A sequel to Sometimes Second Best Will Do.
Tobias is waiting for Ducky to come home and is worrying.
An established relationship story.
Gibbs/Ducky are also mentioned in this story.
Warning: Major character death in the past mentioned.
Written: August 2010. Word count: 1,000.
Tobias paced around the room. Something was wrong; he knew it. Ducky was three hours late and inexplicably hadn't called to say why. Tobias had tried calling, but Ducky's cell phone had been turned off. There had been no reports of accidents; no one resembling Ducky had been admitted into the hospital.
To Tobias's mind that only left one thing: Ducky's mom. The thing he'd been dreading since the evening he'd gone to Ducky, gone to see how he was, gone to . . . Even now, two years later, he wasn't certain if he'd intended to approach Ducky. But he had and Ducky'd accepted and for two years they'd lived together in Reston House.
However, Tobias had always felt he was just waiting for the day Mrs. Mallard died and - They'd never spoken about it, but Tobias had always known the only reason Ducky'd initially remained alive after Jethro's death was because of his mother. And now, if what Tobias feared was true, where did that leave him?
They'd had two good years; Tobias had retired and they spent virtually all their time together. Somewhere down the line Tobias realized that his liking for Ducky had turned to love. He didn't know exactly what Ducky's feelings for him were. More than just liking was his impression, but he doubted Ducky loved him.
At the sound of the front door opening he hurried out into the hall. Ducky had his hat in his hand allowing Tobias to easily see his pale blue eyes. It took two seconds for Tobias to see they were full of tears. He hurried towards Ducky, put his arms around him and pulled him close.
For several minutes they stood in silence. Finally, Tobias felt Ducky shift and he loosened his hold a little. "I'm so sorry, Ducky," he said softly, looking into Ducky's steady gaze. Tears no longer fell, but they still hovered, making the blue seem grey.
Ducky pulled out his handkerchief and while Tobias hung up his hat and coat, wiped his eyes and blew his nose. "Thank you, Tobias," he said. "I cannot deny that it has upset me, yet at the same time it's a relief."
At Ducky's words, Tobias turned away and began to fiddle with the coat he'd just hung up. He didn't want to see Ducky's face, see his far too vocal eyes, and he didn't want Ducky to see his. He felt disgusted with himself, but he couldn't help it. He should be thinking about Ducky, thinking about how upset he was; thinking about what his partner would now have to deal with. Burying two loved ones within two years would be very hard on Ducky; he should be thinking about that, not about -
Ducky's hand on his shoulder and the gentle but insistent way he turned Tobias around stopped his thoughts. He found himself staring into Ducky's once again blue eyes; eyes that were still damp and slightly reddened, but eyes that looked at him in a way they never had before. Tobias had never thought, never dreamed, never expected, Ducky to look at him in the way he was looking at him now. "Ducky?" he said, finally finding his voice.
"That is not the reason for which I'm relieved that Mother has passed away," Ducky said, his voice low.
Tobias felt his face begin to warm up. "Ducky, I -"
"Hush, Tobias." Ducky spoke more forcefully than Tobias had ever heard him. "I am relieved firstly because Mother was beginning to suffer. She no longer had any idea who I was; she had no lucid moments at all and was afraid of the world she inhabited. Plus, she was," Ducky paused. After a moment he glanced away and said, his voice even softer, "Losing her dignity. She was suffering, Tobias, and I didn't want her to suffer, not like that." Now Ducky took Tobias's hand and sighed softly.
Tobias braced himself for what he knew was coming. He wouldn't beg Ducky, he wouldn't ask him to reconsider, he wouldn't let him see how much he was hurting. Instead, he'd be strong, he'd tell Ducky he'd be there for him, would stand by him, help him, do whatever Ducky wanted, needed to - His thoughts were interrupted by a gentle, but clearly fake cough. He blinked and looked at Ducky. Ducky's eyes showed a fleeting glimpse of what he thought was amusement.
"And the second reason," Ducky said, going on as if they hadn't been a long pause, "I am relieved, is that," he paused and tightened the grip he had on Tobias's hand. Tobias felt himself lock his knees together and bite the inside of his mouth as he waited. "I am finally free." Tobias forced himself not to react, not to show anything.
However, clearly he failed because Ducky sighed again and this time cupped Tobias's cheek. "No, Tobias, no, my dear Tobias, that is not what I meant. It is not just I who am free; we are free. We are free of this house, of commitments to others, of the past. I loved Jethro deeply, you know that. And part of me will always love him; I think you know that too. However, I have what I never expected to find again, a new love. I love you, Tobias. And -"
"You love me?" Tobias interrupted Ducky, sure he hadn't heard correctly.
Ducky nodded. "Yes, yes, I do, Tobias. I should have told you before, but . . ." Ducky trailed off. "I want us to leave Reston House and find somewhere else together. I want us to find our home. I would suggest leaving DC, even America, but I know you would not wish to leave Emily."
"You love me?" Tobias repeated, not hearing anything other than that and 'our home'."
Ducky smiled and his eyes shone, this time not with tears. "Yes," he said. "Tobias Charles Fornell, I love you." This time it was Ducky who put his arms around Tobias, pulled him into an embrace and kissed him.
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