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Of Things Broken

By Louise Moir

Action / Thriller

One

Twilight gathered at the edges of the streets as Kensi parked her car outside the building. Scant rain peppered the ground, lifting the smell of wet dust and warm stone into the air. She reached into the back seat and grabbed a light jacket, zipping it before she slid out of the car. Birdsong brought a smile to her lips. The twin sets of keys in her hand jingled as she walked. A bag of Chinese food swung in her other hand, bumping her leg now and again.

Deftly, she unlocked the outer door and entered the apartment building's lobby, shaking her hood back from her face. The cool, white tiled space was quiet and empty apart from an old lady collecting her mail from the mailbox in the corner. Leafy green plants dotted the lobby, their brightly coloured pots providing a welcome splash of colour in the otherwise plain room.

Kensi smiled at her as she headed over, twisting the keys in her hands to find the one that she wanted. They'd never spoken other than to say hello, but the old woman was a familiar face after a few weeks of visits to the apartment building. Kensi found the key and slid it into the lock, stomach rumbling a little as the scent of ginger and spices found her nose.

She found herself looking forward to the visit at the end of the day. Hetty had pressed the keys into her hand the day Deeks had been released from the hospital, telling her to go and keep the recuperating man company. Kensi had a feeling the idea had come from Callen. The team leader hadn't denied it, just told her to get going.

Deeks hadn't said a word when she turned up on his doorstep, clutching a bag of Thai food and a DVD, just smiled tiredly and stepped back to let her in. The haunted look in his eyes had made her stay, napping in a chair while he slept on the long, overstuffed couch. Even asleep, pain had etched tense lines into his face.

The shadows under his eyes had finally started to fade after a month of rest and good food, but they were still both healing. She wondered what his nightmares were about. Hers were filled with blood, and faceless men chasing her through endless hallways until she stumbled over a body. Sometimes, it was Dom, sprawled against the wall while he slowly bled out. Often, it was her father, face pale and gaunt. Mostly, it was Deeks, shoulder braced against the wall as he fought not to go into the good night.

Talking helped. They'd both stayed awake late into the night, bottles of beer slowly growing warm on the coffee table as they shared tales and confessed secrets that on-one else knew. He knew where she'd been shot. She knew why there were no family pictures on his walls, knew why he'd taken everything personal and locked it in a chest in his spare room.

"You're Marty's friend, aren't you?" the old lady asked.

Her voice dragged Kensi back from her thoughts. "We work together," Kensi said, and grabbed the mail from the box.

"You don't look much like a police detective, young lady." The old woman peered at her. "You're far too pretty."

Kensi smiled, a faint blush colouring her cheeks. "Thank you." She lifted the letters. "Guess I better get these up to him."

The old woman caught Kensi's arm in a gentle grip. "I live below him. He tries to be quiet, but I can usually hear him moving around." She shook her head. "I haven't heard him today. I was gonna go up there and knock, but I didn't want to intrude if he was just sleeping."

"I'm sure he's just resting." Kensi frowned. "The doctors did tell him to take it easy," she added, trying to ignore the worry blooming sharp and acidic under her breastbone. "I'll get this up to him before it goes cold," she said and hurried towards the elevators, silently urging them to move faster. She had a really bad feeling about this.


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