As always, your comments and dedication to reading our story means so much. Can't tell you how much we appreciate it. We both hope that all of you and your families are staying safe and well during these difficult times. Thanks so much for reading.

xxxxx

As promised, bright and early the following morning, Hetty was back at the hospital, making her rounds. First, going to check on Mr. Deeks as his situation seemed to be the most delicate at the time, but smiling to herself when she found the detective and his wife cramped together on the same bed. The rolling one the hospital staff had brought was empty at their side.

Somehow Kensi had managed to climb into the small hospital bed with her partner, and even more surprising is how she was able to sleep hugging the man without disturbing any of the many wires or tubes attached to him. To Hetty's sadness, she realized Kensi and Deeks both, most likely had ample experience in sharing hospital beds, something she really wished wasn't the case.

Quietly exiting the room, Hetty thought that maybe she should track down Mr. Deeks' doctor, and prepare him for the sight, given medical professionals didn't like their rooms to be broken into and their healing patients disturbed. But if the smile that graced Deeks' lips was any indication, the proximity to Kensi was doing much more healing than any medicine could. And with that thought in mind, Hetty closed the door and walked down the hall, towards the nurse's station. She was confident soon, Mr. Deeks would wake and her team could begin to heal as one.

xxxxx

After talking to Mr. Deeks' doctor and being assured, more than once, that he was still doing as well as can be expected, Hetty took the elevator down, intent on tracking the rest of her boys.

Reaching Callen and Sam's room, Hetty took a moment to school her features. She was worried because her detective hadn't still regained consciousness, but his doctor had said it could take some time, and the only worrisome thing right down would be any kind of setback, and luckily they hadn't had any of those. Mr. Deeks' body and mind, apparently, just needed some time.

Opening the door, Hetty was surprised to find Sam's bed empty and her boy wide awake on the other bed in the room. "Mr. Callen, it's so good to see you awake. How are you feeling this morning?"

"Hetty." Callen said simply, a smile showing how happy he was to see her. "I'm doing okay. Just hoping to be released soon."

"Now, now Mr. Callen, your partner told me about the ordeal you went through... and the chance of still developing pneumonia..."

"Slight chance." Callen corrected, successfully cutting Hetty's reproach short.

"A chance is still a chance. For now, the better place for you is here. At least until you finish all your rounds of antibiotics and the doctors can be certain your condition won't worsen." Hetty finished, as if no interruption had even occurred.

"I see Sam told you everything. The big guy can't keep anything to himself." Callen pouted, at that moment looking like the little boy Hetty had practically adopted, and not the fine federal agent he had become.

"Your partner worries about you, Mr. Callen. Among many losses in his life, what happened to Michelle... and his son and daughter leaving for school, you remain one of the few constants in his life and he can't afford to lose you. None of us can."

"I know, Hetty. I'm sorry."

"No need to be sorry, just do as your doctors say. But speaking of which, where is Mr. Hanna?" Hetty questioned, surprised to find Callen was alone in their room.

"Doctor took him for some final tests before they release him. He should be good to go in a couple of hours. As far as I know, he just needs to wear crutches to avoid putting too much weight on his leg, but he should be all fixed up in no more than three weeks. Which, knowing the big guy, will be more like one and a half." Callen finished his explanation with a chuckle.

"I will make sure he stays off his leg for the required time. And that for once you all do as your doctors say." Hetty gently admonished, remembering how Sam's stubbornness during the Mexico mission made a simple injury a lot worse than it needed to be.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Callen shrugged, trying to look like a little angel, but the smirk on his face betrayed his intentions as he very well knew what Hetty was talking about.

"I'm sure you don't, Mr. Callen." Hetty softly padded Callen's leg, needing a physical reminder that her boy was really okay. "Now, how's your partner doing?"

Callen raised a brow, wondering if Hetty was suddenly forgetting things because he had just explained Sam would be as good as new in just a few weeks.

"And I'm not talking about his physical well-being." Hetty added almost as an afterthought.

Ah-ha, and that was a way more complicated manner, Callen thought, remembering their conversation the previous day. "He's doing okay... I think. Still having some trouble letting go of some unfounded guilt."

"I see." Hetty said simply, thinking she hadn't made as much progress as she thought with her words the previous night.

"I think he'll feel a lot better once Deeks is out of danger." Callen added. "Which reminds me, enough talk about us. How's he doing?"

"As well as can be expected." Hetty said gently, relaying the doctor's explanation, making sure to also share his confidence that their detective would in fact wake up. She wished she could say Deeks was finally awake, but that was the best she could offer at the time, and hopefully soon, she would be able to share that desired update.

"So, nothing has changed." Callen said dejectedly, also having hoped for better news.

"And that is good news." Hetty reminded, having practically read Callen's mind. "A setback would be more worrisome now, and he's holding strong and still stable. He also has some good meds working its magic." Hetty finished with a conspiratorial smile.

Seeing Callen's confusion, she moved forward and showed him a picture she had taken minutes ago before leaving their room.

"They really make a good couple." Callen mused. "Who would have thought that when Deeks first joined the team."

"A lot has changed since that time. But you have to agree, there was always a spark between those two. I'm just glad they acted on it." Hetty admitted, happy their agent and detective had defied the odds, managing to find each other in a career that usually took more people than it added to one's life.

"I just hope we don't go back to that time." Callen whispered, betraying his own worry about Sam and Deeks.

"So, you're worried, too." Hetty nodded to herself.

"Yeah, maybe a little. Deeks didn't seem to blame him when we were still in the mountains, but that was also before he had been diagnosed with another TBI." Callen wondered out loud.

"If there's one thing I know about Mr. Deeks is that he's not really a resentful or vengeful man. At least not against those that mean his family and friends no harm. And we all know Sam didn't intend for anyone to get hurt." Hetty explained, for her's and Callen's benefit.

"Yeah... he also chose to save us after Sam had safely left him hidden." Callen said, choosing the time to continue filling Hetty in what had happened at the cabin when Eric left. "And no one knows, but Sam was trying to make this a good trip for everyone. Maybe he shouldn't have insisted we go camping when it was obvious Eric and Deeks didn't love the idea. But it was fun... before everything happened. And I think they enjoyed it too."

"I'm sure they did, Mr. Callen." Hetty agreed, remembering the pictures she had seen on Eric's tablet.

"And the final plan would have been even better." Callen finished sadly, paying no attention to Hetty's comment at all.

"Care to share?" Hetty inquired, her interest piqued, especially if this proved to be an ideal she could use to bring her team back together.

"Sam had booked us a weekend at Reno. To go to the casinos. He would have chosen Vegas but..."

"Mr. Beale is banned in Vegas." Hetty finished knowingly, an idea already forming on her mind.

"Yeah." Callen finished softly, hoping this disaster hadn't happened and they could have seen Sam's plan to the end.

"We can share that with Eric and Deeks in due time. I'm sure they'll appreciate the intentions." Hetty offered, not wanting to reveal her own plan.

"Thanks, Hetty."

And neither Callen or Hetty knew exactly what he was thankful for. Maybe it was the confidence in her voice when she said they would tell Deeks in due time and her certainly that he wouldn't harbor any ill feelings towards Sam. Maybe it was just for coming to visit and help take his mind off things. Or maybe it simply was for everything she had ever done for him... for them. Nonetheless, Hetty smiled and patted Callen's leg one more time, before again promising to be back later and exiting the room.

Now she needed to find her Wonder Twins, so she could learn the final piece of the puzzle of what had happened when Eric left the cabin and when he returned with Nell and Kensi. So then Hetty could finish plotting her makeup plan.

xxxxx

He felt like he was coming out of a dense fog, or trying to fight his way up through something heavy that was holding him down, keeping his head full of some heavy, unknown substance. His facial features contorted and he groaned so softly it was barely perceptible. Many wouldn't have even noticed, the changes were so small, but Kensi noticed. "Deeks? Honey, can you hear me?"

"Mmmm…"

"Deeks? Come on baby, if you can hear me, can you try to open those beautiful baby blues for me? Please…"

"Bears…"

"Honey, it's me, Kensi, your wife. Can you open your eyes for me, please?" She was beginning to feel a little bit desperate as she stared at him pleadingly. "Deeks?"

"Kens?"

"Yes, yes, baby. It's me," Kensi said excitedly, her eyes lighting up with joy as she pressed the call button for the nurse. "Can you open your eyes for me? Please?"

Wanting to do whatever he could to make her happy, Deeks opened his eyes slightly but then squeezed them shut again. "Bright," he murmured.

"I'm sorry," Kensi said. She quickly dimmed the light in the room with the remote control on the bed. "It's better now, sweetheart. Can you try again, please?"

"Kens…" Deeks managed to open his eyes and looked at her in confusion. "Kensi? Where are we? He groaned again, his face filled with pain. "My head hurts…"

"I know it does, sweetie. The doctor will be here soon."

"Doctor? Am I in the hospital?"

"Yes, you're in the hospital, but you're going to be just fine," Kensi assured him. "I'm just so happy you're awake."

"Are we in Mexico?"

"Mexico?" Kensi asked worriedly. "No, we're in California. You were camping, remember? With Sam, Callen and Eric."

"Camping? I don't like camping. Boy scouts do though."

Kensi's eyes immediately filled with guilt. She wished she had never pressed him to go on this godforsaken camping trip. There were so many other things they could have done, fun things. Deeks would have liked surfing. Why didn't they take him surfing someplace? Why did it have to be camping? Camping was Sam's thing. He should have thought of Deeks first. "I know you don't...don't worry, you're never going to have to go camping again."

"Who went camping?" he asked, struggling to keep his eyes open but failing and allowing them to close. "Did they have a tent?"

Just then, the doctor came into the room and proceeded to perform a thorough examination as Kensi watched anxiously. "Well, he's definitely doing better," the doctor said, smiling at Kensi after he finished.

"He's really confused," Kensi explained. "His memory seems really off right now. I don't think he remembers what happened."\

"That's not unusual," the doctor said. "He's still very groggy and in a fair amount of pain. I'm going to order something for that. Brain injuries are tricky. You never really know exactly what to expect."

"Meaning?" Kensi asked.

"Meaning it's possible he may never regain all of his short-term memory or it may just take some time. We'll do some more neurological tests when he's more aware of what's going on. It may just be that he still just needs more rest and time for his brain to recover. We'll make sure he gets the best of care. I won't tell you not to worry because I know you will, but just know that things are definitely improving. He's a strong young man and I'm very much encouraged by his progress."

Kensi nodded, watching as the doctor left the room. She then got back up on the bed next to Deeks and took his hand, just watching him sleep. She was happy he had awoken, but she wanted more. She wanted to talk to him about everything that had happened, get a first-hand account from his lips. She wanted to take him home and forget about all of it. She just wanted to take care of him, coddle him and have him get well again.

xxxxx

Outside the entrance to Deeks' room, Sam sat in a wheelchair, watching as Kensi laid down next to Deeks. He wanted to go in there and apologize, but he just couldn't seem to do it. He had a feeling it would only serve to make things worse. He at least needed to wait until Deeks was awake and able to process what Sam told him. If he went in there right now, he had a feeling he would only upset Kensi and that was the last thing he wanted to do. His mind made up, he turned around and began to wheel himself back down the hallway.

A few minutes later, Sam entered the room he was sharing with his partner. Callen was idly flicking through the television channels with the remote control, a sure sign that he was bored.

"Where were you?" Callen asked. "It seems like every time I wake up, you're nowhere to be found."

"Maybe you're sleeping too much," Sam joked, but then grew serious. "I was checking on Deeks."

"Yeah? How is he? Is he doing better?"

Sam shook his head. "I don't know…"

"What do you mean, you don't know?" Callen asked, looking both worried and confused. "Were they running tests or something?"

"No," Sam answered softly.

"Okaaay… So, you didn't want to wake him? Was Kensi there?"

Sam nodded.

"Come on, Sam, talk to me," Callen pleaded. "What's going on with you?"

Sam glared at his partner. "What do you mean, what's going on? I never took you as stupid, G."

Momentarily hurt, Callen opened his mouth to retort, but then thought better of it and just waited, knowing that Sam was carrying a heavy load at the moment.

Sam sighed after a few long moments of silence. "I'm sorry, G."

"I know," Callen said with a sympathetic nod.

"It's just… I'm kicking myself over this stupid trip. Why did we decide to do it?"

"Come on, Sam. You need to stop," Callen said. "We've already talked about everything that happened. You can't control the weather. If it wasn't for the storm, everything would have worked out okay."

"What about the drug guys."

"We probably wouldn't have even run into them," Callen said. "We would have been safe in our own cabin. It wouldn't have snowed and the roof wouldn't have caved in."

"What about the bears?"

Callen sighed. "Shit happens, Sam. Sometimes, no matter how well planned or how much thought you put into something, it doesn't turn out the way you expected. We could have taken Deeks on a trip to Hawaii and the plane could have crashed."

Sam smirked. "That's a stretch, G. What are the chances of that? We were already in a helicopter crash."

"I'm just saying Sam, you just don't know what's going to happen in the world. One day everything is fine, the next day there could be, Hell, I don't know... a pandemic!"

Sam rolled his eyes but nodded. "Okay, I get it. Stuff can happen that you have no way of planning for or expecting, but I still feel bad about everything that happened."

"I know you do, Sam," Callen said solemnly, "but you need to just give yourself a break. I know Deeks and you do too. He's not going to hold a grudge. Now, come on, let's play a game of cards or something. I'm bored out of my mind in this place."

Sam nodded and went to get the deck of cards a kind-hearted nurse had brought them earlier that day. He still didn't feel any better, but at least maybe beating G at cards could prove to be a temporary distraction.

xxxxx

The next time Deeks woke up, Kensi was ready with the room already dark and no sounds but the monitors that signaled his heart was still beating. With no bright lights or disorienting noises, Deeks had an easier time slipping back to consciousness. "Kens?" His soft voice doubtfully inquired, vaguely remembering she had been there the last time he woke up but not sure if it was another trick of his mind as it had been back in the cabin.

"Deeks, baby. I'm here." Throwing her crossword to the side, Kensi instantly jumped from the chair and moved to the bed. Grabbing one of Deeks' hands, she squeezed tightly and was rewarded with a soft squeeze back, her whole face breaking into a grin at the simple response. "How are you feeling? Do you need anything?"

"I'm doing okay. I just need you." Deeks said softly, his free hand moving to pat the empty space on the bed. "I missed you."

"I missed you too, baby. I'm so glad you're okay." Pulling their joined hands towards her heart, Kensi's eyes focused on the matching rings on their fingers and at that moment she felt infinitely grateful because her now husband had cheated death once again. Sometimes, alone at night, she worried about their luck running out and the hands of destiny catching up to them, but they had won this time and that's the only thing she wanted to think about. Especially when Deeks seemed to be doing surprisingly well this time and his mind apparently was back in the present, unlike the first time he had woken up.

"Come." Deeks' soft voice brought her mind back to the room, his still weak muscles straining as he tried pulling her towards him.

"Just a second, let me get your doctor first." Releasing his hand, Kensi turned around and headed to the door. Wanting to have a quick chat with his doctor before he saw Deeks.

"No, wait." Deeks called hurriedly just as Kensi's hand had grabbed the doorknob. "It's not safe out there."

That comment stopped Kensi right in her tracks and she turned around hesitantly, scared to find out Deeks not doing as well as she had first thought. "Why do you say that?" Kensi asked carefully, as if she was talking to a frightened child.

"There are bears out there." Deeks whispered sadly. "They hurt me, and they hurt Callen. I don't want them to hurt you."

"Oh, baby…" Kensi quickly went back to the bed and leaned down to hug Deeks, mindful of his various bumps and bruises. "No one is going to hurt me… or you. We're in the hospital, remember? There are no bears here. There's no danger. You're safe. We're all safe."

"No bears? So did I imagine them? It felt so real." Deeks wondered mostly to himself. "But then why am I in the hospital?"

Remembering the doctor had advised it was better if memories came back to Deeks on their own, Kensi struggled with how to answer. "You were hurt, but you're safe now." She chose the vague but truthful route.

"Is Callen safe?" Deeks' child-like voice asked again. "I haven't seen him. Or Sam. I remember they were with the bear too… but if there's no bear, maybe there was no Callen or Sam either..."

"Yes, Deeks. They're both okay. They're here too. Just in another room." Kensi gently cut Deeks' remark, not wanting his worry and confusion to grow even more. "Do you remember when you woke up last and a doctor came to see you?"

Deeks scrunched his nose as he tried to remember. "Yeah, maybe… a little bit." He finally said. "Details are a little blurry."

"That's okay, baby. Everything will make sense soon. Just know that you're okay and we're all safe." Deciding this was not a good time to leave Deeks' alone, Kensi pressed the nurse's call button instead.

To her relief, Deeks' doctor and two nurses arrived to his room in less than 5 minutes and promptly proceeded to do another thorough examination. This time, asking him various questions to judge where his mind was at. All of them trying not to chuckle as Deeks wondered if the doctor's coat meant he was the one that produced the fentanyl.

"That's it for now, Mr. Deeks." The doctor began, this time directing his words to his patient as he was still awake this time. "I'm confident in due time most of what happened will come back to you. Just know that it's not uncommon for the events right before an injury of this type to always remain a little vague, or blurry, as you called it. That's normal and no reason to worry about. For now, just focus on resting. That's what your body and mind need. Tomorrow we will run some additional tests but I'm confident you will make a full recovery."

"Thank you, doc." Deeks said simply, his face still showing some slight embarrassment as his initial confusion and having mistaken his doctor for a drug dealer.

The doctor nodded with a smile before leaving the room, Kensi's eyes following the three medical personnel until the door softly closed behind them.

Turning back to Deeks, she was dejected to find him back asleep. But then again the doctor kept insisting rest was all he needed, so pushing her own interests to the side, Kensi pulled a chair towards the bed and sat down. Her hand moving to Deeks' blonde locks in her own little attempt to make sure he had peaceful dreams. After talking to her and the doctor, Deeks had finally remembered where he was, his mind catching up to the fact the narco cereal and big, bad bears were real, but both in the past. Which didn't mean they couldn't make a reappearance on his dreams as both Kensi and Deeks knew he was unfortunately prone to nightmares. But Kensi was certain she could help him keep those bad memories away and his demons at bay, so she continued to run her fingers through his hair, wanting to anchor his mind to the present and to the fact they were all safe.

xxxxx

"What do you mean they were arrested!?" Angelo Marino, a stocky, middle-aged man shouted into the phone. "The drugs are gone? Do you know how much money that stuff was worth? Damn you, Harvey. You swore that these guys were dependable. That they knew what they were doing. Now, I'm out a whole bunch of money because of this deal falling through."

"I'm really sorry, boss," the voice over the phone stuttered. "I just… I've known them for a long time. They've never messed up before. It was just a bunch of freak occurrences. If it wasn't for the snow storm, it never would have happened."

"I don't want your excuses. I want names and faces of the people responsible for this. They ruined my day. Now I'm going to make sure we ruin theirs."

xxxxx

Kensi sat quietly as she watched Deeks sleep. She was so grateful that he had awoken twice and each time seemed to be doing better. She knew he had a way to go, but just seeing his eyes open and hearing his voice had made a world of difference to her, especially the second time around, when his thoughts had been clearer and his words more coherent. As she watched him, she started to think about everything that had happened. Although there was a part of her that was still angry with Sam, in her heart, she knew he was not to blame for what had happened. He had only been trying to do a good thing for Deeks and for the guys to have a fun bonding experience. What would have been the odds of a snowstorm happening? Basically, nature was at fault, not Sam.

"I know what you would be saying to me right now." Kensi's voice was soft as she spoke to Deeks and gently brushed his hair away from his forehead with her fingers. "You'd probably be disappointed that I haven't even gone to see Callen and Sam. I'm pretty sure I know what you'd want me to do." Kensi then leaned down and kissed Deeks' cheek and gave him one more loving look before she headed to the door. "I'll be back before you know it."

Taking a last longing look at the bed, Kensi took a decisive breath before finally leaving the room and taking the elevator down to the regular patient rooms, ready to start making things right on her end.

xxxxx

Callen coughed into the crock of his elbow and stared at the cards he was holding. The shapes and numbers blurred and he finally put them down on the tray. "I'm sorry, Sam. I don't think I can play anymore."

"You okay?" Sam asked, looking at his friend with concern. Callen's cheeks were starting to look a bit red and he suddenly wasn't looking so hot. "You're beginning to look a little flushed."

Callen nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine, Sam."

"You don't look so fine," Sam said. "I think we should call a nurse."

Callen shook his head. "I don't think so."

"You should listen to your friend," Angelo Marino said as he came into the room, flanked by two other men who appeared to be his henchmen. The three men drew their guns and one of them went to close the door. "I don't think we need any nurses in here, unless you want their scrubs splattered with their blood." The other two men guffawed loudly at his words. "Now, I heard a nasty rumor that the two of you were involved in losing my property. That doesn't make me feel very happy."

"Oh, are you the owner of the cabin we rented?" Callen asked. "I'm pretty sure the insurance company will take care of the damage to your place."

"Don't be a smart ass," Angelo snapped, a menacing expression on his face. "You know what I'm talking about."

"Actually, I don't," Callen said, glancing at his partner. "Sam? Do you know what he's talking about?"

Sam shook his head. "I don't have any idea. Care to elaborate?" he asked, looking at Angelo as he pondered what was the best way for them to escape their current situation.

"The drugs, you smug son of a bitch. Do you know how much money you lost for me?!"

"Well, it was definitely a lot," Sam said with a smirk. "You probably should have found a more legitimate way to make money."

"You think you're funny, big man?" Angelo asked, his face beet-red with rage. "Let's see how funny you think it is when I blow your buddy's head off." He pressed his gun against the side of Callen's head and started laughing maniacally. "Say goodbye to your friend."

Just then, before Angelo had the time to pull the trigger, the door opened with a bang and a fourth burly man came barreling into the room, "Someone's coming." He whispered, almost out of breath.

"Damn it!" Angelo screamed, his rage exploding as he kicked the chair next to Callen's bed, almost toppling it over. "Who the hell is coming? You said rounds wouldn't happen for another hour." He asked, turning a murderous glare to one of his henchmen. "Useless, son of a bitch! Your friends already lost my drugs, so help me God if you fuck this up too." Without warning, he turned around and swung the barrel of his 9mm handgun right into his man's temple. Droplets of blood spilling to the ground as the skin split on impact.

"It's not a nurse or doctor, just another lady." The new man responded warily, trying to save his friend from another attack but not wanting to become the new target of his boss' rage. "Maybe a girlfriend or a sister, but she should be here any minute."

Turning to the door, Angelo knew it was too late to escape that way, so instead he pushed his three men towards the adjacent bathroom. "Don't say anything, don't call for help. I'm not playing games and I didn't get to where I am by being a bad shot. If you so much as mutter a single warning, I'll blow your head off." He said directly to Callen. "And you will have to worry about your buddy looking more than just flushed." He finished, eyes locked on Sam's.

Callen and Sam could only nod as Angelo rushed inside the bathroom, leaving the door purposely open wide enough for them to see three guns pointed right at Callen. And if their situation hadn't been so dire they would have laughed, cause this was the very definition of overkill.