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02 November 2006 @ 07:10 am
 
A loooong while ago, I compiled a Syd/Rachel fanmix, then vowed to write a drabble for each song on the list. 19 songs, 100 words. It kind of blew up in my face, but here's the complete list (posted in two parts, to get around the lj word limit).

Title: The Mix Tape Drabbles, Part I of II
Words: Approximately 5,300
Rating: PG-13-ish, overall
Warning: Much switching of tenses between vignettes follows. Also, some mushiness is to be expected. Do not attempt to operate heavy machinery while reading this story.


1. All That We Perceive/Thievery Corporation
Rachel dry-swallowed a pair of Tylenol and forced her eyes to focus. Perhaps that last martini had been a bad idea. The last three, actually. She spotted Peyton bouncing towards her, smiling cheerfully. Rachel sank lower in her chair.

"You look like you would rather be anywhere but here," said Peyton quietly.

"A friend of mine had a bachelorette party last night," said Rachel. "Open bar."

"Do it while you can; we'll be in Prague in two days," said Peyton. She glanced around with mock stealth. "If you want, you can spend a few hours on my couch."

Rachel smiled. "That would be great."

Peyton's couch was far more comfortable than any office couch had a right to be, and Rachel wondered if the furniture would come to Prague with them. "Don't let Mr. Dean find me," she told Peyton.

"I won't," said Peyton. Her typing lulled Rachel into a comfortable sleep.

2. Just A Ride/Jem
The explosion was deafening. She came to with her ears ringing, body numb, somebody holding her up. Sydney hovered in her peripheral vision, mouthing words she couldn't hear.

Then Somebody roughly hoisted her onto her feet and she felt herself being half-dragged and half-walking on her own as they rushed down the stairs. Sydney pulled her into the van, held her with one arm across her chest and the other across her stomach. She faded in and out of consciousness.

She woke up in a bright, clean room, saw Sydney sitting nearby. "Hi," she said groggily.

"Morning," said Sydney.

"Is it?" asked Rachel. She glanced to her left, immediately regretted the movement when her entire brain screamed at her to stop.

"It's about eight o'clock," said Sydney.

Rachel spoke with her eyes closed. "Where are we?"

"We're in Stuttgart, at EUCOM. I wanted to get you to Ramstein, but this was closer." Sydney stood and cracked her neck. "How do you feel?"

She remembered the office, running for the stairwell, and then not much else. Her mouth twitched. "Not so good."

"I'll get the doctor. He said if you check out, we can take you back to the states this afternoon." Sydney smiled at her, started to say something, but noticed the look on Rachel's face. "Everything will be okay. I promise," she said.

As soon as she was gone, Rachel curled on her right side, away from the door. Dread and guilt warred with the memory of Sydney's smile; her stomach twisted in on itself and she curled even tighter. In between waves of nausea and the pressure pounding against her forehead, she began to cry.

3. Maybe Tomorrow/Stereophonics
Rachel keeps hoping for a break that won't come. Maybe she'll wake up, or maybe she's actually dead and floating through some kind of purgatory. A purgatory in which her hand is cramping up, because she's almost done with her second legal pad and she's only halfway through the details of her time at The Shed.

Sydney brings her a sandwich and they talk, mostly about how crappy Rachel feels and how desperate she is to fix things. But the more she writes, the more she feels as though she's done too much wrong to make up for it all. By the end of legal pad number three, she's about the most depressed she's ever felt.

Afterwards, there's another briefing, this time about the 1017 account. Lately the days have been blurring together and Rachel can't remember if it's the fifteenth or the sixteenth.

If she thought her description of Dean's security protocols was enough to stop APO, she was sorely mistaken. One hour later they're on a plane to New York, where they'll connect for a trans-Atlantic flight to Prague. Rachel sits across the aisle from Sydney, trying to read details about the bomb investigation. There are pictures, big 8 x 10 glossies that she's avoiding for the moment.

Prague is horrifying, but Monte Carlo is even more horrifying with the gigantic magnet and the narrow escape and the dangling. She can feel Sydney straining to hold their combined weight. Were their positions reversed, Rachel's not so sure she could do the same. The moment her feet touch the ground she collapses on all fours, her panting just short of dry heaving. Sydney is bent over next to her, hands on her knees while her muscles uncoil. Rachel stares at the shattered remains of the car.

Dixon and Tom come running up. "Are you okay?" asks Dixon. He heaves Rachel to her feet, where she continues to pant. He senses that she might start hyperventilating and adjusts his tone, coaxes her gently. "Just take it slow." She swallows hard, but obeys, and the tightness in her chest begins dissipating. Dixon clasps her arm. "Now, are you hurt?"

She shakes her head, and he pats her shoulder encouragingly.

Tom is edgy, scanning the immediate area. "Let's get out of here."

Going home, Rachel calculates the amount of time she's spent on the ground versus the amount of time she's spent in transit. The results aren't reassuring. She glances at Sydney, fast asleep in her seat. She doesn't want to wake up an exhausted pregnant woman, but feels compelled to discover the secret behind her composure. The weary answer, the thought that she might just get used to catnaps between hectic days, doesn't really make her feel better.

"Rachel," says Sydney.

She looks up again.

"I know it might not seem important right now, but happy birthday," says Sydney.

Rachel nearly forgot in all the fuss. Twenty-six years old, and nothing left to show for it. She smiles anyway, inexplicably reassured. "Thanks." And she realizes that Sydney has that effect on her, making her feel like tomorrow will be worth it. Her eyes drift shut; somewhere over the Atlantic, she begins to dream.

4. Let Go/Frou Frou
When Sydney offered her a place to stay after Monte Carlo, Rachel was initially nervous. She could have gone to a CIA safehouse, but Sydney told her she didn't mind and that she had the room; besides which, it was better than a couple of strangers waiting right outside of the bathroom while she did her business. So Sydney drove her to a house that was close to the beach and ushered her inside, telling her not to mind the mess.

Inside, she felt her heels click uncomfortably on the wood floors. The décor was simple and modern; lots of smooth surfaces, the wooden furniture appearing burnished in the low-level lighting. She balanced on one leg, letting the other swing idly as she waited for Sydney to make the next move. Her mother had taught her that one should let one's host dictate activities.

"Make yourself comfortable," said Sydney, disappearing into, presumably, her bedroom.

Rachel complied the best she could, sitting on the edge of the nearest couch. A few minutes later, Sydney emerged in pajama bottoms and a maternity tank top, her belly a smooth curve under the cotton fabric. "Are you hungry?" she asked. "I know crossing time zones always screws up my internal clock."

They'd been flying west, so even though it felt like morning, it was still late night in Los Angeles. Rachel didn't want to impose, and shook her head. Her stomach growled to the contrary, eliciting a shy smile. "Maybe a little," she admitted. Now that they were sitting in a kitchen and not dangling from a magnet, she couldn’t help but wonder what Sydney had looked like before the pregnancy. She imagined toned muscle and lithe curves, which only made her more nervous.

Sydney preheated a pan on the stove while she removed a carton of eggs from the fridge. "Midnight breakfast. Always good after a long flight," she said cheerily.

"That sounds great," said Rachel, who wondered what the food would taste like. Her first impressions of the other woman had already begun to solidify; Sydney meant change, danger, loss. It was hard to reconcile these feelings with Sydney, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. She seemed to slip in and out of identities so easily—field agent, daughter, friend. And soon, mother. Rachel couldn't figure out how to decompress the past three days without garbling the only identity she had.

"Mind if I ask what you're thinking?" asked Sydney.

"What?" said Rachel, startled.

"You look like you're doing some heavy thinking. Not that you shouldn't, after the past few days." Sydney gave her a wry smile.

Rachel felt the memories resurfacing; she focused on Sydney, letting everything else submerge again. "I just keep wondering...what's going to happen to me? In the long term, I mean." She shrugged in an attempt to play down her feelings.

"You know the CIA is happy to have you."

"Are they?" asked Rachel with a wince.

"Hey, your loyalty's not in question. After everything we've been through, I trust you," said Sydney. Her smile turned from wry to sincere, turning up the corners of her mouth.

Rachel paused to figure out how long ago it was that Sydney had tied her to a chair and told her the truth. This would be her first real night of sleep in a real bed; the concept was immediately enticing. She found herself smiling back without quite knowing why.

After the meal, Sydney got her settled in a room down the hall from the master bedroom. It was decorated in the same style as the rest of the house and looked extremely comfortable. Dressed in a borrowed pair of pants and a tank top (still smelling of Sydney, though she tried not to notice), she slipped into bed, body already shutting down in anticipation. Everything was soft and warm. For the first time, she fell asleep without the memory of Prague drowning out all other thought.

5. Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking/Snow Patrol
She could have worked anywhere after college. She had job offers from half a dozen companies and had been contemplating an advanced degree. But the CIA had offered her the best job with the best pay and benefits and the most exciting job description. She had freelanced for them all through college, but this was a permanent posting and carried the possibility of promotion. She had accepted with excitement, told her family she was going to program software for a respectable bank, and spent the next few years enjoying her work.

Now her future was counted off in missions accomplished, bad guys defeated, and lives saved. To her surprise, she minded it less and less as the days wore on. The old future she had planned out, the one with the stability and high survival rate, didn't appeal to her as it once did. That worried her a little.

What worried her more was that she would look at Sydney and feel...resentment. It was patently unfair. Sydney pulled her out of The Shed, gave her a place to stay, earned her trust and trusted her in return. She was even wearing a borrowed shirt of Sydney's right now, having exhausted her limited wardrobe the day before.

But Sydney was practically fighting a war and had dragged Rachel into it. She had no long-term plan to destroy evil; she just wanted Gordon Dean to stop hunting her family. The late nights with Marshall, the constant training, the daily risks--they were all piling up.

She sat in front of the desktop Marshall had set up for her so she could code on a more powerful machine than her laptop. Her lab space wasn't much more than a tiny nook, but it had more privacy than the rest of the office. Sydney poked her head around the corner, followed by her pregnant belly.

"Hey, Rachel," she said.

Rachel looked up, gave her a tight smile. Marshall had asked her to sift through some undocumented code line by line; she felt like she was in college again, tooling all night to finish a problem set.

"I've got a satellite feed that needs to be analyzed," said Sydney, holding up a CD.

Rachel rubbed her eyes, feeling grit scratch underneath them. "Sure. I'll get back to you." She waited until Sydney was gone to snap. She gripped the edges of her desk, trying to think of a place to vent. The shooting range was no good; she'd end up pistol whipping somebody. She stood abruptly enough to rattle her keyboard.

A few minutes later she was in gym clothes, working on the heavy bag. She had foregone her grappling gloves, desperate to feel the pain of impact chafing her knuckles raw. She lost focus on form and technique, letting all her stress pour into the bag. She felt her wrist twinge as she struck the bag off-center, ignored it and kept striking until her entire body was numb from the constant jarring. Numbness was better; numbness let her continue until the wellspring of her anger was tapped out, until the blood vessels in her hands burst and her punches left little smears of red behind.

Her body suddenly felt heavy, leaden. She hung onto the bag with hot tears pricking her eyes.

High on the wall, the clock had already ticked off half an hour. She needed to go back. Composure came after a few hiccupping breaths; she was better at masking her feelings these days.

With a sigh, she went in search of disinfectant for the heavy bag.

6. Desperately/Michelle Branch
"You want to go out tonight?" asked Sydney. "I don't feel much like cooking."

Rachel thought about the can of soup she had been planning to heat for dinner. "Sure."

Sydney cliamed a craving for chicken tikka masala and drove them to a small Indian restuarant. They were seated at a square table for two against the wall, lit by a small orange lamp. Rachel picked the first curry she saw on the menu and listened to the soccer match playing at the bar while they waited for their order.

"Do you come here often?" asked Rachel idly.

"Just once in a while. This is actually the first time I've gone out since I got pregnant," said Sydney.

"I used to get Indian food in Prague. My friend Kelly liked their lunch buffet. And one of their waiters." She grew unintentionally somber. Kelly had enjoyed leaving her phone number for waiters and seeing who actually called.

Sydney gave her a sympathetic look. She looked soft—softer than usual, in the ambient lighting. Rachel met her look; something clicked into place and she suddenly felt warm all over. She stared until Sydney asked her if something was wrong. She blushed (though it was hardly apparent), ducked her head, and was glad when the food arrived.

7. It's Only Love/Heather Nova
Rachel had never been one to preclude emotional intimacy with the physical kind, but for once she just wanted to get laid. Watching Sydney day after day, even if her waddle did get more pronounced, was filling her with a keen sense of frustration.

She left Sydney a vague note that she would be late and drove to one of the many clubs she saw advertised around the city. She slipped inside, the bass beat exploding in her chest as she crossed the threshold. The interior was warm, dark, pierced by neon light and twin glows at the bar and the DJ station. She slipped up to the bar and ordered a shot, plus a beer to chase it. The tequila soaked her empty stomach in a matter of minutes.

Near the end of her beer a slight, dark-haired woman slipped onto the stool next to her. "Two of what she's having," she said to the bartender as she hooked a thumb at Rachel.

Rachel made a half turn in the other woman's direction. "You like Dos Equis?"

"You do. Want another?" The woman held out the fresh bottle and Rachel took it, intrigued. "I'm Shane," she said.

"Rachel." They clinked bottles and drank.

*

She woke up in a strange bed. For a moment she tried to remember where she was; gradually, the club and the drinks and the dancing came into focus. There had been more dancing, then a drive home with the windows down to let in the cooling night air. They had both been slick with sweat and Shane's small truck didn't have air conditioning.

"Been broken since the day I bought it," said Shane in the parking lot, and kissed Rachel. She was soft, but insistent. The old vinyl seat creaked as Shane pressed Rachel back against the door. She tasted of salt and liquor, and maybe a few cigarettes.

Shane began to withdraw, coaxing Rachel to follow her movement. She sat back; Rachel swung a leg over Shane's hip to straddle her. She felt warm hands sliding under her shirt, running up the plane of her back, down over her breasts and stomach. Shane's hips arched sinuously and she ground down on Shane's stomach, catching on her belt buckle. She bit Shane's lip.

"Let's go to your place," said Shane, moving to small kisses along the line of Rachel's neck.

"We can't," said Rachel. Between Sydney and her fears of repeating the Sark incident, Sydney seemed like the better excuse. "My roommate, she's pregnant. It's not a good time."

"Hope you don't mind staying in West Hollywood, then," said Shane, and reached for the ignition.


She suddenly felt the need to visit the bathroom. She pulled on her shirt and underwear and padded down the hallway. When she returned, Shane was sitting on the edge of the bed, still naked. "Morning," she said, voice even throatier than before, if that was possible.

"Hi," said Rachel. She was frozen for a moment, still surprised by her own impulsiveness. "I have to go, I'm sorry. I've got work."

Shane shrugged with infinite nonchalance. "It's the human condition."

Rachel went directly to the office, showering and changing in the locker room. She and Sydney converged outside of the morning briefing. "I didn't see you at home last night," said Sydney, smirking.

It was suddenly very important that Sydney not know. "I fell asleep here," she lied. "Long night." Sydney gave her a sympathetic look and took her seat at the table. Relieved, Rachel sat next to her, only to feel a sweep of frustration building tension anew in the base of her spine. She was so screwed.

8. Ain't No Sunshine/Lighthouse Family
She hadn't seen the sun in days. Between the nighttime op, the time zone switching, and the nasty weather on both sides of the Pacific, she had been living in a grey and black world for four days. She had become accustomed to the California sunshine, forgetting her college days in Boston when the dead winter could suppress sunshine for months.

It was being apart from Sydney that was getting to her the most, and that was troublesome. Four days without Sydney and her baby bump and she felt unsettled; it was a sign of codependence. She needed to get out more, though her last attempt at stress reduction had been useless.

Evidently, the CIA thought "getting out more" meant her first solo mission. There would be no brush-passes or dead drops or other textbook maneuvers. There was instead a scandalous dress, an itchy wig, and a spring-loaded ice pick. And there was Sydney, somehow terrifying and comforting at the same time. Her reassurances were sprinkled with nerve-wracking advice and it was all a little much for Rachel.

"I can do this, right?" she asked, making her resolve face.

"Absolutely," said Sydney.

Out on the water, it felt like a dazzling summer day. The sharp glare coming off the water made her glad for her ridiculous sunglasses. She wanted to be back in smoggy Los Angeles, or in a storm-tossed plane, or waiting on a rain-drenched rooftop in Shanghai.

Rachel sat in the speedboat's tiny cabin and, after a moment's hesitation, activated her earpiece. "Sydney?"

"Go ahead, Rachel."

"I have a confession to make." She thought about delivering a last, melodramatic message. "I'm really sweating under this wig."

A low chuckle. "I never liked them either."

"I'm really scared," said Rachel.

"I know. It's okay."

Hearing her say it, Rachel almost felt that it was okay. The boat's motion smoothed out as it slowed. "We're almost there. I gotta go," she said hastily. She grabbed her purse, took a deep breath, and emerged into a blaze of sunshine.

9. How We Operate/Gomez
By the time APO sends Rachel to Dubai with the team, op-tech has become old hat. She sits in the van with Marshall, Tom and Dixon and Sydney do the wetwork. That's how they operate. She's never been impulsive, but something makes her jump out of that van and follow Dean to the stables. Gordon Dean put a price on her family, killed all her coworkers (all the non-evil ones) in Prague, and he's the only person she's ever really hated. She thought she hated Mandy Camarillo, but Mandy ended up as a toll booth worker on the Jersey turnpike and once got hit by a Trans Am, so Rachel let go of that one.

She's not afraid when she faces Dean. He hits her; she goes down, but spots the shovel. Without thinking, she grabs it and whangs Dean a good one. Even if Sydney hadn't told her to do it again, she would have. She nudges him rather hard to make sure he's down. His gun is nearby. She picks it up, clicks on the safety as she's been taught, and checks Mr. Sloane. Then she waits for her team to arrive.

The gun is heavy in her hands, but a different kind of heavy from the shovel. She's done her homework (as always), so she knows she's holding a Beretta nine millimeter, a standard issue weapon to members of the American and French militaries. She still can't differentiate among models, but this one looks like a 92. She recites everything she knows about Berettas to herself and does her best to ignore Dean, unconscious and helpless.

She doesn’t really want to kill him. But she wonders abstractly about it. Could she do it? Would she lie and say she killed him in a struggle?

She idly cocks and un-cocks the gun. She plays with the safety catch, slides out the magazine and slides it back in. She can assemble a Beretta in just under a minute, now. She's getting better. She can do the Glock nine millimeter in forty-five seconds. Her job performance is measured in this way too.

She hears people approaching: Sydney, followed closely by Dixon, then Tom from the opposite end of the stables. They converge on Rachel. She hands Dixon the gun, already missing its cool weight.

10. Protection/Massive Attack
It's ridiculous to think that Sydney needs Rachel the same way that Rachel needs her. Sydney is the superspy, the survivor. Rachel is the technical support. Second string technical support, at that.

But she still suffers from notions of chivalry; Sydney shouldn't have to be a spy or anything but an expecting mother. By the same reasoning, Rachel's family shouldn't have to hide from the world.

She remembers scaring off bullies who were threatening her little brother, still small for his grade and too small for high school in general before his growth spurt. Her sister fell out of their backyard tree and broke her arm while Rachel was babysitting. She carried Nicole three houses down the block so a neighbor could drive them to a hospital.

But she's not Sydney's sister, and being properly protective of Sydney would require she gain about fifteen pounds of muscle and some hand-eye coordination. The former will take some effort, but isn't impossible. The latter is harder since it seems you either have it or you don't. The way Tom knocks her around on the training floor is convincing her she's definitely not one of the haves.

She watches Sydney go through her morning yoga routine. Relaxing, generic music trickles gently through the house. Sydney doesn't look up from her plank position as she speaks. "There's fresh orange juice in the fridge if you want." She winces, gasps, and plank position becomes on-one-side-grimacing position.

Rachel slides to her knees next to Sydney, almost afraid to touch her. "Sydney?"

She waves one hand vaguely. "It's just a cramp. I think it's gas. It'll go away." Her body slowly unfurls and she breathes out.

Rachel grabs a pillow, tucks it under Sydney's head. One hand grips Sydney's shoulder, the other rests on her stomach. "You okay?" she asks.

Sydney's eyes flick up to Rachel's face. "I'm good. I'm glad you were here," she says.

Rachel's hands twitch. She withdraws, sits back on her heels. "Me too," says Rachel, and helps Sydney stand up.

11. Safe and Sound/Sheryl Crow
Rachel's starting to worry about Sydney. She's moody, withdrawn, prone to staring out of windows for prolonged periods of time. Any time Rachel begins to ask about her troubles, Sydney smiles and changes the topic.

When she starts cleaning obsessively, Rachel really worries. The bathrooms are spotless. The kitchen gleams. The living room has been straightened with millimeter precision. Rachel's been escaping to the firing range just for the loudness of it all, shells scattered everywhere. Her grouping is nonexistent, but at least she hits the target ninety-nine percent of the time. She still hasn't forgotten shooting the next lane's target, panicking, and accidentally ejecting her magazine.

Finally she grows tired of counting off a hundred rounds every night and corners Sydney after dinner. And Sydney's answer—"It's Nadia's birthday"—makes her feel like an asshole for doing it. She doesn't know how to respond, how to offer sympathy for a zombified, comatose sister.

The least insensitive thing she can come with is, "I miss my sister too."

And then Sydney's confessing all, her worries for her baby and her father and how she failed Vaughn and Nadia and she must have been repressing this for a very, very long time.

At the end, Rachel wants to put her arms around Sydney, but can't bring herself to invade Sydney's private space like that. She doesn't know why; Sydney touches her all the time. Asks Rachel to help her stand up, rests a hand on her arm, bumps shoulders with her, rubs her knee comfortingly when she remembers that a lot of people want her dead. She wishes she could take a few of Sydney's burdens, but her life is already more than chaotic enough.

Perhaps it's because she knows that if she reciprocates the touching, she'll want more. She'll want to give and give to Sydney until she burns out, because she tends to put her heart into things.

Sydney turns her watering eyes on Rachel, makes a broken snuffling sound, and begins to cry into Rachel's shoulder. And Rachel knows now that she can't pull away, because her heart is already forfeit.

12. I Believe When I Fall In Love/Stevie Wonder
Sleeping with Bob is everything Rachel hoped it would be—fun and sexy and guilt-free.

Not entirely guilt-free, it seems, because she's suddenly seeing flashes of Sydney and mentally drifting in and out of Bob's hotel room. If he notices, he doesn't say anything. She stares at the ceiling, a spot just to one side of his head and remembers Sydney telling her to get a life.

This is so far beyond getting a life that she's having a hard time believing that she's having a one-night stand. She's sleeping with a very pretty man who won't even be able to find her tomorrow because Lydia doesn't really exist, and all she can think about is that she promised to pick up Sydney from the optometrist.

That reminds her of finding Sydney asleep in the living room, glasses askew on her face, head tipped back and mouth wide open. And even as Bob does something very interesting to her clit that makes her spine tingle, she recalls that Sydney was reading a catalogue of children's books and educational toys. Rachel slipped the magazine from Sydney's lap and noted the dog-eared pages for future purchases.

As she comes, arching into Bob's smooth chest, she realizes she's planned on buying things for the baby for the next five years at least. There's an old teddy bear she's been thinking about digging out of storage to hand down and also her copy of The Cat In The Hat for when the baby starts reading. It's so presumptuous to assume she's going to be involved with Sydney in five years' time that her orgasm trails off into a frown.

"You okay?" asks Bob.

"I'm fine. I'm great," she says, only partially lying. "I don't normally do this." Not that normal means anything, anymore. Normal would not be falling in love with the most unobtainable woman ever, nor would it be sleeping with a stranger in Brazil on a drunken whim.

"Neither do I," says Bob, and curls an arm around her shoulders.

She idly traces patterns on his chest. Maybe Make Way for Ducklings would be better than Dr. Seuss.

13. Turn Me On/Norah Jones
Missions have gone wrong before. Sydney has been through her fair share of snafus, and she's still mostly whole. It's different now because Rachel is the one caught in the mess, and Sydney's been forced to sit at home and—be pregnant. Dixon kicked her out of the office hours ago.

A mug of tea sits on the table, fading from hot to lukewarm. She rubs her belly, glad that the baby has settled for a while. Her stomach is upset enough without a wriggling fetus kicking every which way.

The phone rings going on one a.m. Sydney snatches it out of the cradle like lightning. "Hello?"

"It's Dixon. Your dad's plane touched down here about half an hour ago. He's fine." Dixon sounds exhausted.

"What about Tom and Rachel?"

"They're getting checked out by Doctor Jain—"

"The doctor—"

"—for minor injuries. Nothing serious."

Sydney is half out of her seat already. "I'm coming in. I—" She hears a muffled voice in the background, then her father is on the line.

"Hello, Sydney."

"Hi, dad. It's good to hear you," she says.

"You're to stay at home and rest," he replies curtly. "Your due date is approaching, and I'll see you in the morning."

"But dad—"

"I'm giving the phone back to Dixon now."

She sits back in resignation. "He sounds fine," she says, rather wryly, when Dixon comes back on the line.

"He does. I'll see you tomorrow, Sydney."

Sydney hangs up. She notices her cooling tea and takes the first sip. It's not exactly relaxing, but it makes her realize how tired she is. She trudges to bed, but soon discovers that her exhaustion and sleepiness are mutually exclusive. Tossing and turning are a non-pregnant woman's game, though, so she lies on her side until she hears the front door click. It's now closer to two, but Sydney hauls herself off the mattress and meets Rachel in the living room. She looks woozy, and she walks gingerly.

"Hey, I didn't wake you, did I?" asks Rachel, pausing in her slow trek across the living room.

"Not really," says Sydney. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'll just be sore for a few days. What are you doing up so late?"

"I was just waiting for you to come home," says Sydney.

Rachel judges the distance to her room versus the distance to the couch, lowers herself carefully onto the couch cushions. Sydney slumps down next to her, suddenly feeling the late hour. "I'll get ready for bed in a minute," Rachel mumbles.

"Uh huh."

"I'm getting up."

"Uh huh."

Rachel's head droops; she falls asleep on Sydney's shoulder. Sydney follows shortly thereafter.
 
 
 
dariclone on July 1st, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Aww. I just loved these. Even though these were drabbles you did a great job interconnecting them. I espically loved Rachael being in the middle of sex with Bob and thinking about children's books for Sydney. :)
That and the end, the end was jus *sweet.*