All in the Name of Family
Disclaimer: NCISLA characters belong to Shane Brennan. All original characters and this story are mine.
As Gibbs and Callen exited the elevator with the rest of the L.A. team, they were greeted by a frantic Tom. "I can't find Mom anywhere."
"She was in the bathroom the last time I saw her," Callen told his son.
"Bronte's looked in there. We've looked everywhere." He was worried about her.
"I think I have an idea of where she may be," Gibbs told his grandson. "Wait upstairs with your sisters. I'll be back soon."
Sam, Kensi and Deeks were intrigued by Tom, a younger version of their team leader. They watched Callen interact with his son, and they were impressed by how well he handled him, who was clearly worried over his mother's disappearance. They followed Callen and Tom up the stairs and they were stopped in their tracks, when they saw Bronte. She was a beautiful blue eyed sixteen year old. They wondered if she looked anything like Amy, Callen's dead sister.Morgue
Ducky and Palmer were chatting about their new victim, who had been shot in the chest multiple times. They heard the doors slide open, but didn't neither man lifted their heads up. "We're not ready for you yet, Gibbs." The older man commented.
There was no reply, Ducky looked up and he was surprised by the person who had entered. "Excuse me, maam, you shouldn't be here." He told her kindly. He could see the grief on the woman's face.
Ava Day stood still as she saw her husband's body on the bench with his chest cavity cut open. She shuddered at the image of her husband's autopsy, something she hadn't taken in at first. Tears then poured down her face.
The doors slid open again and in walked Jethro Gibbs. "Ava, you shouldn't be down here." He tried to move his grieving daughter out of autopsy, but Ava remained where she stood. "I'm sorr,y Ducky, we didn't realise she had come down here. Come on, Av, sweetheart." Ava finally turned to face her father. Her normally bright blue eyes were red and swollen from crying. He pulled her closer to him and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her on the forehead. "Come on, your children have been worried about you."
Ducky and Palmer stood still, mouths agape, over Gibbs handling of the woman, they now knew to be Ava. Their current victim's wife. They heard him call her sweetheart, and they watched him pull her in for a hug and kiss, before leading her away. They were speechless, as they turned to face each other, puzzled over what they had just seen. Ducky, who had been friends with the seasoned agent for a long time and had known him the longest, frowned. He tried to think over the thoughts in his head, analysing his old friend's behaviour. "I have no idea who she is, Palmer. I've never seen her before." But there was something familiar about the woman, he just couldn't put his finger on. He needed to get to the bottom of it.
His thoughts were interrupted by Abby's presence as she walked through the doors. But today she was not her usual bouncy self. "Is that Lieutenant Commander Matthew Day's body?"
"Ah yes," Ducky replied, still baring the frown. "We just had a visitor. A woman."
"We think the Lieutenant Commander's wife." Palmer added. "Gibbs led her away."
"Oh good, he found her. Her children have been searching everywhere for her. Gibbs thought he had an idea of where she had gone to." Abby sighed with relief. "I can't believe he kept them a secret from us."
"Who are you talking about, Abby?" Palmer asked.
"You haven't heard? Gibbs didn't tell you?" She asked surprised.
"No he didn't," Ducky replied. "Who is she?"
"She's Gibbs' daughter, which makes your victim here his son-in-law." Abby frowned as she noticed they were in the middle of his autopsy. "She saw you working on him, didn't she?"
"Yes, she did." Ducky shook his head. "His daughter?" He couldn't believe he didn't know.
"Oh, that's not good!" Abby shook her head. "Yes Ducky, she is. But that's not all. Her two older children are G. Callen's kids. This explains their close friendship. They kept them a secret to keep them safe. I understand why after losing Shannon and Kelly, but from us as well? Oh, and her youngest are twins, a boy and a girl. The girl is named Kelly, and she looks like Gibbs's daughter Kelly too. She's about the same age when she died. So you can imagine how freaked out Gibbs is right now. Apparently it's an enemy of Callen's whose found them. Some French arms dealer, who burned Callen's partner, Sam to a Russian named Sidorov."
"Calm down, Abby," Ducky pleaded. "Agent Callen is here?
"Sorry!" The information on their current case had sent Abby into a frenzy. She worried over their boss. Tony had tried to calm her down, but when Tom and Bronte couldn't find Ava anywhere, she had got caught up in the moment of the drama again. She took a deep breath, before she continued. "This Janvier promised to destroy everyone close to Callen. Sidorov's men have been seen close to the Days' house. We think they are working together to kill them all. They were also seen at the son's college."
Abby had passed on so much information, it made Ducky and Palmer's heads spin.
"Mr Palmer, we need to focus on this case. Anything we find that can help Gibbs find his killer, then we need to find it." Ducky tried to attain his assistant's attention. All that Abby had told them had him worried. Over his old friend and his family. He needed to finish this autopsy and see if his friend was okay.
"Let me know when you have something for me, Ducky." Abby turned to leave.
"We have these bullets for you, Abs." Palmer walked over and handed the container holding three bullets inside.
"Thanks, Jimmy." Abby left them to complete the autopsy on Gibbs' son-in-law. That fact of who this man was, made the procedure more daunting for the men. It suddenly became personal again. And when things got personal for one member of their team, it affected them all. They were close and had become a family.Mid floors
Gibbs pressed the stop button on the elevator. "Av, sweetheart. Look at me."
Ava was still in shock from seeing her husband's body on the table. "They cut his chest open." She trembled from the memory that she could not shake from her mind.
"Ava!" Gibbs turned his daughter around to face him.
She looked up at her father with tears in her eyes.
"Why did you go down there? We've been worried about you." He wiped a fallen tear off her cheek.
"I was looking for you. I couldn't see you anywhere."
Gibbs pulled his daughter in closer to comfort her. He kissed her on the top of her head as she nestled into his shoulder. "I was outside with Callen. He's feeling the guilt over what's happened, Av. You should go easier on him."
Ava moved back from her father. "You two were always like father and son. No one would have thought it was me who was your daughter, all those years ago. You're still thick as thieves." She shook her father's hands from her arms. "Leave me alone. Please." She shrunk back into the corner of the elevator and refused to allow Gibbs to come closer.
Gibbs watched his daughter build walls around her. He shook his head, as he thought over his daughter's words. "That's not fair, and you know it, Av. He never had any family and you're going to push those good days we had together back in his face and say he shouldn't have had them?"
"He broke my heart by building his stupid walls around his heart, Dad. And the one man who healed my broken heart is now lying dead on a cold metal table downstairs having his organs removed by two strangers. It's his fault. All of it. If he hadn't pushed me away, none of this would have happened." Ava shrunk to the floor and hugged her knees. The past eighteen hours had been too much for her.
"He pushed you away to keep you safe. It was the only way he knew how. But Matt's death is not his fault. That's why my good friends Ducky and Jimmy, are treating his body with the upmost respect, to find out who did this to him. So we can keep you and your children safe, and put those responsible behind bars." Gibbs had raised his voice louder than he had anticipated, but his own worry about his family had caused him to lose his control.
"No! Kill them. It's the only way we will be safe." Gibbs was shocked by his daughter's admission. She was never one for the death penalty. But now it had become personal. And she wanted whoever had killed Matt and were after her and her children, dead. "Because keeping us a secret and pushing us away hasn't worked."
Gibbs shook his head. "You have no idea of the enemies that Callen and I have had, who would have killed you and your children in an instant, if we hadn't kept you a secret. The fact that this Janvier has found out about you, scares me to hell, Av. After Shannon and Kelly..."
"Dad, I'm sorry." She knew her father hadn't fully gotten over the loss of his first wife and other daughter. She stood up and hugged him. "I'm sorry, Dad."
Gibbs wrapped his arms back around his daughter. "It's okay, Av. It's going to be okay. We will get them and ensure that you are safe again. I promise." Gibbs pressed the button again, to move them on upwards inside the building. "Just remember, Callen is here because he cares."
The doors opened and they found Callen waiting in the conference room with his team. Ava felt strange seeing her father and former lover together in agent mode. All eyes moved to them as they entered.
Tom quietly moved over to her side. "Mom, where were you? We've been looking for you everywhere." He whispered, not wanting to make a scene in front of his father's team.
"I didn't mean to worry you, Tom. I was looking for your grandpa." Ava had managed to pull herself together, for the sake of her children. They'd needed her to be strong, but so far, Tom had been the strong one. Her two younger children needed her to be there for them. She walked around the table and swapped with Bronte, to sit between Jesse and Kelly. She wrapped her arms around them to comfort them. They had after all, lost their father.
Ava watched her father and his team discuss the case with Callen and his team. She had heard about them from Callen and her father, but meeting them like this had been surreal. She saw anger and fear cross the faces of Callen's team, and she observed what they had already been through at the hands of this man. But another name had been mentioned that had Callen's partner and the shaggy blond share a similar look of fear. Concern was spread across Callen's face as he whispered to them.
Suddenly the door sprang open and a man around her father's age entered. "What is the meaning of this, Agent Callen?"
A look of annoyance crossed Callen's and his team's faces. "Hello to you too, Assistant Director." Callen's churlishly replied. The others remained silent.
The man scanned the room and noticed the family sitting at the other end of the conference room. Before the man could say another word, Ava saw her father step in.
"I called Callen to D.C., Owen. Our cases have crossed over. Leon has been advised of the situation and has given us the go ahead for our teams to work together on this." Ava was impressed by her father's stance against the intruder. She could tell he was not liked by Callen's team.
The man nodded, and the fire in his stance smouldered. He turned and spoke quietly with Callen, before the two left the room.
Callen followed Granger down the stairs and off to the side, hoping for some privacy. "Would you please tell me what is going on, Agent Callen."
"It's Janvier and Sidorov. They are here in D.C. Four of Sidorov's men have been seen with Janvier before killing a Lieutenant Commander in his home last night." Callen kept the information simple for the older man. He didn't want him to know all the personal factors in this case.
"Why are you here, Callen?" The dropping of Agent surprised Callen. He raised his eyebrows and tilted his head, wondering why their Assistant Director had changed his tone all of a sudden.
"Gibbs called me. He needed my help. When we realised it involved Janvier we flew over. It's only since being here, have we become aware of Sidorov's involvement as well." As far as he was concerned, those who needed to know all the details, knew about Ava and his kids.
"Gibbs and his team could have handled this case without you, Callen. What's really going on?" He wasn't blind. When he had scanned the room, he had noticed something that had almost knocked him off his feet.
Callen fisted his hands by his side. He was struggling to reign his emotions under control. This man in front of him always managed to rile him up the wrong way. "I've told you why." Callen spoke, barely louder than a whisper.
"Look, Callen. I am not here to be your enemy. I am your boss, just like Hetty and Director Vance. I am asking you as team leader of one of my teams to fill me in on all the details of this case, like you have with Hetty and Director Vance." Callen sighed. Hetty had told him to play nice with Granger, but the man had from the start had made it hard for him and his team to like him, let alone trust him. "I know you have filled them in. You wouldn't be here otherwise."
"So what you are saying, is that I am to trust you with this?" It was hard for him to trust Granger, especially with his kids being involved.
Granger looked up and saw the woman from inside the conference room walk down the stairs. She hesitated, before gaining strength to interrupt their conversation.
"Excuse me, Owen?" Ava began. That was the only name she had on the man.
Callen was surprised by Ava's actions.
"Yes, ma'am!" Granger waited for her to continue, while Callen stood still trying to not reveal anything. But he struggled as Ava's hand gently rested on his arm.
"You are both needed up in MTAC. The others are waiting for you." She turned to Callen. "I don't blame you for what's happened. For what it's worth." She retreated to the meals room for a drink. She needed some air, really, but since they were in danger, she thought it was safer to remain indoors. It was the closest she could come to an apology. Having her father's rules ingrained in her had made it hard for her to apologise. Rule number six. Never apologise. It's a sign of weakness. But there were times when things needed to be said, to put things right.
Granger waited for Callen at the top of the stairs, before entering MTAC. "Who is she?" Owen asked quietly. "I saw with my own eyes the two teenagers in the conference room who are a spitting image of you, Callen. Is this why you're here? I need to know before I walk inside that room."
Callen knew he had no choice. "Yes!" He took a deep breath in and slowly let it out again, to steady his nerves.
"There is no record of you having a family, anywhere. Do you have any idea how Janvier has found them?" Owen saw the worry in the younger agent's eyes. He understood only too well the worry of keeping one's family safe from the enemies one acquired in their the job. But he noticed how pale Callen looked.
"I have no idea. I have kept my distance from them for the past eight months to ensure they were safe. We kept them a secret for all of these years. It has saved them from the Comescus and the Reynosa Cartel, who were after Gibbs. But Janvier, he's one sneaky bastard." Callen noticed Granger frown when he mentioned Gibbs' name.
"What's Gibbs got to do with this?" Granger was confused.
"Ava is his daughter."
The news hit him. He was aware of the close friendship Gibbs had with Callen, but until now, he hadn't seen the two together. It all made sense. If the truth be told, he was relieved when he had heard of their friendship, that Callen had some sort of father figure in his life.
Granger nodded. "Thank you, Callen, for trusting me with this. I understand how hard that was for you."
Callen was speechless. The strange behaviour coming from Granger baffled him. He shook his head as he entered MTAC behind Granger, trying to work out the puzzle of Owen Granger.