Jethro takes exception to another man touching Ducky. Ducky is unperturbed by his lover's reactions and explains to Jethro why that is the case.
An established relationship story.
Written: April 2007. Word count: 1,300.
"Get your hands off him," Jethro growled, swooping down on a man who had his hands on Ducky's arm. "Unless you want to lose them, that is."
The man, some ten years younger than Jethro himself, looked up at Jethro and held his stare for a moment or two.
Then he shrugged and slowly pulled his hands away. "Sorry, I didn't realize you owned him," he said, standing up. He was not only some ten years younger than Jethro, he was also about six inches taller, and more powerfully built. Not that something as unimportant as those facts were about to deter Jethro. He glared up at the man, who had the audacity to look almost amused, which infuriated Jethro more. He took a step towards the man.
"Jethro." Ducky's voice was soft, but also unyielding. It was his 'not to be argued with tone'. As he spoke, he took Jethro's wrist, holding it firmly and securely.
Pulling his stare away from the other man, Jethro glanced at his lover, looking down into the steady, calm, slightly bemused gaze that looked at him, as it always did, with so much love and devotion, Jethro never felt worthy of it.
Once Ducky had Jethro's attention fixed firmly on himself, he glanced away and instead stared up at the man who still towered above them. Knowing that the only way he would be able to get away from the grip Ducky had on his wrist would involved causing Ducky pain, Jethro submitted to the quiet but clear order and stayed where he was. Instead he glanced at the other man.
To his amazement, after being stared at by Ducky for a moment or two, the man swallowed hard, shifted his feet, muttered another apology, this time without the sarcastic comment, and walked quickly away.
Jethro stood and watched him walk away, before sinking down onto the seat next to Ducky, and letting his lover take and hold his hand. Just for a second his instinct about public places tried to win out over his pleasure in the simple gesture.
Ducky had first suggested they visit this club a few months ago, and at first Jethro hadn't been keen. However, their relationship was, and always had been, about give and take, and so he'd decided to give it a go, which was all Ducky had asked. And after the first hour or so, found himself relaxing enough to put his arm around his lover.
They didn't come here often, but in a world that didn't really approve, no matter how many changes to the law there had been, of two men being able to express their love for one another in a simple, non-threatening, non-lurid way in public, it was kind of nice to be able to go somewhere where you could hold hands, put your arms around one another, kiss even.
"Sorry, Duck," he said, picking up Ducky's glass and draining the remainder of the whiskey. "Guess I did come over a bit heavy with the protection." He was still angry that another man had dared to touch Ducky. Ducky was his! Only he had the right to touch him in such a way. Ducky had no doubt been too polite to tell the man to get his hands off him. That was his so like his Ducky; sometimes Jethro thought he was too polite and gentlemanly for his own good.
Ducky smiled and squeezed his hand. "I am not objecting, my dear. I find it rather touching, actually."
"Yes." He open clear gaze told Jethro he was speaking the truth.
"I don't you know."
"Think I own you."
Ducky smiled, turning away to catch the eye of a waiter to order more drinks, and said softly, "Oh, but you do."
Jethro blinked. "Do?"
"Own me. Just as I own you. Ah, Jethro, please let me finish," he said quickly, as Jethro opened his mouth to object. "I do not mean in any controlling way, or anything like that. But in the usual way that long term, life partners do. We have a responsibility towards one another, we belong together, much of what we do, if not everything, is done with one another's happiness, safety, pleasure in mind. Is it not?"
"Well, yes. I guess."
"Well then. Ah, thank you very much." Ducky smiled as the waiter put the drinks down in front of them, nodded and walked off.
Jethro sipped the drink. "Hmm. Not sure that's what he meant," he said.
"Oh, I am certain he didn't, my dear. However, he is unimportant. Maybe one day he will be lucky enough find someone whom he loves, and for whom he cares as much as I love and care for you, and in turn be loved and cared for in the way you love and care for me. If that happens, he will understand what 'ownership' is; he will see that it is to be welcomed by lovers, not feared."
Jethro looked at his lover and smiled, feeling the warmth Ducky always gave him wash over him; feeling the exhaustion and stress of his day fade away. "Has anyone ever told you that you talk a lot of sense, Dr. Mallard?" he asked, as he lifted the hand Ducky wasn't holding lightly touched Ducky's cheek.
"Now that you mention it, I do believe that there might have been one or two occasions when it has at least been implied, Special Agent Gibbs," Ducky replied, his eyes twinkling.
"Well they'd have been right."
Ducky smiled. "I am glad to hear that, my dear."
"Do you want to make love, Duck?" Jethro suddenly asked.
Ducky blinked and his eyes twinkled even more. He raised one eyebrow and smiled, "I think that as relaxed as this place is, they might object to their members actually -"
Jethro silenced him.
He pulled back gently from the brief kiss and automatically glanced around him.
"It's all right, my dear. No one is interested in us and what we might be doing," Ducky said mildly, increasing his grip on Jethro's hand.
"Sorry, Duck. It's just -"
"I know, Jethro. I understand. Now I believe you mentioned something about making love? Why do you not take me home so that we can do that thing? After all, I believe that often the protector is rewarded in some way by the person whom he has protected."
"I read those stories too. Seem to remember it often involved hand in marriage," Jethro said quietly.
"Jethro? Is that -"
"A strange way or proposing to you? Yeah, Duck. It is. So? Will you?"
Ducky smiled and said, his tone heavy with fake innocence, "Will I what, my dear?"
Jethro rolled his eyes. "Will you marry me, Duck? That do? Or do you want me to go down on one knee?"
Just for a second, he really thought that Ducky was considering the question seriously. Then he saw the humor and teasing in the bright gaze. "Well?" he pushed.
"Of course I will, beloved. After all, one should always marry the person who rescues you from -"
Jethro once again silenced him.
"You wait," he said, breaking the second brief kiss. "Until I get you home."
"Oh, now is that a threat or a promise," Ducky asked, actually daring to bat his eyelashes at Jethro.
Jethro said silkily, "And what do you think?"
The coyness and act faded, and instead Ducky said seriously and solemnly. "I think, no I know, that I love you, and I would be honored to accept your proposal of marriage."
"Good. Love you too. Now come on. Home." And with those words, Jethro stood up, pulled Ducky to his feet, put his arm around his shoulders, pulling Ducky against him, and together they walked towards the door.
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