Deeks threw himself backwards, slamming his shoulders into the office wall with a pained grunt. Kensi ducked away, one hand braced on the floor for balance. A smudge of dirt crossed her cheek, smearing even more when she shoved her hair back from her face.
The blonde man blew out a soft breath, stifling the coughing fit that was threatening to tear though him. Blood dotted the bandages on his arm, but he couldn't feel any pain. Adrenaline sang though his veins, chasing it away.
He twisted carefully so that he could see through the half-open door and into the office. Williams lay on his back on the floor, bleeding from a nasty bullet graze across his upper arm.
Anna stood above him, arms braced as she held the gun. It spoke again. A choked male scream followed the shot. The rusty scent of blood spread through the air, almost hidden by dust and old, worn concrete. Bright splashes of it covered the pale floor inside of the office.
"You okay?" Kensi asked, voice pitched high and urgent. Her fingers flexed around the gun in her hand.
"Yeah." He nodded. "You?"
They were flanking the open doorway, both kneeling on the cracked floor, backs pressed against the cinderblock wall. He glanced over at her, getting a tiny nod and a hint of a smile in return.
"Fine," she said. "Ready?"
He nodded and tightened his grip on the gun, forcing himself to his feet with the last of his flagging energy. She covered him as he ducked into the office, aiming his gun at the young woman standing there.
It almost broke his heart to lay his finger over the trigger, but he did it anyway, forcing the emotions back into the box in the corner of his mind. Time enough for them later, he thought and almost laughed. Later never came for him.
"Anna," he said softly, so he wouldn't startle her. "Give me the gun. It doesn't have to end like this. You can still walk away."
"No," she said. "It was always going to end like this." Her voice had a strange, musical quality.
Deeks stepped further into the room, circling the young woman. Williams lay on the floor, bleeding from a bullet hole to the gut. His face was cheese pale and beaded with sweat.
"Why, Anna?" Kensi asked, and even though her voice was soft, her gun was aimed squarely at the other woman. "You were working with him. You killed for him."
Anna turned, dark hair flying around her face. The gun dipped, barrel pointing towards the floor. "I didn't have a choice," she whispered. "He was blackmailing me. I tried to escape, but he just kept dragging me back. He took everything from me. I have nothing left."
Williams groaned. "Should have told me where to find the money, bitch," he ground out through gritted teeth.
She whirled back towards him, lifting the gun. "Do you really think I'd have been whoring myself out every damn night if there was any money?" she snarled, fingers turning white around the gun's handle. "Letting strangers touch me… use me… if I had any other choice?"
Deeks took a step towards her. "Anna… Put the gun down."
Kensi watched from the doorway. Her heart was pounding so hard she was surprised that the others could hear it. Her hands wanted to shake, to tremble but she kept them steady on the gun with sheer force of will.
Her partner took another step, reaching out to touch Anna on the shoulder. She jerked away.
"Don't touch me," she hissed, then softened. "What's your real name? They never told me."
He turned his head to meet Kensi's eyes, then slid the gun away, hiding it with his shirt. "Deeks," he uttered. "Marty Deeks."
"Deeks…" she repeated dreamily. "You tried to stop him, didn't you?"
"Yes," he said simply.
Anna laughed. "Shame it didn't do any good." She moved the gun, taking aim on William's head. "He had my father killed, you know. Had my son killed, too, when I refused to help him hurt you."
A lifetime of hearing bad things didn't stop the shock that ripped through him. He closed his eyes and sucked in a breath. Dear God… he thought, appalled.
"Then let us take him into custody. He'll go to jail," Deeks said quietly, voice heavy with urgency. "He'll spend the rest of his sad, lonely life behind bars. If you shoot him, you're letting him win."
She didn't seem to hear his words. "Detective Deeks. I suggest that you step back. This could be messy."
"Deeks…" Kensi whispered.
He knew what she was asking and stepped aside, clearing her shot. Kensi lifted the gun and aimed it at Anna.
"Anna. Put the gun down or I'll shoot," Kensi said, ignoring the large part of her that wanted to just turn and walk away. Bastard's finally getting what he deserves, she thought. Training and knowing that it wasn't right kept her feet rooted to the ground, arms extended in a picture-perfect shooting stance.
Deeks circled the small space. His own gun was bare in his hand, barrel pointed towards the floor. "Anna, put it down," he asked again.
"I can't," she whispered. "He came to me six weeks after my father was locked up, put a gun to my head and told me that I had to do whatever he said." Tears streamed down her face. Her aim wobbled before she sniffed and corrected it.
"What did he do to you?" Deeks asked quietly, softly. There was an edge of hard, brittle anger under his quiet words. "Anna, what did he do?" he pressed, even though he already knew.
She smiled as if her heart was breaking. "He raped me, of course," she said and pulled the trigger again.
Williams jerked as the bullet tore through his chest. Blood welled from the wound, but his chest still moved in irregular, halting breaths.
Kensi bit her lip, finger a twitch away from firing the gun. Her shoulders were a little hunched, chin tucked towards her chest, but her eyes never wavered from the young, slim girl in front of her.
"Please, Anna. Put the gun down," Deeks asked desperately. His injured hand lifted a touch, as if he was reaching for her.
She stepped away, feet trailing in the spreading pool of blood. Late afternoon light shone on her face as she turned towards the window. It made the tears on her lashes sparkle. "Goodbye," she said and lifted the gun to her temple, finger twitching on the trigger.