Disclaimer: Recognizable characters are not mine. Just playing with them and promise not to break them. There are a few original characters, they're mine. I'm also trying not to break them.
Story notes: An old collar from the LAPD and an angry colleague from the FBI are back and looking for Marty Deeks. Multi-chapter story.
1. "As a teenager, you are at the last stage in your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you." - Fran Lebowitz
He answered his cellphone on the second ring. "Yeah, this is Deeks." He stifled a combined yawn and groan.
"Sorry to call you so early, kid, but you need to come in." To his credit, Roger Bates actually sounded sorry. "We have a situation."
Deeks looked at his watch. It wasn't even five in the morning and not quite five in the morning on a Sunday. "What did I do now?" Deeks asked as he rolled out of bed and moved to his bathroom, leaving Kensi to her dreams. Things had been quiet since he was cleared to return; Bates even seemed pleased with his work in their weekly debriefings. Obviously, that was over.
"How fast can you get here?"
"That bad, huh?" Monty walked into the bathroom, looked at Deeks and left. LAPD wanted to see him immediately, Monty seemingly not as much.
"Conference room on twelve. We'll be waiting. And Deeks, this is LAPD business. Don't call that woman you answer to at NCIS."
Which one, Deeks wondered. If Bates was not going to give a name to "that woman you answer to at NCIS," he could at least offer a description based on height. "That woman" could be two very different women. And the "we'll be waiting" comment just confirmed this wasn't going to be a happy meeting. "I'm on my way."
Leaving the bathroom, Deeks saw Monty sitting by the front door. He needed a shower, Monty needed a walk and LAPD needed to see him immediately, all before five on a Sunday morning. Awesome.
He grabbed some clean clothes from the bedroom and returned to the bathroom for a shower. Fifteen minutes later, he was walking back into his apartment with semi-wet hair and a relieved Monty.
"You took Monty for a walk this early?" A sleepy Kensi walked out of the bedroom wearing nothing but the bed sheet she wrapped around herself. Tim Gunn would be proud, she made it work. As Kensi watched Monty return to his dog bed, she looked at Deeks and stifled a yawn. "Monty's back in bed, now you."
Deeks shook his head no. "Love to but I got called in."
Kensi was instantly awake. "They didn't call me."
Deeks walked to his desk. "Bates called. LAPD business. They're really not allowed to call you."
"Oh, OK. What's up?"
"Bates wouldn't tell me on the phone." Deeks took his laptop and stuffed it in his messenger bag. He walked past her to get his gun and badge out of the bedroom. "I'm guessing nothing good."
Kensi looked worried when he walked back to the living room. "What can I do?"
"You can go back to sleep. I'll call you once I know what's going on. Maybe we'll go to breakfast when I'm done."
"I don't like this."
"You don't like breakfast? Please, you love breakfast."
"Deeks," Kensi warned.
"Hey, I don't like this either and I sure as hell don't like this at five in the morning," Deeks smiled, pulling her into a hug. "Five in the morning is for surfing or," he kissed her. "That's awesome any time - night or day."
Kensi smiled. "Be careful."
Deeks reluctantly turned away. "Monty, keep Kensi company until I come back. Earn your keep, boy." Deeks pointed to Monty and then the bedroom. The dog looked at Deeks, stood, turned in a perfect circle in his dog bed and returned to a resting position. "Monty, there's a beautiful woman over there. Opportunities like this don't come along every day." Monty remained in his bed. Shaking his head in disappointment Deeks sighed, "You don't know what you're missing, Monty. I'll call you later, Kensi. I'm sure everything's fine."
As Deeks walked down the stairs from his apartment, he saw a silver Honda Ridgeline sitting right outside his building. When Deeks got to the bottom step, the driver's side door opened and Ruben Ramos climbed out.
"How much trouble am I in if they've gotten you out of retirement and off the fishing boat to give me a ride?" Deeks smiled and shook his head at his former handler.
"Usually, I don't even get up until seven or so on a Sunday unless the fish are really biting. You should feel honored," Ramos told Deeks as he pulled the younger man into a hug. "Bates called me and I told him I'd pick you up."
"Bates called you? What's going on?"
"Bates didn't tell you what this was about?"
"No, just told me to come in." Deeks walked to the passenger side, sneaking a look to his apartment window. It didn't look like Kensi was watching. He didn't want her to worry that he was leaving without his car. As he got into the truck, Deeks asked Ruben what was going on.
"I'll leave the details to Bates but he's on your side. So am I." Ruben pulled out of the driveway and started to Bates's downtown office.
"So this is completely LAPD business. Bates went out of his way to mention not bringing NCIS into this."
"Oh, he did, did he?" Ruben teased. "I wonder why?"
"Hetty makes him nervous."
Ruben chuckled. "Hetty makes everyone nervous. How do you work for that woman?"
"I work with Hetty. I work for the LAPD."
"Sorry, Counselor. How do you work with her?"
"Working with Hetty is fine."
"No, fine is that partner of yours. How is the fair and lovely Kelsey?"
"Kensi, Ruben, her name is Kensi." Deeks shook his head. He had this same conversation with Ruben about Kensi every time they spoke. Ruben met Kensi at Jess Traynor's memorial service and was so smitten that he never could properly recall her name. "And Kensi is doing well. I'll mention you said hello if I'm ever allowed out of LAPD custody."
"You're not in custody."
"Bates calls me in, calls you off the bench and you're offering to come from the Valley to the beach to get me to go downtown. If I'm not in custody, I'm at least being managed."
"I use to manage you all the time, mi hijo. I also watched out for you and occasionally took care of you. Maybe I'm doing the same," Ruben reminded Deeks.
Deeks turned to his old handler and saw the grim look on the otherwise happy man's face. "This is officially bad, isn't it?"
"That's up to you."
Deeks found little comfort in that.
Just after 5:45AM on a Sunday, downtown traffic - vehicular and pedestrian - was limited. As Ruben parked his truck across the street from the police station, Deeks was stunned to see a familiar face walking from around the corner. "Hetty?"
"Det. Deeks, Sgt. Ramos, while it is always a pleasure to see you both, this time in the morning on a Sunday seems a bit obscene," she remarked as the two men crossed the street.
Deeks remembered Bates's order about NCIS involvement. "Hetty, how did you know about this meeting? I mean besides you being Hetty," Deeks tried to joke.
Ruben held the building door opened for Hetty. "I called. I figured you could use an extra friend in this meeting. I didn't know…"
"So you're as much in the dark about this as I am, Mr. Deeks?"
"I'm thinking whatever it is it isn't good Hetty." Ruben and Deeks flashed their badges to the officer on duty. He just waved them up. Even the desk sergeant knew they were coming.
"Sunday morning meetings before breakfast rarely are."
"I am sorry, Hetty."
"Whatever for?" she asked.
"Do you really want to be here on a Sunday morning?"
"Do you, Mr. Deeks?"
"No, but you don't work for the LAPD." Deeks held the elevator door for Hetty and Ruben.
"We've had this conversation before, Detective."
"What conversation?" Ruben asked as the elevator doors closed.
Deeks started scrambling for an answer - discussing a long-standing job offer at his current place of employment probably wouldn't end well - but Hetty saved him. "I'm concerned about Mr. Deeks's future."
Hetty's ability to tell the truth she wanted told always amazed Deeks. "I'm more concerned about the next few minutes," Deeks mumbled as the elevator opened to the twelfth floor.
Roger Bates was leaning on the wall outside the conference room. "I didn't know you were coming Ms. Lange," Bates said shaking her hand and shooting a look at Deeks.
"I called her," Ruben said. Patting Deeks on the back he continued, "I figured Deeks here could use all the moral support he could get."
"I'd just love to know what's going on." Deeks just shook his head.
"Ruben, why don't you take Ms. Lange into the conference room, I need to talk to Deeks for a second."
And my day just gets better and better, Deeks thought as he watched Hetty and Ruben enter the room. There were no screams of horror or painful moans, nobody ran out of the room in pain - all plusses Deeks guessed. "What's with all the cloak and dagger stuff? It isn't even six in the morning. You send Ruben to bring me in. What did I do now?"
"For the record, Ruben volunteered. And also for the record, you've done nothing wrong. What you're probably going to do is what matters. Whatever happens here is up to you and the LAPD has your back on this. One-hundred percent your choice, kid, with one-hundred percent support of the Department. I'm not going to put you back on this case if you want out."
Deeks had a bad feeling as Bates walked with him into the conference room, a feeling that was confirmed by Andrea Miller sitting on the far end of the conference room table. "Marty!" Andrea Miller stood and walked across the room, "So good to see you."
As she started to extend her hand to Deeks, he took a step back and put his hands up. "Oh no, you don't get to do that. Not you, especially you."
"Marty, don't be that way. I'm willing to let bygones be bygones."
"That's very magnanimous of you since you weren't the one lied to, had your abilities called into question or wound up in the hospital."
"I did have my professionalism questioned, if I remember correctly," Miller's sunny attitude was slipping.
"Not without reason," Bates muttered.
Deeks turned to Hetty, "I'm sorry you had to be brought into this, Miss Lange." With "Miss Lange," Deeks earned a small reaction from Hetty. "I'm sure Lt. Bates was under orders to keep the FBI's interest in me quiet."
Bates smirked. "And specifically to keep Ms. Lange out of things, isn't that right Ms. Miller?
"Marty, sit down. We need to talk," Miller avoided Bates's question.
"I don't take orders from FBI Agents who nearly got me killed and then tried to save their career by making it look like it was my fault."
"Deeks is telling the truth," Bates told the room.
"About everything. Being lied to, being belittled, being hospitalized," Ruben nearly spit out every word. "Longest car ride of my life."
Miller tried to reframe her position, "I think..."
"I don't care what you think. I'm out of here."
"Detective!" Miller's tone was now demanding, "I'm not finished with you."
"But I'm finished with you. Lt. Bates, Sgt. Ramos and Miss Lange, I'm going to leave now before I say something to Agent Miller I really and truly mean." Deeks pointed at Miller, "Stay away from me. I don't think I can make myself clearer than that. I'll be happy to talk to anyone in OPR or LAPD IA about not wanting to be in the same room with you." Deeks turned around and walked out of the conference room.
As he walked down the hall, Deeks heard Roger Bates clap his hands together and say, "That actually went better than I expected." Deeks smiled a little, ducking into the break room and pulling out his cellphone. He looked at it but decided a random landline was probably a better idea. Andrea Miller was nothing if not thorough.
Leaving the break room, Deeks could hear Miller yelling about his professionalism and decorum, which was funny since his last encounter with her was a hearing before the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility in Washington D.C. about her behavior. Well, second to last, there was that scene in the airport where he walked into the men's room just to get away from her while she yelled at him. She followed. Miller being dragged out of the main men's room in United Terminal at Reagan by the TSA lacked a certain degree of professionalism and the guys at the urinals complained about her lack of decorum.
Deeks took the stairs down to the seventh floor and found the Legal Bureau, his first home at the LAPD. Plopping down at his old paralegal's desk - Chris, now a lawyer himself, was long gone from the LAPD and an Andrew Woods sat here according to the nameplate - Deeks picked up Woods's phone and called Kensi.
"What happened?" It was obvious Kensi did not go back to sleep.
"Nothing good. I need you to do a favor for me."
"You know the safe I showed you with my personal stuff in case anything happened to me?"
"Deeks, what happened?" Kensi sounded worried.
"I need you to bring the red expanding file with the name 'Boothe' on it to the Mission. It's on the bottom shelf. Can you do that for me? Like now."
"Of course. Deeks, tell me what's wrong."
"Old case, bad case, FBI was involved and they want me involved again."
"The FBI used LAPD and I got stuck in the middle. The set up this morning I'm sure was to catch me off guard. I need that file. I need to have as much backup on this as possible."
"You've got me."
Deeks smiled. Maybe for the first time since he left his apartment, Deeks felt some sense of control. Kensi's words were music to his ears. "And that's all I'll ever need. I got a lift here so I need to get to the office on my own."
"I can pick you up."
"No!" Deeks looked around to make sure he didn't tip off his location. "I need to keep you and everyone else out of this. I have a feeling I'll be on the FBI's radar for a while."
"I'll be at work in less than half-an-hour."
"Be careful. Check for a tail," Deeks told her. He hung up and then tried Eric's cell, hoping the analyst would be up early to surf. "Where are you?"
"Good morning to you too, Deeks. Hetty called me around five this morning and ordered me in. I'm just walking into Ops."
"I'm sorry in advance about all this. I'm the reason Hetty had to call." Great, so far he's had his weekend ruined, he's ruined Kensi's, Hetty's and now Eric's. Callen, Sam and Nell were probably next. Awesome.
"Not a problem. What do you need?"
"I need to know if anyone's pulled my personnel records from either the LAPD or NCIS in the last few weeks."
"I'd be alerted if they did."
"The person doing the pulling would be from the FBI, maybe a higher up in the Justice Department or a Congressional aide. They may have a security clearance or a warrant that would stop any alert."
"Why would they be looking at you?" Eric must have realized how bad that sounded, "What I mean is..."
"What you mean is why would someone with that much pull or national security clearance want to look at a lowly local law enforcement type?" Deeks joked. "Eric, I'm not offended, I just need to know if anyone's looked around at my file lately."
"Nothing recently as a normal request, I can check around."
"Please." Deeks had an idea, "Eric, would they get my home address on a routine check?"
"Not from us but maybe from LAPD."
"Can you change my address on all my files back to where I lived when I joined the LAPD?"
Deeks heard Eric typing in the background. "The apartment on Wynne?"
"Yep." His old garage apartment on Wynne was long gone. Picturing Andrea Miller driving around Reseda looking for a building that didn't exist was one of the morning's early highlights. "I'll be in the office in a little while. Kensi's coming in too."
"OK. I'm starting the document trace and I'll temporarily increase the required security clearance for everything you've done since April 2010," Eric told him. "I'm also taking your LAPD files and duplicating them on our servers. I'll hollow out the files LAPD has and restore them when you give me the head's up."
"Good idea," Deeks told him. "I informed Hetty about a case, a Lt. Corey Moran who was found murdered on October 5, 2007. Can you pull that file?"
"Hetty had me send her the file a week or two ago so no problem. Should I call Callen and Sam?"
"Not right now. We'll figure this out when I get there," Deeks told Eric. "Sorry I screwed up your Sunday."
"Had no real plans. Don't worry about it."
Oh, Deeks thought, I'm worried enough for both of us. As he left the office building, Deeks saw two men wearing suits sitting in a dark blue, late-model Crown Victoria on the corner. Barely after sunrise, two guys in suits in a Crown Vic were waiting for him. Wow, Andrea Miller was in full psycho mode. In for a penny, in for a pound he thought walking over to the vehicle.
Flashing his badge, Deeks got no response from the Crown Vic's passengers. "OK, we can do this the hard way," Deeks said, pulling out his weapon. He ejected the magazine, grabbed the barrel and aimed the grip for the driver's side window.
That got the driver to roll down the window.
"I'm gonna guess you boys are FBI." The FBI folder on the console between the two agents and the driver's license photo of him blown up to a five by seven shot pretty much confirmed it.
"What can I do for you Officer Deeks?"
"Well, I'm at a disadvantage. You know my name, though obviously not my job title, but I don't know your names." Deeks gave them ample time to respond but he was greeted with silence. "OK, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, I'll make this simple. I told your boss to leave me alone, I'm telling you to leave me alone."
"I don't take orders from you, Officer."
"No, and normally I'd be sympathetic about who you are taking orders from but since you won't tell me who you are, I feel my safety is compromised." Deeks pulled out his phone. He hit the speed dial. "This is Detective Deeks, badge number 4417 reporting a suspicious vehicle on Pico outside the station. Late model Crown Vic, dark blue, California plate - seven, victor, victor, tom, zero, zero nine. Can you send a patrol car by?" Deeks said thanks and hung up. After the driver gave him a dirty look, Deeks shrugged his shoulders, shoved the magazine back into his weapon and shot out the driver's side front tire.
"Jesus!" yelled the man in the front passenger seat, "Why'd you do that, asshole?"
"Asshole isn't my job title either but you two make it tempting. I'm going now but don't worry boys, you won't be alone for long. I can hear the sirens, so company's coming. There is a garage about a block that way." Deeks pointed behind the Crown Vic. "They'll probably be in around nine-ish. I'll bet they'll even walk the new tire down the street and change it right here if you slip 'em a twenty. Enjoy your Sunday."
"You son of a bitch."
Deeks walked away, waving goodbye. "Language gentlemen, it's Sunday. Families may be passing by, going to church. Show a little respect."
Checking regularly to make sure nobody was following him, Deeks jogged over to the Ritz Carlton Hotel where he found a taxi. Ruben's offer for a ride to the station guaranteed his attendance but made leaving a real pain in the ass. Maybe that was the point.
Once in the cab, he took his cell phone battery out and tossed it out the window. He figured he really wasn't paranoid since Andrea Miller was out to get him and Sebastian Boothe would be joining the hunt soon.
"For the third time, good morning again Mr. Deeks!"
Sitting alone on a weight bench in the gym with an empty cup of coffee, Deeks lifted his head to see Hetty standing in front of him with a file folder from LAPD. "Sorry Hetty," he said quietly.
"Not Miss Lange?" Hetty smiled at him. "Thank you for remembering that I prefer Miss."
Deeks smiled back. "I liked that you preferred Miss. Let me know early you were an independent thinker, comfortable with what you believed and who you are."
"Funny, I had the same feeling after meeting you at that rather interesting bar. The FBI wanted me to tell you that you owe them a tire."
"Filthy mouths on those two." Deeks shook his head in mock disgust. Turning serious, he told her, "I wasn't going to allow them near this place or what's going on here."
"Thank you for that. I saw what remains of your phone on your desk. I'm assuming that was also to keep the FBI away."
Deeks nodded. "Sorry again."
"No need to apologize, Mr. Deeks. You missed quite a show after you left. It seems Lt. Bates and Sgt. Ramos are not fans of Assistant Director Miller."
"Assistant Director?" Deeks was stunned.
"Sgt. Ramos seemed quite surprised by that as well."
Deeks shook his head. "And there are people at the LAPD who think I got moved up too fast."
"You're going to have to give me a full briefing on the case." Hetty handed Deeks the file. "Lt. Bates called this a piece of fiction. Sgt. Ramos called it bullshit."
"Ruben was swearing with ladies in the room?"
"It was in Spanish, muttered under his breath with a nodded apology to me but yes."
Deeks opened the file folder and saw the rather thin case notes. There was no mention of then Assistant Special Agent in Charge Andrea Miller, all mentions of Corey Moran were scrubbed too. His then lack of undercover experience was considered an underlying reason for his unlisted injury. "Ruben wasn't wrong. This is bull."
"In your monthly update to me of your LAPD responsibilities, you mentioned Sebastian Boothe's parole date and the unsolved murder of Lt. Moran."
"That was my first interaction with NCIS. Until then, I thought you guys were all cops on carriers."
"Special Agents Afloat." Hetty nodded her head. "After I read your monthly report, I asked Eric to pull the file on Lt. Moran's murder. Your name wasn't mentioned, nor was your alias at the time. I cannot believe Assistant Director Miller could have both LAPD and NCIS files changed."
"Andrea Miller's mother is Congresswoman Teresa Miller from Maryland."
"A member of the Judiciary Committee."
"Yes. Her dad is …"
"Frank Miller of Miller and Anderson, the lobbying firm." Hetty looked at Deeks. "I know my way around the corridors of power in Washington, Detective."
"I was flown to Washington for an OPR hearing against Miller. After the hearing, I got pulled aside by one of the investigators who suggested I keep hard copies of all my records and store them some place safe. He told me Andrea Miller didn't forgive and wouldn't forget."
"How bad is this Mr. Deeks?"
"The funny thing is there is a possible serial killer getting out of jail and we're game planning against the FBI Agent who is supposed to bring him in."
"You believe Sebastian Boothe is a killer."
"Believe, yes. Can't prove it."
"Deeks!" Kensi called from outside the gym.
"Kensi, I'm in the gym with Hetty." Deeks ran his hand through his hair. "I'll make copies of my notes and give them to you, Eric and Kensi. Maybe we can figure out something together."
"Hey," Kensi said as she almost sprinted into the gym. "I found the file in your apartment." She held it up as she stood next to Hetty.
"Storing it someplace safe is in your apartment, Mr. Deeks?" Hetty was troubled.
Kensi handed him the file and he opened it. "I had two copies of the file made when I got back from the OPR hearing in Washington. One became that," Deeks pointed to the file in Hetty's hand. Pulling out the documents from his file, "These are xerox copies of the other file. One of my law school buddies works for Apple in their patents division. He has the original file in the safe in his office along with the designs of whatever new toys all the kids are all going to want next Christmas. I took Agent Colton's warning seriously." Deeks also pulled a CD out of the file folder. "Bates has a copy of this."
"Why don't you make copies of your copies and we'll convene in Ops in five minutes. I think I could use some tea and need to make a call." Hetty handed Deeks the current LAPD file on Sebastian Boothe and left Kensi with Deeks.
Kensi smiled at him. "You're hiding LAPD files in Cupertino with new iPads? Who is making trouble for you and how do we ruin him?"
Deeks put the disc back into his file folder before standing up. "Look at you, such a sexist. The person making immediate trouble for me is FBI Assistant Director Miller. Andrea Miller." Deeks leaned in and whispered in her ear, "And you two probably won't be friends."
Kensi walked out with him. "I got your back," she told him.
"That was never in doubt, Kensi. I just don't want this to screw things up."
Now it was Kensi's turn to whisper, "Can't screw us up." Kensi stepped in front of him just as they got to the bullpen. "We're partners, we're a team."
"We'll talk about this later, I need to make copies." Deeks handed his laptop and the CD to Kensi, "Would you mind bringing this up to Eric, I'm going to need it for show and tell in Ops."
"And now look at you, giving orders. 'Kensi, bring me a file.' 'Kensi, bring this up to Eric.' You're gonna owe me Deeks." Kensi's smile while she was teasing him lightened his mood. "Big time. And I still want breakfast."
"Of course you do." He watched her walk off and started to load the copy machine.
"You haven't shared any information about this case with Ms. Blye?" Hetty just seemed to suddenly appear as he started the copier.
"Not some of my finest moments with the LAPD. Besides, nobody here is interested in my history there. Back then, you guys were fighting terrorists, I was doing buys and busts. I'll be up in a minute." Deeks pointed to the copier as it worked.
"Mr. Deeks, your time working undercover with the LAPD is of great interest to me, your partner and this agency. Your work was far more than buys and busts as you call them. And we'll need a complete history of your work on this case so we can find Lt. Moran's killer and properly manage Assistant Director Miller." Hetty turned and started to walk away but stopped. "Oh Mr. Deeks, is the Special Agent Afloat position an issue for you?"
"You said your first thoughts of NCIS were of 'cops on carriers.' Are you concerned that if you joined us as a full-time agent you could be assigned as a Special Agent Afloat?"
Deeks looked at Hetty and remembered why Bates didn't like to have her around. She seemed to know too much about everyone. "It isn't the only reason but I've heard a few Special Agent Afloat stories from some of the NCIS agents who work here. I wonder about a year-long assignment on a ship. I was a bit antsy on the Van Buren after three days. I can't see myself spending a year with all that ocean and no ability to surf," Deeks tried to joke.
"If you were to sign the papers I gave you, you'd continue to be trained and engage in what you're doing now, undercover work. It would not be a proper use of your skills as an investigator and an undercover operator to have you breaking up card games on the USS Carl Vinson." Hetty started to walk to the stairs. "Please join us when you're ready."
Deeks wondered if she meant up in Ops or as an agent for NCIS as she walked away.
Copies made, Deeks walked up to Ops. "Sorry to keep you waiting," Deeks handed the copies of the now long gone LAPD file and his case notes to Hetty, Kensi and Eric. Eric was at his desk, Hetty standing nearby. Kensi was leaning on the work counter, screen side. His laptop was open on the counter.
"Mr. Beale, please takes Mr. Deeks's files and notes, digitize them and store them with this file name." Hetty handed Eric a slip of paper. She turned to Deeks, "Detective, a folder in your apartment, even if it is only a copy, is not the best place for these files."
"I can call Stu and get the original file." Deeks popped the CD in his laptop's drive and sat on a stool.
"Have it overnighted to the Navy Yard in DC. They can send it in the daily pouch to me. Proceed."
It's showtime, Deeks thought.
1. I am assuming everyone survives the finale (except the Russians, they need to go) a bit dinged up but alive and kicking. This story starts a few months later.
2. Same deal as last summer's longer story - one chapter a week, usually posted on Sunday (internet willing and the East River staying where it usually is).
3. I will make every effort to have this done before the season premiere.
4. I hate author's notes so I won't make this a habit.