FANFICTION *Shakes fist* Somehow this chapter got deleted, it goes between chapters 27 and 28. The cursing I did because of this was something of legend.

::

Kensi pulled into the parking lot for the garage and she and Deeks sat there watching it for a moment. "I should go in alone," Kensi decided, "Mikhail looked interested in me last time I was here, it'll be easier to get him to talk if you're not there."

Deeks was quiet for a moment, "you're right," he didn't like it but she was. "Safe word?"

"Oh after the past few days we've been having, the sound of my gun firing sounds about right." With that she climbed out of the car and slammed the door. She needed her head to be in the game, but it didn't mean that it was easy to push it all down to put a smile on and it seemed to be getting harder by the day. She stepped into the garage and her senses on high alert, she turned when she heard footsteps.

"Well, well, well, did you find your friend?" Mikhail asked.

She frowned sadly, "he was murdered."

"I'm sorry to hear that," but there was still a slight upward curve to her mouth that she really wanted to punch off his face.

"Are you sure... you don't know anything more about who was around that night at the bar?" She made herself appear timid when she really wanted to pull out her gun and shove it in his face.

He took a couple of steps toward her but she stood her ground, her fingers twitching for her gun. "Sorry sugar, like I said, didn't see anything." He looked her up and down before shaking his head.

Her eyes narrowed, "what the hell was that about?"

He looked at her with a hint of amusement on his face, "I was just thinking how could they deny me and yet hire you?"

"Excuse me?" Kensi's blood ran cold.

"I wanted to be just like my brother you know... Declan. Spent years as a Black-Ops agent... I get injured" he points to his eye, "and I'm back stateside so fast it would make your head spin. So I try to get in with an agency, serve my country. They all deny me. I dedicated my life and they put me out to pasture." He let out a sigh, "but you... they take a weak, tiny little thing like you."

Kensi had a bad feeling and saw a potted plant in the corner that was wilting. She spoke quietly, "your fern is dying."

Deeks had been listening and knew damn well when she'd said 'your fern is dying' would have one meaning to Mikhail and a completely different meaning to Deeks, and he jumped out of the car gun in hand, "couldn't just decide on a real safe word, could you?" he muttered.

"Ally bought it," Mikhail explained, "a terrible thing for a garage." He stepped forward quickly and she took a few steps back but his reach was longer and he grabbed her hair yanking her back while taking the gun from the back of her jeans. "I would have made a fantastic agent... and yet I was the one denied... I beat them all."

"Drop it," Deeks held his gun steady aimed directly for Mikhail. "Didn't they ever teach you in bad guy school not to go off on a rant while proving yourself... you always loose after that."

"You think I've lost?" Mikhail held Kensi's own gun to her head, "I think I'm about to add another trophy."

"You can't have her," Deeks said calmly taking the safety off his gun.

Mikhail gave a smile and Deeks pulled the trigger.

Kensi had felt the wind from the bullet speed past her head, heard the crack of bone in the skull and the blood splattered onto her face and in her hair, the body collapsed beside her and she stood still as a statue for a moment.

"Kens?" Deeks had cleared the gun and checked for a pulse- none- not that he'd expected anyone to survive that shot. He stood back up and touched her shoulders gently, "Kensi?"

She looked up at him her expressive brown eyes scared and darting around the room as if scanning for another threat, eventually her eyes found his and they stopped, "Marty," she breathed out and leaned into him and he took her in his arms. She let out a shaky breath, "nice shot."

"You practice ball shots, I practice head shots," he said lightly.

She pulled away and looked down at Mikhail's body. "The man was completely nuts."

"Absolutely."

"There are still so many questions."

"I shot him... in the head," Deeks answered, "I doubt we're going to get them from him."

"The MO..."

"I know Kensi," Deeks didn't like the open ends, he liked his cases to be wrapped in pretty bows at the end, but sometimes... life just didn't work like that, and sometimes you put together the entire puzzle to find that a few pieces are missing. "I'll call it in."

She nodded and studied her partner... without him... she'd be dead, a few times over. She wondered how Callen would deal now that he was partnerless, she couldn't imagine him taking on another partner after the loss of Sam. She grit her teeth, she couldn't think about it now... but when? She ran her hands over her face and found Mikhail's blood- maybe after a shower.

::

"Callen hasn't checked in," Nell said taking a sip of tea as she sat beside Eric.

"He'll be okay," Eric assured her, "he's the best at what he does." After a moment of unfamiliar silence he looked over at her, she was chewing the nails on one hand while doing her work with the other. He opened his mouth and then closed it, they were partners, friends, the best of friends really and he knew her pretty darn well and from how he had seen them together more and more recently, and she had been taking care of him... he should have saw it sooner. "You two..." She looked over at him curiously. "You know? Together?"

Nell blushed, "I.. We... Um..."

Eric smiled, "I'll take that as a yes."

"Kinda, I mean... we haven't really talked about it or gone out or... we just..." the red colour to her cheeks intensified and took over her entire face, she quickly looked away, "we may or may not be in a r-word we haven't caught a break in this case and... we haven't had time to actually talk about what we are... becoming... or not. I don't know Eric," she sounded exasperated. "With everything else going on... we just kind of..." she shrugged and was now back to biting her nails, "what if he's just- never mind."

"No what, Nell, come on. You know you can tell me anything."

She smiled, it's why she loved Eric, she really could tell him anything- no judgements. "What if he's just with me to... take the edge off of the case."

Eric considered it for a few seconds, "no way. I've known Callen long enough to know he considers every angle of something before he commits to anything right down to tea versus coffee. If he wanted someone to take the edge off, he'd find someone- give them an alias and skip out before the next morning."

"You know all this how?"

"Men do talk, on occasion, usually under the influence of alcohol," Eric explained. "It's what he did after Dom died." He looked over at her, "but you really don't want to know about the many affairs of G Callen do you?"

"Not really," Nell admitted quietly.

Eric studied her a moment before speaking, "he wouldn't let something happen between the two of you unless he thought it was really worth it, because there are substantial risks to dating a co-worker. He must really like you Nell."

She smiled at that, "I really like him too." She looked over at Eric, "and what about you and Bethany?"

Eric gave a sheepish grin, "we're not talking about that."

"Oh really?" Nell smiled and narrowed her eyes.

"She made me dinner the first night back, I felt like hell due to the case, I think I was kind of an ass. I called her up to apologise two nights ago."

"And..."

"And it's not a workplace appropriate discussion Nell," Eric responded and it was his turn to blush.

"Ah," she replied restraining laughter. She sat up a little straighter and her laughter died. "Oh my god."

"What?" he pushed his chair a little closer and looked over her shoulder.

"It's LAPD release records. Someone just posted bail on one of the men Callen shot."

"What!" Eric looked in a panic and quickly called LAPD to confirm. "What do you mean someone posted bail... we said keep him there..." Eric hung up the phone, "idiots!"

Nell was already dialling Callen's cell phone but no one answered she looked worriedly over at Eric. "Call Kensi and Deeks, he's not answering."

"They are all burned."

::

Callen assisted in unloading the guns into a large garage in the back his hip was protesting and he wished for the second time in the day for pain pills. "Evans!" One of the guards barked, "Mr Batalia wants to see you."

"Alright," Callen walked and took the stairs carefully favouring his uninured side, and when he walked into Batalia's office he was greeted with the sight Mr Batalia himself along with three guards- one of them being one of the guards he shot to protect Deeks.

"Mr Evans," Argo sat down at his chair, "I do believe I have some questions for you."

"That so?" Callen tried to play it cool but his heart was hammering in his chest and his mind was screaming that nothing in this case thus far had gone right- so why the hell should this? He had a terrible feeling when he heard the door close behind him that he would never again see past these walls.

It was strange, usually when in a situation like this he knew he had his team behind him, somewhere nearby and if not the entire team he knew his partner had his back... but now... he didn't have Sam, and he had no idea where Kensi and Deeks were... he was completely and utterly alone and the quote, 'live together, die alone' came to mind and after it was there it simply wouldn't leave.

He forced the calm to wash over him forced away the images of his friends, family, of Nell because he couldn't have them here in this room dying with him- if he stood any chance he had to completely become Richard Evans- he had to let go of the rushing thoughts of G Callen because the past few days had been a whirlwind and he couldn't deal with them while trying to survive. Two guards forcefully shoved him into the chair he tried to ignore the pain but it was there, his hip screaming.

"You shot two of my guards," Argo said, "where is my son."

"How the hell would I know?" Callen sat back with an air of insolence which earned him a swift punch to the solar plexus and all air left him for a moment.

"I'll ask you again, where is my son?" Callen wheezed in a breath of air. "You ran out after my son... what did you do?'

"Nothing, he was gone by the time I got to the street." Callen lied.

Argo gave a wave of a hand and a knife was unsheathed and held in the heavy guards hand who was waving it dangerously close. Callen had a few options- launch an attack and hope to hell the knife was the only weapon in the room- but since that seemed highly unlikely, sitting there and lying his ass off seemed like the only option.

Argo spoke once again. "The lawyer, William Trent... he's a cop."

Callen's blood ran cold- if Argo knew... did that mean that Deeks was...

"I just received the file from someone who owes me many favours," the file was opened and surveillance shots of Deeks were spread across the table. "Trust my son to hire a cop," the man lit up a cigar. "And my guard here... he was cuffed by your... Detective Martin Deeks... and you two knew each other."

"I didn't know he was a cop."

"Really," Batalia seemed to find the whole thing funny and Callen knew that there was no amount of bull shit that would fix it, because he already knew.

In that moment Callen realized he was burned.

"If you already have the answers why bother questioning me."

"I don't like loose ends, and there are many." Argo responded. "You... you are a ghost, Richard Evans... he seems real, his papers look real... but they are not." The man took a puff of the cigar and sat back satisfied. "The detective was with you... along with the beautiful woman..." Argo pulled out photos that showed Callen pointing a gun to the back of Auric's head and Kensi was off to the side. "Do you still wish to lie?"

Callen swallowed hard, one guard he could take, two maybe if he was lucky, three and Argo himself who he was quite sure wasn't unarmed- it just wasn't going to happen. "One of you is going to tell me where I can find these other agents." Argo stood showing Callen the pictures of Kensi and Deeks.

"I have no idea who they are," Callen said. "Give me a phone, I'll call them, set up a meet."

Argo reached out to the guard and the knife was put into his hands. "Do not lie to me."

"I'm not."

Argo slashed a line across his chest and Callen stood skidding the chair back. The wound wasn't deep but it proved a point. Blood stained the white collared shirt he was wearing quickly. "You will give them a safe word and they will know you are in danger, you think this is my first time around the block?"

"No," Callen replied with ease but Callen realized the odds were horribly stacked in Batalia's favour.

"Take him to the basement, find out he reports to and how deep this investigation of theirs goes," Argo ordered his steely grey eyes meeting Callen's icy cool ones. "And someone find Nicholas Wren... and kill him."

Callen blood ran cold as he was gripped by two strong men, one hand on his arm right over the bullet graze and all he could manage was to not cry out but one of the men noticed the pain etching into his face, "I bet I crack him within an hour."

"I give him two," the second guard bet.

::

"Kensi, Deeks, your aliases have been burned!" Eric announced when they picked up their phones.

"Callen?" Kensi asked.

"Burned... and we don't know exactly where he is, we do have him coming back to the mansion but... that's it."

"So he's somewhere inside, with the men who want to kill us now that Argo knows we're cops?" Deeks felt the panic well inside of him.

"Yeah, Hetty wants you both back to ops ASAP."

"Well..." Kensi replied, "we need a coroner... Mikhail O'Connell confessed and now he's dead. I'll fill in on the debrief but right now we need to worry about Callen. Send LAPD to close off the scene."

"Dispatching now," Eric replied.

::

Kensi was pacing in the ops centre and it was making Deeks a little dizzy, "Kens... we're going to get him out."

"How!" She nearly shouted, "he's inside a huge mansion with Argo Batalia and a million henchmen! We can't stealth our ways in we're burned and we can't go in hard because if they hear us they will kill him!"

"Enough!" Nell yelled and got into Kensi's space, "if you're not going to calm down and help logically think out how we are going to get him out of there than get the hell out of ops!"

Deeks and Eric both stood back with wide eyes. "My money's on Nell," Eric whispered.

"I'm Kensi's partner, she scares the bejesus out of me," Deeks replied, "my money's on Kens."

Kensi was taken back, Nell was quiet, happy-go-lucky but when she wanted to put someone in their place, she dug deep and could dish it out. Kensi couldn't believe that her emotions had gotten away with her. She let out a breath and looked down a little ashamed, "you're right. I'm sorry."

Nell stormed back to her seat and was bringing up a satellite feed for heat seeking over the mansion... after she had hacked the satellite, completely unsanctioned, and was quite sure she'd be hearing about that later.

Deeks put an arm around Kensi's shoulders as they watched the tech's work, she glared at him. "I hate feeling like this, it's all out of our hands," Kensi said miserably, "we're burned... and... we can't loose Sam and Callen." She couldn't imagine work with out the dream team, much less her life with out the partners who were more like brothers and the closest thing she'd had to family in a long time. She loved them like brothers and Sam didn't remember who she was and Callen was sitting in that mansion... the footage came up on screen and the heat signatures showed somewhere between thirty to forty people and any one of them could be Callen. She felt sick and twisted out of Deeks's grasp running out of ops.

::

"All you have to do is tell us how far this goes," the guard was saying as he twirled a thin blade.

"All you have to do to get this to stop is tell us who is investigating..." the guard picked up a picture of Kensi, "and maybe give me this babe's number."

Callen said nothing, looked at the photograph with no interest or recognition before looking up at the man blandly.

"You just going to keep giving us the silent treatment?"

If there was one thing people hated- it's being ignored. Callen counted ceiling tiles, he was on twenty three... or was it twenty four? He started over.

"Who is investigating?" The man yelled in his face when he reached tile ten. Eleven, twelve, thirteen. Four stabs in quick succession right under his collarbone, even Callen who prided himself in the ability to keep quiet during interrogations let out an anguished cry.

Callen had been trying to get out of the handcuffs that were through a ring in the floor which put him in the vulnerable position of on his knees with no way to defend himself. His wrists were bleeding but the cuffs were too tight to wiggle out of. His breath is ragged and he looks down at the blood staining his shirt and the only thing he can think is that it's one of Hetty's. Still she shouldn't have let him out in a white shirt- she knows he can't help but get them dirty.

Callen tried to keep the smirk at the thought off his face, but he just couldn't help it.

A couple blows to the head ensured things stopped being funny- and the world got a whole lot less clear, the edges of everything was now blurred which was okay with Callen because at least it meant a couple more rounds of interrogation and he might just black out, and Callen thought he had a chance of survival because they needed answers and as long as Callen didn't give them... he might just stall them long enough to make it out of there alive.