Title:  House of Lies

Author:  Robin (icyfire)

Email:  icyfire@webtv.net

Feedback:  Please.  Constructive crit welcomed.

Distribution:  CD and FF.net.  Any others please ask first.

Disclaimer:  Not mine.  Never have been and probably never will be.  I'd love to own them on DVD though.

Summary:  Alternate Universe.  "Devlin's eyes bore into him from the shadows, and he knew then that Sydney would not be the only one learning to live in a lie."  The day his daughter walks into the CIA, Jack learns truths about his life that he never suspected.

Rating:  PG-13 I would think.  There is nothing here that couldn't be shown on the show.

Classification:  Alternate Universe, Drama, Romance, Angst, Action

A/N:  I played with JJ's world and turned it on its head.  I did, however, use the characters, plots, and words from episodes.  I can't take credit for those.  They belong to the writers of the individual episodes.  A list of the episode's writers is at the end of this fic.

***

She didn't like him.  He was too sure, too cocky for her taste.  His voice grated on her nerves, and his looks--As much as she wanted to fault his looks right now, she couldn't.  Damn, he looked like a wet dream come to life.  If she were honest, she would admit that she did like him except for the question he kept asking.

Sighing, she wished she smoked.  Her hands could play with the cancer stick, flip the top of her lighter open, and then bring the cigarette to her lips.  Instead, she kept them on the arms of the chair.  He leaned into her personal space, and she wished she could blow a ring of smoke in his face.  Push him away.

"No, I won't tell you," she answered.  She didn't understand why he kept asking; her answer never changed.

"Ms. Bristow--" he began again.

She held up her hand.  "I want to help you bring down SD-6, Mr. Vaughn.  I think I could be a great asset to the CIA, but I'm not going to answer that question."

"Your refusal may prevent us from using you."

She stood up and leaned forward.  Feeling his breath on her lips, she snarled, "If the CIA is so narrow minded and stupid, then it deserves--"

"Sydney!"  A voice she never expected to hear here, in this white room drenched in fluorescent lights, stopped her in mid-sentence.  "He's trying to help you."

She turned to look at the man standing at the door.  It had only been a few days since she had last seen him, but he looked older.  His shoulders slumped with an added weight.  New wrinkles had etched their way onto his face.  Her heart hurt because his usual smile was missing.

She knew she was the reason.  She opened her mouth to speak but couldn't think of a word to say.  Closing her eyes, she heard again in her mind the question that the CIA--in the form of Michael Vaughn--had been asking her over and over.  They wanted the one piece of information about SD-6 that she had not shared.  Could not share.

When they realized that she wouldn't tell their questioner, they had sent him in to find out the answer.  She knew it, and she hated them for it.  Almost as much as she hated SD-6.  Almost.  They were going to make her hurt him, destroy him, for that information.

She wouldn't be able to deny him.  She wouldn't be able to protect him from the truth.  He wouldn't let her.  He would see into her soul and know the answer.

"Michael, I'd like to talk to her alone, please," her father told her interrogator.

Vaughn looked like he was about to argue, but then he closed his mouth and nodded.  Picking up his jacket, he said, "Of course, Jack," and left.

Sydney crossed her arms and started rocking on her heels.  "I thought you exported airplane parts."

"I thought you worked for a bank," he replied.

They stared at each other.  Finally, he opened his arms and took a step forward.  She flew into them, into safety.  Standing there, being held tightly to his chest, she let the tears, the fear, the horror, come out.  Shaking and crying, she held onto her daddy and wished she could be his little girl again, safe and protected from the evil that lurked in the world.

When she stopped shaking, he guided her back to the chair.  He went over to pour her a fresh cup of coffee, and then he put it down next to her when she made no move to take it from his outstretched hand.  He sank down onto the floor in front of her.  With her elbows resting on her knees, she stared at the pattern in the squares of linoleum.  She couldn't look at him.

"I hate to tell you this, honey, but Amy Tippin manages to pull off this look a lot better," he told her as he took her hands into his.

She smiled.  The magenta hair glared at her from the sides of her face.  "Yeah, she does."

"I'm going to have to take Will out to dinner or something.  Thank him without saying thanks for what he did for you," he told her as he squeezed her fingers.

She nodded, staring at those strong hands.  They swallowed her smaller ones.  Even though he held her hands loosely, the strength in his grip was easy to see.  The callused fingers and palms rubbed against her softer flesh.  Those hands were not the hands of an executive.  Why had she never paid any attention to them before?  She was trained to notice detail, to question what she was told.

She had never questioned SD-6.  Even after they killed Danny, a part of her had understood, had accepted her part of the blame.  Dying to protect your country, even if you had not volunteered for the role, she could accept.  Dying to protect mercenaries--

"Yeah, I don't know what I would have done without Amy's passport and credit card," she answered in a voice that sounded mechanical to her own ears.  She knew the question was coming; she didn't want to answer it.  She would be destroying him, killing him like she killed Danny.

"Are you sure that you want to do this, Sydney?  We could give you a new identity, send you into--"

Shaking her head, she looked up and met his eyes.  She knew he hated the idea of her leaving, of losing contact with her.  He hated the idea of her being in constant danger as a double agent more.  "No.  I would rather die, Dad."

Jack flinched, but he continued to look at her, to stare into her soul, to seek answers she didn't want to give.  "Who are you protecting, Sydney?"

"Don't ask."  She tried to pull her hands away, but he wouldn't let her.

"Who, Sydney?"

"I can't--"

He put his hands on the side of her face and tried to get her to look at him.  "Sydney, who are you protecting?"

Leaning her head down on his shoulder, she giggled and sobbed at the same time.  "When Mr. Vaughn was asking, it was a different answer."

The way his shoulders stiffened told her that he understood.  One of his arms went around her shoulder.  "Sydney, it is not your job to protect me.  I'm your father; it's my job to protect you."

She pushed herself away from him.  "I--"

He leaned forward.  "Sydney, we have to know.  I have to know."

She looked at him and understood that she would not be allowed to leave until he knew.  It was his way.  He protected her, and he was afraid that the unknown element would harm her.  It had hurt her already, but it would destroy him.

Closing her eyes, she licked her lips.  "Mom," she whispered, letting go of the secret.

"Because without knowing--" He stopped talking as the word registered with him.  She opened her eyes and watched the knowledge overcome him.  He didn't jerk back from it.  Instead, he sat up straight, slowly pulling himself away from her and the pain she was causing.  She felt like she was watching a movie frame by frame.

Shock and horror fought in his eyes.  "What?"

"Mom was my rescuer.  She's the one who told me the truth about SD-6."

***

End Part 1