Set after Kill Ari.
Gibbs turns up at Ducky's house looking for something for which he never thought he'd ask.
A first time story.
Written: June 2007. Word count: 843.
"Jethro." Ducky was surprised to see his old friend standing on his doorstep.
"He knew. The bastard knew."
"Ari. He knew that he could have killed them all one by one, and yet I would have followed orders not to kill him. Might have hurt him a bit, but I wouldn't have killed him. Kate, Tony, Tim, they're all agents; they knew the risks. Even Abby," his voice was harsh with bitterness. Ducky simply waited for him to continue. "But if he'd killed you, then . . . Kate was right."
"When she said I couldn't live with your death on my hands. She knew it. So did he."
"Jethro, come inside." So Jethro had 'seen' and 'heard' Kate too; Ducky wondered if they all had done so.
For a moment Jethro hesitated, then he let himself be guided into Ducky's house. "I saw her, Duck. Talked to her. God, how stupid does that sound?"
"It doesn't sound foolish at all, Jethro. I too spoke to her, heard her. She thanked me for keeping her covered up whilst you and the children were all down in Autopsy."
"She asked me why she had to die. Why her and not me."
"Ah, Jethro." Ducky put his hand on his friend's arm and squeezed it. "Come and have a drink," he said, after a moment or two. He slipped his arm through Jethro's and led the way into the sitting room.
Again Jethro let himself be guided, simply allowing Ducky to lead him.
"Thanks," he said, taking the glass Ducky offered him. But just as he'd done in Autopsy, he didn't drink it. Instead, he kept his gaze focused on the floor.
Ducky stood and watched him for several minutes, before again touching his arm. "Jethro," he said quietly. "What is it?"
Jethro did glance up, looking at Ducky, and yet Ducky could see that his friend was avoiding his eyes. "You want me, don't you, Duck?" he finally asked.
For a moment or two Ducky didn't answer. Then he sighed to himself and said quietly but firmly, "Yes."
"And you love me?"
This time there was no hesitation. "Yes. Yes, Jethro, I do."
Now Jethro did look at him, and the pain in the dark gaze was clear. He swallowed hard, and his grip on the glass tightened. "Duck. I need . . . I need something. Something I think only you can give me. But . . ."
"But I can't give you any promises, Duck. Not even that I'll -"
"It's all right, Jethro."
"Yes," Ducky said simply.
And it was.
He had never expected this day to come, and yet he had always known that had it done so, what his answer would be. He knew his old friend well enough to know that for him to ask what he was asking, wasn't something he had done easily.
"No strings, Duck."
"No strings, Jethro. Now drink your whiskey and let us go to bed."
'No strings', he'd said. But as he pulled Ducky into his arms, lowered his head and found Ducky's mouth, he knew his words had been a mockery.
As the kiss deepened and intensified, as Ducky's mouth parted beneath his lips, as his hands began to caress Ducky's body, the touches becoming more and more intimate by the second, as he pushed his body against Ducky's, he knew that he'd never meant them.
As he finally stopped kissing Ducky and turned to the pleasurable task of undressing him, of touching, caressing, kissing and licking every inch of the unscarred, pale skin, reveling in the way that Ducky groaned under his caresses, the way Ducky's arousal was so obvious, the way his own arousal was almost painful, he knew that Ducky knew it too.
As he finally had a naked, willing, pliant Ducky in his arms, kissing him again and guiding him down to the bed, tearing off his own clothes and joining him, his hand finding Ducky's arousal and bringing his lover to fulfillment before he even considered his own needs, he knew that they had been just words. Words that he had needed to say, words that Ducky had needed to hear, to enable them to get to this point.
And as he entered Ducky's willing, eager body, he knew that he'd finally found what he'd spent his entire fifty-three years searching for.
And as he finally began to slip over the edge of wakefulness into sleep, sated, exhausted, loved into relaxation, acceptance, understanding and peace, he knew. He knew that his decision to come to Ducky tonight had been the right one.
No strings? Hah! He could laugh at his words now. How could there ever be 'no strings' between them? Not when they already had a thirty-plus-year history of love, friendship, companionship and togetherness.
"Love you, Duck," he whispered, with his last conscious thought before he did fall asleep. He didn't need to hear Ducky's response to know that his oldest friend, now lover, had answered him.
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