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Help, I Need Somebody

by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 041 Word Count: 76064
Rating: MATURE
Warning(s): Disturbing Imagery or Content, Other (See Author's Note)
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Ensemble
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Episode Related, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo, Abby/McGee
Episode(s): 3-12 Boxed In
Summary: My version of where Tony might have ended up after the crappy treatment he received in Boxed In. This is a bit dark, but I have to go with the muse and this is what she provided. The thought woke me up crying, as a matter of fact. Triple Kleenex warning...

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14

Help, I Need Somebody 14/?

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When Lewiston entered Tony's room just after one-o'clock the next afternoon, he was presenting an even more cool, calm and collected demeanor than usual, having been forewarned by the nursing staff that Tony had woken up agitated and had only gotten worse as the day wore on.

As he closed the door behind him, he observed his patient silently for a few minutes, taking note of nervous gestures and edgy, uneasy behavior, before he spoke up.

"Tony? What's wrong?"

"Wrong? You're what's wrong! Actually, you know what? To hell with you *and* this place. I don't need this... I don't need any of it. I'll fix myself, damn it... who needs a stupid doctor anyway?" he muttered, pacing rapidly back and forth.

"I don't understand this change in attitude, Tony. What happened while I was away?"

"Nothing happened! I was just left here thinking... nothing to do but think. And then you didn't show up this morning and all I could do was wait and wait... stuck in this room getting more and more jittery... and you just kept *not* walkin' through the door! What is *up* with that, huh? Tell me!"

Lewiston recognized the fear and deep sense of abandonment Tony was drowning in and knew he had to address it, but a direct approach was not the way to go. He would have to calm him down first then come at the source of his emotional outburst obliquely and with caution.

"Tony. Tony, stop for a minute and look at me. Please... just stand still for one second and look into my eyes."

When Tony finally complied, Lewiston held his gaze intently, sensing that the intermission would only be temporary if he didn't break through right then. "Thank you. I'm sorry, Tony... and I'm here now. Can we sit and talk? You don't have to. It's your choice."

"Yeah..." the other man replied at last, running a shaky hand through his hair. "... yeah, I guess. But just for a minute."

"I appreciate it."

Lewiston waited for Tony to light on the edge of the mattress before taking his regular chair.

"I'd really like to tell you about my conversation with your colleagues yesterday, if that's alright."

"Whatever. Go ahead..." Tony acceded grudgingly.

"First of all, I learned a great deal from all of them... well, except for one. A very disturbing case..."

"Let me guess... Ziva?" Tony asked, cracking the faintest possible smile and only for a moment.

"That woman needs me a lot more than you do. I'd love to get her under my psychiatric microscope and find out what makes her so bitter and callous."

"She's Mossad. That should give you a few ideas."

"I see. It definitely explains a few things. Moving to the far opposite end of the spectrum, I could easily learn to adore Abby."

"She's a sweetheart alright... most of the time."

"I found that out when Officer David started denigrating you. Sweet Abby turned into a she-wolf defending a member of her pack. Once I asked the instigator to leave the room, though, Abby shifted back to what I assume is her normal, high-spirited self. She even hugged me as I was leaving."

"Yeah... that's my Abs. To a T."

"By the way, is she a singer?"

"Not that I know of. Most of the stuff she listens to barely has words. At least not ones anybody can understand. Her favorite performers don't sing so much as imitate howler monkeys being flayed alive."

Lewiston laughed warmly.

"I only ask because I found her breath control amazing. She got out more words on one intake of air than I've ever heard anybody manage before."

"Again... that's my Abby. She could talk a bunch of teenage girls into early graves and still keep going."

"Let's see... oh yes, Jimmy Palmer and Tim McGee; both intriguing and intelligent men. Listening to them provided me some very powerful insights. They seem to know you extremely well, and at the same time they're both harboring serious cases of hero worship. Fascinating. Gibbs... a consummate leader. If he ever decided to teach, there'd be nobody who could touch him. His student loyalty would be unrivaled and I'd bet that not a single child would leave his class with anything less than the absolute best grade they were capable of."

"That sounds right. I never thought about him being a teacher... but he definitely could. He'd be the ultimate substitute. One look at his face and no kid would dare try anything." Tony responded, his hands finally stilling as his body gradually released the tension he'd been hoarding for hours. "Did you, uh... you met Ducky before, when he came to see me, right?"

"I did, but we didn't really have much of an opportunity to talk in depth. I'm so glad he decided to participate yesterday. What an amazing man he is... wise, compassionate and a wicked sense of humor. When he explained how all of you have become like a family and talked about your roles, I was riveted."

Tony's eyes finally lifted a bit and he sought out Lewiston's open, forthright gaze.

"Family... yeah, I guess we sort of are. It's always there in the back of my mind... but I never said it. Wasn't sure how... or even if I should. If anyone could put it in words, though, it'd be Ducky. So... what'd he say? If it's okay for you to tell me, that is."

"I don't think any of them would mind me sharing their thoughts with you. We'll get around to everyone eventually, but let's start with Ducky, since we were already there. Apparently, you, Tim and Abby are instinctively siblings. You'd be the first born; fiercely protective, but not at all shy about kicking the other two in the behind when necessary or teasing them unmercifully just because you feel like it. Abby is the baby of the family; charming, beautiful and happily indulged by everyone who knows and loves her, but fully capable of pulling down the roof if she's angry, thwarted or betrayed. Poor Tim, I'm afraid, is left with the position of middle child."

"The buffer between the other two, the victim of every evil conspiracy his sibs can imagine and the one who ends up with the blame for every prank and stupid stunt the bookends pull."

"Bingo."

"Katie..."

"He didn't say much about her. Just that the four of you were very close and that her loss was overwhelming for the whole team. It's kind of hard to visualize a place for her in the structure Ducky laid out."

"Kate... she was my fraternal twin. On the surface, nobody would ever have said we were alike, but deep down... like looking in a mirror. That's why we fought constantly. I think we saw too much in the other one that we hated about ourselves. I respected her... God, did I, and I'll hold to that 'till my dying day. Katie was strong, smart, dedicated, braver than most men I know, in *or* out of law enforcement... but she had her own set of masks and man, did she know how to use 'em. That was our bond. Never let anybody in, never give up even a little bit of what's really going on behind the walls. She understood that..."

"I can hear how much you miss her... but you also sound angry."

"Angry? No... no way. Why would I be angry?"

"I don't know. Why would you?"

"I'm not. It's not like her de... it's not like it was her fault. She didn't wake up that day intending to go out and get sh... taken down by some terrorist."

Lewiston noted and filed away the reluctance to speak certain words in relation to Kate's murder, then continued on the track he'd been guiding Tony along.

"Of course not. Putting her life on the line was simply part of the job. The person you just described to me could have done nothing less."

"Right..."

"So why are you angry at her?"

"I told you, I'm not." Tony shot back, his anxiety and anger rebounding.

"Easy, Tony. I hear you."

"No. No, no, no..." Tony murmured, rising again and pacing erratically around the limited space. "Don't you say that about her. You didn't even know Kate! She never would've..."

"What, Tony? What wouldn't she have done?"

"Nothing! Nothing..."

"It's alright, Tony. Nothing you say will diminish Kate's memory or change what she meant to you and the others."

"Stop talking about her, damn it. I'm not talking about her..."

"Alright. What would you rather talk about?"

"McGee. Tell me what he said."

"Okay. He said the two of you tease and push each other's buttons a lot. It took him a while to realize that your side of the game had a purpose, though. He claims it didn't hit him until he stepped away from the first interrogation he performed on his own. He realized that he hadn't let the suspect fluster him, he'd gotten them to surrender the information he wanted and that you were really responsible for his success. What he'd initially taken as hounding and taunting was meant to... thicken his skin, in his words. It encouraged him to speak his mind more often and made him frustrated enough to defend himself and his ideas instead of backing down."

Gradually, Tony slowed to a halt. Shaking his head, he dropped down to sit cross-legged on the floor.

"I underestimated the kid... wasn't sure if he'd ever get that. Good to know he really does have instincts and intuition buried somewhere in that techie brain of his."

"He also told me his interpretation of the night you checked yourself in here. When he was talking about how wonderful the party was, he thought it would just be another round of kidding. He had no clue how badly he'd wounded you. None of your friends did."

"Ziva knew exactly what she was doing."

"As I said... your friends never meant to hurt you. After talking to all of them, I genuinely believe that."

"Yeah, well... I'm not ready to yet. What about Gibbs? I mean, I'm pretty sure I know where Ducky put him in the family tree, but..."

"Where's that?"

"He watches over us, disciplines us, teaches us, worries about us... everything a dad's supposed to do. I've almost called him that once or twice, but..."

"Bad associations. I understand."

"Besides, like I said... a dad really isn't what I want him to be in my life. Not *outside* work anyway. Ducky had to be grandpa, right?"

"Or indulgent uncle. He said he couldn't decide and finally settled on a little of both."

"Yeah... Ducky, he's the coolest. He always has time if I need to talk to him... though I'm mostly down there getting something stitched up or butterfly bandaged."

"He mentioned that. He's aware that you don't like doctors, but of course he doesn't know why."

"He never will, either. Look, I'm really sorry I freaked out on you when you showed up today. I just... I've lived through enough "Casablanca" endings to last me three lifetimes. Just the prospect of another one gets me worked up these days..."

Grinning, Lewiston stood and walked to Tony's side, extending a hand to help him up. Tony accepted and slowly made it back to his feet. After a moment, Lewiston gently tipped the younger man's chin up so their eyes met.

"I didn't get on the plane, Tony."

"No... This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Doc."

Lewiston snorted out a quick burst of laughter.

"I hope so, Tony. I truly hope so."

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TBC......

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