Nate leant over the railing and watched as the team below went over the details of their latest case Kensi and Deeks were interacting well together Sam was albeit reluctantly taking Deeks' side in the argument that He and Kensi were having and Callen was sitting back watching them all. With a start, Nate realized that Callen was watching him watch them. With a small smile Nate shook his head in wonder and walked back to his office and opened his laptop;
That's it, just G….no first name just the letter. Not because the man is vain, far from it, he just doesn't know. Before you waste time digging through files hoping to find it… Don't, it isn't there. He doesn't know it, we don't know it, and not even Hetty knows what Callen's first name is.
Callen is an enigma even to himself.
There are things we do know about him, most of which we and he discovered in the last few years.
His birthday is 11th March 1970. This he didn't tell anyone until a case with his partner involving a dead man whose niece had been kidnapped by her father. Up until three years ago he had never celebrated his birthday, his team has made it a point to make sure he celebrates each year since then.
His mother's name was Clara and she was killed on a beach in Romania when Callen was four or five. We found this out when Hetty went to Romania to try to absolve Callen from a gypsy blood feud. Callen had a sister Amy who died when she was eleven.
For Callen family is important, he grew up in the welfare system having no first name and no knowledge of who he was or any information about his family until two years ago, living in thirty seven foster homes and even more group homes and times where he ran away from the system and lived on the streets. In fact until Hetty purchased one of Callen's ex-foster homes, (The one he spent the longest time in and was, he admits happiest in) and made him sign the lease, he had never really had a home.
He won't talk to you at all if you make him… not that it stops me trying but I still bang my head against the brick wall that is Callen's emotions.
Not that Callen is emotionless at all. In fact he feels things intensely.
He worries for the safety of his team constantly. He has trust issues, due to his upbringing this is to be expected of all the team only three people have made it past his defenses to know the real Callen. Sam, he has been Callen's partner for just over five years and watching them has been likened to watching an old married couple.
I don't agree.
Sam seems to have a more parental role when it comes to Callen's health or safety. Sam is actually the only parent on the team and he was very instrumental in making sure that Callen stayed in the hospital for the required amount of time when Callen was shot five times in a drive by shooting.
Having no family meant that Callen had no real next of kin, although his paperwork states Hetty, when Callen was shot. Hetty was on assignment out of the country and Sam stepped in as Callen's next of kin.
Growing up Callen has always been alone and has only had himself to watch out for his well-being, fundamentally being alone is his safe space. Callen knows he can only rely on himself. It has taken him years to let others in.
Kensi broke down that wall when they worked together while Callen was still with the CIA and Kensi had just finished FLETC with NCIS. (Still to this day I don't know what happened and no amount of asking Callen gets anything more out of him than a smirk.) Although he is more protective with her than any other member of the field team, however this may be due to her being the only girl on the team.
Occasionally he will let the odd remark about his childhood slip out. He is very guarded about what he went through as a child, I know he was abused (Physical he has admitted too, once or twice he has let out a hint of something more but he has never really talked in-depth about it), when he has talked about his foster families, he has only ever mentioned two he liked, one was the Rostov's a Russian family with a small daughter that Callen went to live with in 1983 just after his thirteenth birthday. He was with them for about three months it was one of his longest placements and while there he learnt the basics of the Russian language and the Cyrillic alphabet. (N.B. This is the home that Hetty arranged for Callen to buy finally giving him a roof of his own, even if he has never actually fully furnished the place.)
A little known fact and one not freely shared amongst the team is that at fifteen Callen for a while was fostered by Hetty, he had a foster father who got him hooked on drugs stating that it made the kids more compliant. This was the same foster father that killed a child while in his care. Although Callen has mentioned the boy, Jason Tedrow once or twice it has only been on the rare occasion he has let his guard down. Callen was very close to Jason and his death hit him hard as he felt guilty for being unable to save him. Callen spent a month with Hetty as he detoxed from the cocktail of drugs he had been force fed and grew close to Hetty during this time. When I asked Hetty about she has said that Callen did tell her all about it and she was confident that if 'Mr. Callen ever felt the need to share, I'm sure he would with you.'
To date he hasn't felt that need.
Having said that he has never talked about his time with her in-depth, neither has she, however Callen did let slip that he still has a room in one of her houses. He has on occasion referred to Hetty as 'mom', when the office is empty I have overheard them talking on occasion and they do have a mother and son relationship although neither would I think admit to it except to themselves. It is, I think the reason that Callen gets away with pushing Hetty as much as he does, even to the point of pick-pocketing the Director of NCIS to relieve him of Hetty's resignation when Agent Vail died.
Callen feels close to his team, as close as he will let them get anyway.
It took him a long time to trust Sam and although he doesn't admit it, he does like the fact his partner looks out for his well-being even if at times he doesn't understand why.
He did come to me a few years ago, when Sam brought him his first birthday card after learning that Callen had never received one. He walked into my office unsure about what to do on receiving the card and was scared about what to do if he received any more that day.
Do not take this as a weakness of his by any means, Callen is an exceptional agent instantly able to become anyone he needs to be. However having been denied a normal family upbringing small things like how to act when people show you they care and offer you a birthday card, is totally alien to him.
Sam pushed Callen into things that are good for him, such as participating in group events and resting when he gets injured making sure he realizes that he is a valuable asset to the team, and keeping himself safe and healthy is as important as keeping any other member of the team safe.
Deeks' relationship with Callen is newer than the others.
The one thing Deeks does that none of the others do for Callen is the fact that he gets under his skin, like a younger brother. Deeks will without realizing it make Callen smile, once or twice he's even made Callen laugh. Callen empathizes with Deeks having read his file as Senior Agent he knew about Deeks' childhood and once or twice I have heard them comparing childhood notes.
This is a good thing and both have been healing for their pasts by it.
Callen was overprotective with Deeks when he came on the team having just lost Dom and managed to stop the team from fracturing after his loss.
If anything I would say Callen's only weak spot left now is his quest to find his father and his name, it is an area where if anyone outside of this agency knew about how important his search for them is and how much it means to him, and I hope that he receives a better outcome on that than he did when he finally found out about his mother.
Nate looked sadly at the file he closed on his desk, it had been the hardest one to write, there was so much he wanted to say about Callen, so much he wanted his successor to know, and so much he wanted to keep hidden due to his friendship with the man. He hoped that when the time came and Callen found all he was seeking that he could be around to help his friend.