Summary: There are moments when time seems to be suspended… Snippets of Weiss' life after S3.
Author's notes: This story started as a one-partner and ended up as a sort of mini-saga… The ways of the creative world are impenetrable… I had tremendous fun writing it, and I hope that will translate into your reading pleasure.
Disclaimer: Nobody is mine here. Wait, no, actually quite a few characters are mine: Mrs. Bizelle, Lila, Sean, Mark, Adam Morgan, David Winsfeld, and Michael Thorne. Please don't reuse them without my permission. I'm not making any money. Please don't sue…
A million thank you to my betas: Hubby, Prinsage. You guys are the best!
On we go…
"A story isn't about a moment in time, a story is about the moment in time."
It's been a while since we've been together like this. Sitting. Chatting. Doing the Tequila Limbo. That's the one where you end up on the ground while your empty glass remains on the coffee table.
Me and Syd, we've shared some good times, these last months since her return. Every so often - very drunk times. She's kind of needed that to unwind from all the craziness at work and in her life. Like mini-vacations for her heart and mind.
I've needed it too. Case in point: My best friend had gotten into the habit of talking to me only when he couldn't talk to his wife, who turned out to be an enemy agent who ruined his life, but not before also ruining the life of my other best friend, Syd, my neighbor.
My other best friend... Right... Great cover story I tell myself at least once a day. I don't believe it, but it helps with the denial of what it's covering up. With the "feelings." The ones I can't say out loud. Or think. Or do anything with at all, really...
Funny how the more I try to ignore them, the more they're in my face.
They eat at me when I sit on Syd's couch and look at her sadness in profile.
They choke me as she falls apart in my arms, these days when the tequila makes her mellow and she weeps silently.
Sometimes, they make my stomach do that flip-flop thing… More so when I see her look at me like I mean something to her. Like I'm a little more than just Good Ol' Eric, best tequila buddy and shoulder to cry on in the Greater LA area.
I know it's not really true. I still have enough self-control to get that. But it's getting harder... It's become really challenging to leave at the end of the evening, knowing that she's just going to cry herself to sleep and that, as much as I'd like to try, I can't do a damn thing about it.
Who would've thought the Lauren saga would end like this? Because me, my money was on Mike picking things up where he'd left them off with Sydney, shortly after Lauren's demise. And it looked that way for a very short while. But then… Something must have happened. What? Well, that's the $60.000 question, isn't it...
One day, Syd showed up with a nasty bruise on her arm and a cut on her forehead. She wouldn't say where Mike was, wouldn't look at me. Later that morning, Marshall came up to me, asking casually if I would be the one picking up Vaughn's car. I guess my stupid stare clued him in that I had no idea what he was talking about. It was only after I threatened to corrupt his D&D championship game that he finally talked: Vaughn had used a CIA car to conduct some personal business. There was an accident, not too bad since he was already home.
Mike was suspended for a week. Syd never talked about it again. My guess? Mike went on some revenge stint or other. Syd tagged along, probably to try and stop him. And by the looks of it, it took a car wreck to get that result… Anyway, all I know for sure is that things completely changed between them from then on and Syd was miserable…
That's also when I realized I didn't really know Michael anymore.
Somewhere along the way, I had lost touch with him.
It must have started around the time I began taking notes. Around the time Sydney "died." Within months of her being gone, I could see Mike had begun to change. I noticed some things had started to go south with him.
I noticed, but I ignored it. Chalked it up to his grief. I told myself I was respecting his privacy, his choices. Made excuses instead of asking questions. And God knows I had a million of them…
'Cause I didn't understand why Mike got married to a girl like Lauren, or how come he didn't sense her betrayal much sooner. I didn't get why he didn't just cut his losses and call it quits with her the minute Sydney showed up in our lives again, since it was so clear who he really cared about.
And lately, what I really haven't understood is how he could let his hatred consume him so much that he can't connect with anyone anymore. Not me. And, most of all, not Sydney.
Michael Vaughn, Mike, my buddy of 20 years has become a stranger to me. A vengeful, hate-filled, cruel man whose only saving grace at this point is that he left LA with no news of his whereabouts. The Michael I knew is gone and I friggin' hate it. It kills me not to have been there for him when he must have needed me. He didn't even try to tell me about what was going on. I should've pushed him to talk more… Dammit, just how pointless is hindsight anyway…
I think I get why he left, though. He did what had to be done: the right thing, the honorable thing. In his current state of mind, sooner or later, he would have become a danger to those around him. He already had, for crying out loud. He understood it and he did something about it. I have to respect that the Michael I knew still exists somewhere under the anger, the rage. What sucks is that this Michael probably won't resurface for a very long time. The scars are too deep…
God, I miss him.
Painful as it is for me to have let him down, the worst is still what he left behind. It culminates almost daily in a single moment. I get to witness it and experience what little difference my presence makes in Sydney's life. Must be some sort of poetic justice…
The incident occurs when I leave her apartment. Lately, our evenings together have been heavy with long silences and stifling conversations where we try to forget "him." No matter how late I camp there, she can't break the barrier of her silence. I stay anyway, just so that there's someone near her, some hope. I only go when I see signs of her exhaustion.
And that's when it happens. I haven't quite closed the door when I hear the faint sound of Sydney's breath hitching. The sudden stillness that follows tells me she's trying hard to hold the sobs in so I won't hear. I know what she's doing: she doesn't want her buddy Eric to feel bad for not being able to pull her out of her funk.
Because, despite my best efforts, I'm the wrong person here. I can't help.
It's been two months since Michael exited our lives without so much as a warning or a goodbye.
There's been no news.
Well, as far as Sydney is concerned, that is. Me, I got an email telling me he wouldn't be coming back, sell all his stuff, tell her to move on... Like hell I was going to tell her... At least, not yet. Not now...
"I just wish I knew he was alive. That he'd contact you or me, just to say he's ok..." Syd murmurs, her head lightly pressed on my shoulder, her body heavy with tequila, sunk into the couch.
It's one of the blue days. Blue Tequila. Warm drops spilling from her eyes.
Everything is silent. Too silent. By the time it catches up with me, it's too late.
Syd is staring at me. I missed my cue to commiserate with her. She knows something is up.
"Come on, Weiss. Spill it." She intimates. She's not laughing. If anything, she's a little sad. Disappointed that I, too, betrayed her.
"Syd..." I start, not wanting to go there.
She sits up, eyes bright with tears waiting to spill over. Her hand comes up and curves around my cheek. I swallow hard. If it was any other occasion, I would be ecstatic. But I know this is not a gesture of love. This is a gesture of supplication.
"Not you... Eric. I couldn't live with that. I have to trust you. I have..." She can't get the words out anymore.
I can't help it. I gently pull her into my arms and let her wet my CIA training t-shirt for a few minutes. "Shh, shh..." I caress her back, her hair. I wish I could just absorb all her pain so she would finally rest. She calms down. And I tell her.
"He's gone, Syd. I got a message two weeks ago. Not traceable. He doesn't want to be found. He won't be back. He wants me to sell his stuff..." I hesitate. But the time for silence has passed. Life needs to start up again. "He wants you to move on."
In my arms, Sydney has become very still.
After a minute, I look down. She's stopped crying and she's just staring at nothing in particular, lost in her thoughts.
So we just sit there.
Logged July 10, 2004
Dixon promoted me to Officer in Charge. I'll be putting ops together from beginning to end from now on. So if anything goes wrong and Syd dies, I'll only have myself to blame. I almost told him to take it back. But-
Awful day at the office. Marshall almost-
"Ahahahahahah..." She snorts a little. That sends her laughing even more. Tears are starting to fall from her eyes. Good tears this time. I can't resist and I smile, happy to be the cause of her sudden mirth.
"You serious? With hair?" She manages between peels of laughter.
"Honest. One day, he shows up and he's got a full mane. Looks like a Senator who's run one too many terms."
"I never thought Kendall would be so sensitive about being folically challenged." Her hilarity is winding down at last and she takes in a big breath.
"Yeah, the man is a regular Burt Reynolds. Anyway, it only lasted 'til that weekend. I think he got the hint when your father couldn't hold his smile in."
"My father?" Sydney's eyes are round with surprise. "Do you have pictures?"
Here's another reason not to go missing for two years. All the lost opportunities that would never come around again... "Are you kidding? I need to work for a living."
"… is not my middle name. Job-savvy, maybe..." I pause for effect, knowing she won't be able to resist this. "However..."
Sure enough, Sydney sits up and gets closer. She gives me the alcohol-imbued version of the soft seducing look. "Yessss..." She whispers.
I know she's drunk, and she has no clue what she's doing, but... Dammit. Her lips are parted. The tip of her tongue comes out to wet them. And she's looking at me with half-closed eyes...
I know it's all innocent. But, suddenly, it's like the room is closing in and all I can see are her shiny lips.
I stare. In the silence, I hear her breathing. A little fast, a little ragged. Maybe it's my own. I don't know anymore...
Speak. I remember I need to speak.
"Huh..." I clear my throat discreetly. In my mind at least, it's discreet. Judging by Syd's reaction, it's anything but. Her eyes narrow a little. She looking straight at me, like she's just spotted something there. Something new. I hurry to speak again, hoping it'll be enough to distract her. "Marshall... Agent Morgan said he saw some pictures up on his screen once..."
Sydney frowns a little, moves back to sit comfortably on the couch.
I breathe again.
"Ok, I'll ask him to show them to me on Monday. He won't refuse if I make it seem like it might be a memory from my lost years."
"Nahah. Just curious."
"Yeah, whatever you want to call it, Mata Hari."
She laughs again.
She looks at me. I look back, smiling.
There's something there. Like fondness. It's more than camaraderie. It doesn't look like love or passion... I don't know what the hell it-
I turn away a little too fast. I can't remember a single time I've been uncomfortable around Syd. But there's a first for everything.
Right now, I'm thinking flight of mercy. Mercy on me, that is.
I get up. It's late. Again. We've got to stop shooting the breeze until the wee hours...
Her hand is on mine before I can stand up. Pulling me down. Drawing me back.
I sit right back where I came from.
She's got that look again. This light that makes her eyes almost glow. Like she's onto a secret and she feels special because she's in the know...
I look at her, questioning.
But I don't wonder for long. Because in one smooth movement, she closes in on me, and her lips touch mine. And my higher brain functions go into freeze frame.
I should get a grip. I should pull away. This is a mistake.
But I linger. I love it. I love it. She moves against me, her lips caressing my lips. Her body getting closer.
My arms are around her. One, two, three, many fingers are sliding up, weaving through my hair. My sanity is losing ground... I only feel the lips that tell me I'm not just tequila friend anymore.
I jerk back, panting.
I scurry up. I'm walking backwards, almost tripping on the coffee table.
Syd looks like a sunflower after the sunset.
I think she's about to cry.
Talk now. "Look. Syd." I can't put two words together. s***. s***. "Hey, I think I better go home now. You need some rest from... me... and the..." I gesture vaguely in the direction of the mostly empty bottle.
But she looks so bereft... that I stop. And I walk back. And she's crying. Yeah, she is, quietly.
I go back. I lean over and place a slow kiss on her forehead, and her eyes, and- I stop myself before I get there.
"It's late, Syd. Look, I'm not mad or anything. But this is not how I imagined... I think we should both be sober and conscious if we're going to go for that kind of quantum leap." I caress her lovely face, erasing the wet trails, the sad puppy look, happy to see a hint of a smile. "You're the best, Sydney. The best. You deserve the best. Talk tomorrow?"
She nods. "Yeah." She's up. She goes to the door, opens it for me. "I know I'm kind of tequilaed out, but... I'm moving on, Weiss. I'm moving on..." She adds softly.
I take her fingers and squeeze them briefly.
The door closes.
I run to my apartment. Mad dash for the bathroom. Retching up the booze.
Puking my entrails out in fear.
I'm in love with Sydney Bristow.
She's about to break my heart.
And I don't care.
Logged October 28, 2004