Libertate și speranță

A/N - Thanks for popping by and checking out my new story. I hope you enjoy. I have rated it M for safety. I'm not entirely sure it needs it but better to be safe though if you disagree and think there's nothing M about this chapter let me know as this is the one that concerns me the most.

Just a note, Anna doesn't have a role in this AU type story. Sorry to Anna fans but I don't see it yet. Maybe s9 when I get to watch it might change my thoughts. We'll see.

Summary: A promise of one night, no looking back. No regrets. No names. A simple night of mutual physical pleasure. That was all it was supposed to be. Then she woke up screaming his name - his real name, not the letter. She screamed for him to run in a voice filled with terror - in Romanian. One night, no looking back. This time that promise would be broken.

Disclaimer: Anything you recognised from the world of NCIS LA: so not mine. OC's - definitely mine. Thank you to those that do own them for letting us play around with their characters and in their world.

Reviews and thoughts most welcome and appreciated. I love to hear from and interact with my readers. Feedback helps make things better.


CHAPTER 1

She'd caught Callen's attention the moment she'd walked into the restaurant. He'd watched her from his table as she'd been ushered to hers and continued to watch as she'd ordered her meal, eaten in solitude, and hadn't shown anyone any attention.

A woman alone, and content to be alone, was not the kind of woman who usually caught Callen's eye on nights like this. He knew what he was here for and watching a woman like her was a pointless exercise considering his aim for the evening.

She didn't seem interested. But still, he couldn't stop watching or hoping that might change.

Yes, he was here for a woman.

There were nights when Callen craved human contact, not that he would easily admit it to anyone. A warm body next to him, under and around him. He was a man and human. Physical needs were a part of life and, while ideally those kind of needs would be taken care of in the comfort of a relationship, he'd come to the conclusion a long time ago that his life, who he was, didn't fit with the required type of relationship for that particular need.

Joelle had tempted Callen to try again, but he wasn't sure it was actually her who had tempted him or the relationship potential. He was getting older and sometimes he wondered if, maybe, it might be different. If he'd reached that point in his life where he was ready to settle down and commit. Joelle had lasted a long time, the longest in fact of that kind of relationship. But even though he'd known he cared about her he hadn't been able to give it everything. It had needed to end for some time but he wasn't quite sure how to break it off without hurting her, which was important to him. It wasn't her fault that he wasn't cut out for it. Part of him had hoped she might instead. How could he truly be in a relationship with her, or anyone for that matter, when he hadn't been able to tell her who he really was. Even when she had known, and he'd tried to open up, he hadn't been all there. Something in him had held him back, made him keep those final walls intact.

As it turned out, she hadn't told him everything either. He liked to think it was his instincts that had kept his guard up, that some part of him had known something wasn't quite right about her, but deep down he knew why. The reason tucked so deep that he could only see it if he truly wanted to look inside himself.

Trust.

Because he didn't trust those he cared about not to leave him. They always did. Eventually. It wasn't just them though. He also didn't trust himself that he wouldn't leave them. He'd done it countless times in the past and would no doubt again. There was slight twinge in his chest at the thought of leaving his team. This team of his was the closest to a true family that he had. The ones who knew him the most, even though he didn't fully know himself. He didn't have plans to leave them, but given his history, it seemed like a forgone conclusion.

Callen shook off those thoughts. They had no place here tonight.

Tonight was about sex. Sex was a part of life, a natural biological urge, and Callen enjoyed it. He wouldn't deny that. So did those women he sought out when the inevitable time arose that he needed more than simple physical release. He made sure they knew the score.

One night only.

The only promise he made was that they would both walk away satisfied at the end of the night.

The hotel room was booked under a false name, a very comfortable and discrete one. He knew where the cameras were and had chosen the room easiest to avoid his face being caught on film. It was the least he could do to make sure whoever she ended up being was safe from any repercussions.

But this particular woman tonight, the way he felt was something new. He couldn't quite place what it was about her that was drawing him to her. There were plenty of other attractive women here. Some had even approached him, asked him to dance. They'd barely drawn a second glance from him, even with standing so close their bodies had touched his slightly; deliberately he was sure. The glances he did give them only just qualified as polite before he'd been drawn back to her.

She had thick long dark blonde wavy hair, the kind you could easily sink your fingers into and have them lost in the depths. It was held back from her face with two clips.

He could tell her curvaceous body was fit and strong. It wasn't one of the typical model thin ones that were most common in LA. It was one that his instincts knew would fit perfectly beneath him, and feel delightful under and in his hands. Her dress had shown her body off to perfection. It wasn't revealing, just beautifully fitted to those curves and he itched to run his hands over the lines of it, and her.

Callen had watched her eat, really eat, and enjoy her food which told him something very important about her. She was a woman who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. And he was a man very interested in helping her with one particular type of pleasure.

So, even though she hadn't looked at him at all, (she'd given him, nor anyone else, any encouragement whatsoever), Callen had sent her over a drink when she'd finished her dessert. It was a simple way to get her attention. Not too bold and, if she wasn't interested, she could easily send the drink back. He wouldn't push, even though he wanted her more than he could remember wanting a woman in a long time. That wasn't his way. It was mutual or not at all. Coercing left doubts and nights like these weren't for doubts. They were for passion, pleasure, and yes, to some degree, the comfort of another human being.

When the drink had been placed in front of her, and the waiter had left, she'd turned and looked at him. Her smile floored him and, had his chair not had a back on it, he wouldn't have been surprised if he'd fallen off it, because he felt the impact of it almost as if someone had kicked him. Thankfully it did lack the pain of one but his breath had certainly been affected.

She turned away but somehow Callen still felt her eyes on him.

That was when Callen noticed the mirror on the wall and he looked straight into the reflection of her eyes. Was it possible she had noticed him tonight after all?

She pulled her gaze from his and he watched as she stood up from the table, gathered her small bag and the drink in her hands before she turned to him. One way or another it looked like he was going to at least get to see her up close. She moved to his table and indicated to the chair opposite.

"May I?" she asked.

Her voice drifted over him like a caress. So soft and gentle. The kind of voice that dreams could turn into something exceptionally caring or highly erotic. His mind turned it into the second and his body tightened.

"Please," he said.

"Thank you for the drink."

"You're welcome."

She was beautiful close up too. Her eyes were green, but a paler shade than what he expected; one he hadn't come across before. She had a heart shaped face and lips that were a inviting shade of pink and full. Ready to be kissed since her enjoyment of her meal had removed any trace of lipstick from them.

Callen couldn't place how old she was, not that age was an issue. He had a good enough eye to be able to make sure he didn't pick up underage women. The smoothness of her skin and the barely there makeup hinted at her being on the young side, though it could also suggest she took good care of herself. There was something about her though, something in her eyes and the way she held herself that suggested maturity and a life that wasn't so easy.

They stared at each other for a moment before she smiled and took a sip of her drink.

"Why?" she asked.

"Why what?" Callen pulled his gaze from her lips, having just watched her tongue dart out to catch a drop of her drink that had lingered on her bottom lip.

"Why have you been watching me all night?"

"A beautiful woman eating dinner alone. I was intrigued and wondered why."

She raised an eyebrow. "Because a woman can't eat dinner alone without something being wrong?"

"I didn't say that."

She smiled again and there was something in her green eyes. Something that intrigued him more than the fact that she was eating alone, or how much he was physically attracted to her. He just couldn't put his finger on it.

"Maybe," she said, her voice low, "I was alone because you didn't come over sooner."

"Would I have been welcome?" Callen asked.

"You've been watching me since I walked through the door. Why didn't you try?"

"Have you been watching me?"

"In a way."

The mirror. He'd been too caught up watching her to notice. Pity, because it had given him a different view and might very well have meant this night could've been further ahead than it was now.

She took another sip. "What is it you want from me?" Her eyes looked him over, a definite hint of interest in hers.

Should he be blunt or should he take his time? Her gaze landed on his lips and he saw a hint of movement on hers that suggested she had only just stopped her tongue from wetting her own. His body reacted and his breath caught at the intensity of the reaction from that movement that wasn't even a movement. Who was she that she could make him as hard as he was without even a touch?

Her eyes lifted back to look at his, an expectant look in them that reminded him he'd yet to answer her.

Blunt. The night was slipping away and he had a feeling that one night wouldn't be enough, but one night was all he had to give. The sooner he put the ball into motion the better.

"You. Me. One night."

"So you want sex?"

He wasn't the only one to be blunt.

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Why?" Callen repeated not quite sure what she was asking. He'd been distracted by the fact that she had just run her finger over her lips. He couldn't be sure if she was doing it deliberately to provoke a response in him or not. Either way it did.

"Why me?" she asked him and he heard the genuine interest, and a touch of confusion, in it and wondered how she could doubt a man's interest in her. "You've had multiple beautiful women show an interest in you already tonight," she added.

So, if he was reading her correctly, it wasn't so much a man's interest that she doubted but her attractiveness when compared to your typical LA model type bodies.

"They're not you." He had no other answer that he was willing to give her. After all telling her, or any woman for that matter, that you were ready enough to take her right there on the table if she was willing, was a bit of a risk. He took a breath and employed a couple of his more subtle techniques to regain control, or attempt to at least tone down the speed, of his body's reactions to her.

"You like what you see?"

"Yes." Callen smiled. "So do you."

She smiled and ran that same finger around the top of her glass. Callen swallowed and tried not to think about the possibilities. Once she said yes, then he'd give his mind free reign - and hopefully the reality and their bodies wouldn't be far behind.

"I do. But what about touch?" She leaned forward slightly. "Perhaps we should dance before we take this any further."

Callen stood and held out his hand. "Shall we?" He wasn't going to turn down an offer like that.

She placed her hand in his, the softness and warmth was just like he had expected, though it felt far better than he'd imagined. She slipped her handbag strap over her shoulder and let Callen led them to the small dimly lit dance floor before he brought her into his arms.

Callen's hand settled low on her back, not too low though. He was, after all, a gentleman, at least in this kind of encounter. He pulled her closer until their bodies brushed slightly as they moved. The heat from his hand and her body mingled through the smooth silk of her green dress. It wasn't a dance in terms of a dance but simply a way to touch in a public place. To see if there was more, enough to take this further, as she'd suggested. Not that he needed any proof. This was his time to convince her that she wanted him too. His thumb rubbed gently against her back where his hand rested and he felt the slightest shiver go through her.

Her hand rested on his shoulder as they swayed to the beat of the slow music gently filling the room. He shifted his head just enough so his question whispered over her ear.

"One night?" he asked and this time he felt a distinct tremble go through her and couldn't help the smile of satisfaction that came to his lips. Oh yes, she wanted him just as much as he wanted her. Between the shiver, tremble and the definite signs of arousal as her breasts brushed against his chest he had no doubt about that. Her eyes lifted to his and she smiled, that kick happening all the same though this time he was slightly more prepared for it.

"One night. No regrets," she confirmed and her fingers slid across the top of his shoulder to the back of his neck. They were warm and soft and left a trail of heat across his skin as they moved, even through his shirt.

"Of course there won't be," Callen said.

Her smile grew and she let out a soft chuckle. "Confident aren't you?"

"Yes."

"Any other conditions?"

"No names."

"No names?" The condition took her by surprise, he could see that in her eyes.

Callen nodded. He had a name now but he hadn't reconciled to it being his. Time, he guessed would take care of it though G seemed to suit him better. Or maybe it was just that he was used to it after all this time. Oddly he felt the temptation to use Grisha with her. Maybe if someone called him that, other than the father he had yet to really connect with, it might feel more like his own. He pushed that idea away. No names was better for them both.

"One night," Callen confirmed. "No regrets, no looking back."

"Anything else?" she asked.

"No. You?"

"Just one thing."

Her hand drifted from the back of his neck around and up to his cheek to gently stroke it. A flash of something blurred his vision of her for just a moment. A memory or something he wasn't sure. Nothing he could grab onto though. Her hand trailed down his neck, her fingers danced over his pulse and all thoughts of the memory were pushed away by the feel of her fingers touching his skin and trailing along the V of his shirt. The picture that now came to his mind had to do with her undoing the rest of the buttons and running her hands freely over his chest.

"Yes?" Callen prompted when she didn't say anything more.

"If you are looking for someone to screw and walk away from having satisfied your needs, look somewhere else."

She definitely knew how to be blunt and Callen felt a flash of satisfaction that he wasn't that type of man. He had no intention of behaving like that at all.

"If," she continued before he had a chance to say anything, "you are looking for a night of mutual satisfaction," a sexy smile spread across her lips and Callen felt an urge to capture it with his own that was so strong it caused his mouth to water, "and pleasure that you will walk away from in the morning thinking maybe two nights instead." She slipped her hand from him and stepped away, "then you need to make sure I don't walk out that door without you."

She moved and headed to the door, his eyes distracted with the sway of her hips before his brain kicked in. Another invitation he had no intention of turning down, or letting get away.

Callen was standing by the door holding it open for her before she was even there, grateful that he'd already paid his bill when he'd ordered. A habit so he could leave whenever he was ready or had to. The door closed behind them and she guided them off to the side.

"One more thing, just in case," she said, that voice low and soft again. His body didn't usually react to voices like this. He was looking forward to seeing where this night would lead. Satisfaction no doubt would be achieved, but the kind of satisfaction, now that was where the night could get very interesting.

"What?" Callen pulled his mind back from the potential night ahead to focus on what was right here in front of him.

"A kiss," she said. "If it's not good, we walk away, no hard feelings."

Callen raised his eyes at that comment. He saw a twinkle in her eyes that she got his meaning. Her arms slipped around his neck and her body came fully against his. She had no doubt felt the hardness of him against her body.

"One kiss and then maybe it starts," she whispered.

Callen slipped one hand into her hair to anchor her head, the other arm around her back and pulled her tighter against him. After a brief moment of staring into those pale green eyes, that somehow seemed more intense for their paleness than vibrant green ones would've, his mouth descended on hers and he kissed her. If this was his final chance to convince her to be with him for the night he wasn't taking any chances. He gave it everything he had. Warm lips meet, heated mouths opened and invited the other in, tongues duelled almost imitating what was to come later. Callen sensed her giving everything to it as well. Just as he suspected, this wasn't going to be an ordinary satisfying encounter. Satisfying it would be but with this kiss being a prelude to what was to come, the word felt small and ineffective as a description. The kiss was more; it wasn't just the mouths, somehow, though Callen couldn't tell how, it felt like their whole bodies were involved in the kiss.

She was the one to break it off, breathing heavily, her lips swollen, her cheeks pink and her eyes filled with passion.

"So it's starts," she whispered, stepped back and placed her hand in his.


Callen laid on the bed beside her watching her. It was five am and they'd barely slept, though she was sleeping now. The night had been more than he'd expected even knowing it wasn't going to be a typical encounter from beginning.

He always took his time to learn what pleased a woman when he took her to bed, would find out what they enjoyed and used it to his, and their, advantage for a most enjoyable and satisfying night.

But with her, whatever it was about her, had him taking that exploration even further. He'd explored every inch of her body; teased, tasted and touched with hands, lips, tongue and teeth. He'd noted every moan, halted breath, sigh, gasp and shift of her body, finding some surprisingly erotic spots that he took advantage of over the course of the night. However, much to his surprise, and before he'd brought her to her first climax of the night, she'd done the same to him.

It had been time well spent and led to a night filled with more passion than he'd experienced before, and he wasn't done. Even after everything they'd shared lying here watching her sleep, knowing their time together was almost over he wanted her again. He wanted to kiss her awake, bury himself inside her and hear her cries of pleasure as he took them both there again. And then there was still the shower. They'd explored the bath last night but one last time in the shower before he let her walk away would give him a complete set of memories of their time together, of the many different ways they'd taken each other over the edge, because she had been just as active as he in giving pleasure.

The thought of keeping her here for the day, to extend it to two nights flitted in his mind and he smiled. She'd warned him that would be the case. Maybe, if he was lucky she might agree. He shook that thought off and the disappointment that followed. That wasn't the agreement and he had to stick to it. It was safer for all. This was just physical and that was all it could be because anyone involved with him was at risk and she hadn't signed up for that kind of deal. There had to be an expiry on their time together. A definite end where the goalposts didn't change.

Callen shifted the sheet off her body and let his eyes wander over her, a satisfied smile on his face when he saw evidence of their night together - slight whisker burns here and there that he knew she had thoroughly enjoyed receiving; the distinct mark of a hickey on her lower neck that he'd enjoyed giving her. He was about to start trailing his fingers over her stomach and kiss her shoulder, when she started to twitch and a small sound of distress fell from her lips as her head rolled to one side on the pillow.

Callen frowned.

"..sha,," she murmured. "Unde ești?"

Callen's hand stilled.

"Unde ești Grisha?" Her words clearer this time.

Callen froze. She was saying his name.

"Papa, spune-mi unde Grisha?"

And speaking in Romanian. Asking where he was. But how? He'd never told her his name. His blood felt like it turned to ice and his heart rate kicked up a notch. Could she be after him?

She started to move on the bed, jerking and twisting. Callen saw the beads of sweat on her forehead. He noted the pulse pounding in her neck and the tears that were escaping from behind closed eyelids.

"Nu! Papa, unde este?" she cried out, desperation and fear in her tone.

"Sunt aici," Callen replied in Romanian. I'm here.

"Grisha unde ești?" she sobbed, the sound so sad and heartbreaking.

The coldness inside him slipped away. This wasn't an act. She was scared and trapped in a nightmare.

"Chiar aici." Callen touched her hand gently. "Deschide-ti ochii." Right here. Open your eyes

"Unde ești?" she whimpered. Callen could hear how frightened she was, and even with his experience with nightmares he didn't know how to reach through and bring her out of this dark place she was trapped in. He placed his hand on her shoulder, hoping the connection would help. Her body stiffened and she screamed.

"Grisha, fugi!"

She sat up suddenly and her eyes flew open. Her breathing was harsh and nothing like after he'd kissed her last night. She turned to him and stared. Callen could see the terror in her eyes.

"It's okay." He reached out to her but she flinched away and flew off the bed. She grabbed her dress and pulled it on quickly.

"O greseala. A fost o greșeală," she murmured, her words still Romanian though Callen wasn't sure she realised. A mistake. This was a mistake.

Callen stood up from the bed and reached for her arm, his touch gentle but firm. Her gaze flew to his hand and then to his face.

"Let me go," she said, returning to English.

"Who's Grisha?" Callen asked.

There was a flash of pain in her eyes that only briefly overrode the terror.

"No one." She pulled her arm from him and grabbed her bag.

"You were calling his name."

Her hand was already on the door handle. Callen moved quickly and put his hand on the door to keep it closed. She turned to him her mouth started to open, a demand he was sure about to fall from her lips.

"Cine eşti tu?" Callen returned to Romanian. Who are you? She froze, the terror in her eyes doubled.

"No one," she repeated.

With more strength than Callen thought she had she yanked on the door handle and pushed him away before she ran out the now open door. He started to go after her but the cool air on his naked body reminded him he wasn't dressed. Callen cursed as he watched her turn at the end of the corridor, her bare feet moving so fast he wasn't sure if he'd have been able to catch her even if he had been dressed. He slammed the door shut and for the first time, wished he didn't have the no name rule because then he might at least have something to go on.

She knew his name. Maybe. She spoke Romanian and she was scared. And whoever her Grisha was, she was terrified for him.

This was the one time, the one woman that one night couldn't be the end of. A promise would have to be broken.


A/N - Translations in Romanian from Google translate - figured I'd stick with the same source rather than search for an accurate one - after all I'm not going to know if it's accurate. The dream from her view will be in the next chapter and the words will be in English so for those parts that weren't translated in some way here, you will get to know what she is saying, though I hope I've done a good enough job that you can work it out with the context and Callen's thoughts around it.

Hoping to hear your thoughts on this so far.

Thanks for reading.