DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Just playing with them and promise not to break anything.
SUMMARY: Kensi has questions, Deeks has a J.D. Post-"Plan B"
I. "That is a good question for you to ask, not a wise question for me to answer." - Anthony Eden
Deeks opened the door to his apartment with his weapon in his right hand, his phone cradled to his ear. Kensi held up a six-pack of Abita Golden and a takeout bag from Brooklyn Johnny's. Deeks looked around outside before pulling Kensi into his apartment. He returned to his phone conversation, "You're sure you don't need me to come in?"
Deeks watched Kensi walked into his living room. He saw her turn her fine investigative eye to his place. She tried to invite herself over after he was shot, after Stan King bruised her jaw and sprained his hand, after they dropped Eric home when he survived almost being frelted but he always managed to keep her out. It was the last bit of his life that didn't include her - his last hiding place.
He knew the living room looked like a furniture ad. There was a large, white sectional couch with two arc floor lamps behind it. A big flat-screen TV sat on a white media cabinet that housed his fairly impressive sound system, the electronics courtesy of the monthly LAPD auction. By the front window sat a desk with both a desktop computer and his LAPD laptop. Monty's empty dog bed was near the desk.
The place did not have one photo, one magazine, one knickknack. There was a breakfast bar by a kitchen that had all stainless steel appliances. It was sleek, it was modern and it really wasn't him. That was the idea. If someone followed him home, well, it wasn't much of a home.
She put the beer and the food on the breakfast bar and turned back to him. He needed to get off the call. "Alright, just call me when it all goes down. Bridges not answering his phone would worry me more if he didn't have a history of losing the damn thing once a month." Deeks holstered his gun then ran his hand through his hair. "I know you guys were wrapping this up but today didn't help." Deeks smiled as he finished up his call, "Yeah, I'll stop by. See you there."
"Do you need to leave?" she asked. "Do I need to leave?"
"No, this was LAPD business. Long undercover for some folks I know is coming to a slightly abrupt end tonight."
"If you want to go..." Kensi picked up the beer.
"No, they don't need me there and it is probably better for everyone if I'm not there." Deeks pushed his cell phone into his pocket. "And why are you here?"
"Rough day, I'd figured we'd have a beer, you told me you liked this Brooklyn place.
"Yes I did." He walked into the kitchen and grabbed a couple of plates. He watched Kensi open her beer and look around to figure out where to put the cap.
"Vet's office. He's been limping around the last day or two. I had three messages from the vet when I got home but the office is closed." He put the plates and on the breakfast bar and started unpacking the food. "What don't you like about the apartment?" He figured the meatball hero was hers and the chicken parm was for him.
"Like it all. Very clean look."
"Says the woman who is going to be on "Hoarders" one day."
"No, it is ..."
"Sterile? I had someone call it sterile once. Stark too."
"If you're comfortable..."
"It was the model apartment for the complex. The woman who owns the place is married to one of my old training officers. I was looking for an apartment, his wife always liked putting cops in her rentals. Worked out for everyone."
She joined him, eyeing her hero. "Those look good."
"Worst thing about being shot. Can't get dinner from Johnny's once a week anymore." He thought about it for a minute. "Well, second worse. Getting shot was actually the worst part of getting shot."
Kensi took a big bite out of her dinner. "Oh God, this is amazing."
"Told you, second worse." Deeks smiled and tore into his meal. An apple he had at the courthouse was the last thing he remembered eating. The two ate in comfortable silence with Deeks grabbing a beer of his own. With one bite left, Deeks turned his attention back to his partner. "While I am happy with the free food and beer, not having to reset the Sam Hanna don't eat at the same place twice a month clock and of course, the company, why are you here Kensi?"
Kensi seemed startled by the question. "I thought you might want to talk."
"Yeah, you know, about today..."
"This from a woman who could get 'Shut up, Deeks' to trend on Twitter."
"No it's just..."
Deeks's cell phone rang. He fished it out of his pocket. "Hold that thought," he told Kensi. He walked away from her as he answered the phone.
Kensi finished her meal while watching Deeks pace by his desk.
"So Bridges was with Anderson when the bust happened. Perfect." Deeks exhaled in relief. "I'll be there. I'll even bring the doughnuts. See you tomorrow."
He felt like a weight was lifted. Normally, he'd be thrilled to share dinner with Kensi, even if she finally saw his model apartment lifestyle. The end of the long undercovers and Teddy Bridges not answering his phone made him poor company. Plus, he knew she was up to something. Kensi had many wonderful qualities, a light touch where her friends were concerned wasn't one of them.
Kensi finally got him out of his own head. "Can I ask?"
"Max Gentry got a number of friends," Deeks emphasized the last word with air quotes, "into some different enterprises over the years. The plan was to have Ray go into WITSEC and spend the next few days bringing everyone in."
"How many friends?" Kensi smiled as she mimicked Deeks's air quotes.
"Four. One with a fence, one stealing cars for a chop shop, one second-story man - Max's old area of expertise - and one crooked accountant."
"Nice night for the LAPD." Kensi handed Deeks a celebratory bottle of beer.
"Four years work for two of those guys. Good night for everybody but the bad guys." Deeks put his beer down on the table and finished Kensi's clean-up. "So, why do you think I want to talk?"
"You always want to talk, Deeks. You never shut up."
"I disagree with 'never' but since you're the one usually insisting on me not talking, why are you really here Kensi?" Deeks took dishes, empty beer bottles and what was left of the take-out wrapping into the kitchen waiting for an answer.
In silence, Deeks rinsed the dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, put the beer bottles in his recycling bin and even tied up the trash to take it out in the morning. When he returned to his living room, Kensi was sitting on the end of his couch looking at her boots.
"Kensi, you're still here?" Deeks feigned being startled. "With the long silence and non-response, I figured you just dined and dashed." Deeks looked at her curled up on the right side of the sectional, her boots off and on the floor. In typical Kensi fashion, one was tipped over, the other facing in the wrong direction. Yes, he thought, she's now got a foothold in every part of his life.
"You don't want to talk?"
"No. Do you want me to talk?" Deeks watched Kensi react in surprise to that question. Her return to silence bothered him. "Kensi?" Deeks wasn't teasing any more.
She looked at him. "I know you, I think."
"You know me, Kensi."
"Do I? I know you had some rough ops with the LAPD but I guess you surprised me today."
Deeks plopped down on the chaise side of the sectional. "Remember your question outside the bar this morning about Max being a beer guy or a wine guy?"
"My guys weren't beer guys or wine guys. They were wannabes, assholes and-or dirt bags. Max managed to be all three."
"And a second-story man."
"And a second-story man. A highly under-appreciated skill." Deeks stood and moved to his desk. Pulling out a yellow legal pad from a drawer, he fished around for a pen. He dropped his phone on the recharging mat next to his laptop. "Notice how easily I slipped into the handcuffs? Not the first time for Max." Returning to her, he handed Kensi the pad and pen before plopping on the chaise side of the couch. "You want me to talk, write."
Kensi lifted an eyebrow.
"I, Kensi Marie Blye, NCIS Special Agent 17239..."
Kensi smiled. "You know my badge number off the top of your head?"
"I have to identify you in every report I write for the LAPD so yes, I know your badge number off the top of my head." He pointed to the pad before continuing, "I, Kensi Marie Blye, NCIS Special Agent 17239 will answer, now leave a blank space, questions asked by Marty Deeks, LAPD 4417 at a day and time of his choosing."
"But what if I don't want to answer your questions?"
"So I have to tell you everything about me but you get to keep your secrets." Deeks figured he put just enough challenge in that reply to get Kensi's competitive juices going.
"I get follow-up questions."
"On a case by case basis. Sign." After Kensi signed, Deeks motioned for the pad and pen. He smiled when he saw she signed with her badge number next to her name. He did the same. "We'll initial where the actual question number is added."
"You really did go to law school, didn't you?"
Deeks smiled and just as he went to open his mouth Kensi yelled "No! Rhetorical question, doesn't count."
"OK, the meter is running - go." Deeks put mark for the first question on their contract.
Kensi thought for a few seconds. "Why did you go to law school?"
Deeks was not expecting that as an opening question. "I took the police entrance exam when I was still in college. The classes at the Academy were being deferred due to budget cuts. I had to do something, didn't see the use of an MBA, didn't know what else to do so law school made sense."
"Why didn't you stay with the law? You like to talk."
Deeks smiled, marking another question asked. "I interned in the DA's office between first and second year of law school. Had no interest in that. I was starting my third year when my LAPD class got called. Since they were catching up, I was allowed to move back a class and finish school. Timing worked out fine."
"Follow-up. Why no interest in the DA's office?"
"Fair follow-up. Too many deals. Can't really see giving a guy dealing to teenagers in South Central a break just because he can give you his distributor. The people in that neighborhood in deserve justice."
Kensi nodded. "Ray's file said you were Max Gentry for over a year."
"562 days. Just short of 19 months."
"Were you Max every day?"
"I was. 562 days of fights, loan sharkings, numbers running, drug deals, weapon trafficking, a little grand theft and some second-story work. It was great." There was a hint of disgust in his voice. Deeks stood, "You want another beer? I want another beer."
"Can I ask you a question? Give you a freebie on one of yours."
Deeks wandered back into the living room with his beer. "What was your longest cover?"
"You know I haven't had..."
"I know, you haven't had a long cover like Max but what's your longest? Like a month?"
Kensi looked down.
"So for eleven days you were..."
"And what did Kensi Benson do?"
"Tutor for Vice Admiral Michael Dial's 14-year old daughter. There was a credible threat against Dial and his family in Alexandria. He wouldn't take protection for himself but when he was mailed photographs of his daughter, I moved in with the family as a Georgetown grad student. Sharon Dial was a bit of an underachiever at National Cathedral School. It worked."
"For eleven days."
"It was just before I was assigned to Special Projects. After the threat was neutralized, Hetty and Lara Macy, an old boss, met with me at the Navy Yard and I moved here. Kensi Benson got a note from Sharon when she got into Georgetown. Threat against her father sort of scared her straight."
"I'm glad for your, and Sharon's, happy ending." Deeks saluted her with his beer. "Your free question is?"
"What really happened with Nicole?"
Deeks scrubbed his face and sighed. "Ray was never really good with money. If he had any, there'd be a party. Big party. Lots of liquor, some drugs, loud music, girls. One night, Nicole showed up with another girl who we kind of ran with. She saw Ray and figured he was some big shot."
"Not a CI on the LAPD payroll."
"Ray spent whatever money we made as part of the Max and Ray show. My cut kept me in a lousy apartment, kept gas in my car and gave the LAPD a road map to the financials of a number of less than upstanding businessmen." Deeks started picking at the label on his beer. "Ray was interested in Nicole but his interest went way up when he learned her father was Paul Anderson."
Kensi shook her head, "Paul Anderson?"
"We need to get you up to speed with your L.A. crime players. Paul Anderson owns a couple of pawn shops in the Valley. He also is probably the best fence in the state of California." Deeks to a long pull on his beer. "Nicole grew up knowing that daddy wasn't a saint but he provided a good life. Her dad set up her up with a legit business - she's a florist. Pretty good one too. Nicole didn't want to be a florist; she wanted to be her mom. Francine Anderson held the purse strings. Paul knew the business, Francine was the money man."
"And she thought she could do that with Ray."
"Until she figured out that Ray did not always make the best business decisions. Max usually made the right ones, so she started hanging around more with him."
"Max. I was busy getting Terry Harrison, also known as Detective Ted Bridges, in with Nicole's dad. The gun deals were easy at this point of the operation so Ruben, my handler, wanted to expand things. I got Nicole to trust me, she got her dad to trust me, I got Teddy in with the best fence in L.A."
"How'd she wind up marrying Ray?"
"The deal that would lead him into getting involved with Nelson Saunders paid really well. Really well." Deeks answered, marking another question on his sheet. "Ray booked the three of us a weekend in Vegas. Big payday, big fun. I didn't want to go. It was about the one year anniversary of being Max and I just wanted to be away from them all. I faked a business deal in San Miguel and surfed for the weekend. Ray and Nicole came back from Vegas as husband and wife."
"Nothing Ray does ever surprises me." Deeks shook his head as he made another check mark, "Nicole's friends were getting married. After that deal, Ray looked like he had a good thing going. The fact that LAPD was running things never came up. She wanted something and since Max didn't really exist..."
"You cared about her."
"Not a question." Deeks look at Kensi but Kensi did not back down. "She was..." Deeks ran his hand through his hair and restarted. "The people who Max hung around with, the women, weren't," Deeks struggled for a word, "substantial, I guess. You couldn't talk to them about the news, what was going on, a good movie or a book unless that book included sparkly vampires."
"Nicole was different."
"Nicole went to college. She read interesting books. She watched good movies and television programs. She was someone who could hold up her end of the conversation. The assortment of Tiffani's and Cyndi's, both ending in an 'i', that Max and Ray attracted were just boring. After months of months of "Real Housewives" updates and what the Kardasians were doing, Nicole was someone to talk to."
"My name ends with an 'i'."
"Yes it does but I doubt you ever bought beer at the supermarket with a prepaid credit card and put a little heart on top of the 'i' when you signed your name on the slip."
Kensi smiled and nodded. "No, I never did. What did you do after Max?"
Deeks made another mark on his sheet. "Forty one days at a cab company. There was a dispatcher and a driver who were using one of the cabs for pick-up and delivery of coke, crack and meth. Nobody notices a cab moving around. Ingenious in its own way."
"Was Max your worst?"
"No." Deeks made a mark.
Kensi waited for him to continue but he stayed silent. "Just 'no' Deeks?"
"No, Max was not my worst undercover. I let you slide on the non-question about Nicole." Deeks tried to smile didn't quite get there. "You asked if Max was the worst, he wasn't."
"Who was?" Kensi asked and then quickly added "And what was the case? No, make it what was your worst case, I don't need the undercover name."
Deeks marked the sheet again. "83 days as Eugene Hall. Computer programmer by training, pedophile by choice."
"It was supposed to be a six month investigation. After a week, I told Ruben and my boss, Roger Bates, that I wanted out. One meeting with those walking horror shows I was investigating and I wanted to take a day-long shower."
"Why were you there?"
"Someone at sex crimes heard that there was an insider with corrections that was involved with a group of pedophiles."
"You wanted out after a week, how did you make 83 days?"
"Ruben is an excellent handler. Bates knows what buttons to push. A decent amount of tequila and surfing most days. I almost bugged out on day 59. It was Thanksgiving and I spent the night with three guys in a dive bar who were recalling their favorite pre-teen conquest."
"I hate Thanksgiving. On day 73, I found out why they recruited Eugene Hall."
"The person in the corrections system met with me. It was a part-time social worker who worked or who was supposed to be working with the incarcerated pedophiles on more positive behavior."
"Yeah, what he was doing was getting a list of their victims, offering his family counseling services to the victims and their families. He would molest the pre-teen female victims - that's where his interests were - and would share intel on other victims with his friends."
"Oh my God."
"He wanted Eugene to put together a website where all this information would be shared. One stop shopping for kid touchers. Pull down menus, case histories about the past abuse, photos, the works. Thought he could make some money and travel to places like Thailand with the profits."
"Oh, Deeks." Kensi's eyes were wide looking at him.
"I left the meeting and went to the apartment where Eugene lived. When I got there, I threw up, jumped out the back window and walked to the precinct. Took over an hour and I needed every minute of it to calm down. Called Ruben and Bates in when I got there and told them if this wasn't wrapped up in a week, I would wrap it up as my last act for the LAPD and probably as a free man."
"What was their reaction?"
"I was wearing a wire so I had the website plan all on tape. Ruben was willing to be Thelma to my Louise if the arrests didn't start. Bates had all hands on deck the next morning. It was wrapped up in ten days."
"Worst. Case. Ever." Deeks leaned back and an involuntary shiver ran through his body.
"They're all doing a lot of time. That's the only good thing about the case."
"What was your best case?"
"I don't know if I had a best." Deeks made another check mark on the paper. "I ran a bar for about nine months. Ended badly but it was fun while it lasted. Club King Wannabe Tim was fun. I caught a terrorist once who with his physicist girlfriend wanted to arm a nuke to crash the stock market."
Kensi smiled, "I think I heard about that case."
"Yeah, it was excellent. There was this law enforcement sniper who just dropped the lookouts like bad habits and then took out the getaway driver. Two other team members found the nuke, some computer dude took down the internet to keep the whole loose nuke story quiet and little old me handcuffing the mastermind. That was cool."
"Sounds like fun."
"Any more questions? I have some question counting and initialing to do."
"Open forum? Not just what happened today?
"Why not?" Deeks shrugged. "I do intend to use this." He picked up the legal pad and waved it at her.
Kensi wasn't smiling. "Who is Gordon John Brandel?"
Deeks let out a deep breath. "I've been waiting for you to ask about old Gordo since February."
One quick note: The pedophile case mentioned here is based on a true case in Florida.