Auggie doesn’t hear the message until an hour or so after she sends it. Standing near his gate’s terminal, he expects the quick check of his messages he decides to take will take a minute or two at most. Instead, what he finds immediately throws up alarm bells.
It's the vagueness is what really worries him. To his credit, he doesn’t call Joan at first – no, he makes some effort to try to reach her a few times. As every call goes to voicemail, though, it gets to a point he knows what he has to do. On his last try, he leaves a message himself, though a part of him doubts she'll even receive it. If she hasn't heard him trying to call her more than once in quick succession, why would she hear the beep of a voicemail recieved?
Either way, he tries not to sound as worried in the message. It isn’t easy.
After a couple minutes of sitting in one of the waiting seats, he sighs and starts dialing Joan's number. He only hopes she's a little more in the loop than he is.
When Auggie tells Annie about how he ended up in the field with her, he isn’t entirely truthful.
Really, it’s more an omission than anything. The part about Joan booking him right out of the airport he was supposed to fly home in? That’s completely true. The part that her decision was the result of hearing her message to him also isn’t a lie. He just forgets to mention how he hadn’t been Joan’s first choice to send over to back her up.
“You know the only person she’s going to listen to is me,” was his short and to the point argument. It’s a statement not born out of cockiness but out of a familiarity of her personality that only Joan and he really, truly know. It’s that same familiarity that is exactly the reason why, after a minute or two of arguing over the whys of the idea being non-viable, Joan eventually relents. The more they argue, the more time she has to do whatever she's about to do (which, as it turns out, is a really bad idea).
After being briefed, she makes him promise to stay out of any unnecessary trouble. He almost points out that that’s something that’s pretty much par for the course with Annie, but he bites the comment back and goes along with it.
Unsurprisingly, that promise is broken before half a day is through.
If this was an attempt at saving anyone else, Auggie might’ve put up more of a fight. He probably still would lose (it’s Annie he’s trying to reason with, and at her worst arguing with her is about as productive as yelling at a wall), but there’d have been a little more push. But it’s Eyal, and despite the million reasons why trying to help him is a bad idea that he can list off the top of his head, there’s worst people they could be doing this for. It doesn’t make it any less crazy, but crazy is getting dangerously close to being default when things involving Annie are concerned.
Accepting that about Eyal doesn’t make him any less worried about how things will go down. The advice he gives Annie when she mentions she's worried is all well and good, but it's a little hard when his good thing is putting herself in the crosshairs of someone who clearly could very easily kill her. There’s too many variables they can’t control, too many things he can’t plan for. It’s no real wonder his stomach is in knots when part one of his plan goes down, and he paces a few steps back and forth as he waits by the pier. He’s come too close to dangerously losing her too many times this year, and not at least being able to be in her ear to direct her is agonizing.
Eyal getting there so far ahead of her doesn’t help things, but it’s a nice change of pace to not be the only one that understands how maddening she can be sometimes. If there’s anything he could always commiserate about with the (now apparently former) Mossad agent, it’s that.
When she finally comes running and they start making their way away from danger, he feels most of the tension in his body drain from him. The little that's left, if he’s honest with himself, is there because he’s privy to how close Eyal and she seem to be. It's one thing to assume, but it's entirely another thing for him to be around to witness it.
There’s another thing he should’ve assumed but didn’t: nothing ever goes as smoothly. This is true in general, but it seems especially true when Annie Walker is involved. It’s a fact he completely ignores, and when he sees his chance and finally tries to start the conversation he’s been meaning to have with her for months, he goes for it. Sure, how he words it is a roundabout way of saying it, but there’s no mistaking his intentions in the words. There’s a long pause between the two of them after finishes, and it’s one of those moments he honestly wishes he could see again, to be able to gauge her emotions through her face.
Unfortunately, neither of them gets a chance to break the silence. No, his cell phone does that for them instead, and there’s a brief, fleeting moment Auggie honestly considers taking it and throwing it into the canal they’re floating down.
With Annie on the run and potentially putting herself in danger (again), it's no real surprise the ride over to the house is a tense, almost silent affair after they decide what they're going to do (which is an even more ‘fantastic’ a plan as the former one was, consisting of the two of them getting there and hoping she hasn’t been killed yet), save for a single conversation:
“Never a dull moment with her, yeah?” Eyal sounds amused as he says it, and for the briefest of moments and despite the situation, the tension lifts. Somewhat. Auggie lets out a tight laugh, even, his head falling back against the car seat.
“You know, the first week I met her, she talked me into sneaking into a morgue,” he replies, and it’s a statement that gets a snort of amusement out of Eyal. It'd been one of the tamer things he'd been involved in with her, which says it all, really, if you asked him. If someone told him three years ago that this is where he’d be right now, he never would've believed it. There's no real way he could’ve factored in someone like Annie practically steamrolling into his life. The infuriating stubborn streak that has her running off like this is the same thing that attracted him to her in the first place.
That same streak is why Eyal is in the car with him and not still captured or dead in a ditch somewhere, too. He hears Eyal switch gears after the silence descends on them again, and the uptick in speed is noticeable. It’s hard not to assume the other man has a similar line of thinking going through his head, too, but he doesn't ask.
“We’ll get to her in time,” Eyal promises. It’s not really something he can guarantee and Auggie knows that – she’s got a hell of a lead on them at this point – but he doesn’t mind hearing it.
(She doesn’t need them at all in the end, anyway. He probably should’ve seen that coming, too.)
I trust you to take good care of her is the last thing Eyal says to him, before pulling him into a hug that he only partially expects to happen this time. He’s never quite going to get used to his boisterous friendliness and it’s about as awkward as it was the first time, but at least he can promise to do so and mean it.
Off to the side, he can hear Annie trying to stifle a laugh at the two of them. He's not surprised.
There’s only one place that’s about as bad to have a serious talk as the back of a van, and that’s anything involving an airport. It’s bustling, too, and they get to the terminal with only a few minutes to spare after having to go through the usual hoops to get past security. From the moment he’s settled in his seat, he’s been debating how to approach it without it being awkward (or if he should say anything period), and she doesn’t make it easy on him by just bringing it up herself. In the end, the fact he's tired of it always being something getting in the way of what he wants to say, so he goes for it in the most simple, but direct way he can think of.
He's never been so happy he's so good at hiding the nerves that creep in on him as he essentially asks her out on a date. The pause between him spelling it out to her that he's looking for something more than their norm and her replying feels like hours instead of seconds, and he lets out a breath he doesn’t realize he’s holding when she says yes. He's smiling as he leans back in his seat again after, a dizzing sort of relief flooding over him with that answer.
When he slides his headphones on again and is greeted by the opening lines of "Good Vibrations", the appropriateness isn't lost on him.
“Sit with me?”
It’s a quiet request, and if it were any other situation, he might’ve cracked some kind of teasing comment. But he knows exactly why she’s asking, and he reaches for her arm without a word, letting her lead them to whatever seats she wants to sit. He hears the crowd around the murmuring amongst each other as they all wait for Arthur to speak, but his focus mostly remains on Annie. He feels the tension under his hand when it comes to rest on her arm, so he leaves it there, hopes it helps steady her a little. This kind of thing is hard enough to go through alone, so making sure she knows he's there for her is the least he can do.
Honestly, the whole thing affects him too. He hadn't been as close to Jai as Annie was, but he never would’ve wished this on him, even when their working relationship was at its’ worst. That the very person next to him had come close to joining Jai as a star on the wall more than once that year isn't a fact that's lost on him and makes it all the harder to deal with. About the only thing that ends up interrupting the 'what if's he's fallen into thinking about is when Annie covers his hand with her smaller one, giving his a gentle squeeze. He doesn't even realize the simple gesture is exactly what he needs until she does it.
He forgets sometimes how often she steadies him, too.
Auggie's aware enough to know what he’s doing is kind of crazy and born out of impatience and a healthy sense of paranoia. Paranoia that isn’t actually completely unwarranted, mind you, given their track record, but paranoia nonetheless. The more he thought about things that night, the more he realized how easily Friday might have to be rescheduled. For all he knows, the next day might bring a mission and she’d be gone again, off to do the work she’s proven time and time again to be so good at.
So he goes without a second thought. Calls a cab, spends the majority of the ride deciding what he wants to say. In the end, it all goes out the window the second she opens the door and gently guides him inside out of the rain. While it isn’t the first time he’s been in her place, but he’s struck at how much warmer and inviting it feels than the last time they'd been there at the same time. He likes to think that's a good sign.
She knows something is going on, and prompts him accordingly once they've come to a stop. How could she not? It’s funny, but for a man who’s always prided himself in the ability to talk himself through any situation, he’s stunningly bad at coming up with the words to convey exactly what he’s feeling. So there she is, waiting for him to spit out what he's been trying to tell her for months, and he finally decides to switch tactics because the one he's been trying is clearly not working. What he comes up with instead is to show rather than tell, to hope he isn’t stepping over boundaries that she doesn't want to cross.
He’s reached out to her hundreds of times before that night, but there’s tentativeness in the motion that hasn’t been there for a long time this time. His hand lands low on her torso, and when she doesn’t pull away, he slowly trails it upwards along her arm, her skin warm under his. When he inevitably reaches her cheek, he feels her lean against his palm, and it’s that moment right there where his boldness returns.
Finding her mouth is effortless. It’s gentle at first, tender, and everything Auggie always imagined it’d be like. She pulls away only briefly, and he can feel her smile against his mouth moments before gently tugging him into one last short, quick one. Only then does she shift back so they break apart a little, and it’s a little startling how much he feels the loss when she's gone.
She’s searching his face. He doesn’t need to see her to know that. Before he can say something, she beats him to it, her tone light, almost playful. “I’m glad we’re having this talk.”
The laugh he exhales in reply is as relieved as it is happy.
Things blur from there. He doesn’t waste time in reclaiming her mouth again, and right after his arms wrap around her frame, he feels her slide hers around his shoulders to pull him closer, deepening the kiss further. There’s just a touch of desperation in it all at that point, a need for her that doesn’t feel like it can ever be quenched. He vaguely feels her hands slide from their spots around him to between them, slipping under his suit jacket. The light tug is all the indication he needs to help her get it off, discarded in the same careless manner as his cane. The motion is enough to pull him back to reality a little bit, though it’s with a good deal of reluctance that he breaks away again, his forehead resting against hers.
“Annie,” he breathes out, a thousand different things going through his head to say. She silences him before he can say a single word by kissing him again. She's still got that smile as he feels her fiddling to get his tie off, the same gentle touch that’s fixed it dozens of times before now undoing the knot with an impressive deftness. It’s only after she discards that too that she’s the one that pulls away, and he feels her lean up closer to him, her mouth next to his ear.
“Bed’s behind me,” she murmurs, and it’s all the invitation he needs.
She has her shirt off before they ever hit the mattress. His follows once they’re both comfortably situated in bed. For all the forwardness she’d shown before, she’s almost pliant now that they’re comfortable, her hand resting on his bicep but making no move to pull him closer. It's tempting to rush this because god, he practically aches for her, but he forces himself to slow down.
He wants to enjoy this as long as he can. He wants her to enjoy this.
And there’s a lot to enjoy. It’s all new territory for the both of them and he’s nothing if not thorough, especially when it comes to something like this. He tests waters, his mouth and hands exploring what he can’t see. She’s everything he expects and more, and every gasp of his name he elicits out of her goes right through him, too. He’s not sure if she’s always this vocal or she’s doing it for his benefit, but he sure as hell isn’t complaining.
It’s inevitable that he brushes against the scar. The raised skin is noticeable enough to make him pause, mouth hovering just above it. He knew of its’ existence, of course, but something about finding the spot the bullet went through her is enough to smack him with more than a few unpleasant memories. She seems to notice his sudden hesitation, because after a moment she gently guides him from it, drawing him up enough so she can kiss him. It’s tender, brief, but it’s exactly the thing he needs at that moment. A reminder she’s still there, that he didn’t lose her, that he didn’t miss this chance.
The thoughts do end up making it impossible to not move forward at that point, though. When she groans a quiet ‘please’ against his mouth, he’s all but lost. It doesn’t take long for them to shed their remaining clothes, though he does pause long enough to retrieve the condom he has.
“You planned this all along, huh?” she asks when she notices, and he can practically just see the wry smirk on her face.
He hides his own smile against her skin as he presses a kiss against her shoulder before replying, “I seem to remember you being the one who led me to your bed, Walker.”
She laughs breathlessly, and it’s so genuinely happy that it’s hard not to laugh himself. He goes to rip the package open, but she ends up stilling his hand with her own. When he turns to raise an eyebrow in her direction, she leans in close to his ear, murmuring, in a tone that’s pure silk, “Let me.”
If he hadn’t already known for sure she was going to aim to drive him crazy, this would’ve done it.
Waking up is a little disorienting.
The initial grogginess isn’t too hard to shake off. Honestly, he’s more well-rested than he can remember being in a long time, which he assumes is thanks in no small part to the person who he still had his arm draped around. Annie had turned sometime during the night, fitted herself more securely against him, and he can tell just by her slow, steady breathing that she’s still in a deep sleep.
There’s sunlight warming the blankets they’re tangled under, and he’s aware, distantly, it probably means they ought to get up sooner rather than later. But in that moment, the last thing he’s considering is waking her up, even if it means they both end up late for work. Instead, he just stays there a while, listening to her sleep, memorizing everything like it’s the last time he’s ever going to experience it.
He feels her stir a little in his grip a little while later, and he smiles and presses a light kiss against her shoulder blade. She lets out a soft, contented sigh, and after a moment, he feels her shift in his arms, turning over to face him. He loosens his hold on her a little, but doesn’t withdraw his arm away completely.
“Hey,” she says, her voice still thick with sleep. Her hand comes to rest on his cheek, and he lets her draw him to her to kiss him. It’s brief, but “How long have you been up?”
“Not long,” he replies. He doesn’t know, but it doesn’t feel like it was a while. “Couldn’t find the courage to wake you up. I know how you are before you have your coffee.”
“Shut up, I’m not that bad,” she replies with a laugh, smacking his chest lightly. He rubs the spot like it actually hurt, not even bothering to hide his smile. She shifts, lifting herself up a little to look over his shoulder, and then flops back down into bed with him. “I really don’t want to go in today.”
He huffs out a quiet laugh at that, and despite fully knowing that kind of statement means they probably need to get up, he wraps a loose arm around her again anyway. With how she ends up melting into the embrace, he has a feeling she’s feeling the same way.
“It’s too bad people would notice if we both called out,” he says. It’s an innocent enough statement, but he notices a slight shift in the mood after he says it. Auggie doesn’t need her to say what she’s thinking outright, because honestly, the mention of work is enough to hit him with a nice dose of reality, too.
Things were going to get infinitely more complicated for them, very quickly. To a point that even he has never seen before, because before her he’d never even considered getting this close with a co-worker. She seems a bit hesitant to bring it up the conversation herself, but he knows better than to let it hang in the air between them. He’s got no doubts about what he wants out of this, so he really doesn’t have anything to hide.
“We should probably talk,” he continues, his hand sliding down her arm to find her hand. He laces his fingers between hers, and she squeezes it in response.
“I just need to know where we stand,” Annie says, and there’s a hesitation still there that makes him know this is definitely something they need to get out in the air right now. The last thing he wants is for her to doubt his intentions.
“I meant what I said last night. Coming to you like this wasn’t some kind of whim. If it was, I never would’ve done anything in the first place,” he says, honestly. She knows – and has teased him more than once – about the fact he’s gotten around. She was in a whole other category almost immediately. It’s a feeling he still isn’t quite sure how to get into words, but he tries. “You’ve always been too important to pull anything that might mess us up. I want to do this right with you, if that’s what you’re looking for, too. We’ll figure things out together, if you do.”
He likes to think it’s what she wants. They’ve never even come close to broaching this topic, though, so he wants to make sure they really are on the same page. It isn’t worth it if they aren’t. The lapse into silence after does make him a little nervous, but he resists the urge to try to backpedal, to try to reduce fallout.
In the end, the worrying is for absolutely nothing. She pulls her hand away from him, though only to rest it against his jaw instead, and without a word, she leans forward to kiss him. It’s tender, devoid of the franticness that’d been present the night before. He preferred it this way, actually.
“So, yes?” he inquires, innocently, when they finally break apart long enough to speak.
“I think that’s a safe assumption, yes,” she quips.
And when she nudges him so he’s lying on his back, there isn’t a moment he considers pointing out how they’re late already, or how they still have things they probably need to talk about. Hell, by the time she eases herself on top of him, he’s practically forgotten everything but what they’re doing.
They are, in fact, late for work.
It’s funny, but there’s something almost appropriate about the fact they end up having to talk their way out of the questioning they get about it from Joan. She probably even has ‘that look’ she reserves for them when she knows they’re up to something but hasn’t figured out what yet.
(Later on, when they’re alone, he teases her about getting him in trouble again, and she just laughs and say he loves it. There’s no real comeback he can say to that, honestly – she’s absolutely right in this case.)