Headquarters is getting crowded. Sam's brought in an old SEAL buddy, another Sam, and that's just as confusing as it sounds. Abby and Ziva blew in on the second day, caught in LA when all planes were grounded. And no one has tried to get home, not when every report tells them that residential areas are overrun. So the whole team is camping out here.
Well, almost the whole team.
The only person missing is Deeks.
"I hope you're not blaming yourself, Miss Blye," Hetty says, putting a cup of tea on Kensi's desk. Hetty has been inordinately calm ever since the first zombie sighting. Kensi wishes she had half Hetty's composure. "Mr. Deeks was on an assignment — one that I sent him on, I might add."
"I should have been with him," Kensi says. "We're partners. Partners don't let their partners go out alone."
Maybe it's her. Maybe she's the kiss of death to partners. Maybe she should work alone from now on.
Hetty pats her on the shoulder. "Drink your tea," is all she says, but somehow she manages to stop Kensi's spiraling thoughts.
"Deeks is resourceful," Sam says, looking up from the array of weapons he's examining. "And he knows LA. I'd bet on him over a horde of zombies any day."
Kensi manages a watery smile. They mean well, she knows, but it's hard to keep hoping. It's easier when they're out there, fighting, but they quickly learned not to go out after dark, so it's another eight hours before they can head out again, and in the meantime it's research. Abby and Eric and Nell are doing the bulk of it, but they're all taking and comparing notes: guns don't work unless the caliber is big enough to blow a hole through the torso; knives mean getting up close and personal, and that's risky unless it's one on one, and there aren't many opportunities for that. Zombies like to stick together. Machetes and flame-throwers are the weapons of choice, at least until someone can come up with something better. Abby's working on it, and Sam Axe is proving almost scarily inventive when it comes to improvising weapons.
"Well, speak of the devil," G says, and Kensi wants to tell him not to joke, because all she can do is wonder if they have seen Deeks, without knowing it. If he were one of the army of zombies they've hacked at or flamed or decapitated, and that's just unacceptable. She'd rather believe that he died quickly than that he got turned into one of those shambling horrors.
And then she looks up, because G doesn't sound like he's joking. He sounds relieved, and there hasn't been much of that going around lately.
She looks up, stares at the entrance, and it's Deeks. Alive. In the flesh. Human flesh. He's filthy, and so rank she's surprised she didn't smell him sooner, but she is so glad to see him she could cry.
"Glad to see me?" Deeks asks as he walks slowly towards their desks.
"God, you stink," Kensi says. He looks exhausted, worse even than the rest of them, and none of them have had more than snatched moments of sleep in the last week.
"I battle my way through packs of zombies to get to you, and that's all you have to say? I'm hurt, Kensi," he says, clutching his heart dramatically.
"You mean you skive off work for a week, and show up looking like you've been on an all-week bender—" she starts, but then she finds herself getting up, rounding her desk, and enveloping him in a hug.
"See, you are glad to see me," he says, clutching her back as tightly as she's hugging him, and she lets herself have a few seconds more to hold him and reassure herself that he's alive and well and whole, and then she pulls back and punches him in the shoulder. Hard. He deserves it for scaring her so badly.
"Don't you ever do that again," she says.