Of Things Broken

By Louise Moir

Action / Thriller

Eighteen

Kensi walked along the hallway, one hand resting lightly on the handle of her gun. Her head told her that the long, narrow space was safe, but her gut was screaming that she was in danger. Her hands flexed, body tense as she wished for something physical, that she couldfight to take the edge of the adrenaline. Well, the last time I walked along this hallway, I found my partner bleeding to death in his bed. Guess I'm entitled to be a little jumpy.

Deeks was sleeping, and his doctor had ordered her home to rest. Kensi had tried to argue, but Callen and Sam had backed the doctor up, assuring her that one of them would stay with the blonde man. She'd had every intention of going home and crashing out in bed for a few hours, but her feet had brought her back to where everything had started- Deeks' apartment.

The hallway was quiet and peaceful. Kensi felt anything but. They were all on edge, waiting for Eric to work his magic and find Anna. Until then, none of them could do a thing apart from wait and worry. Hetty had made discreet inquiries, finding out that Williams had already been released. Just like Deeks predicted.

She pulled the new set of keys out of her pocket, a chill going through her as she remembered what had happened last time. Pull yourself together. Deeks is safe. You're acting like a jumpy rookie, she told herself sternly. The words helped, bringing a wry smile to her lips that soothed her nerves.

The lock turned smoothly under her hand. She ducked under the crime scene tape and stepped inside of the apartment, flipping the lights on so that she could look around. Only two bulbs in the light fixture had survived the ransacking. They threw un-even light over the room.

If anything, the apartment looked worse than she remembered it. She'd been too focused on Deeks to really take in the carnage before, and it hit her like a punch in the gut now as she looked around. The air left her lungs in a rush as she took in the shattered furniture and destroyed books. She knelt and gathered together the pages of his copy of The Call of the Wild, stacking them in a neat pile.

Sudden, stinging tears flooded her eyes. She blinked them away, pretending that they were from the exhaustion that was making her body ache so much.

A noise behind her brought her out of her crouch, hand reaching for her gun before she'd even finished standing up.

Savage anger twisted in her gut as she stared at the man standing just inside of the doorway.

"Williams," she said flatly, and took her hand away from the gun. Shooting's too good for him, she thought.

He tilted his head in a strangely mechanical movement. "So… are you his partner, or his bed mate?" Glass crunched under his foot as he stepped into the room, clearly expecting her to move away from him. "Eh, maybe you're both." He laughed. "It's not like he hasn't done that before."

"Don't," she warned flatly, and the rage in her eyes should have stopped him cold. "You lost any right to talk about him when you tortured him, you bastard."

He stooped and picked up a broken photo frame. "My, my… we're mighty protective of Detective Deeks, aren't we?" he said in a sing song tone. "You must be in love with him."

Kensi ignored the barb, shifting her feet to make sure her footing was secure. Her fingers brushed across the handle of her knife, but she didn't pull it. "Why did you do it?"

He dropped the frame. It shattered on the floor, wood splintering into unrecognisable bits. "Love," he said flatly, and shrugged. "It makes you do crazy things."

"I don't believe you even know the meaning of the word," she snarled softly, letting the rage turn her voice quiet and low and deadly.

"Then would you believe mere practicality?" He nudged something with the toe of his boot. "You see, my dear wife has a gambling problem that I can't afford to pay for any longer." He tilted his head, flicking his gaze at her as if measuring the impact of his words. "Your dearly beloved partner and a girl I can't find are the only people who know where there's a substantial amount of money stashed. I need it."

He walked towards the ripped couch and leaned against the back of it, arms dangling in front of him. "You want to shoot me, don't you?" he asked easily, and straightened, spreading his arms. "Go on. I dare you. This range, you can't miss."

"No," she said, and swallowed hard. "I don't want to shoot you." Her voice trembled with anger.

"Of course you do," he said. "You want to hurt me more than anything else in the world right now." He tilted his head again. "I know, princess. I've been there, standing on that ledge. Now, the question is, are you going to jump?"

The intensity in his voice made her take a half step back, bracing herself in case he attacked.

"No," she said simply. "I'm going to enjoy watching you rot in jail cell, you son of a bitch. We both know what happens to cops in jail and I'll make sure every con in the place knows exactly what you are." She met his eyes and smiled, coldly. "So no, I'm not going to shoot you and give you an easy way out."

He moved so quickly she barley had time to sidestep away. His fist grazed her cheek, leaving the skin burning from the stinging contact. She smiled grimly and pulled the knife from her belt, holding it reversed in her hand as she circled him.

Her boot made contact with his thigh, almost taking his legs out from under him. He scrambled backwards, crab-like and shook a finger at her. "Well, you're better than your partner, anyway."

She didn't gratify that with a response, but threw herself into an attack that left him reeling backwards, one hand clutching the new, bleeding would on his side.

The door creaked open behind them. "Hello?" a female voice called. "I don't know what you people are doing in there, but I've called the police. They're coming now."

Kensi realised that it was the old lady from the lobby, the one who had told her she was too pretty to be a detective. The second's distraction cost her.

Williams jammed an arm over her throat, slamming her backwards into the wall. She repaid the favour by smashing her knee into his groin. He dropped to the floor, a low moan falling from his lips.

"Ma'am, please stay out there!" Kensi yelled as she dropped to her knees, pining Williams to the floor as she cuffed his hands behind his back. He stayed down, still in too much pain to put up a fight.

The old lady didn't listen, wandering into the wrecked apartment. "Oh, my…" she breathed, and clapped a hand to her mouth.

A single red dot shone on her chest. Kensi's eyes widened as she desperately threw herself at the old woman. Time seemed to stand still as she crashed into the other woman, taking her to the floor just as a shot shattered the window.

The copper scent of blood filled Kensi's nose. She scrambled backwards, hands running over the body under her as she searched for a pulse, already knowing that it was no use. Blood poured from the bullet hole in her chest, directly over her heart.

"Oh, shit…" Kensi whispered, slick, hot liquid coating her hands. Dim pain shot through her side. She patted herself down, realising that she was bleeding just before something crashed into the side of her head with enough force to turn the word to darkness.


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