All the way home

Chapter 23

Callen walked into Jake's room and smiled at the sight of his son sleeping, his arm wrapped around the toy monster he had been given earlier.

Nate looked up from the file he was reading.

"You done with it Callen?" he asked holding out his hand.

Sheepishly Callen handed Nate back his credentials. "They knew I wasn't you?" Callen asked.

Nate nodded, "You were watched the whole visit. Both for your protection and for Marty's."

"I needed to do it Nate!" Callen argued keeping his voice low.

"I know Callen, that's why we let you continue." Nate said waving his hand towards a chair,

"I needed to make my peace with him Nate, Max is responsible for what he did to my boy, but Deeks will always be Jake's father, even though I'm his dad. One day Jake may ask me and I want to be able to look him in the eye and let him know that we did all we could for his father." Callen reached over and took a drink from the styrofoam cup Nate handed him, "Jake deserves to have answers to his questions."

"The answers you never had?" Nate poked as Callen looked away and nodded.

"I spent my whole life searching for who I was, Jake doesn't need that, he is the son of Sara Giamatti and Marty Deeks. I am certain that they both loved him. He needs to know that it wasn't his fault that he couldn't stay with his biological parents and that I love him just as if he were my own." Callen looked and Jake was still sleeping soundly. "Do you think he'll come out of this ok?"

Nate nodded, "He will have nightmares for a while, questions and fears, but i will be here as long as you both need me to get you through it."

"Thank you." Callen said fervently.

"You are family, besides Hetty is footing the bill." He smiled.

Instantly Callen's face changed. "I'll find you the money Nate, or you can just leave."

He stood up and walked to the window, "We don't need anything from her."

Nate smiled.

"You don't want Hetty to pay for it?" He asked innocently.

"I don't want her near me...ever again, I'm done being betrayed by her."

"She betrayed you?" Nate asked, already having talked to Hetty he knew her side of the story. He hadn't agreed with her methods, but he knew that she knew Callen better than anyone.

Callen looked over at his son's sleeping form, "Not here." he hissed and he motioned to the door.

As he opened it he noticed Gibbs and Nell walking down the hallway talking.

"Jethro, can you watch Jake. I need to go and talk to Nate." Callen told him.

Gibbs nodded, "You take all the time you need." he replied.


Callen stalked off down the hallway, Nate following until they came to a small walled garden.

Noticing it was empty he walked out through the door into the garden and waited until he heard Nate close the door behind him.

"What happened?" Nate asked and sat on a bench as Callen started to pace.

"How much do you know, about Hetty and me?" Callen asked.

"I know you're close, she cares a lot about you like a mother." Nate replied, he stopped as Callen scoffed.

"Huh, yeah...mother…" He looked away but Nate could see the pain in his eyes.

"Callen?"

"She was my mother...my savior, the nearest thing I had to an adult I trusted in my childhood. She saved me from the system when I was 15, I had a room in her house, granted she was hardly ever there, as she … well I thought she was working, but maybe she was in one of her other homes looking after Grace and Lauren."

"Grace and Lauren?"

"Grace Stevens and Lauren Hunter, both fostered by Hetty as well, I didn't know, not in the same place. I stayed at her home in Encino with Duke. Right up until I left and went to college."

"So when Duke was killed?" Nate asked.

Callen looked down the sadness rolling off him in waves. "I was devastated, he was the nearest thing I had to a father. But I comforted myself that Hetty was safe. We had her and she was alright. She saved me as I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life."

Nate sat back trying to hide his shock. He had known that Callen and Hetty were close but finding out that he had known her since he was a child? "How old were you, when Hetty took you in?"

"Fifteen." Callen sighed, "She was the first adult I trusted. I mean I know she had a file, knows things about me that she keeps to herself, I trusted that she would share with me as soon as she could, that everything she had ever done was for my benefit. But this…" he got up and started pacing again.

"What did she do?"

"When Jake was...after Deeks took Jake, I was injured. I tried to follow, to save my son. I was weak and I passed out." His hands started to open and close in fists as he paced. "I woke up in hospital. Alone." Callen stopped and stared at Nate. "She kept everyone away. She told the hospital I was hallucinating, that I didn't have a son."

"Why would she do that?" Nate asked his gut clenching with worry.

"I don't know!" Callen exclaimed, "She was the nearest thing I had to a mother, but she kept me from finding my son. Why?" he asked the last word escaping in anguish.

Nate shook his head, "I don't know Callen, maybe she was concerned about your state of mind. You had been missing for five years, and you weren't trusting anyone."

"They didn't...I didn't think they wanted me. I had left because they blamed me for concealing the fact that Deeks was alive. But I had to keep Jake safe. How could they not see that?" Callen sat again rubbing his hand down his trouser leg and bouncing his knee trying to keep moving somehow.

Nate looked at the visual cues.

"You lost trust in everyone, you ran away. They were trying to help, but they made a mistake. Why did you leave?"

"I thought they were blaming me for Deeks' problem, I thought they...they would take Jake...I love him, but they didn't trust me. I mean I can understand it, after all why would I be a good father, I know nothing about family life."

"You've done a good job with Jake so far, that boy loves you."

"I love him…" Callen responded instantly. "All that I do is for him."

Nate waited for a moment. "If Jake wanted to run away but you knew it was dangerous would you let him?" He asked.

"No!" Callen exclaimed, "He'd get hurt!"

Nate nodded, "Maybe Hetty was worried about you getting hurt, after all you were not in your right mind, after all Jake had been taken by his father. You were worried sick, but you were seriously injured, maybe she was worried about her son."

Callen shook his head, "I'm not her son, and I'm a grown man not a five year old boy."

Callen slumped as the pain in his side overwhelmed him again, it had not healed properly as he had been fighting with the doctors the entire time he was in there. "If she was worried, why did she stop me from seeing Sam, and Gibbs? Why did she tell the doctors I had no son? Why did she lie to me?"

He dropped his head in his hands breathing heavily.

"I don't know...would you like to find out?" Nate asked.

"I'm not going anywhere near her." Callen snapped, "She's done too much this time, hidden too much, taken too much. I won't be played by her anymore."

"She's still operations manager, you'll have to work with her." Nate countered.

"I don't work for NCIS anymore Nate, I'm a handyman. I know that Hetty isn't going to tell me anything and I need to get Jake back home, he'll need to find a good child therapist."

"I said I'd help." Nate replied surprised.

Callen shook his head, "I meant what I said Nate, I am not taking Hetty's money."

"Callen, I understand, and I promise I will help Jake. Here or...where is it you live now?"

"Phelan."

Nate gave a small chuckle, "They were looking for you for years and you were only an hours drive away? Will you come back to NCIS?" He asked.

Callen shrugged ignoring the question he carried on, "You sure you want to help with Jake...I...I can't pay you too much, I don't earn too much."

Nate stood up and smiled, "I hear there is a great diner near your place, you buy me dinner and we are even."

Callen smiled, "Thanks Nate, maybe I'll even get Jake to draw you a picture, he's got a great talent."

Nate held the door, "Callen, I will talk to Hetty even if it's just to get the answers you need."

"Fine. But I'm not talking to her, and I don't want her near my son." Callen turned on his heels and headed back to Jake's room.


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