Never for acclaim, always for country.


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[CURRENTLY] ... working our hearts and minds out for the good of the country
Relaxing
freshoffthefarm
It had been a whirlwind of a return: first, Bluebonnet and all that had entailed. Then, seeing Eyal again, and all that had entailed. Getting in on the mission with Mossad, finding out about the watch they were after and figuring out how best to break into the bank...

Annie was surprised that her body and mind hadn't simply given up. Given out. Dropped onto the floor and said, 'No more, we're done'.

Instead, she found herself at eleven o'clock at night, writing the same name over and over again on a pad of paper, trying to perfect the signature of the Mossad asset that would get her into the bank vault. There was only one way to do it - this way - and only one chance to get it right. It didn't matter that her eyes were swimming or that her entire body was aching; this needed to be done, and done right. What was sleep anymore?

Setting the pen down, she rubbed her fingertips over her eyes and sighed. Another thirty minutes, then she'd go home.

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Mark Sokol called his office on a double blind cell days ago to let him know that Annie's cell was empty after a rather spectacular jail break. Clay didn't coordinate it, but he had a very good idea of who had and it would be another item to add to the list of things he would be indebted to Auggie Anderson for.

The usual return procedures were implemented, though Clay hadn't expected Annie to get out of Blue Bonnet so quickly and then be thrust into a mission almost immediately after.

As he was leaving the office for the evening he spotted her little red Golf in it's parking space in the agents lot and had an idea. Fifteen minutes later he found himself getting off of the elevator in the DPD bearing a very tasty order of chicken parmesan.

"It's not quite the same as the one from the little place on the Eastern Shore, but it's close."

That voice.

Lifting her head from her hands, the smile she gave him was big, brilliant and the one he'd probably been hoping to see. And though it came on the heels of two weeks in an underground Russian prison, Annie Walker was so happy to see both Clay and the Chicken Parmesan that she didn't hold back.

She hugged him tight, ignoring the soreness in her body and the fact that he was still hanging onto the bag of food. She was home, he was here and all was almost right in the world.

His favorite Annie smile. Already.

Clay wrapped Annie in a tight hug, or as tight as he could considering he was still holding her dinner. She was home. Safe. He felt the tears in his eyes.

"I'm so happy you're safe."

That was emotion in Clay's voice, she could hear it, and she pulled back just enough to look up at him. It wasn't often - if ever - he was that emotional and she tilted her head just a little, her expression softening.

Nodding, she spoke quietly, "Me, too. Auggie and Eyal Lavine mounted one hell of a rescue."

She reached up with one hand and cupped his face for a brief moment. "I'm home, Clay. It's okay, I'm okay."

"Yes, they did. Coffee isn't going to make up for this."

He took a deep breath and put her dinner at the corner of her desk. "I know you're okay. I'm relieved. Completely, relieved."

Then he kissed her cheek, hoping she'd get the hint and the promise that there was more where that came from.

"And even if it's not quite the same as the one from that little place, I know it's the best in the area, which means you're my knight in shining armor," she told him, not quite willing to pull away completely. Not yet.

It had been a rough few weeks and though she wasn't the kind of agent to give in under interrogation or their light torture, she was still glad to be back. Seeing Clay made her realize just how much she'd missed him over the last few months and she gave him another squeeze around his middle. "I don't know what's happening after this..."

In other words, she had no idea when she'd be done.

"Just take a break and enjoy it. Don't try to eat and work." Clay wasn't planning on letting her go. Honestly, if she hadn't looked to be in the middle of something he would have tried to convince her to join him at his condo right now.

"That's okay. Just do what you need to do. When you're done, I'll be there for you."

"Want to join me for a very, very late dinner? Pull up a chair and keep me company for a few minutes while I let my brain rest for a few minutes."

She wasn't actually going to take no for an answer and was already moving things on her desk so he could pull up said chair. "Unless you have somewhere else to be?"

Clay didn't think she was going to take no for an answer. So he just found the nearest chair and pulled it opposite Annie's desk. "No, no where to be."

He assumed she really knew that, otherwise he wouldn't be bringing her dinner at 11PM.

She knew. Annie knew that, at his age and with their history, Clay wanted to be right there at eleven o'clock, with her. And that's where she wanted him to be.

Pulling out the fork and knife, she cut up a piece, took a bite and closed her eyes with how good it tasted. "Oh, God. Clay."

It was exquisite, it really was, and he had to have known that. As she chewed, she cut off another bite and held it out for him, an expectant smile on her face.

"Careful Annie, anyone left in the office might think we being indecent."

He really wanted to get her to laugh, as he hadn't heard that in quite a while.

He did take the bite she offered though, and she was right. It was good.

"If there were anyone left in the office who wanted to see indecent, believe me," she warned him as she cut herself another bite. "They could see it. They'd just have to stick around a while longer."

Laugh? Maybe not yet, but she was definitely smiling and flirting with him, just because she could. She was in a much better mood, just like that. Just because he was there.

Clay was beyond glad that he was able to get her to smile and flirt. A little bit of normal considering all that had gone on.

She got him to smile though, "I don't think Joan would look too highly on that."

"It's not... it's really not something I'm sure I can talk about. Not yet. I still have to finish up my time at Bluebonnet and after that, we'll see. I don't know what they're classifying and--"

Annie sighed. "I miss you. I've missed you."

"I didn't mean what they're classifying and not. I mean what happened to you. They're different things."

He smiled at her, a warm and inviting smile, "I've missed you too."

Her smile faltered at his and she sighed again. "It's not pretty and..."

Annie swallowed, this time looking down at the space between them. "I know you know about Simon Fischer."

"Few things are." It was spoken with 100% honesty on his part.

Clay leaned back on the couch, but was still facing Annie, fully aware that he wasn't going to like much, if anything she was going to tell him.

"Yes, I do."

Lifting her head, she looked him straight in the eye and, without her voice shaking - which was something she was incredibly proud of herself for - she said, "Simon Fischer happened to me. I happened to him. He was what Lena expected and it worked like a charm."

"I'm sorry she used you like that."

He knew about Simon, he knew about Lena, and he knew why Annie wound up in that prison. It was a terrible situation all around.

"It wasn't just like that, Clay." Annie wanted him to know the truth. It hurt her heart to say it, especially in light of their relationship and the way they'd just been. "I loved him."

At least Annie was keeping with his theme of not wanting liking what she'd said. All of this reminded him too much of fifty-dollar Ben.

"She still used you. Your loving him made her job so much easier. I assume she knew what happened?"

He was being very clinical. He had to be.

"She knew. She even told me she'd expected it from me because I fit a pattern." She gave a one shouldered shrug as if that hadn't stung as much as it had. And it had. "She said that she hadn't expected Simon to return the sentiment."

Clay knew Annie well enough to know that it had hurt her and it probably cut pretty deep too. When he'd found out who her new supervisor was going to be, he knew something like this was on the table and he hated that.

"That's unusual. But," he smiled just a tiny bit if only to lighten the mood just a little for Annie's sake, "you are pretty irresistible."

Annie knew he'd only meant it in the best ways, but she still took a breath before she spoke.

"You're only saying that because you were caught under my spell and I'm the Agency's best honeypot, aren't you?" She wanted to believe that Clay loved her, and she felt it, but part of her wondered. If it had been that easy for Simon...

"But I first started talking to Annie Walker, Smithsonian Acquisitions. I didn't know you were an agent until weeks later. And, I was the one that kissed you in that alley."

So no, he never thought of her like that.

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