Chapter Fifty: This Is The Way The World Ends

And here we are – the final chapter. So many thanks to everyone who has been following this story – for your reviews and alerts and just for sticking with all 50 chapters. I think all the ends are tied up into a nice neat bow around the plot bunnies, who are now all captured and ready for transportation back to the warren.

Amblue – a special thank you for all your reviews. The ending is especially for you. The evil plot bunny saw what you wrote and insisted there was only one way to finish.

"Let's go home. We can call Nate when we're on our way and let him know he can wrap things up at Camp Pendleton and get Sam out of there. With any luck they could be out of there in a couple of hours. We might just leave Leon to stew for another couple of days though." Marty grinned cheerfully at Hetty. "Maybe even a couple of months? I've still got a bit of a problem with our dear Director."

"You and just about everybody else who has ever had the misfortune of working for him," she replied tartly. "He has been singularly unpopular throughout his tenure at NCIS."

"You're not on his Christmas card list either? I'm in good company then. Come on – let's get out of here. We're still near enough for Allison Blye to sense me on her radar and come swooping out of the sky on her broomstick. She's impervious to my charms, you know."

Hetty held out hand for the car keys. "Give her a chance: she might just come around."

"Probably around the same time as Bobby stops farting so much." Marty eased himself into the car. "Are we ever going to talk about Georg said back there? About Callen, I mean."

"I told you before – that is not your concern. Just as the facts about your father's involvement with the CIA are none of Mr Callen's concern."

"But you will talk to him about it, won't you? Won't you, Hetty?"

"When the time is right." Whenever that may be. And may God have mercy on my soul.

Marty stared at the long, straight road ahead. "Do you know where he's buried?"

Hetty nearly swerved right into the oncoming traffic and Marty instinctively braced his feet against the floor. "Who on earth are you talking about?" She regained control of the car in an instant.

"My Dad. Who did you think?"

Well, that had to count for a whole flock of geese walking over her grave. "He was cremated and his ashes scattered. Does it matter?"

"I'm not sure. I never really cared enough to ask before, that's all. But now, knowing what really happened – I'm not sure. Maybe it does matter after all. That nobody cared enough to give him a decent burial, but just threw him to the four winds." He slouched down a little in the seat. "Or maybe I'm just tired?"

"Probably." After a few minutes of silence, Hetty asked him to put on his IPod. She wasn't in the mood for any more awkward questions. The only pity was that Marty didn't have a single Lady Gaga track and Hetty vowed that she would have to have a word with Kensi about the music at their wedding reception.

"Kensi? Lover Boy called and said we've got the all clear. No case to answer, so we're out of here. Can't say I'm sorry. Nate's just schmoozing us a ride back."

"Very funny, Sam. You want I should tell him that? When he bothers to call me, that is?"

Sam grinned. Nothing could dispel his good humour today: he was going home. "Tell Deeks whatever you like. Once you've stopped staring into his big blue eyes and running your hands through his fluffy hair."

Two could play at that game. "I had a lovely chat with Denise the other night. You never told me how funny she is. Schnookums." Kensi could feel the tension seeping down the phone when she dropped that little bombshell. Why did lovers always give such stupid nicknames? And why didn't she and Marty have pet names for each other? Was that a sign something was wrong?

"Fair enough." Sam knew when he was beaten. "We'll be with you as soon as possible."

Kensi looked back to the GPS display screen. "Hetty's on the move again. Marty must have called ahead to tell Sam." She watched as the signal moved back onto the freeway, heading in the direction of LA. "She's had a change of plan then. Funny she's not going to pick up the guys – she's only a few miles away."

"Maybe Deeks started singing and she couldn't stand it any longer?" Eric suggested. "Callen's coming up on them fast. You want to call and let them know?"

"Very funny. You're not exactly Pavarotti yourself. You're not even Justin Bieber."

"Thank heavens for small mercies. Very small, in Bieber's case. Infinitesimal. Minescule…

"Yeah, I get the idea. You want to let me talk on the phone?"

Eric subsided into silence and contented himself with watching Joe and Callen via satellite. That was some bike. Kind of like the Bat-bike, now he came to think about it.

"Marty? Can you see a blurred shadow in the distance? Travelling faster than a speeding bullet?"

"This is a trick question, isn't it? What happens if I answer wrongly?"

"No trick. Callen's heading towards you – on your bike. Can you see him yet?"

"My bike? What do you mean my bike? As in my Ducati? My brand new Ducati Diavelo that was delivered last week and that I've not even been able to ride yet? What the hell is Callen doing on my bike?"

"We had a minor panic and Callen and Joe decided to come over all heroic and ride to the rescue. Kind of Caped Crusadery."

"Panic over. Everything's fine. I still don't see why Callen had to take my bike though."

"Tell Deeks I'm bringing them up on satellite and we'll be able to see if he's pouting," Eric called.

"And you tell Eric he'll also be able to see the gesture I'm making right now."

Kensi looked up at the screen and saw Hetty was moving with considerable speed. "You should be able to see Callen any moment now." And then her ear just about exploded. "What the hell… Marty?"

At the same time, the satellite showed a constellation of fire exploding in the middle of the freeway, right in front of the car.

"Marty? MARTY?" She was screaming down the phone, but there was no signal, only static.

"It sounded like a rocket launcher or a grenade." Kensi stared at the screen in disbelief, watching as the car rolled over several times, before finally coming to rest on its roof.

"Where the hell is Callen?" Eric was frantically scanning the road for a sign of the bike, but flames were already starting to lick at the car's undercarriage.

"It'll be alright." Nell put her arms around Kensi, who stood watching the screen in horror. "Eric – scramble help."

"Get out of the car. Get out of the car you stupid idiot." Kensi couldn't take her eyes of the screen. This wasn't supposed to be the way it ended. Not like this. It wasn't bloody fair.

Later, when she thought back, Kensi would remember watching as Callen arrived at the scene and dropped down onto his knees. It was almost as if he was praying. But she didn't often think about that day. Because it wasn't supposed to end that way. She'd been living the dream, only for it to turn into a nightmare right in front of her eyes.


Evil plot bunny says Mea Culpa. But it kind of had to end this way.

It's been a complete blast. Thanks again and goodbye!