Title: Blind Trust
Author: Jasmine
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Unveiled
Summary: Vaughn and Syd let it all out now that they both know the truth.
Author's Note: I know everyone's writing a post 'Unveiled' fic, but I couldn't help it. My muse attacked me in bed after the ep, and wouldn't let me go to sleep. So, instead of being a good girl and studying for the GRE, which I take in a few days...I wrote this. I know I was a bit angry with Vaughn for the way he talked to both Sydney and Jack, but we have to look at his side too. And while I think he should have noticed Lauren before, and I've been a bit disappointed with him, I still love him and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Thanks to Chatnoir for helping pick it apart and Angela for the beta! And BIG thanks to Michele for being there after the ep to chat because I was going nuts. (Dang time zones!)

With that said...enjoy! Please review! Hopefully this sudden inspiration will help me work on my WIPs once my test is done. (I know my friends will be happy if I work on them...they've been taunted with the beginnings for months now.)

*****

Raising his hand to the door, to Michael Vaughn's mind there seemed to be extra weight dragging it down along with his heart. Before he could change his mind, he knocked a quick succession on the door, and silently brought his arm down to his side. His eyes followed suit and focused on his worn tennis shoes that he'd worn while running just a half an hour ago. While his heart had calmed down from the exercise, it was beating at an incredible rate as he waited for the door to open.

His gut clenched suddenly, and he knew without a doubt that she was on the other side, pondering whether to open the door and talk to him. Bringing his eyes back up, he stared at the peephole willing her to give him a chance to talk. The cold metal door finally opened and there she stood, leaning against it carefully and effectively blocking the entrance to her apartment.

She gave no greeting; just glared at him. He wasn't surprised that she finally hated him enough not to say anything. While he had expected it earlier after her return, he'd been happy that she had been polite and tried to get along. That was not the case anymore.

The silence along with the cold, dead look in her eyes, almost made him want to turn around. But he would not leave, not now. He was going to fix things, and he was going to apologize, hoping for her forgiveness.

So he cleared his throat and all planned speeches left his head as he spoke three short words:

"You were right."

Eyes not leaving hers, he watched and waited as her mind processed his declaration. Wordlessly, she stood back, opening the door for him to walk inside. Following her, he quickly shut the door behind him and sat down on the couch beside her. The distance between them seemed daunting, though only a few feet separated them.

She curled up on her end of the couch with a pillow, tucking a leg underneath her carefully. Her eyes bored into his and he took a deep breath.

"I'm sorry." He looked up at her, trying to gauge her reaction. While her body was still tense, her eyes had softened. Her fingers held the pillow tightly, turning white as she waited for him to continue. Her hope had been dashed too many times.

Keeping his eyes on her, not allowing himself to waver, knowing he had to stay strong even though he was ready to break down at any second, he continued, choosing his words cautiously, "I shouldn't have said those things to you, and I know you would never make an accusation based out of spite."

Sydney finally broke out of her trance at his words, and replied, her words bordering on angry, yet sad at the same time. "No, I never would have. And that hurt a lot, Vaughn. I would never lie to you."

"I know. I'm sorry," he tried to apologize again, but she stopped him, shaking her head.

"Vaughn, I know you're sorry, but what I need you to know is that it was never about me. Never about my feelings or even my hopes. It was only about you." She paused a slight second, and smiled tiredly. "I know how important trust and loyalty are to you. I never wanted you to go through this pain, this betrayal."

Turning away from her, he leaned his head against the couch. "Been talking with your father?"

"If you're referring to his marriage, he's never told me anything. And I didn't send him to speak with you. He thought it was best if you heard it from someone other than me," she replied, though inwardly she knew that if her dad hadn't volunteered, she would have asked.

Vaughn sighed. "And yet I still wouldn't listen."

Curling the pillow in her hands, she felt the anger rise in her. He always took the blame. "You can't blame yourself. You trusted you wife. While we were together, I never had any suspicions about you because I trusted you. Completely. I didn't even want to consider that Yaeger could be right."

"And yet you brought it up with me," he pointed out.

"That's because it was out there in the open. They had proof. You were being investigated and they dragged me into it. But you had no reason to suspect Lauren. We trust the ones we love, Vaughn. Blindly. For months I didn't realize that I wasn't living with my best friend. Sure, things were off, but I chalked it up to the changes in both of our lives."

Taking a breath, she tried to calm herself down. She knew she would never get over Francie, and that she shouldn't berate Vaughn for the same thing, but the way he always had to protect her was sometimes frustrating. She wasn't the perfect person he thought she was, and he shouldn't hold her up to those standards.

Touching his shoulder, she willed him to turn back to face her. "Look at my dad. I think he's been hurt the most. He loved my mom for years, and never knew a thing. He's had to look at me everyday since then, seeing her in me, knowing of her deception and how he blindly trusted her. At least you've found out the truth, and you didn't have to go through years of lies. I know that doesn't take the pain away, but you can't let it ruin your life the way it ruined his."

Giving him a small smile, she softly added, "I just don't want you to beat yourself up over this, because she fooled us all."

He shifted his body on the couch, to face her directly. "But I do blame myself, Syd. This whole relationship...I look back on it and I don't understand how it even happened. I wasn't ready to move on. We didn't have a fight or break up. I was basically a grieving husband, even if only in my heart. I was never going to stop loving you, and she knew that. Yet, she pushed her way into my life." With a pause, he smirked. "Kind of like you."

"Hey! I didn't push," she exclaimed, a real smile gracing her face for the first time that day.

"Well I certainly wasn't expecting you," he retorted, the lightness of the conversation healing his heart just a bit.

Smacking him with her pillow, she just laughed and objected in a serious tone, "Sorry I found out that I worked for the bad guys and came to work for the good guys."

Recalling a conversation with her mother, he looked at her and knew that he to tell the truth. "If there's one thing I hope you can trust, is that I never regretted having you in my life. Never."

"Even with all the pain?" she asked, doubt still lingering in her mind.

"Even if I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, I would still want you in my life. I'd take your pain too if I could," he promised, his eyes burning bright with love and devotion. Never would he reject her just because of the complications and pain. If anything, she kept him together, and he wasn't about to let her go.

Sensing that this was one conversation that would be too painful for the moment, she steered it back towards the lighter side. Teasingly she claimed, "I doubt you could withstand all my burdens."

Quick with an answer and a smile, he joked, "So I'll put on some shoulder pads."

They both chuckled, and Sydney scooted a little closer to him, bridging the gap. His hand reached across and grasped hers tightly.

"Your father talked to me about his marriage...how he would ask her what she'd been doing and she would just kiss him, spontaneously, instead of answering him." Rubbing his thumb in circles on her palm, he paused before glancing up at her with sadness. "Lauren did the same thing."

"I'm sorry."

He shook his head and explained, "There have been so many times I never questioned her, and now they're glaringly obvious. The way she would ask certain questions about my missions, but cover it up as small talk or concern. Yet she would never disclose anything about her NSC duties or DC trips. Which by the way, always conspicuously coincided with our operations. And why did she suddenly fly from England after her father's funeral to see me at a safe house, knowing I was there for work?"

Letting out a sigh, he hung his head, staring at their fingers, entwined so simply, yet the gesture meant so much more to him. Bringing his focus back up to her, he revealed, "I found a wig from the Berlin club, along with a gun and passport in a fake bottom in her suitcase."

"You're kidding me."

"Nope."

Hanging her head, Sydney quietly muttered, "Maybe she is as dumb as she looks."

Vaughn glanced up quickly, shock on his face. Though it's not something that offends him anymore he realizes.

Sydney catches this and covers her mouth. "Sorry, I shouldn't have said that."

He chuckled and shook his head again.

"I just meant that I would have kept everything outside of your home," Sydney clarified, nervously tucking hair behind her ear. He nods, agreeing.

"Have you told my dad or Dixon?" she questions, hoping to move the conversation away from her poor attempt at masking her feelings. While she may not have made any accusations based on her feelings, it didn't mean she didn't have any feelings about the woman. In contrary, she had many. And they weren't all good.

Recognizing her embarrassment, he let it pass and answered, "I did, and they told me to maintain my marriage for now, until they can come up with a plan of action. They want to see if I can gather any intel from her. See how high up she's connected."

Sydney nods, knowing this would happen, and thankful that, throughout their talk, she didn't get her hopes up...not yet. In time things would work out, but it was best if she remained neutral.

"So any tips on being a double?" he asks with a weak smile. Leaning back against the couch, he can't help but shove a hand through his hair; his nerves back at the forefront.

Looking away, she stares out the window remembering her time as a double agent. She's thankful she doesn't remember her latest stint. Taking a deep breath and glancing back at him, she matches his weak smile. "All the world's a stage."

"Quoting Shakespeare?"

Proud that he recognized it, she recited, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts."

His forehead wrinkled in confusion, trying to understand what she was saying. "Excuse me?"

"You have to act like you've never acted before. No matter how much you might hate her, you have to love her. You have to convince her that there's no doubt in your mind that she's anything but your wife, and you love and trust her completely. She's acting too, and you have to use that to your advantage. She wants you to play into her arms. Everyday I wanted to slap Sloane or strangle him with my own hands, but I had to smile and act like normal. I had to tell myself that I was doing a job that was for good."

"You were," he interrupted, and he couldn't help but smile at her. Those years while she was at SD-6, he'd been so proud of her.

"Sure, during my counter missions. But you have to understand, Vaughn, that I went in there with a mindset of what it used to be like, before I knew, so I could act that part. I went in there to enjoy my day with my friends because I could still do that. You have to do the same. Think of your marriage while I was still dead. You were happy and you loved her," she advised, the pain already tearing away at her heart knowing the truth of her words.

"Syd..." He looked at her, the pain evident in his eyes as well.

"No, Vaughn. You have to. If she ever doubts you..." she trailed off, wiping away a stray tear. "I don't care if you have to hate me, and put me out of your mind so that you can be there for her."

Sitting up straight, he gripped her hands and protested, "I could never hate you. And I don't think she'll believe it. She's known that I never stopped loving you. Ever since you came back, it's been hard. I've had this inner battle going between my heart and my head. Not to mention the fights with Lauren about the fact too."

"You moved on once, Vaughn, do it again."

"But I don't want to move on again. It killed me once; I can't live through it a second time. I want you. Only you."

"And you have me, you always have. But for now, you have to love her. If you have to, every time you smile at her, be smiling because you know the truth. Think of revenge if you must, though that's not always a healthy pre-occupation." She paused and faintly smiled at him. "I went from pain and betrayal, wanting my revenge for Danny's death to wanting the one thing I couldn't have while I was a double. You. That's what drove me to the end. That's what kept me going. Yes, I still wanted to take Sloane down for what he did, but I wanted my own life to begin."

With a quick squeeze of her hands, she assured him, "The wait was worth it, and we'll do it again."

"You're stronger than I'll ever be, Sydney Bristow. I don't know if I deserve you," he confessed, though his eyes defied his words. They were glowing, knowing that he had the one thing he wanted. Her.

"I know my dad probably agrees, but I don't. You're the only person I've ever trusted completely, and the only person I've ever given my heart and soul to. I think I know what I want and what I deserve. I know I was harsh on you at the beginning...both times." In her mind, she smiled as she remembered the blood mobile and how often they fought in the beginning. However she quickly frowned at the memory of how she yelled at him when she came back. For having no faith. A shiver ran up her back, the memory felt all too fresh, and made her stomach churn at how cruel she'd been towards him.

Taking a slow, deep breath, she continued, "Once I calmed down, I realized you weren't to blame. You had every right to move on with your life, Vaughn. I moved on after Danny too. I didn't think I could ever love someone else or move on, but I did, and I realized that I found the one person I was truly meant to be with."

"You say that, but you know that it was still wrong of me," he argued.

Sydney wanted to throw up her hands, her frustration level rising. "Why? For wanting to ease the pain? For wanting to put the pieces of your life back together?"

Vaughn felt his defenses go up, wanting to prove his point. This couldn't be lightly tossed aside. They had lots of issues to work through. In an even voice, to prevent him from yelling at her when it wasn't her fault, he replied, "I knew you were the one, and yet I moved on with someone else. I made the one vow that I had only imagined with you."

Her heart wanted to dance at his revelation, having had the same vision, but she sighed, brushing her bangs to the side. "Nothing I say will ease your pain and your doubt, Vaughn, because it's all hindsight. We can't change the past. We can sit here dredging up all our choices, all our mistakes and not come to any agreement."

Looking directly in his eyes, she explained, "All we know is this: Lauren forced herself on you, and undoubtedly pushed the idea of marriage. I know in my heart that you loved me, and that's enough for me. This marriage will end, and we can be together again."

Vaughn shook his head. "You amaze me. I was pretty sure you hated me. I've hurt you way too much since you came back, and I don't think I can apologize enough."

Sydney let out a grin, but it fell as she spoke, "Oh, I've been pretty mad with you quite often, but usually I was more upset with myself for letting my hopes up when I shouldn't have ever dreamt that we could be together so easily. There's always some obstacle between us. It seems fate isn't on our side all the time."

"But we will have another chance, right?" he looked at her hopefully.

"We will."

Vaughn brought a hand up to her face, and gently caressed her cheek. Whispering in her ear, "I love you. Never doubt that."

She smiled, and another tear silently made a trail down her cheek. "I love you too."

Leaning in, he brushed the tear away with his thumb, and softly laid his lips upon hers, letting go of all the pain. His heart and soul were finally at ease, and he knew he would never rest until she was in his arms again.

Fin

Whew. Got that off my chest now.