A Glass Half Full

He'd always considered himself to be a "glass half full" kind of guy. He didn't look like it on the surface, maybe, and his history and comments would seem to totally contradict it, but he did tend to think of the positive outcome more often than the negative. Even if the cases they worked showed off the dark side of people, he always went into them believing that they would solve the problem and find the bad guys.

Because they were the good guys – the glass half full guys.

Which is why it was kind of ironic that the choice he faced was either a bullet or half a glass of water laced with cyanide. So yeah … in this case … maybe glass half empty.

At any rate, it was the best option of the two he was given since it gave him the possibility of staying alive.

IF they didn't frisk him and find the syringe.

IF they put him somewhere by himself and didn't have someone sit there to verify he died.

IF they didn't decide to shoot him anyway, just to be sure.

IF Sam got there in time to get him to a hospital after the HydroxyoC bought him some time.

That was a lot of "ifs".

But, well … you go with your gut, as Gibbs always used to say, and drinking the water was the best option.

It burned a little, going down. Gritty. Like drinking fiber powder in your orange juice. There was a strange aftertaste that left him wanting to throw up, which he wouldn't have minded. But then the guys would be worried that it didn't 'take' and they'd have shot him. So he just did his best to look appropriately angry and beaten down so that they'd take him and put him wherever they'd planned on putting him. The storage room was a welcome sight, since it appeared he'd be locked in and alone.

Glass half full.

The second G hit the floor, he started coughing. Partly for effect – so that his little band of new friends would think that the end was near – and partly because the stuff just tasted vile. He coughed up what he could and sat for a few seconds, waiting to be sure that no one was coming back. He heard them leave – all pronouncements and bravado, believing that they were saving the world.

Callen could feel the cyanide starting to hit his system, and he knew he wouldn't have long to administer the antidote before he'd be either too shaky or too weak to do it right.

He pulled off his jacket and worked his way into the secret pocket that Hetty had sewn into the back. God, it was a huge syringe!

"Really?" he said, to no one. "This looks like something out of Young Frankenstein."

He hated needles. You'd think he'd have gotten past it by now, considering the number of antidotes and vaccines he'd given himself over the years, but he still hated them. And this one reminded him of the shots he used to give animals during the months he was undercover in a vet's office.

He was back to glass half empty.

"It couldn't just be a pill," he said with a sigh as he rolled up his sleeve and checked for a vein. He had good veins. A nurse had told him that once. A male nurse. He wasn't sure if it was meant as a compliment.

G positioned the needle carefully and sent it through the skin, slowly dispensing theHydroxyoC into his bloodstream.

Hetty's voice came back to him. "It must be administered at a slow and even pace," she'd said. "Too much at one time and it will harm you more than the cyanide."

You had to love an antidote that had the potential to kill you.

Still half empty, that glass.

His hand shook a bit as he gave the plunger a final push. The tremor pulled the needle out roughly, leaving a trickle of blood down his arm. He could feel that tingle that you feel when you've introduced something new into your system. That kind of rush of heat as your immune system decides whether the new stuff you've put in is to be accepted or fought. He was rooting for the HydroxyoC.

Callen let his head fall back onto the shelf behind him, closing his eyes for just a second as the drugs did their job.

Hetty again. "This is not an antidote, Mr. Callen," she'd said sternly. "It is a temporary fix. It will dramatically slow the movement of the cyanide into your system, but it must be followed up with additional treatment. We will have a medic and an ER standing by."

Callen had nodded then, and looked at Sam.

"If I manage to get this needle into my arm and you don't get there in time to drag me to the ER for part two, I will haunt you forever," he'd told his partner with a slight smirk.

"Just do your part, and I'll do mine," Sam had said. Following it with a serious tone and a no-nonsense look. "I'll be right behind you."

As Callen sat, trying to keep his breathing steady and hoping to will the fever from climbing too quickly, he recalled the conversation and started to wonder just how far behind him Sam actually was.

"Come on, buddy," he said out loud. "Do not leave me half empty here …"

Seconds ticked away, and Callen got a little anxious. He tried getting up off the floor, just in case he ended up having to get himself to the ER. But the cyanide and HydroxyoC had sapped his energy and his strength. He'd barely gotten a foot underneath himself when his arm gave out and he tumbled back to a sitting position. He was just about to try again when he heard movement outside, followed almost instantly by Sam's big ol' size 14 foot bursting through the door, splintering it and the door jamb.

Callen looked up at Sam, standing there taking in the scene.

"What the hell took you so long?"

And, suddenly, the glass was half full again.

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