So naturally I wrote fic.
SPOILERY BACKSTORY and fic below the cut:
Kensi Blye is an NCIS agent who's dad was a Marine who was killed when she was 15. At some point before then, her mom, upon finding out that her dad wasn't a Marine sniper trainer but rather part of a black ops killing-people team, left her dad and took Kensi with her. Kensi ran away and went back to her dad and didn't see her mom again for 15 years.
So, this is a bit about her as a runaway, which may well grow into something bigger involving more backstory because I really like Kensi, but right now I'm like "welp, this is all I've got.
The first time Kensi Blye goes undercover, she’s 13 years old and running away from home.
The plan starts pretty much as soon as they get to Boston, to a cute little house in the goddamn suburbs. Starts when she goes to school the first day and is supposed to be some cute new-kid girl who cares about which boy-band is the hottest.
She starts putting it into action that same afternoon after school, because if she’s going to get all the way back to Hawaii she’s going to need to stop being Kensi Blye. Which means a fake ID, so when she sees the knot of kids smoking cigarettes behind the stadium she figures they’re as good a bet as any for knowing where to find one.
So Kensi puts on her best tough smirk and lazy slouch and heads over.
“Hey,” she says, leaning against the pillar for the bleachers. “Can I bum a smoke?”
The oldest girl there looks over at her with raised eyebrows and an incredulous smirk. “Who the hell are you?” she asks, one hand on her hip.
“Kensi,” Kensi replies. “Who the hell are you?”
That gets laughs from the guys, and eventually the girl cracks, hands over a pack of menthols and a lighter. “Blaire,” she says. “And you shouldn’t smoke, didn’t you know it’s bad for you?”
Kensi pulls out a cigarette, flicks the lighter, takes a drag. Only coughs a little bit. She shrugs when she hands the stuff back.
“Where you from?” one of the guys asks, lazy-casual.
“Hawaii,” Kensi says, to a couple impressed looks.
“Damn, what’d you do to end up here?”
Kensi rolls her eyes. “My mom split up with my dad, dragged me out here.”
Head-shakes all around. “That sucks,” Blaire says, dragging out the word. “This town is the worst.”
Kensi laughs. “Thanks for making me feel better, guys,” she says, sarcastic. “Real helpful.”
But they are helpful, actually. They sneak her into shows in Boston, sneak cigarettes and booze in basement bedrooms, sneak out at night to TP a teacher’s house or just walk around darkened neighborhoods and talk about nothing.
But it’s about to start getting cold, and Kensi is not waiting till spring to get back to Dad. So one afternoon she asks if anybody knows where she can get a fake ID.
Peter and Blaine share a glance. “Kid, nobody’s gonna believe you’re 21,” Peter says, and everyone laughs.
Kensi glares. “Eighteen’s good enough.”
Peter acknowledges that with a tilt of his head. “Least then you’ll quit stealing all my cigarettes,” he says. “I’ll ask around.”
It costs her $100, stolen from Mom’s purse one $20 bill at a time, but a couple weeks later she has a pretty believable driver’s license proclaiming her to be Carrie Ford, age 18, with an address in Boston.
A week later she leaves, some clothes and a sleeping bag in her dad’s old backpack, overly warm in the jacket that wouldn’t fit inside but she’ll probably want in a few more weeks. It’s late when she slips out, stops at the ATM to take out the maximum on her “just-for-emergencies” debit card, then cuts the card in pieces and drops it in the trash along with the receipt. Heads to the nearest Greyhound station and buys a ticket to Chicago, leaving first thing in the morning, as Kensi Blye. Then heads to the downtown station and buys Carrie Ford a ticket to Raleigh, North Carolina. The bus doesn’t leave for another couple hours, but Kensi’s too nervous to want to walk around, plus her backpack’s heavy. So she buys herself a cup of coffee and sits in the station, reading while she waits.
Raleigh is a college town, which is why she picked it, and it doesn’t take long to find some dropout kids who’ve got a space on their couch where she can crash. She meets them at a punk show, in a warehouse she’s found to crash. It’s a great spot right up until the lights flash on one morning and scare the shit out of her. She’s on her feet with her bag behind her by the time the kids make their way in, and they stop short when they see her.
“Who’re you?” one guy asks. He doesn’t look hostile, not really. Mostly just curious, with a side of amused.
“Ke—Carrie,” she says.
“‘Kay,” the guy just stands there watching her, leaving a silence she’s gonna have to fill.
“My parents kicked me out,” she says, shrugs her shoulders, sticks her hands in the pockets of her jacket. “Lock’s easy to pick, nobody’s around, I needed a place to crash.”
There, the guy cracks a bit of a smile, looks around at his buddies and sticks out his hand for her to shake. “I’m Derek.” Kensi shakes his hand, shifts her stance so it’s not “ready to punch somebody.” “This is Tom, that’s Andrew.”
Kensi shakes hands all around. “You should come crash at our place,” Tom says, “We got a couch. You can make some money helping out at shows if you want.”
“Sure,” Kensi says, keeping her voice and stance casual. “Sounds good.” She doesn’t want to stay here long, but a little extra cash is always good.
She ends up staying a week. Because the next weekend she’s working the door, taking cash and handing out tickets, when a couple comes in with rucksacks, asks her where to stash their stuff. So Kensi hands off the tickets and shows them to the back room.
“Where’re you coming from?” Kensi asks, and the girl laughs.
“All over,” she says, glancing over at her—boyfriend? Kensi’s guessing boyfriend. “We were in Atlanta for a bit just now. Thinking about heading out West for the winter.”
“Awesome,” Kensi says, about hits herself for sounding so stupid. “I…uh, this is weird but I’m trying to get out to California…” she pauses, not sure if she should ask.
They trade a glance, and the guy shrugs. “We usually go by train,” he says. “You hopped trains before?”
Kensi shakes her head. “I could learn though,” she says, trying not to sound too eager. The girl smiles, looks Kensi up and down. Kensi resists the urge to stand up straighter, square her shoulders, because this isn’t Dad, okay, that’s not gonna help.
“How old are you?” she asks.
“Eighteen,” Kensi spits out, too quickly.
“Uh-huh,” the girl says, deadpan. “But how old are you actually.”
Kensi bites her lip. “Sixteen,” she says, steady, confident.
The girl smiles, but she doesn’t push. “OK,” she says, “We’ll give it a shot. No hard feelings if it doesn’t work out though, yeah?”
Kensi nods. “Yeah, of course.”
The girl gives her a crooked grin. “I’m Luna. He’s Birch. We’ll come find you after the show.”
Kensi ducks out midway through to get her gear, tosses it in the back with the packs Luna and Birch left. They’re sitting at the bar, sharing a beer and watching the band, and Kensi hops up next to them. Luna smiles at her the way adults smile at Kensi a lot, like they think she’s just fucking adorable for whatever it is she’s doing, and Kensi hopes Luna will quit doing that before Kensi has to scream at her about it. Because she really wants to learn how to hop a train.
She’s halfway afraid they’ll sneak off and leave her, but sometime after midnight they find her where she’s bumming a cigarette off Derek by the door. Which saves time, because she can tell Derek she’s leaving and walk out before anyone has time to hug her or say something dumb.
Hopping trains, as it turns out, is mostly a lot of fucking boredom. It takes them almost a full 24 hours to find a train going west, and then it’s so slow they’d almost beat it walking until they get out of town. They’re perched in a gap under a grain car, out of the wind, relatively hidden from anyone who’s looking. Kensi is trying not to fidget or look bored or like she’s worried they’re never going to get anywhere until they hit the outskirts and the train starts accelerating. And then the wind picks up around them and she can stick her fingers out into the slipstream and watch the fields roll past, and it’s good.
They’re sheltered enough, but it’s too noisy with the clatter of wheels on rails and the wind whipping past them to really talk. It’s nice, actually, they doze off and on, Luna passes around hunks of cheese and bread from her backpack, and they fly through the fields and the mountains and through tunnels until they slow down to pull into a trainyard and they hop off.
It’s a good pattern, and it doesn’t take long for Kensi to get the hang of it, to learn a little bit about Luna and Birch. First of all, that those aren’t their real names, although she’d guessed that. That Luna is from West Virginia and Birch is from Minnesota and they met at a festival a couple years ago in Illinois. That Birch taught Luna how to hop trains, that they’ve been traveling together for a little over a year, that they’ll probably meet up with some friends in Austin before going further.
One night they’re sitting around a campfire (which Kensi made, thank you Dad for that one), when they decide Kensi needs a better name.
“Where’d you get yours?” Kensi asks.
Birch shrugs. “Lotsa birch trees where I’m from,” he says. “Figured what the hell, they’re useful, pretty, strong and flexible.” He stretches his arms over his head. “Just like me.” Luna laughs and elbows him in the ribs.
“What about you?” Kensi asks, looking over at Luna.
Luna looks a little self-conscious. “Harry Potter,” she says, and shrugs. “You got a favorite book, movie, something like that?”
Kensi looks down at the fire. “Star Wars,” she says, a little embarrassed. She looks up at Luna. “It’s my Dad’s favorite, we used to watch it together.”
Birch chuckles. “Leia, then,” he says. “You could even do the hair.”
Kensi can’t quite decide whether to glare or laugh, but then Luna smiles, and so Kensi does too. “My hair’s a mess,” she says, sighing. It’s pulled back in a ponytail the way it always is, but it’s ratty and dirty and she’s going to have a hell of a time getting a brush through it.
Luna digs around in her pack, pulls out a wide-tooth comb and tosses it to Kensi. “Now you see why I keep mine short,” she says, and Kensi sighs.
She actually does pull her hair up into two buns, and it’s not long enough to be Star Wars-ridiculous but it’s entertaining, so she keeps it that way. And the two of them call her Leia all the way to Austin.