by Lauren Wallace (( RainbowGroupie ))
Rating : R (language, graphic violence)
Pairing : Sydney/Sark
Other Pairing(s) : Sydney/Weiss, Sark/Allison, Sydney/Simon
Summary : Sydney vs. Julia. Winner takes all.
Disclaimer : I own a Raiders jersey and a stick of gum. Nothing else.
Beta-read by Becca. Many thanks.
Takes places after the events of S3.6 "The Nemesis".
Two years lost.
At least he remembered.
Everything had changed; The Man was gone, lost in obscurity. Allison was alive, his Allison, the mystifying princess that came and left him wondering if she was with him for herself or on the behest of the Covenant. His contacts, all those scared little men with ears that heard everything, were worth nothing anymore. His body was worn and his mind full of fury. He was little more than a rat, he supposed, vile and unwanted, but forever climbing to the surface when the water rose too high.
He heard the muffled noise of her dropping to the ground, and he saw Sydney land on her feet at a crouch. He almost smiled when he thought of it - she always lands on her feet.
She touched a hand to the carpet for balance. The other was up and pointing a gun - a Beretta, of course.
"I must say I never expected to see you here," he said evenly. She smiled like she was in pain, and that much, he guessed, was true.
"I hear you've met Lauren," she explained.
"Lovely woman," he answered, and drew out his Glock and tossed it to her feet. "Though I must say, Agent Vaughn seems to be working rather down the ladder."
She wanted to hit him, and he would have let her.
"The switchblade, and the Luger." She digressed - "Honestly, Sark, who carries a Luger anymore?"
He let out a shuddering laugh and placed the mentioned weaponry on the table. He even gave her the garroting wire. He'd just returned from an assignment, to use a euphemism. "Shouldn't you be in prison?" he demanded.
"What, afraid your cell's not receiving proper care? Afraid your plants will die?"
She was different tonight, less confused. Then again she always was when on a mission.
He reached for the Sig hidden under the bed when she dropped her Beretta onto the table with his own assorted weapons.
"May I?" she asked, pulling back a chair.
He should have been alone. Not even the Covenant knew his exact location, for security purposes. Fuck lot of good it was now.
Two years lost.
Maybe he was slipping.
She took a seat, and looked at him expectantly. He was immaculate, his black clothing free of bloodstains, his sparse hair growing slowly back to wavy locks. Sydney, though, she stared at him and showed nothing.
Two years could change everything. God, he knew. She could be dead inside, but when he'd seen her last she was alive. Alive and growling. Ready to fight anyone and praying it'd be him. Tonight, though, she looked at him and he couldn't see a thing - no hatred, not even disgust.
He sat across from her.
"May I ask why you're here?" he said, his voice barely more than a whisper.
Without a word she uncapped the lipstick hidden in her pocket, and the nearly-inaudible beep cu through the air.
"10 minutes. There are some things you need to know," she stated.
"You killed my father? Yes. Thank you. I've already been notified," he rasped shortly, like a petulant child. She didn't crack a smile, or punch him in the teeth, or tell him she'd take it all back if she could, or that she wouldn't and was glad.
"Ever been to Rennes?" she asked abruptly.
He moved his head in slight dissension. She was cold tonight, aware of danger and callously ignoring it. Sydney Bristow knew something, and he decidedly didn't.
"There's an old chapel on Des Trente, 2 miles of the Boulevard De La Liberte. It's completely white, pretty deserted. Spend the day there. Make a trip out of it. Have some fun," she said in that dreary monotone. She'd had a speech ready, but it rang hollow in this dark hotel room. She used drab language, to the point, with no room for contradiction. "Bring Allison," she added as she quirked an eyebrow and smirked.
"How did you know I was here?" he said, off-topic.
"L'eglise des ames perdus, Sark. The painting on the wall. You must remember this," she insisted. Her dark hair was falling in her face now, and those thick brown eyes finally coming alive.
"What on earth are you on about, Agent Bristow?" he asked finally.
"Trust me, Sark. I know what I'm talking about."
"Well, that's one of us," he retorted.
"When you go to them to report on
tonight's little escapades of yours," she said impatiently,
"they'll bring you into a room. It's completely white, of
course. There's a painting on the wall.
church de la Seul. You need to go there first. Go tonight."
She was frayed. Along the seams and straight through the heart, Sark saw it. She was warning him as best she could.
"I'll need a little more to go on than your word," he said harshly.
He sat back, the silence shrieking in his ears.
She was worn, and she was itching to strike.
"You have to remember it when they strap you down, Sark. The architecture is very precise. You can calculate the height by the shadows in the picture if you have to."
"Sydney, what are you talking about?"
"It'll help, Sark. It's a trigger. You have to go there, have a good time. Do something memorable. A life or death situation might be good." Her eyes shone with a hidden joke.
"I swore to Allison that I would kill you."
That stopped her, if only slightly. "Then I suggest you do it soon, or you won't be pulling the trigger for Allison. You'll be doing it for the Covenant."
"You killed my father."
"They'll break you, just like they broke me!" she barked. "You have to remember. When it comes down to it, you have to remember the church, Sark. It'll be all you have left."
In a flash he snatched up the Glock laying inches from his hand. He brought it up simultaneously to the Beretta aimed at his throat.
"Are you suggesting, Sydney, that I am soon to be subjected to -" the word sounded ridiculous as it tripped off his tongue, "- brainwashing?"
She deliberated, then lowered her pistol with exaggeration. He persistently held the Glock aimed at her chest.
"Push comes to shove, Sark, I'll kill you without blinking." He wasn't so sure, and neither was she. "But no one deserves to have their own mind stolen from them. Not even you."
"Touching," he said automatically, though he didn't really mean it, and she didn't really care.
After a careful moment, he said, "You remember then, the last two years, and what was done to you?"
She simply smiled at him.
"And you believe I am soon to be subjected to the same procedure?"
Nothing, not even a spark from those haunted eyes.
"And this - church, you believe, will help me overcome their programming?"
"I'm saying it might help you keep a single shred of yourself," she said heavily. "It's not much, but I would have settled for a memory of walking the dog at that point."
"You don't have a dog," he corrected.
"Allison is looking for you. I should drag you to the Covenant right now."
"I should drag you back to the CIA right now."
He nodded absently, leaning back with the Glock held poised. "What do you know that the Covenant is so keen on keeping quiet?"
She gave a hollow laugh, and he swore she rolled her eyes. "And you're supposed to be a terrorist," she murmured.
"Why what, Sark?"
"Why tell me this?"
"Because we're even now," she explained. It was so cold, so blunt that he hardly understood.
"Even? You killed my father. Feeding me some cryptic bullshit about a bloody church doesn't make us even, Sydney."
"You murdered Francie Calfo. And nearly killed Will Tippin," she growled. "All tallied up, Sark, you owe me a friend to torture."
"Then why are you here, if you think I owe you? Here to kill me, perhaps? Capture me? I must say, Agent Bristow, you've lacking the initiative."
"Because I got the chance to know Francie."
She was out of her chair now, and walking backwards towards the door. Her Beretta was held defunct at her side.
She unlatched the door of the hotel room, and was preparing to slip out. He wanted to stay still, to jump after her, to hit her and shoot her, to grab her, kiss her. He only then realized his hands were shaking.
She shook her head sadly. Her eyes were dark with tears. "We're even, Sark. Just promise me you'll remember."
Two years lost.