trscrny: Yeah, I like Kensi and Callen working together as well. We don't see it too often on the show, so I had to do something about it ;) Glad you're enjoying this so far.

altarp2408: Yeah, I decided to dive right in and make things go sideways immediately. No sense in delaying, is there? *g*

Pam11: Heh, jumped right into the action. Waiting is over for now... here's the new chapter.

RabbitPaws17: New chapter to tide you over for a little while :)

Guest: Thanks, glad you like it so far. Here's chapter 2

Have fun with Chapter 2 everyone!


Come Hell or High Water

Chapter 2

Pandemonium lasted less than a minute, the screams and sobs of the other patrons and bank employees alike mostly drowned out by the shouted orders as everyone ducked down.

"Hands up!"

"No one move!"

"Hands off the alarm!"

Callen glanced over towards the guard, praying the man wouldn't try to be a hero.

While some banks did employ guards with military or other law enforcement expertise, one single guard wouldn't be a match against a trio of bank robbers - especially not a trio that seemed to be quite as well coordinated as these three were.

And especially not against a trio in possession of automatic weapons on continuous blast.

He heaved a sigh of relief when the guard realized the same thing and submitted to the three men, raising his hands.

After the initial stunning entry, the bank robbers worked to quickly coral the patrons and employees to a single area, away from the doors and closer to the back of the room. It would make them more easily controllable. Instead of being spread out around the bank, they would be in one place and more easily watched over.

A mere minute into the robbery, it was more than clear to him that these men were professionals. This wasn't a spur of the moment robbery, but a well planned attack.

Callen let himself be herded into the area in the back along with the other patrons. He inconspicuously drifted over to Kensi, reaching for her hand to draw her close.

He distantly listened to the voices of his team in his ear but kept his focus on his surroundings.

Sitting down on the floor when the robbers motioned for them to sit, he carefully glanced around, watching as two of the men herded the bank's manager toward the vault while the third stood watch over them.

He drew Kensi towards him, turning her slightly so her face would be pressed against his chest, his fingers buried in her hair as he cradled her close. She instantly adapted and allowed him to bundle her close.

To anyone, they would be viewed as a couple clinging to each other, while instead it allowed them some leeway of communication.

"You good?" he murmured quietly, feeling her nod against his chest. He hadn't expected anything less, but he had to make sure, especially now. "Anything on your end, guys?" he asked their tech duo. Callen knew they would be rewinding CCTV footage close to the bank. The masks would have come up before entering the bank, but people would have noticed if three masked men marched through the streets for a duration of time. Even in a city where one face was as anonymous as the other and everyone minded their own business, people would have taken notice of that.

"Nothing yet," Nell replied, "we're backtracking CCTVs, but the MO so far is a match for a series of heists in Northern California."

Maybe those guys got tired of the rainy weather up north and decided to head to LA for a bit of sun… and money. Just their luck it was today when NCIS had set up an operation in the same bank as the robbers did. Still, the information supported his belief that this heist wasn't related to their case.

"What are we going to do?" Kensi asked quietly, drawing away a little from him to covertly glance around.

Callen also took another glance of their surroundings, taking in the situation and the robbers' positions. He sighed softly. "Nothing," he gave back just as quietly, "we're going to do nothing."

He saw the slight frown of dismay on Kensi's features, but before she could say anything, another voice entered the conversation.

"Mr. Callen is right. This is not our jurisdiction and we still have a case that's priority. Stand down," their operations manager ordered.

While they were federal agents and they would usually try to intervene regardless of jurisdiction, there was a lot more at stake in the case they were tangled up in. Even though they were merely in the first stages of setting up their undercover operation and still had a long way to go to achieve their objective, they couldn't risk interfering with this heist. They couldn't risk their covers being blown.

Sometimes, doing the right thing wasn't equal to doing the just thing. And having to make that call sucked, but both he and Hetty knew that their own case had to remain priority. National security trumped an armed robbery.

Also, they were outgunned and outnumbered. Neither of them wore vests and aside of a hidden switchblade he didn't have any other weapons on his person. He knew it was the same for Kensi.

Deeks and Sam had been several blocks away from the bank when they first entered it - though Callen was well aware they had left their original positions by now - and while they could be here to provide backup within just a short while, there were also a lot of innocent bystanders in the room and not all that much solid cover. So anything they did could backfire and end in a bloodbath. Right now, he didn't like the odds they were up against.

He drew Kensi forward once more, whispering in her ear, "keep your head down and stick to your cover," Callen told her firmly.

"Several calls have been placed to 911. LAPD is en route," Nell's voice rang out a few moments later.

Callen glanced over to the vault, gauging the state of things. He ducked his head back down when their guard looked in his direction, seemingly hiding his face in Kensi's hair while he actually remained firmly focused on what was going on. "Stall them, guys," he whispered, knowing their comms would pick up on the order regardless of the low volume, "I don't care if you provoke a traffic jam or change the bank's address, but stall them for long enough that this doesn't turn into a hostage situation."

The casual meeting with their contact was shot to high heaven anyway, but he didn't especially feel like ending up in a hostage situation today - even less since it wasn't connected to any of their own cases but just a bad case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

He could hear their techs working in the background, but didn't focus on them, instead kept monitoring the situation around them. Kensi was pressed against him and he knew she was also ready for action, but she was in a slightly weaker position as her back was turned to the room. He knew she trusted him to keep her back covered. He planned on doing exactly that, vowing to make sure no harm came to his team mate on his watch.

Despite this bank robbery being a fluke that no one could have predicted, he still cursed himself for having set up their case in this manner. He should have found a different approach, some way that would have allowed them to not be in this position. Sadly, he could curse and rant all he wanted, it wouldn't change the current situation.

"ETA?" he asked quietly, still watching the men's movements from his vantage point while Nell gave him the requested information.

Callen grimaced.

It was cutting close, way too close. Inwardly he urged the men to work faster, get out of there, but already a sinking feeling was spreading through his body. "Sam, Deeks, draw closer but don't interfere yet. Wait until they are outside," he ordered quietly. He would favor having his own team as backup compared to the LAPD.

When the two robbers surged out of the vault, Callen remained still beside his current partner, waiting and crossing his fingers as the men dashed over to the doors.

"Come on, we got it," the guy in the lead shouted over his shoulder at their guard.

"Nobody moves until we're outside," the man standing guard over them threatened. The words were harsh and booming through the room, their guard taking a threatening step towards them, making several of the other hostages shrink back and cower in fear. There was a feral smile that appeared on the man's face upon the reaction he garnered. A second later, he raised his weapon, firing several more shots into the ceiling while withdrawing.

Everyone hit the ground and Callen also pushed Kensi down, keeping her beneath him, shielding her even though he had seen the weapon being angled up at the ceiling instead of at them. Despite hunkering down, his eyes remained on the fleeing robbers.

The first man drew the door open… and the room suddenly filled with the sound of approaching sirens and screeching tires.

From his position on the floor, Callen watched it happen in slow motion, watched as the robbers recoiled. He saw a wall of LAPD cruisers outside beyond the fleeing men. Several officers were still trying to figure out where to position themselves, leaving their vehicles and using them for cover, while others had already found their positions and drawn their weapons, aiming them at the bank's entrance.

Shouts from outside clearly identified the new threat as law enforcement and several officers called for the men to give it up and put their weapons down.

Instead, the three men jumped back into the bank, throwing the doors closed once more while they quickly backed away from the entrance.

Callen uttered his second expletive of the day, knowing things had just gone from bad to worse:

The robbery had turned into a hostage situation.