A/N: Here's the next short chapter. Enjoy! jughelynj, I couldn't PM you because your inbox is full. Sorry!
A Life in Danger
“You’re going to see Sloane?!” Vaughn exclaimed. “The last time that we talked, you made it clear that there was no way you would talk to him again.”
“That was three years ago. Things change… People change,” Sydney explained simply.
“That may be true. But I wouldn’t count on Sloane appearing any differently. He didn’t respond well to the CIA’s efforts to forcefully extract more information from him, meaning we… well… I haven’t gotten what I wanted – Lauren’s location.”
“I guess Sloane isn’t the only one who hasn’t changed,” she muttered under her breath. “You’re still fixating on your ex-wife’s betrayal?”
He shook his head. “She’s not my obsession any longer, but her capture is still important to me, as well as to the CIA. She needs to pay for what she’s done – not only to me.”
“She does need to pay. That’s partly why I’m here. But she also may be a key to my missing two years,” Sydney said remembering the last night she saw Lauren and the clue that Lauren had given to her. “Even though I got most of the answers as to what happened over that time, there are still missing pieces. I can’t go on living without a complete answer.”
“It took you three more years to come to that conclustion?” Vaughn asked, confused.
“I’ve kept busy,” she answered enigmatically. She turned to go before he could question her further.
“Syd,” he called, and she turned around expectantly. “Good luck,” he said earnestly.
She smiled brightly in response.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Masking her uncertainty about this meeting, as any weakness shown would be detrimental to her goals, Sydney let her air of confidence be known in her stride as well as her posture. There was no way Sloane would be getting any free shots.
She entered a chamber set up much like her mother’s old cell, facing a glass partition and the image of Sloane’s back turned to her.
She cleared her throat. “You wanted to see me.”
Sloane turned, a smug little smile on his face. Even having spent three years in the CIA’s custody, he looked hardly more worn for the wear. The only real noticeable difference was his hair, which was speckled with more white. “Sydney… I always knew that you would come back.”
“Let’s not get into pleasantries. Now, what did you want from me?”
For a moment, Sloane’s smile reached the wrinkles around his eyes. Then he turned serious. “Your help,” he answered.
“Why on earth would you think –”
“It’s about your sister,” he interrupted. “She’s in trouble.”
Sydney narrowed her eyes in disbelief. “You waited three years on the off chance that I would actually return to this life to tell me that Nadia’s in trouble? You are insane!”
Sloane approached the glass and raised his hands placatingly. “Sydney, you’re the only person who can help her.”
“Why me?” she asked, still dubious.
“Your sister has the Sphere of Life. Your mother wants it, and I’m sure she’ll use any means to get it. You’re the only person I trust to get the Sphere, save your sister, all without killing your mother. She is still a part of Rambaldi’s plan, but she is trying to cut corners. She must be stopped.
I know Nadia’s location. You must go there and protect her.”
“It’s been three years since you and Nadia were separated. How can you know that she is where you left her? How do you know that my mother hasn’t already found her?”
“I just know,” he answered with finality.
She studied him carefully. Nothing in his appearance made it look like he was uncertain or like he was trying to decieve her. Of course, that is how he looked when he presented her missions at SD-6. But some feeling she had told her to trust him this time.
“All right,” she said. “I’ll go. But first answer me this. Where is Lauren Reed? Is she still alive?”
“That is something that I’ll answer after you return with your sister and the Sphere of Life.”
“Why not now?” she pushed, frustrated.
“All of your attention should be focused on your current mission. No distractions equals no compromises to the plan. Mr. Vaughn will just have to wait,” he added snidely.
Sloane...jesum...hes just way to smart...evily smart, but you have to admit that mans a madly insane genius!
And what did it mean by 'cutting corners?' Whats Irina up too!?!?!?
OH....Syd get to see her sister! YAY
And whats up with Sloane being all criptic? 'I just know' is he like physcic or something?
Anyways, that was great!
Thanks for the PM, and PLEASE update SOON!
She had no reason to believe a word this chronic liar was feeding her. She was through playing his sick, little mind games – she had been for years. Yet she had been drawn back to him after vowing to not let anything like this happen again, all for the love of a man who had buried her and whom she herself had left once she had been resurrected.
She had come back to the life that she hated willingly, albeit after a long time of analyzing just what she would get out of it. Her answer was nothing and everything. The nothing being what had driven her away in the first place – the constant lying and betrayal, the unpredictability and danger involved, the inability to ever really have time away from the job… But the everything is what would make it all worth it in her eyes; because the everything was Vaughn and starting a life with him when all of the nothing would be thrust away once the final bit of work was done.
She entered the main office, and Vaughn immediately spotted her, as he was hardly even making an effort to be occupied by work. She was deep in thought even as Vaughn led her back to his desk.
“Syd, are you alright? What did Sloane say?” he asked, trying to break her out of her silence.
She sighed heavily as she leaned against Vaughn’s desk and crossed her arms. “I don’t really know. I mean, I know what he said, but I don’t know what he really meant.”
Ever since she had learned the truth about SD-6, it had always been a guessing game with Sloane – whether to believe what information he passed on or not. Even though it was nearly always the latter, the game had changed. Sloane was in custody, so there was no benefit foreseeable benefit for him to be misleading; but there was a new pawn thrown into the mix, one that Sloane would likely do anything to protect – his daughter. What other explanation could there be other than wanting to save Nadia’s life if Sloane would be willing to have her taken into custody? Could it really be as simple as that for once?
Vaughn nodded in understanding. “Did he say anything about Lauren?”
She shook her head. “Only that he’ll tell us what happened to her when we bring back Nadia and the Sphere of Life.”
Vaughn’s brow crinkled as he tensed visibly and muttered under his breath, “That bastard…”
Sydney thought for a moment then spoke again, “Vaughn, how is Sloane even here? If he hasn’t cooperated after all this time, why—“
“He has cooperated, to an extent. He gave us the information needed to dismantle numerous terrorist cells, but knowing he wouldn’t get full immunity without disclosing the whereabouts of the Sphere, he settled for a furnished cell. That has been the only thing he’s kept from us – that and the reason why it had to be you he would confess to.”
“I don’t understand that either, but it has to mean something… some reason why I have to be involved…” They both drifted into thought for a few moments until Vaughn brought the attention back to issues at hand.
“How are we supposed to find Nadia and the Sphere?”
“Sloane gave me a location – an apartment in Moneghetti, Monaco. He said Nadia is still there.”
Vaughn started. “Are you kidding? How can he possibly know that?”
“I know it’s unlikely, but… Maybe they set up a protocol if they were ever to get separated or something like that. It may be taking a long shot, but what other choice do we have?”
“You’re probably right,” he nodded. “And if Sloane is finally giving us the information we want, we should jump on it.” After a pause, he went on, “You know, you never answered my first question… Are you okay?”
She looked down briefly then back at him, and unfolded her arms to support her as she leaned on the desk. She shrugged and said, “I’m fine, I guess.”
Vaughn kept his eyes locked with hers, telling her silently that he wanted more than that.
She sighed a little and continued. “It’s strange being back, but also all too familiar. There are things about a life like this that I will never stop hating, no matter how long I’ve been accustomed to them. But, I hoped that coming back to you would make it all not seem as bad,” she paused but he was too touched to say anything. “…Because you had that effect before.”
She watched his smile grow, his face lit up with color. “I missed you… so much,” he said softly, stepping closer to her.
Standing up completely, she said, “Me too. And, I hated the way we left each other. There was so much more that needed to be said, so many ways that situation could’ve been fixed…”
“I know. You have no idea how many times I thought about going back to you. But, it always ended up with the thought that you wouldn’t have me back.”
She smiled sadly. “There were times when I wished you had. I wished you could’ve just dumped your feelings for Lauren to the wayside and set off to start a life away from anything but peace.
I wish you would’ve stayed with me.” She turned her head away as a few tears fell out of regret for what wasn’t in her and Vaughn’s past together.
“Hey,” he said softly, bringing his hand to turn her face back to him. “We’re here now, right?”
She bit her lip and smiled as she nodded.
He continued, “Then that’s what counts.” He lifted her chin and kissed her gently. “God, I love you so much,” he whispered.
“I love you too,” she breathed. She laughed a little through her tears that were now out of joy before she kissed him again.