Sunrise with Hetty
After running up to OPS and giving the night staff all the information, he could on the case of his missing friend Marty Deeks paced back and forth along the balcony.
This was not the way he had planned starting today of all days.
He sighed heavily, well... the beach, an early morning surf with Eric was now blown out of the water, and he knew Eric and Nell were already on their way in.
He walked up to the roof of the building and watched as the night started to fade away. He sniffed the air, as he was wont to do today, if he imagined very hard he would catch a light scent on the breeze that reminded him of his mother's perfume.
He leaned against the wall and hugged his knees to his chest.
"Hey momma, I made it another year." He said quietly.
As a child every year on his birthday, his mother would sneak into his room whilst Gordon Brandel was still passed out from his drinking session the night before.
He would drink to forget that he had a son and she would make sure she was up to sneak Martin onto the roof of the house where they overlooked the whole of Los Angeles and they would watch the sun come up and hope this year that maybe, just maybe, things would be better. She would hand him a coke and the pair of them would toast his birthday.
She would stroke his forehead, move the hair from his eyes look at him lovingly, and say "This year Martin, maybe, just maybe," and they would both drink their coke.
She would put her arms around him and kiss him and after the sun had risen, they would remove all evidence that Marty had even been there and he would disappear for the day before his father woke up. This was the one day it was more than his life was worth to be seen at home.
After that Marty's own ritual would be to go down to the local Chuck E Cheeze and watch the birthday kids get balloons and presents if he was lucky after they finished their party a stray balloon would get left behind. He would steal it and walk around the beach with his 'birthday present' making sure before he had to go back that he would carefully pop the balloon and put it in his pocket to place in the box under the floorboard in his room.
He was jolted out of his reverie by the door opening and Hetty stepping out.
"Happy Birthday Mr. Deeks, do you mind if I join you?" She asked.
He shook his head and moved a bit making space for her to sit.
"Beautiful isn't it." She said looking at the sunrise.
Deeks nodded mutely he could not talk, still thinking of her.
"You know she would have been very proud of the man you've become. As I am, you have grown over the past year Marty," she said.
Deeks looked at her in surprise. "You…you think so?" he asked.
"Yes I do." She said simply.
That simple statement and sharing the sunrise with someone who cared was everything Marty needed. He just hoped the rest of his day was better.
After the case had been concluded, and his friend found safe, he walked to the locker room and took a few moments.
He had heard Kensi making reservations at a restaurant, he knew she was going with Jamie but could not pass up the chance to make her squirm, he did not really feel bad, the kid had been helpful and what Kensi was doing was a nice thing.
He had not realized though after two years of working with them that none of them had remembered that it was his birthday. That did hurt a bit; He went to get his bag as Hetty came in with the drink.
He smiled and laughed with the others as they share the alcohol, but it was not what he wanted and the tasted seemed somewhat bitter.
Hetty noticed and as he went to leave, she called him to her desk.
Kensi and Sam had left but Callen watched as shoulders slightly slumped he walked into her office.
"Mr. Deeks, Happy birthday, this one is just for you." She said and handed him a box.
He opened it, a balloon popped up in the air, and he grabbed it, "For me?" He asked surprised, "But I though the bottle…" He started.
"That was to share with your teammates this is from me to you, look inside." She ordered.
Inside the box was a glass bottle of coke and a gift certificate for Chuck E Cheeze. "I'm free tonight if you'd like to go," She offered.
Tears in his eyes Marty stepped up and hugged her. "This means so much, thank you." He said.
He looked around and saw Callen sitting doing his paperwork, "Can we?" He asked looking over at him.
"Of course Mr. Deeks what's a birthday party without guests." Hetty said and they both walked over to Callen.
"Hey G, Wanna come to my birthday party." Deeks said, his voice hitched and he checked himself.
Callens face lit up, "Sure." He grabbed his bag. "Where are we going?" He asked.
"Chuck E Cheeze," Deeks said a little embarrassed.
Callen smiled, "Wow this'll be the first birthday party I've been invited to," He admitted.
Deeks grinned sheepishly, "Don't worry; this is my first birthday party." He admitted.
They walked off to their car laughing as Hetty the dutiful mother followed behind watching her two boys who for now were happy and she smiled.