Title: Marilyn and Rosie
Author: Laras_Dice
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Masquerade, The Confession, Q&A, The Prophecy, promos for Snowman
Archive: Anywhere, but please let me know
Summary: Masquerade post-ep. Vaughn POV.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and love Alias. So don't sue me!

AN: I've been pecking away at bits and pieces of this for a couple of days, trying out a new tense, and it seemed to work well as a post-ep to try and vent some of my anger. Grrrrr. I had been working on the sequel to "Spark" (I really was, I swear!) and this just kind of sucked the momentum out of it, especially since now it's off canon and looking like it might get blown even further off course. I'm sure after I take some time to recover it may be useful as a means of escape from the latest developments. And, for the record, "Fahrenheit" was not written off of spoilers. I seriously would have warned you guys. Apparently, the writers and I think alike on some things. Just not the important things. Grrrrr.

Marilyn and Rosie

His dreams are like the old movies he makes his nightly companion, before drifting to sleep on the couch. He dreams in black and white, except for her. She is always in color.

In his dreams she is Marilyn Monroe and Rosie The Riveter, beautiful and tough. The fragments of her life — the ones he imagines and the ones he knows — float around his mind until the morning. It is confusing, unnerving, but he prefers them over the nightmares fraught with blood and tears.

On the bad days, he imagines his fragment of Sydney's life is very, very small. On the worst days, there's a tearful voice on the cell phone reserved for her, and he wishes his fragment were much smaller, much less necessary.

He hopes someone else will come into his life. Someone accessible. Someone he can touch without fear. Someone better than Sydney. He fears this person does not exist. Accessible love will always be a compromise. Accessible love may never be love. There will always be the ghosts of Marilyn and Rosie and Sydney.

He's considered this problem before. Before he first saw her, the crazy girl in candy apple hair. When he was with Alice, and all the women before her.

It's not the falling in love that worries him. It's the falling in love and having a family. It's the pretense of domestic bliss thinly layered over the undertones of lies and danger.

It's the day the men in dark suits came to the door and made his mother cry.

The dreams are more vivid when he's had too much to drink. He can only do this in his own home. Bars are too risky. Loose lips sink ships.

His liquor of choice is scotch, cheap enough to burn the first few times down. Tumbler and ice, like in the movies. No martinis. He's never had much of a taste for vodka.

Sometimes in his nightmares, a dead ringer for Sydney Bristow shoots him point-blank in the head, in front of his horrified children. He knows it is not Sydney. This woman is in black and white.

Sometimes he runs across the black and white Sydney in a dark corridor of an old gothic cathedral. Rage drives his trigger finger until she is full of bullets. He turns around at the sound of sobs. Sometimes it's Marilyn. Sometimes it's Rosie. Sometimes it's just Technicolor Sydney, torn between hate and lingering traces of love. When he had the dream last night, he was too angry at her to care.

He found a gray hair in the morning, its silver mocking him amidst the brown. His father grayed early, too.

He knows instantly when she gets to the warehouse. He only gets a brief glimpse of the expression in her eyes. It is enough.

She doesn't look at him for the rest of their meeting.

It's been a long time since their last screaming match. He considers starting one. Maybe she will read the source of his anger. Maybe she will understand his reasons. Maybe it will make him feel better to yell at her. Maybe he can hurt her like she's hurt him.

He'll start with a reprimand for getting emotionally involved. As her handler, he's supposed to do that.

Reprimand her. Not get emotionally involved.

He could play the trump card, remind her why she got into this in the first place. Danny. Guaranteed to bring tears, and likely her wrath. He longs for the days when he was competing with a ghost, a crazy reporter, and protocol.

But then Noah is a ghost, too, suddenly resurrected. The small portion of his mind still working rationally knows that he needs to warn her not to trust someone so recently returned. This will only increase the widening schism between them.

You can trust me, he wants to scream. You can always trust me. Why is that not enough?

He curses the day he said yes to the recruiter. He longs for the peace he would have if he'd never met Sydney Bristow. He wishes every woman wasn't a reminder to him that there was something better, concrete but completely inaccessible.

If he hadn't met Sydney, she would be dead. Some callous handler, some Lambert, someone more interested in what she could do for him than in her life or the big picture. It's what stops him from walking into Barnett's office and telling her about Marilyn and Rosie.

But he is growing tired of being the person she calls in the middle of the night, to talk about the woman who killed his father, oblivious to the fact that she's yet again ripping at the old wound. Tired of pretending that if Sydney did find her mother, he wouldn't want to finish the job apparently left undone all those years ago.

He has made her his life. This has nothing to do with being emotionally involved. It is standard for a handler to be available at all hours of the day. It is standard that he has not left Los Angeles since he took on her case, save for that trip to Rome.

He is not her life. Especially not now. How he feels about that is not standard.

In one dream, on one wonderful night, they were happily married with children. No guns, no bullets, no death, no little crying faces. Disturbingly happy ever after. One dream out of a million. It echoes his odds with her.

He is certain he will not have that dream tonight. Instead, it will be some James Dean of a Noah, haunting him in a sweeping romance with Marilyn and Rosie.

And Sydney. Always Sydney.