Disclaimer: Not mine…if it was, this season wouldn't be nearly as frustrating.
Author's Note: As no one has yet submitted a tale which travels along this particular line of thought, I felt compelled to write one. Isn't that what fan fiction is for? Spoilers for season three.
Summary: Out of all the dangers she had managed to survive during her time with the Agency…bullets, speeding cars, rogue agents, the random explosion…Annie had never imagined that this might be how she would meet her end. Her body likely never to be found…just another unnamed star carved into a marble wall.
You're just barely hanging by a thread,
You want to scream but you're down to your last breath
Lady Antebellum "One day you will"
This was not the scenario Annie had imagined when she had accepted Simon's suggestion of a romantic getaway at his private chateau. In her experience, one did not bring along a private security contingent on a 'romantic weekend'. A few she could understand given the size of his 'chateau' and the nature of his work, however she had counted over twenty between the private airstrip and the lodge. Her danger sense had slipped into overdrive, but by the time her fears were confirmed, it was too late. Lena had been correct in her assessment; Simon did know who she truly was.
Her cover had been blown.
Her body trembled violently as the wind cut through her clothes as if they were delicate silk rather than knitted wool. Still they were more suited for lounging indoors by a warm fire, and not for fleeing for one's life through knee deep snow banks and thickly wooded forests. Her coat had been lost during her escape from the chateau, a fact which she greatly lamented. She had lost all feeling in her toes a few moments earlier, her suede boots nearly useless against the wet and cold. At least she had opted for flat heels instead of stilettos…thank heaven for small miracles…not that it would save her in the long run…
No, nothing could save her now…
Annie fell hard to her knees as the toe of her boot snagged against an exposed tree root, and the world tilted violently without warning. She emptied what was left of her dinner onto the snow as the nausea revolted in response to the sudden movement. A pained hiss slipped through tightly clenched teeth, and shaking hands rose to clutch her throbbing skull as she willed the world to stop its spinning. She lowered one hand dropped to probe the base of her neck, wincing as her fingertips brushed against the tender spot where Simon's needle had plunged into her skin. Sodium pentothal, he had said, a little something to help her with the truth as it seemed to be a concept she had trouble with. From the way her body was reacting, Annie was willing to bet the syringe had contained a little more than a simple truth serum.
She breathed deep, ignoring the urge to cough as the cold air scraped at her lungs. It was like inhaling glass shards; still it was better than the alternative. She struggled to her feet, forcing her battered body forward and deeper into the woods. She had to keep moving. The high pitched whine of a snow mobile echoed through the maze of pines, and a surge of adrenaline sent her heart racing as it was joined by another. They must have picked up her path, not that it would have been any great difficulty. Her eyes narrowed with determination as she drove deeper into the thick underbrush. She couldn't…no she wouldn't let Simon catch her.
Sooner or later his men would have to forgo their search as the temperatures plunged well below freezing, and even the insulated layers of their high tech gear would be of little protection. They would find her eventually, she knew Simon wouldn't have it any other way, but she would be dead when they did. Death at the mercy of the cold seemed a welcomed alternative to a slow death at her ex's hand. At least her secrets would be safe…she owed them that much. She had let her need to prove herself cloud her judgment…blind her instincts…and now it was too late. There was no safety net. No backup. No extraction team. No one, other than Simon, even knew that she was here.
She was on her own.
A bullet whistled past her ear, striking the truck of the tree beside her and splintering the rough bark. The sharp shards sliced her blue-tinted skin; she ignored the sting as she dove behind the solid base of the pine. The move turned out to be a mistake as the soft snow gave way beneath her. She tumbled down the steep embankment, unable to slow her decent as the bottom of the deep ravine rushed up to meet her. Her landing was cushioned somewhat by the deep snow, but the force of the impact drove the breath from her lungs. Annie lay gasping, struggling to breathe let alone move. Darkness hedged at the edge of her mind, urging her to give in…to give up. She was so cold.
She never had liked the cold.
Shouts echoed from the cliff above her as shafts of bright light sliced through the dim twilight. She rolled to her side with no small effort and struggled to her feet, swaying like a drunken sailor as she moved forward. The light swept over the thick branches of the trees, which lined the ravine, and despite the danger she breathed a soft sigh of relief. The depression she had left behind in the snow bank was safely shielded beneath the thick pine boughs and away from prying eyes. The embankment was steep, very steep, and unless her pursuers had repelling gear, there was no way they would be able to follow her.
Annie pressed closer to the base of the hillside, keeping beneath the thick protection afforded by the trees as she made her way along the ravine floor and further from the shouts of the men above her. The pain returned as the adrenaline began to wane and the magnitude of her situation returned. Out of all the dangers she had managed to survive during her time with the Agency…bullets, speeding cars, rogue agents, the random explosion…she had never imagined that this might be how she would meet her end: freezing to death in an unnamed patch of wilderness buried deep within the heart of the Swiss Alps. Her body likely never to be found…
Just another unnamed star carved into a marble wall…like Jai.
She wondered what reason they would give her sister for her death. Another rock climbing mishap like Jai's? Or perhaps something more mundane, like a traffic accent on I-95. After all those happened nearly every day…didn't they? Tears pooled in her dark eyes, and she blinked them back. They would only freeze and she was cold enough. She should have listened, should have given up when she'd had the chance. She knew now that what she had taken as criticism had been sound advice from people who cared…Joan…Auggie…even Eyal. She prayed that they would forgive her…perhaps someday…especially Danielle…
The tears began to spill as she lost her fragile control. She fell to her knees, curling against the snow covered base of a tree as her body gave out. The cold of the snow felt oddly soothing against her throbbing head, cushioning her like a down blanket. She was tired…so very tired. Her eyes drifted close, and this time she let them as she focused her thoughts on her sister and her nieces…on her friends…on Auggie. A warming numbness pooled through her, easing her pain and soothing her mind. Sleep…yes, that is what she needed.
But alas it was not meant to be…
A bright light sliced through her closed eyelids and a sluggish surge of fear shot through her as she felt a warm hand settled against her throat without warning. Her brow wrinkled in confusion as something very large and warm settled over her, blocking the icy bite of the wind. She opened her eyes a slit, fearful of what she might find. The confusion only increased as they widened and she blinked owlishly as she took in the familiar features of the man looming above her.
"Am I dead?" she rasped faintly.
White teeth flashed against caramel colored skin.
"Not if I have anything to say about it." Came the amused reply as he raised a hand to brush his ear. "This is Sheppard; I've located Bo Peep. On route to extraction point."
His arms swept her upward, cradling her protectively as he began to move forward. Her own moved sluggishly to wrap around his neck as reality set in. She slumped against him as she struggled to make sense of the situation. Perhaps she was hallucinating? If she was it was a good one… he felt so real beneath her hands and warm…and so alive. Questions spun through her exhausted mind...but she decided that they could wait for now.
"I've missed you, Jai."
His soft laugh swept over her like a healing balm, as did the sound of his strong heart beat beneath her ear, where it rested against his chest.
"I've missed you too."
A/N: I may be wrong, but Jai's death seemed a little too convenient. Perhaps he is really under deep cover? Here's wishing because Annie is going to need someone to save her from the inevitable breakdown the writers are setting her up for. Thoughts?