"Daddy?" Anna asked again, looking at her Grandfather to see if she was actually looking at the man she thought she was.
Callen turned and stood.
"Anna?" he asked.
With tears falling down her face she nodded.
Callen looked dumbstruck, his first instinct was to hold her tight and never let her go, but would she want that? After all they'd never met before now.
He looked towards her uncertain in his next move. He shot a look of panic in Sam's direction, as if he could read his mind, Sam nodded.
"Anna…" Callen choked, he moved his arms slightly, hesitant.
"DADDY!" Anna sobbed, she swiftly moved into his direction and instinctively, Callen wrapped his arms around her.
Anna didn't think to care what others thought of a twenty three year old woman calling her father, Daddy. All she knew was that she was finally with her father.
He held her as she cried, his own eyes welled up and threatened to betray his resolve to be strong for her. He took in her perfume and smiled.
"You wear the same perfume as your mother," he said softly.
Anna looked up at him with tear filled eyes, she gave him a shaky smile back, and coughed. Her hold on him tightened as she mumbled into his chest.
"What, honey?" Callen asked, hoping he wasn't overstepping his bounds.
"Are you going to stay now, or do you have to go back undercover. Grandfather told me you worked with the government and it wasn't safe for you to be with me….Is it safe now?" She asked looking hopefully into his eyes.
To be honest Callen didn't know if there were anymore Comescu's out there, he didn't know if it was really safe. But one thing he did know and that was more important to him than anything else, he would never leave her now.
"I will never leave you again, I promise."
At that moment Callen was grateful to Arkady for not telling her he hadn't wanted to be in her life. Instead he had obviously told her good things about him.
Sam shot Callen a worried look, he knew this might be a promise his partner couldn't keep, but he knew where Callen was coming from.
Callen led Anna to the couch to sit, "You know about me then?" He asked knowing he should introduce his daughter to his workmates who had suddenly found other things in the building to do. But he just wanted to know everything about her and keep her all to himself.
Kensi and Deeks had watched the exchange between father and daughter with mixed feelings.
Deeks looked on realizing that Callen had had a child and he had never mentioned her. Perhaps he was a deadbeat dad like his father.
Alright, he knew Callen would never hurt her, no matter how old a child she was, but to abandon her and not be around for twenty three years of her life was just unfair.
Okay, Anna had said she knew it was because of the job, but Deeks wasn't sure he believed that. Especially when Sam had his kids at home.
His gut churned as Callen enveloped his child in his arms and a brief strike of jealousy shot through him. He wished he'd had some of that comfort with his own father.
He turned wanting to give them privacy. Needing some space of his own, he headed out past the interrogation rooms, shooting Hetty a small pained look, as he walked out the back door. Hetty nodded to him in understanding.
Kensi biting back a few tears, remembered her own father and thought about how much she would have loved to be reunited with him even now. She turned so no one could see the tears in her eyes, she noticed Hetty down the corridor near the interrogation rooms.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
Hetty nodded but said nothing, as she continued watching Anna and Callen talk.
"It's a good sight to see," Kensi said and Hetty nodded.
"It is heartwarming Ms. Blye."
"He didn't know did he?" she said trying not to eavesdrop on the conversation going on in the other room.
"No. No he didn't, it was safer for him and her that way," Hetty confirmed.
"You should go after Mr. Deeks, I think he could use your help. Head home, we don't have any active cases now."
Kensi smiled and nodded, she headed out after her partner.
Callen sat just staring at his daughter nodding and where he could, answered her questions about him. He was amazed at the bright young woman who was a part of him.
"Tell me about you, Anna?" He asked.
She blushed, "I go to community college, I help Grandfather with his books, I am studying to be an accountant," she said shyly.
"An accountant?" Of all the things he could imagine a child of his doing, this hadn't been it.
Callen shot a look at Sam to warn him to stop smirking at the look of shock on his face. Sam turned away and moved to pour himself a coffee and to give them some space. Arkady walked over to them.
"Grandfather, I was worried, but you found him," she smiled.
"Yes I did," Arkady replied.
"Did you tell him how you are going to be a top accountant!" The pride in his voice was evident but Anna blushed.
"Grandfather, I'm not even top in my class!" she protested.
"I am still very proud of you," Arkady enthused.
Callen felt proud of her too, even though he had just met her. The fact that she was trying hard to learn and have a stable job, particularly one where she was far from danger or the need to carry a gun, made him happy.
There was a slight noise and Anna turned her face going from confusion to surprise as she spotted Hetty just in the corridor.
"Dad….Oh my God...She's here too!" Her face lit up and she pulled her father around, he looked at Hetty enquiringly. "Aunt Hetty!" she pulled Callen towards her and not wanting to actually let go of his daughter he followed.
"Look, Aunt Hetty….it's him...it's really him, my dad!"
Callen didn't want to upset his daughter so he put his hand out and politely shook her hand.
"It's nice to meet you 'Aunt' Hetty." He clipped out.
Hetty sighed, "I may need to explain Mr. Callen."
Callen bit the inside of his cheek and shot her a pissed look, "Ya think?"
He wanted to yell at her, as to how his daughter knew her but she hadn't told him. But nothing was going to spoil his childs impression of him.
Hetty saw the warning look in his eyes and recognised it for what it was and nodded, promising a conversation for later.
Anna looked at the silent conversation going on between them.
"You know each other?"
Callen smiled, "Hetty is my boss." He explained not wanting to lie to her.
Anna hugged the smaller woman, "Thank you for keeping him safe aunt Hetty."
"So….Aunt?" Callen asked with a slight smirk, normally he would have been angry, hurt...but right now he was with his child, nothing could make him feel bad. However he needed to know and the anger of not knowing was starting to eat away at him inside.
Hetty guided him back to the couch and motioned for him to sit.
"Anna, why don't you and your Grandfather go with Mr. Hanna and get something for us all to eat. I need a while with your father." she said softly.
Anna nodded, "Sure, you want your usual?" she asked her aunt.
Hetty nodded, "I'll tell you what to get G." Sam said grateful to be doing something useful.
As soon as the doors closed Callen lept to his feet.
"YOU KNEW!" He yelled.
Hetty looked down and nodded, "I need to explain Mr. Callen, please sit and allow me the courtesy of being able to do so."
"You have too many secrets about me, you've kept too many from me...what else haven't you told me?" he snapped.
Hetty sat down and Callen was shocked at the look on her face.
She looked old.
"Your mother…. was my niece, your grandmother was my sister. I never told you before as I couldn't."
"Couldn't or wouldn't?" Callen asked as the pain and injustice of knowing that she was actually family coursed through him.
"I couldn't, had I publicly come out and acknowledged you as my great nephew I would have put you in more danger than you were already in from the Comescu's. I have made my own enemies over time and only the fact that they thought I had no family kept you safe."
"What about when you took me in at fifteen?" Callen asked, "You could have told me then?"
Hetty chuckled. "At fifteen if I had told you, would you have believed me? You were willing to come with me, but it was a good few years before you trusted me. By that time, had I told you, it would have destroyed all the trust we had built between us. By the time you joined NCIS and I got closer to you again, I couldn't tell you and officially I still can't; if it comes out that we are blood related, you may be taken from my team. I made a promise, to your mother and to Elizabeth, that I would keep both you and Anna safe, and although you may doubt my methods, that has ultimately been my goal."
"So I have to pretend you aren't my family?" Callen asked feeling rejected again.
Hetty shook her head, "I am as much your family now as I was before, nothing...I hope will change between us."
Callen looked at her incredulously, "Nothing will change between us…" he agreed. "Not in front of Anna, I don't want her upset in any way, but I don't trust you anymore." He let out a cold laugh, "You were right about me not trusting you when I found out...what other secrets do you have on me Hetty?"
She shook her head sadly.
"We both, your father and I did what we did to keep you safe, for your mother's sake and your daughters." Hetty argued.
"You can tell Vance…" Callen said turning his back to her, "I won't be coming back to work, my daughter needs me, if she didn't care so much about both you and Arkady I would make sure that neither of you saw her again, but you both had her long enough to make sure that wouldn't happen didn't you."
Hetty stood shaking her head, "That wasn't our intention."
"Stealing my child and not telling me about her, allowing her to grow up without me so she knew and trusted both of you wasn't your intention?" Callen asked disbelievingly.
"We were doing what was best." Hetty argued.
"BEST FOR WHO?" Callen shouted. "Best for Anna? To grow up as an orphan, like i did without parents to tell her they loved her? Best for me? To make me think my whole life I had no family, no one who loved me? Tell me Hetty…..Best for who?" Callen let out a deep breath. "I can't do this…." He walked to the door.
"Tell Sam to bring Anna to my house, I want to talk to her, be there for her. But you...Arkady….you were my blood, my family, and you left me in the wind. Well I sure as hell will be there for my daughter, even though she is a grown woman who has her own mind and she will most probably want to see you both. But you will Never see me again, I've had enough of the secrets!"
Callen stormed out of the door as Hetty clutched her heart and crumpled onto the couch letting out a gasp of pain.