Hi folks, I thought I'd write a short story. I was listening to this song FALLIN' by Alicia Keys and then some sort of scenario formed itself into my head, and I told myself: "Well, what the heck?" And I decided to put it on the screen.
Of course, it's a S/V story, and since I believe in faith, and that we are close to people we were also close to in another life, and that you meet people you were supposed to meet…there it is.
WARNING: S/V shippy. Hehe.
I don't own the characters of Sydney Bristow, Michael Vaughn and Francie. But I do own Mark.
SPECIAL THANKS: to Jeanne who beta'd it for me. xxx.
*~*~*~*~*

~ Falling ~


It was about 5 pm, and Francie wanted to go eat to that restaurant we love so much to go to. It's this little kind of place where you can have a great dinner and still eat in peace. It was Italian, and I love Italian food. Plus, after all of the events of the last few weeks, I deserve a good meal and wine. I got out of the shower and stared at myself in the mirror. I had lost weight. I could see it in my face and my hips. They were bonier than before…before Danny died. I took a deep breath and walked towards the closet to pick up my beautiful cream-colored dress. It was strapless. It would be great for tonight even if it was December. It was usually hot in that restaurant.

"Syd? Are you ready?" I heard Francie call from the kitchen.

"Yes, almost!" I answered. "I need to put some makeup on and I'm also looking for my shoes!" I shouted to her. Francie. I was so lucky to have her. And to live with her was a relief. I could talk to someone when I got home from the missions. I need to ventilate when I get here, it's good for me. I feel so weird when a mission is complete, it's like my feelings are all mixed up: fear, excitement, tiredness, joy. But one thing is sure, I need to talk. Ah! my shoes! "Got them Francie! Wait a sec!" I almost yell to her, not knowing where she is in the apartment. I put the shoes on and then stare at myself for a while. What was I saying? Oh yes, I need to talk…Talk. Yeah…I wonder why I called Vaughn the other night. He must have thought I was crazy. I had just come home from Argentina and it has been terrible: Dixon was in the hospital, the mission had failed, and I really needed to talk to someone. Francie had left me a note saying that she was staying at Charlie's place for the night. Ark, it made me want to puke! Where's my purse? Oh yes, I left it on the couch. Sure I'm happy for her, but it just reminds me every damn time I see them or another couple that I'm all alone. Before it was me and Danny. And now it's me and me. But Vaughn…I know deep inside why I called him, but I don't want to admit it to myself. He understands me and I like him. I Like him. God I feel like I'm betraying Danny even if it's been months since he died. I loved him deeply and I know I'll never forget him, but I can't hold on to him forever. I know I can't. Outch, it hurts to think that. And when Vaughn asked me that question last week about my love interest?…I thought I was going to die when the numbers went up. I was all "No, no! Ask me again!" I couldn't believe I could like somebody else. One thing is for sure, to like is easy but to love is something else. Like. Love. Like a lot maybe? Mmmm.

"Sydney?" Asked Francie in a sweet voice. I looked up and she was near the door. "Are you alright honey?" I saw in the mirror that I had tears in my eyes.

"Yes Fran, I'm okay." I told her smiling. "I'll be fine."

*~*~*

"Hey handsome! What are you doing for dinner?" It was my cousin Mark. I started laughing.

"I'm not cooking for you if that's what you think." I replied. I was still at work, it was past 5:30pm and the day had been too long for my liking.

"Mickey! Don't tell me you won't do some pasta primavera for your favorite cousin! I'm hurt!" I smiled. It was always the same thing with him, and he would finish with and actually, I always did. "Alright then, we'll go to that nice place I know. You'll never want to leave it." Mark said.

"Okay Mark, I'll pick you up at 6."

"Why don't I pick you up at work? I'd love to meet your colleagues." He was always trying to find out where I work and who were my friends. He thought I was an accountant. Everybody does.

"Bye Mark, see you in a few." And then I hung up. He was teasing me for it, said I was antisocial and didn't have a life, but I didn't care. He knew that I wasn't with Alice anymore, and he just couldn't miss the opportunities to try to hook me up with a friend of his, or saying I'd die an old frustrated man sitting on his couch while smoking his cigarettes. Ark, I hate everything that darkens your lungs. But he was funny and he could take my mind off of the CIA work. Sometimes it was a good idea because my energy supply starts to be poor these days. The only thing I love is when I see Sydney. I can't help myself. I like her. I may more than like her but its too soon for me to admit it. Anyway she's not ready. Not ready for anyone right now. And surely not ready for me.

I say goodnight to Weiss, leave work, and then I go home to take a quick shower. I grab my blue sweater, put grey pants on and then go pick up Mark. It's Friday night, I feel like I can breathe again.

*~*~*

It's nice and cosy here, Francie is looking great too. It's a girls'night out. I smile.

"What would you like?" The waitress asks us.

"A pitcher of Sangria please. You do use fresh orange juice right?" I ask her. I can't help myself, Sangria with fake orange juice taste like crap.

"Yes we use real orange juice." She looks at me like she'd be glad to spit in my drink, but I don't care. I smile at her and say "thank you" very politely.

"You had to ask." Francie say to me laughing.

"No real orange juice, no Sangria. That's my motto." I smile and then I see Francie's face lighting up. I hear men voices in my back and I feel like I know one of them.

"Mark!?" I hear Francie say as she stands up.

"Francine!" He says as I turn to look who's there. Two men are standing in front of me, one is Vaughn who smiles softly at the situation. Beside him, the guy Francie is hugging, is about his height and weight, but with blue eyes and black hair. Less cute though. "It's been so long honey! How are you?" He asks her.

"I'm fine and you?" I stare at them wanting to laugh but I have to act as if I don't know Vaughn at all. So I try to act the weird situation thing when there's a reunion going on that you ignored everything about. I had heard Francie talked about a Mark before, I just never thought in hell he'd know Vaughn. This is awkward.

"Great! I'm engaged to Charlie now. Where's Niva?" She says showing him her ring.

"Working. The bloody lucky bast*rd! How is he doing?"

"Great!" Francie realize how weird this is and decides to present us. "Mark this is my good friend Sydney Bristow. Syd, this is Mark Burnett. I met him last year with Charlie when we were cruising on the boat."

"Hi." I say politely to him giving him my hand to shake his. "Pleased to meet you."

"Me too. This is Michael Vaughn, my cousin." I can see his eyes laughing. We smile at each other and shake hands. "Pleased to meet you too."

"You want to join us?" Francie asks. Actually I don't mind. I think it could be interesting.

"Only if it's okay with you two?" Mark says looking at Vaughn, and Francie staring at me.

"Sure." We both answer. They sat down and the waitress walks towards us for them.

"What would you like to drink?" She asks with a deep breath. She really looks like she hates her job.

"I'll take a beer." Vaughn says.

"Which one?" The waitress asks.

"Do you have Grolsh?"

"Yes we do." She sounds exasperated.

"Is it in a bottle or in a can?" Vaughn wants to know. She stares at me with wide eyes and then stares back at him.

"A bottle." She looks desperate.

"I'll take a Bud then." He finally says. I can see Francie on the verge of laughter and after me and my *real orange juice * situation earlier, I just put my hands in front of my mouth and I giggle. Francie is about to burst.

"Same for me." Mark answer. And then off the waitress goes. This does it for Francie who starts laughing out loud.

"Oh my god!" She says looking at Vaughn. "You two are something!"

"What?" He says a bit shyly, staring at me and then at Francie.

"Earlier, Sydney was all asking about her Sangria pitcher, if it was going to be fresh orange juice in it, and now you ask all those questions about the beer. I think she might quit her job after tonight."

"Well, this beer doesn't taste the same in a bottle or in a can. It's actually only good in a can." He said matter-of-factly.

"It's true," I added. "I tasted both and it's not very good in the bottle." I wonder why.

After a while, Francie and Mark were talking together, telling each other what happened through the last year and I thought it was funny. I actually didn't know what to say to Vaughn.

"So what do you do for a living?" I said to him so formally that he had to smile. I thought I'd faint. He just looked so damn hot in this blue sweater.

"Mickey here is an accountant." Said Mark in his place. He must have been eavesdropping. I saw Vaughn's face getting red at the mention of his name.

"Mickey?" I asked in reply to Mark. This is getting interesting.

"Yes, as a kid, Little Vaughn here used to have a huge head, so we called him Mickey Mouse for it, and then it's stayed as Mickey."

"I never had a big head." Vaughn said in his own defense, but I could see he wanted to laugh.

"Oh! I see." I try to hide my smile but I know it shows. "Cute name." To think that my boss is called Mickey after a Disney cartoon is weird. To think of him as my boss is weird enough for me.

The dinner goes well, we talk about a lot of things trying not to show that we actually know each other. Mark asked me what I do and I told him that I work in a bank. It doesn't seem to impress him. Yeah, I bet. It's not very entertaining.
I'm really enjoying the dinner and I can see Vaughn is too. It's nice to talk about something else than work. I learn a lot of goofy things he and Mark used to do as kids. I laugh. I take a break from all of this pep talk and stare at the musicians. They are playing nice music and the singer is very good, she has a beautiful voice. Some couples are dancing, the place is charming, they've put the Christmas decorations up. I hear laughs. I get out of my dream and then I see that Mark is asking Francie to dance with him. Oh no… I don't know why but I feel anxious. Vaughn stares at me with his gorgeous green eyes.

"You know it will look weird if we don't go dance." He tells me in a low voice. He sounds so confident.

"Yeah, I know." It's the only words I can find.

"Then shall we?" He asks me, almost with a grin.

"Sure." I stand up and we walk towards the dance floor.

*~*~*

When I first saw Sydney there, I was so surprised and so pleased at the same time. I know I shouldn't think of her this way, but I couldn't help feeling a little squeeze in my chest and a warm feeling growing all throughout my blood. God she looked stunning! The pale colour of her dress made her look like an angel. Who would have thought this girl was kicking butt most part of the day and that she was as though as a rock…but yet as fragile as crystal too. I saw the weird, uncomfortable look in her eyes when she saw me, it was probably the same that she saw in mine, but after a while I was so thankful for this little time that we could share together.
I was listening to everything she said, and I was eager to learn more about her. The worst part was Mark telling all of those embarrassing things we did as kids, but she was laughing at them. I think it was the first time I really saw her laugh. Yes, she really was smiling from the heart, it gave me pleasure. I smiled too. Our eyes met and then I'm sure I went crimson coloured. I could feel the heat going out of every pore of my skin. She gave me such a sweet smile I could just have died right there. Be careful Vaughn, this is dangerous territory.
I take a sip of my beer and then the food came not long after. Great, eating would occupy my hands because all I could think of was her sitting next to me our hands about 3 inches apart. I'm sure that if I focused hard enough I could feel the touch of her skin on mine…what it would be like. This is pure torture. I shouldn't see her this way, I should see her as my subordinate. I'm her boss, she's only 6 years younger than me for god's sake! I'm not thinking of myself as her superior, I just can't do that. I can give her orders, but I feel weird giving them to her. I never had that problem before…hell I never had someone that I felt so attracted to before. Never in my life did I meet a woman that could make me loose focus that much. This could kill her. But at the same time I want to be the one making sure she's safe. I can't handle the pressure of knowing that a jacka$$ is playing with her life. I could punch Sloane right in the face for what he did to her. Liar. In some sort of twisted way, you're glad Danny is dead because now you've met her, and she wouldn't have looked twice at you if he was still alive. Or would she have? Nonsense.

We all do small talk and then Francie stands up and goes dancing with Mark. Uh-oh. I have no choice now, it would look awkward if we didn't dance. Would it? I want to dance with her, it may be my only chance of getting close to her for a while. Be a man, Vaughn! Ask her, she'll probably say yes. The thing is that sometimes she looks at you like you are nobody, and then at some other moment you see it. It's in her eyes while she stares at you. You see confusion. And then she looks sad for a second, looks away and touches the ring Danny gave to her for their engagement.

I finally ask her to dance and she says yes. I feel high headed.

*~*~*

When we get to the dance I feel the blood going out of my head. I think I'll faint. I'm stressed, I feel panicked. HELP! I look down at my feet and then I feel his hand taking mine. My hands are cold but his aren't. I look up and smile nervously. I see him start a weaked smile at the corner of his mouth, but I can tell he is as nervous as I am.

"Come on." He talks to me in a low voice for nobody to hear. I can hear the piano starting the melody. I don't know this song. "A small dance wont kill you, I promise I don't bite." I have no idea why I reacted this way but I laughed a bit at the last comment. Am I fourteen years old? Oh god, I made him feel uncomfortable I can see it. He takes a deep breath. I do the same as he puts his right hand on my lower back and I put my left one on his right shoulder. I know he's looking at me but I can't look at him. I'm afraid to. If I look than I'll do something stupid. Some foolish thing like stopping to think about Danny for a few seconds, and afterwards I'll feel weird. Confused. Like I thought something I shouldn't have. I'm fighting the feelings I'm starting to have for him. I feel them and then I want to get out of them as soon as I do. But they always come back. Do I want them to come back? Or would I prefer for them to stay away from me? I take a chance and look at him. His green eyes are fixed on mine for a second and then as the lyrics of the song starts, we get closer and we find ourselves cheek to cheek.


~I keep on fallin'
In love with you
Sometimes I love you
Sometimes you make me blue
Sometimes I feel good
Sometimes I feel used
Loving you darling
Makes me so confused.~


Weirdly, I feel great in his arms. It's been a long time since I felt like I belonged somewhere. He's the first man in years to know absolutely everything about my life. I trust him completely, I couldn't give him more than what I'm giving him right now: my life. He has it in his hands and every single move is crucial to my safety. It's great to have someone you can lean on. And he is so nice to me. When he gave me my dad's files, I thought I could just kiss him, but it would have been inappropriate then. What about now? I can sense that things are changing, but I have to not panic about them. Everything is always for the best. I relax. I take a deep breath as we move to the rhythm of the music. God he smells good…


~I keep on fallin' in and out of love with you
I never loved someone the way that I'm loving you~


Is it what's happening to me? Am I falling? Is it why I want to hate him so much sometimes? He so can make me feel like I'm wearing wings, and the next second I feel like he just stabbed me. You know, Sydney, that you two can't be together. You'd end up hurting each other, or worst, you could both end up dead. I don't know why I'm doing this, but the hand that was on his right shoulder is now slowly moving up to the back of his neck where I can touch his skin. I could swear to god he just shivered under my touch. Oh dear…He gets closer to me.


~Oh! I never felt this way
How do you give me so much pleasure?
And cause me so much pain?
Just when I think that I take more than would a fool
I stop falling back in love with you~


I don't know where to go, I don't know what to think. Should I leave? No, it would look very odd. But what? I'm here in Vaughn's arms. My boss's by the way, and I want to stay there. I don't want to leave them, and the way he is holding on to me, he doesn't want either. It's so nice and I feel so good. I feel safe for the first time in ages. God this is pure madness.

"Syd..." He starts saying in my ears like a whisper. Oh my god he just told me a thousands words only with this.

"I know." I answer back softly. "I know." The song is about to end and then we'll go back to our life again. Damn. I'd like to try. But try what?


~I keep on fallin' in and out of love with you
I never loved someone the way that I'm loving you
I'm fallin'...
Fallin'...~


The music is still playing, but the lyrics are done. I know it's ending. It felt great the four minutes it lasted. Now we have to go back to the table, talk a bit more because the evening is almost done, and then we say goodbye and go our separate ways. I'll see him at work and it will be very formal and professional. I know myself, and I know him. We wont break the rules. Or would we?

We have to cut the embrace now or it will indeed look very weird to Francie. I had forgotten her. I take a look and she doesn't seem to see me. She is in full conversation with Mark. Good. I take a step back and I can see confusion in his eyes. God I so understand what he feels. Empty. Empty is the word. I'd fall back in his arms anytime but I can't. And he knows it too. I know he does. We just can't.

"Sydney." It was Francie talking to me. I look at her like nothing happened. I'm so good at lying aren't I? Ah…I feel sick.

"Yes?" I'm amazed that words are actually going out of my mouth.

"It's 11pm and we have to go, I have a test tomorrow remember?"

"Sure." I say to her all smiling. NO!!! NO!!!

"It was very nice to see you again Mark. I'll send your goodbyes to Charlie." She says to Vaughn's cousin.

"Of course! I'll try to call next time I'm back in the city." He says back to her. "This time Niva will be probably be there. She couldn't leave work this weekend. Tough job she has." And he rolls her eyes up the ceiling before smiling and giving Francie a kiss on the cheek. "Bye Fran." She say the same. He seems like a nice person.

"T'was nice to meet you Mark." I say to him as we shake hands and as we kiss on the cheek. Why do we always have to do that? Kissing on the cheeks…now I don't have a choice but to do the same to Vaughn. I wait stupidly as Francie is giving her kisses to Vaughn. And then he stares at me, and even if it took about 2 seconds, I see it all in slow motion: I take a step forward, and he does the same, then my hand goes to his arm as his goes to my hip and then we kiss on the cheek. I close my eyes and it's killing me to know that his lips are so near mine. It's soft and sweet. I dare to look at him, I've never seen his eyes have such a serious stare. We take a step back and then we go our separate ways. Him with Mark, and me with Francie.

"It was nice." Said Francie to me.

"Yes it was." I answered, but I knew we weren't talking about the same thing.

*~*~*
Please don't be silent and give me reviews or I'll go mad. Silence is a writer's worst enemy. :0)
~Anna~