Ashleigh Anpilova


Gibbs talks about Ducky and how strong he really is.

An established relationship story.

Written: March 2006. Word count: 985.



Diamonds are the hardest and toughest stones. They tend to survive where other, lesser stones, crumble.


Ducky's like a diamond. Really he is.


I know what you're thinking: Dr. Ducky Mallard is not hard or tough. He's a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and he's also a gentle man. He tells long, rambling stories, some of which don't have endings. All of which I know so well I could tell them for him. He cares - too much at times. He still, at the age of sixty-three, lives with his mother - or rather she lives with him. He's . . . He's Ducky.


None of these things imply hardness or toughness.

But Ducky is tough. Very tough. He's a survivor. I know that first hand.


I've put him through hell for nearly thirty years. I've hurt him badly. Oh, he'd never say so. He'd deny it. Tell me that I'd never made any promises to him of exclusiveness, that he knows I have to get all these women out of my system. And other such crap. It's probably the only lie he's ever told me. But it's not really a lie, as such, because I know it's not true, and I know he says it for my sake. He says and does a lot of things for my sake, does my Ducky.


Four times, yes, four, I've made him stand by my side and listen to me promising to 'forsake all others' and 'until death do us part'. And all four times he knew I wouldn't keep either promise. And he knew that I knew it.


And even though he knew that I wouldn't keep the vows, it hurt him. It hurt him badly.


And it didn't only hurt him because it meant I'd yet again chosen a redhead over him. It hurt him because ultimately the redhead would get hurt.


And so would I.


I told you he cares too much.


And it's not just the marriages that I put him through. It's the other women, Jenn Shepard for one. I saw his face when I told him she'd returned to NCIS; returned as Director. He really thought I'd go back to her, that I'd want her back. It's my fault he thought that. I made a big deal out of the 'Dear John' letter. Why? Because it hurt my damned pride to get dumped like that.


I do the leaving.


They don't.


Except Shannon. She left me and took Kelly with her. It wasn't their choice, I know that - just some drunk driver and . . .


And it still hurts me. I still miss them. But what also hurts is that I know, really I do, that even if Shannon had lived, we wouldn't have stayed together. I married her because she was pregnant, and although I loved her and Kelly, it wasn't enough. Love alone isn't. At least not the kind of love I had for her. I guess the only thing I do know is that she, unlike the other three, would never have turned violent on me. But I'd now have four ex-wives, rather than three.


Shannon is my secret, mine and Ducky's. No one else in my world, save that blasted Ziva David, knows. And they won't. I'll never tell, and Ducky would go to his grave before he'd tell. And David . . .


Knowing that she knows makes me shiver, despite the hold I have over her. I know that even though I've kept the true nature of Ari's death a secret, that if she thought it worth it, she'd tell about Shannon. I wonder why she hasn't told Jenn, given how close they are, given their relationship. But I know she hasn't. Jenn Shepard was never that good an actress. She was far from the best undercover agent I've worked with. I bailed her out more than once - fool that I was.


I keep telling Ducky I'm a bastard; but he won't listen. He loves me. I love him too. And have done so since . . . Well it seems like forever. I know. I know. I love him and I hurt him. I told you I'm a bastard.

But he won't listen to me. He won't see the evidence before him. It's not that he sees me as perfect or through rose-colored lenses. He doesn't - he's told me that enough. He sees my faults, he knows what I do, but . . .


He forgives me.


He loves me.


And he's told me more than once that when he fell in love with me, or rather to quote Ducky, 'fell in love with the cocky Marine Sergeant', he knew it was for life.


And bastard that I am I know, I've always known, that one day I'll tell him that that's it. That there'll be no more redheads, no more women, no more wives. And that day will be the one I'll tell the world, or anyone who cares to listen, about Ducky and me. I won't hide it. I'm not ashamed of it, of our relationship. I'm just . . .


I've known this fact for almost as long as I've known Ducky, certainly since the time I persuaded him to take me to his bed. And I have told him. He said he knew, that he knows. That if he didn't, he would have left me a long, long time ago.


I hope he does know. I really do.


He does know that I love him. I tell him enough in words or other ways. For now that'll have to be enough.


But Ducky will survive.


He is tough. Hard too in the ways that matter. He's hard to break. Hard to destroy. Hard to disillusion. I should know. I'm been doing all three for years.


Ducky is . . .


He's a diamond.


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