Title: Two Years

Author: Laura Dugan

Feedback / E-Mail: Please, at AliasGirl@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: I don't own any of it: the show, the characters, nothing.

Category: Sydney/Vaughn romance, angsty

Summary: "She thought of things now in capitals and chunks of two."

Rating: G

Notes: The song is My Immortal by Evanescence. It was featured in Daredevil, which starred Jen Garner, but really fits in well with the whole Syd/Vaughn thing. I'm sure there are general season II and III spoilers in here, so be prepared. Oh, and the whole April 17 thing gets explained in part II, which will be coming shortly!

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Part I:

Two years. April 17. Two years to the day.

Sydney Bristow sat on the floor in front of her fireplace, knees pulled in tight to her chest, arms wrapped around her legs. She couldn't make the cold go away.

I'm so tired of being here

suppressed by all of my childish fears

and if you have to leave

I wish that you would just leave

because your presence still lingers here

and it won't leave me alone

Two years. Such milestones. Two years she lost her entire memory. No recollection of what she did, who she'd known, what she'd seen. And although she now knew what she did, she still didn't remember. She felt as though someone handed her the script to her life story after she'd finished starring in it. A sense of absence, of doubt, of did I really do that?

Reality she knew. The reality of losing her best friend. Her best friends. Francie, Will. For Will was lost to her now. Jonah the carpenter. No more late night Boggle games, too much wine, and kisses that never should have happened. Kisses meant to fill the void made by him. Vaughn.

these wounds won't seem to heal

this pain is just too real

there's just too much that time cannot erase

The ache was still too raw. The passing of time had not helped. Being near him had not helped. Neither had being away from him. She'd tried it all. Even tried dating a few times. She just could not erase him from her brain. From her heart. Not after everything he had done for her, Before.

That's how she referred to it: Before. Capitalized. An entity unto itself. She thought of things now in capitals and chunks of two. Two years she was gone. Now for two years she had returned. Two months after her return before she adjusted to the sight of Vaughn with another woman. Two months after that, Christmas, and tears over lost picture frames.

when you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears

when you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears

and I've held your hand through all of these years

but you still have all of me

Tears began to fall now, two years plus two years after she was taken away. The conversation she'd had with her father that afternoon had been stilted. A brief conversation, her father holding her tight for a brief moment. She couldn't blame him, he was trying so hard to make her happy. But she wanted to be alone, to work to forget, the irony of the situation not escaping her. For so long all she had wanted was to remember. But without him in her life, she wanted to forget. To forget how he made her feel, like she was important. That she mattered. That she was a person, a woman. Not a spy, not an agent, double agent, someone under the control of outside forces. Forcing her to fulfill their goals. Forcing herself to fulfill her own goals. Destroy SD-6. Destroy Arvin Sloane, the Alliance, the Covenant. Find her mother. Find the truth.

All she really wanted more than anything, anything, was to be his wife.

you used to captivate me

by your resonating light

but now I'm bound by the life you left behind

your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams

your voice it chased away all the sanity in me

He listened to her. Received her. Set her free. There were no false pretenses, false names. Just the warmth of his hands on her skin. His touch she would never forget. The gentleness. From the first time he held her to the first time they made love. Love. She never had the chance to tell him that she loved him. Still loves him.

these wounds won't seem to heal

this pain is just too real

there's just too much that time cannot erase

Losing Danny had been hard. Nearly unbearable, but she had recovered. In part because of Vaughn. She couldn't understand why she couldn't get over losing Vaughn. And she hadn't really lost him. He was still alive. And there were times when she thought he still loved her. A glance her way, a touch that lingered longer than it had to. And all of the times they were undercover. She didn't have to act the part of loving wife. And it didn't seem too difficult for him to be loving husband, either. But maybe he was just imagining she was Lauren. Or maybe he was better undercover than she thought. She couldn't believe that. His eyes were captivating, drawing her in. She still saw truth there. He wouldn't lie. Couldn't lie to her.

when you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears

when you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears

and I've held your hand through all of these years

but you still have all of me

He tried, at first, when her father had asked him to stay away, but that just made things worse. The tension was intolerable for all those involved. So he had talked to her, told her he didn't want to cause her any pain. So she lied to him. She was always better at lying than he was. She told him she was fine, always fine, and they reached a tenuous peace. She didn't know that he had never believed her and loved her all the more for it. After everything she had been through she was trying to appease him of his guilt, set him free, returning the favor he had given her Before.

I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone

and though you're still with me

I've been alone all along

Staring in to the fire, she realized that she would trade it all in – bringing down the Covenant, leaving the CIA, making a new life for herself – if the phone would only ring. Joey's Pizza? But she knew that wasn't going to happen. She was sure that Vaughn had forgot. That he was at home with Lauren, with his wife, talking about whatever married people talked about. She was surprised to learn that he left the CIA shortly after she did. He was back to teaching French and dabbling in cryptography for the NSA on the side. Surprised even more to learn that Lauren was pregnant. Then she miscarried and left. Returned to her family's home on the East Coast. Then she came back.

She may no longer be a spy, but some old tricks were hard to forget. About a year ago she had decided it really was time to move on. She did her best to push Michael Vaughn and Lauren Reed out of her mind. She succeeded for a while. She began to teach English at UCLA. She took up kung fu, and then began instructing. She found her old ways harder to escape than she had imagined. She started to teach psychology, upper level, exploring the way the mind worked. She shared as much as she could without giving too many details. Her students loved her.

And then she had seen him. She was out on a date with a fellow professor when she saw him, alone, sitting at a table. He had looked amazing and she had thought for a moment that she might faint. Her date, a nice man in whom she had absolutely no romantic interest, had become worried, making her sit and drink a glass of water. He had asked if she was okay. She couldn't respond. She just stared. And then he had noticed her and stared back. Her date watched the exchange with interest and quickly escorted Sydney out of the restaurant.

She did her best to field his questions, explaining that Vaughn was someone she had worked with when she was with the State Department. Her mind was reeling. She hadn't seen him in six months. Two months plus two months plus two months. She found herself muttering in Russian, her date perplexed. "Are you sure you're okay?" he had asked. She turned to him, numb. "Truth takes time," was her response. After that he had taken her home. He never asked her out again.

The encounter had proven to Sydney that she was not over Vaughn and never would be. She dove back into her work and once again, tried to forget.

A log crackled and broke apart, drawing Sydney out of her reverie when she realized she had heard something other than the fireplace. Someone was knocking.