Life, Lies and Video Surveillance
Chapter 28: Infelicity (Part II)
A/N: Hey :D Here's part II of what I'm calling the aftermath of Deeks, M. Hope you enjoy!
NOTE: Very slight spoilers for 4x02 ahead!
Disclaimer: Still not mine folks.
WOTD: INFELCITY; In·fel·c·it·y noun. Unhappiness; misfortune
In a flash, she gripped either side of his face, pulling him down into her embrace, their lips crashing together in a frantic, feverish kiss. Deeks' brain short-circuited as they stumbled into the apartment, she pushing him backwards towards the couch, one hand raking through his hair as the other found its way up and under his shirt. It was only when he felt the couch hit against the back of his legs did his brain catch up with his body and he forced them apart.
"Wait," he gasped, surprised to find that his hands had migrated to her hips without his knowledge. With a shake of his head, he fought to clear his foggy mind, "we can't, you're hurting and—"
"You're hurting too..." she whispered, her breath bouncing off his cheek as she stared up at him, her dark eyes glassy with unshed tears, "I don't want this because I think it's somehow make me feel better. Today already did that. No, I want this for an entirely different reason..." she trailed off, her nails scraping along his lower back.
Deeks bit his lip as his heart did the conga in his chest. Was this really happening?
She cut him off with another breath-taking kiss, biting his bottom lip, begging for entrance as she undid his tie and slipped it out of his collar, letting it fall softly to the floor. Deeks sighed, his body relaxing, letting himself get lost in the kiss, one of his hands reaching up to tangle in her chestnut hair as her tongue danced with his, her nimble fingers beginning to quickly unfasten his shirt buttons…
Three Hours Earlier
Marty Deeks stood in front of his bathroom mirror, straightening his plain black tie and folding down the collar of his shirt. He took a quiet moment to take in his appearance, grousing that he looked more like a waiter than a man fit to attend a funeral but there wasn't much he could do about it now, considering he had to leave in ten minutes.
"Well, don't you look handsome," a familiar voice said from behind them.
He looked up, catching his mother's eyes in the mirror before smiling softly.
"The scar really adds to my badassery huh?" he chuckled, rubbing the small Band-Aid that covered the wound on his cheek that he received from Kinney's tackle a week before.
Had it only been a week? It felt like an eternity ago.
"Oh yeah Shaggy, I wouldn't mess with you, you might steal my Scooby Snacks," his mother replied with a roll of her eyes. Her son decided to respond with a very mature sticking out of his tongue.
They lapsed into a comfortable silence then; Deeks gently washing his face and brushing his teeth as his mom watched on. It reminded them of a time, years ago now, where she would stand in the doorway of his room in their old house and wait whilst he got ready for school. It had been one of the only quiet moments in their daily routine, the sweet few hours in the morning where Gordon was passed out from a night of drinking, steadily snoring on the couch as his wife and son took advantage of the peace and made pancakes and talked quietly about school and crushes and which Ninja Turtle was the best and why.
"You know, even if you're not a fan of mine, I think your hair looks nice," he spoke after he dabbed his face with a dry towel.
"Thank you Farty Marty," she beamed, throwing him a wink before going to fix breakfast.
"How many times do I gotta tell you not to call me that mom!?" her son yelled after her, trying and failing to wipe the small grin that had formed on his slightly-shaven face.
His mom was just what he needed today. The next couple of hours were going to be tough…
"What do you mean he's not coming back?" Eric Beale asked, a petulant frown on his face as he looked from Sam to Callen and back again.
The partners exchanged a glance before the former heaved a sigh, resolving himself to the fact that he'd more than likely have to go through this a couple of more times until the tech-analyst grasped the concept.
"I mean he's not coming back, Eric. Deeks quit the LAPD, meaning he also severed all his liaison ties with NCIS," he said slowly and firmly, watching grimly as Eric glanced to his own partner, Nell, who looked just as downtrodden as they all felt.
"But I mean, it's not like he was fired or anything right? So he could still come back and…" Nell trailed off, realizing how fraught she sounded.
"Technically he could come back whenever he wanted, but it's up to him. If Deeks doesn't want anything to do with law enforcement anymore then there's not much any of us can do about it…" Callen replied grimly, rubbing the back of his neck.
Kensi Blye's heart sank into her stomach as she overheard her team's conversation as she stood outside OSP. She had been dreading having this exact conversation with Nell and Eric and found that she was glad that Sam and Callen had beaten her to the punch. She had not slept a wink last night after she made her hasty retreat from Deeks' apartment and frankly was not in the mood to listen to questions she just didn't have the answer to.
So, taking a deep breath to try and mentally psych herself up for today, a day where she had to fully accept that her partner was not going to walk through the door any second and tell her it was all an elaborate plan to which she would proceed in kicking his ass into next week, she took the last few steps forward into Ops, forcing a neutral expression on her face.
"Eric, Nell, what we got?"
Had it been any other day, any other time, she may have found their reactions to her entrance funny. Eric must have jumped at least three feet in the air whilst Nell gaped, eyes wide as saucers as she fumbled with her tablet.
"Uh hey Kensi, yeah sure um…here's what we managed to capture off a security camera from across the street from the pier, Nell?" Eric finished, gesturing to his partner as she pulled up the footage.
The agent merely folded her arms and ignored their reactions, taking her place beside Callen and Sam, making sure to avoid eye-contact.
"So, this is footage of about a half-mile from the crime scene. We see what is clearly a masked driver with what appears to be three figures in the backseat. We've managed to isolate the driver's plate and traced it to a car registered to a Ms Emily Zaras," Nell pulled up the driver's licence photo of Emily alongside the security camera footage.
"She doesn't look like the type to orchestrate the kidnapping of a Marine," Callen voiced the thoughts of all the occupants of Ops as they peered up at the petite, auburn-haired woman.
"Well, she hasn't reported her car stolen and has been ducking calls…she could be involved," Eric shrugged, knowing that they'd seen people even less unsuspecting than Emily Zaras commit terrible crimes.
"Or," Kensi stepped forward, her eyes trained on the young woman's photo, "we could be looking at another victim."
Soft droplets of rain descended on the many occupants below, basking their assorted black clothes in a fine sheen of translucent liquid. A tall blond man stood silently, his head hung lowly, his eyes downcast as a priest read a passage from The Bible. Dirty, sodden grass squished underfoot, the mud a fine mush, ruining many a polished shoe as dozens of legs lined around an open grave.
"And so we finally lay Fay Elizabeth to rest, may she now be at peace," the priest, Father Nolan concluded, closing his Bible softly and gazing down at the coffin that was being slowly lowered back into the earth.
A loud sob disrupted this quiet, sombre moment and Deeks found his attention being drawn towards the source. Standing directly opposite he and his mother was Andi, eyes downcast, silent tears trailing down her cheeks, patting her mother awkwardly on the shoulder as she heaved yet another sob.
Deeks' heart panged painfully in his chest as he witnessed the fresh wave of pain etched on the elder woman's face as her daughter's body was finally united with her final resting place after twenty-two years of being missing. As if sensing his gaze, Andi glanced up and met his eyes, her dark orbs shinning bright with unshed tears. Noticing her daughter's sudden split attention, Mrs Benson too looked up, following Andi's eye-line.
A hint of anger tinged her features as she stared at Deeks but after a moment, it seemed to dissipate, fade, her grief shining through, extinguishing her anger towards the ex-liaison as she quickly glanced away, her focus on her daughter's coffin once more.
"Come on," his mom whispered gently, clutching his elbow, "let's give Andi and Margaret some space so they—" suddenly, Angela broke off, something catching her eye in the distance.
Deeks frowned at his mother's speechlessness and turned his head to see what she was looking at. Slowly, a small smile began to form on his face as standing not thirty feet from them, leaning against an oak tree and looking every bit like Tom Selleck in his hay-day was none other than Jimmy Woodruffe.
Angela leaned into her son, whispering against his shoulder, "is that—"
"Yep," Deeks interrupted with a nudge to her elbow. "Go talk to him mom, I'll meet you back at the car."
He walked away, not giving her the opportunity to argue, barely able to contain his chuckle as he heard his mother's distinctive voice say to Woodruffe in a faux-snarky tone, "well if it isn't Sergeant Smartass."
The rain was easing off now, the sun peeking out from behind the clouds, soft, shimmering rays basking the graveyard, a large, colourful rainbow forming overhead. Deeks couldn't help the growing smile on his face. He wasn't ever a particularly spiritual person (his past did tend to taint any faith he may have had) but even he could not deny that there was a feeling, something calming and gentle in the air that gave him the sense that somewhere, Fay really was finally at peace. Nobody deserved it more than she.
That thought had not even left his brain before his eyes caught onto a very familiar figure approaching him. Crossing his left ankle over his right, he leaned back onto the hood of his car and waited as Andi made her way through the throngs of people, halting only when she was within ten feet from him, an enigmatical expression on her face.
"Hey," she offered him a small, sad yet buoyant smile, "you wanna get outta here?"
The team quickly gathered their things from the bull pen and started towards the door. Kensi, keys in hand, was the first through the threshold when she suddenly stopped dead in her tracks.
Callen broke off as Hetty Lange came into view, standing directly in their path.
"Hetty," he acknowledged with a nod of his head and a quick glance to his partner.
"Mr Callen, Mr Hanna, Ms Blye," she addressed them each in turn with a formidable stare of her hawk-like orbs.
"Uh…something we can do for you?" Callen continued as Sam shrugged as if to say, 'hey, don't look at me.'
"I'm sure there are a multitude of things that your team can do for me Mr Callen, many things come to mind in fact, the most pertinent being your mannerly cooperation when Mr Monroe arrives…" she trailed off, her eyebrow arched particularly in Kensi's direction.
"Mr Monroe?" Sam questioned, looking to Callen who now shrugged his shoulders.
"Ms Blye's new partner," she replied before clearing her throat and stepping to the side to let them pass.
"Temporary partner," Kensi corrected stubbornly with a tilt of her chin.
"Yes, of course," Hetty nodded, her face turning grim, "now," she began, clapping her hands, "don't let me keep you, after all, if we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us…"
The trio watched as she passed them, entering Ops without a backwards glance, varying levels of confusion spreading across their faces.
"Okay…" Callen murmured slowly before turning back to his partner and Kensi.
"Let's go pay Emily Zaras a visit."
The rapid tapping of fingers flying across computer keyboards could be heard throughout Ops as Eric Beale and Nell Jones searched for any other possible information on Nick Clarence that could be pertinent to his kidnapping.
"Anything?" Eric asked his companion for the fifth time in the last twenty minutes.
"Nothing," came the same reply he'd heard for the last twenty minutes.
"This is pointless," Eric sighed, pushing away from his computer and standing up, pacing back and forth across the room.
"Whoa there Beale, take it down a notch," Nell breathed, eyebrows shooting up her hairline.
"I'm sorry," he apologized quickly, a hand running through his hair, "it's just—"
"Deeks," she finished, knowing well what he was feeling because she was too.
"Yeah," he agreed, heaving a sigh and sitting back down beside her. Nell turned her head to offer him a wry smile.
"I just…" he trailed off for a moment, unsure how to continue.
"You wish there was something we could do," his partner finished for him, a look of understanding in her amber gaze.
"You gotta stop doing that," he smirked.
"What?" she asked innocently, fooling no one.
"Reading my mind," he clarified unnecessarily.
"And stop freaking you out? Never," she smiled, turning back to her screen.
"The guys interview Clarence's little girl yet?" she asked, trying not to dwell too much on the horridness of that question.
Eric shook his head, pulling his chair into the desk; his glasses alight with the soft glow of the computer screen.
"Not yet, she's in the care of her aunt while her mom is in hospital and is being seen by a child psychologist before they can get near her…" he trailed off, noticing the crease between Nell's eyebrows that had formed somewhere in the last few seconds.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
The intelligence analyst's eyes snapped to his, startled, as if he just asked her what year it was.
"I—it's nothing," she dismissed with a shake of her head, breaking eye-contact.
"Nell," he pressed, growing bold and resting his palm lightly on her arm.
Her gaze lingered on his hand for a moment before meeting his eyes once more.
"It's just—with everything that's happened over the last week…with Deeks and now with this little girl I—I don't know I just…don't think it's fair that innocent children have to go through the things Deeks and Lily have…" she trailed off, her cheeks burning a bright crimson as she realized how foolish she must have sounded.
"And now with Deeks…gone, it just sucks because—"
"The place won't be the same without him," Eric interjected.
"Yeah," she nodded, "and—"
"There's nothing we can do about it…" he finished softly.
"Now who's the mind-reader?" she asked with a small smile, patting his hand gently.
Eric stared down at their hands for a moment, a flush of warmth raising up his neck and heating his face. With a clearing of his throat he looked up and stared into his partner's honey-coloured eyes, a light-bulb suddenly switching on his brain.
"Hey, maybe there is something we could do…"
Sam Hanna let out a low whistle as they pulled up at a large, lavish house. It was quite impressive, marble pillars that glistened in the sunlight, fine rose bushes lining either side of a winding driveway that led to a tall, mahogany door complete with brass door knocker.
"Are you sure this is the right place?" Kensi asked as she stepped up to his window, her parked car across the street from them.
"That's the address Eric and Nell gave us," Callen replied as he and his partner got out of their car and made their way up the long driveway.
"Doesn't look like the kinda place a hotel concierge could afford," Sam chimed in as they reached the extravagant door, reaching up and ringing the doorbell, forgoing the garish lion-head door-knocker.
"Hey guys," Kensi called from her position at one of the large bay windows, "looks like the place has been trashed…something definitely went down here."
Callen and Sam shared a look.
"Hey, you hear that?" the former asked with a tilt of his head.
"A cry for help? Sure, I hear that," the latter replied before whirling around and kicking in the door.
Guns at the ready, they each took a direction, Kensi heading left, Callen heading right and Sam straight ahead, trained eyes and ears sensitive to their surroundings.
The three convened back at the door, nodding to each other, communicating silently as Kensi took the stairs, Sam went towards the back yard and Callen to the basement.
Kensi rounded the corner, dark eyes narrowed as she stepped through each room, found them empty and made her way onto the next. It was the last room on the left that stopped her dead in her tracks, her mouth letting out a small, inaudible gasp.
"Sam! Callen! Upstairs bathroom, you guys gotta see this!" Kensi yelled, her eyes transfixed on the bathroom, the bath tub in particular and the long, slender, bloodied arm that hung out over the side…
"Your vic appears to be Emily Zaras, preliminary COD is multiple stab wounds to the torso and neck," the medical examiner assured Sam and Callen a half-hour later as the crime scene investigators cordoned off the scene.
They nodded grimly as Kensi stepped away, down the stairs to survey the rest of the house a little closer. She reached the living room, her eyes inspecting every inch of the place. It appeared that the perps were searching for something; the entire place was in disarray, books, CDs, DVDs strewn all over the floor. Taking a careful step around all the objects at her feet, the agent made her way towards the TV, seeing a DVD poking out of the player. With a frown, she read the title that was scrawled haphazardly in sharpie "WATCH ME."
With a quick glance around her, she used one gloved finger to push the DVD into the player and watched intently as the TV came to life. Her eyes widened at what she saw:
There, standing as bold as brass in front of the camera, in a dimly lit room with dark walls, was a tall man dressed in all black, a balaclava over his face, speaking quietly but firmly to the camera:
"To the NSA, FBI, NCIS, whatever section of the alphabet soup managed to catch this case, hear me now: we have Master Sergeant Nick Clarence of the U.S Marines in our custody," he broke off, turning the camera slightly to focus on the blurry image of a badly bruised and beaten man tied to a chair before pointing the camera back on himself.
"But fret not you government yuppies, we'll return him safe and sound…if he gives us what we want. If not?" the man paused dramatically, bringing his face ever closer to the screen, "well, we'll just have to get creative…"
The footage cut off then, the screen turning blue. Kensi's stomach fluttered uncomfortably as she dwelled on what she just saw. These guys meant business. Nick Clarence was in serious trouble.
Whipping out her phone, she dialled Ops quickly, not even giving Eric time to say hello before she was jumped in with: "Eric, dig into Clarence's open missions, everything he was involved in, as far as you can. And tell Hetty that she needs to get his superior on the phone, something tells me that these guys are looking for info on a very specific case…"
Soft rays of sunlight shone down onto the eyelids of one Marty Deeks as he slumbered comfortably in his bed. With a sigh, he rubbed his face with the back of his hand and turned over, his arm colliding with something soft. With a frown, the ex-liaison slowly opened his eyes and looked to his right, his heart hammering in his chest as the bare back of a very familiar person came into view.
"Hey," Andi Benson smiled a little shyly; turning from her stomach onto her side, clutching the sheet to her chest tightly, but the time for modesty was long gone.
Deeks' mouth opened and closed as he stared into the dark orbs of his childhood friend, his ex-love from over a decade ago. She did look beautiful, her dark hair sprawled across his pillow, her normally lightly-tanned skin flushed pink, her chocolate-eyes sparkling as she stared back at him. But something felt…off. The picture just didn't seem…right.
As he searched for appropriate words of response, his gut was doing the rumba, twisting and turning in knots until he felt a little sick.
What the hell? He should be elated! He had his lost-love back, his Andi, his first proper girlfriend, the girl that captured his heart when he was a teenager and always had a little piece of it all these years…then why did it feel so…wrong?
Hoping that the inward panic wasn't all over his face, Deeks plastered on a smile, murmuring a soft, "hey" before lapsing once again into silence.
Her frown spoke volumes, "are you okay, Marty?"
He cleared his throat loudly, pushing down the strange feeling in his gut, in his chest and leaned in, pecking her lightly on the lips.
"I'm great," he replied, sounding a lot better than he felt, "you?"
Maybe it was the timing. He had been worried, it was mere hours after Fay's burial, he wasn't super comfortable with this to begin with, had felt like he was taking advantage of Andi's vulnerable state but she had assured him many times that she wanted this, that it was all she thought about for a long time, had wanted it since she came back into his life, had missed him so much after all these years.
"I'm good," she smiled softly but Deeks saw right through it. She was still in pain and was a little thrown by his behaviour; he had to step it up. To reassure her. Surely this feeling, whatever it was, would pass.
"Hey, you wanna get outta here?"
Kensi and Sam pulled up outside the house of one Kim Marquez, sister of Jessica Clarence, their faces grim.
"How do you wanna play this?" the former asked gently, turning her head look him in the eye.
"Well, she's a little girl that loves her daddy and saw him get dragged away by big, scary men…we play this as gently as possible," he replied before stepping out of the car and making his way towards the house.
Kensi followed silently, the sense of unease rising in her. She was painfully aware that out of the two of them, it was Deeks who had a certain talent when it came to dealing with kids. Maybe it was because the man was just an overgrown child himself but she knew deep down it was because he was inherently a good man, a kind and gentle person, so easy to trust and so calming with a wit that—
She put a quick halt to her rapidly dwindling thoughts, shaking her head vigorously, trying to rid her mind of the invasion of thoughts that had anything remotely to do with the blond haired, blue-eyed wonder. His words from the night before still stung, even if she had convinced herself that they didn't and she couldn't get the look on his face out of her mind, his general look overall actually. The man looked like he'd spent the last year in front of the TV, his eyes glassy and red-rimmed, his clothes grubby, his hair even more fluffy than usual.
It did nothing to ease her anxiety, her worry for him, and after practically fleeing from his apartment with her tail between her legs, she had to admit she wasn't particularly looking forward to confronting him again. But that didn't mean she wouldn't.
"Mrs Marquez, I'm Agent Sam Hanna, this is Agent Kensi Blye, we're here to talk to Lily," Sam addressed the dark-haired woman who answered the door, effectively spitting Kensi from her reverie.
"Oh yes, of course, come in…Lily's in the living room," she stepped aside, motioning into the house.
The agents took in their surroundings silently, stopping when the back of a small, blonde head caught their attention. There, sitting quietly and colouring at the dining table was Lily Clarence, her olive eyes trained on her work.
"Lily, there are some nice people here to see you," her aunt said gently as she walked around the table and placed her hand on her shoulder softly, "they're going to ask you a few questions, okay?"
The little girl nodded, her eyes never leaving her picture.
With appreciative smiles to Mrs Marquez, both Kensi and Sam sat down at the table, Sam directly opposite Lily and Kensi to her right.
"Hi there Lily, my name is Kensi," the brunette began gently, lowering her head to try and catch her eye.
The girl remained silent.
"And I'm Sam…" her colleague chimed in, glancing from Lily to Kensi and back again.
"What're you drawing?" Kensi asked, careful not to raise her tone from its current decibel of make any sudden movements that could startle her, instead only cocking her head to the side, trying to catch a glimpse of the picture. It appeared to be of a small person and a larger person holding hands. What was odd however, was its lack of colour.
Wordlessly, Lily put down the grey crayon and wrapped both arms around her torso, as if giving herself a hug. Kensi and Sam watched on, both at a loss of what to do as she continued to remain silent, no matter what they said to try and engage her.
After fifteen minutes of no response, Mrs Marquez stepped in.
"I'm sorry Agents, maybe this wasn't such a good idea…" she trailed off, noticing the unshed tears in her niece's eyes.
"That's okay Mrs Marquez, we're very sorry for upsetting her," Kensi apologized, standing up slowly and shaking hands with the woman.
"I will inform you if the psychologist gets any information that could be important from her," she promised as they all walked to the door.
"That would be great, thanks," Kensi replied, her eyes catching something on the table beside the front door.
"Mrs Marquez? Are they pictures Lily drew in the last few days?" she asked, gesturing to the stack of papers to their right.
She could feel Sam's puzzled glance boring a hole in the side of her head as well as the woman's confused frown but ignored them steadily, waiting patiently for a reply.
With that she nodded, a new wave of determination flowing into her veins.
"You mind if we take a look at them?"
"I feel like an idiot…" she murmured, burying her face behind a newspaper and pushing large sunglasses up her nose.
"At least you're wearing clothes," came the grumbling reply in her ear.
"You're not naked, Beale," she faux-groused, a blush rising to her cheeks.
"I might as well be Nell, it's October, it's frickin'—"
"He's here!" she interrupted him, sinking further down in her chair and tilting her head to the side, watching intently as a blond haired man walked up to the counter to order his coffee.
"What's he doing?" Eric asked suspiciously.
"The Macarena…what do you think he's doing?!" she hissed sarcastically, not at all impressed by her partner's 'master plan.'
"No need to be snippy Jones, I was just asking," came the voice in her ear, but she was too focused on watching the blond to respond.
"He's ordering two coffees," she murmured, more to herself than to Eric, a frown creasing her eyebrows, "I think he's got company," she finished, taking her eyes off him for a second and glancing around her to see if there was anyone else also focused on his movements.
"That puts a bit of a dent in our plan," the tech-analyst commented drily, as Nell rolled her eyes.
She was a trained agent dammit! Why did she feel so uncomfortable sitting in a café doing a little surveillance?
"How does he look?"
Nell cocked her head, peeking over the newspaper, her eyes squinting as they fought to adjust to the darkness of the sunglasses.
"—Anything else can I get you, Miss?" Nell jumped, startled as a waitress interrupted her, staring down at her with a perplexed look on her face.
"Uh, no thank you," she replied, staring up at her for a moment before returning her gaze to the counter, only to find nothing but air. He was gone!
"Eric, he's gone!" she whispered frantically, glancing around the café to see if she could spot him, "I lost him, I don't know where he went I—"
"Hey there Nancy Drew…"
Nell stilled at the very familiar voice, her eyes slowly rising to meet a pair of very familiar eyes.
"Oh! Hey Deeks…didn't see you there," she grinned sheepishly, an embarrassed flush rising up neck.
"Probably because you're wearing sunglasses inside," Deeks replied, gesturing to her eyewear with one of the Styrofoam cups in his hand, tilting his head, seemingly waiting for some explanation.
"Is that Deeks? Nell? Nell! Talk to him, see if you can—"
"So, what are you doing here?" she cleared her throat, trying to drown out Eric's voice in her ear, quickly removing her sunglasses but keeping her gaze steadily to somewhere to the left of his head.
"Getting some coffee," he began, placing said coffee on the table before sitting down opposite her, "you?"
"Getting some coffee," she responded, willing for her aflame cheeks to cool, quickly.
"No need," he smiled, gesturing to the extra Styrofoam cup, "latte, two sugars with a pump of vanilla, right?"
The intelligence analyst gaped silently at him before she took up the cup and took a sip, finding that it was indeed her favourite beverage. The guy was good.
"So…you gonna keep Eric in your ear or is he gonna join us?" he asked with a smirk before reaching for his own coffee.
"I—uh, he's busy," she murmured, reaching up to remove her com before dropping it into her bag.
"Hetty send you?" he asked, a little accusatory, finding that it was about time that they got to the point.
She was taken aback at his tone. It wasn't angry, but not necessarily pleasant either.
"No, I came here on my own accord," she replied, sitting up straighter and folding her arms, resting her elbows on the table.
Deeks nodded, seemingly thinking over her response.
"You guys working a case?"
Nell bit her lip; preparing herself to say the words she dreaded the most:
"I can't talk about NCIS investigations with civilians, I'm sorr—"
"Ha, yeah, I keep forgetting that's what I am now," he let out a short laugh before shaking his head.
A silence engulfed them then, Deeks taking another sip of his coffee. The red-head scratched at the cup heating her hands for a moment, summoning the courage to ask the question she came here to ask. Slowly, her honey eyes rose to stare her friend straight in the face as she asked:
"Are you coming back, Deeks?"
The ex-liaison looked up, unsurprised at the query. He shrugged, not sure how to answer her. She waited on tether hooks for a few moments before realizing that was the only response she was going to get to that question.
An uncomfortable sensation rose in Nell's chest, a feeling that had been lurking in the depths of her stomach ever since Deeks' breakdown in Ops.
"Deeks I—I'm so sorry for what happened…in Ops...I really didn't mean any harm looking into those files—"
"I thought I could find something that could help you, find something that could exonerate your father—"
"So we could get a lock on the real killer. If I'd known how much—"
"Nell!" Deeks halted her with a palm to her arm, leaning closer to look her dead in the eye.
"Yes?" she asked, stubbornly not breaking eye-contact.
"It's okay…really, I know you were just trying to help me and I appreciate it. Don't beat yourself up," he patted her arm gently, his words sincere.
"You gotta come back Deeks, the team won't be the same without you, isn't the same without you," she murmured, her words just as sincere.
She watched intently as her friend flashed her a small smile before he rose from his seat and smiled down at her, throwing her a wink before clasping his hands behind his back.
"Take care of yourself Nell Jones," he grinned, "tell Eric I said hi," he finished before turning on his heel and walking away without a backwards glance.
The intelligence-analyst sat glued to her seat as she watched his retreating back. When he had vanished from few, she took a breath and sighed to herself.
"You're up, Eric."
"It wouldn't be the first time a Marine was kidnapped for information on a mission," Sam reminded his colleague as they pulled up outside OSP, a case from last year fresh in his mind, one where young marines were promised new jobs with good pay but were instead shipped to Dubai and tortured for information.
"Yeah but why this Marine? What's so special about Nick Clarence?" Kensi pondered aloud as they walked into the building, towards the bull-pen.
"Maybe it's not Clarence that's special, maybe it's a mission…" he hypothesized, taking a seat as his desk as Callen arrived.
"Hey G, you talk to Hetty?" he asked his partner as he saw Kensi spread out Lily's drawings all over her desk out of the corner of his eye.
"Yeah, she's getting us a sit down with Clarence's superior…what are they Kensi?" he turned to the brunette who was engrossed with the pictures, her dark eyes scanning each page with a hawk-like precision.
"Lily Clarence's drawings…" she mumbled absent-mindedly, as Callen stepped closer to look over her shoulder.
"And why do you have them?" he asked, staring down at the black and grey lines with mild interest.
"I was told that sometimes when a child suffers a trauma they tend to work out their issues and emotions through creativity, like drawing," she replied, her gaze still focused on the art-work.
"That sounds like a Nate-ism," Sam smirked, throwing a curious eye on the pictures too.
"Actually it was Deeks," she corrected steadily, frowning as her eye caught on a specific symbol that she'd seen in the last few pictures.
"Mr Deeks is a smart man," the voice of Henrietta Lange sounded from behind them.
Slowly, the three agents turned on the spot, surprised to see their boss accompanied by a tall, dark-haired man of Hispanic origin, his closed-mouth smile a little strained.
"Ms Blye, Mr Hanna, Mr Callen, this is Mr Zackary Monroe, a Junior Agent who will be working with you for the foreseeable future," Hetty gestured between them, her gaze focused primarily on Kensi as she straightened up from her desk hesitantly.
"I've heard great things, I look forward to working with you," he said politely, shaking Sam and Callen's hands, extending his hand finally to Kensi who stared at it silently, before nodding to herself and clasping it for a moment, clearing her throat and looking back to the drawings.
"Welcome to OSP Mr Monroe, your team will fill you in on the case," Hetty murmured, before taking her leave, stepping away without a backwards glance.
An awkward silence befell the bull-pen. Callen and Kensi kept their eyes trained on the desk whilst Sam let out a long breath of air.
"I'm gonna check if Nell and Eric could get anything off the tape Kensi found in Emily Zaras' house," he murmured almost to himself, his brow furrowing as he watched Monroe cross over to his desk, preparing to drop a large, cardboard box down in Deeks' chair.
"You can't sit there," Kensi said suddenly before an inch of the box could touch the chair, her voice stern, her eyes flashing with something bright and if Sam knew her (and he did) dangerous.
"Uh…okay…where should I sit?" Monroe asked her confusedly, now noticing the little trinkets that still littered the desk.
"I don't care where you sit, but it won't be there," she replied, a steel edge to her tone before turning on her heel and walking away.
Sam shrugged grimly at Monroe, catching Callen's eye before stepping towards the stairs. As he ascended them, he heard his partner turn to Monroe and say quietly:
"Guess I better get you filled in."
With a shake of his head, Sam made his way to Ops, halting abruptly as he heard hushed tones wafting from inside.
"But what did he—"
"He washed me out Nell!"
"When you say he washed you out…"
"He steered me into a ginormous wave!"
"Ginormous isn't a word, Beale."
"Regardless, it was huge!"
"Well, maybe it was an accident—"
"Which is why I'm not going down there to kick his ass."
"Oh yeah, I'm sure that's why you're not gonna kick Deeks' ass," the sarcasm dripped from the intelligence-analyst's voice causing a smirk to spread across Sam's face.
"So, looks like Operation 'Get Deeks Back' was a failure," Eric lamented, a sigh audible to even Sam as he stood out in the corridor.
"Yeah, looks like it," Nell agreed.
Sam straightened, his shoulders back, his head raised high.
Operation 'Get Deeks Back,' huh?
Kensi raised her hand to knock again, a new determination in her veins, a determination that felt like fire and ice simultaneously, the image of the new guy trying to move into Deeks' space fuelling her feverishly.
"Deeks! If you're in there, open up! We gotta talk! Seriously, we can't ignore this any longer, I'm not taking no for an—"
"Hello?" the door swung open suddenly, leaving the agent's hand suspended in the air, her mouth gaping as her eyes landed on Angela Deeks.
"Uh…hi, I'm sorry, I was just wondering if Deeks was home I—"
"Oh come in sweetheart, I'm sure he'll be back soon," she smiled politely, stepping back to allow Kensi entrance to the apartment.
"Oh no that's fine Mrs—"
"I insist, come on in. Would you like some coffee?"
A right, gloved hand swung at the punch bag, connecting roughly with it, a satisfying thump reverberating throughout the near-empty gym. A droplet of sweat clung to the bridge of Marty Deeks' nose as he swung with his left hand, then his right, then left again, over and over until his heart hammered in his chest and he was gasping for air. With one final punch, he backed off, tilting his head to the ceiling, staring up at the florescent lights, waiting for his pulse to slow.
"You kicked that bag's ass Deeks; wanna try your skills on a real person? If I remember correctly, I owe you a rematch," a very familiar voice came from behind him.
With a chuckle, the blond turned on the spot and met Sam Hanna's eye.
"What is it? 'Let's ambush Deeks' day? First Nell in the coffee shop, then Eric at my surfing spot, now you? What's next? Hetty jumping out of a locker?"
"Wouldn't surprise me, she's the perfect size to fit in one of those things," Sam smirked, quirking an eyebrow as he donned some gloves.
The two shared a laugh; both knowing that there was no way that either of them would ever be so brave to say something like that anywhere near OSP.
"So, come on big-shot," Sam continued, walking towards the ring with a determined gleam in his eye, "show me what ya got…"
Kensi laughed heartily as Angela finished a particularly amusing story of Deeks' junior year of high school where he thought it'd be a good idea to wear his Spiderman boxers to gym class only to have his two-sizes-too-big sweat pants to end up around his ankles after a round of enthusiastic tennis playing.
"How did you find out about it?" she asked, before taking a sip of her coffee.
"Oh a mother has her ways…" she trailed off with a wink, "and I may have bribed Ray with some Macaroni 'n' Cheese," she finished with a chuckle before a pensive, albeit sad look crossed her face.
"God I miss that boy," she sighed as Kensi's heart lurched in her chest.
She almost forgot that to the outside world Ray Martindale was dead, that included his best friend's mom. She hated the forlorn expression that had befallen Angela, so fought to seek something, anything to change the subject. Glancing around the room, her eye caught on a familiar trinket that she'd always meant to ask Deeks about, all the times he and she had spent time in his apartment.
"Was that a good vacation?" she asked, gesturing to the photo of a teenaged Marty Deeks and his mom, identical smiles on their faces as they stood in front of Niagara Falls, absolutely dripping wet from head to toe.
Angela whirled around in her chair, her eyes falling onto the picture, laughing loudly.
"Oh yeah, it was. We were splashed by so much water that we had to wring out our clothes in the restrooms," she chuckled before turning back to Kensi, noticing the quiet, enigmatical expression on her face.
"My son does love photographs," she continued, staring at the agent a little closer, watching as a small smile formed on her lips at those words.
"Oh you don't have to tell me. He ever show you the one with the camel from his vacation last year?"
"Sure he did. Like a hundred times, through mail, email, in person…that was one excited camel," Angela laughed heartily as Kensi snorted.
"Yeah, to this day he still insists it was only his foot," she shook her head in amusement as a comfortable silence befell the two of them.
"You love my son, don't you?" Angela said suddenly, fixing the brunette with a knowing stare, her statement hanging in the air as Kensi gaped at her.
"I—what?" she stammered, sitting forward in her chair. Her expression one of a deer caught in headlights.
The elder woman sat forward too, her raised eyebrows almost a dare to argue with her.
"You heard me, Kensi."
"I…" the agent trailed off, her eyes darting, unable to focus on the cerulean eyes that reminded her so much of her partner.
What the hell was she supposed to say to that?!
"It's alright, you don't have to say anything if you're not ready…but hear this. I have never, not ever, heard my son talk about anyone as much or as warmly as he's talked about you. Nothing too specific, don't worry; I know you both have such a secretive job, but just little facts here and there over the years. Little sentences that I recall hours after talking to him because of the transformation in his voice every time he mentions your name.
"Now, I can't speak for him and I won't, I may be meddling but I'm not completely intrusive, but I know that he cares for you deeply and I just want you to know that I can't thank you enough for how you've helped him these last few days, with the Benson case and everything before then, the years before then when you've been his partner. You help keep my baby safe and that's all a mother could ever hope for," she paused, leaning even closer and capturing Kensi's hand in hers.
The younger brunette glanced down at their hands, transfixed, the elder woman's words washing over her, the shock rising in her.
"So even if you're not ready yet, or never are, to admit what I see in you as clear as day now and the first time we met, please just know that I appreciate all you are for Marty, his partner and friend…and I hope that one day he will come back to you, to his job, to help keep you safe too," she finished, standing up and taking her coffee cup, walking into the kitchen to pour her a refill.
Kensi sat there in silence, stunned. No one (bar her mother) had ever directly confronted her like that about her feelings for her partner, she found now that it happened, it was…jarring. Terrifying. But no longer as inwardly taboo.
After a moment of watching Angela pour the coffee into their cups, she nodded, murmuring softly to herself, for her ears only:
"He's Marty Deeks…he's kinda hard not to love."
"Come on Deeks, that all ya got?" Sam smirked as he dodged the ex-liaison's punch for the third time.
"You know it isn't, just ask Callen," he replied roughly, the uncomfortable memory assaulting his senses.
Sam stilled for a moment, that comment catching him off-guard, giving the blond just enough time to strike his left cheek.
"See?" he smirked as Sam rubbed his now throbbing cheek.
"Lucky-shot…temp," he groused, "although I guess now, you're not the temp anymore…seen as you've left us."
Deeks halted, staring at his colleague with narrowed eyes.
"Kensi told me you got a new guy," he growled, lashing out with his right fist, trying to back the SEAL into a corner.
"Yeah, Monroe, a temp for the temp," he shrugged, "or Kensi's new partner…guess it depends on what way you look at it…on if you're coming back…" he trailed off, blocking Deeks' advances and trying his own, only to have the blond block them too.
"For someone who works undercover, you're not very subtle," he commented with a quirk of his eyebrow, striking his shoulder before backing off a little.
"It's been my experience Deeks, that when dealing with idiots, subtle ain't the best approach," he responded as he hit the side of his helmet.
"Oh so now I'm an idiot?" the ex-detective asked with a scoff.
"You were always an idiot. Just not a stupid one. Now though? Yeah, you're being stupid man, can't you see that—"
Sam was cut off abruptly by a swift punch to the gut, not Deeks' full strength (he could tell) but enough to halt his speech nonetheless.
"Well, well, well, and I always thought my baby was a gentle soul," a voice rang out in the gym.
Deeks immediately tensed.
"Who's the cougar?" Sam smirked once he caught his breath, straightening up and flashing the attractive, older brunette one of his dazzling smiles.
"That would be my mother."
The agent didn't have time to react to that before the brunette was halting aside the ring, watching intently as her son stepped down to stand opposite her.
"What're you doing here, mom?"
But Angela wasn't paying any attention to Deeks, instead her focus was on Sam, who was now joining them, an ever-present grin on his face.
"Nice to meet you ma'am, I'm Sam, a colleague and friend of your son's," he held out his hand for her to shake.
"I'm Angela, Marty's...incredibly young mother," she flashed Sam a grin worthy of the Cheshire Cat.
Deeks rolled his eyes, fighting the queasy sensation in his stomach.
"And what age are you today, mom?" he asked in a pseudo-sweet tone, deliberately avoiding his ex-colleague's gaze.
"Thirty-three," she beamed without missing a beat as Sam barely smothered a chuckle with his hand.
"Huh," Deeks' eyebrows furrowed, a thoughtful tap to his chin, "that's funny...I didn't realize you could give birth at -1."
Angela merely waved off his comments with a dismissive hand.
"Anyway, sorry to break up the fun boys, but I thought you ought to know Marty, seeing as you refuse to answer your cell-phone, that your partner stopped by the apartment earlier. She really wanted to speak with you. I kept her there as long as I—where are you going?!" Angela broke off as her son suddenly started shoving things in his bag, already racing across the gym.
"Sorry mom, gotta go, I really gotta talk to Kens—bye Sam, good fight, oh and by the way," he turned quickly, flashing his friend a cheeky grin, "I totally won."
Deeks never took the expression 'faster than the speed of light' seriously as a legitimate way to describe someone's speed before, until now. With a haste he didn't believe possible, he had raced home (his track coach would be proud) and hopped in the shower (he didn't think Kensi would appreciate his heart-felt apology if he smelled like sweaty gym socks), bolting out his door with half-dry hair all within twenty minutes, only to halt abruptly as a petite, brown-haired, bespectacled woman stood on his doorstep.
"Hetty," he gaped.
"Mr Deeks," she nodded, staring at him expectantly.
"Uh…do you want to come in?" he asked uncertainly, stepping aside, realizing too late how much of disarray his apartment was in.
"Thank you," she nodded, her beady-eyes surveying the place, before fixing him with a bemused expression.
"Uh, tea, coff—"
"In all the years we've known each other Mr Deeks, have you ever seen me consume coffee?" she asked, the question no doubt rhetorical.
"Tea it is…" he trailed off, turning towards the kitchen.
"Let's forgo the tea Mr Deeks, after all, we've much more important matters to tend to," she responded mysteriously, urging the ex-detective to turn and look at her.
In her hands, there lay a manila folder and suddenly it all became clear.
Important matters to attend to indeed.
Kensi Blye's cell-phone vibrated across her coffee table as she finished her extensive number of push-ups. Wiping her brow with her hand, she answered the unknown number with a level of caution:
"Oh Kensi! Good, I got the number right, it's Angela, Angela Deeks," her partner's mom's voice omitted from the other end of the line.
"Uh Angela, hi," she answered, clueless as to how the woman managed to get her private cell number, "anything I can do for you?"
She asked this with a sickening in her stomach, an irrational fear creeping up her spine. Ever since their conversation from a little over an hour ago, she had been unable to get the elder woman's words out of her head. Now that she was suddenly talking to her again, she couldn't help but be afraid that another bout of insightful wisdom was going to tumble out of the woman's lips, shocking her to her core, making her ponder some of her deepest, darkest desires and question her carefully laid infrastructure.
"Well, it's more what I could do for you. I just wanted to let you know, Marty is home…if you still want to talk to him, that is."
"You can't be serious," he threw up his hands, bolting up out of his chair and staring down his former boss with disbelief.
"As a heart attack – I believe is the common response," she replied, clasping her hands in front of her.
"Hetty—I left the LAPD four days ago! And you're seriously coming to me now with those papers—"
"To offer you the position as NCIS Agent, yes," she nodded, "I understand that this has been a difficult time for you Mr Deeks, but I cannot afford to lose you from our team and I'm sure your colleagues would agree…"
Deeks dragged a hand down his face, pacing back and forth in front of her for a moment before turning to her, his voice adopting a softer tone as he tried to properly explain his conflicting feelings:
"I slept, ate and breathed the life of a cop all these years Hetty and—I don't know if I can just become an agent with a click of a finger or a signature at the bottom of a page or walking across hot coals or sacrificing a virgin, whatever you guys do…it's just…I need time. Can you give me that?"
A short silence followed his words. After a few moments, Hetty nodded before standing up and making her way towards his door.
"As you wish, Mr Deeks…" she opened the door, halting slightly, before continuing hesitantly, "I spoke to Bates…told him I was going to offer you the place as an agent. Told him that I had before. Said it was a courtesy, that after everything I didn't want to poach his best detective completely without warning or have any bad blood between our departments and you know what he said?"
"What?" he asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
"That if anyone could make the transition between cop to NCIS agent it is you. You're the most adaptable, capable, determined young man he ever met and he was sad to see you go. I have to say the sentiment is mine, also…" she trailed off, catching his eye.
"He actually said that he was sad to see me go?"
"Well, no, his exact words were, and I quote: 'I'm pissed he quit' but I believe the sentiment still remains…" she finished before walking out the door and closing it softly behind her.
Marty Deeks stood there, alone in his apartment, staring at the space where Henrietta Lange used to be.
Today was just getting weirder and weirder…
A soft knock spat him out of his reverie. With a frown, he wondered if even Hetty was as polite as to knock again after just vacating the room and attentively made his way to the door, preparing himself for whatever else she had to throw at him. Gently, he turned the handle and was instead met with another brunette altogether.
She cut him off with a chaste kiss, throwing her arms around his shoulders, pushing him into the apartment and kicking the door behind her.
Well, okay then.
Kensi Blye pulled up at the familiar apartment building for what felt like the millionth time that day. With a sigh, she climbed out of her car and tried to mentally prepare herself for the conversation she was going to have with Deeks.
After her half-hour with Angela, she felt a shift within her, a voice that she could no longer ignore and knew that talking with him was going to be much harder than she originally thought. But she'd persevere, she needed her partner…and there was no way that partner was Zackary Monroe.
As she stepped into the elevator, she suddenly heard her name being called.
"Kensi! Kensi hold the door!"
She smiled softly, a blush rising in her cheeks as she once again found herself in a small space with Angela Deeks.
"Don't worry," she grinned, "I just came home to grab my purse, I'm meeting Jimmy for dinner so you and Marty will have the place to yourselves…"
Kensi wasn't sure if she liked the sound of the way she said that.
As they reached the third floor, they both stepped out, Angela chatting animatedly, telling the agent all about her upcoming dinner-date with the ex-sergeant.
"And he's such a gentleman, always was…" she trailed off, routing around in her pocket to retrieve her keys as they halted at 21B.
With a deep breath, Kensi prepared herself for coming face to face with her partner, stepping close to Angela as she opened the door.
"Marty, look who I found out in the—oh!"
Deeks and Andi broke apart, their widened eyes darting to the door, scrambling to cover their half-naked bodies as they lay sprawled on the couch.
Kensi and Angela gaped at the two of them, stunned.
"Uh…" the latter murmured, glancing to the agent, frowning as she saw the flash of pain in the younger woman's eyes.
"I—I should go…" she whispered, unable to look at anyone, backing out into the corridor.
"Wait, Kens!" Deeks stumbled to get up, tripping as he hastily pulled on his pants, his face burning with embarrassment and something else entirely as he sped after her, still shirtless, right out into the corridor and towards the elevators.
But he was too late.
She was already gone…
A/N: So, it's my birthday (October 9th) and I decided to update when I had a little spare time before I sank into despair about being another year older lol XD I kid, I kid. But I hope you guys enjoyed it :D
Love, ~Cortexikid x
NEXT CHAPTER TEASER:
"Look at me Marty, and tell me you're not in love with Kensi Blye."