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Alphabet Meme. Gibbs/Ducky (NCIS) - Nikki's Notations
A Slash Friendly Journal
nakeisha
nakeisha
Alphabet Meme. Gibbs/Ducky (NCIS)
TITLE: Promises Kept
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
FANDOM: NCIS
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
GENRE: Slash
SUB-GENRE: First Time
SUMMARY: Gibbs made himself a promise. However, will he be in a position to keep it?
RATING: G
WORD COUNT: 3,440
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for duckys_lady: P - Promises (09/26)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.




"Well, here I am again, Jethro. I promised you I would return today. I'm sorry I'm a little later than usual. However, Mr. Palmer - oh, dear, I really must remember to call him 'Jimmy'; after all he has worked by my side for so long now. And I do call him 'Jimmy', at least I do most of the time, but I must remember to refer to him as thus. Do you remember, my dear, it was you who asked me what he had done to - and I quote you - 'piss you off' - and I was stunned and didn't understand what you meant." Ducky laughed softly. "You explained how I still, after several years, still called and referred to him as 'Mr. Palmer' and not 'Jimmy', at least I did most of the time, whereas I called the other children by their given names and so you wondered what he had done to upset me. Do you remember that, Jethro? No, I suppose you do not, why would you? Now what was I saying? Ah, yes, the reason I was late. But that's really of no concern, is it?" Ducky fell silent, sighed softly, took his hat and overcoat off and sat down on the chair by Jethro's hospital bed and took Jethro's hand.

He sat for a moment or two longer, just staring at Jethro and trying to decide if he looked any better or worse since the last time Ducky had been here - some twenty-four hours ago. Deciding that actually there was no change, he carefully put Jethro's hand down and stood up again. This t time he moved to the bottom of the bed and picked up Jethro's chat. Yes, it was all as his look had told him: no change.

He sighed again and once more sat back down and took Jethro's hand. "Well," he said, cheerfully, "what shall we talk about today? Shall I tell you one of my stories? Or would you like to talk about something in particular? Or shall I tell you what has been going on since I was last here? Which would you prefer, Jethro?" He paused for a moment, chuckled and said, "What's been going on since I was last here, I thought as much. Well now, where to begin?"

For the next half an hour Ducky talked to Jethro telling him about everything that had happened at NCIS in the past twenty-four hours. He embellished at times; put a slightly different spin on certain things; left out the tears Abby had shed when she thought she was alone; omitted the bitter argument he had come across Anthony and Timothy having before both shame faced and trembling they had hugged, both claimed they were at fault and gone off far better friends than they had been for some time. He kept his news happy and cheerful. He even told Jethro about the new planned color scheme for the squad room.

Finally, he fell silent and cleared his throat; even for him, talking non-stop without any interruption for so long was somewhat tiring. He longed to hear Jethro snap at him in his fondly exasperated way and tell him they hadn't got time for stories. But Jethro just lay, still, silent, pale, present in body, but not in spirit.

There was a light tap on the door and a young trainee nurse appeared carrying a tray with a pot of tea, a plate of biscuits, a milk jug and a cup and saucer. "Hello, Dr. Mallard. I thought you'd be here, so I brought you some tea."

"Oh, that is kind of you, Jayne. Very kind. Are you certain you won't get into trouble?"

Jayne smiled. "No. It's only tea; no one minds. How is Agent Gibbs today?"

Ducky sighed. "Oh, about the same, I think."

"That's good isn't it?" Jayne said brightly and then flushed slightly. "I'm sorry," she said. "For a moment I forgot that you're . . ."

"A medical doctor?" Ducky spoke gently.

Jayne nodded. "Yes."

"That's all right, my dear. To be honest, a little cheer and brightness, even if it is only stating the 'correct' line, is just what I need."

She flushed again. "I'd better go," she said. "There are bedpans that need emptying." And with a bright smile, little fazed her for long, and a cheery wave, she hurried out of the room.

Ducky sighed and poured himself a cup of tea. "She means well," he said, looking at Jethro. "And I imagine her words do give comfort to most people." He took a sip of the tea and stared at Jethro. "Oh, Jethro," he said. "When are you going to wake up?"

For three months Jethro, following a bullet wound to the head, had been in a coma and he seemed no nearer to waking up now than he had done three months ago. And of course the longer one remained in a coma, the less the chances became that one would ever wake up.

"At least you're breathing on your own," Ducky murmured, which was something. Jethro didn't need a machine to keep him breathing; he wasn't being kept alive by machines. What was something for which Ducky was extremely grateful and not just because of the conversation he and Jethro had had one evening at Reston House.

Against his will his mind slipped back to that evening. Jethro had joined him for supper and after they had eaten they sat together in the sitting room and Jethro had extracted a promise from Ducky.

"Need you to promise me something, Duck?"

"If I can, Jethro, then I will of course do so."

"Need you to promise me, Duck, if I'm ever being kept alive by machines, you'll order them to be turned off. I don't want to be kept alive by machines, Duck. Will you promise me that?"

Thoughts, seemingly thousands of them, raced through Ducky's mind before he drained his glass of brandy, looked at Jethro, sighed softly and said in a very low, very formal tone, "Yes, Jethro. I give you my word." Jethro just held his gaze. Ducky sighed again and said in the same tone, "I give you my word that if you are ever being kept alive only by machines that I will," he paused, briefly closed his eyes, opened them again and said, "insist they are turned off."

Jethro nodded. "Good. Got it written down. Done a DNR too, but I want to be certain my wishes will be respected. There's no one I trust other than you to make sure they will be. You really do promise, don't you, Duck?"

Ducky nodded, after all hadn't he organized and signed exactly the same paperwork? "Yes, Jethro. Yes, I really do promise."

Jethro nodded and changed the subject.

Ducky blinked and pulled himself out of the memory and took a deep swallow of tea. "At least I don't have to face that decision - yet," he added. As he sipped his tea and nibbled a biscuit he wondered if he would have the strength, should the situation ever arise, to keep his promise. Surely the paperwork would be sufficient? Surely if it came down to it he wouldn't have to be the one to give instructions for his best friend, for the man he loved, the man with whom he was in love, to be allowed to die? Surely Jethro's written wishes would be enough to save him from that? Surely they had to be - didn't they? He dearly hoped so, because he feared were they not that Abigail and quite probably Anthony as well would never forgive him. They wouldn't understand; Timothy and Jimmy he suspected would; Tobias and Director Vance certainly would, but not Abigail and Anthony. If the day came when he ever had to order the death of Leroy Jethro Gibbs that would be the day when his life at NCIS would be over. In many ways that would be the day his life would be over. How would he go on, how would he exist, knowing that he had -

He pushed that thought away from his mind, along with the knowledge that no matter what it cost him to do it, he would honor Jethro's wishes; he would, if it came to it, keep his promise. It might destroy him, it would kill him - be it quickly or slowly - but he would keep his promise. Not to do so would be to devalue everything he and Jethro were, everything they had shared, their friendship, their love - even if the way they loved one another differed in one respect.

"Oh, Jethro," he said, swallowing hard and blinking some tears away. "I wish . . ." He fell silent, drained his cup, put it down, took Jethro's hand again and for several minutes simply sat in silence, before he once more began to talk.

~~~~~~~

Got to wake up.

Got to open my eyes.

Got to. Have to. Got to.

Got to for Duck.

Got to tell him something.

Got to tell him about the promise I once made myself.

Got to.

Got to wake up.

Got to open my eyes.

Got to. Have to. Got to.

Got to for Duck.

Got to tell him something.

Got to tell him about the promise I once made myself.

Got to.

TWO WEEKS LATER

"Good afternoon, Jethro my dear," Ducky said, aware his voice was falsely bright. He sighed; he was tired; he was bone tired; it had been a very long morning and in all honesty the last thing he had wanted to that afternoon was to go to the hospital. However, by now the habit was so ingrained, visiting Jethro had been become as much a part of his daily routine as his morning shower.

He took his overcoat and hat off, checked Jethro's chart and for yet another day acknowledged there hadn't been any change. Finally, he sat down by the side of Jethro's bed and for a moment closed his eyes before opening them again and taking Jethro's hand.

"Well, now let me tell you what has happened since I was last here." And as he had done every day for the last three months and two weeks, Ducky told Jethro about the day's happenings at NCIS and dutifully delivered the team's best wishes.

"Oh, Jethro," Ducky said, finally running out of things to tell the unconscious man. "When are you going to wake up?" He fell silent for a moment as he stared at Jethro before saying quietly, "Are you going to wake up?"

He was about to say something else when the door opened and Jayne appeared with his daily tray of tea. As always he smiled at her, passed the time of day, congratulated her on how well she had done in a recent test and thanked her for the tea. Once she had returned to the world outside of Jethro's hospital room, Ducky poured himself a cup of tea and mused as to what would happen if Jethro didn't wake up.

He should have woken up by now; there was no reason for him not to have done so - but was there any reason for him to wake up? Yes, there was his job, his friends, the children, but did any of those things constitute a good reason for him to wake up?

Some people never woke up; some people remained in comas until they died - was Jethro going to be one of those people? Was Ducky destined to return to the same room in the same hospital day after day after day until he was too old, too infirm to do so? Would Jethro want him to do so? Would Jethro want to remain in the state he was in until death finally took him from the world?

Ducky knew that answer to the final question. No, Jethro would not wish to remain in a coma, alive but not living, existing in whatever place he occupied, but what else could happen? Apart from nourishment he wasn't being kept alive by machines, he was breathing on his own; his heart beat was regular and strong. Apart from the small fact that he was unconscious, he was in very good health.

"Would you miss me if I didn't come to visit you every day, Jethro? Do you even know I am here? Can you still hear me? Could you ever hear me?" Ducky waited, as he always did after asking Jethro a direct question, just in case a miracle might happen and Jethro answered him. However, it appeared that yet another day would go by without a miracle happening.

"You know I once made myself a promise that the day would come when I would tell you of my true feelings for you. That I would tell you my love for you was not just that of a close friend, but that of a would be lover. Did you know? Did your special agent's investigative skills ever see the truth? Sometimes I tell myself that you must have known, or at the very least suspected, because you are such a fine agent, such a good investigator - it's almost impossible to keep things from you, as the children know only too well. However, at other times I tell myself you couldn't have known, because had you known or even suspected it would have changed things between us. I know you are open-minded and to you everyone is the same no matter what their creed or color or gender or sexual preference, but I'm not certain even you would be sanguine to discover your best friend is in love with you. Or would you have been? Would our friendship have been too important to you to risk losing it? It's for that reason I never spoke of my true feelings for you; I was not prepared to risk our friendship, to risk losing you from my life. And after all, what good would telling you have done? It wasn't as if my feelings would have been reciprocated, is it?"

Ducky fell silent and suddenly realized he felt far less exhausted and drained than he had done upon arriving at Jethro's bedside. "Well," he said, pouring himself another cup of tea. "I do believe I have kept the promise I made all those years ago. So now you do know, my dear. Now you do know of the way I love you. Or do you?" Ducky added the final words softly and sipped his tea.

~~~~~~~

Got to wake up.

Got to open my eyes.

Got to. Have to. Got to.

Got to for Duck.

Got to tell him something.

Got to tell him about the promise I once made myself.

Got to.

Got to wake up.

Got to open my eyes.

Got to. Have to. Got to.

Got to for Duck.

Got to tell him something.

Got to tell him about the promise I once made myself.

Got to.

TWO WEEKS LATER

The sound of the phone ringing awoke Ducky from the very pleasant dream he had been having. It took him no more than a second or two to go from being asleep to being fully awake as he reached for the phone. "Dr. Mallard speaking," he said, even though he fully expected the caller to be Anthony who would be calling to drag him out of his nice, warm, comfortable bed to go and look at a body.

"Hello, Dr. Mallard. It's Nurse Stephens. I am sorry to wake you up. However, Dr. Clarkson felt it was the best thing to do."Nurse Stephens spoke calmly and slightly slowly; clearly she was used to calling people in the middle of the night and was giving him time to fully wake up.

"What has happened?" he asked, hoping he didn't sound as afeared as he felt. "Has Jethro . . . Has something happened to Jethro?" Even as he spoke, he chided himself, why else would the hospital be calling him other than if something had happened to Jethro?

"Not exactly. It is just that he has been speaking your name."

"My name?"

"Yes. He said 'got to tell Duck something.' He said it several times and seemed almost distressed before he once again fell silent."

Ducky pushed the duvet back. "I'll be there as soon as I can."

"There really isn't -"

"I'll be there as soon as I can." Ducky spoke firmly and ended the call. The hospital had taken it upon themselves to call him to tell him, what had they expected him to do? Simply say 'thank you' 'goodnight' and go back to sleep?

Used over the years to being awoken during the night and called out into the dark, Ducky's routine had been honed to perfection, and less than twenty minutes later he was in the Morgan heading towards the hospital and Jethro.

"Dr. Clarkson will be along soon, Dr. Mallard," Nurse Stephens said, as she led Ducky to Jethro's room.

"Thank you, nurse," Ducky said and smiled.

"Well now, Jethro," he said, sitting down in the chair next to Jethro's bed. "I'm here. So what is it you have to tell me?" He didn't actually expect a reply, so Jethro's voice, sounding harsh and unused made him jump.

"Promise."

Ducky leaned nearer to Jethro and studied him. Was there eye movement behind the closed lids? Did Jethro's cheeks seem a little more flushed than usual? Was his coma-pallor just a little less? Had he actually spoken?

In all honesty, Ducky couldn't be certain; if put on a witness stand and asked to swear under oath, he couldn't have done so. He sighed. "Oh, Jethro."

"Duck?"

This time he was sure; this time he could have sworn under oath; this time he had no doubt that Jethro had spoken.

"Yes, Jethro, it is I. I am here. I am right here, by your side. See, I'm holding your hand. Can you feel me holding your hand, Jethro? Can you? Concentrate, my dear, really concentrate - can you feel me holding your hand? Can you?"

For five minutes Ducky continued to hold Jethro's hand, alternating between squeezing it tightly and loosening his grip until he accepted Jethro wasn't going to speak again. After another moment or two he let go, placed Jethro's hand back onto the bed and leaned back in the chair.

~~~~~~~

Got to wake up.

Got to open my eyes.

Got to. Have to. Got to.

Got to for Duck.

Got to tell him something.

Got to tell him about the promise I once made myself.

Got to.

Got to wake up.

Got to open my eyes.

Got to. Have to. Got to.

Got to for Duck.

Got to tell him something.

Got to tell him about the promise I once made myself.

Got to.

Duck's here. Got to wake up and tell him.

Got to keep my promise.

Got to.

Why can't I wake up?

Want to.

Need to.

Got to do it for Duck.

Got to.


"Duck?"

Ducky started again at the sound of Jethro's voice; this time it was less harsh.

"Jethro?" He leaned forward and gasped aloud to see Jethro's eyes were open and he was staring at him. "Jethro? Are you awake?"

For a moment Jethro seemed confused then he managed, "Reckon so. Duck, got to -"

"I must ring for the nurse." Ducky started to stand up.

"Wait, Duck. Got to tell you something. Promised I'd tell you."

"Jeth-"

"Ducky!" The sound of his name being snapped in Jethro's fondly exasperated way, not only made Ducky fall silent, but warmed him and gave him hope; hope he realized had vanished some time during the last four months.

"Yes, Jethro?"

"Love you, Duck. Love you." Jethro's eyes fluttered shut again. However, even as he was pressing the button to summon the nurse, Ducky knew Jethro was no longer unconscious; he was merely asleep.

A MONTH LATER

"Are you quite certain you wish to move into my home, Jethro?"

"Course I am, Duck. Wouldn't do it if I wasn't. Why, you changed your mind?"

"No, of course not," Ducky hastened to say. "I just wondered . . . I know how . . . I . . ."

"You done?"

Ducky nodded. "I believe so, yes."

"It's time I did it, Duck. Past time. Way past time. Time the house became a home again. Time a new family lived there. Time I started a new life. With you," he added, taking Ducky's hand. Ducky smiled.

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Current Mood: restless restless

4 Notes or Leave A Note
Comments
timetiger From: timetiger Date: 30th October 2014 14:05 (UTC) (Link)
Loved this.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 30th October 2014 14:46 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
ahavia From: ahavia Date: 31st October 2014 04:50 (UTC) (Link)
Very good!
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 31st October 2014 10:19 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
4 Notes or Leave A Note