TITLE: Dark Beast
AUTHOR: Adrianna Coylho
GENRE: Slash, AU, ER, Halloween special.
SUMMARY: Ducky’s past comes back to haunt him. Written for ncis_gibbsducky Challenge #34 – ‘What if?' using S1 E16, Bête Noire. Slight crossover with BTVS. Seriously, this is a little ridiculous, blame the costume I tried on this morning ;o) Too much twirling around in a cape. NOW CONTINUED: Part II/III here.
SPOILERS: NCIS Season One. Bête Noire (which literally translated means dark/black beast). Slight for BTVS S4.
WORD COUNT: 3,254
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. Just borrowing.
Ducky walked into the darkened Autopsy. The sun may have risen but as always that had little effect on his basement lair.
“He’s not an American Naval Officer?” Ducky asked his assistant who followed behind flicking on the lights.
“They said he was a Royal Navy Commander.”
“Well, which Royal Navy, Gerald? There are several of them.”
“I assume British, Doc.”
The doctor moved over to the hat stand and began to undress. “The Swedes, the Norwegians, Aussies, Kiwis, Saudis… they all have Royal Navies.”
“Well, the EMT only said that the Embassy told them to bring him to NCIS for autopsy.”
“Which Embassy?” Ducky pushed his gloves down into his overcoat pocket, ensuring the ring stayed unseen inside them.
“That’s what they said.”
“Hmm. Why on earth would the Israeli Embassy send us a foreign naval officer?”
“Well that’s what I asked the EMT that delivered the body, but they didn’t know either.”
“He calls me down here in the middle of the night, doesn’t know which Navy.” Ducky muttered under his breath. “Gerald, what does this look like?” He held up the offending article that he had just plucked from his desk.
“Uh… one of my gloves.”
“What’s it doing in my drawer?” Good job he didn’t keep anything he didn’t want seen in there.
“I’m sorry, Doc, I must have put your gloves in my drawer. I’ll get it.”
“No, I’ll do it. Ah, Gerald, unzip that body bag and find out with which Navy our guest sailed.”
Gerald did as he was bade, until the tip of a silver blade was raised in his direction.
The good doctor continued with his conversation obliviously. “Don’t recognize the uniform. I’m not surprised.” he said as he pulled on a fresh pair of gloves. “The Royal Navies of the world wear almost identical uniforms.” He smiled to himself as he remembered and walked over to join Gerald. “In fact, during World War Two, British Naval Officers whose ships went down in the channel, passed themselves off in Antwerp as German submariners who… good god.” This was not a face he had expected to see again...
Their rather pale guest spoke. “Shut off the lights.” Gerald complied. “And return. Is the video camera on?”
“Sorry, Doc.” Gerald said as he stood at Ducky’s side again.
“That’s all right, Gerald. I looked at it too.”
“How do you alert visitors when conducting infectious autopsy?” Their guest was inquisitive.
“We hang a decomposing body in the corridor.” ‘Well we used to’ he thought.
“A sense of humour under duress – that’s an admirable quality, Doctor.” Gerald was trying to act casual as he listened, but the swish of the cape of the rather lively corpse walking around him was off-putting. “ However, when I ask a question, I want a truthful and immediate answer. So each time you lie, or I suspect you lie, I will put this blade into one of your assistant’s ball and socket joints. If you doubt me, I can demonstrate.”
“That won’t be necessary. May I make a request?” Ducky didn’t want Gerald involved in any of this.
“You would rather I stabbed you?”
“I can’t oblige.” Their guest gave Ducky a knowing look. Ducky shifted slightly under the gaze, they both knew it would do little to Ducky. “How do you alert people to infectious autopsies?”
If he was to keep his own cover he would need to play along with this maniac. “A lit red sign in the corridor.” So much for not dealing with terrorists.
“Gerald, the sign, please. Just a moment. Also lock the doors and bring me a set of greens and breathing gear.” ‘That’ll clash with your shirt’ Ducky couldn’t help himself thinking. He would look like a Christmas ornament in the red and green.
Ducky began to question the motives of their guest. Surely he wasn’t back for him, not after all these decades? “What is it you want?”
“In due time, Doctor…?” Again Ducky saw the knowing look in his captors eyes. He already knew Ducky’s name, his old name at least.
The intruder nodded approvingly at his choice. “Like the famous English A-Four steam locomotive.”
“Most people think of waterfowl.”
“Ah, the Mallard ran from London to Edinburgh for decades. In nineteen thirty eight it attained a speed of over two hundred kilometres an hour.”
“Two hundred and two.” He could remember. He was there.
“A world record. Although the Germans claimed it was set on a slight downgrade. Typical.”
Up in the NCIS evidence lockup, Kate & Tony finished up the necessary paperwork.
“You never had a nightmare?” Tony was in a chatty mood again.
“Uh-uh.” Kate hadn’t needed nightmares, she had had reality.
“Not even as a kid?”
“Nope. No fear of the dark or a boogie man in my closet.”
“Me either. But the vampire on the canopy of my bed freaked me.” Kate mentally paused at the mention of vampires. She decided to switch focus.
“You had a canopy bed?”
“I was five. My mother was into Louis the Fifteenth. It wasn’t my call, Kate.”
Still, curiosity got the better of her. “Does she still frighten you?”
“What makes you think it was a ‘she?’” A good point, for Tony especially, they could be either.
“Vampires are seducers. Knowing you, Tony, it had to be female.” Kate tried to push back the memories she had of her more recent encounter with a seductive vampire. He had really caught her off guard. She had almost succumbed. Good job for both of them she hadn’t. Gibbs wouldn’t have been happy either. She doubted Ducky would ever forgive himself for that.
“Well, she was after my blood, not the pride of my childhood.”
“You were proud at five?” ‘Explains a lot’ she kept to herself.
“Right ventricle, left atria. You haven’t done the autopsy.” The intruder seemed very interested in their only other guest.
“It was late. I was due to autopsy today.” Ducky replied.
“Then you best place him on the table. Did you draw blood last night?” Ducky tried not to react to the question in the wrong way. He had, but Jethro hadn’t been unwilling. It was just something they liked to share occasionally. Not that he needed it particularly, one of the perks of being a doctor, but it was like the difference between a wine you picked up at the local garage and one you picked up at a good wine merchant’s. He pushed the thoughts from his mind. If he didn’t he might slip up.
“Ducky, you’re in early.” Abby was just settling down to her desk when the phone had rung.
“Abby, turn down the babble.”
“Babble? You love Android Lust!”
“Not distorted by a speaker phone.”
“Ducky, you’re such a purist. What’s up?”
“I need the evidence Gerald delivered last night.”
“Oh, good luck. I haven’t even had my morning sprinkles yet.”
“I didn’t ask for the results. I need it all back, including the blood.”
Abby froze. “What are you going to do with the blood?”
“Abby, just get it down here!”
“Wow. Did you get up on the wrong side of the autopsy table?”
“Sorry. I have a theory to test.”
“Not quite yet.”
“Okay. Send Gerald up.” Abby really wasn’t sure she could face Ducky or his basement lair in his current mood.
“He’s busy. You’ll have to bring it down here.”
“Ducky, you know I can’t do that.”
“Abby, I don’t have time to deal with your necrophobia.”
“I am not necrophobic.” Abby bit back. “Dead bodies don’t freak me out. Autopsy does.” She thought she’d made that clear, it wasn’t him. She totally dug vampires, but her first real encounter had been in Autopsy and it still felt too weird. She kept expecting to find zombies in the coolers as well, even though Ducky had assured her that they, at least, didn’t exist.
“Ducky, please don’t ask me to do this.” If this was his idea of therapy she wasn’t interested.
“You won’t have to enter Autopsy. In fact, you can’t. We’ve opened an infectious body. Leave it at the door.”
“I can’t even press the down button on the elevator anymore!”
“Get Gibbs to do it. STAT!”
Tony interrupted Abby as she was about to air her fears to Gibbs. “Hey boss. What’s up, Abs?”
“Something’s…” She began.
“Hinky?” Tony finished.
“Tony, get autopsy on the plasma.” Gibbs barked.
“Autopsy. TV. Now! Why would Ducky say STAT?”
“Because he’s a doctor? And because STAT means fast and a medical...” Abby’s mind processed the delayed thoughts quickly.
“...emergency. But what is a medical emergency in autopsy?” Abby froze again at their words. Ducky had been in much earlier than usual. Had he even left the night before? Ducky hadn’t... had he?
Tony had some input. “All I’m getting is snow.”
Ducky apprehensively turned to the doors as he heard the knock. He tried hard not to look in the direction of his captor as he walked to the door to greet her.
“You can leave it there.”
“You have to sign.”
‘That’s the least of my worries right now’ Ducky thought. “Well, I can’t open the doors with you there.”
“What’s the infection?”
“Don’t know yet. He’s got a pustule on his thigh. It may be nothing.” Kate was still hovering. She obviously knew something was up. “I’ll sign. Cross my heart.”
“I beat my phobia!”
“Yes, so I see... Abby. Well done.” ‘We’re going to pay for that’ he thought as he walked away.
Sure enough, their guest was through the doors after Kate.
“When did lab rats start carrying Sig Sauers?” He purred.
Ducky looked on from the floor as Kate was frisked by their captor.
“No throw away? Special Agent Caitlin Todd. Are you any good with this gun, Caitlin?”
“Give it back and I’ll demonstrate. But then I doubt it’ll do any good against you.”
“Mmm, very observant. Ever fire it in anger?”
“I would love to right now.”
“Did you shoot Qassam?” He indicated the body on the next table. “Did you put that double tap in his heart?”
“She didn’t shoot him.” Ducky interjected.
“Special Agent Gibbs.” Ducky answered promptly. Kate knew about their kind, but she obviously didn’t realise that he had been rare in his restraint around beautiful females.
“That name rings a bell, Doctor Mallard.” He gave Ducky a look that spoke volumes. Damn it, he’d already done his homework. He knew about them, their relationship. So he had come back for him. This was a revenge trip.
“Don’t answer this bastard!” Kate obviously hadn’t registered that they had history yet.
“You mustn’t chastise the good doctor, Caitlin, at least not until you know my rules.”
“I don’t play by terrorist rules.”
“Who says I’m a terrorist?”
“Well, how else would you describe a vampire.”
“Not a, Kate, the.” Ducky figured it was no use pretending now. With Kate in their presence it wouldn’t be long before their captor made his, their, nature known.
“Caitlin, you may roll over now if you keep your hands where they are. Do you know who I am?” The vampire waited. “Do you know who I am?... Doctor, please explain the rules to stubborn little Caitlin.” Kate knew damn well who he was. As Ducky had said, he was the vampire, the great Dracula himself.
“If we lie, or he thinks we’re lying, he’ll stab Gerald in one of his joints. And that’s a poisonous dagger he’s holding.” ‘If he doesn’t just cut to the chase and use his fangs’ he kept to himself.
“Be specific. Ball and socket joints. And you omitted one condition.”
“I did?” Ducky could feel the storm brewing.
“Yes, you did.”
“Oh, yes. We mustn’t try to trick him.”
“Which you tried to do, Caitlin, by saying you beat your phobia.”
“But she didn’t know the rules.”
“But you did, Doctor Mallard. And you joined the ruse by calling her Abby.”
Dracula considered the dagger for only a moment before discarding it and swooping down onto Gerald with fangs bared.
“Oh, God. No…” Ducky was momentarily frozen. He wanted to intercept, but he knew what would happen as soon as the smell of fresh blood reached him. But he couldn’t leave Kate to save Gerald as she would most certainly be next. Stealing himself against his own desires he leapt onto his old enemy, dragging him off his young assistant and attempting to pin the other vampire down. He didn’t seem to resist. Instead Dracula turned his head slightly in amusement as he watched him from his position, flat on his back. Ducky knew he was waiting...
“You won’t be able to hold out for long, Doctor... Aden.”
Just the name brought back the sensations of old, just as Dracula had intended. Ducky fought against his own mind as his senses began to focus on the aroma of Gerald’s blood which was still trickling from his neck, despite Kate’s best efforts to curb the bleeding.
“Get back, Kate, move him away, quickly.” Ducky could feel his own voice shaking in his throat. He was losing control. Dracula just smiled up at him.
“What better payment for your work, Doctor? Now you’ve found a new family of sorts and a lover... what better way to repay me than drain them all in my presence.”
Ducky’s blood seemed to run even colder than it already did. He tried to hold his grip on Dracula’s arms as his own began to shake, but he was losing the battle.
“We’re not meant to fight it, Aden. That is why you are reacting so badly. You will only decrease your own being if you insist on doing this to yourself, but then you always were the masochist. Insisting on living with the living.” Dracula tilted his head slightly and frowned as a thought came to mind. “How do you do that anyway? I hear you even go out in the day now.”
Ducky’s body betrayed him once more as his eyes flicked to his hand. Dracula’s eyes followed suit. Dracula escaped Ducky’s grasp with ease and took hold of Ducky’s hand, turning it in his. Ducky paled as Dracula rubbed a finger over the light band of skin untouched by the sun.
“You have the ring...” His voice was cold, almost angry, yet his eyes showed excitement. “The gem of Amara?”
Ducky pushed back quickly. The last thing the world needed was Dracula with near invincibility. He had to do something and quickly. At least the new focus stopped him thinking about the sweet taste of Gerald’s blood. Kate was doing her best with the unstoppable flow from Gerald’s bite over in the corner.
“You must have it here or you wouldn’t be able to move from this room.” Dracula reasoned. All thoughts of his revenge on Ducky seemed to have been trumped by the discovery of the ring’s presence. Ducky’s gaze flickered and Dracula’s quickly followed.
Fighting to get off the floor first, both vampires ran towards the hat stand. Ducky’s limp did not serve him well in the race. Dracula turned quickly to see where his companion was looking as he lifted the overcoat from its resting place.
Ducky stopped. Their eyes locked as Dracula slid his hand into the pocket, finding the gloves. Dracula smiled as his hand found the hard object left inside one of the fingers.
“Oh Aden, Aden. So clever and yet... not always so smart.” Dracula cackled, which Ducky noticed caused Kate to squirm a little in her corner. He knew the cackle was so like his own mellow chuckle, but with a disturbing edge. Well it was to be expected, they were family after all.
Dracula’s attention suddenly switched to the door and he slid smoothly into the shadows as a figure appeared at the door.
“Oh God, Jethro, no.” Ducky wasn’t far from the door himself and Jethro had already spotted him standing there.
“Can you let me in, Duck?”
Ducky opened his mouth to answer, but Dracula nodded to him.
“Yes.” At least if he agreed, he would be the one to open the door and he would then be able to protect Jethro. Ducky moved forward quickly and unlocked the doors. He was inches from Dracula as Jethro walked in, careful to keep himself between the two of them. Dracula only smiled.
Backing away a little, Ducky forced his lover back behind him as Dracula made his entrance from the shadows. Ducky could just imagine the look on Jethro’s face as he saw the rather oddly dressed vampire emerge. He was happy now that he had taught Jethro how to recognise a vampire on sight.
“Well, well, well. The lover. How nice of you to join us... Jethro.” The sickly tone he used for his lover’s name was almost more than Ducky could bear. He wasn’t sure how he would be able to say the name again, as he knew he would hear his brother’s voice entwined in his own.
“You’ve got more than what you came for, just leave.” Ducky heard the steel touch his own voice.
“Aaah, so one might think. But I have to know, for sure. You always were a tricky one, Aden.” Dracula slid forward and roughly grasped Ducky’s hand once more. He slipped the ring back onto Ducky’s finger, covering the giveaway band perfectly. Ducky knew what was coming. He reached back towards Jethro with his other hand and felt Jethro take it in his.
Dracula took rather too much pleasure in staking his brother in the chest. Ducky gasped, but didn’t fall or deteriorate in any way once the stake was withdrawn. Dracula gave a satisfied smile and ripped the ring back to place on his own hand.
“Always so damned sensitive, Aden.” Dracula glanced at the other occupants of the room, stake still in his raised hand. He lowered it. “I think I’ll leave you and your lover to explain your bitten assistant over there. If the smell doesn’t pull you in before then.” Dracula quickly discarded the greens and threw the cape about his shoulders. Turning in a swirl of cloth, he gave Ducky one last chilling look before sweeping out of Autopsy.
“You’re not going to let him walk?” Kate’s tone was incredulous.
Ducky and Jethro turned smiling towards her and Gerald. Ducky quickly moved over to his bag and pulled a syringe and a vial out of the liner and brought it over to the pair.
He worked as he spoke. “Walk, yes. Survive, no.”
Kate watched him inject Gerald in the neck, a puzzled look on her face.
Ducky gestured with the syringe once he’d finished. “A healing serum. The only one to work on bites of this nature.” He could feel the old twinkle return to his eyes.
“And Dracula?” Kate asked again.
“Disappear in a cloud of dust the moment he steps out the door.” Jethro interjected.
Kate looked up at him, surprised at his knowledge. “How?” She asked simply.
“Because Ducky only has the real ring on him when he needs it.” Jethro opened his hand to show Kate a large ornate ring set with a green gem. Ducky turned a smile onto him. What would he do without his Jethro? In his several hundred years, Ducky had never found anyone he could trust in the way he trusted him.