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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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20

Help, I Need Somebody 20/?

-------------------

Unfortunately, Lewiston's hopes were dashed. Before he even got to the door his ears told him Tony was in trouble. Stepping inside, he saw Brad physically supporting Tony and trying to talk his friend down from a severe bout of hyperventilation. Swearing under his breath, Lewiston rushed to assist.

"Tony, relax. It's alright... c'mon, buddy. You can do it..."

"Look at me, Tony. Slow down... slow your breathing."

Unable to speak, Tony shot Lewiston a look of sheer panic and mouthed 'Can't...'

"Okay. It's alright, Tony, I'll help. Close your eyes. It won't be easy, but just go with me. I know what I'm doing, I promise. I need you to count backwards from ten in your head. Slowly... as slow as you can manage. Show me on your fingers so I know when you're done. Excellent... three... two... one. Now backwards from fifteen, counting in threes. You can do this. This is nothing for you... Good. Back from twenty in fours..."

When he finished, Tony stared at Lewiston in shock as he realized his breathing had eased considerably. Swallowing, the younger man croaked out a one-word question.

"How?"

"When your body is going crazy, your mind can make it worse. You get too focused on how scared you are, making you even *more* scared, and it all spirals out of control. All I did was redirect your thoughts. Here, lay down and rest for a while. We'll talk about what triggered this episode once you've recovered a little more."

Once Tony was helped down onto his side, his blanket draped over him and tucked in around his shoulders, Lewiston tugged Brad over to the door to question him.

"What happened?"

"I wish I understood it. He heard you talking to Sheppard and suddenly his eyes went wide. He started repeating 'It's gone, it's all gone' over and over..."

"Damn that woman..."

"I'm sure she's just doing her job."

"No. No way does she have Tony's best interests at heart."

"How can you be so sure?"

"I spent time with the people who *do*. That's all it took to help me learn the difference. I'll make a call later and find out what was really behind that lame-ass attempt to get at Tony."

"My God... she really upset you."

"Infuriated me is more like it. C'mon. Tony's waiting..."

As the men approached the bedside again they were relieved to find Tony fairly relaxed, though his breathing was still a little unsettled and irregular. Lewiston crouched and spoke Tony's name softly, but the only response he received was a noise reminiscent of an elderly, badly maintained car being asked to start on a bitterly cold morning. He chuckled and decided gentle humor wasn't out of place now that the young man was no longer in crisis.

"Oh, *that* sounded optimistic."

"Not funny." Tony shot back faintly, his voice slightly rough.

"I thought it was, but then panic attacks tend to temporarily dull a person's sense of humor. You'll laugh later, I guarantee."

"No... not a panic attack. I don't panic..." Tony countered, surging up into a sitting position and beginning to breathe harshly once more.

"Easy... easy, Tony. You need to try and relax..." Brad warned, but the words only made Tony more stressed out.

"I am! I didn't have a... panic... attack! Why won't... you believe me?"

Lewiston grasped Tony's face in both hands, locked their gazes together and spoke quietly.

"Tony, stop. You're over-reacting. We're not trying to provoke you. That's the last thing either of us want right now. Slow your breathing... and calm down. Good... much better."

"Sorry..."

"Don't. You have nothing to apologize for. This wasn't your fault." Lewiston assured him, dropping to the edge of the bed as he released his hold. "Can you tell me what happened while I was gone?"

"I... I heard her voice... Sheppard. I knew if she was here then everything I cared about... every damn thing I'm in here working to get back to... it was all lost. My career, my life, maybe even my apartment, if I can't find another job... all of it, just... dust in the wind."

"That won't happen, Tony. Jethro and I won't let it."

Tony merely grunted, but Lewiston had a good idea of what his response would have been if the two of them had been alone. When Brad slid the bell of his stethoscope onto Tony's back a moment later, the younger man seriously considered shrugging the offending object off, but he was simply too tired, so he allowed it to stay.

"Don't make any major effort, Tony. Just normal breaths... that's it. Nice. Stay relaxed..."

"You tell me that one more time..."

"I know, I know. Bang, zoom! To the moon, Alice! Just quiet down for a minute, will you? I need to listen."

Fifteen minutes later, Brad had checked Tony's lungs, his blood-pressure and his heart and was convinced his friend was doing well for the moment. As he packed up, however, he took the risk of angering Tony again, knowing his conscience would never leave him alone if he backed down. "Everything seems to be fine. Your pressure's a little high, but not enough to really be worried."

"I've been under a lot of stress."

"I know. That's why I'm coming back to give you a full work-up. With Dr. Lewiston's permission, of course."

"I don't have a problem with that." The other doctor agreed.

Tony's head came up suddenly and he glared at Brad.

"You better be kidding."

"Do I kid when it comes to your health?"

"There's a first time for everything..."

"This isn't it."

"Damn it..."

"I let you slide, Tony. If I'd kept up with you, kept in touch..."

"No. My being here isn't your responsibility. You didn't do anything wrong."

"I also didn't do what was right. If I'd made you come in, maybe I would've seen how you were feeling before it got this bad..."

"If is a really useless word, Brad. You know damn well I'm a shape-shifter when I feel like it. You saw what I wanted you to."

"True. Okay, so I'll stick the 'why didn't I' routine where the sun doesn't shine. That doesn't change anything. I still won't rest easy until I know for sure that you're completely okay."

Tony sighed and winced.

"That means needles, right?"

"I know I promised, but blood tests are essential, especially with a recent infection, no matter how minor."

"God..."

"You know what an expert I am. You'll barely feel it."

"I hope your guilt over that gigantic lie costs you some sleep tonight. Can we do it day after tomorrow? I've got lost time to make up for with the world's second biggest noudge." He requested, shooting a sidelong glance at Lewiston, who smiled brightly and replied.

"I consider that a compliment."

"You would." Tony grumbled, but the tiniest hint of a smile curled his lip, proving that he wasn't feeling nearly as cantankerous as his words might suggest. Brad grinned and finished gathering up the things he'd brought with him.

"I'll see you day after tomorrow, buddy." Brad intoned quietly, squeezing Tony's shoulder. Tony briefly acknowledged the supportive touch, patting his friend's hand and gazing evocatively into his eyes.

"I know I'm a pain in your ass sometimes. I don't mean to be. There are reasons... things I've gone through that I'm not ready to tell anyone but my therapist. Not yet anyway. Thanks for understanding... and for not leaving me on the battlefield all by myself. I wouldn't be here now if you'd given up on me all those weeks ago..."

Fighting back tears, Brad crouched, dropped his bag and fiercely embraced the other man. Pulling back a few moments later, he swiped at his face and corrected Tony's assumption.

"You're the one who inspired me, Tony... you and that incredible bunch of people you work with. I've never seen faith like that before and I doubt I'll ever witness it again. Abby and the others... they took your strength and will to live and just multiplied it until every single person in the hospital believed you'd survive. Find that will again, Tony... find it and hold onto it. Between the three of us and your support system at NCIS, you'll get back on track, I swear. Just don't let go, okay? Promise me..."

"I promise. See you in two days."

"Two days."

After a final, quick hug, Brad retrieved his gear and left. Tony stared at the floor for several minutes before he found the fortitude to look up at Lewiston again.

"I didn't know. I was still so sick in the first couple days outside the isolation unit... I barely remember anything. I don't understand it. If they felt like that, how could they be so cruel just a month or two later? It makes no sense..."

"I agree. Let's go catch a few rays and have some quiet time in the sun-room. Then we'll come back and see if we can't straighten it out."

-----------------------------------

TBC.......

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