But this morning

There's a calm I can't explain

The rock candy's melted, only diamonds now remain

Chapter Two: Awake

The nights to follow would not prove so innocent. He was constantly being updated about Sloane's involvement with the CIA, and that of course involved Sydney. Sark had trained himself to shut down whenever he heard her name. All thoughts about her terminated, and he stopped himself from physically reacting. It was a skill Irina had taught him, although not for the same purpose. He had been taught to avoid "triggers," or in other terms, words and phrases that would evoke certain emotions and actions to Project Christmas kids. But those only worked during consciousness. Nighttime left him with a feeling of exposure and vulnerablility. Although infrequent at first, the more he heard about Sydney, the worse the dreams would become. Dreams of the times spent with Irina, but whenever he turned to look at her, Sydney replaced Irina's face with her own. When news of Sydney's capture fell on his ears, the dreams turned deadly. He found it harder and harder to sleep at all. Each time he would nod off, a picture of Sydney, bullied and bloodied would resurface. He wondered where he had seen that image in the first place, each time he had fought her, Sydney had gotten the best of him. Sark smiled. He had convinced himself that Sydney was the only adversary worthy of ever challenging him. It was a game to him, meeting her and trading with her witty banter.

His favorite memory was that of Sydney in the Denpasar marketplace a few years back. She was pretending to be a member of the Raslak jihad He of course knew this, and brought along a latajang, to test her. You know you had other reasons. Sark's inner voice interrupted his other thoughts. You wanted to see how determined she was to bring that bastard of a Sloane down, and it was a fun way to do it. He had seen the fire in her eyes as she fought to keep ahead of his experience with the ancient Kunta piece. She was bluffing the whole time, but she was bloody good at it. Its lucky for her- Sark stopped. He knew the reason that she had won and it killed him. In exchange for her services, Irina had made him promise to never harm her daughter in anyway. Her exact words were, "This woman in the prophecy, she is not to be harmed in anyway, shape or form. She holds greater meaning than you or me. Rambaldi set her apart for a reason. Don't go up against a dead prophet-just trust me on that one." and on that note, the conversation had been terminated. It was only much later that Sark had had the balls to go and check out the story himself. So now, though she didn't know it, Sydney could do anything she wanted to torture Sark and there wasn't a piece of s*** he could do about it. So instead he clung to the times when his words were the weapons that pierced her mind. To see the hurt look on her face as she searched for a clever retort, but after awhile, that wasn't enough.

He began to study every aspect of Ms. Bristow, from that weird way she ran, to her annoying habit of pushing her hair behind her ear every five seconds when she was conflicted. He learned her favorite foods, books, poems, and songs. He would drill himself on her background and her history in espionage. And each night, he began to become more and more fascinated with the way Sydney lived. She had at one time been able to keep up with a college schedule, a full-time job at the "bank," a social life, and working for the CIA. He had made a choice early on to cut most of the enjoyment out of his life. In order to be completely successful in this field, Sark, one must be completely devoid of emotion.

Damn Irina. She always would make him return to lucid thought. It seemed to him that she knew exactly when to cut in, just after he would have a thought about Sydney. That meant he had had to turn to mechanical, materialistic things to fill that void. Wine would nurture his nights, and cars and clothing would dominate his days, but he had a natural curiosity when it came to Sydney. He fell asleep to the sound of the voice in his head, and woke up to the gruesome images embedded in his brain.

Tonight was different. Sark had just settled in for the night, a glass of white wine in his right hand, and a battered copy of Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his left. He never could pick a favorite out of the 43 compiled in it. He liked The Great Gatsby for its keen portrayals of people in the '40's. Tonight though, he thought it fitting to cap of with Winter Dreams. He pulled the silk sheets back, and slipped out of his warm loafers. Shrugging off his dark silk rode, he juggled to keep a hold of the objects in his hands. Giving up the battle, he placed them both carefully on his bamboo nightstand. Under the robe, he wore a simple pair of cotton boxers. He dressed the way he lived life, genuine on the inside, decorated and artificial on the exterior. At nighttime, he was stripped of what made him the man many feared, at night he was the person he longed to be.

He must have nodded off in the middle of the book, because it now lay next to him on the matching sapphire blue pillow. The glass of wine stood forgotten on the table, dust starting to form around the base. And there he lay, blond curls tousled, creating a stark contrast against the pillow. Blankets cast aside, he was exposed-naked to anyone watching. The sun was starting to stream out through the palm trees. But still he slept, encapsulated by his dreams.

He was with Sydney, sitting at home by a roaring fireplace. They were reading Emily Dickinson's poetry, and sipping hot cocoa. Sydney had a marshmallow on her bottom lip, and Sark reached out to grab it. The contact with her lip made Sark shiver. Sydney's eyes began to fill with the familiar fire, mimicked by the one behind them. He began to trace the outline of her plump lips with his finger, and soon followed with his lips. The kiss was sweet and tender, sending blazing hot signals throughout his entire body. He wanted to stay like this forever. His hands, looking for a place to stay, slid up underneath the soft, fuzzy fabric of her sweater, resting on Sydney's swollen breasts. He began to tease her, gently flicking each nipple once with his middle fingers. She moaned a cry of desperation in his mouth and reached--

RING!!!

The sound of the telephone jolted Sark back to reality.

A/N: Thats it for now...Special thanks to aliasfanatic04 who betaed this...I have a three day weekend this week so expect something by tuesday or wednesday...Thanks Effy!