The weekend passes for him in a blur of anxious energy.

He's acutely aware of how long it's been since he's seen or spoken to his mercurial, and often absurdly stubborn partner. After sharing dinner with her at her apartment, they'd called it a night at just a few ticks after midnight.

Since then, he hasn't gotten so much as a text from her.

Typically, that wouldn't be all that big of a deal. The entire OSP team as a general (though unspoken) rule tries to pretend like they have personal lives of their own (they don't, not really) so they tend to spend their weekends almost completely out of touch, going through the motions of being normal.

He plays the game just as well as the rest of them do.

Saturday night, he'd gone out dancing with a pretty blonde girl in her mid twenties name Sarina. They'd had a good time, and in the morning, she'd invited him to call her again. He's pretty sure he won't, though, because he already knows that he can't ever be what she wants him to be (a simple and uncomplicated normal guy working an eight-to-five office job - essentially someone that she can happily bring home to mom and dad), and he doesn't want to waste her time pretending otherwise.

Sunday afternoon, he'd gone to see an action film in Glendale. The movie had been out for weeks so he'd been lucky enough to have the mostly empty theatre to himself. He doesn't remember much about the film, though.

Mostly because he'd spent the majority wondering what she'd think of the half-baked cliché soaked love story and the female lead who had essentially been a simpering none-too-bright damsel in distress just waiting around to be saved.

So basically, the exact opposite of Kensi Blye.

He knows that he's got to stop thinking about her. Sooner as opposed to later. He's pretty sure she hasn't spent her weekend dwelling on him, wondering how his hand is doing (fine, thanks, but still a bit sore to be honest) and thinking maybe she should stop in to check on him.

He's pretty sure that she hasn't been dreaming about him. And if she has, he's pretty damn sure that her dreams have involved a hell of lot more clothes than his had. As in, clothes at all.

Oh, but that's a whole other box of problems. One that he dare not even consider opening, because he knows for damn sure that she won't. Ever.

So the weekend passes both quickly and slowly for him. Monday comes and to his slight embarrassment, he feels like he can't get out of bed fast enough. He considers texting and asking her for a ride, but decides against it simply because he knows that he needs to pull himself together before he sees her.

The last op – the Stanley King one - well it'd been every kind of nightmare that he's had since they'd become partners six months earlier.

He's getting just a little bit sick and tired of thinking that she's about to get killed.

Or in this case, had been killed. He can still almost vividly recall the moments after King's house had exploded into a ball of fire. He'd been certain that she'd been caught in the blast, dead for sure.

His feelings in that moment had been close to inexplicable. Pain, anguish, loss, heartbreak, guilt – a cocktail of a million emotions colliding violently. One look over at Callen and Sam had confirmed that they, too, had been overwhelmed, but somehow, even then, he'd known that it'd been different.

Because what he felt – feels – for Kensi and what they feel for her, well it's apples and oranges really.

And that's a big problem.

He gets into work by fifteen after nine, and makes his way to the bullpen. He's not surprised to see Callen and Sam already there – they carpool in almost every day which means they're either both on time or both late. Today, they're early.

"Deeks," Sam grunts, his head down as glowers at his computer screen. Deeks supposes that that's supposed to serve as a good morning of sorts.

"Sam, Callen. Kensi in yet?"

He tries to ask the question in the most disinterested way possible, tries to make it sound like a simply inquiry, but Callen and Sam, it's almost like they see right through him. It's like they know he's fighting off feelings that he knows he's not supposed to be having. The weird thing is, they seem kind of amused by the prospect of him being jealous about Kensi.

He wonders idly if that's because they figure he has no shot at her so it's all fun and games at his expense. If he was the kind of guy to take things personally, he'd be getting a bit annoyed by just how much of their humor makes him the butt of the jokes.

But, thankfully for them, Marty Deeks is a self-styled joker, the easiest going guy in the room, and so even if deep down he could stand a bit more respect, he'll never let the rest of them know that.

Well not Callen and Sam anyway.

He likes to think maybe he could have some degree of that kind of conversation with Kensi. If he absolutely had to anyway.

"Yep," Callen replies, his head buried as usual in the middle of the morning newspaper. He flips the page and then says, "Huh, you know the Mummy exhibit is in town next weekend?"

"Didn't know that, G," Sam replies, smirking slightly. "Are you are asking me to take you?"

"That'd be nice. You never take me anywhere nice anymore."

"Uh, yeah, okay," Deeks chuckles. "Uh, Kensi, where is she?"

"Range," Callen replies, then to Sam says, "So are you?"

"Taking you to the museum?"

"Yep."

"Sure. But you're buying dinner."

"After the surf and turf dinner you made me pay for Friday? I don't think so."

Deeks shakes his head, and then turns and heads for the stairs. Before he's gotten half a dozen steps, Sam calls him back, "I'd watch out if I were you."

"Why?" he asks, turning back around.

"It's not even nine-thirty yet and she's been up there already for at least an hour."

"Did she…is she…do you know what's wrong?"

Callen lowers his paper, "Could be a dozen things, could be nothing at all. All he's saying is, if something is bothering her, be careful about approaching her. Especially with her having a loaded gun in her hand and all."

"Got it."


The weekend passes for her in a blur of anxious energy.

The only person she'd seen or interacted with since Friday was her partner, and since then, she's done just about everything she can not to think about him.

She stays inside most of the time, the pain in her jaw (which has grown significantly worse since Friday evening) is simply too much to bother with trying to do normal things such as flirting, dating and dancing. Also known as pretending to have a social life.

Besides, she's really not in the mood for any of that anyway.

She'd spent most of Saturday sleeping, trying to regain her energy and recharge her batteries. At least that's what she tells herself. What she doesn't admit to herself is that maybe there's a hint of depression in her lethargic slumber.

The op, well it's weighing heavily on her. From her point of view, no matter what kind words Hetty had said at the end of it, she's pretty much sure that she'd hosed the whole damn thing.

After all, two suspect/witnesses killed within twenty-four hours, not usually the mark of a great agent.

Bobby Asher had been a giant babbling annoying pain in the ass (and not in the amusing way either), but he'd been utterly harmless. Patricia Dunn had been a lovesick woman who'd allowed silky words and sweet promises to make her betray her morals.

Both of them had deserved better than their eventual ends. Both of them she had essentially stood by and watched get murdered. At least, that's how she sees it in her head. She knows that things tend to get weird in there. She takes things too personally, assumes too much responsibility. Even knowing that, she can't stop herself from doing it.

It's a strange thing, though. She's extraordinarily cognizant of her strengths and weaknesses, but she's fairly certain that no one would ever describe her as being self-aware. Part of that is because she spends so much time ignoring and avoiding what the non-instinctual voices in her head are telling her.

Things like "it's not your fault" and "there's no way you could have known" and "let him in, he won't let you down."

The first two, she's been dealing with for years – every time a case goes even slightly to the side, she's the first one to tap her chest and take responsibility. The guys are always quick to tell her otherwise, but then she just internalizes it, and takes the blame anyway. She's gotten fairly used to the weight of it all by now.

The third one, though, the one related to her partner, that's a whole problem all together. Trust is difficult for her – hard for him, too, she knows.

Their issues are different, but in some way, so much the same.

They both have daddy issues. She suspects that they both have abandonment issues (though he hasn't really hinted at his). And they both have a frantic need to prove to everyone that they're good enough to be doing the job they are.

Everyone looks past her because she's a woman, and an attractive one at that. So she fights back by being tougher and stronger than everyone else.

Everyone looks past him because he wants them to – he hides himself behind the persona of a constant joker, where everything is a laugh.

Ninety percent of the time, they're both happy to accept the roles that they've created for themselves, but there are times when the job digs its way under the skin, and forces a few moments of truth and honest introspection.

She abhors introspection. Therein lay truths that she's not ready to acknowledge or accept. Therein lay pain that she's not ready to let go of or face.

This op, though, it hadn't cared about her desire not to spend too much time inside of her own head. This one – amazing when you consider that it had all happened within twenty-four hours – had left a mark, and not just the brightly discolored one on her jaw (though it had most certainly left that one with a sort of sick glee, she thinks).

Still, she tries to ignore the feelings and fears and emotions that have suddenly surged forward. She tries to pretend that it's just the pain she's in causing her to be so off-kilter.

Sunday she'd spent cleaning around the house. Or at least neatening. Well, really more like moving things around, from one spot to the next.

As she'd been doing it, much to her irritation, her mind had drifted back to Friday night, to Deeks coming by with food and beer. It'd been a ridiculously sweet gesture, and the few hours that they'd spent sitting on her couch, sharing beer and watching TV had been nice and quiet and utterly enjoyable.

Then, right in the middle of it, right after she'd finished her third beer and he'd started his second, she'd thought to herself, "I could get used to this."

And then she'd stood up and said, her voice maybe a bit too loud, "I'm tired."

"Is that your way of telling me to get lost?" he'd joked, but she'd thought she'd seen reluctance, and maybe a little disappointment in his deep blue eyes.

"Yes," she says, and then smiles.

"Okay. You want me to leave the last beer for you. I mean for your jaw?"

"Yes."

He'd nodded, and then made his way to her back door. "You okay?" he'd asked.

"Better now," she'd replied, perhaps more honesty in her voice than she would have normally preferred, but suddenly she'd had the frantic need to let him know that his visit had been appreciated.

"Good. You need anything this weekend, you know how to get ahold of me."

"Yep."

"Goodnight, Kensi."

"Goodnight, Deeks."

He'd left then with one more backwards - clearly reluctant – look, and then she'd locked the door behind him.

She's not completely sure why her mind continues circling back to those quiet hours, why it keeps seeming to insist that they mean something.

She knows they don't.

They can't.

Because she can't – and won't – deal with this.

Deeks is her partner. Just that, nothing more.

She knows better, though.

He's at least a good friend by now, someone that she's let in far more than she has anyone else in her life – including Callen and Sam (truth be told, they don't push, but even if they did, she's not sure she'd even open up too much – they're like big brothers to her and the idea of appearing weak in front of them rubs her wrong in a way that's clearly not completely professional).

There's more to it than even that, though, and that's where she starts feeling the panic rise through her. Because when she closes her eyes, and allows herself to forget that he's her partner, she wonders what it would be like to let down her walls around him.

She wonders what it would be like to kiss him.

That's when everything starts getting really screwed up in her head.

Her love life is already a mess, but at least it's one that she likes to think she has control of. Serial dating is easy for her – even the bad parts of it. She enters every so-called relationship understanding that it clearly has an expiration date. It's always going to end eventually, and usually, not in the best of ways.

She's learned to respect the process. More importantly, though, she's learned how to dismiss the emotions associated with another failed relationship. Now it's almost like a business transaction. Rarely messy and very seldom something that she dwells on for longer than a single day.

Deeks, though, she knows that if she ever allowed something to happen between them (and she fully accepts that it's rather arrogant to believe that he has any interest in her – he is a bit of a player and she's totally not the kind of girl he usually goes for best she can tell) and it went bad (as it inevitably will thanks to the automatic expiration date on every relationship), well then she would lose so much more than she could have ever gained from the moments of weakness.

There's more to her lethargic depression than just Deeks, though.

She hates failing, and there's just no way around it, she'd failed. She'd let people down, and had to be saved. She'd badly misjudged King, and then watched him callously murder four people.

It's enough to drive an already angry woman to acts of rage.

She's more controlled than that, though.

And so once the weekend finally ends, she wakes up early, and gets into the Mission before anyone else does. And then she plants herself in front of the targets, and fires off round after round. Until it becomes mechanical, until she loses herself in the monotony of something she knows she's good at.

Death.

Killing.

She fires again. And again. And again.

Her hand cramps as she again closes it around the handle of her Sig.

She keeps firing.

She never once misses the target.


He's fairly sure that she doesn't hear him come in. Or if she does, she doesn't react to it. He's not stupid enough to try sneaking up on her so instead, from a position near the door, he clears his throat.

She snaps around – confirming for him that no, she hadn't heard his arrival – and glares daggers at him. "Deeks."

"Morning," he says with the most affable smile that he can pull up. If he'd been hoping that it would defuse her, he's wrong; she just keeps glaring at him.

"What are you doing here?"

"Uh, I came to see…what's wrong?" His eyes sweep over her, taking in her physical appearance. Aside from the bruise on her jaw, which is now more green and yellow than black and blue, she looks fine.

"Nothing."

"Nothing. So you're fine?"

"Yes. And this time, I really am."

"You'll excuse me if I don't believe you now anymore than I believed you then."

"I'm not in the mood for this, Deeks," she replies shortly.

"I see that. My question is why. Did you have…did you have a bad date this weekend?" Considering his own date with blonde Sarina, he's a bit surprised by how he feels about the idea of her with another man.

"No. I stayed in."

"Okay, so what then because when I left you Friday, you were in a pretty good mood. Which means it wasn't something I did. For once."

"I just…it's nothing. I'm fine. I'm just getting some extra practice in."

"Because you totally need extra practice. Kensi, I've never met anyone who is as good of a shot as you are. I think if I blindfolded you, spun you around in a circle ten times and then pointed you downhill, you'd still hit your shot."

"I would," she smirks, and he's amazed by how much he likes seeing that.

"I know. So then what's going on?"

"I just…I got to thinking…about King, you know?"

"How you misjudged him?"

How like Deeks to slide his way under her skin almost immediately.

She sighs. "Yes."

"How long you going to beat yourself up for this?"

"I'm not –"

"You are. Beating yourself up. And…and you're beating up the targets, too. My God, what have you done to that man. He has no crotch anymore. That's just…that's wrong, Kensi. It's just wrong."

In spite of herself, she laughs. She feels the anger flowing away from her.

Freaking Deeks and his ability to disarm her anger.

"Ah, I saw that. You laughed," he announces.

"Shut up, Deeks," she mutters, but he sees her lip quirk upwards.

"No, no, I saw it. You can't take it back."

"I can shoot you where I shot him."

"You've got to stop threatening to shoot me. When we first met, after I got shot, right now, I mean seriously."

"You wouldn't know seriously if it bit you in the ass."

"Maybe not, but I think that works for us," he shrugs, and there's a strange kind of pleading hopeful in his blue eyes. Like he needs her to confirm what he's saying.

"Yeah, it does," she admits.

"So, now that I've managed to charm you back into a good mood…"

"You really have a high opinion of yourself," she quips.

"Maybe, but I'm not wrong. Come on, admit it."

She rolls her eyes instead.

"Uh huh. Now tell me, what do you think you could have done differently?"

"I…I should have been more aware of King. I should have anticipated…"

"Okay, let's go with that," he cuts in. "Let's say that you'd pinned him as a cold blooded killer. Then shouldn't all of us have? You're not the one who decided to make Asher sell your cover – that came from Callen and Hetty."

"It was operationally sound," she defends.

"Accepted," he nods. "And so was your evaluation of King. We didn't know about any of his prior partners at that point, and he'd just allowed you to charm your way out of getting shot. When you were with him at his house, did you ever actually feel like there was a threat to your life?"

She smiles then, "Did you?"

"Wha…what does that mean?"

"Callen…may have mentioned to me that you were…worried."

"You're my partner, of course I was worried. If I'd been in there with King, I'd have expected you to be worried as well."

"If you had been in there with King, things would have gotten a whole lot different," she chuckles.

"Because you seduced him," he says, and he tries to keep his voice flat and emotionless.

She lifts an eyebrow, then shrugs. "Not really. I flirted a bit, but there wasn't any touching or anything like that."

"So you've actually really seduced marks before?"

"Yes."

"What exactly does that mean?"

She shrugs again, but doesn't reply.

"Kensi?"

"It's the job, Deeks. I do what I'm asked to do. Do I like that part of it? Not really, but I do what needs to be done. Just that simple."

"I get that," he says.

"Good."

"Doesn't mean I like you in that position."

"Deeks…"

"You scared the hell out me, Partner."

"I'm sorry. I…that's what I've been trying to say. Deeks, I screwed this thing up bad. You asked me what I would have done differently, and you know what? That's the problem. I don't know. I've been over and over it in my head and I don't know. And…"

"Stop. Please just stop for a minute," he pleads. He steps over and takes the gun from her, putting it down on the first surface he can find. "Just…stop."

Amazingly, she does.

"You know," he continues. "I called you Wonder Woman because you really are nothing short of amazing." He indicates towards the bullet-ridden target. "Look at that. No one stands a chance against you."

"Thank you?"

"But guess what, you're not completely Wonder Woman. You're more like…Supergirl."

"You've lost me."

"Kryptonite."

"I don't have a Kryptonite."

"Yes, you do. You."

"Me? What the hell are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about your inability to ever cut yourself slack."

"Weren't you the one who told me that beating yourself up is what you do best?" she challenges. He can tell that she's starting to get irritated.

"Looks like we have one more thing in common."

She opens her mouth to protest, but then clamps it shut. "Okay."

"You have one more weakness."

"You're pushing your luck," she growls.

"Maybe, but…" He steps towards her.

"You're not my weakness, Deeks," she says, her voice very soft.

"No?"

"No. You're a strength." She says it quietly, nearly inaudibly, but her eyes are locked on his, and they both feel every bit of the intense intimacy that seems to have grown between them within the last few moments.

"Did…did you just say that you actually like me?"

She laughs. "No."

"But I complete you. That's what you're saying."

"Really? You take a nice moment…"

"And I make stupid jokes," Deeks nods, his face growing serious. "That's what I do when I get…well anything. It's what I do, period. And I'm sorry."

This time, she's the one who takes a step towards him. "Listen to me, okay? I don't…I don't mind. Friday night, I needed that."

"That?"

"Your stupid jokes."

He runs a hand through his hair, and she wonders if what she's seeing is a slightly nervous and thrown off Deeks. She can't recall a time she's seen him like this; awkward and unsure. It's almost charming.

"Deeks?"

"Do you…do you know why I came by?"

"To check on me, I presume."

He nods. "I know you think it's stupid for me to worry, and you think I'm delicate and all those things, but when King's house…when it blew up," he looks up at her and she thinks to herself that his eyes have never looked so blue before. "I, uh, I don't really know what I felt there. I just know that I didn't like it. I….it was…I thought…I thought I'd lost you, Kensi and it kind of killed me and…"

"Deeks…"

"…I've lost partners before. I lost Jess, and that hurt, but it was nothing like this. When I thought you were dead, I…"

He never finishes the sentence. Before he can even get the last word of it out, her lips are on his, and he's losing all sense of time, space and place.

All he knows is that his partner – his beautiful, sexy, stubborn lunatic of a partner – is kissing the hell out of him.

She's leaning up, and her hands are twisted up in his hair, and she's pressed so so so ridiculously close to him. He's pretty damn sure that she can feel his heart pounding in his chest – he knows he can feel hers.

For his part, he's got his arms around her waist, and he's trying to pull her even closer. It's truly one of the most insanely passionate kisses he's ever experienced, and the only thing he's thinking is, "Please God, don't let it end."

But end it finally does.

Slowly, she pulls back, running her tongue over her bottom lip, gently massaging an area where he's pretty sure he'd at least nibbled at. Reluctantly, he allows her to slowly step back and out of his arms.

"Sorry," she breathes, her voice a bit shaky and weak. She wipes a hand past her mouth. "I just…I needed to shut you up."

"So the most natural way was to kiss me?" he asks, seeming to have – much to her annoyance – recovered much quicker than she has. "Because you know, that's cool."

"It was the first thing that went through my head," she admits with a wave of her hand. It's meant to suggest that the kiss wasn't such a big deal, but they both know better, and her attempts to play it off aren't helping her convince anyone.

"So, just to be clear, you impulsively kissed me because your subconscious is crazy hot for me is what you're saying?"

She laughs. She knows what he's doing; trying to keep this moment from becoming awkward or weird. She appreciates the attempt even if it's mostly in vain because no matter what, this moment is awkward because she has no idea what to make of it.

"That's not what I said," she replies. "I said simply, I used whatever resources I had to make you stop babbling."

"I stopped babbling," he confirms. Then, with a grin that somehow manages to be perfectly charming. "It is hard to babble with someone's tongue stuck down your throat."

"You truly are an idiot sometimes," she sighs.

"Said affectionately?"

"I suppose," she replies, but he sees her smiling, and knows that she means it exactly that way.

"Am I allowed to ask…"

"If I'm okay? No."

"So are you?"

"You don't listen well."

"Never have."

"Yeah. But really, I'm…all right."

"Good. And hey, I'm glad to see you can still kiss with that bruise."

"I'm glad to see you can still hold onto something with that hand."

"I'll have you know," he says, "It hurt all weekend. Terribly."

"Like I said, you're very delicate, Deeks."

"Well, one of us has to be."

She rolls her eyes, "You gonna leave and let me finish up my target practice?"

He glances over at the target with the missing groin. "Really? Did you…miss a spot? Because I'm pretty sure he's never having baby targets."

"Go away."

"Okay."

He starts for the door, and then turns back. "If you had called this weekend, if you had needed anything…"

"I know you would have been there."

"I would have."

She smiles.

She knows that there's something deep between them, something that is becoming and more real and undeniable with each day.

For now, though, they're comfortable like this.

For now, they're safe like this.

Like this, she can't lose him.

So like this, they need to stay.

He watches her for a moment more, and then turns and exits. He heads towards the gym, in no mood to deal with Sam and Callen right about now.

He has too much going on his mind.

Well, mostly her.

And that kiss.

And wouldn't she hadn't said after it had been over. Things like, "that had been a mistake" and "if you mention this to anyone, I'll kill you." Now granted, both of them may have been assumed, but she hadn't voiced them.

Which he hopes means that she doesn't regret what had just occurred.

He knows that he sure as hell doesn't.

He also knows that he's going to have to bide his time. Left to his own devices, he'd willingly take the leap into a relationship today. He's never held back before, and he sees no reason to do so now.

Yes, being intimate with your partner can complicate things, but in this life, one typically filled with danger and pain, it seems to him that you have to grab at the things that can make you happy and make you sleep better.

Marty Deeks is fairly certain that he'll never reach forty. It's not a conversation that he's ever had anyone, but his recent shooting has confirmed it for him – he's going to die fairly young and probably not looking pretty at all.

Which essentially means, the clock is running down.

If that's true, he wants to live his days happy. And with someone.

Right now, he knows exactly who he wants that person to be. He just has to wait for her not only to come to the same conclusion, but to allow herself to let go enough to realize that she has the right to be happy.

He can wait. He will wait.

She'll come around, he's sure of it.

Eventually.

-fin