after.midnight // v.naked
Title: Fighting the Inevitable
Author: Tamara
Rating/Classification: PG, V/I, S/V, death and angst
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. JJ Abrams owns all.
Summary: They were the only two left.
Series: Misery Loves Company
Notes: This hit me and I had to run with it.


He left work with the note to call him if anything came up, if something went wrong. The tech monitoring the comms nodded slightly, and went back to what he did best. He tossed his headphones on the desk, walked over to grab his stuff, and headed out of the building. He never looked back, not at Eric's puzzled expression, not at Dixon's contemplative gaze. Never looked back, not even when he heard his friend informing his agent that he was taking over. When he got the car, he waited for the guilt to hit him, the shame that he had left his agent alone, without his help or support, and when it didn't, he sighed heavily and started the car. As he drove home, he added 'ability to care' to the list of things he'd lost in the last nine months.

Drive to succeed. Hope for the future. A certain naivete. Will to survive. Ability to care.

It was a short list, one that increased or decreased depending on his mood, which shifted from day to day, from hour to hour. This morning, he had cared whether his agent lived or died, planning a counter-mission that took every single thing into account. The weather in Hong Kong. The maximum amount of people legally allowed in the tiny little club behind a filthy little alley in the most dangerous part of town. The agent in the corridor two doors down from the restrooms waiting to intercept his agent to get the information she was risking her life to attain. Twelve hours later, he couldn't even make himself stay to see her through it. Three weeks ago, he'd cared whether or not he made it out of Istanbul alive. A week ago in Cairo, he would have happily thrown himself on a bomb just to end it all.

Only one item on his list remained constant.

Love of his life.

He had another list, a list of the things he had gained since losing Sydney. It was a longer list, one full of regrets and unfulfilled promises, things he and Sydney had planned to do together. Things he couldn't dream of doing now that she was gone. But of all the things he gained the night Sydney Bristow took her final breath, he never would have guessed Irina Derevko would be one of them.

But thinking about Irina made his head hurt, so he pushed the enigma that was his lover's mother, his father's killer, out of his head. Thoughts of Irina were better left dead and buried, like everything else in his life. Stepping through the door of his apartment, he tossed his keys on the table, bent down to pet Donovan, and walked into the kitchen. Grabbing a beer out of the fridge, he casually made his way through the living room, intent on one thing and one thing only; oblivion.

"Ignoring me won't make me go away," she said softly, her slight Russian accent lilting. "Although you are getting quite good at it."

Sighing, he leaned against the wall, refusing to turn around. "Not now, Irina," he said, his voice devoid of all emotion. "I'm not in the mood."

She chuckled slightly, and he heard her get up from the couch, felt her come up behind him. He didn't flinch when her fingers moved slowly, sensuously, down his arm, taking the beer bottle from his hands. He'd stopped flinching when she touched him six and a half months ago, figuring if she was going to make a habit of it -which she did, much to his dismay and, occasionally, his pleasure- the only thing he could do was accept it. "Why?" she asked, genuinely curious.

Pulling away, he turned to face her, his eyes on hers. They were the same color as Sydney's, a deep chocolate brown, and no matter how hard he tried to fight it, he could never stop himself from drowning in them. Of all the weapons Irina had in her arsenal, the fact that she had Sydney's eyes were the most deadly. Everything he felt was reflected in those eyes. Twelve months ago he never would have guessed that he and Irina shared anything at all.

When Irina had showed up on his doorstep, two days after he lost Sydney and she lost Jack, he had slammed the door in her face. It hadn't even begun to put a dent in his anger, his overwhelming despair, but it had felt good. For the next hour afterwards, he had slammed every single door in his apartment. When he came back out to the living room, emotionally drained, Irina had been sitting on the couch, bonding with his dog. He hadn't had the strength to throw her out. Instead, he went to his room, laid down on the bed, and drifted off to sleep. When he'd woken up four hours later he wasn't sure what surprised him more; the fact that he was alive or the fact that she was still there. She'd been there ever since. His own personal demon, haunting him for the rest of his life.

He still hadn't gotten the courage to ask God what, exactly, he'd done to deserve that particular form of punishment. Whatever it was, it must have been one hell of a fuck up.

Pulling himself back into the present, he considered her question. Why, exactly, did her continued presence in his life piss him off so much? Why did seeing her every single day make him want to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger? Why did hearing her voice, feeling her skin against his, make him wish, on very rare occasions, that he had never met Sydney Bristow at all? That the entire Bristow clan had been wiped out of existence before he'd ever been conceived?

He sighed and added 'ability to hate Irina Derevko' to the list of things he'd lost.

Hating Irina. Loving Sydney. The two things in his life he was absolutely positive would never, ever change. He wasn't sure what to do now that he couldn't hold on to the one thing that had always been most important. So, he did the only thing he could do, the only thing that got him through the night. The reason why he came back from Cairo, the reason why living one more day was so important in Istanbul.

He took her hand, led her into the bedroom. And on the very same bed that he and Sydney had spent lazy weekends together, he made love to Irina Derevko like she was the last tangible tie to the best thing that had ever happened to him.

They were the only two left.

All they had was each other.

And sometime during the night he added 'fighting the inevitable' to the list of things he didn't have to the strength to do anymore.