Boulevard of Broken Dreams
"Meet Jane Doe. No papers, no tattoos, no jewelry. No fingerprints from the systems. No better way to test our new version of Kaleidoscope!"
Authors Note: a little 'in between story'.
Disclaimer: this story never happened on screen and it never will, of course. It's my own imagination of what could have been a case for NCIS Los Angeles' team. The team however, isn't mine, but belongs to all of us as a gift from CBS.
I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one, and I walk alone
[Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams]
Los Angeles || Maywood || April 1, 2021, late in the afternoon
The breathing was heavy in the packed garage. This was what such a place looked like when you were watching the movies. Stored with bicycles, toys which kids nor grown-ups weren't using. There were Christmas tree decoration in open boxes and tools for gardening. It all was there, as long as you knew where to find what.
But all of it belonged to other people. Breaking in was never the plan, but perhaps, right now the only way to survive.
Hands rummaging as fast as possible through all what was around. Duct tape. Perfect. Necessary. Torn off in pieces and taping it in several layers over the gunshot wound. Desperately trying to ignore the pain.
It would stop the bleeding. Not the lightheadedness.
A crate filled with clothes. Perfect. Covering the white, bloodstained shirt with a dark blue camouflage jacket.
There was a matching cap as well. Too bad for the owner; it was needed and the best way to be unrecognizable for the moment. Feeling a bit safer now, it was time to move on, leaving the place before the owner of it might return.
Straightening the shoulders, slowly becoming someone else. Someone self-assured. It could have worked.
Yet it didn't.
The dark clad driver of the motorcycle slowly came from the front. He – or she – was completely unrecognizable, but definitely on the look-out and with orders to capture or kill. Even the helmet and its face flip, all black. And then, there were two of them.
Escaping from who-ever those people were wasn't completely impossible. There were only a few ways out. A quick glance to the right, and an even quicker pace to the garden. Fences, alleys, more gardens — places a bike couldn't reach. Hurrying, desperately wanting to get away.
It used even more energy, energy which was lost already. There was the dizzy feeling. Close to the limit of endurance. Another fence to climb, one more garden to cross.
Let those who were following believe that all the blocks were going to be crossed between 59th and 60th while in reality, there was a sort of U-turn and going in a parallel way to pop up on 59E, again. Then, another property until there was the busier Alamo Avenue.
Out of breath, in pain and faint.
Again, the black helmeted motor biker coming from behind. Chasing.
Then she started running. Crossing the busy avenue, avoiding the traffic. Car owners honking angrily, screeching tires. She nearly made it.
Until a car was unable to stop in time. Remembering how to break a fall. It hurt like hell.
Until her head hit the tarmac and all of a sudden her world went black. All quiet.
Los Angeles || NCIS' office of special projects || early next morning
He put his bag on his desk and took his laptop from it. In the same swift move he dropped his bag on the floor and sat down. An early start of the day since he planned to kill as much paperwork before the others arrived.
Callen booted up his laptop and in a swift mode he followed the instructions that popped up on his phone, inserted the requested code, followed by his password. He sighed deeply when his gaze went to the files he needed to go through. He took the first one and opened it. He hummed to himself and shook his head. He needed fresh coffee, first of all. All for the sake of concentration and sharpness.
He rolled the office chair back and got on his feet, stretching his back and strolling to the cabinet where the coffee machine awaited.
Starting the machine was like powering up his laptop — most of it was on automatic pilot. He leaned back against the cabinet and crossed his left ankle over the right one, staring at the empty desk in what was called 'Hetty's corner'. Nowadays, the petite operations manager spent over 80 percent of her time at home. Every now and then she showed up. The place was actually vacant.
The only one who'd dared to sit on the chair, so far, was Nell. It had surprised all of them that she managed to keep the place running. However, Callen supposed that she would prefer to go back to Ops, whenever she got the opportunity.
It reminded him of the plans Sam mentioned months ago. How, at a given moment in the near future, Sam wanted to leave the active force to start spotting and training fresh recruits for NCIS. And how Callen would be the chosen one to replace Hetty.
So far, that was something he'd banned from his brain. Like right now, detesting to delve into files. Not his cup of tea. He chuckled more or less to himself, filled a mug with hot coffee and took it back to his own desk. Before he really started, he carefully took a few sips of the steaming hot beverage.
He'd only closed five case files and concentrated on a financial matter Nell wanted to clear when the heavy wooden door opened and Eric entered, humming with what probably was a song he heard from the in-ear speakers. That fact wasn't that bad, but the odd twisting moves going with it made it hilarious, even on an early morning.
Eric Beale had decided months ago he'd take the opportunity to make the best of his education and talents, and left NCIS. On a project base he redeveloped Kaleidoscope and simply appeared back at Ops to test it. In the mean time he worked with them as if he never left.
"Early morning work-outs are the best, right, Beale?" Callen leaned back and chuckled when he noticed the surprise on the tech's head.
"You're not used to performing in public, I get that," Callen said, not able to hide the smile on his face. "Never mind, Beale. So, what brings you here so early?"
Eric carefully put away the wireless earpods and replied "I offered Fatima to analyze the cases that occurred in the past 7 hours or so. She and Nell had a girls' night out, you see."
Callen nodded "Appreciate that, man. Why not start your day in here. Got some fresh coffee if you want some."
He was on his feet already to get a refill himself. In fact, he'd like some company too. The rest of the team would probably join them at least an hour later.
Without words, Eric sat his gear on which usually was Deeks' desk and looked up gratefully when Callen put down a mug with extra creamed coffee.
Both men worked in silence for the next half hour, in which Callen reduced the pile to only seven more files to handle. He looked up when there were two pings that sounded loud enough to alarm even him.
"What's this?" he wanted to know.
"One case which is NCIS'," Eric explained. He turned his attention back on the screen. "I'll explain this when the others will arrive. Better get Ops ready for a briefing then."
- TBC -