Title: True Lies

Author: Puts hand up. Yes me! Aeria, Doona, donna__rose@hotmail.com

Rating: PG-13

Please Read and Review

Summary: Jack and Irina have a chat

A/N: Yes, I know stupid to try to write a character no one can work out, but I want to try, because I'm bored. So please hate it, love it whatever. I'm not sure I have the characters right, so if you have any suggestions, tell me.

Disclaimer: Duh, not mine, Wish they were.

Jack walked down the narrow flight of stairs, he hadn't spoken to Irina or Sydney since they'd returned from India and now he was going to thank the woman that had ruined his life. Stepping carefully, he noted the drop it the security compared to what had originally been in place.

Still three guards, but not seven. Cameras still in place, but not all of them recording. Jack wasn't sure if they should be trusting Irina, he wasn't sure if he should have been trusting her, if Sydney should have been, if anyone should ever dare to again. But he had to thank her, she had saved his life, their...his daughter's life not to mention the possibility of air strikes between countries and damning political arguments.

The cell she occupied had been dubbed the Hannibal cell by many, but now it wasn't so bad, she had a bed with a mattress, pillow and blanket and sometime she'd also been given a cushion for her chair and some paper and a pencil. 'Stupid,' he thought, 'She could kill someone with that.'

She was sitting on the ground though. 'Typical.' Her chin was up and her eyes were closed and her chest would rise and fall slowly every ten or so seconds. Jack smiled at this, he remembered when she had taught him to meditate, he'd never bothered to ask her where she had learnt it. He sat down and motioned for the one guard present to leave. Surprisingly he did so without hesitation. Jack frowned, that wasn't a good thing.

The door clicked shut behind him and Jack watched as Irina's eyes snapped open and she smiled slightly, obviously aware it was Jack, before turning to him and standing up. She shrugged slightly before smiling that knowing smile that said 'I knew it.' It put him off and she knew it, and she knew he knew she knew it. So it didn't matter.

Jack nodded to her and simultaneously they took their seats on either side of the glass. His mouth was closed and straight. They sat in silence, staring at each other, trying to wriggle, to tunnel, beneath the layers of defence each had built up. Eventually Jack broke the deafening quiet. "It's horrible weather we're having." He smiled; a statement that demanded an answer but was completely neutral.

She raised an eyebrow and the corner of her mouth twitched up, "I didn't know, what is the day like?" Her hands were on the table, nails that looked to be perfectly manicured but could not have been, settling symetrically at the end of each slim and beautiful finger as she awaited his reply.

Jack wanted to scowl, but it would end the conversation and he had promised himself that morning that he would say thank you. "It's bleak, pouring rain. It was foggy this morning. Smelly and thick, yet still so sticky. Nothing like India."

He was leading off, trying to draw her in, he wanted to talk about India, it was obvious to her but she didn't want to, not yet. "Mmmm. I used to love the rain."

"Used to?" He was being stupid, playing into her hands. Letting her do this to him was suicide, but a form of forgiving, even if he didn't really forgive her. For anything.

"Yes, I haven't seen rain, not proper rain in...three months." She paused, "How's Sydney."

She was completely controlling the conversation, manipulating his questions, his answers, probably his thoughts. He raised an eyebrow, the point of coming was pointless, there was no thanking Irina unless she wanted to be thanked and she didn't. "Syd's fine. She has a meeting with Vaughn today; Sloane wants to send her to Chile." Why was he talking about his job, and Syd's, with a woman who was in CIA custody. Doing this was what caused so many problems twenty years ago. She wouldn't have changed. She couldn't have. "She's still working at her school papers you know."

"Yes, I know," Irina wasn't stupid; she picked up on his change in topic, but didn't mind, she understood. "What's her latest?"

Jack's brow creased, "I have no idea."

Nothing, no come back, no quick retort, just the movement of her hands, her legs as they crossed under the table and then: "You should talk to her. She isn't me, she's our...your daughter. You should go over to her house sometimes, talk to her."

Jack stopped her when his hand rose slightly above the table, "Hang on. You're doing it again, you have no idea what goes on outside these walls."

"And yet I have such a better grasp of Sydney's relationships than you do." She cut across him with a sharp blade. It was true, she knew it was, she understood relationships, it was what her job had been, to be able to manipulate relationships, the understanding of a relationship and to change a person's views. But to be able to do that, she had to have a firm grip on the friendship, the bond that existed. "You know she's in love."

A hand went to her mouth and her eyes widened, a stupid mistake, damn her knowledge for surfacing so quickly. She knows she shouldn't have said something so stupid, so blatant, so direct. He was closing down; she was watching him do it in front of her. His eyebrows lost all meaning as they straightened, his mouth flattened into a fearsome look of indifference and his voice turned completely dull and impassionate. "In a job like hers, there is no room for love."

She laughed a little, such a innocent, throaty laugh, a woman such as she should not have a laugh like that. "It doesn't matter," Irina tried to compensate for the lack of passion in the conversation, her voice filling with venom from past experience. "She is in love," she spoke defiantly, as though her word was the word.

Jack was at full attention, but still closed off, no emotion, no expression. He stared at her, trying not to listen, trying not to respond, but for the first time in twenty years he failed. Looking down at her hands he responded flatly: "I know."

"Do you know who with?"

"Of course," he looked back up catching an expression on Irina's face akin to regret but not. She began to smile; together they spoke, "Agent Vaughn." He had to show he knew something and she would not let him beat her. A draw, stalemate, no one had gotten to that first.

"How upset would the CIA be to find that yet another handler-agent platonic relationship had screwed all protocol known to man and gone into love." She watched him as the fleeting smile left his face. "You don't like him?"

"No, and you obviously didn't like his father." Jack didn't want to stay anymore; it was getting far too far away from where he wanted to be. This was personal, things he didn't want to discuss with a woman renowned for her use of blackmail. He wanted to end this.

Unluckily, Irina saw the ploy and foiled it, "I deserved that. But, still, I am interested in what you find wrong with...Michael."

"You know even Sydney doesn't call him Michael, I don't know why. Yet he insists on calling her 'Syd', even around me." He watched her watching him, the look on her face was far too open to be a fake. "I don't like him, he just isn't..."

"What? Your type?" Irina giggled. He was sure and by the look on her face it was the first giggle she'd had in a couple of years. He shook his head slowly in response. "Ahh," she nodded in revelation, "It's not Agent Vaughn at all. It wouldn't matter if Sydney's handler was the man you thought best on earth, you'd still hate him."

Low and quick, in accusation, was his voice; "Ah, but you knew that." Irina looked at him as he sat waiting for her to tell him that the whole meeting had been set from the start to revolve around Vaughn. She felt herself wanting to own up, as she had in the past, she didn't want to lie about something so trivial to her hus...Jack

"Yes, I did know that. I've met and talked with Agent Vaughn. I think he's sweet." Irina let the word roll of the tongue as though she was talking about some exotic lolly. "Jack, you came her to thank me," he went to interrupt, but didn't as she turned her head slightly to deflect his words, "Don't, I want to know, instead, what you are so afraid of."

Jack smiled at her, shaking his head. 'Still a manipulative witch,' he thought. He sighed and stood. "You don't really want to know, because you already are sure you have my feelings regarding everything including Agent Vaughn worked out. You want my help in matchmaking them. I think you're completely insane." His flat and dull voice began to raise and change from monotone. "Do you know what would happen if you told anyone who knew me that you'd asked me, while in CIA custody, to help you matchmake my Daughter with a man neither I nor you know anything about. To help form a relationship which breaks every rule ever made and could lead to the death of my daughter? If you told someone that I had agreed and had helped you do that? Do you know what they'd say?"

Her face split into a smirk, she had a retort ready, "Yes, they would say I was crazy," an essence of her accent slipped in as her voice rose with passion. "That I had the wrong Jack, but then if I were to tell someone that had first met you ten years ago that you used to write messages, 'All my love, forever and a day' to a woman, they'd tell me I was so drugged up, I should have over dosed by now. Tell me what scares you Jack."