Rating: T – adult language and situations
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just playing with them, promise not to break anything.
Story note: Post-"Sans Voir" with what I would do going forward. Multiple chapter story.
"We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die" - "Santa Monica" by Everclear
Los Angeles, CA
The news of G. Callen's daring prison escape came across the police radio at 10:40PM PDT on Friday, July 27th. According to official reports from both the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Los Angeles Police Department, Callen was sluggish and listless that day. He refused medical attention twice, once at 11:10AM, again when he left his lunch untouched in the early afternoon. Medical attention was finally administered when he was found semi-conscious with a 104 degree temperature just before 8PM.
The prison doctor, a twenty-year veteran of the CDCR, diagnosed Callen with acute appendicitis. With staffing cuts, summer vacation plans and the rotation of new medical school graduates, the Los Angeles County Jail Hospital was short handed. Callen was transported in pain to Los Angeles County Hospital where a surgical team was waiting with three corrections officers and a U.S. Marshal on loan to act as guards.
Callen was logged into the hospital at 10:20PM, accompanied by two EMTs as he was rushed on a gurney from the CDCR ambulance to an elevator taking him to the operating room. When the elevator door opened, the two EMTs were themselves unconscious and Callen was gone. The hospital was immediately put on lock-down but no Callen. A room by room, floor by floor search was futile. Every person leaving the hospital was matched to their identification, every car was searched leaving the parking lot. No stone was left unturned. No Callen either.
Callen's known associates were immediately named as persons of interest in his disappearance. Henrietta Lange, Callen's only listed contact, was in London for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics. As a Bronze Medalist in the 1964 Tokyo Games, she never missed an Opening Ceremony - even in Moscow in 1980. The London CCTV cameras recorded her movements that night from the Olympic Stadium to her room at the Savoy. Hotel security cameras had her in the hotel's gym at the time of Callen's escape, in her sixth mile on the treadmill.
Sam Hanna, Callen's former partner at NCIS, was also in London. Callen's arrest and Sam's inability to help his friend made him a problem for his NCIS employers. After a leave of absence, Washington didn't trust Sam, members of his team were concerned for him. Sam was assigned to work with a joint security task force at the Olympics. His familiarity with Arabic was a big selling point as Hetty found him an assignment to keep him busy and out of Los Angeles. She could also assess his state of mind in person before either putting him back in the field in Los Angeles or finding another overseas assignment. Sam was monitoring early morning CCTV video feeds in the Olympic Village security offices when Callen disappeared.
LAPD didn't need to investigate where NCIS Liaison Officer and LAPD Detective Marty Deeks was. They knew. With fears that a long-term undercover operation was in trouble, Deeks was recalled by LAPD for an emergency extraction of another undercover officer. Deeks was sent to a club called Inamorata as an old alias, music company executive Johnny Kelley. Detective Anna Garcia was working as a club hostess, Maria Sanchez, tracking drug transactions and a prostitution ring run by the owners. Garcia, her handler believed, was compromised. She refused an early request to come in and then was not returning calls. Deeks was tasked with going into the club and getting her out. He played the jealous ex to the hilt. Deeks grabbed Garcia and wound up getting belted around by some of the club's private security men. A team of LAPD uniformed officers stormed in, arresting Deeks and several of the private security staffers before he was too badly beaten. Garcia was brought in as a material witness. At the time of Callen's escape, Deeks was in the LAPD surveillance truck swapping out his watch and wallet for Johnny Kelley's Rolex, platinum money clip and Fendi wallet.
LAPD didn't know where Kensi Blye and Nell Jones were but NCIS did. Well, they didn't know exactly, but they knew where they weren't - Los Angeles. Agent Blye and Intelligence Analyst Jones were invited in early April to address new NCIS female recruits at a seminar about the opportunities and challenges of being a woman in their lines of work. The seminar was at the Navy Yard. Callen's arrest was an embarrassment to both the organization and Los Angeles office so Director Vance thought of canceling their talks. Nell made a case that nothing was more challenging than the Chameleon/Marcel Janvier case with losing Mike Renko, Lauren Hunter and Callen. Vance agreed. Nell rocked a multimedia presentation while Kensi ran a freewheeling Q and A session. Vance decided the two would be regulars at these seminars going forward.
After the seminar, Abby Scuitto gathered up the visitors and her team - Tim McGee, Anthony DiNozzo, Ziva David and Jimmy Palmer - for a night on the town. Ziva and Kensi hit it off right away, Nell was the apple of McGee's eye. At the time of Callen's escape, Kensi, Nell, Ziva and Abby were doing their best "Coyote Ugly" imitation to Big and Rich's "Ride a Cowboy" on the bar at a dive called Broadcast Brews. Kensi got Tony to record it on her iPhone to send it to Deeks with a note saying 'having a great time, don't you wish you were here?' The time stamp on the video and email sent to Deeks was 10:33PM PDT/1:33AM EDT.
The Office of Naval Intelligence and the CIA told LAPD that Nate Getz was in an undisclosed location outside of the United States and would not be available for questioning. Sworn affidavits could be provided stating that Nate was not in either Los Angeles or the United States of America at the time of Callen's escape if needed. There would be no further comment from either agency and no contact.
That left Eric, who was in Los Angeles that Friday night. Not a fan of the Olympics, not working with LAPD, not in Washington DC - Eric spent that Friday night online with a friend who was a game designer for EA trying to come up with a first person shooter game for the Robin Hood mythology. Internet and Skype usage records, a sworn statement from Bernard Somers of EA that included three pages of Somers defending Will Scarlet's role in the Robin Hood world and a $17 signed credit card charge for sushi dinner delivery at 10:37PM put Eric in his Manhattan Beach studio apartment at the time of Callen's escape.
Callen's connections in the Russian expat community in Los Angeles offered no help. Arkady Kolcheck actually laughed when he heard of Callen's escape. He told both NCIS and the LAPD that if he was criminally inclined, which of course he was not, he'd look at Callen as a loyal and smart employee. Callen found a permanent solution to a man who killed two agents, kidnapped an intelligence officer and sold information to one of America's enemies. Marcel Janvier's death wasn't an execution to Kolcheck, it was an act of patriotic self-defense.
Callen managed to escape on the one day when his friends and co-workers were heavily alibi'd. NCIS's own investigation cleared them all, Deeks had a longer, second investigation clear him through LAPD's Internal Affairs. Callen also managed to completely disappear. No one fitting his description checked into any hospital in the Pacific or Mountain Time Zones. He was also not seen in any train stations, airports or car rental companies.
A search of Callen's home found what the Marshal Service thought was an intentionally emptied dwelling for a life on the run. Hetty explained that Callen had very few possessions and anything left was likely all Callen owned. After Hetty bought the house on his behalf with his money, Callen spent the next year and a half replenishing his savings. Not a dime was moved after his arrest. His lawyer was retained by Hetty, who was owed a favor or two, worked pro-bono. His assets remained frozen.
The CDCR, LAPD, NCIS, FBI and U.S. Marshal Service were furious. Members of Callen's former team were cooperative, answering all questions asked truthfully - multiple lie detector tests given by multiple agencies confirmed that. Phones were tapped, team members were followed and everyone was behaving professionally. Well, except Deeks, who always waved to his tail, forward the texts of Surfline Forecasts surf alerts to the U.S. Marshal Service Los Angeles Bureau Chief and had pizza delivered to a surveillance unit working outside his apartment every few nights. Hetty told him that the pizza was a bad idea. He dropped off In and Out burgers the following night. Heroes, Chinese and Thai food were added to the rotation. After a while, the agencies turned their attention to other cases.
Both NCIS and Interpol heard rumblings of a French crime organization interested in revenge against the NCIS operatives present at Janvier's shooting. Interpol shared their intelligence on Janvier. He had a daughter Chloe and son-in-law Andre Dubois who worked for him, a brother Emile who managed his money. These three were able to empty Janvier's accounts and, like Callen, simply disappear. Interpol thought they were likely regrouping and figuring out their next move. NCIS disagreed, finding Janvier's daughter at least as ruthless, and maybe more, than her dead father. If she was interested in revenge, she wasn't regrouping, she was plotting.
Lingering concerns about possible involvement in Callen's escape and now threats against their lives had Sam, Kensi and Deeks grounded again. All "special projects" were removed from the Office of Special Projects. Director Vance farmed out the few assignments Hetty was planning to other governmental agencies under the guise of inter-departmental cooperation. Eric and Nell still ran intelligence requests but now for all divisions, not just OSP. Sam was given what he called a "promotion in name only" to Supervising Tactical Special Agent. He ran tactical operations via his own area in the Ops Center for the San Diego and Hawaii offices.
Kensi was charged with tracking the possible moves, financial or physical, of Janvier's family. She worked with Interpol and the DCPJ almost exclusively. She spent at least one morning a week in the French Consulate offices. Kensi also cultivated her contacts, hoping to hear something about Callen.
While Deeks teased Kensi about "talking dirty" while speaking to her French contacts, he was left with little to do other than annoy his occasionally returning minders. Twice, he spoke to Hetty about returning to LAPD full-time, twice he was turned down. Kensi reacted badly when she heard him make the second request, was furious to hear there was a first. Deeks tried to explain that he was doing nothing more than taking up space, working on the odd FISA warrant request or reviewing evidence in upcoming cases for legal loopholes. Hetty insisted Deeks stay put for his own safety, both from Chloe Janvier-Dubois and Kensi.
Just after Labor Day, Director Vance started sending cases to OSP. Sam was still in Ops, Kensi and Deeks on the street. Their first case, according to Deeks, was "glorified busy work" - a missing Marine vehicle and laptop was hardly a special project. Hell, he went to the academy with one of the top guys in LAPD's Auto Theft Unit and would be happy to pass this along personally. Kensi, while itching to get back to work, wasn't thrilled with the case either. "Busy work" was a bit harsh, more like something she did as a probationary officer.
Hetty reminded both of them that they were deskbound for weeks and a simple case to get their legs beneath them was not a bad idea. Also, while the laptop had significant security features, according to a Captain Walls at Camp Pendleton, there were concerns about the data on the computer falling into the wrong hands. It was imperative that they find the Chevy Impala and the laptop.
Through Kaleidoscope, Eric was able to trace the vehicle to a recently renovated gas station-garage and mini-mart in Victorville. After a two-hour drive to the edge of the Mojave, Kensi and Deeks secured the vehicle and more importantly the laptop. While Kensi pushed a thumb drive into the laptop's USB port to download any records of usage in recent days, Deeks searched the car for evidence explaining who stole it and why.
Bored with their now routine new duties, Eric, Nell and Sam watched Kensi and Deeks work from a traffic cam about half-a-block away. Nell saw a security camera closer to the garage that Eric was able to access. Hetty walked into Ops just as Deeks secured the laptop and thumb drive in Kensi's vehicle and Kensi was on her cell phone with the Captain Walls from Camp Pendleton who was looking for the car.
Completing their tasks, Kensi and Deeks went into the mini-mart section of the gas station to see if there was any security footage of the car's driver. Deeks called out, "Hello, anyone here?" just before the entire mini-mart blew up. Nell screamed, Sam jumped from his chair, Hetty's hand covered her mouth in horror. Eric called for Kensi or Deeks to answer him. Not really called, more begged.
The Victorville Volunteer Fire Department was not trained for a fire the magnitude of the one consuming the mini-mart. The underground gas tanks exploded, ending any hope of finding survivors. It took nearly two days for the San Bernadino Fire Department HazMat Unit to put out the fire and another day for rescue and recovery specialists on loan from LAFD to find two bodies. Dental records were needed to make the final identifications.
For the fifth and final time, Hetty Lange submitted her resignation. There was no promise from Director Vance that this wouldn't happen again, no Callen to pickpocket her letter of resignation, no team to rescue her from a Romanian crime family, no meeting with the fractured team begging her to return to save them. With the Janvier case, she lost five of the best agents - well, four agents and one police officer - she ever had in less than six months. She promised Washington she'd stay until the basic investigation of the deaths of Agent Blye and Detective Deeks was complete but after that, she was done. They were the final loses she could tolerate - two young and vibrant people she chose, she recruited, she trained and she watched die violent deaths.
Interpol could not confirm any involvement by Janvier's family. Fire investigators on loan from Edwards Air Force Base could confirm there were explosives lining the new drywall in the mini-mart. The local police said the original garage owner sold the place in late June 2012 and it only looked reopened days before the explosion. While the new owners were waiting for replacement gas pumps, both underground gas tanks were filled a day before the explosion. There was nobody working in the mini-mart despite appearing as if it was open for business. Whoever wanted the building to blow made sure everything around it would go but only the intended targets would be killed.
While Hetty had access to Deeks's safe-deposit box - he gave it to her after he named her next of kin - Sam picked up the contents with his new full time bodyguard, Assistant U.S. Marshal Michael Madden. Sam's family was now being protected by the U.S. Marshals, the same organization hunting Callen. He promised to join his family once Deeks and Kensi were buried and the rest of the team was safe. Sam left the sealed bankers box on Hetty's desk before returning to his area in Ops.
Hetty started with Deeks's legal documents. With his birth certificate, mother's death certificate, assorted school transcripts and LAPD insurance information was Deeks's will. Not surprisingly, Marty Deeks left almost everything to Kensi Blye. His college and law school diplomas were to be sent to a family court judge he knew. He wanted Hetty to have his old LAPD uniforms, gently used, for NCIS's wardrobe collection. Whatever Kensi didn't want was to be sold and money given to the Boys and Girls Club in Reseda. They saved him as a kid, maybe he could save a kid. Finally, he did not want the typical LAPD fallen officer's funeral, just cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific.
Hetty next opened a waistpack, his "bro-sack" from Alex Vasnev case, and two items fell out - a new Tiffany's box and a new Cartier box. In the bigger blue box was a platinum engagement ring with what she figured was a one carat round diamond in a Bezet setting and a simple woman's wedding band. The red box had a men's platinum wedding ring. The inscription in the woman's wedding band was in Hebrew - "Ani L'Dodi, v'Dodi Li" - while the men's band inscription startled Hetty - "Semper Amemus, 5.25.12".
She pulled her records - Kensi and Deeks were both off from the Friday before Memorial Day until the Wednesday of the following week. She remembered Kensi talking about going to Camp Pendleton Thursday night to see some old friends. She was unsure what Deeks had planned though now she thought she knew. Opening the back pocket of the pack she found an envelope. Inside was a marriage license dated May 25, 2012. Martin A. Deeks married to Kensi M. Blye on Delmar Beach with Camp Pendleton Marine Chaplain Major Thomas Emerson as the officiant and Major General Gregory Watson and his wife Josephine as witnesses.
A few photos showed different shots of Kensi in a white silk, tea-length dress, Deeks in a black suit with white shirt and white silk tie; Kensi and Deeks posed with the older man in a Marine dress uniform holding a bible; an older couple, he in a Marine dress uniform, she in sky blue suit with Kensi and Deeks. Hetty's shock turned to grief as she looked at the one picture of the just the two of them - smiling, happy and so obviously in love.
Two letters were left, one addressed to her, one to Kensi. With her emotions near the breaking point, Hetty took a deep breath and read the one addressed to her.
"September 1, 2012,
Shutters on the Beach, 3:10AM
If you're reading this, I'm only hoping it wasn't my fault and nobody else got hurt. Actually, if it was my fault, my only hope is that nobody else got hurt.
If you haven't looked in the bro-sack, Kensi and I have a little surprise for you. Surprise!
Please don't be angry with her. She'll tell you she wanted to keep things quiet. She'll say that after what happened to Callen and everything else since I darkened NCIS's door that she didn't want us to be a distraction. Maybe she didn't but I traded telling the world what she was to me for the right to work with her every day. I got her as my partner at work and at home. Look at her, who wouldn't sign up for that? If Granger, Vance or anyone at LAPD is looking to assign blame for this, simply tell them I didn't want to stop working by her side. I always was selfish.
I left a note for her. Please make her read it. She can't think that I was just another person in her life who left her behind. She needs to know that I love her, present tense, even now. I want her to understand that I loved her for years, maybe since she took out Radovan Lazik's bodyguard and stopped me from doing the same to Frank Scarli. God, I love her and I will miss growing old with her. Everything she needs to know is in my letter to her. Everything you need to know is that we never intended to lie to you, we just wanted to have it all and for a while we did. I'm not only selfish, I'm lucky too.
I've left a will and instructions for my funeral. If Roger Bates wants to give me a full funeral, assuming I've earned one, talk him out of it. You can do it, you scare the hell out of him. Went to too many police funerals while I was on the job, don't want to attend this final one.
Finally, thank you. The best moment of my professional life was when you handed me your pen and put me on your team. It never bothered me that I didn't fit in with the guys in the Legal Bureau or Bates's squad but it meant everything to me to be accepted by you and by your people. It was an honor.
Kensi's starting to realize she's alone and I'm on the balcony. What kind of husband writes a goodbye letter to the second best thing that ever happened to him during a beach weekend with the first? Add stupid to selfish and lucky.
Mr. Kensi Blye, occasionally stupid, sometimes selfish, unbelievably lucky."
Hetty didn't know how long she looked at the letter. She remembered a long ago conversation with Kensi. In the archive room, Hetty found the box of Kensi's belongings she allowed the young agent to store for safety sake. As she pulled the box off the shelf, she heard a few items shift in what felt like an empty box. Inside, she found a travel itinerary for a M. Deeks and K. Blye for an Australian Christmas 2012 vacation. There was an envelope with a few photos - one of Kensi with Dom, one of the team taken at the 2011 Christmas party and several of Kensi with Deeks. Most looked like camera phone photos. As she looked at them, especially the candid shots, she was just sick. There were nights out with the team where they were smiling at each other while smiling at the camera, hiding their relationship in plain sight.
One photo she was sure she saw as a cropped shot while emptying Deeks's locker. The full photo had them standing in a bar, her arms around his waist holding, and her chin on his shoulder. She saw the reason Deeks's locker photo was cropped. His hand rested on her arm, her engagement ring in full view. She knew there was something between them but never thought it was this. Hetty was almost proud that they fooled her for so long and heartbroken they couldn't continue.
There was an envelope with a Post-It note on it that just said "Give this to Deeks" in block letters. Returning to her desk to pick up Deeks's final letter to Kensi, Hetty took them both to the burn room and hoped the messages' ashes would reach them both. She took the banker box with both Kensi and Deeks possessions and left. She worked from home for another two weeks before finally retiring, only showing up for the joint memorial service for Special Agent Kensi Blye and Detective Martin Deeks. A week after the service, Henrietta Lange fell off the grid.
The Marshal Service along with NCIS allowed Sam a computer set up in his new waterfront home in Annapolis, MD that rivaled Eric's system in Ops. He continued to work with NCIS, providing as needed tactical support for NCIS's Navy Yard investigations. He taught the occasional seminar at the Naval Academy. He was also the best Little League baseball, Pop Warner football and Pee Wee basketball coach in the state of Maryland. A world class security system kept the Hanna family protected from the Janviers.
With NCIS's Office of Special Projects in flux, Director Vance moved both Nell and Eric to the Navy Yard. The East Coast weather was a shock to Eric. Nell was named the Navy Yard's head of digital operational intelligence, Eric given his own staff in the cybercrimes unit. The two worked hand in hand as they did in Los Angeles, now just in different corners of the building. Eric and Tim McGee started a gaming league pitting agents and senior staff against technical analysts.
On February 18, 2013, President's Day, NCIS, at least temporarily, took the Los Angeles Office of Special Projects offline. There were assurances from NCIS higher-ups that the office would reopen once the repercussions from Callen's actions and the deaths of Kensi and Deeks died down. Nobody quite believed them.
717 Dune Road
Quogue, New York
February 19, 2013
Kelly Nessler-Kennedy walked up from the basement gym. Her short brown hair was still a little damp after her post-workout shower. She found her husband where he usually was before 9AM most mornings - standing with their dog near the floor to ceiling back windows, looking at the ocean. The only difference over the last few months was the cast on his left wrist. "It's not mocking you," she told him as she's told him every day since moving to their new home.
"The ocean is mocking me."
"Because large bodies of water have nothing else to do but make fun of you, Dean." She walked up behind him, put her arms around his waist and her head on his shoulder. "I'm hungry."
He rubbed her top arm and melted back into her embrace. "You're always hungry, Kel. I was thinking maybe we'd go to BJ's this afternoon. We need some stuff and they're talking snow over the weekend."
"They've been talking snow for weeks and it never comes." She kissed him on cheek. "How about we grab a late lunch out and then some oversized vats of food you love buying so much."
He turned in her arms, carefully hugging her. "You're rather partial to the meals from those oversized vats of food. And the Atlantic Ocean is mocking me. It is out there and its water is just 35 degrees. So near but so far away."
"I'll make you a deal, Arthur Curry," she pulled away and smiled at him, though he could still see her wince. "We have a little breakfast, you work, I'll write, lunch out and BJ's. The perfect non-Aquaman day for you."
"Deal, Wonder Woman." Marty Deeks kissed his wife good morning as they walked to the kitchen. Monty trailed closely behind.
# # #
You really didn't think I'd kill them, now did you?