THE ART OF PREVARICATION
Set the same evening as Family Secret
Ducky challenges Jethro about what he did.
And established relationship story.
Written: March 2006. Word count: 695.
"That look. What does it mean?"
"Ah. You shouldn't have given in to Jennifer so quickly, my dear. You should have prevaricated. Now she suspects something."
"I don't know what you mean."
"Jethro!" Ducky's tone was as fierce as Jethro had ever heard it, at least when addressing him.
"Sorry, Duck." He met the steely pale blue stare and held it. And he was sorry. He really was. Lying to Ducky wasn't something he did. He touched his lover's arm; it was taut beneath his hand.
Silence stretched between them. Not their comfortable silence, but a tense, almost unbearable one. Then beneath his gaze, the steel began to melt and Ducky's look became his usual Jethro one. The tautness also began to slip away from Ducky's arm.
Jethro took advantage of it and tugged Ducky nearer to him. "When did you guess?"
"For certain? When Abigail produced her 'miraculous' result. But your behavior in Autopsy when you took the evidence bag from me, made me immediately suspicious that you were about to do something reckless."
"I should have known I wouldn't fool you." Jethro pulled Ducky further into his arms.
"Yes, my dear, you should. Why didn't you just tell me?"
Jethro shrugged. "I didn't want to risk dragging you into it."
Ducky sighed. "Jethro, you should know by now that anything that involves you invariably involves me too, in some way or other."
"Yes, but . . . Well, this is a bit more serious than 'losing' a body, when we had plenty of others around for evidence."
"I doubt if the Director would agree with you, Jethro. I believe that she would see it as being exactly the same. Interfering with evidence is interfering with evidence. You know that."
"I know but -"
"No one was being hurt by it. Quite the opposite in fact."
"And you go on about me appearing in Autopsy without you calling me."
Ducky chuckled. "Do you ever think we've been together for too long, dearest?"
Jethro pushed Ducky away from him, holding him at arms' length and looking down at him. A chill began to seep into his body and his mouth became dry. "Duck?" he managed. "What are you trying to say? You don't want to . . . " Jethro came to a halt. He couldn't voice his fears. The man who had faced armed conflict in the Marines on more than one occasion; who faced possible death every time he was called out on a case; who had tricked Ari into turning up at his home without being certain that Ziva would appear to back him up; the man whose entire team would say feared nothing, couldn't now ask a simple question.
"No, my dear," Ducky said softly. "I don't want to. Nor could I. I am sorry. I was merely trying to lighten the moment."
Jethro felt the relief flood back through him. It wasn't that he had really thought that Ducky . . . It was just that despite his willingness to tamper with evidence, if the situation warranted it, he couldn't say it sat easily on his shoulders. Although sharing the burden with his lover did help ease the weight.
He pulled Ducky back into his embrace, lowered his head and kissed the lips he'd been making love to for nearly three decades. No, they hadn't been together for too long, they never would be. No matter how many years passed, it would never be enough. Now you're getting maudlin, Jethro, he told himself. He pushed the thought from his mind and concentrated fully on kissing and being kissed by Ducky.
When they parted, the only look in Ducky's eyes, now more ebony than blue, was one of devotion and deep, lasting affection, tinged with a hint of humor.
Ducky didn't disappoint him. "The next time, dearest, that you intend to do something injudicious, tell me first. That way I can give you some tips on how to avoid other people being suspicious. I am, after all, the master in the art of prevarication."
Jethro laughed and again lowered his head to kiss his lover.
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