Voices murmuring in the background invaded the fuzz that passed for his brain at that moment.
His first thought was that maybe Sam had gotten the drop on him.
Maybe the unthinkable, well in his opinion but not Sam's was it unthinkable, had happened. Maybe Sam had won the fight.
It came back to him slowly, the moves, the way he had known from the moves he had drummed into his body until they were instinct. He knew that he could beat Sam.
Then it hit him, half way through the fight something had happened, he had lost focus and for a moment Sam had morphed right in front of his eyes into his father.
Deeks swung his legs off the side of the cot with a quiet groan and sat with his head in his hands.
A ripple of fear ran through him, had he hurt Sam?
He got up and walked to the door of the men's locker room.
The murmur of voices got louder.
"You had your ass handed to you Sam, you can't deny it." Eric's excited voice rose above the hubbub as he took a handful of winnings from Callen.
"You bet against me too?" Sam sounded pained.
"Sure, did you ever see Deeks' footage from his practice fights at the MMA Gym. He's a brilliant fighter." Eric's enthusiasm was infectious and behind the closed door even Deeks couldn't contain his smile.
"So…" Pete's voice cut in, "Apart from a few bruises, one cracked rib and a very sore stomach, you are going to be ok."
"Ouch...hey...careful!" Sam exclaimed as Callen poked his rib.
"Not so tough are you." The mirth in Callen's voice was evident for all to hear.
"It was a lucky punch." Sam protested.
"Ha...more like fifteen or twenty, face it Sam, you took him on and he gave you a severe beat down. You're lucky he didn't kill you."
Deeks' gaze dropped in shame to the ground. He could remember what he had done, but he had lost control and Sam had been hurt again by him.
He moved away from the door. He was a monster, like his father.
He had meant to show Sam some of the moves he knew, maybe earn his respect. He didn't know why but out of everyone on the team it meant a lot to him to have Sam's respect.
Beating Sam was not the way to earn his respect and he knew it.
The door opened a crack and Pete stuck his head in, "So kid, you gonna sit there and mope or are you gonna come out and face us."
Deeks turned his back on him.
"I can't, I hurt him...didn't I?" he asked.
"It's not to bad...I saw you get triggered and got to you in time."
Deeks rubbed his neck where Pete had placed his choke hold on him and winced.
"Lemme see?" Pete asked concerned.
Deeks shook his head, "It's ok, my own fault really…" he turned away.
"Let me see Marty." Pete pushed.
Deeks flinched as Pete's hand landed gently on his shoulder, "It's just me kid, let me look."
Deeks nodded and moved to let Pete examine him, he knew from past experience that fighting him only delayed the inevitable.
"It's not so bad," he let out a small smile, "Not like last time, maybe I didn't fight so much this time."
Pete grinned back, "Nope, you were great kid. This is not your fault, you know you can't be blamed for it don't you?"
"I can't?" Deeks' smile dropped. "I lost focus and control...it isn't like that can be blamed on anyone else now is it?"
Pete sighed, "Of course it can't...but what I mean is it wasn't deliberate. You didn't mean to lose it."
"Pete, Do you think that's what Sam meant, that if I lost focus in the field that I would become a liability, like Dom?"
"Whose Dom?" Pete asked.
Deeks shrugged, "The guy before me, they don't talk about him much, but what I did manage to get from Kensi was that he died and there was a lot of guilt with them for that."
"And how is that your fault?" Pete asked.
Deeks shrugged, "It isn't my fault but I think Sam especially seems to carry a lot of guilt about not being able to get help for him."
"Marty you are your own person, you are not responsible for what happened to this Dom guy and you have enough baggage of your own to deal with without having to carry other people's burdens around with you."
Deeks winced as Pete applied some salve on his neck.
Pete looked at him, even though years had passed since he had first met him, he could still see the guilt ridden child sitting in front of him, the barely disguised pain hidden behind his eyes as obvious to him now as it was then. There was no way he was going to let this continue.
"Sit there." he ordered and he headed for the door, his hand reached for the door handle and he turned back to the tired detective who was sitting, head in hands on the bench. "...And don't move!"
Deeks looked up for a second, gave a small nod and resumed his world weary position.
Walking into the other room all chatter ceased as they looked as one towards the seasoned medic.
"Is he ok?" Sam asked.
Pete glanced around the room sizing them all up. Deeks was a good judge of character, these were good people.
He placed his bag on the bench in front of them and sat down.
"Whose Dom?" He asked watching and waiting for their reactions.
He didn't have to wait long, walls slammed up so fast he swore he could hear them.
Sam scowled and turned away. Callen's face darkened and he shot a look of concern to Hetty who seemed to know what he needed and surreptitiously patted his arm in support. Kensi looked grief stricken and stood up and started pacing. Nell looked blank and Eric just looked sad.
Callen stood up and walked over to Kensi, putting a hand on her shoulder to stop her pacing and then turned to Pete.
"Will telling you about Dominic Vail help Deeks at all?" he asked.
"Marty seems to think that he failed you and that he is being compared to this guy."
A chorus of denials shot his way and Pete was glad to hear it.
"Tell me." he pushed.
Hetty stood and walked over to him, "Come, join me in my office for a cup of tea. I will tell you about Mr Vail."
She gently took his elbow and guided him to his office with Jess following them, if something was bugging her boy, she wanted to get to the bottom of it too.
As soon as they were settled and Hetty had served a camomile tea to them all, she sat and started to tell them about Dominic Vail. The Agent who had been a member of the team, before she had recruited Deeks as LAPD Liaison.
Callen knocked quietly on the door to the locker room, not really wanting to disturb Deeks but not wanting to leave him alone if he needed support.
He opened the door and stepped inside.
Deeks was sitting as Pete had left him, dejected with his head in his hands contemplating his future.
Callen put on an air of nonchalance and leaned against the wall, watching and waiting.
"That was a great fight." He said eventually. "It's about time Sam was put in his place."
"I hurt him," Deeks replied not lifting his head.
Callen laughed, "Na...Michelle's been way worse when he's given Kam candy."
"Pete said I broke Sam's rib."
Callen moved and sat next to the younger man.
"Sam's all hot air, it won't do him any lasting damage. But you held your own, I was impressed. I had no idea you knew all those moves?"
Deeks shrugged, "Knew most of those growing up, a few were from the MMA gym I was undercover at."
Callen nodded, "They were good Deeks."
He wanted to ask why he had brought Dom up with Pete, but he knew he needed to bide his time.
"But not good enough…" Deeks snapped surly.
"Yes they are good enough, they were brilliant, in fact I'm thinking we should incorporate them into the training schedule, you teach the whole team some of those moves."
Deeks laughed, "Yeah, lets teach everyone how to lose focus and fight like a maniac."
Callen fought the urge to snap back, knowing exactly what it was like to lose it when confronted by a reminder of your past.
"You were focused and methodical, there was not a hint of maniac. I would like to learn some of those moves from you even if you don't want to teach the whole team."
Deeks finally looked to the team leader.
Callen smiled, not a smirk as he was often seen sporting, but a genuine honest to God smile.
"I really would." He replied.
Deeks searched his face, looking for the hint of a joke, or a trick, but all he saw was sincerity and respect.
He gave a small nod in reply.
"Do you think Sam will want to work with me?" he asked.
Callen nodded, "Sam was seriously impressed with those moves."
"Maybe he'll stop following me now." Deeks mumbled.
"He was trying to help you."
"I'm not Dom!" Deeks snapped at him, "I don't need protecting, I am not a wet behind the ears kid, I have been protecting myself since I was a child. I had Kensi's back when I got shot and managed to protect her. When I was tortured, protecting Sam's cover and Michelle's I still managed to get out of the hospital and show up on that hospital roof to save both Sam and Michelle's asses."
Callen looked at him, he hadn't been on the roof as he was dealing with Janvier at the time.
"How did you know that Siderov had taken Michelle to the roof of the hotel?" he asked.
Deeks stood up and paced away from Callen.
"You guys never checked on me after Sam discharged himself." he said softly.
"Siderov knew I was LAPD. Thought I was Sam's handler. He kept calling the hospital, told me he thought that Quinn was a cop too. He told me he had her in his hotel room and that he was going to let her think she was getting away with it, then he was going to throw her out of the helicopter and leave her body on the roof for her boyfriend to find. I didn't know where Sam was, I couldn't get hold of you or Kensi, so I went to stop him...stop the calls and save Michelle."
Deeks had stopped pacing and was facing the wall, his mind recalling the horrors that Sidorov had told him he was going to inflict on Michelle.
Neither of them had heard the door open, and neither of them had seen the look of horror cross Sam's face as he heard what Sidorov planned to do to his wife.
The silence in the room was suddenly cut by two quiet words, full of pain, relief and sorrow.