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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 was grateful when Ziva excused herself, leaving him alone with his thoughts. He was cherishing the quietness of the moment, knowing that this was literally the calm before the storm. Director Vance, SecNav, and Eli David all wanted to destroy not only his career, but his life as well and he truly had no idea why. He wished that he could go back in time to the point that his life had become so complicated and do things differently; of course, he surmised that he would probably have to go back to the day he was born.

He heard Gibbs and Vance in the other room and he suddenly had to fight the urge to throw up. Tony dreaded seeing the man that had caused him so much pain and distress. He wanted to run far way, but he knew that running would only make things worse, not only for him, but for everyone involved. Tony sat down on the couch and cradled his aching head with his hands, willing the pain to stop so he could think clearly. Of course, his body was beyond his control now; the only thing that was keeping him upright was his sheer determination not to appear weak in front of the Director.

A soft knock on the door interrupted his private musings. He looked at the door, momentarily debating on whether to answer it or not. Tony knew that on the other side Vance was waiting like a predator waiting to pounce on his prey. But DiNozzo was comforted by thought that Gibbs was there as well and the ex-Marine always took care of his own.

Clearing his throat, he called out, “Come in.”

The door slowly opened and Gibbs walked in, followed by Director Vance. Tony rose from the couch, hoping that no one noticed his unsteadiness. He nodded a greeting to the two men. “Gibbs; Director Vance.”

“Agent DiNozzo,” Vance tersely replied. “I believe we have some things to discuss.”

“It does appear that way, Director,” Tony snapped.

He looked at Gibbs who with a slight shake of his head silently communicated the need for Tony to stay calm and focused. Tony nodded his understanding. The team leader was right; he couldn’t let Vance rile him and catch him off guard.

“So, shall we begin?” the Director suggested. “Or are we simply going to stand here and stare at each other all day?”

“Where do you want to start, Director Vance?”

“Let’s start with why you blew this last operation to hell,” Vance growled.

Tony could feel the rage begin to build inside him. The man was arrogant and self serving and believed that he could still bully him into doing his bidding; DiNozzo was through letting this man control his life.

“I think we both know why that happened. You set me up, plain and simple.”

“You shot and killed two men, one being an undercover agent.”

“Well, you didn’t bother telling me that, did you? This so called agent gave me away and he was under direct orders to do so, especially after I discovered the...”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Agent DiNozzo. I would be careful about making such ludicrous accusations,” Vance warned.

Tony tightly clenched his fists; his nails biting into his palms. He didn’t care if he was drawing blood; the pain was keeping him focused and right now, he needed to have all his wits about him. “Cut the crap, Director. It all makes sense now.”

“What does?”

“The undercover missions, trying to get me killed; it came from someone higher than you and you were more than willing to oblige, weren’t you? You made me agree to do these operations because I was afraid that you would split up the team again; but that was just your way of ensuring that I’d go along with the missions. These operations were designed to kill me and when the first one was unsuccessful, you sent me on another, thinking that if I wasn’t killed in the line of duty, maybe I would just drop dead from sheer exhaustion! You were hoping that I’d get careless and screw up! Well it took four undercover missions, but you got your wish, you bastard! I screwed up!”

“Yes, you did,” Vance agreed. “You ended up shooting two men, one who was a federal agent.”

Tony sighed. Vance seemed to enjoy driving that point into the ground. “He was on the take,” DiNozzo proclaimed.

“Trying to cover your ass?” Vance challenged. “Perhaps you were the agent on the take and you shot those two men in order to keep your secret safe.”

DiNozzo shook his head in disbelief. He should have expected this from the Director; the man was determined to make him look guilty. “I have proof that says otherwise.”

“What kind of proof?”

Tony grinned. “You actually think I’m turning that evidence over to you? You’re out of your freakin’ mind.”

Out of the corner, he saw a tiny smile escape from the team leader’s lips. Gibbs nodded his approval, giving Tony the strength to continue. Knowing that in some way, he had regained even a minute speck of trust from the man he regarded as a father figure, made his burden a little more bearable.

“You need to remember who you’re talking to, Agent DiNozzo,” Vance said. “I hold your future and your team’s future in my hands.”

“I already know I don’t have a future and Gibbs will take care of the others; you might as well quit trying to play that card.”

He watched as Vance pulled out a fresh toothpick and placed it in his mouth. Tony knew that the Director was trying to unnerve him, but he refused to be intimidated by this man any longer.

“You still have to answer for shooting those two men.”

Tony shrugged. “I have no problem with that.”

“You’re a cocky little son of a bitch, aren’t you DiNozzo?”

“So I’ve been told.” Tony closed his eyes against a sudden wave of dizziness. He silently cursed his weakened body, knowing that in all probability, he wasn’t going to be able to continue this conversation with the Director for much longer.

He felt Gibbs steady him and then the team leader whispered, “Easy, DiNozzo.”

“I’m okay, Boss.”

Tony pulled free of the ex-Marine’s grasp. He stood tall to face Vance once again. “Like I said, Director Vance, I’m not the only one who will have some explaining to do. Somebody is going to have to explain the fact that several high paid officials and businessmen are receiving a cut of the profits from this gun running operation. Some of them are very close friends with SecNav, aren’t they?”

“Once again DiNozzo, you’re sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong,” Vance seethed.

“Force of habit.”

“That habit is going to get you killed.”

“I’m kind of like a cat…you know the whole nine lives thing. It’s going to take a whole lot more than the likes of you and Eli David to kill me.”

DiNozzo saw a hint of uncertainly flicker across Vance’s face. “Oh, I know about the contract, Director Vance. The only thing I don’t know is why.”

“And you’ll probably never know unless Eli chooses to tell you,” Vance said.

“I’m sure I’ll eventually figure it out,” Tony retorted. “Ask Gibbs. I’m pretty good at figuring things out right when it counts. The one thing that I know for sure is that I’ve got enough to take you and SecNav down and short of killing me yourself, there won’t be a damn thing you can do about it.”

“Don’t be so sure, Agent DiNozzo. You’d be surprised at the aces that I have up my sleeve.”

“Sadly, I wouldn’t. You used me and I let you. That won’t happen again,” Tony vowed.

“We’ll see about that.”

“I’m sure we will. I hope you and SecNav are prepared to answer some questions, because if I go down, I’m dragging you with me. You want to frame me for killing those two men, go ahead; but I can guarantee, that I won’t go alone.”

“So, it seems we’re at an impasse,” Vance concluded.

“Maybe.”

“Maybe I misjudged you. Perhaps you aren’t as expendable as I thought. You seemed to have learned the art of blackmail to perfection. Tell me, who taught you how to be so devious?”

“What is it you told me a few months ago? Blackmail is such an ugly word. Why don’t we call this a negotiation?” Tony asked.

“Very well, we’ll negotiate.” He watched as Vance sat down in the chair and motioned for him to take a seat. “So tell me, Agent DiNozzo, let’s go back to the names on that list you saw. Did you recognize any of them?”

Damn Vance. Tony glared at the Director. “Maybe.”

“Any of them related to you?”

“Maybe.”

“So, is that why you called me up here? To cut a deal? Because you know that taking me and SecNav down, you would also destroy your father as well. He cut you off and now you’re returning the favor,” Vance taunted. “Is that it?”

“No.”

Tony could feel Gibbs’ piercing gaze fall upon him. Surely, the team leader knew him well enough to know that he didn’t want to have any dealings with his father; he wanted to do the right thing, but DiNozzo was no longer sure what that was.

“Quit trying to take the heat off yourself, Director Vance. You knew that there was a contract on me and that SecNav sanctioned it; you coerced me into taking undercover assignments that were designed to fulfill the contract, but they didn’t. So, information gets fed to an agent on the take and I almost get killed, but not before I learn that there are benefactors from this gunrunning operation and some of them are personal friends of the Secretary of the Navy, including…” Tony paused and exhaled. “Including my father. Actually, I’m surprised my father isn’t the one who put the hit on me.

“I’ve got the proof to back up what I’m saying, plus I have a witness to this conversation and if I’m not mistaken, Gibbs already has a confession that you refused to pull me out of the operation when I told you my cover had been blown. So, if I was you, I wouldn’t be worried about my father, I’d be worried about my own ass. Because I promise you that SecNav will try and cut the strings from all this and come out smelling squeaky clean and you know who’s going to take the fall? It won’t be SecNav. Crap tends to run downhill, Director.

Vance leaned forward in his chair. “What is it you want, Agent DiNozzo? What do you expect to gain from all this?”

Tony thought for a moment. “I want you to tell my why,” he began. “I want you to tell me what I’ve done to piss you people off so much that you would want to kill me. I’ve been with NCIS for almost eight years and I’m a damn good agent, but yet for some reason, I’m suddenly expendable and this agency is willing to sacrifice me to the wolves and I don’t even know why! How can I fix something when I don’t know what I’ve done?”

Vance sat back in his chair. “Have you ever played chess, Agent DiNozzo?”

“Some.”

“Good, then you’ll understand this analogy. You see, every king has a pawn that must be sacrificed in order to win the game. You are that pawn.”

“Why me?”

Vance took the toothpick out of his mouth and stared at him. “You are the only one who could get us what we wanted,” he declared.

Tony’s anger burned deep. He never thought that he could hate anyone more than he hated his father, but he was wrong. He had been betrayed by his superiors and for what? Gibbs placed his hand on his shoulder and gently squeezed. He appreciated the support but right now, all that he could think about was the fact that he wanted to pommel Vance and the SecNav into the ground. Tony briefly wondered how many years he would get for striking a high ranking federal agent.

“Tony,” Gibbs whispered. “Let’s take a break.”

“No, I’m fine,” he protested.

“No, you’re not. Take a minute and get some fresh air,” the team leader suggested. “You don’t want to do anything rash.”

He nodded and permitted Gibbs to guide him towards the door. Tony glanced over his shoulder to Vance still sitting in the chair with a satisfied smile on his face. “When I get back,” Tony mumbled so only Gibbs could hear him, “I’m going to wipe that smirk off his face.”

Gibbs opened the back door. “Come on, Tony.”

DiNozzo nodded and went out the door. He heard Gibbs say something to the Director, but he really couldn’t make out what he said. “What did you tell him?” he asked.

“I told him that he better be there when we get back.”

Tony nodded as he began to pace. He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. He had already broken down once today; Tony knew that he couldn’t afford to let it happen again, at least not right now. Raking his hands through his hair, he gathered a clump of hair in each fist and began to pull, knowing the pain would keep him centered.

The agent felt calloused hands envelope his. “Stop it, Tony,” Gibbs softly ordered. “You’ve been hurt enough without adding any other self inflicted wounds.”

DiNozzo stopped pacing and stared at his mentor. “What did Vance mean when he said that I was the only one who could get them what they wanted?”

“I don’t know, Tony. But I swear to you that we’ll find out,” Gibbs vowed.

Despite everything that he had learned today, Gibbs was still on his side, at least for now. Tony was sure that the older man’s opinion of him had significantly dropped, over the past few days, but at the moment, Gibbs still had his six. He quickly decided that he would take what he could get.

“Are you all right?” the team leader asked.

Tony shook his head. “No.”

“At least you’re being honest with yourself.”

“For a change.”

“Yeah. Do you want to…”

Tony never heard the rest of Gibbs’ question. He clutched his stomach and doubled over, crying out in agony. DiNozzo fell to his knees and attempted to breathe through the pain, but his efforts were proving futile as he collapsed onto the ground. He could hear Gibbs frantically calling out to him, but he couldn’t answer. The last thing that he saw before darkness claimed him was Gibbs reaching for his cell phone and calling for help.

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