So many thanks to everyone who has left such incredible reviews: I can hadly believe all the wonderful compliments you've paid me. Also thanks to everyone who has added this as a favourite story.
Sadly, this was only ever going to be a four chapter story, so I hope you enjoy the ending
Fourth Movement: Rondo
After that conversation with Hetty, I've been keeping an eye on Deeks. She was right, you see: he does look like hell. He also looks as sexy as hell, with shadowed eyes adding to his disingenuous charms, but it doesn't stop me worrying about him, and wondering if I've pushed him into this and that it's too much too soon. After five days, I've had enough.
"How about we stop this? It's not worth it."
"It might not be worth it yet, but it will be. I promise you." He tries to make a joke of it, but it doesn't work, mainly because he's too tired to make much of an effort. Deeks is normally a ball of energy, he can scarcely sit still at the best of times, but right now he looks too tired to do anything much more than function at the most basic level. By the end of the day, it's as much as he can do just to keep his eyes open.
"Deeks – I'm serious."
Typically, he shakes off my concern, which is why I know something is wrong. When Deeks has a minor ailment, everybody knows about it. But when he's really bothered about something, he internalises it. Or does something completely crazy like hauling himself halfway across a hospital and splitting all his stitches open and puncturing a lung in the process, just to save my sorry ass. I still wake up in the middle of the night, consumed with guilt about that. It was my fault, you see, because I wouldn't listen to him. It was because of me he got shot in the first place and it was my fault he nearly died saving me. I'm not going to be the cause of any more injuries to my partner. Deeks might not be talking right now, but I can see the damage this is doing to him and I want it to stop.
"I'm serious too, Kensi. Completely serious. I told you-if I'm going to play for you, I'm going to do it properly. On my terms. And that means practising."
"But you don't have to do this." This is as close as I've ever got to pleading with my partner, if you exclude that time at the hospital, when I held him in arms and begged him not to die on me. There was just so much blood, you see, and he looked so pale and fragile. If I am honest with myself, Deeks doesn't look a whole lot better right now and I feel so guilty I could almost be sick.
He shakes his head and I can see the changes that just five days have brought about, because there's a fine drawn look to his face. "I do. Seriously, I do. You made me realise just how much I need to this."
"It doesn't matter – not really."
"Oh, but it does. It matters to me." He raises his left eyebrow in that way he has, and then walks away, leaving me standing there wondering how this all went so wrong.
I want to tell him to stop being so stubborn, and just to listen to me, but I know it would be futile. Once Deeks has made up his mind, that's it: there is no going back. That's something I can relate to, having spent just about every free weekend over a period of several years and almost all my disposable income in an attempt to find the person responsible for my father's death. During that time, I had one aim in mind: revenge. I would find whoever had killed my father and, in turn, I would kill him. But when it came right down to it, I couldn't pull the trigger, because I realised that I didn't want revenge, that I had never wanted revenge. What I needed was justice. I wonder what Deeks needs and if he is ever going to achieve that inner feeling of acceptance I achieved the day I let the man who murdered my father live.
There is no way I am leaving things like this, so I go after him. "I'm worried about you Deeks. I'm worried that I'm pushing you too hard."
The truth is that I'm scared that this is pushing him away from me. I'm worried Deeks is becoming obsessed with playing absolutely perfectly, of achieving the impossible. Most of all, I'm frightened I'm losing him, even though I never had him – not really. This was supposed to bring us together, only it's pulling us apart. He's never seemed more distant, more unreachable. A shiver runs down my spine as I wonder if I know him any more. Over the past few days he's been moving further and further away from me , like a boat that has slipped its mooring and is drifting inexorably out to the wide openness of the untamed ocean.
Deeks shakes his head, with a faraway look in his eyes, one I've become only too familiar with recently, as if his thoughts are somewhere else entirely and reality is an unpleasant intrusion. "It's not you, Kensi – it's me. And it'll be worth it. I promise you."
If that is meant to be reassuring, it fails spectacularly. Back in Mia's apartment I thought we were getting somewhere, that finally we might be able to say all these things that lie between us, mutely accusing us in the way that only lost opportunities can. But now my great plan has fallen crashing down, walling Deeks in, preventing me from getting close to him. Deeks has never seemed more remote or more distant. It's as if he has closed himself off to me and to everyone else. I thought that music might be the bridge across our differences, the way in which we could finally allow our minds to meet: I was wrong. I can't reach him now, no matter how hard I try and I'm conscious of this empty feeling, as if I am completely hollow inside.
The following evening, I go out to a club and I dance like a dervish. I put all my energies into dancing, trying to forget Deeks as I allow the music to enter my body and consume my mind. Soon I am freeing myself up to the beat as the music sinks deep into my pores and I surrender myself completely to its intoxicating lure, still trying to forget all about Deeks.
Music is primal: it stirs up these ancient pulses. Music is seductive and hypnotic, and dancing takes these irresistible elements and then translates them into action so that the music and the dance it creates become inextricably linked. There are guys practically queuing up to dance with me, but the one man I really want to dance with is nowhere in sight. That's because Deeks is probably back at his apartment, just him and his violin. Why does he want to do that, when he could be right here with me? We could be dancing so close, our hips touching, our arms around each other, and here I am, flirting half-heartedly with a complete stranger I've got no interest in at all. Talk about a bad romance that never even got started. With that realisation, the club loses all its appeal for me. I'm wasting my time, because there is nothing for me here. There's somewhere else I want to be, somewhere I need to be, if I am honest and someone I desperately want to see.
So I drive through the inky black darkness of the night, the roads dotted only with the harsh beam of street lights until I arrive outside Deeks' apartment block. He lives close to the ocean, and the smell of ozone is everywhere, that sharp, fresh scent that is a combination of the sea and the wind and which I always associate with my partner. Getting out of the car, I look up and see Deeks standing at the window, back-lit by a lamp, so that he is perfectly silhouetted. He is playing the violin, just like I have imagined him doing so many times. There is something about the way he is standing and his complete and utter absorption in what he is playing that lets me understand I cannot intrude on this intensely private moment. I might need to see Deeks, but he needs to be alone with his music. And that is the precisely the dichotomy I have been fighting against for the past week: his needs and my desires. Oh well, the waiting is nearly over now. There are only a few more hours to go, so I can safely drive away leave him in solitude, no matter how much it hurts to do so. I just hope I'm not making the biggest mistake of my life.
It is now officially the end of the seven days grace I gave Deeks. Seven days that have become increasingly hellish for me to live through. By now, Sam has noticed a difference in Deeks too. And because he doesn't know anything about our little wager, he's got no compunction about saying something. "You're overdue for an appointment at the canine beautician."
Deeks looks up and blinks in surprise. That's when I know he's definitely not getting enough sleep, because normally he'd be right in there with a quick riposte. "What?" He sounds confused and I feel this pang of remorse: what am I doing to him? Did he get any sleep at all last night, or did he just stay up playing that damned fiddle until he came into work?
"You need to find those clippers before you start looking like Bigfoot." Sam leans over and runs his hand down Deeks' cheek, where the stubble is much longer than normal. "It'll soon be long enough to plait."
"Enough with the inappropriate touching." Deeks jerks away from his touch.
"And while you're at it, make sure you get yourself something decent to eat at lunchtime. You look like you haven't eaten for a week." Callen has now joined in the conversation. He's right. I noticed this morning that Deeks has had to use a tighter hole in his belt.
"What is this- get at Deeks week? I'm just naturally lean. Like a thoroughbred racehorse."
Sam just snorts in amusement, but doesn't say anything more. That's when I know he's worried. Under normal circumstances he would never pass up such a golden opportunity to take another dig at Deeks. However, I've got a pretty good idea he is just biding his time and that I'm lined up in his sights. Sure enough, later that afternoon, he and Callen contrive an opportunity to call me up to Ops.
"What's up with Deeks?" Callen is standing there, hands on hips and exuding authority.
"Nothing's up with Deeks." This is nothing to do with them, after all. It's strictly between me and Deeks and nobody else.
"Kensi." That's all Sam needs to say: just one single word. You really need to hear the tone of voice he says it in though, in order to get the full impact, and to see the look on his face. He's officially worried and he's not bothering to hide it.
"Seriously. There's nothing wrong with Deeks. He's just been busy at nights, that's all."
"Busy? As in he's got a new girlfriend?"
"It's nothing like that."
Although one week ago, I wouldn't have ruled out that possibility. I had this misguided notion that all that was going to happen was that tonight Deeks would appear outside my apartment, serenade me with some corny song and that, as they say, would be that. Kismet. Fate. Whatever. How wrong can one woman be?
Callen looks sceptical. "The man's not sleeping, he's hardly eating. It's not nothing. It's either love or Deeks is coming down with something."
"Just give him some space, will you?"
"You know about this, don't you?" Sam walks over and studies me carefully. "Kensi?"
"I know about it, okay? Just leave it, will you?" I can hear the pleading tone in my voice. He's going to ruin everything, I just know he is. "Please, Sam? It's important."
"No way." Callen is adamant. "We're not leaving it. This has gone on long enough. Either you tell us what is going on, or we're going to get hold of Deeks and ask him."
"We'll make him talk if we have to. Through brute force, if that's what it takes."
I have no doubt that Sam will sit on Deeks to get his answers, if that's what he deems necessary. And then my cell goes off, just in the nick of time. It's a text, but there's no message, just a photo attachment. And when I open that up, I see this photo of a violin, lying on Deeks desk. And that's when I realise he is going to do this right now, right here-in front of everybody. For some peculiar reason that makes my stomach turn over and it puts a huge smile on my face, both at exactly the same time. I don't know whether to feel happy or scared.
"You're too late. Both of you." I'm sprinting out of Ops as I say that, not caring if they think I'm completely mad. I probably am mad, because I've got this crazy notion that Deeks is going to do something so utterly outrageous, I can't let myself believe in that possibility.
I reach the balcony just in time to look down and see that Deeks is standing right in the middle of the bullpen, violin in hand and I lean over, not daring to believe that he is actually going to do this, right here in the Mission, in front of everyone. This can't be happening – can it? This sort of thing only happen in movies, not in real life. Only I'm up here, and Deeks is down there, and everyone is looking at us, their heads turning back and forwards between us, like they're at a tennis match or something. It would be hilarious, if only it wasn't so serious. Gradually, people stop talking – but they don't stop looking.
I can't ever recall seeing him stand quite so upright before. Everything about Deeks seems subtly different somehow, like I'm watching his reflection in a mirror or something. At some point he's managed to sneak out and change into a white shirt and run the clippers over his stubble. I think he might even have brushed his hair. For some reason, that gets to me more than anything else. Deeks is making this huge, grand gesture – and he's doing it all for me.
"Deeks." It's barely even a whisper, but he hears me.
"Kensi. This is for you." He salutes me with the bow, and then tucks the violin under his chin and begins to play, eyes sliding half-shut as the music starts to form all around him, soaring up towards me and enveloping me in this shower of beauty. I've never felt so special or so privileged or quite so loved before and all my previous doubts and worries just dissolve away, like the morning dew as the sun breaks through the clouds and bathes the world in the freshness of a new day.
A hush falls over the Mission as everyone stops what they are doing, so that all you can hear is Deeks making his violin singing its plaintive song. I know the music instantly, but I've never heard it played quite like this, or with quite so much passion. All I can think is that this is the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me and for the first time I realise the true meaning of the phrase 'playing from the heart', because that is exactly what Deeks is doing, and what's more, he's doing it for me.
"Is that Deeks playing?" Sam appears at my side and he sounds completely taken aback
"He's good." Callen joins us and leans over the railings too.
He's more than good. Deeks can really play the violin and it is like an extension of his body, an integral part of his being. He makes it looks so effortless and that is when I know exactly how good he is, to make this complex piece sound so easy. The violin positively sings and, as he plays I start easing my way along the balcony, walking slowly as the music pulls me forward, my feet moving of their own volition as though I am mesmerised, drawing me closer. There is nowhere else I want to be, other than at the side of this man who can create such unbelievably beautiful music, pulling it out of thin air and investing it with such meaning. Today Deeks has thrown all semblance of pretence and caution to the four winds and by doing to he has revealed to me exactly where my future lies.
The afternoon sun coming in through the second floor windows falls down onto the main floor of the Mission as I go slowly down the stairs and it illuminates Deeks as surely as any spotlight, turning his hair into molten gold, creating the effect of a halo. I can't take my eyes off Deeks. If I ever had any serious doubts that he was the man for me, then this is the moment when they disappear, as the music acts like the incoming tide washing a beach clean.
The music is swirling around the Mission, reverberating in the arched spaces as my partner pours all his feelings into the music. He plays with his eyes half shut, and that fascinates me. It's hard to believe that this man making this incredible music is Deeks – my Deeks. The power and the beauty he can create overwhelm me. I can feel all his sadness flowing out through the music, but I can also feel the joy and healing his playing is creating. I watch in awe as the bow arcs so gracefully through the air, at the way his fingers are dancing across the strings with such agility and incredibly accuracy and at the way his whole body moves in time to the music he is conjuring up out of thin air. But, most of all, I am captivated by the man who is revealing himself to me so wholeheartedly, with such transparent emotion.
At the end, when the music finally moves to a close, Deeks stands perfectly still for a brief moment, as if he is still half-captivated by the sounds he wove into such an intricate pattern, before finally lowering the violin and letting it hang down at his side. For just a few minutes he turned an ordinary afternoon into something completely magical and captivated us all completely, capturing everyone's attention and holding us in thrall to him. But the spell is over now, and reality returns as first one person begins clapping, and then another and another until the applause is thunderous, filling the whole building with acclaim. People are cheering and whistling and Deeks looks quite stunned at the reaction. In that instant, I realise that by playing for me he has finally accomplished what he needed and allowed his talent to emerge from dormancy to finally be recognised and appreciated.
"Mr Deeks?" Hetty raises her voice above the hubbub "You are a sneaky little bugger, but you play like an angel."
Deeks gives her a bemused grin and then he looks along the balcony, searching for me. The look of confusion and panic on his face when he fails to find me standing there is almost comical. Almost.
"Looking for me?" I tap him on the shoulder, because I am right here at his side, for how could I stay up there on the balcony a moment longer? Hearing Deeks play made me realise exactly where I wanted to be and, more importantly, exactly who I wanted to be with. "That was quite some show you put on. Maestro."
A flush brightens his cheeks. "You liked it?" He looks like a little boy, seeking my approval, but at the same time the look of triumph and irrepressible joy in his eyes is unmistakable. "Really?"
"It was incredible." I reach up and brush my hand across my eyes, dashing away the tears.
"You're crying?" Deeks sounds completely taken aback.
"I'm crying because it was so beautiful. And because you did that for me. In front of everyone."
The music said everything I could ever want him to say, and more. I just wish there was some way I could find the words to repay the compliment and to let Deeks know how he means to me.
"Don't cry. I wanted it to be perfect – for you. Please don't cry." He still looks anxious and unsure.
"It was perfect," I assure him. "That was absolutely the most wonderful, incredibly romantic thing anyone has ever done for me. And I'm crying because I'm so happy."
Comprehension breaks through the mists of my confusion with a blinding clarity: Deeks has managed to show me that sometimes we don't need any words. Surely the least I can do is to repay the compliment? So I do what I should have done months ago: I reach up and my hand on the nape of Deeks' neck and I pull him down into a kiss. I'm vaguely conscious that once again there is a crescendo of applause as our lips finally meet and somehow that seems exactly right, because this is a fabulous kiss and I don't want it to ever end as I sink into his embrace.
"I told you I needed to practice," Deeks says in an undertone, when we finally break apart.
"Oh no you don't." My head is still spinning and my heart is beating so fast that it feels like I've just run a marathon. "That kiss was pretty much amazing."
"I was talking about the violin." He's running one hand through my hair, and with the other he's pulling me closer to him and there's a slightly stunned look of disbelief in his eyes, like he can't quite comprehend this is all really happening. I know exactly how he feels, because by all the rules of logic and common-sense, not to mention workplace decorum, this really should not be happening – not here, and not now. Only it is. Perhaps it was always meant to be this way?
"I know you were. But maybe we really do need to practice kissing? Just to make sure that wasn't a fluke?"
"I like the way you think."
And I like the way he kisses. In fact, I like pretty much everything about him, especially now that Deeks' hand is cupping the back of my head and I've got both of my arms around his neck as we kiss, and we kiss and we kiss. Time seems to stand still as we kiss like the whole world is about to end and, once again, it is a great kiss. If possible, it's even better than the first kiss. Somewhere, in the midst of that mind-swirling, down-right incredible kiss, I can hear Hetty's voice again.
"At last. It's about bloody time."
I think that means she approves, which is nice. Not that I'd care if she didn't, because now I've got Deeks, I'm never going to let him go again.
Much later on, I wonder if Hetty knows that the best day's work she ever did in her whole life was to bring Deeks into NCIS? I rather suspect she does. And I have this feeling that things are just going to keep on getting better, as we gather up our hearts and go a thousand kisses deep. I look at the beloved man lying beside me and wonder if it's too soon for us to make some more beautiful music together. He looks up at me and smiles that lazy, seductive smile that entranced me right from the very start and I know that Deeks can dance me to the end of love and back again by morning.