Kensi parked the car in a visitor space in her building's underground parking lot. The yellow florescent lights made everything look washed out and vaguely dirty. Deeks was still sleeping, and she couldn't tell if the pallor of his face came from the lights or from some new injury that he'd done to himself.
She reached over and laid her hand on his shoulder, shaking him lightly. "Deeks. Time to wake up, buddy," she said quietly, knowing better than to startle him awake.
She'd found that out the hard way not long into their partnership, ending up with both of her hands trapped in his while his dazed brain tried to catch up. It hadn't hurt her, but the knowledge of how close he'd been had scared both of them.
He blinked, frowning. "It can't be morning yet," he muttered, and closed his eyes again.
"Not morning, but unless you want to sleep in the car, you're going to have to move," Kensi said briskly, but sympathised with him.
She didn't want to move either. The hand she'd hurt getting loose throbbed. Her little finger looked bruised and swollen. She flexed it gingerly, glad when it grudgingly bent. It wasn't the only thing that hurt. The bullet graze in her side burned, and bruises she couldn't remember getting had stiffened her back and knees to the point that she really didn't want to try moving.
"Won't be the first time," he rasped, but opened his eyes, stretching carefully. "Where are we?"
"My apartment building," she said, half expecting a smart ass comment in return.
Deeks just lifted his eyebrows, tiredness etched onto his face. "Hope your couch is comfortable."
She pulled the keys from the ignition and opened the door. Cold air wafted in. It made them both shiver.
"I think so," she muttered, smiling a little. "I've crashed on it a few times myself."
"Now, why doesn't that surprise me?" He slammed the door behind him and tucked his hands into his jacket pockets as he walked around the car. "You okay?" he asked, peering down on her.
"I should be asking you that," she groused as she swung her legs out of the car, trying to convince her stiffened muscles to loosen up. "I'm fine."
He rolled his eyes and offered her a hand. His palm was scraped, knuckles raw. "Yeah, you look really fine."
She took his hand, letting him help her out of the car. "Just stiff," she admitted grudgingly and locked the car. There was things that she wanted to say, but she held them back, knowing that it wasn't the right time. There may never be a right time, she thought, then dismissed it. Later, when we're both rested and fed, I'll make one. I need to say some things, and he needs to hear them.
They walked quietly through the garage. Kensi hit the button to call the elevator and leaned against the wall, trying to stretch her back out while she waited. "Beer and ice cream?" she offered, with a small smile.
Deeks lifted an eyebrow. "That actually sounds pretty damn good," he said and shook his head, following her into the elevator.
Unanswered questions buzzed around his mind like angry bees, but he was too tired, too stung out to think about them. He settled for simply pushing them aside, shunting them into a box and slamming the lid. There would be time for thinking later. All I want right now is a comfortable seat, some food and a beer, he thought.
The elevator doors opened. Kensi fished her keys out of her pocket and walked towards her door, stopping after a few steps to look back when she realised that Deeks wasn't with her.
He paused in the elevator doorway, looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming train. At any other time, it would have been funny. Now, it just made her worried again.
"Deeks?" she said, walking the few steps back to him. "You coming?" she asked, and they both knew that it wasn't the real question that she wanted to voice. Are you okay? The words trembled on her lips, but she held them back, giving her partner a moment to collect himself.
He shook his head and took a slow step forward. "It all looks so normal…" he murmured. "For a while there, I didn't think I'd ever…" he stopped and shook his head again. "Beer and ice cream, right?" he joked faintly, but the lines of tension still scored his face. They aged him.
She threw her usual caution to the wind and drew him into a gentle hug. His arms came up around her after a shocked second. Tension sang through his muscles, easily a little when he realised that this wasn't some kind of trick, just human contact, meant to comfort.
"You trying to distract me?" he asked slowly, voice muffled by her hair.
She smiled. "Is it working?" she asked, and thought that she felt him laugh, just a little.
He nodded. She felt the motion through his body before he stepped back, ducking his head to press a chaste kiss against her cheek. "Thank you, Kensi Marie Blye," he said, raw, honest sincerity in his voice. "I wouldn't have survived this without you."
A thousand responses touched her lips. She bit all of them back, finally settling on the simplest of them all. "You're welcome."
He touched her cheek, brushing a bit of hair away from her face. "Now, about that beer and ice cream?"
She shook the keys in her hand. "Coming right up," she said, leading him into her apartment. "Hope you don't mind chocolate fudge brownie."