I think this is my third Covert Affairs story, but last nights episode was just fantastic and I couldn't resist doing some stories about Joan (because she got more than three scenes last night…how cool :-)) Anyway…this is the first one and it is Joan and Arthur because I love those two. I'll probably post one or two more over the next couple days…oh and the title is a REM song because that's how all the episodes this season are named (and I'm horrible uncreative when it comes to titles).

Disclaimer: I do not own Covert Affairs…or the song mentioned above.

Spoilers: Welcome to the Occupation

"You know," Joan said as she slipped into bed beside her husband, who put down the paper he had been reading and looked at her, "Not that I didn't appreciate it, but you really didn't have to do fix dinner tonight or write that charming little," she paused trying to find the right word, "whatever it was."

Arthur smiled at that for a moment before he responded. "I just wasn't sure how you would react to Ben coming along on the mission," he told her seriously.

"I wasn't thrilled at first," she admitted with a soft smile, "but I did appreciate the sentiment."

"He'll grow on you," he assured her, knowing that she still did not like Ben much.

Joan shook her head. "That's exactly what Annie told me."

"She's a good operative," Arthur told her, "she knows what she's talking about."

"You just want me to like your star operative," she accused him playfully.

"Maybe," he replied, "But can you blame me?"

Joan sighed and looked into Arthur's eyes for a moment. "No," she finally conceded, "I can't blame you." She paused again. "What I should really be doing is thanking you."

"Why?" he asked, sounding slightly concerned because he had not missed the more serious tone in her voice.

"Because if it had been any other operative on that team, instead of Ben, they would have had to carry ten body bags out of that conference room, four of them CIA operatives," Joan said it matter-o-factly, but Arthur knew that she was shaken.

"It was that bad?" he asked as he took hold of her hand beneath the blankets.

"It was that bad," she confirmed, although even as she did so it occurred to her that 'bad' was not really the word she wanted…'close' or 'dire' maybe, but everything had happened so quickly that she had never had time to assess the situation as 'bad.' Not that any of that mattered in the grand scheme of things. "I don't know how much you saw…" her voice trailed off allowing him to answer the implied question.

"Only the beginning," he told her, "we lost the feed after Annie angered him, and he smashed the camera."

"Ah," Joan said, not particularly shocked that he had scene everything up until that point…after all if the roles had been reversed it was exactly what she would have done. She also knew that it was talking an awful lot of self-restraint to keep him from asking why Annie had broken protocol. However he knew that she was just of fond of Annie as he was of Ben so kept his criticism of her to a minimum. "I know you must not have been happy when she did that, but it was the only way."

"You could have protocol and gotten out alive," he said his self-control starting to crack just a little.

"We did get out alive," she pointed out. He opened his mouth to point out that in no way had that outcome been a sure thing, but Joan pressed her finger to his lips, which effectively silenced him. "Just listen to me for a moment," she asked, "Okay." He nodded, and she lowered her hand. "Annie picked up during the fake interview that he had no plans to let the hostages go," Joan explained, "and she was right. So she got us put in there with them so that we could get everybody out alive."

"You didn't have to do it," Arthur pointed out knowing that it was horrible to say that, "you could have just walked away like you were told."

"We both know I couldn't," she told him quietly, "With Meg in there, I never even had a choice."

Arthur nodded. He admired his wife's loyalty, and so refrained from pointing out that she had indeed had a choice…it just would never occur to her to walk away from Meg. To be fair he was not entirely she sure would have walked away even if Meg had been on the other side of the globe. After all, she did not want any of those other people to die either.

"Anyway," Joan continued with her story, "Ben had a charge that could shatter the bullet proof glass, and he and Annie climbed up to the roof while Meg and I fought off the guards."

"Is that why your hand is swollen?" he asked looking at her right hand, which he was still holding.

"The two things might be related," she told him with a small smirk, "but it was worth it just to be back out in the field. I felt like I was really doing something good. It was exhilarating. I kind of miss it."

"I miss it too sometimes," he told her, "but you know what I don't miss?" She shook her head. "I don't miss the hours where I was sitting alone in my office wondering if I was ever going to see you again."

"I know," she said softly because she remembered all too vividly the long hours, the sleepless nights, and the unshakeable feeling of fear, "I don't miss that either."

There was another long pause where they just looked at each other. Each was lost in their own thoughts. Joan was struggling to distract herself from memories of some of Arthur's more risky missions, and while not entirely successful in her first aim, it did not detract from the pleasure she felt at knowing that she and Arthur were definitely over the rough patch they had been going though the year before. Arthur on the other hand was more focused on not thinking about how many things could have gone wrong on his wife's most recent mission, while he unconsciously catalogued the bruises on her face and upper body.

"Are you okay?" he asked her eventually, looking deep into her eyes knowing that the truth would show there no matter what she said.

"They're just bruises," she replied with a shrug, "I've had worse."

"That's not what I was talking about," he told her, even though they both knew that perfectly well.

She smiled back at him. "I'm tired," she said honestly, "And I'm a little shaken, but I'll be fine." He nodded but did not speak. "How about you?" she asked, knowing that sometimes waiting for other people to come back was the hardest thing of all.

"I glad that you're okay," he told her, and, as much as it sounded like he was dodging the question, that really was the best answer he had. Joan seemed to understand that because she just nodded, and they returned to their companionable silence.

Finally Joan gave into the exhaustion that had been threatening to over come her for hours, and she curled up next to her husband with her head resting on his chest. Arthur reached over and turned off the light. Then he settled next to his wife, wrapping one of his arms around her body.

Joan smiled at his touch because for the first time all day she felt safe, and it was that more than anything that meant the mission was truly over.

So what did you think? The ending was a little weak, but other than that I think it was pretty good. Please review and tell me what you thought.