“You’re worried about him.”
He wasn’t aware Callen had come up behind him until he voiced his own thoughts.
“He thinks he’s handling it.”
“And you don’t,” Callen replied softly as they stood side by side on the balcony looking down at Deeks as he fussed with some papers on his desk.
“I think he’s still in shock over what happened,” Sam said softly. “He wants to believe everything is going to be fine.”
“Isn’t that what we all want to believe?”
“Yeah…but what if it isn’t fine?” Sam replied. “What if the worst that can happen…happens? He’s not prepared, G.”
“Are any of us?” Callen quietly asked. “We’ll all be affected if the worst case scenario happens.”
“But Deeks…” Sam struggled with strong emotions that suddenly choked off his voice.
“You think it will break him?” Callen asked, turning to look at his partner.
“I know more than anyone how tough he is,” Sam responded. “But, this is different. The world he pictured them living in may not happen and I’m not sure he’ll know how to deal with that.”
“Are there any perfect worlds, Sam?” Callen asked, sounding weary. “Remember, he didn’t grow up in one, so he knows how to handle an imperfect world. He’s a survivor.”
“Like all of us. We all deal with uncertainty every day,” Callen said as he leaned over the railing. “No one knows what’s going to happen from one day to the next. We take on whatever comes and if life knocks us down we get back up to fight another day.”
“That’s very philosophical for you, G.”
“He knows he’s not alone in this,” Callen said, ignoring the comment.
“I’m not sure he does,” Sam replied.
“Everyone’s talked to him.”
“I’m just not sure he’s really hearing what’s said,” Sam replied, his exasperation starting to show.
“You think he’s trying to go lone wolf?” Callen smirked.
“You would know.”
Callen remained silent, his eyes intense as he watched Deeks grab his messenger bag and drape it across his shoulders. He stared absently at Kensi’s desk for a moment, looking tired as he dragged his long fingers down through his straggly hair. Then he looked up and saw them watching, his eyes wide and searching before finally nodding an acknowledgement and turning away to walk slowly toward the exit.
“He’s looks worn out, like he’s still sleeping at the hospital,” Callen said quietly.
“Did you see that couch? That could not have been comfortable,” Sam smiled. “Now that’s love.”
“You one of those people who thinks love conquers all, Sam?”
“Caring for those we love never hurts,” he replied. “We’re all in this together G. We’re family.”
“As dysfunctional as it is…you’re right,” Callen replied. “Guess we should let him know that.”
“That we’re dysfunctional? Or, that we’re family?”
“Come on, partner,” Sam said as he slapped him softly on the back. “Lets go take our brother to dinner. Snacking on hospital food and eating take out isn’t doing him any favors.”
They caught up with Deeks just as he reached his truck, Sam calling out to him as he opened the door. He looked surprised and then got a quizzical look on his face.
“Something happen on the case?” He asked.
“No…we just need to talk,” Callen said with the voice he used when he gave orders and Deeks’ face took on a wary look, seeming to gather himself as he took a step back.
“What’s wrong?” Deeks’ voice cracked at the end. “Is Kens okay?”
“Nothing’s changed,” Sam replied softly, but before he could continue Deeks interrupted.
“You’re wrong Sam—everything’s changed,” he said, sighing with resignation as he leaned heavily against the side of his truck.
“You’re right. It has. For now,” Callen said kindly. “Let us take you out for steaks and beer and …”
“And what? Another pep talk?” Deeks asked, sounding surly.
“We’re family, Deeks,” Sam said earnestly. “All we want to do is give you a little break to help you catch your breath.”
“Really guys. I’m fine,” Deeks replied.
“Doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a guys’ night out,” Callen smirked as he clapped him on the arm. “Besides…Sam’s buying.”
“That’s cause G’s too cheap,” Sam shot back. “Come on, brother. Don’t tell me you’re gonna turn down a nice Caesar salad and a juicy, twenty-two ounce rib-eye? We’ll drive up the coast to Mastro’s in Malibu. Get us a table overlooking the ocean, order a nice bottle of Malbec, get a cheap beer for Callen and just hang.”
“Beer is not cheap at Mastro’s,” Callen commented.
“What do you care? I’m buying,” Sam huffed out, getting a smile from Deeks.
“You heard him. Don’t let him off the hook,” Callen laughed.
“You think a good meal and a half bottle of wine will solve anything?” Deeks asked quietly.
“No, but it can’t hurt to get away for a little while and get some perspective,” Sam replied, gripping his shoulder. “Come on, brother. Let us do this.”
“Okay. Kensi’s got a late session, so I don’t have to pick her up till eight-thirty,” he replied with a weary grin. “But I call shotgun.”
Callen cast them both a doubtful look, but Sam just glared at him and pointed to the back seat of the Charger, getting a satisfied giggle out of Deeks. Sam wheeled the Charger quickly out of the lot, weaving through evening traffic as he headed for the Pacific Coast Highway. No one spoke for a while, but Sam saw the wistful look in Deeks’ eyes as he stared out at the waves as they sped north along the edge of the ocean.
“You getting any surfing in?” Sam asked.
“Haven’t really found the time,” Deeks replied softly.
“I could spell you…drop by and see Kensi in the morning if you want to hit the waves,” Sam offered.
“If you’d like some company, I wouldn’t mind joining you,” Callen said. “It’s been a while, but I might be able to show you a few moves.”
“Seriously?” Deeks laughed.
“Yeah, smart ass,” Callen huffed out. “You didn’t look all that great during that undercover surfing assignment awhile back.”
“Those waves were mushy, dude,” Deeks drawled out with a smile. “You let me loose on some epic surf and I’ll blow you away.”
“Is that a challenge, surfer boy?” Callen asked as he poked his head between the seats, a smile flickering at the corner of his mouth.
“No way you could hang with me in serious surf,” Deeks replied, grinning widely. “I rip, man.”
They bantered back and forth, each one crowing about their skills until they reached the restaurant. As they pulled into the parking lot the low sun lit the crest of the waves and turned the sea into liquid gold, the sky softening into evening. Deeks let out a long sigh as he got out of the car and stood staring out at it. Sam slipped an arm across his shoulders, and when he turned to look at him his eyes glistened with unshed tears.
“What if things are never the same again?” His voice almost lost in the sound of the pounding surf.
Callen stepped in front of him and laid a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently.
“Then we’ll find a way to make it through,” he told him.
“We?” Deeks shook his head and tried to turn away.
“Yeah, Deeks. We,” Callen said firmly. “This is not the time to pull away from your friends. Trust me. I’ve tried going it alone, and I know you have too, but now you don’t have to, and I don’t think you want to either. We’re stronger together.”
“Were family, Deeks,” Sam added. “Difficult times only bring us closer.”
“I’m tired, Sam,” he admitted. “But I can’t let Kensi see that. I have to be strong for her. I can’t show any doubt.”
“But you have some,” Callen said.
“Sometimes, yeah. But, last night…last night she was able to intertwine her fingers with mine and…I can’t tell you how that made me feel. The look on her face made me believe that we just might…that she might beat this thing and that we’ll be okay.”
“You’re sharing your strengths with one another,” Sam said. “But you need to replenish yourself every once in awhile.”
“With steaks and beer?”
“With people who care about you,” Sam replied.
“So this is a pep talk,” Deeks said with a small grin.
“This is an expensive dinner on Sam,” Callen smirked. “Just sayin’…take advantage when he’s being generous.”
“Guess I can’t argue with that,” he replied. “Just not used to much family.”
“I know what you mean,” Callen said as they started walking toward the door to the restaurant. “I might need a few tips myself.”
“Whoa, partner. Want to explain that comment?” Sam asked. “Michelle and the kids always treat you like family. You’re not trying to get out of Thanksgiving dinner are you?”
Callen pushed past them both and on through the door, engaging the hostess about getting a table by the window. They all remained silent as she led them to their seats, handing out menus and chattering about how big the surf had been that day and telling them to enjoy. Deeks stared out the window at the breaking waves while Sam stared at Callen who studiously ignored him.
“What aren’t you telling us, G?”
“You brought me here to talk, so why are you holding back?” Deeks asked. “Or is this family thing one-sided.”
Callen shot him a sharp warning look, but the waiter interrupted whatever comment he was about to make. They ordered quickly and Callen took a turn at staring out at the slowly disappearing sun. No one spoke until the drinks came.
“To family,” Sam offered as the toast. “As big or as small or as crazy a mix as it might be.”
They all drank to that, even Callen.
“Spill, brother,” Deeks said. “Apparently I’m not the only one with stuff going on.”
Callen took a long pull on his beer and then held it between his hands and stared at it. “My father told me Alex is his daughter.”
“Seriously?” Deeks asked, his eyes wide as a slow smile spread across his face.
“You have a sister?” Sam said softly as he reached across the table to grip Callen’s forearm.
“Yeah. I do,” he replied, his eyes suddenly watering with tears. “I’m an real uncle, too.”
“Does she know?” Sam asked.
“Not yet. We’re going to tell her together,” Callen said firmly, and finally allowing a smile to emerge.
“If anyone deserves a family, G, it’s you,” Sam said.
“I’m thankful you made me part of yours, Sam,” he replied. “I just hope she wants me to be part of hers.”
“We can help. We’ll only tell her the good stories,” Deeks offered with a crooked grin. “But only if you’re nice to us.”
“And spring for dinner once in awhile,” Sam laughed.
“You’re blackmailing me, now?”
“You said you wanted tips,” Sam asked. “This is what families do, G.”
Deeks became serious as he lifted his glass for one final toast as the waiter came toward them with their dinners.
“To strong, unlikely families who stand together in hard times.”
Peace to all this Thanksgiving from the staff at wikiDeeks