TIES THAT BIND
Set after Child's Play.
The children have gone and Jethro is alone with Ducky.
A first time story.
Written: November 2009. Word count: 2,847.
After the meal they sat around drinking brandy and coffee and eating after dinner mints until, after assuring Abby and Ziva he didn't need any help clearing away, Ducky saw the children to the front door and waved them off as they all scrambled into one taxi. He closed the door and returned to the sitting room. Now, only Jethro remained. As he poured his old friend another cup of coffee, Ducky found himself almost wishing that Jethro had left with the others.
Ducky sat back down in his armchair and found himself, as he'd done during the meal, the object of Jethro's steady stare. Every time Ducky had looked up from his plate or turned back from talking to one of the children, he'd found Jethro's gaze upon him. And then, as now, it had been completely unreadable.
Desperately searching for something to say, Ducky blurted out, "Thank you for coming over today, Jethro."
Jethro shrugged. "Reckoned it mattered to you." He sipped his coffee and continued to stare at Ducky.
Ducky nodded and said quietly. "Yes, it did."
Again the silence stretched between them. It wasn't quite their usual comfortable silence, instead there seemed to be a slight edge to it, a hint of expectation, of anticipation, of waiting for something to happen.
This time it was Jethro who broke the silence. He put his cup and saucer down onto the coffee-table, leaned forward a little and looked at Ducky, his gaze unblinking. "Did you really call me every year?" he asked.
Ducky swallowed; why had he let that piece of information slip out? "Yes," he said quietly. "And before you ask, yes, I did also drive out to your home."
"I beg your pardon?" Ducky played for time.
Jethro frowned a little. "Why did you call me? Why drive out to my house?"
"It was Thanksgiving, Jethro. A day when people should be with friends."
Fully expecting Jethro to say something along the lines of 'it's just another day, Duck', Ducky was thrown when instead Jethro asked, "That the only reason, Duck?"
"What other reason could there be?" Ducky winced to himself as he recognized the haste in which he'd spoken and how un-Ducky-ish his voice sounded.
Now Jethro leaned back again, shrugging as he settled against the back of his chair. Still his steady, dark gaze never once left Ducky's face.
As Ducky forced himself to hold Jethro's stare, his thoughts were jumbled. Why had he insisted on everyone joining him for Thanksgiving? Why had he pushed and pushed, bullied one could say, ignored the fact the children at least wanted to be elsewhere? Why had he in effect used very gentle emotional blackmail, without consciously meaning to do so, on Jethro?
"Don't know, Duck," Jethro finally said. "Why don't you tell me?"
Ducky closed his eyes for a moment and again wished he hadn't invited the team over; again wished Jethro had left when the children had. He also wished the phone would ring, be it work related or to do with his mother or any of his other friends; even a telemarketer would be welcome. But the phone remained still and silent and he knew Jethro was continuing to watch him.
He had no choice; he had to answer Jethro's question and do so honestly. Not to tell the truth would be unthinkable. The ties that had bound them together as friends for all the years they'd known one another demanded nothing less than honesty. The hub of their relationship was trust, and whilst there had been secrets revealed by both of them during the previous year, to lie would be the ultimate betrayal.
Nonetheless, Ducky decided he didn't have to be completely honest, at least not to begin with. There was nothing to say he couldn't prevaricate a tad, after all he did that so very well. He met Jethro's gaze and said, his voice steady, "I wanted to see you."
Jethro nodded. "Because we're friends?"
Ducky gave a half-smile and in turn nodded. "Yes."
Jethro nodded again and was silent. For a fleeting moment Ducky thought that was it. Then Jethro said firmly, "And?"
Jethro frowned. "Come on, Duck. Game's over. Tell me why the hell you as good as stalked me for nine Thanksgivings."
"What?" Ducky exclaimed the word. "I didn't . . . Jethro, how can you say that? How can you suggest I was . . ." He trailed off, not even able to complete the sentence. He was astonished, shocked even and deeply troubled by Jethro's choice of words.
Jethro shrugged. "What else do you want to call it? You tell me, Duck, you're good at Psyche Evaluations. What would you say if someone confessed to calling someone on a certain day nine years running? And not just calling, but driving round to their house? You got a better term for it?"
Ducky's mouth felt dry. He reached for his cup, but it was empty. He reached for the bottle of brandy that stood on the table, but Jethro grabbed it first and pulled it out of Ducky's reach. "Don't think so, Duck," he said softly. "Reckon you've had enough."
Ducky widened his eyes. "Jethro! I think I am capable of deciding that kind of thing for myself."
Ducky nodded. But deep down he knew Jethro was right; he didn't want another drink, not really. Instead he wanted - Besides, he knew if he did have another drink, he just might say more than he intended to. "If you wish to play games," he said, sitting back in his chair.
Jethro put the bottle back down. "Oh, I'm not the one playing games, Duck," he said. "But as you've mentioned it; don't forget you still haven't answered my question."
Damn Jethro. And damn Ducky himself. The one thing that surprised Ducky was that Jethro's tone, his look and his body language belied his words. His words implied he was angry with Ducky, that he really meant what he said about 'stalking'. However, his voice, his steady, gaze (that contained the usual affection he showed when he looked at Ducky) as well as his relaxed body language, implied something else.
Prevarication, Ducky decided, had gone far enough. He sighed softly and met the still steady gaze. "I wanted to see you, Jethro" he repeated.
"Yeah, you said that, Duck. What I want to know is why? And don't give me 'we're friends' crap."
"Jethro! Is that how you regard our friendship."
Jethro frowned, now he did look irritated. "You know it isn't. Stop trying to avoid answering the question. Just tell me why you've been stalking me. What do you want from me, Duck?"
Ducky sighed. "I wanted to see you, and do not interrupt me this time. I wanted to see you and no, not just because we are friends. Have you idea how -" Ducky stopped abruptly, aware of just what he'd been about to say. He felt his face flush slightly and even though he hadn't finished his sentence he found himself saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean . . ."
Jethro just shrugged and shook his head. "Not getting out of it that easily."
"Thanksgiving, holidays in general, are about being with people about whom you care, friends, family."
"And as foolish as it may sound, I'd somehow thought that if I saw you on Thanksgiving that I'd be able to . . . That we'd . . . Away from the office, the children, the phones. I thought maybe -" Suddenly he stood up. "Oh, to hell with it. You want to know why I kept calling you, kept driving past your house? Do you? Do you really want to know, Jethro?"
Jethro again leaned against the back of the chair and stared up at Ducky. "Yes," he said simply. "I do. Reckon you owe me some kind of explanation, don't you?"
Jethro shrugged. "Wrong choice of word, maybe. Or not. Well?"
"Because, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, my oldest, closest and dearest friend, I love you. I am in love with you."
"And?" Still Jethro gave nothing away. Still he appeared completely at ease; still his gaze never wavered; still his tone was gentle.
"And not to put too fine a point on it, I want you. Do you wish me to elaborate on quite what that means? Or are you able to work it out for yourself?"
"Reckon I can." Now Jethro did stand up. He moved slightly towards Ducky who, against his will, found he was forcing himself to stand his ground, forcing himself not to back away. He never for one moment thought Jethro might turn violent, but he couldn't ignore the knowledge that his friend had taken lives, and not just with his gun. Their friendship was close, very close; intimate in fact; they were bound together by more than just the job, more than just the years they'd known one another for. But was that enough?
Jethro moved even closer, getting way inside Ducky's personal space, as they both tended to do; his movement seemed to Ducky to be almost predatory. Ducky caught the scent and taste of his friend, the one he'd lived with for years, clean, masculine, Old Spice, coffee, sawdust and Jethro. Except one element seemed slightly stronger than usual.
Desperate for something to say, he spoke without thinking. "I didn't think you used cologne?"
Jethro moved his head from side to side in the equivalent of a shrug. "Depends."
Ducky's mouth was again dry and he felt his body begin with respond to the nearness of Jethro, to the warmth that emanated from the body he longed to touch. "On?" he said, for the simple fact of speaking, of trying to concentrate on something other than the man in front of him.
But Jethro ignored him. Instead he licked his bottom lip. "You know, Duck, I've been thinking."
"Mmm. Reckon you should elaborate after all." Now Jethro's hands were on Ducky's shoulders, but Ducky would have sworn under oath he hadn't seen them move.
"Elaborate?" Ducky barely recognized his voice.
"On what exactly?"
"Come now, Doctor, you can't tell me you've forgotten already?" When Ducky said nothing, Jethro spoke again. "On what wanting me means to you. But," he added swiftly, as Ducky opened his mouth to say . . . What he had no idea. "Don't tell me. Show me."
Ducky felt his mouth close with a bang and then open again. "Show you?" he managed.
One of Jethro's hands slid around Ducky's shoulder and cupped his neck; the move, the touch wasn't a new one, he'd touched Ducky like that before. But this time his hand wasn't still; this time Jethro's fingertips were lightly stroking Ducky's neck. "Yeah, Duck. Show me. You know I'm not good with words. Far better with actions. So come on then," he said, now slipping his fingers into Ducky's hair where he tangled it around them and very, very gently, tugged Ducky's head back just a little. "Show me what you mean by wanting me. Show me what you wanted all those years you went on your fruitless journeys. Show me what being in love with me means to you. Show me, Duck. Show me."
The combination of the dark blue gaze and the soft voice were hypnotic and Ducky found himself moving closer to Jethro, tilting his head back further, putting his arms around Jethro's neck, pulling his head down and finally putting his mouth onto Jethro's and beginning to kiss him. There was no resistance or hesitation, not even a microsecond's, as Jethro began to kiss him back.
Jethro kissed as well as, if not better than, Ducky had known he would. He'd fantasized about this moment for years, but his fantasies didn't come close to reality. As Jethro's mouth parted beneath his, Ducky slid his tongue inside, where it met Jethro's. Jethro tasted like his scent, with the addition of wine and brandy added to the mix. His hand had slipped from beneath Ducky's hair and was around Ducky's back and Ducky had been guided nearer to Jethro, so their bodies pressed together.
Ducky could feel Jethro's arousal pressed against his body and in turn he pressed his own hardness against Jethro. He couldn't remember the last time he had become so turned on merely from kissing someone. In fact he never had got so turned on, so quickly, merely from kissing, indeed not even at times when things moved beyond kissing.
That had been one of the reasons he'd given up dating once he finally admitted to himself that his feelings for his oldest friend went well beyond those of friendship. He couldn't date, kiss, caress, sleep with another man, when he was in love with Jethro, when it was Jethro he wished to be dating, Jethro he wished to be kissing, Jethro he wished to be caressing, Jethro he wished to sleep with, Jethro he wished to make love with, Jethro he wished to -
Suddenly he broke the kiss and breathing heavily gazed up at Jethro.
"Duck?" Jethro sounded concerned; his eyes were even darker than their norm, he too was breathing heavily, his face was flushed, his lips swollen from kissing. "Is something wrong?"
"Yes," Ducky breathed.
Jethro's eyes widened in what was clear alarm. "Duck," he began.
But Ducky cut him off. "What is wrong, my dear Jethro, is that we are standing in my sitting room, kissing whilst fully clothed, when we could be, when we should be, upstairs, naked in my bed doing the same thing."
Jethro licked his bottom lip and Ducky groaned under his breath, as he felt himself harden even more. "Just kissing?" Jethro's voice was husky.
Ducky shook his head. "Oh, no," he said. "Oh, no. You asked me to show you what I meant when I said I wanted you, and I fully intend to do that thing."
"Do you now?"
Ducky nodded and moved one hand from where it was linked loosely around Jethro's neck down and began to lightly caress Jethro's arousal. "Oh, yes," he said, now cupping Jethro and sliding his hand up and down. It excited him and made him feel just a little smug, as Jethro moaned in clear pleasure and pushed his growing erection more firmly into Ducky's grip. He continued to stroke Jethro for a few moments, before gentling and slowing his touch. He didn't want to end it so soon, as whilst he'd never touched Jethro in quite such an intimate way before, he knew the human body well and he could read its signs: his lover was close, very close.
"Come," he murmured, taking Jethro's hand.
"Was about to," Jethro fake-growled. "But someone stopped me."
Ducky looked at Jethro with a stare of mock shock and horror at what he'd said. "Now then, Jethro, I assure you that my bed is a far better place, and I can do far more for you when I have you naked under my hands."
Jethro laughed a little, turned towards Ducky, lowered his head and kissed Ducky's lips. "You know what, Duck? I don't doubt you can."
"And you," Ducky found himself asking, "Do you wish to touch me?"
Jethro blinked; his surprise clear. "What do you think?" And then, as if he could read Ducky's mind, he put his hand on Ducky's arousal and began to stroke it. Ducky moaned softly. "And," Jethro said, putting his lips to Ducky's ear, "before you ask, yes, I do want to touch you naked. I want it a hell of a lot. In fact I want it so much, I just might have to . . ." And with a speed and confidence that surprised Ducky, Jethro's fingers moved from stroking him to unzipping him and working their way through the fly of Ducky's trousers and slit of his shorts to touch Ducky's naked hardness. "God, that feels good," Jethro murmured.
Ducky agreed. "Yes," he said. "It does. It feels very good. Very good indeed. But, please, Jethro, let us retire to my bed, I promise you it will feel even better - for both of us - there."
Jethro kissed his nose, stroked his even more intimately twice more, before slipping his fingers out and re-zipping Ducky's trousers. "Spoilsport," he muttered and grinned.
Hand-in-hand they made their way up the stairs and into Ducky's bedroom. Once they were both undressed, clothes scattered on the floor and had got into Ducky's bed, Jethro gathered Ducky into his arms. As with the kiss, pressing his naked body against Jethro's, feeling Jethro's arms around him, feeling his chest hair rub against Ducky's smooth body, feeling his leaking erection press against Ducky's own was far, far better than anything Ducky had imagined.
"So, Duck," Jethro asked, as he broke their latest kiss. "Got any plans for the holiday weekend?"
Ducky beamed. "Oh, yes, Jethro," he said. "I most certainly have." And he proceeded to show Jethro just what those plans were.
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