Los Angeles, CA
One year later…
Kensi had Petty Officer Jane Rankle in her sights again. Ascending a set of concrete steps to the left of the building two at a time, she tried to determine which way the woman was going to turn by the slant of her body.
"Callen, she's heading toward Lakeshore Drive," she called, huffing as she sprinted around the corner and leapt gracefully over a dividing wall.
"Got it," came his response.
She wasn't sure how this simple pick-up had gone so wrong. Rankle wasn't even the suspect; in fact, she wasn't anything to their victim (or so they thought) except a nearby neighbor.
Kensi sprinted onto a busy sidewalk just in time to see Rankle enter a nearby park across the street. Holding her hand in the air like she was hailing a cab, she carefully moved through three lanes of traffic and hit the grass on the other side running. With a straight shot across the expanse of the park, she pumped her legs, quickly closing the distance between herself and the other woman.
"STOP!" she yelled.
Putting all her weight on her right leg, she bent her knee and threw her body forward, catching Petty Officer Rankle at the midsection. The two women fell, crashing to the ground. Kensi grunted as her shoulder hit the grass.
Using her arms, Rankle started to push herself over in an attempt to free her lower body out of Kensi's grip.
"Don't even try it," came the voice of Callen.
Kensi looked up to see her partner, barely out of breath, pointing his gun at the Petty Officer.
"Nice of you to join us," Kensi said. She rolled off of Rankle and pulled out a zip tie to secure the woman's hands.
Callen looked at his watch and hoisted their suspect to her feet by the elbow. "Could've let LAPD do the dirty work," he replied, "We're handing her over for processing anyway."
Kensi glanced at her own watch. It read 16:30. "Damn," she said. "We're going to be late."
Callen opened the door to an LAPD squad car and assisted Rankle into the backseat. After a brief conversation with the officer, he turned back toward Kensi. "Late isn't an option," he said. "Michelle will have my head."
Turning, they started to jog toward the car.
For the past two months (eight weeks, four days by Kensi's math), Sam and Deeks had been on an undercover assignment in Sudan. What started as a simple locate and capture quickly evolved into something more complicated, prolonging their stay. Kensi and Callen had been monitoring terrorist cell activity as best they could from the home front, sending any new leads to their comrades.
Two days ago, Sam and Deeks had finally tracked the rogue operative to an underground facility in Kassala. When they breached the building, however, they discovered he had been recently executed. A long drive, and an even longer flight later, the two agents were on their way home.
Callen briefly checked his mirrors before pulling out into Los Angeles traffic. The airport was approximately a twenty-minute drive (give or take two hours).
Kensi buckled her seatbelt and flipped open her phone, sending a quick message to Eric about Petty Officer Rankle. Butterflies flapped madly in her stomach as they merged onto the interstate. It had been three weeks since she'd spoken with Deeks on the phone and five weeks since she'd seen his fuzzy image on a computer screen. He had managed to send a quick text message from a computer café near the airport yesterday evening.
Alive and well. 1, 4, 3.
The numbers were code for 'I love you.'
She drummed her fingertips against her leg and adjusted her seat so she could stretch out her legs. Eight weeks, four days was a long time to go without seeing someone you're used to seeing every day… and every night.
Kensi bit her lip as her mind wandered to the last night they had spent together. Deeks had (appropriately) titled the evening 'Taco Tuesday,' and Kensi had eaten her weight in homemade guacamole and tortilla chips. After dinner, they had watched the sunset from Deeks' small patio and ended up making furious love on his outdoor chaise lounge, taking full advantage of the glorious August warmth. The next morning, Kensi had counted eight bite marks and two bruises where her knees had repeatedly knocked against the cool metal of the outdoor furniture. Even a full year after they had begun dating, she could still feel the low hum of electricity whenever he touched her.
Callen's voice suddenly broke through her thoughts.
"Sorry, what?" she said.
Callen rolled his eyes. "You seem suddenly preoccupied," he commented.
Kensi turned to him and smiled. "Just thinking about how good tacos sound," she replied. This was not too far from the truth.
"We just had lunch," he said with a chuckle.
"Says the guy who just watched me run a mile in heels," she argued. "After that workout, I think I deserve lunch part two."
"So, your spacey grin has nothing to do with who we're picking up in…" he looked at his watch, "fifteen minutes."
"Deeks?" Kensi let out an innocent laugh. "Of course I'm glad he's coming back, he's my partner." She said this as if it were the obvious answer.
Callen raised his eyebrows at her expectantly.
"Oh come on!" Kensi protested. She knew what he was implying, but wasn't going to bite. "You're happy Sam is coming back too. No more dealing with me in the morning… or my Twinkie withdrawals…."
Callen switched lanes, silent for a few seconds. "I'm just saying you don't have to hide it," he said, "that's all."
He's really going there, she thought, studying her nails with sudden interest. "We have rules," she said finally.
A year prior, when the relationship between herself and Deeks began, they came up with standard operating procedures. Number one was: no canoodling during work hours. Sticking to this was easy because the caseload at NCIS was so heavy; there was no time for fooling around on the job. This rule had been expanded, however, to include any work-related functions as well (holiday parties, after-work beers, and all other NCIS-related events). The last thing Kensi wanted was to make any of her coworkers uncomfortable.
"Look, I'm not suggesting you throw a towel down on Hetty's desk and…."
"Callen, I swear to God, if you finish that sentence…."
He looked over at her, briefly making eye contact before turning back toward the road. "My point is, we're just two people driving to the airport to pick up our family."
Kensi knew he meant it. She spent almost every holiday with her NCIS coworkers; they knew all her darkest secrets and they supported and challenged her on a daily basis. They were her second family. But was she ready to allow them to see through the well-managed charade that she and Deeks had carefully concocted?
The last person she had told had been her mother, and that wasn't even by choice.
Ten months prior….
They were in Kensi's apartment, Deeks diligently working on preparing dinner. Kensi leaned against the counter, swirling her wine and watching him stir his self-proclaimed 'world famous pasta sauce.' He was standing barefoot in her small kitchen, wearing old jeans and a white v-neck, but she swore he had never looked hotter. The late September heat made his blonde hair wave softly around his neck, and Kensi yearned to grab a hold of it and yank his body toward hers….
They had been dating for two months and still hadn't slept together. Other than a few serious make-out sessions, they had remained (mostly) clothed thus far. This decision was purposeful and (mostly) mutual, as they were both nervous about the implications to their partnership. She had needed some time to grow accustomed to the new Kensi and Deeks, and was grateful that he had agreed to procede slowly.
That being said, Kensi suddenly decided, that 'taking it slow' was probably the worst idea ever. What had started out as a noble attempt to test the relationship waters had turned into her, standing in her kitchen, drooling over Marty Deeks like a feral animal.
"This is more action then your kitchen has seen… ever."
She caught herself staring absently at the way his butt perfectly filled out his jeans.
"Will you hand me the oregano?"
Kensi watched his tone arms stir the sauce carefully….
"Huh?" Her eyes guiltily flicked up to meet his.
Deeks stopped stirring and turned to look at her. "I was referring to action of the cooking sort… not of the… you know." He paused, cocking his head. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Later, she would claim that gravity momentarily shifted and she was propelled toward him without any control over the situation (he didn't believe this). Crossing the room in a few steps, her lips crashed against his, her fingers raking through his hair. She kissed him feverishly; her brain no longer was able to deny the need she felt, and her body happily responded.
He mumbled something unintelligible.
"Hmm?" she said as she broke free of his mouth and started trailing light kisses along his rough jawbone.
"The sauce is gonna burn," he said breathlessly as she worked her way to his earlobe. "Not that I'm complaining about ruining dinner… although it was gonna be… pretty damn spectacular." He ran his hands along her collarbone and turned his head, allowing her full access to his ear.
She stopped momentarily and flicked the stovetop off with one hand. "We'll order takeout." She pulled his t-shirt off in one smooth movement and pushed him backward against the pantry door with a thump. The sight of his bare, muscular chest was enough to make heat shoot into her… nether regions. Running her tongue down his throat, she paused to suck the flesh above his pulse point.
"Mmm," she nipped lightly at his collarbone before moving to his lips again, wondering if he was going to continue talking through this entire process. Probably, she decided.
He ran a hand through her hair and pulled back slightly. "What happened to 'taking it slow?'" he asked, his voice soft.
She ran her hands over his chest and down his biceps. "I can't wait anymore, Deeks," she said. "I need you."
He kissed her softly, a hand on either side of her face. "Well, we're going to take this slow, then." He placed one hand under her legs and the other behind her back, lifting her gently off her feet.
She hadn't given much thought to what kind of sex they would have and was mildly surprised that he seemed to have. As she wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed him to carry her toward the bedroom, she wondered if she should have given it thought. Sex, for her, was usually wild and quick; her life didn't allow for much else. This, she realized, was going to be different. How many times had she fantasized about sex with Marty Deeks (admittedly, too many to count)? Had she never embraced the possibility that he would take the lead?
They both laughed as he tripped over a pile of clothes, two books, and a box before making it to the bed. Setting her down on the soft mattress, he kissed her deeply before running his hands down her shirt, undoing the buttons one by one.
She exhaled as he lightly kissed her stomach, her breasts, and her neck before moving back to her lips. As he settled himself on top of her, she felt his excitement through his jeans. His body was familiar; she ran her fingertips over the gunshot scars of his chest, felt the roughness of his chin against her stomach, and watched the muscles of his arms twitch as they absorbed the weight of his lean body.
They made love softly, working slowly to familiarize themselves with the places they'd never been. Kensi allowed him to set the pace and easily relaxed into the rhythm. As he moved above her, she ran her hands along his back and shoulders and thought of all the times in the past few months she'd dreamt of this moment. When she was at her breaking point, he let go and they climaxed together.
An hour later, they were still lying naked on the bed, wrapped around one another, when there was a knock on the door.
"You expecting someone?" Deeks asked. "I swear to God, Kens, if you ordered take-out without even trying my spaghetti, this relationship is so over."
"That must be my other lover," she laughed, rolling out of bed and searching for her clothes. Finding a (clean?) shirt and her jeans, she left the bedroom and padded toward the door. Pulling the curtain back a smidge, she saw her mother standing under the patio light holding a large box.
Kensi swore under her breath and frantically tried to smooth her hair before opening the door. "Hey, mom," she said with a smile that she hoped said, 'I wasn't just engaged in a serious romp-in-the-sack with my partner.'
Julia smiled and adjusted the box in her hands. "Hi honey," she said. "I found this box in the attic and thought I'd stop over and drop it off. It has your name on it, but I didn't look inside." She handed it to Kensi, who had no choice but to take it and allow her mom to enter the apartment.
Setting the box on the table, she thanked her mother and tried to think of a quick excuse to get her to leave. Quarantine? Not believable. Just on my way out? Looking like this?!
"Oh, hello Marty."
Kensi grimaced and turned toward the hallway where her mother was looking, a surprised expression on her face.
Deeks ran a hand through his disheveled hair and cleared his throat. "Hi Mrs. Feldman," he said. Everything about his posture, his face, and his wrinkled clothing screamed 'I was just banging your daughter.'
Her mother cleared her throat awkwardly. "I interrupted something," she said. "Sorry to have stopped by unannounced."
"Mom, this so isn't what it looks like," Kensi said.
Her mom raised her eyebrows.
Kensi sighed, defeated. "Okay… maybe it is what it looks like."
Julia adjusted the strap of her purse over her shoulder. "I guess this explains why you never mention dating anyone."
"Oh… no, mom," Kensi said, backtracking, "It's not that I don't want to talk to you about it, it's just that…"
Julia reached the door, "I understand, Kensi," she replied, "I was young once."
"Mrs. Feldman, I'm in love with your daughter." Deeks voice broke through the awkward conversation.
Both women stopped and turned to look at him. He was staring back at Kensi, eyes unblinking, face serious.
Julia looked at Deeks, then back at Kensi. "So this isn't just…"
"No." Deeks answered. He moved toward Kensi and wrapped an arm around her waist.
"Well," Julia said after a minute, "I'll let you two be." With a smile that said, 'I expect you'll tell me everything later,' she left the apartment.
As they parked the car at the airport, Kensi looked at her watch.
"They'll be landing any second," she said.
She and Callen jogged toward the main entrance, flashing their badges at the security desk. Stopping briefly to check the tracking board, they quickly made their way to Gate A-4. The airport staff allowed them to pass through and wait on the tarmac as the small plane rolled toward the gate.
Kensi felt her heart flutter as it came to a stop and the ground crew worked to attach the steps to the side of the aircraft. She tried to calm her nerves, but every muscle in her body twitched as she watched the passengers depart. For such a small airplane, there seemed to be a never-ending stream of people exiting.
After what seemed like an eternity, Sam and Deeks appeared in the doorway.
Kensi's breath hitched when she saw him. From a distance, Deeks looked like a completely different person. His hair was longer, he had a full beard, and he was tanner than she had ever seen him. She shielded her eyes from the sun and watched as he and Sam carefully made their way down the stairs and onto the tarmac.
The instant his feet hit the ground, she couldn't stand it any longer. It had been eight weeks, four days since she had touched him, and this was entirely unacceptable. She started toward him at a brisk pace, quickly picking up speed until she was sprinting haphazardly across the tarmac. In his face, she saw the moment he glimpsed her hurtling toward him at an irrational speed. Deeks smiled, dropped his duffel bag, and braced himself for impact. Kensi finally reached him and leapt into his arms, wrapping her legs around his hips and kissing him hard on the lips. He grunted as her full weight hit him, but adjusted easily and enveloped her in a strong hug, kissing her back with fervor.
Beside them, Sam chuckled and moved toward his own partner at a much slower pace. Kensi heard him make a joke to Callen about 'nobody being that happy to see me.'
After a few seconds, she pulled back and rubbed her thumb along Deeks' rough chin, feeling the hair bristle against her fingertips. She untangled her legs from his back and let her body slide down his, her feet once again on the ground. "I missed you," she said softly.
He smiled and kissed her forehead. "You have no idea." Picking his bag up and wrapping an arm around her shoulders, they walked toward the waiting car. "Think they're gonna let us live that one down?" he asked, nodding at Sam and Callen.
Deeks sighed. "You wanna see a picture of me on a camel?"
Note: Thanks for reading!
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