The Other Side

Chapter 17

"You gonna put that down?" Sam asked Callen as he looked at the gun.

"No why would I do that?" Callen asked him back.

"How about, because I'm here to help you." Sam replied looking over at the young CIA agent to check he was ok.

"He's fine Sam, I fed him and everything." Callen smirked at his old partner.

"Cool, soon you'll be ready for a real puppy!" Sam quipped back.

The banter between them eased the situation somewhat, but Callen hadn't lowered his gun or taken his eyes of Sam.

"So you want me to surrender, so the CIA can have their pound of flesh?" Callen asked warily.

"No, Vance called it off. We need to take those agents in." Sam told him.

"WE!" Callen was confused. "I don't work for NCIS anymore." He scoffed.

Sam took another step realizing that Callen was beginning to feel trapped and knowing that he needed to diffuse the situation quick. Although he had his own back up plan he didn't want to use it for fear of destroying the little trust they had left between them.

"You could, come with me," He pleaded. "Nell needs you." He added and stepped back as Callen's head snapped up and Sam saw the hurt in his eyes for a second.

"No, she doesn't." Callen said. He took a deep breath as his eyes scanned the room for an escape route.

"G, please...You have to come in...I'm gonna have to cuff you or the CIA out there will go nuts." Sam said.

Callen's shoulders slumped in defeat as he realized there was no way out of this. "I'm done Sam." Callen said quietly. Sam looked at his partner and had never seen him more defeated.

Callen tossed his gun and Sam walked over and cuffed him, "I'll be with you all the way." Sam told him. Callen's eyes looked dead as every defence mechanism Callen had came smashing up and Sam wasn't even sure he had heard him.

Kensi came in and freed the young CIA Agent; she was shocked at the look on Callen's face as Sam led him out to the Challenger.

Hetty was in OPS appraising Vance of the fact that Callen was on his way in.

"I have looked at his file and all the evidence now." Vance said, "He may keep his job, but he is on a six month probationary period. Any more antics like this and he's out."

"I'll tell him, He'll be pleased to here he still has a job." Hetty smiled. She cut contact and walked downstairs to where Gavril and Nell were sitting on the sofa.

"Its good news," She told them, "Mr. Hanna has and is coming in and Vance has put him on a six month probationary period but he still has a job."

"Can I see him?" Nell asked perking up.

"I need to debrief him and Gavril will need to talk to him, Mr. Hanna says he's withdrawn so after we have talked to him I think you and Mr. Callen should have a talk." Hetty said and smiled as Nell smiled for the first time in a month.

Sam walked in behind Callen who was still in handcuffs as he entered the mission. He had wanted to take them off but observing his partners near fight or flight response kicking in he decided it was better to leave them on. For his part Callen hadn't said a word the whole time he'd had the handcuffs on. Callen was scared but he wasn't going to admit it. He knew he'd have to face Hetty for his actions and he didn't want to hear her tell him he had to leave. Why they just wouldn't just let him go was beyond him. He'd already heard Director Vance say he was out, he didn't work for NCIS anymore was this Sam's idea to punish him or maybe Hetty's idea. He was guarded and the suspicion was rolling off him in waves.

"Come on." Sam said and nudged him in the direction of Hetty's office.

Sam took Callens cuffs off and couldn't resist a small smile as Callen sank into the chair he pointed to like a petulant teenager. But he was worried about the lack of eye contact that Callen had displayed since being brought in. He turned around and looked as most of the other agents in the building had stopped to openly stare at Callen sitting in Hetty's office.

"You lot not got work to do," Sam growled at them and they all scattered.

Callen rubbed his wrists, the cuffs had made them sore and he felt completely worthless, more than anything he didn't want to be here. He didn't want to watch as Hetty signed the paperwork that would fire him and he didn't want to see the betrayal in his teams' eyes when he would have to leave the building for the last time. More than anything he didn't want to see Nell. He didn't want her to see his disgrace and he didn't want to see any hurt in her eyes as he left or worse hatred for letting her down. He literally felt sick to his stomach and didn't think he'd ever felt worse in his life.

Hetty walked past Sam and nodded. Sam picking up her intentions moved away and let her take over; he went over to the bullpen where Kensi and Deeks though upset and subdued were catching up on paperwork. Gavril was a few steps behind her. He knew that his son would need reassurance and for once he was around to give it.

Hetty lightly touched Callen on his shoulder and he flinched before bringing himself under control.

"Mr. Callen?" Hetty asked concerned he was injured. Callen just put up a mask of neutrality and stared at the floor.

"Are you injured?" She asked. Callen just shook his head. Hetty sighed this was obviously going to be hard work.

Gavril stood at the door, He and Hetty had discussed this if Callen was going to bolt Gavril needed to be there to stop him.

"Your not fired, Mr. Callen." Hetty told him remembering how Callen preferred the band aid approach to news, and she smiled and slightly winced as his head shot up so fast she thought he might have whiplash.

"I...I'm not?" He said surprised with a small amount of hope in his voice but underneath was the guarded tone, he wasn't anywhere near close to relaxing yet.

"We saw the footage of the CIA director and your father, Director Vance wants to put a note in your file about breaking protocol, and you will be on probation for six months, but no you're not fired."She informed him.

Callen shifted in his seat, he was thrilled he wasn't fired but if his team had seen the footage from Vasile's interrogation, no his torture they wouldn't trust him.

A thought shot through his mind 'OH MY GOD! What if Nell had seen it, there would be no way she would let him near their child.'

He unconsciously rubbed his left forearm as if the thoughts themselves where giving him a heart attack.

For the first time Callen raised his eyes to Hetty, "Did they all see the footage from the warehouse?" He asked afraid of the answer.

It was Hettys turn to feel uncomfortable, "Yes Mr. Callen, they did." She waited and watched as the horror crossed his face for a second and then his walls came up to hide them, "You need to talk to them," She stated. The tape had been one of the most awful things she had seen, all the more because she knew the person committing the atrocities but she knew the reasoning behind them and knew that his team should eventually be all right with him.

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