Title: First Step
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: If they belonged to me, I would be much happier. And not in the desert.
Spoiler: Up through the season four finale. (Though I've yet to see an s4 episode. Weird, eh?) Probably AU after that.
Pairing: S/V
Summary: Twice she had been proposed to, both times ending in tragedy. AU after season four finale.

Do I dare tell yall this is my first Alias piece? Eh, its short anyway so please read, respond, and (hopefully) enjoy!

The rain fell, soaking the earth past saturation. Her boots, destroyed by water and but, lay discarded on the porch behind her. Her now bare feet sank comfortably into the wet ground.

Lifting her face towards the pouring heavens, Sydney closed her eyes and allowed the sweet rain water to run through unbound hair, down pale skin and past softened brows and thick lashes. Water coursed over and down her cheeks, rivulets catching just above her lips. A pink tongue darted past them to catch the falling water.

She supposed, as she stood there surrounded by the towering trees, layers of early autumn clothing soaked through to the skin, that this could be seen as a baptism of sorts. The rain washing away past sins, both familiar and unknown, the flimsy promise to start life anew.

Behind her the door to the small rented cabin swung open on rusted hinges, and she smiled as the footsteps stopped just above the top step, just behind the curtain of falling water pouring from the roof. Without turning around, without dropping the small secretive smile, Sydney lifted her hand back towards him and beckoned him with a word, knowing he'd weather the rain. "Vaughn."

During the first few months following the accident, after he has told her the truth - finally - about everything, he seemed to wince every time she called him by that name. To him, it seemed that each time she was purposefully reminding him of the well intended deceptions, of the reasons why she had called off their brief engagement. Thankfully the winces were gone now, and she even thought she saw the familiar warmth soften his eyes the tiniest bit when she called to him.

Sydney heard him toe off his own shoes, chuckling at the loud gasp as the cold rain immediately soaked his body. She felt him draw closer, and when his finger clasped hers she pulled him into an embrace, back against chest, arms securely trapping arms.

His nose softly brushed against the outer curve of her ear, the feather light caress sending little thrills down her spine, and she hoped he knew the reason she hadn't called him by his given name. That at the end of everything he would always be Vaughn, the only person in the mess of lies and deception that made up her life that she could turn to. That at the end of everything he would look at her, know everything she had done both good and bad, and still somehow manage to make her feel extraordinary and impossibly loved.

Even when the hurt and her pride had forced her to return the ring, a part of her had known that. Since then another year had passed, another year wasted, and she was tired of watching time slip by her like the drops of water that ran over them both. Twice she had been proposed to, both times ending in tragedy and forcing open chapters of her life she could never before imagine.

This time would be different.

His nose left her ear, and she briefly allowed him a moment to tease the arch of her neck with the bridge and tip, pulling away before the delicious tingles turned into something more. Confused he looked at her, poorly disguised fear lingering near the surface as he waited.

"Marry me." It wasn't a question or a demand, but more of a consent.

The fear left, replaced by a joy and that look that always left her breathless. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." His smile was almost too much, almost too brilliant. She pressed her lips against his, and there was a sweetness there she hadn't felt in too long.

This time would be different. This time, she was the one making the first step.