The Secrets That We Keep
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or NCIS: Los Angeles
A/N: Here is a one shot about Hetty and Ducky. And honestly, I don't know where the idea came from, but here it is.
Summary: People say that secrets have a way of coming out. But there are some that are too important and must be taken to the grave.
"Hetty, my dear there you are."
"Afraid you lost me?"
"Oh, never that." Hetty reached up to hug Ducky. "How was your flight?"
"Not bad. I've been on better and worse."
"Lots of luggage then?"
"Just one large bag and this carry on. I didn't want to bring too much just to have to go through security again when we go to London."
"I completely understand." The pair travelled to the luggage carousal to wait for Hetty's bag. Once found they headed to the car. Ducky placed both bags in the trunk then opened the car door for her.
"Ever the gentleman."
"As if I could let it go." He got in the driver's seat. "So shall we have lunch first or visit the cemetery?"
"Let's go to the cemetery. Perhaps the walk will stimulate our appetites."
About twenty minutes later, they pulled into the cemetery. Ducky drove to a section of tombstones and parked the car. He opened the door for Hetty again. He also lent her his arm to take.
"I've found the older I get the harder it is to be steady in places that aren't so steady."
"How far up is she?"
"Just up this hill a bit."
"You know, I'm so sorry that I couldn't be here for you both."
"Oh, Hetty don't worry about it. I know you're just as busy in Los Angeles as we are here. Crime stops for no one."
"So true. But you had to go through it alone. At least I could have helped a little." They were walking towards the grave of Mrs. Mallard, Ducky's mother.
"No, I had it covered. She had help with her nearly twenty-four hours. We even had people spend the night so many days a week in case I had to be called out in the middle of the night."
"Gerald, she was my aunt; I should have been there."
"Here we are." Ducky said. He looked at the tombstone with sad eyes. "You were probably her favorite niece, you know?"
"Me? I doubt that."
"No, no, you were. For the last year of her life, her mind wandered a bit. Sometimes she didn't remember me, but she always talked about you."
"Gerald, why didn't you tell me?" She asked, stopping in her tracks.
"It wouldn't have done any good, Henrietta." She glared at the use of her full name. "By the time you would've gotten here she would have forgotten your face. She would still remember your name, but your face would have eluded her."
"She's the only person I really let call me that. Except my own parents."
"She loved the name. That's why you have it. She insisted and I guess your mother just couldn't take no for an answer." Hetty brushed away a few leaves.
"Do you remember that summer in the country that we learned about the roses?"
"Oh yes. I was stuck more times than I care to remember. She learned everything from Grandmother."
"I still use the techniques she gave me." Ducky looked as her in surprise.
"Really?" She nodded. "After all these years?"
"And it still works. My roses have been winning for the last ten years." Hetty kissed her hand and placed it on the top of the tombstone. "Ah, the lessons you taught us Auntie."
"I hope we learned every lesson well."
"The groundskeeper is doing an exceptional job. She's well cared for as well as her neighbors."
"Yes, the staff is most careful and kind people." Ducky paused. "You know, while we're here we could visit Peter." Hetty frowned a little at the name.
"I suppose we could, since we're here."
"Do you remember where he is?"
"Absolutely. You never forget burying the love of your life." She replied as they began walking to the left in the directions of some beautiful magnolia trees.
"Do you regret any of it? If you had to do it all over again would you change anything? " Hetty was in deep thought as they walked.
"The only thing I regret is not being able to see him or my children everyday. And if this is the only thing I could do to keep them safe, then yes I would do it again, wouldn't change a thing."
"How are your children?"
"Just wonderful! You should hear Michael's German accent. He really does sound like he was born there."
"And his children?"
"The twins are so tall now. Almost as tall as his is."
"Ah, must be all the German sausages and sauerkraut." They laughed.
"And Anna's girls are so beautiful. All of them have the same long gorgeous hair she had as a young girl."
"I bet they have her athletic skills."
"They absolutely do; cheerleading and tennis." They approached the place where her husband was buried. "The children miss their father so much, especially Jennifer. She's was daddy's girl if I ever saw one."
"I know it wasn't easy."
"No, it rarely is." She paused. "I do have one other regret; I don't like it that my team doesn't know. I asked them not to keep secrets from me so I can help keep them safe."
"You could always tell them, away from the office. Swear them to the utmost secrecy."
"Does that rule apply to you?"
"Whatever do you mean?"
"How long have you been friends with Jethro?" Ducky shrugged his shoulders. "All these years and he doesn't know that we are cousins?"
"Well, I thought it best to keep some things close to vest. He sees all of us as family anyway so that is good enough for me."
"It is nice to find people to trust with your secrets, but mine will leave this earth when I do. It keeps them safe and they don't even know it." She bent down towards her husband's grave, taking note of the detail by which it was well taken care of. Just behind them one of the grounds keepers was making sure, the garden was perfect for public viewing
"Well, I'll give you some time alone. It's strange how I always need to find the facilities when I get to a cemetery."
"Poor Gerald." Hetty whispered as Ducky walked in the opposite direction. She knelt closer to the tombstone, touching it as if Peter would reach out from the granite to hold her hand. "Oh how I've missed you. You look well my darling, my compliments to the staff."
"We try. You look well also my dear," came a gentle voice from behind her. She didn't look back right away, but she knew the voice. It was the one she had fallen in love with years ago. "I'm happy to see you."
"And I, you." She replied standing. He opened his arms to her and she gladly went to him. "It's been a long time."
"Too long. I'm so sorry to hear about Bernadette. She was a gem of a woman. I suspect you and Gerald are flying together?"
"Yes, day after tomorrow. She lived a good life, one year shy of one hundred. How did you know?"
"Jenny told me." Hetty chuckled. "Well, she is a daddy's girl. Here come sit with me." He said motioning to the reflection bench to their left.
"So you talk often?"
"As often as we can. I spoke with Daniel last night too."
"How is our most wayward child?"
"Missing his parents terribly." The gentleman's British accent was a welcome comfort to Hetty's ears. It didn't matter how many times she had heard it on the phone, it captured her heart whenever they were in person, just like the first time.
"He's transitioned well, I think." Hetty said.
"So do I." He reached for her hand and held it. "Los Angeles is good?" She shrugged.
"As good as it can be. Crime doesn't stop, neither do our missions. Even thought my team is like family, I miss mine all the time."
"What do you miss the most?" Hetty leaned closer to his arm, placing her cheek against it.
"Oh, I can't pick just one thing. I miss afternoon tea with you. Still the best scones I've ever had outside of London." He chuckled. "They are. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent scone in LA? Very hard. I've had some good ones but nothing like yours."
"Oh how you flatter me Ana. I do miss making them for you."
"I miss you calling me Ana. I've never allowed anyone to call me that but you." They smiled at each other and he kissed her hand. "We were such a happy couple weren't we?"
"What do you mean were? I think we still are. I always smile when I think of you. I'm always overjoyed to hear your voice on the phone. And when we get the chance to see each other, well…" Hetty gave him a sly smile.
"Hmmm, yes I remember." She reached up and they met halfway for a kiss.
"Do you remember our vows?"
"How could I forget? 'To thee I promise, my life, my love , my all…'"
"'To thee I promise to be there, to be a help and not a hindrance…'"
"'To thee I promise to protect our union, to nurture our union and to bless our union.'"
"I'm glad I still get to wear my ring." He said holding out his left hand, letting the precious gold gleam in the sun.
"Oh, I still wear it. I just have to hide it." She reached into the top of her blouse and pulled out a gold necklace that had two rings on it. "I sleep in them, so I can feel closer to you. If I have to take them off, they are in very safe and capable hands. And if anything should-"
"Henrietta Anastasia Lange, you know I don't like it when you talk that way." She held up her hand to stop him.
"If anything should happen to me, these will be sent back to you for the safest keeping." The man sighed. He didn't like to hear Hetty talk of something happening to her before she could retire and they could be together once again.
"I know but you know my line of work. You knew when we married. It's the reason all of you are safe. And I would do it again to keep it that way." She looked him in the eye. "I love you; that will never stop. I'm always as safe as I can be so I can make it to finish out my days with you." He smiled.
"My god, I can't wait until you retire. How much longer?"
"Not much longer I hope. I want Mr. Callen to find the information on his past. I'm going to recommend that he take my place."
"And you think Leon will go for that?"
"He'll have no choice. It will be a part of my retiring. And if he says no, I have a way to go not just over his head, but over the head of his head." He nodded in understanding. "Have you found a place for us to retire?"
"Maybe. We should vacation there, the whole family if possible, just to see if we like it. They can help us pay for it. It might look good for their protection status."
"Ah…I'll let you know in a while."
"Why don't you get our family reunion together? It will be amazing to have all of us in the same place."
"Sounds like a great idea for me to keep busy. Yes, I think I will plan a family reunion for us. Then I really can see how tall Jenny's son actually is. He's trying out for the basketball team this fall. Gonna work out this summer, or so he says." Hetty laughed.
"I'm looking forward to it. Spending time with you, our children and grandchildren."
"So am I." They looked longingly at each other. "I wish you didn't have to go so soon."
"I know. It makes us cherish these small moments even more." The man pulled Hetty into his arms, hugging her compassionately.
"Ana, I love you so much. Please be careful."
"Peter I will do my best. And you know my heart is with you." Hetty took his face in her hands and kissed him, not goodbye but see you later. Peter left to finish his duties and Ducky met Hetty on the way back to the car.
"Had a nice visit did you?"
"Yes, but they're never long enough."
"Just wait until retirement. You'll be sick of each other by then."
"Rubbish! As long as we've been apart, I could never tire of him. He's my husband. And it's no secret that I love him."
A/N2: Thanks for reading. Just a one shot I had to get out.
So anybody wondering why Hetty called Ducky Gerald when we all know his name is Donald? It is a fic about secrets, right?
In case you didn't know I have a NCIS fic titled "The Tea Lesson" that features Hetty. I also have in progress "The Second Soul Mate" concerning Leroy Jethro Gibbs. There is also a NCIS: Los Angeles titled "The Heart Finds a Home" featuring a relationship between G Callen and Eric Beal. You can also catch glimpses of these relationships in my fics "Dreams", "What it Takes", and "Watching Him Sleep". Reviews on any of these are welcome!
Oh, and in a few months I will debut "The Chess Game" a crossover between both NCIS shows. Why the wait? I need to learn how to play chess first. lol