A/N: Written in the car on the way back from Fanfest. Jimmy’s first day at work after Ducky retires.
Cake was cut, stories were told, and everyone denied crying the next day. The next morning, Jimmy came in to a silent Autopsy.
He stepped off the elevator, hit the lights, and gazed around the room. It was clean and cold and empty, every surface reflecting back at him. After a moment, he moved to the computers, turning everything on. As the electronic hum filled the room, he stood back again, trying to decide what to do next.
Making his decision for him, the phone rang. Jimmy picked it up, swallowing quietly.
“Good morning Mr. Palmer. How are you?”
“I’m fine, Director, thank you.”
“Good to hear. I just wanted to briefly check in with you, see how you were doing. Ducky does leave some rather large-metaphorical-shoes to fill. I wanted to make sure you feel prepared and ready for your first day as…”
He nodded as she went on, only supplying ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am’ when she paused. He’d barely hung up the phone when it rang again.
“Jim-Jam! Are you excited!”
“Yeah I am Abby, thanks.”
“Awesome! Now, you need anything, you know my number. Gimme a call anytime, I’m here for you, even after work. I may not be able to hear you, but…”
This time, he managed to excuse himself quickly; he pulled out the file of the last case they’d finished working on before-
The phone rang again.
“Hi Tim, hi Ziva. What’s up?”
“We just wanted to wish you good luck-“
“Yes, break a ribcage.”
“It’s break a leg, Ziva.”
“I know, McGee, that was a joke.”
Jimmy listened to them argue for a bit longer, then quietly placed the phone on the other side of the room. He finished the report on Mr. Lemm (COD: asphyxiation; blockage of esophagus – pepper beef jerky), entered it into the computer, and started on the next.
He had three closed cases entered and filed before the doors slid open, snapping his concentration.
“What?” he muttered through his teeth. He spun around, glaring at Tony.
Tony, unimpressed, raised an eyebrow as he took a sip of coffee.
“What can I do for you?” Jimmy muttered again, feeling his anger deflate.
“Body,” Tony swallowed before going on. “Shenandoah. We’re heading out. I would have called, but your phone’s off the hook or something. Might wanna check that out.”
Jimmy stared at him. “That’s all?”
“Bring a map?” Tony shrugged. “Though, local LEOs’ll probably have the whole area marked off, hard to miss-”
“No...advice?” Jimmy asked. “No words of wisdom?”
“What would I give you advice about?” Tony snorted. “You’re the medical examiner.”
Jimmy blinked. “I am.”
“Yeah,” Tony nodded, grinning slightly before he headed back out the doors. “You are.”
For the first time all morning, Jimmy smiled.