Disclaimer: What would you do for a Klondike Bar? Would you say you owned NCIS?

Spoilers: Minor for Jack-Knife.

Summary: Tony moves from the chair back to bed.


Ducky paced the length of Autopsy and back, tapping a finger against his lips thoughtfully as he spoke, "Truly an odd pattern of lacerations, but I can't see any other explanation, Corporal. If it were anything but accidental, I'd be far less inclined to sympathy. Scottish, you know. But I'm sure Abigail will be in before long to observe you, so, chin up."

He adjusted his visor and ran his scalpel down the sternum in a familiar motion. "I apologize for things proceeding so slowly, but my assistant saw fit to catch a flu virus from a young lady from his medical school class." He chuckled. "I suppose that can only mean the date itself went well. Still, I hate to make you wait, especially since the accident report indicates you were in something of a hurry when you had your unfortunate encounter with that deer."

"Deer's not gonna be winning any beauty contests, Ducky."

"Ah, Tony." He set his scalpel on the table. "I was expecting Gibbs, though I will admit that the timing is off."

"I think he's interrogating the venison, seeing if someone paid it to run across the highway to take out our top suspect on this drug thing." Tony took a few hitching steps into the room. "Well, interrogating or maybe filleting, salting and putting away for the winter. One or the other."

"My dear boy, why are you limping? Tell me this is not a result of your poor sleeping choices."

"Nope." He made his way slowly to the desk, sinking into Ducky's chair. "Caved to pressure and gave up the comfy chair. Well, sleeping in it, anyway. I wasn't gonna get rid of it after I paid all that money. And it is a nice chair."

"I'm sure that the lucky chiropractor whose new yacht you end up financing will heartily agree."

Tony groaned as he lifted his leg onto the desk. "I don't think that's the kind of doctor I need right now." He rolled up his pant leg, revealing a nasty, bruised swelling on his lower calf.

"What have we here?" Ducky snapped his dirty gloves into a bin and pushed his glasses up his nose as he leaned in to examine the damage.

"Wait'l you see my ankle." He tugged at his shoe. "Ow, ow, ow…there. Okay, try not to recoil in horror."

He shrugged when Tony removed his sock. "Ugly bruise, moderate swelling. Does it feel sprained?"

"I don't see how it could be a…aaaaahhh!" Tony's face went through a series of comical contortions as Ducky palpated the area. "Nnyaghhh! Oh, can you take an x-ray to make sure nothing's broken?"

"I highly doubt you have a fracture."

"Ducky, I'm suffering!"

Twenty minutes later, Tony was seriously overstepping his welcome three times over. The unfortunate corporal on the autopsy table was sorely in need of attention, so Ducky jabbed his pen at the radiograph one final time. "I want you to listen very carefully to me, Anthony. You do not have a broken bone. You have a large bruise. I recommend ice, aspirin and watching your step in the snow."

"For the last time, I didn't fall!"

"In that case, the injury must be in your mind! Power of positive thinking! Off you go." As he pulled on a fresh pair of gloves, he deadpanned, "Do explain to Jethro why the autopsy was delayed. I'm sure his commiseration will be exuberant."

"That's it?"

"Tony, I'm afraid this is something that only time will heal. Just be mindful of it and stay away from whatever caused it."

"Oh, I don't think so."

Ducky looked up from the incision on which he had been intent. "What do you mean?"

"If this," he waved his hand over his injury, "is the only negative, I can deal with it. The rest more than makes up for a little discomfort."

"A moment ago you were practically begging me to wave a magic wand of some sort and fix you!"

Tony looked up from tying his shoe. "I thought maybe you were holding out on me."

Ducky sighed, shaking his head. "If you're quite finished, I will be returning to Cpl. Meyers, whom I have kept waiting long enough."

"Sorry, Ducky. It's just that…she kicks."

It was once again impossible to turn the appropriate attention to Cpl. Meyers. "Excuse me?"

"My back feels better, though, so you're right about sleeping in bed. Guess I just needed something better to fall asleep to than classic movies." His attempt at a suave exit was hampered by his limp.

Ducky sighed again and returned to Cpl. Meyers. "I don't suppose you're in the mood to be vague."

"When am I ever vague?" Abby whooshed through the doors, again distracting him from the task at hand. "I am a scientist. Scientists are defined by accuracy!"

"True, but how are artists defined?"

She paused just out the line of sight of the intriguing lacerations. "Are we getting into a philosophical debate? Because I have to run back for my Caf-Pow if that's the case."

"Just come and have a look at this poor chap's face."

She leaned close to the magnifier he adjusted. "Ouch. Glad I've never had the chance to get so intimately acquainted with a windshield. Or hooves."

He readjusted the glass. "Yes, but what does it look like?"

"Does the answer have something to do with Picasso? Because I've totally been meaning to read that biography you gave me, but work has just been…"

"I accepted long ago that my practice of lending books is taken seriously only by Timothy and Ziva. But really look at the pattern and think of England."

"Whoa there, Duckster. Tell me I'm not supposed to have heir-producing on the brain!"

"No, no. If you look here, you see? The three lions!"

"Um…"

"Am I the only one looking forward to South Africa? For the pure sport, of course, rather than national pride, but…"

"Oh! The World Cup! Right!"

He sighed again. "Shall I explain further?"

"You know how much I love your explanations," she said with a smile.

"The three lions are the royal coat of arms of England! These cuts are…"

"Hey, was it me or is Tony limping?"

Deciding that a dedicated audience was a lost cause with Mr. Palmer absent, Ducky said, "Yes. He sustained some sort of kicking injury."

"Huh. It's funny, because Ziva was telling me about her toe hurting. I think she stubbed it or something. You'd think Assassin 101would address that kind of thing."

"Indeed." Ducky frowned at the three lions on Cpl. Meyers' left cheek. "Well, I should get back to it."

"Later, Duck-man."

"Hm." He leaned on his elbow as the doors swooshed closed. "Perhaps if you'd suffered a Union Jack, my boy…"