music_coaster2010: (darkside)
[personal profile] music_coaster2010
Title: Where Do We Go From Here
Author: sspaz1000/bandgeek01
Rating: PG
Summary: Callen and Joelle talk after the events of Humbug.
Characters: G. Callen, Joelle Taylor
Disclaimer: I’m just playing in CBS’s sandbox. They own the characters and stuff.
Based on: Random idea, I've had floating in my head. It told me it had to be on paper.
Beta: The ever awesome cbetham


Callen is skating around looking at Deeks and Kensi being happy, Sam and his family are smiling and laughing and yet in this moment he feels alone. Callen knows he shouldn’t feel sad or alone because his teammates are his family, but the relationship he had with Joelle was put in jeopardy today and it is giving him emotions he hasn’t felt in a long time. Turning to skate towards the team, he sees Joelle out of the corner of his eye. He turns and heads towards her but is unsure of what to say when he gets to her. By the time he reaches her his palms are uncharacteristically sweaty as he thinks to himself, “Don’t screw this up.”

Joelle looks at him with a slight annoyance to her face. Callen looks down, knowing that she is still upset over what had happened. “So you can skate. I know that about you now.” Callen flinches at the words. He wasn’t quite expecting this to hurt but it did. The possibility of another failed relationship because of the job, again. It was a choice he made to be in this line of work and he knew that this was always a possibility.

He looks up. “You got my message.”

Joelle nods. She looks past Callen and sees that Kensi and Deeks have joined the Hanna’s and were joking and laughing. “That’s them? That’s your family?”

Callen looks back to see his team and smiles. While inside he knows that he would die for any one of them he is slightly taken aback when Joelle points it out. “Yeah.” He takes another deep breath, “I’d like you to meet them…” he trails off. “If you want.”

Joelle gives a soft sigh, “I can’t Callen.” Callen breaks eye contact with her, but she continues, “I can’t meet them.” Their eyes meet again, “Not until I meet you.”

Callen looks confused for a split second what she said had not quite registered; Joelle is still very interested in him. He regroups, and says, “Ok… What do you want to know about me?”

Joelle raises an eyebrow. “Well, how about we start with your first name?”

Callen let’s out a soft chuckle, of course that’s what she’d start with he thought but said, “That’s a little bit complicated.”

Joelle gives him a questioning look. “How so?” She’s not 100% on board with something as simple as a first name being complicated.

“Not here. Tonight. My place. I’ll try and fill you in. If you aren’t satisfied, we go our separate ways. I also know me talking, is not something that happens often. But after these past couple of weeks, I owe it to you.”

Joelle nods. “Thank you for being honest right now.” She reaches for Callen’s hand and says, “Let’s go.”

Across the rink, Sam takes note that Callen and Joelle are leaving, and while Sam doesn’t know if she can see him, he gives her a small nod and turns back to the conversation. The couple slips away unnoticed by anyone else.

****

Making their way to Callen’s house, he realizes that this was a big risk letting Joelle see a side of him he’s hardly ever shown to anyone. But if she is willing to give the relationship another chance she deserved to know more about him.

Callen opens the door to his place and she walks in first. She is taken aback by the lack of anything in his house. “Wow,” she mutters, not exactly sure what to say or even where to sit. Callen notices her looking around and he disappears then quickly reappears with two bean bag chairs. Taking a seat she says, “It’s so bare. You haven’t been here long have you?”

Callen chuckled, “It’s been about 4 years now. I live simply.”

“OK, you at least have a bed right?” Joelle is amazed that someone could have so little in a house.

“Yes, Sam finally convinced me to get one.” Callen laughed thinking back to the argument they had over his sleeping habits.

“That’s good. You know Sam is wise.” Joelle is unsure of how the conversation is going and knows Callen has to share on his own terms.

“That he is.” Callen gets up from his bean bag chair, heads to the kitchen and returns with a couple of beers.

Joelle took a sip, “So…” she trailed off.

“So… Where do I start? You wanted to know what my first name is. I want to know what my first name is too.” Callen gave one of those fake laughs that he knew Joelle could see through.

“You don’t know your name?” Joelle said finding it hard to believe someone of Callen’s age didn’t know his name.

“Nope, somehow between when my parents met, Romani mother, Russian father, I ended up in 37 foster homes. My name never really came up.”

Joelle sat there in a stunned silence. Here was someone who hardly talked about himself spilling some important parts of his past. “I’m sorry Callen.”

“Don’t be. Eventually I will get the truth. I will find my father and I will get answers.”

“What about your mother?”

“She died when I was young, that’s why I was in the foster system. I’m still not sure how I ended up in the US.”

“Callen, I’m really not sure what to say. There has to be so many emotions associated with this, and yet you are still a good person.”

Callen didn’t make eye contact with Jo. He was unaccustomed to sharing anything about himself and now that he had, he wasn’t sure what to do.

Joelle senses his discomfort, finishes her beer, and whispers, “I should go.”

This snaps Callen back into the moment, and he looks at her. “Yeah, you don’t want to be late for school tomorrow.”

She gives him a soft smile. “Thank you.”

“No, thank you for coming to the rink today.” He let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He grabs her empty bottle and takes them to the kitchen. She is starting to put her coat on when she feels him next to her, helping her. He lingers for a moment, both hands on her shoulders.

“Where do we go from here?” he said.

“We take it one day at a time.” She reaches up and kisses his cheek. “Goodnight Callen.”

“Goodnight Jo.” Callen closed the door and watched her leave. He sighed wondering how two people from such different walks of life could make a relationship work.

****

Epilogue:

Over the next year, Callen and Joelle worked at their relationship. They have their ups and downs just like anyone else, but when missions occasionally take Callen away for days at a time, Joelle realizes that she just can’t handle his line of work. They mutually decide to spend the holidays together but are going to start 2016 alone. Callen knew that going rogue hadn’t helped in building their relationship. He also knew he sometimes tends to close himself off when he thinks and he understands now, when Jo was in his life, he might have appeared standoffish, uninterested. She still does not know everything about him. Hell, he still doesn’t know everything about himself. As important it was to find his answers, he let the process push Joelle away. He will always regret how he hurt her, hurt himself.

It was early spring, Joelle opened her mailbox. She saw an envelope with familiar handwriting. She had hoped Callen was doing well, she was actually excited to know how he was doing.. Taking the letter out of the envelope, she read:

Joelle,

I hope this letter finds you well. I just wanted to let you know I found my father and I know my name. My name is Grisha Aleksandrovich Nikolaev Callen. I still don’t know much about my past, but it’s a start. I thought you would like to know.

Take Care,

G.


Joelle looked up from the letter and smiled. She thought it was nice to see Callen got some answers after all.
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