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With a Little Help From My Friends (Sequel to 'Help, I Need Somebody')

by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #2
Chapters: 065 Word Count: 103164
Rating: ADULT
Warning(s): Disturbing Imagery or Content, Violence
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Ensemble, Caitlyn (Kate) Todd, Tobias Fornell, Gerald, Kelly Gibbs, Jeanne Benoit
Category(ies): Action/Adventure, Angst/Drama, Established Relationship, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, New Character, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo, Abby/McGee, Ducky/Gerald
Episode(s): 3-12 Boxed In
Summary: As Gibbs and Tony grow closer, an outside force is working to destroy the younger man. Meanwhile the rest of the team find their joy in varied and interesting places...

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 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65

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12

With a Little Help 12/?

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

1 HOUR LATER:

Having approached the lab quietly, Tony reveled in being able to watch Abby work for a few minutes without her knowing she was under scrutiny. He loved her boundless energy, her skill and how effortless she made her myriad tasks look. The music pounding from her stereo speakers wasn't anywhere close to his taste, but he knew it was a vital part of what kept her mood consistently high and, despite what others might think on first hearing it, what allowed her to focus and concentrate as intently as she did.

After savoring a final few seconds observation of his "baby sister" in action, Tony finally stepped inside and waved to get her attention, as she would never have been able to hear him speak. When she realized he was there, the music was instantly silenced and Tony was enveloped in an enormous hug.

"Tony! Tony, Tony, Tony! You're here!"

"You knew I was starting this week, Abs..." Tony wheezed faintly.

"Yeah, but you're here, in my lab! This is so great!" she enthused as she finally released him. A second later, however, the mile-wide grin became a confused frown. "Hold it... why are you in my lab when the rest of the team is still... he made you stay behind! I'll hit him the minute he shows up, I promise... on second thought, he *is* a Marine, and he probably knows how to slit my throat with a fingernail clipping, so maybe I better make that a stern talking to..."

"Abby, sweetheart, take a breath!" Tony laughed

"Sorry. I'm just so excited! You're back!" she cried, hugging him again. Tony endured the powerful embrace stoically, reminding himself how much he depended on her infinite capacity for love and cherished her lack of inhibition when the chance came to express her feelings. Eventually, he was set free a second time. He opened his mouth to exonerate Gibbs, but Abby wouldn't let him sneak a word in.

"Ohhh! I can't believe I almost forgot your welcome back present! Wait right there, don't move a millimeter! Except for holding out your hands! Oh, and close your eyes!"

Tony sighed, grinned and did as she'd asked. Abby was back in a few moments, placing a medium sized, fairly heavy box on his open palms. "Okay... open."

When he realized what he was looking at, Tony was left speechless for several seconds. He recovered relatively quickly, but the words, when he found them, were strained and almost inaudible, at least at first.

"Abby... God, where did you... I can't believe you did this..."

"It helped when you were... didn't it? I thought..."

"Yeah, it did... helped a lot. Having it... that meant I had at least one person out here waiting... that I had somebody willing to forgive me, even I couldn't do that for myself." He explained, still transfixed by the contents of the box.

"I know how hard it was for you to give him back when you got home." She confessed, sliding her arms around his neck and squeezing, much more gently this time. "Now, if you ever need it, you'll have your own hippo to look at and hold... and he'll remind you how much we all love you."

Fighting down how badly his throat wanted to close up, Tony chuckled and managed a response.

"She."

"Huh?"

"I think this one's a she."

Suddenly, Abby's typical bright smile was back.

"Bertina!"

"Works for me. Tina for short."

"We *have to get them together, you know? I mean... it's just destiny! Give 'em a year to date and fall in love... we'll have baby farting hippos all over the lab!" Abby shouted, dancing back to where she'd left the remote and re-starting the music. Tony laughed, shook his head and placed the box safely on the counter. Grasping her hands, he danced with her until, exhausted and still giggling, they collapsed onto side-by-side stools.

"God... I needed that." he panted. "Little sisters have their perks..."

"Damn right we do." Abby concurred, lifting her head from where she'd plopped it on his shoulder. "So why are you still here instead of out in the field?"

"Red tape, that's why. Paperwork, evaluations... if everything goes right, I'll be back out with the team next Monday."

"Ugggh. You have to see that creep upstairs. They need to take the last part right off his title. He's just a pyscho..."

"Yeah? I heard he was okay. Fair, at least..."

"New guy. Trust me, keep your answers short and to the point and think *hard* before you say anything. He'll twist the littlest comment and use it against you."

"Really." Tony said, wrapping one arm around Abby's waist as he felt nervousness start to creep up on him. "What'd he do to you, anyway?"

"You know how Shepard threw that dress code at me when she started, but it didn't stick? This jerk-off looks me up and down and starts talking about me having "authority issues". *And* he dared to bring up Chip! Says Chip must've "challenged" me and that's why I went medieval on his ass. Then he tells me he'll be *watching* me to make sure I can handle the stress of my job without having another "violent episode." Part of me *so* wanted to show him my duct tape hog-tying technique... but the rest was just scared. He could trash any of our careers in a second, Tony... but especially yours. Be careful."

"You know it. Thanks for the head's up."

"No problem. I don't wanna lose you again..."

"You won't. I'm back to stay, Abs. Sacred vow..."

The two fell silent and cuddled close to each other until Gibbs entered the lab a few minutes later.

"Abs. Got something for you. Not much, but see what you can do with it."

"On it, Gibbs." She responded, kissing Tony softly on the cheek before she got up. "Hang in there, Tony. Everything'll be fine."

"Thanks."

Gibbs smiled briefly as she moved away and Tony echoed it.

"Hey, I'm just doing what Mackenzie told me to. She said to spend the afternoon getting used to the place and saying hi to my family."

"I thought she might."

"Ducky and I had tea, cookies and conversation. It's been too damn long..."

"He bring out those shortbread things? I love 'em, but I'd look like Santa if I took as many as he's offered me..."

"Uh, no. The Pims."

"Damn, he *is* determined to put some weight on you."

"I know. Abby..."

"Lemme guess. She was happy to see you?"

"Her hugs are one of a kind, just like her. She, umm... she bought me a present." He said, reaching around to retrieve the box. Gibbs' eyes widened slightly when he saw it, but he was soon grinning.

"Little sisters."

"Yeah... You know, I was hoping to catch Jimmy today, too, but I couldn't find him and Ducky wouldn't talk about where he is."

Gibbs tensed slightly and turned away.

"Duck doesn't know. None of us do. Every year Palmer gets this afternoon off... he's never told anybody why."

"The director must know."

"Probably."

"... and if Jimmy wanted us in on his secret, he'd have said something. Got it, boss. I won't pry."

"It's past three now... there's not much more we can do on this new case tonight. You feel like getting out of here early?"

"Long as mom says it's okay... I'm fine with it."

"Mom? Don't let Mackenzie hear you call her that." Gibbs retorted as Tony stood and stretched up with the arm not holding his gift.

"Somehow I don't think she'd mind all that much."

"Maybe not... but then she doesn't know this bunch all that well yet."

"True. You go ask and I'll meet you down in the garage?"

"That'll work."

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4:15 A PRIVATE CEMETERY OUTSIDE D.C.

Shivering in the brisk wind, Jimmy eased his legs out of the near lotus position he'd been sitting in and worked kinks out of his muscles for a few moments before settling down again. Running one finger over the icy stone in front of him, he sighed then grabbed the bottle of water lying beside him in the snow. After taking a long swallow, he re-capped it and dropped it back into place. The light was fading quickly and he knew he'd have to go soon, so he finally began what had become an annual ritual for him; a ritual that had to be completed before the sun went down.

"Man, I wish that was something stronger. I keep my promises today, though... and I told you I wouldn't. My new student's named Lindsey. She's scared out of her mind still... but I think she'll do fine. I'm taking it slow and easy, just like always. She'll come around. She wants to learn... to figure out why it's so tough and how to make it better. I never thought I'd still be doing this. When I started it was like... it's just therapy... a way to get over what happened and see that something good came out of it. I know better now. It's about changing lives... saving people from ending up here before they're supposed to."

Wiping his face on a sleeve, Jimmy pulled his coat tighter around him. He could have zipped it up, he could have stayed on his feet instead of sitting, but to him this day was, at least in part, about penance and atonement, and being able to truly feel the cold seemed right to him. Pausing to slow his breathing and get his emotions in check, he stared out at the horizon and continued. "I talked to your mom and brother at lunch. Another promise kept. They invited me over for Easter dinner. I'm just getting a real connection going with my work family, so I'm not sure if I'll go or not. They said to tell you they miss you... but you know that. I miss you too. I shouldn't, damn it... but I do. This is so wrong..."

Standing, Jimmy angrily brushed loose snow from his pants, ending with both hands tightly fisted at his sides. "One more year, Brandon. I'm only doing this one more year. It hurts too much. Yeah right... how many years have I been saying that, now? How could I stay away from my best friend? I'm gonna go drink a beer for both of us. See you next February."

Turning away, Jimmy began the slow march through the ankle deep snow, back to the mostly cleared asphalt path and his waiting car. Once there, he stopped to watch the sun disappear behind a distant hill. Then he zipped up his jacket.

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TBC......

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