AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Written for rare_pair Challenge #12 Missing Scene. Set during Dead Man Talking. It is the evening before Chris Pochee’s Memorial Service. Gibbs can't sleep and Ducky won't.
PROMPT 10_hurt_comfort 05. Emotion
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
GIBBS: Yeah. Yeah, I declined.
DUCKY: Oh, Gibbs.
GIBBS: Can't do it, Duck. Wouldn’t feel right. I'll see you there.
Dead Man Talking
"My dear Jethro, you really should get some sleep. Tomorrow is not going to be an easy day for you." Ducky slipped out of bed, stood for a moment or two in order to let his leg loosen up, and then made his way across the darkened room to the window where his lover stood, still and silent.
Ducky slipped an arm around Jethro's taller frame and urged him to turn into the embrace. "Jethro, it was not your fault," he said softly.
He had spoken nearly the same words earlier in the day, when the two men had stood in the elevator looking down at the body of their murdered colleague. He had wished then that he could have embraced, or at least touched, his friend. But nearly thirty of years of knowing and loving Leroy Jethro Gibbs, had taught him to read the man an easily as he could read a child's book. Jethro had been holding himself together, and if Ducky had touched him, Jethro would have lost the grip he had on his emotions. And that would never do.
However now, in the sanctity of Ducky's bedroom, there were no such barriers. Jethro sagged into Ducky's arms, letting his head come to rest on top of Ducky's, pulling Ducky nearer to him, and holding him tightly. In turn Ducky tightened his own embrace, sharing his body warmth with his chilled lover.
"Still feels like it, Duck. I let him down. He asked me for my help, and I -"
"Asked him what you could do. He was the one who insisted that it could wait. He was the one who told you it was a cold case. And he was the one who told you that another day couldn't hurt." Ducky spoke firmly.
"Yeah, but only after I'd made it clear that I hadn't got time. If I'd -"
"Jethro, life is too short for 'What Ifs'. We could all drive ourselves insane asking those questions each day. Christopher knew you, my dear. He knew that no matter what you'd said, no matter how busy you were, that if he had said it was important, if he had pursued it, that you would have helped him. He knew that, Jethro. It was his decision to leave the matter."
"Every time I close my eyes . . . " Jethro trailed off, shuddered and pulled Ducky impossibly nearer to him.
"I know, dear. So do I. But he wouldn't have known what was done to him. He wouldn't, Jethro. He was already dead before he was . . ." Ducky paused for a moment, uncertain quite what term to use.
"Ripped apart. Oh, Duck. Why?"
"I don't know, dearest. But you will find out. You always do." Ducky began to lightly stroke Jethro's taut back. The touch was aimed to soothe, not excite. However, he wasn't completely surprised, when he felt Jethro push his lower body more firmly against his own, nor did the beginnings of his lover's arousal astonish or shock him. Just as Jethro's arrival at Ducky's home some two hours earlier hadn't surprised him, even though his friend had left him with the words 'I'll see you there'.
"Come back to bed, Jethro," he said softly, now letting his hands begin to caress more than merely touch.
"Don't want to sleep, Duck."
"I didn't mention sleep, my dear." Ducky moved back just enough to enable him to tilt his head and look up at Jethro. The dark eyes were heavy with a mix of conflicting emotions.
"Want you, Duck." Jethro sounded almost ashamed.
"I know, dear. It’s all right." Ducky continued to caress the now trembling body.
"Need you," Jethro whispered, confirming what Ducky already knew.
"Come then," Ducky said softly, and began to turn to lead his lover back to the bed.
However, Jethro stopped him and tugged him back, lowered his head and kissed him. The purity of the kiss, the tenderness of the love Ducky knew Jethro had for him overtook the desperation and base need. "Love you, Duck," Jethro murmured, when he finally allowed Ducky to breathe.
"And I love you too, my dearest Jethro. I always shall. Now come along, it's cold by the window. Come back to bed and let me warm you up." He led his lover across the room.
Before he let Ducky climb back into the bed, Jethro turned him back towards him, until Ducky was looking up at him. He gripped Ducky's arms, holding them firmly; his grip was almost bruising. "I couldn't speak, Duck. You do understand that, don't you? Don't you?" The need in Jethro’s tone for Ducky's absolution was clear.
Ducky met the dark gaze and held it. "Of course, I do, my dear Jethro. Of course I do." He spoke firmly and softly, giving the man he loved above life itself, his full and total forgiveness.
Jethro pulled him back against his body, still holding him in a punishing grip, and then let his own body sag against Ducky. His relief was as clear as his plea had been.
Several hours later, clearly worn out not only physically, but also emotionally, Jethro finally slipped into what seemed to be a half sleep.
Ducky remained awake, holding his beloved, sheltering him, keeping him warm, safe and nurtured; making sure that any dreams Jethro might have were good ones. "You'll find the bastard, Jethro. You'll find him," he promised, as he settled down to watch the sun rise.