This chapter examines how Deeks really feels about things in the early part of season two, when he's still finding his feet with the NCIS team.

At the end of the day, Marty Deeks is usually relieved to get out of work and down to the beach. This is where he can be himself. He's tired of pretending: going undercover and pretending to be someone else; making like he doesn't realise the NCIS agents resent his presence and trying to deflect things with bad jokes that only seem to make things worse; and most of all, he's tired of pretending that he doesn't notice the way Kensi looks at him. She's always looking at him – he keeps catching the glances she throws at him out of the corner of his eye and he wonders why. What is up with the woman? So he goes down to the beach and he can be completely alone, no matter how many people are there, because once he gets into the zone, it's just him and the ocean.

At the end of the day, Deeks often wonders exactly who he is and so far, there's not been a wave that can answer that question. Sure, he's a cop, but he's never been flavour of the month with his colleagues. It probably would have been a good idea to keep his big mouth shut and his head down, but that's never been his style. And what really gets him is that he's a damn good cop, with the best arrest record on the force. Only now he's been pushed into the liaison position with NCIS, so now he's neither a cop nor is he an agent. He's somewhere in the middle and neither side really wants him. It's like being back at school again and being the kid nobody wants to have on their team. That's what's so great about surfing, he thinks. There's nobody else involved, it's just him against the ocean. And sometimes he feels like he should just get on his board, start to paddle out and just keep on going.

At the end of the day, when it is getting to dark to surf any longer, Deeks takes one last ride, revelling in the power of the ocean, the sheer elemental force that you can only attempt to harness, never to conquer. And then he walks back up the beach to where he has left his things, grabs a towel and roughly dries his hair. Further along the beach someone has lit a bonfire and he recognises the voices that float across the evening air towards him. These guys only know him as a fellow surfer: they don't know anything else about him and that's fine. In fact, it's just great. So he mooches over, his wetsuit unpeeled down the waist and a ratty shirt pulled on carelessly. He fits in here, among the jokes and laughter, the bottles of beer and the offer of a joint. He takes it gratefully, inhales deeply and feels the sweet release burning down into his lungs. At last, he can relax, knowing he is accepted on his own terms.

At the end of this day, Deeks lies in a darkened hospital room, surrounded by monitors, with lines going in and out of his body and he is consumed by pain. Two bullets to the chest is never going to be much fun, even if they were low calibre. And it hurts like hell. And then Sam had to rub salt into his wounds, basically telling saying he was unprofessional and therefore a liability. Only it was funny how things turned out: none of the NCIS agents could work out what was happening, so that it took him dragging himself out of his bed to save Kensi's ass, and managing to pull his wounds open in the process, causing yet more damage. That probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. But hey – she's got a cute ass. He notices things like that. Like the way she looks at him. Deeks still hasn't got to the bottom of that yet, but he will, given time.

At the end of the day, Deeks opens his eyes, sees that Hetty is sitting at the side of his bed and wonders if by some chance he has died and this is purgatory. The ocean has never seemed further away than it does right now and he realises that he is trapped, much in the same way as she trapped him into joining NCIS in the first place. He's not really surprised to discover that Hetty knows all about his background, because he remembers how she had already filled out his application form and all he had to do was to sign it. And now she's managed to get him to agree to name her as his next of kin. Deeks thinks that they must be giving him some very good drugs indeed.

At the end of the day, Deeks has done things that make him feel sick when he thinks about them He's lived undercover posing as low-life scum and he knows that the anger and violence that consumed Max Gentry came from somewhere within himself. It wasn't all an act. Sometimes he scares himself and then he wonders if he really wants to go on living this life. At least the drugs they're giving him are good though, they're letting him slide away into oblivion where all these thoughts won't bother him any longer.

At the end of the day, Deeks opens his eyes again, and this time Kensi is sitting beside his bed, and she looks tired. More than that, she looks like she's been crying. As he shakes off the last remnants of sleep, he realises that she is holding his hand and, more than that she is stroking it gently. He turns his head to look at her and the look of relief in her eyes almost overwhelms him and the smile she gives him is nearly enough to send the heart monitor into over-drive.

"You had me worried," she says and leans over to kiss him. Deeks lies there stunned, wondering if the hospital are now putting hallucinogenic drugs into their pain meds. But he manages to kiss her back and notices that she tastes of powdered sugar and cherries and something he can't quite place. And he would have gone on kissing her, except there is the sound of someone clearing their throat.

"Nice shooting." Callen is standing at the end of his bed, with a wry, sympathetic look on his face.

"Don't make yourself such an obvious target next time though." Sam smiles, to show he's just joking.

At the end of the day, they are here for him and it feels good. Maybe he doesn't need the ocean after all? Maybe he just needed to realise that he's not alone after all – he's part of a team?