Ashleigh Anpilova


There are some things that are best kept to oneself.

An established relationship story.

Written: September 2007. Word count: 1,594.



Dr. Donald call-me-Ducky Mallard is a very garrulous man. He likes to talk, and he loves to tell stories and share his vast experiences.


However, there are some things about which he keeps the full details securely locked away inside himself. Some things about which he will never talk; about which he will never tell stories; never share.


The truth about his experience with the natives of New Guinea.


It is true that the tribe had never seen a white man before.


It is true that Ducky's life was in jeopardy until he cured the chief's wife of a terrible yeast infection.


It is true that he very much enjoyed the local drink.


It is true that it was indeed made of rum and the urine of water buffalo.


All of those things Ducky will happily talk about; to share with anyone who is willing to listen, and even those who aren't.


However, what he will never share is exactly the way in which his life was in jeopardy. Nor will he share what he had to witness and endure.


Only one person has any idea of the truth arising from Ducky's time with the tribe. And even he does not know the full horrors.


And he only knows because he has witnessed the nightmares Ducky still, from time to time, lives through. He is the one who has held Ducky and hushed him, and loved him back to sleep.


It is also the reason that Ducky knew he had to make amends when he did, after his lover had returned from Mexico.


And the reason why, had Ducky not made the first move, that Jethro would have sought out his oldest friend and lover and made the first move himself. He had known what Ducky would have experienced that night, and he would not have let him go through it alone.


The truth about Sarah and the field of poison ivy.


When Ducky told Timothy about the pair of lovers who had fallen asleep in a field of poison ivy, he inferred that he had been the young man involved.


He was not. At least he had not been the young lover who had fallen asleep with Sarah.


It is true that a pair of young lovers had fallen asleep in a field of poison ivy.


It is true that the young lady had been named Sarah.


It is true that Ducky had known about it.


It is true that Ducky had been present, or at least in the vicinity.


However, what is not true is that Ducky had been the young man.


The young man's name had been Andrew, and he had been Ducky's closest friend before Ducky had gone to Medical School.


One warm, sultry afternoon, during their travels around Europe, Ducky and Andrew and Sarah, Andrew's fiancée, had gone for a picnic in the woods. It had soon become clear to Ducky that three was most definitely a crowd, and that Sarah did not appreciate Ducky's presence.


It had therefore fallen to Ducky to suggest to Andrew that he and Sarah might enjoy a ‘walk', whilst Ducky himself remained with the picnic basket and his book.


Andrew had taken little persuading. Sarah none at all. Ducky had always suspected that Sarah knew the truth about him, and that was her reason for disliking him; she had feared he might ‘corrupt' Andrew. Thus, leaving Ducky with his book and a glass of wine, Andrew and Sarah had set off on their ‘walk'.


It hadn't been Ducky's fault that their ‘walk' had been so tiring, that they had decided to sleep; nor had it been his fault that they had ventured into the field of poison ivy. Sarah, however, had not seen it that way; instead she had simply added it to the list of things about Ducky to which she objected.


Ducky could not have been the young man to have fallen asleep with Sarah. Because Ducky had never fallen asleep with a woman – his mother notwithstanding. Because Ducky had never enjoyed the company of women in that way. Because Ducky had always been gay.


However, no matter how enlightened people had become, no matter how much more acceptable homosexuality was, Ducky had never openly confessed to being thus. He suspected that some people did maybe suspect, assume, wonder, but he stuck to the ‘don't ask, don't tell' mantra of the Marines.


No, the only person, at least within NCIS, who actually knew that Ducky was gay, was his lover. And it was partly to protect his lover – who didn't in the least need or want the protection and wouldn't have cared who knew the truth about him and his oldest, dearest, most beloved friend – that made Ducky tell stories, from time to time, which implied he had been involved in romantic entanglements with the fairer sex.


The truth about his time in Vietnam.


There was no need.


There was no point.


Those who had been there already knew.


Those who had not been there did not want to know.


What was to be gained by talking about the atrocities, the violence, the hatred – all caused and carried about by both sides?


No one needed to know about the hell, the pain, the suffering, the darkness that went with every waking, and most sleeping, hour.


And most of all, Ducky did not wish to speak about, think about, remember the things one did that went against everything in which one believed.


No, Ducky never spoke of Vietnam, not beyond the fact that he had done a tour of duty. He didn't even speak of it with his lover. He had no need to do so.


His lover knew.


Like Ducky, Jethro had also served in a war zone.


Like Ducky, Jethro never told his stories.


The truth about his thoughts following his capture by the Hanlans.


Despite everything he might say, everything he might imply in words and actions, Ducky knew that Jethro had, and still did, blame himself for Ducky being captured and being minutes away from death.


Thus, Ducky wasn't about to add to his lover's pain by telling him that, for the first time in his life, he had not believed in Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his abilities. He had not believed that he would be rescued, at least not whilst he was still alive.


As he had been held in captivity he had known that the man he loved would be doing everything within his power to find Ducky alive. But for once Ducky had truly believed that Jethro would fail.


That thought, that belief, had chilled him more than the thought of his own death.


As had the knowledge that had he died, then NCIS would have lost two employees: their Medical Examiner and their Senior Field Agent.


The former to death.


The latter to prison.


Jethro would have avenged Ducky's murder; just as he had avenged that of Shannon and Kelly.


Ducky steadfastly refused to admit that prison was not likely to have been the way NCIS would have lost Jethro.


So he kept his secret.


He learned to live with it.


Learned to live with the one time his trust and belief in the man for whom he had hitherto believed his trust and belief to be absolute, had failed him.


In many ways it was his darkest secret of all.


The truth about when Jethro and he first met.


It is true that Ducky had known all of Jethro's wives – all four of them. Not just the three ex-wives.


When Jethro had been blown up for the second time, Ducky had, as he had promised Jethro he would do should the occasion ever arise, let people believe that he had met Jethro in 1996.


That had been a falsehood.


In reality it had been 1975, when he had been thirty-three and Jethro a brash twenty-one year old.


They had met when Ducky had been invited to give a lecture to the young Marines.


They had become lovers the same year. But no one needed to know that.


No one needed to know how wonderful Jethro's hands and mouth felt as they caressed, touched, stroked, kissed and made love to Ducky's body.


No one needed to know how much Ducky loved to touch and kiss Jethro. How much he loved to see the tightly controlled man lose his distant veneer under Ducky's loving. How much he loved, and was loved by, Jethro.


No one needed to know anything about that side of their relationship.


Thus no one needed to know quite when and how they had met.


Jethro's rationale for insisting on the façade, had been complex and convoluted – sometimes Ducky wasn't even certain his lover understood his own logic.


Nonetheless, Ducky had agreed to it. And he had stood by his word. And he would always do so.


After all what did it matter when people believed they had met?


They, Jethro and himself, knew the truth.


Just as it didn't matter that people believed them to be merely just extremely close friends.


Once again they, Jethro and himself, knew the truth.


That they did was all that mattered.


Truth is so often relative.


Yes, Dr. Donald call-me-Ducky Mallard is a very garrulous man. He likes to talk, and he loves to tell stories and share his vast experiences.


However, there are some things about which he keeps the full details securely locked away inside himself. Some things about which he will never talk; about which he will never tell stories; never share.



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