Ducky has a nightmare, so severe that before he realizes what he is doing, he's called Gibbs. Worried by how strange his friend sounds, Gibbs drives over to Ducky's house.
A first time story.
Written: October 2006. Word count: 3,595.
"No! Jethro!" Crying out, Ducky woke up. His heart was pounding, his body and face were damp with perspiration, yet he shivered; and he shook violently. Without really being aware of what he was doing, he grabbed the phone and punched in a number.
The sleepy, but already alert voice of his oldest friend shocked Ducky into awareness. For a moment he could not speak.
Then Jethro spoke again. "Duck?" He'd obviously looked at the caller display.
"Yes, Jethro. I am sorry. Please, go back to sleep."
"What's up, Duck? Is it your mom?"
"No, dear. It's just . . . It's foolish. So very foolish. I . . . I'm sorry. Please, go back to sleep." And without giving Jethro a chance to speak, Ducky hung up the phone. He put his head in his hands, groaned, and for a moment rocked himself forwards and backwards; somehow it was comforting.
After a moment or two he climbed, rather unsteadily out of bed, stood for several moments in order to flex his leg, then, still shivering and limping badly, made his way to the bathroom. He spent several minutes relieving himself, splashing water on to his face, and brushing his teeth. All the time he carried out these familiar things, he was trying to push from his mind what had just happened.
"You fool," he said, looking into the mirror, not surprised to see how ashen he was. "You're a scientist, Dr. Mallard. Act like one." So is Abby, and look what she believes in. "I am not Abigail." He turned and limped slowly back to his room, tugged on a robe, and went to stand by the window where he looked out into the darkness; he saw nothing.
Yes, he was a scientist, a sixty-four year old scientist, who didn't believe in crop circles and spontaneous human combustion and little green men and all the other things in which Abby believed, or was fascinated by. But nonetheless the nightmare had shaken him, like no other had ever done.
Over the years Ducky had had his share of nightmares. Some had been related to his time in Nam, others to atrocities he had seen during his years as a doctor. A few were even work related; being four minutes away from death, knowing that you would be found, but not necessarily alive, wasn't something that was easily dismissed.
It had been the only time he had out and out lied to Jethro. When his friend had asked him whether he was okay, whether he was suffering any after-effects of the kidnapping and near death experience, Ducky had said no. Fortunately, Jethro hadn't pushed the issue; nor had he asked why Ducky had spent several days looking so tried and drained.
So nightmares were not a new thing to him, but most were harmless, were forgotten within seconds of waking. The ones that weren't forgotten were the ones that were his bęte noire. They were dreams of Jethro's death; and Ducky had had several of those, some whilst awake, over the years.
But none had been as vivid, as clear, as horrifying as the one he had just had.
But that wasn't the worst thing.
The worst thing was that, the only other time in his living memory that he had experienced such a nightmare . . . it had come true. The person about whose death he had dreamed had died - horrifically.
That is why he had called Jethro. He had been certain, even in his state of not total awareness, that Jethro had died. Even now he believed that before the night was out, his dearest, closest, oldest, most beloved friend would be dead. And there was nothing he could do to prevent it.
"Oh, my dear," he murmured. "Oh, my dear, dear, Jethro."
He no longer noticed how cold he was nor how much colder he was becoming.
He no longer noticed the darkness.
He no longer noticed how numb his leg had become.
He no longer noticed anything.
He just stood there. For how long, he did not know.
It was the sound of his cell phone burbling that shook him.
For a moment he considered ignoring it; certain it was bringing him news of Jethro's death. Don't be stupid, he told himself. You spoke to him . . . But how long ago had it been?
Still the phone rang.
Too many years as a doctor overtook his hesitancy, and, without making the conscious decision to do so, he found himself moving slowly across the room to answer the phone.
He picked it up, pressed the button that would stop it from making the horrendous noise and put it to his ear. However, he did not, could not speak.
"Duck? You there?"
"You going to come down and let me in? I don't want to wake your mom or her nurse up."
Ducky just stared at the phone. What was Jethro doing outside? "Jethro?"
"Just come down and let me in, Ducky. It's cold out here."
"Yes, Jethro." Ducky murmured. In a half daze, acting purely because Jethro had told him to, he moved across his room, along the landing, down the stairs and across the hallway to the front door.
After unbolting it and unlocking it, he opened the door and stared out into the ink-black night. "Jethro? What are you doing here? Has something happened? Do you need my help?"
"Can I come in, Duck?"
"Of course, my dear. I am sorry." Ducky moved back to allow Jethro to enter. "Is anything the matter?" he repeated, watching as Jethro relocked and rebolted the front door.
His friend turned towards him, a frown creasing his face. "Think I should be the one asking you that, Duck," he said, his voice low. "What's the matter?"
Ducky stared up at him. He was hesitant to share his concerns. Now that he stood in his hallway with Jethro, his nightmare seemed even more foolish. "I . . . " He trailed off.
Jethro touched his arm. "Let's go upstairs and you can tell me all about it. Don't want to wake your mom up, do we?" His voice was low, soothing, reassuring, and contained a gentle order.
Ducky welcomed the order. It saved him having to really think. He shook his head. "No, we don't." He allowed Jethro to slip his arm around his shoulders, and slowly they reversed the journey Ducky had made alone a few minutes earlier.
However, rather than go into Ducky's bedroom, Jethro led him into the room Ducky used as a sitting room. Once there he turned on the wall lights, strode across the room and poured some brandy into a glass. Without Jethro's arm around his shoulders, Ducky felt bereft; he began to shiver.
Then Jethro was back, holding out the glass for Ducky to take. "Here, Duck. Drink this and tell me what's up."
But Ducky found he couldn't take the glass, he was shivering too much. With a half curse, Jethro wrapped a hand around both of Ducky's, with the other he supported Ducky's shoulders, and he guided the glass to Ducky's mouth. He tipped the glass gently and didn't let it straighten until Ducky had emptied it. When he had done so, Jethro took the glass away and put it on the low coffee table. Once again, as his connection with his friend vanished, Ducky began to shiver even more.
"Christ you're freezing, Duck. Come here." The next moment Ducky found himself wrapped in a tight embrace, held firmly against Jethro's warm body. He let his head fall onto Jethro's chest and felt the steady heartbeat against his face; it reassured him and took away some of the horrors he'd seen and felt minutes before he awoke.
Jethro was alive. Jethro was there with him. Holding him, comforting him, reassuring him, doing all of that without even knowing why. Ducky snuggled even closer into the embrace, slipping his own arms around the firm body, enjoying the normality of it, reveling in the closeness, the intimacy. The . . .
Ducky froze in horror as he realized that his body had betrayed him.
"Duck?" The question was clear in Jethro's softer-than-usual voice.
Desperate now, Ducky tried to pull away from Jethro's embrace. "Please, Jethro," he begged. He was mortified by what had happened. But Jethro was taller, younger and stronger than him, and he continued to hold Ducky's arms. The grip wasn't tight enough to hurt him, but nor was it loose enough for Ducky to get away. He hardly dared to look up at his friend, certain what he'd see on the handsome face.
However, years of looking at his friend clicked in, and he risked a glance. To his surprise he saw none of the anger, disgust, or any other negative emotion he had expected to find; indeed had been certain he would find. Instead, Jethro looked almost serene, if such a word could be used to describe the least serene man Ducky had ever known. He had a gentle smile on his lips, his eyes were soft, and his oft-times harsh countenance was gentle. Ducky was confused.
Then Jethro spoke, his tone as gentle as his look, with no hint of the cock-sure arrogance that was often present. "Please what, Duck? Please let you go? Or please do this?" And with those words, Jethro lowered his head and, with an expertise that belied that fact he'd never done it to Ducky before, he found Ducky's mouth and kissed him.
For a second, Ducky froze. But then as Jethro's mouth continued to caress his own, he groaned and met the kiss, pressing nearer to the man who held him so securely, so confidently, so lovingly.
Jethro's tongue touched his lips, the touch as gentle as a butterfly's wing. As Ducky parted his lips, inviting Jethro in, and continuing to kiss the man he loved above life itself, his mind told him that Jethro was a good kisser. No, that didn't begin to cover it; Jethro was an excellent kisser. He was gentle, but firm enough to show he meant the kiss; warm, loving, inviting, safe; experienced and yet with just enough naivety to take away any over-confidence. He made Ducky feel as though he was the only person ever to be kissed by Jethro; the only person who would ever be kissed by him.
Jethro had one hand in his hair, caressing his scalp, the movement warm and sensual, the other was around Ducky's back, holding him closely, tightly against him, making certain that Ducky wasn't about to go anywhere. Not that Ducky had any thoughts of breaking away, why would he? Not when he'd been granted his dearest wish. He was more than happy, blissful, contented, not that any of those words covered what he felt, to remain in Jethro's arms being kissed by and kissing him.
Jethro tugged him impossibly tighter, and Ducky went willingly, pressing against Jethro, wallowing in the feel of the taut, firm body. Enjoying the way . . .
As his body betrayed him for a second time, Ducky managed, although how he'd never know, to yank himself from Jethro's embrace.
However, his flight latest a mere second, as Jethro again captured his arms and held him tightly.
Ducky's heart was pounding, and his mouth was dry; again he began to shake. This time he couldn't look up; couldn't bear to see the look that would be on Jethro's face. But nor did he wish to look at the evidence of his body's betrayal. So he closed his eyes, squeezing them tightly, and stood shaking in the fierce grip.
He had to speak; he had to. If he let the silence go on any longer it would be worse. "I am so sorry, Jethro," he managed around a tongue that was far too big, far too thick for his mouth. He tasted iron in his mouth, he must have bit his lip or tongue when he'd broken the kiss, or maybe it was Jethro's blood. "You must be disgusted with me," he managed.
A warm, steady, firm hand lifted his chin, tipping his head up and back, holding him tightly. "Do I look disgusted?" Jethro spoke softly.
Ducky forced himself to open his eyes. He blinked. Blinked again. Blinked for a third time. No, Jethro didn't look disgusted. But he couldn't speak. Couldn't answer the gentle question.
The hand that held his chin back gently let go; moving slowly, it took one of Ducky's own hands and pulled it firmly down to Jethro's lower body. "Do I feel disgusted?" he asked, in the same soft, silky tone.
He didn't. He most certainly didn't. Ducky had to clamp down on his hand's automatic reaction to start to stroke Jethro's arousal.
Jethro let go of his hand, and moved his own hand, as well as the hand with which he still gripped Ducky's arm, up to Ducky's shoulders. Although Ducky was able to quell his questing fingers, he could not bring himself to remove his hand from where it settled so naturally. "Look at me, Duck." The voice was hypnotic. It was giving an order, without being one.
Ducky obeyed. Tipping back his head and looking up into the flushed face, he saw how dark Jethro's eyes had become, how black velvet had almost covered the navy blue. Saw Jethro's kiss reddened and kiss swollen lips. Saw the look of . . . He couldn't describe it; he only knew he'd never before seen such a look.
"How long have you wanted me for, Duck?" Jethro used the same hypnotic, soft tone.
"Since the day I met you." Held captive by the eyes and the voice, both of which now had him under their spell, Ducky answered honestly.
Jethro's mouth fell open. He quickly closed it and asked, "And you didn't say anything because?"
"Because you are not gay and I didn't want to lose you as my friend. I feared that if you discovered that I was in love with you that -"
"You're in love with me?"
Ducky frowned. "Jethro, do you think I'm the kind of man who wishes to go to bed, indeed who goes to bed, with someone just for the sake of sex?" He was indignant, and knew he sounded thus.
Jethro shook his head. "No, Duck. I don't. I don't." He moved one hand from one of Ducky's shoulders and lightly began to caress Ducky's face. "Oh, Ducky, Ducky, Ducky," he murmured, and then to Ducky's horror he began to chuckle.
Ducky stiffened and again tried to pull away. "What the hell is so funny, Gibbs?"
Instantly the laughter stopped and Jethro tightened his hold. "I'm sorry, Duck. I'm not laughing at you. I'm just trying to imagine how we screwed up so badly, and what the last thirty years might have been like." His fingers returned to gently caressing Ducky's face.
Ducky realized that Jethro might have been speaking Russian for all the sense he made; actually no, Ducky understood some Russian. Some language then that hadn't even been discovered. "What?" he managed.
"I might not be gay, whatever the hell that means anyway. No, Duck, that wasn't an invitation for you to give me a long, meandering explanation." Jethro put his fingers on Ducky's lips, brushing them softly. As well as having to curb his urge to stroke Jethro, Ducky now had to curb his instinct to take the questing fingers into his mouth.
Jethro swallowed hard, he seemed to be reading Ducky's mind, and went on. "But I've been attracted to you since the moment we met too. And before you ask, no, I've never been with another man, I've never been attracted to one. I'm not attracted to you because you're a man, I'm attracted to you because you're you."
"You were attracted to me?"
"Still am. In love with you too."
Ducky blinked and suddenly began to wonder if he was actually still asleep, now enjoying his favorite dream and fantasy. He found himself repeating Jethro's own words. "And you didn't say anything because?"
Jethro shrugged, and a rueful look came over his face. "Thought that you weren't attracted to me. I felt sure if you were, you'd have said something, or hinted, or . . . I reckoned I wasn't your type. Not clever enough, patient enough, kind enough, good enough."
"Leroy Jethro Gibbs, there are times when you do talk rubbish." Ducky was indignant. "You are more than all of those things. Please be kind enough to stop running yourself down."
Jethro blinked twice and smiled. "I love you, Duck," he murmured, letting his hand slip around the back of Ducky's neck. He pulled Ducky's head towards him, lowered his own head again and once more found Ducky's mouth with his own.
Ducky could not move the hand that still covered Jethro's arousal, even if he'd wanted to; and he did wish to do so, but only so he could stroke Jethro, please him. But it was impossible, Jethro had pulled him so tightly against him, it was trapped. So instead he just contented himself with enjoying the kiss, of giving back everything Jethro gave to him. To his surprise he felt his body begin to twitch with the mere hint of arousal; it had been a long time since he'd achieved two erections in one night. But then it had been a long time since he'd experienced anything other than his own hand.
Finally Jethro broke the kiss and pulled away a little; this time Ducky didn't stop his hand from doing what it clearly wanted to do. He felt absurdly pleased with himself as a groan of sheer pleasure escaped from Jethro, and he pushed into Ducky's hand.
Then to Ducky's disappointment, Jethro caught his questing hand and held it. "How about we take this to your bed, Duck. Don't know about you, but I much prefer to be horizontal when I make love."
At the words 'make love', Ducky shivered, but this time it was not with the cold. He offered his mouth to Jethro to kiss again; his lover obliged for several moments. When they finally broke apart, Ducky turned within Jethro's embrace, and using his friend to lean against, to help him walk, his leg was now protesting violently against how long he'd been standing in one position, he began to lead Jethro out of his sitting room into his bedroom.
Jethro guided him to the bed and held him firmly while Ducky sat down. He bent over and briefly kissed Ducky's cheek, then began quickly to strip himself. Part of Ducky wanted to object, to offer to disrobe his friend himself, but reality told him the chances of him being able to remain on his leg long enough for the kind of slow undressing he had in mind were remote.
So instead he contented himself with watching the body he already knew visually, become naked. And then something struck him. "Oh, Jethro," he said.
Jethro paused and looked down at him. "What, Duck? Something wrong? You haven't changed your mind, have you?" he sounded almost fearful.
Ducky shook his head and moved his hand to stroke Jethro's naked thigh, in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. "No, dearest, of course not. I love you and have done so for far too long to ever do that. I was merely wondering about . . . " he nodded in the direction of Jethro's trousers and shorts.
"No worries, Duck. Marines and Special Agents have something in common with Boy Scouts."
Ducky raised his eyebrows.
"We're always prepared. I always keep a change of clothing in the car, as well as at the office. Besides, even though spending the night in your bed wasn't on my mind when I drove over here, I hadn't planned to drive home again. Seemed pointless. Was going to crash on your couch or in your spare room. But this is much better. Now come on, let's get you undressed and into bed."
As Jethro began to tug Ducky's pajamas off, something hit Ducky. "Jethro," he began. But then he couldn't continue. There was something he desperately wanted to ask; but he couldn't. Take what he's offering you tonight and enjoy it. Don't ask for anything more. Don't expect anything more.
Manhandling him more gently than any mother might do, Jethro got Ducky into the bed, he then joined him. "Now," he said, pulling Ducky into an embrace. "Kiss me. We've got thirty years to make up for. And," he added, as he pulled out of the kiss, "don't you go thinking we're going to make up for it in one night. Reckon it'll take at least the next thirty years to even come close." He smiled, lowered his head and again kissed Ducky.
As Ducky met the kiss, shivering with the pure delight of his naked body meeting his beloved Jethro's naked body, he mused, not for the first time, that maybe telepathy did exist after all, at least sometimes, between Jethro and himself.
As the morning light chased away the night, both men were still awake; a little tired but perfectly content to be so. As he exchanged drowsy kisses with Jethro, Ducky knew that his beloved was now safe. With the disappearance of the night, his bęte noire would now not come true; his nightmare had been beaten, and his Jethro was very much alive.
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