A TIMELY LESSON
A crossover with Leroy Jethro Gibbs & Donald 'Ducky' Mallard (NCIS) and Silver & Steel (Sapphire & Steel).
Silver and Steel have been sent to Jethro's house, apparently to fix a rift in time. However, this does not appear to be the case.
An established relationship story.
Written: May 2006. Word count: 3,062.
Author's Note: // either side of words indicate when the characters are talking to one another telepathically. Just why have Steel and Silver been sent to Jethro's house?
Involved as he was in kissing Ducky, something twitched Jethro's 'Special Agent' antenna. With one swift, assured, fluid movement, he broke the kiss, pushed Ducky behind him, pulled his revolver out from under the workbench and pointed it directly at the man's head. "What the fuck are you . . . "
Silver, who had tried and failed to stop Steel from marching in - the human idiom 'where angels fear to tread' was one that he could easily apply to Steel - hurried forward. "Hello, I'm Silver, and this is Steel. We're sorry to just arrive like this. If I were you I'd put the gun down. You'll only waste your bullets if you fire it. You can't hurt him. You see . . ." He too trailed off when he saw that the tall man holding the gun in a steady one-handed grip, had widened his eyes and was staring at Steel with a look of . . . Silver didn't know what the look was of; but he wasn't sure he liked it.
"Jethro my dear. I . . . Oh, my." The man whom 'Jethro my dear' had pushed behind him, appeared. He too froze, his hand on his companion's outstretched one, and stared at Steel.
Now Silver stared too. At the older and shorter man. If elements aged, then Steel would be that man in about twenty years time.
The only person who seemed unaffected by the similarities was Steel himself. But then Steel only ever showed a hint of his emotions in one place, and sometimes not even then.
Finally bringing his hand down, 'Jethro', dragged his eyes away from Steel, looked down at his companion and said, "Is there something you haven't told me, Duck?" He sounded hurt.
'Duck' shook his head and touched 'Jethro's' cheek. When he spoke his tone was gentle and reassuring, loving even. "No, my dear. Of course not. They do say that everyone has a doppelgänger; I suppose this gentleman must be mine. Or at least mine when I was younger. Or maybe, if you consider Illya Kuryakin, another one of mine." He smiled up at his taller friend.
Then he turned, moved away from his companion, and limping slightly moved forward with his hand stretched out in front of him. From behind him, 'Jethro' raised the gun again. "Jethro!" 'Duck' said; his tone contained a mere sliver of admonishment. "Do put the gun down, dearest."
Silver blinked. How could he have known? He wasn't even looking at 'Jethro'.
"Hello, my name is Dr. Donald Mallard, but everyone calls me Ducky. And this is Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, to be exact. He's a Federal Agent, and this is his basement. I do suggest that you and your friend answer his questions, he can get very irritated with people who don't. And he is an incredibly good shot. And even though you said -"
"Duck." The name was growled, but in a fondly exasperated way that spoke of years of practice.
"I'm sorry, my dear," Ducky said, as he turned around and smiled.
Silver looked at Steel and wished . . . But no, that was impossible. He shook his head and turned his attention back to Jethro and Ducky again, pleased at last to have been formally introduced to the couple.
Ducky had moved back to stand by Jethro, close by him. Not quite touching, but well within what Silver knew to be most human's personal space.
Jethro glanced down at him, and under Silver's gaze, the dark eyes that had shown hostility earlier, softened very slightly. Then Jethro glanced back at Silver. "Who did you say you were? And why are you here?" Although he addressed his remarks to Silver, his attention had once again come to rest on Steel.
//Tell them.// The instruction was clear. Before Silver could say anything, Steel had turned on his heel and was striding across the room.
Silver glanced swiftly at Jethro, expecting the gun once more to be pointed in Steel's direction. But although Jethro followed Steel's progress with his eyes, the gun remained lowered. He'd also moved slightly, and was now touching Ducky.
"I'm Silver and that," Silver nodded behind him, "is Steel. We're from a different place. We've been sent here to help you."
"Yes. There has been, or will shortly be a breach in time. Steel here has been sent to fix it." He smiled.
To his surprise, Jethro slipped his arm around Ducky's shoulders, lowered his head and said, his voice soft but clearly intended to carry, "What's the name of the nearest loony bin, Duck?"
"Jethro." Once more the slightly admonishing tone, nonetheless heavy with affection, was clear.
"Sorry. So you're some kind of time travelers?" Jethro sounded as though he almost believed what he was saying, in a disbelieving way. "You know, Duck, if DiNozzo were here, no doubt he'd tell us about the movie this resembled."
"Sort of," Silver granted.
//Nothing is wrong. Nothing is old. There is no time break.//
//I don't understand.//
"What's he doing?"
Silver shook himself and switched back to the spoken. "Er, he's checking for old things."
Ducky chuckled. "Maybe he should come and check me then. I suspect that I'm the oldest thing in this basement."
"Well, I am, dearest."
"People don't count," Silver said, distracted for a moment by the ease with which Jethro and Ducky were interacting. How close they were, how relaxed, how . . .
//Nothing.// Steel's voice contained irritation. He completed his tour of the basement and came to stand next to Silver. He frowned and looked at Jethro, tipping his head back slightly. "Have you recently removed anything from here?"
"Nope." Now Jethro moved back, tugging Ducky along with him and leaned against the workbench. He now seemed amused.
//Are you sure They sent us to the correct place?//
//They always have before.// Steel snapped. //I must have missed something.// Now he sounded very angry. He whirled on his heel, and again strode off, but not before he had looked, really looked, at Jethro and Ducky.
Suddenly an idea came to Silver. But no. It was ridiculous. And yet . . . //Steel?//
//Yes?// Steel continued to carry out a second round of spot checks.
Silver hesitated. He wasn't sure what to say. Where to start.
//Well?// The irritation in the now steely voice increased.
Silver hurried to explain. //I don't think we're here on an assignment.//
Steel stopped what he was doing, turned around and looked at Silver. //What?//
Not needing to, but nonetheless choosing to do so, Silver moved across the room to stand by Steel. //I think we're here because of them.// He nodded behind him.
Steel glanced at 'them'. //Why? What is so special about them?//
Silver swallowed, hard. //They're lovers.//
//????// The grey eyes became more like name.
//Look at them.//
//Just do it, Steel. For once in your life do what I say!// Silver sensed his companion's surprise.
For a moment or two, the steel bore into him. Then partly to Silver's surprise Steel did look at them. Silver did too.
They were still close together, although Ducky was now perched on a stool, looking up at Jethro, whose hand was on Ducky's shoulder. They were smiling at one another. Even from this distance, the look in both pairs of blue eyes was clear to see. Jethro's face, which had been harsh and uncompromising as he looked at Silver and Steel, had softened. They seemed to have forgotten, or were ignoring Silver and Steel.
For a moment Silver wondered if Steel had done something. He shook himself. If Steel had played with time, he would have felt it. Or would he? Did even he know all of Steel's powers? And then he saw that although Jethro appeared relaxed and at ease, although his attention seemed to be fully on Ducky, the gun was still in his hand, and his body language screamed 'alertness'.
Steel turned back to Silver and just raised an eyebrow.
//They're totally at ease with one another. And . . . Steel, I think we've been sent so that you can . . .// Silver trailed off.
//So that I can what?//
Silver shook his head. It was pointless. //I'm sorry,// he said simply. He turned away. The next moment he felt a touch on his shoulder. The chill seeped through his jacket and shirt and warmed him.
//Tell me.// /Steel's voice was softer, in the way it only tended to be when he was alone with Silver behind locked doors.
//Here two men together isn't considered . . .//Silver broke off. Isn't considered what? //It's not usual. And some people, more than some, find it wrong.//
//Why?// Steel's astonishment was clear.
//I don't know. They just do. But we . . . For us gender if you will, doesn't matter. And yet . . .//
//They are more at ease with one another than I am with you.// Steel's voice was flat.
//Yes. I'm sorry.//
//You believe that They sent us here, so that I could . . . Why?//
//I don't know. Maybe they think you'll be more effective. Maybe . . . Think about it Steel, why am I here and not Sapphire? Why are we here at all? You say there's nothing old here. And They never send us to the wrong place. Do you sense Time? Can you feel a rift?//
Steel closed his eyes. Suddenly Silver felt even colder, so cold that his shirt was almost burning him. Steel was still touching him. He tried to prevent a gasp from escaping, but couldn't.
"Are you all right, Silver?" Ducky was by his side, a concerned look on his face. "And your companion. Is he -"
"Don't touch him!" Silver snapped, grabbing Ducky's hand and holding it tightly. Ducky took a step back, coming to rest against Jethro, who loomed over them all. Any hint of softness had fled from his face, and once more the gun was raised. "I'm sorry," Silver said. "It's all right. I won't hurt you. Steel won't hurt you. He's just -"
"Trying to find out why we are here." Silver's shoulder began to warm up again, as Steel pushed his body temperature first up to what was normal for him, then to what was normal for humans, and then slightly higher. His way of healing Silver. //I am sorry,// he murmured.
He turned back to Jethro and Ducky. "Do you live together? Are you lovers?" he demanded.
Jethro glanced down at Ducky, just as Ducky looked up at him. If Silver hadn't known humans could not communicate telepathically, he would have sworn these two were doing just that. He could 'see' their conversation.
Ducky smiled gently and touched Jethro's arm. "Yes."
"Do the people you work with know?"
Silver groaned silently.
"Yes." This time Jethro spoke.
"Do they object?"
"One of them did. But as she was fired within a few days for gross incompetence, it really didn't matter," Ducky said, pleasure clear in his voice.
"Are you this . . ." Steel broke off. He seemed perplexed. He glanced at Silver, but his mind didn't touch Silver's. He turned back to face Jethro and Ducky and shrugged. Then he looked at Silver again.
Silver was unable to stand by and watch his lover flounder any longer. "I think what Steel is trying to discover is whether you . . . " Now he trailed off.
To his surprise Ducky chuckled again. "I think what these nice young men are trying to ask, dearest, is whether we act like lovers in public. Whether we are obvious about it."
"Mmm, yes and no. We don't hide it, gentlemen. But nor do we flaunt it, if that helps."
"You're lovers too, aren't you?" Jethro suddenly demanded.
Silver turned swiftly to Steel. He waited.
Steel was silent for a moment. Then he said firmly, "Yes."
"And no one knows? Or at least your coworkers don't, am I right? You hide it." He looked at Steel.
Silver took a step forward. Steel's mind touched his. Silver stopped.
"Yes," Steel said. His voice was . . . Silver couldn't place the tone.
Jethro's face suddenly changed. It began to soften in a way that Silver had hitherto only seen it do when he looked at Ducky. He again slipped his arm around Ducky's shoulders and tugged Ducky nearer to him.
For a moment he was silent. When he spoke his voice was low and rueful. "Thought so. Take it from me, Steel. Change now. Don't do what I did. Don't wait nearly thirty years. Not everyone's as patient as Ducky is. God alone knows why he's still with me. Why he put up with all the crap I threw at him. Why he still . . ." He trailed off.
"Loves you?" Ducky said softly.
"Yeah." Again Jethro's tone was rueful.
"Ah, my dear Jethro," was all Ducky said, as he slipped an arm around Jethro.
For a moment there was silence. Then Jethro said. "Are things difficult on your . . . Wherever -"
"Or whenever," Ducky said softly.
Jethro nodded. "Or whenever, you come from? Are two . . . men?" The question was clear. "Being together not approved of?" He addressed his question to Silver.
//He asked you. Answer him.// Steel sounded almost amused; or as amused as Steel ever sounded.
"No. To our people gender is irrelevant. It doesn't matter."
"Then you've no excuse." Jethro turned back to Steel.
"Jethro," Ducky's tone was once again faintly admonishing.
Silver looked at his lover.
In turn Steel was looking at Jethro. Staring at him. The grey gaze was steady and unblinking. Again Silver wondered just what powers Steel had that he still hadn't shared with Silver.
He glanced at Jethro, but there was no change in the expression. Instead his dark blue gaze was locked with Steel's.
Ducky glanced from Jethro, to Steel, to Silver. His look was quizzical.
Silver didn't have an answer.
Suddenly Jethro and Steel blinked simultaneously, and Jethro shook his head.
"Thank you." Steel's tone was formal. He turned to Silver. "I'm sorry," //I'm sorry.// The double apology rang in Silver's mind and ears.
He said nothing.
He didn't know what to say.
Then slowly, stiffly, but determinedly, Steel reached out his hand towards Silver. Still Silver didn't move. Steel touched Silver's arm, the chill seeped through his sleeve, before letting his hand slide down over Silver's wrist, the chill got more apparent. Until finally he took Silver's hand in his, linking their fingers together and holding Silver's hand, in a way he had never done. Not even in those most intimate of moments.
Silver could feel the restrained strength, the strength that allowed Steel to tie lift cables with his bare hands; the strength that could wipe out a human as easily as a human swatted a fly. The strength that Steel had never let slip with Silver, in spite of the fact that Silver knew he often irritated his lover.
//I love you.//
"About time too."
Silver glanced at Jethro.
As did Ducky.
Even Steel's eyes widened slightly. Then the faintest of smiles touched the pale lips.
Jethro frowned and shook his head again. He glared at Steel. "What have you done?" he demanded.
Steel met the glare and said nothing.
For a moment there was silence as the two couples just stood and looked at one another.
Then with a nod at Ducky and another one at Jethro, Steel spoke. "Come along, Silver. We'd better be going." Still he held Silver's hand.
"Just a moment." Silver looked at Jethro and Ducky. "Why did you believe so easily that we weren't . . ." He broke off and shrugged slightly. What could he say 'not entirely human?'
Jethro and Ducky again glanced at one another. Again Silver had to tell himself that telepathy wasn't a human tool.
It was Ducky who spoke. His voice was low, sad, tinged with pain. "When you have seen, and had to believe in, the horror and devastation that man can cause to his fellow man, as we both have, then believing in you is easy." He stopped as Steel turned his full attention on to him. Suddenly he gasped slightly.
"Duck?" Jethro rounded on Steel. "What have you -"
"It's all right, my dear." Ducky's voice was soft. He stared at Steel. Then glanced away.
Steel nodded once. Looked at Jethro, nodded again, and turned on his heel. "Silver." Was all he said, and began to move.
"Goodbye," Silver called, as he allowed his lover to lead him across the room. //Steel, what have you done?//
//Given them a little more time together. Human life is too short. Come, Silver. Just promise me one thing?//
//You will not bring any antiques when you come to live with me.//
Under Ducky and Jethro's eyes the two figures vanished. The two old friends stood in silence for a moment.
Then Ducky said softly, "Were they . . ? Did they . . .? Will . . .?"
Jethro chuckled softly and turned towards Ducky. "Never thought I'd see the day when you'd be lost for words, Duck."
Ducky tipped his head back and looked up at Jethro.
Jethro brushed Ducky's fringe from his forehead. "He was so like you, Duck," he whispered.
Ducky smiled gently. "Will they be all right, do you think, Jethro? I'd like to think that they would be."
"Yeah. They will be," Jethro said with determination; somehow he knew they would be. "Now," he said gently, "where were we, before they interrupted us?"
Ducky smiled, slipped his arms around Jethro's neck and tugged his head down. "I believe that you were kissing me, my dear."
"So I was. So I was." Jethro lowered his head and found Ducky's mouth with his own.
A second later Ducky pulled away.
Jethro frowned. "Duck?"
"Dearest, please do put your gun down."
Jethro glanced over Ducky's shoulder. He'd quite forgotten he was still holding it. With a rueful smile, he leaned around Ducky and pushed it onto the workbench.
Then he moved back, gathered Ducky back into his arms and returned to his
Feedback is always appreciated
Go to NCIS Gibbs/Ducky Fiction Page
Go to NCIS Index Page
Go to Sapphire & Steel Fiction Page
Go to Sapphire & Steel Index Page
Go to Home Page