Never Saying I Love You

(A/N: *Drums fingers on lap* It's 8:33.  A very impatient Nire is waiting for 'Alias' to start.  I'm in withdrawal here!  *Checks clock* Grrr.  It's only 8:34.  *Spins earrings around a couple times* I got my ears pierced on Friday.  How sad is that?  Almost 16, and I just got my ears pierced.  8:35.  I hate 'American Dreams'.  8:36.  8:48.  Commercials.  Less than fifteen minutes.  8:55!  Yay!  Five more minutes!  *Heads upstairs because mum and Kerr are watching that dumb movie on the big TV* I just found my Christmas presents!  Not that I didn't pick them out, but… Sark is so hot!  So is Sloane!  And I love his (Sark's) accent!  Oh, man, I am so sick in the head…  Ahk!  Vaughn is so ridiculously sweet!  Those fucking beepers!  Die!  I want 'Alias' on DVD…Now!  Damn.  Didn't work.  No!  It's over!  *sniffles* One more week.  A whole seven days… *sigh* R/R/E, my friends.  Oh yeah, and this is going to have nothing to do with the previews of next week.  Sorry.)

"Don't you love the life you killed
The priest is on the phone
Your father hit the wall
Your ma disowned you…"
            Goo Goo Dolls – 'Slide'

            Sydney swore under her breath.  They were at it again.  Here the three of them were, deep within enemy territory, going after nuclear warheads, and the two were fighting like they were still married.  They were going to get her killed.  Or drive her insane.

            "Will the two of you shut up?" she hissed.  "If I hear another word out of either of you to each other, I'm going to shoot you myself and complete the mission alone.  I am not your keeper.  Start acting like a couple of mature adults, and stop acting like children.  Stop baiting him and stop reacting to her!"  She glared at both of them.

            "Sydney-" Jack tried to say.

            "Don't even start until you can begin to act like you have a brain in your head.  Or, better yet.  Let's just stop here and let you two duke it out.  Whoever wins, can continue on with me.  And the other can bleed to death in the dirt.  I don't care.  If you don't kill each other, I'm going to kill you both."

            "Okay," Irina said, smiling sweetly at Jack.  "Let's continue on then, and we'll play nice."
            Sydney sighed in disgust as she turned around and began walking again.

/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\

"Paint the town
Take a bow
Thank everybody
You're gonna do it again…"
            Smash Mouth – 'Then the Morning Comes'

            Sydney slunk through the shadows of the compound.  It wasn't much of a place – a chain link fence surrounding a small building.  It wasn't even guarded that well.  Se supposed that the people the three of them had gunned down were the main guard force.
            A few well-thrown stones took out the security cameras.  That wasn't the way they had planned on doing it, but since the Jeep had pretty much blown up, their options were limited.  As a few guards came out of the door to see what the matter was, Jack and Irina quickly knocked them out.  Sydney joined them by the doors.
            "The warheads aren't in the building," Irina whispered.  "It's just a decoy.  They're over there, in that little shed.  I don't think there are any traps around it."
            "You don't think," Jack stated.
            Irina shot him a withering glace.  "Fine.  There aren't.  Definitely not."
            "Knock it off," Sydney hissed.  "All the doors locked shut?" Jack nodded.  "Then let's go."
            The three began to creep towards the shed.  Sydney had basically taken over the mission, judging her father's judgment to be impaired from working with her mother.  They worked their way along the outside of the fence, being extremely careful.  They couldn't be sure if there were any more guards outside and it was quite possible that the ground between the gate and the warheads was trapped.  On the outside, that was far less likely.
            Sydney went first, then her mother, then her father.  Just before the point where they would scale the fence and radio the helicopter to come pick them up, she felt a slight pressure on her ankle, which quickly went away.  Less than a second later, the building blew up.

/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\

"And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am…"
            Goo Goo Dolls - 'Slide'

            "What was that?!  What happened?!" Vaughn exclaimed.  Various people had been watching the goings on from an infra-camera, and all had witnessed the explosion blooming red and orange on the screen.
            Devlin pressed the button on the comm. unit, ignoring Vaughn.  "Jack, Agent Bristow, come in."  His voice did not portray the worry he felt that he might have lost two of his best agents.
            Relief shone in Vaughn's eyes as he heard Sydney's voice.  "We're all okay.  Bruised but okay.  Get the damned helicopter down here so we can get the warheads and get out of here."
            Devlin assured her that he would do it, and radioed up to the helicopter.  Vaughn listened and watched intently.  Sydney had said they were okay, but he could hear that her voice was laced with pain.  It sounded much more than a 'few bruises'.  From the size of the explosion, he would guess that the three had been picked up and thrown a ways.
            He waited, hiding his concern.  Absently, he fingered the watch in his pocket.  He was pretty sure that she had forgiven him, after that.  Things had been pretty tense between them for a little bit.  But he had broken up with Alice before doing that; he just had to tell Sydney.

/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\

"I see you floating by me
I see your beautiful face
It's pointed straight up
Towards the smog…"
            Smash Mouth - 'Satellite'

            They didn't come back to the building.  Instead, they were brought straight to the CIA hospital.  Vaughn, frustrated almost beyond reason, literally twiddled his thumbs in his office.  The building was almost deserted, for once.  He spun his swivel chair around in a slow circle, looking around the room as his eyes passed over the walls.  It was almost time to go home, he just had to finish up this last bit of paperwork.  Damn stuff!
            The chair slowly turned back towards his door.  Sydney had magically appeared there, in the short time it had taken him to complete the circle, and was leaning against the side of the frame.  Vaughn's eyes immediately brightened when he saw her, and filled with concern when he saw her arm.  It was wrapped in a cast, and she cradled it with her other arm.
            "Are you okay, Syd?  What happened?"
            Sydney shrugged, trying to reassure him.  "Me and a tree got in a disagreement over who had the right-of-way.  Unfortunately, the tree won.  Just a little crack, though."
            Vaughn raised an eyebrow.  That wasn't what it had sounded like.  He stood up.  "I was just leaving…"
            Sydney looked at how he was standing - his head slightly down but eyes turned up at her - and knew that he was still afraid that she might still be mad at him, that his gesture wasn't enough.  His face had the remarkable ability to look exactly like a basset hound.  As she looked into his sad hazel eyes, she wondered if he knew the power he held over her.  She was still a bit angry with him, but at least now she understood why.  If he looked at her like that, though, she would forgive him for anything.
            As they walked out together, but not together, she subtly tapped her cell phone, making it look like an accident.  But she saw his eyes light up, and knew that he understood.
            She drove less than five minutes before her phone rang.  "Hey."
            "Where do you want to meet?"
            "Carpe Noctem?"  She had pleasant memories of the diner, from the first time they had gotten together just to talk.
            "Okay.  See you in a couple minutes."
            "Bye."

/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\

"Extra pale
Oh you're frail now
I shouldn't laugh about it
Tragedy set you free…"
            Goo Goo Dolls - 'Extra Pale'

            Sydney sat in the chair across from Vaughn.  There was only one table of other people, far on the other end of the diner.  She took a moment to study his face.  Tense worry lines drew back from his eyes, and she could tell from subtle signs that he was nervous.  This concerned and saddened Sydney.  One of the things she valued most about their sneaking around was that all of the lines in his face smoothed out for once, and he was relaxed.  His eyes, too often sad and fixed on the ground, would be happy and sparkling as he looked into hers.
            Sydney covered his hands, which were resting on the table, with her own, rubbing the tops in soothing circles with her thumbs.  "What's wrong?" she asked quietly.
            His eyes brightened a little as she took his hands.  "God, I am so sorry, Sydney.  I didn't… I never meant…" He choked on his words, not knowing quite what to say.  Perhaps the watch was enough?

"I'm looking at my watch
At all the time that's been stolen…
…It seems I've tripped
And I've fallen…"
            Smash Mouth - 'Waste'

            Sydney quickly put him out of his misery.  "It's okay, Michael.  Really."  A giant smile spread across Vaughn's face when she used his first name, making Sydney smile in return.
            He sobered up quickly, though.  "I broke up with Alice.  I know I never should have started dating her again in the first place.  I don't know what I was thinking."
            Sydney smiled, slightly sadly.  "Part of me is saying, 'No, you shouldn't have.  You deserve to have someone you can be seen out in public with'."  Vaughn's face fell slightly.  Sydney could just imagine what he was thinking - And now she's going to break up with me.  Not that I don't deserve it.  "But then, the rest of me is telling that part to shut up and shouting for joy because you're all mine."
            The tension and nervousness was erased from Vaughn's features.  He smiled shyly.  "Sydney… When I saw the building blow up… I thought I'd lost you.  Again.  And I realized… I never…" Ah, yes, those three tiny words that were so hard for them both to say.  He did not know why, but he just couldn't say it.  Even though he needed to, wanted to, prayed to.
            "I know," Sydney said.  His eyes were utterly miserable.  "You don't have to say it out loud."  Sydney leaned across the table and softly kissed him on the lips.  Their jobs had fucked the two of them up almost beyond repair.  Unable to tell the one they loved the simple fact of that love, for fear of somehow jinxing their dangerous relationship.  How more messed up could they get?  Vaughn caressed Sydney's cheek with one hand, praying that the words would fall out of his mouth, knowing that they never would.

"Why can't the moon stay full forever
Wednesday's bad but Friday ain't much better
…Someone's hell
Why can't the moon stay full forever…"
            Goo Goo Dolls - 'Full Forever'

*Fin*

(A/N:  I know I haven't said this in a while, so I'm going to right now.  This story is the most recent in a 'sort of' series.  You don't have to read them to understand things, but here's the list, in order from original to most recent.  'The Sun Will Come', 'A Tool for Manipulation', 'Hidden Truths', 'Guilty Conscience', 'True Colors', 'Kiss From a Rose', 'Shadows on the Heart', and this one.  'Fond Memories' is another one, but it's a stand-alone.  There you go.  10:40 pm.  Monday night.  Five days, 22 hours, 20 minutes until the next 'Alias' episode…"