Title: Clarity

Summary: Sydney finds herself in bind when the only person who can keep her from a life behind bars is her arch-rival Sark.

Disclaimer: I don't own Alias. See Creator-Abrams, J.J. (Source: Bad Robot and Touchstone) for more details.

Spoilers: Through Nemesis

Thanks: The nickname crew-Colly, Spoody, Tally, Webby/everyone that's Almost Infamous, Claire-for working so hard on our Sarkney site. All the Anonymous Ditzes.

Ships: Sarkney, V/L (they're married, DUH!)

Rating: R for language and the fact that that is where I see the story going.

Of Note: This is my first songfic. It originally wasn't one, but the song that the title came from fits throughout the plot. I actually started this immediately after Nemesis, and came back to it Jan. 4th, so it's a major work in process.

Feedback: Please, Please, Please!!! I am so insecure that I need your constant reassurance that I am (or am not) a good writer! Just kidding. In all seriousness though, it is very well accepted. I lurve it! It keeps me writing!

I worry

I weigh three times my body

I worry

I throw my fear around

Chapter One-Escape

The helicopter blades whirred above them as Jack Bristow briefed his daughter. Sloane was resting with a mortified Lauren at his side. "Sloane has a villa where you can stay until we get this sorted out. For the mean time, you will have to be prepared for the worst."

This was neither new nor good news for Sydney. She had just narrowly escaped a probing surgery that would have left her vulnerable and exposed. And hearing that her only option at survival was in the hands of the biggest bastard in the world didn't make this day any better. Oh, and it really didn't help her cause to see in the outer regions of her eyes Vaughn comforting Lauren on a job well done. That used to be me. Sydney thought. She had felt a shred of sympathy toward the shaken girl, but that had disappeared about 2 hours ago, right about the same time Vaughn had met up with them.

Sydney turned her thoughts to the future. Was she destined to live forever in the house that Sloane built for his wife, Emily to hide in? The irony of the situation started to settle in. She, like her father and about 50 unadmitting others, didn't trust Sloane as far as Rambaldi got in his love life. She was not willing to have her very existence placed in the palm of his hands. But that would mean going back on her father's word. Secretly she wanted to rid them all of the burden she was giving them. If there was only a way for her to disappear without them knowing. That was impossible of course, her father knew every contact that Sydney did. If she tried to escape, he would find out. He was able to frame her mother for something she didn't do, after all. Her mother. Of course! Why hadn't she thought of that before? Her mother was able to erase her face of the earth for 30 years and no one ever thought twice about it. That was before they had learned she was KGB, but the same principle still applied. Unfortunately, her father was the only one who knew how to contact Irina Derevko, and she most certainly would pass any information onto him. No she deicded. That couldn't happen. Sydney knew her father too well by now. He would do anything to make up the years they had spent torn apart by Arvin Sloane and SD-6. She began going down a mental list of people in her head. Martin Shepherd, yes he would work. For a while anyway. But where would he be? He had been in hiding for years now, and anyone who is that undetectable makes it very hard for anyone to find them, even friends. What about the mysterious Mr. Sark?

Damn it! She had been trying her hardest to keep that thought from popping up in her head, pushing it even further back than she wanted it to go. But there it was, and it was ignorable. Maybe because it is actually a good idea. Damn her brilliant mind! Damn her father for instilling the survival traits in her through Project Christmas! Damn it, Damn it, DAMN IT! Sydney hoped and prayed that her frustration wasn't too visible as she tried to keep her face from contorting in disgust. Did she really have any other choice? Not really.but there had to be another way. Damn it Sydney! Think of something! She made the mistake of taking a haphazard glance at the backseat of the helicopter. Damn you Vaughn! And while I'm at it, Damn you Lauren! If it weren't for your NSA ass on my tail, I wouldn't be in this mess. Sydney's fists balled up. It really isn't his fault. You didn't wait even two years after Danny died to bang someone else. Who can blame him if he found someone to be happy with? Oh, to hell with it. Stop rationalizing every little thing. Calm down and try to figure a way out of this mess.With that, her breathing returned to normal, fists unclenched letting the blood flow back to where it belonged.

She began to review all that had happened in the matter of a few short hours. She had been sent to an NSA interrogation facility after Lauren had seen the tape of Sydney killing Lazaray. That b****! Sydney felt the feelings of hatred building.Calm down. You need to concentrate. So Lauren naturally reported her. And then came the torture. At first it was easy, the mind games and physical torture. But the thought of the procedure that was what haunted her at night. And the thought of how she could possibly escape from the most secure prison ever built gave her something to keep her from focusing on the fact that if she didn't get out soon, she would never-EVER-be the same again. And as she had watched the days tick by, she had begun to become panicked. And then it happened. She was being transferred down the murky hallway into the "operations" room. The prisoners she had seen go in there had never returned to their dank, rancid cells. Sydney shuddered at the memories.

"Are you cold, Sydney?" The sound of Sloane's syrupy thick voice pierced the silence. She shook her head no. "Are you sure? I could have the heat turned up, or some blankets brought it." Again Sydney shook her head no. She knew it was these little things that continued Sloane's fantasies that she was more his daughter than Jack's.

There had been several scalpels of assorted sizes lying on the table next to her, she recalled, returning to her thoughts. She had been planning on grabbing one and stabbing the interrogator. But she couldn't have done it even if she wanted to. The drugs in her system were kicking in. She remembered a bullet whizzing past her ear, answering her cry for salvation. Remembering the scent of Vaughn's cologne as he pulled her out of the room toward the helicopter. Seeing the bullet fly from Lauren's gun fly into her boss' chest. And then it was over. There she was, sitting between Sloane and her father, grateful to no one, plotting her own escape.

It would only get harder now, she knew. She had no one she could place complete trust in. Her thoughts turned to Sark. Why can't I ask him for help? You trust him about the same as you trust Sloane. But Sloane has to answer to the CIA, she reminded herself, Sark doesn't answer to anyone. That is what makes him safe. Definitely an avenue worth pursuing.Don't forget, he also might hold the key to your past. Now that was a good point. And Sark had worked with Irina on numerous occasions. I refuse to be locked up in one of Sloane's hideaway, or anyone's for that matter. I need to talk to Sark.

Here it is, the second part of Chapter 1. I didn't expect to go this route with the story (POV's) but it works. I find this story has a life of its own. Just so you know, each of these parts are written in one sitting, and are not beta-ed at all.unless you count spell check. If you would like to beta it, email me or pm me, I would be happy to let you. Honestly, if I didn't write these the way I do, they would never get done. When I am all done with it, I will go back and do a total edit and put it on FF.net. Just thought I would let you know.

Enjoy!

Chapter 1: Escape

Part Two

With a start, Sark woke up in the dead of night. The sweat that drenched his trim physique rolled down his abdomen as he sat up to turn on the light. Things hadn't been the same after she came back. After all, how many times do you see someone return from the dead? There's a thought, Sark chuckled to himself. That's a trait that definitely runs in the family. In all seriousness, Sark was scared. He only made jokes to himself to keep him at an emotional distance. He had never been especially good at vanquishing all human feeling. Irina had chastised him when he was younger for that very thing.

Julian, you must concentrate! There is no way to survive in this business without cutting your conscience off. Your memories will destroy you! You must learn not to feel!

Indeed, in the years of his teaching, she had drilled in him the essentials of survival. That voice was the one he heard whenever he did anything of his "own" decision.

Now Julian, what benefit will come of this? What is the risk factor? Pay attention, Julian! Stop that! Not yet Julian. You still have time to learn. Go with your heart.

Two years had passed since he had last heard that voice in the flesh. But at night, it was the voice that haunted his nightmares. She had programmed him to be the way he was. A robot. He had tried to break the mold time and time again, but when he slept, he could only see Irina shaking her head and reminding him of the "greater scheme of things to come." He was a patient man, when it came to the things that really mattered. So two years wasn't as bad a one would seem. Except for the fact that Irina hadn't let him in on "the plan" for her escape. Her exact words had been, "I'll take care of me. You take care of you." And he had, going on with his life, making friends in big circles, and keeping a close eye on the squirrelly Arvin Sloane. Then he made his mistake.

He was meeting with Mr. Sloane at Pub Hub, a small bar hidden in the Swiss Alps, to discuss the matters pertaining to Irina. Instead, when he arrived, he was surrounded by CIA officials and toted off to some steel clad cell in a high security prison. Days later, Sark had realized that the whole thing had been a set up. Sloane needed brownie points to suck up to the new deputy director, a man he had hand picked for SD-6, Marcus Dixon. The CIA wanted one of the most notorious assassins behind bars. And now he was, until that day.

It had started like any other day in prison. He would awake, ask for some vintage of wine that he had spent the whole last day thinking about, and receive a glass of water and cold grits. He would let the grits fall down his throat without ever touching his tongue (he HATED grits), and rinse the taste off of his palate with the water. Then he would mark the date on the wall. All this took maybe 15 minutes at the most. For the next hour, he would do push-ups on the ground, crunches in the cot, and anything else he could think of to keep himself in fighting shape. After that, he would practice circadian meditation for another 15 minutes. The next 4-5 hours were devoted to recalling whatever schooling he had received as a child. Considering Irina had been his main mentor, the majority of this conceived of guns and their purposes, great countries to hide out in, how dictators were overthrown, and other advanced studies. That kept him busy until lunch. Of all the meals, lunch was the worst. It was fish, and fish without wine just isn't fish at all. But he ate it, and got back into his busy schedule.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent thinking of wine and cars. Well, that was what he told himself at the end of the day. The things that happened in his head stayed there. He would often think of Allison or "Ally" as he had jokingly called her. He had been too late the one night she had needed him. He had received a call on his mobile 15 minutes before he got there. He told her he knew she could take care of it, but he would be there to help "tidy up." And he had been too late. Ally had polished things off and left town. He was still bitter about that. He had been too good for her anyway. But he rationalized it anyway. Maybe she felt it was too high a risk for them to be together? He knew it wasn't. She had stayed with him long enough to learn the tricks of the trade and left. She had been smart enough to take Sydney's body with her. Or had she? Sark had been so upset that night, he didn't think to check the house. When it exploded, just seconds after he had exited, he couldn't go back and check. But then Sydney was found dead in the house, along with "Francie." By then, he had occupied his time with finding Irina, and wasn't concerned with her affairs at all. Dinner usually interrupted his thoughts, consisting of a bowl of day old stew and a glass of skim milk, but it was late that night. He eagerly sat up at the sound of footsteps in the corridor. Scrambling to his cot as to not look so excited, he ran his fingers through his shaven head. He was very self-conscious about his hair to begin with, and the buzz-cut hadn't helped the cause. As he listened, he realized the problem. The footsteps were lighter than the guard's. They belonged to a slim woman, Sark surmised. They had a certain bounce to them, one he had only heard from one person before. Could it be? No, it can't. But it had been. He had been hesitant to look up, but when he did, nothing could have prepared him for what he saw.

He was staring into the same face that he had first seen more than a decade ago by accident. She looked younger now, scared of the world around her. Sark had felt that way once too. Before Irina had found him. His eyes took in the familiar wavy brown hair so characteristically tucked behind her right ear. The cheekbones that carved the smooth walls of her face. The lips that puffed out to greet him. And the eyes, her eyes, the piercing brown now replaced with inquisition and fear. "Sydney." The words fell from his mouth. And he chuckled. His humorous defense mechanism had kicked in to save him from what surely would have been his downfall. Inside, emotions overcame him. But he wasn't ready to own up to them.

He had had to say good-bye again, when being transported to neutral territory to meet with the Covenant. He had known the CIA would never give him up without a fight. It was a good thing he was prepared. His escape had been uneventful, almost easy, but it had hurt. Not to the part of him that wanted to admit it, but to the side that turned it around. The CIA didn't see that coming? Their agents must be slacking off. Poor Sydney, this must look bad to her new boss. His defensiveness was infallible. That night, he slept a dreamless sleep, a constant smirk on his face, a sign of the mask he wore.