Title: Darkness Everywhere
WARNING: Hints of child abuse, angst, sort of open-ended.
Summary: when the team pulls a prank on Tony, it backfires with Tony's and Gibbs's unexpected reactions. Father/ son, Papa bear Gibbs!
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or its characters. Unbeta'd
"Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." Terry Pratchett
"Good morning, Tim" Tony greeted his friend cheerfully as he stepped into the bullpen. His bag was hanging from his right shoulder as he kept whistling happily. Tony didn't wait for an answer as he turned to his other friend.
"Zeevaah, how are you this fine morning?" he smiled cheekily at her before heading to his own desk and unceremoniously dropping his bag beside the filing cabinet.
"Are you okay Tony?" Ziva asked suspiciously as she narrowed her eyes trying to see the reason behind the over cheerful appearance.
"I'm over the skies, Zi" Tony replied dreamily as he wiggled his eyebrows in her direction.
Tim looked more suspicious as he wasn't satisfied with the jovial version of his friend.
"Someone got lucky yesterday!" Tim stated smugly as everything started to click into its place. That must be it!
" Nooooooo, probie" Tony answered drawling his answer as he turned his full 1000 mega watt smile in Tim's direction.
"As much as I want to confirm your suspicions, I can't, cuz that's not it!" Tony replied smugly as he started turning on his computer and continuing the paperwork from yesterday.
"So what's it?" McGee seemed a little agitated for not meeting the right answer. He can't stand leaving a puzzle unsolved. And Tony was a big round x-rated puzzle that always got on his nerves. Tim needed to know the answer. It's about time he figured what Tony's vague moods meant.
"What probie? Can't a guy have a private life anymore?" Tony seemed to snap out of his trance. He looked dangerously at Tim before turning to his work.
Tim opened and shut his mouth several times against the onslaught he got. He didn't know the reason behind Tony's sudden shift in mood. He turned to look at Ziva who was still eyeing Tony suspiciously before she met his panicked eyes. She shrugged her shoulders before going back to work.
Suddenly an IM message popped up on Tim's screen.
Gothlabby 1: McGeeeee :( what did you do to Tony? Ziva is telling me that you upset him? Timmyyyyy
McGenius: WHAT? I didn't do anything…I was acting as I always do around him.
Suddenly another name appeared in the chat room
Ninjachick: he's right Abby, but something seems on with Tony?
McGenius: seems off
Ninjachick:? Whatever… we need a plan
McGenius: we need 2 corner him somewhere
Gothlabby: I like the sound of that ;) but where?
Ninjachick: in your lab Abby, it's the perfect place 2 corner him unguarded.
Ninjachick: are we playing a game?
Gothlabby: Never mind
McGenius: Never mind Ziva, okay. We'll corner him Abby's lab, but how do we get him there?
Gothlabby: Easy :D I'll invite him 2 lunch and when we r back you should be prepared.
Ninjachick: what are we going to do exactly?
McGenius: lock him up in Abby's ballistics lab till he's ready 2 till us what's bothering him
Gothlabby: that's cruel Timmy, I like it .Muaah
Ninjachick: are you sure guys? Because this seems extreme
McGenius: Hello, it's Tony we r talking about
Ninjachick: well, you may have a point
Gothlabby: Gibbs is coming up now guys… that was close
Gothlabby signed out.
Ninjachick signed out.
McGenius signed out.
The elevator pinged and Gibbs appeared with his ever lasting coffee. He glared at the junior agents for a minute as he sat down. Then he finally shifted his gaze and threw a concerned gaze at his senior agent whose shoulders were tense as he kept typing slowly on his keyboard. Something was up and he saw it in Abby's eyes when he greeted her this morning. He tried to bribe her with Caf-Pow! But she wouldn't say a word. His junior agents were up to something and he needed to watch over his senior agent.
The rest of the morning went smoothly except for Tony glaring at McGee every once in a while.
Tony's phone rang and he quickly picked it up
"Very special agent Tony DiNozzo speaking"
"Hey Abs. Sure, I'll be there" Tony stated as he hung the phone.
"Uh boss, can I go and have my lunch break with Abs." Tony asked Gibbs as he came to a halt in front of his desk.
Gibbs felt his gut crunch but he couldn't say no. his Senior Agent was working diligently all day and he can't deny him his request.
"Okay, DiNozzo. But I need you here back ASAP" Gibbs compromised as he tried not to show the discomfort his gut was causing him.
"Sure thing boss" Tony's quick answer reached him as he turned to collect his coat and belonging.
"I'll be back in thirty minutes tops boss" Tony stated softly as he detected the flash of concern in the older man's eyes.
Gibbs just grunted in answer as he tired to hide his own smile with the coffee cup. He knew how much Tony could easily read him as he could read Tony too.
Gibbs sent his two junior agents for their lunch break fifteen minutes later, making sure that they won't be able to catch up with the Senior Field Agent.
After thirty one minute had passed and Tony wasn't there yet. Gibbs was about to break his keyboard from annoyance - and secretly worry. His two junior agents haven't returned back yet too.
Gibbs got up from his desk and stabbed the call button for the elevator. He decided to head down the lab, maybe Tony and Abby got carried away with one of the online movie trivia games- God, he hopped so.
Tony and Abby returned to the navy yard and were riding the elevator to the bull pen. Abby suggested Tony make a detour to her lab first. She said that she wanted to show him something. Tony easily agreed as he glanced at his watch, still fifteen minutes to the dead line he gave to Gibbs.
"So, what's it Abs?" Tony asked as he wiggled his eyebrows in Abby's direction as they entered the lab.
"Wait and see" Abby giggled as she pulled Tony to the end of her lab where her dark ballistics lab was.
Tony's feet seemed to slow down as Abby was practically dragging him to the dark lab.
"Uhhh Abs, I'm not sure….." Tony said uncertainly as they entered the dark room.
"Oh, nonsense Tony" Abby chided as the glass window started to close by a heavy electronic curtain.
"Abby…" Tony's heart started thudding painfully in his chest as the lab started to get darker.
"I'll be right back Tonyboy" Abby smiled smugly as she fled the dark room and the heavy door started to automatically close.
Tony was so shocked that he almost had his fingers cut when he tried to stop the door. His heart started to pick up and he leaned against the small window on the door. He needed some light. What the hell was Abby up to?
Suddenly three smug faces appeared in front of the window. Tony tried to sound his cheerful self as he smiled back. He needed to get out of here. He couldn't even turn around to check the room. He knew that the minute he looked into the darkness, his mind will start playing tricks on him.
"What are you guys doing?" Tony asked as tried to appear unfazed about the whole situation.
Tim smiled smugly as he talked for the group. "We, Tony, are having a lock down till further notice"
"What? All of us? "Tony tried to seem enthusiastic to the idea, despite the growing ball of fear in his stomach.
"Nooooo, Tony" Tim drawled the answer echoing the previous answer Tony gave him.
"Just you, my hairy butt" Ziva answered sweetly while still managing to look smug for catching the agent off guard.
Tony's gut was screaming at him to do something, but he didn't wanna his friends to lose respect in him. However, he wasn't even sure if he would be able to hold himself together if he spent 10 more minutes in this hell. He knew Gibbs will start looking for him. He just hoped he would get to him in time.
"Yeah Tony, we're worried about you. Why are you so upset with Timmy?" Abby asked as she tried to channel a Gibbs stare that only caused the junior agents to laugh. Tony made a nervous laugh as he tried to hold his composure.
"I'm not gonna tell ya" Tony answered while hoping his voice seemed teasing "so you'll have to let me go now"
"No way" the three answered cheerfully as Abby started to pull a black small curtain over the small window.
Oh no, oh no, oh no .Tony tried to calm himself as the last source of light disappeared.
"Tony you are gonna stay here till you give us an answer" Tim's voice echoed through the heavy metal door.
All coherent thoughts has fled Tony's mind as he slowly turned around to face the room. He could see nothing. Nothing. Oh God. Oh No. The shadows started to move. Oh shit. Oh shit.
He turned around quickly, clutching the door handle and trying to shake the door open. Logically he knew it wouldn't open, but he couldn't stop his body from reacting.
"Abby open the door. This IS NOT funny" Tony tried to seem collected as he closed his eyes. Darkness. Darkness everywhere. He could vaguely hear laughter outside the dark room.
He snapped his eyes open; he couldn't stay close to them like that. It's not safe. Not safe in the dark. His breathing started to hitch as his heart kept beating madly against his chest even more.
"Abby open the door" Tony's voice cracked at the last part as he started to gasp for the much needed air. He couldn't breathe. His lungs weren't receiving any air. He felt like he's going to suffocate. He felt the shadows moving behind him, closing in on him. The shadows were laughing maniacally; telling him how he is such a baby to be scared of the dark. That he'll be kept in the dark for a week till he knew how to become a man.
He couldn't take it anymore. He started pounding with his fist against the door that he attached his whole body to as if it was his only lifeline. He couldn't look, because if he did, the shadows will take over his soul. He won't be himself again, he knew that.
"Open the door Abby. I'll tell what you want. Just open the door" Tony said between gasps as he kept pounding the cold door.
Tony faintly registered a sound like McGee's saying "we know you are bluffing Tony"
Tony knew then that all hope was lost. He knew they won't open the damn door. He slowly turned around as his breathing turned into short spurts of air. He slid against the door frame and watched as the white and silvery shadows moved again in the dark. They moved towards him and Tony tried to inhale some of the needed air, but his lungs wouldn't obey him. He slumped on the floor as he tried to wish the shadows away. But the sounds and manic laughter only increased. Tony pulled his gun out of its hostler as he tried to convince himself he was safe. His minds was far gone and his vision was already graying from the lack of oxygen, he knew what will come next, yet still he held his gun close to his chest.
As Gibbs stepped out of the elevator, he could hear laughter emanating from the far end of the lab. He frowned as he couldn't hear his Senior Agent's laughter among them. He strode swiftly into the lab preparing himself to shew Abby a new one for delaying Tony.
What he heard stopped him dead in his tracks as he stood on the threshold of the lab.
"Open the door Abby. I'll tell what you want. Just open the door"
Tony's muffled voice said between gasps and weak pounding against the door.
The answer that McGee said infuriated him "we know you are bluffing Tony"
Gibbs stepped quickly into the room as he heard the tell tale of thumping body behind the door. He knew what his agent was going through now and he had to reach him quickly.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" Gibbs demanded startling the three people in the lab.
"Abby open the damn door" Gibbs hissed as he heard his agent's soft gasps behind the silver door.
Abby opened the door with the remote she held in her hand, startled out of her laughter by the fury she saw directed at her.
"Gibbs we were just having some fun" Abby tried to explain as the door started to open. And Gibbs was crouching on the floor for unexplainable reason, while ignoring her.
"Quiet Abigail" Gibbs gritted through his teeth as his knee popped while he crouched down.
The minute the door opened, Tony's limp body started falling. If it wasn't for Gibbs's braced hands he would have hit his head badly. He was still gasping as Gibbs started to extract the gun held tightly against his chest.
"I've got you Tony"
"Oh my God" Abby gasped as her eyes fell on the pale gasping agent. "We were only trying to have some fun" Abby tried to explain as the tears started to fall down her face uncontrollably. She could barely remember the last time Gibbs called her by her full name. Tim and Ziva stood beside her dumbfounded as they watched Tony fall into their leader's waiting hands.
Gibbs started sliding Tony on the floor out of the dark room into the middle of the outer lab. He left the gun on the floor as he started talking softly to the pained man on the floor.
"It's okay Tony. Breathe. Breathe. I'm here. You're safe. Come on" Gibbs murmured as he started to pull the agent against his chest to have better access for air.
Tony's glazed eyes sought Gibbs's as he whispered "boss, I'm gonna…"
"Tony, don't. You've to hold yourself together" Gibbs tried to prevent what'll happen next but in vain. He quickly lowered Tony's shaking body and took off his jacket and balled it into a pillow in his hands.
He glared at the three flabbergasted people and barked "David. Get Ducky here NOW"
Ziva scrambled quickly for the phone in the far end of the lab dialing the number to autopsy.
Suddenly Tony's body started to jerk and Gibbs held him to the floor trying to prevent him from hurting himself.
"McGee, Hold his legs to the floor. Gently" Gibbs barked again as he put his pillowed jacket under the head of the seizing man.
"Abby, start timing the seizure" Gibbs said as he held the body shaking under him. Damn you Anthony sr. Damn you McGee, Abigail and Ziva. Stupid pranks with misjudged calculations.
Tony's shaking body started to calm down gradually. Ducky choose the last thirty seconds of the seizure to step into the lab with his bag in hand.
"Hands off McGee" Gibbs barked as soon as the seizure stopped and the junior agent scrambled back immediately. He let go of Tony as if he was burnt.
"Oh my. Anthony" he whispered softly as crouched beside the lead agent who started to adjust Tony's jerky limbs into some comfortable position.
Gibbs saw how Tony's eyes were green unfocused slits peering out. Gibbs started brushing Tony's messy hair away from his sweaty forehead.
"Come back Tony. It's okay. You're safe" Gibbs whispered softly as Tony's breathing was still erratic.
"Jethro" Ducky reprimanded angrily as he demanded answers. He started taking Tony's vitals, blood pressure and checked his eye pupils for response.
"He had a seizure Duck" Gibbs gritted through his teeth as he glanced at his watch "and it lasted for approximately tw…."
"Two minutes and fifty six seconds" Abby's trembling voice reached the two concerned men on the floor.
Gibbs turned and glared at the three shocked people huddled in the corner and then turned his attention back on the sprawled agent on the floor.
"How is he Duck?" Gibbs said as he started massaging Tony's forehead and scalp urging him to come back from where he retreated. He hadn't seen Tony retreat to himself like that for a very long time. Gibbs has made sure it stays that ways, but that was until some of his idiot agents decided to play pranks without knowing the consequences. He thought they have known or noticed Tony's anxious condition whenever they get trapped in dark places, but it seems that he was mistaken.
"May I ask first about what caused that? The last he had a seizure that bad was two years ago." Ducky hissed at the shocked people standing in the corner. Ducky too knew well about Tony's fear. The last time was so bad that it took him and Jethro three hours to get a response from the withdrawn agent.
The three gasped and started speaking at the same time at the declaration that this wasn't a one time thing.
"We didn't mean to…."
"Gibbs we didn't mean…"
"Shut up" Gibbs hissed at the babbling group. "I don't want to hear any excuses. What you did was cruel and you'll get the proper punishment for it.
"The three jokes here apparently thought that it was funny to lock Tony up and listen to him begging them to let him out of the dark room with all lights switched off" Gibbs stated painfully as he kept patting Tony's shoulder as his breathing kept hitching every ten seconds.
"Oh my" Ducky exclaimed as he finished his examination.
"His blood pressure is dangerously high, but his pupils are responding. Give him a few minutes to collect himself Jethro. However, it would be better to prop him up for better access of air while sleeping from now on. His whizzing is a little disconcerting. I also see signs of shock. It'd be better to get him home to have some rest. It looks like a small one this time Jethro." Ducky stated the facts plainly for his friend.
Gibbs brushed Tony's hair softly as the agent's glazed eyes started to become clearer.
"Boss…?" Tony's quivering voice reached Gibbs. Gibbs tried to contain the rising anger inside him to assure his agent.
"Yeah, DiNozzo. How are you feeling?" Gibbs asked softly as he grasped his agent's hand to give him reassurance that he was real. A link with the elusive reality he lost ten minutes earlier.
"Tired. Just give me five minutes and I'll be as good as new" Tony mumbled as his eyes started to droop and his breathing started to finally steady.
"Well that answers that" Ducky stated as he began to collect his kit back in the bag.
"Will you be needing a lift Jethro" Ducky as he knew that Gibbs would take the young man home to watch over him while he rested.
"Nah…I'll manage Duck" Gibbs said as he stood up and started to pull the exhausted agent off the floor.
"Come on DiNozzo. Time to go home" Gibbs stated as his agent finally managed to get off the floor with his help. Tony leaned heavily on him and rested his head on his shoulder, his eyelids drooping.
"But boss… I wanna see the wrath of Gibbs" Tony tried for a joke, but he was too exhausted to pull it off.
"Oh, you will Tony. But not now" Gibbs promised as he moved to the elevator. His agent's hand draped over his shoulder while he held him steady by the waist like he did every time he was injured.
Gibbs glared at the huddled and pale agents and scientist as he passed by them.
As the elevator door closed as it headed for the garage.
"What did you do Tony that made you so cheerful till McGee got into you?" Gibbs asked while eyeing his agent who slumped against the wall resting his fevered head against the cool metal.
Tony snorted softly and then grimaced as he held his chest in pain.
"I thought you were in MTAC when that happened." Tony whispered as he tried to catch his breath. Gibbs only gave him a pointed look in return.
Tony smiled weakly " I super glued McGee's self-confidence building CDs to the bottom drawer in the filing cabinets. He won't be able to find them for a while."
Gibbs chuckled softly in response. He balanced his agent again as he put his hand loosely around his waist while the other hand was over his shoulder. As Tony tensed and clutched his shoulder tightly while crossing the dark garage to get to Gibbs's charger, Gibbs just tightened his hold on the younger man.