Word Count: 934
For: cornerofmadnessNCIS - Ducky and Abby , It's her favorite time of year
I hope you enjoy what I have cobbled together for you! My thanks to you and to sparky955 for her beta!
Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard added the finishing touches to the pumpkin he was carving. It wasn’t the usual application for his scalpels, but they did a quick job of cutting through the orange flesh.
“You know, the carving of pumpkins originally started with the turnip, my fine fellow.” He talked causally to the melon, as well as the other three he’d already finished. “The story is that there was the Irishman called Stingy Jack. One day he caught the devil up a tree and placed crosses around the trunk. He wouldn’t let the devil go until he promised to not take his soul. Jack let him go and continued on his stingy ways. Some years later he died and headed up to Heaven. St. Peter took one look at him and shook his head. There was no way they were going to let someone like him into heaven and they cast him down to hell.” Ducky paused to upend the gourd and shake out any loose bits. “Now this is where it gets interested. Down Jack goes to Hell, but the devil made good his promise and wouldn’t let him in there either.
What was Jack to do? Caught between the eternal twilight of Heaven and Hell, he begged the Devil for some small favor to help him light the dark. Finally the Devil relented and gave him an ember. Jack just happened to have a turnip with him and carved it out, then put the ember inside. Whenever he was spotted, people would cry, “There goes Jack with his lantern,” and started to copy him. Later the change was made to pumpkins because, well, turnips are very small.”
“And damn near impossible to carve.”
The voice startled him, but then he recognized it. “Ah, Jethro, you’ve arrived with your task completed?”
“Yup, left them out front.”
“And young Timothy and Anthony?”
“They were loading up as I was leaving.” Gibbs regard the trio of carved faces staring at him. “Abby will sure be surprised.”
“Now, remember you promised, not a word.” Gibbs gave him a look and Ducky stepped back, lest the man attempt to slap his head.
“I’m taking her to a Harvest Festival that will take up most of the afternoon. I’ll heading back here at oh seventeen hundred.”
“Where we will be waiting.” Ducky spun his pumpkin towards Gibbs, who struggled to repress a smile.
“What are you grinning about?” he asked.
Abby slumped in her seat and stared out the window.
“What’s wrong, Abs?”
“I always hate it when Halloween is on a Wednesday.” She sighed. “The weekend before is too early and the weekend following is too late. No one wants to celebrate. I couldn’t even talk Ducky into coming over to hand out candy.”
“Well, his mother is getting on. She’d be as likely to hand out the family silver as she would candy. He has to keep an eye on her.”
Abby sighed again. “I know. It’s just… I used to be able to count on people, but even Jimmy is busy. Why can’t things stay the same?”
“It’s one of the hard things about growing up, Abs. Things always change.” Gibbs snapped his fingers, then. “Hey, tell you what, what if we drop by Ducky’s and see if he wants to go to dinner with us? The night nurse should be there by now.” He turned onto Ducky’s street.
“’Kay,” Abby murmured and attempted a smile. “I had fun today, Gibbs. Thank you for my pumpkin. It’s my first of the season.”
“What? I would have thought you’d have a truck load by now.”
“No. I wanted to, but I’m going to the Pumpkin Patch with the nuns after church tomorrow. For some reason, they were really insistent that I wait. I love them but there are times, you know? I’ll pick one up then…”
Abby trailed off, staring out the window of the truck, her mouth ajar. The glow from the pumpkins turned the night to day.
Gibbs grinned as he slowed the vehicle and parked it. It had barely come to a stop as Abby scurried out, racing among the dozens of pumpkins. She turned to Gibbs, whose grin only grew bigger as he nodded to the porch. Standing there were her co-workers, friends, and the nuns. All were in costume, even the nuns. They waved to her upon their approach.
“What? What is all of this?”
“Ducky wanted to surprise you,” Gibbs murmured and Abby took off as fast as her platform shoes would permit to race up onto the porch and throw her arms about their ME’s neck. Ducky was dressed as a fortune teller and nearly dropped his crystal ball at her embrace.
“Thank you, thank you!”
“Well, I had help.” Ducky pulled free and gestured to everyone on the porch. “You have a lot of people who think the world of you.”
Tears started down her cheeks and Gibbs handed her his handkerchief as he joined them. She murmured her thanks and rushed off to thank the others.
“I’d say you succeeded, Duck,” Gibbs said and Ducky nodded.
“And with these cold temperatures, they should last nicely until All Hallow’s Eve.”
Ducky moved his hand over the crystal ball and appeared to be studying it. “I foresee many pumpkin pies in our future.”
“As long as there’s bourbon involved in the near future, count me in.” He blew into his hands to warm them up. “Shall we move this party inside?”
“I think we can trust that our sentries, just for tonight, will keep the devil at bay.”