A/N: I don't own Covert Affairs. And I don't have a beta, so all mistakes are mine.
They lock her on a black hole where there's no hint of light or hope. Her hands still smell like gunpowder and in her throat there's a lump instead of the relief she expected to find after shooting Lena. She tries to keep track of time, but it's a hard thing to do when the world is pitch-black and there's no routine for her to hold on to. They feed her sporadically; just enough to keep her alive. They never speak with her; barely acknowledge her existence at all. Solitude starts to creep from the silence and she tries to keep her mind busy in order not to lose it. Whenever she hears footsteps outside her cell or muffled sounds that leak through the cracks of the walls, she thinks of Auggie.
This must be what it feels like to live in darkness.
She hears his voice. It starts like a distant sound, like he's miles away. She hears his voice and she must be dreaming, doesn't know for sure what is reality and what's not, doesn't know how long have been since she escaped and found refuge in the middle of the woods, on a black hole that's not much different from the one where she was locked in the first place. Could be days, could be hours since she gave everything she had in one last attempt to escape from hell. And she did it. Joan would be proud of her. The one thing is: she's too weak to move forward now, to move at all, no strength left in her body. So she crawls into a hole, prays that the Russians won't find her. And that Auggie will.
She hears his voice and she's not sure if this is the end or a new beginning. She doesn't care much either. She's just happy to have him by her side in whatever way she can.
Annie wakes up in a hospital bed. Lately, it has been happening a lot, so she immediately recognizes her surroundings. Her mouth is dry, feels like it's stuffed with cotton and when she tries to move everything hurts. There's also this heaviness on top of her legs that she can't quite identify. Blinking one, three times, her eyes adjusting to the bright lights of the room, she manages to recognize a mass of brown hair pointing in all directions. A glimpse of a smile threatens to appear but her chapped lips get in the way and she ends up moaning in pain. The slightest sound is enough to wake Auggie up from his slumber.
"Annie?" He asks hopefully and she swallows tears just by the sound of it.
This time is real.
"Hey," She manages to say even though her voice is raspy from the lack of use. The effort is worthy though, when she's rewarded with a full smile from him.
"Annie Walker," He states with wonder and his voice cracks giving away a full spectrum of the emotion that menaces to overcome him. Not to her surprise, he swallows it with humor. "We have to stop meeting like this."
This time she weeps a little, because for one moment, a moment too long, she actually believed that she would never see this face again. The laughter that escapes from her lips is followed by another wave of pain and a whimper. "Ouch."
"What is it?" He asks completely serious, smiles long forgotten. "Do you want me to call the doctors?" He's already getting up, looking for the emergency switch. She stops him in the middle of it, by grabbing his hand.
"My lips are dry." Her voice is barely a whisper. "Occupational hazard I believe." Her attempt to lighten up the mood has no impact and Auggie immediately looks for the plastic tray and finds a plastic bottle with water and a straw.
"Here." He says softly and with a touch light as feather, his hands slowly travel all the way through her arm and shoulder, to her face where his trembling fingers lightly reach for her lips, guiding the straw into her mouth.
"Thanks." She replies simply once she's done and one simple word may and may not hold the world to its meaning.
The recovery is slower, and Annie thinks her body may be giving in, given all the strokes taken recently. This time, Auggie watches her closely – even if not literally – and the first sign that something has somehow shifted in their dynamics is the way he refuses to let her out of his sight (again, figuratively speaking). That's how Annie ends up living at his apartment after being released from the hospital.
He doesn't ask her, doesn't even acknowledge her as part of the decision. He simply gives the taxi driver the directions and at first she's too taken aback to make any sort of objection. And when she does bring the subject up, a few minutes after he puts her suitcase in his room and announces that he will be taking the couch, it doesn't go exactly well.
He doesn't answer at first, and his silence should have been the sign that a storm was coming. When he does find his voice, it's not loud, it's not aggressive.
It's so much worse.
It's raw and heavy.
And so very broken.
"Annie, the last few months have been... I don't think there's actually a word for it." He has his back to her, and the only thing she can see from where she's standing is the way his posture is guarded, like he's physically restraining himself. "I had your back, fought for you when you weren't able to speak for yourself. I held hand your hand when the only sound on the room was from the machines, cos you could barely breathe on your own. And when you woke up, I helped you to stand again on your feet just to see you take the same road and almost get yourself killed once again. I let you go two times too many and if you think that there's a chance in hell I'll do it again, you better think again."
He leaves, slamming the door on his way out, before giving a chance for Annie to say something, not that she would know what to say, his words still ringing in her ears giving the heaviness of it. And when he comes back, hours later, his body damp with sweat from all the running, she has the table set and dinner waiting for him. It's nothing much, just some take-out and a couple glasses of wine that the doctor definitely didn't prescribe, but she doesn't bring up the subject again and there's Mingus playing on the background – an apology by itself.
Maybe this time, the stroke was too hard on him as well.
Living together is too easy and Annie is not sure why that is. She finds herself at loss of words once she's on the phone with her sister, one afternoon.
"So how are things between you and Auggie?" Bless Danielle. The woman always had the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. Annie would normally consider it endearing if only the subject in question was any other. In this case, particularly, her trait is borderline exasperating.
"Good." She says nonchalantly.
"Naked good?" This time, Annie has to actually restrain herself in order not to let out a frustrated sigh.
"Danielle," She tries her best to sound stern. "This is the last time I'll say it. Auggie and I are only friends."
"Annie… Sweetie, I'm only saying this for your own good. You have been to hell and back on the last months, I can tell even without you sharing the details. I could see it in your eyes, last time I visited you. Now you have this guy, who is devoted to you, loyal, a gentleman and – let's not forget – a hunk. And you are best friends and living together, so give me one good plausible reason not to go there."
Annie doesn't reply, doesn't find the words. And later, after Auggie arrives from work and is busy cooking dinner for both of them, she can't help but think that maybe the reason why she can't find an answer is because there isn't one.
The credits are rolling on the screen and with a small smile Annie notices that Auggie is dozing on the other end of the couch, her feet on his lap.
It's nothing special, a recurring scene ever since she moved in with him. They watch movies together, well, she watches and he makes jokes during the whole thing until exhaustion hits him hard and then she's on her own.
It's such an ordinary moment, he's deeply asleep, completely unaware of her eyes over him, let alone her thoughts, and yet, Annie finds herself overwhelmed by the strength of her feelings for him.
She pokes him lightly on the ribs and then whispers close to his ear, a nervous smile dancing on her lips in anticipation.
"Auggie, come on, it's time."
He is quite pliable in this state of semi-consciousness, something that Annie has learned recently, so he's already in the room, at the end of the bed, when he starts making questions.
"Wait," He states drowsily, his eyelids heavy with sleep. "If I'm taking the bed, where are you going to sleep?"
"Well actually, I was thinking that maybe you wouldn't mind making me company tonight." Annie suggests innocently, biting a smirk as she waits for the weight of her words to sink.
It's almost funny to watch the myriad of emotions mirrored by his expression in a matter of seconds. Annie thinks he must be really taken aback if he's not able to mask his feelings with his trained skills, and finds herself actually amused by it.
He blinks one, three times, before being able to say something, only to be interrupted by the sudden realization of Annie's proximity.
"I…" He swallows nervously. Then her hands are exploring the ends of his t-shirt only to find the bare skin of his stomach and his voice is shattered by a sudden intake of breath. "I think I'd like that."
"Good." She says sweetly and her voice is the last thing he hears before losing himself in her lips.
Later, she wakes up in the middle of the night, his words echoing in her head, memories of a distant past, while her heart skips a beat inside her chest and his hand rests above the scars that are left.
I need you to come home. And this isn't the Agency calling, and I'm not Joan. There are things I need to say to you… face to face… important things. Please.
She looks to her side and even in the darkness of the night she can see the contours of his body, can feel the weight of him, lying next to her. With eyes closed she breathes in the scent of him and stretches her body close enough to melt into his warmth once again.
They never actually talked about it, that moment lost between the chain of events that lead from her rescue in Russia to this very moment.
Then again, thinking about their history, exchange of words has always been a courtesy for outsiders and never really a requirement for the two of them.
The important things have been said, long before words even existed.