A/N: This one hit me this morning. I've been wondering for a while what might have happened after Nell's first kill. I know she took some time to recover but this is just about that very first night. And some of her awesome guys looking out for her. Love to know what you think. Reviews appreciated.

Disclaimer: NCIS LA characters etc, not mine. Just playing with them and thank those that do for letting us.

Summary:

The first kill is never easy - neither is worrying about the one who did it. Callen's worried about Nell. He planned to just sit in his car, watch and be there if she needed him. He wasn't expecting the night to go the way it did. Tag to Praesidium. S6E3


The first kill is never easy

Late that night:

Callen was sucking on a tootsie pop, his eyes locked on the window of the second floor apartment across the street. A knock on the passenger's side window grabbed his attention away from it and the hand that held his gun brought it up and aimed almost before his head had turned. The face through the window was familiar and he flicked the lock. Sam slipped in beside him.

"What you up to G?" Sam asked.

"Refining my stakeout skills. You?"

Sam's lips twitched. "Nice night for a run."

Callen raised an eyebrow and looked Sam over. "In jeans and a leather jacket?"

"Perhaps I'm also refining my skills," Sam said, "working on my stamina for when we chase the bad guys. Bet you can't run ten miles in jeans."

"Why the hell would I want to run ten miles in jeans chasing a suspect? That's what the car's for."

Sam looked up at the window. "What the deal?"

"Not sure," Callen glanced back at the window. "Eric's still there. There's occasional movement. Don't think she's sleeping."

"You think she'll let Eric stay?"

Callen shrugged. "Don't know. I think she'll be scared and not want to be alone, but I don't think she'll want to worry him."

"Got another one of those things?" Sam asked. Callen pointed to the glove compartment.

"Help yourself but no origami tonight."

The two men settled in and watched the window. About half an hour later they noticed the front door of the apartment building open.

"Eric," Sam said and both slunk down in their seats. They watched Eric walk down the footpath and stop at the end. He looked up at the window, shook his head and turned to go back inside. Except he stopped after a few steps and turned around again before he headed to his car.

It took five minutes before Eric finally drove off.

"Poor kid," Sam said.

"He'll be fine," Callen said. "The question is, will she?"

The light in the second floor window remained on. After a few more minutes Callen shook his head.

"This isn't right. She shouldn't be alone." He grabbed his phone and gun and his hand was on the door.

"G, she knows she can call any of us."

"Sam it's her first kill."

"I know. But we're here. If she calls, we're just a minute from her."

Callen shook her head. "No. Can't do it." He opened the door and got out.

"G, what are you going to do? It's late, knocking on her door will probably scare her."

Callen thought about that for a moment. "I'll sit in the hallway outside her door."

"Better hope the neighbours don't call the cops."

"So what if they do. Anyway, there's no other lights on. Everyone else is asleep."

"G -,"

"Sam. I'm doing this. You can stay here in the car, come with me or you can go for the run you told me about."

Sam studied his partner. "I'll stay here. We'll tag in a couple of hours."

"Fair enough."

Callen walked up the path and through the front entrance door. He made a mental note to talk to Hetty about finding a way to make sure that entry door was more secure. Once he got to Nell's door, he settled himself on the floor and tuned in to listen for any sounds that came from inside her apartment.

He'd been sitting there for about half an hour when he heard her scream and then something crashed and shattered.

He was one his feet, the adrenaline rushing through his body meant that he barely recognised the stiffness in his muscles. He slammed into the door, shoulder first busting it open, gun already drawn.

"Nell!"

Nell was standing in the middle of her lounge room, staring at him.

"What are you doing?" she asked, shock and disbelief clear in her question

Her gaze went from him to her door, now barely hanging onto it's hinges.

"Are you all right?" Callen asked, his eyes flicked around the room.

"You broke my door."

Footsteps came thundering down the hallway and then Sam came through the door, gun drawn.

"G."

"Oh my god!" Nell yelled. "What is wrong with you two?"

"I heard a scream," Callen said as he slowly lowered his weapon.

"Me too," Sam said.

"And a crash. I thought …" Callen trailed off. It was obvious she wasn't in any danger from anyone.

"You thought what?" she asked in an exasperated tone. "I was being attacked?"

"Yes," Callen said slowly. Actually he'd hadn't thought he'd just reacted.

"You were watching me?"

"Not you, your apartment," Callen explained.

"So you saw Eric leave?"

Both men nodded.

"And you do remember how many locks I have on my door?"

Callen looked at her door. Three, now broken locks. Yes he knew because he'd helped Sam put them on a couple of months ago when she'd moved in.

"Did you think I wouldn't put them on after Eric left?"

"Of course you would," Sam said.

"And do you think Eric would've calmly left if there was anyone here dangerous?"

"No. I guess not," Callen said. He absently rubbed his shoulder.

Nell frowned. "Where exactly were you?"

"In the car," Sam replied quickly.

Nell looked at Callen and held his gaze as she waited for his answer.

"Outside your door," he admitted.

"You were just about to knock?"

Callen shook his head.

"How long were you sitting there?"

Callen glanced at Sam. Sam raised his eyebrows and shook his head. Yeah, no point lying to her. Hetty had taught her well.

"About half an hour," Callen admitted. "Nell, what happened?" he asked with a glance at the broken vase on the floor near the wall.

Nell looked away.

"Nell?" Sam prompted.

She looked back at them closed her eyes and sighed. "It was a spider. I…" She opened her eyes.

"You threw a vase at a spider?" Callen asked.

"Was it a big one?" Sam asked. Callen knew Sam was having as hard a time keeping a straight face as he was. The relief that she wasn't in danger made this seem rather funny, possibly more than it should.

"No," she said quietly.

Callen could tell there was a great deal of reluctance to that admission.

Sam stepped over to where the broken shards remained and bent down. There was a small thump and he stood back up.

"All gone."

Callen bit the inside of his lip. Then cleared his throat. "So let me get this straight," he started. Nell turned and looked at him as he continued.

"You can face the bad guys, take them down without a scream. But a spider?"

Nell glared at him and he smiled. There was no point not to. She'd see it in his eyes that he was finding this funny.

"It's not funny," she protested.

Callen glanced at Sam and then they looked back at Nell. "Yeah it is," they said together.

Nell rolled her eyes but eventually she smiled.

"Fine, just a little bit," she said. "But come on. Did you really have to break down my door? Why didn't you just knock or call out?"

"I…" Callen sighed. "Okay I was worried. You do have a pretty loud scream for such a little thing."

Nell shook her head. "Sit," she said to Callen and pointed to the couch. She walked over to her kitchen and got out an icepack from the freezer. She returned to Callen and put it down, a touch hard on the shoulder that he'd crashed through the door with.

"Ow!" Callen hadn't realised he'd hurt it that bad. He'd been too worried about her. "Really? That's the thanks I get for coming to your rescue."

"Be grateful I'm not making you fix my door."

Sam laughed and Nell turned that gaze on him that they were sure she'd learned from Hetty.

Sam's laughter stopped abruptly.

"You," Nell said, pointing her finger at Sam. "You will fix my door. There's a hardware store two blocks over. I know the owners. They'll open up for you to get what you need."

"But I didn't break it," Sam protested. "G did."

"You expect him to fix my door with a busted shoulder?"

Sam's eyes narrowed at Callen. It didn't help that Callen was still finding this highly amusing and had his hand over his mouth in an attempt to not laugh.

"It's not busted," Sam glared, "… yet."

"Sam," Nell said as she walked over to him, her phone in her hands. "The details are on your phone. Can you please go and get what is needed to fix my door? If you two were worried before how will you feel if I have to sleep with no door to stop anyone coming in?"

Callen grinned and Sam shook his head at Callen.

Sam walked out the door grumbling about partners who get themselves into messes that he always has to fix.

Nell turned back to Callen. "Now you."

"Hey," Callen said, "Busted shoulder remember."

Nell sat down close next to him on the side he wasn't hurting.

"Thank you," she said softly.

Callen put his other arm up on the back of the couch. She shifted into him and he let his arm drop around her shoulders. "For?"

"Being you and being here. You and Sam."

"Nell," Callen said. She looked up at him and he continued. "We've both been there, that first kill. It wasn't easy and I dare say it's harder for you then it was for us, but we're here. You can talk to us. Just ask. We're here to help you."

"It's not easy asking for help," she admitted.

"I know."

Nell settled her head back down on his shoulder.

"I'm so tired," she said. "But I can't sleep. I keep seeing his face."

"You're safe Nell. Sam and I'll stay if you want."

"You can't go until my door's fixed," Nell said her voice getting softer with each word.

"Lucky your couch is comfortable," Callen said quietly.

"Spare blankets in the hall," she murmured. Her head rolled a little further into his shoulder..

"Noted."

Callen felt her body relax into his, her breathing even out and he smiled. This was nowhere near over for her but at least they'd made her feel safe for tonight.