Callen looked at the message on his phone.
For a moment he stood there stunned. He didn’t believe it. Then he picked up his phone and dropped it on his desk stalking away from it.
Shooting an anguished look at the empty desk across from him, he didn’t know what to do.
He imagined his partner sitting there, his knees crumbled and he found himself sinking into a chair.
He couldn’t pick up his phone and call others. He knew it would be expected of him to inform the team for Hetty. But he couldn’t.
They would need to know, but not like that, after all it wasn’t the sort of thing you started a day with.
He jumped as the happy voices of Kensi, Deeks, Eric and Nell all floated down the hallway ready to start their day.
In seconds he was going to… to what? To destroy their world? To just ruin their day?
He had been through a lot in his life, lost a lot and learned not to care when things he held dear to left or went missing.
But this…? This was loss, he was an expert in it, he should be able to handle this. Damn... Loss was the only constant thing in his life. Why was this so hard?
Because this had been different.
This had been his, his team, his friend, his… Brother, his… Sam.
He wouldn’t cry. He couldn’t cry, too many years of being taught that crying brings no purpose.
It does not change what is, It doesn’t make things better. It doesn’t heal anything.
He was alone again.
He wasn’t worried about Michelle. She had her family, the children and Hetty all with her now. She wasn’t alone.
But he was destined to be alone and damn if that didn’t tear at his soul right now.
As the others walked into the bullpen and stopped at the sight of his face he couldn’t help but let out a small, resigned laugh.
He had let him in. He had trusted him and… Cared… and it hurt.
God, it hurt.
No wonder the first time he’d forgotten his own name.
Sam had taught him what it was like to trust people. Hetty had tried, and he had learned a few things from her, but Sam had pulled him in, never let him run, introduced him to the concept of Family.
He’d even tried teaching him about religion, getting frustrated at Callen’s lack of total acceptance in an all encompassing supreme being.
Despite that Sam had accepted him.
Him! Broken, screwed up, mismatched, unwanted, unloved… He had been accepted unconditionally by Sam.
Sam had been… Sam had been the kind of man Callen had always wanted to be.
A man of faith.
A man of Family.
A man of Valor.
A man of Truth.
His Sam was no more.
His Sam, healthy as a horse. Brave as a lion had died, in his sleep from an aneurysm. Nothing could be done, no one to blame, just his time.
Again Callen had reached a point where people were leaving him again. This time he couldn’t run, hide, push people away. Yet that was his default, all he wanted to do.
“What’s funny Callen?” Kensi asked.
Callen’s short laugh turned into a sob. He coughed to hide it and motioned them all to walk into the bullpen.
“Where’s Hetty?” Nell asked worried.
“Hetty’s ok, she’s with Michelle… Sam…” Callen couldn’t say it. He walked over to where his traitorous phone lay and handed it to Nell who read it. Her eyes went wide in horror and her hand shot up to her mouth as tears filled her eyes and she let out a sob.
Shaking her head, she turned to the others as Callen, not looking back walked out of the bullpen.
“Sam’s dead.” Nell told the others.
Callen leaned against the outside wall of the mission. Looking at the clouds, Sam would never see, feeling the breeze he would never feel.
He had to contain it, to get himself together. Time to move on.
A car drove past, strains of The Steve Miller Band wafting on the breeze.
“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right; Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”
Callen smiled, then he laughed.
He looked to the heavens and whispered, “Give ’em Hell Sam.”
He took a deep breath and turned. Ready to go back to the Mission and console his team.
To keep fighting.
For his Sam. In his memory, in his honor.