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Now Or Never

by: Ashleigh Anpilova (Send Feedback)

Series: Amnesic Gibbs #6
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1578
Rating: CHILD
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Established Relationship, Friendship, General
Pairing(s): Gibbs/Ducky
Summary: A companion piece to This Is It. Ducky returns from the Medical Examiners' Conference where he spent most of his time thinking about Jethro and their relationship. And finally makes a decision.

Chapters: 1

It is good to be home again, even though the place feels more than a little empty.

To be completely truthful, I never should have gone to the Medical Examiners' Conference, as I contributed very little, and can remember even less of what was discussed. My mind was otherwise occupied with thoughts of Jethro. Of course even before his recent accident, thoughts of my beloved occupied a great deal of my time, both waking and sleeping. However, I was always able to parallel process, I believe is the buzz term for it, and do other things as well.

That has not been the case since he was taken from me. Oh, dear, I know that sounds melodramatic, but it is how I feel. Indeed it is how it is. Jethro was taken from me, and I do not know whether I will ever truly get him back.

As well as thinking about Jethro whilst I was away, I worried about him, which sounds very foolish, I know. Nonetheless I did do so. You see since he lost his memory he has been different, which is understandable and logical, and he has relied on me more than he used to do, or at least he has done so in a more overt way. I am not certain if he realizes he is doing it, but I get the distinct impression that he feels a little lost and overwhelmed when I am not around.

I did consider sending my apologies and not attending the Conference, but I could not think of any way to explain to Jethro why I was doing so. I could hardly say 'I'm worried how you'll manage without me', now could I? It looks bad enough written down, to actually have voiced the words. No, it was impossible. I could not say that to him.

Just as I cannot say so many things to him.

Just as I cannot tell him of the true nature of our relationship.

Just as I cannot tell him how much I love him.

And yet this other side of our relationship occupied a great deal of my time, whilst I was at the Conference. A great deal of time that should have been devoted to other things. It has been more than a month now since my beloved forgot everything about himself, his life and me, and I am now beginning to wonder whether I should tell him the truth.

Over our life together, which has contained both good and bad times, the one thing we have never done is to lie to one another. And now part of me feels, fears, believes, that this is what I am doing. Oh, I am not lying in the conventional meaning of the word; however, I am doing so by omission. And does that not make me as guilty as if I were actually speaking the lie?

Sometimes I think he is waiting for me to say something. Is hoping I will say something. Is waiting for me to say something. Sometimes I see him looking at me, as if he is expecting me to speak, or indeed as if he is about to say something. But that cannot be. That must merely be me projecting my wishes onto my beloved.

And even if I did decide that maybe it was time for me to speak, to be honest with him, what would I say? How do you begin that kind of conversation?

"My dear Jethro, there is something I have to tell you. You see, as well as being old and close friends we were also lovers."

No, that is too blunt. Far too blunt.

"My dear Jethro, there is something I have to tell you. I fear that it may come as something of a shock to you, given the things I have told you about your life, your marriages, your relationships with women. Indeed you may find it difficult, even impossible to believe. It is nonetheless the truth. And it is not without precedence, you aren't the first person, and I am certain that you won't be the last, for whom -"

No, that will not do. I am afraid that by now his eyes will have taken on that glazed look, and he will have switched off.

"My dear Jethro, there is something I have to tell you. I do hope that you will not be angry or disgusted or feel any similar emotion by what I am about to say. However, I feel it is only right that I should tell you. You see, before your accident we were, as they say, more than just good friends."

Slightly better, but still slightly rambling.

"My dear Jethro, what would you say if I told you I wished to kiss you?"

No. Most definitely not. I do not want him to run from the house.

Oh, dear. Why is this so difficult?

Maybe it would be better to leave it for now.

Except, if I do, then I know that I won't just be leaving it for now. I will be leaving it forever. Five weeks have already gone by. And whilst I believe that I could explain my reasonings for not telling him thus far, if I leave it any longer, then even I do not think I could justify my rationale.

No, it is either now or never. Of that I am fully aware.

He has a right to know. I have told him everything else; both the good and the bad, and he has handled it. He has coped very well. But it's one thing dealing with the loss of your wife and daughter, three divorces, etc., dealing with things that are in the past, things that are dead and buried. However, it is quite a different matter when you are faced with the knowledge that it is not in the past, but in the here and now.

I have always said that I would rather lose Jethro as a lover than as a friend, and that remains true. I would. However, thirty years of being his lover is a considerable time, and to have it just snatched away from me is incredibly hard. I imagine that I must feel like people who have lost their long-term partner to death. Actually, in some ways I believe my own situation is somewhat worse; at least if one's partner has died, then there is a concrete end. There is no hope, no future, nothing.

However, Jethro hasn't died; he's very much alive. I see him, I talk to him, I touch him. In fact he had become even more tactile than he was before the accident, finding extra ways to touch me, hug me, connect with me, and as wonderful as that is, it is also incredibly difficult. It allows me to have him without actually having him.

I am a little ashamed to confess that I have had more than one erotic dream about him. One that even . . . Oh, dear, now that is far too embarrassing an admission to make, especially here. I miss his mouth on mine, his hands on my body, his arms around me as a lover, not just a friend. I miss his company, the way he . . . No, I will not think about that. I must not. I cannot. Not unless I am prepared to tell him and be prepared to handle his reaction. Whatever that might be.

Cowardice is a new concept to me. It is not who I am. Despite my mild mannered nature and appearance, I have always been prepared to face and deal with the harshness of the world, and my profession.

Had I been a coward I would have followed convention and married, rather than accept what I am and live my life accordingly.

Had I been a coward I would never have allowed a relationship, beyond that of friendship, between Jethro and myself to begin.

Had I been a coward I would have walked away from Jethro when he married Shannon.

Had I been a coward I would sent him away a long, long, long time ago.

I did none of these things.

Of course some, his ex-wives for example, might say it was more cowardly of me to stay and be party to his cheating on them, than to leave him, and maybe they are correct. Maybe I wasn't brave enough to walk away from him.

However, be that as it may, I am not and never have been a coward. I have always faced things. I have always been honest. I have always coped with whatever cards life dealt me. And I have done so head on.

It is time I stopped trying to hide the truth from Jethro.

It is time I stopped lying to him.

It is time I told him just what we were to one another.

And it is time I faced the consequences of my words.

It is a little late, but not too late. I know that he does not sleep well these days. He has never told me thus, but I know.

I am going to go to his home, before I change my mind. And I am going to tell him.

It is only fair that I do so.

Fair both to him and to myself.

If I do not do it now, I never shall.

It is now or never.

Chapters: 1

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