A/N: Hello. Here's the final chapter.
"Morning, Callen." Mac called when his host entered the kitchen.
"Grisha." Came the response.
"My name. The only reason that the others call me Callen or G. is because until about a year ago, I didn't know my name. So please, Grisha." Callen lent against the bench and took the cup that Mac handed to him.
"Grisha it is then. So, think they've freaked out enough?" Mac asked as he finished making them breakfast. He turned to see Callen take a long sip of his coffee, savouring it and thinking before he answered. Mac returned to the flapjacks he was making and flipped them before popping the toast he was making. He topped it with lightly grilled tomatoes, fetta cheese, a couple of slices of prosciutto and spinach. Callen insisted they go shopping before they arrived at his place, knowing that he didn't have anything to eat.
"Mmm, maybe after breakfast. Though I'm sure that Sam knows where I am now, so he'll be here soon anyway." He looked at the plates before him and changed his plan until after, just so he could enjoy not only the delicious food in front of him in peace, but also the company of a new friend.
"I guess that's what happens when you've been partners for that long as well as friends." Mac said, also tucking in.
"Wasn't always like that." Callen said as he took a bite of the pancakes. At Mac query, Callen told him about their first few years together. Mac in turn, told how he and Jack came together, unaware that Jack had done so the day before.
Callen and Mac were back in the living room an hour later, when there was a knock on his door. The two men paused their poker game before Callen called out, "Come in Sam!" He looked over at the younger man and his face had an I told you so look.
"There's some flapjacks left if you want any, Sam." Mac said as he tossed out and picked up two cards. Callen watched his partners face. It was starting to resemble a tomato, despite his dark skin. He could almost pinpoint the second he would loose his temper and start hounding on him. The only thing that stopped him was Mac, and Callen knew it.
"We were planning on calling you a few minutes ago, but I spotted your car doing a lap of the neighbourhood. So we simply decided to wait for you." Callen said, as both men showed their hands. Each had three of a kind, Callen only winning as he had 8's, beating Mac's 7's. Dropping their cards on the table, Callen stood and limped over to his flabbergasted partner.
Seeing him hobble, must have snapped Sam from his anger induced haze, as he stepped closer to help him. Callen allowed himself to be led back to the couch and Sam took the chair that his partner had vacated.
"You know, both teams have gone nuts trying to figure out where you went. Jack's been going off at any and everyone. Yeah." He added at seeing Mac wince. "Had a spar with him last night after he wasn't able to find you in any of your usual haunts, even after I told him, that since you were with G., you wouldn't be there."
"I'm not going to apologise, Sam. They should never have gotten to that level. Expect me to be more vocal about wanting to leave in future." Callen said as he sipped his now lukewarm coffee. Seeing the wince cross Sam's face, Callen nodded, seeing that his meaning had been heard. Trusting that hospital again was going to take a long time.
Just then, Sam's phone rang. Callen watched as he winced, so it was either Hetty, or Jack. When he handed the phone to Mac, Callen figured that it was the latter.
"Hi Jack." Mac answered it on speaker phone, with good reason. The shouting that Jack did could be heard from across the street. Mac simply waited for the older man to get it out of his system before he opened his mouth. "In case it escaped you notice, two people got unauthorised entry to a secure section of that hospital. I think Callen and I were well within our rights to leave before more showed up."
"Still would have liked a heads up buddy." A sigh could be heard over the line, "Where are you?"
"Callen's place." He rattled of the address. "And if we had told you we weren't going to be there, it would have looked odd to the staff if you hadn't showed up. They had to have had someone let them in, or give them a card."
"Sam, you said the one place they wouldn't be was where they would normally go."
"And for everyone else, that's true." Sam said, looking at his partner, "But, G. has a habit of not only not going to the same place twice, but he also never shows up where you expect him to. Hence why I let you look around knowing it would be for nought. G. is a master at hiding. He won't be found unless he wants to be." Sam smiled a little at that, knowing how frustrating it was for him and everyone else, but also knowing that it had kept G. alive on several occasions.
"Why did you go to your place, Callen? Surely you would have thought that Sam would find you there eventually?" Jack asked. They could hear him driving so figured that he would be there soon.
"Because I never go home after something like that. Too risky. But Mac was flagging and my leg was starting to hurt. I figured that at the very least, we'd have a safe place to crash, and weapons on hand if need be." Callen said, looking out the window as another car pulled up behind Sam's. A gorgeous red Mustang, with Jack at the wheel. At that moment, the phone shut off, and the doorbell sounded shortly after. Calling out to come in, Callen took the phone from Sam and headed into the kitchen to talk to Hetty.
It was over an hour later that the other two men left, after checking that their partners hadn't done anything to reopen their wounds. Hetty had been surprised to learn that Callen had gone home. After talking to her and assuring her that they were fine. Hetty said that he could stay there for a couple of days, so long as he and Mac got checked over at the hospital daily.
Mac's boss, Matty, had also said he could stay there, under the same conditions. So after hanging up they headed to the hospital. They left an hour later, and after a pitstop at a local hardware store, they headed home.
It was the next morning after they had returned from the hospital that Sam and Jack arrived with lunch. Jack held the door open for the taller man, only for them both to stop at the sight before them. The living room was filled with tables and on them were a multitude of 'things'. Jack chuckled and continued onto the kitchen while Sam looked, and looked, and looked. There was no other word for what he could see on the tables. They looked half finished, some looked like the balloon they had made at the hospital, some like the 'dart' gun they concocted, while others he had no idea about. He slowly followed Jack into the kitchen, still looking.
"And this is why I love and hate Mac." Jack chuckled as he saw Sam's reactions. "He's able to create anything on his own, but if he's found someone to make them with, things get a whole lot worse. My guess they're out back, working on a full-size version to see if it will take their weight."
That had Sam snapping his head back to him. "Why would they be doing that?"
Another chuckle, "Because that's Mac. He's always wanting to try out what he makes. And if he has the opportunity to make it the best he can, he will. I still remember that blasted robot." He shuddered, then answered Sam's questions as he followed the home owner's partner out the back.
Sure enough, there were their partners, filling a balloon with hot air. It was about the size of a car. While not quite big enough to hold a person, Jack could see that it had been designed to hold equipment, if the basket under it was anything to go by.
"Mac, what are you up to now?" He said, as he handed out sodas. The meds they were on not allowing them to have alcohol.
"Just trying to improve Callen's already remarkable security. Although this isn't exactly as subtle." He looked skywards for a moment before turning to Callen. "Grisha! You got anymore rope, I think this thing's going to go higher than we thought."
Jack saw the look of surprise on Sam's face as Mac called out to Callen. "Why the face?" He asked.
"No one calls him that. He didn't even know his name until a year ago."
"And you and the team don't call him that because?"
"We're all use to calling him G. or Callen. Not even Hetty calls him anything but Callen."
The rest of the afternoon was spent simply watching Mac and Callen play around with the balloon. They let it go as high as it could, well as high as the rope, strapping tape, old ripped sheets and anything else they could fashion had allowed, before pulling it back down, and having it sit just above the house. Under it they had slung a more refined version of the dart gun they had made at the hospital. Somehow, they had managed to get it on a swivel that could be controlled by remote so that it could be turned in any direction. For Jack, it was nothing new, but seeing the look on Sam's face, he could tell he had never seen his partner like this. So, he talked. About some of the crazy things Mac had done to get them out of tight spots; about some of the things he had made that hadn't worked and some of the more spectacular explosions that had come about from something innocuous to begin with.
Sam realised that this side of Callen was always there, but because of how the rest of the team saw him, he had never been able to bring out this side of him. He was seen as a strategist, a planner, a fighter, a leader. Not a scientist. He hoped that the two men would be able to get together in the future, as he had never seen G. so happy. The only other time had been when he had found out his name.
He ducked as something made the gun explode and suddenly they were covered in plastic as the balloon popped and lost the hot air they had used to inflate it. He and Jack laughed as they saw the look on their faces. Like a favourite toy had been taken away. It was there only for a moment before they started to talk about how to improve it. It was all Sam and Jack could do to convince them to at least have lunch and get checked over to make sure they hadn't reopened anything.
Sam didn't think he had to worry anymore about his wayward partner as he saw his face and heard his voice as he talked to Mac about different things. He had family in Sam and the rest of the team. And he had good friends in Mac and Jack. And he had someone that he could talk the ear off about science stuff when he needed to. All in all, things were looking up; so long as they left him out of any hair-brained schemes.
A/N: And there we go. I hope those who have stuck with me, have enjoyed this story. I always think Callen is smarter than we see him on the show.
Until next time, see you 'round the ridges! ;)