Deeks fiddled with the hospital bracelet around his wrist, watching as Kensi pulled a couple of sheets of paper from a folder. She scanned them, then glanced at his face, un-usually hesitant, and swallowed hard, brushing a bit of hair back from her face. She glanced over, eyes meeting his then darting away again.
"What's up?" he asked, trying to read the pages.
They were upside down and too far away to focus easily on. The effort made his head hurt, so he gave up, leaning back a little more and just watching her as she fussed with the information in front of her. Long experience had taught him that she would share what was bothering her in time. He had to just be patient and wait for her to open up.
He coughed, trying to ignore the soreness it ignited in his chest. The doctor had told him it would happen, but it was starting to annoy him. It hurt, a nagging pain that left him feeling short of breath.
Without a word, she nudged a bottle of iced tea closer to him and laid the papers down on the table, pressing her hands flat on top of them.
"Kensi, what is it?" he asked, a touch hoarsely and sipped from the bottle of iced tea she'd snuck into the room for him. "You're freaking me out, here. Will you just tell me?"
"The names on this list all belong to cops, Deeks." She met his eyes squarely. "The team found something in your apartment that makes them think someone inside of the LAPD was involved in this."
Emotions played across his face. She watched him frown, brows drawn together with anger and opened her mouth to speak again. He held up his hand, expression stormy as he wrestled with his emotions.
She leaned back and drained her soda, giving him time to think. "Deeks…" she said softly.
He shook his head, expression shifting from outright anger to brief sadness. "I'm thinking," he muttered, and closed his eyes, trying to force his heart to agree with his head.
It was hard. The LAPD had been his life- his family- for such a long time that thinking someone from it had betrayed him was hard. It hurt, on a deep level that he wasn't sure that he wanted to touch. And yet, it happened before… he thought with a sigh, an unwelcome memory creeping into his mind.
"What's the first name?" he said tightly. "Tell me, before I talk myself out of doing this."
Kensi looked up, her thumb pressed against her lip as she studied his expression. "Clara Grewell."
"We worked together on an operation to close down a child porn ring." Deeks shook his head, eyes shadowed. "I doubt she'd want to hurt me." He reached for his bottle, sipping the tea to give himself time to think. "Last I heard, she'd moved up north and gotten married."
Kensi drew a neat line through the name and read the next. "Matt Anderson."
He idly flexed the fingers on his injured arm, letting the distant sting of pain wash through him. The doctor had insisted on drugging him with enough painkillers to take down an elephant, and they put a slightly hazy layer between him and the rest of the world.
"Hey, Kens?" he asked quietly. "You said I was drugged. What'd they give me?"
She folded herself down onto the chair next to his bed. "Heroin. They kept you sedated through the worst of the withdrawal."
His breath caught in his chest. "Bastards…" he murmured. "And like that wasn't bad enough, they cut me up, too…" Anger turned his eyes to stormy blue.
Kensi reached for him, almost letting her hand drop when he turned that angry gaze on her. She pushed past the anxiety and laid her hand on his arm for a second, feeling his body move as he let out a long, silent breath.
"What's the next name?" he asked roughly. He wouldn't meet her eyes, and she knew that was a bad sign.
"We don't have to do this now, Deeks," she suggested softly. "Get some rest for a couple of hours and we'll come back to it."
"Yes, damn it," he snapped. "We do have to do it now. If there's some bastard out there in the LAPD capable of doing this then I can't just sleep and pretend I know nothing about it because…" He paused, pressing the side of his hand to his mouth, then continued when he had his emotions more firmly under control.
"For a long time, people told me that I was worthless… useless. You asked me once why I became a cop. I did it because it was my chance to prove that I was worth something… that I could be good at something." His voice broke a little, but he kept going, plowing through a confession he'd had no intention of ever making. "So yes, I need to do this now, because I'll be damned if there's some bastard out there working to tear down everything I used to pull myself up."
She nodded, understanding more than he'd ever know and read out the next name. "Ben Tarrance."
"We worked together in the LAPD Robbery Division. Didn't like me very much." Solid cop, though. I doubt he'd be involved."
Her cell phone chirped. She fished it out of her pocket and opened the message. "Oh. Sam and Callen found a man coming out of your apartment. They want to know if you recognise him."
She turned the phone around so he could see the screen. He took the device from her, angling it away from the lights.
"Yeah, I know him," he said flatly. "His name is Gary Williams. He might just be the man you're looking for."