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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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17

Gibbs snapped his phone shut and threw it on the seat beside him. He figured that as soon as the call was disconnected, the Director would be attempting to locate him through the GPS tracker in Fornell’s phone. Fortunately, the team leader had enough insight into the way that Vance operated, that he had called McGee before he called the Director and ordered him to scramble the GPS signal. He would like to see Leon’s face when he discovered that he had been outsmarted once again by Gibbs and his team.

He was a couple hours away from home and yet it seemed like an eternity. Ever since he had left Stillwater, his thoughts had been consumed by his last conversation with Tony, as well as with what he was going to say to Vance. Gibbs would never forget the expression on DiNozzo’s face when he had told him that Vance had declared him expendable. He knew that Tony would take that comment to heart, dredging up memories of the past that his senior agent would rather leave buried in the recesses of his mind. Damn Vance! The former Marine vowed to uncover the reason for the Director’s hatred for his agent.

The look of defeat on Tony’s face was utterly heartbreaking. DiNozzo was infamous for being able to push his feelings aside and act if nothing were wrong; but now, Tony had reached his breaking point and Gibbs wasn’t sure how to help the younger man pick up the pieces of his shattered life. He had been angry at Jack when he had all but said that he was part of Tony’s problems; maybe his dad was right.

Gibbs had to admit that their relationship had changed over the past couple of years, but he wasn’t sure when it started to happen. Was it when he returned from Mexico, or was it when he discovered that Tony had been working undercover for Jenny? Could it have been the unspoken blame that he placed on DiNozzo’s shoulders when Jen had died? So much had happened, especially in the last couple of years. Had he just assumed that Tony was dealing with the various situations as he normally did? “God, Tony, how could I’ve been so blind?” he mumbled to himself.

“Because you didn’t want to see what was happening,” Gibbs answered. “Great, I’m talking to myself now. Wouldn’t DiNozzo like to see this?”

He could almost hear Tony saying, “Boss, you know what talking to yourself is a sign of, don’t you?”

Normally, that would earn the agent a head slap, but lately, those had been few and far between. He knew that Tony preferred Gibbs growling at him and giving him head slaps every day, but the team leader had not been as free with them since DiNozzo’s return. Tony had returned a changed man; Ziva had been right when she said that DiNozzo seemed older. Gibbs recalled the image of Tony lying in the bed in ICU and he realized that Ziva had been right; his senior field agent looked as if he had aged ten years. Again, Gibbs silently cursed the Director for the sheer hell he had been putting DiNozzo through.

His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone. He recognized the number as belonging to Ducky. He flipped the phone open, “Yeah, Gibbs,” he grunted.

“Jethro, I hope you don’t mind me calling you. I spoke with young Timothy and he told me that it would be all right to call you at this number,” the ME explained.

“It’s all right, Duck,” Gibbs assured the Scotsman. “What do you need?”

“I just wanted you to know that I’ve had several conversations with Dr. Marshall regarding Tony.”

“Is something wrong?” Jethro anxiously inquired. “He was resting when I left.”

“She assured me that he’s still resting and that Mrs. DiNozzo was by his side. Of course, I was relieved to learn that Anthony’s bride was none other than Abigail.”

“It’s a long story, Ducky.”

“I can’t wait to hear it.”

Gibbs sensed that his long time friend was trying to avoid telling him something. “So, how long am I going to have to wait until you tell me the real reason that you called me.”

“You know me too well, Jethro.”

“So, are you going to tell me?” the team leader pressed.

“My last conversation with the lovely Dr. Marshall was just over a couple of hours ago. She had just come from checking on Tony and he was doing very well. Katherine was looking for you to talk to you about something, but you had long since left.”

“Get to the point, Duck.”

“I’m getting there, Jethro,” the ME stated. “She called me since I’m his doctor and told me that she’d like to recommend a psychiatric consultation for Tony once he’s out of ICU.”

“What?”

“She wants to recommend a…”

“I heard you,” the ex-Marine snapped. “He doesn’t need a shrink, Ducky. He needs to be able to get back to his normal life without having Vance breathing down his neck and telling him that he’s expendable.”

“Jethro, I see your point, but I do think the consult is a good idea. It certainly couldn’t hurt,” Ducky tried to reason.

“All that’s going to do is make DiNozzo think that he’s lost it. I know how Tony thinks, Duck. This isn’t a good idea.”

“You don’t know Tony as well as you think you do.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” the team leader challenged.

“In case you haven’t noticed, Tony isn’t the same person that he was a year ago,” Ducky pointed out. “He still wants to please you, but now it doesn’t seem to be as important to him; I’m not sure if he is just simply too tired to care or if he’s decided that he’s never going to get your approval and has accepted it.”

Gripping the steering wheel, he fought the urge to yell at the ME. Through gritted teeth, he said, “You are the third person who has implied that I am in some way responsible for Tony’s condition.”

“Are you?” Ducky asked.

Gibbs remained silent for a moment. He knew that Katherine believed him to be partly responsible for Tony’s fragile state of mind, but to hear the same thing from his father and one of his oldest friends, forced Jethro to consider their words. What was he missing? What did they see that he could not? He sighed in frustration; he really didn’t need to think about this now. He had to be focused for his confrontation with Vance. “No psych evaluation, at least for now.”

“But Jethro,” Ducky started to protest.

“At least not until I get back. Understand?”

“I’ll pass that along to Dr. Marshall,” the ME promised.

Gibbs closed his phone and tossed it over his shoulder. He didn’t want to talk to anyone else right at the moment; for now, he was content to silently contemplate what he was going to say to Director Leon Vance. However, he was finding it difficult to concentrate due to the fact that Ducky and Jack’s words kept replaying in his mind.

Tony had to know that Gibbs was proud of him. He had told his senior agent just how proud he was of him not too long ago, but apparently, it had been too little, too late. DiNozzo had already been well on his way to self-destructing thanks to Vance’s covert operations. “Aw, Tony,” he whispered. “I wish that you could have felt like you could have come to me. I let you down.”

He knew that when he got back to Stillwater, Gibbs would have to break one of his infamous rules. The team leader was going to have to apologize to Tony; a father was going to have to tell his son he was sorry. Expressing regret was not something that came easily to Jethro Gibbs, but for Tony’s sake, he found himself willing to put aside his uneasiness and acknowledge the fact that he had messed up by ignoring Tony’s silent pleas for help.

Gibbs pulled Fornell’s car in his driveway and cut off the engine. He glanced at his watch. Vance would be here soon, possibly before his three hour deadline. The toothpick, as Tony often called the Director, had a habit of showing up early and Gibbs was going to be ready for him. The gauntlet had been thrown when Vance had blackmailed Tony into working undercover for him; Gibbs was now prepared to pick up that gauntlet and slay the dragon that had taken on the form of NCIS Director Leon Vance.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Tony felt something tickling his arm. Slowly opening his eyes, he looked down to see a black pigtail lying across his arm. He smiled to himself. Abby. He should have known that she would still be here; she was always there for him even when he denied needing anybody. It frightened him that she seemed to be able to see beyond the façade that he constantly hid behind. Of course, he knew a lot about her as well; he even knew things about Abby that Gibbs didn’t know.

With his other hand, he slowly reached across and laid it on top of Abby’s head and softly called her name. “Abby?”

She sat straight up, panic etched on her normally pale features. “Oh my gosh! I didn’t mean to sleep that long!” she exclaimed.

“How long were you asleep, Abs?” Tony wearily asked.

“At least three hours.”

“That’s about two more hours than you usually get. You must be really tired.”

“Just worried,” Abby replied. “Plus, I haven’t had a Caf-Pow in quite a while. Jack was going out to see if he could find me one. If not, he said that he’d get me some Red Bull.”

“Maybe you could put one of those Red Bulls in my IV so I can get some energy,” Tony playfully suggested.

Abby winked at him. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Right now, I’d settle for something to eat.”

“You’re hungry! That’s a good sign; it means you’re getting better.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Hunger was probably a good sign that he was actually getting better physically, but he still couldn’t shake the growing feeling of guilt that was starting to consume him; guilt for not being strong enough to stand up to Vance, guilt for dragging his friends into the mess that his life had become, and guilt for not measuring up to his own expectations.

He smiled as Abby ran her fingers through his hair. “It needs washing. Whenever they move you to a regular room, I’ll go and get your favorite shampoo and help you wash it.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I know. I want to.”

“Thanks.”

He watched as Abby reached across him and grabbed the call button. “I’ll tell the nurse that you’re hungry; maybe she can get you a tray.”

“Thanks, Abs,” he whispered.

“You’re welcome.”

He listened as Abby told the nurse that he needed something to eat. “Don’t take too long,” she warned the nurse. “A hungry DiNozzo is not someone you want to deal with.”

Tony rolled his eyes, silently amused by Abby’s directness. “So, are you trying to make me sound like I’m a difficult patient?”

Abby shook her head. “Oh, they already know that. I’m just trying to give them pointers on how to keep you happy.”

He eyed the pitcher of water sitting next to his ice chips. Before he could ask for a drink, Abby was pouring him some water in a cup. She put the straw up to his lips and he greedily drank. “Not too much at one time,” she fussed.

“I’m thirsty.”

“So I noticed.” She set the cup back down on the nightstand. “By the way, I really like your doctor.”

“I knew you would. Doesn’t she remind you of Kate?”

“Yeah, a little. She really is worried about you.”

“I know,” he sighed. “I’m worried about me, too.”

“What do you mean?” Abby wanted to know.

“Nothing,” he answered a bit too quickly. “You know that you can’t pay attention to what I say when I’m taking any kind of pain medication.”

“You seem pretty with it to me,” she observed.

“You’re just saying that.”

“Don’t try and pull your charm on me, DiNozzo. It won’t work.”

“It wouldn’t do me any good, you always see right through me,” he reminded her.

“Yep. So, you want to tell me what you and Gibbs talked about?”

Tony was used to Abby jumping from one train of thought to another, often switching tracks in the middle of a conversation; he usually could keep up with her, but this time, it took him by surprise. Damn medication!

“Not really,” he muttered.

“Tony, please,” she begged. “It’ll make you feel better.”

“I’m all talked out, Abs.”

“Are you ever going to tell me what you two talked about?” she pressed.

Tony shrugged. “Maybe one day. Just not right now.” The young man looked out the door. “By the way, where is Gibbs?”

“He didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“Where he was going?”

“No.” Tony found the button that would raise him up to a sitting position.

“What are you doing?”

Abby started to lower him back down, but he grabbed her hand. “Where is Gibbs? You’ve never lied to me before Abs, don’t start now.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you,” she said. “But you have to promise me that you will stay calm.”

“Just tell me.”

“He went back to D.C., but he said that he would be back as soon as he could.”

“He went to D.C.?” Tony felt like he had been punched in the stomach. “He’s going to see Vance, isn’t he?”

He didn’t have to see Abby nod to know the answer to his question. He laid his head back on his pillow and closed his eyes. “This can’t be happening. This is exactly what I didn’t want!”

“Tony? What are you talking about?”

Opening his eyes, he met Abby’s concerned glaze. “Gibbs and Vance,” Tony barked, knowing later that he would have to apologize to Abby for his rudeness. “If Gibbs confronts Vance, all hell is going to break loose and…” He forced himself to slow his breathing. “Get me a phone,” he instructed the Goth.

“Tony, you’re still in ICU,” Abby said.

“Get me a phone, now.”

“But Tony, you need to rest.”

Tony reached for his IV, threatening to pull it out. “Abby, you either get me a phone or I’ll check myself out of here AMA and find one.”

Abby put her hands on her hips. “Tony, that’s not fair.”

“Your choice.”

Tony never took his eyes off of his friend as she dumped out her purse on his bed. He reached out and grabbed her cell phone.

“You’re not supposed to use it in ICU. It’ll interfere with the monitors,” she stated.

Ignoring Abby’s warning, he turned on the cell phone and began to dial the number that he unfortunately had become all too familiar with.

“Who are you calling anyway?” Abby inquired.

Tony looked straight ahead, ignoring Abby’s question. She would find out soon enough. He swallowed nervously as he heard the one voice that he had come to fear more than his father’s. He took a deep breath and said, “Director Vance? It’s me…”



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