|Situations and Circumstances
Author: RainbowsArePretty PM
100 Situations challenge. 9/11 "Survive" The world was slowly turning black, tunnel vision slowly darkening her vision. Her senses slowly draining away, she only had enough strength to choke out one word. "Auggie."Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Annie W. & Auggie A. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 8,721 - Reviews: 74 - Favs: 45 - Follows: 89 - Updated: 09-11-10 - Published: 08-29-10 - id: 6282719
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello! Here is the (hopefully) long-awaited sequel to Death.
If you really love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours.
Annie gasped in her sleep, murmurings and writhing in emotional pain. She awoke out of a restless sleep with a start, and found herself clutching a wrist with the other hand.
"Crap," she muttered, pulling her hand away from her wrist. Her sharp, unclipped nails had dug into the delicate skin and caused it to break. She inspected it more closely and found crescent shaped marks hemorrhaging blood. She shivered in the cold as she realized that she was still soaking wet from the torrential rainstorms that – and a look to the window confirmed this – were still wreaking havoc on the greater DC area.
Wiping her burning tears off her face with her undamaged hand, she shakily stood up. She stumbled to the bathroom, not bothering to turn on the light.
The dark stormy clouds had blocked the sun's harsh rays, and the room had taken on a dark, ominous glow. Groping in the dark, the sliver of silver light illuminated her path to Auggie's first aid kit.
She pulled out the gauze, and turned on the faucet, thrusting her wrist under the freezing water jet. She winced and pulled back, gasping and whimpering in pain as the cold water made contact with the numerous wounds. She cursed under her breath as the blood swirled, staining the pristine white sink. She pulled out the gauze, stretching it out to a point, and then biting it off with her teeth. Tightly wrapping the gauze, she stepped back, exhaling sharply as she turned the water off.
She leaned back onto the slick tiled wall, silver shadows playing upon the counters of her face. She closed her eyes and wiped the invisible tears from her flushed cheeks.
Her breaths were harsh and controlled, as she paced her breathing, not trusting herself to do anything else.
She stumbled out of the bathroom, groping the wall for support. She staggered through the broad hallways, her eyes shut in pain – both emotional and physical – and left a wet trail wherever she went.
She somehow made it to his liquor cabinet. She pried it open with both hands, not having enough strength to manage doing it with one hand. She folded her legs, one underneath the other, and sat cross-legged and stared at the contents. Of course, Patrón wasn't the only drink he had, but it triggered something inside of her, and she remembered the first time he had mentioned it. Reaching out, she robotically tugged the hand-blown glass bottle towards her. She looked at it in her hands. This specific bottle was Patrón Añejo, and it was encased in a hand blown glass bottle that had a sparkling gold ribbon tied around the slender neck.
The bottle itself was filled with a dewy golden liquid that shimmered in the cold light. She pulled out the rounded cork with an unladylike grunt, and drank the liquid with a gulp. She felt regret stinging at her eyes as the nectar slid down her throat; this bottle was expensive, and here she was, attempting to drown her sorrows in it. Auggie has – she winced morosely, as her train of thoughts still insisted on referring to him in the present tense - good taste in tequila – that much was obvious. The Patrón was exotic and rich, and was tinted with the lightest hints of oak.
She looked down, planting the bottle in her lap, and inserted the cork in it once more. She scathed at it; was this how it was going to end? She could picture the grayscale article on the page of the Washington Post.
'Smithsonian acquisitions employee found dead in deceased friend's apartment. Cause of death seems to be alcohol poisoning. She is survived by her sister, two nieces, and brother-in-law.'
Wouldn't it be so quintessential? Her dying of a "broken heart" after her best friend passed away heroically in the line of duty. Her jaw tightened as she thought of his family. What line had the Agency mechanically delivered to them? Would they ever know how much Auggie had achieved in his life?
If she died this way, at least her family wouldn't have to swallow the bitter lies that were fed to them. In any case, they would never know the events that led up to it, the work that she had done and the people she had deceived in order to fulfill the "greater good". And maybe, she was perfectly okay with that.
Why didn't he listen to her? She knew that once he made up his mind, there was little to do to be able to change it.
Annie groaned and tipped her head so that it rested on the mouth of the bottle in her lap; wet blonde tendrils obstructed her vision as they fell in her face. She could feel the beginnings of a migraine starting. There was a dull, repetitive thudding sound echoing in the caverns of her head. The beat seemed to pound her head, a shooting pain ricocheting every time her head throbbed
Blearily, she pried her eyes slightly open; open enough to see how much she had drank.
A chill ran through her, and her veins froze, as she stared blankly at the shimmering glass bottle. The bottle was less than half full, and for the life of her, she couldn't remember drinking all of it.
Pushing the bottle disgustedly away from her, she shoved her hands to the floor, using the leverage to help her stand up. A sparkle of light glinting from the kitchen caught her sight, and wobbled trance-like towards the kitchen.
In some dark part of her mind, she faintly registered that item as a knife. How perfect would that be? Gingerly, she drew the knife towards herself. Her lithe fingers of her undamaged hand drew and traced invisible circles on the blade in her alcohol induced stupor. She held it in her hand, and a small, childlike gasp escaped her.
She was so spellbound that she didn't hear the alloy door creak open, or the steadily paced steps leading from that door to the kitchen.
It followed that she, as well, didn't hear him stand only a couple of feet away from her. Her attention was focused on the potentially deadly blade when she was flipped around, a small, frightened gasp escaping her. Whoever had sneaked up on her currently had his hand at her throat, cutting off her air supply; the other hand was pinning her to the counter.
The world was slowly turning black, tunnel vision slowly darkening her vision. The knife clattered to the floor, the only noise that was loud enough to be heard by Annie, as her senses slowly drained away. She only had enough strength to choke out one word.
The man in question frowned and backed up a few steps, letting go of the blonde woman, who proceeded to crumbled to the ground, in an awkward sitting position while gasped for air, clutching her chest.
"Annie?" he questioned, his confusion obvious as it seeped into his voice.
Annie muttered affirmatively, as she labored her breathing, not yet recovered from their exchange.
"No," she began muttering. "No. No. No!"
"Annie . . ." Auggie spoke again, feeling for her shoulder, and placing a comforting arm on it once he found it. He was wearing the same clothes he normally did, but his expression was off. It had a haunted look that only intensified as she continually screamed at him. His hair was disheveled, more so than usual, and his face was rougher, scratched raw by the thin Middle Eastern sand.
"No!" she screamed, petrified, at him. "You're dead!"
"Annie," he soothed, kneeling down next to her, putting his hands on her shoulders. His hands were met with drenched clothing. She was trembling, and rocking back and forth to calm herself. She muttered nonsense to herself, whimpering in between sentences.
"Annie, why are you wet?" he asked, rubbing her arms to generate heat.
She shook her head defiantly, but responded anyways. "Walked here," she paused to take a breath, ". . . From your . . . funeral. It was raining. For a delusion, you're pretty stupid."
She shook her head, and made to stand up. Leaning partly on Auggie, and partly on the counter, she subconsciously rubbed her neck. She shivered partly because of Auggie's hand on her leg, and partly because she was still wet from when she walked here, not more than a few hours ago.
Her hand fumbled around for the white pill bottle with the blue logo that she had left here when she stumbled into his bed.
When her hand met with the bottle, she gingerly opened it, and shook out a pill. Auggie had stood up, and she either didn't notice or didn't pay it mind.
"Annie, what are you taking?" he asked, not knowing whether or not to expect an answer.
"Panicyl," she muttered, before swallowing the pill with a gulp of water.
His brow furrowed in concern, "Panicyl? That's for anxiety disorders. Why are you taking that?"
She turned around sharply, eyes boring holes in him. She stepped closer to him so that they were chest to chest. "Not that it's any of your business, but I flushed my prescription of Xanax down the toilet," she snapped. "Any more questions, Anderson? If that's even your real name." she scoffed.
Annie made to move past him, but his outstretched arm prevented her from doing so. It was now the second time that he had pinned her to the counter. He inhaled slightly.
"Annie, have you been drinking?" Faintly, he could smell the undertones of Patrón on her breath.
"What's it to you? If you cared about me, you wouldn't have died," she muttered dejectedly, running her fingers through her hair.
"How much have you drunken?" He tried again, gripping her forearms to shake her slightly, as if that would cause her to be more coherent.
"Just . . . um, a little more than half the bottle," she responded resignedly.
His eyes widened in shock; there was no telling what that much alcohol could do to her.
"Are you trying to kill yourself, Annie?" he shook her more strongly, so much so that he took a step back to balance himself.
His foot was met with the distinctive clatter of a knife. Briefly, he let her go, reaching down to pick up the knife. He held it in his hand, not saying anything as Annie squirmed uncomfortably.
"Were you, Annie? Were you trying to kill yourself?" he spoke, softly and more seriously.
She gulped, and looked down. "I had . . . considered it. Maybe, a bit more than would be recommended." His hand met hers, and trailed up her arm.
Auggie stiffened, his blood ran cold, his eyes widening, and his breath catching in his throat.
"Annie?" His voice raised a few octaves.
His thumb was circling the gauze that she had wrapped around her wrist. In all honesty, his reaction was what would be expected of him. The gauze was covering up cuts on the inside of her wrist, and it wasn't hard to imagine where his train of thought could be leading him, especially after learning about her suicidal thoughts.
"I wasn't," she blurted out, quick to defend herself, "I promise I wasn't Auggie; I didn't slit my wrists," her voice took on characteristics of a toddler who had been wrongfully blamed. Her breath became shallower.
"Annie," he soothed, rubbing her arm in what he hoped to be a comforting fashion. It garnered the opposite reaction out of her, as she coldly stepped away. He continued his line of questioning. "Then what were you doing with the knife?"
Guiltily, Annie looked down. "I was just . . . just considering it," she admitted.
He looked like he was about to speak, when she spoke again, preventing him from doing so. "You have no idea how confused I was," she sighed, "am," she corrected, and it was true."I've been hallucinating, passing out, having panic attacks, and . . . it just seemed like a good – an easy – way out," she closed her eyes briefly, preparing herself mentally to continue, "I haven't talked to the girls since they told me you died; I've locked myself in my house and, by now, they're convinced I've gone on vacation. I don't know, maybe that's easier for them. To top things off, I swallowed down a bottle of Patrón a couple days ago, and then passed out."
She looked up at him. "It's been hell."
"I . . . didn't know, Annie," he murmured guiltily.
Her voice took on a sinister tone, when she spoke to him, menace seeping into her words, "Then maybe you shouldn't have left. Or didn't you consider that?"
"Annie, you don't get it. This wasn't planned. Nobody had any idea this would happen!" he contested.
She rolled her eyes and brushed past him, shivering when she did. It wasn't because of anything between them – though had it been another case, it would have been – it was that she was still cold from the rain.
She didn't know exactly how long she slept, but she knew it couldn't have been much if she was still wet and cold.
He followed her, trailing nervously after her. Was she ignoring him, or rather pondering over what he had said to her?
His pant leg brushed cautiously against an abandoned bottle of Pàtron, and when she was out of the living room, he discreetly picked it up, shaking it slightly to see how full it was. He cringed when he felt that it was nearly empty.
He made to his bedroom, where he knew she was after hearing the bed creek softly, and he assumed that she had sat down.
"Annie?" he questioned, leaning against the doorway. It seemed that that was all he was saying now. He heard the bed creek again.
"I'm here," she murmured quietly, her hands fisted in the comforter as she perched herself on the bed. Her head was bowed slightly, and her face was reddening as small invisible tears crept down her face.
He slinked towards her, careful not to make too much noise. In a situation like this, he knew that interrupting the precarious silence would be decidedly unhelpful.
His laser cane was poking out of his pocket, and she stiffened; she could always tell when he was arriving if she saw the distinctive neon-green glow. Those memories used to be picturesque, but now they just made her want to scream. He sat down beside her, the bed dipping slightly as he did.
"Tell me," she commanded. At his confused look, she elaborated, though he wasn't sure he had looked up at all. "Tell me what happened."
He closed his eyes; he knew this question was coming, albeit not from her in her current condition.
"I was in Iraq four weeks ago. The first week had gone by relatively uneventful – I was the techno whiz, just like I am here." He waited for her to chuckle at his blatant ego-boosting, but when it didn't come, he continued, dejectedly, "The second week was . . . different, to say the least."
"Different how?" Annie asked. This time, at least, her tone had some emotion in it.
"They wanted me to come with them, to check something out," he shook his head, dark locks flying every which way, "I don't even know what they wanted me to look at. Anyways, I took my equipment, and we went to what they said was an abandoned home and then . . ." he closed.
"And then?" she prompted. He wasn't sure, but he thought that she had shuffled closer to him.
"And then everything went to hell."
She stiffened next to him, and he wondered if that was because she had experienced the same feeling while he was overseas. Nudging her gently, he continued.
"There was a bomb, and I don't know why, but they didn't take the necessary precautions. 'Just in and out' they told us," he frowned, "We went in and Martinson stumbled over a trip wire. Nobody saw it. At least, that's what they told me."
"A week later, I woke up in the hospital and they told me Martinson had died in the explosion. I told them I wanted to come back to DC, if I wasn't going to be able to continue to work there."
"They said that the rest of the unit was also in the hospital, and that I was the first to wake. The nurse told me that they had run the DNA of all of us, and that a certain August Anderson was dead."
She didn't say anything, so he continued. "They told me that they had already prepared the body for autopsy, and that they had informed Langley of my 'death'. I stayed behind after the mistake was realized, because that way, I didn't exist. I was a ghost that could go and do anything without having to look over my shoulder. Figuratively, of course," he cracked a smile.
"No one else knew, Annie. It was the only way that we could complete the mission,"
She spoke this time, her voice rough from disuse, "I thought I was more important than that, Auggie."
"Annie, you don't get it. I wasn't allowed to contact anyone," he countered, his voice taking on a defensive edge.
She stood up as he finished his thought. He could hear pace nervously around his room. He wasn't sure, but he had inferred that his normally orderly room was now in disarray.
She exhaled a shaky breath as her thoughts pounded inside of her. Did the Panicyl already kick in, or would she need to take another? She spared a glance at him. Could she make it out of the room before he stopped her? She shook her head; she didn't think so.
"That's never stopped you before," she retorted, inwardly cursing herself for letting her tears seep into her voice.
She heard him stand up, and felt him stand behind her and put his hand on her shoulder.
"Annie . . ." he began, remorse once again in his voice.
"No!" she screamed, whipping around. "You don't get to defend yourself. You don't get to apologize and be remorseful. You could've called, but you didn't! I don't want to see you being contrite, because you have no idea what it's been like for me," she ran her fingers through her tangled dirty blonde hair.
"You have no idea what it's like to be left by someone you care about . . . again."
They were standing chest to chest, hers heaving as she breathed heavily, out of breath from her enraged speech. It finally hit Auggie, why it hurt her so much. It had taken her a while for her to be able to trust someone after Ben, and to have him leave her like Ben did. It was enough to explain her psychological breakdown. He wondered if she could ever trust anyone again.
"I'm so sorry, Annie," he whispered. He heard sniffle, though he imagined she was trying to hide it. Her arms wrapped gingerly around his neck. Her face burrowed into the junction between his shoulder and neck.
He, in turn, put his arms around her as well, pulling her close to him, and nuzzled her hair.
"I know, Auggie, I am too."
He felt tears hitting his chest, and he pulled her closer. He closed his eyes, trying to find his bearings. He shifted her towards the bed.
"Sleep, Annie," he ushered.
She lied on her side, and looked up at him. "Stay with me?" she asked. She didn't meet his eyes for fear of seeing rejection. With a short, hesitant nod, he looped around to the other side of the bed, while she rolled over to face him.
"We'll survive this, Annie," he promised her.
She met his eyes and sniffled once more before nodding. "I know we will, Auggie."
And they did.
Wow. This is the longest chapter I've written. Like ever. I feel proud. :)
Also, I'm going to continue that thing I did last time – telling my reviewers and PMers the next prompt. I won't do this every time – 'cause honestly, I won't always know what I'm going to write next. This one, however, had been rolling around in my head for a while.
The next one is not connected to this one or Death, by the way.