Mosaic by Chris Anderson

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

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1. Mother

I hear that you are dead, and I do not believe it. You are my daughter; you are a Bristow. You are going to live forever.

But you haven't. And I cannot doubt my sources, who would not dare to lie to me about this, or to be mistaken. And so you must be gone.

I want to scream, to weep, but I don't have the luxury. Now more than ever there are things that must be done, things I must see to...

Sloane, too, has his sources, though not as good as mine. He is gone when I go to look for him. I knew he would be, of course. He knows I am aware of his arrangement with Allison Dorian. Sark told me enough before he took his leave, for me to put the pieces together. I let him go. He still thinks I believe his first loyalty is to me. I don't have time now to teach him different. Sark's time will come, and Dorian is dead. But Sloane... Sloane, who knew, will have to pay for that knowledge.

I tap into the old lines of communication, looking for your father. And I find that I am reaching for Jack as he reaches for me. We meet in-between, united at last in our grief, in our fury.

I think of the prophecy, then, now. "A burning anger, unless prevented..."

They have missed their chance, then, to prevent it, and for this... for this, I will rend the world in fire, which once I so feared, which once I swore- never would I let it come to that. But for this- for my daughter, for her death, for her *murder*- Yes. I will do it, now.

2. Sorrow

Jack and I meet in Venice. The moonlight flows along the water lapping at the edges of the canals, and we walk along together. Not speaking, not even touching. But I am glad that he is here.

I reach for his hand; he reaches for mine. And then I am in his arms, with no memory of going to him, and we hold each other, there in the moonlight.

It is only then that I can weep.

All I can do is whisper, as I weep. "Why... why her? Why Sydney?"

And he answers, "I don't know. I..."

I shake my head, start to pull away. But I can't, entirely, and so we walk the streets of Venice arm in arm.

"Thank you for coming," I say.

"Did you think I wouldn't?"

Had I? Suddenly I did not know. It seemed I had not really thought for some time. And that was dangerous; too dangerous. I had to hold on, somehow, had to keep from falling apart. I had to, or it would all be for nothing...

"I wondered," I say at last.

"Don't," he tells me. "For you, for Sydney..." Shakes his head. "I'm glad you called."

"So am I," I whisper.

He sighs. Seems to steel himself, and I recognize the gesture. To business now, and he is the Jack Bristow who does not feel.

As I am the Irina Derevko who does not care.

3. Allies

We walk the night, wrapped in our lies, accepting them from each other, rather than questioning, which would reopen these wounds we tell ourselves are closing now. Because they must.

"Sloane denied it, of course?" he asks.

I shake my head. "He's gone. I never got the chance to ask him. But I think we both know what he would say."

Jack nods. "Dorian was the second double. She had been in position a long time."

"Too long," I say. "Jack, I'm sorry. I should have realized-"

"No," he says. "I knew whatever his plans were for Sydney, Sloane would keep them from you. I was amazed you learned as much as you did."

"Sark," I reply. "He has yet to decide firmly where his loyalties lie, and he is keeping his options open."

I see the anger break through his walls then, and it is dark and terrible as mine.

"Can you find them?" he asks.

I nod. "It may take time, but yes. I can."

"Do it. I would like to have a conversation with Mr. Sark and Ms. Dorian."

"Done," I say. "On one condition."

"Name it," he says without hesitation.

"I want to be there."

For the first time, he smiles. "Is that all? I had taken that as a given."

I smile back. "It's good to see you again, Jack."

He nods. "Here, too. I'm only sorry-"

"Don't," I say. "We have plans to make, things to do..." I sigh. "Jack, what about Sloane?"

"He'll go to ground for a while. We can try, but I don't think we'll find him yet." It is Jack's turn to sigh. "Sloane was my mistake, too. I thought Emily's death had broken him."

"In a way it did," I say. "But it did not render him powerless."

We make plans to meet again, in a month's time, in Tuscany.

"There won't be anything there," Jack says. "You know that."

I shrug. "We have to start someplace, Jack. I know that, too."

He nods. "True."

We could, we *should*, part then- we both have things to do, and it's best if we aren't seen together. I know eyes still watch me, and some of them may be Sloane's. I do not want him to know we are working together until the end.

But it is late, and I am cold and lonely. I have lost my only daughter, my only child. There is only one person in the world now that I love, and I will not let him go so easily. Not anymore.

He sighs. "Well. I'll see you in-"

"Jack," I catch his arm as he turns away, draw him back towards me.

One look is all it takes; I see his need and his loneliness, all things dark and desperate in his eyes, mirroring my own.

The kiss is harsh and frantic, and I feel suddenly that his arms around me, his lips on mine, are the only things in the world that are real.

4. Lovers

For a time I lose myself; I know no past, no future, only this moment, Jack, so familiar, these scars I remember so well.

The sheets are cool against my back, and the moonlight under which we walked spills through the window now. I have had other lovers in the years since my departure, but none of them have touched me the way Jack Bristow does. None of them have known me as he does. And despite all of the time that has passed, that has not changed.

And for those fleeting moments, that night in Venice, I forget it all. I forget that I have loved and betrayed this man, only to love him again. I forget that we have lost our daughter, the best thing ever to come from the two of us. I forget everything.

He whispers, "Laura," and I answer. And then I remember.

Jack kisses my tears away, but they only return, again and again.

5. Leave-takings

He is still sleeping when I stir the next morning, watching the sun come up. I will have to go soon, and it is not that I want to, but that I must.

I need to be gone before he wakes, or I will never go.

He mutters in his sleep, his arms tighten their grasp about me, and I sigh quietly.

I rise without waking Jack, dress quickly. A glance out the window as I reach for my shoes; Yes. I'll have to be going soon. But not without...

I bend to kiss him, gently-

And this is my mistake. He wakes so quickly I wonder if he was ever truly asleep.

"You're going."

I sigh; nod. "Yes. I have to, Jack. You know that."

He nods back. "I do. But I..." He shakes his head. "Be careful."

I smile. "You're worried about me. I'm touched."

He props himself up on one elbow, grins. "You should be."

"It's only one month till Tuscany, Jack. You'll live."

The moment I say it, I wish I hadn't. The smile breaks like ice cracking, and beneath it there is only pain, raw and fresh and bleeding-

"I'm sorry," I whisper, and I throw myself into his arms, my whole body shaking now with the force of my sobs.

"I know, I know," he whispers. "I know."

"I am going to kill him for this, Jack."

It is the first time I have said it aloud. He nods.

"You know it won't bring her back."

"Of course not," I say, my voice close to breaking now. "But he does not deserve to live in a world where our daughter does not."

Arvin Sloane has finally, I realize then, made his last, his fatal, mistake. If he had only manipulated us and used us all, I would have manipulated him in turn; if he had beaten me to some shred of the Rambalidi puzzle, I would have stolen it, or beat *him* to the piece that followed; if he had troubled Jack, I would have reminded him that in the end he would have to reckon not only with Jack, but with me.

But he had given the orders, commanded the operative who had my daughter killed. And for that, he was all out of second chances.

Jack nods. "I want to be there."

"I'll do my best."

He catches my hand, holds it tightly. "Together."

I nod, give him a shaky smile. "Always." Then, "I can't do this without you, Jack. Did you think I didn't know that?"

He smoothes back my hair. "When does your flight leave?"

"Soon."

"Then you should go."

"Yes."

Neither of us moves for a moment; perhaps two.

Then I am crushed against him in a bruising, furious embrace. We kiss, a quick brush of lips, and then he is pushing me out of bed.

"Go," Jack says.

"Try and get some rest, Jack."

"You, too," he says, chiding.

I nod. "I love you."

"You're stalling, Irina," he says, fondly.

"Jack."

"I love you," he answers.

This time I don't look back; I know without turning that he will always be there, now.