"Dad, I'm sixteen. I'm not a little baby anymore. You don't have to protect me." Isabelle said, rolling her eyes dramatically. Her father shook her head.
"Isabelle, I know you're sixteen, and you can take care of yourself, but I don't think it's a good idea to go on a date with somebody that you barely know. It's too dangerous, considering who your parents are." Michael Vaughn raised his eyebrows as if to emphasize the impending danger of the situation.
"Dad, Mark isn't a stranger. I've met him dozens of times at Jack's hockey games. He coaches the goalie for the team." Isabelle played with the strap on her bag and gestured to her younger brother who was trying to not get involved in the argument.
"Well," Michael said, turning to face his son for validation of this story. Jack glanced at his mother, who shook her head slightly as if to leave the choice up to him. Jack sighed and spun to face his father.
"Mark is the coach for defense. He comes to all the games, and he's a really chill guy. I'm sure you've seen him before, he's kinda tall and buff with short blonde hair?" Jack looked to his father, who just shook his head.
"How old is this Mark kid?" Isabelle rolled her eyes yet again and appeared to be doing some math in her head.
"He's 17, but less than a year older than me. He's got an early birthday." Michael frowned and Isabelle pouted a bit, throwing a look to her mother. Sydney got up from her perch on the counter to put a hand on Vaughn's shoulder and whisper in his ear.
"Let her go. She's more than capable. I guess she got than from both of her parents," Sydney smiled and Michael's frown broke momentarily as he glanced at his wife.
"Look, can I go or not, because he's going to be here to pick me up in a few minutes." Isabelle crossed her arms and fixed her father with a glare that sent most people running, but only made him smirk at her attempt.
"You can go," He paused as she smiled, "But, you have to be back by 11, and you have to take this with you." He walked over to one of the kitchen drawers and pulled out a can of pepper spray. Isabelle sighed and put it into her bag with a grimace.
"Don't make that face at me, young lady. You're lucky your mother was on your side and you get to go at all." He kept his angry face on, but everyone in the room could tell he was smiling on the inside. Just when Michael's grim face broke into a smile, the doorbell wrung behind Isabelle, and she took a deep breath and threw a look over her shoulder before answering the door.
"Hey Mark, come on in!" Her voice sounded chipper, but as she turned to face her family, she shot her father a look that clearly read do not mess this up. Vaughn smirked at his clearly nervous daughter and offered a hand to Mark.
"Hello Mark, I'm Michael Vaughn, Isabelle's father." The pride in his voice was badly hidden, and Sydney smiled slightly.
"Hello Mr. Vaughn, I'm Mark." They shook hands and Mark gave Jack a high five and a nod in greeting, and then met the parent he'd been warned about.
Isabelle rubbed her hands together in the cold ice rink as her brother's game drew to a close. A boy came to sit next to her and rubbed the back of his head nervously.
"Hey Isabelle," Mark said softly, glancing at her while still watching the final minute of the game. His defense was holding together quite well. She smiled and looked at him, clearly disinterested in the game.
"Hi Mark, enjoying the game?" She asked, her eyes returning to the ice. He nodded vaguely, but turned to face her completely, ignoring the final seconds of the game.
"I actually didn't come to discuss hockey, I came to ask you out," He said. His words had tumbled out like he had to say them or he'd explode. She smiled at his nervousness.
"I'd love to, but I warn you now, my parents are overprotective at the very best." She cocked her head to the side to see if this would scare him off. He smiled slightly.
"I can see why, they have some pretty fantastic kids." She blushed slightly at the compliment, looking away, across the rink. Her father was looking at her, his eyes narrowed, and she just shook her head at him.
"See that guy over there, Coach Vaughn?" Mark nodded, glancing at her father, who was talking softly to a woman next to him, his eyes narrowed.
"He's my father, but it's the woman next to him that you need to worry about. My mother is the really scary one." Mark looked across to the woman seated next to Coach Vaughn. She was laughing and smiling, dimples on full display. She smacked him on the shoulder like he'd told a joke that was both funny and mildly offensive. She smiled across the rink to meet Mark's eyes and winked secretively, like they were sharing a secret.
"She doesn't seem so bad." Mark commented, and Isabelle shook her head.
"Exactly. The thing is, both of my parents are active CIA officers. Remember career night, how they came in and talked?" Mark nodded, making the connection quickly.
"Your parents went into Sovogda?" His eyebrows threatened to disappear into his hair and she nodded. In the 15+ years since the incident at Sovogda, it had become declassified and common knowledge, an eerie warning of what happened when people weren't vigilant. Sydney and Vaughn's association with the CIA had also become common knowledge, as the vast majority of the threats that had known them by name had either died or become incarcerated. They went to career night to talk about becoming intelligence officers and Michael went to Veterans Day for his service in the Navy, neither of them revealing how little they did these days in terms of active missions.
"Wow," Mark breathed, slightly blown away by the fact that he wanted to date a girl with such frightening parents.
"Well, I understand if I'm not worth the trouble," Isabelle sighed and whispered to herself, "God knows it wouldn't be the first time." Mark frowned and looked back to her.
"Of course you're worth the trouble. How does a movie sound?" He raised an eyebrow, and Isabelle smiled.
"That sounds lovely,"
"And I'm Sydney, Isabelle's mother," Sydney shook his hand and smiled, not missing the flash of nervousness that went across his eyes.
"Nice to meet you," Mark replied, casually wiping his sweaty hand on his pants. "So Isabelle tells me that you guys are the same CIA officers who came to speak at career night," He said, making conversation.
Sydney smiled, "We are indeed. But we're semi-retired now. It's a bit hard to keep up with the work pace and have these two rascals." She messed up Jack's hair, and he scowled at her and stepped away. She smiled and glanced at her husband, who raised an eyebrow.
"Ask away, I'm sure you have questions," Michael said, breaking the silence.
"You guys actually went on the Sovogda Mission?" He asked, looking between them. Isabelle smiling slightly and took his hand.
Vaughn smiled and nodded, throwing a look to Sydney, who quickly caught his train of thought. She nodded as well, but gave him answers.
"Yes, we went parachuting into Sovogda with no idea what was going on, and yes we stopped it. Lost some good people that day," She glanced at her husband who nodded slightly, like they were having a silent conversation.
"Is working for the CIA really cool?" He asked. Michael smirked while Sydney nodded.
"Depends on who you get to work with," She said cryptically. Vaughn laughed. "Yea, our team was just god-awful." He said while laughing. Isabelle rolled her eyes and pulled Mark to the door with a smile.
"We'll be back by 11, Don't wait up!"
"So where's Isabelle?" Marcus Dixon asked while scooping pasta onto his fork. Jack snorted but didn't answer, leaving this one up to his parents.
"She's on a date," His father said tightly. Sydney laughed at his discomfort, putting one of her hands on his.
"Oh," Dixon responded, while Jack smiled slightly at their discomfort. Mitchell Flinkman, who was sitting next to Jack pulled out his wallet and handed Jack a five, grumbling darkly. His mother turned to face him.
"Mitch, did you guys place bets on whether she'd be allowed to go?" Cary's eyebrows were raised and Sydney had followed her lead, silently chewing her son out.
"Well, yea, we did. Because security is so tight and Mr. Vaughn is so protective, but Jack won, fair and square, so I gave him his money." Cary rolled her eyes, but Marshall laughed slightly next to her. She raised an eyebrow to silence him and turned the conversation back to Isabelle.
"Are we going to see her this evening?" She asked, looking across to Michael and Sydney, who both nodded.
"If you stay until 11 you will," Michael said, his voice giving nothing away.
"Excellent," Eric Weiss said, rubbing his hands together with a jovial smile on his face. "What? I want to meet this kid, who braved a pissed off Vaughn for a date with his daughter. You know Michael," He pointed to his friend across the table with a fork, "You're the second scariest father I've ever met. You're still getting beaten by Jack." Sydney laughed and looked down.
Weiss looked around the table at the smiles and decided to continue. "Do you guys remember when Vaughn asked Jack for his blessing to marry Sydney?" He looked at Dixon and Marshall, who both smiled but gestured for him to continue.
"Oh it was great, Jack was so pissed, using big words and shit, ooh sorry crap. I thought Vaughn was going to pee his pants," Weiss looked around the table and took a sip of his drink.
"Why was dad going to pee his pants?" Isabelle said, walking in the front door with Mark in tow.
"Hey Isa," Weiss said, getting up and giving her a hug. She smiled and gave hugs to everyone who she hadn't seen hours before.
"I didn't know you guys were coming over," She said, pulling Mark into a kitchen chair next to her at the table. He looked only very uncomfortable, but stayed for her sake.
"Neither did we," Her father grumbled good-naturedly. Weiss took his seat and once again pointed around the circle with his fork.
"Hey, if I remember correctly the words you guys used were 'the door is always open,' so I'm coming for dinner when I want bitches, sorry, people." Sydney rolled her eyes but didn't stop him as he covered his mouth and waited for her to yell at him for his swearing like she used to.
"So anyways, you're going to like this story, kid," Weiss pointed to Mark with his knife as he cut a piece of chicken. "I'm Weiss, by the way, Eric Weiss, practically part of the lovely Bristow-Vaughn family," He continued like this was a normal thing to say.
"I was just telling the story of when this guy," he pointed at Vaughn, who smiled and looked down, "Asked her father," He pointed to Sydney, "for his blessing to get married. Now, Jack Bristow was a scary guy. I remember this one time when we needed information from this guy and he wouldn't talk, so Jack strangled him, then revived him, just to get information." Mark's eyes went wide and he looked just a bit nervous about who exactly he was sitting at a table with.
"So Vaughn goes into the office and Jack had just gotten off the phone with some Russian guy and he was pissed, you could tell because he had that little smile that made you think he was probably going to beat the shit, sorry crap, out of somebody,. But Vaughn went for it." Mr. Vaughn cut him off.
"One of many mistakes when it came to Jack Bristow Senior." Sydney smiled and nodded.
"Basically, as I was later told, Jack beat the living shit, ok, I'm not sorry, out of him with words, and Vaughn decided to just go for it. I remember how pale you were when you left his office." Marshall's eyes got wide.
"Wait, Vaughn, were you going to propose when I walked in and told you guys we had to go?" He looked like he was bracing himself. Vaughn nodded a sarcastic smile on his face.
"Eeee," Marshall commented, making a face. "Sorry about that, though it clearly didn't stop much." Cary rolled her eyes at his almost-apology, and Isabelle matched her expression.
"So down to the real business at hand," Weiss said, yet again pointing across the table at Mark with a utensil. "Who are you exactly?" Mark swallowed and glanced at Isabelle, who nodded slightly.
"I'm Mark," He said vaguely, and Weiss nodded sarcastically, like that answered all of his questions. Sydney rolled her eyes and looked at Weiss across the table.
"Leave him alone, Weiss. He's just a kid, there's no need to interrogate him." Sydney shot Mark a smile and got up to answer the door, which had just wrung.
"I wonder who this could be," she said, throwing a smile over her shoulder at Dixon. Sydney opened the door and smiled.
"Director Chase! What a pleasant surprise! Come on in!" Hayden Chase walked in and raised an eyebrow at the unfamiliar face.
"Marcus didn't tell you I was stopping by?" She shot a glance at Dixon, who smiled nervously.
"We've had a bit of excitement here in the last half hour or so; it must have slipped his mind." Sydney smiled and gave him an out, which he gratefully took.
"Have a seat Hayden, can I get you anything?" Sydney asked, walking into the kitchen to grab drink refills.
"I actually just came from dinner, so I'm good. Thanks Sydney." She took a seat next to Marcus and smiled slightly.
During the commotion, Isabelle had been filling Mark in on who he was sitting with.
"That's Marcus Dixon, head of Covert Ops for the CIA, and next to him is Cary, who is part of the IT department with her husband, the man next to her. Marshall Flinkman is also a hacker with the CIA. The boy next to my brother is their son Mitchell. The man who was interrogating you is Eric Weiss, one of the field agents who worked with my parents, and now works under Dixon. The woman who just walked in is Hayden Chase, director of the covert divisions of the CIA, including the one my parents worked for and the one that all of the people in this room are currently working for, but don't be intimidated, she's really nice. They're all really nice."
Mark's eyes seemed to get wider and wider as she continued to fill him in as to who he was at a table with. He turned to face her and looked at her imploringly.
"How exactly am I not supposed to be intimidated when practically the entire covert division of the CIA is at the same table as me?" Isabelle smiled.
"Because you're with me, and they all love me, so you're safe." Mark nodded slightly and turned his attention back to the conversation, which was about a hockey game which was coming up.
"I know the Bruins are a great team, but there's no way in hell they're going to beat the Kings," Vaughn said to Weiss who shook his head.
"They have no shot. Please, their defense is so weak, I could beat them." Director Chase laughed.
"Get real Eric, the Kings have Dustin Brown, whatever goes on in the defense won't matter, that man could hold the team together by himself." Marcus nodded in agreement.
"They may have Brown, but the Bruins have Chara and Hamilton in defense, they're set. Brown couldn't score on them if they were half asleep." Mark commented. Eyebrows raised and faces turned to look at him, but he stood by his comment.
"You're a Bruins fan, Mark?" Vaughn asked incredulously. Mark nodded.
"I'm originally from Boston, so I support them. We just moved out here, so they're like home." He shrugged and glanced around the table.
"Well, are you interested in going to the game next Friday?" Sydney asked. Mark raised his eyebrows and nodded.
"Great, you can come with us, the CIA has a box because these jokers are King's fans," Director Chase said, pointing to Vaughn and Weiss. Weiss looked offended.
"Well you're a fan too, Hayden, so don't act like it's all our fault." She smiled and nodded, conceding the point.
"Oh crap, we should get going," Marshall said, standing up. "I have to run a system diagnostic tomorrow morning to send to Langley, and it's getting late." They three of them stood, and soon everybody was saying goodbyes and giving hugs.
Mark decided to take his leave with the rest of the group.
"Hey, I had a lot of fun tonight, Isabelle." He smiled softly. She smiled back at him and gave him a hug.
"I did too," She said with a smile. They walked to the door, and hugged again, this time he pressed a chaste kiss to her cheek, and she smiled brightly.
"I'll see you tomorrow at the hockey game," He said as he walked away from the house, and she nodded, watching his retreating figure.
"Hey, don't let that one go, Isa. It's not every day there's a kid who's willing to sit at a table with the higher ups of the CIA and have an opinion that opposes them." Weiss said, leaning on the wall, looking at her.
"I don't plan on it. I'm just a little shocked that he wanted to go to the game with you people. As if my parents aren't scary enough!" Isabelle threw her hands up around her face and smiled slightly.
"Hey, just remember, whatever happens, you've got people who care about you, Isa. Your father wouldn't have invited him if he didn't approve. That's quite a step with your father." He gave her a hug and said goodbye to the rest of the family, waving goodbye as he drove away.
"How was your date sweetie?" Her mother asked as she threw an arm around her. Isabelle smiled and looked at her mom.
"It was the best."
A/N: I know that this is a relatively old show, but I marathoned 5 years of television in about three months, so I had to write about it. Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a review! Muchas Gracias my Lovelies, Stay incredible, and DFTBA!~M