Genre: NCIS/Man from UNCLE
Word Count: 1198
Prompt: If it wouldn't break your mind, then a gen crossover between Man from UNCLE (I prefer the TV version too) and NCIS!
leesa_perrie, I hope you enjoy your bit of Christmas from me to you. My thanks to sparky955, as always.
Out of habit, Ducky counted the steps from the elevator to his front door. It seemed strange after all these years to be back in an apartment. When he’d moved in with Mrs. Mallard, he swore he’d never go back to apartment living. And, yet, here he was – eight floors up and eight steps away. Perhaps he should play that number in the lottery.
That made him snort. Like he needed the money. The death of the old woman had left him very well off, as had the sale of the house. He also had his retirement from the government, if and when he actually decided to leave.
Ducky opened his door and walked in, pausing before he shut it behind him. It had been a long time since he’d had to worry about being jumped by some over-enthusiastic foe, but he was still cautious. He’d been planning for moment just like this one…
“I know you are here.”
A shadow detached itself from the others cast by the waning sunlight and came to stand before him. “I wasn’t trying to hide, you know.”
“It’s just as well. Your cologne still gives you away, Napoleon.”
“You should know. You gave it to me, Illya.” They embraced and Ducky kicked the door shut with one foot. “I thought you weren’t going to be here until tomorrow.”
“I wrapped things up early.”
“Things you can’t talk about?”
Napoleon looked down at the satchel Ducky carried. “Right back at you.”
“Hey, if you want to wallow through a month’s worth of requisition forms and routine autopsy results, be my guest.”
“No, thanks. I’ve never been a fan of paperwork.” Napoleon gestured to the wet bar. “Drink? Make yourself at home.”
“Convenient, since I am.” Ducky pulled off the tan raincoat and hung it in the closet. “At least the snow held off.” He undid his tie. “Give me a minute to change.”
“No problems.” Napoleon’s voice was muffled as he dug through the liquor cabinet. “Bourbon? When do you drink bourbon?”
“It’s for a friend of mine. Jethro prefers it.” Ducky shouted from the bedroom. He didn’t need to see Napoleon to know the man grimaced. Two alpha males, they were destined to never see eye-to-eye, although they made nice when Ducky was around. “I’ll have some scotch on the rocks.”
A minute later he re-emerged from his bedroom, his suit discarded and more comfortable clothes donned. He walked over to the fireplace and flicked the switch. Instantly flames popped on and a moment later the immediate area started to heat. Another switch and the Christmas tree lit up as did the various strings strands of lights that decorated various other surface areas and windows.
“Still like your lights, I see?” It was an old joke between them. Napoleon argued that Illya was a magpie in a former life because of his love for bright lights.
Napoleon walked over to him and handed him a glass, clinking it with his. “Cheers.”
They sat and sipped the alcohol quietly for a moment, just content to be in each other’s presence again.
“I like your new place. Eight and eight, I see.”
“Aw, you count, too.”
“I don’t mean to, it just happens.” Napoleon set his glass down and looked into the flames. “Remember that time we were lost in the Ural Mountains and desperately trying to build a fire.”
“You worked that stick until your hands bled. I remember. And the wolves.”
“I didn’t think we’d live to tell the tale and yet here we are. How, Illya?”
Ducky shook his head slowly as if judging the weight of the words. “I honestly don’t know, my friend. It seems a lifetime away.” A twinge in his shoulder reminded him that snow was coming. “How did we live through that?”
“How did we live through any of it? I mean, first with UNCLE and now this? Afghanistan, Kuwait, you’ve seen them all, partner mine. Ever regret leaving UNCLE?”
“UNCLE? Never. You? Every day.”
Napoleon reached out and patted Illya’s hand. “Right back at you.” He retrieved his drink. “So what are the plans?”
“Everyone is meeting here tomorrow night for the annual NCIS Christmas party.”
“Will Abby be there? She’s a little spitfire, that one.”
“No, she’s left us. She nearly died last year and that was enough to send her in search of a more meaningful existence. We have a new tech. She started as an aide to help me organize my notes and write my book, but then Jethro saw something in her. She’s a good fit and she gets along well with Jimmy.”
“How’s his daughter?”
“Fine and Tim has twins. You’ll meet them tomorrow.”
Napoleon started to laugh and Ducky waited for him to explain. “When you came to UNCLE, everyone talked about The Russian Iceberg. They thought you were cold and unapproachable, never realizing that it was pretty typical behavior for most Russians. I remember my partner at the time saying that you would get nowhere in life because you didn’t even trust your shadow. And now here you are, a grandfather figure to a dozen kids, a retired doctor, lecturer, writer and the list goes on.”
“It’s because of you, you know. Your open attitude and constant hand of friendship, it was my rock, my beacon and my salvation.” Ducky paused then and chuckled. “And who would have thought I’d be capable of rambling…”
“You? Ramble?” Napoleon laughed. “What are we doing for dinner?”
“I can cook, we can go out, although my shoulder tells me that the snow window is closing, or we can order in. I still have some wrapping to attend to.” He added a hopeful lilt to his voice and Napoleon laughed.
“So I judged from the pile of presents sitting on the bed in the guest room. Let’s order in and we can catch up over gift wrap.”
“As I said before, you are early.”
“Never too early to spend some time with you. Besides it will help me pick your brain a little.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was reading your book. Thanks for sending it, by the way.”
“My pleasure.” Ducky picked up the phone and considered his options. “And?”
“You mentioned a case back in the early 90’s and we had a similar case. I wanted to talk to you about it before Gibbs got all high and mighty with it being a NCIS case.”
“It’s also UNCLE’s. I was hoping you could span them for me.” Napoleon checked his watch. “We have eight hours.”
“Eight?” Unless it was much later than he thought, they had considerable more time than that.
“That’s all the time before Christmas officially starts to my way of thinking. After that, no work, just family.
Ducky’s night, which was already off to a good start, was promising to only get better. He had his family, his friends and his loved ones close. They would play nice if not happily and they finally had something in common besides him. Ducky, no, Illya looked over at the trees and smiled. It would seem that Santa did still make Christmas prayers come true.