Chapter 23 - PauseReally!
Stretching carefully Callen awoke looking around the motel room he had been directed to by the doctor who had orchestrated his escape. For a middle of the night choice, it wasn't so bad in the daylight.
He carefully swung his leg over the bed and used the crutches to get himself to the window and opened the curtains. The view of the beach and the ocean invigorated him and he opened the window to get his first breath of fresh air that day.
He placed the crutch against the window frame and limped carefully into the small kitchenette to make a coffee. It wasn't the best cup in the world and the handle on the mug had broken but he had definitely had worse. He moved a big wing backed chair to the front of the window grabbed the mug and sat back, swallowing two more of the pain pills the hospital had left him.
For the first time in days Callen had time, Time to deal with his thoughts and time to sort out himself what he needed to do, he hoped that Eric wouldn't try to trace him as he needed this, No Hetty, No Granger and certainly no Constantin…Father…Dad? He didn't know what to call him.
Sipping the coffee he lay back into the chair listening to the sounds of children and families arriving for a day at the beach and vendors setting up their wares on the boardwalk below.
Just trying to center himself was hard. He resisted the urge to ring Nell or Sam to talk. Both would listen both would give their opinions, Sam would urge him to come back and face his demons, Nell would fight for his right to be where he was and he would worry about them as well. So he didn't call.
He grabbed a pad out of his bag and started a list; it was something he hadn't done since he was a teenager.
'OK so what do I want from this?' he said to himself, mentally smiling thinking Nate would be proud.
Do I want a relationship with my Father?
Can I forgive him for not coming to get me?
Can I be someone's son?
How do I be his son…
He picked up the piece of paper screwed it into a ball and threw it in the general vicinity of the trash can.
The painkillers started to work again and he dozed off to the sounds of families playing on the beach.
He was small, and he was with his mother and his father and Amy on the beach.
Amy and Clara were paddling in the ocean and Callen looked up squinting in the sunlight as his father put sunscreen on his back.
"Gregori, lasă-mă să pun asta asupra ta înainte de soare te arsuri, atunci să putem construi o fortăreață de nisip împreună." Constantine said to his son with a bottle of sun screen in his hand and looking at Callen's small spade in his son's hand.
Callen looked up full of love for this man who made him feel safe, dropped the spade and lifted up his arms so his father could hold him.
"Tu iubesc Tata." Callen said as his four year old self snuggled his face into his father's neck feeling safe and loved.
The scene in his mind changed again and got dark and stormy, his sister screaming and a faint pop from behind him, a sound he now recognized as a gun with a silencer attachment. Arms snatching him up and the smell of…lilacs and lily of the valley, a woman's smell a strange language and him shaking alone and scared.
Then his dreams really went into overdrive.
Running on the beach in the distance he saw Kensi and Deeks and Nell and a large picnic spread, then he was small, scared and hiding in a closet, a small woman was talking to him and then a huge African American man gave him chocolate…Sam? Sam! Sam was huge!
Callen woke up with a start, "What the hell?" he knew that Hetty had been the small woman, with what he had told her she had looked in on him from time to time throughout his childhood, as a penance to his mother, her way of checking on her son. At one point, his lowest point, she had taken him in and fostered him… But Sam? Why the hell was Sam in his childhood dreams and so tall. If he had met Sam in his childhood Sam would have been a kid too?
Callen took a drink of soda from the icebox and sat back at the window. He laughed to himself, his head certainly was one messed up place.
Constantin, Granger and Hetty sat around the table at the safe house.
"I am not happy he has been allowed to go off on his own." Constantin said.
Granger and Hetty exchanged knowing glances, "I can assure you Mr. Lupescu that Mr. Callen can more than take care of himself." Hetty said handing him a cup of tea.
"But without Owen to watch his back…." Constantin trailed off.
"I haven't been really watching his back for years, he's had his partner to do that, I have kept him off the radar where possible but the only real threat to him in recent years was Eugene Keelson, and he was dealt with." Granger told him.
Constantin looked up, "Keelson was another thorn in my side, and he kept threatening to sell my whereabouts to the highest bidder." He admitted.
"Keelson got a hold of my note book, he tracked down the woman he thought was Amy, nearly killed her and Gregori." Granger told them.
"You knew about that?" Hetty asked.
Granger sent her a smirk that reminded her so much of Callen she wondered how she could have missed it.
Hetty sighed, "You know Nate prodded me for weeks thinking I had written that damn book!" she said exasperated.
Granger laughed, "What stopped him pushing?"
"I gave him a sample of my handwriting, he wanted to have it analyzed." She said a smile slowly creeping onto her face, "He was embarrassed when it came back as a man's handwriting."
Granger flat out laughed.
"What happened to the woman Keelson thought was Amelia?" Constantin asked.
"Her name was Hannah Lawson; she was Amy's friend at the orphanage and took her name when she died. I figured she had her own demons to run from and it wasn't hurting anyone, she was just a child." Granger said.
"Owen! You do have a heart!" Hetty exclaimed.
Granger shot her a look.
"So how are we going to handle this?" Granger asked bringing them back to the task at hand.
"We are not." Hetty stated.
"We're not?" Constantin and Granger both asked.
"We created this mess by keeping secrets from Mr. Callen, if he is ever going to trust us…" She sighed hoping it wasn't already too late, "Then we have to let him set the pace."
"But right now he is off the grid and injured what if he gets exposed?" Constantin asked concerned for his son.
Hetty smiled and Granger nearly spat his tea out.
"You know where he is!" he exclaimed.
Hetty's smile got wider.
"The doctor who gave Callen the escape route was one of mine."
Granger glared at her, "Really!"
Hetty took a sip of her tea and put the cup gently in the saucer, "Owen, do you really think I would let NCIS's most valuable asset in the field without knowing where he was at all times?"