Bitter Laughter

(A/N: 'Alias' is almost on!! Guess what today is! No, not Sunday. Well, yes, it is Sunday, but something else. Yes, the 15th, but what else? Yep! My birthday! I am now, officially one year older! Anywho, my friends, these are - no, these have sunk into meaningless drivel and sap. I don't know if I'm going to continue. Assuming I do, let's all be a nice pretend democracy and vote on whether I continue the 'soundtrack' or not. Seriously, guys, the first tale was good, the second one was okay, but after that... *gasp* Oh no! A hug! How dangerous! Mm, our Christmas tree smells so good! Alice sux! Marshall is so cute! He's like...I dunno. This little puppy that only wants to please. Does Irina get showers? Why those evil little fuckers! They made us think Sydney was in the truck when it blew! "Marshall who?" So cute! 12:05?! I'm going to be asleep! Ariana looks sort of like Irina... Poor scared Marshall... Poor Sydney is babysitting Marshall!! Oh God, oh God, oh God, poor Sydney. She must feel so horrible... OMG! Marshall! They can't stop there! Is next week going to be a repeat?? Gods-be-damned! R/R/E. Oh yeah, and this is the list of the fics in this series, starting from first to this one. 'The Sun Will Come', 'A Tool for Manipulation', 'Hidden Truths', 'Guilty Conscience', 'True Colors', 'Kiss From a Rose', 'Shadows on the Heart', 'Never Saying I Love You', 'Happy Days', and this one.)

"Run - it doesn't matter
I need all the miracles that I can gather
Run - I can't pretend
I put myself in idle hands again..."
     Stonesour - 'Idle Hands'

He had said he had broken up with Alice. But that was obviously a lie. First there had been the comment about coming from Alice's father's funeral - by the way his eyes widened, that was an obvious slip. Then they came into the restaurant together. He had lied. She was going to kill him. What else had he lied to her about?
Her phone rang. "Hello?"
"Joey's Pizza?"
"Sorry. Wrong number."
Oh wonderful. She had just gotten back from the 'trip' with Marshall. SD-6 hadn't given her any new assignment, so there wouldn't be a counter-mission. What was up with this?


"There is goes again, he's listening to someone
He hears the bitter laughter
And all he wants to know is..."
Stonesour - 'Inhale'

Vaughn sat on 'his' crate in the warehouse, head bowed and hands hanging down between his knees. What a week it had been. He had messed up everything again. Alice called, and she wanted him to come to her father's funeral. Although they had broken up, they were still friends. He had agreed, of course. How could it hurt?
Then, of course, he just had to get called out of the funeral to give Sydney her conter-mission. She commented on his new suit, and blurp! Out fell where he had come from.
Step one, open mouth. Step two, insert foot.
Then, of course, he had to add insult to injury. Trying to be helpful, he had offered to take Alice out to dinner. After all, she was busy from the funeral, tired, sad, and probably didn't feel like cooking. He felt a bit uneasy taking her to a restaurant, and, lo and behold, Sydney and Will were there. It was an 'Oh my God, I am so dead' kind of thing.
He had tried to explain, but she didn't want to hear it. She had that tone of voice, that posture, that said 'Don't talk to me, let me finish being pissed on my own'. If only he could turn back time...
Now he just had more bad news to tell her. Oh, this was so messed up and wrong! Once more, he was going to bring her more pain. Oh the irony of it all!


"Better with a lie than the world's ever seen
You wanted all the recognition until you lost the means
No one talks to you
Even someone set out to do..."
Stonesour - 'Take a Number'

Sydney paused at the door to watch Vaughn. He was deep in though, his eyes cast down to the floor. Usually, he had a smile for her when she came in, but today he didn't even notice her. His hands slowly rubbed together as he sat. She had never seen him looking this worried. Whatever it was, this was going to be something big. And she just couldn't continue being mad at him when he looked so miserable
She walked over to stand in front of him, and still he did not notice her. She knelt down in front of him, and still he was silent. Finally, she took his hands in her own, and he jumped a mile, finally seeing her.
"What's wrong, Vaughn?"
He sighed and sorrowfully met her eyes. "We didn't pick up Marshall."
"What."  She stared at him.  "So SD-6 now has-"
     Vaughn quickly shook his head.  "No.  They don't.   But we don't know who does."
     Sydney closed her eyes for a second.  "Tell me you're kidding.  Tell me this is all some sick, perverted joke."
     "I'm sorry," Vaughn said quietly.  "We've got people trying to figure out where he is right now."

"My excuses lay me down
My emotions make me drown
My endeavor takes the blame
At least I have a name…"
     Stonesour - 'Take a Number'

     Sydney sighed and turned away, running a hand through her hair.  "So, you're telling me… Ah, shit.  First, we're going to completely ruin his life.  Jesus, he thinks he's working for the good guys!  That would totally destroy him.  Now some random people have him?  Do you  know who yet?"
     Vaughn shook his head, then realized she couldn't see him.  "No.  Possibly KGB.  NO one knows.  The drive…"
     Sydney growled in frustration.  "This is so fucked up.  So why did you call me here?"
     "I- I thought you would want to know.  I mean…"
     "Thank you."  Sydney sighed.  This was her fault.  She should've-
     "It's not your faulty, Syd," Vaughn told her quietly as she turned back around.  He could see her thoughts clearly written across her face.
     "I should have… I don't know!  I mean, it was his first mission, he didn't even want to go."  Sydney suddenly remembered that she was still pissed at Vaughn.  "Anyway, thanks for telling me.  If there's nothing else, I have to go."
    Vaughn searched his brain for something to say.  As she turned to leave, and began to walk away, he finally called out, "Sydney."  She stopped, turning back to face him.  "Her father just died.  I figured it would be nice if I took her out for dinner so she didn't have to think about that.  I'm sorry."
     She shrugged a little.  "Don't worry about it."  Then she walked away.
     Vaughn sat back down on his crate, having got up sometime within the course of the conversation.  He had already managed to fuck up the only relationship that really mattered to him twice.  Wonderful.  Hopefully, she really would eventually understand and forgive him.  This was one of the reasons agents and handlers were never supposed to have any sort of relationship beyond work.


"And I feel my wants and needs again, can you help me?
And I hear a different kind again, someone stop me
And I feel the strain inside my mind, am I crazy?
And I need to shed my skin, reveal this monolith within…"
     Stonesour - 'Monolith'

      Sydney watched the news from her couch, her mind on other matters.  She wondered who would be sent to rescue Marshall?  She bet that he would quickly crack under pressure, if 'they' wanted him for information.  He wasn't spy material.  He was their tech guy, for crying out loud!  Hell, she was pretty sure his mother still took care of him.  In many aspects, he was still a child.  She smiled slightly, remembering how that had been his first time on a plane, and how nervous he was.  She should have come up with something to say to Sloane to convince him to send someone else…
     Will kept sneaking glances at Sydney from his chair.  There was something serious on her mind.  She was deeply worried about something important.  Judging by the fact hat she hadn't said anything, it had to be something spy-related.
     He debated whether to ask her about it or not.  Since he had found out about Sydney's double life, his own life had become evermore so complicated.  Not as messed up as hers, but still much more complicated.  Sometimes, he wished that he could just wake up and realize it was all a big nightmare.
     Although there were times when he really didn't want to know what was going on (and he thought that right now might be one of those times) he asked anyway.  She was his friend, she looked like she needed to talk, and she didn't really have anyone else to talk to.
     "You okay, Syd?"
     "Mm?"  Her eyes focused on him.  "Oh.  Yeah.  Just thinking."
     " 'Bout what?"
     "Nothing important.  Mission gone awry."  She yawned.  "I'm tired.  Night Will."
      Will watcher her retreating back.  Never before had she so blatantly refused to talk to when she so obviously needed to.  As far as he was concerned, this meant it was either top-secret, or about Vaughn.  Or maybe she just wasn't ready.  Damn, this was way too complicated for him.


"Stop…I know you're goddamned game
It's always been the same
The story hasn't changed
Neither will you, but…"
      Stonesour - 'Cold Reader'

    It was nighttime, and Irina should have been sleeping.  Of course, she wasn't.  It was quieter, better for thinking, at night.  Well, it was always quiet around her, but now it seemed…a different kind of quiet.
      She had finally realized just how changed her life was.  Sydney had managed to get her a small amount of time outside once a week.  She was guarded on all sides by men in black patrolling the rooftops with rifles in their hands.  She and Sydney had a 'bonding moment', and she had hugged her daughter.  Of course, everyone freaked out.  The point that every little move she made was regarded as suspicious was driven home at that instant.
     Then, of course, she had told Jack that they were technically still married.  She bet that she would be served with divorce papers as soon as possible.
      Irina laughed bitterly.  The greatest honor ever given to her - asked as a girl of 18 to serve her country - had turned into a nightmare long ago, and just now she was realizing it.  Rolling over and pulling the blanket tighter around her, she forced herself to go to sleep.

"Wish I was too dead to care
If indeed I cared at all
Never had a voice to protest
So you fed me shit to digest…"
     Stonesour - 'Bother'


(A/N:  A repeat!  It's a repeat next week!  Gods-be-damned!  Anyway, I'm glad I waited until I got my Christmas presents from my friends, as I could use Stonesour lyrics for the whole thing.  Damn it!  I'm in history right now (first class of the day) and I just got the CD!  I want to go to computers (last class) so I can listen to it!  We're getting out class rings today…finally!  Since I broke my dragon ring, I've felt naked…but no more!  Merry Christmas everyone!)