Author: written in dreams PM
One minute Eric Weiss is covert operations coordinator with the NSC. The next, he's hiding out deep in South America with a baby that isn't his and no idea when, or if, they can stop running for their lives.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Family - Weiss, E. - Chapters: 12 - Words: 15,116 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 09-30-12 - Published: 09-01-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8485937
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note: I personally prefer more of a "choose your own ending" kind of story, but it's been requested I do an epilogue to tie everything up, so here it is.
"Ella es hermosa. Al igual que su padre."
"Sí. Su padre."
"Bienvenido a Paraguay, Señor Elliott. Y tú, pequeña."
A drive, a safe house, a gun, a postcard.
His eyes widen to saucers as he reads. Grateful he hadn't put the gun under the pillow yet, Weiss whirls around and cocks it in one fluid motion. His finger poised on the trigger and aim held straight, ready to fire at will, it takes a second for him to process whom he sees. His grip on the gun doesn't waver, but he blinks a few times, wondering if he's hallucinating. He's glad Isabelle had gone to the restroom—he doesn't want her to see this.
"Who are you?" he demands to the two figures in the room.
They look at one another, realization dawning on them. "Weiss, we're not doubles."
"I would've been notified if we were being rescued," says Weiss. Surely the two in front of him can't be legitimate…
"We thought it'd be a surprise," says the-one-who-looks-like-Vaughn. He looks Weiss up and down. "You look good."
Weiss snorts. "Yeah, right," he says. "Running around jungles and being under constant threat of death for eight years really makes a guy's skin glow." (He doesn't completely object, though; the one good thing—apart from raising Isabelle, of course—about being on the run is that he experienced the whole Cast Away thing. He hasn't had a scale, but he estimates he's down to about 180.) A pause, then, "Prove yourselves."
There's hurt, but then deference. The man steps up, his face resolute and a little apologetic. "The first day we met, we got totally wasted. You told me that even three days after you were born you were named Erica."
Weiss blanches, but then feels tears start to well up at what it means. With no further hesitation, Weiss throws himself on Vaughn, unashamedly—okay, maybe there's a little shame—weeping. He turns to Sydney next and does the same, the force staggering her.
"Sydney…Vaughn…oh Jesus you have no idea how happy I am to see you!" he exclaims.
They look much wearier than he remembered: Sydney has a thin, two-inch scar that mars her cheekbone, her hair cut to above her shoulders, and she's thinner than he remembers; Vaughn's nose looks like it'd been broken (again), he clearly hasn't shaved in about a week, and favors his right knee. But it's definitely them.
"I told her you'd come," Weiss says proudly. "I told her."
Sydney and Vaughn look nervously at each other. "Can we…where…"
Weiss nearly slaps himself in the face. He rushes over to the bathroom door and knocks. "Hey, Isabelle? I have a surprise for you."
There's a beat, and then Isabelle opens the door, peering up at Weiss skeptically. "What kind of surprise?" she asks.
It's then she notices they're not the only two in the room, and reflexively steps into Weiss's side. It doesn't take her long, however, to put together the two people in front of her with the two in the picture she'd seen a thousand times. There's a degree of hurt in their faces at the fact that she'd viewed them as threats, but neither can blame her.
"M-Mom? Dad?" she whispers, looking at Weiss for clarification. Weiss nods.
Isabelle turns back to Sydney and Vaughn and quick as a bullet she launches herself into Sydney's arms, burying her head in Vaughn's chest with a sob as he puts his arms around his family. Weiss watches them with both happiness and sadness, and a little shock—he's never ever seen Vaughn cry, but those are pretty clearly tears running down his friend's face. He feels a swelling beneath his rib cage he hasn't experienced since Isabelle learned to walk, and shuts his eyes in a moment of exaltation. He just prays this isn't a dream.
Hours of reminiscing and apologizing tell Weiss it isn't, in fact, a dream, and also finds Isabelle tuckered out on the bed. Sydney and Vaughn sit a scant six inches from her with Weiss on the chair, all three watching her adoringly. After making sure she's entirely asleep, Vaughn holds out his hand to Weiss, who shakes it firmly.
"Thank you," says Vaughn with more sincerity than Weiss has ever heard. "We owe you so much."
Weiss shoots him a lopsided grin. "Damn straight you do," he replies. Then he frowns as he looks down at Vaughn's hand, which is devoid of a wedding band. "Hey…I thought you guys would be hitched by now. How badly did Jack threaten you?"
Vaughn glances sadly at Sydney, who stares at the floor and fiddles with her engagement ring. "Dad died," says Sydney, "a couple weeks after Isabelle was born. Sloane shot him."
"What?" Weiss gapes. "I'm so sorry, Syd. I can't believe Sloane got away again."
A vindicated smile weaves its way to Sydney's lips. "He didn't," she answers. "Dad sacrificed himself and buried them both in a cave. Sloane found that Rambaldi eternal life formula, so he's down there forever."
"Good," says Weiss happily. "Bastard deserves it."
"Listen, about the wedding," says Vaughn, changing tack. "We didn't want to do it yet because it would've felt wrong without you and Isabelle there. We wanted to wait until we all got back to the States."
"You'd sure as hell better make me your best man, Mike," Weiss warns.
Vaughn laughs. "I figured that was a given."
Weiss pauses. "Okay, just tell me, though…we're really going home, right? No strings?"
Sydney's eyes sparkle as she grins. She reaches into her bag and pulls out a passport, handing it to Weiss. "Yeah, we're going home."
He opens up the document and reads the text. Name: Eric Robert Weiss. It's been so long since Weiss has had his own name on papers, and it's indescribable how great it feels.
"Oh," says Vaughn, pulling out something else. Weiss looks down at what he sees now is an ID badge. "You've been reinstated, with honors."
Weiss takes a shaky breath, eyes watering. "Finally."
"She's beautiful. Just like her father."
"Yes. Her father."
"Welcome to the United States of America, Mr. Weiss, Mr. Vaughn, Ms. Bristow. And you, little one."
A drive, an apartment, a beer, a family.
(No safe house, no gun, no note.)
Sydney and Vaughn say their vows a week later, on a secluded section of beach in Santa Barbara. Dixon steps in for Jack to walk her down the makeshift aisle, Jack's absence noted but accepted. Weiss stands proudly next to Vaughn as promised, and a now-ten-year-old Mitchell—who thankfully looks more like Carrie than Marshall—acts as ring bearer. Next to Weiss stand Will and his fiancée-cum-wife, standing somewhat awkwardly by a very pregnant Carrie. She's hyperaware that she's where Francie should be, but tries not to show it.
When Sydney and Dixon reach the front—which takes forever and a day, to Vaughn—they all look to the run-of-the-mill, normal, not CIA just normal, officiant to start. (Marshall had helpfully suggested Weiss be the officiant, him being "certified" and all, but it had been struck down the minute it left his lips.)
The ceremony isn't long, isn't wordy, just goes through the basics; after all, at this point it's just to get the piece of paper. If Isabelle thinks it's strange to see her parents getting married, she shows no indication, simply stands serenely by Sydney's side.
There are many poorly-concealed, wry smiles on the faces of everyone but the officiant at the words "'til death do us part" (for Sydney and Vaughn, "death" has always had a loose definition), but otherwise the ceremony goes smoothly. Two wedding bands and a kiss that's not quite chaste later, Isabelle hugs Sydney and Weiss shakes Vaughn's hand, bemoaning the fact that Vaughn hadn't let him throw him a bachelor party ("Dude, my thirtieth birthday was enough for a lifetime"), and so as a result his best man speech would be revenge.
It isn't, really, apart from the requisite mentioning of embarrassing moments, and Weiss, despite his inebriation, skillfully avoids anything specific from the past eight years. It's exactly the sort of tastefully distasteful toast that's required, and everyone drinks.
The reception doesn't last long given its guests, and the goodbyes are bittersweet—they're full of "sometime" and "one of these days" and "rain check," no one knowing for sure when next they'll see each other, particularly Sydney and Vaughn. There are two people conspicuously missing, though.
"Hey, Carrie," Sydney asks, coming up to her as she tries to wrangle Mitchell. "Have you seen Weiss or Isabelle?"
Carrie shrugs. "They were playing with Mitch last I saw," she replies.
Sydney doesn't envy Carrie's job of corralling a sugar crashing son and a husband who'd drunk a bit too much. "Thanks," she says. "And good luck."
Carrie laughs masochistically. "Livin' the dream." Grabbing Mitchell under her arms and beckoning Marshall, she bids, "I'll see you, Sydney. Tell Vaughn I said goodbye."
Sydney smiles. "Will do. Thanks for coming."
Turning away from her friend, she wanders through the house searching now for not only Weiss and Isabelle but her husband as well. She finds the latter leaning up against Isabelle's bedroom doorframe with a pleasantly amused look on his face.
"What are you—"
She stops herself as she follows his gaze. Weiss lies on the floor with a doll in his hand, Isabelle across from him decked out in a plastic crown and jewelry, both of them fast asleep. Sydney loops her arm through Vaughn's as she gazes down at them.
"Should we wake them?" asks Sydney.
A beat, then, "Nah. They deserve a full night's sleep."
Sydney smiles and shuts off the light. As she and Vaughn walk to their own room, she wonders aloud, "Think we'll have to adopt Weiss?"
Vaughn laughs. "At least we'd always have a babysitter," he replies. "Though I guess it won't be long before Isabelle doesn't need one…"
Sydney's silence makes him look over, her inscrutable expression eliciting a frown. "About that…" Sydney trails. "Isabelle may be almost old enough, but we still might need a babysitter."
It takes Vaughn a second, but then he looks down at Sydney's flat stomach and back up. "Really? You're sure?"
"Yes," says Sydney with a nod. "I had the doctor's appointment yesterday when you and the guys were picking up your suits."
"That's amazing," Vaughn says with a wide grin. Then he puts on an exaggerated expression of pondering. "But wait…does this mean we can't have our wedding night?"
Sydney shoots him a withering glance. Without a word, she shoves him onto the bed and kicks the door shut behind her. It's the first night she's felt at peace, her heart full knowing her family is back together, and she doesn't intend on wasting it.