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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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6

With a Little Help 6/?

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SATURDAY MORNING

Grinning, Tony snagged the last slice of bacon, broke it in two and dropped the larger piece on Jethro's plate. The older man studied Tony's plate and satisfied himself that Tony had eaten well before accepting the gift. Tony grimaced briefly.

"Dad-mode belongs at work."

"Dad-mode will be pulled out whenever and wherever I think it's necessary until I know you're a hundred percent in every way."

The grimace returned then dissolved into a somber, intent look.

"And if I never am?"

Gibbs grunted faintly and rose to refill his coffee, but didn't answer. "We can't pretend this won't be an issue, 'Ro."

"What's Lewiston think?"

"He believes in me... believes I'll come all the way back. At least he says he does. Of course, it's his job to be encouraging and positive... so who knows how far to trust?"

Gibbs reclaimed his chair slowly, his expression reflecting his tangled feelings on the subject.

"He helped you pull yourself up out of a pretty deep hole and got you back to us... back to me. Far as I'm concerned, he's earned my trust and any favor he might ever ask for. Now for the tougher question."

"Yeah... no kidding. I wanna feel like I can get completely better and put it behind me... that those hopeless, desperate feelings will never swamp me like that again. It's just too early to really believe it."

"He didn't give you meds."

"Thank God. I wanted to get strong enough to leave the hospital, so I tried hard to cooperate and tell him what he needed to know. He says as long as I keep it that way... the talk therapy should be enough." Tony responded, draining the last of his orange juice and rising to take his dishes to the sink. "He's never ruled out pills completely, though."

Gibbs sighed quietly, stood and grabbed his own dishes. Placing them beside Tony's in the sink, he let the water run over his fingers for a moment, enjoying the heat, then laid a brief, but tender kiss on the near side of Tony's neck.

"If he makes that decision, the three of us will talk about it... make sure we know everything about the drug he's picked and why he feels like you need it. Just remember that it'll be your choice in the end... and I'll have your six no matter what."

Tony leaned back slightly, resting some of his weight against Jethro's body as he continued to clean up.

"I know."

Abruptly, Gibbs found himself forced to slow his breathing as yet another shift took place deep within him. Tony's warmth was soaking into his skin through all the layers of fabric separating them, making the older man feel as if he were standing in the full brilliance of the mid-summer sun and stimulating thoughts and images Gibbs hadn't known his mind was capable of producing. For a few seconds, he seriously considered pulling back and ending the encounter before either of them did something that neither was ready for, but he was all too aware of what his retreat might do to his love's already uncertain self-confidence. Instead, Gibbs composed himself and leaned in to speak softly in Tony's ear.

"Do you feel this?"

"Yeah. Something's... we could be about to... have a moment, here."

"If you want me to walk away..."

"No... no, I'm good. Que sera sera..."

"I'm not planning anything huge. Not planning at all, tell you the truth. Just... I've got a picture in my head... wanna try it, okay?"

"Very okay." Tony replied, slightly breathless as his curiosity took over. Gibbs grinned and stepped into Tony another fraction of an inch. Tony's eyelids fell to half-mast and he unconsciously moved his feet a bit farther apart, allowing the toes of Jethro's shoes to slide up, barely touching the baseboard below the under-sink cabinet. Next, Gibbs hesitantly laid a hand on each of Tony's elbows, gliding forward and down until he could gently wrest the dish sponge and the plate out of the other man's now trembling fingers.

Of necessity, Gibbs' arms wrapped around Tony a bit as the sponge was slowly rotated over the dish, which was then rinsed under the stream of water and set aside. By the time Jethro had progressed to the silverware, every inch of the body he was pressed against was shaking, his lover had begun groaning under his breath and Tony's hands were tightly clamped to Jethro's denim clad thighs. A few moments later, the shivers were suddenly interspersed with a series of stronger, more intense jolts. Gibbs flushed and mentally head-slapped himself, emptying his hands and holding Tony securely until he relaxed and slumped as far as his lover's arms would allow. Gibbs was marginally aware of a damp stickiness rapidly cooling against his own skin, but he couldn't deal with both their issues at the same time, so he focused on the young man in his arms.

"Tony?"

"Tony can't come to the phone right now. Leave your message after the beep..."

"Jokes. Guess that's a good sign, hmmm? Look, I didn't... I mean, I knew what could happen... I never should've started... I wasn't thinking clear..."

Huffing out a sigh, Tony straightened, steadied himself and turned to face Jethro, determinedly not looking anywhere but his beloved's face.

"Did I say stop? Did I push you away or kick you where it hurts?"

"No, but..."

"But nothing. I knew what was going on. I may be a Probie when it comes to guys..." he reminded Gibbs, kissing him lightly on the mouth "...but I'm not exactly a newcomer to sex. I wanted it... I said it was okay and I meant it. That being said..."

"Right. Too fast, too much. I understand. "

"Hey, don't get me wrong, this was sweet and inspired..."

"... and hot as hell." Gibbs murmured, returning the kiss.

"That too, but it was also spur of the moment. If I'd had any time to let my other brain throw its two cents in..."

"I know. Not sure I'm ready for planned whoopee either. Spur of the moment feels like a good first step... for a while."

"Yeah. For a while. I'm, uh... I need to go clean up and... change clothes." Tony admitted, tossing Jethro a half smile tinged with awkwardness and backing away, clutching a strategically placed dishtowel. Recalling that he was in the same mildly humiliating condition, the other man made a face, nodded and turned away quickly, his strain and concern only relieved when a final shouted comment drifted back to him through the house. "I never looked. Didn't even peek..."

When they met up again almost an hour later, Gibbs smiled and felt his desire faintly reawaken at the sight of Tony in tight jeans, an old t-shirt and battered sneakers.

{Shit... if that gets me going I am in so much trouble next time I see him in one of those tailored suit and tie combos he loves. Or God forbid... a tux.}

Mentally stomping on thoughts that he didn't have the time to indulge, the older man refocused on the task and the day ahead of them, which would be anything but easy.

"You ready to do this?"

"Can't put it off any longer. No sense in it, is there?"

"You can wait as long as you want. I told you I'd help with the rent 'till you decide it's time..."

"It is. I need to get this over with. I appreciate the offer, you know that. It's just stupid for either of us to pay to keep the landlord from emptying my apartment and auctioning off my furniture."

"You'll still be paying for storage."

"A quarter of what rent is, maybe even less. That I can handle on my own once I'm back at work and off the pittance they were giving me for medical leave." Tony retorted, grabbing and slipping into his jacket, patting the pocket to determine if his keys were there. When he felt the reassuring weight and shape, he returned Jethro's grin and turned to see the other man was already set to leave. "Let's do this before I change my mind."

Gibbs smiled, brushed Tony's hand lightly and led the way out of the house. After a few deep breaths, Tony followed.

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

Keys dangling from his tightly closed fist, Tony paused outside his apartment, a spot he hadn't seen in over a month and had been trying not to even let into his thoughts. He continued to try and keep himself calm, but deep breaths were no longer helping now that he was actually at the point of re-entering the space where fear and despair had nearly cost him everything he now cherished.

"Tony?"

"Yeah."

"You're strong enough to do this, Tony. I believe that. It doesn't have to be now. I kept trying to tell you that all the way over here."

"I know. My answer's still the same. Waiting isn't gonna make this easier. Just... don't go too far, okay?"

"Not an issue."

"Didn't think so. I had to say it." Tony replied, finally moving to insert the key in the lock and open the door. "Okay... here goes."

As Tony took a single step into the apartment and hit the light switch near the door, Gibbs trailed behind, torn between showing support with a word or a touch and giving Tony space to rediscover strength and independence on his own. Before he could decide, he glanced at Tony and the younger man's pallor caused his lover deep concern.

"Tony?"

"It's in here somewhere." Tony said in a near whisper.

"What is?"

Tony tried, but the word refused to come out of his mouth. Instead he pointed in the general direction he believed he might have thrown the knife that terrible night.

"Over there. It's there... I think. I'm not sure. I don't wanna remember right now..."

"What are we talking about, Tony?"

"I can't. I just... I need you to find it and get rid of it. I don't care how as long as I don't have to see it."

Gibbs studied Tony a few seconds longer, wondering just what he was getting himself into, then sighed and touched the younger man's shoulder.

"Go get started on what you need to do, alright?"

Tony nodded, wiped suddenly damp hands on his jeans and headed off to his old bedroom. Gibbs waited for the sounds of rummaging to begin before he moved off in search of whatever had caused the extreme reaction in Tony. He had a definite idea about what he was looking for, but when he finally found it, lying dusty and untouched on the floor under a small table, it still sent a shiver through him. It took almost a full minute before he could make himself reach out and carefully retrieve the light, thin-bladed knife.

Rising out of the crouch he'd dropped into to pick the item up, Gibbs carried it rapidly back toward the kitchen, once again forcefully dragging his thoughts away from paths he couldn't afford to let them follow. Snatching the pair of dish towels that hung above the sink, he laid them out on the counter and wrapped the knife up then stood looking at the brightly colored fabric and wondering what to do with the distasteful object inside. Finally, he decided just to strip out of his jacket and use it to cover the bundle. When they were ready to leave, he could simply pick up both and Tony would be none the wiser.

Just then, Tony strolled back into the main space with his arms full of various things. He set the load on the sofa and turned to look at Gibbs, who merely nodded, letting him know that the knife was gone.

"Thanks. I couldn't stay here and get this done if..."

"I know. You wanna come down and get the boxes with me?"

"Yeah." Tony sighed. "Good idea, I guess."

"You got all the small stuff out of the bedroom you wanted?"

Tony flushed, but tried to hide it.

"Absolutely. Everything I need."

"That wasn't what I asked." Gibbs reproved gently. "What'd you leave behind? Tony? Okay. I'll go look for myself."

Tony wanted to say something, to prevent the discovery the older man was about to make, but he knew nothing would stop Gibbs when he thought he was doing what was best, so he snapped his mouth closed and turned away, his face colored an even deeper red.

Gibbs re-emerged from the bedroom carrying a stuffed turtle and brought it to Tony. "You wanna tell me? You don't have to."

Tony's response was barely audible as he reached out and took the toy.

"After I, uh... after I got out of the isolation unit and made it home... Kate brought this over. She sat on the bed and made me listen to that story... the one about the rabbit and the tortoise."

"Made you?"

"You know Kate. In her way... she could be as strong and as stubborn as you are."

"Taught her everything she knew."

"But not everything *you* know. Old joke, boss." Tony laughed softly. "Anyway... she said the story was to remind me that even though it might be really slow going to get back where I was before the plague... if I could manage to be patient and take it slow, I'd make it."

"And you're leaving it behind."

"Lewiston made me realize that when she died... I never had the time to grieve for her the way I should have. I'm starting to do it now and... it feels like I lost her ten minutes ago. It's hard to remember..."

"Damn hard. Can I?" he asked, holding out his hand. Tony reluctantly handed the turtle over. Gibbs gazed at it for a long moment then walked it to the couch and added it to the pile. Returning to Tony's side, he squeezed his shoulder firmly.

"You ready to go get those boxes?"

"Ready."

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TBC.......

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