Spoilers: The entire show.
Disclaimer: Characters, settings and concepts belong to J.J. Abrams; borrowed for entertainment value, not profit.
Irina laughed, affecting the role of the light-hearted girl she was supposed to be. It was easier than she'd anticipated: Jack Bristow was pleasant company, with a quicker wit and warmer nature than the bare facts of his KGB file suggested.
"And how do I know you don't make these kinds of promises to all the girls?" she teased him.
He caught her hands, the playful light in his eyes shifting to dark, smoky intensity. Despite all her training in detachment, she couldn't help but feel a shiver at his touch.
"There are no other girls," he said. "Trust me."
"Mom," Sydney asked, playing with the chewed ends of her hair, "how come Lisa's dad doesn't live at her house any more?"
Her mother put her book down and looked at her. "Well, Sydney," she said. "Sometimes people get tired of being around each other all the time, and they want to have more time by themselves."
Sydney twisted her hair around her finger. "Does that mean you could get tired of living with me and Daddy?" she asked.
Her mom shook her head with a smile. "Oh, Sydney," she said. "I would never choose to leave you. Trust me."
Arvin watched her through hooded eyes in the dark of the squalid motel room. Irina had always considered him the greatest danger to her mission: he saw too much, and trusted too little. But now they were bound together by threads of mutual destruction.
"Jack can never know," she said, with feigned remorse. Arvin wouldn't believe it any more than she did his show of regret, but they were both too good at the dance to abandon it.
He sounded sad and tired as he reached for his shirt. "I have no intention of telling him," he said. "Trust me."
Sydney's tiny hands were bunched into fists as Jack held them in his own. Laura - not really Laura - was barely in her grave - not in it at all - and already he was leaving. Abandoning her. But what could he say? Daddy's got to go to prison because your mom was an evil liar who was only pretending to love us, and no one believes he could really have been that stupid.
"But I don't want you to go," Sydney said, her lip trembling.
"Sweetheart... I would stay with you if I could," he said. "Trust me."
They'd let her keep the baby for the first day. Not kindness, Irina knew. Pragmatism. Why waste resources catering for a child before you knew if it would live or die?
The precious bundle she held - awkwardly, with one hand still handcuffed - was half the size Sydney had been, wrapped in a filthy blanket instead of sterile white cloth. But the cries the baby emitted were lusty and the tiny heartbeat was strong. Her daughter would live. Nadia would live.
When I get out of here, I will find you, my little one, she vowed silently. Trust me.
The familiar interior of Arvin's house made the conversation all the more surreal. Emily's distant humming was carried to them on the wind as she tended to the plants out in the garden.
"You intend to take Briault's offer," Jack said. It wasn't a question.
Arvin steepled his fingers together. "I'll understand if you prefer to pretend that this conversation never happened," he said. "But I could use you in this, Jack." His eyes searched Jack's. "I need someone I can rely on at my back."
Jack didn't blink. "I have no reason to remain with the CIA. Trust me."
Arvin smiled at Sydney. She was still so very young, a mix of shyness and self-confidence in her expression as she stood across the desk from him, but her jaw was set with a determination that matched Jack's.
She was adorable.
There had never been any question of the outcome of this meeting, but the excuse to speak with her in private was too good to be missed. He rose from his seat, extending a hand for her to shake.
"I can already tell you're going to be a wonderful addition to this team, Agent Bristow," he said. "Trust me."
Jack followed his daughter through the hallways of SD-6, clicking his pen to temporarily jam the bugs keeping them under surveillance. "This is a bad idea," he said bluntly.
Sydney turned on him, scowling indignantly. "I can handle it," she said, her eyes ablaze.
She always seemed to hear a different version of their arguments than the one Jack was actually making. "It's too dangerous," he said. The odds of Sydney being outed as a double were far too high.
"Dad, I know how to handle myself in the field," she said forcefully. "I'm not new at this. Trust me."
Arvin's face was etched with grief as the helicopter lifted them steadily further away from the villa and his wife's body. Irina wanted to slap him out of it, not least for the unwelcome twinge of pity it brought out in her. She didn't wish for any reminder that Arvin Sloane felt emotion. It only made him more dangerous to both her daughters.
His eyes were hollow as he met hers. "I should have stayed with her," he said. The accusation veiled even in his distress: You should have let me stay.
"You'll thank me later," she said. "Trust me."
They faced each other across the alley, Irina's eyes icy cold in the half light. They were both armed. Jack had a crazy urge to pull the trigger anyway, knowing that she couldn't fail to pull hers in the heartbeat before the bullet struck home. It would have been a fitting end. The only good thing they'd ever brought into the world was dead, and what else was left for them now?
"I have no interest in fighting with you, Jack," Irina said. "I'm here for the same reason you are - to find Sydney's killers. Trust me."
Sydney leaned forward over the polished desk. Omnifam. A charity, feeding the world's poor and hungry. The domain of a pious and benevolent man.
It made her sick.
"You may have the CIA fooled," she said, her eyes locked onto Sloane's. "You may have the whole world fooled. But you do not fool me. I don't believe you're reformed. I don't believe you have a soul to be saved. I know that sooner or later you will show your true colours. And when you do, I will be the one to make sure you go down for it. Trust me."
Nadia smiled tiredly at her sister across the helicopter. A sister; a father - one who had almost sacrificed her to his beliefs, but had still cared enough to put her above his religion when it counted.
She had family now.
Sydney gave her a smile in return that turned wry at the edges. "I guess you must be wishing that we'd never found you," she said.
Sydney had never known what it was to be an orphan, without anyone in the world... and now Nadia would never have to, either.
"It's better than having nobody," Nadia said. "Trust me."
Arvin's face was entirely blank as he flipped through the book of surveillance photos. Pictures of both their daughters, taken over the last ten years. While Jack was unwilling to rely on Arvin's sentiments in many areas, this was one where he knew they would be in total accord.
"I believe the Justice Department will offer you a pardon in return for a commitment to their new blacks ops unit," Jack said. "My recommendation would go along way towards supporting your case." He raised his eyebrows pointedly.
Arvin held his gaze. "Protecting my daughter is my highest priority. Trust me."
"He's changed, Sydney," Nadia said. "He's making a sincere effort to make amends. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt." Her eyes were pleading.
Sydney sighed and ran a tired hand over her face. "I just don't want to see you get hurt," she said. "And you will get hurt, Nadia. Believe me, I know how tempting it can be to want to believe people can change. But I know Arvin Sloane. I know what he's capable of. And no matter how sincere he might seem on the surface, he is always up to something. Trust me."
She moved like a Derevko. In the office, the occasional flicker of resemblance was easily dismissed, but out here in the field it was impossible to see her as anything other than her mother's daughter.
That recognition brought out a strange blend of emotions in Jack that he tried not to examine too closely.
"The bodyguards will return in under ten minutes," he said, shifting subtly closer. "It would be wisest to wait for a better opportunity."
Nadia gave him an insouciant smirk as she moved away. "I can be in and out in less than that time. Trust me."
Her father's eyes were dark with sorrow as they met hers. Nadia could tell he was sincere - but he'd been sincere before. Rambaldi's works were like a drug to him. They overrode the essence of the good man he could be, turned him into a single-minded fatalist who let bodies fall by the wayside as he chased his delusions of destiny.
"Let someone else do this," she urged him.
He smiled reassuringly. "Sweetheart. I know you have cause to worry - but I'm a changed man. You are more important to me than Rambaldi could ever be. Trust me."
Nadia's eyelashes trembled with tears, but she held together a brave smile. Irina felt uncommonly shaky herself, emotions still scraped raw from her months in captivity.
Her beautiful daughter, all grown up. The perfect sweetness of their meeting was only intensified by the weighty knowledge that it would be brief. The time of Rambaldi's prophecy was almost upon them.
She gave a tremulous smile of her own. "I don't suppose I'm the mother you waited for all these years," she said.
Nadia's smile spread. So did her tears. "This is everything I could have asked for," she said. "Trust me."
Sydney's hands and voice were steady as she held the gun on her mother. "I don't blame you," she said bitterly. "Why should I? You've never changed your stripes. We're the ones who fall for the same tricks over and over again. I guess we only have our own stupidity to blame."
Her mother stood perfectly calm and poised, her head cocked slightly to one side. The suggestion of a subtle smile lurked around her lips. "I have my reasons, Sydney," she said.
Sydney narrowed her eyes. "I'm sure you do. But I'm done listening to your explanations. Trust me."
Jack watched Nadia in stolen glances as they slipped through the night traffic, following Arvin's trail. She looked tired: hardly a surprise. Her recovery from the coma had been almost miraculously fast. It was amazing she could even walk. In her denim jacket she looked incredibly young, raising memory echoes of driving Sydney places as a teenager.
"I want to believe my father is innocent," Nadia said wearily. "But he's let me down so many times before."
Jack met her eyes. "Whatever Arvin may have done to secure your cure, his motivations were clear... and faultless," he said. "Trust me."
Arvin could feel Nadia's eyes on him as he paced. He was restless, the tension in his belly not quite excitement. An odd feeling. Perhaps it was the sense of destiny approaching.
"You're a delusional fool," Nadia said. "There is no destiny. Everything you've done has been for nothing."
There was no need to turn and look at her when he could see her in his mind so clearly. "This is what Rambaldi foretold. It's too late to turn from the path now."
Nadia's voice was thick with disdain. "You could find another path if you wanted to. Trust me."