I knew something was up when you started talking about this weekend with little boy excitement
I knew something was up when you started talking about this weekend with little boy excitement. You never get excited—ever. So to see you grinning like a little boy made me tense up for a head slap that never came. Then you tossed the plane ticket onto the boat, your hands cracked and chapped after a long day of work and an even longer evening becoming one with the wood.
Hiking had never been something we'd discussed before, but we're both athletic guys, and anyway, it was West Virginia and not the Rockies. We didn't need much in the way of gear, just boots to break in. You even booked a weekend at a rustic cabin, and I wasn't mad that you told them it was a father/son thing. As you say, you play your role, and I play mine.
I haven't seen you this lighthearted often, teasing me, laughing, splashing in the creek behind our place. This is the guy Ducky says he misses. I'm glad I'm getting to see him.
"Tony?" Your voice startled me.
"Sorry. Just thinking."
"C'mon, we're burning daylight."
You tugged me along relentlessly until we reached a clearing, then you sat down on a log and looked up at me.
"Tony, there's something I want to do. You don't have to do it as well. Only of you're ready but I learned a long time ago that waiting to say what you need to can mean regrets."
You got down on one knee and looked up at me, those blue eyes shining with hope. "Tony, I know this can never be legal, but it can be real and permanent for us." When you held out your hand to me, shyly showing me the ring, I realized how serious you were.
You wanted to make our relationship permanent. You wanted to make us as real as it gets. What did you think I'd say?
I reached for the ring, turning it over in my hand. A simple band, it was platinum, not something you bought without giving it a lot of thought. You snatched your hand away with that wistful smile and reached for my right hand, slipping the ring on as you stood.
"You're mine, Anthony Dominic DiNozzo. I choose to be with you. I choose to love and protect you and honor our bond. Til death and beyond. There will never be another lover for me."
I know you as well as anyone and I've never seen your heart so firmly on your sleeve. You slipped the ring on and it made me feel complete.
"I don't have anything for you."
"You do." You put a small box in my hand and I opened it. An ID bracelet, simple, white gold rather than the platinum of my ring, spilled out. It was only then that I realized yours was gone.
I stroked your wrist with my fingertips. "You're mine, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I'm claiming you for the rest of my days. You complete me, Jethro and I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else."
As I fastened the bracelet on you left wrist, you wrapped an arm around me.
"Forever, DiNozzo. With you at my side, I can move mountains."