Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1164
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard
Category(ies): Character Study, Friendship, General
Summary: Ducky remembers when he and Jethro first met, and how over the years Jethro has proved to be his knight in shinning armour. An established relationship story.
People often ask whether their friends can remember the first time they met their wife, husband, lover, partner, or maybe I should say, as I believe it to be the term used today, 'significant other'. I most certainly can.
I can remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. You see, had it not been for my beloved, I would not be alive today.
Oh, dear, that does, I know, sound melodramatic. However, it is the truth.
The first time I met Leroy Jethro Gibbs was when he rescued me from a brutal attack by four men, who had been bent on beating me to death, simply because I dared to be different. I didn't know Jethro then, I had never seen him before; nor, did he know me. Nor did he have any reason to interfere, to come to my aid, none at all. He wasn't the first person to walk by the alleyway; he was the third.
However, come to my aid he did. I still remember it to this day. I lay on the ground, unable to get to my feet, unable to assist my rescuer, unable to do anything but watch, force back the nearly over-whelming nausea, attempt to remain conscious, and pray that there would not be two deaths that day.
His prowess and ability surprised me, that one man, albeit tall and young, could not only take on, but beat four others amazed me. It was only later after he had helped me to my feet, cursed violently as I collapsed again, 'persuaded' a cab driver to bring his vehicle into the alleyway, and took me to his own apartment, that I discovered he was a trained Marine. He had been taught how to fight, and taught well.
I remember knowing that I was at the very least mildly concussed, but refusing to let him take me to the hospital. I argued that as a doctor, I was capable of knowing whether I needed the assistance of my fellow professionals or not. I won the argument, but only after I had relented and allowed him to put me to bed in his own bed, where he sat by me, to ensure that I did not slip into unconsciousness, until the morning.
It was only when he asked why the men had attacked me and I'd answered him honestly, that I became aware that maybe I was more concussed than I had realized. Even to this day I remember the chill that coursed through my body as I said, 'Because I'm gay'. I braced myself, knowing that if he chose to, he could end my life, or at least throw me out on the street.
Indeed when his face became grim and his eyes flashed, I tensed, waiting for . . . Something. But all he growled was, 'Bastards. Pity I didnít them harder'. And he returned to talking to me about his time in the Marines. For a moment I wondered if I had slipped into a kind of daze, and was no longer in reality. However, I was. I had just come across a heterosexual person for whom my sexual preference apparently didn't matter at all.
To this day a small part of me still marvels at it.
We didn't become lovers then, that didn't happen for some years; mostly because I kept on refusing him. I believed that I knew what he wanted better than he did himself. I do occasionally wonder whether had I not refused him, he would still have had three ex-wives and several disastrous affairs to haunt him - not to mention the painful memories of his dear Shannon and Kelly.
It is not the only time Jethro has rescued me. Indeed over the years he has been my knight in shinning armor, my, to borrow the Japanese term omamori: my honorable protector, and not just mine. By his choice of career, Jethro is, and always has been, a protector; he has always known that he might have to give his life at any time for his country, and now for the agency for which he works. He and his fellow agents would die to protect others.
I am resting in his arms now, my head on his shoulder, held tightly by him; however, he is the one who has fallen asleep. Once again, he came to my rescue. Once again I owe him my life. Once again he saved me. This time it was close; I was closer to death than even on that very first time. There was nothing I could do, except lay there, strapped to the table, unable to cry out, able only to count down the seconds, the minutes, it would take for my body to be emptied of blood.
But then my beloved was there. Once more my protector had come to my aid. And moments later I was in his arms, being held by him in full view of the children and my captors, and he didn't care, and nor, if I am honest did I.
Yet it was I who broke the moment, because it is I who knows my Jethro better than anyone. It was I who said 'What kept you'? thus, shattering his intensity, allowing him to smile; allowing him to continue to carry out his duty.
I knew what my capture would have done to him, how he would blamed himself, how relentless he would have been in his attempts to find me. The body and mind can only live on that level of adrenalin and determination for only so long, can only push itself so far before it cracks.
I knew as he held me that he was close to breaking down; but I knew that he couldn't, not then, not there, not yet. So I make the quip, thus giving him enough strength to pull back a little, to stop the fierce embrace, to gather himself together for long enough to complete his job.
And it worked. He did hold himself together long enough to get my captors, the live ones that is, back to the office, to attempt to interrogate them, to do his duty to the agency, to fulfill his role as senior agent.
Then he came home to me. To my arms. To my bed. And it was as though I were the rescuer and he the rescued. No one but me ever sees this side of my beloved, and I doubt anyone ever will. In everyone else's eyes Jethro is the protector, the one who rescues, who risks his life on a daily basis, the strong one. And he is. However, I do my share of protecting, even if it is not in such a visible way as the way my beloved does it. Even if it is in a way that is known only to my dearest and myself.
No, I will never forget the day I first met my beloved. Never.