Kat Scratch Fever
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Twist of Fate

That Darn Alice!

Author: Kat
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Counteragent
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters

Sydney couldn't believe that she was actually hugging Vaughn again. It felt so natural, so right. She was so glad that the antidote had worked. She didn't know what she would have done if she had lost Vaughn. It had been hard enough when she had thought he was dead after Taipei. She blinked back tears and tried to compose herself.

She pulled back from the hug and gave him a huge smile. And then he had to bring up Alice. It hurt, it really hurt that he had to ruin this moment. She knew he deserved a chance at a normal life, but lately she was wishing that she could have been a part of it.

"Please, don't." She backed away and noticed the smile on his face falter. She had no idea what he was going to say, but she didn't want to hear that he and Alice were back together. If she heard him say those words, then she would have to face the truth.

She gave him a tiny smile and walked away, wishing with all her heart that he would call her name or stop her. She wanted to be reassured. She wanted Vaughn. When it became clear that he wasn't coming, she ducked into the stair well and made her way to the parking garage. She didn't know how she managed to hold it all in, but once she reached her car she broke down. The tears just wouldn't stop coming. She leaned against her car and just dropped to the ground, sobbing.

She damned her life, Sloane, the circumstances. When she had finally gotten over Danny and met a new guy, it was the one guy she couldn't have.

*****

Michael Vaughn wanted to just take Sydney in his arms and never let go. He wanted to keep her safe forever. He had seen the flash of pain in her eyes when he had tried to explain Alice. If only she had listened. If only circumstances were different.

Kendall had approached him, but he hadn't heard a word the man had said. He excused himself and began to follow Sydney. Screw protocol, he was going after her. She was hurting, and he needed to be there for her.

He didn't know if she knew where she was going or not, but she was going pretty fast. If his legs hadn't been so unsteady he would have run after her. He turned the corner and she was gone. He smiled. If Sydney didn't want to be found, she wasn't going to be found. He headed back to grab his car keys. He might as well go home.

******

Sydney didn't know how long she sat there, but the tears just wouldn't stop. She had been so careful not to open her heart to anyone, but somehow Vaughn had broken her defenses. Maybe it was because he was always worried about her. It made her feel special to know that someone cared for her. Sure, she had Francie and Will, but with Vaughn she didn't have to pretend.

She wiped at the tears and just leaned against the car, hoping no one would find her. She just wanted to be alone with her thoughts. She couldn't help the jealousy that flared through her. What did Alice have that she didn't? She knew that answer and it immediately sent a fresh wave of tears down her cheeks. If the CIA could see her now. She hated feeling weak, but she couldn't help it. As she stared at the wall of the parking garage, she barely noticed that someone had found her.

*****

Michael had been shocked to find Sydney leaning against her car. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and she didn't even acknowledge his presence. She seemed to be completely lost in her thoughts. He had to curb the urge to just gather her in her arms and make everything better.

Knowing he was probably the cause wasn't helping. He knew that he had every right to move on with Alice. He didn't have to answer to Sydney about the way he lived his life. But he couldn't stand knowing that he made Sydney cry.

He hesitated before lightly touching her shoulder. The contact seemed to startle her. She jumped to her feet and hastily wiped away her tears. She saw him and her eyes widened.

"Syd, are you ok?"

She gave him a shaky smile and and unconvincing "Yes."

"Syd, you've been crying. Do you want to talk about it?"

She wouldn't look him in the eye and he sighed. Damn protocol. He gathered her into his arms and gave her a hug. She tried to back away, but seemed to just give up. It scared him to see Sydney like this. She was usually so tough.

He could feel her shaking and knew that the tears had started up again. "Syd, it's ok. Everything will be ok. I'll make sure."

She stilled and looked at him. She laughed sarcastically. "I'm sure Alice would appreciate that."

"Syd, please."

She looked into his eyes and he tried not to flinch when he saw the pain in them. "If you would have let me explain about Alice, it would have saved us a lot of trouble."

She gave him a hard look, obviously not wanting to her the other woman's name.

"Syd, I don't have to explain my life to you, but I think you should hear this. We're just friends. I know it's hard to believe, but that's all I feel for Alice. She's going through a rough time. Her father is in the hospital and I was helping her cope."

He reached over and wiped away her tears. "I want you to understand something. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I care for you more than I should. We've gone way past the professional mark here, Syd."

"I know I can't give you a normal …." Sydney's voice broke and she looked away.

"Since I've met you, my life has been far from normal. I don't think I could live normally anymore. Syd, you've changed my life in many ways." He grabbed her face and made her look into his eyes. "I wouldn't change it for the world."

He gathered her in a hug and was comforted to know that he had been able to make things a little better. Sydney seemed to be calmer and less shaky. He gazed down at the woman in his arms. He wouldn't change anything. If things had been different he might have never met Sydney Bristow.

He stroked her hair and they stayed together, each wishing for something they could never have.

Idea from Jude.  What would have happened if Vaughn had caught Syd and not run like a pansy ass? 

Characters not mine; JJ owns em