Deeks walked in the house.
"You going somewhere?" Michelle asked from the kitchen.
Deeks nodded grimly. "Kitchen, was looking for some water." he replied.
Michelle reached into the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water and handed it to him.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
"Will he ever trust me?" Deeks opened the bottle and took a drink.
"Will you trust him?" Michelle asked back.
Deeks took another sip of water and watched as Sam got up and turned to the grill. "I do trust him, I've always trusted and admired him. Even when he scared me. I didn't want there to be such a wedge between us. I just want him to see me...as an equal."
Michelle dried her hands and leaned against the counter, "Well...Maybe you should be an equal then."
Nodding he took another drink. He had been trying to get a handle on his emotions, it was the one thing about his PTSD that he hated. The fact that his emotions would run away and he would revert into himself.
He was grateful for the help Jess and Pete had given, they had broken the ice while he had been at his lowest ebb, but the more he watched Jess talk for him the more angry he got.
He was a grown man for goodness sake.
"I can do this." he growled aloud not realizing that Michelle was still listening.
"Yes, you can. Only you can and you should." She told him. "But remember that Sam was working with the information he had at the time and he has always been a team player, you weren't acting in his mind like a team player."
"Dammit, what do I have to do to get through to him?" Deeks asked.
"Stop acting like Aiden. Start talking and acting like the responsible man you are." She said quietly.
"I didn't realize that was how you thought of me. I mean I know I find it hard to talk, about...him, but…"
Michelle placed a hand on his shoulder, "It's not about telling us all your secrets or telling us all your past, it's about trusting the team to have your back when something is bothering you."
"I've not had that before, I didn't know?" Deeks told Michelle. "LAPD wasn't like that, and these guys were a team before I came and I didn't want to bulldoze my way into that."
Michelle moved to the kitchen table and motioned for him to join her.
"You always been an outsider?" she asked.
Marty nodded, "Yeah, I kinda liked it that way, I don't get too close no one can be hurt."
"And you can't be hurt by them." she reasoned.
He looked away, "Yeah."
She picked up her own bottle of water and took a sip.
"You've never really had a family, have you?"
"I had a family…" he started to argue.
"That, what you had with your father, that wasn't a family, or a home." She told him.
"It was all I deserved." Deeks sighed.
"No…" Michelle's voice raised a little and Deeks couldn't help but look at her.
"It was a lousy hand you were dealt Marty, but look at what you did with it. I heard what Jess said, you turned your negative into a positive, you helped people."
Deeks shrugged, "I just earned my keep. You can't take charity, If I was going to stay at the shelter I needed to earn my place there. They would have kicked me out if I hadn't."
"You really believe that?" Michelle asked.
Deeks nodded. "I mean I know Jess and Pete have come to care for me over time, I care for them too...but at first they didn't even know me."
"They became your family…" Michelle prodded.
"No, they aren't family, they are friends…" Marty argued, "You trust your friends…"
"Exactly you trust your friends, aren't the team your friends?"
"Not really, I mean I trust them a bit, we work together…"
Michelle sighed, "The team do a lot together outside of work. We have cookouts here on a regular basis, and I think of all you guys as family. Kensi has her mom now, but when she started she didn't have any family. Callen doesn't have any family, so we include him as much as we can. There is a place for you too we want you in our family the question is do you want to be there."
Deeks flinched at the thought of being part of a family. Admittedly it was the one thing he wanted, but also he was scared. It was the reason he had refused to be fostered by Jess and had argued until he was blue with his social worker to allow him to stay at the shelter and not go into a home.
He didn't trust families, families hurt.
He remembered growing up seeing those happy families, ones at the beach who would play and laugh together. Ones at christmas when he would walk the streets, making sure that another kid took his place at the shelter and had a meal and a donated gift. He would look in through windows as he passed seeing families from the outside. Some would look like those movies he had seen on the tv. Others would reinforce his opinion that a family was something best left to others.
Michelle sat back in the chair.
"The choice is yours Marty. Are you going to face this and work through it and hope that things will get better. Or are you going to take the easy way out." she said indicating the door at the end of the hallway.
She stood up and walked to the back yard where Kamran was giggling at something Callen was saying to her.
Deeks sat looking at the half drunk bottle of water in his hands.
He could take the easy way out, but what would he be giving up?
He would never be able to show his face at work again. Kensi...he would be giving her up and that to him was an anathema.
Jess, Pete both had tried to help him in their own way, but ultimately the only one who could help himself was him. What did he want out of life?
He stood up, shot a look of longing at the door and then headed for the other one.
Sam was the first to look up as Deeks walked back out into the garden. Michelle smiled and lay a hand on her husband's shoulder.
"Stay." she whispered. "Hetty, Jess would you mind helping me in the kitchen with the salad?" she asked.
Both women nodded and left leaving Sam and Deeks alone at the small round table.
"Food smells great." Deeks said sitting across from Sam.
Sam nodded, "Yeah," he agreed, "It should be ready soon I hope you're hungry."
"I'm starving." Deeks admitted.
"I made a mistake, I am sorry. Well, I made more than one, I misjudged you and I shouldn't have."
Deeks nodded, "I made mistakes too Sam. I need to apologize as well."
"So, you're staying?" Sam asked.
"What I have here is too important to leave." he admitted.
Sam smiled, "I am glad...tell me D...Marty, how did the basketball with Aiden go?" Sam wanted to talk to him but he figured right now some common ground was the way to go.
Deeks smiled, "Really good, if he ever decided to he could go pro, I think...if it's ok I would like to take him to meet my friend Kyp sometime. He would get a lot out of a few lessons with him."
"Can I Dad! Please!" Aiden said having overheard the conversation.
Sam nodded, "Sure, you can go with Deeks anytime he wants. As long as you behave."
"I will!" Deeks and Aiden said at the same time.
Sam laughed "I know you will."
For a second Deeks looked hard at Sam, but there was no anger or malice in his tone, he wasn't threatening in anyway.
He took a deep breath and allowed himself to relax, Sam wasn't his father, no one was judging him and he could and would fight his own battles.
From the kitchen Jess and Hetty looked at him and then Michelle.
"Thank you." Jess said, "I think you might have given him something we never could. A real family."
Michelle hugged the other woman, "You and Pete are a part of this family now too. Together we will all help Marty heal and Marty will learn that he can have the type of family he deserves a safe and loving one."
He didn't know why but at that moment Deeks was overwhelmed with a feeling of love and acceptance.
"You're safe now…"
Deeks blinked and turned to where he had heard a voice he hadn't heard aloud in a long time. But no one was there. Smiling he jogged over to where Callen had Kamran on his shoulders and they were beating Aiden and Pete.
"Come on Uncle Marty, we are beating Aiden!" Kam shouted giggling.
"We got a game then?" Callen asked as Kensi, Sam and Deeks came over.
"I'm in!" Deeks grinned and ran onto the court laughing.
He wasn't totally healed. Far from it, he knew he would have bad days and good days. But he also knew he could trust these people….his family to have his back and support him no matter what.
Finally he got his fondest wish.
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