AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established relationship
SUMMARY: Life is a club; we just don't necessarily realise it.
PROMPT: fanfic100 Club
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
The vast majority of people, even if they are not necessarily consciously aware of it, wish to belong; that is one reason why there are so many clubs around. Golf clubs, bridge clubs, athletic clubs, craft clubs, fencing clubs, gun clubs, dating clubs, gentleman's clubs, Freemasons, Women's Institutes, I could go on and on and on. In fact, think of something, and I am certain that somewhere in the world there will be a club for it.
However, belonging to a club is far more than merely joining one or more of the aforementioned organizations. Life and the human race itself is very much a club; a club with rules, regulations, rights and wrongs, and like any club anywhere, there are a variety of rules that are unwritten. We learn about them when we break them.
The leaders of our countries could be equated to the Chairmen or Chairwomen of the clubs. Oh, dear, I should not really use the term 'Chairman' or ‘Chairwoman’, it is not considered politically correct these days; however, to my ears it sounds so much better than 'Chair' or 'Chairperson'. I often find myself wondering who comes up with this kind of 'rule', and whether they actually bother to consult people, or if they just decide on a whim. But I am, as I all too often do, wandering off the subject.
If life is the main club, and each country a branch of that club, then within those branches, there are many sub-branches. For example, there are ones that are related to our work, others that are related to our leisure, etc., and again within these sub-branches, there are many sub-sub-branches.
Take law enforcement personnel, for example. They have diverse rules; rules that are not necessarily the same across the various organizations the term ‘Law Enforcement' covers. They do, however, seem to have one rule that is consistent to all clubs. It is not one to which they readily admit; not something about which most members shout; not something of which they are proud; it isn't even something that is as clear cut as it first seems. It is however, one of the rules; and one that all new members have to learn quite quickly; they also have to learn how to cope with the rule, how to deal with, in their own way.
The rule is 'the ends justify the means'. It is one of the unwritten club rules, one that isn't taught in so many words, one that is learnt almost by the process of osmosis; one that troubles many members; one that maybe should not exist. But, if the club members stop and think about it, really think about it, then they will have to admit that it does exist.
For doctors our main club rule is 'To do no harm'. Yet we do. We do so everyday; some of us more than others. We sometimes keep people alive by artificial means; keep them alive against their wishes and the wishes of their families. And by doing so, we are doing harm. We are harming their families. Indeed, we are harming them by letting our rules, the rules of our club, supersede their own personal wishes and rules. We are a club that it ancient, conservative and closed; yet at the same time, we are always searching for new cures, for new hope; we are always seeking to make life better. Why then do we fail so often?
I once came closer than I had ever done before to breaking this golden rule. Oh, not by keeping someone alive when there was no hope, not even by carrying out a post mortem and thus putting a family through the anguish of having their loved one 'desecrated', is how one person described it.
No, I came very close to taking a life; to taking the life of a living, breathing fellow member of the main club, and indeed one of its sub-branches. My dearest Jethro tells me that I wouldn't have done so, that had Ari given me that chance, I would not have taken it. However, for once my beloved is wrong.
The bastard had severely hurt one of my team, a member of one of my most important clubs. Indeed it was more than possible that Gerald could have died, or at least lost his arm, and I could not have done a thing to stop it. Ari had also frightened another member of the team, not that Caitlin would have admitted that - but she was scared. Oh, she was furious, with herself as well as with Ari. In fact, I believe that she might well have been angrier with herself, because she knew that she had broken one of the club rules; she didn't let Gibbs know what was going on, when it was clear that something was amiss. However, anger is all she would have believed herself to be; she would never have confessed to fear.
No, the bastard was correct in what he said. I would not have hesitated; however, I would have regretted it. I would have regretted it to such an extent, that I am not certain that even Jethro could have saved me from what I would have become. I know that he does not wish to face the fact that his lover, his doctor lover, could have taken a life. After all, he is the Special Agent, the ex-Marine, the person who carries a gun and who takes life. I am merely an elderly doctor who might have chosen a direction whereby I is not actually saving lives on a day-to-day basis, but nonetheless I am a healer.
The military itself is at heart a club, again one that is far more diverse than many other clubs. In many respects 'never the twain shall meet', could have been written for the military in terms of the differing countries and services within them. But they too have their rules, their credos, their regulations: they serve; they protect; they fight; they kill; they do things to keep their fellow members of the top level club safe; things that many of the non-military members could not conceive of doing.
Despite their diverse rules, there is one that is common to all forms of the military of which I am aware: No Homosexuals Allowed. It is a rule that has existed for many, many, many decades; one that still does exist in many branches of the club. It is perhaps fortunate that my beloved is not the greatest conformer to rules, and to the expectations of the clubs to which he belongs. If he had been, he and I would never have been 'he and I' - quite possibly not in any sense. After all, with his military background, it could be considered surprising that we ever even became friends, let alone so very much more.
Of course for many years he did, on the face of it, belong to the club of heterosexuals, of 'normally married men'. He played the game by the rules, he conformed, he joined in, at least his public face did. And he did continue to be a member of that club and abide by their rules for more than a decade and a half after his honorable discharge - mostly, I confess, at my urging. You see, I wanted him, I needed him, to be really certain of what he wanted; really convinced that I was all he needed.
However, a year ago he left that club. He stopped playing by their rules, handed in his membership card and took up full membership of a new club. One that only has two members. It is the best club to which I have ever belonged, and the only one I will never voluntarily leave.