Chapter 6 - Meeting and Play
Granger knocked on the door to the motel room, waited until the voice inside called 'come in', then entered.
The man was sitting on the bed a glass of scotch in his hand looking at a worn photo of Callen in a baseball uniform.
"Tell me how it happened, this….this shouldn't be possible?" he said his voice shaking. Of all the things he had protected his son from, this had come nowhere remotely near anything he could have conceived of.
"I know Sir, It was a Lab accident, and Callen was chasing a suspect. He went in first and tripped some sort of security device. The scientist had already killed himself and knocked over some vials on his way down. The chemicals were in the air and Callen breathed them in. The room had been hermetically sealed so no one else was affected and there were fan's which took the air away and cleaned it before the doors opened. Callen was just stuck on the wrong side." Granger explained pouring himself a glass and sitting on a chair.
"Seems like my boy's lot in life to be stuck on the wrong side." He said sadly.
"You could use this as an opportunity; you could come and see him. We don't know how permanent this is, you could have back some of the years you lost." Granger suggested.
A look of sadness crossed the man's face. "Ah Owen, I would if I could, but while he's this age he's back to being in more danger again, if my enemies found out….."
"The Comescu's are all gone or out of business."
"And the rest…." He said sadly, "For many years Clara and I made enemies. Until our son was born we thought we had made it safely away…" He shrugged and let out a sad laugh, "For five years we did…but they always find us…my poor Clara paid the price for our lack in vigilance, if I were to ever be connected with him…" The man shook his head and allowed a single tear to fall.
Owen knew what it was his only outward sign of despair for the loss of his love and his family.
"I miss her too." Owen said sadly.
"Yes my friend, I know you do. She was precious to you; we both lost a lot that day."
Owen smiled in an attempt to lift the mood, "I have photo's I managed to get a few before anyone noticed."
He pulled out a tablet and blue toothed the pictures over to it and handed it to him.
"There are a few of him before he broke his arm…two after."
The man smiled, "He always did like red." He said looking at the sight of his son walking with Kensi and Deeks to the car the sunlight shining off his blond hair.
"He looks like you." Owen commented.
"My hair, my eyes, yours and Clara's stubborn nature I think." He smiled.
Owen shrugged, "Yes Clara was always the stubborn one….she take after our mother." He admitted. "You know the adult version hates me." He told his brother in law sadly.
The man stood up as he went to refill his glass, he patted Owen on the shoulder. "It is a necessary evil I am afraid for his safety. He is my last remaining living child and despite his best attempts I want him kept that way,"
"Sir, do you think you will ever contact him?" Owen asked.
The man turned and looked at Owen "One day, when it is finally safe and they are all gone."
Callen hadn't said a word the whole way back to the mission. Except to nod when Kensi asked him if he was hungry and they had stopped off for a burger on the way back.
Kensi had given Callen the burger and once he was back in the car and they were strapped in he had eaten as fast as he could. Kensi had shot Deeks a look.
"Hey slow down bud, there's no hurry." He said fearing Callen would choke on his dinner.
Callen looked at him quizzically, "You no take?" He asked.
Kensi held up bag, "We have ours." She said.
"But I bad in Spitalul…Hos...pital" He said falling over the English word and looking ashamed.
"No you weren't, you were scared that's ok you're a kid. But we wouldn't take your food from you." Kensi said
Callen cocked his head to one side. He liked these people, but he didn't understand them a bit. For so long his life had consisted of, you are bad, you are stupid because you can't speak properly and you have to be punished.
That's what adults were….weren't they?
He knew Granger wouldn't hurt him; he hadn't punished him for hurting him and holding the gun on him. Granger knew the words his mother had taught him to keep him safe, and….Granger had nodded just a bit when he had asked if he was going to see his father maybe he knew him. The Hetty lady had been nice too….but the large man, Sam….he scared him. Granted he had caught him as he fell and stopped him from getting hurt, but there was an undercurrent of raw power in him. Callen knew for a fact that adults with that much power usually meant pain for him.
"So, buddy what do you want to do when we get back to the mission?" Deeks asked.
Callen shrugged and thought about it all the way back.
Kensi and Deeks were worried about him, he hadn't spoken much and to be honest what he had said had been unsettling, they wondered how much their team leader had been through in his original childhood. Deeks had decided that as soon as they got back he was going to grab some of the toys he had brought for Callen and let him play and be a child.
They pulled up outside the mission and Kensi opened the door to let Callen out. She reached down to grab Callen's food and take it into the mission but he grabbed it with his broken arm in what had to be a painful grip.
"Okay, you can carry it." She smiled and backed off.
Callen followed them in and he leant against the wall as they put their bags down.
"So have you decided what you want to do?" Deeks asked wondering whether he'd like to color, read or play.
Callen looked around the room. Nodded and walked over to the trashcans. He picked one up and then emptied another one into it and lifted the full trashcan with his good arm balancing it with his bad one. He looked around and realized he didn't know where the dumpster was...
He bit his lip worried and headed for the door, it had to be outside…somewhere.
"What are you doing?" Kensi asked.
Callen jumped. "I sorry…he said, I pick work, you want me clean something else first?" He asked confused.
Kensi crouched down to him and gently took the trashcan off him.
"Deeks meant what you wanted to do like color, read or play." She said gently.
"Play….Color?" Callen asked confused.
Kensi's heart broke at the genuinely confused boy.
She walked him over to a table with colors on it and paper and sat him down. He looked at them and then looked back at her blankly. She picked up a purple pen and drew three stick figures, one a man with flippy hair, a girl in a dress and a small stick figure with a red arm. "See that's you me and Deeks." She said. She handed him a piece of paper and the purple pen.
He drew a beach the sun and the sea a stick figure in a big floppy hat laying on a chair a small figure with a bucket and spade and a girl figure with pigtails holding a flower. Then he took the colors the girl had big blue tears and the woman had a big red patch by her head and a big black monster stood behind the boy with sharp teeth and claws. Callen looked at the picture and dropped the pen…."No more color…..please….I clean now." He said trying to get down from the desk.
She helped him down, "You can play now then?" she said. Callen gave her the 'what you on about' look she remembered seeing in him as an adult.
He wasn't daft he'd seen toys in the foster homes he had been in. he knew what to do with them. He saw them all on the floor. He went over to them, picked them up one by one and started putting them in the corner neatly.
Kensi picked up a motorbike, like the one she had seen Callen watching from the car on the way home and a car that looked like theirs.
She made car noises and drove them around the carpet. Callen leant against the couch and giggled.
Kensi's smile shot off the scale; she decided that was the best sound she had ever heard. "Hey Deeks!" She called "Come play with us."
Hetty from her office stopped as she heard the sounds of two of her agents being cars. Deeks of course being a police car and Kensi evading him and both of them falling over as the cars weaved around the floor. Callen hadn't picked a car up yet, but his eyes were sparkling.
Then she heard it.
For once there was going to be no admonishment of her team acting like children as she finally heard something she had never heard all her years of knowing Callen.
She didn't care who saw her agents playing cars on the carpet.
Callen was laughing.