Title: This Is Not a Story With a Sad Ending
Fandom: Tony and Control, ABOFAL
Summery: Tony is upset after Control fires him. Fluff ensues.
Word Count: 1,423
This Is Not a Story With a Sad Ending
‘What a nuisance of a day,’ Control thought to himself as he treaded down Headquarter halls. Firing Tony Murchison this morning had put him in a gloomy state in no uncertain terms. Tony had taken it well enough, but that didn’t stop Control from feeling simply terrible about the whole sorry affair. Besides which, Valerie, though a lovely secretary, just couldn’t make coffee the way Tony did.
‘Well, it’s no good feeling sorry for yourself,’ Control reminded himself with a shake of his umbrella. As he stepped out the door into the grey drizzle, thinking that today might be a good day to pick up a coffee on the way home, he glanced over to the small cement wall on the west side of the building. A familiar figure sat there hunched over in the rain. Beside him was a precociously balanced cardboard box.
“Tony!” Control called out jovially, waving his hand. The figure cocked his head and glanced over his shoulder.
“Oh, hello Control. Did you have a pleasant day, I wonder?”
“I’m afraid not, Tony,” Control replied. He was close enough now to see that Tony’s eyes were red-rimmed and watery. It gave him a bit of a pause. “Tony, what are you still doing here, if I may be so bold as to ask?”
“You may be so bold, Control. After all, it’s not very usual for me to sit around the office until nearly seven o’clock, now is it?” Tony said.
“No, it’s not. You usually go home at five on the dot, just after bringing me the day’s report and a nice cup of coffee. Are you still here because you were not able to bring me the day’s report and coffee? Because you were fired?”
“Well, not exactly, Control,” Tony replied. “You see, after I cleaned out my desk, I… I didn’t really know where to go.”
“I believe, Tony, that most of the time, when people leave their office, they go home,” Control said, hoping that he was being helpful.
“That’s very true, Control,” Tony said. “Almost every time I leave the office, I go straight home. But today…I realized that after I went home today, I wasn’t coming back. So I just… didn’t go home.”
Control didn’t really know what to say. He hadn’t been fibbing when he said that firing Tony was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do as head of the Secret Service. And here Tony was, wet and red eyed, sitting outside the office. There was only one thing that Control could think to do.
“I think it might be a good idea, Tony, if you were to come home with me and have a nice, hot dinner.”
Tony seemed to perk up at this. “Why Control, that’s so very kind and thoughtful of you. A hot meal is just what I could use right now.”
“I thought so,” Control said, smiling. It brightened his day considerably, knowing that he was going to spend dinner with Tony. Together, they walked off towards the car park.
“Goodness, Control. This certainly is a lovely home,” Tony said as they entered Control’s two-story on Maplewood Street.
“Why thank you, Tony. I can’t take much credit for it myself, however. Mrs. Control did most of the decorating, you see.”
“Oh. Where is Mrs. Control, if I might ask? I hope she won’t mind an extra mouth at dinner!”
Control shook his head as he made his way into the kitchen. “Well, Tony, I don’t believe that she will mind, as she is actually visiting a friend right now.”
“Oh,” Tony replied. “Then I suppose she won’t mind at all.”
“No, I expect not,” Control said.
“No. How long will she be gone?”
“Well, she didn’t actually say exactly how long she would be. So far, she’s been gone for,” Control glanced at his watch, “about three months now.”
“Goodness, that is a while, isn’t it, Control? It must be rather lonely in this big house without her.”
“Yes, I suppose so,” Control said, ducking back into the kitchen before Tony could see his face. He never was very fond of telling fibs.
Dinner was reheated spaghetti. Afterwards, Control brought Tony a drink in the living room.
“Why Tony, I can’t help but notice that you are shivering. Are you cold, I wonder?” Control said.
“Well, yes, I am a little cold, Control. You see, my clothes are still a bit wet.”
Control reached out and placed a hand on Tony’s arm. “Hm. So they are.”
“Yes,” Tony said.
“Perhaps it would be best, then, if you were to change out of those wet clothes and into some my own dry clothes. I find that one is often warmer in dry clothes than in wet clothes.”
“That’s true,” Tony agreed.
Tony followed Control upstairs to Control’s room. “I have a pair of pajamas in here, Tony, that should be ever so much warmer than your wet clothes,” Control said, rummaging through a drawer.
Tony, however, wasn’t listening. “Control, may I ask you about this rather large world map you have hanging on your wall?”
“Well, yes Tony, you may ask me. However, you understand that, depending on the question you ask me, there will be some answers I can give, and some that are simply too secret.”
“Yes, I understand completely,” Tony said with a nod. “Can you tell me, then, what these little numbered pins in the map represent? Are they places where we have agents stationed?”
“Correct you are, Tony. Not highly classified or undercover agents, however. It would be rather foolish of me to keep a map of that in my bedroom.”
“Yes, I suppose it would. So then each number represents a specific agent. And these pins along the bottom- those represent agents not working in the field?” Tony questioned.
“Yes. They are the agents safe at home.”
“I notice that some numbers are missing.”
“Yes, Tony. Missing numbers represent agents who have either left the service or died in the field.”
Tony hung his head. “That’s always very sad.”
“That’s very true,” Control said. “I remember each and every agent who has ever died in my department.”
“Control,” Tony said, “who is this agent number 34 in London? I thought all agents in London were taken off the map and placed on the bottom border.”
Control smiled. “Number 34 is agent Chameleon.”
“But… I’m agent Chameleon. Or at least I was, when I was out on undercover missions. Of course that was some years ago. Or three years, to be exact.”
“Yes, it was three years ago. I remember looking at my map each night while your blue pin was stuck in Russia and feeling very worried indeed.”
“Yes, Tony, really. I remember that the day you returned, I moved your pin to London and was ever so relieved,” Control replied, smiling wistfully at the memory. “It made me feel so happy to see it safely back at home that I never took it off the map again.” Control trailed off a bit at the end, his face going slightly red. What a thing to share with Tony.
Tony, however, was not embarrassed. He smiled at Control, moved. Control caught himself gazing into Tony’s big blue eyes and faltered, blushing even deeper. “I’d better leave you to get dressed,” he said finally, handing Tony his red pajamas. “Why don’t you go ahead and stay the night? The spare room is two doors down. Tomorrow you can ride into work with me and pick up your car.”
“That’s really so very kind of you, Control,” Tony said. “Thank you so much for dinner.”
“And letting me stay.”
“And lending me your pajamas.”
“You’re very welcome. Now I have some work to do before bed, so I’ll have to go to my office for a while. Help yourself to anything in the house.”
“Certainly. Good night, Control.”
“Good night, Tony.”
Later that night, when Tony was climbing under the sheets in Control’s spare room, he thought about Control, and the map, and the tiny blue pin stuck in London. He was sad that his career at the Secret Service was at an end, but maybe… maybe something better was about to start. Something that felt new and exciting and a little uncertain.
He did know one thing for certain. Tomorrow morning he was going to wake up early and make Control the perfect cup of coffee.