Reflections on a New Year by Chris Anderson

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

I have not made a New Years' resolution in over thirty years. Not a single one. At first this was because it was an American custom, and later, because I did not wish to think too much about the future. It would have been enough, if I were only to survive another day, another month, another year.

They sat and they laughed, that New Year after I left Jack, my colleagues and my old friends. Laughed at how my leaving had broken him.

They never knew how much it had broken me, too.

And now... now it is the first New Year since I have learned my daughter lives, and I have things to do. I must know what happened to her, why she cannot remember. I must know who it was that took her from us, why they wished it to seem she had killed a man who was not dead.

I am not certain that I believe Arvin Sloane when I am told he says he had nothing to do with this. It will be a cold day in the hell whose existence I am not certain of, before I will ever consider believing Arvin Sloane. About anything. He lies as easily as other men breathe, and I have always known it.

Not for the first time do I regret that I did not kill him years ago, before he had the opportunity to hurt my daughter. For if he has not done this, he has done other things, some of them perhaps worse.

He destroyed her innocence, and he killed the one she loved. He took her from the world she should have lived in, brought her into this world, *our* world, his and mine and Jack's, and he did this when, if he truly loved her as we did, he would have fought to keep her from it.

He should have died first. As Jack would have. As I would have.

Done is done, and perhaps I should forgive it- she is good at what she does, and in her way I think that she loves it, though she longs for normalcy she can never now have.

But for my daughter I wanted something else, and I will never forget that it was Arvin Sloane who kept her from that.

Nor will I forget that it was he who had her best friend murdered, an entirely innocent girl, one who knew *nothing* of any of this.... that it was he who modified the genes of the girl's killer, so that she could take her place.

I never met Francie Calfo, and I am not certain that I would have liked her, but that hardly matters. We would have held in common a love for Sydney, to whom she was a true friend, and that would have been enough. She was innocent, even more so than Sydney was when she was brought into this, and innocents... Innocents should not be dragged into our world.

For years I thought the double, Francie's killer and Sloane's agent, was dead, killed by Sydney before her own 'death'. But now I know differently. Jack tells me that Sydney has seen her, and fought her, and again when she should have died, she lives.

Her name is Allison Dorian, and she serves now the people I believe hold the answers to Sydney's missing years. And the only thing that may save her is a prayer, if answered, that she should never cross my path.

I do not believe in prayers, and there are few who can hide from me if I seek them avidly enough.

As I seek Allison.

As I seek Allison, and her lover. Once my student, my apprentice, he thinks that he has moved beyond me now, that the apprentice has become the master. And as to which master, I do not know; he always wanted to serve as many as possible, and if he finds himself caught between them, well, what then?

I had hope for him once. Now I realize he doesn't understand, that he may never understand. He has flexible loyalties, which I find contemptible. Jack, when I made mention of this, joked that perhaps I was developing something approaching a conscience in my old age.

Ah, my darling- tact has never been the greatest of your gifts. I laughed, kissed him, ran my hands through his grey hair- and which of us is *old*, darling, hmm?

*Men.* Impossible to live with...and yet without him I am but half of what I can be.

I picked up the thread of the conversation sometime later, my head pillowed on his shoulder.

"Sark," I told him, "was mine. He could have been my right hand. What is he now? He pretends loyalty to all of us; lip service to me, a duck of his head to Sloane, and to the Covenant- whatever they desire of him."

"Do you," he asked, playing with a strand of my hair, "really need a right hand?"

"I don't," I said. "But that's hardly the point. Others would have killed for the opportunities he threw away."

"They *did*, as I recall."

I laughed. "I cannot believe you heard about that."

"Modesty does not suit you, Irina. Millions of operatives from hundreds of organizations slept very lightly when word began to spread that Irina Derevko was taking on an apprentice."

"And after all of that, he wasn't worth it." I sighed. "He betrayed me, Jack, and he is not so much of a fool that he doesn't know what that will mean for him. Or he *should* know. Whatever his loyalties, whomever he had shifted towards at any given time, he should have *known*-"

Tears of fury slipped from my eyes, began to run down my face.

"What-?" Jack asked.

"Sark and Dorian are lovers, Jack. He *knew*. He knew Sloane's plans for Sydney, and he said nothing. And he knew- oh, he knew! I made it clear to him, as I did to all of those who worked for me, or ever had, that I expected loyalty, and that if they turned away from me without my blessing, they might have cause to regret it. And even more than that, I told them... Jack and Sydney Bristow are *sacred*. Your names did not touch their lips but I was to know about it, every word, just as it was spoken! They knew the consequences. I made certain that they did."

"He knew this, and he said nothing to you?"

"If he had-" I sighed. "If he had, Jack, I would have moved heaven and earth to stop it from happening."

"You don't believe in heaven."

"And even so."

I felt him nod. "He *is* a fool, then. I shudder to think what he could have been if he had truly taken your lessons to heart." And he sounded angry then, the father's anger when someone has hurt his little girl.

From the moment she was born, all I ever wanted was to protect my daughter. And I have failed at it, time and again. I nearly lost her, and when I had thought she was dead, that I had failed her one last time-

I did not think much of holidays in those two years. I did not think much of any number of things. And the first year, both the best and the worst; at least I was not alone. Jack was with me then, and we would sit together, silent for hours, sharing our grief the only way we could when it was too fresh to speak of. Other times, we hardly got out of bed, grief and a needy sort of lust our whole worlds.

I have never in my life *needed* so badly, the touch of another human being. And part of me is shamed to admit it, but the rest of me is, almost strangely, not. If love is all I have left in this world, why should I not cling to it, hold it fast?

I needed him no less when Sydney was returned to us, though that first time, after I learned she was alive, when the stars had aligned so that we could meet, we came together at last in joy. I had forgotten that love could be so sweet.

But now it seems the old despair has returned. I thought the answers would come easier now, but they don't. Some of them are harder.

And I still have work to do. Now more than ever.