Callen woke up, everything hurt but one thought ravaged through his head, he had called for his momma and she had answered, whether she had really found him or if it had been her ghost, talking through his pain addled mind he didn't know.
However, his first thought on waking was, was she still there?
For a moment, he held his breath as he listened to see if it was safe to open his eyes.
"I think it is time for you to come back to us Mr. Callen." A woman's voice said.
Inwardly Callen groaned, it was all too good to be true and he should know better. The woman's voice had to belong to whichever social worker they had assigned to tell him it was his fault and he needed to go back to the orphanage.
Callen groaned, "I'll get my bag." He sighed, knowing they wouldn't want him to clog up a hospital bed.
"And go where?" the woman's voice said.
"Dunno." Callen replied sadly, He had no idea where they would ship him next and he didn't care.
Callen opened his eyes, they were swollen and he still hurt but he stubbornly pulled himself into a sitting position, reached for where he knew his bag would be, and pulled out his jeans and a shirt. He got them on with some difficulty knowing the small woman in the corner could still see him and he ignored her. He pulled his tattered sneakers out of his bag and winced as he tried to put them on. She watched concerned from the corner as his breath hitched in pain as he dropped one and tried, with his ribs wrapped, to pick it up. She got up and walked towards him, "Stop." She said and he looked at her, "You will rest Mr. Callen and I will have you transferred to a private facility for you to get over this ordeal."
"Jail?" He asked resigned, "I suppose I deserve it. I'm sorry."
"Why on earth would you go to Jail?" Hetty asked confused.
"Because I'm a reject and worthless, Mr. Grey always said I'd end up in jail, I made him beat me so I suppose that's where I'm going." He wouldn't even look at her, he voice sounded too much like the angel in his head and he didn't want her to go away.
"No, Mr. Callen, you're being fostered, your last placement." She said with authority.
"They won't keep me, I'm broken, and I won't fit….I never do…" He said softly.
"Do you remember what you said to me when I found you?" Hetty prodded gently.
Callen looked at his feet, "I'm sorry Ma'am." He said.
"Did you mean it?" Hetty asked.
"No MA'AM!" Callen jumped he wasn't sure what he said, but if he denied it, then it couldn't hurt him."
He flinched as Hetty laid a hand on his arm, "What If I could promise you that at this placement you would fit, you would not…ever be rejected and no one would ever hurt you."
"There is nowhere like that." Callen said.
"I would like to foster you; I know I cannot adopt you due to the lack of records, but…."
"Could you….you want to…..be my momma?" Callen whispered.
Hetty nodded and held her arms out as a broken and battered 15-year-old boy sobbed his heart out in his new mother's arms, he knew as she did at that moment she had saved his life.
Moreover, saved his life she had.
Slowly she had built up his self worth, helped him finish high school and helped him through college, where he had blossomed. Although still the consummate loner, knowing that his 'mother' worked for the CIA he didn't want to get in too much with the wrong people and needed to work hard if he was going to get good enough grades to be able to work for the federal government in some capacity.
She had turned his life around and although she had plans for him, she knew he would never let her down as much as by slowly trusting her he knew the same thing.
With a renewed sense of purpose Callen shook himself out of his reverie and headed into the building, hesitating a microsecond as he reached the threshold of the building.
He gripped the disc tighter, he knew Jackson wasn't here anymore, he hadn't seen him since that day when he was fifteen.
He walked inside and before he even had chance to pull his gun he felt a barrel in the small of his back.
"Mr. Callen." The man's deep voice said his clipped Russian accent evident.
"I have the disc where's Hetty?" Callen asked.
He was maneuvered into what had been Jackson Grey's office. The desk and chair still sitting there as they had done since the day he had left and the home had been closed.
His natural reaction had been to vomit on entering the room, his face was a schooled mask as he turned to the Russian, "Alec, I thought you were behind this." He said his voice deep and deadly.
"Actually, I am not." Alec said turning in his chair, "I have an employer, this is what you reduced me to…you destroyed my empire and I am now reduced to having to work for the highest bidder however had I not needed the money I would have done this job for free." He admitted.
"Who then and where is Hetty?" Callen asked again.
The next voice he heard made him want to scream. "She's dead. You're next." Callen's blood ran cold and he started shaking he turned anger, terror and fury all evident in his eyes at once.
"Grey!" he snarled.
Jackson Grey stepped back as his men grabbed Callen by the arms and smoothed down his Armani suit.
Callen grabbed the grief and anger he was feeling and hid it as he looked at his one time tormentor, "You've done well for yourself." He said his voice flat.
"Yes I found a niche in prison, human trafficking sells well in Europe; I moved to the Ukraine and rebuilt myself. My sole aim was exporting when I knew you; break kids, report them as runaway's and sell them off. Then you came, you were perfect but you fought back…and then that woman ruined my scheme. Well I've had years to plan my revenge and imagine my surprise when I discovered she had fostered you and you both worked for the federal government. Getting a mole in your organization was easy. Waiting for the right time to take her wasn't. But I got her and now she's dead." He grinned as Callen staggered slightly.
"You're lying!" Callen snarled. "Why ask for the disk if your goal was to kill her?"
"Contacts; Contacts pure and simple, the disk has the names of everyone I dealt with and my supply line; the deliverers of peace were a front for my human trafficking ring." Jackson laughed gutturally, "The only peace I'm delivering is mine."
Jackson brought out a picture, "I saw the ones in your home…I thought you would like this one." Callen looked at the picture and lunged for Jackson.
"Remember what I said boy, you're a reject and worthless." Jackson stepped back and took the first swing at Callen with the baseball bat he had found in the closet when he had looked around in the office, "Remember this, I used to beat you with this and it was still here. Now it's going to kill you." He grinned as Callen held in a scream as his first blow broke a couple of ribs.
Callen dropped his eyes to the floor in defeat and as he fell and the blows continued his eyes focused on the picture of Hetty with a bullet hole in her head and glassy eyes and he knew, she was dead and he had no reason left to fight.
The last thing he heard before he allowed himself to slip into unconsciousness was a gunshot, he felt the pain and as he went his last thought was of the woman he'd grown to love as his mother.