A/N Soilers for Blye, K parts 1 & 2. Just felt like Marty needed a little more closure. I don't own the characters
Chapter 4 is an episode tag to Neighborhood Watch that follows this fic. Chapter 5 is a tag to Descent.
Put to Rights
Marty Deeks threw his keys on the table, ran his hands through his shaggy blonde hair and all but fell onto his worn couch. He let the silence of his apartment insulate him from the horrors of what could have been, and even from the uncertainty of what he should do next. Today had been all about keeping his partner alive, and hopefully not incarcerated. "Alive and well" was way too optimistic of an outcome for anyone to hope. After all, being screwed up on some level was an understood prerequisite to gelling with Hetty's band of misfits. No, it had been precious years since any the team had been "alive and well," assuming any of them ever truly had been.
Granger's shots were a welcome relief to all involved and were followed by sacred moments of silence. First Granger met Kensi's eyes, a look of equal parts apology and support bridged the gap between them. He then graciously walked outside to call in the incident. Sam moved first, clasping her shoulder with his rock solid grip, he opened his mouth but nothing came, just a nod. She nodded slightly as he walked past her up the stairs. Callen neared but kept a safe distance, arms crossed. He and Kensi were both so naturally cagy and they seemed to get each other on a fundamental level. No words or touching needed. The softness in his eyes spoke volumes and Deeks could have sworn he heard his partner's breath hitch as though Callen had actually spoken the words, "You're too valuable for us to lose." She closed her eyes, shutting down the brief but piercing emotional exchange then G joined his partner, giving Kensi and Deeks space.
Space. Kensi thrived on having a wide margin of personal space in every sense of the word. It seemed to Deeks that if ever there were a time for a group hug, that moment had just passed. He seemed to be the only team player without a touchy-feely phobia, so the policy of guarded affection won the day. He looked at his partner, and calculated the best approach.
She was still – no shakiness, no sobbing tremors. She had allowed him to touch her earlier, only to assess her ribs but if that worked once, in a way he'd not soon forget, then perhaps it would work again. He hesitantly touched her arm and, ignoring all the emotional issues at hand, he just said, "Hey, let me take a look at that cut." She didn't make eye contact, but she let him carefully unzip her jacket and ease it off of her, then led her gently to the kitchen. As she leaned against the island he noted the long slash in her white shirt soaked with her freely flowing blood. He dampened a cloth then situated it over the wound on her bent arm, one hand firmly fastening the cloth in place, the other underneath her forearm for her support or his, he wasn't really sure.
She met his eyes for the first time and he saw the tears welling in them, yet she didn't look away as he would have expected. He knew that this uncharacteristic show of emotion was a means of communicating gratitude for all the ways he had been there for her. He didn't ooze of stoicism like the other three, rather he showed his humanity freely, often suffering the ribbing that goes with any perceived weakness. Sometimes she envied his transparency, but being that she could not change her fundamental make-up, she at least allowed him this glimpse of her own instability. He had to constantly keep his feet planted so he did not close the gap between them. He resisted engulfing her in the embrace that he really needed. Instead he risked slowly raising a hand and thumbing a few tears away. She let him and he rejoiced in that small success.
At the sound of sirens he cleared his throat and said, "I guess I should let the professionals take over." Despite his words she realized that he had not had any real intention of letting go of her arm.
She smiled at him and replied, "Hopefully they'll have more than a washcloth."
The house and grounds were soon buzzing with activity and Kensi was escorted to an ambulance to be assessed while Deeks did what he could to process the scene and answer questions. Before long his partner returned with a bandaged arm and an ice pack to her side. She still wore the white shirt minus one badly ripped sleeve. She refused any special treatment or to be ushered away. One by one they urged her to go, all the while knowing that she would refuse any respite offered. She stayed until all four were kicked off the scene.
Deeks dropped her at the mission then promised her that he would get her mother home. Kensi's smile showed a tired appreciation as she turned to head in search of a new shirt and some final answers.
If Deeks hadn't known what to say to his partner's estranged mother before, he certainly wasn't sure where to start after the firefight. Perhaps, "By the way your house was trashed, we tried to clean the blood as best we could – and some of it was your daughter's?" That wouldn't do, but really what would be appropriate at such a time? He was spared somewhat since the detectives posted at the boathouse had given her the basics before he arrived. Of course she still needed some clarification.
As soon as he walked in Ms. Feldman grasped Deeks' arm, "How is my daughter? Was she hurt?"
"Kensi will be fine. She's a little banged up. Has a cut on her arm that required stitches, and a cracked rib from earlier today, but that's all. She's okay."
The hug of relief surprised him, but it made sense that Kensi inherited most of her reserve from her father. "Thank you, Detective, Thank you for keeping her safe." In that moment Marty Deeks felt the extent of his professional deficiencies. There was so much he didn't do, or that his maddeningly independent partner wouldn't let him do that he felt he really couldn't take the credit for her sound health. The phone call that she let herself make but refused to allow herself to use as a means to ask for his help popped in his mind as Exhibit A. He sighed, but deferred his pity party for the sake of Kensi's mom.
"I can't take much credit, she is a very capable, independent agent. But I can tell you I'm as relieved as you are right now." Before giving her a chance to analyze that statement he changed the subject. "She told me that she was going to try to stop by to see you tonight. She asked me to drive you home. I should warn you that your house has significant damage as a result of the firefight, but I know that Hetty Lange, our boss, put her top people on the clean up effort so I hope by now they've made some progress."
Kensi's mom gave tearful nods in reply, "As long as Kensi's okay I don't care about the house."
Hetty certainly knew people because by the time Deeks arrived, not only were all the bloodstains magically erased, but the windows had been replaced and there was a drywall crew patching up the bullet holes. Not bad work for a matter of a few short hours.
He returned to their bullpen and met the gaze of Callen and Sam, who both nodded and smiled at him. Sam spoke first, "Way to man-up out there." Despite the lightness of the comment, Deeks just didn't have it in him to exchange witty banter. He crossed his arms, leaned on his desk and looked at the ceiling blowing out a long sigh. Sam persisted by lightly punching his shoulder and saying, "Hey, you had Kensi's back, you did a good job. Kept her grounded."
Deeks responded with "It was close. Too close."
The three men knew that Kensi was the one team member that teetered on the edge more precariously than the rest.
Callen piped in, "Deeks, You can't worry about what might have happened or it will eat you alive. I've known Kensi since she joined NCIS. You're the only one that she'll let talk her down." Not to let things get too serious he added, "Who knew what she needed for a partner was a grungy surfer boy?"
Sam smiling, added, "I certainly didn't see that coming. Of course, G, I never expected you to kiss Kensi, either, but hey, she's full of surprises."
That got Deeks' attention. "Wait, What? You kissed Kens? When?"
Callen, appreciating Sam's ability to lighten the mood, remembered the time he and Kensi posed as a drunk couple to gain entrance to a ship, smiled and replied, "You mean you haven't?"
Deeks acknowledged the barb for what it was – a distraction. Still, he filed the information away for later confirmation as his partner approached them looking relaxed for the first time since all this started. The others offered what amounted to Hallmark worthy comments as far as team sentiments go, then they were alone. He again resisted the urge to bear hug his partner, knowing that her emotional day was not over. He directed his feet to respect her space, and he tried to end the day as normally as possible.
Kensi visited her mother as promised. She knew that her mom had done nothing wrong, but so many years of distance did have consequences. She was stunned earlier in the day when she peered through the window and recognized the woman's graceful movements. It had all been so much to digest in a matter of a day. The sentimental side of her knew that she should dive in, embrace her mother and start where they left off oh so many years ago; however, the practical, guarded side of her knew that she needed to take this slowly, that even though her mother hadn't sinned in the way she had resented for over a decade, trust still needed to be earned, and she had emotional limits. Tonight she visited, got a long overdue therapeutic parental hug, and called a woman "Mom" for the first time in 15 years. Kensi did not stay long, and her mother wisely recognized the shifty eyes and the restlessness for what they were – uncertainty, not rejection.
Throughout the day's events, one common thread had laced through her thoughts - Deeks. She knew he had held vigil over her throughout it all; from forcing her to think through her intentions to chauffering her mom. Whatever she needed, he had been there, and he would have done more – had wanted to do more, if she would have let him. But that was it, wasn't it? She orchestrated their partnership. She gave a command or a warning and he respected it. Sure they joked about him being the "girl" in their relationship, but really, he was stronger than she gave him credit for, in fact he had been her tether throughout the madness.
A tether can start to unravel if under too much strain. She knew she'd see him tomorrow, but the realization of just how much pain she had caused him held her captive and she needed to check on her partner before she could rest peacefully.
He hadn't realized how much time had passed since he plopped himself onto the couch after tossing his keys on the table. He just sat, not thinking, or at least trying his best to clear his mind when there was a light knock on the door.
He opened it to a 6-pack of beer and a gorgeous smile.
"I thought that maybe one beer today wouldn't quite cut it after all I put you through."
He waved her in, taking the beer, "Good call, Partner. Come on in." Deeks opened two bottles, placed them on the counter while he got a bag of frozen corn from his freezer. Kenzi grabbed a beer, taking a long pull as she headed for the couch.
Deeks sat on her left side, pretended to yawn in an exaggerated fashion while stretching his right arm (with corn at the ready) around her shoulders. He then slid his hand under her right arm so that the frozen veggies soothed her cracked rib.
"Smooth." She nearly laughed then thought better of it after a sharp reminder of her tender rib. That motion sobered his attempt at levity.
"Kens, hey, sorry. You okay?"
"I will be." She sighed then leaned into him. "This helps." Kensi propped her crossed legs on the coffee table, and settled in for some much needed down time with her best friend.
He finally felt resolution descending upon him, but more that than he felt . . . comfortable, content. Not wanting to tempt himself to push her too far tonight, he grabbed the remote and said, "You'll never believe what's on my DVR." He scrolled through until he found 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.' "One final tragedy to put to rights tonight. Seriously, I can't believe you haven't seen this. "
"Bring it on."
After the opening scene Kensi shifted in discomfort and Deeks flipped over the makeshift ice pack. He looked down at her and couldn't help a cheeky smile from erupting as he suggested, "It may work better if it's directly on the skin, so feel free to lift your shirt." She gave him an elbow to his ribs.
"OOF! Okay, I'm just sayin'!"
After a beat he casually asked, "By the way, who do you think would be a better kisser, Harrison Ford in his heyday or say . . . G Callen?" He didn't hide insecurity well but his curiosity always got the better of him.
She pretended to think deeply then replied, "Well, since I've only kissed one of them I'll have to say . . . definitely Callen."
"You know you're killing me."
"Oh, I'm counting on it." She rested her head on his shoulder and realized just how good it felt to lean on her partner.