A/N: Being as I've never been shot, I only have a vague idea how long it might take for him to return to work and such. Bear with me on that, please. If it's off, just replace the number of weeks he's been gone in your head. It's just to give a reference to time. =)
(6 weeks later)
Allen's Tavern bustled with its usual crowd of political officials, college students, and of course its usual round of off-duty spooks. Several tables had been pushed together to accommodate some of its regulars, and even some that had not graced the old tavern with their presence since their younger days.
"All I have to say is that everything better be exactly how I left it when I get back tomorrow," Auggie told Stu with a grin hidden behind his beer glass. "The last time I had any time off of work I couldn't find anything for a week."
"You say that like it was my doing," Stu responded laughing.
"No one has touched your desk, Auggie," a new voice said and the sound of a necklace clinking reached the sound of Auggie's ears.
He grinned. "Joan. So glad you could join us. Arthur make it?"
"He might," she answered and pulled a chair back.
"You really going to let him come back to work tomorrow?" Conrad grinned from across the table.
"She better, or I'm going to go stir crazy."
"Which will drive everyone else crazy," Joan murmured, a smirk perking her lips. "Evening Annie."
Auggie perked, the scent of grapefruit reaching his nose. A smile lit his face and he felt a pair of arms encircle him from behind in a hug. "Hiya," she greeted and he felt her lips brush the top of his ear as she spoke.
The last few weeks had been strange and difficult. After Alexei Levkov had been taken into federal custody – much to both Joan and Auggie's chagrin – and Auggie had been rushed to the nearby hospital in Glencoe, Joan and a small unit with her had descended on the little town. Even if she had not been able to grab the Russian arms dealer from the FBI, she had made Special Agent Duskner's life a living hell until she'd left the scene. That, on a small scale, took away some of the bitter aftertaste of a weekend gone far too wrong.
"So, I've got to ask," Conrad said as he leaned back in his chair, his eyes flickering to his boss' wife every couple of seconds for any signs that he should just keep his mouth shut. "How did you ever explain this away to your family?"
Auggie laughed into his glass, half choking as he did. "Most of them were outside to begin with," he answered, having relayed the story once or twice that evening already, "and my three middle brothers will believe most anything that's told to them. Same with my mom, but I don't know if she actually believes it as much as she wants to believe it." He tilted his head towards Annie. "Do you remember the final concoction that we gave them?"
"I'll have to read back on the details. Brant didn't buy it, did he?"
"No, I don't think so, but he won't push it too much, I don't think."
"But wasn't your dad inside the house when all of this was going on?"
"It's been taken care of," Joan cut in, eyeing him carefully. "That's all you need to know."
"Oh!" Annie reached for Auggie's arm, signifying that she was trying to catch his attention. "I think I saw a familiar face on the way in. I mean, I could have him mixed up, we were all pretty rushed through all of that, but the bow tie gives him away…."
Auggie laughed and shook his head. "By the front?"
"Care to take a walk?" he asked as he stood slowly, reaching for his walking stick. "Back in a minute."
Annie looped her arm through his, catching the wink from Conrad, the somewhat 'I knew it!' look from Stu, and a darker, slightly jealous look from Jai who had been unusually quiet since he'd joined the table. They passed Arthur Campbell on their way out and assured him that they'd be back momentarily.
"Good to see you two have remained in one piece," David Elkin said as he leaned up against his car.
"Contrary to your belief, I do tend to stay that way," Auggie grinned. "You know, I can't believe I never thought to look at your files before now."
"Cheat," Elkin grinned and clapped the younger man on the shoulder.
Auggie shrugged. "Hey, I am the best at my job and I can find anything."
"I don't question it," the retired agent replied. "Now, if you'll excuse me, there's someone that'd like to speak to you. Miss Walker, won't you take a walk with me for a moment?"
Annie turned to see the car door open and Christopher Anderson step out. His face was drawn and he looked exhausted. He never looked her way, but kept his eyes trained on his youngest son. "Of course," she murmured in response, releasing Auggie's arm and moving away with Elkin.
Christopher cleared his throat, looking as if he felt very awkward. "August."
"Hey Dad," Auggie greeted soberly. "What are you doing in DC? I thought you hated this city." While his mother had spent more than enough time in the hospital after the entire incident – more than Auggie was even comfortable with – he had barely seen his father. He wasn't too surprised, if he were honest with himself. After all, Christopher Anderson always seemed to find some reason to be frustrated or angry or disappointed in his youngest son. The newest route to take to that was probably going to be that Auggie had lied to the family for the past ten years or so. Joan may have convinced Chris to continue the lie to Tammy – and Joan was very convincing when she needed to be – but that didn't excuse Auggie for it.
"I do hate DC," his father responded, voice gruff and irritable.
An uncomfortable silence stretched between them and Auggie shifted. "So why come?" he asked finally.
Christopher inhaled deeply, as if to calm himself, and let it out as a sigh. His breathing told his son that he was opening his mouth as if to speak, but then stopping himself in the last second. Auggie frowned deeply. This was a waste of time.
"If you're not going to say anything, then I've got friends that I was actually having a good time with," the tech agent said sharply, turning to leave.
He wasn't expecting his father's next move. Christopher took hold of his son and pulled him into a hug, leaving the younger man stiff and unsure. It had been years since his father had shown any sort of affection towards him. He'd never been one to offer it out freely to many, but his youngest son had received little throughout his life. After a moment Auggie returned the embrace.
"I'm sorry," Christopher murmured into his son's hair. "I'm so sorry, Auggie."
"It's fine," Auggie managed a response. "Really. We all came out of it alive."
Chris released him and Auggie thought he might have heard him shaking his head in response. He was sure, though, that he heard a choked sob escape his stoic father.
"They're fine," Elkin assured Annie as she glanced back to where they'd left father and son only a few minutes before. "I promise."
She sighed and frowned, turning back to him. "So what's your story?"
"I have a story?" the aged man smiled.
This brought a small smirk to her lips and she wondered if every agent spoke in that way once they'd retired. "Everyone has a story, Mr. Elkin."
He returned her smile and motioned for her to take a seat at one of the outlying tables. "I retired from the Agency… years ago, when I met my wife. We were older and neither of us had children, so we moved to Glencoe for a quiet retirement from a fast life. I did actually pick up a teaching job at the local high school where I met Auggie. He had the spark."
"Spark?" Annie echoed, glancing back again at the man in question.
Elkin nodded. "There's a spark in someone that makes them a good field agent. From what I've heard, he made a damn fine one. From what I saw six weeks ago, I know he still would." He paused, looking at his folded hands. "I may have slipped his name to some people that I knew."
"I knew it!" Annie laughed. When her laughter died, a more serious look took its place. "What did Christopher want?"
"You have to understand something about Christopher Anderson," Elkin murmured. "He's a strong, proud man. He's never hated his son. He just didn't know how to respond. Tammy is the one who is all bubbling emotions in that family, and if she's that way then Chris is just the opposite. I lived two doors down long enough to know."
"He barely came by the hospital," Annie pointed out.
"He spoke to me on the way here," Elkin confided. "He said that fathers were supposed to protect their sons, not the other way around. While he doesn't hate Auggie for his blindness, he certainly doesn't understand how to cope with it. Auggie had done wonders in the short time that he's been given, but Chris… Chris moves slower than his son. It took this long for him to work up the emotional courage to simply come and say 'thank you.'"
Annie looked back again, and saw the two men shake hands, smiles playing on their faces. Christopher's much more tentative than his sons, but smiles nevertheless.
Elkin stood. "Well, that's my signal to leave," he said. "Give Joan my best in case Arthur doesn't tell her."
Annie watched as Auggie moved back to her and Elkin and Christopher got in the car and drove away. The encounter had been strange, but so had everything since Auggie's birthday.
"I don't know about you," Auggie said as he approached her, "but I'm in need of another beer."
Annie grinned and took his offered arm. Together they moved back to friends and co-workers to spend the last evening together before everything went back to whatever it was that CIA agents might have considered normal.
A/N: I'm trying to post this before I go out to start the day, so if there are any blaring grammatical errors, let me know and I'll go back to fix them. This has been fun, guys! Ya'll are amazing with all the reviews (and cookies!). It's been a real blast. I've got a couple of oneshots floating around my head right now, so I'm certainly not done, and I'm sure I will really have some ideas after next week's episode! =P Totally looking forward to that one! Well, just as a note, the way I tend to write for a single fandom is that all my stories are interconnected, so even if it's not a technical sequel, anything else I write for CA will likely have references to each other. I know I told someone in response to a review that I've set up at least one oneshot in one of these chapters that I'm poking at.
Hope ya'll enjoyed it!