DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Just playing with them and promise not to break anything.
"You can observe a lot by just watching." - Yogi Berra
Kensi walked into the LAPD Emergency Operations Center just before eleven on Sunday morning. She found three men sitting behind laptops at a massive conference room table. A large video quad-screen on the wall showed images from an auto repairs garage while a wireless comms speaker sat on the table between the men.
Roger Bates jumped up and walked over with his hand extended, "Agent Blye, so glad you could join us this morning. When Deeks said you might be here in an observer's role, I was a bit surprised. Don't you get enough of him during the week?"
Bates smile and tone told Kensi he was teasing. Kensi decided to tease right back, "He keeps telling me about his mad undercover skills when he's working solo so I figured I'd check it out in person."
Bates introduced Kensi to the two other police officers in the room, Lt. Michael Williams from narcotics and Lt. David Ramos from the gang unit. "My uncle Ruben was Deeks's old handler," Ramos told Kensi. "I never thought he'd retire but a few years with Deeks and suddenly Uncle Ruben is putting in his papers and buying an old boat for fishing."
Again, the tone was more affectionate than angry. Kensi was learning Deeks had more friends on the force than he claimed. "Another week like this with Deeks and I may want to join your uncle on his boat."
"He does have that effect on people," Ramos said with a smile.
Bates offered Kensi a seat before pointing to the large screen. "Deeks is in a garage off South Broadway and West 3rd. It was one of Fisk's properties. He had about a dozen holding companies with over fifty legitimate businesses. Your agency has been very forthcoming with information from Fisk."
"Fisk is giving up everything he knows. He's trying not to spend the rest of his life in a federal prison." Kensi took a seat on the same side as Bates while Ramos and Williams sat with their laptops open on the other side of the table.
"I'm just amazed at the quality of the intelligence being shared by your agency," Bates continued. "When budget meetings come up in a few weeks, the liaison position may be the only one safe from cuts."
"Deeks made a case to our," Kensi saw Bates's frown at the word 'our' and quickly corrected herself, "the NCIS Director personally that Fisk's drug and gang activities that have nothing to do with the RDX theft would be better off given directly to the LAPD."
"I thought I had a handle on Fisk's business interests but even I was stunned by how obscure some of his ties were." Williams gave a sad chuckle. "He owns the burger place where I use to take my son and his buddies after soccer practice on Saturdays. As of yesterday, we're going for pizza."
"It wasn't just embedding bought and paid for moles in law firms or the LAPD, he had high ranking people on his payroll in the Bloods, Crips, Mexican gangs, Asian gangs. He was even recruiting some of the Aryans from the Brotherhood during the RDX negotiations. It was genius," Ramos sighed.
"No," Bates disagreed, "it isn't genius. Genius is Steve Jobs coming up with the iPod. Genius is Lakers down one with the ball in Magic's hand and ten seconds on the clock. Genius is Charlie Parker. Fisk was a soon to be convicted felon who used threats of violence and blackmail to do what he wanted. He's a common street thug with an uncommon taste for murder."
That silenced the room. Kensi looked up on the screen. "Where's Deeks?"
"Good question." Ramos hit a key on his laptop. "Deeks, where you at?"
"In a minute." They all heard his voice but he still wasn't on screen. Ramos hit a few more keys on his laptop, changing the camera angles but no Deeks. Finally, a door in the back of the garage opened and Deeks emerged. "We need better mikes. I could see the outline of the wire under my shirt. I got it running through my belt"
Ramos hit another key, returning to the full shot of the garage and shook his head. "This shitty equipment is going to get someone killed," Ramos said more to himself than the others.
Onscreen Deeks adjusted his ear piece as he walked across the garage to a BMW Alpina. "Who is getting killed? I have plans."
"What plans, Deeks? Still haven't seen "The Muppets" or is it the new "Twilight" movie?" Williams teased.
"And what exactly are your plans?" Kensi joined in on the fun.
"Ah, NCIS in the house." Deeks smiled as looked right into one of the surveillance cameras, "Good morning, Kensi. Nice of you to show up for the Sunday matinee."
Kensi gave a dramatic eye-roll for the benefit of men in the room. "Shut up, Deeks," she said with no malice.
"We have eyes on Pedro Nunez and his truck." A voice from what sounded like a police radio interrupted. "He's getting off the Freeway. Oh, for God's sake."
"What's wrong Davis?" Williams asked as traffic cam video appeared in a picture in picture box on the op center screen.
Davis radioed back, "The truck with the drugs is a LADWP truck."
"They got a Water and Power truck to move drugs? Awesome." Kensi saw Deeks frown as he spoke. "Didn't anyone notice one was gone?"
"Davis, do you have a plate number on the truck?" Bates asked.
"Just ran it. Was stolen nine months ago. The GPS was removed almost immediately."
Bates turned to Williams, "Tomorrow by close of business Mike, contact every city and state agency for a list of stolen vehicles that could be used for criminal activity in plain sight. David, talk to our informants. See if this is something Nunez's crew is doing or if this is a new part of doing business for everyone."
"They're three blocks out, Deeks," Davis advised. "You ready to roll?"
"Let's do this." Deeks took a deep, cleansing breath.
"Where is his back-up?" Kensi asked.
"There is a full team tact team in an old food truck outside the garage. There are three SWAT officers in the garage, one in a storage space near the roof with a high power rifle and a scope. One is in the office and a third is in one of the repair wells." Bates used a laser pointer on the big screen to show Kensi the location of each officer.
"He's not armed." Kensi looked at Deeks in a Ralph Lauren Polo with the ridiculously large logo near his heart, a pair of well tailored pants and loafers that probably cost more than the car she had in college. No place to hide a gun wearing the clothes of a businessman enjoying a weekend morning.
"There is a gun in each wheel well in the front of his car as well as a rifle in the trunk. If this goes badly, he's got access to several firearms."
"Hey, let's not be talking about things going badly as Pedro and his buddies are pulling in," Deeks warned. "Karma."
The camera covering the exterior of the garage picked up Nunez and the LADWP truck entering the premises. Nunez left his Land Rover in the parking area outside the garage while the truck moved into the garage.
"We got eyes on everybody?" Williams asked.
"I got the truck driver," one SWAT officer replied.
"Nunez still isn't visible in the garage, oh wait, there he is. I have him," replied another. With both the truck and Nunez in the garage, the tactical team slowly started exiting the food truck and nearing the garage.
"You ain't him." Pedro Nunez said as he walked up to Deeks.
"Dale Sully, a business associate." Deeks extended his hand.
Nunez looked at Deeks's hand before he shook it and then gave him the once over. "Then it's true."
"Our mutual business..." Nunez searched for the right word, "partner is in jail." Nunez, it seemed, knew Fisk's rules.
"There was a mix up with the LAPD. Things should be resolved tomorrow. Our mutual business partner," Deeks emphasized Nunez's word, "had the great misfortune of being arrested just before a holiday weekend. The wheels of justice move even more slowly when judges want to spend time with their children home from college and D.A.s accommodate them at the cost of a man's liberty." Deeks voice, while cheerful, was a bit deeper than usual, he spoke more slowly. Kensi wondered if he spoke that way during the summer when he was working to arrest Emilio Ortega.
"I'm not sure I'm all that interested in doing business with a lackey. Maybe our mutual business partner won't be doing business much longer anyway." Nunez turned around and started to walk toward the truck driver.
"Or maybe our mutual business partner will look back at the friends and allies who worked with him during a difficult period and remember their support in his time of need. He will also likely remember those who helped themselves at his expense." Deeks took a few steps toward Nunez. "You need to decide if you want to have our friend indebted to you or suffer the consequences of an aggrieved man when he's freed."
"You forget how good he is at this." Ramos said just above a whisper. Kensi agreed. There was no panic in Deeks's voice, no fear the deal would not go through.
"You can make the money transfer?"
Deeks walked back to the BMW, reached in through the open window on the passenger side and pulled out a MacBook. He quickly booted it up and showed Nunez one of Clarence Fisk's off-shore accounts with millions. "Our mutual business partner said the two of you set a price."
"A million five but I'm thinking there should be a fee for not dealing with the head man."
"I am only authorized for one point five million. Again, is risking the wrath of the head man worth a few hundred thousand dollars?"
"What do you get out of this?"
"You mean besides the warm feeling one gets helping a friend in his time of need?"
Kensi watched Bates shake his head and fight a smile.
Nunez was not nearly as amused. "Yeah, besides that."
"I often attend meetings as an agent for the head man to protect his interests. Today, his interests are in that truck so here I am." Kensi noticed again how Deeks used Nunez's phrases to his advantage. Working words like "head man" and "partner" into his conversations made Deeks seem like a regular in Nunez's world.
"Doesn't answer my question, what do you get out of this?"
"I am paid a fee for my services every month." Onscreen Deeks leaned against the front of Sully's BMW. "I'm earning my keep."
"He pay better than Ortega?"
"Oh shit." Michael Williams started frantically typing in his laptop. "I was sure that Nunez and Ortega didn't do business."
"Kenny, you got a shot on Nunez if this goes south?" Bates was nervous.
"Kenny?" Kensi asked.
"Aaron Kenny." Bates answered. "He's the officer we have in the office."
"I have a shot. Waiting for the safe-word from Deeks unless you think I should go?" Kenny replied.
Kensi started wondering if watching Deeks work was a good idea. It was far easier to be standing next to him while they worked than watching him alone and not being able to do a single thing. "What's the safe-word?"
"Fisk. He uses Fisk's name and we're going in," Ramos said.
Onscreen Deeks pushed off the BMW, standing tall. "Our mutual business partner pays better but I have far more authority in this position. As I'm sure you remember, Emilio was more a hands-on micromanager. My current associate allows me far more leeway when it comes to business decisions."
"Goddamn it Deeks, you're in my line of sight," Kenny the SWAT officer complained.
Deeks closed the laptop and moved to the driver's side window, dropping the computer back on the seat. "And my assessment of this transaction is you're either looking to take advantage or you've got your own agenda."
"Deeks, don't go freelancing," Bates warned.
"Either way," Deeks continued, "I'm not interested in finding that out. Since you're more concerned about my employment history than our current business dealings, I think I'm just going to call an end to this meeting."
"Deeks!" Williams yelled. "Don't do this."
"I've got a client to visit in jail and a Chargers game kicking off in a few hours. They're playing that Tebow kid. Can't wait to see it." Deeks was all smiles - the picture of a businessman comfortable with his decision.
Kensi had to smile too. She knew exactly what he was doing. Hell, he does it to her at least once a week - getting his way by pretending to walk away. His fellow officers in the room, however, just seemed aggravated. Surely they had to know this was part of his act. Nunez did the same thing to start the meeting.
"I think you can back the truck out and turn it around in the lot." Deeks moved from the passenger window to walk around the front of the car, fishing a set of keys from his pocket. "I'll lock up once you two are gone."
"You think this is funny?" Nunez grabbed Deeks by his right forearm.
"I think I'm here to get this deal completed." Gone was Deeks's cheerful businessman tone. "I think you're here getting the lay of the land, see what business opportunities might present themselves if things go badly for my associate. I don't see much humor in that."
Nunez let go of Deeks's arm and took a step back. "You want to look at the merchandise?"
Exiting through the driver's side door, Nunez's associate started walking to back of his stolen vehicle. Deeks and Nunez followed. The driver banged several times on the truck's wall.
"Watch it, Deeks. Nunez probably has men in the truck," Ramos warned.
"I'd be disappointed if he didn't," Bates said.
Ramos hit a few keys on his laptop and the surveillance camera switched to one looking at the back of the truck. "Deeks, they start anything, just get down. The team is right outside the garage door."
Nunez opened the back of the LADWP truck, two guards with machine guns stood with the drugs.
"Good morning, gentlemen," Deeks was back to his cheerful businessman tone. "My, what big guns we have. If you don't mind, I'd like to see the merchandise."
One guard jumped out of the truck while the other pulled Deeks in before leaving.
"Dammit Deeks, we can't see you in the truck. Get your ass out of there now." Bates's words mirrored Kensi's thoughts. This was a reckless move.
A long few seconds passed with still no Deeks.
"Deeks, if you're not out of the truck..." Ramos started to warn but Deeks jumped out of the truck with a brick of heroin in his hand. "Go back in that truck again Deeks and I'll have every cop in the sector in that garage in a heartbeat." Ramos was running his hands through his hair. "Son of a bitch, just once think about your own safety. No wonder Uncle Ruben is fishing full-time."
Deeks put the brick on the top of Sully's BMW and pulled the laptop out of the passenger's side window again along with a small metal briefcase. Popping opened the briefcase, he pulled out a Swiss Army Knife, a small container and a brown squirt bottle. Cutting a small hole into the plastic holding the heroin, he took a small sample, dropped it in the container. Squirting some fluid from the brown bottle turned the heroin blue.
"CSI: Deeks," Bates muttered.
"He did this all the time when he was working cases with me. Goes with his business agent to the drug dealing stars persona." Williams said. "He's nothing if not thorough."
"Oh, he's a few other things," Bates said, exasperated. "Pain in the ass comes to mind."
"Do you have the account number, Mr. Nunez?" Deeks opened the laptop again before starting to repack the small metal briefcase.
Nunez pulled a piece of paper out of his shirt pocket. "Unofficially, if things don't work out for our mutual business partner, my organization could always use a smart man in L.A."
"I'll take your unofficial offer under advisement." Deeks smiled as he typed the Cayman Island's bank name and account number. Fisk's account was from Singapore though it was all being run through the LAPD.
Nunez's phone chirped. He looked at the screen, "Money's there. We'll need the truck back. I'll send someone Wednesday, leave it in the lot outside." Nunez took the keys from the driver and tossed them to Deeks. "Tell your boss I hope his troubles clear up soon." Nunez obviously not meaning a single word he just said.
"A pleasure doing business with you," Deeks was equally insincere.
"Deeks, get behind the BMW, they're coming in." Ramos warned. "Phelps, Davis, Anderson, go, go, go. Kenny, keep your eye on Deeks."
Deeks used the remote to pop the truck of the BMW, giving him a bit more cover. He took the laptop and briefcase with him.
"Freeze! Police! Get on your knees and put your hands up." The police flooded the garage. Nunez and his men were walking to the Land Rover when the police started their assault. Even the two men with the machine guns who rode to the garage in the truck were caught off guard. The four were taken into custody quietly.
A SWAT officer, Kensi figured it was Kenny, walked out of the office and took Deeks down gently. "Do not stand in front of my target, Deeks," Kenny said softly. "Makes my job more difficult. Am I supposed to bring you in or is this Sully's retirement party?"
"Retirement party." Williams answered for Deeks. "I still can't figure out how Nunez knew about Sully's relationship with Ortega. Sully's no longer a viable until we know about the connections out there."
"Damn, Sully had a sweet place in Malibu." Deeks was being helped to his feet by Kenny. "I wouldn't have minded go back for a few days to capture the essence of Sully this weekend."
"Deeks was living in Malibu during the Emilio Ortega case?" Kensi asked.
Bates smiled. "While the case was going good, I thought we'd have to send HRT to get him out of that place. Summer case, living right on the beach with that mutt of his, I never thought we'd see him again. Then Ortega and Fellano get blown sky high in a car Deeks was seen traveling in minutes before, Traynor is killed a day later and I really thought we'd never see Deeks again."
Onscreen Deeks was up and moving around the garage. He already attached his badge to a belt loop and was retrieving the guns from the front wheel wells. "That place was awesome. Monty loved it."
"Still on the market Deeks, could be yours for $2.9 million."
"I have got to start playing the Mega-Millions or Monty needs to find a wealthy patron." Deeks joked. "Kensi still there?"
"I'm here, Deeks."
"You don't have a spare three mill do you?"
"Sorry, just a little short of what you might need."
"Would you hang around?" Deeks asked. "I know there is no food in the EOC and you probably figured a visit to a cop shop included doughnuts." He smiled as he looked right into one of the surveillance cameras. "We'll grab lunch. I'm sure you'll want to point out everything I did wrong."
"I'll be doing that instead," Bates interrupted. "What the hell were you thinking out there?"
"Nunez was suspicious from the start," Deeks started his defense early. "An overly anxious business agent for Fisk would have fueled that suspicion. Sully had to be cautious with Fisk in custody." He started pulling his microphone wire out of his braided belt.
Seemed logical to Kensi but if she was nervous watching him work, Bates who hadn't seen him work in months had to be a wreck.
"Davis, are the prisoners secure?" Bates asked.
"Yes sir, as is the merchandise." Davis pointed to four officers loading a handcuffed Nunez and his men into a LAPD prisoner transport vehicle.
"Good, tell Deeks I expect him back at the EOC now." Bates hit mute on the wireless comms unit. They could hear what was going on in the garage, the garage could not hear them.
"Yes, sir." Davis gave a thumbs up to one of the surveillance cameras.
"I heard that. I'm on my way back." Deeks got into the BMW and started negotiating his way out of the crowded garage.
"If you don't mind me asking," Kensi started tentatively, watching Bates take the almost identical cleansing breath that Deeks took before Nunez drove into the garage. "What should he have done differently?"
"Not a damn thing. He's just always poking the bear. He goes in as a business agent for a drug dealer and winds up with a job offer from another dealer. If he wasn't going back to you and that tiny, terrifying woman you report to, I'm sure he'd be in my office tomorrow pitching cutting Nunez a deal and continuing as Sully."
Kensi loved the description of Hetty. She also agreed with Bates assessment of Deeks. "He'd want to continue and probably not just for the place in Malibu. He's good at it, at this." She did not want him going back to LAPD as Sully, certainly not alone, but this morning looked effortless from him - he really was good at it.
"He is. But being Sully nearly got him killed summer before last. Ortega has some connection to Nunez that Mike can't find and if Mike can't find it, we don't have it in house."
Williams looked up from his laptop. "I have nothing."
"We need to get that from Nunez because God knows what's out there about Sully." Bates returned his attention back to Kensi, "Deeks thinks he can talk his way out of everything. It makes him show up without back-up, hell, without telling us he was alive when his cover was blown to meet with a man who already killed one police officer, two drug dealers and was about to kill him."
"He didn't know who he could trust," Kensi offered as a defense.
"Oh, he knew. The 'who he could trust' just wasn't in the department." Kensi wanted to say that Deeks was right to go to NCIS but decided not to aggravate Bates. She watched Bates take another deep breath before he spoke again. "Please tell me he's making your boss lady as crazy as he makes me."
Kensi smiled. "Hetty finds Deeks amusing most of the time. He's different than the rest of the team. One of the guys is a former SEAL. Deeks enjoys poking that bear, too."
"And what about you?" Bates challenged her. "Tuesday, it seems, was a show put on for your benefit to help fool the LAPD."
"He did what needed to be done. He was given orders from your Deputy Chief Warner and he followed them. I was not happy being lied to, I'm guessing you weren't either."
"No, I wasn't. But I also would have never thought Quinn was Fisk's man inside. Scarli being on the take surprised me but with two ex-wives, two kids in college and two mortgages under water, a man can be enticed to make all the wrong decisions. Quinn, on the other hand, never saw that coming."
"What did you never see coming?" Deeks asked as he strolled into the EOC. No longer wearing the Sunday casual businessman garb, Deeks was back in jeans and his red checked shirt. He carried a garment bag. "Clothes by Hetty," he whispered as he winked at Kensi and placed the bag on the conference room table. He walked over to Williams and shook his hand.
Next, Ramos pulled Deeks into a hug. "You're an asshole, you know that?"
Deeks smiled and imitated Goliath from the Sunday morning cartoon. "Good to see you too, Davey."
"Why were you auditioning for Nunez?" Bates demanded.
"Wasn't. Just watching out for Fisk's business interests. I wouldn't do business with a man like Sully if he wasn't doing his due diligence."
"No vest, no weapon, you're going to get yourself killed." Bates scolded. "Jesus, didn't getting shot teach you anything?"
"Not to get shot." Deeks sighed, "Caught the bad guys, drugs off the streets, going home alive. It's a good day, Lieutenant."
Bates pointed directly at Deeks. "Sully is no longer a viable alias. You're not to use it again. Got it?"
"Yes sir. I was surprised by that too. I'm going to need a copy of today's video and anything from arrests going forward with the Fisk intel. NCIS needs to see we're properly using the intelligence they shared so that way they'll keep sharing."
"Done." Bates started packing up his laptop. Williams and Ramos did the same.
"And how did you enjoy your observer's role?" Deeks asked Kensi.
"You're far less annoying in person than on screen." Kensi teased.
Ramos broke out laughing. "Oh Deeks, you do have a way with the ladies. Kensi," Ramos stuck out his hand, "a pleasure meeting you." Michael Williams said his goodbyes as well.
"Deeks, I expect your report before close of business tomorrow. Agent Blye, you keep him in line and you," Bates pointed at Deeks, then Kensi, "she is far better than you deserve. Behave yourself." The Lieutenant left to two alone in the Emergency Operations Center with the clean-up at the garage going on silently on the big screen behind them.
"First Desmond tells me you're far better than I deserve, now Bates. The Kensi Blye fan club grows every day." Deeks was shaking his head as he smiled at his partner. "I'm sure you have a long list of things I did wrong, could have done better..."
"Nope." Kensi stood up and walked over to him.
"No. Listen, you took crazy chances and I'd much rather be out there with you when you're doing that than sitting watching - how the hell Eric and Nell do this I'll never know - but you got the job done. Nobody got hurt, lots of heroin and four bad men are off the streets. As you said, a good day."
Deeks seemed startled by Kensi's answer. "Thank you."
"So where are these police precinct doughnuts I've heard so much about?"
"Forget the doughnuts. What am I saying, you never forget doughnuts," Deeks teased. "Wouldn't you rather go to the Field House? Burgers, fries, fish tacos, beer, Chargers game on a 103-inch screen."
"You'll bring me a doughnut tomorrow?"
"Chocolate cruller, I promise." Deeks put up two fingers like a Boy Scout but Kensi was pretty sure he never a member.
She started walking to the door but he pulled her back and turned her to look right at him. "Thanks for showing up today. I know you guys don't always understand how I use to operate before I started working with you. Maybe you have a better idea." Deeks was quiet. Serious. Almost unDeeks-like.
"You were good out there," Kensi told him. "The men in this room trusted you, the officers at the bust trusted you. I trust you. Hetty, Sam, Callen, we all trust you. You are very good at this. Tuesday was awful but I'm not sure if anyone else could have worked all those moving parts. Bates, Quinn, anyone else you dealt with at LAPD and me that day, that was a lot."
Deeks smiled, "So we're good."
"We were good Tuesday." Kensi started walking to the door. "Dammit!"
Deeks looked alarmed, "What?"
"I meant to ask Bates about your female partner problems. I knew I forgot something." Kensi was mostly teasing. Still very interested in what Bates meant but mostly teasing.
"Chocolate cruller Monday, bear claw Tuesday if we can just get out of here right now."
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