Running Rogue

Disclaimer: I don't own either of these shows.
A/N I: It ended, and you were still here reading until the end! Thanks for the reviews, jmlane1966, storyfan101, knirbenrots, TMVH50, PurpleHippos Rock, guest m, Timeless Musketeer, Mei2, and Duft for both this chapter and those that were left along the way!
A/N II: The title comes from Paul Brandt's song (because "Canadian Man", however funny the music video is and however awesome and classy our athletes are being in Sochi (I can't help it, so proud!), didn't seem like the appropriate choice).

And now onto the post-case shenanigans...


It was Chin who braved the boisterous NCIS team to invite them out for one last meal together before they had to fly back to LA. Sam agreed under the condition that no one try to stealth-hug him. Callen laughed off his protests, pointing out that Sam was only mildly traumatized due to a weird suspicion that Deeks' shaggy locks were going to rub off on him. Kensi stepped in from the side to shush any more banter – otherwise they'd never leave and get to eat.

The mish-mash of agents, detectives, and navy personnel piled into the vehicles and they swung by to pick up Catherine and Grace since Kono complained that the girls were horribly out-numbered. They landed at the same restaurant where the Hawaiians had gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Conversation flowed seamlessly over a number of topics between all the diners. Sam tried again to get Danny's car dubbed Winifred, only this time he was working Grace. She listened intently, even withstanding a dimpled smile from Sam, but refused to join his conspiracy to convince her dad. Instead, she threw him a smile of her won, complete with dimples, and informed him that the car's name was Manning after the quarterback brothers. Sam graciously accepted defeat. He mined the information he learned from his daughter and together they moved on to talking about music and school.

Kono, Kensi, and Catherine had a long discussion on dealing with chafing caused by Kevlar vests. They swapped solutions and suggestions. Kensi had to physically shove Deeks away from the conversation as he offered to give Kensi a thorough examination the next time she encountered this particular problem. He was persistent, dropping hints about aloe gels and creating additional padding. Kensi realized she was going to be unsuccessful at keeping him out of her combat-girl-talk when they came to the conclusion that his suggestions were actually useful.

Callen managed to pull some stories out of Steve about Sam's time in the SEALs and they swapped stories from their careers. They learned that they could have met several times over the years. Of course, the entire conversation was kept hypothetical as many of the assignments they participated in were still highly classified.

Danny took advantage of the conversations distracting everyone else to have a quiet discussion with Chin about the events of the case from the other side. He asked about the carjackers and was happy to find out that the case was wrapped up with a bow thanks to suspects who were begging to turn on each other rather than face the two agents who helped with the raid. Chin, in turn, asked how Danny was coping after all the turns his undercover stint had taken. Danny shrugged and told him that the bruises would fade and while he'd rather not be in a position like taht again soon, it was a learning experience watching someone who was clearly skilled at undercover work operate.

"Everyone's thinking it, I gotta ask." Callen's voice broke into the conversations. He leveled a stare at Deeks. "Why Danny?" Nods greeted the question and all eyes turned to Deeks.

He gave a helpless shrug. "Who else?" He gestured with his glass, "They would've recognized Sam and Steve from their trip to the base, Chin and Kono clearly look like they belong on the island and there's no way Charlie would've met either of them, and Callen and Kensi are known as NCIS agents – that's why I was sent in the first place." He smiled. "By process of elimination, I was stuck with helmet head."

"Ha ha." The burst of sarcastic laughter rang from Danny's chair. "Do me a favour, the next time you come to Hawaii, don't call, don't visit, and don't get arrested because I will leave you in prison."

"That seems harsh. As a professional courtesy, you should at least find out why I'm in jail." Deeks shoved his eyebrows together.

"I'd bail you out." Steve offered with a grin as he studiously ignored a fowl glare from Danny. "Then I'd drop you off at Danny's."

"You better get used to doing a lot more paperwork." Danny growled back. "And you," he pointed back at Deeks, "I can put you on the denied-access list at the airport. Don't think I won't."

The focus of the group was being pulled by this exchange so no one noticed Catherine and Grace exchanging winks. They had witnessed the two detectives promise to keep up the dance they had started...right before Danny pushed Deeks off his surfboard.

"Do your worst." Deeks drew himself up as tall as he could in his seat. His eyes gained a touch of a crazed look and with great seriousness he said "I...have Hetty. And I am her favourite."

Snorts sounded from the LA team. "He does seem to get away with more than anyone else. I'd never get that much leeway." Callen grumbled.

Sam looked at his partner in astonishment. "Do we need to revisit some of your stunts? There's a reason you two aren't supposed to be allowed to partner."

"I will have you know that I..." "What are you talking..." Callen and Deeks' defenses of their less-than-approved activities were cut off by Chin's waving at the DJ who conveniently chose that moment to start spinning a tune from his catalogue of songs meant to get people up and out of their seats.

Deeks took the hint and began badgering Kensi into dancing with him. With such great lines as 'I promise I won't drop you' and 'I'm your partner and I nearly died' how was she to say no? He pulled her onto the floor and gathered her into his arms with only a mild squeak of protest from her. Steve smiled at Catherine and held out his hand. She grasped it and they hopped onto the floor. Grace and Danny exchanged looks and he simply said "I would love the honour of dancing with the prettiest girl on the whole island." Chin asked if Kono would join him and quickly there were four couples dancing along to the music.

That left Sam and Callen sitting at the table, both in silent agreement that they would stay in their seats. They watched as Deeks whispered something to Kensi and she blushed slightly.

With a bemused smile, Sam commented to Callen, "Y'know, a year ago she would've turned Deeks down without a flinch and punched him into next week if he dared to whisper into her ear, not...blushed."

Callen shrugged, "I'm not too worried, if he breaks her heart, she'll break his legs. Or possibly shoot him from a long ways out."

"What if she breaks his heart?" Sam cocked an eyebrow.

Callen rolled his eyes, "He claims someone or something has broken his heart on a daily basis. He'll be fine." He paused for a moment, looked out to the dance floor and said in a low voice "Between you and me, I think he half-expects her to grind it into tiny little pieces."

Sam nodded. "Enjoying it while it lasts." He tipped his head to the side. "Wonder if Hetty approves...or even knows."

Callen glared at his friend, "Really?"

Grace came running up to the partners. "We're going to line dance and we need two more people." She grinned and motioned for them to come.

Their eyes flicked up to see Danny trying his hardest to hold a grin from bursting onto his face. But they couldn't resist the plea from Grace and Sam whispered to her, "Did your dad put you up to this?" She just grinned wider and ran back to take her place between Danny and Catherine while Callen and Sam joined a smirking Deeks and a laughing Kensi.

The night stretched on; laughter filled the rafters, jokes were made, stories were told, and both good and bad dancing happened. Sam, who always had an ear turned towards his phone in case of an emergency with his family, was the one who picked up Granger's call.

"Finally some answered my calls! Where are you?" Granger sounded exasperated.

Sam gazed at the group, "Celebrating our win."

"Well, there'll be a plane waiting to take you back to LA tomorrow morning at 6. Don't miss it."

"We'll be there." Sam ended the call and cleared his throat. While the talking died down, he noticed that Grace had fallen asleep half on her chair and half on her dad's lap. Maybe it was a good time to break up this party, it was inching closer to eleven o'clock and it had been a busy case for everyone. "Granger just called, we have an early flight tomorrow."

"He called you?" Callen asked and pulled out his own phone. "Whoops, I have three missed calls from him."

"I have two." Kensi checked hers.

"He didn't call me." Deeks frowned at his phone. "Oh wait, it's dead."

Danny shifted Grace and picked her up to carry her out to the car. He smiled over her head. "I remember my dad carrying us out of family parties when I was younger. Good night."

Everyone said their own goodbyes and filtered out of the building and started on their journeys home.

The next morning

Nell's face cleared from the screen as soon as she confirmed the connection was working and was replaced by Hetty. Kensi adjusted the tilt of the laptop's screen as Callen grimaced, Deeks was right, why did Hetty's face have to be that zoomed?

"Granger tells me everything is under control in Hawaii, and that you even completed the requisite paperwork on time."

Both Callen and Kensi nodded. "He cleared us to come back and arranged the jet." Callen added.

"And how is our detective?" Hetty raised her eyebrows. "I don't see him."

Kensi's eyes shot to Callen and she gestured for him to answer the question. When he returned her glance with a questioning one of his own, she mouthed 'you're the team leader'. He glared at her and cleared his throat. "The stewardess gave him a cappuccino and how he's on a caffeine high."

The one-sided conversation streaming in the background was no longer being successfully drowned out.

"And this wave came in and I looked at Grace but she was totally ready for it and Kawika was waiting so we let her ride it. You should have seen her face when she hit the beach and turned around. I have never been so proud in my entire life, well, I'm sure I have, but this was definitely up there..." Deeks seemed unconcerned that Sam wasn't responding and possibly had dozed off or was meditating to block him out.

"According to the doctor's report I received, Detective Deeks should not have any caffeine for at least another week." Hetty noticed the guilty looks her agents were failing to hide. They couldn't say no to him right now and Hetty probably would've let it slide just this once herself. "Well, it's not encouraging when three highly trained agents fail to notice what their team member is consuming. I believe this calls for a refresher course in knowing your surroundings." Callen and Kensi nodded, knowing better than to argue.

Just because Hetty agreed with their decision didn't mean that she wasn't going to take advantage of squeezing some extra training on them.

The Hawaiian team gathered around the picnic table, ready to start another day of work, but not until they had their coffee and whatever shrimp-adjacent 'treats' Kamekona had for them today.

"You're wearing a tie." Steve squinted at Danny's attire.

Danny cocked an eyebrow as if to say 'so what?'.

"I thought we broke that habit." Steve wrinkled up his nose. "You were doing so well – you wore shorts and sandals that one day."

A finger flicked up to count, "One, that was supposed to be my day off and you refused to drive by my apartment or the office so I could change." The second popped up, "Two, my clothing is not a habit, it is a choice. A choice filled with purpose and sound reasoning." He put up the third finger, "And three, I can wear what I want to and today I wanted to wear a tie."

"That's a new one, I don't recognize it." Kono squinted at it.

"It was a gift and it would be rude not to wear it." Danny stuck his chin in the air.

"Who gave it to you?" Steve's brow furrowed.

"That is none of your concern." Danny replied.

"So how was it working with Deeks?" Kono cut off the impending argument. "Kensi told me some stories."

Danny huffed. "You can probably believe every one. The guy is a nut. I'm pretty sure I caught him talking to a bird at one point."

"You're not hoping for another joint case?" Chin asked, with a small smile.

"I already have one crazy partner, I don't need another one."

"Did you just call me crazy?" Steve crossed his arms. "I compliment your tie and this is how you repay me?"

Danny scowled. "You pointed out the existence of my tie, you did not compliment it. In fact, I think you insulted it."

Kono and Chin shared a glance, they pushed themselves up from the table and headed for the office, leaving the two bickering partners to fight it out without them.

It was good to have the team back together, even if it was a weirdly dysfunctional team.

They were about an hour away from landing when Hetty came back for another screen chat. "Has Mr. Deeks come off of his energy streak?"

Sam smirked. "You could say that."

Hetty raised an eyebrow and Sam picked up the laptop and turned it so the camera could pick up Deeks. "Oh. I see I won't be speaking to him before you land."

Sam whispered towards the microphone, "Please don't wake him up, he finally stopped talking." Deeks had collapsed, face first, in mid sentence, onto the couch running along the side of the plane. When it happened all three agents turned at the lack of sound and stifled their giggles. "We did have the microphone recording during all of it, so I think all the information you'll need for the debrief is in there."

"And who will be listening to all of it." Hetty frowned as Sam pinched his mouth together.

"Well, Hetty, we've already heard it. I think you should brew some tea for when you have to listen to it. Maybe an extra large pot." He stopped hiding his smile as Hetty shook her head.

"Revenge, Mr. Hanna, is best served unexpectedly." She glared through the camera at her grinning agent, but he was unrepentant.

It was good to have the team back together, no matter how cheeky they could be.

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