Illusion Of Sin

Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Location
Canada
A/N There are a lot of people on the PM list who don't reply so I am assuming that they are not reading, so this is just a heads up, but if they don't reply to this chapter or the next, i'm taking them off the PM list, as I assume they are no longer interested in the fic.

Illusion of Sin
Part 15: It all comes back to the beginning.


Zack watched Rory’s video feed. His hands gripped the fabric of his jeans leaving sweaty handprints on his knees. He talked to her, telling her about the hockey game last night. The Kings won 4-3; it was a close game. He wasn’t sure whose nervousness he was trying to ward off more, Rory’s or his own.

In order to get the information on Sark’s whereabouts, Zack had gone outside the agency. He paid a high price to get the information. He used his discretionary fund, but he knew there were bound to be questions and disciplinary action. The contact he used was not one he’d ever notified the CIA of having. They would consider the information unreliable. Somehow, he seemed blind to consequences when Rory was concerned.

Rory was waiting in the next warehouse over for Sark to show up with the associate he was meeting. The plan was for Rory to observe the meeting and gain any information she could on Sark. Once Zack could see the license plate of Sark’s car, he would assign a satellite tracker so they could monitor his position and then make their move. Sark was the key to getting to Irina. Rory was determined to make her pay for having Sydney murdered.

“Black limo coming in.”

A few minutes later Zack alerted Rory to the presence of another car.

“Holy s***,” he whispered seeing Sark’s associate step out of the car. It was Irina Derevko. “Rory, be careful.” The remote microphone, he’d planted at the warehouse only offered limited sound capabilities. Sark and Derevko kept their voices low and it was difficult to hear anything at all.

Zack couldn’t see much of Rory. She was hiding behind a stack of crates but as she stepped forwards, he saw her fall. Her head hit the concrete and the direct video feed went out. The video feed was out and he couldn’t see anything anymore, but the remote mic was still functioning and he heard the scuffle of the guards as Rory was discovered and apprehended.

“Rory, can you hear me?” there was no response. “If you can hear me, stay silent if you’re okay and cough once if you’ve been captured.”

She coughed.

Oh God. Her words replayed in his mind. The ones she’d spoken that morning when they woke up. She made him promise not to interfere if something went wrong. When he’d made that promise, it was one he knew he would break immediately if anything went wrong.

f***. They identified her as CIA.

“Damn it Rory,” he swore aloud as he listened to Rory challenging Sark. “Don’t piss him off.” The next thing he heard shocked the hell out of him.

Sydney Bristow was alive.

“I’m coming.” He wasn’t sure if he even said the words aloud. He tore the headset off dropping it to the floor and severing their connection. He grabbed a second gun. He checked the ammo and took off to help Rory.

He was silent as he entered the warehouse; his arm outstretched. The gun pointed at Sark. Rory was his single focus. She was in danger.

He saw the guard turn in his direction.

Rory screamed.

The guard fired. He fired back.

He went down hard. He tried to keep his eyes open, searching for Rory. He couldn’t. The pain seared in his chest.

Zack heard Rory screaming his name. He tried to tell her he was okay. He tried to find her with his eyes, but he couldn’t force them open.

He felt her beside him. Her hands pressed on his chest, her voice asking questions he couldn’t answer.

“Why weren’t you wearing a vest?” she asked tearfully.

Why wasn’t he? He forgot. He had to get to her. He forgot to put it on. His eyes blinked open. The light hurt. They closed. Rory was pleading with Sark and Derevko; pleading for his life.

He fought to open his eyes.

Tires squealed. Sark was gone. Derevko was gone.

His vision protested against the bright light, but he kept them open. Rory cradled his head in her lap. Her hand pressed against his chest. She kissed his cheek.

“I told you to stay away,” she sobbed. “Why didn’t you listen, you stupid, stupid man?”

His eyelids fluttered. “I had to do something,” he whispered through gurgled breaths. “I couldn’t let them hurt you.”

“God, Zack,” She pressed her lips to his forehead.

“You need to find her, Rory. You need to find your mother.” He closed his eyes. “I’ve got one for you,” he smiled slightly forcing them again. “Victory belongs to those who believe in it the most and believe in it the longest.”

Rory forced a smile. “That’s an easy one, Col. Doolittle, Pearl Harbor, 2001.”

He smiled back, “just keeping you on your toes. That’s you Ror, you’re victory” He began coughing up blood and Rory turned his head to the side so he wouldn’t choke. “There’s something you need to know, if I don’t make it…,” he whispered.

“Don’t talk like that,” Rory shook her head. “You’re going to be fine. Besides if you’re gone, who am I going to watch spy movies with and agonize over their unrealistic plots?”

“I love you,” he whispered seriously through choked breaths.

“Zack you-“

“I love you,” he repeated his dark eyes large as he struggled to continue breathing. “I know what I’m saying Ror, I need you to know that.”

“I understand,” she nodded threading her fingers through his hair. “You’re going to be okay, you have to be okay.” Leaning over she pressed her lips to his and using all the strength he had left Zack kissed her back.

Reluctantly Rory pulled away and kissed his nose. She watched as his eyes closed and he lost consciousness. His breathing slowed.

“Zack, please hang on. Don’t leave me. Not like this Zack please not like this.”

~ ~ ~

She was quite the sight. Barefoot, tangled dark hair, red swollen eyes, a split lip, and two large bruises forming on her cheekbone and forehead were only the beginning. Her shirtsleeve was torn off at the shoulder and her arm was wrapped in thick gauze and plaster. The blood had seeped through her black sweater. When the doctors cut it off, her white t-shirt was stained red. Blood was already beginning to seep through the bandage on her arm, and it remained partially on her face and hands.

Her arm in a sling, she walked quickly down the corridors. Instantly spotting Eric Weiss’ worried face, she felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. She was the cause for his anguish. She had put his son’s life in danger. She ignored Director Dixon’s questions and walked straight to her father and grandfather who were deep in conversation.

“You lied to me,” she accused them not even taking a second glance at their shocked faces. “Mom’s alive, I have proof, you lied to me, and now I know the truth.” Rory shouted the words not even caring who heard. She wanted so desperately to force as much pain onto them as she was feeling. Tears fell freely down her cheeks and to look at her, she was that of a broken woman. A broken woman so far damaged, one could wonder if there was even a chance for repair. Rory threw the pictures at them. Jack tried to catch them, but he was far too surprised and the photographs, stained with the blood of Zackary Weiss spilled onto tiled floor. Jack bent and picked one up; holding it between his fingertips his eyes met hers.

Rory’s gaze reverted back and forth between her father and grandfather. She watched as her father, numbly took the photograph from Jack’s hand, his mouth open in surprise, and the color drained from his face. That was when it hit her and she realized the truth. “You didn’t know Mom was alive,” she whispered her voice broken off by a sob. She turned to Jack. “But you did.”

Her tearful blue eyes were filled with the hurt and anguish only betrayal could bring and as Jack looked into them, he was reminded of his own daughter 25 years earlier. There was a wild terrified look in those eyes. The blood from her fiancée covered her body, face, and hands. The betrayal, she’d felt when he’d told her the truth about SD-6. Betrayal was such a common theme for their family. “Aurora-“

“Don’t you Aurora me.” She spat the words from the tip of her tongue as if they were distasteful and bitter. “How could you do it, Grandfather? How could you keep that from me? She’s my mother. She’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted in this world and you kept her from me.”

“Sweetheart, it’s going to be okay,” her father finally spoke, his words pulling her away from the anger she felt. “We’ll find her, I promise you.” He spoke numbly. His words seemed hollow and insincere as if he didn’t really believe them himself. He was cut short as a doctor in hospital scrubs exited the operating room. “Stay here,” he ordered her and she obeyed standing next to her grandfather as they watched the doctor speak with Eric. Her father stood beside his friend, a hand on his shoulder offering any emotional support he could give as the fate of Eric’s son was revealed.

“This isn’t as clear cut as you may think,” Jack said softly staring straight ahead. “There are circumstances that you can not even begin to understand-“

“And the cost?” she couldn’t even look at him. “Was it worth it? Was it high enough? How can I believe anything you say to me ever again?”

“She is not the woman you want to know. This was done for your protection.”

“That was my decision to make. Mine. Not yours. Your words are nothing to me.”

It wasn’t the words or even the cold way in which she said them, but the look in her eyes, it was look of disappointment and deep sadness that hurt Jack the most.

Rory stood unmoving as her father turned back to her. He took several steps and then stopped, looking as though he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.

“What is it?” she asked fearfully. “Is Zack going to be okay?”

He opened his mouth but no words came out and all he could do was hold open his arms. She flew into them, whispers of questions that went unanswered. Will Tippin, could do nothing, but hold her in his arms and thank God that his daughter safe. She might never be able to trust him again, after what he had to tell her, but she was alive and that was all that mattered. His daughter meant more to him than life itself. He would die for her.

“Daddy?”

Will looked over the top of Rory’s head. Weiss had collapsed into a chair. Vaughn knelt beside him as the doctor continued to talk.

“Daddy? Is Zack going to be okay?”

Will guided her to a chair kneeling down in front of her. “He made it through surgery, but he’s bad Rory. The bullet punctured his lung and the second nicked his heart. The doctors repaired the damage but…”

“But?”

“They’re not holding a lot of hope.”

“No, I can’t lose him.”

Will wiped her cheeks. “He lost a lot of blood Rory. His heart stopped during the surgery and his brain was deprived of oxygen.”

Rory could barely breathe. “What are his chances?”

“Right now, about twenty five percent, more if he makes it through the night.”

“He has to!” Rory struggled to get herself under control. Everything just seemed to be slipping away from her. “Can I see him?”

“Not yet.” Will wiped her cheeks once more. “Not now, maybe later, but you’re not immediate family.”

“I need to see him. I need to tell him I’m sorry. This is all my fault.”

“Rory, he’s in a drug induced coma, to give his body time to heal. The doctors don’t know when he’ll wake up, or if he’ll wake up.”

Will didn’t want to hurt his daughter, but she needed the truth. She couldn’t hold on to hope if it didn’t exist.

“God,” her voice trembled. “How did this get so screwed up?” Rory tried to move her arm out of the sling, but she couldn’t, she felt so weak. She looked over at Weiss. “You have to tell him, I can’t… tell him I’m sorry. This is all my fault. We were just going to track Sark, see where he went, and wait until he was alone.”

“Why didn’t you go through proper channels?” Jack’s voice was brusque.

“You wouldn’t have sanctioned the surveillance. We couldn’t even get information on Sark through the CIA.”

“How did you?” Weiss’ voice broke through. It trembled a he struggled to control his emotions.

“I . . . I’m sorry,” she whispered to Weiss.

“How?”

“I don’t know. Zack got the information; he told me not ask where. He wasn’t proud of what he did I know that. He did it for me.” Rory looked at Weiss. She expected to see hatred in his eyes, but she didn’t. “We were just going to track Sark and wait until he was alone. We thought he could lead us to Derevko. I thought she had my mother murdered; I wanted her to pay. We didn’t know Irina would be there. We didn’t know my mom was alive.”

“It’s true?” Vaughn’s question was directed at Jack, having heard Rory’s accusations.

“Yes.” Jack crossed his arms over his chest.

“Why?” Vaughn could literally feel his heart being ripped apart.

“It was a ruse.” Rory’s voice was flat. “Everyone had to believe she was dead, including us. Derevko said that it was the only way we all could be safe, if everyone thought she was gone.”

“She’s out there somewhere.”

“Yes.” Rory’s voice seemed cold. “Somewhere.”

“Mr. Weiss,” the doctor interrupted them. “Your son is in the ICU now. You can see him.”

Weiss stood without another word and followed the doctor to be with his son.

“Are you sure?” Vaughn asked Rory. She passed him a photograph and he could see she was telling the truth. The photo was dated a year ago. Sydney sat at a table in an outdoor café. Her hair was different; it was long and blond, but her eyes were the same. She was older, time would do that to a person, but still as beautiful as the last day he saw her, the day she said goodbye.

Sydney Bristow was alive. It had taken twenty-one years for them to learn the truth; but for Rory it had taken a lifetime.

“I need to speak to my daughter, alone.”

Rory looked up at her father. He held her hand, his fingers gripping hers.

Will waited until the others had left then knelt before his daughter once again. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “It’s just my arm and Zack… Dad, I can’t loose him.”

“It’ll be alright,” he smoothed her hair back from her face. “I’m sure he’ll pull through.”

“He has to; I can’t do this without him.” Her gaze shifted briefly to her grandfather. He stood off to the side being bombarded with question after question from Michael Vaughn. “I won’t forgive him for this, no matter what, not for this. “Dad, he told me my mother was dead, he knew she was alive…”

“You’re strong Rory.” Will thumbed away a tear. “You have the most amazing capacity for forgiveness-“

“I can’t, not this time.” She looked back to Will. “I’m going to find my mother.”

“I don’t doubt that but you can’t do it alone… you’re all I have Rory. I can’t loose you.”

“Rory?” Weiss stood beside them. “You can see him now.”

Rory stood. “Mr. Weiss, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault, Zack was never supposed to even be in the warehouse. I got caught, it’s my fault.”

Weiss shook his head not wanting to hear her apologies. “Go sit with him for a while, he needs you right now.”

She nodded. Numbly her legs took her to the ICU and to the chair beside Zack’s hospital bed.

He didn’t look like the same person. His skin was pale with a yellowish tinge to it. A respiration tube kept him breathing. Machines monitored his heart rate, showing the results in a line graph on the display bar. Two bandages covered the bullet holes that had ripped through his body. Already, blood seeped through them and they needed to be changed.

Rory gazed at his lifeless form, wishing for all that was holy that she could trade places with him. He was the best thing in her life. It was killing her to see him like this.

“You can touch him.”

Rory’s head snapped up. A nurse stood behind her charting his vitals. “I don’t want to hurt him.”

“You won’t.” The nurse touched her shoulder guiding her to a chair at the head of the bed. “Talk to him, it’ll help.”

Rory wiped her eyes furiously determined not to loose control. Her fingers brushed over his several times before taking his hand. A sob caught in her throat and she laid her head on the edge of the bed, her shoulders heaving silently. She didn’t know what to say, more than anything, she just wanted the horrible nightmare to be gone.

“I’d take it back if I could Zack,” she whispered to him. “If it meant you’d be okay, I’d take it all back. I never would have agreed to go to that warehouse.” Her fingers drifted to his hairline, toying with that lock of hair, which always seemed to curl on his forehead.

“You have to fight this. You’re strong and good and it’s too soon. This world isn’t ready to be without you yet; I’m not ready.” Her last words were barely audible, a mere whisper over the methodical beeping of life.

“Miss?” the nurse stood beside her. “He needs his rest. You can come back later.”

Rory wanted to protest. She wanted to stay with him every moment of every day until he woke, but that would be impossible. She stood and pressed her lips to his forehead. “You fight this Zackary Weiss. Don’t you dare give up on me.” She leaned closer briefly kissing his unresponsive lips and whispered, “I’m sorry, I didn’t tell you before. I love you too.”

Will was waiting for Rory when she exited the ICU. She sat down on a plastic chair and he knelt at her feet. Will helped Rory slip on the running shoes Carrie had brought and tie the laces, which her broken arm prevented her from doing.

“Are you okay?” he asked helping Rory put her arms through the sleeves of a sweater.

Rory nodded. “He looks really bad, Daddy. His father must—“

“His father does not hate or blame you at all Rory,” Will interrupted, “Zack makes his own decisions. Nobody could have talked him out of going after you.” Will sat on the chair beside her. “Is that all?”

“Sark said something.”

“What?” his breath was caught in his throat.

“He said…” Rory looked down at her hands barely able to say the words. “He said you weren’t my father… he said he was. I know it’s not true,” she added quickly. “You would never keep anything like that from me… I just thought you should know.”

Will swallowed hard. “Rory, I need to tell you…“

“What is it?”

“This isn’t the best place to be doing this, hell… I never even thought it would come to this, or last this long, but…”

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Rory’s voice had a twinge of nervousness to it. Her father gripped the armrests of the chair so tightly, his knuckles were white.

Will took a deep breath and blurted it out quickly. “I’m not your father.”

She wanted to laugh at the ludicrous notion of his statement, but she couldn’t. Too much had happened in the past few hours not to question it. “What?”

“Sark was telling the truth.” Will’s voice wavered. “I’m not your biological father; he is.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth when you first told me you were CIA. I was afraid you knowing the truth would put you in danger, from him, from anyone. I guess I just hoped that ultimately it wouldn’t matter.”

“How could it not matter?” Rory stood. “You’re not my father. How couldn’t that matter? My father is a murderer! God, when will this stop!” Rory took off in the direction of the stairs. She took them two at a time running as fast as she could out of the hospital. Will called after her but she couldn’t look back.

Tears blurred her eyes to the point where she could barely see the road in front of her. Her father’s words echoed in her mind but he wasn’t her father and at that moment, she’d never felt so alone in her entire life.



Replies, rotten tomoatoes, banana peels
Is now a good time to mention that i am on the nurture side of the nature/nurture debate?
Picture credit is Caterina Scorsone as Rory!
 

lenafan

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
So. California
You know being a biological father is not the same as being the father. One simply supplied the sperm; the other supplied the love, the caring, the rearing and that's why Sydney left Rory with Will knowing how he would love and care for her child.

Good story. Love editing it.

lenafan
 

Guest7119

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Sep 18, 2003
Ah Ha! I knew it. Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so!

... Okay, I'm done. Yayness!

amisha
xxx
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Location
Canada
Ah Ha! I knew it. Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so!

... Okay, I'm done. Yayness!

amisha
xxx
Yeah well, it's not like i was just going to tell you!
lol I was waiting to see what you'd say.
 

eve

Captain
Joined
Nov 28, 2003
Ah Ha! I knew it. Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so! Told you so!

... Okay, I'm done. Yayness!

amisha
xxx
lol that's my first first thing to come to mind
 

jobi2372

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
I love the updates!!!

I just finished catching up - I haven't read anything in so long!!! SARK IS HER DAD??!!! Oh my GOD what a cool twist!!

Please keep me on your PM list for this fic!!! It's fantastic and I love it!!!

J.

:D
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Location
Canada
A/N Just wanted to mention again that those who are on my PM list and didn’t reply to the last chapter or this one, they will be taken off the list for the next one. The exception to this is if I know you are actually reading and only reply once in a while, I just want to cut off the people who are no longer reading so that I don’t bother them with unwanted pm’s etc… If I take you off and you’re not supposed to be, then I’m sorry, please just ask for a pm again. Hope you all like this chapter and I look forward to reading your reviews.

Previously: Rory and Zack staked out Irina and Sark’s meeting and got caught. They revealed Sydney was alive and Zack was shot. Jack knew Sydney was alive, but no one else did. Zack sleeps in a drug induced coma and is in critical condition. Will then confirms what Sark told Rory, Sark is her biological father.

Illusion of Sin
Part 16: What is blood anyway?


Vaughn slipped on his sunglasses and scanned the busy pier for Rory. It had been hours since she’d disappeared from the hospital. Will was worried, Jack was furious at Will, and Weiss was still at the hospital waiting for Zack to wake up. Vaughn had made the decision to find her on his own, knowing that she was likely to run from anyone else.

The pier was the fourth stop he’d made. He’d tried her original apartment, then the safe house where she’d been living for the last few months, the JTF and finally he made the difficult decision to check the pier. Zack had told him about meeting Rory there once and he decided to give it a shot.

Rory stood in the corner several feet away from a few young kids fishing with their father. From the distance, she reminded him so much of her mother. Vaughn didn’t want to scare her so he stood several feet away and waited until she acknowledged his presence.

“Did my father send you?”

“He knows I’m looking for you, but he didn’t send me.” Vaughn turned leaning his back against the rail and tucking his hands in his pockets.

“Zack?”

“He hasn’t woken yet.”

Rory swallowed hard; the lump in her throat seemed to grow larger with each passing moment. “How did you find me?”

“Zack mentioned once that you liked the pier. Your mother did, and I decided to give it a shot.”

“She did?”

“Sure,” he nodded and moved closer to Rory. “It was one of her favourite spots.”

“Where else?”

A strong breeze blew over Rory sending her hair into disarray and Vaughn had to turn away as she fixed it, tucking it back into place behind her ear. The knowledge that Sydney was out there, somewhere, made it that much more difficult to be near Rory. She was such a reminder to him of what he’d lost.

“She liked the train station, the observatory at the university, and this old carousel. Rory, your dad is worried about you.”

“Which one?” she said with a bitter tinge to her voice.

“Your dad,” Vaughn repeated. “Blood doesn’t make Julian Sark a father any more than it makes me Zack’s Uncle.

“I know.” Rory kicked at the worn wooden ledge of the pier. “I think he’s known for a long time, my dad I mean, his voice, just the way he said it. He should have told me.”

“Maybe,” Vaughn shrugged. “But he was scared; fear can overpower even the strongest of men.”

Rory rested her cast on the railing taking some of the weight off her shoulder. “What could he possibly have been afraid of, that Sark would come and take me away or something? Somehow I doubt he’s the fatherly type.”

“He was afraid of loosing your love.”

“He thinks I’d just stop loving him because he’s not my real father?” Rory shook her head. “He knows me better than that.”

“Maybe… maybe not.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that he’s human, he’s fallible, and he has doubts. He’s spent nearly half his life isolated from the world always watching his back afraid someone might take you. Now, that threat is real, because you have a choice.”

”Choice?”

Vaughn nodded, “a choice to pull away from him. He’s given you a reason to be angry with him. He’s just scared.”

“I wouldn’t do that.” Rory turned her head to the side resting her cheek on her arm. “I just needed some time to think. Everything has happened so fast, I just need some time to figure it all out.”

“It’s a lot to take in all at once,” Vaughn agreed. “Will you do something for me?”

“What?”

Vaughn held out his cell phone. “Just call Will, let him know you’re okay.”

After a few moments of staring at Vaughn’s hand, Rory reached for the phone and punched Will’s cell phone number.

“Vaughn?” Will’s voice sounded frantic.

“No, it’s me.”

“Are you alright?” he asked, audibly breathing a sigh of relief.

“I’m fine,” she said softly. “I’m sorry I ran off, I just needed some time.”

“I know,” Will took a deep breath listening to the silence on the other end of the phone. “You have to know that it wasn’t easy to keep it from you, but I didn’t want to hurt you and I was I afraid that you might want to look for him, and then you might get hurt.”

“I just wish that it was you who had told me and not him.”

“I know that was my mistake. When you get back, we can talk there are things I need to explain.”

“I know. Is there any news on Zack?”

“I’m sorry sweetie, nothing yet.”

“Okay,” she said softly. “I’ll be home in a while; I just need to think about some things for a while longer.”

“I’ll be waiting, bye sweetheart.”

“Bye.”

“Rory?” Will hesitated before speaking again unsure of what her reaction might be. “I love you.”

She couldn’t say the words, it hurt too much, “me too.” She loved her father, but he had lied to her and it was so fresh in her mind that saying the words, just hurt too much.

Rory closed the phone and scanned the area for Vaughn. She spotted him on the other side of the pier, past the boardwalk. The sun was setting quickly mixing a mirage of colors against the glowing neon lights of the carnival rides.

She leaned back against the railing and handed Vaughn his cell phone. The Ferris wheel lights blurred as they circled before her eyes.

“Better?”

Rory nodded. “There’s still no news on Zack.”

“No news is good news,” Vaughn said.

“You’re probably right,” she said blinking the tears from her eyes.

“Come stand over here,” Vaughn beckoned her to the other side of him, “a little more to your left.”

“Why right here?”

Vaughn smiled gently. “This is the exact spot where your mom was standing when she threw her beeper into the ocean, and I realized it was going to be very difficult, not to fall in love with her.”

“Really?” Rory’s hands gripped the railing lightly as she realized that her mother’s hands had once touched the very same spot. She almost felt as if she could feel her mother’s touch, some twenty-five years later. “Are you angry at her?”

“About you?” he questioned and Rory answered with a slight nod of her head. “Never. I can’t say I haven’t thought you should have been my daughter, but if you had, you wouldn’t be the same person you are now. I think that if things had been different, your mom and I would have married and she would have brought you back to LA and we would have raised you together; but…”

“But?”

“But things aren’t different and Will raised you. He’s your father and I think he did a pretty good job.”

“He did,” Rory smiled. “He was always different than all the other moms and dads. Freer, and he is my dad, but…”

“He’s not your father biologically,” Vaughn finished.

“Maybe, I’m putting too much emphasis on blood,” her gaze shifted the bandage on her shoulder, badly in need of being changed. “I know about Sark, I’ve read his file. I know what he’s done, what he’s capable of doing. But, I still never got the chance to know him, and that’s probably a good thing, but maybe I missed out.”

“Rory, the Sydney I knew, before she left, would not have been with Sark-“

“Are you saying he forced her?” Rory interrupted. “That I’m the product of a rape?”

“I didn’t say that,” Vaughn replied quickly. “All I’m saying is that we don’t know the circumstances. When we find her, and we will find her,” he continued, “then we’ll find out what really happened.”

“I wish it would be that easy,” she said softly.

“What do you mean?”

“Just something Irina said,” she shrugged. “It was like she didn’t know where my mom was, like something was wrong.”

“What else did Irina say?”

“Nothing,” Rory dodged his question.

“Tell me the truth.”

“She said she’d contact me; that’s all, I swear.”

Vaughn nodded, his gaze shifting to the vast ocean spread out before them. “It’s getting late, maybe you should go home, see your dad.”

“I can’t,” she shook her head. “I need to see Zack first.”

“Then see Zack, but don’t ignore your father, it will only hurt you both in the end.”

Rory nodded. “Thanks, for coming, for talking to me and telling me about my mother.”

Vaughn’s fingers brushed the hair off her cheeks and his hands framed her face. His lips lightly kissed her forehead, “you never need to thank me,” he said softly. “I’ll always talk to you about your mother. I loved her very much, I still do and I know I’ve said this before, but she would be so proud of you.”

Rory’s eyes filled with tears and this time she made no attempt to blink them away. “He told me that he loved me. Zack was lying there, bleeding everywhere and he told me that he loved me, but… I didn’t say it back and if he dies-”

Vaughn’s hands dropped to his sides slightly stunned at her confession. He took her hand in his, “do you love him?”

She nodded, “I think so.”

Vaughn wiped away her tears with the tips of his fingers. “Then he knows, I promise you, he already knows.”

“You think so?”

“I know so, now go.”

~ ~ ~

Rory stopped outside Zack’s ICU room, her hand pressed against the glass. It looked like there were more tubes attached to his body than before. He seemed so pale and lifeless surrounded by all the machines that kept him alive.

Weiss was slouched in the chair beside Zack’s bed. The rhythmic beeping of the heart monitors signalled that his son was alive, but looking at him, Zack seemed lost, floating somewhere in the unconscious world. He saw Rory, her hand pressed against the glass, and anxiety etched in the features of her face. She was so terrified and although he said he didn’t blame her, he knew she didn’t believe it.

“Rory,” Weiss stood and walked to the door.

“How is he?” she whispered.

“He’s holding his own,” Weiss answered and took her arm gently leading her to the chairs a few steps away. “He’s fighting.”

“He hasn’t woken up?”

“Not yet, but he will, you just have to believe that. How are you?” he asked.

“You know?”

“I do,” he nodded.

“Did you know about Sark? Did my mother tell you?”

“No,” he shook his head. “I promise you I didn’t know.” Weiss squeezed her hand; she seemed numb and withdrawn. “I could use a walk and a cup of coffee, could you sit with Zack for a while?”

“Of course.”

“Talk to him,” Weiss requested. “The doctor said it helps.”

“Of course.”

Rory entered Zack’s room and sat on the chair beside his bed. He was so pale, so lifeless and it hurt her to see him like that. “Hi Zack,” she said quietly and took his hand; it was cold. She swore she saw his eyes move beneath the lids, but maybe it was just wishful thinking. “I’m so sorry this happened, if I could trade places with you, it wouldn’t even be a question.”

Rory leaned down and rested her chin on the bed rail. Her hand reached up brushing the hair off his forehead. She checked to make sure he had a pulse; even though the machines signalled that he did, she needed to feel it for herself, to feel his life.

“I don’t know why you weren’t wearing your vest, I wish you had been, and then this never would have happened. You have to be okay, Zack; you just have to. I can’t do this without you.” Tears splashed down her cheeks and onto the cotton sheets covering Zack’s body.

“I love you.

“Did you hear me?” she lowered her lips to his ear. “I said I love you. Now wake up and say it back; just three words…

“I love you.”

~ ~ ~

Rory leaned heavily against the corridor wall and fished her ringing cell phone out of her purse one-handed.

“Rory?”

“Hi dad. Are you okay?” she asked hearing the concern in her father’s voice.

“I’m fine, sorry, I was just getting worried, and I thought you’d be back a while ago.”

“I sat with Zack for a while and I need to stop by work to sign some reports, I’ll be home after that.”

“You’re avoiding me,” Will said knowingly.

“I’m not,” she protested. “I just have to get the reports done.”

“It’s alright honey, you’re angry, I understand. You’ve been through a lot today, with Zack and Sark and finding out about your mom and about me. It’s okay to be angry with me. You can yell, scream, whatever you want, just please don’t shut me out.”

“I’m not angry,” she said quickly, though not at all convincingly. “Alright maybe I am,” Rory slid down the wall and sat cross-legged on the floor. “A few weeks ago, you said that when my mom gave me to you, she told you that I was your daughter.”

“That’s the truth.”

“Then when did you find out?”

“When you were two and a half, we were living in North Philly and we were at this mall when I realized someone was following us. I put you in the car, the man chased us and there was an accident. I lost control of the car and we hit a telephone poll. It scared the guy off, but you were hurt.”

“I don’t remember.”

“You were only two Rory, you were a toddler. You’re not supposed to remember.”

“What happened?”

“The back window shattered and you were cut. You needed stitches and the nurse who was taking your history asked your blood type, but I didn’t know. Before we left, she told me you were O-negative.”

“Not exactly common.”

“No,” Will confirmed. “I knew the basics of genetics from High School. In order for a child to be O-negative, both her parents had to be as well, and I’m A-positive. It was impossible for me to be your father.”

“Were you angry?” her voice trembled.

“Rory, I’d really rather not talk about this over the phone.”

“Please?”

Will relented. “At first, I was just in shock; I think I stood in that hospital hallway for five minutes with you pulling on my arm. Then I was angry. I took you home and didn’t say a word to you for a while and I remember being so angry with Sydney and then at myself for completely ignoring you. I hated her for lying to me and in turn to you and then looking at you reminded me of her.”

“What did you do?” Rory asked in a small voice, wiping away her tears.

“I packed our stuff and we took a bus to New Jersey and then I got us a motel room in the city. I put you to bed and then I got really drunk and started dialling Jack’s number at the JTF half a dozen times-“

“Were you going to leave me?”

“Rory … All I knew was that I was the one you called Daddy, and then all of the sudden I wasn’t your dad and I was drunk and I started filling in the what ifs with suppositions. I reasoned with myself that the only other person who knew Sydney and could have been your dad, and who Syd would want you hidden from was Sark. Our eyes were similar and your ears definitely weren’t from your mother and they weren’t mine… your hair was bleach blonde until you were two. I didn’t know what to think. I was angry because some nurse was telling me that you weren’t mine, even after everything that we’d been through.”

Will blinked the tears from his eyes and over the phone; he could hear Rory’s breath shudder as she tried not to cry. “Please Rory, this is why I didn’t want to talk about this over the phone, can we just wait and finish when you come home?”

“Okay, bye dad.” Rory hung up the phone quickly and buried her face in her arm as she drew her legs up to her chest, not even caring about the strange looks she received from the hospital staff and visitors.

She’d never felt more alone and unwanted than she did at that moment.

~ ~ ~

It didn’t take long for Rory to review the incident reports Dixon’s secretary had typed up, make the changes and sign off on them. It was early evening and the staff had been reduced to the bare minimum, which she didn’t mind at all. Some of them she didn’t recognize and others she did, but there were far less people to ask how she was, or to ask after Zack.

“Agent Summers, can I see you in my office before you go please.”

As soon as she’d spotted Jack she tried to avoid him, but was too late. She followed him into his office without question, but abandoned the somewhat friendly relationship she’d built with her grandfather.

“Whatever you have to say, I’m sure I don’t want to hear it.”

“Aurora,” Jack began but she quickly interrupted him.

“You didn’t tell me that my mother was alive, and I will never forgive you for that.”

“What good would it have done?” Jack challenged, his tone of voice was cold and detached. “I’ve had suspicions for years and found nothing. I never believed Irina could have her own daughter killed, but every lead I pursued was a dead end. How would that knowledge have helped you?”

“It doesn’t matter if it would have helped me; the point is that I had a right to know my own mother was alive.”

“I didn’t have any proof,” Jack retorted. “What would that uncertainty have given you?”

“I don’t know… knowledge that my mother didn’t actually abandon me,” Rory’s eyes were wide with anger. “Hope.”

“Hope?” Jack laughed bitterly. “I’ve had twenty one years of disappointed hopes, why would I burden you with even a day of them?”

“Because it was my decision to make!”

“If I had, you would have run off, full of fire and determination, not thinking clearly or strategically and would have gotten hurt; exactly what happened today, only it wasn’t your life you endangered but your partner’s. You think with your heart and not your head and someday it’s going to get you killed. Agent Weiss is in critical condition because--”

“Because of me, don’t you think I don’t know that? Don’t you think I blame myself for everything that happened?” Rory’s voice dropped to lower tone. “But at least I have a heart.” Rory took a deep breath. “Yours died, when Laura Bristow’s car went off a cliff fifty years ago … if you ever had one to begin with.”

Jack pursed his lips debating on whether or not to respond to Rory’s last comment; he didn’t. He opened his office door for her. “You can dislike me that is your choice; however you will do well to remember that I am your superior in this office and I am not required to justify my decisions to anyone but myself. That said I am doing what your mother would have wanted.”

Rory left Jack’s office and the door closed with a loud bang.

~ ~ ~

Rory took a deep breath before opening the apartment door.

“Dad?”

Rory balanced the pizza box on one hand and kicked the door closed with her foot. “Dad? I brought dinner.”

The pizza box fell from her hand splattering pepperoni and sauce over the wood floors. A mirror was smashed in the hallway, a table overturned in the living room and droplets of dark red blood were splattered across the beige carpet.

“Daddy?” she stepped into the living room, he wasn’t there. The apartment was empty. Her father was missing.

Her cell phone rang shrilly and it took a few moments for her to locate it.

“Hello?” her voice trembled and her eyes were full of unshed tears. She didn’t recognize the voice.

“We have your father. We’ll be in touch.”



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Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Location
Canada
A little sneak peak at the next chapter since it will be a while.

Rory tossed the ball for Snickers; he glanced at her curiously for a moment then bounded after it only a few meters away. There was nothing to be done, but to wait. Vaughn had delved into the search for Will, trying all his contacts, most of them non-CIA sanctioned, but turned up no leads. It was as if her father had disappeared into thin air. The CIA had added a few agents to search for him, but with such little information, they didn’t have much to go one. Rory tried to help, but she was refused by both Jack and Vaughn due to her medical leave for her arm amongst other things. Trying to search for him on her own was useless, since she’d established few outside contacts.

Snickers brought the ball back to her and dropped it on the grass by her feet. His tail pounded the ground repeatedly as he waited for her to throw the ball again. Rory picked up the ball and tossed it once more, landing only a foot farther than her last attempt. Nevertheless Snickers bounded after it, his playful puppy side in full front.

“Aurora?”

She recognized his British accent from the first syllable of her name. She turned around rapidly and lunged at him, but Sark was ready and flipped her on her back easily.

The breath knocked out of her, Rory only felt mild discomfort as Sark held her down, not applying enough force to cause her any pain and mindful of her broken arm

“Where is my father you sonofabitch,” Rory demanded, struggling against his hold. “I swear to God, if you’ve hurt him…”

Sark loosened his hold slightly, “I don’t know where Mr. Tippin is Aurora, I wasn’t aware that he was missing.” In an unspoken agreement, Sark let go of Rory and helped her stand. “If you’ll allow me, I will help you find him and explain why your mother and I decided it best he raise you and what happened to Sydney.” He held out his hand to her.

Rory felt Snickers next to her nudging her hand and showing her his concern at the intruder. He wined rubbing his head against her leg and she looked down at Zack’s dog wondering briefly if it might be the only thing she would have left of him.

“I don’t know why, but I believe you. I don’t trust you; I never will, but I want my dad back.” She didn’t take his hand, but walked with him towards his car, with Snickers trotting behind them.
 
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