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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:08 pm 
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One-shot. Comments can go here.


Expendability
by channelD



written for: Lizzie, as a Haiti Relief ficlet, which ran a little over ficlet size.
rating: FR13
characters: Ducky, Jimmy and the team
genre: friendship/drama
prompt: missing

- - - - -

The Autopsy van pulled into a parking area near a scenic outlook, deep in a Virginia forest. “I congratulate you, Mister Palmer,” said Ducky, folding the map and putting it away. “Not a single wrong turn in the entire trip!”

“Thank you, Doctor,” replied his young associate. “Where’s the team? We’re alone here.”

Surprised, Ducky paused in the act of opening the passenger door. “That has never happened—our arriving before the agents. That’s a violation of nature, like anticipating someone is going to die. Why, it reminds me of my time in Ghana, when…”

Jimmy ignored most of that as he stepped out of the van. The area was deserted. There were no other vehicles in the area; no sounds of people. He had a troubling thought: What if this is the wrong area? He thought back to the brief message Gibbs had given them: a body in a sailor’s Service Dress Blue had been found near this picnic area. That was all they were given. But where were the park officials; or whoever had called in the tip?

“Hey! NCIS! Over here!” called a voice, and Jimmy grinned with relief. There were two men in matching leather jackets; presumably forest rangers, walking toward them.

“Our people haven’t arrived yet,” said Ducky, apologetically. “It’s not like them to be missing, but I’m sure they’ll turn up shortly. I’m Donald Mallard, the ME. This is my assistant, James Palmer. We can get started. Where is the body?”

The two men grinned, ferociously. “That all depends,” said one of them. “Where would you like to die?”

- - - - -

Soon tied with rope at their hands and feet, Jimmy and Ducky sat in miserable, cramped conditions, next to a tree. They were out of sight of the Autopsy van. The false rangers had melted into the forest. Gibbs and the team would not see any of them in time.

“Of all the days that I could have gotten to the crime scene and didn’t, this is the one day when I did and wish I hadn’t,” Jimmy said morosely, quietly.

Ducky felt much the same way, and was in no mood to offer comfort. “They said they are looking for revenge against Jethro. Something about that Whelan case from last year. I am afraid that they’ll only keep us alive as long as we are useful to them.”

“What can we do?? The team will see us, approach, and be mown down. And then those guys will kill us…I just don’t understand why they didn’t gag us.”

“They expect us to yell out a warning,” Ducky surmised. “In fact, they must be counting on that. So we must be quiet, Jimmy. Very, very quiet.”

“ ‘Vewy, vewy, quiet,’ ” Jimmy said in his best Elmer Fudd voice, and stifled a giggle.

Ducky frowned. “Not a sound. Even if the team hails us. I have a feeling that’s important.”

- - - - -

The wait seemed endless. So much to reflect upon: the trap that the team was walking into; their own demise afterwards…It might go down as the bloodiest day in NCIS history. Can’t let that happen, Ducky thought. There must be a way… But all he could think about was his original hunch of keeping perfectly quiet.

- - - - -

“Weird,” said Tony as he jumped down out of the truck. “Doesn’t it seem…”

“Quiet. Yes, I was just thinking that,” said Ziva. “Where are the authorities, and the witnesses? And how did Ducky and Jimmy get here before we did?”

“Because McGee drove,” Tony snickered.

“This wasn’t an emergency. I kept to the speed limit,” Tim retorted. “I guess Ducky and Palmer didn’t wait for us.” He felt a bit miffed.

Gibbs stood with one foot up on the parking area curb, looking thoughtful. “Well, let’s get going,” he said at last. “The body was found down this hill.”

- - - - -

“Why are Ducky and Palmer just…sitting…?” said Tony, seeing them from a distance.

“Be careful,” said Ziva, a hand on his arm. “The way they are sitting against that tree…as if they were propped up…”

“Ducky!” Tony called. “Palmer!” They appeared to be looking his way, but they didn’t move, and didn’t answer.

Tim’s stomach recoiled. The two might be dead.

“It could be a trap,” said Gibbs, stopping Tim from going forward.

“Or they could be injured, boss,” Tim shot back. “I’m going—”

“McGee!!” Gibbs snapped. “Stop! That’s an order!”

With reluctance, Tim held back.

- - - - -

What had the two imposters said? ‘Where would you like to die?’ Ducky's mind turned.

Some things are inevitable; death among them. But to lose control over one’s chance for life…to be at another person’s mercy…that was the cruelest action of all.

If he or Jimmy shouted a warning, they’d be killed immediately.

If Gibbs’ people advanced, unknowing, they’d be shot down.

I am older, so much older, than all of them, Ducky thought. I have lived a long and full life. I’ve had enough experiences. I have no regrets.

With difficulty, he got to his feet, and turned about 90 degrees from Gibbs’ team, facing a small grove of trees. With any luck, he was far enough away from Jimmy to avoid the lad getting hit.

- - - - -

“Throw out your weapons!” Gibbs thundered, facing in the same direction as Ducky. “You’re outnumbered!” That was a hunch, but that was all Gibbs had to go on. Tony, Ziva and Tim stood near him, their guns likewise drawn. In a few minutes, the two ranger-imposters came out, their hands over their heads.

- - - - -

“That was a brave and foolish thing you did, Duck,” Gibbs said later.

“More foolish than brave, I suppose. At my age, I should be considered expendable.”

“Now, no one’s about to put you on an ice flow and leave you to die. But indicating where the attackers were—that was done well.”

“Go ahead and say it: ‘Don’t do it again.’ ”

“I didn’t think I needed to say it.” Gibbs said mildly, and leaned against an Autopsy table. Jimmy had gone home; it was just the two of them there. “I don’t believe in expendability. Next time; you and Palmer stay out of a crime scene if the team isn’t there. It could be dangerous.”

Ducky tutted. “Next time; don’t let us beat you there.”


-END-

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:11 pm 
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Oh, I like this! Intrigue, danger, and a lovely denouement all in such a small ficlet. Beautiful!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:16 pm 
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This is wonderful! I love having Ducky be the hero (although yes, it wasn't a very smart thing to do) - and it was truly nice to have something focused on Ducky and Jimmy.

You do such a great job with Jimmy's "voice"! I can totally see him making a joke at like the Elmer Fudd one in a tense situation!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:49 pm 
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It's really hard to cram so many characters and a bit of action into a ficlet, and have any one person stand out. Harder than I thought. :P I'm glad it seemed to work out.

Lizzie asked for the focus on Ducky and Jimmy, and Ducky turned out to be the hero, for some reason. I don't mind, but that's just how the story evolved. Jimmy has a great sense of humor; he just doesn't know when he should keep it to himself. ;D

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:22 am 
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:flirtysmile: Thankyouthankyouthankyou! That was wonderful! Plenty of danger and excitement with the ambush. Jimmy was hilarious. And Ducky as a hero! Of course he isn't expendable, where would we be without our Duck-man?
I love this. The whole thing is brilliant. :jumpgreen:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:54 am 
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I loved this! Very well done, Pam. Great Ducky/Gibbs friendship.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:58 am 
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I'm happy that you liked it, Lizzie! :) Absolutely, Ducky is not expendable, and age doesn't make one any less valuable.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:05 am 
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Thanks, Barbara! I wish we would see more of the Ducky/Gibbs friendship on the show. Gibbs is likely closer in age to Ducky than to anyone else (save Vance), so I think there's a shared generation thing as well as genuine friendship as part of the appeal. But yes, I think they do well chastising each other.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Wow, using Ducky and Jimmy as hostages against Gibbs. Great idea! Nice ficlet, Pam.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:18 pm 
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Thanks, Shellie! :)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:57 pm 
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Wonderful work Pam, you have really got Ducky and Jimmy nailed! You used Jimmy's slightly 'off' sense of humour brilliantly, and Ducky, how could he think he was expendable at his age, he's in his prime!! ;D

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:26 pm 
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Ducky is indeed in his prime! That's a good way of putting it. :) He's clearly a man who has had many adventures in his life, dangerous or not, and would probably chalk this up as being just another one.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:42 pm 
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Very nice! I love seeing Ducky and Jimmy get some action :yes:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:48 pm 
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Thanks! They certainly deserve more onscreen time. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:55 pm 
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This was awesome! I loved the suspenseful nature of the story, and Ducky and Jimmy were both captured perfectly. It's one of the friendships/relationships I enjoy the most on the show. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:04 pm 
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Thanks, Sherry! I love their relationship, too. At times it seems to me, on the show, that Ducky may pick on Jimmy just a little too much, but I don't believe Jimmy lets it bother him. Jimmy knows he's learning from the best, and that Ducky really does care about his well-being. :)

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