Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was an odd holiday in his business.

It wasn't that there wasn't enough to be thankful for. There definitely was. Top of the list, of course, was simply being thankful that you were still alive. He was thankful for that every year – some years more than others. But being thankful that you're alive also kind of brings to mind all the people who had to die – and who you had to kill – for that to happen.

He was thankful for his team – every team and partner and ally and handler he'd ever had. He was thankful that they were willing to fight the good fight with him on a daily basis, and he always sent up a silent prayer on this day to the ones who didn't make it out. There were a lot of them.

He was thankful for a cold beer at the end of a long mission. He knows it sounds silly, but when you've just made it through 300 miles of the most unforgiving desert you've ever seen, being chased by rebel fighters and forced to ride a surly camel because you lost the toss, a cold beer is most definitely something to be thankful for.

He was thankful for having a warm, safe, comfortable place to sleep. There were a lot of times in his life – as both a child and an adult – when he didn't.

He was even thankful for paperwork. Because every report they filed was one more bad guy off the streets and out of the loop.

A laugh startled him out of his reverie. "C'mon, G", Sam said with a chuckle. "It's not that hard of a question. What are you most thankful for?"

He looked around at the team, gathered at Hetty's home (one of them), as they always were on Thanksgiving.

"I'm thankful for a lot of things," he said, very seriously. Everyone around the table tensed, as if he was going to suddenly become insightful and emotional. "But mostly … I'm thankful that Kensi didn't make the turkey!"

The entire team burst out laughing, except for Kensi, who gave him her trademark, "Really?" and rolled her eyes as she threw a roll at his head.

But across the table Hetty was looking at him with a small smile and that all-knowing look she had that made him certain that she knew exactly what he was thinking. That the one thing he was most thankful for was family. Whether it was the one he was born to or the one he'd formed along the way, the thing he was most thankful for was that.

And beer.