Callen stared at him in shock.
"Operation Comescu is an ongoing investigation into a Romanian crime family. You dream up the worst pain and suffering a man can inflict on another man or woman, Comescu family's done worse. They've done much worse. I don't have to ask you if you remember Dobrashin Garasovic, do I?"
Callen blinked, he had flashbacks to the man he had found in his house with his throat cut, but the name…Dobrashin…again a flashback of a smiling man in a warm colored kitchen. He shook the images away and focused on Vance.
"Garasovic was Romani. Just like the Comescu's. He was trying to contact you. He was trying to warn you." Vance said.
Lauren shifted her stance shooting a worried glance at Vance and then Callen.
"Warn me about what?" Callen asked confused
"That's what Hetty's trying to find out. That's what she was working on. Operation Comescu is hers and hers alone." Vance told him.
"She found out...?" Callen asked.
"The Comescu Family wants you dead, Agent Callen." Vance said and Lauren relaxed, Vance only knew the cover story until then she wasn't sure.
Callen looked at Vance in astonishment.
"Why?" Sam asked
"Some sort of long-running family feud, as far as we can tell." Vance said
"I don't have...any family?" Callen said, Vance looked at him hoping Callen could put the pieces together, Lauren looked hoping that he wouldn't.
"They think I do?" He asked and Vance nodded.
"They probably mistake you for somebody else." Vance reasoned.
"Probably; Hetty was trying to protect me." Callen said
"And that's why you can't go to Prague." Vance told him flatly.
"That is why... I have to go to Prague." Callen argued back, if Hetty was putting herself on the line for him, he needed to be there, he was expendable to the team she was not.
"Hetty has resigned her position. She's operating outside of the authority of this agency. We will send a team from Paris. We'll find her, we'll try to bring her back, we'll try to get her the hell out of there, and you will not...you will not be a part of that team." Vance ordered.
Callen glared at him, how could Vance not realize that this was what he had been trained for, to exchange his life to save more worthy agents, he knew he couldn't argue. So he gave Vance his badge and his gun and placed them in front of the astonished Director. He didn't even give his teammates a second glance; he couldn't to see the look of disappointment on their faces would have hurt too much. So he turned and walked out.
Sam within seconds followed suit, dropping his own badge and gun on the table and then followed his partner out.
Kensi glared Vance in the eyes and dared him to try and stop her, which he didn't and she followed Sam and Callen out.
Deeks hadn't moved, he'd watched the whole exchange leaning against the post at the corner of Hetty's office. He just pushed himself away, gave Hunter a curious look and turned to Vance.
"I would if I could." He said, being LAPD he couldn't quit to an NCIS boss, but he knew this was probably going to lose him his job anyway, but this was to help Hetty and it was worth it.
"Yes, you would, Detective." Vance said sincerely. In all truth he admired the man; he had no real allegiance to Hetty, not like the others.
"Prague's a big city. They won't even know where to start looking." Lauren told Vance.
"I, uh... automatically uploaded all of the Prague addresses and information into the system. It's already on their cell phones. I'm sorry." Nell told them looking abashed, although the truth was she was hoping they would find Hetty and get her home safely.
"Find her, Agent Hunter. Before they all get killed." Vance ordered, he knew if anyone could find Hetty faster it would be her.
Prague, was cold. It was dark and raining.
In a van on a street corner, four people sat waiting.
Deeks and Kensi were in the back of the Van, Deeks squatting on his heels as Kensi leaned over to look through the window at the house they were staking out.
"You going to keep doing that?" Deeks asked,
"I hate buying guns on the black market. Don't know where they've been, when they were last cleaned, or by whom." Sam groused.
"You cleaned it this morning." Kensi grinned.
"Twice!" Deeks exclaimed.
"This cheap ammo's going to jam." Sam moaned.
Callen sighed, "You didn't have to come, you know." He still, for the life of him, couldn't understand why they were there.
"Yet here we are." Sam deadpanned with a serious look on his face.
Callen looked at Sam and Sam nodded, he was Callen's partner and he would have his back all the way. Callen nodded back an unspoken agreement to be there for each other. With the only exception of Gibbs, Callen had never had this kind of friendship…well there was Grace, he still thought about her, but he'd never been able to find her.
"Okay, let's do this. This time, leave at least one of them alive, will you?" He joked about the fiasco on the rooftop in Los Angeles, but he smiled as he said it so they knew he wasn't really mad.
"Then don't make me have to save your sorry ass again." Sam replied and they left the van and headed towards the house.
Sam kicked the front door open, the men inside surprised shouted and fired back, one man is thrown out of the house by the force of the two bullets that Sam has put in him. Within seconds, although to the people involved it seemed like a lot longer, there is silence. Sam walked over to the table which had the remnants of the men's last meal on it, and something both he and Callen recognized, the arm stand from Hetty's concealed Derringer.
"Clear?" Deeks calls from the lower floor.
"Clear." Kensi replies.
They stopped as they heard sounds of fear from the closet a woman whimpering.
"Here." Deeks nodded his head towards the door.
Kensi opened the door and a woman was hunched up in the closet, crying.
Callen gently lifted her out and talked to her quietly in Czech. "It's OK. We won't hurt you. The lady who was here…where is she?"
"They took her this afternoon." She sobbed.
"Where?" Callen asked.
"A house on the beach." She replied, the others looked confused as they didn't understand the conversation.
"You know this house?" Callen pressed.
"I know it. It's on the Black Sea. Romania." She nodded wiping her eyes.
Callen smiled at her and handed her to Kensi to lead her outside and turned to Sam.
"Hetty's alive." He told Sam and the others.
"Where?" Sam asked.
"Romania." Callen told him.
Alexa and Anya where in the kitchen in the large family home, Anya put Gregori Senior's meal onto a tray and with a small smile took the food upstairs; Ami helping her mother with feeding her grandfather, while, Alexa got the rest of the meal ready.
At the table sat Alexa's husband Daniel, Greg, three cousins and a few of the higher family members.
Greg looked up at a knock on the door; one of the bodyguards was standing at the door with a small looking older woman.
Hetty looked around the table, stopping for a second at the sight of Callen's son, who looked remarkably like him.
All the conversation that had been going on before she entered stopped.
"My apologies...for intruding. I have a message for the head of the Comescu Family." Hetty said, she looked at the men around the table, none of them answered her.
"I am the head of the Comescu Family. My name is Alexa Comescu." Alexa said in English, her voice hard and clipped, she couldn't believe this woman had walked into her house.
"And I'm..." Hetty started.
"Gloria Edwards, according to your passport. Your real name is Henrietta Lange. You prefer Hetty. But I doubt even that is your real name. Now, tell me, Henrietta, what message could be of such importance that you are willing to die to deliver it?" She said with as much venom as she could muster. Yes, she knew all about Hetty, and how she was controlling her baby brother, the only thing keeping her from killing the tiny woman was that she knew where he was.
Sam parked an old green Mercedes on the road near the beach; the house they were looking for was hidden behind trees as they got out and looked at it.
Kensi looked at the house, "Two stories. High fence." She said.
Callen looked at the house and looked at the beach, something…something was familiar….really….familiar. He stepped onto the sand as the others talked.
"Well, the gate will be guarded, even if you can't see them. Approach from the beach will probably be covered, as well." Sam said checking out the defenses.
"They'd see us coming for miles." Deeks said.
"Well, then it has to be from the road." Kensi offered.
Callen wasn't listening he turned in a circle taking in the whole scene, the kite in the sky, the kids playing soccer, the sea, the sand…the house…
"Main entrance. We drive up," Kensi suggested.
"Maybe a diversion on the beach. Something to get them looking out. Then we come in tactical via the road, hit them hard and fast." Sam said
Laney…the word popped into his head and he walked slowly towards the water…where he had last seen her…but who was Laney.
In the large family dining room Hetty stood nervously, "For many years now, you have been looking for a man. The last of his family. His name is..."
"I know his name." Alexa snapped, she did not want this woman to use her brother's fake name in this house.
Hetty took out and envelope, Alexa nodded to the man who had brought Hetty in and he took the envelope from her, she opened it and took out a flash drive.
She handed it to her husband, "Play it." She said in Romani.
She watched the footage which, thanks to her cousin she had seen before, he heart leapt, he had to be close…very close to figuring out who he was if she was going to pass this off as a recent shooting.
Alexa took a piece of paper out of the envelope, "And what is this?" She asked.
"Proof." Hetty promised.
Alexa looked down at what she knew to be a fake birth certificate.
"He died three weeks ago. They are all dead...Alexa." Hetty said.
Alexa crumbled the piece of paper in her hand and fought the urge to scream, this was one…one fake certificate, she hadn't said anything about Ilena…Maybe she didn't know that Ilena had found her way back to the family years ago.
Callen swayed and sank to his knees as flashback after flashback assailed him.
Him being small, kids playing with kites, a man selling ice creams, a blonde girl showing him shells…Laney… the old sign behind him saying lifeguard on duty looking brand new.
"G?" Sam called looking at the shocked look on his partners face.
Callen's hand carded unseeingly through the sand, building a castle, he looked up lost in the flashback, Dobrashin Garasovic leant over him smiling and handed him his soldier, the one his papa had given him.
"G!" Sam walked over leaving Kensi and Deeks looking confused and put a hand on Callen's shoulder, "G?" he asked, he looked down and a lone tear was running down his partners face.
He remembered, he finally remembered, still not speaking he stood up and walked stumbling towards the house.
"G!" Sam called, following behind.
Alexa turned to Hetty, "And why should I trust you?" she asked.
Hetty took her jacket off and rolled up her left sleeve to show off the tattoo on her arm, it was a 16 spoke Romani wheel, the tattoo that all Comescu's got at 16. "Because we are family." Hetty said in Romani.
Alexa watched this woman stone faced, she nodded and led her to the back kitchen "Wait here." She said. She turned around and walked out locking the door behind her.
She leant against the wall, her hand over her heart…he was so close, and he was here. But did she dare to hope.
She ran up the stairs, and looked out of the window, there in the spot she had looked at so many times, the spot where she had found her brother's bucket and spade so many years ago a man sank to his knees. A larger African American man walked towards him and placed what looked like a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Anya?" she called softly not wanting to wake her father.
Anya looked "Dmitri?" she held back a sob.
Alexa smiled, "Go to him, bring him home." She said.
Anya pulled off her apron and ran down the stairs followed by Ami and Greg who joined them as she ran out of the house and towards the man on the beach.
"Shit!" Deeks swore as people started flooding out of the house.
Kensi, Deeks and Sam pulled their guns as Callen went to do the same he heard a name screamed.
"Dmitri!" Anya screamed running towards him.
Callen stood up in shock at the voice he thought he'd never hear again and dropped his gun. "Anya?" he couldn't believe his eyes, "Anya?"
He stopped as she ran towards him and he reached for her like a drowning man, he held her tight for a second and looked into her eyes, "Anya…I…" he stopped as she looked up and he kissed her.
Sam, Kensi and Deeks stood back in shock, their guns still in their hands. Not at the ready, but they didn't know whether or not to use them.
"My Anya." Callen said, "I…I'm sorry," he said "You are probably married…I…"
"I am not married Gregori," she said with a light laugh her blonde hair whipping around her face; he grabbed a lock of her hair and pushed it behind her ear.
"W…what did you call me?" he asked.
"Gregori, that is your name, this is your family."
"My…my…" he looked at the two young people looking scared behind him.
"Amilena and Gregori, your children." She whispered in his ear.
"G?" Sam said again, trying to get his head around what was going on.
Callen looked at his partner, a look of pure happiness on his face, Sam and the others looked shocked. Callen turned back to Anya, "Do they know?" he asked.
Kensi and Deeks looked at each other; those were the young people on the rooftop in Los Angeles.
They looked to Callen for advice, none of them knowing what to do.
Callen looked at his kids, his kids…. He sank to his knees and the children ran up and wrapped their arms around him, "Papa!" Ami cried, finally holding him, Greg held him tight and breathed in his scent, this was him! His father, they may have been 26-years-old but this was a moment he'd dreamed off his whole life.
"G?" Sam said leaning over him.
"Sam…this is Anya," Callen said standing up and stroked her face, "The woman I love, my only love and my children…Amilena?" he stopped as Ami nodded and ducked under her father's arm, and Gregori…Sam…that's my name…Gregori…"
"Like your father." Anya said, "He's inside…he's not well, but he is waiting for you, as are your family."
Callen physically shook excitement and fear coursed through his body. "My…but…my family?"
"Ami…make your father a cup of tea, he's in shock." Anya said her nursing training kicking in.
"Gregori." Both the younger man and Callen looked at her, she smiled, "Greg," she said in a softer tone to her son, "Tell your Aunt Alexa he's home, he's finally home."