A whole year had passed; Callen Hanna's English had improved to the point where his accent was slowly starting to fade.
He had gone from strength to strength.
His lessons with Nell had paid off and his grandmother had paid for a private tutor to come in and get him up to his age level ready for school. He'd had sessions with Nate and although the early days were touch and go, having his new family his father, grandmother and his many 'aunts and uncles' of the team, Callen had come out of his shell.
He had, last semester, started high school. He had kept his past under wraps although the principle was aware of his past, no one else was and so far there had been no problems.
He even had a small group of friends.
Callen walked in the door and dropped his backpack on the couch; he poured a bowl of food for his dog and filled up buddy's water bowl.
"Cal? Your dad got any sodas in?" Kevin Anderson asked as he walked to the fridge.
"Probably…I'll have a coke if there's one in there, he said he was going to the store after work." Callen replied as he petted the dog and let him out in the garden.
He turned back and shoved Kevin out of the way of the fridge, "Wanna sandwich?" he asked pulling out stuff to make himself one.
"Uh huh," Kevin nodded as he grabbed his bag and sat at the table pulling out his books, "Urgh…I hate Algebra." He said looking at the pile of homework they had.
"Me too…but it could be worse." Callen said as he brought two sandwiches over and dumped them on the table with some chips. "We could be doing this in class." He smirked.
"Yeah but you keep making eyes at Tracy, so you'd never concentrate."
"I don't!" Callen argued.
Kevin rolled his eyes, "You dropped your pen Tracy…here have mine, Sit here Tracy…do you want to share my lunch…" Kevin said imitating Callen.
"Shut up!" Callen snapped embarrassed.
Kevin laughed and looked at his book.
The two boys joked and worked through their homework for two hours until they heard a car pull up outside.
"I'm home!" Sam called as he walked through the door, "Cal…Kevin?"
"In here dad!" Callen replied.
"Your mom called Kevin, Your sister fell off her bike, and she took her to the emergency room." Sam said as he walked in.
Kevin's smile dropped, "Is Emily ok?" he asked, even though he was nearly 15 he doted on his five year old sister.
Sam patted the kids shoulder, "She's gonna be fine, but they will be back late, so I offered for you to stay over if you wanted to." He said putting pizza on the table.
"Thanks Mr. Hanna." Kevin said.
Sam nodded, "Here, give her a call, she said you still don't have your cell phone back."
Callen looked at his friend…. "Were you calling Mike again?" he asked.
Kevin blushed, "Yeah…mom caught us talking at four am, and she took my cell phone for a week."
Callen rolled his eyes, "and you give me grief about Tracy?!"
"Tracy?" Sam asked.
"DAD!" Callen went to let buddy in.
"Cal? You have a girlfriend?" Sam grinned winking at Kevin.
"I like her dad, but she doesn't even know I exist, besides we have exams…they're more important." Callen said as he lifted the lid to the pizza box. "Pepperoni…extra cheese?" he asked.
"Nope, vegetables…of course it's pepperoni." Sam said looking over his son's shoulder, "Algebra?" he asked.
Callen nodded, "Yeah…" he sighed as he looked back at the book, "I'm nearly done."
"Really?" Sam asked.
Callen nodded, "Yep, honest."
"So if I call your grandma…"
Callen sighed, "Ok…ok..I have this extra bit to do as well, but you won't call her will you?"
Sam laughed, "Nope…don't have to do i…she'll already know, gonna take the pizza in the living room, meet me out there when you're done." He said and left the room.
"You don't like your grandma?" Kevin asked.
Callen sighed, "I love her, she's awesome…but she knows everything, and I never want to let her down…I just didn't want to do this bit." He handed Kevin the part he'd missed out.
"Oh that's easy, hang on I'm nearly done, I'll help you with it." He said.
Sam walked out of the room listening to the two friends talk and smiling opened a beer and sat down to catch up with the news.
Callen and Kevin finished their homework and headed into the living room to eat the pizza Sam had brought.
"Thanks Mr. Hanna, I'm starving." Kevin said.
"Me too." Callen said grabbing a slice, "Thanks dad."
Both boys found spaces on the floor near the sofa and focused on the TV, "You gonna watch the football Sunday?" Kevin asked.
"Yeah, I might see some new plays we can use on the team." Callen replied as he ate his pizza.
He stopped with his slice in mid air as a newscaster came on.
"In other news the trial of human trafficker Yoska Comescu started in Washington today, Mr. Comescu is charged with over 60 counts of kidnapping children and adults for the sex trafficking trade and holding a child illegally as his own slave…Details of the child in question are being withheld for now however Mr. Comescu's lawyers are demanding that this child be produced in court."
Callen dropped the pizza and ran out the front door.
"CALLEN!" Kevin called worried at his friends' reaction.
"Stay there Kevin, I'll go after him," Sam said and ran down the block after his son.
Callen pulled up at the corner, retching and crying.
"Why didn't they tell me dad, I didn't know it was now…are they gonna make me go to court? Everyone's gonna know…!" he looked stricken and Sam held him tight.
"I don't know Cal; I'll call Tobias when we get back, maybe you should tell Kevin, and he's your best friend after all, if he knew then maybe things might me easier."
Callen nodded, "Yeah, I mean he trusted me with his biggest secret." He admitted, "I should trust him I suppose."
They turned and walked back to the house, Sam keeping his arm around his son's shoulders in support as they walked in the door.
"Callen? What the hell?" Kevin said, "You ok man?"
Callen shook his head, "Kevin…I have something I need to tell you." He said.
Kevin sat down, "I haven't seen that look since my dad went MIA."
"I …I don't know how to do this…" Callen sighed.
"Is it about that News thing?" Kevin asked him as they showed pictures of Yoska going into the court room. Callen flinched and Sam switched the TV off.
"Yeah…I'm the kid that Yoska Comescu wants to go to court."
"You?" Kevin breathed in shock.
Callen nodded, he told Kevin the whole tale, heavily edited on his side, but with all the facts, about his mother, his birth and growing up as a slave.
"My God…and you made it through all that!" Kevin leaned over and hugged him, "You are so brave dude." He said.
"So you don't hate me?" Callen asked.
Kevin laughed, "No bro, we are tight; you had my back when my dad went missing and you guys are like family to me and my mom and Emily. I'll always have your back." He smirked and shot a look at the pizza box, "Except….there's one slice of pizza in that box, wanna wrestle for it?" he asked.
Callen jumped on him and Sam stood back as both boys wrestled good naturedly, he took his phone and walked out into the back yard to call Tobias.
Fornell looked over as his phone rang, it was late and he'd just climbed into bed.
"Fornell…" he said tiredly.
"Why the hell didn't you call us?" Sam's voice came down the phone.
"Who...?" Fornell started.
"Agent Sam Hanna, NCIS." Sam snapped, "Callen's father…remember?"
"I…" Fornell started.
"He just saw it on the news, it blindsided him, is it true what they said, Comescu's lawyer wants him to testify, you told us he wouldn't have to."
"Damn…there was supposed to be a news blackout on this, which channel is running it?" He snapped.
"Fox." Sam replied, "But you didn't answer my question Agent Fornell…"
"The DA is pushing to keep Callen out of it, we were gonna call you if anything changed, how's he doing anyway?" Fornell asked.
"We until this, he was doing great, he's in school has friends, even on the football team." He admitted.
"That's great, Listen…Agent Hanna, I'm meeting with the DA and Comescu's lawyer tomorrow we'll do what we can to keep him out of it, but maybe you'd better prepare him, If we can't keep it out of the media, it's gonna be everywhere, you still got that shrink that saw the kid last year?"
"Nate's still around, I'll give him a call, but no more surprises Agent Fornell, Callen's finally behaving like the fourteen year old he is, I don't want my son to suffer anymore." Sam snapped.
"Ok…I'll call you tomorrow after the meeting." Fornell promised and ended the call.
Sam walked back into the living room to find the boys eating half a slice each. Callen looked up at him, "It was a draw dad." He told him as they grinned at each other and ate the pizza.
The next morning Sam walked into the office and headed right to Hetty's desk.
"Mr. Hanna?" She said as she looked up.
"Did you hear?" he asked as he flopped in the chair.
"Is Callen alright?" she asked worried.
Sam nodded, "So you knew?"
"Agent Fornell called me early this morning, asked me to let you know how the meeting with the DA went."
"They had it already?" he asked.
"Comescu has a good lawyer, M. Allison Hart. Agent Gibbs dislikes her." She added,
Sam grinned, "Agent Gibbs hates all lawyers," he commented.
"Apparently this one is, and I quote, 'A whole new brand of evil'." She told him.
"So we are gonna have to prepare Callen, do you think they'll want him to testify?" Sam asked worried.
"I don't know, I've called Leon, he's put your team off rotation in case you are needed to fly to Washington and Owen is flying out to cover for me."
"You why?" Sam asked not thinking.
"You think you are all going to Washington without me, he's my grandson remember…" she glared at him.
"Sorry ma…wait… we all?"
"The team will be coming on protection duty, Callen Hanna is a member of our team."
"Yeah." Kensi said walking up behind Sam, "We gotta look out for our Mascot."
"So you all are coming?" Sam said turning to Kensi, Deeks and Nell.
"Yep, Granger offered to take Buddy in while we are gone and Eric is going to update some stuff in Ops, looks like he needed the downtime." Nell said.
"We are all assuming that he's gonna have to go on the stand." Sam said as Hetty's phone rang.
"Isn't it better to be prepared?" Deeks asked.
Sam was about to answer when Hetty walked over to them, "That was Leon, M. Allison Hart has a court order for Callen to appear, she is convinced that he will corroborate Yoska's claim that he was a model father for Callen."
"That's bullshit!" Sam snapped.
Hetty put a hand on his arm, "I know Sam, but the crux of her argument is that Callen wanted to be with him, she's also applying to have his adoption revoked and have him returned to Yoska saying he was Callen's father."
Sam's face darkened, "Call the school Hetty. Deeks, Kensi pick up Callen and bring him here. When do we leave?" he asked.
Owen walked in, "I have flights out for you all this afternoon…First class, you are all booked in at The Jefferson, three rooms, I have you and Ms Blye sharing Mr. Deeks, also Sam you will have a room with Callen and Miss Jones and Hetty will share a room."
"Thank you Owen," Hetty said as Deeks and Kensi headed off to get Callen from school.
Four hours later all packed and settled on the plane the group headed for D.C.
"Dad?" Callen whispered to Sam as the plane took off.
"What's up Callen?" Sam asked paying close attention to his son.
"They will let me come home won't they…they won't make me stay."
Sam shook his head, "Don't worry Cal, no one is ever taking you away from me again, you have all of us here to protect you, this lawyer woman isn't gonna know what hit her. I promise." He took a hold of his son's hand and made a silent vow that he would die before Yoska Comescu ever got his hands on his son again.