Chapter 18

He started to tell Bella about his time in Iraq and their mission to take out the Jack of Diamonds and how it all went to hell. How one of them double crossed them and what happened to his team. It hurt talking about it. He was usually so blasé about it because he didn’t want to talk about it, but he felt the need to explain himself. “And I think that the voice on the recording is Afran Felat Khani.”

“So that is the Jack?” Bella asked, her hand running over his leg trying to soothe him. “Or one of his players that you happened to be in contact with?”

“No, he wasn’t the Jack. He was our translator, Nasir, who double crossed us, and I believed him to be dead,” he said, his hand gripping the chair in discomfort. “It can’t be him, but that voice…”

She nodded, realizing his fear. “Why don’t we call someone back home to check the records? See what they say?”

Auggie thought for a moment. “Can’t ask Annie, she won’t have the clearance and I don’t really trust Jai with this and oh, if Joan or Arthur find out that I think a ghost has come back to life, I’ll be toast.” He then sighed. “Annie’s my best bet.”

“She’ll be able to at least see if a name is listed as alive or dead at her clearance level depending on if he’s being used as an asset by someone.”

“I’ll call Annie on my way back to Kasim, he might have a better recording for me, will you be okay for an hour without me?”

Bella drew in a breath and agreed. She didn’t like the idea of him heading out by himself now, but she wasn’t about to stop him either. “Yeah, but you be careful. Especially if he recognizes you. Okay?”

“I could always do it tomorrow if you don’t feel comfortable, but I promise, I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

“You come back with a single scratch and I will murder you myself. You got that Auggie Anderson?” she demanded as she got up and leaned over the back of his chair to wrap her arms from behind him.

“I promise I’ll come back in one piece,” he gently pat her arm and turned around to kiss her. “I’ll bring you some more Pide when I get back.”

“And when we get home, we figure out a way to get out of this shit storm somehow. I didn’t find us work this time,” she scolded playfully.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s completely my fault. My apologies. And besides, it’s probably nothing and merely my paranoid mind.”

Bella wasn’t so sure because it wasn’t easy to let go of things that traumatic. “We will run this down until we know it isn’t. If I thought I heard one of the Volturi or Cullens, you wouldn’t think me crazy, would you?”

“No,” he smiled at her. “Because people break out of prison all the time. They don’t rise from the dead.”

“We work for the CIA. Let’s not say that,” she said. “Call Annie and go see your friend. Then come back and we’ll deal with this all and hopefully have a nice vacation. Or we try to hunt down a terrorist. Either way – we have fun. But if it becomes the latter, then we can make work pay for this vacation.”

“True,” he kissed her again and collected his things. “Try to get some rest. I’ll be back soon,” he said as he walked to the door.

“Bring me back some ice cream or something.”

“Got it,” he said before opening the door and ducked out.

“And soda. I’d really like some Coke if they have it!” she called out before changing into one of his shirts and crawling into bed.

“Got it!” he called back. As he headed into the direction of the festival, now knowing his way a little bit, he called Annie. Telling her what he needed – a tiny favor – and that Joan wasn’t supposed to know. Annie would call him back and leave a voicemail so he could call her back once she had something.

Kasim was helpful too, he figured Auggie was a little bit eccentric for wanting the audio from the mic that had been moved due to the wind, but burned the tracks anyway, because he was his friend. He picked up some Pide, ice cream and coke on the way back to the apartment and put it down on the bed. “I’m back.”

Bella mumbled as she heard him and lifted her head. Looking around, she rubbed her eyes and sat up. “Hey. How’d it go?” she asked. “Do I need to do a bodily inspection?”

“I only tripped twice. I got escorted home by a wonderful young man who tried to pocket my wallet but I managed to stop him and gave him some money for his efforts. I’ve got your coke, ice cream and more pide and the additional tracks.”

“Awesome,” she replied, breathless as she made her way to the bags and dove right for the dessert. “Can I help with anything?” she mumbled around a mouthful of cold creaminess.

“I don’t know yet, I’m going to listen to the recordings. I have to call Annie back… I’m sorry, I could be busy all night,” Auggie sighed.

“I figured as much. That’s why I demanded the ice cream and soda,” she said as she kissed him, passing on her way to the table. “I wish I could help, I don’t know what I’d be able to do do.”

“Well, my Arabic is rusty, so I think I might listen for the surrounding sounds to see what we can identify and go on a scavenger hunt tomorrow for the location.”

Bella looked excited at that. “Ooh! That sounds like fun! My Arabic is non-existent, but if you give me clips that we can search for together, two pairs of ears could work better, right?” she asked.

He held up an extra pair of earphones. “You can listen with me, how’s that? Hone your blind skills, listen past the obvious.”

She took them and leaned in to kiss him, quickly wiping his lip from her own ice cream covered lips. “Let me get one of your ties to cover my eyes. Give me a minute and I’ll be right with you.”

“Or just close your eyes,” he grinned. “I don’t have any ties with me.”

“Eh, I brought a couple for some fun,” she hinted as she went to go digging in her bag, coming up with his tie. “Maybe if we get the chance before we leave, we’ll get to play. The bed has slats at the headboard.”

“Oh man,” Auggie sighed happily. “I love you.”

“I know,” she retorted lightly, falling back in her chair and tying the fabric around her head. Reaching out for the headphones, she pulled them on, over her ears. “Let’s get to work, Hot Stuff.”

Auggie grinned as he placed the ice cream in her lap, spoon sticking out of the container. He was surprised by her yelp. “What? Aren’t you wearing pants?”

“No you ass!” she screeched. “Fuck!” she hissed, holding the cup and rubbing her thigh. “I put one of your shirts on when you left and crawled into bed. Give me your hand…” she said holding hers out over the arm chair, smirking to herself.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said apologetic and put his hand in hers. “I’m so terribly sorry.”

“I know you are, Baby,” she said, bring his hand down to her leg, sliding it up her thigh. “And guess what else I’m not wearing? But enough about that, we have work to do now.”

His eyes widened in surprise as he noticed no panties. “Ohhhh…. yes. Work. Let me call Annie first,” he said as he tapped to awaken his phone. “Call Annie. Turn on speaker.” When she picked up, he spoke again. “Hey, just calling you back, you’re on speaker.”

Great! Look, we really need to start teaching you some phone conversation manners.”

Auggie sighed and rubbed his finger against Bella’s clit as his hand was still down there with a big smile on his face. “Hi, Annie, it’s Bella and Auggie. Tell me what you’ve got.”

Better. Listen to this. Khani’s been removed from the database. But I followed the file tree, and he has a sister in Baltimore.”

“File tree? You speak nerd now?” Auggie laughed. “I’m impressed!”

Bella’s breath hitched, her nails pressing into his arm, but not over the conversation itself. “Manners. Let her talk,” she pressed out.

I don’t know how much more of this I can do while keeping it from Joan.”

“It’s your day off, isn’t it? So I’m guessing you don’t have a current assignment.”

Annie sighed. “I’m going to Baltimore, aren’t I?”

“I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t really important.”

“Let’s say it’s cutting into our vacation and it’s putting a real dampener on things until details are confirmed,” Bella said.

Of course. But when you get back, you’re going to tell me who this guy is, right? This doesn’t seem like some little thing you forgot to do.”

“Drive safe, Walker, have fun!” Auggie smiled before disconnecting the call and removing his hand from Bella’s core. “Let’s get to work.”

She fell back against the back of her chair, unsatisfied and unfulfilled. “You’re such an evil bastard,” she complained, turning her head towards him. “Just play the audio and tell me the voice that I’m listening for so that I know what to recognize later.”

Auggie listened to the recording and sighed. “The loudest voice,” he said before meddling with the settings, slightly filtering away the voice. “This mic was on the north west side of the building, are those bells? Do you remember a store with bells outside?”

Bella focused on the person before he started adjusting with the levels. She didn’t say anything as she shifted her focus on the bells he mentioned, thinking back to the afternoon. “Vaguely, but I wasn’t really paying attention at the time. We can go and look around more. It could have been on the other side of the square from where we sat.”

“Yeah, I think they’re little shops there,” he replied, rewinding it again and listening. “Well, it seems like we’re going bell hunting tomorrow.”

“Souvenir shopping sounds great. Maybe some trinkets for nugget,” she added lightly as a cover depending on the shop, pulling the headphones off.

“Yes,” he agreed, putting his headphones on the table and turned to her again, his hand running up her leg. “How are you feeling?”

Bella lifted her blindfold and took a bite of her melting ice cream as she took a moment to assess herself. “I have heartburn, don’t know whether I’m hungry or not, I had to buy new bras for this trip because none of the ones I’ve had at home fit at all, and I’m constantly horny. How the hell do you think I’m feeling, Dear?”

“Shame,” he said with a shrug, removing his hand from her and got up to get the Pide off the bed. “I thought that maybe I’d try to get your mind off of things.”

She narrowed her eyes on him as she got up to follow, her nose twitching at the smell of the food. “How so? With your face between my legs perhaps?”

“Yes, or my fingers… or something else…” He unwrapped the food and started to eat it. “But eh, if you’re not feeling so great…”

“I said I was constantly horny. What makes you think I’d turn that down?” she argued, reaching out for a piece of his food. “You have to be under some grand delusion that I would ever say no.”

Grinning, Auggie sat down on the bed with his food. “Just how horny are you, right now?”

Bella’s lips turned into a smirk as she licked her fingers. Pushing him back, she pulled at his pants to drip some of the melting ice onto his lower stomach to lick off until she took his cock in her mouth, working him up until he was as breathless as he had her before. “Hm, they do say that protein does a body good.”

“Oh fuck,” he breathed as he pulled her on the bed with him. “That’s it, you’re mine now.”

~o.O.o~

After breakfast, a happy, relaxed, Bella and Auggie went on their scavenger hunt. Auggie was slightly worried as if the man turned out to be Nasir, things could get pretty dangerous. “Okay, one rule,” he said as they were heading towards the north west side of the square. “Should shit hit the fan, you’re staying out of harm’s way, got that?”

Bella scoffed at his directive but didn’t outwardly object. “And you? What’s your plan genius? I get you want me and the baby safe, but think about this from my end as well. We’d like Dad to come back with us as well. Either we’re all going in, or we’re all going out.”

“Fine, then stay behind me and be my eyes.”

She grinned and looked behind him and down at his ass. “I’ll be happy to be your eyes,” she replied, knowing exactly what he’d be doing if his own had been functioning. “The view is great by the way.”

“Of course it is, I have a well toned ass, I work out, you know,” he said with a grin and pulled her closer to him. “And I like your ass as well, nice and firm.”

“By the end of this pregnancy, it’ll be flabby and big. I think that it’s also gotten larger already, like my boobs,” she frowned.

“Oh, but there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of volume. You’ll always be gorgeous to me.”

“Are you saying I’m getting fat now?” she questioned, the corners of her lips turning into a smile as she gripped his waist while she looked around. “I am told I have to gain upwards of fifty pounds but it is not at all gorgeous or pleasant.”

“You’re a human incubator, I think you shouldn’t care,” he smiled and stopped at the edge of the square.

“No woman is pleased about looking forward to swollen ankles and constant heartburn. Not to mention back pain and all the other aches that come with being a human incubator,” she described what she had to anticipate. Hearing shouts coming from nearby, her head swung in that direction and her eyes sought out the source.

“What is it?” he asked as he could feel her react to the shouting. “I don’t recognise any of those voices, but I think I hear the bells on the left somewhere, down the street.”

She reached for his hand and squeezed it before starting in that direction. “It’s the same area,” she said, staying close to him. She smiled at the shop owners that were out as they passed stalls and glanced in their windows, their doors, for any bell like items.

They walked a little further down the street when he stopped again, a voice talking about something, the bells were close by. “That was the other voice on the recording.”

Bella looked around, taking in the shop and ran her hand over his arm. “Rainsticks, not bells. Want me to buy one? They’re actually really pretty.”

He was about to tell her to get one when Khani’s voice sounded. “Nope,” he said, turning them around and walked in the opposite direction, pausing at another shop. “A guy just walked out of that shop, where’s he going?”

She looked over his shoulder, bewildered but kept her emotions controlled. “He’s looking around, and…walking the other way,” she said, turning to look at the scarves of the stand they were at and took some money out to pay for a couple when the man looked around again. “Auggie? He seems rather paranoid.”

“He’s a terrorist, of course he’s paranoid,” he said gently as she could feel her stuff whatever she bought in her bag. “Let’s cross the street, don’t lose him out of your sight. Just let me know when you have to follow him into something and I’ll wait.”

“I know how to do my job,” she scowled, tugging on him so that they could move.

“Good,” he said with a grin and followed her lead. “Pregnancy hormones, you never know.”

“Pregnant, not invalid. Another thing that the doctor mentioned, that I’m sure you heard on your books, I tend to get stronger when I get upset,” Bella warned, pinching the inside of his elbow. “You really should watch your words, future husband.”

“Well, future wife, I’m merely trying to make us look distracted instead of focused.”

“I think a bickering couple is distracted enough,” she rolled her eyes.

He snickered and followed her for awhile until she stopped. “What’s going on?”

Bella had pulled him behind a mobile stand and looked at the trinkets as she peered around at the man. “He went into a restaurant or coffee shop.”

“Alright,” he sighed as he took out his phone. “Keep an open connection, I want to hear everything and I certainly want to know you’re okay.”

“You know what the bill is going to be like depending on how long I might end up having to be in there?”

“We’ll send it to Joan and Arthur.”

She took it, playing with it in her hands. “And if this is chasing ghosts?”

“I’ll sell a kidney,” he shrugged.

“What if our child needs that kidney?”

“Fine, we’ll sell yours,” he smiled widely. “You’re going to be fine. I’ll be right here.”

Bella dropped her arms and shook her head. “Look, I can’t speak Arabic, but I can understand it enough to get by. I’ll be alright. Trust me to get what you want to know – without a ridiculous phone bill.”

“But I want that ridiculous phone bill just so I know you and the nugget are okay. I know you are more than capable of handling yourself but we’re off book here,” he reached out to cup her face and smiled at her. “Please.”

She let out a sigh and handed him her phone, dialing it and put the device on mute so that she wouldn’t receive any sound on her end. “I’ll be back. Don’t come storming the gate unless I ask for a knight,” she ordered, kissing him lightly before heading in, pulling one of her new scarves out to wrap around her head. She didn’t know how traditional anyone would be inside, so it would be better safe than anything else.

Auggie leaned against the wall, appearing to enjoy the sun while Bella went inside the restaurant and sighed. This truly sucked. More and more it started to sound like it was truly Nasir, or Khani or whatever, and he wanted to take him down.

Making her way to the counter, Bella ordered herself a tea and checked her watch before looking around. Spotting the man they’d been following, she turned away to wait for her order. While her Arabic speaking sucked, she was able to understand a little and what she was able to pick up was disturbing. As soon as the tea was set down in front of her, it took all she had in her to hold it steady as she lifted it to her lips.

He didn’t like what he was hearing – at all. He was going to come to Washington and they had a chance of stopping him now. He needed to call Annie to have her arrange transport to the location of the cargo plane – if she wanted to do that. Probably not. He couldn’t wait for Bella to return, growing antsy when it was taking her some time, and pull her into an alley to call Annie.

As the conversation begun to shift to other topics, Bella finished her tea and begun to behave frustrated by the lack of her ‘date’ meeting her on time. Paying for her drink and thanking the server, she made her way out, quickly slipping across the street back by Auggie. “Okay, so you weren’t hallucinating,” she said as soon as she got to him, yanking her scarf off and eyeing everyone around them cautiously. “What do we do now?”

“We call Annie. We need to stop him from getting on that plane,” he said as he took her hand and started to walk away from the restaurant. “If you’re up for it. I could do it by myself, but he can’t be in the States and disappear.”

Bella drew in a deep breath, understanding the implication of what he was saying. “No. If we’re doing this, we’re doing this together. We’ll see this through until the end, no matter what,” she said evenly, even as her heart pounded in her chest.

“Are you sure? You don’t have to do this, you know. You can just… walk away,” he said as he turned a corner with her.

“Auggie. I’m with you. Who knows? With the both of us, we might have a little luck and get through this together. If not a little bruised, but alive. But I’m not leaving you here to deal with this alone. You won’t get rid of me that easily, no matter the reasoning.”

He stopped and took a deep breath before tapping his phone and put Annie on speaker. “Okay, then let’s do this,” he said, gently squeezing her hand as Annie picked up the phone. “Hey, it’s us.”

Hey! Did you know that Khani’s been investigated by the FBI? Rossabi intercepted me when I was in Baltimore visiting his sister. So to answer your original question, he’s not dead. But I think you already knew that.”

He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. The FBI. This made matters even more pressing because they would want Khani alive. “Annie, we’re going to have to make this fast. We need to be in Sanayi at 4pm.”

The concert can wait! There was a special forces unit tracking him during the Iraq War. That was you, wasn’t it?”

“Annie, I have something I have to tell you,” he sounded deadly calm, but his heart was racing. Of course he was calm, their vacation had truly turned into an op. A deadly one at that.

Please! Why couldn’t you have told me from the beginning?”

“Look, I want to thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I am sorry that I didn’t read you in. And I’m sorry you went to all this trouble. I truly am.”

Auggie. Please. Tell me what’s going on. Let me help you.”

“Thanks again. For everything. Goodbye, Annie,” He disconnected the call before she could answer. “We need to do this now. The FBI are involved.”

“And she’s no doubt on her way to Joan by now. You didn’t give her much room to come up with alternative ideas for what we’re looking to do here,” Bella murmured, her hands coming up to his neck and resting her forehead against his.

“No, because if I had, she would have tried to talk me into not killing him. He blew up my men, sure, one wasn’t alive and the other was hurt, but he blew up my men, and made me blind. He betrayed us. He’s been living under the radar for years and if he sets foot in the States, we’ll lose him. Either to the FBI or we’ll never hear from him again until he blows something up,” he said as he took a deep breath. “He needs to pay for his betrayal and we need to stop him from doing worse. I don’t trust the FBI to really follow up on this, you know what I mean?”

“I don’t trust the FBI to care for my dead goldfish so let’s go get this party rolling, shall we? I’ve had my share of them back in Forks to last me a lifetime.”

“Is there anything you need from the apartment or can you live without your stuff until I can have Kasim send them back?”

“If we survive this, you will stock me up on ice cream until I can’t eat anymore. Otherwise, everything we need will be at home and we won’t be leaving there for a very long time. I don’t give two shits what Joan has to say. I’m tired.”

“Yeah, me too,” he sighed. “If we survive this, we could always quit. I’m tired of the job getting in the way of things. Or needing to have to adjust my life around work. Or not having the freedom to do things. Like a normal life.”

“They won’t let that happen, but we can arrange for less active work. You could have taken that job that Arthur offered.”

“Oh, hell no,” he said as he lead them down the road, there was something he needed to get for the both of them. “That would have meant I would become overt and I’m not ready for that. Too many skeletons buried in too many places and people who would be more than willing to take me out.”

Bella smirked. “Yes. The list of ex-girlfriends is quite impressive.”

“And I wasn’t even thinking about that! Holy cow, no, that would be disastrous.”

“As long as I’m the last, you’ll survive.”

“You are the last. You should have been the… nope, that was Ricky in high school, but yeah, you should definitely have been the first after college.”

She smiled up at him as she walked. “Nice save. Alright. Let’s play, Cowboy. What’s the plan now?”

“We’re going to pick up some knives,” he said cheerfully. “There should be a shop front with the word ‘knife’ on it. Yeah, I know, really obvious, but it works. He never gets raided and as far as the police goes, he sells kitchen appliances.”

“Knives…okay,” she said as she looked around. “As long as we don’t bring this home to use later if you’re buying them for what I think you are. I’d rather go with Charlie’s suggestion and get my permit again and keep something hidden just in case of unwelcomed visitors.”

“Just in case he has a gun,” Auggie shrugged.

“There is a saying that you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight,” she pointed out.

“Unless you’re trained in hand to hand combat,” he countered. “And have amazing ears and a pair of eyes and ears to back you up.”

After picking up the knives, a taxi drove them to the small airport. Finding their way around was going to get tricky, but he was glad that Bella was with him. Going in half cocked wasn’t his brightest idea. Auggie had switched off his phone in case Annie would call him and try to reason with him – as she usually tried to do.

When Bella’s phone went off, she knew what it was and sighed, as she stared ahead at the air strip as she pulled the device out and answered it. “What Annie?”

Look, whatever you two are going to do, don’t. The FBI are ready to take Khani into custody.

They have enough evidence to prosecute him and shut down all of his networks. That’s dozens of cells all over the world plotting attacks against Americans and American interests.

The Office of International Affairs at the Justice Department is on board, and we’ve arranged to reroute that flight to D.C.”

Bella let out a sigh. Both for Auggie, and for herself as she would stand by him. Even in this crazy, dangerous plan.

I know that Auggie’s furious and hurt and that you’re there with him, but this is what we do. What we work towards every day. Thousands of lives could be saved. Don’t risk your own.”

“Yes. Thousands of lives could, and will be saved. It’s too late Annie. I’m watching out for him and we’re in this together. Goodbye Annie.”

But!”

Bella hung up the phone before she could attempt to sway them further. Taking the back cover off and removing the battery, she pocketed it and the sim card. “Okay, so that didn’t go as planned.”

“You have to applaud her for her tenacity,” he smiled. “Always trying to fight the good fight.”

“If we survive, later, maybe,” she shrugged. “You want to get on that plan and get incredibly uncomfortable? I’m sure I’m just going to love it. Best vacation ever!

“Sorry,” he grinned as they continued to walk towards the plane. “We should have just stuck with Disney.”

She smirked. “They have concerts too. Not like your jazz, but we can attend some great stuff without leaving the country next time. New Orleans. Maybe even meet some vampires.”

Auggie paused for a moment and sighed. It was her one vice that she didn’t want to be blindfolded for. This ridiculous TV show about vampires in New Orleans. And witches. And werewolves and lots of blood and booze. “You do know that that show is entirely fictional, right? No hot hybrids walking the streets.”

“Hey! I don’t say anything about you and your geeking out when you ramble on about techy gadget stuff that I don’t understand. Leave my vampires and hybrid alone!”

“But techy gadget stuff is real.”

“So are tickets to the conventions.”

“You could probably even use your NOC to get into that. Hell, even to the set. You’re writing a paper on historic trinkets used in TV shows. Voila. You’re welcome.”

Bella turned to look at him and blinked. “We never discuss free passes…”

“Bella, I will not forgive you if you go to the set or to some convention and seduce your favourite actor and sleep with him.”

“Glad we got that on record because if one of your exes show up and I find out you slept with them, I’ll have your balls on my desk. Bronzed.”

“You can have them for lunch,” he promised her as they had gotten to the plane. The door was already closed and they had to act fast. Using the hull of the plane as his guide, he walked to the front wheel. “Are you ready?” he asked in a whisper.

“Let’s kick some ass, since I won’t be getting any hybrids in this lifetime,” she muttered to herself.

He helped her climb through the landing gear to get onto the plane before helping himself in and maneuvered her behind him. Auggie had already instructed her to hold on to his shirt and tug on his left or right side if he needed to move. Slowly, but surely, he advanced in the hold, the giant plastic squares on either side of them felt solid, not hollow, but he figured that there was barely any space left to sit or stand. There must be a hollowed out square somewhere. He tried to listen for any living sounds, non-mechanical, but the plane’s natural sound, the banging of the metal as the wind made contact with the outer hull, was too overwhelming.

Bella tried to keep alert but she couldn’t see anything and drew a 0 on his back, to communicate that she couldn’t find anything obvious on the surface without them separating for her to search further. There were just too many crevices, barricades, and places to hide.

Eventually, he had pinpointed the location of Khani, and motioned for Bella to get out of sight before throwing a loud, small children’s toy inside his hideout. Auggie hadn’t expected him to blow him back, but he managed to regain his posture and started hitting him. It was messy, but as long as he was in control, he would have a chance of getting out of this alive and Khani dead.

At some point, Auggie missed, and Khani managed to get a few good blows in, pushing Auggie against one of the pieces of cargo and actually recognizing him. Wrestling free of his hold, Auggie wasn’t sure where Khani was anymore, he couldn’t see. Fuck, why did the fucker have to bomb them and blind him? He would have been better off dead with his luck.

Bella swung a pipe at Khani as he tried to make it past where she had hid, grunting with the effort as it struck his shoulder.

“Can’t do this alone, can you, Captain?” Khani breathed as he struck Bella in the face, knocking her back against another part of the cargo. She slid down, groaning from the impact. “You need a woman to fight your battles?”

“Bella!” Auggie called out. “Are you okay?”

“Women. So weak.”

He swung in the direction of the noise, but realized too late that it was Khani kicking against things and found himself in a headlock again. Afraid that something had happened to Bella, Auggie fought back, hard. Elbow to Khani’s face, loosening his hold so that he could flip him over and knock him out. Much to Auggie’s surprise, he had actually space to do the maneuver and once he had him pinned down to the floor, he found his strength increasing with every punch to the face.

Maybe Annie was right. Maybe not. But he had hurt Bella. Bella got hurt because Auggie allowed her to come with him.

“Auggie?” Bella moaned as she moved to sit up, her hand coming to her face and winced. “Ow, fuck…I owe that bastard an asskicking…”

When Khani was unresponsive, Auggie pulled out the knife he had in his bag and unsheathed it, but once he was ready to kill him – for Bella, he hesitated. Since when had this turned into killing someone for Bella? This was his fight. His nightmare. Khani’s punishment.

Then again, an easy death wouldn’t be punishment at all and it wouldn’t bring his unit back.

With a grunt, Auggie hit him straight in the face, knocking him out before letting out a deep breath. “Are you okay?”

She looked around, and knew she would be having a hell of a headache to come, as well as a shiner. “Yeah. He got me good in the face, but otherwise, top shape. I want a swing at him when he comes to. Maybe a kick to the balls as retribution.”

“You got it,” he let out a snort. “Care to help me wrap him up for the feds?”

Bella held the side of her face as her eye started to swell already. “Fair warning, we’re working with only one eyeball here right now. Don’t expect miracles. And I really do want those tickets now but I promise to stay away from the hybrids if you come with me.”

“Is there a hot chick in that show?”

“Eh… She’s annoying and reminds me of a young Joan. Sure. The other is jailbait.”

“Oh gross,” he shook his head. “I’ll just have to be your bodyguard then. Surely I’ll have to punch some nerds for touching you because you’ll be going in a princess Leia costume.”

Bella stood up and eyed him with her good eye. “You do know that when you get all possessive on me, only makes you all that much hotter. That will be a fun vacation. Maybe Dad will watch the baby for it.”

“I think we’re in deep shit when we land,” he said as he turned Khani over and started to wrap his hands together with one of Bella’s scarves. “We’re definitely going to be fired this time.”

She sneered at the unconscious body as his legs parted and went and kicked him between them, nearly falling over in the process. Reaching out to catch her balance, she huffed. “Let them. I don’t give a shit. If they fire us, they fire us. They shove us deeper, let them. Whatever keeps us from having to deal with this. I see any of their agents that aren’t our friends at the door, I will consider them a threat.”

They continued to talk about the CIA on their flight back, and more and more he felt this need to leave. He had felt it numerous of times before, but this time, he had actually someone who felt the same, on his side and with him. They both liked aspects of their job but they needed distance from it, an extended break. Doing something completely different because ever since they both graduated college, the CIA was all that they knew.

It was time for a change.

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