A/N: This was originally posted to my Tumblr as a smaller post-episode drabble for “Genesis.” Karen then encouraged me to extend it a bit which led to its current rendition.
Deeks glanced around the small conference room inside the Office of Refugee Resettlement. There was a small window that looked out on the picnic table where he, Kensi, and Pilar had sat and talked about vampire movies.
After meeting Pilar, he and Kensi had contacted her case manager to find out more about her immigration status and the possibility of fostering. Just getting this meeting had proven significantly more difficult than he anticipated. Deeks wasn’t arrogant enough to think he could navigate the legal world of immigration and asylum on his own, so he’d reached out to an old friend, Calvin Ramos. He’d readily agreed to attend as Kensi and Deeks’ advocate and legal resource during this initial meeting with Pilar’s case manager.
Calvin had started law school the same year as Deeks and they’d found a common ground in their similarly less-than-ideal childhoods. They’d also bonded over their rebellious attitudes when it came to hair. For the majority of his 20s and early 30s, Calvin had worn an impressive Afro.
Much like Deeks, he’d eventually caved to professional expectation and wore it closely cropped. Deeks glanced towards Calvin now as he paged through a thick file of papers that had somehow accumulated in the scant few weeks since Pilar arrived in the U.S.
“So, be honest with me, what are we up against?” Deeks asked, turning to lean against the wall beside the window. He could feel the course texture through his shirt, reminding him how everything was a little rough and utilitarian here.
“Well, as you’d expect, it’s not going to be easy,” Calvin commented without looking up. His suit jacket was slung over the back of his metal chair, shirt sleeves rolled up. “But based on the information we have so far, I think you and Kensi have a really good case for assuming guardianship. As of now, she doesn’t appear to have any living family in Guatemala or the United States and you two have the ability and resources to care for her. At the very least, we should be able to get asylum granted.”
“That’s amazing.” Even if that wasn’t precisely what he and Kensi were hoping for, Pilar’s well-being was more important than their plans. “So, is there anything in particular that I should do or say? I mean, I’ve done probably way more research than is probably healthy and I still feel like an idiot.”
“I promise, you’re not, Marty,” Calvin told him with the same calming assurance that got them through late-night study sessions. “If normal lawyers could figure stuff out, then they wouldn’t need me. To be completely honest though, you’re doing great. My best advice is to answer her questions honestly and let her see the real you.”
“That is some good advice,” Deeks murmured. He didn’t have a chance to say anything else as the door opened abruptly and a short woman with shoulder length brown hair walked through. Pilar followed a few seconds later, shoulders slightly hunched with uncertainty as she peered around the room.
“Marty,” Pilar exclaimed, face brightening as she caught sight of him. She darted across the room, catching Deeks by surprise when she slammed into his chest, wrapping her arms around his back in a tight hug. “I didn’t think you were coming back.”
“Of course I’d be here. I promised. Remember?”
“Pilar, please show some restraint,” The woman admonished her, making her pull away quickly. Pilar gave Deeks a sheepish look, shrugging a little before her gaze shifted beyond him.
“I’m glad to see you.”
“Me too,” he whispered back, before flashing the woman a quick smile. “Hi, I’m Marty Deeks.”
“Sarah Jenkins. Pilar’s case manager,” she replied, not returning the smile. He saw her eyes rove over him, a look of vague distrust present as she stared at him.
“Is your wife here today, Mr. Deeks?” He sighed internally at the question, having grown fairly used to such inquiries. Most of the social workers seemed surprised when he was present, and even more so when he attended alone.
“No. She absolutely wanted to be here,” he explained patiently, flashing Pilar an apologetic smile when he saw her face fall slightly in disappointment. “But, uh, unfortunately she had to attend to a business matter. Since I have a legal background, we decided I would attend this meeting.”
“I see.” Ms. Jenkins made a note on her notepad, mouth firm, and for the first time, Deeks felt his confidence waver. “Why don’t we all have a seat while I review my notes.” She directed Pilar to sit directly beside her while Calvin took the seat next to Deeks.
After a few minutes, she nodded, and faced Pilar, her expression softening.
“Pilar, are you comfortable explaining what led you to flee from Guatemala to Mr. Deeks and Mr. Ramos?”
“Yes,” Pilar murmured, giving a low nod as she stared down at her fingers, which were carefully pressed flat to the table. She drew in a deep breath and began the perilous story of her escape.
It was a little over an hour later and Deeks felt like his brain might explode. Pilar’s description of her family’s death, her fear as she too was threatened by the same gang, before ultimately deciding to leave was heartbreaking. It made him more determined than ever to ensure she had a safe and stable home.
Then Sarah Jenkins had reviewed all the legal ramifications and requirements that came with unapproved immigration. Deeks was infinitely glad Calvin was there to fill in the blanks and advocate for both of them.
“Thank you for sharing that with us, Pilar,” Sarah said to Pilar as she quietly listened, hands folded together. She’d come close to tears a few times, but battled through, amazing Deeks with her strength and fortitude.
“We have a few more things to discuss, but you don’t need to stay for this part if you’d like.” As far as dismissals went, it was fairly polite, and Pilar took the hint.
“Thank you, Ms. Jenkins. And thank you for everything you’re doing for me, Marty,” she said, tucking the hems of her sleeves over her hands. She made a gesture like she was maybe thinking of reaching out again, but thought better of it and settled on a shy smile. “I hope Kensi can come next time too.”
Once she was gone, Sarah Jenkins closed the folder with a surprising snap, resting her folded hands on top.
“So, tell me Mr. Deeks, why are you pursuing guardianship of Pilar?”
“To be completely honest with you Ms. Jenkins, my wife and I have been trying to start a family for some time now. While it may sound predatory at first glance, we weren’t actively seeking out children in Pilar’s circumstance. As you probably already know, we met her while checking in on a previous resident who was linked with one of our cases. We all seemed to hit it off,” Deeks explained, looking directly at Sarah, who stared back expressionlessly. Mirroring her own position, he folded his hands, inhaled slowly, and let some of the lawyer persona fade.
“Look, Pilar is in a terrible situation that I would not wish on anyone, particularly a child. Both my wife and I have histories that are less than ideal and if we can,” he paused and started over again. “If we can make things even a little less terrible for Pilar, then we have to try. Even if that’s simply making sure she’s granted asylum. We just want what’s best for her.”
“That’s sounds incredibly noble, Mr. Deeks,” Sarah Jenkins observed, allowing the hint of a smile. “I can see why Pilar likes you. Though all the charm in the world doesn’t indicate one will be a good parent.”
“I can assure you, Ms. Jenkins, that both of my clients are highly responsible and respected individuals, both as agents and in their personal relationships. I believe they’ll make excellent guardians.”
“Well, that remains to be seen. Assuming Pilar’s request for asylum is approved, I’ll have to meet with Ms. Blye before making any decision about moving forward.” She stood abruptly, gesturing to the door.
“Of course,” Deeks said, smoothing down his tie as Calvin quickly gathered up his papers. “I appreciate you taking the time to meet with us.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Deeks. I’ll be in touch,” Sarah said politely. “Oh, and if you do decide to visit again, please make sure you bring your wife along.”
Deeks smiled softly, sitting back as Kensi leaned over her desk, speaking in rapid fire Spanish with Rosa. He’d wondered if he was overstepping his bounds by reaching out to Rosa’s aunt but seeing Kensi’s genuine excitement (and Rosa’s too if the sound filtering over the speaker was any indication), it was the right choice.
His smile turned wistful, and his gaze drifted a little. This is what he’d always imagined for them, he’d just pictured being more involved. He didn’t begrudge the bond Kensi had formed with Rosa; it made perfect sense after everything they’d experienced together. And he loved seeing Kensi so happy after so many months, years, of heartache and disappointment.
Despite all that, Deeks was jealous. In the last couple months, it felt increasingly like he was being pushed to the side in their journey to foster, both with Rosa and Pilar. The staff automatically deferred to Kensi, sometimes not even asking for his input, or regarding him with distrust. He tried not to take it personally, but it was starting to eat at him. Feeling the frustration welling inside him, he slid out of his chair, and quietly left the bullpen. Kensi was completely focused on her conversation and didn’t even notice him go.
Good. There was no reason his irrational feelings should ruin her time with Rosa. Deeks wandered over to the armory, starting in on the weapons log. Technically it wasn’t due until tomorrow, but he needed something to distract him.
Even so, his thoughts turned to his meeting today with Pilar’s case manager. At the time he’d thought it went well…now he wasn’t so sure. Maybe he should have had Kensi come with or go in his place. Sure, she didn’t know his lawyer friend or understand the legal component quite as well, but people seemed to trust her more easily in these situations.
Sighing, Deeks dismantled an automatic rifle with more force than necessary and roughly cleaned it. A few more rifles later, he felt significantly calmer, though now bitter disappointment had settled in.
“Deeks?” He looked up as Kensi popped her head in. “Hey, baby, what are you doing in here?” she asked, walking closer to observe the pile of cleaned and catalogued weapons.
“Uh, just getting a head start on inventory,” he explained with a shrug.
“Oh. Well, I’ve been looking for you everywhere.” When he frowned at her, Kensi held out her phone, which currently was on mute. “Rosa wants to talk to you before she goes.”
“She wants to—really?” Deeks asked, hesitantly taking the phone as he cast Kensi a confused look.
“Yeah. She said you were telling her a story on the helicopter when we left Mexico and never got the chance to finish it. She was hoping you’d tell her now.”
Gratitude filled him, and he blinked quickly against the prickling sensation in his eyes, suddenly overwhelmed.
“Baby, are you ok?” Kensi asked, apparently concerned by his delayed response. He nodded, running a hand through his hair, and offered a quick smile.
“Yeah, I’m great.” He switched the speaker on. “Hey Rosa, this is Marty.”
As she filled him in on the last few weeks, he reached for Kensi’s hand. Rosa may never know or fully understand, but her simple request had rekindled his hope. Kensi leaned into his side, occasionally inserting comments into Deeks highly embellished story.
A/N: Once again, thanks to Lyssa for her suggestions and assistance.