Brother of Mine
Summary: Deeks is injured in a car accident…but was it really an accident and was he really the target…? This is an adaptation of a Diagnosis Murder story I wrote entitled "Twists & Turns"…I never meant for it to be a cross over but as the Diagnosis Murder characters are in LA and a main character is an LAPD detective it just kinda lent itself to include these characters in the back drop of the story.
This story takes place within my "PARTNER'S" story-universe…where Deeks and Callen have found out they were foster "brother's"…while not necessary to read "Partner's" to be able to understand this story, some of the references may be confusing if you are unfamiliar with the storyline. And if you're a Densi fan I suggest you steer clear…that bitch is in as little of the story as I can get away with.
*Important note*-I reference another of my stories, "The Bad Guys Never Forgive & Never Forget" that is not technically in my Partner's Universe…but, as "Bad Guys…" takes place at the beginning of S2 and "Partners" began any time S3 or after, they could conceivably be in the same AU story verse…& fan fiction is all about wishful thinking…
The man looked at his watch…3:20 am, then at the single light still on in the small house across the street…didn't this guy ever sleep! He'd been sitting here for close to four hours waiting for the light to go out so he could make his way across the street to the car in the driveway and he was starting to get angry…he would be dead tired at work later today.
When the man was just about ready to call it quits for the night the light flickered off and the house was cloaked in darkness. He knew enough about the man inside and so gave it another twenty minutes before exiting his car.
Meeting no resistance he made his way to the back of the car, and giving the area one last sweep, he placed the small device in the wheel well before making his way quickly to the driver's side door. He paused apprehensively as the door clicked open and flooded the immediate area with light from the cars interior…after a moment he ducked into the car, pulling himself back out a moment later. Satisfied with his work, he quietly closed the car door and made his way quickly back across the street and got into his car.
As he drove away, he gave an evil smile…two down, only four more to go. This one would prove to be the most challenging, but the others were easy enough to find and he didn't want to chance this one getting away from him.
The day was proving to be a long and tedious one, as the OSP team was between cases and Hetty felt that it was an excellent opportunity for her agents to face that most feared and dreaded beast known as after-action and expense reports.
Sighing heavily, Callen slumped back in his seat and scowled at the never ending stack of files in his inbox. He then switched his focus to what was in his teammates boxes. Deeks, of course, had made very little progress by the precarious stack of files still piled in the detective's inbox: the detective seemed to be as bad off as he was…as team leader, Callen had paperwork the team didn't, while Deeks had to file reports for both NCIS and the LAPD.
Despite having half as much paper work as himself or Deeks, Kensi's inbox also did not look to be that much less empty; but, when his eyes rested on his partner's nearly empty inbox, Callen just shook his head, his scowl deepening. Sometimes he had to agree with Marty…his partner was just too damn 'efficient'.
Glancing up and catching his partner's scowling face, Sam just shook his head and chuckled, "G, if you'd actually work on that paperwork more than once every six months it wouldn't threaten to throw the earth off its axis…"
Callen just smirked at his partner as Sam looked at the two other desks, "even Shaggy has got more done than you have…"
Holding up his hands in mock defense, Deeks interjected, "hey, don't get me involved…"
The sudden ring of the detective's cell ended, for the moment, the never ending 'debate' about the evils of paperwork.
After listening for a minute Deeks frowned, "Does it have to be today…? Yes, I know, I'll be there as soon as I can."
The others watched as Deeks ended the call and gave a frustrated sigh.
"Problem?" Callen asked expectantly, his brow furrowing and eyes narrowing in growing suspicion and undisguised concern.
Recognizing the look he was getting from his 'brother'…the scowl he alwaysgot when LAPD called him, Deeks held up a staying hand, "Not a case…well, not an active one. One of my old LAPD cases, the perp is getting a retrial and the DA rescheduled the depositions from next week to today...two hours from now as a matter of fact," Deeks groused.
"Least it gets you out of doing paperwork this afternoon," Kensi commented.
Deeks snorted, "Like three or four hours going over old case notes and giving a new deposition is any better…but that's not the problem…my car is on the shop, I rode in with Eric this morning after we went surfing…Callen was gonna give me a lift this evening to pick it up…"
"Well, seeing as how the team is on stand down at the moment finishing up reports, Mr. Deeks can simply borrow your car Mr. Callen," Hetty's voice suddenly sounded, "by the time he is finished downtown, he can come and pick you up…and retrieve his car from the mechanic."
"My car! I'm supposed to let Deeks drive my car!" Callen gasped in mock horror.
Raising her brow, she intoned, "Uh…that would be my car…or rather, the car NCIS has so graciously provided to you…"
Callen scowled petulantly at the older woman, while Deeks grinned manically as he came up to Callen's desk and held out his hands for the keys.
Pointing at Deeks he threatened, "One scratch and…."
"…and he'll answer to me, Mr. Callen…just as you do…on a rather regular basis, I might add," Hetty reminded her SFA, fighting to keep the grin from her face.
Still grumbling, Callen reluctantly handed the keys over to Deeks.
The others couldn't help but chuckle, even Hetty couldn't hide the small grin that crossed her face when Sam commented, "Ah, they grow up so fast…little brother borrowing the car for the first time…"
Sam and Kensi burst out laughing when both brothers turned in unison to shoot their respective partners a glare.
Giving Callen a slight bow, Deeks said with mock solemnness, "I promise to treat it like my own…"
"You better….I can always replace you…I've got dozens of 'siblings' to choose from now…" Callen threatened jokingly.
The comment brought gentle smiles to all the team. Nearly a year after learning of and slowly remembering his time with his first foster mother, to hear Callen so casually joke on his place as one of Marjorie's kids was a comfort to his team…knowing that Callen felt he finally had a place to belong, that could give him a sense of home; not that Deeks would ever let him forget.
Clasping his hand over his heart, Deeks swooned, "Ah, you wound me, bro….I'm gonna tell Becca you're being mean to me the next time she calls…."
"Hey, no reason to play dirty," Callen shot back, smiling despite himself at the thought of his foster sister and her temper.
Making shooing motions with her hands, Hetty said, "go, get out of here…the rest of you, get busy on that paperwork."
"Yes, ma'am…" Deeks said, giving the woman a sloppy salute and dashing out the door.
The day was sunny and warm and Deeks drove with all the windows down. He grinned as he took yet another turn, taking the most circuitous route possible to the courthouse, planning on enjoying fully driving big brother's fancy car…he had yet to work up to anything but the standard NCIS issue SUV.
It then occurred to him that Hetty could have just given him the keys to one of the agencies SUV's and his grin broadened…leave it to Hetty to turn something as simple as needing a ride to the courthouse into a 'bonding' moment with Callen; he'd have to thank her for that later. Sometimes he wasn't sure who got more enjoyment out of the whole 'brother' thing…him, Callen or Hetty.
He was jarred from his amused thoughts when, without warning, the car suddenly lurched violently and began to skid; as Deeks desperately tried to regain control of the vehicle a second tire blew and the car went into a roll. The exploding pain as his head hit the windshield was the last thought Deeks had.
In minutes 911 had an ambulance rolling to the scene. Police arrived to hold back the crowd the same time the paramedics were making their way to the overturned car.
"What have we got?" a paramedic called to one of the officers at the scene.
"Looks like a single vehicle accident...witnesses report only one occupant." The officer reported. "Looks like both tires blew out."
Approaching the overturned car the two EMT's peered inside to assess the situation. One paramedic partially crawled in through the passenger side window in order to reach the driver and begin administering emergency aid, calling out stats to his partner who then relayed it to the hospital ER station.
"Male. Mid thirties, involve in a single vehicle accident. Unconscious and unresponsive at the scene, pupils fixed and dilated, possible concussion, multiple cuts and abrasions, BP ninety over fifty and dropping, tenderness to the abdominal wall, possible internal injuries...we'll need a backboard in here."
One of the officers on scene helped the paramedics maneuver the backboard out of the car and swore openly when he got a look at the victim.
"What…?" one of the paramedics asked.
"I know this guy…he's one of ours…I need to notify the precinct…"
Hetty walked into the bullpen and eyed her agent's solemnly for a moment, steeling herself for the news she was about to give, before settling her gaze on Callen, "There's been an accident..."
The agents exchanged startled looks, Callen looked at his watch, commenting with a casualness he didn't feel, "It hasn't even been an hour. What'd he do, scratch the paint or something...?"
Hetty took the comment for what it was, deflection. She shook her head, "Mr. Deeks was transported to Community General Hospital…he's currently in surgery...there was a lot of internal bleeding. He also sustained a severe head wound…"
Slammed with images of the last time Hetty stepped into the bullpen to give them news of the detectives shooting, Callen didn't wait to hear anymore. Without a word or backwards glance he picked up his jacket and headed towards the door. In shock, Sam and Kensi stared after Callen's retreating form then turned back to their operations manager, who pointed after Callen, "Go…stay with him…report back when you find out anything…"
Sam and Kensi were hard pressed to keep up as Callen sprinted into the hospital, taking the stairs to the surgery floor, immediately demanding news on Deeks condition.
Sam rushed up to pull his partner away from the surgery desk, "calm down, G, you're not helping Deeks if you get kicked out of the hospital."
"Someone has to know something by now…" Callen countered, pulling away from Sam.
As if on cue, two uniformed officers approached the three agents, "Agent Callen…?"
"That's me…" he replied, eying the officers suspiciously.
"I'm Officer Todd Brown, my partner, Officer Bill Franks. We were the first on scene," the older of the two men introduced, "Lt. Bates told us to wait for you…tell you what little we got from the scene…he'll get in touch with you as soon as he can…"
"So you were there…what happened, why did he crash…?" Callen demanded.
"We don't have too many details, Lt. Bate ordered the car towed to the forensics garage…" Brown stated.
"Why…do you suspect something…?" Sam interrupted.
"Not sure," the younger officer said, "witnesses say he suddenly lost control of the car and it flipped."
"Any reason for the loss of control?" Callen prodded impatiently.
"That's why the Lt. ordered the car towed in…both back tires blew out. Witnesses claim to have heard two popping noises right before Detective Deeks lost control...forensics is currently sweeping the area." Brown said, his tone indicating he knew the answer.
"Popping noises….like gunshots, maybe…?" Sam questioned as the three agents traded glances.
"Can't say for sure. Forensics is still sweeping the area and they'll check the tires at the lab." The younger officer reported. "The preliminary report should be done in about three hours."
"Keep us updated…" Callen said.
"We will," the older officer, Brown, assured, "if this wasn't an accident someone is gonna pay for coming after one of our own…you can count on it, agent Callen. He may work with you guys, but he's still one of us…"
Callen nodded his thanks, appreciative of the support; while Sam reached out to shake the man's hand, "thanks man…we've got his back…"
The three agents stood for several moments, unsure what to do with themselves after the two LAPD officer's left the floor. It would be hours before they received a preliminary forensics report on the car and tires or an update on Deeks condition, and standing idle did not set well with any of them.
Realizing both Callen and Kensi were still in shock by what had happened, Sam stepped up, "Come on G, Kens, let's go sit down…I'll find us some crappy coffee…"
Still dazed by the thought of her partner, again, being seriously injured, Kensi was perfectly willing to follow Sam's lead and automatically headed towards the chairs in the far corner of the waiting area that Sam indicated.
Sam turned to his partner, when Callen made no move to comply with his mild order, "G…?"
Lost in thought, Callen paid little heed to his partner; his mind zeroing in on one fact…if it was gunshots that blew the tires on the Martin, that meant that someone was deliberately shooting at his car…his NCIS issued vehicle; meaning he had been the target. Meaning Deeks had yet again gotten caught in the crossfire…been injured, because of his involvement with the agency. Anger and guilt washed over him-Deeks could die because some enemy wanted revenge against him.
Frowning at his partner's continued lack of response, Sam reached out and shook Callen's arm, "What is it, G…what's going on it that had of yours?"
"If what the witnesses heard were gunshots then Deeks accident was no accident," Callen said grimly, "it was my car, Sam-" turning to look his partner directly in the eyes for emphasis, Callen continued, "my NCIS issued car…which means someone was after me….it was meant for me to be in that car…and now Deeks…he could…"
"Hey, hey…don't talk like that, don't even think like that. Deeks is gonna be fine, you have to believe that…." Sam cajoled his partner, adding, "and don't jump the gun on this one…we don't know anything yet."
"Oh, come on Sam, what else can we think. He was in my car... preliminary witness reports suggests someone fired two shots at the back wheels." Callen raged as he paced the small confines of the lounge like a caged tiger, "it's not like it hasn't happened before…."
"This guilt isn't helping Marty…" Sam said, pointedly using Deeks first name.
"How else I'm I supposed to feel…he could die because of me…" Callen shouted.
Realizing they were drawing unwanted attention and the nurse at the surgery desk was shooting them angry looks, Sam hustled Callen out of the family area and out into the hall, "Not because of you...because of someone else; and don't you dare sell your brother short…he knows the score, knows the risks of being a cop and working with the agency…and he still choses to do it. If it does turn out that Deeks was hurt because someone out there was gunning for you, or NCIS...then we'll find them, make them sorry they ever crossed our path; but know this, G, they will get away with it if you bury yourself in guilt, and that won't help Marty. Turn that guilt into anger...focus on finding out who did this to him…to our team."
Callen sagged against the wall, resting his hands on his knees as fought to reign in his emotions, "I'm sorry, you're right…I need to keep it together…"
"No, G, make whoever did this to Marty sorry." Sam intoned quietly.
Two and a half hours later the ringing of Sam's cell jarred them from their thoughts.
Noting the caller ID, Sam answered, "Agent Hannah."
Callen and Kensi eyed Sam intently as the agent listened to what was being said by the caller at the other end, occasionally interjecting a comment or question. "Okay, thanks. Send it to our tech…no, still no word, but when we hear something we'll let you know."
"Was that the department?" Callen asked.
"Yeah. Forensics pulled two slugs-one from each of the rear tires, they came from a high powered rifle." Sam reported.
"So someone did shoot at the car," Kensi interjected.
"And whoever caused the accident wanted to make sure no one walked away...the seat belt in the car was partially severed so the sudden forward momentum caused from the crash snapped the belt." Sam reported, unable to keep the anger from his voice.
Kensi gasped, anger and shock warring for dominance as she ground out, "Deeks is lucky he didn't go through the windshield…"
"So someone wanted to make sure the injuries sustained in that accident would be lethal," Callen replied with equal anger.
"Looks that way." Sam replied grimly. "Bates already informed Hetty…she had the same idea and is having Eric start pulling up your old cases…Nell's listening for any chatter, see if anyone is taking credit for taking you or any of your alias's out…"
Further conversation was halted when a grim, tired look surgeon approached them, setting off alarm bells for the trio.
"Agent Callen….?" The young, sandy-haired doctor questioned the trio that stood at the doctor's approach.
"That's me…these are agent's Hannah and Blye," Callen quickly made introductions, "so, how is Deeks?"
Shaking hands with the three agents, the doctor introduced himself as Dr. Travis before beginning. "Mr. Deeks is doing as well as could be expected. He had some major internal bleeding that we managed to get under control-barely; but it's the head trauma we need to watch closely for now, there's been some minor swelling..." the surgeon's explanation was suddenly interrupted.
"Swelling…what's that mean…is he going to be all right or not?" Callen demanded.
Putting a hand on Callen's shoulder, Sam tried to calm his partner down, "G, calm down, let the doctor talk…"
The doctor nodded his thanks, before continuing, "I'm sorry to say but it's just too early to tell. But, if we can keep him stable over the next twenty four hours he has a chance of recovery ..."
"A chance…what do you mean, 'a chance'? What exactly does that mean…?" Kensi interjected.
"Are you saying he could still die?" Callen accused as he shook off Sam's hand and stepped closer to the doctor.
"Because of the swelling caused by the head trauma Mr. Deeks…" pausing and taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly Dr. Travis dropped the bombshell, "he has slipped into what we call a stage one coma."
"Oh, God! Deeks." Kensi gasped, turning away, her hands hiding her face as she was no longer able to hold back tears.
"A coma!" Callen exclaimed in disbelief, turning a stricken face to his partner he choked out the word again, "A coma…?"
Sam again laid a comforting hand on Callen's shoulder and pushed him gently towards the quietly crying Kensi before asking the doctor, "exactly what does that mean?"
"Stage one is a light coma...your friend's body is trying to conserve its energy as it tries to heal." Travis explained, "If he were to regain consciousness right now he would be in considerable pain."
"So he will be all right?" Sam pressed.
"I'm sorry, it's just too early to tell, but we will do everything we can for him...we'll fight for him every step of the way," the young doctor promised.
"Thanks," Sam said. "Can we see him?"
"He's in the ICU on four, bay three. I'm really sorry, I wish I had something more concrete to tell you." The doctor said, adding an additional warning, "you need to understand, Mr. Deeks is in pretty bad shape...you need to be prepared for what you're going to see...all that equipment can really intimidate people."
"Thanks, but unfortunately we know all about it," Sam replied as his eyes moved to settle on his partner.
Dr. Travis nodded, "I'll take you up to the floor now."
"No…no, that…that can't be Deeks. God, Marty…" Callen gasped out, reeling from the sight that greeted him upon entering the room.
Nothing the young doctor tried to tell him prepared him in any way for seeing Deeks in that ICU bed, surrounded by a multitude of blinking, beeping machines: the sight made worse because he knew it was those machines that were currently keeping his brother alive.
Despite being all too familiar with the ICU following Callen's near fatal shooting years ago, the sight was no easier for Sam or Kensi, but each held their emotions in check-to hold themselves together or for Callen's sake, they weren't sure.
"G, I know it's overwhelming, but those machines are necessary...they are helping him," Sam tried to explain.
Sam and Kensi watched in concern as, trance like, Callen made his way slowly to the side of the bed and looked down at his friend, so pale and fragile looking, the bandage wrapped around his head obscuring half his face. Without taking his eyes off Marty, Callen reached out and looped his foot around a chair and slid it over so he could sit down. Once seated he carefully laid his hand over top that of his foster brother. "Deeks? Marty...I'm so sorry. This should never have happened..." overwhelmed, his voice cracking, Callen just laid his head on the bed.
Sam and Kensi exchanged worried glances before moving into the room. Sam moved to stand at the foot of the bed, while Kensi came to stand behind Callen, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. For a long time the tableau was held quietly as three people held vigil and prayed silently for their friend.
Dr. Travis was making his rounds in ICU an hour later when he came into Deeks room, to find Agent Callen still sitting there, despite the fact the visiting hours were over: just staring at the man in the bed.
"Agent Callen? Agent, are you all right?" Dr. Travis inquired with growing concern.
When the man did not acknowledge his presence the doctor laid a firm hand on his shoulder. "Mr. Callen you really need to let your friend get some rest, come back during regular visiting hours."
"He's more than my friend you know," Callen finally said, his voice quiet, his eyes never leaving the man in the bed.
"I noticed on his chart that you are his emergency contact, along with a Ms. Lange…I assume that's because he has no family listed and you work together…" Dr. Travis commented, asking, "he's an LAPD detective, but he works for…NCIS…?"
Callen nodded absently, "he's a liaison between the local PD and our agency…" then running his hands down his face, he suddenly needed someone besides his team to know what Deeks meant to him…to claim every and all right to be here, "he's my brother…well, foster brother…"
"So, you work together and…your family…" the doctor asked.
Callen shrugged and gave a small huff of amusement, "Kind of a surprise to us….we worked together for years before we found out…"
Callen leaned back in the chair tiredly, letting out a long sigh as he eyed the all to still man in the bed before turning to the doctor, "I know it's selfish, but I just wish he's wake up...even for a minute."
"I know; waiting is the hardest...especially, I'm sorry to say, when we can't promise anything." Dr. Travis consoled, adding with some authority. "But I certainly wouldn't want my patient waking up to the sight you present; you'd scare him to death...now go home, get some rest. If there is any change in his condition you know the hospital will contact you."
"I can't leave." Callen protested.
"Yes, you can and you will. I won't have anything jeopardizing my patient's recovery." Dr. Travis said firmly, adding less harshly. "I know something of what happened, that the police don't think it was an accident. I won't push the rest issue; but there is a time to be a friend and time to do your job. I think you would feel better if you did your job, investigating the accident that put the detective in that bed, instead of sitting around here just waiting. That won't help you and it certainly won't help…your brother."
Callen looked at the doctor in surprise, not sure how to feel about the young doctor's rather brash attitude or how he seemed to know so much about the on-going case.
Seeing the agents uncertain, and if the doctor were to give it a name, almost angry look, Dr. Travis held up a staying hand, "one of the doctor's I work with has a son on the force, Steve Sloane, he's never worked with your friend here, but he knows him by reputation…says he very good at what he does…believe me, the PD wants the guy that did this as bad as your NCIS does…"
Callen looked at the doctor for a moment before sighing heavily and nodding his head in agreement. Standing, he leaned over his friend and whispered. "I need to leave for a little while Marty, Doc says you need to rest, but I'll be back soon. I'm going to find out what happened, whoever did this, won't get away with it, I promise."
Callen turned to the doctor. "You'll call if anything changes, no matter what?"
"You have my word." Dr. Travis assured. "Now go, find the person responsible."
Callen stepped into the mission and scanned the area, the absence of Sam and Kensi told the SFA that the two agents were still out chasing up leads the LAPD had found. He also noted that Hetty was not at her desk, so he made his way up to ops.
"Mr. Callen, I am surprised to see you here," Hetty said, asking, "how is Mr. Deeks?"
"Not good, no change since the surgery," Callen said with a defeated sigh. "He's...he's in ICU...hooked up to all these machines…a coma…."
Callen wasn't able to continue and Hetty didn't push, having already received her hourly update on her liaison officer's condition.
"He's in good hands," Hetty said knowingly, "they have an excellent staff at Community General…"
Callen nodded absently, "I'm just not sure if it will be enough."
Hetty turned back to the two computer tech's, who had watched the conversation wide-eyed and worried, and motioned for them to continue with their work, allowing Callen a few quiet moments to reign in his scattered thoughts and emotions.
"What have you got?" he finally asked.
Looking to Hetty, who nodded, Eric said, "I'm afraid not much so far. I've been pulling up the team's old cases and so far nothing…everyone the team has arrested is still where they're supposed to be…"
"Well it's got to be someone..." Callen interrupted impatiently.
"If it has to do with a past case we'll find it." Hetty promised, redirecting her SFA anger away from Eric, "you have to realize Eric and Nell have hundreds of case files to sift through…both with NCIS and your time with the CIA…."
Running a hand down his face, he ground out, "and that's just it, it could be any of hundreds of people…we may never find out who did it…hell, someone could have ordered a hit that is still on the inside…we could be chasing out tails for months trying to track down a lead," turning to Nell he asked, "what about chatter….is there anyone claiming credit…?"
Nell looked at Callen sadly, slowly shaking her head, "we've been monitoring your old alias's…so far it's been quiet there too…no one looking for any of them…"
Callen frowned and shook his head. "Not one? Damn it, what are we missing here?"
Hesitantly Nell looked back and forth between Hetty and Callen before suggesting hesitantly, "Maybe we're going at this from the wrong angle."
"Why? What's your idea?" Callen asked hopefully.
"Have you considered that the killer might have been after Deeks and not you?" she asked.
"Deeks? You think someone was after Deeks?" Callen exclaimed.
Hetty nodded, "it is a valid line of investigation…Mr. Deeks has an impressive arrest record with the LAPD."
"How can you even consider that…he was driving my car…?" Callen said pointedly waving a hand towards the computer. "You're wrong...there has to be someone we're missing?"
"Mr. Callen, you're letting your emotions cloud your judgment here...maybe to the point of jeopardizing this investigation..." Hetty said pointedly.
"What? You want someone to be after Deeks? You want him to be a target of some psycho we can't identify from his time before he was with us...isn't it bad enough how many times he's been a target because of us," Callen yelled.
"Get it under control agent." Hetty threatened. "We are all worried about Mr. Deeks, don't you dare assume that you are the only one affected by all of this. I know you feel guilty about what has happened, but that doesn't mean it's your fault... that you or your job had anything to do with it!"
Ops became quiet as attention was directed towards the heated and emotional exchange between the operations manager and her SFA. Noticing the tense silence, Callen gave his boss one last glare before storming from the room. "I need to get back to the hospital."
As the doors closed on her agent, she gave a heavy sigh and reached for the telephone, calling the one person who might talk some sense into her stubborn agent-his partner.
Sam was waiting for Callen as he stepped off the elevator on the ICU floor.
Seeing his partner's grim look Callen immediately panicked. "What is it? Did something happen? Sam…did someone call you…why wasn't I called?"
"Calm down G, nothing has changed." Sam assured his friend, looking at him with a critical eye. "Right now it's you I'm worried about."
"Me? Why? I'm fine." Callen snapped. "There's nothing wrong with me."
"Hetty called..." Sam began only to be interrupted by his agitated son.
"She did, did she? And I suppose she told you of her ridiculous theory that someone was after Marty."
Sam hustled his angry partner into a nearby family lounge and closed to door, eyeing Callen curiously for a moment before continuing.
"I don't understand why you're so dead set against pursuing that line of investigation...Hetty told me Eric and Nell haven't found anything in our old cases, or heard any chatter on any of your alias's to indicate it might be someone after you," Sam questioned his partner, adding, "So Hetty is having Bates start pulling Deeks old case files, see if there is any clue to suggest it might be one of his old collars."
"So you believe Hetty; believe someone could be after Deeks…again!" Callen shouted.
"What? Again?" Sam asked, puzzled. "What is this about, Callen?"
Callen just shook his head and went to stare out the window, confessing quietly. "I let him down...again."
"Again? G, what are you..." The answer suddenly dawned on Sam. "You're thinking of the Chechen case aren't you...when Deeks was shot? You can't possible blame yourself for that; it was an elaborate set up. You couldn't have stopped it from happening. If it wasn't the robbery at the mini-mart they would have found another way to get to him."
"It's not just that one…"
"Then what, G? Come on, talk to me man," Sam cajoled his friend in mild frustration.
"It was bad enough when they tracked Deeks down, used him as a pawn to get to the rest of the team…when it did have something to do with NCIS…" Callen again trailed off.
"But…" Sam prodded.
Rubbing his chest, Callen eyed his partner angrily, "Did you forget about Harkin's already…what he did to me, what he wanted to do to Marty…"
Shaking his head, Sam replied evenly, trying desperately to tamp down those horrible images, "No, G, I will never forget the sight of you hanging there, bleeding out…or the fact that I had to hold Deeks while he broke down and nearly choked on his own guilt…."
Taking in and releasing a deep breath, Callen's anger suddenly deflated, "I'm sorry, Sam. As much as I hate the thought of Deeks being hurt because of NCIS, it's even worse to think that it has something to do with his time at the PD, before us…before…before me. Think about all those names we had to run when he was shot. Just reminds me how much I still don't know about him."
Looking at his partner for understanding he continued, "At least if it was me I could fight it…would have some…"
Sam shook his head in disbelief as he interrupted his partner, "Have what? Have control of the situation? Could take the blame for it maybe? What happened to Deeks then was not your fault, and what is happening to him now is not your fault either…"
When Callen began to shake his head in disagreement, Sam reached out and grabbed his arm tightly, forcing Callen to look at him, "you know it's part of the job…that from the very first case we work we make ourselves a target…you know that…and if you can't accept that; that you and your brother have enemies out there that could strike at you…at either of you, from out of nowhere, then maybe you need to reconsider working together…."
Callen scowled at the larger man angrily for a moment before sighing heavily and giving a small nod, knowing if Sam saw his fears this easily then Hetty definitely was aware of these feelings and issues lingering just below the surface; and if he wasn't careful, Hetty would indeed follow through with the threat Sam only hinted at…and he and Deeks would be separated.
"You're an agent, and a damn good one, G...but, that doesn't make you superman. You can't protect Deeks, or any of us, from everything Callen; and Deeks certainly doesn't expect you to…none of us do," Sam said pointedly. "However, he does expect you to do your job to the best of your abilities, nothing more and nothing less. If it had been you in the car instead of him, would you want Marty sitting around feeling this guilt…or would you want him out there doing something about it?"
"Alright, I get it." Callen replied, a thought suddenly coming to him, "Sam, if you're right, and it is someone after Deeks then they might try again...we need to call Bates, get a guard put on his door."
"You get back to Deeks. I'll call Bates and check in with ops…" Sam said, before leaving the lounge.
Satisfied, that for the moment, everything that could be done in the investigation was being done Callen headed back to Deeks room.
Hours later, files and downloads on their way to Ops from LAPD, Kensi and Sam went to check up on Callen; not surprised to find him still sitting, or at this point sleeping, at Deeks bedside. The agents were also relieved to find an officer stationed outside the detective's room.
They were silently debating who would be the unlucky soul to wake the sleeping agent when the man stirred and opened one eye to look them.
"Hey, guys. Must have dozed off for a minute." Callen said with a yawn, standing to stretch cramped muscles.
"Why don't you go home a get your usual four hours of shut-eye...it has to be more comfortable than these hospital chairs." Sam suggested.
"No, I'm going to stay...I'm waiting for the guard to show up," Callen answered.
"Callen, the guard is already here." Kensi said, pointing to the door.
"That was quick."
"Quick? Callen, Bates and Hetty organized the guard hours ago," Sam told his friend.
"Guess I dozed longer than I thought; did you get the files?" Callen asked.
"Eric and Nell have been going over the electronic files for the past two hours and the paper ones just arrived at ops…" Kensi reported
"What are we waiting for, let's go." Callen said, heading out the door.
"G, it's nearly one o'clock in the morning, Hetty sent Eric and Nell home already…now it's your turn. We can start fresh in the morning." Sam advised.
"I'm fine. I've slept..." Callen began only to be interrupted by his partner.
"A few restless hours in a hard, uncomfortable hospital chair does not constitute a good night's sleep…even for you…" Sam countered.
"Sam, I'm fine…really," Callen rebuked. "I won't be able to get back to sleep anyway, but you're right, it's been a long day…you guys go, get some rest, I'll see you later."
Taking a deep breath and realizing any argument would fall to deaf ears, Sam exchanged a quick look with Kensi before he offered a compromise. "Two hours, then its home and bed."
"Oh, well...uhm, I was going to see about coming back…getting a cot and..." Callen stopped when he saw the look on his friends faces. "Fine, two hours, then home to bed."
Callen just stared in surprise at the boxes he was met with upon entering the bullpen. Pulling the top off the nearest box, then looking at the four other boxes sitting on their desks, he exclaimed, "There must be well over two hundred files in all these boxes! Deeks really worked this many cases…?"
"Actually it's from his time as an undercover, in uniform, and Hetty even asked the DA to provide files for any cases Deeks worked as a lawyer," Sam explained, "we're not leaving one stone unturned on this one…"
'Especially after Harkin's…' going unsaid between them.
Callen just shook his head in disbelief; his brother had quite past…and from the look of the files it had the potential to be filled with as many enemies as was his own. "This is gonna take several pots of coffee!"
Near the end of the two hours Callen threw down a file in frustration. "Nothing and more nothing! I knew this was a waste of time. Not one file I've gone through so far has anyone that is out or that has means to order a hit from prison…"
"G, we've only gone through about seventy files between us, and I've got a few names Eric can run in the morning; besides, these are just his undercover ones and his time as a detective, we've still got the files from when he was in uniform and the ones from the DA." Sam reminded both agents when he noted the same look of frustration marring Kensi's tired face.
"We still have over a hundred files left to look over…" Sam said, looking up at the clock. "And your two hours are up. We all need to go home and look at this fresh in the morning, it will go faster with Eric and Nell's help."
With a quick call to the hospital and being informed that Deeks condition remained unchanged, the agents solemnly drove home.
Although he didn't manage to fall into a restless sleep until well after four that morning Callen was none the less us up and dressed and back at the mission by nine.
Feeling eyes on him he looked up to see Hetty standing nearby, "It's barely nine am, did you sleep at all?""Slept a few hours, came in to go through some more of these files…visiting hours aren't until eleven," Callen defended lightly.
As the hour struck eleven, Callen stepped off the elevator on the ICU floor, running into Deeks doctor as the man was leaving the room, "How is he?"
"No change I'm afraid." Dr. Travis reported. "But he hasn't lost any ground either."
"Lost any ground?" Callen said in exasperation. "What else could he lose, doc?"
"The swelling isn't getting any worse and the surgery to repair the internal injuries is holding..."the doctor explained.
"But he's still in a coma?" Callen interrupted knowingly.
"Yes, he is still in a coma, but he is slowly stabilizing; that's what you have to hold onto." Dr. Travis replied.
"I'm trying," Callen said quietly. "I'm going to go sit with him for a while."
Callen spent a few minutes getting an update from the officer on guard duty before slipping into the room. Things were the same as he left them the night before; only the chair was back in the corner.
"Hey Marty, I'm back." Callen said quietly, pulling the chair over to the bed to sit down. "Doc says things are going okay, that things are going to heal up. I know it's gonna be hard, but me and the team will be with you every step...if you could just wake up now?"
Callen sat there, unmoving, as the minutes ticked off on the clock….willing his brother to wake from the coma that held him in its grip. Ignoring the nurses when they repeatedly told him visiting hours were over.
An undetermined amount of time later a hand on his shoulder jarred him out of his stupor. "Huh! Oh, Sam..."
"Come on Callen, it's time for the nurses to change his bandages and the IV bags; let's get back to those files." Sam said softly.
Giving Deeks one last look, he nodded his head and followed his partner from the room.
Back at the mission the agents had a brief meeting in ops to be given even more bad news. Though Eric had spent the morning combing through traffic cam footage, there was no glimpse of the shooter…despite a triangulation of the bullets trajectory from a nearby abandoned building there were no camera angles that showed anyone entering or leaving the building.
So the afternoon saw the agents busily going over Deeks old case files…Eric running checks on any names the agents gave him from the files and Nell still monitoring Callen's alias's for any chatter concerning any of the agents old cases and alias's. The team was going to turn over every rock, hit up every informant, track down any perp Deeks had every had contact with…nothing was being taken for granted or left to chance on this one…as the team was all to cognizant of the fact that, one or both, the brothers could still be in danger.
After several hours, the ringing of the telephone pulled them, reluctantly, from their search for clues. "Callen."
"It's Doctor Travis, thought you'd want to hear some good news for a change,"
"There's been a change?" Callen said, sitting up straighter in his chair and catching the eyes of his teammates.
"He's responding to stimulus...looks like he's coming out of the coma...if he continues to improve at this rate, he should regain consciousness in the next twelve to twenty-four hours." The doctor reported, adding a warning, "now, while this is good news…shows improvement, your brother has a long way to go in his recovery…and it's not gonna happen overnight…."
Smiling at the two expectant faces staring at him, he finished up the conversation. "That's great news doc, thanks."
"What Callen?" Kensi asked expectantly.
"Doc says Deeks is responding to stimulus, he's coming out of the coma." Callen said happily.
"So he's going to be all right?" Sam said.
"He's got a long way to go, but he is improving steadily and Dr. Travis thinks Marty may regain consciousness in the next twenty-four hours." Callen said with guarded optimism.
"Now to find out who did this," Hetty said, appearing suddenly, as she was want to do, in the middle of the bullpen.
Another hour went by before Callen looked up, asking, "Is anyone else in Deeks DA files…I'm not sure, but I might have found something…"
"What is it, G…?" Sam asked.
"One of Deeks first cases with the DA's office…a drug testing company filed suit against a Gregory Morgan…resulting in criminal charges of FDA tampering…"
"Why…what's so special about the case…?" Kensi asked.
"FDA tampering…that's big money…" Sam commented.
Callen shook his head, "it's not the big money pharmaceutical company that I'm lookin' at…"
Kensi and Sam looked at Callen, waiting for him to continue.
Skimming the rather large case file, Callen summarized what he was reading, "This was one complicated case…suits and counter-suits. But anyway, according to the complaint…a Gregory Morgan was removed from a diabetic drug study after six weeks for failing to conform to the trials protocol. According to a doctor's note in the file, Morgan was responding favorably to the medications and became furious when he found out that even if the drug passed the trials it still had another year, at least, before it could be marketed."
"So, how exactly does one go about breaking protocol in a drug study?" Kensi asked.
"In this instance, Gregory Morgan was caught trying to switch medications with other patients in the study," Callen replied, still flipping through the file.
"So, Morgan thought he'd stock up for a rainy day. Did he threaten Deeks or anyone else during the trial?" Sam asked. "Any idea where this Gregory Morgan can be located now?"
"Yeah…Overbrook Cemetery." Callen answered succinctly, looking up from the file.
"He's dead?" Kensi exclaimed irritably.
"How did he die?" Sam asked.
"He died three weeks into the criminal trial…of injuries sustained in a car crash... due to insulin shock. According to toxicology there were traces of the trial drug and his regularly prescribed insulin in his system." Callen reported.
"So he did manage to stock pile some of the trial drug." Sam commented
"Either that or he was stealing it from the other participants knowing that the study would eventually end." Kensi suggested.
"So, why does all this matter if our suspect is dead." Steve grumbled.
"Oh, it doesn't end there. It seems Gregory Morgan has a twin brother, Barry." Callen said, continuing to flip through the file, "Several days after Gregory was initially removed from the study, his brother, Barry rushed his him to the ER for a severe insulin reaction...caused quite a scene, blaming the hospital for Gregory's problems, ranting that his brother was unfairly dropped from the study. He went to the hospital board the next day and tried to get them to readmit his brother to the study, even threatened to sue. That's when the hospital turned it over to the DA and filed suit against Gregory Morgan for breach of contract and jeopardizing a million dollar study."
"And Deeks was the prosecuting attorney for the DA." Sam said.
"Was his first solo case as an ADA…" Callen replied, a hint of pride in his tone despite the circumstances.
"Well, despite Gregory dying in the car accident three weeks into the criminal trial, it was continued against his estate…and records indicate that the decision was unanimous against Gregory Morgan," Callen said, adding, "…and Barry's wrongful death suit was subsequently thrown out due to that ruling."
"So, this would most likely be about revenge, but it doesn't make sense…why wait so long? This case was well over twelve years ago…" Kensi asked.
"Good question, we'll have to have Eric track down this Barry Morgan, see where he's been the last twelve years…" Callen said as he reached for the phone to call Eric, spying a thoughtful look on his partner's face, he asked after his call, "What are you thinking, Sam?"
"If Barry Morgan wants revenge, then I think you were right, G, I bet that accident wasn't intended for Deeks. I think that accident was intended for you…" Sam surmised.
"You've lost me, if this has something to do with Deeks the lawyer and not Deeks the NCIS liaison...how do I suddenly figure into your theory." Callen questioned.
"Think about what Barry lost-his brother? If he blames Deeks, or any of the doctors, and wanted revenge…who would he go after? And who's the closest thing to family Deeks has..." Sam asked slowly, as he got up and went to Callen's desk, picking up the file, he added pointedly, "and if that's not enough, think about it…whose car was shot at? Maybe Barry Morgan thinks killing would be too easy for anyone he feels is responsible for his brother's death…he'd want them to feel the same loss he felt…"
"So what you're saying is that Barry Morgan shot at my car, tried to kill me, to get revenge against Deeks for prosecuting his brother's case?" Callen reiterated, adding an addendum of his own, "interesting theory, a little out there, but interesting, but, how would the guy even know I exist…or how to find me…?"
"It's just a theory and so far we haven't found anything else." Sam said with a shrug as he waved his hands around at the boxes and files spread throughout the bullpen, "Nell still hasn't heard anything on any of your alias's, and the names Eric has been running from Deeks old cases haven't panned out either."
"I don't know Sam," Callen said with a shake of his head, "just seems rather far-fetched to think this guy could find out about Deeks and I…could find me…"
"Not as far-fetched as you might think Mr. Callen…" Hetty said, appearing in the bullpen.
"Hetty…?" Callen questioned as the agents exchanged curious looks.
"The LAPD finished processing your car and found something rather interesting…there was a tracking device in the wheel well of your car…" Hetty told them.
Shocked, Callen finally said, "So, somehow this guy…or someone, found out where I lived, maybe found the connection between me and Deeks…"
"Difficult yes, but apparently not impossible…" Hetty commented.
"Okay, the obvious security breach aside, there is still the whole thing of the timing; if we're looking at Morgan for this…we still gotta ask, why the guy waited twelve years for his revenge? To hold onto that hate all these years…did Barry Morgan ever threaten Deeks in any way...or any of the people on the hospital board or the jury?" Callen asked.
"There's a copy of a police report in the file…the police were called the day Barry had the meeting with the board." Sam said, looking up from the file he added. "It's at least worth finding out where Morgan was at the time of the accident... if he owns a rifle; we'll keep going through the records but so far Barry Morgan seems to be our only lead."
"You know, if this is about revenge we need to find out who the doctors were on that study, who his attorney was…get the names of the jury members and the judge," Kensi said, "I can't believe Morgan holds the DA's office more culpable than the doctors…all these people could be in danger."
"It's all in the file…we can have Eric call the PD to check up on all these people," Callen said as he picked up the large file and headed up to ops, followed by Sam and Kensi.
In ops in didn't take Eric and Nell long to have some of the answers the team needed, the screen currently showed the military and civilian ID of a man with dark hair and piercing, hateful eyes…Barry Morgan.
"…was a sergeant in the military…specializing in surveillance and he also holds three medals for marksmanship…and up until six months ago, Morgan had been stationed overseas." Eric finished his report.
"A marine…goes to explain how he might know of NCIS…" Kensi commented.
"And why he has taken so long to take his revenge…" Sam added.
"But not necessarily how he knew about me and Deeks, specifically. So, where is he now…?" Callen ground out angrily.
"Address to your phones…" Eric replied.
While the tech's and Hetty coordinated with LAPD to track down all the individuals listed in the case file, the team was making their way across town to Barry Morgan's place.
Pulling up across the street from the small house, they were met by none other than Lt. Bates and another plainclothes officer, who was quickly introduced as Lt. Steve Sloane from Homicide.
"Sloane…you know Dr. Travis, Deeks doctor?" Callen commented, remembering his earlier conversation with the doctor. "So, what are you doing here?"
Bates answered for the both of them. "We ran that list of names from the file your tech gave us…turns out two of them are open homicide investigations; Judge Keenen's son and a Betty Snider, turns out her sister was one of the nursed that testified at the trial…besides, Deeks is one of ours…this is LAPD jurisdiction…"
"We just found out Morgan is military…we get first crack at the guy…" Callen shot back.
"How 'bout we worry about catching the guy first," interjected the homicide detective, nodding towards the house, "No car in the driveway, and no movement since we've been here."
Callen nodded, "Eric tie PD's coms to ours…" then looking at the assembled group he said simply, "let's go…"
The two LAPD officers went around the back while the NCIS team took the front.
Knocking loudly, Kensi called out. "Sgt. Morgan? Sgt. Barry Morgan—this is NCIS. We need to ask you some questions."
Listening intently, the agents heard nothing; after a moment, she knocked again, repeating her request. When there was no answer she looked towards Sam, who was peering through the front windows.
"Nothing." Sam reported. "I don't think he's home."
Callen nodded and asked, "Bates, anything on your end…?"
"Nothing back here…" the Lt. replied.
"Then we'll start with the search of the premises." Sam said grimly, waving the warrant.
They found nothing unusual in the small house until they reached the basement; over in the corner was a large worktable covered in several maps of the LA area, an overlarge piece of corkboard was hanging over top the table, covered with pictures of at least a dozen people.
Everyone exchanged startled looks as their eyes scanned the pictures on the bulletin board that were arranged in sets of three or four...though still off balance by the security breach, the expected pictures of Callen and Deeks were on the board…two pictures showed them at the beach, the third of was of Callen getting out of his car at a crime scene. It was this third picture that was most disturbing as it had a crude tombstone drawn over it.
"That explains how he found you and your car…and confirms that you were the target all along," Sam commented.
Though two of the yet to be identified people had crude tombstones drawn over their pictures similar to the one over a picture of Callen. It was the fourth tombstone covered picture that gave the entire team cause to pause…it was a picture of none other than the officer standing with them now…Lt. Sloane; and he was standing with Deeks doctor from the hospital…Travis.
Looking towards the homicide detective, Callen asked suspiciously, "how are you and Dr. Travis involved in all of this…?"
"I don't even know what 'this' is yet…all I know is that I have two open homicides and a cop in ICU…" Sloane snapped back, turning to Bates and waving a hand towards the bulletin board, "and apparently a very good friend who seems to be involved…something you need to tell me Bates…if something happens to Jesse…"
Seeing Bates was not going to be forthcoming in an answer, Sam quickly offered the homicide detective a brief report of everything the team had put together over the last few days.
Steve shook his head, furrowing his brow, "that case was years ago…why now?"
"Barry Morgan has been stationed over-seas for most of the time…" Callen said.
Sloane turned angrily to Bates, "I remember some about that case, I know it really tore Jesse up about having to recommend dismissing a patient…and you thought you'd keep it from me that he could be in danger…why in the hell would you do that…?"
Shaking his head, Sam interjected, "Because, it's not Dr. Travis…it's you, Sloane…"
"Remember, Morgan is targeting family members…" Sam reminded the detective, asking, "I take it you and the doc are close…?"
Steve only nodded, as he turned to Bates again, commenting angrily, "So, you're what…my babysitter…I don't need your kind of help, Bates…"
Wanting to curtail the angry argument that was sure to ensue between the two LAPD officers, Callen pointed to the two pictures with the tombstones drawn over them, "I take it these two are your open homicide cases? Do you recognize any of these other people?"
Steve nodded at Callen's question concerning his open cases but then said, "the rest I don't recognize, but you can bet they are all somehow related to the people Morgan holds responsible for his brothers death. But we have officers rounding up the people listed in the file as we speak…and we can get locations on all these people," waving a hand at the board, "from them…"
Seeing a worried frown creasing his partners face, Callen asked, "What's wrong Sam? We now know who's behind Deeks accident, and two of LAPD's open homicides; and it won't take long to put the rest of his potential victims safely in police custody."
"We have the motive, means, and now we have the evidence, G, but until we find this guy I'm afraid you, Deeks and the doc, as well as the Lt., here, are in more danger than ever." Sam said.
"Us? How so?" Steve asked.
"We have no idea where to look for this guy and we're pulling his potential victims off the playing field." Bates answered, understanding the agent's line of thought.
"You think if he can't get to them he will come back to finish what he started with Deeks?" Callen asked. "But he's after the siblings of the people he feels are responsible for his brother's death, why would he go after Deeks again..."
"Because, I don't think this guy is going to give up." Sam replied, adding, "And, if he can't have the siblings he may turn his attention back to those he considers responsible…to the only people still in his reach… "
"Deeks…and Jesse…" Steve said grimly.
The noise of the traffic was just an echoing din from where the man sat perched on the roof of the four-story apartment building across from the local university. His heart was cold to the sounds of laughter and mindless chatter that passed by on the streets below as he slowly and methodically put the pieces of the rifle together; a satisfied smirk crossing his face at every snap of the weapon pieces fitting effortlessly together.
He peered through the scope and scanned the buildings across the street, coming to rest on the doors of the science building. Seemingly satisfied that the view through the scope was a clear shot the man laid the rifle aside and checked his watch; five minutes until two.
'Soon. Very soon.' He thought to himself.
He was pulled from his thoughts by the sudden stir caused by the appearance of two squad cars pulling up to the front of the science building. He watched curiously as several officers followed by a well-dressed older man that he instantly recognized…a man whose face was burned into his mind as clearly as the pictures dotting the bulletin board in his basement, climbed from the car and looked around intently before quickly going inside the building.
"Damn it!" Morgan hissed angrily. His rage increased, as a few moments later, the same officers and the older man rushed from the building- his target amongst them. In less than thirty seconds, his target was whisked away from him.
Bates assured the team he would contact Hetty as he left to finish coordinating and securing the potential victims in safe houses while Steve and the NCIS team rushed to the hospital. Breathing a collective sigh of relief when they found Dr. Travis just exiting the detective's room.
"Steve…?" the young doctor said in surprise as he noted the NCIS agent with him. "What's wrong?"
"As of right now you and your patient are in protective custody…" Steve told his friend.
"What…okay, someone just slow down and tell me what's going on here…why am I in protective custody?" Jesse asked.
Sam held up his phone showing a picture of Barry Morgan, then proceeded to flip through the pictures that were found at Morgan's house.
"Wait…Morgan…this is about the pharmaceutical trial…that was over twelve years ago…" Travis said in surprise, "and those pictures…that was Dr. Freeman, and…wait, I don't understand…if it is about that study and Gregory Morgan's death, how is Detective Deeks involved….?"
"Twelve years ago Deeks was a lawyer in the DA's office…it was his first solo case…" Kensi said.
"A lawyer…and now he's and LAPD detective…and he works with NCIS…." Jesse just shook his head, "busy man…"
While the team moved off to the doctor's lounge to fill Jesse in on all they knew of Morgan and the case, and Steve filled the guard in on the latest developments of the case and gave him a photo of the suspect, Callen took the opportunity to check on Deeks.
"Hey, Marty, how ya' doing. Doc says things are looking good." Callen said quietly, looking down at his friend. "We think we know who did this. We'll have this guy soon…don't worry…"
Callen had gently grabbed Deeks limp hand to give it a reassuring squeeze and was surprised when he felt the barest of responses; Deeks fingers had curled slightly, as though trying to return the squeeze. "Deeks? Marty, you squeezed my hand? Do it again. Come on Marty, do it again, try to squeeze me hand."
With bated breath, and with the seconds passing by like years, Callen waited for Deeks to respond to his plea; letting out the breath he was holding when Marty weakly wrapped his fingers around Callen's hand.
"Good going Deeks. I'm going to get the doctor in here..." Callen said reaching for the call button.
Dr. Travis, followed by the entire team burst into the room in a panic; stopping short at seeing a smile on Callen's face, "He responded to me, he squeezed my hand- twice."
"That's great news, now, give me a minute with my patient please…" Jesse said as he made his way to Deeks bedside, followed by a nurse who also answered the page.
Callen made to argue, but Sam clamped a hand down on his shoulder and pushed him towards the door, "let the doc work, we'll be right outside…"
Coming out of his Deeks room some fifteen minutes later, Dr. Travis met a wall of agents, much to the amusement of his friend; holding his hand up in surrender before he was bombarded with questions he began quickly. "Detective Deeks is quite a fighter. I didn't expect him to come out of the coma quite so soon. We will be keeping him under light sedation for another day or so, limit his movement until we're sure the surgery is holding and to monitor the extent of the head injury. But, barring complications, it looks like he's going to recover."
"That's the best news we've had all day." Steve said, shaking his friend's hand. "Thanks Jess."
"Don't thank me...we patched him up, but it was the detective that did the hard work." Jesse said with a smile, as he exchanged handshakes with the whole team, "I'll be back around to check on him in a few hours."
"Whoa…whoa…hold up a minute. Where do you think you're going, doc…?" Sam asked as he splayed a hand across the young doctor's chest.
Looking at the hand at his chest, then over to Steve, he settled his gaze on the large agent, Jesse replied, "Uhm…I'm thinking I have rounds…see," Jesse then twirled his stethoscope around in his fingers, "this is a stethoscope…means I'm a doctor…this is a hospital and I have patients to see…"
"Not along you're not…or have you forgotten about our killer…" Steve said, adding, "For the duration you are under police protection…"
Steve smirked at seeing the young doctor's scowl, causing Sam to step over and lay a hand on the detective's shoulders, a smirk on his face as he reminded both the men, "don't worry doc, you won't be alone, because you're bothunder NCIS protection…"
"I can take care of myself, thanks all the same, Agent Hannah…" Steve said stepping out of Sam's grasp.
"Think again, Sloane, Morgan is military; makes him our jurisdiction…which makes you, and Dr. Travis, our responsibility," Sam said with a snicker, despite the seriousness of the situation.
Early the next morning the team, along with Bates and Sloane, met at the boatshed…Hetty on-line from ops, as they discussed the case.
"LAPD has picked up all of Morgan's potential victims, everyone is secured over three different safe houses and everything went smoothly, but so far, no sign of Morgan," Bates reported.
"Any leads at all on Morgan's whereabouts?" Hetty asked.
"None. We have a unit at his house and one staking out his employer...we are also running down friends and associates. So far nothing…" Bates said with a frustrated sigh.
"Damn it. It's like this guy has just vanished off the face of the earth." Callen grumbled.
"Don't worry G, he can't hide forever...we will catch this guy." Sam said.
"Yes sir." The officer answered. "So far only the people on the approved list have been to see Detective Deeks."
"Good. Let's keep it that way." Callen said before he and Sam slipped quietly into Deeks room, Callen pulling his 'customary' chair up to the bed, while Sam stationed himself near the door. Kensi having been assigned to the doctor and detective for the day; much to Jesse's delight.
"Hey Marty, how ya' doing?" Callen said softly and was rewarded with two pale blue eyes opening to meet his gaze.
"Deeks? Deeks, you're awake!" Callen exclaimed.
When Sam made to leave the room to get the doctor, Callen held up a staying hand, wanting a minute with his brother before the doctors kicked him out of the room, "give him a minute…"
Sam frowned at the delay, but decided to oblige his partner for a few minutes.
Deeks blinked slowly, several times, as his eyes darted around the room in confusion.
"It's okay Marty, you're in the hospital. There was an accident, but everything is going to be all right now." Callen explained quickly, hoping to reassure his friend before he became agitated.
His eyes focusing on his friend, Deeks said hoarsely. "Ca…Ca…l'n…?"
Smiling broadly Callen answered. "Yeah, Deeks, it's me…and Sam."
His forehead crinkling in confusion Deeks again tried to speak, his voice nothing but a hoarse whisper, "Ac...acci...accident?"
Deciding to spare his friend any added stress Callen answered simply. "A car accident; you were in a car accident. Gave us all a pretty good scare, but the doctors patched you up, said you're going to be just fine."
Deeks gasped in agony when he tried to move into a more comfortable position.
"Hey…hey, hold up…you just had surgery to put everything back where it belongs," Callen gently cajoled his brother, helping the detective re-adjust his position, adding with a wry grin. "That hard head of yours took quite a beating too."
Deeks just grinned weakly at Callen's lame attempt at levity, asking in the same dry whisper, "Water, please."
"It's great to have you back Marty. Don't ever scare me like that again," Callen said as he turned to pour some water in a cup.
Callen was startled by the sudden, quickening beep of the heart monitor. He turned to see a wide-eyed, agitated Deeks staring at him. "Marty? Marty, what is it? Are you in pain, do I need to call the doctor?"
Sam had seen enough and slipped from the room in search of Dr. Travis.
"Ac...cident...car; wrecked...lost control...the car..." Deeks gasped out weakly.
"What? The car? You're worried about the car?" Callen exclaimed. "Marty, listen to me, it wasn't your fault...Hetty's not mad…I'm not mad; hell, insurance can take care of the car. We're just glad you're going to be alright…"
When Deeks did not appear to be calmed by Callen's reassurances, the agent blurted out sternly. "Deeks, damn it, settle down, it wasn't you, it was not your fault...are you listening to me, it wasn't your fault...someone shot out the tires..."
Callen breathed a sigh of quiet relief when Deeks took in a few ragged breaths and seemed to calm down. "That's better. God Marty, a car can be replaced..."
"Who?" Deeks asked simply.
Callen frowned, not quite knowing how to answer that question. He hadn't intended on telling Mary anything about the case, at least not until his brother was much stronger, but he knew now that it was out, Deeks would not let the matter drop, so he opted for simple deflection, "We're working on it."
Deeks crinkled his forehead, eying Callen suspiciously, asking again. "Who?"
"Right now that's not important. You need to rest, get your strength back." Callen said holding the cup and straw for Deeks to take a few sips.
"Callen?" Deeks said impatiently after swallowing a few sips of water. "…some…some…one after you?"
"Why would you say that..?" Callen asked a little too quickly, adding, "look, we really don't need to be talking about this right now."
"Your car...?" Deeks pointed out.
'Damn,' Callen thought, Deeks would have to be just coherent enough to put what few pieces he had together.
"You're determined to talk about this aren't you?" Callen grumbled. "I really think you need to concentrate on getting better right now…I should really buzz your doctor…"
"Don't…dare. Hi...hiding some..something…aren't you?" Deeks accused, growing breathless at the pain his renewed agitation was causing him.
"Now Deeks would I do that to you?" Callen said innocently.
"In a heartbeat." Deeks shot back hoarsely. "Who shot…car?"
Callen realized Deeks was not going to give him any peace or get any rest if he didn't know the truth, and reluctantly he realized Deeks might actually have some further clue to aid in the investigation. "Your doctor is going to kill me if you get yourself all worked up over this, you know."
"Then talk." Deeks huffed out with a satisfied smirk.
"Okay, fine." Callen finally relented. "We think that a man named Barry Morgan shot the tires out on the car..."
"Morgan?" Deeks wrinkled up his brow in concentration. "Name's familiar?"
"His twin brother was Gregory Morgan, you tried the case for a pharmaceutical company when you were with the DA's office…" Callen explained.
Deeks raised a brow in surprise, asking finally, "Why?"
"Revenge." Callen answered truthfully.
Deeks wore a frown as he looked at Callen intently, the puzzle pieces falling into place despite his muddled thoughts, "Revenge? After me...or you?"
When Callen didn't immediately answer, Deeks filled in the blank himself. "...after you...expected you... in the car..."
Callen became concerned when Deeks closed his eyes tight and pressed himself back into his pillows, his head shaking slightly back and forth as his breath became nothing more than ragged gasps.
"Deeks? Marty, what is it, what's wrong? Do I need to get the doctor to give you something?" Callen asked in a panic.
Callen was reaching for the call button when Deeks gasped. "No. Don't...don't need anything. Sorry...could have been you...in the car."
Marty reached out a shaky hand and rested it on his brother's chest, his face one of absolute distress…and even without words, they both knew why Deeks was so agitated: knew this was bringing up the wholly unpleasant, and nearly unbearable memories of Callen's torture at the hands of another of Deeks old enemies.
Callen grabbed Deeks hand and removed it from his chest, but held it tightly…knowing Deeks was referring to the faded scars that crisscrossed his chest, "No Marty, don't you dare. There has been enough guilt going around the last few days." Callen chastised his friend gently. "It wasn't because of you or me...it was Barry Morgan's choice to go after these people...and he's going to pay for what he's done."
"Others?" Deeks questioned quietly, and Callen realized had again said too much, musing with some frustration that for someone that just woke form a light coma, Marty was being too damn observant.
"He wasn't just targeting us...we found evidence that he was going after anyone he felt was responsible for his brother's death," Callen said, placing a comforting hand on Deeks shoulder he continued quickly. "And before you get excited again...all of them are currently in protective custody until Morgan is caught."
The conversation being both physically and emotionally draining for the injured man, Deeks merely nodded weakly at Callen's reassurances before he nodded off to sleep.
"Oh, now, he decides to rest." Callen grumbled.
Later that evening, Sam slid quietly into the room, seeing nothing out of place in the dimly lit room as he put the coffee carrier and small bag on the rolling cart.
He noted Callen had finally succumbed to exhaustion and was currently getting his usual four hours of sleep curled up in one of the visitor recliners that had been brought to the room. As Sam's eyes continued to sweep the room, his gaze passed over the man in the bed, surprised so see the detective awake.
"Deeks!" Sam exclaimed quietly, shooting a quick look towards Callen as he moved quickly to Deeks bedside, "hey, what are you doing awake? How are you feeling?"
"Like I've been hit by a bus...everything is starting to make itself known." Deeks grimaced.
"I can ring the desk, get you something for the pain," Sam said, reaching for the call button. "You need all the rest you can get."
"What's the damage?" Deeks asked, looking down at the tubes and wires.
"Severe concussion, mild swelling and some internal bleeding." Sam reported, adding reassuringly, "but the docs have it all under control."
When Deeks continued to frown, a distant look in his pain glazed eyes, Sam said, "…should be in here soon to give you the good stuff, fix you right up so you can rest…"
"Oh...yeah, okay." Deeks answered distractedly.
"What is it Deeks?" Sam asked in concern.
"I'm really sorry…" Deeks said hoarsely, unable to look Mark in the eye.
"Sorry? What in the world do you have to be sorry for…?" Sam asked puzzled.
"The accident...Morgan." Deeks rambled hoarsely, the emotional and physical pain he was feeling pushing him close to tears. "I know he was after Callen...could have killed G...I'm sorry…"
"What? How did you find out about Morgan? Doesn't matter, it wasn't your fault." Sam said gently. "Deeks, this man nearly killed you. The only thing you need to concentrate on is getting better."
"But...Callen, he...oh, god, and after last time…after Har-" Deeks began again only to be interrupted.
"Don't even go there, man," Sam warned, adding as an afterthought. "As many times as NCIS has put us in tough spots…has put you in the cross hairs, and you're worried about an accident that Callen wasn't even in."
"Not his fault." Deeks said in Callen's defense.
"Precisely." Sam said knowingly, giving Deeks a small smile. "I think you've both had enough of self- recriminations to last a lifetime. Now you get some rest, man…"
The night nurse entered then, ending their conversation. Soon the needed medications were administered into Deeks IV line.
Sam watched his friend drift off into a more restful sleep before turning to see Callen looking at him, a small smile on his face. "Thanks Sam, I didn't mean to tell him so much, but I couldn't get him to settle down and rest."
"It's all right G, he needed to know; and now maybe he can get him to rest."
Stretching, Callen commented, "Yeah, right! You know as well as I do that as soon as he can stay awake for more than ten minutes at a stretch he's going to be begging Travis to release him."
"Well, when he's able we can have him released into the care of the G Callen convalescence home for stubborn detectives." Sam said with a chuckle. "That way we make sure he takes care of himself."
"And I'll leave you the pleasant task of telling him he's going to have a babysitter." Callen said with a grin.
The next morning Dr. Travis stepped out into the hallway to the waiting NCIS team.
"So, how's Marty doing this morning?" Callen asked.
"I'm really pleased with his recovery." Jesse said. "I still want another day or so to keep an eye on his closed head trauma, but if all goes well I'll have him transferred to a regular room in forty-eight hours."
"That is great news." Kensi said happily.
"I'll be back around in a few hours, after my rounds," the young doctor said, "but, have me paged if you need anything…"
"Will do, doc, thanks for everything…" Callen replied.
Looking thoughtful for a moment, Jesse asked hesitantly, "have you…have they found him yet…?"
Sam just shook his head, "sorry, no, LAPD still has his house and business staked out and our techs are searching too…so far nothing…"
"What about Steve, is he okay…?"
"He's at the precinct…he's got a man on him at all times…" Sam assured the doctor.
The doctor nodded slowly as Kensi grabbed his arm, "Come on, doc, let's go see your patients."
After watching Kensi and Travis board the elevator, Sam and Callen went back into Deeks room.
"Hey Marty." Callen said, seeing his friend still awake. "you know, for someone who is supposed to be resting you're awake an awful lot."
"Hey G." Deeks said flatly. "Lot on my mind. I noticed there's a guard on the door, you think Barry Morgan will try again?"
"We're not taking any chances of this guy getting past us." Sam said grimly.
"The others? Is everyone else safe?" Deeks asked.
"All accounted for and under guard." Sam said. "At least one thing went smoothly."
"Any leads?" Deeks asked.
Callen frowned. "LAPD has his house and his employer under surveillance, talked to what few friends he has...so far, nothing."
"He can't hide forever, we'll catch him...If he's angry enough to plan the deaths of all these innocent people he's not likely to give up either." Sam added.
"I hope so." Deeks huffed, in pain or frustration, the agents weren't sure.
They talked about the case for another several minutes before Callen noticed Deeks eyelids start to droop.
"I think it's time for you to get some rest." Callen commented with a chuckle at Deeks efforts to remain awake.
The big yawn Deeks gave made his comments of 'being fine' less believable.
"You get some rest, we'll right here if you need us," Callen said with a grin.
"But I'm fi..." Another big yawn, and a painful reminder of his injuries when he tried to stretch, cut off Deeks protest.
Sam just shook his head. "Just get some rest, Shaggy."
"All right, I might be a little tired..." Deeks said non-committal.
When both agents raised an eyebrow Deeks amended his statement petulantly. "All right, maybe a lot tired...and a little bit sore. Kensi's not this mean when she visits me."
"Well I'm not wrapped around your finger like she…and Callen are." Sam grinned. "Those puppy dog eyes don't work with me."
Deeks made a face. "Fine. I'm resting you big bully, go away, it's creepy to have someone stare at me while I'm sleeping…make Callen go rest or something…"
"He's already had his four hours, but a trip to the cafeteria is in order." Sam said,
"We can't leave…" Callen protested.
Looking at his watch, Sam said, "Travis and Kensi are due by soon…"
"And, there is a guard at the door…" Deeks reminded, "I bet you haven't been out of this room at all…go, stretch your legs…eat something good for me…"
"But…" Callen again protested.
Sam rested his hands on Callen's shoulders and propelled the still protesting agent out the door, much to Deeks amusement.
Once outside Deeks room they conferred with the guard on duty. "Deeks is going to try to rest for a while. We're going to check in on the investigation, then we're going to swing by the cafeteria."
The officer chuckled. "Hospital cafeteria food, brave man.
Less than forty minutes later the two agents made their way back up to Deeks room, disconcerted to find the guard missing from Deeks door. Going to the nurse's station he asked, "Where's the officer that is supposed to be stationed at Detective Deeks door?"
"He received a phone call about ten minutes ago, said he had to report to the security office." The nurse replied in confusion. "I don't understand, he said the call was from you..."
Suddenly alarmed Steve asked urgently. "Has anyone been in Dr. Travis's room?"
"Dr. Travis and Agent Blye stopped in about twenty minutes after you left, said Mr. Deeks was resting comfortably. Nobody since then...except, the orderly is in there now, but..." the nurse stopped speaking when she suddenly realized she was speaking to empty space.
Callen rushed up ahead of Sam, calling back to his partner, "Call Kensi, have her check the security cameras for Morgan…"
Callen stopped at Deeks door and took a moment to listen. Hearing no movement, Callen cautiously opened the door and peered in. Deeks appeared to be resting peacefully; the machines monitoring his life signs appeared to still be running normally.
Taking a step just inside the door, Callen looked quickly to the left; as he started to take another step into the room to check behind the door it was suddenly pushed in on him and he stumble forward to get out of the way; behind him he heard Sam yell his name and the ominous click of the door being locked behind him
Regaining his balance, he quickly twisted to look over at the area behind the door to see Barry Morgan glaring down at him. "So glad you could finally join us, Agent Callen."
"Morgan." Callen said, raising his gun only to be met with Morgan pointing a pistol at Deeks.
The commotion had woke the detective who looked at them both groggily. "Callen?"
"Detective Deeks, I'm so glad you didn't die in the accident, that kind of pain is over with far too quickly, and I intend for you to suffer for what you did to me, to my brother...shame on you two, messing up my plans like that." Morgan said casually.
"Your brother chose to break the trials protocols...and he knew the risks of mixing those medications," Deeks said quietly. "Callen has nothing to do with this..."
"Ah, but that's where you're wrong…detective, is it now. Agent Callen has everything to do with it, as does Doctor Travis and his cop friend, Sloane." Morgan snapped out angrily. "Especially since you and your cop buddies don't play fair. How you found out...I had that kid right in my cross hairs yesterday when your boys in blue come charging in and took him away."
Not lowering his weapon Callen ground out. "Give it up Morgan. Just put the gun down."
"This is not my weapon of choice...too noisy, too messy..." Morgan said looking at the gun in his hand. "But I guess I'm running out of options."
"And you think a car accident wasn't messy?" Callen asked in irritation.
"Barry, give this up, this isn't going to solve anything, man." Deeks pleaded quietly.
"My brother is six feet under and expect me to just let that go. The courts are supposed to be there to help people...but, no…you weren't interested in justice...and where was that doctor, Travis, when my brother needed him…he let them kill my brother…kicking him out of those trials, he needed that drug…"
"No one killed your brother, but your brother. Everyone was just doing their jobs…" Deeks said urgently. "I'm sorry Barry, I really am. But killing me, or Callen…Lt. Sloane, or anyone else isn't going to bring Gregory back."
"He was more than my brother…he was my other half. And you killed him, you all killed him." Barry ranted. "I...I need this pain, this emptiness, to go away. It's…it's been here for so long…no matter what I do…it won't go away…"
"It can, you have to let go of your hate…you have to stop before anyone else gets hurt," Deeks urged.
"No. Don't you understand, it's the only thing that has kept me going all these years; the thought of making you pay, making you all pay," Barry shouted, waving the gun in Deeks general direction. "You drove my brother right into a grave. Now I'm going to return the favor to you...to all of you."
"You're not getting out of here Morgan." Callen ground out. "And the others are in custody, you won't get to them..."
"You can't protect them forever."
"Put the gun down." Callen ordered again, taking a step forward. "It ends now, Morgan."
Barry lowered his gun marginally, shaking his head; suddenly appearing more of broken man than a cold-blooded killer. "The pain is too much. I...I can't live this way, it's too hard...hurts too much."
Looking over at Deeks, Morgan said quietly. "He's right, it has to end. It all has to end."
Raising the gun suddenly, Barry Morgan squeezed off two shots in Callen's direction. Diving for cover, Callen rolled and came up on his knees, returning fire, hitting Morgan square in the chest.
"Callen!" Deeks screamed, trying to sit up in his bed. "Callen are you all right? Callen, damn it, answer me?"
Callen grimaced as he tried to stand, causing Deeks further agitation as he saw the blood stain on Callen's leg. "Callen, you've been hit!"
At that moment Sam finally managed to get the lock open and was followed closely by Kensi and Doctor Travis.
Kensi immediately went to the suspect, while Sam went to help his Callen to a seat and Travis went to check on his patient.
"G, you're bleeding. Sit down and let me have a look." Sam ordered gently, as he eased Callen into the recliner.
"Morgan?" Callen asked Kensi.
"Dead…" she replied, looking over at the agent.
"Call it in Kens," Callen said, looking over at Doctor Travis he asked urgently. "Deeks? Is Deeks alright?"
"I'm fine Callen." Deeks answered for himself, asking, "what about you…how bad is the leg…?"
"We need to get this cleaned up." Sam said, moving aside to let Travis look at his partner's wound.
"Let's get you down to the ER, Agent Callen…this needs debrided and stitches at the very least," the doctor ordered.
"I'm fine. It's just a scratch...the case..." Callen protested.
"Is wrapped up." Travis said looking over at Morgan's body. "I'm sure your team knows how to do their jobs and I can call pathology to come take the body to the morgue...so we can get you fixed up."
"Why can't I go home now?" Callen asked petulantly from his hospital bed.
"Because that bullet did some muscle damage and this is the only way I know you'll stay off of it." Hetty told her agent, adding with a smile. "Besides, I have a surprise for you."
The door to the hospital room opened and Dr. Travis pushed another bed into the room.
"Hey Callen." Deeks said with a wave and a smile.
"Marty, you're out of ICU, that's great." Callen exclaimed.
"Yeah, they needed someone to keep an eye on you." Deeks remarked.
"What? Keep an eye on me..." Callen sputtered.
Hetty and Dr. Travis quietly retreated from the room, leaving the "boys" to their fussing.
"Are you sure this is such a good idea?" Jesse asked, listening to the banter.
"Oh, don't worry about those two...having each other like that is the best medicine for both of them. They can feel like they are keeping an eye on each other and getting their rest at the same time." Hetty said with a smile.
"Tricky, tricky Ms. Lange." The doctor said with a smile "And I just want to thank you and your team again for everything that you did…"
"You are very welcome…" Hetty replied, shaking the young man's hand.
"Well I've got to finish rounds, I'll be back later to see if either of them are still alive."
Hetty waved after the young man before cracking open the door and listening to Callen and Deeks continue to rib each other.
"I could be out of here if it wasn't for having to baby sit you, you know." Callen said petulantly.
"Yeah, right. They moved me from ICU a day early because they needed someone to make sure you stayed off that leg and in that bed." Deeks shot back.
Shaking her head Hetty opened the door of the room, chastising the two occupants gently. "Gentlemen, I believe you both need to get some rest."
Hetty was chuckling quietly as she closed the door to the room as Sam came down the hall.
"So how are our patients?" Sam asked.
"Mr. Deeks is being petulant and Mr. Callen is threatening to sign himself out AMA." Hetty informed her agent.
"So things are getting back to normal around here." Sam said with a chuckle.
"Yes, I'd say business as usual…" Hetty said with a smile as Sam stepped past her and into the room.
Hetty smiled as she heard Sam berate both men for being difficult patients, "And I wouldn't have it any other way."
For those of you waiting for updates on other stories, I promise they have not been forgotten…just writers block…