AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
CHARACTERS: Donald 'Ducky' Mallard & Jimmy Palmer
SUMMARY: Jimmy is being teased repeatedly by some of his fellow medical students. Ducky gives him some advice.
WORD COUNT: 932
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much – Oscar Wilde
"Good morning, Mr. Palmer, and a very fine morning it is too." Ducky hurried into Autopsy; he was feeling not only well, but happy. It wasn't just the fineness of the weather that made him feel so contented but also the fact that before he had left for the Navy Yard that morning he had received three deliveries: a case of his favorite wine; the new Mozart CD collection and a set of hardback books by one of his favorite authors - he already knew how he'd been spending the evening.
Humming to himself he started to remove his light overcoat and hat, as he did he realized Jimmy hadn't replied. He looked across the room to see Jimmy sitting at his desk, his head bowed. Ducky frowned, hung his hat and coat up, left his briefcase on the table and went over to Jimmy.
"Jimmy?" he said, putting his hand on Jimmy's shoulder, "is everything all right, my boy?"
For a moment Jimmy didn't reply; Ducky simply waited, he knew Jimmy well enough to know that even if he was deeply troubled by something his good manners would mean he would answer his boss. He left his hand on Jimmy's shoulder and squeezed it slightly.
Finally Jimmy looked up and Ducky saw his eyes were slightly red. "I'm sorry, Dr. Mallard," he said and sighed, "it's just they are at it again."
"Oh, dear," Ducky said, sitting on the edge of his own desk and now patting Jimmy's hand. "I am sorry to hear that, Jimmy."
"Why can't they just leave me alone? Why do they have to keep on playing stupid and dangerous tricks on me and belittling me and all the other things they do? What have they got against me, Doctor? What have I done to them?"
Ducky kept his hand on Jimmy's and sighed softly. "You haven't done anything to them, Jimmy; they are just bullies. They were probably bullies at school and have continued in that way. Some people don't like anyone who is different."
Jimmy sighed. "I can't be like them, Doctor. I don't want to be like them. I don't want to go out and get so drunk I end up throwing up or make up lies as to why I haven't done my assignments. I want to pass my exams; I want to qualify as a doctor."
"I know you do, Jimmy, and you will. You're a good student and you'll be an excellent doctor. Now if I may, I'll give you some advice."
Jimmy looked at him and gave a half-nod; Ducky could see from the look in Jimmy's eyes that he doubted he could help him.
"The next time someone plays a prank on you or teases you or upsets you, don't let them see you are upset. Smile at them and say something pleasant and then just walk away. I assure you that after you have reacted like that a few times they will get tired of their games and give up treating you badly." Jimmy blinked and Ducky could see him trying to find a way to reply that would allow him to remain polite and courteous but also to let Ducky know he didn't believe him. Ducky patted Jimmy's hand again and said, "I know it sounds like a foolish thing, Jimmy, a very foolish thing, it's the opposite to how your instincts tell you to behave. But trust me, it will work."
"Will it?" Jimmy sounded as dubious as he looked.
Ducky nodded. "Yes. You see when I first went to Eton I too was bullied and teased. I was small for my age and with my very blond hair and slight build I, as well as being quiet and studious and not wanting to join in rags - practical jokes," he explained quickly, "- was softly spoken, bookish and respectful of the masters and older boys. As such I was the victim of rags, of being teased, laughed at, pushed around and my life was not easy. I was very unhappy during my first term."
Jimmy stared at him. "What happened?"
"When I went home for the autumn half term I told my maternal grandmother what had been happening, I didn't want to tell Mother or Father. Grandmamma gave me the same advice as I have just given you and like you I did not believe her. However, given nothing else had worked during the first weeks of term I decided to try and I followed her advice."
"And it worked?" Jimmy's eyes were wide as he stared at Ducky.
Ducky nodded. "Yes. It didn’t happen overnight, it took a week or two, but eventually the boys got tired of me not reacting to what they did or said and they stopped their rags and teasing and all the other things and left me to go about my life at school in the way I wished to do."
"And you really think it'll work for me with other medical students?" Jimmy still sounded a little dubious.
Ducky patted his hand one more time and then stood up. "Yes, Jimmy, I do. I really do. But even if it doesn't, what have you lost?"
Jimmy was quiet for a moment and then he smiled, nodded and stood up. "I'll give it a try, Dr. Mallard," he said. "Thank you."
Ducky beamed. "That's a good boy," he said. "And now, before we begin our work for the day, I do believe a cup of tea is called for."
Jimmy beamed back and hurried off to make the tea.