IF

 

By

 

Ashleigh Anpilova

 

Set a short while after Ex-File.

Gibbs ponders something Ducky said to him.

An established relationship story.

Written: January 2008. Word count: 325.

 

 

If you really love her; if you really care for her; if you really even like her enough to still be dating her, still be sleeping with her, still be letting her believe, still be giving her hope, then you will forgive her.

 

That's what Ducky had said.

 

Oh, he'd said a lot more too. But that had been the crux of it: If you love her, care for her, like her, you'll forgive her.

 

After all, you forgave me for what I did.

 

That was different.

 

Was it?

 

How?

 

Why?

 

He hadn't answered.

 

Not then.

 

Because he couldn't.

 

Oh, he knew.

 

He'd always known.

 

He'd just never said it.

 

Not in so many words.

 

Even now, he wasn't certain he could say it.

 

He wasn't certainly he wanted to say it.

 

Saying it would change things.

 

Saying it would change so much.

 

Saying it would change everything.

 

If you really love her; if you really care for her; if you really even like her enough to still be dating her, still be sleeping with her, still be letting her believe, still be giving her hope, then you will forgive her.

 

The words came again.

 

As did: You forgave me.

 

And he knew.

 

He didn't really love her.

 

He didn't really care for her.

 

He didn't even really like her.

 

So he couldn't forgive her.

 

"But I love you, Duck," he said.

 

He said the words aloud for the first time in thirty-two years.

 

"I love you. That's why I forgave you."

 

But suddenly saying the words aloud wasn't enough.

 

He had to say them to Ducky.

 

He wanted to say them to Ducky.

 

He needed to say them to Ducky.

 

He picked up the phone.

 

But that wasn't enough.

 

He drove to Reston.

 

"Jethro. What are you "

 

"I love you, Duck." He silenced him.

 

Ducky smiled.

 

SOME HOURS LATER

 

"That's why isn't it? That's what you meant?"

 

"Yes, dearest. Now sleep."

 

He did.

 

 

Feedback is always appreciated
 

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