A/N: This is my first NCIS: LA fic and my first Deeks/Kensi fic. So, cut me a little slack, but not much. If it gets a little OOC at the bottom, let me know. In any case, please review if you're reading this. Thanks!

A/N #2: This is also part 13 of the Quince series in honor of my BFF, Iwait4theRain. Enjoy the madness (and angst), girly.

He was such a stupid son of a bitch. Unfortunately, this time, it was to the detriment of everyone around him.

What the hell had he been thinking? While it was certainly a question he'd asked himself in the past, it couldn't possibly apply more than it did at the moment. He could only remember that situation in bits and pieces. Guns. Russians. Kensi. Kensi reassuring him that it would all be okay, even though that was definitely not the case. Kensi had told him, "You'll get me." Ha. She'd put all her faith in her partner, but how was he supposed to save her when he couldn't even save himself? How could he prove himself to her when the only person whose good graces he was in was Hetty?

He'd made a royal mess of things at the LAPD. He could be as cavalier about it as he wanted to, but the fact that he was universally hated would still remain. His scraggly appearance, nonchalance, and witty banter were all up for scrutiny, all seen as the sign of a ridiculously incompetent detective. And there was no doubt in his mind that he'd brought over to NCIS the exact same persona. He was the worst possible choice for LAPD's liaison with NCIS. He knew it, Hetty knew it, and the Chief certainly knew it, too.

And yet, he'd managed to function as part of the team. So far, he'd managed to work with a partner who surprised him every day, who managed to make him laugh.

Kensi. Kensi, Kensi, Kensi. Ah, God. Partner did not, in any way, shape, or form, begin to cover how far his feelings stretched where she was concerned.

And he was a stupid son of a bitch, for so many reasons. He hadn't protected her. He'd created a Martine Deeks to try to save her. He'd offered up himself, in more than one way, and he'd been blatantly rejected. He couldn't keep up with her, much less save her. He couldn't even articulate what he felt for her, much less say it out loud, or say it in a way that would keep Kensi from kicking him where it would hurt. There was no way in hell he would ever even be eligible for a Second Date.

So he'd watched the Russians' car drive away, still holding his Glock out in front of him. His voice cracked as he called out her name, an inkling of hope saying that maybe, just maybe, she'd hear his yelling and know he was coming from her. Despite the bickering like that of an old married couple, despite the sabotage (he was still smarting over that implication of being gay during yoga class), despite the fact that they couldn't outwardly agree on anything, they were partners. In it for better or worse, in sickness and health. It was, in a bizarre way, kind of like a marriage itself.

You're my partner, Kensi; till death do us part.


A few hours later, he ran through the stadium frantically, finally slowing down enough to bust open the door. When he stepped in, gun out in front of him, Kensi stood across from him. Sweaty, shaking, and possibly about to cry (though he didn't even know if she was capable of that), she was a hot mess.

This was the most stunning view he'd ever had of her. This was Kensi, not the stuffy agent in the all-black ensemble who crashed a party, and not "Fern", the party junkie from Iowa who'd rubbed elbows with socialites. This was just Kensi. No games, no tricks, no witty banter. Just a brave, absolutely beautiful woman who could absolutely deal with whatever was tossed at her.

"Deeks!"

He stopped.

"Turn the lights out," she breathed. "Please."

She'd never asked anything of him. He immediately moved toward the switch, and though he managed to stop himself from crying out, he couldn't stop his heart from breaking.

"Okay," he said, trying to keep up a calm façade. "Now we know why you didn't move."

The next few minutes was comprised of Kensi trying not to shake too much, and also of Deeks trying to make a plan and ignore the rather distracting fact that his partner managed to look perfect, even with the prospect of death looming over her head. And by her arm. And her legs…

It started out well enough. He blocked out the lasers with his gun while she twisted and turned smoothly, more gracefully than even he'd thought she was capable of being. They'd always worked well as a team; this was no exception. Until… they reached a brick in the wall.

"You're going to have to do this one on your own." A pained look. An especially sorrowful gaze that he couldn't stop from reaching his eyes. He couldn't protect her. But still she adapted, and she pulled herself along the ground in a way that he just couldn't help but stare at her ass. He nearly kicked himself for that one; what kind of person was he, leering at his partner when she could be dead in an instant?

The moment passed, and she turned to face him. One more laser. One final test.

He reached out and offered his hands to her, and it wasn't just an escape from death that he was offering. He knew it, and he knew she'd figured it out, too. She understood what the plan would be, or at least the first step.

"One…"

He squeezed her hand.

"Two…"

She winked at him. I trust you.

"Three!"

And then they were flying, and it was loud, and all he could think about was making sure that he landed first, and then… and then. The inferno around him seemed to vanish as Kensi's heart pounded madly against his own and they stared at each other in a way that was both unsure and fearless. It was unprofessional as hell, but frankly, he didn't give a flying fuck.

And then Sam was calling over the intercom.

"We're good," Deeks smiled, desperate to get out of the comms system but also knowing that everything he was saying was true. And then it was just him and Kensi, alone in another world previously left unexplored by both.

"You alright?" he breathed. Are we all right is what he was really asking.

She looked as if she was going to say something that really meant something. Maybe it would be a declaration? Maybe?

But no.

"I gotta pee," she whispered sheepishly. And because she was Kensi, and because he was Deeks, and because they were them, it was funny as hell, a moment in which there had to be banter.

As he replied, "I think I just did," he wasn't referring to the kidnapping. She leaned her head against his chest, and for a minute he rocked her in his arms. For once, she was opening up to him, and he wasn't going to let the moment escape him.

He would have left it at that, but Deeks was more oblivious than he cared to admit. It had to be true, because he sure as hell hadn't expected her to be the one to initiate anything that meant anything. And he couldn't think about anything else, except for the fact that her lips were soft and holy shit he was really kissing her and what the hell who cared if anyone knew and oh my God what the hell was he doing and this was completely mind blowing and

They broke apart, gasping for air. Her hand still cupped around his cheek, she widened her eyes, bit her lip, and bolted upright to standing position.

"Oh, my God," she breathed. "Did we just…"

All he could do was give her a genuine smile. No retort, no taunting, no witty comment.

And though he knew it was coming, it still tore him in two when she readjusted her earpiece and began to walk away. He somehow found the strength to drag himself upright and run to catch up with her. He slid in front of her, cutting her off, and gently grabbed her wrists. "No," he whispered, his voice cracking at the most inopportune moment.

She tilted her head, confused. "No?"

His heartbeat was frantic, erratic. "You… you are not walking away from me, Kensi."

Silence.

"Not this time."

She stopped fighting against his hands, instead choosing to shoot him a halfhearted, regretful Look Of Death. "Why the hell not?"

"We're partners." A pause. "We don't walk away from each other."

"There's always an exception, Deeks."

"Oh, come on, Kensi!" He ran a hand through his hair, about ready to rip it all out. "You can't just do something like that and then expect me to walk away."

"What would happen if I went through with this," she hissed, "huh? We'd kill each other…if someone else didn't do it first."

"So you won't even take a chance on it," he huffed. "Whatever happened to recklessness and stupidity in the name of happiness? You've certainly done your share of it, and it's worth it, isn't it?"

He stomped away, then turned back and gave her a smoldering look. Then he whispered, almost seductively, "Think. It. Over. We'll still be partners even if you don't choose in my favor."

Then, he walked away, never looking back, and Kensi bit her lip, trying to keep away the unfamiliar feeling of tears pooling in her eyes.


Deeks groaned as the doorbell to his apartment rang. He put down his beer bottle and slowly walked towards the door, feeling his head spin. This did not abate upon opening the door.

She held out a box of pizza from down the street, along with a six-pack and the original James Bond film on DVD. "I brought this over here to make up for calling you gay in front of all the hot yoga girls."

The tension seemed to dissipate. He ducked his head and laughed. "Only you would come up with something like that, Kensi. And it wasn't that bad."

"No?"

"None of those girls were anything like what I was looking for."

"How come?" she asked tentatively, trying to look anywhere but at him.

He was done with pretenses. "They weren't you," he said almost inaudibly.

This time, she didn't walk away.


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