Title: Raw Precision

Author: UConnFan (Michele)

E-Mail: LoveUConnBasketball@yahoo.com

Story Summary: Post "The Telling"; be warned, it picks up immediately where ep leaves off.

DISCLAIMER: Don't own. Never will. Case closed. Sue at your own risk.

Dedication: This is dedicated to Linda. Without her, I never would have made it this far; I arguably wouldn't have finished this. Thank you for everything - you *are* the best!

~*Time goes by so slowly and time can do so much.*~

"Unchained Melody"

Ten years had passed since Becky had last been in Los Angeles. A decade that, in retrospect, had gone by far too quickly. The older she got, the more she struggled to capture the years, to slow them down, only to have them go by faster than before. The memories of the nearly two years she spent in Los Angeles were bittersweet, but she held no grudges. Instead, there had been no cause to prompt her back to the city. Happily, she had established her life in Connecticut. She had worked in her mother's bed and breakfast for the first year, saving money and waiting for her divorce to be final, before she opened her own practice.

Time had been generally good to her. She carried the losses she'd acquired with her day in and day out, but most days she looked back on the people and things she'd lost with joy, instead of the gut-wrenching pain it had once inflicted. Now nearing her late forties, she'd grown contemplative. Becky had been blessed enough to be able to honestly say there was very little of her life, of her decisions, that she regretted. The same extended to her time in Los Angeles - she had no regrets.

It hadn't been her intention to not return to Los Angeles for such a long period of time, life had just worked itself that way. She supposed it was that way for many people. Events happen, people leave and enter your life and things take priority. Places you wanted to revisit, people who you hadn't seen, can sometimes lose their meaning to you and consequently fall into the background of long forgotten memories. Linda still lived in the area, but she went east once or twice a year, voiding any legitimate excuse Becky would have to visit. Sometimes, when she couldn't sleep or was stuck in traffic, she'd wonder about the lives she'd left behind in Los Angeles. Then she'd hope - pray - that everyone had found some sort of peace, some semblance of happiness.

Chris had suggested the trip to Los Angeles, under orders from his boss to use up some of his paid time off, and having never been any farther west than Chicago. Although they'd been married for nearly six years, together for seven and a half, he knew little of his wife's life out there. He knew of her failed marriage, about how she'd originally gone to California to work for the CIA, to offer them the skills she had perfected in D.C. Something happened during her time there that caused her to leave the CIA, to eventually go into private practice and to divorce after less than six months of marriage.

They landed in L.A. on a dry, warm day in late April. That was one of the few things she had missed from the West Coast, the dry warmth that it had, as opposed to the humidity that plagued the east. After waiting around the airport for nearly two hours, waiting for their luggage and cutting through complicated forms to rent a car, they were on their way. Checking into their hotel, they locked their belongings into the hotel room before they were back out the door.

"I can't believe we're shopping," Chris muttered, following obediently behind his wife.

Becky rolled her eyes in his direction and caught his smile. Back home Chris was a lawyer, working the majority of the time out of their home, and spending his free time playing sports, especially golf. Tall and lanky despite his nearly fifty years of age, he reminded her of what she imagined Brandon might have matured into. Still, when she'd first met his eyes and noticed his dimpled chin, he'd brought back memories of Michael. Although he combined the best things of the two men she had loved in her life, Chris was distinctly his own and she loved him for it.

"We didn't bring any music. You know how I feel about music and cars. You can't drive around in silence, we need music," she explained, leading him through the aisles of Borders.

"Could this place be any more dead?" he mumbled, looking around the nearly abandoned store.

Lifting her eyes, Becky once again rolled her gray eyes in his direction. In a split second, she caught sight of a man at the end of the massive aisle of music, and Chris thought he heard his wife's jaw hit the floor.

"Beck? What is it?" he whispered, stepping closer to her. "Are you feeling okay?"

"I'm fine," she softly insisted. "I think that's Michael."

"Vaughn?" Chris asked as she nodded.

The man had a head full of hair that, while obviously had once been blonde, was growing progressively lighter and quickly approaching gray. In jeans and a suede jacket, inspecting what looked like the newest Springsteen's Greatest Hits CD, he hardly fit the image of the professional, uptight government agent he'd imagined his wife had once been married to.

Silently, despite the random thoughts of curiosity and intrigue that floated through his mind, he followed her down the aisle, shifting the heavy bundle in his arms as he walked. Allowing her the space she needed, Chris made sure to stay within a few feet of his wife as she cautiously tapped the man's shoulder.

"Yes?" H turned, breaking into a smile when he saw her there. "Becky! Hi!"

"Michael! I thought it was you. How are you?"

"I'm good," he smiled and looked up to see Chris.

"I'm sorry," Becky smiled and looked behind her. "Michael, this is my husband, Chris Deveaux. That's our daughter, Amy."

"It's nice to meet you, Michael shook Chris' hand. Turning his eyes on the little girl, she watched his eyes soften as he spoke softly, "She's beautiful."

"She's almost five," she explained.

"Five years." He looked obviously surprised. "It's been what now, ten years?"

Becky nodded vigorously. "Just about. Amazing how fast it goes by, isn't it?" she grinned as he nodded. "How have you been?"

"Well - " he started to answer.

"Okay, I found it!" an exuberant voice rounded the corner and appeared at Michael's side. Slightly out of breath, pushing a strand of hair out of her face and behind her ear, Sydney Bristow was just as beautiful as Becky remembered. Although her hair now had slight natural gray highlights, and the wrinkles had grown more prominent on her face, she looked happy. Judging by the way her right hand was tucked naturally through Vaughn's arm, and at the rings Becky had seen on her left hand as she pushed her hair back, she was very happy. "Becky! Hi!" she smiled.

"Sydney! Hi! I was just asking Michael how things were," she explained. "It's good to see you."

"It's nice to see you too," she nodded and looked curiously at Chris. Becky detected how her eyes too, seemed to soften slightly and her smile grow slightly smaller at the sight of a half-asleep Amy. "I'm sorry, this is my husband Chris Deveaux, this is Sydney Bristow -"

"Vaughn, actually," Michael corrected. The light in his eyes reappeared as he smiled proudly at Sydney. "Sydney Vaughn."

"Congratulations," Becky smiled. "How long now?"

"Eight years," Sydney answered, the glow having reappeared on her cheeks. "Your daughter's beautiful," she quietly complimented.

"Thank you," Chris replied. "Amy's almost five. Amy, why don't you say hi to Mommy's friends?" he softly suggested. Stubbornly, the little girl shook her head and dipped it back down into the nook of her father's neck. "Beck, I think I'm going to take her back to the car. She's getting heavy and cranky. Why don't you grab what you want and meet us back at the car," he suggested.

"Okay honey," she agreed.

"It was nice to meet the two of you," he smiled politely at the Vaughns. Silently, he apologized for not being able to shake hands, given the obvious use of his hands, and turned around.

"Sydney, how is your father?"

"Good," she smiled. "He's really doing well. Semi-retired; I'm not sure he'll ever fully retire."

"Although Kendall's certainly trying to get him to," Vaughn mumbled as his wife laughed.

"Kendall's trying, but I think my father's more stubborn," she explained.

"I'm glad he's doing well. Are you still with the agency?"

"Yes," she nodded. "Linguistics mostly, sometimes I consult. Enough to keep me busy."

"And keep you firmly based in L.A.," her husband added.

"The only reason he cares about that is because we have season tickets to the Kings," she grinned.

"That's not true!" he bantered back, looking over at her. Her grin grew nearly foolishly big as she gently tugged his nose and then turned back to Becky.

"You know what," Sydney spoke. "We have to be at Will and Elise's soon. I think I'll go pay for this and meet you at the car," she suggested. "It was nice to see you again Becky," she spoke sincerely at the woman who she hadn't seen in ten years. Still, she thought of Becky once in awhile, silently thanking her for the gift she had given back. Looking back on it, Michael never would have left her. It had been his then-wife's courage to walk away, that had brought them back together.

"You too Sydney. You look very well. I'm glad things worked out the way they did."

"Yeah," she smiled. "Me too," she agreed. Looking at her husband, she kissed him briefly, gently squeezing his arm and walked away.

Alone for the first time in years, the former husband and wife shifted uncomfortably for a brief moment. "I'm happy for you Michael," she finally spoke.

"You too. Chris looks like a good man."

"He is," Becky agreed. "A great man," she nodded. "Will Tippin's married?"

"Yeah," he chuckled. "For about seven years now. Elise, she's a writer. They're expecting their third child in a few weeks. We're heading to their place now."

"How is everyone else?"

"Good, they're good. Weiss is still single."

"That's not surprising," she laughed.

"He's got about a dozen godchildren though, lots of friends, he's always out," Vaughn explained. "Marshall and Carrie are doing good. They've got two kids now."

"What did she end up having?"

"A girl. Virginia Sydney Flinkman, she's ten now."

"Amazing," she shook her head. "I'm glad they're doing well, they were always cute. How's your Mom?"

"Good. In France at the moment, but good," he nodded.

"How about the two of you? You two look very happy," Becky smiled.

Vaughn's grin grew. "We are," he nodded.

"Any kids?"

Although she'd slightly expected it, she was still surprised to see him pull his eyes away and shake his head no. Shifting his footing, he wiped the bottom of his nose. With his eyes firmly planted on the tile floor, he answered. "No. We've tried... naturally, but we can't. Sydney can't, actually, not that it matters, because we're in it together. The doctors... We're trying to adopt."


"No, internationally. Russia, actually. Her mother suggested it."

"Irina Derevko?" Her eyes widened. When he saw the _expression on his former wife's face, he grinned.

"Yes. She killed Sloane."

"Irina Derevko *killed* Arvin Sloane? Her *ally*?"

"Apparently her alliances were flexible," he smirked. "Ten years ago now. Led us directly to a warehouse and killed him right in front of our eyes. Since she led us to Sloane, Sydney petitioned the court and had her life pardoned," he explained, growing serious.

"How do you feel about that?" she asked, instinctively slipping into the mode of doctor.

"She's Sydney's mother. She can never give me back my father, but if her death hurts Sydney, I'd move heaven and hell to stop it."

"And kids?" Becky gently asked. One thing Michael had wanted when he'd entered their marriage, the one thing she thought he probably entered the marriage *for*, was his desire for children. Whether it was because he loved them or some masculine urge to carry on his legacy and his family name, it had always been a priority to him.

"It's important to me," Vaughn agreed. "We both want children. Whether it's natural or not doesn't matter..." He looked towards the door where his wife had just left, presumably to wait for him in the car. "I might never have children to pass my name on to, but I get up every morning and go to bed every night with the woman I love. I don't always like every part of her Becky, but I love even the parts I don't like. Maybe that's enough, maybe loving someone that much is enough; maybe that means even more than having children. I've made my decision. If I'm going to be remembered for something, I'd rather it be a childless life with Sydney than a dozen children with any other woman in the world."

Becky nodded as they softly said their goodbyes, wishing one another the best. As she walked through the aisles, towards the door, she imagined the life Michael and Sydney shared. The weeks and months they spent painstakingly building back what had once been so easy. The proposal that had come nearly three years after he'd first bought the ring. The small wedding with only their closest friends and family. How she'd sit in chilly rinks for countless hours during the winters, watching him play and then watching with him as the Kings played. The way her pain was his as they watched their friends easily reproduce, and how he'd hold her at night. In his arms, he'd hold out the demons and piece her together after another miscarriage. He'd stay there through the night, cradling her close and refusing to let her push him away. And how she, without question or hesitation, would do the same for him. How she'd sacrifice her life, her morals, everything else she'd ever known, before she'd sacrifice him.

He was right.

That was legacy enough for anyone.