Title: A Decade Under the Influence
Author: Nat
Summary: She was positive that happy endings didn't happen to people in her profession.
Pairing: Jack/Irina, brief mentions of Syd/Vaughn
Spoilers: The Season 5 Final
A/N: This was for the Alias: Dearly Departed ficathon challenge and is for joylee56!

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I. And will this be my happily ever after?

She was positive that happy endings didn't happen to people in her profession. (Take her parents for example. Two alias's, one fake death and too many betrayals to count later and they still don't know whether to kill each other or attempt to show the love cupid bestowed upon them.)

But Isabelle had been born, a healthy beautiful, normal baby girl. Vaughn had come back to her. She'd finally quit her job at the CIA and finally she had the loving relationship, every daughter dreams to have with her father.

She's absolutely sure fate has other ideas for her and her family, it's got one more hand to play and it's just a matter of time before it's revealed.

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II. Never question a father's love for his daughter

Jack Bristow is many things, and the fact that he's patient and loving and incredibly soft around Isabelle surprises her so much.

She can't remember, Jack Bristow – Father. Her childhood is so blurred (with too much pain of losing a mother, then the absence of a father.) that most of her memories are fleeting and completely random.

She watches him sometimes, when he's completely unguarded with her daughter. A smile that she's so unfamiliar with firmly spread across his lips as he lifts Isabelle into the air and she gurgles happily in response.

Soon he's making plane noises, and zigzags Isabelle through the air (who in turn squeals in delight, flailing her arms around). She can feel the sting of unexpected tears and it takes all of her self control to stay completely still and silent.

Seeing him with Isabelle and the way he cares for her, her chest constricts with so much love for him, for her father, and she knows he's trying so hard to make up for past mistakes and she just can't put into words how much that means to her.

And she knows that years ago, that this love and devotion was focus at her, and still is.

(Though he can't pick her up anymore and spin her around like an aeroplane.)

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III. Off key and heavily influenced

It's no surprise that Irina Derevko is the one to coax Isabelle's first words out of her mouth. Given enough time, she could charm secrets out of anyone and make them feel proud for telling her (in some twisted way everyone wants to please her).

Since the birth of Isabelle, her mother has been a frequent visitor, despite the danger of being caught in the US (a threat that she's seen both her Mother and Father argue about on many occasions) Irina Derevko spends as much time as she can with her grandchild.

They sit together for hours. Irina curled into a corner of the couch, Isabelle on her lap, and all she can hear are hushed whispers.

Isabelle seems to act different around her grandmother, Sydney has noticed (her father thought she was insane when she said something to him about it). She's quiet and doesn't fuss, her usual bubbly character subdued and replaced with something more curious and calculating.

Her mood tends to linger after Irina returns her (not for long, but Sydney sees it.)

It's during one of these moments that she (in the kitchen drinking coffee while reading the paper trying to catch up on the latest world events) hears a distinct 'Mama!'

She finds Irina smiling down at her daughter with a smile of pure pride, and her daughter with an equally proud smile. Their eyes locked, the deepest brown, with a touch of the dangerous Derevko glint, and Sydney actually feels like she's intruded on something.

A second later, Irina turns to her and smiles (and all there is, is extreme joy in her eyes) and hands her Isabelle, who giggles and repeats her new found word over and over again.

-

IV. And I hope this isn't love

Her parents still surprise her.

She's seen the capability of hate they can direct at each other, the heart wrenching betrayals that not one, but both of them inflicted on the other. It's torn her apart for years, and makes her think about destiny and soul mates (she's sure that her and Vaughn are soul mates, and she's also positive that her parents are as well, but just a different kind) and it always brings her back to the irreversible tangle of fate that her parents are caught in.

It's only in the past few weeks that she's realised the true depth of love that they feel for each other, she'd seen glimpses of it over the years, but she never really understood it and suddenly it all makes sense to her how completely consuming love can be.

Its only that, that has kept her parents together for so long, and gave them the ability to get past all of their tainted history and it makes her pray to god that she will never love Vaughn that way.

With raw need, that takes hold of your soul.

They're the modern day Romeo and Juliet, but they survived.

-

V. Remember to Feel Real

She looks forward to Sunday afternoons.

They've all fallen into a familiar routine, even though none of them admit it or speak of it and today she determine to break it. She's supposed to be sleeping (a good few hours of uninterrupted sleep) but she can't help it, her curiosity has gotten the better of her.

Staying hidden, she watches her parents with her daughter, their grand daughter.

Her father is lying on the couch, Isabelle on his chest babbling happily to her self as she tries to grab hold of whatever she can (which happens to be Jacks chin) and then lets out a delighted squeal when Jack pretends to bite her fingers.

Her mother then comes into view, and sits on the couch facing her father, their hips touching. As soon as Irina sits down, Isabelle's attention wanders over to her grandmother, and she starts to squirm.

They both watch their grandchild with careful and loving eyes, as she begins to try and turn herself around (kicking Jack in the chin). They both laugh softly, smiling at Isabelle's antics and while they're both watching the child, Sydney watches her mother reach over and slip her hand into her fathers, their fingers entwined.

(Suddenly the child is not Isabelle, and her mother's name is not Irina and this is a rare glimpse into the childhood she can't remember. Her parents so easily slipping into the role once more, as if the two decades between them never existed.)

And finally it dawns on her; it isn't about happily ever afters or forever. It's about stolen moments like this, the ones they weren't suppose to get, and that she thinks, that she can live with.