Title: This Just In
Author: UConn Fan
E-mail: LoveUConnBasketball@yahoo.com
Summary: Sydney's life is about to change forever . . .
Authors Note: I am soooo unbelievably frustrated with Ff.net, and upon noticing that I, being an idiot, had
somehow posted my chapters in the wrong order, decided to repost the entire thing from the beginning.
Please please please, as always, feedback. Also thank you to anyone who sent me feedback or told me
that the link for Chapter 4 was broken. Also, this was inspired by Jennifer Garner talking to Melissa
Rivers at some award show . . just wanted to mention that.

Sydney sat in the banquet hall watching Francie and Charlie happily gliding across the dance floor as the band played on. It was hard to believe that her former roommate and best friend was celebrating their one year wedding anniversary, and that she herself had been working to take down SD-6 for nearly two and a half years . . and Danny had been gone for nearly three. It seemed like an eternity and yet no time at all.

". . . and it is long term . . "

Vaughn's words rang through her head as she shook her head and grinned at only a joke she knew. She had been insane to think she could take down SD-6 in a couple of months . . well, she had honestly thought it wouldn't take longer then a few weeks. Everything had changed, and just as she thought she understood her life, it got even more complicated.

First she was working for the good guys, SD-6 and was happily engaged to Danny . . . then Danny was gone and she was suddenly working for the CIA, her stomach twisting whenever she saw Sloane, a man she had once nearly adored . . . her once perfect image of her Mother, a perfect Mother who made the best birthday cakes and always knew how to make ouchies better, was shattered. Her Mother was a horrible person . . a person who killed the Father of one of the most important people in her life. . .

Those were just some of the changes that had happened to her over the last few years . . . things had become more complicated - Dixon had almost been killed on more then one occasion, and the temptation to tell him the truth grew with each mission. She had finally graduated with her Masters, and of course she had been there proudly watching her best friend get married a year ago.

Now her life was about to change again . . drastically. Sydney glanced at Will, who was sitting across the table with her and yet deep in conversation with some lawyer from Charlie's firm. Francie and Charlie were still dancing, still locked into a world only they inhabited. She wanted to tell them - three of her closest friends in the world - all of her secrets. But this one in particular needed to be told the soonest. They would probably be the only people in the world who'd be happy for her . . .

Of course they'd have questions . . . Will would most likely go alpha-male and ask a million questions about who . . . and of course Sydney had her own questions about how. Of course she knew how, she thought as the sheer memories made her cheeks blush, but after all that had happened to her . . after everything that had been done and given to her in over nearly the last decade, she was sure it was an impossibility.

Sloane would be furious, and probably have a million questions for the security section - probably have her trailed even more closely, she thought with a disgusted shake of her head. Her Father would undoubtably have mixed reactions . . . she was sure the higher ups at the CIA would have plenty to say .. and Vaughn . . well, she couldn't even bring herself to imagine his reaction. Dissapointment? Disgust? maybe a small bit of joy?

"Hey, Syd, are you okay?" Will asked, his question shaking her out of her thoughts. She shook her head and gave him a small smile.

"Yeah, I'm okay." she insisted quietly as he studied her briefly, obviously somewhat concerned, before returning to his conversation. "I think." she whispered to herself before taking a sip of her water and standing up. This is it, she thought, I'm going to do it.

"Syd, where are you going?" Francie asked as she and Charlie returned to the table.

"I just forgot, I'm supposed to call an associate of mine . . you know, we're handling a huge bankrupcy case right now." she explained, using the first excuse that popped into her head as she shrugged.

"On a Saturday night?" Will questioned skeptically.

"You know how dedicated we are to our work." she said with a shrug. "I'm just going to go call him, before it gets to late . . then I think I'm going to go home and go to bed."

"Are you sure?" Charlie asked, also obviously concerned as Sydney forced a smile.

"I'm sure." she said. "Congratulations you too." she whispered, hugging and kissing the couple of honor.

"Thanks for coming." Francie said, smiling at her.

"I wouldn't of missed it for the world." she promised. "Bye!" she called, walking out of the restaurant and to her car.

Sydney stood gazing out at the pier and at the lights that were on in the city across the water. It was nearly midnight and the usual Saturday night crowds were starting to dissapear. Mostly teenagers, the occasional older couple, out relaxing on a Saturday night in August. Syd watched them over her shoulder, subconciously looking for either Vaughn or a tail, whichever she spotted first. She had been careful though, and she was nearly certain that she hadn't been followed. That was imperative for this, that much she knew, that their conversation be kept far far away from SD-6 for the time being.

She recognized his footsteps as he approached the pier and stood a few feet away from her, far enough so they looked as if they weren't speaking to anyone who might be watching. They stood in silence for a few minutes, she felt him sneak a concerned glance at her. Sydney continued to study the water and listen to the sounds of the oblivious citizens who floated around them . . . citizens who were able to go on and make something of their personal, private lives without worrying about how it could possibly affect national security.

"I was starting to get worried about you." Vaughn finally spoke in a gentle yet stern voice, conveying to her just how sincerely concerned he was.

"I'm sorry. I lost track of time . . with the party and all." she explained, shrugging as she saw him nod out of the corner of her eye.

"How was the party?"

"Beautiful. Almost as beautiful as the wedding. I swear, with Charlie, Francie . . she just sparkles." she finished, smiling at the thought.

"They sound like wonderful people." he said softly. She knew he wished he could of been at the party with her . . and probably even with her at Francie's wedding a year ago . . . she wished he could of been too. She knew Francie and Charlie would like him, and Will would eventually get over his fantasies of her and like him too. Then again, Sydney couldn't imagine someone not liking the company of Michael Vaughn. "Are you okay?" he asked as her face noticably paled.

"No." she said, taking a deep breathe. "I don't . . I don't think you're going to like what I'm going to tell you." she said softly. It broke her heart to know that this wasn't going to be the blessing that it would be for most people . . . . and in all sincerity, after all she had put her body through over the past decade, it was in many ways a miracle for her. . .

"Whenever we meet out here, it's usually not good news." he reminded her in a gruff mummble, the wind ruffling his hair as she looked over to briefly study his profile. He looked tense and worried as he studied the water. The crowds passed around them oblivious, and she wondered not for the first time if he wished the two of them could be just two unknown people in a crowd. "Syd, I really don't want to have to guess-" he started.

"I'm pregnant." she said softly, cutting him off. Sydney couldn't even bring herself to look at him, but she could feel his eyes upon her as she studied the lights across the pier. "I don't know what I expect you to say . . or do." she whispered a few minutes later, needing to break the uncomfortable silence that had fallen between them. Silences in Vaughn's company had always been something she enjoyed . . it was usually a companionable, safe silence, but that was not that case on that night.

"Who else knows?" he asked finally.

"No one." she confessed. "I had . . I had to tell you first. I guess telling you . . telling you makes it real. I just . . I don't know who to tell . . who not to tell. I mean, I can't tell my Father or Sloane-"

"You have to." he cut her off as she dared to lock eyes with him. His green eyes were firm and showed no signs of giving in. "You *have* to Sydney, this is a child we're talking about-"

"I know what we're talking about!" she hissed. "What am I supposed to do? retire from the CIA and tell Sloane I need out of SD-6-"

"If that's what it takes, yes." Vaughn stated, nodded. To him there was no questions involved, there was no way he was going to willingly let her expose the unborn child to even the slightest risk . . he shuddered to think of what the unborn might of been exposed to before Sydney realized she was pregnant.

"For what? So I can say I've spent the last two and a half years of my life doing nothing? working to take down the people I despise just to quit? What about Danny's death? how can I let that be in vain?" she asked him in an angry hiss. She knew she had crossed a line as his eyes shut at the mention of her late fiance. Vaughn turned his gaze out onto the water, wondering just how cold it would be if he dived in right then and there. "I'm sorry . . . I just don't know if I can walk away."

"Then you don't walk away, but you stop going on these damned missions. You average a few a month, that's not healthy for you or the baby." he reminded her, still not able to look at her. Vaughn knew how much Sydney had loved Danny - and her slip of the tongue had just been a bitter reminder straight into his heart. A reminder of what he could never be to her, no matter how long he'd know her . . no matter what became of them in the future . . no matter how wonderful of a life they might have together . . he couldn't compete with Danny. He couldn't compete with Sydney's nearly perfect memories of the deceased doctor. "Do you want this?"

"Yes . . no . . I don't know." she admited, trying not to cry as she ran her fingers through her hair and let out a heavy sigh. "I never thought I could . . I was so sure I couldn't that I never even . . " she trailed off.

They stood there in silence, neither sure what to say. Sydney hadn't meant to hurt him with her reference to Danny, it just slipped. Vaughn, on the other hand, was still reeling from her news and trying to determine how to keep her safe. This was something neither had expected or planned for . . during his years as Sydney's handler, Vaughn had invented several very intricate and intelligent ways to keep Sydney safe and out of harm . . but this was one situation he had never dreamed of.

"Vaughn . . I'm so so sorry. . " she whispered, looking over at him with tearful eyes. Vaughn again wished they had met in the warehouse, because it broke his heart to see her there, so obviously in pain, and to not be able to take her into his arms.

"Don't be sorry Sydney." he reassured her quietly, meaning it. "This isn't your fault . . it's no one's fault . . and I'm not mad." he finished softly as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a tissue, handing it to her with an awkward look on his face.

"Thank you." she said, taking his tissue and wiping her eyes. She ws more emotional then she usually was, and she hated it. "I just . . I wanted to tell you first . . and even . . even if things aren't the way they are . . I have no one else to talk to." she said, the tears continuing their trek down her pale face as she tried in vain to stop them.

"That's what I'm here for," Vaughn whispered to her softly, daring to make brief eye contact, trying to convey his feelings to her as she nodded. "I'll schedule a meeting with Devlin . . and you . . you need to talk to Sloane."

"No, no I can't-" she started, panic rising in her throat. Sydney never remembered her fear rising as fast as it was at that moment.

"Syd, you *have* to." he said, leaning over to grab her and and look her in the eyes. For a brief moment it mattered very little to him who saw them, all that mattered was that Sydney understand the importance of the situation. "Promise me, it is *so* important. They can't and won't do anything to you. Your Father won't let that happen, and anyway Sloane-"

"Thinks of me like a daughter, I know." she finished for him, letting out a disgusted snort as he gave her a small smile.

"You have to tell them though, be honest."

"Completely honest?" she asked playfully with a raised eyebrow as he let out a small chuckle.

"You know what I mean." Vaughn said as she nodded and her expression turned serious.

"What do I tell my friends?"

"Whatever you want. I know you must want to tell Francie and Charlie . . and Will and Amy." he finished as she nodded.

"They're going to ask . . ask who the Father is." Sydney said softly as Vaughn released her hand and looked out at the water. "What . . what do I say?"

"Whatever you want to say." he said softly, not able to look at her.

Michael Vaughn wasn't a dumb man, he knew when everything started to happen that this was never going to completely be the life he wanted . . . he had grown up seeing how much his Father and Mother loved eachother, how devoted they were to eachother, and in awe of how strong his Mother was for picking up the pieces without his Father. Vaughn had also had a wonderful relationship with his Father, and continued to have one with his Mother. . . . his was close to his family, including his older sister, and he remembered the joy in his brother in law's face when his sister and brother in law announced that they'd be having a family. Vaughn's eyes shut tightly, knowing he'd never be able to tell his family his good news . . or see what sort of reaction Jack Bristow would have to the news . . . it didn't seem fair to him, to them, or to the unborn life growing inside of Sydney, but he also knew there was very little he could do to change it.

"I don't want to do this alone." she said softly. He looked at her out of the corner of his eyes, her expression broke her heart.

"I don't want you to do this alone either . . but I don't know any other way right now." he whispered. "This isn't . . this isn't how I planned this Syd." he whispered quietly, trying to apologize for a crime he hadn't even commited. It wasn't his fault that he couldn't be there for her, holding her hand through all of this, and he knew that she knew that. However that didn't make him feel any better.

"I'm so . . I'm so scared." Sydney admitted, feeling like a lost child as she held the tissue tightly against her face. "How can I have a child when I know how horrible a world this is? when I know how horrible . . " she said, the tears cutting her off as she let herself cry briefly before working to compose herself. "How do I have this child and explain to it one day that his or her grandmother killed his or her grandfather?" she asked him in a childlike voice, desperately seeking an answer.

"I don't know Syd . . I don't know." he said softly. Sydney reached out and took his hand, needing to be connected to him for some brief moment. "But .. when the time comes, we'll figure it out." he promised her as she looked at him, needing him to confirm the tiniest of hopes she had in her heart. "We'll figure it out together." he restated. "Maybe we can even take the baby to a Kings game one day." he teased in a low voice as she laughed.

Vaughn's heart lifted, no matter how brief, he was pleased he had made her smile. She was probably his best friend, and he knew that she was hers. So much between them was still unspoken, so much relied simply on looks and brief touches, and yet neither one felt as if they lacked anything. He knew he wanted more of her in his life, he was greedy about that, but would take what he could get. He knew he took what he could get because when he was with her, she fufilled everything and anything he could ever want.

"You need to go home." he said softly as Sydney let go of his hand and nodded. "Just go home . . rest. Monday I'll arrange a meeting with Devlin and . . and I really think you need to tell Sloane."

"Okay." she said softly, nodded. "You'll-"

"Yes." he said, cutting her off before she could even say the words. Vaughn knew his agent well enough to know what she was going to ask - he'd call her via Joey's Pizza if he needed anything urgent and if it was personal . . well, he always found away to talk to her about that too. "Take care of yourself." he whispered, wanting to say so much more then that. Sydney nodded and walked away from the pier, heading towards her car.

Sunday night. Sydney sat in her living room with Francie, Charlie, Will and Amy. The siblings were bickering over the value of Will's Scrabble word. It was a relaxing evening, and even though she certainly enjoyed the company of her friends part of her wished that Vaughn was there . . . that she could share the simple things in her life with him, and that he could share the simple things in his life with her. She trusted so much in one person, the scope of her honesty rose and set on him, and yet she knew so very little about him. All the professional information she knew, sure, but aside from that, so much was still a mystery.

"You know, it's watching these two that make me only want to have one child." Francie said to Sydney with an amused grin. Sydney could do little else but smile back at her, not entirely sure how to take Francie's remark. It had been nearly a day since she had told Vaughn, and he hadn't contacted her for professional or personal reasons - not that she had expected him to, but part of her was still dissapointed. "Are you okay Syd?"

"I'm fine." she insisted, smiling at Francie. By then Amy and Will had finished their arguing and Charlie was working on forming a word. She watched her friend and smiled, yet a thought still nagged at her. She was worried about telling her boss . . and terrified of telling Devlin, although she knew by silent agreement that no one would be told the child was her handlers . . . but that wasn't the thought had haunted her all day. . .

How could she be a mother when all she ever knew about her own Mother was a lie? Would she lie to her own child the way her parents had to her? Would her child ever know it's Father? Would her child ever be able to be as proud and in awe of his or her Father, just as she knew Vaughn had grown up admiring the late William Vaughn.

"Syd? Syd you okay?" Will asked concerned, waving a hand in front of her face as Sydney shook her head and saw Francie, Charlie, Amy and Will all looking at her in great concern.

"Excuse me." she said, standing and rushing to the bathroom.

"See Will, I told you that new cologne was horrible." Amy teased as Will gave her a look that could kill.

"Is she okay?" Will asked Francie, who just shrugged and walked to the bathroom. She stood outside the bathroom door, hearing Sydney get sick followed by the sound of the water running.

"Are you okay in there Syd?" Francie called, concerned. Her friend hadn't been acting right for a few days and she was beginning to become seriously concerned. Maybe Wills right, Francie mused, and Sydney should just quit the bank.

"I'm okay." she called through the door, splashing cool water on her face. Tommorow morning she was going to have to tell Sloane . . . and of course Dixon, although she was hoping to find some support in her partner. This was, afterall, a miracle. Dixon had a daughter, she hoped he would understand and appreciate that.

"Do you need anything?" Francie continued, still not comfortable with leaving Sydney alone.

"I'm fine, really." she insisted, opening the door and smiling at her friend. It was a lie that passed nearly effortlessly off of her tongue. The last thing she was at that very moment was fine. It was absurd, she told herself silently as she joined her friends in the living room. The thought of life-threatening missions, betraying not only very dangerous people but a very dangerous group didn't scare her at all, but the thought of having a child was completely numbing.

Sydney lost to Will at Scrabble - a rare occurence that only made Francie even more concerned. Sydney's mind kept wandering, wondering why she was the one who kept getting hurt because she was doing the right thing. It seemed to her that even her own Mother, who as much as she hated to think about it was simply a horrible person, had had it easier then she did.

"Syd, are you sure your alright?" Francie asked one more time as Sydney walked her guests out.

"I will be." she reassured her friend, hugging Francie. "Promise."

"Okay. If you need anything, just call, okay?" she said as Sydney nodded. "I'll call you tommorow?"

"Sure." Sydney agreed, smiling and waving at everyone one more time before walking back into the house. "I really need to get a cat." she said to herself as she picked up the Scrabble board and realized how quiet it was.

Sometime later Sydney sat in her bedroom, watching TV with her hands resting protectively on her stomach. Her own thoughts were such a jumble that she had no idea which emotion to consider first. How could she risk the life of her unborn miracle? Vaughn had been right there, as much as she didn't want to admit it, she couldn't jeopardize this. Maybe a family had never been something she'd given much thought to, but now that she had a chance at it, no matter how bleak it looked, she wasn't sure she could let it go.

How could she have a child though, another part of her questioned, when she knew first hand the ugliness in the world. For heaven sakes, this baby's maternal grandmother killed it's paternal grandfather - how could she possibly explain that to a child one day? Sydney wondered if she could one day look into her child's eyes - briefly wondering if the baby would have Vaughn's beautiful green eyes - and lie to it? Sew a yarn about what she did for a living . . lead her child to believe that it's Grandfather sold airplane parts . . . would her child be led to believe it's Father had abandoned them? She vigorously shook her head at the thought, she wouldn't let that happen, and she knew Vaughn would never let that happen either.

The unborn child represented everything that she was never supposed to want . . and certainly never supposed to have. Sydney didn't know if she could walk away from SD-6 - she got such a rush from taking down SD-6, from the excitement of knowing she was working for the good guys. In an odd way, the absolute terror of her job excited her. Danny . . she had loved him, and she knew her references to him hurt Vaughn dearly. At the same time she wasn't sure she could just walk away from her quest, it had become one of her lifes passions to take down the horrible people who had ruined her life. However she didn't want to just give up any chances she might have at a normal life.

A normal life with Vaughn . . . Danny was gone, and despite the guilt she still carried around, she had grieved enough to know that it was okay to want to love someone again . . to see a lifetime with someone other then Danny. She had spent countless afternoons at Danny's graveside, talking to him inside of her head, hoping somehow he'd hear her. Danny had loved her though, as Francie had quietly reminded her so many times, and would only want her happiness.

Sydney also knew that she didn't have it in her to willingly hurt her baby. . . her baby with a man that she loved. She had never told him that, she realized with a shake of her head. He had never told her either, but she never once questioned his feelings, and she knew he didn't question hers. Their jobs however left little time to speak or act upon any emotions they had, and instead their personal relationship was brief, passionate and wonderful. It was also a burden - they both knew they risked their lives when they met for work. Bringing in any sort of personal relationship only served to complicate things, but even with that in mind she didn't regret it.

I'm going to go through with this, she vowed silently to the tiny life living inside of her. Sydney was going to do the right thing - she had absolutely no idea what that was, but she knew it involved telling Sloane and Devlin very soon . . and dealing with what she was sure would be negative reprocussions for her actions. She was going to do the right thing for her child, she had no real choice, despite her intense desire to bring down SD-6, the love for her unborn child already ran deeper then she imagined.

Some people would be happy for her . . Vaughn was happy, at least as happy as she could of expected. Sydney wondered if their child would ever get to meet Vaughn's Mother or sister - two women he continued to be close to and love even at that point in his life. Francie and Charlie would support her, and she knew Will would as well although he'd be full of questions. It was going to be alright . . at least that's what she convinced herself before she rolled over and went to sleep.

The next morning Sydney walked confidently into SD-6, appearing to her co-workers as if nothing was amiss. Of course no one could possibly know that she had had very little sleep the night before and had spent most of the early morning and sunrise hours sick in her bathroom. She wasn't sure if she was sick over the pregnancy or over her nerves, but either way it had made for a miserable early morning.

"Morning Syd," Dixon said, smiling at her as she approached her work area.

"Hey," she said softly, forcing a small smile as a look of concern crossed her partners face.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah . . I'm fine." she insisted, sitting down at her desk.

"Sloane wants to see us in his office in about . . twenty minutes." he informed her as she nodded, smiling back at Dixon and pretending to get to work. In reality she was forming a plan in her head, a plan of how exactly she'd tell Dixon and Sloane that she was pregnant. "Syd? Syd, are you ready?" he asked, waving a hand in front of her face as she looked up at him.

"Huh?" she asked, suddenly confused. He said they had twenty minutes . . but a glance at her watch told her her twenty minutes had already evaporated. "Oh, yes, of course." she said, standing up and following him into the conference room.

Everything looked so . . normal. Sloane was sitting at the head of the table, Marshall was preparing and her Father and Sloane were speaking quietly. This was how the meeting room had looked for nearly a decade, and Dixon sat down comfortably as he did at every meeting. Her heart sunk - her poor partner still thought he was working for the good guys, and in many ways it hurt her to know she couldn't tell him the truth. Afterall, Dixon had always been wonderful to her.

"Sydney, would you care to join us?" Sloane asked as Sydney stood there, looking at all of them. This is it, she realized, part of her hoping against hope that telling Sloane and her Father in front of Marshall and Dixon would save her from any negative backlash.

"Actually . . before we start the meeting, I was wondering if I could say something?" she asked carefully as Sloane got an odd expression on his face but nodded.

"Of course Sydney. You can sit as well, you know we don't bite here." he said as ways of a joke as she forced a smile. No, she thought, you don't bite - you just kill.

"I just wanted everyone to know . . . that I'm pregnant." she said, any elaborate plans she had for announcing it slipped out the window as the words slipped over her tongue. The expressions on the faces of the four men in the room were visible shock - although for their credit, Marshall and Dixon looked pleasantly surprised. "Obviously, I won't be able to take on so many missions any more . . . " she said awkwardly, trying to break the tension.

"Congratulations Ms. Bristow." Marshall said finally, smiling widely as Sydney as she tried not to cry, instead giving him a gracious smile.

"Congratulations Syd." Dixon said, smiling at her. Obviously he would be doing missions alone for awhile, Sydney knew he knew that, but despite that he was happy for her.

"Well Sydney, this certainly comes as a shock." Sloane said, giving her a smile. It was a smile that made a chill go down Sydney's back - a smile that you gave someone before you killed them. It was one she knew well - she had given it to people many times. "We'll find you something to do for us here in Los Angeles for the duration of your pregnancy."

"Thank you." she said softly, not sure what else to say.

"Congratulations, of course." Her Father said in a emotionless tone. She looked at him and she recognized the look in his eyes. He knew. Of course he knows you idiot, an inner voice scolded her as she struggled to remain calm. She just hoped that no negative actions would be taken against Vaughn - she would do anything in her power to protect him, just as he knew he did the same for her.

"Your next mission, Sydney, was actually going to be here in Los Angeles. Quite simple, if your still interested." Sloane said as she nodded. Vaughn would be furious, but she couldn't completely walk away just yet . . . and it Sloane thought it was simple, she was bound to think it was juvenile.

Sloane stood and started to talk. It was a simple mission, there was a party at the home of a local diplomat who had a code that SD-6 wanted. All she had to do was get into the party, mingle with the guests, then she had to somehow create a diversion so that she could slip away into the library (of course she had to unscramble the code on the libraries keypad - nothing she hadn't done before) and get the code out of the man's Bible before making her way out. It was a simple mission in all regards, especially since Sloane didn't think there would be any armed guards on the property.

"See, simple." Sloane finished, giving her a sleazy smile. Somehow she doubted Vaughn would think it would be so simple, and she knew she was in for a battle when he found out she accepted a mission. "Sydney, when are you due?" he asked, sitting back down as they all looked at her. Of course Sydney knew he really wanted to ask who the Father was, but he didn't dare - at least not in front of Marshall or Dixon.

"April . . April 27th." she said quietly. It was nearly September, and the doctor had told her she was just about six weeks and therefore due in late April.

"Well, that's simply wonderful." he said in a voice that was so sweet it made her nauseous. "I was born in late April." he informed them proudly. Great, she thought, with my luck you'll share the same birthday as my baby. Since she couldn't think of a proper reply, she just smiled at him. "Well, anyway, the party is tommorow night, so you have plenty of time to prepare." he said as both Sydney and Dixon stood, nodding. She couldn't bring herself to look at her Father, too scared to see what his eyes might hold.

"Thank you sir." Dixon said as they started to walk out the door.

"Oh, Sydney?" Sloane called as Sydney stopped and turned around expectantly. "Why don't you take the rest of the day off, go home and rest." he said with a smile as she nodded, nearly glad from the rest. "And consider Arvin for a name." he suggested with a smile as she forced herself to smile and not vomit, nodding one more time before walking out of his office.

"Congratulations Syd, I mean it." Dixon said, hugging her briefly as they walked out of the office. "If you need anything, you know you can always just ask. I've been there, I've experienced the pregnancy thing with my wife." he reminded her as she smiled and nodded.

"Thank you." she said, smiling at him.

"Syd . . I'm sorry, I don't mean to pry . .but the Father?" he asked cautiously and quietly as she gathered up her things, preparing to leave for the day.

"He . . . he knows. He's wonderful . . I just . . "

"I understand, it's a struggle to keep work and personal life apart. Congratulations though, to both of you."

"Thank you." she said, smiling at him as she started to walk out.

Well, she thought as she got into her car. It could of been worse - four people knew, two were happy for her, one was probably very angry and Sloane was working under the pretense of being happy for her. Yes, she thought with certainty, it could of been worse.

It had been simple . . almost too simple.

Vaughn hadn't had a peaceful night either. He had tossed and turned all night, worried about Syd . . . about the unborn child . . . about everything. He knew compared to Sydney he had really nothing at all to do, but he was a barrel of nerves as he sat in his office, preparing himself to call and schedule a meeting with Devlin.

"Hey Mike," Weiss said, sauntering in and sitting down in Vaughn's office. "What's wrong with Bristow?"

"What?" he asked, looking surprised to hear Weiss mention the agent.

"Sydney, what's wrong with Sydney?"

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong with Sydney, why do you ask?" he questioned, hoping he didn't sound as paranoid as he knew he felt.

"Just whenever you have that look on your face it usually means something happened with Bristow." he said, shrugging. "What's wrong? Long weekend with the girlfriend?" he teased. Weiss had decided, after Vaughn had turned down several offers for blind dates with *very* attractive women, that he must have a secret girlfriend that he wasn't letting anyone know about.

"Something like that." he admited with a sigh. Weiss was a good friend of his, even though it wasn't encouraged to socialize with other agents they were still good friends. At least when it came to the basic things in life - work, women and sports. "Did you ever want to get married? have a family?" he asked Eric.

"No . . no, not really. Why? is that what this is about? the girlfriend pressuring you for a ring?"

"No . . no, not exactly." he said with a sigh. "Do you ever want to get married one day, settle down?" he asked curiously as Weiss' eyebrow raised curiously.

"Seriously?" he asked, not believing the question. "No, no not really. Why, do you want to get married and she doesn't?" he questioned.

"Damn it, you really never give up, do you?" Vaughn questioned him, slightly amused and slightly irritated.

"That's why the CIA pays me the big bucks." he said

"Have you ever wanted someone you can't have?"

"Oh yeah . . Cindy Crawford . . . Sharon Stone . . that chick from Pearl Harbor . . . "

"Kate Beckinsale?" he questioned with a raised eyebrow.

"No, the one who played that nurse Sandra . . man, she was hot." he said in a dreamy manner as Vaughn rolled his eyes. "But we're not talking about me, we're talking about. You're a strapping senior officer at the CIA, who wouldn't want to date you?" he said, only half teasing.

"I'm an political analyst." he corrected Eric, refering to his cover.

"Okay, so you want someone you can't have - that's okay though, this problem has been overcome before. Remember Romeo and Juliet?" Weiss reminded him as Vaughn's faced scrunched, remembering the fate of Shakespeares most famous characters. "Sorry, not the best example."

"It doesn't really matter," he said, reaching out and picking up his phone, notioning for Eric to stay quiet. After pressing a few numbers, he was connected to the front desk and then asked to be put through to Devlin's office.

"Director Devlin's office."

"Hello, yes, this is Senior Officer Michael Vaughn, I'd like to schedule a meeting with Director Devlin pertaining to Agent Sydney Bristow."

"I'm sorry sir, Director Devlin is on vacation until next week." his secretary informed him as Vaughn's mouth almost dropped, wondering if the CIA director was even allowed a vacation. "If it's urgent I can schedule an appointment for you to meet with one of the Assistant Directors-"

"No, no, I'll make an appointment for next week," he insisted, not wanting to be thrown into the lions den of an assistant director who didn't know him or Sydney's case.

"Monday afternoon?"

"Sure," he agreed, writing down the time before hanging up and looking at Weiss.

"What the hell was that all about?"

"Nothing," he said nonchalantly, not wanting to go into details with his friend, but at the same time feeling horrible for not sharing.

"What, you decided to pay Devlin a social visit?" he asked, not believing a word of it. "What's going on with Bristow?" he asked again.

"Just leave it alone Eric," he warned as Weiss nodded, knowing to stop before he seriously offended his friend.

"Sorry man, didn't mean to step on any toes-"

"No, no, it's okay, you didn't," he insisted, squeezing his eyes shut as he massaged the bridge of his nose, desperately trying to stop the migraine that was approaching. "I just didn't sleep well last night."

"That's what women will do to you." he insisted, having decided he was a life-long bachelor and that women were simply too much trouble. "They're just . . put on this earth to drive us crazy."

"It's not that bad." he insisted, wanting to defend not only Sydney but women in general - such as his Mother and sister, perfectly reasonable and good women.

"Whatever. What are you doing tonight?" he asked.

"I have plans."

"With the mysterious girlfriend, of course."

"Something like that," he agreed with a shrug, not wanting to completely lie to his friend.

"Torture yourself all you want, but I'm telling you man, being a bachelor is the way to go." he insisted, standing up and walking out of the room before he could see Vaughn roll his eyes.

Vaughn waited a few more minutes, glancing at the clock before he picked up his phone and dialed a number so familiar to him. He didn't even have to think before he dialed, his fingers just worked automatically, gracefully gliding over the numbers of Sydney's home phone number. He wondered briefly if she would be home, but let out a breath he didn't know he was holding when he heard her soft voice answering with a sleepy 'hello'.

"Joeys Pizza?" he questioned, wondering if anyone actually bought this cover anymore. He knew that Francie and Will badgered her constantly about it, and he considered the possibility of changing their cover.

"Sorry, wrong number," she replied a few moments later as he hung up the phone and started to gather his things. He never thought he'd look forward to meeting an agent in a cold warehouse cage on the bad side of town, but if Sydney was involved he was sure he'd be pretty happy anywhere.

When he arrived at the warehouse he was surprised to see Syd's SUV already waiting. It was rare that she beat him there, and he hoped everything was okay. He'd been worried about her, he couldn't help it, especially since he was the only one who knew her secret - unless she had told Sloane, he mused, wondering how that meeting must of gone. Part of him knew that she needed to tell Sloane, and hoped she had so that she could stay somewhat safe, but part of him was equally terrified of the mans reaction.

Vaughns footsteps were deliberately quiet as he walked into the warehouse towards the now familiar cage. Her face tipped up and a small smile crossed her face when she saw him approaching, and he couldn't help wondering if she wanted to be held by him as badly as he wanted to hold her. Just once he wanted to see Sydney, smiling and laughing, running towards him and flinging herself at him for a glorious hug - and he'd prefer the scene take place outside somewhere, in front of the whole damned world. It was cheesy, like those old romance movies his Mother used to make him watch and that he secretly enjoyed, but it was still a thought that he did sometimes dwell on, despite his best efforts not to.

"Hey," he said, giving her a small smile as he stepped into the cage with her. She looked worried, but at the same time he thought he saw her relax just a little when she saw him. He knew it was impossible, given their circumstances, but he wanted Sydney to always feel safe with him, like he would protect her. Of course, he knew he'd give anything to protect her - not only because it was his job, but because of the unspoken feelings that he had developed over the course of their years working together. Their meetings were dangerous, but he still continued to hope she'd feel safe.

"Hi," she said, giving out a sigh as he studied her for a second. Vaughn knew it was such an oxymoron, but she could be so strong sometimes but she also looked so delicate and without a doubt beautiful.

"They're sending you on a mission." he said, pacing in front of her as she sat down on the rooms only chair, nodding. "Did you tell them?"

"Yes, I told them. Sloane said they'd find something for me to do at the office in Los Angeles . . that and something about naming the baby Arvin." she mummbled as Vaughn raised an eyebrow and smirked.

"Yeah, I don't think so." he mummbled in return as she smiled at him and they shared a small laugh at the thought. "I don't want you to go Syd," he said, stopping his pacing and standing with his hands on his foot. He knew he was going to come across sounding demanding, and maybe even controlling, but he thought considering the circumstances he had ever right to be both.

"Your kidding. It's not even that big of a deal. Doesn't the CIA need and want this information-"

"Yes, of course they do, but I don't think risking your life or the life of the baby is worth that much." he cut her off in a curt tone as she stood and slowly walked toward him.

"Trust me. I promise I will do everything in my power to stay out of trouble. I generally try to anyway." she reminded him with a half smile as he had to smile back.

"How did everyone react?" he asked quietly as her smile faded and she sat back down.

"Dixon and Marshall are happy for me . . . Sloane is acting like he's happy, although I had to spend an extra ten minutes on my way here shaking my tail, so draw from that what you will . . ."

"Your Father?" Vaughn questioned quietly.

"He was there . . . I think he knows." she said in a fearful voice, raising her eyes to meet Vaughns.

"It's going to be okay Syd," he reassured her, not knowing if his words were true but needing to say them anyway. "Really." he insisted, forcing a small smile as she nodded. "How are you feeling?"

"Tired," she said, giving him a smile as he nodded sympathetically.

"Is there anything I can do?" he asked, his mind drawing a blank. She smiled at him, obviously recognizing his attempt to try to help her. That's all he could do too, she knew as much, and she appreciated that it meant as much to him as it did to her.

"No, there's nothing." she reassured him. "So, what's my countermission?" she asked, plunging head first into the work they still had before them.

Fifteen minutes later, after listening to how she was to drop off the information near the party and taking the copy of the code that the CIA wanted SD-6 to have, Syd started to stand up, knowing she still had a full day ahead of her. Among other things, she was going to tell Francie, Charlie and Will that night when they came over for dinner, and she had other things to do as well. "What are your plans for tonight?" he asked. The party was the next night and she knew she needed to settle a few more things in her personal life before she could think of the mission before her.

"I'm having Francie, Charlie and Will over for dinner." she explained as he nodded. Vaughn wished for what must of been the millionth time during the time he'd known her that he could be there for their casual dinners together, afterwards playing card games and laughing. He knew that one day, once SD-6 was taken down, he could possibly live that life . . but until then it would remain a dream. "I'm going to tell them tonight." Syd said softly as he studied her carefully.

"I know . . I know you're doing this alone tonight," he said softly, not able to meet her eyes. "Just . . just know your not in this alone." he said, knowing he sounded akward but hoping she understood the sentiments behind it. Judging by the soft smile on her face, he was sure that she did.

"I know." she said, looking at him, obviously needing something from him but afraid to ask. Vaughn looked into her eyes and stepped closer to her, giving into the temptation by taking her into his arms. He found it briefly ironic - the one thing that seemed to calm her was the one thing that had caused this problem in the first place.

"You're going to bring them down Syd, I promise you, we're already closer then we thought we could be at this point. You're going to be fine." he reassured her, smelling her hair as the memories of their stolen moments invaded his mind.

"I know, I do know." she assured him, stepping back and wiping away the few stray tears that had fallen. "Damn hormones," she mummbled, causing them both to laugh.

"If you need to talk . . you have my number . . " he trailed off as she smiled and nodded.

"I do." she said, reaching out and squeezing his hand, looking into his eyes for just a few moments longer then would be considered appropriate, before letting go and quietly walking out of the warehouse, leaving him behind.