Title: A Consistent Love

Author: icyfire

Summary: A woman considers the past and the future during an afternoon visit.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Never have been. Never will be. I simply play with them and then put them back in the toy box. No actually money was made in the making of this fanfic.

Also, this story is based on events up to The Box (Part 2). I believe I got all the information correct--although a lot of it is pure speculation on my part ;). If not, please let me know. No spoilers are included.

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I see him coming up the driveway. He walks with the same confident manner that attracted me to him almost three decades ago. I wish I could open the door, smile that special smile that he loved so much, and be carried up the stairs by him for an afternoon of love making.

A wonderful fantasy. A fantasy that will never happen for one simple reason: he loathes me.

He used to love me with the same intensity he now hates me with. He and I lost many mornings, afternoons, and nights in glorious pleasure. I could distract him so easily from any task. Only I could distract him. He was known for his unbreakable focus until I destroyed that for him; I used that ability often to deceive him. For me, shame and regret are attached to so many memories of happiness and love.

The doorbell rings, and I take a deep breath. Taking my time, resisting the urge to rush to the foyer, I carefully hide the folder I was looking at under the couch. He would be furious if he saw its contents; he would stop me from completing my plan. I can't allow him to do that, not now. It must be destroyed before it destroys the only two people I love.

"Hello, Jack," I say with a cool smile on my lips. I can only hope he does not hear the pounding of my heart.

The man I still consider my husband walks in the door. We were never divorced. After all, how could he divorce a dead woman? Oh, I know the legality of our marriage would be a nightmare to work through, but in my heart he is my husband. I've come to accept that bitter fact. No matter what he feels or believes or does makes no difference to my love. It is consistent.

He nods stiffly as he marches past me. I cannot remember the last time he said my name. Any name of mine. As far as I know, he never even whispers the name of his wife or her ghost.

"Can I get you a drink? I know how much you always liked--"

"No, thank you. I'm not thirsty."

He doesn't allow me to show any signs of familiarity. He does not want to remember the closeness we once had. He's cut me away from his heart, and I will never be allowed close to it again.

"Have a seat," I tell him as I walk back into the den. He follows me without a word and sits in the chair farthest away from my usual spot. I hide my smile and force down the thrill I feel because he knows where I usually sit. He visits so seldom, and yet he knows some thing about my life here. Shaking my head as I take my own seat, I remind myself that I am not a teenage girl wanting her secret crush to notice her.

I pick up my tea and begin to sip it. His face tightens briefly. Or I think it does. I remember when it used to be the most expressive face; it was a colorful painting that allowed me to enjoy all parts of it. For the longest time, it has been a cold piece of marble, a statue's face. Still beautiful, but with so many mysteries hidden away from me.

"Sydney knows," is all he says.

My hand trembles and the cup rattles. I sit it down in front of me and take several breaths before I speak. "You promised me--"

"That I would try to stop her from learning the truth," he finishes. "I did. I worked hard to keep her from learning it." He actually glances away, and I am surprised by the action. He never lets me see the emotions he feels, but he never has to turn away to hide them either. No need to, because he is usually made of stone. "She was devastated."

"How much does she know?" I ask. I wish I could curl up in his lap like I used to, so many years ago. He would never ask me what was bothering me, just hold me like he knew I wanted. I wonder if he has realized that I always curled up in his lap after I killed one of his associates for my government?

"Everything," he answers. What would he say if I told him I hate that flat tone of his? His voice used to be as expressive as his face, at least to me. I know out in the field you cannot afford to show fear or happiness, but at home he was all mine. "Everything except--"

"The fact that I am alive." I know torture could not get him to admit that fact to Sydney. "So, what is everything?"

He stares at me for several heartbeats before he answers. "That you were a KGB agent who arranged to marry me because I was a high-ranking CIA agent. That you killed CIA agents when ordered, including Vaughn's father." He hesitates a moment before finishing. "That you only had her because it helped you establish a cover."

I feel the protest well up in my belly. I want to scream a denial at him. It sounds so hideous, so cold. It was hideous and cold. My daughter was conceived as a part of my assignment. Then, as I held her in my arms for the first time, I fell in love with her.

As I had fallen in love with him. I don't think I realized what I was feeling for years. The signs were all there for me to see if I had just noticed them. How just seeing Jack could fill me with a warm, bubbly joy. How happy I would feel after he called to speak to me for a few minutes. How he could make me so angry with so little effort. I never questioned those feelings. I accepted them, took them for granted. How was I to appreciate or understand something I had never experienced before?

I stand up and walk to the window. I cannot bear to look at him. I cannot bear for him to see the pain I'm feeling. "Why did you have to tell her?" I watch Billy from across the street catch the ball his mother is tossing at him. I watch the two of them often, yearning for something that can never be my again. I blink away the tears before they can fall.

"I--I gave her some of your books," he admits. Hesitation fills his voice, making it sound odd to my ears. Jack Bristow and hesitation are two things that do not go together. "She spilt something on one of them."

"Saw the code--" I wonder why he gave her the books in the first place. Was it simply because they were special to me? I truly did love to read, and the KGB provided me with some wonderful classics over the years.

"Yes, and thought I was the KGB agent of the family."

I cross my arms tightly in front of me. "Why did you admit--"

"I'm sorry," he says, revealing his old ability to finish my thoughts. "She rushed from the briefing room. I knew she had to get back her control--"

Control. So important to Jack. But even I realize its importance. "She's too passionate for this job."

He stops talking for a minute, and I both hear and feel him moving towards me. "Yes, in some ways. In others, her passion helps her."

Even though I did not "live" to see her grow into an adult, I know my daughter. "So, you told her it had been hard for you to accept the truth, too, and she asked for more truth."

Hard. When I think of that word, I think of an icy road and the disbelief on my husband's face. It was because of Jack's training--and his iron control--that we survived that night and the assassin didn't. If they had been gunning for me, had considered me the threat to them, I would have never admitted the truth to Jack. Dying would have been easier.

But I was not even supposed to be with him that night, and all my instincts screamed that they were trying to kill him. They. The people I worked for were trying to murder the man they had ordered me to marry. I recognized the style and the assassin. He had planned it well. It should have worked.

They hadn't bothered giving me the orders. They knew by then about my feelings. My handler was an astute woman. She realized that Jack broke my focus as easily as I broke his. In fact, I believe they had decided to kill Jack because of me. He was, in their eyes, making me weak and almost useless. The fact they never made another attempt after my "death" confirms that to me.

Jack sighs. He actually sighs. "I didn't answer her, but she--She realized the truth without my help," he admits to me. A small part of him wants to put a comforting hand on my shoulder. I know it, just as surely as I know he won't touch me.

Just as surely as I knew my superiors would not quit if I did nothing to stop them. Next time, it could have been Sydney with him. So, I broke my own heart to protect them. Shaking from dread and cold, I admitted the truth to my husband. As we watched the cars go up in flames, I watched my marriage burn into ashes. My husband's face first held disbelief. Then, it became as hard as the icy road.

When the clean-up crew arrived, he turned me over to his superiors without hesitation. He was Jack Bristow, agent. Jack Bristow the man had gone into hiding. It is only since Sydney has learned the truth about him that I've seen sparks of the man I fell in love with so many years ago.

"I didn't want to lie to her."

"Not anymore," I finish the thought for him. I turn to look at him and watch the cold mask slide back into place. Whatever compassion he might be feeling for me, he will never allow me to see it.

"No," he admits in that familiar cold voice. "Not anymore." A flash of pain crosses the statue's face. "However, I think if I had a chance to do it again, I would tell her that you wanted her because you really wanted a family. I wouldn't let her know it was all a lie."

I nod, understanding. I walk back to my coffee table and pick up my tepid tea. I always think of him when I drink it. He taught me to love tea. He taught me love.

My hands and voice are steady when I look back at him. "Thank you for letting me know," I tell him. They are the words I always say to end our meetings.

Again, he nods and turns to walk towards the door. An impulse I had ignored for years leaps through my arm. My hand is lying on his sleeve before I can stop it. He looks back at me in surprise. I take a step closer and reach up to grasp his head.

I pull it down and reach my lips up to meet his. At first, he stands there like the statue he has become. Then, he melts, dragging me closer to him. My body goes up in flames, and I briefly let myself believe he will carry me up those stairs.

All too soon, he pulls himself away. He regains that precious control of his, and he hides behind that damn mask of indifference. "It wasn't all a lie," I tell him.

He turns on his heals and walks away. I whisper goodbye as he moves down the driveway towards his car. Sometimes, I like to pretend he is heading to work and will be back that night. Even though I know he'll never be back. Not to stay. A few visits here and there as usual. Although, I would say the next one will be long in coming. He'll have to push down all those feelings and memories that I aroused in him today.

I finish my tea and reach for my folder. I have to find a way to make Will do this story. Hopefully, the daughter worked. If not, I'll find some other way. SD-6 has to be destroyed. I think Will Tippin can help me do that job.

This business has destroyed my family once before, and I'll not let it happen again. After what happened with Danny, I knew it could, would, happen again if I did nothing to stop it. So, I'll protect them, even if they don't want the protection I'm offering. Because, one thing about me, my love is consistent.