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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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With a Little Help 4/?



"That's not fair!" Max protested mildly, laughing. "I haven't even met him and he's retiring?"

"Not for another month or so. You'll have plenty of time to get to know Ducky by then, and it's not like he's moving a thousand miles away. One thing you have to understand, Max, is that the bunch of us are really close... a bigger, stronger family than some of us have ever had. You'll see us argue, insult and fight, especially once Tony gets back... but if anybody outside the team tries that the walls are going up and the swords are coming out."

"I need to find a way to be inside the castle when the enemy attacks, is that it?"

"Yeah... and I'm willing to give you the key to the front gate."

Max grinned lightly and sipped at her tea before she looked up and responded.

"There was an ulterior motive behind this lunch. I think I've just been informally evaluated."

"Sort of. The agent who had your position before... we never had much of a choice in taking her on. In the end, she betrayed all of us and we almost lost someone because of it. I'm not risking my family that way again."

"So... why am I being extended a hand to shake?"

"I get a good feeling about you. I really think you'll fit right in like you were always here. Please don't make me regret trusting my instincts."

For the briefest moment, the lingering pain from the incident Tim had sketched out flashed through his eyes and the power of the fleeting emotion made Max's stomach clench.

"I... I won't. I promise, I won't let you down."

"Good, 'cause you do *not* wanna see what Gibbs is likely to do if it happens again. Shoot, we're late! We need to get back to work fast."

"Right behind you..."

The pair made it back to the office fifteen minutes past the end of their lunch hour, but Gibbs didn't seem inclined to bust them for it, much to Tim's relief. After checking to make sure nothing urgent had come up while he was out, he took Max back down in the elevator to introduce her to the other members of the team, stopping at Abby's lab first. To his shock, not only did his companion seem to recognize the sounds blasting from the stereo, she was nodding her head and smiling as they entered. Abby turned from whatever machine she was currently engrossed in the workings of when she heard the door open, but her smile faded when she realized Tim wasn't alone. Max's next words, shouted at the top of her lungs, changed things considerably, however.

"God, I love 'Brain Matter'! This must be their new song, 'Splattered Across My Girlfriend's Dungeon'!"

Abby looked at her curiously, her head tilted, and Tim whispered a timely warning in their new teammate's ear.

"Brace for impact. You're about to be hugged like you've never been hugged before..."

The sudden embrace staggered Max back a step, but she grinned and even wrapped her arms around Abby in return, holding on for the few moments that it took the young woman to retreat and move away to shut the CD off.

"Nobody appreciates good music around here! Who is this obviously brilliant woman, Timmy?"

Max laughed.

"Hug first, ask questions later. Unorthodox, but better than pulling an automatic, I guess."

"Definitely." McGee concurred. "Abby, this is Max Vendazzo. She'll be replacing Ziva."

Abby's mouth tightened, her eyes narrowed and her expression turned grim. She responded to Tim without once taking her gaze from the other woman.

"You told her?"

"Over lunch. I didn't go into detail... but she understands what we just went through and that we'll defend each other without a second thought against anyone or anything that threatens the family. Then I offered her a chance at adoption."

"You think she's worthy?"

"I do. I like her, Abs."

"Do I have to give you the Buffy speech, Max?"

"Not necessary. Death by shovel is a given if I hurt the team."

"She gets the pop culture references, too. I think you're right, Timmy, she'll be fine. Ducky'll be the final vote, though."

"That's where we're going next."

"I'll expect an update when you and I get together tonight."

"Yes, ma'mm." He told her, dropping a quick kiss on her cheek before leading Max back out. The newcomer released a long slow breath as they walked away.

"Wow. And I thought you were tough."

"We're all more protective, now. Have to be."

"This Ziva must've been some piece of work..."

"That's one way to put it. I might use stronger language. Matter of fact... I have."

"You? I can't picture it."

"You should've been alone with Abby and me last weekend. She finally made me mad enough that I just let everything go. Your ears would've burned to a crisp and fallen off."

"Avoid seriously pissing Tim off. Check."

"It's not usually a big deal. Normally, I'm an easy-going guy. This past month just got to all of us... changed the whole team. We don't do things the same way anymore." He clarified as the door whooshed open to admit them to the morgue.

A step or two inside the enormous space, Max halted Tim gently with a hand on his forearm.

"If I'm prying or you just don't want me to know, I understand that... but the more you talk about it, the more it sounds like something I *need* to know if I'm going to avoid being thrown over the battlements with the boiling oil."

"You're right... but the only person who can tell you everything isn't here and if I just started laying out the whole story without permission..."

"... it'd be another betrayal. I get that. Ducky's not the last vote, then."

"No. C'mon. Looks like he's just putting his latest body back in storage." He said quietly, directing her to where Ducky waited.

The coroner turned to see who had arrived and produced a pleased smile when he found Tim and Max approaching.

"Timothy. Good to see you, my boy. This is the new agent, I take it?"

"Yes, sir." She responded, a touch surprised.

"Jethro let me know you'd probably be coming down to introduce yourself."

"Oh. Of course. I'm Max Vendazzo."

"No, no. Not right at all. Full name?"

Max hesitated, wondering, but she complied.

"Adrianna Maxine Vendazzo."

Ducky considered her for a long stretch of seconds before replying.

"Ah. Has no-one ever called you Addie?"

"Uhhh... only my grandmother."

"Yes, that makes a great deal of sense. You wouldn't object to my using it as well, I hope?"

"No... no, it'd be an honor."

"Good, good." He told her, moving away as he spoke. "I'm afraid I'm hopelessly old-fashioned when it comes to certain things and calling such a lovely young woman by a traditionally male appelation just wouldn't seem right. You're settling in alright?"

"Yes. So far it's been fine. I've been christened and approved by Abby and Tim filled me in on the team and how you work over lunch."

"Yes, receiving one of her sudden embraces is definitely a positive sign..." he began, pausing as Jimmy entered. "This is my assistant. I'd make the introduction, but I have paperwork and I'm sure he's quite capable of speaking for himself. Welcome, Addie. Trust in the young man beside you to guide you through your first few days. He won't steer you wrong."

"Right... I, umm... I will..." she stammered, shooting fascinated glances at Jimmy while trying desperately not to let Tim know what she was up to. The object of her scrutiny was making no such effort at concealment. He approached her slowly, tilting his head right and left.

"Hi..." Max finally managed. Jimmy tried to speak, but seemed unable to at first, in spite of Ducky's pronouncement. After several seconds, he swallowed and produced a croaky word or two.

"Eyes... your eyes..."

"I have ears too. And a nose..." she returned lamely, mentally kicking herself for showing off the sudden drop her IQ had apparently taken.

"But... your eyes are... they're so brown..."

"Ohhh... thank you."

Jimmy abruptly backed up, turned and took off running, leaving Tim's laughter floating along behind him. "Who was that?"

"Jimmy Palmer. The next conversation will go better. 'Course he'll have to pick his tongue up off the floor and turn his brain back on first."

"Jimmy. Huh."

Tim laughed again, took her by the elbow and turned her around.

"And apparently so will you. C'mon. Let's see if we can finish the tour before the end of the day."



"Right. Yeah, I'm on my way."

Gibbs hung up the phone, rose and headed for the stairs. When he'd first done this the week before, he'd expected to hate it. If it had been Jen Sheppard, he'd have used every ounce of his considerable cunning to avoid it. Something about Mackenzie's leadership style, however, had shattered his expectations. Instead of trudging to the upper level, he was moving quickly, almost eager for what was ahead. An added benefit, he reminded himself, beyond the problems that good communication could prevent, was that making himself open up to her would increase his chances of being able to do it with Dennis Lewiston.

"She's waiting for you, Agent Gibbs." Cynthia told him as he approached. "Go right on in."

He favored her with a rare smile and made a mental note to send her a small gift and a note praising her strength and resilience in the wake of Sheppard's departure. He knew they had been close and the loss had to have shaken her, though she refused to show it. He admired the way she had handled the situation and, in keeping with his new policy of more frequently telling those around him when they'd done well, he felt she deserved some token of recognition.

After knocking softly, he entered and dropped into one of the visitor's chairs in front of Mackenzie's desk.

"Afternoon, Director."

"Gibbs. So?"

He thought for a moment, considering pushing her buttons by strictly formalizing the report she was waiting for, but he swiftly rejected the idea. He'd liked her since the moment they'd first met during the murder investigation involving her current husband and he had no real wish to irritate her.

"McGee took her out to lunch... read her in on the team and the little stuff she needed to know. She's met Ducky and Abby..."


"Within an inch of her life. Same taste in music."

"God help us all, but if Abby approves that's a pretty good start."

"According to Tim, something sparked when Max saw Jimmy. Not sure I wanna know where that's going... but if it looks like it might catch fire, I won't get between 'em. The kid deserves a chance."

"Good to know. Tony?"

"Solid so far."

"He had his first out-patient session today, didn't he?"


"Not worried?"

Gibbs shook his head.

"He was nagging me to be careful with you when I left this morning. Don't think he was too wound up about his appointment."


"The pressure you're under to clean up Jen's disaster... we're all aware how that could trickle down."

"I won't let that happen."

"I believe that. I'm depending on it."

"You can. Go ahead and head home a little early. However it went, you should be with him."

"Thanks." Gibbs responded, rising to his feet.

"See you next Friday."



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