Revised chapter…

Just another way Missing could have ended…or maybe an excuse for some team angst. Just a short fic.

Paraphrased dialogue from the show was used.

I have accidently used Czechoslovakia in the story and it has been brought to my attention that the country no longer existed at the time of my story…I knew that but had one of those brain dead moments. So I do apologise…

Higher Calling

The plan had been put in motion and time was of the essence. They needed to find Dom. Their plan to use Kensi disguised as Claudia and extract the truth from the Taro brothers, was the best they could come up with in such a short time.

Callen had arrived with Kensi, her head covered by a sack, dressed in Claudia's nurse's scrubs. Callen was nervous as was Kensi. They all knew the probability of this working was next to none, but they had to try. Even the slightest clue could lead them to Dom's whereabouts.

Sam was scurrying to find the right entrance. Eric was trying but everybody's patience was wearing thin and their nerves were frazzled. This was their last and only chance; they couldn't mess it up. Finally Sam was in running in the dark trying to eliminate the brother's backup.

Meanwhile Callen walked in with Kensi disguised as Claudia. He held her roughly and pulled her along, trying to imitate a reluctant sister. Rafael stared at the two and he knew, whether he could tell from Kensi's build or simply by sixth sense, that Callen hadn't brought Claudia.

Right at in that moment the torchlight was shone into Callen's face, he kept his cool. Then came the words that he was dreading, "You think to fool us. We knew you wouldn't bring Claudia. Who are you?"

Damn! Thought Callen. He stared into the torchlight as he carefully placed his hand behind Kensi's back and took grip of his Sig. staring into the light and keeping eye contact he answered NCIS.

Sam was running desperately through the dark and congested tunnels. He heard Callen say NCIS: that was the distress word. Sam needed a distraction, counting dow he fired at a water pressure gauge. This caused mayhem. It gave Callen the opportunity to pull out his Sig whilst Rafael Taro hears the gunshot then shoots at Callen and Kensi stumbling back for cover. It all happened so quickly in a dark, noisy and cramped place. They needed to keep one of the brothers alive. Callen fired pushing Kensi back; protecting her and trying not to fatally wound Rafael.

Then Callen lets go of Kensi in order for her to find cover, he stands straight and keeps firing, making himself a buffer between the bullets and Kensi. Suddenly he feels a stinging but is too worried about keeping her safe. One of their agents was missing, he couldn't, no wouldn't lose another, not Kensi. Callen keeps firing and sheltering Kensi whilst moving back as Kensi finds her gun. They find a place behind a large pipe to take cover. It proves to be effective.

Sam continues to fire on Jose` who returns equally deadly fire. The gunfight continues as a sheltered Rafael and Callen exchange gunfire. Then Callen sees an opportunity. He yells at Sam, "Cover me!" Sam sees what Callen wants to do.

Sam moves still firing at Jose who's up on the walkways covering Callen. The noise is overwhelming.

Callen moves out from his cover lifts his arms and feels that stinging again. He pushes past it and shoots Jose` dead. One brother down and they really needed to keep Rafael alive.

Rafael notices that change in game plan and comes out just in time to see his brother roll down the stairs.

He leaves himself vulnerable; Sam sees him and shoots Rafael. He falls. A relieved Callen re-holsters and he and Sam approach Rafael with Kensi following behind.

Callen crouches; a stabbing pain rips through him but doesn't let it show. "Where is he Rafi? Where is he?" he asks whilst holding his hand.

"I want a deal," he mumbles as Kensi moves closer.

"What do you want Rafi?" asks Callen trying to maintain his cool while inside he is seething. All he wants is information before he dies.

"Not for me for Claudia. Don't take her and a clean record," demanded Rafael Taro with his dying breath.

Callen didn't even think twice, "You have my word!"

Rafael spoke, "Blue van Old Creek Rd left him inside. Pick 9pm. Never saw them." Then he died. They had the information. They needed Eric. Sam had Eric on the phone but the reception was crap, so he motioned to Callen and Kensi that he was going outside.

Callen had let Rafael's hand go and stood up. The pain splintered through his body again, burning down his right side. His hand darted to his side as he held it long enough to catch his breath. He and Kensi make eye contact. She noticed Callen struggling, she noticed how he held his body favouring his right side and his face paling, "Callen?" she asked moving closer. He'd been injury free for the last months now…well any serious injury. Fear coursed through her veins as she thought back. Callen's shooting had affected everyone so deeply because it had premeditated, cold and brutal. It had also nearly killed the infallible and illusive Callen.

Callen heard his name and looked at Kensi, then looked down to where he had placed his hand on his right side. It came away wet. His eyes widened and Kensi looked at him in horror, "Callen you've been shot," she Kensi, "Let me look!" She fought with Callen to remove his hand. "I'm ok, let go. We need to find Dom!" he insisted. But she won and he glared at her but stood there letting her. She saw the entry and exit wound; red, nasty and bleeding. "It's gone through," she said relieved, well sort of. She had a bad feeling from the beginning. She couldn't lose Callen. Having his blood on her hands, she thought about those 5 bullets ripping him apart and she froze with that memory.

"Dom's the prerogative. Don't tell Sam. You know how he gets," whispered Callen, "Get me something to stop the bleeding!" His voice jolted her.

"What Callen, where? We're in the middle of a factory," argued Kensi keeping pressure on his wound and starting to lose her cool, "you need a hospital!"

Callen saw her distress and tried to calm her. He used his clean hand and raised her chin until they were eye to eye, "Kensi, it's gone through. I'll be Ok just find something to staunch the bleeding. We need to find Dom and we're on a time limit, Kens. This can wait."

She couldn't believe this man. She looked at him and shook her head, "Only you Callen…"

He smiled weakly. Then he said, "Gaffer tape…factory should have gaffer tape." Kensi nodded and started looking around, meanwhile Callen could feel the warm blood trickling down his leg. Somehow the wound had started bleeding heavier. He wouldn't tell Kensi.

"Here I found it!" she said whilst running towards him.

"Ok rip the sleeves off the jacket and place one on…" he was interrupted by her.

"I can take it from here. Just hold your shirt up and don't move," she said. Callen pulled up his shirt and her hand went straight for the entry wound. She placed the torn fabric on the wound. Callen grimaced. Then she circled his back and noticed the blood streaming from the exit wound. She looked up at him but Callen averted her gaze. She gave up. Her hands trembled as she doubled the amount of fabric and placed in on the wound. The pieces stuck. The blood was acting as an adhesive. Then she got the gaffer tape and wrapped it around. All the while hearing Callen gasp and hiss, "You ok?" she asked.

"Yep, finished?" he asked.

"Just about. You'll know what waxing is like when this comes off," she said as she moved closer to tear the gaffer tape, her eyes caught a glimpse of the scars that punctuated his torso. He felt her stop.

"Kensi!" he shouted hearing Sam's footprints nearing.

"Done! Pull your shirt over," said Kensi as Sam came round the corner.

He saw them standing suspiciously but they didn't have time for innuendos or speculations, "You guys coming? Eric has the coordinates," said Sam as he led the way.

Kensi waited for Callen to move just in case he stumbled or…

"Kensi go! I always follow," ordered Callen angrily, finding his second wind or a late adrenaline surge. She huffed and marched forward quickly. Callen followed, holding his side while out of Sam's sight. His movements were measured and slow until they got into the car.

"Kensi you ride shotgun. I've got a few thing to check out," said Callen as he eased himself into the back seat pulling out his phone; a slight sheen forming on his brow.

Sam had already put it into drive as Callen closed the door. The drive was long and Callen fought hard to keep awake. Kensi had lowered the sun visor so she could see Callen via the vanity mirror. He was drifting. She saw the droplets of sweat trailing down his face, "Hey Callen, do you think Rafi was lying?"

Suddenly Callen opened his eyes, thankful that Kensi had spoken, "No," clearing his throat, "he wouldn't mess with his sister's life. How far Sam?"

Sam heard Callen's voice. There was something definitely odd about it. But he just put it down to weariness, "Round the corner."

As he said, he took the corner sharply. It caused Callen to lean on his injured side. He let out an ohhh and quickly disguised it as an exclamation, "Ohhh there's the van…stop the car Sam. Stop it NOW!"

The car came to a screeching halt. Kensi jumped out, Sam jumped out and Callen did his best trailing a little behind. Sam failed to notice because he was so intent on finding Dom. So blinkered, he was ignorant of his partner's plight. They pulled out their guns and moved towards the van. Kensi went right for the driver's seat…empty. Sam and Callen went to the back. They motioned on 2, Sam reached for the handle twisted it and pulled it open. Callen moved forward and scanned the back. It was dark but he could make out a figure. Sam was still pointing the gun when Callen called out, "Dom!"

Sam put his gun away and clambered into the van nearly knocking Callen over. Dom was sitting, back against he van, hands and feet tied. He had blood on his clothes. He was weak and dehydrated. The opening of the door shocked him as he raised his arms and tried to scurry to the back of the van away from the intruders, "Please…no!"

Sam moved closer, "Dom it's ok. It's Sam. We found you! You're safe!"

Sam was trying to be gentle and compassionate then Callen piped up, "Sam, it's 10 to 9. We need to go NOW! There'll be here soon." How prophetic were his words. Just then a black SUV rounded the same corner they had. Time had run out.

Callen moved back taking a defensive stance next to Kensi and said, "Get in the van, wait til I give you the ok and go. Take Dom to safety. We'll cover you."

"Callen you're in no condition to stay," argued Kensi.

"I'm your superior officer and I'm ordering you to GO!" said Callen, the exertion making him wince.

"OK, OK! " she said not wanting to cause he any more pain. She hopped into the driver's seat and found the key still in the ignition…now that was stupid she thought. The van started and she kept it idling.

Callen moved to the side and shouted to Sam, "Sam, lock up the door. We cover Kensi as she drives Dom to safety. We'll deal with them."

Sam did as he was told and Callen took cover behind the car quickly followed by Sam. The car was racing towards the van not having seen the agents. They stopped the SUV near the van and three men got out whilst the driver stayed. Callen spoke into his earpiece, "Kensi go!"

She placed it in drive and sped off, the three men were taken by surprise as they scrambled to get it, realising they couldn't, they tried to get back into their SUV. That's when Sam and Callen emerged out from behind their car and started pelting bullets; two went down. Their shots being precise and calculated. Then Callen wounded the other and Sam ran chasing the car as it tried to get away. He kept shooting at the windshield, then at the wheel. Then Callen held his Sig steady and using the last two bullets, aimed and hit the gas tank, setting off an explosion that sent the SUV leaping into space. Sam and Callen shielded their eyes from the heat. When the dust settled, Sam turned to Callen with an impatient scowl, "Now that got him. We needed him alive Callen."

Callen turned to Sam, his breathing labored, "Check the others…I think I wounded one. We might be lucky." Sam looked over to G and his gaze lingered. Callen wouldn't have asked. He would've just completed the gruesome task and then pouted. Sam walked towards the three bodies, but his head was still focused on his partner. Callen put his gun away and called in, "Hetty…has Kensi contacted you?"

"Mr. Callen good to hear your voice. She has, yes and by all accounts Miss Blye and a tired Mr. Vaile are on their way to the hospital. Back up will be there in 10. Did you manage to arrest the perpetrators?" asked Hetty.

Callen was relieved that Kensi had managed to get to safety; he knew she would. He breathed deeply fighting back the pain and the tremor in his voice, he bit back on the pain and said, "Three down," then he saw Sam signal him that the last man standing was indeed that, he was alive, "and one left to talk. We need an ambulance. I'll ring back."

Before he could end the call, "Mr. Callen is everything all right?" Hetty had noticed something in his voice.

He hated lying to her but his needs and her lecture could wait. They had to find out the reason and the person behind Dom's abduction, "Hetty I need to go."

She didn't like that. Something was definitely wrong.

He limped over to Sam and heard him talking in Arabic. His vision was blurring but he kept it together. The terrorist lay on the sandy dusty ground, a shot to the shoulder and cuffed. Sam wouldn't take chances. He'd live to talk another day. Sam felt Callen's presence, "Did he say anything?" Callen shifted his weight. He really needed to sit down before he fell, "who's pulling the strings?" The strain was noticeable now as he avoided Sam's glare.

"Only that they were going to hold him for ransom. Federal agents are gold apparently and that he was an easy target…" he spat out the news disgusted with the creeps they had to deal with.

"But I'm sure he'll be more talkative once we've had a chat!" said Sam. The last couple of words were accentuate by his threatening voice and aimed solely at the terrorist whom he slowly turned to hit menacingly. If Callen wasn't in so much pain, he would've found it amusing. Then before either could say a word, the cavalry arrived. They loaded the terrorist in as the ambulances loaded the dead bodies, then forensics got to work. The quiet lookout suddenly became a flurry of activity. It was dark and the floodlights suddenly brought light to the scene and to the true and dire situation.

Sam finally got into the SUV and closed its door. He could do with a long hot shower and his bed. He needed sleep. Dom was safe after hours of not knowing, but he was safe. Kensi was safe and at the moment all seemed right with the world. He looked around but couldn't find Callen. All he wanted now was to find his partner and go home. Then all of a sudden he saw him through the side mirror, leaning against the car waiting or so he thought. He called out, "G! Come on…even the floor's more comfortable than the side of the car," but Callen didn't answer. He was annoyed and yelled having turned on the engine, "G! Come on!" But still Callen remained silent, still leaning against the side of the car. Sam thought it was odd. But a lot of things had seemed odd since the boiler room in the factory. A sick feeling crept into his gut, he got out of the car and hastened his pace and stood next to Callen. Before calling his name again, the floodlights had truly shed light on the situation. He saw a dark stain on his jacket, his shirt and down his pant leg. He felt his own blood rushing to his head and a sense of simmering panic. He tentatively moved around to face Callen slowly. He noticed Callen had his eyes closed and his face was pale. His eyes reluctantly moved down to where he found more blood. Careful not to startle him, he placed his hand on Callen's shoulder, "G?"