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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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4

Help, I Need Somebody 4/?

AN: Disowned at twelve? There had to be a reason. The developing plotline and a dream inspired this thought...

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When Lewiston arrived to see Tony the next day, it was unplanned and he had a physician, pulled away from the ER, at his side. In the early morning, during one of her quarter-hour checks on Tony, the on-duty nurse had noticed that the young man was trembling and nearly buried, head and all, under his blankets. Fearing something was seriously wrong, she'd contacted Lewiston, who had come running, dragging a friend from the emergency department along just in case the problem was physical.

"Tony? What's wrong?"

"Nothing... I'm fine."

"You're shaking... and you have a slight fever. What happened last night?"

"Nothing happened... just go away..."

Lewiston motioned his companion over.

"Tony, this is Dr. Harris. He works in the ER. He's going to check you out, alright? Try not to fight him." He joked. Tony smiled, with more than a touch of anger and fear behind it, and finally told them the truth.

"My arm... I was grazed... just a scratch. I was supposed to keep it in a sling... take pills... but I didn't much care. When I came here... I left everything at home..."

Harris carefully examined the stitches, trying his best not to cause additional pain.

"It's a little red. The wound is just starting to become infected. It could have been much worse. You were taking anti-biotics?"

"And pain meds..."

"I should hope so. This isn't a scratch, it's more like a knife slash."

"Bullet. I'm a Fed. Occupational hazard..."

"Ah. That explains the wound and the macho routine. I'll write him the scrips you need, Dennis." He said, turning to Lewiston and preparing to leave.

"Thanks so much, Scott."

"No problem."

Once the other doctor was gone, Lewiston moved back and took his chair beside Tony's bed.

"Okay, what was that about?"

"It wasn't a routine... had nothing to do with thinking I was a tough guy. I just hate the stupid meds that come with getting hurt. The pain pills make you sleep half the day and the anti-biotics keep you in the bathroom the rest of the time. Life already sucked. I didn't feel like dealing with the fallout from the meds too."

"I'm afraid you'll have to, at least until that arm is healed. Do you think you can get back to sleep or should we talk?"

"Once I'm up, that's usually it for the day."

"Alright. Let's pick up where we left off, shall we?"

"No. I won't break my promise again. I've done enough damage."

"What about the damage that's been done to you?"

"It doesn't matter. Look, ninety-nine percent of the time my mother was cold and manipulative and distant... but she had a little shred of humanity in her. I saw it... and because I did I have to shut up about the past. I need to not hurt her anymore..."

"Can you tell me about that? About realizing she wasn't always the person you knew?"

"She wouldn't want me to... but she never realized I was watching."

"If she had you would have been sworn to secrecy on that as well?"

"In a heartbeat. I... I was just about to walk into the room when she got the call about my aunt. All the color just drained out of her hands and face and she... she just slid out of her chair... like she'd melted. She screamed and the servants came running. My father strolled in five, maybe six minutes later. He pried the phone out of her hand, listened for a little while, then he hung it up. He dragged her back up to her feet, handed her to the maid and told her to take "the silly bitch" upstairs and put her to bed. That was his favorite name for my mother. He considered it affectionate."

"How did it feel to hear that all the time?"

Tony laughed, but his face held no real happiness.

"I've been through this before. I know my father wasn't exactly a role model for how a man should behave. As a captive audience to their so-called marriage I could have gone two ways; marry and become an abuser like he was, or decide that if that's love I want no part of it and become one-night-stand guy. I picked the second one, fortunately."

"Or not. The second option may seem safe and relatively pain free, but it's got to be incredibly lonely."

"Yeah, well, no wife and kids to permanently screw up. That's all that's counts. Lonely... I can deal with."

"I can see that. When did the final separation happen?"

"What?"

"From your parents. To be as self-sufficient as you are, it must have come pretty early. If you'd stayed in that environment through high school, it's likely you'd either be extremely protective and defend your parents actions, or you'd be much more bitter and angry than you are. My yardstick puts you somewhere in the middle, so maybe thirteen or fourteen."

Tony stared at the doctor wide-eyed. The accuracy of the man's comments was shocking and Tony's emotions were all over the map. Unable to straighten them out, he tried to shut down, closing his eyes and curling into a ball, but Lewiston wouldn't allow the retreat.

"I told you... I won't. She wasn't the greatest mother but she at least deserves not to have our family compost pile aired out, damn it..."

"Why not?"

"Come again?"

"Why doesn't she deserve it? Why aren't your needs as important as hers?"

Tony sat up and opened his mouth, ready to tell Lewiston where to get off, but he couldn't make the words come out. In the end he replied simply and honestly.

"I don't know. I... I'm not even sure what my needs are."

"Do you want that to change?"

"That's why I'm here... I think. God, this is... why is it so hard? I didn't think I was still so stuck back there. I was so sure I didn't give a damn about either of them anymore... not 'till I just heard myself."

"Abused kids who don't get rescued grow up to be confused, hurting, self-sabotaging, rigid people. The child was powerless to stop the abuse, so the adult fights for clearly defined boundaries in every area, especially emotion. Controlling what you feel, or convincing yourself you don't feel anything at all, is the ultimate form of protection."

"Abused? No. No way. I wouldn't call it that."

"C'mon, Tony. You've been in law-enforcement long enough to know what I'm talking about. Verbal and emotional violence, neglect... they can do more lasting damage than a physical beating. You understand that."

"I understand... but that's not me. I get over, I move on. I don't do long-term grudges."

"Maybe the mask doesn't, but the mask isn't you either. Inside, behind that facade, I'd bet there's a whole toxic waste dump of things you haven't come to terms with. Think about those hours and days after you were found on that bathroom floor. When your parents came to you in the hospital and forced you to make that promise, what did you think? Honestly, what was your visceral, gut reaction?"

Tony closed his eyes again, hating how right Lewiston was about his control issues and, seemingly, about everything. Images floated through Tony's head and he winced, not wanting to exhume the memories the other man wanted to hear about. Of all the past traumas that occasionally gave him screaming nightmares, the days after his attempted suicide clung to him with the most tenacity. He suddenly knew that giving this up could either raze or restore him, but he wasn't sure it was worth the risk he'd have to take to find out.

Taking as deep a breath as he could, he held it in his lungs briefly, reminding himself that he was here because he'd finally admitted all was not right with his world. Recognizing that first and toughest barrier was already behind him, Tony released the air slowly, drew breath again and spoke.

"I wasn't."

"Wasn't what? Forced?"

"No... I wasn't in the hospital."

"I'm not sure I understand what you're saying."

"I told you... they'd do anything to hide what I did. A public hospital... forget it, out of the question. The family doctor came to the house that night. He stitched me up... bandaged my wrists. They kept me home for a week... told the school I had a virus. It wasn't both of them, by the way, just my father. He walked into my room the morning of my first day back in class. He told me that a promise was a verbal contract... and that people who break contracts pay penalties. That's when he made me swear never to tell anyone what I'd tried to do. If I did... I wouldn't be his son anymore and I wouldn't be able to live in his house."

"That must have terrified you."

"Way beyond. I knew he meant it. When it came to business, he was never anything less than dead serious. He actually made me shake hands... to seal the deal, he said... and he deliberately squeezed my wrist. I yelled, cried a little... that was the first and only time he ever hit me. When I got to gym class that day, I found out he'd sent a note to the school telling them that because of the "virus" I wouldn't be able to participate for the rest of the year."

"Of course. They didn't want you taking off your shirt in front of the other boys."

"On the nose, doc. A year after that they told me I was going to a doctor's appointment... pulled me out of school and everything. I didn't find out 'till I got there that it was really a plastic surgeon. Another week out of school and poof... no more scars for little Anthony."

"Ah. The skin in those spots wasn't as elastic and since you hadn't finished growing yet..."

"The marks still show. Faintly, but they still show."

"How much longer were you able to hold all this inside?"

"Three more years. We were at a buddy's house... his parents were gone for the weekend and being your typical oblivious, super-rich mummy and daddy they left him by himself with a phone and an unlocked liquor cabinet. Needless to say the minute they pulled out of the driveway the party was on. It was just a few of us guys though. The girls we were drooling over wanted nothing to do with us. We each picked our poisons and proceeded to get blasted beyond all recognition. Some idiot decided we should play the testosterone-laced version of truth or dare..."

"Gotcha. I remember it well. One person asks the question and the rest of the group all have to answer it before the next person can ask. Anyone who refuses has to perform the chosen dare."

"That's the one." Tony confirmed, his voice now beginning to tremble. "The minute I heard the question I should have walked out... probably would have if I'd been anywhere close to sober, but I wasn't. You know what? To this day I have no idea why I did it. Maybe I was just sick of hiding and lying, but when he asked what was the stupidest thing we'd ever done to ourselves... I told the truth."

"And it got back to your father."

"Through the school grapevine, yeah. I got home the Friday after that party... and my clothes were packed and waiting for me by the front door. He wouldn't look at me... all he'd say is that my mother was upstairs and didn't wanna see me. I.. I moved into a dorm at school... I had to take a test, but luckily I'm smart and I always studied really hard... so I got to stay in school after my father stopped paying my tuition. I had to... you know, work to pay for my books and food... but I didn't mind. It was better that way..."

Lewiston realized that not only was Tony crying once again, he was also sweating profusely and swaying in place, struggling to remain sitting up. He ended the session by calling in a nurse to give Tony the pills Dr. Harris had sent over. As the pain medication relaxed his patient, Lewiston gently slipped Tony's arm into the new sling, covered him with the blankets again and left quietly.

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

1:00 P.M.

"Officer David. Where are Gibbs and McGee?"

"Director Sheppard. Uh... I really don't know, ma'mm. They left for lunch about twelve-thirty and haven't come back yet."

"They didn't tell you where they'd be?"

"They don't tell me much of anything lately. Not since DiNozzo..."

"Since Agent DiNozzo what? I notice he's also missing, by the way. What is going on around here?"

"Gibbs didn't... you don't know about Tony?"

"Why do I have the feeling I'm *really* not going to like this?"

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A CAFE: SOMEWHERE IN D.C.

"Make it quick, Fornell. We need to get back to the office before Jen gets her nose in the wind."

"You trained her, Jethro. It's probably already too late."

"Probably. You have something for me, Tobias, or are we all wasting our time?"

"Be in MTAC tomorrow night at ten. You and McGee only. You'll have fifteen minutes. I hope that's enough."

"It should be. Thanks. Let's go, McGee. I have a feeling a storm may be brewin' back at the office..."

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

TBC...

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