LIVING IT DOWN
Gibbs has been abducted. The team set out to track him down, but one member knows there is someone else who should know what has happened.
An established relationship story.
Written: September 2010. Word count: 2,000.
Ducky sat in Gibbs's chair watching what, even to he who knew the team so well, looked like chaos - and not the organized kind. Tony was snapping at Timothy and Ziva, Ziva was arguing with him and McGee was ignoring him, choosing instead to focus on what he knew: technology. Abby was pacing up and down talking to herself and Jimmy hovered on the edge of the group asking if he could do anything; no one seemed to hear him.
Just as he was about to stand up and try to focus them, Leon Vance appeared. The director clapped his hands together once and called out, "Be quiet!" One by one the children stopped talking and turned to look at him.
Ducky noticed that Timothy's cheeks were flushed and he was glaring at Tony, who looked very shamefaced. Ducky watched at Tony put his hand on Timothy's shoulder and muttered something. He saw Timothy begin to shrug Tony off, then stop and give him a nod of what Ducky assumed to be was acceptance of the apology.
Leaning back in Gibbs's chair, Ducky continued to watch and listen as Vance gave calm, precise, firm orders to the team, ignoring Tony when he tried to object. Soon the field team all had their assignments; Abby had hers; which left Ducky to take Jimmy and return to Autopsy and . . . And wait - wait for 'Operation Gibbs' to end.
"Come along, Jimmy," he said, taking Jimmy's arm and guiding him towards the elevators. "There is nothing we can do here."
The doors to one of the elevators opened seconds after Ducky touched the button. He was about to step inside when a voice stopped him. "Dr. Mallard."
"You go on, Jimmy. I'll join you shortly." Ducky patted Jimmy's hand and turned around. "Director?" He stared up into the dark eyes that appraised him steadily. For several seconds Vance said nothing, he just continued to stare down at Ducky.
Finally, Vance gave a half nod and said, his voice slightly gruff, "We will find him."
"Of that I have no doubt. And Jethro is," Ducky paused, as he ran through in his mind all the things Jethro was. Finally he settled for, "Very able. I'm certain everything will be . . ." Now he trailed off, unable to complete the sentence. Instead he said, "If there is anything either Mr. Palmer or I can do to assist . . ."
Vance nodded. "I'll be sure to let you know, Doctor. Thank you."
Ducky nodded, waited for a moment to see if Vance would say anything else. But instead they just stood and looked at one another in silence. "Let us hope my services will not be required," Ducky said finally. Then with a nod of his own, he turned away and again pushed the button which would summon the elevator.
The doors opened and Ducky stepped inside. "Ducky?" Vance spoke quietly. Ducky's hand hovered over the 'Down' button. He raised an eyebrow in Vance's direction. "I'll keep you informed."
"Thank you, Director."
Once in Autopsy, Ducky sent Jimmy off to keep Abby company. He had a phone call he needed to make and could only do it when alone.
It took several minutes, but finally he was connected.
"Hey, Ducky. Is something up?"
"Good morning, Tobias. I have no doubt you will hear this officially at some point when Director Vance contacts your director. However, I did not wish you to hear it from your director." He paused for a brief second or two, moistened his lips and went on. "Jethro has been abducted. Vance has organized the team and they are all working hard and finding potential leads. I am sure that they before long -" He stopped himself, as he realized he was starting to ramble. "I am sorry, Tobias," he said. "I thought you should know. You see, Jethro told me about your relationship," he said quietly. "He thought someone should know and he knew I -" Again he stopped speaking. "I am sorry," he repeated.
"Thanks, Ducky. What can I do?" Tobias's voice was, on the face of it, calm. But Ducky could hear the faint nuance beneath the fašade. Just like Jethro, he thought. Had the situations been reversed Jethro would sound the same and be asking the same question.
Jethro and Tobias had been involved on and off for several years, even since Diane had walked out and taken Emily with her. And for the last year the involvement had developed in its intensity; neither man had dated anyone else.
Ducky had always known about the relationship; he'd known long before Jethro had told him. He'd known simply by virtue of having observed both men together, seen the way they looked at one another, heard the tone in their voices as they argued, talked together and just generally interacted.
He was happy for them, for both of them. He'd long wanted to see Jethro happy and settled and finally his dearest, closest friend seemed to be. Jethro had told him no one else knew; not the team; not Diane; not even Jackson. Ducky took the trust Jethro had bestowed on him very seriously. "I'm not certain what you can do at the moment, Tobias," he said.
"I can't sit here and do nothing, Ducky. I'm coming over."
"Tobias, I -" But Ducky was talking to a dead phone. He sighed and replaced the receiver. He could understand Tobais's need to do something, not to just sit there and wait. He could understand it because he wished there was something he could do. His friend was in trouble, possibly hurt, injured, maybe even - and he could do nothing.
TWO HOURS LATER
Tobias strode into Autopsy; he looked to have aged ten years. Ducky stood up and walked across to him. "Tobias?"
"I'm taking charge," Tobias said.
Ducky stared. "Just like that?"
Tobias gave a half-bitten off laugh. "Yeah, Ducky, 'just like that'. And no, before you ask, I didn't sell my soul to the devil - or to your Director. I just pointed out he was the agency's director, as such he shouldn't be leading a case and DiNozzo was too close to lead. Plus, a kidnapped federal agent is a bureau matter."
"Is it?" Ducky asked mildly. Tobias just looked at him. "If there's anything I can do . . ."
"Actually, there is, Ducky. You know Jethro better than anyone - yes, anyone, even me. Think, Ducky, who could have done this? Go back through his cases. DiNozzo's pulled the likely ones. Go through them; see if anything leaps out at you. Okay?"
Ducky nodded. "Of course. Thank you, Tobias."
"Don't thank me; you haven't seen the piles of files yet." And with a nod and a brief squeeze of Ducky's shoulder, Tobias strode out again calling to Tony whom, Ducky now realized, had been left to hover outside Autopsy.
As he sat back down at his desk, Ducky realized that he felt much happier, not just because he had something to do, but because 'Operation Gibbs' was in Tobias's safe hands.
Gibbs sat on the floor, leaning against the wall; his head was still pounding from whatever had been in the injection Diane had given him and he felt badly dehydrated. He was also feeling more than a bit foolish and angry with himself for letting his ex-wife and her new lover abduct him.
It had been idiotic to let her in; he knew what she was like - his marriage to her had cost him more than just an emptied Bank account. But she'd seemed genuine, his gut hadn't twitched once, and as he'd told Conrad, he had changed.
The next thing he knew he was coming to in a basement that wasn't his. Half an hour later after he'd realized the only way out was through the door to the rest of the house and that wasn't going to be opened in a hurry, Diane had appeared and explained just why he was there.
Quite how she'd found out about Tobias and him Gibbs didn't know, but apparently her 'plan' had simply been to ridicule and embarrass them in front of their agencies and friends as payment for the grief they had both caused her over the years.
As he sat on the hard, cold floor Gibbs realized that he didn't give a damn about everyone finding out about his real relationship with Tobias. People could think what the hell they liked. The only person whose opinion of him that mattered to him already knew and wasn't bothered. He didn't fear any ridicule for his choice of sexual partner; it was more how easily he'd let himself be fooled that bothered him more.
"I'll kill the bitch!"
"Tobias?" Ducky looked up from the body he and Jimmy were working on. One look at Tobias's face had him turning to Jimmy. "Jimmy, would you -"
"Take these to, Abby? Yes, Doctor, I was going to offer." Jimmy beamed, grabbed the specimen bottles, gave Tobias a wide berth and headed out of Autopsy at a half run.
Ducky put down his scalpel, pulled off his cap and looked at Tobias who was now busy pacing around Autopsy. "Well?" he asked.
"Read this," Tobias thrust a piece of paper into Ducky's hands.
Ducky quickly scanned the short note. "Oh, my," he said, handing it back to Tobias. Against his will, he had the near over-whelming desire to begin to chuckle. It wasn't funny, it wasn't the least bit amusing, except . . .
"You're not laughing are you, Ducky?" Tobias moved nearer to Ducky, using the inch or two height advantage he had over Ducky to loom.
"But of course not, Tobias. I wouldn't dream of laughing. It's a very - Oh, Tobias, do forgive me. I assure you, it is mainly out of a sense of relief, just knowing that Jethro is safe and well and that -"
"Two agencies have tied up their resources for several days looking for him?" Ducky nodded. "Oh, God," Tobias groaned. "The paperwork. You are laughing, aren't you?"
"Oh, dear, Tobias, I must confess that I am. But it is just out of relief."
Tobias glared at him for several seconds. Then Ducky noticed the corners of his mouth were twitching and his eyes had lost their glacial, hard, pain-filled look. "Relief," Tobias said. "You know something, Ducky? I'm never going to let him live this down."
Ducky went to his desk, pulled out the bottle of good scotch he kept there and two glasses, poured decent sized measures into them and handed one to Tobias. "I imagine you are not," he said, as they touched glasses. "Jethro," he added, more somberly.
Tobias swallowed hard. "Jethro," he said, tossing back the contents of the glass. "Don't tell him I said so, Ducky, but I really feared I'd never see the bastard again."
Ducky emptied his own glass and put his hand on Tobias's arm and squeezed it. "So did I, Tobias," he said quietly. "So did I."
"You're never going to let me live this down are you?" Gibbs stood under the shower, enjoying his first touch of hot water for several days.
Fornell leaned against the bathroom door watching him. "What do you think?" he asked.
Gibbs groaned. "Thought as much," he said. He continued to soap his body, taking pleasure in the way the water pounded over his skin. His skin was tingling and it wasn't just from the water. He looked at Fornell who had shifted position slightly. "You going to stand there and watch me all day? Or are you going to wash my back?"
Fornell straightened up. "Just your back?" he asked, already undoing his tie.
Gibbs grinned. "For starters," he said, deliberately running his hand over his hardening groin.
He heard Fornell groan and grinned even more at the speed Fornell finished undressing.
Seconds later it was his turn to groan with pleasure as Fornell's arms went around him, pulled him tightly against his body, part of which was hardening as Gibbs brushed against it and kissed him hard.
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