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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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McGee sat in front of his typewriter, but he had yet to type a single word. Glancing at his watch, he realized that he’d been at home for over four hours and all he had managed to do was sit and stare at the blank piece of paper in front of him. Frustrated, he jerked the paper out of the typewriter, crumpled it up and tossed it in the trashcan. He could almost hear Tony saying, “Nice shot, Probie!” Of course, DiNozzo would probably follow the compliment with a sarcastic remark of some kind, ruining the moment as only Tony could do.

But, that was part of Tony’s charm, a part that had been slowly disappearing ever since he returned from the Seahawk. The first week DiNozzo was back, it had seemed like old times. McGee couldn’t pinpoint an exact moment that he started noticing the subtle changes in Tony’s personality: but surely if he noticed the shift in the senior field agent’s demeanor, others had as well.

He hated to admit that he was truly worried about his colleague. Tony was someone who never seemed to let things bother him on a deeper level, or so McGee had assumed. He had worked with Tony for almost six years, but he knew very little about him. He knew that Tony’s mom was dead and that his father had disowned him. The agent also knew that he loved movies and did a decent Sean Connery impression; DiNozzo was also a damned good investigator and excelled at his job as Gibbs’ senior field agent.

McGee shook his head in disgust when he realized that even after working side by side with Tony DiNozzo for several years, he hardly knew the man. But there was one thing for certain; Tony had been a good friend to him. How many times had DiNozzo covered his mistakes and taken the blame so he wouldn’t have to experience Gibbs’ wrath? McGee would never forget the time that Tony had come to his apartment after he had shot that cop. DiNozzo had revealed a very personal detail of his life in an effort to make him feel better. Yes, Anthony DiNozzo had been a good friend to him, but he wasn’t sure that he could say the same.

Lately, he’d been down right snobbish to Tony, and now he was beginning to regret the careless remarks and hurtful words. McGee began to wonder if he was partially to blame for the change in Tony’s behavior.

His door bell rang, bringing him out of his self-imposed reverie. With the exception of Abby, McGee had no idea who would be coming to see him at this late hour. Abby would often stop by on her way home from a party, but he knew that she was with Gibbs and they were on their way to Stillwater. He tentatively peered through the tiny peephole to discover Director Vance standing outside his door.

“Oh no,” he muttered. “This can’t be happening.”

McGee knew that he couldn’t keep Vance standing in the hallway indefinitely, but he wasn’t sure that he was ready to face the inquisition that was coming. Vance was desperate to discover DiNozzo’s whereabouts and the Director probably figured that he would be able to break McGee easier than Ziva.

He chafed at the thought that Vance saw him as weak. Again, he could hear Tony’s voice in his head. “Suck it up, McProbie! Show Vance what you’re made of!”

Having a renewed sense of determination, McGee unlocked the door and swung it open. “Director Vance,” he greeted, not bothering to disguise the coolness in his voice. “It’s kind of late for a social call. I was just on my way to bed.”

McGee gestured for the Director to come inside his apartment. “Then I won’t keep you long, Agent McGee,” Vance replied.

“All right.” McGee closed the door and leaned against the wall, mentally steeling himself for what could be a nasty confrontation.

“Let’s just get right to the point, McGee,” Vance suggested.

“I’m not sure what you mean, Director.”

He silently admonished himself for the barely noticeable quiver in his voice. The agent couldn’t let Vance intimidate him; McGee had a feeling that Tony’s safety depended on him being able to withstand the scrutiny of Leon Vance.

“I think you do, Agent McGee. I need to know where Agent DiNozzo is,” the Director insisted.

“Director, I’m on vacation,” Tim pointed out. “I don’t usually spend my time keeping track of Tony.”

“I’m well aware of the fact that you and Officer David are on vacation. I find that rather convenient, but I’m not here to debate if your time off is warranted or not. But even though you’re on vacation, you are still a federal agent.” A small grin escaped Vance’s lips. “For now.”

McGee swallowed hard. “For now?”

“For now,” Vance repeated. “If you want to continue working for the federal government, I would stop withholding information that is vital to a case.”

“What case?”

“That is none of your concern,” the Director growled. “Now, I’ll ask you one more time, Agent McGee, where is DiNozzo?”

McGee took a deep breath and slowly released it in an effort to calm his frazzled nerves. He really hadn’t expected Vance to threaten him with his job. Tim knew that Tony would never ask him to sacrifice his career, but McGee couldn’t shake the feeling that if their situation were reversed, DiNozzo would protect him at all costs.

Squaring his shoulders, McGee met the Director’s hard glare. Gibbs’ rule number seven was echoing in his mind; be specific when you lie. “We think Tony went to Ohio,” he quickly blurted out.

“Ohio?” Vance pulled a toothpick out of his pocket and placed it between his teeth. “Tell me Agent McGee, why would he go to Ohio?”

McGee shrugged. “I don’t know. He went to school there, maybe he’s visiting one of his frat brothers.”

He watched with baited breath as Vance sat down on his couch. The Director leaned back and crossed his arms. McGee felt the bile catch in his throat when Vance asked, “You don’t really expect me to believe that he’s on some frat holiday, do you Agent McGee?”

Tim stammered, “Uh…well, actually…”

“I didn’t think so. So, I’ll just make myself comfortable until you decide to tell me the truth.”

McGee looked at his watch again. It was clearly evident that Vance was not planning on leaving anytime soon, or at least until he got the answer he was looking for. Tim decided that there was only one thing that he could do. Turning off the light, he headed towards his bedroom. “Good night, Director Vance. You can use that blanket on the back of the couch if you get cold.”

He didn’t have to look back over his shoulder to know that the Director was fuming. McGee smiled as he closed his bedroom door and crawled into bed. He had a feeling that Gibbs and Tony would have enjoyed that rare exhibition of defiance. As he closed his eyes, he could hear Tony once last time saying, “I never knew you had it in you, McGoo…”


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


It didn’t take long for Gibbs to discover that Tony was in ICU. He and Abby had quickly made their way to the floor housing the intensive care unit. Gibbs had managed to convince Abby to stay in the waiting area until he actually saw how Tony was doing. Jethro entered the ICU and was stopped by a nurse.

“I’m here to see Anthony DiNozzo,” he informed the young lady.

“He has someone in there with him at the moment. If you would like to go back to the waiting area, I’ll let you know when you can see him.”

Gibbs simply glared at the nurse.

“Or not,” she quickly said. “I’ll go and ask Mr. Gibbs how much longer he’ll be.”

“I’ll ask him myself.”

The ex-Marine dismissed her with a curt nod and entered Tony’s room where he saw his dad sitting in a chair next to DiNozzo’s bed. Although his senior agent was asleep, Jack was recalling a tale from his days of working the coal mines. It reminded Jethro of his childhood when his dad would come in and tuck him in at night, sitting by his side and telling him stories until he fell asleep. He hadn’t thought about that in years, but seeing his dad with Tony, had allowed those wonderful memories to resurface.

He took a step forward and put his hand on Jack’s shoulder. “Last time you told that story, I believe that it was 40 tons of rock that covered that opening.”

Gibbs smiled when Jack looked over his shoulder. “You got here quicker than I thought you would. Must of taken some of your famous shortcuts,” his dad quipped.

“Yep.” Jethro nodded towards Tony. “How’s he doing?”

“He’s sleeping. The boy’s worn out.”

“He looks it.”

“I’m glad you’re here, Leroy. I have a feeling that you’re the only one who can help him. He’s really hurting.”

Gibbs sighed. “If Tony thought I could help him, he would have come to me first instead of running. So either he thinks I can’t help him or he doesn’t want my help.”

“Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions,” Jack warned. “He may think he doesn’t want your help, but he does.”

“We’ll see.”

He stared at the still figure lying in the bed, Tony’s complexion as white as the sheets. Gibbs could see shades of deep purple peeking out from the under the bandage on his head. Tony was dressed in a hospital gown which made his weight loss even more noticeable. The dark circles under DiNozzo’s eyes were a dead giveaway to the level of exhaustion the young man was experiencing. Gibbs couldn’t understand how he had missed the signs.

“Where’s his doctor?” he finally managed to inquire.

“I’ll go and make sure that she knows you’re here,” Jack said, rising from his seat.

Gibbs moved to take his dad’s seat. “She probably already knows. I’m sure the nurse informed her that I was here.”

“I take it you made another good first impression.” Shaking his head, Jack headed towards the nurses station. “I’ll go see if I can smooth things over for you.”

“I don’t need things smoothed over for me, dad. I just need some answers from this Doctor Marshall.”

“I’ll see what I can do. By the way, did you bring Abby with you?”

Jethro grinned. His dad really liked the Goth; he was always asking about her during their phone calls. “She’s in the waiting room.”

“That’s where I’m headed as well,” Jack happily replied, “as soon as I make sure Katherine is on her way.”

Gibbs nodded his understanding, his gaze never breaking from the gaunt face of his senior agent. “DiNozzo, you look like crap,” he muttered.

“So, I’ve been told.”

Jethro sat up at the sound of DiNozzo’s voice. Tony was barely speaking above a whisper, but Gibbs was simply grateful to hear the young man’s voice. “How long have you been awake?”

Tony licked his parched lips. “Long enough to know that you’ve probably made some young nurse cry…forcing her to reexamine the reason that she…went into nursing.”

“Smart ass.”

“I’ve been told that…as well.”

Gibbs picked up a cup of ice chips from the table beside Tony’s bed. “Want some?” he asked the young man.

Tony nodded, accepting the ice chip without complaint. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” He sat the cup back down, unsure of what to make of the silence between them. The banter had been forced, but Gibbs had been willing to accept that. At least Tony hadn’t thrown him out of his room…yet.

“How are you feeling?” the team leader wanted to know.

Tony weakly grinned. “Like crap.”

“Care to be more specific?”

“Not really. I don’t know a whole lot except for the fact that I’m hurting. If you want details, you’ll have to wait on Kate.”

Gibbs stared at his senior agent. “Kate?”

“Her real name’s Katherine, but I think she looks like a Kate,” he explained. “She doesn’t look like our Kate, but she’s got a lot of fire, if you know what I mean.”

“You’re on a first name basis with your doctor, DiNozzo?”

“I always have been. Ducky, Brad, and now Kate.”

Gibbs had to smile at the younger agent. It was good to see a little of the injured man’s spirit shining through the fog of despair that seemed to be surrounding Tony. “Tony, we’re going to have to talk about…”

Tony raised his hand. “I know, Gibbs. I know. Just not now.”

“Tony…”

“Please,” Tony begged.

“One question and then I’ll leave you alone until you’re ready,” the team leader vowed.

“The undercover op,” Gibbs began. “What happened?”

He wasn’t certain that Tony was going to answer him, but if Gibbs was going to protect him from Vance, he had to know what was going on. “Tony?” he gently called out to the hurting man. “You’ve got to be honest with me; you’ve got to tell me what happened.”

Tony closed his eyes briefly. When he opened them, Gibbs didn’t miss the look of desolation in his agent’s eyes.

“It went to hell, that’s what happened,” Tony snapped. “My cover was blown and…”

Gibbs easily sensed DiNozzo’s internal struggles. The pain of everything that had happened to him was still fresh in his mind and Gibbs knew that he was forcing Tony to reopen those wounds before they had barely started to heal. “And what?” he pressed.

“I had some bad intel regarding some of the players. No one bothered telling me that there was another fed that had been undercover several months before I got in; this agent sold out to the drug cartel. I guess the lure of all that money was too much for him.” Tony scrubbed his face with a trembling hand.

“Take your time, Tony,” Gibbs encouraged him. “You’re doing fine.”

“I was down in Norfolk, meeting two men on the inside, Tompkins and Currin were their names. When I got there, I...”

“Tony?”

Gibbs heart nearly broke when he saw a tear escape his senior agent’s eye. “Tony?” he called out again.

“I told Vance that I thought my cover was in danger of being blown and he didn’t pull me out,” Tony yelled. “Damn it! If he had pulled me out, none of this would have happened!”

Gibbs placed his hand on Tony’s arm. He could hear the sound of the monitors in the background beeping excitedly as DiNozzo became increasingly agitated. “Tony, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you. Just relax.”

The team leader was pushed out of the way by two nurses and a doctor, the latter he assumed was Dr. Marshall. He positioned himself at the foot of the bed, making sure that he was in Tony’s line of sight as the doctor barked orders to the nurses. Gibbs saw something being injected into Tony’s IV and within a few seconds, the young man was drifting towards unconsciousness.

He met the frigid glare of the doctor with his own resolute gaze. She motioned for him to follow her out of Tony’s room. Gibbs spared one last glance at Tony, trying to tamp down the guilt that was plaguing him. He knew he shouldn’t have pushed DiNozzo, but he wanted answers.

She was waiting for him at the nurse’s station. “It would probably be a good idea if we had this conversation somewhere else,” she suggested.

“All right,” he quietly agreed.

He followed her out of ICU and down the corridor, neither of them uttering the first word until they were safely within the confines of her office walls. Katherine slammed the door behind him. “Are you trying to kill him?” she demanded to know.

Gibbs could feel his own temper flaring. “What kind of question is that?”

“A logical one it would seem. He’s in ICU for a reason! He’s not up for an interrogation!”

“I wasn’t interrogating him!” he protested.

“Then what do you call it?”

He clenched his jaw tightly. “I was trying to help him.”

“Well, if that is the kind of help that you’re going to offer him, I suggest that you just go back to D.C. Now, if you want to stay, it will be on my terms, not yours.”

“And what are your terms?”

Katherine’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll let you know,” she promised. “Right now, I think you would be more interested in finding out what exactly is wrong with Agent DiNozzo.”

“You’re right,” he conceded.

He sat down in a chair across from her desk and waited for her to take the opposite one. Gibbs forced himself to calm down as he waited on Katherine to join him. He looked around the office. “Do you have any coffee?”

She nodded and poured him a cup. He nodded his thanks, taking the steaming mug from her. “How’d you know how I liked my coffee?”

“Lucky guess,” she said as she took her seat.

Taking another sip, he set the cup down on her desk. “So, how’s Tony?”

“Not good,” she said, opening up what Gibbs assumed to be DiNozzo’s chart. “He has a severe concussion, but according to his CT scan, there’s no sign of bleeding or of any kind of fracture. Tony has unfortunately been experiencing many of the common side effects of a concussion, but I think with some proper rest, he should start to feel better in a day or two.

“Agent DiNozzo also has quiet a few bruises on his chest and back, resulting in two bruised ribs and a bruised kidney, which should heal in time. What concerns me is the fact that he does have an ulcer and if he’s not careful, it could start bleeding. Like I told Dr. Mallard, this didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to get better overnight. Tony has already lost a considerable amount of weight. I’m hoping that we can heal his ulcer with medication and a strict diet, if not, well, we’ll just have to see.”

Gibbs took another sip of coffee. “What about the seizure?”

“It could have been the cumulative effect of the concussion and the physical punishment that his body has been subjected to.”

“But you don’t think that’s the cause, do you?”

“No,” she replied. “I think that his seizure was caused by emotional stress coupled with his physical injuries. Right now, he can not physically or mentally handle any pressure coming from you or anyone else.”

“When will…” Gibbs couldn’t finish his sentence.

“I don’t know. We have to take it a day at a time.”

“Can I go back and sit with him? I just don’t want him to be alone.”

Katherine smiled. “All right, but let’s go over those terms we spoke of earlier, shall we?”

Grinning, he downed the rest of his coffee. He had no doubt that Tony was in good hands with Dr. Katherine Marshall. She certainly had his agent’s best interests in mind and he knew that she had what it would take to pull DiNozzo through this crisis, at least physically. Mentally and emotionally was another story.

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