Disclaimer: I do not own Alias or any of its situations or characters. I'm just temporarily playing in this sandbox and I'm definitely making no money from this.

Ill-fitting Answers

Two dark-haired women strode through the dark corridors of the large house. They moved through the deepest shadows of the hallway out of habit rather than necessity as they brushed past everything around them with single-minded focus.

Both women were armed, of course, but neither carried a weapon as they went deeper into the residence. Large wooden doors loomed ahead of them at the end of the corridor and for the first time the taller of the two women moved ahead of the other. They paused for just an instant, exchanging a quick glance filled with silent communication before the taller women turned away and pushed the door open heavily. She walked into the room, head held high with a defiant jutt of her chin, as the women behind her slipped a hand back to caress the butt of the gun that was tucked into the small of her back with only a discrete flash of motion.

The second women hesitated only for a moment out of caution and uncertainty before following the first women into the room. She matched the first women's defiant gesture with a tilt of her head that held a challenge for the world at large.

"Sydney. Nadia." The voice was rich with a depth of emotions, but held no surprise at the unannounced visitors. Irina Derevko rose from her seat at the window and approached the sisters standing side by side. She circled them slowly, arms wrapped tightly around her body, studying them and burning this image of them together into her memory.

"You're our mother." It was Nadia who spoke first, impatience coloring her bold statement.

Sydney shifted slightly, moving a little away from Irina and Nadia, and watched the tense attempt at a conversation. She wasn't quite sure why she was here, only that it had seemed right to use the information that Sloane had provided her with concerning Irina, after Nadia had confronted her about their mother. It had begun with a visit to a mausoleum and then morphed into this meeting. She wasn't certain that was prepared for this- for being drawn close to Irina Derevko again- and she was certain that Nadia wasn't. But- but her mother was an irresistible force that drew her near and pushed her away with incredible power.

"I am." Irina met Nadia's gaze unflinchingly.

They held their stare for several tense moments and then both broke the impasse at the same moment, wrapping each other in a fierce embrace, tears streaming down Nadia's face.

Irina reached up to carefully stroke the top of Nadia's head with a mother's comforting touch. "My little girl," she whispered so softly that Sydney almost couldn't hear her.

They remained that way, unwilling to step away from each even as Irina raised her eyes to look at her other daughter.

"Sydney," she said softly, pulling slightly away from Nadia, gently releasing her from the embrace.

"Mom." A wry twist of her lips revealed only a jaded smile. Sydney didn't rush forward as Nadia had done nor did she glare in anger. "If you wanted to see us, a postcard would have worked- even an e-mail or a phone call. You didn't have to put a hit out on me and fake your death."

"It took care of two problems with one solution," Irina admitted, feeling the need for no other explanations beyond that.

Sydney nodded as if she had expected that answer and then asked, "But why Sloane? Why not have Dad tell me that you were alive?"

Irina only smiled mysteriously in response. "Arvin still suits my purpose," she said vaguely.

She glanced back towards Nadia then, and gently pulled her youngest daughter closer to her. "I missed you both so much. There is much that you both need to know." She released Nadia quickly and then began walking towards a door that led deeper into the house.

Nadia followed her cautiously as Sydney only watched. Irina glanced back as she came to the door and looked questioningly back at Sydney. "Are you coming, Sweetheart?"

Sydney looked first at Nadia, as if trying to ascertain what her sister was thinking and saw only a reflection of hopes that she had once held concerning their mother. She shook those thoughts away and looked down. She had come there seeking answers, seeking the truth, seeking to get to know her sister, and seeking to find her mother. She had nothing left but questions and old answers that no longer fit. There was no reason for her not to follow.

"I'm here."

So this is just a weird little ficlet that popped into my head after watching Authorized Personell Only. I'm totally spoiler free for Season 4 so I have no clue about anything here. The speculation in here is just my own speculation based on two of Alias's main principals.

1. Irina Derevko is never really dead.

2. Arvin Sloane knows everything!