Not a Victim,
Callen walked out of the bullpen as she heard Hetty talking to Director Vance about Callen's pick pocketing of her resignation letter.
"Well Leon, as you know Callen is a victim of our government's welfare system." She said. Leon nodded in agreement as he picked up his drink and swallowed in one gulp.
Callen stood stock still for a second then turned around, walked into the bullpen and grabbed his bag.
"You leaving early, G?" Sam asked.
Ignoring him Callen walked out.
The other three looked at each other in confusion.
Sam got up and walked towards Hetty. He stood at Hetty's door as both the director and Hetty continued to talk.
"Hetty, did you just talk to Callen?" He asked concerned.
"No I was talking to the Director," Hetty replied,
"Ok so he must have an appointment then?" Sam reasoned with himself not realizing he had spoken aloud.
"Who Agent Hanna?" Leon asked.
"G, he just walked in picked up his bag and walked out, I just wondered if everything was alright, he….er….he told me about his ….appropriation of your resignation letter…I wondered if he'd been reprimanded or even worse, fired."
"No, we never said….Oh Bugger," Hetty said remembering that they had discussed his time in care. "Leon, I think we may need to trace him."
Leon nodded and the three of them walked upstairs.
Nell looked up as Sam, Hetty and Director Vance walked in looking worried.
"Miss Jones can you trace Agent Callen's cell phone?" Leon asked.
Looking at him questioningly she did as she was asked. "It's here in the bull pen." She said confused.
"And his car?"
"It's parked up outside a dive bar on Sunset." She sent the information to the team's phone.
"I'll go." Sam said.
Hetty nodded, "Bring him back home Mr. Hanna."
After an hour's driving Sam pulled up outside 'Jay's' bar. He could see Callen's car parked in the lot behind the bar and he opened the door and went in.
Callen was sitting at the end of a long straight bar nursing his third beer, staring at the TV in the corner not noticing and not caring, who came and went through the door; this unnerved Sam who knew Callen never let his guard down.
Callen banged the bar again and Jay the bartender walked up to him, "Listen man, you've been here two hours, you need to give me your keys you can't drink anymore."
Callen pulled out his badge "I'm a fecking Fed…gimme a drink or I'll arrest you!" he snarled.
Jay looked up as Sam put his hand on the bartenders shoulder, "It's ok, and I'm his partner, I'll get him home." He said. "What's he had?"
"Three beers and five sake bombs."
"In two hours?" Sam asked.
Jay laughed, "He had the sake bombs as he walked in then drank two plain beers in the first five minutes, said he needed to forget. He's been nursing that last beer since then…you guys get a bad case?"
Sam didn't elaborate he just thanked the bartender and walked over to Callen.
"G…what's going on with you man?" Sam asked.
"'s not true…." He slurred.
Sam looked with concern at his partner. "I gotta take you back man," he helped Callen get to his feet and drunkenly walked along to the door.
As soon as the Los Angeles air hit him, so did the full impact of the alcohol and Callen sank to his knees and threw up.
"Jeez! G!" Sam exclaimed.
He got Callen back to his car and poured him into the passenger seat, "You puke in this and you're paying for the clean up!" Sam warned although Callen had already passed out.
Pulling up outside his house, Sam lifted him inside and threw him fully clothed in the shower as he called Hetty.
"I got him, I've just poured him in the shower and switched it on he should run outta warm water right about…" He waited and heard a guttural scream from Callen as the water turned ice cold. "Now!" he finished with a grin.
"Bring him to the boat-shed when you're finished the director and I will be there, I want to know what caused this behavior. If he's being blackmailed again I want to know about it." She said.
Sam hung up the phone as a more coherent and extremely annoyed Callen still fully dressed and sopping wet walked out of the bathroom in into his room in search of a towel and dry clothes.
"Jerk!" he said to Sam as he walked by.
Sam sighed, "G…you wanna talk about it."
"NO." He snarled.
Sam walked out to the kitchen as Callen got changed.
"Come on." Sam said manhandling Callen to the car.
"Where we going Sam, I just wanna sleep." Callen moaned.
"Hetty wants to know why her team leader walked out of his job and got wasted!" Sam said his patience wearing thin.
"I'm not talking to her," Callen snapped.
"Fine, we're still going." Sam argued and put Callen in the car.
Callen's head was pounding and he felt awful, but worse much worse was the realization that she of all people thought he was a victim, he had pushed all those feelings down for years and been able to successfully cope knowing that his boss never saw him as a victim, she had on one occasion said he was brought up in the 'Cold, yet well meaning embrace of the foster care system,' but never once….
Before he knew it Sam had pulled up outside the boatshed.
"No, Sam!" Callen pulled back.
"G, I swear, you will go in there or I will carry you?" he pushed.
Callen looked at his partner and shrugged. "Fine."
Going into the main room he was surprised to see Hetty and Leon Vance sitting at the large table with a jug of coffee on a heating plate and a mug waiting for him. Sam pushed him down into a seat and handed him the mug, "Drink." He said.
Callen not looking at any of them took a swig out of the mug and then stared into its murky depths.
"So, Mr. Callen, you did not enact the Beauregard principle, but I don't like to assume, has your identity been compromised again?" Hetty asked.
"Nope." Callen mumbled.
Leon looked at his Agent and was surprised to see the look of sadness on his face, "Agent Callen, this behavior is unlike you, what has happened."
"Nothing." Callen said taking another drink and reaching for the Tylenol that Sam placed on the table.
"Headache?" Leon asked.
"Sake Bombs." Callen said and Leon nodded in understanding.
"Ah, yes Agent DiNozzo had some experience with those a while back." He told him.
"Mr. Callen, I trust you to tell me what is happening to you if the agency is compromised?" She pushed.
"AND I TRUSTED YOU!" Callen yelled and then grabbed his head and groaned.
"Callen, just what did I do to lose your trust?" Hetty asked.
"You….you both see me as a victim?" Callen said sadly.
"Yeah Hetty, you…you said I was a Victim of the welfare system. I…..I'm not." Callen said "I need you to understand that."
"But I only meant that with all you went through?" Hetty started.
"I know what I went through. All the abuse, the belittling and name calling. The being locked in a cellar for days on end, being forgotten and not being worth anything because I was nothing, no one's child and no one cared. Being kicked and beaten having bones broken and having the adults that were supposed to keep you safe laughing at you because you had no-one….Yes I know what I went through, but until today…until you said it, I never thought of myself as a victim, I was, I am a survivor and that made me strong, You…both of you, the people I trusted made me feel like nothing because you don't see the man that survived and forged a life for himself….you see me as a victim, you made me a victim." Callen stopped a rogue tear from falling and stared determinedly into his mug.
Hetty and Leon looked at each other horrified.
"Agent Callen, I never knew; if all this happened to you how on earth do you manage to stay so normal?" Leon asked he had seen children, friends of his own kids who had been in care and had needed therapy and in his own office there was DiNozzo, who had had a bad upbringing and hid his pain behind many masks. Callen never seemed to use any of these things.
"Because I am normal, slightly screwed maybe," He grinned, "But I am NOT a victim….I am a survivor!"
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