DAD, MEET DUCKY
As promised, Gibbs takes his lover 'home' to meet his father.
An established relationship story.
Written: March 2009. Word count: 1,699.
As he drove into the small town, he wondered how long it would be before the whole town knew that Leroy Gibbs was back again and this time had brought his lover with him. His male lover.
Not for the first time since making the arrangements with his dad, he wondered if it really had been such a good idea after all to bring Ducky to Stillwater. It wasn't that he didn't want to introduce his lover to his dad, he did. It was just that his dad had to go on living in the town once Ducky and he had returned to DC. He reminded himself, yet again, that it hadn't been his idea as such, but his dad's.
Casting a glance at Ducky who had been dozing on and off for the past hour or so, he recalled the conversation he'd had less than a week ago.
"Merry Christmas, Dad."
"Merry Christmas, son."
"I didn't mean to call you so late, but I've been -"
"So Federal Agents don't even get Christmas off?"
"Usually, yeah. But this year something came up."
"It must have been important."
"It was, Dad."
"Sorry, son, I didn't mean to imply -"
"I know. So did you have a good day?"
"So-so. I went to dinner with Trimbels. They sent their love."
"Well, maybe not. I guess an invitation to spend New Year here wouldn't be worth making?"
"Well . . ."
"It's all right. I understand. You'll be working."
"Not necessarily. But . . ."
"You already have plans?"
"The kind that involves another person?"
"You could say that."
"I've plenty of room. The guest room has a double bed."
"Yeah. Not sure you'd want that though, Dad."
"Jethro? Don't tell me you're involved with someone who's married."
"Well what then?"
"Leave it, Dad."
"Oh. Oh. Jethro, are you trying to tell me -"
"I'm not trying to tell you anything, Dad. I'm . . . All right, yeah. The person I have plans to spend New Year with is a man. So as I said, you wouldn't want me to bring him home."
"Are you happy?"
"Yeah. Yes, I am."
"Then why wouldn't I want you to bring the person with you?"
"Dad, it's another man. A man."
"Yes, Leroy. I may be in my late seventies, but I'm not senile - yet."
"So what's his name? Oh, wait a minute, it's not that Tony, is it? Because I liked him, but a little -"
"Goes a long way. Yeah, know that. Nah, it's not DiNozzo."
"Tim? Now he was a nice young man. I liked him."
"No, Dad. It's not McGee either. You didn't meet him. His name's Ducky."
"Donald Mallard, but everyone calls him -"
"Ducky. I see. Is that to do with the railway engine or the bird?"
"You can ask him that one."
"Does that mean you'll come?"
"Look, Dad, why don't you come and see us?"
"Are you ashamed of your home town?"
"No. Not at all. I just . . . Come on, Dad, we both know what the place is like. If I turn up here with another man, what are people going to think? Or more importantly say to you once we've gone?"
"You're my son, Jethro. Let them say what they want."
"I don't know. I still think -"
"Are you ashamed of me?"
"No. Of course not."
"Well, what's the problem?"
"I told you."
"I'm the one who has to live with it, not you. And I don't care. Besides, just because you arrive with another man, what makes you think people won't just assume he's just a friend? Or are you planning on walking down the street hand-in-hand?"
"No. But . . . Okay, if you're sure. I'll see if he'd like to come."
"He's not with you now?"
"No. He's at the office; I had to finish off the last bit of the case."
"You work together?"
"Yeah. He's our ME. Are you sure, Dad?"
"I'm beginning to think it bothers you more than it does me."
"No. At least not in the way you mean. It's just - Okay, I'll ask him later and if he's happy, then yeah, we'll come and spend New Year with you."
"Good. Well, goodnight, son. Thanks for calling."
"Night, Dad. Sleep well."
And that had been that.
Part of him, even after he'd told his dad he would ask Ducky, hadn't really intended to do so. But somehow once he saw Ducky, once he saw how happy Ducky was that he was at Reston House waiting for Ducky to return, he found himself telling him. And Ducky had seemed so happy and making Ducky happy was how Jethro spent a lot of his time. Thus one thing led to another and . . .
And here they were, driving through Stillwater heading for the house he had grown up in; heading towards his past; heading towards his dad. Hid dad, the man he was about to introduce his male lover to. Suddenly it seemed like a really bad idea.
A slight movement to his right had him glancing at Ducky who now seemed fully awake and was watching him. The gaze seemed more than a little troubled. Jethro took his right hand from the steering wheel and reached across to snag Ducky's hand, pulling it back to rest on his own knee.
"Bad dreams, Duck?" he asked, eyes flickering between the road and Ducky; he squeezed Ducky's hand.
"Oh, no, my dear, quite the opposite as a matter of fact." For a moment the troubled look vanished and Ducky smiled at him.
"Oh, yeah?" Jethro asked, again glancing at his lover.
"Yes." Now Ducky sounded slightly smug. But as Jethro watched the troubled look began to reappear.
Again he squeezed Ducky's hand where it rested on his knee. "Then what's up?"
"Come on, Duck. You can't fool me. Something's bothering you. What is it?"
"Oh, it's nothing really. Well, it is, actually. But I'm not sure if . . . Oh, Jethro, I'm beginning to think this trip was not such a good idea after all."
Now that Ducky had voiced what Jethro himself had been feeling, Jethro hastened to reassure him. "Nah, it'll be fine, Duck. Reckon you and Dad'll get on straight away. He even asked if you were called 'Ducky' because of Mallard railway engine or the bird."
"Did he now?"
"Well that is rather gratifying. To think there is someone who has actually heard of the other Mallard. That will be extremely - Oh, but, Jethro, I still think this was not the best idea either of us have ever had."
"Wasn't our idea. It was Dad's."
Ducky sighed extravagantly. "Do not split hairs, Jethro Gibbs. You know what I mean. This is your home town; this is where you grew up; this is where your father has to go on living. This is where -"
"My dad lives and he wants to meet you. Simple as that, Duck."
Jethro wasn't so sure. "Yeah. Sure it is."
"Do you really think your father has thought it through?"
"What do you mean, Duck?"
"The possible consequences. You said yourself you can barely sneeze in the town without everyone asking you if you have a cold. People will find out; don't ask me how but they will. And we'll go back home and your father will be left having to face - Well I don't know what exactly. I just wonder if he has really thought it through. Is it not possible that he was just so pleased that you two had finally begun to rebuild your relationship that he would do anything to see you again?"
Jethro again glanced at Ducky. He shook his head. "No. Dad's always been independent -"
"Like another Gibbs I know." Ducky's tone was low.
"Yeah. Guess you're right there, Duck. But, no. Trust me, he wouldn't be doing it just to keep me happy. He wants to meet you. He's thought it through; or not. But as you say, he's the one who has to live here after we go home."
"Yes, but . . . Maybe I could stay somewhere else?"
Jethro laughed. "Yeah, Duck. That'll look a lot better."
"Maybe we should . . . Your father knows that your job often interferes with your plans at the last moment and -"
"Dr. Mallard. I'm surprised at you. You're suggesting I lie to my dad?" Jethro hid a smile at the sudden color that touched Ducky's cheeks.
"Ah, yes. Well . . . Oh, dear. That didn't really . . . I don't believe I thought that through at all."
"You think? Look, Duck. It'll be fine. Really it will." Jethro squeezed Ducky's hand again and ignored the little nagging voice that suggested if he repeated that often enough, he just might start to believe it.
Suddenly it was too late to do anything about it, because there they were, outside the house he'd grown up in. And before he could do more than switch off the engine, his dad was there, by the car opening Ducky's door.
"Hello, you must be Dr. Donald Mallard. 'Ducky' I believe everyone calls you. You, I understand, are the man responsible for making my son happy again. I am so pleased to meet you. I'm Jackson Gibbs, but everyone calls me Jack."
Jethro blinked in surprise and even without seeing Ducky's face he knew it would be registering the same kind of surprise he felt. There was his dad not only willing to invite his son's male lover into his home; he was standing in the street as good as announcing the fact to anyone who happened to be in earshot.
"Well?" his dad said, suddenly turning to look at him. "Aren't you going to say something, Jethro?"
For one of the few times in his life Jethro was momentarily lost for words. And then he said the only thing that he could say, the only thing he suddenly wanted to say. "Dad, meet Ducky."
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