Author: Batwoman PM
When the NCIS team is called out to investigate the death of young woman, Ducky has an unusual reaction. Suddenly, the kindly gentleman the team knew has disappeared, replaced by a man with a different accent and attitude, a man who is friends with U.N.C.L.E. agents. With the help of U.N.C.L.E., Ducky works to take care of something that should have been done years ago.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Ducky M. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 48,237 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 20 - Updated: 09-23-12 - Published: 09-07-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8504746
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Ducky's Pain
Rating: T rating will go up for future chapters, this is not one for the kiddies, gen/het
Feedback: always welcome. : )
Disclaimer: I don't own anything other than this story idea and the original characters. I'm po' and broke, so don' sue me.
Author's Notes: This is set during the season of secrets, was it season 5? Supposidly everyone had a secret, even before they revealed Ducky's secret (which wasn't a secret, it was obvious why he was mad at Gibbs), I came up with this idea. This was originally published in a zine but my publisher passed away earlier this year; and after going back and forth about posting this online for over a year, I finally decided to go through with it. This is a crossover with the Man from U.N.C.L.E., but you don't need to have actually seen the show to follow along. Enjoy!
Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape. -Charles Dickens
Oceana Naval Air Station
Early Tuesday morning found Thompson making his rounds on patrol. It was a cool day in November; the colorful leaves blanketed the ground like a crazy quilt. He was on the outskirts of the base, about to turn back, when he spotted the body. He cautiously walked towards it, being careful where he stepped. Then he realized something else was there. Upon seeing the note attached to the body he whipped out his cell phone and dialed NCIS.
Gibbs ducked under the crime scene tape making his way towards his team. "What do you have?" he asked no one in particular.
"Female body, no ID," DiNozzo relayed.
"There's no blood anywhere around here, looks like she was killed some place else and her body dumped here." Ziva added.
"Who found the body?" Gibbs asked.
"I did," Thompson replied as he stepped forward.
"Have you seen her before?" Gibbs questioned.
"No sir, I was on patrol when I spotted the body. I called you after reading the note," he explained.
"Boss," Tony said, motioning for Gibbs to look at the note.
Gibbs got a sinking feeling when he read the note. "Where is he?" he asked.
"Where's who, Jethro?" came the voice of Ducky.
Gibbs turned around to face his old friend. "You, Ducky," he replied after a brief pause.
Ducky eyed Gibbs for a moment before Gibbs nodded towards the body. Ducky spotted it quickly and stepped up for a closer look. "Doctor Donald Mallard" the note read. He turned to Gibbs who had been watching him questioningly. Ducky shrugged, unsure what to make of the note. He was a medical examiner; save for the man out for revenge with his demented mother, he had no enemies.
"Why would he write Ducky's name like that? With quotes around it?" Ziva asked.
"Do you have a name for this woman?" Ducky asked, not sure what to make of the note.
"No ID, Ducky," DiNozzo replied.
The body was tied to a large X, spread-eagled. The X was rigged to hang at an angle from a tree. Her head hung down, hair covering her face. "Well, let's have a look at her face," Ducky said, kneeling down to brush her strawberry blonde hair away from her face. "Oh my God!" he gasped, pulling his hands back as if they had touched a live wire.
"Do you know her, Duck?" Gibbs asked at the unusual reaction.
"Take her down," the Medical Examiner ordered. As the others stood unmoving, Ducky growled "NOW!"
Gibbs motioned for the team to move quickly as he followed Ducky. "Who is she?"
Ducky couldn't speak at first, his emotions threatening to get the better of him. He took a deep cleansing breath before answering, "Anna Donner."
"Is she a friend of yours?"
"Something like that," the older man evasively said.
The men silently waited as the rest of the team placed the X on the ground. When they finished, Tony walked up to the men and quietly said, "Uh, boss."
Gibbs turned to see the woman was now lying on the ground. Tony, Ziva, McGee and Palmer watched Ducky closely. They'd never seen the older man like this before. Each member of the team was concerned about him.
It took Ducky a few minutes to regain his composure. Finally able to face the others he turned to walk back to the body.
Ducky walked slowly trying to delay the inevitable. He carefully knelt down beside the body and Palmer placed his case next to Ducky. Ducky reached into his bag for the thermometer. He mechanically inserted the thermometer into her liver. "She's been dead around six hours," he said after making mental calculations. He had avoided looking at her face, unable to handle it. He lifted himself from the ground refusing to spare a glance at the body. "Bring her back to the morgue," he instructed, walking back to the truck as fast as he could.
Ducky sat in the truck waiting to go back to headquarters. He had to tell Anna's mother but he couldn't bring himself to do it. He couldn't bear to do that to her. Palmer quietly slid behind the wheel, turning the key in the ignition.
Back at headquarters Ducky helped Palmer place the body bag on a slab, never saying a word. "Leave her, Mr. Palmer," he said as he started toward the elevator, "I have something I have to do."
"All right, Doctor," he quietly replied.
Ducky nearly collided with Gibbs as he stepped onto the elevator. "Where are you going?" Gibbs queried.
"I have something to do," he replied.
"What about the autopsy?"
"That can wait. I need to take care of something before I can get back to Anna."
The rest of the ride up was silent. Gibbs decided it was best to follow Ducky before asking any further questions. He stayed a respectable distance behind watching as Ducky made his way to MTAC. Once again Gibbs asked, "Where are you going?"
"Where does it look like I'm going?" Ducky snapped. He leaned down for the scanner.
Gibbs was surprised to find the door opening to the Medical Examiner. "How did you gain access to MTAC?"
"There's a lot about me you don't know," he replied in a cold tone. He stood in the middle of the room contemplating his next move. "Everyone out," he ordered.
The occupants of the room turned to face the Medical Examiner. When they didn't move he repeated, "Did I stutter? I said out!"
Not wanting to take any chances with the unexpected guest, the room quickly emptied save for Gibbs and the director. Jenny sat straight up in her chair at the sight of the Medical Examiner, surprised to see him in MTAC. "Ducky what's going on?" Jenny asked.
Ignoring her, he went straight for the controls, setting up a secure channel with U.N.C.L.E. Headquarters New York. Gibbs pulled the Director aside and spoke quietly. "The call we were just on was the body of someone he knows."
"But what is he doing in here?" she asked.
"I don't know. I also don't know how he has access to MTAC," Gibbs replied.
"What? You mean he gained access to MTAC on his own?" Jen replied.
"That's exactly what I'm saying," Gibbs said.
"You failed," Ducky said the instant the face of an older man appeared on the monitor in front of him.
"What?" was the confused reply.
"You failed! Your team failed," he spat.
"What are you talking about? My team hasn't failed me once. I assigned the best team on this mission," the brunet replied.
"Then why is my daughter laying in a body bag in my morgue?" Ducky replied, anger radiating from him.
"What?" Napoleon Solo gasped. "How?" he asked, shocked.
"Anya's dead, Napoleon - and you and I both know who's responsible for this. April and I left U.N.C.L.E. to keep them safe. I left them to be sure and you've had them under protection, but she's dead."
"Illya, I'm so sorry," he replied. "The last time the team checked in everything was fine. They're not due to check in for another day."
"There's the problem, team was being watched, just as the base she was dumped at was being watched. They've had years to plan this and they took their time monitoring your team closely. I thought you of all people would be able to keep my family safe."
Gibbs and Jenny stood in the back listening to the exchange. "Illya?" they said in unison. Deciding it would be best to wait until the call was over to talk to him, Gibbs and Jenny sat down, listened and learned.
"How am I going to tell April?" Ducky asked.
"I don't know," Napoleon quietly replied.
"I'm going after them. I want them to pay for what they did. I've been hiding for too long; I can't hide out any longer. I won't lose Nick to them. I'm going regardless of what you," he turned to Gibbs and Jenny, "or anyone says. It's something I should have done a long time ago," he said, turning back to face Napoleon.
"I'm sure April will want to join you," Napoleon said.
"She was the best female agent we had and she's their mother - of course she'll want to go."
"I'll bring everything we'll need. Also, I'll call Mark; I'm sure he'll want in on this. Don't worry about Mrs. Waverly; I'll send someone to collect her. She'll be better off some place else right now. I'll be there soon, partner," he said as he ended the transmission.
The room fell silent. Ducky remained facing the monitors waiting for the pair in the back to ask the many questions on their minds. When they remained silent instead, he told his story. "As you've heard, my real name is Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin. Napoleon was my partner when I worked for the U.N.C.L.E. April was the first female agent in section 2. She's my wife; Mark was her partner. Mark, April, Napoleon and I worked hard at taking down Thrush. The four of us were unstoppable until we came across Vladimir Romanov. He made Hitler look like Gandhi. We fought him, no matter what he did to us. His threats meant the same to us as any other Thrush threat.
"After April found out she was pregnant we saw how dangerous and determined Romanov really was. We took his threats more seriously after that. April and I thought it would be best if we disappeared. The baby would be safer that way."
"That baby was Anya?" Jen asked.
He nodded his head, not ready to face his friends yet. "After she was born, April and I could only stay in hiding for so long. We agreed that it would be best if I left. She could go on with her life raising Anya, change her appearance even, and no one would know who she really was. They were looking for the two of us; they didn't know about the baby. I stayed as close as I could for the baby's sake as much as for our sake. Later we had a second child and I stayed longer. Finally, our natural paranoia got the better of us and we once again separated. Eventually Napoleon assigned a team to guard the family while I was gone."
"You would go back to visit?" Gibbs asked.
"They were my family and I love them. I couldn't stay away forever. I had to see them on occasion, because I missed them dearly. I grew up in orphanages in the Soviet Union. I couldn't let my children grow up not knowing me." Finally ready to face his friends, Ducky turned around as he continued, "Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin disappeared and Donald Mallard appeared. It wasn't hard with U.N.C.L.E.'s resources, of course," he shrugged.
"What about your access to MTAC?" Gibbs asked.
"That was something Napoleon suggested. My access to secure parts of this building, places a medical examiner normally wouldn't have access to, are buried deep in the network. There are a handful of people that know where that is and not even McGee, Abby and a squad of IT personnel could find it. This was done in case ofemergency. Any contact I've had with Napoleon has been in other ways. This is the first time I've contacted him here." He spread his hands indicating the room they were in.
"How do you know how to use the communications console?" Gibbs questioned.
"It's something I did countless times when I was an U.N.C.L.E. agent." He shrugged.
"Who's Mrs. Waverly?" Jen asked.
"Mrs. Waverly was married to our boss, Alexander Waverly. She came to live with me as part of my cover years ago."
Suddenly feeling the weight of the world upon him, Ducky walked to the chairs and sank down next to Jen. He dug out his cell phone and dialed April's number. She answered on the second ring. Ducky did his best to keep his voice steady, "April, I need to see you. Bring Nick."
"Why, what's going on?" she asked.
"We need to talk."
"What about Anna?"
"I'll take care of her."
April's heart sank; it hadn't been the easiest thing living in hiding, not living under the same roof. She occasionally worried he might want a divorce. "I'll be on the next flight. I'll call Nick; he might not be able to get out so soon though."
"That's ok, just go to the house. I'll be there as soon as I can. If you get there first, call me."
"Aprel'… ya l'ubl'u Vas," he said.
She smiled, "I love you too." That simple little phrase helped ease her mind. He always did have a way of doing that. She set about securing travel arrangements from Minnesota to DC and calling their son.
"We have to tell the others," Gibbs said.
"No, the less they know, the safer they are."
"Ducky, despite what I just heard, I won't let you walk out of here and to your death."
"Jethro, this isn't NCIS business. I know who killed my daughter - there is no need for an investigation. This is U.N.C.L.E. business, stay out of it."
"I can't, and the team can't. We're a family and no one will let you leave without help. They deserve to know what's going on."
Ducky was contemplating Gibbs' words when his phone rang.
"Don't even think about performing the autopsy, I'm bringing in a medical examiner," Napoleon said, not waiting for a reply before he hung up.
"Ok," he replied quietly to the empty phone. Ducky slowly stood from the chair and led the group out of the room.
In the bullpen the team sat at their desks, nervously watching the door to MTAC as if they could see inside the room. Abby, full of nervous energy, was in constant motion while they waited. As soon as the trio descended the stairs, Abby ran to Ducky, throwing her arms around his neck. "I'm so sorry," she said.
He wrapped his arms around her and murmured, "Thank you."
"Guys, we need to talk," Gibbs said, addressing the team.
Ducky pulled away from the hug and said, "Not here." He led the team to the elevator, taking it down to the morgue.
In the morgue Ducky sat as he repeated the story he'd told earlier. Abby sat next to him, snuggling, with her head resting on his shoulder. "They called us the fantastic four; Mark, April, Napoleon and I were a force to be reckoned with. We were unstoppable; no Thrush installation was safe. We were on a mission to shut down Thrush once and for all. The only thing stopping us was Vladimir Romanov. April, Mark and I left after one particular encounter with Romanov." As the explanation continued, Napoleon walked into the morgue followed by Doctor Robbins.
"Illya," he said, waiting for his old partner to respond.
Ducky glared at Napoleon; he stalked across the room and punched Napoleon across the jaw, following which he grabbed Napoleon's lapels and pulled him close. Gibbs stepped forward to stop the impending fight but was stopped by Napoleon's raised hand. "What happened?" Ducky growled.
"I sent a team to investigate. They should call soon."
"Mr. Palmer, assist in the autopsy," Ducky said, giving Napoleon a pointed look. Feeling like he was quickly losing his resolve, Ducky let go of the lapels and led Napoleon to the locker room.
Napoleon followed his old partner. He was still good looking in his old age, though he relied on a cane to help him get around. The cane was more like a walking stick, elegant and debonair just like its owner. Hidden under his tailored suit were countless scars at the hands of countless enemies. He watched as Illya sank into the chair, burying his head into his hands.
"She had nothing to do with our war; she was an innocent. My baby's dead," he said in a shaky voice.
Napoleon Solo watched as his old partner slowly began to lose his composure. It wasn't often; he could count on one hand the number of times that happened in all the years he'd known Illya. He wanted to say something but knew he couldn't comfort his friend. Nothing he could say would ease the pain of a father losing a child. Not finding any words, he merely remained silent, leaning against the lockers to ease his aching leg.
Time seemed to stand still as the minutes slowly ticked by. When his phone rang Napoleon snatched it before the first ring ended. "Solo." He was silent as he listened to the initial field report. "Upload the files, I want to take a look at what you have now," he said just before snapping the phone closed.
Ducky looked up, a sliver of hope gleaming in his eye. "The team watching Anya was killed," Napoleon said. "Come on, I need to get to a terminal. I want to see what it looks like. Where's the best place to go?"
"Abby's lab," Ducky said as he slowly stood, taking a deep cleansing breath as he led his partner out the door. The team looked up as the men walked into the autopsy.
"Where are you going?" Gibbs asked.
"To Abby's lab," Ducky replied.
"I have a preliminary on what happened to the team I assigned to watch Anya," Napoleon supplied.
"We're coming with . . ." Gibbs said.
"No," Ducky said. "The images will be very graphic, worse than anything any of you have seen."
"Ducky, we agreed to do whatever it took to help you. We're coming," Abby said, determined.
"Abigail, the man responsible for this is a monster. He thrives in giving people nightmares; he's a master at it. You don't need to see this."
"We can handle it, Ducky," Ziva said.
Ducky sighed in resignation; they weren't going to let him go without a fight. "Let's go," he said, turning to lead the troupe to the lab.
In the lab Napoleon sat behind Abby's computer logging onto the U.N.C.L.E. servers for the files the Minnesota team had uploaded. When the files finished downloading the images flashed onto the plasma. The first few images were the mildest of the bunch. However, the next image had the NCIS agents squirming in their spots. From there on, each one was worse.
McGee watched on, feeling queasy. He wasn't sure how many more photos he could view. Abby quickly turned around, unable to view anymore. Incapable to watch any longer, McGee rushed out of the lab in search of fresh air. Tony watched on, fighting the bile threatening to rise. Gibbs and Ziva watched stone-faced, refusing to show any emotions they may have been feeling.
Watching on, Napoleon and Illya found the images all too familiar to them. The partners were quickly reminded why they had made the decisions they did over thirty years ago. Illya was thankful his daughter was spared the nightmarish death her security team received. After viewing the last picture, Napoleon returned the plasma to a black screen. The room remained silent, no one knowing what to say.
The ringing of Illya's cell phone broke through the silence. He glanced at the number and took a deep breath. "Hello."
"I'm home. Where's Mrs. Waverly?"
"She's…out. April, I'll be there soon. I'm still at work. Did you get a hold of Nick?"
"Yes, he's working a double. He won't be able to leave until late tonight."
Ducky nodded, he knew those days all too well. Saying his goodbyes he snapped the phone closed and replaced it into his pocket.
"Come on, I'll drive you home," Napoleon said.
"I'll be fine," he said quietly.
"Ducky, you shouldn't drive; let someone take you home," Gibbs said.
"Jethro, I'll be fine. Really."
Napoleon remembered that stubborn Slavic streak all too well. "I'll follow him," Napoleon replied.
Gibbs nodded in understanding. "I'll come by later with the autopsy report," Gibbs offered.
"Thank you," Ducky replied as he turned to leave.
Napoleon followed Illya to his car, making sure he was all right to drive. "A Morgan?" he said, eyebrows raised in appreciation.
"It suits Ducky," Illya said mechanically.
Napoleon worried about his friend; in all the years he'd known him Illya had never referred to himself in the third person. "Are you sure you don't want me to drive?"
Illya briefly paused, staring at the ground. Without looking at his friend, he handed the keys to Napoleon after unlocking the passenger door. Not saying a further word, Napoleon walked around the car and slid behind the wheel. When the pair arrived at the house, Illya wearily climbed the steps of the front porch, his keys threatening to fall from his sweaty hand. After unlocking the door, he stood with his hand on the knob, preparing himself to break the news to his wife. Napoleon stood back allowing his friend the room he needed.
Illya walked into the house calling out to April. April ran to the foyer, fear gripping her heart. "Something's wrong isn't it? I've been calling Anya but she won't pick up."
"April, come here," he said, motioning to the lounge.
"No, tell me what's going on," she said, a slight quiver in her voice. Just then, Napoleon walked in looking solemn. A chill ran down her spine at the sight of her old friend, and she said, "What happened to her?"
"April," Napoleon said quietly.
"What have you done?" she said, reaching for him only to be stopped by her husband.
"April, please," Illya said holding her tight.
"She's dead, isn't she?"
"April…" Illya murmured.
She fought against his hold, the fight quickly draining out of her as her tears fell. Unable to hold his grief at bay any longer he let his tears fall, joining her sobs. The couple slowly made their way to the floor where they sat and grieved.
Napoleon watched on in silence. Deciding to allow his friends to grieve in private, he walked to the kitchen to sit down and make some calls.
Later that night Gibbs arrived at the house followed closely by Abby. The pair walked up to the house in silence. Gibbs carried a folder containing the results of the autopsy, while Abby carried four bags of groceries. "I thought Ducky could use something to eat," she feebly offered as Gibbs rang the doorbell.
Napoleon walked to the door pulling the curtain aside to see who had come calling. Finding Abby and Gibbs, he opened the door letting them in. "Come in," he said.
"Where's Ducky?" Gibbs asked.
"Upstairs; he'll be down soon," he quietly replied.
"I'm going to make dinner," Abby murmured, walking to the kitchen.
Illya sat on the edge of the bed brushing his fingers along April's cheek. He hated giving her a sedative, even a mild one, but knew she needed it. When the doorbell rang he remained seated, trusting Napoleon to answer the door. He listened to the voices; Gibbs had arrived with the autopsy report. Illya knew he couldn't put the inevitable off any longer. Slowly and carefully he rose from the bed, padding to the bathroom to splash water on his face.
Illya walked through the house looking for his guests. He found the group in the kitchen. "Ducky," Gibbs said as the older man walked into the room.
Abby whipped around and ran to Ducky, throwing her arms around his neck. "I'm making dinner. I thought you could use something to eat," she murmured.
"Thank you, Abigail," he said returning her hug. He reluctantly pulled away from the embrace and sank in a nearby chair.
"You don't have to do this right now," Gibbs said.
"Yes I do. If I don't I'll wonder all night," Illya replied, reaching for the folder. The room fell silent save for the sounds of the food preparation.
Napoleon watched his old partner like a hawk, worried. No parent should bury their child, much less read the autopsy report of their child. Illya clenched his jaw as he read. His hand shook slightly as he flipped through the file. Napoleon lifted himself from the table and left the room. He returned a minute later with a glass of scotch. He placed the glass within reach of the Russian.
When he finished with the report, Illya closed the folder and laid it on the table. He snatched the glass and took a good hearty drink. He held the glass in his hand, pressing the glass against his lips.
"Illya," Napoleon ventured.
"She died of exsanguinations. He burned the words 'did you really think you were safe' across her abdomen.'" He paused briefly to look at Napoleon. "She was pregnant."
Napoleon closed his eyes, "I'm sorry," he murmured. Suddenly they were reliving the nightmare that had caused the four friends to scatter to the ends of the earth.
"We need to check her house, see if there's anything there to help us," Illya said.
"We'll go," Gibbs offered.
"She lived in Lilydale, Minnesota, I can have a team there in minutes," Napoleon said.
"That may be but Ducky's a part of my team. We're going," Gibbs said.
Napoleon turned to Illya looking for answers. He nodded slightly and Napoleon replied, "All right. I'm giving you access to the U.N.C.L.E. jet, take anything you need and our lab will process any evidence you find."
"Thanks," Gibbs said.
"She has a dog: his name is Ducky," the M.E. mentioned. Gibbs arched an eyebrow out of curiosity.
"It was her idea; she said it was a connection between us."
"I'll have a team waiting to take you to her house in Minnesota. They'll be your liaisons to U.N.C.L.E. while you're there. They'll have all the information you'll need, including Anya's employer," Napoleon provided. "The plane is waiting at National; you shouldn't have any trouble going through security."
As Gibbs stood to leave, Illya called his name. "Jethro, have Timothy call me when you arrive at the house. There's something I need him to do."
"Sure thing, Duck," he replied as he continued to walk out.
Abby walked up to Ducky placing a comforting hand on his shoulder and said, "You should eat something." She placed a plate laden with food in front of him.
"Thank you," he said, accepting the food.
"Would you like some too, Mr. Solo? I made plenty."
"Yes, thank you. And please, call me Napoleon."
"OK," she replied as she loaded a plate of food for him.
"Abby, would you mind setting up the equipment I brought? Everything is in the dining room."
"You can set up in there as well," Ducky offered.
"Are you sure?" she asked.
"Yes," Ducky replied.
After placing Napoleon's plate on the table, Abby left the room to set up the computers. "Do you think Romanov knew about the baby?" Napoleon asked.
Illya thought it over a moment. "If he didn't his choice of picking Anya was coincidental. He's not one for coincidence. He knew."
Napoleon nodded. Vladimir Romanov knew about Anya's baby just as he'd known about Napoleon's wife Michelle's baby.
"How's your leg?" The words penetrated his thoughts.
"Some days it aches more than others," he replied. "How's April?"
"Resting. I hate giving her a sedative but she's going to need her rest. How are the twins?"
Napoleon felt a twinge of guilt at the question. His children were safe while Illya had just lost not only his daughter, but his unborn grandchild as well. Then again, it was the torture and murder of his own wife and unborn child that'd made the four agents realize just how dangerous Vladimir Romanov was. "They're safe. I don't think Romanov found them."
"That or he's still focusing his attentions on April and I." Napoleon nodded, that wouldn't surprise him. "How long has it been since you've seen them?"
"I visited them last year," he sighed. "Maybe one day they can live freely."
"All of us will live freely, old friend."
"Mark's going to stop by Anya's house before he comes here if you want to send anything back with him," Napoleon said.
"Yes, her laptop and the contents of her safe along with the dog. I'll have McGee pack everything up and give it to Mark."
"Why bring back the items in her safe? You think she has something in there that might help us?"
"No, that's where she has personal effects. Pictures of me, cards, things like that. The safe is hidden — her husband didn't even know about it."
"He didn't know you're still alive?"
"No. We decided it was the best thing for their safety. I did meet him though."
"Let me guess: you put on some disguise and came up with an elaborate character," Napoleon teased.
Illya gave him a small smile; back when he was an agent he was known as a master of disguise. When Anya began dating Richard she had wished he could meet her new beau. However, for the children's safety, April and Illya agreed it would be best if the world thought April were a widow. He and April hated the time apart but they had to do what was best for their children.
He hated being away from his children; it broke his heart missing out on seeing them grow up. Illya couldn't stay away for good though; he often disguised himself in order to attend any accomplishments his schedule would permit. "I was her uncle David from Boston. I would go to Minnesota for a visit when I could, but it wasn't often."
"What about the wedding?"
Illya smiled at the memory. "She was the most beautiful bride…" he began.
"You better not let April hear you say that," Napoleon teased.
"April doesn't mind me saying that."
"And how much did you have to work at making that up to her?"
Illya gave him a mischievous grin. "Really, Napoleon, you know April as well as I do."
"You, tovarishch, know her better than Mark or I," Napoleon razzed.
Napoleon's teasing paid off; Illya's spirits had been lifted briefly. "Thank you," he said quietly.
Napoleon didn't need an explanation of what his old friend was thanking him for. He knew Illya well enough.
"Everything's set up," Abby said, walking back into the kitchen.
"Thank you," Napoleon replied. "It's hard for me to set that equipment up," he said, motioning to his cane.
"Oh, just admit it, you never were good with computers, Napoleon," Illya teased.
Abby wasn't sure what to make of the teasing and upbeat banter. When Ari killed Kate the mood around the office, and especially with her teammates, was solemn. It took several weeks before their usual lighthearted banter returned. Here Illya sat, teasing his old partner the same day they were called on a case where his daughter's dead body was found. Deciding it was better not to say anything she simply picked up the empty plates and walked to the sink. "Abby, you don't have to do the dishes," Illya said, walking towards her. "I'll clean the kitchen," he offered, placing a hand on her shoulder.
"No you don't. You have enough going on. I'm spending the night so I can help you with things like this and the dogs."
"Abby, Nico will be here in a few hours; he can help."
"Ducky, you do enough taking care of your mother. Now you've got more going on. Let me do this. You'll have enough to worry about."
"Let the girl help, tovarishch, April and Nico will need you now more than ever."
"I want to help," Abby said, quietly shuffling her feet. She was feeling left out with the team off to Minnesota searching Ann's house while the U.N.C.L.E. lab processed anything they may find. She couldn't go into work; this was too personal for her to concentrate. Ducky was like a grandfather to her and it hurt her to see him in pain over the loss of a loved one. Deciding to cash in some vacation time she'd called in a few favors with the other lab personnel to cover the lab while she was out.
Illya sighed in resignation; they were right of course. "All right," he replied.
She gave him a small smile and a big hug. "You won't regret this." Abby had turned to pack up the leftovers when she had a thought. "Are you going to take some up to April?"
"No, she'll be asleep for the rest of the night," Illya replied.
When Gibbs and his team arrived in Minnesota the local U.N.C.L.E. team had been waiting at the airfield with a van to take them to Anna's house. Conversation in the van was minimal save for quiet comments made here and there. When the teams arrived at the house in Lilydale Gibbs began giving his team orders as they stepped out of the van. "Tony, Ziva, sketch and shoot."
"On it, boss," Tony replied for the two of them.
"McGee," Gibbs said after the others were out of earshot, "call Ducky, he has something he wants you to do."
McGee looked at him confused. "Did he, uh, say what it was?"
"No," Gibbs replied.
"Uh, ok," he said as he walked to the house. McGee dialed Ducky's number. "Ducky, Gibbs said you wanted me to do something," McGee said when Illya answered the phone.
"Yes, I'll need her laptop and the contents of her safe. The safe is hidden in the back of the closet in the master suite. You'll need a security code to get into the safe as well as a password for the laptop."
"Ok, let's see….." he said looking around. "Got her laptop."
"Really? Where is it?"
"Uh, the family room," McGee replied.
Illya was perplexed; Anya wouldn't leave her personal laptop lying around in the open. "Timothy, boot up the laptop and tell me what you find."
This confused McGee; why did Ducky ask him to tell him what files were on the laptop? Deciding there was more to the puzzle, he did as he was told. "Ok, it's there. What am I looking for exactly, Ducky?"
"Did you have to enter a password?"
"Tell me what files are on the hard drive."
McGee browsed the files, "Looks like a lot of graphic files, Ducky. Logos, magazine ads…"
"That's her other laptop. She often takes work home and uses her public laptop."
"Public laptop?" he asked, confused.
"She has two identical laptops. One she leaves out and uses for work and casual surfing and general family information. The other one has more detailed information about the family, including information on me. She never leaves that one lying around the house. It's locked up in the safe when not in use."
McGee left the public laptop on the coffee table and went in search of the safe. He jogged up the stairs. "To the left, Timothy," Ducky provided.
"Thanks," McGee quietly replied. He walked into the master suite heading straight for the closet. "Ok, where's the safe?"
"It's at the back of the closet behind her dresses. It's a hidden panel, you'll have to push it in the upper left corner and the panel will pop open."
McGee followed Illya's directions. "Ok, now what?"
"The code i 9."
McGee entered the numbers as instructed and waited. "I'm in," he announced.
Illya breathed a sigh of relief. "Ok, now check the laptop."
"Ok," he replied as he pulled out the computer and booted it up. The seconds slowly ticked by as he waited for a welcome screen. "Done. Now I've got a password request."
"The password is 'ice prince', no spaces. All lower case."
McGee typed in the words and frowned, "That didn't work."
"Damn," Illya sighed. "Try d19a12n1k20u5r1419."
McGee once again did as he was told, "That was it."
"Something was wrong, she wouldn't change the password unless… Shut down the laptop and pack it up along with the contents of the safe. April's old partner Mark should be there soon. Give everything to him and he'll bring it back here.
"Ok," McGee replied as he glanced around for something to use.
"She has a saddle bag style briefcase that she keeps in the bottom of the closet. You should be able to pack everything in there. Whatever doesn't fit pack in a box and hand it all to Mark."
"Ok, Ducky. Is there anything else?"
Illya thought it over a minute. "Just lock up the safe and return the closet to the way you found it. And Timothy… thank you."
"You're welcome, Ducky," he replied.
The pair said their goodbyes and McGee went about packing up the contents of the safe. "Something wrong?" Napoleon asked as Illya snapped the phone closed.
"I don't know. She changed the password on her laptop. She wouldn't have done that unless she thought someone was watching her."
"Did April say anything?"
"No, if she knew or suspected anything she would have called me immediately."
Napoleon nodded his agreement. "That leaves Nico; let's pray Anya talked to him," Illya said.