The sun shone brightly over the beautiful city of Dallas; some people walked along the sidewalks, others drove their cars down the streets, without a care in the world.
Suddenly, two black SUV's sped around traffic; horns went off, people yelled "Hey watch it!" as they watched the vehicles swerve around them.
The first SUV struggled to find a place to disappear; it constantly maneuvered around the oncoming traffic, in hopes of finding an out.
A dark clothed man emerged from the passenger window of the second vehicle; gun in hand. Shots were fired; the first car served harder as the bullets broke through the back window.
Just then, more shots rang out, they hit their target; the front car lost control, slammed into then median then flipped, tumbled and skidded down the street.
As it finally came to a stop, landing upside down, a small fire emerged from the engine. Smoke filled the air.
The second vehicle came to a stop, two men, clothed in black, approached the twisted metal that had once been a car.
Glass crunched under their feet as they checked inside.
"Él no está aquí!" one yelled in Spanish. "He's not here!"
As they looked around, sirens wailed, not far from them.
"Vamos a salir de aquí!" the other replied. "Let's get out of here!" The two hurried back to their van and sped away.
A young lady stepped out into the quiet alley, dragging a large trash bag behind her. Her long brown hair slightly flowed in the wind as she looked over her shoulder toward the sound of sirens speeding down the street. Her brown eyes gleamed with wonder, she then just shrugged her shoulders and turned her attention back to the task at hand.
She quickly opened the garbage bin, and tossed the bag in, when a noise caught her attention. "Those dumb cats." she muttered, "Probably got into Mr. Smith's garbage cans again."
She then closed the lid and headed back towards the gate when the harsh crashing sound startled her.
She turned to see that it was a man who had knocked over her neighbors cans; his clothes were torn and covered with dirt and blood, his head hung low.
"You alright mister?" she asked. She could see his left shoulder was bleeding badly.
Slowly, the man raised his head; his pain filled blue eyes glared at her, then he collapsed in the alleyway.
"Hey!" the lady hurried over to his side and gently shook him. "Mister? Can you hear me? Mister!"
Marty Deeks stared at the empty desk across from him. "This... is weird." he mumbled.
"To you everything is weird." Kensi Blye said as she walked into the bullpen.
"Not like this." Deeks pointed out.
"Me, beating Sam and Callen to work."
"No way." she implied as she quickly noticed her partner was correct. "They're probably just in the gym working out."
"Checked the gym, gun range and OP's... Zippo."
Kensi realized that Deeks was telling the truth. "O-kay... that is weird."
"I know! Right?! It's freaky!"
"I'm not sure if 'freaky' is the correct term, in this case, Mr. Deeks." Hetty said as she walked in.
"Then what would you call it Hetty? Twilight Zone? Alien Abduction? 5th Di-mention?"
"I would call it 'a mission' and 'a vacation'."
"But who is where, Hetty?" Kensi asked.
Suddenly, a frantic whistling rang out.
Everyone turned to see Eric at the top of the stairs, panic and fear filled his face.
"How bad?" their leader asked.
"Bad." Eric's voice shuttered.
Kensi and Deeks looked at each other with concern, then hurried upstairs to the OP's center.
"I've got Sam online." Nell quickly said.
"Patch him through." Hetty demanded.
A video popped up showing a concerned Sam.
"Oh, sa-weet!" Deeks exclaimed, taking note of the crashing waves in the background. "Sam's in surfer's Heaven!"
"What's happenin', Hetty?" Sam slightly snapped, he never wasted time.
At Hetty's command, Eric quickly tapped his tablet and produced a video. "This was taken at 9 am, yesterday morning via news feed, and a series of traffic cams, in Dallas."
"So," Deeks sounded confused. "it's a couple of idiots in some serious need of more time in Driver's Ed. What's this gotta do..."
"Just wait." Nell interrupted.
They continued to watch as the front vehicle was attacked and crashed.
Kensi's body jerked in shock.
"Now, there's a lot of cross traffic, and some smoke, but we were able to catch a glimpse of someone crawling out of the wreckage and taking off before the second SUV shows up." Nell spoke up again as she froze the frame and zoomed in.
"Police were only able to keep this from going live until last night." Eric said.
"Man's limping." Kensi noted. "He's been wounded."
"Any I.D on the attackers?" Deeks asked.
"Nothing yet, neither of the SUV's had a license plate."
"Why were we called in, Eric?" Sam spoke up.
"Because... of what was found in the wreckage."
A picture appeared on the screen; everyone's mouths dropped, and, for a small moment, they held their breath.
"It's a false I.D of Callen."
"You.. you said that someone made it out of the crash." Kensi choked on her words. "Could it have been him?"
"Haven't been able to find out;" Eric hated his answer. "the quality isn't all that great, and I haven't been able to find any other camera angles."
Hetty quickly glared up at him.
"But I will keep looking."
"And I've been checking in with all local hospitals and clinics nearby... Nothing." Nell added.
"Hetty, I'm comin' home." Sam snapped.
"Negative Sam, you are heading to Dallas. Ms. Blye and Mr. Deeks will meet you there."
Sam just nodded then disconnected the feed.
"Hetty, wha..." Kensi started, then slightly choked again."What was Callen doing in Dallas?"
"I will fill you all in once you've met up with Sam. Now go! Your teammates needs you."
As the others left, Nell let out a nervous breath. "Sure hope Callen's okay."
"He's fine," Eric said proudly. "He's gotten in plenty of scrapes before, but always..." he then noticed the worried look on his partners face. "I'm sure he's fine." he finished.
The fierce pounding in his head woke him. He slowly opened his eyes, they slammed shut, trying to keep out the burning sunlight. A small moan escaped his throat.
"You awake?" a voice spoke up, it sounded distorted in his ears, like it was coming through water.
He tried turning away from the bright sunlight, but nothing worked. His body screamed in pain, like he was on a bed of nails. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get away from the nails piercing into his shoulder and head.
"Hold on." the voice spoke again, it sounded softer and sweet as he became more coherent. Suddenly, the agony-filled light was gone. "I shut the curtains, that should help."
Called slowly opened his eyes again, it took him a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dimness of the low lit room, he finally spotted the young lady sitting next to him. "Th-thanks." he said as he struggled to sit up.
"Ah, not yet." She stopped him, and gently pushed him back down. "You've been shot, clean through. Plus I took some glass out of that shoulder, you've also got a lot more cuts and bruises, and a possible concussion. If you ask me, you look like you were hit by a gang."
"I feel like it too." he moaned. "But, sh-shouldn't I be in a hospital?"
"I was a nurse for 5 years, you're getting better bedside care here then you would in any hospital."
A small chuckle escaped his lips. "Thanks Miss... Miss?"
"Brandi, just Brandi."
Callen slightly nodded his head. "Where am I?" he asked as he looked around again.
"In my home, which also doubles as a small clinic and daycare center. But it's kinda out of business since the kids are back in school." she then chuckled. "I'm afraid you have me at small disadvantage."
"Hmm?" he wondered.
"You haven't told me you're name?" she corrected herself.
Callen started to say, but then caught his breath. His eyes looked like they were searching for something. "I don't know." he whispered.
"What?" Brandi asked.
"I don't know..."
Worry filled the young lady's eyes.
"I don't know who I am."
"I don't know who I am." Callen said again, his voice began quivering as he struggled to sit up.
"Now, take it easy, I'm sure it's nothing to get worked up on, right now."
"That's easy for you to say, you know who you are." Callen once again tried sitting up, but his body betrayed him; he slammed back down on the soft mattress, holding onto his heavily bandaged shoulder, he squeezed his eyes shut, hoping to block out the waves of pain.
"Take it easy, take it easy. You need to rest."
"I-I-I can't, I gotta find out who I am. I gotta..." as he attempted sitting up a third time, the pounding in his head overwhelmed him and he started losing consciousness.
"Easy, you've been through a traumatic experience." she then took a hold of his hand. "Just breath, you'll be alright."
As Callen slowly lost the battle to stay awake, Brandi gently laid her other hand on his face, feeling the rough incoming beard and dried blood. She could also feel a slight fever starting to rise. A small smile crossed her face, but was replaced by thousands of questions running through her mind.
Her gentle touch slowly calmed the frightened man, and he fell into a deep sleep.
Sam opened the door to his hotel room and saw Kensi and Deeks standing outside.
"Any news?" Kensi asked impatiently as they walked in.
"Nothin'. Hetty fill you in?"
"Said that'd she brief us as soon as we..." Deeks was suddenly cut off at the sound of his phone ringing. "Speak of the devil." he said.
"I wouldn't call myself a devil, Mr. Deeks." Hetty said over the phone speaker.
"How...?" Deeks whispered, Kensi shrugged her shoulders in confusion and fear.
"Hetty, it's Sam. What's goin' on?"
"Mr. Callen's contact should be there right now."
At that moment, there was a knock on the door.
Deeks opened it and a young man walked in, his jet black hair was mussed, like he hadn't slept in days, his brown eyes scanned the three people in front of him.
"Mr. Hanna, Ms. Blye, Mr. Deeks, I want you to meet Agent Cade of the D.E.A."
"Sam." Sam greeted.
"Kensi." Kensi spoke up.
"Uhh, you can call me 'Marty', or j-just 'Deeks'." Deeks stuttered.
"Pleasure to meet you all, just wish it was under better circumstances."
"Please fill us in, Mr. Cade." Hetty requested.
Cade opened a small envelope and laid out some pictures. "Four years ago, a family named 'Rodriguez' moved from Mexico here to Dallas; Andres, his wife Cristina, and their four sons; Desi, Felipe, Manuel, and Rafael. At first, they were just like any normal family; owned a small laundry business, the boys did odd jobs around town to earn a little extra money."
"Why does it sound like they made more than just a little extra?" Deeks asked.
Cade laid down another photo. "Tito Rodriguez, a distant cousin that had moved here 10 years ago, brought the family in on the 'new' family business."
"Which is?" Kensi questioned.
"Drugs, artillery, illegal immigration from across the boarder, bringing in girls to be... well, you get the picture."
"What I'm not gettin' is why we're here... And why G was here." Sam snapped.
Cade swallowed nervously. "7 months ago, we sent an under cover agent; he was able to get into Rodriguez's inner circle of drugs and artillery dealing."
"How so?" Kensi spoke up again.
"We sent him in as a secondary saying that he was the front man for his boss, Dillon Mason."
"Who's Dillon Mason?" Deeks wondered.
"Nobody at the time, he was just a name we invented. We put together a file on him; family, college history, prison record, the works, in case they checked him out. For the past 7 months it worked; we'd been able to get more than enough information to put the whole Rodriguez cartel away... Until recently."
Cade then produced one final photo. "Vincenzo Rodriguez; Andres' uncle, and the family patriarch. He suddenly showed up and that's when the rules changed."
The agent could tell that this was really bothering the team. "Vincenzo stopped all new deals, he wanted to meet 'Dillon Mason'. That's where Callen came in."
"But why Callen?" Kensi wondered.
"We couldn't use anyone else from our department; we uncovered that the Rodriguez's already knew just about everyone in the Ranger task force and the local police. We needed someone who was a pro in the art of undercover work, and had a thorough knowledge of these kinds of dealings. That's when my boss called Hetty."
"Dalton called me just as Mr. Callen was getting ready to leave, for the night." Hetty spoke up. "Dalton explained to me their situation and requested my help."
"Callen must've overheard." Sam suggested.
"Exactly, Mr. Hanna. I suggested that he take someone with him, but he wouldn't hear of it."
"Classic Callen." Kensi spoke the truth.
"So what happened after he landed?" Sam was getting frustrated.
"He was debriefed, clothed, given an I.D and went straight in. We wanted him to take someone else with him, but he said that he didn't want to risk anyone else's lives."
"Why would he say that?" Deeks asked.
"Along with being like the biggest drug and crime family in Dallas right now, they've also have racked up a long list of murders... One of them was Ben Tarpin, a old friend of Callen's from his days in the D.E.A. Tarpin was found in a dumpster with a knife in his back."
Everyone looked concerned, worrying what if Callen had let his personal feelings get in the way.
"Callen went in, and was about to make the deal when it went south."
"How would you know that if no one else went with him?" Kensi asked.
"He wore a bug, much like the earwigs you wear. This is what we heard." Cade took out his phone and pressed play.
"Ah, Señor Mason, finally we meet." an elderly voice spoke over the recording.
"Vincenzo, right?" Sam asked.
Cade nodded his head.
"Well I couldn't let you just cut off our supplies. I have people waiting for this order." Callen's voice sounded confident and yet full of arrogance, like a true dealer.
"I must ask though, Señor, why did you send someone else in your place?"
"Protection. Can't be the head of an organization and risk my life at the same time. Couriers can be replaced, but bosses... well, you know."
The elder's voice chuckled. "Si Señor, that I do. Let's get down to business."
Everyone listened as the quality and quantities of the drugs and artillery were listed, and the agreed price.
"Very good Señor, it's been a pleasure doing business with you."
Suddenly, they heard what sounded like a door slamming shut.
"Ah, Señor Addams, please join us." Vincenzo's voice sounded even more pleased.
"I don't want to interrupt anything." Another voice spoke up from a distance.
"Wait!" Kensi said, "that voice sounds American."
Everyone quickly cringed in fear.
"No interruption, just about to finish some business with Señor Mason. Señor Mason, meet my 2nd in Command of distribution; Jake Addams."
But there was just silence, no official greeting was made.
"Have you already sealed the deal, Vincenzo?" Addams spoke, his voice crossed with strength but yet worry.
"We have not shaken on it, why do you ask?"
"Because this isn't Mr. Mason." Everyone's looked at each other in fear. "His name is Callen; and he's with the D.E.A."
Suddenly, the audio was covered with yelling of commands, shots being fired, and then it went dead.
"Next thing we know," Cade spoke up. "there's a live video feed off a news cam of two black SUV's speeding down the street not far from the meeting place. Then one was shot up and crashed."
"And Callen?" Sam questioned.
"We haven't been able to find him; the feed shows two guys checking the vehicle, no shots were fired; they just checked it, got back in their car and took off. When police arrived, the car was empty."
"He got away... somehow." Kensi suggested.
"So, why hasn't he contacted anyone?" Deeks asked. "I mean, he's been in car accidents before and came out barely bruised."
"We're not sure," Cade said. "yet."
"Mr. Hanna," Hetty spoke up. "I know you want to get out there and find Mr. Callen, but remember..."
"Start from the beginning." he sighed.
"Exactly, you must find out who exposed his true identity."
"You got it Hetty, we'll call you when we find something."
"I pray, by then, you'll have found Mr. Callen."
"So do I." Sam then hung up the phone.
"Where do we start?" Deeks asked.
"Crime scene, then background checks." Sam told him. "Anything we find, let's send it to Eric for cross-reverence."
"Well, the crime scene has already been cleaned up for traffic use, but the SUV is in a garage not far from here, waiting for you."
"Let's go." Kensi said. Then the four left.
Brandi carefully opened the door and looked in on her patient.
She could tell that, even though he was asleep, he was in some form of pain.
His eyes moved wildly under his eyelids. She could barely make out the soft mumblings he was making.
Suddenly, he grunted and jerked his head to the side. Brandi was ready to hurry in, in case he woke up in fear.
But he just took a deep breath, and quieted down.
She slowly closed the door, let out the breath she had been holding, and headed back towards the front rooms.
As the group walked into the garage, Kensi stopped for a slight moment when she saw the crunched up metal, having a hard time believing that it once had been something worth driving.
"We made sure that everyone, handling this, wore gloves, no chance of extra finger prints." Cade said. "There's blood in a lot of different places; both front seat and back."
"Where he crawled out?" Deeks guessed.
Sam pried open the driver-side door and looked in; his breath caught as he saw blood all over the seat, pieces of torn cloth caught in the metal bends. "He was shot." he said softly.
"How can you tell?" Cade questioned.
"This blood isn't splattered, it was smeared on."
"Like when someone sits back." Kensi pointed out.
"He was shot before he got in." Sam finished.
"There's a lot of broken glass embedded in the seats and floor." Deeks announced. "Probably from the bullets busting through the back window."
"But are we still positive it was Callen?" Kensi asked. "Maybe it was the other agent trying to get away."
"It was him." Sam spoke up, he then stepped away from the vehicle, gently holding a broken watch in his hand, like it was a life. "It's G's; I gave this to him last Christmas."
Kensi could see the worry in Sam's eyes, she carefully walked over and gently laid her hand on his.
"So," Cade said. "if the Rodriguez's couldn't find him, and the police didn't find him, then..."
"Where is he?" Sam whispered.
Brandi stood in her kitchen, sipping on some hot tea, watching the sun begin to set, when she heard a slight grunt come from the nearby room. She hurried to find Callen trying to stay standing.
"Hey, hey, hey! What do you think you're doing?"
"I... I gotta get out here... they-they're coming after me." he struggled.
"No one's coming after you. Now sit down before you break open your wounds again." she carefully pushed him back.
Callen was too weak to put up a fight, he slumped, wearyingly, back down on the bed. "Wh-where am I?"
"You're at my house, remember? You collapsed, in the alley, out back."
He thought for a minute, then looked up at her. "You're Brandi."
He looked around the room, "How'd I get here?"
"I was hopin' you could tell me."
Callen thought for a moment. "I can't remember."
"Can you tell me your name?" Brandi asked, trying to stay positive.
Again, Callen thought for a moment. "No." he whispered, his breathing became fast and shallow as he started to panic.
"Hey, calm down." she said as she leaned in front of him. "It'll be alright."
"How?!" he yelled as he struggled, against her grip, to stand back up. "How do you know it'll be alright?"
"I just do." she then pushed him back down on the bed. "Besides, I might be able to help."
"How?" his voice quivered again, tears slowly filled his eyes. "How can you help me?"
"Right now, by helping you heal. Maybe once you're body gets over the shock, your memory will return."
"And what if it doesn't?"
Brandi gently took a hold of his hands. "Then we'll go look for it."
Sam continued to check over the vehicle.
"That's like the 5th time he's done that." Deeks voiced annoyingly.
"7th." Kensi corrected.
"Well, he's been at it all night. What is he hoping to find that we already haven't?"
"Just one more answer, I guess. Sam's always been very thorough; he won't give up until he's satisfied."
Cade walked back into the garage carrying a bag and a tray of drinks. "Come and get it guys."
"Ah, you're a life saver." Deeks cheered as he took his drink.
Kensi smiled, then took two of the drinks and headed for the car.
"So, Cade," Deeks said. "is that your first name, or your last name?"
"Oh, so what, you're like Callen? Don't know you're first name?"
Cade laughed. "No, I know my first name, but due to an odd coincidence, I'm just gonna stick to my last."
"What coincidence is that?"
"My first name is Sam."
"Here." Kensi said as she handed Sam a cup. "Find anything?"
"Just a lot of broken glass. Eric?"
Kensi shook her head, she could tell something wasn't right with her friend. "Sam, you've known Callen longer than any of us, and... I know you're worried about him..."
"Not worried, Kensi, scared."
Kensi's mouth dropped, she never thought she'd hear that word come from Sam's mouth.
"Ever since he got shot, whenever he puts himself out there, on the line like this, it scares me. I'm worried that I'll never see him again."
"Sam..." she whispered.
"I promised that I'd always look out for him. We're partners; we're suppose to look out for each other. Even when he'd go lone wolf, I was right there for him."
"And you will be, Sam." Kensi then gently laid her hand on his. "If you weren't there at the beginning, you're always there at the end to pull him from whatever he had gotten himself into. You're here for him now, even though he's not right at your side, you're still here for him. We're gonna find him, Sam."
Sam looked into Kensi's eyes and saw determination, and fear. A small smile crossed his face. "Thanks Kensi."
Kensi smiled, then realized something. "Hey, I just thought of something; whoever it was that exposed him said that Callen was D.E.A."
Realization filled Sam's eyes. "He didn't know G was working for N.C.I.S."
"He'll be on the lookout for someone else from the department, not us." Sam put the pieces together, "which gives us an advantage."
Suddenly Sam's phone rang. "Yeah Eric."
"Sam, I did some more digging into the Rodriguez's and found that, last month, Rafael had a falling out with his older brother Desi. Witnesses reported that Rafael wanted out of the business, next thing they knew, he was walking the streets, with a suitcase, looking for a job."
"Anyone know where he went?"
Kensi, Deeks and Cade became more alert.
"I.. was able to download some phone records from one Rafael Rodriguez, and trace it... Sam, he's at a small cafe 4 south blocks from where you are."
Sam hung up his phone. "Got a hit, let's move."
As the four walked fast down the street Deeks was taking in the sights.
"So, where are we going?" he asked.
"Eric said that Rafael Rodriguez was kicked out of the family business about a month ago. He's at the cafe just down the street."
They approached the front window and looked in.
"That one," Cade spoke up. "the one gathering dishes. That's Rafael."
"How can you be sure?" Kensi asked.
"I've studied this family's pictures and background so many time, I could write a book about 'em."
"Cover me." Sam said bluntly.
"No, Sam, wait." Kensi stopped him.
"Out of my way, Kensi." he demanded.
"Sam, listen to me; if you go in like this he's just gonna run. Let me talk to him."
"I don't want talk, I want answers."
"Sam... Please?" Kensi just stared at him.
Sam didn't say anything, he looked around, then back at her and lightly nodded his head.
Kensi took a deep breath, gently rubbed Sam's elbow, then walked in. "Discúlpeme," she said in Spanish, catching the young Mexican's attention. "Habla usted Inglés?"
"Yes, I speak English." Rafael said with a smile.
"I'm sorry, a lot of times when I see someone like you, I assume they can't." Kensi lightly teased.
"I couldn't when I was younger, but I've learned. Can I help you?"
"Uh, yes actually; I'm lookin' for Desi Rodriguez."
At the mention of his brother's name, Rafael stiffened in concern.
"You see, I met him at a bar the other night, and he told me that he has friends around if I ever wanted to contact him." Kensi tried keeping a sweet smile on her face, but she could tell that something she said was bothering the young Rodriguez.
"You're a very pretty girl," he said. "but not a very good liar."
Kensi's eyes shifted from smiling to trying to hide the truth. "Wh-what do you mean?
"I may not be a part of my family anymore, but I do know what kind of girls my brothers prefer. So, what are you really after?"
Kensi took a deep, shaky breath. "I'm looking for the one who might know where my friend is."
"And your friend is...?"
Rafael slightly jerked at the name. "What is he to you?"
"Well, let's just say he knows what I need, when I need it. I understand that he was meeting with another gentleman."
"Yes, from what I heard, he's to have a meeting with my uncle."
"He did, two days ago, but something went wrong and now he's missing." Kensi could tell that the young Mexican didn't like this. "Rafael, I know you wanted to get away from your family, but is there any way you can help me?"
Rafael looked around for a moment, making sure no one was watching. "Mañana. Nos vemos en la estación de servicio, dos millas al oeste. Voy a tener una respuesta para usted"
Kensi just nodded, then left.
"What'd he say?" Sam asked.
"He said to meet him tomorrow."
"Where?" Cade asked.
"Gas station, two miles from here. He'll have an answer for us then."
"What do we do in the mean time?" Deeks spoke up.
"We find G." Sam said sternly.
As the day progressed, Brandi stepped inside from her backyard. She smiled as she felt the soft, warm sunlight on her face.
Her smile quickly vanished as she heard a noise coming from the bedroom.
She hurried in to see Callen tossing in his sleep, he kept mumbling something. As she leaned in closer, she realized that it was a name.
"Sam? Sam, where are you? Sam!" Called jerked awake.
"Hey, easy, easy." Brandi gently grabbed his shoulders to keep him from moving too much. "It was just a dream, you're alright now."
Called looked around the room, trying to calm himself. "It... it seemed so real."
"Dreams can do that," she said as she sat next to him and check the bandage around his shoulder. "Our minds takes what's real and make it seem like a dream, and can turn dreams into something that feels like reality."
Callen chuckled as he slowly sat up. "You sound like a psychiatrist."
"How would you know what one sounds like?" she giggled.
Suddenly, his mind was blank. "I don't know." he whispered.
Brandi realized that his mind brought him a piece of the puzzle "And... 'Sam'?"
Again, his mind was blank. He shook his head in frustration. "It's like it's right there, but... I don't know, I- I just don't know."
"It's alright; in time, you will."
"But what if I don't have time?"
Brandi could tell this was frightening him. "Then we'll make the time."
Again, Callen shook his head.
"In the meantime," she spoke up. "how does some clean clothes, and a hot supper sound?"
He thought for a slight moment, then he could feel his stomach rumble "Sounds pretty good."
"Well, if you think you can manage on your own, I'll go fix us something. Bathroom's right there, and there are clothes are in the closet."
Callen waited until the girl was gone, then slowly got up.
The sun beat hot as it made it's way toward the Western sky.
Kensi, Cade, Sam and Deeks wondered around the city streets, showing a picture of their friend to anyone who would care to look, asking if they had seen him.
Sam slowly became filled with anger as everyone's answer was "No."
He caught a glimpse of Kensi across the street; he signaled to her, asking if anyone gave her a clue, but all she could do was shake her head.
"Ma'am? Ma'am could you just please...?" Deeks was heard, talking to many young ladies walking near him, but nothing.
They spotted Cade giving money to some homeless folks asking them for any information they might have, but it was another dead end.
At this point in a search, most people would've given up, but Sam was no quitter; his partner was out there, and in was going to keep going even if it was last thing he did.
The four continued the rest of the day to look and ask around... Anything to find Callen.
"Well now, that looks much better." Brandi said cheerfully.
"I feel better, thank you." he said, he then noticed the baby bottles on the counter and a baby-walker in the corner. "Thanks for loan of the clothes. Sure your, uhh, boyfriend won't mind?"
"Oh, I don't have a boyfriend." she said as she placed a pan in the oven. "Those belonged to my older brother."
"Where is he now?"
Brandi tried to hold back the sorrow on her face as she continued to work. "He died, last year. He was, uh, out with some friends and a drunk driver ran a stop light and hit the driver side. My brother was the driver."
Brandi tried smiling through her tears. "He left this place to me, it's a lot bigger than my old home, so I'm able to watch even more kids."
"You like kids?"
"Love them, but it's gonna be harder to keep the business going, what with kids back in school and many moms becoming stay-at-homers."
"Sorry about that."
Brandi shrugged her shoulder, "It happens. I'm not too worried about it though, I've got enough saved up so I won't have to work for at least 3 more years."
"Thanks." Brandi smiled as she was able to get the stranger to open up.
Callen then spotted a picture across table "That him?" he asked.
Brandi looked over and smiled. "Yeah, that's him."
"What was his name?"
"Jason... His name was Jason."
At the sound of that name, images flooded Callen's mind; a small boy coloring on a sidewalk. A young lady, with brownish/red hair, calling someone 'Jason'."
"You alright?" Brandi asked, but when there was no answer, she knew. "You remembered something, didn't ya?"
"It was a... a woman, talking to someone... She called him 'Jason'."
"Maybe... I just don't know."
"It's alright, it'll come to you. But for right now, eat." And she took the pan out of the oven and started dishing out the food.
After she handed her stranger the plate, she watched as he ate his food; he was slow, still hurting from his wounds, but she could tell that he was getting stronger very quickly.
The next morning, the rising sun peeked through the curtain, waking Kensi. She looked up to see Sam staring out the window of their hotel room.
"Sam?" she said as she got up. "How long you been up?" but Sam didn't answer. "You haven't been to bed, have you?" she realized.
"You ever try sharin' a bed with Deeks?" he tried teasing.
Kensi looked at her sleeping partner. "That isn't it," she said as she looked back. "you haven't slept because you're still worried about him."
"That shouldn't surprise you. How would you feel if it was your partner that'd gone missing?"
"You know how I feel!" she snapped. "I lost Dom, remember?"
Sam realized that he just said the wrong thing.
"Don't you dare go trying to put the guilt on me!" Kensi's voice shook as she tried staying strong.
Sam looked over and could see tears starting to fill Kensi's eyes. "I'm sorry, Kens." he said.
"Just don't do it again." she demanded softly.
"Hey," a tired voice caught their attention, they both looked over to see Deeks sitting up. "What time is it?"
"Time to meet Rodriguez." Sam said.
Brandi smiled as she carefully poured a hot beverage into two teacups. She then gently picked them up and walked into the bedroom, but her guest wasn't there. Worry filled her at first, but then she heard a slight noise
She headed for the living-room and found the man, sound asleep on the couch.
The hot aroma filled the room, it stirred Callen, slowly waking him up. "Good morning?" he said.
"Morning, sorry if I woke you."
"No, it's all good." he replied as he sat up, he carefully tried to rotate his stiff shoulder, it still hurt, but he could move it more freely.
"How's the shoulder?"
"Better, thanks to you." he answered.
Brandi smiled a little more. "Hope you like tea?"
"Not an exotic blend, is it?" he asked as he took the cup.
"Um, no." she answered in confusion. "But if you'd liked that more, I could go get some."
"No, I hate that stuff; always try to keep away from it, but she's... so persistent." he quickly wondered why he said that.
Brandi wanted to ask 'who's she?' but decided to hold off. "You didn't sleep very well last night, did you?" she said as she sat beside him
"What do you mean?"
"I heard you about 4 this morning; walking around, speaking in another language, sounded almost like French."
"Russian." he corrected her.
"You speak Russian?" Brandi seemed interested.
Callen realized what he had said. "I- I... " but he couldn't find the answer.
"Do you remember what you were saying?"
"No... How- how would I know that? Doesn't make sense."
"Maybe you have family or friends from there, or maybe you learned it on a vacation; you sounded very fluent."
But Callen just shook his head. He was getting frustrated at the lack of information his mind had; as he took a sip he looked around the room, hoping to find something... anything to help him remember.
His gaze fell on some alphabet blocks across the room. "Kids play with those?" he asked.
Brandi nodded her head. "I sometimes help teach the smaller ones the alphabet, shapes and colors, it helps them get into school sooner."
She watched as Callen laid his cup down, walked over and picked up a block with the letter 'G' on it. She could see a form of recognition cross his face, his eyes gleamed with familiarity. "What do you see?" she asked.
Flashes went through his mind; he saw people, but couldn't see their faces. He kept hearing one voice saying 'G', in different tones; sounding happy, scared, even sad.
"Someone's saying 'G', like it's a name." he said in confusion.
"I don't know, it almost feels right." he squeezed the block in his hand then threw it down in anger. "Why can't I remember?!"
Brandi hurried over to him, and gently took a hold of his hand. "You will, we just need to find the right tools to help you."
"What are you saying?" Callen's voice shook.
The young lady thought for a moment, "Well... Like yesterday, you said I sounded like a psychiatrist, which means that someone you know, or knew, is one. You remembered a lady using the name 'Jason'. Another lady; someone very close to you, apparently, has tried getting you to taste exotic flavored tea. And now... just now, you remembered someone being called 'G'."
"Your point?" Callen's eyes flared in frustration.
"My point is; you remembered that just from seeing and hearing things around here. Why don't we go for a walk and see if anything out there will help you to remember more? Maybe you've got friends out there that are looking for you."
He thought for a moment, "Ok." he sighed. In his mind, he prayed that they'd find some answers.
"Where's your friend?" Cade asked, over a radio, as he sat in a car across the street.
"He'll be here." Kensi answered.
Deeks stood towards the back of the gas station, pretending like he was looking for a particular snack.
Sam stood out by the air tanks, emptying and re-filling his tires.
Kensi stood near the front door, coffee in hand, waiting. "Sam?"
"I got the side and rear, no activity. Deeks?"
"No one but the cashier in here. Don't know how much longer I can stay without making him suspicious."
"Well, go to the bathroom or something." Kensi snapped at him.
"Yes ma'am." he tried to lighten the mood. Then he headed for the restroom.
"Are you sure this is the gas station Rafael meant?" Cade spoke up.
"He said the gas station two miles south of the diner," Kensi sighed. "this is the only one within a five mile radius."
"Besides, the attendant said that Rodriguez comes here often." Sam added. "You should've known that Cade, considering how much you've been bragging about your knowledge of them."
"I didn't say I knew everything about them."
"Well then, you better brush up on your intel work." Kensi smirked.
"Yeah, we wouldn't want Dalton to get upset with you." Deeks chirped in with a light chuckle.
Cade just shook his head in slight aggravation, then continued looking for their friend.
Brandi and Callen slowly walked down a small market style street.
"How you holdin' up?" she asked.
"I'm okay. Brandi, how long have I been staying at your house?"
"Three days, you pretty well slept the first two. Not surprising though, in the condition you were in, I'm surprised you're up and walking as good as you are."
"Guess I bounce back pretty fast."
Brandi lightly smiled. "So, see anything seem familiar?"
Callen took a long look. "All I can think of is, this doesn't feel right."
"Me, being here. This isn't where I'm from, I feel like I should be somewhere else right now."
"Can you tell where?"
Small memories went through his mind, walking down a sidewalk with an older gentleman, waves crashing in front of them "Near a beach, maybe..."
"Well that's a start, maybe you live near the gulf."
"So, why would I be here? I don't feel like the guy that would travel a lot."
Brandi thought for a moment, "Maybe you were here on business, or vacation, visiting some friends or..."
"Or getting shot at."
Brandi looked back to see that Callen had stopped and was looking in a store window full of TV's; the news report of the shooting playing. "Oh my..." she whispered. "That's you!" she pointed to the man running away from the car.
"Police are still looking for the man that got away, as well as his assailants," the reporter said. "If you have any information, please contact..."
Callen watched in horror as the footage repeated of the car crashing and him pulling himself from the wreckage and running away. "I'm a criminal." he said in shock.
"I'm a criminal."
"Now, y-you don't know that." But Brandi wasn't sure what to believe.
"I'm being chased, shot at, I'm running away! What else would you call it?!"
But Brandi was speechless, she gently wrapped her arm around his. "Look, the car chasing you doesn't have police strobes, so maybe you were trying to get away from a gang or maybe you saw something you shouldn't have."
"What am I gonna do?" Callen's voice gasped as he glanced at each screen watching the accident occur over and over again.
"We keep walking." she answered stiffly.
"Why? Even if I'm innocent, shouldn't I turn myself in?"
"But what if you're not?" she asked.
Callen looked at her and wondered.
"There's always more to a story," she continued. "we just have to find the pages."
In fear, Callen looked up at the screens then back to his new friend; he could see trust, hope and determination glowing in her eyes. He nodded in agreement and they continued to walk on.
"Anything yet?" Sam asked over the coms.
Cade looked around, then spotted the young man walking down the sidewalk. "Here he comes. He's alone, no one else is with him."
"Keep your eyes open, I don't like this."
Everyone waited in anticipation.
"Hola Señorita." Rafael greeted. "How are you this lovely day?"
"I'll be better once you tell me what happened to Dillon."
"Ah yes, I did promise you answers..."
Suddenly Sam's phone rang. "Not a good time, Eric."
"It will be when you hear this; I traced Rafael's calls after Kensi met with him."
"Who'd he contact?"
Sam's eyes widened in fear.
"Sam, Vincenzo knows that Callen's still alive."
"I'm afraid the only information I have received about your Mr. Mason," Rafael continued. "is that he made the trade with my uncle and then he went on his way. I'm not sure where he's gone now."
"Kensi," Sam's voice arose. "Rafael didn't separate from his family, it was a set-up, they know we're lookin' for G."
"Are you sure about that?" Kensi asked both men.
"Yes!" Sam replied.
"But of course," Rafael smirked. "Why would I lie to you?"
"Oh, I don't know." Kensi started. "Maybe because he was in a car accident three days ago."
"I thought you said that he was missing." Rafael nervously chuckled.
"I did, and he is, but you're not telling me everything..." Kensi started.
Cade was keeping his eyes open, when he spotted something down the street; a man and a woman walking. He quickly dug out his binoculars and focused them. "Holy... Sam! Sam!" he called into the radio.
Sam slightly turned his head to hear what Cade had to say. "Your 11 o'clock, it's Callen... Callen's alive!"
Sam looked over and saw Callen walking with a girl. "Kensi, G's alive!" he quickly said.
Kensi looked sharp as she received the message. "Because, oh look, there he is now." she quickly finished her sentence.
Rafael turned around and saw Callen. "MASON!" he yelled as he pulled out a gun.
Kensi quickly stopped him from firing his gun, but it was too late; a car pulled out from the gas station and started heading for Callen and Brandi.
"Cade, move!" Sam demanded. He then jumped out to take aim at the car. "G!" he screamed.
Callen heard someone scream, as he looked over, a memory flashed; a van speeding towards him, guns aimed out the window. "Get down!"
He grabbed Brandi and they ducked behind a nearby car, he covered her head as bullets banged into the car, and glass shattered over them.
"You alright?" he asked her.
"Yeah, what's happening?"
As more shots rang out, Callen peeked out, from their hiding spot, and saw two men, aiming guns, along with the speeding vehicle, shooting. A lady pining another guy to the ground, and one more man hurrying out of the gas station; gun in hand.
"We gotta get outta here." he then quickly pulled Brandi to her feet and they started running.
The car sped away.
"I got the plates." Cade said.
Sam hurried over to the car he saw his friend hide behind, but they were gone. He quickly dug out his phone and dialed. "Eric, how quickly can you get access to any cameras from my location."
"Just one second."
"I need you to track a gold Mercedes, busted back window, Cade'll give you the license."
He then handed the phone over. "You alright?" he asked Kensi and Deeks as he walked back towards them.
"We're fine." Deeks said.
"Where's Callen?" Kensi asked.
"Sam!" Cade called out.
Sam turned just in time to catch his cellphone. "Eric, tell Hetty we found Callen. He's alive."
"Is he alright, Mr. Hanna?" Hetty's voice spoke up.
"I don't know, this was a setup, somehow they figured we could lead them to G. They targeted him."
"But he got away." she pointed out. "Do you know where he's gone?"
"No. I need Eric to try and locate him; he's with a girl: late 20's, long dark hair."
"Any clue as to why he didn't stick around, Mr. Hanna?"
"I don't know, Hetty. I think he's in more trouble than we realize."
"Sam, I found them; the car and Callen. The car turned a corner and is now following Callen at a distance."
"Where is he?"
"Residential, ummm it's 2 blocks to the East and 6 blocks south, 1241. And Sam, hurry."
"We gotta move!" Sam yelled.
They quickly set Rafael in the backseat of one car then drove off towards their friend... they hoped.
Callen and Brandi hurried into the house, he quickly locked the door and pushed a chair in front of it.
"You alright?" he asked.
"Yeah," her voice shook. "Who were those men?"
"I don't know, but they knew me... somehow... they all did."
"Maybe they know who you are?"
Callen continued to lock the windows and close the curtains. "If they know me, then why were they shooting at me?"
"I-I don't know."
"Do you have a gun?" but Brandi was still so shaken up, she didn't answer. Callen hurried over and grabbed her arms. "Do you have a gun?!"
"No!" she yelled in fear.
Callen saw the fear in her eyes. "I-I'm sorry." he said as he gently let go. "We need to get out of here."
"Shouldn't we call the police?"
"There isn't time!" He then stared deep into her eyes. "You've done so much for me already, Brandi, but now I've put your life in danger. We need to move, now."
"M-my car's out back, we can try and get lost in the traffic."
But as they headed for the back, the front door was kicked in, three men rushed in, guns in hand. "Hold it!"
Suddenly, the back door opened and 2 more thugs walked in. They grabbed Callen, twisted his arms behind him and forced him to a kneeling position, then one grabbed Brandi and put her in a choke-hold.
"Leave her alone!" Callen pleaded in pain.
"Why should I do that?" One of the main men asked as he tightened his grip.
Brandi gasped for air.
"PLEASE!" he yelled.
The man smirked, then walked over to Brandi and gently ran his hand across her cheek. "Tell me, how did you survive that crash?" he asked as he looked back at Callen.
Called looked confused. "Wh-what crash?"
"Don't play dumb."
"I think you are." The man then nodded to one of his men, the guard proceeded to punch Callen.
"No!" Brandi screamed. "Please, stop! He doesn't know anything! He can't remember anything!"
"Hold it!" the man ordered.
Callen's head sagged in pain, his arms still pinned behind him. His breathing was harsh, it hitched every few breaths from the searing wave of pain his shoulder sent through him.
The man then glared back at Brandi. "What did you say?"
"I said he doesn't remember anything. He doesn't know who he is, or what happened to him."
The man chuckled. "Uncle will be most interested to hear this." he said to the other two behind him. "Bring him." he then ordered.
As the men started to leave, one of the leaders stopped the head man. "Desi, we can't just leave her."
Desi looked back at the young lady staring in fear. "Do what you wish, Felipe." he smirked.
Brandi was released, she slumped to the floor and watched in horror as the men dragged her new friend out. Then looked up in time to see a fist coming straight at her.
"Eric, have you been able to find who burned Mr. Callen?" Hetty asked as she waited for a call back.
"Almost, using Kaleidoscope, I was able to locate more camera's and backtrack Callen's movement when he stole one of Rodriguez's SUV's. I managed to pinpoint that he came from this abandoned store."
"Do you have the footage from the time before he was exposed?"
"Was the other agent exposed?" Hetty slightly feared.
"From what I've been able to gather, from D.E.A database, the other agent wasn't at the meeting, so there's a possibility he hasn't been made yet." Then with one final click. "There. Black SUV is Rodriguez, white car was Callen's ride."
They both watched as Callen and the Rodriguez's showed up. Moments passed, then...
"Right there, the second SUV," Eric pointed to one final car. "that's who gave up Callen."
"Pause, zoom in and enhance."
Hetty watched as the third man's picture cleared up. "Oh, bugger." she sighed in fear.
Cade and Kensi parked their vehicles, then all four hurried out, weapons in hand.
"Kensi, Deeks..." Sam started.
"We got the back." she finished, and they took off running.
Cade and Sam carefully approached the front door, they noticed that it had already been kicked in.
Sam held up 3 fingers then started counting down, as soon as he hit 1 they stormed in.
"Federal Agents!" Sam yelled.
Kensi and Deeks came in through the back.
"Clear." they all said as they slowly went from room to room.
Sam noticed the two teacups on the coffee table, and an alphabet block across the floor, the letter 'G' facing up. "He was here." he whispered.
"Sam!" Kensi called from a bedroom.
They all hurried in to see Kensi, kneeling on the floor, trying to wake a young lady who's face was cut and bruised.
"Miss? Miss, can you hear me?"
Slowly, Brandi woke up. The moment she saw Sam and Kensi, she jerked and fear and tried getting away, but she was backed up against the bed frame.
"Easy, easy. We won't hurt you." Kensi tried assuring her.
"I saw you guys, you were shooting at us." her voice shook.
"No, no, no, no, we were trying to protect you and our friend." Kensi spoke softly, trying to calm the frightened girl. "What's your name?"
"S-Summers, Brandi Summers."
Deeks looked around the room, and found a torn, blood stained shirt in a waste basket. "He was here."
Everyone watched as he picked up the shirt.
"He was wearing this in the video."
"Where is he?" Sam asked.
"W-who?" Brandi wondered.
"Where's G?" Sam's voice was rougher.
Brandi shook her head, "I don... 'G'?" She then remembered. "Then... it was you. You're the one... you're the one he remembers."
"What do you mean 'remembers'?" Cade asked.
"What, like he didn't know who Sam was?" Deeks piped in. "That's weird."
"He doesn't even know who he is." Brandi pointed out.
Everyone looked at her in fear.
"What?" Kensi gasped.
Brandi took a deep breath. "I-I found him in the alley and brought him inside. He was bleeding badly, looked like someone did a number on him. When he woke up he couldn't remember his name, or where he was from."
Sam turned in frustration and leaned against the wall, a feeling of utter despair and failure filled him.
"He couldn't remember anything?" Deeks piped in again. "Like... like nothing at all."
"Just small things, mostly."
"Well like what?" Cade asked. "Please anything you can tell..."
"Umm, he uhh, spoke Russian, umm he mentioned a-a psychiatrist, and-and a lady that likes exotic flavored tea."
Kensi slightly smiled. "Nate and Hetty."
"Anything else?" Deeks questioned.
"Just something to do with the letter 'G'... and he remembered someone named 'Jason'."
"Jason was one of Callen's aliases," Sam spoke up, Brandi looked up at him in confusion. "He doesn't know who his family is, or his real name; he just goes by 'G'." he finished.
Brandi looked down in sadness, "So, he really doesn't know who he is?"
"Brandi," Kensi interrupted her thoughts. "do you where they've taken him?"
She lightly shook her head.
Sam could tell that she was really worried for their friend. He walked over to her, knelt down and gently took a hold of her hands. "Please? You must've heard something?"
A small tear flowed down her face as she looked up at him "One of the men was called 'Desi', there was another one named 'Phillip' or something like that."
"Do you know where they went?"
"They just said that 'Uncle' would be interested."
"Thank you." Sam then got up and hurried outside.
Deeks and Cade wanted to follow.
"Go," Kensi told them. "I'll stay with her."
The guys quickly left.
Sam opened the back door of his car and pulled Rafael out. "Okay Rafe, spill; where's your family meetin' at?"
"Why should I tell you?" the young Mexican smirked.
Sam slammed Rafael against the car then pulled out his gun.
"Sam!" Deeks yelled.
"Tell me or I'll make you wish that you never pretended to walk out of your family business."
The tension slowly grew between the men as they waited.
"I don't know where they've taken him, my guess would be the warehouse on 17th. Uncle likes to deal with his 'business partners' there."
Sam let Rafael go, then looked at Cade. "Can you get us some back up?"
"You got it."
Suddenly, Deek's phone went off. "Yeah? Hold on. Sam?"
Sam turned and joined Deeks. "Eric?"
"Sam, we've got some bad news." Eric said in a panic over speakerphone.
"Yeah, so do we; the Rodriguez's have G."
"Do you know where?" Hetty asked.
"We're just about to head out.
"Then you got to get moving faster Mr. Hanna."
"What's goin' on?"
"Sam," Eric spoke up. "the one who exposed Callen was, D.E.A Agent, Ben Tarpin."
"That's impossible," Deeks pointed out. "Cade said that Tarpin was found dead."
"That wasn't Tarpin; records show he had an identical twin brother. That must've been who Police found in the dumpster."
"Tarpin cut a deal with Rodriguez, didn't expect to see G, and to prove his allegiance he exposed him." Sam put the puzzle together.
"Precisely, you must find Mr. Callen before it's too late."
"Backup's on it's way!" Cade said as he hurried over.
"We're on our way Hetty."
The three hurried into Cade's car and drove off, hoping and praying that they wouldn't be too late.
Callen struggled against his captors as they pushed him down a long dark hallway.
Suddenly, they stopped him, and a bright light blinded him from seeing around him.
"So, Agent Callen. You thought you could break up my little organization?" a elderly Mexican voice echoed.
"Who-who's Callen?" he asked.
"Oh yes, my nephew said that you couldn't remember who you were, how unfortunate that you're going to die without ever knowing the truth."
"Truth? What truth?"
"Why, who truly exposed you, Callen." An American's voice spoke up.
"If I'm gonna die, could I at least see who my killer is?" Callen's mind was still racing with questions "Who am I? Who are these people? Why am I here?" when a man walked into the light.
"Feel better? the man said. His light colored hair flopped a little, his dark green eyes pierced into Callen's.
"A little, just wish I knew..."
"Who I am?" the man interrupted, then chuckled. "Yes. I must agree, I'd feel the same way if I were in your position. But I like it like this." He then pointed a gun at Callen's head. "This way, I can say that you didn't know who I was, and you were unimportant to the world."
"But not to us!" a voice called out.
Suddenly more lights turned on, guns fired, bullets flew. Callen shoved of his captor then hurried to a nearby hiding place, and ducked down.
Sam, Deeks and Cade led the police force in, firing full force on the enemy.
"D'you see Callen?" Deeks asked.
"G?" Sam called out as he fired. "G, where are you?!"
A henchman was hit, as he fell his gun dropped and slid over to where Callen was hiding.
Callen tried to hide, his heart raced as he tried so hard to figure out, who these people were, who was a friend and who was the enemy. "G!" he heard a voice call out. He uncovered his eyes, "G!" the voice called out again.
He looked up and saw the gun in front of him. Suddenly, more images filled his mind; the man who called him 'G', the lady who liked tea, the psychiatrist, the computer geeks, his teammates. The missions they went on, the games they played, the close friendship, almost family-like bond they all shared; Eric, Nell, Deeks, Kensi, Hetty, Nate...
"Sam." he whispered. Recognition filled his eyes; as he quickly grabbed the gun, anger filled him. He slowly got up, stepped out, took aim and killed a henchman. "Sam!" he called out.
But before he could find his friends, he saw the American running away, he quickly followed.
He chased the man out into the alley to a dead end. "Ben!" he yelled, his gun still aimed.
The man stopped and turned, a smirk-like smile on his face. "I shouldn't have waited, I should've killed you the moment I saw you."
"Why Ben?" Callen asked. He slightly lowered his gun. "Why'd you let me think you were dead?"
"You know how it is, Callen; D.E.A pays well, just not what I need. I had hoped that, if you thought I was dead, I could get away with my business deals with Vincenzo." he then lightly chuckled. "I just never figured they'd send you in as Dillon Mason. Why did you do it, Callen?"
"Some people would call it avenging your death."
"A-venge. Re-venge. A fruitless task of reality, I'm afraid. I am sorry how this turned out, Callen, and I'm sorry for what has to happen now."
"Don't do it, Ben." Callen pleaded, his grip tightened on his gun.
Tarpin slowly shifted the pistol in his hand. "C'mon Callen, you know I can't let you take me in, that's not how it works with me."
"Don't do it!" Called yelled.
Both men aimed, but just as Tarpin was about to fire, three shots fired and hit him. He smiled then slumped and died.
Callen lowered his gun again, stunned. He turned around to find that it was Sam who had fired the final shots, keeping him from having to kill an old friend.
There was a small silence as Sam put his gun away and slowly approached his partner.
"You good?" Sam asked finally.
"Yeah," Callen answered softly. "I am now." He then dropped the gun to the ground and looked up at his friend. "Thanks Sam."
Sam's head slightly jerked in surprise at the sound of his friend using his name.
Callen held out his hand, Sam grabbed his hand and shook it. He then pulled his partner into a brotherly embrace and just held him close trying to calm the fear that was rising inside of him.
"Welcome back 'G'." he whispered.
Back at Brandi's house, Sam, Cade, Kensi, Deeks and Callen enjoyed a warm meal made by Brandi.
"Mmmm mmm." Deeks sighed. "Brandi, this has got to be the best chili in the world."
"And you would know good chili how?" Sam asked.
"Hey, I am the number one judge when it comes to good food, and this is beyond excellent."
"That's still pretty debatable, due to the fact that chili is like a Texas specialty." she giggled.
"Well, I don't know about you guys, but I would like the recipe." Kensi requested.
"Since when do you cook?" Deeks asked her.
Kensi looked up at him in slight disgust. "I cook." she smirked.
"Yeah, if it's breakfast burritos."
Everyone lightly chuckled.
"It's no problem Kensi, I'll get you the recipe." Brandi then got up and headed for the counter.
As Kensi and Deeks continued to argue, Callen watched Brandi pull out a small box from the cupboard. Small memories flooded his mind of his box on the mantel in his house. A small book, tin soldier and pictures.
He watched Brandi pulled out a red book, a china doll and then pull out some card and copied one down.
"Here ya go, Kensi." she said as she returned to the table.
Cade quickly looked at his watch. "Hey guys, we'd best get movin' if you're gonna catch your flight home."
Everyone hated to leave, but they all said their goodbyes and headed outside.
Sam stopped, and gently grabbed the young lady's hand. "Thank you for taking care of him." he said sweetly.
Brandi just smiled and nodded, then watched as he left.
Callen held back for a moment.
"I saw you watching me," Brandi said, then turned to him. "they're the only things I have left from my childhood. I guess I just wanted to try and hold onto what memories I have." she then lightly giggled. "You must think that's crazy."
"No," he said softly. "I know what it's like to have so little from your past. You wish there was more you could remember."
Brandi then chose her next words carefully. "Well... I-I know this trip wasn't exactly somthin' worth remembering, but umm..."
Callen gently grabbed her arm. "I won't forget you, Brandi."
A small tear slowly fell down her face, Callen then pulled her in for a hug, she accepted. "I won't forget you either."
"Thank you." he whispered.
Brandi lightly smiled as she pulled back. "Like I said; there's always more to a story."
"Just gotta find the pages." Callen lightly chuckled.
"Hey G!" Sam called out. "Let's go!"
Brandi wanted to say more, but instead she kept her mouth shut, followed Callen out and watched as he walked over to his friends.
"You alright?" Kensi asked.
"Never better." he responded.
"Hey guys, why don't we take our next vacation out here?" Deeks suggested. "Think it'd be fun to be a cowboy."
"You? A cowboy?" Callen mocked.
"Hey, I can be a cowboy, all there is to do is ride a horse."
"Do you even know how to ride a horse Deeks?" Cade asked.
"Well, no, but it can't be that hard." Deeks tried defending. "Just gotta hop on and make 'em go where you want."
"I don't know about that, Deeks," Sam piped in. "some of those horses can be pretty stubborn."
Deeks mocked his laugh as they started climbing into the car, then he stopped. "I thought that was mules." he said.
"Well, I know one thing," Kensi said in a more serious tone. "this is one place that I don't want to remember."
"I don't know about that, Kensi;" Callen spoke up. "I think there's some things here worth remembering."
He looked up to see Brandi leaned against a porch pole, a sad smile on her face as she waved goodbye.
"You're right, G," Sam said as he spotted his partner staring at their new friend. "Some things are worth remembering."
As they started to drive away, Callen grabbed out his phone and took a picture of his new friend.
"Thanks Brandi." he sighed quietly.