For my dahling Apryl's birthday. :)

As usual, I don't own NCIS Los Angeles. Or the silly characters on it. Or Apryl.

"Hey, Sam."

"What's up?"

"Did I tell you about the time Kensi almost blew an op because she didn't want to kiss me?" Callen directs the question to his partner, but his eyes are on the other two members of the team walking into the bullpen together. After Deeks and Kensi had discovered their secret relationship was out of the bag, the pair had become more conscientious of the eyes following them everywhere they went together. At first, they were coming to work separately in the mornings. It didn't last long, though, and now they're settled back into their old routine.

"Wait, what?" Deeks' ears perk up at the words Kensi and kiss. He turns to his partner, who's now standing frozen in place like a deer caught in the headlights. "How long ago was this?"

"When? Ahhh, um…" Blinking finally, Kensi looks around the bullpen at the curious expressions from her team. Callen is smug of course, and has just been waiting for the right time to drop this bombshell. Sam looks like he just cheated on a test but is still anxiously awaiting the inevitable big fat A that's coming his way. Deeks is gearing up to make fun of her in the most loving way possible. The only problem with his reaction - he's about to be in for a rude awakening.

"Last week," Callen answers for her. Sam smiles and shimmies in his chair with excitement.

Deeks' smile begins to fade. "Last…week, last week? The op with the supremacists?"

Oh, if only eyes had bullets and a firing mechanism. G Callen would be a dead man. The death glare isn't coming from Deeks, however - it's his girlfriend that has taken aim upon the senior agent. She knew it would only take a short amount of time for him to get over the trauma of their undercover assignment and start making light of the situation. What she didn't realize until after the case was closed was that he noticed her hesitation. That word alone makes her shudder. It can be the difference between life and death for them if it happens at the wrong time.

Callen nods. "That's the one."

Deeks appears perplexed, like he does right before he gets lost in his own mind. "Why did you hesitate, Kens?"

There is that word. God, she hates how he can read her mind. "What? I did not hesitate, for one thing. And secondly, shouldn't you be happy that I didn't want to kiss him?"

Sam crosses his arms over his chest. "I think she should prove she's willing to do it. Without hesitation."

"Let's not overreact here," Deeks says, holding a hand up.

"No, I think Sam has a point." Callen nods to Kensi. "Unless there is some particular reason why you didn't think you could kiss me then to maintain our cover."

Sam grins. "Or kiss him now to prove you can do it."

Deeks shifts uncomfortably in the center of the bullpen. "I should really...clean my desk or something," he says, absentmindedly sorting through a stack of files on his desk.

Tossing her bag in her chair, Kensi ignores her own stack of paperwork that goes flying from the sudden gust of air. She turns to face Sam and Callen, her eyes indignant and her mouth tight. "Okay, what if you guys had to kiss each other for an op, huh? How would you react?"

Sam diverts his eyes and Callen shrugs. "Who's to say we haven't?"

"Oh. My." Kensi's really regretting asking her previous question.

"Wow, how long has this donut been under here?" Deeks asks nervously, still shuffling papers.

"I've seen you kiss Deeks undercover before. Long before you were together," Sam continues his heckling.

She balks. "And I've kissed Callen undercover before, this was just one time-"

"So what's different this time?" Callen raises an eyebrow.

"Oh look, a poisonous spider," Deeks mutters. "Maybe it will bite me and put me out of my misery."

Kensi tries not to focus on Deeks during this impromptu interrogation, but it's hard to keep her eyes off of him for long. The air around him had changed as soon as Callen mentioned the op she hesitated, no...paused for reflection during. "Nothing's different. A thought crossed my mind and I paused for maybe two seconds."

"Two seconds could mean life or death," Deeks says softly without looking at her.

"Is it his breath?" Sam leans across his desk. "You can be honest with us, it's pretty bad sometimes."

"Uh," Callen chuckles. "Sorry, what?"

"Yes!" Kensi snaps her fingers. "He had onions. Yeah. It was pretty bad."

"Liar," Sam call her out. "G doesn't eat onions. He says they're too closely related to vegetables."

"Maybe his undercover persona loves onions," Kensi reasons.


"Agreed," Callen adds. "Tell us why you paused."

She shakes her head. "No."

"Do it."


"Maybe we should ask Hetty's opinion, what do you think, Sam?" Callen asks, looking back towards Hetty's desk.

"Nah, Hetty's not here, what about Granger?"

"Fine!" Kensi exclaims. "I had an epiphany, okay? I leaned in and somehow it felt wrong because all I could think about was," she flails her hand in the direction of Deeks, "him! Okay? I love him. Kensi. Loves. Deeks. Are you happy now?"

Callen's smug expression and Sam's look of defeat are quickly erased by the sound of a stack of papers being slammed onto Deeks' desk. Without uttering a word, he shoves his hands in his pockets and storms away from the bullpen.

"I...Deeks?" Kensi calls out to him, but he ignores her. She watches him walk away, a little confused but mostly angry at herself. That is certainly not the way she should have made that declaration...for the first time. Oh no.

Callen pinches his thumb and forefinger together. "You owe me fifty bucks, big guy. I told you it was because of Deeks."

"I could have won this. I shouldn't have called her out about lying. But it was just so obvious," Sam says, disgusted with himself.

"Shoulda coulda woulda. Pay up."

"Guys! Seriously." Kensi's far too concerned about her boyfriend to deal with the two supposedly more mature members of their team. She'll give them a piece of her mind later. "I'll be back."

Her feet take her to the first place she would go if she was upset - the firing range. Sure enough, when she peeks through the armory door, he's standing at the far right stall with a Sig in his hand and a Smith and Wesson on the counter in front of him. It's odd, she thinks, for him to practice with both. Perhaps he's just better preparing himself for the next time someone gives his spare away.

She watches as he takes his frustration out on the paper body target, releases the magazine from the Sig, and places them down gently in front of him. She takes that as his cue that he's ready to talk. And she's ready to apologize.

"You love me?" Deeks asks, acknowledging her presence behind him before he even takes his ear muffs off.

Kensi steps closer. "Deeks, let me-"

"And that's the reason you can't do your job?" His jaw visibly clenches as he finally turns to face her. "Because I don't think I can live with the ideas of what might happen if your judgment is impaired again."

Oh. That is something she didn't even consider during the fiasco with Callen and Sam - she and Deeks are taking a huge risk by being in a relationship at all, but it's not against regulations unless it interferes with work. And she just admitted to the team that she let it interfere with work. Damn. "I'm sorry, I…this isn't something that we talked about."

"Well, maybe we should have," he says wistfully. "I remember during the Sidorov mission. Um, we were watching Sam and Michelle from the hilltop above his house, you remember?"

"Deeks." She gives him a stern look. "Really? You actually think I could forget that?"

"Just checking. That's not something we really talked about either." He smiles softly, the first positive show of emotion in reference to that particularly day that she can ever remember. Usually he avoids the subject altogether. "But anyway. Michelle kissed Sidorov, and I could feel myself getting angry for Sam. But you said she didn't have a choice, and you were right. Some days we're basically just actors with guns, ya know? And we do what the job asks of us whether we like it or not."

She's pretty sure he's not really as annoyed with her as he seems, so she closes the gap between them and rests her hands on his hips. "Even if it means making out with Callen," she teases.

Deeks makes a disgusted face. "Yes, even that. Or Sam. Or some bad guy. Or even Nell. But that doesn't mean I particularly want to know about it. Ignorance is bliss. Well, except for Nell. That I would want to know about."

Kensi pinches his love handles, causing him to jump and snort. "Well for the record, I do want to know about it if you have to kiss or seduce someone."


"And I also want to know that you hated every second of it."

"Fair enough," he responds with a smile.

"I won't hesitate again," she promises.

"Good." He wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her flush against him. "Though I'm curious. What exactly was this grand epiphany of yours?"

Smiling, she closes her eyes and breathes in the scent of ocean air and gunpowder. She loves it. "I realized that I didn't want to feel anyone else's lips on me but yours."

"Hmm," he breathes against her cheek. Brushing his lips softly against hers, he murmurs, "That's a remarkable coincidence."


"Know another coincidence?"

Kensi opens her eyes and tilts her head back to look at him. "What's that?"

"I love you, too."