Thanks so much for the reviews and great comments from all of you guys. It really does make me feel awesome. Well, this is the final chapter. It's been fun. :) And thanks again to Apryl for putting up with me and to Brenda for pushing (shoving?) me along. :)
The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and the wind was blowing in their hair. Every possible cliché for driving through California on a beautiful day was true. Although, Kensi and Deeks were so high on life that a tsunami could have been heading in their direction and they wouldn't have paid a damn bit of attention.
Frankly, five days of non-stop sex would alter anyone's perception of reality. With the exception of hunting for food and drinks, the pair never left their room. It made sense to Kensi why Deeks wanted to fill their second day of vacation with so many activities; he intended to spend the remainder of his trip filling her.
For the first time in what felt like forever, she was truly happy. Her face was literally hurting from the permanent smile plastered across it. She was sure all the other oral activities had something to do with it too, but now that they were on their way home, Deeks was focused more on her smile than anything else.
"You're kinda scaring me," he shouted above the wind. Turning his head for a moment, he flashed his own smile that threatened to outshine the sun. "I have never, in the um, four? Four. Four years I've known you, seen you smile for this long. It's almost as terrifying as your laugh."
Kensi opened her mouth to respond, only to have the wind blow her ponytail into it. She stuck out her tongue and pulled off the hairs, making an offended face. "Me being happy is terrifying to you?"
"Not at all. It's kinda scary in a good way."
She could barely hear him over the wind and road noise. A good kind of scary? Like going on a road trip without a map scary? That was basically the state of their relationship at this point. The gears in her head started turning, and the real Kensi started shoving vacation-Kensi out of the way. What if they got lost along the way again? Oh no, thinking was not what she needed to be doing. Thinking was bad. The closer they got to Los Angeles, the more her smile faded. "Where are we going?"
Deeks furrowed his brow. "LA...we're getting pretty close. You okay?"
"I know where, I just mean...I don't know."
The Jeep then veered off the road and onto an overgrown dirt road. Scowling, Deeks pressed down on the parking brake and turned to share his look of displeasure with Kensi. "Alright, what's up?"
"Just thinking," she shrugged.
"Now this," he pointed to her changed expression. "Is the Kensi I know and...recognize."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Super serious spy Kensi, always on the lookout for something. So what did you find on your journey of contemplation?"
Kensi grunted. "You're still weird."
"Not as weird as you, my little freaky deaky."
"I hope nobody takes a black light to that room we just left, cause wow, talk about a light show."
She tried, really tried, to keep up the appearance of being unfazed by their pending arrival back home. A certain nagging feeling wasn't going away: the knowledge that everything now would be completely different from when they left. "There's a whole week left of vacation. What do we do now? I have things I would like to do, ya know, non-Deeks things. And then when we go back to work, how do we know that it won't go straight to hell again?" She sighed. "Our lives are difficult and complex. This trip was too perfect. I don't know what to do when the imperfect takes over again."
"Is that what you want, perfection?" He grabbed her hand, bring the palm of it to his lips. "Cause I ain't perfect. Neither are you."
"I know." Closing her eyes, she breathed in the fresh air and the feel of his lips on her hand, her wrist, and the little nook in her elbow as he pulled her closer to him. "I kind of like your imperfection."
"I'll take it," he said with a smile. "Look, I know you're worried about work, and I am too. But there's a week left for us to get back to our imperfect world, and when we do go back, it's not going to be like the Day That Shall Not Be Spoken Of again."
She raised an eyebrow. "It has a name now?"
Deeks nodded, nudging the soft skin of her arm with his nose. "Yes it does, and we shall not speak of it."
"You're so dramatic."
"This is true."
She ran a hand through his wind-blown hair. "I kind of like that about you, too." And by that, she meant everything. She kind of liked everything about him.
"Good." He pulled away from her and Kensi pouted in protest. "Really? You want to here?"
She shrugged. "We could christen the backseat-" Deeks grinned and looked away guiltily. "Yeah, nevermind, I don't want to know how many asses this backseat has seen."
"Yeah, yeah. How about this," he said as he released the parking brake. Tilting his head to her, he squeezed her knee and ran his hand up the inside of her thigh. It didn't matter how many times he had touched her in the last few days, that still drove her wild. "Our plan for now is that I'll go home, you go home, and we'll pretend that we're normal people and take it from there for the next few days, yeah?"
Her smile was returning again. "Normal people that shoot bad guys together and just spent the last week, well almost a week, fucking like the world is about to end?"
Shifting into reverse, he copied her smile. "Exactly."
After a quick trip to see her mother, in which she managed to avoid all intimate details of her vacation despite the all-knowing looks she was receiving, the first night back home was as smooth as could be. She slept for nearly twelve hours and woke up feeling like a million bucks. Maybe it wouldn't be so hard for them to be "normal" after all.
Deeks texted her at one in the morning on their second night apart.
*i kinda miss sleeping with my favorite human starfish*
Kensi smiled sleepily and ran a hand over the cold and very empty side of her bed before texting back.
*i'm sleeping great. i don't miss your snoring*
Snorting, she imagined the look of disbelief that was assuredly on his face as he read that message. He wrote back almost instantly.
*that's because i don't snore, you do*
*must be why i don't miss it :)*
Her chest tightened as she placed her phone back on the nightstand. Why did she miss him so much after only two days? She grabbed her phone again and sent one more message.
*i miss u 2*
On the third day, Kensi was sorting through her dirty laundry from the trip and noticed the absence of a particular matching set of pink lace undergarments. After ransacking her bag and her entire apartment, she called Deeks for some answers.
"Well, hello there."
"Hey, um," she cringed. "Did some of my underwear end up in your bag?"
"Are you just now doing your laundry?"
"Noooo..." she lied.
"That's kinda gross."
"Shut up," she growled. "Do you have my stuff or not?"
Deeks chuckled on the other end of the line. "Yes. Hand-washed and air-dried, even though you probably would have just thrown them in the washer and dryer. And before you ask, I didn't take them on purpose."
"If you say so."
"I do say so." He cleared his throat. "So, you wanna grab something to eat today?"
Kensi grinned. Laundry could wait just a little longer. An hour later she arrived at his door with Korean take-out. Two minutes after that, the food was on table, his hand was up her shirt, and her hand was down his pants. He kissed her like she'd been gone for months, the way he should have kissed her when she came back from Afghanistan, as he pressed her into the lumpy cushions of his couch. The bed was just too far away.
The next night he showed up at her place with cheeseburgers and surprisingly, Merlot. Breakfast, and then second breakfast, was served in bed the following morning.
On the last day before work, they agreed not to see or talk to each other. They'd have to keep up the appearance of missing each other when they returned to work, after all. Those twenty-four hours were unbelievably brutal, but necessary. The hope was that their return to work wouldn't be nearly as painful.
Kensi stood outside the Mission and gathered her thoughts before the inevitable onslaught of questions that would be hurled her way. Good vacation yes, ready to be back at work. Great vacation? Fantastic? There was no need to lie, really. It was possible to say you had a wonderful vacation without having to explain the countless number of orgasms. Nobody really wanted to know that anyway. Except maybe Nell, but she'd save that story for a much later time.
Walking in confidently, she threw her messenger bag on the floor next to her desk. "Good morning," she announced her presence cheerily. Sam and Callen shared a look across their desks. Deeks was still not in yet, she noticed. Not atypical for him.
"Good vacation?" Sam asked, struggling not to smile.
"The best," Kensi replied. Oh man, she shouldn't have said it was the best.
Callen raised his eyebrows. "Really? The best? Where did you go again?"
She plastered a smile across her face. "Ojai, the spirituality resort. Released some of this tension I had, cleared my mind, ya know?" Except for the location, that technically was all truthful.
"Hmm," Sam hummed. "Well, you're glowing."
"Ah, um." Kensi sat down and started shuffling through the papers on her desk. "Thanks." A flash of sunlight caught her attention as Deeks opened the door to the Mission. She tried to calm her fluttering heart and act completely normal, but it was damn hard when he looked so fucking sexy. How dare he wear that v-neck shirt that showed off his arms. And now that vacation was over, he had abandoned his shorts for the impossibly tight jeans again. She wondered how hard it was to get them off. It sounded like a fun challenge for after work, or lunch break, or a quick trip to the burn room.
Shit, he looked way too happy. "Good morning, everyone!"
Sam and Callen exchanged another look, but Kensi spoke up before they could say anything. "Morning, partner. Good vacation?"
"Oh yeah, it was the best."
Kensi clenched her jaw, but Deeks wasn't facing her and couldn't see her reaction. She dropped her head and began shuffling through papers. Callen cocked his head at his partner and Sam smiled widely. "Yeah? Where did you go? I could really use a good vacation spot."
"Surfing in Mexico, it was amazing," Deeks lied easily. "Sun, sand, water. Really cleared my head."
Nope, she was definitely not going to look at anybody now. Her paperwork was suddenly terribly interesting.
"Things have been pretty tense lately," Callen nudged at Deeks.
"Yeah, no kidding." Deeks began unpacking his bag onto his desk. Kensi could feel his eyes burning into her, but she was not going to look at him. "So, did we miss anything?"
"Hetty's still not back, Nell is tearing through here like a ginger tornado, and Granger is-" Callen curled his lips. "Well, he's just Granger. But with a beard."
Sam leaned back in his chair. "G is back on the market."
"Awwww," Kensi said, turning to Callen. He didn't appear heartbroken. "Or, yay?" Awkwardly, she finally looked at Deeks for help. Of course he was grinning at her like an idiot, and she couldn't help but smile back.
Deeks shoved a hand in his pocket, speaking to Callen but never taking his eyes off of her. "Are they uh, offering senior citizen discounts on the dating market now?"
"Ooooh," Sam and Kensi murmured in unison.
"Don't feed the troll." Callen glared at his partner. "And the breakup was mutual, I'll have you know."
"There's a fine, fine line..." a singing voice from the second floor balcony interrupted. "Between love and a waste of time..."
The three agents and lone detective all looked up slowly to find Eric leaning over the railing. He looked quite proud of himself until he realized they all appeared confused by his choice of song. "I uh, overheard part of the conversation, and I just," he stammered. "Well, ya know. Um, we've got a case."
"That was weird," Kensi commented, pushing herself up out of her chair.
"Not really," Sam said.
"Yeah, apparently Nell told him he had a voice for Broadway," Callen added, walking beside his partner. "I think she said it sarcastically, but he's graced us with his God-given talent for show tunes every day for the last week and a half."
"Awesome," Deeks groaned. Standing in the center of the bullpen, he waited for Kensi to join him before heading towards the stairs. Giving her a quick once-over, he grinned widely."You ready, partner?"
She greeted him with a small smile and a shoulder nudge. "Let's do this."
Kensi was in the NCIS gym, reacquainting herself with an old friend, the Nexercys. She wasn't angry or lonely or in need of anything in particular that day, but just something about sneaking away and pounding her fists against an inanimate object sounded like an excellent idea.
It wasn't as easy as she thought it would be this time, pretending like nothing had changed between her and Deeks. Granted, her day wasn't nearly as difficult as the Day That Shall Not Be Spoken Of. Only a handful of days in the past year were as trying as that one. At least he seemed completely unfazed by their secret change in status. She hoped that she appeared the same way to everyone else on their team.
Something happened while they were out in the field that actually made her question whether they could still be partners day in and day out. It was just a routine search of the victim's apartment, but an unusual noise startled both of them and they pulled their weapons. The noise turned out to be just a cat that had jumped in through an open window, but Kensi noticed that the rush of adrenaline she felt was much intense than it should have been for such a mild situation.
She, like many other agents, had lost a partner before and had been paranoid about it happening again for a while. What she felt in that moment wasn't paranoia, it was pure fear. Horrible images flashed through her mind as she'd watched him walk over to check out the cat. Dom's death, watching Deeks' handler Jess and then a year later Agent Hunter die in explosions, pressing her hand as hard as she possibly could on Renko's neck to try to keep him from bleeding to death, finding Deeks and Sam after being tortured- all memories she wished she could forget and hoped would never be replaced by even more terrifying ones.
They chose their lives and their careers knowing how dangerous it could be. But it wasn't her own life she worried over, it was the freaking beautiful idiot talking to a stray cat during an investigation. The same freaking idiot that somehow had wormed his way into her life and her heart. She couldn't lose him, that much she'd known for a long time. More than that though, she didn't think she could handle watching him die.
Kensi punched the Nexercys over and over again, trying to ignore whoever had entered the gym behind her. It had been over a month since she had punched the shit out of something, and it was an amazing release for her troubles. Not troubles really, just concerns. And fears. And how did she let things change in her mind so quickly? Why was she already starting to question everything already?
The answer was pretty obvious, but she pretended to be oblivious to the depth of her feelings for her partner. Deeks wasn't the only idiot; she was a pretty big one, too.
She paused and stood at attention, sensing the presence of someone familiar standing close to her. Placing her hands on her hips, she spoke without turning around. "Enjoying the view?"
"Yes, actually, I am," Deeks responded. "But I was also wondering why you're hiding in the gym."
"Not hiding. Exercising," she said with a sigh.
"Hmm." He took a step closer to her. "You know, this is something else that's also a lot more fun with two people instead of one."
Snorting, she turned around to face him and did a double take. He was in workout clothes and holding two pairs of training gloves and head guards. "You're serious?"
"Why not? Unless you're scared, of course," he teased, tossing her a set of gear.
"Please," she scowled, removing her boxing gloves. "Are you sure this has nothing to do with your desire to pin me to the ground?"
A grin spread across his face as he geared up. "It has everything to do with that. And if I lose and you end up on top of me, that's just as good, too. Really, I win either way."
"Uh huh." Kensi pounded her fists together nervously and swallowed hard. She wasn't quite sure this was a good idea. "I uh, I'm not sure if I can do this."
"Why, because of your tendency towards violent behavior?" His voice sounded like he was joking, but his face was serious.
"Well-" she shrugged. "Yeah. I've been trying to do better about that but I'm a little gun shy, with you in particular."
He tilted his head. "Do you think I'm actually going to hurt you?"
"Of course not," she answered quickly.
"Then I expect the same from you." Sticking his mouth guard in, he grinned at her.
She narrowed her eyes and inserted her own mouth guard and tried to talk. "Do you mean right now or is that more of a general statement about our future?" She sounded ridiculous with her mouth piece in, but Deeks understood her anyway.
"Could be applied to multiple things," he mumbled while backing up towards the padded floor mats. "So are you gonna tell me why you were hiding?"
They both settled into a basic fighting stance, with their bodies low and right legs back as they slowly circled around each other. Kensi quickly scratched her nose and held her hand back up again. "Don't get mad, but I was just thinking about whether or not we should still be partners."
"What?" He stood upright and she took advantage, moving in quickly and lightly punching his gut. Before she could hit him again, he grabbed her wrist, twisted, and shoved her away from him.
She circled him again, trying to word her thoughts in such a way that he would understand her. "You're the best partner I've ever had, Deeks, and it's our job to keep each other safe. I guess I'm just worried about the consequences if I fail at my job." She lunged at him but he dodged her easily. "It might kill me."
Trying one more time, Kensi rushed towards him. This time, instead of dodging, Deeks waited until she was close enough to grab her. Before she could squirm away, he placed her in a guillotine hold with his arm wrapped around her neck. "Okay, and I can't say that I don't have those same thoughts from time to time." A tap on his leg and unhappy grunt signaled her admission of defeat, so he released her. "But it's just our first day back. Let's give it some time before we start panicking and sending out resumés, yeah?"
Seeing Deeks act so relaxed about her worries calmed her down a little bit. "Okay. That's fair." He skirted his hand behind her and tugged her ponytail playfully. "That wasn't fair, though." With a quick jut of her kneecap into the back of his knee she was able to push him backwards on to the mat and pin him down in the mount position, with her legs on either side of his chest and hand on his shoulder.
"Not too shabby," he complimented her.
"You still have a lot to learn, though." And just like that, he flipped her onto her back and pinned her just as she had done to him. Wrapping one arm under her neck, he used his knee to trap her underarm and his free hand to pin her arm against her face. Her upper body was completely immobilized. "Like the fact that you actually need to perform a submission hold when you have your opponent on the ground."
Even though she was losing this sparring match, Kensi was quite enjoying herself. If she could just make her mind slow down enough to relish every fun moment with him, they might have a fighting chance to be happy. His grip loosened but he remained on top of her, staring at her in a way that made her heart start racing as fast as her mind had been before. Oh, the things just a look from him could do to her.
"Hi," he said softly, taking his mouth guard out. Running a thumb over her mouth, he tugged on her bottom lip before pulling hers out as well.
They should stop, they should stop, they should stop. "Hey yourself," she choked out.
"We should probably get up," he spoke hesitantly.
"We should definitely get up."
"There are cameras."
Kensi shifted slightly underneath his weight. "Yeah, but Hetty's not here, so who's watching?"
"Good point." Pulling her head up with his arm, he tried his best to reach her lips with his despite their obstructive head protection. The feather-light touch of his lips was a stark contrast to the much rougher feel of his hand as it roamed inside her fitted shirt.
Kensi moaned, scratching her nails up his leg, until the sound of creaking and smug laughter at the entrance of the gym startled her. Shit. "Shit, shit," she hissed.
"Shit, shit, shit," he echoed, pulling his hand away from her chest like it was on fire. They were both frozen like deer in the headlights, just waiting for the inevitable crash about to happen.
Straining their necks, they saw Sam saunter into the gym with his a large smile on his face. His smile faltered at the sight of the junior partners in their slightly compromising position on the floor in front of him. Throwing her head back against the mat, Kensi groaned and wracked her brain for a reasonable explanation. MMA training? Well, that was kind of true. Deeks did mention she had a lot to learn, and she supposed he could be teaching her how to escape from being held to the ground by an extremely hot man in gym shorts...
Sam blinked his eyes, then quickly turned around and headed towards the door again. "G, man, I completely forgot to show you what I did to my car."
Kensi and Deeks shared a confused look, listening intently to the conversation between the other set of partners as it got harder and harder to hear.
"What are you talking about, Sam?"
"Yeah, I got a new pinstripe, you've got to see it."
"Oh yeah? What color did you get this time?"
"Storm silver metallic."
"So, gray again."
"Gray is something you would get, this isn't just any gray."
The voices eventually disappeared completely and they were left, dazed, in the quiet of the gym again. "Did Sam just catch us?" Deeks asked.
"And then cover for us?" Kensi added, incredulous.
Chuckling, he shook his head. "Think about it, though. If anyone gets it, he does. Him and Michelle."
"Oh yeah." She looked up at him and he gazed down at her. It was so natural, falling into a relationship with someone you trusted with your life. The transition from partners, to friends, and then to lovers wasn't seamless for them but still felt so, so right. "Working side by side..."
"Seven days a week..." he continued.
"Months on end..." Kensi thought she was about to melt under his gaze, and her heart started its usual Deeks-induced pounding as he smiled sweetly at her before finishing her thought.
"They fell in love."