A/N: Thank you all so much for your kind reviews. I was very nervous posting this story as I didn't know how it was going to be received, being a follow on from another author's story, although it was my take on the events. Here goes with the next chapter. I've done my best to get the medical terminology correct but please excuse any obvious mistakes. Please continue to read and review.
Gingerly getting out to the SUV, Sam went to greet the EM crew. "I'm a Federal Agent and my partner's down there seriously injured. My bosses are with him. Please hurry!. It don't know how long it's been since we were forced off the road but it was still light. He's got a gash on the side of his head so he's likely to have concussion at least. He's got a broken arm and chest injuries. He may have broken his shoulder as well. I'm not sure about internal injuries though he's wasn't showing any signs. He's got a bullet in his leg" pointing to his own leg to indicate the location "and he's lost a lot of blood. I've done my best to stablise him with what I had to hand. I've also tried to keep him awake but he's been slipping in and out of consciousness. He was in a bad way before. I don't know if he's gotten worse since I've been up here" implored Sam as he directed two paramedics down to where Hetty and Granger were waiting with Callen, whilst the driver attended to his injuries.
Sam briefly told the paramedic what happened. "You're lucky. You've got a concussion and broken ribs. You'll need to go to hospital to get checked over and they'll do x-rays and scans. They'll probably want to keep you in for observation" said the paramedic.
"I'm not leaving without my partner" said Sam defiantly.
"Don't worry, we're gonna wait for them to bring him up before we leave" assured the driver and Sam nodded in acceptance.
The driver tried to get Sam to stay seated in the back of the ambulance but he was too worried about his friend. Sam had patiently accepted the paramedic's examination and care of his lacerations but as soon as he was finished, Sam went and stood overlooking the embankment, anxiously looking for signs that Callen was being brought up.
It didn't take the other two paramedics long to get to the bottom of the hill. As they made their way over to the trio of federal agents, they glanced at the wreckage as they passed and exchanged a glance.
"Hello, I'm Todd and this is Chris. How's he doing?" asked the Senior Paramedic, introducing himself and his colleague.
"I'm Assistant Director Granger, NCIS. This is our Operations Manager, Henrietta Lange and he's Special Agent Callen. His partner, whom you met up by the road, treated his injuries as best he could. Miss Lange's cleaned and redressed his leg as it had started to bleed again but we've not moved him. We wrapped the rug around him and I tried to keep him warm. He's been unconscious since we got here but he's groaned when spoken to or touched."
"His pulse is weak and thready and he feels clammy so he may have a fever" added Hetty, wearily.
"Thanks. His partner gave us a break down on his injuries so let's have a look-see" said Todd moving closer and kneeling down beside Callen.
He took out his pen light, lifted Callen's eye lids one at a time and checked the pupillary light reflex, one simple test to indicate the healthy function of the two cranial nerves: the optic nerve and oculomotor nerve. He was pleased that both pupils constricted in response to the light, which indicated little or no brain damage. Further extensive tests at the hospital would have to be undertaken to ascertain whether there was in fact more serious damage. He then took a closer look at the laceration on the side of Callen's head, cleaned and applied a butterfly stitch before taking his stethoscope and listened to Callen's chest. At the same time, Chris applied a cuff to monitor Callen's blood pressure. He glanced up at his colleague once he had the readings "Todd, BP's low. We need to get him to hospital soon."
Todd nodded his understanding. "Get an IV set up. I've nearly finished assessing him and get Miguel to send the backboard and cradle down. We'll have to carry him up the embankment with the help of a winch."
Chris used the radio to contact his colleague waiting by the ambulance and told him what they required. Miguel responded shortly afterwards saying "Cradle's on its way. Let me know when you're ready to move."
When it had reached the bottom, Chris collected the lightweight cradle and carried it over to where Callen was lying and put it next to him in readiness to transfer him into it.
"Chris, pass me over the neck brace" said Todd. "I don't think he's damaged his neck or back as by all accounts he got out of the car by himself. It's just a precaution" he told Hetty and Granger who were watching anxiously. "You know he's got a concussion at least. Further tests at the hospital will confirm if the skull is fractured or not or if there's a bleed in the brain. He's definitely broken his collarbone and maybe his shoulder blade as well so I'm leaving the make-shift sling in place as it's doing a good job. I can't see any indication of a broken pelvis or that the bullet has broken the bone. Again x-rays will confirm this. I don't know what damage the bullet has done to the muscle, nerves or tendons or whether it's hit an artery so I don't intend to remove it. I'll leave that to the Doctors in ER where they're equipped to deal with any unforeseen occurance. He's got significant bruising to his chest and abdomen, some from the seat belt but others from the car rolling down the hill so it would indicate cracked ribs at least. However I'm not detecting any internal injuries at the moment. He's stable enough that we can move him and get him to hospital."
Hetty and Granger looked relieved and they uttered their thanks as they watched the two paramedics prepare to transfer Callen into the cradle. It was a little tricky as Callen was still sat upright with his back against the tree. With his right side taking the brunt of the injuries, the paramedics were wondering where they could touch him to cause the less pain and discomfort.
Todd turned to Granger. "Sir, we need your help. Take his legs here" indicating an area just above Callen's ankles "and on my count lift him onto the cradle. Ma'am, please come round to the other side of the cradle and hold it steady with one hand and with the other keep the IV from getting tangled when we lift him." Granger and Hetty did as they were instructed.
"Okay, on two. One, two, lift" said Todd as the three men lifted Callen into the cradle.
Callen cried out in pain although he was still unconscious and Hetty spoke soothingly to him in Russian. When he was in the cradle, she took his left hand in hers and gently rubbed her thumb in circles on the back of his hand, which calmed him. Todd gave Callen one last assessment while Chris strapped him in place. Standing either side of the cradle, the paramedics picked it up. Todd called Miguel on the radio "Okay, pull us up but keep it slow. The embankment's steep and very uneven. Stop immediately if one of us shouts."
"Understood. Here we go" said Miguel as he started the winch.
Hetty and Granger made their way up as well, anxiously watching Callen's still body being moved to the ambulance above. Sam was also watching the progress from above. He had been running on adrenaline and now he was feeling the full effects of the accident. He hoped he could stay on his feet until he was transferred to the hospital where he knew he could finally relax as they would both be in good hands.
Half way up Chris missed his footing in the dark and stumbled forward losing his grip on the cradle. Miguel reacted quickly to his yell and stopped the winch whilst Granger, who was close enough, lunged in to grab the cradle to keep it level, although it caused Callen to groan in discomfort.
"You Okay?" asked Todd and Granger in unison.
"Yeah, yeah I'm fine" answered Chris who was tentatively putting weight on his right foot, pleased that it held him. "Sorry about that. Thanks" he said to Granger as he resumed his position and they continued to make their slow progress up to the road. The rest of the ascent went without incident and they were greeted by Miguel and Sam. Sam helped steady the cradle whilst Todd and Chris climbed over the crest onto the side of the carriageway as Miguel stopped the winch. They gently laid the cradle on the ground as Miguel brought over the gurney.
Granger helped Hetty over the crest and came to greet Sam. Sam was looking down at his partner and was shocked to see how much paler he was than when he left him. His breathing was shallower as well so much so that his chest was hardly rising and falling. Seeing his concern and that he was about to collapse himself, Granger stepped over to Sam and took him by the arm to steady him. "Callen's going to be fine, Sam."
Surprised out of his thoughts, Sam looked at Granger and said "I hope so. I felt so helpless. Still do. Couldn't call for help as Callen's phone was destroyed by a bullet. Mine was lost. I couldn't get to the first aid kit but it was completely destroyed anyway." Sam shook his head sadly.
"You did a good job patching him up. You knew we'd be searching for you, Mr Hanna" added Hetty, trying to give her agent reassurance that she did not feel.
"I know but I couldn't rely on it. G's life was at stake. As it is I left it too long before moving but I didn't want to leave him alone. SEAL training drills it into you so that it's second nature. Stick together, you're safer in pairs. Don't leave anyone behind. But he was right, I had to leave him if he was to survive. Even though he was seriously hurt he was still thinking clearer than I was."
"But you're hurt as well, Sam" said Granger.
"Yeah but not as bad as G. He took the brunt of the gun fire and the crash. He was lucky not to be killed. When I came to and looked at him, I thought he was dead. He was so still and quiet. And at first I couldn't see him breathing. That scared the hell out of me but he groaned and told me to stop shouting as his head hurt."
Hetty and Granger chuckled and Sam continued. "I'll get him back for scaring me like that and getting himself hurt. And do you know how sanctimonious he can be when he's proven right!" Sam said indignantly.
Hetty shook her head and smiled at the black gallows humour agents, commonly the men, used to alleviate a dangerous situation or make light of a life threatening experience.
"It's alright now, Sam" said Hetty gently taking his hand. "He's going to be fine, as are you. Now I think the paramedics are ready to leave. You'd better go with them" she added. Seeing Sam hesitate and start to protest, she continued "Thank you, Sam, for your consideration. Whist I'd love to be with Mr Callen, you're the one who needs to go with them and get your injuries seen to. We'll meet you at the hospital. Now, go!"
Sam hugged Hetty and shook Granger's hand in thanks before wearily climbing into the ambulance. Granger and Hetty had a glimpse Sam sitting next to Callen and taking his left hand in his before Miguel slammed the rear doors. He told them which hospital they were going to and climbed into the driver's seat and sped away, lights flashing.