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A Cry for Help

by: Patricia (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 039 Word Count: 112820
Rating: TEEN
Warning(s): Disturbing Imagery or Content
Character(s): Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Angst/Drama
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: Tony's world is crashing down around him, but he doesn't believe his friends can help. He turns to someone unexpected for help, but will it be enough to save him?

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39

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11

Jack paced the length of the waiting room, hoping to hear something about Tony’s condition. He was fully expecting Leroy to call him any minute, demanding an update. Jack initially had trouble getting in touch with his son, but thankfully Leroy had found Abby at the bowling alley and Jack had finally been able to talk to him. Satisfied that Leroy was on his way, probably with Abby in tow, Jack had come to the hospital and began the tedious act of waiting.

His thoughts turned to Tony. He recognized the fact that Anthony DiNozzo was a troubled man. It was also clear to the older man that the agent was obviously running from something; Jack had seen the same look in Leroy’s eyes almost eighteen years ago after Shannon and Kelly had died. Jack sighed. He hadn’t been much help to Leroy back then, but maybe he could help Tony. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that Leroy wanted to help Tony, but he wasn’t sure that the young man was ready to accept his help.

Staring at the clock on the wall, Jack realized that it had been nearly three hours since he had arrived and his patience was about to reach its limit. He should have heard something by now. Jack finally sat down in on e of the hard, vinyl chairs and thumbed through an outdated magazine.

After another half hour, Katherine entered the waiting room and sat down beside him. Jack noticed the fine lines of exhaustion evident in her face; nor did he miss the genuine concern in her eyes.

“So, how’s Tony?” Jack eagerly inquired. “You certainly took long enough.”

“He’s a very sick man,” Katherine answered, her tone cool and defensive.

Nonplussed by Katherine’s almost frigid reply, he glanced at his watch. “It’s been almost three hours and that’s all you can tell me?”

“I’m still waiting for some of his tests to com back,” she said, her expression softening a bit. “Right now, he’s resting. He should be out for a few more hours.”

“You’re going to have to be a heck of a lot more specific about Tony’s condition when you talk to Leroy,” Jack warned. He knew that Leroy Jethro Gibbs would insist on knowing every detail regarding the agent’s health.

“Hopefully, I’ll know more by the time your son gets here.”

“You better do more than hope,” Jack muttered under his breath.

“What?”

Jack cleared his throat. “Nothing,” he quickly answered. “Can I see him? That way if Leroy calls, I can at least tell him that I’ve seen Tony.”

“He really needs to rest,” she protested. “Maybe in a few hours.”

“I won’t wake him up, Doc. I just want to check on him.”

“Jack…”

“Katherine right now, I’m all that boy’s got,” he reminded her.

“All right,” the doctor conceded, “but only for a few minutes. He’s in ICU 4.”

Jack became alarmed. “ICU? I didn’t realize that he was that sick.”

“Between his concussion and the seizure, I wanted him monitored closely,” Katherine explained. “More than likely he’ll be moved to a regular room tomorrow or the next day.”

He nodded his understanding as he stood and headed for the door. “I won’t stay long.” Jack paused at the door and pointed towards the nearly empty coffee pot. “If I were you, I’d see about getting some halfway decent coffee before Leroy gets here. He’s much more bearable if he has his coffee.”

Katherine smiled. “I’ll make sure he gets his coffee out of the doctor’s lounge.”

Jack returned her smile. “Good thinking.”

He made his way towards ICU. Jack nodded a silent greeting to the nurses, realizing that Katherine must have called ahead and instructed the nurses to let him in to see Tony. He would have to remember to thank her later.

Leaning against the door frame, Jack watched the even rise and fall of Tony’s chest. He was relieved to see the young man was in deed, resting comfortably; something that the agent had been unable to do since he had arrived in Stillwater.

Jack quietly pulled up a chair beside Tony’s bedside and sat down. Careful of the IV’s and the wires that led to the monitors, he placed his calloused hand on the younger man’s arm. He reasoned that even if Tony was asleep, perhaps on some level, he would know that he wasn’t alone.

“You’re going to be all right, son,” Jack whispered, in an effort not to wake the sleeping agent.

“So they keep telling me,” Tony slurred.

Jack smiled as Tony opened his eyes. “You’re supposed to be sleeping.”

“I was until the last time the nurse came in to check my blood pressure,” Tony sleepily replied. “I’ve been drifting in and out since then. Mostly I would pretend to be out when they were in.” A lopsided grin escaped the agent’s lips. “That probably didn’t make any sense.”

“It makes perfect sense,” Jack assured him. “You were pretending to be asleep when the nurse came in so she wouldn’t ask you a bunch of stupid questions that you don’t feel like answering.”

Tony’s smile widened just a bit. “Yeah, that just about sums it up.”

“I don’t blame you. The doctors and nurses tell you to rest and then when you try to rest, they come in and start poking and prodding.”

“Tell me about it,” Tony mumbled. “So, why am I here?”

“You had a seizure.”

“I don’t remember.”

“I’m not surprised. It knocked you on your ass.”

“Guess so. What caused it?”

Jack shrugged. “Katherine didn’t say.”

Tony rolled his eyes. “What exactly did Kate say?”

He smiled at the young man. Under different circumstances, he had the feeling that Katherine Marshall would be no match for Anthony DiNozzo’s sharp tongue. “She said she was waiting for some of your test results to come back. Personally, I think she’s trying to get everything together before Leroy gets up here.”

Jack winced, mentally chastising himself for inadvertently telling Tony that Leroy was on his way. Katherine would not be happy with him for upsetting her patient. To his astonishment, DiNozzo had remained calm; almost like he didn’t hear what Jack had said. He hoped that Tony was still too drugged to realize what he had said. Jack waited for the agent to respond.

“Gibbs is here?” Tony finally asked.

So much for wishful thinking. Jack took a deep breath and blew it out. “Not yet. He’s on his way. Dr. Marshall thought that he should be contacted after you had the seizure, especially since he’s listed as your next of kin.”

“How did she know that?”

“Your medical records.”

“Oh, I see,” was all Tony could manage to say.

“Kind of odd having your boss listed as your next of kin,” Jack remarked.

“It was Gibbs’ idea,” Tony admitted. “After I started NCIS, personnel called Gibbs and told him that I had left my emergency contact and next of kin blank on my information form. He asked me about it and I told him I really didn’t have anyone, so he volunteered.”

“Just like that, huh?”

“Pretty much.”

Jack wasn’t sure how much he should push Tony to reveal, but the boy seemed to want to talk. Leroy had once told him that DiNozzo was very private person and that people only saw what Tony wanted them to see. Jackson Gibbs was finding that out to be the truth. “What about your parents? Most people would list them as…”

“Mother died when I was ten; my father doesn’t acknowledge my existence,” Tony blurted out.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I’m over it.”

“How can you get over something like that?” Jack pressed.

“Years of practice.”

Jack patted Tony’s arm. “I’m glad Leroy can help fill that void in your life,” Jack said. “I’m glad that he can return the favor.”

Tony arched his brow. “What do you mean?”

“After Shannon and Kelly were killed, Leroy became a different person. Their deaths had nearly destroyed the man that he used to be. He was bitter and angry and he kept people at arms length, including me. Especially me.”

“Keeping people at arms length prevents them getting too close. You can’t get hurt as easily,” Tony added.

“You know all about that, don’t you?” Jack didn’t expect an answer. “Anyway, years later, I can see that the hole that was left in his heart is beginning to heal and I have a feeling that you played a big part in that. Thank you.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“That’s not true,” Jack countered. “Leroy may have lost a wife and daughter, but he found a son.”

“I guess that’s why this is so hard,” Tony said. “He’s done so much for me and I’ve betrayed his trust. Once trust is betrayed, things are never the same. A son doesn’t do that to his father.”

“What are you talking about?”

Tony shook his head. “Nothing, forget I said anything.”

Jack had just witnessed Tony slipping back behind the mask that he wore so efficiently. “Tony?”

“I’m a little tired, Jack. Do you mind?”

“No,” Jack said. “You rest and I’ll see you later.”

“All right.”

Jack stood up and turned to leave.

“Jack?” Tony called out.

“What is it?”

“Don’t leave.”

Jack smiled and sat back down in his chair. “I’ll be right here,” he promised. Within a few minutes, he was certain that Tony had drifted back off to sleep. He knew that Katherine would probably try and kick him out, but he had no intentions of moving until Tony asked him to leave. His heart ached for the younger man and DiNozzo needed to know that someone was willing to stay by his side. Jack figured that he was a poor substitution for Leroy, but just like he told Katherine, right now, he was all that Tony had.



XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Jethro Gibbs turned off the main highway onto the two lane road that would lead them to Stillwater. He should be at the hospital in a little over an hour where he would hopefully find out exactly what was going on with DiNozzo. The team leader was well aware of the fact that his usual gruff tactics wouldn’t work this time; he had to show Tony that he was willing to listen to what his senior field agent had to say.

Listening was not one of his strengths; he had three ex-wives that would testify to that. Perhaps if he had taken the time to listen to the younger man, Tony wouldn’t be lying in a hospital in his hometown. DiNozzo had practically been screaming inside the past few weeks for someone to hear him and Gibbs had made a feeble attempt to talk to his agent earlier this week. He allowed his thoughts to drift back to that particular conversation. The words began to replay in his mind forcing Gibbs to wonder if he had handled the situation well or if he had just permitted Tony to frustrate him so that he would leave the younger man alone.


****flashback****


Gibbs had been watching his senior field agent for the past half hour. Tony was finishing up the paperwork on their latest case, staying long after Ziva and McGee had gone home. DiNozzo would always read and sign off on the other agent’s reports before he gave them to Gibbs, making sure that there weren’t any loopholes that would come back and haunt them later.

He noticed that several times, Tony would close his eyes and massage his temples as if he were trying to fight off a headache. DiNozzo looked like crap. How had he missed the dark circles under Tony’s eyes? Maybe he should insist that the agent take a couple of extra days off.

He stood and walked over to DiNozzo’s desk. As Gibbs sat on the edge of the desk, Tony sat up and ran his hand through his slightly disheveled hair.

“Sorry, Boss,” Tony apologized. “I was just taking a little break.”

“It’s all right,” Gibbs assured him. “I know you’ll get it done.”

“I’m almost finished. Ziva actually gave me a report that was grammatically correct.”

Gibbs smiled at the young man’s jibe. Tony had accused Ziva of reverting back to her old speech patterns after returning from Israel. “Maybe she’s finally getting back in the swing of things.”

“Yeah, maybe.”

“You want me to finish up for you?”

Tony shook his head. “I got it, Boss. Why don’t you go on home? I won’t be much longer.”

“I’m not in any hurry,” the team leader replied.

“I guess I better get this done so we can both go home.”

“I guess so.” Gibbs didn’t offer to move, knowing that his close proximity was making the younger agent nervous.

“Is there something else you needed, Boss?” Tony anxiously inquired.

Now that Gibbs was sitting closer to DiNozzo, he could see the fine line of exhaustion around Tony’s eyes and he was sure that the agent had dropped some weight. The team leader realized that he couldn’t remember the last time Tony had taken the others up on the offer of ordering takeout.

“DiNozzo, are you all right?” Gibbs wanted to know. He had the feeling that he would get the same answer that he always got when Tony was questioned about his health.

“I’m fine, Boss,” Tony answered a bit too quickly.

“You don’t look so good,” he pointed out to the senior agent.

Tony’s grin didn’t quite reach his eyes. “That’s just nearly impossible unless you count the time I had the plague, but personally, I think it was the blue lights,” DiNozzo surmised. “I don’t think I’ve worn the color blue since then.”

“DiNozzo…”

“Gibbs, I’m fine!” Tony forcefully repeated.

The ex-Marine bristled. There had been very few times that Tony had raised his voice to him. It wasn’t that DiNozzo was afraid to stand up to him or disagree with him, but Tony could usually do so without losing his own temper. Of course, recent events had caused everyone’s tempers to flare, but Gibbs had assumed things had settled back down. Maybe he was wrong.

“You sure about that, DiNozzo?”

Tony didn’t look up from his desk. “I’m sorry, Boss. I’m just a little tired.”

“A little?”

“Okay, a lot.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“There’s nothing to say. We’ve worked the last 72 hours straight,” Tony reasoned. “Most of us mere mortals get tired every once in a while.”

Gibbs leaned in closer until their faces were just a few inches apart. “Don’t try and give me the runaround, Tony.”

“Just returning the favor,” DiNozzo snapped.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Tony looked away. “Nothing. I didn’t mean anything by it. Like I said, I’m tired and I just want to get these reports done so I can go home.”

“If you have a problem with me, I expect you to come directly to me and you know that. It’s not like you to beat around the bush, Tony.”

“Speaking my mind only seems to get me into trouble.”

“Since when?”

“Since the toothpick took over.”

Gibbs sat up and stared at his senior field agent. “What are you talking about? You having problems with Leon?”

Tony snorted. “Forget it, Gibbs. It’s no big deal. You know Director Vance has never liked me. I guess some days, I just take it personally.”

He knew that Tony was right. Vance had always seemed to have a problem with DiNozzo, but the team leader assumed it was because Tony never allowed Leon to see the real Anthony DiNozzo. But lately, the Director had been praising DiNozzo’s work, leading Gibbs to believe that Vance was slowly getting used to how Tony operated.

“He’s been very complimentary of your work lately,” Gibbs said, hoping to bait DiNozzo into opening up even more.

“I bet he has,” Tony mumbled under his breath.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

Gibbs could feel a set of eyes bearing down on them. Looking up, he saw the Director leaning on the railing, watching him and DiNozzo. His steely gaze followed Vance as he came down the stairs and joined them at Tony’s desk.

“Working late, gentlemen?” Vance inquired.

The team leader could sense the tension radiating from Tony. What was going on between DiNozzo and Vance? Gibbs had a feeling that he wasn’t going to like the answer.

“We’re just finishing up.” Gibbs took the reports from Tony. “Go on home, DiNozzo. Get some rest. I don’t want to see you in here for two days.”

DiNozzo nodded and stood up. Gibbs didn’t miss the fact that Tony had to grab onto the desk to steady himself. “Are you okay to drive?”

“I’m fine, Boss.”

“You do look tired, Agent DiNozzo,” Leon added. “I’m on my way home. I’ll be glad to follow you to your apartment to make sure that you don’t have any problems.”

“I’ll give him a ride, Leon,” Gibbs insisted.

“It’s all right, Boss,” Tony said. “Director Vance is going that way any way. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”

“Tony, I…”

“It’s all right, Boss. Just forget everything I said. It’s just the fatigue talking.”

Gibbs started to protest, but the edginess in DiNozzo’s voice begged him not to say anything else. He nodded as he watched DiNozzo and the Director walk towards the elevator. Something was definitely wrong. The team leader decided that he would give DiNozzo a day or so to rest and then he would get some answers.

“Ah, hell,” he growled as he threw down the reports on his desk. Grabbing his jacket, he headed towards the elevator. He was going to make sure that DiNozzo made it home, if for no other reason than to ease the gnawing feeling in his gut.


****end flashback****


DiNozzo had made it home that night and Vance had continued on to his house. Gibbs had pulled over and waited until he saw the light come on in Tony’s apartment. Satisfied that DiNozzo was safe, he peeled off towards his own house. He now wished that he had gone up to check on his agent. Maybe Tony wouldn’t be in the mess that he was in now if Gibbs had just kept after him until he wore the agent down, forcing DiNozzo to tell him what was going on.

Gibbs tightened his grip on the steering wheel. “I should have known.”

He hadn’t realized that he had spoken out loud until Abby had said, “What?”

Taking a deep breath, he replied, “I should have known that Tony was in some kind of trouble.”

“Why do you say that?”

“All the signs were there and I ignored them.”

“No, you didn’t. Tony is an expert at hiding things,” Abby pointed out. “He always has been.”

“He was trying to hide too many secrets and it was beginning to become too much for him. Vance was using him, just like Jen did and now he’s paying the price again.” Gibbs didn’t bother to hide the anger in his voice. He knew that Abby would realize that his rage wasn’t directed at her. “What gave Vance the right to do that to him? What gave him the right to force one of my agents to work undercover without my knowledge? Tony vowed never to do that again, so Vance has to be holding something over DiNozzo’s head.

“I should have known when Vance started bragging on DiNozzo that something was up. Now, Vance has gotten Tony in the middle of something that…”

“That what?” Abby pressed.

“That could ruin his life.”

“Gibbs, we have to protect him.”

“We will,” he vowed.

The two of them rode in silence for the next few minutes. Gibbs forced himself to calm down, knowing that he wouldn’t be allowed to see DiNozzo in his current frame of mind. He finally broke the silence when they were about 30 minutes away from the hospital. “How did he sound when you talked to him, Abs?”

He recalled their earlier chat and she had told him how Tony had actually laughed when she told about Palmer getting a tattoo, but she had started crying and hadn’t been able to finish relaying the details to him.

Gibbs looks over to see Abby intently studying her gloves. “Abs? How did he sound?” he asked again.

“Tired, maybe a little scared. He was in pain. Tony wasn’t too happy that we were going through his emails, but he wasn’t mad either. It was almost like he didn’t care.”

“Did he say that?”

“No, not in so many words,” she replied. “He just said that he was tired of everything. I’ve never heard him sound so lost, Gibbs.”

“We’ll just have to help him find his way back, Abs.”

“What if we’re too late?”

Gibbs reached out and squeezed her hand. “Positive thoughts, Abs. Positive thoughts.”

“I’m trying, Gibbs. I’m really trying.”

“I know.”

He turned the car into the hospital parking lot. “We’re here,” he informed her. He shut the engine off and stared at the building in front of him. “It’s changed a little since the last time I was here.”

“When was that?”

“When my mom died,” he quietly answered.

Gibbs smiled when Abby laid her head on his shoulder. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“I’m fine. Right now, our main concern is DiNozzo.”

Abby nodded eagerly. “Then let’s go see our boy!”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Gibbs stepped out of the car and waited for Abby to join him. Together they walked towards the entrance of the hospital. He knew that Abby anxious to see Tony, but Gibbs had to admit to himself that he was a little nervous. What was he going to say to DiNozzo to make the young man believe that everything was going to be all right? How could he even make that promise to Tony when he wasn’t sure he believed it himself?

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