Hermosa Beach (noisy neighbors with kids) is Hetty:
She's the first person G meets when he arrives at OSP, half his height in a tweed suit. She looks him up and down and G feels like he's half *her* height.
He hates feeling that way.
"Hmm. Mr. Callen, I presume."
"G," he corrects.
She looks at him without a flicker in her expression for a long moment, then quirks one eyebrow and says, "Agent Callen, then. This way please."
"For what?" he asks. Agent Callen. Great. So much for him being more suited to OSP and its laidback atmosphere.
"Unless you want to continue blocking the way for your new colleagues," she adds, gesturing him further into the office. G follows her, letting three people with boxes of what look like diving suits follow him in. "Photographs, biometrics, phone, car. Wardrobe," she calls over her shoulder.
"Wardrobe," G echoes, not sure if he's asking a question.
"Indeed, Agent Callen. In here, please."
She takes pictures and scans and hands things over, and G gives her half his attention, the other half on his new workplace. It's dark, which he's not sure he likes, and full of open space, which he mostly does. Not like his last place. He thinks he'll remember that mostly for the strip lighting, and the felt dividers between the nests of desks. Too much like being part of the admin pool.
"Agent Callen, am I keeping you from something more pressing?" she asks.
"No," G says, offering a smile. "Admiring your base."
"Your base now," she says.
"Sure," G agrees, and thinks, maybe. Jethro told him to give it a shot, try sticking to the US instead of having to learn Japanese. G said a month, Jethro said a year, they compromised on six months, but G's not feeling particularly beholden to that promise. He could get out of the country before Jethro found him.
"Your desk is over there." She points. "Paper, pens… you don't seem the type to carry a notebook."
"No," G agrees. "Good memory." Good memory, bad memories. Enough with the self-pity.
He's not too sure about being back here, but then he wasn't too sure about running, either.
"Hmm," she says again. "Why does that not surprise me? I assume you come with your own weapon?"
"And I'm anatomically correct," G says, straight-faced. There's a flicker of something on her expression, amusement, he's mostly sure, not disapproval. He can work with that, and he smiles, bland but charming.
"I don't believe we'll be documenting that, Agent Callen," she says.
G lifts one eyebrow to her, and shrugs.
"Wardrobe," she says again. "How do you expect to go undercover when you dress like a police officer?"
G eyes his jeans and dark t-shirt. "You associate with some strange police officers."
"Regardless," she says, but she stops on her way to what G assumes was wardrobe. "You will need a change of clothes. But perhaps that can wait. You should meet the team."
"I haven't met you yet," G points out.
She makes a little noise in the back of her throat – it won't take him long to realize that means she's been caught out, sound of victory. "Henrietta Lange, your operations manager. You may call me Hetty."
"Nice to meet you," G says, then, pointedly, "Hetty."
She takes his hand in hers to shake, warm and firm and dry. "The same to you, Mr. Callen."
It's a start. It's better than Agent, anyway.
Santa Clarita (cockroaches) is Kensi:
"LAPD say there's no useful forensics," G says as they duck under the crime scene tape – crime scene tape, he's going to have to talk to someone about how they're an undercover team, again – and into Staff Sergeant Smith's house.
"We'll see," Kensi says, snapping on her gloves and tossing a grin over her shoulder as she disappears into the house.
G listens to her boot heels on the wooden floors briefly, then goes into the kitchen. People put the strangest secrets on their fridges. Like Staff Sergeant Smith, who's stuck what looks a lot like a list of phone numbers to his with a Berlusconi's Ice Cream Parlor magnet. Not the best way to keep a secret drug smuggling business secret, but then, Smith hasn't seemed particularly bright so far.
G catches sight of a second piece of paper under the fridge and crouches down to pull it out.
And realizes, a split second later, that Smith's not the only one being careless, because there's the cold press of a gun barrel to the back of his neck. Because this place has been unguarded for two hours, and they didn't clear it when they came in.
"LAPD?" a woman's voice asks. Smith's missing girlfriend. At least they can call off the search.
"City inspector," G offers.
Her hand goes to the gun in the back of his jeans. "Are they arming all city inspectors these days, or just the ones who poke around in the kitchens of dead marines?"
"No, just those," G says. He hears his gun slide away and hit a wall. "This is a bad neighborhood."
"So where's your partner?" she asks. "Oh, and put your hands on your head, before you get any ideas about going for the weapon I imagine you keep in your boot."
G complies, even though he doesn't have a weapon in his boot. Crouched down, he's off-balance and awkward enough to think going for her gun might end in a gunshot wound in the wrong person. "I don't have a partner."
"Oh good," she says dryly. "Another lone wolf. Because they're always such fun."
"You already took me hostage, you don't have to insult me as well," G says. Maybe he could trip her, if he struck backwards. Self-defense instructor though. Probably has good balance.
"That's the fun part." The gun twitches slightly against his neck, like she's shrugging. "So, not LAPD, definitely not a city inspector. Marine? MP?"
"What did I say about insults?" G asks. His knee's starting to lock up, courtesy of last week's bad fall.
"Oh, God," she groans. "You're NCIS. You guys are like the worst of the cops and the worst of the Marines combined."
"Now that's just not nice," a second voice says, cold and in control. Kensi. "Why don't you put that down and we'll talk?"
G stays very still, so he feels the twitch of the gun against his neck again, pressing harder, takes a breath to warn Kensi –
And the gun barrel's gone, burst of movement behind him, thud of fist on flesh, and in the handful of seconds it takes him to turn around and stand up, Kensi's got Smith's girlfriend face down on the kitchen floor and is reaching for her handcuffs.
G reaches down and rescues the girl's gun, then his own, just so he doesn't have to look completely surplus to requirements.
"Fuck you!" the girl snarls at Kensi. "Fuck you, you're the reason he got killed."
"Nothing to do with the drug smuggling?" G asks.
She actually growls at him for that, and Kensi presses harder with the knee in her back. "Be quiet. Backup's on the way to take her back to base."
The whole thing's taken maybe two minutes. "Better late than never," G says.
Kensi grins up at him, every hair in place, not even breathing hard. "Good thing you had me to save your ass. I found blood splatter behind the dresser as well, if you can hold off getting held-up at gun point long enough to come take a look."
G can hear sirens approaching, and the girl's gone more or less pliant under Kensi. "I can probably give you a couple of minutes."
La Brea (too hot) is Sam:
"I'm just saying," Sam says, smoothing a wrinkle out of his jacket as he hangs it up. "You keep getting gun shot residue on Hetty's clothes, she's going to make you pay."
"I can't help it if people keep shooting at us," G protests. He hesitates, then rolls up the sleeves of his shirt. Not that it will keep Hetty from noticing the GSR, but it might get him a couple hours' grace. "What would you rather I do, let us both get shot?"
Sam holds his hands up in a gesture of surrender. "Like I said, I'm just saying. And I managed not to get covered in blood and GSR."
"That's because I was the one saving both our lives," G points out. "Where were you again?"
"I was pinned down behind a tree," Sam says mildly. He finishes shrugging on a fresh t-shirt. "Come on, let's get out of here. Maybe Hetty'll lose her memory of what you did to her clothes overnight."
"I'm sure you'll remind her," G says dryly, grabbing his bag. He's not totally ready to leave, even if it does mean avoiding Hetty's wrath – his new place was too hot, even before the heat-wave hit. It'll be unbearable now.
He's not sure if Sam catches his reluctance – probably – or if he just wants company. "Come back to mine. I've even got air conditioning."
"Mr. Big City Liver," G teases, but he follows Sam out anyway.
Sam does have air-conditioning, and it's bliss against G's over-heated skin, sprawled out at one end of Sam's couch, looking out at the dark.
"Forecast says it's gonna break at the weekend," Sam comments, lips twitching like he wants to laugh at G. G would swear Sam was born in a volcano, he never seems even slightly fazed by the heat. Considering G grew up around LA, he thinks that's completely unfair.
Especially since it just makes Sam more attractive, cool and collected while everyone wilts around him.
"Good," he says. "Or I'm taking a vacation to Iceland."
"You, on a vacation?" Sam asks. "I don't even know what that would look like."
"I take vacations," G protests. Sam just keeps looking at him. "Okay, I've taken *a* vacation."
"That sounds more like it." Sam drains the last of his beer. "I'm ready to crash." He stands up, offers G a hand up. "You wanna?"
Even with Sam's air conditioning on full, G can feel the line of sweat down his spine, but it's not like he can get any hotter than he was earlier. He takes Sam's hand, lets himself be pulled up and in, feeling Sam's thickening cock against his thigh.
He ducks his head a little to hide his smile, somewhere between touched and sort of frustrated – like he didn't have the situation completely under control, but Sam always wants this when he thinks they were in real danger. Not that G minds. It's far easier than anyone else he's ever had sex with, and he's not dumb enough to want to say no to his good looking best friend of a partner.
"Only because it's cool here," he says.
"Whatever helps you sleep," Sam agrees, smiling.
Studio City (too cold) is Eric and Nate:
They start within a week of each other, Eric replacing their old computer tech, Jemima, when she gets accepted into the Marines, Nate as a new idea of Director Sheppard's. Eric's fine, mostly. So's Nate – G does realize that it's not Nate's fault G has an aversion to psychologists, though he does also wish that Nate wasn't one.
"Eric?" he prompts, refolding his newspaper and trying not to look too much like a crazy person talking to himself – the business suit probably helps.
"Still looking. You sure you don't see any street cameras?"
"Yeah, but I was keeping it from you just to spite you," Sam says, low in G's ear from across the street. G laughs but Eric doesn't seem bothered.
"Okay, no, wait, building on the corner's got a security camera inside, let me…"
"Who has a security camera inside pointing out?" Nate's voice asks, faint echo that probably means he's sitting right by Eric.
"You're the psychologist, shouldn't you know?" G asks. He's starting to feel really stupid out here, knowing their suspect disappeared somewhere into this block and not being able to see him. Though less stupid than Kensi, dressed as a fairy in the kids' toy store behind G.
"Well, it does suggest a certain level of concern about the impact of the outside world on a structured inside world, one might even call it paranoia," Nate says. G can't tell if he's joking or not – it's actually one of the things he really likes about Nate, enough to balance out how he's a psychologist and probably profiling them all. "Or an insular nature, possibly as a result of some sort of childhood trauma. Of course, I'm really just speculating."
"Of course," G says.
"Aren't you always?" Sam asks.
"I prefer the term educated guess," Nate says, as deadpan as he was with G.
"I bet," Sam agrees.
"Hey, guys, I found him," Eric puts in. "Round back of the pizza place, with a – Yeah, okay, you might want to hurry, I think he just took the cook hostage."
"Wonderful," G grumbles, drawing his gun as covertly as he can on a busy street.
"In case you were wondering," Nate says, "*He's* definitely paranoid."
Sherman Oaks (too quiet) is Macy:
She comes by the hospital after he's convinced the doctors to switch him to something other than morphine, mainly through looking as freaked out as knowing he's on the stuff always makes him feel. The good side is that he's coherent and focused enough to both know she's there and talk to her, the bad side is that he's in enough pain that talking hurts enough to make him doubt it's worth it.
Not that it matters – Macy seems to have come to talk, not listen.
"We're still investigating," she says, sitting by his bed and turning her badge in her hands. "There's not much to go on."
G nods – he already knows this from Sam, from Kensi, and from Hetty. He probably would from Eric and Nate as well, but they both seem to want to pretend he's not shot up in a hospital bed when they visit and don't mention his case at all. G's got no problem with that.
"That doesn't mean we'll give up," she adds. She turns the badge case a little faster, nervous tic that G's never seen before. Maybe it's hospitals – he was too busy being uncomfortable with addictive drugs to get uncomfortable over the setting, but it's never too late to start. "Well, that the team will give up. I have complete faith in their ability to find who did this to you."
"You?" G asks, worried.
"The Middle East Field Office needs a new lead agent. Director Vance recommended me." She gives him a sardonic smile. "Apparently all that time I put into learning Arabic paid off."
"Tell Sam," G says. Sam likes to mock Macy for her accent, but G knows they spend hours practicing together.
He remembers Sam, cradling what he's pretty sure they both thought was G's dying body and saying, "Stay with me, stay with me." It's probably the only time G's ever done what he was told.
"He's already made me promise to write once a week in Arabic so he can tell me where I'm going wrong," Macy agrees. She's always known what G's trying to say. Family. "And teach him any new curse words."
"Great," G mutters. He's starting to feel the pull of the pain killers. "Who's replacing you?"
Macy rolls her eyes, and reaches over to touch his shoulder softly. It's weird – Macy doesn't do soft. "You are, if you can manage not to get shot again."
"Oh," G says stupidly. She sounds full of faith. It's nice.
Not as nice as it would be to be finding this out from somewhere other than a hospital bed, but still. Nice. "Miss you," he adds.
"I'll miss you too," Macy says quietly, and G can feel her hand on his shoulder, all the way down into mindless sleep.