Summary: Post Sovogda - events leading up to SV's drive to Santa Barbara
AN: As shocking as the end of S4 was, I'm interested in SV's state of mind preceding one of the major turning points in their lives. How are Syd and Vaughn like now that they are engaged? What are their thoughts about getting married?
Hopes and Dreams
[S4-22, Before SV's drive to SB]
I've just finished loading the dishwasher and am now sitting down on the couch with my bridal magazine.
Four weeks of leave isn't something I would ever dream of. Given the magnitude of the events in Sovogda on our lives, Vaughn insisted it would do us good to step away for a short while. Elena Derevko is dead, thanks to my mother, who conveniently disappeared after the Mueller Device was destroyed. Sloane has been apprehended and sent to federal prison – after consenting to put my sister in a medically induced coma, hoping a cure for her condition can be found. My father is now in charge of APO, which makes sanctioning our time off request a little easier.
Immediately after returning to Los Angeles, Eric, Vaughn and I spent nearly two weeks exhausting APO's, and the CIA's, resources in search of an antidote for Nadia. I was at wit's end but couldn't walk away – partly because I felt responsible for what seemed to be the realization of Rambaldi's prophecy, that the Passenger and the Chosen One shall battle, and we both nearly did not survive. While the medical team is able to keep her vitals stable, it is becoming obvious that a cure will be a long shot, if it exists at all.
Vaughn convinced me to take a break from it all before I drive myself crazy. Plus there is the small matter of our wedding that requires our attention. When a man as amazing as Michael Vaughn is dangled right in front, I'm not at all interested in any delay getting to the altar. In our books, it's been three years too long of a wait already. As if I need any further incentive, he sweetened the deal by offering to take the leave with me to kick-start our wedding plans, with the promise of a week vacation in Santa Barbara before we go back to work.
I'm beginning to thumb through the pages when Vaughn brings two glasses of chardonnay and sits down beside me. I instinctively shift to lean against him and take a sip of the wine he hands me.
"Syd, I'm thinking..."
I raise my eye brow and curl my lips suggestively.
"Yes, that for sure…" He laughs, "But there's actually something else."
"What?" I look up from my magazine.
"The lease to this place is up soon."
"Yes – and?"
"Do you like it here? You want to stay after we get married?"
"What about you, Vaughn? Do you want to find another apartment? Maybe a bigger place?"
"Syd, I don't really care where we live as long as we're together. If we move, I just need enough space to put my hockey gears."
"You are so demanding, darling." I snicker and reach to caress his face. "I actually like it here… I like how close we're to the beach. What do you say we stay?"
"I like it here too – this is where I get you back in my life…" He leans down to kiss me. "But if we're going to stay, I think we should buy it instead of paying rent every month."
"Yeah? I guess it makes sense. I just hope the owner is in a selling mood."
"We'll make it worth their while." Vaughn sounds confident.
"I don't want to overpay too much. Let's see how it goes. We can always look at some other listings in this neighbourhood."
"We'll call the realtor in the morning and start the negotiation."
"So we're going to buy a house together." I retort somewhat in disbelief – that six years after we met, knowing for a long time we belong together, we're actually making a home for us.
"Yeah, we're going to buy a house together. That's usually what people do when they get married." He sneers and wraps his arm around my shoulder while placing another kiss atop my head.
Since he moved in almost six months ago, Vaughn has made monthly deposit into my account that covers more than half the rent. I didn't resist the gesture as I knew that would help him truly feel comfortable with our new living arrangement.
"One more thing, Syd…"
"There's more? We need to get back to our original agenda, you know."
"And you aren't? Don't make me be rough with you." I laugh.
"I'm in no hurry… we're still on vacation, remember?" He appeases me with another long, warm kiss. "As I was saying… would you be open to having a joint bank account? I want to make sure you have access to…"
"Don't say it, Vaughn." I know where this is going and I won't entertain the possibility. "I'm fine to get a joint account… but nothing is going to happen to you." I'm almost pleading… He's always looking out for me but all I need is for him to be with me, for as long as we both shall live.
"I know. I'm giving you all my money anyway, there is no reason for you to get rid of me." He teases while tightening his embrace to ease my worries. I realize this moment how much I'd like to be married to this man already.
Ever since Sydney said yes before going up to the roof to disable the floating red ball in Sovogda, I have found it difficult to describe my feelings.
The grim outlook on Nadia is upsetting as all our effort to obtain an antidote has been to no avail. We might have thwarted Elena Derevko's schemes, but we haven't rid the world of evil.
Yet I have never felt more hopeful about life. To be able to finally ask Sydney to marry me is beyond incredible, even though my proposal was nothing like the one I had planned more than four years ago.
Seeing how much she also wants to be married, how terrified she is just now by the notion of separation, makes the hard road we had to take to get here seem insignificant.
I had no clue how pleasurable it could be to plan our wedding. No matter how trivial the detail is, Sydney's enthusiasm is reward enough for me. I love playing devil's advocate to her ideas, only to concede unconditionally once she figures out what she really wants.
True to my Boy Scout core, I don't seem to tire from making plans for our life together. I broached the subjects of finance and property cautiously since I didn't want to come across as controlling. I know Sydney is more than capable of taking care of herself and she has enough put away for rainy days. But she is my sole responsibility now, more than ever. And I hold nothing back from that sacred job.
It wasn't the same way with my previous marriage.
The wedding was professionally put together by a prestigious planner, even though Lauren did make all the final calls. I was only needed at various appointments to pleasantly express my consent.
We remained financially independent after our marriage. Of course I understand now that would have been her obvious choice to avoid suspicion. I thought it was wise at the time given her prominent family background. The house Lauren and I moved into was a wedding gift from her father. It came fully furnished with high end items of her choosing. I contributed by paying all our utilities and weekly groceries. We took care of our own laundry and maintained our own vehicle. Our relationship was cordial, albeit superficial, and it felt oddly comfortable since it required little emotional investment. I should have recognized my so-called marriage was in trouble right from the start when I always managed to be so logical about everything.
Syd, on the other hand, likes a bit of chaos and mess in her life. She thinks they keep things real.
The evening I officially moved into what is now our apartment, she was eager to make me feel at home – even though I had been spending most nights at her place instead of Eric's for a while.
"Just throw your laundry into the hamper. We'll deal with it this weekend." She says casually after our shower.
"You don't have to worry about my dirty laundry, Syd. I can wash my own load. Just give me another basket. I'll even offer to bring in your dry-cleaning." I don't want our chores to get in the way.
"Don't be silly, Vaughn. We're not roommates in a dorm." She chuckles but turns more serious soon after. "You're here because we want to share our lives, dirty laundry included. We'll do them together." She says meaningfully. "I don't mind a little mess now and then… makes things more real. So relax – promise I will let you know if you start to bug me." She puts her arms around my neck, "We'll kiss on it…" and she begins kissing me slowly and playfully.
We love discovering every initimate facet of each other. We have so much fun bantering about ordinary things, like the proper way to fold underwear, Sydney's obsession with scented candles and my tendency to misplace my keys.
There is no chance I could ever go back to living life without Syd.
Even though it has no bearing whatsoever on how much she means to me, or the hopes and dreams I have for our future, I know it is time for me to tell Sydney one last piece of information.
We're going to Santa Barbara in two days for our long overdue vacation.
We had every intention to be there four years ago. He told me he was going to propose for he already knew I was all that he ever wanted. I would have said yes for I already knew he was the only one I couldn't live without. He would never have married Lauren Reed and I would never have been so lost for so long. We would have looked back on those three years rejoicing the start of our new life together, instead of lamenting the anguish of being ripped apart.
But all is not lost and we're exactly where we should be – together and in love.
Plus, we now have a new joint bank account, complete with a joint safety deposit box.
And we just received confirmation that our transactions went through and all the documents have been signed off – we now own our apartment.
All that's left is to get married and I can't wait….
AN: I loved writing this part - I think those conversations they had make them even more real in my mind. It is also the bridge to S5, which brings me to my dilemma. I'm not sure if this should be the last chapter of this fic and have my next Missing Scene chapters in Soul Mates' Tales or continue with Soul on Soul until after SV are reunited. Should I stick with the natural divide by seasons and move on to Soul Mates' Tales? Or do I keep what I've originally intended - have Soul Mates' Tales tell SV stories from S5E15 and on, when Vaughn returns home after his fake death?
I also have to apologize for taking so long to update this story. I've promised someone I will post a new chapter and here I'm trying to deliver on that. With too many WIPs already, sometimes it is hard to keep up. Now that I've put Five & Ten on hiatus, I can turn my attention to some other unfinished fics. That said, I'm also taking a short break from writing to focus on a few important projects I've committed to. It doesn't mean I will stop writing, it will just take me longer time to update.
I hope you've been enjoying these stories so far and would like me to continue posting.