wikiDeeks Exclusive: A Fan Fic Relay in 10 Chapters by five of your favorite fanfic writers in order of appearance: SweetLu, Jericho Steele, Kadiedid, imahistorian, and Phillydi.
Deeks grimaced as he pulled his shirt on, his fingers shaking a little as he buttoned the front. Tucking the shirt into his khaki pants seemed like too much effort after the pummeling he’d taken, so Deeks simply stood, buttoning his pants and turning to the mirror in the hospital bathroom to inspect the damage.
His face looked worse than it felt, the bulk of his pain reserved for the straining and tender muscles of his stomach. Deeks fingered the bruise around his eye, almost relishing the spike of pain that shot there since it distracted from the rest of his injuries. Deeks surveyed his clothes, noting the blood on his collar and the stiffness of his pants since they dried with salt water and sand soaking them.
The nurse from earlier returned, bearing his discharge papers and a disapproving frown. After Deeks had received the anonymous note, he realized he needed to get out of the hospital fast and he needed to bring the rest of the team up to speed on the mysterious General and his plans for Callen’s undercover persona. And that meant getting out of the hospital against the doctor’s orders.
“We can’t force you to stay, Mr. Satterlee, but I’d wish you would reconsider and give yourself time to recover.”
“No rest for the wicked,” Deeks replied, a grin on his face that he didn’t really feel. But it worked convincingly with Satterlee’s flippant personality. And Deeks used that as a shield against the real worry that bubbled under the surface.
Signing the forms with a quick scrawl, the nurse took them from Deeks and departed, passing Kensi who entered the room, the same disapproving frown on her face as she looked Deeks up and down.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Kensi asked.
“Back to my hotel. I need a change of clothes and my gear. And since you won’t leave like I told you, looks like you’re going to take me, sweetheart,” Deeks replied, the lightness of his tone the opposite of the pointed look he gave Kensi, giving her one last chance to walk away like he hoped she would. And it really didn’t surprise him when she shook her head, doing exactly what he wished she wouldn’t.
“I’m not going to leave you,” Kensi said, her soft voice bringing meaning beyond the simple statement. Deeks nodded wearily and cocked a shoulder towards the door, following Kensi as they exited the hospital and got into her car.
The ride to the hotel was quiet as Kensi’s head occasionally turned in his direction, her lips pursed together in an effort to keep her questions and concerns contained. Deeks kept his eyes trained straight ahead, his head tumbling with questions about the next steps in the mission. The General clearly had plans for Jimmy Satterlee. How long term those plans were was what Deeks wondered. Forefront in his mind was the need to identify who the General was, and to figure out a plan for how Jimmy could pass along the intel about where Callen, as Colonel Jaeger, was going to be the next day.
Deeks could piece together the reasons for the message from the General based on what he’d heard the night before. The General intended to capture Colonel Jaeger and force him to give up the encryption keys he needed in order to operate the drones he’d acquired. For what ultimate purpose, Deeks didn’t know. But the General’s rantings about the destruction of the government left him with an uneasy feeling that the drone targets would be catastrophic and very close to home. Deeks didn’t like the idea of using Callen as bait to get at the General, but that was starting to seem like the only option.
Pulling up in the hotel parking lot, Deeks mumbled to Kensi that he would be right back and he exited the car before she could work in a word. He hoped she wouldn’t follow him, but deep down he knew it was a feeble hope. For reasons he didn’t want to admit to, he left the hotel room door slightly ajar, hoping with equal measure that she would come through it after him and that she would stay in the car. His hopes were both dashed and lifted when he heard the door of the hotel open and close behind him.
Deeks tugged his shirt off, swallowing the hiss of pain between clenched teeth. And he managed to unbutton his pants, beginning to shove them off and bend over when his aching stomach muscles stopped him, beginning to seize in the hours after his ordeal.
Silently, Kensi came up behind him, her hands warm and soothing as they smoothed over his shoulders and she came around to face him, her palms resting lightly against his chest. Her hands slid down, her fingertips grazing his abdominal muscles as she reached for the buttons on his pants, slowly lowering the zipper. Kensi looked down, then up at him through her dark eyelashes, her lifted eyebrow a warning.
“Don’t go getting any ideas into your head, Mr. Satterlee,” Kensi murmured, her hands going to his hips to help push his pants down. Deeks couldn’t help the grin on his face, the vision of Kensi kneeling down in front of him doing all sorts of good at making him forget about the pain still coursing through him. He closed his eyes as Kensi tapped his right leg, silently telling him to lift it, and then his left leg, as she removed his pants. The presence of her, the light touches, and her concern enveloped him, relaxed him, and made him think and wish for a second that there wasn’t a mission or developing threat to national security requiring him to get dressed and face the problems head on.
Kensi shoved a pair of boxers at him, his elbows automatically bending to catch the soft fabric against his chest, and his eyes opening to find Kensi turning away, a blush coloring her cheeks.
“You get to do this part on your own,” Kensi said, turning away to pick up his soiled clothes. Deeks shrugged, dropping his boxers without modesty, and even though it still strained his muscles, pulling the new pair on. Kensi turned around and he held his arms open wide.
“Good as new,” Deeks proclaimed. Kensi smiled a little, then her eyes shifted to concern and filled with tears. Before Deeks could ask what was wrong, she’d fallen against him, burrowing into his open embrace. His arms went around her automatically, his hands smoothing against her hair, more than a little concerned for the sudden shift in her emotions.
“I came here and you’d just disappeared. After we hung up last night I felt bad enough how we left things. But then when you weren’t here I felt like I let you down. Like I let my partner down. Don’t do that to me again,” Kensi said, her voice firm even as she whispered against his collarbone. Deeks sighed, realizing with surprise that his injuries had scared Kensi more than she’d let on. He pushed her back enough so that she could see the truth in his eyes.
“You know I didn’t do any of that on purpose, right?” Deeks asked, wanting Kensi to hear the sincerity in his voice. “I had to think on my feet. I was going to come see you but then Pollard and Colton showed up. They wouldn’t let me take the phone and I had to play along or risk blowing my cover. It wasn’t my first choice, but I knew the mission had to take precedence.” Deeks paused as Kensi continued to stare at him, worrying her lower lips between her teeth. “You know I’d always rather have you at my back. But not at the expense of keeping you safe.”
“But who is going to keep you safe?” Kensi blurted out. Deeks ran a hand through his hair, turning away from Kensi to pull his jeans on, and then yanking a t-shirt on over his head. He couldn’t deal with constraining khaki against his already sore body.
“We have to be able to handle this partners/personal relationship thing without it affecting our work decisions,” Deeks said, more to himself than just to Kensi. Kensi’s eyes flashed with irritation.
“I’m not talking about our personal relationship. That’s our business and it’s separate from work. But I’m still your partner. And I don’t like you out there without backup,” Kensi replied.
“Do you really think we can keep our personal relationship separate from us as partners?” Deeks asked, curious about Kensi’s answer. Her quick nod, void of hesitation, was confident.
“I do. I have to. I trust you. And I trust that when it comes down to it, when there’s a difficult choice to be made that you’ll make the right choice. That I’ll make the right choice,” Kensi replied. Deeks could only nod, a niggling thought in the back of his mind still wondering if he ultimately knew what that right choice would be.
“Are you going to be okay to keep going on this assignment?” Kensi asked, her palm resting against his stomach and concern warming her dark eyes.
“I have to be. I don’t want to give Callen any more ammunition to think I can’t do my job,” Deeks said, trying to keep the bitterness from his voice but knowing he only marginally succeeded.
“I don’t know what’s going on with him. Callen can be prickly, but even for him he’s been extreme. Sam doesn’t know what’s going on either, which makes it even more strange,” Kensi said. “He’s a lone wolf, but this is more than that. He’s being such—“
“A dick?” Deeks finished bluntly. At Kensi’s frown, and her automatic impulse to defend their team leader, Deeks waved away her words. “I have a hard time believing he has a justifiable reason for how he’s acted. Just because it doesn’t go exactly according to G. Callen’s master plan doesn’t mean a mission is failing. Rolling with the punches is sometimes required.”
Kensi looked at him fondly. “I think you kind of like it when things go slightly awry.”
Deeks grinned. “Yeah, slightly awry is kind of my wheelhouse.” His smile faded and he shook his head. “Most of the time, anyway. Things went a little more awry last night than I would have liked. And speaking of that, we need to get to Callen and Sam so I can fill them in. Can we get somewhere where it’s safe for us to talk?”
Kensi nodded thoughtfully, pulling out her phone. “I think I have an idea about that.”
Deeks gathered his camera equipment and after Kensi’s short conversation with Sam, he and Kensi were on the road again. Kensi drove them onto Pendleton, weaving through the roads on the installation and to the coastal training grounds on the military base. Deeks nodded in appreciation at her choice, seeing up ahead that Callen and Sam had parked and were waiting on one of the sand dunes overlooking the beach.
“Nice. Colonel Jaeger would definitely want Jimmy Satterlee to get some photos of the coastal training areas,” Deeks said. Following Kensi up the slight rise of the sand dune, Deeks breathed in the salty ocean air, the breeze tangling his hair. The wind would provide ample cover for anyone who might be trying to listen to them, something else that weighed on Deeks’ mind.
“How are you feeling Deeks?” Sam asked, his eyebrows knitted with concern.
“Better. Nothing I can’t handle,” Deeks replied. Sam didn’t look entirely convinced, but he didn’t press Deeks further.
“So, what went down last night? Why did you drop off the face of the planet without a word from anyone, breaking protocol?” Callen asked briskly. Refusing to rise to the bait, Deeks merely focused his gaze on Callen, giving the debrief to the team, but wanting Callen to hear the events as dry, irrefutable facts.
“Pollard and Colton showed up at my hotel, unannounced. They barely let me get dressed before they told me I was going to meet the man they report to. I wasn’t allowed to take my phone and unless I called the whole thing off right then, blowing our entire mission, I had to go along,” Deeks said. “We drove more than an hour. I don’t know where. The last part of the drive I was blindfolded and cuffed. Partway through the drive I started to think it might go sideways. I tried to get them to take me back but they wouldn’t. Turns out my hesitation worked into my cover. If I’d been too anxious to meet their leader I might not have sold it well enough.”
“So you met their leader. Who is he?” Callen asked.
Deeks shook his head. “No idea. He was careful to hide his identity. Middle-aged, gray hair, strong jaw. Former career Marine Corps General and dishonorably discharged, most likely.”
“Well, that narrows it down to probably dozens of men,” Callen grumbled. Deeks felt his irritation rise.
“I’m sorry if while I was handcuffed, with lights shining in my eyes, and after seeing Pollard and Colton face down in the dirt and possibly dead that I wasn’t able to identify the man who was doing his damnedest to make sure I didn’t know who he was.”
Callen stilled, a light of surprise in his blue eyes. “Colton and Pollard are dead?”
“I don’t know. It didn’t look good for them,” Deeks said. Callen nodded slowly, his face relaxing.
“You’re right, Deeks. You did what you could. What did this General want? What’s your assessment of the man?” Callen asked. Knowing it was likely the closest to an apology he was going to get, and surprised that Callen wanted to know his opinion, Deeks continued.
“This is way more than an arms smuggling ring. It’s a militia group, but a militia group with bigger aspirations than hiding out in the hills and causing a little interference-with-the-government mischief. They have a radical, right wing political agenda and they’re willing to go to extremes to make their vision a reality. And those extremes include going after Colonel Jaeger,” Deeks said, weighing his words with the seriousness instilled after his treatment by the General’s men and the note he’d received in the hospital. Deeks finished by showing the team the note, and explaining his theory that the General wanted to capture Colonel Jaeger in order to force him to turn over the encryption key.
The team was silent for several minutes after Deeks finished speaking. Kensi looked slightly stunned, the description of his ordeal shaking her. Sam looked at Callen, clearly worried at the prospect of his partner used as bait. Callen nodded coolly, pulling out his phone. He dialed and held the phone out, activating the speaker function.
“Go for Eric.”
“Eric, we need you to compile a list of all former career Marine Corps generals, male, beginning at age forty, dishonorably discharged,” Callen recited.
“Am I limiting this to any specific geographic area?”
“Nope, give us everyone who fits that description. And put Hetty on,” Callen replied.
“Roger that. Hold for Hetty.”
The phone line clicked onto hold for several seconds until Hetty’s strong voice came over the line.
“Mr. Callen. I hear Mr. Deeks got into a spot of trouble. Is he alright?”
Not wanting Callen to answer for him, Deeks was quick to interject. “I’m fine Hetty. No worse for wear.”
Kensi looked at Deeks incredulously at his obvious lie but didn’t say a word.
“I assume your whole team is in attendance? That’s good. Assistant Director Granger is here with me as well.”
Sam’s raised eyebrow and Callen’s almost non-reaction told Deeks that Granger’s presence was unexpected by the former, and not at all a surprise by the latter. And Hetty’s pointed effort to make them aware that Granger was listening left Deeks feeling once again on edge.
Callen briefed Hetty and Granger on Deeks’ intel from the night before, uninterrupted until the very end when Granger broke in.
“How solid is this intel, Agent Callen?”
Deeks shook his head angrily at Granger’s blatant disrespect of anything Deeks touched, he leaned down and muttered an aside to Kensi. “Geez, I’m right here.”
Expecting Callen to express doubts in the intelligence Deeks had collected, Deeks waited for the other shoe to drop.
“I believe it’s solid and actionable. Deeks did a good job gathering this information,” Callen replied, his voice firm. “This group sounds like they are homegrown terrorists with the intent to overthrow the government or at least disrupt it. And they’re willing to use the stolen weapons and kidnap a Colonel to do that. And I think we need to give them to chance to prove it, and try and catch them in the act.”
“Are you suggesting we allow you to be used as bait?”
At Hetty’s question, Callen smiled. “I think it would be the fastest way to get at these guys. Once they contact Deeks and find out where I’m supposed to be tomorrow we can control the kidnapping of Colonel Jaeger. And I can wear a wire, and GPS tracker so we can record what we need to prosecute the General and his men, and we’ll have a team on standby to come to the rescue.”
“I want these men caught, Agent Callen. And I want to know how high up this goes and who it involves. At any cost.”
Granger’s words were finite and chaffed at Deeks. There was no thought to Callen’s safety or acceptance of the millions of things that could go wrong during a mission. Granger’s tunnel vision turned Deeks’ stomach. As much as he and Callen might have butted heads recently, he didn’t like the possibility that Callen might be dangled as bait.
“Very well. We will continue to work here to try and identify the General in charge of the militia group. Mr. Deeks will wait to hear from them and then we will arrange the opportunity for Colonel Jaeger to be kidnapped.”
After affirmation from Callen, he hung up the phone, slipping it into his back pocket. Still stunned at what had transpired, Deeks stared at Callen. Shaking his head, he finally couldn’t keep the words in any longer.
“What the hell, man?”
Callen raised his head to look at Deeks, not showing any surprise at his outburst. Not getting a response from Callen, Deeks continued. “You ride my ass this whole mission, accuse me and Kensi of being unprofessional at every turn, barely show an ounce of concern when I get beaten to unconsciousness, but then when the chips are down you defend me to Granger. Are you seriously this unpredictable or are you having hot flashes?”
Deeks cut off Sam’s warning. “No way, I want an answer. I can put up with a lot of shit. But I’ve put myself on the line for this team countless times. I’ve gone around the world—illegally I might add—to defend members of this team because that’s what partners and teams do. And I’m done being treated like the temp who just showed up for the day. I’ve earned the right of respect and the right to know the truth. What’s going on?”
Callen studied Deeks, his silence convincing Deeks that there was more to Callen’s treatment than his biases about his professionalism or his feeling that Deeks wasn’t the cookie cutter NCIS agent.
“Before this mission Granger pulled me aside,” Callen finally said, the evenness of his voice carefully controlled. “He knows you and Kensi are involved as more than partners. And he’s convinced you can’t maintain your personal relationship and remain partners. He told me he’s watching this mission and depending on the outcome he’ll make an assessment of your ability to remain at NCIS.”
“Whose ability? Deeks’?” Kensi asked, alarm raising her voice. Callen glanced from Kensi to Deeks.
“Both of you. Unless he’s convinced, he’s going to send Deeks back to LAPD and Kensi will be reassigned to another NCIS position. Far away from Los Angeles.”
“And you didn’t think this was important information to share with all of us?” Sam asked angrily, his irritation clearly deeper since Callen was his partner. “Is that why you were pissed when Kensi and Deeks went off book to the bar the other night?”
Callen swiveled his gaze to his partner, his blue eyes steely and rigid. “This mission has to go by the book. Any deviation and Granger will use that as ammunition.” Callen returned his gaze to Deeks. “I don’t want to see Kensi’s professional career damaged because of a personal indiscretion.”
Deeks laughed hollowly. “So that’s what you think I am, Callen? A ‘personal indiscretion’?”
“That’s not what he meant,” Kensi said quietly.
“I think that’s exactly what he meant, Kensi. He’s boiled down our relationship, something that is nobody’s business but ours, to two extremely loaded words,” Deeks said, anger turning his voice harsh.
“If it was anyone else you’re right, it wouldn’t be anybody else’s business,” Callen replied hotly. “But it’s not. It’s the two of you, and you’re partners. Your judgment during a crisis and in the heat of a mission may be compromised by what you feel. And I don’t want to see anything happen to either of you or to my team. We’re all responsible for each other, but I’m doubly responsible for each of you.”
Deeks felt his anger deflate a little as Callen’s words hit home. Despite his methods of taking his concerns out on Deeks, Deeks knew Callen’s motivations had been in the right place. In his own way he’d been trying to protect them.
But looking from Callen to Sam, and then turning his gaze to Kensi and lingering on her, Deeks felt his stomach turn with uncertainty. Not only were they in the middle of a difficult mission that was already risky, but now they had to worry that Granger was watching. And that the outcome of the mission and their success as a team might very well determine if Deeks would lose the most important person in his life. And that he could lose the promise of Kensi before they’d even had a chance to figure out what that promise held.
. . .
to be continued….