A/N: Ah, this popped into my head after last night's episodeā€¦

Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS: Los Angeles

Pulled Taut

To see a gun pressed to his partner's temple made Deeks freeze like a deer in headlights. He tried to keep his eyes from widening as the masked man took Kensi and dragged her into his chest, his heavy-set and muscular arm wrapping around her thin neck in a stranglehold. The gun stayed firmly at her temple, not wavering even in the slightest.

No words were exchanged, but Deeks quietly moved his finger from the trigger of the gun to the side of it as his hands went from ready to fire to surrendering for the life of his partner. His arms went in the air and the gun dropped to the floor as he let his fingers fall from their position of holding it.

The metal weapon clattered to the ground, the echo bouncing off the metal crates that surrounded the three in the small closed off section of the unused warehouse. Deeks kept his gaze flickering between Kensi and her captor. He saw the tiniest glimmer of fear in her eyes as she stared from him to the fallen gun and back to him. "Deeks," she breathed, voice practically a hiss.

It only took a second for the iron grip of the masked man to tighten and for the gun to press tighter against her temple. Foreign words came from his hidden lips. Neither Kensi nor Deeks had any idea what he was saying, but it definitely sounded threateningly hostile.

"Let her go," pleaded Deeks, voice still hard as steel. It almost sounded like he was trying to talk a man down from jumping from the roof of a building. Marty wasn't looking for a firefight. He just wanted Kensi to be safe. The LAPD liaison watched the brunette's facial features become overwhelmed with more traces of panic.

He knew Callen and Sam were close. He wasn't too horribly worried, but the string that attached him and his partner was pulled taut. They hardly trusted each other with every day things. With their lives? Sometimes questions of Kensi's honesty rang in his head on the darkest nights when sleep wouldn't kiss his eyes. How much did his partner trust him? The alarm and horror that spread over her usually placid features were an automatic tip-off that she was scared that he was going to get her killed.

Deeks opened his mouth to say more to try and keep his partner safe, but Kensi was already taking action. Her elbow brutally bashed into the center of her captor's abdomen with surprising force, making him bend over. As if released by an automatic trigger, Kensi was battle-ready. One leg shot up and gave him a swift knee to the chin that was now at the right level. Then a fast fist flashed forward, striking the masked man right across the face.

He was already off balance to begin with, but that set him sideways. Kensi wasted no time in kicking a knee out from under him with a harsh crack coming from a bone or two. He toppled down like the tower of blocks did in the game Jenga. Then the agent pulled out her holstered gun and put a few rounds in his chest before he had a chance to move for his own gun. The reaching, grasping fingers died after the third bullet out of seven hit.

Deeks stood there stunned for a moment before picking up his own gun off the cold concrete floor. His eyes were flitting between the dead body and the moving one of his partner.

Kensi gave the still-warm body one last icy glare before turning to face the LAPD liaison. "What happened?" she growled through gritted teeth. Her voice reminded him of the snarl of a mother bear protecting her cubs. "You were about ready to get both of us shot!"

Deeks, after once more holstering his small firearm, held up his calloused hands in surrender. "I was saving your ass!" he defended, trying to return the snarl; he came up unable to return the nearly pure rage that he had seen in Kensi's unnaturally colored eyes. "Sorry for trying to keep my partner safe!"

"I can take care of myself!" Kensi spat right back at the former officer with undeniable venom in her harsh words. She then took the liberty of heading off in the direction they had originally been heading, gun still out and pointed in case anymore of the henchmen of the head honcho terrorist decided to come crawling out of the woodwork and rear their ugly heads like cockroaches after the apocalypse.

Yes, the relationship was pulled taut like a string about to break. It was already frayed and tattered in more than one place and he meant to keep it that way instead of broken into two pieces. Deeks had to accept that that was how it was and just move along like he did every other day.

A/N: I like it. Reviews are appreciated!