Title: Waiting for Ducky (Gibbs/Ducky)
Rating: PG-13 for implied slash relationship
Spoilers: Hiatus II
Summary: Gibbs can't decide if he should go home and turns to Ducky for help.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction and not intended for profit. I do not own the characters.
A/N: Dedicated to crimsonquills in recognition of all her work with both ncis_flashfic and the NCIS Wiki
Gibbs was supposed to be sitting on the shore fishing and relaxing. All the elements were in place: the sand was warm, the sky was a brilliant cerulean blue and the sun was casting little diamonds of lights on the tops of the waves. But he was restless and didn’t feel like sitting. Originally he had thought this was what he needed, to come down to Mike’s place in Mexico, away from civilization and cell phones and forget about NCIS. He glanced at the ocean and at his fishing rod jammed under a rock. It was beautiful and peaceful and serene and driving him crazy. He had thought that this was what he needed, but it turned out that it wasn’t enough. He was getting stir-crazy. For one thing, he didn’t have his boat to work on, plus he missed his team. Once a week or so he went to the cantina to use their phone and he called Fornell to see what was happening, and he and Ducky spoke several times a week, but he missed the interaction with the other members of his team. On the other hand, he had absolutely no desire to return to NCIS and Director Shepard. He had enough of Jen to last him a lifetime. A very, very, long lifetime. In fact, by his reckoning he had already gone through two lifetimes with her. Once when she was his partner, and another when she became Director. He still couldn’t get the image of the boat blowing up out of his mind; it seemed to be burnt on his retinas.
Perhaps a small dose of Ducky would cause him to forget his desire to be doing something. He and Ducky had been intimate friends for so many years that Ducky always knew what he needed and how to take care of him. He should call Duck after dinner. In the meantime, now that he had the beginnings of a plan, he might as well fish. He laid back with his head on his arms and closed his eyes. He began thinking of just what he wanted to say to Ducky, composing phrases in his mind. If any fish actually bit, they would have to take care of themselves.
Later that evening, when he knew that Mrs. Mallard would probably be sleeping, he picked up the phone and dialled a number he had called hundreds of times before. Ducky answered on the third ring.
“Jethro? What’s wrong, dearest?”
Gibbs smiled inwardly. After all these years Ducky could read any intonation of his voice perfectly, even if Gibbs only said a single word. There was something wonderful about having a friend that was basically an extension of yourself. Gibbs could feel the restlessness drain out of his body and a sense of peace take over. Ducky always had a calming effect on him.
“Nothing’s wrong, Duck. I just miss everyone. Especially you.”
Ducky’s voice softened and he said gently, “And I miss you. Are you ready to come back or do you just need to talk?”
“I don’t think it’s time to return yet, Duck, but I was wondering... Don’t you have a convention or something coming up?”
“Yes, I have that meeting in San Francisco next week.”
Gibbs took a deep breath. “Duck, what if I came to San Francisco and we can spend time together when you’re not involved in meetings? I just want to be with you.”
There was a moment’s pause and then Ducky said, “Jethro, you should know you never need to ask if I want to be with you. Of course I do.”
After a little more discussion about travel and hotel arrangements and where to meet, they ended the call. Gibbs had wanted to meet Ducky at the airport but the Medical Examiner wasn’t having any of that. He insisted he would take a taxi from the airport.
As planned, the next week Gibbs arrived at the Omni hotel. Exiting the taxi, he looked at the hotel’s façade with approval. The high, arched doorway flanked by liveried doormen hinted at the luxury and high-class style to be found inside. As always, he wanted Ducky to have the best. While this was not the level of the Ritz-Carlton, it was still a wonderful place. The bed was large and had fluffy pillows stacked against the headboard, the windows had gauzy drapes to diffuse the light and the whole room had a quiet peaceful atmosphere. Just the type of place to sit and talk with his best friend. Besides, it was on Nob Hill so they could walk to many places together and, best of all, it had a romantic atmosphere. While Gibbs was not known for having a tender side, he knew it would appeal to Ducky.
Gibbs checked his watch. Ducky wasn’t due for at last another hour, assuming his flight was on time. Gibbs had arrived early to make sure everything was perfect; so now he had enough time left to take a shower. He entered the bathroom, admiring the pristine white towels and the hotel’s bathrobes and turned on the water. For a few minutes he just enjoyed the feeling of the spray on his body then his imagination turned to other things. Looking around at the stall, he realized that it would easily accommodate two people and a grin crossed his face.
Dried, dressed and as ready as he’d ever be, Gibbs sat down to wait for Ducky. Or he attempted to, but his body wouldn’t relax. He got back to his feet and started pacing the room, twitching back the curtains every so often to peer at the arriving taxis. He kept hoping he’d see Ducky clamber out of one of them, but at the moment they all seemed to be empty. A feeling of disappointment came over him every time he realized Ducky hadn’t arrived; until this moment he hadn’t admitted to himself just how much he missed the older man.
The time for Ducky’s arrival came and went and still Gibbs paced the room. He couldn’t settle down. In addition, now he was worried that something had delayed Ducky or even prevented him from coming. In the rational part of his mind he knew Ducky would have called him if that was the case, but it didn’t make the restless energy diminish. He had made a trip to the lobby to be closer to the cabs so that he could see Ducky the instant he arrived, but now he was back in the room after having received a glare from the doorman. Having a man pacing and muttering in the lobby glowering at each cab as it pulled in was not exactly in keeping with the image the hotel was trying to portray. So he had gone back to their room where he could pace all he wanted and look angrily out the window every few minutes. It felt as if fate was playing tricks with him. Yellow taxis, all with advertising signs on their roofs, kept pulling up to the arched entryway raising his hopes but none of them disgorged Ducky.
He left the window for a minute, grabbed the ice bucket and went down to the ice machine, more for a chance to walk off some energy then because they needed ice. As soon as he got back in the room he returned to the window and once again moved the sheer curtains aside to stare at all the taxis. He was beginning to feel as if the taxis were just toying with him. Still no Ducky, dammit. Gibbs pulled out his cellphone, considered trying to call his friend, than returned the phone to his pocket. Ducky was a big boy, he’d call if something had delayed him.
Leaving the window for a moment, Gibbs decided to get a glass of water now that he had ice. He turned his back to the window and the empty taxis and began to unwrap a glass. The crinkling of the paper masked any noise so he was unprepared for the voice behind him.
“Ducky!” In the surprise at hearing his lover’s voice he forgot entirely the scripted words he had planned to use and just reached out and hugged the smaller man to him. Ducky reached around his waist and embraced him back just as tightly. For several long minutes neither spoke, just enjoying the feeling of each other and how right it was to be together.
Eventually Jethro had the presence of mind to realize that Ducky was still wearing his coat and hat and released him from the hug. Not that Ducky seemed to be in any hurry to get free. It suddenly entered Gibbs’ mind that he had done Ducky a tremendous disservice. While Gibbs had been able to go off with Mike, he had left Ducky basically without any close friends. He had had no one to talk to about his mother, no one to drink bourbon with, no one to touch. While Ducky had many friends, they tended to be younger and he did not share personal things with them.
Gibbs coaxed Ducky onto the couch, sat next to him, and draped his arm around the older man’s shoulders. Ducky leaned into the touch and dropped his head on Gibbs’ shoulder. Gibbs looked down at Ducky’s hair, darker now but as silky and beautiful as it had been when they first met. He dropped a kiss onto Ducky’s hair and held him just a little bit tighter.
“I’m sorry, Duck. I guess I’ve been a little selfish. I was thinking of my pain and didn’t stop to consider what it would do to you.”
“It’s all right, dearest,” said Ducky. “You needed the time to heal.”
Gibbs swallowed hard at the understanding and forgiveness he heard in those words. Only his Ducky would think of others before worrying about his own needs.
“I’m not ready to come back, Duck. I think about it and how I miss Abby and you, especially you, and my team. But then I think of Jen and I can feel my hands clenching, trying to get around her neck.”
“I suppose poison is out of the question?” said Ducky wistfully, turning his head to glance up at his friend.
Gibbs laughed. “Have you forgotten Abby can trace anything? She’s good at her job.”
“So am I, my dear. And I bet if we told Abby she’d find a way to supply the poison.”
“You make it sound like an Agatha Christie mystery,” Gibbs said, tightening his arm around Ducky. “And I would miss you horribly if you were in jail.”
“As long as I got to perform the autopsy I wouldn’t go to jail,” Ducky stated confidently.
“What about Jimmy?”
“Dearest, you seem to be operating under the delusion that your team likes Jen. In actually, I think that if I tried to take a scalpel to her chest that the team would just ask me how deep it needed to be pushed and did I need a second pair of hands.”
“Oh, Duck, I have missed you so much,” said Gibbs. “I need to come home.”
“But not before you’re ready,” said Ducky, lifting his head to give Gibbs a soft kiss. Then he snuggled down onto Jethro again.
Gibbs wrapped his free arm around Ducky and pulled him into the hollow of his body, laying his head on Ducky’s. He had just realized something very important. He didn’t need to go back to N.C.I.S. just yet. Home was wherever Ducky was.