Six whole months passed, Jake grew and was already trying to feed himself food, making a mess with his spoon as Callen laughed at his son's antics.
Callen had settled into fatherhood well, he had taken Jake to a daycare center that Hetty had recommended and had adjusted his schedule where possible. Even Sam had been impressed with Callen stepping up in the role as father to young Jake.
Gibbs had told Callen privately about Abby's assumption that Deeks was alive, and had shown him the evidence. Callen agreed with Gibbs that Deeks had to be alive, but he did not want to get the whole teams hopes up, opting instead to share his concerns privately with Hetty who had kept a tab on the Giamatti family to see if anything about Max was mentioned. He still held out hope that whatever was going on with Deeks could be remedied and that one day Deeks could end up back in the fold with his real family.
Callen put his coffee cup down and wiped the mashed banana from his son's mouth.
"Hey there champ, you nearly ready for the day?" he asked.
"Da…Da…" Jake replied, using the new and only word in his arsenal, he had learned it a few days ago and Callen was looking forward to the others hearing his son talk.
Callen lifted him and sniffed, "Ok Mr. … A new diaper before we leave; well, you don't want to make the lovely daycare people faint do we." He walked to Jake's room and quickly changed him. He placed sun cream on every exposed part of his body and placed a small LA Raiders cap on his head with a small smile. "Looking good." He grinned and placed him in his car seat.
Carrying Jake out to the car he looked up as a flash of light caught his eye. He looked around but seeing nothing he climbed into the car and headed off to start his day.
"So we walked into the daycare and I swear he's already got the girls swooning over him." Callen said to Sam as they walked into the mission.
"It's the hair, that kid has Deeks' hair…you're gonna be beating the girls off with a stick." Sam said shaking his head.
Callen nodded in agreement, "That I will be." He said as he placed his bag at his desk and nodded over at Kensi.
"Mr. Callen?" Hetty called from her office just as Eric whistled.
Callen looked up at Eric but Hetty beckoned him into her office as the other headed upstairs.
"You alright Hetty?" Callen asked.
Hetty shook her head, "I have just been informed that…" she sighed and took a deep breath, "You and your son are being followed."
"What?! No…!" Callen shook his head, "I take precautions, and we don't use the same route twice in a row. You checked out his daycare, it's the most secure in L.A."
Hetty handed him an envelope, "This came through secure mail from Washington D.C." she said.
He sat down heavily as he opened the envelope and looked at the pictures of Callen with Jake. Callen had been hacked out of the pictures and a note was added, the handwriting shaky but familiar, "GIVE ME MY SON OR YOUR AGENT DIES!"
"Is Jake…?" Callen could not ask his throat tightened and a large knot formed in his chest, "I need to get him now!" he said.
"Sam and Kensi are on their way to collect him, Director Vance has ordered you both to be placed into protective custody, and we are arranging a safe house for you. Nell is on the way to your house to collect Jake's favorite toys." Hetty said.
Callen blanched as he realized that Hetty was using everyone's first name to try to reassure him.
"Do…do they know it might be Deeks that's after him?" Callen asked.
Hetty shook her head, "We still have no proof that Mr. Deeks is still alive apart from one grainy picture and Ms. Scuito's say so."
"But…these…this is Deeks' handwriting." Callen affirmed.
"I can see that…however handwriting can be forged." Hetty reminded him.
"I can't the chance…Jake may be in danger." Callen stood up, "I need to go…"
"Where?" Hetty asked
"I…" Callen stopped, he could not go lone wolf…not anymore, and he needed to make sure Jake was safe. He slumped back into the chair, "I don't know…where is safe enough that he won't hurt Jake. He knows me…I'm sure there's enough of Deeks left in Max that knows me…knows what I would do…God…Hetty there's no where I can be safe with him."
He could not help it, the thought that his son could be in danger made tears spring to his eyes and he started rubbing his forefinger and thumb together trying to calm his brain down enough to think… "Maybe we can leave the country?" he suggested.
Hetty shook her head, "I have a safe house, state of the art security system…private road, secluded beach. Director Vance is providing back up along with the private security."
"Where is this?" Callen asked confused.
Hetty smiled, "My third home."
Callen laughed, "It is secure alright."
"Nothing but the best for my grandson." She agreed.
Max and Sara had been in LA for three months, Sara had unpacked the last of the boxes on their apartment, and Max had moved up to second in command of the Giamatti operation.
Sara had taken to needing to spend time with him; she had gone on some jobs with Max and Luca. She just could not sit around doing nothing, the search for her son occupied all Max and Sara's spare moments. However, she needed to be out there.
Sara had hired a private detective to find her son, and he had found them, first at Detective Deeks' funeral when he took a few candid shots of the boy and later as he found the home, Callen and the boy were, living in he took more pictures and sent them to Sara. She knew she'd get in trouble for hiring the detective, but she heard Max in the evenings when he got drunk and smashed things yelling about how that 'man' had his son and it wasn't right.
She knew her husband was fully Max now…well ninety-nine-per-cent of the time, sometimes early in the morning….she would hear Max crying in the bathroom, or talking to the mirror. Then she wasn't sure who he was.
Max walked into the bedroom and shook her out of her musings.
He stopped as he saw her doing up her thigh high boots.
"And where the hell do you think you're going?" he snarled.
Sara looked over at him and smiled, "You want this deal to work don't you?" she asked doing up her skirt that resembled a belt."
"You're wearing that?" he asked.
Sara smiled, "You like this outfit…"
Max leered at her, "Yeah you look good in this, but it's distracting…" he walked over to her and ran his hands over her body, "I may not be able to take my eyes of you." He kissed her neck as she moved out of his grip.
"That's the point, if they are looking at me instead of you, this may go better." She smiled and leant over to pick something up. Max noticed the lack of what she was wearing underneath and pounced on her.
"Ok….but we leave later." He said peeling her top off.
An hour later, they had pulled into the meet and Sara got out holding the drug shipment Max was to deliver as a good faith payment to a new distributor.
Max walked around pulling her close to him.
Max had a feeling in his gut that this was not going to go well and wanted to keep Sara close.
"You got the stuff?" The smooth, well-dressed Latino asked. "If you're going to go into business with the Kings, we need to know you're legitimate."
Max laughed the kind of laugh that had men who knew him quaking with fear in their boots.
"The Kings are a two bit operation compared to the Giamatti family….do you know who we are?" he asked.
Ruiz nodded and gulped, summoning up every bit of bravado he could.
"I heard the Giamatti family pulled out of LA a few years back and went into hiding." He replied.
Max nodded slowly, "You heard that did you?"
He walked toward Ruiz and pulled his gun, "We were expanding our empire even the east coast Feds couldn't stop us…Did you hear what happened to the last kid that tried."
"I…I…heard that…some…that you shot him." Ruiz said. "The…they said you was crazy."
Max grabbed Ruiz by his expensive shirt collar and pulled him so he was standing on tiptoes, shaking and nose to nose with him.
"I. AM. NOT. CRAZY!" Max shouted at the poor quivering man.
Ruiz pulled a gun he had kept hidden in his jacket and pointed it with a shaking hand at Max.
"Back off….back off now…we just want the stuff, we just wanna make the deal!" Ruiz exclaimed as he shrugged Max off him and stepped back.
Max stumbled as Ruiz pushed him.
Ruiz dropped the bag with the money in and some of it fell out. "I knew it was wrong to deal with you guys…I told my boss the Giamattis were no good."
"We'll deal, that's all we want to do." Sara said moving in front of Max.
Ruiz was not listening, his fear of Max Giamatti was running rampant in his veins and he swung the gun wildly terrified that Max was going to kill him.
"Take the damn money, just don't kill me!" he wailed as he heard the sound of a siren nearby.
"You betrayed us?" Max snarled as he pulled his back up piece from his boot.
Ruiz's eyes grew wide at the movement, "You're a cop! I knew it!"
Max stood holding the gun on Ruiz; he smiled menacingly "I ain't no cop." He said softly and fired just as Ruiz's gun discharged both reports going off at the same time.
Max stared with a smile at Ruiz's lifeless body as the sounds of sirens got closer.
"Come on Sara, we'll take…" his word trailed off as he turned and saw Sara laying behind him, her eyes lifeless and a hole in her chest a red stain like a grotesque flower blooming on her white top.
"Sara?" Max dropped the gun he was holding and knelt beside her body, "Sara...Wake up!" he lifted her into his arms and stroked the hair from her face. "You can't die…Martino needs you, I need you….please…Sara….don't…" he let out a sob as he heard the cars roll to a halt outside of the warehouse they were in.
He looked up as a door at the far end opened and a cry of LAPD Freeze went up, he kissed Sara gently on the forehead and laid her gently on the ground.
Grabbing his gun, he picked up both bags and slipped quietly out of the rear exit, managing to avoid all the police and headed to Marc's home.
Once there he walked inside poured himself a large whiskey, drank it and poured himself another.
Marc walked in with a smile, which dropped at the sight of his living room. Chairs were overturned, anything and everything that was breakable was broken and he looked over to see Max, sitting cross-legged in the large black leather chair in the corner of the room holding his wedding picture and sobbing.
"Max?" he moved a large piece of glass that was in his way as he entered the room. "What's happened, where's Sara?" his voice was laced with dread, which increased as Max lifted his head, his eyes dull and lifeless.
"She's dead." He said flatly. "Sara's dead…I'm gonna make them all pay." He snarled as he threw the picture at Marc.
"No…no not Sara." Marc breathed falling to his knees.
Max stood up and hauled his brother in law into the chair he had just vacated. "Now…you need to tell me EXACTLY where my son is…I want him back and they are all going to pay."