Jethro Gibbs entered Autopsy thoughtfully, sipping on an aromatic cup of coffee. Spying Dr. Mallard washing up at the stainless steel sink, he called out a greeting.
"Hey, Duck, Maria just called and said Mrs. Mallard picked up Tony about an hour ago."
Ducky nodded at the information update, but dried his hands before he replied. "Ah yes, they have secret plans for the afternoon and evening to which I am not privy. Mother says for me to fend for myself for supper, and that they will see me when they see me."
He chuckled then. "We both do so much enjoy having the lad stay with us. He practically infuses energy and excitement through the house."
"He loves visiting with you two, as well. I know he'll enjoy the weekend." Jethro smiled at his buddy.
"Well, anyway, young Anthony and I have our own plans tomorrow, mainly revolving around instructing the boy in yet more golfing strategies. You know, Jethro, that child is a natural at the sport, even at the age of five. Why the first time I took him out on the green and put a club in his hand…."
Gibbs interrupted, trying to head off an extremely long story. He, himself, was ready to leave work, and impatient to begin his off hours' existence.
"You're a good teacher, Duck, but I do know what you mean. Tony's definitely a natural athlete."
Ducky nodded agreeably, then untied his scrub gown and discarded it.
Jethro took another swallow and continued. "I appreciate you and Mrs. Mallard inviting him over for the weekend, and hope he is not any trouble. He is more than aware of the behaviour I expect him to display while he's in residence."
Ducky shook his head. "Your fears are unfounded, Jethro. The lad is well mannered and no problem when he stays with us. Quite the contrary, and he's a born entertainer."
Gibbs sighed and grinned in relief but brushed his hand through his short hair. "I'm worried, I guess, that he's on a misbehaving kick. I actually had to spank him a couple of nights ago."
Ducky reached up and cut off the lights to the Morgue, then walked alongside Gibbs as they approached the elevator.
Gibbs pressed the button and mere seconds later the steel doors opened. The men stepped inside.
"What did the lad do to warrant corporal punishment from his daddy?" Ducky questioned.
"He and his little friend Dylan found a lighter at Dylan's place, so they decided to take it outside to see if they could make it work. They got it activated, all right, and then the boys almost burned up the neighbor's garage next door."
"Oh my," Ducky tutted, worry evident in his tone. "It's a wonder the children did not suffer burns."
They slowly made their way out of the elevator and to the nearly vacant parking deck.
Unlocking his car, Gibbs leaned against the side of the vehicle. "No, thank God an adult was walking his dog and caught them, and also managed to get the fire stopped. The kids came out unscathed, burn wise. Tony's rear end was the only part of his body which suffered, and believe me, I made sure he regretted the whole incident."
Ducky shook his head, "He earned that one, I agree."
"Yeah, well he knew he had a spanking coming, and turned on the charm to try to talk me out of it. You know how he uses his appeal to get when he wants."
Ducky laughed, "Jethro, you know he already realizes the power he possesses- that charisma of his."
Gibbs grinned in reply. "True enough, and I already have a mental picture down the road a few years. He will attract quite a female fan base. I managed to resist his charm, though. He was crying before I even got him across my lap."
Ducky responded, "You did the right thing in the circumstance Jethro."
The two friends paused a second, and Gibbs pinched the bridge of his nose. "Ducky, you know how much I appreciate that you and Victoria love him- and spoil him, I should add."
Ducky tried to look shocked. "Jethro, dear man, you do make improbable claims."
Gibbs cut his eyes to his friend's innocent expression and shook his head. "Ducky, at your place he's got a house full of toys, a bike, a car seat, everything over there. Tell the truth for once about this topic. You spoil him."
"Really, Jethro, we moved furniture out of young Anthony's room a couple of years ago, I do remember that."
"Ducky, you moved out the crib you had for him so that he could have a big boy bed to replace it!"
The good doctor smiled at the remembrance, "Ah, now, I do appear to recall that."
Gibbs laughed, "Never mind, but…."
Ducky interrupted, "Did I tell you how bright the lad is? We watch all of the medical dramas together, and he can be playing on the floor with his cars and will suddenly look up at the set and make a correct diagnosis! That child is headed towards medical school, just mark my words."
"We'll have to see. He told me yesterday he wants to grow up to be the man who makes pizza at that restaurant down the block."
They both laughed, and then Ducky took his glasses off and wiped them on his sleeve.
"Now, however, I want to change the subject before we depart. You have the house to yourself, a rare occurrence, I might point out. What have you planned for the weekend with Maria and the lad occupied elsewhere?"
Gibbs turned his head slightly and opened the car door, attempting to keep Ducky from reading his expression.
"Well, Jenny's back in town, and we thought that….." His words trailed into silence, and he looked up to see if Ducky appeared ready to comment.
Ducky did, and couldn't help smirking. "In that case, I'm sure you'll be tied up most of the weekend. I'll warrant that if Tony needs anything we can call his abuela only."
With that, the Scotsman turned and made his way to his own Morgan.
Gibbs laughed and strapped on his seatbelt, then hurriedly left the garage.
An hour later, showered and changed, he stood in the living room regarding the furnishings. The furniture definitely had seen some wear and tear, though Maria did her magic and made it appear nicer than it actually was. The backyard, which he could see from the window, provided housing for much of Tony's toys and some sports equipment. This definitely was a house with a child, completely different and polar opposite from the tastefully furnished townhouse Jenny Shepard called home when back in D.C.
Jethro shook his head in resignation and went to answer Jenny's knock.