“Stay with me.”
He’s saying it over and over again, pressing his hand against the bullet hole in Thapa’s chest. Blood is seeping through his fingers, coming so fast and he can’t do anything to stop it. “No, no, just hang on buddy…”
Deeks looks around for help, trying to call for his team or a nurse or anybody. But when he looks up, everybody appears dazed. Callen falls to the ground first, clutching his chest as blood starts soaking his shirt. Then he notices Sam is lying lifeless in his hospital bed, his surgical dressings bright red instead of white. Kensi grimaces and clutches her ribs. Before he can get off the floor to help her, she falls to her knees, painfully gasping for breath.
“K-Kens, what’s going on, what happened?” He’s trying desperately to climb to his feet, but it’s as if he has concrete blocks around his legs. Scratching and clawing at the floor, he’s dragging his body towards her, completely ignoring the sudden pain in his belly. His face and hands feel cold, but his body is oddly warm and wet.
Looking down, he sees that he’s been shot – twice in the gut, just like in the convenience store four years ago. How did he not notice the wounds? His vision is starting to blur, but he can still see his partner reaching for him. Maybe he can get to her…maybe…
Deeks’ eyes pop open, then immediately squeeze closed again. His pillow is under his chest, leaving him in an awkwardly uncomfortable position in his bed. But at least he’s actually in his bed and safe.
He’s fairly used to them, having had them ever since he was a child. They occur most often after a rough day – a big fight between his parents, his first break-up, taking the bar exam, his first kill. And for as happy as he is in life, personally and professionally, the nightmares come pretty often now.
For the first time in a month or so, he actually wakes up cold in bed. Kensi’s at her place, and he’s at his. It was his idea to take the night off from each other, and he could tell that she was both relieved and trepidatious. Everybody needs alone time every now and then and he was more than happy to give it to her. She was worried, though, as she should have been. She offered to be there for him, but he denied her.
See, he’s still not ready for the woman he’s madly in love with to see him at his worst – the man that cares too much and sets himself up for heartbreak time and time again; the little boy that doesn’t handle loss well despite being an expert at it; the badass detective that still allows nightmares to haunt his mind and shake his soul. There’s a voice inside of him that says that they’re probably ready for it as a couple, just maybe not on the night of the first squabble in an otherwise perfect relationship.
Sitting up in bed, Deeks looks around his dark bedroom (that desperately needs cleaning). Monty isn’t asleep on his dog bed. He smirks, imagining that the dog blames him for the lack of Kensi in the apartment that night. Monty loves her almost as much as he does. Maybe he should go find him and apologize to the poor mutt. Some cold water or warm milk would do him some good anyway, and maybe help him get back to sleep.
He tosses his covers off and plants his feet on the floor. Dragging himself up, he takes a leak (with the door open for once) and shuffles his way to the kitchen. Just as he reaches for the refrigerator door, his cop senses start to tingle and he realizes he’s not alone in his home. The other occupant is not technically an intruder, however. “Ahem,” he clears his throat. “How long have you been on my couch, exactly?”
Monty’s tail thump thumps against the carpet as he keeps watch over his new best friend. “Mebbe an hour errr so,” Kensi mumbles sleepily, pulling the couch blanket away from her face. “Izzit time to gettup?”
Closing the fridge, he squints at his girlfriend in the dark and walks to his couch. Of course, he trips over her shoes along the way. But something on her face is catching his eye in the moonlight, something…sparkly. “Are you wearing glitter?” He sniffs the air, curling his nose at the strong citrus odor. “Have you been drinking?”
A hand pops out from under the blanket with its thumb and forefinger squeezed together. “Un poquito.”
He shakes his head and squats down beside the couch, brushing a curl out of her face. “You enjoyed your night away from me, then?” Though he speaks softly, there isn’t a trace of hurt in his voice.
Kensi yawns and pulls back the blanket to invite him to join her. For some reason she didn’t even bother changing out of her club clothes, despite the fact that half of her wardrobe is at his place, before passing out. He wants to make fun of her, but he’s tired and sad and not nearly as playful as usual. Not to mention, that’s what got her irritated with him in the first place earlier that day. “Uh huh. So riddle me this, Kay-Kay. Why are you asleep on my couch?”
“You getting under here or not?”
“Yeah, I’m coming,” Deeks mutters, squeezing his back flat against her belly and pulling the blanket over them. He wonders how the hell they used to always sleep on each other’s couches together. The bed is so, so much better.
She drapes an arm over his waist and nuzzles her nose in his neck. “My friends were still in town, so I met up with them. Most of them think you’re hot, by the way. I won’t tell you which one doesn’t.”
He already knows it’s Mindy. Or Mandy? Shit. He’s forgotten them already.
“I had fun,” she continues solemnly. “But I was worried about you. Like I should have said tomorrow would be our day off, because your face was really sad. Has anybody ever told you that you have the worst sad face ever?”
Closing his eyes tightly, he smiles. Tipsy Kensi is adorable, and quite possibly what he needs to forget about his nightmare. He still doesn’t know why she’s on the couch instead of his bed. He may never find that out. “You’re actually the first person to tell me that, Kens.”
“Well, it’s true, so stop making sad faces, okay?”
His smile begins to fade. It’s not his fault that bad things happen all the time. That’s why he decided to become a cop in the first place, to help people and try to prevent sadness. Some days it’s just too easy to forget all the good he has done in this world, especially when he loses a friend.
He clears his throat. “I am sad, though. And I haven’t taken a class at Quantico called ‘Best Methods for Appearing Stone-Faced During Shitty Times’.”
Kensi is silent for a minute. “He was a good man. And I’m sorry, you do have every right to be sad.”
He blinks his eyes, because he’s not quite ready for the visions that might come to him if he keeps them closed. “He had a wife. And kids. And he said we were moving too fast, but how the hell can we not move fast? Everything around us is moving at hyper-speed and we’re just trying to play catch-up before…it’s too late.”
“I knew you didn’t need a night off,” she says, burying her head in his back.
“But I do, I did,” he argues. “I wanted some quiet time to be alone. You wanted to have fun doing your thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that.” He chooses not to tell her that he spent most of the night trying not to dwell on their mortality or that no matter how hard he tried, it still haunted him in his sleep. Deep down, he thinks she probably already knows. Their connection is almost magnetic, and it’s frightening at times – not because he is scared of their commitment, but because he is scared of how much they need each other.
Kensi sighs sleepily. ”Do you want me to leave?” The question is more a formality than anything else. Her steady breathing indicates to him that she’s almost back asleep again.
“No,” he answers softly. Their night off will have to wait until tomorrow. Having her body pressed against his is calming, and reminds him of what Thapa told him about what being home really means. “Please. Stay with me.”
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