Author: Dream Writer 4 Life PM
Crossing the line between comedy and tragedy can change the tone of the entire piece. A different analysis of one word could mean different interpretations, and therefore different repercussions. Missing scene from 4.08 “A Man of His Word."Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Angst - Sydney B. & Vaughn, M. - Words: 2,617 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 4 - Published: 11-09-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3881780
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Thin Line
Author: Dream Writer 4 Life
Rating: PG (gosh I'm getting soft in my old age)
Genre: Hangst — humour/angst
Archived: SD-1, FFN, and my sit. Anywhere else, just ask and you shall receive!
Spoilers/Timeline: Missing scene from 4.08 "A Man of His Word," so there's spoilers up until then.
'Shippers' Paradise: S/V and some W/N, just because I love my Weissy-poo.
Summary: There's a thin line between comedy and tragedy. Crossing that line can change the tone of the entire piece. A different analysis of one word could mean entirely different interpretations, and therefore different repercussions. Missing scene from 4.08 "A Man of His Word." A Dream Writer Experience.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, especially Ms. Santella. Period. End of story. Wait, no it's not! Keep reading!
Suggested Soundtrack: Let's go for some trusty favourites..."Missing" by Evanescence, "Simple Man" by Shinedown, and "Double Life" off the "Alias" soundtrack.
Author's Note: My French student gets no letter because of this fic. I get no sleep because of this fic. My homework suffers because of this fic. See what I give up for you guys!
"There's a thin line between comedy and tragedy. Crossing that line can change the tone of the entire piece. A different analysis of one word could mean entirely different interpretations, and therefore different repercussions. Shakespeare blatantly straddled this line often: Romeo and Juliet is a comedy until Mercutio dies." — Ms. Patricia Santella, English teacher
Sterile, stale hospital air is nothing new to Sydney Bristow.
But that does not mean she welcomes it.
It might be a new building, new layout, new digs, new staff, new security protocol, but she knows a hospital when she see one.
The light always hits her first. Rationally, she knows fluorescent lights exist literally everywhere, probably more places than a woman would like. She dealt with them at SD-6, school, the Joint Task Force, the Ops Centre, the grocery store, the warehouse, and now she deals with them at A.P.O. So what makes hospital fluorescent lights so different?
The buzz. They buzz really loud.
After the light comes the smell, a myriad patchwork of odours not altogether something she wants in a Glade Plug-In anytime soon. She had woken up to antiseptic, ammonia, plastic, rubber, and stagnant air one too many times after a dangerous mission not to get the standard "Where am I waking up now?" feeling all too common among the intelligence community. Every time the air conditioner rattles to life and that infernal smell bombards her nose, she consciously reminds herself that she's only visiting, she's not in a hospital gown, and she's not restricted to her wing of the hospital. Nothing smells human in a hospital, despite being a house of both birth and death; instead, everything reeks of bleach. Nurses claim the sheets, gowns, bathrooms smell "clean," but she knows they lie through their teeth — they hate it just as much as the next person. Something cannot smell "clean" — it radiates Irish Spring or Mountain Stream or Ocean Breeze or Wildflowers or New Car or Fabric Softener.
And anyways, her heels click really loudly in hospitals, no matter where she is inside. It makes her feel guilty.
But she's used to it.
She has spent a good third of her life in a hospital for one reason or another, usually lying in the bed herself after blacking out in BuenosAresShanghaiCairoKievAnnecy with tubes snaking into every orifice of her body and no one around her and staring up at those goddamn buzzing fluorescent lights and reeking of clean—
'Breathe. Just breath. You're not in the hospital. You're visiting your sister, who will be all right. So suck it up and go talk to your friends.'
Vaughn and Weiss look up as she approaches with her arms folded across her chest. "Hey," She murmurs, taking a spot next to Vaughn. The window on Nadia's room monopolizes her view, and doctors in tall white lab coats scuttle about, checking machines and scribbling on clipboards. A hand alights on her shoulder, and her gaze travels up the arm connected with it to rest on Vaughn's consoling eyes. She offers a small reassuring smile as he wraps his arms around her and pulls her flush into his side, laying his cheek on her head when she rests her own on his shoulder.
"Nadia's going to be all right, Syd," He states firmly, his low voice resonating in her skull.
She nods against him, lifting her head to acknowledge the doctors as they exit. "I know," She answers matter-of-factly. "I'm fine, really; my stomach's just a little upset." Glancing up at Weiss, she cannot help but smile at the concern etched in his features. With his hands shoved in his pockets, brows knotted together, and jaw set staunchly against tears, she thinks he looks a hell of a lot like Vaughn when nurses refuse to let him into Sydney's hospital room in BuenosAresShanghaiCairoKievAnnecy, and he cannot find the right words to express the contempt he feels. (He is usually fine at the Stafford Hospital in Germany; they speak English pretty well, and his German is improving under her tutelage.) The comparison rounds out her smile. "Weiss, how are you holding up?" She queries in interest.
He jumps, slightly startled, and finally tears his gaze away from his girlfriend. "Yeah, I think I'm okay," He replies, extracting a hand to muss his already Einstein-cloned hair. "She's going to be all right, and that's all that matters."
Syd can tell he has more to say, so she patiently waits as all three of them watch her sister.
"How can you do it?" He suddenly asks, peering at the two other agents in confusion. "How can you do it, Vaughn? How can you let Sydney Bristow, freaking awesome super spy extraordinaire, go on a mission without you, knowing that it'll most likely end up here? How can you stand it?"
The other two agents glance at each other, sharing the same pain. They know he means this situation exclusively, but they each cannot help but remember a time he let her walk inside her house and he did not see her again for two years. 'It's not always the missions you have to worry about,' She wants to say, but finds her vocal chords frozen under emotional overload.
Vaughn ducks his head in thought for a moment, and when he lifts his eyes again, she sees merriment and even a bit of devilishness dancing in the green irises. Leading them both over to a grouping of unoccupied chairs, he takes Sydney's hand in his own and leans towards his friend. "There's something you should know about Bristow women: they make frequent hospital visits. You get to know the staff's first names and when they come on duty." He squeezes her hand, and blush flushes her cheeks.
"But Nadia's not really a Bristow," Weiss counters, eyes periodically flickering down the corridor to the patient's room.
His friend waves a hand indifferently. "A technicality. These two have the same mother, do they not? Would you rather call them Derevko women?"
"Actually..." Vaughn frowns and rolls his eyes as Weiss considers the statement. "Frequent hospital visits, huh? Anything else I should know about dating a Derevko woman?"
"First of all," Syd interjects indignantly, "don't talk about us when we're right there. Second, he does not let me do anything — I do what I want — and third—"
"They talk a lot." Vaughn smiles innocently as she glares at him, seething at his condescension.
"While your anger amuses me, Syd," Weiss states dryly, "it doesn't help me much. What's your point?"
"I think what Agent Vaughn was trying to say," Sydney grits out, flashing Vaughn a look out the corner of her eye, "is that if you're going to buy the car, you might want to read the manual."
Weiss continues to stare, not comprehending.
Vaughn, noticing his friend's lack of facial expression, translates for him, "If you're going to date one of them, you might as well know what you're getting into."
"So I can..."
"Do it well." Sydney turns to Vaughn with a slightly raised eyebrow. "So...what's it like dating one of us? And keep it clean."
He offers the shadow of a smile before biting his lip in thought. "Derevko women require three things: space, bubble baths, and red wine."
"What!" Syd interjects in disbelief. "That's so not true!"
"They also deny they love these things, as the red wine tends to reflect poorly upon their drinking habits. Not that the alphabetized liquor cabinet in the panty does anything to help that reputation." She purses her lips in disapproval, and he points to them as a demonstration. "And that's a Bristow trademark. Don't know if Nadia has one of those."
"When she's angry, she does," Sydney snits under her breath. "Here's another tip: when we get angry, people get hurt."
"Revenge is big in their family," Vaughn adds, a wry smile spreading across his lips.
"Hadn't noticed," Weiss comments warily. He glances back and forth between the two agents, and Sydney senses his increasing reservation. "Uh, maybe we shouldn't talk about this—"
Vaughn raises his hands in surrender. "Okay, so I've been relating bad qualities so far, but they do have an up-side." Turning away from his friend, Vaughn peers into Sydney's face with what can only be described as adoration. "They have the most beautiful smiles," He murmurs, voice sanded and glossed by years of mental, mantra-like repetition without ever having the pleasure of tripping off the tongue.
Her sadness begins in her eyes.
He continues, "And they have this special smile reserved just for you, just for when you're alone. Dimples don't come out for bad guys on missions. Their lips stretch like licorice ropes; their cheeks ripen instantaneously; and their eyes glow. There's a thin line between her smile and parody and cliché, and if you think about it too long it disappears, so you just got to take it at face value because, goddamn it, she's smiling at you — not anybody else, just you — like you're the most important person in the world or puppies and kittens in a meadow somewhere. What no one gets is that nothing else matters when she smiles at you. Nothing.
"And that's when you know.
"You're in love with her.
"And once you know her love, you'll pray you get to wake up next to her just one more time, 'cause that's one more second in which you can tell her you love her a million times."
This double-edged sword pokes at something so deep and obscure she thought an archeology team would have trouble finding.
And he knew it all along. He knows that she hasn't smiled since he told her about the greatest phone call of his life; that she hasn't given him back her heart completely (she keeps the little sliver behind the pulmonary artery to herself); that guarded, wary, calculating Agent Bristow stays turned on twenty-four/seven and sweet, open, playful Syd emerges only in his dreams and memories. She exudes pure Manichaean duality in everything she thinks and says and does, and it kills the rest of the heart that belongs to him to know that the little piece behind the pulmonary is perfectly happy camped out safe within the boundaries of "let's take it slow" and "we don't overanalyze...do we?" It's nice and cozy curled up next to the angry fires of her past betrayals and snuggled in between twin blankets of denial and duality.
Only now, the pleading in his eyes and his uncanny gift of oration are tapping on the one loose brick at the base of her wall: the Guilt Brick.
How the hell did he learn how to talk like that?
Weiss looks even more uncomfortable than before as he realizes they have stumbled upon a private moment. "Look, I don't know if you're the ones I should be talking to about this—"
"Are you kidding?" Sydney pipes up, smiling reassuringly even as her cheeks remain non-concave. "You've got the best experts right here! I'm a Derevko woman, and he's dating me!"
'Denial, thou knowest me well!'
"Dating?" He replies laconically, an eyebrow rising as he does so himself. "So that's what you're calling this little song and dance you two keep doing. Dating. Huh. Could've fooled me." And with that, he lumbers back down the hall toward Nadia's room, presumably to stand watch.
Thus the lovers are surrounded by non-silence: white noise, background noise, noise that might as well be painted out of the picture and shipped off to Antarctica in a box labeled 'moot.' They sit with their hands to themselves. She leans back against the poorly upholstered chair with her arms crossed over her chest; he sits forward with his clasped hands between his knees. They both stare at the same speck of dust on the scuffed and worn floor. Both want to say something — need to say something — but Sydney's camp will not be invaded yet (the Guilt Brick still clings to the goop that is Bristow Stubbornness Mortar) and, after everything, he continues to believe that time heals all wounds.
But somewhere inside, each of them knows what they need is a swift kick in the pants, followed by the ceremonial airing of the dirty laundry. Everything needs to come out of the closet in one try, in whatever language they feel comfortable with, whether it be English, French, German, Russian, or Semaphore.
Everything needs to be laid out in the open, ready for discussion.
And now's as good a time as any.
"I'm sor—" "I'm sor—"
A cell phone ring is all it takes to derail their shaky Little Engine That (Almost) Could.
Two rings, to be exact.
Both answer, and both get the same clipped message to meet at A.P.O. for a new intelligence briefing on Anna Espinosa. Both hang up quickly, and both stare at one another with disappointment and longing and sorrow barely-veiled.
"My car's on the first level."
"Mine's on the third."
"Want a lift?"
"That'd be great." He leads her down the hallway to the elevator.
After a moment's hesitation, her hand finally comes to rest on his lower back, guiding him with the slightest touches.
They both know it will take a while to regain their former rhythm, to learn not to ignore their innate impulses when they see the other.
Yes, it will take time.
But it's a start.
This started out as a fluff fic, relating Sydney and Vaughn's relationship with Weiss and Nadia's. However, I soon realized that wasn't in character for any of them this season, I decided to take a turn for the serious. When I read back over it, I saw that there were points that switched back and forth, and what my English teacher (repeatedly) says about comedy and tragedy came to mind. All that crap this story! Hope you enjoyed! I [heart feedback!
:D Becky, the Dream Writer 4 Life