A/N: Wow, my first leap into crime drama television. Whoohoo! Well, this summer I needed a little writing project so I decided to tackle television. I've been a fan of NCIS: LA for a while now so I'm excited to be getting into the fanfiction community here. I'm sure this has been done already, but hey, figured I'd give it a try.
Well, this story will be set tentatively after Neighborhood Watch, but don't count on it being a decent prelude to Sans Voir. It should be about 5-7 chapters, so keep your eyes peeled! I should update every 5 days or so.
And lastly, I did a little research, but I made up this crime myself so don't expect it to be a masterpiece murder.
"Why do you think you are here?"
Kensi glances over to her partner, who chooses to look over at her at the exact same moment. He nods at her to answer first. She bites her lip for a moment, thinking. Be as honest as possible, Callen told her, the therapist will see right through anything fake.
"We have issues," she finally answers simply, her gaze still interlocked with the ocean blue eyes of her partner. The corner of his mouth twitches upwards slightly at that.
"And what would those issues be?"
She knows it, and he knows it, so why hasn't she put an end to this nonsense already?
It's not exactly staring, she tells herself. It's just . . . repeated glancing. Yes, that's it. Repeated glancing.
"Kens, is something wrong?" She looks up from her paperwork and damn, she had just begun to develop some sort of focus on it.
"What do you mean Deeks?" she sighs, attempting to focus on her paperwork again. Deeks grins widely.
"You've stopped staring. My hotness too much for you to handle right now?"
"Consider yourself lucky you don't sit next to me, or I would-"
"Spank me?" he snickers. Kensi's eyes widen.
"Shut up, Deeks." But he's having way too much fun to stop now, and she knows it.
"It's alright Kens, I mean you can spank me anyti-"
"Ms. Blye and Mr. Deeks." Deeks stops mid sentence and closes his eyes. Kensi bits her lip to keep a laugh from escaping. Hetty is standing at the front of the bullpen, her face showing how much of their conversation she overheard. "You have a case."
"Lack of professionalism at work, for one," she says, giving Deeks a pointed look. He simply smirks back at her. "And he cannot take me seriously."
"I see. And would you say your main problems are at the workplace or at home?"
"I can answer that," Deeks cuts in. Kensi raises a challenging eyebrow at him. "She can't seem to distinguish our work partnership from our actual relationship."
"Says the man who flirts when we're supposed to be on the job!" Kensi mutters, shooting a searing glare at Deeks.
"Says the woman who won't let it go when we get home," he fires back effortlessly. Well, that's partly true. Have to maintain some sort of cover, she supposes.
The therapist cuts in. "Okay, let's calm down now. What we have here is a foundation to work on. Now, have you ever tried talking about these issues?"
Kensi can't help but look over at Deeks, who is now wearing a semi-serious frown. Their minds are likely on very similar paths.
They never talk.
They dance on the boundaries of their partnership and never discuss them ever again. That's them.
"We, um, don't talk," she admits quietly. The therapist leans back, nodding, looking over at Deeks for confirmation.
"She closes up on me and I don't push," he states quietly, eyes downcast.
"Our victim is Petty Officer Blake Neilson, thirty-seven. Returned home two years ago after spending three years at sea. He has a wife, Callie Neilson, thirty-two, works as a kindergarten teacher." Nell pauses to pull up her file and Deeks speaks.
"Which job is more dangerous, I wonder," he says with a playful nudge to Kensi's side. Kensi nudges him back, hard, and notes his overly dramatic flinch with a smirk.
"The Petty Officer was found in a sauna by a couple-" Nell continues, but Deeks interjects again.
"I'm sorry, he was found where?"
"In a sauna," Nell repeats. Kensi arches an eyebrow. That's odd. "The Petty Officer and his wife were at Lake Affetto. It's a retreat center for couples whose relationships are struggling."
"Has the wife been questioned yet? Struggling relationship, dead husband, seems pretty cut and dry to me," Kensi says.
"Local police didn't make much progress, but they do not believe she is the killer." Nell pulls up another file. "The main reason NCIS has taken over the case is this." Up pops several documents, emails, and letters. "Petty Officer Neilson has ties to the Maggio crime family. They've been active in Chicago for around thirty years, but police have yet to find enough incriminating evidence to make any arrests. Petty Officer Neilson appears to have done some work for Joe Maggio, the family's boss, before his second deployment."
"Why didn't the Navy find this earlier?" Kensi asks nobody in particular.
"Maggio is good at covering his tracks and the tracks of his people," Nell replies. She pauses when Eric enters Ops carrying two folders. He hands one to Kensi and another to Deeks.
"Petty Officer Neilson was about to come clean. He had lots of valuable intel on how the Maggio family operated and several names to give police. He was set to meet with the Chicago Police Department after the retreat with his wife."
"So Joe Maggio had him killed to keep him quiet then," Deeks says.
"We believe so," Eric says. "Which brings us to our suspect- Lucy Wilson. Thirty years old, married to a sculptor from San Diego named David Wilson."
"And why is she a suspect?" Deeks asks.
"Take a look at her maiden name," Nell answers.
"Lucy Maggio," Kensi breathes.
"When interviewed by police, Mrs. Wilson claimed that she and her husband were having communication issues and that he was accusing her of cheating. We pulled up her phone records and it shows that she wasn't calling a lover-" Eric begins.
"-She was talking to her father," Kensi finishes, her eyes sweeping over the numbers and records.
"Planning murder, perhaps?" Deeks offers.
"We think so," Nell says. "Um, open your folders."
Kensi does so, and is surprised to find a driver's licence, insurance papers, and pages of information on a woman named Carmen Garcia.
A woman who looks a lot like her.
Hetty enters Ops at that moment with Sam and Callen behind her.
"You two will be going undercover as Christian Clarke and Carmen Garcia, and engaged work-relationship couple. You will drive down to Lake Affetto tonight, claiming that you were held up at work," Hetty states. Kensi exchanges a questioning look with Deeks.
"Why do we have to go undercover?" she asks.
"NCIS is hoping to find evidence against the Maggio family and also solve the murdr of Petty Officer Neilson," Callen replies, "Your job while undercover is to get close to Lucy Wilson and get to the bottom of Petty Officer Neilson's murder."
"Police have not yet found the murder weapon or scene of the crime," Nell adds, "We're hoping you can find those as well." Deeks nods.
"Simple undercover op, should be easy," Callen finishes. "There's only one thing that might make your lives a little difficult."
"What?" Kensi asks.
"You'll have to go to therapy."
They leave their scheduled therapy session with his arm draped over her shoulder and her cuddled up against his side. As usual, they discuss nothing of what was said in there. Just like they didn't discuss the "cover kiss". It's easier, better that way, Kensi rationalizes.
"So sugar bear, where to?" Deeks asks. Kensi allows herself a giggle and presses a soft peck to his cheek. She chooses to ignore the shiver that runs down her spine as her lips meet the soft scruff on his cheek.
"How about the lake?" she suggests, her breath catching. She clears her throat to hide it. "I think I saw some of the ladies there." For good measure, she adds, "Christian."
Is she hiding the aftershocks of that cheek peck well? She hopes she is, or Deeks will not let her live it down.
"Whatever you want, Carmen," he replies, mimicking her tone. Kensi suppresses the urge to roll her eyes as the two continue down the footpath.
It's sunny today, she notices. If they were still back at NCIS, Deeks would probably invite her to the beach after work. He would surf, and she would sit with Monty on the beach, reading a magazine or novel and yes, watching him.
Deeks seemed like a completely different person on the waves. He was agile, graceful, and yes, with his wetsuit on she could see how in shape he was. Sometimes he would notice her watching him and do a trick. When he succeeded, she would cheer for him. Cheering was so unlike her, yet she found herself doing it every time. Must be the effect of the sun.
Many times she would find herself over at his house after his surfing. She would dig through his pantry while he showered to find something with sugar or pop some popcorn and once he got out, they would watch a movie. It was surprising how . . . normal it felt to do that too.
"Want to head back to our cabin first, babe?" Deeks asked, his arm on her shoulder moving lower to wrap around her waist.
Kensi prays he doesn't feel the shudder traveling down her spine.
The grin he's wearing tells her he does. Hetty was right, he was a cheeky bastard.
"And," Kensi clears her throat, and Deeks's grin grows wider. "A-and why would we do that?" she finally stammers out. Deeks hand curls around her waist, giving it a little squeeze. She is going to kill him later.
"Mind out of the gutter, hun-bun," he chuckles, "I just thought we could change into something we can swim in."
Kensi lets out a breath she didn't realize she was holding. "Oh, well, that's a, um, good idea," she relents.
As they near their cabin, Kensi knows exactly which bathing suit she is gonna wear. She allows a smirk settle on her face.
Revenge will certainly be sweet.
"Your alias will be Carmen Garcia, a paralegal who works for the law firm Reed & Lawson." Kensi nods, engrossed in her file. "Here, I'll quiz you."
She and Nell are going over her alias together while Kensi packs for the retreat at her home. Most of what she packs is her clothes from her whole married op, which she still hasn't completely unpacked from.
She absent-mindedly grabs for a bra, and pauses when she picks up a pink one. The bra from his sock drawer. She purses her lips for a moment, considering, and then tosses it into her suitcase.
"How did you and Christian meet?" Nell asks.
"I was assigned to help him on a land dispute case."
"And what did he say?"
"He said he knew the job had its perks but I had to be the best one yet." Nell nods.
"Good. Okay, um, tell me about yourself."
"I went to California State and majored in paralegal studies, and was offered a job at Reed & Lawson upon graduating."
"Nice," Nell says. "So, how do you feel?"
"About the alias? I like it." Nell shakes her head and Kensi freezes mid-fold.
"I mean about going undercover with Deeks on this." Kensi blinks, taken off guard.
"I, I'm fine with it. Nothing we haven't done before." Nell studies her, calculating.
"Kensi, when you go into the therapy sessions, you can't lie. You know that right. Most of the issues you will have to discuss are going to need to be real." Kensi averts her gaze. "You and Deeks are going to have to work through actual issues you have."
"What are you saying?" Kensi asks, folding her arms and attempting to appear nonchalant. Nell keeps studying her.
"I'm just saying that this op is different. The lines between your alias and yourself will be fuzzy at times. I know Hetty will give you this talk too, but I wanted to tell you as well."
"What's the difference?" Kensi says, trying to lighten the mood.
"You will tell me if your feelings for Deeks go beyond being platonic," Nell says simply. "Right? I don't think you would tell Hetty that."
And once again, Kensi is thrown off balance.
"I, I'm sorry, what?" Nell's gaze remains steadfast.
"Please just tell me Kens. I promise I will not tell anyone."
"That's not the issue here," Kensi manages to say. No, Nell is not the problem. Kensi knows she can trust her, knows she will not accidentally slip up to Eric or Callen and Sam or even Hetty. The problem is that admitting her feelings for her partner go far beyond what is professional or appropriate means admitting it to herself.
And she cannot let herself do that.
"Then what is the issue?"
Kensi looks herself over in the mirror as she finishes her side braid. A smug smirk is set on her lips. Deeks will definitely enjoy this.
She is wearing a black halter bikini with a small golden ring in the middle. The bottom is fairly modest, but she admits to herself that she doesn't need to look sleazy to make her partner drool. She ties off the braid with an elastic band and grabs her cover-up, a thin dark purple dress that goes down to her mid-thigh. Slipping it over her head, she gives the mirror one more glance before stepping out of the bathroom.
She's prepared for his face when he sees her.
What she's not prepared for is the sight of him in blue swim trunks, shirtless. Her eyes roam down his tanned and defined chest, and her mouth quirks when she notices the tan lines his wetsuit leaves behind from his surfing. She should not be affected like this. She has seem him shirtless before many times. Maybe it's the angle of the sun hitting his abs in all the right places or the way his biceps are . . . no, Kensi. Stop.
His look matches hers, and for a moment she swears his eyes go a shade darker, as do hers. She clears her throat, breaking some of the tension that has erupted between them.
"You, um, ready to go, Christian?" she asks, composing herself as best she can. Deeks keeps staring at her, his lips slightly parted. "Christian?" Her repetition of his cover name seems to break him out of his trance.
"Um, yeah, let's go." She walks over to him and his arm goes around her waist. She tries not to dwell on how natural it has become for them. She bends over to pick up a towel and can feel his appreciative gaze on her. They make their way to a footpath that will lead them to the lake, not being able to meet each others' gazes.
"You know Carmen, it's not really fair to be dressed in something so . . ." Deeks trails off, his eyes moving down her body, peeking through her partially transparent cover-up. "Accentuating."
"Lovely choice of words," Kensi teases, "But why is it not fair that I dress up for my fiancé?"
She feels his breath catch at that. She'll pretend she didn't. Because she didn't. His breath did not catch because that statement cannot affect him in any way.
"Maybe because, um," he stammers, "Your fiancé isn't the only one who will get a look at that. Not fait to the other guys." He's usually smoother than this, Kensi notes. She doesn't know whether to be smug or petrified.
"Why, babe?" Why is she even continuing this conversation? This cannot happen, this conversation should not happen.
Deeks must have pulled himself together pretty fast because he grabs the other side of her waist and pulls her into him, his lips mere inches from hers.
Oh my God.
"Why? Because you're all mine," he murmurs, his breath mingling with hers and making her brain go fuzzy.
It's part of the cover, that's all it is. Kensi repeats that over and over in her head as he returns them to their half-embrace and continues walking down to the lake.
"Hey Carmen!" Kensi stops and turns as Bianca Jackson and her boyfriend Craig Blakely walk to catch up with them.
Kensi remembers Bianca from her file. An exotic dancer turned ballet instructor with a unique lineage- half Polish and half Filipino, twenty-six. She has long, wavy brown hair and large blue, almond shaped eyes. She's beyond gorgeous, which Kensi guesses gets her into trouble with her boyfriend. She probably attracts way too much unwanted attention.
Craig Blakely is a high school Physical Science teacher, which Kensi finds odd, considering the background of his girlfriend. His record was totally clean, ableit a few speeding tickets here and there. Kensi wonders how he managed to find a girlfriend like Bianca.
Bianca and Craig had been the first ones to welcome them to the retreat and were very friendly people. Kensi and Bianca had talked a few times before, but only in passing.
"Going for a swim?" Bianca asks brightly. Kensi notices she too is in a swimsuit, a barely there golden bikini and a transparent black cover-up. She nods. "Mind if Craig and I join you?"
"Feel free!" Deeks says, a bit too happily for Kensi's liking. She manages to send him a quick glare before falling beside Bianca as they walk.
"So how was your session?" Bianca asks.
"A therapy session," Kensi replies simply, and Bianca laughs.
"Oh, I know, they're horrible! Even worse, they try to act like they know you!"
"What do you mean?"
"You know what that hag said? She said I had trust issues and THAT was why I wouldn't let things with Craig get more serious. Can you believe it?" Kensi could, in fact, but she merely nods.
"Is that why you two came here?" she asks. Bianca nods.
"It was Craig's idea. He wants to, uh, take the next step. But I don't. He thinks I'm pulling away from him so he got me to come to this. I thought why not, might even do us some good. But now I see how stupid this whole thing is." She rolls her eyes. "Why are you and Christian here?" Kensi thinks fast.
"We work together, and it's kind of having an impact on us," she replies, startled by how nothing in that answer was a cover.
"Oh yeah, I can see how it would," Bianca says, sympathetically putting a hand on her shoulder. "You think this will help?"
"I hope it will." She decides to push her luck. "So how about Blake Neilson, huh?" Bianca's face turns somber.
"Oh, it's terrible, isn't it? I think we're all wanting to forget it, but it's hard. I don't think anyone will ever use that sauna again!" Kensi chuckles darkly.
"You think anyone here did it?" she asks innocently. Bianca looks over her shoulder and leans over to her.
"You didn't hear this from me, but I saw Lucy Wilson out late at night when Blake was killed."
"So?" Kensi says, hoping to draw more information out of her.
"So, that's not normal. And I saw them talking at the bonfire, and trust me, they did not look very happy with each other." Kensi nods.
"What time was it?" she asks as they reach the lake. "Speak of the devil," Bianca mutters. "And it was around midnight. I had been up to get a drink of water after Craig and I-um, I won't finish that sentence."
Several couples seem to have the same idea as Kensi and Deeks. Kensi notices Sheila and Amos Martin. Amos is working at the retreat as a janitor and brought his wife along with him. They often interact with couples in their spare time. Kensi likes them.
She also catches sight of the Collins'. Ashley Collins, a high society blonde woman aged around twenty-one is splashing her husband who appears to be on his cell phone with water.
And there is her target. Lucy Wilson, tanning on a towel in a forest green strapless tankini. Her husband is conversing with Amos Martin near the shore. Kensi says goodbye to Bianca and steals Deeks away from Craig, taking him over to a clear spot on the shore where she throws out the towel and sits on it. Deeks sits next to her.
"Get anything useful from Craig?" she asks.
"If you find his frustration with modern teenagers useful, then yes," he quips. Kensi laughs, unable to help herself. Damn sun is getting to her again. "You?" he asks.
"Bianca claims she saw Lucy lurking around the retreat at midnight," she reports, "She also says she saw Lucy arguing with Neilson at the bonfire."
"Interesting," Deeks murmurs, "What did Eric say our killzone was?"
"Between 10:30 and 11:30."
"So maybe she went back to get the body?"
"What are you two lovebirds talking about?" Kensi glances up, and her heart skips a beat.
"Oh hello, Lucy."
Does that count as a cliffhanger? Meh, too early for that, huh? Review!