As a lot of you might remember, a while back, sarkastic held a Sark Ficathon. Well, I finally got round to redoing it after the wonderful eretria beta'd it for me. So here it is...
Disclaimer: Alias and all related items do not belong to me. Only the Story and its related original ideas and characters are mine. No copyright infringement intended.
Rating: PG-13 for the moment
Spoilers: Seasons 1-3
Distribution: Please ask; the answer will likely be yes.
Feedback: is a gift. It's nice to give.
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dedication: For Evesharmony as part of Sarkastic's Sark Ficathon. Hope you like!
Notes: After spending ages trying to get a fic done for this Ficathon, I was reaching my wits end when I discovered the first page of a fic I had started a while ago, so I decided to continue it. It didn't end up anywhere near where I had thought it would, so let's hope you all like!
The requirements were:
Timeline: Doesn't matter
Have: Sarkney and Sark one up-ing Vaughn
Don't Have: Sydney crying or Vaughn one up-ing Sark
A HUGE thank you to eretria for betaing this. She did it in time for the ficathon posting fate, but there was so much to change that I never got it done in time. Thank you so much for slaving over this fic for me, honey, I really appreciate it and it's MUCH better off for your work! *hugs*
Here it is…FINALLY!
He watched. There was little else to do in biding his time, so he allowed himself to observe them. There were the little nuances that he had previously discovered that still surrounded her; the way she touched her hand to her cheek when she was embarrassed; the way she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, almost subconsciously; the way she bit her lip when she was unsure how to proceed. Each mannerism had been meticulously observed, catalogued, and filed for future reference. It had been five years and the file was in serious need of updating.
There had been, at some indistinct point in his past, a moment of clarity. In his moments of complete honesty with himself, he realised that the moment was not so indistinct as he led himself to believe, but it was a moment nonetheless, where he had allowed himself to become beyond intrigued with her. She was not so unique that he could say he had never met anyone like her; rather that he had never met anyone who had remained like her. She had maintained a shred of innocence where most would have become tainted by a life so corrupt that only the strongest survive. Yet her slight brush of innocence served to keep her strong. Looking at her in that moment, five years since he had last seen her, he could see no trace of that innocence. She had become like everyone else and Sark couldn't deny that the realisation was not a pleasant one.
To all but the closest observer they seemed like another couple of tourists, they ooh-d and aah-d in all the right places, took photos, 'tried' to speak the language, but to Sark, they were just as dangerous as they had ever been; perhaps more so - they no longer had anything to lose.
Sydney shivered, unable to shake the feeling that they were being watched. It was an odd sensation to feel after so long on the run. She always felt as though they were being hunted, she always thought she was being watched, that they would be captured the moment they let their guard down. This was different. She knew they were being watched.
Surreptitiously, she glanced around, hoping to find some indication as to who was on their trail, hoping to find some clue as to the allegiance of the person, but nothing was forthcoming. She glanced up at the hotel behind her and frowned. The windows were tinted, not allowing her a view of the inside. That was where their observer was; it was where she would have been.
"Michael," she said softly, attracting his attention. "We need to get out of here."
Not wanting to question her judgement, they moved quickly through the throngs of people on the sea front, looking, for all to see, as though they were merely impatient with the crowds. They were. The sun was hot and heavy around them as they walked quickly through the streets. She no longer felt as though they were being watched, but the strange feeling had been following her for the last few days and in all likelihood their observer already knew where they were staying.
She pulled on Michael's hand taking him down a different street, past the tacky tourist shops and small café's and into a small alley. Breathing heavily, she looked around her before turning back to Vaughn.
"We need to get out of here."
"Sydney," he said softly, seeming unsure. "This is the sixth time in as many months. No one is on our trail."
She glared at him. "Just because you've let your guard down doesn't mean I intend to do the same. The CIA wants us just as much now as it did then and no amount of help from Nadia will stop that."
"So it is Nadia that's helping us," he said coldly. "It's nice to know that you finally trust me enough to let me know."
Sydney almost cursed aloud, but instead she took a deep breath. "Whether you like it or not, Michael, we disobeyed direct orders; you held Weiss at gunpoint and then shot your wife. I doubt the CIA cares that it was self defence; she had information and they wanted it."
"It's been five years," he said with a sigh. "Aren't you tired of running?"
"Not if it means letting them win."
"God is that all this is to you?" he demanded. "It's about winning? For God's sake, I gave up my life for you. I betrayed my country and almost became everything I always despised in your mother and you-"
"Leave my mother out of this."
"Don't defend her to me. Don't you ever defend her to me."
"I'm not defending what she did, but she's my mother."
"And she clearly means more to you than I do. God, Sydney, you just don't get it, do you? I gave up everything for you! Everything!"
"So you keep saying," Sydney bit back. "If I'm so much trouble then why are you still here?"
"You know what, I don't know anymore." He shook his head and stepped away. "I don't know." He turned and walked away from her.
"Where are you going?"
"Back to the hotel," he said without turning. "If you decide you want to come back, fine, if not…I guess I'll see you in jail sometime."
Without another word he disappeared from sight, leaving her alone for the first time in five years. She stood there in shock, unable to process exactly what had gone wrong. They had argued before, but this was the first time he had ever looked at her like that. It was the first time he had ever walked away. There was something different in his eyes and there had been for longer than she was willing to admit, but she couldn't explain why. Part of her didn't want to know. She took a deep breath and leaned back against the wall, closing her eyes briefly. It was that brief moment that was her first mistake.
He slowly swirled the wine around in his glass, his eyes not leaving the sleeping form opposite him. Whilst he had learned a lot about her from his short time observing her, nothing told him more than the weary body before him. The induced sleep he had granted her was likely the best she had had in a long time. Makeup covered the dark circles under her eyes, but, up close, it did little to hide the exhaustion on her face.
With a few hours to their flight, he had studied her more closely and in length. There was something about the red wig that appealed to him; something that drew him in, it was definitely his favourite of her disguises so far and there had been a lot, especially since running from the CIA.
She stirred and he continued to watch her as her eyelids fluttered open. She stretched out and pulled herself up into a sitting position, finally meeting his gaze. If she was surprised to see him, she gave nothing away.
"Can't say I'm surprised."
"Yes, somehow it seems fitting, doesn't it?" They regarded each other for a moment.
"So," she questioned, "whose orders are you carrying out this time?"
"What makes you so sure they aren't my own?"
"Sark, you may always have your own agenda, but somehow you still manage to carry it out with someone else to blame."
"I'll take that as a compliment."
"Take it however the hell you want," Sydney said with a sigh.
"I'm curious, the CIA have quite a substantial sum out for your capture, but you and Mr. Vaughn are wanted alive." Sark tilted his head slightly. "Why are you still running?"
"That's what people tend to do when they don't want to get caught."
"From what I can tell, Miss Bristow, your only crime was running from the CIA and yet you stood by him. What little thanks he gave you I don't want to know; however, by repayment, he seems to have outgrown your company." There was no question as to whom he was referring, so Sark let the information sink in, waiting for her to speak first.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that Mr Vaughn handed himself in to the local authorities and is being held until he can be transferred back to the United States."
"I see no need to lie to you, Sydney. If I were lying to you I'd simply tell you that my associates had him dealt with."
"And now you're thinking I'll wonder which of the two is true."
He smirked. "I could care less which you believe. The point, Sydney, is that you are wondering. Strange how these little questions can eat away at you, isn't it?"
"What do you want, Sark?"
"That, Miss Bristow, is too complicated an answer even for you to understand."
He raised an eyebrow and smiled lazily at her. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." She glared at him for a moment before looking at him questioningly. "You want to know how I escaped."
She shook her head. "No." There was a moment's silence, but he didn't break it, instead he waited for her to continue. "That day in the cell, did you know it was me?" Sark made no move to reply. "Whenever I think back on it, you didn't seem surprised; more curious than anything else. Did you know it was me before you gave me the information?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"I'm just curious."
"Curiosity killed the cat, Sydney, and I have to wonder just how many lives you have left."
"Maybe I don't care."
"I don't believe that."
She didn't answer, but held his gaze for a long time. The plane jerked as they hit a small patch of turbulence and Sydney gripped hold of the seat, irked to see that Sark was making no move to hold anything other than his wine glass and yet was still sitting quite firmly in his seat.
"Why haven't you killed me yet?"
"What makes you think I want you dead?"
She glared. "Because I know you Sark."
"No, you don't. And therein lies your problem, Sydney."
"You want me to be something that I am not. You assume that, because of who I am that everything is black and white. No matter how hard you try, I will not fit into the perfect world in your mind."
"My world is far from perfect, Sark."
"And yet you keep trying to make it so."
"Isn't that what most people want? A perfect life? A perfect world?"
He regarded her for a moment before replying. "Sydney, if your world were perfect, you would be bored." He let the statement hang in the air for a moment before glancing out the window behind him. "We should be landing in a few minutes."
"Where are we?"
Sark said nothing as the plane landed and she turned to look out the window behind her, wary that she was turning her back on him. It took her a moment of studying the ground below them but she was still unable to place where they were. She turned to him curiously, but he wasn't looking at her. Slipping from his seat, he moved to the door; expecting her to follow. Seeing little else she could do, she followed him.
She blinked as she stepped into the natural light of the sun and looked around. It was colder than it had been in the plane and she shivered. She walked to the bottom of the stairs, hearing the murmur of voices as Sark spoke in hushed tones to two men to her left. When he returned she raised her eyebrows and indicated the men who were still speaking in their native tongue.
"Why am I not tied up?"
"Would you like me to fetch some handcuffs, Sydney?"
She glared at him as he turned the car around the corner and wondered for the millionth time why she hadn't even tried to escape. There was nothing keeping her in the car but her curiosity. It had been so long since she had had any company other than Vaughn's and, in spite of herself, she was enjoying it. With Sark she was always alert; always sure that, no matter what, he would forever retain some form of mystery about him. It wasn't just about survival with Sark; it was about living.
He parked the car and she got out, following Sark into the building, noting that the other car that had left the airport with them was already parked across the street. She entered the building, resisting the urge to sneeze. There was something antique about it, but everything was covered in a layer of dust so thick that it almost made her re-evaluate her opinion of Sark.
He led her towards a large statue that was so old it looked to be falling to pieces. She was unable to distinguish what it was, but was unsurprised to find that there was a control panel behind the fire alarm to the left of it; it had only three keys and no numbers. Sark entered a code that seemed to be more rhythmic than sequential and she made a mental note to remember it.
"The code changes every six hours, Miss Bristow," Sark said as the statue moved and indicated that she should enter before him.
Trying not to react to the fact that he had her figured out, she descended the stairs. They were well polished stone, lit by panels of lighting in the corners of the ceiling and seemed to be going quite far underground. After about five minutes, she felt Sark's hand on her shoulder and almost pulled herself into a fighting stance. He moved in front of her and, rather than continuing down the stairs, he held up a small, metal, circular object and pressed it to the wall.
For a moment nothing happened, but then there was a hiss and a small section of the wall moved backwards and then slid to one side, revealing a passage made to look similar to the staircase. Once more he indicated that she should enter before him.
After walking a few meters, the corridor opened up into a large room. There were around five desks, some empty, some with people working at computers; various personnel were walking around the room, and, in the centre, stood someone Sydney had not seen in a very long time.
She was transfixed; part of her telling her to run back the way she had come and the other part telling her to hug her mother. The result, however, was that she didn't move at all.
Irina smiled and inclined her head to the doorway to her left. "Come."
Sydney turned to face Sark for a moment, waiting to see if he would force her to follow. Sark merely stood still, regarding her and waiting to see what her decision would be. She frowned and nodded at him before turning and following her mother into the room. Sark was close behind her, but she found that she really didn't mind.
The door clicked shut behind her, but Sydney's only focus was her mother. There was a brief moment of silence before Sydney realised that they weren't the only three people in the room.
"What the hell is going on here?" she asked angrily. "If Sloane walks through that door next, I swear to God I'll kill him before I ask any questions."
"My father is already dead." Nadia's almost emotionless voice shook Sydney from her anger.
"Don't say sorry."
"I wasn't going to," Sydney assured her sister. "I was going to say that I'm not sure what to say."
Nadia nodded. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you what was happening, but I couldn't risk the CIA finding out."
"How would the CIA find out?"
"I'm not sure you're ready to hear that."
"What do you mean?" When no one answered, Sydney's jaw visibly clenched.
"I had a feeling you would react this way," her mother finally said. "So I called in some of our operatives from the field. Nadia and her partner returned this morning."
Unable to hide her surprise, she turned to face him with something akin to awe. It didn't make any sense; nothing made any sense. First Sark, then Nadia, her mother, and now him?
Sark leaned back against Irina's desk and watched the scene. He had to admit, he was a little curious as to how the meeting would continue. When Irina had first approached him to break out Tippin and offer him a position within the team, he had been sure that he had misheard her.
It had taken a broken nose and Nadia to finally get Tippin to cooperate and it took Sark great displeasure in admitting that the broken nose was not Tippin's. Working together was something they avoided at all costs as earning his trust was an ongoing process that Sark saw little need in pursuing, however, Irina insisted and, occasionally, they were forced to collaborate.
"I don't understand, how -- how is this possible?" Sydney said, taking a step towards her old friend.
"At first I knew too much, then, when you disappeared, I knew too little."
"The CIA has little patience," Sark said, drawing her attention briefly. "You should be aware of that."
"So what? You all just decided that the CIA was bad and that you wanted to join a terrorist group?"
"We're not a terrorist group, Syd," Tippin said firmly. "We just don't want the CIA to get their hands on any of Rambaldi's artefacts, or any of the weapons they've begun trading for."
"What? They're trading in weapons?"
"It's a covert operation," Irina said, "but it's definitely sanctioned by the CIA."
"How do you know?"
"Because we have a double agent inside the cell."
Sydney shook her head. "Let me guess; Dad."
Irina nodded. "We wanted to keep you out of this for as long as possible, Sydney, but about two years ago we had to start thinking about bringing you in."
"What happened two years ago?" she asked, almost sure that the answer could not be worse than what was facing her in this room.
"Two years ago, your Mr Vaughn approached the CIA and was taken back into the fold." Sark waited for a reaction, but none came.
"I don't believe you. Vaughn would have no reason to do that."
Sark glanced at Irina and she nodded, clearly wanting him to continue. Whether it was to try and gain some of Sydney's trust for the rest of then team he wasn't sure, but he didn't question it. At least not then; but he would ask.
"Do you remember what happened in Athens around that time?" Sark asked and she frowned. "Vaughn discovered more in that vault than the plans he gave you to destroy. It may have started out as a crusade for you both to stop that bomb being made, but he discovered a piece of manuscript that changed his opinions about Rambaldi."
"It's always Rambaldi," she muttered.
"Unfortunately, yes," Nadia acquiesced.
"What did it say?"
"Quite simply," Sark said, cocking an eyebrow, "that you would destroy them."
"Who, the CIA?"
Sark shrugged. "The CIA, the world as we know it; I'm a little vague on what the page actually says, but your father was more forceful with the implications than the actual wording."
"So I'm going to destroy the world. Wonderful."
"Not you directly," Irina said, gauging her daughter's reaction.
"Then what am I going to do?"
"You're going to have the child that will destroy the world."
Will shot Sark a glare. "Way to handle it gently."
Sark ignored him. "We suspect that Vaughn has been either attempting to ensure that you cannot have children under any circumstances, or that he has been trying to father the child himself in order to hand it in to the CIA. Either way, he has been working against you since his discovery. This was, however, the first opportunity we have had to bring you in. You are surprisingly adept at eluding capture."
"I-I can't deal with this right now."
Her mother nodded. "It's all right, Sydney, it's a lot to take in." Sydney frowned at her and she smiled a little. "We'll talk later. I have to let your father know you arrived. Will, Nadia, I want you to continue with what you were working on." They both nodded and Sark could see that Sydney was curious, but she said nothing. "Sark, show her to her rooms."
Whilst the statement was an order for him, he cold tell Irina was asking Sydney; was it okay with her? When Sydney said nothing, Sark nodded and led her through the office, taking her back out to the stairway. They continued down a little further, stopping for Sark to open the 'door'. He led her through a series of corridors that were all identical, but she made the effort to remember the route.
When he stopped outside a door, she raised her eyebrows. "What, is this where you tell me the corridors realign themselves every six hours?"
Sark smirked. "No, this is where I give you this."
He handed her a small disc similar to his own. There was a symbol etched into it and she couldn't help smiling slightly as she looked back up at him. "Eris?"
"It seemed somewhat appropriate."
Standing in front of him after hearing everything, she didn't know what to say. She had so many questions, but she didn't know where to start; she needed time to think.
"I will return in a few hours," Sark said, nodding at her before turning and walking back through the corridors.
She sat on the floor by her bed, idly turning the circular 'key' between her fingers. She had spent the last few hours in her room trying to sort out her thoughts and she was no closer to any semblance of conclusion than she had been when Sark left her.
Nadia and Will had called the phone by her bed, telling her they were happy to see her, but unable to stop by and see her until their case was closed. She hadn't questioned them, happy only to hear their voices. She had talked with Nadia often, but the knowledge that her sister had kept so much information from her hurt and she knew that Nadia understood that. There was so much running through her head and she wanted nothing more than to talk with Will. She had missed him so much and he was the only person she could trust; the only person who had always been there for her, even if she had had to lie to him in the past.
There was a knock at the door before it opened and Sark let himself in. He scanned the room, quickly locating her and moving to sit beside her. She felt wary of him; he had given her little reason to be otherwise over the last few years, but, at the same time, she was curious about his role in everything. Her mother trusted him, yet Irina had not called in to see her yet and Sydney wasn't sure where things currently stood with her.
"Alcohol?" she questioned when he placed the two bottles of wine on the floor on front of them.
"Something tells me we'll need it," he said, kicking off his shoes and placing them beside her bed.
She raised her eyebrows at the act, but smiled a little. He rose again and located a small cabinet, removing two wine glasses and returning to her side. He poured them each a rather generous amount before leaning back against the bed. They sat for a long time, letting their wine breathe. The silence seemed to stretch out and still Sydney said nothing.
The first bottle was completely empty and they still didn't speak. There was so much she wanted to say; so much she wanted to ask and yet she couldn't speak. It was Sark. She was drinking wine with Sark. Something about that was just…wrong.
She took a moment to study him. She had always known that Sark was good looking, she'd said as much before. However, the fact that Sark knew he was good looking, coupled with the fact that he was her enemy, had always stopped that thought before it had gone any further. Looking at him in that moment, she had to admit he was even better looking than he had been before. However, she had had a lot of wine.
"Well, Miss Bristow, I believe you have a few questions."
After a moment, he prompted her; "Well?"
"Can you stop calling me, Miss Bristow?"
He smiled slightly. "Yes."
"Can I call you Julian?" she asked, trying not to laugh.
He stopped smiling. "No."
After a moment regarding each other, she sighed. "Look, Sark, I just want to know what's going on here. Nothing makes any sense. I don't understand how you were all able to come together."
Sark continued to drink his wine. A moment later he replied. "After Sloane and Nadia discovered Rambaldi's last invention, they discovered that there were parts of the prophecy which remained unfulfilled. There was a book, similar to the pages you one commandeered from my own keeping, it was, however, missing a page."
"Let me guess, page 47."
"I'm talented that way," Sydney said with a smile, holding her glass out for a refill. After topping up his own glass, he complied.
"The page Vaughn found in Athens was the missing page. Your father was able to photograph only a small section before he was caught in the room. Luckily he was able to talk his way out of the situation with little difficulty. After discovering the book, however, and with the formation of your father's covert group, Sloane and Nadia were able to deduce that the CIA were not to be trusted. They approached your mother and this group was formed."
"No, why do you wish to christen us?"
Sydney smiled. "A rather inappropriate term, Sark."
"Indeed." Sark took another drink. "When Tippin learned about your disappearance, he turned to the CIA looking for answers. When none were forthcoming, being the intrepid reporter that he once was, he decided to investigate for himself. They were going to kill him, but due to some invaluable information, namely picking up on your trail, they simply imprisoned him in the hopes that he would cooperate."
"And my mom asked you to break him out?"
Sark nodded. "Irina and Sloane had me extracted not long after deciding to work together. Sloane was killed in the process. Needless to say Nadia and I do not get along for the most part."
Sydney took a moment to think about everything before looking up at him. "So, what, you're the good guys now?"
"And Will's okay with that?"
"He sees little choice in the matter. He does, however, like to ignore the less than pleasant activities he may hear of."
"This is so much to take in Sark, everything's different."
"Nothing was ever the way you thought it was, Sydney."
"That doesn't leave me with much hope."
"It wasn't supposed to. Hope is something one must find within themselves, if there is any to be found."
Sydney looked at the two empty bottles of wine and smiled. "You're quite a chatty drunk, Mr Sark." He raised an eyebrow, but didn't reply.
She continued to look at him, taking in every detail. She had been alone for so long; even with Vaughn there she had felt nothing but loneliness. Her will to survive was all that had kept her going at times. Thinking of Vaughn caused a surge of anger to ripple through her; he had betrayed her. Something about that didn't sit well. They had been such a large part of each others lives for so long that just the thought that he might turn against her was so foreign to her, but, deep down, she knew it was true. It had been in his eyes for so long.
She looked up at Sark's face, staring into his eyes until she was sure she could see something. She didn't know what and she didn't care, only that there was not betrayal in them. She had never trusted Sark and she wasn't entirely sure that she ever would, not completely, but there was one thing she could count on and that was the fact that he would never be predictable. What Vaughn had done hurt, but the only reason she had doubted it was because she wanted to. In truth she had been waiting for him to hand himself over, had been waiting for him to end it all, to stop running. It just hadn't occurred to her that he already had.
Sark was looking at her, not demanding explanation in the fashion that she was used to, just looking at her and waiting for her to continue; waiting until she was ready to continue. Something about that made her feel lonelier than ever.
Before she had the chance to think about it, she did something she would never be able to explain. She kissed him. Taken by surprise, it took him a few moments to react, but, when he did, he pulled her tight against him and kissed her hard.
It didn't take her long to realise that the wine had clearly had an effect on her, she had already lost her top and was fumbling with the buttons on his shirt. She was trying desperately to keep her mind quiet; she didn't need to remember who Sark was, not while his teeth were paying rather close attention to her neck. She wanted to forget, she wanted to stop feeling so along. She moaned and tugged his head back up, kissing him. Her stomach was in knots.
"Given the current circumstances and the prophesy, something tells me this is a monumentally bad idea," Sark said, pulling back. He was breathing heavily, staring nakedly into her eyes.
"You mean you don't want to father the child that destroys the world," Sydney asked with a smile as she leaned in to nip the skin on his collarbone between her teeth.
"As ironic as I'm sure that seems to you," he said, biting back a moan, "I'd rather not father any children, if that's all the same to you."
"Mm-hmm." She continued to pull at the skin, sucking harder. Her breath hitched as his hands moved down her sides, barely touching her skin, sending shivers through her. When they reached her stomach, however, they stopped.
"Sydney is that a scar?" he asked, tracing the small white mark he had discovered.
Pulling back, she realised he was seriously demanding an answer. "Yeah, I thought it might fade, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere."
He looked at her with the closest thing to panic in his eyes she assumed anyone would ever see. However, it was what he said that unnerved her more.
Sark grabbed his gun and picked his shirt from the floor, pulling it on as he ran out of the room, not stopping to find his shoes. He could hear Sydney following him and hoped she had had the forethought to pull her top back on; as much as his shirt lying open in a state of undress would likely alert Irina that he had been attempting to seduce her daughter, or, in his defence, she had been seducing him, Sydney running around in her underwear wouldn't help matters.
"Sark, what the hell is going on?" She had caught him up, fully dressed, and was mirroring him; clutching her gun and ready to fire at a seconds notice.
"The prophecy states that; 'the woman, whose body is marked only by perfection, will mother the child who will seek vengeance on the world'. As much as I would agree that you fit into the category, I get the feeling that Rambaldi meant perfection as without any form of scarring or birth marks."
"You remember the prophecy. Why did you lie about it?"
"Because I knew you would want me to recite the entire passage."
There was a pause and Sark knew she was debating asking why he didn't want her to know the entire passage. Instead, she simply stated the obvious conclusion; "So it can’t be me."
"No," Sark said, turning the last corner, entering the main office area, and raising his gun the moment he spotted who he was looking for. "It can't be you."
Sark didn't take his eyes of the woman in front of him, not for a second, well aware that the gun she was aiming at him would fire just as quickly. He could sense Sydney at his side; her gun raised just as his was.
"I won't let you take my baby."
"Nadia," Sydney said softly, "we don't-"
"No." Nadia shook her head. "I saw you coming," she said, indicating the video surveillance of the corridors on the computer on her desk. "And I knew it was me."
"I think you've known for quite some time, Nadia," Sark said evenly. "You knew even before we brought Sydney in."
"Vaughn would have killed her and any child they had."
"In all probability, yes, he would have."
"Then it was better you thought it was her." Nadia's hand was shaking slightly, but she didn't move.
"Nadia, what's going on?" Will's voice served to distract her for long enough.
Sark fired his gun.
"Oh, my God," Will cried, moving straight towards her. Sydney noted that he was unarmed, but seemed to be about to stand between them and Nadia.
She took a step forward. "Will, listen, she-"
"Stay away, Sydney." He kept Nadia behind him, quickly checking that Sark's shot had only hit the gun and not her. "What's wrong with you two? We're on the same side."
"It's okay, Will," Nadia said. She looked at Sydney, her eyes full of fear and pain. "You will not take my baby," she said calmly, but a single tear trailed down her cheek.
"Baby?" Will asked, almost whispering the word.
"I'm sorry, Will," Sydney said.
"I won't let you take my baby," Nadia repeated and Will turned to look at her.
"Nadia?" He took a step closer to her and placed his hand on her arm, gently lowering her gun. "Nadia."
She finally removed her gaze from Sydney and Sark, and looked up at him. "They won't to take our baby."
"We're having a baby?"
"Nadia is the woman in the prophecy." Sark said moving quickly to the phone and informing Irina of the current circumstances. Will barely glanced at him as he tried to process what he had heard.
"What'll happen?" Sydney asked Sark softly as he returned to her side, watching as Will pulled Nadia into his arms.
"I don't know, but I get the feeling that Nadia will need your help." Sydney nodded and they continued to stand in silence until Irina arrived.
The next few hours were a blur and she wasn't quite sure what exactly had been going on around her as everything had happened so fast. She was trying not to concentrate on the big things, like what was going to happen to Nadia and her baby, or on Will, who was alternating between looking shell shocked and angry, so, instead, all she seemed able to concentrate on was the fact that she wasn't wearing any shoes. And neither, for that matter, was Sark; Sark who was walking around with his shirt open.
"Sydney?" She looked up at her mother, who was regarding her with curiosity. "How did you know it was Nadia?"
"I didn't; Sark did."
Irina nodded. "I won't ask how he discovered that."
Suddenly feeling like a teenager caught in the act, Sydney shifted her feet, before clearing her throat. "What'll happen to Nadia?"
"We'll keep a close eye on her. Other than that, there's little we can do. I won't do what my superiors did when they found out I was pregnant with you. I won't try to force her to get rid of it."
"What about the prophecy?"
"We're not sure what the entire prophecy was, there may be something else in it that can help us."
Sydney nodded. "You want to steal it."
"No," Irina said, shaking her head. "I want you and Sark to steal it for me."
Knowing that the answer she gave was more than just about stealing the manuscript, Sydney nodded, smiling at her mother for the first time in a long time.
"So, do you think they'll find anything in it?"
Sark glanced at her before turning his attention back to the road. "We can only hope. I would rather not bear witness to the end of the world."
"You never did tell me the rest of the section you knew."
"No, I didn't."
She was clearly waiting for him to elaborate, but he didn't. He heard a pop as she pulled the lid of the container that held the manuscript and heard her unroll the piece of paper.
"Well?" he asked with a hint of amusement.
Realising that she was getting nothing more from him, Sydney returned the scroll to its tube and said nothing. The silence was not uncomfortable, but Sark found himself wanting to hear her talking, not really caring what she said.
"Where are you keeping Vaughn?"
Or perhaps caring a little.
"So you've decided that we have him after all?"
"He's in one of our warehouses."
"Why do you care?"
"I want you to take me to him."
Sark nodded. This time the silence was uncomfortable.
It took just over an hour to reach the warehouse and, by the time they arrived, Sark was actually looking forward to the encounter. Regardless of what Sydney chose to do or say, it would be a welcome change to see Vaughn on the other side of the cage.
They entered the building and Sark briefly contemplated taking the manuscript from her in case she decided to help Vaughn escape and run off with it. However, he remembered the look on her face when she had realised that Will and Nadia's child was both a risk and at risk. He felt fairly confident that she would choose them.
The room was fairly small and, whilst there was a cell, it was not needed as Vaughn was strapped to a chair, half naked and attached to a number of electrodes. He was in pain. Sark smiled.
"Sydney?" His voice was hoarse, as if his screams had almost ripped his voice box from his throat. "Help me."
Sark could see the moment of indecision clearly, but he didn't stop her from continuing towards Vaughn. As she approached him, Sark wondered how wise it was to have left the scroll in her keeping.
"I wanted to see you for myself. I wanted to see if you could tell me to my face, Vaughn. I just need to know the truth. Are you working with the CIA? Did you betray me?"
When he didn't answer, she slapped him. "Did you betray me?"
The answer was soft and full of remorse, but Sark didn't care. It was the truth and it was what she needed to hear to join them completely. "Yes."
Sydney nodded and turned her back on him. She walked towards Sark, stopping in front of him. Looking directly into his eyes, she nodded. She was with them. She gave him a small smile and he returned the gesture.
"I'll get you in the car," Sydney said, somehow knowing that Sark wasn't quite done yet. She left the room quickly and for a moment, Sark said nothing, just allowed the clicking of her shoes to echo through the room.
He stepped towards the chair, allowing Vaughn to focus on him before he spoke. "I often wondered what I would do were the situations reversed again, Mr Vaughn. I was sure that my need for vengeance would require me to return the favour in a physical form. However, at this point in time, I don't feel the need. I'm clearly the victor."
He turned from the bed, but stopped after a few seconds. "It occurs to me that this is the second time I have taken a woman from you, Mr Vaughn. Somehow I get the feeling that this one hurts more than anything."
Sark turned his back on the man for the last time, the sound of his retreating shoes echoing back into the room. Things were far from over, but that was one chapter of his life that Sark was more than willing to end.
Well, it went so far off on a tangent to what I had intended! Hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. Review if you can, I'd love the feedback.
For those wondering what the symbol on Sydney's disc was, it was the hand of Eris, Goddess of Discord. Curious?
For those of you wondering where the title comes from, it's the name of a song by Lacuna Coil. Here are the words for the curious.
With my shadow
Rely on your way to grow
You want to decide
From your cloud
You’re lost in a world
That I have to repair
You want it all
The greatest smile
Who wants to deny forever?
You're made of ice
I pay the price
For all you unforgiveness
With my shame
Beneath the veil
Of your flow
Don't try to deny
With your mouth
So fine it is knowing
You're under the shade
I've also updated the following fics:
Forgotten Roses (Doctor Who); Chapter Two: By Any Other Name
The Awakening (Stargate: SG1), sequel to The Touched; Chapter Ten
Cry Me A River (WWE: Shawn/Lita); Part Twenty One
Houston, We Have A Problem (Gilmore Girls: Rory/Logan); Part Seven
Last Line of Defence (Stargate: SG1); Part Two
In My Dreams (WWE: Lita/Hunter); Part Five
Skies Are Blue (Gilmore Girls: Trory); Part Four: Why, It's Greased Lightnin'