An “Overdue” Missing Scenes Fic
A/N: This began as what I’d call a pre-emptive fix-it fic. While I had high hopes for “Overdue,” I also had low expectations and feared our favorite detective wouldn’t be given the respect he deserves. My angst about it propelled me to type up what I hoped to see in the ep. Once it aired, I realized the bulk of my conversations could work well as missing scenes, so I revised it to fit into the episode.
Any dialog in the flashbacks comes not from me, but straight from the episode’s writer.
– – –
“So according to Ms. Lange, Detective Deeks has been one of her most valued team members. As the Acting Operations Manager here, what do you think he has to offer NCIS?”
Nell sighed and reminded herself to remain calm, channeling some of Hetty’s zenlike ability to keep her feelings well hidden, and hoped the symbolism of her seat behind Hetty’s desk would encourage DCSA Agent Rosa Martinez to take her responses seriously. Martinez had driven up from the San Diego office to interview Deeks about his FLETC application and to conduct background interviews with the team. Nell had scheduled herself to go first to get a feel for the woman’s attitude towards Deeks. She didn’t know how much information Martinez had yet compiled on her friend and wanted to warn the team if any sensitive topics arose.
“What does Deeks have to offer? There’s a long list,” Nell began. “First, there’s his experience. He has a law degree and worked as a public defender. He has extensive law enforcement experience, but then I’m sure you know all that. What you can’t see in his official record are the other qualities he brings to his work, and to his team. He’s smart and picks up details – clues – others might miss. He’s brave and always quick to defend his teammates and protect innocent people. He’s driven to do the right thing and put what he describes as the ‘bad guys’ away.”
“That sounds good, but what do you think makes him unique? What distinguishes him from all the other applicants with previous law enforcement experience?”
Nell paused to consider the question. The team would never be the same without Deeks, but she struggled to explain why to this stranger who’d come to judge him. She chose to answer from the heart.
“He has a way of looking at the world that is, um, well let’s say he’s a source of light in a dark world. When we’re working on really grim cases, he has a way of lightening the mood, of making everyone feel just a little better about the situation. He’s a good person and a good friend. And the combination of his experience and his character has made him an incredible mentor…”
The first time she officially partnered up with Deeks, she was nervous. She respected his skills and wanted to make a good impression, and his hesitation to head out into the field with her had thrown her off a bit. She hadn’t known what to make of his “Me and Nellosaurus?” questioning of Hetty’s assignment. Still, he offered nothing but support all day, treating her as an equal rather than a newbie field agent.
Over the course of all their subsequent fieldwork together, during Kensi’s assignment in Afghanistan and then while she recovered from her helicopter crash injuries, Nell couldn’t help but feel grateful to him for treating her as a legitimate partner. Rising up through the ranks as an intelligence analyst, she had encountered a good deal more than her fair share of arrogant men who thought they knew far more than she could fit inside her cute little head. She’d always proven them wrong, of course, but it dismayed her to think that she’d probably always have to do so.
But Deeks was different. He was obviously comfortable around strong women. She’d watched the easy way he supported and protected Kensi without ever diminishing her skills and abilities. And while he didn’t yet appreciate Nell’s expert driving, he’d otherwise generously taken the same supportive attitude with her, even though she obviously couldn’t yet – if ever – measure up to Kensi as a field agent. Deeks might spend a good deal of time dishing out inappropriate-for-the-workplace innuendo in Kensi’s direction, but he didn’t appear to have a true sexist bone in his body.
More recently, she’d watched him working with Fatima and Devin. Despite the long-lasting ribbing he’d received from the team when he’d joined them, he never treated either of them as subordinates to be mocked, or even gently teased. Instead, he always answered their questions and patiently showed them the ropes. She thought he and Devin shared similar senses of humor and she could see them becoming tight going forward. Provided, that is, he got to stay with them at NCIS…
“Deeks had already started at OSP before I got here, but from what I’ve heard, the team was different before he arrived. They were more serious, kind of tightly wound. They were good, but Deeks, he brought a balance. Don’t get me wrong- he takes his job incredibly seriously, but he brought an attitude and a skillset that was missing. He’s made them a better team- the best team I’ll ever work with.”
– – –
Callen sat across the boatshed interrogation table from Martinez, careful to maintain open body language and wondering what issues she’d raise from Deeks’ long record working with the team. He thought Deeks’ work spoke for itself. After all, if he hadn’t been satisfied with the man’s contributions to his team, Deeks wouldn’t still be working with them.
Martinez began, “Agent Callen, as team leader, you must have some say in your team’s make-up. What led you to want to bring Detective Deeks onto the team?”
“That was actually Hetty’s decision.” Callen knew honesty was the best policy, at least to a point. He didn’t want to give Martinez any information that might be contradicted by another person’s interview.
“Did you support it?” she asked.
“I trusted Hetty’s judgment,” Callen replied simply. No need to volunteer that he had initially had doubts.
“Was that judgment sound in this case?”
Callen sighed. Martinez was pleasant but persistent. Keeping his tone equally pleasant, he replied, “If you’re asking me if we made the right decision to bring Deeks on as our liaison officer, then I’d tell you that absolutely yes, it was a good call.”
“Why would you say so? What does he bring that you couldn’t have found within NCIS?”
“At first, I wasn’t sure myself, but it didn’t take long to see how skilled he is at undercover work. You might think his scruffy appearance is a little odd for an organization that investigates the military, but it makes him a perfect undercover in all sorts of situations. He can play a homeless person who can walk right up to a suspect, he can be an addict at a recovery center pulling intel out of a patient, he’s been a sleazy attorney, hell he even played a surfer once. He can play roles no one else can, and his improvisational skills are the best I’ve ever worked with, bar none.”
“OK, so he’s got some talents,” Martinez countered. “But reading between the lines of some of your reports, as well as those of former Executive Assistant Director Mosley, it sounds like he’s sometimes had trouble following orders?”
Callen huffed out a short laugh. If Martinez only knew that Deeks was far from the only member of his team who’d occasionally gone rogue. He told her, “This whole team is made up of elite talent. We’re all passionate about what we do, and determined to see justice done. Sometimes we disagree about the right way to achieve our goals…”
Deeks didn’t hesitate to share his displeasure at being kept out of the loop about Callen’s efforts to help Mosley locate her missing son, and his and Kensi’s resulting involvement with Mosley mistreating a prisoner. Callen had rarely seen him so angry. It made him wonder if the detective’s normally laid-back attitude might mask his true feelings more often than he would have thought.
Callen wanted to react in kind – he didn’t like having his authority challenged – but he couldn’t get a word in as the discussion escalated and Mosley took her own frustrations out on Callen by questioning his character. Again though, he didn’t get a chance to form a rebuke because Deeks himself jumped in to do it for him.
“Oh my god you’ve got to be kidding me!” Deeks almost shouted. “See, that’s the difference right there, isn’t it? He’s trying to help you and what do you do, you question his integrity. You’ve questioned all of our integrity since you got here and what has it gotten you? It hasn’t made us a better team, it sure as hell hasn’t made us more loyal, so what is it, is it the power?”
Before Callen could formulate an approach to get everyone to calm down, Mosley had fired Deeks. Callen blamed himself for allowing the situation to careen out of control, and he resolved to make things right later, once everyone had cooled off. In the meantime, as he and Sam drove back to the mission, he reviewed the whole conversation in his head, trying to understand the Deeks he’d just witnessed.
He acknowledged to himself that Deeks was right. He shouldn’t have asked him and Kensi to help without trusting them with all the information. It wasn’t the first time Deeks had stood up to him as team leader, that he’d questioned his decisions. He’d done the same thing when Callen’s father had been threatened with extradition to Russia and he’d tried to send Kirkin in his place. Callen hadn’t wanted to hear it that day either, but he realized it was because he’d known Deeks was right then, too. He just hadn’t had a choice that day.
What amazed him about this night’s events was how Deeks had sprung to his defense despite his anger with him. Deeks had quickly and easily made a clear distinction between Callen’s questionable decision to withhold information, and Callen’s character as their leader. He’d defended him in the face of what he’d likely perceived as bullying behavior from Mosley. Callen understood that Deeks’ childhood had likely primed him to react poorly to bullies, but he’d never been the recipient of Deeks coming to his defense quite like that…
“Having team members who aren’t afraid to question tactics and decisions is a valuable thing,” Callen told Martinez. “I’m the team leader, but I’m not perfect. Getting input from others with different perspectives makes us a stronger team. Deeks has a unique background and he brings a unique perspective to the team. He genuinely wants to protect people and he’s smart. He may occasionally question the plan, but at the end of the day he’s a great team player. It makes him incredibly valuable in my mind.”
– – –
Kensi had already spent thirty minutes with Martinez, mostly on an in-depth discussion about how she and her husband had managed to build such a successful work partnership. She’d also shared Deeks’ nervousness about the process, and how she’d teased him with the idea that he might be quizzed on the presidents and their deaths. Overall, she’d tried to answer the woman’s questions without defensiveness, though it was hard not to jump all over her, to literally pound into her head how wonderful Deeks was. Instead, she breathed deeply and focused on remaining non-confrontational. Martinez held Kensi’s future in her hands, and she didn’t want to do anything to blow it.
“I know this is awkward, Agent Blye, but I wanted to ask you about your husband’s background. I’m interested in what you can tell me about his childhood.”
Kensi had anticipated the question, but hadn’t decided how she would handle it. She didn’t want to give Martinez any ammunition to use against Deeks, but didn’t want to appear uncooperative. She aimed for middle ground.
“I think Deeks is more than capable of filling you in on his childhood,” she told Martinez. “I can tell you that it wasn’t easy, but that he came out of it a strong person, determined to help others. It’s why he became a public defender and then a police officer. He cares about people and he’s driven to protect them…”
Her normally jovial partner had been deadly serious from their first interaction of the day, when he briefed the team up in Ops about his former client slash confidential informant Jenny Radson, who’d phoned him in a panic the previous night with talk of stolen vehicles being shipped to Asia and used in terrorist operations.
Throughout the day, Kensi had tried to tease him, to get him to lighten up, but nothing worked. She spent the whole time feeling out of sync with him in a way that rarely occurred. He behaved as if he’d been directly responsible for Jenny’s abduction. It didn’t help matters when Jenny’s daughter failed to remember him, and told him what turned out to be a lie about how horrible her homeless life with her mother had been.
Kensi didn’t spend a lot of time that day analyzing Deeks’ feelings. She didn’t have time what with a dangerous undercover assignment and nearly getting killed by the bad guys. But later, after she’d had a chance to feel really guilty about missing his birthday (her make-up gift sure was a good one though), she realized she’d pushed the teasing a little too far. She also thought more deeply about what she could only describe as his drive to help others, and about how seriously and swiftly he always reacted when innocent people were in danger, especially women. She recognized it as almost a gut reaction, some kind of instinct that propelled him to protect.
She’d also mused that maybe it had led him to value strong women like herself (or like his old partner Jess, or even Eva, the Mexican police chief. Not that she’d been jealous or anything. Nope, not at all.
She knew his childhood hadn’t been easy, and that his dad had been abusive. She knew he’d been forced to shoot the man, but beyond that, he hadn’t shared many details about his life with his parents. Even without the details, it didn’t take Nate to see how his childhood experiences had led to his need to protect…
“Deeks doesn’t do what he does for the excitement, and certainly not for the money. He does it because he’s a genuinely good person who has dedicated his life to helping people.” Kensi took another calming breath as she watched Martinez add more notes to her pad. She could only hope they were going in the pro-Deeks column.
– – –
Eric knew he’d been rambling to Agent Martinez about unimportant and downright irrelevant topics. He couldn’t seem to help himself whenever someone in authority interviewed him. In his mind, it always morphed into an interrogation and his nerves just took over.
He finally managed to settle himself down and focus on the subject at hand. He described his friendship with Deeks and how supportive Deeks had been over the years, to the point of investing in his various – failed – business ventures.
Martinez asked, “What can you tell me about actually working with Detective Deeks? What would you say are his strengths? Where do you think he could improve?”
Eric hesitated. It was tough to summarize so many years of fighting bad guys side by side. Well, mostly of supporting Deeks and the team as they did the actual fighting. “I can say, without question, that he is unfailingly brave, and that even though he jokes around, he always takes his job seriously. He never hesitates to protect his teammates in the field. A few times, he’s even had my back out there…”
Sure, earlier in the day, Deeks had gently mocked Eric’s pajama-clad arrest, but now the bullets were flying across the windswept rooftop as Eric tried his best to focus on modifying the software so the zero days hack didn’t start World War III and so a nuke didn’t destroy San Francisco. He knew his team was there working to protect him, but he could hear the bad guys getting closer. Someone asked Deeks to cause a distraction and out of the corner of his eye, he saw his friend moving directly into the bad guys’ line of fire, risking his life to keep everyone else safe and to give him time to stop a disaster from happening.
At the time, he’d been so overwhelmed by the unfolding events, and by the sounds of all the firepower being unleashed in both directions, that he hadn’t actually absorbed all the details, but later on, when it was playing on repeat in his mind, he couldn’t help but be humbled by Deeks’ act. Sam and Callen had barely acknowledged it – just another day for them, he guessed. And Deeks had made a joke about distraction being his middle name. But Eric knew Deeks could have easily been killed that afternoon, and he didn’t think his friend would have regretted his actions. He knew Deeks always went out of his way to help and protect others, and Eric thought that if one day it cost him his life, Deeks would say that it was exactly how he’d want to go out…
“I’ve done my own share of field work since then, you know,” Eric told Martinez. “And I’ve even had Deeks’ back a time or two. But I don’t honestly know if I could have put myself in harm’s way quite like he did.”
Martinez smiled and jotted down more notes. She just told Eric, “Thanks for sharing that, Eric. It’s helpful information.”
– – –
Sam was pleased that Agent Martinez knew of his reputation. Sure, it stroked his ego a little, but he also knew it would add weight to his opinions about Deeks’ suitability to become an agent. When she asked about his first impression of Deeks, he couldn’t help but turn their undercover meeting into a bit of a joke, but when he saw the shocked expression on her face, he quickly set her straight. She laughed and told him she was only now getting the feel for the team’s collective sense of humor.
“It does sound though, like you and Detective Deeks are pretty different,” she observed. “What has it been like to work with him for more than a decade?”
Sam stared at Martinez thoughtfully, realizing the time for joking was over. He began, “You’re right. Deeks and I are very different people. He comes at problems from a different perspective. He brings unique skills to the team. I once mistook his appearance and outward attitude as signs that he didn’t take his job seriously, that he wasn’t a strong person. I couldn’t have been more wrong…”
“Why was I wasting my time with you when I have the weak one?” asked Sidorov. Sam watched Deeks’ beaten form come into view in the dark room before him, and then looked on in alarm as Sidorov and Andros began drilling into his mouth. Deeks’ screams horrified Sam, both because of the clear anguish the man suffered and because he knew Deeks would inevitably break and reveal his wife’s identity. It was only a matter of time. Sam’s entire world rested in the hands of a man he didn’t fully trust to pick out lunch.
The punishment seemed to last forever, every screech of the drill and every agonized scream almost physically searing itself into Sam’s brain. His addled mind had trouble grasping how a man with so little strength, at least as far as he understood him, could withstand so much. Sam remembered his earlier dismissal of Deeks’ character to his face just hours before, which made the man’s willingness to bear so much pain for him all the harder to comprehend.
Yet somehow Deeks didn’t break. He didn’t bring Sam’s world crashing down on him. The longer the torture lasted, the more Sam’s respect grew for the scruffy detective. How he’d managed to withstand it was beyond Sam. It was a feat of strength few could have matched.
Later, as Sam lay in his hospital bed waiting impatiently for his body to rebound enough so he could drag himself out of bed to his wife’s aid, he contemplated what he’d been forced to watch. He thought about how completely wrong he’d been about Deeks. He wasn’t weak at all. He was incredibly strong and as loyal as any SEAL. Sam was humbled by his misjudgment. He vowed to himself that he’d make it up to Deeks somehow, for his pain but also for Sam’s misunderstanding of his very nature…
“That was the second worst day of my life, and Deeks got me through it,” Sam explained. “His courage and sacrifice were instrumental in recovering stolen nuclear weapons that could have killed thousands. Don’t let yourself make the same mistake I did. Don’t underestimate him. I trust him with my life, and my family’s lives, and I’m honored to have him as a teammate.”
– – –
Memo to the File
DCSA Agent Rosa Martinez
Re: Special Agent Applicant Martin Atticus Deeks
January 4, 2021
Background interviews have been conducted with NCIS Office of Special Project Operations Manager, Acting Operations Manager, Team Leader, and other team members about Detective Deeks’ work as LAPD Liaison to OSP. His mother has also been interviewed. His NCIS and LAPD files have been reviewed. See accompanying notes for details.
In summary, the team is loyal to Det. Deeks. They shared specific examples of cases where he conducted himself admirably. His intelligence and bravery were cited numerous times. His ability to work harmoniously as part of a team was made clear, as was his supportive attitude towards female colleagues and his willingness to mentor younger colleagues.
Despite a less stellar LAPD file, Detective Deeks appears to have acquitted himself admirably during his time there. He stood up to corruption at great personal risk. It makes sense then that integrity is another characteristic cited frequently by his team.
His ongoing work partnership with his wife, Special Agent Blye, would be of some concern had they not successfully worked together for more than eight years now, nearly two as a married couple. This concern should not prevent him from being offered a position, and it should be left to his supervisors to determine whether this partnership should continue.
His mother is aware of his work with NCIS and appears to lack the discipline to keep sensitive information secure. However, Detective Deeks and Agent Blye are both well aware of security concerns around Ms. Deeks and have avoided sharing any additional information with her about their work.
Based solely on these interviews, Det. Deeks appears to be an excellent candidate and I recommend that his age waiver be granted for admission to FLETC.
– – –
A/N: I know, “Drive.” I’m not sure there’s any charitable interpretation of that episode that actually leaves Kensi looking good, but it felt like one of the best early examples, other than “Human Traffic,” of Deeks’ drive to protect women in danger.
For the record, Nell’s description of Deeks as a source of light was written before the episode aired, but it tied in nicely with Deeks’ own words about shining light on a dark world. All the conversations were tweaked only slightly to match the episode, but Eric’s whole conversation was written after. (I don’t know how to write New Eric and had avoided even trying.)
This is just my third work of fan fiction. If you’re interested, the other two can be found on fanfiction.net under anonkp.