WikiDeeks Drabble of the week for “Game of Drones“
A/N: I hope you enjoy this first edition of the drabble of the week for NCIS: LA season 14! I decided to go with a nice mix of fluff and angst.
“Guys, you really didn’t have to pay for our food,” Rountree said as they carted several bags of Mexican takeout into the house. “We can take care of ourselves.”
“Hey, speak for yourself,” Fatima disagreed, bringing up the rear with Rosa. “I for one, am more than happy to accept any and all free food.”
Rosa laughed, seeming a lot more relaxed than she had this morning. She’d excitedly told them all about her classes, two girls who invited her to eat lunch with them, and of course, dreaded algebra.
It was a massive relief after worrying if they’d made the right decision to send her to school all day. They still had her safety to be concerned about, but at least she was settling in at school. She had friends, was doing well outside of math, and seemed generally happy. He’d known Rosa would make the best of the situation, but it was still nerve wracking to think of her all on her own.
“That’s another reason why you and Kensi get along so well,” Deeks teased. “I think it’s a fair exchange though for your tutoring services.”
“We really appreciate it. I know you guys probably have other things you could be doing,” Kensi added.
“You mean beside eating leftover tuna casserole I made that wasn’t great the first day and Big Bang reruns all by myself?” Rountree asked sarcastically. He glanced pointedly at the plate of fresh carnitas tacos and rice Deeks handed him. “Yeah, I’m really missing out.”
“Well, I am very grateful since math was hard enough when I learned it in Guatemala,” Rosa told him sincerely. She flashed Deeks a shy smile and he nodded encouragingly.
“Sometime maybe I can make some empanadas, pollo caldo, and pupusas.”
“Hey, I’ll write all your term papers for home cooked food,” Rountree decided rashly.
Deeks turned to Kensi, expecting her to speak up about his offer, but instead found her watching the scene with a distant look in her eye. Making up a plate with a selection of Kensi’s favorite, he nudged her shoulder. She jerked, coming back to the present with a sharp inhale.
“You OK?” he asked softly. It wasn’t really necessary since Rountree and Fatima were now loudly who was more qualified as a science tutor.
“Yeah, of course,” Kensi insisted with enough conviction that it would have convinced anyone except him. He didn’t press for a more truthful answer, following her over to where the others were grouped around the coffee table.
An hour later, Rountree sat next to Rosa on the couch, deep in discussion about equations and terms Deeks couldn’t remember ever hearing before. Fatima perched on the right arm of the couch, occasionally inserting comments. Between the three of them, they seemed to have a handle on what passed for algebra these days. He was pretty certain he and Kensi could have figured it out if absolutely necessary, but he was happy to let the (slightly) younger crowd handle it.
Gathering up some of the discarded containers from their dinner, Deeks got Kensi’s attention, and nodded towards the kitchen. They made a quick escape before anyone could ask their opinion on another story problem.
“Oh my god, I’m so glad I never have to figure out how fast a current is ever again,” he said fervently once they were safely in the kitchen.
“Yeah, but you never know when you might need to maximize your speed during a high-speed boat chase during a case,” Kensi pointed out, taking up her usual role of dish dryer while he filled up the sink with water.
“Naturally. Guess I should have paid more attention to Ms. Jenkins in 9th grade.”
“I thought you told me you had a 3.9 GPA in high school.”
“I did,” Deeks confirmed. “And somehow I don’t think you really want to talk about my impressive academic career. You’ve been quiet all night, what’s going on?” He shifted one hip against the sink to face Kensi. She fiddled with the towel for a few moments, seeming dismayed by his observation.
“Sometimes you know me way too well,” she sighed. “I keep thinking about what you said earlier. You know, that if you don’t joke about the tough things, you won’t be able to keep doing our job.”
“Yeah, that.” Covering his hand with hers, she moved closer. “Why didn’t you tell me it’s gotten this bad again?”
“I mean, it’s not like I’m desperate to get out like I was a few years ago,” he said. Kensi stilled at the vague mention of that time in their lives, but he didn’t back down. She had asked him after all. “I know you’re not ready to leave yet, and I still want to be your partner. And there are people out there who still need our help.”
“But…sometimes the end results, seeing the good we do, isn’t enough. I need to distract myself or else I’m going to end up back in that place where I’m terrified every single day.”
He sighed heavily, scratching at his jaw. “And today was one of those days that was especially hard.”
“It was,” Kensi agreed softly, pulling her hand back to rub her forearms as a troubled look entered her eyes. “Listening to Maria Estevez,” she paused, pressing her lips together and when she spoke again, there was a heaviness in her voice. “The way she spoke about her father, and her mother, was heartbreaking. And maybe it makes me selfish, but I just kept thinking about how that could be us.
“We have this amazing, beautiful daughter, and any day something could happen to us, and she’d be an orphan all over again.”
Deeks tugged her into his arms, enfolding her in a tight hug. “Hey, baby, that is not going to happen,” he told her. “We are going to live long, happy lives together. You, me, and Rosa.”
“We work in an extremely dangerous field,” Kensi reminded him, though he could hear that she wanted to believe him.
“We do,” he agreed. “If something horrific were to happen to both of us, there’s a whole group of people who’d make sure she’s not alone.” He hooked his thumb behind him in the direction of the living room. “I mean, she’s already got two pseudo siblings in there ready to teach her life’s mysteries. And probably how to sneak out of the house without getting caught.”
Kensi pressed her face into his neck, shaking with a soft laugh.
“Thank you,” she whispered, smoothing her thumb just below his ear. She followed it up with a kiss.
“For being you. For giving me hope.” She tipped her head back, brushing his bangs back from his forehead with the tip of her fingers. “I love you.”
“Love you too.” He kissed the crown of her head, giving the half-finished dishes a baleful glance, and decided they could wait until morning. “C’mon,” he said, tugging her into side. “Let’s go see what the kids are up to.”
A/N: Thanks to Psyched for the suggestion that the current type of Algebra and Calculus may look vastly different than what Kensi and Deeks learned in high school and college.