by Voleuse

i. Acceptance

He's been in the hospital for seventeen hours, and Will suspects the truth from the doctors' careful looks.

Sydney Bristow is dead, and Francie...

He can't count the number of wires and tubes attached to his body, but even with the hefty dose of painkillers being administered, Will can't bring himself to rest.

It isn't because of the pain. The pain of his wounds, from being knifed by his lover and from dragging himself out of a house soon to fall, are nothing. They're faint irritations next to the fact that one of his best friends has been dead for who knows how long, and one of them most certainly is now.

He waits.

Jack arrives two and a half hours later, and he confirms Will's suspicions with a clenched jaw, an extended blink.

Will's world crashes down around him, and he's left with only the pained glance of a man who once kidnapped him.

There are no words, but Will attempts to speak anyway. "Jack, I--"

Jack shakes his head and steps forward, lays his hand on Will's forehead, helplessly. "She was..."

"Everything," Will chokes out. "They were everything."

And there is nothing else to say.


ii. Depression

They give Sydney's ashes to the ocean.

He's not sure how he manages to stay standing upright, manages to speak at all.

He can't remember if Sydney even liked the ocean very much. It's been years since the three of them went to the beach, despite Francie's constant harpings for a day-trip. Sydney had always been too busy, and Will had always been too in love with Sydney.

Half his life was wasted, Will thinks, chasing instead of cherishing. And he'll never have that chance again.

Part of him, the part that never stopped pondering the Great American Novel in the back of his brain, notes the artistry of this moment: a circle of men, all arguably powerful, brought down by grief for the ashes of one woman, stronger than them all.

It's hackneyed, his inner editor tells his inner writer, but he can't let it go. Not when he thinks back on all the times Sydney saved his life, and on all the times he risked hers.

When the service ends, he trudges out of the beach with the rest, but he can't get into his car. He can't drive away. He just stands in the empty parking lot and watches the waves. Tries not to think.

After a while, however, he notices that Jack's car is still parked. He looks up, down the horizon, and sees a shadow against the sunset. Walks to it.

When he draws close, Will can see that Jack isn't crying, but he wishes he would. There's nothing he can say in the face of such stoic anguish.

He slips his hand around Jack's, and together, they watch the sun go down.


iii. Anger

His entire life has become an endless CIA debriefing.

He wakes up in the safehouse, showers, gets dressed. Eats a bowl of cereal, drinks a cup of coffee. Gets into an armored car and doesn't look up until they arrive at HQ, wherever that is. Smiles at his escort, walks down featureless hallways, and sits in the same conference room.

Meets with Jack. Meets with Dixon. With Devlin. With Vaughn. With Weiss. With the FBI. The NSA.

He feels, sometimes, like he could scream for days and not come out hoarse.

Other times, he's comforted by the regularity, knowing he'll see the same faces day after day. He becomes used to routine, and so knows when someone falls out of it.

He knows the exact day when Jack Bristow contacts Irina Derevko, because only one woman could bring that distinct unease to Jack's expression.

During one of his established coffee breaks, Will finds Jack in a relatively deserted hallway.

"Why did you contact her?" Braces himself, and watches guile slide across Jack's face.

"I don't know who you're talking about."

A fissure opens, and Will feels his frustration begin to pour out. "You know exactly who I'm talking about, and don't play your damn games with me, Jack."

Jack's mouth twitches sideways, and he shrugs. Starts to turn, but Will grabs his shoulder, pulls him back.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Jack shakes his hand off, looks at Will with something like honesty in his eyes. "What do you think?"

Then, time's up, and Will goes back to his conference room to talk about fucking the enemy.

Later on, he fully appreciates the irony.


iv. Bargaining

Will's been living in the safehouse for six and a half months when the CIA begins to suspect he's a target for someone. His description is turning up in too many places, and it's coming from too many of the wrong kind of people.

When Marshall gives him a mix CD and a hug, he knows something's up.

He walks into the briefing, and Jack is the only person there, and he knows his world is about to end.


Jack doesn't take a moment to look sympathetic, but instead launches into the details of why, what, where, who, and now.

Will blinks. "Tomorrow?"

"Yes." Jack hands him a manila folder. "Study this for the rest of the day, and we'll discuss more details this afternoon."

Will opens the folder, takes out copy for a police report. "I died?"


He stares at the papers for several minutes, and Jack stands beside him, silent. Finally, the folder falls from nerveless fingers, and Will slumps against the table.

When Jack's arm slides about his shoulders, he barely notices, but he automatically responds, wrapping his arms around the man in a frightened embrace.

Tomorrow, Will is going to die, but it's nothing that hasn't happened to him before.


v. Denial

The next day, he arrives at headquarters, his mouth tasting of dust. He goes through the motions, answering his round of questions one last time, signing waivers and release forms, and bidding goodbye to anyone who might still care who he is.

He stops by Jack's office, sees the look on his face, and knows that he's not the only one going on the run. Maybe the only one today, but he knows. In time.

He steps in, shuts the door behind him.

"I know you're going to leave."

Jack doesn't respond verbally, but he turns his monitor off. Fidgets with a pen. Stands up.

"Any listening devices implanted in this room have been deactivated for 30 seconds." He stalks forward, forcing Will back into the wall. "What do you want?"

"I--" Will stammers, counting down in his head. "You and Irina, I know you're planning something, and I don't think you should--"

"What I do with anyone that isn't you is none of your business, and frankly, anything that has to do with you might not be your business either, Mr. Tippin."

Will sees something in Jack's eyes, and knows. "You think she's alive?" The pen beeps, time's up, but Will can't let it go, not yet. "Jack, you can't keep--"

Jack smothers his protest in a kiss.

When their lips part, there's regret in Jack's eyes, but only a little.

"Goodbye, Will."

Then he opens his door, and walks away.


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