Knights of the NCIS Table—Ducky's Tale
(This will take place while Gibbs and Laurie are in Japan.)
Tim McGee is once again at his best friend's house, telling a story to his favorite person. Donald DiNozzo may be only four, but he has his Uncle Tim and most of the other members of the MCRT wrapped around his little fingers. Tim sighs as they settle into their favorite recliner. He hasn't been around much this past week, due to the funerals of his parents and then he had to return to work.
His boss, also known as the assistant director of NCIS, Leroy Jethro Gibbs had sent all of the team a memo saying that he would be out of the office for several days. Abby of course has been hounding all of the others, demanding to know where Gibbs is and why he wouldn't tell her where he was going.
Tim has an idea of what happened to Gibbs. He knows that Gibbs had been watching over the entire DiNozzo family just a few days ago. Sarah and Donny had gotten sick and Tony hadn't been much better. Tim had volunteered to help but Tony had declined the offer saying that he didn't want Tim to get sick too, especially if he was going to try dating Holly Breaker.
Tim blushes faintly when he thinks of the young woman who has captured his heart. Tony and Sarah were in the midst of having Abby run a background check on her when they'd all gotten the news about Tim and Sarah's parents getting killed. Holly's parents were killed the same day by the same people and her boss had been the one to inform Gibbs.
Laurie Fields, yeah he'd bet a paycheck that Gibbs was following Holly's boss somewhere. The older woman had actually paid her respects to Tim's parents, and Holly's as well as attending yet another funeral that week. Then, Gibbs had called her into his office. Tim grimaced as he imagined the interrogation that could have followed.
Tim shifts his attention to the child in his arms. "All right young Mister DiNozzo, what shall we talk about today?"
"Uncle Tim, can you…can you…can you tell me a story about Granpa Duck?"
Tim's green eyes widen in surprise…after all this time, Donny has never asked about Ducky before. For him to request a story about the former M.E. indicates that something or someone might have been talking to the child.
"Sure, Donny, I can think of something. Can I ask a quick question here as to why you want one about Ducky all of a sudden?"
Donny's lips twitch as he considers his answer. "I saw him last night in a dream. Him and Granma Shannon and Cousin Kelly. They was all ghosties visiting Granpa Jefro."
"I see, well, did you want to wait for me to call Grandpa and we can get his input?"
"No, Granpa's in Japan with Miss Laurie. Where's Japan Uncle Tim?"
Tim shows Donny where Japan is on the globe and then they settle once again into the recliner.
"Okay one story with Ducky in it coming up. Umm...what kind of character do you want him to be Donny?"
"Can you have him be like you are when you tell me stories?"
"You want him to be a bard? A traveling story teller who makes friends as he goes?"
"Yeah and have him meet King Jed and Anton and Thym."
"I think we can do that. Okay, got your bunny Plot? Once upon a time, a long, long, long time ago, there was a little old man who was called, Donald."
"His name was Ducky."
"His nickname is Ducky. His real name was Donald, just like yours. Now Ducky was a traveling bard."
Donald "Ducky" Mallard was a self proclaimed travelling bard. He'd been all over the lands of Nacrines, and was currently heading for the castle ran by King Jed of Senrinca.
"You've been talking to Granpa; he named those the last time he was here."
"I'm sure it's just a coincidence. After all, we both work at the same place and I'm sure that he came up with the idea the same way I did."
"Granpa don't belief in coinkyidinkys."
"It's coincidences and I know that he doesn't. You've been listening to your father again too haven't you?"
Ducky had heard that King Jed ran a fairly tight kingdom, yet the man was considered to be a fair person and possibly wouldn't judge a bard by his stories. Ducky was hoping that was the case as he wanted to find a place to settle down and hopefully find a family that liked to listen to old tales.
As he walks towards the castle, he sees a shadow, a long winged shadow fly over him. Dragons, but dragons are supposed to be extinct by now. There hadn't been any dragon sightings for well, over 20 years. And King Jed is the one who supposedly killed the last dragon.
Sighing, the bard shakes his head and continues heading north; towards Senrinca and the castle of King Jed.
Tim pauses and turns the little boy in his arms to face him. "Now, I know that you asked for a story , but do you want me to tell you a story about Ducky or would you just like me to tell you about the man that Ducky actually was?"
"I wanna story. Granpa can tell me bout real Ducky."
Tim smiles faintly imagining all the tales that Gibbs might actually be able to tell about the former M.E.
"Alrighty then, Ducky the bard walks across the meadow…"
The meadow wasn't that long, but when you've been walking the distance that Ducky has it can seem to stretch for an eternity. He didn't even have a companion this time, as his favorite mule Leon had pulled up lame two weeks ago. Rather than grumble about it, Ducky keeps himself entertained by imagining encounters he has had in the past.
"And yes, Ducky was always telling us stories about something that had happened to him while he was in England or in medical school or the English Army. Usually he'd do it while he was talking to a dead body, or if he knew that one of us was nearby to listen to him, he'd tell us tales too."
"You liked him lots huh Uncle Tim?"
"Yeah, I really did. He reminded me of my own grandfather and some of the stories that he used to tell us. It's because of those two men that I decided to become a writer."
"Why don't you write now then?"
Tim sighs as he tries to figure out how to explain to a four year old something he has yet to figure out for himself.
Ducky didn't know it but he'd been seen as he was walking over the meadow. The friendly blue dragon known as Thym, had seen the elderly bard walking and discreetly followed him at a distance. Thym gave a mental message to Crystal the pseudo-dragon, letting her know that King Jed was about to have company.
Crystal flew immediately to the human king. She likes the human despite his quirks. Or maybe it's because of his quirks. He treats his people well, rarely hits anyone without a just reason. No one is unfairly punished. Best of all, he likes Thym and Crystal.
"Granpa has always liked you Uncle Tim."
"I know, it just took me awhile to realize that."
Crystal flies straight to the castle, only stopping when she gets to King Jed's throne. King Jed is staring rather aimlessly out the window and Crystal wonders briefly what is wrong before remembering that she has an announcement to make.
Excuse me, King Jed but I bring news from Thym. He says that there is a stranger wandering the south meadow and wants to know if you need him to intercept said stranger and bring him to you.
King Jed turns from the window and stares at the tiny dragon for two seconds before responding.
"No, Crystal, don't let him intercede unless the stranger proves to be an adversary."
By your command. The dragon zips back out the door and relays her message. As she enters the garden she recognizes…
"Uncle Tim? Can you put Tandel into the story? She's gonna be Granpa's, I mean King Jed's queen. She's an elf, like you are sometimes."
"Sure, Donny just remind me to tell Granpa so that he knows we used his queen in our story."
"Uncle Tim, I think that Tandel was hurt in Granpa's story. Granpa had King Jed wrapping her eyes so that they could travel."
Tim thinks for a moment before he asks, "By the way Donny who said I was an elf sometimes?"
"Mommy said you used to be an ElfLord or sometin like that."
"Remind me to remind Mommy what happens when she tells tales out of school."
Upstairs Tony is once again in awe of his Probie's storytelling skills. He smirks at the Battlestar Galactica reference when Crystal says "by your command." He laughs outright when Sarah is revealed as the culprit who told Donny about Tim's days as the reigning ElfLord in an MMORPG.
Sarah slaps his arm as she laughs along with Tony. Her brother might not know it yet, but she has a feeling that it won't be too long before he starts writing in earnest again.
Tandel is sitting in the gardens, letting the sun warm her face. Her eyes are still bandaged as she waits for the hours to pass before she has them removed. As Crystal flutters into the garden the elf smiles and waits for the pseudo-dragon to communicate.
Thym is following a stranger who will be here soon. Do you wish to return inside?
"No Crystal, I shall be safe here in the gardens."
You put much trust in this human.
"Possibly, and if I do, it's because you and Thym trust him. You must or you wouldn't have let him near me."
Crystal can't argue that point and sets off to find Thym. She knows that she's small enough that she'll be mistaken for a bird if anyone sees her. She finds her quarry five minutes later.
Ducky smiles as the pseudo-dragon approaches. He knows that it won't be long before someone comes out to greet him and is surprised when the pseudo-dragon actually pauses before him. Crystal is surprised too, she usually lets Thym greet King Jed's guests, but for some reason she knows that she has to meet this man.
"Well, hello my dear. My name is Donald Mallard but you may call me Ducky."
Tony has to wipe a tear away. The inflection Tim uses reminds the older man of the gentle M.E. and how he always introduced himself to newcomers.
Ducky, my name is Crystal. May I escort you to King Jed's castle?
"Why of course you may, and may I say that I do believe that this reminds me of a time when I was in Arabia. Speaking of which I have a gift for King Jed. Do you know if he has ever had a drink called coffee?"
Not to my knowledge, and my companion says he's never seen King Jed drink anything except ale or mead.
"I take it your companion is the bigger dragon I saw flying overhead a few hours ago? Oh don't worry my dear, I'm not hunting, I'm a bard. I tell stories and I'm sure that I can find a few to discover here."
Crystal sends Thym a mental message detailing what she's found out so far. Thym quickly flies ahead to let King Jed know about the presence of the bard. Thym chooses to change into human form and walks stridently to the throne room. King Jed looks up when Thym walks in, knowing that the dragon rarely appears in human form. For him to do so now something or someone important must be approaching.
"What's up Thym?"
"Forgive me, Your Highness, I do not wish to intrude but the stranger in the meadow is claiming to be a bard. Crystal is with him now, escorting him here. She says that his name is Ducky."
Jed almost smirks at the name. He's heard many tales about this bard. Most of them agree on three things: he's soft-spoken, knowledgeable, and tends to ramble on when telling a story. Jed really doesn't mind if the other man does ramble, as long as it's not when he's in the middle of doing something else.
"Tell Crystal that I will receive the bard in the throne room when they arrive."
"Yes King Jed."
"Thym? You are invited to stay for the night if you want to hear one of the bard's tales."
"Thank you, sir, I'll check in with Crystal first and see if she has plans for the night."
Tony looks at Sarah, who's smiling fondly at an old memory. When he asks her about it, she replies that their grandmother had often told Tim that he could stay and listen to the old bard talk as long as their mother approved.
"Were they close?"
"Tim and Grandpa? Only when it came to telling stories."
King Jed graciously allows Thym to greet Ducky when the older man finally gets into the courtyard and allows the dragon to escort him into the throne room. Ducky smiles at the blue clad figure, knowing immediately that it's the dragon.
"I must say, for a dragon you are remarkably well-behaved. Why aren't you trying to decimate this castle?"
"I have no fight with King Jed. He and his knights are my friends."
"Really? You'll have to tell me that story sometime soon."
Thym continues leading Ducky to where King Jed is waiting. Jed smiles at the elderly bard, knowing that behind those twinkling eyes is a mind that is sharp as a tack.
"Welcome to Senrinca, Bard Mallard. I do hope you'll be able to keep us entertained."
"Oh of that I have little doubt, and please won't you call me Ducky?"
"Pleased to meet you Ducky. You've met our resident dragon, Thym and his companion Crystal. Later on, you'll meet more of the castle's residents and their families."
Ducky smiles at the wording. Family is something he's not been part of for many years. It will be nice if he can become an active family member once again.
"Are there any particular rules that I must know about if I'm to fit in?"
Tony and Sarah strain to hear what Tim's going to use for King Jed's rules. After all, the real Gibbs only started his set of rules after meeting his first wife Shannon.
"Expect the unexpected. That's rule number one. if you decide to stay here, I'll let you know what the others are."
"Excellent, now then before I forget, I have a gift for you. I'm not sure if you've heard of them; they're called coffee beans and when ground up make a wonderfully warm beverage."
Tony groans at the introduction of coffee to King Jed. When Sarah looks at him, he tells her, "Now we've got one of the first rules of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Never touch the boss's coffee."
The day passes quickly for everyone and soon King Jed, Ducky, Jamie and Abdiel are waiting for the evening meal to be brought out. Thym and Crystal spent most of the day outdoors, not wanting to be cooped up inside the building all day. As they head inside, Crystal reminds Thym that Tandel is still out in the gardens, waiting for an escort to the table.
Thym gently guides the elf inside and sits her beside King Jed. Jed is silent as he wordlessly squeezes Tandel's hand in quiet apology. For his part, Ducky is entranced when he sees Tandel and immediately starts in on another story. By the time the meal ends, King Jed knows that Ducky is going to become a permanent fixture in his castle. The old bard not only has the tales that traveling has brought him, but he has some experience with medicine and a fascination with everything that surrounds him. Jamie the wizard has already invited Ducky to share his quarters and maybe share knowledge as well.
As for Ducky, the bard smiles to himself as he lies down to sleep on the extra pallet in Jamie's rooms. He's not only allowed to stay here, he's being accepted here, as a bard and a medic. He's being treated as an equal, not someone to toss aside like a bad piece of cheese. He's even shown King Jed how to make coffee, much to the King's delight. Life is good thinks the bard as he closes his eyes and falls asleep.
Donny is quiet for several minutes after Tim finishes the story and Tim wonders if he's said something wrong. When Donny finally speaks Tim breathes a quiet sigh of relief.
"Uncle Tim? Can we call Granpa? I want him to tell me about Ducky."
A/N: I think that this is the actual ending to the Knights of the NCIS Table. Thank you to all who have read and especially those who have reviewed.