The Way They Start

. . . . .


The case involved bombs and terrorism and though those things are not new for them there's something about this time that's different. This time, it's too close. This time, it almost takes Kensi out and Callen finds himself reacting in ways he never anticipated. His shooting has changed the way he's looked at life, there's no doubt about that. Being on the brink of death changes a man and when Kensi is damned lucky to walk away with just a sprained wrist and the advice to take a load off for twenty-four hours, he finds himself being very insistent about taking her home.

When they get there, he's following her in and she's collapsing to the couch. She gives him a weak smile and tells him that she'll be fine, but he doesn't believe her. She's got scratches on her forehead and he surprises both of them with how gently he brushes across the scrapes. It's the way her breath catches that has him leaning down.

Then they're kissing and stumbling and he's got half a mind about how this is a very bad idea, but its not about good and bad ideas so much as it's about need. He needs to remind himself he's alive, that she's alive, that they've made it out in one piece. It's cliché, but there's nothing he can do.

In reality, when the building explodes they're far enough away to watch almost in awe at the flash of colour and heat. The LA fire department is on scene in minutes and though Kensi's sprained wrist is a result of a bad hit on the punching bag during training instead of the explosion.

. . . . .


They're undercover.

It's a rainy day and a mission in a club – because where else is a drug dealer going to go to play – and they have to follow the guy outside. He's hunched against the rain, they're laughing like they're drunk and her shirt is soaking through. His is already clinging to his body when they both realize that there's more to the guy than they thought. The dark alleys twist and turn and they know Eric's tracking their location, but they also know that the guy they're following suspects they're not just a drunken couple.

So he kisses her, in the rain, with her shirt clinging to her chest, plastering to every curve and his shirt following well-defined muscles. Eric's voice in their ears clues them both back in, but one hot look between them means more than any gesture or words. They make it through the debriefing afterwards and when it's time to head out, to regroup for another day, they head off to their cars. Except the minute Sam and Deeks seem distracted enough, Callen pulls Kensi with him.

They make the drive to the house he calls his gaze is hot on her as they race up the walk and then they're kissing again as he swings her through the door. She's shocked to find he has a bed, but then the fact of his bed becomes secondary to what he's doing with his mouth on her neck.

In reality, they do kiss in the rain for a mission, but when they get back and go through the debriefing, they avoid each other's eyes. In the end, they go their separate ways.

. . . . .


It's a terrible day.

She loses it in front of Hetty and the diminutive woman sends her home without her proverbial supper. Callen doesn't like watching her go because it means he's down a man (woman?) but he knows Hetty's right. Kensi's too close to the case, too close to the situation and it doesn't take Nate to figure it out. Which is good since Nate's still overseas doing whatever Hetty told him to do.

But just because he watches her go doesn't mean he's not worried and he picks up the greasiest pizza he can find when they leave the office. She's got red eyes when he gets there and he can tell she's been drinking. Still, she's hospitable because that's the kind of person she is and they sit on the couch eating the stupidly greasy pizza while she spills her guts about her dad and the murder and the case. He sits in silence, just listening, until she leans over and kisses him. In the morning, he gives her two Aspirin and breakfast.

In reality, Hetty does send her home and he does show up at her door with greasy pizza, and she's totally drunk, but she passes out on his shoulder. He makes her breakfast and gives her Aspirin in the morning after spending the night on her surprisingly comfortable couch.

. . . . .


Callen has a bed.

How Hetty convinced Callen to have a house-warming party is still an absolute mystery to everyone, but the team is laughing and joking and at ease so they don't really care. In fact, she likes the fact that he has somewhere to call home, somewhere that keeps him settled and somewhere he's comfortable. The fact that she's sitting on his couch, shoulder to shoulder doesn't hurt either.

She lingers as the team says their goodbyes and heads home, promising Sam that she's fine to drive. She's only slightly buzzed, but it's enough to lower her inhibitions. She makes a show of gathering her things before heading to his door. She takes a chance just as she's about to say her final goodbyes and leans into him. If he can taste the beer on her tongue he doesn't say anything, just kisses her back and pulls her back into the house. Her purse falls to the floor and he presses her against the door long enough to lock it before stumbling backwards. That night, Kensi finds out he has a bed and Callen finds out she's a cuddler.

In reality, Kensi does find out Callen has a bed and sees his home, but it has nothing to do with a party and they don't kiss. Instead, they fall asleep watching a movie because he's got his plasma in his bedroom because of Sam's poking and prodding. They laugh when they wake up and they've worked together too long to feel awkward about the whole thing.

. . . . .


They're on a date.

It doesn't matter who has the guts to ask, all that matters is that someone did. They've been dancing around this for ages and it's in the way they act in the office, the way they respond to each other when they're undercover. It's in the way he knows to take her dancing, because she loves to dance and admittedly, party, though that's an escape mechanism he's identified a long time ago.

He's a gentleman through the night, most of it anyway, ignoring the way his hands move on her body when they dance. He walks her to her door and he's the one to make the first move to kiss her. Kensi doesn't think twice about letting him inside and she actually doesn't care about the fact that she's about to sleep with a guy on a first date because it's Callen. They've been on a number of dates already, they've just never been themselves while they did it.

In reality, it's a really nice dream and she's shocked to find that it was Callen in that pretty little fantasy. Then, she wakes up completely and thinks that maybe it's time for a cold shower before heading into Ops. As she drives in she can hear Nate say something about pack rats and romantics.

. . . . .


The sun shines through the window the morning after, and Kensi groans as the sun hits her eyes and makes her head throb. It takes time for her to realize that she's not alone. It's the dip of the bed that's the give away, a slight shift and a surprising stroke of calloused fingers against the soft skin of her stomach.

"Tell me you feel as crappy as I do."

She wants to laugh but it's also just dawned on her that they're both naked and she probably looks like hell. The night is patchy, but she knows there was a team-outing involved. Hetty's been more insistent since Dom's death that the team hang out and spend time together. Relax. She's pretty sure this isn't what the ops manager had in mind.

Then he's rolling out of bed and she's surprised to find that she misses the warmth of his stomach. He's around the bed in an instant pressing a kiss to her forehead with a tenderness that, admittedly, surprises him. Less than she expected and she suspects that it has everything to do with a big part of the night she doesn't remember.

"I'll get the water. You get the Aspirin. Bathroom cupboard."

She wants to thank him for giving her a breath, a moment to collect herself and when he leaves she takes a moment. The moment turns into a few moments as some of the bits of the night come back to her and she feels her body heat. She should have known they'd fit.

He doesn't look surprised to find her still in bed when he returns, just shakes his head and goes to get the Aspirin himself. She merely offers him an apologetic smile and hugs the sheet to her chest as she sits up. He's thrown his boxers on and sits on the edge of the bed. They each take a moment to swallow the drugs before Kensi's eyes fall closed again and she rests against his headboard.

He beats her into work and neither of them say anything but there's a look about him and a glow about her and the team knows. So when Sam invites them both out, then says he has to bail, neither of them are surprised or upset. Their first date comes after their first night.

Kensi remembers every moment of that night in vivid detail.

And they both know its just the beginning.

I'm no where near sure how I feel about this, but it was an interesting brain exercise. Really, how I feel about it doesn't matter if you guys like it, because you guys are the ones reading it.

I'm hoping "Breaking" will be up in the next couple of days but I have a big presentation coming up that I have to handle, then papers to grade. And I have a chapter of Criminal Minds that's due for writing. We'll see. Because there's a couple of Castle fics I need to write and need to get started on. But really. But these two have been eating at me.

And now I'm just typing 'cause I'm exhausted. Which is a good reason to step back and stop ranting and let you guys review.

You know, if you're up for it...