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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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15


Gibbs had been standing just outside the door to DiNozzo’s room watching Abby and Tony for the past ten minutes. When he had returned from outside, the pair had been in the middle of what appeared to be a rather intense discussion. It wasn’t but a few minutes later until a he saw a nurse enter Tony’s room and inject something into the younger agent’s IV. Abby had evidently been successful in getting DiNozzo to agree to take something for pain.

The team leader smiled when he saw the Goth kiss his senior field agent on the forehead; she then whispered something in DiNozzo’s ear, causing him to blush. Gibbs would have to find out what Abby had said to Tony to get such an unusual response from the ailing man; DiNozzo didn’t embarrass easily.

He finished the last of his coffee, threw the cup away, and walked into Tony’s room. Gibbs was determined not to upset the younger man, but it almost seemed like his presence alone instilled a fear in Tony’s eyes that hadn’t been there before. “Well, Mrs. DiNozzo, how’s he doing?”

“A little better,” Abby proudly announced.

Gibbs nodded his approval. “Good.”

He wasn’t sure how to handle the awkward silence in the room. His eyes fell on DiNozzo, who was lying there, refusing to meet his gaze. Gibbs cleared his throat. “Tony? Can I get you anything?”

Tony shook his head. “No, Boss. I’m all right.”

“Was that pain medicine that I saw the nurse give you?”

“Yeah. It was just a mild one,” Tony confessed.

“That’s good, Tony.” Gibbs wasn’t sure exactly what to say to DiNozzo. He had been warned about not causing Tony any undue stress but it seemed like every word that came out of his mouth increased the younger agent’s discomfort.

“Abby made me do it.”

“I’m glad. I want you to hurry up and get better; I need my senior field agent back at work.”

Gibbs didn’t miss the silent exchange between Abby and Tony. Had he said something wrong once again? The way things had been going, he wouldn’t be surprised if he had. “Something wrong?” he reluctantly asked.

“No, Boss. I’m just tired,” Tony whispered.

“Actually,” Abby interrupted. “Tony has some things that he wants to tell you, don’t you Tony?”

The former Marine suddenly realized what Tony and Abby had been talking about earlier. She had persuaded him, in her own unique way, to talk to him. It still bothered Gibbs that Tony hadn’t come to him earlier with his problems, but at least DiNozzo was ready to talk now. He just had to listen and sometimes that was the hardest thing to do in a conversation.

“Is that true, Tony?” he inquired.

Gibbs almost missed Tony’s almost imperceptible nod. “I guess,” the young man finally muttered.

“Now?” Gibbs pressed.

“Might as well.”

Abby grabbed his arm and sat him down in the chair beside Tony’s bed. “Now, you sit and listen and I’ll go get you some more coffee.”

“All right,” he agreed.

He was forced to hide his amusement when Abby pointed her finger at him and threatened him. “And don’t you head slap him either,” she warned.

“I’m not going head slap him, Abby,” Gibbs assured her.

“You better not. I’ll know if you do.”

Gibbs shook his head and grinned as he watched the Goth leave. He truly believed that the world would be a much better place if there were more people like Abby in the world. He turned his attention back to the young man lying in the bed. “So, can I get you anything?”

Tony shook his head. “You already asked me that.”

“So I did.” He leaned back in the chair. “I’m guessing that you ended up promising Abby that you’d talk to me,” Gibbs surmised.

“How’d you know?”

“No one can say no to Abby. Not even me,” he added.

A tiny smile cracked the semi-stoic mask that Tony had in place and disappeared just as quickly. “I don’t know if I can keep my promise to her and then she’ll be mad at me. I hate it when she’s mad at me.”

“So do I.”

“I don’t know where to start.”

“How about the beginning?” Gibbs suggested. He felt like he was standing on a land mine and one wrong word would set it off and he would lose Tony forever. Jethro Gibbs knew he had to proceed slowly if he wanted the answers to the questions that had been plaguing him since this whole nightmare started.

“I don’t think I’m ready for that,” Tony said. “Can I just start from the time after I was reassigned to D.C. from the Seahawk?”

Gibbs’ brow furrowed. What did Tony mean that he wasn’t ready to start at the beginning? Did DiNozzo’s problems stem from something else in his past? “I guess that’ll be all right. I just want you to talk to me, Tony. I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s going on.”

Tony sighed. “I know.”

The team leader was determined that he wouldn’t rush Tony and would let the young man tell his story in his own time. He had a feeling that he was not going to like everything DiNozzo was going to say and that what the younger man was about to reveal could possibly have devastating effects on Tony personally, but everybody involved.

“Whenever you’re ready, Tony,” Gibbs said.

It still bothered Gibbs that DiNozzo wouldn’t look him in the eye, but he didn’t say anything; he wanted to make this as easy on Tony as possible.

“It was about a week or two after I came back from the Seahawk,” Tony began. “I was working late one night, you know like I usually do, and Director Vance was still there. He threw a file down on my desk and asked me to explain its contents. I opened the file and it was my medical records from the Seahawk where I had been treated for an ulcer. Vance discovered that I had failed to report that fact to Ducky and was reading me the riot act for failing to follow agency procedures.”

“Why didn’t you tell Ducky?” Jethro asked.

“It was under control and I hadn’t had any problems for a while, so I guess I just didn’t think it was important.”

“If it pertains to your health, it is important.” One of these days, Gibbs vowed to have a long talk with Tony about his lack of concern towards his own well being.

“I figured that I didn’t need another mark on my record. It’s bad enough having pneumonic plague listed in your files. Actually, I consider myself a medical marvel,” Tony tiredly boasted, “it’s too bad personnel doesn’t see it like that.”

Gibbs smiled at his senior agent; he was glad to see a hint of Tony’s usual wit shining through like a ray of sunshine amidst the gathering of dark storm clouds surrounding his agent.

Tony licked his parched lips and Gibbs automatically reached for the cup of ice and gave him a small ice chip. “Thanks,” DiNozzo said.

“You’re welcome.” Gibbs set the cup back down and patiently waited for Tony to continue.

“Vance told me he was going to have to report my ulcer and then suddenly he talking about my past undercover work and said that he had a few cases that he could use my expertise on. I told him no.”

“And he didn’t like that?” the team leader guessed.

“No. He told me that I had two choices. I could work undercover for him on these cases or he would split up the team again, this time permanently.”

The ex-Marine struggled to control the anger that was coursing through his veins. He almost wished Vance was standing right next to him so he could beat him to a pulp. “He blackmailed you into going undercover for his operations?”

Tony nodded.

“Why didn’t you come to me?” Gibbs wanted to know.

“I couldn’t. The Director told me that if you found out what I was doing that you would be the first one to go. I wasn’t willing to take that chance.”

For the second time, within the time span of a half hour, Gibbs found himself speechless once again. Tony was lying in this hospital bed because DiNozzo felt that he had to protect him, all of them. “So you agreed to go undercover for him,” Jethro deduced.

“Yes.”

“How many operations have you been involved in?”

“I’ve completed three successfully and well, I guess you figured that this last one was a bust,” Tony said.

“I kind of figured that one out. Do you want to tell me about it?”

“I was undercover to break up a drug ring that was operating in Norfolk. Two sailors, Tompkins and Currin were my contacts and after about a month, I was accepted into the ring. After that, I started gaining access to their client list and files. There’s a lot of names that…”

The team leader sensed DiNozzo’s trepidation. “Then what happened?” Gibbs gently prodded.

Tony’s gaze shifted to the blank wall opposite Gibbs. “It took another few weeks before I met the head honcho, a former Marine by the name of Mitchell Carter and I guess maybe I was getting a little sloppy, but I got this feeling that I had met him before, but I ignored what my gut was telling me. I was tired. I’d been running off energy drinks and No-Doz for a long time and I needed a break. I asked Vance to pull me out then but he didn’t. He said that I had to stay undercover.” Tony paused and swallowed hard. “He told me that I was expendable.”

“What?” the team leader roared. “He told you were expendable? That bastard!”

Tony visibly cringed at Gibb’s verbal explosion. Jethro began to apologize profusely. “I’m sorry, Tony. I’m not upset at you.”

“I know,” Tony softly replied.

Gibbs placed a calloused hand on Tony’s arm. “Do you feel like continuing?” He was already aware of the fact that Tony was feeling like he had no control over his life and Gibbs was determined to give the young man back a modicum of the control that he had lost. If DiNozzo wanted to quit for now, Gibbs silently vowed that he would not push him.

“Sure. Might as well.”

Jethro nodded. “Whenever you’re ready.”

“I don’t guess there’s too much more to say. The other day, I got the call to Norfolk and when I got there, I discovered that Currin made me out to be a fed, so I called Vance and told him that I had to pull out and he wouldn’t let me. I guess that he figured that if I died, there would be one less thorn in his side.

“I ended up in a shootout with Currin and Tompkins and I killed them both. Since they were both dead, and no one else it, I assumed my cover was safe and so I went to the harbor to wait for the ship; no one was there but Carter and a few of his henchmen. That was when he informed me that Vance had been right, but he never told me what about. We fought and I got away from them; they shot at my car and I ended up wrecking it after a bullet grazed my head. I figure that some passerby called 911 and the next thing I know I’m waking up in the hospital with a concussion. I checked myself out and the rest you know.”

Gibbs scrubbed his face with his other hand. “God, Tony. I wish I knew what to say.”

Tony shrugged. “I wish you did, too.”

“I guess that explains why Vance is so eager to find you. He wants to do damage control.”

“Actually, I think that he just wants me to keep my mouth shut,” DiNozzo rationalized. “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter anyway.”

“Why not?”

The team leader was not expecting Tony’s next words.

“Because I’m not doing this anymore,” Tony declared. “I’m quitting NCIS.”

Gibbs felt as if he had been punched in the stomach. He had to have misunderstood what Tony had said.

“What?”

“I’m quitting NCIS,” DiNozzo forcibly repeated. “I can’t handle it anymore.”

“Don’t you let Vance win,” Gibbs begged the younger man. “I’ve never known you to give up, Tony; in all the years we’ve worked with each other, you’ve been the glue that’s held this team together.”

Tony shook his head. “No, I haven’t.”

“Tony, listen to me,” Gibbs desperately pleaded. “Don’t let Vance take this away from you. Fight for what you believe in.”

“That’s the problem, Gibbs. I don’t know what I believe in anymore. The only thing I know for certain is that Vance is going to turn this on me and take me down and I swear that he’s going down with me. I don’t want you or any of the others associated with this mess I’ve gotten myself in.”

Gibbs breathed a sigh of relief. “I’m glad to see you’ve got some fight left in you. But I want you to listen to me. I’m not going to let you quit NCIS in order to protect us. We can take care of ourselves. You’re tired. It’s your exhaustion talking,” Jethro tried to reason. “Don’t make any hasty judgments until you’re feeling better. Will you promise me that?”

“I won’t change my mind.”

“Just don’t make any decisions right now, okay?”

Gibbs waited for what seemed like hours before Tony finally agreed to wait. He was convinced that there was something else contributing to DiNozzo’s decision besides an undercover operation going bad. Vance certainly played a part, but there was something else bothering Tony.

“Gibbs, I…”

“What is it, Tony?’

“Thanks for listening.”

Gibbs gently squeezed Tony’s forearm. “You don’t have to thank me, Tony. If I had been paying attention and listening all along, maybe none of this would have happened.”

Again, Tony’s reaction caught the team leader off guard. Gibbs’ confusion only grew when DiNozzo jerked his arm free of the ex-Marine’s grasp. “Tony? What’s wrong?”

Silence.

“Tony, what’s wrong?” Gibbs asked again.

More silence.

“Tony?” he called out for a third time.

“I have enough problems to deal with; I don’t need your misplaced guilt!” Tony snapped.

“Tony, I was just…”

“You were just trying to…” Tony clenched his fist. “You’re not responsible for me or for what’s happened. I did it to myself.”

“I look out for my own,” Gibbs said with a forced calmness. “Or have you forgotten that?”

Tony hung his head. “No, I haven’t forgotten. I’m just not sure…”

“What, Tony?”

“I’m not exactly sure where I belong.”

Gibbs’ expression softened. “What do you mean, Tony?”

The young man closed his eyes. Jethro could tell that Tony was through talking for now.

“I’m kind of tired, Gibbs,” Tony said. “Can we finish this later?”

Gibbs nodded. “Yeah. But Tony, we are going to finish this. Understand?”

“I gotcha, Boss.”

The former Marine waited until he was certain that DiNozzo was asleep. It had been a long time since he was consumed by the kind of rage that demanded justice, and he would make sure that DiNozzo got justice for what he had been through. Rising up from his seat, he quietly slipped out of Tony’s room.

“Gibbs, where are you going?”

He turned to see Abby coming towards him. Gibbs took the cup of coffee that Abby handed to him and mumbled, “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, my silver haired fox,” she cheerfully replied. “So, did Tony talk to you?”

Gibbs took a sip of coffee. “Yeah.”

“And?”

“And I listened.”

Abby crossed her arms and attempted to imitate his famous glare. He kissed her on the head, “Haven’t quite got it yet, Abs.” Gibbs nodded towards Tony’s room. “Stay with him.”

“Where are you going?”

“Back to D.C.”

“You can’t just leave him and go back to D.C.! He needs you.”

“I’m not leaving him, Abs”, he promised. “I’ll be back as soon as I talk to Vance and figure out what the hell gave him the right to screw with DiNozzo’s life.”

“I love it when you go all Poppa Bear,” Abby said. “Just hurry back.”

“I will, Abs. I will.”

It only took a couple of long strides before he was out of ICU and headed towards the parking lot. The only thing on his mind was his upcoming confrontation with Vance; he would make sure the Director answered for what he did to Tony. Gibbs knew he should probably let the SecNav handle it, but this was personal. Vance had crossed the line and now he had to face the consequences.

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