It was well past eight and Sam was wrapping up the last of his report on the whole Keelson mess when G came back into the office. Sam knew Hetty had stood G down for the day, so he'd figured that he wouldn't be seeing him until the following morning.
Sam raised an eyebrow as Callen moved through the bullpen and staggered to the sofa in the back. His gait was unsteady and G kept reaching up to rub his face as he went. Sam was sure G wasn't drunk, but he sure wasn't steady either. But then, again, after the few days he'd had, Sam wasn't so surprised.
He saved his report; the last few details could wait. He headed back to where G had collapsed, a throw pillow already pulled over his eyes. "Let's go," he said in a no nonsense tone of voice. He didn't want to spend half an hour having an argument.
"Go away," G told him in as firm a tone.
"Not happening. Now haul your ass off that sofa and get in the car."
G didn't move, so Sam took the pillow off his face and grabbed his arm. "Come on."
"Fuck off," G told him bluntly, pulling his arm back sharply without opening his eyes.
"I do something to piss you off?" Sam asked. He'd backed G throughout this whole mess, even disobeying Hetty to hook up with him in the park, and while he was used to G turning down an invitation to stay with him, he wasn't used to his partner being rude about it.
G sighed. "I'm tired Sam." He let out a long breath. "I'm just tired."
Sam pulled on him again, "I know. Which is why you can't sleep here tonight. Every time a computer beeps you'll be wide awake. Come back with me tonight."
G opened one eye and looked Sam up and down, clearly trying to see if there was an ulterior motive. "Fine." He let Sam help him up. "You know I'm fine, right?"
Sam didn't answer as they moved through the bullpen and he stopped at his desk and grabbed his bag. "Where's your duffle?"
G let out a short bark of laughter. "In my car."
Realization dawned and Sam shook his head as they headed out. "We'll go get it from the impound lot tomorrow. You've still got a few things at my place." He made it a point of giving G's outfit a once-over. "Because those clothes have got to go."
G shrugged. " Cargo pants and black hoodie – best camouflage in L.A. Besides, they're comfortable and I could hide my gun and phone and whatever in them. They work for me."
"You need to change," Sam told him decisively. "If for no other reason than you've been in them for three days straight," Sam added as he hit the button to unlock the Challenger.
G didn't answer him, just got in, buckled up and rested his head on the window as Sam drove them back to his place. Sam respected G's need for quiet, not trying to make conversation or running the radio.
When they got back, Sam found a pair of sweats that G had left at one point and pulled out one his own t-shirts. He handed them to G and then nodded to the bathroom, "Go shower and come to bed."
G took the clothes and crossed his arms over his chest, staring at the carpet. "I'm gonna sleep on the couch."
"You sure I didn't piss you off?" It had been about a year since G had last slept on the couch when he was willing to stay over at all.
"I just… my head is spinning. I need some time to decompress. Seriously, I'm not mad at you, I just need some space right now." G rubbed his hand over his face again, a sign Sam knew, that G was passing 'tired' and heading for 'exhaustion'.
"Okay. I'll get you a blanket. But if you change your mind…"
Callen had explained to him, more than once, that he really did cope better with stress when left to his own devices. He'd tried to explain to Sam – for whom family and team was everything – that he got a little wigged out when people crowded him when he was trying to relax. Sam had a hard time understanding that feeling since he was pretty sure he'd never experienced it. When he was under pressure he wanted people to lean on or at least to act as a sounding board. Oddly, Callen was great about it when Sam needed him to be. Maybe he felt as awkward about it as Sam felt about leaving him alone, he realized, but being G Callen, he just hid it well.
He scowled at G, just a little, making sure he was making the right call, leaving him alone even knowing what he knew. "Okay…"
Callen squeezed his arm. "Thanks, Big Guy." He staggered off for the shower.
Sam put a sheet over the couch and then tossed two pillows and a lightweight quilt on opposite ends. He wasn't sure when the last time G had eaten was, but judging by the looks of him, sleep was a little more imperative than anything else. And G knew where everything was and had long ago stopped standing on ceremony when he stayed.
Twenty minutes later a huge billowing cloud of steam preceded Callen out of the bathroom. G was dressed in his sweats, but apparently had decided that the t-shirt was too much trouble. He staggered over and face planted onto the couch. Sam stood up from where he was flipping through his mail and tossed the quilt over G. He shoved down the impulse to ask G to come upstairs to the bedroom with him again. "Good night."
"Mfm igh" G muttered into the pillow.
It had been a long time since Sam had had someone sleeping in his house who wasn't also in his bed. It made him nervous. He kept waking and listening, not hearing anything and then lying awake for ten minutes trying to figure out what had woken him in the first place. At six-thirty he gave up and got out of bed. He pulled on jeans and a t-shirt before getting the paper off the porch and putting on a pot of coffee. When he checked on his partner, he noticed that G had turned on one side, his knees pulled up and his arms tucked into his chest.
Even in sleep he looked tense. Sam frowned at his partner, wondering how he was coping with all that had happened in the past few days. G was great at pretending nothing bothered him, nothing touched him, but Sam had been around for the few times the pressure had built and G had snapped. It wasn't pretty, but Sam often wondered if it needed to happen more often to keep G balanced.
The blanket had slid to the floor sometime in the night and apparently G either hadn't noticed or couldn't be fussed to grab it again.
Sam had gone through half the pot of coffee and the entire sports section before he decided to check on G again. He'd have to wake him up soon if they were going to make it to the office on time. That was unusual. Sam wasn't sure he'd ever had to wake G before. While he didn't have Sam's Navy-attuned sense of morning, he was always up a few minutes after Sam was. If for no other reason than Sam moving around, even as silently as he could, was enough to wake his partner.
G's eyes were open, but he hadn't moved when Sam came back into the living room. Sam swatted his leg with the folded sports section. "You need to get your ass out of bed. I pretty much used up all my brownie points with Hetty for the month by meeting up with you in the park after she expressly told me not to."
Callen muttered a 'uh-huh', but didn't move.
"I mean it," Sam said as he went back for more coffee. "Get up; we gotta be out of here in fifteen minutes."
"I'm goin', I'm go-'…" Callen mumbled, cutting himself off as he attempted to actually cooperate.
"You okay?" Sam hollered from the kitchen.
"Fine," G hollered automatically, but the truth was, he'd sunk into the sofa and was having a hell of a time unfolding enough to get himself up.
Sam came back in with two coffee mugs. He set G's on the table and sighed. "I thought you said you were getting up."
"Yeah," G agreed, trying to figure out how to do that in as few movements as possible. He pulled his knees a little closer to his chest and shifted so that they'd essentially fall off the couch, hoping he could roll himself up into a sitting position.
"What are you doing?" Sam asked, sitting on the coffee table.
"Getting up. You're right, we don't want to piss off Hetty this morning." He sucked in a breath and held it as he tried to straighten his back.
Suddenly understanding that G wasn't just being lazy, Sam set his coffee down and jumped up to sit on the edge of the couch. "Hang on… Can you get up?" Before G could answer, Sam slid an arm under G's shoulder and hauled him up, until they were sitting side by side on the couch.
"I'm fine, Sam. Just a little sore."
Sam studied him for a second before reaching over and grabbing G's coffee. "Here," he said, holding the coffee out at a distance that G would have to stretch his arm to get it. He watched as G concentrated very, very hard on slowly straightening his elbow and rotating his shoulder.
"You're not fine," Sam grumbled as he handed over the coffee and then stood. He fished his phone out of his pocket.
Predicting his partner's next move, G hollered, "I am fine. I just need to get moving. Don't you dare call – "
"Hey Hetty, it's Sam."
"Hetty," G finished quietly. "Dammit!"
"Yeah, I don't think either one of us is going to make it in today. Maybe for a few days."
G glared at Sam, but Sam just turned his back, ignoring G's muttering, listening to Hetty through the phone.
"Yeah, well, what we seem to have forgotten is that he rolled his damn car. Airbags or not, that's going to - Yeah. Uh-huh. No, I'm going to call Pendelton. Friend of mine that I served with on the Seahawk is a doc there now. He won't ask too many questions about why G has almost no records and he won't let G bullshit him either."
Sam listened for a few more seconds, 'uh-huh'-ing every once in a while. "Okay, I"ll check in later."
G was glaring daggers at him when he turned around again. "I do not need a hospital. I just need to get up and start moving. If you didn't have such a crappy sofa, I'd be fine." He tried to push himself into a standing position, but something in his neck snapped and spasmed and he found himself grabbing the muscle involuntarily and swearing. A lot.
"Oh yeah, you're just fine," Sam mocked. He grabbed the t-shirt G hadn't put on the night before and suddenly understood that it was more than likely that he couldn't get into it on his own and wasn't in the mood to ask for help, to admit he was hurting. He didn't ask G if he needed help with it, just took G's arms and slowly and carefully guided him into it. The fact that G had quit arguing with him spoke volumes.
Once they'd managed to get him into the shirt, G tilted his head – carefully – and gave Sam a wry smile. "You know what today is?"
"Wednesday. May twenty-sixth," Sam answered, not sure where G was going with the question until the answer was out of his mouth. "Shit, G." Sam scrubbed his hands over his own face.
"It's becoming an annual 'thing' – me being in the hospital the last part of May," G quipped.
"Next year I'm locking you in the office for the week to keep you safe," Sam said with a forced smile.
G laughed, but ended up hissing as his body protested the movement of his abdominal muscles. "I'm pretty sure that even though this does kind of suck, I feel better than I did a year ago."
Sam dropped his arm around Callen's shoulders and squeezed carefully, letting G's head drop against him. "Only you could consider rolling your car an improvement."
"Over getting shot five times? Anything's an improvement over that."
Sam hugged him again and then carefully sat him back up. "Time to drag your ass to the hospital. I'm guessing codeine or Vicodin, maybe some Diazapam… You're gonna be a fun guy to have around for the next few days."
G rolled his eyes, knowing almost as well as Sam did what opiates did to him. They certainly dulled the pain, but he felt like a drunk sailor in a storm the entire time. For years he'd either refused to get the prescriptions filled, or flushed the pills first chance he got. He couldn't afford to be any more vulnerable than his injuries made him in the first place. But ever since coming back to L.A., since being paired up with one Special Agent Sam Hanna, G had discovered that being a little stoned really was infinitely more preferable than being in the kind of pain he was currently experiencing. And with Sam watching his back, it was safe to let go for a little while, to float on the cloud of tranquilizers and pain-killers and muscle-relaxers. In that time he'd been forced to admit that the doctors were right – being able to rest and being pain free actually did make healing go faster and got him back on duty that much quicker.
"Can I finish my coffee?"
Knowing a stall when he saw one, Sam answered, "That cup. If you want more, we'll stop on the way to the base. The longer you sit in that position, the more you're gonna hurt when I haul your ass off that couch."
G cradled the mug to his chest, letting his muscles shrink back up the way they'd wanted to since he'd left the office the day before. He was actually in enough pain to push back all the emotional crap that was circling around regarding what Keelson knew about his background and about this girl who'd claimed he'd had a sister. He was pretty sure that Sam would bring it up before the end of his current convalescence and badger him into talking until they reached that strange middle-ground he'd only found with Sam. That place where he'd talked enough to make Sam feel like he'd helped, but also to where he'd said just enough to get his thoughts in order enough to work out the rest for himself, by himself.
A year and a day ago he'd lain on a Venice sidewalk in Sam's arms unable to move, unable to talk, barely able to breathe. Today he was back to being pretty much unable to move again, but in that year he'd learned that talking a little wouldn't kill him. In fact, it could sometimes make it just a little easier to breathe.