HERE IT IS! THE LAST AND FINAL CHAPTER OF CHECKMATE! ENJOY!
And so it began.
Auggie had Ben's right arm locked with his left. Which he thought worked better for him as they were both right handed. But even then he didn't let his guard down. Ben was one of the best. He heard the rumors flutter in the agency before his tour in Iraq. Ben was one of the best in the business. But even then, Auggie wasn't going to give up so easily. He wasn't going to let Ben hurt Annie again.
"You're in over your head," Ben growled.
He started to veer right to pull out of Auggie's grip. His left hand hooked towards Auggie's left shoulder. Feeling the pulsing of his opponent's movement, Auggie blocked with his right and locked both their hands together.
"Really? I'm not the one stalking the girl I dumped and trying to murder her boyfriend which, by the way, also works for the Agency." Auggie than pushed Ben's hand down and chanced a punch to the stomach. He made direct contact.
Ben's response was only a grunt as the wind came out of him faster than words. Auggie repeated this a couple more times while making verbal jabs at Ben.
Auggie knew he was risking a lot by pissing Ben off. But the way he saw it in their earlier conversation, it made him lose control. And that was something he could use to his advantage.
His train of thought was cut short when he felt a blow by his ribs. It hurt. But not enough to loosen his iron grip. He could hear Annie gasp in the nearby distance.
"I'm not going to lose to a blind pencil pusher," Ben spat. He took another blow to the ribcage.
Auggie reciprocated with three quick, repetitive blows to Ben's stomach. Then another in what he thought was Ben's shoulder, only to have it hit Ben's left jaw.
"Close enough." Auggie thought.
Suddenly he felt Ben sudden veer left and loosen his grip. A second later Ben's fist contacted the back of Auggie's elbow. Auggie grunted and clenched his teeth at the pain. It didn't break it. But it forced him to release Ben and allowed him to slip a few feet away.
"That's not good." Auggie thought as he listened very closely.
The fact that the rain from the thunderstorms hadn't yet cease wasn't helping. But the thunder was gone. But even so, they were in a parking garage. Ben's steps would echo a moment and he would be on top of Auggie before he realized his location.
"No, I can't think like that. Annie needs me. I have to win." He closed his already blind eyes and listened even harder. The rain had eased a little. He could almost hear…
POW! He felt another blow to his stomach. He quickly back stepped as he felt the swooshes of Ben missing punches.
"If I can just tire him out…." Auggie began to side step and back step. All the while he held his hands up in a boxing pose he learned in his Army days.
When he felt a missed swish come close, he would chance a hit and would make direct contact. A chest or rib here, a stomach or arm there. This continued on for a while. Ben would occasionally make a hit. But nothing like the damage Auggie had already given him. Annie watched from a close distance. Frozen in place.
"I can't believe they're doing this over me." Both Jai and Eyal couldn't help but smile. Eyal spoke first.
"What? You never had two suitors challenge each other for your affections?" Annie looked at him.
"No. Or if they did, I never heard of it." Jai then spoke.
"Annie, there's not much you can do. Auggie wants to show Ben that you are not to be treated in the way that he did. That you deserve to be treated with respect. And to make his point."
"And what point is that?" the female agent looked at him. He looked back at her.
"To show Ben that he is good enough for you." Annie nodded at this. Then her eyes went back to Auggie. He was dancing around Ben and landing punches when Ben barely grazed him.
"Getting sloppy, aren't you Mercer?" Auggie coaxed. A spit on the ground was heard near his right. He took a step to the back and left.
"Not as sloppy as you think."
Before Auggie could react he felt himself in a headlock from his left. Ben had tricked him. With his head low near Ben's left, he felt a series of blows go towards his left abdomen as he also felt himself moving backwards. Suddenly, he felt himself crash into a wall. Hard.
A heavy blow to the back of his head made his head swim for a moment until he felt Ben's hand wrapped around his throat. It was a choking grip, making it suddenly much harder to breath. He also felt his head being bashed back into wall again. And again.
Auggie thought fast. If he didn't do something soon, Ben would either bash his brains out or choke him to death in a matter of minutes. He felt Ben's breath as he whispered into Auggie's ear.
"Annie is MINE." He then realized how close Ben was to him.
Quickly, he wrapped his hands on Ben's shoulders, Auggie kneed him in the nether regions and quickly swung him into the wall with all of his strength. Ben, unaware of the attack, released Auggie's throat.
Auggie quickly followed his opponent and pinned him to the wall; releasing several heavy blows of his own. When Ben tried to reciprocate and push away from the wall, Auggie dodged and unleashed several more heavy blows to Ben's ribs and sides.
As Ben made another, this time successful, push to break away from the wall; Auggie took several steps back to give him and Ben some distance.
At that moment, Auggie felt the world go silent and still.
He couldn't hear the rain. He couldn't hear gasping from the beautiful blonde's throat. He couldn't hear anything, except the sound of his own breathing mixed with Ben Mercer's.
Both men were worn down, panting for much needed oxygen. A bead of sweat started to trinkle down the side of Auggie's face. Another forming at his brow. His right arm ghosted over his left side to access the severity of the damage he had just received.
It felt like this fight went on for hours and days rather that minutes. He felt the soreness, exhaustion, and pain emanating from his body. But he wasn't going to give up.
"Annie is MINE." Ben's words swirled around in his throbbing head for a moment. He couldn't give up.
"Annie is MINE." He felt his anger rise. He wouldn't give up.
"Annie is MINE." Not now.
"Annie is MINE." Annie? Owned by Ben? Not EVER.
"Annie will NEVER be yours. Not EVER." Auggie declared.
As he spoke, he suddenly grew in height as he stood. His body was ignored of its calls for agony as he straightened himself to his full height. Annie's eyes widened as she saw what stood before her. Jai only grinned a knowing smile. Gone was the easy-going, blind Head of Tech Ops. The soldier had awoken.
The old spy had reappeared. His back was straight. His body in full height and stance. The fire and knowledge of a veteran spy that had years of CIA experience and Special Forces training tucked under his belt stood before them. Before Ben Mercer.
Auggie spoke again. His voice was clear and loud with authority. There was no backing out with him. Say the wrong thing and you might as well kiss your rear goodbye. His eyes glared at Ben's direction; as if he saw through to the man's soul.
"Ben Mercer, you are not fit to be in Annie Walker's life. You ruined your opportunity. And I will not allow you to hurt her again."
Ben didn't seem amused. But he did seem to be shaken by this new attitude his opponent now carried. But he wasn't going to admit that.
"And what makes you think you are?" He quietly approached.
"For starters, I treat her with the respect that she deserves," Auggie spat. He listened at Ben's approach. He could almost hear each and every step Ben made.
And what happened afterward, no one truly knows. Not even Auggie.
Some say its only in fairy tales or legends, but it's been known that true love can do things to a man who fights for it.
Especially if it's someone like August Anderson.
"I respect and value her opinions. I trust her instincts…."
As Ben came in with another punch, Auggie blocked it perfectly and landed a perfect punch on Ben's left jaw.
"I treat her equally. I don't place her on a pedestal or as a decoration…"
And with each line he spoke, Auggie would deflect and reciprocate a perfect hit on Ben's body every time.
"I also am her friend, her confidant, her rock, and her partner…"
"I never take her for granted. I never ask her for things that I know I can not have…"
"I only ask for her love and acceptance of who I am…And what I am…"
"I love her, and I'll be damned if I see her get hurt again by ANYONE…especially YOU."
And with that, Auggie pulled one last three-punch combo attack that left Ben staggering back a couple feet. And with one last heavy kick in the chest, Ben fell backwards after a few more stumbling steps. He never got up.
The man in question turned to his right to feel a sudden embrace wrapped around his aching body. He stiffened at a wince but slowly relaxed slightly enough to return the embrace. He could hear her sniffle and it made his heart swell in response, despite his aching chest. A smile spread across his face as he buried his face into her honey blonde locks, inhaling her tangy, sweet citrus scent.
"See Annie? I told you…" He whispered as she pulled away.
"Good fight there, Anderson." Jai spoke as his cell began to ring. Before another word escaped his lips he felt a hard hit in his arm.
"Ow! What was-" Annie cut him off.
"Don't you ever scare me like that again, August Anderson!" He put his hands up in mock surrender.
"Okay, look, I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't have taken him on. But-" Again, Annie had cut him off.
But this time she crashed her lips onto his, pulling him into a deep, passionate kiss; which he so gladly accepted. They melted into it. They hands gingerly searching for more.
"Annie," they quickly parted as Annie faced Eyal standing over the unconscious Ben, "What do you want me to do with him?"
"Whatever you think is right, Eyal. I trust you." He nodded at the assessment and opened his cell to make a call of his own.
Minutes later a few Israeli men appeared along side him and began to lift up the unconscious agent. Annie watched until she noticed a look on Auggie's face.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
"You don't care what happens to him?" She glanced back at Ben as his face came into sight. She felt nothing. No pity, no remorse, no compassion, nothing.
"No." She said simply. She saw the look on Auggie's face showing he was somewhat unconvinced.
"I'm done being his occasional interest. I need someone who's willing to always be there for me, no matter what." She spoke with truth and conviction in her voice. Auggie nodded.
"And with what you said, about what you give me, it's exactly what I want. And I do love and accept you and everything that makes you who you are. I love you, Auggie."
Auggie looked back at what was her right shoulder. He felt his hands search for her neck as he moved them towards the back of her head, interlacing his fingers with her blond, curly locks. He had hoped he held her close enough as he spoke.
"And I meant every word. If I had a choice between you and my sight coming back, I'd pick you every single time. I love you, Annie."
And with that he pulled her in for another sweet and passionate kiss. But it came out short as a throat cleared nearby. It was Jai.
"I just finished talking to Joan. She says you both can have a few extra days off," he glanced out into the evening air, "looks like the storm has passed. You should head back to the hotel and get some rest. We'll finish up here."
With little argument from a sore Auggie, Annie took them back to the hotel she and Auggie stayed at the previous night. To say the least it was more than restful.
~*Some Time Later*~
Annie walked into the CIA sporting her usual work attire.
Louboutin heels, two piece pencil skirt suit, and a buttoned blouse.
She carried a red folder with a grip that almost scared people. She made her way up to the seventh floor, straight to Arthur Campbell's office.
Without a word to the receptionist, Annie walked into the DCS' office without knocking. Joan was there. Both were neither surprised, but were somewhat off guard to her appearance.
"Annie, I thought you had time off." Joan spoke calmly.
Annie simply brushed it off.
"I had to end it early."
"Well, Annie, what can I do for you?" The DCS gestured for Annie to take a seat. She simply stayed standing.
"I want to discuss the Ben Mercer issue."
"And what issue would that be?" The CIA legend queried. Here Annie passed the folder.
"Other than still being a rogue operative, Mercer has done several activities that warrant him as a double agent. Also-"
"Why don't we get to the point? Why are you bringing this all to me?" Annie looked at her bosses. She had enough of playing nice. She might as well be honest.
"Honestly, Director, I'm done being an expendable toy and babysitter for Ben Mercer. I don't care who else in the seventh floor thinks otherwise, I'm done. If they want Ben Mercer, they can go get him themselves." Joan moved her glance from Annie to her husband. Arthur looked at the two blondes and heaved a sigh.
"I can't argue with that. You are a very good agent. And I'd hate to think of losing you just because the other seventh floor members think you can bring Ben back."
"I'm not. As far as Ben and me. We're done, so if you please put in writing that I am not to be put on another assignment with any connection to Ben Mercer, I'll be more than happy to excuse myself back to work."
"Excuse me?" Annie tapped the desk.
"In writing." Arthur chanced a glance at his wife. Joan simply shrugged.
"Better do it Arthur." And with that, the meeting ended.
As Annie made her way back towards the DPD she ran into Jai coming out of his office.
"We missed you at Allen's last Friday," he stated casually.
"I had just got back from a mission."
"And what better way to unwind from work then a drink at the tavern?" he added. She smiled at him as she pushed through the double glass doors.
"Sorry, I also had other things going on." She stated as she looked up at an empty chair inside a glass office. A ghost of a smile hit the corner of her mouth.
"Maybe you can attend tonight?"
"Jai, Annie, my office." Annie looked up at a retreating Joan.
"Time to work." Jai stated with a smile as they went up to the DPD Director's office.
As Annie walked in, she saw a sight to behold.
There was Auggie, asleep on Joan's couch. It was more adorable than when she saw him at the hospital after she was poisoned during her mission to defer a Chinese asset from his country. It took everything she had not to laugh.
She remembered Auggie telling her he had to come in and stay late for another agent on a mission that was compromised. But she now saw it wasn't the only thing he was doing. Around him were some small pieces of paper and there, in the center of the coffee table, was a small parcel.
It was wrapped nicely in the same paper that littered the little seating area of Joan's otherwise spotless office.
Stu, and Barber were also present. And from the looks of them it seemed like they had a long night themselves.
Barber looked up to see Annie observing the area and once her eyes fell on him he pointed to Auggie. There was no way he would explain this without Auggie getting on him.
Joan saw the exchange and with a knowing smile moved over to Auggie. She gave Annie a wink and a single finger over her lips to convey her message. Annie simply nodded.
With her most clear and loudest voice of authority, Joan shouted, "August Anderson!"
To say Auggie was surprised was a mild understatement. Not hearing that tone since his Army days, Auggie jerked up in surprise.
But because of his precarious position on the couch, he ended up falling down onto the carpet with a fairly loud thud. There was a series of snickers from Jai and the Tech guys while Annie placed a hand over her mouth in order to prevent her gasp of mortification and laughter.
"Jesus, Joan!" Auggie winced as he staggered to his feet. He had changed his shirt earlier that morning with a spare from his locker. But the rest of his clothes were fairly disheveled. Joan paid no attention.
"The next time you plan on doing arts and crafts in my office, August, I expect it to be clean and ALL the scraps be placed in a proper wastebasket." The sudden look of guilt and mortification shown on Auggie's face was more than transparent.
"I am so, sorry Joan. I-I…"
"Save it, Anderson. I expect this picked up as soon as you give Annie the gift you've been trying so hard to surprise her with." Auggie froze. After tilting his head around and having the look of recognition as his head reached Annie's direction he heaved a sigh.
"That wasn't nice, Joan." He said finally as he tried to straighten his clothes so he looked more presentable. Joan only smudged a smirk.
"You should have thought of that when you brought this mess and your team in my office uninvited last night."
"Touche," he mumbled with a mock salute. Joan turned to Annie.
"When you and Auggie are done, Annie, I need you back here immediately." Annie nodded in response as Auggie started coming towards her with his gift in hand. From his chair in the corner, Stu shouted out to his boss.
"Don't worry, Augs, we got this." Auggie gave him the thumbs up as he came closer to Annie. When she was within reach, Annie brushed her hand into his. He took it as he kept moving along. Annie noticed the whole time they walked how his other hand that was holding the parcel was shaking.
When they were back in his office, Auggie closed the doors and led her to a small corner of Tech Ops where almost no one could see them. The corner was partially hidden behind a few filing cabinets and a shelf covered in gadgets. There was a couch against the wall that gave some of the members a place to crash over long missions. It wasn't the most private of places. But for the purpose he had, Auggie figured it was the next best thing to home.
"Auggie, whats wro-" Annie never finished her sentenced as his lips crashed into hers.
They were feeding off each other in seconds. The gift he had was already on the couch, forgotten. When their moment easing up to a slow, sweet kiss, Annie took a moment to part them to see what was bothering her boyfriend. He began in a calm, yet nervous voice.
"Annie, I love you. I have loved you since I met you. Since the moment I heard your kitten heels, smelt your wonderful perfume, and most definitely, when you asked me about my headphones rather than how I became blind. I was just blind to it and I had to nearly lose you to realize what you were to me."
"Annie, let me finish. You never can imagine how alive I've felt since I've met you. You've brought me back into the field, you've made me feel like I can see again, and you never treated me any different than anyone else. And that, Annie Walker, is what I love about you." As he spoke, Auggie reached for his gift on the couch and presented it to her.
"Happy Anniversary, Annie."
"But, Auggie, we've only been going out-"
"For three months, I know. And six days and," he checked his watch as he spoke, "...four hours. But today marks the anniversary when you were sworn into the CIA, and when we first met. The anniversary where you came and changed my life." She stood there, with gift in hand, in a moment of awe.
"Auggie…I-I don't know what to say." He made a small smile as he looked over her left shoulder.
"You don't have to right now, just open your present." And he listened as he heard the gentle tearing of the little package he labored in preparing for her. And he allowed his smile to widen as her heard a gentle clink land in her hands.
"Before you say anything it isn't a car. It is a house. A buddy of mine is in the realtor business and he mentioned about a small ranch house he was trying to sell near Georgetown. It's right in the middle of where you and I live. I've checked it out, it's open so I can get around, my lease at the apartment will be up a few months, and he says its ours if we want it. So, if you would like to look at it with me, I can arrange a meeting after work before dinner."
"Oh my gosh, Auggie!" She sprang into his arms with a squeal.
"That," he thought, "went much better than I expected."
But then Annie separated herself too quickly as she asked, "So, you're sure? You're ready for this? I know I may not be the most tidiest of people, but I'm willing to try harder, it's just-" He laid a finger over her lips, silencing her.
"Yes, Annie, I'm sure about this. I'm sure about us. More sure than I've been on anything else in my entire life." And with another kiss he won his argument.
"Annie!" Joan called out from her loft in the DPD offices.
"Oh shit! I got to go. But, yes. As soon as we're done with this mission, my answer is yes." And he heard her heels click away hastily out of his office.
The keys she left with him for safe keeping. But his grin only grew. He already knew the day's assignment was a simple brush pass right here in DC. She'd be finished in plenty of time. He chuckled to himself as he sat in the hidden alcove's couch.
"Good, then proposing at our new, already bought, house tonight will be even easier."
Reaching into his back pocket and revealing a little, black velvet box, he let his thoughts wander.
Opening it to reveal a diamond on a gold band. It shined brightly on its own, not needing any help from the three accent stones on each side. The metal twisted in a way that its colors looked like it was made from two rather than one.
And Auggie could already imagine how it would look and feel on her hand as he let his last thought slip through his lips.
"Because I want you-No, I NEED you in my life Annie Walker."
The ring was found on the Zales website. It warrants between two to three thousand dollars, depending on the diamond. This particular ring is 1 CT.