Fic Title: A Fairer House than Prose
Rating/Warning(s): pg-13; spoilers for entire series til s4
Genre: general romance, drama
Why This Must Be Read: Long Irina Derveko-centric fic that explores her past and future. It paints Irina in such gorgeous strokes, capturing her characterization and motivations so deftly. This is Irina Derveko, in all her glory. Her relationship with Jack, and Sydney and Nadia, and her own sisters, are all wonderfully drawn. The beginning quote is just so appropriate.
Many years later, Irina's daughters would wonder about these years, lost to them, when their mother was not their mother. In weaker moments, Sydney imagined the leader of an international crime syndicate going off-grid for a couple of days for a clandestine visit to California, where her daughter performed in the school play or helped her team win the 4x100-meter relay. And even though she knew Irina never did those things, Sydney still would have liked to believe her mother stayed away because remembering Sydney hurt too much.
Nadia understood the way Rambaldi thought, so she wanted to believe she understood how Irina thought, though she could also recognize the inevitable wishful thinking in her attempts to characterize the mother she never knew. Irina was obsessed with Rambaldi, of course, but Nadia imagined it was primarily a means to an end: her daughters. Rambaldi saw Sydney and Nadia, so Irina pursued Rambaldi.
Neither sister would articulate what they both most feared: that their mother thought of them rarely for the better part of eighteen years, and when she sought them again, she saw them only through the eye of Rambaldi.