It is all about who to trust to get exactly there where you wanted to be. And G. Callen is not known for trusting anyone that easy.
[A sting ~ a confidence game, especially one implemented by undercover agents to apprehend criminals~]
A/N Although this story wasn't written before, the idea of writing it never left my mind. As ever, it is a work of fiction which means that names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of my imagination or used in a fictitious manner.
Feel free to read this chapter as well and leave me a review!
Recognizable characters are not mine, hopefully CBS & Shane Brennan let me just play with them. So far, I never heard any complaints from over the ocean.
October 2019 || Los Angeles || the gym, NCIS office of special projects
All sweaty after working his abs, Callen took his towel and wiped it over his face, watching how his partner was still working the dumbbells.
"You know I'm right, big guy," he stated. He adjusted the seat and weights of the leg press machine, got into position and started the five minute exercise.
"Not arguing any longer, are you," he continued.
There was no comment indeed from Sam and although Callen knew he was right, he also was aware that getting sloppy wasn't what fit with Sam at all. Silently now he let his thoughts go over the fact that during the past years, the black Dodge Challenger was parked at the same places all the time, obvious for anyone who would harm the former Seal. Let alone if it were for the rest of the team. Near the Michelle at the harbor, in the neighborhood of the 'Squid and the Dagger' and on the small parking area near their headquarters. He let the weight come back as slowly as possible, straining his muscles, and slowly breathed out. The car was seen in several occasions when in pursuit, shoot-outs and at crime scenes.
"Just saying Sam… change of cars … new routine… or I pick you up… all possible," he panted.
There was a glare from his partner who now changed the intensity of his exercise rhythm. "Not trusting my daily routine, are you, G?"
"Got nothing to do with trust…'n you know that."
Callen didn't know if that was true though. He DID trust his partner, yet there were too many people looking for them, he knew. There were the good guys - but also the bad - who'd recognize this specific car by now. He wondered why it was only now that he realized this fact. Did it have to do with Hetty's statement some weeks ago, telling him that she considered retirement? The fact that he noticed how time and routine slipped through his fingers, which surprised him more than he ever considered before.
Slowing down his exercise he said "Not that I don't trust you. It's just that… the routine. It can't be good. Gives me the creeps every now and then."
A chuckle came from his friend. "Every now and then? Come on… Just call it super-suspicious, paranoia perhaps."
Callen was about to argue Sam's words, but then a warning yell came from the door where Eric stood "Guys… Ops please!"
A grunt came from Sam who put the dumbbells high on the storage rack. "Tell us a shower is granted, Eric!"
The technical operator stretched his hand, showing five fingers. "Ochoa wants you up in five."
Los Angeles || Ops, NCIS office of special projects
The doors slid open and closed immediately too when Sam and Callen came walking in. It didn't surprise them to see Kensi, Deeks, Nell and Eric already around. Having Louis Ochoa at Ops too wasn't new to them, but he hadn't been in the LA office lately. After all, Ochoa had offered Callen to be in charge during the periods when Hetty, nor John Rogers were there to lead the operations.
There was a simple nod from the three of them to greet each other and once she'd noticed this, Nell Jones started her briefing.
"You may or may not remember operation Underground Railroad? The mission of this operation back in 2014 was to track down child traffickers in Colombia. Back then it was the work of a single male agent who managed to spent months planning and investigating and finally, together with the Colombian authorities, managed to break up this sex-trafficking ring."
Four pairs of eyes faced the large screen where she'd gathered the information about that operation.
"What's this got to do with us?" Deeks asked, eagerly as ever to get to the point.
"I'll get to that," Nell replied. "This was over five years ago, and ever since, it's been quiet from the Colombian side. It seemed that every new rings we picked up intel of were in Mexico and Cuba. More recently, Homeland Security managed to work their way into another operation, in Haiti. An undercover op. They required our team to assist in this new operation, called 'Papa Napoleon'."
"We'll be going undercover in Haiti?" Sam asked.
"Just inform yourselves what this co-operation could look like," Ochoa said. "I've arranged a meeting at their office at North Los Angeles Street."
Sam nodded, grabbed the keys of his car already. "You're ready, partner?"
He then shook his head hearing Deeks sigh out loud "A ticket to the tropics with you baby. Doesn't that sound great?"
"Yeah, and I thought you'd never ask, baby" Callen commented to Deeks remark and grinned when he heard Kensi giggle at his remark. He took his jacket that he'd grabbed from the locker but hadn't put it over his black t-shirt, striding to follow his large partner.
"Not you, Callen."
He turned on his feet, facing Ochoa. No matter how the deputy director addressed only him, the others of the team were holding back their pace as well, eager to hear what Ochoa was to say.
Callen didn't have to ask, the explanation came immediately after.
"There's a Homeland officer waiting for you at the boatshed. Special agent Angel," Ochoa said. "Your team can start without you."
Callen straightened his shoulders. "Who is this officer and why discuss a matter right there? Can't it wait or can I rearrange this meeting to their office too?"
Ochoa shook his head and motioned to the others to go ahead and the sliding doors closed behind Kensi, who was the last one to leave. Only now Callen asked again, not being bothered by the analysts who were still around. "What do they want from me?"
"To be honest, I don't know," Ochoa sighed. "All I was told is that it isn't about you as the team leader but a special request for you, agent Callen."
"Requested by whom?" The blue of his eyes was more intense in the artificial light and it made his stare more demanding.
He knew that the deputy director had no other information he could share when Ochoa simply repeated: "Like I said, Homeland."
Los Angeles || NCIS' Boat House
Callen halted his grey Mercedes near their second location in town. He only noticed Mark Henders' car, no other vehicles were parked so far. He pressed the entrance code, opened the door and closed it behind him.
He knew he and the Homeland agent would only be around for a talk and not for any interrogation and only because of that, Henders' presence wasn't necessary right now. He figured he may just as well use one of their interrogation rooms and have whatever conversation.
"I'll be in room 2 when the agent of Homeland arrives, Mark. Turning off the camera and sound right now," he said.
After he did so, he poured himself a cup of fresh coffee and leaned against the kitchen buffet. In his line of work it was never clear what intentions someone had and right now it was useless preparing for the next hour or less. He took his coffee and laptop to the interrogation room and started searching the system with the information Nell had given earlier.
If Homeland wanted a joint operation right now, his team was informed about it at the same time. And how about him being here as Callen, not as the lead agent of his team?
He sighed, knowing it was easier to just listen to what the agent had to say.
He heard how the outside door was opened by Henders and so he closed his laptop. Then he got on his feet to meet his company.
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