Disclaimer: Still 2 borrowing.
A/N: Thank you (1) for your patience. The stars finally aligned and free time + laptop + wifi all came together at the same time. (2) to jmlane1966, The Ghostly Horse, wotumba1, fanficforyou, sassy zazzi, Astrida, Guest, knirbenrots, OhBuddy66, meraveps, Kittykatkins, Hoosier65, happyherb18 and Dramamama5 for the reviews. I hope you all find this a fitting end.
"What now?" Callen eyed the man splayed out in the back of the van.
He shrugged, "I guess Timmy the Snitch was wrong."
"How often is he right?" Callen shifted, a piece of metal pushing into his back.
Another shrug. "If he was a baseball player, it'd be amazing. If he was a weather man, people would hate him." He pushed himself up. "Sorry, D'Angelo. But you know we have to check these things. When the boss saw that pictures of the two of you together and Timmy was making his case that you were chumming around with the FBI, it was tense."
"Thanks for letting me come." Callen held out his hand.
The man gripped it and gave a solid shake. "I understand your reasoning. Would've been awkward if we'd offed your neighbour's boyfriend."
"I still can't believe Timmy thought that he was a fed. Seriously, I can't imagine that guy being in any sort of stressful situation."
That produced a laugh. "I'll see you around D'Angelo. Try to stay away from jewellers with justice on their minds." With that he hopped out of the van and disappeared into the darkening day.
The engine rumbled to life and it moved the vehicle through the streets to a nearby abandoned parking lot. The van eased into the shadow of the neighbouring building and the engine cut out. Callen climbed from the back into the passenger seat. "One down."
Deeks pulled off his toque. "Let's review. You as D'Angelo, a mobbed-up henchman, get caught on camera hanging out with Eric at the beachfront. Timmy the unreliable Snitch fingers Eric as FBI. The bosses get antsy about their seemingly trustworthy employee's associates. Their solution was to kidnap the supposed-agent, scare the pants off of him, and then ask whether or not he's working for the cops."
Callen nodded. "Sounds right."
"Then I have questions." Deeks ticked them off on his fingers. "One, if Timmy isn't that great, how is he still snitching? Two, does this snatch-and-grab-and-interrogate method actually work? Three, don't they have moles for this? Four, why wasn't I invited on this little beach excursion?"
"One, Timmy's a cab driver so he's all over the city and his uncle is one of their top guys. I think he may be snitching both ways because I think the cops have been feeding him intel to pass on." Callen grinned, successful snitching was an art form and Timmy had it perfected. "Two, it works more than you think. Scared people are less likely to be able to form a lie. Three, if they used a mole to fact-check everything Timmy brought them, they'd need a full-time guy."
"And?" Deeks raised his brows.
"What?" Callen feigned ignorance.
"My invitation lost in the mail?"
"Why would we invite you?"
Deeks looked at him like he'd lost his mind. "It was the beach."
Callen held back his smile. "Noted. I'll remember that next time."
Narrowed eyes stared at him and Callen resisted the urge to squirm. After a long moment Deeks turned away, extracted himself from the driver seat, and climbed into the back. "Next one?"
Callen slipped into the driver's seat and cranked the key; Eric may be finished for the day, but they wouldn't be following his lead quite yet.
Deeks clapped a hand on the shoulder of the Internal Affairs sergeant overseeing the sting operation. He walked back to where Callen was leaning against the van while picking at his fingernail. The plan was solid, but somehow he still had reservations about it. He needed to work them out before walking through the door and Callen's relaxed posture was something he was envying.
"You're nervous." Callen didn't lift his head when Callen settled against the van beside him.
"No…maybe." Deeks heaved a sigh.
"Is it?" Deeks hissed under his breath. "This guy, he's got a history of crossing the line, and not the way we mosey over it. He put a guy in the hospital once. The worst part was he got it spun into self-defence thanks to his connections."
"Are you worried about something going wrong during the raid? You have the script down." Callen still didn't move.
"Nah, it's easy." Deeks shifted. "What about after? If he figures out I'm a cop then what could come down from above? I'm not sure I want more heat."
"There's always NCIS."
"I'm not running away from a fight." Deeks ground out.
Callen grunted. "I'll make sure you slam into that desk nice and hard right beside him." He flicked his fingers. "Isn't that why you picked this particular IA?"
Deeks narrowed his eyes at the woman who was running through the last bit of paperwork before she gave the signal to move. She was legendary as untouchable; her call sign was 'Teflon'. Anyone who had her assigned to their case were either extremely grateful or terrified because she was guaranteed to find the truth and couldn't be swayed by any means – especially illegal ones. He straightened as she marched their way.
She handed a small folded piece of paper to Deeks and waited as Deeks tucked it under his insole. "I've done some cursory investigation and you've handed me about a year's worth of work. Good thing I just had two more people assigned to my division. Let's get this done." She headed back to her van and climbed in the back.
Callen raised a brow at Deeks and looked down at his shoe. Deeks quirked a corner of his mouth up, "It's a get-out-of-jail card in case somebody tries to sabotage her raid. It says I'm her informant and to release me immediately." He grunted and jerked his head towards the van. Callen smacked his shoulder and then sauntered over to the IA vehicle. Deeks climbed into the driver's seat and turned over the engine. He took a deep breath and then pointed the van towards his rendezvous point.
Callen rubbed his thumb and finger together as he listened to the feed from Deeks' wire. He was following the script as planned and if it continued to go well, they would get the signal to storm the meet momentarily. Callen had borrowed a LAPD vest and was wearing a baseball cap low over his eyes to protect his identity from their target. It was a short list of police officers connected to NCIS and they didn't need to give him a thread to pull at.
"I told you – I own you now. You'll do what I tell you to do when I tell you."
"Is this how it's gonna be? Hold-ups and intimidation?" Deeks' rumbled over the comms, Callen could tell he was channeling his anger somewhere deep and holding on to the control was deepening his voice.
"I've seen your rap sheet. Robbing that jewellery store was nothing new for you."
His foot tapping, Callen watched the woman holding Deeks' future in her hands. Her eyebrows were drawn together in concentration; she didn't move even though they were almost there.
"Well, I knew those other jobs inside and out, I didn't know what I was stepping into today."
"Relax, when I give you a job it's because it's been checked out."
"I'd just feel more comfortable if I knew how this worked." There was a pause and Callen felt a bit of sweat break out on his forehead. "The whole point of going straight is so that I don't go back to jail."
A pen started to rapidly click beside Callen. The whole van held their breath.
"Look. I'll make you a deal. You drop that bozo that followed you to your last appointment and I'll explain the process to you."
Callen squeezed his hand into a fist. Deeks had a delicate situation. Push too soft and they walk away from this bust empty-handed. Push too hard and an opportunity is wasted.
Deeks made a hacking sound that could've been laughter. "Well, this guy has a real soft side for reforming criminals. Promised to get me a job, maybe an apartment. All because he 'believes in me' and my recovery." Scorn seeped from his words. "I'd need a good reason to walk away from that opportunity."
The silence pounded through the metal vehicle while their target made his decision. A name came over the wire and one of the IA underlings jerked upright in surprise. "You know him? Well, he cases the joints. I find the talent. He takes a cut and I take a cut. The more motivated you are to perform, the better you do."
The underling leaned over to his boss and whispered something. She nodded and cleared her throat. "Be ready to move. The partner's confirmed and we have what we need. Just waiting for a signal."
"What's my cut from today?"
"Slow down cowboy. This was your audition. Good news is you got the part."
"Move in!" The back door of the van opened smoothly and the four officers quickly and quietly moved through the darkened storefront to the back room. They blew through the door, interrupting the conversation that had turned to the LA Clippers' latest winning streak. Callen hauled Deeks out of his chair and pounded him into the desk. The target's head landed inches away from Deeks' as the officer encased his wrists in cuffs. Callen followed suit while the IA sergeant read them their rights. They all walked out to the waiting squad cars where Deeks went in one while it was loudly proclaimed the former parole officer would be taken to a different location where he would be protected from the criminals he once oversaw. The officer driving Callen and Deeks waited until they were the last car present and then dropped them off at their van.
Deeks, with cuffs removed, climbed into the passenger seat and tiredly sighed. "Home, Jeeves."
Callen grinned as he started the engine. "Could agree with you more.
Deeks pulled the heavy door open the next morning and let Callen through first. "Y'know, that was a lot of fun."
A corner of Callen's mouth pulled upwards. "Normally errands aren't quite so…entertaining."
"Agreed." Deeks said as they came out of the hallway. "Next time, I have this alias Neil that owns part of a pizza joint. It's a front for a money laundering operation set up for a long con, but nobody's been interesting in pursuing it since we don't know the end game yet."
Callen stopped. "One, how did your alias buy into a restaurant? Two, what's it called? Three, how is this the first I've heard of it?"
Deeks smirked, "He won it in a poker game and its extremely creative name is 'Pizza Joint'. Never really done much with it except for a pizza I mailed to a buddy of mine." He took a step but Callen grabbed his arm to stop him.
"And?" Callen's brows went up.
"My invitation get lost in the mail?"
Deeks held his hands up. "I still have some secrets." He added a sly grin to which Callen rolled his eyes. They walked to their desks where they stopped short.
"What. Is. That." Callen recoiled in horror.
"Make it go away!" Deeks took a step back.
Hetty appeared in front of them. "That" she gestured to the foot-high stack of file folders perched on each of their desks "is the paperwork you generated when you gallivanted off your day of fun."
"There's no way…that can't be...why?" Deeks pouted.
"Hetty, we just…" Callen lifted a shoulder.
"No, no, no. You two created these messes, now you clean them up. I expect full and complete reports." She turned away.
Deeks' face lit up, "But most of mine were LAPD covers."
"You'll find the appropriate forms within the stack." She called over her shoulder.
"Drat." Deeks' shoulders dropped. "Fun-sucker," he muttered under his breath.
"I heard that, Mr. Deeks. You have two days." Hetty's voice drifted from her desk. Groans met her deadline.
Before they trudged to their desks, Deeks tapped Callen on the shoulder. "We're still doing this again, right?" Hope flared in his eyes.
"Oh yeah," Callen paused. "But we'll have to come up with a plan to skip all of this."
"Actually getting arrested could do the trick." Deeks huffed. Callen started a slow grin and Deeks eyes widened. "No! Forget I said that! I am not sitting through that lecture."
Callen looped an arm around Deeks' neck and steered him towards the coffee pot. "Tell me more about this pizza place."
A/N: The saga of the pizza place pops up in a NCIS:LA/NCIS:NO crossover called "Come What May".