Beep, beep, beep.

…What was that...?

Beep, beep, beep.

…He just wanted to sleep some more…

Beep, beep, beep.


Beep, beep, beep.

…A little…

Beep, beep, beep.


Beep, beep, beep.


The next time Callen awoke, he couldn't stop the sharp gasp that escaped from his throat. He hurt- everywhere. Most of it was centered on his chest and his leg. His eyes snapped open, and he attempted to leap off the bed, the only coherent thought in his mind being, get away from the pain; get away from the pain.

"Whoa, hold on there, G!" A firm arm wrapped around his shoulders, forcing him back down. "You're fine, you're okay. You're safe."

Who…? Oh.

"S-sam…?" The voice that came from his throat was rough from disuse, and his throat was so sore that a sharp stinging pain lanced down it and he couldn't help but wince.

"Yeah, buddy. It's me. Now hold on; I'll call the nurse to get you some water, okay?" A shadowy arm reached across Callen's blurry vision, pushing the button that would send for a nurse. He blinked a few times, trying to get his vision to focus, but to no avail.

Sam seemed to have noticed his predicament, and soothed him, saying, "The doc said you might have wonky vision for a while. You managed to get yourself quite the list of injuries, G."

Callen made no outwardly response, but in his mind he flinched at the underlying concern in his partner's voice. He had made Sam worry. Granted, it didn't take much to get Sam into his Mother Hen mode, but G disliked it when people were worried for him. It made him feel like he would have to repay the feeling in some way.

A nurse hurried into the room, walking straight to the IV bag and changing the dose slightly before writing the edit down onto the clipboard tacked to the end of his bed. She continued to fiddle with a few of the other machines that he was hooked up to (and god, that was a lot) before she finally turned to Callen himself.

She gave him a soft smile and checked that the various tubes that were in him were in correctly and lifted his blanket to check his leg before speaking. "You must be thirsty. Hold on one second and I'll be right back with some ice chips for you."

She stepped back from the bed and moved to the door, pausing to tell Sam over her shoulder, "He can't quite have straight water yet, so he'll just have to suck on the ice to soothe his throat. Make sure he doesn't try to get up."

Sam nodded in response, and turned back to Callen as she left.

"Feeling any pain?"

Callen didn't need to respond; instead he just stared at Sam incredulously. The ex-SEAL snorted quietly, smiling.

"Yeah; stupid question," he admitted before his tone turned more serious. "You're hurt pretty bad, G."

"H-how-?" Callen tried, but his throat was still too sore to get more than one word out.

Luckily, Sam had plenty of practice in learning Callen's body language. "It was bad, man. You had a minor concussion, fractured your fibia, and broke three ribs. One of them penetrated your lung and caused internal bleeding and the beginnings of a collapsed lung. Thankfully, the EMTs got you here in time- you were rushed into emergency surgery that lasted almost five hours. You've been in and out of it since then; but you probably don't remember much of the last few times you've woken up a little."

With a frown, Callen tried to gauge just how long he'd been asleep. Again, Sam seemed to read his mind: "You've been out of it for almost three days now."

Whoa. The last time Callen had lost that many days was the shooting… his thoughts were interrupted when the nurse came scurrying back in, this time with a cup full of ice chips. She set the cup by Sam, turning to face Callen.

"Push that button on the remote if your chest feels tight at any time or you lose feeling in your leg; we want to make sure that your cast isn't on too tight and that your lung is healing fine. Dr. Marshall will be here shortly."

With that, she again left the room. Sam reached into the cup and pulled out an ice chip. Callen immediately reared back, away from the incoming hand. "I c-can d—"


And that was all it took for Callen to swallow his pride momentarily. The tone in Sam's voice, underplayed with worry and care and a brotherly love, had the ability to sneak past all of G's defenses. With a defeated sigh, he allowed Sam to drop an ice chip in his mouth.

Once the glorious bit of frozen water hit his tongue, all thoughts of pride vanished. It began to soothe his aching throat almost instantly, and he quickly finished the first chip and Sam gave him another. This was the routine that Dr. Marshalls walked into as he entered the room.

"Ah, Mr. Callen, it's good to see you finally awake."

Callen gave the doctor a small smirk, and Sam knew that G had thrown up a wall again at the presence of the stranger. "It's good to be awake."

It no longer hurt to talk, but his voice was still rough from disuse, and he coughed once to try and clear it.

"And how are you feeling?"



Callen rolled his eyes, but complied. "My leg is sore and so is my chest, but that's to be expected."

The doctor nodded; a knowing glint to his eyes, "I'll up your medication for pain a bit, then. For now, all you have to do is heal. You'll be here for a few more days before you'll be deemed okay enough to leave, but even then, it's bed rest for a long time."

"Yeah, sure, doc," Callen replied flippantly, with no intention of staying away from work.

Sam, on the other hand, glared at Callen and then Dr. Marshalls a look to show that he would keep the agent from work. The doctor smiled at Sam and turned to leave.

"Hey, doc," Callen proclaimed, and the doctor paused. "How are the other kids? The ones we hit?"

A sudden, foreboding silence fell on the room. The doctor shared a look with Sam, who then turned to scrutinize Callen. "You don't remember?"

"Remember what?"

"Mr. Callen," the doctor broke in quietly, "The children didn't make it."

And with that, he left, sensing that he would just be in the way of the two NCIS agents.

Callen froze, the words slowly sinking in. "But- Sam?"

The large man sighed before shaking his head, "They didn't survive, G."

"But… there were six. They can't- they can't all be dead."

His voice shook slightly, and Sam recognized shock and guilt swimming in his partner's eyes. He didn't answer, which proved to be enough for Callen, who shrunk back into his bed with a guilt-stricken face.

The words he uttered next were quiet, but still froze Sam's heart.

"I killed six kids…"


Ohmygod please don't kill me D:

I'm sorry I practically dropped off the face of the Earth. But I'm going to be trying to finish all my stories by the end of the summer, so… yay?

Uhm, disclaimer: still don't own them. Boo.

Forgiveness is relished. Pitchforks and mobs will be understood, though.