Author: Nes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Distribution: Ask and I'll say yes.
Disclaimer: So not mine.
Spoilers: Takes place after 3.2, "Succession."
Notes: This wasn't my idea. I mean it was *my* idea, but I didn't want to write it. I've got *stuff* to do and another story to write, but this thing just wouldn't leave me alone. Completely unbeta'd.
Sydney drove home slowly, relearning the roads of LA. She took her time; there was no one waiting at home for her.
Sydney hadn't lived alone in a long time.
Not that she could remember, in any case. Her mouth twisted into a bitter pink bow at the thought. She didn't know where or with whom she had lived during the last two years. What she did know was loneliness.
Back when she lived with Francie -the real Francie, sweet and utterly, outrageously loud, the one Sydney would always remember- the house had never been empty, even when she wished it was. She'd hidden her bruises behind an affected clumsiness and thick makeup. She'd hidden missions behind quaint anecdotes about the hazards of traveling business-class. She'd hidden her crying jags behind long, hot showers that muffled the sobs.
Before, the truth had been a dream to Sydney. A long cherished wish of her heart.
Now, Sydney had the truth because there wasn't any one left to lie to. Honesty, it was just another adjustment she was forced to make.
I'll have that adjusted
She remembered her father's words in front of the memorial plaque. She'd been still with shock at the clean, machine-engraved letters of her name and her father had offered comfort the best way he know how without offering violent, grievous injury to a third party.
Adjusted. It had become a slimy, invidious word to her mind. Everyone wanted her to be well-adjusted and healthy. Even Dixon, who said she should feel a little crazy by all rights and, Syd, don't come too work, it's too soon. Well, even Dixon wanted her to be well-adjusted.
In response, of course, Sydney had adjusted right herself right onto a Most Wanted list and, just as quickly, back off.
Old hat, when she thought about it. She'd pulled the same thing on Sloane and SD-6. Sloane. It seemed that her life ran in cycles when it was there at all.
So here she was again. The third apartment in as many years (as she could remember). One bedroom, and as real estate went, pretty nice. The ocean breeze came through her open window, tugging at her neat ponytail. The tang of salt sea filled her nose and she breathed in deeply.
There was a new car to go with the new apartment. Apparently the old Landcruiser had burned away with the rest of her life. This shiny new toy was sleek as a seal and filled with buttons she didn't recognize. One was suspiciously marked with a coffee pot, and featured a tiny nozzle. The automobile industry, it seemed, had made great advances in the last two years. At least the doors and the stick shift still worked the way she remembered, and she got herself and her briefcase out of the car without incidence.
Stairs were the same, too. Up, down, simple. Sydney told Weiss she preferred to take the stairs because it was healthier and polite; she only lived on the second floor, after all. Really, Sydney didn't want to be trapped in the mirrored elevator for any amount of time. But that information was a little too easy to psychoanalyze, even for Eric, so she kept it to herself.
There was light in her apartment. The door was closed, but the glow was visible.
She didn't pull out her gun; it was really too early for anyone (terrorists, kidnappers, angry counteragents) to know where she lived. Maybe it was just Eric making good on his threat to mooch. She'd left a six pack of Moosehead in the fridge just for him.
Instead, she unlocked the door, making no attempt at stealth and announced her arrival, "Was the beer cold enough for you? I didn't know if you liked domestics, but I figured it was free so..."
Her voice trailed off as she realized that even as newly svelte as Weiss had become, he didn't have the build two years of solitary and prison-standard food gave a man.
"I couldn't tell you, Sydney. Beer isn't really my vice, though I appreciate your hospitality."
Sark. He was lying comfortably on her new green couch, a book in hand. The lights were on, every one, and he just...sat there. Lounging.
He was more at ease in her apartment than she was.
"You know there's a CIA agent in the apartment next door, right?"
"Yes," he stood, "I do."
Something stopped Sydney from yelling for Weiss, or even attacking Sark with her bare hands. Instead she gestured for him sit back down, and took the wingback chair across from him.
"You killed my father," he said, looking straight into her eyes.
Oh, perhaps that was what had stopped her. So nice, so refreshing to have a question answered, she mused. Though she felt no shame for Lazarey's death, she did claim responsibility and she owed something to his son. She would listen and let him leave, safely, when he was done.
"I'm sure the obvious remarks have occurred to you, so I won't make them."
...runs in the family, apparently...
...that's what Derevko women do, they kill fathers...
"May I offer my condolences, instead?"
Sark smiled at her, small and wan but sincere. "I didn't know my father, Sydney, though you may console me for the loss of eight hundred million dollars. I find I feel that loss quite keenly."
"I'm sorry, Sark," she said.
Sydney paused. Sark had changed in two years. He laughed, he smiled, he went directly to the point.
"What do you mean?"
...You and I are destined to work together, I truly believe that...
"I have, for the first time, possessed property by legal means. Irony of ironies, I have had it stolen from me. I'd like you to help me seek justice."
Sydney laughed at that. She had, too.
...I'm sorry, I don't mean to laugh. I'm just speechless ...
"All those missions, lives and risks you took," she shook her head. "I thought you were in it for the adrenaline, for the game, but all this time you've just been greedy."
Sark leaned forward, balancing his elbows on his knees. "I spoke truly when I said justice. I don't need the money, I have a quite a nice nest egg, actually, so I can pay you for your aid.'
"Come with me, Sydney. Your justice and mine are the same in this; we'll take down the Covenant together."
...you were my favorite. You never broke...
The Covenant. They had the answers. Again, she wished she hadn't killed that man so soon. She should have made him beg for death; she would have begged for answers.
...I don't need you to wish me luck, you son of a bitch...
She needed luck now. She needed whatever help she could get and he was offering. Offering in a way neither the CIA, and definitely the NSA, hadn't. They would use her and use her to their own ends, never caring if she found her answers as long as they got what they want. Their questions were not her questions.
...which begs the question, if it wasn't your body they removed from the ashes, whose was it...
She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, Sark was still there. Looking right back.
The more she thought about it, the more she was comfortable with the idea. Sark wouldn't expect Sydney to adjust to anything. She'd never had to worry about impressing him, or hurting him, or protecting him so he'd never been exposed to the aliases or the lies, just...herself.
He had only ever seen Sydney.
Vaughn couldn't even meet her eyes anymore. Not with all the guilt and sadness and utter longing weighing his eyelids down.
"They have a base at Aveiro. I'm leaving at midnight. There's a seat, an entire cabin, if you like, for you on my jet."
...offer you passage back to civilization but my submersible only seats four...
Could she leave? Leave Los Angeles, go to Portugal...For answers, she would go to the moon.
And what was left for her here?
Francie was dead, Will was in the Protection program.
Vaughn had a wife, Dixon had the agency, Marshall had Carrie and the baby. She wished she could be here for when the baby was born...
She'd already made her choice.
Her father would understand as long as she left a note, stayed in contact. It would to be too cruel to leave without a trace. He would continue to work the within the agency and with her mother.
She'd leave the six pack on Weiss' doormat with a letter. He'd sent her to Sloane, he'd understand why she'd gone with Sark...Weiss had been such a good friend, driving her home after the confrontation with Vaughn.
...know how I am? I am horrible! Vaughn, I am ripped apart...
"I could use someone who knows the language."
Sydney realized she'd been quiet, wrapped up in her own plans. She looked at him, recognizing plea in his voice.
"Sark," she teased gently, "you can speak Urdu, Korean, and Cherokee. How do you not know Portuguese?"
A shadow passed over his face, amazing in the bright room, "I do, actually. Only I presume it may be a tad rusty from disuse. I haven't had occasion to practice recently."
And Sydney felt the same shadow, cool and grey, touch her as she realized that she was not the only one who had lost two years.
She was not the only one who lonely.
"Come with me, Sydney."
She still hadn't answered him, "I killed your father, Sark."
"You made me heir to eight hundred million worth of gold bullion. I consider the offense forgiven. If you're feeling shivers of remorse, you may attempt sleep in an uncomfortable commercial airline seat instead of dreaming away in a luxuriously-appointed cabin beneath a down comforter aboard my private plane."
"Or if you are feeling very penitent, you can try to sleep in beneath the down comforter in my bed."
She looked up at him sharply, was pleased to see he was only teasing. And was more pleased to rediscover her own capacity to care about someone's feelings besides her own.
"I plead amnesia," Sydney said as she stood up. Ever the gentleman, he stood as well.
She plucked the paperback he'd been reading from the couch and placed it back in his hand, "John Donne, huh? You won't want to forget this then. You'll need it on the plane, because I'll be sleeping in my own cabin. It will have a lock, won't it?"
"Oh, Sydney, and I thought we'd shared a moment of sympathy only a moment ago. Have mercy on a man who's been in confinement for two years. Even common criminals get conjugal visits."
"Lucky for me," she said. "You're not a common anything."
And she smiled in response, certain she hadn't this relaxed in years.
Even the ones she could remember.
Gah! It's over, it's out! It's exorcised. And not as dark as I wanted it to be. Ah, well. Comments, criticisms? A better title, I never like my titles.
BTW I attribute the turn to fluffy potential happiness to Sark's line, "You killed my father." Someone's really gotta write a "My name is Sarkino Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die" fic.