The Hunter and the Hunted

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
The Hunter and the Hunted
Author: Amy
Rating: R – for the usual, graphic violence and you know, the other thing
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters or the first two seasons of Alias. Those belong to JJ and crew. Anything not canon does belong to me, however, and I prefer it to stay that way. Seriously. I know karate. Or something...
Summary: Death. Anger. Revenge. Betrayal. All the good components to an epic story revolving around Sark and Sydney.
Timeline: Everything up until the season 2 finale has happened. After that, it’s all my own F-ed up little world.

Author’s Note: This is the story formerly entitled “Red”, it had been posted in the General Fiction threads, due to a previously PG-13 rating. I’ve re-worked it, added some scenes, and decided to continue writing it (I had previously stopped). The rating has been upped to “R” because of some added sex and violence. So, essentially, this is a brand new story on top of my original storyline.


[Prologue]

He took a sip of his deep red wine. He smiled. It was a bitter smile, so unlike his usual smirk. He knew that everybody wondered at his fascination with red wine. But to him, it was not so much a fascination as a reminder. His wine is a link to his work, and subsequently his life. Because the wine is always red, never white. Red equals blood, blood equals death, and death equals life in his twisted world.

Death. It surrounded his entire life. Usually it is he who did the killing. But once, only once, was he the victim. He had not died. But he was forced to survive the murder of Allison Doren.

She was dead.

He had seen the proof with his own eyes. After easily escaping CIA custody that night, he drove by the wreckage that was Sydney and Francie’s apartment. Except it was really Sydney and Allison’s apartment. A ridiculous distinction, but one he always made.

He had seen all three of them: Allison and Sydney, lying in the midst of blood and wreckage, and Will Tippin in the bathtub, soaking a bath of his own blood. Slowly dying, life slipping away quietly, painfully.

Sydney was still breathing. He could see her chest moving. Up and down. Up and down.

He looked to Allison. There was no movement. There were three gaping holes. Close range bullet holes. A pool of sticky, red blood surrounded her.

She was dead.

Every time night comes back to haunt him, the anger boils up, underneath the surface, until he cannot contain the emotions aroused. He still feels the incredible pressure of guilt over Allison’s death. It was his fault she entered this life. After the guilt comes hatred, the hatred of her killer – the murderess Sydney Bristow.

And then, he feels nothing. He drinks more wine and becomes cold hearted once again.

It’s a cycle he hopes to break one day. Skip the emotion, be forever cold hearted. But he can’t. It’s his biggest weakness. When it comes to women, he feels too much.

Revenge. Thoughts of revenge are the only thing that keeps him sane. And he did have his revenge on the two that destroyed his life, his status quo, his stable and ice-like exterior.

He left Will Tippin in the tub, bathing in his own blood, sure to die at any second. And he left Sydney laying passed out on the floor of her now trashed room. He was not going to help either of them. Not with his Allison’s death at their hands.

He took Allison’s body away from the wreckage. He made funeral arrangements. She was buried in Ireland, near his beautiful cottage, his escape from the spy world, with a beautiful headstone. He made sure that there were always fresh flowers. In order to avoid speculation, he unearthed Francie’s body from its pathetic resting spot.

According to the news, all three had died tragically in a fire; the cause of said fire was still unknown.

Of course, his revenge was bittersweet. He didn’t have Allison by his side to celebrate the death of the pesky CIA agent.

He was alone, always alone.

- - - - - - - - - -

The cold earth made a loud noise as the deep brown dirt methodically hit the smooth wood of the casket, covering it until it disappeared completely. There was no formal funeral. No party afterwards. No sympathetic relatives or friends. It all ended with a solitary figure and cold, dark, earth.

She dressed in pure white. The sun shone brightly so she blocked her eyes with large black sunglasses. Her dark hair was pulled back into a discreet bun. If her eyes had been exposed, no tears would have been seen.

The men who had dug the grave smoothed out the dirt and left. She still stood there. Waiting, watching. In one of life’s most unreal moments, she kneeled on the ground, not caring about the dirt on her white dress, and finally let go.

In a few weeks a headstone would be placed at the gravesite. It would simply read: Jack Bristow.

An hour later, the sun began to set. She still remained there, kneeling, silent tears streaming down her cheeks. She felt a hand on her shoulder. Her body stiffened. She wasn’t expecting anybody to be there. Nobody knew about the private burial. There had been a memorial service at the CIA, full of sympathetic glances and whispered voices when she left the room. But this was private. She had not wanted anybody around.

Slowly she turned her head. A loud sob escaped her body, uncontrolled. That was the last thing she remembered of that day.
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
Step out the front door like a ghost
into the fog where no one notices
the contrast of white on white.
And in between the moon and you
the angels get a better view
of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.

Counting Crows -- “Round Here”


[1]

Fog: A state of mental vagueness or bewilderment; something that obscures or conceals.

As she walked out of LAX airport, Sydney re-evaluated her decisions. She never thought she would purposely betray her country. But after the last couple of months, it became so much easier to entertain the thought.

Four years ago, her life had been practically perfect. She was about to go on vacation with the love of her life, her friend Will had been cleared of wrongdoing, and her father was safe. True, she had lost her mother and Sloane, both traitors to her country, but they had Sark. Sark could lead the CIA to the traitors. Sydney would make sure of that. No amount of torture was off limits.

But that is when everything fell apart.

* * *

She walked into her house quietly. The double didn’t know that she knew the truth, but timing was everything. She almost jumped when she saw the woman on the couch, calmly pretending to be her dead best friend. There was no confirmation yet, but she was suspicious. Her cell phone indicated a message. She checked it. It was Will; he was quietly rushing through what she already knew in her gut.

She smiled faintly at the woman on the couch. She knew she had to do one more thing. So she pulled herself up off the couch and wandered into the kitchen. In the freezer there was her coffee ice cream. It was a love that Francie had never understood. It was the perfect idea.

She sat back down on the couch and calmly offered a bite to her roommate. Allison took the ice cream. That was all the confirmation she needed. With a smile on her face, she excused herself to her room. While she was rushing to grab her gun, a figure graced her doorway.

Francie doesn’t like coffee ice cream.

They fought an epic and bloody battle. She found Will in the bathtub, bathing in his own blood. She shot the double three times and then passed out in complete emotional and physical exhaustion. Her last thought was of Vaughn. She hoped that he was on the way to pick her up for their vacation. If not, she didn’t know if she would make it.

* * *

She woke up strapped down in some sort of chair. A quick jerking motion determined that she was held down very tightly. Her fingers could not move. She strained her eyes so that she could see down her body that her hands were wrapped in some sort of rope. She heard a faint movement in her right ear and realized that she was not alone.

There was a man standing next to her holding a syringe. He was towered over her, perhaps because he was tall, but possibly because she was laying flat on her back and could not sense how far off the ground she actually was. His hair was a mixture of grey and white, covered with a film of dirt. His facial hair was scraggly and long. His accent was thick Russian.

She was able to watch him slip the needle under the skin of her arm and inject the clear liquid into her blood stream. She became paralyzed, but still conscious. He turned her head and forced her to watch her own funeral. She watched as Vaughn scattered her ashes. All of the men in her life were there except for Will, who was dead. Even Kendall broke his emotionless wall to grieve for her. It felt as though her heart would explode with the intense pressure. It was broken at that moment and had never healed.

One tear escaped her right eye unbidden. It remained on her cheek until it was dry. Her hand could not move to wipe it away. The weight of the salty liquid drying on her cheek never went away.

* * *

Creak. Scuffle. Squeak.

She shuddered to think about what was making its way across the floor of her holding cell. She moved her head from left to right. Still nothing. The black emptiness was all consuming.

She finally was able to move something besides her head. There was no guessing what day it was, however she knew it had not been too long. The aftereffects of the drug were strong, but she felt that steely determination starting to build in the pit of her stomach.

She began to slowly feel her way around the small cell. It didn’t take long. The room, if it could be called a room, was a ten foot box. She could feel that the ground was made up partially of dirt and rock. She could feel things in the midst of the dirt that should not have been there. There was a lump of cold fur lying in the middle of her cell. She squelched an overwhelming urge to vomit.

Suddenly, a loud rusty noise filled the room. There was a brief glimpse of light in a small rectangular shape. An aroma of molding food filled the air. The vomit almost came up for a second time. Once again there was darkness.

She dumped the food out onto the dirt. Taking the plate and scraping it along the floor, she pushed the dead animal to a corner of the cell. She then dragged herself over to where the floor was smoother. All of her efforts exhausted her and she refused to eat their food.

She curled up into a ball and slept.

* * *

Later – she never did know how much later – a man opened the door to her cell. She was pulled up by her arms and half-carried, half-dragged down a dank hallway. The man was easily twice her size. He never spoke a single word. To this day, she would never be able to describe what he looked like. All she knew is that he could snap her in half.

That day she saw the man with the white beard again. He was the same Russian that forced her to watch her own funeral. She growled, a deep feral sound coming from her emaciated body. He laughed.

To teach her a lesson, he handed her a mirror.

“Look into it,” he commanded.

She complied.

In the mirror she saw what the rest of the world did. She was a dirty street urchin. She was dressed in rags, artfully decomposed to make her appear homeless. The rest of her appearance was much of the same. Her hair had not been washed during the time she was in lockdown. It was dirty and tangled in knots. Her face was covered in dirt. Her body frame had shrunk. Her muscles were soft.

It was at that moment she decided that they wanted her to die a slow and painful death.

The truth, however, was far from that fact.

They wanted her strong again, but retrained. Trained to kill instead of save. Trained to think for self over country. Trained to spy on those she had once aided.

It was simple enough – they wanted to change her identity.

* * *

She realized what it was she had to do.

One day, after watching images flash on a large screen before her eyes, she looked into the eyes of the Doctor and answered to the name of Julia Thorne. A slight smile played across his lips. He didn’t quite believe her, she could tell, but he was willing to play along with her game – at least for a little while.

She had to pretend that the brainwashing attempt was working. In doing so, she dyed her hair blonde. She learned a new history. She created the new persona.

In a way, the brainwashing worked.

To prove that she was successfully transformed into Julia, she had to kill a man, using only a knife. It was a simple test for someone who was brainwashed into being a killer. For Sydney, it was a line that she had never wanted to cross: to kill for no reason other than that. It was something Sydney never thought she would do.

But it was either kill or be killed. So she did what she was trained to do – survive. She could still remember the feeling as she pushed the sharp blade into his skin. She heard the skin slice open. She saw the blood pour out of the wound. She remembered his face, the look of horror in his eyes, and it too still haunted her in her dreams. It was at that point she knew that no matter what happened she would never be the same.

After that, she received more freedom, in exchange for further assassinations. That went on for a month. It was because of this freedom that she was able to escape. She immediately went to a payphone and called the CIA. She knew that they thought she was dead; however they were the only people she could call.

* * *

Kendall stood up awkwardly as she entered the safe house. He was shocked to see her, even though she had called him one week earlier. After she told him her story, he tried to get her to remain undercover with the Covenant. But that just wasn’t an option for Sydney. Even though Jack was under deep cover, Vaughn was still in Los Angeles. She wanted nothing else than to get back to him. She rushed out of the safe house and made her way to LA.

She waited outside Vaughn’s apartment. Sitting in the car, she glanced at the clock. It was late. She wondered where he was. Finally, she saw him pull up and get out of his car. Her hand reached to the door and she was about to get out of her car to talk to him, but something stopped her. It was a blonde woman and she was getting out of the passenger side.

Nine months is a long time.

She didn’t know what she was going to do. But she certainly was not going to go back to the Covenant. In continuing to pretend to be Julia, Sydney knew that she would completely lose her soul.

She watched them kiss, and then walk into his apartment. That’s when she noticed the car tailing them. A man in the passenger seat was on a cell phone, looking in the direction of Vaughn’s apartment.

He was being watched. But that didn’t change her decision. She still wasn’t going back to the Covenant. She called Kendall for another meeting.

* * *

A week later, she was back at the JTF, but she wasn’t the same.

Her first time back in the field was a frightening experience. It was a small mission, far away from the radar of the Covenant. She was doing surveillance in South America, watching some low-priority drug lords-in-training.

Suddenly, she was discovered. A sloppy move by one of her team and she suddenly had five large guns pointing in her direction. Within five minutes they were disarmed and dead.

The scars that she carried were so deep, sometimes they were too much to handle. She became less resistant to killing on the job. She was cold and calculated, and it was a side of Sydney that neither Vaughn nor anyone else would have thought possible. Sometimes she scared even herself.

* * *

Vaughn was still seeing Lauren. When Sydney returned, he found her to be closed off and unwilling to start back up. Unbeknownst to him, it was due to the fact he was being watched, probably by they Covenant. She didn’t want to attract anymore attention to him by dating her.

Soon after she returned, however, Vaughn’s feelings for her started to lessen. He had tried at the beginning to talk to her about her experiences. He thought at the beginning that he could turn her back into what she once was. He could not understand the darkness in her soul. He could not accept the part of Sydney that was Julia.

Vaughn should have caught on when her hair remained blonde. He should have known that she was not the same person and accepted it, instead of trying to put her back into the old Sydney’s mold. As for her hair, Sydney couldn’t bear to keep it her natural, dye-free brown. That hair was pure. She was not. Her soul had been forever tainted in those nine months, beginning with the killing of the anonymous man and continuing with the five other assassinations she was ordered to carry out.

* * *

She left the CIA for two reasons. One, they were a little hesitant about sending her on missions. It was whispered in the office gossip chain that she had become a dangerous field agent. There was always a death count on her missions. The second reason is that the Covenant was once again trying to get to her. She was no longer safe and it was leaking into her job.

So with the help of her father, Sydney ran away from home. She dyed her hair again. This time it was dark red, a nice auburn color. Not that it made a huge difference, but any little bit helps. She essentially disappeared off the face of the earth. Nobody knew where she was except Jack. And it remained that way for three and a half years, until this new tragedy struck.


* * *

Her father was dead. Even now as she thought about it, it didn’t seem like it could be possible. They had finally come to terms with their past. They had grown to love each other as father and daughter; unconditionally. It no longer mattered about his emotional distance in the past, or his current physical distance. It no longer mattered about anything they had ever done to wrong each other.

As she walked to meet her contact, the tears started to fall anew.

It was all taken away from her in a flash, taken away from her by the Covenant. They had finally gotten to Jack, the one person that could tell them where she was. She was no longer safe. It didn’t matter if Jack didn’t actually tell them. In Sydney’s mind, if they could get to Jack, they could get to her eventually.

After becoming incapacitated with grief, she eventually decided that she wanted revenge. She wanted to be rid of the threat they posed forever. In this sense, being the daughter of Jack Bristow did have its advantages. She had numerous contacts that were still willing to pay debts owed to her father in order to help her. But there was only one contact that could help her. The question that she faced; was she willing to go that far?

The answer was yes. She was prepared to find the one person who could help her. She was willing to ask the one person who would be able to provide the possibility of revenge on the Covenant.

Irina Derevko.

The night air was heavy with a light fog. The white-gray mist against the backdrop of the black sky created a depressing atmosphere. Her newly dyed hair was starting to frizz from the moisture in the air. As she waited on the pier for her mother’s representative to contact her, she heard thunder rumbling in the distance. It seemed fitting, really. The calm before the storm was almost over. It was about to start pouring.

She was nervous. Thinking about taking this step, and actually contacting her mother were two different things. It was like the difference between thinking about pulling the trigger and actually firing the gun.

She got to the pier where the meeting was to take place.

Fifteen more minutes passed by as Sydney waited impatiently. She had gotten there early, but still, the waiting was starting to wear her down. She was starting to have her doubts about this huge step she was taking. The thunder got louder and louder as the clouds move towards LA. The air is even heavier than before. She could feel the moisture from the clouds, ready to drop at a moments notice.

She saw a figure walking towards her. Due to the fog, the figure was too hidden to see whether it was a man or a woman.

She felt a cool drop of rain on her forehead. It trickled down her face.

The figure kept coming closer, and she could see that it was a man. He spoke to her.

“It’s going to rain. Need an umbrella?” It was a familiar voice; clipped British accent, with a cold and sarcastic tone.

Sark.

Of course, she should have known it would be him.

She turned around to face him. And saw the look of shock in his eyes.

Sydney.

He had known that she was alive, but also that she was in hiding. He had thought that he would never have to see her again, after his assassination attempt had failed.

“Well, this is certainly an interesting development.” Good. His voice came out calm and cold. She would never know the turmoil he was feeling inside.

“I would say the same, but somehow I always knew you were loyal to Irina and not Sloane.” Her voice betrayed nothing, just like his. “We’ll be leaving now before it starts to rain hard. You have a car with you I assume?” Her voice was much different than he remembered. It was harder, colder; it sounded more like him.

He nodded his head in assent.

They walked quietly to his black Mercedes. Sark was still furious. Sydney was determined. He started the car, then turned to her and asked, “Do you need to get anything from your apartment?”

“No. Irina took care of everything. I have all I need waiting for me at the safe house in Sao Paulo.” She laughed bitterly. “I have nothing of value here anyway; I haven’t lived in LA for about three and a half years.”

The way she spoke that time wasn’t cold. It was filled with pain. Something had obviously happened to cause her much grief.

Sark was not sympathetic. In fact, he took pleasure in her pain. From the moment he saw her alive, he felt his revenge on her had failed. He could not accept failure. When she had been in hiding, he felt less failure because she lived her life as a dead woman. Being so near to her, he decided that if she was not dead, he liked that she was abandoning her faith in good and embracing life on the edge. It meant that she was broken. Broken would work in the revenge department. She was clearly hurting as much as he had.

They drove on in silence. There was nothing left to say.

Finally, they reached the airfield and boarded the plane. Both were relieved. They could stay out of each others way on the private jet. Sark stalked to the bedroom and shut the door loudly. She could hear the lock click.

She sighed loudly and flopped very un-gracefully on the leather couch. She looked around the plane. It was furnished in black leather furniture. Two long couches, facing each other. The walls of the plane were a lovely crème color. The carpet was as black as the chairs. The contrast between light and dark was effective.

She searched the room for a blanket, found one, and then she curled up on the couch and fell asleep. It was a dark and dreamless sleep. For the first time in six years, she didn’t have nightmares.

Sark didn’t have as much luck. As soon as he got into the bedroom he lay down on the bed. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep. But instead he was plagued with images flashing in his mind. They were images of Allison lying in a pool of blood, images of flames shooting up in the air from their apartment, and then images of Sydney sitting in the seat next to him in the car.

It looked like sleep was going to evade him again.

He decided to check up on Sydney, since he was unable to get her out of his mind. He unlocked the door and walked into the open area that made up most of the living space on the plane. He saw her curled up on the couch, sleeping soundly.

He studied her intently, really looking at her for the first time since they had met on the pier. He noticed her hair right away. In fact, he was surprised that he didn’t notice earlier, though he had been facing extreme shock in finding her alive when he thought that he had killed her. Interesting, he thought, what had inspired her to take such drastic measures like jet black hair and bright red highlights? And then he cursed himself for even wondering the slightest bit about her motivations.

Even while sleeping, he also noticed that she had lost her innocence, her joy in the world. She did not let her guard down, even in her sleep. She was still cold and hard, though her eyes were closed.

He started to walk over to her to wake her up, as they were almost to their destination. She must have sensed a change in the room’s atmosphere because suddenly, she woke with a start and sat up quickly.

She opened her eyes slowly and saw two ice-blue daggers staring at her.

“We’ll be in Sao Paulo soon” he said in that familiar, cold voice.

“Okay. I’m ready to go.” She stretched her arms, and twisted around, trying to loosen her back muscles.

“Don’t you want to fix yourself up?” Her clothing was mussed and her hair was completely awry.

She laughed. “That’s hardly necessary. It doesn’t matter what I look like.” But she did proceed to smooth down her hair and the wrinkles out of her clothes as much as possible.

Around thirty minutes later, they left the plane and were on the way to meet her mother. But Sark couldn’t help but think that he would rather be killing her than working with her.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
did you post this on sd-1?
i think i read it there
but i still really like it
update soon
can i please get a pm when you do?
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
haveron_morgan: yes, I did post this at sd-1 as well, it is
still under the former title name. I will PM you when I post more,
thanks for reviewing :)

cattyline: sure thing! Glad you like it!

Bristow Stare: Thanks. I really appreciate the compliment. :) You are added to my PM list!

Cheer_Chica: You're on the list!

acting_chica: MC, that means so much to me, it really really does. Hopefully one day, I won't be just a fanfic writer, then everybody else can read me and love me, too! You're on my PM list for this one, of course!

Without Further Ado...I'm catching you all up to Chapter 10a. I've been busy since I re-posted here, and now, I'm just going to catch you all up every couple of days. Feel free to take your time to read through, as it may be slightly intimidating at first!

[2]

All alone again
But I've been through all this s*** before
Spend my nights in self defense
Cry about my innocence
But I ain't all that innocent anymore

Counting Crows



Innocence: the state of being morally free from guilt or sin; purity of heart; blamelessness.

- - -

It had been so long since Sark had been in a state of innocence. He couldn’t remember back to a time that he had ever been pure of heart, except for in his very early childhood. As a little boy, he had tried to bear the brunt of his father’s rage and abuse in order to save his mother, but it had never worked. Instead, they both ended up bruised and emotionally torn apart.

At an early age, that tainted his view of things. Violence came easy to him throughout the years. It wasn’t surprising that the day that Irina Derevko approached him, he took her up on the offer. He had been with her ever since his graduation from boarding school at the age of 18, and he did not regret a single day.

Killing was all a part of the job. He never hesitated, not even his first time. He had been fifteen years old when that had happened. He was living in London while going to boarding school and he had gotten mixed up with a wild crowd. The gang was ruthless boys all in their teens: they stole, killed, and generated mass mayhem wherever they went.

Sark fit right in. At his boarding school, he learned to appreciate the finer things in life, materialistically speaking. He could enjoy a nice suit, a fancy car, and, even at his young age, a fine wine. However, he could not stand the smug, puritanical views on life that he was subjected to. He had a mind to like women, sex, and violence – all frowned upon by the strict headmaster of his school.

The leader of this rag of rebels was a boy, 18, of ambiguous origin. He was a little shorter in stature, but made up for that in muscle. He had dark hair to go with his dark soul and he went by the name of Simon Walker.

Simon was the one who “discovered” him on that dark, cloudy day on the London streets. Sark had been out wandering with a group of pansies from school, when he separated from them to have some fun. Sark was looking for some mischief, so when he came across Simon he was instantly intrigued by his lifestyle.

After speaking for a few moments, Simon had decided to invite him to hang out with the rest of his gang. He had given him only one condition. One of the members of the gang was threatening to go to the police with proof of their activities. Simon and the others were not having it. They suspected that he was serious. They were quite lucrative for being so young, and they could not afford to be ratted out. With all of the people they had already killed, none of them would ever see the light of day again.

The only way to ensure their safety was to have the boy killed. That is where Sark came into the picture. Sark, the newcomer, was asked to kill the boy. Sark quickly agreed. At that moment he realized that this was what his life was missing: excitement and danger. So, he took the knife from Simon’s hands and made his first kill. It had been so easy and after he had done it, he was immediately accepted into Simon’s gang of thugs. It was the start of his life of crime. He ran around with them until he graduated from school and was approached by the beautiful Russian lady.

Sark and Simon occasionally crossed paths during their work, and it was always a pleasant reunion. They had always respected each other, knowing full well that if they were on opposite sides, neither would spare the others life if it came down to it.

- - -

Sydney’s state of innocence may not have shattered until much later – but eventually it had, and here she was driving with Sark to see her mother. They arrived in Sao Paulo around mid-day. It was a bright and sunny day – the direct opposite of their black moods. They drove through the city in another Mercedes; this one was silver. Irina’s house here was on the outskirts of town, in a more isolated area, close to the ocean.

Sydney was less concerned with the driver of the car as much as her thoughts of revenge. They consumed her every waking thought. She wasn’t sad, broken, or exhausted. She was angry and vengeful. Her black mood mirrored what Sark was feeling. It was a connection that Sark desperately wanted to break.

“So, Agent Bristow, what brings you to the other side of the law? Honestly, I never though I’d see the day that you willingly came to work with me.” Sark's c***y, clipped voice broke through her thoughts.

“I actually haven’t been Agent Bristow for almost four years now.” She answered in her don't mess with me-tone, hoping he would get the hint.

He chose to ignore it, trying to bait her. “Disillusioned with your government?” Was the next snide question that came in her direction.

“Maybe.”

“Care to elaborate?”

“No.”

He couldn't get a rise out of her. She was completely indifferent to him.

He tried using something else besides her job. “I heard Agent Vaughn got married.” He thought that should do the trick, reminding her of what she lost.

“Yes.”

Bloody hell – not even the mention of her precious boy wonder could get a rise out of her. How the hell was he supposed to deal with her changing the rules on him? He’d have to come up with a new game.

They pulled up to a very dull, gray wall. Sark reached out the window of the car and punched some numbers onto the hidden keypad on the dashboard of his car. Out of nowhere the portion of the wall directly in front of them opened up, revealing a well-disguised gate, and they drove through.

Inside was a long driveway that led up to a beautiful and large mansion, surrounded by lush green grass and beautiful plants/flowers. However, for the first time in her life, Sydney was not in awe of this extravagance. She saw it purely as a means to her end: the complete and utter destruction of the Covenant and the personal torture and killing of the person who had shot her father.

They walked into the house and were immediately followed by guards as they walked to Irina’s study. Sydney had a reputation, and even though she was the boss’s daughter, nobody trusted her just yet. After all, the last they heard, she was CIA and not somebody to mess with.

The door was open, so they walked right into the study, and Sark shut the door behind them. Irina was sitting in the middle of the floor, meditating. Sark cleared his throat and she looked up to acknowledge them.

A slight look of shock passed across her face at the sight of her daughter’s appearance. She took in the wrinkled clothing, mussed hair that was jet black and highlighted bright red, and lastly the hollow look in her eyes.

In a moment of pure motherhood, which went against her normal behavior, she stood up and embraced her daughter; enveloping her broken child in protective arms.

Over Sydney’s shoulders she motioned for Sark to leave the room. To which she received a stony gaze from Sark as he turned to leave the room.

When Sydney heard the door click shut, she pulled out of her mother’s arms, tears glistening in her eyes. “Dad is dead.” Her voice sounded so hollow and empty.

Irina looked at her sadly, knowledge in her eyes. “I know.”

Sydney looked up at her mother, her eyes dry again and red with revenge written across her face, “I want them all to pay.”

Irina smiled at her, “and so they will. Not just for Jack, but also for what they have done to you.”

Sydney nodded.

Irina looked deeply into her daughters eyes and asked just one question, “Are you ready?”

Sydney met her mother’s eyes and held the gaze as she answered, not wavering one bit, and “yes.”

“Very well, you go rest and I will speak with Sark.”

Sydney looked at her mother, as if to say ‘Thank you’ and then turned and walked out of the room. She opened the door and found Sark waiting on edge, as if he had been listening to the conversation and was expecting her to reach the door at any moment. She glanced at him briefly, and then made her way with the guard assigned to her to the room that her mother had prepared for her.

Meanwhile, Sark entered the study to speak with Irina. He didn’t get very far before Irina spoke, “Jack is dead.”

Sark stopped mid-stride. Jack Bristow was dead? He never thought that he would hear those words spoken in his lifetime.

“Since when?” He asked, still in shock.

“Three days ago. Sydney contacted me immediately after she found out. Apparently the Covenant has been after her for the past four years, ever since she escaped their brainwashing attempt. I myself did not know until recently. I had just known from Jack that Sydney was out of the life and living in an undisclosed location from anybody except Jack. The Covenant got to Jack and killed him because he would not tell them where Sydney was. He was tortured excessively then shot.”

Sark spoke haltingly, “So, why is Sydney here?”

“I am going to help her get revenge on the Covenant.”

“Why are you doing that? Out of love and devotion to your family?” He asked sarcastically, knowing fully that she must have another agenda for helping her daughter.

“I may be dedicated to my cause, but regardless I love my daughter. Her destroying the Covenant just happens to be beneficial to my motives as well.”

“So where do I come in?”

“You two will be partners.”

Sark just stared at her in horror. “Partners with her?”

“Yes, Sark, and I will not tolerate insolence even from you.” Irina did not like it when her employees questioned her orders.

Sark could barely contain his hatred for Sydney. “At one point in time, we tried to recruit her. She turned us down. If she had said yes then, I would not have a problem. But now, she is too emotional. I won’t let that interfere with our work.”

Irina could hear the rage in his tone. She knew that he hated her daughter for what she did to Allison, and that was his real reason for objecting to the partnership. “Sydney is focused on revenge, Sark. You will work with her. Besides, I don’t think she is the only emotional one here. You clearly have a strong reaction to working with her.”

“I will work with her. But if I suspect at any time that her emotional involvement is compromising the task at hand, I will keep her from aiding me.” Sark accepted her unspoken criticism for his emotional reaction and tried to remember not to react so violently to the mention of Sydney Bristow - especially around her mother.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less and neither would Sydney. But you will find her changed, Sark, she is not the person she once was. Remember that. She will not hesitate to do her job when the time comes.” Irina spoke sadly, yet with a hint of pride. Her daughter was tough, but she was sad at the turn of events that had brought Sydney to this point.

“See that she doesn’t.” Sark was back to being ice-cold.

“Do you doubt me, Sark?” Irina was slightly amused at her right hand man. He seemed to be more opinionated than ever today.

“Usually I wouldn’t, but this is your daughter, the irritatingly good Sydney Bristow who seems to think that she is pure and the whole world revolves around her.”

Irina laughed at his assessment. It wasn’t far from the truth; he seemed to have a grasp on her daughter’s character, even if he didn’t want to. “She isn’t quite so good anymore. Remember that.”

“I will. But I don’t promise not to kill her.” He stared coldly at Irina, conveying that he was not kidding around.

Irina respected his loyalty to the cause, however she could not go that far with her own daughter. Punish her, yes. Kill her, no. “Yes Sark, you do. If you find her not doing her job, you bring her to me, but not dead. Understood?”

“Understood.”

“Good. Now, here is where you will start. Look over the information, and then bring it to her. You leave for France tomorrow morning. Oh yes, and if you fail – even if it is due to Sydney’s inability to comply with the orders – I will hold you partially responsible.” She hands him a file, filled with information on certain Covenant activities.

Sark left the room with no more words spoken. He made his way to his bedroom and tossed the file onto his desk and then just stood there for a moment, fuming. How dare Irina threaten him as well? If her daughter screwed up the mission, how was that his fault? Unfortunately, Irina’s threat only added fuel to his resentment of Sydney Bristow. He was now responsible for her and if she screwed up the mission, then he was screwed as well.

He made his way around the desk and sat down to read it. It was a pretty straightforward mission. They were to go to Paris and intercept two very important Covenant operatives. Once they had the two in their custody, they were to transport them back to Sao Paulo and obtain information from them. There were no limits on the methods of extraction, as long as they were not killed. This was a test for Sydney because as much as Irina wanted to help her daughter, her endgame came first. Sydney had to prove herself an asset. Nothing from Irina came free – even for her daughter.

Sark smirked as he read the file, and he pulled one of the pages before he closed the file. This was one bit of information that Sydney should not see. He placed the paper on his desk, and got up to deliver the rest of the information to Sydney. He walked into her room without knocking and found her sitting in a huge chair, reading a book.

She looked up at him and saw the file that he was carrying. “Where are we headed?”

“Paris. We are leaving tomorrow. Look over this information and we’ll go over all the details tomorrow on the plane.” With those words, Sark tossed the file down at her feet and left the room.

Sydney picked it up and started to look through the information. She realized quickly that this was more than just an intelligence operation. This was a test for her. If she hesitated at all, she would certainly not find any answers. It was time to get into the game.

The two operatives they were to intercept seemed to be relatively high up in the Covenant. They most likely held valuable information. From their operations files that Irina had compiled, it appeared that they had been assigned to multiple operations dealing with CIA officers. This meant that they would know information about her and her father.

She looked at the next page with their names and pictures and her heart stopped for a moment. Looking up from the page was none other than Lauren Reed. Sydney didn’t even pay attention to the man that was pictured next to her. She spent five minutes staring that the picture of Lauren, her blood boiling. As she read further on Ms. Reed, she found out that a year after Sydney had left and six months after her marriage to Vaughn, the CIA finally learned where Lauren’s true loyalties lay. Unfortunately, in an extremely ineffectual moment, Lauren had been able to evade capture and was now working openly for the Covenant.

Sydney snorted her disgust with the CIA over their folly and finally looked Lauren’s partner. She again was surprised, though this one wasn’t too hard to understand. It was McKenas Cole. She smiled as she closed the file, her mind processing all the information. She wondered what Cole would say when he saw ‘pigtails’ now. He might just have to take her a bit more seriously – and Sydney was going to enjoy that.
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
Thankies for the reviews! :shamefullyembarrased:

As always, m-c, your reviews are inspiring. It's nice to be writing again, and to have people like you stick around, waiting for me after my long hiatus!

I'll post two chapters tonight (I'm at work right now) because I want to catch you all up ASAP. :)
 

IwantRome

Cadet
Joined
Oct 24, 2004
Location
Germany
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>ohhh LOVE this. </span>:P :P :P
so dark!!! :Ph34r: excellent
please pm when you update.you said tomorrow on july 25 :D :D :D ...so :angelic:
suzy
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
Eeeks! Sorry, I got busy, then sick. I will add you to the list, IwantRome and update asap. Thanks for the review! :)
 

IwantRome

Cadet
Joined
Oct 24, 2004
Location
Germany
amy lynn said:
Eeeks!  Sorry, I got busy, then sick.  I will add you to the list, IwantRome and update asap.  Thanks for the review! :)
[post="1456111"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]​
oh no problem.
i was , well still am, sick too,so i spend my weekend searching through this forum...well and found your story. :D that made my weekend.
so as i said now hurry!! :angelic:
thanx for adding my to your pm list
see you
suzy
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
suzy, sorry to hear you are sick, but glad you found my story! :)

Here are the next two chapters, as promised.

[3]

“How to Commit the Perfect Murder” was an old game in heaven. I always chose the icicle: the weapon melts away.

Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones



Icicle: a natural formation of falling water that is frozen to ice; cold, sharp, and dangerous.

Sydney Bristow had become an icicle. She was everything that an icicle was – she was cold as ice, her tones were sharp, and her fury was dangerous to those who stood in her way. Sark was on the receiving end of the cold attitude.

Awkward was the only way to describe the atmosphere the next day. They planned while on the plane flying to Paris. Sark and Sydney both were tiptoeing around the tension in the air by conversing only when necessary.

Sark was tense working with Sydney. He wasn’t sure if he wanted her to fail, so that he could be rid of her presence, or succeed – so that Irina did not punish him as well. He decided that in order to save his own ass, they were going to have to work together on this and prove that they were a force to be reckoned with.

According to the information, Lauren and Cole were to meet with an assassin they were looking to hire for some freelance work. The meeting was to take place in an exclusive discotheque in a hidden Paris alley. Sydney and Sark both had no problems getting into places like this in the past; they were skilled enough. Once they got in, however, they were going to have to intercept the Covenant duo before this unknown assassin showed up.

The best plan of action was to have Sark go in, posing as the assassin for hire. From the intel that Irina had come across, the Covenant didn’t tell the operatives who they were meeting, just gave a procedure for the meet. Sydney and Sark were to use this to their advantage.

The procedure was for the contact to send over a specific drink to the Covenant operatives. Once this happened, Lauren and Cole would invite the contact to their table to discuss business. Sark just had to make sure he got there first, which wasn’t going to be a problem. They had intercepted the time of the meet. They were to go in, Sark would take the contacts place, while Sydney would provide backup and search for the one who was really supposed to be meeting with the Covenant and if necessary, detain them as well.

It was a solid plan, so when all the details were arranged Sark and Sydney retreated to their own private corners to wait out the rest of the flight. Sydney pulled out the same book she was reading last night while Sark leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

Five minutes later, he hadn’t heard a page of Sydney’s book turn. He ignored it for a few more minutes, but curiosity got the better of him. He opened his eyes to find Sydney sitting across from him, her book lying open on her lap, staring at him intently.

“Do you need to go over the plan again, Bristow?” He asked condescendingly, cursing her for interrupting his moment of peace – even though it was he who had broken the quiet atmosphere by speaking.

“No, I was just curious about something,” she answered in that monotone voice of hers he was getting used to hearing.

“And what was that?” He sounded annoyed that she dare ask him a question.

“You seem like you don’t want to be working with me, yet years ago when we were at SD-6 and a little before that, you seemed to think that we were ‘destined to work together’ and you weren’t opposed to the idea. In fact, I remember a couple of business propositions that were made. What has changed?” Sydney really was curious about the answer to her question. For the most part, she didn’t think much about Sark, he was a means to an end, and her hatred of him was rather insignificant to her greater goal. However, she couldn’t help but wonder what had caused such a turn of events.

“Now isn’t the time for that conversation, Bristow. You should be preparing for the mission, not worrying about whether or not your partner likes you. We can do the job together without liking each other.” His ice blue eyes met her hard brown ones. The tone in his voice prevented any further attempts at conversation. It clearly stated shut up and get your head in the game so we don’t get killed tomorrow.

Unknowingly, Sark had pushed the wrong button in Sydney. She vowed that she would make him pay for that condescending tone – once she figured out which button to push back. The rest of the plane ride was spent with Sydney reading and Sark sleeping.

- - -

They could hear the bass from the music thumping in the alley outside of the club. Sark was dressed in his usual black Armani suit, complete with the black shirt underneath, with the top two buttons left undone. Sydney was in another one of her ‘club’ disguises: short, slinky, black skirt with nude fishnets and black heels. The top was a black leather corset.

Sark just stared at Sydney when she showed up outside his room in her outfit. With her new hair, the dark eyes, red lips, and black outfit, she looked so unlike the Sydney Bristow of the past, even when she had been in one of her many disguises. He wasn’t quite sure who she was, which made him uncomfortable.

As they walked to the back door of the discotheque, they were met with quite possibly the largest bouncer they had ever encountered. However Sark and Sydney possessed the right combination of intimidation and sexuality in their personas that the bouncer was no match. As they walked in, past the line, Sydney turned back and winked at the bouncer, and the rest of those waiting.

Once inside, they were quickly consumed into a world of smoke, people, and bass filled music. Sark looked at Sydney and nodded – signifying that they were to separate while he found Lauren and Cole and Sydney watched for the contact. Both of them quickly located Lauren and Cole. Sydney watched as Sark approached the waitress and ordered two drinks to be brought to their table.

She scanned the crowd, looking for somebody who might be looking to do the same thing. So far, there was nobody, but she kept her eye out while also attempting to watch the deal that was going on.

Lauren and Cole looked at Sark with surprise, but did not hesitate to wave him over to their table. So far, so good, thought Sydney, but she was still on alert. Nothing was ever easy in the spy game and she knew not to take her guard down. It was then that she saw him. He was standing across the room from her, watching the same scene unfold. She could tell from his body language that he was trying to figure out whether or not he should break up the party, or cut his losses and get out.

Sydney was not going to let him get away with either decision. If he started to move towards the table she would intercept him. The man started to walk towards the table, having made up his mind to break up the party. She walked over quickly, in order to intercept him, while still keeping an eye on Sark, Lauren, and Cole.

She bumped into him, making it look like an accident. He grunted, clearly annoyed, and spoke, “Watch where you’re going babe.” His voice was smooth, with an accent that was either Irish or British – probably a mixture of both.

She looked up into a pair of warm brown eyes set in a surprisingly attractive face. She used that to her advantage. She threw a pout in his direction and spoke with a false French accent. “I’m terribly sorry. I hope I did not cause you to spill your drink. I can buy you a new one if I did.”

He seemed to be transfixed by her lips as she spoke. A moment after she asked her question, he looked up to meet her eyes, “No babe, you didn’t. Unfortunately, I have business to attend to or else I would offer to buy you a drink.”

When Sydney realized that while he may find her attractive, flirting was not going to work on him, she decided to change tactics. She spoke again, this time in her normal accent, the tone of her voice cold and intimidating. “I’m afraid that I can’t let you do that.”

He looked at her with recognition in his eyes. “You must be Sark’s partner in this little charade. I don’t know what kind of game you are playing, but do not like to lose out on money.” His voice clearly stated that he was not happy with this turn of events.

The man moved as if to get passed her, and while he was doing so he was looking towards Sark so he didn’t even see her attack coming. She grabbed his arm as he brushed past her and twisted it behind his back so that he could not walk any further without her pulling him back. He grunted in pain as he tried to turn around and attack back. However, the club’s atmosphere and her seemingly iron grip on his arm prevented that from happening. She leaned in close to his ear and said, “Now, we are going to walk calmly over to Sark and the Covenant operatives like nothing is wrong. You are working with us now.”

“There’s just one problem with that, babe.” He was a reasonable man and could see the benefit to working with them, but working without pay was not reasonable.

“I’m not your babe. If the problem is money, we might be able to arrange something, but only if you play nice right now.” Her voice was level, honest. Only a fool would pass up the opportunity for a quick job and some money.

“And what do I have to do to ‘play nice’?”

“You can help me and Sark with our little game we’ve got going on. Do you see those two over at the table with Sark?”

“Yeah I see them”

“They have some information that I want. In a few moments we are going to walk over there and help Sark detain them. We will then fly back to our base of operations and begin extracting information. Are you in?”

“I’m always in for a little bit of fun, babe.”

“I thought I told you I wasn’t your babe.”

“You’re not his babe are you?”

At that, Sydney laughed hollowly. That was a ludicrous thought – her and Sark – he could hardly stand looking at her, and she was not his biggest admirer either. She ignored the question because all that was important was the task at hand. “I am going to let go of your arm, and we are going to walk calmly over to the table – but I have my gun trained on your back. Any sudden moves from you and I will not hesitate to use it. Got it?”

He nodded and she let go of his arm. With that, they made their way to the table and he could feel the tip of her gun on the middle of his back warning him against any false move. This woman was intrigued him with her coldness and fascinated him with her looks. He wondered why Sark had not already claimed her as his own – she was exactly the kind of woman he could see Sark with, she was also the kind of woman that he could see himself with.

While all of this was going on, Sark was engaged in an interesting conversation with Lauren and Cole. Once they motioned him over to the table, he made his way through the crowd to where they were sitting.

Cole spoke first, having known Sark while they had both worked for The Man. “Hey there Curles, how’s the world treating you these days?”

Sark’s blood boiled. He had always hated that nickname, so he retaliated with one he knew Cole hated as well. “Oh you know, Mac, a little stealing, some killing – keeping up with work.” He slipped into the role of assassin-for-hire easily. Ever since the fall of The Man’s organization, it was rumored that Sark worked for the highest bidder – no one ever guessed that he was still under Irina’s employment.

“Okay boys, let’s just get down to business” The garbled accent that was Lauren Reed finally spoke, her lips pursed together with an attempt of a pout.

“All business and no play, how boring of you my dear,” the mocking voice of McKenas Cole answered back, “you remember, Blondie, me and Curles – we go way back.”

Lauren sent Cole her version of a death glare. In response he glanced at her mockingly. He wasn’t intimidated by her, and she knew it, thus the attempted pout returned.

Sark sat back and watched their interaction together. Lauren Reed couldn’t be intimidating no matter how hard she tried. She also couldn’t be seductive to save her own life. Once they had been on a job together – before she was working for the Covenant and was sent to the CIA. She had tried to entice him into her bed afterwards.

From the way her eyes attempted to shoot daggers at him, it looked as if she was still a little bitter over his rejection, even though it had been almost five years. She was a silly woman and he often wondered how she made it so long in the game.

“I guess we should get down to business, Mac. It seems your partner isn’t too happy with this arrangement. So, I hear there is someone you need assassinated.”

“Here’s the deal Curly. There’s this guy, and well, he knows a little bit more than we would like him to know. The boss wants him taken care of pronto.” Cole certainly wasn’t the usual operative; his mannerisms alone caused Sark to smirk – the man really could be considered certifiably insane.

“Well, as entertaining as you make it sound, I’m afraid I’ll need a few more specifics.”

It was at that point when he saw Lauren’s eyes widen in surprise. Sark could only assume it meant that she had caught sight of Sydney. His suspicions were confirmed a moment later when he heard the ice cold voice that had become Sydney Bristow.

“Hello Lauren, how are you? Sorry I couldn’t make it to our dinner date that we had planned last time we spoke, unfortunately I was otherwise engaged.”

Lauren just stared at her, the horror in her eyes expressing exactly what she was thinking – What the hell is she doing here! Finally she was able to calm down enough to speak, “It’s not like I was looking forward to it anyway.”

At that, Sydney laughed. “Well, I can’t say that I was either.”

Cole watched in fascination as this new Sydney Bristow came sauntering up to the table accompanied by Simon Walker – a man he knew from some other freelance jobs. “No love for me, pigtails? I’m quite hurt.”

Sydney smirked in his direction. “You know what Cole; I’m going to really enjoy killing you when the time comes.”

Sark noticed then Simon standing next to Sydney. “So, I take it you’re the one who was really supposed to get the job.”

Simon nodded at his old friend. “You got that right, mate. But your beautiful partner here decided to enlist my help, and I accepted.”

“What do you mean supposed to get the job? You aren’t here for the job, Sark?” Lauren finally spoke up again.

Sydney answered for him, “No, we’re not here for the job you are offering. We’re here for something else.” There was an almost feral glint in her eyes as she spoke. It was enough to make Lauren’s heart start to race faster in fear.

Cole was less scared than Lauren, but even he knew that something had gone very wrong. He could tell from the look in Sark, Sydney and Simon’s eyes – not to mention the gun that Sydney had pulled on them. They were screwed. He looked over at his partner and saw that she was scared. Lauren’s eyes darted around the club, looking for an escape route, but all she saw were the writhing bodies of dancers and clustered groups of the drinkers – sitting on couches, at tables, or standing anywhere there was empty space. Any attempt of escape was futile.

Simon and Sark went over to where the two were sitting and Sydney motioned with her gun for Cole and Lauren to get up. Sark produced a pair of handcuffs and attached Lauren and Cole together.

“You know, for two such high ranking operatives, this certainly wasn’t difficult, it makes me wonder how both of you have lasted so long in the game,” Sydney said mockingly as they made their way out of the club.

To that she got a laugh from Simon, a smirk from Sark, a glare from Lauren, and a quip from Cole, “Ooh, so sassy. You know pigtails, I think I like you now more than ever.”

They made it back to the plane with no problems other than facing Cole’s quips and Lauren’s pouts, and one attempted escape. At one point Lauren and Cole tried to kick out Simon and Sark’s feet, making them stumble and giving them an opportunity to escape. Sydney saw it all in progress however, and responded by smashing the butt of her gun on Lauren’s temple. Lauren was immediately knocked unconscious. “It looks like you’re going to have to carry her weight along with your own now, Cole. You should have thought about that before you tried the pathetic escape attempt.”

The rest of the journey was relatively quiet. Once on the plane, the two detainees were placed in the back room with two extremely large and intimidating guards to keep watch. “Have fun you two,” Sydney said mockingly and winked as she handcuffed them to their chairs and walked out of the room, locking the door behind her.

As Sydney made her way back to the room where Sark and Simon were talking, she noticed the incredible dynamic between the two of them. It was obvious that they knew each other very well, and would work well together. This certainly is an interesting development, she thought to herself, and if anybody were paying attention they would have noticed her devilish smile. What kind of fun can I have with this?

For the first time in a week, Sydney Bristow was almost excited at the possibilities of her life. Not only did she have Lauren and Cole in her custody – a firm step in her revenge on the Covenant, but she could have some fun. She walked over to where they were sitting, looked at the two men and thought, let the games begin.
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
[4]

The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.

Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being


The heavy burden of her father’s death weighed on her mind. It trapped her – as if she were being buried alive. She would wake up in the middle of the night with tightness in her heart and pressure on her chest that wouldn’t go away. Sometimes she would find it hard to breathe. Sydney felt like she was sinking lower and lower into the ground.

The best way for her to temper her pain was to find one pleasure in her life. Simon could help her do that. Not only would she pay Sark back for his cruelty by ignoring him – she would lose some of her pain in another person. Her plan seemed fool proof. And fun, actually. There was so little that she took pleasure in these days that didn’t revolve around thoughts of revenge. Even in her darkest moments, Sydney knew that she would not be satisfied with revenge alone – though it certainly would help.

Sark had been sitting with Simon, listening to a colorful tale of Simon’s last job. They were interrupted by the sound of feet walking towards them, and the clearing of a throat. Sark looked up into the amused smirk that graced Sydney’s lips.

“You two look cozy here chatting. Old friends?” She used her seductive tone on the two men, to see if they would take the bait. Sark just shot a cold glance at her. Simon, however, rose to the occasion. He smiled and winked at her.

She sat down across from Sark and Simon with that same smirk plastered on her face and a mischievous gleam in her eyes. It was a look that Sark had not seen from her in so many years. He was suddenly – and irrationally – angry.

“Shouldn’t you be watching those two back there” Sark motioned with his head, referring to Lauren and Cole.

“What, and miss out on the fun up here? Besides, I still haven’t officially met your friend here” Sydney kept her eyes on Simon the whole time she was speaking, knowing that it would annoy Sark.

“Simon Walker.” Simon was clearly intrigued by the interaction between Sark and Sydney. It seemed so strained – seething with tension. He watched Sydney barely acknowledge Sark’s presence, which he knew would incense the blond assassin. It seemed that this Sydney wanted to see Sark squirm. That could be fun – it had been a while since he had seen anything get beyond that calm surface that Sark portrayed. And it could never be said that Simon Walker was not up for a little fun and games.

“Sydney Bristow.” She returned, coming as close as possible to batting her eyelashes at him, without overdoing it. Simon had to admit, it was pretty effective. She certainly was an attractive woman – not to mention skilled and dangerous according to the stories that he had heard from others.

The Sydney Bristow?” He had heard many stories about her skills, not to mention her parentage – and many of those stories had come from Sark. Simon was intrigued by this woman already.

“I’m not aware of any other with my name. I take it you’ve heard of me, then?” She shot a dazzling smile at him and Simon decided then and there that, game or not, he was going to have her. She was too beautiful, too enigmatic, and too talented to let slip through his fingers. Besides, Sark didn’t seem to want anything to do with her – that left the window wide open for Simon to move in. Not that anything would have stopped him anyway. Simon Walker got what he wanted, regardless of who else wanted the same thing. That is what made him and Sark such good friends early in life – and easy enemies later in life.

Sark was irritated at the spark that he had seen in Sydney’s eyes. Simon had ignited something inside of her that his baiting used to do – but had failed the past few days. He was not used to being upstaged – friend or no. He got up and went to check on their prisoners. Somebody had to focus on work. And it seemed that this end of the plane had turned into some ridiculous version of the game “who can come on to the other person stronger”. They were both tied for first right now. Sark shook his head in disgust.

He nodded to the guards as he unlocked the door and went into the area that housed Lauren and Cole.

Lauren was passed out from exhaustion – what a weak woman – and Cole was just sitting there, with his slightly crazed look on his face. He perked up the moment Sark entered the room. “Hey there Curles, did you get tired of playing with pigtails?”

Sark just smirked in disgust at the man’s obvious fascination with everybody else hair. Cole really was crazy. “Cut the felgercarb, Mac. I’m here to chat with you about Jack Bristow.”

“Bristow – hmmm…I don’t know if I remember a Jack Bristow. Oh yes, pigtail’s father. Worked at SD-6. I threatened to kill him so that Sydney would come out of hiding the day that we raided the facilities. That’s the last I ever encountered him. What do you want to talk about Jack Bristow for?”

Sark just laughed at him – a c***y, arrogant laugh that clearly said I know better than to believe you.

Cole stared back at him, challenging him with those crazy eyes.

“Well if you won’t talk willingly, I guess this will work as a little ‘conversation room.’”

Cole just laughed at the reference. “You have your own in-flight torture chamber. How clever. No need to give the prisoners any rest at all.”

“It is quite helpful, you must admit. Now, I’m afraid our pleasantries must come to an end.” Again, Cole was met with the smirk – the endless amount of smirking that came from Sark was annoying him, and Cole gave Sark a look that said as much.

Sark pulled out a tranquilizer gun – and as he pointed it at Cole he spoke, “Just remember this. I have the proof that you ordered the hit on Jack Bristow – and you know who carried it out. That is all that Sydney needs to kill you. However, you are one of the most knowledgeable Covenant operatives. And we are going to take down the Covenant piece by piece. So you see, if you value your life, you will talk – if you are useful enough, you might just escape death. If not, I’ll just slip Sydney the information and you will die a slow and painful death – believe me, she will show you no mercy. Think about it while you sleep.”

He c***ed his head to the right, stared at Cole and shot him with the tranq gun.

- - -

Back in Sao Paulo

The rest of the trip and the transfer of the prisoners went as well as could be expected. There were no major problems – as Lauren was practically fainting with fear and Cole was still knocked out from the heavy tranquilizer. As soon as they were secured, it was time to debrief with Irina.

Simon waited outside her office until Irina was informed of his role in the operation. He could hear muffled voices from outside the doorway – but their voices were just low enough that he couldn’t make out the words. It didn’t bother him, however. It was pretty much a given that he would be joining their team. He was an asset – he knew it, Sark knew it, Sydney knew it – it was just a matter of time before Irina Derevko knew it.

The thought of working for Irina was a thrilling one to say that least. She took great care in hiring operatives for her organization. It was an honor to work for her, but it was also a great risk. Irina Derevko did not tolerate failure. If you failed – you signed your own death certificate. But, as it were, Simon didn’t know how to fail.

Inside Irina’s office Sydney and Sark explained what had happened during the course of the mission. They now awaited her judgment call on their actions.

“So, you say this Simon Walker was the contact Lauren and Cole were supposed to meet. How do you know he can be trusted? It has been a long time since you were young boys, Julian.”

Sydney spoke instead. “I trust him.”

Irina looked at her, surprised. “You just met him.”

“Yes, but he aided us in the club, no questions asked. He works where the money is. There’s money in this job. He’ll do his job for you.”

Sark eyed her, intrigued. “You gained this much from the few moments in the club and the short conversation you had with him on the plane.”

Sydney smiled. “Yes. I feel as though we have an understanding of each other.”

Sark just rolled his eyes at that comment. The thought was utterly ridiculous.

Irina however took Sydney’s comments more seriously. She trusted her daughter’s judgment – it was the same judgment that had told Sydney not to trust Irina when she first turned herself into the CIA. Sydney’s gut instincts were usually dead on. “Sark, I trust my daughter’s judgment. But I would also like to hear what you think.”

He sighed, almost imperceptibly. He was going to have to admit that Sydney was right, damn her. “I’ve known Simon for many years. If he commits to working for you, he works for you. You would not have to worry about his loyalties, or his skills.”

Irina nodded. “So it is agreed then, you three will be a team.”

Sark and Sydney nodded, feeling almost like two children standing in front of Irina.

“Sark, go tell Simon what we have decided. Sydney, stay here with me for just another moment.”

Irina waited until he left to begin. “Sydney, you did well on this mission. I’m sure you know that this, besides a great success in our process of revenge on the Covenant, was a test for you.”

Sydney looked at her mother emotionlessly, “Of course it was. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you, Ms. Derevko.”

“Sydney, I really think you should call me something besides Ms. Derevko. I am your mother, after all. There is nothing wrong with calling me that.”

The laugh that passed through Sydney’s lips was eerie and filled with pain from Irina’s past betrayals. Her mother might be helping her now, but Sydney wasn’t going to forget the past so easily. “And yet the closest thing you’ll get is Irina.”

Irina looked at her daughter, half proud and half frustrated at her stubbornness – but she accepted it. “Very well. Now, I needed to see if you would be able to control your rage against the Covenant. You were. I can now trust you to channel your emotions productively.”

“I wouldn’t mess up my chances to destroy them, Irina. They all deserve to rot in hell. I want to be the one that puts them there. I know what I need to do.”

“Good. You also showed quick thinking in recruiting Simon Walker. Now, the information that we need from Cole and Lauren regards the Covenant cell leaders. Lauren and Cole are high enough in the chain of command that they know their names, locations, and anything else that we’ll need to know. Get the information at any cost.”

Sydney nodded and their conversation was over. She left the room. Sark and Simon were standing outside the door waiting for her exit. They went in without speaking – however Simon did manage a wink as he walked in the room. Sydney arched her eyebrow back at him. Sark once again rolled his eyes.

Sydney thought about making a visit to the prisoners, but it was just a fleeting fancy. She knew that she should wait for further instruction from Irina. Besides, she didn’t have it in her to speak with them again. Not yet. Yesterday’s events brought back so clearly the death of her father. She needed time to compartmentalize yet again. It was an ongoing process that she knew was far from over.

She decided to tour the grounds and visit the lovely gardens that she had seen on her way into the compound – but had ignored. It was dusk, as the sun was just setting. The light reflected on the clouds in the colors of orange, red, and purple. There was a bench on the side of the path she had been following. Sydney sat down and watched the sun set.

This time, being alone did not burden her as much as before. She was comforted by the natural beauty of the moment. It was like a shining beacon in her darkness. The game with Simon and Sark was fun – but it was not the same. While it excited her to a certain extent, it did not dull the ache inside of her.

Sydney remained in the seat for an hour before anybody bothered her. That is why when the sound of footsteps walking in her direction could be heard over the nighttime sounds, she was surprised and jolted out of her reverie. Figuring it was Irina, she looked up slowly, not wanting to break the peace of the moment.

She was surprised when she saw that it was Sark. He didn’t have his usual smirk on his lips and he also seemed lost in thought. For the first time, she saw him as more than a mere means to an end. He was a person. And he was a different person than when they had known each other before.

Sydney shivered – she wasn’t sure if it was from the night chill or her brief insight into Sark that left her slightly unsettled. Just as she was about to ask him what he was doing, she realized that he was walking straight past her. He had not even noticed she was sitting merely a few feet away from him. As he got closer, she was able to decipher the look on his face. It was one of determination. Sark was a man on a mission. Suddenly, Sydney was curious as to what that mission was.

What a ridiculous thought. Once he had passed by her, Sydney made her way back into the house. She had a little visit that she needed to pay.
 
oh. my. god.

She was surprised when she saw that it was Sark. He didn’t have his usual smirk on his lips and he also seemed lost in thought. For the first time, she saw him as more than a mere means to an end. He was a person. And he was a different person than when they had known each other before.
heaven. you rule my life.

i just just just bothered to read the author's note. haha. i know realise why this all sounds so familar. i read it when it was "red." and i loved it then too! i heart you.

m-c
 

IwantRome

Cadet
Joined
Oct 24, 2004
Location
Germany
For the first time in a week, Sydney Bristow was almost excited at the possibilities of her life. Not only did she have Lauren and Cole in her custody – a firm step in her revenge on the Covenant, but she could have some fun. She walked over to where they were sitting, looked at the two men and thought, let the games begin.
:P :P :P :P

you`re so good!!!!
but first i missed your next chapter....good, so i had something to read for today :)
what about tomorrow??? you post something for me again :D ;)

thank you
suzy
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
Thanks, m-c! Yeah...it had been so long since I posted any of 'Red', I had to go back and re-do some of it and, well, you read my note. Glad you are liking it this time around, too!

And suzi, here are two more chapters! hope you enjoy!

[5]

Taffy stuck, tongue tied
Stuttered shook and uptight
Pull me out from inside
I am ready
I am ready
I am ready
I am...fine

Counting Crows – Colorblind



It was time.

The moment they left Irina’s office, Sark parted ways with Simon and exited the main house. His mission was simple. He needed to remove the hold that Allison still had over his life. This insane anger he held at Sydney Bristow stemmed from the fact that he had never dealt with and put away Allison’s death. The time for that was now. His hatred was starting to cloud all other aspects of his life.

He had almost disregarded Simon’s usefulness – due only to the fact that Sydney had made a correct assessment. Sark was not sure when he had begun to allow emotions to control his business dealings, but now was the time to stop.

It seemed fitting that this was the place to do it. In the back of the Sao Paulo compound, there had been a small shack. It was the place that they had grown up, where they had first had sex, and where they would meet for trysts in the many years to come. He walked down the tree-lined path, determined to do what needed to be done. Sark paid no attention to the figure he saw seated on the bench along the way.

He got to the part of the path, where it either continued to the private beach or on a hidden path – overgrown with flowers and weeds. The hidden path led straight to the shack, which was crumbling from lack of attention. Irina must have left it be ever since Allison died. Sark had not been back here since that night, but he was surprisingly calm entering the building tonight.

The old wooden door creaked loudly as he pushed it open. Some dust build up drifted down – making the shoulders of his black shirt gray. He attempted to brush the dust off, but the whole shack was covered in it – making the process useless.

Sark walked to the middle of the room and looked around. It was exactly as they had left it after their last time together. Nothing had been touched. He wondered briefly why Irina had done nothing about it. Though it was probably because while she was his superior, she also understood that Allison was his own problem – she was his ghost that he needed to get rid of on his own.

The question was – What did one do to rid themselves of a ghost?

- - -

Sydney walked into the house and stood in the foyer. Up the stairs went to Simon’s room, where she would be guaranteed a little fun. Through the left hallway and down the stairs was the detention cell where Lauren and Cole were. That would be a more productive visit.

But visiting with their detainees would only arouse emotions that Sydney had successfully come to peace with only moments earlier. The last thing she wanted was to disturb that peace so soon. She knew it would eventually happen, but for now – she would avoid any catalyst that would do so.

As she wandered through the hallway, she took the time to explore the rooms of the mansion. The past couple of times she had made her way around the house – she was so lost in thought that she never took the time to memorize the layout of the building. That was a mistake she needed to remedy.

Before she went on her personal reconnaissance mission, she decided to bring Simon along with her. The door to his room was closed, so she rapped her knuckles a couple of times, as fair warning, before she went ahead and opened up the door.

Simon was sitting at a desk, cleaning out his gun. She stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame, her arms folded across her chest, waiting for him to acknowledge her. She watched his hands slide over the black metal almost lovingly. In the interest of saving time, she cleared her throat.

He looked up and saw her in his doorway. His lips curved in a slow and easy smile. Sydney’s come to play.

“Hello, babe. Is this visit for business or pleasure?” His accented voice was smooth as honey.

She hesitated a moment, unsure of how to answer. “A little of both, I think.”

“So, will it be business first? Though I must admit that I would prefer the pleasure.” Smooth and seductive, that is how she would describe Simon. And just a bit rough around the edges, she added as an afterthought.

She smiled at that, and her heart gave a small thud at the obviously sexual stare he was sending her way. “How would you feel about both at the same time?”

“Now you have me intrigued. How do you suggest we go about that?”

“It’s quite simple, really. We have some time to acquaint ourselves with the layout of the house, which is essential for any good operative, and we can have a little fun together in the process. What do you think?”

Simon put his gun down and got up, “I’d say, let’s hope to find some dark corners, babe, so we can have some real fun.” His dark eyes had a wicked gleam in them as he walked to the door and followed her out of the room.

- - -

A fire seemed fitting. It had started with a fire, and he would end it with a fire.

He took one last look around the open room, paying his last respects, and searched for the tools needed. There was an old can of gasoline in the far right corner. Who knows how long it had been there. But no matter, it would do.

Sark walked over and picked it up, sprinkling it around the room. As he did so he found an old bottle of wine. It was red wine; Chateau Petrus, the year ’82 to be exact. Oh, the irony. He picked it up, smirking at the bottle. It only seemed fitting to toast this fire with red wine as he had the last.

The bottle was dusty and the wine was most likely not in the best of shape for drinking, but it wasn’t really about the flavor of the drink as much as the tradition, the irony, and the resemblance to the other fire of almost five years ago.

Sark pulled out the silver lighter he kept with him at all times. It was another link to Allison, going back to the days when they had always shared a cigarette after sex. She had given him that lighter as a gift, before she left to play Francie. It was as romantic a gift as he had ever given or received. It was a symbol of their relationship.

He flipped it open and watched the flame for a moment, then tossed it on the floor where the gasoline formed a small puddle. The lighter was ignited at one with a blaze that quickly spread to other areas of the shack.

Sark walked out the door, beads of sweat dripping down his face, and never looked back. He walked a few feet down the path. The sound of the flames crackling in his ear and the smell of smoke billowing in the air was enough proof to him that he had killed her, the ghost that had haunted him for too long.

He opened up the bottle of wine and took one symbolic swig directly from the bottle. It tasted as musty as the outside of the bottle – but somehow, it fit. Sark put the cork back in the bottle and tossed the wine over his shoulder, back into the blaze.

He heard the blaze hiss and crackle louder as the bottle became engulfed in the blaze. And then he pushed the sound out of his mind and walked calmly back to the main house.

Her reign was over. Sark had reclaimed his mind.

- - -

They had eventually finished their ‘tour’ of the house. It had been an interesting experience to say the least. Simon had a mind to make anything she said into a sexual innuendo of sorts. While it amused her on a certain level, it almost discomforted her. She wanted to play with him – but on her terms, not his.

They made their way outside, back to the path that she had been walking before. The evening sky had made its way into a night sky. It was now midnight blue speckled with glowing white dots – stars and planets, separate worlds all alone.

She could see the gray smoke rising from the beachfront area. Her eyes wandered a bit lower and saw the tips of red-orange flame shooting up towards the sky. It was coming from the direction that Sark had been heading about an hour earlier.

Sydney knew instinctively that this was the reason for his previous show of determination. She just had yet to figure out what was burning, and why he had set the fire. Her curiosity about Sark was growing with each day and every contradiction – beginning with his apparent dislike for her, after all the previous attempts of a partnership during her previous life.

She shook her head, clearing her mind of the thoughts, and looked over at Simon, who was watching her with an amused expression on his darkly handsome face.

“I suppose fire turns you on, too?” She asked, arching her eyebrow in the manner which he was coming to expect.

“Anything involving heat and smoke is bound to turn me on, babe.” His voice was deep and sensual as his accent filled the air.

Her pulse beat faster in her chest. She wasn’t sure what it was – but her game was turning into actual desire. “I guess I should ask if anything doesn’t turn you on.”

He laughed a deep and seductive laugh. She felt pulled to his blatant sexuality. Suddenly, she was leaning in and meeting his searching lips with hers.

Just then, Sark walked by them and Sydney jumped back like a guilty teenager caught necking by her parents.

Sark just smirked, amused, and spoke, “You move in quickly, Si.”

Simon laughed, “There’s no use wasting time, mate. You know how I work.”

Sark kept the smirk on his face as he continued walking – ignoring the small feeling of annoyance of Sydney’s blatant attempts to ignore him. He dismissed the feeling as a residual from his cathartic blaze and went on his way to explain the situation to Irina. She would be annoyed that he risked calling attention to her property – but once he explained, she would understand because ultimately, it was better for business.

- - -

The next day

They were summoned by Irina to begin the questioning of the Covenant operatives. The two prisoners had been sufficiently deprived of food and over the course of 12 hours and were most likely weakened enough to begin.

Cole would be harder to break than Lauren. He was no weakling. Lauren was most likely sobbing with fear by now – if her previous actions were any indication. It was decided that Sydney be the one to question Lauren, given their background. It would increase Lauren’s fear level exponentially.

Lauren also would not talk if they kept her with Cole. She would be either too proud or too fearful to appear weak in front of Cole. But separate from her partner, she would fold, for she lacked that deep strength.

While Sydney was to question Lauren, it was up to Simon and Sark to deal with Cole. Irina was no fool – she did not want Sydney finding out about Cole’s dealings in Jack’s death. First the Covenant had to pay, and then Cole would personally pay the price for f***ing with her daughter’s happiness. But Irina could see more long-term than Sydney, especially where family was concerned.

Sydney walked into their cell to find Lauren cowering in a corner, her head resting between her knees. She looked up as the door opened and saw the harsh gleam in Sydney’s eyes. The lack of food and of fresh air made Lauren appear tired and fearful.

Sydney looked at her, disgusted, and spoke harshly, “Get up from your corner and face me like a real agent.”

Cole would have laughed, had Simon not had a gun trained on him – looking particularly trigger happy. He knew that the other man wouldn’t shoot to kill, but he certainly would know where to cause the most pain. If there was one thing that McKenas Cole liked to avoid, it was pain.

He had no problem inflicting it, but being on the receiving end was likely to make him insane. It had all started with that box – and the needles of fire. They became his new favorite toy, because he knew firsthand how excruciatingly painful they were. And he would never forget the insanity that had ran through his mind when he had faced that kind of pain.

Lauren stood up slowly, clearly hesitant given the tone of Sydney’s voice. She knew she was in for a ride – and not a joy ride. It was more like a ride on the boat that crossed the river Styx, and took her into the underworld.

She walked slowly towards Sydney until she was about two feet away. The same cold voice stopped her, “Don’t come any closer. Just stay there.”

Lauren stopped. Sydney nodded to Sark and he went over to where Lauren was standing, and grabbed her by the shirt and dragged her out of the room, where Sydney was to question her.

Sark placed Lauren down on the chair and handcuffed her hands and legs to it. He left the room, glancing briefly at Sydney and telling her silently to do her thing. She nodded and he left the room, shutting the metal door loudly – the sound reverberated off the walls ominously.

Sydney and Lauren faced each other alone for the first time. “So, Lauren, how long have you worked for the Covenant?” Sydney started off, speaking conversationally – almost friendly, even.

Lauren just stared blankly ahead of her – a brief showing of resistance that Sydney laughed inwardly at. It was so easy to resist questions at first, but she had no plans of giving up easily. Eventually, Lauren would crack under the pressure.

“It’s funny, you know, I never really trusted you when we first met. And it had nothing to do with Vaughn – so don’t even try to play that card with me, because it simply won’t work.”

Lauren still stared, though a spark of something could be seen in her eyes. Fear? Loathing? Pity? If it was the latter of the three, Sydney was furious. She had no desire to be pitied by anyone – least of all by Lauren Reed.

“Still trying the silent routine, I see. I guess that I’ll just have to stop asking questions and start with the torture.”

That rewarded Sydney with a direct stare from Lauren, “You wouldn’t.”

Sydney arched an eyebrow, “Wouldn’t I? We never really talked much when I returned to the CIA after my nine months in custody. So most of what you know from me is from stories that others have told you. These stories no doubt led you to believe that I would never torture anybody. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret,” she leaned in closer to Lauren and whispered, “I’m not the same person that I used to be.”

Lauren, in a brief spout of courage, scoffed at her statement. “You’re right. You aren’t the same person. You are nothing but a shell of a person and a pawn in this game. I almost pity you.”

There it was – the pity that Sydney could not stand to feel from anybody, least of all her current prisoner. No more nice Sydney, the b**** wants to come out and play.

Sydney got up from the chair she was sitting at and walked around behind Lauren. She grabbed a chunk of the woman’s platinum blonde hair and yanked hard, pulling her head backwards.

Lauren ground her teeth together, to keep from screaming. Sydney laughed. “So, you think I won’t hurt you, now, Lauren?”

Lauren shook her head no, as best she could with Sydney still holding on.

“Good.” Sydney released her head and spit on the woman in the chair, for good measure. “Now, are you ready to talk?”

Lauren nodded.

Sydney began again, “How long have you been working for the Covenant?”

“Long enough to know things, things that might allow me to make a deal.”

Sydney laughed, “This isn’t the CIA my dear. We don’t make deals. You talk, or we kill you. And there is no guarantee that you’ll stay alive after you talk. Now, we need to know what you know about the Covenant – everything that you know about the Covenant.”

“Fine,” Lauren spat out. “But I don’t know too much. Cole is my connection to the Covenant – they always make contact with him, and then he contacts me.”

“Well, you must at least know who it was you were going to hire Simon to kill.”

Silence.

“I’ll take that to mean that you do know.”

More silence.

“You know, Lauren, being quiet doesn’t mean talking – and I do believe that you said you were ready to talk.”

“Toni Cummings.”

“What about Toni Cummings?”

“She developed a security system for one of the cell leaders. He had vital documents in a safe in one of his houses. We want her killed so that nobody could use her for that information.”

“How clever,” Sydney said sarcastically, “And what were they going to do if they had security problems?”

Lauren shrugged as best as possible, “How the hell should I know? They just want her dead, so we were going to hire somebody to kill her.”

“Well that is interesting to say the least. I must admit that I’m not very impressed with what I know of the Covenant. I’m surprised you are still around after all these years.”

Lauren fumed silently, her cheeks forming angry red spots on her pale face.

Sydney laughed again and Lauren realized that this was the worst form of torture, being ridiculed by Sydney Bristow. It was enough to make her want to spill everything so that she never had to hear that eerie, yet lilting laugh.

“I think I’ll leave you in isolation for now – just as you are. Maybe after a while, you’ll be willing to talk more.” And with that, Sydney Bristow disappeared, leaving Lauren locked in a dark room, handcuffed to a chair, and all alone.

Sydney wanted to see what Cole would have to say about this.
 

amy lynn

The Polish Pirate
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
[6]

Sweet is Revenge – especially to women
-Lord Byron



Her heels made a clicking sound as she walked down the slate grey hallway. The sound echoed loudly, sounding more sinister than it really was. She passed empty rooms that still had the faint coppery smell of blood in the air. This was the basement, where all dark deeds took place on the otherwise beautiful property. It was supposed to be intimidating and depressing. But all Sydney thought is that it was terribly cliché.

Toni Cummings. She repeated the name to herself. Toni Cummings. Why would they want to kill her? And what was so important about those documents? And who was the high ranking official who kept them? She thought grimly as she bit her lower lip and tucked a stray hair behind her ear.

There was much to be answered still. But Lauren knew nothing more. Sydney could read her eyes as the other woman had spilled the information. There was a small hint of honesty and a large amount of bitterness. So, little Miss Lauren Reed isn’t as important as she likes to pretend she is. Very interesting. Cole would know – she just had to get the information from him.

She got to the holding cell where Cole was and watched for a while through the small section of glass. If Cole shifted his position just a bit, he would be able to see her standing there. It was meant to discomfort the detainees, though she doubted that Cole would break down and tell all from one glimpse of her.

Sydney focused instead on Sark and Simon – watching intently, learning their moves, their style. She had been trained to study her partners, her enemies, everybody – and know them. It was the only way to survive in this world. Jack Bristow had taught her that, one of the few moments from her childhood that she remembered her father’s presence.

She shook her head clear of that thought; no trips down memory lane and no thinking of her father – now was not the time to get emotional. So she watched the two men.

Simon was rough around the edges. His movements were raw and his facial expressions easy to read.

Sark was smooth. He was an enigma who seemed to glide over the floor and never showed any emotions.

They were both artists in their own right. To Sydney – they were beautiful as they worked. And while their differences should have made working together difficult, instead it was perfect.

Cole seemed to be sweating profusely from where Sydney stood and watched. But he wasn’t talking yet. ‘Yet’, that was the key word. Sydney had yet to enter the picture. Once she joined Simon and Sark – the canvas would be ready for the three artists to manipulate.

She studied the two men for a little while longer, determining her strategy. The final decision is that she would move with the cool grace of Sark, and speak with the fiery passion of Simon – a combination of the two, which would be most deadly.

The clang of the door opening halted the interrogation for a moment. Sark shot Cole a warning look as Sydney walked through the door. She must not find out too much, it said.

Sydney caught the look, but misunderstood the meaning. Sark glided over to where she was standing and she spoke quietly to him of what little information she had learned from Lauren.

Sark took the information in stride, never letting his thoughts flash across his face. Simon, feeling in the dark made his way to the others and listened as Sydney explained Lauren’s statements yet again.

All three of them turned to face Cole at once. Simon was grinning devilishly, Sydney was starting coolly, and Sark was Sark. It was enough to drive Cole a little crazy, facing the three of them – all of whom he had tortured at some point.

Sydney spoke first, “So I hear that Toni Cummings has made some enemies.”

Cole laughed. He just laughed and said nothing.

“I can imagine that in her line of work, she would,” Simon began.

Cole nodded at that statement.

“…however none of her clients has ever wanted her killed.”

Before he could stop them, the words were bursting out of Cole’s mouth – in an attempt to poke holes in Simon’s statement. “You don’t know that. We may not be the first client who has attempted to do so.”

As soon as the words left his mouth, he cursed himself. He had not meant to slip so easily. But there was something about the way the three interrogators looked that scared the s*** out of him. Simon was uncontrollable, Sark was too controlled, and Sydney had to power to end his life in a flash of hatred if he let her.

Sark jumped into the conversation, “I suppose that is enough confirmation of Lauren’s statement to begin with.”

Cole was silent. The words f***ing idiot were tumbling around his brain. He could hear them being said, in voices belonging to Sark, Sydney, Simon, his mother, Sloane, his boss, his former lovers, and they kept getting louder.

The incessant screaming in his mind caused him to scream – a raw, guttural scream of pain. Insane. He was going f***ing insane.

Simon was attempting to contain his laughter at the sight of Cole plagued by demons of his own making. He stalked out of the room, because Cole had begun to crack sooner than expected, and the moment he made it into the hallway he began to laugh fully.

Sydney stared at Cole, and voiced the one thought that was making Cole go crazy, “You are nothing but a f***ing idiot, Cole. You will never be more than that.” With those words she left the room – and put Cole solely in the hands of Sark.

As she exited the door, she was met with the sounds of Simon’s mirth. Before she knew what was happening, he grabbed her wrist and slammed her into the wall – just seconds before his lips met hers furiously. He broke away moments later, leaving Sydney questioning.

“That was to make up for our interrupted kiss in the gardens last night,” Simon said mischievously. He was clearly in the mood for some fun and games.

And, Sydney decided, so was she. After all, making a man go slightly crazy did give one a bit of an adrenaline rush.

She pushed back at him and into the wall across the hallway and attacked his lips with hers. Sydney tugged slightly on his bottom lip – biting just enough to break the skin with pleasurable pain. Simon made a growling noise in his throat. He liked to play a little rough.

He grabbed her hips and ground them into his – pressing so hard that she could feel the bruises forming already. Their mouths were meshed, a pleasurable mixture of lips, tongues, and teeth – biting, licking, sucking.

Sydney broke away from the intensity suddenly – her brain all too aware of the current situation.

Simon wasn’t having that. Not now. His voice was deep as he said softly, seductively, “what do you say we have a go at that desk we found in the second floor study?”

She laughed, almost nervously, but responded “I’d much prefer my own bed. This time.”

Simon’s dark eyes were very serious as he responded, “Fine by me. But the desk is for round two.”

Sydney had no answer for him so she turned and made her way up to her room. She did not look back, but Simon knew the invitation was open. He lazily stood up off the wall and began to walk down the hall, only a moment behind Sydney.

A voice stopped him. “Walker. What the hell do you think you are doing?”

Simon grunted in annoyance. “I don’t answer to you, Julian.”

Sark let his tone cool even more, “Work. We are supposed to be working.”

Simon rolled his eyes at his friend – his too serious, needed to get laid badly, friend. “There’s not much to do right now. Cole needs a little time to gain a false sense of security before round two.”

Sark gave up and in to his annoyance. “Oh bloody hell. Just go screw your brains out. But I swear – “

“If this gets in the way me from doing my job, you’ll beat the s*** out of me,” Simon finished, mocking Sark’s voice completely. “Yeah yeah, I’ve heard it all before.”

With that, Simon made his way to Sydney’s room. They never made it to the bed, however. It was fast and sweaty. It was rumpled clothes and oaths of pain and pleasure. It was dark heat, swirling – the doorknob pressed into the small of Sydney’s back.

And in the blink of an eye, it was gone. Her blood ran cold as Simon stepped away from her. It seemed that instead of feeling whole again – even for a brief moment – she felt more broken.

Her skin became as cold as ice, her insides frozen, and she calmly asked Simon to leave. Simon was pissed, but wisely said nothing. He decided it was time to pry more information out of Sark regarding the contradictory Ms. Bristow.

He walked out of the room, with no other words spoken. As soon as he was in the hallway, she shut and locked her door. She did not cry – there were no more tears left in her. Instead, she took a shower, scrubbed herself clean, and changed clothes – into all black: pants, a turtleneck, and stiletto heeled boots.

She then made her way down to Cole’s holding cell on her own. She watched for a moment through the window. He appeared to be sleeping, but she knew better – he was just biding time, meditating to prepare for round two. In the file she had received from Irina, his patterns – of thoughts and actions – had been detailed. And while Cole was unpredictable in some ways, in others he never failed to deliver the expected.

She laughed – loud enough to drift faintly into his room, like the whisper of wind rustling, or the sound of a ghost entering the room.

Chills ran down Cole’s spine. He could smell the scent of doom in the air. Either Sydney had found out what he was hiding – or she really had changed that much. The feeling that his days were numbered was overwhelming. The voices that had calmed down during the past hour started to rise once again.

And for that, he wanted to kill Sydney Bristow. If only he could get out of his damn chair.

Her voice was soft, innocent, and it reminded Cole of the first day he had ever seen her – pigtails and naïve. “I will make this simple, Cole. You are going to tell me what Sark is hiding from me.”

Oh f***. Oh s***. I’m screwed.

She could see the sweat gathering – ready to drip down his face. So, Sark was hiding something from her. Interesting. But she would save that for later.

“Well, if you won’t tell me that, then you could at least give me a bit more information on Toni Cummings – and how to get a hold of her.”

“Sorry pigtails, but I’m afraid you’re out of luck, if that is what you are after.”

“Actually Cole, I’m the one who is sorry. I was hoping I would not have to re-introduce you to your friends inside this box.”

She brought out the needles of fire. Cole paled. And a couple of hours later he sang like a bird.

- - -

Sark found Simon in the training room – beating a punching bag to death. There could only be one reason for something so intense. Bloody women, he thought. He was getting tired of the lot of them – Irina included. They were fun for a time, but eventually they wore out their welcome.

Or they f***ed with your mind until you couldn’t think straight anymore.

Sark shook his head as he called out to his old friend.

Simon looked up and saw the mocking evident in Sark’s expression. The bloody bastard though he was so much better than him, eh? Simon decided to wipe that arrogance away the only way men in their line of work knew how.

A bloody fight – fists flying, knives flashing in the air, and ending with guns pulled.

Sark emerged the victor, but not by much. Simon was a formidable foe – but he lacked the precise calculation of Sark’s movements. He needed to remember that before he made a true enemy of the man.

“Women aren’t worth all this thought and frustration,” Sark’s words were tempered with heavy breathing as he regained his strength from the fight.

Simon chuckled, “That was always the difference between us, mate. You f***ed them and let them go – with the exception of Allison – while I always preferred to actually feel emotions and care about my women.”

It was odd, but natural, Sark decided – that the mention of Allison no longer burned into his gut with intense pain. His excorsim had worked wonders for his attitude. But now he did not want another woman, namely Sydney, to get in the way again.

“Do you really want her to be your woman?” Sark asked, skeptically. Sydney would be difficult to maintain, he knew that instinctively – and from his various surveillance of her activities over the years. All of her ideas and impulses would make a man old way before his time. He did not wish that upon his friend and now business partner – as it would affect the way he worked.

That was how he rationalized his sudden interest and Sydney and Simon – purely professionally. Anything between the two would affect work. And Sark did not want that.

Simon answered honestly, “I might. She’s a handful, I can tell you that already: hot and cold – a definite contradiction.”

“You’ve got that right. She –“

Sark was interrupted by the sound of Irina entering the room. “You might want to meet Sydney and myself up in the study right away. She has some information from Cole regarding Cummings – and you leave within the hour.”

The two men reacted accordingly and made their way to the study. Sydney had thrown on a leather jacket and was waiting impatiently to leave on the jet.

Irina began the short debriefing. Within no time at all, the three were once again sitting in the lounge of the private jet – this time on their way to Morocco.

Sydney closed her eyes and forced her heart to slow down to a normal pace. She was cool, she was calm, and she was collected.

She was a f***ing wreck – but at least she was getting her job done.
 
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