It was the silence that first told Ducky that someone had entered his demesne. His castle so to speak usually breathed some sort of message to him, a greeting that had transcended time. Opening his front door, he heard no such greeting and he knew that some troubled soul was waiting his presence within. He put his fedora and mack in their proper place on his coat rack then walked cautiously down the hall, wanting to see who had dared to entered his hallowed domain.
He smiled when he saw the exhausted form on his couch. It was rare that a member of Team Gibbs came to see him and especially the one lying there now. Timothy (no middle name) McGee was almost a mystery to Ducky. The young male agent rarely came down to Autopsy and when he did, Ducky could see questions in his eyes, but something had kept him from asking them.
Ducky liked young Timothy though. He often thought of him as a younger version of himself, if he'd had a son that was. Tim was a thinker, a deep rooted soul, so to speak and an old one at that if Ducky were perfectly honest with himself. So what had brought the younger man to his house and at this time of day no less?
Rather than disturb Tim, Ducky went into the kitchen and started preparations for tea or as his friends called it, supper. Something light he thought as the cases lately have been rather stomach clenching to say the least. Ducky's seen a lot over the years, but this last week has been rough even for his tired eyes and soul. For someone like Timothy McGee, it has to have been even harder.
His preparations made, Ducky loosened his tie and then went into the living room to waken his guest.
"Timothy, time to wake up lad."
Tim sleepily opened his eyes and Ducky smiled at him. Tim smiled back then seemed to realize just where he was.
"Oh, I'm sorry Ducky. I didn't mean to fall asleep."
"You're fine, young Timothy, now before I start asking all sorts of questions, why don't you make use of the bathroom down the hall to wake up a bit and then we can talk over supper."
Tim started to protest but a faintly stern gaze from Ducky stopped him before he could say anything.
"Don't call me sir." Ducky said and Tim smiled.
A few minutes later and Tim came back down the hall looking a bit more refreshed than when he'd gone in. Ducky ushered him into the kitchen and Tim smiled looking at the prepared table. Two steaming cups of what was surely tea, as well as some tomato soup and what appeared to be grilled cheese sandwiches. Comfort food thought Tim tiredly as he thanked Ducky for the meal he'd prepared.
"So, Timothy what brings you to the hallowed halls of Chez Mallard?"
Tim swallowed the bite in his mouth and took a drink of his tea. Earl Grey, he thought absently as he cast around in his mind for the reason that he'd come here in the first place. He sighed as the last case eased into his mind and he looked up at Ducky who smiled sympathetically.
"You know why I'm here, don't you?" Tim asked.
"Let us just say, I have my suspicions."
"Am I stupid for wanting to believe in the magic that could be love?"
Ducky shook his head. "No. No my dear young man, you are not and please, do not let your illustrious team leader try telling you that magic and love do not exist."
Tim sighed, "I know he's had his ups and downs, but it feels like all we see lately are the down sides of love."
Ducky smiled, "Let me tell you a story then about an upside of love and the magic that can happen if we allow it to. Before I do though, what do you know about Beltane?"
Tim sipped at his tea, then said, "That's the time between the spring equinox and summer solstice and in some parts of the world it's believed that the fairy folk come out at that time or that a door is opened for a short time between our world and the fairy folks."
Ducky beamed at him, "Very good Timothy, it is also a very spiritual time still for those of us from the Old World so to speak. Now one of the rituals held there, meaning Edinburgh of course is the Edinburgh Fire Festival. It's more recent than normal rituals, having started in the late 1980's and continues to this very day. "
Tim straightened in his chair, and Ducky continued. He watched Tim carefully, subtly checking the younger man's pulse as he started his tale.
"Now my next question is, do you want to believe in magic Timothy?"
Tim sighed again, "I used to believe it existed. I wanted so much to think it really did or does at least somewhere in the world."
Ducky went over to his computer and looked up the band Pilot. The song "Magic" started playing softly in the background as he began his tale.
" I remember this song on the radio that particular year. It was one of the few spring/summers before we, that is Mother and I came over to America for the last time."
Tim listened intently, knowing that he was hearing a story that few if any have heard. Ducky closed his eyes and remembered...
Donald "Ducky" Mallard came downstairs, lightly singing to himself. He looked in surprise at his mother who was humming to the same song on the radio. It was rare that she was not complaining about the music that was playing, then he smiled as he looked at the station programmed into the radio. It was one of her favorite stations and she always said that if the station could play it, then it must be okay to listen to it.
"What are you looking at Donald?"
"Just glad to be home Mother. I have missed you, you know that right?"
Victoria smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek. "I missed you too. Now go out and get some sunshine. You're still too pale. They didn't feed you while you were overseas, I take it. Hmph! Seriously, I'm just glad you're safe and sound again my son."
Ducky smiled back at her and left the house. He was silently echoing the safe part of her statement and wondering if he'd ever be sound again after all that he has seen in his medical travels. The war in Vietnam had almost taken what was left of his soul. He'd come back home and finished his studies as a physician . He could have left the physician part of it alone, but he wanted to at least say he'd finished his courses even if his original career choice didn't pan out. Now he was wondering just what career path he should take. He sat down and looked around wondering just where he actually was and how far he'd walked. Off to the west, he saw the distinct image of Edinburgh Castle, but how did he get to his current location.
He gave a slight start and looked round him.
"You're at Arthur's Seat, in Edinburgh."
He'd walked further than he'd thought. Had he really been that lost in thought?
"It's okay Donald. Remember it is the Beltane after all."
Who was talking to him and why ccouldn't he see her?
"You need to close your eyes and believe, Donald."
In what can he believe?
"Magic of course! You are at Arthur's Seat; legendary home of Camelot."
He opened his eyes and there, seated beside him was the shadowy form of what could be anything, but appeared to be none other than...
"Morgan Le Fay?"
She nodded and took his hand. He could feel the magic within her touch and far from being reviled by it, he sensed the soothing within. He could relax now, slumber in peace with that touch and had no difficulty imagining others coming before him and doing the same. He stared up at her as she leaned over him. Was he dead or even dying?
"No beloved one, but you can help those who are. You have that rare ability Donald to see within. To help where others cannot. To hear what others say when deaf ears will not listen. To find out what the dead are saying when an ordinary mortal cannot hear them."
All around them, bonfires were starting, a tribute to the Beltane and the magic of spring ending and summer beginning.
"The choice is yours Donald, but I believe you can make a difference out there. Listen to what the dead have to tell you. Help them find the answers that ordinary mortals cannot."
He stayed there the rest of the night, watching the bonfires burn in the distance. Shadowy figures jumped around and over the bonfires, celebrating the seasons that were not only ending but beginning. Morgan stayed there beside him, resting her hand on his chest, healing that one soul that called to her, drawing her from her slumber when so many have not.
As for Ducky, tears were running down his face. He knew now that he'd found his one true love, but he can never have her for more than this night. He sighed and she shifted in his arms, wiping the tears away as she caressed his face with her finger tips.
"We have a night my love. Let's make the most of it shall we?"
As her lips closed over his, he sighed knowing that no matter what, he'll always have one night to remember a special lady who turned his life around and made him start to believe in magic again.
Tim looked at him in awe and astonishment. "You became a medical examiner because of Morgan Le Fay?"
Ducky nodded. "I listened to her, to what she was saying and realized that there was truth in what she was saying. There was someone who could help the dead when no one else could and that someone was me and the others like me."
Tim nodded and then asked, "Why did you tell me this?"
Ducky sighed, "There are different types of love and magic Timothy. I found my love and lost her again all in one night. However, I am able to see her again once a year, on a special day in May."
Tim stared at him, "Beltane..it's why you go to Scotland every year around the end of April."
Ducky nodded. "The Edinburgh Fire Festival falls on April 30 and goes until sunset on the first of May. We watch the dancers on Calton Hill for about a half hour before walking up to the spot we'd first met on Arthur's Seat."
Tim whistled softly as he saw the mist starting to cover Ducky's eyes. He hugged the man in sympathy, not knowing how to respond to him. Ducky took off his glasses and wiped his eyes, nodding at the song he'd looped into a continuous playback.
"There is still magic and love out there Timothy. All you have to do is have the courage to see beyond the mist to find it."