Title: Truth Be Told
Author: Mel
Rating: T for now, I'll note when it goes higher.
SPOILERS: This assumes "Plan B" has happened and takes place in a future from there forward.
Disclaimer: Still not mine. Somehow I don't think that's going to change. I'll be taking some pretty generous liberties with situations and descriptions relating to crimes such as bank robberies and the protocol involved with working for the LAPD and FBI. I do a little research and try and make things sound believable but certain things are told as they are for dramatic or plot purposes. And yes, this is where you'll probably recognize a certain movie plot. I work for the government and that's where I learned it's okay to steal ideas shamelessly, as long as you give credit. See note at the end for said credit.
Note: I am truly astonished by all the alerts, favorites and reviews. When I started writing this story I was writing it for fun without the intention of sharing it. But the response has been so incredibly supportive and kind so thank you for that. I'm writing probably about 10 chapters ahead of this so rest assured there is an overall planned plot and resolution. Your reviews are fantastic encouragement so thank you so much for taking the time to give them!

Kensi swallowed passed the dry lump in her throat as she watched Deeks leave the gym, his straightened spine and the tense set of his shoulder muscles giving away his anger. He almost never walked with anything but a confident swagger and she knew instantly that she'd reacted badly.

Remembering her words she immediately regretted what she'd said. But it had been instinctive, to hide her feelings and protect against hurt. And she knew it would hurt for Deeks to leave. As much as she wanted to reach out to him because she'd seen it written all over his face that he was hurting too, she just didn't know how.

That uncertainty of how to provide support beyond the simple and easy ways, beyond a pat on the back or an empathetic smile, to provide comfort as a friend, breached the normal confines of who they were. It had become the comfortable, albeit ultimately unsatisfying, cadence to their partnership and their relationship. Not that she would ever dare to utter the word "relationship" around Deeks again. Even though that's what it was since it was so far beyond simply a partnership. But there was safety in denial.

She was well aware that her method at dealing with strong emotions was to push the source of the emotion away. With Deeks it was an unfair but easy thing to do. Because she'd known early on that he was a good, solid and loyal man. And that he cared for her on some level and would always come back, even when she treated him as less than he deserved. She wasn't proud of it but years of behavior patterns were hard to change overnight. Even when deep down she wished she could.

And now, with him leaving her once again, Kensi fought the overwhelming urge to hit the wall. It always seemed like she was left behind. Even with Callen and Sam, her fellow agents. They were so in tune with one another that it was impossible for anyone else to fit in with them wholly. And for a while she'd begun to think she had that with Deeks.

They couldn't help but rub each other in opposite directions but it worked for them. And she knew that no matter what he would be there for her. She hadn't understood the depth of her trust in him until the afternoon she spent standing in a room surrounded by lasers. Even though she had been scared out of her mind she had known with every beat of her heart that he would come for her. That realization, which hadn't held even an ounce of doubt, had startled her but it had given her a place to focus her energy.

And day-by-day they were learning to work together and seeing the affect they each had on the other. Since he'd been shot Deeks had become more serious about his safety and his place on the team. His deep regard for the work they did, when it wasn't even really his specific career choice, was obvious in every move he made and every report he filed. Kensi had been surprised at how meticulous he was at filling out reports. That was something they shared in common.

And she felt different with him around. His humor, while occasionally irreverent and juvenile, often made her laugh or brought an unbidden smile to her face. Her life experiences had made humor something she had a hard time feeling. Deeks somehow effortlessly brought that out in her. And he never, ever marginalized her. Deeks had a protective streak like any other man with a female partner would. But he still managed not to make her feel inferior.

Feeling close to tears at the thought of him leaving and hating the swell of emotion rising in her that she didn't know what to do with, Kensi quickly turned away when she heard footsteps coming into the gym. The light sound and short stride told her it was Hetty.

"Are you alright, Ms. Blye?"

Hetty's voice was professionally tinged with concern but even Kensi could hear the worry in her tone. And she tried to react without emotion. But control of strong emotional reactions had never been her strong suit. Deeks could let most things roll off his back. But Kensi was more like a volcano waiting to explode.

She whirled around to face Hetty, fighting to keep her emotions in check by folding her arms over her chest while Hetty simply stood, her hands clasped in front of her.

"Why does the LAPD need him for this mission? Isn't there something you could have done? We need him here, it isn't—"


Kensi managed to stop herself, biting her lower lip to do so. Playing the petulant child wasn't going to help. And no matter how much leeway Hetty gave her agents, Kensi did not want to lose her respect.

"As you know, Detective Deeks is still a detective with the LAPD. I have no jurisdiction over his long-term work assignments at this time. Point of fact, I did argue for keeping him in place here but was told his specific skills are needed for this mission. And as I'm sure you're aware, Mr. Deeks would never shirk his duty. Nor should we expect him to."

Immediately chagrined, Kensi bowed her head and nodded, leaning her back against the padded gym wall. And she felt guilty at her reaction to Deeks. She'd made him feel unimportant when she should have supported him. He was nothing if not honorable and dependable. As one of the few men she'd known in her life that fit that description he deserved better. And all she'd done was reject him.

"You're right, of course. I reacted badly. I haven't had much success with partners and as much as he grates on me at times, we, well, we—"

"You fit together."

Surprised at Hetty's ability to pinpoint it so easily, Kensi could do nothing but nod.

Hetty gave her a gentle smile and moved to lean on the wall next to her.

"It's why I chose him, my dear."

Even though Kensi thought she'd learned never to be surprised by anything Hetty said, she lifted her head in shock and stared at Hetty, processing her words.

"You chose him? When?"

"I have my sources in the LAPD. I first heard of Detective Deeks almost three years ago. I kept tabs on him for a while and then when Mr. Vail disappeared I knew I would need another agent, regardless of whether or not he returned to us safely. I was working on procuring Detective Deeks when our investigation led us to him via Jason Wyler. It was a convenient coincidence, serendipity you might say."

Hetty's smile faded as she continued.

"But then Mr. Deeks was needed again by the LAPD and Mr. Vail was killed. But I am a patient woman, Ms. Blye. I knew things would work out and they did. Just as I knew you and Mr. Deeks would be ideal partners."

Kensi exhaled a sigh, shaking her head with frustration.

"I'm not sure that it matters, not if the LAPD can continue to yank him back any time they need him for an undercover op."

Hetty looked at her strangely and Kensi shrugged self-consciously, not understanding how what she'd said sounded off.

"Didn't Mr. Deeks tell you about his assignment?"

"Just that he was going undercover again and he didn't know for how long but you'd said he wouldn't be replaced."

"He didn't mention that this will be his last operation with the LAPD and that I intend to make him an official NCIS agent upon his return?"

Kensi's eyes widened in surprised happiness, her dark eyes searching Hetty's face for any sign of a joke.

"No! He didn't mention that, I didn't—"

I didn't give him the chance to.

Kensi felt her heart plummet somewhere in the vicinity of her stomach and she stared off through the doorway back to the bullpen, back to their desks where she knew Deeks would be. He'd been trying to tell her. And she hadn't let him.

"It isn't set in stone, but rarely are these kinds of things until the paperwork is processed. I was probably a month away from being able to officially offer Mr. Deeks a position as an NCIS agent when I got the call about his new assignment. Since I do not have the position to officially offer I can't veto his assignment back to the LAPD. But rest assured, Ms. Blye, his return will be to a permanent position, if he wants it."

Kensi nodded numbly as Hetty gave her one more knowing smile before she turned and left. Kensi let her head fall back and rest against the wall, trying to put a name to her feelings. Relief, hope, anger, fear, but ultimately elation. It was sobering to attach all those feelings to one person and to a man she hadn't even known a two years earlier. But he was her partner. And he would be her partner officially. She wouldn't even attach words like "forever" to the thought. Forever wasn't a concept people in her line of work ascribed to. There was really only "for now."

But he would be her partner. And even though it fought against most of her instincts to show much emotion to anyone, let alone someone like Deeks who could hurt her so easily, she knew she had to patch things up with him before he left. And she needed him to know she supported him.

Pushing against the wall, Kensi walked purposefully back to the bullpen, determined to speak with Deeks. And she stopped short when she realized no one was there. Immediately she realized they were probably up in Ops, getting the briefing from the LAPD detective. Climbing the stairs two at a time she entered the room and quietly slipped to the back, unseen by anyone but Hetty. Everyone else was focused on the screens ahead and the detective who spoke to the group.

"Even in the current technologic age there are still a few criminals who insist on using armed bank robberies as their stock and trade. In a joint task force the FBI and LAPD have been following one particular group for over a year. We think we know who they are but we haven't been able to positively identify them or catch them in the act. They're savvy enough with the current banking security systems that they have been moderately successfully, hitting six banks in the last year and netting almost $1.7 million in cash which we have not been able to trace."

Kensi's eyes flicked from the screen, which showed security footage from a bank where masked gunmen were quickly and efficiently securing a bank filled with civilians, to Deeks. He stood ten feet away and she was out of his line of sight and yet Kensi felt like she should be standing at his side. Her eyes drifted over the tense set of his shoulders and his stance, where he was solidly and fully tuned into what the detective was saying.

"They've been smart enough that they only go for the easily available cash in the bank. They hit the drawers and one member of the crew has enough ability that they've managed to hack the internal security systems to gain access to the vaults, which have the higher payday. We think that same person has enough computer hacking skills that they have been able to scope out banks and surveillance enough to successfully plan their heists."

The detective looked slightly weary as he ran through the situation. "Our attempts at capture haven't been successful. Surveillance hasn't given us anything. We think they know we're listening. The FBI has grown tired and frustrated by their lack of success and while the LAPD has been assisting and trying to uncover some leads, we're at a dead end. An undercover operation is the only option right now. Somehow through the agency grapevine the FBI became aware that the LAPD has an undercover detective with the right skills already working with another federal agency as a liaison. And Deeks, you are uniquely qualified to infiltrate this group."

The detective nodded to Nell, who brought up a series of photos of surfers at the beach.

"Wait a second, I know this movie—"

Callen's voice broke the tension in the room and the detective grinned wryly.

"Believe me, no one in the department or at the FBI is unaware of the irony of bank robbers who surf. Not only do these guys seem to spend most of their time surfing at Venice Beach, but they are stereotypical lazy southern California beach bums. Deeks will fit in perfectly."

Kensi felt her hackles rise instantly and saw Sam straightening up from his relaxed position leaning on the center console. In fact, looking around the room Kensi saw every agent, as well as Hetty, Nell and Eric all reacting silently in defense of Deeks. A part of Kensi swelled with pride for the team. She knew Deeks felt like the odd person out most of the time. But the automatic and instinctive reaction they'd all had to defend him didn't come from being on the outside. It came from being accepted. They protected their own.

The detective seemed to notice the sudden chill in the room and the stormy expressions. And Kensi knew Sam could look very imposing when he made the effort, and sometimes even when he didn't.

"Sorry man, I didn't mean—"

Deeks waved the apology away, though he gave a self-deprecating grin to everyone around the room. He waved a hand around his head, referring to the shaggy blonde hair and beard.

"Nah, that's ok. I do this on purpose for reasons just like this."

Deeks glanced around the room, the humor in his eyes dissipating the tension with each person he looked at. Kensi forced herself not to hide from his gaze as it drifted over her and abruptly stopped. The detective continued speaking but Kensi held Deeks' eyes, dark blue in the shadows of the Ops Center, with hers. And even though there was so much she couldn't say, didn't know if she'd ever be able to say, she tried to tell him with her eyes.

That she would miss him. That he was important to her. That she supported him. That she, and the team, wouldn't be just fine without him. That she would have his back. No matter what.

Eric could have blared an air horn in the room and their locked gazes wouldn't have wavered. Kensi saw the widening of Deeks' eyes as he read her expression as easily as only he could, then she took in the slight smile on his face that caused his eyes to crinkle at the corners. And she noticed his stance relaxing, his body leaning back against the center console, his arms bracing on either side, elbows bent slightly. His eyes flicked from her to the spot next to him in a silent invitation and Kensi began moving quietly and stealthily to his side at almost the same moment.

Trying to ignore the loud beat of her heart, Kensi came to a stop next to Deeks, finally at the place she was meant to be. The other detective, who had been looking back at the screen, turned around and startled a little to see Kensi suddenly next to Deeks, her posture mimicking her partner's as he leaned back against the console, her arms crossed and one of his behind her on the table. Their physical closeness couldn't be mistaken for completely casual. Kensi ignored how her stomach flipped at the implications.

With a questioning glance, the detective looked to Deeks, who made the introductions.

"Kensi, this is Detective Matt Benson. Matt, meet Agent Kensi Blye, my partner."

Kensi shook the detective's hand, giving him a guarded smile. Benson looked between Deeks and Kensi, seemingly trying to gauge their relationship. After exchanging pleasantries Benson returned to the screens.

"As I was saying, we have three suspects we've been monitoring. They are quite adept at losing us when we follow them away from their normal stomping grounds around Venice. And other than hitting high-end banks in southern California with a lot of money we haven't been able to discern a pattern to the jobs they have chosen. We want Deeks to go in and try and infiltrate the group. We think they might be looking for a fourth member of their team, someone who knows about high-end bank security and computer systems. Deeks spent two years working in Robbery Division and is uniquely qualified. Their last job was a considerable step up in trying to breach the security defenses of the bank. They weren't successful at hacking the system that tracks information on the safety deposit boxes though they did try. We think they want the bank electronic records to try and steal from the safety deposit boxes but those systems are just a little too sophisticated for them."

"Why not just bring these guys in if you know who they are?" Sam asked gruffly, clearly not impressed with the FBI and LAPD tactics.

"We've thought about it. But they're already aware of us watching them. We think if we bring them in we don't have enough to hold them, they'll lawyer up, get released and they'll split. And we want to catch them in the act. And perhaps more importantly, the mayor wants us to catch them."


"As you well know Mr. Hanna, politics is the name of the game in most jobs, this one as well as in the LAPD."

Deeks laughed a little under his breath at Hetty's admonishment of her agent and he glanced at Kensi, seeing the smile in her reaction as well.

"They've been careful to conceal their identities during the robberies. No visible identifying marks. No one sees their faces, their hair color, even their eyes since they wear goggles. And they have yet to hurt anyone during a robbery. They are quick and efficient, in and out in under six minutes. They almost always pick rush hour for their robberies because the police can never get there in time but they have always managed to get away clean."

"Where's the cash going?" Kensi asked, latching on to what Benson had said earlier about it being untraceable.

"We think they've got some deal with one of the Mexican drug cartels. The cartel gets a cut for getting the money out of the country and then back in. We have very few leads on that, but it makes the case infinitely more difficult having the international drug trade involved. We want to start at the source, cut off the bank robberies. We've been working this jointly with the FBI but they're allowing us to take point on the undercover operation. And if we can prove the money is crossing national borders it becomes an even bigger Federal case."

Kensi chewed her lip, then gestured to the photo of the suspects on the beach. "You said Venice Beach? Are you sure that's a good idea? Deeks surfs and people might know him."

"I haven't surfed Venice Beach for years, not since I was a kid. Usually too many people and the break isn't as good as in Malibu," Deeks replied off hand, watching as Kensi's eyes clouded with concern.

"But you've been there before. Someone could recognize you."

Kensi stubbornly hung on, her words statements, not questions. Ignoring the room full of people Deeks reached up and squeezed her upper arm gently, his hand lingering for a few seconds.

"It's okay, Kensi. This isn't my first time at the rodeo. Other than you guys and LAPD there are very few people out in the world who even know I'm a cop. The risk of me being recognized is very low."

"Low, but not certain."

Deeks flashed her a wry smile. "Kens, you know nothing is ever certain when it comes to undercover ops."

His use of her shortened name, one he didn't use often, seemed to soften and sway her. Reluctantly she nodded and Deeks turned back to Benson, for all intents and purposes giving the impression that Kensi's approval had been needed to continue. And in many ways, those in the room who knew them were well aware that to Deeks it had been a requirement.

"So what's my alias?"

At Deeks' question Benson turned to Eric, who hit several keys on his pad, bringing up pages of a history and new identify for Deeks. Kensi's eyes swept over the driver's license and her eyes widened.

"Wait, you're sending him in under his own name?"

Kensi's voice was accusatory and angry as she straightened up, taking a step towards the detective. Only Deeks' hand, a warm touch on her lower back, caused her to pause.

"Kensi, it's ok—"

She whirled towards Deeks, ready to chew him out.

"No, it's not ok! You should never go in under your own name. That's one of the first rules of covert operations. Callen, Sam, back me up here."

At the silence that followed her angry words she looked around at her teammates for support. They looked sympathetic but not a word was spoken. Deeks brought her attention back to him with a hand on her upper arm, turning her back towards the screen.

"It's just my first name, Kens. And it was my idea."

Unable to stop the crushing worry threatening to weigh her down, she looked at Deeks helplessly.

"But why?"

Her soft words were spoken only loud enough that Deeks heard them and she read the discomfort in his eyes. And suddenly he couldn't look at her and she felt the lead weight of cold dread settling in her stomach at whatever it was he was afraid to tell her.

"Because this undercover operation could last a very long time. And the easier it is for Deeks to maintain his cover and be in tune with who he is, the better it is for him as a detective and a person."

Kensi struggled against Benson's words. A very long time. She was determined not to break under the words, determined not to let anyone see she was upset. She should have known she would never succeed when it came to Deeks.

"How long?"

Woodenly she spoke, her question directed at Benson but her eyes fixed on Deeks. And she saw the regret and unhappiness in his eyes as they were locked on hers. His voice when he spoke mirrored the emotions in his eyes. "We think at least six months. Maybe a year."

Kensi felt the blood rushing from her face and before she knew it she was speeding out of Ops, her feet taking her away. Because even though in any given physical situation she would always stand her ground and fight, it was the emotional situations that caused her to flee.

Even though he told himself to concentrate on the mission, to focus on not displaying his emotions, Deeks couldn't stop himself from turning away from the mission briefing and moving towards the doorway Kensi had just passed through. Only Callen's hand on his shoulder caused him to pause. He shook the weight off, only to come face to face with Sam's formidable figure, blocking his movement.

"I'll go talk to her."

Deeks narrowed his eyes and shook his head. "No way, man."


Turning sharply towards Callen's warning he shot the senior agent what he hoped was an inarguable gaze. "Look, she's my partner. I'll handle this."

"We've known her longer, we'll take care of it."

We'll take care of her.

Deeks heard the implication in Sam's words. He knew Sam and Callen were just looking out for Kensi. And in an odd way they were even looking out for him, knowing that he was about to go deep undercover and needed to concentrate on the mission. And while he knew both men understood the situation, at least on the surface, he didn't like the implication that Kensi didn't need him.

"You've known her longer, doesn't mean you know her better. Get out of my way, Sam."

His voice was as unyielding as steel and Deeks thought he saw something pass through Sam's eyes, something close to respect, as he stepped aside and allowed Deeks to pass. As he left Ops he heard Hetty calling for a thirty-minute break but he barely gave that a second thought. Finding Kensi was the only thing on his mind.

He'd barely begun to process the looks they'd shared during the mission briefing and then the bomb about how long he might be gone for had blown everything up. It had shocked him how unguarded and open her eyes had been when he'd met them across the room moments before. It wasn't exactly normal for them but it definitely wasn't an unwelcome change, not in his eyes.

Kensi was a guarded and serious woman on any average day. She rarely let anyone close and it was always on her terms. But somehow they'd gone from their argument in the gym earlier that morning to her opening up to him in ways he wouldn't have believed a few months ago. It was a heady feeling and he wasn't even sure what it all meant.

The only thing he was sure of was that he had to find her. And after a quick circle of the bullpen confirmed that her bag was still in place at her desk he went where he knew she probably was. She wouldn't stay within OSP where someone might come across her but she wouldn't leave altogether.

Approaching her car in the parking area he snuck up along the passenger side, opening the door and slipping into the car before Kensi could lock the door. He sat silently, watching her out of the corner of his eye though he kept his gaze trained straight ahead. She was turned away from him, almost curled up against the driver's side door. It wasn't her refusal to look at him that bothered him. It was the uncharacteristic sniffling and how she swiped angrily at her eyes.

He had never been a man able to handle a woman crying. A childhood watching his mother constantly in tears made him abhor the sight. Somehow it was worse coming from someone who was strong like Kensi and didn't allow herself to be seen crying. By anyone. Later he might be able to feel a little pleased that he was important enough to her that she would cry over him. But at that moment all he wanted to do was make it stop and make her unhappiness go away.


His quiet voicing of her name caused her to still and then shift so she sat facing forward. He risked a glance at her face, the redness around her eyes, the sadness furrowing her brow and the droop of her shoulders nearly undoing him. Furiously he tried to think of some way to lighten the mood, to make her smile. But his usual ability to bounce back with a joke failed him.

"I'm sorry."

Startled at her soft words he looked over, finally meeting her eyes. They were dry now, but the sadness still poured out. It was almost disconcerting, being this far behind her usual defenses.

"What for?"

"For what I said earlier this morning. For overreacting in Ops just now. I don't know what's wrong with me. I shouldn't be making this harder for you. Six months, a year, it's not that long."

Deeks swallowed the lie, knowing she didn't believe her last sentence any more than he did. But if there was one thing Kensi did believe in, it was doing her duty. And he knew she would support him in his.

"Will we see you at all?"

Hating what he had to tell her, he shook his head slowly.

"It's a pretty deep cover. I'll have an apartment near Venice Beach so I can be close to where these guys hang out. LAPD doesn't want me anywhere near them or you guys. I'm supposed to check in weekly, but only by comm, never in person."

Kensi's eyes met his and he saw what she wouldn't say. You'll be on your own. And he could tell she didn't like it any more than he did.

"What's your cover?"

"Eric's putting the final touches on it, but I'll be Marty Tyler, southern California native, served a five year armed robbery felony and a misdemeanor for computer hacking in Chino before getting released six months ago. Background in security systems, which I have knowledge of from my stint in Robbery Division and Eric will be helping me with the stuff I don't know so I'll seem a little more attractive to these guys. Intel suggests these aren't your usual thugs and they have some access to doing extensive background checks. They'll probably check me out pretty deep so Eric and Nell are making my cover pretty thorough."

"Who's going to track you?"

Deeks smiled at this.

"Hetty's insisting it all go through NCIS. Communications for me to call in weekly and a tracker on my car. It's going to give Eric and Nell an extra career just to watch over me and you guys at the same time but they insisted."

And he'd been touched by the gesture. Although they all worked in law enforcement, this wasn't in any way directly related to an NCIS mission. And yet the team still wanted to help.

He wanted to tell Kensi he wouldn't do the mission if she asked him not to. But he knew she'd never ask. Just as he knew it would be fruitless to refuse the mission. But he literally didn't know how he was going to be able to walk away from her for months on end, maybe even a year. Especially knowing she was close by, literally only miles away, living her life and he couldn't contact her. Even though he'd spent the first thirty-one years of his life not knowing Kensi Blye, now he couldn't imagine a day, let alone a year, even six months, not seeing her.

"Are you going to be okay?" he asked, knowing that even if she felt otherwise, she would still lie to him. But believing the lie was all he had at that moment. She mustered a smile that might have fooled someone who didn't know her well.

"Of course. I'm always okay."

Deeks searched Kensi's face, watching as practically before his eyes she rebuilt her defense. Not against him. He'd seen into her, into a part she may never have intended him to see. But she was fortifying herself against the rest of the world that she had to face once they got out of the car.

"Ok, I'm going to head back inside and start tying up loose ends. I'll see you in there?"

Kensi nodded and even though a part of him wished he could reach out and pull her close, tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear or smooth a hand around the nape of her neck, he stopped himself. It was difficult constantly being at war with his feelings for her but he recognized he wouldn't be helping her by complicating things between them right before he was going to leave. And something told him that if he touched her as more than her friend, with intent beyond his place in her life as her partner, that he wouldn't be able to walk away from her. Not for the undercover op and not ever.

And so he exited the car and forced himself not to look backward as he went back inside. He knew she would come in when she was ready. And he could at least give her the space she needed.

By the end of the day his legend was complete. He was caught up on his paperwork and had said his goodbyes to most everyone at OSP. Eric had outfitted him with his comm, instructed him on the protocol for his weekly checks. Sam had gone over security and safety protocol with him. Callen had warned him about the rigors of deep undercover. And Deeks took the advice from Callen and Sam in stride, allowing them to lecture him when he could have written the book on deep undercovers. He recognized it for what it was. They were concerned and worried about him. And from those two that meant something.

The two senior agents were getting ready to leave and shook hands with Deeks. Callen gathered his things and started down the hall but Sam held back, pulling Deeks away from the bullpen and away from where Kensi could overhear.

"Eric programmed a number into your new phone under 'Mom.' It's only in case of an emergency but if that number comes up or you see a text message, that's from us. Pay attention to it. And use it if you have to. We don't want to have to come in and rescue you but don't think we'll hesitate if we need to."

"Thanks, Sam," Deeks grinned, and then his face turned serious. "I know I don't need to say it, but watch out for Kensi while I'm gone, ok?"

Sam nodded, clapping him on the back.

"You're right, you don't need to say it. But it means something that you did. And that you stood up to G and me when we tried to stop you earlier."

Pondering that as Sam left him standing in the hallway, Deeks turned around to find Kensi beginning to pack up her bag for the night. He watched her silently, waiting for her to finish. She took a deep, steadying breath and then she looked up, meeting his eyes and giving him a brave smile.

Wordlessly he followed her from the bullpen to her car, opening the backseat door and taking her bag from her shoulder and stowing it for her. She had opened the car door and was about the slip in to drive away when she stopped, her back to him.

Deeks simply stared at the back of her head, thinking not for the first time how soft her hair looked as it tumbled in curls down her back. Even if he didn't think he could forget a single detail about her, he committed this memory, the latest in a long string, to his mind. And then she whirled around and before he knew what was happening, her arms were around his waist, hugging him close.

In an automatic reflex his arms went around her shoulders, one hand smoothing along her back and the other cradling her neck and holding her close. How long they stood like that he didn't know. Long enough for her racing heart to calm and for his entire front to be warmed by her pressed up against him.

Almost as quickly she withdrew from him and was in the car, snapping her seat belt on before he managed to blink. Trying not to show how she'd shaken him to his core he leaned into her open window and gave her a lopsided grin.

"Try not to miss me too much, Fern. And watch that Twinkie consumption. I don't want to come back to a diabetic partner."

Kensi tried to pretend to be annoyed but he saw the grateful sparkle in her eyes.

"Don't let all that surfing and sun bake your brain more than it already is."

He chuckled and nodded, finding comfort in their teasing exchange. Then he leaned back on his heels, slipping his hands into the front pockets of his jeans, his eyes locked with hers.

"See you in awhile."

"Yeah, see you."

And then she drove off. And Deeks watched her go.

Note: Yep, I'm borrowing from Point Break. Believe it or not I did try to come up with a different crime but that one fit the best. I couldn't resist having Deeks go undercover as a surfer. I fully realize it's a bit silly and unrealistic but stick with it and I don't think you'll be disappointed with what I have in mind.