Crossing the Bridge
"What if he's dead?" Sam asked about Callen having the hope still to meet his father while his partner was recovering in hospital at the Center for Disease Control after being infected with the spiral virus.
Callen looked at his partner, the small oxygen cannula in his nose chafing as he turned his head, "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it." He replied with a small grin as his partner threatened to burst into song to cheer him up.
Callen's heart broke.
"Your father died in 2008," Hetty said sadly, hoping that the beauty of the Russian Orthodox church they were would lessen his pain.
But he wasn't going to let it show.
He stood up, "I...I need...I have to…" He couldn't think, but as usual, as the nearest thing he had to a mother, she understood.
"We will be leaving late tonight, you have all day." She said giving him leave to go.
Callen gave her a small smile, acknowledging the woman who had meant so much to him and he walked out of the church.
And straight into Sam.
"What are you doing here?" Callen asked surprised, he had thought that Sam would be chomping at the bit to go home.
Sam leaned nonchalantly against the four wheeled drive jeep they had hired for their stay in Russia.
"Hetty said you might need me...So I'm here." he said as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
To Callen it was. Now it was anyway, to have Sam nearby when he was most needed.
He wrote an address on a piece of paper "I need to go here." He said.
"You know the way?" Sam asked.
Callen nodded, been past it a few times once or twice not realizing how important the place was until now.
Pulling up Sam looked at him worried.
"It's a cemetery G." Sam got out and watched as Callen walked along the ornate grave stones, looking at the names, some with small plaque pictures attached until he came to the headstone he was looking for.
Konstantin Chernoff...died 2008….
He couldn't read anymore and sank to his knees.
He had been so close.
Having searched for a name and a family his whole life this was what it boiled down to, he really was alone. His parents and sister were all dead, cold in their graves and his chance of ever finding out who he really was was gone.
He cried, for his mother, his sister and his father, for the lost chances and the loss of the small amount of hope that one day his questions would have been answered.
Sam waited quietly in the background knowing that his friend and partner needed this.
A few minutes later Callen stood, wiped his eyes and turned looked down at the grave.
"Do svidaniya," he said quietly and left not knowing if he would ever get back here again.
Silently he climbed into the jeep and waited for Sam to join him.
"I had questions…" Callen said on the ride to the tea house, he wanted to see the place one last time. Maybe take one more look at the photo before he had to go home and confine the picture to his memory.
Sam drove shooting worried glances at his friend as he pulled into the parking spot near the tea house and waited as Callen got out and walked to the window.
Down the street a man pulled up and waited, watching as the younger man stared at the window.
"G...We have to go!" Sam called looking at the watch on his wrist, their flight would be leaving soon.
For a moment he put his hand on the glass, as if willing the ghosts that he hoped were inside to come out and talk to him, to answer his questions.
He sighed and turned to Sam, it was time to go home there was nothing left here for him anymore.
As the black Jeep drove off the old man got out of his car, watched longingly at the Jeep retreating in the distance and then continued his walk into the cafe.
Taking his espresso he sat at the table in the window and rubbed the small silver coin in his hand wishing he could have taken those few steps and talked to his son, but still grateful that Hetty had his back after all this time.
"Speak of the devil." He said in Russian as Hetty walked in and sat down opposite him.
"I think, in this instance you would be the devil...Nikita." Hetty said smiling at the woman who brought her over a cup of tea.
"You know my reasons Henrietta."
Hetty smiled, "I do...I told him today...about our wedding."
Nikita looked at his 'Ex-wife' with a smile, "How did he take it?"
"I never told him 'who' I married for the undercover assignment, but I figured as you had me tell him you were dead I should do it in the place where I had a good memory of you."
Nikita nodded. "He is well?" he asked.
"He is." Hetty affirmed, "I wish you would change your mind Konstantin." she used the name she married him with as a prod.
"Etta…" He sighed, "You know the reasons behind it, there are still people, even today that need help, that need me."
"Your son needs you." Hetty snapped.
Nikita looked at the coin in his hand, "Did you tell him about here, this place?"
"No...Arkady Kolcheck told him, they are friends." Hetty told him.
"Kolcheck thinks I am dead I hope."
Hetty nodded, "He did...but now...you have been sloppy over the years my dear, you left a card on your daughter's grave, after you 'died'."
Nikita smiled at her, "Sentimentality, it gets the best of us."
Hetty looked at the dainty watch on her wrist, "I need to meet your son and take him home." She said in English as she stood up.
"Keep him safe Etta, when it is finally safe I will contact him."
"Don't leave it too long, he deserves to have the closure he desperately needs and he deserves to know who he is."
Nikita Reznikov, Konstantin Chernoff bent down and kissed his ex wife's cheek.
"Love him for the both of us, when it is safe I will be there, make sure he knows that both his parents loved him very much." He said earnest.
"And yet you let him think you are dead…?" Hetty shot him a look of annoyance.
"If he thinks it and stops looking, then my enemies will think it and stop looking." The old man said.
Hetty climbed into the jet that Arkady had hired for the trip home from Russia.
The others looked up as she took her seat.
"We are all here?" She asked.
Kensi and Deeks nodded sitting across from her, Sam too had taken a seat up the front, and Callen was sitting with his back to the others at the rear of the small jet.
She looked over at him concerned but buckled her safety belt for take off.
Hetty turned to Sam as the plane taxied down the runway.
"Has he said anything?" she asked quietly, the noise of the engines drowning out her question to all but the man beside her.
Sam shook his head, "Not a word since we left the tea house in Moscow." He admitted.
She nodded knowing her boy as she did she knew he needed to think so she closed her eyes and settled in for the ride home.
A few hours later as they flew towards the sun and morning, she opened her eyes, looked at the display on the wall to that let them know what time zone they were in and she unbuckled her safety belt.
Sam was reading a newspaper, Kensi was asleep, draped around Deeks who too was sleeping, both drained from the last mission.
Callen was sat staring out of the window, still ignoring everyone in the plane.
Hetty walked over and sat near him, she could see the small muscle in his jaw that told her he was only just keeping himself together.
She reached out and wrapped her hand over his and rubbed her forefinger against his thumb, his universal gesture of comfort he'd had since he was a child.
Slowly he relaxed and turned to look at her the pain evident in his eyes.
"I won't ever know will I?"
Hetty looked at him hurting with his pain.
"What do you need to know?" she asked, "I can tell you that your father loved you, as did your mother and your sister. I can tell you that they watch over you as concerned for you as I am, as Mr. Hanna and the rest of your family is."
Callen sighed, "I wanted to see him, to have more than the memory of a picture...I wanted to know about my family, I wanted to know my name."
"I cannot tell you your name, anymore than you know now, but maybe this will help." She reached into her purse and pulled out a copy of the picture that Arkady had showed him earlier.
Callen's eyes shot from the picture in her hand to her face in surprise, "How?" he asked.
"When have I ever not provided you with what you need?" Hetty smiled at him.
Callen gave a small laugh of surprise, "You don't have my name in that bag of yours do you?"
Hetty shook her head, "I'm afraid not, but I do have your family...over there who are worried about you and want to be there for you."
Callen looked up to see all three of his team looking worried down the plane at him.
"I suppose I should sit upfront and stop being antisocial."
Hetty nodded, "Now I think is the time you need to be with your family more than ever."
Callen knew that she knew even without telling her that although this phase of his search was over, he would never stop searching for his identity...his name...the answers about why his father had not gone to America to find him when he escaped the transportation to the gulag in 1974, why he had left his two children alone in a strange country to fend for themselves. He knew that he may never find the answers, but that too was a bridge he would cross when he came to it.
Just like this one.
He had faced it alone, and realized that for all he had lost, he had still gained a family and facing it he realized that he could move on, for now even without a name.
Crossing the bridge gave him a few answers he now had faces to the names he knew were his parents.
Standing up he crossed and went to sit with his team, his friends...his family.
Hetty sat back and watched him.
The boy she had protected, watched over, loved...all his life, proud of the man he had become and silently prayed one day that his father would step out of the shadows, claim his place in his son's life and finally give her boy the answers he so desperately sought.
She looked up and smiled as Callen laughed at something Deeks was saying, she got up and went to join them.
Her secrets could keep till another day, and one day hopefully she and Callen's father could tell him together.
Summary: Spoilers for season six finale. How does Callen move on from what he has learned, how does he cross that bridge. Written for the Writers Challenge on the writers challenge facebook group.
Genre: Angst, Hurt/Comfort
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