MEMORIES DON'T LEAVE
Good or bad, Ducky remembers everything about his life with Jethro.
An established relationship story.
Warning: Major character death.
Written: January 2007. Word count: 1,019.
Memories don't leave like people do,
They always stay with you,
Whether they be good or bad.
The vast majority of Ducky's good memories from the last forty years featured, in some way or other, Jethro. As did some of his bad ones.
But he would not give up the bad ones. He could not. Because in doing so he would be giving up part of Jethro, and he was not ready to do that. He never would be ready to do that.
For good or for bad, Jethro was his life and he would always be so.
He remembered the good times, the happy times. Their love, friendship, affection, pureness, closeness, unity, togetherness; the way that together they were stronger than they were apart. He remembered their lovemaking, both the physical and the emotional, the way they made love whenever they were together, wherever they were, whomever they were with.
He remembered the four women Jethro had chosen to marry; remembered them all with a degree of sorrow and regret. He remembered the women his lover had dallied with, toyed with, slept with, the women for whom he hadn't cared, not really, not in the way he had cared for Ducky.
He remembered their own wedding day and how on that day he had known that he would never have to share Jethro with anyone else again. He remembered how happy they had been. How pleased the children and Tobias had been. How Jennifer Shepard had seemed unable to understand it, but even she had remained silent.
He remembered every detail of Jethro's life; indeed he saw it all clearly before his eyes.
But most of all he remembered his lover's death.
It had been a silly accident, a foolish one. One that never should have happened. One that could have been prevented. They had been shopping for black roses for Abby's birthday - after all, it was traditional, even though they had other gifts for her as well - when Ducky had been jostled. He had lost his balance, his leg had been troubling him more and more, but he had tried to ignore it, and stumbled into the road, into the path of the oncoming traffic. With the lightening reflexes that allowed his beloved to be such a fine and accurate shot, Jethro had dragged him to safety. But in doing so, in attempting not to hurt Ducky, he had . . .
He had failed to get to safety himself.
For a moment time had existed only in slow motion, and Ducky had watched his lover, who still held the bouquet they had bought for Abigail, tossed into the air where he had dropped to the ground, only to be hit by a second vehicle.
Around him black rose petals had fluttered, coming down more slowly than Jethro had done. They had fallen onto him and onto the ground, covering him, covering the blood from his shattered skull. Even as Ducky had pushed the petals to one side in order to clamp his fingers onto his lover's carotid artery, he had known. He had known. He had felt the second the life had left Jethro. Because that was the exact second his own life had ended.
He remembered how distraught, how beyond any degree of consolation Abby had been, blaming herself and her foolish fetish, vowing never to allow a black rose to be within her vision again. He remembered how she had frantically composed an email to send to all florist shops telling them to get rid of black roses; telling them that they meant death. She never did send the email, because McGee had finally taken control of her, had taken her into his arms and had led her away.
There had been no one to take Ducky into their arms. No one to lead Ducky away. They had all tried, Tobias, the children, even Jennifer. But Ducky hadn't wanted their comfort, because it wouldn't have helped. It couldn't have helped.
He had told Abby over and over again that it wasn't her fault; that he didn't blame her. Sadly, he knew that she hadn't, indeed didn't, believe him, couldn't believe him; her grief for her surrogate father had been and still was too deep, too violent. He hoped that one day she would be able to see the truth; would be able to believe what he had told her.
He wouldn't be around to see that day; but he trusted in the others to help her through it. To help her understand and accept; to help her let go of the her self-blame.
They had told him that Jethro's death had been quick, instantaneous even. They had told him that he wouldn't have felt any pain; wouldn't have known that the black rose petals had fallen around him. And Ducky knew they had spoken the truth, they hadn't been just saying it to help him. Knowing that had been, still was, his one comfort. Being a doctor allowed him to know things that other people had to take on faith.
His own death would be equally painless. He was after all a doctor.
As he lay on the bed Jethro and he had shared, he pulled his mind away from the last memory he had of his lover. Tugged it away from the black roses, the blood, the anguish, the twisted body, and instead let it return to happier times.
As he slipped into unconsciousness, prior to his own death, he felt his lover's hand on his head, felt him brush back his fringe, as he so often did. Then he felt soft lips brush his own and heard Jethro tell him that he was waiting for him.
Abby was as good as her vow. Never again did she allow black roses within her lab or her home.
Finally, with Tim's help, love and devotion, she did manage to accept that Ducky hadn't blamed her, not for Gibbs's death, nor for his own.
Each week she and Tim laid roses on Gibbs and Ducky's joint grave - red ones and white ones.
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