Word Count: 1615
Prompt: - NCIS New Year’s Eve
Chocobell1212, I hope you enjoy this. I so appreciate the prompt! This is the final installment in the 12 Fics of Christmas. My thanks to sparky955 and grey853 for the betaing help. I hope that you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them and my thanks to everyone who participated and read! Merry Christmas, everyone!
Tim McGee pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to think his headache away. Somewhere there were people celebrating, ringing in the New Year with toasts and promises of a year of wonder and happiness.
The elevator door opened and he steeled himself against the smell. Even though the autopsy room was meticulously clean, the smell of death always hung over it. Tonight was no exception. He knew the drawers were empty at the moment and the bodies of their latest assignment were in the arms of their loved ones.
“A fat lot of good that does,” he muttered as he came through the double glass doors.
“I beg your pardon, young Timothy?” Ducky was sitting at his computer, working, no doubt, on the last bit of paperwork. “There is a perfectly good reason why I should be here on New Year’s Eve, but you? Why are you not in the arms of your young fiancé?”
“Gibbs wanted our desks cleared by tonight and I was behind.”
“It seems that there is more than that.” Ducky saved his document and powered down the computer. “You know I’m always here, should you need a sympathetic ear or another viewpoint.”
Tim nodded and looked over at the nearest table. “I’m tired, Ducky,” he admitted in a small voice. “It feels like I’m running on ice. I’ve been here nearly ten years and we’re no close to stopping terrorism than when I first came to NCIS. I’ve watched people I love die, Kate, Director Sheppard, Ziva...”
“Sadly, that is the cost of love, Tim. Just think how much happiness they brought you.” Ducky patted Tim on the shoulder and gestured. “Come with me. I think I can help.”
He led Tim away from Autopsy and into his private office. Unlike the sterile and antiseptic walls, the office was paneled in rich wood. It was old fashioned, but it reflected the man who occupied it. He loosened his bow tie and pointed to a leather chair.
“Have a seat, Tim, there’s something I want to share with you.” Ducky paused before a bookcase and eventually selected a thick volume. “Would you like some tea? I have a nice herbal blend that might help that headache.”
“How did you…? Of course, you’re a doctor.”
“Yes, I am, but it was your frown that was my clue. You have a particular way of frowning that always tells me you have a headache.” Ducky plugged in an electric kettle and carried the book to his young co-worker.
“Is that a book of philosophy?”
“It is a book of memories.” Ducky opened it and Tim laughed. It was at a Christmas party many years ago and Abby had snapped a photo of Tony kissing a very surprised Kate. On the opposite page, there was a shot from one of their many softball games. Jimmy was holding a bat and Ziva was pitching. The young doctor couldn’t have looked more terrified.
“He got a good pitch off of her.”
“A home run, I believe.” The kettle whistled and Ducky began to measure lose tea leaves into a porcelain teapot. “It was a good game.”
“Ziva played to win, though. I remember calling her out once. Oh, boy.” Tim smiled at the memory. “I thought my locker was going to blow up for a week afterwards.”
The following pages had photos from birthday parties, cook outs, and various other functions, some job related, others not, but always there were smiles and warm feelings.
“Those are the moments you should remember about your friends. As long as you carry them like this in your memory, they will live forever.”
“But Delilah, I just found her, nearly lost her. What if –?“
“There are no guarantees, Tim, as well you know. You have been given a second chance with your sweetheart.” Ducky poured the tea and carried the cups. “Some of us will never find the sort of love you have. Cherish it, embrace it and don’t sully your memories worrying about what if. Life is too precious to waste on that thief.” Ducky turned the page. “Ah, Caitlin, she was a bit of the devil, but also so worried about her sister.”
“Who is doing just fine?”
“Exactly. All that time she wasted on worry as opposed to celebrating the fact that she had a sister.”
“At least you found your brother.” Tim sipped the tea carefully. “This is good.”
“It’s my own blend. Thank you.” Ducky smiled at that. “Yes, and another chance, just like you.”
There was a knock at the door and Gibbs was standing there. “McGee, I found something of yours and thought you might want it.” He stepped aside and Delilah rolled in.
“Hey, mister, are you standing me up on New Year’s Eve?” She tried to sound angry, but the smile in her eyes belied her tone.
“Was I meeting you?” Tim looked at his watch, a gift from her. “I’m sorry.”
“No, so I thought I’d meet you instead. This guy caught me in the lobby.”
“When you weren’t at your desk, I figured you’d be down here. Go home, Tim, and be careful on the drive. There are some crazy people out tonight.”
“Will do, boss.” Tim stood and held out his hand to Ducky. “Thanks for your advice, Duck. You’re right. Carpe diem.”
“Or noctum, in this case.” He shook Tim’s hand and watched the young agent take his place beside his fiancé.
Gibbs entered and plopped down in the recently vacated chair. “Were we ever that young, Duck?”
“What are you talking about? I still am. Just not as often.” Ducky laughed and Gibbs joined him.
“Fancy a night cap, Duck? Ring in the New Year?”
“Only if we can drink to absent, but never forgotten friends.”
“You got it. Hey, do you remember that time in Paris when Jenny found that case of champagne and we…” Their voices faded as they walked from the room, secure in the knowledge that no matter what, they would always have their memories.