AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
WORD COUNT: 500
WARNING: For dabbles two - five. Major character death mentioned.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
TITLE: A Myth
CHARACTER: Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUMMARY: Ducky's stories do have endings.
It is a myth that my stories do not have endings; they do. Not all of them have happy endings; in fact many of them have not. However, they do all have endings.
I am not completely certain who it was that began the false rumor that I was always grateful when Jethro interrupted a story of mine because I would not have been able to complete it.
I believe it may have been Anthony; he is the most likely candidate. After all hiis ability to keep pestering people until in the end they accept what he says merely to silence him is a highly sophisticated one. He wears people down; he persists until it is much easier to just agree than to go on disagreeing.
Do not get me wrong, I am very fond of Anthony, just as I am very fond of all the children. Indeed, I think his persistence is one of the things which makes him such a fine detective. He will keep digging; he will keep pushing; he will keep going. I have watched him interrogate on more than one occasion and it is his doggedness that has caused more than one suspect to tire of arguing their case and simply comply with Anthony's wishes.
Where was I? Ah, yes, the fact that the children believe my stories do not have endings - if only they knew. Like any good story-teller I know exactly when to stop a story. It is not always a case of Jethro interrupting me that's stops me. I stop for two reasons: firstly because I do know exactly the right moment to stop, to leave my audience intrigued and maybe wanting more. And secondly, I stop because it is neither the time nor the place to reveal some of the more gruesome details.
Maybe one day those dearest to me will discover the myth and learn that my stories do have endings. You see I have written a book containing my stories and every one of them has an ending. I shall not endeavor to get the book published whilst I am alive, yet I would like to think that one day it may be published; that one day people will know the truth.
I think there are some stories people may not wish to know the truth about. Take my time with the natives of New Guinea for example; that will not make for an easy or comfortable read and I doubt many will believe my tale, will not wish to believe it.
However, there are other stories, lighter ones such as the Duke and the bull. That story I believe will amuse and hopefully counter-balance the harsher tales.
Maybe I should just let the children and Jethro, because despite our close friendship I do believe he too thinks some of my stories do not have endings, know whilst I am alive that my stories have endings. But I think I shall keep the myth alive for a little longer.
CHARACTER: Leroy Jethro Gibbs
SUMMARY: Set several years after A Myth. Gibbs finds Ducky's book.
Gibbs let himself into Reston House. The house felt cold, empty, quiet, unloved. It felt as if it owner was never going to return.
"Ah, Duck." Gibbs swallowed hard and wiped his eyes. His old friend wouldn't want him to grieve, but he couldn't help it. Ducky's friendship had been the one solid thing in his life for the best part of twenty years. Now that solidity had gone.
Mercifully it had been quick. One month he'd been given the diagnosis, the next he was taken from them. That last month had been spent as Ducky wanted to spend it: with those he loved.
It had been a happy month and he'd slipped away peacefully surrounded by the people who meant the most to him, one hand held by Gibbs, the other by Abby. His last words to them had been 'Do not grieve for my, my dears. Instead be happy in the knowledge you all brought me more love and contentment than any one person could ever hope for'.
Of course none of them had 'obeyed'. Tears slipping from his eyes, Gibbs had looked up to see tears falling from everyone's eyes. As he looked at the grief being shown, Gibbs knew more than one present hadn't truly realized how much Ducky had meant to them.
All the kids and Tobias had offered to accompany Gibbs. However, Gibbs had declined all offers; it was something he had to do himself before the Ducky-arranged-gathering where Ducky's lawyer would share the details of Ducky's will with those Ducky had cared about.
Gibbs was the major beneficiary and Executor of what was, given how wealthy Ducky had been, a remarkably simple will. Apart from the specific bequests, Ducky had left everything to Gibbs outright to do with as he wished.
Pausing to start the Grandfather clock he trudged up the stairs to Ducky's study and went across to the safe. Once more he was acting on instructions left by Ducky before he'd died.
"Well I'll be . . ." he said, when he saw the bound papers. He pulled them out. "Ah, Duck, why didn't you tell me you'd written a book?"
He took it across to Ducky's desk, poured himself a whiskey, turned to the dedication page and read.
Abigail, Jimmy, Timothy, Ziva, Anthony: my children. May your lives be as fulfilled as mine was.
And to my dearest, closet friend: Jethro. May you one day find again true love and happiness.
Gibbs swallowed hard, again wiped his eyes and began to read.
SEVERAL HOURS LATER
Gibbs didn't know much about books or publishing, but he did know was that the book he held in his hands was brilliant. It had to be published. People had to read Tales of Dr. Donald Mallard: Medical Examiner. And he knew exactly who could help him.
He grabbed the book, downed the last dregs of whiskey and hurried down the stairs; suddenly the house no longer seemed cold, empty or quiet.
TITLE: Opinion Sought
CHARACTERS: Leroy Jethro Gibbs & Timothy McGee
SUMMARY: A sequel to Posthumously. Gibbs takes Ducky's book to the person best placed to give him an opinion on it.
By the time Gibbs pulled up outside McGee's apartment block, it was a quarter past ten, pretty late for a non-arranged visit. He just hoped McGee wouldn't think it was too late; he could go home and return at a reasonable time, but he didn't want to. He wanted McGee's opinion on Ducky's book and he wanted it as soon as possible.
He glanced up and was relieved and pleased to see lights were still shining brightly in McGee's apartment. Forgoing the elevator, he jogged up several flights of stairs and along to McGee's door. He rang the bell.
After a few second he heard the security chain being pulled off and the door was open. "Bo- Gi- Jethro," McGee managed. When Gibbs had retired and was no longer anyone's boss, he had insisted the team call him by his given name. Ziva and somewhat surprisingly Palmer didn't have a problem with calling him 'Jethro'. However, both McGee and DiNozzo had found it much harder to drop 'boss' for 'Jethro'.
"Hey, Tim," he said. "Need you do to something for me."
"Sure, Bo- Jethro. Anything. Come in." McGee stood back and let Gibbs into his apartment.
"Thanks, Tim." He glanced around; nothing much seemed to have changed since the last time he'd been here.
"Coffee? Beer? Whiskey?"
"Small whiskey, please."
"My pleasure." It didn't take Tim long to pour two whiskies and hand one to Gibbs who'd already sat down on the couch.
McGee sat down on the opposite end of the couch and looked expectantly at Gibbs. "What do you need me to do, Jethro?"
Gibbs held out Ducky's book. "Read this and give me your honest opinion." He watched at McGee looked at the title, watched McGee's mouth fall partly open, watched as he turned to the dedication page, watched as he read, watched as he swallowed hard and dashed his hands over his eyes, watched as he looked up and met Gibbs's eyes. "Boss?" For once McGee didn't attempt to correct himself and Gibbs didn't either.
"Yeah, Tim. Ducky wrote a book. It's his stories. You ones you all thought didn't have endings."
"Yep. Sure do."
"Have you read it?"
Gibbs nodded. "Yeah."
"And as I said I want your honest opinion. Are they worth trying to get published or not?" He drank the whiskey in one swallow and stood up. "I'll stop by tomorrow and you can tell me." He paused, but McGee said nothing, he was already reading. "I'll let myself out then, Tim. Okay?" There still wasn't a reply. Smiling to himself, Gibbs let himself out of Tim's apartment.
By the time he'd reached his car it had turned cold and begun to rain; but he didn't feel it. Instead he felt warm and dry; finally he had a project he could work on. At least he thought he did.
TITLE: In Tim's Opinion
CHARACTERS: Leroy Jethro Gibbs & Timothy McGee
SUMMARY: A sequel to Opinion Sought. McGee gives Gibbs his opinion of Ducky's book.
Gibbs opened the front-door and came face-to-face with McGee who was pacing up and down.
Before he could speak, McGee had pushed past him and gone into his living room. "This," he said, his eye gleaming, despite the dark circles beneath them, "this is brilliant, Jethro. Brilliant. It's the best thing I've read in years, maybe ever. If I'd read this before I started writing, I wouldn't have started writing. This is going to be a bestseller." He was striding around the room, waving his hands and looking more animated than Gibbs could ever recall seeing him."
"Good morning to you too, Tim," he said, hiding a smile. "So you reckon it's good, do you?"
McGee stopped dead and turned to look at him. "Good!" he exclaimed. "Good. No, Jethro, this is not 'good' this is . . . this is . . . this is . . . Amazing and that isn't good enough."
"Coffee?" Gibbs was pleased; he knew McGee wouldn't simply tell him what he wanted to hear, he'd be honest with him. However, he also needed to ground McGee slightly.
"Huh? Did you hear what I said, Jethro? This is sensational. We have to get it to my agent and she'll find a publisher for it. You'll have choice of them, I'm sure."
"Uh huh. When?"
Gibbs hid his smile as he walked towards McGee, took his arm, led him to the couch and forced him to sit down. "Tim," he said quietly. "It's only just gone six. I don't think your agent or any agent is going to be at work, do you?"
McGee blinked at him, looked at his watch and frowned. "I hadn't realized it was so early. Sorry, boss. But I just had to -"
"Come and tell me your opinion. And I'm grateful, Tim. But the book isn't going anywhere. Now sit there and I'll get you some coffee." Suddenly he noticed McGee was still in the same clothes he'd been wearing the previous evening. "You been up all night?"
McGee nodded. "Yes. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. Do you think the stories are all true?"
Gibbs paused on his way to the kitchen. "Yeah, Tim," he said quietly. "I know they are."
"Even the one about the natives of New Guinea?" Tim's voice had dropped and he leaned forward.
"Yeah, Tim, even that. In fact, you sure that won't be too much? I mean -"
McGee shook his head. "Oh, no. If all the stories were like that then it'd be different. I'm not sure it would be publishable. But Ducky's clever; he provided a good mix. Not all funny, not all light, not all gruesome. He really was a story-teller. He knew what he was doing. You must be very proud of him, Jethro."
Gibbs swallowed hard and nodded. "Yeah, Tim. I am. Proud of you too."
"Yeah. Knew you'd be honest about the book. Now coffee; then we'll get you home for a shower and change and then you said something about your agent."
TITLE: All Sewn Up
CHARACTERS: Leroy Jethro Gibbs & Anthony DiNozzo
SUMMARY: A sequel to In Tim's Opinion. Gibbs arranges the reading of Ducky's will.
McGee had been correct; his agent agreed to find a publisher for Ducky's book and by the end of day had five offers. Gibbs had left it to McGee to choose he one he thought would be best, not necessarily in terms of money.
In the end McGee's choice had been the smallest of the publishers, the ones offering the second lowest advance. But McGee had assured Gibbs they'd treat Ducky's book with the respect it deserved.
Thus with that sorted, Gibbs turned his attention to arranging the gathering in order for Ducky's lawyer to read the will. He'd thought about the location for some time; in the end he'd realized there was only one place.
Vance hadn't taken much persuading and if Ducky's lawyer thought it odd to read a will in NCIS's Autopsy, he didn't show it. Present at the reading were: Gibbs, the kids, Vance and Fornell.
"Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you coming here today. I have been entrusted by the late Donald Mallard to make his final wishes known to those present; the people he cared about most of all."
FORTY MINUTES LATER
Everyone was gathered around DiNozzo's desk in the squad room, but DiNozzo wasn't there. Gibbs's gut told him to find out where DiNozzo was and discover why he wasn't with the others.
He didn't have far to look, as he rounded the corner he all but ran into DiNozzo who was leaning against the wall, a puzzled look on his face. "Tony?"
DiNozzo looked up. "Boss?"
"Did Ducky really leave me quarter of a million dollars?"
"That's what I thought. It makes sense that he didn't."
"He left you quarter of a million pounds," Gibbs said.
"Huh? But that's -"
"More than dollars, yeah, Tony."
"But why? I mean I get Abby and Palmer. I even get Tim and Ziva and the college funds for Fornell's Emily and Amira. And the thingy for NCIS. But why me? At least why the same as Abby, Palmer, Tim and Ziva? I used to mess around all the time. Do you know how he lectured me that time I fixed Ziva's chair so it broke when she sat on it? How angry he was with me?"
"He told you?"
"Oh. But I still don't -"
Gibbs sighed. "Tony, let's say you find a woman willing to settle down with you and give you kids. You have two boys; one's like McGee, works hard at school, doesn't mess around, does as he's told. The other's more like you; prefers sport to studying and likes practical jokes. Would you treat them any differently?"
"Of course not. They'd be my - Oh, I get it now."
"Good. Now come on, the others will be wondering where you are."
"I never really knew how much I cared about Ducky until he died. I always liked him, who couldn't. But until that day we all . . ."
"Yeah, Tony. I know. Now come on. Time to drink Duck's health one more time."