AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: First Time
SUMMARY: Gibbs and Ducky meet for the first time and spend a night together. Many years later they meet again.
WORD COUNT: 3,110
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for duckys_lady: Y - You had me at hello
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
WASHINGTON DC, 1977
Ducky sat at one of the corner tables, which allowed him to see pretty much all of the bar. It wasn't a place he frequented a great deal; it always made him feel just a little sordid and saddened when he visited the place. It wasn't that it was an unpleasant place; it wasn't unpleasant at all. It was actually a very nice place; a rather up-market place. Nonetheless, it was the concept of the place that made him feel as he did; made him feel almost abnormal to be as he was.
However, there were some nights when being alone, unable to connect with men who were as he, became too much even for him to bear and he would leave his lonely, empty house and head for the bar where at least he would have company - even if it wasn't on a one-to-one basis. And when he was there, in the pleasant, neutrally decorated, nice, friendly bar, he didn't feel sordid or saddened or abnormal; those emotions only hit him when he left the place.
He had quite deliberately avoided making eye contact with anyone, as although being alone had become too much for him that evening, he wasn't certain if he wanted company beyond a drink or two. He had, of course, looked around the room to see if he recognized any of the other men and to see if anyone looked like the type of person with whom he would like to have a drink - and maybe even a man he would like to see again. However, thus far he hadn't seen anyone who appealed to him.
He was actually quite happy to just sit and drink his scotch and to enjoy listening to the muted conversations, snatches of laughter and just soak up the friendliness, the sense of peace, of rightness that he always felt once he was in the bar. And then the door opened.
Ducky looked across the room and stared at the young man who had just entered the bar. He knew for certain he had never seen him before and he also felt sure the young man had never been in such a place before. Indeed, for a moment Ducky wondered if he had wandered in by mistake. He waited for the young man to look around him and bid a hasty retreat.
However, to his surprise after he had looked around the bar slowly, his gaze lingering on couples and single men, the young man, rather than turn and depart, walked across to where Ducky sat. "Hello," he said, actually holding out his hand to Ducky, "Buy you a drink?"
Ducky's manners, instilled in him firstly by his parents and later by his prep school and then Eton, automatically clicked in and he took the hand and shook it as he gazed up at the young man who stood smiling down at him. He was tall, dark and handsome; his eyes were dark blue, his smile infectious and his haircut told Ducky that he was almost certainly a Marine. That thought was confirmed by the confident, almost cocky way, the young man stood and smiled down at him. Ducky guessed him to be some ten or twelve years younger than himself.
Ducky knew he was captivated; that he had been captivated as soon as the young man had said 'hello'. He didn't want to be captivated; he didn't want to be attracted to the dark blue eyes, the near perfect physical specimen whose powerfulness and ability was clear. The last thing he wanted was to be under someone's spell; to desire someone who certainly wasn't a homosexual and quite possibly, unless Ducky was mistaken (and he doubted it) wasn't even bisexual
However, he was. He was, to use an old-fashioned British term quite, quite smitten. Suddenly he realized he hadn't replied. He quickly smiled and nodded. "Thank you; that would be very nice."
The young man looked down at the nearly empty glass in front of Ducky. "Whiskey?"
Ducky nodded. "Yes, please. Er, scotch if you don't mind. I'm afraid I'm not partial to your American whiskey."
The young man nodded. "Fine by me. You're English, aren’t you?"
"British," Ducky heard himself automatically correct.
The young man raised an eyebrow. "There's a difference?"
Ducky smiled. "There is rather. However, it really doesn't matter. Please forgive my rudeness."
The young man shrugged. "Wasn't rude." And with those words he turned and strode off towards the bar.
"Oh, dear me," Ducky murmured. "Oh, dear, dear, dear me." As he watched the young man lean against the bar he actually gave consideration to leaving. It wasn't just impoliteness and a shocking breach of manners that prevented him from doing so.
"One scotch." The young man put the glass down in front of Ducky. "Didn't know if you had water with it, so I brought a jug."
"Thank you," Ducky said, as the young man put it down. "That was very thoughtful of you."
To his surprise the young man laughed. "Not something most people say about me," he said, pulling the other chair out, turning it around and straddling it. "Cheers," he said, holding up the bottle of beer he'd bought for himself.
Ducky picked his glass up and touched it to the bottle. "Your good health." He took a sip and realized it was the same malt he had been drinking. He put his glass back down and smiled at the young man. "I'm -"
However, the young man shook his head and held up his hand. "No. No names. No pack drill. No 'what do you do?' No, 'do you know so and so?' No past histories. Nothing like that. We're just two guys who for one night liked the look of one another and . . ."
Ducky was silent for a moment as he stared into the intense gaze that held him captive. He took another sip of his scotch before saying softly, "And?"
The young man took a deep swallow of beer and grabbed one of the paper napkins from the table to wipe his mouth with. "That's up to you," he said softly.
"Yeah. We can stay here, have another drink, another two, another three, shake hands again and say goodnight. Or . . ." He again trailed off, but he let his steady gaze wander slowly down and back up Ducky's body. "It's up to you."
Again Ducky simply stared at him in silence for a moment before asking quietly, "May I be permitted to ask why it is up to me?"
The young man shrugged again. "You're a gentleman," was all he said.
As he took another sip from his glass, Ducky for a moment wished he had simply left when the young man had gone to the bar. Indeed, for a fleeting second he gave consideration to draining his glass, holding out his hand again, before standing up and leaving. It would be the right thing to do; the proper thing to do. To stay, because if he did stay he knew what would happen and he didn't do that, not on a first meeting - and certainly not with someone whose name he didn't know - would be quite, quite, quite wrong. He really should go.
However, he stayed where he was. He really was a captive. "Well," he said, taking another sip from his glass. "Since I am not permitted to know your name or anything about you, what shall we talk about?"
"The weather?" Ducky laughed softly. "Books? Although I have to warn you, I'm not that well read. I like reading, but there isn't a great deal of time."
No, Ducky imagined a Marine, for now he was quite certain that is what his companion was, wouldn't have a lot of time to read.
THREE HOURS LATER
The young man, once again fully dressed, bent over the bed and lightly kissed Ducky. "Sorry to cut and run, but I've got an early start tomorrow."
Ducky smiled. "That's all right," he said, realizing as the words came automatically that he wasn't merely saying them because it was the polite thing to do. He was saying them because he meant them. It was all right. Even though he had spent the last two hours in bed with someone whose name he didn't know, someone he would never see again, doing things that actually rather surprised him, he didn't mind that the young man with whom he had shared an intensity he had rarely, if every, known, was about to leave. He truly didn't mind.
He had always, maybe romantically and idealistically and foolishly, believed that there was someone, some, if not quite perfect then close to, one person for everyone. Even if that person only came into ones life for an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, or if they were there for life; they existed.
Well, this young man was, had been, Ducky's person. He had given Ducky three wonderful, perfect, beautiful hours. He had captured Ducky's heart, his head, his very essence and being. He would always be the one; Ducky would always love him. He actually believed he was lucky, luckier than most, to have met the one person, to have met his true lover, to have met 'the one', even if had only been for three hours.
"It's all right," he said again, taking the young man's hand. "I understand."
The young man frowned and then put his hand on Ducky's cheek. "You know what?" he said, sliding his hand into Ducky's hair, "reckon you do. Take care. Take good care." And he bent and kissed Ducky again, it was a far gentler kiss than any they'd hitherto exchanged, before standing back up, striding towards the door and going out. He didn't look back.
WASHINGTON DC, 1982
Ducky returned to America after several years spent going to different places around the world, including some civilizations that were completely uncivilized and those who had never seen a white man before.
He had leaned a great deal about medicine, quite a lot what he would never actually be allowed to use as it would be frowned upon and considered to be from the Middle Ages, if not earlier. He also had a number of stories to add to his already large collection. During the time he'd been away from America, he had decided to in effect retrain, and had given up surgery on the living and had become a Medical Examiner.
A page from a newspaper blew by and he automatically bent and picked it up. It wasn't a DC paper, but one from a small town - Stillwater. As he walked over to a trash bin to drop the page into it, Ducky glanced down at the paper and saw the young man whom he had met and fallen for some five years ago, staring at a young woman of his own age. She was in a simple wedding dress; he in the uniform of the Marines.
Ducky stared at the picture for a moment before carefully folding the paper and, hesitating for only a moment, dropping it into the trash bin.
That night he left DC and once more began his travels, this time around America rather than the world.
THE NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON DC, 1996
"Dr. Mallard. I'd like you to meet Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He's just been promoted to head of the Major Case Response Team. You'll be working together quite closely. Jethro, this is Dr. Donald Mallard, but everyone calls him Ducky. I'll leave you two to get to know one another." With those words, Tom Morrow turned on his heel and walked out of Autopsy.
Ducky wondered quite what he might say if he knew the people he had just introduced to one another, weren't the strangers he believed them to be, but two people who had spent three blissful, wonderful hours together some nineteen years ago. Two people who had never known one another's name.
Ducky held out his hand. "It's a pleasure to - finally know your name," he said quietly. And then shook his head. "Do forgive me, I meant to say it's a pleasure to meet you Special Agent Gibbs."
Gibbs had taken his hand and shaken it and was still holding it. "Jethro," he said, after a moment or two. "And you're right; it is good to know the name of the man I - Nice to meet you, Dr. Mallard."
Gibbs smiled. "Ducky," he said and smiled again.
Ducky gazed up into the still handsome face of the man he had fallen in love with, the man who had captivated his heart and his world all those years ago and saw pain. Something had happened to Jethro Gibbs during the nineteen years, and Ducky was quite, quite certain it wasn't just connected with the hell he must have seen as Marine, nor in his years as an NCIS Special Agent. Something personal had happened. Something had caused Gibbs more pain than anyone should ever have to deal with. Something devastating had happened; something Ducky believed that Gibbs believed he would never recover from.
As he stared up at Gibbs for a moment he saw the shutters that he suddenly realized Gibbs must have erected before he came into Autopsy, or rather before he had walked into the Navy Yard that very morning, fall and he had to bite his lip from gasping aloud. If he had thought he had seen a deep set pain before, it was nothing compared to what he now saw.
"Oh, my dear Jethro," he murmured, before he even thought about it. "Oh, my dear, dear Jethro," he put his hand on Gibbs's and squeezed it. "Do say you'll have dinner with me tonight."
For a moment he thought Gibbs would refuse. But then he smiled and re-erected the shutters. "Dinner sounds good to me, Duck. Dinner sounds very good. Later." And with that, he turned on his heel and strode out of Autopsy.
THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS, 2014
"So this is what you once called home, is it, Duck?" Jethro said, as they stood in the hallway of what had been Ducky's parents' Scottish home. Jethro had his arm around Ducky's shoulders and Ducky was resting partly against him.
"Yes. Well, I have to confess this is one of them."
"It's . . ."
Jethro laughed. "Yeah. Guess I see now why you bought Reston House. Although I never really did get why you sold it." He gently turned Ducky in his arms and pulled him into a loose embrace.
Ducky gazed up at the man he had now been in love with, the man he had loved, the man whom had captured him and his heart for thirty-seven years and fell in love with him all over again. "Too many memories," he said softly. "At least that is what I told myself at the time."
"And later? You know when you realized you'd made a mistake getting rid of it and the dogs?"
"That I had been a fool. That I had lost something precious; that I had given up something important to me."
"Guess we've all done that," Jethro said quietly, after a moment or two had gone by.
"I guess we have," Ducky said equally as softly. "Now, kiss me and let me show you the rest of the house and you can tell me what you think of it and whether you wish to live here or if you would prefer to -"
Jethro's mouth on his, caressing it with his lips, silenced him. He made a soft noise and put his arms around Jethro and moved a little nearer to him, pressing against him just a little. Jethro's mouth parted his and he felt Jethro's tongue move around his mouth, charting it, rediscovering it. Jethro tasted, as he always did, of coffee, Old Spice and sawdust. Ducky wondered if the scent and taste of Formaldehyde still surrounded him, even though it had been some three months since both Jethro and he had retired from NCIS on the occasion of Jethro's fifty-seventh birthday.
"You were saying?" Jethro said, when he finally lifted his head and smiled down at Ducky.
"I was? Oh, I'm sure it was of no real importance."
Jethro laughed. "Love you, Duck. And where we live really doesn't matter to me. All that matters is that we live together."
"I love you too, my dear Jethro. And I confess I feel the same."
"Come on them, show me the family seat and then how about something to eat -" Jethro broke off and frowned. "Er, Duck?"
"Don't be offended, but what are we going to do for food? Didn't see any kind of take out on my way here."
Ducky smiled. "I arranged with the daughter of the lady who used to be our housekeeper to stock the fridge and freezer. I also asked her to provide some bourbon for you. We have plenty of things to eat and drink; we really won't need to venture out, unless we wish to, for several days."
"Sounds good to me." Jethro pulled Ducky nearer to him again. "So how about you give me the quick tour of what might or might not be my new home; then we raid the fridge and then . . ."
"And then?" Ducky asked politely.
Jethro smiled. "Then you show me where our bedroom is."
LATER THAT EVENING
"Yes, my dear?" Ducky was warm, comfortable, very well loved and given the time zone differences more than a little sleepy.
"Can I ask you something?"
"When did you . . . I mean when was it that you . . ." Jethro fell silent and shrugged as he glanced away from Ducky.
"Fell in love with you?" Ducky asked softly.
Jethro looked back at him and nodded. "Yeah. But forget it, Duck, it's not -"
"Oh, my dear Jethro. You had me at 'hello'." And Ducky began to laugh softly at the look of surprise, shock even, that crossed Jethro's face. "Now kiss me again and let us say goodnight. I don't know about you, but I for one am rather tired - although I cannot imagine why, can you?"
Jethro was still staring at him and then he shook himself, bent his head to kiss Ducky and said, "Love you, Duck." As Ducky closed his eyes and slipped close to the edge of sleep he thought he heard Jethro add, "Always have; always will."