Falling Through Cracks
The Prickly Pear
M (For mature themes, mental illness and coarse language)
G Callen has always slipped through the cracks. Over the years they became his hiding place, somewhere all his secrets could be hidden. But when trouble hits and his team begins looking through them, what secrets will those cracks reveal?
This was my first ever NCIS Los Angeles fanfiction, but I have gone back over all the old chapters and edited them as of December, 2012. When I started this fic, I had no plot in mind and just went where the characters took me, which resulted in my muse drying up completely just before the finish. Now, I have never managed to finish a multi-chapter story in all the years I've been writing so I'm taking another swing at this one hoping to change that. Wish me luck, and please enjoy the ride.
Oh, one more thing. Please keep in mind that this piece is set early in Season One, before Deeks came into the picture and before Dom died (though his is missing.)
Any characters you recognize are property of NCIS Los Angeles's rightful owners. All the Original Characters, however, belong to me. These characters may not be used in any form without my express permission. This fanfiction is written solely for my amusement, no money has been made whatsoever.
They had their morning routine worked out, he and Sam. It was practiced and well worn and surprisingly functional considering it involved the two of them. He would wake (or more often than not simply decided it was time to stop trying to sleep and get up,) prepare himself for the day ahead then swing by Sam's place to pick him up on the way to work. Despite Sam's constant complaining that he was late picking him up, or that he took the long route in, it had been the older agent's idea to begin the routine in the first place and Callen wasn't stupid, the ulterior motive was clear. This routine was his partner's excuse to make sure he wasn't spending his nights at headquarters again. For some reason Sam didn't think grown men should have to resort to living at work while between homes, again.
It wasn't like he was all that picky about his living conditions or that he liked moving around constantly, it simply came naturally to him. It was all he had ever known. A childhood of bouncing from foster home to foster home followed by a career of doing much the same thing between agencies meant that settling down was something completely foreign to him. He chuckled slightly as the image of an elderly version of himself turning in for the night on the couch at the OSP headquarters flashed before his eyes. Was it sad that he could see this so clearly in his mind? Probably, but he didn't care, NCIS's most top secret branch felt more like home than any other place he had ever rested his head. Hetty should really never have given him a key.
Shaking his head with a slight smile he glanced down at his watch to find he was actually seven minutes ahead of schedule. Sam would be proud, he might actually be early for once. The pop of the toaster drew his attention and he pulled the pieces daftly from the machine, buttered them and ate them quickly. With breakfast taken care of he moved into what could just barely qualify as a living room and grabbed his battered old duffle bag off the couch, slinging it easily over his shoulder. He picked up his gun as well and tucked it away in the waistband of his jeans just as a loud knocking rang out from his front door.
Sam Hanna would be the first to admit that he was a punctual person and that he expected the same courtesy from the people around him. It was that expectation which had his moon spiraling downwards fast as he checked his watch for the third time in five minutes. Callen should have arrived at his house twenty minutes ago, there was now absolutely no chance the two of them would make it to work on time and Hetty was going to chew them both out when they finally did arrive. Whenever that was going to be. He wondered if perhaps he should call her, warn her that they were going to be late and plead his case seeing as their impending tardiness was his partner's fault. Or better yet maybe he should just call G and tell him to get his shinny ass moving.
Simply out of frustration it was Callen's number he dialled first. Pacing up and down the sidewalk he waited for an answer but none came, instead the automated voice of Callen's answering machine greeted him and he hung up angrily. But the anger didn't last long, for as he continued to pace it occurred to him that as much as he complained about his partner's arrival times, he had never been this late before. Ten minutes, sure, but going on thirty, never. Warning bells began to chime in Sam's head and he hurriedly dialled Callen's number once more to the same end, the emotionless voice telling him his partner was unavailable at this time.
Sam stared up and down his street once more but he could see no sign of his partner's vehicle. "Dammit, G," he muttered, and hurried to his own car.
By the time Sam arrived at OSP headquarters it was nearly ten o'clock so he was not at all surprised to find Hetty waiting for him in the bullpen. With her arms folded and a disapproving scowl on her face the tiny woman somehow managed to look quite intimidating. She looked him up and down as he stopped in front of her and he made a point not to look away. "So nice of you to finally join us, Mr. Hanna," she remarked dryly.
"Hetty," Sam cut across her hurriedly, hoping she wouldn't snap at his rudeness, "Is G here?"
"Mr. Callen? No, I was under the impression that you two came in together."
Sam looked away and sighed, worry beginning to claw at his insides. "He didn't show this morning," he replied shaking his head slightly, "I tried calling him but he isn't answering."
Hetty's demeanour changed immediately. Her face turned from disapproving to concerned and she lowered her arms to her sides. "We take no chances Mr. Hanna, gather the team."
'We take no chances.' Ever since Dom had disappeared it had become Hetty's mantra when it came to her agents' safety. It had become all their mantras' for that matter, they would not, could not, loose another friend. Sam sighed as he glanced around, studying each of his coworkers closely in the artificial light shinnying from the huge screens around them. Kensi stood nearest the screens with her back against the table in the middle of the room and her arms folded. Her mask of professionalism was in place as always but Sam could still see the worry in her mismatched eyes as she stared icily at the screen. Hetty stood only a few paces away, her hands clasp in front of her - a sign of nerves Sam knew - as she too stared at the screen. Nate had chosen to stand away from the others slightly, studying the scene around him with his brow furrowed. Their eyes met for a split second but Nate dropped his gaze quickly, clearly realizing now was not the time.
Eric was typing as quickly as he could manage, chewing at his bottom lip and fidgeting in his chair. "I'm activating the GPS in Callen's phone," he told them all in a voice of forced calm.
"Put it on-screen," Sam ordered.
A huge map of LA flashed to life on the screen before them, a flashing red dot in the middle of downtown drawing all of their attention.
"Well, he's not at home…" Eric said slowly.
"No," Kensi agreed, "That's the LAPD's main station, what the hell is Callen doing there?"
Sam could only shrug, he had absolutely no idea what his partner would be doing at a police station of all places but the warning bells in his head continued to chime and he sighed. Callen was a lone wolf, that much was true, which made him liable to get up to his neck in something without any of his team knowing but still something about this felt wrong. The same thought seemed to have struck everyone else for a strained silence fell over all of them. For several minutes they stood starting at the blinking red dot on the diagram of twisting streets and buildings that was Los Angeles until finally Kensi spoke.
"It's wrong," she said, turning away from the screen and pacing slightly as she spoke, "Callen wouldn't go to a police station, it's just wrong."
Sam nodded in agreement. "And he'd never miss a shift," he added, thinking out loud. "He lives for his job, it's hard enough to convince him to stay away when he's injured, when he's healthy it's impossible. There's no way he's missing work voluntarily."
"Sam's right," Nate confirmed, moving to join the others around the screen. "I think we need to find out what's going on."
"Obviously," Sam muttered a little more coldly than he expected, "Eric, can you get eyes inside the station?"
The computer tech looked up at the mention of his name. "Not without hacking their system, which would be illegal and they're cops…" He paused, caught the look on Sam's face and added hastily, "But I could do it, if you want me to…"
Sam was about to reply when his cell phone began vibrating in his pocket. Pulling it out he glanced at the call display and was met with the sight of a number he didn't recognize but he answered it anyway. "Hanna."
"Sam? It's Callen."
There was no doubting his partner's voice. He sounded tense but otherwise fine and Sam let out a sigh of relief. "G, what the hell are you doing a LAPD?" he demanded.
"How do you –" Callen began then paused and Sam could almost see the younger man rolling his eyes, "Nevermind, look I've got a bit of a situation here. I got a surprise visit this morning, from a bunch of cops… With handcuffs…"
"What are you on about?" Sam asked, shaking his head.
"I've been arrested Sam, that's what," Callen replied, a slight edge making its way into his voice.
"What!?" said Sam incredulously, "What the hell for?"
"They're saying I killed someone –"
"WHAT?!" Sam yelled, his jaw hanging open slightly.
"Jesus, Sam, I liked that eardrum," Callen muttered from the other end of the line, "Look I have no idea what's going on, alright? They're not telling me anything, they won't even say who I'm supposed to have killed."
Sam shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Did they arrest you as Callen?" he asked finally.
"Yep," G replied, the edge returning to his voice.
"But I thought you always live under an alias," Sam said slowly.
"But then how the hell…?" the dark skinned man left the question hanging, letting his eyes travel around the room in search of inspiration. None of this made sense, Callen never lived under his own name, it was one of the advantages of growing up the way he had, there was no one around to miss him when he disappeared.
"I have no idea Sam, not a clue." The edge had returned in full force and Sam could tell his partner was nervous. This was bad.
"Okay…" He said slowly, "We're gonna figure this out, you just hang in there and don't do anything stupid."
"Right…" Callen replied with a slight sigh, "Just hurry your ass up, I hate police stations."
And then he was gone as the phone line went dead. Sam lowered his cellphone slowly and turned it off before slipping it back into his pocket, all with the same slow precision. The team was staring at him, waiting; each one seemed to be holding their breath.
"Callen's been arrested," he said finally, "And not one of his aliases, they arrested Callen."
"On what charge," said Hetty immediately, stepping forward.
Sam sighed. "Murder."