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Part II: Dreaming My Dreams With You

It's not supposed to feel like this, Kensi thinks and then tries to push the recalcitrant thought away back into the far recesses of her mind, but it refuses to obey and continues to dance around, creating a myriad of possiblities. Everything was fine until they went undercover as Justin and Melissa, because each day had a finite amount of time that she spent with Deeks, and that was what made it possible to keep her emotions under control. But spending all day, every day with him, that was completely different, so that all her defensive mechanisms were slowly washed away, becoming inconsequential and irrelevant. Living together, even as Justin and Melissa, rather than Kensi and Deeks, had changed everything, so that the entire dynamics of their relationship were thrown into disarray.

Relationship? No, that was wrong because they didn't have a relationship, they had never had a relationship. They were partners, that was all, Kensi tells herself. There was nothing more between them, no matter how much she wished there might be. It had been getting increasingly difficult to maintain the charade of being impervious to his charms, but now she thinks it will be almost impossible. She is so tired of pretending, of having to push her feelings down in denial and having to maintain a charade day in and day out. Being Melissa had been a rare and golden opportunity to actually to behave in the way she wanted to – to be able to touch Deeks, kiss him, sleep in the same bed as him – to live with him. And there had been times when it was so easy to forget they were just acting out roles, and let the fantasy slip over into reality, especially when they were alone. Once or twice, Kensi had let her guard down, had confessed how comfortable she felt with Deeks. The whole set-up was unreal, she knew that, and yet it had seemed so right, like two disparate elements being suddenly juxtaposed, only to reveal the fact that they were in fact the perfect match for one another. But now it is over, and she is back at home in her own apartment, alone again, and feeling hollow inside, as if something has been ripped out, leaving a gaping hole where once there was a warm, reassuring presence. Now there is only nothingness.

"Why does life have to be so complicated?" she cries out in frustration, but there is only the empty room to mock at her question. Until recently, Kensi enjoyed living alone, without anybody pointing the deficiencies in her housework, but it had been so easy to grow accustomed to having someone else around – and more particularly to having Deeks around. Lying bed at night, there would be that moment when they would turn towards one another, say goodnight and then switch out the bedside lights, before lying in silence in that period between sleep and wakefulness, carefully not touching, yet never forgetting that they were only inches apart. It would have been so easy just to reach out to him... only she had not done that. Because of that, now there is nothing and no-one, except the empty darkness. And she misses that. More than that, she misses Deeks.

Kensi sits up and switches on the lamp, then pulls her knees up close to her chest, hugging herself and wondering if she will ever feel warm and whole again. She wonders if Deeks will notice that she took one of his shirts with her, accidentally on purpose. It's the shirt she is wearing now, the white cotton t-shirt he would wear to bed, and wearing it is the next best thing to having Deeks beside her once again. Only it is not enough, it's a poor substitute for the real thing, the flesh and blood man she has slept beside for the past few nights. And it has been so long since she slept with a man, in the sense of actually sleeping. It takes a great deal of trust to fall asleep beside someone, to leave yourself so vulnerable, which is why Kensi usually makes her excuses and leave the bed of a lover to return home in the early hours of the morning. She does not trust men, and more than that, she guards her privacy fiercely. The last man who saw her asleep was Jack, and look at how that worked out. No, the way Kensi sees things, she needs to keep her defences up at all times, because she cannot afford to get hurt again.

There's just one problem: somewhere along the line, Deeks managed to subvert all her careful plans. It wasn't supposed to be like this: she wasn't supposed to miss him so much. He wasn't supposed to creep past all her barricades so stealthily, so she never noticed how integral he was becoming – until it was too late. As she moves restlessly, the thin cotton fabric brushes against her body, like the whisper of a touch, and she can smell Deeks all around her, a curious mixture of sun, sand and salt: the essence of the beach, with just the faintest hint of lemon. Perhaps it is the shampoo he uses? Kensi has to fight back the urge to rush down to the all-night drug store in search of that elusive scent, because that is ridiculous – isn't it?

She looks down at the emptiness beside her and in her mind she can see Deeks lying there, sound asleep, lying on one side so that he is facing her, and with his face relaxed and unguarded. Over the past few days she must have spent hours watching him sleep: it was a sight she could never tire of, so that now it is simple to bring the image back into sharp focus and see Deeks sleeping in the apricot light of early morning, with his hair a tumbled golden storm on the pillow. The picture is so clear that Kensi can see the way he scrunches his nose up, and once again she wonders what he dreams about. She wonders what he is dreaming about now, in his apartment far across the city, where it is just possible to hear the sound of waves crashing onto the shore. It must be peaceful to be lulled to sleep by that noise, she thinks, although sleep is very far from her mind. Tonight she cannot bear the possibility that she too might dream, for in those dreams, when your mind is free to roam wherever it desires, who can tell what unbidden images might spring forth? She does not want to fall asleep and dream that once more she is lying with Deeks, hearing the sound of his regular breathing and pretending that they really are a couple. Kensi has grown accustomed to sharing her slumber and she does not want to start dreaming without Deeks, for fear that he will not inhabit these dreams. Somehow, it would be worse not to dream of Deeks at all, rather than to dream about him and then wake up alone, with the far side of the bed empty and cold.

She has never felt less like sleeping, so Kensi gets up and starts to prowl around her apartment, checking once again that all the doors and windows are securely fastened. She's never felt totally safe at night, when anything might happen. It was night-time when the MPS told her that her father was dead, and the demons that visited had never quite receded from the evening shadows. Her footsteps are soft upon the floor as she pads quietly through each moonlit room, checking once again that she is alone and that the apartment is secure. The first night they spent together in the house, Deeks had watched in amazement as she performed her nightly routine of checking and then double-checking every possible entrance point. After that, he just joined in, accepting her need without question or comment. Kensi knows she can trust Deeks: she has laid her life in his hands more than once and she has also taken his hands and allowed him to pull her to safety. Now he has become her lifeline, although he will never know that. He has become her symbolic hope for the future – a future that is so incredibly normal it almost defies belief. Who would have though Kensi Blye would ever yearn for the white picket fence type of life? And since when did children start to figure in the equation? It's crazy, of course, she tell herself, completely insane. It's just that she and Deeks would make such cute babies, that's all. It means nothing, of course, for it is just an idle daydream, the sort of thoughts that just flit across the unconscious screen of thought, leaving a vague impression, nothing more. It will never happen. Kensi accepts that she is rather less likely to have Deeks' babies than she is to actually bake cookies from scratch and have them turn out edible. But there is a part of her that refuses to let the enticing prospect go completely.

No matter what happens, or more likely does not happen, she thinks, there will always that one thing to bind them: that once upon a time they shared a bed and in doing so they shared their dreams. Going back to her silent, lonely bed has never appeared less inviting. The prospect of dreaming alone is one Kensi dreads. For so long, for far too long if she is entirely truthful with herself, she has lived alone, as a way of protecting her heart. She had thought it broken beyond repair when Jack left, but she recovered and, having done that once, she can do it again. Of course she can. Kensi has already learnt the lesson about how very much love hurts. Whoever said that it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all was a complete fool. Either that, or they never knew what it was like to have loved, and not had that love returned. The truth is that not only does Deeks not love her, he has no idea about how she feels. This was just another job to him: nothing more. Right now he is probably out on the town, chatting up some exotic dancer, or a girl with more tattoos than common sense. Deeks isn't looking for love or commitment: he just wants a good time.

"And I could show you such a good time," Kensi thinks and a smile creep across her face as she imagines where she would begin. With a kiss, of course. It always starts with a kiss, but where it finishes, ah that is the question. They have unfinished business, she and Deeks, in the form of a kiss that had barely begun before it was ended. A kiss that started off as a pretence, a convenient subterfuge, only to spiral rapidly into something else altogether. Kensi feels her stomach clench as she remembers that kiss, recalls each disparate sensation that soon swirled together in a heady mix, so that once again she almost forgets to breathe. It was only a kiss, one that had its genesis in adversity, but now it has assumed entirely different proportions. Now it is the kiss by which all others will be forever measured against. A kiss is just a kiss, but Kensi knows that this kiss was different, and she knows that Deeks was not prepared for the passion with which she had kissed him. He'd responded, of course he had – because he was Deeks. It was just an automatic reflex, Kensi is sure of that. That was all it was. There was nothing more to it than that – was there? But regardless of what the kiss had, or had not meant, there was no doubt about one thing: Deeks was one hell of a kisser. Oh God, he could kiss.

And afterwards, as they'd rushed down the driveway, clothed in the velvet darkness of the evening, Deeks had wanted to talk about it. There was something just slightly off-balance about the way he had spoken that had given Kensi's heart hope to leap in her breast for one brief, shining instant. She'd deflected the question, wanting to wait until they were safely back in the house - perhaps even in the bedroom - to talk about it and had quickly invented a story to distract his attention away from the fact that her cheeks were burning brightly. And then the quiet solitude of the night had been ripped apart by fire from automatic weapons that had fractured the moment irreparably. And afterwards, there had been neither time nor space to talk properly, and besides which the moment was gone and could never be recalled. But it had been a great kiss. It makes Kensi wrap her arms around herself as she savours the memory, almost feeling the texture of his hair running between her fingers as she retraces her footsteps back to the bedroom.

Standing in the doorway, she looks at the stream of silver that cascades across the bed as the moon bathes her bedroom in an ethereal light. It is only too easy to recreate the image of Deeks in lying sleeping, one hand cupping his cheek and his nose wrinkling as something disturbs his sleep. And Kensi remembers Deeks said that was what happened when he was happy. What did that mean? Did it mean anything at all? Could it possibly mean that Deeks was happy with her? Kensi shakes her head and decides she is probably reading far too much into one chance remark, because their relationship is punctuated with half-spoken thoughts that never quite develop into fruition, so that it is as if she is perpetually standing upon shifting sands, always uncertain of her footing and never knowing where to go next.

"You're going to drive me mad, Deeks." Her hands are balled into fists, crushing the t-shirt into a crumpled mess between her angry fingers. "Just for once in your life, why can't you say what you mean?"

She can almost see him standing in front of her, head slightly tilted to one side and that smile creeping across his face as a smart remark starts to take shape in his mind. Next time she sees that look, Kensi thinks she will be very tempted to grab hold of her partner and kiss him again, to shut him up, if nothing else. Only that would be giving the game away. She got away with kissing him once, but a second time would be pushing things too far. Besides which, she is not entirely sure that she could stop herself, were she too kiss Deeks once again. Especially if he kissed back, like he'd done before.

"It's over, Kensi," she says, trying to force the fact into her head. And she isn't sure if it had even begun, that was the tragedy. But it is definitely over, she knows that the spell has been broken so that the fantasy dissolved all around her, falling into the ashes of dreams. And she will get over him, because she has no other choice. She will go into work tomorrow and pretend that nothing has happened, that she hasn't just spent the best few days of her life pretending to be married to Deeks, or that the pretence had begun to seep over into fact, pushing against the boundaries so that fiction blurred into real life and there were no longer any sharp delineations. With dreary recognition, Kensi accepts that there is a part of her that will always be Melissa, and that part will always miss Justin, will never be whole without him. She just has to work out how to deal with that, and everything will be fine.

Unconsciously, she runs her thumb and forefinger over the wedding and engagement bands that are still on her wedding finger. The metal is warm, almost as if it is a part of her, and she is accustomed to the way her hand looks with the jewellery in place. It will be a wrench to take them off, and one she secretly dreads, for this will mark the official end of everything, and Kensi doesn't think she's quite ready to let go off the dream yet.

"I didn't ask for this – for any of this."

She'd never wanted to walk into a gym, see Deeks standing there and feel as if someone had punched her in the gut. And she'd certainly not been looking for love, which is precisely why Kensi has fought so hard to suppress her feeling, to deny the sinking realisation that she is in thrall and helpless to fight against the pull he effortlessly exerts. For a long time, Kensi has deliberately not believed in love, but she has thrown that away like a handful of feathers into the wind and now she can watch her good resolutions floating away serenely, impervious of her attempts to pull them back. She's given that away, just as she gave away her passion with the kiss, and the secrets of her heart when she told Deeks how comfortable she felt with him. Too much has been said and done to ever be forgotten, and Kensi thinks this will always lie awkwardly between them, like a jagged rock just below the surface of the sea that entraps hapless mariners and leads them to destruction. Someday she'll get over him, Kensi vows. Not yet though – she's not ready to let go just yet. She still has her dreams, after all.

And yet those dreams are dangerous. It's too late to even attempt to go back and pretend that kiss and those words never happened, she realises, knowing that they betrayed the secrets of her heart. Now she must watch helplessly as all her carefully constructed metaphorical bridges are consumed in fire. All she can do now is to try to go forwards, while treasuring the times she spent alone with Deeks, just two people sharing a bed. Once again Kensi can feel the warmth of his arm as Deeks stretches out to her in his sleep and pulls her into his embrace. Time slips away so that she can feel the soft touch of his beard on the tender skin of her neck as he nuzzles in and kisses her briefly and the pain that flares up in her heart is almost beyond endurance.

The truth is that the room is dark, the bed is cold and empty and Kensi has never felt quite so desolate as she stands in the doorway and comprehends with awful clarity that the dream is over and can never be recaptured.

Would you be terribly surprised to know that there is more to come? there is no way the plot bunnies are going to let me leave things like this. Well, actualy evil plot bunny would love that, but he is a horrid wee animal. He bites his toenails, you know. In public.