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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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Help, I Need Somebody 34/?


"Morning, Tony."

"It is? Again? God, that just seems to happen every day, now. Can't you do something about that?"

"Cute. The nurses said you refused breakfast."

"I can't. If at all possible, I'd like to avoid upchucking in front of everybody if this goes south."

"It won't."

"You have no idea how I'm defining south right now... so please, no happy talk. Let's just do this, okay?"

Lifting Tony's chin so that their eyes met, Lewiston smiled softly over his response.

"I'll rephrase. I won't let anything negative happen in that room today. That's not what today is for. Better?"

"Just slightly." He grumped, rising to his feet. "Do I have to go in there like this?" he asked waving vaguely at his scrubs. "I might *be* a mental patient, but do I have to *look* like one?"

"Fashion anxiety. Now I know you're ready to go home."

"Ha-ha. It is to laugh. I'm serious about these... things."

"The scrubs are clean, just like they have been every other day. Nothing wrong with them."

"It's how I look *in* them! Ducky and Abby have seen me, but the others..."

"They aren't here to critique your outfit, Tony. Your friends are here to support you and express their feelings about what's happened. You could be sitting there in tights and a Shakespearean tunic and I don't think they'd care."

"You don't get it! I'm strong now... strong and stable. I don't need or want their pity. Looking like this... I know that's what I'll see in their eyes."

"No. Sympathy, concern, apprehension maybe. No pity. They love you and they would never do that. Anything you see in their eyes is coming from that place. Got it?" he asked in a mock-stern voice, shaking Tony's chin back and forth at the same time.

"Yeah... I got it." Tony replied with a soft laugh.

"Okay. Let's get going."

Once more there was the hesitation getting over the threshold, but eventually they made it beyond the confines of Tony's small chamber.

"Can I at least get a minute in there by myself to breathe before they all show up?" Tony pleaded as they made their way down the corridor.

"Sorry. They're waiting for us already. Don't worry, alright? You'll be fine."

"So you say..." Tony grumbled under his breath. When they reached the designated room, he moved into the large open space slowly, his expression neutral except for his eyes, which were telegraphing his fervent wish for a weapon in his hand or permission to flee. Lewiston had provided neither, both deepening and heightening his patient's anxiety.

Tony gazed around at the half-circle of chairs, noting the empty one that faced them, and smiled tightly at the people ranged before him, most of whom he hadn't seen or spoken to in what felt like an eternity. When he realized how much effort Abby was putting into staying in her seat, his smile softened, he nodded and she flew into his arms. Once she decided she was done squeezing the air out of him and had stepped back, the others approached and greeted him one by one. Finally, the group found their seats again and Tony reluctantly claimed the chair obviously meant for him.

Standing behind him, hands protectively curled around Tony's shoulders, the doctor quietly addressed the group, aware that the acoustics allowed him to be heard clearly without shouting.

"Welcome, everyone. I'm grateful for your presence today. Tony needs to hear what's on your minds and weighing down your hearts, but I have one requirement; please think very carefully before you speak. I've prepared him for the fact that some or all of you may be angry about what he tried to do, but the purpose of this is to avoid any more pain or misunderstanding. Be truthful... but try your best to be kind at the same time. Would you begin, Abby?"

"I guess they did put me on the end for a reason..." she replied softly, reaching under her seat and pulling out a portable stereo, plopping it in her lap. To her dismay, Tony sat up straighter and his previously impassive face now became wary and fearful.

"What the hell, Abs?" he asked

"Just trust me, okay? That amazing guy behind you... he said we could talk, we could choose a song that spoke to how we feel about everything that's gone down, or we could do both. I picked the third one. I'll talk to you after it's done. I really need to do that more, I know... talking to you, I mean. And making you talk, even when you don't want to. Anyway, this is my song..."

Ignoring Tony's further mumbles of protest, Abby hit play and the CD began. Tony pushed up, trying to rise out of his chair, but Lewiston held him down and leaned in to whisper in his ear.

"You've managed to keep faith in me all this time, Tony. Just hold on a little longer... please."

As the lyrics of the song began to flow out of the speakers, Tony found himself relaxing almost against his will as he became caught up in the words he was hearing; words that left him stunned and frozen in place.

* So on we go
His welfare is my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother...

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother... *

By the time the song finished, Tony had found his voice again, but when he spoke up, his only response was pained shock and anger. Abby, however, seemed to have come prepared.

"Abby! God, I can't believe... son of a...

"Shush. You can be pissed about the ambush later. Right now, you have to listen to me. I didn't need anyone to tell me you're my big brother, Tony. I knew that the minute we met. I could see in your eyes that someone, maybe even everyone, had let you down big time... and what you needed was someone you could stand in front of and protect from the world. I never had that and it's something I always wanted, so I was totally psyched. I loved that we could sort of... fill holes in each other. But I didn't know how big your holes really were. If I had, I would've found a way to patch 'em or sew 'em or something, I swear I would. All I needed was time. The idea of you stealing that time away... that you decided to turn your whole self into one big hole and make a big sucking, aching exit wound in my world, too... that's gonna take some work to get over, but I will. *We* will, 'cause you'll always be my brother... and I still love you, no matter what."

Face buried in his hands, Tony missed the stereo being passed left into Tim's hands. The younger man's choice of music nearly broke Tony completely, but he fought to keep it together, though he couldn't imagine how he'd make it through three more songs.

"You, um... You've given me so much, Tony... and I know I'll never be able to tell you all of it... or repay even a tenth of a percent. I'm so glad you're okay... but I'm with Abby on the taking yourself away from us part. If you weren't there anymore to-to tease me or teach me, or if I couldn't look up and see you sleeping at your desk when a case goes way overtime... I just have no idea what I'd do. You being gone forever... there are moments when that thought hits me and... I get so mad I can't see straight. The thing is, it never lasts long. I know that what happened that night... it wasn't really your fault. I played my part in how you ended up feeling and I willingly take my share of the responsibility. This song... well, I couldn't say it any better than this, so... I'll let them take over."

* I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you

I'm sorry that I hurt you
It's something I must live with every day
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
That's why I need you to hear... *

Tony twisted in the chair and spoke low and harsh to Lewiston.

"Don't make me do this anymore... I can't..."

"Accepting what they have to tell you will be the hardest thing you'll ever do, Tony, but it's probably also the most important. I believe you can handle this. I believe in you..."


"On occasion. You can leave if you absolutely feel you have to... but I have faith in your strength and your heart. Give them the chance, Tony. They deserve it..."

Tony emitted a low, mournful sound, ruthlessly swiped at his cheeks and eyes and turned back to face whatever Jimmy might have to present. The young man looked to Ducky for the words he didn't seem able to produce, but the ME simply shook his head and patted his assistant's shoulder. Jimmy smiled, breathed deeply once or twice and finally looked up at Tony.

"I... this may come out sounding totally lame. Talking, especially when it's emotional for me... that's not something I do really well. I just know that if I don't, all the feelings will stay twisted up inside me and... nothing will ever be right between us again. I want things to be right, so... here goes."

Lewiston grinned when he saw Gibbs flinch in surprise at hearing a version of his earlier words come out of Jimmy's mouth. Suppressing a chuckle, the doctor refocused on what Jimmy was saying. "When Ducky told me what you tried to do and where you were... I expected to be mad. Really, really mad. I mean... you're a mentor to me, even if you never knew it. And then it hit me. You never knew. I started looking at everybody else and... I saw the same guilt and disappointment in them. All I could think was... you mean none of us ever told him? Five people who work with him every day, who see him all the time and know what he's gone through the last few months... and not one of us ever said a word about how much he means to us? That's when I got mad... not at you, but at all of us. It seemed like we were all so self-involved that... we couldn't even look up for a second and see that someone we claim as family was drowning. Well... I know it's probably too late now, but this song is what I should've said, okay? All I can hope for is that... you hear what it's saying and take it to heart."

* Another day has almost come and gone
Can't imagine what else could go wrong
Sometimes I'd like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war.

But tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

It's almost like the hard times circle round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
And I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing - but I'm not dead, no...

... I'm not gonna let it get me down
I'm not gonna cry
And I'm not gonna lose any sleep tonight,

'Cause tomorrow's another day
And I am not afraid
So bring on the rain *

Jimmy passed the stereo to Ducky, who wiped his own eyes gently and stared at the black plastic weight in his lap, struggling to force sound past the softball that seemed to be lodged in his throat.

"Yes... dear Lord, after all those heartfelt words, I... I'm afraid I'm quite unable to-to speak very much at the moment. I'll just warn you that... this song may not be as lovely and sweet as the others, but it is relevant... as well as being a special favorite of mine. As Mr... as James has so eloquently put it, this is what I should have said..."

* You're having a hard time and lately you don't feel so good
You're getting a bad reputation in your neighborhood
It's alright, it's alright
Sometimes that's what it takes
You're only human, you're allowed to make your share of mistakes

You better believe there will be times in your life
When you'll be feeling like a stumbling fool
So take it from me you'll learn more from your accidents
Than anything you could ever learn at school.

Don't forget your second wind
Sooner or later you'll get your second wind...

... You've been keeping to yourself these days
Cause you're thinking everything's gone wrong
Sometimes you just want to lay down and die
That emotion can be so strong
But hold on
Till that old second wind comes along

You probably don't want to hear advice from someone else
But I wouldn't be telling you if I hadn't been there myself
It's alright, it's alright
Sometimes that's all it takes
We're only human
We're supposed to make mistakes. *

When Ducky first tried to pass the stereo on so Gibbs' song could be played, Jethro refused it. It took a few minutes of whispering back and forth between them for the younger man to accept the machine. Once that was settled, however, the team dad chose to make his own rules. Standing, he looked to Lewiston, his gaze steady and not even faintly questioning. The other man laughed out loud this time.

"You're not asking for permission, you're warning me that you're about to do something outside the box and telling me in no uncertain terms that I have no say in the matter."

"Word for word. If I'd said it."

"Trust me, you did. Your eyes spoke volumes. Your show, Jethro."

Grinning sadly, Gibbs walked forward, knelt in front of Tony and laid the stereo on the floor at his senior agent's feet. Tony shrank back, putting as much distance between them as he could without getting out of the chair.

"No. No, you SOB, you just back off, damn it... this isn't right... please, God... Gibbs, I'm begging you not to do this..."

"I know. Scared the hell outta me to even think it and if I had even one more step to take, it'd be different... but I don't. I'm in, Tony. You know what it means when I really commit... when I want something this bad. No surrender, no retreat. If that doesn't sink in... I just have to hope the song makes you understand." Gibbs vowed, pitching his voice so that only Tony and Lewiston would hear. Then he leaned closer and grasped Tony's face in both hands. The young man fought and flailed, terrified of what he believed might be coming, but, as his doctor had declared a moment earlier, one look from Gibbs and Tony settled down, realizing Jethro would never kiss him in such a public forum, even if the "public" was only their fellow team members. Instead, Gibbs used his grip to bring Tony's ear close to his lips, whispered a few more sentences then pulled back and hit the play button.

* Some people stay far away from the door
If there's a chance of it opening up
They hear a voice in the hall outside
And hope that it just passes by

Some people live with the fear of a touch
And the anger of having been a fool
They will not listen to anyone
So nobody tells them a lie

I know you're only protecting yourself
I know you're thinking of somebody else
Someone who hurt you
But I'm not above making up for the love
You've been denying you could ever feel
I'm not above doing anything
To restore your faith if I can...

... I know you don't want to hear what I say
I know you're gonna keep turning away
But I've been there and if I can survive
I can keep you alive
I'm not above going through it again
I'm not above being cool for a while
If you're cruel to me I'll understand

Some people run from a possible fight
Some people figure they can never win
And although this is a fight I can lose
The accused is an innocent man....

... I'm not below anybody I know
If there's a chance of resurrecting a love
I'm not above going back to the start
To find out where the heartache began

Some people hope for a miracle cure
Some people just accept the world as it is
But I'm not willing to lay down and die
Because I am an innocent man... *

In the silence that followed the final message from those who cared the most for him, Tony could only stare around at the team, the tears he hadn't wanted to show them now streaming openly down his face. Eventually, he pulled his feet up onto the edge of the chair, wrapped his arms around his knees and buried his head. Gibbs grabbed one of his hands and held it tightly and when the rest of the group surged forward, swiftly coalescing into a large, warm zone of comfort around Tony, Lewiston stepped back several feet and simply observed, content that, at least for a while, he wouldn't be needed.



Huge credit to Jo Dee Messina, Hoobastank, Neil Diamond and Billy Joel, BTW. Their music made this chapter what it was. Hopefully, a heartbreaker, 'cause that's kind of what I was going for. lol

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