Jack Bristow woke the next morning relaxed and rested. The tension that had plagued him since learning of Irina's return had dissipated. He slid open the bedside drawer and carefully pulled out a photograph, studying it closely, looking for a clue in that smiling face of the devastation that she would later wreak in his life. He would know this time if she lied to him. When she lied to him.

"Fool me once," he whispered, then placed the photograph back in the drawer, sliding it closed with satisfaction.


Author's Notes:

1. This was a challenge fic; the paragraph:

When he found her, she was bent over the balcony railing, staring out at empty streets and dreamless houses. Sullen and still, she refused to see him in the dark, and he turned on every lamp until the room shone bright behind her. Until the melancholy glow lit her like an angel on the road to hell. She was holding one fist over the edge, tilting it slowly, and he waited several seconds more before she turned to him at last. Her smile was painful, her eyes clear, and he watched her fingers loosen as the ashes fell.

is not mine, but rather a required element written by Blackdawn. Other elements included stars, flame, and a dream or flashback.

2. In case the title phrase is not familiar, the full saying is "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."