irina_derevko: (Calculating (_ladydisdain))
[personal profile] irina_derevko
Title / Prompt: Handful of Lies / December catch-up
Character: Irina Derevko
Pairings: Mild Jack/Irina
Fandom: Alias
Word count: 1,295
Rating: PGish
Disclaimer: J.J. Abrams & friends own Jack and Irina. They can have Sloane back if I can keep J&I, and the rest of the gang. *pause* I can't? Oh, okay... but I'll still give Sloane back. ;)


It was inevitable that Arvin Sloane would return to Rambaldi. His promises to Nadia were always made to be broken.

I might have wished it were different, for Nadia's sake. She deserves a father who would never have betrayed her to such a great extent. (How extraordinary that I no longer find it strange, the idea that a certain level of betrayal is to be expected- that it is at times necessary.)

I do not want to pity my youngest daughter. I do not know her well, yet, but I suspect she would not thank me for pity. I certainly wouldn't have, in her place. No, I do not want to pity her, my lost little orphan who found that family is not always as she dreamed of it.

Of all the legacies I could have given her, it had to be this one. A legacy of lies, and of secrets, so different from those I left for Sydney.

I have only so recently earned Sydney's respect, her love. The things a mother expects, unconditionally, from her children. The things she ought to give them in return. How much, I wonder, will it take to earn the same from Nadia? How much can I ever hope one day to receive, for what I have left her with?

I left her with Jack, and with Sydney. Knowing that they will do the best they can for her. Knowing that they love her, each in their own ways. I also left her with lies, and too many unanswered questions.

I left her with Arvin.

There are reasons I did not tell her the truth. Some of them might even be good ones. I can't tell, anymore. I am so accustomed to lying to those I love, that the lies come easier than truth, sometimes.

Truth, I told Jack and Sydney so often, takes time.

How much of that time is required because lies are what come easy to me, while the truth comes hard?

I knew Arvin would claim Nadia as his own. Of course he would. We had been lovers once, he and I, and so it was possible. I think at times that he might have found a way to link himself to her, whatever her paternity. She could have been any woman's daughter, and he would still have wanted that. Nadia would always have been Nadia. She would always have had a role to play in Rambaldi's prophecies, in his work.

That, to Arvin, was the matter of greatest concern. That his blood was tied to those ancient mysteries. That he, somehow, was tied to them.

He is not the only one, of course, obsessed by those mysteries since learning of them. I, too, was caught in that trap. And trap it is, though there was a time I would never have believed that.

I had a chance to solve the last puzzle, to let the pieces fall into place. I could have seen, then, what all of the years of effort and toil had been for. Could have learned, at last, what I'd spent so much time searching for.

But Rambaldi's pieces were never just pieces. There is a price for all knowledge, implied or specific. I have paid too many of them, but I found that last far too expensive.

Whoever he really was, whatever his dreams and visions showed him... whatever clues and secrets and mysteries he left behind... The pieces of Milo Rambaldi's puzzle were flesh and blood, rooted in the souls of those I love.

After everything I have sacrificed for my family, I would not ever have dreamed of paying that price. Or of allowing anyone else to do so.

I knew that having sacrificed Nadia once for his ambitions, Arvin would do it again. I was aware of the things he had promised her, and that she believed him. Nadia's soul, so much more innocent than my own- She still believed in second chances. For anyone, regardless of what they had done. (Perhaps I should be grateful for that. The things I've done...)

I was expecting Jack's message by the time that it came. Brief, as most of his communications are, encoded. Terse, and I could all but feel his tension as he chose those words and sent them on their way to me.

He's gone back.

Only that. It was enough, to explain. But not to justify.

We both knew that Arvin's return to Rambaldi was dangerous; we disagreed on how much so. Jack understands Rambaldi only as theory; the only truth he grasps from the enigmas is the danger to Sydney. I can't fault him for that, but I curse his short-sightedness at times. The threat, the danger, goes far beyond Sydney.

He doesn't yet know, not definitively, that he has any reason to be as concerned for Nadia as for Sydney. He should have realized by now; I have given enough hints. At the least I have made it clear that I want both of my daughters protected, that Sydney's safety at Nadia's expense is not an option. Jack sees Nadia as evidence of my betrayal, perhaps the only one he hasn't yet been able to forgive me. It must have crossed his mind, despite my wishes, to hurt Sloane by hurting her.

I hope for his sake that he realizes the price he will pay for it. I have a reluctance to harm him these days, but it can be overcome.

I could have far simplified things by telling Jack the truth. For once, laying all of my cards on the table.

I could not do it. That isn't the way I operate, and I think that it never will be. And so long as my influence on Jack holds (such cold terms, for what is no longer a cold thing at all) Nadia is safer if he does not know. She is safer if no one does. Whatever restraint Arvin feels, it is paternal in nature. If he knew Nadia was not his... No, it's best this way. I must hope that my family can forgive me a handful more lies.

What is a handful more, after all?

Jack still doesn't understand what Arvin's return to Rambaldi could cost us. He believes, thus far, that at most it will cost Arvin, and perhaps Nadia. I wish it were that simple, that easy.

I wish the words to explain were ones that I could say. I wish there was a way to tell him, nothing is simple anymore.

Perhaps it doesn't matter, that these are things I can't say. Jack has enough information to be getting on with. I remind myself (and sometimes the voice I hear in my mind and my dreams is not mine, but Jack's) that this is the path I chose. The path I committed all of us to walking. I have to trust now that the choices I made were the right ones. I have to trust that Jack knows what he is doing, that if only to appease me, he will not risk Nadia to protect Sydney. A great deal to take on trust, for someone like me. A great deal of faith to put in one man, even Jack.

I don't doubt him. I only doubt myself, now and again.

Arvin has gone back to Rambaldi. Inevitable, expected. Perhaps even... necessary?

Remember, Jack's voice tells me, you planned for this. You expected this.

Of course I did. I only had not thought of how little I would want this, when it came.

It's too late for doubts, Irina.

Yes. And I have them regardless.

It's begun. I started this, I with my handfuls of lies.

God willing, I have time to undo the damage I've done.
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Irina Derevko

March 2015

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