Set the same evening as Jeopardy.
Jethro goes to see Ducky to ascertain why his lover didn't support him.
An established relationship story.
Written: May 2006. Word count: 1,380.
"Ah, Jethro. Good evening, my dear." Ducky wasn't surprised to see his lover standing on his doorstep. Nor was he surprised by Jethro's first words.
Ducky didn't prevaricate. Instead he simply moved away from his front door, ushered Jethro inside, and led him up the stairs.
When they were in Ducky's bedroom, Jethro again asked, "Why?"
"For your sake, my dear."
"My sake? But I wanted her out. She killed him, Duck. Didn't she?" Jethro moved closer to Ducky, looming over him in a way he rarely did.
Ducky sighed, but didn't move away. "Almost certainly. But I wouldn't have been able to swear under oath that she did so. The man had a thin skull, Jethro. It could have been natural causes."
"I still don't get it. Why, Ducky?"
"Please stop looming over me, Jethro. If you are deliberately trying to intimidate me, it won't work."
Jethro took a step back. "Sorry, Duck. I wasn't trying to . . . I just . . . Oh, hell." He sank down onto Ducky's bed.
After a moment or two he looked back up. "Well?"
Ducky moved towards him. "Because, dearest, had I said that Ziva's blow to his neck had been the cause of his death, Jennifer would have overruled me. And that would have made it awkward for you."
"She couldn't. You're the doctor. Not her."
"The doctor who couldn't swear to the fact that it was Ziva. I'm sorry, my dear Jethro. I am willing to do many things for you. I am willing to allow you to tamper with evidence; indeed I am willing to help you do so. However, in this case me saying what I knew you wished to hear would have served no purpose. You would have accepted my findings. Jennifer would have insisted on a second opinion. She would have done so over your head. And another doctor would have said that there was no proof that Ziva hitting him was the cause of his death. It would have done nothing to further your relationship with Jennifer. And far more importantly, nor would it have been apposite for the team to see the Director overriding your decision."
"What hold has she got over Jenn?"
"You mean apart from the fact that she is Jennifer's lover? Maybe nothing more than that. People are often prepared to act outside of their usual character where their lover is concerned."
"Don't I know it." Jethro's tone was bitter.
"Don't, my dear." Ducky moved nearer to his lover and put his hand on Jethro's shoulder.
After a moment Jethro sighed heavily and stood up. "Ah, Duck," he said, tugging Ducky into his arms. "I'm sorry. I'm being a bastard to you again."
Ducky went happily into the embrace, returning the grip and moving closer to Jethro. Being in Jethro's arms was his favorite place. He let his head come to rest against Jethro's shoulder and sighed, this time with contentment.
After a moment or two during which neither man spoke, Ducky pulled back just far enough to be able to slip his arms around Jethro's neck. He tilted his head back and tugged his lover's head down and kissed him.
That was better. That was how things should be. That was the way Jethro normally greeted him.
For several moments they did nothing more then kiss and hold one another. During that time Jethro offered another, albeit silent, apology for his bitterness at Ducky's actions, and in turn Ducky offered his own apology for not being able to support his lover. It hurt him that he'd been unable to do so, but ultimately he knew had been correct in his actions.
"Come and have a drink, dearest," Ducky said when once more they'd broken from their kiss, and he had again settled into Jethro's arms.
"I'll go down and lock up properly first, shall I?" Without waiting for Ducky to answer, Jethro turned on his heel and long coat swirling around him, headed down the stairs.
Ducky smiled to himself as normality continued to be resumed. He hadn't liked to assume that Jethro would stay the night; hence he had left the door unbolted, albeit locked.
When Jethro returned, Ducky handed him a glass of whiskey and said softly, "Tell me."
Jethro blinked and for a moment looked surprised. Then he said a tad ruefully, "Telepathy again, Duck?"
"Not really, my dear, just three decades of knowing you." Ducky lowered himself carefully into one corner of the sofa, and waited for Jethro to join him.
"It's not pretty."
"Does it matter?"
"Guess not. Oh, Duck, for one minute, I really thought all my, all our, troubles were over." He sipped his drink.
Ducky put his hand on Jethro's arm. "Go on."
"I thought we were going to get rid of them both. Professionally I was determined to get her back alive. I did my job. I pushed the team. I did everything I could to find her and save her. But . . . "
"Personally it was different." It wasn't a question.
Jethro nodded and grimaced. "Yeah. For one second, and that's all it was, Duck, I swear. I hoped - Ah, shit. I told you, I really am a bastard."
"No, dear, you're not. You didn't really want her to be killed."
"No." Ducky's tone was firm.
"Okay. Okay. You win. I did hope it might scare her enough to make her leave NCIS. And take the blasted David with her. You know she offered me her badge?"
"Mmm." Ducky sipped his whiskey. "And you told her that the next time she offered it, she had to be prepared for you to take it."
Jethro frowned. "Have you got me bugged or something, Duck?"
Ducky chuckled. "No, dear. It's those three decades again. You couldn't accept her offer, no matter how much you wanted to, because you believe in loyalty to your team. You'd already openly supported Tony and Timothy when they were in trouble; you couldn't, you wouldn't, do anything less for Ziva. She is part of your team, Jethro. And you support your team. No matter how much you wish she wasn't a part of it. No matter how much you want her gone. No matter how much you were relying on me to rid you of her -"
"Don't, Duck. It's not your fault. I do understand. Really I do. At least I do now."
"Did you really doubt me, my dear?"
"No, of course not. I just didn't think it through. I was so angry, with myself as much as anyone else. I'm sorry."
"You don't need to keep apologizing, Jethro."
"I know. But it makes me feel better."
Ducky edged closer to his lover and slipped a hand up into Jethro's hair. He brushed Jethro's ear with his lips, smiling to himself at the shiver that passed through Jethro's body. "I can think of a far more pleasurable way of making you feel better, dearest."
Jethro turned his head and found Ducky's mouth with his own. "Can you now?" he murmured several minutes later. "Well, I think you'd better show me what it is." He kissed Ducky one more time before rising to his feet; reaching down he offered Ducky his hand and helped him up.
He put his arm around Ducky and they moved towards Ducky's bedroom. "You know, Duck. I'm sure Jenn and Ziva are up to something, apart from sleeping together that is. I don't know what it is, or why, but there's something. My gut says so. And I will find out. And then I'll -"
Ducky silenced him with a kiss. Whatever Jennifer Shepard and Ziva David were up to, and Ducky tended to trust his lover's gut, it could wait until the morrow. Tonight there were far better and enjoyable things to be doing. And lovemaking always soothed Jethro, Ducky always made sure of that.
It was the early hours of the morning before the two men finally fell asleep in one another's arms, secure in the knowledge that their love was as strong as it always had been. They may disagree from time to time, but ultimately nothing or no one could come between them.
A Satisfactory Conclusion is the sequel to this story.
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