Apologies for any grammatical, typographical or timeline errors.

"I don't regret moving on with my life." Those had been the words that, of all things, had been uttered from between gritted teeth, as Sydney had stood in front of him in his French classroom.

Sydney.

He still couldn't wrap his head around it.

Sydney had come back from the dead.

Sydney remembered him like the last time they had kissed was just a few days ago.

Sydney was standing right in front of him looking absolutely crushed. And he had been the one to put that expression on her face.

He almost laughed at the irony—

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he was screaming inside

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because he was supposed to be her handler, her protector. While she was still a double agent at SD-6 so many years ago, she had even admitted that he was the only one she could trust, and rely on. He had taken her trust and crumpled it like one would an aluminium can; like the way her beautiful face was crumpling at this moment the way it always did when she was dangerously close to tears.

She still does that, he swallowed heavily. She hasn't changed a bit.

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and he's changed too much

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It had been a hard battle indeed to win Sydney Bristow's trust, and he'd had too little time reaping the benefits of the reward before she had been ripped away from him by yet another unseen, unknown, uncontrollable force.

Seeing the awful light of betrayal seeping from beneath dark lashes in the form of salty tears she tried desperately, to no avail, to hide from him, he wanted to take her in his arms. An image of a petite, blond haired British woman rose in his mind's eye, and he decided that no, he did not want to take her in his arms. Despite the torrid fantasies and memories and delusions that had kept him awake every night for the past two years all the while sharing the bed of another woman, he would never betray his solid morals, and his marriage to Lauren for seven minutes in heaven with Sydney.

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he actually couldn't give a damn about Lauren

he would give anything for even just seven minutes with Sydney

no guilt

no sense of betrayal

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No, if he could, he would turn back time to that fateful night two years ago. He remembered it as clearly as if it had been yesterday— as clearly as Sydney remembered it, because for her it had been pretty much yesterday; he only now realised the full extent of her memory damage...

He remembered driving her home from work, back to that apartment that had become like a second home to him—

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he would never admit that he had come to love that little house; mornings spent exchanging pleasant banter with Will and- well- Francie… Evenings spent exchanging pillow talk and sweet kisses with Sydney

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He remembered that blessed phone call to the Horizon Hotel in Santa Barbara, where he had planned three days of relaxation, many walks on the beach, expensive dinners and all- day buffets, and a grand proposal on the sand at sunset.

He remembered the look of cute disbelief on Sydney's younger face, the way his heart had raced, as it always did, when she leant across the centre console and kissed him, called him a genius.

Then got out of the car… walked up the path to her house… and disappeared into the house that had become her fiery grave.

If he had known what terrible outcomes the night would have, had he known that they would not make it to Santa Barbara that weekend, and if he had known that that was the last kiss he would ever receive from Sydney Bristow, he have taken her hand and demanded to be invited in for dinner.

He would have told her in the right words not how much her loved her and needed her, but what exactly she meant to him. How she was so much more than just a girl he was infatuated with. How strong and beautiful she was, how she had not only saved him, but she had saved the world multiple times and he couldn't be more proud of her. He would have told her how happy she made him, and being with her was easy.

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he would have kissed her for longer, because, really, when you wash away surface emotions, all that really matters is physical satisfaction, right?

he tells himself this as he battles the poisonous emotions that threaten to bring him to his knees

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it's easier to deal with the physical cravings, he decides

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He'd had his fair share of sour relationships, and had come to believe that love was difficult. But Sydney Bristow proved that wrong, and the one thing he regretted the most was not making that clear to her from the very beginning.

In those few precious moments after he had pronounced that ultimate lie, the horrible words that tasted like acid on his tongue—

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i don't regret moving on with my life

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—they had stared at each other. Once lovers, inseparable. Now strangers, outcasts from each other, puzzle pieces that no longer fit together

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though they still wore each other's hand print on their hearts.

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They stared at each other, and it was silent. No more anger. Just sadness. Longing. Guilt. Regret.

It was still so surreal to him to see her standing in front of him. He almost reached out to touch her peachy cheek, to make sure she was real, that he hadn't delved back into the depths of the bottle and this was some crazy, realistic dream.

The few seconds of comprehension had ceased. His words had sunk in, and it was too late to stuff them back into his mouth and kiss her instead. Sydney had begun to shift uncomfortably. "I also came to… apologise for the way I acted the other day," she spoke softly. She made a moved as if to reach out and touch his arm, but quickly disguised it as tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

Their movements were like that of the tides and the moon- constantly reaching towards one another, yearning, their relationship swelling and receding but never reaching its full potential.

"Lauren's a lucky woman." She attempted a small smile, and in return, he attempted one as well.

To an outsider, it was two people trying to make an impossible situation less impossible which was, to say the least, impossible.

When would they stop kidding themselves?

When would they admit that they were not, in fact, smiling at each other, but grimacing like the other was their arch- enemy?

Sydney cleared her throat, and her body twisted slightly in the direction of the door, eager to be out of that stuffy classroom that was suffocating her with the levels of tension and awkwardness hanging in the air.

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all the unsaid words that yearned to be said

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"So…" she began, her quiet tone a sharp contrast to the angry shout she had used the other day. "I guess I'll see you."

It was a grim sentence with an underlying toxic joke. They both knew that unless he re-joined the agency, they wouldn't see each other. But this was another grimace disguised as a smile, and both adults had the sense to recognise that.

Vaughn just stared at her with something akin to agony in his green eyes as he said just as softly, "Yeah. I guess so." And he watched with something that was definitely not a smile as she turned and walked out of the classroom, and out of his life, for good.

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in another world, he chased after her

he grabbed her hand

he kissed her

she smiled at him

she forgave him

he tore off his wedding ring that symbolised a tainted love

he pulled out the old, dusty ring he had bought two years ago

and he finally presented it to the woman that his heart had always belonged to

did she accept

the ring and his heart?

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isn't that the biggest question of all?

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fin.

So this is my first Alias fic. I recently became obsessed with this show after my mum introduced it to me, and absolutely had to upload something about this angsty, dramatic part of the S/V relationship. I have to admit that Vaughn was a bit of a jerk to Syd during S3, and I sort of liked and disliked the way the show marred his perfection. After all, boys are jerks and have a hard time disclosing their feelings. It was realistic how he was portrayed, even though he probably lost a bit of a fan base after he chose and defended Lauren repeatedly throughout S3.

However, in my mind, he is perfect so I wanted to write something that showed that while he may have been mean on the outside, he was tortured inside.

Hope you enjoyed.

MPSB