A Lucky Man

They had just been laughing when she saw the look on his face change from hilarity to deep anger all in a manner of seconds. The others saw it too and the laughter slowly subsided as they watched his eyes linger on someone at the bar. As he stared, conflicting emotions flickered across his face and she could see he was contemplated what his actions should be. She had seen that look before, just not in a social setting, so she knew what she was seeing on her partner's face, she just wasn't sure who it was directed toward.

"Is there a problem Deeks?" Callen asked in a muted tone, wondering if there was a dangerous situation developing.

Deeks didn't acknowledge that Callen had even spoken, he just got to his feet and walked purposefully toward the bar. Sam looked quickly at Callen and as they made eye contact, they rose and followed him.

Kensi had already moved to her partner's right as he approached a man drinking at the bar.

"Reese!" Deeks said gruffly and barely loud enough to hear. As the man turned and saw him, Deeks reached out and snatched the glass of whiskey from his hand and slammed it to the floor. White-hot anger flashed across the man's face and his eyes narrowed as he looked at the shattered glass and booze spread out at his feet.

"Deeks!" Reese spit out. "You fuckin' asshole."

"What happened to the agreement you made with the department?" Deeks asked, barely containing the anger that roiled in the pit of his stomach.

"That's none of your business," he answered and the team could hear the obnoxious tone in his voice as a snide smile crossed his lips. He nonchalantly ran his hand through his slick black hair, but his dark eyes never left Deeks' face.

"None of my business?" Deeks raised his eyebrows in amazement. Then he grabbed the front of Reese's shirt with both hands and shoved him back hard against the bar, causing him to grunt in pain. "You're a fuckin' alcoholic, Reese. You got Jim Ferris killed, and it's none of my business that you're drinking again?" His voice was hoarse and threatening.

As Sam and Callen started to intervene, Reese suddenly grabbed a whiskey bottle from the bar and smashed it against the side of Deeks' head. He dropped, unconscious and bleeding at Sam's feet. Callen rushed Reese, just avoiding the broken bottle that he was now brandishing. He flipped the man around and slammed his head into the bar and then threw him to the floor. Then he turned to the astonished bartender and flashed his badge and told him to call the police and get an ambulance.

"Sam how is he?" Kensi asked as she rushed to Deeks' side. Sam slowly rolled him onto his back. The left side of his head was covered in blood, his hair was matted with it, and he groaned softly as Sam pressed a napkin into the wound to try and stop the bleeding. Pieces of glass were imbedded in his head and down his cheek.

"He's not gonna feel too good tomorrow," Sam answered as he checked his pupils looking for signs of a concussion. "But I think once we get him stitched up he should be okay."


"You look like shit, Deeks," Callen said with a smirk as Deeks walked out of the ER. A large bandage covered the side of his head, he had a scattering of stitches tracking the left side of his face and his left eye was already turning black.

"And you're not walking too straight either," Sam commented as he stepped forward to steady him as he staggered slightly.

Kensi put her arm around him as they helped him out to the car. He hadn't said anything since he woke up at the restaurant and that made her nervous. He stayed subdued all the way to her house, until he saw where he was.

"I'd rather be in my own apartment," he said as Kensi opened the door for him. "No offense Kens, I'd just like to be by myself tonight."

"Not a chance, Deeks," Sam said firmly as he took his arm and pulled him out of the car. He was too weak to resist, so he let Sam lead him inside. "Somebody has to check on you during the night, so it's either Kensi, Callen or me."

That got the first smile they'd seen from him since the whole incident had started.

"You guessed right then," Deeks said as he sat down slowly on the couch. He realized after a couple of minutes that the two agents didn't look like they were in any hurry to leave. They stood staring down at him with their arms crossed and he knew they were waiting for an explanation.

"You want the long story or the short one?" Deeks asked in resignation as he leaned back on the couch.

"I think we'll take as much as you want to give us," Callen answered and he saw Deeks nod.

"First I need to tell you about Jim Ferris. Jim was a tough guy. He'd been a cop for twelve years before I met him during one of my first undercover assignments. We were under together for just over a month, on a drug sting and during that time we became friends and he taught me a lot about surviving undercover." Deeks paused and leaned his head back and stared at the ceiling.

"He was a former Army Ranger and a no nonsense kind of guy." Deeks laughed and looked back at the others. "You're wondering how he put up with me, yeah?"

"The thought did cross my mind," Sam smiled as he commented.

"He told me I reminded him of his younger brother, Joey," Deeks said. "Joey was a rookie cop when he was killed by a strung out drug addict during a routine patrol. I don't think Jim ever got over it. He was rough on me during our assignment, because he didn't want me to make a mistake that could get me killed the way Joey was. But when you're undercover there are some things you just can't control." Deeks got up off the couch and walked over and leaned against the wall and dropped his head to his chest.

"Our cover got blown just before the takedown on our first case, and I was wounded in the shootout," Deeks voice was very low and he spoke the words slowly. "I was barely conscious and had lost my gun. The firefight was all around me. One of the drug dealers walked toward me firing and I got hit in the leg as I tried to get away. He stood over me and was aiming at my head when Jim came out of nowhere and tackled him. He killed the guy and then he dragged me out of there."

The room was silent and they all could see Deeks was struggling with the painful memory.

"He looked after me during my recovery and we became close," Deeks eyes were red as he looked up.

"You want to finish this up tomorrow, Deeks?" Callen asked quietly, noticing how tired he was looking.

Deeks shook his head as he lowered himself into a chair.

"Six months before I met you guys, I was undercover with Jim," Deeks began. "We were trying to find out the source of a crystal meth product called 'Kamikazi.' It's been around a while, but this particular product was killing people. Jim was posing as a buyer and I was his second in command. Reese had infiltrated one of the gangs we thought might be responsible. He'd been undercover with them for four months and had set up a meet between us. I had never worked with him before but Jim had and I could tell he wasn't sure about the guy." Deeks stopped and tried to collect himself, but they could tell he was having trouble doing that.

"During the meet, Reese seemed out of it, and Jim was very uneasy and I was ready to pull the plug," Deeks face became deadly serious and his eyes darkened. "The gang leader asked Reese to vouch for us since he had set up the meet, but the bastard just shook his head and didn't say anything. I looked at Jim and he had a shocked look on his face. I tried to get the conversation going and smooth things over, but the drug dealer pulled a gun and put the barrel right between Jim's eyes. I stared at Reese, but he wouldn't even look at me."

Deeks suddenly got up and stood clenching his fists. "He was a cop and he just stood there and did nothing!" he said in muted outrage. Sam put his hand on his shoulder and he could feel the power of the anger surging through him.

"You don't have to tell us any more tonight, Deeks," Sam told him as he guided him back to the couch. "You need to get some rest."

But Deeks couldn't stop and he shook his head as if he needed them to understand.

"Our meeting was in an old abandoned butcher shop," Deeks voice became rough and low as he continued. "They strung us up with our hands over our heads from the butcher's hooks. Reese help two other guys tie me up and I could smell the whiskey on his breath. He was dead drunk." Deeks looked at Callen with such venom, that it shook him.

"When I told that to his case officer later, he didn't believe me," Deeks laughed harshly as he said it. "If it's one thing I know, it's how drunk someone is. It's how I survived my childhood."

They watched Deeks take a deep breath before he finished his story.

"I watched them cut Jim Ferris to ribbons." Deeks voice broke then, and tears that he had been holding back slipped down his cheeks and his voice became a whisper. "He bled out right in front of me and Reese did nothing to stop it."

They were all stunned to silence. Deeks put a hand over his face and silently wept. Kensi came and sat next to him and slowly rubbed his back as Callen and Sam each squeezed his shoulder as they left. All of them knew that Deeks didn't have many close friends, so the loss of one was painful, especially when it had happened in such a violent and brutal way right in front of his eyes.

When Callen and Sam got in their car, Sam turned to his partner. "G, why didn't they kill Deeks?" he said, asking the question that was on both their minds.

Shaking his head, Callen answered, "We'll just have to wait until he's ready to tell us that part of the story."


She wasn't sure what woke her. As she sat up in bed and listened, she heard Deeks moving around in the living room. He had insisted on sleeping on the couch, even though she'd offered to share her bed. He given her a soft suggestive smile, but shook his head no. He told her he didn't think he would sleep much and didn't want to keep her awake. She needed to check on him anyway, so she got up and pulled on a short robe. She found him bent over, staring into the fridge.

"You never finished your dinner last night, did you?" Kensi said softly as she moved her hand slowly up under his tee shirt and rested it on his back.

"Can't sleep," was all he said and then stood up and stared at the wall, lost in thought. As she started to stroke his lower back he smiled and turned toward her, wrapping his hands around her arms and pulling her to his chest. She could feel his shallow breathing and she worried he was in pain.

"Do you need one of the pain pills the doctor gave you?" she asked.

"Probably wouldn't hurt. I'm kinda seeing double right now." He closed the door to the refrigerator and leaned back against it in the dark as she brought the pill and a glass of water. Seeing her do just that simple act, made him feel warm and cared for and he appreciated it more than she could know.

"Did you have a nightmare?" she asked and he could see her concern.

"No. I never went to sleep," he said and dropped his head to her shoulder, letting his breath out slowly, trying to relax. "Kens, I need to tell you what happened to me the night they killed Jim," His voice was tight with tension and a touch of reluctance. "I need to get it out. Will you listen?"

"Come here," She said and she led him into her bedroom and made him lie down next to her. She enveloped him in a hug and she could feel his tears on her chest.

"I screamed at them, Kens," he began, "I didn't stop screaming and yelling until one of them knocked me out. When I came to, they had cut Jim down. He lay in a pool of blood right below me and I wanted to kill them all, especially Reese." He rolled out of her embrace and onto his back. She could see his silhouette in the dark and the anguish on his face made her reach out and touch him.

"They lowered me to my knees and two of them held me while the dealer injected me with a high dose of meth. I fought hard, but it didn't matter." His voice was barely audible and he took her hand and held it tightly as he continued. "It was like being in a living nightmare, Kens. The rush hit me and I became hyper and aggressive and the dealer cut me loose. I wanted to kill them Kens, and I tried. There were six of them, but I rushed Reese first. I knock the shit out of him before the others pulled me off. They beat me up pretty bad and then the effects of the drug really hit. I found out later they had added LSD to the drug mix and I was flying. They dumped me in an alley downtown. I went into shock and convulsions and would have OD'd and died if a homeless guy hadn't flagged down a patrol car." He was bathed in sweat when he finished, and she could feel him shaking as he lay beside her.

"They had me in a straightjacket in the hospital, Kens," he said. "It was three days before I could tell them who I was."

She moved to wrap her arms around him, but he pushed her away and she could tell that his anger was close to being out of control. He sat up on the edge of the bed and she let him be.

"Reese had finally gotten sober and called his case officer," Deeks continued in a monotone. "They found Jim's body and arrested the drug dealers. It took them a few days to find me, since I'd been checked into the hospital as a John Doe."

Then he laughed harshly and turned to look at her. "Reese actually got credit for the bust. Can you believe that?" Then he rose and slammed his fist into the wall. "They didn't believe me at first, Kens," he said. "When I could finally tell them what happened, they didn't want to believe me and Reese conveniently forgot to mention that he was drunk. Finally I turned him in to Internal Affairs, and they nailed his ass. But they let him off the hook because he agreed to get treatment."

"When I saw him drinking tonight, all I could think about was Jim and how he looked as he lay dying in a pool of blood." Deeks voice was just a harsh whisper by the end. "If he hadn't hit me tonight, I think I would have killed him, Kens." He turned back to look at her and she saw a cold, hard look on his face she had never seen before, and she was afraid for him.

"Don't say that, Deeks," she said quickly, rising from the bed and pulling him into a tight embrace. "He's not worth your life, and your friend Jim would have agreed with me."

"Yeah, you're probably right," he answered. "But that doesn't mean I don't think about it. Don't you want to avenge your father?"

She stepped back and looked at him and felt a twinge of anger that he would relate her father's death to his situation. But, maybe he had come to think of Jim Ferris as a member of his family and she couldn't begrudge him the question.

"I'm sorry, Kens," he said seeing her reaction.

"No, it's okay. I just didn't realize you had been that close to him," she replied. "You've never talked about him before."

"It's too painful," he said wearily.

She could see he was exhausted and pulled him toward the bed. He let her fix his pillow and cover him with the blankets and she got a small smile for her efforts. Then she sat down next to him and leaned over and kissed him gently. He returned the kiss with one slightly more fervent as he held her face in his hands. He stopped briefly to look at her with a seriousness that was unlike him, and then he slowly brushed his thumb across her lips and followed it with a tender kiss that sent a thrill through her body. He reached to undo her robe and she held her breath as he began to stroke her thigh. Then he rolled her over his chest and onto the bed beside him and lay on top of her, covering her face with kisses. Her whole body trembled with want for him.

She knew this was a comfort he needed and she was more than willing to give him that comfort. She gave in to whatever he wanted and his need consumed her. She felt her heart begin to pound to his rhythm and the urgency of his caresses. He pulled her up to a sitting position and let his eyes wander over her body as he held her slightly apart from him. Then he leaned in and tenderly kissed her breasts and the hollow of her throat and her body shivered with anticipation. As he laid her back on the sheets, she could see the all-consuming desire in his eyes and she smiled. She was more compliant than she had ever been with him and she knew he realized what she was doing. He gently spread her legs and his fingers slowly began to caress her and then his tongue set her on fire. She couldn't get enough and she arched her back in response. When he entered her their passion exploded in unison, leaving them panting with exhaustion and the heat of it.

He lowered himself down next to her as his breathing slowed, and his hand covered one of her breasts.

"Not bad for a guy with a head wound," he said softly with a crooked smile.

She turned to look at him and saw the pain that still lingered in his eyes, but she could feel that the tension had gone out of his body and she pulled him closer, guiding his head onto her shoulder and she smiled as the soft stubble of his beard tickled her breast. As she held him she could feel his breathing slow and he finally fell into a deep sleep. She held him until the morning light broke through the window.


He heard Kensi leave, and rolled onto his back as dark memories saturated his mind. He could feel his heart beating against his chest as he remembered the terror he'd felt when he was so out of control on the meth, so strung out he didn't know his own name. Then his mind drifted back to last night. Seeing Reese drunk again had shocked him and the rage he felt had choked out his ability to control himself and that scared him.

He sat up quickly, grabbing the edge of the bed as the room began to spin. A throbbing pain hummed behind his eyes and he waited until it subsided somewhat, before getting up and stumbling to the bathroom. When he looked in the mirror he was shocked at the dark bruise that covered the left side of his face. His eye was ringed in purple and black and the dark stitches reminded him of some old horror movie. He was not looking good, that was for sure. And he definitely wasn't feeling all that well either. After a quick shower, he rummaged through the fridge for something to eat, forgetting this was Kensi's fridge. He decided to look for her stash of junk food and discovered her secret hiding place by chance, smiling to himself as he downed four Twinkies and a stale Ding-Dong. He did manage to make coffee, but her milk was two weeks past the expiration date and smelled rank, so he drank the coffee black. He took two of the pain pills they had given him at the hospital and went back to bed. As he buried his head in her pillow, her smell engulfed him and he thought back to their sweet lovemaking and smiled as he drifted back to sleep.


"How's he doing Kens?" Callen asked when she walked into the bullpen.

"He didn't sleep most of the night, so I let him sleep in this morning." She suddenly felt weak and leaned against her desk to catch her breath. She hadn't realized she'd been holding her emotions in check until now.

"You okay?" Sam asked as he moved to her side.

"He told me the rest of the story early this morning," she said and began to tremble with anger. "They shot him up with an overdose of crystal meth laced with LSD and then beat him and dumped him in an alley. A homeless guy flagged down a patrol car. Otherwise he would have died. It was three days before LAPD found him." Her heart was pounding as she finished. "He was so out of his mind the hospital had to put him in a straightjacket."

"And Reese knew what they had done to him and where he had been dumped and didn't tell anybody at LAPD?" Callen's voice was full of astonishment and fury, as his mind filled with the thought of the torture Deeks must have gone through alone.

"They didn't even believe him when he told them Reese was drunk," she told them, just as Hetty came in.

"Mr. Callen filled me in on what happened last night," Hetty told her. "Kensi, I want you to stay with Mr. Deeks today. That kind of anger can be overwhelming and he needs to know he's not alone this time."


"You raided my Twinkies!" Kensi yelled from the kitchen.

"I was hungry," he complained, "and the inside of your fridge is a vast wasteland except for the congealed milk and beer."

"Well, you owe me some new snacks," she said with a smile as she brought their beers into the living room.

"Do you ever buy real food?" he asked with a smirk on his face.

"Ding-Dongs are real food," she asserted defensively.

"Only for school kids," he laughed. Then she punched his arm and he retreated to the far end of the couch.

They drank their beers in silence and she studied his face to see how he was. Their conversation about junk food had been the longest one of the day. He had been sleeping when she got back and didn't wake up until after lunch. He was moody all afternoon and she would catch him staring into space for long periods of time. He wasn't talkative and didn't share anymore information about Reese or Jim Ferris, and she didn't push him.

"Could you drive me home, Kens?" he asked softly. His eyes looked sad and haunted and she didn't think he should be home alone when he was like this.

"Will you stay one more night if I promise to stock the fridge?" She stretched out on the couch and put her head in his lap, staring up at him with a warm smile.

"You mean with something besides junk food?" he laughed briefly.

"I can order a pizza and we can watch old movies..," she said trying to convince him to stay, but he interrupted her. "I need to have some time alone, Kens," he said softly, looking down at her and absently twining his fingers in her hair.

"Okay," she agreed reluctantly.


He was cleaning up the remains of the Chinese food they had stopped for on the drive over to his apartment, when he heard a knock on the door. He wondered what she had forgotten as he pulled it open.

"Reese!" He stood frozen as he stared in surprise at the drunken cop.

"We need to talk," Reese said, slurring his words and trying to push his way into Deeks' apartment.

"No we don't," Deeks said flatly. He shoved Reese back against the outside railing and the man staggered, almost losing his balance. "When did they let you out?" he asked Reese curiously.

"This morning," Reese answered.

"Been drinking all day, Reese?" Deeks asked as he felt his anger growing by the minute. He could feel himself losing control and he knew he should just slam the door in the guy's face, but he didn't.

"You need to hear what I have to say," Reese said looking back over his shoulder as if someone was watching him. Deeks noticed that his words came out a little sharper and he could tell he was serious.

"What could you possibly say that would make any difference to me?" He spit out angrily.

"There are things you don't know about that night," Reese said slowly as he stepped closer to Deeks. "Things that are still going on."

"What things?" Deeks could barely control himself as the man he held responsible for a good friend's death stood directly in front of him.

"There were other cops involved," Reese said with a slight tremble of fear in his voice.

Deeks was stunned. He stared coldly at Reese, and then stepped aside and let him in.


Callen and Sam had a late dinner and spent the time talking about Deeks and his undercover work and what losing a close friend can do to you. Their respect for him was growing and Sam was amazed at his ability to stay undercover alone for long periods of time. Callen knew how hard it was to go deep undercover, but to do it with no backup or support team was incredible and he had come to realize how brave Deeks was to continually do that. After what had happened to some of his partners he might think it was better to operate alone.

When Callen got home his cell rang and he saw it was Hetty.

"Deeks is being arrested," Hetty said hurriedly.

"For what?" He asked as he grabbed his car keys.

"For murder, Mr. Callen." He stopped as the words shook him to the core.

"Who?" He almost didn't need to ask.

"Reese." She replied with such sorrow that Callen became concerned not only for Deeks but also for what this would do to all of them.

"Where is he Hetty?" He was moving quickly now, his mind fully engaged and questions ran through his mind at a rapid pace.

"At his apartment," she answered solemnly. "I've called Sam and Kensi is already on her way there. She's out of her mind with guilt, Callen. Keep an eye on her."

"I'll keep you posted Hetty," Then he was driving through the night with a fear deep in his chest that wouldn't go away.

He arrived at Deeks' apartment just as Sam drove up. Kensi's car was parked haphazardly in the street and the door was still open. The two partners locked eyes and moved quickly through the array of patrol cars, flashing their badges whenever someone tried to stop them. Yellow crime tape was being strung when they reached the front door, where a plainclothes detective stopped them.

"Who the hell are you?" he asked sharply, making the mistake of putting his hand on Sam's chest to stop him from entering.

"I'm a Federal Agent, now take your hand off me," Sam's said forcefully. The look on his face made the detective take a step back and he and Callen walked around him and into the crime scene.

Reese's body lay sprawled on his back in the living room with a gunshot wound in the middle of his chest. Kensi was shouting at a detective as he yanked Deeks to his feet from a nearby chair and handcuffed him roughly.

"He needs to go to the hospital," Kensi kept insisting.

"Kens, take it easy, we're here," Sam said calmly as he took her arm and tried to pull her out of the detective's face.

"He's hurt, Sam," she pleaded with him to listen to her.

The detective tried to push Deeks past them, but was met by three very determined agents. Deeks didn't even acknowledge their presence and Sam noticed how unfocused his eyes were and how unsteady on his feet he was. As the detective loosened his grip on Deeks' arm, his knees buckled and he would have fallen if Sam hadn't caught him. He moaned as he lay face down in Sam's arms, and they all could see the fresh wound on the back of his head.

"She's right detective," Sam told the frustrated cop. "He needs to see a doctor."

"He killed a cop!" the detective said loudly, reaching down to take Deeks' arm.

"We're not suggesting you let him go," Callen said reasonably. "We just want him to get medical attention before you take him in."

Another detective who had just entered the scene joined them.

"I'm Detective Frank Vega and I'm in charge of this investigation," he said with an air of self-importance. "This is an LAPD murder case, so you Feds need to stay out of it"

"Deeks is our LAPD Liaison, so we're not going to stay out of it." Callen's immediate dislike for the man was evident in his voice. "Why wouldn't you want him to have medical attention? Do you even have a reason?"

A sly look crossed the Vega's features as he realized the animosity coming from the agent and he backed off.

"Okay. Barnes here will go with him to the hospital," Vega agreed quickly. "Barnes, as soon as he's cleared by the doctors, take him down to booking. That good enough for you?" His tone was surly and his face rigid with restrained anger. He was a powerful looking man with a buzz cut and piercing black eyes. Those eyes glared darkly at Callen as he and Barnes grabbed Deeks by the arms and forced him to his feet. They pushed him roughly out the door, and Sam had to hold Kensi back, she was so angry at the way they were treating him.

"Sam, you and Kensi follow them to the hospital," Callen told them. "I'll stay and try and find out what happened."

Callen immediately got on the phone with Hetty about getting Deeks an attorney, but she had already taken care of that.


Callen arrived at the hospital to find Kensi furious and Sam trying to calm her down.

"What happened, Sam?" Callen asked.

"The ER doctor wanted to keep Deeks overnight for observation, but Barnes and Detective Vega handcuffed him right in the emergency room where they were treating him and dragged him out." Sam answered and Callen could see how angry he was.

"The doctor said Deeks has a concussion and should be watched overnight," Kensi said in a rush of words. "Those two were so rough on Deeks the doctor intervened and they actually shoved him out of the way."

"There were two other detectives here, G," Sam said with a suspicious look on his face. "They kept us away from the ER until Barnes and Vega had hauled Deeks out. The doctor was furious and he told us he had never seen anyone manhandled like that by arresting officers. He said Deeks could hardly stand on his own, so it wasn't like he was resisting arrest."

"Are these guys friends of Reese?" Callen wondered.

"Did you find out what they say happened, G?" Sam asked.

"The LAPD got a call of shots fired and the first officers on the scene found Deeks unconscious on the floor with a gun in his hand. Reese was dead on the floor in front of him." Callen related soberly. Then they all stood silently together, each with their own thoughts and fears.

"I should have made him stay with me," Kensi said in a small shaky voice. "He'd been moody and distant all day, and I knew he was still angry about Reese, but I didn't think he would shoot him."

"Do you really think he did this Kensi?" Callen was surprised at what she had said and he could tell Sam was too.

"He told me early this morning that if Reese hadn't knocked him out at the bar last night, he might have killed him," Kensi's eyes filled with tears as she spoke. "He wanted vengeance."

Callen and Sam stared at each other with dread in their eyes.

"He was very angry Callen," she said quietly. "And I'm not sure he was convinced he could control it."

"Let's look at the facts before we assume anything," Callen cautioned. "Let's get back to OSP and find out from Hetty how soon the attorney can get Deeks released. Then we can ask him what happened."


The roar inside his head blanked out almost everything. He tried to remain upright but nothing stayed level and he kept stumbling. He remembered the flashing lights of patrol cars, but why they were at his place he didn't know. His head was pounding with bright, pulsating pain and he thought Kensi was with him, but then she was gone, her voice disappearing in the swirling grey mist of his mind. He could feel himself being pushed and shoved but he was too weak to prevent it. All he wanted was to lie down and sleep the pain away. He knew when he was in the ER, because the doctor was calm and gentle and spoke softly to him. But then angry voices and rough hands tore him away. He remembered being in the back of a car with someone speaking loudly in his ear and asking him questions, but he couldn't remember the answers. The voice was loud and insistent and when he couldn't answer the questions, the man with the voice would hit him until he couldn't breathe. His mind would fade to black, only to be forced awake by bright blinding pain as his head was slammed against the cool window. He felt himself dragged along until he was finally dropped on the ground and the spinning stopped and he could sleep.


Mr. Callen, you drive," Hetty was on the warpath and everybody got out of her way. "The attorney is already at the precinct."

"Hetty, what's going on?" Callen asked as they raced out into dark streets.

"They wouldn't let the attorney see him," Hetty said in a rage. "They are refusing bail and we need to make sure he's okay. I asked the Commissioner and the DA to meet us there. And they had better show up, because they do not want to piss me off. And they certainly don't want to piss off my friends."

Callen smiled. He loved it when Hetty got her hackles up. He was looking forward to seeing her in action.


Her attorney, Jeffrey Markham, one of the best in the city, met them outside the precinct.

"It's a zoo in there, Hetty," he said, taking her by the arm and walking her off to the side of the building.

"What is it, Jeffrey?" she asked with concern. "You look worried and I don't like that."

"Hetty, they didn't book him in the conventional way," he answered. "I was told he was brought in the back and placed in a holding cell and booked there."

"Why would they do that?" Callen asked. He didn't like the sound of that, and he became very anxious to see Deeks and make sure he was all right.

"Nobody could tell me why," Markham replied tensely. "They all seemed a little bewildered by it themselves."

"I've asked the Commissioner and the DA to meet us here Jeffrey," Hetty informed him and Callen saw a knowing smile ease some of the tension in his face.

"Calling in favors, Hetty?" He asked.

"More like sending out threats, Jeffrey," she replied coldly, and the smile left his face. He had known her for a long time, and he knew when she was seriously angry and he started to feel sorry for the two officials.


The large holding cell was empty except for Deeks and there was no officer present outside. Deeks woke up and slowly struggled to the closest wall, easing himself up until he was sitting with his back against it. His headache had lessened and the room was not spinning for the moment. He tried to recall why he was in the holding cell. What had he done to get arrested? His mind was still foggy and the last thing he remembered was opening his door and seeing Reese standing there. Suddenly a deep fear gripped his heart. What did I do? Panic filled him as he tried to catch remnants of the night in his mind, but they were too elusive.

He was staring at the floor and trying to remember, when he heard a key turn in the lock. He looked up to see a very young cop push a man into the holding cell, leaving them alone. Deeks instincts put him on high alert. The man was filthy and big, with a full beard and long stringy hair. Deeks could smell him from where he sat against the far wall. The man slowly turned toward him and smiled. His eyes were wild and Deeks suddenly got a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach. He struggled to his feet and swayed slightly as he stood. The man continued to smile and walk toward him, rummaging in his pocket until he found what he was looking for. The knife looked homemade. It was long and roughly sharpened. The wild man smiled as he advanced on Deeks, who tried to prepare himself for the fight of his life. He knew he had been set up so he didn't bother to yell for help, because he knew there wasn't any to be had.

The wild man lunged at him and he managed to avoid the first thrust. He hit the man in the jaw as hard as he could as he grabbed for the knife. The room began to spin with the effort he was making and pain throbbed behind his eyes. Then the wild man brought his forearm down on the back of his head and he fell to his knees. His mind swirled in grey fog as he fought to remain conscious, and then he lost his grip on the knife. He thought he screamed as the knife entered his body, but the white-hot, blinding pain cut it off and he slipped silently into total blackness.


As Hetty greeted the Commissioner and the DA, Callen begin to ask questions about the booking procedure. He didn't like what he heard, and even some of the cops were suspicious. He saw Hetty motioning for him to join her and he smiled as he could see how nervous the two city officials looked. He wondered who or what Hetty had threatened them with.

"We demand to see my client right now, gentlemen," Markham was saying to them. "Or I'll get this case thrown out before it ever gets started."

The Commissioner called the desk sergeant over and the three of them were led back toward the holding cell. Callen noticed a very young cop standing nervously outside the entry door and then they heard a scream.

Callen didn't wait for permission, he saw the keys and grabbed them as he threw open the door and rushed to open the cell. He saw a large dirty looking transient with a knife standing over Deeks, who was lying face down on the floor as blood spread out around him. Callen pulled his weapon and as the wild-eyed man turned toward him with a smile, he shot him twice in the chest.

He was panting with fear as he reached Deeks and pulled him into his arms, praying he was still alive. He was so cold and pale that Callen almost panicked as he searched for a pulse. The cell began to fill with cops and Callen was so angry that he yelled at them to stay away. He saw Hetty leaning stricken against the bars of the cell and they held each other's gaze as shouts for paramedics rang off the walls.

Callen felt an eerie silence surround him as he looked into the pale face of Marty Deeks. His eyes were slightly open and his unruly blond hair fell loosely over his forehead. His arm hung limply away from his body as Callen cradled him to his chest. He almost couldn't bear to look at him this way. He was used to hearing smart ass remarks coming out of that mouth, but now it was slick with blood and he thought sadness and anger would overwhelm him.

Suddenly there were paramedics surrounding them, but he wouldn't let them take Deeks until he felt Hetty's hand on his shoulder. He stood with his back against the wall and stared at the blood on his hands as tears streaked his face. How had he let this happen?


"Sam, where are you" Hetty asked soberly.

"I was just heading to the OSP Center," he answered warily.

"Is Kensi with you?" she asked, taking a deep breath and trying to calm herself.

"Yes." Sam started to feel uneasy as he asked, "What's wrong, Hetty?"

"Go back to the hospital, Sam," she told him softly. "They're taking Deeks there. He was attacked in the holding cell and stabbed." She paused to catch her breath and wasn't sure she should tell him just how bad it was.

"Hetty?" Sam asked quietly. "How bad?"

"They couldn't find a pulse," she said softly as she ended the call.

She turned back toward her senior agent. He was still leaning against the far wall with Deeks' blood all over him and she could tell he was in shock. She needed him to be sharp right now, if they were going to find out who set up this attack on Deeks and why.

"Mr. Callen!" She spoke his name loudly and forcefully. She saw him blink a couple of times as he stared down at his hands. Then he looked at her and she could see a violent anger darken his piercing blue eyes and she knew he was focused once again.

"Hetty, I should have known," he said gruffly.

"How?" Hetty asked as she moved closer to him. "Whoever did this had a plan. This is no time for self-recrimination, Mr. Callen, it's time to get to work and find out who did this and why."

Callen nodded and they walked out of the cell together. Hetty stopped to talk with the Commissioner and Jeffrey Markham, but Callen walked numbly out into the hallway. He found the men's room and silently washed Deeks' blood from his hands, fighting to steady himself and his raging emotions. As he walked out, he glanced over at the young police officer he had snatched the keys from and suddenly he knew he had been a part of this. He remembered how nervous he had looked the first time he saw him. There was no way a cop this green would have done this on his own.

"What's your name?" Callen asked hoarsely as he walked quickly up to the cop, forcing him to step back until he was leaning against the wall.

"Officer Ryan Barnes, sir," he said with a tremor in his voice.

"Who told you to put that transient in the cell with Detective Deeks?" Callen's voice was intense and mean and sweat broke out on the cop's face.

"I didn't know Deeks was a cop," he said rapidly. "I'm sorry, I didn't know."

"Really? I find that hard to believe." Callen said flatly. "But that's not what I asked you,"

"Nobody told me, sir," he replied and something changed in his eyes. "They brought the guy in and I did my job and placed him in a holding cell." Callen could see a hint of arrogance there and he pressed the young cop.

"Did you search him?" Callen asked.

"I thought the arresting officers had already done that, sir," he replied more confidently, and Callen realized he was back on script, saying the words he had been instructed to say.

"How many holding cells are there, Officer Barnes?" Callen asked coldly.

"Three," he answered with a touch of nervousness.

"So, why did you put him in with Detective Deeks instead of the empty one?" Callen raised his eyebrows as he waited for the reply.

"I don't know, I didn't think." He wiped the sweat from his forehead as he answered.

"Barnes," Callen suddenly said. "Your name is Barnes? Are you related to Detective Barnes?"

"He's my brother," the young cop said slowly and unsure.

Callen stepped back and stared at the nervous kid, knowing now that one of Deeks' arresting officers was involved in his attempted murder.


Sam and Kensi arrived at the ER demanding to know if Deeks had been brought in. This time they didn't let anybody stop them from going where they wanted to go. The doctor who had worked on Deeks earlier that evening came out to see what was going on and introduced himself to the two agents.

"Hi, I'm Dr. Santiago. I remember you two," he said. "You were friends of Detective Deeks, right? The concussion patient they handcuffed in my ER? What happened, did he pass out or something?"

"He was stabbed at the police station," Sam said bluntly. "They couldn't find a pulse."

The doctor became very serious, very quickly. He immediately had someone check on incoming ambulances and then he had a room cleared and prepped.

"I'll handle it myself," he told them. "I didn't like how he was treated by those two cops and they weren't very nice to me either." Then he cracked a smile.

Suddenly the doors to the ambulance bay slammed open as a gurney was rushed in with a paramedic straddling a patient and doing CPR.

"Deeks!" Kensi cried out as she saw him pushed by her. He looked so pale and lifeless and blood was everywhere as they rushed him to a room. Sam grabbed her as she broke down. "Sam, he can't die. Please, Sam, tell me he's going to be okay." He couldn't speak so he just held her as she cried. He locked eyes with Dr. Santiago as he followed the gurney and he knew the man would do all he could to save Deeks' life.


When Callen got to OSP it was well past midnight. He had been afraid to call Sam from the car because he wasn't sure he would have been able to drive if he'd found out Deeks had died. He shuddered as he tried to focus on solving the crime Deeks was accused of and the crime that had been committed against him.

Eric and Nell were waiting for him and he had never seen either one so subdued. He could see that Nell had been crying, so he hugged her briefly, which shocked her and made the tears start again.

"We can't do anything for Deeks right now except find out exactly what happened tonight." Callen's voice was raw but determined. "We're starting from scratch. Throw out what the LAPD detectives said happened. I want the facts that we know for sure."

"I've been checking the 911 calls that came in around the time Reese was killed," Eric said quietly. "And there's only one reporting shots fired at Deeks' place. But the time doesn't sinc up with the police reports. So, maybe the cops are lying about how they found out a murder had been committed."

"I heard that Mr. Beale," Hetty said as she walked in. "Now you're starting to sound like an agent."

"Who was first on scene, Eric," Callen asked curiously. "Was it a routine patrol?"

"No. Two detectives were there first and then called patrol cars for assistance," he answered. "Detective Shafer and Detective Barnes."

Callen's eyes narrowed when he heard Barnes had been there, but he wasn't surprised.

"There were a couple of other names listed in the preliminary reports." Nell said, pulling up scans of police logs. "Vega and Perez."

"I met Vega at Deeks' apartment and I didn't like him much," Callen told them.

"Guys? The logs don't make sense." Nell looked confused as she enlarged the police logs on the big board. "The backup uniformed officers reported they were called at 8:42 pm and arrived within ten minutes. But the detectives' said they called in the murder at 8:25 and requested backup. So, why the big gap in time?"

"Eric, can you play the audio on that 911 call?" Hetty asked.

Eric quickly had the audio up.

"It's only about 12 seconds long." He had a questioning look on his face, but he played it as Callen nodded.

The 911 operator answered and the caller said, "I heard a gunshot that sounded like it was just down the hall so I thought I should call...Wait...I think the cops are already here...They aren't in uniform, but they're wearing badges...so I guess it's under control." The 911 operator got the address and the call ended.

"What time did that call come in?" Callen asked.

"8:05 pm."

"Barnes and Shafer were there almost immediately after the shots were fired," Nell commented.

"Or, they were there when the shots were fired," Callen said softly.

"What are you thinking, Mr. Callen?" Hetty asked.

"How did Deeks get the wound to the back of his head?" Callen began to run through his thoughts out loud. "I looked around his apartment and it didn't look like there had been much of a fight. One lamp was on the floor and a small table overturned. So if he fought with Reese and then shot him, why was the scene so undisturbed? He suffered a concussion from that blow to the back of his head. It would have knocked him out. So, when did he shoot Reese?"

"The detectives said they found him unconscious on the floor with a gun in his hand when they got there," Nell said as she quickly scanned through her information.

"The whole thing stinks to high heaven," Hetty said darkly.

"I talked to the young officer that put the transient in Deeks' cell." Callen looked at Hetty and she saw the distrust on his face. "He's Detective Barnes' brother. How do you like that coincidence?"

"There's no such thing in our line of work, Mr. Callen," she said.

"I think Reese went to talk to Deeks and was followed by Barnes and Shafer," Callen said. "I think they entered Deeks' apartment with guns drawn and then knocked Deeks unconscious and shot Reese with Deeks' gun."

"But why? And how do we prove it?" Nell asked. "And why try to kill Deeks later instead of in his own apartment?"

"Because if they killed Deeks at the same time they killed Reese, they couldn't explain why they were there." Callen said as he tried to calm his racing heart. "If they succeed in killing Deeks tonight, then no one will look closely at this case. It'll just be closed out and filed. He's a witness."

"Mr. Callen, if Deeks is still alive..." Hetty looked concerned and Callen read her thoughts.

"He's still in danger!" Callen was out the door in an instant as Hetty called Sam at the hospital.


She stood as he came into the waiting room. She couldn't stop her hands from shaking so she crossed her arms and held herself tightly, hoping not to cry. She didn't want to hear what he had to say because she wouldn't be able to bear it, if it wasn't what she so desperately needed to hear him say.

Her world now moved in slow motion. As soon as she'd seen Deeks brought into the ER, as soon as she'd seen the paleness of his skin and the brightness of the blood that covered him and that dripped onto the floor as he passed by, her world had slowed and narrowed to one thought, one desire, one need. The need for him to live, for him to breathe, for him to smile, for him to be who he had always been. She could see no world without him; she did not want a world without him.

So, she couldn't bear to hear what the doctor had to say, because if he told her he had died, then the whole world would die for her, because he wouldn't be in it.

Sam stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her and she pressed herself back against him trying to hide. But she couldn't hide anymore, because now the doctor stood in front of her and she closed her eyes like a child, trying to protect herself. She felt him place his hands on her shoulders and she opened her eyes to look into his, hoping to see some sign that her world hadn't ended.

"He made it through the surgery," Dr. Santiago said gently. "You can breathe now. He's alive."

Her whole body began to shake as all her pent up fears dissolved into the tears that she could no longer hold back. She couldn't speak, or see or hear anything else in her head except the words "He's alive."

Sam held her as she broke down and when she slowly stopped shaking he walked her outside into the cool early morning so she could breathe again.

"Sam, he's alive," She whispered and then stared out into the soft dawn. "I used to think I could conquer anything anybody threw at me. But, after this I know that's not true."

"Now you're just like the rest of us," Sam said quietly.

"Sam?" Callen stood by the entrance to the emergency room. He looked uncertain as he waited for the news. As Sam and Kensi walked toward him, he saw relief in their eyes and he began to hope.

"He's out of surgery, G," Sam said grasping his shoulder with a small smile on his face.

"He's still alive." Kensi spoke almost at the same time as Sam and the tension broke as she quickly hugged Callen.

They stood close to one another in silence for a long moment, each one touching the other, savoring the feeling of relief the doctor word's had brought them.

"Let's go find out when we can see him," Kensi said and smiling for the first time in almost two days.

"You go ahead Kens," Callen told her. "I need to talk to Sam."

"Hetty called me," Sam said, watching Kensi stride hurriedly into the ER. "You think they'll try again, here?"

"They've been trying to cover their tracks the whole time and I think they know they're running out of time. Especially if Deeks lives." Callen felt the tension return as he tried to come up with a solution that would keep Deeks out of harm's way.

"Why did Reese go to see Deeks?" Sam questioned. "Something else must have been going on during that undercover operation that even Deeks didn't know about. Something those four cops are in the middle of."

"And Reese must have wanted to come clean to Deeks about it." Callen and Sam stared at each other as their thoughts ran through the possibilities.

"Maybe when he got sober during rehab, he grew a conscience," Sam surmised. "And when he couldn't make things right, he started drinking again."

"Running into Deeks must have put him into crisis mode," Callen said, leading the way back inside. "Vega and Barnes must have found out about his run-in with Deeks and started watching him."

"So they followed him to Deeks' place," Sam finished Callen's thought.

They must have thought Reese told Deeks their names and that they were dirty." Callen said. "Now Deeks is the only loose end."

"G, they're gonna come at Deeks differently this time and probably with someone we haven't seen before," Sam suggested. "So we have to be ready for anything."

First, Callen called Hetty and let her know that Deeks was out of surgery and alive.

Then he got on the phone to OSP. "Eric, locate those four detectives," Callen said decisively, "I want to know where they are at all times, especially if they get anywhere near this hospital. And Nell, do a thorough background check on every one of them. Let's find out what they've been up to."

"Hetty has been talking to Internal Affairs," Nell chimed in. "Callen? How is he?" Her voice sounded small and tentative.

"He's still alive, Nell." Callen answered kindly. "Now we have to keep him that way."


"Should it take this long for him to wake up?" Kensi asked with worry creasing her forehead.

"We had to repair part of his heart where the knife nicked it, so we had him pretty deeply sedated." Dr. Santiago tried to comfort her as best he could. She had been here a long time without a break and he admired her stamina and the love that sustained it. She was really quite lovely, and the doctor thought Mr. Deeks was a very lucky man in more ways than one. If the knife blade had entered his body and inch higher he wouldn't be standing here trying to convince a beautiful woman that her boyfriend was going to be all right.

Kensi didn't think she would relax until she saw his eyes open and heard his voice. She reached out and lightly touched the top of his shoulder, feeling the warmth of his skin beneath her fingertips. When Callen had been here earlier, she saw his eyes water as he told her how pale and cold Deeks had been when he got to him after the attack and how healthy his skin color looked now.

Callen had scared her though, when he told her to be alert for another attempt on his life. If anyone tried to hurt him again she knew she would shoot them down without blinking an eye. She bet that would shock the good Dr. Santiago.


He felt as if he were floating in a white fog. Small sounds reached toward him and then passed by and faded away, but he felt warm and that was so much better than the chilling cold he remembered. His chest seemed weighted down and heavy and he couldn't seem to take a full breath. He wanted to open his eyes to see where he was, but he was afraid. His darker memories featured a ghoul of a man and piercing pain, so he thought he would just stay here in this warm fog until it felt safe to open his eyes. Then someone called his name, but he didn't recognize the voice. Someone lightly touched his cheek and it made him want to laugh because it was such a gentle touch. A safe touch. He opened his eyes slowly and the fog drifted slowly away. He saw blurry shapes and heard muffled sounds and soft beeping.

"Marty. Wake up sleepy head." the blurry person said. He thought it was a woman's voice. He turned his head slightly to see if he knew her, but a sharp pain made him gasp and he felt a strong hand take his and hold it until the pain subsided. He closed his eyes again and the white fog returned to shroud his mind and he floated safely there.

"He really doesn't want to wake up just yet," Dr. Santiago said patting Deeks' hand. "He's had a rough time, so let's leave him alone for awhile."

Kensi didn't want to leave but the doctor insisted, so she touched him one more time and let the doctor lead her out of the ICU.


"What have you got Eric?" Callen asked quickly as he drove to the hospital.

"I have eyes on three of the four detectives," Eric was back to his old self. "The fourth one, Francisco Perez, is also an undercover cop an is apparently on assignment."

"I don't like the sound of that, Eric," Callen said. "Find out who his case officer is and confirm. And send his photo to our phones."

"You got it." Eric told him before checking out.

Callen knew these guys would be coming after Deeks again, he just wasn't sure how and it made him nervous. He and Sam would be going undercover at the hospital tonight. That way they could stay close to Deeks without people noticing. Plus Kensi had heavily armed herself and he wouldn't want to be the guy who tried to hurt Deeks while she was around.


Kensi had dozed off with her hand tightly holding onto Deeks' arm, and that's how Callen and Sam found her in the late afternoon. They were about to wake her up when they heard a shushing sound, and were both surprised to see Deeks signing for them to be quiet. He looked tired, but his face sported a small grin and his eyes were clear.

"She's been like that for a half hour," he whispered. He looked so content that Callen almost didn't have the heart to tell him why they were really visiting him. But the serious look on Sam's face made him realize they didn't have the luxury of time. They needed to be prepared and the sooner the better. Sam put his hand on Kensi's shoulder and gently woke her. She opened her eyes and was instantly alert. Then a huge smile spread across her face as she saw Deeks looking back at her, awake and smiling.

"When did you wake up, partner?" she asked, moving to his side and reaching out to stroke his cheek while choking back tears.

"While you were sleeping," he said softly. "Hi Callen. Sam."

Callen quickly tried to get his emotions under control, but seeing Deeks looking like his old self almost did him in. Sam gripped his arm and he took a deep breath, looked at his partner and got on with what they had to do.

"Deeks, this isn't over," Callen said, watching to see how he would react. His face lost the smile and he nodded like he already knew. He took Kensi's hands in his and slowly let his breath out.

"They're going to try again." Sam said solemnly.

Deeks looked vacantly down at his hands and they could see he was struggling with his emotions. He finally looked at Kensi and held her gaze for a long time.

"Then I want a gun," he said, turning to look at Callen and Sam.

Sam had known he would and had come prepared, handing Deeks a gun that was the same make as his service revolver, which had been taken in evidence by the LAPD.

As he prepped the gun, Callen told him that he and Sam would be undercover and close by as long as it took. Sam would be a nurse and Callen a maintenance man.

"Sam?" Deeks was trying to maintain his composure, but he started to smirk and couldn't resist a smart-ass remark. "I can totally see you in a short, little white nurse's outfit. With the sexy shoes, and a blond wig. Sam, you gotta wear the blond wig."

None of them could keep from laughing, even Sam, and it was just the release they needed from the tension of the last three days.


The first night was uneventful. But none of them got any sleep, and they decided to stagger shifts so they could all get some rest. Deeks was especially exhausted and Dr. Santiago insisted he sleep during the day or he would sedate him.

By three in the afternoon, Kensi was almost asleep on her feet, so Callen sent her off to an empty room nearby to sleep for a few hours, while he went for a late lunch. There was a shift change for the nurses and Sam came on to set up watch in Deeks' room.

"I am wildly disappointed in your outfit, Sam," Deeks said sleepily.

"Tell Kensi. Maybe she can dress up for you when you get out of here," Sam laughed.

He moved around the room trying to look busy as Deeks drifted off to sleep. Sam was bending over the end of Deeks' bed when Dr. Santiago came in with another male nurse in attendance. As he started to turn toward the doctor he was hit and knocked out from behind. Dr. Santiago cried out briefly but was pistol whipped into silence and dragged into a corner. Then Cisco Perez turned his attention to Marty Deeks, who stirred restlessly in his sleep.

"Wake up Deeks," Perez whispered gruffly as he leaned over him. He pinned Deeks' right arm to the bed as he pressed his body down onto his chest. His hand covered Deeks' mouth to prevent him calling for help as he told him to wake up again.

When Deeks woke, he tensed as he looked into the eyes of Cisco Perez. He struggled to take a breath as Perez increased the pressure on his chest and pushed his head back against the pillow.

"Remember me, Deeks?" he asked with an obnoxious smirk and recognition dawn in Deeks' eyes.

"You were there that night," he said as Perez took his hand away from his mouth. "You were the one who killed Jim Ferris, you fuckin' bastard." His voice rose in anger and Perez suddenly slammed his closed fist down hard on Deeks' chest wound and pain exploded throughout his body and he shuddered as his mind became shrouded in black mist and he gasped for breath. His body drained of all energy and he lay limply on the bed as Perez smiled down on him.

"You two were about to blow a sweet deal we had going," Perez told him as he pulled out a knife and admired it in the soft light of the room.

"How'd you like that meth cocktail we made up for you, Deeks?" His laugh sounded slightly crazy and Deeks realized the man was deranged and he tried to gather himself.

"No special drugs today, Deeks, just this sharp little knife like the one I used on your good buddy Jim." Perez was beginning to enjoy himself as he held down Deeks' left arm, making a quick, deep cut across his wrist and smiling as Deeks cried out and tried to fight him. Perez backhanded him across the face and then made a longer vertical cut along the main vein in his forearm and he could feel Deeks begin to weaken as the blood began to flow out and soak into the covers of the bed.

"I'm an undercover cop just like you," Perez told him, "But all that drug money was just too tempting to pass up. Jim Ferris's little op would have dried up our suppliers and taken out a lucrative drug lab. Vega and Barnes couldn't let that happen, so they sent me undercover with Reese. He had a hard time dealing with what we did to you two, especially when he got sober. Too bad he came to see you, Deeks. If he hadn't he'd still be alive and so would you."

"Jim Ferris was a good man," Deeks said softly as he felt his life draining away. "He didn't deserve to die like that, but you do."

"You're on your way to hell, Deeks," Perez whispered as he brought the knife up to Deeks' throat.

"You first, asshole!" Deeks said weakly as he brought his gun up and fired one shot into the head of Cisco Perez.

Deeks heard him hit the floor as he dropped the gun by his side and struggled to hit the call button, but he didn't have the energy to reach it. His vision began to fade to grey and he couldn't seem to control his movements as he became more and more lethargic. He tried to call out but his voice was barely above a whisper and he knew if someone didn't come soon, he would bleed out. He'd had his vengeance on the man who had killed one of his closest friends, but now he knew he probably wouldn't live to enjoy it. The last thing he remembered was Sam's face yelling at him, but he never heard the words.


The sharp sound of the gunshot reverberated off the walls of the room, bringing Sam to his senses and a sleeping Kensi immediately to her feet. She was running before she could even think about it, slamming the door to Deeks' room wide open to see Sam shouting into Deeks' face. The side of the bed was covered in blood and Deeks was unresponsive as Sam frantically tried to stop the bleeding.

The room began to fill with nurses and doctors began CPR. In the chaos, Kensi saw Callen's shocked face as he rushed to help Sam, who had collapsed by the side of the bed. She stood helplessly with them as the doctors worked to save Deeks' life once again. He was rushed to surgery and they were left standing alone in the almost empty room, looking down at the dead body of Cisco Perez.

A feeling of utter failure overwhelmed them.


No one could console Sam. Those who tried were instantly rebuffed by the anger in his eyes and the emptiness in his face. He wouldn't even let the doctors examine the head wound he had sustained, waving them off if they came anywhere near him. Kensi sat stricken into silence in a corner chair. Callen spoke softly into his phone to Hetty who was on her way to the hospital. He looked and sounded defeated.

Cops were everywhere, but none dared invade the space of the three Federal agents. Guilt hung in the air over everyone and anger crackled unseen in the air.

Callen walked up to Sam and told him that Vega, Barnes and Shafer has been arrested, but it was if he hadn't heard for all the impression the information made on his demeanor. Kensi's eyes flashed at the news, but she still held herself tightly, waiting for news about Deeks. He had only been in surgery for a little over an hour, but if it went on any longer, Callen was afraid she would storm the OR.

Dr. Santiago was the only one brave enough to engage the three. He felt the same failure they did and they recognized that. It was the reason he offered to deliver any news about Deeks' condition, even though he had suffered a concussion and head wound in the attack. So when they saw him approaching across the crowded waiting area, they silently gathered as a group. The closer he got the smile on his face grew and the mood of the three agents slowly began to brighten.

"He's okay, guys," he said with obvious relief. "He lost an awful lot of blood and they had to stitch and stabilize the vein in his arm, but he came out of surgery strong. He's in recovery now, so you can go see him."

He was suddenly embraced by a smiling Kensi and he blushed at her touch. My God, you are a lucky man Detective Deeks, he thought. Then Callen slapped his back and Sam gave him a quick bear hug that almost cut off his circulation. They all walked together toward the recovery room, and the cops parted ranks as they passed through.


"What are you doing in there so long, Kens?" Deeks yelled from the bedroom. "I know it's suppose to be a surprise, but I'm getting lonely out here."

"Shut up, Deeks," she yelled back. "You're like a little kid waiting for Santa to come."

"He's not in there with you is he?" he laughed. "I'm naked out here, and I'm getting cold. You wouldn't want me to have a relapse would you?"

"Don't say that!" Kensi said sharply as she came out of the bathroom.

She was dressed in the sexiest nurse's outfit he had ever seen, complete with hat. It was extremely short and tight and made out of white satin, which clung seductively to every curve of her body. The neckline plunged all the way to her navel and her hair bounced provocatively around her barely covered breasts.

He was speechless but his body wasn't.

"I told you it would be worth the wait," she said as she sauntered slowly and irresistibly toward him. He could hardly wait for her to reach him. But he was ready when she did.

"Where did you ever get this idea?" he asked as he sat on the edge of the bed and enjoyed the view while exploring all the areas the tiny outfit almost covered.

"Sam." she answered as she pushed him back onto the bed and straddled him.

"Remind me to thank him if we ever get out of this room," he said smiling broadly as his hands moved slowly over the warm satin. He caressed her lovingly while staring into her laughing, magical eyes, and then he pulled her down on top of him, kissing her until neither one could breathe.

He stopped suddenly and she was afraid she had hurt him. He had only been out of the hospital for three weeks and he'd said he felt fine.

"You okay?" she asked with instant concern.

"Dr. Santiago was right," he said seriously. "I am a lucky man."

He took her face in his hands and kissed her passionately. Then his face lit up with a crooked smile and he decided she really didn't need the nurse's outfit anymore.