Half A Day
by Voleuse

Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream."
- William Wordsworth, Hart-Leap Well

i. a summer's cloud

Watching Sydney as she pages through an old photo album, he thinks, as he always does, that Sydney is beautiful. They're sitting on the couch, postponing dinner until Francie has finished perfecting the gazpacho.

Sydney turns the page, and points out a family picture, taken before her mother died.

He points to a man, strong of jaw, with dark eyes. "Is that your father?"

Her smile cools a little, but she nods. "Yeah. That's Dad."

He looks at the man's face again, sees a crooked smile and funny ears. "I can see the resemblance."


ii. a comely grey

"I'm ready."

He hangs up the phone.

Stares at it.

He doesn't notice the weird looks he's given by passersby.

It's evening when he finally starts walking home.


iii. a happy pair

She laughs a little more at dinner tonight, and he and Francie both laugh louder for it.

"What's with you tonight?" Francie tosses a lettuce leaf at Sydney. It flutters past the centerpiece, but doesn't come close to landing near the woman herself.

Sydney laughs again and grabs the lettuce. Folds it neatly and pops it into her mouth.

"Yeah, Syd." He circles his fork against his plate, wishing for seconds, but willing to wait. "Good day at work?"

"No, not work." Sydney looks down, notices an unmolested crouton on her plate, and spears it mercilessly. "I just...I went for a walk today. I passed by this carousel that my parents used to take me to when I was little."

"That's cute," Francie responds, sipping her wine delicately.

"Yeah," Sydney says. "It was just...it was nice to remember when we were a family like that. They would mostly watch me on the horses, but sometimes my mom rode next to me." Her eyes mist up for a moment, as they sometimes do. "I remember my dad used to laugh so much, just because we were having so much fun."

Will clinks his beer against her glass. "He sounds nice."

She smiles a little, but she doesn't answer.


iv. up the weary mountain

Sydney asked him to have dinner with her father and her boss. He's trying not to think about what the significance might be.

He wonders what Francie had to talk to Sydney about, and assumes it was a Charlie-related emergency. Sydney's been gone a long time, and he feels awkward sitting at this table.

He tries not to look at Mr. Bristow too closely, because he doesn't want to stare. It's rude to stare, but up close he can see the family resemblance so clearly, and something else that he doesn't quite understand.

He wonders why, when nobody's looking, Mr. Bristow gets that odd look on his face.

When Sydney returns to the room, he thinks, as always, that she's beautiful.


v. not like an earthly chase

He follows Jack Bristow to the classiest bar in which he's ever stepped foot. Or, really, been allowed to enter.

He wonders how much a shot of tequila would cost.

He wonders if they even serve tequila here, and feels a little young as a result.

This is not the way he had imagined having drinks with Jack Bristow, at a bar and over veiled threats.

He's fascinated by how innocent Jack seems. Had his source not mentioned names, he would never have suspected anything sinister about this man.

Strength didn't used to equal pain in his mind, but many things have changed since he was kidnapped.

Walking away from the bar is difficult, and when he's exited, he has to lean against the wall and breathe.

He doesn't wait to see whether Jack exits as well. He tells himself he doesn't want to know where Jack will go next.


vi. now the knight beholds

He used to watch cloak and dagger shows and think they were fun.

That was before Eloise Kurtz died. Before he was kidnapped. Before he found out his best friend's father was a murderer.

He thinks Jack killed Eloise Kurtz.

He thinks he, himself, killed Eloise Kurtz.

There is blood on his hands, and he just needs something to hold onto.

Jack drives away, and he clutches at his car, out of sorts.


vii. close to the thorn

He's not sure how long he weeps, half-embracing Jack Bristow in his relief. There is only pain, pain, and the musk of Jack's coat, and he can't make his hands let go of the lapels.

He next remembers huddling in a warehouse, shivering as Jack briskly cleaned the worst of his wounds. A cloth, soft but soaked in something stinging, is pressed into his hand, and Jack presses both cloth and hand to his forehead. He mutters something, but it's lost in the roar of an airplane, lifting off.

It sounds soothing, in contrast.


viii. to the very fountain

He opens the door one day, expecting Francie's cable guy, and Jack is standing there instead.

"Jack." He's not sure what else to say. "Sydney isn't home."

Jack nods. "You're waiting for the cable guy."

"How did you--" He stops. Shakes his head. "Never mind." He steps back, gestures to the threshold. "Do you want to come in?"

Jack seems to consider it, but he doesn't enter. "I just wanted to tell you..."

He never thought he would see Jack Bristow at a loss for words. Not deliberately, anyway.

He watches as a muscle in Jack's jaw flexes, snaps to attention as he begins speaking again.

"Last year, when you first began investigating SD-6, I had you kidnapped. I threatened you, and I threatened your family."

"Yeah, but you didn't mean--"

"I did mean it." Jack pauses for a moment. "Everything I do is to protect my daughter. You were endangering her welfare, and I took steps to preserve it."

"Jack." He runs a hand through his hair. "You're not telling me something new."

"I wanted..." Jack steps back from the door. "I wanted to apologize for the pain I caused you, and I wanted to make sure you understood what I did."

He doesn't reply; he's not sure how he could.

"I wouldn't hesitate to do it again."

And then Jack is gone, and he's left standing in the doorway.


ix. make thy praises known

A report crosses his desk one day, and it's not the usual format. He brings it to his supervisor, asks what happened.

"Agent Bristow asked that you examine the data."

"Really? Sydney asked for me?"

"No," a few quick taps on a keyboard, "Agent Jack Bristow."

He doesn't take a lunch break that day.


x. and built a house of pleasure

He happens to be standing in the hallway when he sees a woman being escorted to the elevators. He only catches a glimpse of her, but what he sees makes him shiver.

Makes him think of tigers, caged, and restless.

He hears later that Irina Derevko is allowed time on the roof, for good behavior or good intel.

He recalls the woman, and thinks he understands Jack a bit better.


xi. shelter from the sun

He falls asleep alone in the hospital, but when he wakes, Jack is there, holding his hand.

He doesn't say a word.

He doesn't have to.

Sydney is dead.


xii. in the course of time

He can't even pack his clothes. He can't take any books, any pictures, or any mementos at all.

There is no one to say goodbye to, because he's supposed to be dead.

Francie is dead. Sydney is dead. Vaughn is dead to the world, deep in a bottle, he assumes.

He thinks he's alone, and he enters his transport, destination unknown, without bothering to greet his fellow passenger.


He looks up, and sees Jack. Unsmiling, but familiar. Like home, when nothing else is left.

He thinks, as they travel between safehouses, of family resemblance.


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