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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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Gibbs had listened intently while Tony had poured out his heart, holding back nothing, even the things that he knew would cause the team leader pain. It tore at the former Marine’s soul to know that his actions had almost destroyed the young man that had willing accepted the responsibility of having his back all these years. He had repaid that loyalty by abandoning Tony to drown in his guilt, ignoring his senior agent’s silent pleas for someone to reach out to him.

He had tried to rationalize his behavior, but he had to finally admit that he had let Tony down. Gibbs could now be added to the list of people who had taken Tony’s trust and trampled on it; but unlike the others, the team leader was determined to once again earn DiNozzo’s respect. He would start by supporting whatever decision that Tony was about to make regarding the SecNav’s offer.

Tony had warned him that he probably wouldn’t like his decision, but nevertheless, Gibbs vowed to help his senior agent to deal with the aftermath of the consequences that the younger man would have to face.

“So, are you ready to tell me your decision?” he cautiously asked.

Tony shrugged. “I guess there’s no use putting it off any longer.”

“If you need more time, I’ll talk to Davenport,” Gibbs offered.

“Having more time won’t change anything. I’ll still be stuck between that proverbial rock and a hard place.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“Ever been in one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations? What am I saying? Of course you have. So I don’t have to tell you how much they suck.”

Gibbs smiled at his senior agent. Tony had a special way of getting to the point of any conversation. “That’s one way of putting it.”

“I hope you know that I’m doing what I think is best,” Tony said.

“I know,” the team leader assured him.

“You may want to hold off on that decision.”

Gibbs didn’t miss the fact that Tony visibly flinched at the sound of his father’s voice, prompting him to physically block the older man’s path. “What are you doing here?” he demanded to know. “I thought your business here was finished.”

“You thought wrong,” Vincent DiNozzo retorted. “I’ve just spoken with Secretary Davenport and I need to…”

“All you need to do is crawl back under the rock that you slithered out from,” Gibbs snapped. “You had your chance to talk to Tony and now…”

“It’s all right, Boss,” Tony said. “Let him speak his peace; it won’t change anything.”

“Tony, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I…”

He suddenly realized that he was once again making decisions for Tony and if he were going to begin to build that bridge of trust between him and DiNozzo, he was going to have to respect the younger man’s wishes.

Nodding, he stepped aside, permitting the senior DiNozzo to approach Tony’s bedside. Gibbs hovered protectively at the head of the bed, wanting to make sure that both Tony and his father understood that he was still nearby.

“What do you want?” Tony tiredly inquired.

The team leader could hear the exhaustion in Tony’s voice. His senior agent usually hid his fatigue, but the events of the past few months, and especially the past few hours, had clearly taken their toll on Tony. What bothered Gibbs the most was the knowledge that he was partly responsible for DiNozzo’s mental and physical deterioration.

He gently squeezed Tony’s shoulder. “You don’t have to do this,” Gibbs reminded the younger man.

Ignoring the team leader, Tony’s gaze remained fixed on his father. “What do you want?” he forcibly repeated.

“I see you’re not interested in exchanging any pleasantries,” Vincent taunted. “To think of all the money your mother wasted on those etiquette lessons.”

“And don’t forget about those little sailor suits,” Tony shot back.

Gibbs felt every muscle in his body tense at the sound of the elder DiNozzo’s laughter. The man was purposefully goading Tony, forcing him to recall some of the more humiliating aspects of his childhood. He would never forget the younger man’s painful admission in that holding cell; the words had been spoken before Tony could stop them during his self interrogation. It had taken a late night in Gibbs’ basement and several beers before Tony was convinced that he still respected him. That particular night was never mentioned again.

“Your mother always loved a man in uniform. I always attributed that obsession to her mental illness,” Tony’s father declared.

“Hmm, interesting,” DiNozzo countered. “I always thought her mental illness was from having to live with you.”

“You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, Anthony,”

“Betcha can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say about you.”

The team leader stifled a grin. Despite everything, Tony still managed to exhibit that sharp wit that was part of his infamous DiNozzo charm.

“Now, I’ll ask you for the last time, what do you want?” Tony growled.

“I have something else for you to consider.”

“Really? And what would that be?”

“Are you sure you want him here?” Vincent nodded towards Gibbs.

“Yes,” Tony replied without hesitation.

“All right, if you insist.”

“I do.”

“Well, it seems that Secretary Davenport is concerned that you won’t take his deal; he thinks that your conscience and your innate sense of justice will prevent you from making the decision that will benefit the most people, especially your coworkers.”

“Whatever I decide, Gibbs and the others will support me,” Tony confidently stated.

“Are you sure about that?”

“Very sure.”

“It must difficult to have such faith in your friends, knowing that they have so little faith in you.”

Gibbs silently willed Tony not to listen to his father’s lies. It was obvious that Vincent DiNozzo was once again trying to plant seeds of doubt in his senior agent’s mind.

“Don’t go there,” Tony warned, his voice dangerously low.

“Perhaps you’re right,” Vincent sighed. “Speaking of your coworkers, do you realize that Director Vance has no idea that you hold his future in his hands? He doesn’t realize that his reassignment is part of the deal; how does it feel to have that kind of power in your grasp? Come on, you can be honest with me. It’s very exhilarating, isn’t it? Trust me. I know. We’re more alike that you think, Anthony.”

“We’re nothing alike!” the agent roared.

Gibbs squeezed Tony’s shoulder again, this time in an effort to calm the younger man. The last thing DiNozzo needed or wanted to do was draw the attention of the medical staff. “Take it easy, Tony,” he quietly urged. “He’s not worth it.”

“You’re right Gibbs,” Tony agreed. “He not worth it. In fact, he’s done nothing but waste my time since he got here. So either say what you’ve to say or get out!”

“Very well,” Vincent snorted. “You’ve already received a very favorable offer from Secretary Davenport, but yet you seem reluctant to accept it.”

“And?”

“And his concern is apparently warranted. You have the chance to put this whole mess that you created behind you.”

“I didn’t make this mess, but I’m sure being made responsible for the cleanup!”

“It’s about time you took responsibility for something,” the elder DiNozzo grunted.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Gibbs took a step forward, prepared to physically remove Vincent DiNozzo from the room if necessary. This man was still purposefully baiting his senior field agent and he could not allow it to continue.

“Gibbs, back off,” Tony snapped.

The team leader’s glare was now fixed on the younger man. Didn’t Tony understand that he was simply trying to look out for him? DiNozzo met his gaze, his eyes silently pleading for Gibbs’ understanding. Tony needed to handle this situation and he did not welcome the former Marine’s interference.

“Yes, Agent Gibbs. You should listen to Anthony,” Vincent urged. “It seems for once, he’s right. He doesn’t need to you to fight his battles; he’s got to learn to stand on his own two feet.”

“He’s been standing on his own two feet for quite a while; you’ve just been too blinded by your own ambition to notice,” Gibbs countered, moving back to the head of Tony’s bed.

“I suggest that you stay out of this. You know nothing of our past; I know my son better than you think.”

“We’ll see about that,” the team leader mumbled.

Gibbs saw Tony massage his temple as if he were trying to ward off a headache. The stress of his father’s presence was beginning to have an adverse affect on DiNozzo. He wanted to step in and insist that Vincent leave, but he had to trust Tony’s instincts.

“Quit playing games, Father,” Tony angrily demanded. “Tell me what it is that you want from me!”

“The SecNav and I have another tentative deal with some individuals, but we need a little more funding and neither of us want to delve into our own funds to do it.”

Tony began to laugh. “So, we’re back to the money, are we?”

Gibbs knew that there was no money, but he was not going to deny Tony the pleasure of stringing his father along; he at least deserved that opportunity.

Ignoring his son’s jocular outburst, Vincent continued. “If you turn over the money from that trust fund, Secretary Davenport is prepared to offer you your choice of assignments and your own team. You’ll be able to start fresh once again and you and I both know that’s what you really want; after all, starting over is what you do best.”

The team leader was surprised by Tony’s silence. He had expected DiNozzo to tell his father what SecNav could do with his offer, but the young man remained quiet and contemplative. There was no question that Tony deserved his own team, but he knew his senior agent could not be bought. However, he was still disturbed by DiNozzo’s passiveness; was Tony considering the offer?

When Tony finally spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper, but the bitterness that had been welling up inside him all these years came spewing out in his poignant reply.

“How would you know what I want?” Tony asked. “It was never about what I wanted, so why should things be any different now?”

“We both know that you’ve been at NCIS longer than you have any of your other jobs,” Vincent explained. “I would say that you’ve probably worn out your welcome. If you agree to this, the world is your oyster, so to speak.”

“I hate oysters,” Tony deadpanned. “Of course, you wouldn’t know that, because we never ate together.”

“I don’t have time to discuss what you deem to be the sordid details of your childhood.”

“What’s wrong? Time running out on your deal?”

“Something like that. So tell me, Anthony, what’s it going to be? What’s your decision?”

Gibbs waited for Tony to make the next move. The younger DiNozzo’s face was unreadable; his body was still tense and he could tell by the weakness in Tony’s eyes that the once impending headache was now raging full force, but otherwise, he remained unflappable.

“As tempting as it is to have my own team and my own assignment, I must respectfully decline,” Tony stated, his voice now dripping with sarcasm. “I think I’ll wait until I’ve earned it. I’m pretty content where I’m at.”

“You always did settle for second best,” Vincent declared. “Your loyalty lies with people and not with yourself; I thought I taught you better than that.”

“No, the only thing taught me how was to make a perfect martini and to have it waiting for you when you came home from the office.”

“It was the only thing you were good for.”

“Insulting the one person that stands between you and your money is not a good idea,” Tony taunted.

“You’re going to sign it over?”

Gibbs knew what was coming next and he was looking forward to seeing Vincent DiNozzo’s reaction upon learning that there was not going to be any money forthcoming. Tony had played his father and now the senior DiNozzo was going to learn a valuable lesson about underestimating his son.

“I’d be happy to sign the money over to you, especially if it got you out of my life for good,” Tony said.

“Well, what are we waiting for? I have my lawyer draw up the papers and…”

“Except for the fact that there’s no money.”

The team leader couldn’t hide the grin wanting to escape his lips. He smiled in satisfaction as he watched Vincent DiNozzo’s expression morph from happiness to utter disbelief.

“What did you just say?” Vincent’s displeasure at Tony’s revelation was obvious to both agents.

“I said that there’s no money. It was all a ruse mom set up to get even with you,” Tony clarified.

Tony’s father began to tremble with rage. “That conniving…”

“Now father, remember, you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.”

“You’re lying. You have to be lying; she wasn’t that crafty,” Vincent attempted to reason. “As long as she could have her elegant parties and expensive clothes, she was happy. I gave her everything and this is how she repays my generosity; by duping me into believing that she had set up a trust fund for you! All of this has been for nothing!

“I can’t believe this!” he continued to rant. “My attorneys assured me that…”

“You might want to get yourself some new attorneys; I have a feeling you’re going to need them.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because once I turn in that list of names, I’m sure your name will come up with great frequency.”

Gibbs stared at Tony, uncertainty etched in his distinguished features. Had he heard the agent correctly? Tony was going to turn in the list of names that the SecNav wanted so desperately to hide and that could only mean one thing; DiNozzo wasn’t going to accept the SecNav’s offer.

“You’d betray your own father?” Vincent challenged.

“No, I wouldn’t and I’m not,” Tony proclaimed. “The only man that I’ve ever considered to be like a father to me is standing here beside me and he’s already told me that he’s going to support whatever decision I make. Truthfully, I hadn’t completely made up my mind yet until you came in here; now, I know that I’m doing the right thing.”

Gibbs had always been proud of Tony, but at the moment, he wasn’t sure when he had been prouder of the younger man. His senior agent had turned out to be a fine man despite his parents; a man that anyone in their right mind would be honored to have as a son.

“You’re going to regret this, Anthony,” the older man vowed.

“I think you better leave before you say something you’ll regret. Verbally threatening a federal agent, especially in front of a witness, is not a good idea.”

Without uttering another word, Vincent stormed out of Tony’s room, leaving the two agents alone. Gibbs walked over to his customary chair and sat down. DiNozzo closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the pillow.

“You need something for that headache you’ve got?” Gibbs asked.

“Maybe in a minute,” came the soft spoken answer.

“I can tell you’re hurting.”

“I am,” Tony admitted. “But at the moment, I need to think clearly.”

“All right,” the team leader reluctantly agreed. “I guess I don’t need to ask what your decision is.”

“Nope. I thought about taking the SecNav up on this offer to sweep everything under the rug. Hell, he could have probably just offered to have Vance reassigned and I would’ve accepted it. But the more I was around my father, I realized that he’s lived his entire life sweeping things under the rug and I don’t want to be anything like him.

“I’m going to take the file with those names on it and turn it in over to IA. I figure they should know who it needs to go to.”

“You know you’ll be subjecting yourself to a pretty intense investigation.”

“I know,” Tony sighed. “But I won’t be the only one under the microscope, so will Vance and the SecNav.”

“Well, I know from experience that you can handle whatever’s thrown your way. You’ve proven that time and time again.”

“I hope so. The only thing that bothers me is what’s going to happen to the rest of the team. I don’t want you all punished for trying to help me. I should have come to you in the first place; instead, I tried to deal with it myself and everything just got out of control.”

“We’ll be fine. You just concentrate on what you have to do. We have your six, Tony,” Gibbs assured him.

“I know you do and I’m grateful. I just don’t want anyone else hurt because of me.”

“We look out for each other. We don’t leave a man behind.”

Tony nodded, quickly brushing away a tear that was threatening to fall. “Thanks, Boss.”

“Get some rest,” Gibbs instructed. “Before I call SecNav, I’m going to call the Office of Internal Affairs for you and have them send someone up here.”

“Sounds good.”

“I’ll tell the nurse you’re ready for some pain medicine.”

“Maybe while I’m sleeping, I can figure out what to do about that contract on my life that’s not going to get nullified.”

“Leave that to me.”

The two men looked up to see Ziva standing in the door frame. “How long have you been standing there?” the former Marine inquired.

“For a while,” she admitted. “I overheard Tony’s father talking with Vance and I was afraid that there would be a problem, so I followed him and remained outside the door just in case.”

“So I guess you know what’s going on.” .” Gibbs could sense the fierce determination in Ziva to help her friend.

“Yes and I think that Tony has made the right decision.” She moved closer to Tony and met his exhausted gaze. “I will deal with my father,” she vowed.

“I don’t want to cause any more problems between you and your father, Ziva,” Tony said.

“The problems between us have been there a long time; we have just chosen to ignore the giraffe in the living room.”

Tony chuckled. “Elephant.”

“Whatever. They are both animals that you wouldn’t want in your living room.”

“True.”

Gibbs rose from his seat and took Ziva by the arm. “Let’s allow Tony to get some well deserved rest.” Glancing back over his shoulder, he said, “I’ll send in Abby to sit with you.”

“Don’t need a baby sitter,” Tony mumbled.

“No, but you do need your friends.”

Gibbs and Ziva walked out of the room and headed towards the nurse’s station. He informed the nurse that Tony needed something for pain. The team leader was glad when she said that the medicine would also make him sleepy; DiNozzo needed to sleep. With everything that had happened, it was easy to forget that Tony had just been through major surgery. Of course, it was a testament to his senior agent’s inner strength to be able to handle the emotional upheaval of the past few hours.

Satisfied that Tony’s needs were being met, he stepped into the small lounge and pulled out his cell phone. He dreaded making this call, but it had to be done. After five minutes, he was assured that an investigative team was on their way to Stillwater. Gibbs knew that once they arrived, there would be no turning back for Tony. DiNozzo was headed down a long, hard path, but this time, his team was right behind him.

The team leader and Ziva made their way towards the waiting room. As soon as he came through the door, he glanced around, grateful that Tony’s father had not deemed it necessary to make another appearance.

He tossed the key to the handcuffs to his father. “Dad, take Director Vance back to the house and stay there with him until I get there. Don’t let him leave; if you have to, get out the Winchester. Abby, go and sit with Tony,” he ordered. “He should be asleep by now and you better let him sleep.”

“Yes sir!” she said, playfully saluting him as she darted out of the waiting room.

“Don’t call me sir!” he called after her.

“What are we doing, Boss?” McGee inquired.

Gibbs waited until his dad and Vance had left the room. Vance would find out soon enough what was about to happen, but for now, it was better if he was kept guessing.

“We have a lot of work to do, but first, I need you to get Secretary Davenport on the phone.”

“Tony’s made his decision?”

“Yes.”

“He’s accepting the offer?”

Gibbs smiled at the junior agent. “No.”

“So, what do you want me to tell the SecNav?”

He didn’t miss the almost panicked expression on Tim’s face. Gibbs clapped him on the shoulder. “I don’t want you to tell him anything.”

McGee nervously swallowed. “Then what do you want me to do, Boss?”

The team leader held his other hand out. “I want you to hand me the phone…”

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