WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
McGee finds something in Gibbs's wallet.
An established relationship story.
Written: November 2007. Word count: 810.
McGee knew the saying ' a picture is worth a thousand words', but as a writer he wasn't certain he believed it. Not really. Words said more, surely?
At least he didn't used to believe it.
Now he does.
Now he believes it and understands it.
The day had begun at seven in the morning.
At seven in the evening it still wasn't over.
Nor was it likely to be for several more hours – at least.
DiNozzo had been muttering for over an hour about being hungry.
McGee knew how he felt. The slice of toast he'd eaten on his way to the office seemed like a lifetime ago. However, unlike DiNozzo he kept quiet.
They'd eat when, and if, Gibbs told them they could eat, and not until then.
"McGee," Gibbs suddenly snapped.
McGee glanced up in time to see Gibbs throw something across the room at him.
He caught it; he'd gotten good at catching stuff Gibbs threw at him. It was Gibbs's wallet.
"Go and get food. Before DiNozzo's whining drives me mad."
Although DiNozzo glanced up at Gibbs's words and cast a half hurt, half annoyed, look at his boss, he sensibly stayed silent.
McGee grabbed his coat, pushed Gibbs's wallet into the pocket, and hurried from the squad room. There was no need to ask what people wanted; they ate together often enough for them all to know what each other liked. And as the person getting the food, he got to choose what type they were having.
He settled on Chinese.
He opened Gibbs's wallet to pay for the food.
He opened Gibbs's wallet to pay for the food and stopped dead, staring down.
There, in Gibbs's wallet, was a picture: a picture of Ducky.
A recent one too, if McGee was any judge.
But it wasn't just that Gibbs had a picture of Ducky in his wallet.
It was that he had this particular picture of Ducky in his wallet.
Ducky was smiling, clearly not just at the camera, but also at the person who had taken the picture. And instinct told McGee that it had been Gibbs himself who had taken the picture.
But it wasn't just that Ducky was smiling, after all Ducky smiled a lot, it was the way he was smiling. It was the way his eyes shone, the way his whole face softened, lit up and spoke volumes.
It spoke of love.
It spoke of love so deep, so true, so intense, so real, so joyous and so . . . Even with all the words he knew, McGee couldn't find the right one. He just knew that whatever it was, it was worth having. And he knew something else too: it wasn't the love of a friend; at least not the love of just a friend.
So it was true.
He had often wondered.
He'd seen the way Gibbs and Ducky looked at one another, touched one another; heard the way they spoke to one another; experienced the way they could shut everyone else out and be alone in their own world. Yes, they were friends, close friends, very close friends, exceptionally close friends. But he'd always suspected they were more than that.
Now he knew.
Now he knew because the picture had told him.
The picture of Ducky had told him.
And he knew something else too: he knew what 'a picture is worth a thousand words' meant.
He finally knew.
He finally knew because the picture had told him.
The picture of Ducky had told him.
He dragged his gaze away from Ducky's picture long enough to pay for the food.
Then, with more reverence than he'd ever shown to anything before, he carefully nudged the picture back into place, closed Gibbs's wallet and pushed it into his pocket.
Had Gibbs forgotten the picture was there when he'd thrown McGee his wallet?
McGee couldn't believe that. This was Gibbs; Gibbs was like an elephant; Gibbs did not forget. And he especially wouldn't forget this.
Or had Gibbs remembered but wasn't bothered by the fact that McGee might see it, because he trusted McGee. Trusted him not to be disgusted; trusted him not to say anything to his co-workers?
McGee preferred that option.
Gibbs's trust in him would not be misplaced.
"Thank you, boss," McGee said, handing Gibbs his wallet back and placing Gibbs's food on his desk.
Was it his imagination, or did the dark gaze meet and hold his for just a fraction longer than it usually did? Not only met and held his, but also soften just a little? Did Gibbs know his thanks were for more than just one thing?
As he turned away and began to hand out the food to DiNozzo and Ziva, McGee was certain the answers to his questions were all 'yes'.
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