Chapter 57: Just Go to Sleep!
The door had not even closed behind the nurse, when Callen straightened in his chair and began pushing himself up to his feet.
Deeks and Kensi both opened their mouths as if to say something that would stop him… but didn't. Instead, Deeks closed his mouth and shrugged at Kensi. And she answered his shrug with a grimace.
To their relief, Callen did not head toward the exit.
Limping slightly more than before, G hobbled to the far side of the room. He stationed himself in front of the window, where he began peering out the open blinds.
Kensi rounded the foot of the bed and joined him at the window.
He looked at her briefly before returning his gaze to the window.
Standing this close, she detected a certain weariness in his eyes; eyes that were the lightest shad of blue, almost clear, as he squinted through the brightness of the sun.
His gaze never leaving the window, Callen finally asked softly, "Is Sam working a case?"
"No. He's gone to the airport to pick up his family."
Suddenly, Callen tensed, and his breath caught, from a chill that had hit him without warning.
With concern in her eyes, Kensi reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Don't you think you should sit down and cover up?"
G recovered quickly, or at least made an attempt to look as if he had. He glanced at her and resumed staring out the window. "I'm good."
Although the glace was brief, Kensi couldn't miss the way he ducked his head, or the look of embarrassment in his eyes. The man needs some space. She removed her hand from his shoulder and re-joined her partner on the other side of the room.
She and Deeks had just seated themselves when Kensi leaned forward and slipped her phone from her back pocket. She focused on the phone screen and then said aloud, "Text from Hetty… She's checking on Callen."
That pulled Callen's attention from whatever he was watching through the window.
Kensi paused a few moments while she composed and sent a reply, and then again to read another message. "She said Nell is about to leave Ops. She's going to pick up some lunch for us."
"Lunch!" Deeks smiled a toothy grin.
Callen, on the other hand, looked rather unimpressed.
A few minutes after the last text message, Callen was on the move again. Only this time, he did head for the door.
"Here we go," Deeks said under his breath as he and his partner jumped up from the couch, following their Senior Agent out into the hall.
Callen had only walked a short distance before his chilled shaking forced him to return to the room and snuggle back into his chair.
After Kensi and Deeks had the covers tucked around him as tightly as possible, Callen let out a shaky breath and looked up at them. "Thanks," he said, his voice sounding tired and scratchy.
"Callen? Are you thirsty?" Kensi asked.
Deeks started walking toward the door. "I'll get him something." He ducked out of the room and returned, a short time later, with a container of apple juice. After sticking a straw through the foil top, he handed it off to Kensi.
Kensi held the drink for Callen while he took several small sips.
G breathed out and then relaxed back into his chair. "Thanks, Kenz."
"You're welcome." She waited several seconds and then brought the straw back to his mouth. "Here. Go ahead and drink the rest of it."
Callen finished his juice. Then, against the younger Agents' recommendation, and contrary to Nurse C.J.'s advisement, he went for another long walk in the hall. They finally were able to corral him back to his room when the lunch trays were delivered.
Callen was still sitting in his chair, using his fork to slowly move green beans and steamed carrots around on his plate, when Nell arrived carrying a teal-colored canvas tote, and a bag of food.
"Hey guys." Nell handed the to-go food bag to Marty and then looked at G. "Whatcha doin', Callen?"
He put down his fork, looked up from his unpleasant food tray, and gave her a half-smile.
"Hetty sent some clothes for when you get to go home." Nell put the canvas bag down on the couch. "But she said, since you aren't hooked to the IV anymore, you'd probably want this now." She reached into the tote and pulled out Callen's black hoodie.
G's smile broadened a bit, as he readily accepted Kensi and Nell's assistance with slipping into the jacket.
Deeks turned from where he was sorting out the food. "How did Hetty know about the IV?"
Kensi raised her hand. "I told her when she texted, earlier… Callen, you want the hood on?"
Callen looked up at her and nodded once. Then, when Kensi had pulled the hood up and straightened it around his face and neck, he seemed to melt into the garment.
"Would you like a turkey sandwich, Callen?" Nell asked from where she was now neatly arranging the napkins and chip bags.
"Sure he would," Kensi answered before he had a chance to decline.
Callen quirked an eyebrow at her. "Not if you're going to stuff it in my mouth, like you did that donut."
"Ok." She chuckled and held up her hands in surrender. "I won't. I promise."
Deeks removed the neglected lunch tray from the table, set it aside, and replaced it with a couple of sandwiches, a bag of chips, and a bottle of water.
Kensi poured Callen a cup of tea, drug the extra chair over, and sat down directly across from G at the small table.
He reflexively sat up straighter in his chair and gave her a warning look. "Kenz?"
"I said I promise," she said, feigning innocence. "I'm not going to mess with you."
Deeks handed Nell a drink and then sat down beside her on the couch.
A few minutes had passed when Callen began unwrapping the sandwich that sat in front of him. When he actually took a bite, Kensi and Deeks exchanged looks of surprise; mouths open and eyes wide.
G Callen voluntarily taking a bite of food would not normally be a noteworthy event. But today? It seemed epic.
After Kensi had finished her lunch, she rinsed Callen's empty tea mug, wheeled his bedside table off to the side, and began disposing of the trash, including about half of Callen's sandwich he had given up on.
Callen took this opportunity to make a trip to the restroom, and then escape, once again, out into the hall.
This time, Nell joined Deeks and Kensi in Callen's slow trek up and down, not two, but all three wings of the fourth floor. At the point G was obviously exhausted, Deeks suggested a rest break. Callen insisted he was "fine" and walked another good ten minutes before conceding, and returning to the room.
Nell managed to coax him into starting on another protein shake, just before she left to go back to work. But as soon as he finished the shake, the restless Agent was up and off again.
Sam returned to the hospital, at twenty minutes before one, to find the room was empty. Pushing down the panic that wanted to rise in his gut, Sam walked down to the nurses' station to find Callen's nurse.
C.J. looked up from where he was standing on the other side of the counter, working on a chart. "Can I help you?"
"Maybe." Sam gave a nervous glance toward G's room. "Callen's not in his room. I was wondering if you knew where he was."
"If you didn't pass him when you were coming from the elevators, that means he's on one of the other wings."
"No." C.J. closed the chart and came around to where Sam was standing. "Your co-workers are with him. I was just about to round them up and direct him back to his room. It's almost time for his medication."
"Let me go look for them," Sam offered.
"Thanks. And when you find him, he needs to go to bed. And stay there. For a while. Like for several hours."
One of Sam's eyebrows shot up.
"Your friend doesn't know the meaning of moderation. He's been walking in the halls for a good part of the day. If he doesn't take it easy, I'm afraid he's going to crash and burn. Maybe you can reason with him."
Sam frowned. "Oh, I'm gonna reason with him, alright."
"He hasn't seemed to be as cold, as long as he's up walking. So be prepared for some resistance." The nurse checked his watch. "I should be down with his medicine in about fifteen minutes."
Sam nodded curtly. "I'll get him back to bed." He turned on his heal and headed off to search for the wandering crew.
When he turned onto the adjacent wing, he spotted them at the far end of the hall. They were making their way toward him, Kensi on Callen's right side, and Deeks walking just to his left. Even from this distance, he could tell G was struggling; his gait was extremely slow, he was giving to his right side, and he was stopping every eight to ten steps to rest.
As Sam moved closer, he could easily see the worried looks both of the younger agents gave him.
Kensi stepped aside, allowing Sam to take her place, walking beside Callen.
Callen looked at Sam briefly, where he was keeping pace with him.
"Time to go back to the room, G." Sam's voice was firm, but not loud.
Callen stopped. After catching his breath, he looked up at Sam. "But I'm…"
"I don't want to hear it," Sam interrupted. "Your nurse said it's time for your medicine. And for you to go back to bed."
Callen didn't look pleased, but dropped his protesting.
Sam reached up to Callen's right arm, wrapped his fingers around his partner's biceps, and gave a gentle forward tug, prompting G to move. Sam signaled Deeks, with a glance and a quick tilt of the head, to take Callen's other arm.
With a little extra support on both sides, Callen finally made it back to his room.
"Do you need to make a bathroom stop?" Sam asked as soon as they stepped through the door. "Because you're not getting out of bed for a while."
"I don't need to go to bed," G argued weakly.
Sam's eyebrows lifted. And with a slightly threatening tone, he countered, "Oh, you're going to bed, G."
Callen narrowed his eyes, let out a breath, and then went into the restroom.
When he came back out into the room, Deeks and Sam were standing there waiting, ready to direct him toward the bed. Requiring a little more assistance than he had earlier in the day, they helped him up to sit on the side of the bed.
Kensi came over from the closet with a pair black, ankle-high socks in her hand. "Hold up a second. Let me change him into clean socks before his lays down." She squatted down and quickly switched the white socks out for the black ones. "There you go."
Deeks and Sam helped Callen lift his legs up onto the bed, eased him back onto the pillow, then covered him up and raised the rail.
It wasn't long before Nurse C.J. showed up with the promised medication.
Callen took the capsules without a word, and then closed his eyes; probably trying to avoid his hovering partner's scrutinizing stare.
Sam posted himself in a chair, right next to the bed, and Kensi and Deeks sat down on the couch.
Within five minutes, Callen relaxed, and his breathing evened out.
Kensi peered over to the bed. "Is he asleep, already?" she asked quietly.
"Yep," Sam answered, keeping his voice low. "Now, if he'll just stay asleep."
Kensi shook her head slowly. "He was exhausted."
"But he wouldn't stop," Deeks added. "Like the 'energizer bunny.' He just kept going and going… There were a couple of times I thought he was about to collapse."
Kensi looked back to where Callen was sleeping. A sad expression took over her features. "I really think he was just trying stay warm."
Sam crossed one leg over the other knee. "That's what C.J. thinks, too."
After a few silent moments, Kensi spoke again. "Sam. If you want to go spend some time with your family, Deeks and I can stay up here with him."
"Thanks, Kenz. But they aren't home. As soon as we unloaded the car, my wife took our little girl up to the school to turn in her work and take a couple of make-up spelling tests. They plan to spend the rest of the evening unpacking and then catching up on sleep. And besides, for some unknown reason, my wife has a soft spot for G – she insisted that this is where I need to be right now."
Deeks smiled. "If you're sure. You know we don't mind."
"Well…" Kensi clasped her hands together, stretched her arms above her head, and then lowered them. "I'll just hang out here for a while then."
"Me too," Marty said. "I don't have anywhere to be right now."
"What about Monty?" Kensi asked.
"I'll just text my neighbor. He'll feed him and take him out for me."
"You're lucky to have such a nice neighbor, Deeks."
"Yes, I am. Mr. Chadwick is in his eighties. Says it makes him feel useful. So, when I'm working, he takes Monty out when he walks his little Yorkie…. Monty and Bailey are besties… I think Monty thinks she's sort of hot."
Kensi shook her head in disbelief. "You would think…"
All attention went to Callen, when he moaned faintly and shifted in bed.
With a concerned look, Sam stood up, studied G for a few moments, and then folded himself back down into his chair.
"Sam? Is he hurting or dreaming?" Kensi asked.
"Not sure," he said, shaking head.
Over the next little while, Callen's restless movements began to come more frequently. Several times, he even roused enough to open his eyes and look around the room. Each time, Sam directed him to 'go back to sleep.'
It was obvious G wanted to resist, but then he would drift off to sleep again.
When Nurse C.J. came by to check on his patient, he immediately noted Callen's weak thrashing. "Not sleeping very well, is he?"
"No, he's not," Sam answered softly. "We've moved the pillows around, trying to make him more comfortable. But it hasn't helped."
Looking to be disappointed, C.J. shook his head. "Like I said early, I think he's doing too much, too soon. So even if he's not sleeping, he needs to stay put for a few hours."
"Got it," Sam replied.
Callen continued to doze, but more fitfully. Sam covered him each time he managed to force the blankets off of himself.
When Callen awoke, half-an-hour later, Sam was still sitting beside the bed, arms crossed, staring at him. Callen made to sit up, absolutely fed up with being in the bed. But Sam moved faster, standing up and putting his hand on G's shoulder and pushing him down.
"Uh uh, G," Sam chided. "You haven't been down long enough."
Callen gritted his teeth, wanting to fight back, but knowing he would lose this fight. Sam is in full 'maternal' mode. Callen looked away from Sam and settled back down into the bed, all the while wondering if he had it in him to attempt to rest again. He felt his partner remove his hand from his shoulder, and heard him sit back down. How long would Sam do this to him?
"G?" Sam said lowly.
"What," Callen ground out.
"Stop thinking and go to sleep."