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The Americans Fic: Nachalo - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
The Americans Fic: Nachalo
Title: Nachalo
Rating: T
Category: Elizabeth Jennings/Phillip Jennings
Spoilers: None.
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
Summary: The first year is easier than the next few that follow.


They're given a wedding, and it's about as romantic as it sounds.

He remembers, vaguely, when it was just a boyish belief that a wedding would be in his future. But back then it had been filled more with fantasy than reality - dreams of happiness, wealth, and confidence that eventually life as an adult would be perfect.

"It's the naivety of youth," Elizabeth tells him when he tries to explain it to her.

Ironically, his wedding to Elizabeth is certainly fantastical because there simply isn't one. No priest, no guests, and no ceremony. It's neither legal by Russian law nor in the eyes of God although they have the forged documentation necessary to hold up under American scrutiny.

They are handed their wedding in a folder. Efficient.

He agrees to split responsibilities, so Elizabeth takes the paperwork and files it away appropriately. It leaves him with the photographs - staged moments quickly captured - and he opts to put these into an album as the Americans would do. In the photos, their smiles blaze with innocence.

It looks perfect.


The first year is easier than the next few that follow.

In the beginning, they have much to fulfill, so it stops being about them, and becomes entirely about the contacts they acquire. Elizabeth is the better in that regard - her intense passion for the cause magnetic in a way he admires but can't quite reach. It's disappointing to her, he knows, how different they are when they've been deliberately matched.

"You keep trying," she says as conversation between them falters again and he attempts to revive it. He can't be sure if she's mystified or annoyed by that fact.

"All marriages take work," he reminds her.

Her look is long and studying. "We'll never be like them."

So he learns about love through American women - bright-eyed and loose-legged, loud and loving in their exuberance. Russia provided him with bedroom tricks, but he doesn't understand their significance until he sees their effects. Russia taught him the manipulative value of emotion, but he doesn't feel its importance until he gathers its rewards. America then, in its own way, teaches him too.

And though his relationships are mostly one-sided in the end, it keeps his first year busy. He and Elizabeth each lose themselves in establishing networks with others, and he tries not to think of it as the two of them standing back-to-back building bridges to nowhere.


In time, things begin to feel less like lies. Their initial anxieties abate and their confidence and trust in one another grows. He's able to anticipate her moves, always sure of her motives despite her complexity, and she acknowledges his strengths and their shared interests. It becomes clearer why they were paired - their personal lives beyond the job easier to maintain.

On good days, Elizabeth will make his coffee in the morning and hand him the Sports section with a roll of her eyes. They'll go out for dinner once or twice a month with average American couples; it's useless on the intelligence front, but it's important for the cover. The exposure to normal, every day people of America adds to their knowledge - their cooking improves, their colloquialisms, all the little nuances that embed them further in a culture he no longer finds quite so foreign.


He takes her out for their anniversary each year. At least, every year but the one that is overruled by circumstances outside his control.

Elizabeth never asks him why, but there's a flicker he sees in her eyes each time that captivates him. It's a hesitation, a bit of amusement, a faint hope laced with disbelief.

It's like a caged animal being shown the door to freedom.


She doesn't blink when the orders come through, but briefly, so minute he nearly misses it entirely, her hands tremble.

"I never thought it would be like this," she admits later when the vodka has gone to their heads. She's thrown on a shirt, but so much of her remains visible - her neck and shoulder soft in the living room light.

"A life here?" he asks.

She gives a light shake of her head. "No. This life I could imagine."

He waits for her to elaborate, but she's fallen silent. She sits with her head propped up on an arm, watching him like she's trying to understand a mystery.

"You'll be a great mother," he says, wanting to tell her she won't be alone.

Elizabeth's laugh is tinged with bitterness. "I'll have to be."

He sighs, frustrated at the distance she keeps. "One day you'll remember we do this together."

She blinks at him in mild surprise, and he expects she'll dismiss the conversation. Their orders are shared, but their partnership thus far is in execution only.

However, she nods slowly, her eyes dark, and for a quick moment he sees the vulnerability there. It's a reminder that maybe she's just as scared of this family prospect as he is. Then she leans forward, her lips finding the side of his mouth for a kiss that manages to be both perfunctory and gentle.

"We should try again," she states matter-of-factly. He knows her timing and planning is precise, and he follows her to the bedroom.


It's better when they conceive Henry. It's familiar and comfortable to return to each other, and there's a tenderness that might not be entirely feigned. It'd be hard to call it passionate, there's too much routine to allow for much spontaneity, but there's less of an emotional divide between them.

He knows the curves of her body now - the long length of her leg as it swells to become her hip, the way his hand can travel from her waist to her breast as his fingers gently roll over her ribs. He likes that he can faintly hear her breath catch as his tongue teases her nipple, and how her legs will open when his hand slides down between them. There is nothing he knows about her true past, but on rare occasion, the right touch can make her moan, and he can see how his name starts to form on her lips.

And though she won't ever cry out, and he doesn't try to hold her after, there's a pause, an intimacy, where secrets seem to fall away. She'll look at him then, before she turns away, before their breathing has slowed, and sometimes... sometimes she will smile.

For years he thinks he's just in love with that moment.


Tags: ,

15 whispers :: tell me a secret
(Deleted comment)
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: March 5th, 2013 08:00 am (UTC) (Link)
*GRINS* That last episode broke me. I couldn't stay away from all the fic thoughts after that. I LOVE THIS SHOW.

Thank you for the sweetness! <3
findthesea From: findthesea Date: March 3rd, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
DID I MISS THAT YOU SAID YOU WROTE FIC OMG. I'M IN LOVE WITH THIS!! You captured them SO perfectly, every little moment and nuance is exactly what I could hear in my head. I love this so much! especially the end. Killed by the end.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: March 5th, 2013 08:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahh, thank you lovely!! I'm horrible at advertising my fics (which, as a professional in marketing is SAD), but I just tend to put it out there and then move on to writing the next one. ;)

BUT EEEEEE, I'm really happy you like it! You got me thinking with that "need angsty fic" tweet and though this isn't quite what I intended it to be, I had you in mind when I started it. <3

just_liv From: just_liv Date: March 3rd, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
What is it about this fandom that just inspires the best fic writers to write about it?
Okay, I know, it's the drama, angst-filled, double-life seductive world of spies. So yeah. And fuck yeah, cos the fics I've been reading, yours included, are simply amazing! Then again, since I've become somewhat familiar with your stories, this is hardly a surprise...
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: March 5th, 2013 08:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Omg, nicest ever. *flail hands* Thank you so much, and HEE, I am highly amused and excited by our continually growing shared fandoms. :D

And I think what really sold me on attempting fic for this show is the relationship between Phillip/Elizabeth being a central theme. The unique history makes their dynamic fascinating, and I'm such a sucker for guys who are head over heels for the women in their lives. Heh. Plus that last episode? Dear god. It was SO good - and not cliched, or horrible, and done so perfectly... I HAVE ALL THE LOVE.
From: tidbit2008 Date: March 4th, 2013 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, so, I'm gonna need you to keep writing for them, k? BECAUSE THIS IS PERFECT. Guhhhh. I'm so in love with this show and them and this fic is exactly the kind of backstory stuff I want. Love it!!!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: March 5th, 2013 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
THANK YOU! After the last episode I just felt compelled to write something about the past. And I simply adore Phillip, and his love for Elizabeth, and couldn't help myself. ;)

Thrilled you liked this!! <3
lapiccolina From: lapiccolina Date: March 6th, 2013 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
FIC! I came here by way of earnmysong AND THIS IS FABULOUS!!!


Please tell me you've written more? PLEASE?!? You're brilliant with Harvey/Donna with Suits, so I know you're going to have more awesome stuff with these two. Golly, I love them.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: March 6th, 2013 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish I could say I have more, but alas, this was the first. But I'm all a-flail with FEELINGS for these two, and love their dynamic and complex history, plus SPIES, so really it's hard not to simply love them to bits.

And aw, thank you so much! *blush* I'm glad you like the fics and I'll hopefully be able to attempt more soon! :)
From: petragem Date: March 9th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)
This is lovely. That last line, and also the wedding in a folder and Elizabeth's disappointment they are so different and how in time things feel less like lies.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: March 12th, 2013 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you; I appreciate the comments! I love the idea of who they are now and what they're becoming, but I can't stop thinking of the backstory because seriously, that relationship had to be just fantastic. :D
noisywallflower From: noisywallflower Date: April 12th, 2013 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
What a fantastic fic! I feel you've got a handle on both characters and the circumstances they're in.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: April 15th, 2013 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!! I'm incredibly intrigued by their dynamic and couldn't help wanting to explore just a bit of it.
sangga From: sangga Date: June 11th, 2013 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
This is the first fic I've ever read in this fandom, and it had such bite!! Fantastic work :) And I love that you wrote from Phillip's POV - he is the real emotional core of this series, and Matthew Rhys is a genius at bringing all the little nuances to life - all the little tells.

Great piece - hope you write more :)
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: June 12th, 2013 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Such nice comments, thank you! I'd noticed a lack of Phillip POV fics which surprised me, and from a backstory perspective, he offered more emotional depth. And I adore Matthew Rhys in the role - his portrayal gave me so much to work with.

Thanks so much for the comments! And I hope I can find some more of their story to tell. :)
15 whispers :: tell me a secret