AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Gibbs tells Ducky something that devastates him.
WORD COUNT: 500
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
"Say that again, Jethro?" Ducky stared up at Jethro and tried to quell the fear he felt inside him. He told himself he'd misheard; he told himself Jethro couldn't have said what he'd said.
Reddened eyes in a face lined with pain and self-disgust stared down at him; Ducky saw a slight tremble at the edge of Jethro's mouth. He wanted to stop Jethro from speaking, even though he'd asked him to repeat himself. He wanted to turn away, to walk away, to run away; he wanted to be anywhere, doing anything other than standing in their sitting room staring up at the man he loved.
Jethro swallowed hard and put his hands on Ducky's shoulders. "Shannon and Kelly aren't dead; they're in the Witness Protection Program and I'm," he stopped speaking and tightened his grip on Ducky's shoulders, pulling Ducky nearer to him. Ducky continued to stare upwards; now he saw tears shining in Jethro's eyes. "And I'm going to join them, Duck."
With a half-sob, Jethro gathered Ducky into his arms and held him tightly, so tightly Ducky could barely breathe. "I'm so sorry, Duck," he whispered, his lips on Ducky's ear, "I'm so very sorry, but I have to join them. You understand, don't you?" Now he pushed Ducky away and gazed down at him. His look begged Ducky to tell him he did understand; pleaded with Ducky not to make a fuss.
Ducky felt ice begin to creep through his veins, chilling him beyond any cold he had ever before known as he stared up at the man he would always love. The man who with a few words had just destroyed anything that was good in his life. "Of course I understand, Jethro," he said mechanically. "I've always know I was only -"
"Don't!" Jethro snarled; again he gripped Ducky's shoulders, this time so tightly Ducky knew there would be bruises. "Don't say it."
Ducky sighed softly. "But it is true, is it not, my dear?" Silently he dared Jethro to lie to him.
For what seemed like eternity they just stared at one another, before Jethro made a choked noise and gathered Ducky back into his arms. "Oh, Duck," he kissed Ducky's head. "I do love you."
"I know, Jethro." Ducky spoke quietly and with a deep seated sadness. He had no need to add the words they both knew were true. He rested his head against Jethro's shoulder, closed his eyes and prayed to a God he'd stopped believing in that his time left on this earth would end soon.
With a gasp Ducky woke up; his body was soaked with sweat, his pulse was racing, he was trembling. "Jethro?" he whispered. As he saw his sleeping lover, he reached for Jethro's hand.
It had been a dream. A nightmare. It wasn't real. It wasn't so. Jethro hadn't left him. It was just a dream.
But as he lay back down, his mind asked the question he'd considered many times 'could it be so'?