All the way home

Chapter 25

The diner was busy as they pulled up and Callen smiled as he undid Jake's safety belt and let him out running towards the diner.

As they entered Wanda turned and gasped.

"Oh my lord!" she exclaimed dropping her notepad and crouching down on the floor as Jake ran into her arms.

"Auntie Wanda!" Jake cried as he wrapped his arms around her and cried.

"Jake?!" Bert called from the back and knocked over a stack of pans in his haste to get to the little boy.

The diners looked on in confusion as their waitress burst into tears and hugged the child.

She looked up and wiped her eyes, "Greg? You found him!" she moved and walked over and pulled him into a hug.

Callen moved into the hug, much to Gibbs' surprise, "I missed you Wanda. Jake's fine, he wasn't hurt too much and he'll be ok...Is it ok if we come home?" he asked worried that after all that had transpired as he had left that maybe Bert and Wanda wouldn't want them anymore.

Wanda cried and held on tighter, "You are as good as our son Greg, you will always be welcome here. After you left, I locked up your trailer, you left the key in the door." she reached around her neck and took out a small gold chain with the key for the trailer hanging on it.

Taking the key off she held it out to him and then turned to the five people in the diner. "Your bills are on me today, my son has come home and found our grandson who was kidnapped." she said tears flowing freely.

The patrons in the diner applauded and Wanda sat Callen, Jake and Gibbs in an empty booth, "Order what you want, you still look hungry son."

Callen smiled, "Thanks Ma."

Jake looked up at Wanda, "Are you and Uncle Bert my Grandma and Grandpa now?" He asked.

Wanda crouched down and tousled his blond shaggy hair. "Would you like to be?" she asked looking at Callen for support who nodded and smiled.

"Yes please Grandma!" Jake launched into her locking his arms around her waist, "I love you Grandma!" he announced.

Choruses of 'Aww' went around the diner.

Wanda smiled, "So, pancakes and chocolate Ice cream for my grandson, Your usual Greg?" she asked and Callen nodded.

"Thanks Ma." he smiled and moved back as Wanda looked at the man with Callen.

"And you Mr….."

"Grandma, this is Uncle Jetrow he's my new uncle, he knew Daddy from a long time ago...from when there were Gruffalo's." He said somberly; he had been thinking about this for a long time.

Gibbs laughed. "I don't think Daddy is that old kid."

Jake looked at him and shook his head, "But uncle Jetrow, Daddy is OLD!"

All three of them laughed at that as Wanda went to hand the order into Bert.

A few hours later, after eating and talking with Bert and Wanda, Callen and Gibbs drove the car around the back and Callen carried a sleeping Jake into the trailer.

Gibbs looked at the small dwelling but said nothing as he dropped his bag down and followed as Callen lay a sleeping Jake down in his room.

"It's very colorful." Gibbs remarked at the patchwork paint job.

"Leftover paint from jobs. but Jake loves it." Callen said quietly as he closed the door and moved out to the kitchen. "Coffee?" he asked.

Gibbs nodded as Callen filled up and switched on the machine. "Where to you sleep?" he asked looking at the other door.

Callen laughed. "Not there Jethro, Jake needed a bath so I converted my room into a larger bathroom, holds a washer dryer we found, it works great now. I sleep there…" He pointed to the couch he had installed in the small living area, "But you can take that tonight I'll put my roll on the floor and we'll talk to Wanda about getting you a room tomorrow." Just as he said it Wanda knocked softly on the door.

"Hey Greg?" She called.

He opened the door and looked worried, "Is everything alright?" he asked.

She nodded, "Yes but I assumed you needed somewhere for your friend to sleep, so I brought you a key to room 5, it's got clean sheets and bedding."

Callen kissed her cheek, "Thanks Wanda."

She smiled, "I liked it better when you called me Ma." she sighed.

He stepped down and took the key pulling her into a hug, "Thanks Ma." he said again.

"Well you boys have a good night and I'll see you in the morning. You have jobs if you are interested?"

Callen shrugged, "Gotta pay the bills Wanda."

She smiled and waved heading back to where Bert was waiting to take her home.

Callen handed the key to Gibbs and went to pour him a coffee.

"So you're not going home?" Gibbs asked as he took his coffee and moved to the couch.

"I am home." Callen said stubbornly.

"I meant your house in Los Angeles."

"I think Hetty sold it. Anyway, this is home for Jake. Until Nate says he's ok I can't even think of moving. This is all he remembers, this is home to him. I need Jake to have stability, he needs to go back to school and his friends."

"So you're going back to being Greg Carter?" Gibbs sipped his coffee and waited for Callen to reply.

"I...I want to, but it's not who I am. But I can be enough of Greg Carter that Jake will feel settled."

"What about you G. You are a federal agent, doesn't matter what agency, that is what you know, who you are?"

"No!" Callen shook his head, "Who I am is Jake's father. What he's been through is traumatic,"

"What Hetty put you through was traumatic." Gibbs said interrupting him.

Callen gave a sour laugh, "It's just to be expected."

"How so?" Gibbs asked.

"I trusted Hetty, and she took me in before I came to you. I should have known she didn't mean it."

"Has she ever hurt you like that before?" Gibbs asked.

Callen looked away and nodded. "She knew my mother...I never told you but after we went to Romania to rescue her, I found out that she had known my mother. She was supposed to help her out and get us off the beach and take us to safety. She didn't."

"Wow." Gibbs looked shocked, "I never knew. Had I known… Do you want me to talk to her?"

"No!" Callen shook his head fervently. "I just want to forget she exists, she's done hurting my family."

"Ok. When's Nate coming up?"

"A few days I think." Callen replied. "When are you heading home?"

Gibbs took another mouthful of his coffee. "I rented the car for another month. Talked to Vance about having some vacation time. Tony will be fine running the team for a while. I just needed to spend some time with you. I let you down."

" you didn't Jethro, you came with Sam and Nell and saved me."

"You needed me. Of course I'll be there." Gibbs put his coffee down and leaned towards Callen. "I know you have always felt like you are alone, but do you remember the promise I made to you when you came to live with me for a while."

Callen nodded. "No matter where I go, if I need you and you are able you'll be there." he said but not really believing it. "It doesn't mean that you need to though?"

"Yes it does." Gibbs looked up at the clock on the wall, "It's getting late, I'm gonna turn in. I'll see you in the morning."

Callen nodded and stood at the door as Gibbs walked towards the parking lot towards his room.

Closing the door and turning back to the couch Callen reached behind it.

He grabbed the blanket from the bedroll and threw it on the couch then he walked to check on Jake, who was sleeping soundly.

Giving a small smile and a sigh he closed the door after pulling Jake's blanket over him he made it to the sofa and finally alone allowed himself to think over what had happened to him and how much he had lost.

He closed his eyes to blink back the tears, crying had never solved anything. But at least here alone he could process what he needed to and become strong enough to help his son.

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