ZERO TO SIXTY
Whilst out with the rest of the team, Gibbs makes a discovery about himself. Later he's a more than a little surprised to discover that Ducky already knew.
Written: October 2006. Word count: 1,213.
When Jethro Gibbs reached a decision, he acted on it. He didn't spend hours or days or months agonizing over it; ponderings the pros and cons; he just went for it. Simply put he raced from zero to sixty in a blink of an eye. It probably explained why he had three ex-wives, and the physical scars that went with each divorce.
Thus, it was the same when he looked across the table and realized that he had fallen in love with, romantically loved and wanted, his dearest, oldest, closest friend. In fact, had they not been out to dinner with the rest of the team, he wouldn't have wasted any time; he would have told Ducky how he felt there and then.
But they were out to dinner with the rest of the team. And suddenly Gibbs realized it was going to be a long, agonizing evening.
They were sitting in one of the city's most expensive restaurants, courtesy of one Anthony DiNozzo. Five days ago DiNozzo announced that he'd won several hundred dollars on the State lottery, and Abby had decided that he could take the team out for a meal. To Gibbs's surprise DiNozzo hadn't objected, or at least not very much, and so that was why they were sitting there, waiting for their main courses, sipping drinks and idly chatting.
It was the kind of restaurant that Gibbs did not like; the kind where there were a dozen or so items of cutlery each side of the place mat, and about half a dozen glasses. He was sure that he'd screw up and use the wrong one.
However, he didn't feel quite as bad as he might have done thanks to Ducky who, under the guise of suddenly remembering something that he simply had to tell Gibbs there and then, had pulled him to one side.
Then in a low voice he had said, "Convention says that with cutlery, one works from the outside inwards. However, the important thing to remember, my dear, is whatever fork, knife or spoon you use, whichever glass you drink from, you do it with confidence. It doesn't matter if, strictly speaking, it is not the ‘correct' one. As long as you appear to be assured of your choice, no one will think that anything is amiss."
It had made Gibbs feel a lot better about the mass of silver wear and crystal that glared up at him. However, he still found himself watching Ducky just to check which utensil Ducky used, or which glass he picked up. The latter he realized, was less of a problem, as the waiters filled the ‘correct' one, thus saving him the problem of making a choice.
It was during one of his surreptitious glances at Ducky, that the realization of how his feelings had changed from the love of a friend, to the love of a lover had hit him. And from that moment he'd started to wonder how long the evening was going to drag on for.
It seemed to do so for an indeterminable time, even though everyone did seem to be having an excellent time, and the food and drink were particularly good. In fact the alcohol bill alone promised to be potentially frightening.
They'd all, at Gibbs's insistence, left their cars at the office, and thus would be require cabs at the end of the evening. Gibbs decided that he would just make sure that he and Ducky shared one; he conveniently ignored the fact that given they lived in opposite directions, someone might think it a little strange. However, even if they did, they wouldn't question it. Firstly, they didn't tend to question Gibbs's decisions, not if they wanted to avoid a Jethro Gibbs head slap. And secondly, they knew that Ducky and Gibbs had been friends for years, and as such were entitled to do 'strange' things from time to time.
Nonetheless, once the evening had finally drawn to a close, much to the relief of the tired looking waiters, the bill had been paid (DiNozzo had turned a little pale when it had been given to him), and the cabs called for, Gibbs decided on the best way to ensure that he and Ducky were the last to leave.
By virtue of discovering that he'd ‘accidentally' left his cell phone in the restaurant, and then remembering something vital, something that couldn't wait, that he needed to tell Ducky, Gibbs managed to make certain that the rest of the, more than a little intoxicated, team left first.
Ducky was waiting for him in the entrance to the restaurant when he returned from ‘finding' his phone. He looked bemused and was smiling at Jethro in his openly, fond and loving way. "Were you able to locate your phone, my dear?" he asked. The way he said it left Gibbs knowing, in no uncertain terms, that Ducky was aware that the phone had not been ‘forgotten'.
"Er, yeah," Gibbs said, suddenly feeling a pang of guilt for the lie.
"Good. I am glad. Now, what is this vitally important thing you need to tell me?
Gibbs glanced out into the street. The only sign of life was the cab waiting to take him and Ducky home, and the cab driver was reading a newspaper. The lights inside the restaurant had been turned off and the blinds pulled down. To all intents and purposes he and Ducky were quite alone.
There was a dim light above them, but it shone brightly enough for him to be able to see Ducky quite clearly. Ducky already had his hat on, so Gibbs touched the brim and bent it back a little, he wanted to see Ducky's face, and more importantly his eyes. Ducky obligingly tipped his head back and looked up questioningly at Gibbs.
Gibbs swallowed twice. And then jumped straight in. "I love you, Duck. I've fallen in love with you," he added, wanting to be sure that Ducky knew what he meant. He held his breath and waited.
Under his gaze the always-soft-and-loving-when-they-looked-at-him blue eyes became even gentler. Ducky smiled. "I know," he said quietly, simply.
"What?" Gibbs shook his head, certain that Ducky hadn't just said what Ducky had just said.
"I said 'I know'. I was merely waiting until the time came when you realized it for yourself. Now, my dearest, why do you not stop staring at me as though I am going to grow two heads, get into the taxi, take me to your home and make love to me." And with those words, Ducky put his hand behind Gibbs's head and pulled it down towards his own.
The kiss was brief, chaste, a mere brushing of lips of lips, but so much, so very much more than that. The promises it held were endless, and Gibbs knew that each and every one, as well as many more, would be kept.
He let go of the brim of Ducky's hat and slipped his arm around Ducky's shoulders, then he guided him out of the shelter of the doorway and across to the cab. As he did he knew that for the first time ever, his inclination for racing from zero to sixty was not going to be a huge mistake.
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