Five 'Happy' Endings That Never Were
by Lady Grey

1) now I will tell you what I've done for you

They were actually holding up signs. Danny's smiling face was visible over his, while Laura was nothing but a pair of feet dwarfed by a rectangle of posterboard that declared (in hot pink, electric blue, and eight pounds of glitter) "Welcome Home Mommy!".

With the ease of practice, Sydney grabbed her daughter out from behind the sign and gathered her up in a hug, balancing child and briefcase. "What a wonderful surprise! Thank you both so much! I thought a movie star was being greeted by her adoring fans!"

"It was my idea," Laura proclaimed. Her tooth must have started growing in; the lisp she'd had last week was almost gone. "Daddy helped with the glitter."

"I can tell." There were small shiny flecks in Danny's dark hair. She leaned in to give him a kiss, making a daughter-sandwich between them, and enjoyed the warm scent of his aftershave. "Missed you."

"Missed you, too." He bent to take her briefcase, knelt down to retrieve the hospital badge that had fallen out of his pocket, and finally straightened. "How was Dallas?"

She clicked her brain over into prevarication-mode. "Oh, it was hot and full of bank executives. And armadillos." She nonchalantly plucked a stuffed armadillo (wearing a cowboy hat) out of her carryon and handed it to Laura. "This one wanted to come home with me." It was sufficient to distract a five-year-old, and she murmured to the toy while Syd and Danny grinned at each other.

"And did you tell your boss?" He looked her over with a doctor's eye, nudging one free finger against her stomach. "Another month or so, and flying won' t be very comfortable any more."

"I didn't get a chance--we were all so busy, and I was coordinating." Sloane would be annoyed, but would give her the same decent maternity leave she'd enjoyed with Laura. Dixon and Diane would offer their services as babysitters even before it was born. Francie would provide her with whatever she needed to assuage cravings, and she hoped Will would stand as godfather. If only her dad--

She steered her mind away from that resolutely as they made their way to the baggage claim. She and her father were incommunicado. Shortly after her wedding (which he had attended, albeit standing in the back and with only slightly more expression than one of the pews), he'd simply stopped responding to her occasional calls and e-mails. She'd reluctantly accepted his withdrawal.

After all, she had an adoring husband, a beautiful daughter, great friends, and she was protecting the free world. One father-daughter relationship wasn 't much, in the grand scheme of things.


2) you still have all of me

Why am I doing this?

Sydney sat in the small hotel room, glancing intermittently at the door, and the garish flicker of neon painting it in regularly timed flashes. The restaurant sign outside never turned off, even for a moment. It was hypnotic, in a disturbing fashion. Might well incite her to homicide soon.

Or maybe it wasn't the sign's fault. Maybe it was because she had taken the word of Jack Bristow, her father (by blood if nothing else, better to call him her male biological parent) who apparently worked for the bad guys. Like her (except she wasn't thinking about that, she wasn't). Who had told her that her whole life was a lie, then while she was still in shock, coaxed her into a car that drove her to the airport, whereupon she flew to Switzerland, and was now sitting in a hotel room wondering what the hell kind of rabbit hole she'd fallen down.

I shouldn't have trusted him. I don't even know him. He had to have been lying--but the gunmen-- Her thoughts ran in helpless, confused circles.

Then the door rattled. Her eyes locked on it, and she started leaning toward her gun on the bedside table.

Door opening. A dark shadow silhouetted by the hall light. Not her father, a head of dark rumpled hair that was ghost-familiar. "Sydney?"

Her heart stopped dead in her chest, then started thumping like a jackhammer.

"Syd--oh dear God, I never thought--"

"D-danny? Danny?" Her voice squeaked. And then he was holding her, and her mind was repeating dannydannydannydanny in a joyful chorus, and she just held on.

An indeterminate period of time later, her father cleared his throat. "I knew what Sloane was going to do," he began without preamble. "I arranged an escape for Danny, and made it to his apartment before Security Section's people arrived. He's been in a safe location for the past three months while I've made preparations. I'm sorry to have had to manufacture his demise, but it was necessary. Now--"

Bits and pieces came through. Life in Switzerland. Dr. Christophe Linder, and his wife Elise. A bank account. A house. Never going back to the States. Sydney didn't care. Danny was here. Everything would be all right, and who cared what her name was, so long as it was the same as his.


3) forsaking all I've fallen

Situations come clear at the strangest times. One's life comes into focus, and priorities that were confused are suddenly ordered in the lightning-strike of an unexpected epiphany. Sydney's epiphany came as she stood staring at Arvin Sloane's fuzzy naked back.

She had three options. Option one, the one she had been pursuing until this very second, involved knocking Sloane out (which she was greatly looking forward to) and turning him over to Mr. Sark for summary execution. In return, she would get the counteragent that would cure Vaughn. No more Sloane, Sark an ally for the moment, and Vaughn well, all the world goes on precisely as it has, tra la la.

Option two involved backing out. Admitting to herself that Mr. Sark was a dangerous ally, more likely than not to renege (anyone who could take down the head of the K-Directorate had to have treason in their bones), and that the CIA were all assholes. Confessing all in a split second to Sloane, packing in her kimono and obi, and going home. Vaughn would die, Alice would grieve, Sloane would live to connive another day, and someone would have Sark in custody. Which would make the world a marginally safer place, and her life simpler.

Then there was option three. Which she, on a fierce and bitter impulse, took. The chopsticks in her hair had needles in them. Only one small jab would put Sloane to sleep.

She jabbed them both through his neck, up into his brain.

The ambulance came, wailing like a lost soul, and the distraught geisha insisted on riding with the poor man to the hospital (eyes modestly downcast the whole time). In the back, the body of a dead man between them, spy faced spy.

"I was under the impression we had an agreement, Sydney." Sark was not pleased. Blue eyes were arctic, and there was something of anticipation in the way he sat.

"We did. I have a better one. You were the one who said you believed we were destined to work together. Let's start now."

He cocked his head slightly to one side instead of shooting her, and so she pressed on. "I know you don't care, but this is the truth; my life's screwed me over. SD-6 manipulated me, the CIA's doing the same, my parents are not who I ever thought they were, and--" And a man I thought I could love has kept his girlfriend all this time. All this damned time, while I cried over him. "I want to take down SD-6. I want out of this stupid life. Nothing more. This is a start." She shoved the body's shoulder viciously, leaving a smear of rice powder on inert flesh. "Help me do that, and I'll help you. Anything. I don 't care anymore. I can't care anymore. Just get me out."

He steepled his elegant fingers, and watched a tear leave a streak of skin down her whitened cheek. "I will have to speak to my superior," he finally said, softly, "but I believe such an arrangement will suit. Us all."


4) never was and never will be


She had never been so angry, would never be so angry again. She'd hated Sloane, despised Mr. Sark, wished many painful deaths on various international terrorists and criminals. But this--this not-Francie, this double, cuckoo in the nest, sleeping with (and nearly killing) Will and forcing him to doubt himself, grinning ferally at her in the middle of the living room that Francie had so meticulously decorated ("I'm not saying feng shui is the standard by which I live my life, but that table looks good there!")--she was going to die.

Not easily, though. Anna Espinosa might have had a rough time with this one. Hands grappled, fingernails tore, knives and blunt objects and hard surfaces, everything came into play and Sydney felt the impact/tearing/numbing for only the briefest of moments in her blind need to hurt Francie's traitorous double.

Everything was a blur, a tumbling and painful blur, and she had no idea how long she'd been fighting when her eyes abruptly came into focus and she realized that she was holding a gun and that the Francie-thing was standing right in front of her. Smiling Francie's smile, except not. Malicious and vicious, with a twist to her body that an innocent chef would never have.

So Sydney shot her. Three times, once in the arm and once on each side of her chest. She watched as the familiar/unfamiliar face twisted in confusion, as she stared at the dark and bloody wounds. And as a fourth wound appeared, in full color and with an echoey roar, between and below the ones Sydney had inflicted. Heart shot.

Syd forced her eyes to stay open, forced herself not to collapse. Because she had to make sure--

"Oh, my God. Sydney! Call an ambulance--Weiss! Hurry! Requesting backup to--Syd, keep your eyes open, talk to me, come on."

She focused on his face. Made herself watch him, green eyes and stubble and panicked distraction, until they loaded her and a deathly-pale Will into an ambulance. To make sure he wasn't anybody's double--just Vaughn.

And he'd better not think this was going to get him out of that weekend in Santa Barbara.


5) save me from the nothing I've become

The cast of usual suspects sat around the table. Her father, hair gone almost completely silver and with more lines in his face than she could ever have imagined. Dixon, equally lined, his dark familiar face grave. Marshall, rather pale and rumpled (and wearing a T-shirt with a blow-up photo of the sonogram). Lauren, hair coiffed and hands decorously folded under the table. Vaughn steadily looking down at his papers, his pen, anything but up at her. Weiss, solid and familiar. Thank God for him.

"I've thought about it," she said to the table at large. "I really have. And--while I appreciate all the help you've given me, and everything else that' s been offered--I want to say no now."

Even Vaughn looked up at that. She deliberately didn't look at any one of the attentive faces, just at the spaces between. "You all know how I've felt about life as a covert agent. I've never liked being lied to, being manipulated. I swore to myself I'd stay only as long as it took to take down SD-6. Then only until we captured Sloane. And for a little while, I thought I'd stay as long as it took to find out what happened to me. But I've thought about that.

"I have nothing. No memories. Dad, you've been in jail; you know hardly more than I do. All the rest of you thought I was dead. If Sark knew anythingŠ the Covenant have him now, and I really doubt he'll be recaptured. And my motherŠ" She paused, took a breath, smelled cold coffee and various aftershaves. "Irina Derevko is not forthcoming. I don't know if I'd believe any information we got from her anyway."

"But we know it was the Covenant," Dixon pointed out. "That's a starting place. With enough research, we can find connections."

"No. Please." Sydney let just a little of the bone-deep fatigue she felt show in her voice. "I'm tired. Maybe one day I won't be. But I haven't had a normal life for ten years--more than ten, now. And I want one." She felt her lips stretch into a non-smile. "I see that things have changed." Fiercely not looking at Vaughn and Lauren. "So have I. I'm out. Here's my resignation." She handed Dixon her neatly-typed letter, turned on her heel, and strode out.

The warm hand on her elbow steadied her on the slick hallway tiles; turning on a heel was a dangerous business. "If I didn't know you were a girl, I'd say you've got a pair, Syd."

"Thanks. And thanks for letting me use your computer. Mine's still not--"

"I know, I helped you try and set it up, remember?" Weiss kept pace with her easily. That was one of the (few) good changes. "You're still invited to my place Saturday for enchiladas and tequila. We won't even be breaking the no-fraternizing rule."

Tempting, for the non-frozen food and the non-judgmental company. "I don' t know, EricŠ"

"Don't play coy. I know you leech off my cooking skills." This time, the hand on her elbow stopped her, and she looked up into his warm, friendly eyes. "Hey, I know you said things change. But not everything has to."

"You don't want to lose me twice?" It was ridiculously romantic-sounding.

"No. No, I don't." He was serious for the perfect amount of time, long enough to show he meant it, and short enough not to make her uncomfortable. "I have to have at least one friend who's not going to babble about hockey, you know."

It felt good to laugh again. With Weiss, outside and into the afternoon.


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