DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Just playing with them and promise not to break anything.

SUMMARY: Three conversations, two before "The Debt" and one after.

I. Three Men and a Hetty

"Please leave a message at the tone."

"Hey Kensi, I've got one more meeting with someone named Marie in H.R. about my insurance but I should be back around lunch. Since I successfully requalified with my weapon and filled a cup for my drug test, I'm treating myself to Pann's. If you want something, send me a text. I'm thinking chicken and waffles." Deeks hung up just as he stepped into the elevator. He hoped H.R. was still on the seventh floor. The new Police Administrative Building was a mystery to him. This was his fourth trip to the new place. The first time was getting chewed out after NCIS took over his six month drug ring case, second time was after the Emilio Ortega disaster and third was requalifying after getting shot. Not a lot of good things happened here.

Deeks found the H.R. office and asked for Marie. Marie, sitting in a chair in the waiting room, handed him an envelope and suggested he open it right away. The note requested his presence in a meeting immediately at the Emergency Operations Center. Again, not a lot of good things happened here. Marie's final responsibility was to deliver him to the EOC

Once there, Deeks was found Deputy Chief Tom Warner with Callen and Hetty waiting for him. "Has something happened to Kensi?"

"No Mr. Deeks, Miss Blye is fine. She's currently working with Mr. Beale on a project that should take most of the day," Hetty reassured him.

Deeks turned his attention to the Deputy Chief. "Am I getting fired?"

"No, Detective," Deeks noted the emphasis Warner put on his title, "your work with NCIS and our offices has been satisfactory."

"So we're having a super secret meeting here in this super secret room because..."

Callen pointed to a chair next near where Deeks was standing. "There are some issues with the joint operation you're coordinating between LAPD and NCIS."

Deeks sat. "Issues?"

"You've investigated Clarence Fisk in the past, correct." Callen started.

"Yes. If you work for Roger Bates, sooner or later you go after Clarence Fisk."

Warner opened a file. "This was fairly early in your career."

"Bates likes sending in fresh faces to work cases against Fisk. I spent about two months as a wannabe talent agent who supplemented his income by dealing on the side."

"Eleven people were arrested but Fisk wasn't one of them." Warner closed the file. "And no one turned on Fisk either."

Deeks wondered why they were reviewing a six-year old case. "I never got close to Fisk but Bates was worried that my cover had too many holes. I got pulled but not until I got a handful of his low level associates on tape. Nobody would flip on Fisk. Caesar Lopez could have walked on his charges if he just cooperated but he's finishing up a seven year sentence because nobody talks about Fisk."

Warner took out another file. "Your eleven arrests and Daryl Crawford's thirteen arrests two years later represents the LAPD's most successful run at Fisk."

"Why do you think Bates uses fresh faces as you called them?" Callen asked.

"Fisk is beyond paranoid. Won't allow his name to be used in a conversation. Ever. Doesn't do anything to draw attention to himself. Travels with muscle but always at a distance. Lives in a good neighborhood but not in a mansion. Drives a quality car but nothing ostentatious. His suits are custom made but nothing flashy." Deeks ran his hand through his hair. "He studies the force, knows who's around. I was a month out of the Legal Bureau and just finished my first real undercover when I was sent in. Nobody knew me in Palos Verdes, cops or criminals, so it was my case to make."

Callen followed up. "That case was in late 2005."

"That's about right."

"And Crawford finished in 2007."

"Can't tell you much about that case. I was working on something else and didn't see much of the squad around that time."

"Where's Daryl Crawford now."

"Right now, not sure. I know he move east with his girl after she got a big time job offer. Last I heard, he was working corporate security for some Fortune 500 company."

"Do you think it is strange that the two officers who've had any success with Clarence Fisk are both no longer active members of the department?" Callen asked.

Deeks answer was immediate. "I still consider myself an active member of LAPD."

"As does the department," Warner added.

"What's going on here?" Setting up this joint task force was difficult enough now Deeks felt a turf war between LAPD and NCIS was about to start.

Warner sighed. "There is a thought that Clarence Fisk may have a member of the LAPD on his payroll."

Deeks turned his attention to Warner. "Has IA looked at this?"

"Years ago, found nothing."

"Years ago? What's going on that this is suddenly a priority." Deeks looked at Hetty and Callen. "And what does this have to do with NCIS?"

Warner explained LAPD's interest. "I want to do an off the books investigation into why we can't get anything on Fisk. Why Lt. Bates, whose clearance rate is second best in the department, can't get sniff against Fisk."

"You think Bates is dirty?" Deeks asked the Deputy Chief.

Warner answered with a question, "Do you?"

"No." Deeks was unsure of a lot of things when it came to the department. He was sure about Bates. "How does this impact the joint task force?"

"I want you back with the department both to stop the sale of the RDX and to find out if anyone on the LAPD payroll is also on Clarence Fisk's payroll," Warner explained.


Warner took a deep breath. "With the help of NCIS, we're coming up with a number of scenarios that will cause LAPD to terminate the liaison position."

"So I am getting fired."

Warner started to clear up his previous statement, "No, the liaison position will be eliminated..."

"Temporarily," Hetty added.

"Yes, Ms. Lange, temporarily. You will return to Lt. Bates's squad and work to recover the RDX, capture Fisk and uncover a mole if there is one."

"Since my work with NCIS is satisfactory to LAPD, the scenarios that send me back to Bates aren't going to be positive, are they?"

Callen almost sounded sorry, "No. Your reputation is going to take a hit. Temporarily."

"Not much of a reputation to start with," Deeks sighed. "So I do something awful and get sent back to LAPD. Why is Bates going to trust me to do anything with his team since I just did something awful?"

"Lt. Bates respects what you have accomplished, even if he's..." Warner struggled for the right words, "if he's not always found you...he hasn't..."

Deeks decided to end Warner's struggles,"Yeah, I get it."

"No Detective, you don't. Roger Bates respects all you've done. Early October was the one year anniversary of you being assigned to NCIS full-time and his report on your accomplishments was positive. The problem is you're not his cup of tea. It doesn't bother you that you're not his cup of tea and that bothers him. Bates's military background doesn't quite jibe with your style. Neither one of you is wrong in this. You're both very effective for the department." Warner's phone rang. "Excuse me, I have to take this."

As Warner leaves, Deeks asked Hetty, "Why aren't Sam and Kensi here?"

"Mr. Hanna is looking for Michael Saleh. We expect his return in a day or two. Miss Blye has the most important role in this operation."

"Which is?"

"She will be part of whatever event returns you to LAPD. Kensi won't know it's staged," Callen told him.

Deeks was startled at first but then it sunk in. "So she's going to think I screwed up, got fired, sorry, reassigned and I'm gone for good."

"Chief Warner explained that he could get you back on LAPD's Fisk investigation if Bates believes you would be helpful and completely loyal to him."

Deeks's phone chirped. He gave it a quick look. "There was a cop shot on Pico. That's probably why Warner left."

Hetty crossed the room and sat next to Deeks. "Then we have a few minutes, Mr. Deeks. As you know, Lt. Bates was a highly accomplished interrogator during the Gulf War. We believe he'll talk to Miss Blye before allowing you back on his taskforce."

And the picture was now complete for Deeks. "And a clueless Kensi is going to sell my story. A human backstop."

Callen nodded. "She'll have seen you screw up. Sam and I will not be as supportive as we could be."

"I will likely announce the end of the liaison position with Miss Blye present." Deeks almost thought there was a hint of regret in Hetty's voice.

"So you guys are going to use our partnership against Kensi." Deeks shook his head. "Wow."

"Do you believe Miss Blye could successfully fool Lt. Bates?"

Deeks closed his eyes. "That's a hell of a question, Hetty."

"Mr. Deeks?"

"If I say that Kensi can sell the story and she doesn't, I screw up the case. If I say that Kensi can't sell the story..."

Warner returned to the EOC. "I'm sorry to break up our meeting but an officer was shot and I need to attend to that immediately and immediately in this room." He turned to Deeks. "Detective, this is an important case for the LAPD both to protect the public and to make sure our house is in order. I need to speak to you before you leave but I do believe you with Ms. Lange and Agent Callen can coordinate this operation."

"We'll clear out." Callen went to shake Warner's hand. "We'll be in touch."

"Detective Deeks and I are the only members of LAPD you are to contact in this matter. Deputy Chief Paul Patrick in Legal is aware of the operation but you only speak with Detective Deeks or with me."

"And you trust Chief Patrick, Chief Warner?" Hetty asked.

"Paul is my brother-in-law. We share a love of this department, Dodger season tickets and a well-placed fear of my wife, his sister. I trust him completely."

"Good to know," Callen smiled. "Deeks, go to the Boathouse. We'll talk there."

Warner waited for Hetty and Callen to leave before addressing Deeks. "This room is going to be full in about five minutes and they can't see you so I will make this fast. This is between you and me and I do not want it reported to NCIS."

"Go ahead."

"For the most part, I agree with you that Roger Bates is probably solid but I can't explain why he's been after Fisk for over a decade with no success."

"Why isn't Internal Affairs involved?"

"I've got a man we can't seem to arrest out there trying to sell explosives to the highest bidder. I don't have time for an Internal Affairs investigation."

"With all do respect sir, I was involved in an altercation in a squad room a few years ago and less than an hour later Internal Affairs wanted to see me. If they thought Bates was dirty..."

Warner cut Deeks off, "Someone is protecting Clarence Fisk, plain and simple. I know it isn't me, I know it isn't you and I know it isn't Paul Patrick. After that, it could be anyone from this department, from the DA's office, from the feds. Find the mole, Detective." Warner started walking Deeks to a side door exit of the EOC. "Stop the sale of the RDX, find the mole and you'll be back with NCIS."

"Yes sir."

Deeks closed the door behind him. As he walked unnoticed to the elevator - everyone was rushing to the EOC for the officer's shooting - his phone chirped again. Kensi was starving and wanted BLT. She called him a lifesaver. Awesome. A nice moment to use against her.