Ashleigh Anpilova


Set during Hometown Hero.

Jimmy tries to figure out just how Ducky knew Gibbs had left.

A Ducky and Jimmy gen story.

Written: December 2008. Word count: 787.



How had he known?


How had Dr. Mallard known that Agent Gibbs had left, when he wasn't looking in that direction?




It bothered Jimmy all the way back to NCIS, and continued to bug him on the way to Autopsy, and while he changed from his street clothes and cover-alls into his Autopsy greens ready to assist Dr. Mallard.


Suddenly as Dr. Mallard cut into Petty Officer Dobbs's body and the smell Jimmy had gotten used to wafted up, he knew. "Smell!" he declared.


Dr. Mallard looked up at him. "I beg your pardon, Mr. Palmer?"


"Smell. You smelled him."


The doctor blinked and looked at him. "And just whom am I have supposed to have smelt, Mr. Palmer?"


"Special Agent Gibbs."


"Mr. Palmer, I assure you that Jethro is extremely assiduous about his personal hygiene. That is why he keeps a change of clothing and toiletries in the office, so that if the need arises he can use the facilities here."


It was rare that Dr. Mallard spoke sharply to him, to anyone, but if someone dared to slight Agent Gibbs, then the good doctor tended to become roused. And the same was true, Jimmy knew, the other way round - probably more so. He guessed it must come from their years as close friends. He envied them; he wondered if he would ever have the kind of friendship they shared - he sincerely doubted it. It was far too rare a friendship for most people to even have a hint of experiencing.


He hastened to get back into Dr. Mallard's good books. "No, Doctor. That's not what I meant," he said, and tried to smile.


"Then please do tell me just what you did mean." His boss's tone was still somewhat sharper than usual, but at least the angry look in his eyes had diminished somewhat.


"When we were in the storage locker and you were explaining to Agent Gibbs about the male and female pelvises being different and I -"


"Was constantly trying to interrupt me to tell me that Jethro had left."


"Yes." Jimmy beamed.




"You said you knew that he'd, er," he paused and hastened to correct himself as he remembered how sharp Dr. Mallard's tone had been when he'd used 'he'd' to refer to Agent Gibbs before. "That is that you knew that Agent Gibbs had left some time ago."


"Yes, I did. Mr. Palmer, what is the point of your ramblings?"


Jimmy sighed. "I was trying to work out just how you knew he'd, er, Special Agent Gibbs had gone when you weren't looking at him when he went. And now I know." Jimmy beamed.


"And pray what is it that you believe you know?"


Just occasionally, make that more than occasionally, although less so these days, Dr. Mallard's way of phrasing things tended to confuse Jimmy a little. He'd gotten better and he now tended to know which parts of his boss's speech were the necessary parts to listen to.


Quickly he replayed the words in his mind and comprehended them. "As I said, you smelled him. Oh, not as in smelled him, but smelled, or rather didn't smell his cologne. It went away when he did." He beamed and waited for Dr. Mallard to agree with him, and maybe even offer him a little praise.


However, to his consternation, his boss shook his head. "Oh, no, Mr. Palmer," he said, returning his attention to the Petty Officer. "Jethro never uses cologne. Now shall we get on? Or do you wish to go on playing your guessing game?"


"Oh," Jimmy said, feeling very let down and just a little bit foolish.


Dr. Mallard seemed to take pity on him, because he paused mid-cut and looked at Jimmy. "I tell you what, Mr. Palmer, you go on thinking about it and when you have another idea you tell me. After all we, you and I, and of course dear Abigail, are investigators just as Jethro and Anthony and Timothy and Caitlin are. It is good at times to puzzle over things and try to work out the whys and wherefores. Yes, you have my full permission, providing, of course, it does not interfere with your work, to keep thinking about the matter." And he beamed at Jimmy before returning to his cutting and beginning to talk to the body.


Jimmy sighed. "Yes, Doctor," he said. "Thank you, Doctor."


Well if it wasn't scent, what on earth was it?


How had he known?


How had Dr. Mallard known that Agent Gibbs had left, when he wasn't looking in that direction?




Suddenly in a moment of startling clarity Jimmy had a nagging feeling he might never find the answer. 



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