AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
CHARACTERS: Gibbs, Ducky
SUMMARY: A sequel to Ultimatum. As he watches Ducky walk away from him, Gibbs knows his lover meant what he said. He has to make a decision.
CHALLENGE Amnesty 2007 - Discriminate
WORD COUNT: 700
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
I stood and watched him go.
Go out of the elevator.
Go out and join the kids, who were waiting for him.
I stood and watched him and said nothing.
There was nothing I could say.
He'd stunned me. And that's putting it mildly.
He'd done what I'd never thought he'd do: give me an ultimatum.
As I watched him accept the hugs and kisses and gifts, I knew.
I knew he'd meant what he'd said.
It was him or them.
And I had to decide.
I had to choose.
My time had run out.
I couldn’t have it all any longer.
I'd been given ultimatums before and I'd always walked away.
I don't like to be forced into a corner.
I don't like to have to choose.
I don't like to be made to choose.
What the hell did he think he was playing at?
What he should have done years ago.
Maybe. But that didn't make it right. Did it?
I watched him and I knew that he knew I was watching him.
And I knew something else: he didn't care.
At that moment he didn't care what my decision was.
He just wanted it to be over, one way or another.
Later he'd care. I knew that. He'd care a lot. But for now.
For now he didn't.
I've made a lot of wrong decisions in my life. A lot of wrong choices.
Now I had less than eight hours to make the most important decision I'd ever had to make. Somehow I knew 'by the end of the day' meant 'by the end of the working day'.
Whatever decision I made now, I was bound by for the rest of my life.
If I choose 'them', that was it. I'd never have him in my arms, in my bed, again.
If I choose 'him', that was it. I'd never have anyone else in my arms, in my bed, again.
No one can make that kind of decision in eight hours. I shouldn’t have to.
He couldn't expect me to. It was impossible.
Or was it?
Why couldn't I make it?
Didn't I know what it was?
No one gives me ultimatums. No one. Not even him.
He must have known what my decision would be when he gave me it.
And if that’s what he wanted, then . . .
Suddenly I realized I couldn't see him any longer.
The kids had now surrounded him completely.
He was cut off from me.
Of course he wasn't, but . . .
I felt as though I'd lost part of me.
Damn it. No one should have that effect on another person.
No one should have that much of a hold over someone else.
But he couldn’t if you didn't want him to have.
And that's when I knew.
In that split second before DiNozzo moved to one side and I could see him again.
That's when I knew.
That's when I knew what my decision was going to be.
What my decision was.
What my decision had to be.
For the first time in my life I had to make the right choice.
I had to make the sensible choice.
I swallowed hard. Damn it, but it hurt.
Not as much as the alternative.
There was no point in waiting. Not now.
Not now I'd decided.
In five strides I was across the office and behind him.
I put my hand on his arm. "Duck."
For a second I felt him freeze under my touch.
Then he turned and looked up at me.
He didn't speak. He just looked up at me.
And I saw it.
I saw nothing.
I saw nothing in the steady gaze.
The steady gaze that normally broadcasts his every feeling was closed to me.
The kids had all fallen silent too.
They seemed to know.
Seemed to pick up on something.
None of them moved, least not away.
They just stood in silence.
Looking at us.
"Duck," I said again. And fell silent.
I didn't know how to say it.
I didn't have the words.
So instead . . .
So instead. I kissed him.