Ashleigh Anpilova


Set after Judgment Day.

Gibbs knows the one person who will be able to make him feel better.

An established relationship story.

Written: June 2008. Word count: 1,022.



When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;

When troubles come and my heart burdened be;

Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,

Until you come and sit awhile with me.


You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up . . . To more than I can be.


I knew he'd be the one to find me. I knew he'd know where I'd gone. I knew because I'd gone here before.


It's the one place I can sit in silence. The one place I won't be disturbed. The one place that's private although public. The one place where no one will think it's odd if we sit close together, if he puts his hand on mine.


He's found me here before, after my girls were taken from me. We weren't lovers then, just friends although I don't like to use the word 'just' when it comes to my friendship with Duck, to anything with Duck.


He took me home with him that day and made love to me. He didn't mean to, I know that. He felt bad about it, guilty even, but it was what I needed. He always seems to know what I need, even when I don't know it myself.


He'll be here soon and he'll make it right again. He'll do what he always does: he'll be Ducky, my Ducky, the man I love, the man who means more than the world to me. The man I'd do anything for. He'll be here; he'll come; he'll find me. He'll sit with me. He'll


He's here.


He just sits down next to me, takes my hand and just sits. The silence stretches between us, but that doesn't matter; we've never needed words. And he'll know when to break it. He always does.


"It wasn't your fault, Jethro," he says, after what could be two minutes, or twenty-two I didn't count. "You know that, don't you?"


I shrug. To be honest, I don't know.


"It wasn't. You gave Jennifer her assignment, you are not responsible for her failing to carry it out."


"Aren't I? Mike implied I was. I didn't check she'd done it. I just accepted her word. I should have verified her kill."


"And if you had have done and found Svetlana still alive, what would you have done? Killed her yourself? And then what? Reported Jennifer? In effect ended her fast-track career?"


"She'd still be alive today if I had."


"I told you, Jethro, her illness was such that . . . Trust me, my dear, death by bullet was far, far, far easier than the lingering death she would have had."


"You're not just saying that?" I look at him. I need to see him as he answers, not just hear him.


"Have I ever lied to you?"


He hasn't, no. Unlike


"And the kids?"


"We'll sort that out too. Don't worry, Jethro. We'll get the team back."


"You always so sure about things?"


"When it concerns you, yes, I am."


And he is. Don't know why, but he is.


And his belief in me makes me sure. With Duck by my side I reckon there's nothing I can't do. No problem I can't solve.


Everyone thinks I'm the strong one: ex-Marine, trained to fight and kill with weapons and with my bare hands. An armed Federal Agent, NCIS's most senior field agent. The one who doesn't put up with crap from anyone, who can break anyone, who's reduced more than one hard man to tears and worse. I'm the strong one.


Except I'm not. Not in the really important ways. Duck is. Always has been. Always will be. With him I can do and be so much more than I can alone. He makes me believe in me when I don't. He gives me strength and makes me more than I am.


He's always been there for me, quietly giving me his support, his strength. He's been by my side throughout all the horrors life has thrown at me.


He gave me the strength to go on living after Shannon and Kelly had been taken from me.


He gave me the strength to move on.


He gave me the strength to love him. He gave me the strength to accept I could love another man. He gave me the strength to accept I could make love to and with another man. He gave me the strength to do what I had to do before I could settle for him and him alone.


He got me through three more disastrous marriages. He patched me up emotionally and physically after each of them turned on me. He was there, never condemning, never questioning, never doing anything other than being him.


"Come along, Jethro," he says, as he squeezes my hand more tightly. "Let us go home."


He stands up and I allow him to guide me to my feet. As I look down at him, look into the steady, loving, compassionate, understanding gaze, I know he's done it. He's done it again.


He's pulled me out of my self.


He's taken away my burdens.


He's made me see the truth. About Jenn. About Paris. About the kids.


As always he's raised me up. He's made me so much more than I would ever be without him.


As always he's raised me up. He's given me the strength to do what has to be done.


"Yeah," I say, putting my hand on his shoulder. "Let's go home, Duck."


Together we turn and walk away, his arm through mine. His strong, loyal, steady presence as it always is. With me. Within me. Completing me. Fulfilling me.


You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up . . . To more than I can be.

You raise me up . . . To more than I can be.



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