DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything to do with NICS: LA, Shane Brennan and CBS do. I'm just having a play.
Hetty was sitting at her desk, sipping on a cup of tea, enjoying and savouring the soothing and refreshing blend she had chosen. Things had been quiet at the L.A. ops centre of NCIS lately and Hetty was certain that it was the calm before the storm. Something big was about to hit her team, and she knew that there was nothing she, nor they, could do but wait for the storm to break.
Hetty looked over towards the team in question. Sam was caching up on long overdue paperwork, while Kensi was perched on the edge of her partner's desk, stealing a doughnut from the box that Deeks had gone and bought at some point during that morning. Callen was not in the bullpen, having gone to the shooting rage, since he was up to date on his paperwork.
Hetty was drawn from her thoughtful observing of the team by the sound of flip flops coming down the stairs. She drained the cup of tea, setting the cup back onto the saucer, and placing it on her desk as Eric approached, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
Hetty frowned, "What can I do for you, Mr Beale?"
"Er, I need you to come and look at something for me please, Hetty. I mean, I've seen it, and Nell's seen it, but we wanted you too see it too before we do anything else about it, because it's kind of big… as in huge."
Hetty was already on her feet. It was most unusual for Eric to be this unnerved by a case, and if his unprofessionalism was justifiable by the facts of the case it must be a very serious matter indeed.
"Lead on Mr. Beale" Hetty said, gesturing towards the stairs. Eric ran up the stairs, while Hetty followed him as quickly as she could. Nell was waiting for them when Hetty walked through the doors. Eric waited for the doors to slide closed before he began to speak.
"Well, you know how Director Vance decided that we should have a database of DNA from all NCIS employees and that the samples were collected a few weeks ago? Eric began, Hetty nodded, remembering how she herself had swabbed the mouths of her team. Everyone had submitted DNA, from the cleaning staff, to the other support staff, to Sam, Callen and Kensi, to Eric and Nell, to Deeks up to Hetty herself.
"Go on, Mr. Beale."
"Well Nell and I were checking the samples in the database for any abnormalities, like you asked us too, and we found a big one."
'One what, Mr. Beale?"
"Explain, please Mr. Beale," Hetty asked, getting a little frustrated with Eric's failure to get to the point.
"Well, um, Callen and Deeks aren't related, as far as we are aware of, are they?"
"No, why do you ask," Hetty queried, a sinking feeling in her get telling her where this conversation was going.
"It appears, from their DNA tests, that they are brothers, or well, half brothers." Nell said softly to support Eric, who looked like he couldn't bring himself to say it. Eric nodded as Nell brought up the two samples on the big screen. Hetty pursed her lip as she studied the screen, taking in the data being displayed. It looked almost definite that the two individuals whose test they were shared a parent, and every care had been taken to ensure that the tests were not mixed up. She didn't want to admit it, because of the possible repercussions for her team, but Eric and Nell were right.
"Mr. Beale, go and fetch Mr. Deeks, Miss Jones, you go and bring Mr. Callen from the shooting range." Hetty requested. The pair hurried out, leaving Hetty alone in ops. She knew that she'd done that well. Eric and Deeks got along well, sharing their love of surfing. This friendship made Deeks seem less overwhelming for Eric to deal with in a situation such as this, meaning that Eric would not be inclined to become nervous and blab everything to him before Hetty had time to calm the two men and adequately prepare them for the bombshell that was about to be dropped on them. Hetty also knew that Callen carried a soft spot for Nell, all of the agents did, viewing her as a little sister, so he wasn't likely to push her for details. Even G would have no luck if he did try; Nell was a lot more resilient than she looked. Hetty herself had been training her after all.
Hetty sighed and looked up at the screen. It seemed that Callen's father was no longer anonymous, and indeed had an identity that Hetty was familiar with. It was impossible that Callen and Deeks were related on their mother's side, as Clara Callen had been long dead and buried at the time of Deeks' birth. Hetty remembered with sorrow the file that she'd had Nell put together about Deeks' father when the young detective had been shot. She recalled that Gordon John Brandell had been about the same age as Clara Callen, although Deeks' mother, Caroline Deeks had been some years younger, and that he had been overseas in locations unknown at the time that Clara had been out of contact with Hetty, during which Callen and his sister had been born. Hetty frowned when she remembered reading Brandell's criminal record, especially regarding the long history of abuse Deeks and his mother had been subjected to, ending with the fateful day when Deeks, aged eleven, had shot his father in self defence. Nell had included a copy of the police report in the file, and Hetty vividly remembered reading about how the neighbours had called LAPD to report the gunshot that night, stating that their had been a raised male voice at the address for a while prior to the shooting. The police had arrived at the house to find Brandell bleeding on the ground, still clasping onto a shotgun, screaming obscenities and smelling strongly of alcohol, while Caroline Deeks lay unconscious in the kitchen, having been severely beaten. Young Marty was found in the front yard of a house a block away, unconscious, and badly injured. He'd been found by police who had followed the blood trail the young boy had left as he'd dragged himself, crawling, away from the house, terrified that he'd just committed murder, and that he was about to be sent to prison.
Brandell had later confessed to beating both his wife and son "because she was a whore and young Marty was a brat" and Marty had been cleared of any wrongdoing. Caroline had divorced Brandell, and both mother and son had taken her own maiden name, free to move on with their lives without Brandell's interference.
Perhaps Callen had been fortunate to have had the upbringing he did, Hetty reasoned thoughtfully. It wasn't like what remained of Deeks' childhood had improved greatly following his father's imprisonment. Caroline Deeks had fallen ill and died when her son was aged thirteen years old, leaving Deeks to spend the following two years going between living on the streets, living with one of his friends through school, and living in foster homes, until he was fifteen, at which point he went and lived with the LAPD officer who had investigated Brandell. Hetty had never told Deeks that she was aware of what had happened following his father's arrest, but she suspected that he figured that she knew.
Hearing the sound of footsteps approaching the Ops centre Hetty quickly used Eric's touch pad to minimise the DNA results, not wanting whomever it was that was coming back to figure out was going on, especially not Callen and Deeks. Both the agent and the detective would need adequate preparing before Hetty told them about how they were related. Ultimately it was Eric who walked through the door, followed by a confused looking Deeks.
"Hey Hetty, what's going on?" he asked, "Eric said that you wanted to see me."
"We'll just wait for Ms. Jones to bring Mr. Callen back, and then we'll get started," Hetty told Deeks, Deeks nodded, leaning against a bench comfortably. Hetty found herself subtly watching him, searching for any obvious physical similarities between Deeks and Callen. It was difficult to tell, given Deeks' shaggy hair and scraggly beard, and Hetty couldn't determine anything obvious, save for the fact that they both had blue eyes and blonde hair. Hetty was relieved, as if it were obvious that the two shared some features she would have been most disappointed in herself, and would mostly likely would make her want to kick herself in the proverbial posterior for not noticing before hand.
Out of the corner of her eyes Hetty could see that Eric was doing the same, studying Deeks for any resemblance to Callen, although the tech expert wasn't being very subtle about it. Hetty sighed, relieved that she had sent Eric to fetch Deeks and not Callen. The agent would have definitely known that Eric was staring, while she was less certain that Deeks would notice, or even care about Eric's blatant staring.
A few minutes later Nell and Callen walked into the ops centre. Nell sidled inconspicuously to her usual work station beside Eric, while Callen stood beside Deeks. Hetty sighed, knowing that it was her duty to inform two of her team that they were actually half brothers. It wasn't something she did every day. It would be hard for both of them, but Hetty hoped, with a bit of luck and the support of the rest of the team, the two in question would cope.
"As you both are aware, NCIS policy now states that all personnel must submit to a DNA test for storage on a database. Mr. Beale and Miss. Jones were just now updating the database to include the DNA profiles of your team, and a …issue came up with your samples. They were rather similar, too similar to be co-incidental." Hetty said slowly. Callen frowned, confused.
"What do you mean, Hetty." He asked, obviously voicing Deeks' thoughts as well.
"You two, according to your DNA profiles, share a parent, your biological father in this case. You are half brothers."
Silence filled the room after Hetty's announcement. Hetty watched the bombshell drop on the pair as the knowledge sunk in. Deeks, surprisingly, appeared to comprehend the revelation first, his face loosing all colour as he gripped the edge of the bench he had been leaning on tightly, his gaze dropped to avoid all forms of eye contact.
Callen looked from Hetty, to Deeks, to Eric (who was intently studying a blank computer screen), to Nell (who was watching him with a strange look in her eyes), and then back at Hetty. He had a father, a father that had gone on to sire Deeks and possibly other siblings as well. Deeks had never mentioned having siblings, but that didn't mean anything.
Hetty nodded at Nell, who brought up Callen and Deeks' own DNA profiles, before bringing up the comparison onto the big screen in Ops. Callen looked up at it, and Deeks glanced up as well, looking at the screen wearily. Hetty found it quite remarkable how much the information currently being displayed on that screen had changed the lives of the two men concerned.
Callen and Deeks both studied the screen intently, their eyes illuminated by the light of the screen in the darkened room. On the comparison form, their eyes seem to lock onto one line, which stated that there was an over ninety nine point five per cent chance that they shared a parent. Hetty wasn't sure whether it was that piece of information that made it real for Deeks, or if it was some other thought or piece of information, but whatever it was, she had not been expecting it when Deeks turned on his heel and strode quickly out of Ops.
"Mr. Deeks?" Hetty asked loudly.
"Deeks!" Callen called. Deeks ignored them both, heading for the stairs. Callen moved to follow him, but Hetty took his arm, shaking her head.
"Let him be, Mr. Callen. He's had a shock, he just needs a bit of space." She counselled.
G looked up at the screen once again, "Did you know?" he managed to say. Hetty looked up, following his line of the sight the screen.
"No, Mr. Callen, I was not aware. I only found out a few minutes before you yourself did. Had I found out earlier I would have certainly informed you."
"Can you tell me about him…about my father?' Callen asked. Deeks never talked about his family. Kensi once mentioned that Deeks had told her about how, one holiday a few years ago, Deeks' father had pointed a shotgun at him, but other than that he knew nothing about Deeks' childhood and family.
"Your father passed away in a auto accident in 1998, not long after his release from prison." Hetty said, not wanting to say more without talking to Deeks first.
A noise from outside ops drew their attention, and Hetty gestured fro Nell to wipe the big screen clear. A few moments after the screen went back to its normal configuration Sam walked into the room, focused on Hetty and his partner.
"What's going on? Deeks just left, he looked like shit. Did something happen at LAPD or something, or with one of his old ops?"
"Nothing like that, Mr. Hanna," Hetty reassured the former SEAL.
"Is Deeks alone?" Callen asked; concern evident in his blue eyes and in his voice. Hetty almost smiled at how Callen cared about Deeks already, after knowing about their shared blood for barely five minutes.
"No, Kensi followed him out. He started running the moment he cleared the building. What happened?"
Callen ignored his partner, rubbing his palm over his face, while Hetty sighed. She should have known that one of the pair would react negatively to the news, and considering what Deeks had experienced at the hands of his father, he was the one more likely to run. Still, things had not gone as she had expected.
"This hasn't gone well," she admitted.
"You think?" Callen snapped, worry about his younger brother making him short tempered. Hetty said nothing about his rudeness, knowing that Callen couldn't help it.
"Will someone please tell me what the hell is going on?" Sam asked.
"Mr. Callen, it's your news. I imagine that at this moment that Deeks is telling Ms. Blye. Sam and Kensi work with you both, they should be informed."
Callen nodded, knowing that the revelation would severely affect the team's dynamic. Besides, Sam was the closest thing he had to a best friend. Chances were down the track Callen knew he would need to talk to someone about Deeks (probably to whine about how annoying younger brothers were) and Sam was going to wind up being that person. He forced himself to take a calming breath.
"Eric and Nell were adding our DNA samples to the NCIS database, and they noticed something. They compared my results to Deeks' and it looks like he's my younger half brother, on my father's side."
Sam had a look of pure shock upon his face. He had not been expecting that. In fact, of all the possible situations, that was one that had never entered into Sam's considerations.
"Whoa, G. Deeks is your little brother? I didn't expect that."
"Yep, neither did I," Callen admitted.
"How much younger is Deeks anyway? He's never said how old he was."
"Mr. Deeks was born on the eighth of January nineteen seventy nine, just over two months before Mr. Callen turned nine." Hetty supplied. Sam shook his head. Deeks was younger than he'd thought he was. Callen already knew Deeks' birthday, as it was in the Liaison position application forms that he'd glanced over.
Sam leaned against the bench, unknowingly imitating Deeks as he processed the bombshell.
"Shit," he muttered, knowing how much it was going to affect the team. It was highly likely that Hetty would be forced to either make Deeks an agent in his own right, and them move him to another team, or have to simply fire him from the liaison position and let Deeks go back to being a deep undercover detective, neither option would sit well with Callen and the rest of the team. Deeks had grown on them, slowly, and Sam had begun to view the detective as a sort of very annoying younger brother figure, Now, for G to have Deeks as a younger brother in real life, it was going to change everything.
"As much as I detest your use of vulgar language, Mr. Hanna, I have to agree with you statement," Hetty said.
"Why would he run though? Is having me as a brother that bad?" Callen queried.
Sam snorted, "I doubt it, but then, we don't know what's going on in Deeks' head at the moment."
"I doubt it is anything personally directed at you, Mr. Callen,' Hetty said, thinking of the file about Brandell once again.
They stood in silence for a few minutes, quietly being observed by Eric and Nell, who'd been in there corner of the room the whole time. The silence was broken, however, by the sound of Hetty's phone going off. She quickly answered it, glancing at the caller ID before she spoke into the device.
"It's Deeks, I've got Kensi's phone, since I left with out mine. Are we okay to have the rest of the day off?" Deeks asked, his voice sounding very off from its usual cheerfulness. Hetty paused before nodding, it was certainly justified.
'Good, have you got a spare copy of that file you pulled together about my Gordon Brandell?"
"Yes," Hetty replied, glad she'd had the foresight at the time to make a spare copy. It was stored in her office.
"Give it to Callen, he deserves the truth. He needs to know why he was better off not knowing that he was related to him…and me. He's lucky that he doesn't remember him, but then, maybe his mother was stronger than mine."
"I'm sure that's not the case Mr. Deeks," Hetty consoled, "But I will be sure to pass the file on."
"Thanks Hetty. I'm sorry I walked out like that. Tell Callen that too. It wasn't because of him."
"I'm sure he understands, it was quite a shock. Feel free to inform Ms. Blye of what has happened, Mr. Hanna has been told by Mr. Callen."
"Alright then. Bye Hetty, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Goodbye Mr. Deeks." Hetty said, hanging up the phone.
"Is he okay?' Callen asked the moment Hetty hung up. Hetty simply looked at her senior agent, seeing the worry on his face. Sam had seen the worry too, and was struggling to hide his smirk.
"He is fine; he has requested to have the rest of the day off. He and Ms. Blye will be back at work tomorrow. She is currently with him." Hetty told him. Callen visibly relaxed, trusting Kensi to have Deeks' back.
"Mr. Callen, would you follow me please." Hetty requested, leaving the Ops centre. Callen followed her up, leaving Sam behind with Nell and Eric. Sam looked at the younger pair, who both looked guilty, knowing that they'd been the ones that caused so much turmoil for the team…their team, since they were as much part of the team as the agents were. Sam crossed over the room to their side as Nell buried her face in her hands. He squeezed her shoulder gently, and patted Eric on the back softly, causing them both to up at him. Nell looked like a little girl at that moment, it was unnerving to think of how many things she had seen because of her work with them, and Eric wasn't that much older, about the same age as Kensi.
"You did well, you did your jobs." Sam told them, smiling proudly at them. Eric nodded, and Nell weakly smiled. Knowing that Hetty was the one that they needed reassurance from now, as well as Deeks and Callen themselves, Sam turned and left, heading down stairs towards his desk, where Callen would be able to see him from Hetty's desk, assuming that her desk was where she was leading Callen.
Sam smiled as he reached the bottom of the stairs and spotted G and Hetty in the older lady's office. He nodded, and g nodded in response, acknowledging Sam's location, and thanking him for being there without uttering a single word. He watched Sam sit at his desk, before retuning his attention to Hetty.
"This is everything I know about your father, Gordon John Brandell. Please do be careful with what you do with this information, Mr. Callen. Deeks is aware that you have it, but I ask that you try to not bring it up with him unless it is necessary. I would advice against sharing the information inside with Mr. Hanna, Ms. Blye, or anyone else without consulting with Mr. Deeks first, as much of it is very personal to him."
Callen nodded, accepting Hetty's terms. He had a suspicion what was in the folder, going from Deeks' reaction, and Hetty's words of caution. Given that he knew that his father had been in prison, G was already content in the knowledge that Gordon John Brandell was not a nice guy. He stayed silent as he carried the folder back to his Desk as sat down. Sam obviously read g's silence, because he said nothing as his partner opened the file and began to read.
Out of habit, G immediately looked at Brandell's criminal record. He felt his gut clench tightly as he saw the list of offences, from various cases of being drunk and disorderly to the cases of intentionally causing serious injury against Caroline Brandell and Martin Brandell
All mental imagery Callen had carried since childhood of his father being some kind of hero vanished in that moment as he read through the case notes and evidence of the case against Brandell. The man had subjected his son to beatings and horrific treatment, going so far as to point a loaded shotgun at the then eleven year old, while young Marty was lying on the ground, badly injured because of his father's beatings. Beatings that were carried out by the one man who was supposed to love and protect him.
Perhaps what was the hardest for G to read was the page long paper written by young Deeks during a session with a psychologist during his father's trial. G, usually composed, was having trouble controlling his emotions as he read the writing.
'When I was little I wanted to have a little brother or sister to play with and look after, but when I got older I stopped because I figured out that if I got a little brother or sister then Dad would be mean to them and hurt them like he huts mom and me. Before Dad got taken away, from when I was about seven or eight, I used to pray to God that I wouldn't get a little brother or sister. Mom heard me one time and got angry, because she thought I was being selfish and wanted her all to myself, but then I told her it was because I didn't want someone else, especially a little baby, to have the same life as me. She hugged me and we cried until Dad came home, but then I stopped, because I'm not allowed to cry, because only girls and babies cry.
God must have been listening, because I never got a little brother or sister. Now that Dad has gone though, I wish I had a big sister to talk to, like Ray does. I don't want a big brother though, because he might hurt me like dad did and bully me because I'm so small like the big boys at school do.'
G stopped reading at that point, feeling quite ill. Was that why Deeks had run, because he was scared that Callen would turn around and beat him, just because they were related, and apparently that's what happened. G supposed that it was unavoidable, because according to the criminal write ups, occasionally Gordon Brandell shared the pleasure of beating his wife and son with his own brother, Michael Brandell. Mike Brandell was dead too now, having had a fatal heart attack during a prison sentence for an unrelated crime.
G put the file down on his desk, and rubbed his hand over his face. Deeks' childhood had obviously not been pleasant, with pain, torture, mistreatment and abuse all featuring strongly. Just like he always did during cases that involved children being maltreated, Callen wondered how anyone could ever hurt a child like that. It just wasn't right.
Deeks hung up the phone and passed it back to Kensi, before sprawling on his back in the soft, warm sand. Kensi put her phone in her pocket, sitting beside her partner. Predictably, when he'd run from the mission, he'd headed straight for the beach. Kensi had caught up with him when he'd stopped to catch his breath, and had been shocked to see the sadness on his face. She'd taken his hand and led him o the sand, where they had sat together. She'd lent Deeks her phone so he could call Hetty, and now that the call was over they sat in silence, Kensi not knowing what to say, and Deeks was obviously lost in his thoughts.
'When they were putting our DNA samples up on the database Eric and Nell noticed a discrepancy, and looked into it. Callen is my older half brother, apparently."
Kensi's jaw actually dropped.
"Your brother?" she echoed faintly. Deeks nodded.
"On my dad's side, which is good, because he's older than me, and my mom was only twenty two when she had me. She would have been, what, fourteen, when she had him, and didn't he have an older sister as well?"
Kensi nodded, "Did you know that your dad had other kids."
Deeks snorted, "He wouldn't have talked about it. He wasn't the type to talk about things. Do you remember when I told you about how, six years ago my dad pointed a shotgun at me?"
'When we were out in the desert, yeah, I remember."
"It wasn't six years ago." Deeks said, keeping his voice low, trying to hide the emotion in it.
"What?' Kensi asked.
"It was twenty one years ago…I was eleven." Deeks said blankly. Kensi froze, quickly connecting the dots.
"The man you shot…Gordon John Brandell."
"Yeah, I shot my dad when I was eleven. It was non fatal, I got him in the shoulder, but it was judged as being self defence. Callen is still going to hate me though; you know how he gets about his family. I shot his father."
"Deeks, you were being threatened with a shotgun, you were eleven, Callen is probably going to be more worried about you almost being shot at when you were eleven than you shooting your dad to save yourself.
Deeks shrugged, "It's not like he would have shot me. Even if he had fired the gun he was that drunk that night I really doubt he would have hit me."
"Deeks…had he hurt you before…you know," Kensi asked cautiously. Deeks looked at her, the look in his eyes telling her the truth.
"Yeah, I was one of those kids that got there asses kicked most nights by there dad. My mom got hit around too. I used to try and protect her. Only thing that achieved was us both ending up unconscious."
"Don't worry about it. It's not like you could have done anything about it."
"Don't be like this, Deeks. Don't shut me out. Does Hetty know about this?"
Deeks nodded, "She's always known about it. By now Callen would know about it to. I told Hetty to give him a copy of the file she had Nell put together about Brandell. He'll know everything.
"Deeks, you realise that this is going to change everything. I means, for the first time in his memory Callen has a relative, alive. It's going to mean a lot to him."
Deeks nodded, unable to disagree with Kensi's statement.
"I wonder if he used to hit Callen and his mom," Deeks said softly, so softly that Kensi almost didn't hear him, "I wonder if loosing her was what made him crack. Maybe my mom and I were a substitute for Callen and his mom."
"Deeks," Kensi said softly as Deeks sat up, frowning and resting his arms on his knees, whit his chin resting on his arms, gazing out at the waves rolling onto the beach.
"I remember when you told me about Callen, about how he'd moved from home to home so much when he was a kid. You and Sam were so horrified by it, but I…I thought he'd been lucky. He doesn't know…or remember what it's like to have your own dad, the guy you're supposed to be able to trust, betray you like that, hurting you over and over again just to make himself feel good. Maybe he was right. Maybe I was just a crap son. I am, compared with Callen. You guys are always commenting on how annoying I am, maybe Brandell thought so too." Deeks choked off, and Kensi could see the tears in his eyes.
"Deeks, stop." Kensi said, before she wrapped her arms around him.
"Just stop," she said softly as Deeks rested his head on her shoulder. She could feel from the shaking of his shoulders, and the growing moisture in the shoulder of her shirt, that the detective was crying, but she didn't do anything to stop him. He needed this. She started to gently rock, just like she remembered her own father doing when she was upset or sick, running her fingers through Deeks' soft shaggy hair.
"At least you're taller than him," she said softly, and Deeks let out a quiet chuckle.
"I guess so," he agreed, lifting his face from Kensi's shoulder, revealing red puffy eyes. He looked at Kensi, his eyes softening slightly as he looked at her face.
'Thanks Kensi."He smiled softly.
Hetty sat alone in the ops centre, everyone else having gone home for the night, thinking intently and sipping a cup of tea. She had a theory about a timeline of events, as far as the Callen family, Brandell, and Deeks and his mother were concerned. From her own research it was known that Brandell had most likely been brought up in an abusive home himself, and then he had inherited some money and decided to go overseas in his late twenties. While he was in Europe he met Clara Callen, and an attachment had formed. The pair would go off the radar somewhere, and they would have two children. At some point over the following five years Brandell would become abusive, but Clara, with her CIA training, would be able to protect herself and her children from him. Brandell, after all, had little training in violence save for what he had experienced at the hand of his father. Something, however, changed, leading Clara to become fearful for the safety of herself and her children, and had gone to Hetty for aid. Then, as a result of being in a city that was a Comescu family stronghold while Hetty got passage organised, Clara had been executed, and Amy and G had vanished, only to appear in the US foster care system a few months later. Out of money, and perhaps searching for his offspring, Brandell had returned to America, and had eventually found himself another girlfriend in Caroline Deeks, who he later married and then fathered his third child. Caroline was a hairdresser by trade, and wouldn't have been able to fight him off like Clara had, so Brandell had been free to do what he liked with his wife and son, even inviting his older brother to participate on occasion, right up until the fateful night when young Marty had fired the gun that had alerted the police, and led to the arrest of Brandell.
It was a sordid saga, one with lots of twists and plot holes, but, Hetty considered sadly, it was the most likely chain of events. Stretching her arms, Hetty finished her cup of tea and tidied her desk, before switching out the light, and walking out of Ops, locking the door behind her.
It had been one of the strangest and most trying days of her long career, but she believed that, with the support of their team Callen and Deeks would overcome the revelation that they were half brothers, and the group as a whole would walk away from the experience even more tightly knit together than they had been previously.
G looked up at the ceiling above his bed, brow furrowed in confusion. Firstly, he didn't have a bed, and secondly, the ceiling was not his ceiling. He sat up quickly, looking around the space around him. He recognised it as the apartment he had lived in during some of nineteen ninety two, when he'd been twenty two. Obviously he was having some kind of weird dream involving memories of the past. G didn't know why he was dreaming about that particular apartment. When he did dream of his past it was usually much earlier, during his childhood, or more recent. Callen got out of bed, finding that he was already dressed in Jeans and a shirt.
He walked out of his bedroom looking around to see if anything stood out. The apartment was sparsely decorated, and nothing seemed out of place, although he did catch a look of himself in the mirror, and noticed that he was younger too, his twenty two year old face looking back at him. Then, someone knocked on the door. Callen frowned and looked around for a weapon. There wasn't one, so Deeks took a deep, calming breath, and went to answer the door. Standing at the door was a police officer, with his arm around the shoulder of a boy, unmistakably a young Marty Deeks. Callen did the math, and knew that Deeks was thirteen that year. He looked small for his age, his shoulder length, shaggy blond hair hanging limp. The kid's blue yes were full of tears and he looked up at Callen. Callen was taken by the puppy dog face Deeks was hitting him with. Now he knew what Kensi whined about so often.
"She's gone, G." Deeks said, before he sobbed, and threw himself at Callen. Callen wrapped his arms around the teenaged Deeks, rubbing his back soothingly.
"Your former stepmother passed away this morning, Mr. Callen. Her last wish was for Marty to stay with you until he turns eighteen."
"What?" Callen said, before realising that the LAPD office was talking about Deeks' mother. He glanced down at the boy…not the Deeks Callen remembered from NCIS, but the little brother that now was responsible for.
"I'll look after him. Nothing is going to happen to him," Callen said softly, promising to himself, more than anything. For his entire life Callen had wanted family. Now he had it in the form of a younger brother. While the Deeks he was responsible for in real life was a lot bigger and more independent than the young teenager that Callen was still holding in his arms, he was still family, he was still G's younger brother, and G knew that, outside of NCIS at least, he was going to have to step up into that role of big brother.
Of course, there was the minor issue of Callen not having any experience of what it meant to belong to a family, but Deeks knew and understood that, so hopefully the LAPD detective would be forgiving of any mistakes G made. G, however, knew that he wouldn't fail Deeks as a brother, not like their father had failed the younger man as a dad, and their uncle had failed as an uncle. Deeks had been let down far too many times by members of their family, and G was determined that he would not .let Deeks down, not for as long as he drew breath.
Callen snapped his eyes open, finding himself back on the floor of his house, his blanket cuddled up in his arms, rather like the younger Deeks from his dream had been.
The dream had been strange, but thought provoking. In the dream he'd had the chance to save his younger brother from the foster system that had robbed Callen of his sense of identity, and his ability to connect with others. Callen hoped that Deeks had a more pleasant experience of the system than him; otherwise G knew he would be consumed with guilt.
Groaning, G got up, looking through the window. The sun had risen, and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, as far as the weather was concerned anyway. G wasn't really looking forward to the moment he and Deeks met face to face once again.
Callen's gut was telling him that particular experience was going to be very awkward.
Kensi was the first of the agents to arrive at the mission that morning, holding a cup of strong coffee in one hand and a bag of chocolates to put in her desk drawer in the other. Hetty observed the youngest of the agents, and noticed the shadowed look under Kensi's eyes. Obviously, despite having the afternoon off, Kensi had not found the time particularly restful. Hetty could not blame her. Sleep had been rather elusive for her as well the previous night; thoughts of the situation with Callen and Deeks had been chasing one another through her mind all night, and had proved to be as much as a pain in the asset as the two men in question.
"Morning Hetty," Kensi greeted.
"Ms. Blye, how was your evening."
Kensi groaned and dropped into her chair.
"I've never seen Deeks like that before. He wasn't himself." She admitted, "I hate to think what it's like for the both of them. Deeks told me about what sort of guy their dad is. Who would do that to their own kid?"
"I do not know, Ms. Blye," Hetty replied as Sam strode in. He looked around as he dropped his bag.
"No G or Deeks yet?' he asked.
"Nope," Kensi sighed.
Sam nodded, "I couldn't stop thinking about it last night."
"Me too," Kensi admitted, "It's going to change everything. Is one of them going to have to leave?"
"We'll see, Ms. Blye. It depends on how much it does change things. If Deeks and Mr. Callen are able to work together well then nothing needs to be done, but if they cannot maintain a professional relationship then I am afraid I will be forced to take action."
Kensi and Sam looked at each other, neither of them wanting to see Deeks leave (they both knew that there was no was Hetty would fire G, or let him quit). The detective had grown on them both, and had become a valued member of their team.
'How was he yesterday after you guys left?" Sam asked Kensi.
Kensi shuddered, "Shocked, I've never seen him so torn up about something before. How was Callen?"
"He was pretty shaken up, Hetty gave him a file and he looked pretty pale after reading it. I thought he was either going to pass out or throw up."
Kensi had a suspicion of what was in the file in question, from what Deeks had told her the previous afternoon, but she said nothing. Naturally Callen was going to react to learning that his father had pointed a loaded shotgun at his younger brother, after having beaten Deeks and his mother severely enough to land them both in hospital for a month.
"You know what was in there, don't you," Sam said, reading Kensi's silence. Kensi looked sadly at Sam.
"Deeks told me last night, I don't think he would have ever told any of us if he couldn't avoid it. You're better off not knowing.
Sam frowned. It went against everything he'd learned as a SEAL to leave a member of a team to cope with some obviously bad memories, but at the same time he recognised that Deeks had a completely different background to Sam. From what Sam had seen of Deeks' encounters with LAPD he was not particularly liked, and Deeks primarily worked alone, perhaps with one back up, but the back up changed from case to case. There was none of the team orientated work like at NCIS, or with the SEALs. There was no strong sense of family within the team. Perhaps that was why Deeks had struggled to fit in initially. Of course, it could also be connected to his being an outsider, from a certain point of view, being a detective for LAPD, and not a federal Agent like the rest of the team. Sometimes Sam just wished that Hetty would hurry up and just make Deeks an Agent. Callen and Sam both knew that Hetty had always planned on elevating Deeks to Agent status at some point.
"If Deeks wishes to inform you, Mr. Hanna, he will." Hetty counselled wisely. Sam sighed and picked up a pen, playing with it in his large hands, wishing that there was something he could do to help the younger man.
Hetty returned to her desk, and Eric and Nell came down the stairs.
"How are things going?' Nell asked.
"Okay," Sam nodded, knowing that she was alluding to the Callen and Deeks situation. Eric and Nell looked at one another.
"I hope they can overcome it," Nell said softly. Kensi nodded in agreement. The team were quiet as they thought their own thoughts, but all of their thoughts were revolving about Deeks and Callen.
Then Deeks walked into the mission, back pack thrown over his shoulder, his hair still damp from his morning surf and shower. He looked around, and seemed to relax a little. Kensi figured that he had been looking for Callen.
"Hey guys," Deeks greeted, walking past Nell and Eric and dropping into his seat beside Sam. Sam hesitated, before reaching over and squeezing Deeks on the shoulder reassuringly. Deeks looked across, and Sam smiled at him. Deeks gave a weak smile in reply, and Sam let his arm drop back down. Kensi, Eric and Nell all watched the moment, but all wisely said nothing about it. Sam and Deeks had had a slightly tenacious relationship from day one, but Deeks had grown on the former SEAL, and especially now, Sam was well and truly willing to be there for the younger detective.
Hetty had watched the exchange from her desk, and couldn't stop the small, proud smile that crossed her face as she saw how supportive the entire team was of Callen and Deeks. She had little doubt in her mind that everything was going to work out.
When Callen walked into the mission, having noticed that the rest of the team were already there, or at least, there cars were in their regular spots, Callen's gaze immediately went to the bullpen, his gaze scanning over Kensi and Sam, before resting on Deeks. At the same moment Deeks happened to look up, and their eyes met. Callen simply looked at Deeks…His younger brother, while Deeks looked at him. The tension in the air was so thick that Callen was sure that if Sam or Kensi tried, they could slice through it with a knife. Eventually Deeks dropped his gaze back to the papers on his desk, and Callen continued to walk over to his desk.
Sam and Kensi exchanged a significant at one another across the Bullpen. Obviously the unavoidable confrontation between the two brothers was going to be delayed. Wordlessly the four team members set about doing their work, determined to ignore the simmering tension that hung in the air over them like a rain cloud
It was mid afternoon when G got up, having had enough. It looked like it was going to be up to him to initiate the conversation. He and Deeks had known about their shared heritage for twenty four hours, and G knew it was high time for them to bite the figurative bullet.
"Deeks," Callen called, beckoning to the LAPD detective. He caught Deeks' eye, and saw the slight fear in the younger mans eye. Deeks shot a sideways look at Kensi, who nodded encouragingly at him, so Deeks got to his feet and followed Callen out. They headed to the boat house in silence. Callen was pleased with his choice of location. It was private, allowing them to talk without Hetty or the others interfering, but was close at hand and easily contactable if a case came up.
"So," Deeks said, sitting on the edge of the table, rubbing his hands over the edge of the table.
"Did you ever expect that you had siblings?" Callen asked. Deeks shook his head.
"I, er, I wasn't all that close to him when I was younger. I tried to avoid him as much as possible, actually. He never mentioned having other kids, not in front of me anyway. Not that I can remember." Deeks answered. Callen nodded.
"I'm guessing he wasn't the type of dad you had in mind. I never saw you as the sort to have been fathered by a guy like Brandell."
G smiled and shook his head, "No, I had a military guy of some type in mind."
Deeks cringed, "Way off the mark there. Closest thing Brandell ever got to military was the time he got into a bar fight with a marine. He started it of course." G smiled, but then the two men fell into a thoughtful silence.
"I'm sorry about your mom," Callen said eventually. Deeks nodded sadly.
"She was a changed person after he got arrested. I'd never seen her so happy, even after she got sick " As Deeks spoke sad look crossed his face, and Callen drew a little closer to his younger brother.
"What was she like?"
"Quiet, she liked to keep to herself. She was the best cook though; she made the best chocolate chip cookies ever. She was really caring too. When I was younger we lived next to an elderly widower whose wife had just died, and when she could she made him casseroles and stews. He moved out when I was nine to move closer to his daughter, but he was like a granddad to me."
"The file states that you moved into a LAPD detective's house when you were fifteen?" Callen asked. Deeks nodded, a smile crossing his face.
"Yeah, Mike. He was a really young cop then, he'd just become a detective when the shooting with my…our dad happened. He kept in touch with me following, and he offered to take me in when they were struggling to find a foster home for me when I was fifteen. He was the one that encouraged me to push myself academically, and he was so proud of me the day I passed the bar exam. I kind of think the day I told him I wanted to be a detective was the day I made him the proudest though. I suppose he was my second dad back then. He died not long after I made detective. After my mom and Ray, he was my best friend even back then; Mike was the man who helped me become the guy I am today."
"Do you miss Ray?" G asked, remembering the informant that he'd met, the one Deeks had tired to protect from everything.
"Yeah, even though he's a criminal, and we don't see one another any more, He's still the best friend I've got outside of NCIS."
Callen smiled, glad that Deeks had found a home for himself, and had been able to escape the foster care system three years early. He also smiled at Deeks' comment about how Ray had been his best friend outside of NCIS, indicating to Callen that Deeks viewed the team as his closest friends. It was nice to know that Deeks thought so highly of the team, but at the same time it saddened Callen, considering that Deeks surely would have had friends that he had known for longer than the year and a bit that Deeks had worked with the team.
"Have you got any relatives left?' Callen asked. Deeks sighed and shook his head.
"No, except for you I guess. The last of my grandparents died when I was about six or seven, and my mom was an only child. Brandell had his brother, but that was it, and they're both gone now."
"I'm sorry," Callen said honestly. Deeks nodded.
"Thanks, I'm sorry too, about what you went through. Do you remember much about your family?"
"I don't remember our father…Brandell, at all. I remember my mother the day she was killed, and I remember playing with my sister, but that's it."
Deeks shook his head sadly. Callen hadn't realised it before, but their backgrounds were very similar, but at the same time hugely different. Deeks' childhood was nothing like what Callen wanted a younger sibling of his to experience.
"At least neither of us carries his name. We both have our mother's surname."
Callen nodded in agreement. Brandell didn't seem to be the type of guy who deserved having two sons that could carry the name on (although Callen doubted that he would be able to pass the name on…He wasn't exactly young anymore, and he had no intention of settling down). Deeks, on the other hand, was a romantic at heart. Sometime in the future Callen was sure that there would be a mini Deeks (or two) running around. Actually, Callen would not be surprised if it was a mini Deeks and Kensi running around, given the way the youngest members of the team were looking at one another recently.
"What?' Deeks asked, obviously having seen the slight smirk that crossed Callen's face at the idea of Deeks-Blye offspring.
"Nothing," Callen said, schooling his features with an ease that came after years of experience in undercover ops, although he was still thinking how…amusing it would be to watch Deeks and Kensi deal with being parents. The kid would have Deeks wrapped around his or her finger within seconds, and Kensi would spend hours just sitting and watching her child play with its dad. Deeks was, Callen recalled, very good with kids.
"Sure," Deeks said, obviously not convinced by Callen's facade. Callen smiled at his brother's skills of observation and deduction. It brought up an interesting question. Ever since he'd heard Hetty tell him about his mother and his grandfather, and their connection with the CIA Callen had figured that his skills were not just learned, but inherited as well, to a certain extent. Deeks had similar skills of being undercover to Callen, although at the same time they were different. Deeks had a style that was not at all like Callen's own style, but both were very effective. Was it possible that Brandell had his own family history of undercover ops? According to the man's file he had never worked in law enforcement at any time, working instead in various factories and other low income jobs, having never finished high school, and never really holding down a job for longer than a year throughout his entire life (unless being in prison counted as a job). It was possible, however, that someone in Brandell's family tree had been involved in law enforcement, and their talent had been passed down the family tree without surfacing until Brandell fathered Callen and Deeks.
"I never thought I'd be in this boat," Deeks admitted suddenly, drawing Callen from his musing, "I mean, I should have expected it, to be honest. It was always possible that they'd had a fling with someone one night but he was at the bar, but I never thought he would have been married before my mom. I knew that he was a fair bit older than her…she was barely out of high school when they met, and was in her early twenties when I was born, while he was already almost forty at the time, but still."
"Even though he treated you both badly you thought you were his first family?' Callen asked.
Deeks nodded reluctantly, "he really didn't come across as a 'family man' kind of guy."
Callen couldn't help but feel that Deeks' comment was the understatement of the century, but he said nothing about it.
"How is this going to change things?" Deeks asked, 'I like working with you guys, but isn't there some NCIS rule in place that would mean that we can't work together."
"Maybe," Callen shrugged, "But if anyone tried to break up this team they're going to have to go though Hetty."
They both laughed at the idea, knowing that Hetty wouldn't want the team to be broken up, regardless of NCIS rules. She was definitely the kind of person that both Callen and Deeks were glad that they had on the side of their team.
"No one is going to stand a chance," Deeks smiled happily, content in the knowledge that his position at NCIS was secure. Callen couldn't stop himself from smiling at the obvious glee in Deeks' voice, glad that his brother enjoyed working with him and Sam and Kensi. They sat quietly for a little bit longer, until Deeks broke the silence.
"So, and you can be brutally honest if you want, G, Are you happy about this, or is it majorly not good that I am your brother. I know that you and Sam and Kensi find me really annoying and..."
"Deeks," Callen interrupted, "finding out that you're my brother…it's one of the best days of my life. For the first time that I remember I have family, and I'm glad it's you. You're a great guy, and I'm proud of you. I know that, if he'd been a great guy as well, our dad would have been proud of you too, your mom would be, and I think that my mom and our sister would be proud to have you in the family too."
"Thanks," G," Deeks said, trying to hid the emotion on his face. In a moment of softness that Callen knew was completely out character for him, he pulled Deeks into a hug.
"I'm glad you're my big brother too," Deeks murmured onto Callen's shoulder, "I'm proud of you too."
Callen couldn't fight the tear tat slid down his cheek or the wide grin that broke out on his face.
'So this is what family feels like' he found himself thinking.