Jan. 5th, 2006 03:48 am
irina_derevko: (Would You Stay? (_ladydisdain))
[personal profile] irina_derevko

She has spent much of this year searching, seeking a cure for her youngest daughter's condition. She has poured over manuscripts, and hiked into far distant places unreachable except on foot, to speak to those who are rumored to hold wisdom old enough that perhaps they will know...

Each time her search has come up empty. And each time, she curses her sister, for damning Nadia to the drug-induced coma that is the only peace she will ever have, unless somehow, somewhere, a cure can be found. Damning her, too, for taking away the easiest answers. If the clone of Arvin Sloane who had been Elena's creature had not killed the monks who tended Rambaldi's orchid, Irina would already have her answers. If anyone would have known how to bring Nadia back, it would have been they.

She searches the monastery, now abandoned, with something like desperation. She knows that there is little chance Elena would have left anything of value here. She searches fragments of the order's records for any hint of initiates who might have dwelt elsewhere, or been away when Elena's creature came.

She finds one, a monk so old that Elena might have believed he was already dead, and might not have sought him out.

For all the good it does her...

"I knew that you would come. But I cannot help you."

"Tell me about the orchid."

The ancient monk shakes his head slowly. "I cannot tell you that which you already know."

But she has not come this far to carry away nothing more than these words. "You believe in Rambaldi's work."

He laughs. "Of course."

"You know who I am. Tell me what I must know."

"The Master's work is not yet done. It can begin again..."

For a moment rage blinds her. "No."

"With her, it can begin again."


"It is not over yet. You of all people must know that. The Chosen One and the Passenger will do battle again..."

She draws the switchblade, flicks it open. "I'm through being polite."

He laughs. "Do you think that you can harm me? Be it so, then. Do as you will. I will tell you nothing. You should be... proud, that you were the one... to bring forth... the Master's works..."

Too late she understands, as his lips part to reveal the cyanide capsule, before he bites down.

She has failed. Again.

She knows that Arvin, too, searches for answers, but she does not trust him to find them. She had killed her own sister for what she had done to Nadia, and she has been tempted more than once in the past year to kill Arvin as well. If she had thought it would do any good... But his death will not change anything. Perhaps he will be luckier than her, perhaps the answers will come to him if they would not come to her.

She doubts it.

Jack and Sydney search as well, and in them, Irina has faith, if little confidence that they will fare any better than she has. They are Nadia's kin, too, and she is a little comforted, at least, by the knowledge that they can stand beside her youngest child, while Irina herself cannot.

In the days after Sovogda she had had such hope, even for Nadia. One daughter had saved the world, surely they would find a way to save the other?

And then, without warning, Irina had seen the sky she had thought before beginning to lighten, turning dark again. Storm clouds gathered, blotting out the light, as once again Sydney's world fell in around her...

Jack looks so grim, so grave and serious she wonders if he is dying. But no. That was another of last year's trials, another moment that had passed without her. When those she loved had needed her, and she, Elena's prisoner then, had not been able to go to them...

It has been so long since she has seen him weep, she had almost forgotten that he could.

"Michael Vaughn is dead," he tells her. The first words her husband has spoken since she met him here, incongruously at the edge of a playground as dusk falls. The swings creak in a slight breeze, and sand crumbles under their feet as they walk.

She stops then, turns to look at him. For a moment she could swear she feels the world spinning beneath her, and wonders how she can keep to her feet. "Oh God- Sydney?"

Had it only been a few short weeks ago that they had stood in Vienna, exorcizing the ghosts of Elena's treachery, when he had taken her in his arms and told her their daughter was pregnant?

"She's- She was hurt, but she's... No, I can't say she's alright. But..."

She feels relief flow through her, tangled with guilt. Yes, her daughter lives, but in how much pain? "How is she?"

"She's investigating Prophet Five. I think, right now... it's the only thing keeping her..." He shakes his head. "I don't know- Irina, I don't even know what to say to her, what to do..."

She feels herself go cold, not with chill, but with anger. "If Sydney can't find the ones responsible for this, I will."

It hardly seems to matter now that neither of them had liked Michael Vaughn much; certainly neither of them had thought him good enough for Sydney. But their daughter had loved him, had chosen to marry him, and her happiness was everything to them. If they could not preserve that happiness, they could at least avenge its loss.

"She's only begun. This... may go farther than any of us thought."

Irina sighs. "I know it does. When you need me, call." She reaches out then, brushing her hand across his cheek, wiping his tears away.

He grasps her hand, holding it tightly. "I will."

"When is the funeral?"

"You shouldn't-" He sighs. "Saturday."

"I would have gone to their wedding, Jack. Even if she never saw me, I would have been there. This... I have to be there. Tell her I will be there. Please..."

"I'll tell her. I'm not sure anything I can say is reaching her right now, but I'll tell her."

And so she has two quests now, one for each of her children. A cure for Nadia, and vengeance for Sydney's murdered lover. It seems to her that all she can do for her children is avenge what has been taken from them. Too late, always too late.

She raises a glass in toast to the agents of APO when they break what remains of Gordon Dean's Shed open, but she knows it is only the beginning. They have much farther to climb if they wish to get to the heart of this. How far, she herself is only beginning to understand.

She had stood, silent and disguised, at Vaughn's funeral, wishing she could go to her daughter, that she could offer whatever small comfort her presence might give. Wishing she could go to her then, when she stood surrounded by her friends, and those who had been Vaughn's friends, with her father beside her.

Instead she had taken what was likely another foolish risk, and gone to her daughter's home, waiting until Sydney returned.

The door opens, and Sydney, weeping, staggers in, supported by Jack. Irina rises to her feet, hardly hearing the door close behind them.


Her daughter looks up, blinking back tears. "Mom?"

She goes to Sydney, opening her arms. "Oh, sweetheart... I'm so sorry."

"Thank you," Sydney whispers, as her arms tighten about Irina. "I can't believe this... Dad said you'd come, but I didn't expect to see you."

"I know, and I can't stay. I have to go, Sydney, and I wish I didn't."

Sydney wipes at her eyes again. "I know. Mom... I need to find these people. I need to know the truth about who they are, what they're doing..."

Irina kisses her daughter's forehead. "I know, Sydney. I'm already looking."

Sydney gives her a shaky nod. "Thank you so much for coming... You should go."

Irina nods. "Take care, Sydney. Give my love to your sister."

"Okay," Sydney whispers, her tears beginning to flow again.

Irina hugs her tightly. "I love you, sweetheart."

And once again she walks away from her daughter, this time with Jack's hand on her arm, guiding her through the darkness.

Now that she has seen her daughter's pain, held Sydney in her arms and tried to comfort her, she is more determined than ever to see justice for her. To see that Sydney finds her answers.

"I want these people, Jack," she says. "Whatever it takes."

He nods wordlessly; an assent, and a promise.

"Take care of my girls," Irina whispers when it is time for them to part. "And yourself."

Jack gives her a small, sad smile. "Of course."

She kisses him quickly. "I love you."

"I'll be looking for your message," he says, and she smiles. He always worries until he knows she has gotten away safe again. "I love you, Irina."

It's always so hard to leave everything and everyone she loves behind, but Irina has no choice. The answers they need are not here.

When the first hints reach her that Rambaldi's followers know of Sydney's pregnancy, Irina begins to keep a closer watch on them. She trusts very few people in this world, and certainly she does not trust them. Before, she would have thought they would not dare to harm Sydney, but Irina wonders now if they might not have some use for her grandchild, and perhaps nothing further for its mother.

And this, she will not allow.

Whatever it takes, she will not allow this.

"Are you sure this is the way you want to do this?" asks Kelly Peyton in that reedy, nasal voice that sets her teeth on edge, and may soon drive her to violence.

"Yes," Irina tells her. And only that.

She would not have even temporarily allied herself with this woman if she were not under such great time constraints. In other times she would have laughed at Peyton and walked away- only that, and no more, if the girl were very, very lucky.

For a moment Peyton's life hangs by a thread, as Irina wonders if killing her might ease this tension she carries on her shoulders... But no. She knows what troubles her, and for that, there is only one end.

Still, even from hirelings, she is accustomed to more obedience then this. The others who survived APO's purge of Dean's organization hardly dare to look at her, and they are too desperate for her money to question her. They will, she thinks, take that money and let it carry them as far as it may. Hiding, for all the good it will do them, from Sydney, and Jack, the rest of APO and the orphan they had taken in, Rachel Gibson, who has more cause than most to hate them.

They will be found sooner or later, these people, and when she is through with them, Irina will let them be found.

In the meantime, if she must kill one or two in order to make the others pay attention, well... If it will not ease her tension, it cannot possibly hurt, either.

Peyton backs down, flinching before what she sees of her own death in Irina's gaze. "Of- of course. I didn't mean to question-"

"Go," Irina cuts her short. She still has a use for this one... for now. She must remind herself of that, before the sound of that voice draws her to do something rash.

She has need of Peyton for her deception, one she wishes dearly were not necessary. But she does not have time now to explain matters to Sydney, there is too much she must do, even more critical to her daughter's safety and that of her unborn child than Sydney's understanding. Better she think what must be done to her the work of her enemies, instead of one who loves her.

Irina hopes, one day, she can explain. She will atone for this, too, in time, as she has so many things.

Muse: Irina Derevko
Fandom: Alias
Words: 2,038
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