True Colors

(A/N:  Finally!  A new one!  Sweet deal!  Oo, Jack is a total asshole.  Poor Vaughn – he can't tell Sydney anything, she's already pissed enough at him.  My gawd, I absolutely love the SD-6 gadget guy!  He is so cool!  Oh my gods!  Oh my gods, oh my gods!  They're using kids!  Oh my god.  Oh, never mind.  That's not bad at all, as long as they aren't sending out the children to kill when they're children.  Jack reminds me, sort of, of Lacroix from 'Forever Knight'.  And that was the coolest launch thing I've ever seen!  Oo, what was the block thing?  Hey, people, R/R/E, mmkay?  Aargh!  I wasn't paying attention!  Was that Vaughn or Will, next week?  Somebody who was watching, tell me please!  I'm assuming it was Vaughn, and that fucks up my plot again!  What is with this show?  Do they enjoy ruining all my good plots?  R/R/E!)

"To my mother, to my father
It's your son or it's your daughter
Are my screams loud enough for you to hear me?
Should I turn it up for you?"
            Staind – 'For You'

            When Vaughn caught sight of Sydney, she looked like hell.  Her nose was red and her mascara was running down her cheeks with her tears.  Once he got over his surprise in seeing her there, he got up and wrapped his arms around her.  Jack must have told her.  That was the only thing that could put her in such a state.
            He rubbed Sydney's back, asking quietly in her ear, "Did he tell you?"
            Sydney sniffled.  "No.  I… In Buenos Aires, I saw a puzzle and was able to put it together without thinking about it, like I'd done it many times before.  I got to wondering if Derevko had tried out the programming on me when I was a child.  So, I went to the hypnotist."
            Vaughn ran his hands though her hair, stroking it to calm her.  "Come on, let's go.  I'll drive you home."  She was soaking wet, so he knew she had walked here.
            Vaughn led her out to his car, keeping an arm around her shoulder.  He opened the passenger-side door for her, then went around and got in behind the wheel.  "So, you went to see the hypnotist," he prompted her.
            "She took me back to right after my mother died."  Sydney broke down in fresh tears.  "It was my father.  He did it to me.  He programmed me to be a spy.  I never had a choice in the matter.  He used me.  I was just a tool in his game."
            Vaughn reached over and pulled Sydney to lean on his shoulder, so he could stroke her hair as he drove.

"No way to escape
the demons I am
forced to keep
And then I find you here
Through your eyes
everything's clear
And I'm home
inside your arms…"
            Staind – 'Safe Place'

            Sydney drew a shuddering breath.  "You were right.  He set up my mother.  I don't know what I'm going to do.  If they seek the death penalty…"
            Vaughn stopped being objective at that point.  He thought that Irina Derevko should die for her past crimes.  He just couldn't forgive her for murdering his father.  But, he kept his mouth closed, knowing his words would not help Sydney.
            "You know, this entire project originated here?  The KGB sent her here to get this project from us?  The CIA developed the idea of training children and wiping their memories?  And I was one of those children?
            Vaughn leaned his head on top of hers for a second as he parked in her driveway.  "Syd, is anyone else going to be home?"
            She sniffed.  "Will is going to be here way later, but Francie's gone for the night."
            Vaughn nodded.  "Do you mind if I come in with you?"
            Sydney shook her head.  "I would appreciate it."  She fumbled in her pockets for her key, finally pulling it out.  But her hands were shaking too badly to get it into the lock, ands he dropped it.  Vaughn picked it up for her, and unlocked her door.  He opened it, holding it open for her, ushering her though.

"How do I feel?  I've been here before,
I've felt this
Retreat to a place, a place within me,
I need this.  Keep it all down, bottled inside…"
            Staind – 'Change'

            "How could anyone do that to their own child?  How?  How could someone do that to any child?"
            Vaughn kissed her forehead, closing the door behind him.  "I have no idea.  What I do know is that you look like you need hot cocoa.  Do you have any?"
            "In that cabinet."  She pointed.
            "Sit down and I'll make you some."  Sydney gratefully sank down into one of her kitchen chairs.  Vaughn quickly located the Swiss Miss, the mugs, and everything else he needed.  He set out two mugs, put the appropriate amount of cocoa mix in them, and began to heat the water.

"Try to make it through the daily pain That you feel
maybe tomorrow won't be so bad,
I know it 'cause – I once felt
that way Nothing I could say
Made it go away…"
            Staind – 'Take It'

            He noticed Sydney absently rubbing her stomach.  "Are you okay?" he asked.
            "What?  Oh, yeah.  I was tazered at the guy's house.  It's still a little sore."
            Vaughn nodded.  "Those things hurt like hell, don't they?"
            "God, do they ever.  But that's okay.  He fell into the pool, taser-first.  I think he must be hurting more right now."  Sydney cracked a weak smile.
            Vaughn returned the smile, as always unable to resist her grins.  The water was hot enough, so he poured some first in her mug, stirring the cocoa as he did it, then in his.
            "Do you have any marshmallows?" he asked as he set the mugs down on the table.  Sydney pointed to another cabinet.  Vaughn  easily found an open bag of Campfire marshmallows.  He put the bag on the table between them ands at down across from Sydney.
            She had immediately wrapped her cold hands around the hot mug.  Waiting for it to cool a bit before taking a sip, she stared into the brown depths of the steaming liquid.
            Vaughn turned the open end of the bag towards her after taking two marshmallows for himself.  "Are you going to have any of these yummy marshmallows?  Mm, mm, they sure are good dipped in hot chocolate."
            Sydney smiled at his attempt to cheer her up and took a couple.  "Why do they call them marshmallows?" she wondered aloud.
            Vaughn surprised her by answering.  "Because they are made from the blossoms of the mallow plant, which grows in the marshes.  Also, they're sticky, like the stems of mallows.  It secrets this sticky white fluid, kind of like melted marshmallows.  It's impossible to get off your fingers, once they come in contact with it."  He said the entire thing with a straight face.

"Really?" Sydney asked, amazed at his knowledge.
            Vaughn shook his head.  "No, I made it up on the spot."  He smiled suddenly.  "But it made sense, didn't it?"
            Sydney laughed.  "Yeah, it did.  Really ingenious."  She fell silent again, contemplating the hot chocolate she had yet to take a sip of.

            Vaughn reached across the table and took her hand, his soulful hazel eyes worried.  He quickly noticed that her palms were warm from holding the mug, butt he rest of her hand was ice-cold.  Immediately, he moved to the chair next to her, to feel her cheeks.  They, too, were freezing cold.

"A shot rings out from a roof overhead
A crack head asks for change nearby
An old man lies in an alleyway dead
A little girl lost just stands there and cries…"
            Staind – 'Open Your Eyes'

            "My God, Sydney, you're freezing!  Go change out of those wet clothes into something warmer.  You're going to catch pneumonia or something."
            Sydney smiled.  He sounded just like an old mother.  But she did what he said, going up to her room and putting on a pair of flannel pajamas and her fluffy warm robe and slippers.  She brushed out her wet hair and tied it back in a quick ponytail.  Going back to the kitchen, Vaughn was still sitting there, nursing his hot chocolate.
            He smiled when he saw her.  "Much better.  Now drink your hot chocolate."
             Every the obedient one, she slowly sipped on the cocoa, taking care not to burn her tongue.  It did warm her up some, getting the feeling back into her hands and toes.
            Vaughn smiled as she finished the mug.  He took his mug and hers, and rinsed them out, putting them in the sink.
            "I know this is your house and your kitchen," he said, "but do you want something to eat?"
            Sydney shook her head.  She could barely stomach the hot chocolate, never mind real food.  Vaughn took her hands in his, rubbing them slowly to get the circulation going.

"I try to breathe
Memories overtaking me
I try to face them but
the thought is too
Much too conceive…"
            Staind – 'Fade'

            "You know, it figures it would rain tonight."
            Sydney half-smiled.  "Let's go sit in the living room, okay?"
            Vaughn followed her, and sat next to her on the couch.  She immediately curled her feet under her, and leaned into him.  Vaughn put both his arms around her, gladly holding her close.
            "I can't trust anything he says anymore," she said softly.  "I can't trust anything he's said in the past.  How am I going to be able to work with him again?"
            Vaughn stayed silent.  There was no answer to that.  Sydney's hair was in a ponytail, so he couldn't stroke it the way he loved to do.  But, he was able to gently caress her cheek, to feel the silky smooth skin with his hands.
            Sydney sighed deeply.  "I'm sorry I went off on you when you tried to tell me your fears about my father.  You were only looking out for me."
            Hush.  It's okay, Sydney.  I shouldn't have said anything until I had concrete evidence.  No, I shouldn't have said anything at all."
            Sydney sighed deeply again.  "It seems that every time I turn around, I'm apologizing to someone else for not believing them when they told me my life was in danger.  What's next?  Am I going to find out from Weiss that you're plotting something against me?"  She looked up at him.
            Vaughn knew that she wasn't truly serious, but he was still shocked by the thought.  "Of course not!"  He bent his head slightly to kiss her gently.  "Never would I do anything to hurt you."

"…I think of you
to ease my pain but you're so far
Not it's time to say goodbye
I love you baby please don't cry…"
            Staind – 'Safe Place'

            Sydney smiled, satisfied.  She closed her eyes, meaning only to rest them for a second.  But, she felt herself falling into the dark abyss of sleep, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.
            Vaughn smiled at the sleeping woman in his arms.  He would stay only until Will returned, then be on his way.  If anyone saw his car here…
            Will found them there, a couple hours later, both asleep.  Vaughn still held Sydney in his arms.  Will fought down a wave of jealousy.  There was nothing he could do if Sydney did not want him.  Debating whether to wake them, he decided to leave them there.  Sydney looked exhausted, even as she slept.  Will went up to his own bed, to try to forget.

" 'Cause it's always raining in my head
Forget all the things I should have said
I am nothing more than a little boy inside
That cries out for attention…"
            Staind – 'Epiphany'