The team moved down the corridor, towards where the earlier screaming had come from.
Every once in awhile, Sam would shoot a look of concern towards Callen, who since rejoining the team had never met his eyes.
“You sure you’re ok?” Sam asked.
Callen shook his head, “I’ll live, we need to find Deeks. If he’s going through half the crap this crazy place put me through….” He trailed off, not wanting to think about what Deeks was experiencing. “Come on.” He grit his teeth and moved forward taking point.
They turned down a hallway, the air turned dark and heavy and despite the warmth from the Californian air, Callen shivered and his eyes darted around. He knew that whatever had happened to him back there had not been real. What was real was that Deeks was in danger and needed them now. He stopped for a moment and swallowed down his fear, now was not the time to deal with it.
With a slight shake that Sam noticed, but wisely said nothing about, Callen continued down the hallway.
“Is it me or is it getting darker?” Kensi asked as they moved down the hallway clearing the rooms silently.
Callen looked at his watch and then out of the windows, “It’s 3pm, it should be daylight outside, what the hell is going on?”
They reached a door that looked nothing like the others; those had small windows in them, faded blue, flaky paint. This was a dull wooden door, on its own at the end of the hallway.
Callen moved to the side as Sam pushed it open slowly.
As they entered they noticed a small lounge. It looked like the inside of a house.
The room had dated, slightly torn wallpaper. Imperfections were hidden by poorly hung pictures. The furniture and carpet were threadbare and a TV was on in the corner, no sound but a black and white picture was flickering in the semi darkness. The top of a head could be seen on the only decent piece of furniture in the room.
“Hello?” Callen called as they entered, “Federal Agents.”
There was no reaction and Sam grabbed his arm.
“This is like when we were watching what you were going through, they can’t see or hear us.” Sam informed Callen who blanched at the idea that they had seen everything in his head.
“We need to not be here.” Callen snapped, worried about what they would see.
“It may be the only way to rescue Deeks.” Sam replied as Kensi looked around the room.
“Where’s Deeks?” She asked, not seeing him.
A door opened and a blonde woman walked in, noticing the man in the armchair, turned behind her and shook her head, raising a finger to her lips in warning to whoever was behind her.
She slowly walked around to the person in the chair as a small boy crept inside the house keeping to the shadows.
“Where is he?” The man in the chair growled. “Where were you bitch? You out cheating on me?”
Roberta Deeks stepped back an inch, her eyes automatically moving in warning to the child hugging the shadows of the back wall.
"MARTIN!" Gordon growled.
“Dad…” The boy whispered, moving something behind his back.
“Where ya been boy?” The man stood up, swaying slightly, holding a half empty liquor bottle at his side.
“I told you Gordon, Marty was invited to a birthday party.” Roberta said, trying to placate her husband.
Gordon laughed, but the sound did not fill anyone with cheer, “Who’d want that thing at a party?” He grabbed the boy by the hair and pulled him closer, “What ya got behind ya back?” He asked.
Shaking Marty pulled out a slightly deflated balloon and a small toy car, gripping them tightly.
Gordon pulled them out of the boy’s hands. “Did ya steal them boy?” He asked, grinning as he burst the balloon in the boy’s face making him flinch.
Tears started to fall silently down his face, but he made no sound as his father looked at the car and Martin shook his head.
He took the car and threw it across the room, “You don’t need crap like this boy. Parties are for girls and sissies, you a sissy boy?” Gordon pulled Martin till he was standing with his head bowed, eyes cast down as he wriggled slightly. Kensi realized that he was gripping the boy’s shoulders so tightly that bruises were starting to form.
“No... No... Sir.” Martin replied, “It’s just… I was invited, they had cake… and…”
“And?” Gordon growled menacingly.
“And… it’s my birthday too.” Martin said his voice barely above a whisper.
Gordon growled, “Yeah, I know… you know what that means… a whole ’nother year I have lost my freedom because you were born.”
Without a breath, his hand snapped back and hit Deeks around the head. The boy did not move, only swaying slightly with the force of the blow. He had learned that if he fell it got worse.
“So… you think you deserve a cake, presents, being treated special for being born boy?” Gordon growled.
“No, sir.” Martin replied, not meeting his eyes.
Gordon smiled slightly at the reply, “Right, now get to your room, I need to talk with ya mama.”
Martin ran as fast as his legs could carry him. Within seconds the scene around the others changed, it was a bare room, with a small bed and blanket, a nightstand and a small rug as threadbare as the one in the living room.
Martin huddled in the corner, his hands over his ears as his father screamed obscenities towards his mother and the dull sounds of fists hitting flesh could be heard.
“Deeks?” Sam moved closer to the boy, hoping to get through to him like he had with Callen.
Martin’s eyes moved up and grew wider as they saw the three people in the room.
“... Who?” Marty asked, confused, “Who are you?”
“Deeks it’s us.” Sam said.
Martin shook his head, “I’m not Deeks, my name is Martin... Can you help my mom?”
Kensi moved Sam away, noting the boy’s obvious fear, “We are here to help you Marty.”
A small smile crossed his face, “My mama calls me that. I like Marty.”
Kensi smiled as she knelt next to him, “You’re in kind of a nightmare, you need to wake up now.” She told him.
Marty shook his head, “This isn’t a nightmare. Nightmares are safe, this is real, please lady… please save my mama.” He begged.
Kensi’s eyes filled with tears at the child’s pleas, unable to help.
A box started to glow under Martin’s bed as a loud bang was heard.
The other people in the room forgotten, the child reached out with a shaking hand, pulled the revolver out of the box and loaded it with the bullets sat next to the weapon in the box.
“Marty?” Kensi moved, but the figure of Marty moved right through her like a ghost.
“It’s a memory Kensi,” Sam reminded her, “We can’t do anything.”
They followed as Marty walked down the dark hallway to the main room where Roberta was huddled in a corner, her arms over her head as Gordon held a shotgun to her.
“Got two shells left, one for you then one for the boy...” He turned as he heard Martin shuffle in.
“Maybe I should shoot you first boy, then ya mama can watch, always been too soft on you she has.” He raised his shotgun and noticed the gun in his son’s hand. “You gonna be a man son, you gonna shoot me?!” Gordon started to laugh.
“You need to stop Daddy, you need to leave mama alone.” Martin’s voice was shaking, as was the rest of him as he aimed the gun like Ray had shown him.
“Why you little….” Gordon pulled back, ready to shoot his son as a loud bang came from the gun in Marty’s hand.
Gordon dropped his gun and grabbed his chest, “You shot me? You shot me! Ya gonna die now boy.”
Martin dropped the gun and ran as the police kicked down their door.
The scene dissipated, and the team found themselves in the basement, with a body lying battered and bruised, a shadow figure looming over the body.
“See they were there, they didn’t save you or your mama.” The voice taunted. They didn’t want to.”
“That’s not true!” Kensi argued, “We were not there.”
“They didn’t care about you boy, they didn’t even celebrate your birthday… she went out for dinner with another man rather than spend time with you.”
Kensi looked ashamed, then angry. “You don’t understand, I love Deeks, he knows that. You know that, don’t you Marty!” she called moving towards the figure leaning over her partner.
“Deeks!” The shadows surrounding the figure coalesced and whirled violently, “Deeks! That’s not who he is.”
The body moved with a groan on the floor as the shadow connected with his torso, “Sniveling little brat, they know who you are really, they don’t trust you or want you on the team, you know that don’t you?”
Deeks’ body shook again, and the others gasped as they heard a small whisper come from the floor, “Yes sir.”
“That’s not true!” Sam called.
Deeks’ eyes opened and he looked sadly at Sam, “Yes, it is.” He murmured.
Callen moved and knelt by Deeks’ body on the ground, “Let him go,” He said to the shadow, “You have no hold over him anymore. He has escaped you, he is more than you. He is our friend and a good cop, a good man. You are nothing.” He grabbed Deeks’ hand, “Marty, listen to me. I don’t know what this is, how this has happened, but he’s lying, you are better than that.”
Callen watched the shadow, noting that a point of it was connected to a small box on the floor.
“Sam… the box… smash it.” He called.
Sam looked around and noting the box in the corner started towards it.
The wind whipped up around him and despite his bulk, he found it hard to get close to the box, which despite the wind was not moving at all.
Kensi moved to go towards the box, and the shadow moved.
“No!” Deeks moaned and moved out of Callen’s grasp and headed towards Kensi.
“Deeks, let them stop this!” Callen yelled over the deafening noise swirling around them.
"NO!" Deeks screamed.
He launched himself into the maelstrom, attacking the shadow that had turned towards Kensi, “You’re not going to hurt her, you’re not going to hurt them, you have no power over me!” He screamed, fighting with the shadow as Sam finally reached the box and smashed it into pieces.
Deeks fell about a foot from where he had been wrestling with the shadow and landed on the floor, as daylight flooded the area and Eric’s voice suddenly burst forth in their ears.
“Guys! Come on… please answer me!” Eric’s voice begged.
“We’re ok.” Sam said, hoping to put Eric’s mind at ease.
“Ok?!” Eric’s harassed voice came over the com’s, “We’ve been looking for you for eight hours, you vanished on us.”
“Mr. Hanna, have you found Detective Deeks?” Hetty’s voice cut in.
“We need an ambulance Hetty; Callen and Deeks are both hurt.”
“Very well, one is on the way. Did you find out who was holding Mr. Deeks?” She asked.
Sam looked over at Kensi, who was crouched by the battered body of Deeks, her hand gently ghosting over his forehead, moving his hair out of his closed eyes.
“It was more of a what Hetty, I’ll talk to you later.” Sam promised, hoping she would not push him to tell her until he had figured out what the hell happened to them.
Sam moved over towards Kensi as Deeks opened his eyes, “Is it over? Is he gone?” He asked.
Kensi nodded, “It’s over.”
Deeks sighed and closed his eyes.