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Knowing And Loving

by: Ashleigh Anpilova (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 6418
Rating: MATURE
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard
Category(ies): Episode Related, Angst/Drama, Established Relationship, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing(s): Gibbs/Ducky
Summary: Set after 'Leap Of Faith'. Ducky goes around to Gibbs's house, because he knows he is the person his lover needs. Even if Gibbs won't admit it.

Chapters: 1

Ducky stopped the Morgan outside Jethro's house, turned off the ignition, climbed out and carefully locked the doors; he then made his way to Jethro's front door. As he had been expecting, the house was in darkness with only the faintest of glows coming from the small basement windows. "Oh, Jethro," he sighed, and tried to open the door.

It was locked.

There were only two reasons Jethro ever locked his front door:

Firstly, that Ducky was inside with him and they did not wish to be disturbed. Ducky had made it quite clear in the early days of their relationship, that if Jethro didn't mind anyone walking in whilst he was in bed with one of his women, that was up to him. However, Ducky had no intention of being in Jethro's arms or Jethro's bed when the possibility of someone walking in on them was certainly not low.

Although, Ducky was forced to admit, there had been more than one occasion since Jethro had failed to tell Hollis Mann that he was not interested in her, a part of him, a part that was growing by the week, that gave serious consideration to 'forgetting' to lock the door when he was with Jethro, in the hope that she might let herself into Jethro's house. At least that way she just might get the message and walk away herself. As yet he hadn't been able to bring himself to do it, but if Jethro didn’t find a way to either piss Mann off so much she did walk away, or find a way to do what he'd never done before: tell a woman to bugger off, then Ducky just might find himself resorting to such dirty tactics.

The only other reason Jethro's front door was ever locked, was that he was inside and didn't want anyone, with the exception of Ducky who had a key, walking in.

Therefore, as Ducky was not inside with Jethro, he knew that his lover was alone. At least he was unless 'she' had somehow managed to persuade Jethro to do what normal human beings, especially human beings in Jethro's occupation did. Ducky doubted it; no other woman had ever done so. But it didn't matter if she had; if she were there, Ducky would make her leave. Ducky knew he could be very persuasive if he put his mind to it, and there were occasions when he would be willing to leave the 'gentleman' behind – if she was there, this would be one such occasion. He knew just who and what Jethro needed tonight, and it was not Lieutenant Colonel Hollis Mann!

He put his key in the lock, opened the door, entered the dark house, closed the door and pointedly relocked it. After removing his hat and coat, he moved cautiously to the door leading down to the basement. He made his way down the stairs taking care for two reasons: one it was dark, and two, Jethro kept at least one loaded gun in his basement, and whilst his lover was not a 'shoot first and ask questions afterwards' type of man, Ducky had never liked staring down the barrel of the gun.

He was only partly surprised when, out of the darkness, Jethro spoke; his tone was dry and flat. "Could have put a light on you know, Duck. Thought you of all people would know that walking down stairs, even ones you know well, with a dodgy leg in the dark isn't very sensible." A light, brighter than the dim one that cast a lone glow on the far side of the room, came on. As well as lighting up the room and the stairs, it lit up Jethro, who now stood at the bottom holding out his hand. "Here, give me your hand."

Ducky, who by now had managed quite well in the dark, nonetheless took Jethro's hand and let him guide him down the remaining two steps. He wasn't surprised when, once he was safely on the ground, Jethro let go of his hand and moved away, turning his back on Ducky.

From where Ducky stood he could only see his lover's back, nonetheless his actions were clear. Ducky was not at all surprised to see his lover pour a large, what laughing passed for 'whiskey' in the 'Gibbs basement', amount of liquid into an old coffee mug; he knew it would not have been the first of the evening. He watched as Jethro raised it to his lips; he continued to watch as Jethro paused in the act of tipping it into his mouth, hesitated and finally, with a half growl, slammed the mug down on the work bench and turned back around. "Damn, you, Ducky," he snarled.

Ducky continued to gaze at him placidly. "If you wish to drink it, my dear, do so," he said.

"What and have you lecture me? No, thanks."

"I do not 'lecture' you. I simply explain to you how . . ." He trailed off under the fierce, dark glare. The look Jethro gave him didn't perturb him, because the glare he received was nothing like the glares the children received when they dared to cross or irritate Jethro.

"What are you doing here, Ducky?" Jethro asked after a moment or two. His stare was still harder than it usually was, as was his tone, but both contained an element of resignation.

"I merely thought you might," Ducky paused for a split second and considered his choice of word. In the end he opted for the slightly more neutral option, "Appreciate my company. However, if you wish me to go, I am quite happy to do so." He turned and put a foot on the first step.

The next second his arm was caught by a tight grip, and he let himself be guided back down to the floor again. He tipped his head back and calmly gazed up at Jethro; his lover was frowning, and despite having prevented Ducky from leaving, he still didn't look overly happy with Ducky's presence. But over three decades of knowing and loving Jethro let Ducky read him quite easily. Jethro might not necessarily want Ducky there, but he needed him there - and Jethro knew it. Not that Jethro would ever, or rarely, very rarely, admit to such a thing as 'need'.

"You want a drink or do you just want to go straight to bed?"

Ducky blinked. "I believe a drink, a proper drink, would be very nice, Jethro."

Jethro glared at him. Ducky simply continued to watch him placidly. He knew that the offer had been made purely out of an old-fashioned politeness that did form part of Leroy Jethro's Gibbs's character. An old-fashioned politeness that few people realized existed, even though they saw it, because Jethro hid is so well.

He further knew that Jethro had wanted him to forego the drink and accept the second offer. Having a drink meant that he just might have to talk to Ducky; going straight to bed meant that he could get his relief, his comfort in other ways. It pained Ducky not to give his lover exactly what he wanted, but he knew that tonight he needed both kinds of comfort: the verbal as well as the physical. And he would get both; Helen was staying the night at Ducky's house, so he had no need to return home again.

"You'd better come up to the sitting room then," Jethro muttered, his tone grudging.

"Thank you, my dear," Ducky replied, ignoring the less than welcome tone.

Of course if Jethro really wished to skip the drink, he could do so quite easily. He could have Ducky whether and whenever he wanted him. Ducky knew he hadn’t got the strength to put up much of, if indeed any, defense against the power of the younger, taller, sturdier, ex-Marine; and Jethro knew it too. Just as Ducky knew that Jethro would put his gun to his own head and pull the trigger before he laid a hand on Ducky in anything less than a gentle, caring or loving manner. And the same applied to anyone else who might dare to venture to touch Ducky. No one in their right mind, who had any hint of the closeness, even if merely at a friendship level, between the two old friends, would dare to hurt Ducky. They just might not live to tell the tale.

Ducky had pondered, on more than one occasion, why Ari had spared him; why the murderer had never hurt him; he could have done so quite easily. Had he somehow, even though he had never seen Ducky and Jethro together, at least not to Ducky's knowledge, picked up on something? Had he known that whilst Jethro might have been willing to allow him to live had he killed or hurt any of the children, any more of the children, that hurting Ducky, that taking Ducky's life, was as good as signing his own death warrant? Had he known? Maybe he had done so; Ari Haswari certainly knew people.

"Well," Jethro demanded, cutting into Ducky's thoughts. "Do you want that drink or not?"

"Yes, I do, Jethro," Ducky said firmly. "Forgive me I was –" But Jethro had gone, taking the stairs two, three at a time. For a fraction of a second, Ducky hesitated, but then the abrupt exit became clear as light flooded down the stairs from the hallway.

It was only when Ducky reached the second from top step that he saw Jethro turn on his heel and stride away, back straight, anger radiating from him, into the sitting room. Sighing softly to himself, half torn between knowing what he had to do, and telling Jethro that he'd changed his mind, telling him that he didn't want a drink after all and they might as well go to be, Ducky followed his lover into the sitting room.

"Here," a glass, half full of Jethro's better whiskey was thrust into his hand.

"Thank you," Ducky said, determined to keep things 'normal', well as normal as possible. He moved towards the sofa, paused and said quietly, "Are you not joining me?"

The dark eyes narrowed. "Sure you don't think I've had enough?" Jethro's tone hovered on the edge of sarcasm.

Ducky sighed to himself and forced himself to continue to speak in a low tone. "Only you can know that," he said. Jethro could and did hold his drink; he was capable of drinking far more than most people and still manage to satisfy both himself and Ducky. However, he was human and rare occurrence that it was, Ducky had seen him drink more than the amount with which even he could 'perform'. From his speech and movements, Ducky doubted Jethro had drunk anywhere near that amount, but given the level of stress his lover was and had been under, plus the fact that he was certain he Jethro hadn't eaten, it might take less to make him incapable. And that was not what his lover needed that night.

After a second or two, Jethro turned, grabbed a second glass and poured some liquid into it. Ducky watched as he drank half of it, before, infinitesimally under Ducky's gaze, relaxing. Ducky smiled to himself, took a healthy swallow from his own glass, carefully put it down on the coffee table, before crossing to where Jethro stood, silently and warily watching him. He pried the glass from Jethro's hand, put that down, put his arms around Jethro's neck, tugged his head down and kissed him.

For a second he felt surprise. He then felt strong fingers tangle into his hair and pull his head back even further; then Jethro's mouth met his in a bruising kiss. As he kissed Ducky, Jethro pushed his body against Ducky's.

After a moment or two of what hovered on the edge of brutality, Jethro pulled away. "Thought you wanted a drink first."

Ducky's lips tingled and throbbed slightly. "I do, my dear. However, I also want an element of normality and you usually greet me with a kiss." He held his breath and waited to see if his calculation had been a correct one.

For a second, a fleeting second no more, he really thought he had miscalculated, as fury seemed to race through the taller man, making Jethro appear even more than six inches taller than him. Then it fled; Jethro sagged slightly, sighed, murmured something that even Ducky couldn't catch, before gathering Ducky into his arms, holding him in a tight but not painful embrace and kissing him. This time there was no bruising and no brutality in the way Jethro's mouth met and caressed Ducky's.

"How do you do it, Ducky?" Jethro asked a short time later, when they were seated side-by-side on the sofa, their drinks in their hands. Jethro had one arm around Ducky's shoulders and Ducky's head rested against Jethro's shoulder.

"Do what, my dear?"

"Always know exactly what I ne- want. Even if I don't know it myself?"

Ducky ignored the urge to tell him that 'need' wasn't a terrible word, and instead said simply, "Decades of knowing you, Jethro. And of loving you," he added softly.

"You know I could have ignored your request for a drink and taken you straight to bed, don't you?"

Ducky moved away a little so that he could see Jethro's face. He said calmly, "And of trusting you. You would never hurt me, Jethro."

Jethro made a noise in his throat. "Least not physically." His self-loathing was clear.

Ducky ignored it. "Jethro, it was not your fault," he said calmly, knowing he had no need to elucidate as to what he was speaking about.

"Yeah, that's what Jenn said."

Ducky blinked. "She did?"

"Yeah. Said that Arnett was dead the moment he stepped onto the ledge. Not what Walsh, his CO, said. He said it was my fault. Said I should have brought him in. That it was my fault that –"

Ducky leaned forward and silenced Jethro in the way Jethro himself often applied when Ducky slipped into rambling mode. At least the way he applied when they were alone and not at the office.

As he kissed and was kissed by Jethro, Ducky did something he rarely, if ever did, when involved in loving Jethro: he let his mind wander. Whilst he was kissing Jethro, he was also thinking and trying to decide what his lover wanted, what he needed, to hear. In truth, Jennifer had probably been correct: Arnett had been dead from the moment he had stepped out onto the ledge. But something told Ducky Jethro didn't want to hear that. Something told him that Jethro wanted to hear that Arnett didn’t have to die; he didn't want to take comfort in the 'he was already dead' possibility.

After a few moments, Ducky broke away, "Jethro, it was not your fault," he repeated. Jethro just looked at him. "And Jennifer is not necessarily correct either." Lying to Jethro wasn't easy; this was as close as he could come to doing so.

Jethro looked at him. "What do you mean?"

"I do not necessarily believe that the poor man was dead the second he stepped out onto the ledge."

"Duck, he was being watched, by a killer, an assassin; a terrorist. Watched by someone as well trained, if not better, as Ziva. She wasn't going to miss. Wasn't going to make a mistake."

"Jethro, she might be infallible, although I doubt that, even our Ms. David is not. However, there is not a firearm that has been invented that is one hundred percent guaranteed one hundred percent of the time. Not to mention the circumstances: a freak gust of wind could have intervened; you could have seen a flash from the rifle she carried; someone could have gone out onto the roof. There are endless possibilities."

"Just not probabilities."

"Jethro, it was not your fault," Ducky said for a third time. He was prepared to repeat the words over and over again until he got his lover to agree with them. "You did what you always do: your best. You put your own life at risk, and even though part of me concurred with what Abigail said, most of me knew that you could not have done anything else."

Jethro blinked at the somewhat convoluted sentence. And then Ducky watched it dawn on him. "Shit," he said, taking Ducky's hand. "You saw it?"

Ducky nodded. "Yes," he said softly. "Abigail had the television on in her lab when I went to see if she knew where you were."

"I didn't know."

"You couldn't know, my dear."

"I . . . Duck, I . . . I had to, Duck. I had to. David would have taken a shot, and if she hadn't, DiNozzo would have done."

"It's all right, Jethro. I know," Ducky said, again his tone was placid, calming, accepting, full of understanding. "I confess it was not the easiest thing I have ever had to witness, but I trusted in you, I believed in you. I know that you wouldn't have done it had you truly believed you were in any real danger."

"Not sure that standing on a ledge that wasn't even as wide as my boot, staring at the Washington monument doesn’t count as 'real danger', Duck. Reckon most people might think it did. Not to mention the fact that my 'companion' on the ledge, my very uptight companion, had a gun. What did Abby say?" he suddenly asked.

Ducky smiled to himself. In spite of everything, Jethro was beginning to relax. Not that it was time to leave the drinks and go to bed just yet, no matter how much Ducky wished to be in Jethro's arms, but they were making a start. "She said, 'Damn you, Gibbs. You take too many chances'. But her tone was far less mild than her words."

"Poor kid," Jethro murmured, absentmindedly pulling Ducky back against his body. "Sorry, Duck," he murmured, his lips on the top of Ducky's head.

Ducky patted his knee. "It's all right, my dear. As I said, I have known and loved you for so long, had you done anything else, had you moved back, as I am sure one of the children –"

"DiNozzo."

"Were telling you to do, you would not have been the Leroy Jethro Gibbs I know and love. You would not have been my Leroy Jethro Gibbs," he added softly.

"He was going to tell me. I'd won his confidence. He wanted to tell me. He wanted to come in. It was so close, Duck. I was so close to him. I . . . I touched his hand, for a second, I . . . Damn it, Duck. If only I'd –"

"Jethro," Ducky said quietly, still letting his hand rest on his lover's knee. Again he moved forward so that he could see Jethro's face and, more importantly, so that Jethro could see his face. "Whilst I do not necessarily agree with Jennifer that Lieutenant Arnett was dead the moment he stepped out onto the ledge, he was, however, dead the moment the bullet hit him. You could not have saved him then, my dear. And you know it. At the moment the bullet entered his body, whether it killed him instantaneously or not, he was a dead weight. You had no purchase on the ledge; you could not have held him. Even if you had managed to get a grip on his hand, you could not have held him, and you could not have pulled him up. All you could have done was to . . ." Now Ducky, irritated with himself for being unable to speak, trailed off. He swallowed hard and forced the words out. "All you could have done was to have gone with him. And then we would have had two bodies rather than one." He spoke flatly, his voice colder than it normally was when speaking to Jethro, to anyone really, but he had to; it was the only way he could bring himself to say the words. "And," he added softly, "Do not forget, Anthony, Timothy, Ziva, Abigail and myself were still watching you."

A myriad of emotions flashed across the handsome face and through the dark gaze; not all of them pleasant or positive ones. Then the unpleasant faded and, although he still looked grim, still looked less than happy, the way Jethro usually looked at Ducky was in evidence. "You're right, Duck. Know that really. I just –"

"Don't want to admit it? You are only human, dearest. No matter what Anthony and the others think."

After a moment or two, Jethro put his hand over the one Ducky had on his knee. "You know what, Duck? It's not Arnett's death that's really getting to me. I mean it is, it was a needless death, carried out by a heartless, unfeeling bitch, planned and executed in a really nasty manner, but . . ."

"He was ultimately in a high risk career, spent time in extremely high risk places, and as such, knew his life was on the line every moment of ever day. Even if he didn't expect his 'wife' to be the one from whom he was most at risk." Ducky didn't make it a question; there was no need.

"Yeah."

Ducky waited.

He went on waiting.

Finally, he turned over his hand, interlaced his fingers with Jethro's. He looked at his lover and spoke, quietly but firmly, in the tone that even Special Agent Gibbs, the man and the lover, did not argue with. "Then what is it, dearest?"

Jethro looked at him. Still he said nothing. The heavily shielded dark gaze gave nothing away.

Ducky waited again.

Finally Jethro spoke. "Rachel."

"Jethro?" Ducky kept his voice quiet, soft, unthreatening, unaccusatory.

"Rachel Arnett. His seventeen year-old sister. I called her earlier tonight."

"Oh, Jethro," Ducky murmured. "Oh, my dear, dear, Jethro." He moved a little and pulled Jethro into his arms.

Jethro allowed himself, for that was what it was, Ducky knew that, to be gathered into the embrace. Nonetheless, although he submitted to the embrace, he held himself stiffly for a long moment, not letting himself accept the comfort Ducky was trying to give him. Ducky merely continued to hold his lover, not speaking, not moving his hands, not moving at all, not doing anything; just waiting.

Finally, just as Ducky's injured leg began to protest, he felt some of the stiffness leave his lover's body and Jethro sank into the embrace, putting his own arms around Ducky to complete the circle. "Want you, Duck," he murmured.

"I know." Ducky stroked Jethro's head. "But tell me about Rachel first."

Jethro sighed, sat up and frowned at Ducky. Then the harsh look faded and instead his expression became rueful. He took Ducky's hand again and put his other arm around Ducky's shoulders, and pulled him back against his body. "You know, Duck, one of these days, you're going to get it wrong." His tone, however, clearly stated that he did not believe his own words.

Ducky moved forward again, so that he could see Jethro's face. "The day I am, my dear, is the day you have my full permission to ignore my words and do whatever you wish to do to me." He was happy to see the raised eyebrow and the half-leer Jethro offered him. "The sooner you tell me, the sooner we can go to bed; you do realize that, do you not?

Jethro flashed him what could pass for a very small half-smile. "As I said she was his seventeen year-old kid sister. She was the reason he was coming in, not the bitch he'd married. Maybe I should have picked up on that more; I just reckoned it was because she'd left him, thought she was having an affair. Maybe I should have –"

"Rachel," Ducky said calmly, settling back into the half-embrace.

"Oh, yeah. When I mentioned her to Arnett and pointed out that she didn't want to remember her senior year at High School as being the year her brother had taken his own life; that was when he decided to trust me. That was when he put the gun down. That was when he was about to take my hand. And that was when he was shot. His kid sister mattered to him more than his wife did. Of course by then he knew about her, knew what she'd done, or at least he had some idea. He knew that the only way his contact could have been uncovered was through him. He knew he hadn't done it, so it had to be someone else. And something in him, I reckon, told him it was Dana. He knew what he had to face, but he still loved Rachel enough to face it. I should have known."

"You couldn't have known, Jethro. As you say you believed Dana Arnett was involved with someone else. You couldn't have had any idea of the truth."

"Know that really. Anyway, when I saw how much Rachel meant to Arnett, I knew I had to call her. I couldn't just let her hear the news from some detached, uninvolved person who probably hadn't even met Arnett. Or worse still let the only person she heard from be Walsh. I got Jardine to find her number for me and I called her."

"You did the right thing."

"Did I? You sure?"

"Yes, I am."

"Looking back, I'm not sure I did. What right had I to call her? I said 'I knew your brother'. Christ, Duck, I'd been out on a ledge with him for three, four minutes tops, how does that equate to 'knowing' him?"

Once again Ducky moved forward; this time he turned fully and took Jethro's hands. "You knew the most important thing, Jethro, the thing that above all others Rachel wanted to hear."

Jethro looked skeptically at him. "I did?"

"Yes." Ducky nodded. "You knew how much Michael Arnett loved his sister; you were able to tell her that. You were able to tell her that it had been her, thinking of her, knowing what his death would do to her, that prevented him from taking his own life. You did tell her that, did you not?"

Jethro nodded. "Yeah, I did. Not as eloquently as you'd have done it, but I told her. She seemed glad to hear that. It seemed to help, least I hope it did. She cried for a bit, then became calm and thanked me. Told me what a wonderful, loving, caring brother he was, and that at least his death meant something. She took comfort in that. Took comfort in the fact that his murder brought a terrorist to justice."

"You told her?"

"Maybe a bit more than I should have done. But she had a right to know, Duck. She had a right to know that Arnett was murdered and why. She had a right to know that even though he'd gone out on the ledge to commit suicide, it was because he'd been driven to it. Because he'd been drugged; she had the right to remember her brother as the man he was. The man she loved, the good man, the good sailor. She had that right. Okay, so she'd probably have heard in time, maybe, or not. I doubt Walsh would have been that forthcoming; probably have buried the whole thing somehow. But I wasn't going to let the poor kid think her brother had tried to commit suicide. Because he didn't. He was murdered, Duck. He was murdered before the shot hit him."

"Yes, Jethro, I know."

Jethro continued to speak as if he hadn't heard Ducky. "Even if he had jumped, he'd still have been murdered. And she had a right to know that. So I told her."

"You did the right thing, dearest," Ducky said again, now beginning to stroke the palm of one of Jethro's hands, which he still held in a loose but secure grip. And Jethro had done the 'right' thing, at least in Ducky's eyes. Just because he might not have done the 'correct' thing in Captain Walsh's eyes, or maybe even in Jennifer's eyes, at least when she was wearing her 'Director of NCIS hat'. But Jethro had done the right thing. The right thing for Rachel Arnett. The right thing for Michael Arnett. And, what mattered most to Ducky, the right thing for Jethro himself.

"Thanks, Duck." Was all his lover said, with words, at least with words. His eyes, however, offered a lot more.

Ducky smiled. "Anytime, Jethro. Now," he said, his tone sultry; he began to increase the pressure as he stroked Jethro's palm, letting his fingertips move around, flirting with the gun and tool callused skin. He slid nearer to his lover, learning in and allowing the natural scent, the hint of remaining Old Spice shaving foam that mingled with the smells that never seemed to leave Jethro: coffee and sawdust, wrap itself around him. He ran this tongue around his lips, eliciting a moan from his lover, before moving even closer and repeating the gesture on Jethro's mouth.

He pulled back before Jethro could turn it into a kiss. "Now," he said again, letting one of Jethro's hands fall and beginning to caress Jethro's hard thigh. "I do believe that I have had enough whiskey, for now at least. I think it is time we went up to bed. Unless," he added, brushing his hand over Jethro's growing arousal, "you wish to make love here."

As he pushed his lower body up into Ducky's hand, Jethro slid his own hand behind Ducky's head, pulled him to him and this time was successful in kissing him. As Jethro's tongue flicked over Ducky's lips, Ducky parted his mouth and invited Jethro inside. Under his hand, his lover was becoming more aroused by the moment. Now Ducky turned his light stroking and flirting into the kind of touch and strokes he knew his lover liked.

To his surprise though, after a moment or two, Jethro stopped him. A firm hand clamped down over his and held him still. At the same time Jethro pulled away from the kiss, and slid the hand he had behind Ducky's head around to cup his face.

"Jethro?" Ducky was puzzled. "Don't you want . . ." He trailed off.

Jethro swallowed and shook his head. "Yeah, I do. Very much. But not here, Duck. It'll hurt your leg too much." He swallowed. "I want you in my bed. I want you, Duck. I want you so much."

Ducky smiled and found himself having to swallow around the lump in his throat. Jethro was right, making love on Jethro's sofa would have hurt Ducky's leg; it would have hurt it a lot. But Ducky had been prepared to suffer through the pain, if it meant not breaking the moment, not interfering with the healing process, not diluting the comfort he was giving the man who meant more to him than the rest of the world; more to him than his own comfort, his own life, did. "Well, my dear, why are we still sitting here?" he asked, again licking his lips.

Jethro moaned, pushed himself once more against the hand Ducky still had over his arousal, then with obvious reluctance moved Ducky's hand and adjusted himself, hissing as the thick material of his shorts must have brushed over his sensitive tip. He then stood up, the movement not quite as fluid and continuous as it usually was, and offered his hand to Ducky and pulled him to his feet.

Ducky found himself not only tugged to his feet, but also gathered into Jethro's arms and pulled against his body and held; held just as Jethro had held him the evening they'd made up after Jethro's resignation, flight to Mexico and return. And as then, Jethro put his lips to Ducky's ear and spoke softly to him. "Don't know what I'd do without you, Duck. You know that, right?"

And Ducky did know that; even if sometimes Jethro's actions contradicted that knowledge. But now wasn't the time to think of anything, or anyone, else. Now was the time to make love. "Of course I do, my dear," he said, moving his body very slightly, teasing his lover with the light pressure. "Now, please, take me to bed, Jethro, before I forget just what making love on the sofa or even the floor will do to my leg."

Jethro chuckled, kissed the tip of Ducky's ear, just as he'd done on numerous occasions, including the embrace they'd shared at the office, before pulling away, taking Ducky's hand and leading him upstairs.

Once in Jethro's bedroom, Jethro switched on the bedside lamps, turned back the bedcovers and moved back towards Ducky. He began to strip Ducky, pausing between the removal of each item of clothing to kiss or caress part of Ducky. When all that was left of Ducky's clothing was his shorts, Jethro turned his kisses to Ducky's mouth and his caresses to Ducky's own growing arousal.

As Jethro stroked him, lightly, slowly, sensually, using the cotton as an aid to Ducky's pleasure rather than a hindrance, Ducky moaned. "Jethro," he murmured, parting his lips and again inviting Jethro's tongue into this mouth. As foreplay went this kind of touch was his favorite, and Jethro knew it. He felt his shorts grown damp as Jethro continued to make love to him, felt his whole body begin to tingle and grow warm.

The fact that his lover was still mostly clothed increased Ducky's pleasure, his enjoyment, his desire. Ducky accepted the loving, the caressing, the knowledgeable touching, knowing that making love to him, showing him how cherished he was, giving him what he wanted, was as comforting and pleasurable to Jethro as his own enjoyment.

He moaned into the kiss as he stroked Jethro's neck, using his fingers in just the way his lover liked. "Oh, Jethro," he managed again, as he broke the kiss in order to gain some breath. He shivered as Jethro's put his hand around him and began to move it.

"Want me to finish you like this, Duck?"

Ducky shook his head. "Strip me," he murmured. "Please, hurry, Jethro."

Now Jethro's touches gentled even more; now he stroked to calm, to bring Ducky down from the edge he'd reached. After a moment of two of the light caresses, he ceased to touch, kissed Ducky's nose and then, with a sure movement, removed the last of Ducky's clothing. "Get into bed," he murmured, guiding Ducky down.

Ducky obeyed, shifting a little, making himself comfortable as he watched Jethro begin to remove the remainder of his clothes.

Jethro never took his eyes off him, not once, not for a second. "Touch yourself, Duck," he murmured. "Touch yourself for me. Want to see you."

Ducky did, letting his fingers stroke, flirt with his warm, firm arousal. Jethro groaned as he watched, and pulled the rest of his clothes off in haste. Under Ducky's gaze, he touched himself, once, echoing Ducky's gesture, before joining Ducky in the bed, gently pushing Ducky's fingers away and returning his own to their rightful place.

"That's it, Duck. Let me. Hush," Jethro murmured as Ducky moaned under the sure, knowledgeable, intensive evocative, loving caresses. He continued to stroke and touch Ducky, exactly the way Ducky liked to be stroked and touched. The caresses became more and more and more intimate, the kisses deeper and more intense, passion flared, waned, flared again, hovered, touched them, gathered them, enticed them; the love was unconditional, unbounded.

Again and again Jethro brought Ducky to the edge of completion, held him there and brought him back down again. Again and again he showed Ducky how much he loved him, wanted him, needed him; how well, how deeply, how intimately he knew him. The world faded away until it was simply the one bed, in the one room, in the one house. The intensity was almost too much, but it still wasn't enough.

Finally Jethro lifted his mouth from Ducky's, made a barely perceptible change in his grip, put his lips to Ducky's ear and murmured, "Now, Duck. Come for me, now." Ducky did. "I love you, Duck," Jethro whispered. "Love you so much. Love you," he repeated, as he held Ducky's shuddering body, held his softening arousal, held onto him as if he was the only person he would ever hold again.

When Ducky opened his eyes after what could have been minutes, hours or even days, he saw Jethro was still there, still smiling at him, still gazing at him with the love he always showed, even if sometimes it hidden more clearly than at others. The dark gaze was even darker than usual, Jethro's lips were swollen and his cheeks were flushed. Against his thigh, Ducky could feel Jethro's own firm, taut erection, could feel the dampness leaking from the tip.

He knew what Jethro wanted; he'd known it even before he'd arrived at the house; he saw it in the dark gaze, felt it in the way Jethro's fingers touched his skin. He then had it confirmed when Jethro said softly, his voice heavy with desire, "Want you, Duck. Need you," the final two words were nothing more than a fainter than faint whisper; little more than a breath. But they were said.

It took mere minutes. They knew one another that well. Were at peace with, at ease with, one another to that degree. The trust Ducky had in his lover knew no bounds; nor did his love. He moved into his preferred position, offered his mouth for another kiss and groaned, with pleasure not with pain, as Jethro slid effortlessly into him, accepting the final piece of comfort of healing that Ducky had to offer him.

"I love you too, my dearest Jethro," Ducky murmured, scant seconds before Jethro's completion overtook both of them.

It was enough.

It was more than enough.

It was much more than enough.

In his arms, in his body, surrounded by his love, devotion, care and acceptance, Leroy Jethro Gibbs was his, one hundred percent his. Totally, utterly and forever.

Sleep finally claimed them over an hour later.

Chapters: 1

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MTAC - NCIS Fic