I got really into NCIS: Los Angeles about a month ago; around the same time, I fell in love with a certain quote because it resonated with me. So here's the result. I wanted to try a new writing style, so it's a little bit different.
I don't own NCIS: Los Angeles.
But uh, I hope you enjoy!
Forgive Me if I Smile
"Forgive me if I smile, it's only to hide my fears. Forgive me if I laugh, it's only to hide my tears."
He smiled wearily at his captors. His arms burned and ached from where they were tied to the rafters, his entire weight threatening to pull his shoulders out of their sockets. The light blue button-down shirt he had on had been ripped off, replaced by several swallow cuts, whip marks, and cigarette burns. Blood dripped slowly, forming a small puddle below his bare feet that had been beaten and broken.
His blue eyes mocked the Middle Eastern men even as the realization that his team would not find him in time sunk in. He struggled to control his breathing and continued to smirk.
"What are you so happy about, Agent?" came a heavily accented voice.
"Even..." Callen sucked in a breath, feeling the throbbing of his broken ribs protesting at the movement, "Even if I die here," he whispered, "I'll still see you all in hell."
That earned him a sharp cuff to the side of his head, making his vision tunnel in and out. The masked man roughly grabbed his chin, snarling.
"You will pay for killing my brother, Agent Callen. Death will not come easy for you."
"Your brother was a lowlife scum who didn't deserve to live," Callen taunted back. Warning bells screamed in his mind, but he shoved his fears aside, hiding them behind his smile. The outcome of this looked bleak at best and he would be damned if he gave these bastards any form of satisfaction.
Wind gushed out of his lungs as a hard punch fractured another rib. Callen's body subconsciously tried to ball up, but his muscles were too weak and numb, and he coughed dryly as he fought through the wave of pain.
Orders in Arabic were barked out and Callen felt cold dread fill his entire being, so he did the only thing he could do to stop his tears of agony from falling down his cheeks - he laughed.
He laughed hard and loudly, like a mad man - the sound echoing down the empty tunnels deep below the ground in L.A., hiding his screams and tears as the torture continued.
He couldn't believe it. G had been captured under his watch. G was his partner and Sam had vowed that he would always have his back. The Senior Agent had trusted him with his life - something that G did not do lightly - and Sam had failed him. First Dom, then Mo, and now G? Sam didn't think he would be able to take it. G was his brother, his responsibility, and now he was probably being tortured for information by Afzal Samara - a known terrorist who had personally sought out G for revenge.
Sam closed his eyes, thinking back two days. After the murder of a Navy SEAL, the team had quickly closed in on Afzal Samara. G kept saying that it was too easy, but Sam and the others had just brushed his doubts off, thinking that G was just looking at a gift horse in its mouth.
Sam should have known better. G's instincts were honed over years and years of fighting tooth and nail for survival. He had too, but it was nothing compared to what G had gone through, and that was just comparing to what Sam knew, which wasn't much. He should have listened, but as it were, the team ended up trekking into a seemingly empty warehouse - right into an ambush.
Too late did they realize that Afzal wanted them to find him. Too late did they realize that G was the target.
A small army of fifty or so men were positioned at the ready the moment the four broke into the storage room. All were armed with machine guns and clearly knew had to handle them.
Sam, G, Kensi, and Deeks had their Sigs out on the ready, but they were obviously outgunned with no backup. Sam and G shared a look, ready to go down with a fight, but a click of a gun followed by a small gasp froze them.
In horror, they saw ten little red dots hover over Kensi's chest just as Afzal stepped into view.
"What do you want?" G had shouted. "If you're going to kill us, you better do it quick before you regret it."
Afzal chuckled, "Agent Callen, we finally meet."
Callen smirked, "I'd say it's a pleasure, but then I'd be lying."
Sam resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Leave to G to be cheeky in the face of mortal danger.
Afzal ignored him and continued talking, "I have been searching for you for several years, Agent Callen." His heavily accented voice held such anger, such hatred. "You are not an easy man to find."
"Well, I try."
"Did you like my present? I thought a dead SEAL would be enough to draw you out."
Sam could see G calculating his options. His shoulders fell slightly, almost in resignation. "If it's just me you want, let my team go and I'll go with you willingly."
"G!" Sam barked.
Callen ignored him. "So, what did I do to you? Screw over your plans? I have a tendency to do that to bad guys."
"You killed my brother!" snarled Afzal. "And now I will take away what's important to you."
The red dots rested on Sam and Deeks as well now.
If Sam hadn't been watching G, he would have missed the subtle change in his posture. His partner had slipped back into his carefully guarded CIA habits, becoming the urban legend that JAG wondered about.
The cold smirk hid all emotions. "Go ahead. I've been meaning to find a new team anyway. They're all so damn annoying and they're dragging me down. In fact, how about I do it for you?"
He raised his gun and before anyone could blink, Callen rapidly shot twice. The bullets struck the center-right of Kensi and Deeks' back. Surprise lit in their eyes before they both crumpled limply to the ground.
Shock floored Sam before he remembered that they were all wearing vests. G turned his eyes to look at his partner. There was a flash of remorse and then G moved. Sam didn't even have time to react. He felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck and he fell to his knees, his vision blackening.
"Sorry, Sam..." he heard G whisper as the ground rushed up to greet him.
And then he knew no more.
Deeks was the first to wake. He became aware of loud shouting in his right ear and an incredibly painful throbbing in his back before anything else. Then he remembered.
"Goddamn it! He freaking shot me!" growled Deeks, pushing himself up from the cold floor.
"Deeks, can you hear me?" came Eric's frantic voice.
Deeks groaned. "Yeah, I hear ya. Stop yelling. You're giving me a headache."
"How are the others?"
At that, Deeks was immediately on guard, pulling out his gun from beneath him. Carefully, he surveyed his surroundings, but there were no signs of the Arabs or Callen. Just a small blood smear on the ground close to where Sam lay.
He rolled over, placing his fingers on Kensi's neck, letting out a sigh of relief that his partner was perfectly fine. With his body still aching, he reached out with his foot to nudge the ex-SEAL. Sam groaned, but slowly was regaining consciousness.
Deeks pressed his right hand to his ear, "Eric, we're all fine, but Afzal is gone...along with Callen."
The dead silence that followed spoke volumes. Then a harsh breath. "Hetty says to get your asses back here. I'll look for surveillance in the meanwhile."
Deeks sighed and glanced down at Kensi and Sam. They were going to be so pissed when they woke up. Hell, even he was furious. Though he knew Callen had gone 'lone wolf' to save all of them, he quite liked Callen alive and couldn't help feeling guilty of being completely useless.
Ten minutes later, an exhausted Deeks managed to get both Kensi and Sam tucked into Kensi's car. How he did it, he would never know, but he had a feeling that it was spurred on by his increasing need to find Callen before it was too late.
He couldn't lose another friend.
Sometime during the drive back, Sam had awakened. He had gained a grip on the situation much faster than Deeks - probably from his military experiences - but he remained reticent until they arrived. Together, they quietly helped Kensi in and Sam left it to him to lay her gently down on the couch while he kept an eye on the SEAL.
The bigger man's fists were gripped so tightly that his knuckles were white and his jaw was clenched hard.
"Hey, it's not your fault, Sam," Deeks said quietly.
"I'm going to kill him," Sam rumbled back.
Deeks snorted, using his smirk as a shield, "Get in line. Damn bastard shot me! How did that even knock us out?"
"He hit a pressure point near your gallbladder, Mr. Deeks," came Hetty's quiet voice. "It rendered you unconscious, giving the impression that Mr. Callen killed you."
The two would have flinched, but they were both too weighed down by the situation.
"Did he shoot you too?" Deeks asked Sam, just as Kensi began rousing.
Sam shook his head. "A blow to the neck. Hetty, we have to find him!"
"We will, Mr. Hanna. But Afzal has destroyed any GPS tracking we may have had on Mr. Callen. I'm afraid we can only wait until Mr. Beal finds something useful."
Sam grabbed his gun and starts storming out.
"Wait, where are you going?" shouted Deeks.
"I'm going to find G."
"You don't even know where to start looking!"
"He's right, Mr. Hanna. Calm down. Rushing about with a heated mind will not help Mr. Callen."
"I...I can't just sit around doing nothing. This is G we're talking about! I was supposed to have his back!"
Deeks didn't know how to fix this. Sam was breaking apart in front of them and no one but Callen could say the right thing. Right about now, G would have said something sarcastic, relieving the tension in the team. But Deeks wasn't Callen. No one could replace their Senior Agent.
"Callen is smart. He'll figure out a way to signal us. We can go over the files and see if we can figure out where Afzal would hold him."
Sam's shoulders slumped and Deeks knew he had won for the time being. The SEAL shuffled around his desk and plunged into the hundreds of papers that was once so organized.
Deeks let out a sigh of relief. One down, one more to go. He glanced over at Hetty who merely nodded at him.
He smiled at her, shoving all his inner turmoil to a side. Right now, his personal feelings meant nothing - he had to stay strong for Sam and Kensi, at least until Callen came back.
Kensi hissed when she woke up, feeling a soreness in her back. She heard Sam and Deeks talking heatedly nearby. At first, she was more than content to just lay back down and sleep, but Sam hardly ever lost his patience, even to Deeks, and the one of the only things that could get Sam so riled up was...
"Callen!" she gasped, sitting straight up on what she now knew to be the couch in the bullpen.
"Good morning, Kensi," Deeks smiled, teasing.
"What happened to Callen?" she asked, quickly getting up.
Deeks hesitated for a moment, but he couldn't lie to his partner. "He wasn't there when we woke up."
Tears welled in Kensi's eyes, but she didn't allow them to fall. There was work to be done. She wasn't going to lose another person important to her. Callen was family and she wouldn't help anyone if she broke down crying.
"Sam, got anything for me to look over?" she questioned.
Sam wordlessly handed her a small stack of papers. "Afzal is smart. He covers his tracks well. I can't find any close connections that he would use."
"He doesn't trust anyone else but himself," supplied Deeks.
Kensi nodded. "He cut out the middle man and minimized the probability of mistakes by doing things himself. He has to have left some sort of trail then, right? Has he bought any properties in the last ten years? Maybe he's using one of them to..." She swallowed, unable to finish her sentence.
"He's clean..." said Deeks, his voice soft.
"What about phone calls?"
"Eric is on it, but there hasn't been anything since the warehouse. He's quiet."
She found herself sinking into her chair, despair filling her. Closing her eyes, she saw Dom's smile covered with blood and going slack as his life slipped away from him. She saw the tubes and machines that was connected to Deeks as he fought to survive two bullet shots to the chest.
There was a slight squeeze on her hand and she looked up to see Deeks smiling down at her.
"We'll find him, Kensi. No matter what it takes."
"And when we do, I'm gonna kick his ass," growled Sam.
"You said that Callen used to work for the CIA, right?" Deeks asked Sam. His entire attention was focused on Sam, but his hand never moved from Kensi's.
"Do you know about his missions?"
"He doesn't talk about them. They're above my clearance, but it seemed pretty rough."
"Was he ever captured before?"
Deeks' shoulders relaxed and he smiled, settling down on the corner of Kensi's desk, but he didn't say anything else.
"What?" demanded Kensi, "I know that look. What are you so smug about?"
"I'm just thinking that Afzal has absolutely no idea what he's gotten himself into."
"What do you mean?"
"Callen is experienced. Obviously, the more you push him into a corner, the harder he fights. Callen is going to give Afzal hell and once we get our hands on him..." he smirked, "Kensi, make sure you give Afzal a worse greeting than that French guy."
Sam couldn't help but chuckle. "I don't think she can do worse than that."
"You don't know my girl. She'll figure something out. I mean, did I ever tell you about that time we..."
Deeks' voice faded away as Kensi tuned him out, but she smiled, recognizing Deeks' attempt to console her. What he didn't know was that he had already soothed her nerves the moment he held her hand. His warmth was a reminder that he had come back from two bullet wounds - that Callen had come back to them after being shot five times.
Callen was a survivor and he wouldn't leave them behind so easily.
Hetty eyed her team warily. Without Mr. Callen, their team was composed of people who reacted harshly to their emotions. In dire situations, Callen's ability to keep a level head kept the rest of his members in check. Sam looked as though he wanted to kill someone, Deeks looked as though someone had kicked his puppy, and Kensi's mismatched eyes were shining with unshed tears. Eric and Nell upstairs were faring no better, working themselves to the bone to get any clues as to where Callen was.
Silently, her small form drifted through the hallways of their headquarters. The Spanish imitation felt empty without the presence of her Senior Agent. She had said it before - she didn't play favorites, but Callen certainly held a special place in her heart. He was like the son she never had, not that she would admit it out loud. After all, emotions such as those could be taken as a weakness, and she couldn't risk that. Not when one of her agents was in danger. If only there was some other method to track Callen...
A light went off in her head and she hurried to the bullpen where the rest of her team was.
"Mr. Hanna, does Mr. Callen still wear that present you gave him two Christmases ago?" she asked.
She could see the recognition spark in his eyes, hope filling them. He turned, yelling, "Eric! His watch!"
Eric's head poked around the corner above their heads. "Got it." And the brilliant tech disappeared into Ops.
"What's going on?" Kensi asked, "What's so special about his watch?"
"Mr. Hanna hid a GPS tracker in Mr. Callen's watch."
"Wow, really? I knew you were overprotective, but not to creepy stalker-ish degrees," commented Deeks.
"Shut up, Shaggy. G gets into more trouble than you know and likes to go all lone wolf on us. What he doesn't know won't kill him," Sam explained as he leapt up the stairs two at a time.
Deeks and Kensi glanced at each other and quickly followed their teammate. Somehow, by the time they entered Ops, Hetty was already there, staring at the large screen with Sam by her side.
"Mr. Beal, can you pinpoint a location?"
"I can't find him. The GPS isn't on."
"Try to remotely turn it on," Sam suggested.
"I can't. I'm good, but not that good."
"What do you mean?" demanded Kensi.
Nell shook her head at them, "Callen's watch was damaged somehow. There's no way to get a lock on him."
Before Hetty's eyes, her team deflated - all hope lost. She thought back to the resignation letter in her desk. Swallowing back her own sorrow, Hetty couldn't help but blame herself. She wasn't fit to stay where she was if she lost another agent, especially one as talented as Callen.
A beep distracted her for a brief second, but nothing showed in the screen. Frowning, she glanced at Eric who had started typing furiously on his tablet.
Another beep and another. Suddenly, the room was filled with a flashing red light. "I found him..." Eric breathed, "Callen must've managed to fix his watch. He's…that's weird."
There were more furious typing and curious looks between the two techies before Sam's patience came to a rapid end.
"Eric!" he barked.
"It looks like Callen is underground." A pause. "Got it! He's at the corner of Temple and Grand."
Hetty turned to her team, her eyes serious and hard. "Bring him home."
Sam nodded, "We will, Hetty. We will."
Callen's head lolled downwards, his chin almost touching his chest. His entire body had gone slack and no amount of punching or kicking could rouse him.
Afzal checked to see if he was breathing, but when he pulled his fingers away from Callen's nose, fury was written across his face. With hatred burning in his eyes, he spat at the ground below Callen's feet.
He barked something in Arabic and without another word, he and his men slipped out, shutting the door heavily behind them.
Callen was left to die, hanging like a carcass from the rafters.
The agent slowly roused when they were gone, gasping for air. In hindsight, it probably was not a good idea to hold his breath for so long and pretend that he was dying – the aftermath made his ribs scream. With a grunt, he worked at detaching himself from his pain, barring it behind a wall in his mind, but he was weak and his injuries were numerous. He only had a few minutes before his body gave out on him and the pain would render him unconscious. Whichever came first…
Shifting, he bit back a groan as he forced his left fingers to inch agonizingly towards his right wrist. It was just his luck. Add on dislocated shoulders to the list – the weight of his body being strung up so long had to have its consequences, but he would worry about that later.
There was a GPS in his watch, he was sure of it. Sam wouldn't have given it to him with that odd, smug smile on his face if there wasn't one. But he was sure that it had broken in transit. Someone – he was sure it was Afzal's right-hand man – had stepped on it purposefully, shattering the glass.
The cuts he received from it were well worth it, because now, he could access the hidden tracker. He winced as his fingers were sliced open as he dug and prodded around the watch until he hit a tiny microchip. With great skill and experience, Callen poked at the side and was rewarded with an almost silent whirl.
Then his vision blackened and he slumped back down, all his strength leaving his body as quick as his blood.
All that was left was to wait.
Help was on the way…hopefully.
I hoped you enjoyed it! And as always, please review!
~ Kanae Yuna