A/N: This is my very first fan fiction...ever. Watching the show, I always find myself wondering about Auggie's life and background. So, I decided to take the breadcrumbs and bombshells the CA writers have given us over the years and write Auggie's story. (Er, my version of it anyway-I've thoroughly enjoyed all of your takes on it, too). Currently, I have 14 chapters written, and I suppose I'll write as long as you and I both enjoy it. If you have something nice or even just constructive to add, please review.
Oh, wait...do I need to mention that I don't own the Covert Affairs characters and I'm not doing this for the crazy fan fiction money? Use of the characters and an occasional line of dialogue from the show should be understood in an "imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery" kind of way.
Auggie strode down the lacquered hallway, confident strides belying the apprehension growing in the pit of his stomach. The conversation he was about to have would almost certainly not be pleasant. As he reached the oak door, he paused and bowed his head, running through the answers to the questions that he knew Joan would ask. He knocked lightly, half-hoping she wouldn't be in and he could inform her in a memo or something...
"Come in," Joan called from within her office.
Damn. Auggie entered.
"Auggie. Did we have a meeting scheduled?" Joan's forehead creased in confusion. She had a lot on her plate this Monday morning.
"No. Not exactly. But there is something I need to talk to you about. Do you have a minute?" Auggie squared his shoulders and met Joan's questioning eyes.
"Have a seat," Joan offered, setting down the pen she was holding and closing several of the folders spread across her desk.
"I would, but you may kick me out of here in a minute, so maybe I should stand until I say what I need to say," Auggie intoned with a sideways grin, his feeble attempt to defuse tension falling flat.
Joan didn't speak, only gave Auggie the look that was infamous across the DPD. Well, technically, it was infamous across the offices of any of the Agency's stations where Joan had worked throughout her storied career at the CIA. It had earned her whispered imprecations behind her back, and a nickname of "Ice Queen," but it was remarkably effective in cutting through people's bullshit, so she deployed it as needed. As she sat staring down one of her top operatives, looking like he was trying to build up the courage to lay down some serious bullshit, she was pretty sure it was needed.
"I need to leave."
"Excuse me?" Joan asked imperiously.
"I need to leave. Not permanently. But I would like to formally request...some time away."
Joan let out a barely audible sigh of relief and turned her attention back to the documents strewn across her desk. Auggie was an excellent operative, flexible and quick on his feet in the field. He was also extremely likeable (not that Joan was one to wax poetic about how much she liked any given operative). She was prepared to give him a long leash.
"Auggie, you've been with the Agency three years and have never so much as called in sick. You know you can have all the vacation you want. Fill out the forms and I'll approve them." Joan began to reopen her folders. She clicked open her pen, a clear sign that, as far as she was concerned, this meeting was over.
Something in the tone of his voice drew her eyes back up to his.
"I need the time away because I'm deploying to Iraq."
Joan was too stunned to speak for a moment.
"All my old Fort Bragg buddies, from before I came to the Agency, are deployed now. I know my work here is important, but I need to do this."
Joan stood up from her desk and slowly walked around to stand in front of it. The situation was starting to take shape in her mind. Her expression softened, as did her voice. "Auggie, level with me: What is this about? You left active duty when we recruited you. You knew what you were doing. The work you're doing here is actively bolstering our forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Auggie paused. He liked Joan, and he knew she liked him. However fierce her reputation, he had come to respect and trust her. Absolutely no one fought harder for their operatives than Joan Campbell. Still, she was his boss, and she was a hardass.
So before he could overthink it, he spilled. "I think I need some time away from the Agency. To get my head straight. From the moment I came onboard, it's been...intense. I hope that you know that my commitment to the CIA is unwavering, but after what happened with Helen - " Auggie's voice broke on her name, " - and other recent ops - "
"Natasha?" Joan interrupted coolly.
"Yeah," Auggie admitted quietly after a moment, feeling stung by how transparent he apparently was.
"Auggie, I know you disagreed with my decision on Natasha, but to throw yourself into active combat in an extremely dangerous-"
"Joan," he broke in. "It's not just about that. I meant what I said before that, about my Army buddies. They're out there on the front lines. Some have died. Some have come home injured. I feel like I need to do this for my brothers. However much you might think this is just about Natasha - and yes, some of it is - it's not the only reason."
Auggie's deep voice resonated with conviction, and Joan suddenly believed him. She'd been around a lot of servicemen over the years, starting with her father and including Arthur, a former career Navy man. She knew that the kind of camaraderie that developed among soldiers, even when they weren't at war, was unique and intoxicating. Especially for a young man like Auggie, the desire to feel useful and a part of the greater good was a powerful draw. However much good the CIA did around the world (to say nothing of the bad), it just couldn't compete with active duty military.
And in reality, it was not as if Joan had never wondered whether this day might come. Auggie was an extraordinarily driven person whom they'd had eyes on since his college days at Stanford. Initially, what had piqued the Agency's attention were his code-writing skills, which had been brought to their attention by an Agency asset and computer science professor at the top-tier university. Add to that his very successful collegiate wrestling career there, and the CIA had opened a file on him. This was something they routinely did on many thousands of promising American college students, though odds of him making it in had still been incredibly slim. Assuming he even wanted in.
Then August Anderson had done something that had shocked them all. Upon graduating in 2002, instead of moving into nearby Silicon Valley, where the Agency knew for a fact he'd received several very lucrative offers at tech start-ups, he'd enlisted in the Army. It wasn't often that the CIA was caught off guard, but if this was something Anderson had been considering doing before he did it, he'd left no trace of that. No emails to friends, no phone calls to his parents, no visits with recruiters. Hell, liberal Stanford hadn't even had a ROTC program in decades. It was an unforeseen, though not necessarily unwelcome, twist.
In the Army, Auggie was no less exceptional than he'd always been. He was accepted for Special Forces training only a year into his service, and shipped off to Fort Bragg for SERE-C instruction. He had made it look easy, and graduated at the top of his class. He was installed in the Army Special Forces, informally known as the Green Berets. Considering their long-standing relationship with the CIA, this couldn't have been more exciting for those in the CIA with an eye on August Anderson's ascendency. Like Joan Campbell.
A year after Auggie joined the Berets, a CIA handler was at long last assigned and approved to approach the young soldier. Auggie had been hesitant to leave his unit, as expected, but his handler had an encyclopedic knowledge of his file, including his psychological profile. Ultimately it was the nerd in Auggie that drew him in: Though you'd never guess it by looking at the handsome, well-built, elite soldier, he was, at heart, a techno-geek. Working for the CIA allowed him access to the coolest toys in the sandbox. With the promise that his career would center around active field work (an agreement that he'd never be chained to a desk was struck), he was on-board.
And now, he was jumping ship. Joan felt a pang of guilt as she wondered whether or not her management was the cause.
Suddenly, Auggie cleared his throat, and Joan realized she'd been lost in thought for maybe a minute or more. She asked an honest question, not sure if Auggie knew she was asking as a person who truly cared, and not just as his boss:
"And what if you die? What if you're injured?"
Auggie sighed, "That's a risk I signed up for a long time ago."
Joan supposed that was true. She maneuvered to a new tactic. "And what if I don't approve this action, Auggie?"
Auggie was silent as he bit his lower lip. He had known Joan might - probably would - play this card. And he didn't relish the trump he knew he'd have to pull if she did. "Then you can expect my resignation. My stepdad pulled some strings and I've already received Army approval to go back into my old unit. I'm shipping out two weeks from today. It's already done."
The words hung in the air as Auggie watched Joan take them in. Her eyebrows had risen at the mention of string-pulling, and he knew she knew exactly what he meant. Still, he expected her to yell at him, to tell him to get out of her office. He thought she might tell him his resignation wasn't required, because he was fired.
Or, even scarier, he thought she might simply clip over to Arthur Campbell's office and try to quash his whole plan. Auggie was pretty sure he knew who would win in a tug-of-war between the DCS and certain power players here in DC politics...but he wasn't eager to test his theory, to gamble that those strings were robust enough to get the job done. A better bet was trusting that Joan understood that forcing CIA operatives to remain in service when they expressly preferred not to was a known formula for creating burn-outs and doubles. As such, it was generally avoided.
In any event, Joan Campbell didn't do any of the things Auggie expected. Instead, she quietly walked back around behind her desk and sat in her chair. She looked at the papers on her desk for a long moment, then looked back up, her face inscrutable. She said simply:
"I hope you know what you're doing, Auggie. I really do."