Title: Unbreakable

Author: Karen T (poohmusings@yahoo.com)

Rating: G

Disclaimers: All Alias honors belong to JJ Abrams, Bad Robot, Touchstone, and ABC.

Classification: Angst, Post-"The Indicator," Jack POV

Spoilers: "The Indicator"

Archive: CM, of course. Anyone else, please ask first.

Feedback: Always appreciated.

There's something you need to understand.

When you become a parent, you don't receive an instruction manual or a set of rules you should follow. A guardian angel doesn't suddenly appear perched on your shoulder telling you how to be a good parent, how to raise your child well. You simply wake up one day and realize you now have another human being who needs you, who looks to you, for everything, forever.

You don't know what it's like to have this…thing, this perfect, beautiful thing, trembling in your arms, her heart beating faster than yours, her little fingers wrapped around only one of yours because you're so much bigger than her. And you want to protect her more than anything in the world, but you immediately learn you can't because she's susceptible to everything: the slightest change in temperature, the slightest noise, the slightest notion of fear. All of those and more will set her off, and she'll cry and cry, and you'll be left utterly defenseless, knowing you want to do so much but not being able to do anything at all.

But that won't stop you from holding her closer, promising her things that don't make sense. It's then you realize what it means to be selfless, to want your child to have everything you didn't, to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep her from suffering any pains you've experienced.

But, again, there's no instruction manual or set of rules. You do your best, and on most days, your best is enough. She learns to smile up at you with admiration, and you learn how to keep your knees from buckling at the strength of such a simple smile. She's life, your life, and you cherish her more than anything.

Then the unimaginable will happen. You'll fall. Pain like nothing you've ever felt will replace your child as the center of your universe. You'll wake in the morning and want to die. You'll find breathing difficult. And seeing her, seeing her smile, will only make the pain worse because you'll see in her innocent face just how little you can protect her.

So you'll do what you think is best. You'll teach her how to protect herself the only way you know how. You'll teach her the skills you've learned through the years, the skills that have sometimes made you cold and detached, but that have also made you smarter, quicker, unbreakable.

You know you have to make her unbreakable because nothing is sacred anymore. Not even love. Especially not love.

Yes, I know that doesn't excuse what I did.

Yes, I understand why Sydney is upset.

No, I don't think she'll ever forgive me.

Yes, I believe I've lost her.

But you need to understand, I did what I thought was best. That was all I could do.

— the end —