Chapter 13 - Run Away
Callen couldn't believe it. He was driving down the PCH in a cool car, the wind in his hair and he was free.
He knew it couldn't last and eventually he'd have to ditch the car but there was no way he was going back to those people, they were crazy. That little woman who looked at him like her heart was breaking every time he said something, the older guy who, well…in fact everyone there kept looking at him weird, and acting like they knew him. He'd only met them yesterday, there was no way…ok, he wasn't that freaked that he'd willingly go back to Oliver's but he wasn't staying there. Every self preservation instinct he had told him to get away. It wasn't the first time in his life he'd been homeless and it probably wouldn't be his last.
He slowed the car a little as he saw a patrol car parked up on the edge of the highway, he held his breath as he saw the two officers point at his car and carried on driving, one picked up the radio but they never followed him.
Eventually he found a secluded beach and pulled the car up. He couldn't drive anymore; his body was craving another hit. But he had no drugs and knew he needed to kick it. He wrapped his arms around himself and sank to the floor by the car wheel, watching the waves lap against the shoreline. No matter what happened in his life the beach had been a constant thing it had always been a place to calm his soul.
He closed his eyes as a wave of pain and nausea overtook him and he held himself tighter and shook uncontrollably, wishing he had someone; anyone to hold him and tell him it would all be ok.
Deeks looked at the bowl of rapidly melting ice cream and realized that Callen wasn't back. He walked out of the break room and looked in the bullpen.
"Hey has anyone seen Callen?" He asked.
Kensi and Sam shook their heads; they had been sparring in the Gym… "Na but when you do send him my way he might like to work out with us." Sam said thinking of a way for G to use up all that teenage nervous energy he had.
Two agents walked into the building and one stopped and looked at Sam strangely.
"You got a problem?" Sam snarled.
"No sorry, it's just I could have sworn we just saw you peeling out of the parking lot in the challenger?" The agent said.
Sam looked at him and put two and two together.
"Shit! Hetty!" He called and ran over to her office, "I think Callen's stolen my car and run away."
"I thought he was with Mr. Deeks?" Hetty asked.
Deeks walked over, "He asked to use the bathroom and left." He admitted.
"What did you say to him?" Sam yelled worried for his teenage partner.
"Nothing we were making ice cream and he asked me if he was going back with Hetty, I wasn't sure but I said yes, then he asked to use the bathroom and that was the last I saw of him."
Hetty looked at Deeks' body language and noticed what Callen had seen, Deeks hadn't known for sure where Callen was sleeping that night and the fact he didn't know showed up as clear to her as it had to Callen.
"Oh bugger!" She snapped.
"What?" Deeks asked concerned he'd done something wrong.
Hetty turned to Sam, "Mr. Hanna, go to OPS get Eric to put a BOLO out on your car and then get him to see if he can find it on any traffic camera's" She instructed, "Mr. Deeks a word."
Deeks sat in Hetty office worried he was about to get into real trouble.
"Mr. Deeks, I know you were fostered at eleven, can I ask you how many times you were fostered." Hetty started.
Deeks shrugged, "Just the once, after the initial assessment period, three times during it why?"
"Were all your placements successful?"
"Pretty much, twice I had to move due to overcrowding the last time it was because I got a permanent placement with the Deeks'," Deeks told her.
Hetty handed him a cup of tea.
"Mr. Callen had 37 homes between the ages of five and 18. The longest placement he had was a month the shortest a few hours." Deeks sat there silently doing the math…
"That doesn't add up?" He said, thinking about it Callen had to have been in more placements than that.
Hetty nodded, "It doesn't take into account the times he ran away and the months he spent on the streets."
"Why...Why would he do that?" Deeks asked; he couldn't fathom the idea of someone leaving a safe foster care environment and living on the streets. After all for him a foster home had been better than living with his abusive father.
"Callen's foster homes were not all as nurturing as yours, he became an expert in telling within minutes of entering a home whether or not it was for him a safe environment, a few of his homes were good, the Rostov's for one, he stayed with them for just over a month and he was with me for a month as well," She admitted.
Deeks looked shocked.
"The point is if you lie to him he can tell, in his mind you either tell the truth and things are safe or you lie and it's not. Your indecision about where he was to go this evening must have to him seemed like you were lying, in his mind he's just left one of the worst foster homes he ever stayed in and added to that the paranoia due to the drugs in his system you have one very scared teenager."
"I didn't know, I knew we had both been in the system, but I never knew exactly how bad it was for him."
Hetty smiled at Deeks who looked utterly mortified by what he had inadvertently done.
"I honestly don't think anyone knows." Hetty said.
"We've got him!" Sam called to Deeks as he jogged down the stairs, he was annoyed he was going to have to ride with Kensi and Deeks but to get back his partner and his car….it was worth it.
"The car is at Crystal Cove…just North of Laguna Beach; It should take us a couple of hours to get there," Sam told him as he walked to the car.
"Not the way Kensi drives…" Deeks muttered under his breath and yelped as Kensi walked behind him and thumped him in the arm.
"You're riding in the back for that." She snapped.
"Oh…wait…no…Fern!" he protested trying to beat Sam to the passenger seat. But Sam got there first and merely grinned at the man,
"Come on Shaggy in the back." Sam said.
Kensi did up her seatbelt and grinned over at him, "Good Dog."
Deeks rolled his eyes and sat back as they headed to where Callen had last been seen.
The pain was overwhelming he had cramp in every muscle of his body.
He knew from experience it would subside but until then he couldn't move, he had opened the back window of the car so he could hear the ocean and had crawled into the back.
He couldn't hold back the tears the pain brought and was so glad that no one could see him and judge him as weak. He figured the pain would be another hour tops, he still had a bit of gas in the car, he could drive it till it ran out find a bus station and sneak on a greyhound, he'd be lost before anyone noticed he was missing, working on the last time he ran away, it had taken them six weeks to notice he was gone, and he'd only been found to be missing because the police picked him up for stealing from a store front on Venice Beach. But heck he'd needed to eat and the pizza place he'd been scrounging leftovers from had gone out of business.
This time, he'd need a new plan.
He allowed the pain to wash over him and even though parts of him where still fighting it he passed out in the back seat of the car.
He awoke to the sounds of voices, his head was still foggy and nothing made sense. He heard a lock click and felt a hand touch his back.
Before he was even awake he had shot to the other side of the car and was scrambling to get out of the car door.
"Gettoffme!" He yelled incoherently.
"G?" Sam said concerned.
"Lemme go!" he cried; moving away from them shaking the fog out of his head.
"You can't make me go back….I'm not going back there!" he said shaking in fear.
"No one's going to hurt you Callen." Kensi said sweetly trying to comfort him.
Callen pointed a shaky hand at Deeks, "He lied, I'm not going with Hetty, you're sending me back…I won't …I won't do it again…I…I can't please…" Callen collapsed in a heap as another wave of pain rode over him.
Sam picked him up and carried him to Kensi's car.
"No please Mr.…..you don't know what he does…..please…I'll be good….I'll….." Callen's eyes rolled into his head as his body gave up the fight to stay conscious.
Sam turned to Deeks, "Call Eric get him to send a truck for the car, Kensi, Call Hetty…tell her I'm taking him home."