AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Ducky recalls what happened ten years ago.
PROMPT: 30_memories - Ten Years Ago
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
9th SEPTEMBER 2009
Ten years ago today.
Ah, yes, I remember it as if it were yesterday.
You see it was when Jethro finally became mine and only mine. When I no longer had to share him with wives or other women. Of course, as we both realized later, Jethro always had been mine, just as I had always been his; it simply took us over twenty years to admit it - ridiculous really for two intelligent men.
Nine months prior to that day, Jethro had married Diane. As I stood at his side listening him to 'love, honor and cherish and forsake all others' for the fourth time, I knew he was making a huge mistake - but what could I say? How could I tell him? How could I beg him not to marry? I couldn't. I never had done.
Sadly, I also found out later that he had wanted me to do just that; in fact he had wanted me to do so when he married first Marie and then Alice. I am not certain whether he had wished me to do so when he married dear Shannon, for we never talk of Shannon.
It seems that, his marriages were meant to be some kind of 'test'. For all his apparent cock-sure bastard nature, my Jethro is actually a little insecure, and does not tend to think he is 'good enough' for me. What a foolish man he can be. Thus his marriages were carried out mostly to try to force me into begging him not to marry, even to threatening to end our relationship if he married. He wanted me to prove how much I loved him. He knew I did, of course, but sometimes . . . Well sometimes we do foolish things.
He should have known that I would never have done that; emotional blackmail is not something in which I have ever indulged. I also believe firmly in the 'if you love something let it go, if it comes back to you . . . ' principle. Hence I did let Jethro marry four times without a murmur, and each time he did return to me.
Oh, my dearest, we have been fools over the years.
But back to Diane. It is true that I introduced them, but it wasn't as clear cut as that statement makes it seem. I did not go out of way to let them meet, it just happened. Diane was the niece of one of Mother's friends; and she happened to be in Washington one day, and as one does, she looked me up. I'm a gentleman, and despite the fact that I took an almost instant dislike to the lady, I nonetheless took her out to lunch. I had not expected to see Jethro, who had been at a meeting with the FBI. The meeting had ended sooner than expected, and my beloved had sought me out. What could I do? I had to introduce them - but I never for one moment expected him to propose to her.
I believe that she was faithful during their honeymoon, but I cannot be entirely sure. Certainly as soon as they returned to Jethro's home, and he returned to work, she, shall we say, found other things to occupy her afternoons rather than cooking supper or doing housework. Of course, given that Jethro was involved in long standing affair with myself, it is somewhat hypocritical to criticize her, but . . . The difference is, in my eyes, Jethro and I loved one another and made love; Diane merely had sex as a diversion, moving from man to man almost as often as people change their underwear.
Of course it wasn't long before Jethro found out - in fact I do not believe that Diane even tried to hide it from him. However, perverse as it might seem, he stubbornly decided not to divorce her immediately. They had been married less than two months when he discovered her infidelity - maybe it was pride, maybe it was the fear that he'd failed again; despite it not being true, he blamed himself for all three of his divorces. I know he did; even though he has never come out and said so.
Thus they drifted on for six further months. Diane spending more time with her men; Jethro spending more time with me. And then he was sent to Paris on a case, taking with him Jennifer Shepard, and he did something that has never ceased to perplex me, something that hurt me far more than any of his marriages.
He began an affair, I suppose I have to call it, with her. I do not know why he did that, and I sometimes wonder whether even he does. I do know that he behaved completely out of character, spending more time having sex and gazing into her eyes, and acting as if he were completely besotted by her, than he did working on the case. He told me later that lady luck must have been watching out for him, because without her intervention, he would have screwed up the case. I sometimes wonder if . . . But no, surely not. Jennifer wouldn't have, couldn't have. Would she? Could she? And yet to my mind it is the only logical explanation.
I think, no I know, it hurt me so badly, not just because he was in effect cheating on me in a way that I didn't consider him to do with his wives, but because Paris was 'our' place. 'Our' city. I remember . . . But, no that is another story entirely. I must return to ten years ago.
I was working late. I had a post mortem to carry out on a man who had been buried up to his neck in an anthill. For once Jethro had left before me; I believe Diane had insisted. Anyway, I was working away, quite happily, having sent my assistant home for the evening, as the door to Autopsy opened. Even before I looked up and saw Jethro, I knew it was my beloved; I also knew that all was not well.
However, even I had not been expecting to see him leaning against the door, as though he were unable to stand up on his own, blood pouring from a wound on his scalp. Without having to ask him, I knew that Diane had hit him - it was simply a case of finding out with what. But that could wait; the what was not really essential, at that moment. Getting my dearest to a table, and checking how severe his injury was, was.
As always Jethro refused point blank to allow me to take him to the Emergency Room, and my Jethro can be very persuasive, not to mention extremely stubborn. As with the previous two times, I allowed him to get his own way, but only because I was content, as long as he promised to allow me to take him home with me so that I could keep an eye on him, that the injury, like the others, looked worse than it was, and that Jethro was not concussed or worse.
As I stitched him up, he told me that it was indeed Diane who had hit him - with a baseball bat. She had done so because she had opened a letter addressed to him - she was like that. It was a 'Dear John' letter to be precise, sent to him by Jennifer Shepard. Diane was a hypocrite. It was perfectly acceptable for her to spend her afternoons in hotel rooms, but once she discovered that Jethro had spent his time in Paris having sex with Jennifer, she became livid with rage. She lashed out at him and demanded a divorce.
As I repaired the physical damage yet another redheaded woman had done to my love, I believed that I would need to spend time repairing the psychological damage of the double rebuttal. I must confess that Jethro surprised me somewhat by how calm he appeared to be. As I put the final stitch in his head and prepared to once again carry out my checks for concussion - where Jethro is concerned I confess I am over-anxious - he caught my hand. He looked at me and said simply, 'That's it, Duck. No more. I promise'.
It wasn't the first time I'd heard him say 'no more'. Sadly, he said it after his first two divorces. However, it was the first time he had added 'I promise'. And I knew that unless he truly meant it, that he would never have spoken those two words.
That was, as I said, ten years ago today. And he has kept the promise. Oh, from time to time he is seen with a woman, he still flirts with them; asking Jethro to cease to flirt with a woman, or indeed a man or, if I am honest, the furniture, would be like asking the sun not to rise. However, it is very much like my own few 'liaisons' with the fairer sex; designed for show, for cover.
He is mine. Finally. Utterly. Unbreakably. Forever mine.
Ten years ago today.
Ah, yes, I remember it as if it were yesterday.