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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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38

Help, I Need Somebody 38/?

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As they approached the exit doors, the final barrier between them and the outside world, Tony hesitated once again. Gibbs drew a slow, deep breath, preparing himself for further coaxing and convincing, then looked over and realized the young man was squinting at the bright sunshine in the parking lot. Grinning, Gibbs slipped Tony's shades from his pocket and held them out. The other accepted them with a rueful smile and popped them on.

"Thanks. It's, uh... I kinda forgot I might need these. Stay isolated too long... you forget a lot of things, I guess."

"Just ask. I'll crack you in the head; rattle your brain a little. Whatever's missing is bound to shake loose."

Tony laughed.

"You know... anyone who doesn't know you and our team would think I should be dragged right back down that hall and locked up permanently... but I've actually missed you doing that. When you smack me I know I need to step it up... and I know you still believe I can."

"Always. You ready to go get your present?"

"Always." Tony echoed, sporting a wicked grin and adjusting his sunglasses as they pushed through the doors. Once he was actually beyond the hospital confines, standing on asphalt and feeling fresh, moving air for the first time in two weeks, Tony paused for a moment of gratitude and appreciation then moved forward again, following Gibbs to his car. Peering into the back seat, which was stuffed with long boxes sticking out of an enormous plastic shopping bag, Tony cocked an eyebrow and turned his gaze on his boss.

"Yours is the wrapped one."

Tony gazed more intently around the car's interior and found that a gift-wrapped box the same size and shape lay across the front passenger seat. Abandoning all dignity in favor of the sheer joy of tearing wrapping paper to shreds, he raced around the car and tugged on the door, only to find it locked.

"Gibbs!"

"Hold on. This thing doesn't have power locks, ya know."

At last Gibbs slid into the driver's seat and reached across to flick the lock on the passenger door. Tony immediately had the door wide open. Tossing Bert into the back seat with the other boxes, he pulled the gift out, placed it on the hood and dug his nails deep into the paper. A few moments later, the mystery solved, he brought the package and the remnants of wrapping with him as he slid in on his side. The smile had been replaced with a confused expression.

"A toy light-saber?"

"It's a reminder."

"Of what, how many times I've seen ' Star Wars ' ?"

Gibbs breathed deeply to help gather his courage, ran some of the lyrics of the James Taylor song through his mind and then lowered his eyes before he responded. Expressing his feelings was a big enough step in itself; boldly facing potential rejection while he did so would have to wait for another day.

"That you're a defender of others, fighting the good fight... and that you have the strength of character, the heart and the intelligence to win, even if you have to do it with a bionic hand... or in spite of the darkness that brought you into the world."

Tony felt anger rise up inside him at Gibbs vague reference to what he knew of Tony's past, but the emotion faded quickly. If anyone besides Lewiston could be trusted with that knowledge, Tony knew it was Jethro Gibbs.

"Whatever information you have... I mean, I know you won't be calling the tabloids or anything..."

"I don't know a lot. They did background checks on you for the job. I read those reports... they weren't exactly complimentary to your folks, but they didn't say you came from Dante's Inferno either. A few things you've said gave me a clue. Mostly... it's a gut feeling."

"The famous gut."

"I trust it over anything or anyone else. Except you."

Tony flushed and swiftly changed the subject.

"So the other boxes in the back... you got a saber for everybody?"

"Our team, yeah."

"Ziva?"

Gibbs didn't respond. "What happened, boss?"

"Later. Let's get you home and settled in..." he said, starting up the engine. Tony paused, fear swamping him, then shot out a hand to briefly cover Jethro's where it curled around the gearshift. "What?"

"I... I'm not asking for anything you can't... I just need to... I need a favor. A huge one."

"Go ahead."

"I can't go back to my place. Not yet... maybe not ever. The thoughts, memories being there would bring up.... I'm just not ready to face that yet."

"You're asking to stay with me."

"No, not if you don't want that. I've still got cards and cash in my wallet. You can drop me off at a hotel... or pawn me off on Abby or Tim or..."

A sudden sharp rap to the back of his skull cut off Tony's ramble instantly. For a moment he remained silently shocked, but sudden delight at a return to what passed for normalcy in his life brought the boyish, mischievous smile back to his face.

"Right. Your place'll be fine, boss."

Gibbs allowed a half-smile of his own to grace his lips as they pulled out of the parking space. Once on the road, his arm dropped down to rest on the center console between the two seats. When he felt hesitant fingers drape over his wrist and squeeze faintly, the smile went from half to full in a flash.

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THE HOUSE:

They'd been parked in Gibbs' driveway for several minutes, and silence and inaction had taken over the car. Gibbs was using all his control to live up to the song he'd played for Tony and maintain the patience the lyrics had promised. Tony was having eighth and ninth thoughts and praying Jethro's forbearance would hold out. At last, the older man spoke, making sure his tone stayed even, calm and relaxed.

"Tony?"

The grip on his wrist tightened momentarily, then vanished.

"Yeah... I'm with you."

"Whenever you're ready. No big rush."

"I feel like there is... like I need to be normal right this second because everybody else is waiting on me to be okay so they can move on and be okay..."

Knowing a statement like that left no room to indulge his own insecurities, Gibbs turned in his seat to face Tony and took his hand again.

"No. First off, just because you needed help, it doesn't make you abnormal. It makes you human. Second, everybody else can handle their own crap for a while. Right now... you deserve to focus on you and what you need."

"I've been doing that for two weeks..."

"There's no time-limit here, DiNozzo. It takes as long as it takes. I'm not going anywhere, that's for damn sure."

"Long haul?"

"Long as you can stand me."

Tony smiled softly and responded the same way, head down as if he were studying his present more closely.

"Ditto."

"Good." Gibbs replied, unfolding himself from his side of the car and stretching. He waited until Tony joined him then both walked into the house together. A few steps inside the door, Tony stopped, his expression slowly revealing mixed emotions. "What?"

"I was just thinking how great a long hot shower is gonna feel... but I remembered I don't have anything to change into."

"I'll handle all that. You go hit the guest room and take a nap."

"Nap? What am I, three?"

"You tellin' me you're not exhausted? 'Cause your bloodshot eyes and the bags under 'em say different."

"I guess... maybe. What about lunch?"

"After you get some rest. Go on. I'll be in and check on you in a while."

Tony scowled, turned and shuffled away, mumbling to himself.

"... thinks I'm a toddler. next he'll be buying me a teddy bear and a sippy cup... he tries to potty train me I'll punch him right in the nose..."

Once Gibbs heard the door to the guest room slam shut, he pulled out his cell phone.

"Abs? Hey... no, he's home. Conked out in my guest room. He couldn't deal with it yet... I know it's normal... no I didn't get on him about it... yeah, he'll be here for a while, but that means he needs... Exactly. No, when you get back just head over there and pack a couple suitcases for him... I'll leave anything else up to you. Music, movies... whatever. Oh, uh... except for one certain DVD. Remember those claymation Christmas specials you got me to watch a couple years ago?"

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TBC.......

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