Down for the Count

At the Mission

AT-choo, AT-choo. Nell grabbed a handful of tissues and dabbed her runny, red nose.

“Ugh,” she sighed. It was only 1 p.m. She felt like she’d been kicked down the stairs and then stomped on. Right now, she was shivering and her teeth chattered uncontrollably; five minutes ago she was burning up. She got up and retrieved her pink down-filled jacket from the coat rack in the corner. Then she laid her head on the desk and pulled the jacket over her head.

Ten minutes later, Eric bounded up the stairs from the burn room, whistling a jaunty tune. Another stack of old paper files had been cleared out. He stopped and regarded the pink blob, for lack of a better word, on Nell’s desk.

“Nell, are you in there?” he asked cautiously.

“No,” came the muffled reply.

“Why don’t you go home?”

Her head peeked out. “I can’t. Callen’s team may be standing down for a few days, but we still have McGuire’s team to support. Not to mention those cold cases Director Vance wants us to look into.”

“Yes, but you’re sick. It’s not like you’d be playing hooky.” He picked up the box of tissues. “No wonder your nose is red. You’re using these cheapo things.”

“That’s all I could find in the supply room,” she mumbled.

Eric thought for a moment. “Back in a sec.” He left Ops and went downstairs.

When he returned, Nell was sitting up, wearing her jacket and pecking away on her tablet.

“Here. Went on a little shopping trip,” he grinned. He set a bottle of orange juice, hand sanitizer, and a new box of tissues on her desk.

“I found this blanket. It was left over from some disaster drill.” He lifted it to his nose and sniffed. “I think it’s clean.” He unfolded it and gently draped it around Nell’s shoulders.

She stopped typing and looked up at him and smiled. “That’s wonderful. Thanks.”

“Not at all. You’d do the same for me.”

Her nose crinkled as another sneezing session started. AT-choo, at-choo, at-choo.

Eric grabbed a tissue from the new box and stuck it under Nell’s nose. She was pleasantly surprised. “Ah, this has the lotion in it! Where did you find these?”

“Hetty’s credenza.” He looked over his shoulder as if he expected their operations manager to mysteriously appear. He wouldn’t put it past her to be monitoring them even now from the hospital.

Nell giggled. “Oooh, you naughty boy! It’ll be our little secret.”

“Only the best for my Nell.”

Nell gave him a strange look. “Excuse me, your Nell?”

Eric’s eyes widened and he stammered, “Uh, my partner, that I work with, who is named Nell, who is sick.”

Nell nodded. “Yeah, that’s what I thought you meant.” I like it when I can make him blush.

Callen came up the stairs, talking on his cell. “Yes, I understand. I’ll look at it as soon as I can.” He ended the call and sighed, “I miss Hetty already. That was a conference call with Granger and Vance about some budget issues.”

Suddenly, he noticed Nell. She was all bundled up in the blanket and her trash can was overflowing with used tissues.

“What’s all this?” he asked.

“Sick bay,” said Eric.

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll catch whatever it is?”

“Not worried. I had my flu shot,” said Eric with an air of confidence.

“Uh huh,” nodded Callen. His glance swung to Nell. “And Nell, did you ever get that shot? I seem to remember a couple weeks ago Hetty saying you were the only one who had not gotten it.”

Her eyes darted to Eric, then back to Callen as she pulled the blanket closer. “Well, I meant to. But you know, we’ve been swamped lately and I never actually, uh, got around to it.”

“Right,” said Callen, shaking his head. “Okay, grab your purse. We’re going to the clinic. Can’t have you infecting the whole building.”

She shrugged at Eric. “Sorry.”

NCIS/FBI Joint Training Exercise

At the last second, Carla got pulled to another group. It’s good thing because I might have strangled her, thought Kensi.

A mere 15 minutes later, something went awry in that group and Carla was being led away with a bloody nose. A thin, jittery man wearing an FBI windbreaker was trailing behind her.

“I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to be so forceful,” he wailed. “My supervisor is gonna kill me.”

Kensi knew it was wrong to be glad about another’s misfortune, but couldn’t help thinking there was some poetic justice in the incident. Serves her right for lusting after my Deeks. She is so not his type anyway.

She looked up and saw him with his group. He grinned and gave a thumbs-up. She smiled and nodded.

What goes around, comes around. Half an hour later, Kensi was sprawled on the floor, her right foot bent at an unnatural angle. Her yelp of pain caused Deeks to break protocol with his group and rush to her side. A big brute of a guy was attempting to help her.

“Dude, I got this. She’s my partner,” said Deeks as he knelt beside her.

“I was a combat medic in Afghanistan. She’s got a broken foot or ankle or maybe both.”

Deeks was annoyed. “I don’t care if you’re the Surgeon General, I can take it from here.”

The othe guy regarded Deeks with an amused look. “You sure she’s just your partner?”

“My relationship with Kensi is none of your damn business.”

“SHUT THE HELL UP! BOTH OF YOU!” yelled Kensi. “And somebody help me get up.”

“Come on, princess. I got you,” said Deeks. He slid an arm around her waist as she grabbed his shoulder. He brought her upright and helped her hobble to the sidelines.

Callen and Nell had just pulled into the parking deck at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when Callen got a text from Deeks.

Kensi injured. In ER Cedars-Sinai.

“Do I even want to know?” said Callen. He ran a hand over his face.

“At least we’re all in the same place,” said Nell.

“Yeah, how convenient.”

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