Kensi paced the hospital hallway, alone for the first time since she'd found Deeks. Hours seemed to have passed, yet her watch insisted that barely an hour had scraped by since she'd turned up outside of the apartment door. She'd stripped off her bloodstained shirt, bagging it neatly in case there was trace evidence on it that would help them to catch the bastard who had hurt her partner.
She still wore his sweatshirt. A small part of her knew that she should find it weird, but worry and exhaustion and anger was burning through her, taking up all of her energy. She wouldn't admit it, even on pain of death, but the sweatshirt was strangely comforting. It still smelled like him- aftershave, and detergent and a hint of male musk.
The treatment room door jerked open. The doctor hurried out. She was tall, and slim, but had a solidly competent air that reminded Kensi of Hetty. "Ms…"
"Hart," Kensi supplied. The alias fell easily from her lips. "How is he?"
They'd checked Deeks in under another name. Callen didn't know what was happening, but he wasn't taking any chances.
"Serious, but stable for now," the doctor said. She leaned against the wall next Kensi. "Ms. Hart. Is there any chance your friend has taken drugs?" She shook her head. "We've sent his blood work off, but there's something going on that I can't put my finger on."
Mutely, Kensi shook her head. "No. He would never take drugs," she said firmly. "Can I see him, please?" she asked, annoyed to find tears in her eyes again. She scrubbed them away with the back of one hand.
"Sure." The doctor pushed away from the wall, and touched Kensi's arm. "I have to warn you. We have him intubated. I know it looks scary, but it is helping him. His lungs are pretty bruised, and fighting that was exhausting him. He's also heavily sedated. God willing, we'll be able to take him off the vent sometime in the next few days. Once the tube is out, we'll wean him off the sedation."
Kensi clenched her hands in the sweatshirt's sleeves, bunching the fabric in her fists. "Okay."
The doctor lead the way into the treatment room, picking the chart up from the end of the bed and marking Deeks' vitals on it.
"Oh, my god," Kensi whispered as she approached the bed. A flash of Callen laying in another hospital bed passed through her mind and vanished.
Her partner looked lost beneath a wild tangle of tubes and wires. The ventilator next to the bed wheezed softly. She found it hard to look at his face. Instead, she swept her gaze over his body, wincing as the stark lighting revealed every tiny injury to him. A bulky dressing covered most of his right forearm. IV tubes snaked into his body, feeding him blood and other fluids.
"You can touch him if you like," the doctor said softly. "We find that human contact helps people to recover faster. Talk to him, too. I bet he can hear you."
Kensi eased her hand into his, wrapping her fingers around his cold ones. "He's cold," she muttered, and glanced at the doctor.
"I'll get him another blanket," she said, and nodded to a nurse who pulled one out of a warming cabinet and spread it over Deeks. "The surgeons will be coming down for him in a little while to operate on that arm. You can stay with him until they arrive."
A wave of dizziness almost swamped her. Kensi grabbed the bed rails, holding on tightly as her legs almost gave out on her. It passed after a long moment, leaving her feeling shaky and weak.
The doctor guided her down onto a chair with steady hands. "When did you last eat?" she asked, pressing her fingers to Kensi's wrist.
Kensi thought about shaking her hand off, but it seemed like too much effort. The thought of food turned her stomach, leaving her feeling like she was going to throw up. "I had lunch," she protested faintly.
Lunch had been half a sandwich and a handful of chocolate kisses. She glanced at the bed, knowing that if Deeks was awake, he'd have been teasing her about eating junk food in place of a meal. She blinked, thinking about the positive changes he'd made in her life- like insisting that she take time to eat actual food, even on the tough cases.
"Look, I bet you don't feel much like eating right now, but you're no good to him if you're hospitalised because you passed out. I'll get one of the nurses to bring you a sandwich, and I want you to eat it all, or I'm booking you a bed next to him," the doctor said kindly, but sternly. "Now, what do you like?"
The look in her eyes reminded Kensi of Hetty. She rustled up a shaky smile. "Chicken, please," she said, and touched Deeks hand again, reassuring herself that he was still there, was still alive. His skin felt warm and dry under her fingers.
Her eyes drifted to his face, somehow finding it easier to look at him now. The shock of seeing him so very vulnerable had worn off, letting her look past the tubes and wires and see the man clinging so very tightly to life underneath.
A red-haired nurse moved around the bed, checking vitals and changing the bag of blood hanging on the IV stand.
"How many?" the doctor asked.
The nurse glanced at the chart. "Third unit," she supplied.
Kensi sucked in a startled breath. "He bled that much?"
The doctor nodded. "There was a lot of bleeding." She tapped her pen against the back of her hand. "It didn't help that his body was still replacing blood from his shooting," she added. "He's a fighter, though. That helps."
A white-clad man stepped into the room. He held a folder in his hands, passing it over to the doctor. "Mr. Adam's blood work," he said.
"Thank you." The doctor signed for the folder, then flipped rapidly through it. "I thought you said your friend didn't do drugs," she muttered, annoyed.
Kensi shook her head. "No. He doesn't take drugs," she insisted. "I know him. In all the time I've known him, I've never seen him take so much as an aspirin."
The doctor sighed. "Then you have a problem, because there is a substantial amount of opiates in his system."