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if He felt He had to direct you

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Kensi looked irritated as she wiped her hands on her jeans. She'd decided it was McDonalds for lunch and he'd said he'd wait in the car. Kensi being Kensi and Kensi being irritated, she'd come back with a full meal for her and a Diet Coke and salad for him. Now she was done with her delicious smelling fries and still being pissy. She said, "This is your fault."

"You're not actually irritated at me," Marty said. He thought, you are, as always, not very secretly in love with me. But he'd thought that every single day (at least once a day) for going on two years. "You're upset we're getting absolutely nowhere here."

"That could be your fault, you know," she said.

"It's really not," he said. It was a stupid, weird case. They were stuck in Fresno, the armpit of California, going in circles, asking the wrong questions. "Do you want my help thinking of how we can blame this on Granger?"

"Maybe," she said, smiling. Then the boy ran past bumping into Kensi on purpose. She swore and then she just fell straight down.


There weren't many jokes to be made sitting in a hospital. The room was aggressively nondescript and the machines made the same sounds over and over again. Kensi's mom liked the right side of the room, and Marty let her have it. She'd said, "Call me Julia, please," and he tried, but in her head she was Kensi's mom. Not that they talked much.

Kensi's mom would periodically reiterate the situation; medically induced coma, respirator, feeding tube, waiting for the antidote and if it didn't come soon they would have permanent damage. He'd say, "She'll be okay. I wouldn't want to be anywhere in Sam or G's way right now. Or Hetty's." He sort of believed it.

He'd been ruled fucking useless to do anything but sit there, which he agreed with. He decided to try praying, his last resort so he could actually be doing something.



He and Julia sat outside Kensi's room while the doctors did their work. She said, "I'm going home tonight."

"Kensi'll be home soon," he said.

"Absolutely. That's what the others were saying," she said. "We all pretend she's dead, she gets her strength back here in Fresno, and then everything's tied up." She smoothed her skirt. "I don't think I care. I'm just glad I have my daughter back again." She patted his knee. "And when you both come back, I will cook you a real meal."

"Thanks," he said. He stared at the ceiling. As soon as Kensi was out of here, he was going to blow up the hospital, he hated every inch of it. Especially the ceiling tiles. He took a deep breath and said, "I don't usually pray. I don't ever, actually. Do you think, uh, let's say I made one of those promises, do you think God'll come for Kensi if I don't do it?"

Julia smiled. "I don't conceive of God that way, no," she said. "I think Kensi is safe from lightning strikes or anything like that."

"You're sure?"

"Yes," she said. He believed her, but he also didn't want to take chances with Kensi's continuing survival.



"I realize this might sound out there --"

Kensi laughed and sat back into the nondescript and not really comfortable couch. Marty had tested it, waiting for her to be brought here, and it was not comfortable. Not uncomfortable. It felt like everything in the safehouse. Not exactly good, not specifically bad. She was sitting there cross-legged and laughing at him, which he appreciated deeply. At this point, he was happy to just watch her breathe on her own. She said, "Because so few things you say are out there."

"In college, I had a huge crush on this girl who was really into Nick Cave, so naturally I was really into Nick Cave for that three months. I assume you're not familiar with his oeuvre."

She laughed again. "Not at all. I'm a little scared what's coming next, honestly."

"My favorite Nick Cave song then and now is Into My Arms which I thought about every hour of the last few days while your mother and I sat next to your hospital bed watching your respirator work. You know you need to go straight to her house when you're safe to leave here, right?"

"Yes," she said, still smiling. "Though I did also talk to her a little before she flew home. And to repeat what the doctors said, the antidote worked, no lasting damage, I'm perfectly fine. I'm good."

But you weren't, he thought. She'd passed out, fallen on the floor in front of him, her lips turning blue, not breathing. He'd spent 5 days memorizing ceiling tiles. "In the song I was referring to, Cave is saying how he doesn't believe in an interventionist God, which I always identified with because I don't believe in God, probably, but you know, no atheists in foxholes or sitting next to people," he said, pausing. "Next to people in hospitals who are only alive because of respirators."

"And quick medical intervention from partners," she said quickly. "Thank you again."

"The point is I prayed, just in case. And made bargains, just in case. And since I assume if God exists, He's probably the sort of asshole who wants pain and suffering --"

"I don't think of God that way," she said softly.

"Which is just like the song, actually," he said. "We have different views of God and yours is not like mine. But I made a promise, and you're alive, and maybe God decided to listen to your mom instead of me and this is pointless, but just in case." He sat down on the floor in front of her.

"I'm still a little scared. If this involves some sort of blood ritual, I'd prefer you assume that God listened to my mom," she said.

"No blood," he said. "I promised God, if He exists, that I would tell you all sorts of things I never ever talk about. Because that seemed painful for me and therefore pound of flesh like enough. And you don't have to correct me that pound of flesh is from Shakespeare."

"You don't have to," she said, using the soft voice again.

"But you want me to," he said. "Don't lie."

She said, "Yes, of course. You're my partner, it's a little sad how much you edit your life, even around me, but I get it, we all cope in our own ways."

"Be sad no more." He got up and grabbed his takeout and drink from the kitchen. "Do you want your food now?"

"Duh, it's not going to be good when it's cold."

Then he situated himself back in front of her. Stupid Nick Cave, he thought. "Also, you can't interrupt." He sipped his giant coke and said, "Did you know, did you know that I am actually a bastard. Literally. My parents never married. Which is also why I never use that what was your mother's maiden name security question because all you have to do is know my last name. I'm very grateful for many reasons, especially since my dad apparently wanted me to be a junior."

He took another sip. He had his eyes trained on the floor since he really didn't feel like seeing Kensi's reactions. "I probably have siblings out there, because everyone from the neighborhood loved to tell me about how my dad sowed all these wild oats and those girls got far far away from him. Along with my very rational dislike of needles, I always hated doing those blood drives at LAPD, because I was sure at some point one of my half-siblings would find me. And I don't need more family, especially not on that side of tree."

This time he took a long drink. "I was twenty-two before I ever met a social worker who wasn't a complete condescending asshole who accomplished nothing. I try not to be biased about it, but I'm really not a fan. I am dying to know how you got social services not to ship you to your mom's after your father died because I never found them prone to actually listening to anything any minor said."

He ate two fries. "Also, true story, my dad was sentenced to ninety days in county for trying to shoot me and my mom. It was actually a deal so I wouldn't go to juvie. He went to prison for real because when he got out, he stabbed some guy in a bar his very first night out, three blocks from where me and my mom were. Shoot your kid and common-law wife? Whatever. Stab a grown adult male? You're off to jail."

Kensi interrupted because she was not good with rules. "Do you want my fries?"

"These are actually pretty good fries so yes, thank you. I always go to Carls Jr or In n Out because those are the two fast food restaurants my father did not hit me in, by the way." He didn't look up as he took them from her.

"Anyway. the rest is actually pretty dull. My mother continued to work a lot of crappy jobs that never gave her any benefits, like she always had. I was mostly spectacularly average in high school. In hindsight, she almost probably had PTSD from living with my father or depression or an anxiety disorder or all of the above, but mostly, she was just never happy for as long as I remember. When I was at college, one of the neighbors found her dead. The very nice, very young policeman insisted it was an accidental overdose of prescription sleeping pills. Which is not why I became a cop, that really was all about TJ Hooker and CHiPs."

She scooted down from the couch and sat next to him on the floor. She took his hand and leaned her head on his shoulder. "Okay, your mean God is satisfied, you're all done."

He squeezed her hand. "Promise?"

"Sure," she said. "You should have promised something more fun to say, like sex questions."

He laughed. "Are you being me? Are you defusing tension with humor?"He actually looked at her, alive and only slightly pale. He still felt like shit, but he was no longer worried about possible lightning coming for her because he didn't say anything.

"No, I'm being serious. You were already there for most of my worst days. We can be positive. And upbeat. And tell sex stories. I never finished that one about spring break and you know you want to hear the rest. It's been a downer week. And now we can't go after that fucker who poisoned me because I'm in the safe house and you're protecting me. With your unedited life." She stood up and dragged him up. "I appreciate it, really."

He felt worn down. "You got to just lie there and be sick, I had to be awake for all that, you know."

They were sitting on the not crappy not good couch now. She patted his head and said, "Poor baby." She stretched her arms wide and he enjoyed the view of her. She said, "I feel like you're creeping back to life, a little."

"Sex questions," he said.

"I did mention sex, didn't I?" She leaned towards him. "Tell me about your first time."

"Her name was Porsche --"

"That's pretty," she said.

"Like the car," he said. She winced. "She was 15, she'd done it before. I was not great. Just happy to be there, you know?" He started thrusting his hips wildly and then stopped abruptly. "I think it was like that."

She burst out laughing. Then she stretched her legs long and said, "move, I wanna lie down."

He said, "Where am I supposed to sit?"

She pulled on his arm and somehow, he realized, they were lying squished together on the average, inoffensive couch. She shifted slightly but made no move to sit up or get away. He thought he should say something or ask her what exactly they were doing, but it was too nice. She said, "Poor Porsche."

He said, "What about your first time?"

She winced. "I was 16 and you know, that's not a good story. It wasn't, you know, I just --"

"We can skip that one," he said. "First time you wanted to be there, you were happy and the sex was good. And I really hope that's not three separate times."

She smiled. "All one time. I was 17, his name was Luis. He was a Marine and 18. And by the way, my dad had written his will, the way he wrote it, he wanted to me to stay with a friend of his who was married with kids, I'd known him my whole life. I don't know why people respected that. I know my mom called and tried, but everyone was so … You know, I just wish someone had talked some sense to me. I can be wrong sometimes."

"Sometimes," he said. "More about Luis, please."

She went back to smiling, clearly a very happy memory. "So I lived right off the base, and that's how we met. He was so sweet. He just thought I was so pretty, he was always so polite. Not smarmy polite, but because he was really just that nice. He'd never had sex before, and when we did finally do it, after three months, well. Unlike poor Porsche, he was actually pretty wonderful. And then he went off to war and survived and got a medal or two, got married to a beautiful nurse --"

"Good old Luis," he said.

"And they have two kids and they're very happy. And I think he remembers me fondly, which is always nice."

"That's a very nice sex story," he said. "Are we going to spend the afternoon snuggling on the couch telling sex stories?" He regretted the question once he said it since he was actually enjoying the snuggling. Kensi was generally not one for admitting she enjoyed snuggling or how much she wanted to be snuggling with him. Which she did. He used to think he could wait as long as she needed.

She made a scrunchy face and then said, "You don't get to be the only one who freaked out because I almost died."

He rested his hand on her hip and she didn't push him off. "So you embracing the cuddling is you freaking out?"

"Freaking out might not be the right word," she said. "You're not going to use that as an excuse to wuss out, are you?"

"Me? Wuss out?" He slid his hand over and started on the button on her jeans.

She covered his hand with hers. "We can go a little slower than that."

"I don't know, maybe you're the one wussing out now."

She shifted again with her characteristic ninja stealth so he was on his back and she was lying on top. He took the opportunity to grab her ass with both hands. Then she kissed him, a distinctly not undercover kiss. She pushed herself up a little and said, "I am not a wuss."

"I agree, absolutely, let's go back to what we were doing."

She laughed. "You know, when I was trying to breathe, and seeing you looking scared out of your mind and me getting more scared because of that, I just kept thinking, please, God, don't let me pee myself in front of Deeks."

"You did," he said. "It was totally okay."

"Thanks," she said. "I needed to know that. No, no, I mean, we're intelligent people whose jobs are all about observing people and we're good at it, and it's obvious you're in love with me --"

"And even more obvious and for longer that you're totally in love with me," he said quickly.

She said, "Really? We're competing over this?"

"I just wanted to note. I mean, of course it was a gradual process for you, falling in love, but I think I can pin down the exact moment when you knew for yourself for sure," he said.

She sat up, straddling his thighs and crossing her arms under her lovely breasts. "You think you can," she said.

"Hmmmmmm, would that be when I was kissing Nicole?"

She grimaced and said, "That's not un-accurate."

He smirked at her. "That's not un-ungrammatical."

"At least I didn't need to have my feelings crystallized by a completely undercover kiss." She smirked back at him.

He shrugged. "We officially know each other very well. Incredibly well. Also, I was trying to be respectful of you and your feelings."

She shook her head. "Anyway, the point is, at some point, it's just --"

She seemed lost in what exactly she was trying to say, but he got it. Nearly dying made you think about the things you thought were so complicated and see they weren't. He said, "We should totally do it."

"Yes," she said. She pulled off her shirt.

"I am so glad you didn't get struck by lightning because of me," he said. She had already taken off her bra. He felt way behind in the getting naked race. Then he said, "Condoms."

"Fuck," she said. "Don't you carry any with you?"

"I'm not 16, I don't carry a condom in my wallet. Besides those are the ones that break. But, come on, this is a safe house, no way there isn't --"

"You're right," she said, getting up off him and the couch. She disappeared into the bedroom. "None in here," she called. "Trying the bathroom."

He got naked and went into the bathroom where she was looking in the drawers. He said, "Any luck?"

She stood up with a box and a loud "Ha." Then she stepped back and smiled at him. "We're not doing it in here."

"I was actually going to suggest the bed. In the bedroom." He did step forward and unbutton her jeans. She pushed them down along with her underwear. "You are fucking gorgeous."

"Thank you," she said. "Bedroom?"

"Oh, yeah," he said. He stepped to the right and gestured. "After you."


He stood at the top of the bed, taking a moment to drink in the most generic bedspread he'd ever seen. He couldn't believe it could be so generic. Kensi pulled him down so she could straddle him again. She said, "I like to be on top."

"I assumed," he said. "Fantasized, to be more accurate."

"And you were right," she said.

He'd had fantasies about having sex with Kensi since the day he met her and not a one of them matched up to the actual experience of it. The sheer force of her, the way she looked at him.

"Best of your life, right," she said.

"Yes," he said. "Absolutely. Until the next time." He heard a buzz from the other room. "Fuck, that would be my phone."

They disentangled and he ran back to the living room. He found his phone in his jeans. "Sugarbear," he said loudly. "Callen and Sam will be here in five minutes to give us an update."

"And we're putting off the best sex of your life," she said.

He snatched up all the clothes scattered over the living room and went back to the bedroom where he'd left both their bags. As he got dressed in clean clothes, he said, "Not the best sex of your life? Am I not measuring up?"

She draped over his shoulders from behind. "Oh, God, seriously, you completely measure up. I'm just slower than you to commit to that kind of thing."

"What do you mean by slow to commit?" He stood up and went back to the living room. He said very quietly, "So it might have been the best sex of your life but you won't decide for a few days or years?"

She laughed. "A few years, maybe. Lots of work for you."

She opened the door for Sam and Callen.


She looked at him across the pillow they were sort of sharing. She really did take over the whole bed and he didn't mind in the slightest. She said, "I had already planned to sleep with you the minute we were alone, by the way."

"Are you mocking my dealings with God?"

"Not in the slightest. I would never. I was just saying." she said.

"Good, because you're alive right now, you know." He sat up and psyched himself to get out of bed.

"I don't really believe in an interventionist God," she said.

"So praying doesn't matter?"

"Praying always matter, but He's not up there waiting for you to make the right bargain or something. He has His plans, He loves us." She blushed. "Don't make fun of me for this."

"Never ever," he said. He leaned down to kiss her and then did get out of bed.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to take a shower and put some clothes on, go out and get us breakfast, bring it back, eat it and then I figured we'd spend the rest of the morning having sex."

She said, "That's a lot of plans without asking me." She sat up and he smiled at her unbelievably sexy body.

He blinked and remembered they were talking. "Did you want to change anything in there?"

"No, but I still have some say over my life." She shrugged. "You could ask."

"Absolutely," he said. "Whatever you want. Any requests for breakfast?"



Sam and G caught the bad guys so they got to take the plane home, while he and Kensi were stuck driving. Not that it was so bad a drive, but the rental car smelled vaguely of peanuts. It just irritated him.

"I can drive," Kensi said.

"This peanut smell is already making me a little nauseous," he said.

"You never complain about my driving," she said.

"Now we're sleeping together," he said, grinning at her.

"Are there are other things you've been holding back until you got in my pants?"

He said, "Basically just the driving thing."

"I was gonna say, you always tease me about everything," she said. She gripped his knee and then moved her hand up his thigh. "You want to keep getting in my pants, you better let me drive."

"Just not this peanut butter potpourri mobile," he said. "Keep doing that and I will pull over." She laughed and clasped her hands in her lap. "Damn," he said.

"I'm hungry," she said. "Next exit after this one, let's get something to eat." She scanned the sign and list of restaurants.

"What's wrong with the one we're driving right by?"

She paused until they had driven by it and then said, "There was nowhere to get food at that one. This exit has a Carl's Jr."