A/N: Yay for another update! I hope you guys all enjoy it as much as I have while writing it.
When Sam showed up at Callen's home, nobody came to the door. He let himself in with the spare key that Hetty had given him before she had even presented the house to Callen. The wood creaked beneath his feet, his footsteps echoing quietly off the walls as he wandered through the living room, looking for some sign of life. The kitchen was empty, the dishes in the sink already a day old. The near-empty refrigerator attested to the lack of dishes – well, I attested as to why there weren't more dishes – but did little to reveal why there hadn't been any new dishes. Callen's car was still parked, untouched.
Sam found Callen and Jenny spooning on Callen's bare mattress, fully clothed and looking as peaceful as ever. Sam paused at the door, looking down at their serene faces, focusing more on Callen's than Jenny's. He had seen very little peace in Callen's face, and whenever he did, it had only been in fleeting moments. He took the time to study the agent in his most vulnerable, tranquil state.
"When were you planning on waking us up, Sam?"
Jenny's voice was so quiet – and pleasant – that Sam almost didn't respond because he wasn't sure whether or not words had been spoken at all. He unfolded his arms from across his chest and stepped closer to the bed, head cocked to look down at the dozing teenager. Jenny cracked open an eyelid, one eyebrow arched as the eyeball rolled up to stare at Sam. The bleariness Sam expected wasn't there, only the sharp intelligence that scared most people when they looked in Jenny's gaze.
"I wasn't sure. It's only five minutes past eight," Sam replied, tapping his wristwatch. His voice dropped another notch as Callen shifted against Jenny, his arm repositioning around her. "How long have you been awake?"
Jenny blinked, passed a hand over her face. "Since you opened the door to get into the house."
Sam frowned. "You still don't sleep very well, do you?"
Jenny pursed her lips, a sudden weariness drawn into her face. "Most the time I do, but I'm still super paranoid." She glanced away from the man, her eyes distant. "It's no fun waking up at the slightest sound, Sam, or constantly panicking when somebody stands behind me. Just walking a block to the movie store makes me sick if I'm alone."
"I know," Sam whispered. His gaze drifted to Callen. "I've never seen him sleep this deep."
"He's never been this relaxed, either," Jenny said, smirking. "It's nice to know I still do him some good."
Sam chuckled, his eyes soft. "You have no idea."
Jenny reluctantly shimmied out from beneath Callen's arm and shook the sleep from her shoulders, weaving unsteadily into the kitchen. Sam helped her find some cereal and milk, all the while trying to keep the noise down to a minimum. Callen wasn't a heavy sleeper – it was a miracle he hadn't woken while Sam and Jenny had talked in the bedroom. The teenager and agent sat down at the kitchen table, one spooning Cheerios into her mouth, the other keeping up the "interrogation" side of a quiet conversation.
"Been doing well in school?"
Jenny nodded. "I thought we went over this already."
"I can't remember."
"Hmm, that's not good." The teen swallowed thickly, washing down the cereal with some milk from the bowl. "You never forget things, Sam."
Sam paused, chin resting on his knuckles. He glanced around over his shoulder, a habit that became more pronounced when he was nervous or avoiding something. Jenny set her spoon down, the metal clinking against the ceramic bowl. Her hand reached out and tugged on Sam's long sleeve, drawing his attention away from the window.
"Tell me what's wrong," she said, forceful but quiet all the same.
Sam's lips pressed into a thin line just for a moment, breaking the eye contact because he couldn't bear to look into Jenny's probing – knowing – gaze. He nodded, his voice dropping yet another notch – not for Callen's sake, but for his own.
"Moe was murdered."
Jenny's hand tightened around Sam's elbow, her eyes flickering with sadness – not necessarily for Mo, whom she had only known through passing conversations, but for the agent, whose soul, albeit not as tortured as Callen's, was nevertheless twisting in grief. Even without asking, Jenny knew the circumstances. The grief – and the anger – in Sam's face said it all. He was angry with himself for letting the kid get hurt, and he hated the bastard who did it. But the anger quickly disappeared, replaced by an expression Jenny could hardly identify properly.
"He was killed by a man named Abdul Habassa," Sam continued, staring down at the wood grain of the table. "Abdul was the head of a terrorist group in Yemen. While he was in prison here in the U.S., he beat Moe into submission to join him. I was sent in as Hakeem Fayeed to find out if Abdul was getting ready to break out and meet his brother, Saadat, who we thought was the head of the terrorist group."
Jenny stared at Sam's averted eyes, trying to read him. "He escaped, didn't he?"
"Yeah." Sam's eyes locked with hers. "And I helped him."
The teenager bit her lip, her mind racing. "For the bigger picture, right? Hetty wanted him to lead us to his brother."
Sam nodded, the lines in his face deepening. "He contacted my alias a while after and sent me a passport and plane tickets to Yemen to join him. He had kidnapped the seven-year-old boy of a Saudi prince, and he was planning to kill him if the Saudis didn't make changes. It turns out my alias had been compromised; Abdul planned to use me to show how powerful his terrorist group was."
"But I was there," Callen said, meandering over to the table, voice low, "to save him." His hand came to rest on Sam's shoulder. "We saved the boy and returned him home."
Jenny gripped Sam's hand to draw his attention to her eyes. "And Abdul?"
Sam paused, his face struggling to remain expressionless, his eyes failing him in that regard. "He's dead."
Jenny nodded her head slowly and picked up her spoon, pushing around the Cheerios in her bowl absentmindedly. The tension in the air was not awkwardness or anger – it was sadness. Callen pulled up a chair between the two, his eyes still grainy from sleep. Marshalling her Cheerios into groups of five and six, Jenny broke the silence.
"Sometimes revenge and justice can be the same thing," she said, head cocking slightly as she continued the whirlpool in her cereal bowl with her spoon. "If Moe had just been another person, you would've delivered justice to Abdul for the murder. Revenge in this case wasn't uncalled for. You wanted to avenge Moe's death, and you did. By killing Abdul, whether it was for revenge or justice, you've possibly saved thousands of lives. Killing Abdul was justified revenge because the number of people he killed is probably more than we can count on our hands. By seeking revenge, you brought justice. By delivering justice, you achieved revenge."
Silence descended, thicker than the calluses on Jenny's hands from golfing. Sam and Callen shared a glance. They had forgotten the frightening accuracy of Jenny's intuitiveness, as well as her strong words and deep insight that set her far beyond her peers in maturity and thought. The years had been hard on the teen, not as hard as kids living on the streets in gangs, but nevertheless hard for her. The weariness in her face, relieved only once in a while by her occasional true laughter, betrayed as much. As she spooned another mouthful of cereal from the bowl, Hetty's words from a few years back rang in the agents' ears.
"She is a thirty-year-old trapped in a teenage body, where her wants and desires and dreams are unattainable due to her age and situation. Take away the rigid social structure, and Jenny would be flourishing as an adult, achieving more than you and Mr. Hanna combined. It's hard being an old soul, especially when you are revered and, yet, neglected because no one knows what to do with you."
Jenny glanced up at Callen. "You should eat breakfast, G."
Snapping the agent from his reverie, Callen met the teen's strong gaze, his chest aching as he saw the sadness in her pupils. "I guess I should." He got up from his chair and began rummaging through the refrigerator. "Do you think these eggs are still good?"
"Check the date," Sam said, rolling his eyes, the tension slowly leaving his shoulders. Jenny smirked, the psychological pain in her frame alleviated for just a moment.
"I don't have a frying pan," Callen muttered, putting the eggs back into the fridge. "Do you want anything, Sam?"
"Nope." Sam leaned back into his chair. "I don't trust your cooking."
"Your cooking isn't the best, either."
"What?" Sam's eyebrows furrowed. "My cooking is fantastic."
"Not even close."
Jenny shook her head. "Do you have the dossier?"
"It's in the car," Sam replied, returning his attention back to the teen.
"I get car-sick when I read in the car, just to let you know."
Sam stiffened, eyebrows furrowing as he turned to Callen for confirmation. Callen, having pulled out another bowl to have cereal too, nodded his head. "She hasn't puked yet," he said, "but she gets a mild headache and nausea that gets worse if she keeps reading." Sitting down at the table and pouring some cereal into his bowl, Callen continued, "I wouldn't test your luck."
"Great," Sam grumbled, pushing himself away from the table. "I'll go get it."
The teen and the remaining agent watched the former SEAL leave the room, muttering to himself like he sometimes did when he was frustrated or appalled by something. Callen reached over and gave Jenny's hand a soft squeeze.
"How're you doing?" he asked, his voice low.
"I'm surviving," Jenny replied, smiling weakly. "I'm trying not to get depressed."
"Aw, come on, you get to be with me." Callen smiled, then frowned. "Don't tell me I'm making you depressed."
"No, no, it's not you, don't worry." Jenny smirked. "It could never be you. Just don't get shot or anything, alright?"
Callen gave her a half-grin. "Alright."
"Now eat your breakfast before I do."
"You're letting a girl give you orders?" Sam let out a low whistle and shook his head, his lips curved into an amused smirk. "Must be some girl."
Jenny's eyes flashed mischievously. "And don't you forget it."
Sam dropped the dossier onto the table beside Jenny and dropped down into his chair. "I haven't read it yet."
"I'm assuming you already know what it's about, though," the teen said, flipping open the folder.
Jenny looked up from the document, glanced between the two agents; Callen nodded his head. "Hetty hasn't told us anything," he said, eating the last remaining spoonful of his cereal. "We know just about as much as you do."
"Fantastic," Jenny muttered, letting her gaze fall back to the dossier. "Why do I have the feeling this is going to end up being a undercover assignment?"
"Because that's what you're good at," Sam said, leaning forward to read the first page upside down.
"It's going to be deep undercover," Jenny continued, meeting Callen's eyes. "Way deep."
Sam topped the dossier and stared at Callen and Jenny. "And it looks like you're perfect for the job."