She looks so damn young, Sam thought as he watched his team mate sleeping. He'd never been one to dwell on the age differences between them, but there were times that it still caught him off guard. It didn't matter to him- he knew the dark haired woman was easily - scarily- competent in many skills. She could kick ass and take names like few other people he knew.
Sometimes, though, it just hit him, made him sit back and think about how much they'd all done- and how much of themselves they gave to the job. He doubted that any of them would have it any other way. We all have things we'll regret until the day we die, and things that we'll always be proud of doing. Weighing the scales, he could honestly say that his life had left him with more of the latter than the former.
He shook his head, knowing that his thoughts were rambling out of his control. It was dangerous, and foolhardy. Lack of focus got people killed. Yet, he also knew that they all needed some downtime to wrap their minds around everything that had happened so they could move past it.
"You meditating again there, Sam?" Callen asked, straightening out the newspaper he was pretending to read with a flick of his wrist.
"No, G." The dark skinned man shook his head, glancing ruefully at Callen. "Just thinking."
"Uh-huh," Callen said, gently teasing. "Looked like you were sleeping to me."
Gratefully, Sam accepted the distraction. "And what would you know about sleeping, G?" He lifted his eyebrows. "There's been times when I've wanted to knock you over the head with something heavy to get you to rest."
The brown-haired man rolled his eyes. "You're only jealous because I need less sleep than you."
The light banter helped. It pushed back the worry a little bit, giving them a moment to catch their breath and gather their resources. They both knew that it would look ghoulish and un-caring to an outsider, but if you wanted to stay in the job for any length of time, you had to find a way to cope. And this was theirs, an easy give and take that worked for both of them.
Callen tipped his head towards the door. "Looks like we're going to get an update. Deeks' doctor just walked in."
"You think he's alright?" Sam asked.
"He damn well better be," Callen muttered.
Dom's death had cut them all deep, leaving wounds in places that he sometimes thought would never heal. He wasn't sure if any of them could cope with losing another agent.
Sam nudged Kensi awake. She was curled up on one of the uncomfortable couches with a blue hospital blanket spread over her legs. The dark haired woman snapped upright, eyes flying open even as she yawned.
"What is it?" she asked, glancing at her watch. She'd been asleep for just over an hour, and it had left her with a pounding headache. Her spine popped as she stretched, trying to work the stiffness out of her muscles.
"The doctor's coming," Sam told her, pressing a bottle of orange juice into her hands. "Drink," he instructed gently.
She rolled her eyes at the mothering, but took the bottle and twisted the lid off, letting the juice wash the taste of morning from her mouth. Dark circles ringed her eyes. They made her look older, and strangely fragile.
"How is he?" Kensi blurted as soon as the doctor reached them.
"Your friend is out of surgery and is in recovery. He's stable and resting well. We're keeping him intubated for now so the bruising in his lungs can heal." The doctor sat down across from them, rubbing her hands over her face. "The surgeons were initially concerned that there might be damage to the nerves, but that doesn't seem to be the case. He'll need PT for a while, but he should regain full use of that hand."
Kensi sighed, tension leaching out of her body. "Can we see him?"
"Of course," she said and stood, the ghost of a mischievous smile touching her lips. "Normally, we have a rule of only two visitors, but I don't think that's going to work with you lot, it is?"
They followed her into a dimly lit hallway. Callen's phone rang. He fished it out of his pocket and glanced at the screen.
"I have to take this," he told them. "I'll catch up with you."
The doctor showed them into the room, closing the door softly behind her.
Callen leaned against the wall, tapping the button to answer the call. "Hey, Hetty."
"Mr. Callen," she said crisply. "How is he doing?"
He rubbed his forehead, wishing that he could rub away the nagging headache.
"Out of surgery, and in recovery. He's stable, but I get the sense that the doctors are more worried about him than they're letting on."
"Keep me updated," she said.
"I will," Callen assured her. "Hetty, is there something you're not telling me?"
He heard her teacup rattle against the saucer. "Why would you think that, Mr. Callen?"
A passing nurse glance at him. He smiled, then turned away, looking out of the window at the slowly creeping dawn. It had been a long night, and he had a feeling that it was going to be an even longer day. "Just a feeling, Hetty," he said.
She sighed, a sound he'd rarely heard her make. "You're right." The teacup rattled again. "Our forensics team found evidence that Mr. Deeks was attacked by someone inside of the LAPD."