And so we have come to the final chapter. Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing and for your alerts and favorites and comments. As I said before, I had a really tough time hammering this story out, so I really appreciate hearing from everybody, and I'm so glad that you liked the story. I hope you find that this ending ties it all together. Thanks again!
The only sound that could be heard in Nate's office was the quiet clicking of the keyboard. The operational psychologist was just finishing up his latest report, and as he triumphantly typed the last word, Nate leaned back in his chair and stretched his arms above his head. He glanced at the clock and almost did a double take. It was late, and he should have headed home long ago.
Closing down his computer, Nate stood up from his chair and reached for his coat. He pulled out the key to his file cabinet, and just as he turned the key in the lock, he spotted a stray file still lying on his desk. He smiled...there was one more thing he had to do before he left for the night.
He picked up the manila folder and walked down to Hetty's office. His footsteps echoed in the empty bullpen, and his tall frame cast a soft shadow against the wall. In the dim light, Nate could just barely make out the little lady putting some things away in her bag.
"Hi," he said.
"Nate!" Hetty exclaimed. "What are you doing here so late?"
"Just catching up on some paperwork," he replied. He held up the folder. "Would you mind if I, uh, accessed your personnel files again?"
Hetty smiled. She knew exactly what Nate was going to do, and she made a welcoming motion towards her computer.
"Thanks." Nate pulled up a chair and squashed himself into the tiny space next to Hetty's computer.
"How's Kensi?" Hetty asked gently.
"She's okay," Nate replied. "Still working through some things. It's just gonna take some time."
Nate paused, unsure exactly how to describe what had continued to haunt Kensi for several weeks now. "Must have been hard for her," he finally said. "Finding her father's murderer after all these years, only to have Javier murder him. Recovering a multimillion dollar fortune, only to turn it all back over to NCIS. Putting a bullet – or five – through Javier to save Callen. All that sadness and anger…everything just hit her all at once. The whole case was, uh, intensely personal for her…I'm a little surprised that you let her work this one?"
Hetty didn't respond for a moment. She was suddenly very interested in the login screen on the computer, and Nate watched as she slowly typed in her password, her fingers pausing after each letter, as if she wanted to prolong the process. The computer finally beeped as the NCIS personnel files popped up on screen, and when she turned back to him, her voice was very soft.
"Sometimes," Hetty began, "we do whatever is necessary to close the painful chapters of our lives, no matter how painful the closure itself may be. And sometimes, whether it's right or wrong, we choose to do these things on our own. Lieutenant Blye took it upon himself to hide his fortune and protect his daughter – and he gave his life for it. Kensi wasn't going to walk away from that, even if it meant leaving this team behind. Yes, perhaps both of them deceived us along the way. But sometimes deception you perpetrate is a necessity. I'm sure Lieutenant Blye would agree."
"You still think he would be proud of his daughter?"
Hetty nodded. "Very much so."
"And Callen?" Nate suddenly asked. "He knew she was undercover all along. Why? What role did he play in all of this?"
"He held onto her heart," Hetty explained patiently. "So that Javier could not break it."
"Callen and Kensi," she continued, "fight so many of the same battles. Neither of them has ever known a family as you and I have, Nate. They spend every day masquerading as other people…and at the end of the day, they forget the fact that their own hearts are lonely. Perhaps this case simply exposed that loneliness and gave them both a chance at something that was always meant to be."
Nate chuckled. "Sort of hard to believe, isn't it?" he asked.
Hetty looked at him questioningly.
Nate cleared his throat nervously. "I mean, uh, there was never a traditional diamond or ... anything."
"They're undercover agents, Nate," Hetty said bluntly. "They don't do diamonds."
"Right." Nate smiled sheepishly in understanding. "Do you think it was nice?" he asked.
Hetty looked thoughtful for a moment, and then her eyes crinkled happily behind her round, black glasses. "It was just right," she said. "For the two of them."
Nate raised an eyebrow and gave Hetty a suspicious glance.
Hetty smiled secretively, as she pulled her bag off the hook. She stepped down off the stool and headed for the door. "Good night, Nate."
Nate sighed, as he knew the little lady wouldn't say anything more. "Night, Hetty." He folded his legs into the tiny space again and turned back to the computer.
Callen, G, he typed. As Callen's file appeared on the screen, Nate frowned.
It worries you how little there is in his file.
Every time I come back to it, I hope someone has filled in the blanks. But it's still just a single page. No family history. No next of kin.
Nate's frown slowly turned into a smile. He didn't have to scroll down very far to reach the field he was looking for. And in the blank space, he typed:
Kensi Blye Callen.