Never Tell!

Chapter 14

Callen had had a rough night; he'd been doing paperwork till 3am and had no intention of waking either Lena or Kensi up, so having sent her a text telling her that he'd been caught up and he'd meet her at the office later he'd stayed at the mission.

Finally succumbing to the need for sleep he crashed out on the old worn sofa in the bullpen.

His nightmares of late; coming back and disturbing his sleep.

He woke up in bed to find Hetty sitting near him holding a cup of tea.

"Did you catch him this time? You were twitching like a sleeping dog." She said handing him the cup of tea.

"Ah, you know what they say about sleeping dogs." He sighed and shook his head, "No, I didn't catch him."

"Lose him on the metro?" Hetty asked recalling the conversation they'd had the other night when he had again slept on the couch.

"No." He sat up a bit straighter and sighed again, "Chased him into a building. Downtown. And no... I didn't see his face."

"I wonder what Nate would make of that." Hetty said to him.

Callen gave her a small smile, "Same thing he made of it last month. And the month before that. "Unresolved identity issues."

"Yours or the man you were chasing?" She looked at his bag and he blanket slung over the couch. "You need a place to live, Mr. Callen."

There was no way Callen was telling her about Lena, or the fact that he had defied her and was still married to Kensi.

"I'm staying at Sam's." He told her taking another sip of the tea keeping his face neutral

"Spare rooms and office couches, flophouse floors are not conducive to a restful sleep. And I need you awake. Someone's gone missing." Hetty said.

Callen immediately woke up and was paying attention a ball of worry forming in his stomach, what if it were Kensi, or Lena… "Who?" He asked dreading the answer.

"Deeks." Hetty said.

The worry lessened but Deeks was a team member and he was the team leader, he knew that he needed to find him. He allowed himself a second to be relieved his wife and daughter were safe and stood up, downing the last of the tea, to deal with the mission at hand.

Kensi woke up, smiled as she saw Callen's text, he'd been getting nightmares a lot recently and had taken to sleeping at work, she knew that he wasn't trying to distance himself from her, rather that he was trying to spare her the sleepless nights that came with his nightmares and not wanting to wake their daughter at all.

She got Lena dressed, showered and dropped her off with Eva on the way to work.

Pulling up outside she ran into Sam and they went into the mission, via the back door, they turned and Sam looked at her, "Is he still sleeping here?" he asked.

"Just until the nightmares ease, doesn't want to wake anyone."

"Have you thought about asking him to talk to Nate?" Sam asked.

Sam and Kensi walked across the NCIS gym, avoiding the other Agents that were training.

"He never asked." She told him.

"You've never offered." Sam stated as fact.

"I should offer?" She asked wondering if he would do that for Michelle.

"Never offer." Sam said flatly, remembering how ballistic Callen went when he last suggested therapy for his partner.

"Never?" Kensi asked surprised.

"Ever." Sam said stopping and looking at her.

"Kind of feel bad for not offering. You offered." She said.

"That's why I'm telling you not to offer."

Kensi had thought about it, She hated him sleeping at the office, but maybe then if the nightmares continued, he could take the spare room, and sleep in there, at least he'd still be home.

"But I-I've got a spare room. Okay, so there's some stuff in it, a lot of stuff." Most of it Lena's toys, "But I could clear a space on the floor, a small space."

"Kensi, G does not sleep. He catnaps, 20 minutes at a time." Sam reminded her.

Kensi rolled her eyes, of course she knew this, "That is not so bad." She told him, it wasn't she was used to it.

"Then he gets up, moves around, makes his tea, pulls the toaster apart, puts it back together, practices his Russian." He reminded her as they saw Hetty walk past.

"Okay, that could be irritating." Kensi agreed with him, although honestly it wasn't, Callen practising his Russian usually lulled her to sleep.

"He doesn't sleep, so you can't." Sam said standing in OPS center, near the stairs, Kensi looked up as Callen saw them and jogged over with a smile.

"Well, he never looks tired." Kensi said smiling back as Callen jogged down the stairs.

"Morning." Callen grinned, brushing her back as he walked past.

"Hey." She said back to him.

Callen stopped and stared at Sam, "You look like crap."

"Thank you." Sam snapped sarcastically.

"Hey..." Kensi said as Callen jogged back up to OPS

Sam put his hand on her arm, "Do not offer." He advised and they followed him up the stairs.

They walked into OPS and joined the others in front of the big screen.

"Ms. Blye. Mr. Hanna. Oversleep again, did you? Early this morning, I got a call from the LAPD. They've lost contact with Detective Deeks. He's been on an extended undercover assignment since he left us." Hetty said filling them in.

"How long has he been out of contact?" Callen asked concerned.

"Yesterday afternoon."

Sam rolled his eyes, "It's kind of soon to be hitting the panic button, isn't it?"

Hetty ignored him and turned to Eric, "Mr. Beale." She said.

Eric clicked and a picture of a bombed out car appeared on the screen, "14 hours ago, a bomb detonated in this car in South Central. Two occupants were both killed. Emilio Philip Ortega and his bodyguard, Luis Manuel Fellano." He clicked again and their ID's appeared on the screen. "Both with extensive records, mostly relating to acts of violence."

Hetty continued, "And both the target of Detective Deeks' undercover assignment. His case officer phoned to see if he'd been in contact with us. I offered our assistance."

"Is there a military angle to this?" Callen asked.

"No. But Detective Deeks is still our liaison officer with the LAPD, which makes him about as close to one of us as it gets. His case officer, Detective Jess Traynor, will brief you all." Hetty told them.

"Deeks should have phoned in the moment that happened." Sam growled his face annoyed.

"Hence the panic button." Hetty said flatly

Kensi and Callen rode together to the boathouse, Callen was driving and they were keeping Sam in sight at all times, "You sleep ok babe?" Callen asked.

Kensi smiled, "Yeah, I got your text, Lena missed you."

Callen sighed, "I miss her and you, but while the nightmares keep me up like this the mission is my best option, at least when I can't sleep I can work…it also has the added advantage of keeping Hetty off our trail."

"You think she knows something?" Kensi shot her husband a worried look.

"I don't know, while we were dealing with the Keelson case, I thought she might have known something, but she didn't say, and if we want to stay on the same team we had better not say anything either." He said.

She agreed with him, "Ok, it would be nice if we could tell them, but keeping Lena safe has to be our first priority."

Callen nodded as he pulled up outside the boathouse. "Well, Kenz, get your game face on, it's time to meet our liaison's partner."

"I'll bet she's pretty," Kensi sighed.

"Na, honey, in a room with you no one is pretty," He gave her a quick kiss and they climbed out of the car.

Sam, Callen and Kensi sat round the table listening to Jess Traynor talk about the investigation Deeks was on.

Jess Traynor handed them a file. "The late Emilio Ortega. Born in San Diego, mother and father both illegal. Collected a string of juvenile offenses when he was younger. Worked with his father as a smuggler crossing the Mexican border. After his father was killed, Emilio drifted up to L.A. and joined a street gang that specialized in extortion. After three years, Emilio was the man. Figured he killed a couple of his friends on the way up." She said watching as they skimmed the files.

"Oh, that's surprising." Sam said.

Jess looked at him, an emotion Kensi couldn't read crossed her face, but Jess continued, "Six months ago, an informant gave us Intel that suggested that Emilio was planning a career change. Someone wanted to buy his particular skills."

"Well, being a good stand-over guy isn't an uncommon skill in an L.A. street gang." Kensi said.

"But knowing how to move freely across the Mexican-U.S. border is. Emilio's father taught him well." Jess explained.

"Drugs for guns?" Kensi said as a guess.

Traynor shook her head, "Human trafficking. We think young women and girls from as far away as Brazil."

Kensi looked disgusted.

"Who approached him?" Callen asked.

"A Serbian by the name of Lazik." Traynor replied. She puts a picture of the man on the screen in front of them, "Not a lot's known about him. No criminal record, 'cause he's never been caught. Rumored to run a human trafficking ring in Europe." She informed them

"Going global." Sam surmised.

"Lazik put up the money for Emilio to buy a string of safe houses. But Emilio needed someone who understood the real estate world, so we gave him one." Jess told them.

"Deeks." Kensi guessed.

"He went in as a lawyer who'd had his license revoked because of a couple of shady land deals. It was easy for Marty…D…Detective Deeks…, to spin it. You know he was a lawyer?" Traynor said hoping no one had noticed her slip.

Everyone had.

"Yeah, I know." Callen said as the others looked surprised, "So who killed Emilio?" He asked.

"Emilio was pissed that he'd done all the work and that Lazik was gonna make all the money, and he told Deeks he was gonna do something about it." Traynor said looking around as the others made the connections.

"Someone must have tipped Lazik off." Sam said.

"And now he's reasserting control." Callen supplied.

Kensi thought of something, "Where does this leave Deeks?" She asked.

For the first time, Jess Traynor looked stricken with worry, "I wish I knew." She told them.

They left the boathouse, the team walking with Jess to her car.

"Cell phone?" Kensi offered.

"Turned off." Jess said sadly.

"GPS tracker?" Sam said.

"We only tagged Deeks' car. And we found it a couple blocks away from our safe house. We have protocols for this kind of situation, and Deeks hasn't responded to any of them." She looked really worried.

"Who spoke to him last?" Callen asked, it was usually the last person who knew the most.

"I did." Jess said, she stopped and turned around facing the others who were looking at her suspiciously, "Regular debrief."

"Shared Intel. Need to know everything." Callen pushed.

Jess knew that she would share everything with them to get Marty back, but she still had to check with her superior, "And you will." She turned and walked towards her car the pain of not knowing starting to form a ball in her stomach.

"Do you think he's dead?" Sam asked.

Jess looked sad then mad, "Nothing for 16 hours? What do you think?" She snapped and walked to her car.

Sam, Kensi and Callen turned to go and walked away. Callen was quiet for a moment and then he spoke, "She's holding something back." He said.

"I think she likes him. Doesn't want to admit it." Kensi said she could see a lot of her in the young woman.

Callen bit the inside of his lip as he shook his head, "No, something else. It's like she's hiding something." He was certain of it.

"So let's ask her." Sam said.

Instantly they were struck by a wall of heat as the car Traynor was in exploded.

People screamed running around, Kensi helped a man up and Callen called the fire department and they looked at the shell of the car that moments before had held Deeks' partner.

"Well, Callen, you know, I don't need to say anything to you. I don't need to share; I don't need your advice. What I do need is for you to let me do my job." Frank Scarli snapped at him strutting around the crime scene, he didn't want, or have time to talk to FBI wannabes.

"Your crime scene." Callen said placating the older man.

Scarli turned to Sam who was walking up to the pair of them, "Who's this guy?" He sneered.

"With me." He didn't want to talk to this guy more than he had too, ten minutes and he already couldn't stand him.

"Sam Hanna." Sam smiled and extended his hand.

"Frank Scarli. How many guys did Traynor brief?" He asked looking over at the burnt out car.

"Three." Sam replied.

"I need witness statements from all of you. Don't leave anything out."

"Sorry for your loss. She your partner?" Sam asked.

Scarli rolled his eyes, "No. Deeks was her partner. They'd just started working together. I didn't envy him, either. She could be difficult. Four months they worked on this case. You know what they had at the end of four months? They had nothing. And nobody could figure out why. Did she tell you that when she briefed you? I didn't think so. This case was stone-cold dead yesterday morning. It wasn't going anywhere. Now I got a cop dead, I got two missing, and I got is a triple homicide."

"Lazik?" Callen asked him.

Scarli nodded, "Emilio Ortega's got a lot of guys out there that would love to whack him. No thought of killing a cop or two, either. But he's gonna learn something now. He's gonna learn that you can't do this and not pay for it here. 'Cause California isn't Mexico. Not yet, anyway."

"What if Deeks is still alive? What if his cover hasn't been blown?"

"Take a good look over there at Traynor. And then you let me know if you think that Deeks is still alive. LAPD investigation. Stay out of our way." Scarli snapped and walked off.

"He's looking for payback." Sam said to Callen who nodded, there was a hatred there when he'd said Deeks' name, he wasn't sure why but he hoped he'd find out.

"Seen this before. Same kind of blast pattern, same size detonation." Kensi said looking at the car.

"Where?" Callen asked.

"Crime scene photos from Emilio's car this morning." Kensi told them

Sam looked around at the realization hit him. "Wasn't a timer; there's no way of guaranteeing she'd be in the car."

"Yeah, not enough time to wire it to the ignition, either, which leaves..." Kensi started.

"Remote." Sam finished, "They were out here...waiting for her."

They all looked around but no one stuck out at them.

Nate was reading the paper walking across the room as Hetty called to him, "Nate." She said he stopped and walked over.

Nate sighed and leant against the post by the entrance to her office space. "You rang?" he asked.

"I called. I didn't ring, Nate." Hetty told him.

"No, I meant, like...Okay..." he was nervous he'd admit, keeping Callen and Kensi's secret for so long meant that whenever he was around her the urge to break his oath was too strong and he was worried when she found out she might shoot him.

"Two unrelated questions." She asked from behind her desk

"Shoot. I mean ask away. Ask away." Nate said nervously.

"Uh, as I'm sure you're aware; Mr. Callen is staying over in Mr. Hanna's spare room." Hetty said.

Nate went cold. "Yes." He lied.

"In your professional opinion, and knowing Mr. Callen as you do, do you think there's any benefit for him in this arrangement?"

Nate looked uncomfortable as he scrambled for an answer.

"Well, the upside is, it puts him in a home environment with somebody he knows and trusts."

"And the downside."

"It puts subtle pressures and strains on their relationship."

"I've noticed." Hetty said, Nate gulped, "Mr. Hanna looks like crap."

"And in the long term, it does nothing to help Callen resolve his issues of abandonment and isolation he's suffered since he was a child. He needs his own place, Hetty." Nate said

"Don't we all?" Hetty replied. "Uh, second, unrelated question. Do you have plans for this weekend?"

"Plans?" Well he planned on going to Lena's birthday party, but he couldn't tell her about that.

"Plans." Hetty pushed.

Nate cleared his throat, "Uh...are you asking me out?" She looked at him impassively he wasn't going to crack if she knew something she'd have to tell him first. "No, that'd be weird. Um...No. No... no plans. No plans." He said shaking his head.

"Good. Thank you, Nate." She said

"Thank you," Nate replied and high tailed it out of there.

After discovering Lazik was in Los Angeles, Callen saw Nate who filled him in on his little meeting with Hetty, "I think she knows." He warned him, "She asked if I was doing anything this weekend." He said.

"You're still coming aren't you; Lena would be gutted if Uncle Nate couldn't make it." Callen said quietly.

"Got he a new stuffed bunny for her collection and some crayons." He grinned.

Callen shot him a look, "They'd better be washable, I had to repaint after the last one's you got her."

Nate smiled, "Repaint, or move…I think Hetty's looking for another house for you."

Callen shrugged, "I'm sure she'll let me see it first, I'll find something I hate about it and we'll keep looking." He looked around, "Where is she anyway I need to fill her in on Lazik."

"I think she's in the range," Nate said.

Callen left and walked to the range, watching her shoot left handed as he gazed at her through the window in the door. She didn't seem angry, maybe she still didn't know.

She stopped firing and he walked in.

"You shoot with your left hand?" He asked surprised, he had thought she was right handed.

"Uh...not often." She replied as the target came towards her all the shots are centered on the target and Callen looked impressed.

"Impressive." He said nodding appreciatively.

Hetty shook her head disappointed. "First shot missed."

Callen looked at the single hole in the shoulder of the target, "Well, I think you would have gotten his attention."

Hetty smiled and reloaded her gun.

"So Lazik, the Serbian...just landed in Los Angeles yesterday two hours before Emilio Ortega was killed." Callen told her

"And?" Hetty pushed him.

"LAPD doesn't want to share." Callen took the target down and put a new one up for her.

"Well, that's understandable, given what transpired with Detective Traynor." Hetty told him.

"Yeah, they told us to stay out of their way." Callen was annoyed, he hated politics.

"Then that's what you should do. Stay out of their way and find Mr. Deeks." She smiled as he caught on.

"They're not going to like it if they catch us." He said pushing the button for the target to go back.

"Then don't get caught." Hetty smiled, her cell phone rang and she stopped to answer it, "Lange… Where? …When? …I will." She closed her phone and turned to Callen, "Find Lazik, Mr. Callen."

Callen noted the change in her, he hoped it was because she had found Deeks, but he was still worried she was having him investigated, so he waited until she left and then followed her.

He was surprised when she entered a bar, he walked around the back and watched as she ordered a tea and sat in front of a scrabble board.

He turned his head as the main door opened and someone walked in, coming up to the board and standing while Hetty moved the letters and didn't look up.

"We were beginning to think you were dead." She said to the man before her.

A battered, slightly burned and bruised Deeks swayed as he took a seat, "Not yet." His voice was shaky and weak, "Maybe tomorrow."

Deeks sat in front of Hetty the blood on his shirt visible, hands still shaking as he drank his tea.

"So... Cyrillic alphabet. Russian, yeah?" he asked.

"You play?" Hetty asked recognizing his need to deflect.

"In English…" He gave a small laugh, "And badly. In Russian...It's giving me a headache just thinking about it. What's that word?" he pointed to the board.

"Opasnost. It means "danger." She told him.

"Great. So a Russian Scrabble/Ouija board, then." Deeks quipped.

"You're not too badly hurt?" She asked her eyes roaming up and down looking for obvious signs of injury.

"I'm stinging all over here." He admitted.

Hetty nodded, "Hmm."

"I was in Emilio's car, and, um, his remote for his security gate malfunctioned, so I jumped out to open it, and... And a few seconds either way, of course, and... So Emilio's bodyguards threw me in the back of their car and got me to a doctor, which, in retrospect, I was pretty sure was a vet." He gave a small chuckle.

"Ah." Hetty said and continued listening.

"He patched me up and...shot me with a horse tranquilizer and put me out for 15 hours. When I came to, I...I tried to call her, but she, uh..." he couldn't say it, he took a sip of tea.

"Detective Traynor."

"Too late." He looked broken but he took a sip of his tea.

"So, why did you call me, instead of the LAPD?" Hetty asked although she was pleased he trusted her.

"'Cause LAPD would have just shut down the operation, pulled me off it."

"There is no operation, Mr. Deeks. The operation died with Detective Traynor." Hetty said watching as he got increasingly agitated.

"Okay, listen. Lazik's in town, all right? My friendly vet told me this, and as soon as Emilio's bodyguards found out, they split. This is a scary guy… Lazik." He told her hoping she was really listening to him.

"So you think he's responsible?" Hetty asked calmly.

"Are you kidding me?! Who doesn't?" He said

"Well, the LAPD seems to think Emilio had a lot of enemies." Hetty said.

"No. No, no. It's got to be Lazik, all right?" Deeks shook his head getting more animated, "Every time he called, they would argue. Emilio was setting up a pipeline for Lazik to smuggle girls out of Mexico. We're talking about abducted, underage and drugged..." He turned away unable to finish his own thought.

"But you have no proof." Hetty reasoned.

"Yeah, because the first shipment would have been the proof." Deeks argued back, this was important how could she not see that.

"So, what exactly do you want from me, Mr. Deeks?" Hetty asked.

"To help me finish what we started. I mean, Lazik put a lot of money into this. He's not going to want to turn his back on that. He's looking for a replacement for Emilio. That's all I want." Deeks pleaded.

Hetty thought for a moment then handed him a key, "Safe house. The, uh, address is on the tag. Get some sleep. Call me in the morning. I'll see what I can do, but I have no jurisdiction over the LAPD. They could simply tell me to bugger off." Hetty said honestly.

Deeks outright laughed, "Mm-hmm. Yeah, well, I'd like to see 'em try. Think you got a triple word score there with the one with all the squiggly letters. What's it mean?"

"Be careful." Hetty said looking at the word 'berech'sya'

"Okay. Pretty sure you just made that up, but I, uh... but I will. And, um... thank you." He laughed and stood up with one more look he left for the safe house.

Callen waited until Deeks left then emerged from the kitchen. "

Mr. Callen." Hetty said he walked over to where she was sitting, "I don't take kindly to being tailed."

"Well, I'm more of a wingman than a tail man." He quipped, his relief that Deeks was ok showing.

"How did you know?" she asked mad with herself.

"Well, before the call, it was, "Find Deeks." After the call, it was, "Find Lazik." He told her.

"Careless of me." She shook her head chastising herself. She was letting a lot of things slip through her fingers nowadays. She watched as Callen moved the pieces on the board.

"Now, we need to find Lazik before he finds Deeks."


"Tryasina, Quagmire." He smiled and left.

"Trekhmestnyy otsenka ya vyigrayu, (Triple score I win)…Goody." She said to herself.

After taking down Lazik's dealer Tommy Bishop but being thwarted by Scarli, Kensi managed to get the information that Eric needed to decrypt his satellite phone.

Walking into Ops Nate put a file up on the screen, "We have some information," he said. "Emilio Ortega's cell phone log. Eric ran a check on all of the numbers made and received, came up with this number. 27 calls in the last six months, most of them incoming. Call durations varied. Some were a few seconds; most five, ten minutes in length."

"Do we have a name?" Kensi asked

"It's kind of hard to believe." Nate said uncomfortably.

"Try us, Nate." Sam snapped.

"Detective Jess Traynor. Like I said kind of hard to believe." He looked around at the astonishment on their faces.

"Is that landline or cell phone?" Callen asked.

"Cell phone. Now, we managed…well, Eric managed…to access the voice mail. Only one message."

"Emilio, it's Traynor. We need to meet-two hours' time, same place. Call me back if you can't make it." Traynors' dead voice floated around the room.

"Face time as well as phone time." Sam observed

"And more than once. When was that message left?"

"One hour before Emilio was killed." Nate said.

"Did he call her back?" Sam asked,

"No." Nate replied.

"That means he was going to make the meet, then." Sam said.

"Deeks' LAPD handler was on Emilio's payroll." Kensi said

"Scarli said the operation was going nowhere; they had nothing. Might explain why." Sam mused aloud.

"But Traynor, sabotaging her own operation? I mean..." Kensi was cut off by her husband.

"Nate?" Callen said.

" It's possible. She certainly wouldn't be the first. Motive would probably be money." Nate said.

Figuring out that Lazik knew that Emilio had a cop on the payroll meant that Deeks would still be in danger, Eric told them that Lazik had called Tommy Bishop and arranged for a delivery of cocaine.

Sam called Lazik's phone and Eric used the camera to confirm it was him and confirm his location.

"So what do we do now?" Eric asked.

"Well, Deeks is a cop, so technically, we should pass the Intel on to Detective Scarli at LAPD?...But Deeks is "our" cop, so..." Nate coughed hoping Callen would run with it.

And run he did.

Eric supplied them with the address of the decommissioned power plant Lazik was using off the 101 and Callen Sam and Kensi piled into the car.

On the way there Sam drove, Callen formulated half a plan and Kensi checked on Lena.

She turned the phone on speaker and they listened as Lena told about her day.

"Cray…wall mommy.." Kensi smiled and Callen grimaced, Nate and those crayons, he was going to have a talk with him.

"That's good baby, mommy and daddy might be back in time for a story tonight," she said.

"Dada?" Lena's voice filled the car.

In spite of his dour mood Callen smiled, "Yeah baby girl?"

"Puppy?" she asked.

"What?" Callen said and shot a panicked look at his wife,

"Sorry Callen, Kensi…" Eva's voice came over the phone, "I took her to the park today and a man was giving away puppies and she wants one for her birthday."

Callen relaxed at the fact that she hadn't already got one. "Ok baby, we'll see, we have to go now ok?" he said.

"Bye mommy, Bye Dada, Bye unka Sam." Lena giggled.

Kensi shut the phone off as they said goodbye, Sam smiled, "They're cute at that age." He said.

As they pulled into the disused power plant the mood in the car went back into work mode.

Callen grabbed a tissue box and wrapped it in duct tape, taking point he entered the warehouse, having been told that one of the cars outside belonged to Dale John Sully, Deeks' alias he kept an eye out for him.

Lazik was on the phone to his wife while Deeks was being searched, He ended the call and turned to Deeks.

"Sorry. My wife. What? You are surprised I have wife?" Lazik turned to Deeks with a smile.

"Everybody's got to have somebody, right?" Deeks replied.

"Now that I'm cutting my trip short, she wants to meet me in Paris. I'm good husband. You are very brave for coming to see me." He said looking at the blond man.

"Listen, I understand that Emilio screwed up, but I didn't have anything to do with that." Deeks said

Lazik lost his smile and looked feral, "Emilio lied to me!"

"Okay." Deeks hoped he could placate him.

"He had contact in LAPD, but he did not tell me that. So he had to pay price for poor judgment. And now because of that, four months' work and lots of money wasted." Lazik complained.

"That's why I'm here. It's not wasted if you let me take over." He tried hoping he'd take the bait.

"You hear? Business proposition." Lasik and his men laughed at that.

"Listen, I helped set up the safe houses. I know the people to pay off at the border." Deeks said desperately.

"So? Go on."

"All I'm asking for here is one shipment, all right? One shipment. I screw it up, you close it down, nothing lost. But if I make this happen, you and I, we're in business. And all that money is not wasted." Deeks was begging inside that he would take this, this was his last chance.

"You are very persuasive." Lazik said looking at his men.

"Thank you." Deeks started to relax

"But I am afraid it's not going to work." Lazik said.

Deeks had a strange feeling of dread start up in his stomach, "It can work- you just got to give me a chance."

"Shame. Working with you would have been so much more interesting than Emilio."

"It still can be." Deeks offered.

"No, it cannot be...Mr. Deeks. Pardonnez-moi...Detective Deeks, LAPD. Hmm?" Lazik moved as his two men cocked their guns and took aim at him, "It's a shame. My wife would really like you."

Deeks closed his eyes, he had failed, but at least he'd see Jess soon.

"Kensi, you on line?" Callen asked into his earwig.

"On line and in position." Kensi told him,

"Sam?" he asked

"I'm set. You're good to go." Callen drove his car up to the others, Climbed out with the package and walked into the building.

Inside the warehouse Lazik had watched as he men beat Deeks, he knew he was a cop and he was determined to find out all he knew.

"You think I don't know about you? I find out about you long time ago. Emilio. He never told me how he knew, but I find out he's making payoff to someone in your office with my money. Mine!" Lazik snarled.

"Ah...that's too bad." Deeks said spitting out some blood.

"I wanted to see how far this goes. Yeah. So I had him followed." He opened his phone and showed him the picture of Jess, "You know her?" he asked.

"I've never seen her before." Deeks lied


"No. She's foxy, though, right?" He grinned spitting some more blood out. His grin getting wider when the blood landed on Lazik's shoes.

"Taken outside Detective Traynor's apartment. You liked her, no? You like dirty cop? She dirty in bed, too?" Lazik as as he showed Deeks a picture of him outside her apartment early in the morning, Deeks moved to hit him but one of Laziks men held him back. "Maybe Emilio didn't have to pay her much, after all."

He hit Deeks again and he fell to his knees gasping for breath.

Callen and Sam entered, Callen bluffed the man on guard trying to get closer until,

"Federal agents. No one move!" Sam yelled.

There was gunfire and shouting, Deeks stopped Sam from being shot by Lazik and then he moved out of sight.

"Deeks?" Callen called.

"I'm good." He replied there was more shooting and Deeks saw a gun on the floor he grabbed it and followed Callen, Sam downstairs after Lazik and another of his men.

After killing the men, and almost shooting Sam, Deeks turns to the two men, "Couple more minutes, I think I could have taken 'em all." He said with a bloody smile.

"Hey, Deeks. It's good to see you." Sam said

"Good to see you, too, Sam."

"Callen? Sam!" Kensi called worriedly.

"Clear, Kensi." Sam called.

"Told you I'd be back." Deeks joked to Kensi.

"Oh, shut up." She replied, relieved he was ok, but even more relieved Callen wasn't hurt.

"Lazik found out that Emilio was paying off a dirty cop." Deeks said sadly

"Traynor. We know." There was a look on Deeks' face that she didn't understand as he walked out.

Two hours later in the parking lot near Scarli's favorite coffee house, Deeks sat in his car. Scarli got in and sat down in the passenger seat.

"Deeks." Scarli said.

Deeks gestured to the drink on the dashboard, "Black two sugars, right?" he asked.

"I'm glad you made it, kid." Scarli said as he took a sip.

"Yeah, well, I almost didn't. So what do I do?" Deeks asked looking at the man.

"About what?"

"About Traynor. I mean, what do I tell Internal Affairs?" Deeks turned to look at him.

"The truth can't hurt, Deeks." Scarli offered.

A dark look crossed Deeks' face. "She's dead."


"I trusted her." He said sadly.

"We all trusted her." Scarli replied.

Deeks sighed, "You know, she told me this story one time. Showed me this photo."

Deeks showed Scarli a photo of two smiling girls.

"That's her on the left. The other girl's her cousin. That's Christina. And they're walking home one night, and this van pulls up, and these two guys jump out, and they try to abduct them. Traynor, she gets away, but her cousin, she's, uh, not so lucky. They found her body down in Mexico 18 months later. Human traffickers, Frank... So I keep asking know, I said, with a history like that, how she could be in business with a scumbag like Emilio Ortega? And that's when I realized it. She wasn't. Frank...she was just trying to figure out who was. So while I'm busy out there trying to catch Lazik, she's trying to win Emilio's trust, so that he's gonna tell her who it is that he was really paying off... That would be you." Deeks stared out the window holding in his emotions.

The sound of a gun cocking filled the car as Scarli drew his gun on Deeks who sighed like it was inevitable.

"If Lazik hadn't killed them, I would have. I'm sorry, Deeks."

"No, you're not." Deeks looked heartbroken again a fellow officer had betrayed his trust.

"Lower your weapon." Sam snarled, aiming his gun at Scarli, Deeks took the gun and climbed out of the car as the team cuff Scarli.

"Did you get all that?" Deeks asked Callen who nodded.

"Every word of it." He said with a smile.

Scarli turned to Deeks and said, "So, tell me, Deeks...How was she in bed, huh?"

Deeks slammed Scarli up against the car.

"What did you say? Ask me again." He took out his gun and pressed it against Scarli's temple, "Ask me again!"

"Deeks, look, he's not worth it." Callen put a hand on the detective's arm.

Deeks shrugged Callen's hand off him.

"Ask me again!" Deeks was grief-stricken he had loved Jess and Scarli was taking it and making it into something cheap…twisting it into something it wasn't.

Scarli panted, looking around scared.

"Ask it again!" Deeks shouted in his face.

"Deeks, put it down! Deeks." Kensi said using the same voice she used when Lena had something she shouldn't have.

Deeks lowered the gun, he emptied it and dropped it on the ground. He looked at Sam who seeing his grief understood and turned Scarli around slamming again against the car.

Deeks turned as if to go, pulled back his fist and hit Scarli as hard as he could in the face.

Scarli groaned and swayed, Callen caught him and handed him to Kensi.

"You saw that! You all saw that!" Scarli complained.

"I didn't see a thing. You see anything, Sam?" Callen asked innocently.

"Not a thing." Sam replied.

Scarli sighed and shot Deeks an evil look, for a second, Deeks was rooted to the spot in awe that these guys...these federal agents had back him, a lowly cop up, then he turned and walked away.

Kensi looked at Callen who nodded and she walked up to him and whispered in his ear, "Ok," Callen agreed and Kensi went after Deeks.

She caught up with him a block away, "Deeks, Please," she put a hand on his shoulder and stopped as he flinched.

"I'm sorry, Kens, It's just…Jess…she was special to me, you know?" Deeks said, "I loved her, its empty here without her, have you ever loved someone that deep?" he asked.

"I still do," she admitted motioning him to sit at an outdoor café; He took a seat and watched her as she chewed her bottom lip. "Hetty is determined to make you our liaison, I'm gonna work with you…you need to know something now." Kensi said knowing that Deeks didn't need any more betrayal.

"What, you don't want me here; I'm not good enough for your team?" He snapped it was the same thing every time he was partnered with someone new his reputation as an honest cop preceded him.

Kensi shook her head, "What I'm going to tell you, only Sam and Nate…and Callen know. No more and no less."

"Something you haven't told Hetty?" he asked intrigued.

"Yeah, I'm married and I have a daughter, she's nearly 2." Kensi smiled taking a picture of Lena out to show him.

Deeks stared at her in shock and slowly took the picture, "She's beautiful, and she kinda looks like Callen though." Deeks laughed, his laughter died as she didn't join in.

"Callen….You're married to Callen…?!" Deeks was stunned.

"Please, you need to keep this to yourself, I'm trusting you…LAPD didn't trust you but we do, this is our biggest secret and Callen and I am trusting you to help us keep it," she begged.

Deeks looked her in the eye and took her hand. "Absolutely. You can count on me." He said.

Hetty sat at her desk and poured her tea as she saw Nate walking past.

"Nate?" Hetty said

"You called?" He replied

"Pack a bag and your passport." She said.

Nate did a double take, "I'm sorry?" He asked.

"You're needed." She told him.

"Needed where?" Nate asked confused.

"You'll find out when you get there. There's a C-117 leaving in 90 minutes. Transports outside." She told him.

Nate looked confused, "But I, uh..."

"You did say you had no plans." She pushed,

Nate sighed and nodded, he had said that.

"Go." She ordered.

"Going." He replied resolving to send Kensi or Callen…or both a text while he's in the car.

Hetty spotted Callen looking at a photo on his desk and walked over to him.

Callen deep in thought flashed back to the graveyard and his sisters tombstone.

A man had been taking a photo and Callen had spotted him.

"Hey!" he yelled chasing the man, he jumped the wall but the man got into a car and peeled off tires squealing, whilst Callen took a picture of the car with a man sitting in the back seat.

"Did you catch him this time?" Hetty asked as Callen shut down his computer.

"Maybe I'll never catch him." He replied.

"Maybe you don't want to." She put a piece of paper in front of him and handed him a pen.

"What's this?" He asked confused.

"It's a contract. You're buying a house. I negotiated a very good price on your behalf. No loan required. You really do live very frugally, Mr. Callen. I had a friend look over the contract. It cost me a bottle of Grange. Consider it my housewarming gift. All you have to do is sign it." She handed him the pen.


"It's a deceased estate. Vacant possession. You can move in tomorrow."

"Hetty... I don't need a house." He thought about telling her there and then, but Hetty continued.

"I think you'll like the neighborhood, Mr. Callen." He read the address and despite all he wanted to say he couldn't hold back a smile.

"The realtor has the key." Hetty told him.

"I've already got one." He replied with a smile.

Callen walked into the house he'd lived in during his childhood, one of his very few happy memories, This house would be a good cover, and real estate was a good thing to own, Lena, would love this house, and one day maybe she'd live here and fill it with grandchildren for him and Kensi. Until then having his own place should keep Hetty off his tail.

He put the tea box with his memories on the mantel, laid his sleeping bag in the middle of the floor, after sending a quick text to Kensi he laid back, imagining this house full again of life, laughter and grandchildren, himself and Kensi sitting on the back porch watching their grandchildren play.

He laid back and smiled and for the first time in weeks, slept soundly.

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