Without a Trace

Gibbs and his team appear in this story. I own nothing having to do with either show.

Chapter 1

"Wanna go down to the beach, Monty?" Deeks asked his faithful friend.

Monty gave an answering yip and circled excitedly around Deeks' legs. It was going to be a glorious Saturday morning in LA and Deeks was going to make the most of it. He was looking forward to some surfing. As he reached for Monty's leash his phone rang.

"Who would be calling us this early on a Saturday, buddy? Certainly not Kensi, huh?" He questioned Monty while he dug his phone out of his bag. His shoulders sank as he read the name on the screen. It was Hetty. "This can't be good, boy. Hang on while I get this – for some reason I see our plans changing."

He sat his bag down hurriedly and swiped his screen before it went to voice-mail. "Go for Deeks." He listened, holding his breath.

"Good morning, Mr. Deeks," Hetty offered.

Deeks realized she was not going to say another word until he replied.

"Good morning, Hetty. To what do I owe this honor so early on a Saturday morning?" He emphasized Saturday, wanting to let her know he was not entirely happy to be hearing from her on one of their rare days off.

"I wanted to catch you before you hit the beach. I need you to come to the boatshed immediately. Do you understand, Mr. Deeks?"

"The beach, how did you…you know what, never mind. I don't wanna know. Yes, of course, Hetty. I understand. Is everything okay? Did something happen?" He asked curiously.

"Everything is fine, detective. Now hurry along and get down here." She disconnected the call before he could respond.

"Sorry, buddy. Surf's gonna have to wait. That was my boss and she needs to see me right now, so rain check, okay?" Monty barked, and then as if he understood, he sauntered over to his doggy bed and plopped down.

Deeks threw his shoes on. He walked back to his bedroom, grabbed a shirt out of a drawer and pulled it over his head as he made his way to his front door. He snatched his keys off the coffee table on his way by, looked back at a now sleeping Monty, and sighed as he went out.

He made the drive to the boatshed in record time. 5:45am on a Saturday morning wasn't exactly rush hour by any means. There were barely any other cars on the road. He locked his car and slowly made his way inside. Sitting at the conference table were Hetty, Eric, and Assistant Director Owen Granger. 'Oh, this is so not going to end well.' Deeks thought to himself.

"Detective Deeks, it's so nice of you to join us." Granger actually attempted a smile as he spoke.

Eric looked very nervous. "Hey, Deeks," was all he could manage before looking back to his tablet.

"Hey," Deeks said, almost a question more than a statement.

"Mr. Deeks, thank you for getting here so quickly. Let's cut right to the chase, shall we? There is much to be said and not a lot of time. Eric?" Hetty glanced at him and he nodded in return. Eric made a couple stabs at his tablet and the big screen lit up. A second later the screen focused and there were two more faces staring back at them.

"Henrietta, Granger, nice to see you all this morning. Detective Deeks, Mr. Beale, thank you for coming in so early." Deeks swallowed hard and nodded. He was looking at the screen in disbelief. Director Leon Vance smiled, "Detective, I don't believe you've had the pleasure of meeting this man yet. Let me introduce you. Deeks, please say hello to Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs."

Deeks struggled to smile, the thought pounding in his brain 'Oh, buddy – this really, really can't be good.'

"Detective, nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you from Hetty." Gibbs had a slight, almost mischievous smile on his face. Deeks felt like Gibbs was staring right into his soul as his eyes locked onto his own.

"It's nice to meet you, too," Deeks choked out. "I hope all good things, yeah?" He asked jokingly to relieve the tension building in his chest.

"Well, Deeks – if it hadn't been good, we wouldn't be having this conversation so early on a Saturday morning." Gibbs continued to stare at him. Deeks was feeling completely unnerved by this man. What in the world did Director Vance and Special Agent Gibbs want with him, the LAPD liaison to NCIS's OSP?

Over the course of the next hour he was briefed on the operation, had agreed to join up with Gibbs in DC, and was sent packing. He was not allowed to contact Kensi, Callen or Sam before leaving. It was absolutely forbidden that he clue the team in to what he was doing. Deeks didn't like it, not at all. He remembered how he felt that night returning to the mission only to find Kensi had been reassigned without so much as a goodbye. It tore at him that he was now being asked, no – ordered to do the same. He understood, but he didn't like it. He hoped that when – IF, he had to remind himself - if he came back from this op, his team would forgive him. Kensi was his biggest fear. What Hetty was asking him to do was much worse than making her think he had been fired. On the other hand, he was looking forward to the chance to work with somebody that actually acknowledged his operational skills. Gibbs seeking his help was a great honor, one he did not take lightly.

For so long now he has been the butt of his team's jokes. Kensi, he knew, trusted him with her life. But even to this day Kensi had never really accepted that he was on their level – not to the point that she would say it to his face, anyway. She gave him as much grief as the guys. Part of that was his own fault, too, he realized. Always downplaying his abilities, the self deprecating humor – to be honest he had played right into their impressions of him. He had an easier time accepting Sam and Callen's unwillingness to see him for who he really was, although Sam's view had changed greatly after Sidorov.

Hetty, however, had seen through that facade he had always operated under as LAPD's best undercover officer. He wouldn't have been offered a spot on her team as liaison officer if she didn't think he was up to the task. It was that thought that he focused on with an intensity he hadn't felt in quite some time. By the time the team found out on Monday morning, Deeks would be long gone. It was with a bit of sadness he realized something; he was actually okay with that.

Determined to complete this mission, Martin Andrew Deeks walked through the gate at the airport and proceeded to disappear from the face of his team's world.

TBC