Disclaimer: I don't own Covert Affairs or any places, things, characters, or ideas therein. Those belong to the USA Network, not to mention the writers, producers, etc. I am writing this fic for entertainment purposes only, not monetary gain of any sort.
Summary: The last thing he expected was for Annie Walker to show up on his doorstep at three o'clock in the morning. He didn't even know she knew where he lived, but that was the CIA for you. Shameless AuggieAnnie fluff
Author's Note: A huge thank-you goes out o everyone that read, reviewed, and favorited my last Covert Affairs story. I appreciate you all so much, and your kind words and support just blew me away. Your encouragement helped inspire me for this little one-shot, so I really hope you all enjoy it, and thanks for reading!
Auggie Anderson was snatched out of his semi-deep sleep by a rather stentorian series of knocks on his front door. For a moment he sat, disoriented, in the overwhelming darkness that always surrounded him, wondering what time it was. The murmur of the television was enough to tell him he was still in the family room - so he'd fallen asleep on the couch again. Great.
Picking up the walking stick he used while not on the CIA grounds, he tapped his way to the front door. He had a peephole, but for obvious reasons couldn't use it. For a moment he stood in front of his door warily, wondering whether or not to call out. But when the knock came again, sounding rather frantic this time, he decided to take the chance. "Who is it?"
"Annie." The voice on the other side of the door was so muffled he barely recognized it, but it immediately had him undoing his locks.
The moment his door opened the subtle smell of grapefruits hit his nose - yep, that was definitely Annie. "Not that I'm not happy you're here, but - why are you here? At…" He fumbled for his wrist, then cursed when he realized he'd taken his watch off earlier to shower and hadn't put it back on.
"Three a.m." The words were followed by a definite sniffle. "I'm sorry to bother you so late - or would that be early?"
Auggie cleared his throat. "It's all right. And - ah - take your pick." For a moment the pair of them stood in silence, the only sound the click of the door as Annie closed it behind her. Finally he couldn't take it anymore. "No offense, Annie, because I like you and all, but why are you here at three o'clock in the morning?"
He heard a soft sound of flesh meeting flesh; realized Annie must have been crying and was now wiping the evidence off her cheeks. That theory was confirmed when she spoke again - her voice was thick and hoarse from sobs. "I didn't know who else to turn to," she stated. "You're the only one I know even remotely well at the CIA, and - and-" She gulped audibly. "-and you're the only one I trust completely."
Blinking in surprise, he opened his mouth, but couldn't find anything to say to that. For a moment he stared in the general direction of where he'd last heard her and nodded dumbly. "Uh - thank you?" Honestly, while he was very flattered by her words, he wasn't entirely sure whether she meant them as a compliment or whether she was just stating facts. Sometimes it was hard to tell with Annie - she could be a very closed person.
Annie's soft hand briefly touched his arm. "It was a compliment," she assured him.
Auggie belatedly realized they were still standing in his entryway. "Oh! I'm sorry, I'm being a horrible host. Please, follow me into the family room. You'll be more comfortable there, I'm sure. Me casa e su casa, and all that."
"Si. Gracias." Her footsteps - she was not wearing kitten heels this time, he noticed, but instead a softer-soled shoe like sandals - followed him down the short hall and into the family room. He wondered if she realized she'd lapsed into Spanish, or if she'd done it deliberately, responding to his comment in that language.
Once they were both settled on the couch and Auggie had turned the TV off, he found himself talking again to cover the awkward silence between them. "Baby carrot?" he offered, holding out the bowl of them he'd been nibbling on earlier.
That earned him a wry chuckle, and he felt the bowl move a little as she snurched a few. The satisfying crunch afterwards slightly muffled her next words. "Thank you. I never pictured you as the rabbit-food type, Auggie."
"Yes, well, I've got a figure to maintain, you know," he teased, tapping his stomach.
This time Annie laughed genuinely. "This is why I came to see you," she sighed. "You have a gift for cheering me up when I'm in my lowest low."
So that was what was bothering her. "Your lowest low?" he asked softly.
Another crunch. "Perhaps not my lowest low," she admitted around the carrot. "But pretty close to it."
"What happened?" he asked softly. He knew her sister Danielle often set her up on dates for the family dinner - and it was a Thursday night (rather, the early Friday morning following the late Thursday night), but for some reason he got the feeling this wasn't about a guy. At least, not directly.
Annie was quiet for a long time, so long he almost thought she'd fallen asleep. But then, finally, she spoke. "What do you do when the nightmares get so bad you wake up screaming and sweating and crying and willing to do anything - and I do mean anything - to make them go away?" She sounded so fragile, so broken when she asked that question, and it nearly broke his heart.
That had been the one (well, one of several) experience he'd hoped she'd never have. Annie's career had been more than extraordinary from the beginning, and it was inevitable that she suffer the nightmares that went along with the territory. He'd had his fair share of them, both before and after The Accident. Her words rang true deep inside him, where he kept locked up the dark parts of his personality that ranted and railed and stayed embittered about what had happened to him, despite the positive outlook he carefully cultivated. The CIA was all about masks and facades and secrecy, after all, and he was one of the best.
Which brought him back to Annie's question. Leaning forward slightly, he lifted his hand. "May I?"
"Um - sure." He heard the reluctant curiosity in her tone as she gave him permission to do whatever it was he wanted.
Auggie had had the opportunity to feel parts of her before - always in a gentlemanly manner, of course, even during sparring. Her shoulders, her arms, her elbow, her hands. But this time he touched her face, daring to get closer and more personal with her than he ever had before. This was dangerous territory, a rocky ledge that led to a fall with razor-sharp blades waiting to impale him at the bottom at even the slightest misstep on his part. (His mind took that imagery and mocked him with it - maybe instead of being in the CIA he should have become a writer. But who read poetic drivel like that, honestly?)
The planes of her face were sharper than he'd expected, but not in an unattractive way. Her eyes were puffy from crying, and her cheeks were blotched with warmth. Occasionally he would feel a soft curl brush against his hand, and he had to smother the urge to run his fingers through the rest of her hair, to feel its length, its texture. That would definitely be overstepping his bounds, at least for tonight. She trembled slightly, though he wasn't sure if it was from suppressed sobs or anxiety at what he was doing. When he reached her cheekbones, he swept his thumbs across her skin, wiping away the warm, salty droplets he encountered there. "Do you want the truth, Annie?" he asked.
She sounded puzzled when she replied. "Of course."
He realized he still hadn't removed his hands from her face, and wasn't surprised that he felt no desire to do so in the near or far future. "I think of rainbows."
"Rainbows?" This time Annie's voice was ringing with incredulity, clearly questioning his sanity.
Auggie let the grin tickling at his lips escape his control. "What usually follows a thunderstorm, Annie? Even the worst one you've ever been through or could think of? What happens when the sun comes back out after the clouds have gone away?"
Annie's cheeks moved slightly, and he felt her lips with his thumbs. She was smiling. "A rainbow appears," she said softly.
"And what's at the end of that rainbow, if you dare chase it?" he continued.
"A pot of gold." Though her voice was still colored with reluctance, she was beginning to lose her wariness of his illustration.
"Precisely. Now what I'm trying to say here is, even after the worst storms of your life, a rainbow appears. And at the end of that rainbow is a pot of gold, also known as happiness, and all you have to do is accept it."
Annie laughed a little. "And what about the leprechauns that guard the gold, hmm?"
This time Auggie made himself withdraw from her warmth. As he leaned back, he airily waved one hand. "Semantics, dear, semantics," he said. A distinct heaviness still hung in the room, particularly between them, and he was desperate to ease it a bit. "Just concentrate on the rainbow and the gold, and you'll find the leprechauns aren't any trouble at all."
The couch shifted as Annie stood. He felt her hovering over him for a moment, the weight of her gaze on his face as palpable as the touch of her hand. He almost wished it was her hand. "Thank you, Auggie." And, as if she'd heard his thoughts, the pads of her fingers ghosted across his face.
He fought to keep his eyes open, though they begged to shut so he could relish that far too small and short contact. "You're welcome, Annie. Any time." His voice was far raspier than it should have been. He wondered if she'd notice.
"It's almost four," she said. "I should let you get some sleep. The job waits for no one." This time her voice was clear of sadness as she spoke, instead filled with warmth and teasing.
Auggie stood, offering his arm to her as he positioned his walking stick. "I'll walk you to the door, then."
It wasn't far, but for once he wished he had a house instead of an apartment, if for no other reason than so the door would be farther from the family room than it was now. As it was, they reached the exit to his home far too soon, and he had to let go of her. "Drive safely, Annie. And no more nightmares." He tried to inject a stern tone into his voice, but he failed miserably.
He felt the heat of her body press up to his only a moment before her lips brushed against his cheek. An electric shock jolted through him, and he realized she must have felt it too since she very quickly backed away. He heard her hand hit the door, fumble for a moment, then find the knob and twist. "Th-Thank you, Auggie. You too. I-I'll see you in the morning. Goodnight."
The door closed without offering him a chance to respond (verbally or physically), and Auggie stood in the entranceway until he heard her car start and then pull away. Relocking his door, he turned and tapped his way toward his bedroom. Perhaps it had been a good thing he'd gotten some sleep on the couch, he thought wryly. He certainly wouldn't be getting any sleep now that Annie had done that.
But, he mused as he reclined on his back in his bed, he would trade all the sleep in his lifetime just to chase a few rainbows with Annie.
Okay, that was a total piece of sappy fluff. Usually I don't write anything like this, and I admit that this one took a different turn than I'd originally planned, but I kind of like it this way and hope you all do, too. Thanks again for all your kind words and support, and I hope you liked this story!