They were a bit calmer when they first returned in the morning, Roberta still cutting up her food, but at least performing that unnecessary act on the counter, not just before Kensi’s face, though that half-hearted attempt to take it easy so she wouldn’t have to lasted until the late afternoon when Julia practically tore a laundry basket from her hands, insisting that she relax instead.
“I’ve got it.”
“I know, sweetheart, but you don’t have to,” Julia persisted, holding the basket to her body with a white knuckled grip. “Unless you want me to call Marty and ask him.”
“Like he’d believe I was doing laundry,” she muttered, only her ears catching the words, though her mother’s lips still curved into a smirk. “You don’t need to call anyone.”
“Sweetie, please, he fusses over you more than I did when you were a newborn, and you don’t mind so much.”
He wrapped her in a hug not two seconds after she walked through the door, warm embrace surely brought on by her expression, somewhat lost, utterly discouraged, so different from that little smile the past week when her fingers tightened around his.
“Nell said she saw you pulling into the mission as she was leaving, meeting with Hetty?”
Shaking her head, she pulled back a fraction of an inch, enjoying the warmth of him pressed against her, the support when it felt as if her body was failing her, even if that was all mental.
“I wanted to shoot, show I was ready to come back, it just-”
“I failed, I couldn’t do it,” she completed, voice bitter, hurt shimmering in her eyes. “I can walk, I can cut up my own food, I can run, but I can’t shoot my gun.”
“Not yet, and your therapy isn’t even half over yet.”
“And when it is?” She shot out, anger biting at her tone.
“You’ll be back,” he smoothed his palms over her shoulders. “With me. No more moms, or therapy, or you attempting to cook for me.”
“That was good.”
“I know, babe.” Pulling her close again, lips brushing against her temple and scruff tickling her skin, Deeks chuckled. “I’d recognize my mom’s cooking any day.”