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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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27

With A Little Help 27/?

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Stretching, arching and yawning, Tony dragged himself back to consciousness, only gradually realizing that he was alone in bed. Frowning and reaching behind him, he found the empty space had not yet cooled and was relieved to know Jethro hadn't been gone long. A moment later he heard footsteps moving back to the bedside and his hand was gripped gently. A smile blossoming, Tony flipped over so that he faced his housemate and lover. Jethro greeted him with a grin of his own and soft, affectionate words.

"Hey. Thought you were still asleep."

"I was 'till you left and took all the warm with you." Tony quipped sleepily, pushing up into a sitting position and leaning in for a light kiss.

"Us old guys can't always control when we have to hit the head, kid."

Without hesitation or a second thought, Tony used the hand not holding him upright to smack the other man in the side of the head. Gibbs' eyes widened and his brow furrowed briefly as he dropped to the edge of the bed. When Tony shrank back a little in obvious apprehension, however, the grip on his hand tightened. "Don't. I'm not mad, Tony. Challenging me is a good thing... most of the time. Shows you're still willing to stand up for yourself. I'd like to know what I did to earn it, though."

Tony paused, uncertain how his reasoning was going to sound, but he eventually responded.

"You're not old. Mature, responsible, wise... those I'll agree with, but never old."

"Tony, c'mon..."

"No, if I'm not allowed to put myself down anymore then neither are you. Deal?"

"It wasn't a put down."

"Sounded like it to me, and I should know. Do we have a deal or not?"

"Okay." Jethro conceded with a quiet sigh. "You're right, I guess. Not like it's deliberate... the words just come out. Maybe I do need to start paying more attention to how I think about myself. My favorite DI always said that if you train the mind first you don't have to worry about the body. Whatever's supposed to happen... just will."

Tony grinned broadly, flushed and turned his eyes away.

"My, uh... my mind must be getting trained, then, 'cause anytime I think about the other night and the chocolate and the break we took from the movie..."

"Yeah. Yeah, me too. Always lived by that mind/body principle. Never thought it might embarrass me in public."

Tony stroked the back of Jethro's hand with his thumb and murmured agreement.

"The kitchen, the couch... you need a reason to think positive, just remember those. Old, my ass..."

"Funny... your ass looks pretty young and firm to me." Jethro whispered in Tony's ear then rose and began to walk away. As he watched his lover stride out of the room, Tony bit his lower lip slightly and commented under his breath.

"Yours isn't exactly lumpy oatmeal, 'Ro..."

Gazing at the clock, Tony found it was still a few minutes ahead of five o'clock and jumped out of bed. Dashing to the guest room, he rapidly sorted through a drawer in the dresser, pulling out a singlet and running shorts.

While he dressed, he pondered when, or if, anything of his might shift into Jethro's bedroom. Leaning on the dresser with one hand, he started running through the facts as he understood them. The mutual decision had been made to create a library out of the guest room and the two of them were in the same bed every night, even if nothing more than deep, contented sleep was occurring. Otherwise, the intimacy between them seemed to be moving forward at just the right pace; slowly, but always progressing. He tried to go on, knowing there were many more positives that pointed to long-term success for their relationship, but his analysis faltered under the weight of his insecurity. If he pushed even as far as moving his clothes, he still feared it might cause a level of discomfort which would develop into an expanding fissure that could drive the two of them apart.

Despite the logical part of his brain nagging that if he didn't get out for his run soon he'd have to cut it short or abandon it altogether, Tony remained lost in his contemplations for a while longer, only pulled back to reality by the sound of knuckles lightly rapping on the door frame. He looked up to find Jethro watching him. The flush and rueful grin his appearance had engendered made the older man smile in return. Shaking his head, Tony moved to greet him.

"You say a word about smoke coming out of my ears..."

"Wasn't going to, promise. Don't make the run too long this morning, okay? Looks cold and damp out there."

"Yeah, yeah, so I'll wear my hoodie." Tony replied, sticking out his tongue a bit.

"Brat."

"You wouldn't have it any other way." Tony countered, dropping a kiss on Jethro's cheek.

"True. You know, one of the bookcases is ready and I should have number two finished by this weekend. Why don't we move 'em up here Saturday and get your dresser moved across the hall? Not like I'm short of room over there... what?" Jethro questioned when he realized Tony was staring at him intently.

"How the hell do you do that? I mean, I've always suspected you could read all our minds, but having proof... kinda freaks me out."

"Uh-uh. That was *not* what you were standing there thinking about when I showed up."

"Yeah. It was, actually." Tony told him somberly. "I figured moving my clothes was a good idea... but I wasn't sure how you'd feel. Everything is going really well right now and if I took that step... I thought you might see it as too fast... too soon. The last thing I want is to push you."

Reaching up, Jethro tangled his fingers gently into Tony's dark locks.

"Not possible, precious. I went over the cliff all on my own the first time you were brave enough to kiss me. I wouldn't stop the free-fall now even if I had the power. Feels too damn good." he confessed, tugging Tony's head down and placing a lingering kiss on his brow before releasing him. "Go. Run. I'll have coffee and breakfast waiting when you get back."

Grinning from ear to ear, Tony quickly pressed their mouths together and slipped past. jogging down the corridor toward the stairs. "Hoodie!" Gibbs shouted after him, knowing Tony would deliberately leave the garment at home just to prove that he was strong and healthy enough not to need the extra layer of warmth.

"Aw, Dad!" floated back to him, laced with humor, but also holding a genuine note of irritation.

"Don't gimme any flack, DiNozzo! If I even *think* you're getting sick you won't be going anywhere *near* work, and you better damn well believe Mackenzie will back me up."

There was a significant pause before the reluctant answer met his ears.

"Where is it?"

"In the basket of folded laundry right by the basement door. And put it on, don't just tie it around your waist."

A final grunt drifted up as Tony moved away to comply with the commands. When he heard the front door open and close, Jethro turned so his back was against the hallway wall and slowly slid down until he was sitting on the carpet. After a few deep breaths and several minutes of firm mental self-talk, he finally felt as if his emotions were back under control. Raising his chin, he closed his eyes and contemplated what he was about to do. The main thing that held him back was the self-satisfied smirk he knew Ducky would be sporting if he ever found out. Regardless, Gibbs swallowed, licked his lips and plowed ahead.

"Okay... I'm gonna give this a shot, but don't you dare blame me if it comes out wrong. When Duck said he wanted to take Tony to church, it barely registered. I thought... it'll be good for him. The kid needs more than just us. Something to hold onto can't hurt. If it helps him to think there's a 'higher power', like the twelve-steppers say, let him have that. Not my place to be my usual self... speak my mind and take that away from him. If I spoke up, he'd stop going just to make me happy and for all that I can't see the purpose or the need... the place is good for him."

Pausing for a long moment, Jethro sighed, fisted and relaxed one hand then rested his head back against the wall before continuing. "I've been so pissed at you for so damn long... spent almost fifteen years hating you for what I lost. All I could see was that Shannon believed and it didn't save her or Kelly. Now... now I don't know what the hell to think. The kind of bond I had with them is back, growing inside me again... as strong as it ever was. Stronger, maybe."

Grimacing, Jethro shoved to his feet, both hands now compressed into tight lumps at his sides. "Tony... I love him with everything I am, so if he asks... if he asks I might just give faith a second chance. You do anything to him, though... damn it, if you take him away I won't ever trust you again."

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10:00 A.M. : MANHATTAN

"Yes?"

"I'm ready for the third stage."

"Mmmm. Good. Today?"

"This afternoon."

"Agreed, but there's been a slight change in plans."

"How exactly are you defining slight?"

As he listened to the alterations his employer was proposing, a malevolent smile slowly developed. "No problem. I won't even charge you extra."

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1:30: NCIS

"Uh-huh... right. Okay. We'll be there as soon as we can... I understand. Good... no, you did the right thing. I've got the directions. Yes. Okay."

Hanging up, Tim tore away the notepad page he'd been scribbling on and rose to his feet. It was only then he realized that the other three were staring at him intently, stress written boldly on every face.

"I don't wanna hear this, do I McGee?"

"Uh... probably not, boss. That was the local LEO's around Petersburg. Sounds like our un-sub is at it again."

Both of Gibbs' eyebrows shot up toward his hairline.

"Un-sub?"

"Oh... sorry, I didn't mean to... there was a 'Criminal Minds' marathon on cable last night and... grabbing my gear, boss."

As Tony gathered his things, he tried and failed to keep an excited grin off his face. When Gibbs approached, the younger man's smile turned apologetic.

"I know, this is serious, boss. It's just... I'm back. I'm back..."

"I know. Just hold it in 'till we're done, okay? We get home you can jump an' dance and scream all you want." Gibbs told him, fighting not to show more than a trace of the ear-to-ear smile that wanted to break out in response to Tony's excitement.

"Got it, boss. I know I can figure this out, Gibbs. In from the start, seeing the scene fresh... I can help get this bastard."

"I'm holdin' out hope, DiNozzo. C'mon, let's hit it. Your brother and half-sister are probably already downstairs."

"Hey... can I drive? It's way past time I started again. Can't make you drag me around everywhere for the rest of my life, can I?"

Gibbs hesitated, his stomach clenching and his heart twisting, but after a moment, he pulled out the keys and tossed them to his lover. Tony caught them deftly with one hand and strode to the elevator, never hearing the quiet words that followed him.

"But I want to, Tony. God, how I want to.."

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TBC.......

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