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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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Jackson Gibbs glanced at his watch and then took another sip of his coffee. It had been almost an hour since he and Abby had brought Tony home from the hospital. They had encouraged the young man to rest, but the obstinate agent insisted on taking a shower muttering something about looking good for his execution. Abby was outside making a phone call and now, Jack was waiting on DiNozzo to join him so they could talk. The older man knew that Tony was preoccupied with his impending confrontation with Director Vance, but Jack had a feeling that there were other issues that needed to be addressed; issues that concerned his own son’s relationship with the younger agent.

He realized that Leroy thought of Tony DiNozzo as the son he had never had, but for some odd reason, his son refused to acknowledge his feelings to the younger man. Jack didn’t understand Leroy’s reluctance to tell Tony how he felt, but the elder Gibbs had always assumed that Jethro had his reasons. He didn’t know a lot about Tony’s relationship with his own parents, but what little he had managed to gleam from his conversations with Leroy, he had an idea that it was less than exemplary. He didn’t want to pry into DiNozzo’s business, but Jack did want him to know that he would listen if Tony wanted to talk.

Finishing his coffee, he set the cup down and rose from his seat, deciding to busy himself with pricing some new items that had just arrived. Before he knew it, another hour had past and there had been no sign of Tony. “Maybe he fell asleep,” Jack mumbled to himself.

Jack walked into the back room only to discover that Tony was nowhere around. He checked in the bathroom and the spare guest room and found that they were empty as well. Noticing the back door was ajar, he went out and looked around for the missing agent. Jack made his way to the storage shed where he had painstakingly worked on Leroy’s car for years; he had often sought refuge there himself in the past, so he figured that Tony may be able to do the same.

Opening the door, he peered inside to find Tony sitting on a workbench, his back against the wall with his knees drawn up to his chest. Jack saw that DiNozzo’s eyes were closed, but he sensed that Tony wasn’t asleep. The elder Gibbs sat down beside him, patiently waiting for Tony to make the first move.

After several more minutes of awkward silence, Tony finally spoke. Jack couldn’t help but notice the weariness in the agent’s voice. He found himself wondering how Tony was going to physically or mentally handle the challenges he would be facing in the next few hours.

“I would have given anything for my father to restore a car for me,” Tony rasped.

“It takes a lot of time and patience,” Jack replied.

“Which he didn’t have. At least for me,” the young man added.

“So, I take it your dad was a busy man.”

Tony snorted. “You could say that.”

“Did you and your dad get along?”


“I see. When’s the last time you talked to him?” Jack asked.

“Right before I left for college.”

“That’s been a while. You know Leroy and I didn’t talk for almost fifteen years.”

“I know.”

“We lost a lot of time that we can never regain,” Jack pointed out. “Maybe you should talk to your dad; time has a way of changing people’s perspectives.”

“No. My dad knows how to get a hold of me if he wants to talk.”

“Have you ever considered making the first move?”

Tony shook his head. “Nope and I’m not going to.”

“Can I ask why not?”

DiNozzo opened his eyes and stared at him. Jack was surprised by the intense hatred he saw burning in Tony’s gaze. “Because I don’t have anything to say to the bastard,” the agent growled.

“All right,” Jack sighed. “But don’t you think that…”

“Jack, I’ve never done anything but disappoint the man. I listened to him everyday for twelve years telling me what a failure I was and how I would never amount to anything. My degree of failure depended on how much he had to drink that day, but the results were the same, I wasn’t good enough and I was going to end up in the gutter.”

“Seems to me that you’ve managed to prove him wrong,” Jack said. “You’ve done quite well for yourself despite your father’s predictions. You’ve become a good man, Tony DiNozzo and don’t you let anyone tell you different. Leroy is always telling me about something that you’ve done and I can tell by the sound of his voice that he’s proud of you.”

“Gibbs is proud of me, huh? He’s only told me once and it took him almost eight years to do it,” Tony whispered. “I waited a long time to hear those words, but I think it was too little, too late.”

“What do you mean, son?”

“Nothing,” the young man mumbled. “Just thinking out loud.”

“You wouldn’t have said it if you hadn’t meant it,” Jack reasoned. “Talk to me, Tony.”

“I can’t.”

“Yes, you can.”

“You’re Gibbs’ father,” Tony pointed out.


“So?” Tony shook his head. “I’m not going to sit here and talk about your son. I mean, he’s your son; it’s not fair to you or to him. I’m not putting you in the middle.”

“It’s my choice. I want to help,” Jack urged.

“I don’t think you can.”

“Then you have to talk to Leroy.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

Jack watched with concern when DiNozzo stood up and began pacing. He was worried that Tony seemed to be expending energy that he didn’t have. “Tony, why don’t you sit back down?” Jack suggested.

“I’m okay.”

“You still look like crap.”

“Feel like crap too,” the agent retorted.

“Then why don’t you come inside and rest?”

“I’ll have plenty of time to rest later,” Tony countered. “I like being out here. It helps clear my mind so I can focus on what I’m going to have to do.”

“I think before you do anything, you should talk to Leroy,” Jack pressed.

He saw Tony bristle as his strides became longer and his movements more agitated. Had he pushed the younger man too far?

“I told you that I don’t want to!” Tony shouted.

Jack wasn’t expecting such an outburst, but he patiently listened as Tony continued his tirade.

“I don’t want to see the disappointment in his eyes when he realizes that I’m a complete and total screw up!” Tony seethed. “I tried for years to be what he wants me to be and I can’t do it anymore. He doesn’t trust me and he hasn’t for a long time. I thought that after the whole La Grenouille mess that things would get back to normal, but that was just wishful thinking on my part. I was doing what I thought was right at the time and yeah, it blew up in my face, but that’s not the point.

“I was just doing what he trained me to do. He goes off on his own crusades all the time and doesn’t feel the need to fill us in until it’s almost too late. I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia because of one of his little self serving missions. But that’s not the worst of it. I can’t forget how I got my Director killed and although he won’t say it, I know he blames me. He tried to tell me it wasn’t my fault but I can see it in his eyes. He’ll always blame me for her death.”

Jack wasn’t sure what to say. He had wanted Tony to talk to him, or at least he thought he had, until the young man had actually started opening up to him. Jack should have known better than to try and play amateur psychologist, but now he had to carry through with his promise to listen.

Standing, he intentionally blocked Tony’s path, but DiNozzo wasn’t deterred and simply stepped around him. Jack grabbed Tony by the shoulders and whirled him around. The pain and desperation in the young man’s eyes was heartbreaking. “Listen to me, son.”

Tony pulled free from his grasp and resumed his almost frantic pacing. “No!” he cried out. “I don’t want to hear how everything’s going to be okay, because it’s not. I just want to know what I’ve done to make him hate me! Can you tell me that?”

“Leroy doesn’t hate you,” Jack said.

“Really?” Tony stopped in mid-stride, his body tense as he fought for control of his raging emotions. “I spent four months at sea trying to come to terms with what I did. I kept waiting for Gibbs to call me but unless he needed something that pertained to a case, I never heard from him.”

“Did you try and call him?”

“Yeah, several times,” Tony recalled. “One time he even answered, but all he said was that he had to go. So, I just stopped trying. I still wanted to come home and four months later, I did. I thought maybe things would get back to normal, but they haven’t; if anything they’re worse.”

“Did you ever consider the possibility that maybe Leroy thinks that you’ve learned your job so well, that he doesn’t need to hold your hand anymore?”

Tony laughed. “Gibbs has never held my hand. He expects me to do my job and I do it. I always do what’s expected of me and more, but it’s not good enough. I’ve been forced to take assignments so I can keep the team together, but it’s not enough. I’ve been told that I’m expendable and that my life doesn’t matter and if you want to know the truth, I’ve gotten to where I believe it. But, once again, it isn’t enough. It’s déjà vu.

“I feel like I’m standing in my father’s study after winning the state little league baseball championship, waiting for him to say, ‘Good job, Tony’, but instead, all I hear is about how I didn’t catch that fly ball in the first inning. The thing is he didn’t see the grand slam I hit in the bottom of the ninth. I’ve worked my ass off to try and prove something to a man who doesn’t give a damn.”

“Are you talking about your father or about Leroy?” Jack asked.


Jack could feel his own anger rising at the young man standing before him. Tony had no right to place such expectations upon his son. “How can you say that? Jethro thinks of you as family; you’re like the boy he never had.”

“Maybe he used to think like that, but not anymore. If that’s the way he wants it, that’s fine, but all I want to know is why. How can I attempt to fix something when I don’t know what it is I’ve done wrong?”

Jack blew out a frustrated breath. He regretted becoming so defensive, but some habits are hard to break. Tony wasn’t the only one experiencing a sense of déjà vu. “How do you know you’re the problem?”

Tony swallowed hard. “Because, I’ve always been the problem,” he said.

“No, you’re not,” Jack assured him.

“There’s a lot of people who’d disagree with you.”

“You need to talk to Leroy,” the older man urged. “He needs to hear this.”

Tony leaned against the wall and shook his head. “No, he doesn’t. Besides, none of it’s going to matter after Vance gets here.”

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing,” Tony whispered. “Just forget it.”

“Can I offer you some advice?”


Jack moved to stand beside Tony. “You know, Leroy used to tell me some of the same things. He used to tell me that I didn’t listen and that he could never please me. I just brushed it off to him being a teenager. Looking back, I can see that he was right. I was a tough taskmaster and I thought I was teaching him character, but once he joined the Marines, I began to reexamine my life. There are things I’d like a chance to do over again, but I’m not going to get that opportunity; the only thing I can do is move forward. Jethro and I made our peace and you two need to do the same thing.”

“I’m not sure we can,” Tony said. “Despite what you think, he doesn’t want or need a son.”

“I wouldn’t be so fast to judge him,” Jack warned. “Talk to him first.”

“I don’t know,” Tony sighed. “I’ll think about it. We’ll just have to see what happens with Vance.”

“Leroy isn’t going to let Vance do anything to you.”

“He may not have a choice. I’ve made this mess and I have to clean it up before anyone else gets hurt.”


“I don’t want to talk about Vance right now,” Tony said. “I just want to tell you that I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for you to have to deal with my issues. It was like a dam burst inside me and once the words started, I couldn’t stop them. I lost control and…and I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right, Tony. You needed to talk and I have feeling that you’ve got a lot more hurt inside you, but I’m not the one who can make it better.”

“Yeah, well,” Tony stammered. “I’m still sorry. I had no right to drag you into this mess. I…”

Jack could see Tony’s eyes brimming with tears. The boy was silently seeking permission to break down and cry. He wondered how many times in his life Anthony DiNozzo had ever cried; Jack figured he could probably count the times on one hand. Tony was a strong man, but even the strong have their moments of weakness.

Reaching out he pulled the younger man to him and held him tightly. “Go ahead son and let it out.”

“I can’t…”

“Yes, you can. Go ahead.”

He could feel DiNozzo trying to pull away, but Jack simply refused to let the young man go. Jack stroked the back of Tony’s head as the agent started to weep. At first, all Jack could hear was the occasional sniffle, but his sobs quickly developed into guttural cries that pierced the old man’s soul. “It’s all right, son. It’s all right,” he whispered into Tony’s ear.

Jack wasn’t sure if Tony was hearing his attempts at consolation; the young man kept repeating the words ‘I’m sorry’, over and over like a mantra. He knew that Tony was going to need more help than he could offer, but the fact was DiNozzo would never ask for it. It was obvious to Jack that Tony demons were waging a war for control of his soul. DiNozzo believed his life wasn’t worth living and it was going to be up to Leroy to prove the young man wrong. He just prayed that Leroy’s efforts wouldn’t be too late.


McGee had chafed at the thought of being left behind. The only consolation had been the knowledge that he was helping Tony by using his skills to hack into Vance’s and the SecNav’s computer. If there was anything on those two computers that could help his friend, he would find it. Of course, if anyone discovered what he was doing, he could be looking for a new job, but it really didn’t matter. Despite their merciless teasing, Tony was his friend and wouldn’t hesitate to help him if their situations were reversed.

He had been working on cracking some of the encrypted files on the SecNav’s computer when his phone rang. McGee answered the phone and held it on his shoulder so he could continue working. “Agent McGee.”


McGee grinned at the sound of the Goth’s voice. Abby always had a way of bringing a smile to his face even in the middle of a difficult case. “Hey Abby,” he answered. “How’s it going?”

“It’s going,” she replied. “Tony’s inside taking a shower, so I decided I’d call you and see what’s happening on your end.”

“I have to say that I’m not completely sure. We had enough evidence to arrest Vance but then Tony calls and the next thing I know, Gibbs, Vance, and Ziva are on their way to Stillwater.”

“That ought to be a fun trip,” Abby muttered under her breath.

“Yeah, tell me about it.”

“So, what are you doing?” she asked.

“Uh…me? Well, I…”

“Something illegal?”

“Yeah,” he admitted. “That’s all I can tell you.”

“That’s all right. I’m kind of getting used to being kept in the dark.”

“Abby, I’m sorry. I just want to protect you.”

“Now, you sound like Tony.”

“Speaking of Tony; how is he?” McGee wanted to know.

“Not good. He’s scared, Tim. I’ve never seen him like this. I’m so worried about him.”

“We all are.”

“We have to help him, but I just don’t know how,” Abby said.

“Just be his friend,” Tim said. “It sounds like he’s going to need…”

McGee stared in astonishment as he successfully opened one of the encrypted files and began to read its contents. He wasn’t sure how long Abby had been calling his name before he found his voice again and managed to answer.

“Tim, what’s wrong?” she asked for the third time.

“Abby, this is not good. I’ve got to call Gibbs.”

“But Tim…”

He hung up on Abby and quickly dialed Gibbs’ phone, silently hoping that he actually had his phone with him. It only took two rings before he heard the gruff voice of his team leader.

“Gibbs,” the ex-Marine snapped.

“Boss, it’s me,” McGee nervously stammered.

“I know, McGee.”

“I just opened one of the files from the SecNav’s computer and well, you’re not going to believe this.”

“What is it, McGee?”

McGee swallowed hard. What he was about to tell his boss would not make the man very happy; he wasn’t sure how Gibbs would take the news. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. “Boss, maybe you better pull over for this…”

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