Disclaimer: I do not own nor claim to own any of the following characters, places, or events. Just the story.

Author's Note: Tag for 2.19, "Endgame." NO SPOILERS, please, I'm only on season 2 (and loving it). Irina Derevko fascinates me.


The Other Side of the Glass
by Dax's10tHost

You walk the gauntlet of the halls, past the staring guards, past the first gate that moves sideways, then under the second that raises. The image of a guillotine flashes through your mind, but you push it away and remind yourself that you're not going to see her. You're going to see Caplan.

And Caplan you can handle.

"Open the door," you order the guard, and he wordlessly complies. A click, and then it hisses ominously, as if releasing a poison. And you are about to walk into the spider's web. But no, you think.

She is not Irina Derevko.

/~/

I step into the room with the intention of breaking her, for I know that she is hiding something. Russian spies are never what they seem, even upon the third or fourth interrogation. Or milestone in your child's life. Irina taught me that. So I move into the room confidently, secure in my tactic.

Laura — Derevko — fooled me. Twice. Elsa Caplan will not.

I surprise her by speaking to her in her own language, the language that she should be speaking now, in Russia, where she belongs. I begin by mentioning her accent, moving to her parents, and then I drive the knife deep into my target.

"I'm curious. What was your cover, the story you told Neil Caplan?"

The words give me a thrill, and they work, better than I expected. I can see the disgust contorting her face; she cannot bear to hear his name in her language, the language she loves, in which she thinks, that she plans to teach her son in order to turn him against my country just as Derevko would have turned Sydney had I not stopped her twenty years ago.

Just as I am stopping her now.

I continue, almost gleeful inside, for she is angry: I have exposed her secrets, stripped her of her lies. Yes. I drive the knife further, twisting it and taking pleasure in the hardening of her eyes. Eyes that I know so well, so well. Yes. Yes, I will break her. I will make her pay for what she has done.

"It started as a job, a duty to your country."

A step forward. Intimidation.

"Then it required you to prostitute yourself—but it was a small price to pay for serving the motherland."

Another step, and she is no longer fair skinned and blond, but lean and wiry with waves of auburn hair tumbling down her back and shoulders. I want to hurt her, hurt her so badly that she will never recover, and yet the sight of her drives me crazy with memories of what we had. What I thought we had.

"At first everything went as planned, and then—surely an accident—you got pregnant." I shove out the word, tasting its acid. "You considered terminating the pregnancy, but selfishly you didn't. You hoped, somehow, that becoming a mother would redeem you, would absolve your guilt."

"You're wrong!"

"But you continued to lie and deceive both your husband and son." Daughter. Husband and daughter.

"I am not Irina Derevko!"

Her words are dagger thrusts, sharp, swift, lingering in the spurts of anger that they unleash. She will pay for them. Dearly. "I probably care more about your son than you do!"

"That is not true!"

"If I have my way, you're never going to see your son again."

And surely this will break her; her act will fall away, for I know—everyone knows—that Irina Derevko is incapable of love. I am in her face now, lip curled back and eyes hard, waiting for her to slither up from her seat and spit in my face, perhaps attempt to break my arm, my leg. But instead—

A scream. "Don't you dare take my son away from me! Don't you take my son away!"

And the illusion shatters, the exploding glass like shrapnel in my heart. I rear back and stare at her, at the tears coursing down her cheeks, my mouth open, heart thudding, the blood rushing in my ears. No. No. I cannot hate her anymore. My power over her is gone.

She is not Irina Derevko.

What have I done?

/~/

"I am not Irina Derevko!" Her words are a broken record in your head; no matter how hard you try, you cannot turn them off. "I am not Irina Derevko!"

You leave silent, grim, pulled into yourself and brushing away anyone who dares to prod your wounds. Out the door, under the gate, through the gate, around the corners and into the halls. The people are faceless; they do not matter.

"I am not Irina Derevko!"

You reach your desk and sit heavily, unseeing, shoulders slumping and fingers gripping your knees. She has fooled you again, lured you into her web and laughed as you struggled to free yourself through your cunning techniques and foils. You thought you had it all together, and all she did was watch you. Silent. As always.

Three times. Three times you have failed. Three times you have felt the crush of her fingers around your heart and were helpless, knowing that you will never stop loving her. Never stop loving Laura…

"I am not Irina Derevko!"

And you remember her tears, the scream of desperation, the crumpling of her face behind her trembling fingers, and all you can think of—

"She's so tiny. So small, fragile… oh, Jack, isn't she beautiful?" She looks at you, forehead damp, cheeks pale, hair tangled and straggling over her shoulders. Her eyes are creased, but laughing, weeping love and joy in their gaze. You can't breathe for the beauty of her—all you can do is smile, lean close. Feather her jaw with kisses. Whisper,

"She's perfect. Just like her mother." And you mean it.

Elsa Caplan and her tears are in your head, but so is your wife—your ex-wife. And the memory of when she held Sydney for the first time.

It is the only time you've seen Irina Derevko cry.

Fin