Callen hit the floor hard.
He could already feel his head swimming from the effects of the cyanide he had just been forced to drink. His hands shaking, he reached into his jacket pocket and uncapped the syringe Hetty had insisted he had taken with him.
He winced as he injected the Hydroxocobalamin into his thigh, and he really hoped that this new treatment for cyanide poisoning would work.
His head swam and he grew worried as no immediate effects were visible.
He sat and wondered….is this it?
He knew his team would miss him when he was gone, but he had no one else.
How long would it be for his team until he was just a passing thought like Dom, He thought about his former team member and remembered how the team had been after Dom had died. Hetty had nearly quit, Kensi had gone off on her own, insulating herself from her team.
Sam had raged for days….just days…..would that be all Callen got, days….
He knew his funeral would be simple; he'd had that planned and paid for, for years. With no one else around to take care of it Callen had opted for a simple stick him in a hole package. He hoped Hetty would find the envelope he'd left it in his desk draw, there wasn't a lot of point in leaving it at the house….there was nothing in there.
His will was sorted. He'd left everything to Hetty, such as it was. With a small added post it note stuck on top of his will, that if it were possible and Hetty could manage it could he be buried by his sister and their grave stones matching and could she pick a first name for him. He didn't want to be buried without a name.
He lay his head back thinking of Amy, in a grave since she was eleven under someone else's name. They hadn't had a chance to be together in life and if there was an afterlife he'd look forward to seeing them again and finally being with family. If not, being buried together would be the closest he'd ever get.
He heard a bang, then footsteps.
He moved thinking that they had come back to finish the job; although he didn't really care he didn't want to drink anymore of that cyanide.
He flinched as Sam kicked the door in.
He looked up at Sam who stood staring at Callen and taking in the sight of the syringe on the floor quickly determined what had happened.
"What the hell took you so long?" Callen asked.
Sam felt himself sigh with relief, Callen was alive and he'd used the Cyanokit antidote kit. That Hetty had provided.
"I see you used the Hydroxo-c," He said holding back the urge to hug Callen with relief.
Callen let out a weak grin, even in the briefing Sam had had to shorten the name of the drug….the big words were still beyond him.
"Worked like a charm" He replied.
Sam held out a hand to help him up and Callen took it.
As he stood a wave of dizziness overtook him and he collapsed again.
"G?" Sam called out worried he went to call Eric for an ambulance and Callen stopped him.
"Sam, I just need some air, and I'll be fine." He said using the shelving to grab his way up to a standing position. "We need to get back to the mission and stop these guys before they release this stuff into the water supply.
"G, I really think you need to go to hospital?" Sam said.
"What are you, my mother?" Callen snapped. He shook his head and moved away, "I'm fine…come on we're wasting time."
He stalked to the car and gratefully sank into the passenger seat of the Challenger. He closed his eyes not seeing the concerned glances that Sam shot his way on the drive back to the mission.
Pulling up to the mission, Callen was pleased to see that Kensi and Deeks were still out in the field.
Walking into the bullpen he stumbled and fell into his chair.
"Mr. Callen?" Hetty said.
"I'm fine Hetty." Callen snapped.
She motioned for Sam to follow her and he walked into her office.
"What happened?" She asked.
"They made him drink the cyanide." Sam told her straight.
"Then why is he here and not at a hospital?" She asked concerned.
"He took the antidote, and he says its working but he's still a bit shaky," Sam told her.
"Maybe he should sit the rest of this operation out and co-ordinate from OPS." Hetty suggested.
"No!" Callen said walking up behind them. "I am fine, look I'll rest for a bit and I'll be fine in time for the Op." He insisted.
Hetty looked at him, in that way that only a mother could and Callen stared back unflinchingly daring her to bench him.
Sam moved as Callen and Hetty squared up to each other.
"You are obviously not fine Mr. Callen." Hetty said her eyes showing her deep concern for him.
"The antidote works fine; I will be fine in time for the op. I know I will," Callen reiterated not meeting her eyes.
"Mr. Hanna and I are just worried for you," Hetty said softening a bit. "We just want you to know we are watching your back."
"I can watch my own back fine, I've been taking care of myself for years, I know when I need help…right now I don't!" he said and walked off.
"Ahh….But would you ask for it." Hetty said sadly watching as her team leader went off to rest on the couch.
She walked past his desk and looked at the envelope in his half open desk drawer. She knew it was his will, and that by looking at it this brush with death had rattled him.
She saw he had already fallen asleep on the couch and covered him with the blanket she had put over the couch years ago, just after Callen had started sleeping nights at the mission.
Callen coughed as she covered him and his hands shook a little.
He turned on his side, "Amy… always alone….Dom?" He said in his sleep.
She ran her hand over his forehead in the way she had been wont to do over the years, although neither of them would admit it, the action calmed them both.
She shook her head and walked towards Sam. "Mr. Hanna you keep an eye on him out there. He will not admit it, but I think this scared him. He needs to know we care and he's not alone."
"I will, do you think he worries about what he's leaving behind?" Sam asked Hetty as they sat in her office.
"I think he worries about his team and what lasting impression he'd leave if he did die. I also think he might worry about no one missing him." Hetty admitted more to herself than Sam.
"We would miss him, He's determined to finish this mission though, and I wish he'd just sit this one out." Sam said.
"Mr. Callen finds his own self worth through his job I think, Mr. Hanna; I think we would be making a mistake if we let him feel that he wasn't up to the task he's set himself which is to take this group down. But make sure you keep an eye on him, I am counting on you to keep him grounded and not let him snap."
With Kensi and Deeks' arrival at the mission Sam spent the next half an hour filling them in on what had happened to Callen and getting intel ready for the mission.
"I take it Callen's sitting this one out then?" Kensi asked.
"Nope," Callen said striding confidently into the armory.
If the other two hadn't been told, looking at Callen then there was no way to tell what he'd been through.
Callen had his mask firmly back in place and any weaknesses he had were not going to be seem by his team from him.
He picked up his Sig and started taking the bullets out of the box to load the clip.
Sam talked them through the operation. "Ops are monitoring all the water sensors and access points to the underground utilities and the DWP is ready to cut off the water supply at a moment's notice." He said.
Deeks looked over at Callen, "We have local law enforcement and Kaleidoscope looking for them, eventually they are going to have to show themselves." He shot a concerned look at Callen he had hoped that he would have had more time to rest.
A wave of cramp shot through Callen's body and he dropped the clip and a bullet rolled out. 'Damn' he thought to himself and huffed as he reached to catch it hoping no one noticed.
There wasn't anyone in the room that didn't notice.
Hetty looked at Sam concerned and held her breath wondering how the team would handle it.
"Callen, are you sure you don't want to guide us from Ops?" Kensi asked.
Callen cursed his slip, the last thing he wanted was to appear weak in front of his team, another wave of cramp overtook him, "I'm fine." He ground out holding his teeth tight together to mask the pain.
Deeks not paying attention then looked up at him, "Yeah, 'cause a couple of hours ago, you could barely move."
Shooting a dark look at Sam thinking that Sam had said something, Callen turned to Deeks.
"You wanna arm wrestle?" He asked hoping Deeks wouldn't call his bluff.
Deeks looked at Callen, he could see the pain he was in, but having his back Deeks shrugged it off. He trusted Callen and his judgement.
"Fair enough." He said.
Callen gave Deeks a grateful glance, Deeks caught it and nodded.
As they turned to leave the armory Deeks grabbed Callen's bag. "I've got your back; now let's go get these guys." He said quietly.
Callen held back the feeling of gratitude that threatened to overwhelm him and they walked behind the others to the exit,
And they were off to save the day, yet again.