by Vanzetti

They know too much to trust the telephone. These meeting places were set well in advance, the choice of specific time and location determined by posts on the message board of a website devoted to fine Italian wines: they both know the importance of plausibility. They do not believe in unbreakable codes: a system like this one, known only to the two of them and based on shared history, is more secure than most. It holds a certain novelty value, as well.

Sark has stopped searching Allison's new face for traces of her old one. He no longer misses the precise shape of her mouth: this kiss, too, is now familiar. When they break apart, she shakes her head slightly, a habit she trained herself out of when the long hair was still new. It means something, he thinks, that she will indulge it in his presence.

Her kiss is angry, forceful. He lets her set the pace, lets her strip the shirt from him and push him back onto the hotel room bed. When he tries to touch her she takes his hands and holds them down. Even in the new face, he recognizes her expression and leaves his hands where she placed them. Her touch leaves little room for coherent thought, but he might have reflected that he himself was no stranger to the need for control.

Afterward, he rests one hand lightly on her back. But she is not yet ready to be soothed: her head is lying on his chest, but what she says is, "I hate her."

"Agent Bristow?"

"Her too. No. Francine Calfo. Her horrible, pathetic life: 'Sydney, we never talk any more.' Talk!" She spat out the words. "I can't imagine how boring it must have been to actually be her. Swear to God, I did her a favor when I killed her." His smile fades as she continues, "I hate seeing her face looking back at me in the mirror."

By the time she raises her head to look at him, he has wiped his reaction from his face. Not that it matters: lying as they are, she must have felt it in his body.

"What is it?" she asks.

Now is not the time to explain, so he wraps his hands in her hair. "I don't know," he says, keeping his voice lazy. "I'm growing rather accustomed to the new you."

"Bastard," she growls, but she lets him roll them over in the bed.

"So the nuns told me," he admits. She laughs--she always does, at the nuns--and if he thinks with regret of the way her laugh used to sound, at least he can keep that thought off his face. This time when he kisses her it's slow and gentle: there is something caught in the cage of his ribs, and that's what he tries to put into the kiss.

It is a mistake. She pushes her hand between them, holding him slightly apart. "You would tell me, wouldn't you?" she says. "You'd tell me if something was wrong."

"Of course," he answers. His tone is perfect: a little surprise, a little defensiveness. She stares up at him, and he can see the precise moment when she accepts the lie, the way her eyes soften when she smiles. Lying like this, naked with her, it is all too easy to forget that they are not lovers: whatever their bodies do, agent and handler is something very different. In the future, he will remember that.


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Alias is owned by JJ Abrams, Bad Robot Production, and ABC. No copyright infringement intended, and no profit made. Original story elements my own.   Many thanks to Rez for beta.