Several hours had passed since the storm had arrived, and Callen already knew that it was going to be a long time before they got rescued. The wind howled outside the cabin, and snow was falling heavily. Even if it wasn't long before help arrived it would feel like it had been a long time.
Kensi had gotten the fidgets, and was pacing. Callen knew that she was a person of action, and couldn't stand sitting down and doing nothing. Even when Kensi was relaxing she would be doing something, even if it was just watching the TV and drinking a beer, so he knew that it would difficult for her to be cooped up in a house that had no TV or radio.
Deeks, perhaps sensing his partners agitation and Sam's simmering anger which was directed at him and the noise he was making, had gone quiet, which Callen found be just as disturbing as Kensi's pacing. The former LAPD detective was sitting beside the window, his knees drawn up to his chest, gazing outside thoughtfully. Callen watched his little brother for a moment. He could tell from the way that Deeks was occasionally rubbing his arms, that the newest member of the team was cold and, though Deeks would never admit to it, scared.
Sam was tending to the fire, earning heated looks from Kensi as the former SEAL took over her job, which he ignored. Callen watched his partner as Sam walked back to the couch and dropped onto it with a sigh. Like Kensi, Sam was a person of action, but Sam's long years of military service had taught him to be patient, a skill that Kensi was still learning, and it showed in how Sam accepted the situation he was in, although he obviously didn't like it. G knew that his partner would be able to handle their predicament, and Callen knew that Kensi would cope, he had trained her himself after all, and she was used to the cooler temperature, as Callen knew that she went to the snow almost religiously every winter, even if it was only for a weekend.
G doubted that Deeks would have similar experience. Perhaps it was the slightly concerned glances that Kensi was shooting towards G's younger brother, but something told him that Kensi knew something was up with Deeks. Sam would have laughed had he known, but Callen automatically felt his over protectiveness towards his only living family member, which he always tried to keep hidden from everyone else, fighting to get free. G wanted to help Deeks with whatever the younger man was going through, but, the problem was, firstly, G had no idea what the problem with Deeks was, secondly, he didn't know how to do a thing about it, and thirdly, G wasn't sure how he could help his little brother without making Deeks not feel as though he was the weak link in the team. They all knew that he was, to a certain extent the least experienced one on the team, especially when it came to situations like these, but they all took care to never mention it, knowing it was a sore point for Deeks, even he was learning how to be an agent even faster than Callen and Kensi had.
Sam, however, had a solution, to the last of Callen's issues, getting to his feet and asking Kensi to go with him when he checked the basement for anything useful. Kensi nodded, grabbing the camera to document the things that had been moved, and the two headed down to the basement of the shack, leaving Callen and Deeks alone in the small room.
"You okay, Deeks,?" Callen asked softly, wincing as Deeks jumped and looked up at Callen.
"It's nothing, I'm just feeling the cold a bit, that's all," Deeks shrugged, turning his attention back to the window. Unable to resist the urge Callen reached out to feel his younger brother's skin to see if it was cold to the touch. Deeks jerked away from the contact, losing his balance and falling from his perch with a loud thud.
"Deeks," Callen's voice was filled with concern as he crouched beside his brother.
"I'm fine," Deeks replied. Callen simply quirked his eyebrow in response to Deeks' comment.
"Sam is right, you spend way too much time with Kensi...your bad habits are rubbing off on each other. Next thing we know Kensi will be coming in talking about how great the surf was, and you'll be eating doughnuts like they're about to go out of existence."
"Funny," Deeks muttered, slowly sitting up and rubbing his backside where he'd landed on it.
"What was that about?" Callen asked. Deeks sighed, knowing he was defeated. Callen was never going to let how he'd jerked from his older brother's hand away go
"I was talking to Kensi about some things before...and it brought some not so good memories back,"
"Our dad?" Callen asked, sitting down beside his younger half brother.
Deeks nodded, "and my mom too...She was going to take me to the snow...but that was the winter she got sick...the winter that she died in. I'd never been to the snow before...we never went as a family, and afterwards...afterwards I was busy with school and college, and the being a cop."
"You've never been to the snow?" Callen asked. He hadn't expected that bombshell. Sure, he'd expected for Deeks to have spent little time at the snow, but to have never been?
One winter, I was about seven or eight; dad took us on a holiday. I was that excited to be going somewhere different. You know me when I get excited. I talk. I hadn't really learned that if he told me to shut up, then I really should shut up, because I don't remember a great deal of that holiday, I can't even remember where we went. We were renting a cabin in the woods, kind of like this one, only less remote, and it wasn't snowing, but it was still cold. I spent most of the week we were there locked in the basement...which was made of concrete, and all I really remember was it being cold down there. I didn't have a blanket with me, so I slept in a box, covered in old newspapers I found. I got the flu real bad when we got home; I was in bed for weeks. After that...after that we didn't go on holidays again."
Callen sighed and shook his head, unable to believe the horrible things Deeks' father...their father, had done to the younger boy.
"I'm sorry," Callen said, "I shouldn't have asked."
Deeks shrugged, "I guess it doesn't matter, really. It was a while ago after all."
Callen hesitated, before putting his hand on Deeks' shoulder. Through the newer Agent's clothes Callen could feel Deeks shivering slightly. Callen fought the urge to roll his eyes. Naturally, given his lack of familiarity with snow, Deeks was wearing clothes that weren't entirely appropriate for alpine camping.
"Come on, you can have a blanket now, it's not like we're short in supply, and you can sit on the couch for now, so you'll be closer to the fire."
Deeks got up and grabbed the topmost blanket off the pile before sitting down on the couch, smiling as he gazed into the flickering flames. G had been right, it was much warmer there than where he had been sitting.
"So, G, where did you learn to live with the cold?"
G smirked, "Three words...Gibbs...tent...Russia."
Deeks laughed, the sound echoing down to the basement where Sam and Kensi were standing, counting bottles of water that they had found. Kensi smiled.
"I told you G would get through to him." Sam told her. Kensi rolled her eyes, but she was still worried about her partner. Deeks was, at times, very insecure. Kensi couldn't blame him, considering what he went through
"Yeah yeah, just don't go whining to me when Deeks get's all chatty again and starts to annoy you." She replied. The triumphant look on Sam's face fell as he realised what he had done. A pensive and angsty Deeks was a quiet Deeks, while a happy and cheerful Deeks was annoyingly vocal.
"What have I done?" Sam moaned to himself dramatically before he followed Kensi up the stairs to the cabin.
Night fell, and still the wind howled around the cabin as the snow fell heavily. All of the team had wrapped themselves in blankets, and were huddled up...Kensi and Deeks on the floor in front of the fire, and Callen and Sam on the couch. Kensi had found a pack of cards in a drawer, and they had occupied themselves by playing card games, chatting about various things. Eventually, though, they ran out of things to talk about, and they fell silent. Even Deeks was quiet, instinctively knowing from the looks Sam was sending him that if he got overly chatty the former SEAL would not think twice about shooting him...Callen's little brother or not.
"Alright, time for lights out," Sam eventually announced. Deeks rolled his eyes and whined.
"But I don't want to go to bed."
"Shut up Deeks, It's late, and I'm easier to live with if I've had plenty to sleep."
"He's right," Callen added, smirking at his partner.
"Besides, I figure if I've had enough to sleep, then maybe...just maybe, I'll get through this without shooting you."
"I'd listen to Sam, " Kensi said, grabbing another blanket from the pile and throwing it at Deeks, before grabbing another one for herself too, Sam threw the two younger agents cushions off the couch, and, still grumbling, Deeks made up a slightly comfortable bed. It wouldn't be the best sleep he had, but at least, with the fire going, it would be slightly warm. Kesni lay down on her carefully made bed, and huddled in on herself.
"Hey, Fern...Do you want to share body heat with me? I've heard it's the best way to stay warm when you're lost in the woods. "
There was a smacking noise, and Callen smirked as he watched Kensi smack Deeks in the face with her cushion.
"Shut up Deeks," she told him. Deeks laughed and lay down in his bed. Callen smiled at how the pair had automatically put their beds beside one another. No matter how much they pretended otherwise it was obvious to everyone how much they were in love with one another...Callen just wished they would hurry up and realise it before something happened to one of them. Kensi and Deeks both deserved to have a chance at a happy life with the one they loved.
Callen stretched out on the couch as Sam lay on the floor on Kensi's other side. It hadn't even been debated that Callen would get to sleep on the couch. He was known for sleeping roughly, and none of the others wanted to have to sleep beside him with the Agent constantly waking up and fiddling with something.
Lying on the couch, Callen listened as, one by one, his teammates' breathing evened out as they fell asleep. Unable to stop himself Callen grinned into the darkness as Kensi began to snore loudly. From the warm glow produced by the fire G could see Kensi, sprawled out, as she did when she was asleep. Deeks was sleeping on his side, his legs curled up towards his body, and his hair falling into his eyes. Callen rolled his eyes as his finger's itched to brush the blond hair back. Sam was sleeping on his stomach, his hand resting on his gun, which he had tucked down in between his and Kensi's bed, just in case it was needed. Callen smiled to himself, before he rolled over and slowly fell into a deep sleep.
Callen woke at dawn, although it was impossible to tell what time it was without looking at a clock. The snow was still falling outside, and the wind still howled, causing the windows to rattle. He'd woken up several times during the night, but had managed to convince himself to go back to sleep. Now, though, Callen was certain that he would not be able to drift back into a restful sleep. Letting out a long sigh, Callen rolled over, looking at his team mates to make sure that they were still there and had survived the cold night.
Sam hadn't moved throughout the night, but Kensi had rolled over towards Deeks, and the younger pair was curled together for warmth, with Deeks' hand draped over Kensi's slender waist. Callen winced, knowing that the gesture...however innocent it might have been, would earn Deeks a solid thwack in the arm from Kensi when she woke up...or possible even a knee in the place that no man wants to be kneed.
Letting out a sigh Callen sat up and climbed off the couch, creeping around his sleeping team mates and stoking up the fire, which had died down while the agents had slept to glowing embers. Once flames began to lick at the new pieces of wood Callen had put on the fire, and satisfied that the fire was in no danger of going out, Callen walked to their collection of food, finding a half empty canister of coffee. Sam had filled a couple of buckets with snow before the storm had hit ...which had now melted thanks to the heat produced by the fire, and Callen filled a kettle with the water, before returning to the fire and hanging the old, metal kettle over the flames to heat the water. Callen knew his team, and it would be a cold day in hell indeed if they managed to function on a cold morning without caffeine in their system. Even Sam, with his lectures about healthy eating, struggled without his morning caffeine hit.
Callen smiled as he thought of Gibbs' rule number 23. Never mess with a Marine's coffee if you want to live. Callen was pretty sure that the rule applied to all NCIS personnel in general...with the possible exception of Hetty, who functioned perfectly with tea, and Abby, who lived off her Caf Pow!
Satisfied that the water was warming, Callen crossed over to the bookshelf, picked out a book, and settled down to read in the dim light produced by the fire. It would only be a matter of time before the rest of the team woke up, and Callen was going to take advantage of the quiet while it lasted.
It was, perhaps, half an hour later, when G was drawn from his reading by the sound of Sam waking up. The former SEAL lifted his head sleepily, blinking up at G.
"What time is it?" he asked.
"Almost seven," Callen replied in a soft voice. Sam glanced over at the sleeping Deeks and Kensi. He smirked.
"She's going to hit him when she wakes up," he whispered folding back his blankets and standing up, stretching until his back cracked.
"I know," Callen said..."You better prepare yourself...She might decide that it's your turn to sleep next to Deeks tonight." Sam shuddered, making his way to the kitchen to prepare a cup of strong coffee.
"In between her with her snoring, and him with his snuggling? I don't think so. Hetty will get us picked up before then...won't she?"
Callen shrugged. The storm that had them trapped had been predicted to last for a few days...but Callen knew that if there was a possible way to get them out early...Hetty would find it.
Even mother nature had nothing against their boss.
The day continued slowly on. Deeks seemed to have pulled himself out of his slump from the previous day, and was quite animated and chatty, something Callen was rather relieved about, not that he would say anything about it. Sam and Kensi, however, weren't so happy with the turnaround in Deeks' behaviour, and were both quietly wishing that he would calm down.
Neither of them, however, dared say anything too nasty to Deeks about it. They both knew that Deeks was sensitive, and would be hurt if he took a comment in the wrong way, and neither Sam nor Kensi wanted to be on Callen's bad side if that happened. If there was one thing that had changed about the team's dynamic ever since Callen and Deeks had discovered that they were brothers, it was that Callen was now borderline overprotective of Deeks, and if anyone...even a member of the team, (with the exception of Kensi punching or hitting Deeks when he was really annoying her), hurt the former detective physically or emotionally, then they got to deal with Callen in mother hen mode.
A fate that nobody desired.
The snow still fell heavily around the cabin. Callen was grateful the door opened inwardly, as the snow had begun to pile up around the edge of the cabin. It already covered the bottom few inches of the windows. The windows had fogged up from the cold, and Kensi and Deeks had taken to drawing on them, just for something to do, juvenile as it was. Sam raised his eyebrows in warning at Deeks when the younger agent began to draw what looked like a scene out of a playboy centrefold, or something along those lines, causing Deeks to smile guiltily and wipe off the offending images, before breathing on the glass to make it fog up again more quickly. Kensi had rolled her eyes, swatting Deeks in the arm again. Callen had cringed on his brother's behalf. The number of times Kensi had hit Deeks in the last few days...the blonde was going to end up with a very impressive bruise.
Still, Callen found himself thinking as he watched the two younger agents bantering with one another, Deeks' mood had certainly improved from the previous day, and if getting the occasional whack in the arm from Kensi when he said something cheeky, was part of that...who was Callen to get in the way?
The storm continued on through the night. Callen lay awake, listening to the roar of the wind through the trees, unable to bring himself to drift off into sleep. He had decided that it hadn't been fair on his teammates for him to be up on the couch, so he had joined the others on the floor, lying between Sam and Deeks., while Kensi lay on Deeks' other side, despite her whining about Deeks' snuggling .. From the light produced by the glowing embers of the fire G could see Sam, snoring softly, his hand resting on his gun, ready to deal with any attackers that dared to disturb his rest. Sam wasn't the only one snoring, with Kensi joining in on the act early on in the night.
Deeks, on the other hand, was still wide awake, just like Callen, lying in silence and waiting for sleep to take him. Callen could tell, just from the sound of his brother's breathing, that Deeks was still awake, and sure enough, Deeks spoke in a whisper.
"G...do you think Hetty will be able to rescue us tomorrow?" Deeks asked in a soft voice. Callen blinked, taken back by the tone of Deeks' voice.
"The storm was supposed to be easing off tomorrow, so it's likely?" Callen answered.
"Good...Monty will be pining without me. I hope someone's been able to check on him, and give him his dinner...I didn't think we were going to be gone overnight, so i wasn't able to arrange for my neighbours to look after him."
"Hetty will have organised something," Callen reassured Deeks, "And the moment she can Hetty will get us out of here...you know how much she hates it when we're not around...where we're not supposed to be. If you hadn't noticed Hetty likes to be in control."
"Kind of like Nell...maybe that's why Hetty's training Nell to be her replacement," Deeks speculated. G stiffened at the sound of the petite intelligence analyst's name, but managed to mask the response.
"Maybe," Callen shrugged. It was, however, a plausible theory, he mused to himself.
"I know that I always wanted to go to the snow," Deeks whispered, "But it kind of sucks once you've seen so much of it."
G simply shook his head at that, a smile spreading across his face. There was no doubt about his younger brother. Marty was a Surfer, and nothing would ever change that.
And that was exactly the way Callen liked it.