Disclaimer: I have no claim to anything related to NCIS. Other than a few story ideas that is.

Home

Donald "Ducky" Mallard smiles as he puts his aging Morgan into gear and heads out of the Navy Yard and the NCIS offices. He's looking forward to spending some time with Jethro and the rest of the MCRT. The entire team has been working overtime with several cases that seemed to have been multiplying like rabbits.

This week had been especially stressful as they'd been a man down when one of the team came down with appendicitis. Thankfully they'd caught it before the appendix had burst or he'd have been out for longer than just a week.

As Ducky comes to a red light, his cell phone rings and he pulls over to the side to answer it.

"Dr. Mallard here…Ah, yes my dear boy what can I do for you? ...Well of course, I can…think nothing of it I'm half way there already…don't worry about that, I've got extra blankets in the car…very well, I'll meet you at Jethro's."

Fifteen minutes later Ducky is pulling up to the small animal clinic. He exits the car and hurries to the door, huffing a bit from the exertion. Glancing at the clock on the wall, he smiles. He'd made it with five minutes to spare.

The girl behind the desk couldn't have been much more than 18 years old and is wearing a liberal coating of makeup. Goodness he thinks to himself they are making them young these days. He smiles a genial smile and tells her that he's here to pick up Jethro.

The girl nods and picks up a phone letting the handler in the back know that Jethro's party is here to pick him up.

"Does Timothy owe you anything for keeping him here?"

"Oh, no he pays in advance with his card. I can give you a receipt though if you'd like."

"Please, that would be splendid. You know this reminds me of a time in Trafalgar Square…well, hello Jethro. Your master says it's time to come home."

The German Shepherd lets out a joyous woof when he hears Ducky's voice, and pads over to the M.E. with little coaxing. Ducky kneels down and scratches the dog behind the ears before taking up the leash. As they leave the building, Ducky hears the door lock behind them.

"Well I'll bet you're glad to be out of there aren't you old chap? Come along then, we've a ways to go to get you reunited with Timothy."

The shepherd follows obediently and carefully enters Ducky's precious Morgan, lying on the blankets that the doctor has on the back seat.

"Yes I can see why Timothy likes having you around Jethro. You are an extremely well-behaved animal. You know this reminds me of a time…" Ducky continues telling his tale to his captive audience. The dog falls asleep in no time, whether it's due to the comfort of the car, the experience at the kennel, or the doctor's story is anyone's guess.

They arrive at Gibbs house and the shepherd immediately knows that something isn't right. His ears are flat against his head as he follows Ducky into the house. As they enter the living room however, those ears are back to normal as he trots over to where his master is lying on the couch. Tim's green eyes are shining when he sees the big dog coming to greet him.

"Hey Jethro, good to see you boy. Thanks, Ducky for bringing him here. I feel so bad; I forgot he was in there."

"Oh I'd say that he was just fine with it Timothy. He seemed to know it was time to come home, and just followed me out to the car. By the way just how long was he in there?"

"Ten days, I'd had that long weekend working and couldn't get my usual dog walker so I kenneled him and then had that appendicitis attack." Tim's pale face is flushed with embarrassment. He would berate himself for a long time before he forgave himself for leaving Jethro in a kennel that long.

Ducky watches the interaction between dog and master and notices that the dog knows Tim is injured and is being careful not to hurt the young man. Tim buries his hand in the fur at Jethro's throat, rubbing the dog under his chin, making the beast growl with appreciation.

Gibbs comes to the doorway and smiles faintly at the scene. Ducky catches his eye and the two friends head outside to talk until the rest of the team arrives.

"He looks pretty good Jethro, considering what could have happened."

"I know Duck, just making sure it was okay to bring McMutt in."

Ducky smiles at the concern in Gibbs voice. The former Marine may be gruff on the outside, but he genuinely cares about his people, his team, and doesn't want any of them to get hurt. He'd been the first one to volunteer to look after McGee while the incision on the younger man's side healed.

"Ahh, Jethro they need each other. You saw it just now; they are each other's best friend. Timothy for all that he has a family has few friends here Jethro. Most of those will be in this house within the next ten minutes."

The cars arrive bringing in Tony, Ziva, Abby and Palmer. Each is chattering about seeing McGee again and McMutt. Abby and the dog play for a few minutes before the dog goes back to lie beside McGee. Tony puts a hand on Tim's shoulder smiling at him as he calls him Probie. Ziva smiles as she hands McMutt a dog treat, telling Tim that she has a few casseroles cooked up so that he won't have to move around too much. Palmer just hovers for a bit, before sinking into a chair by the couch and entering the conversation.

Ducky and Gibbs smile at each other, and at their family. With Tim on the mend, and McMutt back by the computer geek's side, their team, no their family is complete again. This house, instead of being alone, and empty is once again a home.

End

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