OUT OF TIME
Gibbs has run out of time to buy Ducky a Christmas gift. However, he does come up with an idea.
A first time story.
Written: December 2009. Word count: 1,754.
The office party had finally wound down. The kids had enjoyed themselves, Gibbs, as usual, had spent more time at his desk than at the party, and now everyone was starting to get coats and hats and gloves and prepare to leave for the evening. Presents, despite the agreement not to buy for one another, had been exchanged and liked and laughed over in a few cases. Everyone was happy, ready for the following day. Well, everyone, that was except Gibbs himself.
He had one big problem: he'd run out of time when it came to finding a present for Ducky. Over the years he'd struggled to come up with ideas, usually resorting to a bottle of good whiskey or a pen or a book. Suddenly he wondered just how many pens and books he'd given his friend over the years.
This year he'd been determined to get Ducky something different; something he really wanted. However, once again the 'ideal gift' had proven to be illusive. What did you buy for the man who seemed to have everything he wanted? And even if he hadn't got it, Ducky could easily buy it for himself. It made gift buying very difficult.
Thus, here he was late on Christmas Eve afternoon, still without a gift for the person who meant more to him than anyone else. The person he'd be spending Christmas Day with. The person who always seemed to come up with gift ideas for Gibbs himself, even when he hadn't thought he'd wanted anything.
He glanced around the squad room, almost expecting inspiration to hit him. There would still be stores open, if he could come up with an idea, he could get it. Except, given he hadn't come up with an idea in all of the weeks he'd been thinking about it, he didn't really think something was going to come to mind now. And certainly not the perfect gift.
No, he'd just have to settle for giving Ducky the bottle of whiskey he had bought just in case. It certainly wasn't perfect, but it was better than nothing. He couldn't turn up to Ducky's home with nothing. Not that Ducky would mind, not as such, he wouldn't be troubled by the lack of a gift from Gibbs. He would, however, be somewhat hurt, even though he would hide it, that Gibbs hadn't cared enough to give him anything, no matter how trivial and inexpensive.
As Gibbs gazed around the squad room, his eyes settled on the elevator and an idea, one that in truth had been nudging at him for quite some time, came to mind. It was what Ducky wanted; it would be the perfect gift. But was it right? Was it the right time? Was there ever going to be the right time?
"Did you spend any time at the party, Jethro?" He'd been so caught up in his thoughts, that when Ducky's voice came from behind him, he jumped.
"Hey, Duck," he said, ignoring the question. "Did you want me for something?" Maybe it was the fact that Ducky had clearly had a glass or two of wine or maybe it was just that for some reason he was even more attuned to his old friend than he normally was, but for a fleeting second or two a look blazed in Ducky's blue eyes that made Gibbs swallow hard. Then it had gone and Ducky just looked at him with his usual affectionate gaze; in fact Gibbs wouldn't have been able to swear the look had been there. Except it had been; he knew that. Just as he knew the sun would rise the following day.
"I just wanted to be certain that a last minute case hadn't arisen that would keep you from spending the day with me tomorrow," Ducky said, sitting down on the edge of Gibbs's desk and smiling at him. Although Ducky smiled, there was a very slight defensive hint in his tone, as if he was preparing himself for Gibbs saying that something had come up.
Gibbs shook his head and put his hand on Ducky's leg for a moment. "Nah, Duck," he said. "No case. I'm all yours." Damn it. He hadn't meant to say that. Hadn't you? A little voice in his head asked. He frowned.
"Jethro?" Now Ducky put his hand on Gibbs's hand and gently squeezed it, for a moment Ducky linked his fingers with Gibbs's. "Is something the matter, my dear?"
"What? No. No, Duck, nothing's the matter. It's just . . ."
"Just?" Ducky prompted him gently.
Gibbs glanced around the room; no one was paying him any attention. He wasn’t even certain anyone was paying anyone outside of the small groups that were gathered around and whose 'members' talked and laughed. He stood up, still holding Ducky's hand. "Come with me," he said, tugging Ducky gently to his feet and beginning to guide him across the squad room.
"Jethro?" Ducky asked, although he went with Gibbs without any hesitation.
They reached the elevators and one obligingly opened for them. Gibbs ushered Ducky inside, followed him, started the elevator moving and them pressed the emergency stop button. The lights dimmed and the car came to a halt.
"Jethro?" Ducky asked, moving a step or two nearer to Gibbs and putting his head back so that he could look up at Gibbs. "What is going on? Why have you stopped the elevator?"
Gibbs wet his lips. "Thing is, Duck," he said. "I wanted to get you a gift this year that you really wanted."
"Jethro, I assure you I do not need gifts from you. I -"
"Know that. But I wanted to. But here we are, Christmas Eve and all I've gotten
is a bottle of your favorite whiskey."
"Which I assure you, my dear, will be more than welcome," Ducky said, putting his hand on Gibbs's arm and squeezing it. "Jethro, it is most unlike you to worry about something like that. We've known one another for enough years not to be concerned over such things. And you know -"
"Yeah, Duck. I do. That's the point." Gibbs put a hand on each of Ducky's shoulders.
"Jethro?" Ducky's voice sounded somewhat concerned now. "Are you feeling all right? You didn't have your drink spiked during the few minutes you spent at the party, did you?"
Gibbs shook his head. "I'm fine, Duck. More than fine."
"Then I don't . . ." Ducky trailed off and his eyes widened as Gibbs moved his hands from his shoulders and cupped his face. "Jethro?" The word was no more than a whisper.
Lowering his head a little towards Ducky and moving slightly nearer, Gibbs gently put his mouth onto Ducky's and kissed him. He'd planned the kiss to be brief, not much more than his lips brushing over Ducky's. Just long enough for Ducky to know he meant the kiss, but not too long as to possibly spook Ducky.
However, after a half-strangled, bitten off soft gasp and Ducky freezing for a second, Ducky's lips parted slightly and he began to kiss Gibbs back. As he tasted the scent he knew so well and felt Ducky's clean, make-up free lips press against his, Gibbs found all thoughts of brevity racing away.
Instead, he slid his arms around Ducky, tugged him even nearer to him, and went on kissing him and kissing him and kissing him until he began to see dark spots and flashing lights in front of his eyes.
At that point he, with great reluctance, took his mouth away from Ducky's and breathed deeply. Ducky was staring at him his eyes wide, his mouth red, a look of hope, slight confusion and utter love and devotion on his face. "Was that okay, Duck?" Gibbs asked, now taking Ducky's hands.
Ducky smiled at him. "Oh, it was more than just 'okay', my dearest Jethro. I can definitely see why you have never had a problem attracting the ladies."
"Huh? No, Duck, that's not what I meant. I wasn't looking for a comment on my kissing abilities." However, Ducky's words had pleased him.
"Were you not?" Ducky inquired, in a tone that made Gibbs uncertain as to whether he was being gently teased or not. "In that case what were you inquiring about?"
"Whether you were okay with me kissing you," Gibbs said. "If you wanted it."
Ducky chuckled softly. "Ah, my dear, dear Jethro. Do you really have to ask that question?"
Gibbs laughed once. "Guess not. So I take that as a 'yes', then, shall I?"
"Mmm. I would think that would be a first class idea."
"In that case," Gibbs said, again slipping his arms around Ducky and lowering his head in prelude to again kissing Ducky. However, to his surprise, Ducky pulled back a little. "Duck? Is something wrong? I thought . . "
"Oh, no, Jethro, nothing is wrong. Quite the opposite; which is the problem."
"May I make a suggestion?"
"Sure." Gibbs just hoped it was in a version of English he understood.
"Well, rather than you arriving at my home tomorrow morning, why do you not come home with me tonight?"
Now that was a version of English Gibbs understood only too well. "Why don't I do that thing?" he said. "Or rather I'll go home, grab a few things, including your gift, and then come to you."
"That, my dear, would be ideal. Although, as you have now given me my idea of the perfect gift there really is no need -"
Gibbs kissed him again. "I thought you liked unwrapping presents," he said, when the kiss, somewhat shorter than the previous one had ended.
Ducky beamed at him and his eyes shone with love, humor and passion. "Oh, yes, dearest, I do. But I think I'll have my hands full with my main gift, do you not?"
And leaving Gibbs somewhat open-mouthed, Ducky reached past him and pushed the emergency stop button again, thus restarting the elevator. As the car shuddered to a stop and the doors opened, Ducky turned to Gibbs, winked at him, before with perfect poise he went out into the squad room.
As he followed Ducky and heard him wishing the kids and other stragglers a very Happy Christmas, before he headed down to Autopsy, Gibbs wondered just how quickly he could make the journey from the Navy Yard to his house, throw some things into a bag and then get to Reston House.
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