AN: This is a quickie crossover I've been thinking about for awhile, but finally wrote this morning. It's not deep and has no plot. Just an interesting interaction between characters that I've wanted to see and haven't found online. It's Bones/Covert Affairs, and takes place during season 6 of Bones and the hiatus of CA between seasons 1 & 2. Since both shows take place in the D.C. area, I have been really surprised that no one has done a crossover yet. I thought the Hodgela pregnancy was a prime opportunity to crossover, but since no one else did it, I'm tossing my attempt out there. Maybe someone else will take the idea and run with it. I have an inkling of an idea for a follow-up, but it's even sketchier than this one, so it may not see the light any time soon.
The Blind Man in the Park
It was a beautiful spring day, and Auggie was enjoying the weather. Annie was on her way back from an overseas mission, all his reports were done, and he had nothing urgent on his plate. So he was spending his Saturday afternoon reading in the park. His BrailleNote propped on one knee, he inhaled the scent of recently mown grass as the text of his e-book scrolled beneath his fingers. The sun warmed his back, and he could hear the various sounds of passing people, dogs, strollers, bikes and skateboards. It seemed like the whole city was out enjoying the weather after several rainy weekends in a row.
The heavy steps coming toward him alerted him that someone may be looking to share his bench. He reached out and slid his folded cane closer to his thigh, and pulled his long legs in closer to the bench so as to not be in the way of the newcomer. A low, but feminine voice addressed him.
"Are you saving this seat?" Her voice was a little breathy, as if she were winded.
"Nope. Help yourself." Auggie responded with a smile in her direction. He returned his attention to his book, hoping to avoid any awkward conversation. But the heavy sigh from the woman as she sat beside him caught his attention. "You OK?" he asked gently.
"Yeah." The woman responded, shifting on the bench with another sigh. "Just a little tired. I've been walking a lot, trying to motivate this baby to make his due date this week."
Ah, she was expecting. That would explain the heavy steps and breathlessness. "Congratulations." Auggie offered with a smile.
"You can congratulate me when I've actually succeeded at giving birth." She said, dryly. "At the moment, I just want to get it over with."
"I'm sure it will be worth it in the end."
"God, I hope so."
Something in the tone of her voice sounded off to Auggie. "You sound… worried."
This time, her voice sounded as if she were trying to smile through the words, but not really succeeding. "Not worried. Well, a little worried, I guess. Maybe a little concerned."
Auggie waited, deciding it was better not to pry and see if she wanted to share her worry or keep it to herself.
"There are… some complications. Or, potential complications. I'm just anxious to have the baby and know for sure."
"That's gotta be tough. Not knowing."
"It's nothing terrible. Just… my husband and I are carriers of this genetic disorder. Leber's congenital amaurosis."
The word seemed familiar to Auggie. "Amaurosis… vision loss?"
"Yeah." She sighed again. "There's a twenty-five percent chance the baby will be blind."
"Wow." He shut down his BrailleNote and slid it into his messenger bag, turning toward her to show he was giving her his undivided attention.
"I'm trying to say it a lot. Get used to the idea. You know?"
"But, there's a seventy-five percent chance that it won't happen, right?"
"That's true. And I think I'm still assuming that it won't. But I want to be okay either way. For the baby's sake. I'm going to be okay either way." Her voice had become firm.
Auggie paused thoughtfully before speaking. He wanted to say the right thing. But he knew better than most people that there are no right things to say when faced with something like this.
"It's okay to grieve." He said quietly.
"If it turns out that the baby is blind. It will be okay to grieve."
The woman made a sound as if to disagree, but Auggie cut her off.
"I know you want to accept your baby as he is. And that's fantastic. But it's okay to admit that you have hopes and dreams for a sighted child. You can grieve the loss of those dreams, and still love and cherish a blind baby. Then, you can move on to the hopes and dreams for your blind child."
"Shouldn't those hopes and dreams be the same?"
"Well… yes and no. Of course you can have dreams of success for your child whether he's sighted or blind. But what that success looks like will be different for a blind child. The world is oriented for sighted people. That's just the way it is. When you're blind, you're always swimming upstream. It's challenging."
Auggie wondered if she was looking at him. Was she seeing her own child as an adult? Was she evaluating him, weighing his life against "normality"?
"Is it… really hard?"
"Well, there are frustrating moments, for sure. I think it's probably harder for me, since I was dumped into this life as an adult. Kids… kids are so adaptable, you know? For them, it's just how it is. I had to learn a whole new kind of normal."
"How long has it been for you?"
"Four years. And honestly, most days I don't even think about it anymore. That probably sounds weird. But it kind of fades into the background, you know?"
There was no response from the woman. "If you're nodding, you're gonna have to say so."
"Oh!" He wondered if she would get all flustered now. Some people seemed okay talking to him, until they made a mistake like that. Then the easy conversation went all awkward.
"Duh." The woman said, her voice self-deprecating. "I'm an idiot."
"Nope, you're just not used to it. There's a learning curve."
The muffled sound of a ringtone interrupted them. Auggie heard her rummage in her bag and answer the phone.
"Hey hon…. Yeah, I'm fine. Just taking a break before walking back to the lab…. No, I'll be fine... I don't need a ride. Promise…. If I'm not back in 15, you can send Wendell to get me. But… I know, I know. I'm not overdoing it, I promise... I'll see you in a bit… Love you too."
"Someone checking up on you?" Auggie inquired.
"Yeah. My husband's freaking out a bit. But it's not like I'm on the other side of the world. He worries too much."
"Where are you headed?"
"The Jeffersonian. It's just across the park."
"Would you like some company?"
"Thanks, but really, it's not necessary."
"Listen, if my wife was out and about right before her due date, I'd appreciate someone looking out for her if I couldn't."
"You're offering to look out for me?"
"So to speak." Auggie said, with a grin.
"Come on, then. We're gonna have to hoof it if I want to get back before he sends out the search dogs."
Auggie slid the strap of his messenger bag over his head, and stood up unfolding his cane and tapping it lightly on the ground to lock it. He turned toward the young woman and offered his hand. "I'm Auggie, by the way."
"Angela." She said, shaking his hand warmly. He gripped her hand more tightly, and tugged gently. She took his arm and used it to leverage herself up off the bench.
"Thanks." She said, patting his shoulder. "I'm a bit ungainly at the moment."
"No problem." Auggie said, sweeping his cane to find the sidewalk. "Shall we?"
She hesitated, and Auggie guessed she was uncertain how to walk with him.
"Usually, if you were leading me, I would take your arm, like this." Auggie demonstrated. "But since I know where we're going, and I'm escorting you, you can take my arm, just so I don't lose you."
"OK." Angela said, draping her hand around his elbow.
"I'll be using my cane, so you don't have to worry about being responsible for spotting obstacles. But if you see anything you think I might not be aware of, feel free to give me a heads up. If it's something dangerous, just say 'stop' and stop walking. Don't jerk my arm, though, it's…"
"Yeah." He turned toward her with a smile. "You okay with this?"
Auggie swept his cane in a semi-circle, finding the shorelines of the sidewalk and squaring up. Angela followed his lead, her hand resting lightly on his bicep. He set off at a slow, but steady pace trying to sense through Angela's touch if she was wanting to go faster or take it slow.
"Let me know if the pace is okay. I can slow down or speed up, if you want."
"We should probably speed up a bit." Angela said, and he knew she was thinking of her husband waiting for her, worrying.
"Only if your feet are up to it." Auggie said, with concern. He would rather her get back late than overwork herself and end up in distress.
Auggie picked up the speed a bit, listening to her breathing for signs that she was getting tired. When she didn't speak for a while, he squeezed her arm against his side. "You doin' okay?"
"Yep. I just… didn't want to distract you." She paused. "Is that stupid?"
"No, it's actually quite thoughtful. But I can talk and walk at the same time."
"Sorry." She said, and he could hear the grimace in her voice.
"Don't worry about it. I do usually have to concentrate more than a sighted person. But since I trust you to give me a heads up if there's anything I miss, I'm fine with being a bit distracted."
He paused. Then decided it might be best if he led the conversation. "So your husband works at the Jeffersonian?"
"We both do."
"The medico-legal lab."
"Really? That's… cool."
"Glad you think so. Most people think it's morbid and gross."
"No way! I think it's fascinating. What do you do?"
"I'm a forensic artist and computer simulation specialist. My husband is an entomologist and mineralogist."
"So art, computers, bugs and dirt?"
"That pretty much sums it up."
"What about you?"
"I'm a data analyst for the state department." The cover story rolled off his tongue easily. He obviously couldn't use his Smithsonian cover, since the Smithsonian and Jeffersonian were so intimately connected as to pretty much be the same entity. The state department cover was an old one that he had used frequently in his hacker days.
"That pretty much sums me up."
"You don't seem much like a computer geek."
"Well, I've always been into computers. But at one point I was lending my computer geekery to the U.S. military. That's how I got my membership to the world of the blind and frustrated."
"Oh. That explains it then. You do remind me a little bit of a friend of mine who was a Ranger. Something in how you carry yourself."
"Huh. That's not surprising, I guess. You can take the man out of the military, but can't take the military out of the man."
"For what it's worth, I appreciate your service."
"Do you miss it?"
"The military? Sometimes, I guess. I miss the action. Being on the front lines, making a difference."
"I'm sure what you're doing for the state department makes a difference."
"Sure. But it's not the same."
"No, I guess not. I think Booth feels the same way."
"Wait… Booth? Seeley Booth?"
"Yeah, do you know him?"
"I know of him. He was… kind of a role model to a lot of the guys. I… did some training in his area of expertise."
Angela nudged his shoulder. "We know he was a sniper, if that's what you're trying to obfuscate."
Auggie grinned. "Oh good. It's not my business to out people like that. It's much easier if they're already out and proud."
"Not so sure about the proud, but yeah. We know he's a hero."
"A legend." Auggie confirmed.
"So you were a sniper?"
"No. I trained. I passed my first round of testing, then decided it wasn't for me. Too much being still and waiting. That's never been my strong suit. Although I've gotten better at it since then." He shrugged. "I went into counter-terrorism."
They walked for awhile in comfortable silence. Then Angela spoke up. "We're almost there. I don't want you to have to go too far out of your way."
"No problem." Auggie said, gesturing to the corner. "There's a metro stop just a block away. "
"Then let me introduce you to my husband. He'll be glad to know I wasn't on my own. Even if I am perfectly capable of walking back from the park."
"Sure." Auggie wondered if there was more to it than that.
"And, there he is." Angela said, interrupting Auggie's thoughts. "Waiting outside the door, probably counting down the minutes until he can send Wendell out to get me."
Auggie slid his arm from Angela's grasp, and reversed their positions so she could lead him. He held his cane diagonally across his body, not comfortable handing his safety over completely to someone who wasn't familiar with sighted-guide techniques.
He squeezed Angela's arm. "You okay with this?" He whispered.
"Uh, yeah. I'll try not to do anything stupid."
"Thanks." Auggie said with a grin.
Angela led him toward the building, and Auggie listened to the sounds bouncing off of the brick edifice. If he was remembering correctly, this entrance had some shallow stairs leading up to it.
"Stairs?" He asked.
"Yeah, about six feet ahead. There are eight of them. About four inches high, eighteen inches deep."
Auggie, turned toward her, impressed. "That's amazingly informative."
"I'm both an artist and a scientist. I'm used to being descriptive and precise."
Angela paused, and Auggie felt his cane slide into the first riser. They took the stairs slowly, accommodating both Auggie's cane, and Angela's unsteady center of balance. Once up the stairs, Angela guided him to the right, then stopped.
"Hey babe." She said. "I found a walking buddy, to make sure I got back here safe and sound."
Auggie switched his cane to his left hand, and held out his right. "Auggie Anderson."
He was rewarded with the strong grip of a man who exuded a smell that was equal parts cologne and chemical. "Jack Hodgins."
"I overheard your lovely wife on the phone trying to convince you she would be okay walking back on her own. Thought maybe having a buddy might not be a bad thing, just in case."
"Thanks. I appreciate it. I know she's trying to motivate the little guy to come sooner, but it's a little nerve-wracking to have her out of sight for too long. I'd hate to miss something important."
"I don't blame you." Auggie said, releasing Angela's arm and propping both hands on his cane. "I told her if my wife were out walking so near her due date, I would appreciate someone looking out for her in my absence. Even if the 'looking' was more like 'listening'."
Angela patted his shoulder. "You did just fine looking out for me. And now my husband's worry is assuaged. Right?"
"Yes dear." Jack responded. "Now come on in and sit down. If that baby decides to make an entrance today, you want to be well-rested."
"Good point." Angela said. "Auggie, thanks again for walking with me, and being such a good listener."
"No problem. It's a specialty of mine – listening." He reached into his messenger bag and pulled out a business card. He traced the Braille note on the edge to make sure it was the one he wanted, before handing it to Angela. "Here. This is my personal email. If you – either of you – need anything, or have any questions. Anything. Let me know."
"Thanks, Auggie. Really."
"Good luck with that due date, and congratulations again."
"Maybe once this baby comes, we'll run into each other in the park again."
"I hope so." Auggie said with a grin, sweeping his cane around him to clear his path. "See you around."
"See you around." Angela responded.
Auggie navigated the stairs quickly, but carefully, knowing the eyes of the expectant parents were still on him. He knew they were wondering what life had in store for them and their baby, and he hoped that his chance meeting with Angela had given them some encouragement. No matter what, he was sure their baby would be loved.