Deeks froze for a heartbeat, fighting the urge to turn and stare at her like she had lost her mind. Finally the words spilled from his mouth and he cringed at how horrible they sounded. "I'm thinking you hit your head harder than we thought." After stirring the oatmeal he forced his face to neutral and turned to face his partner.

"Deeeeeeeeeeks," she whined and gave him a full on pouting face that would normally make him laugh.

"Hang onto that sentence, sweetcheeks," Deeks knelt down beside her and brushed the hair from her face. "Can you sit up for me?"

Kensi's face screwed up in confusion, but with his help she sat up in the sleeping bag.

"Now turn your head," Deeks instructed and some of the tension slipped from him as she did as she was told. Carefully, he brushed aside some of the hair on the back of her head until he found the egg-size bump and some clotting blood. She hissed when his fingers grew too close and he apologized. "This really should be cleaned up, but first I have a few questions."

Kensi gave him a pointed glare that screamed 'you'd better be kidding', but he continued anyway.

"Where are we?" Deeks asked, watching her face closely.

"In the woods," Kensi answered and when Deeks narrowed his eyes suspiciously she continued. "In a cabin that we found after I woke up."

Deeks nodded before continuing. "What were we just talking about a couple minutes ago?"

"Uuh, sex?" Kensi asked rather than answered and a blush crept into her cheeks.

Deeks wanted to chuckle at her embarrassment, because her face was priceless at the moment, but he tried to remain serious.

"With?" Deeks continued, determined to see how her short term memory was serving her.

"Men that aren't you?" Kensi winced and then bit her lower lip.

"That does about sum it up," Deeks nodded curtly before getting to his feet and walking over to his pack. Pulling out a flashlight, he fought keep a clinical mindset as he knelt back down beside her and turned the flashlight on. "Stare into the light, but don't walk into it, k?"

Kensi's tongue darted out to mock him but she remained obedient for now. She didn't like to see him this worried and on edge. It ate her insides knowing he was worried and distressed over her. She really didn't deserve him as a partner or friend, but somehow they'd found their way to each other's side. The light made her brain explode in pain and she flinched but after her initial reaction she kept her eyes open as best as she could. He flashed the light away and into her eyes a few times before he turned the light off and set it aside.

"Am I going to live nurse Deeks?" Kensi quipped with a grin, trying to get him to smile, even just a little. This serious version of her partner was beginning to give her the willies.

"Your eyes look okay," Deeks murmured, still watching her closely for any sign that she might die on the spot.

"Just okay?" Kensi asked with raised eyebrows.

"Well, gorgeous, as usual," Deeks whispered huskily as he continued staring into her eyes from only several inches away.

"Deeks – I…" Kensi blurted but was at a loss for the correct wording. How could she ask him for more when she had so blatantly shut him down just a couple days ago? How could she explain to him that even though his friendship meant the world to her, something more than that would possibly make her the happiest woman on the planet? How could she tell him that she thought he was worth the risk – that preverbal leap across the line that has kept them from being more? Words weren't really working in her favor and so instead she closed the distance between them and sealed her lips over his. Deeks froze up for the first split second but then sank into the kiss; molding his lips to hers in a searing kiss that left her body in flames that had nothing to do with the nearby fire. After a long minute where each of the mouths coaxed sweet desire from the other, Deeks jerked back suddenly, creating a good gap between them.

"Kens – I can't," Deeks choked. "I can't keep going back and forth like this. You know how much I want you. How much I care about you – well, maybe you don't. But I do, Kens. You're the most important person in my life and I don't want just a quick lay with you. I don't want to have easy and meaningless sex with you and wake up the next day just to pretend nothing happened. I can't do it."

"Deeks," Kensi started and then stopped. Her brain was still muddled some and she was trying to work out how to phrase her next words. "I want more."

He gave her a doubtful expression, but despite the doubt she saw the flicker of hope flash across the blue eyes she loved so much. Yes, she said it, at least mentally. Love.

"I'm kinda confused, so you might need to spell this one out for me," Deeks said slowly, watching her as if she were a mouse about to run and hide.

Kensi bit her lower lip and took a deep breath. "I want a relationship. Like dates and Saturday morning sleep-ins with breakfast in bed. I'm not sure I know how to do more than that, but I want to learn how, with you."

Deeks' heart beat was steadily increasing as he took in her nervous words of honesty. Half his brain told him that he should get his ears checked, since he had to be hearing things, but the other wanted to hold her and never let go. Kensi seemed to wither under his gaze when he hadn't moved yet and he mentally tried to kick start his brain again.

"Of course, that's only if you want that too," Kensi said, sounding defeated already. She'd spilled her thoughts out and had read him completely wrong.

"Yes," Deeks said quickly. "Of course I want that too. I'm just trying to decide if I'm dreaming or not."

Kensi scowled and slugged him none-too gently in the left shoulder and he winced.

"Yeah, okay, not dreaming," Deeks gasped in mock pain. Of course it had hurt some, but playing it up made her smile at him and that's all he really wanted. A million and one questions were racing across his already foggy brain, but he was terrified that asking any of them might cause her to change her mind all together.

"Spit it out, Deeks, your brain is gonna explode if you think any harder," Kensi chuckled and shook her head some.

Deeks let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding until he heard her laugh. "What changed?" It was the question that was eating away at him the most.

"I guess I'm just tired of fighting how I feel," Kensi sighed. "I'm absolutely terrified that I will screw everything we had and might have up, but not acting on this – on us, could be the biggest mistake of my life."

Unable to resist any longer, Deeks moved closer and brought his lips to her in a sweet but chaste kiss. She leaned into him, wanting even more but he pulled back. A soft whimper escaped her lips in disappointment and she pouted again.

"I don't want to sound slow or stupid – "

"Cos that would definitely be a change…" Kensi interrupted him with a soft smile, her eyelids half closed, taking in the warmth of his closeness and then his deep chuckle in response.

"BUT… does this mean we're really together – like together-together?" Deeks asked, needing to be sure of her intent.

"Don't make me use the G or B words," Kensi groaned. "We're more than that, I think. If you're asking if we'll be something more than casual, than I hope so. I don't know if I could watch you the morning after another good date with someone else and I don't want some random man in my bed. I want you. Just you."

"Good," Deeks grinned and closed the distance once again so that his lips brushed against hers. He groaned into her mouth when her lips parted and her tongue invaded the space of his own mouth. It was meant to be a quick kiss, but Kensi was not on the same page it seemed. "Kens…" He groaned into her mouth, trying to sum up the willpower to pull back but finding it impossible. He was about to give up altogether when the smell of burnt food permeated his senses. "Crap!" This time he did jerk back and he crawled over to the now burning food in the fire.

"Oops," Kensi mumbled, already feeling the loss of his presence.

"I think we're going to be stuck with energy bars for the night by the time I can make us something else," Deeks sighed, removing the pot from over the fire. "I'm taking this out for some snow, but snack on this in the meantime."

He tossed an energy bar into her lap as he passed their bags and headed out the front door. Deeks was only gone a minute as he filled the burned pan with snow and another pot as well.

"I thought maybe we could wash up a little since we're by a warm fire and inside for once," Deeks commented as he placed both pans by the fire. "You haven't eaten a bite of that bar…"

His voice was tinted with worry and she grudgingly pealed back the wrapper and nibbled.

"Good girl," Deeks grinned at her before slipping his shirt up and off him, followed by his thermal undershirt.

Kensi's mouth seemed to go into salivating overdrive at the sight of his bare chest and shoulders and her continued silence must have tipped him off.

"You know, this whole package is yours now, darlin'," Deeks grinned over at her and she blushed in response. Words seemed to be failing her since her great fall. "Do I need to feed you myself?"

Kensi scowled at him and took another couple nibbled on the bar to appease him. When the snow finally melted and warmed to a degree, Deeks dipped his shirt in the water and sat beside Kensi.

"I know this isn't exactly a sponge bath, but I can hardly see your face through all the dirt and mud," Deeks said before he began wiping away the grime from her face.

Kensi was drawn to his face as he worked at her cheeks and chin. He looked to be concentrating so hard that he didn't notice her blatant stare and she took advantage of the viewing opportunity. She noticed a few new lines on his face from when they'd first met. Some of them from laughing and others around his brow that were probably from worrying and stress. She had probably helped put a few of those lines there, but there were probably a couple on her face from him too. They had both marked the other in visible and unseen ways through the last few years together. She knew for a fact that her heart would never be the way it was before she'd met him, but for once in their time together, that thought wasn't so scary. There was a pause in his ministrations and she glanced up to meet his eyes and he was gazing soulfully into hers already. His facial expression showed curiosity, hesitation, and something else she couldn't quite place, but it made her stomach jump up into her throat and then dance back into place.

"What are you thinking right now?" Deeks asked in a soft and husky voice.

"I have no idea why you'd want to settle for me," Kensi spilled and then looked away as she blushed.

"I'm not so sure I'd call it settling," Deeks smiled thoughtfully. "I'm going to go with damn lucky to have you."

Kensi frowned and finally looked up at him to see if he was joking. "I have a lot of baggage…"

"And so do I," Deeks countered.

"I hog the bed," Kensi added.

"As long as we're both in it, I don't care," Deeks grinned.

"I have control issues," Kensi sputtered.

"You can dominate me any day, any time, sweetheart," Deeks said brushing a large strand of her hair behind her ear. This got a short chuckle from her and she shook her head.

"I'm not so sure I'd mind the reverse," Kensi grinned devilishly and Deeks groaned.

"You're also a tease – you left that part out," Deeks muttered, trying to get back to washing her exposed skin clean.

"But now there's nothing to stop you," Kensi said, her voice barely above a whisper.

"I could think of a couple," Deeks replied, starting to work at cleaning the back of her head with a clean portion of the shirt. "Like a couple of cracked ribs and you're smelling slightly potent about now."

"Deeks!" Kensi slugged him in the shoulder and they both cringed when the motion hurt.

"Easy Tiger," Deeks chuckled and then winced when she gasped in pain from where he was cleaning. "Sorry."

"Don't be," Kensi replied with a long sigh. "Are you almost done though?"

"Yeah, just about," Deeks replied. "How's that energy bar going?"

"Uuuugh," Kensi grunted before taking a mouthful and then wishing she hadn't. She still wasn't feeling the greatest. "Happy?" She asked, with her mouth still full.

"I'm getting there," Deeks responded, not giving into her childish tone.

"You should maybe wash up some too," Kensi said once he'd dropped the shirt back into the pot. "You're not smelling so great yourself."

"You always were a charmer," Deeks chuckled before he got up and left to dump the dirty water out and refilled it with snow. After he'd set the pot over the fire and took the other one aside, Kensi straightened when an idea hit her.

"Since we're stuck here for a bit we could probably wash more than our faces and hands," Kensi's face lit up with a genuine smile at the idea of really being clean or at least more clean than they'd been this whole trip.

"Might take quite a few trips for snow to get enough water to make us smell decent," Deeks said with a raised eyebrow.

"We've got nothing else to do while we wait anyway, right?" Kensi asked.

"True," Deeks agreed. "Well, this second pot is nice and warm if you want to go first."

"K," Kensi reached for the rag and then hissed in pain at the motion. "Never mind, maybe it'll just be you getting clean I think."

"I can help," Deeks offered and then realized how dirty that might sound to her. "If you want."

Kensi bit her lower lip, thinking about the implications before nodding. "Thanks."

"I haven't got you clean just yet," Deeks chuckled. "I'll just go get a clean shirt that we can use."

Deeks got to his feet and then came back with one of his shirts that he hadn't worn yet. Feeling more than a little self-conscious, Kensi picked at the hem of her shirt before she finally jerked it up in a rush and over her head. Pain exploded in her left side and her vision darkened around the edges before Deeks caught her gently by the elbow.

"Do we have any pain killers in our packs?" Kensi asked, trying to remember the packing list.

"Yeah, I think so," Deeks answered, watching her face carefully as she tried to mask the pain. "I'll go grab you a couple."

"Make it five," Kensi groaned as she peeled the shirt off her arms and started working on the next layer.

*Sallen Breather*

"Ow!" Callen whined and the flinched as a large black bird swooped down to try and peck his head through the winter hat.

"What now?" Sam sighed, but didn't look back as he continued hiking.

"That bird has it out for me," Callen said defensively and then ducked again as the same bird swooped down. "Seriously?!"

Finally Sam turned to see his partner ducking and trying to find cover as a black bird swooped down several times to bite at his head and he couldn't help but laugh.

"Nature sure loves you, G," Sam chuckled and kept walking as Callen ran in swerving patterns to avoid his new arch nemesis.

"Come on!" Callen shouted over at his partner. "You gotta help me out here!"

"Why don't you just try and reason with him?" Sam asked casually. "Maybe he just doesn't like the color of your hat?"

"Bull!" Callen cursed and then ducked as the bird got a piece of his hat on his most recent dive. "Give me that bow and a few arrows so I can take care of him then."

"What, so you can lose the few arrows we have left?" Sam asked, shaking his head. "Don't think so."

"There's gotta be something I can get rid of this bird with…" Callen said as he made another zig zag motion across their path.

After a few minutes of silence, Sam grew worried and finally glanced back to see his partner swinging a long stick in the air at the bird that was now hovering a safe distant away but following him still.

"Looks like you have a new best friend," Sam laughed.

A/N: Totally paranoid over this chapter and the dominance of Densi-action (or lack of action). I hope this hasn't left anyone disappointed or anything and that I've done the characters justice and kept them IC. Feel free to tell me if I did or didn't as I will probably be worrying over this until I can finish the next chapter. A huge thank you for all the wonderful reviews from the last chapter. No kidding, it was the reason this chapter was so easy to write and so quick to go up. Nothing like a bunch of threats to get the mojo going :D