Of Things Broken


Callen scanned the quiet waiting room, spotting Kensi almost right away. She was sitting in the corner, back to the wall, huddled inside of the blue sweatshirt as if she was very cold.

Something about her posture sent a sharp pang of worry through him. He brushed past an old man, heading for his team mate. She would have called if anything bad had happened, he told himself harshly. The words did nothing at all to help the hollow feeling inside of him.

"Kensi," he said, kneeling in front of her. The grey and white tiles felt very cold against his legs.

Her tear-stained eyes tracked slowly to his face. She didn't even try to hide the raw emotion in her voice. "Callen."

He took hold of her hands. They felt like blocks of ice in his palms. Carefully, he rubbed them, trying to bring some warmth back into her fingers. It was more touching than either of them usually allowed themselves, and Callen spared a second thinking that they'd all come to find a quick touch, a brush of fingertips over skin, comforting. They needed it. We've been through so much in the past few months, he thought. How much more can we take before one of us snaps?

"What happened?" he asked, injecting a tiny bite of command into his voice. "How's he doing?" he added more softly.

The tone made her straighten, chin lifting just a fraction. It was an unconscious response, and at any other time, he'd have found it amusing. Now, he was just glad that it had brought a little life back into her eyes.

"He lost a lot of blood. The doctor said that his lungs were bruised." She stopped talking and closed her eyes, blowing out a harsh breath before she could continue. "They have him on a ventilator, Callen."

He squeezed her hand. "He's as annoying as all hell, but he's a fighter, Kensi. Where is he now?"

"They took him up to surgery to operate on his arm." She paused, gathering her thoughts, "The doctor thinks he's been using drugs- opiates." Her voice cracked. She swallowed and kept talking. "She said that there was a high level of them in his system."

"That could be from his last stay in hospital," Callen suggested, and suppressed a shudder.

Bullet holes hurt like hell. Close, personal experience had taught him that. Unbidden, his free hand rose and rubbed one of the scars under his black t-shirt. It flared with phantom pain. He'd been glad of the drugs, and he was willing to bet that Deeks had felt the same.

Kensi shook her head. "No. She said the levels were too high to be from them. He has to have taken the drugs within the last twenty-four hours for them to be so high."

"So either he's been taking heavy-duty painkillers, and not telling us, or he's been using," Callen said unhappily.

Neither idea appealed to Callen very much. The blonde man had seemed to be recovering well, his pain easing as he healed. The broken rib had been bothering him, but he'd insisted that it wasn't bad enough to need painkillers. None of them had argued with him. They just clustered around when he needed them, silently offering support and companionship that Deeks had accepted with quiet grace.

They'd grown closer as a team, sliding into easy habits and simple routines that helped all of them. Movie night at Deeks' apartment was just one of them, designed to patch the cracks his shooting had put in the team.

Callen let his eyes un-focus, thinking back over the time since his team mate had been released from hospital. Deeks had tired easily, and there had been moments of inattention that drove Sam mad. Nothing suggested that he'd been using heavy drugs. Nothing even hinted that something like this was going to happen.

Another idea formed slowly in his mind, one he liked even less than the first two. "Or someone drugged him," he said quietly. "Any of those smaller bruises could have been a needle mark. None of us looked too close at them."

Kensi sniffed and wiped her eyes. "What are you thinking?" Her shoulders straightened as the anger crept back. "Callen?" she prompted when the other agent didn't answer.

The chaos in the apartment suddenly made more sense to Callen. "I think someone was looking for something. They drugged him to keep him quiet and out of the way. When they didn't find it, they tortured him."

A shudder passed through Kensi as she thought of her partner helpless under someone's hands. Guilt clawed at her. I should have noticed that something was wrong. I should have been there. She bit her lip, using the pain to chase the guilt away. "Do you think he told them?"

Callen shrugged. "I guess we'll have to wait until he wakes up to find out."

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