Ashleigh Anpilova


Gibbs and Ducky are living together.

Gibbs has returned home leaving his lover to complete an autopsy.

He gets a call from Tom Morrow telling that Ari had kidnapped Ducky. But is the price of achieving his lover's freedom more than Gibbs can pay?

This story assumes several things:

Tom Morrow never left NCIS; thus Jenny Shepard never became Director; thus Ziva David never came to America; thus she didn't kill Ari.

An established relationship story.

Written: November 2005. Word count: 5,422.



The ringing phone woke Jethro immediately. He had it in his hand and was speaking his name before he was even fully conscious.


"Jethro. You need to get to Headquarters, immediately."


Jethro shook his head to clear it and glanced at his watch; it was 3:30 a.m. His Ďall is not well' button began to scream at him so loudly, he was certain Tom Morrow would have heard it. "Sir?" he managed, moving out from under his boat where he had once again fallen asleep. Why Ducky had left him there?


A momentary silence greeted him. Then his Director said, his tone determined but low, "Ari has Dr. Mallard."


For a split second Jethro thought he was still asleep and deep inside some hideous nightmare. Or that for some reason known only to himself, Director Morrow was playing some sadistic joke on him.


A second later though he knew that neither possibility was true. Ducky wasn't home. He would have woken Jethro. Besides now that he was fully awake, Jethro couldn't sense his long-term lover's presence - the house was empty apart from himself.


Nonetheless with the phone still held against his ear, he raced up the stairs from the basement, taking them three at a time. In the hall he spared a half look at the still unlocked front door - Ducky never left it unlocked - and took the flight of stairs leading to the bedrooms at the same speed. As he charged up the stairs he said shortly, "What happened?" He came to a skidding halt inside their bedroom.


It was empty.


"We don't know for certain, Jethro. But his car was found abandoned ten miles from here, with an envelope addressed to me. Inside was a note from Ari stating that he had Dr. Mallard and we would be hearing from him soon."


As Jethro listened, he was pulling on his jacket and overcoat and getting his gun from his nightstand. "Who found the car?" he began to race back down the stairs.


"The local police. They brought it straight over, Jethro." The words forestalled what would have been Jethro's next question.


He went out into the still, clear night, slamming the door behind him and dashing to his car. "Prints?" He switched the engine and lights on, and pulled away from the house.


"Abigail is on her way in. As are DiNozzo, McGee and Stevens. Jethro -"


"If you are going to order me to play this by the rules, sir, don't bother. I'll resign here and now, and this time I'll walk away. The bastard killed Kate and shot Gerald. If he -" But Jethro couldn't say the words. Instead he said. "I'll be there shortly." He severed the connection before his Director could say anything else.


Driving with one hand, he punched another number into the speed dial. "Come on, come on," he muttered as the phone rang twice.


"Fornell?" said a voice heavy with sleep, but clearly already alert.


"It's me. The bastard's got Ducky. Where is he, Tobias?"


"Dear God, Jethro. Where are you?"


"On my way to HQ."


"I'll meet you there."


"Tobias -"


"I'll give you all the help you need, Jethro."


Again Jethro severed the connection. He pushed the accelerator further to the ground, and locked his mind on one thing: how close he had to be to Ari to ensure accuracy when he put his bullets through the bastard's brain.



"How nice of you to join us, Special Agent Gibbs." The well spoken tone, the one that had haunted Jethro from the moment he'd let Ari taunt him into shooting him in the chest, came out of the darkness. Jethro gripped his gun more tightly, and tried to penetrate the blackness.


Seconds later several lights came on illuminating Ari, who stood apparently unarmed in the center of the small room. He smiled at Jethro and nodded to his right. "I believe this is what you are looking for," he said in his silky tone.


Jethro risked a glance to his left, steeling himself for what he might see. Ducky sat on a stool, apparently unharmed, except for a dark bruise on his cheekbone and a cut lip. The fact that he was also handcuffed to a bar on the bench against which the stool was placed, didn't escape Jethro's notice. "Duck," he said carefully.


"Jethro." Ducky's tone was flat, but Jethro didn't miss the very slight waver in the normally steady voice. What it told him, made him even more determined that only two of them would be leaving that place alive tonight. Ducky may not appear to have been particularly badly damaged - physically damaged - but his voice told Jethro that Ari had once more been playing mind games.


"Well, well, well. That is hardly the usual greeting of two lovers. Or is it in your country, Agent Gibbs?"


Jethro glanced at Ducky and raised his eyebrows slightly. Momentarily handing leadership over to Ducky.


"He knows, my dear," Ducky said softly.


Ari smiled again, but there was no pleasure in the look. "Do not worry, Agent Gibbs, the good doctor did not tell me. Not that is, until I told him. You really should consider looking your front door more often."


Jethro felt a chill begin to move up his spine. Again his eyes flicked to Ducky's face. Again he didn't like what he saw. The usually open and revealing blue eyes, the gaze that betrayed all the feelings he had for his lover, was shuttered. Barriers, thicker than Jethro had ever seen before, had been erected. "Duck?" he said softly, not really certain what he was asking.


"Why don't you go to him, Agent Gibbs? I'm sure he would like you to be nearer. Here," he held out a key. "You may even unlock him."


"No!" Ducky's voice rang out across the room.


A split second later, Ari had crossed the room, backhanded Ducky across the mouth, and had a revolver resting against Ducky's temple. "Now, now, Dr. Mallard," he said in his calm, level voice. "What did I tell you would happen if you tried to warn him?"


Jethro heard the safety catch being clicked off, saw Ari's finger move, and tightened his own double-handed grip, his finger firm against the trigger. He daren't shoot, however. He knew if he did that he was killing Ducky as surely as if he put the bullet through him himself.


Ari was still staring at Jethro himself. "Very good, Agent Gibbs," he said, his tone half-mocking. "I really thought for one moment that you might try to kill me." To Jethro's surprise, he lowered the gun from Ducky's temple and flicked the safety catch back on. "You see I do not really wish to harm Dr. Mallard. It is you I want."


"Then take me and let him go," Jethro said, his finger once more beginning to tug the trigger backwards.


"No, Jethro!" Ducky, his voice heavy with desperation and panic, barked the sharp order at Jethro. It was the tone, more than the words that made Jethro freeze.


Ari turned to Ducky again and once more raised his gun. "Do you really place so little value on your own life, Doctor?" he asked. For the very first time, the curiosity and what Jethro could only describe as wonder, was clear.


"I'm a doctor. We put other people's lives before our own."


"Your lover is an ex-Marine and a Federal Agent, he is paid to do that thing. Is that not correct, Agent Gibbs? Does your duty and honor not say that you would die to save another's life? Even putting aside any personal involvement you might have with the person."


The question was purely rhetorical. Jethro held the dark gaze without blinking.


Finally it was Ari who glanced away. "You may tell him," he said.


"There's a double trap, Jethro. If you come near to me from where you are, you will trigger a sensor and that," the pale blue eyes flickered upwards. Jethro risked a quick glance. Even his decades of training couldn't prevent the half gasp from escaping as he saw the points of dozens of knives gleaming down at him. "Will fall on us," Ducky said softly. The shutters tumbled away, and Jethro read naked fear in the clear blue gaze, together with the deep love they always showed.


"And the second trap?" Jethro said after a moment of two.


"That is even more masterly, Agent Gibbs. I have placed an explosive device in your naval hospital. It is, unfortunately, nothing like the toy I left under the table when you were kind enough to join me for coffee. This one you cannot simply pick up and toss away. This one cannot be moved or even disarmed - at least not without killing the person who attempts to disable it - without the key. And that you will never find, if you kill me."


The cold fingers that gripped Jethro were so icy they burned him and became even more agonizing. He flashed another look at Ducky. "Why should I believe you? You've been lying to me since the moment we met."


"Ah, you mean Caitlin? Yes, I was sorry that I had to kill her. Truly I was."


"Then why did you?"


"Oh, for the same reason as I could choose to put a bullet through Dr. Mallard's head. And then take your team out one at a time."


"You sick bastard."


"Jethro." Ducky's soft voice carried a firm warning.


Again Jethro loosened the grip he had on the trigger. "What do you want?" he said through gritted teeth.


"A simple exchange. Dr. Mallard's life for all those at Bethesda Hospital."


"You said you didn't want to hurt him."


Ari shrugged. "As you said yourself, I lie. Besides, I do not intend to be the one to take Dr. Mallard's life. That privilege will be yours."


For a second Jethro's brain refused to compute the last words. Biting down on his instinct to once again shoot Ari where he stood, Jethro bargained. "I'll make you a counter-deal. My life for that of Dr. Mallard's and the people at Bethesda."


"No, Jethro."


"Be quiet, Duck."


"He'll kill me anyway. You know that. And he'll still let the hospital be destroyed."


"The good doctor is even less trusting than you, Agent Gibbs. He is quite probably correct. But can you be certain?"


"How can I be sure there's even a bomb there?" For once Jethro couldn't trust his gut - especially as it was giving him conflicting messages. He was far too involved this time to rely on it.


"Can you take the chance that there isn't?"


Jethro glanced at Ducky. Resolution had replaced the fear. Jethro felt suddenly sick.


"You have to, my dear." The steady voice was low and rich with affection.


Jethro shook his head. "I can't."


"Yes, you can, Jethro. You know how to make it quick and painless. Do it, my dear. Please."


"Yes, Agent Gibbs. You do know how to make it quick and painless. I on the other hand . . ." Ari trailed off and stared at Jethro, his meaning utterly clear. However, it appeared as though he wanted to be certain his message had got across because he spoke again. "If I kill him, which I will, if you do not, I will not make it quick or painless. Don't forget, Agent Gibbs, I trained at the same Medical School as the doctor here, and since then I have spent time with Mossad. I know how to kill someone and take days over it. Would you like me to give you a hint of what I would do to Dr. Mallard, if you choose not to shoot him yourself?"


Jethro shook his head. "There's no need, you bastard. I can guess. I've seen the results of torture."


Ari moved closer to Ducky, produced a knife from somewhere and ran the tip of the blade along Ducky's cheek. "Believe me when I say, Agent Gibbs, that you would have seen nothing."


"Jethro, please." The plea was clear.


Ari moved away, wiping the blade of his knife, even though it had not pierced Ducky's skin.


Jethro fought the shiver of sheer hatred and revulsion that coursed through his body, and again looked at Ducky. Eyes locked with the soft blue ones, Jethro blinked hard. "He'll still let the bomb go off, Duck. You know that."


"No, Agent Gibbs. I will not. There will be no need. For I will have achieved what I set out to do."


"What was that?"


"Destroy you."  


And the bastard was correct. If Jethro put a bullet in Ducky's head, then he might as well turn the gun on himself and save himself from the living hell he'd go through until he either did put his gun to his brain, or he drank himself to death. Ducky's death of natural causes he had always told himself he would be able to live with. But Ducky's death at his own hand, he knew he could not.


But he also knew that neither he nor Ducky could survive him choosing his lover's life over that of a hospital full of people. His eyes blurred and he forced back the tears. What he had to do was beyond tears. "At least uncuff him," he said.


"Oh, I'll do more than that, Agent Gibbs. I'll even let you go to him and say goodbye. I don't want you to do it from a distance. I want him to be in your arms, looking into your eyes. I want him to feel you as you betray him. I want you to see the hatred that will appear at the second you pull the trigger."


"No!" said Ducky.


Ari shrugged. "If that is your choice, Doctor. Then I will kill you myself - not quite as slowly as I had intended, but it will have the added pleasure of Agent Gibbs having to watch. After that I shall then kill Agent Gibbs. I shall then walk out of here and let the bomb go off. Then one by one I will take the lives of Abigail, Timothy, Anthony and, what is Caitlin's replacement's name? Ah, yes, Penelope. As well as your Director and your good friend Tobias." He raised the gun.


"No," Jethro said. "Uncuff him."


Ari smiled his sick smile and moved towards Ducky. "And don't forget to turn off your toy," Jethro snarled.


Ari widened his eyes. "You really must learn to trust people more, Agent Gibbs."


Moments later Ducky was uncuffed and pulled to his feet. Then Ari pulled out a small box from his pocket, Jethro's finger automatically retightened on the trigger. The sick smile dared him. Jethro relaxed his grip. Ari pressed a button on the box. "It is now safe. You may go to your lover."


Jethro crossed the room one eye on Ari, the other on Ducky. Ducky had turned ashen, and as Jethro moved closer he could see his lover's body begin to tremble. He moved nearer and nearer, watching Ducky's head tilt back into its usual position when he was either talking to Jethro, or was about to be kissed or embraced by him.


To Jethro's surprise, or maybe not, the blue gaze was calm and steady. It was also rich with love, and even more forgiveness than Ducky had showed him on the occasion of his three marriages.


"Well put your arms around him, Agent Gibbs. There is no need to be shy. After all you openly live together, you cannot mind if people know about you. Or do you really wish Dr. Mallard to have to die believing you to care so little for him?"


Jethro bit his lip. The bastard was taunting him again; he knew that. He tuned the words out and instead pulled Ducky towards him, feeling the now fierce quivers that shook the body of the man he loved. The embrace trapped Ducky's own arms, but after a moment as Jethro brushed his lips across the heavy silky hair, he felt Ducky trying to break loose. He moved back just enough to allow his lover to slip his arms into their accustomed place around his neck.


"You may kiss him if you wish," the voice from behind him said.


He felt Ducky shake his head once, burying it instead against Jethro's shoulder. The message was clear; a kiss wasn't necessary. Or maybe Ducky feared that Jethro really couldn't pull the trigger if he kissed him first.


He still wasn't certain he could do it anyway.


They stood there for several minutes, saying nothing, not moving, not speaking, barely breathing. Just holding one another for the final time.


Jethro made a silent vow that no matter what it cost him, he would take Ari down for this - and it wouldn't be painlessly. He could drag the death out over hours, maybe days. But even as he thought about it, he knew that he wouldn't. Ducky wouldn't want that. He'd kill Ari but simply, quickly. And then . . .


Ducky moved back a little and again tilted his head. His eyes shone, but a level of peace had descended over. "Please make it quick, my dear," he said softly.


"I promise," Jethro murmured. He no longer had to fight the tears. They had died within him. Just as every feeling or emotion was now withering and dying, leaving only one: the need for revenge.


"I grow tired, Agent Gibbs. And I am certain that the people at Bethesda would appreciate you ceasing your tardiness."


Jethro moved his right arm from around Ducky and with one finger flicked the safety catch from his gun. The noise sounded like cannon fire in the room. Ducky's head again came to rest on his shoulder as he slowly raised the gun, flexing his hand to ensure that not even the slightest tremble was present. He rested it against Ducky's temple.


"Life your head, Doctor."


After a second Ducky did. He tipped it back and the blue eyes blazed with devotion, love and even more forgiveness. Unblinkingly he stared into Jethro's eyes.


Jethro's finger began to move slowly.


He held the steady gaze with his own.


He still wasn't certain he could do it.


But he had to.


He knew there was no choice.


"Forgive me, Duck," he whispered.


The shot rang out around the room.


"Jethro," Ducky gasped, as the sound of a body hitting the floor echoed.


Jethro spun his gun around. "Tobias! What the . . . ?" He felt Ducky sag against him and swiftly compensated for the extra weight, letting his gun slip down in his hand as he caught his lover with both arms. Deciding it was safer, he lowered Ducky to the floor and crouched down by him, fingers going to Ducky's neck. He was reassured to feel the steady pulse.


"Oh, Tobias," Ducky said softly, lifting his head from Jethro's shoulder. "Oh, my dear," he turned horror filled eyes on Jethro.


Tobias moved further into the room. "It's all right, Ducky," he said, stopping some distance away from where the lovers huddled. "There was no bomb."


"What? You mean the bastard . . . ?"


Tobias nodded. "He said it himself, he's a liar. He just wanted you to kill Ducky. Then he'd tell you about the lack of bomb. Taking Ducky's life would have been hard enough for you, but at least you'd have had the knowledge that you were saving hundreds. Taking Ducky's life only to discover there had been no need. Well . . ." he broke off and shrugged.


Jethro's hand holding the gun came up and he aimed it at the body on the floor. He as about to pull the trigger when a warm hand closed around his own. "Don't, my dear. There is no point."


Jethro dragged his eyes back to Ducky. "It might make me feel better," he snarled.


"I'm certain that I can think of far more pleasant ways," Ducky said softly, although not soft enough so that the words wouldn't have traveled to Tobias's hearing. However, their old friend gave every indication that he had not heard anything. Jethro lowered the gun, and this time slipped it into his jacket pocket. His hand felt suddenly naked.


Tobias or not, Jethro didn't care. If he could embrace his lover in front of their enemy, he could do so in front of their good friend. He tugged Ducky into his arms and held him, pulling him tighter and tighter until Ducky began to gasp. He loosened his grip a little, to allow his lover to breathe, but no more.


"How did you find out?" he asked, looking up into the steady gaze that met his. Tobias looked even older tonight than he normally did.


"Every man has his price."


"Tobias, cut the cryptic crap."


"One of your men owed the wrong people money. A lot of money, Jethro. An awful lot of money - more money than you and I together could ever hope to make in our lifetimes. Ari found out. He was blackmailing him. The man was feeding Ari all sorts of information about you and Ducky."


"You mean I had a traitor working for me? Who is he?" Jethro was livid, but it was directed as much at himself as at the man. How could he have let something like that go on undetected?


"Dearest." Ducky's voice was soft and he touched Jethro's arm, exerting enough pressure on it to make Jethro look at him. "Don't blame yourself."


"Duck, that bastard," Jethro nodded towards Ari's lifeless body. "Nearly made me -"


Ducky used Jethro's own method of quietening Ducky himself when he was in one of his rambling moods, at least the one he used when the two men were alone.


Tobias, Ari and the rest of the world momentarily forgotten, Jethro met and joined in the kiss, letting it cleanse him and rescue him from the hell he'd been thrown into. He let it soothe him, calm him, touch him as it always did. It took away the pain of the world in which they lived, and did what it always did - proved to Jethro that there was one good thing, one solid thing, one sure thing in a uncertain world that was filled with evil and forever rocky.


Ducky was, and had always been, his salvation. The good. The solid. The sure. He was Jethro's rock. His anchor. His deliverance. He gave his love freely, without conditions or demands, expected nothing in return from Jethro. Except his love. And no matter what, Ducky always had had and always would have that love.


When they broke apart reality started to descend once more, and Jethro glanced up expecting to see . . . He wasn't entirely certain what he was expecting to see. What he did see, however, was Tobias's back as he examined the wall at the far end of the room.


The coldness from the floor was starting to seep into Jethro; it must surely be doing the same to Ducky. Serving a dual purpose, Jethro said, "Hey, Duck, you feel steady enough to get up from the floor yet?"


Ducky glanced down; the look on his face was one of confusion, it was as if he'd forgotten that he was sitting huddled on the floor in Jethro's arms. Not that Jethro was surprised, given what Ducky had been through, it was a wonder he could remember how to form words or control his body. Ducky confirmed Jethro's thoughts. "Oh, my dear," he said. "I am so sorry. I had quite forgotten, if I even truly realized that is, that we were sitting on the floor. Yes, you may help me up, my dear."


The choice of words told Jethro that the sooner he got Ducky out of this room and home, the better. Ducky was now shaking considerably and his hands felt cold. Readjusting the embrace he had on his lover, Jethro attempted to stand up and bring Ducky with him. He wasn't entirely certain he could do it; he wasn't completely free from shaking himself.


"Here, let me help you, Ducky." Tobias suddenly appeared and reached down. Ducky took the proffered hand and between them they, somewhat inelegantly, got Ducky to his feet and onto the stool he'd been sitting on when Jethro had found him. It wasn't ideal, but for now it would do. It would have to; getting Ducky to his feet told Jethro that there really wasn't any way they were going to be able to get him out of the room for the moment.


He slipped his arm around Ducky's shoulders and held him tightly. "So who was the bastard, Tobias? Which agent betrayed us all?"


"It wasn't an agent, Jethro, it was one of the Janitors - Peter Taylor."


"How did you find out?"


"Instinct. My gut. I don't know, Jethro. Not really. He was hanging around in the office, like many of the staff were. But there was something that wasn't right. He seemed to be waiting for something. Your Director noticed it too. We challenged him. He told us everything.


"Just like that?" Jethro was surprised.


Tobias shrugged. "Not quite. But after your Director spoke to him, he couldn't tell us quickly enough."


"What did Director Morrow say to him?"


"Oh, just that if anything happened to Dr. Mallard that he would personally deliver Taylor to you, reminding him, just in case he'd forgotten, that you were a Marine. Then I added that whatever you left, I'd deal with. Being thought of as bastards, Jethro, can work in our favor."


"He believed you both?" Ducky sat more upright in Jethro's embrace.


"Ducky, someone we both know once told me, never threaten anything you're not prepared to carry out. It didn't take long for him to tell us what he was waiting for: a call from Ari telling him whether he had to place the bomb at the hospital or not. Apparently, it was only going to be put there if you didn't shoot Ducky. He showed us where it was too. God knows, how he got it in past your detectors, Jethro, but he did. We then persuaded him to tell us where you'd gone. Your Director wants a word with you by the way, Jethro, for taking off like you did, without back-up or any kind of monitoring device."


"Oh, my dear."


"But apparently tomorrow will be soon enough."




"My instructions were to tell you to take Dr. Mallard home, stay there yourself - remembering that locking doors is actually a good habit for a Federal Agent to get into - and report to your Director tomorrow."


"But what about him?" He nodded towards the body.


"DiNozzo and McGee will be here soon. We'll sort it. Now go home, Jethro."


The mention of his agents suddenly brought the lack of their presence to Jethro's attention. He shook his head, irritated at himself. "Don't take this the wrong way, Tobias, but why are you here and not them?"


"Taylor didn't know for certain where Ari had taken Ducky and thus where you'd gone - apparently Ari didn't trust him quite that much. So we split up. I called them when I saw your car was here. Now go, Jethro. Take Ducky home."


Before Jethro could speak, Ducky said softly, "Yes, dearest, please do that thing."



"I am never letting you out of my sight again," Jethro declared, as they reached their bedroom.


"That might be somewhat difficult to achieve, my dear," Ducky said, his tone was gently amused. "Unless of course you are thinking of swapping jobs with Mr. Palmer. And I am not entirely certain that Washington is quite prepared for the idea of Jimmy with a gun in his hand."


Despite himself, Jethro began to chuckle. "Ah, Duck," he said, switching the bedside lamp on and pulling Ducky into his arms. "You always know the right thing to say. I guess I was being pretty dramatic. But just don't expect me to leave you conducting an autopsy, while I come home and work on my boat - at least not for some considerable time. I knew I shouldn't have left you. I tried to tell you -"


Once more Ducky chose the perfect way to silence Jethro. This time, however, passion was added to the affection and intensity, and when they parted the look in the now almost black eyes told Jethro that his lover was as aroused as he was. Lovemaking always had been their answer to the hell and destruction the world threw at them - and Jethro knew exactly what Ducky would want.


As he began to tug Jethro's shirt out of his trousers, Ducky's words confirmed Jethro's knowledge. "Make love to me, Jethro my dearest. Prove to me that we are both still alive. Take the memory of that bastard away. Please, Jethro. I want you. I want you now."


"Oh, my love," Jethro said, pulling Ducky against him and kissing him again, before turning his attention to stripping his lover and himself and getting them into their bed.


Despite Ducky's demand, once they were in bed, in one another's arms, the desperate intensity that had seemed to spark his lover calmed somewhat. Instead of haste, they settled into their usual slow, gentle, loving and affectionate lovemaking, which put right all the wrongs, pushed away the evil, and bound them even closer together.


Ducky's hands and mouth pushed away the image that had been burned onto Jethro's brain, the one of him with his gun to Ducky's head. Without words Ducky told him that he had to forgive himself for the choice he had made, simply because there never had been a choice. And that letting his self-disgust remain, would mean that Ari had won. If Jethro couldn't get past what had happened earlier, then it would destroy them both. It would eat away at him, until he was beyond even Ducky's salvation.


So just before he finally made love to Ducky in the ultimate way, something they rarely indulged in, Jethro pushed the image away and consigned it to the part of his brain he never accessed. And as he joined with the man he had loved for well over two decades, Jethro let the love they shared swirl around them, let it seep into him, cleanse and fulfill him. It touched him as it always did, made him whole, made them one, took their mutual dependency, need and cherishment to another level, and showed Jethro all the beauty in the world.


They didn't sleep for what remained of the night. Instead they continued to make love and share with one another, it was far more necessary and healing than sleeping.


The rest of the day was spent dozing and making love, before they finally ate a late supper, and returned to their bed to share gentle kisses and caresses before falling asleep.



It was later than usual for either man when, after a shared shower and a hastily grabbed cup of coffee, they left in Jethro's car for the office. Tom Morrow would have his say. However, ultimately he would, Jethro knew, just be relieved to get his Senior Field Agent and Medical Examiner back alive.


And Ducky? Ducky would finally get what he'd wanted for over two years: Ari on his table. Jethro couldn't think of any more satisfying way for this lover to get retribution for Gerald, Kate, Jethro and Ducky himself.


Pulling into the car park, Jethro switched off the engine, glanced around him and caught Ducky's arm just as his lover was about to open the door and climb out of the car. "Hang on, Duck," he said softly. Then after one more swift glance around, he tugged Ducky towards him and kissed him gently, affectionately and peacefully. "I love you, Duck," he said, breaking away and smiling at the slightly fuzzy gaze and kiss reddened lips. He brushed his finger over them.


"I love you too, Jethro my dear," Ducky said solemnly and tilted his head slightly again.


What the hell, Jethro thought. Our relationship isn't exactly a secret; we do live together. And besides, all of the NCIS staff should already be at work. He tilted his own head to one side again and met Ducky's lips for another kiss.



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