WHO NEEDS DREAMS?
Ducky has a dream - or does he?
An established relationship story.
Written: September 2005. Word count: 953.
"I love you, Duck."
"I love you too, Jethro my dear."
Jethro smiled his ‘just-for-Ducky smile,' and pulled his lover more securely into his arms, lowered his head and kissed him.
Ducky awoke with a start.
He sat up and stared wildly around him, dragging his fingers through his hair to push it back from his eyes. His hand moved to the as-always-cold-and-empty place next to him in his bed. He sighed heavily and reached to turn on the bedside lamp. There would be no chance of further sleep that night - there never was. He glanced at the clock; it was 4:00 a.m.
"You're a fool, Donald Mallard. An old fool," he told himself, as he pushed back the covers and slid out of bed. "He hasn't fallen for you in over twenty years, he's not suddenly going to do so now. You really should stop these childish fantasies." He walked slowly into the bathroom and turned on the shower letting the water run until it was almost too hot for him to bear. He was disgusted - both with himself, and with his desires.
He returned to his bedroom half an hour later, a towel around his shoulders to catch the drips from his hair. With determination he moved to his desk. While showering he had made a decision - one that he should have made a long, long time ago. He would resign and return to England; hopefully it would at least make his mother happy.
He picked up his pen and unscrewed the barrel, checking that it had sufficient ink inside to complete his task. It had. He screwed it back together and removed the top, glancing at the nib to ensure that it was free from superfluous ink and straight. It was.
Opening the top drawer he pulled out a piece of heavy cream writing paper, a matching envelope, and a fresh sheet of blotting paper. Arranging everything neatly on his desk, and moving the desk-lamp a few inches towards him, to give him the best possible light, took a few more minutes.
Finally though, nothing was left to do except write the letter.
"Stop procrastinating, Doctor," he told himself firmly. In his head he heard his name being spoken in the fondly exasperated way Jethro always said it when Ducky was procrastinating, or telling one of his endless stories. "Ah, Jethro," he whispered. "I'm sorry for loving you, my dear. And I'm even sorrier that you couldn't love me back." But that wasn't strictly true. Jethro did love him; Ducky knew that. It just wasn't in the way that Ducky wanted his dearest and oldest friend to love him.
He began to write the most difficult and painful letter of his life. By the time he had reached the fatal words, he could no longer see the paper clearly. He blinked furiously in an attempt to clear his eyes, but instead a tear detached itself and slid down his face. It slipped off the end of his chin and fell onto the paper, smudging the words. He -
"Hey, Duck. Don't cry." The tender voice was close to his ear, and he felt a somewhat calloused hand gently wipe the tears from his cheeks. Another, even more calloused hand, held Ducky's own in a gentle but secure grip.
He forced his eyes open and stared up into concerned dark blue ones. "Jethro?" he said, confusion heavy in his raspy voice. "You're here." His lips were dry and his throat felt parched.
"Of course I'm here, Duck. Where else would I be?" Jethro said gently, once more wiping a tear away. "It's all right," he said, bending closer to brush his lips over Ducky's. "You're all right," he added.
Ducky frowned slightly and winced as something pulled tightly across his brow. He became aware of a soft beeping sound, and tautness on the back of the hand Jethro wasn't holding. He glanced away from the loving eyes and blinked to focus. An IV drip stood tall near to the bed, its tube attached to Ducky's right hand, and a monitoring device stood next to it. He was in hospital.
Bored with looking at the tools of this trade, he once more turned his head on the pillow and looked up at Jethro, who was still near to him, watching him as though Ducky was a very special treasure. Ducky smiled gently, feeling his lips crack as he did so.
Ducky wanted to stay awake, to remain with Jethro, but his eyes were too heavy. He felt his lids begin to close, and fought to keep them open. As they flickered down again, easily winning the battle, he saw a flash of metal in the vicinity of their joined hands.
Determined now, he forced his reticent eyes apart, and glanced to where Jethro now held his hand between both of his. The metal was a gold circle, two gold circles to be exact, the rings that he and Jethro had exchanged a year ago, to celebrate three years together as lovers. He sighed contentedly, and let his eyes slip shut again.
"That's it, Duck," Jethro said softly, moving one hand to Ducky's hair, where he began to gently stroke it. "Go back to sleep, my love. I'll still be here when you wake up." Again he bent forward and lightly kissed Ducky. "I love you, Duck," he whispered.
"I love you too, Jethro my dear," Ducky managed around a tongue that felt far too large for his mouth.
As he slipped back into sleep, he knew that his dreams would now be good ones. But even if they weren't, it didn't matter. Who needed dreams when they had reality?
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