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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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56

TUESDAY MORNING: 9:15 : THE HOSPITAL

“But…”

“No. You can do this, dearest, and you *must*. None of the rest of us has the required knowledge, as you do… and as Anthony will.”

“My therapist was a complete bastard to me in the beginning, Don. Relentless, intentionally cruel… I just don’t know if I have it in me to do that to Tony.”

“It will be difficult, I know, and you’ll likely feel as if your heart is breaking… but that young man has everything at stake. He desperately needs you to dig down and find a heartless blackguard somewhere inside… to find the man who’s ready, willing and able to cause pain in order to eventually see it alleviated.”

“A professional…”

“He’ll have one, but Anthony will also need a familiar face, someone with whom he can safely release the pressure, but who he knows won’t let him surrender when it seems as if he’s losing the battle and the war, both.”

“Just like I had.” Gerald conceded, kissing Ducky lightly on the cheek.

“I was infinitely privileged to be with you, my love… and so honored that you allowed me to see you through those dark hours.”

“Allowed? Are you kidding? I never would’ve made it out the other side if it wasn’t for you. As far as I’m concerned, the honor was mine.”

“And so?”

Gerald sighed heavily.

“So I need to pass on what I was given. I need to love him enough not to care that he’s gonna hate my guts for the foreseeable future.”

“Indeed. Go on, now. I’m going to go speak with his medical team and call Dennis and Brad for updates. Shall I meet you back here in an hour or so?”

“Sounds good.”

Ducky moved off, leaving Gerald standing outside Tony’s room gathering his courage and praying frantically that he could access the ruthlessness and unwavering determination his lover seemed to believe he possessed. Showing his ID and submitting gracefully to the scrutiny of the current team of FBI agents, he stepped inside, moved quietly to the bed and softly touched Max’s shoulder. She turned her head to see who had arrived and, not recognizing Gerald, was instantly on her feet, placing herself between him and Tony.

“Who are you?”

“Easy, Agent Vendazzo. I’m Gerald Jackson. I used to have Jimmy’s position.”

“Oh. Okay, I read about what happened. You were injured pretty badly.”

“I was, but I’m about back to a hundred percent now.”

“That’s great.”

“It’s fantastic, actually. It’s also kind of why I’m here.”

Max frowned, but caught the point swiftly, turning her mildly confused expression into one of deep sadness and faint anger.

“Already? It’s only been a few days and you want to start PT now?” she asked in a heated near-whisper.

“Have you ever been where Tony is? Where I was?”

“No.”

“Then I’m sorry, but you can’t possibly understand and I don’t have time to waste trying to help you.” Gerald responded in the same hushed tone. “He doesn’t exactly have forever either.”

“The longer you wait the harder it’ll be… and he’s facing enough for three people as it is.”

Gerald’s brow furrowed.

“Yeah. You said…”

“I didn’t lie. It wasn’t me. My father broke his back in a motorcycle accident when I was fourteen. He had a hell of a long road… but he walked into the restaurant for my twenty-first birthday party.”

“I’m so sorry. I assumed and made an ass out of… well, I guess it was just me.” He apologized, grinning.

“No problem.”

“This is gonna be pretty brutal. You might wanna vacate for a while.”

“I can’t. I promised Gibbs I wouldn’t go anywhere until he came back.”

“And breaking a promise to Jethro Gibbs practically guarantees retribution.”

“Practically? The stories I’ve heard…”

“Okay, you’re right. Just stay back, okay? And make *me* a promise too? Do your best not to react or let him tug your heartstrings. It’s gonna seem like I’m a real son of a bitch… but it’s in his best interests.”

“I get it. I’ve seen it before, remember? I swear, no interference of any kind.”

“Thanks. Tony? Hey, bud. Can you wake up for me?”

“Hnnnghh. Wha’? Oh, G’r’ld… Hi. T’s good to see you.”

“I was here a couple days ago, but you were pretty much out for the count, so you wouldn’t remember.”

“Wish I could’ve stayed that way. This sucks…”

“I know. Been there, done that…”

“… got the bloody, ripped up t-shirt.”

“Amen.”

“’M glad you came back.”

“Yeah, well… it’s not completely the standard ‘ comfort a sick friend’ visit. I’m here to help. I’m gonna be part of your PT team. I need to know what range of motion you’ve been left with so we have an idea how much work there is ahead.”

Somehow, even with one eye still partially swollen shut, Tony managed to look shocked.

“You’re crazy. Totally insane, tha’s what you are…”

“No, just a little early. By tomorrow, maybe even by this afternoon, the hospital will be sending somebody in here to help you sit up so you can start eating soft foods and drinking nutrition shakes to help rebuild your muscle strength..”

“They cn’t. ‘M not ready… only been a couple days…”

“Four days. If we let you lay there much longer, it’ll be that much worse when you do try to start moving.”

“Go to hell. I’m in pain, damn it…”

“Maybe you *want* Jethro spoon-feeding you. Not to mention helping you in the bathroom, that’ll just be a party. You looking forward to that, hmmm? Work’ll be out of the question, that’s for damn sure. Can’t be an NCIS agent if you can’t even pick up your gun, never mind fire it. No cooking, no basketball, no reading… well, not unless somebody holds it for you. Always books on CD, I guess. You’ll have all the time you could ever want to listen… at home all by yourself while Jethro’s still out doing the job you love.”

“No, he loves me. He’ll stay with me.”

“They’ll give him a little bit of leave, sure, but to keep the bills paid he’ll have to go back to work eventually.”

“Retire… he’s talked about it…”

“You’d do that to him? You’d make him choose? Most selfish thing I ever heard of…”

“Get out. You hear me? Go away… asshole…”

“I can’t. You forget, I know what this kinda pain’s about. If I’d been allowed to back off and give up… if I’d thrown in the towel, you think I’d be getting ready to take over for Don in a couple weeks? Not a chance. No giving up, Tony.”

Abruptly, a young, sweet voice resounded in Tony’s mind, accompanied by images from his recent strange dream.

// you said you’d remember the three things… you promised…/

“No giving up… say you’re sorry, say how you feel… go to church…” he mumbled, closing his eyes. “No giving up… say you’re sorry, say how you feel… go to church…”

“Tony? You okay?”

“No. ‘M scared to death, man. I don’t think I can do it…”

Gerald smiled softly and dropped into the bedside chair.

“Then it’s a damn good thing you’re not in this by yourself. You’re family’s not walking away, Tony.”

“Y’re not an asshole, I didn’t mean that. ‘M just…”

“I know. Consider it forgotten, okay?”

“ ‘Kay. You should know… range of motion is nil. Tried once… but there’s nothing.”

“I didn’t say pain-free motion.”

Tony blanched.

“Shit.”

“I hear you.”

For the next ten minutes, Gerald took Tony from lifting a single digit, to his hand and finally an arm, his heart sinking when he realized how close the other man had come in his assessment of no possible motion. “It’s okay, we’re done. No more today.” He soothed, running a hand through Tony’s hair over and over. “Try to go back to sleep… let the pain drift away… and sleep.”

Once he sensed Tony had settled back into at least a semi-restful state, Gerald rose and made his escape, but he only made it out the door and across the hall. Watching him brace his hands against the wall and begin to shake from head to toe, Max knew she had to go to him and swiftly did so, telling herself she’d deal with Gibbs’ wrath when and if he dished it out.

“Easy… easy. You did what you had to and both of you survived. Relax…” She told him, running her hands lightly over his back and shoulders.

“You don’t have to. I mean, you hardly know me…”

“Hey, every family has a designated comforter, right? The one who instinctively dries tears and hugs you and tells you it’ll be okay, no matter what’s actually going on? That’s always been me so I’ve got no problem taking on the job in my new family.”

“You may regret the decision” Gerald responded, laughing a bit brokenly. “This brood… we’re more than slightly left of center.”

“Yeah, I’m starting to figure that out. Still don’t have a problem.”

“Thank God…” Gerald sobbed, turning and wrapping his arms around her. She held him until Ducky appeared then began to pull away, expecting the older man to step in, but when he merely smiled, squeezed her shoulder and mouthed his thanks, she stayed put a while longer.

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TBC………

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