Going Dark

...

Callen felt Deeks' forehead for the third time in the last half hour and didn't notice any difference. He was still burning with fever and as much as he tried to remember all the things Sam had taught him about treating a high fever, he knew what he had done so far wasn't working. The seedy hotel room they were in only added to his depression as he stood and pulled back the curtain to see if any new cars were parked on the narrow street. The rain had lessened and had turned into a misty fog that hugged the old lampposts and made it hard to distinguish color or features and to see anyone coming. He was fairly certain they had escaped the men who had been chasing them, but if he was wrong he wasn't sure Deeks was strong enough to make another run for the car. He had finally stopped throwing up, and Callen was thankful for that, but he was still very pale and Callen was worried about him. He'd cleaned up the cuts on his head and face, but it was the body blows he'd endured that caused Callen's anger to surge once again.

"Hey," Deeks said. "Are they coming?" Callen saw him reach for his weapon and he shook his head.

"No," Callen moved quickly back to the side of the bed as Deeks tried to sit up. "Lie back down, Deeks. You need to rest while you can."

Deeks let out a low moan and Callen watched him tense up as a spasm of pain shot through his body.

"They really knew just where to hit a guy," Deeks whispered. He slowly let out his breath and got as comfortable as he could and looked over at Callen.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah," Callen answered, looking down at the wound in his arm.

"I shouldn't have let them take me," Deeks said. "I should have come up with some reason not to go with them. I knew something wasn't right, but I couldn't take the chance and leave you alone if they really had you."

"Are you done?" Callen was getting furious with him as he once again tried to shoulder the blame.

"You're mad." Deeks' face looked haunted and hollow with exhaustion, but he was still trying to gauge his undercover partner's state of mind.

"They beat the shit out of you, Deeks. And they forced me watch." Callen's voice rose as he faced toward the window, not wanting to let Deeks see the anger threatening to overpower his self-control.

"My alias is supposed to be your brother, Callen," Deeks said matter of fact. "You know they were just trying to break you by hurting me. We both knew that might happen, to either one of us. I just happened to get the short straw this time."

"I should have lied to them," Callen said quietly. "It might have stopped them from hurting you this badly."

Callen turned when he heard Deeks' soft snort of laughter.

"Yeah, buddy. Like that would have worked." Deeks smiled at him and Callen couldn't help but shake his head at his honesty.

A light knock at the door had them both reaching for their weapons, but the distinctive knock alerted them to Sam's arrival. Callen quickly let him in and they gave each other a welcoming hug and Sam saw a look of relief on Callen's face. His smile faded as he saw the condition of his partner, who he hadn't seen since yesterday morning.

"Gunshot?" Sam's look of concern was instant.

"Bullet went all the way through. Missed the bone," Callen reported. "Did you bring the pain meds?"

"Is it hurting bad?" Sam examined the bandaged wound before Callen could protest.

"The pain pills are for Deeks," Callen said and turned toward the bed.

Sam turned with him and looked into Deeks' pale blue eyes, which were now surrounded by purple and green bruises. A large cut over his eye and one on his left cheek and a still bloody lip only heightened Sam's uneasiness. He walked over and sat down next to him as Deeks returned his gun to the side table. Sam was shocked at how terrible he looked and began to visually assess him, seeing the glazed look of fever in his eyes and noting the signs of a concussion.

"Pull up your shirt and let me see what the bastards did to you," Sam said sternly and Deeks knew not to argue when he saw the look on Sam's face.

Sam winced when he saw the bruises that colored Deeks' body. He noticed how shallow his breathing was and gently checked his ribs for fractures. Even with his light touch, Deeks sucked in his breath each time Sam's fingers pressed into his body.

"You've got a couple of broken ribs, Deeks."

"Look at his back, Sam," Callen said quietly as he came over and sat on the far side of the bed.

"I'll be fine, guys, really," Deeks said as Sam helped him roll onto his side.

Sam caught his breath as he saw the dark purple bruises around his kidneys. He could tell the bruising was deep and he worried that the high fever Deeks was running was evidence of serious damage. He looked up at Callen and saw the dark anger on his face. He hadn't heard the whole story yet, but he knew Callen was going to make someone pay for what had been done to Deeks. He pulled out a double dose of pain pills and a bottle of water he hoped was pure enough and helped him take them. After downing the pills Deeks finally found a comfortable position on his side facing Sam. They sat with him, one on either side until his breathing began to ease into the steady rhythm of sleep. His body curled up around Sam and the ex-SEAL laid his hand on his head, feeling once again for fever and then let his arm drape across his shoulders until he finally drifted off to sleep.

"What'd they beat him with, G?" Sam asked softly.

"A thick wooden walking stick," Callen closed his eyes as he said it and Sam could tell he was reliving what had happened. "Somebody tipped them to where we were, Sam. I was grabbed earlier after I'd met with our CIA contact. Deeks had been on board the USS Sullivans, talking with the commander about Sikes and he said when he got back to our apartment, four men were waiting for him. They told him I had set up a meeting with Ozan and that they were there to take him to the location."

"Deeks had to know it was a set up," Sam said.

"I'm pretty sure he did, but he came anyway," Callen said. "He said he should have known better, but..."

"He was trying to back you up." Sam said. "Even if he had refused they probably would have forced him."

"I was tied to a post when they led him in, and he immediately started talking to Ozan," Callen smiled briefly at the memory. "Sam, he was making up stuff that sounded so believable, I almost bought it. And Ozan just looked confused, thinking he'd been steered wrong. I think he would have let us go if Kocak hadn't come in."

Callen pulled the blanket up over Deeks' shoulders as he worked to compose himself. He sat back against the headboard and stretched his legs out next to Deeks and looked up at the ceiling before continuing.

"Kocak had the walking stick in his hands, using it as a cane," Callen said. "Then he picked it up and just swung it into Deeks' ribs like he was hitting a baseball. The brutal bastard just laughed and came over to me and asked about Sikes and when I wouldn't tell them anything, he asked if it was true that Deeks was my brother. He knew our real names, Sam. He said he knew we were agents and that he knew my reputation, so he was going to beat Deeks until I talked or he did. Someone close to us blew our cover and Deeks paid for it."

Callen got up and began to pace the dirty little room, trying to calm down, but Sam could tell it wasn't working.

"The beating was vicious, Sam and I couldn't do anything to stop it."

"How did you get away?" Sam asked, trying to distract him.

"Someone called Kocak and he seemed to be angry at whoever it was and stormed out," Callen said. "Ozan followed him and took three of his men with him. That left just two guys guarding us. Deeks was lying on the floor and the two of them decided to haul him over to a post next to me and tie him up. Sam, I don't know how he was even conscience. He was spitting up blood and groaning, but when the two guards pulled him to his feet, he managed to grab one of their guns and then he shot 'em both."

Sam looked down at Deeks curled up next to him and smiled, a look of pride on his face.

"He untied me and then just collapsed like a rag doll," Callen said. "One of the guards was still alive and shot me, but when I went down, I grabbed the gun lying next to Deeks and killed the guy. I had to get Deeks out of there, but it wasn't easy. I didn't realize how heavy he was until I had to drag him out of there. Luckily, he came to when we got outside and by the time we got one of the cars started, Ozan and his men came back and started chasing us. I don't know Istanbul that well, but I knew we couldn't go back to our apartment. I remember Nate telling me about this place, although he made it sound a lot nicer than it really is."

The squeal of tires outside caught their attention and they quickly pulled their weapons and moved to the window. Callen turned out the lights and looked outside.

"It's Ozan," he whispered. Six men headed for the entrance to the hotel and Callen quickly moved to Deeks side and tried to wake him.

"How did he know we were here?" Sam asked, as he went to the door to listen.

"Where's your car Sam?" Callen shook Deeks again but got only a groan in response.

"It's on the side street around the corner," Sam had the door open and could hear the ancient lift straining its way up.

"Wake up Deeks," Callen said and his tone was low and urgent.

"Is it Ozan?" Deeks croaked out as he woke and struggled to sit up. He grabbed his gun and tried to stand. Sam grabbed his arm and slung it over his shoulder, helping him up and supporting him as they stumbled out the door. They managed to get to the stairs just as the elevator stopped at their floor. Ozan and five men spilled out into the dimly lit hallway with guns drawn, never seeing the three agents as they made their way down the back stairs and out into the dreary night hoping to reach Sam's car before they were caught.

"Sam, I'm going to destroy the phones," Callen said with a knowing look and Sam nodded. They both knew that somehow Ozan and Kocak kept finding them and if they wanted to survive, they would have to go dark.

...