Rating: PG-13, language, suggestive situations, violence.
Disclaimer: All characters are the property of JJ Abrams and Bad Robot.
Spoilers: Through 3.10.
Credits: RocknVaughn, at SD-1.com, for transcripts; Bwaybaby for sanity checking.
Summary: Alternative Season 3, using most of the elements presented up to 3.7, with the following exceptions: Sloane does not kill Lindsey, and Sydney does not do the dream sequence work from Conscious (thus, no Will). It starts with missing scenes from The Two then evolves towards a Jack/Irina /Sloane mission fic. J/I, Jack angst, Jack/Syd. Unhealthy dollops of Sloane thrown in. Occasional secondary characters appear as the urge strikes me.
Author's note: This fic is a mosaic of present time and flashbacks. The flashbacks are not in order; I'm hoping that where they slot into the timeline is self-evident. I have selectively used transcript elements from Season 3, but have not attempted to incorporate ALL Season 3 elements. Thus, some transcript material has been altered to better fit the storyline.
The title refers to the opposing perspectives (many times within the same chapter, sometimes back-to-back chapters) that this fic contains.
The build is slow and the plot is complex. Chapter length varies considerably. Enjoy.Chapter 1
"Sign here." A paper rustled, then slid through the barred window.
He hesitated as he scrutinized the form. "The date?" he asked evenly.
"October 4th," said a bored voice. "2005" it added after a moment's thought, glancing at the file.
His hand froze as his eye was involuntarily drawn to the date in the line above. September 27, 2004.
"What am I being charged with?" he had demanded, incredulous, as the guards had approached him with handcuffs.
"Resisting authority? Since when was 'resisting authority' an arrestable offense?" He had jumped to his feet, furious now.
"We're not arresting you. We're *detaining* you." A sneer formed. "Welcome to the war on terror."
"This is your last chance. We've got a cell that's going to be filled. It's hers. . . or yours."
His grip on the pen tightened, then slowly eased. A year of his life in the stroke of a pen. Silently the form was completed and passed back through the slot.
"That's it? I'm done?" Feet shuffled impatiently behind him on the worn linoleum.
A jerk of the head. "Down the hall. Past the guard. Through the double doors. Bus'll drop you off in downtown LA."
Disbelievingly, he moved down the hallway. Curling posters on the walls exhorted him to report to a parole officer, stay clean, get a job. With each step he took, he listened for steps behind him. A traitorous whisper of hope was ruthlessly silenced. This had to be another NSC mind game. They wouldn't let him just walk out - he'd given them nothing. *Nothing*. Except a year of his life. 20 feet to go, came the whisper.
"Stop," the guard barked behind him.
He halted, jaw clenched, not glancing back. Took a deep, steadying breath. Schooled his face to not betray him.
The guard trotted up and pressed something into his hand. Numbly he looked down. A white envelope. "I was told to give you this. Hurry up or you'll miss the bus."
Swaying slightly, he jammed the envelope into his pocket and started off again. 10 feet. 5 feet. The door swung open.
It was over.