A/N Whether or not your personal canon for Ducky includes, ahem, a certain other role Mr. McCallum played...you must admit he is a BAMF. ("Oh, please. It isn't as though they were REAL ninjas.") I'm just letting him be himself.

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Ducky sank into his office chair and carefully toed off his shoes. With a sigh that was partly stifled and partly feigned, he hitched one leg atop the other and began to rub the sole of his foot.

"You are not thinking of trying something, are you Doctor?" The terrorist's voice was as polite as it had been when he'd first threatened to shoot Gerald.

"Why, yes. I have some C4 here in my shoe." The ME scowled at their captor halfheartedly. "I am thinking of no such thing. You have made your stance on cleverness quite clear."

"Are you all right, Ducky?" Kate asked softly as the other man's eyes moved back to the door. In younger years Ducky would have bristled at the concern plain in her voice, but in his wiser years he was touched.

"Well enough, my dear. I am simply not as young as I used to be." Gerald made a soft noise of distress, and Dr. Mallard pulled himself to his feet and went over to help his assistant.

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As he'd expected, Kate did not succeed with her scalpel; somewhat less expectedly, the terrorist did not seem particularly put-out. While he was speaking to her-holding her close, and sounding nothing so much as amused-Ducky noiselessly picked up a liver probe from the tray.

(He had been advantageously underestimated his whole life. He was less fit now, and no taller; and if 'too young to be a threat' was long behind him, 'too old' worked just as well.)

His shoeless feet were completely silent as he took three quick steps behind the terrorist; the man's voice was stopping as he sensed the approach, but not quickly enough.

The ME stood up on his toes a little bit, wrapped his left hand firmly around the rough chin, and with his other hand drove the point of the thermometer through the terrorist's eye.

Kate gasped faintly, an involuntary intake of air, as their captor collapsed at their feet; he twitched once before falling still and she stared at him with her slim trigger-callused hands over her mouth. "Agent Todd," Ducky said gently, and she blinked at him; her wide eyes reminded him anew of a Renaissance painting.

"Right," she said...her voice cracked faintly so she cleared her throat and started again. "Right. Call upstairs, ambulance." She moved away, and he crouched down to a flurry of crackling from his knees.

One clear eye stared fixedly out over a growing pool of blood and the thermometer screen, which showed a hash of meaningless marks. He tapped the screen once, then straightened carefully and glanced at his watch. "Time of death, 1912 hours," he announced to no one in particular. Rolling back his blood-flecked cuffs, he shuffled over to prepare Gerald for transport.