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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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48

With a Little... 48/?

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5:15: THE HOSPITAL

Sarah stretched and groaned, slowly working out the tightness in her muscles and joints, then shook herself lightly. She'd been asleep in the bedside chair for a few hours, judging by her watch, and she felt better for the respite. She'd sent Jimmy home as soon as she'd returned to the room the previous night and the FBI agents Fornell had arranged for had arrived not long after, greatly increasing her sense of safety, but she still had not been able to sleep or even close her eyes. She knew how illusory it was, but her husband's presence seemed to fill the small space and her memories of the last time she'd taken up such a vigil would not leave her alone.

Somehow, as it always did when she couldn't stop thinking about him, her distress communicated itself across the distance between them and, eventually, her cell phone rang. Indescribably grateful to hear Harmon Rabb's voice just then, she went down in the elevator and outside to speak with him. Their conversation took a long time, alternating between Sarah pouring out her heart's recent burdens and Harm offering the wise, compassionate responses she relied on.

When they finally ended the call, she hurried back up to Tony's room, but everything was peaceful and she settled back into her seat, falling asleep quickly now that she had unloaded everything that was weighing her down onto the only person she trusted to handle it and not resent her for occasionally needing to perform the emotional cleansing ritual.

Early morning had seen her awake and raiding nearby vending machines for snacks and soda, but after her impromptu meal and an hour or two of reading, with the help of a small book light, she'd settled back in and drifted to sleep once again. She performed a second raid for a late ersatz lunch and, in the middle of further reading, napped again. Now, she gazed down at the still form under the blankets, smiled and brushed back his hair.

"Morning, Tony. Hey, your breathing sounds really good. If the doctors think it *looks* good, they might start weaning you off the sedation tomorrow. Of course, that'll mean a serious up-tick in the painkillers, but trust me, you won't mind." She assured him. Her gaze fell on the stuffed animals and she reached out, lifting up the lion for closer inspection. "This is so cute. Not new, I can see that... but very cute. I wonder which one of the family left it for you? Hang on... there's a tag here... luckily it hasn't faded too much. Micah... king and proctor of the K.G. zoo." Sarah read, chuckling softly. "I think he or she meant protector. I was right, this was definitely loved by a child at some point. K.G., hmmm... oh. Oh God. I had no idea..."

Gently placing the lion back in precisely the same spot, Sarah touched Tony's face.

"I've been praying off and on since I got here. I don't think you'd object if you knew... I hope you wouldn't. Anyway... I'll add Jethro in this time, alright? Here we go..."

Bowing her head, she began to whisper quietly. Gradually, she sensed another presence growing in the room, a distinctly female essence this time, wrapping both her and Tony in warmth and peace. Sarah paused, looked up for a moment, offered a puzzled smile and then continued her prayer, feeling as if she and Tony had just received a huge blessing and an exceptionally powerful petition had been added to the one she was sending skyward.

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

6:45 : BELLE'S STUDIO

Peering through a gap in the temporary stage curtains, still not seeing the one person she was waiting for, Abby moaned quietly and reached behind her, grasping her teacher's hand.

"Where is he? Belle, where is he? Everybody else is here. It's almost time. Where could he be? Ducky said he told him..."

"Please, you must relax, darling. Your Papa Gibbs will be here if he possibly can, you know that."

"He wouldn't just... not show up, right? He wouldn't ever do that."

"Perhaps if you had told him personally how much this means to you..."

"Hey, I told the rest of them, didn't I? You know why he wasn't there."

"I do. I also know this is not a discussion we should be having right now. You mustn't let yourself be distracted, Abigail. Concentrate on the steps, on the music... focus on what your family is here to see."

"I can't help it. Tony's supposed to be out there too..."

"There will be another performance in six months. He will be well enough to attend that. You must have faith. Now, do as I say and complete your preparation."

Abby closed her eyes tightly and quickly reviewed the positions and movements for the first dance in her mind. When she looked up again, Belle could see that the younger woman's worries had retreated and she gave Abby a proud smile and a brief, fierce embrace. "There. Better. I must go out and announce the start of the recital. Listen for your name, darling. No more drifting away into fretfulness."

"I hear and obey, General." Abby affirmed, saluting smartly.

"Cheeky girl." Belle chuckled, swatting her student lightly on the rear end as she moved out through the curtains

When she appeared, the audience applauded, but swiftly quieted when she held up her hands. "Welcome family, friends and patrons. I and the young people backstage deeply appreciate your support. Thank you so much for being here to show them how much you care. This evening, one of my most promising students will be the first to perform for you. She has only been with me a year, but her beauty, grace and obvious gift will, I believe, astound you. Ladies... gentlemen... Miss Abigail Sciuto."

Abby glided out through the drapes and posed, the recorded classical music swirled into the room and she began to dance. Tim stared, feeling as if his jaw were literally on the floor. He had never seen anything like this from her and he struggled to fit this new piece into his mental jigsaw of who Abby was; a puzzle he'd considered complete. Now he was both confused and enraptured at the same time. The gossamer skirt she wore floated around her as she moved and continually drew his attention. Her hair had been shaped into a bun instead of her normal braids or pigtails, and the few stray fragments left loose to frame her face by turns contradicted and then echoed the shift and sway of both her body and the material around her waist. Her feet were doing things he couldn't have conceived of as little as an hour ago. The image, as a whole, had overwhelmed him and he was utterly lost. Ducky's hand reaching out and gently squeezing his shoulder finally brought McGee back from the ethers and he smiled at the doctor gratefully, though he was blinking slowly and trying to recall just where he was.

In sharp contrast to Tim's bewilderment, the ME was overjoyed at what he was seeing. He'd always felt that this delicate, yet thrillingly powerful, creature might be hiding somewhere behind Abby's usual preference for ear-splitting music, dark clothes and studded collars. His open-minded nature and keen attachment to her kept him from ever expressing himself on the subject in her presence, but deep inside he'd frequently contemplated whether the wonder before him was possible. Now he reveled and rejoiced in her triumph and in the butterfly-like emergence of a new side to the young woman he adored.

In-between watching Abby's amazing performance, Max gazed up and down the row, studying the other members of her adoptive family. Tim was dumbstruck, Ducky elated, Jimmy alternately enthralled and self-conscious. She realized that she was the only one who had the luxury of approaching the event without pre-conceptions or prior knowledge of Abby getting in the way. She was able to simply relax and appreciate the unmistakable aptitude for ballet that the other young woman possessed. Then her gaze fell on the third chair to her left, which had been empty minutes before, and her breath stilled for several seconds when she saw tears streaking down a now familiar face.

The music slid to an easy finish, Abby assumed her final position and the small audience rose to its feet, exploding into fervent applause. Lifting her head, she realized that the man, whose absence had earlier caused such anxiety, was there, watching with glistening eyes and an ear-to-ear grin. Her gaze moved over to Tim and the adoration and pride she found there prompted tears of her own. More than anything, she wanted to run to them and embrace them one after the other, but with a pas de deux and a group routine still to come for her, she settled for blowing each man a little kiss. Gibbs put up his hand and pretended to catch the offering, not looking over when Ducky spoke from the space to the right, having just exchanged seats with Jimmy.

"Thank you, Jethro."

"She's... hell, Ducky, she's incredible..."

"No argument. No, indeed..." he concurred, discreetly handing his friend a handkerchief. Gibbs took it, swiped at his face and returned the cloth to its owner.

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

Recital over, audience making their way back out to the street, Abby stood in the middle of the performance space surrounded by her family, but being held tightly by Tim alone. He only pulled back a bit when Belle strode out and joined the group.

"Well, Abigail. Was the reaction all you hoped?"

"Totally, completely, absolutely!"

"You've caught your breath?"

"Oh, yeah. Can we do it now?"

"If you're ready."

"Oh, I seriously am."

"Very well."

Belle patted her on the back, strode over to the stereo and switched out the classical CD they'd been using for one she brought with her.

"You guys go sit down again, okay?" Abby directed, gently pushing everyone but McGee back toward the chairs. "This... is just for me and Timmy."

"Abs, I don't... you know I can't..."

"You don't have to. Just follow my lead..."

Grasping Tim's hands, Abby began to swing their arms back and forth as a lyrical pop melody began to fill the room.

*** When I think, how life used to be
Always walking in the shadows
Then I look at what you've given me
I feel like dancing on my tip-toes... ***

Releasing one of his hands, she went on pointe and turned in a slow circle. He raised the hand she still clung to and followed the movement.

*** I must say, every day I wake
And realize you're by my side
I know I'm truly

Blessed for everything you give me
Blessed for all the tenderness you show
Do my best with every breath that's in me
Blessed to make sure you never go ***

Laying her free hand on his face, Abby glided around him and Tim pursued, worried about becoming dizzy but knowing he wouldn't change what was happening for anything on earth. On and on she led, guiding him until he yielded and sank beneath the waves of beat and rhythm, breathing only when she did.

*** There are times that I test your faith
'Till you think you might surrender
Baby I'm, I'm not ashamed to say
That my hopes were growing slender

You walked by in the nick of time
Looking like an answered prayer
You know I'm truly...

...Blessed with love and understanding
Blessed when I hear you call my name
Do my best with faith that's never-ending
Blessed to make sure you feel the same

Deep inside of me
you fill me with your gentle touch... ***

Finally, as the music ebbed and faded out, Tim made a move not initiated by Abby. He swept her into his arms, rocked and cradled her and kissed her deeply. Belle smiled softly, shut down the stereo and moved off into the locker room. Jimmy offered his handkerchief to a damp-faced Max, who took it with a shy grin.

"Uh, I have to, uh... blow."

"Yeah, of course... go ahead. I-I have a lot more if you need them. They're back at my apartment, but... oh. Oh geez, I didn't mean to suggest... we barely know each other so that was totally *not*..."

A swift kiss on the cheek stopped his babble cold but made both young people instantly turn bright red. Gibbs and Ducky had to work to suppress their guffaws so they wouldn't embarrass the other two any further.

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TBC.....

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