He felt just a little guilty, sneaking outside the mission doors amidst the noises of the less than impromptu party Kensi had apparently put together for him, a few days late, “to create suspense,” she’d said, though the timing wasn’t a terrible choice, especially given her low mood on the night of his actual birthday, one she’d apologized for after pressing a kiss to his cheek, murmuring over how she’d wanted this night to be special for him, how circumstances just jumped in the way, though honestly, fear and worry for her were the only things that touched his heart when he pumped her full of hot chocolate that night, staying with her on the couch with cheesy TV shows that eventually faded into exercise ads playing into the wee hours of the morning.
He did however, let loose a few quips over her not baking him a birthday cake despite her newfound kitchen skills, ones that successfully drew little snorts of laughter from her.
“Not a fan of work parties? She murmured, a hand landing on his upper arm, her approach one he didn’t notice, but was utterly unsurprised by.
“It’s perfect, Kens, thank you.”
“So why are you hiding from it?”
Drawing in a heavy breath, Deeks rocked back on his heels, uncertain himself of the waves of emotion that were currently drowning his heart, the happiness he felt over this somehow bittersweet when he knew exactly what the opposite was like, just how self destructive that hole could be, only he didn’t, didn’t know what it was like to be overwhelmed by that gaping loneliness when he’d already experienced true joy, couldn’t imagine ever going back, but God, how close he’d come, too many times he’d nearly lost this, nearly lost her, and sometimes the little tugs in his heart when she pushed him away told him he was inching towards that line again, one he’d approached many times from his own making.
Maybe the fear of actually belonging pushed him outside into the slight chill of California January air.
And maybe that was what he told her, in a few stumbling sentences, riddled pauses and eyes not meeting hers, though her silence following and the rub of her fingers over his bicep said plenty.
“I could forget again next year if it helps, for old times sake,” a dry laugh escaped with the words that were on their own humorous, but paired with her tone, gentle, supportive, enough to make him turn, ready to move back through those doors as he lightly kissed her temple, only pausing again when she caught his wrist in her strong, thin fingers, persistence in her mismatched eyes.
“Deeks, I love you.”