A/N - Only epilogue to go after this. Thanks so much for the continued support. Hope you enjoy this one.

Disclaimer in Chapter 1

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~o

Chapter 21

"So if that was number nine …." Sam trailed off and narrowed his eyes at Callen. "You two haven't…"

Callen chuckled. "No Sam, we haven't. We've been on the run since."

"You played me," Sam accused him.

"Yep."

"Did you have fun?"

"Yep."

Sam shook his head. "G. Whilst I might not be able to tell you whether you love her or not. I'm pretty sure I can say that you think she is someone special."

Callen glanced over at the bed and the woman lying on it. "She is, Sam."

"So what are you going to do about her?"

Deeks walked in at that moment. "Well, whatever it is he better not hurt her."

Callen and Sam looked at Deeks. Sam raised an eyebrow in curiosity.

"Is that a warning Deeks?" Callen asked.

"Does it need to be?" Deeks countered. Callen waited. "Treat her right Callen. I won't let anyone hurt her. I don't care if it's you and I don't care if I lose my job. She's deserves someone decent."

Callen lifted his eyebrows and stared at Deeks whilst Sam chuckled.

Deeks threw up his hands, almost in defeat. "You know, this just isn't working is it? You're not taking me seriously," he said. "Sam, back me up here! You like Mika – Lucy, whatever you want to call her, right? You don't want to see her hurt either. Callen listens to you."

Sam cocked an eyebrow and snorted at the last part of Deeks ramble whilst Callen looked on in amusement, not quite believing this conversation was taking place. He was actually starting to wonder if he had fallen asleep in his chair and was dreaming. Deeks warning him off, yeah he could buy that, but not trying to pull Sam into it.

"G?" Sam commented, disbelief in his tone. "Listen to me? What world are you livin' in Deeks?"

"Sam," Deeks pleaded.

"Nope." Sam shook his head. "Not warning him off. You see Deeks, I've been waiting a long time for him to find a good girl. Not gonna do anything to jeopardise it now he's found one."

With that, Sam winked at Callen and left the room. Deeks looked at Callen, obviously slightly miffed that Sam hadn't backed him up.

"Still stands Callen. Even if I'm on my own. Don't hurt her." Deeks held out the coffee in his hand. "Brought this for you. Thought you might need it."

Callen took it and Deeks turned and walked out the door without another word.

"G."

His name being called quietly from the bed had Callen turning around quickly.

"Hey." He smiled. "You're awake." He stepped over to the bed, putting the coffee down before taking her hand in his.

"Yeah. Marty, he … he means well. He's just a little protective."

"I know." As amusing as the conversation was, Callen did know Deeks meant what he said.

"So what's the verdict?" Lucy asked softly.

"Rest and some physio and you should be as good as new. It'll take a while before the rib heals though. There's a hairline fracture."

"Better than I'd hoped. I was sure it would be worse. The chip?"

"Micro-chip is gone and they are going to keep you in tonight at least."

Lucy nodded. "Guess this means I'm heading back home after this. I don't have an apartment here anymore."

An odd feeling settled in Callen's stomach at the thought of her returning to San Diego. It wasn't that far away – two or three hour drive. He'd still be able to see her.

She looked up at him from the bed, her blue and green eyes catching his and he couldn't look away.

Moments from their relationship flashed through Callen's mind.

That first night when she'd wanted to take him home.

When he stopped things and why he had stopped them.

The way he felt when he heard her on the phone when she was sick.

The fear that settled in his stomach when he had noticed her eyes that night when she'd been drugged.

The feeling that her saying she trusted him had caused when she'd woken up and couldn't remember anything.

Waking up with her in his arms and the fact that he wanted to make this work; for it to be real.

The rage at what her father had done to her and how his heart had stopped briefly in his chest when he saw Marino raise his gun to her head.

How he didn't feel one sliver of regret or hesitation at putting a bullet in Marino's head to save her.

So many moments. All of that, plus not wanting to contemplate having a life without her.

Callen smiled at her and leant down to brush a soft kiss across her lips. He pulled back just far enough so he could look her in her eyes.

"I love you too, Luce."

Her eyes went wide in surprise and he took the opportunity to kiss her, carefully but with just enough of a hint of the emotion he felt that she would know he meant it, whilst being very conscious of her bruised face and jaw.

"G," she whispered when he pulled back.

"You don't have to go back straight away. You can stay with one of us until you're up for it."

"With you?" she asked, hope heavy in her voice.

"Probably be less tempting if you stayed with one of the others but if that's what you want, you can stay with me."

Lucy smiled. "I'll think about it. You might be right. Only so much temptation a girl can resist. And we already know I'm pretty hopeless at resisting you." She reached up and brushed her fingers over his cheek gently. "You should go home, get some rest."

"I-"

"Go G. It's been a rough couple of days and I'm safe. No one's after me anymore."

Callen reluctantly agreed. He did need a little sleep. "All right. But I'll be back soon."

"After you've slept."

"Not ordering me to have a shower as well?"

Lucy groaned softly. "I was trying not to think about you in a shower you know."

Callen grinned. "Sorry." She rolled her eyes at him.

"Just wait. One day."

Callen kissed her again. "Definitely."