It Lies In Weakness By Misty Flores

Rating: PG-13 for now.

Genre: Alias, Irina/SpyFamily Spoilers: SIII

Teaser: No one could truly understand why the devil in angel's clothing, suddenly became a guardian angel in Lucifer's guise. When questioned in the aftermath, Jack Bristow's only explanation was a clipped, 'Never underestimate the love for a daughter'.

Author's Notes: In taking requests on what to write as my last story before I retire from fan fiction altogether, it was suggested that I try an Alias fan fiction, given the fact that I've recently become quite obsessed. As a result, I have less than a week to finish this story before the retirement deadline, not easy, considering a) I've never written Alias before, and b) this looks like a multipart arc.

I hope you enjoy.

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I. Coming to Terms

They were her greatest weakness.

There was a harder, colder part of Irina that whispered in her thoughts, dominated her will and her mind. For so long she had listened, counted on her darker self. That aspect kept her alive, existing as slowly, bit by bit, her humanity leaked out.

Perhaps that was why she waited nearly thirty years before pushing herself back into their lives. Her hope that her humanity would have faded completely was well founded. Killing was simply taking a life. There was something incredibly robotic about her capacity for numbness, her lack of compassion. Laura Bristow was truly dead. Just the realization alone should have been enough to push through her illusions, her foolish and stupid hopes that her daughter would remember, attempt to understand.

Sydney was young, impulsive, but the Intel Irina had received revealed her to be a surprisingly human spy, with a penchant for mistakes, and a heart that seemed permanently broken. The darker part of Irina would have exploited that, did exploit it.

The humanity that apparently, had not died as first suspected, hated her for it.

Even as the smallest hope burgeoned in Irina's heart, that somehow she could make Sydney understand how things were, she held little expectation for the same from the father. Jack was a man of passion, and he hated as viciously as he loved. She knew to say he hated her would have been tactful, almost understating things. Because he had always been the best lover she had ever known.

She had made a fool of him, broken his heart in the process, and murdered his colleagues while he loved her - lesser men would have killed her on sight.

Jack had the discipline to merely set her up, let the government do it their way. He would have succeeded in killing her had Sydney not intervened.

It would have been his ultimate act of vengeance. In truth, she admired him for it. For Irina to die knowing that her daughter would believe she tried to kill her, that almost came close to what she did to him.

Irina herself never faulted for patience.

She had spent years of her life waiting, forcing herself to believe, constantly reminding herself that Laura Bristow would eventually die. A few months in a cage were nothing.

In a dark cell, a ridiculous mimic of Hannibal Lector, Irina took her amusement where she could get it, faced her demons, and laid eyes on the daughter that she could never deny, was indeed hers.

This girl, with the striking features and cold gestures, stubborn nature, brown hair - was hers, not Laura Bristow's.

It almost sickened her, the warmth that seeped through her at the realization.

In her dealings, in her inevitable match up with Sydney's father, her weakness became absurdly apparent.

Every glance at Jack sprung a thousand memories, smiles and laughter, and the hardness began to melt into an ache, a yearning.

A flash of a Christmas Eve, holding a cup of hot chocolate and watching with a frozen smile as her ruthless CIA agent husband tromped on the floor, a giggling little girl that had her eyes, her smile, clinging happily to his back.

A whisper of a kiss on her earlobe as he wrapped arms around her waist, laughing as little Sydney wore an absurdly large apron that nearly made her trip, expression on her face showing her revulsion as her mother told her matter-of-fact exactly where she was putting the stuffing into the bird.

And she hated herself. She hated her weakness. She hated her yearning.

Even in her cell, staring at him through a wall of glass, she could almost believe her own intentions, could lie glibly and believe it was the truth. That Rambaldi didn't exist, that she was simply here to pay her retribution, reclaim her life as Laura Bristow.

When his eyes began to warm to her, when Sydney began to smile, her weakness nearly consumed her.

Ten years of fabricated love battled with nearly forty years of Russian Intelligence training that night in Panama. Two halves of a whole battled for the soul of a woman who now found herself not only a killer, but a mother, a wife - things she never knew she missed until Jack's lips slid along the column of her throat.

He never called her Laura. He was too smart for that. His groans and whispers were dedicated to Irina, and in that, she felt her resolve weaken. Jack did not know her, but like this, clutching about his shoulders as he thrust, groaned and arched hips and drove deeper, she very nearly believed he was the only one who came close.

It was too easy to believe that she and Sydney and Jack could be what they were when she was Laura Bristow. Their lives were seeped in lies, but there could be no secrets between the three of them.

A husband. A daughter. A love that had managed to nurture in her heart even as the darkness consumed everything else in her life.

She nearly fooled herself into believing it could work.

But they were what they always were. Weaknesses.

Irina had no room for such things in her life. There were so many grudges, so many threats - the moment she allowed the darkness to recede she would not only lose her life, but Sydney and Jack's as well.

She knew too well how many would kill the loves of Irina Derevko. It was a weakness anyone could detect, especially those with no rules.

She herself had long ago abandoned morality.

Acknowledgement of her weaknesses gave way to fear, the dominant emotion that allowed the darkness to take control, seep inside her, mock her.

She fulfilled her mission. She betrayed the CIA. She left Jack and left Sydney, abandoning Laura Bristow once more.

The hardened, darker aspect of Irina proudly whispered that they would move on, forget, succeed where they had not in twenty years. This weakness would not get the better of her. She would beat it, like she had beaten everything else that created an obstacle.

Her weakness had been grossly underestimated. It gnawed at her.

It nearly resulted in her death, as she sought out Sydney time after time, nearly trapped herself in a building wired with explosives because she feared for her daughter.

It was what she had become. She had always known it was true, but it had always been forced as a passing thought, trapped in her memories the way Jack had been, unlocked only if she wished to revisit the pain.

Now, she could not forget as easily - she could not forget at all. Above all else, Irina Derevko was a mother.

Only a mother could forgive a daughter who shot her in the shoulder, an ironic deja vu of her own desperate attempt to keep her daughter alive minutes into the first meeting they shared in twenty years.

Only a mother could love her all the more for it.

She would never have Jack and Sydney - her choices had been made.

She regretted them.

She lost her daughter before she ever gave her a proper kiss, had shot her, elbowed her in the face, broken her trust and garnered her hate.

She had managed to find her way into the embrace of a man who had given her ten years of love, shared one night of passion, only to betray him the next day.

Fractured, broken, and filled with deceit, Irina should have accepted her darkness, welcomed it as a long lost security blanket.

But her weaknesses were fatal, and they consumed her, and Irina now found, she no longer cared.

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