Timeline: Missing scene for 3x16 - Blye, K: Pt 1.
Summary: None of it changes who they are.
Constancy: the quality of being unchanging or unwavering in purpose, love, or loyalty. Commitment. Fidelity. Stability.
Kensi Blye is no fool.
She's been doing this job for far too long to let herself be deluded by the same silly thoughts some suspects choose to believe. There's a way out, they think. The evidence will speak for itself, they'll say, truly believing that the evidence will work in their favor. You guys are wrong, they assert.
They're always wrong, though. Always.
NCIS is nothing if not thorough. When someone sits down on that side of the table in the boatshed, despite whatever they might choose to believe, there's very little hope left for them. And with LAPD coming to the same conclusions, she knows she might as well sign her freedom away right now.
There's not always a way out.
And the truth doesn't always win.
Someone is out to get her – that much is clear. Whoever it is, though…they know how to play this game. They know how to play it well. And the evidence is overwhelmingly against her.
And there's not a damn thing she can do about it at this point but go along with it and hope that her team discovers a mistake – any mistake – left behind. Because if they don't…it's not something she wants to think about, but right now, as she's being driven back to OSP to be taken into custody by none other than her own partner, Kensi can't deny that it seems like everything she's got is slowly slipping away.
She'd had things under control until Granger had stepped in. Until that bastard had started scrutinizing her every move. And she knows for a fact that he'd be all too happy to watch her take the fall, though she still can't figure out why. Those are just a few in a long list of questions she's yet to find the answers to…and now, she knows the possibility of finding those answers at all is growing progressively slimmer.
Her last option had been taken away the moment Deeks had shown up at her door; the moment he'd absently snooped (not that she believes any of it was truly absently) through her living room, the moment he'd yanked the sheet away from the sniper rifle she'd quickly and carelessly tried to hide. She hadn't told him, but she's certain he knows what her plan was…because Marty Deeks is no fool either.
She was planning to take matters into her own hands.
It'd been her last hope in a list of already extinguished ones.
And now, with every mile that her partner drives, she can't deny the fact that her heart is accelerating. As she stares straight ahead, Kensi can't stop the darkest and most unwelcome of thoughts from creeping in because she knows what happens to suspects in her place. She knows.
It's not long before that knowledge becomes overwhelming. It closes in on her, eating away at the strength of her façade like acid, corroding it until she's certain Deeks can sense it; can sense that she's just barely holding herself together – he says nothing, though.
They're taking the scenic route back to OSP and for that she's grateful – it won't mean anything in the long run, but she's grateful he's at least trying to buy them a little more time. Seconds or minutes or hours…she'll take it. Turning her head, she watches the scenery from urban buildings to the sea and everything in between, but she doesn't really see any of it. Can't, because her imagination is torturing her with thoughts of prison cells and caskets in the ground as they drive, because she knows for a fact that the majority of people who see that side of the table end up in one of those places.
And suddenly, strapped tightly into the front seat next to her partner in his car, the silence around them all but suffocating her…suddenly it's all too much for her. She feels trapped. Her chest tightens, squeezing her frantically pounding heart and constricting her lungs so she can't even attempt to breathe. She can't hear the soothing hum of the engine; instead, it's her own pulse in her ears, growing faster and louder until something within her breaks.
This can't be it.
This can't be the way it all ends.
It just can't.
When she speaks, her voice is steady and even, though she has no idea how she manages that. Likely because it's only two words, though – a simple command, one she's issued more than once before. "Pull over."
She's a suspect and he's taking her into custody; she knows listening to her is the last thing he has to do, knows it's the last thing she should expect of him.
And yet, he does without question.
Before the car even comes to a complete stop (there's a quip in there somewhere about remaining strapped in while the ride is in motion, but Deeks has neither the time nor the desire to utter it), she's throwing her door open and pulling herself out, her feet crunching softly over the sand off the side of the road. She walks slowly, calmly down the beach, stopping about midway between the ocean and where he'd pulled off the road.
Stepping out of the car himself, Deeks simply watches, granting her the space she needs. Waiting, he doesn't follow her – not yet, anyway. For a few long moments, he simply rests against the side of the car, alternating between watching her and glancing away, allowing her a few moments of quiet privacy.
He has no idea what happened in the boatshed after Hetty sent him away – he hadn't wanted to go, but in the end, the operations manager was right. There had been work to do, and he could better help his partner by doing that, rather than watching and listening. He knows Granger had thrown a file down in front of her; knows it was about her father, but beyond that, he's clueless. He'd asked Hetty, but she hadn't known either (or if she had, she'd done a damn good job hiding it from him).
It was the phone call he'd gotten from Hetty later that had worried him; it was that phone call that had him waiting at his partner's front door, stale coffee in hand. If he'd been worried before, though, that was nothing compared to the cold dread that filled him as he uncovered the sniper rifle she'd tried to hide from him. Kensi's a master at donning masks, but Deeks has been her partner for nearly two years now. He likes to think he can read her pretty well…and if he's right, her explanation about that sniper rifle, along with her reasons for cleaning it, had been lies.
He doesn't believe for a second that she's done anything.
Whether she might, though? That, he worries about, especially when it becomes about proving her innocence as well as finding justice for her father.
He'd spent most of the drive with his head cluttered by thoughts like that – in the relative silence of the car (he'd offered to put on that horrendous techno station that Kensi likes, but she'd shaken her head at the suggestion), there'd been little else he could do. And by the time she'd demanded that he pull over, he'd gone through so many questions in his head, but found no answers. His partner is up to something, that much he knows. But what? He knows it has to do with her father's death. He knows Granger is involved somehow. He knows it has something to do with Kensi's trips to Hawaii. And he knows that something about that file, her father's file, had set Kensi off. There's just…still too many holes in the story; he can't complete it.
And that's what worries him.
He can't stop what he doesn't know.
It's those questions and the fear of the unknown that finally have him approaching her, his steps quiet atop the soft sand. It's by far his favorite place, the beach, but right now, while he takes in the ocean, the sand, the heat of the sun and the calls of the gulls, he can't feel anything but disdain for it. He doesn't want to be here; doesn't want Kensi to be here. He doesn't want her to need to be here…for whatever reason that may be.
He stops a few steps behind her, allowing her the space he knows she needs. "Kensi."
"I'm okay, Deeks," she says immediately, a little too quickly. "I just…needed a moment. I'm good."
He doesn't question her. However, he also doesn't relent. "I'm not going to press or anything," he says quietly, slowly taking a step toward her. Deeks watches her reaction carefully – he knows she can feel him behind her. She doesn't give any indication though that he's encroaching though – not even the slightest stiffening of her shoulders, a barely there shake of her head, nothing.
That lack of reaction worries him. Worries him enough that he exhales deeply, taking a good look around them. "Not going to press," he repeats, "but I want you to know that, uh, this is you and me, Kens. There's no cameras here, no microphones, and the waves are enough to drown anything out to anybody else. This is just you and me right now." He tests his luck, stepping closer. "You can tell me anything, and I swear to you, none of it will leave this space between you and me. None of it leaves this moment."
At his words, a slight, wry smile tugs at the corner of her lips. "Even if they threaten to take you down for aiding and abetting a fugitive?"
"You're gonna have to do better if you want me to believe you're a fugitive," Deeks quips. He doesn't smile, though – the words that follow are some of the most serious to ever leave his lips. "But even if you were…I'd still take anything you tell me to my grave."
That's a little morbid, and a bit too close to her own dark thoughts right now - murder and death and guilt, all things she wants no more part in. Kensi doesn't say anything, though, instead merely raking trembling hands through her hair. The tension is burning her at this point; in her whole life, she's never wanted to run as badly as she wants to now. She wants to turn her back on everything; wants to let it go and forget she'd ever tried to pry open this particular Pandora's box.
But that…that's not who she is.
Then again, as she's reminded by that evil voice in the back of her head, the layers of who she is are slowly being peeled away and along with finding answers she never wanted, she's discovering the lies underneath it all.
She knows she can come to terms with who her father really was. She knows she could have come to terms with that years ago. But it's the mere fact that for all of her life, she believed him to be a man he was not. If that file of Granger's is to be believed (and, despite everything, she couldn't find a reason why it wouldn't all be true) then she never really knew him at all.
Everything she'd believed about him was a lie.
And that makes him just another person in her life to keep her from the truth.
Yet another person she never really knew.
She blinks furiously, over and over again in an attempt to soothe the burn, the sting of tears clouding her vision because damn it, she's not crying here. She won't. Not in front of him; not in front of anyone. She hears him call her name again and Kensi knows if she doesn't say something, he's going to step in front of her or touch her or do something else that she just…can't handle right now. "I – I don't know why it surprises me anymore," she says quietly, slowly toeing at the sand below in an effort to distract herself from the pain.
It doesn't really help, though. She's sure nothing can quell the ache that's tearing at her from the inside out. "Granger…he's been after me this whole time," she says bitterly. "Looking into everything I do, everything I say, everywhere I go. And then this. As if it's all not enough, he…" She pauses, lifting her shoulders in a shrug. "He had a file. A whole collection of stuff on – on my dad."
Her voice begins to tremble as she continues – right now, she doesn't really have the energy to stop it. "What I knew, the dad I knew growing up…it was all – all different. Everything. The stories he would tell me, the places he brought back pictures from, all of it – all just a bunch of cover stories, one after another, and they were so – so deep that I couldn't see through them. I couldn't see that my – my own father was…" She can't finish. Can't, because the words would make the truth too real, and even though she's stared it in the face, she's still not ready to admit to herself that everything she thought she knew about her father had all been a lie.
She doesn't have to say the words, though, for Deeks to hear them – no, he hears them loud and clear. Loud and clear and just like a knife to his heart. "You were fifteen, Kens," he points out softly. "I mean, I'm sure if I knew at fifteen what I know now, things would probably be different for me too."
He's got a point, but that's not good enough for her. "I always knew I – I might find something I didn't want to find, but I just didn't think…" She struggles with this; doesn't quite know how not to, especially when she hasn't had time to wrap her own thoughts around it. The wounds are still fresh, much too fresh for this. Growing up, her dad had been her best friend. She'd always stayed up late waiting for him those nights that he was supposed to come home from the assignments he'd been on, and he never let her down. She had idolized him; everything she'd done as a kid, she'd done it with the hope of making him proud and the one time she'd tossed that aside…well, she still hasn't forgiven herself for that night, the night he never came home. She'd never thought she could, because what she'd done – lying, sneaking out, disobeying him – that just simply was not the way of a Blye.
He had taught her that.
And then, within the span of an hour, everything he'd ever taught her had been wiped away. One file and one out-for-blood assistant director had tarnished the view she'd held of her father since she was a little girl. "I – I just keep thinking," she continues, shaking her head. "What if I'd let it go? What if I'd believed it all and just…let it be? What if I didn't press so hard for the answers nobody gave me all those years ago?"
She clenches her fists, digging her nails into her palms in an effort to simply hold on. Just because everything she thought she knew is falling apart doesn't mean she has to crumble as well – and she won't. She won't, even if it kills her.
Strong though she is, she can't quite stop the chill that races down her spine at that thought. She knows – she'd have to be blind not to realize it – that there's a decent chance that that's how this ends. The answers she's chased for all of her adult life could chase her all the way to the grave.
Is it worth all that?
There's a part of her that wants to say yes.
Everything she is, everything she's become; it's all a part of her quest for answers. For reasons. For explanations to couple with her thousands upon thousands of whys. For justice for her father, stolen away before he could even see her graduate from high school, let alone all the milestones after that. From all of this is where her drive comes from; her drive, her determination, her persistence. It's everything.
Her entire life has been about finding answers.
And there's a part of her that would gladly go down for them.
There's a part of her that would pay the ultimate sacrifice in exchange for those elusive answers…because with those answers, this journey, this long, torturous fight she's been fighting, it would all be over.
"Don't go down that road, Kens," Deeks murmurs, and for a moment she's shocked that he can see that far into her head…until she remembers exactly who it is. Until she remembers that it's the one person who has managed to burrow his way farther into her life than anyone else since…since a long time ago. She feels him close behind her, hears his steps as the space between them diminishes. "It doesn't change who you are."
She's not quite sure how that can be true, not after she's devoted her entire life to this. This has made her. She is who she is because of this. "Like you know who I am," she scoffs, the first note of bitterness escaping in her voice, the first warning that she's almost at the edge, the first sign that she needs to close her eyes and breathe for a moment lest her control flutter right out of her palms.
It's a barb, but Deeks doesn't let it sting him. "You're my partner," he says quietly, his voice steady, as if he's never been more certain of anything in his life – and really, he hasn't. It's neither the time nor place to verbalize it, but he knows a thing or two about watching everything swiftly spiral out of control – he's been there more times than he cares to admit, sometimes on undercover ops, sometimes in his own life. He's been so turned around and upside-down at times that he's questioned his own identity, but Kensi's…there's no question there. She might be Tracey or Fern or Kiki or any number of other aliases, but at the end of the day, he knows exactly who she is.
She's Kensi Marie Blye, and for the past nearly two years, she's been the most constant part of his life. "You are my strong, tough-as-nails, slightly insane partner," he continues, closing the rest of the distance between them. Ever gently, he brings his palms to rest on her upper arms, hesitating for a moment, but then coaxing her into a slow spin when she doesn't pull away from him. He doesn't force her; instead, he merely guides her around to face him – she's the one who moves. She's the one who turns to him; she's the one who could resist if she wanted to, and that's a truth they both know. "You're not a killer. You're one of the good guys – you're Wonder Woman, remember?"
The corners of her lips quirk slightly at that – it's tiny, but it's something, and Deeks will take anything he can get right now because losing her? Absolutely not an option. "You are the queen of all things junk food; you make me bring you doughnuts in the mornings and then you steal my Twinkies after lunch." Another tiny smile tugs at her lips. "That's all you, and so what if you found out that your past wasn't exactly what you thought it was? That doesn't change you. You…you're Kensi."
He doesn't verbalize that.
He doesn't need to.
That unspoken proclamation hits her square in the chest and while any other day, under any other circumstances she'd hit him for even thinking it. Nobody owns Kensi Blye. The only one who can claim possession over her is herself. Today, though, it hits her differently. She's raw and open and exhausted and angry and a million other things that she can't possibly find enough names for and that…it slips through one of the cracks in her weakening defense and really, that's all it takes.
She won't break, though.
But Kensi can refuse all she wants and that still won't stop the way her vision continues to cloud with tears she's held back ever since she'd left the boatshed. She'd fought them back then; she'd fought them back as she'd driven home, and she'll sure as hell fight them back now.
Ultimately, she fails.
She doesn't break down; doesn't fall to her knees, doesn't surrender to sobs that wrack her body. No, that's not Kensi. Hasn't been Kensi since she was twenty-one years old and waking up alone on Christmas morning, engagement ring on her finger but no fiancé to add a wedding ring to it in the future. She doesn't break quite like that, not this time. Instead, it's just the tears. Just the tears, the quiver at her lip that she can't stop by sinking her teeth into it; it's the pounding of her heart and the lump in her throat and the internal struggle she's fighting so damn valiantly that it shows in every visible fiber of her being.
She doesn't break…though maybe it's because she doesn't have the chance to break. It's that moment, right as she's hovering on the precipice that Deeks' arms encircle her completely, pulling her flush against him before she can even think to push him away. And by the time she does find herself thinking maybe she should push him away (because she's not fragile), it's too late because she's squeezing her eyes shut and burying her face against his chest, her own arms wrapping around him.
It's that moment that the true enormity of their partnership crashes into her. He's had her back countless times by this point; he's put his own safety on the line in order to save her life. When she needs him, he's there, no questions asked. When she needs him, but doesn't necessarily want him, he doesn't let her push him away. And while she'd never admit to not being able to stand on her own, in the rare moments that she stumbles, he's there at her side. And now, in this moment where everything around her seems to be tearing at the seams, fraying and coming to pieces the more she tries to keep it all together, she thinks that maybe, just maybe, it's the strength of his arms that keeps her from breaking down now. The strength of his arms; the strength of their partnership. Their relationship.
She murmurs his name; it's quiet, barely there, but she knows Deeks hears it. It's an admission of gratitude – gratitude for his understanding, for his loyalty, for his constancy. In response, his arms tighten around her – any other time, she'd be squirming for freedom but right now…right now, she doesn't want him to let go.
And he doesn't want to let her go. Doesn't want to turn her over to the authorities, doesn't want to place her in custody, sure as hell doesn't want to think about losing her as his partner…he doesn't think he could ever successfully partner with anyone else, not after her. "You know there's not a damn thing I wouldn't do for you," he breathes, nuzzling gently into her hair. His own throat constricting, Deeks closes his eyes then and just breathes her in, committing her scent, her warmth, her life, everything about her to memory just in case…no.
That's not something he can think about because it's not something he's going to let happen. It's then that he decides (though Deeks is certain he really decided it a long time ago) that anyone who wants to take her down is going to have to take him down too. And that's the end of it, as far as he's concerned.
She's not sure just how long they stay like that; when she closes her eyes and simply holds on to him, breathing in his masculine scent that she knows so well (and is quickly growing to love…though she'll never admit that aloud), it's almost as if time slows to a near standstill for them. She can feel the sun on her skin; she can feel the breeze gently playing at her hair; she can hear the waves as they gently crash on the shore mere steps away and that, along with the strength of his arms around her, it delivers a sense of calm that somehow breaks through the turbulence on the surface. For the first time in hours, she can breathe; she can clear her head. For the first time in days, the tension seems to ebb at least a bit.
It's a few more moments before she finally pulls back, blinking reddened eyes open in the sunlight. Deeks doesn't release her; instead, his palms drift to her upper arms, unwilling to fully let her go just yet. When he looks at her, he still sees the ache inside, but she's managed to reclaim the strength that had escaped. Her walls are still down, but the determination, the fight, the persistence, everything that makes her who she is…it's slowly coming back. And Deeks can't help but be grateful for that because he knows for a fact that it'll take one hell of a fight to break her down again – she won't give up easily.
Lifting a gentle hand to her face, he softly tucks a stray curl behind her ear, smiling as the breeze playfully teases it free again. So of course he seizes that for what it is – an opportunity to lay his palm against her cheek as she meets his eyes. "You okay?" he asks softly, the words all but stolen away on the wind.
A brief smile touches her lips as she offers a slow nod in lieu of a verbal answer. It's not really enough for Deeks, though, and he flicks his tongue over parched lips as he searches for the words he needs. "Look, Kens, I just…"
Trailing off, he sighs heavily, and Kensi has to look away because the turmoil in his eyes, for a moment it's just too much for her. It's too much because she knows it's because of her. "You're my partner, and I…I care about you. A lot. A whole hell of a lot. And I just…if there's anything…"
And that's all he can muster. He's really not entirely sure what he's asking – whether there's something he can say or do or…just anything, really, because watching Kensi suffer is not okay with him. It's just not.
In front of him, Kensi bites at her lip for a moment (and God, if that simple action doesn't speed up his heartbeat just a little bit – one of these days, when the timing is much, much more right, she's going to do that and he's not going to be able to resist kissing her), seemingly steeling herself before she asks a question of her own. "Do you trust me?"
It's a quiet request, somewhat muffled by the breeze and the sea, but Deeks thinks he's never heard anything more crystal clear in his life. "With my life," he answers immediately.
She nods, mostly to reassure herself rather than acknowledge his words because she knows if she acknowledges them, if she acknowledges this – this ever-growing, irrepressible, undeniable thing between them – at all, then that's when she falters.
Because then, it ceases to be about her
It then becomes about them.
And while everything she's ever believed might be a lie, her words to him back at her place were not. She knows she would go down for the truth, but she will not take him down with her.
So she swallows hard and shoves everything she wants to say to him back, locking it away for a time when their lives won't be on the line. That in itself scares her, how terribly she wants to keep him from harm; for now, though, she pushes that away too. There's far too much on her plate right now; she can't afford to cloud her judgment with any more emotions. "Then just…trust me a little bit longer," she manages, unable to lift her voice higher than a whisper. It's all she's got right now; all she can muster without a tremor.
He nods then, and from the storm in his deep blue eyes, Kensi can tell he's not too thrilled with the answer. He doesn't pursue it, though, and for that she is grateful. Right now, she can't face the fact that what she's doing to him, keeping him in the dark from the entire truth, is exactly what her father had done to her. Exactly what so many others in her life have done. She'll face that guilt later, though. Right now, she can't afford to. "I'm sorry, Deeks. I just…"
He shakes his head, accepting that. "I trust you," he murmurs, tendering touching his forehead to hers. "Just…tell me you're going to be fine, okay?"
For a moment, she loses herself in the intimacy of his gesture. For a moment, she can't feel anything but his hands on her upper arms, his forehead against hers, his breath ghosting along her face. And, for a moment, she can't help but think just how good it would be to fall – not necessarily to fall for him (which, if she's honest with herself, she thinks has probably already happened), but to simply fall and trust that he'll be there to catch her. It goes against everything she stands for, against everything she was brought up to be, but for once in her life, the temptation seems stronger than her force of will and she knows that so damn much of that is because she's being forced to watch everything in her life fall to pieces around her – she doesn't know what's constant anymore. Doesn't quite know what's real and what's not.
But that…she can't deal with that now. Later, maybe, when all the dust settles and she's able to put the pieces back together but now? The confusion and the tension and everything else…it's just too much. She has neither the strength nor the time to linger on it. So instead, Kensi smiles softly, resisting the urge to drown in the cerulean of his eyes. "You don't like it when I say I'm fine…"
This time, he returns her smile, recalling with striking vividness the conversation to which she's referring. She's got a point, certainly; but while he doesn't believe her ninety-five percent of the time when she says she's fine, there's still that bit of comfort in hearing it. It's when she's unable to assert that she's fine that he'll really begin to worry. "I, uh, I'd like it this time," he clarifies, finally releasing her.
Kensi immediately misses his warmth, the electricity flowing between them like a circuit, but rather than let it show, she instead draws in a deep breath, steadying herself as the sea air fills her. She's silent for a moment longer, merely reveling in the fading wisps of the moment they'd shared before giving him the one thing she can give him. "I will be fine," she says, confidence in her voice even if she doesn't feel all that much of it.
"You ready?" he asks quietly, and he doesn't have to clarify for her to know what he means.
She gives a shrug, knowing she's failing at the whole nonchalant part. "Not really," she admits. "But what other choice do I have, right?"
Her real question – or, more accurately, her plea – is apparent in her dark eyes and Deeks reads it clearly. He's already proved to her once today that he can make her smile, laugh even, when everything around her is caving in. It's that lightness she needs now. Needs it, because while it can't drive back the demons forever, it can sure dissipate some of the shadows in which they hide. And that's something Deeks is all too happy to help with. "Well," he begins, that teasing sparkle in his eyes that never fails to awaken butterflies in Kensi's stomach. "I can actually think of a few other choices."
"Oh?" She lifts a brow, waiting. "Like what?"
"Well, I was actually going to suggest this before you told me to pull over," he says, crossing his arms over his chest. "We can always ditch the car and hide out somewhere until nightfall." He grins slightly, watching Kensi's own lips quirk at his suggestion. "Then, we use your MacGyver skills to track us down another set of wheels. Little bit of your badass hot-wiring and then some of your crazy bat-out-of-hell driving, and we can be across the border and off the radar in no time. And voila, problem solved."
Kensi can't help it – she laughs. She laughs because it's so incredibly Deeks and this entire situation is so incredibly ridiculous and to be perfectly honest, she can't quite deny that the fleeting thought of escape hasn't crossed her mind. "You were planning that out during the whole drive, weren't you?"
"I most certainly was." He smirks. "If you're going down, then I'm going down with you. And since I'm not going down…well, you see what we have to solve here."
She chuckles softly. "Yeah…" Glancing down at the sand for a moment, her smile grows wistful as the gravity of the situation makes itself known again. For a moment, she's silent – there aren't a handful of things she can or wishes to say right now, so in the end, she sticks to once more expressing her gratitude. "Thank you, Deeks. I don't know –"
He cuts her off. "Save the thanks for when I get your good name cleared."
To that, Kensi can only smile.
Everyone else in her life might have woven an elaborate web of lies that she's still trying to fight her way out of, but there's something about her partner that sets him apart from the rest. She's heard the words a thousand times, but when Deeks looks at her and repeats his promise to her, Kensi can't help but think that maybe she's finally found someone who won't let her down in the end.
And so, she trusts him with everything within her.