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For the Apples and the Pears

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Kensi took a deep breath and knocked. She was deciding between a cheery fake grin or a funny expression when Deeks opened the door.

"Love the new place," she said.

He rolled his eyes and reached around her to grab one of her very large bags of laundry. "Are you staying for the weekend or the next three months?"

She breezed past him on her way inside and nearly tripped over Monty. Monty looked at her dolefully and shuffled away. "Laundry for a year, remember?"

"It was laundry for a month, and that was over and done nearly a year ago. Do you think my memory doesn't work?"

She scanned the living room and stopped when she got to the scruffy one-eyed cat licking its paw on the back of the couch. "Deeks, when did you get a cat?"

"I didn't," he said, dropping all three bags of laundry by the inside of the door. "I'm cat-sitting. His name is Bucky, and in cat years, he is older than Hetty." He frowned. She watched him pick up Bucky. The cat bit his hand and then climbed up Deeks's arm before settling on his shoulder. Deeks didn't even wince.

He said, "Or Betty White." He went into the kitchen and picked up a prefilled dropper. In what looked like a pretty practiced move on Deeks's part, he got all the contents of the dropper down the cat's throat without getting bitten. He did get another scratch when Bucky launched himself onto the counter and and then ran back to the couch.

"How long have you been catsitting for that monster?" Kensi sat down on the couch, on the other side of Bucky who was licking his claws again. Kensi suspected the cat liked the taste of blood. She edged over a few more inches.

Deeks shrugged. "About five weeks."

"When does Bucky go home?"

Deeks said, "When the case is done. Bucky's owner is undercover. She's an old friend and coworker."

Kensi laughed. "Ex-girlfriend? One who doesn't hate you or want you dead?"

"We never dated, believe it or not. Of course, she is a lesbian so that might have something to do with it.. Giving Bucky his thyroid medication is the closest I've come to her, ah -"

"Don't even say it," Kensi said. "Why does an undercover cop have a cat?"

"She wasn't thinking about that when she got Bucky at age fifteen," he said. He was leaning against the kitchen counter, arms crossed. It was an oddly unwelcoming look.

She said, "I feel guilty I haven't noticed that you're being eaten alive by a bloodthirsty animal."

"I think," he said, "you actually feel guilty about the part where you didn't help me move."

She nodded. "Possibly. But I was genuinely busy." She had not been busy at all.

"Yeah, no. Sam was genuinely busy, but he showed up. Nell, Nell was probably not that busy, but she showed up."

Kensi stood up and tried a very exaggerated face of contrition. "I'm very sorry?"

"You're really not," he said. "The couch is yours, bathroom is there." He pointed. "Don't close the door to the bathroom after you're done, that's where I have Bucky's litter box and you do not make it hard for a 22 year old cat to get to his litter box. I will make you clean up what happens out here and that's a promise. If you wake up before I do and decide to be all nice and walk Monty, use the blue bags for poop clean up."

She said, "It's 9:30 on a Friday night. Are you going to bed now?"

"Yes, I am. You know, it's been a shit week, actually a shit month. I would go so far to say a shit six weeks even, and I'm tired so yes, you're here, and Bucky's medicated, so finally, this shit day in a long string of them is done."

She touched his arm as he turned to go. "Are you pissed at me?"

"No," he said, pulling away. "Really just tired."

He was looking her in the eye so she almost believed him. She said, "Really?"

He said, "Really." Then he shrugged and did that cute fidgety thing with his hands. She used to find it annoying.

She took his hands in hers and said, "Really really?"

He finally smiled at her and didn't pull away. "Really really really. Not mad at you. It's just, you know, weekend, sometimes I do like to be alone and not be charming, as natural as that comes to me --"

"I get it," she said. She really really really did. It was so hard to decompress and just breathe sometimes. "I put deal with Kensi time all over your weekend." She stepped back and leaned against the counter. "Go sleep."

"You should, too," he said.

"No way, I'm wired."

"Okay," he said. He patted her arm and then went into the bedroom, closing the door.

It really did make total sense, she thought, opening the refrigerator. She liked her weekends quiet, too.

Deeks had a lot of food in there. Many tupperware containers. Nothing looked like it was moldy. And there was beer. Her favorite microbrew right there on top. When she grabbed one and stripped off the receipt clinging to it. He'd bought this six pack and only this six pack at one of the fancy grocery stores a half hour drive out of his way exactly three hours after she'd asked if she could stay with him this weekend. She almost laughed out loud.

She took her beer to the couch and was very relieved to see Bucky had fled his perch. Deeks had left out a sheet decorated with LA Kings logos, a comfy looking blanket she was pretty sure she'd seen at Target on sale and three pillows. "Not many houseguests sleeping out here," she said. He'd also left out a spare set of keys to all three locks on the door with a keychain he'd clearly bought at a dollar store just for her that said "I suffer with PMS - Putting up with Men's Shit!"

She turned on the TV and took a sip of her beer. She decided not to see what Deeks had recorded on his dvr. Could be scary. Could be porn. Could be an entire month's worth of one of those Lifetime shows about babies. She shuddered and flipped around until she found a Top Gear marathon.


She woke up to a dark room and Deeks saying, "Yeah, you were so wired." She blinked a few times and realized Deeks had come out to turn off the TV. And he was already walking away. Apparently he slept in his underwear and a t-shirt. Cute butt, she thought.

Bucky jumped from the edge of the couch onto her thigh and settled in for his sleep. She closed her eyes.

The next time she woke up the sun was right in her eyes.

"And you're finally up," Deeks said. He was sitting at the counter with his back to her, reading the newspaper. "I could tell when you stopped snorting and sniffling."

"Yes, I am," she said, sitting up. "Whoa, it's 10:15."

"It really is," Deeks said. "I have already walked Monty, gone surfing, gone mountain biking with my friends, two of whom helped me move, thank you very much --"

"Nell goes mountain biking?"

"I have more friends than just people I see at work every day."

"How many of those friends are cops or people you know from law school?"

He shrugged. "Okay, fine. But two of them did help me move." She stood up and stretched a little. He said, "Is that my shirt?"

She smiled. "It was. You left it at my apartment."

"That is not my memory of when that shirt went missing at all," he said.

Because it wasn't. She probably didn't have to lie, it really had been an innocent mistake when she'd accidentally picked up his shirt with her clothes after some op. Of course, were she not kinda in love with her stupid partner, she probably would have also just returned the shirt to him. "You remember wrong," she said. "Now, about breakfast. Or brunch."

"I should do your laundry and make you food," he said.

"Or I can make it myself. In your very neat kitchen with all your fancy equipment." She grinned.

"It's not actually fancy, Kensi, it's called an oven. This is a toaster." He looked at his unbelievably fancy coffee machine and then back at her. "Okay, let me get on that. Brunch."

"When did you get that coffee machine?"

He didn't look back at her as he said, "Payment for taking in Bucky."

"You deserve much more," she said. "You know, I've never been a barista for an op."

"Fascinating," he said. He looked really tired, she thought. "On the other hand," he said, "I have. So what do you want?"

"Ooooh," she said.

"Too late, you get a latte. Cause that's what I'm having."

She grabbed her bag and went into the bathroom. After a quick shower, she changed into her running clothes. Give Deeks a little more private time.

She sat down next to him on the couch, smiling at the plate of food in front of her on the table. Deeks said, "You have a latte, three pancakes with maple syrup and a turkey sandwich. The other food is mine, please don't eat it."

"Thank you," she said. "Pancakes!" The latte was surprisingly good. As she ate her pancakes, Deeks turned the TV on and then opened his dvr. Contrary to her fears, it was mostly Nature Channel specials and 20 episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She said, "I was thinking in the shower --"

"Oh, God, please, keep going."

"Shut up. Why did you have to be a barista and now I'm wondering why you have so many episodes of Law and Order on your dvr."

Deeks deleted a bunch of the episodes, muttering, "Fuck you, Jeff Goldblum, and your goddamned father issues." He looked over at her and said, "Not the actual Jeff Goldblum, who I have never met. I have no ideas if he has daddy issues."

Kensi stared at Deeks. He said, "Fine, fine. Your questions. I worked as a barista because the guy who owned that cafe was running a coffeehouse of crime. Identity theft, protection racket, prostitution. I worked there for six weeks and I, honestly, kinda sucked at the job. Incredibly hard on the wrists."

"Thank you. And Law and Order, really? Why would you watch cop shows?"

"I know, I know, wildly unrealistic, infuriating. All that," he said. He'd winnowed the episodes down to three and hit play on one. "You know who loves Law and Order? Criminals. Lots of criminals. One time I working for this guy, big time drug dealer, and that guy loved Law and Order so much he wrote fanfiction."


"You know what fanfiction is, all those stories you wrote and posted under the name 'KensiluuuvsJack33' where you met Jack before he got on the Titanic and you fell for each other. This guy, though, he wrote repulsive erotic fiction about Jack McCoy, played by Sam Waterston and his enormous eyebrows. They made me read it after we got him, in case it was some secret code or something. It was --," he shuddered. "I did not go down on a woman for, like, a month after that, it was just, ugh, I can't even describe."

"Did you have a date for a month?"

"Please don't trivialize my horror. I did have dates with very attractive women. They had to miss out on the full --"

She'd finished all her food and was sort of watching the episode on screen. "Stop now. So why this show?"

"I can't stand SVU, by the way, and like the rest of America, I never watched an episode of Law and Order: Los Angeles. Mostly I really like Detective Alexandra Eames."

"Do you stalk the cast on location when they're shooting around here?" She got up and got herself another beer.

"Okay, a) that is not funny because the actress who plays Eames, the very talented Kathryn Erbe, had a stalker and b) they film in New York City or they did until the show was cancelled because the universe hates me."

Kensi sat back on the couch and said, "Okay, I'll watch one episode of your girl crush and then I'm going running and give you more Deeks time. Also, that fanfiction story is still scaring me a little so I'll be doing it from this end of the couch."

"Shush, shush," he said, waggling his finger. "Eames is talking. Bobby talks so much, let's let her talk."

"Do you have stories about her on your hard drive? MartyluuuuvsEames34?"

"I do not. At all. And also, shut up."

She actually liked the first episode enough that she stuck around for the second one. Ten minutes in, Deeks was asleep and Monty was diligently guarding his lap. She wrote him a quick note and set out on her run, locking the door behind her.

When she got back the TV was off and Bucky was curled in a ball on her pillow. She said, "Hi, Bucky." The monster looked up and bared his teeth at her. He didn't actually have that many teeth.

She walked over to the washer and dryer. "Aww, you started the laundry. That's so nice of you." The load seemed to have been all her jeans so she started moving them to the dryer.

"Kensi, what are you doing?" Deeks came in from his bedroom and closed the door behind him.

"Putting my jeans in the dryer."

"Do you ever read the labels on your own clothes? You do know every single pair of jeans you own, all of which you bought new, cost over a $100?"

"I guess," she said. "How do you know that?"

He took all the jeans from her and went into his bedroom. She stuck close to him so he couldn't close the door this time.

"You have a balcony," Kensi said.

"No tours for you," he said. He hung her jeans carefully on one of those wood slat things that people hung laundry on to dry. "Tours are for people who helped me move."

"You are really not letting that go," she said.

"Nope. Sure you're not going to try convince me I'm remembering wrong?" He guided her out of the bedroom. It was a surprisingly gentle guiding for the bite in his tone.

"Sure you're not angry at me, I mean, not about the moving thing which I can see you are not only angry but nursing a grudge --"

"Why would I be mad at you?"

Kensi said, "I don't know but I think you just yelled at me for putting my own jeans in the dryer."

"That was pretty ridiculous," he said. He was already loading up the washer, this time with darks.

"Thank you," she said.

"I meant you," he said. "I have every reason to be angry at you for not helping me move."

"I agree with that," she said. "I am really sorry." At this point, she was pretty sure she was the sorriest ever.

He went back to the couch and opened his laptop. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. "I have a pilates class at 4, I can probably get you in if you want to come."

"Pilates?" She smiled. "Why haven't you ever mentioned your regular pilates class before?"

"Believe it or not, I don't actually enjoy when Sam rips apart everything I like."

"Sam approves of pilates," Kensi said. Bucky was hunched over a spot on the floor and starting making disgusting noises. She said, "Is he throwing up?"

"Yup. He's 110 years old in people years, you know. Sometimes he just throws up."

"I'll clean it up for you," she said and went to the kitchen. "You have lots of cleaning supplies, I bet."

"Trying to assuage your guilt?"

"Yes," she said. She walked over to the incredibly gross cat vomit, shuddered twice and then got to work. "You know what? We'd just spent three weeks in each other's faces and other body parts, I'm sorry I wanted a break from you and didn't show up. But I didn't say I would, either." She threw away the ball of paper towels she'd used to clean everything. "But that was incredibly gross so I hope it made some of your huge hurt go away."

"I didn't say I didn't know why you did it. Or didn't do it." He looked like he was puzzling something out. "Was that a triple negative? Anyway, I know why you weren't there. Also, it was three weeks after we were married. And thanks for cleaning up after Bucky because that sounded like a wet one."

She said, "Pilates, huh?"

"Yup," he said. "Is that a yes?"

"Are you going to be this cranky with me?"

"I'm not cranky with you," he said. "I am in a curmudgeonly mood that is not aimed specifically at you."

"Thank you for admitting it, cause wow, you really are." He was staring at her. She said, "But I totally understand why. So, pilates. Let's do it."

He typed for a few seconds and then said, "Done."

"So that gives us 90 minutes, sitting here. Cranky," she said.

"Is that my new nickname? Cause I really prefer something that doesn't make me sound like one of the seven dwarves." He smiled and sat back. "How do you feel about some TV? Also, it's about 35 minutes away, so it's more like 80 minutes, sitting here. And I have to get up in 25 minutes to put those darks in the dryer, so I won't be sitting the whole time."

"Can you make me another latte when you get up?" She sat down next to him, possibly sitting a little too close. "You said you sucked as a barista but I thought it was good."

"I said I sucked at the job, not at making the coffees. I took too long. If the boss hadn't been high 90% of the time, he would have noticed every single person working there was faster than me. Including the 55 year old with tendonitis in both wrists who wore these massive braces on her arms. They called me 'Iceman,' and not for the Top Gun reasons. Because it was like I was moving through ice. Very slowly."

"Wow, that was a great story," she said.

He made her another latte, finished another load of laundry and then they were ready to go. She said, "Hey, wait, I think I know where this studio is. Is it near the Grove?"

"Sort of," he said.

"I'll follow you, I can go shopping afterwards and buy more $100 jeans, give you time to be cranky by yourself."

"Okay," he said.

They walked in together and the very young looking receptionist giggled and smiled at him. "Hi, Marty," she said, simpering. Kensi thought she was simpering.

Deeks grimaced and said, "Hey, Crystal. I wanted to use my guest pass on my friend here, she's a newbie."

"New-ish. I've taken a class," she said.

Crystal looked less than pleased and she gave Kensi a clipboard with a form on top, saying, "You have to fill that out."

Kensi stepped closer to Deeks because she could. She was tempted to enter her name as "Petty," because she was definitely acting that way. She started filling out the form. Deeks looked over her shoulder and said, "Please don't tell Sam on me."

"Tell on you?"

"I'm breaking his rules. I'm registered here on my own name, I come back 3 weekends out of the month. But you know, it's really hard to find a good studio, even in LA. I vary which days I take the class, I promise."

"I promise not to tell," she said. She had already picked which alias she was using for this outing. It was one of her sexier ones. Take that, Crystal, she thought.

She actually struggled in the class. She could have sworn she had a strong core. Of course, Deeks was great. Every time she looked over his form was perfect and he didn't look like he was about to throw up. Not that she was about to throw up. She could totally do this.

She wasn't the only one looking. Lots of super toned ladies in very expensive workout gear kept glancing over at Deeks. There were other men in the class, but not a lot. Plus, one was a super flexible guy still who looked to be about 80 and another had a very serious hair situation. On his back. That was the reason Kensi felt like throwing up, she was sure.

When the class was finally over, she went into the ladies locker room to shower and change. She was slipping on her sandals when one of the other ladies said, "Are you dating Hot Blond guy? Cause I've been working up the nerve to ask him out for the past month. When he's here, I mean."

Kensi shrugged. "Sorry."

"Should have known," the woman said. Kensi thought, I should have not enjoyed that.

When she stepped out to the lobby, Deeks was still there. Clearly waiting for her. She smiled and sat down right next to him. Possibly too close. "Why are you still out here?" She patted his thigh. And also enjoyed that.

"Why are you being my girlfriend, honeybear?" He looked like he was playing along, not like he was per se enjoying it.

"You know, helping you establish some semblance of a cover. Who would think you had a girlfriend? As hot as me?"

"Besides half the people we've interacted with over the past year?"

She shrugged. "Anyway, why are you waiting?"

"I just wanted to make sure, you know." He seemed actually flustered. She hadn't moved her hand.

She stood up and said, "Well, you have made sure. See you at home."

She wandered around the Grove a little aimlessly. It was probably mean or something to be basically throwing herself at Deeks. But he was being weird. Or he was just tired. No Hetty, no Callen, all the chaos at work. Deeks had been pretty easygoing at work, but she suspected that was more his way of helping her and Sam. Not his actual mood.

She went into Barney's and bought more jeans. She spent thirty minutes debating if she could get away with colored jeans or those adorable ones with the tiny flowers. Neither seemed very running around and shooting people appropriate and they were both a little too memorable. She thought, fuck it and bought both. "Can you put these in the dryer?"

The saleswoman smiled and said, "You really shouldn't."

"So I hear," Kensi said.

She drove back to Deeks's place. She let herself in and then scrounged together dinner. Deeks had some very yummy leftovers. She wondered when he went out for Thai.

She went into Deeks's bedroom since he wasn't there to shoo her out. It was bigger than the one in his old place. And had absolutely no personal pictures anywhere. She was tempted to look in drawers but it seemed overly intrusive, even for partners. Also, Bucky was sitting in the middle of the bed, staring at her with his one evil eye. "You're going to tell on me," she said. Bucky licked his leg and then went back to staring at her.

She got her laptop and sat down on the bed. She realized she'd never gotten the password for his wireless. She tried "eamesandme4ever" but it didn't work. "Thank goodness," she said. Bucky headbutted her thigh. "Not touching you, you scary blood drinking monster."

She texted Deeks. "what's the passwrd 4 wireless? i tried eamesandme and it didn't work."

He replied a minute later with "i reset it three days ago. you figure it out."

"before or after work?"

"good question. after. turning texting off now."

Three days ago. They had picked up that very stupid courier at California Pizza Kitchen. Deeks had been the one to interrogate him. Which had been Deeks saying "California Pizza Kitchen? Why would you meet there?"

"I love CPK, man. Best pizza ever."

"Are you shitting me? Are you really trying to convince me you think California Pizza Kitchen is the best pizza in Los Angeles?"

The courier had looked dumbfounded. "Yeah. CPK for life, dumbass."

"Is there something physically wrong with you? Were you born without a tongue?"

Sam had said, "That's an interesting interrogation technique."

It took four variations of letters and numbers before she got "cpk1s_sh1t" and had access to the internet. She drank two of her beers and settled in to watch as many episodes of Britain's Next Top Model as she could find on youtube.


"So you just fall asleep wherever? Bed, couch, tomorrow night you'll be curled in a ball on Monty's dog bed," Deeks was saying as he nudged her awake.

"Not true," she said."I was just watching some youtube, drinking beer and then your very sweet neighbor came over to walk Monty --"

"Yeah, Nathan's great. Sorry I didn't warn you."

"And then I came back here to rest my eyes until you got home. From --where were you?"

"I went to a movie." He'd closed her laptop, unplugged it and was moving it to his desk.

"You went to a movie by yourself?"

"I went with Nell. You sound drunk."

"I'm not drunk. I had two beers. I'm groggy. I just woke up. You, you're a crazy liar. You're being cranky because I'm here all weekend and you went to a movie with Nell."

He tucked the top blanket around her. "Nell and I decided to see this movie two weeks ago."

"And didn't invite me?"

"No, we did not."

Kensi giggled. Maybe she was a little drunk. "It's that Kristen Stewart movie. Nell went for the guy who plays Thor and you went because you love Kristen Stewart." She started to sit up. "Why are you tucking me into your bed?"

"Because it seems like so much more trouble to get you out to the couch."

"I agree," she said. "Thank you."

He turned off the lights. "You're welcome. Also, Kristen Stewart was amazing and Charlize Theron was also in that movie. And was super hot."

She woke up as the sun was just starting to rise, and she could smell coffee. She went into the kitchen. "Did you make some for me?"

"I did," Deeks said. He sipped his coffee on the couch. "I made you coffee, I slept on the couch in my own apartment, I am the nicest person you know. Didn't think you'd get up this early, I have to admit."

"But I did. What do you think? Up for a run?"

"Sure," he said. "Aren't you full of pep."

She sat down next to him on the couch. She said, "There was a reason I was trying to stay up last night."

"You hadn't finished your marathon of Britain's Next Top Model Cycle 6, I saw."

"Not the reason. But if you want, we can watch the rest when we get back."

Deeks drank more of his coffee and didn't meet her eyes. As per usual for this weekend. "I'm good," he said.

"I figured it all out," she said. "You weren't angry with me about the moving. You were hurt."

"That's a very fine distinction," he said, but he did look up.

"And then I bet Sam made fun of you the whole time. Talking about partners and stuff and how I finally wised up or something along those lines."

"Not true," Deeks said, this time looking at her. "Nell made him stop around hour three. I'm not sure what she said."

"Ah," Kensi said. "But that's why you weren't teasing me about it at work."

"Also, Hetty quit and Callen's in jail."

"Right," Kensi said. "But you like to defuse tension with humor. And mocking me for not helping you move. Except I hurt your feelings." She hugged him and said, "I am really sorry."

He said, "Okay, thank you. Let's not make me sound like a five year old here, though. I've been very manly about the whole thing. And Sam did not make me cry." He rubbed her back for a moment and she wished she could see his face. Then he sat back and stood up. He said, "I'm gonna change for our run."

"I will do the same," she said. "In the bathroom." She nearly tripped over Bucky because, of course, the monster refused to move from his place in the middle of the living room.

She got out of the bathroom in time to see Deeks putting his gun and badge into a small backpack.

She said, "You're going to be armed for our run."

"Do *I* really need to justify that?"

"Nope," she said. And they took off. It was a damn good run. Over three miles, good pace, the only sad spot when Deeks started singing along to the music from a cafe.

"It would be okay," she explained as they were walking a little aimlessly, cooling off. "It would be okay if you knew more than five lines of the song. But five minutes of you doing the same lines of Jane Says is five minutes too many."

"You loved it," he said. "This whole weekend is going to be me getting in trouble for my lack of tradecraft, but, there's a great diner over that way two blocks. Which I don't go to regularly."

"Of course not," she said. When they walked in, a cheerful older woman called out "Maarty" and immediately pointed them to a table.

The older woman and Deeks chatted for a full five minutes in very fast Spanish while Kensi sat alone at their table, skimming one of the free papers someone had left at the next table. Deeks was flirting and the woman was updating him on her three adult children and many grandchildren.

Deeks finally came over with two large plates of food. She said, "If you're moonlighting as a waiter, I really do have to tell Sam and our new boss."

"I ordered at the start of our conversation, so it was ready when we were done. The actual waitress will be bringing our coffee and OJ in a minute."

The food was fantastic. They ate in a comfortable silence. She was thinking how Deeks didn't really have the right personality for good tradecraft. Kids always remembered him because he always, always made them laugh. He had to strike up a conversation with receptionists, waiters, baristas, feral pigs in the desert.

"You're staring at me," he said. "Do I have something on my face?"

"Nothing," she grinned. "I was just thinking how this bacon reminds me of your girlfriend in the desert."

"I bet she's fine," he said. He fished out his wallet and left a $50 on the table. "I have to go to the library over a mile that way. You don't need to come in and you probably shouldn't."

"Is that a 100% tip?"

"More like 150%. But you heard her, her granddaughter is trying to go to this camp." He stood up. "We have to leave quickly so she doesn't try to sneak it back into my bag or your pocket. She's got very fast fingers."

She smiled and followed him out. He looked in his bag and said, "And she managed to slip me two bones for Monty, thankfully in a paper bag. The woman should have a television show. Or a Vegas act."

When they got to the library, Deeks said, "If you're going to come in, give me five minutes. I know it's stupid, but Hetty wanted me to, I don't even know, establish some cover. I come here every two weeks and check out spy novels under a different name."

"We don't really work for Hetty anymore," she said.

"Do you think that's gonna last? Because I think she'll be back. And she'll be very upset if I don't do this."

He turned and went inside. She tied and re-tied her shoes and went into the library, not even looking for Deeks. She was browsing the mysteries when he came into her aisle. "Hey," he said.

"Can you check this one out for me? I love the title. 'Take the Monkeys and Run.'"

He took a step and then he was right in front of her, touching her cheek and he kissed her. He was really good at it.

Then they were staring at each other. "What was that?" she said.

"You really need an explanation for this?" He smiled and kissed her again. She told herself her knees were trembling from the run.

"Were you planning that?"

He still hadn't let go of her waist or stopped stroking her face. "Yeah, I started planning when I rounded the corner 20 seconds ago. Really. How do you feel about running, uh, going home now?"

"After you check out my book?"

"Let me get your monkeys," he said.

It was a much quicker run back to Deeks's place. They did one of those fun make-out stumble walks back to his bed. In another minute they were both naked. He said, "Wait, should we … wait, or is this too fast?"

"Really?" She sat up. "You want to wait?"

"Nope," he said. "Never mind."

"Good," she said. "No waiting. Next, condoms?"

He pointed at the top drawer in the bedstand. She grabbed two and then the picture she saw pushed to the side. "The one personal picture in your entire apartment," she said. "And it's from our fake married photo session. That's sweet. Or gross."

"Sweet," he said. "Eric gave it to me, as a joke, I think. Hetty said that one was too us and not enough the cover. Also, this is a much better view than I ever thought it would be."

"Thank you," she said. She put the picture on top of the bedstand and turned back to him.

He said, "You're not gonna say something nice about me?"

"Yes, you're very cute. This is already too much waiting, I think."

They didn't actually leave the bed until Monty came into the room, whining. "Oh, come on, Monty," he said. "Really, buddy, you gotta go now?"

"I'll do it," she said. She sat up.

"Make sure to put on clothes," he said.

"Fine," she said. "Thank goodness you did all my laundry. So many clean clothes to choose from." She put on clean underwear and a pair of sweats.

"And a bra," he said. "You should really put on a bra. And a shirt."

"You're very demanding of someone doing a favor for you," she said. She put on her stolen t-shirt. "I did steal this from you, by the way."

"After an op," he said. "I knew it."

She shrugged. "It's a great shirt." She looked at him stretched on the bed. "Maybe Nathan is available for Monty."

"Nope, it's Sunday. Nathan has church. It's one of his three favorite things. I met him when I moved in, and he told me and Sam that his three favorite things in the whole world are church, competing in Special Olympics, and helping dogs and cats. Sunday is church."

"You've gone to one of his competitions, haven't you?"

"No," he said, clearly lying. "Yes. He's a great tumbler. And I saw Sam there, in my defense."

"You suck at being a spy," she said. "You're not supposed to meet the neighbors and become friends with them and go to their games." She leaned down and kissed him. "You're fucking adorable, at least."

Monty decided he needed a half hour walk to do all his business which she was convinced he did on purpose. "Sorry I took your pal away from you for a little bit." She bent down and scratched Monty's ugly head. "I'm pretty sure he likes you best."

When she got back inside, she saw Bucky asleep in a ball on the couch. She walked into the bedroom and said, "When do you have to medicate the evil cat?"

"Two hours," he said. He'd made coffee and sandwiches for both of them.

"Did you barista naked?"

"Is barista a verb? And yes," he said.

"Promise me you'll put on a cup or something before you deal with Bucky," she said, getting back in bed.

"Thank you for your concern for my parts, but Bucky likes me."

"You like that awful cat," she said.

He kissed her. "I like you more," he said.


She stretched and opened her eyes. "3 am," she said.

"Yes," he said. He was half asleep, half on top of her. His head on her shoulder, hand on her waist, leg heavy on top of hers. "At some point in the next four hours, we need to get dressed and go to work."

"Four hours," she said. "I am a little sore, like, all over."

"We spent Sunday in bed having sex. Actually half of Sunday, I think that was literally twelve hours. Except for walking Monty and me dosing poor Bucky."

"But the sex was not in the scary Sting way," she said. "In the good us way."

"I agree," he said. "What exactly is the plan for work in four or five hours?"

"Uh, I don't know. We'll figure it out."

"We usually do."