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Callen's little problem

By Gina Mae Callen

Other / Mystery

Callen's little problem

Callen woke up and looked around the hospital room.

"I don't believe this!" He groaned. He knew he was alone. There was no way he was calling his team in on this one.

"Good morning Mr. Gibbs," The doctor said as he walked in. "And how are we feeling this morning?"

Callen glared at him in the style of his namesake.

"Did you have to admit me?" He asked.

"Really Mr. Gibbs, with your symptoms we did have to admit you but after running tests you will be pleased to know you can go home later today." Dr. Haywood said smiling.

He looked over Callens chart and gave him a prescription "You'll need to apply the ointment twice a day and take Tylenol to keep your temperature down."

Callen nodded it did not seem so bad.

"Oh and no work for at least ten days, you are still contagious." He added.

"What?!" Callen groaned.

He grabbed his clothes and walked into the bathroom to get changed.

Grouchily he snatched up his bag and headed for the nurses station to complete his paperwork.

"Here you go Mr. Gibbs; we filled a small supply to last you until you can get to a pharmacy." The nurse said barely concealing a smile as she handed him the paper bag.

Callen stormed out of the building and dropped his bag in the back of his car.

He reached in the glove compartment and called Hetty he knew no matter how bad it was she would need to know.

"Mr. Callen." Hetty's voice was cool calm and collected on the other end of the phone.

"I….I can't come in for ten days, I'm taking personal leave." He said quickly.

"Are you hurt Mr. Callen?" She asked.

"Er….No, I'm not injured." He said, feeling guilty. Injured he could have coped with, but this…!

"Then we are in the middle of a case, Mr. Callen you can't take time off without clearing it first." Hetty said.

"Er. Yeah I know the CIA has seconded me for an undercover operation. Really secret." Callen said cagily

"Who is your Handler?" Hetty asked suspiciously.

"Trent Kort." Callen said without skipping a beat, "He will call you later on." Callen added hastily.

"Very well." Hetty said looking across the floor to the others in the bullpen.

She replaced the receiver and walked over to Sam.

"Mr. Callen is out for ten days on another mission." She told him.

Sam nodded. He hated the fact that occasionally Callen disappeared as his skills were in demand but he was the Team leader and as such, these things happened.

Sam and Hetty headed to ops to talk to Director Vance in MTAC.

Just as Vance finished his conversation the metal door behind him crashed open.

"Ok, where's Callen?" Gibbs growled storming in.

"On assignment with Mr. Kort." Hetty said.

"The hell he is!" Kort said from behind him.

"He's not with you?" Hetty asked.

"No." Kort snapped, "I'm in DC working with the wonder squad."

"Why are you asking about Callen?" Sam asked.

"I had a message from a hospital in L.A. he's been using my identity again. He has a follow up appointment on the 15th." Gibbs growled. "Tell him to pick a better cover identity next time I don't care how much pain he's in."

Sam shot Hetty a worried look, had Callen been injured and not told them?

Gibbs grinned at the confused looks, "Besides it throws their system outta whack when I've had it already."

"Had what?" Sam growled impatiently.

"Ask him," Gibbs said grinning and shut off the feed from MTAC.

"Your car or mine Mr. Hanna." Hetty asked.

"Mine." Sam replied as the pair of them walked out of the building together.

Less than twenty minutes later, they pulled up outside Callens house.

Hetty knocked but there was no answer.

"Mr. Callen?" She called. There was a crash inside. Hetty instantly looked over at Sam and he picked the lock to the front door, more than anything Callen would have gone all kinds of crazy at Sam if he had kicked the door down.

Inside the house was dark all the curtains were closed and there was an oppressive atmosphere.

Sam drew his gun motioning for Hetty to stay behind him.

Slowly they inched down the corridor and entered Callen's bedroom.

"NCIS FREEZE!" Sam yelled.

"Shut up Sam!" Callen's voice groaned from his bedroll on the floor.

"Mr. Callen?" Hetty said entering the room.

"Noooo! Go away." Callen groaned and pulled his blanket over his head as Hetty turned on the light.

"What is the meaning of this?" She asked.

"I'm sick ok!" Callen groaned, "Now you know I'm alive, go away." He said not turning around.

Hetty walked closer to Callen.

"Mr. Callen what is wrong?" She asked concern evident in her voice.

"Just you," Callen said still not turning around.

Hetty motioned Sam out of the room, "He's gone, can you tell me now?" she asked, slowly Callen rolled over groaning.

"I've got Chicken pox." Callen said as he sat up covered in lotion and spots.

"Oh! Mr. Callen." Hetty said softly.

"Is Gibbs really mad?  I couldn't stop this itching, I thought I was going to die?" Callen said looking completely lost.

"Have you never had this before?" Hetty asked leaning forwards and inspecting the blisters on his face and arms.

"No I got told it'll go in ten days I'm just going to wait it out." Callen replied.

"Grab your bag Mr. Callen your coming home with me." Hetty told him.

"Why?" Callen asked.

"Because you need looking after." Hetty told him.

"Why?" Callen asked again.

"Because you're sick and you need someone to look after you," Hetty told him patiently

"Never needed it before," Callen said,

"No Mr. Callen, You needed it you just never had it." Hetty said.

"But…." Callen tried to argue as a wave of nausea made him groan.

Hetty picked up his bag and opened the door, "Mr. Hanna, you will help Mr. Callen up and take him to the car. If he gives you and trouble carry him." She ordered as she walked to the kitchen to pick Callen's medication up off the counter.

"'m not a kid." Callen shook off Sam's hand and grabbed his blanket.

"That stays here." Hetty ordered.

Crestfallen, Callen dropped the blanket and shuffled after Hetty, he was too tired to argue.

In the light Sam caught sight of the spots and quickly figured out what was wrong with Callen, both his children had had this at least once before.  He turned to Hetty, "So, you want me to stop at the market for Popsicles and chicken noodle soup?" He asked.

Hetty nodded "Good Idea Mr. Hanna."

Callen had fallen asleep in the backseat of Sam's car and Sam smiled as he looked at his partner. "This is a good thing you're doing." He told Hetty.

"I am merely doing my job; the welfare of my agents is and always will be my top priority." She told him.

Sam wisely said nothing and pulled in at Hetty's home.

Callen got out of the car and walked towards the house, seemingly to Sam, he knew where he was going.

"He's been here before." Sam stated, it wasn't a question.

Hetty nodded motioning the muscular agent into her kitchen, "Over the years Mr. Callen has lived here on and off, although I would be grateful if you didn't mention that fact. As I am sure Mr. Callen wouldn't want you to either."

Sam nodded, "How many years?" He could not help but ask.

"I was Mr. Callen's last foster parent before he aged out of the system and joined up." Hetty admitted.

A sleepy voice called from down the hall, "Mom!"

Hetty smiled at the shock on Sam's face. 

She walked down the hall, "Yes Mr. Callen?"

"Throat hurts." He moaned pulling the comforter up over his head.

Hetty smiled, "There's water and Juice on your nightstand." She stroked his forehead and kissed him, "Now sleep."

Callen mumbled something unintelligible and pulled the blanket over his head.

She closed the curtains in his room and switched on a batman nightlight that was by the door.

Sam looked amazed at the room, Callen's house was empty, this room was chock full of books, games, DVDs photo's of a fifteen year old Callen and Hetty and one of Callen with a chocolate colored Labrador. 

Sam picked it up.

"That was Buddy, Callen's dog." Hetty said in a whisper, herded Sam out of the room, and gently closed the door.

Sam took the cup of tea Hetty handed him as he sat at her kitchen table.

"When did Callen come to live with you?" He asked.

"When he was fifteen, just after he had been accused of the murder of his foster brother. His last foster father actually killed him while the child was defending Callen. He stayed with me to complete his education and then enlisted to get off the child welfare's books."

"You didn't adopt him?" Sam asked knowing he was prying into his partners' life but too curious to care.

"I couldn't, there is not enough information on him to allow anything more than fostering." Hetty said. 

Sam got the impression that she knew more, but then again she was Hetty and always knew more.

"So..." Sam braced himself as he asked the next question, no matter what the answer they both knew this conversation was never going further than this room. "Is this why you resigned and went to Romania to deal with the Comescu's and put your own life on the line?"

Hetty put her cup down and looked Sam in the eye. 

"What would your mother do for you?" She replied.

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