A/N: Hello all! This here is a fanfic that was written for a Secret Santa presented by lord_spyridon! It was written for NeoNails and I was so excited when I saw that I would be writing for her. Anyways, I would like to use it as an intro to a new series that I am writing called Need to Know Basis which will be composed of moments between Auggie and Annie; some silly, some intimate, and of course the obligatory intoxicated ones. I hope that everyone will enjoy!
"And I am done with my graceless heart,
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart.
'Cause I like to keep my issues drawn.
It's always darkest before the dawn.
Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, oh whoa,
Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, oh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back,
So shake him out, oh whoa!"
-Florence + the Machine, Shake it Out
Disclaimer: I (regretfully) do not own Auggie, Annie, or Barber.
Shake it Out
The DPD was all but empty when Annie walked in, though that wasn't surprising at one in the morning. After dropping her bags at her desk she made way for her favorite office. The mission had been disastrous and she had nearly been made, a car had blown up, a chopper sent in and a naked man had hit on her in the town square. It had been a hell of a day and all she wanted to do was hit up the local tavern with her best friend. Unfortunately, said best friend was going to make that difficult as he was not in his office. Brow wrinkled, Annie scanned the bullpen in search of messy brown hair and sweater vest of some sort but came up short. He was nowhere to be found.
The computer in his office was still buzzing with life, a cup of coffee still sitting lonely on his desk. She was certain that he was still at Langley, she just didn't know where. Annie spotted Barber passing by with a stack of manila envelopes and she chased him down. Someone must have noticed Auggie trying to disappear; he wasn't as good at it as he thought he was. Somewhere down deep Annie thought she knew where he'd gone, but she would ask in hopes of being wrong.
"Hey," she called from some ten feet away, "Is Auggie still here?"
"Hm? Oh, yea," Barber answered, munching on some sort of gum, "Think I saw him heading toward the gym. I wouldn't go down there if I were you, though, he looked pretty pissed. Almost knocked down one of the techies on his way."
"Thanks, Barber," she sighed, retracing her steps to head back to the gym.
"Hey Annie," he called as she disappeared around the corner, "Welcome back."
"Thank you Barber," she smiled tiredly, peeking her head around the corner.
Before she even made it to the gym she could hear the repercussions of the day's events; the solid hits to the heavy bag, the satisfied expressions of a frustrated man. It all made her chest ache but she knew as soon as it happened that he would blame himself. Still, there had been nothing that he could have done that would have made any difference. As she stepped into the gym she could see him going at the heavy bag like his life was on the line – or was it hers?
With skill that she'd tried but failed to master, Auggie threw punches and kicks and elbows in combinations that made Annie dizzy. In her mind she tried to imagine how incredible he must have been when he could see – but it was impossible because somewhere in her mind she had already decided that he was perfect. Gently she closed the door behind her and took a few steps inside, he remained unaware of her presence and she didn't think it necessary to bring light to herself. It seemed that he had some anger built up and she didn't want to be caught in the middle of its release.
After one last incredible hit that sent the bag flying, Auggie caught the punching bag and leaned his forehead against the leather, his eyes closing as he took several deep breaths.
"Ruff day," she said timidly, steadily making her way to him.
"Heh," he turned his head toward her slightly, his eyes still closed and breathing heavy, "I think I should be asking you that very question."
"Eh, you know me and my infamous disaster missions," Annie giggled, trying to rid the room of the terribly heavy atmosphere. "I don't think it's been a w-"
"I'm resigning," he said shortly, finally looking up towards her, his eye contact so close to perfect that it gave her chills.
"No you're not," she snorted after a moment's delay.
There was a sort of firm texture to her voice, like if she spoke the words it wouldn't be true. And yet there was something so determined about him, as though he'd already made up his mind. Still, she wouldn't have it. He wasn't going to leave her, not again. He shook his head and rolled his eyes, taking the short walk between the heavy bag and the bench. Annie took the opportunity to approach him, her heart pounding wildly in her chest. Was he serious?
"Auggie, you're not resigning," though it was meant to be a statement it came out as more of a question, "Not over one mission-"
"I should, Annie," he countered, spinning around to face her and forcing her to take a step back for the closeness, "And what does it matter if it's just one mission, this is your life we're talking about here! It takes one mistake and that's it!"
The sound of his voice bounced off the walls like it was trying to prove to her how right he was. It frightened her, the entire situation, because she'd never seen him like that, so- hopeless. There was no doubt that she could have died that day but even if she'd come close she would never have dreamed of blaming Auggie.
"It's not fair for you to have your life placed in my hands," he asserted, "You at least deserve to have someone watching out for you who can still function when a damn keyboard goes out-"
"That was not your fault-"
"-No but if I could see it wouldn't have mattered."
It was true. There was nothing she could contest in his statement, despite the fact that she desperately wanted to. During a critical part of the mission, the braille function in Auggie's keyboard had gone out, leaving Auggie totally blind as to an escape route for Annie. He'd been alone and they lost time while he called for someone to give her direction. If Barber hadn't been there, she couldn't honestly say what would have happened. And from there, the mission went downhill.
With visible reluctance, Auggie snatched his laser cane and water bottle from the bench.
"Dammit," he muttered under his breath as he clicked on his cane. He made for the door but Annie was hot on his tail.
"Don't you realize how many times you've saved my ass, Anderson," she said to him, having to keep her voice in check so that she wouldn't yell. "I can't even count with all my fingers and toes the times you've kept me alive but those just don't count do they?"
"How many times do I have to tell you," Auggie rounds on her, "It isn't one mission, Walker. I have put your life in danger every time I have been your handler. And it's just not fair. I'd be better off as computer security, at least I'm not putting anyone at risk-"
"No! You've got to shake this off," Annie argued, putting her hands on his shoulders and feeling especially small in her sneakered feet, "I trust you, Auggie, and honestly, if it had been anyone else there on my first day, I don't think I'd even have lasted the week. I'm not scared, August Anderson, so what the hell are you so afraid of?"
The cold, flat look in his eyes was replaced with something that Annie couldn't name but if she had to she would say it was epiphany.
"You," he managed, nearly looking her in the eye with an intensity she hadn't seen in him before, "I'm afraid of losing you. And if I lose you because of me- because of what I can't do, then I- I couldn't-"
He didn't even get to finish his sentence before she was on him. If you were to ask her later, she wouldn't be able to tell you what came over her. Something in his words let something lose inside of her, wild and free. It was just the confirmation she didn't know she needed for the past several months.
Annie's hands tangled in his damp, curling hair allowing her to pull her mouth to his and his to hers. At first there was resistance, surprise, but she just knew that when their lips met all else would be forgotten. As the heat of their mouths slid through their bodies, Auggie's free hand slid around her waist, his other hand dropping his cane and water bottle to the floor, unnecessary items in such a situation.
For several long minutes they explored one another for the first time, hands and tongues and lips roaming forbidden territory. Eyes closed, they were the only ones on the planet and no one else existed. All they needed was each other. At some point, she couldn't say when, Annie backed Auggie up against the wall, her fingers toying with the hem of his shirt as his hands travelled the contours of her back, seeing things his eyes never had. They were hungry for one another, desperate for this closeness and yet it didn't seem close enough.
Auggie slipped his hand beneath Annie's shirt and received the hiccup of surprise in return, but she didn't resist. He liked the way her skin was hot against his and her eyelashes batted against his cheeks and he couldn't help but smile. Finally the connection of mouths just wasn't enough, they needed more and Annie slipped both hands beneath Auggie's shirt, pulling it above his-
The voice belonged to Barber and both suddenly remembered that they weren't alone in an apartment but standing in a hallway at Langley. The two whipped their heads around and Annie gazed with wide eyes at the smirking techie.
"Sorry, I was just coming to check on you two, you know, make sure that Augs here hadn't strangled anyone but whoa," he rambled at his usual garbled speed, "I can come back later if I'm interrupting something. I mean is this a bad time?"
"Uh-" Annie fumbled for words, still hyper aware of Auggie's hand resting low on her back, the heat of it driving her nuts, "We're fine."
"Right, okay, I mean everything sure looks fine but I'm just asking," he grinned and Annie blushed, her skin on fire.
"Get out of here, Barber," Auggie said when Barber's retreating footsteps remained wishful thinking, "Or I won't be giving you that vacation day that you asked for."
"Righto boss," he said, finally fleeing the scene of brutally murdered intimacy.
"Oh and Barber," Auggie called, "Make sure you tell no one what you saw here. That is, unless you're contemplating retirement."
Barber's footsteps disappeared almost instantly, leaving Auggie and Annie to pick up the pieces. For a prolonged period of time there was only silence and as Annie watched Auggie's features he wished that he could do the same. Finally he couldn't take it anymore, he needed to hear her voice, to have a gateway into her thoughts.
"So, what was that for," he asked with a failed attempt at humor.
"Well, you were about to go all Edward Cullen on me," she blushed, trying to lighten the mood.
"Who," he asked, his brow scrunched in obvious confusion.
"Nothing, never mind," she answered quickly, "So, are you still resigning?"
"That depends," he grinned wolfishly, "If I say yes will you do that again?"
Annie blushed an even deeper red and punched him in the shoulder before shoving his cane and water bottle into his hands.
"You'll have to stick around long enough to find out, Anderson," she laughed and headed down the hallway.
He smiled as he followed after her. He would do just that.