AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
CHARACTERS: Gibbs, Ducky
SUMMARY: Set after Ex-File. Gibbs questions Ducky.
CHALLENGE Amnesty 2008 - 'Trust'
WORD COUNT: 600
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
RESTON HOUSE - 9TH OCTOBER 2007
"Why did you do it?" Jethro glared down at his dearest friend and lover.
"Tell Hollis about Shannon and Kelly."
"Because you cannot." Ducky met his stare unblinkingly. His tone was matter-of-fact.
"Tell a woman to 'get lost'." Ducky continued to meet Jethro's gaze and continued to speak in the same matter-of-fact tone. And yet his own eyes, usually open for anyone, Jethro in particular, seemed shuttered.
"What?" Jethro asked in confusion.
Now the matter-of-fact tone changed and became harder, more determined as Ducky spoke slowly and precisely. "Three times, Jethro. Three times I have patched you up - physically and emotionally. I cannot do it anymore. But worse still, you cannot."
For a moment Jethro glanced away from the shuttered gaze. "I don't know what you mean."
Ducky sighed and again his tone changed. It became gentler and softer, more like his normal tone, and yet he sounded a little weary. "Yes, Jethro, you do. You cannot tell a woman to go away. You cannot end the relationship. You cannot tell her you are no longer interested. You cannot do that, so I simply provided the ammunition."
"By telling her about Shannon and Kelly?" Jethro spoke harshly.
"Yes," Ducky said simply.
"Why?" That was what Jethro still couldn't understand.
"Because if you really loved her, really cared for her, you would already have told her. But no, just like the other three, like all your girl-friends, you didn't."
"So you did?" Part of Jethro couldn't believe they were standing in Ducky's sitting-room having this conversation. Part of him still couldn't believe his oldest, closest, most loyal friend had - He cut off the thought. Even now, even in his own mind he couldn't, he wouldn't, use the word 'betrayed'.
"But why?" He had to know. Ducky had to tell him why. He had to have had a reason. He had to have had. It was Ducky. Ducky always had a reason. And Jethro needed there to be a reason. A good reason. A damned good reason.
Ducky spoke quietly, but a hint of the steely determination Jethro knew existed in his friend could be heard in the low tone. "I knew that my telling her would force her hand and he would either realise the truth herself, or she would confront you and demand to know why you hadn't told her. Either way, I knew it would resolve the situation."
"Sure that's the only reason, Duck?"
Jethro stared down at his old friend. The pale gaze was no longer closed to him; instead he read what he always did: a deep and lasting affection for him. And he also saw a touch of relief hovering there as well as a question.
Jethro swallowed hard. Damn it all, but Ducky was right with what he'd said: he couldn't tell a woman to get lost. If Ducky hadn't done what he'd done, he'd almost certainly be standing in front of Ducky in a few weeks, maybe months, asking him to be his best man for the fifth time. And then a few months after that standing or sitting while Ducky did indeed patch him up - physically and emotionally.
Ducky had saved him that. Ducky had had a reason for what he'd done. A damn good reason. He was lucky to have such a loyal and caring friend.
He sighed softly and gently, as he'd done months earlier when they'd made up after Mexico, pulled Ducky into an embrace. "Thank you, Duck," he whispered softly, his lips against Ducky's ear. He felt and heard Ducky's sigh of relief.