Gibbs didn’t hate the morgue exactly, but he could think of a dozen better places to be. He wondered when the smell stopped bothering him.
“Ah, Jethro, to what do I owe this unexpected visit?”
“I think you know why I’m here.”
“Well, I haven’t had much time to do much more than a preliminary investigation on Petty Officer Van Dyke. As you can imagine exsanguinations was the cause of death.”
“I’m not talking about the vic. I want to know everything you know about Harkness and I want to know it now.”
Gibbs shook his head. “What?”
“I asked you why. Is it something you really need to know, or are you upset about not being the biggest dog on the bone pile?”
Gibbs knew that Ducky was closer to the truth than he liked but that didn’t matter he wasn’t going to let some prima donna with a coat fetish come in here and tell him how to do his job. “No, I just want to know who I’m dealing with. He’s an unknown and I don’t want him playing some game and costing my team their lives.”
“Jack Harkness is many things but when it comes to getting the bad guys he’s very serious.”
“You really knew him as a kid?”
“I did. He hasn’t changed much at all. I suspect that’s still the same coat he was wearing when he first appeared on our doorstep.”
“But how is that possible?” Gibbs handed Ducky the article about Ellis Island.
“I don’t know but when I was a child I saw something at the time but I dismissed it. Now reading this maybe I was too quick.”
“What happened?” Gibbs asked his old friend.
Ducky pulled a stool up and offered one to Gibbs. “As the captain said he was out investigating rumours that there were Nazi spies and collaborators bringing in weapons using a northern route. I was a bored, impetuous child and I followed him one night. He told me he was going to go for a walk to work off my grandmother’s dinner but instead of heading for the road he went toward the beach. I tried to be as quiet as I could but all of a sudden he stopped and called out my name. I knew I was in trouble. I thought about just running home but there was something about Jack’s voice that meant business. I came out from the bush I was hiding behind. He told me to go right home and he wouldn’t tell my gran.”
“But you didn’t, did you?” Gibbs asked.
“Of course not, I knew something was a foot. I waited for a few minutes until I couldn’t stand it any longer. As I got near the beach I heard yelling, they had captured Jack. There were several of them and they all had guns pointed at the captain. There was crate after crate being hauled off a small fishing boat. It was a shipment of guns coming in.”
“What happened then?”
“Twelve year olds aren’t known for being quiet. I tried to stop when I realized what was going on but instead I ended up crashing through the brush and bringing all the attention to myself. I’m sure somewhere in my tiny brain I thought I could help Jack. The guard turned away from him and toward me. I thought I was a goner. Then he turned to the closest goon grabbed his rifle and yelled at me to run and get help. He was shot.”
“Well, more riddled with bullets. At least, that’s what it looked like to me but a few hours later he came back with four Nazis and two locals all tied up. He told me the bad guys were horrible shots and that’s why we were going to win the war. I noticed he wasn’t wearing the same clothes he went out in and his coat was covered in blood and there were a few holes in it.”
“Did you say anything?”
“What was I going to say? He was a hero and until a few hours before he had been a good friend. The only one taking the time or interest in a painfully shy young man.”
“Did he stay around?”
“No, he was gone the next day. He told me that the future was going to be there soon enough and I had to keep on the ready.”
“What does that mean?”
Ducky shrugged. “Not a clue but it sounded good. Jethro, I know you don’t like having anyone playing on what you see as your territory or using your team but Jack Harkness is a good man. While don’t you let him help you?”
Gibbs knew he had a reputation of not being able to get along with others but that wasn’t the case. He had to get along with others as a marine; of course snipers weren’t known for team work.
“I’ll try, Ducky but he’s just so damn...”
“Perfect”, Ducky suggested with a grin.
“I was going to say annoying.”
“The same thing. I would think you and he would be working toward the same goal.”
“Well, of course we both want the bad guy.”
“I was thinking more about separating Tony and the young Mr. Jones.”
“Ducky?” Gibbs growled. He did not need his private life pulled out for discussion.
“I might be old but I am well aware of the human condition. You my dear friend have been in love with Anthony for a long time and I could tell with one glance that Jack’s feelings ran deep for our Welsh guest. You might find that through some cooperation you both might get what you want.”
The door to autopsy slid open. The sound of a crying child stopped Gibbs in his tracks.
“Shush sweetheart,” Harkness said to the sobbing toddler in his arms. Jones was patting her back whispering things in her ear. “Sorry to interrupt, Donny, but Mae caught her finger in a drawer. I don’t think she did any damage but we thought we should make sure.”
“Of course, and if you have to call me by a horrible nick-name please use Ducky. Bring her over here and let me have a look. Which finger did you hurt my, dear?”
Ducky examined the little girl’s pointer finger. “We could x-ray it but there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong. I’m sure it might hurt for a little while but she’ll be as good as new.”
“What was she doing?” Gibbs asked.
Ianto looked scared, and ashamed. “Trying to find Tony’s chocolate supply, I suspect. Tony was at Tim’s desk talking to him. She had been making a fuss so I told Jack to put her on the floor and then we went back to chatting when we heard a slam and a cry. She was sitting there holding her finger out screaming.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Gibbs said. “Kids get into all sorts of things. You think you’re watching them like a hawk and they still manage to get out of the house and into their mother’s prized garden.” He remembered Kelly head to toe in mud and Shannon’s daisy patch ripped to pieces.
Harkness picked up Mae. “You were such a brave little girl,” he said giving her curls a kiss.
“Thanks for all your help, Ducky. I should get her something to eat other than chocolate,” Jones said.
Mae cuddled into her Harkness’ shoulder, chewing on her fist. Her other hand reached out for Jones.
“Hey Boss, I found something,” Tony said, stepping into autopsy.
Gibbs waved Tony away; his eyes were glued to the picture before him. He looked at Harkness, then down to the little girl. There it was the same chin. Mae and Harkness shared the same dimple. It was a genetic sign he remembered reading about when looking for children who had been kidnapped and were being raised by their kidnappers. The father’s genetic make up appeared in the face.
“Oh my God,” Gibbs said pointing at Jack. “She’s yours, isn’t she?”
“Just look at her, she’s got your chin and face.”
“I can explain,” Jones said, his blue eyes shining with fear. “Just don’t take her away from me.”