The Duck Man

By: Trivette Lover Heather

AN: This will be a series of individual short stories, with Ducky as the main character. I hope to delve into his character more deeply, and hope that you'll enjoy reading along with why I think Ducky is who he is…Please review and let me know if there is something you would like to see…

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He awoke from his sleep and trembled slightly for a few moments. "My goodness." He sighed deeply as he swung his legs around the side of the bed, and reached for the lamp switch. He squinted at the bright light, and let out a long yawn.

He stumbled slowly into the bathroom, and went through his usual routine, of brushing, washing and shaving. He entered the closet, and picked out a new bow tie he had recently purchased for this special occasion.

He switched on some music and continued his change of wardrobe, from his silk pajamas to his suspenders, dress shirt and pants.

"Another day at the office." He said to himself, as he dashed some cologne on and headed to the kitchen. Switching on the coffee and small TV simultaneously, he couldn't help but sigh as he listened to the usual sadness that emanated from the television. "It certainly is a different world."

"Still talking to your imaginary friends Donald?" His elderly mother entered the kitchen with a concerned look on her face.

He smiled. "Well good morning Mother. And no, I was talking to myself. I'm quite old for imaginary friends wouldn't you say?"

She shook her head. "You had so many as a child; I thought for certain you would keep at least one or two of them around."

He attempted to ignore her comment, and pulled out two cups and prepared each with hot coffee. "I must take mine to go this morning; I will call to check in later."

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He arrived at NCIS and went about his usual autopsy routine: checking files, filling out reports, sealing bodies for transport. It had been particularly slow over the past few days, but he wasn't complaining. Today had come in just the amount of time he'd needed it to. Today, was a very special day to Doctor Donald Mallard, it was the day…

"We met Duck?"

"Well yes Jethro, don't you remember? I left my liver probe behind at a crime scene and you insisted on coming back and giving me a piece of your mind for contaminating the scene with it…"

He grinned. "Yeah, I was young then…"

Ducky shared a laugh with him. "And you're just as gifted in your words now as you were then my boy."

"I get that a lot." He replied, as he took a sip of his coffee. "So that's why you have me down here in autopsy? To celebrate our anniversary?" Gibbs looked confused and knew that his friend wouldn't possibly put him through a sappy conversation about the length of their friendship, in the middle of a cold autopsy room. Then again, maybe he would.

Ducky shifted his weight and Gibbs read his body language like a book.

"There's something more you want to say Duck?"

He sensed his urgency to get back to work, so shuffled into his pocket and pulled out the liver probe. "This is that same probe Jethro."

"I can see that Duck, you want to bequeath it to me or something?"

"Heavens no, that wouldn't be very sanitary now would it…but I would like to share what it has meant to me."

Gibbs nonchalantly looked at his watch out of habit, and immediately apologized. "Sorry, force of habit…talk to me Duck."

"Well, perhaps it's my age catching up with me, or just the sheer coincidence that the day we met, was also the day my Father passed."

"You never told me that then."

"How could I? You were rambling on and on about protocol and Lord knows what else…I simply did not have the patience left to divulge anything of my personal troubles at the time."

"Why are you saying it now?"

"Because, my mother doesn't recall much of dates, nor times, nor most relationships for that matter…and well I was wondering if perhaps you would accompany me to visit my Father's grave to lay some flowers."

Gibbs was taken aback slightly by his request, half expecting him to ask if he would go with him to have the probe engraved with their initials like little kids did on the bark of a tree. "I would be honored Ducky, but why me?"

"Because Jethro, before the day I met you, and the days that subsequently passed to bring us where we are today, I had never had a genuine friend before."

Gibbs smiled wryly. "I don't know what to say Duck."

"There is nothing for you to say Jethro, just continue to be the man you are, and the man I'm so privileged to call a friend."

He smiled slightly. "Heck if I knew I was gonna get so much praise today, I would've packed some Kleenex in my coat pocket."

The two shared a smile, and Gibbs nonchalantly wrapped an arm around his friend's shoulders. "Are you driving or shall I?"

"I have not gotten to be my age, by letting you drive Jethro."

The two left that cold autopsy room, somehow closer then they were when they had entered it. And continue to this day, as a testament to the meaning of friendship.

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AN: Hopefully just the beginning of more insight into the ME we all know and love. Thank you for reviewing!