Author's Note: Okay, took a little longer than I would have liked, but here's chapter 5, and chapter 6 is already in progress. It's my plan to get at least two chapters out this week, so we'll see how that works out ^.^
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are not mine- they belong to the lovely people that made NCIS and it's new spin-off, NCIS: LA. Also, this story is SLASH. That means it deals with male/male homosexual feelings, so please don't be surprised by this fact.
Thanks for all the great reviews, and please enjoy!
"G, get your ass out of bed and open the damn door!" Sam called, again, pounding on the door to room 23 of the Motel 6. He balanced the take-out coffee carrier in one hand, checking his phone.10:30. He tried calling Callen's phone again, but it was still turned off. He returned to pounding on the door.
"Hey, buddy-" the door to room 22 flew open, and a very angry middle aged man in his boxers and undershirt stormed out. "Could you keep it down? Some of us-" And then he got a good look at Sam, who was glaring for all he was worth and only moments from breaking down the door. "... are trying to sleep," the man's voice wavered a little and he waited until he was mostly behind his own door again before adding, "So, if you could keep it down, that would be great. Umm... thanks. Sorry to interrupt." The door closed and Sam shook his head.
'Damnit, G, open the door.' Now he was starting to get a little nervous. What if something had happened? What if G hadn't made it back to last night? What if he was hurt? What if he had remembered the kiss and was too disgusted to even look at him? Sam knew he was just working himself up, but he couldn't help it. Each thought was worse than the last, and he could feel the adrenaline starting to build up. What if something was wrong and he was standing there banging on the door like an idiot? That was it- coffee still in hand Sam prepared to kick down the door, when suddenly another thought occurred to him.
Taking out his phone, Sam looked up the number to the main office of the Motel 6. It rang twice before a very tired-sounding woman answered.
"Motel 6, 'We'll leave the light on for you.' How can I help you?"
"Callen, room 23, please."
"Just a moment, sir."
Horrible, staticky jazz music started playing, and Sam held the phone a little away from his ear while he waited. From inside the room came a shrill, deafening ring, followed by a yelp and a crash. The phone picked up.
"Yeah... what?" G sounded incredibly hung over. Either that, or still fucked up from the night before.
"G, get your ass out of bed and open the damn door. I've been standing here for 20 minutes."
"Shit." There was a little fumbling and then Sam's phone beeped to inform him G had hung up. Some more swearing from within, and something that sounded like the phone hitting the floor, and then the door was open and G was standing there, squinting in the sudden glare- and naked. Sam started to comment, but G looked like shit so he held out the coffee tray instead.
G took the coffee and stepped aside so Sam could come in, leaning against the door once it was closed and cradling the coffee, inhaling deeply.
"You are the most wonderful person I know." He took a cautious sip, then a bigger one when he found the coffee no longer hot. "It's cold." He complained, but took another sip.
"It wasn't when I got here." Sam was standing by the window, twisting open the blinds to the dark, stuffy room. G winced at the flood of light.
"When I said, 'Not before 10:00,' you should have known I meant 'Not before 11:00.'" He groused, but finally set down the half-empty coffee cup and started rifling through his bag for clothes. "Okay, just give me 5..." G yawned, disappearing into the bathroom. The door closed, and the water turned on, and Sam let out a huge breath he hadn't even realized he'd been holding.
G was always so casual about his body, as if walking around naked in front of his partner was the most natural thing in the world. Sam had certainly seen him like that often enough over the years, and part of him felt immensely pleased that G was obviously comfortable enough around him to not even bother with a towel or a sheet or something. As he waited, though, Sam found himself wondering things. Was G that comfortable being naked around everyone, or just him? If it was just him, what did that mean? And why was it G seemed to only make an exception to his usual no-clothes rule when it came to sleeping on Sam's couch?
The bathroom door opened and G stumbled out, pulling on his shirt as he walked.
"Food first?" He looked up imploringly, and Sam snorted.
"Sorry, sleeping beauty. You'll have to settle for a muffin in the car."
Sam was already at the door, and G grabbed his coffee and his coat before following. Somehow Sam felt a little disappointed that G didn't bring his bag- obviously he was pretty intent on returning to the motel that night.
Outside the sky was heavy with dense grey clouds, and as they reached Sam's car it began to sprinkle. It took Sam a minute to fish out his keys and open the door, and while he waited G found himself watching the cars out on the street speed by, jarring splashes of color against the grey city around them. So many people, all going through their neat, tidy little lives crying about how hard everything was, how difficult their responsibilities were.
Sam's car was stuffy, and as soon as the engine turned G had the window down, letting the cold drops of water sting his face as they drove. Sam was silent, eyes fixed firmly on the road, so G returned to his people watching. They passed a frantic looking woman in a minivan full of screaming children, and a young blonde man in a little blue car with a huge dog. They hit a red light, and pulled up next to a couple arguing in a white station wagon, and G laughed a little to himself. They were so upset, but did they ever have to think about things like why nowhere felt like home? Did they go out every day wondering if they'd ever even make it home again? Did they know what it was like to suddenly having the person you rely on most in life giving you dirty looks all the time? He glanced sideways to see Sam still scowling, then looked back to the couple, who were now sitting in angry silence. The similarity was not lost on G, and this time he chuckled aloud. The small sound seemed to finally wake Sam from whatever thoughts he'd been lost in.
"Stephanie- my friend- was booked today, so you're going to be meeting with the landlords. She already called and told them to expect you. I'm taking you by three places."
Sam's voice was rushed and a little harsh, and G shifted in his seat, trying to find a way to ease the tension that had been knotting between his shoulders and right behind his eyes for weeks. It was starting to get unbearable.
It was all he could bring himself to say. Talking to Sam was becoming too much of an effort lately. What use to be constant banter had recently become constant bickering; they'd always joked around, always messed with each other, but it was just in fun. There use to be smiles, real smiles, and real laughter that went along with the rough words. Now there were just cold stares and scowls and more rough words. And yet, if that had been it, G could have dealt with it. If Sam was cold all the time, if he really treated G like just another co-worker, he would have been able to take it, he was sure. Callen had been down that particular road many times over the years- betrayed trust, estrangement, abandonment- those he knew. What he couldn't make sense of was Sam's sudden interest in gourmet coffee and apartment hunting. If Sam really hated him, what had the glass of water and garbage can meant?
Sam had pulled up in front of a small, well-manicured apartment building that was as grey as the sky behind it. With a barely contained sigh G climbed out of the car and out onto the slightly-damp street, only to notice Sam was still sitting in the car. He leaned down to the still-open passenger window.
G shivered, pulling his jacket closer around him, and Sam spared him a brief glance before staring back out the windshield, straight ahead.
"What, so they'll think we're looking for an apartment together? You're going to have a hard enough time convincing the management to rent to you without them thinking you're queer. Now hurry up, you're already late and we have to be at the next place in a half hour."
The words, while probably true, stung more than G thought they should have. Something in Sam's voice just sounded so... disgusted. It hadn't helped that Sam wouldn't even look at him. With a sigh, G straightened and approached the building, anxious to get this over with. He knew before he'd even set foot inside that he could never live here, but for whatever reason Sam had set aside his Saturday for this and G was not anxious to spend it fighting.
Sure enough, the apartment was small, and cramped and cold. The one after that was too big, too warm and rather peculiar smelling. They stopped at Bollini's for pizza, and then went to the third and (thankfully) final apartment, which had a private courtyard that the property owner's wife used to run her daycare. And of course, with the brief break in the clouds, it was overrun with shrieking children and at least three yappy-type dogs, all running and flailing and making as much noise as possible. Needless to say that by the time G returned to the car, his patience was shot.
Sam blurted, still looking steadfastly at anything other than G, who nearly screamed. One or two word sentences had made up most of their conversations throughout the day, and he simply could not stand it anymore.
"Just take me back to the motel."
G whispered, a hand over his eyes to block the glare aggravating his fresh migraine.
"That's it? Just take you back to the motel?" Sam was gripping the steering wheel so tight his nails were leaving marks in the leather. "That's all you have to say? I just spent my Saturday driving you around to look at apartments because you're too lazy to do it yourself, and that's all you can say?" At this point they were only a few blocks from the Motel 6, and Sam gunned it through a yellow light, suddenly desperate to get G out of the car.
"Please, stop yelling..."
G pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes squeezed shut tight.
"I'm not yelling! You're the one who's being careless and irresponsible. You're going to lose your job because you can't keep an apartment and you don't even care! I was just trying to help, you could at least put some effort in."
By then they had pulled up in the motel parking lot, and the moment the car stopped G was out and slamming the door behind him, leaning down once more to stare in at Sam through the open window.
"Yeah, or you could just fuck off. God, you have been such an ass lately! Whatever's wrong with you, I hope you get over it soon. I'll see you Monday."
Sam stared, absolutely dumbstruck as G circled around the back of the car and disappeared into the labyrinth of rooms. A few moments later the sound of a door slamming echoed through the halls, followed by the muffled, angry curses of the man from room 22.
To be continued...