Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS:LA or its characters…

Author's Note: So…um… I was all of a sudden taken with the character of Nell, and wanted to play a bit…


The computer screen went dark. A fraction of a second later, the lights blinked out. The Office of Special Projects' operations room, sealed off from the outside world, was rendered pitch black, darker than the darkest night. With the system down, there was not a single light source to which eyes could adjust.

But no worries. Nell Jones knew a keyboard more intimately than a paramour knew their lover's body. She tried various commands to get the system to respond, to reboot, but to no avail. She ran her hand along the edge of the desk, down over the metal casing that still emanated warmth like human flesh, her fingers searching for that special spot. Again, Nell was reminded of lovers groping in the dark.

Ha! Got it!

If the subject under her eager hands had in fact been a lover rather than an unfeeling (albeit rather awesome) conglomeration of circuitry, he'd have been squirming in her grasp. Instead, she received nothing but cool indifference.

Nell swore aloud.

Careful not to strike her head on the edge of the desk, she climbed unceremoniously out from beneath the office furniture.

This was not going to be pleasant.

Sticking her arms out in front of her and shuffling along like some sort of zombie or the Bride of Frankenstein, Nell made her way blindly towards the door (and freedom from the dark oblivion of ops). She had never noticed before that the table placed (inconveniently if you asked her!) in the middle of the room was of the precise height to jab her in the lower ribs.

She swore again and stumbled, catching herself against the solidity of the door. Automatically, she reached out to the lock... the electronic lock.

Damn!

The pressure of the empty (she hoped) dark was beginning to close in on her. She felt as if something was sitting on her chest. A large book. Or cat, perhaps. Not enough to make her gasp for air or panic. Just enough to embed a constant awareness in the back of her mind of that unwelcome weight.

She was taking deep breaths, trying to calm herself, a humming buzz forming in her ears as she strained to hear things in the dark she knew were not there. Her primitive instinctual sense of self preservation (that had somehow refused to go the way of the appendix or vertebrae below the coccyx), however, was not convinced of her solitude in the blanketing dark.

Giving into instincts as old as time, Nell raised a fist to begin beating down the door when it slid open. A man with spiky blonde hair, glasses, Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sandals was standing there.

Eric smiled at her and then all of a sudden, his expression turned seriously grim.

"Nell," he said, his eyes wide with fear. "You have to get out of here."

That pressure on her chest increased to 'large cat', maybe 'small dog.'

"What about the power?" she asked. "We need to get the system back up."

"Don't worry about that," Eric said. "I'm headed to the basement."

Why the basement? The circuit breakers were on the first floor. As was their in-house server farm. She was about to protest as much but her fellow tech cut her off.

"Nell, you really need to get out of here. Now."

And then he was running away, his footsteps echoing down the dimly (but thankfully somewhat) lit hall. The meager light filtering in through sparse windows was like the sun on a bright summer day after the oppressive dark of ops.

Nell stepped into the hall, looking after the way Eric had disappeared, but there was no sign of the man. She looked the other way, and saw an attractive woman with a dark ponytail vanish around the corner.

"Kensi!"

Nell ran after the female agent, slowing her pace to round the corner and stopping altogether when she found no one there. Confused, Nell turned around, thinking perhaps she had run right by the woman. Kensi was an extremely good secret agent, after all.

Nothing but eerie light flickering through the window, shimmering off swaths of dust floating in the air.

Her primitive brain stirred again, and Nell slowly spun around, expecting to find herself face to face with a velociraptor or grotesque, drooling alien, their breath fluffing her hair and forming droplets of moisture on her face as they snorted and sniffed her in order to ascertain her potential consumability.

Instead, she saw Sam standing at the end of the corridor, large and intimidating, looking tense but smiling in that genial manner of his that belied the gruff exterior. He was beckoning for her to come to him.

And she was most decidedly amenable to obey.

Nell sprinted towards the big, burly agent, only to be stopped short as the door closed, trapping her in the hall with Sam on the other side. It was such an unexpected shock that she stumbled back a few steps.

Panicked, she looked to Sam on the other side of the safety glass window. He was shouting at her, but she couldn't hear his words. However, the sound of his message wasn't necessary. She could read the syllables clearly on his lips.

Get out, Nell. Run! Go!

The man was so insistent that she flee, that Nell turned on her heel and ran for all she was worth. It didn't help that the pressure on her chest was getting worse.

She ran and ran, down corridor after corridor, impossibly feeling like she was just going around and around. And yet that primitive brain urging didn't let her stop to evaluate her situation. Her legs seemed to work of their own accord, propelling her onward even as her thoughts became more confused and addled and her lungs began to burn.

Blood pounded in Nell's ears and she could swear she heard a voice in the distance. Finally, she willed her legs to obey, and she stopped straining to hear the voice. Only after a futile minute of listening with her eyes closed did she finally survey her surroundings to find that she was standing beside the staircase.

'Run, Nell! Get out of here!'

The words were clear now, but the voice sounded impossibly distant. Distant but familiar...

'Run!'

Panic pushed her towards the stairs, and she descended in a run, taking them two at a time, gaining so much speed she knew, just knew she'd hit the floor with such momentum to fall flat on her face. She closed her eyes, wincing in anticipation. This was going to hurt.

And then there was the sensation that she was falling, followed by the sensation of impact. But it wasn't the immutable solidness of floor. Undeniably solid, firm, and yet… yielding. Warm and... arms wrapped around her, and she buried her face in the front of the man's shirt. There was something familiar about the arms, the strength and warmth of the person who'd caught her.

Breathless, Nell pulled back slightly, and smiled. Agent Callen had caught her. She had finally found one of her agents. She hugged him tighter again. She was safe.

But the disembodied voice was still echoing around the vast, empty place.

'Get out of here, Nell! Run! Run... Run…'

Again, Nell looked around, trying to pinpoint the source, which wasn't all that easy considering Callen had yet to release her and she hadn't let go of him, either. The agent was like a security blanket to a small child, a flashlight in the dark.

Unease was growing in her once more. And that damnable pressure on her chest! And that voice... There was something so famil-

Nell started in Callen's arms, but he still did not release her.

Hetty was standing there, not five feet to Nell's left; a bizarre, stoic apparition. The old woman looked not through but into Nell. Slowly the oddly cold version of their little clan's matriarch shifted her gaze from Nell up to Callen's face. 'Hetty' said nothing, but telegraphed dissonance with such intensity that Nell's own eyes sought out Callen's face. There was nothing unusual until her eyes met his. They were not the blue she expected. They were as black as the oblivion that had swallowed her in the ops room.

This was not Agent Callen.

It was him.

Nell squirmed to free herself, but his hold on her only tightened, the pressure on her chest was an anvil, a freight train, a mountain.

'Get out of here, Nell! Run!' Deeks, for she now knew it was Deeks' voice, shouted at her, pleading, urging. 'Run!'

Nell awoke with a start, gasping for air, in the dark and all alone with the last thought from her nightmare echoing through her head.

Where's Deeks?


A/N: What's happened to Nell? Who's the terror haunting her dreams? Where's Deeks? Stay tuned…?

A/N 2: I'm not intimately familiar with the series (watched season one, about half of season two and the first episode of season three so far), so characterizations are probably off (not that I was going for 'in-character' with the dream sequence)…