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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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6

Help, I Need Somebody 6/?

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

When Ziva arrived at work the following morning she frowned at the large package taking up most of the space on her desk. Checking the label, she noted that it was addressed to her at NCIS headquarters. She knew that since the near fatal mistake made by the screeners, policies and procedures had been tightened considerably, so she wasn't worried about it being anything that would harm her. Shrugging, she retrieved a utility knife from her desk and slit the tape securing the top flaps of the carton. When she got it open and peered inside, however, the sight that met her eyes caused her to screech, leap backwards and trip over her chair, landing in a less than graceful heap somewhere between her desk and Tim's. McGee moved swiftly to help her to her feet, admirably repressing his urge to laugh in her face.

"Are you alright, Ziva?"

"I will be... after I've tortured a few of the screeners in the mail room... to death."

"Why? What happened?"

"The box... I thought..."

"Go sit at my desk. I'll check it out."

As McGee was carefully looking into the box for himself, Ducky rushed in, his entrance precisely timed and his expression schooled to insure his innocence couldn't possibly be doubted. He halted just inside the bullpen and, seeing Ziva, closed his eyes and groaned faintly.

"Oh dear... I'm too late. I was afraid I might be."

"Ducky... what are these things?" Tim asked, backing away from the box. He knew perfectly well what the box contained, as he'd been as thoroughly informed of the plans of the ME department as they had been of his and Abby's.

"Centipedes and millipedes. Specifically, these are some of the world's largest species. Dead and mounted, of course. Couldn't send them through the mail live, could we? The lovely things would never survive the trip. Let's see how they came through the less than certain care of our national postal service..." he clarified, beginning to extract one of the mounting boards from the box. Ziva's bellow stopped him before even one of the insects could be seen.

"Doctor!"

"Hmm? Oh... oh, I'm so sorry, my dear. I completely forgot about your aversion to such things. I'll just take this down to my lab where it belongs." He told her, his sincerity seemingly beyond reproach, no matter what the truth might be. He hefted the box and turned to go, but stopped when Ziva questioned him in a hostile tone.

"How did it end up here in the first place? And why was it addressed to me?!"

"The museum made a shipping error. They only just now called me. I rushed up to ensure that noone got a nasty surprise, but I didn't make it in time. Again, my deepest apologies..."

"That thing looks heavy, Ducky. Lemme give you a hand with it."

"It is, actually. Thank you, Timothy."

Somehow, McGee managed to wait until he, Ducky and the box made it into the elevator and were on their way down before he collapsed in helpless laughter.

"Ducky... oh my God... that was..."

"Yes. I only hope what I missed was as satisfactory as what I witnessed. I trust Abigail's done her part."

"I guarantee she's... pulling the whole thing... off the footage from her secret camera... and burning it to a CD as we speak."

"Good." Ducky replied, a wicked smile curling his lips. "When you see Jethro next will you let him know that I've taken the afternoon off?"

"Of course. Setting up another practical joke?"

"No. I'm going to have lunch... and then visit Anthony." he said, sobering rapidly.

"Oh... right. I wish..."

"So do I, Timothy, so do I. He'll change his mind, I'm sure. When he's ready... we'll all get our chance to grovel and make our abject apologies."

"You weren't there, Ducky. You have nothing to apologize for."

"Oh, but I do, dear boy. In fact... I see myself as far more culpable in Tony's breakdown than any of you."

"Ducky, no. You couldn't have known..."

Tim would have continued, but the elevator was approaching the morgue level and the older man grabbed his box, which was actually quite light.

"The plan you and Abby have concocted is set to go off this afternoon?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry you'll miss her reaction first-hand."

"The visual record will do just fine. I'll look forward to both your accounts of the carnage, however. See you in the morning, Timothy." Ducky said as he stepped out, leaving McGee behind. Tim began the ride back up to the bullpen in a much more solemn mood than he'd been in on the trip down.

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

1:30

"Can I help you?"

"I sincerely hope so. My Name is Dr. Donald Mallard... I believe I've been approved to visit Anthony DiNozzo?"

The nurse's bright smile put Ducky a little more at ease, but didn't completely alleviate his anxiety. Knowing Tony was locked in this place, in distress and without a single person he knew by his side, twisted the older man's stomach into knots.

"You absolutely are, Doctor. It's very good to see you. Sometimes just the idea of a friend or family member being here can make visitors too afraid to even try." she said as she came around the desk.

"Oh, dear lady... I'm one of the unfortunate, I'm afraid. I've had to witness a loved one in a much worse place than this and in much worse shape than Anthony. A lovely, clean facility such as this, where I know Tony will be helped and well cared for... it could never frighten me."

"I'm sorry."

"Yes, so was I at the time."

"If you'll follow me, I'll take you to his room. The doctor said if you decided to visit that you could have half an hour." the nurse informed him as she led the way down the hall and through two sets of secured doors.

"Is he doing well?"

"He seems to be. The pain medication he's taking for his arm means he's sleeping a lot, right now, so don't be surprised if he drifts off on you."

"But other than that..."

"I don't really know. If you'd like to talk to the doctor after your visit, I can arrange it."

"Yes, please. I'd appreciate that very much."

As they walked up to the door of Tony's room, the nurse lifted her keys and started to unlock the door, but stopped when Ducky gasped and raised a hand to the viewing window.

"Oh, Tony..."

"Doctor?"

"I... I'm sorry, my dear. I simply... well, even as wonderful as I'm sure this place is, seeing Tony locked away, knowing the reason... it's very difficult. Please, go ahead."

"I understand. He really is getting the best care, believe me. Dennis Lewiston is one of the most knowledgeable, compassionate doctors I've ever worked with. If anyone can guide your friend through this, he can."

"I'll trust to your judgment. Still, speaking with Tony will ease my mind..."

"Oh, of course. I'm sorry too. You seemed so upset, it was automatic to try to reassure you. Nurses instinct." She told him with a chuckle. "He seems to be awake." she commented as she turned back and opened the door. "If you'll stay here for just a second, I'll see if he's feeling up to seeing anyone."

After a brief exchange with Tony, which Ducky was relieved to see had animated the young man considerably, the nurse returned, leaving the door open a little.

"He's eager to see you. Go on in. Half an hour..."

"I remember. Thank you so much."

"No problem. I'll contact the doctor while you're visiting. By the time you're done, I should know if he has the time to see you today."

The sound of the door closing and locking behind him drew a slight wince out of Ducky, despite how quiet the noise actually was, but his discomfort only lasted a moment. The sight of Tony sitting up and holding out his good arm in welcome shifted his focus back where it belonged. In a moment, the older man was sitting beside Tony on the bed and holding him in a powerful embrace.

"Anthony... you silly, silly boy..."

"I know. It's so good to see you, Duck. I wasn't sure..."

"I wanted to rush right over the minute I heard you were willing to see me, but work and plotting a bit of nasty revenge kept me busy until now." Ducky told him, pulling away and swiping at his cheeks.

"Revenge?"

"Yes. One of my better efforts, if I do say so myself."

"Ducky..."

"It's nothing that will get me in trouble, I assure you. Merely a little payment in kind for the cruelty Miss David perpetrated on you and the rest of my family."

"I don't understand..."

"Your doctor hasn't passed on our message?"

"No. We've been kinda busy working through some old stuff. We're not up to that night yet. You tell me."

"Ziva lied to all of them, Tony. She led them to believe that you had been extended an invitation and refused it. Her reasoning for the deception was petty and childish and you don't need to hear that right now. What you must know is that none of us knew the truth."

"Don't include yourself in that apology, Ducky. I know you weren't there."

"You... but how?"

"Why would you blow off a chance to spend your anniversary alone with Gerald? A dinner party could never compare with that."

"My God... How long have you... when did you..."

"Please. You guys were always discreet, but anyone who really looked could see how you felt about each other. I mean... when he was shot, the look on your face... it was like that bastard had reached in and crushed your heart." Tony explained, his eyes lowered. When he met Ducky's gaze again, concern was evident in his expression. "I never told anyone. I wouldn't do that..."

"Oh, I realize that. Don't give it another thought. It's just... oh well. It's almost a relief, I suppose. We've been hiding for so long... I don't like to think about that night. I came so close to losing Gerald... even that piece of filth being dead hasn't rid me of my anger completely. Jethro is just as upset on your behalf, you know."

"Don't. Don't go there."

"Tony..."

"No. I can't."

"But you've gone through the same situation. Having to watch you dying in that isolation unit almost killed Jethro. Still, through that whole ordeal he was stronger and more in control than I've ever seen him... at least until he knew you were going to survive."

Tony's immediate reaction to this statement shocked Ducky. The younger man stumbled to his feet and backed away, his eyes wide.

"You're lying."

"What? Why would I? I don't..."

"You're lying! He wouldn't... not over me, not over anything."

"Of course he cries. When he lost his daughter he spent the better part of two days utterly lost... he sobbed in my arms as if he were a child himself..."

"No! No..."

"Tony... what's wrong?"

"He has to be perfect... he has to be... otherwise it isn't safe..."

"What isn't safe?" Ducky asked, moving to stand by Tony and gently touching his shoulder.

"Loving him..."

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

TBC....

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