Ok, I will say it out loud. I never like Ben. I thought he was too obvious in that rugged spy way. Anyway the aftermath of the season ender pinged around my little brain for a while. Don't know where the story bunnies are taking me, but hope you hang on for the ride.

DISCLAIMER: A wish list that includes a life sized Auggie Doll, but the show? Nope!


Ben had been gone for almost two months. Annie was sure by now she would be feeling less hollow and exhausted. On the helicopter ride to the airport, as Ben's life had slipped away, Annie felt hers was following. She had lost him and just begun to come to terms with that. Then he shot back into her life and back out. Again her heart was broken. This time she wasn't sure it would truly heal.

She really couldn't say the Agency didn't try. Joan gave her some time. It was then decided that maybe the loser level of stress in finishing her training would be better. She wasn't happy with the demotion, but Joan had promised she could come back to DPD. It turned out that the Farm, although some of the toughest training around, seemed easy compared to the missions she had done. Most of the instructors were told not to ride her too hard.

She thought she should be better by now. She had sobbed buckets the first few nights alone in her bed. Keeping up the pretense around Danielle and the kids was hard. Thankfully, her eagle eyed sister had gotten a few catering gigs and Michael was doing some free-lance writing. They were too involved in their own lives. It had also cut down on the Thursday dinner nightmares too.

Annie knew she didn't have to do this alone. Jai tried to be supportive, but she didn't feel like she could fully trust him again. She was at the Farm and he was the crown prince of the CIA. It felt like another disaster waiting to happen. She stayed friendly, but resisted anything closer. She didn't have the energy.

Auggie had been her rock, of course. But she didn't want to be the ever needy drama queen in his life. She knew he loved being the hero and this whole mess played into that. She wanted a more equal footing. She began to push him away. After a few times turning him down for drinks or just hanging out, he finally called her on it. It was an awkward phone conversation.

"Annie, stop hiding from me."

"Auggie, I am not hiding. It's just that being back at the Farm has been weird and I think I should give it my full energy. It's bad enough I was out in the field and am now back there. If I hang out with other agents, it sets me apart even more"

"Annie, you won't see me because you want to sit at the cool lunch table at the Farm?"

"Funny. No. I think I will focus there."

"Focus I get. Hiding from friends who care with a lame-ass excuse? Nope. Try again."

"Truth? I am exhausted. All the time. This whole thing has taken such a toll on me. And then I have to keep up with everyone who is all excited about why we're being trained. I feel a million years older and wiser. I am tired mostly. Part of me isn't sure this is where I belong anyway."

"Well that's way more than I have gotten from you in weeks. OK. But you are done in 1 week. You graduate and then after your physical, get a couple of days off. I expect to see you then. Don't make me wait till you walk in the door here."

"Fair enough. And Auggie? Thanks."

"You're welcome. By the way, you might want to make that whole story sound a little more believable for Jai. He is walking around like a lost puppy. I think he won't be satisfied with a call."

"Oh no. No. I know he was doing his job, but emotionally, I am still not on board with him. I don't think even if he really wanted, for himself, not the agency, a relationship that I could do that."

Auggie smiled to himself at that. He wasn't completely sure where his relationship with Annie was headed, but he did know he didn't want to have to compete with tall dark and smarmy. It was enough for now. She did sound tired. He would give her a little time. But not too much. He missed her more than he thought was possible. In the short time she had been there, she had brightened up his world.

He was surprised by the phone call a week later.


Even with his trained hearing, he almost didn't recognize her voice through the tears. It was hoarse like she had been sobbing for hours. His heart tightened. Annie didn't rattle easily. This was big.

"What do you need?"

"I need to see you. But not at work."

Auggie listened briefly to the work environment. It wasn't too crazed, no raised or excited voices. He could disappear for the rest of the day.

"My apartment. Meet me there."

When he opened the door and Annie all but fell into his arms, several things registered at once. One, he had forgotten how wonderful she smelled. Two, she wasn't wearing heels. She seemed smaller. Three, actually she seemed skinny. She had always had a great build. The hugs and close fight training had told him that. She had lost weight in the last two months, almost everywhere.

He pulled her over to sit on the sofa, grabbing a box of tissues as he went. He had a feeling they would need them. He could hear her taking deep breaths, trying to compose herself. Finally, he held out his hand, face up toward her. After a moment's hesitation, she placed hers in his larger one. It felt like ice and it wasn't cold out.

"Tell me." The words were softly spoken with a gentleness that in no way lessened the command in them. He was going to find out what was really happening.

"I am a little surprised you don't already know. I thought you knew it all at the agency."

"Annie. Now." Again, that quiet sense of confident command. It struck Annie at that moment that Auggie was one of the most confident men she knew. Not cocky, he was confident and believed in himself. It was a trait that even in an agency of strong people that stood out somehow. It was why he was so well liked. People wanted to be friends with Auggie. She wondered if he would still want to be friends with her.

He heard another deep breath and could feel the muscles tightening all the way to the wrist he held. She was gearing herself up for this one.

"I, I'm pregnant."

She could see the shock wash across his face. His whole body absorbed this news like a blow. She started talking now in one long breath.

"I had my physical for graduation from the farm. It's a standard test they include as part of the blood work on all females apparently. Of course doing on the men would be a waste of course. I thought I was protected. At least the first time I know I was but even so that ring is supposed to be pretty full proof right? Figures the only lottery I ever win is this. I don'tevenknowwhattodoorsayhere….."

His other warmer and larger hand came up and clasped hers. It stopped her rant in mid breath. She could see the wheels spinning in that brilliant mind and knew the second he put it all together. Her little breathless speech had taken only a few moments.

"Ben Mercer"

He had meant to sound kinder there, but he found he had almost spat the name at her. He winced to himself. Someone with his level of training should have been able to control his emotions better. He felt her begin to pull away and withdraw, emotionally and physically.

"Annie. Wait. You dropped kind of a bombshell here. I didn't even know you and he….."

"We weren't really. But that night on the beach, well, it seemed, I don't know, just right. And then less than 24 hours later he bleeds to death in my arms. I'm not sure how that constitutes a relationship. If he hadn't, if he hadn't died, I don't know where we would be now. And that's part of what is so horrible. I can't even say, if only he were here. Because even when he was, he wasn't."

"Who knows?"

"Well if the agency knows, I guess Joan and oh God everyone. How many more things in my life can I get ass backward? How the hell am I supposed to deal with this? With Joan, and Danielle, oh my God! Danielle! "

"What do you plan to do?"

"I should not be a parent. I can't even manage to take care of myself. But somehow, the idea of not doing this breaks my heart all over again. A single mother, who is a CIA operative. How the hell do I go around the world like that? What's the CIA policy? I can imagine the spook daycare center."

Auggie's lips twitched in spite of himself. At the sight of his dimple, Annie found herself smiling too.

"Auggie, I don't want to miss my chance to be a mother, but I can't do this alone. And I know Danielle will be all over this, it really will be me alone. Holy crap can you imagine the losers who will be willing to meet her unwed mother of a sister? Anyway, I really will be alone. The agency will bounce me and I really will have to go work at the Smithsonian."

"You have me." The words left his mouth before he even realized it. The thought didn't even get time to process in his mind and they were out.

"Oh Auggie, you are beyond wonderful, but really this is my problem. But how does the Agency deal with this?"

"With all this dating within the Agency, this has happened before. Usually the agents are strongly urged to get married. We are tradionalists if nothing else. They like their parents to be married. They think it grounds them and supports the notion of a family unit."

"Well, that's not really an option here. I have to do this alone. Ben is gone and I can't imagine who would want to jump in here."

The words left his mouth again before the brain put itself fully into gear, shocking them both.

"Marry me."

Yeah, a little cliffie here. Are you still with me? Does this work? Let me know?