Disclaimer: I don't own Alias. Or this idea. Sadly. Well, I mean, the plot was my idea, but the general idea of Vaughn burning his house down was JJ Abrams'. Don't forget it. No lawsuits on me.

Dedication: To Caytie, for our rabid talks about Donna Troy worship and Alias.

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If you play with fire, you're gonna get burned.

It was a saying Michael Vaughn had heard since he was born. His father would repeat it often in his childhood, among other odd maxims he'd found applicable to life in the agency. Even Weiss was known to use it every once in a while in his uniquely obscure and oftentimes random advice giving. The negative connotations that went hand in hand with the meaning had always been clear to Vaughn…always.

Until now.

He sat on the sidewalk outside his house with a box of matches, plucking them out one by one and striking them, coaxing them into a small flame. The fire would crawl down the thin, frail wooden body of the match, crippling everything in its path until they found his fingers; scorched his skin and he cursed and swore and shook the flame out of its pathetic existence. Despite the sting that was beginning to grow more and more painful by the minute, Vaughn continued to strike each and every match in the box and let the fire char his fingertips and cause him greater hurt.

It was almost therapeutic.

He'd killed her. He'd killed Lauren. He'd killed his wife. He hated her. She was, simply put, the worst kind of evil. She deserved to die. She had tortured him with physical and emotional pain far greater than the way these little flames were torturing him now, but he almost admired the metaphor. With a few simple blows, he'd ended her life, not unlike what he was doing to these matches right now.

He should become a poet.

Vaughn grinned at this odd thought, but it was a sick, twisted kind of grin that he hoped no one would ever see on his face. Cloaked in darkness, only a tiny succession of lights to alert anyone of his existence, he watched as his second to last match burned down to his fingers. He let the fire play there, hardening the once soft pads that held the flame up to eye level and entertained the idea of simply walking away.

The fire died on his fingertips, and he knew that there was no turning back.

He rose from the sidewalk, still staring at the house in front of him with hollow eyes. A flick of his wrist lit the final match, and he let it burn until he felt the mere spark lick his skin. Vaughn threw the match then, at the gasoline drenched porch and stared vacantly as it burst into wild, uncontrollable fire. He took a few steps back so as not to be harmed by the now raging flames that ate his previous home at a rapid pace, unable to help but smile at what he'd done. So maybe he'd get a year's worth of psyche evaluations for this. To hell with it.

What was left of his house the following morning and burns that marked his thumb and index fingers were all the therapy he'd ever need.

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I finally saw S3, which was killer in my opinion. Only, they didn't really shut down the Covenant, just the US operations. They left a lot of questions unanswered, and that bothered me a lot. Like, what about Cole? And who's the big leader of the Covenant that Cole was representing? And who, if not Irina, was Jack talking to online (Lauren mentions something about this at the end and alludes to the fact that Jack killed Irina much earlier in the season)? S4 was always my favorite, though. Anyways, at the beginning of S4, Weiss mentions that Vaughn burned his house down. It was actually an amusing scene with Weiss talking about it ("Yeah, but still…fire"), but I was just thinking about…how dark that moment must have been for Vaughn, and I felt the need to write a little introspection on it. I hope you all enjoyed it.

Love,
SushiChica