Title: A quest for something personal

Spoilers: Episode 2.17 "Personal"

Summary: When you're tossed out of the hospital by your boss, there's only one thing to do.

Notes: I am Australian and I do try to use American terms but some of the Aussie terms may slip through. I apologise if this occurs. Secondly, this is Part 1 of probably three parts.

Disclaimer: I do not own any characters and NCIS: Los Angeles. I am only playing with Shane Brennan's toys and will put them back when I'm finished.

Hetty looked through the glass window of the hospital room, quietly observing her injured shaggy-haired liaison officer as he slept. New, crisp white bandages covered his wounds; no sign of blood on them this time around. Her dark-haired junior agent sat in the large cream coloured lounge chair, her head resting against the side, obviously having followed her partner into the world of slumber - dreamless sleep would be highly unlikely considering their occupation.

She entered the room silently, well-practised in the art of moving inconspicuously. The soft rhythmic beep of the cardiac monitors filled the dimly lit room. She hesitated, wondering if she should just leave the two of them sleeping, but she knew she needed to speak with Mr. Deeks away from the rest of the team.

"Miss Blye."

Kensi jumped at the sound of Hetty's voice, sitting up straight instantly . It still amazed her that the diminutive woman was able to sneak up on her highly trained, covert agents without them being aware of her presence until she spoke or allowed them to know she was there.

"Hetty," Kensi acknowledged softly, the single word laced with tiredness.

"You may go home now."

"I'm fine. I can stay with him." Kensi swiped her hands over her face and pushed tendrils of hair that had escaped from the hairclip away from her eyes.

"I am sure that you can, but you won't," Hetty's tone and her firm gaze carried enough weight to ensure that her junior agent wouldn't even try to argue the point. "You need to go home and get some sleep. Mr. Deeks doesn't need you looking like the living dead when he awakens."

Kensi raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips, knowing that there was no appropriate response to that statement. She collected her jacket from the back of the chair she had been sitting on and picked up her car keys from the night-stand.

"I'll see you in the morning, Miss Blye." Hetty bid her farewell and sat the seat on the other side of the bed.

Kensi hesitated at the doorway and looked back at Deeks who was sleeping soundly.

"Go dear, he will be fine." Hetty watched her leave the room and only once she was out of sight did she reach up to snag the container of lime green jello sitting on the hospital tray.

Kensi sped out of Pacific Beach Medical, taking the corner tightly and the tires on her silver Cadillac squealed in protest. Her hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, knuckles white with tension. She weaved her way through the traffic, car horns blasting in her wake as she cut her lane changes a bit too fine.

After receiving another blast from an irate motorist, she finally forced herself to relax her grip on the steering wheel and fiddled with the radio to find a station that might distract her from her current thoughts. Kensi didn't want to go home. She was tempted to go to a local bar and have a drink but she knew that she wouldn't stop at one or two and she didn't want Deeks to see the repercussions of that in the morning.

Instead, she turned her car around and headed in the opposite direction of her apartment and one that she had driven to often. Sam had re-enforced into her the importance of varying the routes to get to various destinations, times, parking and the list went on as to how much of a routine came out of not keeping a routine. As she had told Deeks, it was hard to ensure that you didn't fall into doing something regularly at the same time on the same day on the off-chance that someone might want to get you.

Kensi pulled up on Parkson Avenue, a couple of hundred feet from Deeks' apartment. She grabbed her overnight bag from the backseat, locked the car and walked the short distance to his apartment. It only took a moment to gain entry to the second floor unit, the simple lock mechanism no match for her skills in the break-and-enter arena. She would make mention to Deeks to improve his security on his doors although she was sure that it had been included in Sam's lecture.

She felt around and found the light switch, bathing the living room area in soft light and dropped her bag on the ground beside the door. Unlike Dom, she had actually been inside Deeks' apartment before today's events. She had found that Deeks flitted between being obscenely tidy through to mildly messy, depending on what was going on in his life at the time. She'd never witnessed his apartment in the state hers was in permanently. Quite ironic really if you thought about it.

She heard a faint clicking, a familiar sound but one she could not quite place. She warily turned towards the kitchen, where the sound had emanated from to see a large hairy shape flying towards her at top speed.

"No Monty! Down!" It was too late, the dog had launched himself from the couch straight at her. His paws collided with her shoulders, his body slamming into her, taking her to the ground easier than some two hundred pound marine would have succeeded in doing. Maybe Deeks was correct that the dog might save someone one day. The thought lasted only a moment before her face was being washed by Monty's tongue, showing his eagerness to greet her.

"You're not much of a guard dog, Monty," she commented, pushing him off of her and getting up off the ground. "Your owner better appreciate what I've just endured. Scratch that, there's not a chance I'm going to let him know that I was taken down by you. He wouldn't let me forget it."

Monty brown eyes gave her a sorrowful look beneath the silvered shaggy hair hanging over them.

"Deeks teach you that look, too?" Kensi asked, giving him a passing pat on his head as she went into the kitchen.

Monty pushed open the cupboard door, grabbed his leash in his mouth and dropped it at her feet. He gave a small whine and produced his best sorrowful expression with his dark eyes.

"I know that you've been taken for a walk already. Mrs. Martinez takes you out during the day. I can't believe I'm talking to a dog."

Monty sat and pawed at her leg, again using those doeful eyes of his.

"Deeks has definitely been practising his techniques on you. I think you've picked up more pointers than he has. Give me a moment to change and then I'll take you for a run. It'll probably do us both a world of good."

Kensi picked up the leash the dog had dropped on the floor and put it on the kitchen bench. She grabbed her bag and quickly changed into black leggings, a grey crop top and pulled a sweatshirt over top. She tied her hair into a simple ponytail. Her gun was sitting beside the bag and she tucked it into her pocket, today's events pushing to the fore the need for it.

Collecting the dog's leash, she clipped it to his collar and picked up Deeks' house keys that were inside his pantry (another thing to chat to him about) and locked up the apartment. They took off down the street and Kensi let Monty lead the way. She kept a steady pace with the dog as he easily loped along beside her. She wished that she had remembered to grab her ipod. Some music might have diverted the thoughts that were running through her mind as she jogged along.

Kensi headed down towards the foreshore and she deliberately avoided the paved path that most people jogged along. While there weren't a lot of people around at this time of the evening, she really wanted to be on her own. Releasing Monty from his leash, she walked along the water's edge appreciating the firmness of the damp sand beneath her running shoes. Waves rolled in, whitewash gently spreading along the sand before the water drifted back out again.

Kensi watched the dog frolick along the edge of the water like a puppy, barking away at the water as it rolled over in front of his paws. The regularity of the waves going in and out reminded her of the steady blips from the cardiac monitor that had signalled that her partner had not succumbed to the two gunshot wounds he'd suffered - injuries he had endured because Vakar had wanted to get to her.

It didn't bother her that someone had wanted to get her; it was the nature of her job that she would create enemies. They all had them one way or another. It was the fact that they had used her partner to do it that bothered her greatly. She was lucky they decided to use a hospital setting in which to grab her rather than deciding a funeral would be just as good. But the fact that he was alive versus dead did little to alleviate her guilt. Kensi didn't want to even go down that train of thought... there were enough bodies lining up in her closet without adding Deeks to the mix.

"Monty, come here." Kensi called to the happy-go-lucky dog, thinking how much dog and owner suited each other.

Monty immediately came barrelling over and stopped in front of her, shaking his shaggy coat throwing droplets of water in every direction.

"Thanks, Monty but I prefer to take my showers indoors," Kensi commented dryly as she clipped the leash back on the dog's collar. "Let's go home."

They headed up the beach to the path and followed its course back to the road. Monty was still leading the way and Kensi realised that they were now on Culver Boulevard and she noticed that Sandune convenience store was just a few hundred feet ahead of her. She broke her stride when the reality of seeing the place where her partner had been shot set in.

"Monty!" A heavily accented voice called out and the dog pulled Kensi determinedly towards the man. "You must be a friend of Marty's if you are walking his dog." The man was busily petting Monty and ruffling up his coat.

"I'm Frank. I own Sandune convenience store where he was shot this morning. I feel so bad that I didn't tell him about the second man. I was so frightened." Frank's hands were flying about wildly, his anxiety about the robbery and shooting was palpable. "Marty tackled the first one and disarmed him but the second man shot him straight away and then again. I keep seeing it over and over. How is he?"

"He is fine," Kensi reassured him. "He underwent surgery this morning to remove the two bullets but he is doing very well considering."

Kensi clearly recalled looking at Deeks, outside the hospital overtop of the dead would-be abductors, and seeing the copious amounts of blood leaching through his bandages. She knew exactly what Frank was feeling about Deeks being injured while trying to come to the rescue of both of them.

"That is good. I felt terrible that he was shot when he was just trying to stop the robbery." Frank was veritably wringing his hands in distress.

"It's just what De..Marty would do; it comes naturally to him."

"You make sure you wish him well from me." Frank started stepping backwards towards his store. He was holding his hand in the air telling her, "Wait a moment, I have something for Marty. You stay there, Miss. Sorry, I didn't ask you your name."

"Ah, Fern." Kensi could have kicked herself. Of all the alias' she used, why did that one roll so easily off her tongue to Frank.

"Unusual name."

Kensi only smiled and nodded in agreement. She waited outside the store, remnants of the police tape fluttered from a nearby pole. Kensi avoided looking inside the store. She was finding it hard to stand there waiting and she subconsciously gave Monty a pat as he sat patiently beside her. Her thoughts drifted back to Deeks at the hospital, those two wounds ripped open again when he let fire with the fatal shots that saved her from being kidnapped; the two wounds inflicted only a few feet away from where she was standing.

Frank interrupted her thoughts as he returned carrying a brown hessian bag stamped in large blue letters proclaiming it to be 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. "I know how much Marty likes his coffee. This is Jamaica Blue Mountain, it is one of the best. I got it from my own collection. Tell him thank you very much and I'm sorry that he got hurt."

"I will." Kensi took the bag from him and thanked Frank, assuring him that she was sure Marty would love the coffee.

End Part 1/?