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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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Tony didn’t bother watching as the nurse removed the IV from his hand; he had never been fond of needles and his dislike for them had significantly increased after having the plague. Actually, he hated hospitals and doctors even more than needles; but his distaste for the medical field had nothing to do with why he was checking himself out against medical advice. He just knew that if he were going to have a showdown with Vance, he didn’t want to be lying in a hospital bed. Tony would not allow the Director to use his physical illness against him.

The nurse indicated that she was done and Tony nodded his thanks. In a few minutes, Kate would be back in here to see him and although she would probably try and convince him to stay, his mind was made up and there was nothing that she could say that would change it. Tony slowly sat up in the bed and looked around the room. He saw his clothes lying across the foot of the bed and came to the conclusion that the nurse must have brought them in to him.

He was thankful that the dizziness and nausea were starting to subside, but he still had the remnants of a headache, which had been exacerbated by his conversation with Vance and Gibbs. Swinging his feet around, he sat on the edge of the bed in an effort to muster the energy that he was going to need to put his clothes on. He shook his head in frustration. If he didn’t have enough strength to get his clothes on, how was he going to handle a confrontation with the Director?

“One of these days Anthony, you’re going to learn not to get yourself in such stupid predicaments,” he muttered to himself. “All you’re doing is proving your father right.”

“Your father wasn’t right.”

Tony looked up to see Abby standing in the door way. He figured that the Goth had conveniently excused herself from the room earlier to go and call Gibbs because of the escalating situation between him and Kate. Tony wasn’t mad at Abby; he knew that she was worried about him. It always seemed like he was causing unnecessary worries to those who truly cared about him.

He tiredly smiled at his friend. She was the only person that he had ever confided in about his childhood. Tony would give glimpses to the others, but Abby was the only one who knew all the sordid details of his past. “I think that may be up for debate,” he replied.

“You know that’s not true,” Abby said as she sat down beside him on the bed.

“Like I said, it’s up for debate. Right now, all I can hear in my head is what a failure I am and how I manage to screw up everything thing I do.” Tony laughed bitterly. “Of course, I can’t forget about the part where I end up hurting anyone who gets too close to me. You better watch out Abby, you could be next.”

Abby laid her head on his shoulder. “I hate it when you talk like that. It scares me,” she admitted.

Tony kissed the top of her head. “I’m sorry. You know how I get when I have a lot on my mind.”

“I know.”

He put his arm around Abby and the two friends sat in companionable silence for a few minutes. Tony knew he had to get his head on straight and he was glad that Abby was here to help keep him focused.

“So, how mad was Gibbs?” Tony asked, finally breaking the silence.

“Gibbs? What makes you think I’ve talked to Gibbs?”

DiNozzo rolled his eyes. “I know you left the room so you could call him and tell him that I was checking myself out of the hospital.”

“I’m sorry, Tony,” Abby apologized profusely. “I didn’t know what else to do. I mean you’re still sick and you really shouldn’t be out of the hospital. You’re under a lot of stress and with Vance coming, your stress level is going to go through the roof and…”

Tony placed his index finger on Abby’s lips. “Abby, it’s all right,” he assured her. “ What did Gibbs say?”

“He ordered you to stay put.”

He instantly recognized the voice of Dr. Katherine Marshall. “And how do you know what he said?” Tony inquired.

“Because I talked to him,” Kate answered.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that Abby was looking decidedly guilty. Glancing over at his friend, he shook his head in disbelief. “You let her talk to Gibbs?”

Abby shrugged. “Gibbs made me do it.”

“Figures,” he muttered under his breath.

Tony ran his hand through his hair as he turned his attention back the doctor. “Have you got my walking papers ready? I need to get out of here.”

His eyes remained fixed on the physician as she stood in front of him with her arms crossed, reminding him of a parent preparing to deliver a stern lecture to a child.

“I take it that you’re not going to obey that order,” Kate observed. “Agent Gibbs was so sure that you follow his instructions to the letter.”

“Guess he was wrong.”

“I guess he was,” the doctor agreed. “He’s not going to be happy.”

“I don’t think that I’ve done a whole hell of a lot to make him happy for quite a while,” Tony retorted.

“Why do you say that?”

Tony’s gaze narrowed. “Don’t try and get inside my head, Kate. It’s not a pretty place.”

“I was just…”

“It doesn’t matter. Do you have my discharge papers ready or not?” he asked again, his patience starting to wear thin.

“Yes, I have them, but I wish you would reconsider,” Kate urged.

“I can’t.”

He felt Abby squeeze his hand, her constant presence serving as a source of strength. Tony was having a hard time believing that he was going to disobey a direct order from Gibbs, but he truly had no choice. Maybe one of these days, the former Marine would appreciate the sacrifice that Tony was about to make.

“I had to ask,” Kate said.

“I know.”

“Get dressed and I’ll be right back,” the physician instructed.

Tony didn’t miss the hint of defeat in Kate’s tone. As the doctor left, Tony shakily stood to his feet, grateful that Abby was there by his side. He leaned on her until he was certain that he could stand by himself. Tony nodded his thanks to Abby and pulled free from her embrace.

“Do you need any help?” the Goth asked.

He sheepishly grinned. “I think I can manage, Abs.”

“It’s not like I haven’t seen you naked before,” Abby pointed out.

“I know. I still think I can manage.”

“Suit yourself. I’ll just sit here and watch.”

“Abs, you don’t have to stay.”

“Of course I do. I have no intention of letting you out of my sight until Gibbs arrives.”

“You’re just trying to get back on his good side,” he teased.

“Do you think it will work?”

Tony shrugged as he removed the hospital gown. “It depends on his trip up here. If he’s coming with Vance, I wouldn’t count on Gibbs being in a good mood for a long time.”

“That’s what I was afraid of.”

“Don’t worry, Abs,” Tony said. “You’re still his favorite.”

“You really think so?”

He slipped on his shirt on and slowly buttoned it. “I don’t think. I know that you’re his favorite.”

“So are you,” Abby reminded him. “He really is worried about you. That’s why he ordered you to stay put.”

“Sure,” he answered without conviction.

Tony finished buttoning his shirt and sat back down on the bed to put on his pants. The simple act of dressing was exhausting and a light sheen of perspiration appeared on his forehead. As he pulled his pants up to his knees, he allowed a small groan to escape. This prompted Abby to grab his socks away from him and put them on his feet.

“Thanks,” he whispered.

“You’re welcome, Tony.”

Rising back to his feet, he pulled his pants up and fastened them while simultaneously stepping into his shoes.

“Still going commando, DiNozzo?” Abby playfully taunted.

He winked at the Goth. “Always. It saves time.”

Tony walked over to the mirror and studied his reflection. He had to admit that he still looked like crap, but at least he was up and moving about. DiNozzo decided that as soon as he got back to Jack’s place, he was going to take a hot shower and shave. It may not help his looks, but Tony was certain that it would help him feel more human.

“Tony?” Abby softly called to him. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“What did you mean earlier when you said that you haven’t done a lot lately to make Gibbs happy?” she reluctantly asked.

“Just what I said. I just get the feeling that…”

He paused, searching for the right words.

“That what?” Abby pressed.

“That he doesn’t want me around anymore. I don’t seem to be able to say or do anything right. I used to be able to take the harsh comments because I always thought that he was kidding. Now, I’m not so sure. One of the other guys even told me that he overhead Gibbs saying that I needed an attitude adjustment. I don’t know what I’ve done Abs and he isn’t going to tell me. I’ve been with him almost eight years and I guess maybe I’ve worn out my welcome. God knows that I’ve lasted longer at NCIS than I have anywhere else. I…”

Tony choked back a sob. “After I get this mess cleared up, if I still have a career, I’m going to be moving on.”

He refused to look at Abby when he heard her sniffle. “You and Gibbs just need to talk things out. All families have problems from time to time, including ours. You two can work this out,” she insisted.

“I don’t know if we can, Abs. I guess that I needed him to be that father figure in my life that I didn’t have growing up and Gibbs just doesn’t want that responsibility.”

Tony smiled when Abby kissed him on the cheek again. “You’ll work it out,” she vowed. “If I have to lock the two of you in my lab, oh wait, that’s probably not a good idea; there’s too many sharp objects. If I have to lock the two of you up…”

“Abs, I appreciate what you’re doing, but it won’t work. Neither one of us is very good at talking about our feelings and I’m tired of fighting.”

“Tony, please. Don’t walk away from us,” Abby begged. “We’re your family.”

“She’s right, son.”

Tony smiled at the elder Gibbs as he walked in the room. “Hey, Jack,” he wearily greeted.

“Families need to talk things through,” Jackson continued. “You don’t want to end up like me and Leroy and not speak for fifteen years. Fathers and sons need to communicate.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Tony said. “But in my family, my father did all the talking and I was expected to listen. Nothing’s changed with Gibbs. He talks and expects me to listen. Neither of them are interested in what I have to say.”

Jack sighed. “Let’s get you out of here and back to my place and we can finish this conversation somewhere more comfortable.”

“So I take it you’re my ride,” Tony mused.

“Katherine called me and after she was done cussing me out, she told me to come and get you and take you back home with me,” he explained.

“Sorry to be so much trouble.”

“No trouble,” Jack said. “After all, we’re practically family.”

Tony nodded and sat down in the chair to wait for Katherine’s return. He was aware that Abby and Jack were trying to make him feel better and he truly appreciated their efforts. But talking wasn’t going to fix whatever was wrong between him and Gibbs; he wasn’t sure that there was anything to be fixed. Maybe he had been so desperate for a father figure that he thrust Gibbs in that role without considering that possibility that the team leader wasn’t interested in becoming his surrogate father.

For as much as he dreaded facing Vance, he was almost sick at the thought of having to see Gibbs again. Tony was starting to believe that everything would have been a lot easier if that bullet that grazed his head would have been a few centimeters the other way.



XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX



Gibbs glanced at his watch, mentally calculating how much time he had before Ziva and Vance arrived. He was still angry at DiNozzo for baiting Vance, but truthfully, he was angry with himself for leaving Stillwater. His dad had tried to warn him, but once again, Jethro Gibbs was determined to do things his own way and in turn, he made things worse for his senior field agent.

A knock at his door interrupted his thoughts. For some unexplainable reason, he knew that his visitor wasn’t Ziva or Vance. Picking up a set of keys off the kitchen table, he walked towards the front door.

He opened the door and held the keys up in the air. FBI Agent Tobias Fornell snatched them out of his hand as he entered the house.

“I hope you gassed it back up,” Fornell said.

“It has as much in it as when I borrowed it, Tobias.”

“It was almost on empty.”

“I know.”

Gibbs smiled at his old friend. “Want a drink?”

“Sure.”

The former Marine poured two drinks and handed a glass to his colleague. “I figured that you’d come around sooner or later. I was going to leave your keys where you could find them.”

“I thought I’d try and catch you and see how things were going,” Fornell replied.

“I don’t know,” the team leader admitted. “One minute I think that everything’s going to be okay and the next thing I know, everything’s gone to hell.”

“How’s DiNozzo?”

“Beats me. I can barely get a straight answer out of him these days. He finally told me enough to where I could take down Vance and then he calls and tells me not to. He wants me to trust him, but he doesn’t trust me enough to be completely honest with me about what’s going on,” Gibbs fumed.

“Maybe he can’t.”

“DiNozzo got burnt badly on the La Grenouille operation and I didn’t think I would see the day that he would willingly go undercover without telling me. But come to find out, he was letting Vance blackmail him into doing some covert operations and now…” Gibbs swallowed hard. “Now, I have an agent lying in the hospital because of Director Vance believing that he’s expendable. When Tony first started working for me, it took a long time for me to convince him that his life mattered. He was reckless and willing to put himself on the line without thinking about the consequences.”

“Sounds like someone else I know,” Tobias quipped.

“Don’t start, Fornell.”

“How come you’re the only one who can’t see how much you and DiNozzo are alike? He’s made himself into a junior Leroy Jethro Gibbs and you have to admit, you’re honored by the fact that he wants to be like you.”

“I never asked him to be like me. I always wanted him to be his own man.”

“And he is, but he used you as his role model,” the FBI agent pointed out.

“I never told him to.”

“Sometimes fathers and sons…”

“I’m not his father!” the team leader snapped.

“No, you’re not. Even though you’re a bastard, you’re not half the bastard DiNozzo’s father was.”

Gibbs shook his head, frustrated by the conversation. He didn’t have time to debate his and DiNozzo’s relationship; he had to stay focused for what was going to happen in the next few hours.

“So, why are you really here, Tobias?” Gibbs wanted to know.

“Thought you’d want to know that the FBI is looking for your boy,” Fornell informed him. “Fortunately, they put me in charge of finding him.”

“Why do they want him?”

“He apparently has something in his possession that could destroy a lot of careers and they don’t want it falling in the wrong hands.”

“The wrong hands,” Gibbs repeated. “Meaning Vance or the SecNav?”

“I don’t know; my orders were to bring him in.”

“I don’t know where he is,” Gibbs stated.

“I have Sacks following a lead in L.A. It should take him a day or so.”

Gibbs smiled. “Anymore leads, Tobias?”

“I think there’s one in Arizona that I’ll have him check out if the one in L.A. doesn’t pan out.”

Gibbs shook his friend’s hand. “Thanks, Tobias.”

“You’re welcome. I don’t know how long I can keep running down false leads, but it’ll buy you a little time to get to the bottom of it.”

Gibbs followed Fornell out to his car. “Thanks again,” he said.

“Tell DiNozzo he owes me one.”

“I’ll pass that along.”

The ex-Marine watched as Fornell pulled out of his driveway and headed down the street, out of sight. “DiNozzo, I swear we are going to have a long talk,” he mumbled to himself.

He heard the blaring of a horn and knew without looking that Ziva was speeding down his street. Gibbs smiled in amusement at the Mossad officer as she screeched to a stop and got out of her car. “Who did you run off the road this time?” he inquired.

“It looked like Fornell, but I’m not sure,” she replied.

“Thanks for getting here so quickly.”

“No problem. I’m eager to see Tony again and if I have to do a protection detail to do so, then so be it.”

Gibbs had often wondered about Ziva and Tony’s relationship. They seemed to enjoy teasing each other, their conversation often laced with sexual innuendos and constant flirting. As far as he knew, neither had broken rule number 12, but he wondered how much longer it would be before they did.

“I’m sure seeing you will do DiNozzo some good.”

“He probably won’t agree with you by the time I’m done kicking his ass for pulling a stunt like this.”

“You might have to stand in line.”

“Perhaps if you just gave him a good head slap,” Ziva suggested.

“I haven’t had to slap DiNozzo in a long time.”

“Why not?” she asked. “There have been many times that he deserved it. Sometimes I think that he says things just to see if you’ll head slap him.”

“We’ll leave as soon as Vance gets here,” Gibbs informed her, intentionally changing the subject. Ziva seemed to get the hint that he was through with that particular discussion.

“I will be ready.”

“I know you will.”

“So, how is Tony? Is he better?”

“A little, maybe. I’m not sure.”

“He hasn’t looked well to me for quite some time. Actually, since he has returned from his tme as Agent Afloat, he has been…”

“I know, Ziva,” he grunted.

Gibbs ignored her icy glare. “Are you going to let me finish any of my sentences?” she demanded to know.

“It depends on what you’re going to talk about.”

“Fine,” she snapped. “I will not say another word about Tony.”

“Thank you.”

“Except for one more thing. He is my friend and my partner and I don’t like seeing him hurt.”

“I don’t either, Ziva.”

He saw Ziva nervously lick her lips. “Permission to speak freely?” she asked.

“Since when have you asked permission?”

“Since now.”

“Granted.”

“Tony doesn’t know how to handle the way that you’ve been treating him. He has always acted as a buffer between us and you, taking the brunt of your anger and frustration; but I think that your harsh words are wearing him down to the point that he starting to believe that he can’t do anything to please you.”

“Did he tell you this?” the team leader wanted to know..

Ziva shook her head. “No, but I’ve spent my life reading people and I can see the pain in Tony’s face every time that he thinks that he’s disappointed you.”

Gibbs felt as if he had been punched in the gut. He respected both Ziva and Fornell and they were both telling him the same thing. Tony’s existence relied on Gibbs’ approval and the former Marine was too blind to see that he was slowly destroying his senior agent..

“I’m sorry if I have offended you,” Ziva apologized.

“Don’t apologize,” Gibbs mumbled.

“I know. It’s a sign of weakness.”

He didn’t get the chance to answer. Vance’s car pulled up to the curb and the Director got out and slung his overnight bag over his shoulder. Vance wore a smug expression that Gibbs silently vowed to erase from the man’s face.

Without saying a word, the three of them climbed into the car that his dad had restored for him. Gibbs had purposefully placed Vance in the back seat, knowing that the Director would have a very cramped ride to Stillwater. The team leader smiled in the rearview mirror as Vance tried to get comfortable.

“Ready?” he asked as he put the car in gear and mashed down on the gas pedal.

Glancing at his speedometer, Gibbs made sure that he was driving the exact speed limit. He was going to give DiNozzo as much time as he could to prepare for the meeting with Vance. Gibbs saw a smile spread across Ziva’s face as she realized what he was doing. He had barely turned off his street before Ziva requested to stop and get something to drink. Gibbs was glad to oblige.

Yes, the ride to Stillwater was going to be a long one and Leroy Jethro Gibbs was going to make sure that it was a ride that Director Leon Vance would never forget.



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