Different Eyes See Different Things
"G, can I ask you something?" Sam asked one quiet morning in the bullpen. He and Callen were the only ones there, Kensi and Deeks had yet to show.
"You just did," Callen responded, not glancing up from the paper he was scribbling on.
"You're hilarious," Sam deadpanned, unimpressed. Callen glanced up, raising his eyebrows.
"Fire away," he said, holding out his hands in a welcoming gesture.
"Why do you wear so much blue?" Sam asked. Callen glanced down at his shirt, a plain cerulean pullover.
"What?" Callen asked, slightly confused. "That's your question? Blue is my favorite color."
"But it's all you wear," Sam pointed out. "You occasionally wear green, but that's really it, unless it's for undercover. My favorite color's red but I don't wear red every day. There has to be another reason."
"I just like the color!" Callen said firmly, raising his voice ever so slightly.
"Whatever you say," Sam said with a sigh. "I think you wear it to bring out your eyes," he teased.
"Haha," Callen deadpanned, his face stony. That jab poked a sensitive spot, and he frowned. Sam didn't say anything, feeling a tad guilty. A few moments of silence later, Callen sighed.
"You wanna know why I only wear blue?" he asked, as he cleared a few windows from the browser on his laptop. He didn't look at Sam.
"Yeah, I do," Sam said matter-o-factly, closing his computer and looking up.
"Well, I'm, um...colorblind," Callen admitted, looking up to meet Sam's eyes with his own. "Blue is the only color I can see."
Sam said nothing, seemingly shocked. He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it. He genuinely had had no idea his partner couldn't see color.
"How...? But, you, you know your colors...," Sam said weakly. He couldn't even find words to say, he was so shocked. His witty comment about the color bringing out Callen's eyes was immediately brought to his mind. It had been inappropriate and inconsiderate to say, even if he hadn't known.
"I can only see blue. The rest of what I see are these sickly shades of green and yellow. Or so I've been told. I taught myself what colors really look like, so, for example, what I see as dark green is really red," Callen explained solemnly.
"Oh, G," Sam said sympathetically. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all the crap I've given you about your clothes, and the colors, I'm sorry."
"It's alright," Callen said. "I've just learned to ignore it. I've taken a lot of crap over it but it doesn't really bother me anymore."
Sam smiled. "Good for you, tough guy."
Callen grinned. "Thanks."
"So then, what color is this?" Sam asked impishly, holding up an orange slip of paper from a pile he kept on his desk for his origami.
"Orange," Callen replied confidently.
"You're wrong. It's green."
"No it's not."
"Yes it is."
"No, it's not!" Callen said adamantly. Sam chuckled.
"You're good," he admitted with a grin. Callen nodded.
"I've had a lot of practice."
Sam grinned at him, coming over to give him a one armed hug. Callen smiled as his partner wrapped his arm around his shoulders.
"Someone once told me 'different eyes see different things, and that's okay.'" Callen gave a small smile, reminiscing. Sam smiled too, pretty sure this certain someone was Callen's surrogate mother, otherwise known as Hetty Lange.
"That's good, G," Sam said, reaching out to tousle Callen's hair. "That's good." Sam walked back to his desk. "Now, what color is this?" he asked with a grin, picking up a purple origami swan from his desk.
"I should've never told you this. I'm never gonna hear the end of it!" Callen exclaimed as Sam chucked.
Callen responded with an eye roll and a rueful laugh.