“That was a nice time,” Deeks remarked as he buckled his seatbelt.
Kensi checked the rear and sideview mirrors before pulling away from the curb. “Yeah, who would have thought Callen could be so much fun to socialize with?”
“Not me, considering he keeps putting me off whenever I suggest the two of us hang.”
“Maybe he’ll take you up on that now that he’s experienced the Deeksness firsthand on a double-date.”
Deeks almost gave his fiancée a touché for that, but then remembered he had coined the phrase himself. “Is that what this was, a double date?” Deeks hardly ever thought of what he and Kensi did as “dating,” especially now that they were engaged. In fact, they still had yet to agree on when and where their first date actually was.
“Seemed like one to me. I mean, sure, we all work together, but we’re also two couples,” Kensi said.
Deeks couldn’t find any fault with her reasoning. “Even seeing it up close and personal tonight, I have to admit it’s hard for me to picture them together.”
“Deeks, don’t go there,” she warned. “I do not need those images in my head.”
“No, I don’t mean together together. I mean together as a couple.” Though lord knew images of Callen and Anna doing the deed would be infinitely better than those left seared in his brain after very nearly walking in on his mother and her trainer a few weeks ago. Deeks barely suppressed a shudder.
“I think they’re a cute couple.”
“Oh, they’re a fine-looking pair, in a brother-sister sort of way, of course. They don’t have the smoldering sexuality that you and I do when someone looks at us.” At Kensi’s scoff, Deeks leaned over and kissed her since they were at a red light. “See the people in the car next to us? They’re going to go home and have sex now because they just got totally turned on by that.” He grabbed and held Kensi’s hand when she predictably and half-heartedly pushed him away and continued on as if nothing had happened. “But Callen and Anna are so different. Though I do think she’s good for him. He needs to lighten up a little bit, and who better to help him do that than a younger woman with such different interests than his own.”
“Deeks, compared to you, anyone could stand to lighten up.”
“This is true. And it did wonders for you, sugar bear.” Kensi stuck her tongue out at him for a second and Deeks couldn’t help but laugh because it proved his point.
“I agree, she’s very good for him. But assuming Anna gets the job at ATF, the closest she could be to LA would be Fresno. Going to be hard for them to keep up a long-distance relationship.”
“We did it,” Deeks reminded her.
“When did we have a long-distance relationship?”
“When you were in Afghanistan.” Maybe they weren’t officially together then since they hadn’t had the time to actually discuss their “thing” before she was shipped off, but the feelings were still there. The yearning for her presence, the worry that things would be different between them by the time she came back.
“Oh, you mean when we didn’t have any contact for more than a month, followed by a Christmas Eve phone call and then sporadic, covert chat sessions?”
“Don’t forget exchanging the occasional selfie.” Deeks knew they both still had those pictures on their phones.
“That was really tough,” Kensi said, proving her point.
“And tougher still because I had no idea what was going on with you and we couldn’t keep in touch regularly. Callen and Anna won’t have that issue.”
“You think we could handle that now, if we had to?”
Deeks was surprised by the question. Of course they could. How could Kensi even doubt that? “The long-distance thing? It’d suck, but yeah, we’re strong enough, absolutely. Why?”
“Not so much the long-distance part, but the not knowing what’s going on every day. I’m thinking about what might happen if you end up back at LAPD full-time, either because of Whiting or Mosley.”
Deeks hated that there were now two forces with the potential to end his position at NCIS. And that the one force strong enough to put a stop to it was nowhere to be found, deliberately it seemed. “Well, we’d still be living together, so that’s a plus. Not to mention married, soon enough. It wouldn’t be my preference, but we could definitely handle it. You know, Kensalina, most normal couples don’t work together.” At Kensi’s look, he conceded, “Okay, we’re not normal. I take that back.”
“I know you’re right. Maybe the dealing with it is not really what’s bothering me. We could work for different agencies if we had to; we did it before Hetty drafted you. But I don’t want to if we can avoid it. Call me crazy, Deeks, but I happen to really like you in addition to loving you, and I enjoy spending all day and night with you. I’d miss you. Not to mention worry about you.”
“Me too, baby.” He kissed the back of the hand he still held. “I’m sorry I put us in this situation.”
“Don’t be. I don’t blame you. Besides, Mosley’s decision has nothing to do with your actions. Or your skills, for that matter.”
“I’m not done trying to win her over. Remember, no one is immune to the Deeksness.”
“Oh, don’t I know it. Just try not to take as long charming her as you did me.”
“She can’t possibly be as tough a nut to crack as Kensi Marie Blye.”
“What about Whiting?”
“As far as nuts, I think she falls somewhere between you and our new EAD on the difficult-to-crack scale.”
“No, what are you going to do about her?”
“Nothing to do until she puts me back into play. Lay low and hope she forgets about me until then. But when that doesn’t happen, I’ll hear her out and do what she asks as long as it’s legal. Keeping in mind that while my first instinct is she’s wrong about Bates, there was something off about him when I saw him last.”
“You think she’ll let go of the noose around your neck after that gets settled?”
“She was more than happy to suggest this would be an on-going sort of relationship, but I’m hoping I’ll be in a better position to renegotiate the terms after the whole Bates thing gets sorted.”
“You think she’d be willing to drop everything if you’ve only helped her on one case?”
“If Bates turns out to be dirty and I help her take him down, she’ll be able to write her own ticket in LAPD. She won’t need me anymore. Then maybe I hand in my papers and see if NCIS will take me.”
If Kensi was surprised by his declaration, she hid it well. She had always respected that he felt his roots were in LAPD and never pressured him to make the switch, so this was not something they really talked about. Her sly smile was all the indication Deeks needed that she would support the decision. “You should probably clear that with your partner first. She might not want to be saddled with a probie. Plus I hear she can be a tough nut to crack.”
“Oh, I think I can convince her. And if I can’t, a donut a day for the rest of our partnership should do the trick.”
Kensi chuckled before she sobered again as she pulled into their garage and turned off the ignition. “And if Bates isn’t corrupt?”
Deeks had thought about this already and was glad to finally have the opportunity to talk it over with Kensi. With all that had happened since his discussion with Whiting, it just hadn’t been high on his list of priorities. He stayed in the car when Kensi got out, prompting her to come around to him. She rested against the passenger door. “Then I need to get more creative. What do you think the chances are we can smuggle some super stealthy recording device out of ops before my next meet with Whiting?”
Kensi met his eyes and Deeks thought he fell just a little bit more in love with her at what he saw there. Pride in him for the idea. Joy at the possibility of getting out from under Whiting’s thumb. And more than a little bit of devilish glee at the prospect of besting the arrogant detective.
“I think we’re two highly trained members of a covert team who specialize in undercover and other special assignments. I’m sure we can figure it out.” She gave him a flirty wink and Deeks knew they’d have fun trying to do just that. “And then?”
“After we finish our game of secret agent and bad guy in the bedroom? I don’t know, some trash TV?”
She rolled her eyes. “I mean if you get something to hold over Whiting’s head. What happens then? Would you still apply to be an agent?”
“You like the idea of me adding federal agent to my résumé?”
Kensi’s hand caressed his cheek and she drew him in for a soft kiss, despite the car door between them. “I really do,” she whispered.
He smiled. Truthfully, Deeks could have joined NCIS a few years ago, but there never seemed to be a good enough reason to make the move. It may have been a long time coming but he was confident of his place on their team and with his partner; there was nothing to prove. The contributions he made with his connections to the LAPD were important, so he never had a strong desire to mess with the status quo.
But as Kensi reminded him once, you don’t realize how lucky you are to have something until you might lose it. Between Whiting and now Mosley, his time at NCIS could be coming to an end, and that was something he wanted to avoid. He and Kensi had an amazing partnership, two of them in fact. And while they’d always have the one at home, he wasn’t quite ready to give up the other. At least not until it was their decision. “Then let’s find a way to make it happen.”