For Lost Forever In His Eyes who made me realise that fun doesn't always come in rows and columns; that fiction doesn't have to equal story; that a favourite scene can lead who-knows-where? Thanks – I think!
Inspired by the "wait & watch" scene in episode 1.4: Search and Destroy
G Callen would be the first to admit that he had a low boredom threshold. That's why he loved his job. Each case gave him the opportunity to go somewhere new, to be somebody different. No two days were the same and that suited him just fine.
But today was boring.
He had been sat in the car for nearly two hours. They were staking out a drugstore. Waiting for a marine who was trading in illegal steroids and disposing of anybody who got in his way.
Sam could sense that G was about to cross The Boredom Threshold, and any minute now he would start to –
"Maybe we should ask Paul for advice."
"Paul the Psychic Octopus. He predicted the results of the World Cup games, you know," G was trying unsuccessfully not to smirk, "he could tell us is if this guy's gonna show today."
Sam glared at him.
G shrugged. "I'm just saying."
But Sam knew that it was only a matter of time before he –
"Farah Fawcett or Kate Jackson?"
"Who would you pick? If you had to, you-know-what with one of them, who would you pick?"
G looked expectantly at Sam, head tilted to the side, impatient for an answer.
"I dunno. Never thought about it."
"So pick one now."
"Just pick one."
"Kate Jackson. Satisfied?"
They sat in silence for thirty seconds before –
"Kirk or Spock?"
"What! ? !"
"Come on, it's not like it's for real, just pick one."
Sam turned away, refusing to give G any eye contact of encouragement. He tapped his fingers lightly on the steering wheel as he looked across at the drugstore, desperately hoping to see the marine. Or a passing bank robber. Or anybody who could get him away from Bored To Death G.
G persisted. "For me, it's Kirk every time... look, if you don't pick one, I'm not gonna get you a donut from that bakery over there."
G was pointing to a bright pink shop three doors down from the drugstore called "Landing in London". He undid his seatbelt and got out of the car. He poked his head through the open passenger window and said "Last chance, big guy. Pick one or no donut."
Sam stared silently ahead then watched him cross the street. Before G entered the bakery he turned round and held up a single index finger, mouthing the word "one". He could see that G was laughing to himself as he pushed open the door.
Sam sighed as he realised that this was going to be a really, really, long day…
The first thing Sam noticed was the bright white light. It was followed immediately by a deafening noise and a concussion wave. Debris was hitting the roof and windscreen and peppering his side window. He instinctively ducked down and waited for most of the commotion to pass. He grabbed his phone and punched a button.
"Eric, there's been an explosion outside the drugstore. Get the EMTs and bomb squad here now!"
He stuffed the phone in his pocket and climbed out. Debris crunched underneath his feet. The air was thick with dust and there were pieces of paper and bits of rubbish floating down from the cloudless sky. It was eerily silent apart from the wailing of a car alarm. Then he heard a woman shouting for help off to his left but he ignored her, assuming that anybody that loud couldn't be seriously injured.
Then he saw it. It was blue and lying in the middle of the road. It was unmistakably the blue of G's shirt.
Sam sprinted towards him.
G was lying on his side. His clothes and face were covered in a fine layer of grey dust. Apart from a bad cut on his head, he looked alright. Sam knelt down beside him for a closer look and lightly placed his hand on his shoulder.
"G? It's Sam. Are you ok, buddy?"
G's eyes were wide open. He was staring straight ahead and didn't react to Sam's voice. His ears were still ringing from the explosion. He couldn't move his eyes so his world consisted of tarmac covered in snow – when it was twenty-six degrees in LA? Since when was snow grey? – and Sam's face. Blood was bubbling out of the wound, trickling down the side of his head, picking up the dust in its path.
"Don't move, I'll be back in a sec."
By this time people had begun to wander aimlessly up and down the street. Sirens wailed in the distance. Sam nearly collided with an elderly woman as he dashed into the bakery looking for napkins, a tea towel, anything to help his friend.
He knelt down and pressed the towel firmly to the wound on G's head. G groaned a little and tried to move his head away but Sam held it securely.
"It's ok, G. There was a bomb at the drugstore. G? You with me, G?" He raised his voice, eager for a response, "G ! ?"
Sam could see that G was attempting to focus on his face. His blue eyes seemed unusually large and bright against the grey of his face. He was also trying very hard to say something. Sam bent closer to his lips to hear the words.
G coughed slightly as he licked some of the dust off his lips. Sam could just make out the words "…Kirk…or…Spock?"
Sam grunted. He was both annoyed and relieved at his partner. "Not funny, G. Nope. Definitely not."
G smiled as he closed his eyes. His right hand was still grasping the pink paper bag from the bakery.
The next thing G was aware of was that he felt great. It was the familiar drug-induced euphoria which meant he'd been given the good stuff that only came in needles.
He just wanted to lie there and enjoy the sweet floating feeling of comfort and warmth, knowing that in a couple of hours something was going to hurt. But he needed a pee. He opened his eyes slowly to get accustomed to the light and saw Sam asleep in a chair in the corner. The chair was far too small and Sam was twisted uncomfortably.
G peeled back the covers and pushed himself into a seating position. He swung his legs off the bed. So far so good. He unhooked the IV from the stand, grimaced at the needle in the back of his hand, then tucked the bag under his arm and stood up. Still good. The movement had triggered a bit of a headache, but no worse than a hangover. He set off for the bathroom and nearly made it to the doorway before he stumbled and fell.
The noise woke Sam. He saw G in a heap on the floor and yelled "What the Hell do you think you are doing! ? !"
"I needed to use the bathroom. I just tripped." G had rolled himself round so that he was sat on the floor, looking up at Sam. He began to adjust the large, loosely-tied hospital gown, which had slipped off one shoulder, and was now in danger of sending him sprawling again if he stood up.
"Tripped over what? The perfectly smooth floor? What's wrong with you? Don't you know that you've just been blown up?" his tone softened "blown up, G. So why didn't you ask me or the nurses for help?"
G looked suitably contrite, but still couldn't resist a deflecting wisecrack "Because I'm old enough to go to the bathroom by myself. Are you going to ask me any more questions, or help me up?"
Sam pulled G to his feet. G gave him the IV bag and disappeared into the bathroom, leaving the plastic line trailing through the slightly open door. "Oh, so now you go all Buster Keaton on me. Say something. I can't go knowing that you are right outside the door…..when did they say I can get out of here?"
"In the morning if you feel ok. You've just got a few stitches in your head. If it was up to me, I would've stitched your lips together as well."
G emerged from the bathroom and trudged back to the bed. He noticed that his clothes were inside an evidence bag under the bed, ready to be presented to Hetty. He climbed in and began to re-arrange the covers. He watched Sam carefully hang the IV back on the stand so that it didn't pull on the needle.
"Well, it's nearly morning now, so you might as well stay. You can have all the healthy bits of my breakfast, then you can give me a ride home."
Sam tutted and shook his head. "Great," and squeezed himself back in the chair. "You want a bedtime story?"
G mumbled "Nah, I'm too tired, thanks. Night, Sam." and quickly fell asleep.
Sam spent the next couple of minutes trying to find a comfortable sleeping position before giving up. The first light of dawn was coming through the window and the only noise was the soft rhythm of G's breathing. His eyes rested on the bedside table. Lying there was a dusty pink bag with two donuts inside.
"Spock" he said, to nobody in particular.