AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Jimmy Palmer
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: It's Jimmy's wedding day; a day he never thought would happen.
WORD COUNT: 2,190
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Jimmy stood in the bedroom he and Jethro shared in the house Ducky had left them in his will and smiled as he stared into the mirror and carefully knotted his brand new tie. He paid more attention to ensuring the knot was perfect than he had ever paid in his life. He did it because today was about perfection, which was why before he'd put on his brand new white dress shirt he'd tested every button to ensure none of them were loose.
He's also checked that the button on his trousers was sewed on tightly and that the zipper ran smoothly. His shorts were brand new, as were his socks; he'd even put new laces into his shoes, just in case one of them frayed or snapped.
Once he was happy his tie was knotted perfectly and the length was just right, he brushed his hair, polished his glasses for the third time, and checked he had nothing in his teeth (which was unnecessary as he hadn't eaten anything since he'd brushed them). Finally, he picked up his suit jacket and tested each button before pulling it on. He settled it onto his shoulder and then smoothed it down over his hips.
He turned and crossed to the old-fashioned, huge, but sturdy and highly practical wardrobe which had belonged to Ducky, but that he had insisted they kept when they moved into the house and looked at himself in the full length mirror. He was quite happy with the way he looked, so he turned around and looked over his shoulder to see if he was as happy with the back view - he was. He turned back and stared at himself once more as he again smoothed his jacket down over his hips.
He gave a satisfied nod. He was ready - and there was only an hour to go before he and Jethro would exchange vows. He sat down carefully, making sure he didn't crease his suit, on the bed and shook his head. He had honestly never believed this day would come; he never, not even in his wildest dreams, had believed Jethro would want to marry him - why would he wish to marry for a fifth time?
And yet here he was dressed in his best suit, his new dress shirt, tie and underwear, just waiting for the moment when he would go downstairs. Go downstairs and into the lounge where their friends from NCIS, Fornell, his mom and Jethro's dad, together with a few of the people he had been particular close to at med school, would be witness to Jethro and him exchanging vows.
No, he really hadn't dreamed this day would come. But it had. As he sat on the bed he thought back over the past three months, which had led up to this day; the day that truly was 'the happiest day of his life'.
It had begun on his fortieth birthday.
He had awoken to find the bed next to him empty and the sheet and pillow cold, which meant Jethro had been up for some time. He'd sighed softly before getting out of bed and going into the bathroom. As he'd showered he wondered if Jethro had even remembered it was his birthday and not just any birthday, but his fortieth birthday.
He wasn't all together certain his lover would have remembered, because as much as Jimmy loved Jethro (and he did, he really did) even he had to admit that Leroy Jethro Gibbs was not exactly a romantic man nor was he sentimental nor did he tend to consider things like birthdays or anniversaries or even Thanksgiving or Christmas of huge importance.
He'd even seemed surprised, but Jimmy knew also pleased if a little embarrassed, by the effort Jimmy had gone to earlier in they year for his sixtieth birthday. Not that Jimmy had made a huge fuss or gone overboard - he hadn't been Jethro's lover for ten years without getting to know and understand him. However, he had spoiled Jethro somewhat with a special breakfast, dinner out at a very good restaurant, as well as several gifts. And after they'd returned from dinner out, Jethro had proved that no matter what some people thought sixty was not an age to be feared! It had, in Jimmy's opinion, been a very good day - even if he'd actually been the one to remind Jethro that it was his birthday.
He chuckled softly to himself as he recalled the look on Jethro's face when he'd arrived downstairs to find the dining table set with a white tablecloth and dark blue napkins, as well as their best crockery, together with a pile of presents and cards to one side. Jimmy had briefly considered getting a tasteful 'Happy 60th Birthday' banner or some balloons, but had decided they really wouldn't be Jethro's kind of thing. So he'd settled instead for a degree of elegant simplicity - he hadn't quite expected to have to tell Jethro when he'd raised an eyebrow and looked puzzled, that it was his birthday.
Thus, with that in mind the odds that Jethro had remembered it was his fortieth birthday, and even if he had actually remembered, had decided to do something about it, seemed fairly low. Still it was Sunday and neither of them had to go to work. Jethro, in accordance with the agency rules, had had to retire when he'd turned fifty-seven, and although he did do some carpentry work and other odd jobs for people, he tended not to work at weekends. And Jimmy had told Tony that nothing short of the body of the SecNav would get him into NCIS that day. Thus, Jethro and he would be together all day, which would be a good enough present for Jimmy.
Therefore, with no real expectations he dressed in casual clothes, brushed his hair, put his glasses on and went downstairs where he was greeted by the wonderful scent of bacon, eggs and coffee. He was about to go into the kitchen, when hands grabbed his hips, pulled him backwards and then turned him around and he was pulled into a tight embrace and kissed thoroughly.
As Jethro kissed him, his hands roamed over Jimmy's back and finally came to rest on Jimmy's hips which he held firmly and kept Jimmy pressed against him. Finally, Jethro took his mouth away from Jimmy and grinned at him. "I was beginning to think you were going to stay in bed all day," he said. "I know it's your birthday, but even so." And with that Jethro again tugged Jimmy towards him, gave him another searing kiss, before letting him go. "Dining room," he instructed as he went off to the kitchen.
Jimmy's lips were tingling from the fierceness of Jethro's kiss and he ran his tongue around them as he went towards the dining room. So Jethro had remembered it was his birthday, which made Jimmy feel warm inside. He rolled his eyes and chided himself that a simple thing like his lover remembering his birthday could make him feel so happy, so cherished and so loved.
When he went into the dining room he found the table set as it had been a few months ago for Jethro's sixtieth birthday. The big difference being that his napkin was in a napkin ring; a wooden napkin ring; a carved napkin ring; a hand carved napkin ring; a hand carved napkin ring which had been carved into the shape of 'forty' and had Jimmy's initials and the date on one side.
He picked it up, carefully pulled the napkin out and examined it. He didn't know that much about wood work and carving, but over the years they'd been lovers he had watched Jethro work on things, thus he knew that the ring he held had not been knocked out over night - it was far too carefully and intricately done. It had taken his lover a considerable time to make, and that alone told Jimmy quite how much Jethro loved him.
He was sitting down and still stroking his fingers over the napkin ring when Jethro arrived with a tray containing plats of bacon and scrambled eggs and a pot of coffee. He gave Jimmy one of his 'looks' when Jimmy tried to help him unload the tray, so Jimmy instead just settled back into his chair and gazed at his lover. He knew he had a sappy look on his face, but even when Jethro glanced at him, Jimmy didn't try to hide the look.
"Thank you, Jethro," he said softly, once Jethro had sat down and picked up his fork.
Jethro gave a half-shrug, then smiled at Jimmy and to Jimmy's surprise, reached across the table and took Jimmy's hand. "Happy Birthday, Jimmy," he said. "Happy fortieth birthday," he added, squeezing Jimmy's hand before he let it go and began to eat.
The eggs, bacon and coffee were all, of course, perfect and plentiful. Jimmy was quite full when he patted his lips with his napkin and with what he knew was almost reverence pushed it back into the napkin ring. Jethro poured them another mug of coffee and then nodded to the pile of presents and cards that were on the side of the table.
Jimmy happily opened everything. There were no surprises as far as from whom the gifts and cards had come and had he not recognized Tony's handwriting on the envelope, he'd have known who the card was from as soon as he'd opened it. It made his cheeks become a little warm. "DiNozzo?" Jethro asked, as he leaned back in his chair and watched Jimmy.
Jimmy nodded. "I don't know how he finds them," he said, slipping the card beneath the others.
Jethro laughed. "That's DiNozzo."
Finally Jimmy had opened all the cards and gifts and sat surrounded by envelopes, paper, cards and various presents. He tried hard to force the slight hint of hurt that he hadn't had a card from Jethro. After all he'd had a wonderful gift, a truly wonderful, personal gift; a gift that no one else would have anything like; why did he need a card? He didn't. He told himself not to be so foolish, not to feel hurt and then Jethro cleared his throat.
Jimmy looked up and smiled. "Here," Jethro pushed an envelope across the table and Jimmy's smiled increased. "Well?" Jethro demanded as Jimmy just held it, suddenly almost afraid to open it. "Aren't you going to open it?"
"Of course!" Jimmy slit the envelope, hesitated for a second or two before pulling the card out and looking at it. It wasn't a commercial card; in fact it hadn't got anything on the front; it was just blank. Jimmy stared at it for a moment before he carefully opened it and looked down at the two words: 'Marry me?'
He looked up and jumped as he realized Jethro was now crouched down by the side of him. "Well?" Jethro asked softly, his hand resting on Jimmy's hip. "Will you?"
Jimmy swallowed hard. "Oh, Jethro," he managed, blinking furiously to stop the tears from falling. For several seconds he just sat and stared at the man he loved; the man who started to look a little uncertain; the man who almost seemed to be pulling away from him very slightly. "Of course I will, Jethro," Jimmy said quickly. "Of course I will." And he bent his head and kissed Jethro.
They spent quite a chunk of the day in bed before showering and dressing in order to go out to dinner.
As he fell asleep, Jimmy knew it was the best birthday he had ever had - as well as being the most surprising.
That had happened a mere three months ago; neither man had wanted to wait and given it wasn't going to be a big wedding and was going to take place at Reston House, they'd got it all organized and everything ready in a fairly short time period. Jimmy had never been happier and he knew that by the end of the day he'd be even happier still.
"Hey?" The door opened and Jethro came in. "You ready?" He stared down at Jimmy who smiled and nodded.
"Yes, Jethro, I am." He stood up and Jethro put his hands on Jimmy's hips and pulled him towards him just a little.
"Not too late to change your mind," he said softly.
Jimmy shook his head. "I don't want to, Jethro." And then he heard himself asking, "Do you?"
Jethro smiled and shook his head. "No, Jimmy, I don't." And he kissed Jimmy for a moment or two, before taking his hand and leading him across the room and out of the bedroom.
At the top of the stairs, Jimmy tucked his arm through Jethro's and they made their way down the stairs where Fornell was waiting on one side and Tony on the other. Together the four of them walked into the lounge where the rest of the guests, led by Abby, clapped madly.