AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
CHARACTER: Jimmy Palmer with a tiny appearance of Gibbs and Ducky just before the end.
SUB-GENRE: Character Study
SUMMARY: Jimmy doesn't realize just how vital he is.
WORD COUNT: 400
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for birggitt: V - 'Vital, even if he doesn't know'.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Jimmy sighed as he began to clean down the autopsy table.
Sometimes he wondered what he was doing there, working at NCIS, working for Dr. Mallard. Sometimes he wondered what his role was. Sometimes he wondered if he even had a role; at least one that mattered. One that was important. One that was essential.
All the others did. Special Agent Gibbs; Abby; McGee; Tony; Ziva - they all had important roles; they all had essential roles. As, of course, did his teacher and mentor: Dr. Mallard himself. But Jimmy didn't. Take when he was at Medical School, for example, did the doctor get a temporary assistant to help him? No. He managed. And if he could manage on the days Jimmy was at Medical School, then surely he could manage on the other days? In which case, why was Jimmy there at all?
Maybe he should quit working at NCIS and go to Medical School full-time; or at least talk to Dr. Mallard about it. After all, his boss was paying for his tuition, books and other expenses. Maybe he should ask the doctor just what his role was; just where he stood at NCIS. Maybe he should - but he wouldn't.
He sighed again and continued to clean the autopsy table. Maybe that was his important role; cleaning tables!
LATER THAT NIGHT
He hadn't meant to listen; it wasn't his fault they hadn't realized he could hear them. He thought about coughing or dropping a box or something; anything to let them know he was there. But then he heard his name.
"Palmer." It was Special Agent Gibbs who said his name.
"What about him, Jethro?"
"You never really say much about him. Any regrets?"
"Quite the opposite. Jethro. That young man is going to be a first class doctor one day, in whatever field he chooses to go into. I truly do not know how I would manage without him. I've never actually told him, but he is vital to the smooth running of this department. I never stop being thankful for the day I offered him a permanent job as my assistant."
Jimmy had to brace himself against the wall as he heard the man who mattered more to him than any other, say those words. The voices then drifted away; but it didn't matter, because now he knew: he, Jimmy Palmer, did have an important role. He was vital.