IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
Jethro goes to see Ducky in Autopsy and their ensuing conversation changes their relationship.
An established relationship story.
Written: July 2009. Word count: 1,000.
It's not that I want to have you. I want to deserve you.
It was after seven in the evening, but Ducky was still in Autopsy. Suddenly the doors swished open and Jethro appeared. One look at Jethro's face was enough for Ducky to realize things were far from well. He also noticed Jethro was cradling one hand.
He hurried across the room. "Jethro?" He waited for a moment, but Jethro didn't answer, so he took the hand Jethro had been protecting. "Jethro!" he exclaimed, as he stared at the bloodied knuckles. "What happened?"
Jethro shrugged. "Hit the wall."
Ducky began to run his fingers over Jethro's hand, probing carefully in order to ascertain whether any bones felt broken. "And why did you do that?"
Jethro shrugged again. "It was that or hit someone."
Ducky paused for a moment and looked up at Jethro. The handsome, weather-tanned face was taut, the dark blue eyes were heavy with rage, and Jethro's lips were pressed tightly together. "Tell me," he said softly, nonetheless making it an order.
"The bastard walked."
"But how?" Ducky exclaimed. "The evidence was irrefutable."
"Not according to his damn lawyer, it wasn't. Someone screwed up, badly. And he walked on a technicality. He walked, Duck. The bastard walked out of the courtroom laughing." Jethro yanked his hand away from Ducky, and began to pace around the room.
Ducky watched. Anger and impotence radiated from Jethro, as did the signs he needed some sort of physical release - and not the kind that involved hitting walls.
"Jethro." Ducky spoke quietly.
"What?" Jethro came to a halt and looked at Ducky.
"Let me see your hand again."
"It's fine, Duck. Not real harm done."
"Let me see your hand again." Ducky made sure his tone left Jethro in no doubt that it was an order.
Nonetheless, Jethro frowned down at him and seemed to be on the edge of refusing. Then he sighed and held out his hand.
Once he was quite confident there were no broken bones, Ducky cleaned off the dried blood and put some antiseptic cream on the bruised knuckles. "There are other ways of channeling your physical needs," he said calmly, as he continued to smooth the cream over the hand he held.
"You heard me." Ducky stopped his ministrations and looked up at Jethro.
"Yeah. But -"
"And you understood me." Ducky kept his tone neutral. "But in case you do need it clarifying, come home with me."
Jethro shook his head. "No."
"Because, Duck, it isn't fair. I can't keep . . . Using you like that."
"Do you see me complaining?"
"That's not the point."
"Then what is?"
"Why, Duck? Why do you keep letting me . . . ?"
Ducky sighed. "Because, my dear Jethro, I keep hoping that one day you will actually want me for me and not just -" He broke off at the look of incredulity that appeared on Jethro's face. "Jethro?"
Jethro shook his head. "Duck. It's not that I don't want you. I do."
Ducky blinked. "In that case, I do not understand. If you want me, then why do we . . . Why don't you . . . Oh, Jethro, what do you mean?"
Jethro put his hands on Ducky's shoulders. "I don't just want to have you. I want to deserve you, Duck. And I don't."
Ducky felt his mouth fall open as he stared up into the dark blue eyes that gazed down at him. Momentarily lost for words, he continued to just stare up at Jethro.
Finally, he found his voice. "Leroy Jethro Gibbs, that is one of the, if not the, most ridiculous things I have ever heard you say. What do you mean you don't deserve me? And what has 'deserts' got to do with it, anyway?"
Jethro looked exasperated. "I screw up every relationship, Duck, you know I do. I donít want to hurt you. At least I donít want to hurt you any more than I already do."
"Jethro, I am a grown man, one who is in fact twelve years older than you. And I happen to be an intelligent one, even if I do say so myself. I am not some teenage bimbo who isn't capable of making his own decisions. I do not need you to 'protect' me from you. I know what I am doing. I choose to do it, you don't force me. Have you ever approached me?"
Jethro shook his head. "No. But -"
"But nothing. Now, listen to me; I am not entirely certain that anyone 'deserves' anyone else. However, allowing for a moment that one might, you are more than worthy. I would not just be happy to be your permanent lover, I would be proud to be. Do you understand? You are good man, Jethro Gibbs, a very good man. You're honorable, loyal, trustworthy, deeply passionate about things and people; you care, you're hard working, dedicated, and so much more. You are the man I love. You are the man I have always loved. You are the man I will always love. Now, are you going to come home with me?"
Jethro just stared at him. "You mean it, don't you? All those things? You really believe what you say?"
"Of course I do. In fact I don't just believe it, I know it. But that isn't what matters. What matters is that you -"
Ducky wasn't sure how much time passed before Jethro finally took his mouth from Ducky's, but it was enough to make him start to fear he'd black out. "Jethro," he gasped. "What about the -"
Jethro silenced him again.
When the kiss ended, Jethro was looking at Ducky as if he was really seeing him for the first time.
"Do I presume you have come to your senses?" Ducky asked softly.
Jethro flushed slightly and smiled. "Yeah, reckon I have, Duck."
"Good. So, shall we go home?"
Jethro nodded. "Yeah. Let's do that. Let's go home."
And that was how it happened. That night, in Autopsy, Ducky finally got what he'd waited for patiently for years; and Jethro learned something about himself.
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