Try to make a move just to stay in the game

Try to stay awake and remember my name

-- Keane, "Everybody's Changing"

Irina: We need to start trusting each other right now. (2: 8 The Passage, Part 1)

Irina Derevko knew she wasn't going to live forever. To think such a thing in the life she lived would have been foolish and very naïve. When she had driven her car into the river that cold November night, she knew she was leaving behind any chance she might have had for a happy ending.

Still, she didn't regret it, not really. She had been serving her country, as Jack had been serving his. For a moment, they had been happy, but some things just weren't meant to last. (This is what she told herself those lonely nights in a Kashmir cell, repeated over and over again until she believed it.)

She knew Jack wouldn't live forever either, and neither would Sydney, but until she'd seen them again, they hadn't been real to her. For her they'd existed so long as images in her mind, fragments of memory and half-buried emotion, and seeing them in the flesh had been wonderful and painful.

But she'd made her choices, and she would live with them.

And then she'd found herself in a warehouse with Jack's blood on her hands, and for the first time it sunk in that he really could die. She wished she'd never heard of Rambaldi, hated him for what he'd done to her family, and during those long hours of waiting while Jack was in surgery had come to a decision.

Whatever Rambaldi had to offer her and the world, it wasn't worth the price. And since his inventions would cause destruction in the wrong hands, she had to make sure she destroyed the most important ones.

She didn't explain what she was doing, or why, but went about it with the same ruthless efficiency she was known for.

It was over surprisingly quickly. And, just like that, she found herself with time on her hands. She flew halfway around the world and watched her daughter jog through the park. She watched through the window as her family sat down to dinner, together, and she felt the sharp pain of loss.

She had not retired, could not retire. This was her life and she would keep doing it until she died. But something was missing. Without Rambaldi, there was nothing to distract her from the life she had once walked away from.

She broke into Jack's house when he was not there, walked through rooms that were once familiar, and stopped, frozen in place, when she found their wedding album open on the coffee table.

And then she smiled, picked up the album, and slipped out of the house.

She stood at the water's edge, a solitary figure framed by the setting sun. Jack hesitated to approach her, second-guessing his decision to come here. Then she turned, and even in the fading light he recognized the uncertainty on his face as a mirror of his own.

He held up the postcard she'd sent: a shot of Bali at sunset, the very same view of ocean now before him. The message was simple: I miss you, and today's date. No signature, of course, but he'd known it was from her.

"I got your message."

She smiled. "I wasn't sure you'd come."

"Neither was I." He closed the remaining distance between them. "I thought about bringing a team of agents to take you in, but then I remembered I'd retired."

She nodded slowly. "And a team of agents would have dampened the mood."

He reached for her hand as if it was the most natural thing in the world for him to do. When she didn't pull away, he raised her hand to his mouth, brushing his lips over her knuckles.

"Happy anniversary, Irina."

"You remembered. I'm impressed."

"It's the first time in twenty years I've actually wanted to celebrate it."

Her smile softened. She turned, and led him up the beach. "Come on, I have a surprise for you."

"As long as it doesn't involve knives or explosives."

She laughed. "Only if you're good."

He caught her wrist and pulled her back, spinning her so she faced him. Her expression was surprisingly tender, and she gently placed her palm over his gunshot wound. She tilted her head up, and he met her lips in a kiss that began softly but quickly became more intense.

"My surprise—"

"Can wait."

She gave him a look that could frighten most people, but he just smiled. "You'll like the surprise, I promise."

"I don't doubt that." He released her, and followed her up to the hotel. "It's pretty quiet here, for tourist season."

"It's my hotel. Officially, it's been closed for renovations."

"Your hotel?"

"My beach, too."

He entered the elevator after her, and said nothing as they traveled to the top floor. He was enjoying being able to look at her without worrying that she would shoot him. When they stepped out of the elevator and reached the room, he chuckled.

"The honeymoon suite?"

"I thought it was appropriate." She unlocked the door and let it swing open. Jack looked around, his jaw hanging slack. He turned to Irina who was smirking at him.

Thirty years ago, he had made love to his wife in a room exactly like this one. She had been Laura then; she was Irina now, and he was no longer the young man he had once been.

Irina shut the door, walked over to the table and picked up a bottle of champagne. "Happy anniversary, Jack."

He crossed the room, took the champagne out of her hand, and led her to the bed. It was a long time later, and the champagne had already grown warm, by the time they finally toasted their anniversary.

And a new beginning.

The End.