I thought I’d done a good job of hiding how this case was affecting me; but of course Deeks picked up on it. Not that it’s a bad thing; I guess I just assumed I’d have a little time to process it myself before sharing with him. Instead, as soon as we closed the car doors to head home, he started with, “So how hard was it for you with your father on your mind all day?”
Everyone’s thoughts were with Sam for the obvious reason: as a former SEAL, these were his brothers accusing another brother of a significant violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: murder. Only Deeks remembered that my father was also murdered by a brother in arms. He handed me a beer as I admitted that the similarity haunted me from the moment we were briefed on the case.
Argento tried to make his men complicit by ordering them to take a photo with him and the prisoner he had just slaughtered. He killed civilians with no compunction and expected those under him to remain silent. Peter Clairmont tried to make the men of Oscar Sierra complicit by convincing them a reporter was a threat to the country. He killed civilians without regret and expected those under him to keep quiet. Deeks held my hand when I could barely restrain my anger at the fact that most of them did.
Barr and Kendricks did the right thing, but it was an incredibly difficult thing to do. A breach of another equally important, though unwritten, code. Master Sergeant Donald Blye tried to do that same right thing and was murdered for it. Instead of backing him up, his teammates at best looked the other way and at worst helped to cover it up. Deeks wiped the tears that fell with bittersweet pride for what that act cost my father. And me.
The need to find the truth about my father’s death was the reason I joined NCIS. Stopping men like Argento and Clairmont, making it safe and right for men like Barr, Kendricks, and my dad to come forward is why I stay. Deeks held me tonight and promised again that he would be beside me until I’m ready to leave.