Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS:LA or its characters… (but if I did…)
Author's Note: Sequel (of a sorts )to Antithesis. Pretty sure it's not necessary to have read that fic, but it's sort of a fun one, so check it out (if you like smut). This one is Nell-centric, and probably not so smutty in nature (well, not directly so, and not at first)… enjoy anyway?
/Are you sure we have the right place?/
Detective Deeks, LAPD liaison officer attached to NCIS' Office of Special projects, had asked the precise question that had been running through Nell Jones' mind.
/Leave them alone, Deeks./ Kensi Blye's voice scolded her partner on the other side of the open comms. /Eric and Nell know what they're doing./
At least, the intelligence analyst hoped this was the case. The system they'd devised for selecting times and locations for drops was rather elaborate. But necessary to protect the extremely deep cover Agent G. Callen had taken on. No one, not even a stalker, would be able to detect that the man currently known as Jason Lattimer was having regular rendezvous to exchange information with an entire team of federal agents. They'd already used half the LA staff so that the same face did not show up twice in association with Mr. Lattimer. Soon, they'd have to outsource, or challenge the make-up department to alter people's looks. They'd considered giving Mr. Lattimer a routine, perhaps visiting the same coffee shop on a certain day of the week where a certain brunette waitress worked, but it seemed too risky. Callen's alias was a paranoid man, almost as much as the agent portraying him... being him.
"Nope. Definitely the right place," Eric said, looking up from his tablet. He'd double-checked their selection process once again. God bless him. "It's the 13th, an odd number, so we're using the McNally's Guide to Home-Grown Bistros. And 13 puts us in the M section. It's Tuesday, which means it's the second entry, which is Mantello's Italian Eatery."
/No mathematical formulae or algorithms in there?/ Deeks asked.
"No." Eric sounded disheartened by the fact, ignoring the detective's sarcasm entirely. "We're doing it old school for this one."
Nell's eyes widened as she noticed a certain presence enter behind the technical operator's back.
"It was Hetty's idea," Nell said, trying to warn Eric with her eyes, but to no avail.
"Yeah, and I'm surprised she doesn't have you out there in trench coats exchanging newspapers." Eric began to chuckle at what he appeared to think a rather witty comment.
"Sometimes, the old ways are the best way, Mr. Beale."
Eric's face fell before he plastered a fake smile on and whirled on his heel to look down at the tiny, ancient spy whom obviously (and legitimately) terrified the young man to his core.
"Um, hi, Hetty," he said. "You know, you're right. Tried and true methods are often the better choice than newer, experimental techniques when an agent's life depends on them."
Nell felt a little wave of nausea at Eric's choice of words. ...an agent's life depends on them...
She shook it off because Hetty was asking, "Still no sign of Mr. Callen?"
Eric brought up the live feed from where Kensi and Deeks were staking out the meeting place from some distance away. He zoomed in on the restaurant front. The 'care' package had been dropped via one of the preset methods several hours ago, but there had yet to be any sign of their absent agent.
/Nothing yet, Hetty/ Kensi said.
/Doesn't look like he's going to show this time, either/ Deeks said.
/We should give him a little longer. Who knows what could have delayed him.../ There was a hint of desperateness in Kensi's voice that Nell did not like at all.
/It's been three hours./ The gentleness towards his partner was evident in Deeks' voice. And that was far worse than the anxiety in Kensi's.
/But it's only been two since the meeting time./
Hetty looked to Eric who nodded his head in confirmation.
"Alright," she said, obviously having come to a decision. "Give it another hour, Mr. Deeks, Ms. Blye. Then come back in."
He wasn't going to show up, just like he hadn't appeared at either of the last two scheduled drops. Nell knew it. Knew it like she knew the sun would set in the west and she would be sleeping alone. She stared at the empty shop front. Bustling with people, yet completely empty for all she cared, lacking the only person that mattered.
Nell started as a hand was placed on her arm. She looked down (but not as far down as any of the others had to do) at her ninja-like boss.
"Are you feeling all right, my dear?" Hetty asked again, looking pointedly at the petite hand attempting to cover the large belly. Nell blushed. She had a terrible habit of absently caressing the unborn child nestled in her womb when she was upset.
"I'm fine, Hetty, really. The little one's just a bit restless." Not the precise truth. The baby actually seemed quite contentedly settled for the moment. It was the mother who was restless.
Hetty nodded, but said nothing.
She knew. She had to know. She was Hetty. And Hetty knew everything. But she'd never said anything to Nell. And Nell had never said anything to anyone. And no one had ever asked, even though she could see the question burning away at their thoughts when they talked to her. Except Sam. Sam knew, too. So the secret of it didn't seem so unbearable, no longer like her own private burden.
Nell Jones had a bun in the oven. And G. Callen had put it there.
A/N: Nell is knocked up?! Callen is missing?! Am I ever melodramatic :-/