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"The Life" - a fic for carrie1982

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Feb. 18th, 2006 | 02:45 pm
posted by: oldromantic in spy_santa

Joining the other late ones in adding my sincerest apologies for the lateness of this fic. Had I known that my muse would pack her bags and move out shortly after joining SpySanta, I wouldn't have committed to it. Still, here is my offering...

Title: The Life
Author:
Em aka oldromantic
For: carrie1982
Rating: PG
Disclaimer:
Not mine. Wish they were.
Spoilers: Beyond The Horizon *snicker* (5x09)
Original Request: Sydney's forgotten Birthday by the one she loves (Vaughn), a broken heart and tears.
Notes: Angst. Why did it have to be angst!?! Well, Carrie, I hope this suffices. :P Enjoy! (And sorry it’s so late! *hugs*)

****

She was clearly upset. Maybe not to others had there been any other adults around, but Sydney could feel the hurt and anger and frustration building up within her. One button on an annoying toy Isabelle had received from her grandfather a month earlier for her second Christmas was being overused at the moment by her young daughter behind her on the floor, and instead of putting a stop to it, Sydney was hoping the noise would distract her from her disappointment. But it wasn’t working. Even the gorgeous view outside, what she could see of the waves crashing up onto the shore of their small island, and the little secret she had not yet shared with Vaughn wasn’t enough. It’s my birthday… Where the hell is he?

Vaughn had left early that morning to go fishing, Sydney had learned from his well-placed note on the refrigerator in their small two-bedroom apartment and even smaller kitchen. There was no mention of the special day in the note, no question about their plans for the evening, if any, and not even any cards or flowers around the apartment to convince her that he’d remembered. Just another day in paradise, Sydney thought sardonically as she turned back to the ocean.

In truth, their year and a half on the quaint three-hundred-square-mile island had been rather blissful. Once the powers behind Prophet Five had been discovered and either captured or killed, Jack was able to retrieve Vaughn from where he’d hidden him after they’d successfully faked his death, and reunite him with him little family. Isabelle was six months old at that point, and to keep from missing out on any more of her life, Vaughn and Sydney married and moved to their new home with their daughter, as far away from the spy life they could get. Vaughn spent the better part of a month savoring each picture and every milestone of Isabelle’s short life that Sydney had longed to share with him as they’d happened. And because Jack had coerced the C.I.A. into formally retiring both Sydney and Vaughn with compensation for their service above and beyond, they didn’t have to work or worry about money for a very long time. So the rest of Vaughn’s days were being spent on the water or totally focused on his family.

Sydney sighed at the view, recalling just how much Vaughn deserved to splurge the rest of his life out on the water if he wanted to…but why today? she wondered. He’s always remembered my birthday before – and today he goes fishing?

She’d just determined that she wasn’t going to let it bother her anymore, but when Isabelle tugged on her shirttails asking for “joos”, Sydney realized that there were tears in her eyes.

She sniffed and dried her eyes and took her daughter into the kitchen to feed her lunch, making sure her cup was full of diluted juice as well. Thirty minutes later, after her daughter was quietly tucked into bed for her nap, Sydney went out to sit on the porch – baby monitor in hand as usual – to stare out between the houses across the street at the ocean and be miserable.

It just wasn’t like Vaughn to be so forgetful…was it? Sydney recalled how thoughtful he had been throughout their entire relationship and began to realize that since they’d come to the island and their stresses were fewer, he’d been able to relax and make new friends… Perhaps his attention had officially been refocused? His last present to her on Christmas had been…odd, for lack of a better word. She’d made mention of wanting to get back in shape and start running on the beach, so he’d gotten her a jogging stroller for Isabelle. And while it was thoughtful and practical, Sydney had been expecting lingerie or jewelry or something more romantic. She was beginning to think that maybe he was losing his passionate side now that they were comfortably married and their lives had settled considerably.

Before she could stop herself, Sydney was suddenly crying, complete with tears streaming down her face, and she just decided to let them fall so she could be done with it. How many times in the last month had she cried at the drop of a hat? She couldn’t even count the incidents on one hand. She knew it was more likely to do with the crazy hormones running rampant through her body than the results of the feminine nature (of which she never really experienced until now, thanks to compartmentalization), but she still couldn’t stop herself from asking, when did I become so emotional??

The worst part of the day so far was that she’d had some minor plans in mind for her special day and the evening and they were both being ruined by Vaughn’s absence and her subsequent depression. Where is he? she continued to cry. Doesn’t he still love me?? The thought only made her cry more, feeling as though her heart was breaking and the happy life she’d fought so hard for was ending. She held her face in her hands and just let the sobs out until she was exhausted, and then laid back against the lounge chair, drifting off to sleep.

Hey,” she heard first, along with the gentle shake of her shoulder. “Syd, are you awake?”

Sydney opened her eyes to find her smiling husband hovering over her and when she realized she’d fallen asleep, she practically jumped and grabbed at the baby monitor in worry about their daughter. But Vaughn’s hands and soothing voice calmed her. “Izzy’s fine,” he assured her, using the nickname for their daughter that he’d been so against at first. “She’s still asleep.”

“What time is it?”

“It’s just after two,” Vaughn checked his watch, and Sydney relaxed when she knew she hadn’t been asleep all that long. “You seem tired.”

Sydney shrugged as she stood up from her chair. “Just too many late nights,” she mumbled as she brushed past him to go inside. Determined not to let on about her depression, she casually asked, “How was fishing?”

“Good,” he answered casually as he followed her into the kitchen. “Although it’s almost more enjoyable listening to Bruno’s stories. He’s had quite a fascinating life.”

Bruno was a local Vaughn had met just a few months earlier, and he went fishing with him almost every day. But Sydney couldn’t resist the question, “As if we haven’t?”

“Yeah, but I can’t really tell him anything about my life, now, can I?” he asked pointedly and Sydney smiled slightly in response. “And besides, he’s had the interesting life all on his own without the help of a government agency.”

“And that makes it more interesting,” Sydney deduced and Vaughn grinned.

“Exactly.” Walking toward her as she busied herself with cleaning up the few dishes in the sink, Vaughn questioned, “Wanna go for a walk?”

It was practically ritual by now that he would ask that same question every time he returned from his time out on the water with his new friend, and at this moment, Sydney wondered if it might be out of guilt. So she tested him: “I’m…not really feeling up to it today.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine; I’m just tired,” she brushed his questions off. “Besides, Isabelle isn’t up yet.”

“Hasn’t she been sleeping long enough though? It won’t hurt to wake her up a little early.”

“Says the man who doesn’t have to deal with her tantrums when she’s tired,” she bit back as she forcefully scrubbed at the sink.

But Vaughn apparently didn’t hear the anger in her voice that she felt within. “Oh come on… She’ll sleep better tonight,” he practically sang as an incentive.

She had another argument on her lips that was silenced the moment they heard Isabelle’s familiar voice calling for her mommy through her bedroom door and the monitor simultaneously. Sighing when she knew she’d lose the fight to just stay home, Sydney moved toward her daughter’s door, hearing Vaughn comment, “See, it worked out. Now we can all go for our walk.”

Compartmentalization skills will come in handy during this walk, Sydney thought as she entered her daughter’s room and picked her up from the crib she’d outgrown. They’d decided to move her into a regular bed by the time she turned two and they had less than a month to do that. But they had a few months to spare if they delayed – not many, considering the crib would need to be used again in about seven months…and then they would also need a bigger place to live, because Isabelle’s room was almost too small for her things; trying to fit two kids in there would be difficult.

While putting Isabelle’s shoes on, Sydney considered how she’d expected the evening to go before the day’s disappointing events had begun, and how she would’ve told her husband over a romantic candlelit dinner that they were expecting another baby, after which they would probably have started discussing plans for a bigger house and baby names… It was all forgotten now.

They’d been walking for some time on the beach before Vaughn looked over at his wife and wondered, “Are you sure you’re okay? You’ve been really quiet.”

“I’m fine,” she answered automatically and then smiled over at him to make him believe her lie and stop asking questions. She just wasn’t in the mood to get into it, especially with their daughter walking between them, each of her hands tucked inside one of theirs.

Continuing on in silence, their steps slowed when they reached a certain spot on the beach and as usual, gazed up at the house perched at the top of the small hill. They’d often dreamed about buying and moving into that house with its entire back wall of picture-window ocean views, and raising their kids and growing old there. But even the usual daydreaming didn’t appeal to Sydney at the moment, and after just a few seconds of looking at their dream house, she started to turn to continue walking.

“It’d be nice to see the inside,” Vaughn’s voice stopped her from taking another step and she just sniffed in agreement, knowing they probably never would.

Her husband’s playful eyes turned to hers and he lightly proposed, “Let’s go see if we can.”

He’d taken two steps up the beach before it completely registered in Sydney’s mind, and she suddenly found herself being tugged along by Isabelle’s hand as her father guided her toward the house. “Vaughn, people live here,” Sydney argued.

Glancing into the back windows, Vaughn countered, “Looks vacant to me.”

“It’s still someone else’s private property, and it’s probably locked – ”

“We can get in,” he winked back at her.

She gave him an annoyed look. “I know we can get in, but I’m just wondering if we should, Vaughn. What kind of an example are we setting for our daughter? I thought we wanted to raise our kids to be honest, law-abiding citizens…?”

Vaughn stopped just short of the house and seemed to be watching the reflection of the ocean’s waves in the large glass panes for a moment and then turned to ask, “Do you like this house?”

She was confused. “Yes, of course; you know I do. But – ”

“It’s ours.”

Sydney just stared at his loving green eyes, completely lost. “What?”

“We need a bigger house to raise the kids, right?”

Swallowing a lump that had quickly developed in her throat, she couldn’t get past the surety in the way he’d asked the question. “‘Kids’?” she questioned and Vaughn grinned knowingly.

“I found the pregnancy test, Syd. And I know you wanted to surprise me with that news, but I thought that this might be better. I wasn’t fishing with Bruno today – I was closing on this house. It’s ours now,” he repeated to convince her.

She had tears in her eyes for what seemed like the twentieth time in just that one day as Vaughn wrapped an arm around her shoulder and kissed her temple, whispering, “Happy birthday, Syd.”



~End

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Comments {2}

Biba

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from: biba79
date: Feb. 22nd, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
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Awwwwwwww... I love the story.

This was so perfect... I loved that she was pregnant again, and the house and his surprise! :)

Just to point out, this story was for me, and not for Carrie! But no big deal, I loved it anyway!

The waiting was all worth it! Thanks for the story! :)

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Em

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from: oldromantic
date: Feb. 22nd, 2006 12:01 pm (UTC)
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What? Did I get it wrong? That's so weird.

Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it too anyway. :) *hugs*

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