DO NOT ENTER!
There were not many places in Callen's life that he avoided. But this was one of them, even now.
He would sit in Nate's office and talk to him say what was needed to get him past the six monthly psych eval that was mandatory in his line of work.
As a child, he'd had to see his fair share of therapists. He had made all the right noises and everything he needed to for them to say he was as well adjusted as a teenager with no memory of his childhood or his first name could be,.
But in his head there was a door, a big black door with huge red letters on it which said DO NOT ENTER!
Alone, at night, while laying on the bed roll on the floor of whatever placement he was in, he wondered what would happen if he opened that door.
One day he did.
He was sitting in his house, the one he had lived in as a child with the Rostoff family. He had a pile of photographs and a roll of cine film.
He had watched the film first, a young girl on a swing, and a man holding a baby...him...the girl was Amy….the man, his father?
Behind the camera, perhaps, his mother?
He wished more than anything else that there had been sound with this roll of film, to hear their voices, maybe even hear them call his name…
He allowed himself the luxury of crying, something he rarely did.
No one was there to see him, or to judge him, so he cried...for the loss of something he wanted more than anything, for the little boy he could have been. For the child he had become and the life he had lived and shouldn't have.
He reached over and picked up the box of photographs that Hans Schreiber had taken of him over the years.
Some of them were recent, like the one at his sister's grave.
He smiled at the one's of him as a teenager, sullen and moody. Him aged ten...Bakersfield, he had told Kensi and Deeks the story behind that one...as much as he was willing to share anyway.
Other pictures, the odd visible bruise here and there telling a story he wasn't willing to share.
He got younger and younger as he went further back through the box.
Till he got to the first picture….
Unlike the others this was black and white, Kodak paper circa early 1970's. He held it, letting his fingers feel the tiny bumps on the glossy paper. He looked into the eyes of the two children in the picture and for an instant the door in his head opened and a memory slipped through the crack in the door.
"8...9...10…..Here I come ready or not!" Amy's voice rang out.
The girl ran around the tree avoiding the swing that was hanging in the garden.
He looked around trying to remember where he was when he heard a giggle.
It was coming from him, or rather a very very young him.
"I'm coming…." Amy laughed as she looked around the bush he was hiding in."Baby brother?" she called.
Again he giggled.
There was a rustle and a door slam, "Clara, it's not safe here, you have to leave." He said in Russian.
Clara sat on a chair holding her husbands hand.
"If it's not safe for me, it's not safe for you...come with us." She pleaded.
Nikita looked over at his wife and pulled her into a hug, not realizing their son was a few feet away.
"I will follow as soon as I can, I called your handler, she is going to meet you in Romania. We just need to get you there safely with the children."
"When do we leave?" His mother's voice sounded scared and it scared him.
"Tonight, after dark, we will pack the children a bag each and I will drive you to the border. I will stay behind and throw him off your trail." Nikita said.
"Janvier will always be a thorn in our side my love." Clara said and stopped as Amy ran up to them.
"Mama...Papa….I can't find my baby brother!" she said worried.
Nikita smiled as he heard a small giggle from the bush beside him.
"You can't can you…?. Now where can he be?" he reached in and pulled his son from the bush.
Callen squealed as he was lifted into the air and Amy ran to the swing.
"Wait!" Clara called…"I'm getting the camera…"
Callen looked at the photo he now knew his mother had taken of both children, right before she took the cine camera and recorded them together on their last day.
He looked through the box to see if there was another roll of cine film.
There wasn't but he fell asleep that night and allowed the door in his head to be opened just a little bit more as the murmured voices of his mother, father and sister lulled him to sleep.
Maybe one day, the sign on the door would change from Do Not Enter to Welcome.