Hetty had to work fast, Callen was finally leaving foster care, he was 18 years old, only twice had his father gotten close to finding him and he never knew, one time missing him by sheer minutes.
Callen had seen a choice of careers at school on career day, but the one that he was told to check out was the FBI, if he could join there then maybe he could find out something about himself he had been surprised when he had been handed a slip of paper with an appointment on the Monday with the Director of the FBI but he'd taken it anyway, he didn't really care as long as it got him out of foster care.
He had grown from the cocky 12 year old that had been broken by Mike Davis into a street smart, distrustful 18 year old. He had more personas than an identity thief. He was a loner and he was happy with that. He walked to the appointment he'd been given by his leaving career adviser and case worker, who had told him that they had set him up with a small apartment and a job and he was to report there first thing on Monday morning.
He'd moved into the apartment on Saturday with the only things he owned. Two sets of clothes, a bed roll and two bags, one with Callen, G. Stenciled into it, and another with a notebook, pen, pencil…a small toy car and a bag of tootsie pops in it, his secret vice.
He took the last bag everywhere with him.
His apartment was a two room roach motel. It was damp, dark and musty, roaches were running around the large room which contained a used… (Really used, but maybe by a what rather than a who) bed, which he vowed never to sleep on…until he saw the roaches. Then he wasn't sure he wanted to use the floor either. The bathroom was even worse; he spent the whole of Saturday with a bucket and some cleaning supplies and set off a bug bomb before he left for work that day, sealing all his worldly goods inside two trash bags at the apartment door.
He stood outside the J. Edgar Hoover building, watching all the people in suits walk in and out.
"They can't be serious?" he said to himself, looking down at his long sleeved faded blue t-shirt, his worn jeans and his worn out sneakers.
He looked at the slip of paper again and sighed. This was uncomfortable and annoying but he had been through worse.
He was looked at by the security guard as he entered and knew the guard's eyes were following him all the way up to the reception desk.
"Callen, I have an appointment with Director Sessions." He said and waited to be thrown out on his ear.
Two men in suits walked over to him, "G. Callen?" the taller of the two men asked.
Callen took a defensive stance as he looked at them, "Yeah…who are you?" he asked warily
The older of the two men held out his hand. "Leonard Morgan," he said and stood there as Callen didn't move, he moved his hand into a sweeping arc introducing the other man, "Robert Dalkin."
"And?" Callen said, he'd already noted that both men were armed.
"Director Session sent us here to escort you up." The older man, Morgan said.
They walked over to the elevator, Callen moved past them and got in first so his back was to the wall and he was facing the doors.
William Session had been in this job just over a year when he'd gotten a call from his predecessor, who was now head of the CIA. He'd been informed of a CIA asset who didn't know he was actually and asset, but it would be a personal favor if the FBI could put him through FLETC and see if he had what it took to continue to be an agent, he was young…a lot younger than normal, but his trade-craft, though rough around the edges was practically perfect, It wasn't taught, it was naturally acquired.
He put down his phone having been told that the boy was on his way up; he looked at the file on his desk.
His file was an enigma, the kid didn't have a first name, and he didn't exist before he was five. He'd been brought up in a string of foster homes and most of his file was redacted and classified, with a note that no matter what classification G. Callen obtained he was under no circumstances to ever see the file on orders from POTUS.
His apprehension over hiring someone so young and on orders of the CIA no less, were tempered by the thought of actually wanting to meet the kid.
The doors to the elevator opened and he watched as his two agents walked out, but there was no sign of the boy. Both men stopped and moved, just before the doors closed the kid slipped out. He was smaller than Sessions had expected, but his eyes looked old, they reminded him of some of his Vietnam Veteran buddies, he watched as the kid scanned the area for perceived and hidden dangers.
With a nod he followed the two men until they reached his office.
Morgan knocked on the door.
"Sir, we have G. Callen for you." He said.
Session motioned for his agent to come inside. "What do you think about him?" he said watching the kid lean against a filing cabinet sizing up the other agents in the room.
"He's…he's a kid, why the heck is he here?"
"CIA wants us to train him as an agent, something about him being ready for a big case, the kid doesn't know but I've been told he's perfect for the mission."
"Len, look…we've been friends for years, if you don't want to do this I can find someone else, but you and Dalkin are the two that I trust not to spill anything to the kid."
"Fine Will, but you owe me, we'll train him and get him ready."
"They want him to cut his teeth on a case; he's being short-cutted through FLETC and trained mostly in the field."
Morgan sighed, "Fine, what case?"
"The Mike Davis case, we think this man abused and murdered up to 24 boys in his care, we want him to go undercover as a foster kid, help take him down,"
Callen moved from the filing cabinet and opened the door, "You are kidding me right?" he asked walking straight in.
"Mr. Callen, I'm William Session, Director of the FBI." He said standing up.
"No…I'm not doing it." Callen snapped.
"You don't know what we were saying this room is soundproofed.
Callen shrugged, "I am not going in with him."
"Mike Davis has been under surveillance for years, but we've never had any proof, we need to get a kid in there, you won't be in any danger."
"What do you know about this guy?" Callen stood as far away from them as he could get as Morgan opened the file he was handed.
"Between 1979 and 1982 boy's were being placed in his care, he had a high number of reported runaways but none of the boys were seen again." Morgan read, "Child services reported him to the police and took him off the register but no child was placed with him after January of 1982."
Callen laughed, "That's wrong."
"No…it says here, he was banned from fostering children in January 1982."
"I was placed with the asshole in August of '82, one weekend."
Morgan looked up at that, "Really?"
"No kid ran away from that place, there were no escape routes, old or new. He killed those kids, he has photos in his basement, and he takes pictures." Callen stopped talking.
"Ok kid, we didn't know, we wanted to flush him out, if you tell us what you know we may be able to get him just on your testimony."
"It won't be enough." Callen snapped.
He sank into a large chair as he realized what he had to do, why he had been the one picked to go here.
He was beginning to think someone else was pulling the strings to his life.
"Why did you guys pick me?" he asked suspiciously, "You say you never knew about me being with Davis, but I get a note asking me to come and see you, through my social worker?"
"It was passed down to us, from the former Director; he knew somehow, we were told you have the necessary skill set to bring him to justice." Sessions told him. "We are building a special task force and we needed some younger recruits."
Callen had to admit, he would like to have a hand in that as well. "Ok…I got nothing better right now, I'm in."
William Sessions smiled, "Good, good, you will have to undergo some rudimentary training. We have a couple of other agents your age right now, you can meet them if you wish, you train separately you will sleep on site while you train and you will not communicate with the other older agents, the whole point of this task force, and make no mistake you are part of a task force to bring down some serial killers who prey on underage kids, is that none of you really know the others."
Callen wasn't sure what he meant by that but nodded, "Agent Dalkin has been dispatched to your place of residence to pick up your belongings or some of them."
Callen looked up, "They are in 2 trash bags by the door, you should let him know there is a bug bomb in the apartment." He said.
Morgan led Callen into a room where 15 other kids about his age stood, all as wary as he was; he found his eyes drawn to one girl a blonde haired girl, who held herself royally. She looked at him and looked away quickly.
He stood next to her as they were lined up and found himself reaching for her hand. She gave a shy smile, he smiled back, "It'll be fine, names Callen," he said.
"Thanks, I was a bit scared," she whispered. she realized she hadn't told him her name.
"Stevens, Grace Stevens." She smiled back.
The kids lined up as their instructor went through the basics with them.
In a gallery a small woman stood with the director of the CIA, "That went well don't you think William, they don't seem to remember the other one at all."
"This could have all blown up in our faces Henrietta." He said looking at the twins standing side by side, neither knowing.
"It could be close though I mean look they are holding hands."
"Just two teenagers seeking comfort in a stressful situation, nothing more." Hetty said.
"The Comescu boy had better be all you say he is, or we will order the girl to kill him." He said watching as the kids walked up to the gym mats and began hand to hand drills.
Some of the kids were basic fighters, good enough to survive on the streets but with no real skill.
Len Morgan looked at his 'kid' and pointed to him and the girl next to him, "Callen. Steven's you're up."
They walked on to the mat and unbeknownst to them the two visitors in the observation room looked up with interest. Director Sessions walked in to join them.
"Ah yes, Callen, the new kid you asked for. Who's the girl?" he asked.
"Grace Stevens, one of mine…" Hetty said.
The two moved as if in tandem countering each other's blows. Grace seemed to know what moves Callen was going to make and Vice versa. The other students in the room stopped fighting and moved to watch them. It was like it was choreographed. It was in fact a thing of beauty, by the time they were finished they were covered in sweat and breathless.
"Draw…Callen, Stevens." Morgan announced.
They both fell back on to the mat laughing, he reached out and held her hand again helping her up after he had gotten up himself, "Nice work Stevens." He grinned.
"Thanks." She smiled and something inside him felt warmer.
Grace watched as this lean blond kid walked into the room, she felt a pull to him immediately and moved herself to stand next to him.
She was nervous, her aunt Hetty had suggested she come and join this group and her father had approved it. She'd been to America enough that she had developed a pretty good accent, she tried to blend in, some of the other kids there looked at her and could tell by the way she carried herself that she had money, a few snide comments had already ostracized her from the group. She stood at the back watching them.
"Line up recruits." The call came; she moved and found herself standing next to the boy who had intrigued her earlier.
She tried to wrap her arms around herself as they were inspected. Suddenly she felt a hand in hers. "It'll be fine, the names Callen" His voice whispered.
She felt the tension leave her, it was a strange sensation, as long as she could remember she hated to be touched, she had nightmares about being abused by people she had never met, which made her more alone and anxious about human contact. Hetty had told her that by participating in this she would learn much needed skills and she would hopefully be able to put some of her nightmares to rest by taking down serial abusers and killers.
She realized she hadn't answered him, "Stevens, Grace Stevens," she said looking into his eyes.
She didn't know what it was about this boy, but she trusted him, she instantly knew out of everyone in this building she could trust him, she felt safe with him.
She walked up to the mat as Morgan called her name, "It's ok." He whispered and she gave a small nod, she knew she could give it her all and it would be fine.
When the match finished she lay back on the mat getting her breath back as a hand swam into view, He smiled and she grabbed his hand as he helped her up.
She watched as he walked off to the showers. What did she feel for him, it wasn't the same as she felt for her boyfriend, Terry Scott was still and probably would always be the greatest love of her life.
But this Callen…she just hoped she'd see him again.