by Ossian

aka: Uninvited, part 4 - post-"Crossings"

Many thanks: To Rez for the beta'ing and introducing me to boardshorts. To Sigh for the Russian.

disclaimer: All Alias characters belong to J.J. Abrams, Bad Robot, and probably ABC.
I'm just borrowing them for my own amusement.

This will undoubtedly make more sense if you've read "Uninvited" first.

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Sydney Bristow frowned thoughtfully at the brochure, trying to decide whether or not the free vacation would be worth the hassle. She had to admit that six days and five nights of tropical tranquility sounded almost like paradise. The pictures of crystalline water, white beaches, and lounge chairs in the sun were more than a little enticing. There would be a hitch, of course. There always was.

Only half of the round-trip ticket was in the envelope, so she'd undoubtedly have to sit through a sales pitch at the very least. She wondered briefly what she might have to agree to in order to receive the return fare and gave a mental shrug. If worse came to worst, she could always buy her own one-way ticket home. She flipped through the calendar hanging on her kitchen wall and saw that the week in question already had "vacation" printed across it in her own -perfectly forged- handwriting.

Arrogant bastard, she thought perfunctorily. There had been no letter included in the envelope, but she hadn't needed one. The ticket's terminus was the Juliana International Airport. The brochure was for a rental property on the island of St. Martin. Sometimes she was convinced that the man deserved to be shot merely for his appalling sense of humor.

There were a thousand reasons why she shouldn't even consider going. Using the ticket could be thought of as treason on a number of levels. It might be a trap. He was a terrorist and he had betrayed her on more than one occasion. He was dangerous and presumptuous and he snored. He couldn't be trusted half as far as she could throw him and his stupid smirk gave her homicidal urges.

Well, mostly homicidal urges.

Her expression softened unconsciously at the memory of what else that stupid smirk was capable of inducing. Even after all that had transpired in recent weeks, she still thought of that strange interlude with some measure of fondness.

When she had awakened the second time that morning-after, she had been alone. She'd chided herself for expecting him to still be there. She'd told herself how absurd it was to be disappointed that he had deserted her. Then she had noticed that his wristwatch was still on the nightstand. She found him sitting in her living room, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, reading a newspaper she didn't subscribe to. She hadn't bothered to reproach him for stealing it from one of her neighbors. He would only have laughed. As it was, he had smirked when she'd dug out the Metro section and settled onto the sofa beside him without comment.

They hadn't done much more soul-searching that day. Instead, Sydney had pried trivia out of him. His birth date. An admission that he'd never had time to watch Casablanca. The revelation that he could cook an omelet even with the paltry ingredients her kitchen had to offer. The discovery that she could make his eyes glaze over just by raking her fingernails across the back of his neck.

It had been an oasis of comforting insanity in the middle of the turmoil that rocked her life, a small respite at the center of the storm. Only a few days later he had rigged a car bomb in a certain CIA parking deck. She couldn't help wondering if he'd had the photographs of his father's murder with him all along - in that duffle in her bathroom. She tried to work up the energy to blame him… but couldn't. It was like the old story of the fox and the scorpion. She knew what he was - had known long before she'd ever taken him into her bed - and she had no excuse for surprise when he acted true to his nature.

She had eventually concluded that the time they'd spent together had been his warped version of preemptive contrition. It worried her a little that a mere thirty-six hour truce had preceded his betrayal of her to the NSA, the revelations about his father, and the latest round of Rambaldi-lunacy that still gave her nightmares. She couldn't begin to imagine what a week in the Caribbean supposed to atone for.

As she began concocting a cover story for her father and Dixon, it occurred to her that she had already made up her mind to go anyway.

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