#3

"…Keep me briefed"

Mike was watching, wondering how this had all happened.

A few weeks ago Callen was some random walking about a town in Northern California, with no clue about his name and history. Now here he was managing the OSP LA office, like almost nothing had happened.

Hetty had given Mike a basic brief about Callen's return, but had neglected to give him specifics at the time. She had assured him that the team would be fully briefed in the next few hours.

"Yeah, Sure Izzy… let me know when you're in town" and he put the phone down and leaned back in his chair

"Didn't know you were you were due back today, brother" He called across the central chamber of the Mission.

Mike was sure glad that Hetty had convinced HQ to rebuild the Mission after the bombing. The building they had been forced to operate out of was a bit too 'FBI'… cold and lacked anything covert. Had taken a few years… but as far as Mike was concerned it was worth every damn cent

He strode over to what used to be Hetty's office.

Hetty was rarely on site much these days, hadn't been since Callen had been set free with his mind all but wiped clean. But whenever she did visit… there was a different energy, The old building felt like home.

"Yeah. Not meant to… but you know better than any of us what it's like climbing the walls at home"

"Yeah, well given how you looked a few weeks back… I'm surprised you're up and about so soon" Callen replied, before pausing to look around and see who could hear them "Seriously. You okay…? The agency don't know about the state you were in. I hate to remind you… but your continued employment is conditional on your attending regular AA sessions"

"Yeah, I know" mike replied, clearly frustrated at being reminded of the state he had got into

….

"Mr Callen has broad control of all operations out of the Los Angeles office. He reports directly to me."

"We know, Hetty. But How is he here…?" Kensi asked, actually saying the words they had all been thinking

"Mr Callen is as he was, with the exception of having no memories of the last 20 years. As far as he is concerned he was undercover, before being in a medically induced coma due to injury. I know you will all be glad to have him back… but You must ensure you never mention Ms Callen or his relationship with Ms Jones"

"You want us to just pretend Grace never existed?" Sam asked, bothered by what they were being asked to do

"Ms Callen will always be near and dear to us. However, Mr Callen can not know about her… under any circumstances. Am I understood?"

They all moaned and grumbled quietly

"How are we meant to keep her a secret. Every agent in this office knows about her shooting Eric… You can't expect every agent to pretend she never existed" Deeks stated, finally breaking the near silence of what felt like the last 10 minutes

"As far as Mr Callen is concerned, Ms Jones, Mr Beale and Ms Callen were all agents in an operation. As far as the other agents in this office are concerned, as far as the rest of the agency is concerned, she was an asset in a long term operation. She was not his actual daughter"

"I'm not going to lie to him" Mike stated, "You can't make me"

"You are indeed correct, Michael…."

Mike hated when she called him by his formal name, it was never ended well

"…however should you decide not to comply. You will be posted far from this office. You will not make contact with anyone from this office for as long as I hold breath in my body"

….

2 Years Later

"Agent Smith?"

Grace looked up from her tablet. She had been enjoying reading through case reports from her dads early operations with the agency. It helped her still feel connected to him, to her former life. She thought back to those 3 years she had spent with Vic.

"yeah?"

"I was wondering if I could talk to you , ma'am"

"Here?, now?" she replied, feeling slightly irritated.

"I promise, I wouldn't bother you normally"

"Right., Pop by the office in 15 minutes" Grace replied hiding her frustration

….

"What can I help you with, Petty Officer?" Grace asked, closing the cabin door behind the young sailor

"I've attracted some unwanted attention from someone I work with. I was hoping you could help"

"Define 'unwanted attention'…?"

"He's always playing with my hair, rubbing up against me…" Grace could hear the young woman starting get quiet and withdrawn "..He's made a few comments"

Grace flashed back to those years on the run, being dragged about with Eric and her mom. The unwanted attention she had received from one of Eric's cronies. She hadn't even turned 16 and she was being touched and he had whispered things into her ear

"em…" Grace began, being dragged from her thoughts by the young sailor touching her arm "..Yeah. I think there's something I can do"

….

9 Months Later

Mike had been grudgingly been making a dent in his 'to do' pile. He never would have thought that Callen would be such a stickler for paperwork. At times it was like his buddy had had a personality transplant… but then Mike remembered that he actually had. He wasn't the same man he was.. he had lived a different life. Or atleast Callen thought he had.

His phone rang, and he was glad of the distraction Looking down at the name flashing up

He answered the phone and lifted it to his ear

"Hey Vic. What can I do for you?"

It had been some time since he had spoken to Vic. He felt guilty… mind you , he always felt guilty when it came to Grace's girlfriend. After all, he was the reason she had had to return to the apartment she shared with her girlfriend to find Grace's body being carried out on a stretcher, and a pool of her blood in the lounge

[…]

"Yeah. Okay. Do you want to come to me, or should I come to you?"

[…]

"Yeah. Give me a few hours… I'll hit the road right now"

Mike ended the call, stood up grabbing his jacket from the back of his chair and headed towards the motorpool

"Hey, Mike… where you going?" Sam asked walking the opposite direction

"Family emergency!" Mike called back, not bothering to even turn round

….

4 hours later

Mike honestly had no idea how he hadn't attracted the attention of the CHP with the speeds he had been driving at. But he had made it there in one piece.

He pulled over and switched the engine off. Getting out he looked at where he was. He had never wanted to be back here, but he had promised to help Grace's girlfriend in anyway he could. This was the first time he had been here since the day he heard the gunshot… the day when everything changed for him

Vic was standing in the doorway, she knew what Mike was thinking. they had kept in touch after… well, after what happened. "Thanks for coming… I shouldn't have bothered you, but I have no idea what to do"

"Okay? Want to tell me what's happening"

Vic grabbed Mike by the arm and dragged him behind her, up to the apartment

"I Came home after work and found it here"

"Found what?" Mike asked, not following what Vic had meant

"It's in the lounge"

Mike froze. He knew he was going to have to deal with this eventually… he knew he would have to go in that room. That room where she… 'no. not gonna do this again' he silently told himself

Vic grabbed him tighter and pulled him behind her… she knew this would be tough for him. But she hadn't known who else to call

Finally reaching the lounge, Mike realised what it was…

"I came home from work and it was just laying there. The alarm didn't go off… The landlord would have told me. After… well, after Grace… I had a security system installed. If it goes off the whole street would know."

"You're sure no one's been in here!?"

"Obviously someone has been in here.!" She replied sarcastically "I have cameras… but not one of them caught anyone coming or going"

Mike walked over to the couch and sat down,

"No ex boyfriends or… well, girlfriends?" He asked, before realising who he was talking to

"Mike. No ex boyfriends, no ex girlfriends. No one has been here" Mike felt stupid asking. Vic had been honest in their emails about her inability to move on from Grace. She hadn't been on a date since. Mike could understand that… however he couldn't work out why she would stay in an apartment where Grace had died

"I can't handle this, Mike. Not after… I just can't handle this. You have to take it…"

Mike looked at the young woman, trying to work out what she was thinking. Then he looked down at the baby rolling about on the floor