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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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23

With a Little Help 23/?

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9:30:

In the process of carefully snapping the DVD back into its case, Tony stilled, grinning and shaking his head. He still couldn't quite believe he'd found the guts to just ask for what he wanted earlier that night. What amazed him even more was that Gibbs had agreed and let it happen. After napping peacefully for almost two hours they'd woken slowly and spent a few lazy minutes kissing and talking, reassuring each other that the regrets Jethro had feared weren't an issue for either man. They'd finished the film almost half an hour before, but stayed close together on the sofa, reluctant to abandon the way they were feeling for the drudgery of putting the house to rights. Finally, Tony had volunteered to finish what little clean-up there was and sent Jethro upstairs to take his turn in the bathroom. This thought caused Tony's mind to produce vague fantasy images of his lover in the shower, a steam-shrouded silhouette pushing at the edge of his thoughts and demanding he allow it the mental space it needed to become more detailed.

"Bad brain. Give it a rest, willya?" he laughed, popping himself in the head, closing the plastic box and walking over to slide it back into place among all the others. "Slow down, damn it, DiNozzo... he's right and you know it. The big brain and your emotional health have to stay first in line. Wonder if Lewiston can give me something that'll make my body back off 'till the rest of me catches up, 'cause after tonight... boy am I gonna need it."

The phone buzzing a moment later pulled Tony gratefully away from the train of thought he was trying not to follow. "Yeah, hello."

"Tony? I'm so glad you're still up. You are, aren't you?"

"Relax, Abs. I talk in my sleep sometimes, but I'm always awake on the phone."

"Okay... that's good. Really good, 'cause I didn't wanna wake you up, you know..."

"Abby what's going on? You in trouble?"

"No... not trouble. I just... I thought maybe somebody was watching when I came home from bowling tonight. Then a few minutes ago... I swear I saw him again out the window..."

"I'm on my way over."

"Tony, no. You've got church tomorrow."

"Ducky..."

"Hey, nothing's secret in a family... especially ours. The slightest sign that you or anybody else I love is going south again, I wanna know so I can help."

"I'm fine, Abs, and so is the rest of our freaky, left-of-center clan."

"I know... for now. I'm not taking chances. Hey, that's right, Jimmy was over there for lunch today. It went okay?"

"Went great. He actually had a talk with Gibbs. Asked him for advice, if you can believe it."

"Barely. On what?"

"Sorry, sis. Some things have to stay private. He's fine, I swear. It was nothing major. Important... but not urgent."

"You're sure?"

"Positive."

"Okay."

"There ya go. Now go make sure the door is locked and don't open it 'till I get there."

"No, it's okay... you know me, after some of the stuff I've been through... I'm paranoid. It was nothing."

"You're not paranoid when they're really out to get you, Abigail." Tony replied sternly.

Abby made a face at the use of her full name.

"Hey, that's Ducky's tactic and it only works for him."

Tony chuckled, but it only lasted a moment.

"I know what you've survived, Abby. I was there when that bastard Ari tried to... holding you on that floor, you can't know how scared I was. I thought..."

"You didn't lose me, Tony and you won't now. Like I said... I really think I was just nervous. You made me feel a lot better. I'm fine."

"I know... for now. I'm not taking chances." He repeated, knowing it would make her laugh. "You absolutely, totally, completely sure?"

"Yeah. Thanks. Get to bed or you'll be falling asleep during the sermon."

"Right. If you start feeling..."

"Hide in the bathroom and hit your speed-dial. Got it."

"Okay. Love you, little sister."

"Love you, Tony."

Hanging up hesitantly, Tony sighed at the receiver, moved around the room turning off the lights and headed upstairs.

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SUNDAY 11:15 A.M.:

"Tony? The service is over. We're allowed to go to lunch now." Ducky teased gently. Tony still wouldn't look at him, just as he hadn't since they'd entered the sanctuary and settled into a pew. "Tony? What's disturbed you?"

"Nothing. I'm fine. You're right, let's head out..."

Ducky gripped the younger man's forearm and prevented him from rising.

"No." he countered firmly. "Not until you tell me what's happened."

Finally Tony lifted his eyes, quickly scanning his environment. His bewildered expression added to his quiet words made Ducky wince in sympathy then fight to control his outrage.

"Maybe you should skip picking me up next week. I don't think I belong here."

"Was someone cruel or rude to you when I wasn't present? Heads will roll and derrieres will be kicked, I guarantee it..."

"Nothing like that. Everybody's been amazingly nice. I guess I'm just not sure what... *he* thinks."

"He? Oh... capitalized."

"It isn't the pastor's fault... she has no way of knowing. All the same she... freaked me out."

"For heaven's sake, why?

"I know she meant God... but she kept saying father. Not my all-time favorite word these days."

"Oh... oh dear. No, it's entirely understandable, my boy. You were never shown that unconditional love exists. Of course you'd automatically assume that anyone with that title... your namesake was nothing but a biological source, Tony. He can lay no claim to the word 'father'. He doesn't know the first thing about cherishing the precious gift of a child. I suppose all I can ask of you is to give worship a bit more of a chance... give yourself a chance to learn what a parent is truly supposed to be."

"But... God is perfect... she said that this morning. That means he doesn't want me... couldn't possibly. Right?"

Ducky smiled and rolled his eyes to the ceiling briefly, after which he half-turned his body so he partially faced Tony and grasped the other man's face lightly in both hands. His reply was filled with easy humor, but the memory of the last time he'd heard the words still made tears threaten for Tony.

"Anthony, Anthony... Once again I feel the need to remind you that you are a silly, silly boy."

"Sometimes, maybe... but it's not my fault I don't know what unconditional really means. I grew up with nothing *but* conditions. Be this, do this, show me this... then I might treat you like I actually had something to do with your birth."

"Yes, well... like the love of your family, this love you've never needed to earn. It was always yours and always will be. In time... you'll come to understand that. I just pray you will do as I asked... and continue trying?"

Tony stretched out his tightly compressed hands along his thighs, breathed deeply and lowered his eyes. He stayed this way for a minute or two, his face telegraphing how hard he was thinking, then looked up at Ducky again.

"Yeah... okay. I'm still not sure, but I owe it to you and myself. I'll be ready when you show up next Sunday."

"Thank you." Ducky murmured, pulling one hand away and using the other to gently pat Tony's face. "Why don't you go out and warm the car, hmm?"

"You're not coming?"

"I will. I want a quiet moment to pray."

"Oh. Sure." Tony said, standing and stepping back into the central aisle between the ranks of pews. "I may grab a coffee first... maybe."

"Good for you. Ill look for you first in the vestry, then. Go on, now. I'll be along presently."

Ducky waited until he was sure Tony had left the large area before bowing his head and releasing a slow breath.

"My Tony through and through... and I wouldn't trade him for anything the world could offer... well, anything I don't already have. Lord, I beg your forgiveness for hating a fellow human as much as I do the boy's so-called father. The dark filters he planted in poor Tony's young mind... the man may just be unredeemable. I leave him to your judgment, of course, but... if you'd forgive, also, my fervent wish that I know what that verdict will be, I'd be forever grateful. Stephen... Lord, you know what I lost. Tony has filled such a dark and empty place in me. Thank you for helping us realize that keeping him here was in our hands as much as his."

After a quiet amen, Ducky rose to his feet and moved out of the echoing chamber, a faint smile gracing his lips and a lightness in his heart that he cherished more in that moment than he had for a very long time.

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TBC..............

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