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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...

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 | 40 | 41

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Help, I need Somebody 21/?


"Okay." Lewiston began as he settled back into his usual seat. "We're all in our places with bright shiny faces... let's get going."

Tony snorted a quiet laugh.

"God, don't make me think about school. Anything but that."

"I think we need to, don't you? That's the most likely place for you to have learned the survival technique you talked about."

"I thought we were gonna talk about work."

"We will. Later. Right now, I'm interested in hearing what forced you to figure out how to split off and shut down whole sections of your personality."

Tony grimaced.

"God, you make me sound like a-a... psychopath. It's not like that..."

"You aren't mentally ill, Tony. I never said that. What you described is a coping strategy. Abused kids typically develop one or more just to get them through day to day life."

Lewiston could see the instant denial rise and then die in Tony, all within seconds.

"I... I'm trying to get that. I am. I know abuse doesn't have to mean being beaten bloody 24/7... I just never put myself in that category. I assumed most kids my age had to go through what I did. I thought it was normal... like most abused kids do. Shit... I've done the research. How did I miss that huge red flag for so long?"

"From what you've told me the material you sought out concerned the abusers, not the victims. Besides, you couldn't afford to dig too deeply into your past while you were out in the world. Get introspective while someone else's life is on the line and they could lose it in the time it takes you to turn around. In here... it's safe and acceptable to focus only on yourself."

"Yeah, but easy... not by a long shot."

"I never promised easy. So talk to me about those first few months on your own at school. Is it the emotional aspect that really stands out, or something else?"

"I don't know... I think I was trying not to feel. Not to show it, anyway. Kept me from getting slapped down ten times a day... by the other boys *and* the teachers. Inside... I was lonely, terrified, and angry. A week into classes I realized the stress was way more intense when you didn't have somewhere else to go at night where you could decompress... somewhere you didn't have to think about school. I knew I was smart... but suddenly I was struggling just to stay level with all the other kids. Maybe... maybe that is where it started after all. When I was studying I had to shut out everything around me and put every ounce of focus on the work... so I was sure the material would sink in and stay in my head. I put so much effort into that... that when I got on the field to compete, all I wanted to do was forget formulas and equations and Custer's Last Stand ever existed. I dropped conscious thought, opened up to instinct and my physical side... and just played. Is that like... classic? I mean, have you heard of any other cases where someone taught themselves to do that?"

"I'm not sure there really is such a thing as a "classic" survival strategy. Many people develop similar methods, yes, but each child puts their own spin on it based on the situation and how severe the abuse was."

"Could... could what I've been doing... turn into a serious personality disorder? I mean, if I don't fix this could I end up with MPD?"

"I haven't seen a single sign of you being likely to degenerate that way. You're far too self-aware for that. There have been very few genuine, verifiable cases of MPD and the ones I know of came about after years and years of suffering sadistic torture, violence and sexual abuse. Unless there's something you haven't told me about..."

"No! God, no..."

"Okay then. Let's not even go there. I'm not trying to downplay what you went through. Abuse is abuse, whether it's your body or your self-esteem that was kicked across the room night after night."

"But doing that... splitting myself apart that way. That's not good, right?"

"Actually, it is. Instead of collapsing and giving up when you were forced out of your home, you found a way to stay on your feet and keep moving forward. That's a sign of innate strength and courage. You're a survivor if I ever saw one, Tony, and surviving is never a bad thing."

Long minutes passed while Tony processed and sorted through the information he had been given and the myriad emotions switching on and off inside him. When he looked up, his eyes were wide and realization shone from them, but deep fear lurked in the background and Lewiston sat forward slightly, ready for anything.

"No... maybe it was like that... but it's turned into something else. Something nasty..."

"What are you thinking about, Tony?"

"The hotel. You called it a... a rage-blackout... but I just compared the two and it felt the same. When I had to go from books to sports it was like... there was a switch. Flip it and one side goes dark while the other lights up. In the hotel room I felt the same change happening... at least I think I did. Why did I end up with only darkness?"

"Powerful emotion could've made the difference. Going from everyday intellectual challenges to physical ones wouldn't tend to carry a lot of strong feeling with it. In that hotel you were scared, angry and intensely worried, both for your partner and for yourself. Then again it could have just been your mind protecting you from what you were about to do. You did say you beat that suspect pretty badly. Acknowledging that you have that capacity, that you can get so angry and just lose control... it isn't something that would be easy for a long-time law enforcement professional to accept about himself."

"If it hadn't been for..."

"What? Don't censor yourself, Tony. If it hadn't been for what?"

"Who. I knew they'd kill Ziva without even thinking about it. I couldn't let it happen..."

"Like Kate."

"That loss... the failure is always with me. I never had much chance to step back, take time and grieve the way I should have. Maybe what I did to that guy in the hotel... maybe part of it was grieving for her... and making up for the worst mistake I've ever made."

"Who told you that you failed?"

"They'd never say it straight out... but they all know. I see it in Gibbs' eyes sometimes when he looks at her desk... what used to be her desk. Still should be..."

Lewiston shifted from his chair to Tony's side.

"Tony, no. I can almost guarantee that what you're seeing has nothing to do with you. It's a hard truth to hear, but when a tragedy like Kate's murder happens, the people closest to the victim can get pretty self-centered. They don't see it that way, of course. They're in excruciating pain and it's hard to look past that. What they're doing, though..." he said, dropping a hand on the younger man's shoulder, "... is blaming themselves for everything they didn't do to prevent the person from dying and they're certain everyone else holds them responsible, too. Gibbs thinks he should have saved Kate, Abby thinks it's her fault... but what none of you can understand yet is that nobody is to blame except the one who pulled the trigger."

"That... that's what shreds marriages when a child dies, right? Both parents are hurting so bad they can't spare anything for the other person... and they end up hating each other."

"That's not always the case, but more often than not... yes."

"After he threw me out... he wouldn't let my mother call... or send letters. I was persona-non-grata as far as he was concerned. That lasted until I was 16. Suddenly he wants me to take a trip with the two of them. God knows why... but I went. I think I understand his reasoning now. He must have been starting to lose her somehow... emotionally, mentally. With his social and business position, he couldn't let that happen. For one thing, in his circles, a loyal wife on your arm is essential and for another... if he'd let her divorce him or even just separate from him, he ran the risk of all the mud and blood spilling out his front door for the world to gawk at."

"So he tried to draw you back in."

"And as soon as he felt like he had her back under control, he forgot I existed again. To the extent that he took her home and left me in the hotel. He only sent me plane fare back to school when he got the room service bill. I wish... I wish it had hurt more... but I just took in stride. It sucks that I was able to do that. I just accepted that he was an ass who didn't give a damn about me unless I could get him something he wanted. I should've been pissed... I had every right to be."

"That's something else that can happen to abused kids. They learn the meaning of 'jaded' much too early in life. Nobody ever seems to think about their needs and wants, so they stop asking and expecting."

Tony chuckled brokenly.

"And they start making masks."

"Aren't connections wonderful things? Tell you what... I think it's past time for lunch and we both need a break. I'll go get trays for both of us and be right back. We'll eat, catch our breath..."

"Yeah... sounds good about now."

"Okay. Hang in. I won't be long."

As he left, Lewiston winced slightly, feeling guilty. He fully intended to go back and eat with Tony, but he also knew he had a vital call to make, so his first destination was his office and the phone.


"Agent Gibbs. I'm so glad I caught you."

"I just got back to the office. You don't sound happy."

"Believe me, I'm not. What was Director Shepard doing here this morning?"

Gibbs straightened abruptly and his expression darkened.


"She had a psychiatrist in tow and insisted I let the man assess Tony."

"And you said..."

"I'm surprised you even have to ask."


"When he realized she knew where he was... let's just say his reaction was justifiably extreme."

"Is he alright?"

"I calmed him down eventually. He's fine now. This can't happen again, Jethro. He's doing so well right now and anything that pulls his focus away from the issues he's working on..."

"I understand. I'll take care of it."

"Thank you."

"No problem. Whatever he needs, you call. Day or night."

"Hopefully I won't have to. I need to get back to him. Take care."

"You too."

Gibbs hung up the phone slowly and carefully and sat looking down at the device for several minutes, working to calm himself and thinking deeply about whether his plans now needed to be accelerated. Watching McGee and Ziva enter and re-settle at their desks, he pushed his anger down even further, drawing deep breaths and gradually releasing them. He knew from long experience that letting emotion talk you into charging ahead only ruined plans and destroyed lives. He would soon be having a talk with his former lover, but the topic would be nothing she was expecting.



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