Escape From the Bottom of the Hill
Summary: This story is inspired by Windimere Wellen's story "At the Bottom of the Hill". It's my vision as to how they escaped from the embankment after the car crash.
A/N: I've tried to contact Windimere Wellen for their approval without success but hope they will enjoy what I have done if they still read NCIS LA FanFiction. I am not claiming "At the Bottom of the Hill" as mine in any shape or form nor am I taking any credit for their original story, which was awesome. I have no intention of finishing the back story of the case the team were working on at the time of the crash. That is Windimere Wellen's story to tell.
Disclaimer: NCIS LA and its characters are owned by CBS, Shane Brennan and the various writers. Thank you for bringing them to life and allowing us to have fun with them. Thanks too goes to Windimere Wellen was writing the incredible story At the Bottom of the Hill.
Sam started climbing the steep embankment to the road. The injuries sustained in the crash hampered his progress so his ascent was slow. Half way up he stopped to catch his breath and he looked back at Callen, whom he had left at the bottom of hill, sitting with his back to a tree. It was getting dark but he could clearly see Callen's head was slumped to one side and Sam suspected he had passed out again.
It had been over four hours since the occupants in the other car had fired at them, blowing the front tyre causing the Challenger to veer across both carriageways and down the embankment. Sam had received head and chest injuries, but Callen had fared far worse. He had a bullet in his leg, a broken right arm, a concussion and bruised if not cracked or broken ribs, not to mention numerous lacerations and contusions. Sam wanted to rush back down to him but he knew that Callen had been correct in saying that unless they got help soon, he wouldn't survive much longer. Sam knew that he needed medical attention as well but Callen needed it desperately. All that Sam could do was shout at Callen hoping to wake him up. He was rewarded by Callen raising his good arm in acknowledgement. Satisfied Sam, barely rested, continued to move slowly up the embankment.
Meanwhile back in Ops, Nell had just put the phone down after speaking to the impound yard outside of LA where Callen and Sam were supposed to be, investigating identical Ford Fusions that NCIS believed had been used to smuggle guns and sensitive information out of local Naval bases. Hetty was waiting impatiently, "Well, Miss Jones?"
"They haven't had any visitors at all today and certainly haven't seen Callen or Sam" answered Nell, trying not sound as worried as Hetty and Eric looked.
"They should have been there hours ago" said Hetty, with a hint of worry in her voice. "And there's been no report of any traffic problems on the routes there?"
"No, nothing" said Eric "There's no answer from their cell phones. Both go straight to voicemail."
"What about GPS, on their phones or the car?" asked Hetty.
"I've checked. No signal, nothing. I can't turn them on either, which would suggest they've either been removed – unlikely – or they're damaged."
Assistant Director Owen Granger walked into Ops at that moment and overhead the conversation. "Still no word from Agents Callen or Hanna?"
"No" said Hetty. "I'm worried. Whilst Mr Callen is prone to go lone wolf, he's unlikely to do so when Sam is around. But this visit was routine, nothing pressing. No, I fear something is wrong. Is there any sign of the Challenger, Mr Beale?"
"I'm running it through Kaleidoscope but no hits yet. I'm also checking traffic cams on all routes starting from the time they left; also nothing" he said.
"Wait a minute, Eric, go back" said Nell urgently. Answering Eric's unspoken query, she added "Traffic Cam one – isn't that Sam's Challenger?"
Eric high fived Nell as he confirmed it was indeed Sam's Challenger. "Now we know what route they took, we can access each camera in turn to see what happened."
They watched for 10 minutes before Granger said, "Can we fast forward or something, this will take ages?"
"I can access the traffic cam at the junction where they'd exit roughly about the time they should have gotten there by estimating what speed Sam was doing. If there's no sign then we'll have to back track until we spot them again and hope that if something happened it's where there's a camera" explained Eric.
It was slow progress but with Nell and Eric reviewing two different cameras at the same time they were able to work faster. Finally Eric said, "I've got them again. And look, there's another car tailing them. Even when Sam slowed down, they did too. It's virtually an empty road, there's no reason to do that."
"Unless they're up to no good" said Granger. They kept watching the feeds, swapping to new cameras when necessary. They watched in horror as the other vehicle suddenly sped up to draw alongside Sam's car on the inside and started firing and saw the Challenger lose control and veer violently across both carriageways to disappear down the embankment.
"Oh my god!" exclaimed Eric. Nell gasped and Hetty stifled her cry by putting her hand over her mouth. Granger alone remained silent but his face spoke volumes.
"Have there been any reports of an accident?" asked Granger, spurring Nell and Eric into action.
"No, nothing" said Eric "Not on traffic, police or emergency networks."
Nell was extremely worried about Callen and Sam but she was an Analyst and the logical side of her nature took over. "That would explain why they've haven't contacted us and why the GPS is not working; the phones were lost or damaged in the crash as would be car's GPS."
Hetty shot Nell a look but Nell held her nerve. "Hetty, I'm just saying… I'm worried about them as well. Shall I call it in?"
"Yes but I'm going out there" answered Hetty.
Granger knew better than to try and dissuade her. He knew how protective Hetty was of any agent under her care so she would be concerned about Sam but Callen was a different matter; they had known each other a long time. Their relationship was complicated but Hetty thought of him as a son and to Callen she was not just his boss and mentor but also a mother figure.
"Alright, Henrietta, I know I won't change your mind but I'm going with you. As Agent Blye and Detective Deeks aren't available, on your own you may not be in position to help Callen and Sam."
As Kensi and Deeks were undercover working on another aspect of the case, Hetty knew what Granger said made sense, but she didn't have to like it. Hetty grumbled but reluctantly agreed. Getting a SUV from the pool, Granger drove the route that Sam had taken earlier that day. It was dark now and he needed the lights. Back in Ops Nell and Eric tracked their progress and communicated with them via their ear pieces, rather than phone, guiding them to the place where the Challenger had encountered the other vehicle.
By the time Sam reached the top of the embankment, it was dark and he cursed himself for not bringing the Maglite with him but he also knew that Callen needed it. He looked about him and as he suspected this side of the highway showed very little signs of the crash. He wondered if there was anything visible on the opposite carriageway. Sam looked in both directions – the highway was deserted. He cursed himself for waiting too long before taking the decision to climb the embankment. The delay may cost his NCIS partner and friend his life. He didn't regret the decision to get Callen out of the car – it was a necessity in case the car moved further or caught fire though that was not likely as the tank didn't appear to be ruptured. Callen's body would be going into shock by now and although it wasn't particularly cold, wearing only jeans and a T-shirt, he could be showing signs of hyperthermia. Sam felt helpless and knew his thought process and reactions were hampered by his own injuries.
Sam's spirits were lifted when he saw headlights coming towards him. He reached in his pocket and withdrew his NCIS credentials. He stood in the inside lane and waved his hands over his head, to flag them down. Sam cursed as the car changed lanes and sounded its horn as it sped past him. In reality Sam couldn't blame the driver. It could well have been a car-jacking attempt by a big black man who probably looked the worse for wear because of his injuries. However he knew that Callen's life as well as his own depended on someone stopping. Sam was confident that back in Ops Hetty and the wonder twins would be frantically trying to find them but he couldn't rely on them.
When more vehicles drove past and ignored his attempts to stop them, Sam knew he would have to take drastic action. When the next car approached he stood in its path, but this time he pointed his gun at them, thankful that he had the foresight to remove his gun from glove compartment when he had handed Callen his gun. He knew the car might run him down but perhaps the thought of being shot at would mean they would stop. To his relief, the car slowed, stopping front of him.
"Federal Agent" shouted Sam showing the driver his credentials whilst he covered them with his gun. Slowly the driver's door opened and a man got out.
"I wouldn't advise it, Agent Hanna" uttered Granger "Not if you want our help."
Sam lowered his gun and pocketed his badge smiling in relief as he recognised Granger's voice and saw Hetty get out of the passenger's seat.
"Mr Hanna, are you alright? Where's Mr Callen" asked Hetty frantically looking around for Callen.
"I've been better, but Callen's in a bad way. He's still down there" pointing to the bottom of the embankment. "Is help on its way?" he asked urgently as he went on to describe Callen's injuries.
"Yes, we put in a call when we saw what happened on the traffic cameras. Owen and I came straight out to see if we could help."
"Miss Jones, is there an ETA on the EMs" asked Granger via comms.
"Yes, they should be with you any time now" answered Nell.
"Henrietta, stay here and wait with Sam for the EMs. I'll go down & see if I can do anything for Callen" said Granger.
"The hell I will" countered Hetty angrily. "I want to be with my boy."
Sam was protesting too but Granger said "Alright, Henrietta, you win but Sam, you're in no state to go back down there and back up again. You're hurt and exhausted. Wait in the car for the EMs" and seeing that Sam was about to resist, Granger added "And that's an order."
Whilst Sam would move heaven and earth to help Callen, he knew Granger was right. He wasn't well enough nor did he have the energy to climb down the embankment, let alone back up again. As much as he hated to admit it, he would be a hindrance. Hetty had already started down the bank with her bag of tricks using a torch to guide her way. Just as Granger turned to follow her, Sam said "Granger, take this" throwing the car rug from the back seat to him "I think Callen will need it". Granger caught it and nodded his thanks, leaving Sam alone in the SUV anxiously awaiting the arrival of the EMs.
Hetty reached the bottom of the embankment and stared in horror at the state of the Challenger. Looking to her right she saw Callen slumped against the tree and she hurried over to him. Gently touching his neck she felt for a pulse, and was relieved to find one although it was very weak. She was concerned how cold he felt but was relieved to hear a soft moan when she spoke his name. She was assessing his injuries when Granger joined her.
"How is he, Henrietta?" he asked. "Sam gave me this," handing her the rug.
"Not good, Owen. Not good at all. We got here just in time, much longer and we may well have been too late. We should be able to keep him alive until the EMs arrive. That's good, the rug will help raise his core temperature" she added as she wrapped it round Callen with Granger's help. Hetty gently raised Callen's closed eyelids to check for pupil reaction to light. "He's got a concussion at least. Hopefully it's not a fractured skull. Sam did a good job with his arm and his leg considering he had next to nothing to work with. The wound has started bleeding again so I'll have to change the dressing and hope he hasn't picked up blood poisoning from the T-shirt he used. I told Mr Callen ages ago to destroy the filthy thing."
Granger chuckled to himself and watched as Hetty cut away the make shift bandage from Callen's leg. She gently lifted his jeans away from the wound and dampened the cloth where it was stuck to the skin to enable her to cut away the denim and expose the wound. Hetty decided she wasn't going to risk removing the bullet so she just irrigated the wound with saline and cleaned it as best she could before sprinkling an antibiotic powder under the gauze dressing and applying a new bandage. Granger sat next to Callen and cradled his body in attempt to transfer some body heat to his Senior Agent. Hetty was touched by the gesture as Granger was not known for caring and he and Callen did not exactly see eye to eye. Hetty gently touched Callen's neck to check his pulse as well as to see whether he was any warmer.
"Good. His pulse is still weak but he feels a little warmer" she said. Touching his forehead with the back of her hand when she noticed beads of sweat on his brow, she said "Bugger. He feels clammy. He may have a fever which suggests he's got an infection. Where is that EM?"
Back in the SUV, Sam was wondering the same thing. He had found an earwig in the glove compartment and inserted it into his ear and activated the comms. "Nell, Eric. Where the hell is that EM?"
"We've just checked and they are en route" responded Nell. "How are you both?" she asked.
"I've been better, but G's in a bad way. I had to leave him so I don't know if he's deteriorated since I got up to the road. Hetty and Granger are with him. I wouldn't have made it back down. I wish they'd hurry up " said Sam in frustration "What's keeping them?" Just then he saw flashing red and blue lights in the mirror as the EM pulled up behind the stationary vehicle. "They're here. I'll keep you posted" and he cut the comms.