Rating: K-ish for themes
Disclaimer: Yeah, I don't own them and I make no profit.
Summary: The past comes back to haunt one member of the team.
AN: I'm back, did you miss me? This will go about 5-6 chapters depending on how wordy I get. Reviews are greatly appreciated, so feel free to leave one on the way out.
A man cannot free himself from the past more easily than he can from his own body. ~André Maurois
Marty Deeks looked at his partner, who was currently standing in front of him, a determined look on her face. Grinning he took a quick step toward her before backing up and she eyed him warily. They had been circling each other the better part of thirty seconds, each waiting for the other to strike first.
"Ladies first," Deeks finally said.
"Nuh uh, you first. We're doing this for your professional training, not mine, partner."
"So you go first."
"Fine," she spit out and lightening fast her fist made contact with his chest. But he was ready and grabbed her wrist, twisting while pulling her into him. When her back made contact with him he wrapped one arm around her upper chest, holding her flush to him.
Leaning in, he whispered in her ear. "I win."
He swore he felt her shudder slightly as his breath touched her skin. And he grinned again, because getting a reaction like that from his partner was becoming increasingly entertaining and happening more frequently. Their sparring matches were more hands on then they had been in the past. Which had a frustrating side effect, the constant contact was intensifying the already borderline tension between them. The tension that had started as somewhat hostile, but moved rather quickly to teasing before landing where they were now, partners and friends who ignored the simmering sexual tension between them. Though saying they ignored it was partly untrue. Because ignoring what was quickly growing between them as a result of their strong connections as friends (not just partners) was becoming progressively harder.
Especially days like today when they were working on his hand to hand combat skills; which, by definition, required a significant amount of physical contact.
She struggled slightly, intentionally moving her hips against his in an effort to distract, but Deeks wasn't biting.
"Hey now," he whispered again in her ear. "Play fair."
"There aren't rules in this game," she mumbled, leaning her head back onto his shoulder, exposing the skin of her neck to him. The lovely, smooth, extremely kissable skin of her neck. And for an instant he was distracted by thoughts of his lips on that skin, which he paid for dearly when her elbow was thrust sharply into his side, causing him to loosen his grip around her chest. Kensi pulled away and swept his feet out from under him, sending Deeks sprawling to the floor while she stood over him, a devious grin on her face.
"No rules out there." She pointed outside. "Means no rules in here." She smiled while saying it and held out a hand to help him up in apology.
He took the offered hand…and promptly pulled her down to him, quickly reversing their positions so he now had her pinned to the floor.
"Uh, get off…" she hissed and pushed on his chest.
"Fine, you win. OFF."
Leaning down a little farther, placing his lips near her ear, Deeks took his well-being in his hands and whispered, "I like it right where I am."
They both knew she was fully capable of forcing the issue and physically moving him, but truth be told, she liked right where they were as well. Which was what put their relationship on that fence between friends and something more. Because she did like having him around, she did like having a trusted confidant, she liked…him.
The time they spent with each other outside of work had been enjoyable as well. What started as occasional beers at one of their apartments turned into surfing lessons for her and time at the gun range for him.
Eventually that led to one off night a week together. Those nights were the ones that usually followed the really hard cases and had cemented them as friends, because they always started with alcohol (the hard kind) and ended with honesty. They shared more of themselves then they ever intended on those nights. She knew what his father had done before an eleven year old Marty Deeks had shot him in self-defense. He knew all about her father's death and how much it (and the man) had made her into what she was today.
"Ok, buddy, you're getting kinda heavy here," she stated and pushed gently at his shoulders.
But Deeks was in a daring – and possibly suicidal – mood, so instead of immediately pulling his body off hers, he dipped his head farther down and placed a leisurely kiss to the side of her neck, right under her ear. And promptly sprung up, holding out one hand to her.
The look on her face was a mix of confusion and incredulity. Had he actually kissed her? That was new. Sure they touched innocently on occasion, a hand on an arm or leg, an arm swung around shoulders and invading the others personal space was a daily occurrence. But that was the first time lips had made contact.
And damn if that little bit, that just briefest of touches hadn't sent a shiver of something exciting through her body.
She took the proffered hand and followed him to a bench under the windows. Sitting next to each other, they each pulled out a bottle of water and drank in silence, neither willing to start the conversation about whatever that was.
Staring at the floor, Deeks finally spoke, and shocked the hell out of her. "Hetty wants me to resign from LAPD and join NCIS full time. That talk we had before she disappeared? She had the paperwork all filled out for me."
Kensi looked at her partner. That had been four months ago. "And you didn't sign it?"
He took a long drink and looked at her. "Obviously."
Her head cocked sideways. "Why?"
"It's…" he blew out a long breath. "Being a cop is who I am, not just what I do, I can't just…give that up."
"NCIS are cops Deeks. Just…Federal ones."
He looked at her sideways. "Maybe in general, but not this group."
She bumped his shoulder. "We do have the good toys."
"Yes, yes you do," he conceded. "But this way I get to be a cop and have the toys. Being LAPD is just…something I dreamed about when I was kid. Having detective next to my name means something to me; it would be hard to give that up. Even for the good toys and the Federal check."
She covered the hand that was resting on his knee with hers. "Yeah, I get that."
Returning the smile, he turned his hand over and twined their fingers, squeezing gently. Staring at their joined hands, Deeks debated for just a second about bringing up their evolving relationship before opening his mouth.
"Kensi…" he started slowly, with a serious tone.
"Don't Deeks," she said, but didn't remove her hand from his.
"Don't what? Talk about…us?"
"There is no us…"
He looked pointedly at their hands. "I don't think Sam and Callen hold hands."
She tried to pull her hand away but his grip was unrelenting. "We shouldn't be."
"Yeah? And I probably shouldn't have kissed you either. That doesn't mean it's wrong."
"So why did you?" she asked, her dark eyes boring into him. Daring him to speak the words.
Releasing her hand he took another long drink and for a moment Kensi thought he wasn't going to answer. "Seemed like a good idea at the time."
He looked at her and smiled. "Still does."
She had nothing to say to that. Nothing that wouldn't lead to a conversation she wasn't willing to have anyway.
"Maybe one day…" he mused quietly.
"One day?" she asked, unclear.
"I'll sign those forms."
Sighing, she looked at his profile, Kensi could tell he was torn. LAPD had been his dream his entire crappy childhood. It was his safe haven. But NCIS held so much more promise for an exceptional undercover like himself. "You have to decide what is best for you, Deeks. But Hetty wouldn't have offered if she didn't think you'd make a great agent."
"Do you think I would?"
A smile graced her face. "I do."
It was his turn to bump her shoulder. "Thanks, partner."
"Any time." Standing she continued, "Shower."
He stood as well, hovering in her personal space. "I'd love one."
One well placed hand on his chest kept him from moving closer. "Down boy, I'm taking one alone."
A cough from the door caused them to jump apart and turn to see Nell Jones looking incredibly uncomfortable.
"We have a lead on our suspect," she stated and turned quickly, leaving.
Deeks gave her a lecherous expression. "Maybe we should share, in the interest of time and all."
Rolling her eyes, Kensi moved toward the women's showers. "Ten minutes, Deeks."
"I found an old address buried in some loan paperwork Sanders completed last year, he listed an address by the Santa Monica pier, place is now owned by a shell company but I managed to trace Sanders back to it."
"The address is on your phones," Nell added.
The partners nodded and quickly left OPS. Getting into her car, Deeks immediately turned the A/C to its highest setting.
"Seriously?" she asked and pulled into traffic.
"It's ninety five degrees!"
"I thought you were a California guy…you should be used to the heat."
"I'm used to air conditioning."
She shook her head good naturedly. "Wow, you really are…delicate."
An annoyed huff came from him but he didn't exactly disagree with her either. Watching the scenery go by, Deeks could practically feel the heat cooking the car window. The only time he didn't mind the oppressive, thick heat was when he was surfing.
The trip to Santa Monica went quicker than expected, with the holiday weekend upon them, the traffic was slightly lighter than usual.
As she pulled off the highway, Deeks spared her a look before staring straight out the front window. "So…whatcha doing for the Fourth?"
"Probably still working this case, what do you think?" her voice was tight, irritated.
They had been working this case close to two weeks already; an eternity when usually they closed them within a few days. But every lead, witness or sniff of a suspect they had disappeared or lead them nowhere. It was beyond frustrating and had all of them – Hetty included – on edge.
"Well, on the off chance we close this, or Hetty gives us some time off, you want to come over?"
She pulled onto a tree lined street in an older neighborhood and started looking for the house number. "Deeks…"
"What? I have a great view of fireworks and beer. You got a better offer?"
Now she smiled. "No, I suppose I don't."
"So…that's a yes?"
Seeing the house they were looking for, Kensi pulled to the curb and regarded her partner, he was giving her one of those charming grins. "Yes, that's a yes. Happy? Can we go back to work now?"
"Yes, on both accounts," he stated and opened the door, stepping out.
As they approached the porch, Deeks noticed the front door was cracked open and grabbed his partner by her forearm, nodding his head. Silently they pulled their weapons and approached, Deeks pushing the door open on a count of three and as they stepped in Kensi announced "Federal Agents" (they had long ago stopped trying to explain Deeks wasn't an Agent) sharply.
No response came and they fully entered the living room.
Which was completely trashed. But not like it had been recently burglarized, more that the occupants simply didn't care. Dirty clothes mixed with stale – and smelly – food, there were newspapers spread all over the place and the distinct smell of cat urine filled the air. Deeks was pretty sure he spotted drug paraphernalia in the disaster.
Deeks made a face at her as they moved father into the room, finding it challenging to not step on something on the cluttered floor and give away their presence.
Quickly they cleared the living room and equally cluttered kitchen before moving down a hall to the bedrooms. There were four doors total, three to one side and one to the other, the first open door to their right was a bathroom and quickly cleared. Kensi indicated she would take the single door – clearly the master bedroom – and Deeks nodded his agreement as they moved forward as one before he turned into a guest room.
Turning quickly into the room with her gun raised, Kensi noted this room seemed the cleanest of the place, relatively speaking. She could at least walk without threat of breaking an ankle on something. Passing a bathroom, she quickly glanced in the room, nothing. Moving toward the closet which was next to the bath and adjacent to a large doorwall, Kensi froze when she heard a shuffling noise come from the closet.
Taking a deep breath, she moved closer to the single door and reached out one hand toward the knob.
"NCIS…" she started but was stopped when the door suddenly flung open and a larger man stepped into the bedroom, standing four feet in front of her gun.
"Freeze!" she said and he complied. She started to call for Deeks when something struck her about the figure. He looked familiar. Tall, thin and unkempt, his hair dirty, his eyes flitting all over the room without actually focusing…but familiar nonetheless.
When the hazel eyes finally met hers, Kensi nearly dropped her weapon.
It couldn't be…it couldn't fucking be.
As her internal battle waged, the gun in her hand wavered just slightly, enough for the intruder to strike. He rushed her and shoved Kensi violently into the footboard of the bed, forcing the air from her lungs and sending sharp pain through her back. The man held her there for several seconds, staring at her intently, confusion and shock on his face, after several seconds he pushed her to the floor and bolted for the open doorwall as Deeks entered the doorway and yelled "freeze", raising his gun.
"NO!" she managed to squeeze out and her partner looked at her long enough for the other man to disappear over the fence.
Deeks ran outside to the pool deck and hopped onto the fence, but the man was long gone. Cursing he returned to the house and crouched in front of his partner, who was sitting up on the floor in front of the bed, still struggling with regaining her breath.
"You ok?" he finally asked after several minutes and one call to LAPD forensics requesting a team.
"Yeah…yeah." But her voice and her look were faraway and Deeks looked back at where their suspect/witness/whatever had disappeared to.
"What the hell was that?"
"It was…" she leaned her head back on the footboard and Deeks would have sworn she looked like she was about to cry.
"Kensi," his tone was soft. "What's going on?"
Now she met his clear blue eyes and they looked so worried that Kensi felt bad. "That…that was Jack."
There was a long moment where the partners just stared at each other before Deeks spoke. "You're sure?"
She gave him a nasty look.
Deeks raised his hands in surrender. "Look, I just want to make sure that you are sure that's who it was."
"I'm sure. He looked…not like Jack, Deeks. Dirty…thin, tired," she looked down at her hands. "But yeah, it was him."
"Ok, I believe you."
"Thanks," she muttered and slowly got off the floor, Deeks following and looking around the room carefully.
"Sure you're ok?"
"Yeah, just stiff."
Deeks merely nodded and zeroed in on something he noticed earlier on the night table. Sighing he pulled one black glove out of his pocket and after donning it, picked up a baggie. Inspecting it carefully while she looked on, Deeks quickly recognized the contents.
"Heroin. And I'm pretty sure I saw more paraphernalia in the living room."
And her heart sunk a little, because her first impression of seeing Jack was that he looked like an addict.
"Shit," she muttered and looked around herself, finding more in the dresser drawers.
"He was probably here looking for a score," her partner muttered quietly.
Kensi gripped the edges of the drawer she was looking at tightly, willing away the tears. This was not the Jack she remembered, even on his worst day, and she could not reconcile the two. Not once had he been violent with her, never had he raised a hand or his voice. For a Marine, he was shocking soft-spoken, which made the words he did speak that much more potent.
Taking a deep breath she closed the drawer and turned to find her partner standing directly behind her.
"I'll call in the BOLO on him."
"Let's let forensics finish this up, Sanders wasn't here. I'll get LAPD to keep an eye on the house."
"I can't…" she started then stopped, staring at Deeks intently. "Jack…"
Deeks just nodded grimly.
"I can't believe it. We have to find him."
Now Deeks pulled the gloves off his hands and rested them on her upper arms, his thumbs absently moving across the material of her shirt, meeting her eyes directly. "We will."
She bit her lower lip and gave him the barest hint of a nod.
Lack of trust was the reason their partnership had started on such rocky terms, but now neither could imagine having someone else at their back, and for both it was an odd feeling. They were used to working alone, with backup only as required, and that backup wasn't always the same person twice. The stability they brought to each other was something neither was aware they needed. But now that they had it, it was something they were reluctant to give up.
Quickly the partners finished a cursory search of the home, not finding anything that would tell them where their target, Michael Sanders, had gone. Only that he was clearly running a drug business out of the small, messy bungalow.
And that Kensi's ex-fiancé was a client.
Deeks was tempted to take her home, since the run in with Jack she had been silent, only speaking when he asked her a question, and even then she only responded with one word answers.
On the way back to the Mission he leaned over and placed one hand on her forearm. "Kensi, I'm sure this is really…you know, I don't know. I can't imagine what you are going through. But if you need time I don't think anyone would blame you."
"I don't need time, Deeks," her tone was angry.
Deeks knew that tone, there was no point arguing with her, she would just take it as a personal attack on her abilities. "Ok."
By the time they arrived, Hetty already knew what had happened based on the short conversation Deeks had had with the manager after they finished the search.
"Ms Blye, may I speak to you?" The older woman asked as they walked in. Kensi paused and Deeks could see her thinking about declining, but in the end turned and followed Hetty back to her office area.
"She ok?" Callen asked as soon as the women were out of earshot.
Keeping his eyes on his partner he responded, "She's Kensi, so she pretends everything is fine, that nothing bothers her, when really…she's a hot mess inside." Now he turned toward the agent. "She refuses to talk about it."
Callen nodded. "Sounds like Kensi."
Deeks looked at the Agent and snapped out, "And you guys just…let her do it. You realize that right? You just let her internalize everything, never pushing. And you know what? You're not helping, you're making it worse."
With that Deeks turned around and headed upstairs leaving Callen to watch him go.
"Ms Blye, I think it would be wise if you took some time-"
"Hetty, I'm fine, really," she responded, tired of this already and it had been only Deeks and Hetty mentioning it.
"Given the events of today, I doubt that. You came up empty on Sanders, the house is being watched by LAPD and we have a BOLO out on your ex, Mr McConnon. I think we have done all we can for today."
Kensi leaned towards the desk. "He's out there, Hetty. Now that I know he's…alive and in LA. I have to find him. He might be mixed up in this somehow."
Hetty placed her hand on Kensi's. "And I have no doubt that you will. But have you thought about what you are going to do once you find him? Does he even want help? If so he will require rehab, counseling and be placed back on medication. Are you willing to do that again? How far are you willing to go for a man you haven't seen in six years? A man who abandoned you?"
She opened her mouth and closed it again without a word. Kensi hadn't actually thought that through, her focus had been simply finding him. Hetty had a way of reminding people of the practicality of situations.
"I just need to find him; maybe this time..."
"Maybe. But until he is found intentions are nothing more. Head home, think about what I have said, hmmm?"
Kensi nodded and stood. "Thank you Hetty."
"Anytime. Go. I will let your partner know where you are."
With that Kensi turned and headed to her desk, picking up her coat and keys, walking out the door without so much as turning back.