Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS: Los Angeles or any of its characters

The Reminiscence of Youth

Night fall over the City of Angels and there's much tremendous relief at the Office of Special Projects.

Unbeknownst to the denizens of Los Angeles, and the entire United States for that matter, the city had been spared from a catastrophic terrorist attack. All thanks to the NCIS crew.

The terra-cotta tiled halls of this top-secret headquarters were gradually emptying. Nearly all the lights in the building have gone dim.

Assistant Director, Owen Granger, slowly strolled down those dim halls thoughtfully with his hands stuffed in his pockets. He's extremely grateful that a deadly attack had been miraculously averted, but his mind is heavily clouded. Hetty Lange's agents did indeed do good tonight - but there were other aspects about them that's been bothering the Assistant Director.

Shoving aside those questioning thoughts, Granger tentatively descended down the staircase. Turning his back on the bullpen, he stood in the entrance of the open office of Hetty Lange. The diminutive but crafty Operations Manager had her beloved tea set ready. Her office, decorated with many of her most prized antique possessions, is shrouded in the dim light of her lamp.

She gazed up with her owlish spectacles, but she already sensed the Assistant Director's presence. It's an acquired ability that any fully trained field agent would possess.

Granger wearily knew she was not known as The Duchess of Deception for nothing.

"Good evening, Owen," Hetty said presently. "I believe a celebration is in order."

"Yes," agreed Granger. "Why aren't you uncorking a fine bottle of champagne? Why are you opting for tea?"

"Oh, this is a special kind of tea concocted from the most fragrant flowers and tea leaves imported and blended together," exclaimed Hetty. "It was crafted by the finest merchants in South Asia. I've been saving it for a special occasion."

"Then it must be some hell of a tea." Granger wryly thought that Hetty would use any excuse to drink exotic tea. "Mind if I join you?"

"Not at all." Hetty welcomed him into her office.

Granger stepped in as Hetty poured him and herself some tea. He rigidly pulled his hands out of his pockets as Hetty handed him an antique floral teacup with steam gracefully whiffing out of it. She daintily picked up her own and retreated behind her desk. Granger sat on a chair across from her.

"What is on your mind, Owen?"

Granger had to inwardly admit to himself that he shouldn't be too surprised that Hetty could sense a conundrum forming within his thoughts. She certainly had a knack for reading people.

"I've... just... been thinking... about the team." Granger shrugged awkwardly from his chair, his warm teacup cupped in his hands.

"Is there something wrong with my agents?" Hetty's voice was clearly worried and concerned.

"The team is fine, Henrietta," Granger assured her. "They're out celebrating."

"As well they should." Hetty sipped her tea. "They did well tonight."

"I agree," said Granger. "I just think they operate in the most peculiar of ways is all."

"How do you mean?" Hetty frowned.

"During the mission, I overheard Callen and Hanna through the com's."

"And?" pressed Hetty patiently.

"They were having an intense debate about obscure cartoon characters," Granger exclaimed. "And what their particular preferences were in regards to those characters. These are characters I have never heard of Henrietta, and I'm an old man."

Hetty failed to see why the Assistant Director was fretting over this.

Reading her look, Granger exclaimed, "I just think it's an inappropriate conversation for two grown men to engage in during a life-and-death mission. I fail to understand how Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie are relevant to national security."

"But they prevented the attack," Hetty countered reasonably. "They were the ones who stopped it."

"Yes," Granger conceded with a nod. "And to their credit, the whole topic was abandoned once the Serbian Prince was carried off into the chopper. They are probably off right now enjoying their bromance with Hanna's wife accordingly."

"Bromance?" Hetty looked at him befuddled, frowning her brow.

"Just some lingo I overheard Detective Deeks muttering under his breath," Granger explained sheepishly. "All the young people are saying it these days."

"I am well aware of all the current slangs, Owen," said Hetty. "But never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever hear you explaining the word 'bromance' to me."

Granger tried to refrain from blushing in embarrassment. He himself never thought he would ever say words like that, but Hetty's team reduced his proper vocabulary to this more frivolous gibberish.

"Speaking of Deeks," he muttered. "I have the distinct impression that he and Blye are off somewhere now licking each other."

"That is a very vulgar assumption, Owen!" Hetty looked at him appalled.

"Perhaps." Granger heaved a sigh. "But I have a feeling that I'm not entirely off. Their double entendres were on rapid fire tonight. I wish they'd flirt directly. Somehow it would make it less kinky. My ears got so red listening to them through the com's, I reverted back to listening in on Callen and Hanna's wholesome cartoon discussion."

"Nevertheless, Ms. Blye and Mr. Deeks evacuated the building," Hetty reasoned.

"Yes, but first thing tomorrow morning, I'm going to propose we start mandatory sexual harassment awareness courses for all field agents," insisted Granger.

"But I've never heard either Ms. Blye or Mr. Deeks complain about sexual harassment," Hetty said surprised.

"I insist," Granger said resolutely. "Blye needs to learn to keep her hands to herself. She is far too interested in Deeks' derriere. "

His shoulders tensed up, and his gravelly voice began to stammer.

"Henrietta, is there... anyone working here that doesn't throw each other longing looks and flirt shamelessly?"

Hetty raised her brows.

"Aside from us, of course," Granger backtracked exasperated.

"Owen, one day, Mr. Deeks and Ms. Blye will look back on what they've been through as partners with an older and wiser perspective," Hetty said sagely. "They'll likely feel embarrassed over the hijinks of their youth. Just like how you and I often do over tea."

"Yeah, I bet when that day comes for them, it'll be over a cold one and not tea," Granger muttered.

He glanced down at his warm and un-drunk tea still cupped in his hands.

"Is that all that's troubling your mind?" queried Hetty.

"No," Granger answered stiffly. "Have you noticed the puppy dog looks that Beale always throws at Jones up at Ops?"

"Is it something distracting them from their work?" Hetty inquired.

"It's not as gratuitous as Deeks and Blye," Granger amended. "But I can't help but suspect that Jones enjoys dangling Beale on a string. With all their mixed signals, and Beale breaking the internet as he does, I'm shocked they don't scramble our own communications. I don't know, Henrietta. I think one of these days, all of this - tension will spell disaster for the team."

Hetty took that in and nodded.

"Owen, we were both young once. And we've both been in a position where we've become attracted to someone under extreme circumstances, no matter how unwise."

"Yes." Granger sighed. "But neither of us were ever like Deeks."

"Sooner or later, Mr. Deeks and Ms. Blye, as well as Mr. Beale and Ms. Jones will face the reality of their situations, and together, decide how it will affect their work. Now how it will affect them personally will be up to them. It remains to be seen."

"Will it make them grow up like it did with us?" Granger asked hopefully. "Maybe even make them dress like adults?"

"Perhaps," Hetty answered unsurely. "For now, let us be grateful that this city is safe for one more night." She raised her teacup. "Here's to our battles won."

"And to being older and wiser," Granger added.

They both took a sip of their tea. It contained a flowery taste that wasn't to Granger's liking. But it was a brew concocted by Henrietta Lange, and it was nice to share something with a good friend after a successful mission.

"Henrietta," he found himself asking, "is it remotely possible for our two top agents to stop discussing cartoon characters at work?"

Hetty heaved a frustrated sigh.

"It's always something with you, Owen."