A/N If you're confused while reading this don't worry just continue, all will be explained no worries! and THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Kewii who beta'd this for me and did such an amazing job. And To all my test readers, Cathy, Kathryn, Christina, Stacey and others.
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Illusion of Sin</span>
Life was twisted in such an ordained manner that she could no longer tell you what was real or illusion. She couldn’t tell you the difference between black and white, love and hate, good and evil. When the line dividing right from wrong is shattered, the consequences come with out warning. And with nothing left and no one left who speaks the truth, there’s only one thing she can do. Revenge is all that keeps her breathing. Only one choice left now: Fight back or allow the lies to kill her soul.
Crossing The Line
Memories are like the ocean on a calm spring day. They wash over you at unexpected times leaving a small path in their wake. Sometimes they are gentle treasures that bring a smile to your lips and other times they are so harsh you would do anything to forget.
She remembers being four years old and in all her childhood innocence asking her Daddy, why all the other kids in her pre-school class had Mommies, but she didn’t.
She remembers being five years old and coming home from afternoon kindergarten crying. Through hiccuped gasping sobs she’d eventually told her father why. All the other girls mommies braided their pigtails, but her mommy couldn’t. She didn’t have one and Daddy doing it just wasn’t the same. It made her different from other kids and she didn’t like it.
She remembers being six years old and refusing to go to school. She kicked and screamed until finally she’d told her pleading father why. It was Mommy day at school. All the other kids’ moms were coming to spend the day with them at school. She was the only one in her class who was left out. It hurt to be different and at six years old, that was the last time she’d cried over it. It hurt too much to see the sadness in her father’s eyes.
She never had a mother. Growing up her father never married, nor had any serious relationships. He raised his daughter by himself, but the lack of female influence upon her was not lost. Occasionally she had wondered if her father was even interested in the opposite sex. But in the same instance, she would remember all the times he’d said how much he loved her mother. He didn’t talk about her often, but when he did his eyes lit up, replacing the sadness the thought of her mother usually brought.
As she sat on the cold damp ground, she couldn’t help but wonder if the lies had begun when she was four. When her persistent questions about her mother, had forced her father to finally abandon his longtime story of the stork dropping her on his doorstep. He’d told her the truth, her mother died several months after she was born. She’d like to believe that was when they started did. She’d like to have believed that all the lies and half truths that followed, were only a product of her desire for knowledge, but if she did- she’d have been believing a lie. She could no longer allow her desire for closure to outweigh the truth. The truth was that the lies began the moment she was born and were solidified the moment she had spoken her first word, Daddy.
She was vaguely aware of Zack’s nervous chatter in her ear and it pulled her mind out of the past. He was trying to keep her calm and keep her mind off the upcoming meeting by talking about the Kings’ latest hockey game win, but really she knew it was also a tactic to ward off his own feelings of uneasiness. Zackary Weiss was risking everything to help her. She’d never had a more loyal friend than he. The feelings of guilt consumed her knowing that he was risking not only his life, but also his career, his future, and reputation, but she was also grateful, knowing that she could not do it alone. He was just simply put, a good man.
She tried to tune Zack out. Tried to concentrate on the simple act of breathing, but it wasn’t easy. The image of her father flashed through her mind. She had his eyes. Her father always told her how much her mother loved the ocean and her eyes reminded him of the ocean, and in turn reminded him of her mother. She had her fathers eyes, but she was every bit her mothers daughter.
She’s only ever had one real picture of her mother. She took it out of her pocket and unfolded it. It was an old photograph, creased from being folded so many times. She knew she shouldn’t have brought it on the operation, but it was impossible to leave behind. The stakes were too high. She needed her mother with her on this one. Examining it carefully she ran her fingers over the worn edges. It was of her mother and father, taken when both were in their late twenties. They were at a party, their arms around each other and they looked so happy. Even though the picture was nearly twenty years old and the image worn and faded, her mother’s eyes still seemed to sparkle as if knowing a secret she would not share.
She kissed her index finger and gently pressed it against the picture before reluctantly it was folded back up and placed into her pocket. Concentration was necessary. She needed to get her head in the game. Agonizing over what never could have been would not do anyone any good. Her contact assured her that her mark was to be meeting an unknown associate at exactly 3 AM. It was almost 3AM. She adjusted her wig slightly, glad she chosen the dark red one with bangs to conceal her identity if caught.
Zack informed her of an approaching car and she quickly checked her gun and then set the camera into position. Her left hand immediately sought the gold cross hidden beneath her black sweater and wove the chain between her fingers. It was the only thing of real value that she had of her mothers and it left her neck only when she was on operations. She brought it to her lips, kissing the cross briefly, before tucking it back under her top. The floor of the old warehouse was cold and damp and it only added to the chill she felt as a car drove in. She’d picked a good hiding spot behind some crates, in the shadows, which obscured her presence from any other person in the warehouse.
The man stayed in his car and she aimed the camera, but the tinted windows prevent any visibility. A few minutes passed and Zack alerted her to the presence of another vehicle.
With building anticipation she swallowed hard and trembling hands aimed the camera. Zack’s voice was reassuring in her ear. He was set up in the next warehouse over and he was her only back up. The operation was not sanctioned by the CIA. Though he was her only backup, she had warned him that he was not to leave his post to assist her. This operation was personal for her and she would not put him in any more danger than she already had. Her mark needed to be punished and through him she was determined to find the sole person responsible for her mothers death.
Her mark stepped out of his car first, accompanied by three guards. He was dressed in a crisp, dark, designer suit, with dark glasses and the way he carried himself implied a high level of authority. He stood at the front of his car, flanked by two guards. All three men were armed, but with their guns in their holsters. The third guard stood off to the right, gun drawn in case something went wrong. She had three guns, extra ammo and two knives. Even with that amount of protection, she was clearly out numbered.
As the engine of the second car was cut, Zack told her to calm down. Her heart rate was erratic, and the blood rushed in her ears, but his words were lost. They sounded hollow and far away as if lost on the winds of a blustery day. All of her concentration was on the scene in front of her. It took every ounce of will power she had left to prevent herself from shooting her mark in retribution for everything he has done. All the harm he had caused. If she had done it, she’d have never make it out alive, and any hope of extracting information from him regarding the whereabouts of the individual she sought would be lost.
She’d never considered herself a vengeful person. Growing up her father had instilled in her passiveness and forgiveness to be a very powerful tool. She was ashamed to admit that forgiveness was the last thing on her mind and that frightened her. She hoped that some day her father could forgive her.
The door of the second car opened and her mark stepped forward extending his hand to the occupant inside. Long legs encased in stockings and black high-heeled shoes slipped out. To her, the world seemed to progress in slow motion as the woman came into view. Long slender legs, a deep blue skirt and jacket. Long dark hair with a sweeping of silver elegantly woven through the strands. The woman stood reigning authority over the other man and an innocent bystander might have thought her to be royalty. The two obviously knew each other well and their guards stood back allowing them to speak freely. The man retrieved an envelope containing photographs from the breast pocket of his suit and showed them to the woman.
She felt numb. She hadn’t expected this. It was supposed to be simple reconnaissance, when had everything getting so screwed up.
They moved and she shifted her position slightly in an attempt to get a better angle; bad move. Her leg was asleep and she fell forward. The camera broke as it dropped from her hand and her forehead smashed into the concrete. Putting her hands out in front of her she braced her weight and lifted her upper body off the ground. She couldn’t go far as the pressure of a gun against the back of her skull stilled her.
Hands grabbed at her, twisted her arms behind her back and pulled her to her feet. The pain in her head was excruciating and the world seemed to dance in front of her. Zack’s voice rang in her ears. ‘Stay silent if you’re okay. Cough once if you’ve been captured.’ She coughed. Mentally she was screaming at him, telling him to get out, to leave her; to do what she told him and she prayed he would.
As she was pulled to her feet, her pockets were cleared any weapons and she blinked her eyes rapidly in an attempt to clear her line of vision. Two guards pushed her towards their employer and the woman. They all had their guns drawn aimed at her. She was vaguely aware of the blood dripping down her forehead, cheek and chin, but she no longer felt pain as she looked at them.
Their expressions were cold and stoic, and she looked at them hard, defiance etched in every inch of her being.
“Who do you work for?” Her mark stepped forward. His voice was low as he cocked his head to one side, his arms crossed over his chest.
“Go to hell.” Her voice was a similar contrast, deep and husky She spat at him, the bit of spit landing on his polished black leather shoe. He looked down at it and then raised an eyebrow. He turned back to the woman and they spoke quietly for a moment.
“She’s CIA,” one of the guards interrupted and handed him one of her guns after recognizing that it was CIA issued. “What would you like us to do with her Mr. Sark?”
Sark walked towards her, his arms still crossed in front of his chest. “Now why would the CIA be interested in me?” he shrugged nonchalantly and one hand reached up to scratch his clean- jaw. He looked her up and down. “Obviously gone rogue, lack of backup, lack of equipment I mean really it’s almost humorous. What is your name?”
“What do you care.” She rolled her eyes and decided to give him a bone to play with. “Susie-Q”
“Apparently you fail to understand the seriousness of your situation, Miss. Susie-Q.” Sark emphasized the use of her name. He stood only inches from her, his right hand rubbing his neck and cheek in a repetitive manner. “A young CIA Agent stakes out my meeting, in my warehouse, without any apparent back up and expects to get away with it.” He held up his hands in pure disbelief of the situation.
“You think quite highly of yourself,” she scoffed.
“Do you know who I am?”
She didn’t answer, but it was very clear to him that she knew exactly who he was. He turned his back on her and walked away, his steps echoed on the cement floor. He looked back momentarily. “Put her in the car,” he ordered his men.
Her eyes flashed to the woman as she stepped into view and Sark looked to her curious as to the reason for her interruption. The woman had been silent until now, standing back and allowing Sark to deal with the intruder. The woman now approached her, the heels of her shoes clicking methodically on the concrete floor. The agent tried to pull away but the guard only twisted her arms tighter. It hurt, but she could not let the pain show. She would not give them the satisfaction. Their eyes met and the woman tucked a lock of hair behind her left ear before extending a long finger. The agent watched as the finger travelled up the front of her sweater and touched the gold cross. It must have come loose in the struggle. Their eyes met once more; cold dark and icy blue. Her voice was low and Sark had to step forward to hear.
“My mother gave this to me when I was born,” she lifted the cross with her finger, allowing it to rest in the palm of her hand. “I gave it to my daughter when she was born and-“ The woman’s fingers suddenly abandoned the cross and tugged the red wig from the agents head. Long dark hair spilled around her shoulders and the resemblance between the two women was clear. “Aurora Francine Summers, what are you doing here?” Her voice was cold lacking any warmth that she might feel.
“And then she gave it to me,” her voice trembled as she finished the story and her eyes filled with tears. She couldn’t keep them from spilling down her cheeks, but she didn’t care. “Hello Irina.”
“You shouldn’t be here Rory.” Irina shook her head as she spoke, as if scolding a young child, not a grown woman.
“What do you care,” Rory looked up, her eyes met Sark’s and suddenly he waved off the guards and she was released. Surprised she rubbed her aching arms and her gaze reverted back to the woman in front of her.
“You are Sydney’s daughter-“
“Don’t speak her name,” Rory held up a hand in front of the woman. “Don’t you dare speak her name. You have no right-“
“I have every right! I am her mother-“
“You killed her!” Rory shouted no longer trying to keep her composure. Her eyes were filled with the pain and anguish of loving a woman she’d never known and then loosing her, severing any chance they could have ever had to meet. “How could you do it? How could you kill your own daughter?”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about young lady-“
“Don’t patronize me,” Rory laughed bitterly. “You’re a lunatic who murdered her own child.”
Rory’s words were answered with a sharp slap across her cheek. The crack echoed throughout the near empty warehouse. She swallowed hard tasting the blood in the corner of her mouth. Silently she looked up at Irina.
Irina took a handkerchief from Sark’s outstretched hand and gently dabbed at Rory’s split lip. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I did not want to hurt you.”
“You don’t care who you hurt.” Rory glanced at Sark briefly before turning her gaze back to Irina.
“That’s not true-“
“You killed my mother.” Rory said simply unable to emphasize her point any further.
“No, I didn’t,” Irina shook her head and used the handkerchief to dry the tears from her granddaughter’s cheek, before dabbing once more at her lip. “Ask yourself Aurora, how could I harm the one thing that I love most in this world.” Irina pocketed the handkerchief and once more wiped Rory’s cheeks with her thumb. She smoothed her granddaughter’s hair and tucked it behind her ear. “I love your mother sweetheart. She is my world, just as you are hers.”
“But the pictures…the video, I saw what you did?” Rory looked up at Irina, pain and confusion etched across her face and for the first time she saw the tears in her grandmother’s eyes. “You pointed a gun at her back and pulled the trigger.”
“It was a ruse.” Sark’s voice seemed to come out of nowhere as he stepped towards the women.
“What?” She took a step back. He was a little too close for comfort.
“It was imperative that everyone believed Sydney was gone,” Irina explained gently taking Rory’s hand in her own. “Those closest to her, even you.”
“I-I don’t understand.”
“Your mother is alive Aurora,” Sark took another step towards her and this time she could not move. “But her situation is precarious and she needs your help.”
Rory’s eyes shifted between the two people standing in front of her. She was confused. Part of her was hopeful and the other part dared to believe it the truth. She couldn’t breath, everything seemed to be closing in around her as she looked at the photographs and she began to believe. Aurora Summers was about to be thrust into a world more dangerous than she could have ever anticipated.
Her eyes connected with Sark’s as he explained their actions and the reasoning for his participation. She stood frozen allowing him to explain without interruption and when he removed his dark sunglasses, she felt as if she were looking into a mirror.
She didn’t have time to react to his words. Out of the corner of her eye she suddenly saw Zack, his arm raised and pointing a gun at Sark. The guards saw him at the same time and a scream of terror escaped her throat as they fired. She tried to run to him but Sark grabbed her by the waist. He covered her body with his and pulled her to the ground, out of the line of fire. She landed hard on her shoulder, heard the snap as the bone broke and saw Zack go down. Sark tried to hold her back but she kicked him away crawling on her hands and knees towards the fallen agent.
“Zack, Zack please, please,” Rory half begged and cried as she reached him. He was still alive, but with two bullet holes in his chest. “What were you doing? I told you to leave. Why didn’t you listen Zack? Why weren’t you wearing your vest? Please be okay,” she sobbed. “Just hang on.” Her hands fumbled in his pockets searching for a cell phone. She found one in a cargo pocket and began to dial but Sark grabbed it away from her.
“What are you doing?” she screamed trying to grab it back. “He’s still alive, he has a chance. Please,” she begged. “He’s a good man. His name is Zackary Weiss. He’s only twenty five years old.” she wiped the tears from her cheeks with the back of her wrist and only succeeded in leaving a trail of blood across her face. “He has a family. I care about him. Please just give him a chance.” Ignoring the searing pain in her arm, her hands covered the two holes in his chest, putting pressure on them trying to slow the bleeding. “Please Zack,” she begged kissing his cheek. “Please just hang on for me.”
“Sark,” Irina walked over to them and took the cell phone, handing it to Rory along with a blanket and first aid kit she’d pulled from the car trunk. “We’ll be gone, before they get here.”
Sark backed away and began ordering his and Irina’s men about. They got in their cars and Sark and his men left immediately while Irina’s waited for her.
Irina knelt beside Rory and helped her position the blanket over Zack and press gauze bandages to his wounds. Rory began dialing the CIA emergency number on the cell phone.
“Agent Weiss?” Irina questioned fingering the CIA ID card she’d retrieved from his pocket.
“Yeah,” Rory nodded. “You shot his father remember?”
She didn’t wait for an answer and Irina didn’t bother explaining that it had been an accident, and she hadn’t actually shot Eric Weiss per say.
Rory’s trembling hand held the phone against her ear. “This is Agent Summers. Code name: White Rabbit. ID 6692-3259743. Confirmation: Mad Hatter. I need immediate medical assistance I have an officer down. My location is Warehouse four, sector 7, Pier 47, Los Angeles. Agent Weiss ID 5521-5632155 is down with two gunshot wounds to the upper chest. Our location is secure send immediate medical assistance.” Rory pulled Zack’s head into her lap and tried to wipe some blood from his hairline. She only succeeded in making it worse as her hands were covered in his blood. Her efforts to stop crying were futile as her tears mixed with the blood staining her face. “Get out before I change my mind,” she shouted and Irina straightened and walked away.
“Your mother needs your help.” Irina turned back and planted a kiss on the top of Rory’s head. “We’ll be in touch,” she whispered in her ear and with a final glance at Agent Weiss she got into her car and peeled out of the warehouse after Sark.
Rory kissed Zack’s cheek once more and did her best to cover his wounds with one good hand. “I told you to stay away,” she sobbed. “Why didn’t you listen, you stupid, stupid man.”
Zack’s eyes fluttered open. “I had to do something,” he whispered through gurgled breaths. “I couldn’t let them hurt you.”
“God, Zack,” She pressed her lips to his forehead.
“You need to find her Rory. You need to find your mother.” Zack closed his eyes. “I’ve got one for ya,” he smiled slightly opening them again. “Victory belongs to those who believe in it the most and believe in it the longest.”
Rory forced a smile. “That’s an easy one, Col. Doolittle, Pearl Harbor, 2001.”
Zack smiled back, “just keeping you on your toes. That’s you Ror, you’re victory” He began coughing up blood and Rory turned his head to the side so he wouldn’t choke on it. “There’s something you need to know, if I don’t make it-“ he whispered.
“Don’t talk like that,” Rory shook her head. “You’re going to be fine. Besides if you’re gone, who am I going to watch spy movies with and agonize over their unrealistic plots?”
“I love you,” he whispered seriously through choked breaths.
“I love you,” he repeated his dark eyes large as he struggled to continue breathing. “I know what I’m saying Ror, I need you to know that.”
“I understand,” she nodded threading her fingers through his hair. “You’re going to be okay, you have to be okay.” Leaning over she pressed her lips to his and using all the strength he had left Zack kissed her back.
Reluctantly Rory pulled away and kissed his nose. She watched as his eyes closed and he lost consciousness.
“Zack, please hang on. Don’t leave me. Not like this Zack please not like this.”
~ ~ ~
The shot of morphine she’d been given been dulled any pain she might have felt and with her broken wrist wrapped and plastered and a bullet graze in her arm stitched up, Rory sat on the pew in the small chapel, unsure of what she was really doing there. Up until an hour ago, the lines between good and evil had been so clear and concise. But now with the realization that her mother was alive, and out there somewhere in the vast world, those same lines seemed blurred, gray and out of focus. She’d allowed the enemy to escape, and here she sat talking to God while her best friend lay near death
Since her mother’s supposed death, twenty years earlier, both Sark and Irina Derevko had lain low, emerging every once in a while for something minor. Both individuals were still wanted by the CIA and in a selfish decision she’d had allowed them to escape. Rory knew she could have pulled Zack’s gun and shot both of them before they’d have had time to react. It would have been for the greater good. Two less bad guys walking around free in this world. But that would have been the end of her life as well as Zack’s, and the end of any chance of finding her mother. She kept repeating Sark’s words over and over again in her mind. “It was all a ruse, your mother is alive.” They just seemed too good to be true and she wouldn’t have dared to believe it so, were it not for the photographs. They were the tangible evidence of her mother’s existence.
Since she’d transferred to LA, Rory’s life had spiraled out of control. Zack had been her grounding point and now everything was so inconsequential as he lay on an operating table fighting for his life. She slipped the gold cross over her head and fingered the chain, allowing it to thread between her fingers. She had exactly three things of value from her mother. A photograph, a Third Edition Alice in Wonderland and the gold cross. The necklace meant the most. She’d had it since she was born and for the longest time, it was all she had. She pressed her lips to it in silent prayer and fell to her knees, ignoring the aching jolt in her arm.
“Please fight Zack,” she whispered. “I can’t do this without you.” She looked down at her hands still stained with his blood and figured the rest of her must be the same. She felt sick to her stomach looking at the dried blood under her fingernails. There had been so much blood; so much she wondered if he even had any left inside him. “Dear God, please let him live. Please don’t take him from me. Give him the strength to fight.”
She slipped the necklace back on and fisted the pendant. Her eyes looked up to the large wooden cross at the center of the front wall and whispered a promise. “I’ll find you mom. Wherever you are, I’ll find you.” And as she’d done so many times before, she asked her mother for strength and guidance.
“Agent Summers?” a male voice called to her from the doorway of the chapel bringing her out of her daze.
“Yes?” Rory quickly wiped her eyes gaining composure before she turned to look at the Agent.
“Director Dixon, Agent Weiss, Agent Bristow, and your father are here. They’re asking for you.”
“Thank you,” Rory stood and held her head high as she soundlessly walked with the security agent down the hallway ignoring the stares of curious onlookers.
She was quite the sight. Barefoot, tangled dark hair, red swollen eyes, a split lip, and two large bruises forming on her cheekbone and forehead were only the beginning. The sleeve of her shirt had been torn off at the shoulder and her arm was wrapped in thick gauze and plaster. The blood had seeped through her black sweater and when the doctors cut it off, her white t-shirt was stained red. Blood was already beginning to seep through the bandage on her arm, and it still remained partially on her face and hands.
Her arm in a sling, she walked quickly down the corridors. Instantly spotting Eric Weiss’ worried face and she felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. She was the cause for his anguish. She had put his son’s life in danger. She ignored Director Dixon’s questions and walked straight to her father and grandfather who were deep in conversation.
“You lied to me,” she accused them not even taking a second glance at their shocked faces. “Mom’s alive, I have proof, you lied to me, and now I know the truth.” Rory shouted the words not even caring who heard. She wanted so desperately to force as much pain onto them as she was feeling. Tears fell freely down her cheeks and to look at her, she was that of a broken woman. A broken woman so far damaged, one could wonder if there was even a chance for repair. Rory threw the pictures at them. Jack tried to catch them, but he was far too surprised and the photographs, stained with the blood of Zackary Weiss spilled onto tiled floor. Jack bent and picked one up; holding it between his fingertips his eyes met hers.
Rory’s gaze reverted back and forth between her father and grandfather. She watched as her father, numbly took the photograph from Jack’s hand, his mouth open in surprise and the color drained from his face. That was when it hit her and she realized the truth. “You didn’t know Mom was alive,” she whispered her voice broken off by a sob. She turned to Jack. “But you did.”
Her tearful blue eyes were filled with the hurt and anguish only betrayal could bring and as Jack looked into them he was reminded of his own daughter 25 years earlier. The wild terrified look in her eyes and the blood from her fiancée that covered her body, face, and hands. The betrayal, she’d felt when he’d told her the truth about SD-6. Betrayal was such a common theme for their family. “Aurora-“
“Don’t you Aurora me.” She spat the words from the tip of her tongue as if they were distasteful and bitter. “How could you do it Grandfather? How could you keep that from me? She’s my mother. She’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted in this world and you kept her from me.”
“Sweetheart, it’s going to be okay,” her father finally spoke his words pulling her away from the anger she felt. “We’ll find her, I promise you.” He spoke numbly. His words seemed hollow and insincere as if he didn’t really believe them himself. He was cut short as a doctor in hospital scrubs exited the operating room. “Stay here,” he ordered her and she obeyed standing next to her grandfather as they watched the doctor speak with Eric. Her father stood beside his friend, a hand on his shoulder offering any emotional support he could give as the fate of Eric’s son was revealed.
“This isn’t as clear cut as you may think,” Jack said softly staring straight ahead. “There are circumstances that you can not even begin to understand-“
“And the cost?” she couldn’t even look at him. “Was it worth it? Was it high enough? How can I believe anything you say to me ever again.”
“She is not the woman you want to know. This was done for your protection-“
“That was my decision to make. Mine. Not yours. Your words are nothing to me.”
Rory stood unmoving as her father turned back to her. He took several steps and then stopped, looking as though he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.
“What is it?” she asked fearfully. “Is Zack going to be okay?”
He opened his mouth but no words came out and all he could do was hold open his arms. She flew into them, whispers of questions that went unanswered. Jonah Summers, better known as Will Tippin, could do nothing, but hold her in his arms and thank God that his daughter safe. She might never be able to trust him again after what he had to tell her, but she was alive and that was all that mattered. His daughter meant more to him than life itself and he would give anything to make all the hurt go away.
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