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You're Still The One

by: Ashleigh Anpilova (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 4514
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Established Relationship, Friendship, Song Fic
Pairing(s): Gibbs/Ducky
Summary: Gibbs recalls how he and Ducky first met. Also how he lost him and regained him again two decades later.

This story is very slight AR, as it plays with the established canon timeline.

Chapters: 1

You're Still The One - Shania Twai

(When I first saw you, I saw love.
And the first time you touched me, I felt love.
And after all this time, you're still the one I love.)

I loved Ducky from the moment I met him.

Okay, let’s be honest here, I lusted after him from the moment I met him. Which given that I was a young Marine Sergeant, and the Marines were pretty hot on the evil of homosexual liaisons, was more than a little strange for me to accept.

However, I’ve always been brave, or some might say foolhardy, and within a day of us meeting, I was in his bed.

I’d never slept with a man before, never even considered it. But there was something about this slim, blond, blue-eyed beauty that just drew me in, captured me and held me prisoner. And he’s never let go.

It’s a good job that Ducky was circumspect and careful, because I sure as hell wasn’t. If it had been left to me I’d have been dishonorably discharged immediately. But somehow, solely due to Ducky, no one found out about us.

We had six, perfect, glorious, wonderful months together, and then I was due to go to sea. That was the last time I saw Ducky until a morning twenty years later. Anyone would have thought it was me who ended it, but it wasn’t.

It was Ducky.

Driven by what he considered to be my best interests, governed by societies norms and influences, he made a choice. He told me the morning I was due to sail as he said goodbye to me at the docks. The night before had been amazing, we’d shared the most tender and intense lovemaking I had ever known before, or knew with anyone else.

As we stood there, me in my uniform, him in his coat and hat (he wore it even then), he told me that he was leaving America, and he wouldn’t tell me where he was going. I know why he waited until that moment; I could hardly cause a scene, could I? I think that was the moment I realized, for the first time, that it was possible to love someone and hate them simultaneously.

I asked him why and he told me. I told him I didn’t give a damn about societies niceties or my career. But he did; or at least he did about the latter. His parting words were, “I love you, my dear, dear, beloved, Jethro, and I always shall. One day you’ll understand and even thank me. Maybe you’ll even forgive me.” Once he'd spoken he tipped his head back, looked up at me, said so much more with his tear-filled eyes, turned and walked out of my life.

And me? I went to sea. What else could I do? I was bound by duty, I’d signed up to serve and serve I did.

I came home prepared to search for the man I loved. To turn the country, hell the world, upside down if I had to. But even in that he’d bound me.

A simple letter awaited me There was no postmark. No return address. Nothing to give me any indication that it had actually been written by a living, breathing, human being. There were only a few lines, but as I read them I once more hated him, and loved him even more.

Jethro my dear,

If you truly love me, let me go. Do not try to find me.

I will always love you.

Yours always,

Ducky


He knew me that well. He knew I’d honor his words, and yet for a fleeting moment I did consider ignoring them.

However, I didn’t. I remained where I was, I stayed a good Marine, I fought for my country. I played the game required of me. I even married - four times - and divorced the same number of times. None of the marriages lasted more than a year officially, and only a few months unofficially. How could they? When I was still bound to one person.

The Marines recognized my investigative skills and suggested that I apply to join NCIS. So I did. I told you I was a good, order following, obliging Marine. I think a lot of people would laugh at the idea of Leroy Jethro Gibbs being 'order following'. But I was. At least to a point. At least I was back then. Things change.

NCIS welcomed me with the proverbial 'open arms', and apart from two recalls to duty, I worked with them for fifteen years. Good years. I made a difference. I know I did. But I stopped caring. Work became the only thing in my life, apart from building a boat I knew I’d never sail.

And then came the day when I returned from an enforced vacation. One spent in my basement - but Director Morrow didn’t need to know that. A message told me to go and see the Director as soon as I got to work.  I quickly found out why; they’d appointed yet another Medical Examiner.

I’d gotten through eight in my time. For some reason none of them seemed to like working with me. I often wondered why the Director stood for it; why he didn’t let me go instead. But apparently it was easier to find an ME than a Special Agent; at least one with my abilities.

So once again we made the trip to Autopsy, and I composed my face into its ‘welcome to NCIS’ look, as well as preparing to give my brief welcome speech. I wasn’t hopeful this would be a lasting relationship. I’d given up them being that after the fourth one left.

The man had his back to us as we entered, but something about him seemed horribly familiar. But it couldn't be. It was just my sub-conscious, that had never accepted that I'd lost Ducky for good, playing games with me.

For a brief second I closed my eyes, telling myself that I mustn't be disappointed when he turned around. That I mustn't blame him for not being who I wanted him to be. That I mustn't let him not being Ducky interfere with my treatment of him.

I opened my eyes just as Director Morrow was saying 'Doctor -'. He didn't get any further, because the man turned around, and as he did twenty years fell away. And the existing I'd slipped into woke up, as I suddenly realized I was alive.

One moment I was standing by Director Morrow's side. The next I'd closed the distance between Ducky and me, had pulled Ducky into my arms and was holding him tightly against me. I think I heard the Director say something about he could see that introductions weren't necessary. But he might have been saying anything, and in any language. All I could hear was the sound of my heart finally waking up from its long slumber.

For the first time since Ducky walked away from me on the pier I was alive; I was aware; my world had a center, and had once again settled on its axis. I was home, for the first time in far, far too long, I was home. Once again I could love and be loved. Once again I was complete.

I don't know how long I'd have gone on standing there, just holding Ducky, my lips on his ear, drinking in the unique scent I still remembered, feeling his arms around me, holding me as tightly as I held him, feeling his heart beating against my chest. Minutes. Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years. Who knows? I might still be there now.

But then I heard the sound a throat being gently cleared, and Ducky's grip became less secure as he moved back a little in my embrace. I knew then that I had to let him go. But as I did I vowed that it was only for a little while, because I knew at that moment that I would never again let him get away from me. I didn't care how much he told me it was for my good; how much he tried to bind me with words; I'd follow him into hell if I had to. He was mine. I'd let him go once. I wasn't about to do it again.

I never thought, not even for a split-second, that he might not be available to become 'mine' again; that there might have been someone else. Nor did I consider that he might not want to be 'mine' again, even if there wasn't anyone else. Somehow I knew that he wasn't there by chance. No mere accident had brought a British Medical Examiner from Britain to America. And not just to America but to Washington. And not just to Washington but to a Federal Agency. And not just to a Federal Agency but to my Federal Agency.

I'm not a betting man, not really; I've placed the odd bet from time to time over the years. But even I knew that the odds of his being there in that room at that time, were far too long to be viable. He was there because he knew I was.

I don't know how I got through the day. It seemed as if every minute was an hour and as if every hour was a day. But suddenly I looked up and the clock told me it was five-thirty, the earliest I'd told myself that I could justifiably, and without causing consternation and speculation, leave. Except, at that moment, my phone rang. For the first time ever I considered ignoring it. But . . . Well, I couldn't. It wasn't in my nature.

Thus it was gone six before I could escape, and by then I thought the chances of Ducky still being in Autopsy were slim.

However, I was wrong. I went down there, all the time telling myself not to be disappointed by him not being there. And also trying to work out how I could persuade personnel to give me his home address.

The room was only dimly lit, thus making me even more certain he wasn't there. In fact, I was about just turn around to just leave when a, what I can only describe as, mild tingling feeling, a presence, a knowledge, a touch, I don't really know what to call it, hit me. I hadn't felt it since the day he'd left me, and even now, I wasn't sure I was feeling it and not just imagining I was feeling it.

Telling myself I had nothing to lose, I went into the room. There he was just sitting at his desk, his neat, tidy desk. He'd already replaced his white coat with his suit jacket; his briefcase had clearly been packed and stood near his hat and coat. He was waiting for me. He later told me he'd have waited all night if necessary.

Over the years, I'd thought many times of what I'd say to him if I saw him again. I'd had whole conversations, and I'd gone through a multitude of emotions.

But when it came to it, all I could say was "Can I buy you dinner, Duck?"

His reply was as simple. "Just dinner?"

We never did have dinner that night. Instead we went straight back to my house, he was apparently living in a hotel until he found the 'right place', or rather, as I found out later, until he found out how I still felt, and to my bed.

In some, even most, people's opinions, it was probably all too quick. They'd have said that we should have talked, got over the whole 'him leaving me angst', spent hours, days, weeks, months, dating, catching up, being sure of what we wanted. And yeah, I can see how for some couples that would have been the right way to do it; the only way to do it.

But it wasn't the right way for Duck and me. I needed him in my arms and in my bed. I needed my mouth on his, my hands on his body; I needed his lips on mine and his hands on my body. And somehow, I knew that he needed it too. Not just wanted, but needed. Never in my life had I needed anyone, but I did that night.

And in case you're wondering, it wasn't just sex, it wasn't quick. Well, okay, yeah, the first time it was, embarrassingly so. Except if I was embarrassed then Duck had to be too, and he certainly wasn't; I could see that.

It was right. It worked. For twenty years I'd been sleeping with women, touching them, kissing them, stroking them, penetrating them, and women's bodies are different. Duck, I knew, wouldn't have been with women; he was gay. But even so, all people are different went it comes to making love. What one person loves, another hates; what turns one person on, turns another off; where and how one person likes to be touched, another doesn’t. And yet, after a second or two, my hands and mouth remembered where to go, how to touch, what he liked, what turned him on, what moved him, what he didn't like; and his remembered the same. Twenty years were gone in a heartbeat.

We didn't talk much, but then we never had been the type to chat as we made love. It's one thing to be lying in one another's arms, maybe gently caressing, sharing soft kisses from time to time, of course we talked then. But when we were making love to one another, all our focus was on that thing. On pleasuring each other, on doing what we knew the other loved, on making one another the only person in the world. We weren't silent, not entirely, but most of what we 'said' was unintelligible.

We didn't spend a minute apart either.

When Duck finally asked me where the bathroom was, murmuring that he really had to pay it a visit, rather than just tell him, I showed him. And I went in with him and I stayed, and yeah, I even watched him. I know it sounds pathetic and probably a bit kinky, but I couldn't let him out of my sight, not that night, not even for a second. He didn't seem to mind, quite the opposite in fact. I reckon had I not gone with him, he might have found a way to drag me along anyway. In fact, a week or two later, he confessed that is what he'd have done.

Nor did we sleep.

When dawn broke and the room became lighter, we were still awake, still touching, kissing, reacquainting ourselves, falling back in love, not that we ever fell out, and sharing.

Looks like we made it
Look how far we've come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we'd get there someday


The next day the first thing I did was to go and see Tom Morrow. I told him about Ducky and me. I also told him that Ducky was going to come and live with me, and that if he wanted my resignation, he could have it.

Even now, some seventeen years later, I still don't know, and if Ducky does he's not telling, whether Director Morrow was completely surprised by my announcement. I don't know why I think that. After all, if someone had known about Duck and me back in the days when I was a Marine, then, surely I'd have been dishonourably discharged?

I know all the fancy psyche tests can reveal, or so I've been told, facets of your personality that you aren't necessarily aware of. Maybe mine said I was bisexual or something. But even if it had, how would that tie in with Ducky?

Besides, it's not as if I even looked at a man once Ducky left me. I'm still not sure I'd use the term bisexual, not in its strict sense. I guess that as I do live with, sleep with and love another man, then technically that must make me bi. But I didn't choose Ducky because he was a man, I didn't fall in love with him because of that, I didn't sleep with him for that kind of sex. I choose him, fell in love with him and slept with him because he was Ducky.

Anyway, so I stood there in front of the Director, just waiting for him to accept my resignation, or at least to tell me that I could stay but Ducky couldn't live me, or something. I wasn't prepared for his what was basically the kind of reaction he might have made had I told him what the weather was like. He thanked me for telling him, promised to personally update my records, talked about next-of-kin forms and stuff like that, and filing other changes, reminded me that I'd need to ensure that Ducky did that too, and then went back to the report he'd been reading when I'd gone in.

And that was that.

Maybe he decided that me living with another man was preferable to me going through a new ME every year or so.

They said, "I bet they'll never make it"
But just look at us holding on
We're still together still going strong

(You're still the one)
You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life
(You're still the one)
You're still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night

Ain't nothin' better
We beat the odds together
I'm glad we didn't listen
Look at what we would be missin'


That was seventeen years ago, and Duck and I are still together, still in love, happy, devoted to one another and whole. I know that sounds a bit like a sappy romance novel, but I don't care.

I think, hell I know, that it surprised a lot of people at first when they found out I was living with another man. Duck and I have never hidden our relationship, with Director Morrow knowing we didn't need to; not like when I was a Marine. And if we had hidden it, then to my mind it would have been demeaning it, making it out to be something that wasn't quite nice.

I'm not saying we made a big thing of it, we didn't, we don't sneak off into dark rooms at every opportunity, or were caught kissing all the time. We're just natural with one another; most people who see us, if they don't know, would just assume that we're old and close friends, which we are.

As well as surprise people, I know there quite a few thought that we'd never survive. Again, I can't blame people. My four ex-wives were common knowledge around the office, so why would my relationship with Ducky, a man, a man who was at that time fifty-three, be any different? I could have told them, but no one bothered to ask me.

Someone, not one of my own team, apparently set up a pool on us, as to how long we'd last. It irritated me at first when I knew about it, as I thought they were trying to trivialize what we had. Duck, on the other hand, was amused by it; and he persuaded me, Ducky can always persuade me when he puts his mind to it, that amusement was a far healthier attitude to have. I don't know what the longest time bet would have been, but I'm guessing that it didn't run into years.

Of course over the years we've seen a lot of changes at the office.

Junior agents have come and gone; some I still miss, others I was glad to get rid of. But apart from one bloke, and he was in effect 'dealt' with my the other members of the team, no one has seemed bothered by the fact that their male boss lives and sleeps with their male ME. If anyone else has been troubled, or worse by it, then they've had the sense not to let it show.

Even the current team, which has been together now for the best part of eight years now, has changed, within itself.

DiNozzo, who given his past record should have left six years ago, guess I'm not the only one who behaved out of character, married his girl friend Jeanne, and she's now pregnant. Who knows the birth of a child might actually make Tony grow up, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Abby and McGee are married to each other and already have twin boys, which means Duck and me are unofficial 'Grandfathers' and official God Fathers. They even named the boys after us for their middle names, which we didn't know about until the christening; talk about being surprised.

Palmer is now a qualified doctor and will take over from Ducky once he retires. He doesn't appear to have either girlfriend or boyfriend, at least not a permanent one. Ducky told me that he reckoned Palmer was, at one time, seeing Agent Lee, but I was never sure about that one.

Kate married, had a daughter and returned to us, but I knew she wouldn't stay for long. She missed her little girl too much. She surprised me though, stuck it out for longer than I'd thought. But she's now pregnant again, and this time she says she isn't coming back.

Director Morrow, despite being offered promotion, a Deputy Director's position at Homeland Security, is still NCIS's director. Me, I'm glad he stayed, for more than one reason, both personal and professional.

Professionally he's a damn good Director; he knows his job, he knows when to interfere and when to leave me alone. He also knows exactly how to control me; I know how far I can push him, and he knows I know. I respect him and I like him. The latter's not essential, the former is.

On the personal front I'm glad for two reasons. One because he's happy for Duck and me to live together and two, he's been happy, for the last five years, to turn a blind eye to Ducky's age. Mind you, the cynic in me thinks that's as much to make life easier for him, as for the good of the agency. If Ducky stays it means he hasn't got to worry about finding ME after ME to replace him. But really I know Tom Morrow's not like that; if he didn't think Duck was still capable of doing his job, he would have retired him.

But enough's enough. And with Ducky turning seventy in a month, and me fifty-eight two months later, we've decided that's the time to quit. Get out while we still have time to enjoy ourselves. So we're going. The day Duck turns seventy, we'll both leave NCIS for the last time.

We're also emigrating. Well I am, Ducky's just going home; although like me, to him home is where I am. We'd often talked about it, but it was me who suggested it should be more than just talk. I want to see where Ducky grew up, where he went to school and university, so we're going to the UK. Whether we'll settle there or move on, we haven't decided, but in the short term that's where we'll be.

Abby told us firmly that wherever we went we needed to make sure we had two spare rooms; one for her and Tim, the other for the boys, because they'd be coming to visit us. I'm glad about that, I'd hated to have lost my little girl for good.

Seventeen years we've been together, but really it's more like thirty-seven in many ways.

Ducky once said he was wrong to have left me, but you know, I don't think he was. Strange that, when he did leave, and for the twenty years we were apart, I knew he was wrong. But once he came back, I don't know, I reckon that maybe it was for the best. Maybe had he not gone, then maybe we might have drifted apart, been torn apart by the expectations and norms of society. Maybe we wouldn't, given how deep our feelings were, but . . .

But that's in the past. That doesn't matter. What matters is now. What matters is that we've still together. Duck's still the one I love; still the one I want to fall asleep with, wake up with, be with until . . .

That's something I refuse to think about. And why should I? That's tomorrow, can't do anything about it, just as I can't do anything about yesterday. Today's the only thing that matters, and today I have Ducky.

He's mine.

I'm his.

And that makes everything right with my world.

They said, "I bet they'll never make it"
But just look at us holding on
We're still together still going strong

(You're still the one)
You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life
(You're still the one)
You're still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night

(You're still the one)
You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life
(You're still the one)
You're still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night

Chapters: 1

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