Author's Notes – Not mine.
While I have more ideas for this story, it seemed like a natural end at this time. My initial outline was to follow through with some of the treatment and how they deal with the changes involved, but the more I wrote the less it seemed that was the direction this story wanted to land.
Thanks to everyone who has followed and favorited this story. I hope you guys are not too disappointed with the end. I may continue it at a later date as a sequel, but I can't really say for sure. Right now, I feel like this is how it needs to settle out. I appreciate all the feedback and it was extremely beneficial to hear all the opinions.
They reach her apartment well into the evening. Nell drops her keys in the bowl by the door and she heads straight to her bedroom calling out something about a shower. Callen moves into the living room and sits on the couch for a few minutes before deciding to grab his go bag from his car. Making his way back into her apartment, Callen uses the bathroom in the hall to shower before pulling on a clean shirt and jeans. He moves back into the living room and turns to head towards the kitchen to get some water pausing when he sees Nell's small frame curled up on the edge of the couch.
Bypassing his interest in something cold to drink, Callen moves towards her side. He rubs his hand gently along her shoulder and smiles as she stirs. He is pretty sure that is one of his favorite things about watching her when she is sleeping. The little noises she makes as her body fights against the idea of waking up. "C'mon, let's get you to a more comfortable spot." He watches as her eyes flutter in response and she lets out a whine that he guesses would rival most toddlers.
Callen helps Nell to her feet and they walk in silence to her bedroom. By the time they reach her bed, Nell is all but asleep on his shoulder. He moves the blankets aside and guides her to the mattress before covering her up. Taking his place beside her, Callen doesn't even bother removing his jeans before pulling her gently against him. As she snuggles against his chest, Callen is struck by the feeling of contentment he feels in these moments. Allowing himself the time to just enjoy being with her, Callen feels sleep take over.
He wakes up to find her nowhere to be found. Padding into the kitchen, he sees the note she left on the counter. Callen is beginning to wonder when exactly he became this man. One who sleeps through the majority of the night and so soundly that he doesn't even realize when she leaves his side. He shakes his head at the idea as he pours a cup of coffee from the pot that she must have brewed for him before heading to work.
Callen thinks through the events of yesterday as he gets ready to leave knowing they still need to talk about it a bit more. He does understand where she is coming from and he is determined to give her the space she needs and not be so quick to react. As he walks out the door, he is pretty sure the task is going to be much harder than it appears it will be. He sends her a quick text thanking her for the coffee before getting behind the wheel of his car and pulling into traffic.
He reaches the dilapidated old building in quick time and walks through the front doors. The halls are still quiet as the day is just getting started for most of them. He knows the ops center has been up and running for at least an hour, but wills himself to follow the same routine he would have before he and Nell embarked on this journey. He sets his bag down by his desk and turns to get his second coffee of the morning.
Sam arrives to see his partner sitting at his desk catching up on paperwork. He immediately moves to the man's side and reaches up as if checking for a fever. "You feeling alright, G?" Callen smacks his hand away and laughs as the large man moves towards his own desk. "Hetty threatened you again, didn't she?"
"Ha, ha." Callen sends a smile in the direction of his partner, "Figured I may as well get it out of the way." Sam sends him a look that says he definitely has more to add, but his words are interrupted by the banter of Kensi and Deeks as they make their way towards the desks.
"You know I'm right Kens." Deeks laughs when she fails to respond knowing he has won. This time at least.
"Do we even want to know what you are right about Deeks?" Sam's question comes with apprehension in the tone because he really isn't sure he wants to hear the answer. Deeks response is interrupted when his arm feels the sting of a stapler landing on his arm.
"OW! Geez, Kens. That really hurt. All you had to do was tell me you didn't want me to say anything." She shoots him a rather impressive glare causing him to raise his hands in surrender. "Alright, so that probably wouldn't have worked. But a stapler? Seriously, that's a bit dangerous. I mean what if it had opened up somehow and landed a staple in my arm. Or hit me in the head."
His rant is momentarily interrupted by the shrill sound of Eric whistling. The team moves up the stairs to the ops center doing their best to block the continued flow of words from Deeks. They reach the room and immediately put on their game faces as they listen to the brief given by Nell and Eric. Hetty adds a few points of importance before sending the team on their way to start the investigation into the latest threat.
Luckily the day goes much smoother and the workload is easily half of what it could have been. The team is done with their paperwork and ready to walk out the door by five o'clock. Sam is looking forward to a home-cooked meal with his family and hanging out with his kids for the evening. Eric is heading to a friend's house to lose himself in the latest computer games. Kensi and Deeks are denying having plans, but Callen is well aware they are meeting at her house for take-out and beer.
Making his way to Hetty's office, he stands silent as she finishes working on whatever paperwork has her attention. After she makes eye contact with him, Callen moves to sit in one of the chairs in front of her desk. "Mr. Callen."
He locks eyes with the woman in front of him knowing she is aware of Nell's diagnosis. "I need to take a couple of hours off tomorrow morning." She clasps her hands together and settles them just under her chin as she waits for him to continue. Hetty is well aware of Callen's tendency to hold things close to the vest and she wants to see if he will tell her why without any prodding. Callen, knowing exactly what his boss is thinking, fills in the missing details. "Nell is meeting with her surgeon tomorrow to check her incision. After that, she has an appointment with the oncologist to talk about the next step. I want to be there with her."
Hetty leans back in her chair as the smile plays across her features. She is impressed. A larger part of her expected him to refuse to tell her. It seems whatever is happening between them is having an effect on him that never expected this soon. "That will be fine Mr. Callen. I already told Ms. Jones she has the entire morning off. That should give the two of you plenty of time to get something to eat before returning to work."
Callen thanks the small woman before making his way out of her office and up the stairs leading to the ops center. He finds Nell shutting down her terminal. Waiting in silence, he smiles as she turns to face him. "Hetty gave me the morning off as well. And, if I read her correctly, an order to take you to lunch before we return tomorrow."
Nell smiles at the news and joins Callen as they walk side by side out of the building. Reaching the parking area, Callen walks Nell to her car and watches as she places her bag on the passenger seat before she returns the side where Callen is waiting. Taking advantage of him leaning casually against the driver's side door, Nell lets her body fall gently against his until her chest is flush with his body. He instantaneously wraps his arms around her waist and draws her tightly against him. Reveling in the feeling for a few seconds, he finally speaks softly into her hair. "I'm going to head back to my place and get some clothes." He pulls her back slightly allowing his eyes to settle on hers, "If that's alright with you."
She smiles pushing forward and giving him a soft kiss on the lips. "Sounds good to me." She returns to his embrace after speaking. Callen tries to push aside the nagging feeling that is forming in his gut. Her actions are not what he expected. They had already agreed on keeping things professional at work and he definitely got that sentiment confirmed by his actions the day before. While technically they were no longer on the clock, they are still on the property where anyone could see them. The display is making his mind go into overdrive trying to determine the cause for the obvious shift. His thoughts are broken as he realizes she is pulling herself away from his body. The feel of her hand along his cheek causes him to lock eyes with the young woman in front of him, "You think too much, Callen." He laughs slightly at the sentiment, especially coming from her. "Sometimes I just need to feel your arms around me. Gives me a boost of strength."
Callen watches her for a moment before nodding his head slightly. Taking his turn, he leans down and gives her a kiss before stepping away from her car allowing her to open the door. He holds the door as Nell takes her seat, "I'll see you an about an hour. Do you want me to pick up anything for dinner?" She nods her head and smiles as she pulls the door shut. Waving from behind the glass, she pulls the car out of the parking lot leaving him to walk to his car alone.
After settling behind the steering wheel, Callen takes a breath as he starts the car. Moving seemlessly into traffic, he makes his way towards his house without incident. He moved quickly through the front door and goes straight for his room. Gathering the necessary supplies, plus some, he places everything in his duffel bag before heading to the front door once again. He pulls the door shut and locks it before making his way to place the bag in the trunk. As he pulls out of the driveway, he realizes he isn't at all conflicted about essentially moving into her place. He packed enough clothes to allow him to stay for the better part of the week and he silently hopes that the move won't be seen as presumptuous.
Callen arrives at Nell's place after stopping to pick up some food. Manipulating the key, he makes his way through the doorway and sets his duffel bag on the floor before placing the key back in his pocket. Walking past the couch, he makes his way over the small table and puts the food containers on the edge before calling Nell's name. Hearing her answer from the back of the house, he goes about getting a couple plates for their food.
Nell comes around the corner and sits down joining Callen. Noticing her wet hair, "Enjoy your shower?" She smiles and nods before looking at the variety of items scattered across the table. Shooting a questioning look in his direction, she laughs when his shrugs. "Didn't know what you were in the mood for."
The meal passses with moments of both comfortable silence and easy conversation. It's a nice change of pace considering the stress levels of the last few days. They both know more conversation is needed and they also know the road ahead is long, but it seems an understanding has been reached. The next phase is bound to bring up even more stress and emotion; however, they have learned that the easiest way to deal with the changes is to be open and honest. The need to talk things out has become abundantly clear as of late and, while they are sure to be tested more, Nell is feeling more confident in their ability to make it through this life change. The look in Callen's eyes as he gives her a glance tells Nell that he feels it as well. They will beat cancer. Together.