I love this story...although it is all the events from seasons 1&2 you have rewritten and expressed them so wonderfully! wow is all i can say. I also love how you ended with her calling Vaughn....Santa Barbara..yeah!
It hurts to open your eyes, so you let them flutter closed again. But suddenly, you feel someone take your hand and squeeze gently. You know who it is, and you want to see him, so you struggle to open your eyes again. His cool hand gently brushes hair from your forehead and he whispers softly in your ear to take your time. You’re too tired to continue trying to squint against the too bright lights, so you take his advice and drift back to sleep.
You wake again with less pain in your head this time. You turn to where you remember Vaughn’s touch coming from, and you see him dozing in his chair. You smile slightly and then reach out for his hand. He rouses suddenly, acting as if he hadn’t meant to fall asleep as you stroke his hand. He looks at you, and you apologize for waking him. He doesn’t care; he’s just glad that you’re awake.
He’s reluctant to leave you, but he knows that he should get a nurse to come check on you, so he excuses himself. You settle back on the pillows and breathe out deeply. You made it out alive again. But what about your friends? You admit to yourself that Francie is most likely dead, but you don’t want to really think about that, so you move on to other questions. Where was Will? Did he make it out okay? You sit up suddenly, wanting answers, but pain and dizziness flash through your head, so you lie back down.
Vaughn returns with a nurse and holds your hand throughout her examination of you. She informs you of your injuries – nothing is broken, but you have quite a few cuts and abrasions, and you have a concussion. She says that the doctors want to keep you under observation for a few days. She leaves, and then you immediately ask Vaughn about Will. He says that he made it out of surgery and you’ll have to wait for further information.
You find out that he will be alright. With some intensive physical therapy, he’ll be as good as new with time. You’re restless during your stay at the hospital. You have so many things you want to be doing right now other than driving the nurses crazy; being in Santa Barbra with Vaughn the most important one. He stays with you for hours each day, and he promises you that he’ll find a way to reschedule the trip.
When you’re discharged, Vaughn takes you to his place, since there’s not much left of your home to return to. He informs you that you’ve been given a week off to recover, and you immediately think that you’ll be able to get to Santa Barbra sooner than you thought. But, you realize that having headaches and feeling dizzy throughout the trip would make for a lousy vacation, so it will have to remain postponed.
Despite your physical injuries, the week you spend with Vaughn is like heaven, one that you’re reluctant to leave, but you know that you should start looking for another place of your own. But when he sees you with the apartment listings, his immediacy in offering a different solution makes you think that he has been thinking of asking you this for a lot longer than this week. He wants you to live with him.
You lower the paper and look up at him endearingly, but a little shocked. Were you really ready for this? In a way, you were; after two and a half years of slowly laying the foundation of your relationship, little brick by little brick, it was time to set up home. His next three words seal the deal.
He loves you.
It’s something that you have known in your heart, but to actually hear it has added more power behind the feeling. The look in his eyes drives the point home. He really has been considering this for quite some time, and he waited until the perfect time to ask you, when there was no chance of you saying no. You always did think that he was a genius.
You accept and return the sentiment of love, and his grin brightens the room. You throw down the paper, wrap your arms around him, and kiss him until you are drugged with passion. It’s going to be another night of fun for the two of you…
You awaken next to him again, this time in his bed, and you see him looking at you with that same smile on his face. You love that you’ll be waking up this way every day from now on. You wish that you could just lie here with him until night falls again, but there are so many things to be done.
He takes you to your former home and helps you salvage what you can from the mess. Clothes, books, pictures, picture frames are all transported back to his apartment to be arranged later, making his home yours.
Tired of being cooped up in the apartment on your last day of recovery time, you and Vaughn take Donovan on a walk around his neighborhood, and he introduces you to some people that you see about. You smile and shake hands with them, happy to meet people who have insight to the side of Vaughn that you are still learning about. So when you run into old Mrs. Pearson, Vaughn’s landlady, you giggle as she pats his cheek and commends him on finally having a serious relationship with a woman; she was afraid that he would become an old, cranky bachelor. You blush when she compliments your beauty and proclaims that you are definitely a keeper. She then goes about her own business, leaving you and Vaughn grinning at each other. But when you turn to go home, a serious, but heartwarming thought pops into your head.
Your time has really come at last. You have the freedom to learn everything about Vaughn that you’ve wanted to know, even the littlest, seemingly trivial details that will only come from living together; things like how he likes his eggs, what books he is currently interested in (and whether he reads at all for pleasure), what other sports teams he is a fan of. It was all something you were really looking forward to, and you had the ability to take your time or speed things up as you wanted. But, the way in which you were so deeply in tune with this man was the result of taking things slow. (Maybe the existence of the Alliance had really been a blessing in disguise.) You didn’t want to rush everything now just for the sake of it. You both would know when the time was right to take the next step. Together you would decide, and together you would stay.
You’re back at work, having returned to the unceasing grind of your life. There’s such a long list of things you want to accomplish that you almost don’t know where to begin. Unearthing a way to get back on your mother’s trail, finding out what else she knew about this “prophecy,” locating Sloane and the device that he built – these were only a few. But you wanted one question answered now. So, you went to the only resource at your current disposal.
You marched down to his cell, the familiarity of it sending chills up your spine. But you had to have your poker face on for this round in the game, so you let the thoughts of your mother slip away for now.
The immediacy of your question doesn’t seem to faze Sark. He merely stands up from his metal cot and faces you with his arms crossed, a smirk not quite daring to appear on his face, but you can see the beginnings of it in his eyes. When he answers your question with the nonchalance as if he had been asked how the weather was, you can barely contain the compulsion to enter his cell and throttle him.
Francie was dead.
In your head, you had known that this was true ever since you discovered that Francie’s double was just who she was. But your heart tore at you, pleading with you to find a way to make it untrue. That’s why you stormed in here and confronted her possible murderer. But with his dreaded response, your heart could fool itself no longer. You bite back tears that threatened to fall; you wouldn’t cry in front of this snake, you wouldn’t give him the pleasure of seeing you in your weakness. So you leave him abruptly, and you felt ready to break down completely all over again. But you had to deliver the tragic news to someone else, so you try to remain strong.
You take a deep breath as you enter Medical Services, knowing that this will be just as hard, if not harder for Will as it is for you. You see him sitting slightly elevated in the bed reading a magazine. You greet him with a small smile, which he returns, and you ask how he is doing. He is happy to report that he’ll be able to leave in a few days, and he’ll be staying with his sister again. You nod, then take his hand, looking down at it in yours, wanting to get what you have to say over with.
When you tell him, he nods slightly and turns his head away. It was what he had figured as soon as he found the Provacillium in the bathroom. He asks you what happened to Francie’s double, and you can see that his fears are alleviated when you tell him that you killed her. He thanks you with a simple, “Good,” and a squeeze of your hand. He turns his head away again, and then looks back at you sadly. There are tears in his eyes as he opens up. He wasn’t sure how long, or even if he ever was, with the real Francie. He had been falling in love, and it was tearing him up inside that Allison had been the recipient of that sentiment. He sighs, and some tears fall. You kiss him gently on the cheek and swear to him that the other people responsible for Francie’s death will pay. You will be sure of it.
You sigh as you go back to the main office. The death toll is so high against you now, and you wonder if it will ever stop growing. You’re determined to get yourself and the people you love away from this deathly life as soon as possible. But justice needs to be served, and your catalogue of questions answered. There’s never any rest for the weary.
A/N: I'm sorry that the chapters keep getting shorter, but I got to a good cut off point, so don't shoot me. Something you should know - the chapter title isn't mine. I borrowed it from the band Keane. Anyway, enjoy, and please review.
Part 4 – Why Don’t We Go Somewhere Only We Know
After a week of dead ends when it came to finding your mother and Sloane, you were desperately in need of that dreamy weekend in Santa Barbara. But there was something else to attend to – Francie’s funeral.
The CIA decided that it would be best if Francie’s death was explained in the same way Danny’s was. That way the confidentiality of your job could be maintained to those who would be affected by the death. You protested heavily, despising the thought of having to continue to lie to the people not directly involved in your insane world, but in the end, the higher-up won. When it became apparent that double would have to be the body in Francie’s casket, you nearly exploded with anger. But there was no other option to take.
So, you greet the solemn and still-shocked Mr. and Mrs. Calfo with a quick, tearful hug, and then hurry to your seat, afraid that your barely contained infuriation over this deception of all deceptions would spill out into the open.
More tears come when you listen to the eulogy, but they are mostly tears of anger. Allowing Francie’s murderer to be the recipient of this final, loving goodbye while your real friend is God-knows-where makes your blood boil. You want to scream. This is just… wrong. You know that your allowing this to even take place dishonors Francie’s memory more with each second. But, the truth is far too complicated, far too dangerous for the likes of the people around you. The clash between the innocent and the dark, secret worlds would create too great a mess to clean up. So, the façade is back up in full force. But with you now is someone who is allowed to see past all of the lies; he is a part of both your worlds now, and you don’t know what you would do without him.
He sits beside you and squeezes your hand reassuringly every time he can feel you tense up. He is literally the only thing keeping you from abruptly leaving this disgrace of a memorial.
You’re thankful, but drained when it’s over, and you ask Vaughn to make a stop before you head home. You open the glass door and step inside, not sure what you were expecting to feel when you came here, but you felt that you needed be here now.
The restaurant wasn’t too busy right now – it usually didn’t reach its peak until the evening – but you were mildly surprised to see one person who was here too. Although, you probably should have figured that he would also want to be here right now, especially since he, too, knew the truth about Francie.
Will was seated in his wheelchair with his sister standing next to him, their backs turned to you. You approached them and laid a hand on Will’s shoulder, and Amy helped him turn around to face you. Neither of you knew what to say at the moment, so you just leaned down to give him a hug, tears not unwelcome springing to your eyes.
This place had been Francie’s dream, one that she had worked so hard to achieve. It was where you spent what time you had with her being as careless and free as you could, discussing only lighthearted topics, catching up on your girl-talk. But really, it had all been a lie. She never knew what you actually did with your life; you never got to explain everything to her, never got to know if she would ever forgive you for deceiving her, never got to introduce her to “Michael.” But, being here now was your apology to her – a small start, but a start at least.
You run your hand over the cool counter at the bar, and in your mind you ask her to forgive you, and you promise her that you won’t let her murderers go unpunished.
You jump on the newest lead on Sloane. You father unearthed it; while he was drugged and in Sloane’s custody, he had heard bits and pieces of Sloane’s conversations with his men. What he could and couldn’t remember had been eating at him for the past week, but he finally remembered hearing about a location, another safehouse, the place they would be going when Il Dire had functioned and completed its task. Your father assumed that that’s where Sloane had gone with the device when the CIA raided the building.
So, you and Vaughn were on the next plane to the remotely located safehouse. What you found there… well, you couldn’t believe what you found there. The place was empty, all except for the Rambaldi device. This didn’t make any sense. Sloane had worked for over thirty years to build this device; he wouldn’t just suddenly abandon it. But it appears that that is exactly what he had done.
You examine the device for any clue as to why Sloane had not taken it, wherever he had gone now. The thing is massive – it nearly fills the entire room in which it is placed – intricately designed, and complexly put together. On one side near the bottom is where you find your only clue.
You tear the blank, scrap of parchment that appears to have been left when a longer page was torn from the mouth of what looks like a printing device. It’s not much help, but it offers an explanation as for why Sloane left his magnum opus behind. The device performed its function, and was now useless. The scrap left behind indicates that the machine had been used to deliver a printed message. What it could be, you had no idea, and now you’ve once again reached the end to the leads on Sloane. You crumple the piece of parchment in a frustrated fist. Sloane had escaped again.
It had been a few weeks of dead ends at the CIA before you and Vaughn realize that this time would be a perfect opportunity to get away for a weekend. So you go on your dream vacation to Santa Barbara; and what a dream it was.
It was a warm night, so you drove with the windows down, your hair tickling your face as it was blown around, you loving every minute of it, feeling free and excited as you anticipated a weekend full of pure, uninterrupted fun. Vaughn laughed happily, seeing you in such carefree state, and your grin only widened in return. It was late when you arrived at the Biltmore, so you both decided that it would be best if you went to bed. Of course, that didn’t necessarily mean that you two got a lot of sleep…
The hotel itself was beautiful – the Spanish style architecture caught your eye, and the wonderfully decorated rooms and patios with sunlight streaking in all the right places gave the place a heavenly aura. You could probably make a full weekend without leaving the hotel, but you had plans to do everything you said you wanted to do while you were there and more. And so, you relaxed on the sunny beach, bought ice cream cones from a nearby vendor and took a walk along the sand, had fabulous tacos at La Superica Taqueria, visited a museum of art, and of course went to the zoo that you could not stop talking about.
You bought a disposable camera, and Vaughn snapped a picture of you in front of your giraffe with a crooked neck. He lowered the camera, smiling, with a look in his eyes that you couldn’t place. He just said that he loved you, but you could tell that he was holding something back; there was something more in his eyes than love. But you let it slip by for now, not wanting even the tiniest argument to ruin the day.
It wasn’t until you were seated together at a candlelit dinner at the hotel’s La Marina that Vaughn admitted that he had been holding back some of his feelings earlier that day. You remember that he took a deep breath before placing his hand over yours, and still to this day can you recollect every word said…
“Sydney, I’ve loved living with you the past few weeks…”
“I have too,” you answered immediately.
He squeezed your hand gently in response. “Please, let me finish.” He looked down briefly before he met your eyes again and continued. “And this weekend has been incredible, but I’m realizing now that it isn’t enough. I love you, Syd… And I want to marry you. Will you be my wife?”
He looked at you expectantly, witnessing the blush rise on your cheeks as excited surprise registered on your features. You maneuvered your hand in his so you could squeeze it. “I… Wow, I don’t know what to say other than yes. Yes!”
Completely oblivious and uncaring about the other people in the restaurant, you stood up and he followed your lead, and you launched yourself into his arms, a few happy tears being shed free with the relief of knowing for certain that you would never be alone in the world again.
That was great ... aww poor Syd cant believe that they let Francies family believe that it was her they bauried ... awww they are geting married ... love Vaughn ... thanks for the PM ... more soon please
A/N: I've taken the title from our beloved Marshall, obviously. Please enjoy and review.
Part 5 - I've Lost My Keys
You were sad to leave the taste of true freedom behind in Santa Barbara, but you were definitely ready to move on to your future with Vaughn; of course, the present had to get in the way again.
Another day at work brings another opponent to the forefront. A new faction called the Covenant has entered the playing field through attempted kidnapping of two CIA senior officers stationed in Berlin. Fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful, but there is suspicion that another attempt will be made, most likely on different targets. So, your job is to find out what you can about this Covenant group, who the leaders are, what they expect to get out of the kidnapping, what their goals are, anything.
So, it’s a long day of research, contacting informants, and paperwork until you really allow yourself to take a breath and discover that you’ve been at this too long for one day.
Vaughn approaches you just as you push back your chair, deciding that enough’s enough for tonight. You quickly stand up to greet him with a hug, not caring what other agents in the office would think since you’ve immunized yourself to the Ops Center gossip. You figure that you’re old news anyway; although, you haven’t made your engagement to Vaughn public knowledge yet. In fact, you haven’t felt ready to tell anyone – it’s just a bit of happiness that you want to keep for yourself a while longer.
Even now, you remember that the time before you announced your marriage to others, both him and you addressing each other more quietly for no reason other than subconsciously feeling more intimate with each other, wanting to keep anyone and everyone away from this private world of yours because that place was just for you two. It wasn’t just how you spoke that changed; it was both of your whole demeanors when you were together. There was something more with the way that you looked at each other, how in each glance there was there was a telepathic reminder of love for the other. Even with every caring touch exchanged – him caressing your cheek as he brushed your hair behind your ear, or you taking his hand and letting him lead you to the car – it was as if there were a new electricity in it all, and you reveled in the warmth it gave you.
He suggests that you and he go out to dinner to take your minds off of work for a while. You immediately accept and grab your jacket before you head out.
The dinner is reminiscent of your first date, but the initial awkwardness is gone, unsure and nervous smiles replaced by knowing, excited grins now that you’ve decided to embark on a journey together that will last for the rest of your lives.
You talk about what you have in mind for the wedding, and you both agree that it shouldn’t be extravagant, but simple and charming. This discussion naturally turns into one about when the event should take place, and this being something that you want to follow through with quickly, you settle on a date two months from now. The timing may be a little tight, you realize, especially with unpredictability of your jobs, but you’ll keep the plans simple so that in the event that the date will have to be changed, it can be done rather painlessly.
Your talk of wedding plans continues until you reach home and Vaughn remarks that he can’t wait to see you in your wedding dress. But, he says, until then, he’ll settle for no clothes on you at all. And so, another night of passion ensues.
You finally decide to announce your engagement, and figure it’s best to start with your father. He’s the only real family that you have left, but remembering what he put your first fiancé through, you think it’s best to get through with telling him as quickly and smoothly as possible.
But you aren’t Danny. You know how to handle business (even a wedding, when it comes to dealing Jack Bristow, is business) when it comes to your father, so you just approach him as you would for anything.
After pulling your father aside from work for a few minutes, not attempting to put up any fronts, you just say what you have to say in a straightforward manner.
“Dad, Vaughn and I are engaged.”
You look at him expectantly, although you’re not sure what to expect from him.
He looks at you for a moment, then in an emotionless voice he says, “Congratulations.” You give him some credit though, because he manages to smile afterwards.
Waiting for a moment, but getting nothing more out of him, you prompt, “The wedding’s in September… Would you like a formal invitation?”
“Yes, that’ll be fine. Will you need any help financially with it?”
You shake your head. “No, it’s not going to be anything big. Vaughn and I can take care of it.”
He nods. “Yes… well, if you change your mind…”
A junior agent needing him to overlook a file takes your father’s attention away from you, and you almost cringe as you imagine him walking you down the aisle. Yes, that will definitely take some work.
You’re busier at work than you would have hoped, with everything you have to do outside of the office. While Sloane’s and your mother’s activities have seemed to cease, the Covenant have taken up their stead with multiple counts of murder and robbery, all related to obtaining pages from another of Rambaldi’s ancient texts, The Renaissance.
In the briefing, you figure your job now is to find out what you can relating to the new Rambaldi enigma, but Kendall surprises you when he displays on the monitor a sketch of a pentagonal container, shown at different angles, with a hatch on top, and a shutter-like opening on one of the sides, the circular shutter being in the center of Rambaldi’s signature eye. Kendall goes on to explain that this artifact is Rambaldi’s Cube, and that The Renaissance is basically the instruction manual for this artifact.
You immediately question where all this information is coming from, but Kendall simply states that you don’t have the clearance to know. Before any other questions can be asked, he continues with more information seemingly coming from out of the blue. He says that the vault to The Cube needs twelve keys to open. Then he puts a picture of a man in his sixties on the screen and says that he is Andrian Lazarey, a former Russian diplomat who retired from his work in order to devote all of his time to the study of Rambaldi. From a surveillance operation on Lazarey, it’s known that he is in possession of eleven of the keys needed to open the vault. Your job is to find the last key and persuade Lazarey to help you find The Cube.
Kendall then hands everyone in the briefing room a file with all known information on the keys to the vault. You’re even more suspicious of Kendall now, but knowing you won’t get your questions answered by him, you say nothing for now.
You’re exhausted after a week of plane rides to remote locations where you’ve found no sign of the last key. It’s likely that you’ve been searching in places where other keys have already been found by Lazarey, but there was no way to tell which possible location corresponded to the last key.
The thing keeping you sane through all of this is your wedding coming up in a month and a half, even if you haven’t had the chance to really get into the planning of it. But at the moment, any relief from work you can get, you’ll take.
And did relief ever come – strangely enough, in the form of a plainly marked package. When you open it, you can’t believe what’s inside.
It’s the key. And along with it was a note included… addressed to you. Your eyes widen as you look at your name printed neatly on the envelope, and then cautiously open it. It those three damn words again, their meaning no clearer to you than when you first heard them. You don’t need forensics’ analysis to tell you that Irina’s fingerprints are on the paper. You already know that it was your mother who had given you this key. Truth takes time. She helped you again, wanting nothing in return… But what she didn’t know, what you didn’t know at that time was what Rambaldi’s message to Sloane was.
Thirty years of work resulted in the production of a single sheet of paper, on it, a printed portrait of Sark, and the words, The Disloyal One’s blood is the key. The Chosen One will show the way. She will bear this man’s child, and the beginning will come again.
First ... off to read ... wow Syd will have Sarks kids ... over Vaughns dead body and even if that happens its not like Syd will let him touch her ever ... I have no words just wow ... love Jack reaction to their engagement ... why dont they just wait another couple of weeks and get married on Oct. 1st ??? ... that was great ... thanks for the PM ... more soon please