The concrete wall behind him was cool, easing the headache that thrummed between his ears and behind his eyes. Detective Martin Deeks took a long, deep breath and blew it forcefully from his lungs, the loud huff disturbing no one as he was alone in the holding tank for the time being. Processing had been a blur, and while not his first time through that particular procedure, it was his first as himself and not one of the many aliases he had to use over the years.
There had been the stares, the looks of disbelief and even a few outright ugly glares as he was ushered through his old stomping ground of the LAPD. There had been a moment of fear just before Sergeant Ryan had escorted him into the detention area where the perps from the night’s arrests would be held until their arraignment before the judge early the next morning. Being identified as a cop and then getting thrown into a cage with the city’s criminals wasn’t something that he was looking forward to.
Ryan’s voice was gentle and kind in his ear as he removed the cuffs that were beginning to bite into the sensitive skin of his wrists. “It’s been a slow night… unless something major happens, you should be alone until morning.”
Glancing over his shoulder to make eye contact with the older cop, Deeks nodded in gratitude. “Thanks Gunny.”
The former Marine nodded to his brother in blue. “Just try and get some rest… you’ve got a long way to go yet.”
“I know… but thanks anyway.”
The sergeant slid the cell door with a soft click and for some reason, Deeks still flinched. Ryan was clipping his handcuff key back onto his utility belt when the blonde prisoner whispered through the bars. “I didn’t do what they say I did.”
Without missing a beat, Ryan nodded. “I know, son… never thought it for a minute.” He jerked his thumb back toward the main bullpen. “But someone out there has got it in for you, so you’d better have your ass wired tight. I didn’t spend half of my career training you, to watch it all get flushed down the toilet because of some trumped up charges.”
For the first time since he’d left Kensi gaping on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Deeks smiled. As her questioning, mismatched eyes danced in his memory, Ryan tapped one of the metal bars beside the door of the cell, thinking that the strange look on the Detective’s face was one of worry and fear. “No one’s going to hurt you on my watch Martin, you have my word.”
Deeks felt a burning in his throat, gratitude for a faithful friend tugging at his heart. “Gunny…“
“I’ll watch over you while you’re in here, you’ll make bail in the morning and be out by lunch.” Ryan leaned close to the bars so the microphones wouldn’t pick up what he was saying. “And then that little spitfire brunette you keep telling me about will kick your ass for being arrested in the first place.”
That made Deeks actually chuckle. “Ya think?”
“Why do you think I’m taking such good care of you? That girlfriend of yours scares me.” Ryan’s expression left no doubt that his statement was true.
“But, you’ve never even met her.”
The older man rocked back on his heels. “That’s because you haven’t invited me over for a cookout since before last Christmas. Geez, it’s like you’ve forgotten all about little ole Gunny.”
He was about to reply when Deeks caught on to what the Sergeant was doing: idle chit-chat to keep his mind from sinking into despair at his current situation. He locked eyes with his friend and nodded his head in understanding. “As soon as we clear this up, Kensi and I would be honored to have you over.”
“Kensi… she as pretty as her name?”
Deeks’ heart thumped in his chest. “You have no idea.”
“Then what’s she doing with a bum like you?” Ryan just couldn’t help himself. “Never mind, don’t answer that because I’m not sure I want to know.”
Ryan stepped back from the cell, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. “I better git before they accuse me of slipping you a file or something.” He keyed in the code for the door but paused halfway through the threshold. “I’ll be in the control room watching you on camera. I mean it kid, try to rest, I may be an old Marine, but I’ve got your back.”
There was such faith and trust in the man’s eyes that Deeks was struck speechless and could only mutely nod his head. Then he was alone as the door slid closed with another soft click and despite his surroundings and situation, he did feel safe for the moment, Ryan’s friendly nature setting him at ease and giving him a small sense of peace.
Senior Sergeant First Class Dakota Ryan paused in the hallway just outside the entrance to the holding cell, right where he knew there was a dead spot where neither the cameras nor the microphones would observe him. He pulled his personal cell phone out of his front pocket and typed in a contact number he thought he’d never have to dial again. The phone on the other end rang twice before a female voice answered. “Hello?”
“Your boy is safely tucked in for the night.”
There was a soft sigh then she spoke again. “Ahhh… Sergeant Ryan, after tonight’s events, I was wondering if I would hear from you.”
“After the Fisk case, I was hoping to avoid calling you altogether.”
Henrietta Lange chuckled softly into the phone. “If I didn’t know you any better, Sergeant Ryan, I might be offended.”
“And that wouldn’t be very pleasant, would it?”
Hetty could hear the man’s smile through the phone line. “Not at all… but, regardless, I’m glad that you are there for him. How is he?”
Ryan let out a huff. “Shaken… and a little worried. But he’s strong… one of the strongest I’ve ever seen.”
“He’s going to need all of his strength to get through this.” Hetty’s voice dropped in volume, her concern evident as well.
“Yeah… that’s true.” Ryan glanced at his watch, discovering that he was running out of time where he wouldn’t be missed. “Is there anything else I can do on my end?”
“Just do what you’ve been doing for the past few years… watch after him while he’s there.”
Ryan nodded, even though he knew she couldn’t see him. “Always, Henrietta. I think I spent more keeping him out of trouble than I did with my own kids.”
“My dear sergeant, everyone needs a guardian angel and I am glad that Detective Deeks has you as one of his.”
Glancing around once more, Ryan prepared to end the call. “Thanks… and please, tell Kensi to go easy on him when he gets through this… I think he’s more worried about her than he is himself.”
Hetty hummed in agreement. “The glory of young love, Sergeant Ryan.”
“Well, just don’t let her hurt him too much… I’ve got a lot invested in that blonde idiot to see it all go to waste.”
Hetty smiled to herself as the conversation came to a close. “You watch over him and call me if anything arises, is that understood?”
“Clear as crystal.”
Her phone chirped, signaling that the sergeant had ended the call from his end, and Hetty let out a long sigh as she placed the receiver on its cradle on the edge of her desk. The night hadn’t been a total surprise to her and she did feel a twinge of guilt at not warning her favorite detective that the warrant had been issued that evening. But this case, or this ‘sham of a case’ as Granger had called it, must run its course so that Deeks would finally be free from one of the last demons that continued to haunt him.
Speaking to no one but herself, Hetty muttered into the quiet of the Mission. “Do not fear the dark, Mister Deeks, nor the fear that comes in the night. Have faith, the dawn will come… the dawn will come.”
Randy (Jericho Steele) is a contributor for wikiDeeks.
You can also find more of his great stories on FanFiction.net.