One Missing

by Vanzetti

Nadia has imagined how the scene would play out: she would be sitting at a table watching the sun set, or stretched out on a chaise under a parasol at the beach.  Sunglasses, and something chic and black which left just enough to the imagination.  She would be cool and a little mysterious.

Instead, when Jack Bristow finds her, she is wearing worn jeans and an old tank-top and has her hands full of grocery bags, so sweaty and flustered that she lets him into her flat without even thinking about it.  And then she has to put the fish and the milk into the refrigerator right away, which leaves him standing in the middle of her little living room, making everything in it look slightly fragile and unreal. He takes up too much space.

She's promised that she wouldn't speak first, but she's forgotten the quality of silence Jack is capable of, and anyway, he's already standing in the door to the kitchen and she has to offer him something to drink.  In return, he offers, "Sydney misses you."

Nadia flushes.  "Did she ask you to find me?"

"She has no idea that I'm here."

"Oh," she says.  He's still in the doorway, and the kitchen is small and airless.  "But she's all right?  And Isabelle?"

"She's fine.  They're fine.  She misses you."

She nods; if she opens her mouth she would ask if he missed her as well, and how can she?  He is -- he was -- her mother's husband.  "And you," she makes herself ask.  "Are you well?"

"I..."  He pauses, and steps back out of the doorway.

She follows him out.  "You must miss her.  My mother."  He must: she's heard Sydney's voice, when she talks about her parents.

"I didn't come here to talk about Irina."  He sets his glass down and begins to pace the inside wall of her living room.  "How long were you intending to hide here?"

"I don't know."  Her mouth is dry, and a sip from her glass makes no difference.

He's standing still again.  "I'm staying at a hotel for a few nights.  The Torre dei Borboni."

Ah, she thinks.  He must have taken the afternoon hydrofoil, dropped off is bag and headed straight for her flat.  He must have known that she was here.  "Did my father tell you?"

"No."  He hesitates before adding, "Arvin doesn't know I came."

Her heart is beating too fast.  It doesn't mean what she wants it to, she reminds herself.  "Jack, I..."

"Nadia, don't let what happened cut you off from the people who care for you."

What happened, she thinks, and rubs at her eyes. What happened.  "She died to save my life -- how can you not hate me?"  Her voice cracks on the final sentence.

And then he's standing right in front of her, hands on her shoulders, voice rough.  "Don't say that again, Nadia.  I could never hate you."  But just as quickly, he's dropped his hands and stepped back.  "Come back to Los Angeles.  Sydney needs her sister.  Isabelle needs her aunt."

"What about you, Jack?" because she's already humiliated herself enough, hasn't she?  Why shouldn't she ask this last question and let him know why she can't go back?  "What am I to you?"

"I don't know," he says and in the silence that follows she holds her breath, barely able to raise her eyes.  "I don't know," he says again.  "But I would like to find out."


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Written for Mona, as a get-well-soon present.  Alias is owned by JJ Abrams, Bad Robot Production, and ABC. No copyright infringement intended, and no profit made. Original story elements my own.