mrwubbles: (NCIS Autopsies R Us)
[personal profile] mrwubbles

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5. "Boston cream donut?"

Spoilers: 3X24 "Hiatus Part 2"

"Good morning," Donald greeting his morgue as he shrugged off his coat and hung it on the hanger pole by his desk. He frowned mildly at the dark shape lying on one of his examination tables. This wouldn't do. Countless times, he told them bodies mustn't be left unattended in his morgue no matter what the hour.

"Honestly," Donald muttered as he unfurled his scrubs from their packaging. "Do they expect me to cut you open the moment I walk in?"

"I hope not," the shadow quipped.

Donald jumped.

"Anthony DiNozzo," he exasperated, a hand to his chest. "Are you trying to make me my own customer?"

"Sorry." Tony sat up with a yawn. He stretched his arms high above his head in a stretch before he reached up and turned on the lamp.

"I'm not used to my guests talking back," Donald dismissed the apology, his irritation already forgotten when he turned on the main lights. Donald frowned at the new team leader's disheveled appearance.

"Did you not go home last night?" Donald tsked as he pulled out the paper sack he was going to bring upstairs after he was settled.

"Was going to, but there was so much paperwork that still needed filing." Tony hopped off the slab. He retrieved his suit jacket and flipped it out, releasing it from its duty as his impromptu pillow. "By the time I finished, there was no point driving home." Tony chuckled when he saw what Donald held in his hands.

"Boston cream donut?" Tony asked hopefully.

"Egg white frittata on wheat," Donald countered.

Tony made a face but accepted the breakfast sandwich graciously. He leaned against the wall by his desk and ate.

"How did you know I didn't have breakfast?"

"Ah, Jethro was always inundated with paperwork after closing any case," Donald said as he shuffled through the stack of forms that he knew weren't in his in-box when he left. "He usually comes in early to get them done." Donald peered over his glasses at Tony. "I assumed you might be busy with the same, but I did not foresee you spending the night."

Tony stopped chewing. He swallowed hard and set down the sandwich on the waxed wrapping on his desk.

"He had time to work on his boat and I was lucky to step out to grab coffee."

"Jethro delegated," Donald pointed out as he retrieved the scone and little jar of jam buried at the bottom of the bag. They were still warm from Tony's breakfast lying on top of them. He split the pastry open with a fork and smeared it with butter before carefully scooping out the strawberry puree.

"When he was here, you were helping him with the paperwork," Donald continued, "Now that you're team leader, you're still doing the paperwork but…" Donald peered over his glasses at Tony, "there is no one helping you."

Shrugging, Tony peeled off the bread of his sandwich with all the care of an autopsy.

"You do have a senior agent now," Donald reminded him. "Timothy has proven to be capable. You told me that. You would never have made him your second otherwise. You and Jethro do not tolerate fools."

Recapping his sandwich, Tony took another bite. He mumbled around his food.


Tony swallowed hard. "Said I didn't want to jinx it."

Blinking, Donald paused from taking a bite of his scone. Vanilla warmed in his mouth before a tart burst of dried currants joined in his palate. He studied Tony before exclaiming a soft, "Ah."

"You haven't truly accepted Jethro has quit yet."

"He didn't quit," Tony griped. He angrily tore off a piece of his sandwich. He chewed exaggeratedly, loudly as he added, "He retired."

Donald sighed. "Then why are you angry?"

"I'm not angry."

"Well, you're either upset with Jethro or that sandwich has affronted you grievously," Donald pointed out. "I'm sure it's quite dead, Tony."

It looked like Tony was about to argue but his mouth snapped shut, though not before Donald got an unappetizing glimpsed of masticated egg and bread. At Donald's look, Tony sheepishly accepted the plastic bottle of orange juice he pulled out of another bag.

"I'm not mad," Tony stressed after washing down his breakfast. He crumpled up the wax paper but kept it in his fist. "I just feel like how Martin Riggs must have felt in Lethal Weapon 3." He wiped his fingers clean with one of the napkins still damp from the food's heat.

Donald thought Tony was taking an unusually long time to wipe his fingers with the napkin, but he waited. He savored the sweetness of the strawberry tempered by the creaminess of the butter, softening from the lingering warmth of his scone. He dabbed a napkin to his mouth and draped it over the remains of his breakfast. Hm, he'll have to remember to find out where the bakery gets their jams.

"You'll do."

Glancing up, Donald considered the crooked twist of Tony's mouth. "Sorry?"

"He said 'You'll do.'" Tony threw up his hands in an unconvincing 'What can I say' gesture.

Donald shook his head. Ah, Jethro, the ties he left floundering behind. He squelched down his own irritation at his old friend. Now was not the time for it. He studied Tony, who stared at a spot Donald couldn't fathom and suspected was as far away as Mexico.

"Well, he never was a talkative kinda guy, was he?" Tony scoffed and turned to gaze down at Donald. The lines around the corners of his mouth smoothed away.

"Jethro's not known for his loquacious nature," Donald agreed. There was a pang in him; more for the sense of loss, that he could not feel very guilty this remark.

Tony shook his head. "Ducky, if this is going to work, you're going to have to talk like us mere mortals."

That surprised a laugh out of Donald. "Honestly, I am far from being regarded in such high esteem, Anthony." He cocked his head. "That will be your job."

Tony's grin faded. He cleared his throat. "I'm a replacement."

"You're their new leader." Donald watched as Tony slid off the edge of his desk and walked around the closest metal slab. "They will be seeking your guidance."


"You are their 'Boss' now. They'll turn to you."

"Yeah? Well, what about m—" Tony halted. He inhaled sharply. His jaw clenched.

Donald looked around his morgue. He suddenly felt very old, very tired, his bones pulling him down to earth. He wondered if this was what Jethro felt; what had driven him to abandon his charges, his second, and effectively invalidating everything he taught them.

"I'm often down here," Donald began as he gathered up the refuse into the paper sack. "Once, Jethro found it useful to keep me company, talk out loud. Wool-gathering, I suppose."


Donald met Tony's eyes.

"He left." But I haven't, Donald added to himself.

Tony stared at him long and hard, a wary, wounded creature debating the sanctuary it was being offered. His shoulders relaxed and Tony snorted. Tony looked away, scratching his jaw as if noticing, for the first time, that he has yet to shave. He rounded back his shoulders and slipped on his jacket.

"I'm still here," Tony said quietly. He didn't turn around.

"Yes. We all are." Donald brushed a palm across his desk and swept the crumbs into the paperbag. He balled up the entire lot and at Tony's whistle, tossed it over to him.

"Duck?" Tony glanced over his shoulder. He smirked but his eyes were serious.

"Get me a Boston cream next time?"

"I most certainly will not," Donald retorted. "I need to introduce you to a salad, Agent DiNozzo."

"Unless it can dance and looks good in a black cocktail dress, no thanks."

Donald rolled his eyes. He chuckled after Tony striding out of the morgue, tall, his step determined.

Donald found himself still smiling when Mr. Palmer arrived for work. The poor lad, offering to buy breakfast tomorrow, was baffled when Donald asked him to get a donut as well. Boston cream, to be exact.

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Date: 2011-09-24 12:17 am (UTC)
alidiabin: (Family)
From: [personal profile] alidiabin
"I most certainly will not," Donald retorted. "I need to introduce you to a salad, Agent DiNozzo."

"Unless it can dance and looks good in a black cocktail dress, no thanks."

Hehe, that made me giggle.

I liked Palmer comming in with the donut, and how we saw the two 'generations' of ME-Leader friendship.

Date: 2011-09-26 10:45 am (UTC)
sinfulslasher: (tony jimmy highfive)
From: [personal profile] sinfulslasher
Perfect, and once again could be taken right out of the show. I know that canon says Tony used Jimmy as his sounding board during the time he was team leader, but I still think Ducky was totally there for the lad at the beginning. With or without Boston cream donuts, of course. *g*

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