Deeks scanned the neighborhood where Callen apparently lived as Kensi pulled up to a house that reminded Deeks of any number of middle class homes he'd visited over the years. Nothing about any of it screamed G. Callen, not that Deeks knew Callen well enough to determine his personal style-heck, Hetty even dressed the guy most of the time.
At the front door, Kensi pulled a single key from a flower pot that had seen better days, then opened the front door to the house.
"Come here much?" Deeks asked, carrying the ladder and tools for their little technological surveillance instillation and wondered if there was more to his partner's relationship with Callen than he'd realized. Not that it would bother him if Kensi had a thing with Callen. Although Deeks just couldn't see it. But then again, his spidey senses were off on anything Callen related, and that scared him more than a little since he needed to find the guy before it was too late.
"Oh? So you just happen to know where Callen hides a spare key."
"Sam does. He told me before we headed over."
Sam. Of course.
"So you've never been here?" he asked as she turned the key and opened the door.
"I didn't say that."
Deeks stopped in his tracks when he walked inside. He just stared. He couldn't help it.
Kensi disappeared down the hall, returning a short time later. "Everything checks out, so I don't think he's been by here, yet."
"Everything checks out? It's empty."
Kensi grinned. "G doesn't do stuff."
"What does that mean? Everyone does stuff."
"Why?" Deeks spun around the living room, then made his way to the only furniture in the place he'd seen so far-a chair and end table in the corner near the fireplace. He was so checking out the bedroom next.
He rifled through the stuff on the table, picked up a book. The title was in a language he didn't know. He held it out to Kensi. "Is that Russian? Who reads books in Russian? For fun."
She didn't answer him, just spread the tools out on the floor, then eyed the light fixture on the ceiling. She grabbed a screwdriver, climbed the ladder, then made quick work of dismantling the thing.
"But...why?" The mystery behind Callen was starting to seriously tick him off.
"No, seriously. What is it with this guy?" he asked. "I want to know. No one ever says anything, but I see you guys giving each other the eye every time he says something weird or there's a seemingly normal moment that becomes awkward fast when Callen's around. I know he's an orphan and all, but that doesn't make him special. I'm the poster boy for a rotten childhood, but I'm perfectly normal, thank you very much."
She snorted and rolled her eyes.
"At least I have stuff," Deeks said. "I don't even know the guys name, which was another weird eye moment when I asked him what the G stood for. Is it some big spy secret no one outside your little clique is privy to?" Deeks asked.
She looked at him as if thinking if she should spill Callen's secrets, then she sighed. "It's nothing personal."
"Yeah, right. I bet you know his name."
"Is that what this is about? You're jealous?"
"I'm not jealous," he muttered, then shrugged.
"Deeks, Callen doesn't even know his first name."
Deeks frowned. "What?"
"We call him G. Haven't you ever wondered why?"
He shrugged. "I just thought it was some strange nickname. You know, how some people call me Big D?"
She rolled her eyes. "No one calls you Big D."
"Sure they do."
"Who?" she asked as she installed the camera that was small enough to fit just about anywhere into the fixture.
"People," he said. "So, what's the story that Callen doesn't know his own name?"
She climbed down, then looked from side to side as if Callen would suddenly pop out of the woodwork. "G was put into an orphanage with his older sister when he was about five, although he never knew that he even had a sister until recently." At the look on his face, she waived him off the subject. "Whole other story. They were separated for whatever reason. He was raised in foster homes, thirty-seven of them in all, until he turned eighteen and joined the military. So there's never been much in the way of stability until then, and even then, he was always on the move. It's all he's ever known."
"And the name thing?"
"G. Callen was all anyone ever called him growing up. After a while, I think no one remembered what the G stood for."
Deeks had spent some time in the foster care system. It'd been rough going, never knowing what kind of people you were going to stay with, some good, some not so good. But he hadn't grown up in the system like Callen evidently had, and he didn't know what to make of that.
And Deeks thought he'd had a rough childhood.
"What about his birth certificate? There has to be a paper trail somewhere."
"I don't know. G doesn't like to talk about it. But I know he hasn't been able to find much of anything that would give him a clue to who he is."
Deeks' phone vibrated in his pocket and he took it out. The number wasn't familiar, but then again, it wouldn't be. He checked his watch: ten on the dot. "It has to be him."
Kensi nodded encouragement as he pressed 'talk'.
"Callen, Hetty needs to talk with you ASAP. Something's happened," he said in a rush.
"Nice try, Deeks, but it's not going to work. I'm off grid, remember? In real life I wouldn't be calling in. So don't forget to study for your test, Deeks. Time's running out.
"The line went dead. "Dammit. Why the hell call in if all he's going to do is hang up on me."
"We need to think of something to get his attention," Kensi said.
It was one of those rare moments in life when an idea seemed to come out of nowhere. Maybe it was divine intervention. Someone bigger than him watching his back. Or maybe in this case it was Callen's back that was being watched. The point was, Deeks was pretty certain that the Big Guy was real and had just given him a seriously good plan.
Callen wondered with some degree of concern if Hetty had really wanted to talk to him. But then again, he was a ghost at the moment. She knew better than anyone what that meant. Although he was surprised that Deeks would pull the Hetty card so early in the game. He smiled as he remembered the desperation in Deeks' voice. It was why he loved this operation so much.
"Everything all right?" Benji asked as he put a set of sheets and a pillow on the couch.
"Yeah, everything's fine." Callen sat on the couch, feeling tired and achy all of a sudden.
Benji grabbed a loaf of bread from the pantry. Callen began to cough, and Benji reached back in for a bag of cough drops and threw it at him.
"I'm going back to the park. I'll bring back lunch when I'm done."
Callen nodded as Benji left, then unwrapped a drop and tossed it in his mouth. He laid back on the couch, closed his eyes. He hoped he felt better after a nap.