Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 813
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Episode Related, Established Relationship, Friendship, General
Summary: Set immediately after Internal Affairs. Gibbs leaves Jenny's office only to find Ducky waiting for him in the elevator.
Being deeply loved gives you strength; deeply loving someone gives you courage.
"Long live the Queen." With those words, Gibbs turned and strode out of Jenny's office.
He felt physically sick.
She'd done it again.
But once again he had no proof. Once again he only had his gut to go on; at least this time he wasn't screwing her.
He hit the button and the elevator doors opened. They opened on Ducky.
Despite having left his lover in his basement, Gibbs wasn't overly surprised to see him standing there. Somehow their almost telepathic link seemed capable of sustaining itself over great distances.
He entered the car and the doors shut behind him. As it began to move, he leaned against one of the walls and for a moment closed his eyes.
Seconds later the elevator came to a halt. It didn't take a genius to work out that Ducky had pressed the emergency stop button.
And then Ducky was close to him, way inside his personal space, except he and Ducky didn't bother about such things around one another, his body brushing lightly against Gibbs's own. "Tell me," Ducky said quietly.
Gibbs opened his eyes and looked down into Ducky's steady loving gaze. He brushed his hand across the top of Ducky's head, letting the tips of his fingers flirt with his lover's forehead. He didn't answer immediately; just for a moment he wanted to delay things. At least while he didn't speak it aloud he could keep up the pretence.
"Jethro," Ducky said quietly, after another moment or two had gone by.
He couldn't delay the inevitable any longer.
Sliding his hands around Ducky and tugging him into a loose embrace, Gibbs said, his tone flat, "She's involved." As Ducky's arms slid around him, completing the circle, he felt his world balance out for the first time since Fornell had appeared in the squad room.
"Ah." Ducky always knew exactly how much to say.
"Yeah. The Frog didn’t take her gun that night. He left it on her desk. There's only one way it could have gotten to the marina, and that's if Jenn had taken it."
"Or, she was, perhaps burgled? But I imagine that would be rather too much of a coincidence."
"Yeah. And you know what I think of them. Nah, she's involved, Duck. Even if she didn't pull the trigger, she knows who did."
Ducky sighed and settled against him a little. "Jethro," his tone contained a very slight hint of hesitation.
Gibbs frowned, and pushed Ducky back a little. He looked down at his lover. "Yeah, Duck?"
Ducky met his gaze, and then for a moment glanced away.
After a second or two the steady, loving gaze returned to him. "Is it at all possible that someone, La Grenouille's killer, did break into Jennifer's home and stole her gun. I know that you have little time for coincidences, but your beliefs aside, my dear, they do exist. Perhaps - "
Gibbs shook his head. "No," he said, pulling Ducky back against him. He kissed the top of Ducky's head, before reluctantly releasing him. "Tobias showed me his report on Jenn," he said, his tone grim.
Ducky's eyes widened. "Oh," was all he said.
"Yeah. Come on, let's get the hell out of here." Gibbs reached for the button to restart the elevator.
Ducky stopped him. "What are we going to do?" he asked quietly.
Gibbs swallowed and looked down at him. "We aren't going to do anything, Duck. I am."
"But, Jethro, I –"
Gibbs shook his head. "No," he said, his tone forceful. He gripped Ducky's arms. "No, Duck. I am not involving you. I am not risking you. I'm going to do what has to be done. I have to. I let her walk away once before; this time I will bring her down."
For a moment Ducky just looked up at him, he seemed to be searching Gibbs's face, his eyes, for something more.
After a moment or two, he appeared to have found it, as he simply raised his hand and lightly stroked Gibbs's face. "Very well, my dear," he said quietly. "But promise me one thing, please."
Gibbs nodded. "What is it?"
"You will take care. I do not wish to, indeed I cannot, lose you."
Gibbs smiled and squeezed Ducky's shoulder. "Yeah, Duck," he said. "I promise."
And he meant it. He really did. He was foolish at times; he knew that. He did take risks; some might say unnecessary risks. But now he had something, someone, to lose. He had someone worth staying alive for. He had Ducky.
Loving Ducky as he did gave him the courage to do what had to be done.
Being loved by Ducky as he was gave him the strength to do what had to be done – and to survive it.