Disclaimer: I don't own Covert Affairs, nor any places, things, characters, or ideas therein. Those belong to the USA Network and the producers, writers, etc., of the show. I am not making any monetary gain from this story in any way, shape, or form.
Summary: Sometimes love wears a mask, and sometimes it's just right there, waiting for the right time to be noticed. Auggie/Annie two-shot
Warnings: A teeny bit of fluff
Author's Note: This fic was inspired by a prompt posted by iheartpants956 over on the Auggie/Annie comm on LiveJournal. The prompt was for the moment Annie realized she loved Auggie, and vice versa. I hope this satisfies the criteria, and that everyone enjoys it! Thanks for reading!
-Behind the Masks-
*~Part I: Annie~*
I had always thought love wore a mask. After all, the only real experience I'd had with love had left me burned, left me wondering if it had really been love at all. I had thought it was, on Ben's part, but had soon discovered it wasn't. That left me wondering if it had really been love on my part, either.
The whole thing had been accidental, really. Thursday had rolled around again, and Danielle had informed me that it was up to me to bring someone to supper that night, or she would set me up again the next week. I had thought about it for all of two seconds and decided that my sister's idea of wrath wasn't worth showing up alone tonight.
My best friend Auggie Anderson had always been there for me, and the extremely few times he hadn't, he had come through in the end. So when I went to him, ready to get down on my hands and knees and beg him to come have dinner with me, I was shocked when he shrugged, grinned, and said he'd been wanting to meet the family I was always talking about, anyway.
So as soon as we both clocked out we headed for my junky VW, me in the driver's seat and him in the passenger's seat, for obvious reasons. Auggie chatted naturally the entire way to Danielle's, for which I was thankful. All I had to do was say yes, or no, or make noises that sounded interested. I was such a wreck that I couldn't have made an intelligible conversation if my life had depended on it. What had I been thinking? This was totally going to end Auggie's and my friendship. Forever. He would take one (metaphorical) look at my family and run screaming for his life. I was sure of it.
Linking my arm with Auggie's, I led him toward the front door of Danielle's beautiful house. The sound of my heels matched the click of his cane against the cobblestone walk that led up to the porch, sounding a little too much like a death knell for my satisfaction.
And then we were in the house.
Danielle actually had the guts to look surprised when she saw that I'd brought someone with me. She looked briefly surprised at Auggie's cane and his just-off focused gaze, but quickly recovered. I had never been more thankful for my sister's social butterfly personality. "I'm Danielle, Annie's sister," she said warmly. "Welcome to our home!"
Auggie grinned, holding out his free hand, which Danielle promptly shook. "Auggie Anderson," he said.
I quickly interjected. "He works with me at the Smithsonian. He's in the Research department - he's the one who tells me what I have to go acquire." I quickly decided to stop talking lest I say too much. I had always possessed a nasty habit of rambling to my sister when I got nervous. I'd hoped to outgrow it, but unfortunately never had.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Auggie!" The warmth in Danielle's voice was surprisingly genuine. The effect was immediately ruined when she continued, "For that matter, it's nice to finally meet someone my sister works with."
If that didn't smack of bitterness… "Can I do something to help with dinner, Danni?"
"Sure. Come on." After a quick introduction to Danielle's husband and daughters, she dragged me to the kitchen. "Annie, why did you never mention him before? He's adorable!" she said the moment we were alone.
I could already feel my cheeks growing red. "I - well, he's - and I-"
"Annie!" Danielle threw her arms around me, squeezing me so tightly I found it hard to breathe. "Little sister, I cannot believe you have finally found yourself a man! And a good, sweet, genuine one at that." She winked, then danced over to the stove.
Feeling more than a dozen steps behind in the conversation, I threw up my hands. "You've known Auggie for all of five minutes, if that! How can you know all that about him? For all you know he's a jerk and he has an ulterior motive for being here."
Danielle paused to look at me over her shoulder, incredulous. "Are you serious? For one thing, you wouldn't socialize with someone like that."
Well, that was questionable (Ben immediately came to mind), but I was quiet and let her continue uncontested.
"Besides, I saw the look on his face while you were talking. He likes you."
"I-" I started to say he was just a friend, but perhaps that wouldn't be such a good idea if I planned to remain nightmare-date-free for the foreseeable future. But what else could I say?
"And by like, I mean like." Danielle turned from where she'd strained the spaghetti in the sink and then put it in a big stoneware bowl. "Look, Annie. You know that I've always wanted nothing but the best for you. And if you believe nothing else, little sister, please believe me when I say that there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Auggie is the best for you. It's like you're made for each other."
I still didn't see how she could have gotten that from a handshake and a two minute conversation, but I would give her the benefit of the doubt, at least for the moment.
Throughout the meal (and my sister's special version of the Spanish Inquisition for Auggie), I observed my friend closely. He was relaxed, natural, even happy. Nothing at all like I would have expected. And, even more than that, every time I shifted in my seat next to his, he would mirror the movement almost unconsciously, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
But it wasn't until after dinner, when we were all sitting around the fireplace in the family room, when it really hit me. Auggie sat on the couch, one of my nieces on either side of him, letting the girls examine his cane as he easily chatted with them, regaling them with fantastical stories I had no idea he could weave. It seemed he had missed his calling and should have been a writer.
Perhaps it was the way the fire glittered in his warm eyes, making his hair shine; maybe it was the wine from dinner, which had painted everything around me with a subtle glow; or possibly it was me finally realizing that sometimes love didn't wear a mask, it was just right there out in the open, where it had always been, just waiting to be noticed.
For the first time in two years I didn't picture Ben sitting between the girls, smiling and laughing. For the first time it was entirely natural to see Auggie sitting there for every Thursday, every day, with perhaps a couple more children to join my nieces.
It was almost as if Auggie knew, as he somehow always did. He lifted his sightless eyes from his unfocused gaze on my nieces and focused, as much and as miraculously as he could, on my face. Then a small, warm, genuine smile curled his lips, and I knew.
I was in love with August Anderson, and he had been waiting ever so patiently for me to realize this, which made me love him all the more.
I am in love with Auggie Anderson. Closing my eyes, I relished the words and looked forward to where our future would lead us.
~To Be Concluded~
…So ends part one. I was originally going to write Auggie's part first, but when my fingers touched the keys Annie's part came out. I think the order works better this way than how I had originally planned it. Auggie's part will be up soon, and thank you so much for checking out my story, I hope you enjoyed it!