Note: I've been trying to put into words what I would like to see happen based on what we've seen between Annie & Auggie in the promo for 3x16. I decided that I am always better off writing it… I am solidly an Annie/Auggie shipper, but I don't think they're ready. I also love Eyal, and I hope they don't kill him off. This is woefully optimistic…
"How long have you been in Amsterdam?" Auggie asked, as she let him into the simple hotel room she was staying in.
She peered anxiously up and down the hall before closing the door. There was no one there now, but that didn't mean they weren't watching. They probably were. After answering the phone with the tracker taped to it, and listening to the threats and lures on the other end, she'd ditched the phone where she'd found it. She had almost just thrown it in the canal, but caught herself, wondering if there might be data mined from it about where Khalid—and by extension Eyal-was. The only thing she knew for sure was that she didn't want the phone on her person.
"Since this morning," she answered, bolting the door behind them.
The first thing she'd done after ditching the planted phone was to pick up another burn phone at the store and try to call Auggie. She had no idea if she would be able to reach him, or if he was still in Iraq. She couldn't quite remember when he was due to return…the days had kind of blurred together. To her great surprise—and happiness—he'd answered his phone, confused at the odd number she was calling him from. She'd caught him midway home, on a layover at a base in Germany, just before he'd boarded his flight home to the US.
"I wasn't expecting you so soon," she told him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. She took a deep breath as he squeezed her back. He had a way of calming her just by being there.
"I was able to get right on a plane. The flight is only about an hour." She nodded. "Now tell me what's going on. You were pretty cryptic on the phone."
"I had to be," she sighed, releasing him and bringing him over to sit on the couch. "It's a long story…" Starting with Barber's intel about what was supposedly Megan's body being found in Luxembourg, she told him the story of her last few days, from Luxembourg to Zurich, and on to here in Amsterdam. Of Eyal's innocence and Megan's real death. And Eyal's capture in her stead. "So we have to go get that phone, and see what you can find out."
"Probably not that much," Auggie sighed. "Khalid's been very good at covering his tracks so far."
"Yeah…" Annie stood up and started pacing around the room. She'd drawn Eyal back into this and now he was being held captive because of her. "We have to see though."
"It's nearly midnight."
"So?" she crossed her arms and stared back at him.
"I think it's a lot more dangerous to go back after the phone at night in a city we don't know, especially when you're sure Khalid is looking for you."
"But they have Eyal!" Part of her knew Auggie was right, but she couldn't just leave him.
Auggie stood up and crossed over to her. "They want you to act on that emotion," he said simply. "Khalid is trying to draw you out. Don't give him that."
He was right. "It's hard. To know your friend is in danger, and not be able to do anything."
"I know." He was standing right in front of her now. "I know."
She swallowed hard, looking up at him. She knew exactly what he was getting at. His expression was so intense. Very much like he'd been at Allen's before he'd told her he was going to Iraq. She'd been sure at that moment that that wasn't what he'd originally planned to say, and here it was again.
His knuckles trailed up her bare arm, along her shoulder to the side of her neck. She inhaled sharply. That felt kind of amazing.
"I wanna talk right now, Annie."
She nodded blankly, realizing after that he couldn't see that. His other hand was on her hip. She wasn't sure when that had gotten there. "Okay," she encouraged him, though at this point she was as nervous about whatever he was going to say as he was.
But he didn't speak. He opened his mouth several times as if he were about to, but swallowed it down each time. His thumb continued to stroke the side of her neck, and she closed her eyes, caught up in the moment. When she opened them, he seemed closer, if that was possible. She looked up at him. He looked so conflicted, a million things playing across his face. Slowly he leaned forward.
She realized what was about to happen. How had it taken her so long to realize what was about to happen?
But he hesitated again. She nearly cursed out loud. She couldn't take this maybe-no-maybe-no. Pushing herself up on her toes, she closed the distance between them, startling him for a moment as she pressed her lips to his. His lips were warm, but chapped from his visit to the desert, and he tasted like coffee. Not surprising, as he'd changed a bunch of time zones today.
The kiss was gentle, easy. It was so easy to get caught up in kissing him. It was something she'd imagined many times, though not in a while. She'd thrown herself into the mission with Simon so fully in part to forget that Auggie had broken her heart in Barcelona. Things had gotten so complicated between them after that. Their friendship was less easy.
This kiss, this was easy, but was it a good idea? Annie pulled back slightly, sinking back to flat feet, breaking the kiss. Auggie bowed his head, letting his forehead rest against hers. She shivered as he continued to brush his knuckles against the side of her neck.
"You all right?" he asked softly.
"Mmm…" she purred. She took a deep breath.
"I am," she assured him, wrapping her arms around his waist and pressing her face into his chest. "That was really nice…"
She sighed. How the hell do you express 'I really want you, but right now I'm a fucking mess'? "Right now…"
"Is a really bad time." …
She chuckled wryly. "I'm a fucking mess." He kissed the top of her head. "I need to get my feet back underneath… before…" She rolled her head back and forth on his chest. He took a deep breath and she could feel him tensing. "Hey," she pulled back and cupped his cheek. He turned his head away. "Hey…don't…" she was choking up, "really, Auggie…" She turned his head back to center and kissed his lips gently. "Six months ago," she laughed, sniffing back the tears, "If this had happened six months ago, we'd be in the bed already."
He chuckled now, relaxing some. "Six months ago, I had a girlfriend."
"You did. When did this…?" Annie asked. "I'm guessing now that this is what you've been wanting to talk about…"
"It is," he sighed. "It is."
"When?" she asked again. It had only been a few months since his engagement had ended so badly, though truly she hadn't noticed much but her own mess in the same few months.
He didn't answer right away. She continued to look up at him expectantly.
"Sitting by your hospital bed," he answered finally, his voice a bit gravelly. "Made me realize, you know, that you mean a lot to me. More than I thought."
Annie let her head rest on his chest again. She'd never—never—suspected that he might feel the same way she did…or rather the way she had…still did…oh, who knows right now… "I had a similar moment last year in Sweden-"
"Danielle said something that made me realize…"
"I had no idea."
"You had a girlfriend," she reminded him.
"Yeah…" he sighed, then something occurred to him. "Right when you got back from Sweden was when I went to Africa…"
"It was," Annie said sadly, remembering sitting in his car in the garage as he walked away.
"Hunh." His lips were resting in her hair again. "We're just a whole bunch of missed opportunities, aren't we?"
"Delayed opportunities," she told him.
"That's what I was trying to get at a minute ago…you are way too important to me—as my best friend—to fuck this up. And right now…I need to find myself again before I get into any kind of romantic—with anyone." She added that last part to assure him that her relationship with Eyal was platonic. She cared about the man as a friend, but she wasn't about to fall into bed with him either.
He nodded, it finally sinking in that this wasn't really a rejection.
She couldn't lose him. He really did mean way too much to her. As delightful as a stress-relieving romp sounded right now, she couldn't do it with Auggie. There was nothing casual about fucking your best friend-regardless of what the movies had to say on the matter—not if you were concerned with preserving the friendship at all costs.
"You should get some sleep," he told her after a minute. "I bet you haven't in a while." Very true. She was exhausted. Maybe she might actually be able to let herself sleep with him here. "And in the morning, we can track down that cell phone, and see if it can lead us to Eyal."
It sounded like a good plan, certainly more thought through than what she'd been proposing earlier. Slowly, she extricated herself from his arms and tugged his hand as she headed over to the bed.
"Uh…" he hesitated.
"You should get some sleep too," she insisted. "And you are not sleeping on the floor."
He followed her, pulling off his tie and unbuttoning the Oxford shirt he was wearing. She crawled onto the bed, and a moment later he flopped down beside her, having shed all but his undershirt and boxer briefs. He laid back, unsure how to relate to her right now, particularly in a bed, so she decided to answer the question for him. She needed the comfort and safety of his arms right now. Annie curled into his side and laid her head on his chest. He brought his arm around her waist and kissed the top of her head.
They had both figured out that they wanted something more. They just needed to get to that place at the same time now.