Façade

hotpot

The Bubbly
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
Dita. You have no idea how much I :love: this fic - forward moving plot chapter or no ... still. Awesome!! :D I was just thinking *sniff sniff* I wonder if Dita is going to update before I go home... and you did! So yay for that! hehe

There are so many things I want to quote - Sydney and Sark's thought processes always amuse me. So I'll try not to get too quote happy with all the things I loved (hee refraining from quoting the whole chapter ;) )

She couldn’t make herself speak; couldn’t do it even if she tried.
The whole torture scene/flashback/dream was incredibly well written. Despite all the pain, she never broke. Even when she wanted to - she couldn't. That is so true to character and you did such a great job illustrating that!

And then, this afternoon. In the dark, she blushed and put a hand over her eyes; humiliation was not a strong enough word to cover how ashamed she was of herself. Now, every time she and he invariably held a gun to each other’s heads, he smirking and she furious, she would think of that. On the upside, it would make killing him so much easier.
Oh, I love it when she has her 'What was I thinking?!' moment after the Sark encounter. It's always so amusing because she wrestles with it...denies it...but her mind always goes back to it. Love how she thinks it will make killing him easier... You just keep telling yourself that Sydney, dear. :P hehe

Oh, bloody hell.
“No doubt,” he said, face carefully blank. Actually, he wanted to crawl out of his skin in disgust at the way her hand was stroking his jaw.
Take one for the team, old boy.
Poor Sark. He can't help it though - I would think something was wrong with Katya if she didn't hit on him! Hehe - take one for the team - I love that expression.

She slapped him. It was completely unexpected and, not to mention, the second time that day he’d gotten viciously b****-slapped by a pissed off female in mid-semi seduction. He was sure he’d have a royal sunset of bruise by tomorrow.
Sark should be used to getting slapped with his sharp tongue. Love how you used b**** slap. Great. (y)

“Perfectly.” If she wasn’t so right, if he hadn’t have f***ed everything up in a momentary weakness, he’d have shot her himself ten times over by now- the Irina connection be damned. “Never again.”
LOL - I see Sark metally picturing murdering anyone who irritates him but he can't actually kill just yet. The way you write his thinking as he does this - it being humorous in of itself - is just too funny/perfect.

You are sick and sad, mate, and in desperate need of a good, mind-blowing shag.
Hehe - and we all know who can cure that! Bring on the Sarkney!! :D :D

Oh man, I hope I am still around for your next update Dita - I am anxiously awaiting it :) Thank you so much for the PM's ^_^
 

Quiet Disaster

I heart Chris Carrabba
Joined
May 4, 2003
Location
CT
Chocolates and my very own DA! Awww! Thanks! ^_^


The torture scene was very well written, and true to her character for not giving in and spilling the info.

The Key was obviously related to (what else?) Rambaldi. It certainly sounded familiar, like she should know this by now, and yet, surprise, she didn’t. There was also that scrap of paper to think about, the one Sark had stolen when she’d been…distracted.
I love how she refers to what happen as a distraction. Denial.
Now, who is it that called her with that recording?? And what this key is all about. :Ponder:

“Such a smart boy.” She put a hand on his face, to cup his jaw.

Oh, bloody hell.
Poor Sark. :LOL: The exchange between him and Katya was interesting. I can't believe she hit on him. Actually, I can believe it. I mean, who can resist Sark? :LOL:

His interest was piqued; he was fascinated. And there was so little to be fascinated with in this world anymore.
Of course he's interested and fascinated with her... and he admits it!

Awesome update! (y) (y) Looking forward to many more!! :)
 

usa_moon

Cadet
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Good chapter, Katya is bad and she can´t have anything with spyDaddy because he prefers Irina , poor Sark.
Thanks for the PM
 

ninja-kitty

Cadet
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Well colour me suprised - didn't expect Sydney and Sark to go at it on the floor, nice touch with the Sark/Katya scene and the flashback. Hope you write soon (y)
 

Sara Spy

Cadet
Joined
Jul 10, 2003
Dita said:
But she was going to find out,...
Everything.

And anything.

The triumvate from hell: Sark, Milo Rambaldi and Lydia had better f***ing hope they were dead.

Or she was going to make them wish they were.

Just call it a Bristow promise.
(y) Bristow promises are excellent. We can put that one in a bowl then add some Sark promise and we got some serious smut! Your teasing was really good in this chapter by the way- haha.

Bloody hell, girl- you're everywhere. I'm definitely not complaining- I was able to get a one up for Facade- I'm happy.
PM me here as well, will ya? I'd be much obliged. Whichever updates faster I guess ;) Oh jeez, I'm becoming a fic stalker now for real. :blink: :LOL:

“You’ll follow her.  You’ll watch her.  You’ll know her.  You’ll see if she prefers silk nightgowns or lace or nothing at all and what brand of dental floss she uses on her teeth.  Are we clear, Julian, darling?”
I love it I love it! I do however miss spymommy, what about you?
I guess you're either a Katya fan or just true to the show. Whatever- I can work with it as long as we get the brand of dental floss she uses. :)
That's right Sarkie- you take notes ;)

Guess I don't have to tell you how much I love this story :rolleyes:
Great job, lovie!

Sara
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Hehehe I LOVE this. Unforchantly I don't have time for a long reply, but just know I'm loveing every word....PM with update? thanks!
 

hotpot

The Bubbly
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
:detective: Diiiiiiiiita, where are you?

I must say during my absence I was thinking 'I hope Dita updated while I was away' but alas no. :( hehe that's okay though because now I'm not behind or anything... so um, now you can update ;) :D hehe, I'm here now :LOL: Just teasing, seriously though - can't wait until your next update of this fic ^_^
 

A Dark Turn

I Was Made to Love You
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Location
London
I just cannot thank you guys enough. So huge, tremendous, very, very BIG thanks to: Suzi, Amy Lynn, Rach, Jassy, Usa moon, Joyie, ninja-kitty, riamber, freelancer360, Sara Spy, and AHSbandchick_lovinjulian. Your comments, as always make my day. :blush2:
Notes: Let's see... I have so many incarnations of this chapter it's kinda ridiculous. But, I think I've made a tenative peace with this one. Sorry for taking so long and extra sorries that this chapter features the beast Lauren. But next chapter makes up for it, promise. Really. :LOL: Feedback, as always, is very much appreciated.

Chapter Five: The Necessary Evil

<span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'> DELIRIUM: What's the name of the word for the precise moment when you realize that you've actually forgotten how it felt to make love to somebody you really liked a long time ago?
MORPHEUS: There isn't one.
</span>


There were always nightmares.

Ever since the day she came back from Hong Kong: bloody, bruised, scared.

And they were always the same.

Sometimes, of course, they varied slightly. Some nights they were sly, subtle, starting out good, meadows in the springtime, and ending abruptly, in a spray of bullets and blood and horror. Sometimes they were bad from the moment Sydney closed eyes: she was back in her old apartment and sitting across from Francie- no, not true, it was never Francie in those dreams, but Alison with her cold eyes and even colder touch and toothy, crocodile grin.

She always said things that Francie would never say, scary, twisted half-rhymes that burrowed into her soul and tore away at flesh and spirit. Sometimes, when it wasn’t Francie, it was Vaughn, and that was somehow worse, especially in the dreams when he would look at her as they’d never been apart, as if there was no marriage or obstacles or anything at all between them. In those dreams, he would smile at her, endearingly, and talk. Just talk. And she would talk back. They would have normal conversations: sometimes about art, sometimes about hockey, occasionally about the effect of candlelight on eye color and how it brought out a million different shades of colors in otherwise ordinary eyes.

Those were the bad ones. Blood, she could handle, like last night’s dream; teeth-pulling torture and betrayal, on any given day and twice on Sundays. But she hadn’t yet learned how to handle the moments where he looked at her just like that…and then she woke up.

Syd, I’m sorry…

She didn’t dream on the four o’clock a.m. airplane flight back to the Los Angeles. She didn’t sleep at all, not even in the warm, darkness of the plane cabin with middle-aged businessman and sleepy toddlers snoring in tandem scattered all around her, tucked uncomfortably in paper-thin blankets.

Sydney Bristow kept her eyes open.

And her heart closed.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was the middle of particularly sunny and humid afternoon, and Lauren Reed was furious.

She didn’t often get that way; didn’t often lower herself to what she considered the “base” feelings: anger or happiness or sadness.

She was always calm, considered herself (indeed supposed she was considered) an operative of extreme thoroughness, of calculation and cavalier, cold-hearted manipulation. She knew she could be cunning when the time called for it and vicious when it really mattered, but when she gotten the call from Katya this morning, a severe dressing down on the lack of protocol for the way she had handled Lydia’s murder and the subsequent aftermath, she had found, with some amount of dismay, that she had very nearly reached her limit.

Indiscretion, Lauren. Lydia was a priority. Now the CIA’s involved. It mustn’t go any further. Do you understand?

She considered herself patient. Even as she felt Michael’s hand move over her back, presumably in a show of husbandly affection, and she braced herself not to recoil in horror, she maintained her Mary Sunshine smile and beautiful façade of the perfect, slightly repressed CIA wife. She considered herself a good actress; she didn’t wince when he kissed her temple and then virtuously moved down to her closed mouth. There was the affectation of love in her eyes as she turned to meet him and wifely, devoted caring in her returning touch on his shoulder.

When she told him she loved him, loved him more than anything, she watched him accept the lie in his eyes, watched him romanticize it and patch it on his sleeve like a badge to the world.

Yes, she loves me. She needs me and she loves me. She really, really does. I have to love her back. A good husband would love her back.

It made her want to slash her wrists, his white-knight routine. It made her want to scream: get the hell over yourself already; if anybody ever really needed you as a support system, then they were already royally f***ed anyway.

And inside, the anger burned so brightly and so hot, it felt like she was trapped inside the heart of a star.

“I was thinking that maybe, we could get away this weekend.” Michael brushed strands of her hair off her face, tucking them, what she supposed he considered sweetly, behind her ear. “Just a little trip. To Vera Cruz, maybe. To San Francisco.”

He didn’t mention the obvious choice-Santa Barbara-and they both knew it.

“You need to get your mind off your father. You’ve been working… We’ve been working too hard.” He smiled, a touch resigned with just a hint of that boyish charm that never failed to make her want to vomit all over his Italian loafers. “It could be you, me, a beach somewhere...”

Me, performing make-shift open heart surgery on you with a dull butter knife…

“Maybe, Michael.” She thought it a credit, not only to herself, but to women everywhere that she didn’t actually do the deed. But it was a damn near thing.

And now will you leave me alone?

“Think about it,” he said, gently in what she assumed was the Michael Vaughn version of tepid concern. “We’ll talk about it later.”

The hell we will.

“Of course.” She made herself reach up and tug at his lapels. The brief touch of their lips was exactly that-brief and devoid of almost anything that could remotely be called ‘feelings’. She wondered, vaguely, as she watched him walk away how long he’d be able to lie to himself about his feelings for her and just when he’d start to hate himself…and her.

Blind, foolish man.

It didn’t surprise her how little she cared.

She turned back to her desk and stared at the blank computer screen. She had to focus. Her anger at Katya and the Covenant was irrational; it would only serve to distract her from what was really important. She had to use them, after all, to get what she needed. They were the necessary evil; she couldn’t let them know anything- anything at all.

She threw a furtive glance over her shoulder. Given that, there were a limited number of people she could trust. Not Katya, of course, and not Sark. While it was true that money could buy anything from their lovely, little Sark, this time he was far more useful as a pawn than ever as a partner. She’d expertly play-acted that afternoon in D.C. when she’d called him, demanding Sydney be kept in the dark. He’d said Sydney hadn’t known anything and he had it under control; honestly, it hadn’t mattered if it wasn’t the truth.

No, she thought, a secret smile poised on her mouth. It hadn’t mattered at all.

Speaking of that very devil, she spied the reflection of a familiar figure in her the computer screen: the tall, slim, perpetually pretty form of Sydney Bristow crossing the rotunda.

A little late in the day, isn’t it, Sydney darling? She thought, but was more interested in the way she could see Vaughn, across the room, looking at Sydney (as if she were the only thing alive, as if he wanted to rip all of her clothes off then and there); she watched the way Sydney’s shoulders stiffened and her averted eyes pretended not to notice.

What a delicate and intricate game we all play. Even in death…

She thought suddenly of Lydia on the pavement with her wide-open, surprised eyes and, then, of Sydney.

…there is no ending.

Sydney, or rather, Sydney’s reflection sat down at her desk, opposite Lauren’s, her back straight and proud as per usual. But the pinched, narrow look on the girl’s face couldn’t be due entirely to Vaughn’s mental eye groping. Perhaps…

Lauren traced the edges of her cell phone. She’d taken a big risk last night, certainly. She’d been lucky to have salvaged the phone recordings from Lydia’s apartment. Apparently, the girl was much more the enigma than previously believed. She’d had K-Directorate, Covenant, and CIA tapes meticulously filed away.

True loyalties, if any? Unknown.

But Lydia had done her part and now… Now it was Sydney’s turn on the rack. And did she had plans for their darling Sydney, but what she really wanted to do as it pertained to Ms. Everyone-Loves-Me-And-I-Can-Do-No-Wrong involved lots of bullets, blood and/or a shard of very sharp glass. She wanted death on her hands and, most of all, she wanted it to be Sydney’s death; she wanted to make her suffer in ways she was sure the repressed little wonder spy could only begin to imagine.

But everything in good time, she reminded herself. The devil was in the details, after all.

And there was still last night to consider. It’d been simple, true, and risky. Now, the CIA would become privy to the existence of yet another Rambladi machination: the Key.

Katya and The Covenant certainly wouldn’t like this new turn of events: they who guarded everything so selfishly and secretly. They believed, she knew, that the interference of the CIA would be far too costly to be worth the risk.

She arched a brow and contemplated the equal risk they had taken in eliminating Lydia the way they had. Katya had specifically told her to handle it a la Mafia style: eternal sleep at the bottom of a polluted canal and a nice, fat pay off to the family.

It should have been that way, yes, but could she really help it if she had other plans?

And those other plans…

She made sure she smiled at Vaughn as she rose (disgusting, how she hated him), and sidled up to Sydney’s desk. The expression on the brunette’s face when she spied Lauren? Priceless. A mixture of horror and disgust, with a dash of ‘where’s-the-nearest-exit?’.

“Sydney.” She watched Sydney’s eyes widen and her mouth tug down in plaintive lines.

“Lauren.” But her face was harsh, unyielding. The frown made her seem even harder, if that was possible. For once, Lauren almost felt…pity for Sydney Bristow. Almost, but not quite.

“I…” Insert appropriate awkward pause, “heard you just got back from Washington. How, did it go?”

“Fine.” It was a sigh of a word, reflecting nothing. Disinterest, maybe. Nothing else.

“It’s just I heard you had a run in with Sark.” Push, prod, she thought. Was everything a goddamned battlefield? “An altercation. Vaughn told me. I wanted to make sure you were okay, you weren’t injured or anything.”

“I’m fine, really.” There was a curious light to Sydney’s eyes, one that gave Lauren pause. She didn’t look injured, a small bruise maybe on her chin and a split lip already healing, but nothing horrible. And then, the small hint of a blush near the cheekbones, unnoticeable if one didn’t know what to look for.

But Lauren did. More and more curious.

“Did you find anything, at least?”

“No.”

Jesus.

“Sydney, I know things have been strained between us lately. The situation of Michael, you, and I… I said or implied some things I maybe shouldn’t have...” She gave her pained, guilt-ridden face her everything, her mouth mournful and eyes sob-story sad. “But the death… The death of my father put things in perspective for me. And if aything, I don’t want us to be at odds. I think… I think we should start over. Fresh, if you will.”

Sydney said nothing, just stared at Lauren with those big brown eyes that showed no emotion or inclination toward anything at all. “If you want.”

Lauren tried for a smile. Like pulling gorram teeth. “Of course, I do. And actually, the reason I came over was that I heard you’re off to Russia to meet with Alexsandr Khrushchev.”

“Yes.” Off to see Alexsandr, was she? Interesting character, that boy; he was a senior field operative for the Covenant and the Covenant paid him well to be an occasional double agent who threw the CIA a false bone of contention every once and a great while.

“I wanted to tell you to be careful, Sydney. People like Alexsandr and Sark and Lydia… They aren’t like us. They steal and kill and use one another without even thinking. That’s all I wanted-”

“I have to go.” Sydney cut her off in mid-sentence and got up-Lauren had to admire the sheer grace at the way she moved- and headed off towards Jack’s desk over in the corner. She was sure they’d have some interesting pow wow about how Lauren was asking questions again… Not that she cared.

Sydney alone knew where the Key was. Lauren cared that Sydney led her to the Key. That was it.

With that in mind, she left Sydney’s desk and started towards the corridor, winding her way down to the floor level: the safer, radio free places. She punched in the international codes and numbers by heart on her cell and waited a long, two rings before it was picked up.

“Yes?” The voice on the other end: heavily Russian and carelessly impatient.

“Alexsandr? I need a favor.”

The devil was in the details, after all.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Lazarevo, Russia

Alexsandr Khrushchev’s apartment was located, quite charmingly, on the banks of the Kama River in one of the cookie-cutter, yet equally charming, apartment buildings that crowded the riverfront. It was number 347 and his apartment happened to occupy the entire second floor.

Apparently, being a Covenant agent afforded some perks that working for the CIA did not. She wondered, vaguely, as she applied to yet another easily led astray doorman, how good the health benefits were.

Probably excellent, she thought.

She got in the building with no trouble yet again-how in the world did these people manage to stay alive so long with such lax security?- and made for Alexsandr’s apartment.

She knew him, of course, or, rather, Jack had told her she had. She only remembered meeting him once, when she’d just gotten back from her two year sojourn in wonderland. He’d kissed her cheek and held her hand a little too long for comfort and he’d stared at her with dark eyes that had been completely unfathomable—as if she and he shared a little secret unknown to anyone else.

When she’d pressed for information on how they’d met or what mission had brought them together, just to be sure and cautious, all he would say was that they had met when Simon “had finished” with her.

It wasn’t an avenue of possibility she wanted to explore, so she let it drop.

She took the elevator up to the second floor. Her hair this time was long and straight and very, very black—it kept getting in her eyes every time she moved her head in the slightest. It kind of negated the whole ‘glamorous spy’ image but that was just another day in the life of Sydney Bristow. Bad wigs and cheap leather.

She knocked on the door, once.

No answer.

Again.

The door cracked slightly open this time, and the eyes that stared back at her from the small crack of the barely open doorway were dark and big and eerily familiar.

“Mr. Krushchev,” she said. “We need to talk.”

He said nothing for a minute, the eyes that looked and looked didn’t move and neither did the door. At last, after long seconds,

“Ah, so again we meet. To what do I owe this pleasure?” He opened the door and she was treated to Alexsandr in his entirety, dressed to kill in casual black and well-defined mouth easily smiling. Some might have found his heavily accented English charming; Sydney simply found it disturbing.

“It’s not a pleasure,” she said, and followed him into the apartment, making to have her gun at the ready inside her vest and never to have her back turned towards him. “I’m sure you’ve already been contacted.”

She waited a beat and let her eyes roam all over the spacious, art deco decorated apartment. “I need information.”

“You’re going to have to be more specific than that.” He closed the door and the heavy sound of it echoed in Sydney’s ears. “For instance, I know lots of things.”

He was good-looking, really good-looking if Sydney was going to be honest, but she wasn’t attracted to him, not even a little bit. There was something slightly repulsive about him, reptilian almost, like he wasn’t human, not like the rest of them. He watched with eyes that seemed to feel…but didn’t. Oh, there was the shadow of emotion in his words and expressions, but they were exactly that-shadows. He went through all the motions, but he was never affected. He never changed and never got attached and he was completely devoid of all passions.

To put it bluntly, he was scary. Very, f***ing scary.

“The Key.”

“Yes?” He stared, openly, at her cleavage in her low-cut top.

“I need information about it.” She tried, none-too-subtly to raise the fabric to a more conservative level, a furious blush spreading across her face in the process. “You assured the CIA you’d be cooperative.”

“Did I?” He was leaning against the door, looking all delectable and tall, dark, and gorgeous. She could think that, and still mentally recoil at the thought of him touching her. “I recall no such promise.”

“You’re our liaison. I think it only fair-”

“Fair?” He raised an eyebrow, arching it elegantly. “You talking to me about fair? That’s an interesting argument, Julia. Coming from you.”

“The Key, please,” she managed to get out. But her mind was already away and racing.

He’d called her Julia. Whether or not it was intentional, was completely irrelevant. This conversation was quickly taking a turn to a place she had always avoided in respect to the thought of him. In short, she just didn’t want to know.

“Otherwise, it’ll go badly for all of us.” She had her gun out, smoothly, and pointed at his chest. The old Sydney would have balked at killing an unarmed man. The new, improved version just didn’t give a f***.

“Well,” he said, voice just a hint above amused. “It’s nice to see some things never change.”

“I won’t ask you again.” Her hand stayed perfectly steady and her eyes never moved from his. “Mr. Khrushchev.”

“I am, as you Americans say, at your complete mercy.” His mouth was smiling but his eyes were black-hole blank. She almost wished he would give her an excuse to pump a few rounds into the smug, a**hole smile. “Tell me, what would you like to know?”

“What is the Key? Is it a Rambaldi artifact?”

“Yes.” He paused, waited one, long beat. “And no.”

“Then what the *hell* is it?” She watched him, watching her.

“The mansucript pages the Covenant has managed to steal aren’t entirely clear upon that. No one knows, for sure, at this point. The passage is pretty vague. Some think it is an artifact. And others think…”

Her eyes sharpened and her finger itched on the trigger. “Others think…?”

“Not,” he finished. His eyes drifted once again from her face to her chest. And then, the strangest, fleeting thought:

God, I’d forgotten annoyingly vague he could be.

Odd, out of nowhere thought. What the hell had that been? Her hand tightened on the gun, in response. “Just tell me what the Covenant already knows.”

“You should remember. You knew once, before anyone.” He pushed himself up from the door, all smooth movements that reminded her of the slithering of a snake. “Don’t you remember, anything?”

It was the closest she’d ever come to seeing anything resembling emotion in his eyes. Hurt, maybe, some form of pain. She backed up then, her brain registering that this just might be trouble. Bad trouble.

“I don’t-”

The world exploded into gunfire.

She didn’t have time to think or even move as a barrage of bullets sliced through the glass pane windows and slammed into the toned, tanned body of Alexsandr Khrushchev.

Blood, then, everywhere.

His body sunk to the floor and her training kicked in and she fell with him; her heart pounded low and dull, like a dozen war drums, in her ribs. She crawled towards him, slightly elevated from the ground, trying to get to a bleeding Alexsandr, and a stray bullet burrowed itself into her upper chest, slashing flesh and sinew.

She thought she might have screamed. She knew she blacked out for a second, just one, before the world rushed back into her face: blinding colors, shapes, a caterwaul of screams (her own), blood, and then, that old voice, the one that had kept her alive through thick and thin, through being a double agent and getting trapped under ice an inch thick in Siberia.

Belly on the floor, girl, get the f*** down.

She kept the gun in her hand as she inched her way over, stomach sliding on the thick carpet. It was easy to turn off the pain, to ignore torn flesh and spilling blood; she’d been doing it for years. The shoulder (she didn’t think of it as hers but as a separate, removed entity) could be tended to later. If not, she’d be dead and then, it would hardly matter.

Another crack of a lone gun shot.

And there was silence.

“Khrushchev?” She bellied up to him and was relieved to see he was still breathing lightly. There was a huge, gaping hole just left and down of his chest and more in his stomach, in his legs. “Come on, talk to me, say something.”

He gasped, a little, as if struggling for air. His eyes were already turned up to the ceiling, glassy and flat.

“7-8-3-4-7. Gen-n-n-e-e-e…” She had to listen close to his mouth for words, because they were lower than a whisper, slight. “v-v-v-v-a-a.”

A thin trickle of blood ran down the side of his mouth and his chest was still, once and forever.

The gun fell out of her hand. She didn’t know whether to scream or whether to run and the world was growing soft around the edges, pretty and blurry.

Blood loss, a part of her brain was thinking, clinically and removed like a medical textbook. Severe. Most likely a fatal wound.

She thought she sat up, slightly, but knew the gun shots resumed, a million loud, screaming cracks of sound after another.

She felt a sharp, sudden pain in her neck and then light-headed. Again, there were colors here, bright and beautiful and easy to fall into.

“Dear, god. I turn my back for ten, f***ing minutes…” A loud crashing sound, the door maybe, some more gunfire, then and a voice. British, she recognized. Clipped. Familiar? She wasn’t sure. It was only then that she realized she had fallen down on top of Alexsandr and was bleeding heavily from both shoulder and neck.

Had she gotten shot again? She hadn’t noticed.

“W-w…” She meant to ask ‘who’ but couldn’t quite get her mouth to form the words. Things were sticking in her head, her tongue seemed too heavy to fashion even the simplest of phrases.

“No, don’t move. Stay still.” Impossibly, impossibly blue eyes looked down at her, it seemed, from a great distance. Determined, not overly worried, just…determined. She felt that it was wrong somehow, that the blue eyes belonged to someone she shouldn’t really be in the company of and she tried to wriggle free, if only to…

“No, I meant what I said. Don’t move.”

Hands, all over her. Loud, loud, loud gun shots.

And a voice, talking to her about staying alive.

She felt herself being dragged, maybe, being still talked to, being still shot at.

“Sydney, now you have to focus, Really, no, don’t close your eyes, look at me… No, Sydney, stay with…”

It was too much effort. The roar and the slow sweetness of the all-consuming darkness moved up to meet her.

She didn’t fight it.


<span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'>~ I have heard the language of apocalypse, and now I shall embrace the silence. ~</span>

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The quotes are from: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman. Great stuff. If you haven’t read any of his work, I highly recommend it. (y) (y)

And that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed… :)
 

hotpot

The Bubbly
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE!

Once again Dita, this fic and your words just draw me in... *sigh* Just so good.

“You need to get your mind off your father. You’ve been working… We’ve been working too hard.” He smiled, a touch resigned with just a hint of that boyish charm that never failed to make her want to vomit all over his Italian loafers.
Lauren may be a beast, but I’m loving her attitude towards Vaughn.

She wanted death on her hands and, most of all, she wanted it to be Sydney’s death; she wanted to make her suffer in ways she was sure the repressed little wonder spy could only begin to imagine.
I’d like to retract my last statement because damn, Lauren is one ruthless/scary b****!

She made sure she smiled at Vaughn as she rose (disgusting, how she hated him), and sidled up to Sydney’s desk. The expression on the brunette’s face when she spied Lauren? Priceless. A mixture of horror and disgust, with a dash of ‘where’s-the-nearest-exit?’.
See, this why Lauren’s character could have been great on the show – if Melissa George were able to portray these emotions/pull them off or the writing could have been like this and apparent in the near beginning – she would have rocked.


With that in mind, she left Sydney’s desk and started towards the corridor, winding her way down to the floor level: the safer, radio free places. She punched in the international codes and numbers by heart on her cell and waited a long, two rings before it was picked up.
Good explanation for Lauren making calls to the baddies while still in the CIA building.

Eeek! Shot in the shoulder and the neck?! Damn Syd!

It was too much effort. The roar and the slow sweetness of the all-consuming darkness moved up to meet her.

She didn’t fight it.
Last lines. Just beautiful. ^_^ And Sark showed up in the nick of time, eh? Excellent. Now this means there is some taking care of Sydney to be done…whooo hooo, we all know what might happens then! :LOL: ;)

Hehe, it's always nice being the first to respond. Considering I have been stalking this fic and harping on you for an update, I guess it was inevitable :LOL: Hope I wasn't being too demanding/annoying because the wait was worth it ^_^ Can't wait for the next one though :D Thanks for the PM too!
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
Yay! Its a Dita update!

Sydney Bristow kept her eyes open.

And her heart closed.
After your descriptions of her nightmares (which were fabulous by the way) I wouldn't want to fall asleep either...

As much as I hate Lauren on the show - I fully appreciate fanfic Lauren as you've written her. You've made her devious, clever, a scary b*tch and almost deliciously wicked. But of course - I still hate her :LOL:

It made her want to slash her wrists, his white-knight routine. It made her want to scream: get the hell over yourself already; if anybody ever really needed you as a support system, then they were already royally f***ed anyway.
Plus, her thoughts about Vaughn - so great. At least she's got something right...

She felt a sharp, sudden pain in her neck and then light-headed. Again, there were colors here, bright and beautiful and easy to fall into.

“Dear, god. I turn my back for ten, f***ing minutes…” A loud crashing sound, the door maybe, some more gunfire, then and a voice. British, she recognized. Clipped. Familiar? She wasn’t sure. It was only then that she realized she had fallen down on top of Alexsandr and was bleeding heavily from both shoulder and neck.

Impossibly, impossibly blue eyes looked down at her, it seemed, from a great distance. Determined, not overly worried, just…determined. She felt that it was wrong somehow, that the blue eyes belonged to someone she shouldn’t really be in the company of and she tried to wriggle free, if only to…
Wow! Is that Mr. Sark here to save the day? I think so...unless there is something more sinister going on... :unsure: But I hope it's just him saving the day! :LOL:

It was too much effort. The roar and the slow sweetness of the all-consuming darkness moved up to meet her.

She didn’t fight it.
Oh my. I love how you started with her fighting to stay awake and then ended with her givning in to the darkness. Even though they are different situations - she was shot and all - it still is so incredible and symbolic they way you did that.

I love love love love love this story Dita!! Such a great chapter! (y) Thanks for the PM!
 

sarkfan

Sark's Girl
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Location
Australia
:o She got shot..It's ok,Sark will take care of her.
Loved Laurens thoughts cocerning her husband and what she thought about Syd.
Awesome update,can't wait for more.Thanks for the pm.

~Rach~
 

Sara Spy

Cadet
Joined
Jul 10, 2003
Dita said:
She didn’t often get that way; didn’t often lower herself to what she considered the “base” feelings: anger or happiness or sadness.
Excellent. Just what I needed this afternoon- a Facade update ;)

Now, let's get this straight- I was absolutely never a Lauren Reed supporter nor will I ever be, I'm afraid, but your Lauren is fabulous. Cold-hearted and too focused in all the right places. Great character analysis on your part, Dita! w00t w00t

That's the only reason why I am able to stomach the necessary evil- It was incredibly well-written...as always, of course.

Her hair this time was long and straight and very, very black—it kept getting in her eyes every time she moved her head in the slightest.  It kind of negated the whole ‘glamorous spy’ image but that was just another  day in the life of Sydney Bristow.  Bad wigs and cheap leather.
Isn't that the truth? That's been ALIAS this season- all summed up with the bad wigs and cheap leather. You tell me, is that ALL that we have to look FORWARD TO?!
Sorry, some of my bitterness may spill into reviews so caution. But very nice phraseology- I must say.



She thought she might have screamed.  She knew she blacked out for a second, just one,  before the world rushed back into her face: blinding colors, shapes, a caterwaul of screams (her own), blood,  and then, that old voice, the one that had kept her alive through thick and thin, through being a double agent and getting trapped under ice an inch thick in Siberia.

Belly on the floor, girl, get the f*** down.
Now, I wonder if she's just imagining he's there? Is he there? He's so there!!
Wait, why is he there? :LOL:


“Dear, god.  I turn my back for ten, f***ing minutes…”  A loud crashing sound, the door maybe, some more gunfire, then and a voice.  British, she recognized.  Clipped.  Familiar?  She wasn’t sure.  It was only then that she realized she had fallen down on top of Alexsandr and was bleeding heavily from both shoulder and neck.

Had she gotten shot again?  She hadn’t noticed.
Oh we've gotten shot, have we? That's ok Sarkie to the rescue...right? Because you can't just turn you back for ten whole minutes, Sydney dear.

“Sydney, now you have to focus,  Really, no, don’t close your eyes, look at me…  No, Sydney, stay with…”

It was too much effort.  The roar and the slow sweetness of the all-consuming darkness moved up to meet her.

She didn’t fight it.
Hmm...I wouldn't fight it either if I thought I'd wake up to Sark...I wonder if that's what our Ms. Bristow was feeling as well? Because that would be splendid. Dita, do you think you can help us out there? LOL just a suggestion! teehee...don't listen to me I'm a bad influence. :o :cool:

Update soon, love!

Sara
 

Quiet Disaster

I heart Chris Carrabba
Joined
May 4, 2003
Location
CT
Wow, Dita! That was DEFINITELY worth the wait!!! Where do I even begin?!

The description of her nightmares was amazing. I especially loved the last two lines, "Sydney Bristow kept her eyes opened. And her heart closed."

Lauren. <_< I may hate her but I loved the way you wrote her thoughts about Vaughn. And then her thoughts about Sydney and what she wanted to do to her. She is an evil woman that needs to die! But hmm, what is her ultimate goal? What is she using the Covenant to get?? :Ponder:

And who was Alexsandr? Was he a partner of Syd's during her two missing years?

Who was shooting at Alexsandr and Syd? The Covenant? Lauren? But then why would Sark go in and save her?? It is Sark, isn't it? Who else could have such amazing blue eyes. ;) :D But whoa! Hope the shots aren't fatal for Sydney!! And what's in Geneva? What is 78347? Hmm... :Ponder:

The last two lines of the chapter were amazing! But I'm hoping she DID fight it! We can't lose Syd!!

Amazing, Dita! (y) (y) Anxiously awaiting more! :D
 

A Dark Turn

I Was Made to Love You
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Location
London
No, not an update... But soon, I promise. ;) I just thought a little individual thanks were in order for you guys sticking with me so far and ebing so damn patient. I :love: you all, believe me... The lovely reviews always make me day!!

hotpot: You could never be annoying, Suzi. :) Actually, stalking makes me write faster... So, thanks. :D

Hmmm... Lauren the baddie- I was really torn over whether or not to include her as one of the "villains" but knew I had to. ::sighs:: I tried to make her as ruthlessly scary, yet still fleshed out as possible without totally turning off the reader to her (does that make any sense?? probably not. ;) ) And I also think Lauren didn't need to be the hellbeast she became on the show; I think she could have been a viable villain with the right actress and better character writing. So... I tried to do my own spin on her, if you will.

And upcoming Sarkney... I can only think Sark would be horror-stricken if he could read your lines about him and Syd... But, of course, he won't be for long. ;)

Serious thanks for the comments and the continued support. It makes me happy that someone is really enjoying the story as much as I am enjoying writing it. :blush2: And your comments always give me that extra boost to finish the chapter and update it.

You really do rock. :Punkrock:

amy lynn: I really don't think I thank you enough for all the reviewing you do. :shamefullyembarrased: So, if I haven't told you before... Thanks a million. Your comments always make me :blush2: (in a great way, of course) and I always look forward to your reviews. :)

And Lauren's thoughts on Vaughn... I usually try to keep character bashing to myself, but after seeing the lovefest on the finale between him and Syd, I had to get some residual anger out. ;)

Also, as an English major forced to read such atrocities as 'Middlemarch' and 'The Mill on the Floss', I'm honor-bound to do stuff like the symbolic darkness in beginning and end, etc. I try to fight it, but it never really works out. :LOL: And I hope Sark isn't being sinister... But then again, you never know, do you?? :P

:flowers: for taking the time out to review. Thanks.

sarkfan: Rach, I'm so happy that you take the time out to review every chapter. Seriously? It makes my week. :shamefullyembarrased: And I'm glad you're enjoying the story. I try to make it as user-friendly as possible... Hopefully it works.

I also hope Sark will take care of her. He's an enigmatic guy, that Julian. :LOL:

Sara Spy: Awww... :love: Thanks. I'm no fan of Lauren Reed, either. But... It had to be done. There's much less Lauren on the horizon, thankfully, and plenty Sarkney interaction, so hopefully the next chapters will be much more agreeable. :LOL:

On the bad wigs and leather bit, I think you may have caught some of my bitterness... Because I was too, never fear, when I wrote that. :( We can only hope that S4 has a little more substance than Syd in her dominatrix leather shooting up some poor, defenseless peons of the Covenant.

You are a bad influence, Sara. :LOL: But, I'll try to have them sizzling with as much sexual tension as a bleeding, dying girl and the heartless assassin who saved her can muster, never fear. ^_^

Thanks again for the review- I always look forward to them.

AHSbandchick_lovinjulian: Glad so much you're back with a review!!! Your comments made my day, week, month. :)

And, actually, it's funny: that was a line I cut from the original version, but that my darling beta-girl urged me to put back in. She'd want to thank you for proving her right. :LOL:

Thanks again, darling. And, for the record, it 'tis Sark who has her. ;)

Joyie: Thanks so much. :) And Lauren is an evil b**** who definately deserves to die... You'll get no arguement there. It's too bad she seems hell-bent on staying alive (at least for now) to achieve her insidious endgame... Which, if I told you wouldn't be much fun, would it??? :LOL:

Alexsandr was a part of Syd's missing two years. A crucial part. That's all I'll say. ;)

Heh, heh. ^_^ If the shots were fatal for Syd, it'd kind of be a short story, wouldn't it?? And, yes that is Sark come to rescue her, as it were. Why?

Like I said, if I told you, it just wouldn't be as fun.

Much thanks for the continued, in-depth reviews. I always love to see what you think because, honestly, it makes me think myself. :angelic: And it's great to know someone else beside me is actually paying attention to the plot.

Thanks again. :flowers:

And thanks to all of you for being so patient and actually reading the story. Your reviews are something I really look forward to!! (y) (y)

So...thanks!!
 

hotpot

The Bubbly
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
:LOL: I must admit Dita - I saw Facade was the last thing posted in when I went to Fan Fiction and I was about to raise holy hell for my PM not popping up ... but hehe, no update just thankies :shamefullyembarrased: And you're welcome girl, seriously - if stalking inspires you to write/post, I'll be in here everyday! ;) :P

And since I'm in here and all, I can't wait til they get to that safehouse! ;) :D :LOL: *nudge* hehehe
 

ninja-kitty

Cadet
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Dita said:
“Otherwise, it’ll go badly for all of us.” She had her gun out, smoothly, and pointed at his chest. The old Sydney would have balked at killing an unarmed man. The new, improved version just didn’t give a f***.







Blood, then, everywhere.

His body sunk to the floor and her training kicked in and she fell with him; her heart pounded low and dull, like a dozen war drums, in her ribs. She crawled towards him, slightly elevated from the ground, trying to get to a bleeding Alexsandr, and a stray bullet burrowed itself into her upper chest, slashing flesh and sinew.

She thought she might have screamed. She knew she blacked out for a second, just one, before the world rushed back into her face: blinding colors, shapes, a caterwaul of screams (her own), blood, and then, that old voice, the one that had kept her alive through thick and thin, through being a double agent and getting trapped under ice an inch thick in Siberia.

Belly on the floor, girl, get the f*** down.

She kept the gun in her hand as she inched her way over, stomach sliding on the thick carpet. It was easy to turn off the pain, to ignore torn flesh and spilling blood; she’d been doing it for years. The shoulder (she didn’t think of it as hers but as a separate, removed entity) could be tended to later. If not, she’d be dead and then, it would hardly matter.

Another crack of a lone gun shot.

And there was silence.

“Khrushchev?” She bellied up to him and was relieved to see he was still breathing lightly. There was a huge, gaping hole just left and down of his chest and more in his stomach, in his legs. “Come on, talk to me, say something.”

He gasped, a little, as if struggling for air. His eyes were already turned up to the ceiling, glassy and flat.

“7-8-3-4-7. Gen-n-n-e-e-e…” She had to listen close to his mouth for words, because they were lower than a whisper, slight. “v-v-v-v-a-a.”

A thin trickle of blood ran down the side of his mouth and his chest was still, once and forever.

The gun fell out of her hand. She didn’t know whether to scream or whether to run and the world was growing soft around the edges, pretty and blurry.

Blood loss, a part of her brain was thinking, clinically and removed like a medical textbook. Severe. Most likely a fatal wound.

She thought she sat up, slightly, but knew the gun shots resumed, a million loud, screaming cracks of sound after another.

She felt a sharp, sudden pain in her neck and then light-headed. Again, there were colors here, bright and beautiful and easy to fall into.

“Dear, god. I turn my back for ten, f***ing minutes…” A loud crashing sound, the door maybe, some more gunfire, then and a voice. British, she recognized. Clipped. Familiar? She wasn’t sure. It was only then that she realized she had fallen down on top of Alexsandr and was bleeding heavily from both shoulder and neck.

Had she gotten shot again? She hadn’t noticed.

“W-w…” She meant to ask ‘who’ but couldn’t quite get her mouth to form the words. Things were sticking in her head, her tongue seemed too heavy to fashion even the simplest of phrases.

“No, don’t move. Stay still.” Impossibly, impossibly blue eyes looked down at her, it seemed, from a great distance. Determined, not overly worried, just…determined. She felt that it was wrong somehow, that the blue eyes belonged to someone she shouldn’t really be in the company of and she tried to wriggle free, if only to…

“No, I meant what I said. Don’t move.”

Hands, all over her. Loud, loud, loud gun shots.

And a voice, talking to her about staying alive.

She felt herself being dragged, maybe, being still talked to, being still shot at.

“Sydney, now you have to focus, Really, no, don’t close your eyes, look at me… No, Sydney, stay with…”

It was too much effort. The roar and the slow sweetness of the all-consuming darkness moved up to meet her.

She didn’t fight it.


<span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'>~ I have heard the language of apocalypse, and now I shall embrace the silence. ~</span>

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The quotes are from: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman. Great stuff. If you haven’t read any of his work, I highly recommend it. (y) (y)

And that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed… :)
Oh my god this rocks :Punkrock: :groupwave:

Please write more soon - loved the new improved Syd (y) and the ending - woah!
 

A Dark Turn

I Was Made to Love You
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Location
London
Thanks again to everyone ( :love: ) who replied, see above for individual thanks; and thanks to ninja-kitty for your review. :D And, oh, Suzi... So subtle you are. ;) :LOL:

Special thanks to: my dearest make-shift beta Sveta (Svetiasha), who doesn't usually beta my Alias stuff, but was good enough to read this for me… The ‘pleather’ line and the Faulty Towers references are just for you, deary. :P

Author’s notes: This chapter is much less high octane than the last, but it does feature Sarkney moments-- with more to come, I promise...

And I actually goggled 'how to survive a serious gunshot wound to the chest' and stumbled across a multitude of websites (I'm not sure whether to be pleased at finding what I needed or alarmed that people actually devote entire websites to this subject). The results are, for better or worse, below. Any mistakes are purely my own and you are free to call me out on them. ;)


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Chapter Six: Catharsis

~ Light this fire, never turn back.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
No remorse, no regret. ~


She collapsed at Sark’s feet, deadweight and blood-soaked.

The only thing he could think, as he reached over to her, trying to coax open those big, shadowed eyes once more, was: I have never seen Sydney Bristow with her eyes closed.

The second thought, followed closely on the heels of the first, had something to do with the fact that if he didn’t get her out of here, and damn fast, she was going to bleed to death all over his imported Lord and Taylor shoes.

They were crouched behind the relative safety of an overturned coffee table, dislodged somehow in the ensuing melee. He was low, him covering her, and she…

She wasn’t breathing.

Or very much, anyway. Looking down at her, he felt an unexpected pinch of…sympathy; her chest was moving so faintly it seemed like it would stop any second, as if she were made of fine glass ready to break at the slightest of touches. He brushed hair-matted with sweat and blood-out of her eyes and pressed his other hand over the sluggishly bleeding wound in her shoulder.

Slow bleeding, not the quick rush and spurt of a severed artery. That meant hope; not much, granted, but some.

Around him, the apartment was quiet. No bullets, no screaming, only his labored breathing and the sound of the wind cutting itself on the shattered panes of glass. It was deceptively calm, serene, like the peace after the war that had killed everyone.

But Sark knew… He knew it wasn’t calm or peaceful or easy. If he was to save a life, save rather than take, he had to act, quickly.

He watched her fight for breath and his mind ran through all the available options, some of the more obvious easily discarded, such as bringing her to a hospital or back to his hotel. It was true that the hospital and hotel were both but three blocks from their current position, but he wasn’t about to risk the scrutiny a hospital would bring and her wounds were far too extensive, he suspected, for the bottle of vodka and the complimentary sewing kit he had in his room.

Her eyelids fluttered open, for a half a second, a dark brown almost opal black against the white, white of her skin. Her mouth opened, slightly, and he could see blood on her lips, little dabs that looked like drops of red, red wine.

He’d have to take a chance. Or else, they’d both end up dead for certain.

He would take her; he decided stripping off his coat and wrapping it around her, to a contact’s house on Fifth Soviet Street, an old, former friend of Khasinau that Sark had gotten to know while working for Irina Derevko. During the days of the ‘The Man’ and, even, before, the good doctor that lived in the lonely, little lake-side house a city across from Alexander Khrushchev often had the opportunity of stitching Sark up, on many an occasion.

Ironically, a few of those sew-up sessions were due directly to Sydney herself.

He hoped to God on high, as he pressed her against him and managed to drag her, both of them still on the floor, out of the apartment and down the stair (elevator, he thought, too f***ing risky), that the good doctor was still alive with the same address.

She was heavy in his arms, lifeless, and judging by the amount of blood on his Armani shirt and all over the stairs, there’d be no point in stitching her up if he didn’t get her to Fifth Soviet quicker.

Because if he let her die…

He thought, suddenly, of her eyes when she’d come to visit him in CIA custody a few months back- old, old eyes in a too young face staring at him through a foot of glass. Too old, he’d thought then, and too sad.

He got them down the stairs and across the narrow hallway of the first floor, leading out to daylight. Pressed against the wall, just slightly back of the main entrance, he held his breath and could even see his car through the glass doors, just a few feet away parked at the curb. He knew, though, all too well, that the second they stepped out into the open, they would be moving, easy targets for whatever sniper waited in the opposite apartment buildings.

A third thought: sh*t.

He could hear the sirens of the Okrana, the Russian police, in the distance, come closer with each shrill whine that cut through the morning air. They were already coming, which meant he had two viable actions: he could stay here, in the doorway, holding Sydney until she bleed to death and then, get arrested by the authorities in the process, most likely going on to spend the rest of his life, just as his father had oft predicted, behind bars.

Or…

It was a clear day, blue skies to be seen for miles, and Sydney’s body started to seize, little tremors that told him that time was not on his side and incarceration not an option.

For better, for worse, he stepped out into the daylight and the gunfire, as he expected, resumed right on schedule.

It was a short run, his rental car was conveniently lying in wait, and later he would look back and wonder how he’d pulled it all off: he’d moved like the possessed, shielding Sydney as much as he was able for all that he was burdened by a bleeding, convulsing girl.

Bullets, bullets, everywhere, and he tried, as quickly as possible, to shove her into the passenger seat without causing any additional damage. His luck held when he able to do that and slide around into the driver seat, only the untucked ends of his shirt managing to get shot.

It was true he hadn’t been shot, but he might as well have-- it was a damned, expensive shirt, custom f***ing made.

Still, he kept one of his hands over her shoulder, the neck graze was really just that, and the other hand he used to find the keys and start up the car, slamming it hard into gear to bear them off with a burning squeal of rubber and not a precious second too soon.

A fourth thought, weaving past a gaggle of on-looking pedestrians clustered in the street: they don’t pay me enough.


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Sark brought Sydney to the quaint, little house of Dr. Antov Metanov, happily situated near the base of the Ural Mountains and a tense, ten minute tear of a drive across Lazarevo.

The authorities hadn’t followed him, so far as he could divine, and neither had anyone else. Numerous looks back in the rearview mirror had proved no one whatsoever was on the roads, and he had spent the drive desperately trying to think who, in all of hell’s creation, could have killed Alexander Khrushchev and shot up his apartment with the expressed intention of killing Sydney as well.

The name Lauren came to mind with increasing, if somewhat irrational frequency and his knuckles tightened to white on the steering wheel at just the f***ing thought of that b**** and her goddamned schemes. If true, he swore to god and country, that boy scout Vaughn was going to be shopping for a new wife to show off at CIA dinner parties-very, very soon.

He kept a hand on Sydney’s shoulder and thought of how still she was during the drive, still and cold as marble. He tried talking to her, anything to get a response, but she didn’t move, not at all.

She mumbled something, only once, but the word had been faint, so quiet he could barely catch it. ‘Mom,’ it sounded like, with just enough pleading to make it pathetic, to break the heart.

If he actually had one, he told himself, pressing harder on her shoulder and straining the car to its limit.

When he finally did pull up to the long, winding, dirt drive, he was somewhat disheartened to see the decay the house was in: shutters were falling off the windows, weeds were growing rampant in the little garden beds by the door, and a murder of ravens were perched on the rusted weather vane on top of the roof, eyeing Sark with beady, black eyes that seemed to know everything about him.

But there was a car by a run-down old shed, and the car was in pristine, paint-sparkling condition. Someone lived here, at least, and whoever that might be was going to *damn well* help them, doctor or not. He grabbed a spare semi-automatic out of the dashboard compartment for a little extra “incentive” for any said house dwellers and reflected, as he got out of the driver’s seat, that he was taking a big chance by bringing her here. If Antov Metanov was dead or otherwise gone and there were no medical supplies in the house…

He turned off the thought and opened Sydney’s door. The hospital was not option, he reminded himself as she tumbled out into his arms, him only catching her by pure reflex, gun still in one hand. Trying to balance both, he carried her Rhett Butler style to the door, though every step was agony, she was bleeding all over him, and if he had to carry her up a grand staircase a la Gone With the Wind to get medical attention, then they were both in a world of trouble.

He knocked on the door, once, waited a beat, and then knocked again. “Dr. Metanov?”

The door didn’t open right away. Several seconds ticked by in silence and Sark wondered if he had made a huge, tactical error by coming here. No one was answering the door, and though the hospital would have been a risk, Sydney’s life would have been spared for certain.

He was about to turn away, turn away and do god knows what, when the door did open, the white-haired, narrow-eyed head of an ancient Antov Metanov appearing on the other side. He looked much older than when Sark had last seen him, days before the death of Khasinau, but his eyes were still the wary same, moving over both him and Sydney, still unconscious in Sark’s arms.

The old man’s thin line of a mouth wavered; tongue appearing to lick the lips nervously, and his eyes returned to latch onto Sark. “Come in,” he said, at last, in raspy-voiced Russian. “Be careful, put her... Put her on the couch, the couch in the living room.”

Sark nearly collapsed in relief. No questions, then. Recognition, but no questions and the blessed doctor was going to help them. He would have actually kissed the man full on the mouth if he hadn’t had an armload of Sydney Bristow. It scared him, yeah, but he was too f***ing relieved to think about it much longer.

“Quickly now, come in; come in.” Antov held back the door for Sark and he, Sark, was only too happy to get the hell inside.

The house was dimly lit; the outside light was caught in the dank, dustiness of shadowy corners and the heaps of unopened cardboard boxes that lined the walls. Sark found a purple and red pinstriped couch, sagging and lumpy, in an opposite room and carefully, gently, laid Sydney out.

“She is hurt, badly?” Antov moved behind Sark, lowering himself down to Sydney. His fingers were light over her shoulder, pulling back her shirt only a little to examine the damage beneath. “Shot. She needs to have the bullet extracted. Needs stitches, too.”

Antov’s eyes met Sark’s, the old to the young. “She’s lost a lot of blood, Julian.” A pause, then, laden with all sorts of dire meanings. “Perhaps, too much.”

“She’ll live,” Sark said, evenly, in English and held the man’s stare. “Just do whatever the hell you have to, I don’t even f***ing care, but… She’ll live.” He arched a brow. “Understand?”

Antov bobbed his head, curtly, and there was nothing on his face to show he resented being ordered about by a foreigner more than half his age. “Let me get my bag,” he said, rising. “In the meanwhile, take off her shirt, get her hair back from her face. The bullet will have to come out.”

He paused at the door of the cluttered living room. “I’ll need your help.”

Sark only nodded. He set the gun down, bending down to Sydney and…hesitated. His own jacket was easy to get off her; it was the shirt underneath it that bothered him. And, of course, it was one of those special spy outfits: a vest type-deal bulky enough to hide a weapon under and low-cut enough to show flash some requisite cleavage. Unfortunately for their darling Sydney, she’d gotten shot right at the line where the vest began- lower shoulder, upper chest, depending on which way one looked at it, and so that some of the wound was hidden below the thick pleather material.

The vest had a discreet zipper down the front and he un-zipped it slowly, trying not to notice her shaking, shivering flesh underneath his fingers as he went. It had to be, he discovered, just his damn luck that she had chosen today, of all the f***ing days of her life, not to wear anything underneath.

He peeled back the vest and made an effort *not* to look. It seemed wrong, somehow, slightly sick and even worse knowing that had she been conscious, she would have shot him in the face for what he was doing, no questions asked or answered.

But under the blood and torn shoulder, there were miles of pale, perfect skin under his hands, the muted shadows on her chest moving lightly with her breathing to a rhythm all of their own. He traced them, lightly and absently with a brush of fingers: the hollow between her breasts, underneath, down to her navel and up again to circle the wound and the indentation at the base of her neck…

“Get water, boy, water and a cloth from the kitchen. Once the bullet is out, we’ll need to clean and dress it.” The scratchy, dust-dry sound of Antov’s voice behind him made him jump, inside; he snapped his fingers back as if her skin burned.

“Hurry,” he said, sending Sark a pained, pointed look. And then, quieter, “Hurry.”

For once, he did exactly as he was bid. He scrubbed his own hands in the kitchen sink (out, spot, out) and found clean towels in a drawer. He soaked them with water just as Antov had asked. Tiredness was beginning to edge on him now that the adrenaline was wearing off; he reminded himself to hit up Antov for some vodka when they’d finished saving or, alternately, destroying Sydney’s life.

He returned to the living room to find the good doctor had already extricated the bullet. Sydney looked pale, even paler than usual, white as the driven snow that capped the long, lazy spread of mountains outside the window. Her hair-a black wig- was spread out beneath her in a wild wave of glimmering synthetic; it reminded of a painting he’d seen once in the National Art Gallery of London, a portrait of Ophelia among the reeds, her long, dark hair fanning out around a slowly sinking body.

He cared not to make comparisons, though, for the record, he was sure they were there.

“Come here. Julian… Yes, bring the cloths.” Antov caught sight of him in the doorway, turning and beckoning Sark forward. He had a pair of what appeared to be metal prongs clenched together by his ancient, shaking fingers, a large slug captured in between the ends of the prongs. He released the bullet into a small, metal tin by his side and it hit with a dull crack.

“Your hands, less old than mine, more steady,” Antov said, holding up a large, camel-eyed needle in one hand and a mass of surgical thread in another. “Just like I showed you, now.”

Sark told himself he might have guessed it would come down to this; at least now, though, Sydney Bristow was held in his debt. She owed him, he thought watching Antov carefully scrub and anesthetize the wound, her very life.

“Did you give her anything for the pain?” he asked when the old doctor was finished. He’d been watching Antov clean the wound and the way his hands had been trembling, it was a miracle he’d been able to dig a bullet out of her in the first place.

“No.” Their eyes met and Sark vividly remembered his own memories of being stitched up without anesthetic. He remembered, more than others, a time when a certain someone had thrown an ice pick in his kneecap.

But, neither here nor there now. He looped the surgical thread through the eye of the needle and bent down over her, putting a bracing hand on the untouched skin next to the wound. At least, he thought, she was unconscious from the shock; it was the only thing she had going for her.

“There is vodka in the kitchen,” Antov said, kneeling down next to him, a hint of a frown on that old mouth, “in case she wakes up.”

Sark got to work. It would be a scar when it healed, he knew. The small, puckered wound, gaping a bit at the sides would be particularly nasty at that—no amount of laser surgery would ever dull this mass of scar tissue once it was healed.

And yet… He could see other scars on her chest, straight slashes that were tell-tale whispers of other hurts from past encounters. A survivor’s scars, scars he could identify with.

But, none-the-less, an enemy’s scars.

Antov’s voice, low in the background, praised him but he simply concentrated on Sydney, on slipping the needle in and out of her skin, one stitch at time until the whole of the wound was closed in an ugly flurry of blue, waxy thread.

He ran a thumb over it, softly, before wrapping it in ghost white gauze and bandaging it. He moved on to the scrape at her neck, he lifting the thick curtain of hair out of the way so Antov could clean and dress the scratch, which he did with ruthless, if a bit unsteady, efficiency at last declaring her out of immediate danger.

Sydney’s eyes stayed closed the entire time; she breathed but didn’t move, as unmoving as something dead. He let her hair fall back and tugged off the remains of her vest, as lightly as he could without causing her additional pain. In lieu of her vest, he spread his jacket over her, tucking in the ends around her so it wouldn’t slip off if she tossed or turned in sleep.

Well, aren’t you the f***ing prince, Julian?

He stared down at her for a long time and thoughts he’d been repressing until now came back, all at once.

She’d almost died today. Again. It was suddenly, that he remembered, looking down at the way her hair curled over her face, what he’d felt when he’d first heard she had died over two years ago, in CIA custody.

Disbelief. Shock. More disbelief.

It seemed the girl had a bad habit of nearly dying…and someone was trying to make sure it turned from ‘nearly’ to a cold grave of a reality.

The question, as always, remained the bitter same: but who?

He left her, then, for his car and his cell phone. There were calls to make now, important calls, and people to talk to…

He stopped at the doorway, heard her moan in unknowing pain.

And old, old scores to settle.

~ Hold on tight baby,
Do you feel it?
The beginning, the beginning,
The beginning of the end... ~


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The quotes I used are from the Smashing Pumpkin's The Beginning of the End. And that be it, kids. Hope you enjoyed.
 
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