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Coming Home

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Callum was heading to the parlour when he noticed Phil's car pull up in the Square. He knew Ben was coming home but he just didn't know when exactly.

Callum pushes his hands in his pockets and watches as Kathy rushes over to the car.

"Ben!" She shouts.

Callum watches as they exchange a small hug, Ben winces slightly from the contact and Callum wants nothing more than to rush over and check he's alright.

After several moments, Phil helps Ben into his house and Kathy turns on her heels and heads towards Callum. For a minute, Callum thinks she's spotted him spying on them.

Callum's body turns to stone as Kathy continues to head towards him. She gets within several feet of him before she actually spots Callum.

She smiles at Callum.

"Alright?" Callum scratches the back of his neck. "That Ben?" He asks, pretending that he had not just watched their entire exchange.

"Yeah." She smiles as she looks back towards the Mitchell house.

"How is he?" Callum asks.

Kathy studies Callum's face. "He's getting there." She says.

Callum nods.

It's quiet for a brief second and then Kathy says, "Phil's throwing him a little coming home do later on. You should pop over." She smiles. "Ben would wanna see you."

Callum doesn't know what to do. Kathy had been there when Callum has been to visit Ben in the hospital and she'd heard Phil call him family. Surely that wasn't enough for her to figure out what was going on with him and Ben, was it?

"Look, I've just gotta pop home and get him a few bits and then I'm heading over." Kathy explains. "You can come with me, if you like?" She offers.

Callum glances over at the Mitchell house and then nods. "Yeah, alright." He smiles.

*****

"Look who I found." Kathy exclaims as she heads into the Mitchell living room, Callum following suit.

Ben is sprawled across a sofa, Lola to his left and Jay is sat on the arm of the sofa next to him.

Callum heads through the doorway and smiles awkwardly. He feels the same awkwardness pass over him as it did when he first went to see Ben in hospital.

Jay stands up when he sees Callum and he heads towards him. "Callum, mate." He extends his arms out for a hug and Callum pats Jay on the back as they embrace. "Good to see you."

Callum nods towards Lola and then his eyes lock with Ben's.

Ben looks better than he did a couple of days back. His face is still scathed with purple bruises and scarlet cuts but he doesn't look as pale. The colour has returned to his cheeks and for a minute Callum could have sworn he saw Ben's face light up.

"Alright." Callum says.

Ben smiles at Callum.

"Found him lingering in the Square, thought you might like to see him, darling." Kathy says as she heads over and kisses Ben on the cheek. 

Callum's cheeks flush at the thought of Ben actually wanting to see him.

"You just gonna stand there all evening?" Ben teases.

Callum gingerly walks towards where Ben is sat.

"Lo, will you give me a hand with these sandwiches?" Billy calls from the kitchen.

Lola steps out from her seat, allowing Callum to scoot in.

"Can't keep away, can you?" Ben says low enough for only Callum to hear.

Callum rolls his eyes, "I just came to see how you were. I wasn't expecting you to be back so soon."

"Yeah, well, I think this nurse was starting to get the hots for me." Ben says. "Not that I minded, of course." He teases. "But PDA in the workplace isn't my kind of thing. Not very professional, is it?" Ben smirks.

Callum scoffs. "No change in your humour, I see." 

"I got shot, Callum." He says. "I didn't have a personality transplant." 

"Shame, really." Callum mocks. "I quite liked you when you was all soft and sensitive." He smirks. 

Ben laughs and opens his mouth to say something, probably something either immensely crude or sarcastic, Callum thought. But Jay props himself back onto the arm of the sofa, cutting Ben off. 

"Here you go, mate." Jay hands Callum a can of beer and then passes another to can to Ben. "Cheers." He says and smacks his can against Ben and then Callum's. 

Callum takes a sip from his beer and smiles to himself.

A warm feeling rises from the pit of his stomache and spreads throughout his body. Despite the unfortunate circumstances of the past week, Callum's feels a sense of happiness. True happiness. Something he hadn't felt in a long time.