. His eyes and countenance, both of which are often harsh, soften slightly, and his voice takes on a somewhat intimate timbre, even when he is snapping ‘Duck’ at me, and telling me that we do not have time for stories. He indulges me with my storytelling, I am certain that it must irritate him from time to time, especially as he knows them all so well. However, I also know that they can, despite his snapping at me, relax him, or give him time to gather his thoughts more clearly. I know my Jethro; I can read him as clearly as I can read an x-ray - more clearly in fact. Sometimes x-rays hide things, my Jethro never does.

I knew that the children hadn’t worked out that we are more than just the good friends we appear to be. Why should they? To them I am merely an elderly Medical Examiner who tells long, rambling stories, stories that they assume have no relevance, I am not a nubile, beautiful, female redhead; nor am I a trained investigator. Therefore they do not pay me the same attention or notice me as much as they do other people. I know that they are fond of me, all of them are; although I sincerely doubt that Officer David would admit to such a feeling, but I am not ‘one of them’.

I have often wondered about Abigail, especially as she is so close to both Jethro and myself. But unless she is a far better actress than I have always imagined, I do believe that, despite her working with us the longest and how close to us she is, she has noticed. If she had done so, she would bounce. Maybe it is a good thing that she hasn’t worked it out. I do sometimes think that as much as Jethro loves his surrogate daughter, he occasionally finds her bouncing a little too much for him.

Jimmy is fond of me too; I know that. He shows it in so many ways. For example how he tries to ‘protect’ me from Jethro’s ‘irritation’, by deflecting the attention to himself. And of course all that does is to make my Jethro more irriated, but with Jimmy not me. You see Jethro too tries to protect me, and he perceives Jimmy’s interruptions as being a slight on me, just as he does when any of the children behave in such a manner. That is why poor Anthony received such a severe slap around the head recently. He dared to snap at me, dared to tell me that they didn’t have time for stories. I suspect the poor boy had a headache that lasted for quite some time - I do know that Jethro’s hand stung after he had delivered the blow.

It was when I glanced up to gently admonish Jethro, that I saw Jimmy looking at my beloved. The look on his face told me everything. He knew. But it also told me something else too, that we had no need to worry; that he was neither disgusted nor upset, nor would he go running to the children or Abigail. He would keep our secret.

I won’t tell Jethro; he doesn’t need to know.



I couldn’t believe it when Gibbs hit me as hard as he did. I really couldn’t. I still can’t. What did I do to deserve it? Nothing. Nothing at all.

He slaps me round the head a lot, and yeah, most of the time I know I deserve it. Hey, sometimes I even deliberately even goad him, to get him to whack me. Probably sounds crazy, but I do. Hell, it gets me his attention, and that’s got to be good, right?

I wouldn’t admit it under torture, but McGee’s a far better agent than I’ll ever be. That’s why I ride him so hard and make fun of him. I’m afraid; afraid that one day Gibbs’ll stop noticing me, and that’ll be the time he’ll get rid of me. But if I’m pissing him off, he’s noticing me, right? And that has to be good.

And yeah, his slaps sting a bit sometimes, but usually it’s more the shock of them than anything else. Even the ones I get when I’m winding him up can come as a shock, mainly because he doesn’t always hit me then. He’s crafty is the boss.

But this was nothing like that. This was . . . Well, he meant it. It made my ears ring and my head spin. And I bit my mouth; I was tasting blood for the rest of the day.

And I still don’t know why he did it.

All I did was to tell Ducky to hurry up, tell him that we didn’t have time for stories this time, and wham, Gibbs hit me. I mean, why? What did I do? Nothing more than he does himself. Ducky rambles on pointlessly a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ducky, it’d be impossible not to like him, he’s a nice elderly man. But God, he irritates the hell out of me at times - the boss too.

Gibbs is always telling me to show some initiative and think for myself. So what’s my reward when I do? Pain. It shocked me, it really did. Left me with a bad taste in my mouth all day, and not just from the blood.

The Autopsy Gremlin was stunned by it as well; at least I think he was. You can’t always tell with Palmer. He stood there with his gormless look on his face, staring at Gibbs, but he often has that kind of look on his face. Reckon he’s more scared of the boss than McGee is.

It surprised Ducky too, actually. He even rebuked Gibbs, well as much as Ducky ever does. All he said was ‘Jethro’, in that tone of his, the one he uses when he’s not totally happy about something. But did he get a head slap? Or even the famous Gibbs stare? No, he didn’t. Yet he’d done a lot worse than I had, he’d dared to reproach Gibbs, and no one does that. Not and gets away with it. But Ducky did.

You know, thinking about it, it’s not the first time Ducky’s stood up to Gibbs and got away with it. He doesn’t do it often, but when he does . . . And Gibbs says nothing. Does nothing.

Come to think of it, it’s not the first time Gibbs has gotten annoyed by one of us crossing Ducky. Sometimes I wonder if . . . But no, that’s daft. It’s also impossible! I’d have noticed. I am a trained investigator. Also it’s . . . Well, it is.

Gibbs and Ducky?

No way. No way.

Gibbs is into women, in a big way. Put a redhead in front of him and he’s hooked. He’s been married and divorced three times, then there’s the mystery redhead we see from time to time, plus I’m sure that him and Madam Director were more than just partners. He’d never . . . He just wouldn’t.

Not so sure about Ducky. He’s never been married; still lives with his mother; has various eccentricities. He could be, maybe. Not that I have a problem with that, no matter what Kate tried to make out. I don’t. Really, I don’t. I don’t. It’s just not my thing, never could be. And I’m sure it’s not the boss’s either. Taste in everything is a personal thing, and my tastes don’t run that way.

Gibbs and Ducky involved, like that? Nah. No way. Not in a million years. A zillion. It’s impossible.



“What have you got, Abs?” her boss’ voice sounded while the doors opened at the same time. Abby smiled, that was ‘her’ Gibbs, popping in unwanted. Gibbs wasn’t really ‘hers’ and nor was she really ‘his’ as Abby knew, that Gibbs had a thing for Ducky. And she was fine with that. Ducky was an extremely handsome man, and so was Gibbs, and with Gibbs’ exploding nature sometimes, the eccentric Ducky was a good match.

Not that Gibbs and Ducky told anyone about it. In fact, Abby just noticed it because she learned to watch body language. As her parents were deaf, body language and hands were important. The way Gibbs looked at Ducky, bended over towards him, and how Ducky softly leaned into Gibbs, it was all too obvious.

She loved seeing the pair together. It made her feel happy, something good between corpses, boring tests – not that she’d admit that they’re kind of boring, she liked a challenge – and beating up McGee. But beating up Timmy was great too. She loved to tease her sex-buddy. She loved him, but used him for now as Timmy came out of a very long relationship and she didn’t want to get involved in a long relationship… yet.

She often took them out to dinner, not telling them that she knew they were a couple. Tim was always going out with them as well, so there wouldn’t be a ‘third wheel’. But even during dinner, off work, Gibbs and Ducky tried not to show to her that they were a couple, but boy was it obvious! Ducky helped Gibbs to read the menu, as Gibbs nearly always forgot his glasses, vain man that he is, Gibbs helped Ducky to get up when he had sat too long on an uncomfortable chair. Abby once dropped her knife to the floor to see if they were having foot-contact, but alas, not even that!

Gibbs usually told her everything. In sign language, so no one else would know. His body language said a lot too. Gibbs treated her like a surrogate daughter, and she didn’t mind. She loved her parents, but liked a hearing surrogate daddy as well. It puzzled her, that Gibbs didn’t tell her about his relationship with Ducky, well he told her about them being friends, good friends, and that was it. Maybe he was afraid that she’d bounce so much that she’d bring down the building or something, or worse, tell everyone when she was in an excited mood.

But she knew, and she didn’t bounce the building to the ground.



Something odd is going on here. One minute ago everything was as usual. Then Jethro and Tony went down to Autopsy to see Ducky, and when they came back it was as if there had been a brief stutter in time. There had been a change somehow, but it was subtle. Only someone who’d been partnered with Jethro would pick it up.

When I glanced at Ziva from the corner of my eye, I got the impression she knew what was going on, but she was avoiding looking at me. That in itself is disquieting as Ziva usually is the person who informs me as what is happening. Tony was looking a little hurt and confused, but that’s nothing new. But, Jethro, something was definitely a little off with Jethro. It’s almost as if he’d relaxed a little bit, but that can’t be. Jethro never relaxes around here. He barely ever relaxed around even me, and he stopped doing that after Paris.

It has to be something that happened in Autopsy or the lab. I could go down to that level to see what I could sniff out, but Ducky is there. And Ducky, who everyone thinks is a sweet, kindly man, around me is actually quite ruthless. He has this misguided notion that he needs to protect Gibbs from me. He hides it well, but I get the feeling he thinks I’m a cold-hearted bitch. Not that he’d ever let anyone see what he truly thinks. Well, Ducky, if I am a bitch, it’s because I learned from the best; after all, I was Jethro’s partner.

Maybe I should go to the lab and ask Abby about something? I could see if I pick up some signal from her. But then again, Abby is the one who calls me “Madame Director.” She’s never shown any inclination to help me before.

I just don’t understand it. Nothing’s changed and yet something has. Everyone is acting exactly as they did five minutes ago and yet it’s different. I’m the Director. I should be aware of what’s happening, but Gibbs’ team seems determined to keep me out of the loop. I’ll just have to go down to Autopsy and see what I can find out. I don’t like the team having secrets behind my back. They’re so loyal to Jethro, but they should be mine.

~~~~~~~

Things are even odder here. Jimmy is looking at me out of the corner of his eye. He’s even acting a little defensive. He’s always been protective of his boss, but right now he’s acting like I’m going to do something awful to Ducky. And Ducky has the nerve to ask me if there’s something he can help me with and then actually turns his back on me and continues the silly story he was telling Jimmy. Something has altered and I don’t know what it is.

I’m the Director. I should know what’s going on. Someone needs to tell me. I need to know.



I sometimes wonder about DiNozzo's skill as an investigator, for all his abilities he can sometimes fail to see what's under his nose.

Take the other day for example. I was in the men's room when he came in, I knew something was up as he was rubbing his head and holding his lips tightly together; then I saw blood as he rinsed. For a minute I thought that he'd been interviewing someone who had taken a swing at him, but then I remembered he'd been in Autopsy with Gibbs.

Whatever I think of Tony, and most of the time I get along with him and I have learned from him, he’s my coworker. He’s supported me, more than once; so it was time for me to repay the favor. I asked him what was wrong and he growled at me. But it was the ‘ask me again, because I want to tell you’ kind of snarl, Tony’s such a kid at times. So I did. And he told me.

I was surprised; actually I was shocked. Gibbs has never hit anyone hard before now. I’ve had my fair share of head slaps, and I know that Gibbs always pulls the slap. It sounds far worse than it is; the shock of it is worst thing. For him to really hurt Tony, he must have been extremely pissed off.

So I asked Tony what he’d done. He told me he’d done nothing, except for snap at Ducky and tell him to hurry up. And he calls that nothing?

Honestly, he’s worked with Ducky and Gibbs longer than I have. Yet I knew within five minutes of seeing them together, that one Gibbs rule you didn’t break, even if you broke all the others, was the one that doesn’t have a number: ‘Don’t criticize Ducky in front of Gibbs’. Although knowing just how omnipotent the boss is, I’d forget the last four words, because believe me, Gibbs’d find out.

How can DiNozzo not know that?

How can he not have seen it? Seen the ultra close friendship Gibbs and Ducky have?

He was around when Ducky was kidnapped, saw the way Gibbs behaved. I think it was then that my suspicions about their friendship being more than just friendship were confirmed. And of course once they were, I felt stupid for not realizing it sooner. It’s as plain as anything to see; at least it is for a trained investigator. And DiNozzo’s meant to be just that.

Will he never learn?



He is considerate I give him that, although I certainly wouldn't have chosen him to see me this way, but then I have no choice, and certainly no voice in the matter.

Unlike the others I have come into contact today he still treats me as a person, and not as a number. He talks to me and treats me with respect and tells me his every move.

Although I can no longer feel his touch I can see that he places gentle but firm pressure on my form rather like that of a lover, soft touches that I would imagine would leave a feeling of joy and tenderness. And even though I know that soon my flesh will be broken, I will still be left with dignity. It is all I can ask from him now, and all he can offer.

Ah he lifts his head up, we are not alone now, a man enters. Yes I remember him we have met very recently. This morning in fact. I know he is another champion of mine he will help me much like his friend here.

I know in my heart he will find out the whys, whos, whats and wheres and all those other reasons for my being here in this isolated room, when I should be in more familiar surroundings enjoying the simple pleasures that I am now deprived of.

The older man who has been very kind to me has a name "Duck" so this younger knight of mine whispers in a tone that speaks of more than a mere acquaintance. I can see that I am forgotten for the moment as "Duck" leaves me to go over to my other saviour who has opened his arms.

I notice that "Duck" is not hesitant in going into those open arms, If I was still able to I would fly into them myself.

Those same arms now crush Duck, there is no struggle, no backward step. Instead Duck moves closer almost burrowing his head into that of the taller man. I can see that the grip tightens around the smaller form almost causing my knight's fingers to pale in colour The comfort of those arms surely bring thoughts of more than protection.

I hear a whimper "Jethro". Ah, so my knight finally has a name.

Jethro bows his head close to Duck and I can see him press a tender kiss on the forehead.

The murmurs of nonsensical words drift towards me.

I am witness to this scene. I should feel aggrieved that I am forgotten and I know I can not repeat what I have seen. I know I can never utter a word. Yet instead I feel privileged that they know I can keep a secret and that I am one of the chosen few they can trust.



From the files of Ziva David, Mossad Agent.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service >> Personnel >> Gibbs, Leroy Jethro >> -date encrypted-

-translated from the Hebrew-

Report

Special Agent Gibbs struck Special Agent DiNozzo today, administering a sharp slap to the back of Agent DiNozzo’s head. The incident took place in the autopsy room, in the presence of Doctor Mallard and ME assistant James Palmer. Despite Agent DiNozzo’s protestations, and frequent whining during the rest of the day, no formal charge of assault or harassment was registered against Agent Gibbs.

Observations

It has come to my attention since joining Agent Gibbs’ investigative team that the “headslap” is a frequent disciplinary device used by senior agents to chasten junior agents. The slap itself causes no physical damage, but serves to alert the junior agent to a lapse in concentration or logical thought.

In itself the headslap is unobjectionable, and usually the instances of its use have gone unrecorded in my files. However, Agent DiNozzo’s report to me of the facts of this particular incident made it clear that today’s use of the headslap was particularly odd, and worth further investigation.

Agent DiNozzo’s complaint took two parts: (1) that the headslap was unusually violent and painful. (2) that the headslap was unwarranted, and that certainly the punishment was disproportionate to the offence. Since I cannot testify to the severity of the pain felt by Agent DiNozzo, I must pay attention primarily to the reason behind the headslap.

Agent DiNozzo related that Doctor Mallard had, as is usual, been giving an oral autopsy report to Agent Gibbs. Upon Doctor Mallard’s familiar lapse into a vaguely related anecdote, Agent DiNozzo had made the request that the Doctor resume his formal report (it is unclear what wording this request took). Upon hearing this request, Agent Gibbs firmly slapped the back of Agent DiNozzo’s head.

There are two possible analyses of the cause of this unusually violent headslap. The first is that Agent Gibbs davka slapped Agent DiNozzo without any specific provocation. That is, the headslap was motivated precisely because there was no provocation. The second analysis is that, unknown to Agent DiNozzo, there in fact was sufficient provocation to warrant the headslap. For the purposes of this report, I will assume that the second analysis is correct.

The most obvious reason for Agent Gibbs to become angered by Agent DiNozzo’s interruption would be that Doctor Mallard’s anecdote was in fact important to the autopsy report. Despite the fact that I was not present at the autopsy report, I doubt that this was the case. Doctor Mallard frequently relates such anecdotes, and they are rarely of crucial factual importance. In addition, it is unlikely that Agent Gibbs could have recognised the anecdote as containing vital information in the brief time before Agent DiNozzo’s interruption. It is therefore probable that Agent Gibbs was reacting to the interruption itself, regardless of what Agent DiNozzo was interrupting.

Doctor Mallard is a senior and esteemed medical examiner. It is appropriate that all members of NCIS regard him with respect, and it is possible that Agent Gibbs was angered by Agent DiNozzo’s lack of politeness. However, given the seriousness of the case, and the importance of the autopsy report, it would seem reasonable that Agent DiNozzo’s haste would warrant a commendation rather than a violent punishment.

My analysis therefore suggests that there was no logical reason behind the headslap. It was administered, davka, without provocation.

Personal Notes

I have previously noted in these files that the relationship between Agent Gibbs and Doctor Mallard is particularly close. They have known each other for at least the last ten years, and have socialised outside the work environment.

In the past, I have made reports on the friendship of these two men. It has appeared, in my judgement, that Agent Gibbs has on several occasions endangered his entire team on behalf of Doctor Mallard. They also appear to be extremely close, even affectionate. It is possible that this relationship alone may be the reason behind Agent Gibbs’ reaction. However, I do not believe this to be the case.

In earlier reports, I have theorised that the relationships between several members of the NCIS team may be sexual and/or romantic (see files on: DiNozzo/Todd; Gibbs/Sciuto; Gibbs/Shepard; McGee/Sciuto; McGee/Palmer; and Palmer/Sciuto). Amongst these preliminary theories was the possibility that Agent Gibbs and Doctor Mallard were romantically involved. They have the longest friendship of any two people on Agent Gibbs’ team. Neither admits to any current romantic or sexual involvement with another person.

Doctor Mallard’s record suggests neither sustained heterosexual nor homosexual relationships, although I am not privy to his extended background check. It is therefore possible that Doctor Mallard is a practising homosexual. Agent Gibbs has had several lengthy heterosexual relationships, and has fathered at least one child. Nevertheless, a single homosexual relationship with a close friend is not impossible.

Therefore, I must describe my reason for deciding that such a relationship, however, is unlikely in this case.

Despite Agent Gibbs’ excellent work record, above average intellect, and – according to some – good physical appearance, it is, in my opinion, improbable that Doctor Mallard would enter into a romantic relationship with him. Doctor Mallard, as I have discussed, is a highly intelligent, skilled, and respected man. Even taking into account Agent Gibbs’ remarkable professional abilities, I find it unlikely that Doctor Mallard would be interested in pursuing an extensive social affiliation. Agent Gibbs is known to be brusque, unfriendly, and, in fact, distinctly antisocial. He appears to spend his leisure time imbibing alcohol and working – alone – on a boat, the use of which seems to be impossible since it is located in his basement.

Primarily, however, I must take into account the fact that, on numerous occasions during the ten years of their friendship, Agent Gibbs has been known to have had heterosexual relationships, including several (brief) marriages. Quite apart from the fact of these relationships’ very existence, Doctor Mallard must have witnessed Agent Gibbs’ romantic ineptitude, self-destructive tendencies, and general insufferability.

Therefore, considering all of the evidence, I find it unlikely that Doctor Mallard and Agent Gibbs are involved in anything more than a mutual friendship.

Personal Notes (Update)

A brief incident occurred today that may have some tenuous relevance to my former report. Agent DiNozzo, Doctor Mallard, James Palmer and I were investigating a crime scene. The body of a marine had been found in a small storeroom with only one exit. Although the murder had been a violent stabbing, no blood was found on the door. Instead, on close examination, Agent DiNozzo located a bloody handprint on the ledge of a small, relatively inaccessible window high in the storeroom wall. This suggested that the murderer had exited using the window rather than the obvious choice of the door.

I theorised to Agent DiNozzo that the murderer had davka used the window. He asked me to explain what I meant. Unfortunately there is no direct translation into English, and I struggled to convey my meaning. Doctor Mallard, who I believe speaks very good Hebrew, was able to help Agent DiNozzo understand, primarily by giving examples of the word’s usage.

The first example he gave was: “I davka love him.”

I will need to analyse the implications of this statement in the future.



I do not know whether there is something in the air, but I fear that my summation about the children having not discovered the true nature of the relationship I have with Jethro, was inaccurate. Or at least as far as some of the children go; others I am still not so certain about.

Jimmy and I arrived a little late for this Interdepartmental Team Meeting that Jennifer decided for some unbeknown reason to organize. I believe her intention was to encourage the different departments to mix with one another, to interact with people they might not otherwise have any contact with. She is of course quite within her rights as Director of NCIS to do such a thing, but personally I fail to see the point of it. It seems to me that people in general are holding far too many meetings these days; I believe that on occasions there are meetings to decide whether to hold a meeting. I remember - Oh, but I afraid I am slipping a little off tangent.

Mr. Palmer was slightly late in arriving at the office today; well, strictly speaking he arrived at the correct time, his usual time. However, Jennifer's memo had stated that we should all be in attendance slightly earlier than the normal working day began. Mr. Palmer insists that I failed to pass this information on to him, but I am certain that is not the case.

Not that us arriving late mattered, as Jennifer had been held up on an important matter, or that is what Cynthia told us all. People were not particularly happy. I do wonder whether our new Director realizes how often she antagonizes the very people with whom she should be trying to work. But Ms. Shepard never really was a team player, nor did she understand people. I am still surprised by her appointment. I sometimes wonder - But no, that is an unworthy thought, and once again I am wandering from the subject in hand.

Jimmy and I arrived and moved to sit with the rest of our specific team, in the two empty seats next to Abigail. Jennifer's belief that people would mingle was a foolish one, as I could have told her. All the mail room staff were sitting together; as were the administrative staff; the janitorial staff; the technicians; even the agents were gathered together in their own teams. Just as I was about to take my seat, Timothy jumped to his feet and ushered me to where he had been sitting, assuring me that I would be more comfortable. Before I could explain to him that all the chairs were identical, he had gone. It seemed churlish to object, not that ,if I am completely honest, I wished to do so, so I sat down - next to my dear Jethro.

He looked at me and smiled his 'Ducky' smile, and his eyes softened in the way they only do when he is around me, and they said things to me that he could not voice in public. As I settled down and attempted to get comfortable in the hard upright chair, I brushed against his arm, and simultaneously my olfactory sense went into overdrive. Suddenly I was uncertain about the wisdom of sitting next to Jethro.

Oh, dear, that makes it sound as though we are sex-crazed teenagers, unable to control our urges and desires, and we are not. Not at all. It is just that I had not seen Jethro for four days; he had been attending a conference, along with Tobias, for senior Federal agents. I am certain I do not need to tell you his reaction when Jennifer informed him that his attendance was mandatory.

If I did not know better I would venture to suggest that maybe our dear Director is attempting to keep Jethro and myself apart. However, that would imply that she is aware of, or at least suspects, the true nature of our relationship. And I would believe that to be highly unlikely. I know that she is not fond of me, I know that she feels that I attempt to come between her and Jethro, not that there is any 'her and Jethro', and in my opinion it is about time that she accepted the fact. I know that she also believes that I keep him from her, and maybe to an extent I do. But for everyone's sake it is far better that I do so.

So sitting down next to my dear Jethro and having his particular scent infiltrate my senses without being able to connect with him, was somewhat difficult. Jethro might not use cologne, but he has used the same somewhat old fashioned shaving cream from the first time I met him, some. . . Oh, I must not mention that, it is a greater secret than even Shannon and Kelly were. Add to that the scent of sawdust that always seems to surround him, no matter how long it has been since he worked on his boat, together with his very being, and I find myself wishing to touch him, however briefly and innocently. Maybe I could just shift slightly and accidentally brush against him. Ah, that is better.

I wonder why Timothy thought I would be more comfortable next to Jethro? Could it be that he, like Jimmy, has picked up on something? Something of which Jethro and I are not aware we are giving off? Certainly of all the members of Jethro's field team, I believe that he is the most observant of human behavior. Rather like Mr. Palmer, Timothy often appears to be somewhat less able than he is; he too can lull people into thinking that he is slower and not as astute than he is. Yes, if any of the children have noticed, Timothy would indeed be my first guess.

I do hope that Jimmy did not feel abandoned when Timothy insisted on my moving seats. He is now sitting next to Abigail, which should make him happy, whilst Timothy is on her other side. Abby keeps glancing my way and smiling her pleased pussycat smile. However, whenever I catch her eye, she glances away and begins to talk to one or the other of her two admirers.

Now that I think about it, Abby has been behaving a little different around Jethro and myself for a while now. She has taken to inviting us to go out to dinner with her Timothy, and her treatment of us is . . . But, no, Abigail cannot be aware; cannot even suspect. If she did, she would bounce, of that I am certain. Or maybe, if I really think about it, I am not quite as certain as I thought I was. Dear Abby is very astute, very intuitive, she understands people well, and cares a great about Jethro and myself. She would know that Jethro would not like her to bounce and make it obvious that she knows something. And she does often behave as Jethro would like her to. She sees my beloved as a surrogate father. Mmm, now would that make me her surrogate mother?

Officer David is sitting next to Anthony; as usual she has withdrawn into herself, and is not participating in the general chatter that is going on around her. She is distancing herself, as indeed she always does. She is giving off the aura of not caring, of not being involved, or one of the team. For all of my abilities in understanding people and their psychology, I find Ms. David extremely difficult to predict, or to read.

Can she really be as cold, uncaring and harsh as she appears? I would hope not, however, given her upbringing and her duties with Mossad, she might well be. She will not have noticed that there is anything beyond friendship between Jethro and myself; or rather if the thought has crossed her mind, she would have dismissed it. It would not fit with the 'Leroy Jethro Gibbs' and 'Dr. Donald Mallard' whom she has studied, on whom she has dossiers - ones that even she does not realize are not entirely complete.

Anthony also seems to be lost in his own world; his attention is entirely on whatever he has on the hand held device he is surreptitiously examining. He keeps casting side looks at Jethro, no doubt expecting him to take it away from him. However, Jethro either hasn't noticed - something that would astound me - or he has decided to let Anthony play for the time being.

Of all of the children, logic says that it should have been Anthony who has worked out our relationship, assuming of course that any of them have. After all, next to Abigail he has worked with us both for the longest period of time; he has seen us together, he interacts with us. And he was the one whom Jethro smacked extremely hard, too hard in my opinion, when he 'dared' to try to hurry me along.

However, as good an agent as Anthony is, and he is in many ways a good agent, Jethro would not have kept him around if he wasn't, he does not notice things in the way that maybe he should. Also, I suspect that the idea of homosexuality troubles him slightly, maybe even frightens him; Anthony is often nervous of things he does not and cannot understand. I am not in any way implying that he is homophobic, despite the way he carried on when he kissed the man who was a woman, Jethro wouldn't have him on his team if he were; my dearest does not tolerate any kind of discrimination. It is just that Anthony is not able to fully process anything he does not, cannot, will not understand.

I also had the feeling just the other day that it wasn't just the children who might know about the relationship. Jethro had come to see me in Autopsy, just before he went away to the conference. There is a little area that cannot be seen by the surveillance cameras, so he was able to say goodbye to me in more ways than merely words. As I was in his arms, I had the distinct feeling that - But that is a foolish thought. I may talk to my corpses, but as yet one has not answered me back. And yet . . .

People are getting very restless, the atmosphere is becoming heavy with their displeasure, and yet around us I am getting very different kinds of vibes from certain team members. Maybe - ah, Jennifer has now arrived.

I shall talk to Jethro tonight and ask him if he has noticed anything.

~~~~~~~

Maybe it's something in the air, but I'm beginning to think I was wrong that only Palmer had figured out the real relationship I have with Ducky.

I've got no evidence as such to go on, but my gut tells me that more than one of the team have figured it out. Or are close to doing so.

Why else would McGee leap to his feet and all but drag Ducky to sit next to me at this pathetic, stupid whasit meeting that Jenn organized? And where the hell is she anyway? God, I need another coffee.

McGee's idea that the chair next to me was more comfortable was a bit lame; all the damned chairs are the same. Duck'll find them all too hard for him.

I wish I could have had five minutes to go down to Autopsy and see Ducky before coming here. I could have told Palmer to go on ahead, and take advantage of that bit of Autopsy that the cameras can't see. It's been four days since I had Ducky in my arms, and that's too long. How I ever coped when I was away at sea, I'll never know. Guess I love him more now than I did then.

For four days I've been stuck in some damned senior Federal agents conference. The only thing that made it bearable was Tobias. Now he does know about Duck and me; claimed he knew even before he walked in on us kissing one night. Ducky's always telling me to lock my front door more often than I do.

Hell, I'm bored, and being this close to Ducky isn't really helping. His scent is teasing me, tantalizing me in a way it rarely does outside our homes. I want to kiss him, hold him, touch him. Ah, that's better. I've got my last wish anyway. He's moved slightly, and is brushing against me, like he did when he sat down.

McGee keeps glancing our way. What does expect me to do? Grab Ducky and kiss him? Now that's an idea. Maybe I should wait until Madam Director turns up, it might stop her from trying to get me to restart the biggest mistake of my life.

Now she doesn't know. I'm sure of that. She's not fond of Ducky, never has been. Oh, she's a reasonable actress, but I can tell. She doesn’t like our friendship, doesn't like how he 'protects' me from her.

Yeah, McGee's figured it out. Oh, well, can't do much. He's clearly not bothered by it, but then I never thought he would be.

Christ, now Abbs is looking at us and smiling that damned smile of hers that always gets her her own way. Now she's looked away again. She knows. That's what all those dinners out have been about, she wanted to get us outside of the office, watch us together. She's safe too; she adores Ducky, and treats me like a second father.

David is doing her usual trick of not getting involved with anyone around her. Amazed she isn't with Jenn doing whatever it is our Director is doing. David gives me mixed signals, and that irritates the hell out of me.

One minute I reckon she's the cold, detached, uncaring bitch she comes over as being, the next . . . The next I think she does have a vulnerable side. She's got skills, I'll give her that. I'd trust my back to her, well I did. But I don't like how callous she is about killing. Duck tells me it's just her Mossad training, but if she is going to stay around, she's got to start to learn our ways. She analyzes everything. And she'll have done that with Duck and me. Analyzed it and dismissed it. Why wouldn't she?

DiNozzo won't have noticed. For his skills, and he does have them, I'd hardly have kept him around for over three years if he didn't, he doesn't tend to notice stuff he doesn’t believe in or understand. I swear I could kiss Ducky in front of him, and he'd still find a way of ignoring it, pretending it never happened. In his eyes I couldn't possibly be gay or bi or whatever the hell he'd want to label me. So I'm not. No matter what he saw me do.

He keeps glancing at me too, but his look is nothing like Abbs or McGee's. I guess I should stop him from playing with his dammed gizmo, but quite frankly I can't be bothered.

You know, I reckon Ducky's getting to me in more ways than one. I could have sworn the other day when I went to say goodbye to him, when I took advantage of Palmer not being there, that . . . Nah, that's just stupid. Duck talks to his corpses, but none of them have answered him back yet. What the hell am I thinking? Maybe there is something odd being pumped into the air.

Maybe it's just withdrawal symptoms. From both Ducky and coffee.

God, people are getting pissed off. You can feel it; the air's heavy with irritation and mutterings. When I first got here the atmosphere was relaxed, people were happy to have an hour or so off work. All they had to do was sit and listen to the Director, but now they've had enough. Jenn'll never learn. She doesn't know how to handle people, never has.

That's it. I've had enough. I'm going to get another coffee. And then maybe - ah, shit, Jenn's finally got here.

I'll talk to Ducky tonight and ask him if he's noticed anything.

~~~~~~~

"Duck?"

"Yes, dearest?"

But as he looked into the ebony and sapphire eyes that were soft with love and rich with passion, Jethro forgot what he was about to say. Instead he moved nearer to Ducky and kissed him again.

It was twenty minutes later before Jethro settled back down, tugged Ducky into a loose embrace, and sighed with pleasure . He felt relaxed, content, at peace, happy, and the atmosphere echoed those feelings, warming him, making him feel secure in himself and in the love he and Ducky shared.

"Yes, dearest?" Ducky repeated, his voice low and gentle.

"Huh? Oh, yeah. Duck, I don't want to worry you or anything, but I was wondering if you reckoned any of the team were -"

"Behaving as though they knew the true nature of our relationship? Yes, dearest. I had. However, I had not realized that you had done so. It began with Mr. Palmer, but now I believe that -"

"Abbs and McGee know too."

Ducky smiled. "Yes, dearest."

"What about David?"

"I doubt it my dear. She will have considered the matter and dismissed it. Anthony, on the other hand -"

"Wouldn't notice it if I seduced you on one of the Autopsy tables in front of him."

"Hmm, maybe we should put that to the test one day."

Jethro chuckled. "Yeah, maybe we should. Madam Director?"

"Oh, no. If Jennifer had any idea at all, I believe that she -"

But Jethro had had enough. So he silenced his beloved in the best way possible.

Once again they slipped into their gentle lovemaking, the kind they carried out whether they were actually making love or not, the kind that was, if Jethro were honest, clear for all to notice. Silence, punctuated only by gentle murmurs and soft noises, filled the air and joined the loving, peaceful, caring atmosphere that was the foundation of their entire relationship.
 
 
Current Mood: productiveproductive
 
 
 
lonelywalker: teamworklonelywalker on 18th June 2006 12:33 (UTC)
Nikki: I love the final part, which I hadn't commented on before. The way you took on elements of all of our individual POvs was very nicely - and subtly - done, and I did love the final conversation between Ducky and Gibbs.

Everyone: Way to go guys! This just goes to show what a terrific group of writers are in this community and I'm really honoured to know you all and to write with you. Hopefully we'll do it again soon :-)
Nikki: Gibbs/Ducky (Close to you)nakeisha on 18th June 2006 12:40 (UTC)
Thank you so much indeed. I'm really pleased to hear this. I'm glad that I succeeded in working in parts of the various POVs thank you.

I did love the final conversation between Ducky and Gibbs.

I hesitated over that for quite a while as it kind of changed the style, apart from one or two words there hadn't been any speech. However, I felt that unless they did actually talk about it, on-screen so to speak, it wasn't totally resolved. So I'm really pleased it worked. Thank you.

This just goes to show what a terrific group of writers are in this community and I'm really honoured to know you all and to write with you.

It does in indeed. And I feel exactly the same way.

Hopefully we'll do it again soon

Hopefully we shall indeed.

Thanks so much for your words and for your great contribution to the story.
periwinkle27: Ducky pointingperiwinkle27 on 19th June 2006 18:41 (UTC)
I hesitated over that for quite a while as it kind of changed the style, apart from one or two words there hadn't been any speech. However, I felt that unless they did actually talk about it, on-screen so to speak, it wasn't totally resolved. So I'm really pleased it worked. Thank you.

I think it works quite well here as it is at the end of the story and it gives a nice warm feeling. Had it been in the middle section, it might have been jarring.
Nikki: Gibbs/Ducky (Marry me)nakeisha on 20th June 2006 10:04 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm glad to hear this.

Yes, I think it would have been jarring mid-way through. But I felt it worked, not that's always a guarantee of anything of course :-) But... I felt it needed something and first person just didn't feel right.
Buggy: Ducky goofytoomuchfandom on 18th June 2006 13:50 (UTC)
Wow... this looks very impressive!

We've done a great job:D
Nikki: Gibbs/Ducky (Your place or mine)nakeisha on 18th June 2006 13:58 (UTC)
;-)

Thanks very much. Although all I did was throw in a few lines; all the hard work had already been done.

We have indeed done a great job. Go us, eh?

Have pimped it on my LJ.
Chris: NCISsharpiesgal on 18th June 2006 14:34 (UTC)
Y'all have done a wonderful job. I have loved reading this little series as you probably can tell from my comments...lol

Now, I have to admit that I'm a day late and a penny short...sigh A plot bunny bit me yesterday concerning this series. It suggested that I write a segement from the POV of the redhead Jethro occasionally goes out with.

Bad bunny....no carrots or lettuce for you.

Once again bravo, ladies!!!!
Nikki: Gibbs/Ducky (Face cupping)nakeisha on 18th June 2006 15:15 (UTC)
Argh.

That would have been great. Darn.
periwinkle27: astral_angel ducky oh the stories I coulperiwinkle27 on 19th June 2006 18:27 (UTC)
You could add her to your list of possible characters for the next round robin.
Nikki: Gibbs/Ducky (Arms)nakeisha on 20th June 2006 10:03 (UTC)
We could indeed.
zelenkashineszelenkashines on 20th June 2006 11:06 (UTC)
From Bethany xxxxxxxx
Lovely... Spooky, in as far as the corpse, and I think I have a slightly different idea of DiNozzo, and Jenn, and Ziva, individually, as you all do - But we're on the same page with G&D, Abby, McGee, and Palmer... So, this story makes for a lovely read! Thank you xx

Bethany xxxxxxx
Nikki: Gibbs/Ducky (Always on my mind)nakeisha on 20th June 2006 11:50 (UTC)
Re: From Bethany xxxxxxxx
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it; we all enjoyed writing it.

Thank you.