Treasures: Chapter 10
The three team members were silent as Sam drove through surface streets at breakneck speeds. Each one was keeping their fears to themselves and they each knew the price that would be paid if they didn't reach Hetty's house in time. They had argued over the best route when they'd all jumped in Sam's Challenger at OSP, but it only took one loud expletive from Sam for the other two to instantly shut up. Sam rarely swore, and when he did everyone knew the depth of the anger behind it. They rode in silence until they heard Eric on their comms, telling them he had the security footage from Hetty's house on their tablets. As they watched the live feed and after noting the two guards watching the front entrance, Callen couldn't help but marvel at Deeks' instant alias.
"How does he come up with these characters, Kens?" he asked as they watched him wave like a little boy at four armed men.
"He's crazy, what can I say," she answered with a brief smile.
"No, he's smart," Sam said. "He knew he needed an alias that wouldn't be a threat to these guys, and he used his regular goofy nature as a base. He looks and acts like a kid most of the time anyway."
"If he wasn't convincing, he'd have been dead in two minutes," Callen said and they all fell silent at the thought.
His antics brought solemn smiles, but the seriousness of the situation made them anything but funny. He was playing the role of his life for both of them. If he couldn't stall until they got there, Hetty would be lost and so would he.
Callen tried to contain the fear gnawing at him. The thought of losing Hetty was unacceptable. That her survival rested on the shoulders of one of their newest agents left him slightly disconcerted. He had grown to trust Deeks in a firefight and as a partner for Kensi, but trusting him to keep Hetty from being killed using just his skill at working an alias was pushing Callen a little beyond his comfort zone.
"Driving a little slow aren't you?" He said sharply to Sam.
Sam didn't respond, knowing how agitated and worried he was about Hetty and Deeks. He just pushed down on the gas and gave his partner a look that got the response he expected, hands up in surrender and a silent shake of the head. Sam's stomach had been churning since Callen had told him what was happening. If he hadn't been driving he would be jumping out of his skin. He couldn't imagine OSP without Hetty and he didn't want to think about Kensi losing a partner and the man she obviously loved. Deeks might be the newest member of the team, but in the time he'd been with them he had made the team better and even though he had a hard time admitting it, Sam had become a convert. He liked the kid and he felt his anger flash whenever he saw the men strike him on the security footage.
Kensi kept clutching her weapon tighter and tighter, so anxious to be out of the car and running to help Deeks that she had to tell herself to calm down again and again. She knew how capable he was in tense situations. She had seen him throw on an alias at the drop of a hat, but this was different. These men were cold-blooded killers who were armed and she knew he wasn't. His only protection was his ability to fool them into thinking he was harmless. She stared down at the weapon in her hands once more and waited, trying to stay focused so that when they got there she would be able to do her job and back up her partner, because the thought of losing him was too hard to deal with.
When Callen took Deeks' last call, Sam's adrenaline caused the car to shoot thought the quiet neighborhood like dark lightning. They all knew time was running out. They had heard it in Deeks' voice. He needed them now and he was counting on them to be there when his play ran out.
Hetty hadn't realized she'd been holding her breath until she saw Deeks limp out onto the patio. He was smiling broadly as he stopped and waved exuberantly and held up the briefcase for all to see. He started toward them, but then looked back inside the house as if he'd heard something and then he turned and went back inside.
"What the hell is that moron doing?" Kirov growled.
"You have no empathy for others, do you Kirov?" Hetty said.
"Not for a village idiot like Jimmy," he said coldly. "There's no point. His life is over and he's just taking up space until he dies or until I put him out of his misery."
He gave her a surly smile and she shivered at his callousness and lack of humanity. She tried to calm her fear for Deeks and prayed silently that Callen and the team was closing in, because she wasn't sure how much longer either of them had to live. She sensed Kirov's uneasiness and she hoped Deeks didn't try and cut his disappearing act too close. Just as she thought Kirov was going to send his other man after Jimmy, he appeared once again at the top of the steps and started toward them. The bodyguard was nowhere to be seen and Hetty stifled a sudden smile, knowing that somehow Deeks had managed to lower the odds slightly. She felt a sense of pride as he limped heavily down the stairs. He had created the perfect alias for the situation and was playing the part flawlessly, giving the team the time they needed to come to their aid. She wished they could all see what he was doing, but then remembered that they were probably linked into her security cameras and were watching his performance as they raced through the streets.
"I found it Miss Hetty!" Jimmy said proudly and firmly put the briefcase in her hands, shooting her a look he hoped she understood.
Hetty sat down in the chair with the briefcase in her lap. The three men stood over her with their backs to the pool as Jimmy stood next to Hetty and smiled at them, looking quite pleased with himself.
"Where's Uri?" Kirov asked.
"Who's Uri?" Jimmy asked, looking from Kirov to Hetty and back again.
"The man who took you to the house, you idiot," Kirov's face flushed with anger and he grabbed the front of Jimmy's tee shirt and yanked him close.
Jimmy stammered and began shaking and Kirov slapped him hard and asked him again.
"He had to pee," Jimmy said softly and cringed, putting his hands in front of his face to ward off another blow. Kirov shoved him back and Jimmy steadied himself on Hetty's chair.
"Give me the file, Henrietta, before I really lose my temper and shoot your idiot friend Jimmy here," Kirov said, his voice low and menacing as he towered over Hetty.
She raised her hands to placate him and then opened the briefcase.
Deeks saw Pasha slowly remove a gun from his waistband and he knew there was no time left. He took a step back from Hetty's chair and then launched himself at Pasha and the other bodyguard. Deeks took them completely by surprise, his forearms hitting each man in the upper chest, knocking them off their feet and into the pool with him on top of them, all three disappearing in a huge splash. Pasha's gun discharged and Deeks' body shuddered in pain, causing him to take in a mouthful of water. He struggled to fight the two men, but the bodyguard had recovered quickly and grabbed him by the throat, throttling him and pushing him toward the bottom of the pool. As his air was cut off, the searing pain in his side intensified and he fought a losing battle to stay conscience. As blackness closed around him, he felt his body go limp and his last thoughts were of Hetty and a hope she would survive.
Hetty had been as surprised as the men in front of her when Deeks attacked and took advantage of the distraction as Kirov's head turned to follow the descent of the men into the pool. He drew his gun, but made the mistake of discounting Hetty as a threat and she stood quickly, spilling file folders from the briefcase as she grasped the long dagger in both hands and plunged the knife up and into Kirov's chest. She felt him shiver as the dagger found his heart, his blood flowing down over her hands and she saw a look of surprise briefly crossed his face before he collapsed at her feet. The world was suddenly silent as she stared down at the man lying dead beneath her. It had been a long time since she had killed someone and she fought to catch her breath as adrenaline rushed through her body. Then she felt a warm hand on her shoulder and looked up into the sharp blue eyes of Callen, and the world began to turn once again.
"Hetty, are you okay?" He asked.
"Yes, Mr. Callen," she answered.
Before she could point him toward Deeks, she saw Sam leap feet first into the pool with Kensi right behind him. The water was churning with bodies and frothy with blood. Pasha broke the surface and pointed his gun toward Hetty, but never got a shot off as Callen stepped in front of her and fired three bullets into his chest. As his blood spread out across the pool, Sam rose from the water with the head of the bodyguard firmly in his grasped. He swiftly twisted it, breaking the man's neck and shoving him away angrily before diving under once again. Hetty felt a surge of emotion as she saw Deeks floating near the bottom of the pool with Kensi reaching for him to pull him to the surface. Sam was beside her in an instant, wrapping his huge arms around Deeks' body and kicking strongly for the surface. Between them, they eased him up onto the steps of the pool and then up out of the water. Sam laid him on his back on the warm brick of the patio and Kensi began CPR as Sam worked to stop the bleeding from the shallow wound in his side. No one spoke as they waited for a response.
"Come on Deeks, breathe," Kensi said urgently as she worked on him, trying to keep her fear from overwhelming her.
"An ambulance is on the way, Kens," Callen said anxiously.
Kensi had stopped chest compressions and had started to check his airway when Deeks suddenly coughed and rolled onto his side as water poured from his mouth. Everyone started breathing again as he expelled more water from his lungs and struggled to speak.
"Hetty?" His voice was weak and hoarse and he pushed Sam away as he frantically searched for her.
"I'm fine Mr. Deeks," Hetty said and took the hand he reached toward her. He laughed and coughed as he fell onto his back and Kensi moved to cradle his head in her lap. Hetty came to stand where he could see her and they held each other's gaze, silently assuring one another that they had beaten the odds and survived.
"You're bleeding, Hetty," he said, panicking as he saw the blood that covered her hands.
"That would be Kirov's blood, Mr. Deeks," Hetty said, patting his hand. "That dagger you slipped me came in quite handy."
"You killed him, Hetty?" Deeks asked softly in surprise.
"Yes, and this time, I'm sure he's dead," she said firmly.
"You two make quite a team, Hetty," Callen said with a relieved look on his face. "We may have to consider sending you two out on assignment together one of these days."
"Jimmy and I are quite content to rest on our laurels after this one, Mr. Callen. At least I am," Hetty said.
"I can't afford to rest on mine, Hetty," Deeks said. "I used one of your antique paperweights to bash Uri's head in, so I think I'm gonna need to get a second job or take out a loan to pay you back. Either that or live out of my car."
"Nonsense, Mr. Deeks," Hetty said. "I'll just expense it as a weapon of convenience."
"You've made Jimmy very happy, Miss Hetty," Deeks said with a goofy grin as the paramedics knelt beside him.
Hetty took a deep breath as they lifted him onto the gurney. She had brought him to her home to assess his qualities and determine what other skills he needed to acquire to make him a better agent, but he had proven that sometimes, the ability to fly by the seat of your pants comes in handy. She wouldn't forget that and she wouldn't forget how much she had enjoyed having him around. He really was quite charming.
Thanks to all who followed this story. Your comments have been such an encouragement and I greatly appreciate those of you who saved it as one of your favorites. Until next time...Sweet Lu.