THINGS MAMA TOLD YOU
The team is out to dinner and DiNozzo introduces a new subject of conversation.
An established relationship story.
Written: June 2009. Word count: 1,000.
"Never do anything that you wouldn't want to have to explain to the paramedics."
A penetrating silence swept over the table. There was no chatter, no laughter, no sounds of cutlery on china, no clinks of glasses. Forks were frozen between plates and mouths as six heads turned in Tony's direction. Six pairs of eyes stared at him.
"What, DiNozzo?" Gibbs demanded, finally breaking the silence.
"Never do anything that you wouldn't want to have to explain to the paramedics," Tony repeated, somewhat hesitantly this time. "Guess it did sound a bit weird."
"You think?" After another second of staring at him, as if he was expecting Tony to grow a second head or something, Gibbs returned his attention to his plate.
Abby, however, had different ideas. She nudged Tony - hard. "Well?"
"Well, what, Abby?" Tony rubbed his arm.
"You can't say what you said and not tell us why you said it."
Ducky murmured something very quietly; so quietly even Tony, who was sitting opposite him, didn't catch what he said. He guessed Gibbs, who was sitting next to Ducky, did, however, as he saw Gibbs glance at Ducky and wink.
Tony shrugged. "It was what my mom used to say to me."
Ziva's eyes widened as she looked at him. "Your mother said that to you?"
Tony nodded. "Yeah. Often."
"How old were you?"
Tony shrugged. "I don't know. Six maybe seven."
Ziva just shook her head.
"What? Don't try to tell me your parents," he waved his fork at them, "didn't say similar things. Yours must have done, McGeek. Probably something about plas-"
"Anthony." Ducky's tone was low, but firm.
"Sorry, boss," Tony said swiftly, glancing from Gibbs to Ducky and back to Gibbs again. He then glanced at McGee. "Come on tell us what Mom and Dad McGee told you."
McGee was silent for a moment. Then he said. "Mom's favorite was 'always remember to wear clean, untorn underwear, just in case you get knocked down'."
"My mom used to tell me that too," Palmer said.
"Yeah? And did you ever tell her that while you got the clean bit, the torn bit you didnít, because people would just think it got torn in the accident?"
Palmer nodded. "I did. I also told her that the clean bit didn't necessarily matter either because a lot of people -"
"Jimmy." Once again Ducky's tone was low, but firm.
Palmer flushed furiously. "Sorry, Doctor," he said, bending his head back over his plate.
"But why," Ziva said, her tone quite loud. She lowered it slightly and continued. "Why bother with the 'in case you get knocked down'? Did your mothers not expect you to wear clean underwear anyway? Did they need an excuse to get you to wear it? Or is it just that you were boys?"
McGee shook his head. "No. She said it to Sarah as well."
"In that case I do not understand."
McGee glanced at Palmer and then at Abby and Tony; they all shrugged. "Er, I think it's just one of 'those' sayings, Ziva. The kind of thing Mothers say. Ducky?" All attention now turned to Ducky.
"Please, do not tell me your mother said that to you?" Ziva said.
Ducky shook his head and smiled. "No, Ziva. She did not. Mother said many things, but that was not one of them."
There was a short silence as the others, except Gibbs, waited expectantly for Ducky to elaborate. But for once the story-teller was silent.
Tony turned to Abby. "So, Abbs, what did your mom tell you?"
"To listen for the traffic, not just look for it. I always thought that was cool given that she couldn't hear it."
"Now that one," Ziva said, "I can understand. Finally, something that makes sense."
"Well, what about you, Ms. David. What did your parents tell you?"
For a moment Ziva almost looked flustered. But then the look vanished and her guarded look was in place. She shook her head. "Nothing that would translate to your culture," she said, smiling a little to lessen the rebuffle.
"Oh, right. But -" Tony silenced himself when he saw Ducky's steady gaze come to rest on him. "What about you, boss. Did your - No, right. Of course not." And with that, he returned his attention back to his plate and everyone carried on eating, drinking, laughing, talking and being perfectly happy to be in the company they were in.
When the check came and a debate began as to how it should be split, Ducky solved matters very simply by handing his credit card to the waiter, and silencing the protests with one of his 'looks'. Tony wondered, not for the first time, if Ducky knew just how much his 'look' resembled Gibbs's.
Finally, after hugs and back slaps, the five younger members of the team set off to continue the evening at a nightclub, leaving Gibbs and Ducky to return to Reston House.
Jethro opened the door to their home and ushered Ducky inside. It was Jethro himself who, after shutting the front door, both locked and bolted it, before turning and tugging Ducky into his arms and kissing him.
"So, tell me, Duck," he said, after several enjoyable minutes had gone by. "What kind of things did your mom tell you when you were a kid?"
Ducky's eyes twinkled as he gazed up at Jethro, the deep love he had for Jethro so very clear to see. "Her favorite thing," he said his voice quite low, "was 'never to talk to strange men'." He cocked an eyebrow.
Jethro laughed. "Reckon you failed there then."
Ducky smiled. "That, my dear, depends on your definition of 'strange'."
"Guess it does, Duck. So what else?"
Ducky reached up and pulled Jethro's head down and whispered something in his ear.
Jethro blinked and pushed Ducky away from him a little. "Your mom said that to you?"
Ducky laughed softly. "Oh, yes," he said, and pulled Jethro's head back down for a passionate kiss.
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