To Be Home: NCISLA Epilogue Fan Fic
A/N: This is not necessarily the future I want for Deeks, but it’s one my brain wanted me to write. Warning: This story contains references to the death of one of the series’ stars, but Deeks, Kensi, Sam and Callen will be just fine. The title is from one of my favorite Foo Fighters songs, the beautiful “Home.” I recommend having a listen to enhance your reading pleasure.
Just looking for shelter, from the cold and the pain
Someone to cover, safe from the rain
And all I want is to be home
Home, Foo Fighters
Deeks knocked on the doorway of Admiral Kilbride’s office. “You wanted to see me, sir?”
Kilbride peered up from his papers and gestured at the seat in front of his desk. As Deeks took it, he asked, “Am I in trouble? If this is about your cigars-”
“Those Montecristos were a gift from an old friend, Inspector. We can discuss their disappearance later. Right now, though, I want to speak with you about your future.”
A sense of dread settled loudly in Deeks’ gut. He whispered more to himself than the Admiral, “Uh oh,” and forced himself to lean back in his seat, his knee bouncing nervously.
Kilbride squinted at Deeks, studying him. “Deeks, how long do you want to keep doing what you’re doing now? I know your career path to date has been a winding one.”
Deeks hesitated to reply. It was such a complicated question, one he wasn’t sure he could answer without first consulting with Kensi. He ruffled the hair on the top of his head as his mind raced to discern Kilbride’s intentions.
“I’m honestly not sure. It’s kind of complicated. May I ask why you want to know?”
“You’ve accomplished a lot here. You’ve saved Los Angeles more times than I could count, according to your record. You’ve taken down terrorists, arms dealers, and even a gang of Frankenstein serial killers. You’ve paid a price along the way, but you’ve survived. Surely you must have given some thought to getting out of the field.”
Deeks stifled a laugh at the number of times he’d had that exact thought. “Of course. At various points in time, I’ve been ready to walk away from NCIS altogether.”
“What kept you here?” Kilbride appeared genuinely curious about the answer.
A one-word answer of “Kensi” sat on the tip of his tongue, but Deeks paused before he provided a more detailed response. “Well, the idea of not having my wife’s back in the field has been what you might call a rather large motivating factor. But when I was laid off from LAPD, it also made me realize how much I love being here, taking down the bad guys. I think it’s what I was meant to do.”
“You know, I had drinks with Hetty the other night.”
The apparent subject change again had Deeks feeling discombobulated, but he adjusted quickly and asked, “How is she doing? Is she really retired, or is that just a smokescreen for more cloak and dagger schemes?”
Kilbride chuckled. “I’m not entirely sure. I don’t believe Hetty could ever stop from involving herself in work in some way, shape or form.”
“Yeah, that sounds about right.” Deeks made the obvious link to their current conversation, asking, “Is it safe to assume that my name came up in conversation?”
“It did. You see, unlike Hetty, I’ve put in my retirement paperwork for real. I’ll be leaving in the next couple of months.”
The news didn’t surprise Deeks. Since the admiral had reconciled with his son, he’d been spending increasing amounts of time with him, and had even come to enjoy Alexʻs new fiancée and her daughter. He had softened noticeably, dialing down the grumpiness. He seemed happy, something Deeks hadn’t thought was necessarily possible. Clearly, he wanted to make up for lost family time.
“That’s great, sir. I’m really happy for you. Will you be moving up to San Francisco to be closer to your son?”
“Yes, that’s the plan. I never really thanked you for encouraging me to talk to Alex. I don’t know if I would’ve ever taken that step without your advice, so thank you.”
Deeks’ mind flashed ever so briefly to his own father, a relationship that would never have any chance to be mended. “Sure thing. I’m really glad it worked out.”
“I wanted to ask Hetty’s advice about my replacement.”
“OK.” Deeks couldn’t tell where Kilbride was headed, and he sat up a little straighter and braced himself for news of a new OSP manager he might not like.
“You see, I had someone in mind, but I was curious about what Hetty would think about my choice.”
Deeks’ mind flashed on Sam, currently training SEALS down at BUD/S in San Diego. He had filled in as Kilbride’s interim replacement when he was still working with the team. Deeks also thought about Callen, in a classified location on a longer-term undercover assignment with Anna. Maybe Kilbride would try to lure one of them back. “Well now you’ve got me curious too. Just please tell me that Shay Mosley is not in the running.”
The admiral grimaced. “No, even if I knew where to find her, I wouldn’t allow her to set foot here again.”
“That’s a relief.” Deeks relaxed back into the chair.
“I’m glad. You know, it turned out that Hetty and I were both in complete agreement about the best person for the job… It’s you, Inspector Deeks.”
Deeks’ eyebrows rose high as he took in the idea, not something he’d ever considered. “Wow, I would not have put money on that outcome. I didn’t even think you liked me much, sir.”
“Deeks, no one has consistently surprised me more than you. I think that’s partly my fault, struggling to look past your surface… barely professional appearances and behavior… but over time I’ve come to appreciate some of your finer points.”
“It’s nice to hear I have ‘finer points,’ sir. I can’t wait to tell Kensi.” Deeks smiled.
Kilbride ignored Deeks’ attempt at humor and continued his compliments. “You’re obviously highly experienced. Your knowledge of the law is an unusual asset. You are courageous and intelligent. You are a leader for your team. But the reason I think you would be the best replacement for me is your willingness to stand up to those in power and to fight for what you think is right.”
The praise stunned Deeks into silence. He finally stuttered out a, “Wow, thank you, sir. I’m honored and flattered that you would consider me worthy… May I ask why Hetty thought I was right for the job?”
“She agreed with my assessment, but she focused more on your protective instincts. As you are well aware, my job comes with heavy responsibilities, including having to weigh the safety of the team against the priorities of the mission. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”
Images of Afghanistan and a ghost of jaw pain flashed through his head, and he briefly rubbed curled fingers over his scruff. He replied, “Yes, I’m familiar. And I’m honestly not sure how well I’d handle those decisions.”
“The fact that you have been the one to make some of those sacrifices tells me how well you understand them… Hetty thinks you can do it. She spoke about how you might make different decisions than she would, but said perhaps that would be for the best.”
Deeks absorbed Hetty’s assessment, and its implication of some level of regret for decisions of her own that had led to harm or put the team in jeopardy. He hadn’t realized until now how much he needed to hear it, how mixed his feelings toward Hetty truly had become. She had rarely if ever apologized for her actions, she’d always chalked her decisions up to doing what was necessary for the greater good. As much as he appreciated so much that she’d done for him, he also hated some of her decision-making.
Kilbride interrupted his thoughts to say, “What it comes down to for me is who I’d want to be leading me if I’m Agent Rountree or Namazi. And, who I’d want to make decisions if I’m the NCIS Assistant Director. I think you’re a good choice for all concerned… So the question is, is this something you would consider?”
Deeks’ head spun with the possibilities. The move would involve more income to pay college tuition fees for Rosa and Pilar. It would get him out of the field, a good thing in that he’d be safer but possibly a frustrating change if he would feel drawn to protect his team in person. And then there was Kensi.
“Like I said, I’m flattered and humbled to be considered. And I would like to give it some thought, and of course talk it over with Kensi. Is it safe to assume that she wouldn’t be able to continue working under my supervision?”
Kilbride nodded. “Yes, she would also need to make a change. As you know, Ms. Blye is a woman of many skills. There is no shortage of opportunities for her, from leading her own team outside of OSP to working in Forensics or even teaching, although the latter would likely take her out of Los Angeles. I’m happy to discuss all the possibilities with her once you and she have a chance to talk.”
“Sounds… intriguing.” Deeks stood and felt compelled to reach out his hand to shake Kilbride’s. “Thanks again, sir. I’ll try not to take too long to decide.”
“That’s fine. I’ve been trapped in the godforsaken plastic abyss that is Los Angeles for so long at this point that a few extra weeks won’t make a big difference.”
“Good to hear, but I’ll try to figure it out quickly so we can get you out of this sun-drenched, surf-filled hell-hole and up to your family.”
As Deeks walked back downstairs to the bullpen, he gazed over at the area Hetty had used as an office. He tried to imagine himself there, or upstairs in Kilbride’s overlook. Could he do the job? Did he want to? He knew he and Kensi would figure it out. They always did, after all.
Deeks held the door for Kensi as they entered the warm bar. They shook off their wet raincoats and Deeks shook the wetness from his still shaggy hair. They spotted the others at a large back booth. As they walked toward their friends, Deeks noted the red leather seats, unchanged from his previous visits here so many years ago. He couldn’t help but think back to other conversations he’d had here with Hetty, and how much they’d impacted the course of his life.
Sam, Callen, Anna, and Kilbride had already gotten them drinks, and they took the spots that awaited them. Deeks asked, “Any update on Beale and Nell?”
“They’re due in sometime tonight. They were really sorry to have missed the service,” said Sam.
“What about Katherine?” he asked.
“She said this evening should be for those who knew Hetty best. She did offer to pick me up if I needed a ride at the end of the evening.”
Deeks nodded and savored a large sip of his scotch, clearly chosen in honor of Hetty.
“Do you think she would have liked the service?” he asked the group.
Callen said, “It was short and sweet, not too sentimental. I think she’d have approved.”
Deeks eyed Callen carefully. Surely, he’d be taking news of Hetty’s passing the hardest them all, but as always, the man was impossible to read. Anna sat leaning into him and Deeks’ heart warmed to see his friend with such support.
Kilbride raised his glass and said, “To Hetty. She was truly one of kind. Woman of a thousand identities, chess master, Svengali, and one tough old broad.”
A chorus of “To Hetty” and “Here, here” answered Kilbride’s words as the group raised their glasses in kind.
They reminisced for the next hour about some of their favorite Hetty stories over multiple rounds of toasts. Deeks shared his two encounters with her in the very bar in which they sat. Kensi relayed the role a retired Hetty had played in connecting her to her current forensics job at the FBI. Sam remembered various times when he had stuck his foot in his mouth about her diminutive size. Callen and Sam laughed about Hetty’s face on the roving iPad, and they all laughed about the time Deeks slammed Hetty’s face shut on his laptop, and as Deeks told the Segway story.
When the conversation slowed, Sam pulled out several envelopes from his jacket pocket. “When Nell realized they wouldn’t make it here fast enough to join us, she made me promise to retrieve these. They were hidden in your office, Deeks.”
Deeks took the news in stride. Ever since he’d taken over for Kilbride and chosen to sit in Hetty’s old office space, he’d occasionally stumbled upon small hiding spaces that contained random files and other items.
“What are they?” asked Kensi.
“Nell said they were letters to each of us from Hetty, to be opened in the event of her death. Nell wasn’t sure if we might want to open them all together, or take them home to open privately. Hetty hadn’t specified,” Sam explained as he distributed the letters, one each to Deeks, Kensi, Callen, and Anna. He held onto one with his name on the front.
Deeks looked to Kensi, and with a tip of his now considerably grayer head, wordlessly asked what she wanted to do.
“It’s up to you, Deeks,” she said.
He turned to Sam and Callen. Sam said, “Let’s do it now. I’m not ready to break up this reunion yet.”
Callen replied, “I think I’m gonna hold onto mine for later, but Iʻd love to hear what yours say, if you want to share.” The rest of them tore into their envelopes as Kilbride went off to get another round for the group. Deeks opened his to see a multi-page note written in Hetty’s distinctive scrawl…
. . . . .
Mr. Deeks Martin,
If you are reading this letter, that means my time in this world has come to an end. Do not feel sad for me, as I have lived a full life. Some would say I’ve lived several lives in fact. Alas, with many lives comes a fair amount of regret. I did the best I could in this life to do right by those I considered family, and for those I considered friends. I hope you will toast a fine whisky tonight in my memory.
I want you to know how fond I am of you, and how proud, even though I had no true role in all you have achieved. I wanted you to know that you first popped up on my radar in 1990, when you shot your father in self-defense. An 11-year-old taking such bold action to protect himself and his mother was intriguing to me. I couldn’t help but to be drawn to you and your story. I even considered intervening to offer you a different life, but thankfully your mother recovered from her injuries and was able to take you back out of foster care. The course your life took was a winding one, but I’m thankful to have had another opportunity to bring you into my world when you came to work with NCIS.
I’m sorry for the hard times you experienced in my employ, but I like to think that the good outweighed the bad, and that you found a home with us. I know you found one with Ms. Blye, and she with you. Thank you for being so persistent and bringing her out of her shell. She deserves so much happiness, as do you.
I believe your bar, short-lived though it may have been, was your way of trying to make more of a family for yourself, and for others. I’ve been gratified to see you creating that family with Ms. Blye and Rosa and Pilar. I’ve been especially moved to see you fostering so many young people over the years, innocents who found themselves in sad and troubled situations. You’ve brought your own story full circle, and in some small way, mine and Mr. Callen’s as well. For I know he has also found great joy watching your work with and love for these children. I have no doubt that you have helped them to lead more productive and fulfilling lives, a desire that, believe it or not, was at the heart of many of my actions over the years.
Those responsible for dispensing with my estate will be providing you with the deed to my Malibu home, as well as a check of not inconsiderable size. I hope you and Ms. Blye will choose to live there; it makes me smile to think of you living feet from the surf, as I know how much solace you get from the ocean. I also hope you and she will use the check to cover any remaining debts from Rosa and Pilar’s educational needs, and beyond that, to do what you do best- give others a home. You might use it to support foster children or homeless youth in whatever way you see fit. Giving children a chance for a better path in life was something I strove to do, and although I may not have approached it in the most conventional way, I do hope that I did more good than not. I know you and Ms. Blye will use it well.
I know you and I didn’t always see eye to eye on everything but know that I loved you and thought of you as a son, or as close as I came, anyway, to a child outside of Mr. Callen. Seeing you find happiness, and dare I say, peace, for yourself was something that brought me great joy. May you stay on the same path of happiness, may you always gain fulfillment from helping and protecting others, and may you surf every day.
. . . . .
Deeks had gasped when he read that Hetty had followed him for so long, which had led Kensi to reach out to him in concern. He’d held her hand but gave her a reassuring nod before he’d continued on to the end, periodically checking on Kensi as she read her own letter. When he’d finished, he looked up with tears in his eyes to see everyone else had finished their letters.
Callen observed wryly, “Wow, why does everyone look like they got bad news?”
Deeks sat quietly, trying to absorb the full contents. “No, not bad news. Some of it’s good. Amazing, really. But some of it…” He trailed off and turned toward Kensi, his question about her letter not needing to be verbalized.
“Yeah,” she said. “Hetty said she knew my father. That she met him through Tuhon…” She looked at Deeks in shock, or maybe amazement, or sadness? Deeks couldn’t read the expression in her still mesmerizing eyes. “She said that when my father was killed, she tried to reach out to me, to take me under her wing, but that I disappeared before she could get to me.”
“Whoa,” Deeks replied. “She said the same thing about me. Well, similar anyway. That after I shot my father, I came on her radar, and that she thought about pulling me away from foster care, but that I was back with my mom before she could.”
Callen said, “Your reactions make sense now. Kensi, I don’t know much about what you went through after your father died, but I gotta say, you both may have dodged a bullet rather than missed out on an opportunity for a better life. I honestly think it could have gone either way.”
Kensi leaned all the way into Deeks’ embrace as they both considered what might have been. “We could have been Subjects 18 and 19,” Deeks half-whispered to Kensi as a chill ran through him.
Callen looked to his former partner with a raised eyebrow, and Sam replied, “Well, she wasn’t stalking me as a child. She just expressed her sorrow at not being able to save Michelle, said some nice things about me, and thanked me for looking after your trouble-prone ass for so many years.”
Anna added, “Yeah, she also wanted to thank me for taking care of you, Grisha Callen. It was very sweet, actually.” She pulled Callen’s face toward her and gave him a big kiss on the cheek.
Deeks asked, “Did anybody get any, um, gifts?”
They spent the next part of the evening comparing notes about the things Hetty had left them, before they circled back to a few more toasts in her honor, before they called it a night and went their separate ways.
“Kensi!” Deeks screamed as his eyes roamed the area filled with small structures and wooded patches in search of his wife, his weapon at the ready.
“Deeks, help me! They have me surrounded!” Kensi yelled back from behind a small stand of trees.
“Hang on, I’m headed your way!” Deeks spotted several weapon-wielding bad guys in the brush nearby but could only focus on getting to Kensi. He ran with all his might toward the trees – god, his knees were too old for sprinting – and had nearly made it when the impact of the bad guys’ weapons hit his chest and shoulder. He stumbled forward and fell into Kensi’s outstretched arms.
“Deeks- no! Why did you do that?” She looked more angry than worried.
“Do what, sugar bear?” he wheezed out as he lay in her arms. “I had to come to your rescue. Besides, I go where you go, remember?” He grimaced. Damn, getting shot really hurt.
“Yeah, well, it was really dumb. And now, just look at you!”
He knew he could catch his breath if he could only lie there a few minutes more, especially if Kensi kept carding her fingers through his hair. “Yeah, well, now you have to take them down yourself. I know you can do it, baby. No mercy- end them.”
Kensi rolled her eyes. “Deeks, they’re our children, for goodness sakes.”
A smile lit up Deeks slate blue eyes as he knowingly looked up at Kensi. “I know you wanna win.”
She huffed and nodded, her eyes sparkling. “I do. Now just lie there and let me take care of them.”
With a tightening of her short ponytail, she took off, a vengeful force lighting up the shrubs with paintballs and taking no prisoners as she went. When she had finished, she claimed victory for herself and Deeks over Rosa and her husband Marcus, Pilar and her boyfriend Ramon, and Jonas and Jasper, two teen brothers they’d fostered and then adopted when they’d aged out of the system. When she’d finished, she returned to Deeks and pulled him up. He used the opportunity to fall forward into her arms and smear the still wet paint onto her jumpsuit. Laughing, she made a half-hearted effort to push him away before she allowed him to kiss her.
Deeks looked into the still stunningly beautiful face of the love of his life. He pushed a few strands of grey hair behind her ear and felt nothing but gratitude. “I love you, Wonder Woman.”
“I love you too. Now let’s go gloat over how we just took down six people half our age. And then you can buy your wife some lunch. I’m thinking the chicken tikka poutine at Badmaash.”
“Whatever you desire, my sweet Kensalina. Whatever you desire.”
A/N: Yes, I liked Katherine and decided she and Sam should get back together. I also took a little license with the Tuhon story, since I always assumed Deeks would have told Kensi about his encounter and they might have discovered or assumed then that Hetty knew Donald. Also, Badmaash has the best Indian food in L.A. and I highly recommend it.
I hope this story strikes a good balance on Hetty’s role in the team’s lives. Was I too hard on her? Too soft? I’d love to hear what you think.
Special thanks to Lyssa for providing valuable feedback as always. And thanks so much to everyone who’s been supportive of my forays into fiction. I honestly never thought it was something I could do.
DENSI PREGNANCY!!!!!! FANS WILL BE HAPPY!!!!!!
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Damn woman. You made me cry. Good stuff. And believable.
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Lindy I take making you cry as a high compliment and must admit it pleased me. 😉 I look at it as small payback for the many times you have done the same to me. Thanks for all your mentorship as I tried out fiction writing- I truly appreciate it. To think that we met because I was such a huge fan of your work that I went to the fan meet-up mostly to meet you, and now I get to call you a friend. It’s been a wonderful journey.
For some reason I am finding it hard to write a story about Deeks moving on. Thanks for yours.
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Without sounding maudlin, we will mourn Martin Atticus Deeks, Kensi Marie Blye et al, especially come September when we usually look forward to the new NCISLA season. And, we will grieve that WikiDeeks has also wrapped their last entry, consigning the most interesting of sites to history.
As a matter of interest, I wonder if that final WikiDeeks sign-off will come from ECO?
(I cheekily ask just one thing, a selfish hope, that authors such as Sweet Lu, ejzah, anonkp, and apologies to everyone else I haven’t mentioned, keep the fanfiction coming. My uni education is no prerequisite for a storytelling talent.)
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Thanks for the shout out Terrence. I will do my best. It will probably be an Atwood Chronicle story. Thanks for all you positive comments over the years. I appreciate your interest.
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Thanks Terrence for all your support! Time permitting, I definitely have a story or two more I’d like to tell. And I am always excited for another installment in Lindy’s Atwood Chronicles!