Title: "Pirouette" 1/1
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Fandom: "Alias"
Rating/Classification: PG, Vaughn POV, angst, ficlet.
Disclaimer: I don't own Vaughn. Really. I don't. What...you don't believe me?
Summary: Just another day on the job. Just a little scene I had to get out of my head.

Minutes tick by with flawless precision . The long hand on the clock slides and clicks to a music of it's own making. Your breaths dance along. Sharp, staccato steps...tap...jazz...most certainly not the fluid movement of ballet. Ballet, Jimmy Steel told you once, was for sissies.

Of course, you punched Jimmy Steel in the nose, since your mom liked the ballet, and then got sent to the office for the rest of recess. Fourth grade always had such dire consequences.

But not more dire than death.

The sweat beads your brow and you dare not reach up to wipe it away. You're afraid that, if you move, you will jinx it. It will all fail. It will all be over. And it will all be your fault.

Jack Bristow thinks you're going to get her killed. He thinks your bumbling adoration will make you trip over your extra-large feet and blink and miss something vital.

It is times like this that you think he's right.

The flat cell phone is like a brick in your palm. Heavy, porous, scratching your skin and depositing tiny rocks into individual creases. You've gripped it so tight that the agency might have to pry it from your cold, dead fingers with the Jaws of Life and the lines on your skin, that mark you as none other than exactly who you are, will be imprinted onto the numbers and the "End" button for all eternity.

You have never willed something to happen like you're willing it now. You feel all eyes on you...boring into the back of your skull and taking note of the gray hairs springing up spontaneously under their harsh perusal. There is no sound save for your own lungs struggling to keep up with the clock. You wonder how it is that They don't breathe...but one quick glance around you reminds you that They are not truly alive.

The shrill, operatic, shriek of the phone mutes your thoughts and your gasps and even stays the hands of time. You fumble for the right keys, hit them, and her voice...her blessed voice...comes clear and true over the speakers that have been patched onto your private line.

"I'm out. I've got it. No complications."

Somehow, the right words make it past the lump in your throat. You tell her where the intel exchange will be made, how she'll be extracted, and the heads around you are abuzz with murmurs of approval. And, you tell her, without words, that you're proud of her. That you're relieved she's safe. That you care about her. That it makes you different from Them--from *all* the Thems--and you hope she knows that.

You think she might. Because her voice catches just before the words "See you soon" come in a rush over the miles. A tiny catch. A pause. A "thank you."

Then, the dialtone echoes through the stifling little room and you watch the short hand slide to twelve. Midnight. Another day begins.

Another day, another dance.


December 24, 2001.