Author's note: A very special thanks to EmeraldEyedPhoenix for helping me with this story!
"Sleep it off"
Annie got off the plane and, as usual, called Auggie as soon as her feet touched the tarmac.
"Good morning Walker! How was Africa?" Auggie said as he answered the phone.
"It was okay. Mission accomplished as usual." Annie said hoarsely.
"Hey, not getting sick on me are ya?" Auggie said playfully, but was deep down concerned. Annie never got sick. They had been dating six months now and known each other three years and to his knowledge she had not been sick a single day in all that time.
"Must have caught something on the plane going over. I haven't felt well for a couple days. I just need to sleep it off. I'll be fine in a few days."
"Maybe you should see a doctor?" Auggie said, growing more concerned. She'd been sick for a few days and not told him?
"Augs, it's just a cold or something. Nothing a day or so in bed won't cure. I promise if I start feeling worse, I'll go straight to the doctor. I just want to get this debrief over with and go home for a hot bath. I'm so sore from sleeping on that hard hotel bed."
"If you're still sore tonight, I'll give you a massage before we go to bed. When will you be here?" He asked.
"I'm getting into a cab now. I'm coming straight to Langley so I'm not tempted to take a nap. I'm hoping for a few days off after this one. These back to back missions are killing me. It's been a while since I've felt this tired after a mission." She said wearily.
"Wow, Annie, you must really be sick. You're definitely not your usual peppy self after a mission."
"I'm okay Auggie, really. Don't worry. I'll see you soon."
After debriefing with Joan, Jai cornered Annie in the break room as she got a cup of coffee.
"Whoa Annie, you don't look so good." Jai stated bluntly.
"Well, thanks, nice to see you too. It's just a cold or something. I'll be back to myself again in a couple days."
"I hope so, because I expect to see you and Auggie at my birthday party next weekend. No excuses for not coming this year." Jai said remembering they had both come up with elaborate excuses why they couldn't be there.
"Wouldn't miss it, Jai. I'll be there with bells on." Annie retorted. "But right now, I'm going home."
Annie left Langley straight away without stopping by Auggie's office to tell him she was going home. She was grateful Joan had told her to take the rest of the week off. She was starting to feel much worse than she had when she'd gotten off the plane.
Later that night, Auggie was a little miffed at Annie for not telling him he needed to find his own way home tonight. Ever since they had started dating, anytime she was in town, she was always his ride home. As soon as he got home, he quickly forgave her when he found her vomiting over the toilet in the bathroom.
"Are you okay?" Auggie asked from the bathroom door after stowing his cane, keys, wallet and phone in their usual spot on the credenza.
"Yeah, don't come in, I've got a mess in here." Annie said weakly.
"Annie, if you need me to help clean something up or hold your hair back, I can." Auggie said desperate for some way to help. "Is there anything you need?"
"No, this must be the flu and I don't want you getting it too." Annie said after throwing up again.
"I'm not concerned about me; I want you to be okay." Auggie replied
"I'll be fine. Just need to sleep this off. Do we have any ginger ale?"
"I'll check. If we don't, I'll go to the market down the street and get some." Auggie said, already halfway to the kitchen.
Searching the refrigerator he found none, he couldn't be sure there wasn't any, but instead of wasting time opening the bottles he was unsure of, he decided to just go ahead and run to the store. Grabbing his cane, keys, wallet, and phone, he called to her "I'll be back in thirty minutes, we're out of ginger ale."
Walking down the street, sweeping his cane from side to side, he was grateful for the semi-late hour so that the sidewalks were less crowded. His concern for Annie was mounting by the hour. This was their first real challenge since they'd been together. Everything with Annie was just so easy. She made his life easier, happier, and more enjoyable. Even when she was gone on missions, she was still there. They talked often and she always left one of her t-shirts on the bed for him. Having her scent to wake up to just made his day start off better.
Walking back from the store, Auggie continued to think back to how lucky they had been since they'd started their relationship. They both had feelings for each other from the start (they later admitted to each other), but they had both been afraid of ruining the friendship they both regarded with the highest priority. It had been Auggie to make the first move, asking Annie if she wanted to join him for dinner after work one day. It wasn't until halfway through dinner that Annie realized this was a real date, not just dinner between friends.
Three months later, Annie moved in with Auggie and everything had been smooth sailing since then. At first Auggie had worried that Annie would be unhappy living with him. His blindness meant she had to deal with things most woman did not. First of all, she always had to make sure things were put exactly where she found them and she could never just leave things lying around. Additionally, she had to give him constant verbal cues, and at times, she needed to be patient with him when things took him longer than they would if he could see. Annie never had a problem with any of it. He never had to remind her of anything. She seemed to fit into his life like a puzzle piece. A puzzle piece he didn't know was missing until it was found.
Once he arrived at his apartment building, he ascended the stairs a bit quicker than usual. Unlocking the door, he listened carefully when he opened the door trying to determine where she was.
"Annie?" He called, but didn't get an immediate response.
"Where are you, Walker?"
"On the bed." She moaned, obviously in pain.
"What's wrong?" Auggie asked going straight to her without stopping to put his things away like he usually would.
"It hurts Auggie, my head hurts so badly." She replied weakly in almost a whisper.
"Have you taken any medicine?"
"Yes, I took some Tylenol for the fever, it should have helped with the pain, but it hasn't."
"Just rest. I'll get you a cool cloth for your head." Auggie left for a moment, but came back quickly. Reaching out for her, he sat carefully on the bed next to her. Finding her arm he ran his hand up her arm until he reached her shoulder then brought up his other hand up to her face. "You've got quite a fever." He said as he placed the cloth across her head.
"Auggie, I don't want you to get this."
"Annie, you're not getting rid of me that easy. If it were me sick, you'd take care of me, right?"
"Of course." She said, seeing his point and not really having the energy to argue with him otherwise.
"What do you need? What can I do?" Auggie asked
"Nothing. I cleaned the bathroom. I hate to say this, but you might want to sleep on the couch tonight. I really don't want you to get this and my germs are already all over the bed."
"Okay. I don't mind sleeping on the couch. But I'll be up the instant you need me, just call." Auggie replied. "Your ginger ale is on the nightstand with some crackers. I'm just a few yards away if you need anything."
Auggie grabbed a blanket and pillow from the closet and got comfortable on the couch.
It had been so long since he'd slept on his own couch that sleep seemed to evade him. While he lay there, he thought of Annie. She seemed much sicker than she was letting on. But perhaps he was just being paranoid. Turning on his side, he listened to Annie's gentle snoring coming from the bedroom for a few minutes; this seemed to do the trick for him finally getting to sleep.
The next morning, Auggie woke to Annie vomiting in the bathroom. "Annie?"
"Yeah?" Annie's voice came from the bathroom floor, hoarse and weak.
"Should I stay home from work today?" Auggie said as he heard her moving things in the bathroom.
"No, I'll be fine. Joan needs you on the Rome case. You know she can't gather the intel without you. I'll be out in a minute."
"No rush, they'll make it if I'm a little late. Are you sure you're okay?"
"Well, I won't say I'm okay, but I will be. I just need to rest. I'll probably be in bed all day."
"Okay, I'll leave some more ginger ale and crackers by the bed."
"Thanks Augs." She said as she opened the door. Auggie reached out for her, putting his hand on her shoulder and started to bring her in for a hug.
"Not right now, I really don't want you get this mess." Annie said as she started walking towards the bed. He followed her keeping his hand on her shoulder.
"I know Walker, I'll be careful. I'll have the housekeeper come by later today to do an extra cleaning."
"Okay." She replied as she starting to get on the bed.
Auggie helped her settle in bed, concerned with how damp the sheets felt as he brought them around her. "Do you need anything else? Should I call a doctor? I can leave work early and go with you if you want."
"Auggie, I'll be fine. I'm starting to feel a little better. I'm just going to sleep it off."
"If you're no better when I get home, you're going to the doctor. I'll call you at lunch to check in." He said
"Okay. Don't worry about me."
"Is your phone near?"
"Yes, right on the night stand. I'll call you if I need anything, I promise."
"I'm going to get ready for work. Is there anything moved in the bathroom or anywhere else I need to know about."
"No, I cleaned everything up and everything is in its usual place." Annie said. Auggie could hear the smile in her voice. Even sick as she is, she still always remembers what he needed.
Auggie made his way around the bed, ghosting his hand over it as he walked to the bathroom to shower and get ready for the day. After getting dressed in black slacks, white long-sleeve shirt, and grey vest, he walked back over to the bed. Finding Annie's hand, he brought it up to his lips and kissed it gently. "I'll see you later, Walker."
She'll be fine. Some rest will do her good; don't go all over-protective on her. Auggie thought to himself as he began out the door.
With that, as if on cue, his phone dinged telling him his driver was outside waiting.
As he left, Annie once again ran to the bathroom leaving all the lights off. She couldn't tell him just how bad she really felt. She knew it was just the flu and she didn't want him to worry unnecessarily. She had chills and a fever that simply wouldn't let up. Her head was throbbing. Her neck was aching. She assumed it was from being bent over the toilet for so long the past few days. As she finished washing out her mouth, she took more Tylenol and went back to the sweat soaked bed.
Sleep is what I need. I just need to sleep it off. Annie thought to herself as she drifted off through the pain.
Author's Note: Just like you'd clap or boo for the concert you just sat through, please review my writing as you read it. I'm not above saying, I really do NEED to hear from you each chapter so I know your comments, likes/dislikes, and expectations for future chapters.