In Memory of Nina Foch (Mrs. Mallard), who passed away on Dec. 5th. She will be missed by many.
"How is he?" Ziva managed just as Gibbs finished informing them her passing.
Gibbs was already half way out of the bull pen before stopping to answer her. "I don't know."
It was a simple answer, but one she could accept for now. She watched him continue his course and each of them knew too well where he was headed. The three exchanged solemn glances before forming a group in the middle of the bull pen; their next destination clear.
Abby took the news better than they expected and waited together till they heard any more news. Palmer joined them soon after. Each thinking of something they could do to make the situation better, but knowing all too well that nothing would.
Gibbs arrived at the home in time to see them loading her body into the ambulance. It has been sudden; yet expected. She'd lived a long and full life; one that most people can only hope for. He caught glimpse of his friend near the front door signing a few papers and waited patiently in the drive way until the crowd had cleared. He approached him moments later.
"I'm sorry Duck."
His eyes were clearly welled with tears and his voice seemed a bit stricken. "Do not be Jethro. This day was inevitable."
"It still hurts?"
It was more a statement than a question and Ducky knew it. "Yes. That it does."
Gibbs placed a soft hand on his shoulder as the ambulance drove out of sight and directed him back inside. "Scotch?"
Ducky hid a smile as he suddenly came to a halt and looked around. "For everything there is a season; and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die."
Gibbs remained silent and watched as his friend continued to glance around his home.
"A time to plant, and a time to pull what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to break down and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance…" His throat suddenly forced him to stop as a sob welled up inside him.
Gibbs once again placed a hand on his shoulder. "A time to keep silence and a time to speak…" He added; then watched his friend look up at him a bit surprised. "I've been here too Duck."
Ducky responded by placing a hand on his. "That you have Jethro. That we all have."
Gibbs motioned towards the study and took care that his friend was comfortable. "Anything you need?"
Ducky looked at him with an almost childlike countenance. "A cup of warm milk would be perfect."
Gibbs sent him a gentle smile. "Sure."
"And you may release the captives…"
Gibbs reached for his phone and nodded. "I'll call 'em right now."
Tony closed his phone and stood up. "That was boss. He said we're free to come over whenever."
Abby had already gathered her things and was prepared to shoot out the door at a moments notice. Tim accompanied her as did the others. Ziva offered to pick up some flowers and Tony decided to ride along with her. They arrived not long after the rest of the team to find them huddled around in the study exchanging stories.
"She did have quite the crush on Jethro." Ducky began yet another anecdote. "Every since the first moment they met; she was enamored with this looks. Even when the dementia became more evident she never let go of her infatuation."
"I think they get the point Duck." Gibbs was almost blushing. Almost.
Abby interrupted. "Aww. You should be flattered Gibbs…"
"She's quite right Jethro. There weren't many men my Mother fancied after my Father passed."
The room went silent for a few moments before the ME continued with tale after tale until he looked up to find that most of them had fallen asleep. Abby curled up onto Tim's shoulder; Ziva resting comfortably on the floor with Tony's stomach as a pillow. Palmer had managed to stay awake the longest before dosing off himself. Gibbs on the other hand was as attentive as he'd ever been.
"Surprised you're still with me Jethro. You always seem the most bored by my stories."
He shook his head slowly. "I just never appreciated them quite as much as I do right now Duck."
"You know; there will come a time when they," he nodded towards the bodies sprawled out across his study. "Will reminisce stories about us."
Gibbs managed a smile before taking in the sight himself. "Yeah, well if they're even half as pleasant as the ones I've heard tonight; then it wont be that bad."
And for the first time that night, the Doctor shined a smile. "A time to weep, and a time to laugh…"
Gibbs nodded slowly before watching his friend fall into a bit of tears. He reached out to comfort him as the others were awoken from their sleep by the cries. It wasn't long before the group circled around and shed a few tears of their own.
For everything there is a season; and a time for every matter under heaven. She had had her times of weeping and laughter…and now was her time to dance. And dance she would. In the memories of the lives she'd touched, forever.