Ducky walked into autopsy late one evening on his way out to make sure Palmer had turned everything off and closed up. He was surprised to see the young man still there. The only light in the room was a small lamp lit on the desk Jimmy was sitting at. His back was towards Ducky and he was slumped forward. "Mr. Palmer, what are you still doing here?"
"I just…don't understand," he said quietly. Ducky walked over closer to Jimmy and could see him with two autopsy/case reports lying open in front of him. Ducky sighed. The last two days Jimmy had been obsessed with reading and re-reading Gibbs' and Abby's autopsy reports. He had been unusually quiet. Ducky had been trying to get him to open up. It was late, but if the boy was ready to talk now, Ducky would listen. Jimmy looked up at Ducky. "This can't be right."
"I assure you, it is correct. I'm not happy about it, but its correct."
"He went an hour after her. He could have been helped. Its like he just…gave up."
"He had a serious concussion, swelling of the brain, not to mention massive internal bleeding. He shouldn't have lasted as long as he did. Same with…with poor, dear Abigail."
"Why did they…last so long?"
"God works in mysterious ways, Mr. Palmer."
"And he saw it fitting that they suffer?" Jimmy stood up, taking Gibbs' report with him to the empty autopsy table.
"We do not know that they suffered."
"With these injuries?" Jimmy slammed a hand down on the table.
Ducky just stared at the distraught man before him. He had never seen Jimmy so upset before. He was acting very unlike himself. But he had been ever since Abby and Gibbs were found. "It is most likely they were unconscious. That they didn't feel anything."
"They didn't land there like that," Jimmy said flipping through pages until he came to the photo of Gibbs and Abby lying on the ground. Jimmy stepped aside for Ducky to take a look. He came up to the table and stood next to Jimmy. Looking down at the photo, Gibbs and Abby were lying a few feet in front of the up turned car. Abby was on her back, Gibbs on his side. His head was on her shoulder. His right arm was under her head, his left across her stomach. Abby's left arm was still around Gibbs, her right also lying across her stomach above Gibbs' arm.
And then there were the deer.
When Tony and McGee had arrived to where the GPS said Gibbs' phone was, they saw a deer sitting on the side of the road. The deer stood when the men exited the vehicle and they saw Gibbs' phone lying on the ground next to her. The deer had turned around and started making its way down the hill. She had stopped to turn around to see if the two men were following her. McGee went to pick up the phone and saw the heartbreaking scene down below. At least, that's what Tony claimed.
Tony had taken a few photos of the fawn laying with Gibbs and Abby because he knew it was something Abby would like. The mother deer had come down the hill and lay a few feet away, while the Agents were working. They had eventually tried to shoo both mother and baby away, but neither would budge and neither dared get close enough to physically try. When Ducky and Palmer had arrived, both deer were still present. But once Ducky had made it to the bottom, mother deer got up, as did the fawn, and the wandered back into the woods.
"Mr. Palmer," Ducky said, closing the file folder, "I need to believe that they didn't suffer." Ducky started to leave. He looked back to Jimmy. He was bent over the autopsy table with his face in his hands. "Come on. You need to get home." Jimmy slightly raised his head so his chin was in his hands. He mumbled something, but Ducky couldn't make the words out. "What was that?"
"I never got to tell her," he said louder.
Ducky took a few steps closer. "Tell her what?"
Jimmy stood and turned to face the doctor. "That she…she was my best friend. And Agent Gibbs. He…" Jimmy trailed off and lowered his gaze to the floor, ever so slightly shaking his head.
"He was my best friend," Ducky said.
"You knew him better than anyone."
"So why didn't he go up to the road? Why didn't he try to get help?" Jimmy looked in to Ducky's eyes, silently pleading for an answer.
"His leg was broken."
"Even I know that wouldn't have stopped him." Ducky knew that was true. "He just laid there with her. Waiting to…to…go. Its like he just…gave up. Why?"
Because he felt he had nothing left to live for, Ducky thought. "Jimmy," Ducky said, placing his hands on the young man's shoulders, "That is a question I cannot answer. One we will never truly know the answer to within this lifetime."
Jimmy turned back to the file folder lying on the table. He fingered the top flap, debating whether or not to open it and dive into the gruesome accident trying to figure it all out; make it all make sense. Before he got a chance to eve open it, Ducky gently took it away. He walked over to the desk and picked up Abby's file as well. He opened the top desk drawer and set the folders in there. He turned off the small lamp. "It is a sad thing that we are mourning, but I do not believe that Abigail and Jethro would want this to take over our lives." He walked back over to Jimmy and gently grabbed his arm. Ducky started leading Jimmy out the door. "Let us not mourn the fact that they are gone tonight, but rejoice that they were here."
"How are we supposed to do that?"
"Do you like bourbon, Mr. Palmer?"
A/N: I just want to quickly thank everyone who reviewed. Now let the hate mail begin!