AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Leroy Jethro Gibbs/Tobias C. Fornell
CHARACTERS: Gibbs and Ducky
SUB-GENRE: Episode Tag. Angst
SUMMARY: Set after Jack Knife. Ducky plays matchmaker.
WORD COUNT: 1,000.
SPOILERS: Jack Knife
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This really is a first; Ducky is still alive, he and Gibbs have not been lovers, and I'm writing G/F pre-slash. *Shakes head at self* The story also mentions Ducky's unrequited love for Gibbs. Written for ncis1000words's Dialogue Challenge: "You have no idea what that is, do you?"
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
"McGee, told you I didn't - Oh, hey, Duck." Gibbs was surprised to see Ducky. "Wasn't expecting to see you. Everything all right? It's not your mom, is it? Has something -"
"No, Jethro. It is not Mother."
"Come to check up on me, have you? Told you I was letting McGee drive me around and -"
"No, Jethro, I am not 'checking up on you'. May I come in?"
"Thank you." Ducky closed the door and blinked in surprise at the lock. "Jethro?"
Gibbs shrugged. "Finally got tired of unwanted 'guests' walking in and out. Thought you'd approve; you've told me often enough to get one."
Ducky chuckled softly. "Indeed I have and, yes, I approve." He removed his hat.
"Here. I'll take your hat and coat, then come and have a drink."
Ducky shook his head. "No, I'm not staying. I have to visit Mother."
"Oh. Then what can I do for you, Duck?"
For a moment Ducky looked away; then he tipped his head back and gazed up at Gibbs. "I believe it is more a case of what I can do for you."
Ducky sighed. "Oh, my dear Jethro. Do you not think it's time you stopped trying to ignore what is so very plain to see?"
"Duck?" Gibbs spoke tentatively. "What do you -"
"Tobias and yourself."
"What about me and Tobias?"
"Oh, Jethro, really. Open your eyes; you're in love with one another."
Gibbs gave a half-choked laugh. "What? Duck, you been drinking?"
"No, Jethro, I have not. However, I suspect I shall when I return home." The final sentence was said softly, with a tinge of pain.
Gibbs touched Ducky's arm. "Duck?"
"Oh, Jethro, please do not do me the disservice of pretending. Not now. You know how I . . ." Ducky trailed off and shrugged.
Gibbs swallowed and put his hand on Ducky's shoulder and squeezed it. "Ah, Duck," he said softly, with pain in his own voice. "I'm -"
Ducky silenced him with a fierce shake of his head. "Don't, Jethro. It's all right, I've always known. I've just never admitted it until today when I witnessed Tobias and yourself together. Jethro, it's so obvious. You argue like the proverbial 'old married couple'. The 'you didn't call', etc., not to mention the way you looked at one another, told me so much."
"Come on, Duck, that was just . . ." Gibbs trailed off. It was 'just' . . . Wasn't it? He looked down at Ducky. "You're serious, aren't you? You really think that Tobias and I . . ."
"Are in love? Yes. And I don’t just think it, Jethro, I know it. And you do too. So why don't you stop pretending and do something about it? Don't you think it's time you allowed yourself a little happiness?"
"Duck, I -"
"Although sometimes I think you have no idea what that is, do you? Or rather you've forgotten. You can be happy again, Jethro. And you can be happy with Tobias. After all, you have many things in common, not least having married the same woman."
"Not sure that's a plus, Duck."
Ducky smiled. "Maybe not."
"Why are you doing this?" Gibbs asked quietly.
Ducky looked at him, before lightly brushing his fingers over Gibbs's cheek. "You're my closest friend, Jethro. I care about you and I want you to be happy. I'm sure you will be with Tobias."
"Yes, I am. For some reason despite your track record, and to a lesser extent Tobias's, I am."
Gibbs squeezed Ducky's shoulder again. "Duck, I - You know you're my closest friend too, don't you? Whatever happens, you'll -" He stopped abruptly, aware of what he was admitting. "Damn," he said softly. He looked away from Ducky for a moment; then looked back at him. "You're right."
Ducky smiled, just a little sadly. "I usually am," he said.
Gibbs laughed. "Yeah, guess you are at that, Duck."
"Well?" Ducky demanded after a moment or two of silence.
"What are you going to do about it?"
Gibbs blinked. "Um . . ." What did Ducky think he was going to do about it? He'd only just admitted his feelings; he needed time to adjust, didn't he?
"Unless of course you'd like me to go and give Tobias a pep talk," Ducky offered.
"You would too, wouldn't you?"
"Oh, yes," Ducky replied. "I really do think it's time you acted. Now that you have realized the truth, you should do something about it. Life is far too short, Jethro, not to do so."
"Yeah, well, I can't go over there, can I? You're the one who insisted I don't drive."
"That is true. However, the solution is simple."
Ducky nodded. "Yes. Now get your coat, and don't forget to lock the door behind you."
They didn't talk much during the journey to Fornell's home. Gibbs didn't really know what to say to the man who had committed, was still committing, a completely selfless act, and Ducky seemed content with the silence.
Once, when they stopped at a red light, Gibbs put his hand on Ducky's arm. "Duck," he said. "I -"
"I know, Jethro," Ducky said, squeezing Gibbs's hand, before pulling away when the lights changed to green.
A few minutes later they pulled up outside of Fornell's house. Gibbs sat for a moment, wondering whether he should ask Ducky to drive him home, or get out and ring the doorbell.
"Well?" Ducky said. "Are you going to get out or shall I?"
"No, it's all right, Duck. I'm going." Pausing to brush a strand of hair from Ducky's cheek, Gibbs opened the door. "See you tomorrow, Duck," he said quietly, getting out of the car.
"I'm sure you will, Jethro."
Ducky smiled at him. "I shall, my dear. I always do."
"Yeah, I know. Duck?"
Ducky nodded. "Just don't waste it, Jethro," he said.
Gibbs stood and watched until the tail lights of Ducky's Morgan had vanished. Then he turned and made his way to Fornell's door and rang the bell.