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Fiction. Zoning In (Gibbs & Ducky Gen)
TITLE: Zoning In
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
CHARACTERS: Leroy Jethro Gibbs & Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUB-GENRE: Episode Related
SUMMARY: Set immediately after Last Man Standing. Gibbs goes to see Ducky to share his real thoughts about what has happened.
SPOILERS: Tribes and Last Man Standing
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is another story spawned by Last Man Standing. At the time of watching LMS, I couldn't believe that Gibbs swallowed so easily that Langer was the bad guy. He knew him; he'd worked with; he recommended him to NCIS. And whilst Langer had maybe not been what Gibbs had expected/remembered, I still don't believe he believed in his guilt. Then I was re-watching Tribes and saw their interaction there - Langer even went to Gibbs's house. So I'm even more certain that Gibbs has not accepted that Langer was the guilty one; that just wouldn't be Gibbs - hence this story was spawned
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.

"Hey, Duck," Jethro strode into Autopsy and looked around. "Palmer gone for the day?"

"Yes. I sent him home and reminded him of his promise to you. I am so very sorry, Jethro. I should have -"

Jethro put his hand on Ducky's shoulder. "Not your fault, Duck."

"Maybe not, but - May I offer you a drink?"

Jethro nodded. "Thanks."

Ducky opened his desk drawer and took out a bottle of Thamdu and two glasses. He poured two healthy measures and handed one to Jethro who'd perched on the edge of his desk.

"Thanks, Duck." Jethro took a large swallow. "It's good."

Ducky sipped his and waited for a moment before speaking. "It came as a surprise to learn Agent Langer was guilty of murder and blackmail. I would never have believed it."

Jethro shook his head. "He wasn't."

"Jethro? What do you mean?"

"Wasn't Langer. I'm sure it wasn't."

Ducky leaned back in his chair slightly and looked up at Jethro as he considered his words. "Are you quite certain you're not letting your personal feelings cloud your judgment?"

Jethro shook his head. "No," he said, his tone grim. "I'm not, Duck. It was all too convenient, too slick. My gut didn't like it at the time and the more I think about it, the more sure I am. We both worked with Langer. We knew him."

"I know that, but people aren't always what they seem." It wasn't that Ducky didn't believe Jethro; he did. He had been shocked when he'd heard the news. However, he played Devil's Advocate.

Jethro flashed him a half-smile. "Know that, Duck. But I did know Langer. It wasn't him."

"Who do you believe is the real blackmailer, then? Agent Lee or Agent Keating? Or someone else entirely?"

"Not sure, Duck. But I know one thing: for someone who can't shoot, Lee did a damned good job of shooting Langer. Keep her lack of shooting abilities in mind when you Autopsy him."

Ducky touched Jethro's hand. "Of course I will. But, Jethro, you can't possibly think -"

"Can't I?"

"But that would make her a . . ." Even though he knew women could and did kill, Ducky's chivalrous side clicked in. He was unable to say the word 'murderer'.

"Murderer? Yeah, it would - and not just the once. The pillow wasn't used to mask the sound of the gun. It was used to cover Vargo's face. Whoever shot Vargo couldn’t look at him while they did it. That sound like Brent Langer to you?"

"Well, no. I confess it does not. But, Jethro, if it's wasn't Langer, why then did Agent Lee shoot him?"

"Guess we'll never know for sure, Duck. Maybe he suspected her and she saw it and had no choice but to kill him. Maybe it isn't her. Maybe it was all a misunderstanding. They knew they shouldn't be there; they'd have been on edge, wary. Maybe Langer heard something, or thought he did, reached for his gun and Lee misinterpreted it."

"Except," Ducky said slowly, "I understand from Timothy that when Agent Lee called you for help, she was clearly distressed and there were sounds of gunfire. If it were neither of them, I cannot believe Brent would have shot at her."

"Nor can I. So either it is Lee or someone else was in the room. Langer saw them, drew his weapon - "

"And Agent Lee saw that, wasn't aware of the other person, so fired at Brent and the other person was firing at her."

Jethro shook his head. "And she went on not knowing someone else was in the room? Nah, Duck. She's not that bad an agent. Even she'd know the difference in direction of gunfire."

"Not necessarily. As you say she is not an experienced shooter, she was scared, the noise could have been reverberating and she panicked. And -"

"You defending her, Duck?" Jethro looked slightly bemused as he stared down at Ducky.

"No, my dear. Merely playing Devil's Advocate and responding as someone who doesn’t know you, someone who is legally representing Agent Lee, might."

Jethro smiled. "Yeah. I know." He drained the rest of his scotch. "Thanks for the drink, Duck. I better get back upstairs."

"Jethro, do you really believe it was Agent Lee?"

Jethro shrugged. "Don't know, Duck. I'm not sure. Part of me says it's the only explanation. Part of me says it's ridiculous to even consider her. But there's something about her that's tripped my gut. Not enough to say for sure, but there's something. And there's something else."


"I don't believe she's working alone."

"Who else do you suspect?" Ducky looked at his friend. "Oh, Jethro, not Mr. Palmer."

Jethro squeezed Ducky's shoulder. "Not knowingly, no. But if he was speaking the truth earlier about feeling used by her, and I think he was, he's like McGee, he doesn't know how to lie, then unwittingly he could somehow be involved."

"But you said he assured you the relationship was over."

"Yeah. But they were lovers for several months. And Palmer's the kind who connects with people. If Lee asked for his help, he'd give it. And he probably wouldn't ask too many questions. Keep an eye on him, Duck. Let me know if you hear anything or if something doesn't feel right. Palmer's a good kid."

"He is indeed and he's a very good assistant. I'm very fond of him."

"Know that, Duck." Jethro smiled.

"If we rule Jimmy out then who could it be?"

Jethro stood up. "Put it this way, Duck, I'm not sure I fully trust our new director."

Ducky stood up too and moved a step nearer to Jethro. He gazed up at him and read the grim look in the dark eyes. "Oh, Jethro," he said softly.

"Yeah. Got to go, Duck. See you later." With those words, Jethro turned and left Autopsy.

"Oh, dear me," Ducky said softly as he watched Jethro leave. "Not again."

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

15 Notes or Leave A Note
aingeal8c From: aingeal8c Date: 29th September 2008 12:01 (UTC) (Link)

I mean I only of this episode through your wonderful review but still I am intrigued.

I do like how you take holes that TPTB carelessy leave about and turn it into an interesting story.

I think Gibbs would have known that Langer wasn't the person. He's too good at things not to.

So yes this was very good. I like it.

(and the crack whimsy deadLanger Ducky tells a story will nto die...)
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 29th September 2008 13:18 (UTC) (Link)
Aww, thank you again for your words about my reviews.

Thank you so much; I do like sorting TPTB out :-) And I'm glad you found it interesting.

If he's taken in I'll eat my hat :-) It'd be so un-Gibbs if he were. As you say, he's too good.

Thank you very much indeed. I'm so glad you did.

*Giggles* Ooooooh.

BTW, this was another of the 'how do I label this' as I'm sure you guessed
aingeal8c From: aingeal8c Date: 29th September 2008 16:50 (UTC) (Link)
YW. I enjoy them muchly.

They need a good sorting out and you do it well. I idd.

Or Ducky's hat? It would indeed. He knows.

YW. Me too. Hee.

Yes we will have to do something about it.

I thought that was the case. Of course I read between the lines. ;-)
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 30th September 2008 12:58 (UTC) (Link)
Good. Thank you.

Why, thank you so much.

Indeed :-) He must! He's Gibbs.


We will.

*Smiles* I thought you might have - like I do with your F&V
aingeal8c From: aingeal8c Date: 30th September 2008 16:52 (UTC) (Link)
You are very welcome.

He and Gibbs is Gibbs.

Oh yes.

Indeed yes. GMTA ;-)
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 1st October 2008 13:36 (UTC) (Link)
Indeed he is :-0

As always.
aingeal8c From: aingeal8c Date: 1st October 2008 22:23 (UTC) (Link)
Which we like.

:-) Ih yes.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 2nd October 2008 16:20 (UTC) (Link)
Indeed we do.
aingeal8c From: aingeal8c Date: 2nd October 2008 17:20 (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes.
donutsweeper From: donutsweeper Date: 29th September 2008 14:26 (UTC) (Link)
From your story to the writer's ears. please oh please oh please don't let them write Gibbs as stupid enough to have fallen for that.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 29th September 2008 14:32 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much indeed.

I'm glad you too think he couldn't have fallen for it.

*Sends vibes to writers*
adriannacoylho From: adriannacoylho Date: 29th September 2008 18:17 (UTC) (Link)
I'm enjoying these episode-spawned stories :)

Ooo yes, Duck should keep an eye on Jimmy... I am interested to see just how involved he is in all this, and exactly who was on the other end of that text... I have a feeling it's not going to be resolved for a while though.
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 30th September 2008 12:48 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Adrianna. I'm so glad to hear that.

He should indeed. I do hope poor Jimmy isn't involved *bites nails* And it will indeed be interesting to see what pans out - but yes, I don't think it'll be resolved for a few eps at least.
plutos_revenge From: plutos_revenge Date: 29th September 2008 19:30 (UTC) (Link)
Labelling again!

Love Ducky as devil's advocate & I'm totally with him - please don't let Jimmy be involved, even if unwittingly

Langer was a proper field agent with both NCIS & FBI - surely to God he'd ghave *hit* Lee if he was shooting at her? If Gibbs' doesn't see something wrong (& having watched again, his very vague comment to Lee at the end of why Langer supposedly turned makes me think he knows something's up) then he should retire again!
nakeisha From: nakeisha Date: 30th September 2008 12:46 (UTC) (Link)
*Smiles* Indeed - ah, those labels.

Thank you; I'm glad you liked Ducky in Devil's Advocate mode and you too don't want Jimmy involved.

Exactly! My thought is he drew his gun because his 'gut' was telling him something, but he didn't fire at her to hit her. I can only assume they'll prove his gun was fired, but that could just have been a warning shot.

I was wondering vaguely if when Gibbs did the 'gentlemanly' thing of picking her box up from the desk and handing it to her if he's bugged her or something. It struck me as an odd thing to do, not that he'd help her, but that all he did was take if from the desk and hand it to her when she was standing right next to it.

So, yes, if he really does believe Langer was involved, you're right; he should retire!

Thank you for reading.
15 Notes or Leave A Note