Title: A Dozen Shots
Rating: T; for violence and language
Spoilers: 1x1 Identity, 1x13 Missing, 1x14 LD50, and 1x15 The Bank Job
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS: LA or the above mentioned episodes… sadly.
Summary: "When you're a cop there's a fine line between being dirty and being effective." What if Bernhart crossed that line? What if he was in on it from the beginning? Set during The Bank Job- what might have happened if Bernhart really shot Kensi instead of just pretending to do so?
Just to Jog Your Memory: Mike Renko is speaking (in the quote above) to Callen and Sam in episode 1x15 The Bank Job. He's discussing LAPD Detective Matt Bernhart (no idea how to spell that!) being a part of their case/mission because he had busted Damien Salerno eight years previously. Renko assures them that while Bernhart walks outside the lines occasionally, he gets good results and is trustworthy. So Callen, Sam, and Bernhart take on the personas of the bank robbers, etc. etc. You know where it goes from there…
"Nobody move!" Bernhart yelled as he, Callen and Renko entered Certified National Bank. Gunshots rang out as they shot at the ceiling. Kensi turned around, trying to quell her anxiety. She knew that the majority of this op was up to her, at least initially. If she couldn't fake being shot well enough, then the rest of the op was blown to hell.
Kensi watched him fake-punch the LAPD officer posing as bank security. The officer fell convincingly and Kensi took in a deep breath, telling herself that things were off to a good start. All she had to do was put on a hurt look and fall… easy, right?
"Behind the counter! Let me see your hands! The rest of you on the ground!" Bernhart demanded, perfectly in character. He continued, "Get on the ground! Now! Get down, now!" Naturally, everyone complied without a fight. Kensi dropped to the ground as well, slowly moving toward Bernhart who had his back turned. Here goes nothing, she thought.
Kensi snapped her legs out and kicked Bernhart off of his feet. In the next second she was on her feet, gun drawn. "Federal Agent! Drop your weapons!" she commanded. It felt weird pointing her fully loaded SIG at Renko and Callen, but she didn't show it.
As planned, Bernhart kicked up and hit her hand causing her weapon to fly, skittering across the floor. He stood and grabbed her from behind. They grappled in what was a very believable fight (they hoped) and she succeeded in pulling off his ski mask. Her elbow connected with his face a little harder than she'd intended and she jumped from his hold. She spun to face him just in time to see his fist coming at her face.
When he hit her, she knew from the force alone that he wasn't acting. In that moment, she knew something was terribly wrong. He'd punched her like she was an enemy. She didn't figure Bernhart to be the kind of man who would hit her hard just because she'd hit him hard on accident. There was no time to think about that now however. He was still in character and she should be too. He went for his gun as she scrambled to her feet. He pointed the weapon directly at her and she slowly raised her hands as if in surrender.
"Johnny, No!" Callen yelled. "Johnny, NO!"
"Please don't," Kensi begged, almost in a whisper. Within the same second, Bernhart pulled the trigger five times in quick succession.
Pain. Pain beyond anything she'd ever felt. It wasn't the slight pressure she was supposed to feel from the blanks. It was white-hot, excruciating agony. Then there was the blood. There was a lot of real blood, not just the fake blood from the packets she had concealed under her shirt and in her jacket, although the fake blood had exploded when the bullets ripped through her abdomen. It wasn't an act when she fell to the floor, her face displaying a lot of true pain.
Callen and Renko exchanged fast side glances that clearly said they were impressed with Kensi's phenomenal acting job. If it weren't for the fact that they knew she was faking, they'd already be on the phone with 911, calling for an ambulance. Back at ops, Hetty, Eric, and Nate were still with shock. They'd all expected Kensi to do a good job faking that she'd been shot, but this was Oscar-worthy.
Distantly, Kensi was aware of people crying and screaming. Through the intense pain, she knew that Bernhart would be reaching for his ski mask and he, Callen and Renko would be herding the bank staff to the back of the building. She heard Callen (or was it Renko? She couldn't be sure) say something, and then the movement of feet.
Kensi briefly had the clarity of mind to whisper, "Sam, I'm down," before the pain became too much and she returned to lying on the ground in silent suffering. She was really screwed right now. Everyone thought she was pretending to hurt when in reality she'd just been shot as many times as Callen had been in May. She could easily bleed out and die, right here.
One of the three yelled, "Cell phones on the ground in front of you. Let's go!" and the sound of them racking the slides on their guns was loud and intimidating. Everyone rushed to comply with the demand. "Everyone who works here, line up behind the counter!" came the next order. "Let's go, come on move! Go!"
Watching every angle on the big screens back at ops, Hetty, Eric, and Nate saw Sam jump out of his car and run to the front door and look in. Sam could see and hear the "robbers" starting to usher the employees to the back. Kensi was on the ground, with blood soaking her shirt. She looked to be in absolute agony. Later he'd have to congratulate her on such an outstanding acting job.
"Eric, I'm going around the back," he informed and took off full sprint.
"Alright Sam. I'm going to disable the fire alarm and locks so you can get inside the bank's emergency exit," Eric replied back and started rapidly typing on the keyboard in front of him.
Hetty and Nate went back to watching the front of the bank as Bernhart yelled more orders, "Do not look at me, do not look at my colleagues if you want to live. Do you understand?" he looked back to Callen and Renko. "Let's go!" Renko looked at his watch, "Two minutes!" he reported and he and Bernhart hurried to the back. Hetty was standing less than a foot from the screen. She had a feeling that something was going to go wrong, or already had as she watched Callen stalking around the room, pretending to 'stand guard' and Kensi writhing slightly on the ground. Hetty wondered why Kensi was still acting that much if everyone in the room was in on the plan.
"Speak to me Eric," she commanded. Nate didn't fail to pick up on the tense edge she was radiating.
"LAPD is on their way," he reported.
Hetty didn't reply and continued to watch the screen. Curtis had just punched Connor Lavery and now Curtis was shoving the bank manager forward to go to his office. Maybe Eric wouldn't be able to get ahold of the money and the Raiders would end up getting it. That might be why her gut was churning with unease.
"Approaching back door!" Sam informed and Hetty snapped back to the present. "The door's locked Eric!"
"Hold on," Eric replied calmly, "It looks like the bank upgraded their security system last month. I'm gonna need some time to work my way around it and breach their server…"
"As quick as you can," Sam's urgent attitude was noted by all.
Meanwhile, the two bank employees were transferring the money to Istanbul. Sam and Eric were going back and forth over the locked door. Finally there was a, "It's done, let's go," from Renko. Callen surveyed the front of the bank one last time and stepped over Kensi. There was more blood than there should have been, he noted. He was sure that they hadn't placed that many blood packets on her. He dismissed it, which was out of character for him, but he wasn't Callen right now. He quickly went to the rendezvous point with his colleagues and they hurried down the hall to the emergency exit.
Sam burst through the emergency exit door shouting, "Get down!" and firing blanks. Curtis ducked and everyone else engaged in a fake firefight. Hetty wasn't focused on that. She was looking at the screen shot of the front of the bank where Kensi was. Something wasn't right.
"Eric, zoom in on Kensi," she commanded. The techie, while confused, did as he was told. Hetty drew in a breath from astonishment as a single tear fell from her junior agent's eye.
"Oh my God," Nate murmured. "She was really shot,"
After a few seconds, Eric reported softly, "I've got an ambulance already on the way,"
"Call Callen. Tell him Bernhart shot Kensi for real," Hetty commanded; she was already out of the room when she finished. Eric immediately started dialing.
Sam, Callen, Renko, and Bernhart were exchanging thanks and gratitude in the back hallway as Curtis had just run out. They were all smiling slightly and shaking hands. When they were done, Renko and Bernhart jogged back to the front of the bank. Callen's cell phone rang.
"Okay everybody, this operation has concluded. Many thanks to all of you at the LAPD for your help with this op. Remember the bank employees do not know that this was an undercover op. They've all been transported back to the precinct for questioning," Renko called as he and Bernhart entered the main area. There was a collective groan as everyone stood up and started congratulating one another.
Renko strolled over to where Kensi still lay on the ground. A satisfied smile was plastered on his face. Her eyes were shut tight for reasons unknown to him. He prodded her leg gently with boot and when her eyes shot open he extended a hand to help her up. She didn't take it.
"Great job kiddo, you were really…" his voice trailed off as he realized the blood was real, as well as the pain in her eyes. "Callen! Sam!" he shouted over his shoulder. It was unnecessary. The two agents had just sprinted into the room and over to them. The three crowded on the floor around their fallen agent. Very similarly to when Callen was shot, Sam cradled Kensi against his chest.
"It's been close to five minutes," Renko stated needlessly. They all knew how long it'd been.
Callen interrupted him, "Hetty figured it out a couple of minutes ago and Eric already has an ambulance on the way. You're gonna be fine Kensi," he gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
"Don't do this to us Kensi," Sam pleaded as he put pressure on the wounds.
"Where's Bernhart?" Callen asked Renko before returning his attention to Kensi, "How are you holding up?"
"No idea," Renko admitted.
"Find him," Callen all but hissed. "He can't have gotten far, his window was small,"
"Yeah but he knew that. If I were him I'd be taking the biggest advance lead possible," Sam muttered as Renko darted off to find the detective.
"Sam…" Kensi managed to croak.
"Yeah?" he replied, but inside relief was flooding through him.
"The bracelets didn't work," she mumbled, struggling to stay focused and awake.
Callen looked from Kensi to Sam for some kind of explanation and Sam almost laughed. That's our girl he thought. She was fighting, and had enough of herself left to joke slightly about the situation. It didn't console him much though. She'd taken as many shots as Callen had (though not in the chest, thank goodness) but the difference here was the delay in the time between being shot and receiving medical attention. Callen had (by this time) been on his way to the hospital whereas Kensi had already lost a lot of blood and it was at least five minutes before help arrived.
Callen's cell phone rang again. "What?" he answered, not in the mood for anything other than stellar news.
"Um, we have a problem,"
"Eric, I do not want to hear those words," Callen informed, "How big is this problem?"
"Really big. As in… Bernhart was waiting for someone to come after him so the second he saw Renko he emptied an entire clip trying to shoot him. Unfortunately, he succeeded. Renko's down,"
"He's alive though… right?"
"Probably not for long," Eric admitted, and then continued before Callen could interrupt, "Bernhart escaped and I haven't been able to locate him yet."
Callen swore profusely, an explicit mix of Russian and English that would make even the most hardened person cringe. The remaining LAPD officers were finally starting to realize what had happened, but were staying a good ten feet back.
"I've got another ambulance on the way but…"
"But what, Eric?" Callen put every bit of self-control and patience he had into not lashing out at the techie, who was only doing his job. None of this was his fault.
"Renko needs some serious medical attention. He took at least six, if not more, rounds to the torso. The second ambulance might not get there in time. It's gonna be five to ten minutes,"
"What are you saying?" Callen asked slowly. He had a pretty good idea, but prayed to whoever was listening that Eric was talking about something completely different.
"G," Sam called softly. Callen looked down and saw that Kensi had passed out. He released his hold on her hand and stood up.
"Eric, put Nate on the phone," Callen demanded. There were a few shuffling noises and then-
"Callen, you know what he's saying," Nate accused before the senior agent had time to speak.
Putting off a response, Callen spoke to Sam first, "Renko's hurt. Stay with Kensi- tell her to keep fighting." Sam nodded and Callen quickly walked towards the front doors.
"Nate, I can't make that decision,"
"Look, Callen, I know how hard-"
"Hetty is operations manager. Why can't she make it?" Callen wondered as he stepped outside, "Where's Renko?"
"About a quarter mile down the street to your left," Nate informed as he watched the screen, "Hetty's on her way to the bank now."
"You didn't answer my question," Callen was running, anxious to find Renko. He didn't dare to hope that Eric was wrong in his diagnostic. He knew that in all probability the reality would be worse than what Eric had said.
"I don't know, Callen. I don't know why she can't make the decision. Whatever the reason, you're the one in charge there. You've got two, maybe three minutes if you're lucky. It has to be decided…"
"Nate…" Callen had finally reached Renko. He supposed that this was how he'd looked when he'd been shot back in May. He crouched next to the agent and felt for a pulse. He could hear the wail of sirens screaming as they drew closer. His time was up. He had to decide.
Who received medical treatment first? Mike or Kensi? The one he chose would probably be fine. The other… his or her already slim survival chance would be cut by about half. He was being asked to sentence one of his agents (and friends, to be honest) to death. At least it felt that way.
"Callen we need your answer." Nate pleaded.
He hesitated before replying, "Renko. Renko first."
A/N: Sorry to leave you all hanging, but if I put everything in this chapter it would go on for ages… I'm going to update this by next Sunday. To those of you who read my other stories, those will be updated by then as well. Please review- any and all comments and suggestions, etc. are welcome! Much love (and virtual hugs3) to those who do! (Maybe even a preview of the next chapter…? *hint*hint*)