Callen's bigger problem

Chapter 20

Getting ready that morning Callen looked at himself in the mirror. Ok, he was ready for this…..

He knew that Vance had said it was ok for him to come back to work. Hetty had told him that Granger was ok with it as well so why had Vance insisted on flying from Washington DC to Los Angeles for a face to face meeting?

Nate was surprised when he had talked to Director Vance, given him his take on Callen's mental and physical health and told him what had happened, that Vance had informed him he was flying down.

"But, Sir…Callen will be fine to rejoin the team, there should be no problems at all," Nate had argued.

"Be that as it may Mr. Getz, I will be coming myself and you and Miss Lange will be attending a meeting with myself and Assistant Director Granger. Mr. Callen is due back on the fifteenth correct?" Vance asked.

Nate nodded wordlessly.

"Good." Vance said looking behind Nate to the two technicians that were eavesdropping. Maybe while he was there he could get them to be more discreet too….although having already met Nell and Eric he doubted it.

He made a motion to the technician his end and the call was disconnected.

Nate had looked shocked at the other two and wordlessly headed down to fill Hetty in on the latest developments.

It was now a week since the call from Ops to MTAC.

Nate was in the conference room at the back of the operations center, it wasn't used often but Hetty felt, for this the room, it would offer much needed privacy and somewhere quiet to talk.

Hetty had been here since dawn and was just waiting for Callen to turn up as he walked in through the door. His ankle had healed weeks ago, although the scar on his arm was still red and angry it was a lot better than it had been.

He dropped his bag at Hetty's desk not taking any chances over whether or not he still had a job and sat waiting for her to turn up.

"Hey Callen," Nate called as he walked past, "They're having the meeting in the conference room." He told him and Callen followed him down the hall. Before he opened the door he turned to Callen, "Are you ready for this?" Nate asked him.

Callen shrugged although he knew after all these weeks of talking to Nate that he wouldn't be satisfied until he actually had a verbal answer.

"Not really, I'm worried that Vance will kick me off the team, I know he won't fire Hetty, she's too much of an asset, but me he can transfer anywhere and there's nothing I can do about it." He admitted.

Nate nodded understanding what Callen was going through.

"I think it will be ok," He said supporting his friend.

Callen not believing him nodded too, not because he had changed his mind but he hated the waiting so if he agreed Nate would let him go into the meeting and get it over and done with.

The door opened and Vance sat at the head of the table with Granger next to him.

Hetty sat at the bottom of the table with a seat next to her for Callen and one nearby for Nate.

Callen sat and unseen by any of the others reached for Hetty's hand under the table, she gave it a reassuring squeeze as they waited for Vance to speak.

"Agent Callen, I'm here to talk to you about your actions concerning the incident where Ms. Lange was kidnapped, mainly your attacking of Assistant Director Granger and pulling a firearm on him." Vance said.

Callen looked confused.

He turned to Nate…. "I did what?" he whispered

Nate looked over at Vance, "Director Vance, as you may be aware during this operation, Agent Callen had some memory loss, it seems he has no memory of this incident." He said.

"Convenient that he had forgotten that particular incident." Vance said.

Callen's hand tightened around Hetty and she looked at him concerned. "Director, I assure you that when Mr. Callen has said he had forgotten the incident he does not mean this frivolously his physician can confirm that he had some memory loss."

Vance made a note on a pad in front of him and carried on.

"Mr. Getz says you are now mentally fit to return to duty, I see that you are physically well also, Is that correct?"

"Yes Sir," Callen replied.

"Now the other matter, I do not like my Agents keep secrets from me Agent Callen, when Ms Lange was promoted to Operations Manager after Lara Macy's departure, you should have come and told me about your relationship with her."

"I didn't think it mattered," Callen said honestly.

Vance raised an eyebrow and looked at his Agent, "Well it does, we have protocols for a reason Agent Callen, Your behavior when Miss Lange was kidnapped is a prime example of why family does not work together, Also, Miss Lange, when I offered you the job after Agent Callen's shooting you should have told me of your relationship with him."

"Leon, it was for Mr. Callen's safety, a need to know arrangement." Hetty said with a small smile.

"Well, it certainly explains to me why you would disappear off to Poland and then Romania to try to throw the Comescu's off of Agent Callen's trail."

"I would have done that for any of my team, Leon," Hetty pointed out.

"Really?" Vance asked skeptically.

"When Agent Hanna needed back up in the Sudan, I didn't hesitate to send Mr. Callen in to back him up, when Ms Blye had that awful run in with the murderer of her father, I sent the team to back her up and when Mr. Deeks was shot and had no next of kin, I allowed him to put me down as his emergency contact." She said,

Vance nodded as he recalled each incident.

"Miss Lange, did you however, join this agency with the goal of finding out who shot Agent Callen and bringing them to justice?" Vance asked.

Hetty looked at Callen and nodded her head, "Originally, yes I did, but I also knew I could do some good here, and I believe I have done so." Hetty said daring either man to prove her wrong.

Granger cleared his throat and Callen braced himself.

"Leon, I have known Hetty for years and her record speaks for itself, I know this is a unique situation, but I do believe that the Los Angeles office can be relied on to keep the matter of Miss Lange's fostering of Agent Callen as a teenager an in-house matter, It should not affect any other agencies and I believe the team are already aware of Agent Callen's involvement with Miss Lange and are all very supportive. I for one, do not think this should affect the team at all, After all they have now been working together for some years without incident and there were no problems until now, although some of those could have been avoided we can't all work in hindsight now can we." Granger smiled at Hetty and Callen and Nate sat there with their mouths open in surprise.

Leon looked at Granger and then at the others, "I suppose if your team can be relied upon to be discreet, I had already decided that your case closure rate was such that you could continue working, my only concern was if anyone tried to use this to their advantage and tried something like this again. However Owen did inform me of the circumstances in which you came into Hetty's care originally and how you both managed to keep it discreet during your years with both, the DEA, CIA and NCIS. Therefore I have decided, that... with proviso, you may return to work,"

Callen looked up pleased at this but worried about the proviso.

"The proviso is that if any cases involving Hetty or yourself come up, you are both of you to stand down and hand the case over to either Owen Granger for Agent Callen or Myself in the case of Hetty being taken or injured." Vance said.

Callen and Hetty both nodded.

"Also as far as I am aware, the fact that you are both family is only known by us and the five other members of your team, I would like it to stay that way," Director Vance told them, "Can you have the others come in here." He said to Granger who left to get them.

While he was gone Vance turned to Nate, "I hear you finally have a full psych eval done on Agent Callen, how did that go?"

"Agent Callen is mentally fit to return to work, He is as adjusted as anyone who has been through this kind of trauma could be," Nate reported.

The team came in the room followed by Eric, Nell and Granger.

Director Vance stood and addressed the room, "This is confidential," He started and waited as they all acknowledge with a nod. "Recent events have shown that terrorists or any number of groups could if this information is leaked try to find a way to target Miss Lange or Agent Callen as weak links in this organization due to their relationship as Mother and son."

Callen smiled it was the first time he had heard himself described as Hetty's son to the group and he felt proud to be so.

Sam turned round to Director Vance, "Sir, We are ALL family here, and we will always look out for one another," He said standing with his hand on Callen's shoulder.

Callen couldn't help the grin that escaped him.

Director Vance nodded in agreement there was no way after all he had seen that he could argue with that statement.

He said, knowing this was one team that was perfect for one another and that this was the best he could hope for.

"Welcome Back Agent Callen."

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