Kensi jerked when a warm hand touched her arm. She tore her eyes away from Deeks' pale, still face and half turned. Sam crouched by the bed, the paramedics entering the room behind him. I didn't even hear him come in, she thought, dazed.
Sam swapped glances with Callen. The other man frowned, then shook his head, worry plain in his eyes. His shoulders were tense, face tight with emotion. Sam didn't look much better. A muscle jumped in his cheek, and his eyes were never still.
Long habit made Callen look around the room, scanning for something - anything - that was out of place. The destruction made it harder, but he had spent too much time honing this skill not to spot little things that bothered him. Like the small bit of twine laying on the floor. Like the empty pill bottle tucked in a fold of the bedding. Something's really wrong here, he thought.
"Ma'am, sir. We need you to step back so we can work," the woman paramedic said. She was short, and stocky. Bags of equipment hung over her shoulders.
Her partner stepped forward, leaning over the bed to check Deeks' vitals. He rattled off a string of medical terms that made no sense to Kensi. His tone implied that Deeks' wasn't doing so well.
Mutely, Kensi moved away from the bed, backing up until her shoulders hit the wall.
"How long has he been like this?" the female paramedic asked as she deftly started an IV line.
Kensi wrapped her arms around herself and shook her head. "I don't know."
Callen walked over to her, moving through the trashed room with ease. He stopped in front of her, laying his hands on her upper arms. "Kensi, when did you last speak to Deeks?"
The human contact helped. She blinked, thinking hard. "Just after I left work. I phoned him to ask what food he wanted me to pick up. He sounded fine then."
"Can't be more than forty minutes," Callen supplied. He fished his car keys out of his pocket. "Why don't you go and get changed? I have some clean t-shirts in the car."
She took the keys, but didn't move. A pained groan from the bed made her push past Callen, heading back towards her injured partner. Icy fear washed through her, lifting goosebumps on her skin.
"What's wrong?" she demanded, ignoring the hand on her arm. "What's happening to him?"
"It's okay, ma'am," the female paramedic said, but barely glanced at her, every ounce of her attention fixed on Deeks. "We just had to turn him to get the cardiac leads in place. He's pretty bruised."
Deeks groaned again, rolling his head from side to side as consciousness returned. His tongue touched his dry lips. One arm rose to claw at the oxygen mask on his face, then dropped as his strength waned. A harsh breath shook his wiry frame, lifting his shoulders from the bed. He twisted, gaze darting frantically around the room. "Where is she?" he rasped.
"Sir, we need you to lay still," the paramedic said. "We're trying to help you."
The blonde man got his good hand down on the bed, clenching a handful of blood-stained bedding as he thrashed. Sweat broke out on his skin, flashing under the lights.
Kensi stared with wet eyes, hands pressed tightly against her mouth. Every fibre of her body wanted to go to him. Standing back, not being able to do anything but watch was killing her. An empty hallway, and a badge in her hands flashed through her mind. An echo of the hospital they'd left just a few weeks ago.
"Where is she?" Deeks almost screamed. "Not safe!" he ground out, spine arching. His eyes were wild and unfocused. Blood streamed from his arm as the frantic movements tore the IV free from his vein.
Kensi moved towards the bed, instinct driving her to comfort her partner. The female paramedic stopped her with a quick gesture. "Please. Give us room to work."
Callen ignored the glare she gave him as he walked around the bed, crouching by the top end of it. "Deeks," he said, pitching his voice low, aiming to reassure the other man. "Kensi is safe. Sam is with her. No-one has hurt her."
Sam stepped forward, pulling Kensi into a hug. She resisted for a long second before relaxing and accepting the comfort. Her body shook with emotion she had no outlet for. Crying won't do, she told herself sternly, and blinked tears from her eyes.
The male paramedic rolled the stretcher next to the bed and flipped the blankets off Deeks. The injured man was wearing shorts, hopelessly twisted around his body. "Well, I don't think your friend tried to kill himself after all," the male paramedic said, and reached for some bandages to dress the raw, vivid marks around Deeks' ankles.
Callen looked down the bed, eyes turning dark and hard with anger. "Ligature marks," he said, voice heavy with disgust. "Someone tied him down and did this to him."