To Seek The Next Handhold (A Season Seven)

Chapter Eleven

I am not the rightful owner of Covert Affairs or its spectacular characters. I profit in no way. But I would profit emotionally and mentally if the rightful owners renewed this show so I didn't have to make up my own proper continuation. Until such time, which could be forever, I will remain the saddest kid on the block. On that note, ENJOY!

Chapter Eleven

The door swung open and Auggie slid his cane over the step, following it into the entryway. It sounded very empty inside. The furniture that had been there previously was gone now, and the sound of his cane and his footsteps, as well as Annie's behind him, echoed off the walls and ceiling at him. He felt Annie's hand slide up his back as she stepped up to him, and he wrapped his arm around her.

"It's empty," she said.

"I can tell," he replied.

"What do we do first?" Annie asked, sounding in awe.

"Whatever the hell we want," replied Auggie, and he heard Annie laugh. He turned toward her with a grin. "It's our house."

She rubbed her fingers on his back. "It's our house," she repeated.

Auggie breathed in the smell of their house, and then he asked Annie to give him the specifics on the big room to his left.

"The living room was probably on the right of a hallway, and the dining room, and then the kitchen at the end. But they took the walls out on that side. So the living room is an open area connected all the way to the kitchen at the other end of the house."

"Nice for having company," Auggie said.

"It is," Annie said, with a smile in her voice. He could tell she was already imagining entertaining friends over a few drinks. "There's a window on our right behind us halfway from the door to the wall. Then along the wall on the right-"

"The outside wall?" Auggie asked, turning and finding the wall near the door with his cane and then his hand.

"The outside wall," she confirmed, and continued, "There's a window, and then a double patio door."

"I found that," Auggie said. "I found it last time when I was here with our contractor."

"Well, aren't you way ahead of me," she said, walking him along the perimeter of the room slowly. He traced over the window sill of the first window and followed the wall into the corner and then along to the next window. He stopped for a moment, sweeping his hands up the side of the window frame, seeing how large it was, and how it opened. Then he turned and walked with Annie again until he reached the double doors. He felt for the lock and turned it, swinging open the door for her to step through.

"Wouldn't want you to get behind," Auggie said, his eyes twinkling with an impish grin, stepping through after her.

"Auggie, it's perfect, it's so perfect."

"Tell me. Tell me why it's perfect," he said, as her hand slipped over his.

"There are trees further along, but just away from the verandah it's a lawn. Or maybe it was a garden. There's a crab-apple tree over there, on the right of the open part, and a willow to the left. You can explore those later, if you want. Then, there's a line of trees and probably the rest of the world somewhere. But where we're sitting, we're high enough to see the sun set down over there along the tree line and not another house to be seen."

Auggie liked the sound of all of that. Annie took his arm and gently took him forward to the rail of the verandah, taking his hand and carefully letting it graze the leaves of the bushes planted just beside the deck.

"Rosebushes," she said. "There are plants along there I've never seen before. I think we're going to learn a little something about gardening, Hun. They've left us as caretakers to some pretty spectacular plants."

"Uh oh," Auggie said. "May I remind you of the ficus plant?"

"Yeah, but Auggie, that needed to be watered, and you forgot because, well, out of sight, out of mind, but these will be watered without us. They're like, the perfect starter kit."

"I think that's what we have here," said Auggie, listening to the rustle in the leaves that now once again dressed the trees.

Annie turned around with Auggie, and they went back inside. She closed and locked the doors and Auggie continued along the perimeter of the first floor. His cane hit the floor skirting of the wood stove and he felt the bricks of the chimney along the wall behind it. Another window, and Annie declared that this would be a good place for a table and chairs, that it was probably where the dining room had been once a long time ago. He continued, passing one more window. Where the window at the front of the house was a double wide pane, these ones were all single wide.

` "Put your hand out to your left," Annie said, moving away from him, her steps slow as she looked around herself.

Auggie did as she asked, and found that island, the one that felt so much like his own. As a gift, Kenny, his contractor, had rounded the corners of the granite counter before they moved in. Auggie walked around it slowly, trailing his hand along it, taking in the size and dimension as he went, the information making the start of a memory map in his head. His hand discovered the stove top as he came around the inside of the island, and he checked underneath to see if the oven was there, too, but it was only a row of drawers below. He traced over the stovetop. It was similar, as Annie had said, to his own. A smooth surface that would have to be marked, with the dials on the right. His fingers graced over the appliance, and then he continued trailing the island. Once back around to the far end, he returned to the wall again. There was a gap where the fridge would go, followed by a counter, which he ran into, not paying attention to the fact that he was in the cut out. He manoeuvred back around it and continued following along the countertop, finding the double-sink. He reached up and found there were cupboards, and they were all made over like his own cupboards that Kenny had helped design years back. He ran his hands along them, inside, smiling to himself. Kenny had come into the picture when Auggie was tired of being black and blue, running into cupboard doors, dropping things that weren't quite set on the shelf fully, never being able to find what he needed.

"He's good," Auggie turned to where he'd last heard Annie. When she didn't reply, he raised his eyebrows, a questioning look on his face.

"What? Oh, sorry, uh, yeah, he did a great job, it looks great."

"What are you doing?" Auggie asked her.

"Nothing," she said, but he could hear a teasing tone in her voice.

"Are you just watching me? You're watching me, aren't you?"

He heard her cross the floor to him and her arms moved under his around his waist. "You're oddly mesmerising," she said, and he said it along with her once she started, nodding and shaking his head.

"Then you missed my crash back there," he said, motioning over his shoulder with his thumb. When she didn't say and thing, he scrunched his nose, saying, "It's okay, there will plenty more of those."

"I don't care," Annie said.

Auggie laughed. "You don't care? That's rather heartless of you."

"You make my life so much more interesting," she said, the grin obvious.

"I'll take your word for that," Auggie said, leaning forward, meeting her lips. "You may not be saying that when-"

"I'll always say it. You make my life way more interesting, August Anderson." She leaned up again and kissed him once more.

He grinned, and she stepped away, checking out cupboards and drawers. "There's lots of cubby room," she mused.

"I'll check it out when we're putting our things in place," Auggie said. He followed the counter along, where Annie told him above it was another single window, coming to a cupboard or wall jutting out from the counter. Touching it, he discovered the oven, installed at an easy level in a small wall separating the back door. Below the oven was another cupboard, and then Auggie trailed around the small jutted out wall to the back entryway, his fingers recognising the door, skimming across. His cane touched the wall ahead and he reached out, following it to an opening

Stepping inside, he turned, calling back to Annie, "Laundry?" He felt along the wall and came across the light switches.

He heard her step over. "Yup. It's nice, there's a closet and cupboards there on the wall straight ahead.. the washer and dryer on the left... it doesn't look like they'll be hard to mark for you... So you'll be able to do all the laundry," she teased him.

"I can't catch a break," Auggie said, scanning over the appliances as he moved forward.

"Little bathroom here." Annie peeked inside. "It's got a window, but it's glazed. Nice and bright."

"Good planning," Auggie stated, turning around. "Little kids have a hard time getting their snow pants off and getting all the way upstairs in one go."

He knew he could hear Annie's smile behind him. He would swear to it, and it made him smile to himself as well, which she apparently caught, as well. He heard a little gasp, maybe surprised because she was thinking the same thing. He traced around the next doorframe, feeling Annie sneak in beside him, her arm reaching around his waist.

"Did you say this was the office?"

"It looks very official."

He rolled his eyes. "Walls?"

"Bookshelves. Built-in along one wall. There's a bit of a wall on this side of the door because of the bookshelves, and there's a hall closet on the other side of the wall here. Window, double "

"Great, I'll have good lighting," Auggie deadpanned, feeling along the wall for the light switch. He might not need them, but he needed to know where they all were. He reached in front of Annie and touched the wall.

"Who says it's all yours?" Annie asked. "I thought it'd be sexy to share an office with the hottest tech in town."

Auggie's mouth twitched. "Mmm, office romance," he said.

"We'd better get a big desk," Annie replied. As he turned with a look something between surprise and agreement, she added, in a mock serious tone, "I mean, you have a lot of tech... you know, lots of equipment..."

"I do," Auggie agreed, laughing as she kissed him again. "We should wait until we get that desk... and keep on with our task at hand."

"It's so hard when you're so distracting," she said.

"Agreed," he said, kissing her again, pulling her tight. They managed to extract themselves from each other and continue on with their first look at their house. Auggie felt the door of the closet Annie had referred to as he passed along the hallway, and then another door. He stopped, finding the doorknob, pushing the door open. Instantly, he felt the space below him. "Cellar," he stated.

"Do you want to go down there?" Annie flicked on the light switch beside her on left.

"I guess we should. Specs?"

"Wall on both sides up here. The wall on the right ends where the closet fits in. The wall on the left ends about two thirds down. Stairs turn to the left. There are railings on both sides. Twelve stairs. You okay?"

"Yup, thanks." Auggie started down the stairs, careful because they were steep. At the bottom, he began scanning with his cane, stepping out of Annie's way. She gave him the layout of the basement: the electric panel, the water heater, the metal frame of a storage shelf. There was a raised floor through most of the basement, and half the walls were Gyprocked.

"Pretty bare," she said. "They probably used it for storage or something. There are a few high windows. It could probably be finished into a decent TV room or something."

"Potential, I like it," Auggie said, and they turned and headed back up. Around the wall from the cellar stairs, there was a small inlet where the second flight of stairs went along side the wall above.

"Good spot for a table. For the keys and your cane and stuff?" She sounded like she was asking him. "It's out of the way, tucked in here. We could even get something with drawers. So we can fill them with junk, like all the other homeowners."

Auggie nodded, continuing ahead. "Sounds perfect," he said. "Oh, look, I found the stairs. Door's over there." He waved his hand to his ten O'clock and Annie nodded.

"Yuh," she said. "You got it."

"Okay," Auggie said. "If you don't mind, I'm just gonna pace it out for a bit, until I get my bearings. If I do it now, then it will be a little easier when everything is going on. Or at least, I think so. I don't know. I've never done this before."

"Of course, Auggie. Do what you need to do; I'm going to take measurements of the windows and stuff. If you need me..." He felt her come near. "You know what to do." She leaned in and whistled softly into his ear, and then passed by him, brushing her hands along his arm.

Damn, that woman! He thought to himself, a grin crossing his face. He moved past the staircase and touched the wall near the front door again. Starting point. He would case the floor, counting steps until he reached the island, until he reached the end of the hall to the other door, until he could tell how many paces each door on his left was from the front. He wasn't sure if Annie stopped to watch him, but he heard her measuring tape zipping and snapping, as she worked at her own task. He scanned the kitchen for danger zones, and found none. Even the cabinet close to the window didn't jut out anywhere to get him in the head or shoulder. He sought out the light switches and even a few of the plugs on the walls. He found the wainscoting along the hallway in his second pass. He thoroughly checked out the woodstove and small chimney behind it.

When he was satisfied his viewing of the first floor, he called to Annie.

"Right there," she said, finishing what she was doing and following Auggie, who was already on the second set of stairs that ran up the wall. He turned on the landing and went up the last set of stairs following the railing on his right.

"Is this open?" Auggie waved his hand over the wooden railing at the top of the stairs.

"Yeah," Annie said. "It's open to the stairway on this side, with this banister here. Across the hallway, one of the bedrooms."

Auggie turned, moving back past Annie, and followed the wall until he came to the doorframe along the same side as the staircase. He stepped in the room. His bedroom. Annie moved behind him, and over to the window. Auggie heard her measuring tape again, and he took his time, doing the perimeter of the room. He found the light switch, the closet, the window, and on one side of the room, the door that led to the master bathroom.

"How you doing?" Annie called, working away at her own project.

"Perfect," he replied. "This is pretty great. It's a good size. Layout is easy." He bent down, exploring the size of the bathtub. "Tub is perfect for two," he called back to her, hearing her enter into the room behind him.

"We may need to test the theory," Annie said, slipping her arms around his waist, pressing against his back.

He turned, his own arms wrapping around her. "I agree. We may need several tests. I'd say we should go at this from a clinical standpoint. Also, I should probably make sure I have the count from the tub to the bed committed to memory."

"Probably a good idea," she said, grinning.

"Is there another door to the hallway?" Auggie asked, turning his head, stepping to the left.

"How do you know that?" Annie asked, smiling and puzzled.

"I can hear it."

"You can hear a doorway?"

"The sound isn't bouncing back at me from that spot," Auggie said. "Bathrooms have very loud acoustics. I can hear..." His hand touched the frame of the door as he passed through it back into the hallway. "Yup," he said. His cane found the doorway to the other bathroom across the hall. It would be so great to have two bathrooms, he thought. They'd remodelled this house in all the right places. The layout in here was similar, except there was only a single sink instead of two, and there were more cupboards. Auggie moved back into the hall way, and took in the last two rooms in the house. Two smaller but equal-sized bedrooms. Auggie slid his hand on the wall, finding the light switch. He had a moment that struck him quite profoundly, imagining himself standing where he stood now, telling his child to sleep well, turning the light off, telling them he loved them.

"Okay, I know you want to know where everything is, but how come you keep looking for the light switches?" Annie asked, sounding puzzled.

He shook his head of the thought he wasn't sure he wanted to share with Annie just yet, so he rounded his mind back to her question. "Because I only know people who can see, and people who can see need lights, and if this is my house, I need to know how to turn lights on or everyone will be uncomfortable." He raised his eyebrows at her. "I'm nothing if not thoughtful."

"We appreciate it," Annie said. "The sighted are so dependant on lights; it's kind of you to cater to us." She rubbed his back. "I'm kind of picturing a nursery, Auggie. I'm not ready to picture a nursery. We can maybe make one a guest room... for now," Annie said. "Or both of them... you know... for now."

He smiled. "I know," he said. "For now."

"You wanna pace it out up here?" she asked him.

"No, I'm good. Up here there are walls to follow. I'll catch on in no time."



"You do whatever you need to, okay?"

He nodded, giving her a little smile, thanking her silently.

"I can tell... you feel uncomfortable doing this in front of anyone. But I don't want you to feel that way with me. You must know that by now." She took Auggie's hands in hers, and she spoke determinedly without beating around the bush. "I know you have to do things however you need to do them. I'm not... what was it you said before? Weirded out? I'm not weirded out. You surely know that by now, I've worked with you for nearly six years now. I have only barely scratched the surface of seeing how you adapt yourself, and it's been all pretty awesome. In fact, I find all this..." she took his hand and traced all his fingers, speaking in a seductive voice, "pretty sexy. I can remember that night..." her voice was capped with a smile. "when you saw every part of me for the first time this way."

"So can I," Auggie said. "One of my better sightseeing efforts," he said.

She put her hands on his face, gently guiding his lips down to hers. "I can't wait for more of those little trips," she said. "And think, we have all new surroundings to sightsee in."

He laughed, kissing her again. "Why wait?" he asked.

"We don't even have a bed," she giggled, returning another kiss.

Auggie gave an exasperated and clearly fake sigh. "Details," he said. "So many details."

"We do have a bed at your apartment still. I guess we could still just go home and pick this up there," she playfully kissed him back. "Some times you just have to sacrifice a bit."

"We need to change our definition of home," said Auggie. "This is our home. We will wake up here, and come home here, and eat here, and live and love here."

"Eat here," Annie mused. "I'm hungry."

"You packed something."

"How did you know that?"

"Aw, come on, Annie, you know I know everything."

"I... yeah, you're right. I totally packed. A couple of beers, a couple of sandwiches, and pretzels."

"Uh huh." Auggie shook his head, laughing. "Come on then, let's picnic in our home. Before it becomes utter chaos." He took her hand, and together, they walked back down the stairs slowly, still trying to make themselves believe that this was their new beginning.

"We're so going to rock this house thing," Annie said.

"I know," said Auggie. For the moment, he was content to go with that. He didn't want to talk about any of the worries he had about the little things like mowing the lawn and repairing leaky faucets. Those things would work themselves out. For now, they had a picnic to share in the home they would share for years to come, and Auggie was absolutely positive that things were finally perfect. Things were finally as they should be. Annie's warm hand in his, they took their picnic lunch out to the verandah, and neither one of them could keep the thrill of the day out of their hearts, or the smiles off their faces.

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