Author's note: Thank you all for the lovely feedback, I feel warmly welcomed to this community. This is the end of this fic, but there will be more soon.
Annie arrived with a bag of Thai food in one hand and a discreetly-sized overnight bag in the other. She did not want to appear presumptuous. She spent a good five minutes berating herself for her concern over appearances in front of her blind boyfriend. Wait, was Auggie her boyfriend? That seemed so much less than what he was.
Her inner dialogue ceased when Auggie slid the door to his loft open and Annie saw the shirt. August Anderson was many many things, but he could easily be a model for black button down dress shirts. She attempted to swallow the lump.
"Come in," he indicated the immaculate apartment.
"Thanks," she tried for cool, but sounded flustered, "I brought Thai."
"Good choice, I opened a White Bordeaux," 2 glasses on the counter and Annie all but dived for hers.
Auggie didn't ridicule, he moved to her side touching her gently just as he had the night before.
"That tells me this is important to you. It's important to me too," he whispered in her ear and she had to step away.
She finished the glass of wine in 2 long swallows and literally shook off the nerves.
"We need to 'talk' before we 'talk'," her use of air quotes lost on Auggie.
"We will need to come up with a new euphemism for sex because we do a lot of talking at work and I'll just get confused."
Now the image of Auggie pushing her up against the glass door of his office filled her mind. She reached for the wine and thought better of it, filling her glass with water instead.
"I guess I really am thirsty," she shrugged.
Auggie unpacked the food while Annie gathered plates and silverware and soon enough they were sitting opposite each other eating. Breakfast and dinner in one day, Annie could get used to this.
"So should we draw straws on who goes first?" Auggie asked around a mouthful of mango curry.
"I'm a spy."
"So am I, what's your point there?"
"We keep secrets for a living. Auggie I am keeping one from you right now and even saying that is more than I should say. Trust is key to any relationship, but we have got to trust each other in the face of everything."
"Annie, I had Arthur Campbell in front of me with proof positive that you were a traitor and I did not believe him for one second. I don't know how much more trust I can show. Will our jobs challenge us? Absolutely. The day you confessed to sleeping with Simon I almost lost it, but did I ever not trust you? No."
Annie smiled as she remembered Joan's words about Auggie during those days she was unconscious. Joan had told her as much, Auggie had threatened to quit, to go off book and more in her defense.
"Auggie I trust you with my life. I have no doubt I can trust you with my heart."
"OK, my turn. I am blind."
"That explains why I always have to drive," Annie snagged a spring roll.
"I'm serious. I know I joke about it and you picked up sighted-assist better than anyone I have ever known, but the reality of living with a blind man is challenging."
Annie was going to jump on the "living with" thing but Auggie had just bared his biggest concern, hers might have been trust, but his was abandonment. Was that why Parker left?
"Auggie I will not discount your fears on this and I know if I am here I am going to have to be very careful. The last thing in the world I would ever want is to hurt you, even by accident. You can ask Danielle, I have a lot of shoes with really pointy heels, but I will learn," she squeezed his arm.
"It's not just environmental stuff Annie. I have moments of severe anxiety, anger and depression still after all these years. I am not always so easy to love."
"Auggie, that doesn't make you high maintenance. That makes you human. I think you try so hard to be super-human, and it is understandable, you are a soldier and a brilliant intelligence operative. I meant what I said last year about you impressing me more than anyone at Langley, not because you have overcome your injury, but because you are unbelievably smart. Everyone falters. I'm not always pleasant myself, but that is the reality of love, it is sometimes messy."
"Like our last mission?"
"Exactly, and I believe your words on that were something along the lines of: 'at least we are doing it together.'"
"OK? That's it?"
"Yes, I just wanted to be honest on the blind guy isn't always so fun issue. I'm good."
"What about Parker? What about Simon or even Ben? Shouldn't we talk about them too?"
"Parker is gone for good and Simon is dead Annie, and I am sorry about that I know you cared for him. If Ben walked through that door right now what would you do?"
"Ask him to leave."
"That's what I thought. I will always be grateful to Ben Mercer because he brought you into my life when he did. Sure, you would have been up to Langley a couple months later than you arrived, but you might not have been my Op. The confluence of events that brought us together is tied to Ben and for that I am grateful, beyond that I really have no use for a man who could let you go."
"So, tables turned, Parker comes back?"
"She did, but not for me. She needed a favor a couple weeks back for her folks. Oddly enough it was doing that favor that landed me back in Iraq. When I did it I told her very clearly that it was the last time we would see each other. It hurt a lot to lose her, but not for the reasons you may think. Women have come and gone from my life, but Parker was a tie to a piece of me that is gone forever. She was Billy's little sister and I wanted that as much as I wanted her. It wasn't fair to her; she's a kid for god's sake."
"You know you are tied to those guys by a lot more than a peripheral relationship, right? Remember Goliath; remember how much those guys love you Auggie? You were their leader," Annie swore she wasn't going to cry.
"Hey, hey, come here," he stood and pulled her close. It was a hug just like the one in the hospital after her polonium scare, it was purely about comfort.
"When everything in my world hurts, physically and mentally, you are the one true thing Auggie. It has always been you, every day for 3 years. I hate that I let other men in, I hate that I took my hurt at your relationship with Parker and turned it into career advancement with Lena. I am so weak to you Auggie and I hate being weak."
"Loving someone isn't weakness Annie, it is the very best kind of strength."
With those words spoken against the crown of her head, the tone of the hug shifted. Annie ran her nails along Auggie's spine and felt him shudder. His arms skimmed down to her waist and pushed her back just far enough to capture her lips turning her knees to jello.
She backed them up to the counter so she could gain a little support, but he pulled the other way, walking backwards toward the bedroom.
There was more to say tomorrow, but they knew that nothing could ruin this. The only thing standing in their way had been themselves and that barrier was gone now.
Later in the still and quiet darkness they would share silly stories about growing up. Annie would confess an unnatural fear of spiders and Auggie his love of all things marshmallow-based. They would shower and dress for work together and walk through the halls of the DPD like any other day. Annie thought Barber looked at her funny, but other than that they were still the same Annie and Auggie as before.