Sometimes The Truth Hurts
By Kirsten Tapp
Summary: In an effort to uncover more about the mystery surrounding her father, Sydney asks Vaughn to arrange a meeting via Jordan and Marc's Handler. But will Sydney get the answers to all of her questions?
Original Publication Date: October 23, 2002
Disclaimer: Alias and its characters are the property of J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot productions. I am not affiliated with them in any way, shape, or form. I did take the liberty of adding a few of my own characters, like Jordan, Peter Carlton. Lance Stephenson and Marc.
. . .
Miami, Florida. Usually Sydney thought of Miami as nothing but sandy beaches, but in the two days she had been there following Peter Carlton, a biotech expert, she had discovered there was much more to it. She had, had to change disguises four times yesterday after following Carlton to the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium, Miami Seaquarium, the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area and the Cape Florida Lighthouse.
As her friends were getting more and more suspicious of her numerous trips for the bank, Sydney had taken a digital camera with her. She hadn't taken many photos, just enough to blend in with the crowd. A couple of photos of the 3150kg killer whale Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium and a few of the exotic plants at the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area.
So far Peter Carlton seem to be doing nothing but sightseeing. Sydney wished more of her assignments were like this, she could actually get to see more of the countries she visited. Dressed in a red bikini and matching sarong, her hair pulled up on top of her head, Sydney sat down on a towel on the beach. A few seconds later Vaughn spread a towel next to her and sat down.
"Nothing so far?" Vaughn tried not to notice Sydney's outfit. In his defense, there wasn't much to what the young woman beside him was wearing. It was nothing more than a few scrapes of material.
"No." Sydney glanced in Vaughn's direction and wished she hadn't. The CIA Handler obviously worked out. He had taken his shirt off and was dressed in only beach shorts. "Are you sure he's in Miami for a meeting? So far all he's done is sightseeing."
"Positive." Vaughn pushed his sunglasses onto his face. "What excuse did you give Sloane for taking time off?"
"I was due some holiday leave, so I told him I was taking it." Sydney put her own sun glasses on. "I sort of played on the fact that it's been a trying year. Not everyone gets electro shock treatment, her partner shot, her fiancé killed and herself almost killed in one year. Sloane seem to buy it."
"How could he not." Vaughn didn't know many agents that were strong enough to have gone through what Sydney had gone through and still continue with their lives. "What about your friends?"
"They're starting to ask a few questions." Sydney admitted. "So this time I took a few photos. I might have to do some duty free shopping before I get back."
"I picked up a couple of things for you at the Seaquarium." Vaughn had pretty much guessed that Sydney's friends would start to ask about her frequent trips. " I got something for Francie and something for Will. Is that enough?" He nudged a bag towards her.
"Yeah, thanks." Sydney was touched that Vaughn had gone to the trouble for her. She looked into the bag. Inside there was a stuffed toy killer whale and a Seaquarium key ring. "These are perfect. How much do I owe you?"
Vaughn shook his head. "Nothing. You're doing me a huge favor following Carlton for the CIA." He had resisted picking up a gift for Sydney herself. He didn't think it would come across too well, a handler showering his agent with gifts. He had already stepped across the line giving her a Christmas present.
Sydney was about to insist on paying for the gifts when she spotted Peter Carlton talking to another man. "Why, on a incredibly hot day like this, are there two men on the beach in suits?"
Vaughn turned to see what Sydney was talking about. "I guess that's the meeting we've been waiting for." He picked up the suntan lotion out of his bag and moved so that he was sitting behind Sydney. "With any luck we can both be home by dinner."
Sydney tired to concentrate on the meeting taking place before her, but it was near impossible with Vaughn smoothing lotion on her back. His touch was so gentle. "Do you think we ought to try and get closer so that we can hear what they're saying?" God, his hands felt so good on her bare skin.
Vaughn gently massaged the lotion onto Sydney's shoulders. "No. I get the feeling that Carlton's meeting has to do with a sale. We'll wait for the transfer. He probably has whatever he has for sale on disk. We grab the disk and head for the airport." He was having trouble stringing his words together to form sentences. Her skin was so soft beneath his fingers.
They both watched as Peter Carlton pulled a disk out of his pocket and pushed it into the lap top the other man had with him. When the other man seemed happy with the contents on the disk, he handed Peter a sports bag. Peter got up and left after inspecting the contents of the bag.
Vaughn saw that Peter Carlton's visitor still sat on the beach. "How are your pick pocketing skills?"
"Not as good as Jordan Knight's." Sydney got up and started to walk over to the man with the disk. Just as she got to him, she tripped and practically fell into his lap. "Oh my God. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me for being so clumsy." She started to brush the man off as she reached down and ejected the disk from the lap top. "Look, I've got sand all over you."
"That's quite alright Miss." The man was so busy staring at Sydney's chest that he hadn't noticed she had removed the disk and placed it in the back of her sarong.
"Carol honey. Are you alright?" Vaughn moved up behind Sydney. As he helped her stand up he removed the disk and slipped it into his bag. "I think you might have had too much sun. Let's go home." He slipped his arm around Sydney's waist and led her to the car park.
. . .
As they reached the car park, they heard a scream. Looking in the direction the scream had come from, they saw Peter Carlton laying in a pool of blood, the sports bag was nowhere in sight.
Sydney looked up at Vaughn, who still had his arm around her. "I guess that's why Carlton's friend stayed on the beach. What the hell is on that disk?"
Vaughn shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, but I think we'd better get out of here before the police turn up and start asking questions." He took hold of Sydney's hand and made his way to the car he was using. He already had both his and Sydney's luggage packed in the car.
"How did you know to book a flight out of here?" Sydney asked as she recalled Vaughn's early comment about heading for the airport. A quick glance into the back seat of the car Vaughn had rented, showed her that he had packed her things and put them in the car.
"I called Craig Weiss when you were tripping over that guy on the beach and asked him to book us on the next available flight." Vaughn explained. "Normally I would try to get us on separate flights, but I don't think it would be wise for either of us to stay in Florida and wait for the following flight to Los Angeles."
"That's probably wise." Sydney agreed, reaching for one of her bags. "So when is the next flight?" She wasn't sure whether to change in the car or wait till they got to the airport.
Before Vaughn could answer her question, his cell phone rang. "Vaughn." He listened to whomever was on the other end of the phone. "Great. Thanks Craig." He hung up his phone. "We've got ten minutes to get to the airport. Can you hand me a shirt and a pair of jeans from my bag?"
"Sure." Guess that answered her question. Sydney pulled a shirt and a pair of jeans out of her own bag before fetching Vaughn his own clothes. "How about I drive while you dress."
"Sounds like a plan." Vaughn kept his eyes on the road. "Why don't you change first." He tried not to think about Sydney getting dressed beside him.
Sydney was watching Vaughn out of the corner of her eye. She wondered if Vaughn was feeling the same emotions that were running through her. It was torture sitting this close to him and not being able to act on her feelings.
. . .
It seemed to take them forever to get to the airport. It wasn't made any easier when they switched seats without stopping the car. They barely made their flight on time. Sitting side by side on the plane they had never been more aware of each other than they were today. Something had changed and neither of them were sure what it was.
"So, do you know the Knights' handler?" Sydney spoke mainly to break the silence. "Or are you their handler as well?"
"No, I'm not their handler." Vaughn wasn't too sure he could manage being Jordan Knight's handler. The woman was like an ice sculpture, her brother was an entirely other case. "I know him though. We went through training together. His name's Lance Stephenson. The man has the patience of a saint. Why do you ask?"
Sydney shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. Jordan seems to know a lot about my father. I was wondering if you could set up a meeting and I figured you'd have to go through her handler."
Vaughn shook his head. "Sydney, even if Lance agrees to organize a meeting, Jordan has made it very clear that she thinks you should ask your father if you have any questions about him. You'd just be wasting your time." He saw the disappointment on Sydney's face and couldn't refuse to help. "But I guess it's your time to waste. I'm not promising anything, but I'll see what I can do."
Sydney's face lit up. "Thanks. I know she may not speak to me, but I have to know the truth about my father. Every time I look at him, it's like looking at a complete stranger."
"I hope you get the answers you're looking for." Vaughn meant it, but he seriously doubted Sydney would be happy with the answers she would get.
. . .
A week had passed and Vaughn hadn't contacted Sydney about organizing a meeting between herself and Jordan. A part of Sydney knew that Jordan would refuse to meet with her. Yet another part of her knew that Vaughn would pull every string he could to arrange the meeting. Pushing her concerns aside, she focused on the briefing.
Sloane pushed a button on the control panel before him, activating the monitors on the table. "This is Roman Santino, an Italian computer programmer. He is currently residing in a hotel in Venice with the latest in tracking software. We understand that he is going to sell to the highest bidder. So far the list of bidders is worrying to say the least. We want that tracking software before it gets into the wrong hands." He turned to Sydney. "You and Dixon will go to Venice under the cover of Katelynn Cloud and Keith Clinton of Cybernine Software. You will meet with Roman Santino as interested buyers. He will meet with you out of curiosity if nothing else."
"You want us to bring the software back." Dixon interrupted. "But it's more than likely that we'll have to steal it."
Sloane nodded. "You will both leave for Venice in the morning. Be careful. I've lost enough agents this year."
Sydney was already looking forward to her meeting with Vaughn. She stopped off at a café and wrote the mission on a paper bag, phoned in and threw the paper bag away in the designated bin and returned home to await Vaughn's call.
. . .
"Vaughn!" Craig Weiss called out to his friend. "I've found Lance Stephenson. He's on assignment with the Knights in Pompei. They're expected to leave Italy tonight. By the way Sydney's contacted us. She has a new mission."
"Thanks." Vaughn hadn't told his friend why he wanted to get in touch with Jordan's handler. "Can you let me know when Stephenson gets back from Pompei? I need to ask him something."
"Sure." Craig grinned. "Thought it might interest you to know, Stephenson has the same illness you do." His grin widened at his friends confusion. "He's in love with his agent too."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Vaughn muttered as he stormed down the hallway.
Craig Weiss chuckled to himself. "God, he's got it bad." He had seen Vaughn's attraction to Sydney from the first time they had met.
. . .
An hour later Vaughn and Sydney were sitting next to each other in a darkened picture theatre watching the B grade movie.
Sydney kept her voice low so that she didn't disturb the people that had paid to actually watch the movie. "So what's my counter mission."
"The CIA are going to send another team in ahead of you to steal the software." Vaughn had already asked Weiss to contact Lance Stephenson in Pompei. "That way when you and Dixon attempt to get hold of the software, suspicion will be removed from you when SD-6 doesn't get what they want."
"And I'll have Dixon as a witness." Sydney added. "Will you be able to get a second team in quick enough? Dixon and I are leaving for Italy first thing in the morning."
Vaughn nodded. "There's a team already in Italy. Pompei to be exact. Weiss is going to contact them and get them to stop in Venice before heading back."
"Any luck getting hold of Jordan's handler?" Sydney couldn't stop herself from asking.
Vaughn was surprised that Sydney had held out this long from asking about his contacting Lance. "I only found out today where he was. He's on assignment with Jordan and Marc."
"Oh." Sydney was disappointed. Of course the Knights would be on assignment. She couldn't believe she had expected it to be so easy. "Where are they on assignment?"
Vaughn grinned. "Pompei. I'll meet you in Venice and try to set up the meeting, but I wouldn't bet on me being successful. I just don't want you to be disappointed."
"I know." Sydney nodded. "I just need to know the truth and Jordan may be the only one who is blunt enough to tell me what I need to know."
. . .
Pompei, Italy. The town had been buried under ash and mud after Mount Vesuvius had erupted in 79AD. The ruins gave an overwhelming insight into how the Romans had once lived. The impressive temples and luxurious houses left Lance in awe of the past and the present of the Italian town.
The sound of his cell phone ringing interrupted Lance's admiration of his surroundings. "Stephenson." He spoke into the phone while keeping an eye out for his agents. "Hey Weiss. What's up." He listened as the next mission was laid out. "So we head straight to Venice from Pompei. Do you know what room this guy is staying in?" He glanced at his watch while he listened to Weiss' answer. "Is there anything above his suite?" He couldn't figure out what was taking Jordan and Marc so long. "The Honeymoon suite? See if you can book it for us. What's the time frame?" The sound of breaking glass made him look up.
Marc Knight came flying over the balcony hooking a line on as he jumped. Jordan Knight followed tackling a man as she flew through the air. As his sister fell past him, Marc grabbed her back pack stopping her from hitting the ground. The impact of the fall knocked the brother and sister into the wall.
Lance stared for a moment at the body that was laying at his feet. "So I take it he didn't want to give up the prototype. Did you get it?"
Marc released the line he was connected to. "Give us a minute Stephenson." He turned his sister to face him. Her face was starting to swell from where the wall had grazed her face. "What's the damage Sis?"
Jordan felt as though her cheek had been shoved to the other side of her face. "Bruised ribs, grazed face." She looked at the man she had tackled. "I'm still better than him." She handed Lance the prototype of a wristwatch detonator.
Lance muttered good bye and switched off the cell phone. "So, fancy a quick trip to Venice?" He grinned as the brother and sister turned to look at him. His blue eyes sparkled behind his steel rimmed glasses. At six foot two, he towered above his agents. "We have another assignment and it's right up your alley." He ran a hand through his sandy colored hair, as he gave Jordan a toothy grin. "So, will you marry me Jordan?"
Jordan turned to her brother. "I must have hit that wall with my face harder than I thought. Did he just ask me to marry him?"
Marc nodded. "Yeah. I guess that means we're setting up shop in the Honeymoon Suite in Venice. What's the assignment that's right up our alley?"
"We need you to steal a tracking software program." Lance started to walk towards the rental car. "SD-6 is sending a team in to retrieve it, but the CIA want you two to get to it first. The Honeymoon Suite is directly above the Suite that the programmer is staying in."
Jordan climbed into the car. "Know any good costume stores in Venice?"
. . .
Venice. The beautiful and enchanting city with it's gorgeous architecture and canals. The perfect place for a loving couple to take their Honeymoon. Lance walked into the hotel foyer carrying his pretend bride, with Marc disguised as a porter following them carrying the luggage. The blond wig and bridal veil that Jordan was wearing covered the side of her face that was swollen and grazed.
The hotel clerk smiled broadly. "You must be the new Mr and Mrs Colins. Your room is ready for you." He handed the room's card key to Marc. "Enjoy your stay Mr and Mrs Colins."
Lance smiled down at Jordan as though she were the most precious thing in the world. "I'm sure we will."
When they got in the elevator Jordan brushed her fake hair off of her face. "You know I think you can put me down now."
Lance looked down at the petite woman in his arms. "I don't want to tip anyone off to the real reason we're here." He shifted Jordan slightly in his arms. "If I don't carry you over the threshold to our room, someone could get suspicious."
Marc snorted. "And of course nobody is going to get suspicious when the porter doesn't leave the room. "He shook his head in amusement. "You are so in denial." He was used to his sister getting unwanted admirers.
Before Lance could respond the elevator reached their floor. The threesome left the elevator and made it into the Honeymoon Suite with no problems.
"Wow, this great." Marc looked around the room as Lance set Jordan down on her feet. "Pity we're only here to steal some software." He sat down on the sofa and unbuttoned his jacket. "So how long do we have before the SD-6 team arrive?"
"They left Los Angeles this morning." Lance undid his own jacket. "We should be contacted any minute, giving us a time that their meeting has been arranged for."
A knock on the door grabbed their attention. "Room Service." Marc held his hand out to Jordan, who hitched her wedding dress up high enough to retrieve a gun from the white garter on her thigh and handed it to him.
Lance answered the door when Marc was hidden out of sight. "We didn't order room service."
The waiter pushed the trolley into the room. "I know." He looked up to reveal himself as Vaughn. "It was the only way I could get in here without carrying a bride." He nodded to Jordan. "Nice dress." When Jordan pulled her wig and veil off, he saw her swollen face. "Nice black eye."
"Thanks. It came free with our last assignment." Jordan shot back at him. "So I guess we know who the SD-6 team is. Are they going to be staying in this hotel?"
Vaughn shook his head. "No. Sydney and Dixon will arrive in a few hours. They have a meeting with Santino an hour after they arrive."
"So we have maybe four hours to steal the software." Marc sat his sister down on the sofa and checked her injured face. "Can you still see out of this eye Sis?"
"Not very well." Jordan flinched slightly when Marc touched the skin around her eye. "Where are the software disks being kept." She turned so that her back was facing her brother. She gestured to the multiple buttons on the back of the dress.
"In a briefcase handcuffed to Santino's wrist." Vaughn wondered if it had been such a good idea to call the Knights in on this assignment.
"So I'll pick the lock on the briefcase since Jordan's eye is stuffed and we can be out of here by nightfall." Marc nudged his sister to let her know the buttons were all undone.
Jordan walked into the bedroom, holding the dress against her to get changed. "We'll have to sedate him first."
Lance stood by the now closed bedroom door. "I don't see a problem with you getting hold of the software. It's what will happen if security starts to search the rooms for the software, that I'm worried about."
The door opened and Jordan walked out wearing jeans and one of her brother's shirts. "That's why I'm going to need you to make a quick purchase."
. . .
Roman Santino paced back and forth in the living room of his suite, the briefcase that was handcuffed to his wrist, banging against his leg. "Where the hell is room service?" He had called them ten minutes ago. He stopped pacing at the sound of knocking at the door. "It's about time." Opening the door Roman starting ranting. "What took you so long. For God's sake, it's just a sandwich and some juice. It's not as though you had to cook anything."
"Sorry Sir." Vaughn mumbled even though he would have preferred to have decked the man before him. "We had a problem in the kitchen. The chef is freaking out again."
"Just put it over there." Santino pointed towards the sofa. "Leave the trolley, you can come back and get it later." He picked up the glass of orange juice and started to drink it as Vaughn left the suite.
Vaughn walked back to the Honeymoon Suite and knocked on the door. When Lance let him in, he noticed the camera that had been hidden on the trolley, was picking up enough of Santino's room for what they wanted. "Where are the Knights?"
"Hanging outside the window, waiting for further instructions." Lance was watching the monitor they had set up in the suite, which was picking up the feed from the camera. He spoke into the headset he was wearing. "Ok. The sedative shouldn't take too long to work."
"It better not." Marc muttered into his own headset. "We've been on the go for twenty four hours straight. I would actually like to sleep in my own bed sometime this week."
Jordan was hanging beside her brother on her own line. "At least we have a great view of the canals."
"Here we go." Lance could see Santino's legs stumble into view. Seconds later his body hit the lavishly carpeted floor. "He's down. Get in there."
Marc and Jordan swung onto the balcony outside Santino's suite. Marc made quick work of the lock on the sliding door and strolled into the Suite with his sister behind him. While Marc started to pick the lock on Santino's briefcase, Jordan unpacked the contents of her backpack.
"Got it." Marc opened the briefcase and took out the software disks, replacing them with coasters off of the table. "Somebody had better get this trolley out of here." Marc handed his sister the disks and pushed the trolley over by the door.
"I'm on my way." Vaughn removed the headset he had borrowed and ran out the door, shoving the headset in his pocket as he ran.
Jordan sat cross legged on the carpet sewing up the back of the teddy bear she had sent Lance to buy. Santino's body was blocking the view of the hidden camera. Packing the stuffing she had removed from the bear, the needle, thread, Swiss army knife and the plastic strip from a bubble bag, she quickly stuffed the bear into the bag, sealed it, addressed it and handed it to her brother. "I'm done. Let's get out of here."
Marc quickly unlocked the door to the Suite so that Vaughn could retrieve the trolley. Following his sister back out onto the balcony, he shoved the bubble bag into his backpack and locked the sliding door. "See you in a while." Marc swung off of the balcony and glided down the side of the hotel.
Jordan climbed back up to the Honeymoon Suite as Lance packed the monitor onto the trolley for Vaughn.
Marc got to the street and waited for Jordan to climb onto the balcony of the Honeymoon Suite. Once his sister was safe and she had unsecured his line, Marc packed the line into his back pack and took the bubble bag out. As he headed for the nearest post office, he spotted Sydney and Dixon getting out of a car. "Shit." Marc still had his headset on. Shrinking back behind a pillar outside the hotel, he watched Sydney and Dixon walk into the hotel.
Jordan had heard her brother over her own headset. "Marc? What's wrong?" She leaned over the balcony trying to spot him.
"Sydney and Dixon." Marc waited until he saw the two SD-6 agents get into the elevator. "They're early. I saw them get in the elevator. Vaughn has about two minutes to get that surveillance equipment out of the hotel and get himself out of sight."
"Don't worry about it. Just get that parcel mailed." Jordan strolled into the suite. "Did you hear that Vaughn?" As a stunned Lance watched, she proceeded to throw the few clothes that she had brought with her around the room.
"Yeah, I heard." Vaughn kept his head down as he got into the service elevator. "I'll head out via the kitchen."
Lance realized he and Jordan would have to hide their headsets and her back pack. "Vaughn. When you get to the street, go and stand on the side of the building this suite is on."
"No problem." Vaughn calmly walked through the kitchen pushing the trolley and out the back door. Loading everything in the van he had hired, he glanced up at the Honeymoon Suite balcony. Jordan was looking down into the street waiting for him to move into position. Locking the van, Vaughn moved so that Jordan could see him. Seconds later Jordan's back pack came flying towards him. "Gee thanks." He waved up to the balcony when he caught the back pack and went back to the van.
. . .
Sydney stood by Dixon in the elevator, praying the CIA team had, had enough time to get the software disks. It had been a shock when Dixon had turned up on her doorstep at 2am, three hours early. Sloane had booked them on an earlier flight. Dixon had said that Sloane was concerned that Santino might be getting antsy and sell the software to the first bidder.
She had known that Vaughn had left for Venice, so it was too late to warn him. Even if she had known where to reach him, Dixon hadn't left her side since picking her up at her apartment.
"Have you got Santino's room number?" Sydney checked her purse to make sure she had the chlorophome. She stepped out of the elevator cautiously glancing around to make sure she and Dixon didn't stumble on Vaughn or the CIA team.
"This is it." Dixon stopped in front of a door. "Santino must be mighty sure of himself. He hasn't got any security outside his room. Wonder if there's much inside the room."
"There's one way to find out." Sydney knocked on the door. When the door opened at her touch, Dixon removed his gun from his holster. Sydney followed Dixon into the suite. She almost sighed with relief when she saw Santino laying unconscious on the carpet. "Any signs of entry, apart from the door being left open?" Sydney checked the contents of the briefcase. "Somebody got here before us." She held up the coasters.
Dixon shook his head. "No sign of forced entry. Whomever broke in here was a professional. They could still be in the hotel."
"Want to call security?" Sydney suggested, certain that Dixon would say no.
"Yeah." Dixon nodded. "If security find the disks, we can steal them then. Good idea." He reached for the phone unaware of Sydney's shocked expression.
The Manager of the hotel paused before the Honeymoon Suite door, half an hour later. "Are you sure we have to disturb these people? They're on their Honeymoon. I haven't seen them leave their suite since they checked in."
Dixon nodded. "Every room must be checked." He frowned. "How do you know they haven't left their suite?"
The Manager pointed up towards the ceiling at a camera. "Room Service has been in, but Mr and Mrs Colins haven't left." He knocked on the door. "Of course I never saw the porter leave the room, so I may have missed something."
Sydney stood beside Dixon. "We'll need to speak to the porter and the waiter who delivered the room service trolley." She just hoped they weren't in the room with the supposedly Honeymooning couple.
Lance opened the door wearing only his trousers and his glasses. His hair was sticking up all over the place. "Can I help you?"
The Manager started to apologize until Dixon butted in. "Sorry to interrupt your Honeymoon, but there has been a burglary on the floor below you. I realize this is an inconvenience, but we will need to search your room."
"Baby, who's at the door?" Jordan stumbled out of the room wearing the blond wig, her injured face covered with the fake hair and wearing a sheet off of the bed.
"The Hotel Manager and Security." Lance put his arm around his mock wife's waist. "Something's be stolen from the floor beneath us. They want to search our room."
Jordan glanced at the group standing in the doorway. "Well, can they start with the bedroom, then at least we can use it while they search the rest of the suite."
The Head of Hotel Security took a step forward. "Of course. We'll be as quick as we can." He motioned his men into the suite and began the search.
When Sydney and Dixon tried to help with the search, Lance stopped them. "You two don't look like Hotel Security." He turned to the Hotel Manager. "These two can wait outside. "I'm not having complete strangers going through our things. Do they even work for this hotel?"
"No Sir." The Hotel Manager turned to Sydney and Dixon. "I'm afraid the two of you will have to wait outside." When he turned back around, he was slightly embarrassed to find Mr and Mrs Colins passionately kissing, obviously eager to get back to their bedroom.
Sydney tugged on Dixon's arm. "Come on Dixon. Security will let us know if they find anything." She couldn't see Marc Knight in the suite, but she was pretty sure that underneath all of that blond hair was Jordan Knight. The last thing any of them needed was for Dixon to recognize her.
Dixon followed Sydney out of the suite. "The disks can't have left the hotel already. There wasn't enough time. Santino can't have been out for more than five minutes when we got to him."
Sydney shrugged her shoulders. "Well then maybe the thief had someone waiting outside. This obviously isn't a one man operation."
"What makes you say that?" Dixon queried.
"Well, for starters there seems to be a porter and a waiter missing. The Hotel Manager says he saw the porter go into the Honeymoon Suite on the security monitor, but he never saw him leave." Sydney was stalling. She couldn't be sure that the Knights had managed to get the software disks out of the hotel.
Dixon thought through what Sydney had said. "Let's go and check the surveillance tapes. I noticed there's a camera outside Santino's room as well. Maybe we can find out who was in there with Santino."
"Let's go." Curiosity was getting the better of Sydney. She was dying to know how the Knights had managed to get in and out of Santino's room in such a short space of time.
. . .
An hour later Dixon was replaying the tape from the camera outside the Honeymoon suite. "See the porter never left the room." He fast forwarded through the next section of the tape before pushing play again. "And here, you see the waiter going in ...."
Sydney gasped in surprised when she realized the waiter was Vaughn, even though he kept his head down. "Wait a minute, that's not the same waiter leaving the room." Sydney had been to far too many meetings with Vaughn, where she was staring at the back ofhis head or his profile trying not to appear as though she were meeting him. She could easily see the waiters weren't the same man.
Dixon nodded. "Let's go and find the porter and the two waiters. The Manager must have their employment records."
"Not if they just walked in off the street." Sydney pointed out. "Where did they disappear to? Security has checked the whole building."
"Let's go and ask Mr and Mrs Colins." Dixon got up and headed for the door. He didn't believe for a moment that the couple were too wound up in each other not to notice people going in and out of their suite.
. . .
Marc stood on the street outside the hotel beside Vaughn, swinging a line with a hook on it. "Watch out Vaughn. The CIA will be pissed if I injure one of their handlers." Letting go of the rope, he easily hooked it onto the balcony of the Honeymoon Suite. A couple of seconds later his sister and Lance's bags came sliding down the rope.
Vaughn shook his head in utter disbelief. It was like watching a well oiled machine work. Marc seem to know his sister so well that he could anticipate her every move. "So where did you disappear to?"
Marc loaded the luggage into Vaughn's rental van. "Had to post some mail." He held his arms out and easily caught his sister as she slid down the rope. "So how was the Honeymoon?" He teased as he set Jordan down on the ground and held the line steady for Lance to slide down.
"I've had better." Jordan climbed into the back of the van. "I don't remember security asking to search the room on my first Honeymoon."
Lance reached the ground. "What is it with you and teddy bears? You bought one in Pompei as well." He climbed in the front passenger seat of the van. "By the way, where are the disks and the wristwatch detonator?"
Marc gave the line a quick tug loosening it from the balcony and rolling it up, before climbing in the back of the van with his sister. "They're on their way back to Devlin as we speak."
Vaughn realized as he climbed into the driver's seat, that was what Marc meant by posting mail. "You posted them back to Los Angles. What if somebody goes through the mail?"
"Then they'll think some weirdo is sending Devlin teddy bears." Jordan replied as she leaned her head against her brother's should and closed her eyes. "Wake me up when we get to the airport."
"We're not going to the airport." Lance gave Vaughn the name of another hotel. "I've just received word that you're working tomorrow mornings flight back to Los Angles."
"Working?" Vaughn was confused, but at least it bought him some time to organize the meeting between Jordan and Sydney.
Lance nodded. "They work as stewards on the flights to and from their assignments. It's a great cover and it saves on Tax Payers dollars."
Vaughn was impressed. Nobody would question the frequent trips of two airline stewards. "I need a favor, or rather Sydney does." He lowered his voice. "She wants to meet with Jordan. She has some questions about her parents that she feels Jordan can answer."
"I doubt Jordan will go for it." Lance warned.
"I figured that, but I promised Sydney that I'd ask." Vaughn muttered as he pulled into the hotel car park.
. . .
Dixon waited for Sydney to activate the lock on the door to the Honeymoon Suite. When they walked in, the room was empty. "We're too late."
Sydney walked over to a pile of clothes laying on the sofa. "Dixon look. A wedding dress, a tuxedo and a porter's uniform." She picked up the sheet of paper laying beside the clothes. "Please return costumes to Vincento's fancy dress hire."
"No waiter's uniform?" Dixon questioned. "He could still be in the building. I figure that second waiter was Mr Colins. Santino should have recovered enough to identify the man posing as the waiter. I'll go and see Santino, why don't you go back to the hotel and let Sloane know what's going on. He may not want us to waste any more time on this." He tossed the keys to the rental car to Sydney.
"Ok. Be careful." Sydney warned. She had the distinct feeling that Vaughn, the Knights and their Handler had all left the building and were long gone.
Sloane was not happy when Sydney called him and let him know what was happening. "If Dixon doesn't find anything, I want the two of you back on the first flight in the morning!" He snapped down the phone before abruptly hanging up.
Sydney got some satisfaction from Sloane being inconvienced. She quickly called Dixon to update him. As she had suspected Dixon had found no trace of the missing waiter.
A knock on the door startled her. Checking through the peep hole in the door, Sydney was relieved to see Vaughn. "What are you doing here?" She quickly pulled him into the room before he was seen.
"Actually, I was next door in my suite." Vaughn had spotted Sydney entering her room as he walked up the hallway back to his room. He had stopped long enough to phone the front desk to check if Dixon had come back to the hotel with her. "Look, I talked to Lance about you meeting with Jordan. He doubts Jordan will go for it."
"Thanks for trying." Sydney knew Vaughn had tried his best. Even she knew from the few meetings she had accidentally had with the Knights, that Jordan was stubborn and would not change her mind once it was set.
"Of course if you happen to get in the elevator to down to dinner at the same time she does, there's no knowing what you could talk about." Vaughn pointed out. "The Knights are staying in this hotel. In fact, they are two rooms down from you."
Sydney grinned. "Did you set that up? Because you know Jordan will kick your butt if she finds out you did."
Vaughn shook his head. "No, I didn't set it up. Fate must be working in your favor." He glanced at his watch. "I'd better get going. Don't want Dixon to return and find me in your room."
Sydney hugged Vaughn. "Thank you. I know Jordan probably won't talk to me even if I do get her alone, but at least I can try." She reluctantly let him go, so that he could leave.
. . .
Lance watched Jordan sleeping from the doorway of the bedroom. "Do the two of you always sleep in shifts?" He looked over his shoulder at Marc, who was reading a book on the sofa.
"Yeah." Marc didn't even look up from his book. When they had got to the hotel, he had managed to get a couple of hours sleep while Jordan stayed awake. Now he was hoping that his sister getting some rest would help the swelling go down on her face. He instinctively knew when Lance moved to step into the room. "Don't go in there. You'll wake her up."
Lance wondered how Marc could have known what he was going to do, when he wasn't even looking in his direction. "I wasn't going to make any noise. She's kicked the blankets off, I was just going to cover her back up." She looked so fragile to him that he just wanted to wrap her up in cotton wool.
"She'll know as soon as you set foot in the room. Stay where you are. She's a lot tougher than she looks." Marc turned the page of his book. "She just needs a little sleep and she'll be fine." He glanced at his watch. He'd let his sister sleep a little longer and then he'd wake her so that they could get some dinner.
Vaughn barged into the room, determined to try one last attempt to get Jordan to talk to Sydney. He made it one step into the bedroom where he saw Jordan sleeping, before a knife came flying across the room at him. It missed him by millimeters and stuck in the wall.
Marc looked up from his book. "So that's where that knife went. You're lucky Jordan's half asleep Vaughn. You'd be a dead man if she weren't." He got up and pulled the knife out of the wall. "Want to get a shower before we go and get some dinner Sis?"
Jordan eased herself out of the bed and walked towards the bathroom mumbling something Lance and Vaughn couldn't understand. She slammed the door behind her.
Marc leaned against the closed bathroom door. "Do we have enough make-up and wigs to do that?" He was used to having to unscramble Jordan's mumblings when she had just woken up. Another mumbled sentence came through the door. "Yeah, I'll get you a cup of tea."
Vaughn looked at Lance who just shrugged. "Want to let us in on what's happening Marc?" He was still shaking from his near miss with the knife.
Marc poured his sister a cup of tea. "Jordan pointed out that we'll all have to head down to dinner in disguise incase anyone recognizes us from the other hotel. Some of the staff may have family that work at the hotel we left." He held out the cup to his sister, who walked out of the bathroom wearing a towel wrapped around her body and another around her wet hair. Another mumble was uttered followed by a glare at Vaughn before she walked into the bedroom and slammed that door shut as well.
Lance struggled not to laugh. "I'm guessing she said something about Vaughn's intrusion." The look on Vaughn's face at that moment was priceless.
Marc nodded as he picked up one of the bags and motioned for Lance to sit down on the sofa. "Let's just say if Vaughn ever wants to father any children, he won't ever disturb my sister again." He shook his head as he started to apply the latex rubber to Lance's face to change his appearance. "I didn't even know my sister knew that sort of language."
Jordan walked out of the bedroom with her cup of tea looking slightly more awake, but no less annoyed. She shoved Vaughn down on the sofa and sat down beside her brother on the coffee table so that their makeup bag was between them and started work on Vaughn's face.
Finally they were all ready except Jordan, whose make up was taking longer due to her injured face. Lance saw it was starting to get late and they might not be able to get a table in the hotel restaurant. "Why don't we head down to the restaurant? Jordan can meet us down there when she's ready. That way if we can't get a table we can find somewhere else to eat and just call up to the room."
"Fine with me." Jordan had started to speak understandable English after her second cup of tea. "Marc can order for me." She had just about managed to hide all of the bruising on her face and the swelling had gone down slightly.
"See you down there." Marc led the way out of the room.
Vaughn made up an excuse to stop off at his room, where he phoned Sydney and let her know Jordan would be leaving her room alone and in disguise.
. . .
Sydney watched for Jordan to leave her room. It was lucky that Vaughn had warned her that Jordan would be in disguise, as the woman was unrecognizable. Leaving it until the last second to step into the elevator, Sydney began talking before Jordan could attempt to get out of the elevator. "I know you told me I should ask my Father any questions I have of he and my mother. The thing is I need answers and he won't give me any. Although I know now that my mother was KGB and murdered a number of CIA agents including Vaughn's father."
Jordan rolled her eyes. "You know all of that and you still have questions. Let me guess. Would they be: Why didn't Jack tell you that in the beginning? Why doesn't Jack act like the picture book Father that you always wanted? How could your Mother leave you? Is she really dead?"
Sydney wondered is this had been such a good idea. "Well, it's as good a place to start as any."
Jordan gave Sydney an icy stare. "You don't need the answers to any of those questions. You wasted so much of your life painting your mother as a saint and your father as an ogre. Suddenly you find out that your mother isn't such a saint and your whole world comes tumbling down. I haven't a clue if your mother is still alive. Well, life sucks that way. Nobody ever has the fairytale family and those who say they do are lying. Your father knows all too well what the consequences are for saying too much in this business. You can't possibly think it would make you feel any better to know that you and your father were nothing but an assignment to your mother. The truth hurts Sydney, it doesn't matter how many sources you get it from." Jordan stopped and turned to face Sydney as she stepped out of the elevator. "Let's face it Sydney, even if Jack was the type of father that told you he loved you everyday, you still wouldn't believe him. It's safer for you to believe he's the bad guy." Jordan stalked off to the table where Marc, Lance and Vaughn were waiting for her.
"Sydney." Dixon called out to a stunned Sydney who was still standing by the elevators. "Is everything alright?" He could see something had upset her.
Sydney composed herself. "Fine. Did you find out anything at the hotel?" Vaughn had been right. She hadn't liked the answers she had gotten to her questions. The worse part was, deep down she had know the truth all along.
Dixon shook his head. "Santino couldn't identify the waiter. He said he never saw his face as the man didn't look directly at him. The tape from the camera outside of Santino's room shows the waiter came back in to get the trolley, but the door had been left unlocked from inside the room."
Sydney gave an exasperated sigh. "Well Sloane's not happy. His exact words were we were to catch the first flight back in the morning if you couldn't find anything. We have to head back in the morning."
Dixon shrugged his shoulders. "There's nothing else we can do. Come on, let's go and get some dinner." He walked beside Sydney into the hotel restaurant. "What do you say we take in some of the sights after dinner? We might as well get something out of this trip. Besides I promised my wife I would bring her something back this time."
Sydney smiled at her friend and partner. "That sounds good." Two assignments in one week where she actually got to do some sightseeing. Maybe things were looking up.
Jordan watched Sydney and Dixon walk over to a table for dinner before turning to Vaughn. "Don't think for a minute that I'm going to forget about that little stunt you just pulled." It didn't take a genius to figure out that Vaughn had tipped Sydney off.
. . .
The next morning Sydney walked around her room checking that she hadn't forgotten to pack anything. Opening the curtains that covered the glass doors to the balcony, she found Vaughn bound, gagged and hanging from his ankles outside her room. Shaking her head, Sydney quickly untied her handler. "So I guess Jordan wasn't too happy about you helping me to talk to her."
Vaughn rubbed his wrists where the rope had cut into them. "What tipped you off? The ropes or the gag?"
Lance sat in his seat on the plane as Jordan and Marc served the passengers their breakfasts. "Hey did you see Vaughn this morning?"
"Last time we saw him, he was hanging around outside Sydney's room." Jordan placed a plate of food in front of Lance.
Marc nodded in agreement. "Yeah, that's the last place I saw him too."
Lance suspected the Knights knew exactly where Vaughn was, but he knew from experience that the Knights were excellent at keeping secrets. He would just speak to Vaughn when they both got back to the office.
. . .
Sydney let herself into her apartment only to hear the sound of laughter. As she approached her living room, she saw Will and Francie laughing over the photos she had taken off her digital camera from Florida.
Will spotted her first. "Hey. Good trip?" He pointed at the killer whale in the photo. "These are great. I can't believe you actually got some sightseeing down on one of your business trips."
"Yeah." Sydney left her suit case by the doorway. "I had fun on that trip." She sat down next to Francie on the sofa. "I haven't had a chance to look at these photos. They came out pretty good."
France handed Sydney the photo she had been looking at. "Look who's in this one with the whale." She pointed to someone in the photo. "It's your frequent flyer friend."
Sydney looked to see what Francie was talking about. In the photo as clear as day was Vaughn. The expression on his face was one of a man looking at the most beautiful thing in the world. The thing was, he was looking directly into the camera. "Yeah, so it is."
Later that night Sydney sat on her bed with the photograph in one hand and the picture frame that Vaughn had given her in the other. The frame had been empty since she had found out the truth about her mother. Putting the photo in the frame she felt as if she was somehow filling a part of her life that had been empty since Danny had been killed. Jordan was right, she had wasted so much time trying to find out why she didn't have fairytale parents. When push came to shove she knew her father would be there for her. As she looked at the man in the photo, she knew Vaughn would be there for her too.
. . .
This story was originally posted at alias-online.net - posted here with permission from the author.