On the Run

Chapter 4

Solvang

Sarah saw the worried expression on Greg’s face as he listened to the other end of the phone. Molly continued to cling onto her father for dear life. She had trained her daughter for this, but she’d prayed it would never happen. Now Steve Crawford was dead and she still had no clue as to who was after her and why.

Greg caught her gaze and locked on her as he continued to listen. He wasn’t saying much, she had no idea what was going on. She winced as Kensi tightened the bandage around her arm and Sam did the same for her foot. Her husband’s partner was a well built and quiet man, she noted. She saw the hurt in his eyes over the fact that Greg had kept her a secret. The two men must be very close for him to react this way, she thought to herself.

“What do you want us to do?” Finally Callen spoke, but even his words gave no clue to those around him to exactly what was going on. “Sarah is wounded. She needs medical attention.”

“It’s not safe for any of you to be anywhere near Solvang, Mr Callen. I have arranged for a helicopter to airlift the three of you to San Francisco. I believe that is where your wife was heading when she left Los Angeles eight years ago?”

“We’ll wait in the trees until it arrives. Thanks, Hetty.”

Callen disconnected the call and kissed Molly tenderly on the temple. “We’re going on a helicopter, sweetheart. We’re going somewhere far away from here.”

Sam stood up and walked over to his partner. “What’s going on?”

“Hetty wants the three of you to work with the local PD to find out who these men are.” He put Molly down for a moment and bent down to her height. “Can you go and sit with Mommy for a few minutes while I talk with Sam?”

The girl hesitated. Fear that she’d lose her dad after finally finding him made her hold firmly onto his hand. She looked over to where her mom sat and thought for a moment. She saw her mom nod, she released her hand and sat with her mom. She leaned into her on her uninjured side, Sarah placed her left arm over her shoulders to comfort her.

Callen turned away from them and spoke quietly with Sam. “There’s been a problem back in L.A. Six armed men broke into my house this morning. Eric showed Hetty the footage, they’re Russian. She’s spoken with Arkady and he’s admitted to her that they have been sent by the Russian Government to take me prisoner.”

“Why do the Russians want you, G?”

“To lure my father out of hiding. She thinks the men after Sarah are also Russian. The three of us are in danger.”

“Does this mean that Arkady knows who your father is after all? I thought Hetty tried to get this out of him after Vasile took Michael Rhinehart prisoner, thinking he was your father?”

“You know Arkady, he refuses to play nice.” Callen sighed. “This is my fault, Sam. My family are in danger because of me.”

Sam placed his hand on Callen’s shoulder and lightly squeezed it. “No, G. This has nothing to do with you and this is everything to do with your father. If anyone is at fault here, it’s him. He’s deserted you and your sister for such a long time when you needed him the most.”

“He had no choice, Sam. He was locked away in a Siberian prison for who knows how long.”

“He still should have helped you and your sister after your mother was killed. Surely he’s got family somewhere who could have helped you?”

Callen thought about what Sam said and he had to agree with him. But the truth was, he had no memory of his life with his family and therefore, he had no idea who he was, or who his family was.

“Well maybe if I had my name, I could look for them.”

Sam sighed. “I’m sorry, G. I just want to help you.”

“I know, Sam.” He looked back to where Sarah and Molly sat and his heart ached. He’d missed eight precious years with his wife and daughter because of something his father had done, so many years before. How long would the actions of his forefathers haunt him and his family?

“My boss has arranged for a helicopter to take the three of us to San Francisco. No one is to know where we’re going, Sam. I need to ring Jo to get her out of L.A. It’s not safe.”

“I’ll send Michelle around to protect her until she’s safe.”

“Thanks, Sam.”

Callen pulled his cell out and walked away from the group. Deeks and Kensi stood over to the side talking amongst themselves. He knew he had a lot of explaining to do to them, but right now, getting his family out of there was his highest priority.

“Jo.”

“Callen. Where are you?”

“I’m out of town working on a case. Look, Jo. It’s not safe for you to stay in L.A. Fly home, stay there for a while until I contact you.” It wasn’t safe for him to go into any further details over the unsecured phone connection. It was different when he communicated with the team, all their cells and phone links were secure due to their line of work.

“What’s going on, Callen?”

“Michelle is on her way over, she’ll take you to LAX, to make sure you leave safely.”

Jo pulled a bag from her closet and started packing. She could sort out a flight after she had packed and gotten off the phone from Callen. Something was up, she sensed something was bothering him that morning when he showed up so early and looked tense.

“And Jo, take my tea box with you. It’s important.” She knew what was in there. His most treasured items. A toy soldier and photos of his foster sister, Alina Rostoff, a photo of his mother, a film strip of him with his father and sister and photos of him growing up. They were all that he had of his past and his family.

“Of course, Callen.”

Los Angeles

Ten minutes later, Michelle pulled up out front and rang the door bell. Joelle looked frazzled and opened the door to her immediately. “Hi Jo. Sam asked me to drive you to the airport. Is everything okay back home?”

Jo studied Michelle and wondered exactly what Sam had told her. “What did Sam tell you?”

“To drop everything and drive over here to take you to LAX. What’s going on?”

“I’m not sure. Callen rang, told me to go home that it wasn’t safe for me to be here.”

Michelle instinctively looked out the window. She watched a black van drive slowly along the street. Immediately she knew that Joelle was in danger. “Come out the back door. We’ve got company.”

Michelle led Joelle through the alley out back and over neighbouring fences. Jo saw the armed men smash through her bedroom glass door with wide eyes. Whoever they were, they were now after her. “What’s going on?”

“I have no idea. I wish Sam had told me more.” Michelle grabbed Joelle’s hand and led her around the corner. She signalled to a taxi that happened to drive by and they climbed in.

“Where to, ladies?” The taxi driver looked at the two beautiful women in the back seat and was curious to their serious expressions.

“LAX.”

“No problem.” He drove, chatting like he usually did to his passengers, but neither woman appeared to be listening to him. Thankfully for Joelle, she still held the small bag she’d packed, which contained her purse with her identification for her flight home. She knew the dangers of Callen’s work since that day he had to rescue her from some armed men. He too had led her through the alley ways and over neighbouring fences to hide from them. But she was still complacent that it wouldn’t happen again. She wasn’t sure why and who these men were, but from the sound of Callen’s voice over the phone, she could tell he was worried.

Michelle paid the taxi driver and she led her inside the terminal. They walked to the domestic end and she tried to give a sob story to the staff at the desk about Joelle’s mother suddenly falling ill. Jo looked worried anyway after the events back at her house, she looked the part. All Michelle had to do was do what she was good at, and pretend what she was telling them was the truth. With the ticket in her hand, Michelle led Joelle to the gate and sat with her.

“I don’t know how you did that, but thanks.”

“No problem. The sooner we get you out of here, the safer you are.”

“What about your car? You left it back at my place.”

“Don’t you worry about me, Jo. I’m a big girl.” Michelle was used to danger and down played the situation. She waited until Jo stepped on the plane and it took off, before she rang her husband.

“Shell.”

“Samuel Hanna. You better have a good explanation of what’s going on?”

“Is she safe?”

“Her plane’s just taken off. We had to flee on foot and wave down a taxi to get her here though.”

“G was worried about that. Shell, I can’t talk over the phone, but this is big. Don’t go back there. Go to the boat shed and I’ll call Hetty. She can drive you back there to pick up your car.”

“Are you safe, Sam?” She worried over him every morning, wondering would he make it through the day. It came with the territory of the job and she was prepared for it: the day he doesn’t. But that didn’t stop her worrying about him. He was her husband and she loved him more than anyone. He was a giant teddy bear who cared about those close to him.

“I’m safe. But I’m worried about G.”

“So this is about Callen then?”

“Hetty will explain it to you at the boat shed.”

“Okay. Stay safe.”

“Will do.”

Solvang

Sam hung up and looked over at his partner who’d began pacing. He walked over to him and quietly spoke with him.

“Her plane’s taken off. Good thing Shell was there. They had to flee on foot and wave down a taxi to get to LAX.”

“They found Jo?”

Sam nodded.

“Thanks, Sam. Thank Michelle for me too. I owe her.”

“We’ll hold you to it, G. Now go and get yourself and your family onto that helicopter.” They could hear the engine and blades overhead. Molly began to panic after the events from the night before. Callen picked her up while Sam and Kensi helped Alyssa to the helicopter. Deeks scanned the area and kept an eye out to ensure the path was clear.

The three agents stood watching the helicopter take off, taking their team leader and his family away to a safe location. A medic was on board to attend to Sarah and Callen was thankful for Hetty’s connections.

“So is anyone going to explain any of this to us?” Deeks looked over to Sam with questioning eyes.

“This is all news to me too, Deeks. G was moody coming up, but he refused to talk to me.”

“He’s been hiding the fact he has a wife, while dating Joelle?”

“Sarah’s Jo’s sister. Twin, in fact. Her real name is Alyssa Taylor. Until today, G didn’t know that she worked for the Bureau.”

“She’s FBI?” Deeks looked over to Kensi who was just as surprised as he was.

“From what I gather, they met using aliases. G was Greg Walinski, his alias for his house. Alyssa used her alias, Sarah Grantham. Neither knew that they were feds and living under aliases. They married under their aliases, but soon after they married, she found armed men entering her house, so she ran. Got as far as Solvang when her car broke down. Steve Crawford found her kneeling on the side of the road with nausea.”

“Morning sickness.”

Sam nodded. “G didn’t know she was pregnant before today, he didn’t even know he had a daughter. He’s been searching for her for eight years. He didn’t know about the armed men and that she ran to keep him safe. She thought it had to do with her job.”

“But it’s nothing to do with her job, is it?”

Sam shook his head. “While we’ve been up here, events have taken place back in L.A. Six armed Russians broke into G’s house and have found where Joelle lives. Shell managed to get Jo out on foot and wave down a taxi. She’s left L. A. now, that’s all I can tell you.”

“Do you know where they’ve all gone?”

“I can’t tell you.”

Kensi and Deeks gave each other a look, knowing something big was going on. “Can you tell us what’s going on?”

Sam stopped in his tracks and turned to face them. “The Russian Government is trying to take Callen hostage to lure out his father. He’s hiding somewhere and his enemies have had enough of their failure to find him. So they thought that Sarah was a weak link, not knowing she was a fed. Now that they failed to find her last night, they’ve gone after Callen and Joelle. They’ve failed on all attempts and that will make them desperate. We all need to be on guard just in case they come after one of us.”

“But Callen hasn’t seen his father since he was five. Why would they think coming after him and his family would lure Nikita out?”

“He must be close. That’s the only thing that makes sense. Nikita must be somewhere in California for the Russian Government to risk sending armed men into our country to hunt them down.”

“Do you think Nikita will come out of hiding now that his son is in danger?”

“We can only hope so. It’s time G found his family.”

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