Title: Held

Warnings: Spoilers for 1x06, angsting all over the place

Disclaimer: It isn't mine. The show dialogue I borrowed is especially not mine.

Notes: Writing around the end scenes of 1x06. Joan and Auggie during Operation Goliath.


Joan stood at Auggie's side with her arms folded, watching his team scramble, forcing herself to be calm.

She had to be calm.

She wanted to storm back down the hall. Wanted to burst into the room where they were holding Madeline Jarvis and force her to look at photographs of every soldier involved in Operation Goliath.

Recruiting photographs. Dress uniforms, nervous smiles, young, young, too young eyes.

Most of them are still in their twenties.

Their blood is on your hands.

She wanted to say it. She wanted to let Auggie say it.

She wanted Auggie to get right up in the foolish woman's face and demand to know what the hell she'd been thinking when she'd so casually put the lives of American soldiers- his unit, his guys- in danger.

How could you? How dare you?

Joan couldn't ask questions like that because she already knew the answers. She knew exactly what Madeline Jarvis had been thinking.

My husband. Oh God, my husband.

Women who married powerful men learned to hold on.

It was devastating when a man wasn't worth holding onto, but it was worse when a woman tried to do it anyhow. When she didn't remember how to do anything else.

Think of her as a cautionary tale.

Joan had given the warning to Annie about Ashley, but she'd been repeating it to herself about Madeline. Because God knew she was capable of far more destruction than a senator's wife.

Would you break your husband if he broke his marriage vows?

She didn't know, and it scared the hell out of her.

But she had to be calm.

She had to look at data and satellite imagery as a disaster unfolded, and she had to be calm.

She looked at Auggie with his head bowed and pressed against his folded hands. Waiting, bracing himself. "The special ops unit is approaching the compound," she told him. "We're out of options."

Most of them are still in their twenties.

Their blood is on your hands.

Auggie picked his head up, blew a breath out as if he'd startled himself. "No, we're not. Kill the drone."

She didn't dare to believe he had something. Not yet. "What?"

"Smash it into the compound," he clarified. "It's warning. I know my guys. They'll know what it means."

Not all bonds break. Some people never become strangers.

"Okay," Joan said. "Do it." She watched the screens as her order took effect. It wouldn't be long now, but she spoke to fill the silence, "When the drone hits the compound, the unit should radio in the aborted mission, right?"

"They should," Auggie said tightly. "If they don't it means either the drone hit my guys or they were ambushed by Nasir's men."

The drone struck. Joan watched. "Direct hit," she said. "Explosions inside the compound."

"It was booby-trapped." There was a catch in Auggie's voice.

The old unit. His guys.

Most of them are still in their twenties.

Joan thought about storming down the hall again, about showing a recording of the explosion on a continuous loop. She thought she'd do it if the silence stretched any longer.

The radio crackled to life: "This is Alpha. We are aborting Mission Goliath. Repeat-" and then it blurred into the audible relief in the room itself.

Joan put one hand on Auggie's shoulder and rubbed his back with the other, feeling him shaking beneath her fingertips. She knew what it was- sugar, caffeine, and overwhelming relief- but she still said, "You okay?"

He smiled, nodded, and they both pretended not to notice that he was still shaking.

Not on my hands. Thank God, not on my hands.

She kept her grip on his shoulder while the rest of the team offered their high-fives, handshakes, and congratulations. His face reddened, and his smile widened every time someone spoke to him, but his answers had a slightly dazed quality to them.

Joan dismissed the room with a single look, knowing he'd want some time alone to collect himself.

She planned on taking her own time. Going to see Arthur. Going to think of all the ways he could remind her that he was a good man, a good husband. Her husband.

Not all bonds break.

Auggie reached up and covered her fingers with his own to stop her from leaving. "Joan," he said quietly. "Thank you." He took a breath, swallowed hard. "Those guys… They're my past, and I've moved on, but-" He shrugged and shook his head- "they'll always be my guys."

"Of course," Joan said. "Some things are worth holding on to."