A/N: So, I've had one hell of a day and what do I do to let off the steam off at the end of it? Yes, I return to good old Auggie Anderson. I have to admit that I was very surprised that Ben survived his injuries. I really expected the first episode to deal with Annie's trauma over his death, but no, we're going to drag the Ben thing out to kingdom come and have him continuously pop in and out of the show (love the actor, just not the biggest Ben fan. Meh.) And then we'll have the male ego war between Ben and Jai and they'll fight over Annie, leaving poor Auggie with less chance which makes all of us raging fan girls very sad. Thinking on that sparred this on. Please enjoy!
The darkened alley way shouldn't have made him as nervous as it did – not that he'd show it – but someone had been out to kill him lately. Not that there wouldn't always be someone out to get him. With every corner he turned, every black op he muddled his way through, and every new assignment given in secret under the careful hand of Arthur Campbell, he found himself with more and more enemies.
He just hoped one wasn't waiting here.
Ben Mercer's bright blue eyes shifted from one side of the alley to the other. The bright and lively Allen's Tavern roared with the life of an early night just around the corner, but no one passed by where he stood. He didn't like that he couldn't see the other end of the alley.
"You are one hell of a man to find," a voice said from the darkness, startling him. He couldn't place it, but he thought he might have heard it once or twice.
"Some people are better left unfound," Ben answered as he moved his back to the brick wall, hand hovering close to the gun tucked into his jeans. He could climb the fire escape as a way of quick exit to escape curious onlookers if gunfire was necessary. He would walk away from this. "The better question is: why did you want to find me?"
The shadowed figure snorted and shuffled forward. Ben heard a tapping sound that couldn't possibly be the clicking of shoes on concrete. He squinted against the darkness until gleams of light hit the source of the noise. It was a white cane, hinged so that it could fold, tapping the ground in front of its owner. Auggie Anderson emerged from the darkness.
"She's been looking for you, you know," Auggie said as he found the wall to lean against. His movements were as easy as if he could see everything that surrounded him. If Ben hadn't heard the stories, he'd have thought that the tech operative was looking directly at him.
"She?" Ben echoed, feigning confusion.
Auggie frowned, deciding to ignore the poor attempt the other had made. "She thinks that we don't see it, and she tries to cover her tracks – she's good, you know – but all it does is show how much she doesn't want to let you go."
"And why are you telling me this?"
"Because someone has to."
Ben had moved closer and he could see how the tech op seemed to be looking through him rather than at him, but that gaze was more intense than if they had been able to make eye contact. There was something stirring there that the formerly rogue agent didn't touch on at first. It was something that he felt he should know, yet couldn't quite grasp. After a moment of study, he let a sigh escape from his lips. "How well do you know Annie?"
"Well enough to know what you're doing to her," Auggie said sharply.
Ben shifted. "Did Joan send you?" He paused, waiting, but then a chuckle left his throat. "No, she doesn't send you anywhere, does she? That means you came all on your own. You care about her."
There was a flicker of emotion that moved from his dark eyes to the rest of his face that gave his feelings away with each word he spoke. "Listen, this is really simple. Treat Annie the way she deserves to be treated or get the hell out of her life and let her move on."
"And who are you to tell me what I should do?"
"You know who I am."
"Who are you to Annie?"
"You want to be more."
A frustrated sound left Auggie's lips as he moved past the other man, cane tapping his leg as he walked by. "Stop stringing her along."
"Who says I'm stringing her along? I love her."
Auggie straightened, having all ready passed Ben and moved slowly towards the street. He turned, sightless eyes glaring in the other man's direction. "You may," he conceded slowly, "but if it came down to it, which would you choose: Annie or the next mission?"
Ben stood staring for several long moments after the other man was gone, leaning somewhat against the bricks of the old building and hand having never strayed too far from his hidden weapon. The question hung unanswered in the cool night air.
A/N: As those that follow my CA work know, I'm a bit addicted to reviews. Please, feed the author.
Oh, and on a personal note, I submitted my novel for publication today. The first step in a potentially crazy process.