“See anything strange over there Deeks?” Callen asked from their car down the street.
“Well, there’s a guy doing a very unladylike impression of Carmen Miranda with a pineapple strapped upside down on his head. With a bungie cord, I might add. Then there’s a girl wearing a purple tutu and what looks like army combat boots that’s so engrossed in her cell phone that unless the homeless guy across the street moves his feet she’s going to trip over him in 3…2… whoa that was close! So, no, nothing strange over here. Nothing except me.”
Deeks sat on the sidewalk, leaning up against the building next door to the bar they were watching dressed as a very dirty homeless man.
Sam chuckled then said to Callen, “I say we give this guy another half hour to show and then call it a day.” Callen nodded in agreement.
“I’m all for that because my butt is not happy sitting on this concrete for three straight hours,” said Deeks. “By the way, why do I keep drawing the short straw with this homeless man gig?”
“Because you’re so stinking cute. Emphasis on ‘stinking’,” Kensi said with a laugh from her vantage point on the bench at the opposite end of the street from Sam and Callen.
“Are you dissing my authentic homeless man apparel again? I’ll have you know I’ve been able to talk my way out of troubling situations more than once because of the aroma of my clothing.”
“Meaning, when they get a whiff of you they move on to someplace less offensive to the nose!”said Sam.
“Exactly! Authenticity is vital to these undercover operations. Like constantly talking to myself so people won’t question me talking out loud to you guys.”
“I doubt anyone is questioning anything about you, Deeks,” said Callen with a chuckle. “Are we sure this guy is meeting someone at that bar today?”
Kensi replied while hiding her face behind a newspaper, “Nell and Eric said the intel is rock solid.”
Callen sighed and shifted in his seat to get more comfortable. The suspect they were looking for worked for the Navy and was allegedly passing intel concerning new technology being installed on ships to the Chinese. He was supposed to be meeting with someone at some point this afternoon at the bar next to where Deeks was currently sitting.
Sam looked at the picture of the guy they were looking for once again and returned to scanning everyone that passed near the car.
Kensi asked, “Does anyone else ever have one of those days where everyone you see looks familiar?”
Deeks chuckled and replied, “You’ve been watching movies on the Hallmark channel again haven’t you?”
“No!” she shot back a little too quickly.
Callen replied, “I’ve had that feeling before but it’s usually because I have either surveilled or arrested them in the past.”
Sam commented, “It’s a form of déjà vu. You see them and the left side of your brain notes it a split second before the right side resulting in the feeling that you’ve seen them before which you actually have according to your brain.”
“Well, it’s annoying and I wish it would stop, it’s making me paranoid,” she said irritated.
Callen rolled his eyes and said, “Déjà vu? Really? Where did you find that little tidbit of information?”
“Look it up if you don’t believe me,” Sam said smiling.
“I can honestly say that I have never seen any of these people down here before,” said Deeks. “They are all unique and I would have definitely remembered them.”
Kensi turned the page of her newspaper but kept an eye out for new faces, even though they all looked like long-lost friends.
“Uh, oh,” said Deeks quietly.
“Is he here?” asked Kensi, ready to jump up and throw on the cuffs.
“No, but I see trouble,” said Deeks. He watched as three gang members slowly walked in his direction.
Callen and Sam sat up straighter as they caught sight of the group.
Deeks looked down at the ground in hopes they would walk by but when three large shadows stopped in front of him he slowly looked up. “What do you want?” he growled. “I ain’t got nothing, so why don’t you just keep on walking?”
“Where did you come from? We ain’t seen you around here before,” said the tallest one. Deeks guessed he was the leader of the three and sadly realized they were looking for a fight.
“I needed a change of scenery. Why do you care?” Before he had a chance to react, the one wearing the black t-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it kicked him hard on his left leg.
He winced and grabbed his leg then looked at the tall one and said, “What was that for? Why don’t you just leave me alone?”
“Because I don’t like it when someone disrespects me or my friends,” he replied grinning. “I asked you a question!”
Deeks sighed and prepared for the worst. “And I mean no disrespect but it’s none of your business.”
This time Deeks was ready and when the shortest guy came in with a kick to his right side, he grabbed his foot and twisted it sharply to the left. He heard a scream as the guy fell hard and grabbed his leg.
“Deeks!” Sam yelled. “We’re on our way!
“Deeks!” Kensi yelled as she jumped up off the bench.
“No, stay where you are,” Deeks replied as he jumped up to take on the other two. “Kensi, don’t move.”
“Who are you calling Kensi?” yelled the leader as he took a swipe at Deeks and missed as he ducked.
“We may not get another chance at this guy and if he shows up now, it’s just another LA street fight,” he said as he landed a punch to the jaw of the skull guy who staggered back out of the fray temporarily.
The tall one charged Deeks with the intention of shoving him into the side of the building but Deeks sidestepped him and he ran headfirst into the crumbling brick wall then slid to the ground unconscious.
Deeks looked at the short guy rolling around holding his knee, then turned to stare at skull boy. He grinned at Deeks, then pulled a switchblade out of his pocket and started twirling it around, showing how adept he was with it.
“Really? That’s all you’ve got?” he asked which caused the guy to falter a bit, but it was just long enough for Deeks to throw a left punch to his face then grab his knife hand with his right and bend it backwards until he dropped the blade.
The guy squealed and ran off holding his bloody nose, leaving his friends behind. Deeks sat back down on the sidewalk and looked up just as the suspect they had been waiting on all afternoon came walking down the sidewalk on the way to the bar. He was holding a small folder and as he was looking at the guys lying on the ground, Deeks stuck his foot out and tripped him. He tumbled to the ground, dropping the folder as Deeks reached into his pocket and pulled out his zip ties then leaned over and quickly restrained the suspect. He too squealed but he was screaming for the police.
Deeks got close to his ear and whispered, “Shut up and quit screaming. We are the police.” He immediately shut up and didn’t say another word.
“Ok, now you can come help,” Deeks said breathlessly.
Callen and Sam raced toward him in the car as Kensi took off running. All three were there in less than thirty seconds.
“Where’s the third stooge?” asked Callen as he got out of the car and looked around at the carnage.
“He ran home to mommy which means we need to clear out of here fast.”
They picked up the suspect along with the folder and put him in the car as Kensi went back to get her vehicle.
“What do we do with these two?” Sam asked as he checked on the unconscious one to make sure he was still alive.
“I say we leave them here to think about their bad behavior,” quipped Deeks.
Sam grinned as Kensi pulled up to the curb and rolled down the window. “Guess the stinky clothes didn’t work this time, huh?”
“No,” replied Deeks. “Maybe it’s time to step it up a bit and add some doggie poo.”
“Don’t even think about it! I don’t want you in my car now as it is!” Kensi said as she locked the door so he couldn’t get in.
Sam looked up as he heard a groan from the leader and said, “Time to go!” He jumped into the car with Callen and the suspect and took off. Kensi quickly unlocked the door so Deeks could climb in just as the guy rolled over and began to regain consciousness. They followed Sam and Callen away from the bar and back to the boat shed.
The tall guy sat up and yelled at his friend who was still whimpering on the ground, “Who was that? Where did he go?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” he whined as he tried to sit up. I just know we have to find Jeffers and quick.”
“Because we don’t want him telling everyone that a homeless man beat all three of us up, that’s why!”
Tall guy nodded in agreement and slowly got up. He helped the shorter man up and they hobbled away as quickly as possible back in the direction they came.
Back at the mission, Callen took Deeks aside and said, “For the record, don’t ever waive off help again when you’re outnumbered and we’re that close. Off the record, where did you learn to fight like that?”
“Sparring with Kensi makes you learn skills, man,” he joked. When Callen didn’t laugh he sighed and replied, “My friend Ray and I learned it on the streets as kids. We lived in a tough neighborhood and after getting beat up a few times by a group of bullies, we decided to do something about it. We had a friend whose brother was into martial arts and participated in fight clubs. He would give us pointers from time to time and teach us how to defend ourselves. Each time we learned something new we would use it on the bullies when they attacked. By the end of that summer, they had moved on to pick on someone else. We weren’t any fun anymore because they didn’t like getting hurt. Imagine that.” Deeks looked off and was immediately engulfed in not so great childhood memories.
Callen recognized the look and patted him on the shoulder. “Good job out there today. Maybe the CIA will keep us in the loop on our suspect but knowing them, we’ll never know why he felt the need to commit treason. Let’s get the crew and grab some dinner and drinks.”
Deeks quickly snapped out of it and nodded in agreement. “I think I’d better get out of these clothes and take a shower first if I want to ride with Kensi,” he said with a grin.
“Good idea,” Callen said as he crinkled his nose and headed back to the bullpen.
As he walked toward the gym and the showers he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for not telling Callen the whole truth. He just didn’t feel the need to share that he and Ray had learned it to fend off his dad when he was drunk and out of control. It came in handy when the bullies came along, but that wasn’t the reason they sought out help. It came as no surprise to realize that after all these years, some things still hurt too much to talk about.