Today marks the five year anniversary of our favorite couple. In case the show doesn't recognize it, I wanted to, because these wonderful characters deserve it. And so do the viewers/readers. Thanks in advance for any reviews, comments, favorites, follows, etc. Those all equal love, you know =0)

Disclaimer! I don't own these characters. I'm just borrowing them again.

T., this one's for you!

Enjoy!


Eighteen hundred twenty-six days. Two hundred sixty-one weeks. Sixty months.

Five years.

It doesn't seem possible. Yet it is. All those days bleeding into weeks, morphing into months, becoming years. Countless moments both treasured and forgotten. Thousands of smiles…touches…glances. Punches thrown. Barbs tossed. Innuendos lobbed playfully, dangerously back and forth.

Five years-worth.

Her heart has slowed, but her mind is just getting started. Beside her, lying on his stomach, arms folded beneath an endearingly scruffy cheek, lies her partner, breathing deeply in a sleep born of satisfaction. She lies on her side and watches him, a small, involuntary smile playing on her lips. Have they really been side by side for half a decade? Has it been that long since she walked into that MMA gym and saw those piercing blue eyes checking her out from across the room? Has it been that long since she was introduced to Jason Wyler? It seems unfathomable.

She closes her eyes and falls down through the memories, each one not of him or her, but of them.

He's standing beside her car, looking lost and helpless and terrified, as she gives herself over to men who could very easily kill her.

"You'll get me back."

Four simple words, spoken with confidence. Four simple words that amounted to five simple letters….t-r-u-s-t. The first she had ever really shown him. It wouldn't be the last.

Lasers, red as Satan's eyes, caging her in, threatening to break her. Promising to be the end of it all. Suddenly he's there, and despite the fact that it isn't, it's somehow okay. Just his presence alone makes it possible to live a little bit longer. To stand painfully still until he figures it all out and comes up with a plan.

And again, she had trusted him. Taking his strong hands, holding her breath, and putting all her faith in him had both been the hardest and the easiest thing she had ever done.

There have been knives at her throat, guns to her head. Countless instances of her own imminent peril. Yet none of those were as haunting and terrifying as hearing Hetty that morning, giving the news none of them ever wanted to receive.

"Deeks has been shot."

Never before had she felt such despair and fear. Never before had she wanted so badly to be by someone's side, praying for a miracle. Not since she was fifteen, had she feared death so much. But he had survived, humor intact. Even in agony, lying in a hospital bed, fresh out of surgery, he'd been a pain in the ass. One she wouldn't have traded for anything.

She doesn't feel the smile leave her face, but as the next set of memories seep in, it does just that.

Sitting on a bike, staking out suspects, irritated and borderline angry because he won't just say what he means. Everything has to be a damn puzzle. Nothing is ever clear or obvious or true. It's sophomoric bullshit time after time, and she's sick of it. He's like dealing with a child. And then, just as she's at her boiling point, he suddenly grasps her face in his hands and kisses her. For the first time in their odd, off-kilter relationship, she's stunned into absolute silence. There's no time to react, no time to figure it out, and in the hours to come, as the unthinkable happens, that kiss is lost in the terror and panic of knowing he's been captured and tortured. And the worst part yet…she can't even free him and take him to safety.

Her throat constricts as the memories of that day besiege her. It was the most difficult thing she had ever had to do. Walking out of that body shop, leaving him behind to face his captors once they returned – possibly to kill him – had been eviscerating. It went against everything her heart and mind had been screaming to do. And seeing him lying in that hospital bed, broken and defeated had nearly crushed her heart to death. He was alive, but as the days and weeks had worn on, it became clear that something inside him had died. Unresponsive and locked away from everyone, he was becoming someone else. Someone she had truly feared for.

She thought that hearing him say he wanted to get away from everyone and everything – including herself – was the worst he could make her feel, but having him refuse her phone calls and never return them had been even more painful. Knowing he was inside, but not answering the door was both frightening and frustrating. Finally seeing him open that door had brought so much relief and so much surprise, she hadn't really known how to act. Instinct had taken over, though, and they had fallen softly back into being them.

"It's a love story."

Watching him nod off and slip deeply into a sleep he obviously hadn't seen in weeks had been more than wonderful. It had brought a peace she hadn't felt since she'd found him in that body shop, tied to a chair. Something had shifted that night. Her world spun on a slightly different axis. They were keenly aware of one another. Even more so than before. The flirtations took on a different tone. The teasing had a new edge. No one else may have noticed, but she had, and she's sure he had, too. But, just as before, there hadn't seemed to be any direction to it. The mixed signals were all over the place…the banter, the charged comments, the glances full of admiration or desire or need…they were all there, but without an honest word as to what it really meant.

And despite it all, it was infuriating. Then, that simple, innocent invitation.

Dinner, not at all what she expected it to be, entirely too upscale, entirely too poignant. Staring at him across the table, trying to figure out just what this is between them. He tries to be funny, but he's nervous. And he's pissing her off. Enough of these damn games. Just spit it out, for Christ's sake.

And then, he did.

"I want to be at my place right now. With you."

Seeing him tremble and worry, obviously second guessing himself, fearful of being rejected after baring his soul to her was the most endearing, refreshing, and liberating thing she had ever experienced. And walking out of that restaurant with him that night, facing the unknown and all its possible repercussions had just felt right. It wasn't wanton desire or the lure of forbidden fruit. It was him and them and the past and the future all melded into the present. The moment. The one they should be living in, instead of wondering about, worrying over, hoping for. The time had finally come.

Lying in his bed, a flurry of thoughts and worries and misgivings swirling in her head, she had looked up at him, unable to hide all those emotions.

"What's wrong," he whispers.

"You know if we do this, this changes everything."

"So…what do you want to do?"

"I don't want to have to choose."

"Then don't. Don't choose."

"You know that's not how it works." She pauses. "What do you think's going to happen?"

He shakes his head, eyes half closed with want. "I don't know. I don't care."

"What are you doing to me, Deeks," she asks, tears in her eyes.

He gazes down at her, and the emotion displayed is magnetic, drawing her to him.

His answer is barely a whisper. "Falling in love with you."

It's undeniable, that ache, that desire, that outright need to be close to him. To touch and be touched. To finally kiss him and feel his kiss in return. It's years-worth of pent up longing. She feels so much conflict, yet so much need for this man. He's her partner, but he's so much more. Her friend, her ally, her punching bag, her confidant. Her everything. Now, with just a few touches, he could be her lover. She lets the doubt and worry fall away, and embraces what could be. She kisses him with a passion she's never felt. And he reciprocates. His lips capture hers and his tongue dances intimately with her own. Strong, warm hands caress and undress her, eyes sweeping reverently over every inch of exposed skin.

This isn't what she expected tonight, but it's everything she wants, consequences be damned. She pulls his clothes off, her fingers grazing over the scars from the shooting a couple of years ago. Her throat constricts, but as if he can read her mind, he's there, lips on hers, hands in her hair, making her lose herself to nothing but the moment. Memories of pacing a hospital corridor with his badge in her hand vanish. In their place is something equally intense, but so much more beautiful. It's the present. The now. The moment she becomes his, body and soul. And no matter what tomorrow brings, no one can ever take this from them.

Tomorrow. It had brought the unthinkable. Not just the sunrise and the waking up to him and wondering what's next. Not just the awkwardness of not exactly knowing where the line is anymore. No. It had brought the beginning of the most horrific experience of her life.

She hadn't wanted to go, but orders are orders, and she was raised by a good Marine. Orders mean you don't argue. You don't say what you feel, or voice your deepest concerns. You don't do any of those things. You just go. And she had. All the way to Afghanistan and a mission she shouldn't have ever seen or known about. A mission that would nearly end her life and take her sanity. All those freezing cold nights, lying in her bunk wondering just why the hell she was there. Missing Deeks more than she thought possible. Feeling desperate and alone and helpless, because even though she was yet to be a prisoner, she felt like just that. Hetty had sent her. Granger was keeping her. Was it punishment for that one night of giving in? For doing the unthinkable and falling for her partner?

And then it all got worse.

Lying on the cold ground, surrounded by darkness and enemies, beaten half to death, she clings to the memory of that night. Of Deeks, and his blue eyes, filled with truth. She clings to the warmth of his body, the taste of his lips, the sound of his heart as she had fallen asleep on his chest. She endures everything they hand out. She does it for him. She hangs on and forces herself to breathe, refusing to give up because she has to see him again.

Miracles happen. She's being traded. She's going home. It's still too much to believe. Her mind can't grasp the reality. She sees Sam and Callen, but he's not here. The relief of being rescued is brief. In its place is the fear that he isn't here at all. That she'll be forced to wait until they land on US soil to see Deeks. To feel his arms around her and hear his calm, loving voice. She isn't sure she can last that long without it. Yet, when she sees him for the first time, only hours later in camp, she isn't sure what to say. The pain and a shame she can't explain make it difficult to speak.

"It was really bad," she whispers.

His arms come around her, pulling her securely against his chest. "It's okay. We're going home," he says softly. "We're going home."

But home wasn't what she had expected. In some ways, it was as if that night had never happened between them. They were inexplicably back to where they were before. Partners. Friends. Neither mentioned making love and being torn away from each other the very next day. Sometimes, she wondered if she had dreamed it. The scars, both physical and emotional, still remained from her time in the desert. Nothing remained of that night in his arms, but a memory.

She's ready to acknowledge their relationship and move forward. She's ready to accept that it's dangerous and probably a bad idea to have a relationship, but that line was crossed months ago. So she smiles at him from across the room and mentions what has always been called, 'their thing.' His answer takes her totally by surprise.

"Yeah, I'm really not sure what to do with that."

She's stunned, but doesn't want to show it. She can't let him see how crushed she is inside or how confused. So she gives him the box that has been taunting him so, and she leaves.

Maybe it just took time. Maybe he was shell-shocked from having her ripped away from him suddenly, the day after he'd professed his love for her. Maybe he had to decide if it was worth it. Regardless, she never pried. She never questioned his motives for backing off and resuming their flirty, sexually charged, banter-filled partnership. She gave him space and time, and refused to resent him for pursuing her relentlessly, then essentially breaking it off between them after Afghanistan. She was patient…far more patient than she's used to being.

And then she'd had enough. Maybe it was Christmas, maybe it was just that her patience had finally run out. Whatever it was, she'd reached the end.

"I wanna be bold, Deeks," she takes his hand. "But, I want to be bold with you."

"So no more games, then."

She shakes her head, smiling. "No more games."

"Chips on the table?"

"All in."

"All in."

"Tonight."

"Tomorrow."

"And the day aft…" He cuts her off with a kiss, her face held in his hands. And although this isn't the first time he's kissed her, it feels as if it's just that. The first time. The beginning.

Those days, spent at a romantic ski resort – not at a cheap, dog-friendly motel, as planned – were the best days she's ever spent anywhere, with anyone. And she can't help but smile at the memories of ski slopes and snowballs and hot tubs and a soft, warm bed in front of the fire. Nights spent making love and lying in sweet silence; the only sound, their heartbeats and their slowing respirations.

The smile on her lips fades, as she feels the now-familiar worry edging in from her subconscious. Something is wrong, and she doesn't know what, but it scares her half to death. He's being investigated. He won't say why. He won't deny that there's something to find. A chill runs through her.

"Come here and I'll warm you up," he says, eyes still closed.

She pushes back the fear and the dread at what she doesn't know, and slides closer.

"You're awfully quiet over there," he mumbles against his arm.

"I was asleep."

"Liar. You've been staring at me for hours."

She laughs. "We just made love half an hour ago."

He opens his eyes and rolls onto his side, a slow smile spreading across his face. "Has it been that long?"

He reaches for her and she giggles, because with him she can. She can be herself, whoever that is at the time. Badass agent, seductive lover, girly, giggly woman in love with her partner and best friend. A wave of dread pushes forward.

God, please don't let that change.

He kisses her neck and pulls her flush against him, the heat of his lean body sinking deliciously into hers. She pushes away the negative and embraces the now. He rolls her onto her back and kisses her with all the love and passion she's ever needed, and when he pulls back, he whispers, "I love you," against her lips.

"I love you, too," she whispers between kisses. Neither has mentioned the day, and she can't honestly believe she's got the date etched in her memory. Does he even realize? Will she be hurt somehow, if he doesn't?

"Deeks, you know it's been…"

"Five years," he murmurs against her neck. "The best five years of my life."

Tears prick the back of her eyes, and she bites her lip. Please, God, let there be five more. And five after that, and five after that.

He draws back to look down at her, and concern creases his brow. "What's wrong?"

She shakes her head. "I can't believe you remembered."

"You remembered."

"Best day of my life. How could I forget?"

He smiles softly. "Mine too. The beginning of all this."

She smiles back. "We need do this day justice."

He brushes a strand of hair from her eyes, and traces a fingertip along her lower lip. "I agree." He envelopes her mouth in a kiss, alighting the fire only he is capable of kindling. In the quiet candlelight, he makes love to her, celebrating all they are, all they've been through, and all that's yet to come. And as they drift to sleep sometime later, he tosses up a silent prayer for five more years.