A/N: Hello, once again, guys. So after the fantastic feedback on my one shot 'Identity' [you guys seriously rock!], I thought I would give it a try with a chaptered fic. I really do hope that you all enjoy this just as much. Please R&R. Feedback, good or bad, is thoroughly appreciated. Thank you, and read on!
The loud constant beeping was a familiar sound, but never welcomed. She had been a slave to it for as long as she could remember, and now, as she flung her arm out without even bothering to open a eye, Kensi wished that morning hadn't came so quickly. Hitting the alarm with practised precision, the silence was broken by a low chuckle that she managed to drown out by burrowing back into her covers. Although she wasn't sure what the time had been when she had finally gotten to sleep the night before, she did know two things that factored in with it. One, it hadn't been early enough for her liking that morning, and two, it was the fault of the man currently in her room.
Her room, that was suddenly bathed in the brightness of the morning sun. Kensi let out a groan as the light penetrated through the sheets, even as she tried to crumple them up to form a more effective shield against it. However, that had failed and she was now reluctantly awake. It had amazed her how he could possibly start the day, and even get ready for it, in the dreary dimness of the curtained room, but she had soon come to learn that he could probably do it all in pitch black darkness all the same.
She, however, needed the sunlight to merely wake her up, and unfortunately, he knew that. But she still refused to look up when the space behind her on the bed dipped where he no doubt perched with a knee, or when she felt him carefully brush her hair back away from her face.
"Don't fall back asleep." Despite the warning tone to Callen's faux-chiding words, she couldn't help but to feel the pull back into sleep once again.
"Hmm..." She managed to murmured, only to hear another chuckle at her expense.
"I'm serious, Kens. I won't cover for you." He laughed before he let his lips travel lightly over her cheek and spoke quietly near to her ear. "I'll see you at work, babe."
This time, there was no reply from her but she knew that it wasn't anything more than he expected. She would feel guilty, but it had been the same way for over a year now. He'd get up at an unlawful time, do whatever he normally did and then make sure she was awake before leaving for work. It was a routine and it worked, so she saw no reason why to mess with it.
By the time the front door had shut, Kensi had managed to pull herself up into a sitting position in her bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. And with another half hour, she had dragged herself out of bed, showered, dried her hair and gotten dressed.
Feeling a bit more bright eyed than before, she made her way to the kitchen for a pick-me-up; a mug of a hot, bitter drink that was usually always made and waiting for her. She was not disappointed that morning, either, when the smell of coffee hit her as soon as she crossed the threshold into the kitchen. She might not be a morning person, but not having to do the littlest chores such as making her own coffee certainly perked up her mood.
Turning the slightly, in her opinion, speeding car up onto the driveway, she pressed on the brakes with just enough of a practice so that it stopped before the front collided with the wall. Kensi smiled as she switched off the engine, sparing a short glance over at her partner, who didn't seem as amused by her journey as she did.
"Who taught you to drive?" Deeks asked her incredulously as they exited the car. She couldn't help but to notice he was favouring his left arm, but chose to ignore it for as long as she could.
"My dad." She replied matter-of-factly.
"Of course. How could I have not thought of that? It fits, along with all the other life necessities that he taught you, legal or otherwise." He rambled, words trailing off at the end into a mutter. Entering the house that served as the cover or their base, Kensi turned to raise an eyebrow at him.
"Why are you snarky today? I mean, you're always snarky, but you're just rolling it out today." She questioned, a smirk pulling at her lips when he scowled at her words.
"I'm injured, that's why." Deeks answered after a second's pause. "And slightly pissed. Maybe queasy too, after that car ride."
"You're not injured." Kensi laughed, poking gently nonetheless at the arm he was literally keeping close to his chest. "It's just a few scratches and bruises."
"It hurts like hell!" He hissed and took a step away from her as she rolled her eyes.
"God, do they not prepare you for anything in the LAPD?" She asked rhetorically, before carrying on and ticking each one off on her fingers. "Can't follow tracks, can't hot wire a car, can't tackle a suspect-"
"We tend to use tackling as a last resort at LAPD." Deeks cut her off with a small huff.
"Well, we use shooting someone as a last resort here at NCIS." Kensi countered as they approached their bullpen.
"It is also known that tackling can cause injuries to both parties, which might in fact stop the suspect from cooperating." He told her in a tone that would probably make anyone else take his words at face value. But she, however, knew better.
"That's bull. You just made that up." She accused whilst sitting down at her desk and staring him down, as he did the same.
"Maybe. Maybe not." Deeks replied with a shrug that was soon accompanied by a grimace. "You'll never know."
"I could always teach you how to tackle someone properly, if you'd like." Kensi offered politely, picking up the files that she had left haphazardly on her desk earlier that morning.
"Really?" He asked her, words tinged with shock.
"What's the catch?" Deeks questioned, eyeing her warily from his own desk as he did so.
"What? No catch!" Her words could have been perfectly innocent if he hadn't caught the gleam of mischievousness in her eyes as she looked up at him. "Call it a, uh... bonding exercise."
"I think I'll pass. Until I'm a little less injured, at least." He said dryly.
"Injured, Mr Deeks?" A voice came from behind him, making him jump sharply. He could hear the other agent present laugh quietly as she turned her eyes back to the papers in front of her.
"Yeah. It's nothing too bad, but I think they're some nasty cuts." Deeks informed their boss, adding a sigh to the end to sound more dramatic.
"Oh? Well, we must get that cleaned out before it gets infected. Come along now. I have some peroxide that'll do the trick." Hetty instructed him. She had already walked around his desk by the time he had found his words.
"Peroxide?" He stuttered, sitting up straighter and more alert. "Actually, you know what? I don't think it's that bad-"
"Oh, I don't know, Deeks." Kensi cut in, throwing him an overly sweet smile to emphasise her sarcasm."You were moaning about it the entire way back. I think you ought to get it checked out. Better safe than sorry."
"Yes, yes. Ms. Blye is right." Hetty insisted, turning from one agent to the other before tapping lightly at Deeks' desk and heading back to her own office. "Now, come on. We don't have all day."
"Thank you, Ms. Blye." He grumbled as he passed her, shooting her an unappreciated look that she returned with another bright smile.
"Just looking out for my partner."
She had had the bullpen alone to herself, nice and quiet allowing her to concentrate on the files she read, for only 20 minutes before Deeks came slouching back. Kensi let her eyes flicker over to him briefly, watching as he took his seat. His injured right arm was looking more stiffer than ever before, but she decided to keep her mouth shut as he continued to grumble under his breath. The only sign that she could hear him was the mirthful smile that she kept hidden from him by doing her job.
It wasn't long before the rest of the team arrived; Sam and Callen from where they had been upstairs with Eric, getting information on another lead, and Nate from where ever he had been hiding. It was a habit that the operational psychologist had, managing to surprise even the best of them by appearing from nowhere. And worse, it was usually with a knowing look that said that he knew exactly that they didn't want to talk about. Yet somehow, he got it out of them anyway.
This time, however, Nate's skills weren't necessary.
"What happened to you?" Sam broke away from the conversation he had been having with his partner almost as soon as his eyes fell upon Deeks.
"Hetty and peroxide." He replied, spitting the words out like they were laced with venom, earning himself a mix of confused and amused looks.
"Ouch. What happened?" Nate asked as he stood at the threshold of the area that was known as 'theirs'.
Deeks looked over at him before turning back to a sheet of paper that laid on his desk, brushing off the question with a shrug. The other two agents picked up on the silence that followed, letting it press on for a moment before simultaneously turning towards the only other person there who would be able to give them answers.
"Suspect pushed him into a wall." Kensi informed them without even sparing them a glance. She didn't need to; she could see the smug smirks forming on their faces already.
"And...?" Callen pushed, making her look up at them both to see her prediction coming true. Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see Nate intently trying to seem more interested in a casefile than their typical rousting, and right in front of her was her partner, still acting as best as he could to be nonchalant.
"And, nothing." She concluded, staring straight ahead at Deeks until he gave up his pretence and stared right back at her. Kensi raised an eyebrow at him as he did so, almost as if she was daring him to try and defend himself against what had happened. "That's it."
"Hey, I bruise like a peach, ok?" Deeks jumped in immediately before anyone else could comment and joke on his behalf. "It's not my fault. And, in my defence, it was a textured, stoned wall, hence the scratches."
"Sure." Both Callen and Sam retorted together. The smirks had evolved into laughs as they went over to their respective desks.
"Did you get anything useful from him, at least?" Nate asked, directing his question to them even though he carried on reading the file.
"Barely. Got a name, but it's not really coming up with much." Kensi replied after a small pause, realising that Deeks wasn't going to answer. Sighing, she threw down the pen that she had been twirling in her hand and relaxed back against her chair. "I think I'm going to have to ask Eric to help me on an alias search for it."
"Alright. We'll go see the guy our suspect gave up." Sam informed them. He had dropped a small white bag that she hadn't noticed before onto his desk as he left. "See if he has anything useful."
"You coming?" Callen asked their operational psychologist as he passed him by.
"Really?" Nate spun to look after where the two of agents were leaving.
"You said you wanted to get into the field more." He shrugged.
"Yeah..." He trailed off before seeming to snap to reality. Shutting the file in his hands, Nate only shared a brief nervous look with the junior agent before following the others. "Ok."
"Have fun!" Kensi called out after him, twisting her chair as she watched him go, but not before throwing a grateful yet strained smile back at her.
Rolling her eyes at the thought of Nate out in the field, something she had experienced a few too many times already, she swivelled her seat back towards her desk. Resting her elbows on the armrests of her chair, she locked her fingers together in front of her and looked quizzically at her partner.
"A peach, huh?" She asked with a laugh, shaking her head. "Sure explains a lot."
"What?" Deeks answered, confused.
"Nothing." Kensi teased as she got up and headed over to Sam's desk area. Opening the bag that laid there, she smiled at what was inside, having already guessed correctly that it would be doughnuts. "Alright, I'm going to go see Eric."
"I'll come with. It's not like I can do anything else right now." Deeks told her with a groan, almost jumping up from his seat as he saw what it was that Kensi had found, and was now eating. "I can barely feel my arm under the pain."
"Unless you want to lose the feeling in your other arm, I wouldn't do that." She warned him, swallowing the last of her food and stopping him halfway on his journey to the sweet treats. So sweet that she herself had to follow it with water in hopes it would help, which it didn't.
"You just did." He retorted with a frown, doing as she said anyway and left the doughnuts alone to head upstairs.
"You see, there's this huge different between me and you when it comes to Sam." She told him in a tone that was as sickly sweet as the taste that was left over in her mouth.
"Which is...?" Deeks asked. By the sly smile she threw over her shoulder as they walked up the stairs, he knew her following words weren't going to be something he wanted to hear.
"He likes me."
"I can narrow the search parameters if you'd like. Might get you an accurate hit faster." Eric suggested when their current search landed them hundreds of possible aliases over the past hour. None of which, however, seemed to fit the exact same profile as the person they were looking for.
"Yeah, thanks, Eric." Kensi replied with a heavy sigh and turned around from facing the wall where the results were presented to the table next to her. The search itself was frustrating enough, but the headache that had came on almost suddenly made it very difficult for her to keep her focused. All in all, it was grating on her last nerve right then.
"No problem." The technical operator answered with a slight hesitancy that made her look up at him.
"You ok, Kensi?" He asked her attentively. She was sure she would have snapped at him had he not looked so adorably innocent when he cocked his head to the side as he spoke.
"Fine." She simply said before turning her attention back to the papers spread over the table in front of her; a clear sign to leave the subject alone.
"Ok..." Eric trailed off. Glancing up through her lashes, she could just about see him throw a confused look at Deeks, who sat in the chair next to him and merely shrugged back. Kensi held back another sigh in response, instead appreciating the rare silence to try and sooth her head.
The quiet lasted longer than she thought was possible with the other two men around, but she was grateful for it. Other than the whirring of the electronics and the occasional beeps from finding alerts, nothing broke the silence. That was until approaching footsteps claimed all of their attentions slowly, watching the entrance subtly until someone appeared.
"Mr. Callen has requested for one of you to head down to the boathouse immediately." Hetty announced as she took only three steps into the room. It wasn't much, but there was something about the operations manager that always claimed everyone's attention.
"I'll go." Deeks said, practically bouncing from his chair to his feet. If his agitation at doing nothing and getting nowhere hadn't been obvious earlier, it sure was now.
"I thought you were injured?" Kensi remarked dryly.
"Huh, would you look at that? It's a miracle!" He exclaimed dramatically, stretching and bending his right arm while doing so.
"Just in time, too. The boathouse, Mr. Deeks." Hetty instructed after clearing her throat.
"On my way." Deeks lost all of his light-heartedness as he replied and left the room.
Kensi had leant forward on the table on her elbows as they spoke, letting one hand distractedly massage her temple in hopes to smooth out the headache. She could now feel eyes burn into her top of her head too, and try as she might, she just couldn't ignore it any longer. Instead, she looked up, dropping her hand, and raised an eyebrow in question rather than to speak.
"Everything alright, dearie?" Hetty asked her, and Kensi could see the Eric's eyes shoot from one of them to the other before turning back to his computer when she saw that she had caught him.
"Yep. Why wouldn't it be?" She answered nonchalantly, adding a relaxed smile that she hoped actually looked more calmer than strained to the petite woman.
"Hmm, carry on." Hetty nodded, giving in and turning around to leave. Her words might have said she believe her agent, but it was clear from her tone that she really didn't.
Now that it was just her and Eric in the room, Kensi could almost feel the awkwardness that had arisen since his initial questioning on her well-being. She couldn't help but to feel a bit guilty for that, but the pain pounding through her head was now radiating throughout her body and she lost her train of thought before she could turn it into words.
"This is taking it's sweet time." Eric whistled when the silence got too much for him. Leaning back in his chair, he twirled it around to face the agent who had obviously been thinking the same thing.
"Let me go see if there's anything else that might be able to narrow the parameters." Kensi informed him, adding a small genuine smile at his typical behaviour when he crossed his arms behind his head.
"You mean like other than just his name, age and face?" He retorted sarcastically, smirking.
"Yes." She agreed, gathering the papers together in a messy pile before pushing away from it and heading towards the exit. "Can you let me know if you get a hit?"
"Sure." Eric replied. If he hadn't been worried before, he was now. Sure, the situation was serious and annoyingly frustration, but in this job, it nearly always was. It was when the others stopped joking and lightening any moment they could that he knew there was something wrong.