Categories > TV > Alias
She is tired, so tired, and still fighting every step of the way. Her knees are locked, her feet drag, and she makes the guards flanking her work for their every step. She is Sydney Bristow, and she reminds herself that she is strong, that she is a survivor, that she will not give in to them, that she is, that she is. . .
not insane--she's almost sure of that, not quite sure of that, not anymore. Her head is stuffed with cotton, she's moving through water, and time has slowed down to a crawl. Francie has been wearing makeup since she was sixteen, has been playing at wearing makeup even longer, but her eyes and lips are bare. Francie's hair is smooth, clean (Sydney hasn't been clean in days. In months. In years. Forever, forever, and--strong, she's strong, she's a survivor, she is, she is--) and it slides smooth as silk over her shoulder as she turns her head.
Turns her head, and looks at Sydney.
Sydney is making noises that might be words. She is making noises that might be Francie's name, might be shock, might be horror. This is her world, and Francie shouldn't be here, Sydney won't let her be here. Sydney falls back on training so deeply ingrained as to go beyond conscious thought. She's slower than she was, her legs shake and her head aches, but there's a guard left groaning on the floor, and another doubled over behind her, and Sydney is free. She's free, and stumbling towards Francie: i'm here, i'm here, i'll save you. . . i'll, i'll. . . francie? francie?
Francie, who looks at Sydney and turns her lips into a sneer. Sneers, and pulls back her fist.
Sydney is spinning, falling, and this isn't Francie. There is no Francie, not now, never again, never, and--
She had forgotten.
She had forgotten Francie.
She is Sydney Bristow, and she is strong. She is a survivor, and she will not let them see her break. Her mouth burns, and she tastes blood thick against her tongue. She is on her knees, face thin and sallow under the unforgiving lights. She will not break, she is not broken, she isn't, and Sydney is crying and gasping, and clutching at her empty stomach as she chokes on her grief. She stares at Francie--Allison, Allison, but all she can see is Francie, oh God, Francie--and can't bring herself to move as the other woman bears down upon her.
Allison's hand is strong against Sydney's chin as she draws her face upwards. Allison looks at Sydney with Francie's soft eyes, speaks in Francie's voice and says: "You never were a very good friend." Curls Francie's hand into a competent fist, and Sydney isn't crying anymore.
Wakes up in her small stone cell, cold and shaking, with wet eyes and her mouth hot with sickness. Arms and legs scrape against the floor, and Sydney curls to her side, presses her fist to her mouth. Feels the sharp ridge of her knuckles against her lower lip, and remember that a long time ago, before being Sydney Bristow had to mean anything at all, she'd stood on stage and stared at the empty seat that was her father's. Stared, and stared, and ran from stage with burning eyes and tumbled into a girl with soft eyes and soothing hands. Had cried in front of Francie for the first time, then, and if she were here now, she'd pull Sydney's head into the curve of her shoulder and smooth her hands down her back: it's okay, it's okay, i'm here, let it go, Syd, let it go.
Francie had always known ("I hardly feel as if I know you anymore, you're so distant," Francie's voice low and tired and sad, and it isn't true, it isn't, and Sydney hates Allison for making her doubt), had always tried, and she'd been there for Sydney, always. Sydney hadn't been there for Francie, hadn't even known she'd been needed, and she dreams of Francie's wide-eyed terror at a knife in her stomach, a blade at her throat, a bullet in her heart, in her head--how long? how long? she can't even begin to guess.
She is Sydney Bristow, and--
maybe she deserves this, maybe this is her punishment for daring to hope, for daring to dream--
she is strong, she is a survivor, and there is nothing else to be done. She is Sydney Bristow, and they are beginning to learn what that means, because Francie is everywhere, now. She survives the starvation, the beatings, but the sight of Francie's straight back and round hips, turning corners, distant, out of reach, fading fast, makes Sydney's knees buckle and her breath leave her in a pained whine. She wakes to the low murmur of Francie's voice, barely loud enough to hear, and if she closes her eyes, she can almost believe. Can almost believe that she's waking for a long, hard dream; can almost believe that she hasn't failed, helplessly, horribly, again.
Dreams of Francie, Francie with her soft eyes and soothing hands: "it's okay, it's okay, i understand, syd, i do," and Francie's eyes are withering, her skin swelling and splitting (and she probably burned Francie's body, Sydney thinks, and there are no eyes to wither, and skin to swell and split) and she reaches for Sydney with a wet coo. "i forgive you, syd, i forgive you."
Wakes, and Francie is sitting next to her on the floor. Legs crossed, left hand curled loosely against her thigh, the other carding through Sydney's lank hair. "They aren't going to let you go," she says. "Not until you do what they want."
"I can't," Sydney says, because she is Sydney Bristow, and she is, she is. . .
"There are things you have to do," Francie says, "things you have to do for me, Syd."
Yes, Sydney thinks, yes, because she owes Francie that much at least, but: "You aren't Francie."
Her fingers are gentle in Sydney's hair. "Not like you could tell the difference."
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