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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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16

Help, I Need Somebody 16/?

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LATE THAT NIGHT:

Huddled close to her lover on the couch in Jen's apartment, Ziva sighed heavily and wiped a hand over her face. Sheppard held her tighter and softly asked the question they'd both been avoiding.

"Why would he contact you now? What could he have heard that would make him upset enough to go through Shia?"

"I don't know. I just don't know... though I can guess who does." She said, her tone growing dark and quiet.

"Gibbs wouldn't dare. I'm sure of it."

"Of course he would. I just don't have confirmation yet that he *has*. When I find proof of his treachery, that bastard will regret he was ever conceived..."

"You can't go after Jethro, love." Jen warned her gently. "It's a no-win situation, trust me."

Ziva pulled back and looked sternly at her lover.

"Can't?"

"I... I'm sorry. I meant it can only end badly. I'm speaking from experience, don't forget..."

"I thought we discussed and dismissed Paris long ago. You did what you felt you had to do."

"No, I did what was convenient and necessary. At least I thought so at the time... now I know better. Nobody turns on him or hurts him without paying for it. Officially, I'm in charge of NCIS, but he never lets me forget who really holds the power. Every single man and woman in that building would back him over me on a moments notice or follow him through the gates of hell if he asked them to." Jen ranted mildly, her words laced with old bitterness and anger.

"He is charismatic, but that can be easily overcome."

"It's more than charm. Something about him... people just respond, even strangers."

"Yes, I witnessed that yesterday. That doctor..." Ziva growled, her own acrimony bubbling to the surface briefly, only to subside a moment later. "Listen to me. I reprimand you for dwelling on the past then make the same mistake. We have more than enough to deal with in the present. Why don't you go get ready for bed, love? I'll be there as soon as I can."

"Of course." Jen responded, rising to her feet. At a nod from Ziva, the older woman dropped a soft kiss on her young lover's cheek. "Please don't let yourself get drawn in, no matter how angry your father is. You getting emotional with him never does any good."

Ziva's eyes instantly became hard and disdainful.

"Still trying to dictate to me? You really *don't* understand, do you?"

Sheppard took an uncertain step back.

"I do. I understand. I said please..."

"And you'll be saying it many more times tonight, I guarantee. Bed." Ziva told her, standing and pointing in the direction of their shared room.

For a moment, Jen stood there stubbornly, feeling misunderstood and wronged. She opened her mouth to defend herself again, but a further drop in psychic temperature and a few slow, quiet, menacing words from Ziva made her reconsider. In a moment, Jen's hands were locked together behind her back and her gaze had dropped to the tips of her shoes. "Think before you speak, Jennifer. Think very carefully."

"I apologize, mistress. I was wrong to presume that you needed guidance. I'm the one who's lost. I need you to show me the way."

"Indeed you do. Go."

Eyes still glued to the floor at her feet, Jen turned and left the room. Ziva watched her go, reluctantly pushing aside the titillating choice of what punishment to administer. Sighing, she moved to where her briefcase sat beside the couch, lifted and unlocked it. Reaching in, she pulled a small cell phone out of a concealed compartment, flipped it open and hit a button. Raising it to her ear, she spoke into the device.

"5781 6435. David, Ziva, Hedya." She recited mechanically, having gone through this routine many times. She waited two or three minutes and finally a voice spoke at the other end.

"Ziva?"

"Yes, father. What's wrong? Why did you need to talk to me so urgently? You know it isn't safe to communicate this way very often."

"All too well."

"You sound so tired."

"I am weary of the endless circles my position forces me to walk in, that is all."

"Then why did you contact me?"

"I have received... disturbing information, little one. I am praying you will tell me it isn't true."

"Go on." Ziva replied tensely, sitting forward on the sofa.

"Tell me it wasn't you. I beg of you, tell me you were not the one who took his life..."

Ziva paled and was forced to take a few slow deep breaths before she could respond.

"Father... for God's sake, no. I explained how Ari was killed."

"Ziva, my child... since you were very young we have had no lies between us. You knew precisely what I did every day and what the realities of our world entailed. Do not break that trust now..."

"I am not! My brother was lost and he chose to be involved with people who pulled him further into the darkness... a darkness that swallowed him whole. *I* tried to save him! Father, please..."

"No. No more, my daughter. It will be alright... I will make it so. You will come home."

"I... I can't. I have a job... and I have built a life. How can you even think of just asking me to walk away?"

"Ziva... I am not asking. You will come home."

"Father..."

"You have rarely defied me, little one. You were not pleased with the consequences when you did so..."

"I know... but I won't willingly give up what I have here. I can't..."

"Very well." Her father responded, his voice heavy with regret and sorrow.

"Wait, please..."

"Good-night, child." He said, breaking the connection. After that, Ziva sat utterly still for several minutes, lost in shock and visions of her carefully planned future crumbling around her. Eventually, she closed and replaced the phone, restoring the briefcase to its previous spot. She would safely dispose of the phone in the morning before she arrived at work. Rising, she slowly headed for the bedroom, all thoughts of a night of play banished by fear of what her father would choose to do and intense, blazing fury for Jethro Gibbs.

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FOLLOWING MORNING: BETHESDA

As he entered Tony's room, Lewiston shifted the item under his arm so that it wouldn't fall and turned to close the door. Tony glanced up, a light smile on his face, but it swiftly faded when he saw what his doctor had brought to the session.

"That better not be what I think it is."

"Sorry to disappoint you. C'mon. Up on your feet, okay?"

"I'm not getting on a scale."

Lewiston carefully laid the slim, square, clear glass device on the floor then looked back up at his patient.

"Ordinarily, I'd say the choice was up to you, but not this time. I need you to do this for me."

"Why? It has nothing to do with the reason I'm here."

"You know better than that."

Tony sighed, rolled his eyes and finally complied.

"Fine." He conceded wearily, rising and approaching the scale with trepidation. "I hate these things... I don't own one. Too much of a temptation to get down on myself. " he explained, staring straight ahead.

Lewiston crouched down to read the display then pushed a few buttons. The read-out changed, he studied it, then repeated the procedure. He stood, patted Tony on the shoulder and released him.

"You can sit back down. How much do you normally weigh, give or take five pounds?"

"Anywhere between 150 and 160."

Lewiston frowned as he took his seat. "What? It can't be that bad. I exercise all the time..."

"I'm sure you do. It's not weight gain I'm worried about."

Tony blanched a little and swallowed hard.

"Yeah. Go on."

"You're down to 138. That's a real concern."

"Under 140? I can't be. It's not possible..."

"This worries me, Tony. We need to talk this out... see if we can work out where it started."

"You mean whether it's just a symptom of my depression, something medical or a separate disorder?"

"Exactly."

"Skip the last one. I'm positive it's not that. It's a combo of the first two. See... after I got out of the hospital, I was a total mess. They gave me this inhaler, but I felt like I was using the damn thing every five minutes, so I tossed it out. Of course then the coughing made my head and chest ache and I wasn't allowed to take anything but aspirin."

"Anything else might interfere or interact with your medication."

"You got it. Even the aspirin was a problem after a while... my stomach couldn't handle it. I was exhausted, nauseous... I couldn't even look at food. Basically, I existed on vitamin pills, canned broth, nutrition shakes, milk and juice for about a week and a half."

"But it got better."

"Yeah... eventually everything calmed down and I wasn't coughing so much... so I went back to work. Then... God, it seems like it was only a few days later that... that Katie was gone. It turns out grief and rage are the world's best appetite suppressants. After that, it felt like it just never stopped. I got locked up for a murder I didn't commit, I had my little *incident* in the hotel room... in the middle of all that, making sure I got three squares a day just wasn't all that important. Stupid, I know. The fact that I was getting less than four hours of sleep a night didn't help my judgment any, I guess..."

"No, I'd have to agree there."

"It just got to a point where all I wanted was to find someplace dark and quiet, where I could close and lock the door and just hide forever... a little room where I could pretend I was never thrown away like a rotten banana peel by a person who was supposed to love and protect me, I never spent days in isolation, wondering which breath would be my last... and I never had to lay a flower on the coffin of someone I loved. That's what the knife was supposed to help me find. Darkness and silence... and peace. I could see it so clearly and I wanted it... God, I craved it. It was all right there in front of me... then I looked down at my wrist... at that damned, barely visible scar. When I did that the illusion cracked... and so did I..."

Abruptly, Tony leapt up, stalked to the wall and began pounding one fist into it, fiercely and rhythmically. Lewiston went to him and wrapped one arm around his waist, tugging him backwards a little and speaking softly to calm him down.

"It's okay, Tony... everything's okay..."

"No it's not! I'm not a weakling... I can't be! I'm an athlete, I'm smart and strong, I'm a cop and a Federal agent... I'm not allowed!"

"Easy, Tony... easy."

"You don't understand! I have to be strong! I have to eat, I have to stop being angry and I have to stop missing her!"

"You will... you will."

"But I don't know how!" he wailed, teeth gritted. Backing toward the bed, Lewiston sat down, pulling Tony with him. When a nurse's concerned face appeared at the small pane in the door in response to the pounding, he shook his head and waved her away. Cradling the younger man against him, Lewiston absorbed Tony's sobs and struggles and poured constant reassurance into his ear.

"You'll weather this storm, Tony, I promise you that. I won't let you drown. Just don't let go, alright? Keep holding on..."

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TBC......

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