Title: Veteran's Day

Warnings: None come to mind

Disclaimer: It isn't mine. Don't sue.

Notes: This was written for a challenge on the Covert Fiction LJ community (Alphabet Challenge- this is "A is for Auggie"). Enjoy!


As a rule, Auggie didn't like federal holidays because he usually had to spend them at his desk, catching up on paperwork and minding the other bureaucratic demands of the agency. He'd never had a particular holiday he disliked working more than others, but if one more person stopped by to "chat" or "see how he was," he was going to put Veteran's Day at the top of his list.

He had absolutely no desire for the extra attention if people were going to treat the fact that he was a war vet like it was something he needed to be comforted about. Okay, maybe he didn't mind that the ladies were extra huggy that morning- at least, in some cases, he didn't mind. And he would never complain- much- about Joan's protectiveness of him, even if she had been hovering earlier. But everyone else… everyone else was annoying.

And, anyway, it wasn't as if he was the only operative who'd seen combat. These days, there weren't many who hadn't been bloodied up in one war or the other. Of course, he was one of the few who'd actually done it in uniform, and the only one who'd come back so noticeably wounded.

But, damnit, he didn't need everyone he worked with reminding him of that.

"You know your face is going to freeze that way," Annie remarked from the doorway.

Auggie let out a breath and made himself smile. "Annie. How nice of you to stop by. I was worried that Jai was going to occupy you all morning."

"We're going to lunch," she said. "I came to ask you if you wanted to join us."

"Join you and Jai? Let me see…" Auggie tapped his chin to make an exaggerated show of thought.

He assumed Annie rolled her eyes because her next comment was a dry, "I'll understand if you can't tear yourself away from the exciting task of… whatever you've been doing."

"Whatever I'm doing tips the scales against a conversation with Jai Wil-" Auggie stopped, hearing movement- "He's standing behind you now, isn't he?"

"Auggie," Jai spoke up. "Make up your mind. I'm hungry."

"Oh, how terrible of me not to care," Auggie answered. But he got up, grabbed his jacket and cane, and allowed Annie to slip her arm under his.

Outside it was beginning to rain, so Jai offered to get his car and bring it around so they wouldn't all have to walk through the bad weather.

"What's with you two?" Annie asked as soon as he'd gone. "You're being snarkier than usual today."

"No we're not," Auggie answered. "It's just that everyone else is being nicer, so-" he stopped abruptly, realizing the truth of what he'd just said. While the rest of the DPD seemed to have adopted some special Veteran's Day behavioral code around him, Jai had treated him the same way he always did… and how the hell Jai, of all people, had figured out that was preferable was beyond him.

"Auggie?" Annie said uncertainly. "You're kind of spacing out on me."

Auggie shook his head. "Sorry." He still couldn't believe he was feeling grateful toward Jai-friggin-Wilcox.

The man in question pulled his car up and got out to open the passenger side doors. After he'd seated Annie and started walking back towards the driver's side of the car, Auggie grabbed him by the arm to stop him.

"I'm not going to thank you, you know," he said without any real heat behind the words.

Jai let out a short laugh, asking, "Won't thank me for what?" But his tone made it clear he understood exactly what Auggie was talking about.

"Nothing," Auggie said. "You've done absolutely nothing today." And he squeezed the other man's arm to let him know that he did, in fact, appreciate that. Just as long as he didn't have to admit it out loud.

Jai clapped him on the shoulder. "Get in the car, Auggie."