A/N - Just because I can! ;-)
Set after Lange, H
Chapter 51 - When Lily met Hetty
Callen turned at the sweet voice coming from a few steps away from where he was sitting on the couch in the office. He was alone. Kensi and Deeks were up in Ops with Hunter and Sam was working out. Things were a little quiet at the moment, a reprieve all of them were grateful for.
Lily smiled and his heart ached - both sad and happy. Sad because this little girl of his had never made it to the real world but happy that whatever powers were out there were allowing him to see her grow. And she was growing. The little girl he first saw in Alex's arms a bit over two years ago was definitely bigger.
"Daddy," Lily said, "would you let me see Hetty?"
Lily nodded. "Yes. I'd like to meet her."
"Okay," Callen replied, a touch confused. "But I don't think I have any say in the matter." Not like he could control what his angels said or did, even if he wanted to, which admittedly didn't happen too often.
"Of course you do." Lily plopped down (in a bouncy kind of way) beside him.
"If you don't want me to I won't."
"Why do you want to see her?"
Lily shrugged. "I ... she means a lot to you. I'd like to meet her."
Callen studied his angel daughter. Just like with her mother he somehow knew there was more.
Lily's mouth twitched. "It's true. I do want to meet her but I also want to talk to her. I want to her to come back."
"She's been injured Lily." Callen relaxed back against the couch. "She's not gone. She'll be back when she's fit."
"You don't believe that."
Callen smiled. No he didn't. There was something going on with Hetty he hadn't quite figured out. "I want to though."
"But you're worried that she won't and you need her."
"Yes we do need her."
"And you're worried," Lily pushed gently.
"A little," Callen admitted.
"Then will you let me talk to her?"
"You think you can help?"
"Will it hurt to try?"
"I guess not."
"So, can we go now?"
Callen chuckled. Three questions in a row. She was most definitely determined. This was the longest conversation he'd had with Lily. He didn't want it to end.
"Sure." Callen stood up, moved to his desk and grabbed his keys. Then he stopped. How exactly would this work? He turned to Lily. She was standing right next to him, an expectant look on her face.
Callen crouched down. "How exactly do we do this?"
Lily shrugged her little shoulders. "Up to you. I can come with you or meet you there."
"Perhaps you'd better come with me. Can't have you popping in unannounced."
"I wouldn't do that," Lily protested. "That would scare her."
Not so sure about that Callen thought given Hetty's innate ability to know things that she shouldn't.
Lily slipped her hand into his. "Let's go."
Alex? Callen called in his mind.
She's fine with you G. Relax. I already know.
Of course you do. You want to join us?
I'll be there if the two of you need me otherwise this is just your time with her.
Callen pulled up at Hetty's house and looked into the back seat at Lily. He'd had a hard time with the idea of her in the car without a proper car seat but he'd managed to shake it off, most of it anyway. He couldn't bring himself to let her sit in the front. He didn't know why since it wasn't like anything could happen to her.
They walked up the pathway but before they got to the door he stopped and crouched down. He liked talking to her like this, at the same level - eye to eye, well almost.
"Lily. I -"
"It's okay Daddy, I won't just pop in. I'll wait for you to talk to her."
"Maybe come through the doorway this first time?"
Lily nodded. Callen straightened up and moved toward the door. Lily's hand slipped into his. He heard the doorbell echo through the house and slow footsteps followed not long after. The door opened and there was Hetty. Not fully recovered but looking much better than she'd been when they gotten her home from the hospital. He glanced briefly at his side. Lily was still there but, given Hetty's lack of reaction, obviously wasn't revealing herself yet.
"Mr Callen, what a surprise," Hetty said. "You were only here yesterday."
"May I come in Hetty?"
"This sounds serious." Hetty stepped back and let him through. She led the way to the sitting room. As Callen walked through the archway he felt Lily's hand slip out of his. Hetty gestured to him to take a seat and he sat.
Callen had no idea how to start this conversation. How exactly do you tell your boss that your daughter, your angel daughter that is, wants to meet her? He caught an apprehensive look flicker across Hetty's face from where she sat in the seat opposite him. That look told him what she thought this was all about.
"We need to talk about that Hetty but I'll give you a little more time."
She owed him a big explanation about what the hell the Comescu's had to do with him, but she was still recovering. It had only been three weeks since that night in Romania when she'd been shot. Hetty nodded in acknowledgment of the reprieve.
Callen still wasn't quite sure how to say what he was here about.
"The beginning is usually a good place to start," Hetty prompted.
Callen smiled. "It's a rather complicated beginning." The words themselves weren't complicated but the concept certainly was.
"Mr Callen, complicated is what we do."
"Okay. You remember Alex."
"You know she was pregnant."
"Yes." There was most definitely a hint of sadness in Hetty's voice. "I would love to have met the combination of you and Alex."
"Her name is Lily."
Hetty looked confused. "A very pretty name," she said.
Callen nodded. "To match a very pretty girl."
"How-" Hetty broke off. "Please continue," she added after a brief pause.
"Do you believe in angels Hetty?" That was a question Callen didn't think he'd ever hear himself ask.
"The wonders of the afterlife are something that I do not usually consider."
"I do, believe I mean," Callen said.
"You are not one to believe in flights of fancy so I take it you have a good reason," Hetty said, her gaze studying him.
"Two, three, good reasons but I'm only here about one."
Callen could see the confusion still on Hetty's face. Might as well jump.
"Lily would like to meet you Hetty."
"Your daughter?" Hetty spoke slowly. Callen could see in her eyes that she was having trouble following. He couldn't blame her.
"Yes," Callen confirmed.
Hetty stared at him.
Callen held her gaze and waited.
Hetty finally spoke. "I would be delighted."
Callen's head turned toward the archway and he saw a little head poke around and look at him. He nodded and Lily walked in, though he doubted that Lily did anything sedate enough to truly be considered a walk. There was something about her that hinted at barely restrained energy. Hetty's gaze had followed his and Callen heard the faint gasp when Hetty obviously saw Lily. When she was standing next to Callen Lily turned to Hetty.
Hetty was speechless for a few moments. "Hello Lily."
Hetty looked back at Callen and he saw tears in her eyes. "She is very like you and her mother."
"Daddy," Lily said as she turned to face him. "Could you make Hetty some tea please?"
Callen looked at her and, even though he tried, he couldn't keep the grin off his face. "Are you kicking me out?" he asked
"Yes," Lily admitted happily.
"Tea would be lovely" Callen noticed her eyes were still on Lily. He couldn't blame her. He remembered the first time he'd seen her and how hard it had been to look away.
Callen stood up and left the two of the alone.
Lily looked at Hetty and slowly stepped over to stand in front of her.
"Are you feeling better?" Lily asked.
"Yes I am. Thank you." She looked so real. Hetty blinked, whether she wanted this vision in front of her to disappear with the action or not she wasn't entirely sure.
"Hetty, are you going to go back to work?"
"You see Daddy's worried about you," Lily hurried on.
"The doctors tell me my injuries are healing nicely." Hetty's eyes roamed over this little girl in front of her. Though she had denied thinking about anything afterlife related it wasn't entirely true. However those few she had previously encountered were nowhere near as real as this little girl. She wondered if she was actually dreaming because there were only three options - this was a dream, Lily really was an angel, or Callen was playing a very cruel trick on her. She believed she knew Callen well enough that option three was more impossible than option two. The dream was the most likely option - and the easiest to explain.
"It's not your body that he's worried about," Lily explained. "It's your heart. Though he doesn't really know it. He just knows he's worried you won't return."
"Why would he be worried about my heart? It's perfectly healthy."
"Not that heart silly. Your loving one." Lily's tone was gentle, a smile on her face that resembled Callen's so much that Hetty's breath caught in her throat.
"So am I," Lily added. "You care about my Daddy don't you?"
"More than you think you should."
"Yes." It was a reluctant admission and to anyone else she probably wouldn't have done so, but there was something about this little girl that made Hetty feel that a lie would be pointless. It was an unexpected feeling and she had a small degree of sympathy as she knew this was how she made others feel at times.
"But that's not true," Lily said. "When you care about someone you can't care too much about them."
Lily sat down beside Hetty and took hold of her hand. Hetty's eyes widened in surprise that she could actually feel Lily's touch. The idea of this being a dream was fading fast.
"Hetty, can you please come back to work when you are all better?" There was worry in her little voice that Hetty heard clearly.
"Why do you worry my dear?" Hetty asked as she placed her other hand on top of Lily's. Angel, most definitely an angel.
"My daddy needs you to watch over him. There's only so much Mummy and I can do."
"Oh." Callen had said three reasons. That explained two of them.
"Hetty will you, please?" Lily pleaded gently just as Callen walked back into the door.
Callen chuckled at that tone from his daughter. He'd heard it many times from her mother. "Whatever she's asking just say yes. She won't leave until you do." Stubbornness was definitely an Alex trait, though to be perfectly honest it was one of his too.
Hetty looked at Callen. "Then perhaps I should say no and have her stay for a while."
"Oh, I can stay if you want," Lily said brightly. "You don't have to say no for that."
"Mr Callen," Hetty's eyes were back on Lily as she spoke. "In the cupboard above the sink you'll find some special cookies."
Callen stood up. For the second time that morning had the feeling that he was being kicked out.
"Lily," Hetty said when Callen had left. "I will always watch over your daddy, even if I'm not working with him. I always have."
"I know but it will be easier if you are there with him. You know him. You understand him."
Lily shrugged. "Better than almost anyone else."
"Not you and your mother." Hetty suspected they had a eye into Callen's soul that no one, even Kensi, had and she knew how well things were going there.
Lily gave a little shrug and nodded.
"Very well," Hetty agreed. "Once the doctor gives me the all clear I promise you I will return to my post and watch over him, even closer than I am now."
Lily gave her a big smile and then surprised Hetty with a hug. "Oh thank you Hetty."
Hetty managed to clear her throat quietly after the sudden tightness caused by those little arms around her. Her voice sounded almost normal when she spoke. "You're welcome my dear."
Callen walked in with the plate of cookies. "I take it you said yes," he remarked
Hetty smiled at Lily and then turned to Callen. "I did."
"We didn't stand a chance did we?" Callen commented before he took a bite of a very delicious cookie which just happened to be one of his favourites.
"Yes, I know," Hetty remarked with a look that suggested serious unless you saw the laughter in her eyes. "She's very much like her father."
A/N - :-) Lily really wanted me to help her meet Hetty. And how could I say no? Author's privilege! Hope you enjoyed.