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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 35/?





Following a somber lunch with the other four, Ducky made his way slowly out to his car. Jimmy had driven himself, also, but he trailed along behind the older man instead of heading for his own vehicle. As they reached the space where Ducky had parked, he finally turned and addressed his dejected tag-along.

"Yes, Mr. Palmer? Did I leave something behind?"

"Huh? Oh. This isn't my car, is it? Sorry..."

"Hold on. Clearly, there's something you wanted to say."

"No. I mean... it's okay."

"James. Did you not listen to yourself earlier? Take your own very wise advice, my boy... and speak your mind while you have the chance."

"I... okay, here goes. I'm still kind of shaken up about this morning and I don't have a roommate, so I'd be going back to an empty apartment or wasting gas driving around until I found a movie I had no interest in, but would go to anyway just to not be alone, but then I'd realize that I didn't know a single person in the theater so I really *was* alone, which kind of defeats the purpose of going to the movie in the first place..."

Ducky smiled and laid a hand briefly over Jimmy's mouth. The younger man showed his boss a repentant grin and replied softly. "I need to spend less time around Abby."

"Obviously. Drop it down to its most basic components, would you?"

"Can I... would it be alright if I followed you back to your house? I wouldn't stay forever. I just... I think I need to talk... a little."

Ducky lightly cupped Jimmy's face in one hand and responded gently to his request.

"Of course you can join me. And you're welcome to stay as long as you need. I owe you an enormous debt of gratitude after all."

"You do?"

"Indeed. Thanks to you, I gleaned a very important lesson from this morning's gathering. Pay swift attention to the needs of those we care about, no matter what else may seem to be more pressing... and take the time to show those same people just how *much* we care, before they can no longer hear us say 'I love you' or 'I'm sorry'."

"Wow. I said that?"

Ducky laughed and patted Jimmy on the shoulder.

"You did. Go on lad, head for your car. I'll wait for you..."

Less than forty minutes later they were walking into Ducky's elegant home, the older man in the lead. As they moved from the foyer into the living room Gerald appeared from the direction of the stairs and strode quickly over to the pair, sweeping Ducky into a powerful embrace. Jimmy gaped slightly for a moment then turned away out of respect, moving farther into the room and sitting carefully on the front edge of what looked to be a very old chair. When the other two had finished soothing themselves in the other's presence, at least for the moment, they finally pulled apart a little.

"How'd it go?"

"As I thought... very moving. Heart-rending in fact. Poor Tony found all the love and concern very difficult to take, but that's to be expected. He still seems so confused... You were right, I'm afraid. Having you there... might just have been too much for him."

"It's okay, love. When the changeover happens at work, Tony and I will find plenty of time to talk. I'll make sure of it."

"I have no doubt. Come, let's go rescue James, now, shall we? I'm sure he's feeling rather awkward over what he just witnessed."

"Hmmm. Time to re-think our non-disclosure policy, maybe?"

"As far as our team is concerned... yes. Watching Tony struggle has opened my eyes to the painful impact of keeping certain secrets... time is far too short for such foolishness. I'm no longer willing to hide who I love or how deeply."

"Okay. You've got my vote. You always had it."

"I know. It isn't that I loved you any less than I do at this moment. I was simply... frightened."

"The world's good at doing that."

"Yes... well, the world can bloody well descend to Hades if they choose to align against us. From this moment forward, my only one, you and I are going public and all the negative voices be damned." Ducky declared vehemently, leaning in to place a lingering, passionate kiss on Gerald's lips.

"My God..." his lover chuckled when they finally pulled apart. "I was just gonna send this doctor a fruit basket for all he's done for the team, but for inspiring such a sea-change in you I'm thinking an upgrade to a Ferrari or maybe a Rolex is in order..."

"Something in the middle of those two price ranges will suffice, I'm sure. In deference to our soon-to-be tighter finances, we should probably lean more toward the fruit..." Ducky responded, as Gerald took his hand and tugged him into the living room to sit on the long sofa. The former assistant ME studied Jimmy for a long moment then held out his free hand. After a brief hesitation, the young man accepted the offering and was gently pulled over to sit beside Gerald.

"We haven't had a lot of chances to talk, Jimmy. I'd like to correct that. I need to know more about you. How you like to work, what's easy for you to handle and what disturbs you... tell me everything."

"Okay... but why? I don't understand."

Gerald turned to gaze reproachfully at Ducky.

"Damn it, Don... you couldn't find a minute to warn the poor kid you're retiring?"

"At heart he's a sensitive boy and I knew it would cause him pain and anxiety... so I avoided talking about it. My apologies, Jimmy, truly. I just couldn't bear to see the hurt in your eyes..."

"Retire... you're leaving?"

"Yes. Quite soon. Gerald is taking over as chief medical examiner. That's why he asked you about yourself. The two of you really don't know each other very well and working together will go much more smoothly if that changes."

"I... not right now, okay? I need time to... absorb this... think about it. Can we talk about this morning instead?"

"Absolutely. Go ahead." Gerald conceded graciously, hoping he'd learn at least some of what he needed to know just from listening to Jimmy talk about his emotional experience at the hospital earlier that day. Ducky squeezed Gerald's hand firmly and leaned slightly against his taller lover, gratefully allowing his weary body and mind to sink into the deepest source of comfort he had ever known.



Sighing, Tim extended a hand and touched one of Abby's pigtails. He considered tugging on it gently, just to tease her, but instead he let his fingers sift through the soft dark hair in an effort to soothe. Through most of lunch, she had been atypically silent and grave, unwilling to respond to anyone's attempts to lighten her mood. By the end of the meal, the atmosphere had contaminated the rest of the group as well and they'd all left the restaurant with grim expressions, bent shoulders and lowered heads.

Even now, when he'd parked just outside the fence of a small local airstrip and they were laying side by side on the hood of his car, in imitation of a scene from one of her favorite movies, Tim couldn't get her to talk to him and he was becoming more and more worried.

"I'm an idiot, Abby. I'm so sorry..."

At last she turned her head, looked at him quizzically and spoke up.

"For what?"

"I don't know. I just need something... anything to be my fault. At times like this, if I don't have something to be making amends for... I go crazy."

"Timmy, what are you talking about?"

"That's what's got you so mad, right? What I said to Tony? I can't help it, Abs, it's what I do. When things go wrong, I step up and take the blame so the pressure's off everybody else and... and things can get back to normal faster. It makes me sick to my stomach when the people around me are tense and anxious all the time... I hate it, so I have to do something. I had to try and fix it..."

"Like you're doing right now." She responded. Tim picked up his head and looked at her sadly, but when he opened his mouth to speak again Abby held up a hand. "No. Stop it, okay? The way I've been since the meeting had nothing to do with you, McGee. I was remembering what you guys said and trying to... run it through my computer up here, so I could make sense of it... get it all organized and in context." She told him, tapping her temple. "To do that, I needed it quiet... so I had to shut the rest of you out for a while. I'll admit, at the time I didn't understand why you'd claim responsibility for something you didn't do. Now I know the answer. It helps make the picture even clearer for me. Thank you." She murmured, kissing him gently.

"So... you're all set now? All the deep thinking's over?"

"For a while."

"We can get down to business?" he asked, grinning wickedly.

"You start."

"I always start."

"You know it better than I do. I only started really listening in the past few months."

"I still can't believe that. As eclectic a music collection as you have and you never..."


"Okay, okay. ' Mama, I just killed a man. Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he's dead...' "



Back at his desk, Jethro tried to find something to occupy him, but he just couldn't focus and this realization disturbed him more deeply than anything he'd heard or said at the session. Concentration and single-mindedness were more than simply a part of the discipline that ruled his life, they were essential to his picture of who he was and it shook him to the core that he could lose sight of them even for a moment. Finally, he surrendered and headed up the stairs, hoping against hope that the Sec-Nav would let him help sort out the disaster his old lover and partner had left behind. Wading knee-deep into someone else's problems was the best way he knew to place your own firmly on the back burner.

When he stepped into the outer office, he was a little surprised that Cynthia was gone. He knew she would be invaluable in putting Sheppard's mess to rights Curious, he knocked lightly on the door frame to the inner sanctum, as the door was wide open.

"I thought I sent you home for two days."

"You know me."

"Unfortunately, yes." The other man shot back with a half smile. "C'mon in. Sit. How'd this morning go? General terms only, of course. I don't expect details."

"It was... enlightening."

"That's all? I know I said no details, but..."

"If I have to, we'll talk about it later, alright? For now... I'm here to help. What can I do?"

"Nothing. Even Superman needed R&R once in a while, Jethro. Go find your own fortress of solitude and take a break, damn it."

"And let my brain talk to me for hours on end without anything to distract it or make it shut up? No, thanks. I need... I want to get my hands dirty."

Sheffield huffed out a frustrated breath and pushed at the myriad folders scattered across the desk.

"Can't avoid that... I've spent about ten hours, now, going through the assigned cases for the last month. I knew I was seeing a pattern, but I couldn't make it gel... couldn't quite get it to come together. Then I took a look at her private journal. It was all right there, in depressing black and white." He growled, tossing a small book into Jethro's hands "She's been steadily decreasing the number of cases your team was given in order to keep her... to keep Ziva David close by. I'm shocked none of the other team leaders came to you and complained about the extra workload."

"Me too. They wouldn't have gotten any satisfaction from her, that's for damn sure."

"No... God, I need a drink. More like ten..."

"Mind if I join you, sir?"

"Not at all, Jethro. Not at all."



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