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More Than Meets the Eye

By Gina Mae Callen


Chapter 1

It had been a whole year.

A lot can happen in a year…

He had recovered from his ordeal with Sidorov, He had finally moved on with Kensi and they were in a relationship. He had signed the papers to become a full time NCIS Agent, although he had given them to Hetty he had asked her to hold onto them and not process them until he had gotten used to the idea and had seen Lieutenant Bates and handed his resignation to him.

He had thought that after all that had happened he and Sam were in a better place. They had been for a while, that was when he had signed the papers and had handed them to Hetty.

A move he was beginning to regret.

For six months of the last year Sam had been better, he had respected the detective, in the bullpen things had gotten better and Deeks had relaxed his guard.

'Stupid, stupid, stupid!' he thought to himself as he hit the heavy bag over and over again.

"Deeks?" Kensi called seeing her partners pained expression, "You ok?"

"I'm good."

Kensi shook her head, "I thought you would have toughened up by now. Sam's just joking...well kind of, you were a bit sloppy out there and you do need to brush up on your self defense skills."

"Yeah right." Deeks replied. He threw one last punch at the bag and turned unwrapping his hands and heading to the showers.

Kensi watched as he walked away.

Something was still eating him, but for the life of her she didn't know what. He had been a part of the team long enough to know Sam was joking.

But he didn't and Deeks was smarting, today was not the day that he really wanted to be pushed. Usually he took this week off. However the case they had just finished meant that he hadn't been able to take the time away or to go undercover.

He knew he should talk to her, but he couldn't...not about this. After all he had told her that he had shot his father during thanksgiving dinner when he was an adult. He hadn't told her the whole thing.

He walked back into the bullpen, Sam was engrossed in getting his reports done and Callen was on the balcony talking to Kensi as Hetty walked up to Deeks' desk.

"I appreciate you coming in today Mr. Deeks. I know it's no consolation but I have arranged a pass for you to Camp Pendleton, I hear the surf down there is perfect today. You can leave now and finish your report tomorrow, I am sorry that I cannot give you longer."

Deeks smiled up at the small woman greatfully. "Thank you." He replied and without a word to the others he grabbed his bag and walked out.

As he was about to close the large main doors to the mission he heard Sam exclaim something about the LAPD Detective being a part-timer and his face fell as he closed the door.

"But Mr. Hanna, Mr. Deeks works twice as hard as you do and if you knew his routine you would know this is his annual leave, but he took the time out to make sure he was available to help us on the case." Hetty admonished him.

Sam nodded, "He was a good help." He admitted, "But he needs to work on his street fighting skills...When we got outnumbered out there I was worried he was going to get hurt."

"Mr. Hanna, Trust your teammate." Hetty said and turned to walk to her office as Kensi and Callen both got to their desks.

"Did you know Deeks was on leave?" Sam asked the pair of them.

The other two shook their heads.

"I was thinking about what you said about helping Deeks with his tradecraft." Callen said as he sank into his chair his bruises from the earlier fight smarting.

"We took the brunt of the fight," Sam replied, "If Deeks was outnumbered I don't know if he could handle himself, especially if the opponent was bigger than him."

Callen cocked his head slightly and looked at his partner, "What do you have in mind?" he asked.

Sam smiled and leaned back in his chair.

He had been surfing for three hours, it wasn't long enough to forget, but it was enough...for a while...to keep the demons at bay.

Deeks nodded to a couple of Marines on the beach as he drove his surfboard into the sand and sat on a towel looking at the Ocean.

It had been over thirty years since that fateful day but he had never forgotten, never quite buried the little boy who had fought tooth and nail to survive his childhood. He had honed the skills he had learned then, but had promised never to fully use them unless he had to. He held back promising never to lose control, never to become like his father. He knew that the others thought he had not fought to the best of his ability...or worse maybe they had thought he had. But he didn't care, this week...this day and tomorrow which was worse, he wouldn't cross that line.

June 1989, the worst month of his life.

His father had been laid off, and had started drinking heavier than before. Although you couldn't really have called it better before. Little Martin Brandel was according to his parents and teachers a clumsy child. He was always getting into scraps, fighting, falling...getting, more than the odd, bruise or two.

But this month was worse. His mother had been in the kitchen, she had handed 11 year old Marty his father's beer and told him to take it out to him while she finished his dinner off.

Gordon Brandel was sitting on the couch watching Starsky and Hutch, laughing at the cops on the television. Marty used to watch from behind the couch wanting to be the good guys and drive the large red and white car.

"Come here boy!" Brandel yelled as he caught sight of his son's hair.

Martin shuffled forward keeping his eyes on his feet, his big toe sticking out of the hole in his threadbare sock.

"You spying on me boy?" Brandel roared.

Martin shook his head and handed his father the drink.

"You drinking my beer boy?" Brandel looked at the bottle, the liquid looked a little short.

"N...no sir…" Martin stammered fearfully.

Brandel roared with laughter causing Martin to jump back.

"Yeah ya did...come here, drink some more."

Martin shook his head, he didn't like the stuff it smelled horrible and he grimaced as the foul tasting liquid was poured down his throat and a hand wrapped around his neck.

"SWALLOW!" Gordon yelled.

Martin swallowed as large tears pooled in his eyes.


The hand tightened it's grip and lifted him off his feet, just as black spots swam in his vision the pressure eased and he found himself sailing through the air to crumple with a thud against the wall the last sound he heard was a faint scream, not realizing it came from him.

Marty shook his head as he wiped a hand over his face, flashbacks were fast and furious this time of the year. He needed this week he allowed himself every year to work through his demons and compartmentalize again for another year, to fix the mask that was Marty Deeks firmly in place over the true face of Martin Brandel.

Still not fully himself, but needing to move he took his board back to the car and drove home, needing to shower, change and get a change of scenery in, maybe some music, laughter and life to fill the dead spot inside of him.

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