The Little Deaths by Chris Anderson

Disclaimer: Alias is the property of other people, including J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot productions.

---

They have all killed Allison. Sydney Bristow, Will Tippin... once even Irina Derevko. They've all killed her- for all the good it has done them.

In the beginning, she did not understand. That first time, with Bristow, the bullets tore through her chest, and she expected to die. Was ready for it, in a way. And when it didn't happen... Somehow she found the strength to gather herself, crawl away to lick her wounds. For they were only wounds then, painful but not fatal.

She wonders if she *can* die.

Dim bits of darkness, half-conscious, times she does not really remember. The Covenant takes her in, cares for her until she heals. And then makes it known just how grateful she ought to be.

She wonders, when they come to her, if she should simply laugh in their faces. Could they kill her, if they tried? She isn't sure. But what decides her is that they don't seem surprised by her recovery, when most people would have expected that if she was not dead yet, she would be soon.

They know something about what she has become. Perhaps, despite what she has been told, they can find a way to return her to what- and to who- she was. She does not like this, living without dying, wearing a dead woman's face. Immortality could have its uses, certainly, but she can never get used to seeing another woman's face in the mirror. Least of all *this* woman, who was never much of anything, and only of interest to the ones who had employed her at the time, because of her friendship with Sydney Bristow.

It is in the course of her work with the Covenant that she meets Irina Derevko. Then, Sydney Bristow was dead to the world, and even her own mother knew no different. So Irina believed her daughter dead, and with her extensive network of contacts she was able to find her way to the one responsible.

It was their first meeting, and Allison, who had heard of Derevko- there were times Sark spoke of little else but his apprenticeship to this woman- had not heard enough to make her believe the woman was really that much above her. She had been in the business longer, that was all, but in the back of her mind Allison held Derevko in a certain contempt.

They said some of her best work had been her years of manipulating and stealing state secrets from Jack Bristow. But Allison, who had met Jack Bristow in her guise as his daughter's dead best friend, was not all that impressed. Surely it could not have been that hard, to fool that bitter, washed-up ghost of the old CIA?

But there was still- reverence in Sark's voice when he spoke of her, even now.

And so she had wondered, but she had not really thought of the woman as a threat to her. Until that day.

She is sitting in an old bar in Moscow, several blocks from the Kremlin, waiting on one of the Covenant's Russian contacts. It is winter, and when the snow falls, it falls so thickly that she feels as if she almost can't breathe.

It is only later that she realizes; in coming here, she was as good as bating the woman. But still she held contempt for Irina Derevko as only a Cold War relic, and had believed that she would not dare- would not dare to return to such a place.

She hadn't known then, hadn't understood, for all that Sark had tried to tell her, that Irina Derevko dared what she pleased, and those with any sense stayed out of her way.

She hates this place, the narrow walls and the dim lights, the buzz of conversation around her (Russian, most of it, and she tries to translate to herself what she can; it's never been her best language, and she doubts the contact speaks English.) But she likes the vodka she drinks; it goes down like cold fire, and she realizes that they are right about one thing, at least- this is not so good in the west.

The door opens; a woman enters amid a whirl of snow, wrapped in a long coat. She is laughing as she pulls off her gloves, and Allison narrows her eyes. She had hardly been able to feel *her* hands when she arrived here, and she certainly found no humor in this weather.

A man seated at a table near the bar, a heavyset, balding man Allison had taken for a regular, nursing his drink as if it were all he had left in life, stands up suddenly, not nearly as drunk as Allison had thought him.

"Madam," he says, "ya vad sto lyent ni vidil!"

*Lady*, Allison translates to herself, *haven't seen you for ages.*

She takes a longer look at this woman now, and this time sees beyond the laughter and the easy manner with which she seems to move, even coming in from the storm. And this time she recognizes Derevko.

"No," Derevko agrees. "I have been busy." She scans the room with cold eyes, nods as if she has found what she has been looking for.

Allison is seized, suddenly, by the thought that she should get out of here. But she shook her head instead, shoved aside her glass. *No more of that,* she thinks. But she isn't going anywhere now.

"You have not seen me lately, of course," Derevko says.

The man laughs; an old joke, apparently. "Nyet, Madam. Never."

Derevko smiles; moves on. Towards Allison's table.

"Might I trouble you?" Derevko asks Allison; English this time.

Allison nods, resigned. "Of course."

Still not understanding Derevko- not understanding her at all- she thinks this may be her contact, and so she agrees to follow the woman into the bar's small back room.

"You look familiar to me," Derevko says. "But I don't know you."

Allison shrugs. "I get that a lot."

Derevko smiles. "Ah, but I know who you were, Allison. And I know what you have done."

"Back at you," Allison says. "So we all have secrets. So what?"

Derevko shakes her head. "Sark was right about you."

She knows she shouldn't take this bait, but she can't really help it. "Oh?"

"Yes. Gifted, he said...within her means."

Allison feels the rage begin to fill her, the way that it always does when she prepares to fight, to kill, and yet somehow it seems dull, diluted-

Derevko smiles. "How much of a fool, really, do you think that I am? I know what you can do, Allison. I could fight you, I suppose, but I really haven't the time. So many old friends to see, and I have such little time. Arvin Sloane sends his regards."

"Damn him!" Allison cries; her rage at Sloane is strong enough to penetrate this thick haze seeming to cover everything... "He promised me the process could be reversed."

"Yes," Derevko says, "well. He lies about so many things."

"Bastard," mutters Allison. And she tries to fight then, kicks out at the tall woman standing before her, her cold eyes laughing now- but Allison seems to move in slow motion, while the other woman is quick as lightening, dancing away-

And then quite suddenly it seems that Derevko has tired of the game. She stands back, and the laughter fades.

"What my daughter started," she says quietly, "I will finish."

It is only then Allison realizes- she is going to die.

But she hadn't.

She has a few more scars now; Derevko's bullets to go with Bristow's, and the jagged lines of Tippin's stab wounds, and that is all.

When they are alone together Sark's mind is on other things, and either he has lost count of her scars, or he has learned to ignore the new ones. Either way, he does not ask about them, and she says nothing. She doesn't tell him that she has seen Irina Derevko and taken her measure at last, and that she was wrong. She does not tell him what being wrong would have cost her if she were any other woman.

And when Sydney Bristow comes back from the dead, Allison, alone of all those who had known her, is not really surprised.

Maybe, she thinks, she isn't the only one who can die more than once.