"I'm glad we're having this talk..."

Auggie gave her one of his bright little-boy grins, but she only had a moment to take it in before he leaned down and kissed her again. Everything focused down to the space occupied by their bodies. There was no Joan, no CIA, nothing else in the world but the sound of their breath and the comfortable space against his chest where she fit so perfectly.

His hands travelled smoothly over her back and up into her hair, while she wrapped her arms around his neck. Everything was gentle and sweet, as fairy tale and soft-focus as her coma dream had been, right up until he made a contented noise in the back of his throat... The sound sent Annie's heart racing so hard she could hear it rushing through her ears. Her hands clenched in his jacket and she pressed herself tighter against him. His response was instant, his arm tightened around her waist and his fingers curling in her hair.

Eventually they broke apart for breath. Annie kept her eyes closed, and sighed happily when he leaned forward and pressed his forehead against hers. She could sense him smiling without her eyes. "You're so articulate," she breathed and felt him chuckling.

"You're holding your own." He kissed thee tip of her nose gently. "I'm caught somewhere between wanting to be a gentleman and... not."

Annie laughed and pecked his lips lightly. "Is that your way of asking to stay...?"

"Maybe...?"

She cupped his face gently and her turned his cheek into her palm so he could kiss the inside of her wrist. "Auggie, are you nervous?" she ask jokingly, only to gaze up at his serious face when his arms tightened around her again. "Auggie?"

"I feel like I've been waiting for this... since the beginning, so yeah. Maybe. A little." He took a deep breath and let it out in a rush. "I've made mistakes, and I should have... had this talk, a long time ago. Now, I just wanna get this right..."

"Auggie," Annie gently pushed his jacket off his shoulders and smiled as a slow blush rose up his neck and spread sweetly over his cheeks. "You've talked me through gunfights, and man hunts, and tricky extractions... damnit!" his tie was stubbornly refusing to come undone.

"Tricky extraction?"

"Shut up... ungh, this is not going as smoothly as I'd hoped." She let her head fall forward to thunk dully on his shoulder.

"Just... just tell me I don't have to leave." He folded his arms around her and inhaled the scent of her hair while she sighed and nuzzled his neck.

"Don't leave." She closed her eyes and relaxed for what felt like the first time in months. "Everything's been so crazy for so long... I don't even remember the last time I felt like I could just stop. Like I could sleep and not worry about anything... like everything was OK."

"It might be nice if you could go a couple of weeks without scaring the crap out of me... come here." He bumped his way sideways to the bed and sat them both down, toeing off his shoes in the process.

With some awkward shifting, Auggie managed to lay them back on the bed with Annie snuggled safely against his chest. She started to nuzzle at his neck again but he kissed her hair and shook his head. "For once, Walker, we've got nothing but time. Get some sleep, I'll keep watch."

"Mmm. I can hear your heartbeat." Her voice sounded so much sleepier than she'd thought it would. A languor crept over her that she didn't see coming. Cuddled in his arms, she finally felt like everything had stopped spinning. "You're a good pillow. And blankie."

"Sleep, Walker." He laughed softly.

During the night, Annie shifted restlessly. It seemed to Auggie that she couldn't go half an hour without swimming back to conciousness. Each time he tightened his arms around her and murmured into her hair that he was there. That everything was alright, and he was watching over her. She would sigh and snuggle deeper into his arms before drifting back into a deeper sleep.

At nine o'clock the next morning, Annie swam lazily back towards wakefulness for the first time in months rather than startling awake looking for threats. Instead of imagining the cold, unyielding iron of a Russian prison bed, all she could feel was the warm comfort of Auggie's chest against her back and his arm wrapped protectively around her waist.

"Mmm, you OK?" she heard Auggie murmur against the back of her shoulder, then kiss her behind her ear gently.

"I am so much more than OK." Annie rolled in his arms and kissed his chin. "I actually feel rested for the first time in ages." Her hands wriggled up inside his shirt and found the warm skin at the small of his back.

"Got anywhere important to be today, Walker?" He asked, playing with her hair coyly.

"Here seems like a winner to me."

They kissed gently while Auggie curled his fingers in her hair and she held on to his hip. Just as her breath started to quicken, her cell phone rang on the bed side table. Auggie pulled away laughing.

"Danielle! Hi!" She gasped as Auggie gently pressed her face to the side so that he could kiss her neck.

There was a pause on the other end of the phone. "... Annie, are you OK? You sound..." another pause.

"Oh, Um, I'm fine. Really just ah... I can't really talk for too long I'm ah, I'm having breakfast with Auggie." She suppressed a squeak when he nipped lightly at her ear when he heard his name and then grinned impishly at her.

Now the pause was suspicious and suddenly Danielle squealed down the line. "Oh my GOD he's there isn't he? ANNIE! It's about time!"

"Umm..."

"Morning Danielle," Auggie called into the phone, half laughing.

"Jesus, Annie, am I on speaker? You could have warned me!" Danielle gasped.

"For a start, how could I have warned you? You dove right in? And second, no, you're not on speaker, but he's got super-human hearing." She laughed again as Auggie wrapped his arms around her, put his head on her shoulder and batted his eyelashes up at her. "OK, we're gonna be doing the embarrassing sister thing for a little while... you wanna give us a minute?"

"Mmm, not really." He kissed her cheek and sat up. "Mind if I take a shower?"

"Course! Ah, two steps forward from the foot of the bed, then left, about five steps the way you walk. Your cain's on the chest at the foot of the bed." She told him with a grateful smile.

"Oh my GOD!" Danielle squealed down the phone. "He totally spent the niiiight!"

Annie held the phone away from her head and started to look apologetically at Auggie, only to find him grinning that cheeky, school-boy grin again. When she saw it she grabbed a pillow and threw it at him.

"Hey! Don't throw things at the blind guy." He laughed, though he'd managed to block the flying pillow with one hand.

"Blind guy my ass! Go shower."

"Listen to you two!" Danielle gushed. "I told you, I TOLD you! You so totally love him!"

Auggie had stopped in the doorway to the bathroom, one hand on the door jab and every muscle in his back tense. He didn't turn, but Annie could tell he was listening intensely. "Yeah, I totally do..." She watched as he turned and made his way back to the bed, his expression serious.

He felt along the edge of the bed with one hand until he found Annie's legs where she'd slung them over the side, then dropped to his knee's. After a moments fumbling he found her face and cupped it gently. "I love you too..."

"Oh my GOD!" Came the squeal from the phone.

Annie and Auggie both laughed as he reached up and took the phone. "Annie's gonna have to call you back, Danielle..."

"Come spend Christmas with us!" Danielle called before the phone hung up.

There was silence... Annie gazed down at Auggie's face. "I do, you know."

"Yeah, me too." He stood and held his hand out. "Shower?"

Annie blushed, but took his hand.