Disclaimer: Nope, these characters aren't mine.
Classification: Sydney/Vaughn Romance.
Spoilers: I can't think of a one.
Archive: Cover Me.
Summary: Actions have consequences.
Author's Note: This was started before "The Getaway" aired. It could be mistaken for a post-ep, but it's not meant to be.
"Look, sir, I can explain -" Vaughn said.
"I read Agent Doyle's report. Are you calling him a liar? His record of events seem pretty plausible to me."
"No, I'll explain," Sydney chimed in. Perhaps she could make Kendall understand. She knew when he paged them both to his office this afternoon it wasn't going to be just to chat.
"No, I want Agent Vaughn's explanation. He was the one leading the operation," Kendall demanded. "Agent Bristow was supposed to obtain a disk from Nicholas Zigmund at a nightclub. Simple enough, right?" He looked at Vaughn. "Then why did you punch him?"
"I thought she needed some assistance," Vaughn offered to his supervisor. "He was touching her. I was worried about her safety."
"Well, how else would she have been able to get the disk out of his pocket without disguised as a clubgoer?" Kendall asked. "Miss Bristow is a trained CIA agent, don't you think she is able to handle herself in a difficult situation?"
"Yes, of course she can," Vaughn agreed.
"The point is, Mr. Vaughn, you made a scene during the op and could have blown your cover along with Agent Bristow's in order to protect her."
"But we got the disk, sir. Everything else turned out fine," Sydney said to him, coming to Vaughn's defense.
"Well, the mission was still compromised," he stated. "I also read in Agent Doyle's report that he was unable to reach either of you after the operation was over. Care to comment on that?"
"I was hungry and went to get something to eat," Vaughn offered. "We-"
"Where were your pager and cell phone?" Kendall demanded.
"I turned them off," he said. "I was -"
"Spare me the excuses, Mr. Vaughn." He turned to Sydney. "What about you? Why were you unreachable?"
She might as well just come clean. She had no creative excuses to offer, despite the need for one right now. "I was with Vaughn at dinner," she said shyly.
"Do the two of you think this is your personal vacation and you have no other responsibilities to the CIA?"
"No, sir," Sydney said. "We just were -"
"I don't need any excuses from you, either. Now, I don't want to ask for credit card receipts, but I suspect this wasn't the first time." He sat down at his desk. "You've given me no choice. Vaughn, you will no longer be her handler. I'll have a reassignment made by tomorrow."
He looked at Sydney. "I'm not through with you yet. See me tomorrow morning."
She should have expected something like this happening, but was still surprised. There would be no changing his mind. She glanced over at Vaughn, but his eyes were focused on Kendall, so she rushed out of the office.
"Sir, I wish you would reconsider. Syd - I mean Agent Bristow -"
"Not now," Kendall replied. "You're dismissed."
Sydney sat inside her car down in the parking garage crying, Kendall's words stuck in her mind like a tape recorder.
They pushed the envelope too far. And got caught.
It had all started a couple of months ago. Lingering touches had turned into kisses at the warehouse. Dinners after their missions in exotic locations.
Stolen moments. Borrowed time. Did they think it would go unnoticed?
It didn't. The wrong person found out. It was bound to happen. Protocol had been broken. She half expected those words to come out of Kendall's mouth.
She was falling in love with Vaughn. The thought of not seeing him everyday was too much to bare right now. No more meetings in the warehouse, when her heart would beat faster just getting in the car on the way to meet him. She had no idea how she could do this job without his help and support.
The tap on her window made her jump. It was Vaughn. She opened the door.
"Syd," he said breathlessly. "I've been looking all over for you." He squatted down in front of her beside the door.
"I had to get out of there, Vaughn." She clutched a wadded up tissue in between her fingers. "Kendall's right. We did compromise the mission. We -"
"No, I compromised the mission. You didn't do anything," he admitted. "He won't punish you. You're too important to the CIA."
"Kendall's already punished me. He's taken you away," she cried.
"No, Sydney." He took her hand in his. "No one could ever do that."
She squeezed his hand and offered a slight smile.
"C'mon, we're getting out of here." He stood up and looked around. "Follow me. My car's two rows over." He shut her door and rushed to his car.
Sydney followed him, very curious as to where he was taking her. It had begun to rain, which made it harder to see, coupled with the tears blurring her vision.
She kept remembering all the times they had together as well as the increased intimacy that they were just beginning to share. They weren't lovers. Not yet. A couple of times they had been so close. Once in Paris. Once in Rome. She was influenced by the romantic nature of the cities, but the fear of being caught while on a mission quelled her desires.
Now she wished she had become his lover. She would have the memories to replay on lonely nights. Perhaps they weren't meant to be together. This was some cruel joke God was playing on her.
He pulled into an apartment complex twenty minutes later. The rain had increased in its intensity, but it didn't matter to her. She swung into the parking slot next to him and slid out of the car, hurrying over to him.
The raindrops were rapidly darkening his suit jacket. His hair would soon be plastered to his head if they stayed out here long enough. Part of her wanted to see if he would look as sexy as she thought he would.
Her own hair was pretty wet now and she could feel the strands sticking to the side of her face. She must look awful. Rain had never been a friend to her fine hair. She was about to move it behind her hair when he reached over to perform that task himself.
She smiled at him just before his lips came down on hers in a passionate kiss. She moved her hands underneath his suit jacket encountering the warmth of his body, wanting more. Wanting him.
"Sydney," he said, breaking the kiss. "We're right in the middle of the parking lot."
"I know," she replied. "But right now I don't care if we're in the middle of Sloane's office."
He gave her a rare smile and grabbed her hand, leading her to the stairs up to his apartment. When they got inside he pressed her against the door, continuing the kisses and caresses.
She wrestled with the suit jacket, but finally got it off him and started to work on his tie. "Syd, wait," he said. "I didn't bring you here for this. I thought this would be a good place to be alone and talk."
"We can talk later," she told him. "Right now we should get out of these wet clothes." She shed her blazer and let it fall to the floor in a wet heap before starting to pull her shirt up.
He took her hand and led her down the hall to the bathroom. "Let me." He quickly pulled the shirt over her head and tossed it on the floor.
"Your turn." She smiled at him and worked loose the tie and shirt.
As she slid out of her pants, her pager fell to the floor with a thud, coming out of its case in the process. For the first time, she forgot about the small device that controlled her life for the past two years.
"Pager. I almost forgot." He unhooked his off the belt loop and switched it off, tossing it on the floor next to hers. "I don't care."
"Neither do I." It felt so good to say that and really mean it. She was standing in front of the only person in the world she wanted to be with right now.
It seemed strange to be with him in his apartment wearing only her bra and panties. She felt very shy all of a sudden, even though he was just as exposed as she was, clad only in boxers.
"Are you sure?" he asked, sliding his hands around her waist.
"Yes," she replied confidently. "I want to be with you." She ran her hands up his arms, noticing the tattoo, wondering if it symbolized anything or if it was a decision fueled by alcohol and friends or both.
He reached behind her, opening the medicine cabinet, taking out a box of condoms. She used this opportunity to slide her hands over his chest and plant kisses on his neck, tasting his skin for the first time.
Circling her arms around his neck, she kissed him again as he lifted her against his body, supporting her with an arm around her waist. She wrapped her legs around him as they headed for the bedroom.
Her senses were on overload as she slid down his body, her legs coming to rest against the side of the bed. Moving his hands down her back, he unhooked her bra, letting it fall from her shoulders. He smiled at her, offering up another kiss, which soon turned frenzied as his hands tangled in her hair, her name escaping his lips through struggled breaths.
She was about to say his name, but Vaughn didn't seem appropriate. Not now. Not in the bedroom. "Michael . . ." she breathed.
He stopped the kisses, his eyes holding hers. "Say it again." "Michael." She sank down onto the bed with him, saying his name again and again until her brain could no longer process anything else but his hands and lips on her heated skin and the warmth of his body pressing hers into the mattress.
Sydney crept from the bed, grabbing up her bra and panties from the floor and quickly putting them on before heading for the bathroom in search of the rest of her clothes. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, noticing the evidence of their lovemaking on her neck and the swell of her breasts, bringing a smile to her lips.
She felt thoroughly loved by him. Michael. Not Vaughn. She'd have to get used to the new name. In private, of course.
She finished dressing and headed back to the bedroom, turning on the bedside lamp. The only thing she wanted to do was crawl back under the covers with him, but they already used up more than their allotted time together.
"Hey," he whispered, opening his eyes, adjusting to the light.
She smiled at him. "Hey."
"What time is it?"
"Almost 7:30," she replied. "I've got to get going."
He sat up in bed, touching her hair. "Are you sure you can't-"
"I wish I could, but I don't have a change of clothes," she told him. "I may have to go to SD-6." Reality was intruding now and she wanted to stay right here in their world, but it wasn't possible now. She sighed. "Kendall still wants to talk with me."
"Syd, don't worry about it," he said. "We may have to back off a bit, be more careful, but nothing's going to stop me from seeing you."
She nodded. "I know," she agreed. "Me neither."
He pulled her close, placing a kiss on her forehead, before she got up and walked out of the bedroom, already looking forward to the next time she could be with him again. She left his apartment with her head held high and her mind filled with the wonderful images of their lovemaking.