Slow Burn

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 10:23 pm
forestsofthenight: (slightly mad)
[personal profile] forestsofthenight
Title: Slow Burn
Fandom: Covert Affairs
Characters: Auggie Anderson, Annie Walker
Pairings: Auggie/Annie all the way, baby
Summary: When a routine mission goes wrong, Auggie goes in to get Annie out safely with the first cover story that comes to mind—he poses as her fiancé. Neither of them expects it to be the spark that sets their relationship on fire.
Status: Incomplete


    Annie had never really thought about sleeping with Auggie.

    Well, that wasn't true. She'd imagined it—what woman wouldn't imagine it when confronted with a man like Auggie? He was the complete package—funny, kind, not to mention hot as hell, and sparring practice with him had taught her that he was strong, but still gentle. Anyway, when you were chest to chest with a hot, sweaty guy… well, it was natural for your mind to stray a little, right? But she'd never considered it as a realistic possibility, something that might actually happen. Auggie had his pick of the ladies, after all, and he never went lonely for long--but he never stuck with any of them for long, either. Annie didn't really mind that—she'd had her own fair share of flings—but she preferred being Auggie's friend and sticking around to joining the constant rotation of romantic partners.

    Right now, though, as he wrapped one arm around her waist and pulled her back until she was flush against the hard length of his body, she was definitely thinking about sleeping with Auggie. She shivered a little as he whispered in her ear, so close she could feel the brush of his lips as he spoke.

    "Follow my lead, ok? I'm going to get you out of here." He followed his words with a gentle caress for the benefit of their audience before raising his voice to a level meant for others to hear. "Where have you been, sweetheart? I've been looking all over for you."

    "I've just been talking to these gentlemen about some of the new exhibits we're planning at the Smithsonian." She turned her head a little to smile up at him before leaning back against his chest, relief competing with the rush of adrenaline that had swamped her when she realized the three men now in front of her had managed to trap her in the middle of a crowded room. Neither diminished the persistent, electrifying awareness that hummed through her from every point where her body touched Auggie's.

    "Hey guys, didn't see you there." He grinned genially and raised the free hand holding the cane a little bit to draw their attention to it. "I'm August, Annie's fiancé. I'd offer to shake hands with you, but I'd have to let go of this beautiful lady here, and I'm just not ready to do that." He dropped a lingering kiss at the sensitive junction of her neck and shoulder to emphasize his point, and his grip tightened as he felt Annie's back arch slightly and her head drop a little to the side to give him better access.

    Auggie had thought about sleeping with Annie, seriously and at great length. It hadn't taken him long to decide that, as appealing as the idea was, it had absolutely no future. He was a ladies' man, and he knew it, and he knew that Annie couldn't be a one-night stand or a friend with benefits. Not after what happened with Ben, and not with him. The more he got to know her, the less willing he was to lose her, and the more certain he was that that was exactly what would happen if he slept with her without knowing exactly what they both wanted.

    Now, with his arm wrapped around her and his lips against her skin telling him that her breathing was faster, that her pulse had spiked, and with the tiny movements of her body telling him that it had nothing to do with fear, it was easy to forget that this was supposed to be an act. Reluctantly, he raised his head and looked in what he thought was probably the general direction of the men, who hadn't said a word since he'd arrived. "I hope you don't mind, fellas, but it's about time Annie and I got going. Things to do, people to see, you know. Annie's got a fitting for her dress first thing in the morning, isn't that right?" He smiled down at her, trusting that she'd sell her role as the smitten bride-to-be on such short notice.

    "Sure is." She smiled back up at him, putting as much joy and excitement in her voice as she could before turning back to the three men who fronted her, scowling at being balked of their prize. "It was so nice meeting you. I hope you'll come down to the museum and see the new exhibits when they open." She gave them a dazzling smile as Auggie slowly released her and took her arm, and then she turned away to guide Auggie to the door.

    "Is anyone following us?" he asked after a few moments.

    "I don't know," Annie replied. "I can't really get a good look behind us without being obvious about it."

    "All right. We're going to have to assume we've got a tail, then." He sighed. "I am not looking forward to explaining my next expense report to Joan."

    "Why?" Annie wasn't quite sure what shaking a tail had to do with Auggie's expense report, but mostly she just wanted to keep him talking and keep him close.

    "Because," he said, with a mischievous grin, "we're going to have to get a room. A nice one, too. That dress is way too expensive for a cheap motel." She laughed.

    "You're shameless!" She paused and leant her head against his arm, twining her fingers through his as she signaled to the doorman for a cab.

    That simple, affectionate gesture almost broke Auggie's self-control. He'd been fighting the desire to kiss Annie senseless from the moment he'd felt her react to his touch. Instead, he raised their joined hands and brushed his lips gently across the hack of her hand. "We're going to get out of this just fine. You know that, right?" he asked, his voice low and intense.

    When she replied, there was a tremble of breathless awareness in her voice that set his heart pounding. "Yeah." Soft lips skimmed his cheek. Without thinking, he turned to meet them. Annie melted into the kiss, her lips opening under his without coaxing, and he could feel her breath catch as he pulled her closer, cupping her face with his hand.

    Annie had thought about kissing Auggie before, but what she had imagined was nothing next to the vibrancy of the real thing. The tenderness with which he touched her stole her breath and made her heart skip a beat in her chest. When he pulled away, after what felt like eons or possibly half a second but definitely much too soon, she made a tiny, involuntary noise of protest.

    "Well," Auggie murmured, his voice deep and a little hoarse, "if we've got a tail, they should be pretty convinced of our cover now."  The level practicality of his words hit Annie like a bucket of ice water. No matter how intoxicating this role might be, it was still a role. Come tomorrow, they would be right back to business as usual, friendly and flirty and nothing more—even if suddenly, this wasn't a role at all for her. Luckily, the doorman came over to tell them the next cab was free before she could say something stupid.

    She took the opportunity offered by getting Auggie settled into the cab to steal a look around, trying to spot any tails. If they didn't have one, she could sleep in her own bed tonight and process how much more complicated things had just gotten before she had to deal with Auggie again, and she desperately wanted that time to sort herself out before she had to act normal. Satisfied that there was no one following them, she slipped into the cab herself and gave the cabby the address. As they pulled away, a flicker in the rearview mirror caught her eye. She pulled out her compact and pretended to touch up her makeup, angling it so that she had a clear view through the rear window. Behind them, one of the men who had cornered her was getting into the next cab.

*
 
    It wasn't easy finding a classy hotel with an open room in DC late on a Friday night. In the end Auggie had to resort to some techno-trickery on his smartphone. When he was done, he smiled broadly. "One suite at the W, courtesy of yours truly."

    Torn about their situation as she was, Annie still had to gasp. "Holy crap, Auggie. Joan really is going to kill you. That place is like 300 bucks a night for the cheapest rooms."

    Auggie chuckled. "Hey, like I said, nothing but the best for that dress." And you, he added to himself. His hands itched to reach out and pull her closer. She'd been very quiet since the kiss, and after confirming their tail she'd stayed tense and businesslike, keeping her distance. Now, though, she was leaning in toward him a little, probably trying to get a look at what he'd managed to book for them, and he could hear the thread of excitement in her voice. He teasingly turned the screen of the phone away from her. She grabbed for it and missed as a bump in the road threw her off balance. Instead, her hand landed high on his thigh as she pitched toward him. He felt his throat go dry, and a long moment passed with no sound but their breathing.

    "Sorry," Annie muttered, embarrassed. She started to pull away, but Auggie grasped her wrist to stop her.

    "Is our guy still behind us?"

    Annie glanced back through the rear window as inconspicuously as she could. "Yeah. Right behind us. He's not even leaving any cars between us." She couldn't hide her disgust with the mystery man's shoddy spy-craft. Auggie gave a little burst of silent laughter at her tone.

    "I've got an idea to get them off our tail, but you may not like it." He waited for Annie to say something, but she was silent. "You know I can't see you staring expectantly at me, right?" She snorted, sounding half irritated and half amused, and he took that as encouragement to continue. "We've already given them our best impression of being desperately, sickeningly adorable and in love. If we can keep that up long enough, eventually they're going to either decide that you're not whoever it is that they think you are, or they'll just get sick of watching us make out and go away long enough for us to disappear." The cocky half-grin he pasted on as he finished his spiel felt desperately fake to him, but he could only hope Annie wouldn't notice. He wanted to tell her that he wouldn't ask her to do this unless it was absolutely necessary—but then he stopped himself. If he was being completely honest, it wasn't absolutely necessary. This might be the best option, but it wasn't the only option. It was just the most tempting one. As hard as he was trying to think practically about it, he knew that it wasn't just logic urging him to make the most of the cover he'd established.

    Sometime while he'd been talking, Annie had gone completely still. He knew this tension. It meant she was a thousand miles away in her own head, thinking and weighing and completely deaf to the outside world. He waited, feeling the slight shift of her weight against him as the cab rumbled along over the rough pavement. Finally, he heard the slow, deep rhythm of her breath change as she came back to herself.

    "Ok," she said. "So why did I have to stay like this? My back is killing me."

    "Well, partly because I'd bet this position looks pretty compromising to our little follower back there," Auggie paused just long enough for Annie to put the image together in her head, and grinned as he heard her squeak of embarrassment. "And partly so that I can do this." He reached out carefully to find her face, tilting it up towards him before slowly and gently covering her lips with his own.

    As soon as he kissed her again, Annie knew she was utterly and absolutely screwed. After kissing Auggie, she was sure she would be ruined for kissing other men forever. Sitting in the back of a cab, twisted into an uncomfortably awkward position, and occasionally jostled as they hit another pothole, Auggie's kiss could still set her on fire—and she could tell he was holding back. Tangling her free hand in his hair, she lost herself in the feeling of his lips on hers as he alternated long, lingering kisses with shorter, sweeter ones. All too soon, the cab was slowing to a stop in front of the W. Annie sighed and pulled away, trying to smooth the tousled mess of Auggie's hair. He took her hand, stilling it.

    "Don't bother. It never behaves. Besides, it adds verisimilitude to our story if we look a little mussed." Annie shrugged, a "have it your way" gesture that she knew he would feel through her hand, and let go to pay the cabbie, adding an extremely generous tip to their fare.

    "Nope," she said as Auggie started to protest. "If you're going to put the ridiculously swanky hotel on your expenses, the least I can do is put the cab fare on mine." She opened her door and got out before he could argue. As she stood, she wobbled, still a little weak-kneed from Auggie's kiss. She steadied herself quickly against the cab, glad for once that Auggie couldn't see her. A quick glance around as she went to take Auggie's arm and guide him into the lobby   showed their tail settling himself on a bench across the street, pretending to read a newspaper by the light of the streetlamps. She related this to Auggie in an undertone as the entered the hotel. "It's like he read some manual on how to be the most stereotypical spy ever!" she snorted, offended.

    Auggie grinned, patting her hand. "Try not to take it personally. And look on the bright side—you'd never get to stay at a place this nice on the Agency's dime any other way." She had to laugh at that, knowing he was right. Assets might stay in the fanciest hotels, but field agents were usually stuck with the local equivalent of a Motel 6.

    Their check-in went smoothly enough, although the young woman at the front desk was clearly a little bit surprised that she had forgotten their reservation. "Will you be needing any help with your luggage this evening?" she asked as she handed them their room keys. Annie froze. She hadn't thought of that.

    But Auggie was already answering. "Actually, there was a little mix-up with our luggage at the airport," he lied smoothly. "They sent us to the right place, but our luggage ended up on a plane to Seattle, and we're still waiting to hear back from the airline about when we should expect it to arrive." He grinned, laying on the classic Anderson charm. "Could you put us in touch with the concierge? We have a few errands to run tomorrow morning, and we're here with nothing but the clothes on our backs." Annie could see the girl eyeing those clothes, putting together a picture of a couple who dressed like they were going to a high-society cocktail party for a flight to DC, and almost heard the dollar signs clicking into place behind her eyes.

    "Of course, sir. I'll send someone up from the concierge desk shortly to get a full list of your requirements." The girl smiled more brightly than ever, and Annie resigned herself to giving some very large tips for the duration of their stay.

***

    The suite Auggie had gotten for them was on the eight floor, well above the reach of any prying eyes. As soon as the door was closed behind them, Annie made a beeline for the invitingly plush curved sofa that took up nearly half of the living area and kicked off her stilettos, tucking them safely out of Auggie's way under the coffee table. Auggie followed her more cautiously, getting a sense of the layout as he went. Just as he reached the sofa himself, there was a knock on the door.

    "What size are you?" he asked as he turned back towards the entrance.

    "What?"

    "What size are you? I'd be a terrible fiancé if I didn't know your dress size, and the concierge is going to have a hard time finding you clothes unless I can tell them."

    "Isn't this a little precipitous? I mean, we don't actually have anywhere to go tomorrow," Annie pointed out. Auggie just raised an eyebrow at her and waited. She sighed. "Fine, I usually take a four." The conversation Auggie had with the concierge was a little too low for Annie to hear clearly, but Auggie seemed deeply pleased with himself when he sat down beside her.

    "He'll have the clothes delivered with breakfast in the morning," he announced. "Now I'm going to make you an appointment at a bridal shop, and then I'm putting you to bed. I could hear you yawning the whole time I was talking to that guy."

    "I don't suppose you asked for pajamas?" Annie asked hopefully.

    Auggie shook his head. "The soonest they could get anything was tomorrow morning, and I didn't want to make a big deal about it. We are supposed to be engaged, after all."

    Annie sighed. "All right. At least I've got a slip on, so I shouldn't freeze out here."

    Auggie frowned. "What do you mean, 'out here'? There's a perfectly good bed right there," he said, waving in the general direction of the bedroom.

    "You take the bed," Annie replied hurriedly, blushing at the thought of being even that close to Auggie in whatever he was planning to wear to bed. "I'll be fine on the couch, it's plenty comfortable."

    Auggie tapped the curve of the super chic semi-circular sofa on which they sat. "The only person who could sleep on this thing without hurting themselves would be a contortionist, Annie. There's no way I'm letting you try. Besides, from what I hear the beds in this place could sleep four and everybody would still have plenty of room." Looking at the massive bed that dominated the bedroom, Annie had to admit that he was right. Two people sleeping on opposite sides of that bed might as well be sleeping in different rooms… but she still hesitated.

    Auggie could sense her hesitation, even though he couldn't see it. "Annie, we're both adults. It's not like I've got anything you haven't seen before, and," he grinned wickedly, trying to ease the tension a little, "while you might have something I haven't felt before, I promise to be a gentleman and keep my hands to myself." Annie snickered a little, and Auggie gave an inward sigh of relief. He'd sleep better knowing she was within arm's reach in case of trouble. "Now go to bed, young lady," he said, mock sternly, and listened to the silken whisper of her dress as she moved away before he pulled out his smartphone and got to work arranging their activities for the next day.

    The sound of a zipper being undone in the next room stopped his fingers dead in their dance across the screen. He swallowed hard, his mouth suddenly dry, and tried to focus again on the task at hand, but the sounds from the bedroom made it hard to concentrate. He could hear fabric gliding over her skin as the dress fell to the floor. There was a moment or so's worth of pause, and then a very soft thump that could only be her discarded bra landing on top of the dress. It was a striptease in sound, and he was almost certain that she had no idea that she was doing it—but that didn't keep him from reacting to it.

    Once he heard her slip into bed, he managed to loosen his death grip on his phone and get back to work. It only took a few minutes to insert an appointment for her into the database of a nearby boutique, but he sat in the living room for some time afterwards, fighting with himself. He'd managed to keep his mind on business—well, mostly on business—once they'd gotten out of the cab and into the hotel. Now, though, knowing that Annie was just a few yards away in the bedroom wearing the next thing to nothing, it was substantially harder to look at sharing the bed in a practical light. Part of him wanted to make a move right here, right now—screw the fact that they were in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation, screw the fact that Annie was exhausted and frightened and confused, screw the fact that he wanted to get it right with her. That part of him just knew that she was beautiful and desirable and in his bed. But the rest of him knew that if there was one way to mess things up permanently with Annie, it was to make a move right now. So he waited, carefully chaining his snarling libido.

    When he finally did crawl into bed, the movement woke Annie, despite his best efforts.

    "Hey, Auggie?" she murmured sleepily.

    "Yeah?

    "You know it's going to be ok, right?" Her questing hand found his in the darkness.

    "Yep." She fell asleep again, still holding his hand.

    Later—he couldn't have said how much later—he woke to find Annie shivering violently in her sleep. Feeling around carefully, he pulled the blankets she'd thrown off back over her. Then, more carefully still, he draped one arm over her, drawing her closer. She immediately snuggled into the warmth of his chest, tucking her head under his chin. Slowly, her shivering subsided. Heart singing, Auggie drifted off again with Annie in his arms, not minding in the least that she'd ruined him for other women.

Bonus stuff time!
First of all, some music:
Slow Burn, from David Bowie's 2002 album Heathen
Asleep at Last,  from The Wailin' Jennys' 2011 album Bright Morning Stars

And here's the best picture I could find of the W Washington that shows the BATS! (View it at the Huge magnification to get in there and see that I'm not kidding about the bats.)

I know I'm a little weird about that, but they were what made me absolutely fall in love with the building. It was built in 1917 as the Hotel Washington, and it's pretty much right across the street from the White House. When I first saw it, the Hotel Washington had actually closed and the building was in the process of being renovated before reopening as the W Washington. Now it has a super swanky interior that marries modern and traditional design that I thought would suit Auggie and Annie to a T. (Not that I've ever actually been inside--like Annie says, the cheapest rooms cost enough per night to make my wallet whimper. Some of the suites cost upwards of $1200 a night.) If you'd like to see some interior shots of the hotel, check out the photos on their website.

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