The bar is crowded. So much so that people passing behind him brush against his back. These crowds make him nervous and he clutches his cane tighter. He sips his Sam Adams, his remaining senses searching for anything to clue him in on what the hell was going on. It was a phone message that brought him to this chaotic pub, a place he hadn't visited in years and that message contained only two words. Irish escape. Those words brought to life memories nearly lost and Auggie found himself ravenous for them.
The voice on the other line hadn't been at all familiar but that was their way. Never traceable. Heart beating frantically, he closes his eyes, trying to calm his nerves. It could be some cruel joke or some kind of trap but still here he is. That drive, that hunger that has been slowly smothered by his blindness was finding its desperate way out, fueled by those teasing bits of fieldwork that he'd done with Annie.
The barstool beside him creaks as a small frame brushes against his arm. He doesn't have time for these futile flirts that pursue him every time his ass hits a chair. On any other night he would welcome the distraction but tonight was different.
"Hello, Sweetie," says an all-too-familiar voice.
"Spoilers," he replies, a ridiculous grin on his face.
When he's honest with himself, he'll admit that this is the moment that he'd been waiting for, the moment that his past calls him to arms.
"God, Anderson, it's good to see you!"
Suddenly he's wrapped in the warmth of another's arms and he responds immediately, pulling the petite body into his chest. This familiarity is intoxicating. It's like the past three years never happened. A man can dream.
"You too, Jinx," he breathes, "You too."
She pulls away then, holding him at arms-length and he can feel her eyes dragging across his skin. It's a strange sensation and he wishes more than ever that he could do the same.
"So, it's true," she asks bluntly, her tone not changing in the slightest, never transitioning into that pitying timbre. "You can't see a damn thing, can you?"
"Just call me Ray Charles," he sighs, a half smile still on his face as he waves his folded red/white cane between them. He wonders how she'll react. Jinx never does anything expected. Hell, she's here.
The cane is nicked from his hand and he can hear the clicks of its joints falling into place, he shakes his head. She would.
"So, what's this thing do anyways," she asks.
"Eh you know, keeps me from walking into walls and falling off cliffs. The important stuff," he chuckled but Jinx had grown terribly quiet. The joke is there but to buffer the blow of reality.
For the first time in years he fells self-conscious, he doesn't want her to see him this way; reduced to the point of primitively feeling his way through life. When they'd been together in the field on 'off-book' assignments, he'd been at his best, the finest of operatives and now- well, things are different.
"I'm sorry I didn't come back," she says in an uncharacteristically soft voice, "I'd heard that you were injured, I just didn't know how. I was in deep cover and it was a miracle that I even kn-"
"Don't apologize, I kept it quiet, I didn't want anyone to know," he downs his beer and says, "I have missed you though, Jinx, all of you. Where I'm at now- it's nothing like it was then."
"I haven't called the others, I didn't know where they'd be but I- I knew you'd be stateside," she sounds guilty, like she's done something wrong but Auggie couldn't be happier. "I have a problem, Augs, a big one. I can't guarantee that any of us will make it out alive but I'll tell you-" he could hear the grin sneaking back into her voice "-it'll be the ride of a lifetime."
There are a million thoughts buzzing around his brain but there's one that he has to pay attention to, one that comes first now until the day he dies and it's one that he hates. It sets limitations that he's forced to maintain.
"I'm not who I used to be," he says firmly, no matter how he hates it, he has to take this seriously, "I'm blind, I can't do the things I could before. Oh and guns are strictly off limits."
"Anderson," she says seriously, her small fist meeting with his shoulder, "Since when have I asked you to do something you couldn't-"
"When haven't you," he scoffs.
"True, true, but when I have I overestimated you," she tries again, this time he has no answer. Jinx may have pushed him to his limits but he couldn't remember a time that he'd failed her, "Besides, I bet if this thing was a little less pliable you could kick some serious ass with it!"
She tapped his cane twice on the floor and he snatched it from her, laughing. This is what he'd been missing these past couple of years; laughter, danger, opportunities that don't involve burning himself. His heart is beating so hard that it's all he can hear, his head filled with the sound of anticipation.
"So," she says, her voice dark, tempting, "What do you say, Anderson, you in?"
This is it, the chance of a lifetime.
A/N: This is a tiny taste of what's to come!
You guys have been so good to me!
What do you think this Jinx character is going to get Auggie into?
What's Annie going to think?
Will Auggie end up in handcuffs again? Gosh I hope so...
More to come soon!
Till then, Happy Halloween!