Author's Note: This is the end of this fanfic, I'm thinking I might continue it, maybe this would be Episode 1 to Season 6 with more to come. . . I don't know. Just thinking out loud here. Let me know what you think. . .
Complicated Currents. . .
After Annie left Ryan gathered up his things and headed back to his home. There was no telling when Annie would get back and he'd rather be in his own home so that he could easily change into a fresh shirt and suit in the morning before going to his office. While driving home, Ryan was restless, his left leg shaking and his thumbs drumming the steering wheel. He used his voice commands in his car and had his paired device phone Arthur Campbell, now his second in command as the Chief Operating Officer at McQuaid Securities.
Ryan was amazed at the old man's ability to juggle working for him and exploring a bid for the Senate. Secretly Ryan hoped that Arthur would decide against running. He needed someone he trusted and he trusted Arthur. Arthur recently inherited the position Caitlyn Cook vacated and the extra duties kept him busy. Ryan had yet to look for a replacement for Caitlyn. Some part of him couldn't bring himself to interview for the position yet.
Luckily Arthur had already woken up since Joan was up.
"Ryan? What do you need?"
"I hate to ask, but I need to talk to your wife," said Ryan.
"I'll get her on the line," said Arthur.
He mouthed "Ryan McQuaid" to Joan who had put on her robe and was heading to the kitchen for some chamomile tea to help her get back to sleep.
"Hello Ryan," said Joan.
"Sorry to disturb you, but figured Annie was speaking to you just before she left," said Ryan.
"What can I do for you?" asked Joan.
"I wanted to . . . um, I'm not sure how to ask this," said Ryan.
"Is it about the Close and Continuing Annie filed or why she went out after midnight?" asked Joan.
"Well, both," said Ryan.
"Go back to sleep Ryan because it's only in your dreams that I could possibly give you information about either of those topics and what would Annie say if she knew you were asking, this is her job, her livelihood, you're going to need to trust her," said Joan annoyed.
"It's not about trusting her, it's about worrying that she's not going to come back in one piece,'" said Ryan.
"Maybe she's not the right girl for you Ryan, I don't know what else you want me to say," said Joan.
"Thanks Joan," said Ryan.
After looking around her apartment, Annie found herself slightly disappointed that it was empty. Ryan left a note:
Call me, doesn't matter what time, I want to know you're safe.
Annie picked up the phone, but her first call wasn't to Ryan.
The woman on the other line picked up and started in right away, "Take a guess as to who I just finished talking with," said Joan.
"Oh, I have a pretty good idea, Rivka Singer?"
"Bingo," said Joan.
"It's about that intel from my last recon mission," said Annie.
"It is and a proposal for a joint operation," said Joan.
"Figured as much," said Annie.
"I also got a call from Ryan, shortly after we first spoke," said Joan.
"What did he want?" exhaled Annie slightly annoyed that he called her boss.
"He wanted to know where you were going and why on earth I was sending you out when you're injured," said Joan.
"What is he doing?" thought Annie to herself.
"I'll talk to him tomorrow," said Annie exasperated.
"Look Annie, I want you to be happy and I want to give you wiggle room to have a life, but because of Ryan's notoriety, you're putting yourself, him, and our work at risk. I hate to do this to you, but you need to make a choice before I decide how we're to proceed with Rivka's proposal. We have time to read in and debrief another operative to work with Eyal," said Joan.
"I hear you loud and clear, I'll end things with Ryan tomorrow, it won't be necessary to read anyone else in," said Annie.
"You're sure that's what you want?" asked Joan.
"Better sooner than later right? This life is all I know Joan, men come and go, but my work, our work will endure," said Annie. To Joan it sounded like she was trying to convince herself of what she was saying.
"You don't sound very convincing, really think about this Annie, is being an operative for a couple more years worth giving up a relationship that may last a lifetime?" said Joan.
"It's all, I've thought about for the last couple of days, maybe I was too distracted and didn't notice that Mossad was there too," said Annie.
"Okay, it's your call," said Joan.
"It's a blessing in disguise, better now before we fall in too deep and I'm pretty pissed he called you tonight," said Annie.
"Well sounds like you've made up your mind. Our meeting with Rivka is set for tomorrow at 3PM, you don't need to come in until then, get some extra rest and take care of it," said Joan.
Annie undressed. She looked at herself in her bathroom mirror for a moment. She used make up remover wipes to wash her face and crawled back into bed where she picked up her phone from her night stand and texted Ryan:
A: I'm home, we need to talk. Lunch tomorrow?
Ryan texted back almost immediately.
R: Sounds good, meet me at my office?
A: Can't, just come to my place.
When Ryan arrived at Annie's apartment for lunch she was dressed for work in a black pant suit. He kissed her on the lips and looked her over.
"You all right?" He asked sensing that things were off balance.
Annie nodded. "Much better this morning." But that's not what he was asking even though he did want to know if she was physically okay.
"So what happened last night?"
She gave him a look and he knew she wasn't going to say.
"I wish you hadn't called Joan about it," said Annie.
"I was worried," said Ryan.
"I can handle myself," said Annie.
"I know I've seen you in action," said Ryan.
She smiled, her stomach in knots.
Annie was no cook, Ryan was actually the gourmand in the relationship as she'd enjoyed a many meals he prepared. Before Ryan arrived, Annie made ham and swiss cheese sandwiches and heated up some tomato soup from the local market.
"Have a seat, I have iced tea or sparkling water," said Annie.
"I'll take the water, but why do I feel we need something stronger," joked Ryan sensing that they were about to have a serious conversation.
She smiled. "It's a little early, besides, I have an important meeting in a couple of hours," said Annie.
Annie brought over their drinks and sat down. No one touched the food in front of them.
They both started talking at the same time, Ryan saying, "I'm heading to Panama…"
And Annie saying, "This isn't going to work. . ."
"Sorry, you go first," said Ryan unsure of what he just heard.
"We started to talk about the close and continuing last night, it hasn't been easy, I want you to know that I've struggled with this the last couple of days."
"Wait, we're supposed to talk about this together, but it sounds like you've made up your mind? I'm not even sure what we're talking about, " said Ryan.
"Basically if we continue to see each other, I can't remain covert, the DNI will only accept our relationship if I give up my status in the field," said Annie.
"Annie, they can't tell you who you can" . . . he chose his words carefully. . . she had yet to agree to marry him. . . "spend time with."
"Apparently they can when national security and ongoing operations and assets are in danger."
"What danger? We have done nothing wrong," said Ryan.
"There was a picture of us taken, thank God the CIA caught it in time," said Annie.
"Yeah, at Arthur's closed door fundraiser, it was set to be published in the next issue of The Washingtonian," said Annie.
"So they took care of it, what's the problem?"
"What about the next time? You're a well -known name in security not only nationally, but internationally, I know you worked hard for your reputation, you must understand that we can't be seen together. It endangers me and my missions," said Annie.
Ryan runs his hand through his hair suddenly feeling bad. "Were you hurt because of me?"
She shook her head. "No, what happened a few days ago had nothing to do with you, but if we're seen together people will start asking questions about who the woman you're with is, what I do, and I don't have an established NOC in D.C."
"Can't the CIA give you one?"
Annie shook her head. "Not one that will keep me out of public view when I'm with you."
"So what do they want you to do?"
"Ryan, this is the hardest part…"
Annie took a deep breath. It was as if he knew from the look on her face, a pit formed in his gut.
"We can't see each other," said Annie as she looked him in the eyes.
"What are you saying? We can't go out in public or be seen at each other's apartments?"
Annie shook her head, "No, we can't see each other, at least not as a couple," said Annie.
Ryan rubbed his tense jawline.
"Even professionally, we need to maintain distance because you're so high profile Ryan," said Annie.
"Maintain distance? What? Things will die down, in another month or so no one will know who I am, they'll move on to something else," said Ryan. "I can't believe the CIA is doing this to you, to us," he continued.
Annie nodded. "We're in many of the same circles now and have a number of connections from the Chicago bombing to working to locate Auggie and then tracking Belenko. We can't afford to be seen together moving forward if I choose to remain a covert operative."
Ryan was feeling hot, a physical reaction. He was growing irritated, but it wasn't her fault. . .
"Annie, let me ask you this, where do you see yourself in five years?"
She shrugged. "I stopped planning my future a long time ago. I live one day at a time and today, I still want to do my job."
"I'll tell you where I've been seeing myself, married to you and with a kid or two, taking them to school, soccer games, family bike rides, going on vacations. . . I've been working on slowing down and growing a division of my company that will take care of itself and I've been doing it for us," said Ryan.
"Well, you don't have to now," said Annie getting up and taking her uneaten plate to the sink. She didn't want him to see her tearing up. He was just in a different stage in life, one she wasn't ready for.
"Don't do this Annie. We're good together, really good. Think about everything we've been through together and the gift we've been given. We've both survived hell and we're here together for a reason, your life is more than your job," said Ryan.
"That's the thing Ryan, I love my job, I've sacrificed so much for this job, it's all that I've had and I need to keep doing it until I can't anymore," said Annie.
"WHAT DOES THAT MEAN UNTIL YOU'RE CRIPPLED OR KILLED? You've come close to dying dozens of times and you already have dozens of scars and a heart condition! Come on Annie! You've been lucky and I'm afraid someday your luck will run out, IS A STAR ON THAT DAMN WALL WORTH IT?" shouted Ryan unable to contain his frustration.
"I know you're upset and I don't expect you to understand," said Annie.
"Then HELP ME understand, tell me something more compelling than you don't have anything to live for other than the agency, think of everything the agency has taken from you!" His feelings were hurt, that she didn't want to live for him, that he wasn't a factor in all of this. And she never meant to hurt him in this way.
"You may not believe it, but this hard for me. I do love you Ryan, it's not about you, please don't think this isn't a heartbreaking choice for me, but I'm just not ready to end my career," said Annie.
"No one is asking you to end your career! I support you fully, but there has to be another option, another solution," pleaded Ryan who was a problem solver by nature.
Annie didn't say anything, she looked up trying to keep her tears in. He saw her wiping her cheek. There was a quiet between them, the only sounds from the street below. He walked over to the sink where she stood and lifted her chin with his hand. "We love each other, ever since we first met we've had this thing between us, we worked well together even when you didn't trust me, sometimes you did crazy shit and sometimes I did, but we made it, together, we can figure this out." Then he took her face in his hands and kissed her. She put her face in his chest as more tears streamed down. This was entirely harder than she ever imagined.
She didn't know how to make him see. Auggie and Eyal they both tried saying the same sort of things to her, but what would make all of them understand her?
Through her tears, sniffles, and choked up voice she said, "Sometimes . . . I feel. . . I don't know, this is going to come out wrong. . . but in order for all the things I've done and all the things I've lost along the way to be worth it, I need to keep doing this job, otherwise it was all for nothing and I can't live with that, I gave up my family, my sister, nieces and parents, choose you and not them, it seems wrong. By choosing the job, I'm choosing them," said Annie.
Ryan thought about what she was saying and tried to understand her, but he fundamentally disagreed with her point of view. "This is insane, it's a vicious cycle Annie, if you keep going on the way you have, you're just going to keep losing things and people, don't you see? The only way to stop the cycle is to walk away while you're still in one piece and with pride in the work you have done," said Ryan.
She wished she could agree with Ryan's logic. . .
"This job, it gives me purpose and makes me feel like what I do matters," said Annie.
You know what I hear in all of that? That we don't matter, that I'm not worth sticking it out with," said Ryan.
"That's not what I meant," said Annie knowing he wouldn't get where she was coming from.
As painful as it was for her to say and as much as she loved the man in front of her, she had a need to keep doing the job that cost her so much. Other wise what was the point of losing her family, friends and blurring the lines?
"If that is how you want to see it, I'm sorry. I never set out to hurt you," said Annie walking out of Ryan's arms.
"It's not everyday I ask a woman to marry me Annie. I've waited a very long time since I lost my wife,and I know you're scared because of everything you've been through, but what we have, it's too good to give up," said Ryan.
"I'm sorry Ryan, I'm not going to change my mind," said Annie.
She walked to her door and opened it. "Maybe the next gal won't take so long to come into your life," said Annie.
"I don't need another girl, I need you, I want us, I want you." He leaned in and put his arms around her and felt her melt into him, she cried into his chest for a minute before she slowed down. He felt her heaving and sobbing. It was the first time she broke down so uncontrollably.
When she stopped, she said, "Please just go."
"No, I'm not leaving you like this, you're scared of what to do, of something different and I get it," said Ryan.
"You need to go," said Annie collecting herself.
"I wish you well and I want you to do the same for me, please," said Annie.
She practically pushed him out her door, she had to close it before she let him convince her to choose him over Langley.
Annie went to work cleaning up the uneaten food. She wrapped the sandwiches up in plastic wrap, one for dinner and one for the office. She emptied the untouched soup into a glass container and set the dishes in the sink and ran the water until it became warm enough to wash with. It helped her to do these mundane tasks.
Next she went into the bathroom to freshen up her face and make up, she didn't want anyone to see that she had been crying. She brushed her hair out and took her phone out of the charger. She retrieved her car keys from her entry way table and walked out into the sunny day. Annie drove to Langley. When she entered her building and walked over the CIA seal she felt much better, like she made the right choice. She paused by the wall honoring those who died in service to the CIA. She was where she belonged, this was where the current brought her on that day.