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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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Part 3



Director Leon Vance was normally a patient man, but at the moment, his patience with Anthony DiNozzo had reached its limit. Although DiNozzo had proven very useful in several undercover operations, he had yet to understand why Gibbs insisted on keeping the troublesome agent around. Gibbs had not even considered any of the other candidates that Vance had proposed, insisting that DiNozzo was the right fit for his team. He had finally consented and reassigned DiNozzo to Gibbs’ team; an action that at the moment, he was truly regretting.

Placing his toothpick in his mouth, he leaned back in his chair and stared at the door. He was well aware of the fact that it was only a matter of time before Gibbs came barging in. Vance mentally reviewed the events of the morning starting with the call that he had made to DiNozzo’s cell phone. The call had gone unanswered, which was surprising to the director; DiNozzo knew better than to ignore him. He thought that he had made that abundantly clear to the agent. Perhaps he would have to provide DiNozzo with a refresher course on proper etiquette during an undercover operation.

A few minutes later, Vance had received an e-mail from Gibbs stating that DiNozzo had called in sick for the day. The director had bristled at the fact that his undercover operative had been in contact with Gibbs and had refused to answer his call. He had stepped out of his office just in time to see Gibbs leaving, presumably to check on his senior field agent. As soon as the elevator doors had closed, Vance had noticed Ziva and McGee huddled together, probably deciding what they should do while Gibbs was gone. It was then Vance realized that they would quickly discover that he had called DiNozzo this morning, and of course, they would tell Gibbs.

Now, Vance was waiting for Gibbs, trying to decide what he was going to tell the ex-Marine. If he told Gibbs the truth, then the weeks of undercover work done by DiNozzo could be in jeopardy. He wasn’t sure that he was willing to take that risk, especially since he wasn’t sure what had transpired last night. Vance knew that he would have to make his decision quickly because Leroy Jethro Gibbs just stormed in his office.

“Special Agent Gibbs,” he greeted. “What can I do for you?”

Vance didn’t flinch when Gibbs slammed his fist on his desk. “Cut the crap, Leon,” the team leader growled. “What’s going on with you and DiNozzo?”

“I’m not sure what you mean, Agent Gibbs,” Vance coolly replied.

“Let me explain it to you then, Leon.”

“I wish you would.”

“Tony called in sick this morning,” Gibbs began.

“I’m aware of that. I got your e-mail.”

“I went to his apartment and DiNozzo wasn’t there.”

“Perhaps he went to a doctor,” Vance suggested.

Gibbs shook his head. “Not DiNozzo.”

Vance had heard several stories about the younger agent’s aversion to doctors and hospitals, and in the past few months, he had witnessed this aspect of DiNozzo’s personality first hand. “Where do you think he could be?”

“Why don’t you tell me?”

“Once again, Agent Gibbs, I’m not…”

“You called DiNozzo’s cell phone this morning and I want to know why.”

Vance stopped chewing on his toothpick, his eyes met Gibbs’ icy glare. “I don’t believe that I have to ask your permission to call Agent DiNozzo.”

“Why did you call him, Leon?” Gibbs pressed. “It’s not like the two of you are great friends. In fact, I personally know that you can barely tolerate being in the same room with him, so forgive me if I don’t believe that you just called to check up on him at six o’clock in the morning!”

The director leaned back in his chair. What Gibbs was saying was true. He personally did not care for Anthony DiNozzo, but professionally, he had come to respect him as an undercover agent. “I don’t believe that it is any of your business, Agent Gibbs,” Vance firmly replied.

“If it involves DiNozzo, it is my business.”

“Well, then perhaps you should have this conversation with Agent DiNozzo,” Vance countered.

“I will as soon as I find him,” Gibbs vowed. “Right now, I’m having this conversation with you.”

“I don’t think so.” Vance rose from his seat, glancing at his watch. “I have a meeting in MTAC with the SecNav and I don’t want to be late.”

“That’s rather convenient.”

Vance walked over to the door and opened it for the team leader, “If you’ll excuse me, Agent Gibbs.”

“This isn’t over, Leon. Not by a long shot.”

“I’m sure you’re right.”

“I’ll find out what’s going on and you better pray that you’re not involved in it.”

“Are you threatening me, Agent Gibbs?”

“I don’t make threats, Director Vance,” Gibbs stated.

“Neither do I Agent Gibbs,” Vance assured him. “Now, don’t let me keep you from finding your wayward agent.”

Vance closed the door behind Gibbs, knowing that Leroy Jethro Gibbs would not let this go. He pulled out a fresh toothpick and placed it in his mouth as he made his way towards MTAC. The director hadn’t lied to Gibbs when he said he had a meeting with the SecNav, but Gibbs probably wouldn’t have believed him if he had said he had a meeting with the President. Hopefully, by the time he was done in MTAC, Gibbs would have found DiNozzo and then Vance could get some answers of his own from the missing agent.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


McGee sighed as he packed the last of their equipment on the truck. There had been very little to do in Tony’s apartment besides lift fingerprints and take some pictures. Nothing had seemed out of the ordinary, with the exception that Tony wasn’t there. Despite the grief that the senior field agent constantly subjected him to, McGee had to admit that he was worried about Tony. As he climbed in the driver’s seat, he realized that he dreaded going back to the office and telling Gibbs that they didn’t have anything substantial to report yet.

“A nickel for your thoughts,” Ziva said, interrupting his self-imposed reverie.

“Penny,” he automatically corrected.

“Maybe I think your thoughts are worth more than a penny,” she replied.

McGee shrugged. “I wouldn’t be too sure,” he muttered as he started the tru. “I just think that we’re missing something. I keep going over the past few weeks in my mind to see if I can come up with a clue as to what’s going on with Tony.”

“I know what you mean. But unfortunately, you and I both know that there are some things that Tony keeps very close to his heart. He very seldom allows anyone to penetrate the wall that he has created around himself. We see what Tony wants us to see.”

“I know. I just…feel so helpless. I mean, Gibbs is probably expecting us to come back and tell him exactly where Tony is and we can’t. We can only hope that the BOLO we put out on his car turns up something.”

“We’ll just have to keep looking. I’m sure that everything will work out.”

McGee rolled his eyes at his colleague. “Do you honestly believe that?”

“No,” she stated. “But we can always hope.”

“I guess it’s all we’ve got for right now,” McGee agreed.

The rest of their journey back to NCIS headquarters was silent. McGee thought back to their earlier conversation when Ziva had mentioned that Tony had been quieter since his return from the Seahawk. He had actually noticed that Tony had been a little more subdued, but personally McGee had enjoyed it. Guilt consumed him as he realized that if he had been looking harder, he would have seen what Ziva had noticed. He would have paid attention to the fact that Tony was changing in front of their eyes and becoming someone that he no longer knew.

McGee silently berated himself. What kind of friend was he? Tony had, in his own unique way, always been there for him, but he wasn’t sure if he had always returned the favor. Had Tony been crying out for help and could they all have turned a deaf ear? His foot mashed down on the accelerator. The quicker they got back to the office, the quicker their search could resume. He owed Tony DiNozzo a great deal and McGee was determined to make sure that he would have the opportunity to thank him.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Gibbs sat at his desk, his gaze fixed on DiNozzo’s desk. His talk with Vance had been less than productive and he had already decided that as soon as the director was done with his conference that he would be answering Gibbs’ questions, one way or another. Vance had made his dislike for DiNozzo abundantly clear over the past year. Gibbs still believed that the director had assigned DiNozzo to a carrier as punishment, although Vance had denied it.

The ex-Marine closed his eyes for a minute, his mind recalling the look on DiNozzo’s face when he learned that he was going to be reassigned to the Reagan. Truthfully, he was surprised that DiNozzo hadn’t altogether quit NCIS. His previous assignments at various police departments never lasted for more than two years and he had been at NCIS for over seven years. That was the only time that Gibbs had truly been worried that Tony would leave NCIS and that was why he was determined to get him back on his team.

Gibbs had assumed that things had been going well since DiNozzo’s return, but he had to admit that he really hadn’t kept tabs on his senior agent. Something was wrong between them and he wasn’t sure how to fix it or if it could be fixed. If Gibbs wanted to be completely honest with himself, things had not been right since he had returned from Mexico.

“Any word yet?”

The team leader looked up to see Ducky standing in front of him. He should have expected the ME’s visit. After all, Ducky had been the one left here with Abby and he was sure that Abby, in her own special way, filled him in on everything that had happened so far.

“No. Vance admitted to calling Tony this morning.”

“Really? Now, that is odd. I always got the impression that Director Vance wasn’t as fond of Tony as we are,” Ducky stated.

“He’s not.”

“I assume that Director Vance was not forthcoming with an answer.”

“Hell, no!” Gibbs scowled. “He conveniently had a meeting with the SecNav.”

“I assume that you’re waiting on him so that you can continue your conversation.”

Gibbs nodded. “There’s not much else I can do until we get a concrete lead.”

“Well, Abby is pulling the rest of Tony’s records to see if there is anything unusual there.”

“Can I ask you something, Duck?” Gibbs wasn’t sure if he wanted to hear the answer to the question he was about to ask, but Ducky had an uncanny ability to understand people, both the living and the dead.

“Most certainly, Jethro.”

“Have you noticed anything different about DiNozzo lately?”

“Well, now that you mention it, I guess there have been a few things that have come to my attention.”

“Such as?” Gibbs wasn’t in the mood for Ducky to go off on one his tangents. Too much was at stake.

“Well, he is more withdrawn. He often seems lonely and sad. Oh, I admit that he hides it well, but sometimes Anthony lets things slip during conversation.”

“What do you mean?”

Ducky thought for a moment. “Well, a few weeks ago, I told him that it was certainly good to have him home and he said something to the nature that he should have just stayed on the Seahawk.”

“He hated the Seahawk.”

“I know. When I asked him to repeat himself, he smiled and changed the subject.”

“Just like DiNozzo always does when something becomes too personal.”

“Yes,” the ME concurred.

“Anything else?”

“Well, there are several things that…”

Gibbs’ cell phone interrupted Ducky’s revelation. “Gibbs,” he tersely answered.

“Gibbs, this is so not good.”

Pinching the bridge of his nose at the panicked voice of the forensic scientist, he blew out a breath and forced himself not to bark at Abby. “What, Abs?”

“There’s hardly been any activity on Tony’s bank account since his last paycheck was deposited. He took out some cash last Wednesday and nothing else since then. The last charge on Tony’s credit cards was right after he got back from the Seahawk and he and I went out to dinner.”

“That’s it?” Gibbs asked. “Go back to before the Seahawk and see what you can dig up.”

“But Gibbs, this is Tony.”

“I know that Abby and right now Tony is missing.”

“But…”

“No buts, Abby. Anything else?”

“No. Wait!” she yelled into the phone.

Gibbs winced as he switched the phone to the other ear. “What is it, Abby?”

“I just got a hit from the BOLO we put out on Tony’s car.”

“Where is it?”

“It’s at a garage in…”

“Where, Abby?”

“Norfolk.”

“Address?”

“I’m sending it to you now. Gibbs, why’s Tony’s car in Norfolk?”

“I don’t know, but I intend to find out.” He snapped his phone shut and looked up at the ME. “Any ideas?”

“No. But, I would encourage you that when you find Tony, you think before you speak. Don’t jump to conclusions.”

Gibbs looked up when he saw the door that led to MTAC opening. His eyes followed Vance until the director entered his office. “The only jumping I intend to do now is down Vance’s throat.”

He picked up his phone and called Ziva. “When you get back, turn your evidence over to Abby and then head down to Norfolk. We got a hit on Tony’s car. Abby will give you the address. If you find Tony, sit on him until I get there.”

He hung up his phone and headed back up the stairs to Vance’s office. “Ducky, go help Abby,” he ordered.

“Of course, Jethro,” the doctor replied. “You know, this reminds me of the time…”

Gibbs didn’t hear the rest of Ducky’s soliloquy as he burst into Vance’s office, ignoring the protests of the director’s secretary.

“I think you and I have a conversation to finish…”


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Tony slowly made his way down the street towards the Stillwater General Store. Exhaustion was evident in every step and he was actually looking forward to being able to sleep in a bed. He had been able to sleep a little on the bus, but after he had awakened from a nightmare screaming, forcing the driver to pull over to make sure he was all right, he had refused to go back to sleep. The closer he got to the store, Tony began to wonder if he had made the right decision by running away.

“DiNozzo’s do not run away,” he mumbled to himself. “Of course, I’m not running. I’m just taking a sick day, or two or three.”

He opened the door to the store and cautiously entered. A voice called out to him, “Be with you in just a minute.”

Tony looked around the store, noticing that nothing had really changed since he was here the last time. He studied the Winchester hanging on the wall as he waited for Jack to come out of the back. “It’d been so cool to have a gun like that growing up.”

“Leroy thought so too.”

The younger man turned around, a fake smile plastered on his face. “I bet he did,” Tony answered as he extended his hand.

Jack shook it vigorously. “It’s good to see you, Tony. Where are the others?”

“I…uh…I’m by myself. I was just passing through and...”

“No one just passes through Stillwater, Tony.” Jack pulled out a chair at motioned for Tony to sit down. “Sit down before you fall down. Do you want to tell me what’s going on?”

Tony grinned. He knew where Gibbs got his lack of subtlety from. “What makes you think anything’s going on?”

“First of all, you look like crap,” Jack replied.

“And the second?”

“I recognize the signs of someone hurting and son, you’re eyes are telling me that you’re in sheer agony.”

Tony licked his lips nervously, not wanting to go into any details of why he was in Stillwater. “I just need a place where I can get my head back on straight.”

“Problems at work or home?”

He shrugged. “Both I guess. Mainly work.”

“Leroy giving you a hard time?”

“No more than usual,” Tony said. “I can’t explain it right now. I know that this puts you in an awkward position, but I didn’t know where else to go.”

Jack squeezed Tony’s shoulder. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you want.”

“Thanks.”

“You didn’t let me finish.”

Tony’s cheeks flushed. “Sorry.”

“Does Leroy know you’re here?”

“No. I just took off. Pretty dumb, huh? I just couldn’t face anybody this morning.”

Jack shook his head. “I wouldn’t call it dumb, but you still need to call Leroy or let me call him, just so he’ll know that you’re okay. After that, you have to let the doc take a look at your head.”

“If I call him, he’ll be up here before nightfall; not to mention, Ziva, Abby, and McGee. I can’t deal with seeing them right now.”

“You call and let him know that you’re all right and then I’ll talk to him. I’ll convince him that there isn’t any need for him to come up here.”

“It won’t do any good.”

“I think he’ll listen to me. He’s probably worried sick.”

“I doubt it.”

“Why would you say that, Tony?” Jack wanted to know.

The agent chastised himself for the unintentional slip of the tongue. “I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”

Jack nodded. “You still need to let him know that you’re safe. Whatever is going on between you two, you can work out later.”

Tony knew that Jack was right. He should have told Gibbs the truth this morning, but all that he could think about was getting out of D.C. “All right. I’ll call him.” He gestured towards the phone. “Can I use your phone? I kind of messed mine up.”

“You bet. Go use the phone in the back. It will give you some privacy. I’ll check on you in a few minutes.”

The agent nodded, slowly standing up. “All right. Thank you, Jack.”

“You’re welcome, son.”

Tony went to the back room and fell into the chair next to the desk. He picked up the phone and slowly dialed the number that he knew by heart. He waited with baited breath for Gibbs to answer.

“Gibbs!”

Tony flinched, fighting the urge to hang up. He cleared his throat and answered, “Boss…it’s me…”

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