Don Eppes had never been very fond of the NSA.
He hadn't liked 'em when his brother was involved with them, and he didn't like them now, as they refused to confirm or deny whether or not Granger had been involved with them three months ago. But he needed to know if Colby was actually cleared to be active, needed to know if he wasn't endangering the kid more. But this, this was ridiculous. He'd been on hold for half an hour and he talked to three people before getting to someone who actually seemed to know vaguely what he was talking about. And this guy wouldn't admit he even knew Colby's name.
"Listen, all I want is to know whether or not he's actually in any danger from the Chinese anymore. That's it. I already know you pay him monthly, so cut the crap and tell me what I want to know."
He got a tired sort of sigh, then someone told him, "At this point, Mr. Granger is no longer on anyone's radar, Chinese or anyone else."
Don rang the doorbell and waited patiently, not expecting Granger to be moving particularly quickly on his day off. Sure enough, he waited a good five minutes before a rather bedraggled Colby appeared, still rubbing sleep from his eyes. He was glad about that, Granger looked like he could use some sleep.
He offered up the box in his arms, lamely, saying, "Thought I'd bring your stuff by."
Colby nodded and let him in, "Thanks man." He seemed a little dismayed at the size of the box, and Don said, "There's another couple in the car, I can bring them up."
Colby nodded and grabbed his hoodie, padding behind Don as they made their way back to the parking lot. They managed to get the other three in one trip, and Colby said, "Just put 'em on the table man. I'm making eggs, you want any?"
"Sure, Colb. Thanks."
He got another slow nod as Colby moved to the fridge and took out eggs, cracking them slowly into the pan. He shuffled back over to the boxes and began to sort through them, pulling things out.
Don hadn't been able to get much, Megan and him had been on a sort of grab and dash mission to get there before the rest of it was sold off, and they'd mostly gone for sentimental value.
There was an old quilt, folded quarterwise on the top of one, and Colby pulled it out almost reverently before setting it to one side and turning back to his eggs, which he dished up on a plate with ham nad told Don was, "A good Idaho breakfast."
He fingered the fringe on the quilt again, telling Don, "My mother made this for me when I was a baby."
Don didn't know what to day, so instead he just nodded and waited for Colby to keep digging.
There was a high school yearbook, which he handed to Don, saying , "Go ahead."
Colby's picture was as delightfully dorky as he could have imagined, and he was about to make a comment about his teeth when he pulled an old sweater out of the box and hitched a breath, before looking at Don and saying, "You got this?"
Don nodded. He'd just cleaned out the top drawer of the dresser, guessing anything that you keep with your cashbox is important. He was surprised when Colby told him, "That was Dad's."
"I'm glad I grabbed it then."
"Yeah, me too."
He pulled out a cigar box and tossed it to one side without even looking, and Don reached for it curiously, asking, "What's in – "
Colby just waved a hand at him, and Don opened it, then stared. There was a special forces patch, which he knew about, a purple heart, which he had guessed, and a silver star, which stunned him for a moment, "Colby."
Granger looked over at him and asked, "Hmm?"
"That's the silver star."
"How'd you get this?"
He shrugged, "mission went bad, I got a lot of people out, Army was grateful I guess."
No wonder the promise of a meritorious conduct medal hadn't phased him.
Colby was digging through the next box, smiling as he saw his cash box and his family album, and old collectible model truck that had been sitting on his dresser. His dog tags. A few sweatshirts. His laptop, and Ipod. Nowhere close to everything he'd lost, but something at least. He smiled a little sadly when he found the picture of him and Dwayne, and another with his Special Forces group. "I didn't have doubles of these, so thanks man."
Don nodded, unsure of himself. He wasn't used to knowing so much about Granger, this was more than he'd learned in two years.
"Sorry there wasn't more. We kind of had to grab and go."
He shook his head, "that's all right. I appreciate it."
He stood up to take his and Don's plates, then turned back to the last two. One was just clothes, some old t-shirts and dress shirts, and the other was a bunch of notebooks. Colby saw them and hissed through his teeth, then asked, "You read 'em?"
"Just the last one. When I was trying to decide whether to go after you or not. Pretty smart Granger, to write everything down. Probably saved your life."
Colby nodded nad flipped through the one on top, seeing the entry that Don had been scanning,
I want to tell everyone the truth, that I was there to flush Dwayne out, but I can't. Kendrick's got me in a choke hold, and one way or the other, I end up screwed. Now he's talking about sending me to prison, to get Carter that way. Like he doesn't know what happens to cops in prison. I'll be lucky if I make it a month.
Colby blushed, thinking of what must have gone through Don's head, "It wasn't that bad, Don."
Don stared at him levelly, "I saw the reports, Colb. I know what happened. Or at least what you reported."
"No one put their hands anywhere they shouldn't've."
"I broke the first guy's nose who tried to."
Don laughed at that, then said, "That's something then. I was worried about that."
He looked up at Don for a minute, then asked, "That tape. Lancer had a tape? What happened to it?"
Don grimaced, "We have it now. It's in evidence."
Colby paled, then looked at Don pleadingly, "Please tell me that David didn't see it."
Don shook his head, "That's private Colby. I – I only watched to get the evidence for the exoneration."
He'd hated watching the confession tapes, and reading Colby's report, but the all-around worst had been watching Lancer's interrogation. It had been enough to turn his stomach. In fact, it had been the first time in years that he'd thrown up because of something he'd seen.
But his junior agent, tied to a chair, keening in pain and asking for his dead father – that had been enough.
So no, he'd let Colby keep what had gone on in prison and on that freighter to himself. Let him put that in a box and pack it away somewhere.
And maybe one day, someone would give it back to him.