AN: TAG to Stake Out, Alternate ending…. ( Though I think the ending was fantastic as it was) I cant believe there aren't more Tags out there yet….Those writers left us with a cliffhanger that make mine shadow in comparison…anyhow…enjoy. And please review!


"You're running the tests on yourself."

Donald Mallard removed his coat slowly and laid it across his forearm. "I most certainly am not."

"You're lying."

It was as matter of fact as Gibbs made it sound and Ducky knew it. "I'd really rather not discuss it." He turned around to place his coat on the hook, but when he turned around again he was met eye to eye with his colleague.

"Discuss it."

Ducky took a step back but it only allowed more room for Gibbs stare to permeate. "For once Jethro, cant you just leave well enough alone?"

Gibbs cocked his head to the side. "Never was real good at that…now what is it Duck?"

Ducky took in a long breath. "It's nothing."

Gibbs started to fume and closed the distance between them once more. "Either you tell me, or I'll beat it out of ya."

He managed a smile as he softly nudged Gibbs away from him. "I have no doubt you would. So for the record, I am not consenting to such violence."

"Then prevent it, and tell me what the hell is going on."

Ducky took a seat as if he was exhausted by his friends interrogation. After a few moments, Gibbs began his berating again. It wasn't long after the third threat out his mouth that Ducky stood up and shouted.

"Its cancer…" he took in a deep sigh and began to swallow the lump in his throat, before he repeated himself in a quieter tone. "It's cancer." He paced a few steps away, and noticed Gibbs mouth gaped open. "Happy now Jethro? You got your answer…you solved the mystery. Too bad you can't cure me anymore than you can cure murder."

Gibbs released the pent up air in his lungs. "You're sure?"

Ducky threw his hands up. "Jethro, must you patronize me?"

Gibbs mirrored his hand gesture. "I just…you're right I'm sorry." He cleared his throat and continually reminded himself to breathe. "You don't look sick."

"I don't feel sick." He started back towards his desk. "Unfotunately, the results say otherwise."

"You are going to get a second opinion?"

Ducky shook his head. "I was the second opinion…it's Pancreatic. Best case scenario is six months."

Gibbs swallowed hard and opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out.

"I was waiting to make the necessary notifications, until I got up the nerve. But alas, screaming it at you was not how I imagined giving my best friend the message."

Again, Gibbs said nothing.

"It's perfectly natural to be speechless my boy. I was so myself, if you can believe that?" He tried to smile but it quickly turned to a frown as he watched the expression on Gibbs face change. "You mustn't feel sorry for me Jethro, I have lived a long and full life…one most can only dream of. I have now been given a time table, and one I will be sure to make the most of."

Finally Gibbs opened his mouth and made an audible sound that Ducky swore was an attempt to fight back a sob. He then closed his mouth quickly and found himself speechless once more.

"Would you be so kind as to come with me as I tell the others? I'm quite afraid of how Abby will react."

Gibbs nodded and still remained silent as they paced toward the elevator. His heart was pounding inside his chest as he turned to his friend and did something that spoke more than any words could say in a moment like this.

And they embraced.