A/N: Much thanks to everyone read and reviewed and stuck with this one. Thanks again to lena7142 and pen less for the unending help, support, and friendship.
Rick was nervous.
After his tumultuous first year at the Agency, he would have thought he was immune to nerves. He was a different person now, a far more experienced operative. It was almost funny to him sometimes, to think about how it started. To think about driving in with his liquids neatly stored on the seat next to him, before nearly being shot. He'd almost been fired that day, and then he'd become a mole, and then he'd become so much more.
His team had been difficult, to say the least, and he'd spent most of his time trying to figure them out. What he learned, however, was that sometimes it wasn't about the things that were there, but the things that were missing.
Even in the last few months, since Rick had discovered Billy Collins, he'd nearly lost his job and his life. In some ways, that should have scared him the most, but it had worked out. Sure, they'd lost Carson Simms, but Rick sort of wondered if they'd been missing him all along.
Now Rick had inroads with his boss, a secure place on a team he trusted, and there was just one more thing that needed to be done.
Which was why Rick was nervous.
He'd gotten there early to get his preparations done. He'd fussed and overthought, and by the time Casey opened the door to the office, Rick was almost ready to call the whole thing off.
"Heads up, Martinez," Casey said gruffly. "New guy."
Rick stood up, feeling flustered as his face flushed. Still, he grinned. "He's not a new guy," he said. "He's been here longer than I have."
Behind Casey, Billy smiled. He paused in the doorway, looking around, half in awe. He was wearing a three-piece suit, tie just slightly loosened at the neck. It had been two months since Panama. Two months and Billy was medically cleared, psychologically assessed and fully debriefed before being granted his job back with the Agency.
"I may have to agree with Casey this time," Billy mused, still eyeing the room in apparent disbelief. "This all feels rather new to me."
Casey rolled his eyes, dropping a box off on the vacant desk. "I tried to find the box of your possession from when we cleaned up before, but I think it got redistributed," he said. He shrugged, moving over to his desk. "So you can have the leftovers from Vance's retirement instead."
Billy barely heard him. Rick couldn't help it if he peaked into the box, yearning for the yellow post-it notes but opting for restraint instead. Grinning, he moved up to Billy, offering his hand. "It's good to have you here."
Billy took the hand, returning the handshake. "It's good to be here," he said. "Especially considering the alternatives."
The door opened again and Michael came through, carrying a computer. He set it down on the desk, and gave Billy a sideways smile. "I made sure to find a computer that came with Minesweeper," he said.
Billy chuckled. "Good man, Michael Dorset. Nice to see that time has mellowed you."
Michael shrugged. "The team dynamic has changed," he said, eyes flitting to Rick. "Sometimes for the better."
Rick didn't disagree, but this wasn't because of him. At least, not only about him. It was about Billy. And Michael and Casey and Rick. The ODS.
Billy lingered curiously, studying his desk and cocking his head. "I appreciate the welcome, mates," he said. "But isn't this supposed to be young Rick's desk?"
Michael and Casey looked at Rick, who shrugged. "I did sit there," Rick acknowledged. "But it was always your seat."
Billy chuffed. "I do not want my return to usurp your hard-earned place. I know how difficult these men are to win over. If you're still here, you deserve your desk more than I."
Rick scoffed. "Like you said, they've mellowed," he said, nodding to Simms' old desk. He had spent all morning moving his things over, setting it up just right. "Besides. I like the view from here."
"It is the closest spot to the door," Michael pointed out.
"So in case of terrorist attack, they'll take out Martinez first," Casey added with a shrug. "I can't complain."
Rick rolled his eyes, but Billy seemed drawn to his desk. He moved closer, running his fingers over the top, feeling the grooves, eyeing the indentations. "Hard to believe it's all the same as it was," he murmured.
And there Rick was thinking how hard to believe that things were so different.
Yet, still so right.
Michael had his glasses on, a file in front of him. Casey was clicking at his computer. Billy circled his desk once before sitting down in the chair, testing it, leaning back and stretching his legs out.
Rick watched, then smiled. Then he sat down in his desk and thought how for the first time since he'd come to the Agency, everything finally fit into place.
Like it should have been this way since the beginning.