A short story written for NCISLA Magazine's "Decidedly Deeks" column. For those who have been following my story "The Legacy" I promise I will get back to it soon. We have had some major health issues in my family and I haven't had the time or the heart to finish writing the story. But I will finish it, please be patient with me! Please read and review.

A Hazard of the Job

By Kadiedid

"Really Kens, I'm fine," Deeks insisted as he sat on his couch and stared at the blank TV.

Kensi had turned it off in frustration when she couldn't get him to talk. Deeks not talking. It was a strange concept to say the least.

"If I said I was 'fine' there is no way you would let it go and you know it. Talk to me Deeks," she said softly, in hopes he would finally open up about what was bothering him. He had been distant and quiet for a few weeks and she was going to get to the bottom of it one way or another.

"Kens, there's nothing to tell. I'm fine… I mean good. Why do you keep asking what's wrong?"

"Because you don't talk anymore. Because you avoid me after work and because you look at me like you're in trouble," she said worried.

She had barged into his apartment when he had declined to join her for a burger after work for the umpteenth time to find him drinking a beer on his couch, staring at the ceiling.

"I can't take this anymore, Deeks. You're keeping something from me and I can't help you if you won't let me."

"Who says I need your help? I told you to drop it Kens," he said angrily.

"Fine. You don't need my help. I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is the loss of my best friend," she spat. "I'll leave you to do whatever it is you were doing. I have to go." She stood quickly and stalked toward the door, hoping to get out before her emotions took total control of her heart.

"Kensi, wait!" he said as he jumped up and followed her to the door.

She stopped but wouldn't turn to face him. She waited for him to speak.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly.

"Sorry for what?" she whispered.

He reached for her arm and turned her to face him. He was surprised to see what could only be described as tears in her eyes.

"I'm sorry for putting you through this." He reached up as if he was about to brush her cheek but suddenly stopped and dropped his hands. "I wish I could tell you but I can't."

"Why not? I don't understand."

"Do you trust me Kens?" he asked softly.

"You know I do Deeks but evidently you don't trust me," she said sadly.

"That's not true," he said as he sighed. "I trust you with my life Kens. With… with everything." He looked at her worried face and slowly put his hands in his pockets as if he was afraid he might touch her. "I've been asked to work on an undercover assignment for Granger and he told me not to tell anyone about anything, especially you. I don't like it, but just telling you what I have could get me fired and I don't want to give Granger an excuse to split us up. Please, please trust me. I'll tell you about it when I can, OK?"

Kensi felt as if a knife had been shoved into her heart. 'What kind of undercover assignment?' 'Why had Granger left her out?' 'Was it dangerous?'

Suddenly she understood.

There was a woman involved.

Instinctively she had known but didn't want to acknowledge the signs. It unfortunately explained his strange behavior of late. But why did it bother her? She had no claim to him or what he did in his spare time. Or did she?

There was nothing she could do but nod her head in agreement. He reached over to open the door and waited for her to walk through it. He closed it behind them then walked with her to her car.

"See you tomorrow," she said flatly.

He hesitated for a moment as if he had more to say, then looked away and sighed.

"I've got to go to work. Goodnight Kens."

She watched with a heavy heart as he trudged toward his car and drove off into the night.