7. "For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea."
- ee cummings, "maggie and milly and molly and may"
July 29, 2013
"Deeks, wake up," Kensi shook his arm. He didn't remember falling asleep. He worked with the two Franks until nearly three in the morning. He hadn't been up, knowingly up, that late since the Monday before, well, the Monday before. That night, he went with a gang cop buddy to Mom's Bar for the Grizzlies-OKC game, some pool and wound leaving at closing time.
Kensi was waiting for him when he returned to the guest house. The Buchanans were allowing the B&B to be used as a command center. That was a God-awful call to make, he told Kensi while taking a shower, this time alone. It started raining as he ran from the cordoned off entrance to the guest house and he was soaked. He told her saying the equivalent of "Hey Charley, hey Timmy, thanks ever so much for the use of your beautiful place. A Russian terrorist followed me up here and now your sleepy fishing village has been run over by the Feds" was not the highlight of his time in Oregon. They were understanding but how understand can you be when he spoiled something so beautiful.
He slept for a few hours but was up by six. He grabbed a Pop Tart and figured he'd wait until Kensi woke up and make them a real breakfast. That was nearly seven hours ago if his watch was right. "Why didn't you wake me? You hungry?"
"I just woke you. And Hetty's here, she brought lunch."
"Yes, Mr. Deeks. Here, here," Hetty said as she walked into his line of sight. "I must say this is a remarkable location. In the future, I may ask you for a list of other out of the way vacation spots you know."
Kensi handed Deeks a bottle of water as he stood up. "You two need to talk. I'm going to take Monty for a walk on the beach and then I'm going up to the Farraige, see what's going on and help if I can. Call when you're done." She showed him her cellphone before calling for Monty. The dog happily followed Kensi back into the house.
"Welcome to Tututni Beach, population just over 200 and I spoke to a bunch of 'em yesterday."
"Come, sit. We have much to discuss," Hetty said as she walked to the deck's table. There, she had a Mediterranean tuna fish wrap from Mort's.
"I can make you something to eat if you..."
"Miss Blye and I had a nice lunch ourselves while we let you rest. She told me you and the local law enforcement officials spent the night contacting the residents of this lovely town and when a few didn't answer or seemed nervous on the phone, you three visited to make sure they were safe."
"Seemed the least I could do. Sidorov wouldn't have been here if it wasn't for me," Deeks said as they walked to the table.
"Miss Blye said you had a theory about where he stayed."
"There was a town festival a few days ago. The B&B's handyman, Frank Moore, picked up some extra garbage on the beach Saturday morning. We were going to check out and see if Sidorov had a car or tent, something there, but it started to pour. Did someone check?"
"The NCIS Red team worked with Sheriff Tate and Mr. Moore and found a late model Ford E-Series Wagon parked in a wooded area not far from the beach. It's being dusted for fingerprints and checked for DNA. It was stolen from a San Francisco wine storage facility."
"And with the festival last week, it would fit right in. Did Sidorov store wine in that facility?" Deeks asked.
"My God. These are nice people here. They've been so good to me and I brought that monster here. What have I done?" Deeks put his head in his hands.
"You, Mr. Deeks, along with Miss Blye captured a terrorist. None of this is your fault. There are a number of topics we need to discuss. Please, don't blame yourself, we have much work to do before Lt. Bates arrives."
"He mentioned he was coming up."
"His plane lands in North Bend just after two. He should be here about an hour later."
Deeks lifted an eyebrow. "You were on Long Island last night, now you're here. Bates lives in Encino and he'll be here in a while. I won't even ask." Deeks shook he head and laughed. "What do you need to know, Hetty? I found a computer at the B&B and filed a report outlining what happened while we were making calls last night."
"That's another topic we need to discuss but first, how are you feeling, Mr. Deeks? You look far more like the man I first spoke to in that interesting little downtown dive where I recruited you."
"I thought I was more drafted than recruited. But that guy was in better shape, even after six months of MMA pounding. I am feeling better though. I've been working out..."
"Quite diligently according to Miss Blye."
"Not the last couple of days. I think Friday was the last day I hit the gym or was in the water."
"Well, the gym is closed today as are most of the businesses in town. At three, several law enforcement officials along with Aileen and Mal Buchanan are doing a town hall meeting via-conference call with the Tututni Beach residents."
"I need to call and apologize to the Buchanans, too."
"Oh, Mr. Deeks, they want to speak to you. There was a $10 million reward for the capture of Isaak Sidorov and the FBI and DoD believe the Buchanans should be the recipient of that reward."
"They're giving the Buchanans $10 million?"
"Yes. It is your new cover story. Your faux narco-terrorist is now one of the FBI's and DEA's most wanted. While you rehabbed and recovered here, the narco-terrorist tracked you down. There was a confrontation and your training and improved health, along with Agent Blye - who is being identified as a federal agent to the locals and not just your friend - gave you the advantage. The narco-terrorist was removed from the beach last night."
"You forgot to mention Monty. He was a big help," Deeks said as he unwrapped his wrap and ate the tuna with a fork. "Score one for the good guys. And Monty."
"To make this a win-win for everyone, Mal Buchanan is turning the $10 million over to the town of Tututni Beach."
"He didn't want to accept the reward at all. He believed and still does in doing what's necessary to protect this country. Tututni Beach wants to improve the local firehouse, buy a new fire truck and upgrade the police station. The reward money should cover all that and then some."
"They're having the town meeting in the gym. The Buchanans and the head of the DEA, who owes Director Vance a favor, will be selling the drug story. Mrs. Buchanan thinks as soon as the reward money is mentioned, most of the locals will be on board and happy to keep this weekend's excitement quiet. Miss Blye will be given all the background data you two will need for the rest of your time here in case anyone asks questions."
"What about Charley and Tim? Do they know who was really here?"
"Both Mr. Buchanan and Mrs. Brennan have contacts in the DoD and know you weren't the victim of an undercover drug bust gone wrong in May."
"How much do they know?"
"Mal Buchanan knew the whole story all along. He and Clay Jarvis are close. When Mr. Brennan said you were injured, he wanted to know more and Mr. Buchannan started nosing around. Mrs. Brennan learned it was a national security issue and you weren't beaten, you were tortured."
"She didn't...they didn't," Deeks was stunned that Charley and Timmy kept up the charade. "They still allowed me to come here?"
"According to both Lt. Bates and Mrs. Brennan, it was Mr. Brennan's idea. When Mrs. Brennan found Lt. Bates, she said she knew you were injured and would require a long time for recovery. Mr. Brennan thought you'd be safer here than in LA after your dental surgery was done. He also thought you'd find this to be a better place to heal."
"Timmy? Wow." Deeks was shocked. "But Sidorov found me here."
"Alone. In Los Angeles, sooner or later he would have been able to get the financial wherewithal to put together a team to make a run at you and try to find Michelle Hanna."
"Which is why Bates put me in Matthew's apartment and kept everyone away."
"He was the only person besides the owner of the apartment who knew where you were."
"And the dentist."
"Who, according to Bates, was checked 'one hundred ways to Sunday.' She was with the Navy, working in Bethesda on returning soldiers before her mother fell ill here in Los Angeles. She knew how to deal with trauma victims and how to keep things quiet. You obviously didn't read your medical records."
"I lived them. I didn't need to read them."
"They were for an Andrew Martin."
Deeks sat there amazed.
Hetty continued. "And being here gave you the opportunity to recover. You do look more yourself. From what Miss Blye told me, you seem to be more yourself."
"You put on a very entertaining show for the world Mr. Deeks."
Deeks smiled. "You think I'm entertaining?"
"I do. I also think you are kind, smart, strong, brave, determined and lethal when need be. But the face you show the world masks many of those qualities. Quite intentionally. It is what makes you an excellent undercover operative. It also makes you difficult to properly know you."
"You know me Hetty. Everyone at work does."
"We know you as much as you allow us to know you. And that's true of all the members of this team. It is why you are all so good at what you do. But you use your humor to keep people at an arm's length. They can't hurt you or disappoint you and you can't unintentionally do the same."
Deeks looked down. "I think you've been spending too much time with Nate."
"LAPD, NCIS everyone wanted to help you Mr. Deeks and you..."
"...And they did. I needed to get myself back into some sort of shape. I've been on my own for a long time. I'm not use to a support system and I don't know what I'd do with one anyway. I had to get back to being me. I needed to start working out and swimming again. I needed to get my mind right so I can myself in a position to return to work. I needed to come someplace like here," Deeks said as he pointed to the beach. "This is where I can heal."
"Yes. Did you find what you were looking for in the water? On the shore?"
"Yes. A lot of it. I'm getting stronger. I'm getting healthier. Kensi being here was a tremendous help."
"How long has Miss Blye been here?" Hetty asked with a smile.
Since he was going with the don't ask, don't tell policy and planned on telling the truth, this was the place to start. "I invited her up on the Friday I last saw you all."
"I was surprised when Miss Blye called me that night to tell me she was not going on her climb and would be camping in Oregon instead. This isn't quite roughing it but I can see the appeal."
"I didn't know she canceled her climb."
"Maybe she's the beginning of a support system for you," Hetty told him. "She certainly seemed to be happier than I've seen her in a long time."
"We were in a rough place when, I need to have a better phrase than 'when the bad thing happened.'"
"You were tortured Mr. Deeks."
"Yeah, I was," Deeks said quietly.
"And you survived. Looking at you now, you are on the way back to the man I saw thrive in difficult situations."
"I did okay last night."
"According to Miss Blye, you did more than just okay. She said she saw her partner for the first time since May."
"I still have a way to go. You got to see one of my unintentional naps."
"I saw a tired police officer who captured a terrorist after a struggle and then worked through the night to ensure the safety of the civilians in the area."
Deeks finished the last of his tuna. "Where is Sidorov?"
"A secure location. Mr. Callen is part of the interrogation team. Mr. Hanna is expected to arrive within a day."
"Sam knows Sidorov is in custody."
"He does. He wants to speak to you after the interrogation."
"I'll talk to him when I get back to L.A.," Deeks told her.
"He's very upset."
"He usually is when it comes to me."
"Excuse me, Mr. Deeks?"
"It's my fault we got captured, my fault he was tortured. He's probably been working on a list of things I should have done or did wrong so we weren't in a position to be tortured. Remind me how a real man doesn't scream and cry like a little bitch - Sidorov's exact words to me yesterday - because it emboldens the people torturing..."
"Is that what you think he's going to say?"
"Sam doesn't have much use for me. He didn't want to work with me on this and that's fine, he and Callen are tight, I'd rather work with Kensi, I get it. But he made it clear he didn't think much of my character."
"And since we were all on comms, Michelle, Eric, Nell and anyone else listening heard. It's hard to sell the idea that I have everyone's back, that I'm part of the team when Sam thinks I'm a problem."
"I heard what Mr. Hanna said."
Deeks rubbed his eyes. "Great."
"I told Mr. Hanna he was out of line but he already knew that. I've chosen every member of this team for the qualities and skill sets they bring. Mr. Hanna's opinions are his own. But they are only his opinion and they were wrong. As I reminded him when we spoke, his professional life is the Navy, the SEALs, the DoD and NCIS. His whole career was training for his time with Sidorov. And he succeeded. Your adult life has been college and law school with multiple part-time jobs to keep you enrolled. You became a lawyer, a police officer, a detective and now our liaison officer. You had no training for what was done for to you and you matched Sam's mettle throughout. I never had a question about your character, Mr. Deeks. Mr. Hanna does not either and plans to make that known when you rejoin us. That is if you want to return to your position."
"May not be my call," Deeks told her.
"Ah, disability retirement."
"You know about that?"
"As I was waiting for a helicopter from Lakehurst to take me from Montauk to DC, I had a long talk with Roger Bates. Why didn't you tell me when you dropped off your medical records?"
Deeks sighed. "Do you know who gets medically retired from the Department?"
"Officers who have been so badly wounded they can no longer perform the duties."
"My mouth is mostly fine. I'm probably a month away from being to my old weight and my strength levels. So Bates was able to convince the pension board, who don't hand out disability retirements easily, that I'm still so badly wounded I can't do my job. Everyone knows what that means. They're afraid I'm going to kill someone or get myself killed. So I'm sorry I didn't tell you because honestly, I didn't want to tell anyone. Only said the words for the first time a couple of days ago."
"Because if you don't say it, it can't be true."
"Maybe I am crazy."
"No, you are not. And Roger Bates will be happy to discuss your future when he arrives. I spent a good amount of the time on the drive down here from the North Bend airport talking to Deputy Chief Warner, Chief Pope and Lt. Bates. I think the Department is going to have a hard time selling you as being unable to work when you were vital the capture of the most wanted man in America."
Hetty left when Bates called from the rental car looking for directions from the North Bend airport since "wherever the hell you're staying isn't on the GPS." That was sort of the point, Deeks thought. Alone, he called Charley, who said Tim was on his way down to see the property and speak with the local and federal officials.
As Deeks tried to apologize, Charley was having none of it. "I was so amazed to see you healthy. We know what happened. We know what they did to you. We wanted to help."
"You did. This place was good for me."
"Tim jokes that he's grateful Aiden is acting because he has the second most useless career choice of his brothers."
"Timmy is a lawyer and so are a couple of the other Brennan boys. What is he talking about?"
"Tim is a lawyer for a resort company my mother started because she was bored when I left for high school. Everyone else has a career, Tim thinks, for the greater good. A calling. Firemen, a Teacher, an assistant D.A., even Jim has gotten his fancy law firm to up their pro bono work. He feels he's sort of on the wrong side of being a good member of society."
"You guys do so much charity work, he's crazy."
"I tell him that. Not everyone is here to run into burning buildings and I think he mostly gets that. But then he sees you and knows you could have done anything with your degrees. You're not looking at resort properties in the South Pacific for rehabilitation. You're not sitting in Cupertino doing patents. You're not in DC working the system. Of the four of you, the Pepperdine Posse as my Dad likes to call you guys, you're a cop and you're a cop fighting terrorists. We get to have our lives because of your choice."
"Marty, if you didn't accept the use of the guest house, Tim was flying down to L.A. and dragging you up to either the beach or up here. Tim intends you to be one of those people in Baby Brennan's life."
"How many hours have you spent on your surf board?" Bates asked as he walked out on the deck. "My God, how much does a place like this cost?"
"I'm just a friend of the family."
"You're better at finding friends than you are taking care of yourself," Bates told him, sitting down on one of the Adirondack chairs. The one that held Sidorov was sitting unloved in a corner. Deeks wanted to replace it, throw that chair in the truck and bring it to L.A. He planned one hell of a bonfire for it.
"I don't know what you mean," Deeks told Bates as he leaned against the rail across from his boss.
"You got friends that lend you this place, you have friends calling the Chief this morning to sing your praises. The Directors of the NCIS, FBI and CIA, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General and Ms. Lange all were on with the Chief. Svengali Smurfette scared him the most."
Deeks chuckled. "The Chief is a smart man and don't let her hear you say that."
"Oh, I don't say much to her. Neither do you, it seems. I figured you'd have told her. She was surprised about our last conversation."
"That LAPD thinks I'm too mentally weak to continue with my career. I was planning billboards by the Administration Building for that once I got back. Maybe one of those banners pulled by a plane over the Santa Monica Pier. It's a dream for every cop to be washed out as a head case and I did it before my 35th birthday."
"You may have caught the world's most wanted terrorist but I'm still your boss. Don't get cocky, kid," Bates chided.
"Sorry, Captain Solo."
Bates shook his head but was smiling. "She said that LAPD's loss would be NCIS's gain. She'd be thrilled to hire you tomorrow and both the CIA and FBI said they'd grab you if Hetty didn't."
"I don't want to leave my position."
"And based on this morning's calls, you're not going anywhere even if you wanted to retire."
Deeks smiled. "Good."
"You have all the time you need to recover, but you always did, and once you requalify, you'll be working back in whatever secret location they keep you."
"Good," Deeks looked down, not looking forward to the next question. "I have to ask. The leak of my location, is LAPD responsible for the tipping off Sidorov?"
"Yes and no. Mike Regan has been on vacation for the last two weeks. They found him last night in his garage swinging from a beam. He's probably been dead for days."
"Difficult to do when he was hogtied with electrical tape. Regan's ex-wife has a gambling problem. A big gambling problem. The early thoughts are someone with the Russian mob got in contact with her and she turned on him. She's missing."
"God," Deeks shook his head.
"Someone had to point out Regan to the Russian mob so we're checking financials and phone records of everyone who knows you were hurt."
"Still checking." Bates was quiet for a minute. "NCIS sent me a copy of the raid this morning before I left for the airport. Agent Blye being here was a surprise."
"I wanted her to come and she felt bad about leaving me to try to capture Sidorov."
"So once again, splitting the two of you up causes a problem but having you two as a team works."
"Bad guy is in custody, nobody died doing it. It's a win for everyone."
"I can't tell that woman how to run her agency but I can sure as hell make it clear that I want you treated as she treats her agents."
"She really doesn't treat me any differently."
"Yet none of them were as badly injured as you were."
"This time, the time you were shot. You broke bones in your hand not long after you were shot. At some point, Deeks, you need to protect yourself or I will. And I'm willing to bet that time half of the law enforcement establishment won't be siding with her."
September 9, 2013
Their greetings were oddly similar - "Hey man, great to see you." "Hey, you've been missed." "Hey, glad to see you're out and about." - as he walked through the gym. They seemed almost sincere. He walked quietly to his desk and sat down. A week shy of four months, he was back.
Thank you all for the kind feedback, your lovely notes and comments. I am thrilled and honored by them all.
I am so looking forward to tonight's episode and season five. I know some people are concerned about what's coming. I'm not. I survived nine seasons of "The X Files" – this is at least going in the right direction. Besides, there are good stories being told on the screen and good stories behind told online. It's all good.
Nothing in the pipeline for a while but hey, you never know. Never saw this story coming.
And for those who have asked, the "-30-" at the end of the stories is an editing tool. Marks where I'm ending chapters. I use to use "# # #" but my word processing program is looking to fill in Twitter hashtags when I do that.
September 24, 2013.