With only a little over a month left until season 2 of Covert Affairs starts, I'm going crazy thinking of all the unanswered questions. The Liza Hearn leak, Ben Mercer's possible death, Joan and Arthur's marriage (that one is very important to me). I didn't get a chance to address all of them in this story, but I hope you enjoy it. The characters are closer than they are in the show, like I hope they will be someday. Give feedback please! :) Oh, and the song is "Hurricane Drunk" by Florence and the machine ;)
Annie paced the small hallway frantically. She had been close to death quite a few times since she joined the C.I.A., but this scared her more. Behind the double doors only a few feet away from her, Ben was in critical condition and being operated on. When she, Jai, and Ben and landed in Virginia, Ben was barely stable. He had been rushed to the hospital and Jai had tried to get her to join him back at Langley to wait for information, but she refused. She needed to be as close to Ben as possible. She needed him. She never thought she would heal from the heartbreak she experienced when Ben left her in Sri Lanka, but being with him again had reminded her how much she missed him. Loved him, even. And she knew he loved her too.
Annie felt responsible, in a way, for Ben being shot. She had thought the man who had followed them up to the roof was unconscious, she had been sure of it. She shouldn't have even let Ben out her sight. She had been his handler, for God's sake! It was her job to keep him safe. And she had failed. Annie sat down in a stiff gray plastic chair and out her head in her hands, tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. What would Joan say?
Joan was currently unaware of Ben Mercer's current state. She was at home, wearing nothing but the sheets she was wrapped in, and sitting on her bed next to her husband, also known as Arthur Campbell, the DCS. She gazed into Arthur's eyes and kissed him passionately. He kissed back, pulling her into his arms. Joan smiled up at Arthur, her eyes shining with happiness. She and Arthur hadn't been on such good terms in a while.
"What?," Arthur asked with a laugh.
"Nothing," Joan said, grin still plastered on her face. "I love you."
"I love you too," Arthur said. His lips were inches from hers when their phones rang simultaneously.
They looked at each other for a few seconds then laughed. Joan picked up her phone and answered, "Yeah, I'm here," seconds before Arthur answered his. Joan widened her eyes and turned to face Arthur, who was in the process of receiving the same news as her.
"Oh my god," Joan whispered, hanging up her phone. Arthur finished up his conversation and hung up as well. They stared at each other for a few minutes.
"Arthur, what should we do?"
"Get dressed and get over there," Arthur said authoritatively. "We need to make sure Annie is alright and keep Liza Hearn and her people the hell away from the hospital. Ben is one of our most covert ops."
Joan nodded. "Let's go."
Auggie was sitting at his desk when he got the news. And his first thought was Annie. A few computer commands later, and he was calling Jai.
"Jai, is it true? Is he.."
"Yes," Jai said grimly from the other end as he watched the doctor tell Annie. She collapsed into tears.
"Ben is dead."
The DPD was chaos as Joan confirmed everyone's suspicions. Auggie came up to her.
"Joan, I just talked to Jai. Annie is…"
"A wreck, I know," Joan said sadly. "What do we do now?"
They were both at a loss for words. Auggie was stunned. For once, Joan didn't have the answer. Nothing could fix this. Annie's world was broken.
3 hours later, Annie sat on the couch in Joan's office. Joan didn't know what to say, but Annie needed reassurance.
"Annie, I want you to know that we are very sorry for your loss and in no way will it affect your job here in the DPD," Joan, sitting down on the couch next to Annie.
"Why would it?," Annie asked, confused. There was a pause. Joan's face stayed calm, but you could tell she had made a mistake.
"No reason," she said coolly.
"Oh my god," Annie said, putting her hand on her forehead. "Ben told me once that you recruited me to get to him, but I never…. I never believed it…"
"Annie…..," Joan said soothingly, moving closer to her and putting her hand on Annie's. "We would never…"
Annie jumped up from the couch. "Oh no, you would. I understand now."
She walked out of Joan's office quickly and went to the same place she had gone for refuge on her first day of work: the bathroom. She couldn't believe it. She had trusted Joan! She had trusted everyone… did Auggie know? Tears ran down her face and she slammed her fist against the wall. Sobbing harder, she leaned against the stall door.
She didn't know whether to laugh or to cry.
"Yeah. Want to talk about it?"
"No," Annie whispered. "It'll hurt too much."
She could see his shoes underneath the stall door. They stood there on opposite sides, much like they had last year. How had everything gotten so complicated?
"Auggie? Did you know?"
"No," he said quietly. "But you should know that it's not like that anymore. Joan values you, she cares about you."
Annie's head spun.
"Yes. She refused to use you as bait, but Arthur persisted. He just wanted answers.'
Annie didn't say anything. Arthur… she barely knew what to think. Then again, she barely knew him.
"He meant well, Annie. Please don't let this impact you."
"Arthur, we need to fix this. I need you to fix this."
Joan sat on her couch and watched Arthur pace the length of her office.
"Annie feels betrayed by you," Auggie said from his post near the closed door. Jai stood up from where he sat at the other end of the couch.
"Auggie's right. You used her as bait, and now Ben is dead."
Arthur looked at the three of them.
"Annie's smart. She'll get over this."
"No, she won't. We're about to lose one of our best operatives because we pulled her in to use her as bait, things got complicated, and Ben got killed. And now, she feels alienated and alone. We need to show her that we are there for her, and that we need her," Auggie said firmly. Arthur sighed and sat down next to Joan on the couch. He turned to his wife and asked,
"Where do we start?"
Annie sat down on Joan's couch uneasily. Joan was seated a few feet from her with a warmth in her eyes. Unbeknownst to Annie, Arthur and Jai were in Auggie's office with Auggie, listening to the entire conversation from a tiny camera attached to Joan's computer.
"What did you want to talk to me about?," Annie asked Joan calmly.
"You. Arthur and I are so sorry for everything that's happened. We feel somewhat at fault for what happened, and we want to help you through your grief. We also regret you getting the idea that you were hired just to draw Ben in."
Annie nodded slowly. "No, Joan, it's nobody's fault but mine. " Her cheeks were tear-stained. "I was angry when I first realized how Ben was connected to the C.I.A. Jai knew more than he let on as well. And I realize now you were all trying to protect me. But that doesn't mean I loved him any less."
"You're a terrific agent, Annie. You remind me of myself a little," Joan smiled. "We hope we can through this, all together. Auggie, Jai, Arthur and I don't want to see you end your promising career."
"I won't," Annie whispered. She gave Joan a half-smile. "It's good to know I have good friends behind me."
"Of course. I want you to feel like you can trust me, Annie."
"Thank you, Joan," Annie said. She stood. "But I think I will take a few days."
"Take as long as you need," Joan said. She watched Annie leave the DPD. It was only a few short minutes later that Arthur appeared in her office and kissed her on the cheek.
"Good job, honey."
The first thing Annie did when she got home was grab her sneakers and go for a run. She'd been running for 2 hours now, but she didn't plan on stopping any time soon. Running usually helped her figure things out, but the sun was setting and she had no answers. Just a hundred more questions. She tired to clear her mind and listen to the song playing on her iPod. As she headed in the direction of Danielle's house, the last verse played.
"But I'd like to think at least things can't get any worse."