This is going on after episode #6 Salvation . This is of course S/V, so if you do not care that way, be aware. ;)

I do not own any of them, so don't sue me. I'm poor, well, not rich enough to be sued. LOL!

This is a story for romantic people that will have to wait a year, I bet, before Sydney and Vaughn get together. This is also a story that will make me practice my English, so thank you to all of you people who read my fanfics and tell me I should go on, this is great to hear.

What the story is all about: A man wanting a woman to love him.

ICU: Intensive Care Unit. Just for your information if you didn't know.

***************

x With Or Without You x

Chapter One

I just stayed there, staring at my fingers like an idiot. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't move, I was just numb, like I'd die right away on the spot if I ever dared to blink one eye. It's funny what it does to you when you learn you have a fatal disease. In my case it's a deadly virus. I don't know which one I prefer to have, really.

So I ended up here, in this room, with my oxygen on, monitored, and wearing some ugly hospital gown. The doctors ran hundreds of tests on me like I'm some sort of a lab rat. I told one of them: "So much for fighting a cold, huh?" But he didn't find my humour funny, me either actually. So I have nothing else to do but to wait and see. Wait, I can do that, but see? See what? This room is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. They should have put a Batman or Spiderman comic book on the roof, at least I'd have something to read. I smile. This sounds like something Weiss would say. Someone told me earlier that he called and asked how I was and if I needed a yoyo to entertain myself. I laughed when the nurse told me that. The poor guy got a bullet in his neck and he is calling to ask how I am. That's my buddy. 

So I close my eyes, trying to think of something other than the fact that I might never see my 34th birthday. Hell, I might never see Christmas…I might never see Sydney again. Ouch! That is rough. I wish she had told me what she was going to say before we got interrupted today. Who knows, maybe I'll get to know it one day. I'm glad she's okay, I'm glad that she isn't sick like I am because this doesn't feel good at all. I knew my chances were more likely to get the virus than Sydney since I swam in that damn thing. God I need air. "I have trouble breathing!" I yell to someone on the other side of the window. I think she heard me because she comes in with a machine, hooks me up to it, and it showed 78% oxygen saturation.

"I'll give you oxygen, Mr. Vaughn. Just to make you comfortable and to make sure you don't get a headache from oxygen deprivation. It will ease your breathing too, of course." The nurse told me. I nod and she leaves. Humph! I feel tired and I want to sleep but something tells me I have to stay awake. Where was I in my thoughts? Oh yes, Sydney…of course. Earlier when we were here, I just couldn't sleep. I couldn't take my eyes off of her, she was so beautiful, peaceful and quiet while sleeping. She looked like an angel, truly. She is my angel on the run. She saved my life in France. The CIA would have found me way too late. What can I say, not all of them are as smart as some of us are. But Sydney found me, she did, and I was so grateful and happy, that I didn't even know what to say and what to do when we were in the woods. My thoughts were so mixed up that I didn't know if I should hug her, or kiss her or something. And then she left to meet Dixon, and when we got back to LA it was all the same again. Well, not entirely true, it changed, something changed. Yes, we are closer than ever and I love it. I enjoy every bit of the tiny moments we can get alone. Good thing I did, because there might not be more of them. It's depressing to think about it, but it's the second time I'm facing death this year, and I'm now very aware that there is a chance I might not survive this. There just is.

I'm scared. For the first time in my life I'm scared to die. When I joined the CIA I knew it might happen one day, it happed to my dad, so why not me? But it was okay, like the risks were coming with the job. I just could live with that fact, but now…now it seems like everything I hoped for is coming to terms. I feel like I might be able to have a real life with Sydney one day, and I so don't want to miss it. My professional life is going very well, I'm proud of what I did, and I know I can do more. I want to see what is in front of me. I want to live a big long life, I want to buy a house, I want to have kids, I want to see them grow up and have kids of their owns, and I want to try that new aftershave I saw in the drugstore. I want to be able to do simple things. I want to be able to yell at something or someone when I feel the need to instead of always be the diplomatic Vaughn. I want to apologize to Alice for the way I treated her the last 3 months we went out together and explain to her why I was always running out on her after a phone call. I want to be able to tell my mom one more time how much I love her and how grateful I am that she raised me this way even if I used to yell at her when we disagreed on certain things and choices I made, like when I told her I wanted to work in the CIA. But mostly, I want to tell Sydney I love her. I do. I love her so much it hurts.

Literally. My heart hurts…

I hear sounds on the monitor, and then everything went black.

*~*~*

I'm trying not to run and and not to be so obvious about why I'd be running, but I just can't walk normally. I'm walking very fast right now, not caring that CIA agents might stare at me, I just heard Vaughn's sick. I enter the ward and then I see doctors yelling, "We intubate!" and nurses running, and I get an unpleasant feeling. I walk slowly towards the room where Vaughn is supposed to be and I see with horror what's going on. I freeze. He's flat lined. Oh my god he died, and the medical staffs is doing everything they can to resuscitate him. My mouth is dry, I can't swallow, I think I'll faint. I feel the blood rushing out of my head down to my feet. My hands are humid and my knees are abandoning me. I want to grab something to keep my balance but nothing is around. It is then that I hear my dad's voice behind me telling me to come with him. Did I answer him? I have no idea, but he took my arm and I walked with him in the hall and we sat down on the bench. We stayed there in silence, I don't know if it was for lack of words that he didn't say anything, but he just offered me his shoulder. It was more than I could have asked from him considering my relation with Vaughn.

He uncomfortably told me in an unsure voice: "They are doing their best to save him, Sydney, believe that."

"I know." I answered in a shaky voice. I know he didn't want me to get too close to Vaughn, but how could I not? "He is a very good man, Dad, always been professional, and he is such a good friend to me."

"I know." He simply said.

I don't know how long it took, but the doctor came out to see if family was here.

"I called Mrs. Vaughn and told her to come." Jack said to the doctor. He nodded. "Can we have a bit of news?" Dad asked him. I stared at my dad like a 7 year old who discovers that her daddy is the strongest daddy ever. He knows that if I were the one asking this question, the doctor wouldn't have given us any news on Vaughn because we aren't immediate family. But my father is Jack Bristow, and in the CIA, you don't say no to Jack. I thanked him silently.

"Mr. Vaughn flat lined for about 1 minute and a half before we were able to resuscitate him. We shocked him three times, and we had to intubate him to help him breathe because his lungs weren't doing it for him anymore. We successfully brought him back to life, but he is still unconscious. We took the tube out."

"But he will be alright?" I foolishly asked.

"For now he is, until the virus brings him back to the next level." The doctor honestly answered me. I nod. "Would you like to see him, Miss Bristow?"

"Yes, please."

"Only for 5 minutes. ICU protocol."

"Sure." I followed the doctor.

"Don't be surprised to see many machines in there." And then he left me.

I pushed the door open, and got inside. Hospital smell, it smells like death and I don't like it. I stare at him, lying there in the middle of the room in some kind of transparent plastic tent, looking so vulnerable. Oh Vaughn.  I pull myself a chair and sit right next to him, on his left. I just keep staring at him and tears are running down my face.

"I don't want you to die." I say to him while crying silently. First Danny, then Will was in great danger, and now you. I'm poison to the men in my life. I'm poison ivy to you Vaughn. I'm so sorry I got you into this, even if you'll say to me that you're a big boy and that you can make your own decision, it was first because of me that you came to Taipei. You would never have gotten this virus otherwise.  I take his hand in mine, it's so soft and warm. Don't you dare die on me, I don't know what I'd do without you, sincerely. You're what's keeping me from going insane in this crazy world. You're my balance, my ally, but mostly my friend. You're the only one I fully trust. You're always telling me what I need to hear even if I don't want to listen to you. You've always been honest with me, and you're always forgiving me even if I said harsh things to you. You always have my best interest in mind, and you are able to put aside your issues with my mother even if I know she gave you real deep pain once. You are so nice to me, why are you so nice to me? I've been so rude to you when you were only trying to open my eyes. I hear sounds on the monitor, the EKG doesn't look normal to me, the nurse comes in, adjusts the level of Cardizem (says so on the bag) and leaves. You're so pale Vaughn, so pale. Don't you die, don't leave me alone. You mean more to me than I could have imagine, it's funny how you find out how much you care for someone when you are about to loose him or her.  Tears are running down.

"Don't leave me alone with this crazy life." I desperately tell him.

"I'll try not to." I hear him say with a rusty voice. I wipe a tear off of my face and smile sheepishly. He is looking at me with what looks like an encouraging smile for me.

"Hey." I tell him.

"Hey." He looks around him and sees the machinery. "What happened?"

"Huh…Vaughn…" God, why is it me who has to tell him that? "You apparently had an heart attack and flat lined." His smile faded.

"You're kidding me?" But it wasn't a question, it was more of an understatement. "I'm not the luckiest with my heart this year." He says sounding far away in his thoughts. "Sydney…?"

"Yes?"

"Promise me something if I don't make it." He started to say. Tears went down on my cheeks again.

"Please don't talk that way…"

"Promise me that once everything is over with SD-6, you'll do whatever is possible to live a happy life." He said to me, firmly holding my hand in his.

"Your 5 minutes are up." The nurse told me, opening the door and closing it right after.

"Vaughn…" I'm almost pleading him to stop this insanity.

"Promise me Sydney." He insisted.

"I promise, but don't you give up on life. I still have to talk to my mother." He smiled at me, understanding what I was about to do. He nodded.

"You do that."

We stared at each other and then I left the room.

*~*~*

She was crying for me. It may sound naïve, but I just didn't think she'd cry for me. She is so good at keeping her emotions to herself, I didn't think she'd let her guard break down. I'm so happy I could cry, this means she cares a lot for me, it's the first real sign I'm getting from her. And it happens while I'm on a fucking hospital bed! I'm so mad at life right now! I'd yell my anger out loud if I wasn't so tired. When I saw her holding my hand and pleading for me not to die, I would have held her in my arms. It was so sweet, and her hand was so soft and afraid to touch me. Afraid to touch me…because of the CIA protocol. It got Syd and I really messed up. Can't be with you, but can't live without you either. At least on my part. I always told myself that if we had put her under the Witness Protection, I would have wanted to see her. That wouldn't have been a great idea. I could have put both our lives in danger, and mostly hers. And now look at us. Look at me. I'm on my death bed, thinking about what might have happened instead of focusing on what will happen to me in a few hours. God, I'm not even able to cry for myself. It is likely that I'll die of this, or maybe Derevko will cooperate and tell Sydney what she wants to hear: that there is an antidote. I so hope there is.

To think of it, I'm such a coward. I'm willing to take risks for my professional life, and I'm not even able to take them for my own happiness. That's so lame! Who cares about the freakin' CIA standard protocol? I already crossed the line with Sydney and they know it, but they won't do nothing, niet, nada, because they know she won't cooperate with anyone else but me. That's my girl. But what will she do now? She won't have a choice if I don't recover…she may trust Weiss though. So there's hope she'll go on with this project.

Humph! There's so many things I wished I had done differently in my life, it's unbelievable. Really Mike, stop thinking, you are too morose. Who wouldn't be in my case? I'm here lying on that bed waiting for that virus to get me. What a pleasant moment. But if I do get through this, who knows, some miracle might happen, there are things I'll change in my life.

The doctor comes in.

"How are you feeling Mr. Vaughn?" He asks me while taking notes of the number on the screen.

"Wonderful! I'm ready to rumble!" I sarcastically answer.

"I bet you are Mr. Vaughn, and it's normal that you feel so tired."

"I have to ask you something."

"Of course."

"I need a witness for this." A non-family one, it would be too hard for them. "Is Jack Bristow there?" There's a good chance he might be here.

"Yes, he was with his daughter earlier. Want me to get him for you?" He asked.

"Yes please, since I can't do it myself." He goes out of the door and comes back about 3 minutes later.

"You asked for me Mr. Vaughn?" Jack asks in his cold sort of way. That is so him.

"Yes, I need a favor."

"Ask." He plainly said.

" I needed a witness to make sure the doctor here would do as I asked him to." I take a breath. "Mr. Bristow, Doctor, I want to make sure that when I'll reach the level in the disease where there is no return and that I'm about to agonize, that you'll just end my pain for good. Understand?" Jack's face looked tense and he moved uncomfortably. "There is no use in keeping me alive if it's only for me to suffer like hell, right? Can you do this doctor?"

"I'll do my best." He simply answered.

"That isn't a satisfying answer for me when I know the pain I'm about to live will make me wish I had never been born. I don't want to die this way." Who wants to?

"If such a thing is going to happen Mr. Vaughn" Jack told me, "I'll make sure what you just asked will be done."

"Thank you." I gratefully said. "I knew you were the man for this." He nodded and then walked out.

*~*~*

"Daddy? What were you doing in there?" I asked my father as I see him walk out of Vaughn's room with the doctor.

"He asked me a favor."

"What?"

"It's between him and me Sydney."

"Okay…I talked to mom, and she said there's an antidote. I'm going to get it, I just hope it will work. I better go tell Vaughn…"

"I wouldn't do that if I were you Sydney." He interrupted me." If it doesn't work, or the mission goes bad, he would have had his hopes up for nothing." Wow, he is more understanding than I ever thought.

"You're right."

"Meet me in an hour for the mission with the details." My father said before leaving.

I watched him walk away from me, not knowing that he didn't want me to know he was probably going to kill the man I love.

To be continued…

~Anna~