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Old Friends and Lovers: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard - NCIS - Nikki's Notations
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nakeisha
nakeisha
Old Friends and Lovers: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard - NCIS
I volunteered to write the ship_manifesto essay for Gibbs/Ducky. I posted it on the relevant community and thus am also posting it here.

TITLE: Old Friends And Lovers
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova nakeisha
FANDOM: NCIS
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard
SPOILERS: Quite a few for Seasons One and Two.
NOTES: This essay is based only on Seasons One and Two, as at the time of writing I had not seen Season 3.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
NOTE: Thanks to maubast, londonronnie and the members of Gibbs Loves Ducky for their assistance with this essay.



THE SHOW Logo

NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Services. This means that they investigate crimes connected to or involving Naval or Marine Corps personnel. More than one person refers to them as ‘Navy Cops’.

The Main Characters

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs - Senior Field Agent
Doctor Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard - Medical Examiner
Special Agent Anthony (Tony) DiNozzo - Field Agent under Gibbs (was previously a detective)
Special Agent Caitlin (Kate) Todd - Field Agent under Gibbs (was previously in the Secret Service)
Special Agent Timothy McGee - Field Agent under Gibbs (became full-time Field Agent at the beginning of Season Two)
Abigail (Abby) Sciuto - Forensic Scientist
Gerald Jackson - Ducky’s first assistant
Jimmy Palmer - Ducky’s second assistant
Tom Morrow - NCIS’s Director
Special Agent Tobias Fornell - Gibbs’s opposite number at the FBI

MY SHIP CHARACTERS

Leroy Jethro GibbsLJG

Honourably discharged with the rank of Gunnery Sergeant from the United States Marines, Gibbs is now the senior Special Agent within NCIS. During his time in the Marines, he saw active duty at least once, and was a Military Policeman. From a comment he made in the Season Two episode Call of Silence, it seems appears it was his choice that he never became an officer. His actual age is unknown, but given his career history he is most likely in the region of 50/51. He has been with NCIS for nineteen years, implying that the Marines called him back to active duty on at least one occasion.

He is an only child, his father is dead and he has no uncles. He has been married and divorced three times, and all divorces were far from amicable. All of his wives had red hair, and at least two of them physically attacked him. Number two hit him with a seven-iron, number three with a baseball bat. It is possible that he came home from a tour of duty and found wife number one in bed with another man. He pays alimony to all three wives, lost his house to one of them, number two emptied his bank account before leaving, and number three gets drunk on their anniversary and constantly harasses him by phone.

He is a hard taskmaster who drives himself as hard, if not harder than he drives his agents. He expects and gets total loyalty from his team, whilst at the same time he displays a fierce loyalty to those he deems worthy of his caring. On the one hand he seems intolerant of anyone who doesn’t share his view of the world, on the other hand he cares deeply about what he perceives to be injustices. He does what he has to in order to get the job done, no matter what the cost, and is not averse to breaking the rules to suit himself. Yet he’s also prepared to cover up things that might cost people their careers, if it is not pertinent to his enquiry. An example of this is in the Season Two episode Lieutenant Jane Doe, when a Naval enlisted man, being questioned by Gibbs in relation to a double murder, reveals that he is involved in a homosexual relationship with a highly ranked Naval Officer.

He is considered the best interrogator and investigator in the business, and he seems to be gifted with infallible intuition; as a result, he can break just about anyone. His style adapts to suit the person whom he is interrogating, and it can swing from almost not overly intelligent, warm, friendly, one-of-the-guys, to ice cold, deadly, steel. He’s extremely skilful with firearms, both at close range and at a distance. He can use and read American Sign Language and is proficient in Russian.

He seems to have few friends, close or otherwise. The main exception to this is Dr. Donald 'Ducky' Mallard. He tends to be reticent and is reluctant to reveal his feelings. Yet he can be very charming in an understated way, and has a somewhat evil sense of humour. He spends most his off-duty time, not that there is a great deal of that, building a boat in his basement. He is somewhat of a luddite when it comes to popular culture, and anything technical - his attitude to something not working is to hit it on the desk. He is rarely seen without a cup of strong, black coffee in his hands, and woe betide anyone who gets between him and it. Off-duty he drinks high-proofed bourbon, referred to once by Tobias Fornell (of the FBI), whom Gibbs also considers a friend, as ‘paint stripper’.

Donald ‘Ducky’ MallardDDM

Dr. Mallard, affectionately known as ‘Ducky’ to his friends and colleagues, is NCIS’s Medical Examiner. He is British, was educated at Eton, one of England’s top public (fee paying) schools, where he played cricket and ran short distances. He trained as a Doctor at Edinburgh University, and his work seems to have taken him around the world. Again, we do not know his exact age, but it is likely that he is about 62/63.

He appears to be an only child, whose father is deceased. His 96 year-old mother, who is suffering from some kind of senility, lives with him along with her four Corgis. There is no evidence that he has ever been married or even involved in any long-term relationship.

He is an expert in his own field, and if one believes his ramblings, an expert in just about every other field too. He is also highly respected within his field and knows a vast number, if not all of the other Medical Examiners and Coroners around the country.

He knows Latin and Greek, and one gets the impression his knowledge is not just from his medical studies. The chances are that the classics would have featured during his education at Eton. He also speaks French, German and Swahili. He’s extremely intelligent and is clearly respected and liked by his colleagues, even if they are bemused and irritated by him on occasions. He is the only person, other than Gibbs’s superiors, who can truly influence Gibbs in any way.

He is eccentric, he talks to the corpses as though they were still alive, explaining when asked, that dead or not, they are still human. He also tells, as every opportunity, long rambling stories about his experiences. He has also stitched Gibbs up after violent attacks from at least one of his ex-wives.

On the one hand very mild mannered and easy going, he nonetheless has a temper when it comes to people interfering with a crime scene. Indeed as Gibbs tells us, he once pushed a French Policeman off a cliff, albeit into a lake (some 60” below). He also speaks very sharply to a psychiatrist whose patient had just been found dead in her room, the belief at the time being that she had committed suicide.

He cares passionately about his colleagues and also about justice, and he too is prepared to bend, even break the rules, to assist in achieving the latter. Despite his bonding and caring, and knowing all his fellow professionals, he too seems to have few close friends; Gibbs being the exception.

OLD FRIENDS …. Advice

The relationship between Gibbs and Ducky, even putting aside any romantic involvement, is clearly one of old, extremely close, friends. Their friendship goes back many years, quite possible to when Gibbs was in the Marines.

The story that Gibbs tells about Ducky pushing the French Policeman off a cliff, occurs in the Season One episode, Seadog, and is being told from first hand experience. Gibbs was there, as is shown when he makes reference to the fact that he hadn’t heard Ducky so annoyed since the incident.

Gibbs knows what dogs Ducky’s mother has, knows about Ducky’s neighbours who keep him awake, and seems to have heard most of Ducky’s stories before.

Another example of their friendship being a long-standing one is when in the Season Two episode, The Meat Puzzle, Agent Kate Todd asks Gibbs what Ducky looked like when he was younger. ‘Illya Kuryakin’, responds Gibbs, implying that he has indeed known Ducky for many, many years.

Despite Ducky saying that Gibbs is ‘a man of more questions than answers’, he clearly knows more about Gibbs than anyone else. It is quite possible that he knew all three of Gibbs’s ex-wives; he certainly knew number three to whom he introduced Gibbs. He recognises the signs when Gibbs is particularly stressed or intent, knowing that six cups of coffee before lunch is not a good sign. He also knows when Gibbs is trying to protect his agents, rather than not trusting them, and gives advice as to how they can help their boss.

GlareDucky can say things to Gibbs, even gently criticise him, that no one - not even Abby Sciuto, NCIS’s Forensic Specialist, who gets away with a lot - else can say. In the Season Two episode, SWAK, he stands up to him, most determinedly, when Gibbs wishes to leave Autopsy and thus break quarantine so that he can get on with trying to find who sent white powder in an envelope to NCIS. Although Gibbs clearly knows that he cannot leave and that Ducky is correct to stand in his way - literally - I got the impression that had it been anyone other than Ducky, Gibbs would have left. Agents McGee, Todd, DiNozzo and Ducky’s assistant, Jimmy Palmer are all present whilst their respective bosses argue the issue, and from their faces it is clear that they are firstly stunned that someone would stand up to Gibbs, and secondly sure that Gibbs will win. However, it is Gibbs who backs down at that time.

The two of them have a seamless working relationship, often using shorthand terms and asking and answering unfinished questions that seem to leave even Gibbs’s longest serving agent (DiNozzo) baffled. They also, on more than one occasion, work a suspect, playing a faultless two-handed act, which is clearly non-rehearsed, but also obviously something they have done before.

….. AND LOVERSFace Pat

Whilst clearly close friends, the relationship between Gibbs and Ducky goes far deeper than merely friendship. The chemistry between them is clear; they like and respect one another, care for one another and love one another. They look at one another quite differently from the way they look at anyone else. Ducky’s eyes always become much softer when looking at Gibbs and do tend to give his feelings away. His smile, a fairly common occurrence, again is softer and more intimate when he turns it on Gibbs. He is the only member of the team to address Gibbs by his given name.

Gibbs, who can often appear harsh, also softens when around Ducky; his smile becomes genuine and touches his eyes, which also soften. He nearly always uses a more intimate version of Ducky’s name, reducing it to ‘Duck’, and puts many different inflections into the single word.

They two men also have a very tactile relationship. On more than one occasion Gibbs hugs Ducky; indeed there are two times when the two of them have their arms around one another. On another occasion Gibbs pats Ducky’s face.

HatOn another he tilts his hat back so that he can make eye contact with Ducky.

Gibbs also puts his hand on Ducky’s shoulder several times, and there are many other general touches, brushes against one another, etc.

Gibbs is a man who demands information in the exact way he wants it, at the exact time he wants it and it should be concise and the point. Indeed, when his agents fail to conform to his expectations, his displeasure is easy to see. However, he allows Ducky to ramble on for what, by Gibbs’s standards, is an age, with his stories until he says, in his fondly exasperated ‘Ducky’ tone, ‘Duck’.

There are several examples of Jimmy Palmer, seemingly trying to imitate Ducky and maybe even impress Gibbs, launching into his own rambling, long-winded explanation of something pertinent to the dead body. When he does this Ducky tends to look slightly apprehensive and more than a little taken aback and glances from Palmer to Gibbs, and Gibbs looks more and more frustrated and irritated. On one occasion Ducky actually tells Palmer than ‘the right to digress is something that has to be earned’. On other occasions it is he who interrupts Palmer; however if he doesn’t do this quickly enough, Gibbs tends to snap, and it is not in his fondly exasperated way.

HugDucky also gets away with things that no one else would ever dare to try. He clearly manipulates Gibbs, and Gibbs just as clearly lets him. On one occasion, in the episode Season Two episode, Lieutenant Jane Doe, Ducky holds back information that might be pertinent to a case. When this becomes clear, Gibbs’s, although reverting to Dr. Mallard (and in turn Ducky calls him Agent Gibbs), is far more hurt and perplexed than angry. The confrontation takes place in front of Gibbs’s three agents, and it is clear from their reaction that they are expecting their boss to explode and be extremely angry - as he would be with them. Shortly afterwards Gibbs follows Ducky down to Autopsy and Ducky explains his reasons for withholding the information, and asks Jethro to forgive him, a walking hug then follows.

In this episode, Gibbs is even more intense, demanding, unforgiving and determined than he normally is. In fact it is fair to say that he is probably more so than he really needs to be. The reason for his intensity is simply down to the fact that Ducky is upset and suffering, and that clearly bothers and upsets Gibbs. So everyone suffers until the case is solved and Ducky can finally find some peace.

There are two times during the series thus far when Ducky’s life is potentially in danger and Gibbs is clearly worried and upset.

The first time is in Season One in the episode, Bête Noire, and also involves Ducky’s then assistant, Gerald, and Kate Todd. The second time is in the Season Two episode, The Meat Puzzle, and only involves Ducky.

During the first example, whilst Gibbs is clearly concerned for all three of his team members, a somewhat stilted and very un-Gibbs-Ducky conversation via the telephone, reveals that Gibbs’s concern for Ducky is more than just that of a team member. His voice gives his feelings away, quite clearly.

Meat Puzzle
The second time Ducky is kidnapped and the chances of him being found alive are very slim. Gibbs, again to the clear shock of his agents, blames himself, insisting that he should have put two agents to protect Ducky and his mother. A frantic search begins and when they track down a potential suspect, Gibbs threatens that if his friend is harmed in any way that he will pull out all of the man’s teeth - there is no doubt in my mind that Gibbs is being completely serious. No one does quietly deadly as well as Jethro Gibbs does. Gibbs does lead his team in at the eleventh hour, and Ducky’s life is saved. Gibbs then embraces Ducky and strokes his hair in full view of his three agents and the murderers; indeed it is Ducky who pulls his friend back to reality by saying in a somewhat false-testy ‘what kept you’?

The Lioness With Her Cub Syndrome
Or, 'It’s okay for me to criticise and tease my lover, but no one else can do so'.

Other canonical evidence that points to Gibbs and Ducky being more than just good friends, is the way that is okay for Gibbs to criticise, tease or be irritated with Ducky, but woe betide anyone else who does this.

Example one comes from the Season One episode Left For Dead. Ducky is complaining that there isn’t a body for him to work on, and Gibbs tells him to go and find one, adding that there have been many times when there has been more than one dead body. Ducky obligingly wanders off into the woods, leaving Gibbs and DiNozzo to work the crime scene. DiNozzo says ‘well done, boss’, and when Gibbs invites DiNozzo to elucidate, DiNozzo does so, saying that it was good thinking on Gibbs’s part to get rid of Ducky so that his ramblings didn’t interfere. Gibbs treats DiNozzo to a cold, steely, unblinking stare, daring DiNozzo to say something else - sensibly he doesn’t.

Example two comes from the Season One episode A Weak Link. Here Gibbs and DiNozzo have gone down to Autopsy to see the body of the Marine whose D-link broke when he was abseiling down a cliff. DiNozzo takes the initiative and asks Ducky if he’s sent the tox screens up to Abby - a question that Gibbs regularly asks Ducky. Ducky looks slightly askance and put out, Gibbs on the other hand looks furious, and once again treats his young agent to his frozen, steely, ‘if looks could kill’ stare. DiNozzo this time, keeps pushing the issue saying ‘that’s what you were going to ask, boss? Isn’t it?’ Each time, Gibbs looks gets harsher. It is perfectly all right for him to ask such a question and thus imply that Ducky doesn’t know his job, but not for anyone else to do so.

Example three comes from the Season Two episode An Eye For An Eye, and this time it is Ducky’s then assistant Jimmy Palmer, who crosses the line. He, probably in an effort this time to ‘protect’ Ducky from Special Agent Gibbs’s wrath, interrupts one of Ducky’s ramblings about transvestites, to explain that he thinks Special Agent Gibbs was asking Ducky about the specific dead body, not about his mental state. Again the double stare from Ducky and Gibbs silences him. Ducky is put out and bemused; Gibbs is annoyed.

A Deep AwarenessLift

They always seem to be aware of where the other one is at any time, even if they aren’t looking at one another. An example of this comes from the Season Two episode Hometown Hero, where Ducky is once again telling one of his lengthy stories, which began with him talking to Gibbs. After a very short time, Gibbs leaves and Jimmy Palmer keeps trying to interrupt Ducky to tell him that Gibbs had left. Finally Ducky breaks off to ask his assistant what he wants, and Palmer explains that Gibbs left. Ducky’s response is that he knows that, and in fact, Gibbs left a while ago, so why was Palmer only mentioning it now.

Their comfort level around one another is immense. They are clearly at ease with one another and even when there is no deliberate touching, they have little or no regard for one another’s personal space. They are open with one another in a way that neither man is with their other colleagues or associates, and they clearly have a deep respect for one another. Ducky is also the only person whom Gibbs never treats as a somewhat errant schoolchild.

The only time that Gibbs seems to respect Ducky’s personal space is on the occasions when he’s more than usually irritated with his ME - this is the exact opposite to the way Gibbs is with everyone else. Gibbs is a fairly tall man, about six foot, and as such does, on more than one occasion, deliberately use his height to intimidate, even with his team. However, he never does this with Ducky, who is about six inches shorter than Gibbs, choosing instead to back off slightly when particularly annoyed, rather than move closer and risk any hint of intimidation.

A COUPLEOld Friends & Lovers

The chemistry between them, both as friends and more, is intense. Indeed Ducky is the only person with whom Gibbs has anything resembling a normal relationship, and Ducky, who is friendly with just about everyone (on the side of good), is a different man with Gibbs.

As mentioned, Gibbs is not an openly emotional man; he mainly shows irritation or frustration or his own somewhat quirky sense of humour. It is only Ducky, however, who is able to tease any of the softer emotions out of his friend, something he does on more than one occasion.

Their deep caring for one is another is clear in everything they do, say, in the looks they exchange, their ease around one another, their understanding of one another, the mutual trust and respect they share, and their honesty with one another.

An example of the utter trust that Gibbs has for Ducky comes in the very first episode of Season One, Yankee White, when there appears to be an hour’s discrepancy between the time of death of a Naval Officer called by the President’s Physician and Ducky’s placement of the time of death. When told this, without even pausing, hesitating or questioning further, Gibbs nods to Ducky and says, ‘Ill take yours’.

Their relationship is easy-going, and on at least one occasion they resort to gentle teasing and jokes. During the Season One episode, My Other Left Foot, when the team are called to investigate the discovery of a leg that has a Marine style tattoo, Ducky, after passing comment on the leg, declares that he saw an antique shop around the corner and would be there. He adds that Gibbs should call if he needs him. Gibbs lets Ducky get a few steps away then calls, with a smile on his face, ‘Ducky, I need you here’, thus bringing Ducky back to his side in order to engage him in a humorous bantering exchange, which he could easily have done before Ducky walked off. It ends with Gibbs adding ‘I’ll shout if I need you’. Both men clearly enjoyed the very un-Gibbs-like repartee.

In the very first episode of Season One, Yankee White, in an attempt to fool the FBI and the Secret Service into thinking that both Gibbs and DiNozzo are, like Ducky, medical personnel, Gibbs ‘plays’ Ducky’s assistant. Ducky clearly is highly amused by this and thoroughly enjoys himself, tossing his jacket to Gibbs to catch and ordering him about, albeit for a short time. When the NCIS team are left alone, Gibbs asks Ducky if he enjoyed playing his boss. Ducky’s eyes light up and he smiles at Gibbs and says ‘yes, I did rather’. This earns him a fondly amused look and a matching smile from Gibbs

In the Season One episode, The Curse, when the mummified remains of a corpse are found in a Naval pod, Gibbs glances at Ducky and asks, ‘Estimated time of death, Duck?’ In his turn Ducky says, the gentle humour and deep affection clear in this voice, ‘Very amusing, Jethro.’ This gets him one of Gibbs’s smiles, the ones he reserves solely for Ducky.

They are not the all so often young, dashing, pretty, ‘hot’ couple that so often forms a fandom partnership (for me as well as others). Instead, they are a mature, handsome, close couple whose bond goes back decades, rather than just years, and whose love (be is simply fraternal or fraternal and romantic) for one another is blatantly clear for anyone to see.

Ducky in particular either makes no attempt at hiding his feelings for Gibbs, or isn’t aware of just how much his eyes, his voice, and his general behaviour around his old friend, reveals. Gibbs, although less overtly obvious, does also, by virtue of the way he softens, is far more indulgent and generally relaxes (albeit ‘relax’ when used in relation to Jethro Gibbs is a somewhat loose term) make it clear that he has strong feelings for Ducky.

Even in the middle of examinations or Autopsy reports when they are together, they seem to slip into a world that excludes everyone else. Gibbs’s agents and Ducky’s assistant might be present, but they aren’t part of the Gibbs/Ducky world and exchanges. They are quite professional and focussed on the case, when Ducky isn’t telling one of his rambling stories, but the world around them has contracted to contain just them.

ComfortThis couple should be followed because of the depth of affection, caring, love and trust they have for one another. They don’t in-fight, argue, or spend their time playing one-upmanship games, nor do they compete with one another. Neither has anything to prove to the other, they’ve known one another for too long for that, been too close to need to resort to games or backstabbing or bitching. They complement one another, fit into one another’s worlds and lives, and are secure enough in their own feelings not to be afraid to show how much they care for one another. In many ways they fit perfectly with the words of the song Friends by Razzy Bailey:

You were always there to talk to
And I was always hanging around
You were always there to pick me up
After love let me down

I never would have made it without you
I almost waited too late to see
That all the time I was leaning on you
You were leaning on me. Smile

Friends, that's what we've been
Is friends, through thick and thin
We've been friends, and our love begins
And who makes better lovers than friends

Friends should always be something special
You never know where friendship will lead
You are sailing high on the sea of love
And forever we'll be
(And forever we'll be)

Friends, that's what we've been
Is friends, through thick and thin
We've been friends, and our love begins
And who makes better lovers than friends

Friends, that's what we've been
Is friends, through thick and thin
We've been friends, and our love begins
And who makes better lovers than friends

MY SEDUCTIONClose

My foray into NCIS started simply because of David McCallum. I am a fan of his and thus wished to see the series. I had no intention, at that time, of adding another fandom to the three I was already involved in, nor of looking for another pair to slash. Not that I ever look for slash in a show; it either hits me or it doesn’t. If I have to look for it, then for me it doesn’t exist at any serious level. However, more than one friend asked me ‘if you had to slash a couple who would it be’? And my reply, right from the first episode, was Gibbs/Ducky, as their connection was everything that I looked for in a slash pairing, and was the only pairing I could see as being even remotely possible.

I continued, thanks to a dear American friend, to watch all of the episodes of Season One and several of Season Two, but I was still just watching the show for interest and enjoyment. Indeed at that time it was quite a relief not to watch with my ‘slash hat’ on, as I could relax and enjoy the show and not look for connections, etc. etc. in a way that isn’t possible, for me, once I begin to slash a pairing.

I then began to rewatch Season One, and suddenly I realised that I was watching the Gibbs/Ducky interactions and connections with my slash hat on. The touches, hugs, looks, tone of voice, past knowledge of one another, their comfort level with one another, all took on another meaning and before I really realised it, I had them as a couple. Even then, though I wasn’t prepared for how far they’d take me over, and just how intense my involvement with them would be.

My first forays into writing them arose from a discussion on a Man From U.N.C.L.E. list, where a couple of people were saying that they didn’t want to read stories where Ducky was actually Illya, because they only wanted Illya to be with Napoleon - a sentiment with which I agreed. Then I recalled the ‘Illya Kuryakin’ exchange from the Season Two episode, The Meat Puzzle. This led me to a little MFU/NCIS crossover idea, and from there my love affair with this couple was well and truly born.

LookThey appear to be so right for one another, their connection is intense and clear, and they fulfil everything that I personally look for in a slash pairing. They are not actual working partners, together virtually every minute of their on-duty time, day in and day out, but their relationship is every bit intense as if they were - more so in fact.

A GUIDE TO THE FANDOM

This pairing is fairly rare within NCIS fandom, so resources to them alone aren’t overly abundant.

Groups

There is a Yahoo group dedicated to them: Gibbs Loves Ducky

LJ Communities

ncis_gibbsducky

_duckaholics_

General Information

NCIS Headquarters Forum: NCIS HQ Forum

The official CBS site: CBS

More about the show: Paramount

Episode Guides

Onscreen Credits

Ep Guides

Fiction

There isn’t a huge amount of fiction for this pairing, although more is gradually appearing. Apart from the abovementioned GibbsLovesDucky group the majority of Gibbs/Ducky fanfic can be found here:

Old Friends & Lovers


Tags: ,
Current Mood: nervous nervous

38 Notes or Leave A Note
Comments
lonelywalker From: lonelywalker Date: 20th October 2005 09:03 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I think you really covered all the bases here - I'm certainly convinced! (not to say that I wasn't convinced before, but...) Quite a few of the S1 anecdotes I hadn't heard before, so that was interesting, and I hadn't read one of the fics either.

One thing I have to wonder about is how the actors - David McCallum and Mark Harmon - interpret their characters' relationship. In several places you talk about their body language, how they touch each other, look at each other, etc. It seems that the two are certainly on friendly terms, and it's not entirely known for actors to intentionally create homosexual subtext (I'm thinking of another favourite actor of mine, Andrew J. Robinson, on Deep Space Nine). However, it is of course canon that the two are close friends, so this body language can probably be interpreted either way to some extent.

I was also interested to read your thoughts about Gibbs' attitude towards Ducky versus Jimmy Palmer. Poor Jimmy. He just doesn't get it ;-)
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 20th October 2005 14:46 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I think you really covered all the bases here

Thank you very much. I do hope so.

One thing I have to wonder about is how the actors - David McCallum and Mark Harmon - interpret their characters' relationship. In several places you talk about their body language, how they touch each other, look at each other, etc. It seems that the two are certainly on friendly terms, and it's not entirely known for actors to intentionally create homosexual subtext (I'm thinking of another favourite actor of mine, Andrew J. Robinson, on Deep Space Nine). However, it is of course canon that the two are close friends, so this body language can probably be interpreted either way to some extent.

Good point and it's something I often wonder about when watching any of 'my' pairings touch and look, etc. From DMc's interview (which you kindly pointed me towards), he and MH certain have great respect for one another and seem to get on very well. I often find myself wondering just how many looks, touches, etc. are scripted and how many just seem 'right' to the actors. The whole 'lifting Ducky's hat' thing leaps to mind as being an example of that. I do wonder if that was something MH did almost automatically, and whether the height difference hadn't really occurred to the writers/director until the scene was played out. And indeed I agree the body language can be seen as 'just old friends', or 'old friends and lovers'. IMO, whether you choose to slash Gibbs & Ducky or not, one thing that cannot be denied is the fact that they are old and close friends.

Poor Jimmy. He just doesn't get it

No, he certainly doesn't. I really do like Jimmy, he's such a great character, and the poor thing can't win around Gibbs, especially when he tries to 'help' Ducky or 'impress' Gibbs.

Thanks for your comments, I'm glad you enjoyed it and that it increased your conviction.


lonelywalker From: lonelywalker Date: 21st October 2005 14:27 (UTC) (Link)
No, he certainly doesn't. I really do like Jimmy, he's such a great character, and the poor thing can't win around Gibbs, especially when he tries to 'help' Ducky or 'impress' Gibbs.

The Ducky - Jimmy relationship does puzzle me a great deal. Jimmy, as far as I know, is the only character who calls Ducky "Dr. Mallard" - I hear that even the new S3 characters who have only know him for a very short while call him "Ducky". Now, this may be because Jimmy is strictly Ducky's underling, but Ducky doesn't strike me as a very hierarchical type of guy. However, I find it difficult to see a particularly student-mentor relationship between them, either. Ducky most often seems exasperated with Jimmy rather than encouraging, despite, for example, Jimmy's excellent work during The Meat Puzzle which basically saved Ducky's life.

My muse having revived itself, I'm working on a version of The Meat Puzzle from Jimmy's POV, to figure this relationship out! Except my laptop died, so there's no telling when I'll finish it :-(
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 14:41 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I know. I agree over the Dr. Mallard/Mr. Palmer thing. I can only assume it's down to Jimmy really. I just can't see him calling Ducky 'Ducky'. He calls Gibbs 'sir' or Agent Gibbs, and only once have I heard him actually use 'Gibbs', in SWAK when I think he was trying to see if calling him by name might get his attention more than calling him 'sir'.

I think Ducky is encouraging for the person Jimmy is. I think that like all good managers/superiors, he adapts his style to fit the person. Jimmy needs a heavier hand, more exasperation than some might, thus Ducky treats him thus. That's my take on it anyway.

I'm glad to hear that your muse has returned, and I look forward to the results of it. Sorry to hear about the sick laptop though - I hope it recovers soon.
lonelywalker From: lonelywalker Date: 21st October 2005 14:43 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad to hear that your muse has returned, and I look forward to the results of it. Sorry to hear about the sick laptop though - I hope it recovers soon.

It may be objecting to all the slash.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 14:45 (UTC) (Link)
:-)

You need to have a serious talk with your laptop!!!!
aingeal8c From: aingeal8c Date: 20th October 2005 16:38 (UTC) (Link)
I'm just going to say well done!
It's never easy trying to put down in words what you really like about a pairing and trying to get all the right parts across.
But yes you should be proud yourself.

(from someone trying to watch more NCIS....;-)
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 20th October 2005 16:54 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much indeed. I really appreciate you reading it, especially as you know so little about the pair, well apart from my burbling enthusing about them.

Good luck with the quest to watch more!!

Thank you again.
aingeal8c From: aingeal8c Date: 20th October 2005 20:04 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much indeed. I really appreciate you reading it, especially as you know so little about the pair, well apart from my burbling enthusing about them.

Well I was rather nosy ;-) and your enthusiasm does come across so I thought it would be nice to have a read and it was worthwhile doing so....

Good luck with the quest to watch more!!

You have helped wet my appetite. And it was good to get some of the background.

Thank you again.

No problem
doylebaby From: doylebaby Date: 20th October 2005 18:53 (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed reading this. It explains and enlightens a lot to me. It also shows the love you have for this pairing, it reads in every line.
I'm going to watch the episode's even more closely now.

Thanks for making this such a clear essay on what is a very nice pairing.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 09:30 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it and that it helped enlighten you into this wonderful pair.

I do appreciate you taking the time to read it.

I will be getting more eps your way in the not too distant future, by the way.
doylebaby From: doylebaby Date: 21st October 2005 11:34 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it and that it helped enlighten you into this wonderful pair.
It definitely did, it should go with the DVD's as an introduction! :)

I will be getting more eps your way in the not too distant future, by the way.
Thanks, I'm looking forward to that!

nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 11:59 (UTC) (Link)
It definitely did, it should go with the DVD's as an introduction!

:-) Nice thought - and thank you very much (I'm sure the Gibbs/DiNozzo fans would disagree most strongly with you).
doylebaby From: doylebaby Date: 21st October 2005 13:35 (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure the Gibbs/DiNozzo fans would disagree most strongly with you).
Someone has to tell them they're favouring the wrong pairing! *g*
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 14:36 (UTC) (Link)
LOL - I do like you :-)

They'd say that we were favouring the wrong pairing ::sigh:: never mind, both camps can exist. Not sure about the Gibbs/Kate ones (yes, he does get paired with just about everyone), it's a tad difficult when she's been killed off. Mind you, when has death ever stopped the serious fan?
doylebaby From: doylebaby Date: 21st October 2005 14:42 (UTC) (Link)
LOL - I do like you :-) *grin*

Mind you, when has death ever stopped the serious fan?
Not often, I think. Although it seems weird if it is a major character in the pairing.

In Pros, we have Tommy around, but as the major pairing is B/D I think it works. I don't know how I would react if either Bodie or Doyle would have been killed.



nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 22nd October 2005 07:59 (UTC) (Link)
I don't know how I would react if either Bodie or Doyle would have been killed.

I suppose you'd just write up to the time they died and ignore the rest of the seasons. But you're right, I don't know how I'd react.

I think had I been a Gibbs/Kate fan (or Abby/Kate or DiNozzo/Kate), then given that NCIS is still airing I might well have been able to just say 'okay, so for me it stops at the end of S2, and what happens afterwards is AR/AU'. I say I think because I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure that I couldn't do it though with a show that already existed in canon. But..... I guess it partly depends on how deep your obsession is. It's an interesting topic though, worthy of a post of its own.... Would you like me to start one? Or would you like to do the honours?
doylebaby From: doylebaby Date: 22nd October 2005 11:59 (UTC) (Link)
I guess it partly depends on how deep your obsession is.
Pretty big *grin*, but I've never given it a thought. I shall now.

It's an interesting topic though, worthy of a post of its own.... Would you like me to start one? Or would you like to do the honours?

No that's fine go ahead, seeing as it started out here, might as well keep it here. You can cross post it on RP, seeing as it started with a minority pairing.
lizamanynames From: lizamanynames Date: 20th October 2005 21:15 (UTC) (Link)
*nods* Okay, you KNOW that Gibbs/Ducky was a pairing I wasn't 100% on - but yeah, this sold me pretty good. And I wouldn't worry about self-promotion too badly - isn't the point of this community that we're dealing with Pairings that we may be the only fans of?

I also particularily like that you don't shove the pairing down our throats as I've seen some essays do - you just present your evidence, and then say "judge for yourself" - you emphasize the deep freindship that's at the core of the relationship - and that nobody can deny.

Oh and: Another example of their friendship being a long-standing one is when in the Season Two episode, The Meat Puzzle, Agent Kate Todd asks Gibbs what Ducky looked like when he was younger. ‘Illya Kuryakin’, responds Gibbs, implying that he has indeed known Ducky for many, many years.

..it is also, IMHO, the single funniest moment I've ever seen on network TV. But I have a weakness for meta jokes.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 09:34 (UTC) (Link)
Okay, you KNOW that Gibbs/Ducky was a pairing I wasn't 100% on - but yeah, this sold me pretty good

Indeed I do know this, so thank you so much for this. I'm glad that it sold the pairing to you.

I also particularily like that you don't shove the pairing down our throats as I've seen some essays do - you just present your evidence, and then say "judge for yourself" - you emphasize the deep freindship that's at the core of the relationship - and that nobody can deny.

Thank you so much for this. I am delighted that it came over this way. I'm glad that it read with the shoving down the throat, as that is what I'd hoped to achieve, but it isn't always easy to be objective about something you care about so much. The friendship thing for me is the key to it, and I do feel that whether folk want to pair them in a romantic/sexual relationship or not doesn't matter, but the friendship can't be denied. Again, I'm glad that came over.

I too love the Illya Kuryakin line, it was indeed so amusing.

Thank you for reading and for your lovely comments. I do appreciate them.
From: susan_peri Date: 21st October 2005 00:54 (UTC) (Link)
Gibbs then embraces Ducky and strokes his hair in full view of his three agents and the murderers; indeed it is Ducky who pulls his friend back to reality by saying in a somewhat false-testy ‘what kept you’?

To me, this is very much part of the Meat Puzzle tribute to Man From UNCLE. "What kept you?", or variations of it, was a standard line in the banter between Illya and Napoleon.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 09:35 (UTC) (Link)
Indeed! I thought that too when I saw it for the first time. It does indeed have echos of the MFU banter.
From: susan_peri Date: 21st October 2005 12:29 (UTC) (Link)
I live by the editor of a couple of MFU fanzines and that was the first thing she said to me: "Did you hear that line? That's straight from UNCLE!"


londonronnie From: londonronnie Date: 21st October 2005 10:09 (UTC) (Link)
Well done, Nikki! An excellent manifesto - I can't think of a single thing that I could have added to it. Great choice of pics too, they really capture everything about the relationship.

You've just about summed up everything that makes this pairing so special to me, and I've no doubt that your essay will help draw many others into the fandom and Gibbs/Ducky in particular. I certainly hope so, because it would be lovely to see some more Gibbs/Ducky fic emerging!

You have obviously worked long and hard on this and it has certainly paid off. Thank you for a lovely essay!

{{hugs}}
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 21st October 2005 10:53 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much. I'm delighted that you enjoyed it so much and liked the pictures.

I've had a person over on ship manifesto itself say that she's now hooked and someone here say they're now convinced, so that's really wonderful.

because it would be lovely to see some more Gibbs/Ducky fic emerging!

Oh, yes. I do so agree.

It took a while, yes, but it was enjoyable. And thank you for your kind words.

::Hugs::

k1mono From: k1mono Date: 22nd October 2005 19:23 (UTC) (Link)
Well Nikki what can I say, an absolute gem of a essay.

How can people now not see the closeness of these two guys whether canon or fandom wise. Its a absolute must for all those potenial Gibbs/Ducky fans and also for those of us who would love to write a little prose of their own, but where a little afraid too, we can now look at this essay take note of it and come out with spot on fics that encompass all the affection that is blantently obvious on screen.

Ren :)

nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 23rd October 2005 10:01 (UTC) (Link)
Awe, Ren, thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

also for those of us who would love to write a little prose of their own,

Oooh, does this mean we can expect something from you at some time?

encompass all the affection that is blantently obvious on screen.

Indeed. So blatant, even if people don't actually want to make them lovers, they can't deny the deep affection.

Thank you so much for your words.
From: sine_nomine_42 Date: 23rd October 2005 12:41 (UTC) (Link)
Excellent essay, neatly boiled down to the core. Your presentation of the 'evidence' is a delight to read.
I'm not a slasher myself (at least not for this pairing) ;-), but as you say it can be read both ways, the friendship is definively there.
_sine_

PS: Ducky mentions a newphew in 'Hung out to Dry'.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 24th October 2005 09:30 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for reading it, especially as they are not your pairing - I do appreciate it. And thank you so much for your kind words, it's nice to know that it read okay.

As for the nephew bit, darn, I'd completely forgotten that one - and curiously enough I re-saw the ep last night. Oh, well... if DB can be inconsistent, then so can I be :-))))))) Thanks for mentioning it, I appreciate it.
From: sine_nomine_42 Date: 25th October 2005 19:33 (UTC) (Link)
It reads more than 'okay' :-)
And as for the rare_pair community.. I wonder if there is such a thing as frequent lurker miles. It's on my bookmarks, but thanks for suggesting it.
Cheers
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 26th October 2005 09:45 (UTC) (Link)
It reads more than 'okay'

Thank you. I appreciate it.

I wonder if there is such a thing as frequent lurker miles.

LOL. Oh, nice one. Very nice.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 24th October 2005 09:32 (UTC) (Link)
I just had a quick look at your user info. I have a friend who's into your NCIS pairing (my editor in fact).

If you're interested at all she and I run a small LJ community for 'rare pairings' (like Gibbs/Ducky and Ducky/Abby, etc.) and there are a couple of D/A folk there. It's: rare_pair
the_haunt From: the_haunt Date: 24th October 2005 18:57 (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, very cool essay, Nikki! Very thorough and insightful. :) Your choice of pictures was perfect too – it was really fun reading this! Thanks for sharing it with us, and thanks also for pimping _duckaholics_ and my story. :-)
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 25th October 2005 07:34 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Ghostie. I'm delighted that you enjoyed it and the pictures.

I'm glad you had fun reading it, I certainly had fun writing it.

I'm glad you don't mind me pimping _duckaholics and your story (which I love), I thought it appropriate to do so.
slash4femme From: slash4femme Date: 22nd February 2009 03:49 (UTC) (Link)
aww. I thought I'd pop over here and I must say this is lovely. It's so thorough and exactly right when it comes to this pairing. You describe what makes Gibbs/Ducky such a wonderful couple perfectly.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 22nd February 2009 11:51 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for popping over.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this essay and find it just right for the pairing.

Thanks - I'm so pleased to hear you say that.

You know, it's odd you found this as I was thinking yesterday, and nearly suggested it to you, that you might like to do this for Gibbs/McGee!
fanfromfla From: fanfromfla Date: 23rd September 2009 02:40 (UTC) (Link)
I'm working my way through all the great links on your profile page, and just read this for the first time. It's terrific. I love how you've captured all the great little moments. This paragraph crystallizes it perfectly:
Even in the middle of examinations or Autopsy reports when they are together, they seem to slip into a world that excludes everyone else. Gibbs’s agents and Ducky’s assistant might be present, but they aren’t part of the Gibbs/Ducky world and exchanges. They are quite professional and focussed on the case, when Ducky isn’t telling one of his rambling stories, but the world around them has contracted to contain just them.

That is so true! I also applaud the part where you celebrate the fact that they are a "mature, handsome, close couple"

And finally (before I quote the whole darn manifesto), here's another "so true" section: "Ducky in particular either makes no attempt at hiding his feelings for Gibbs, or isn’t aware of just how much his eyes, his voice, and his general behaviour around his old friend, reveals."
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 23rd September 2009 11:56 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you found this. Thank you very much indeed, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

I'm pleased you found that paragraph really summed their relationship up and that you agree.

We have so much of the 'young pretty', I wanted to try to get it over that older can be handsome and lovely too *g*

*Smiles* Aww, I'm really chuffed that you enjoyed it so much to quote from it. Oh, yes, Ducky's eyes . . .

Thank you for reading.
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