Disclaimer: All characters associated with Alias© do not belong to me. They belong to J.J. Abrams and the writers and producers of Alias©.

And this apartment

 is starving for an argument,

anything to break the silence.

Dashboard Confessional, Saints & Sailors

Volatile Manipulation

            He's got an indistinguishable scent—wood and vanilla with a derisory hint of blood.

She's researched him ten times over, meticulously looked through his dossier, went so far as to convince Marshall into investigating his past. Her hands come up empty, vacant of advantageous information, another predictable disappointment. Her trust can't be deposited on his furtive shoulders as easily as other's can.

He's having difficulties with the Covenant, irritated that the eight hundred million he invested brings no valuable results. The CIA keeps him detained in a correctional facility for the entirety of the summer, interrogating him until he's identical to the condition he was in a year ago. To prevent any impromptu dilemmas, like his extraction after his two-year imprisonment, newspapers print his macabre death in full detail. He remains the unidentified illegal immigrant from a poverty-stricken European country, crushed beneath a speeding train. Gathered Intel relates the naivety of the Covenant back to the CIA. They're only too glad to have the doting benefactor scratched from existence.

No more 'Mister Sark' or 'Julian Lazarey' or even 'Peter Gorrow'. His previous existence is acknowledged as an assassin's legacy, his reputation so marred by blood, double crossing and underhanded maneuvers that even he finds hard to let go of. He consents to living as 'Aidan Morgan' in the apartment across the hall from Weiss and Sydney for the sake of convenient twenty-four hour surveillance.

Sydney is careful to call him Aidan in public, but to her, he'll always be Sark, the backstabbing man capable of manipulating an entire CIA department into believing in his honesty.


 She despises the weekends. Friday evening leaves her in the clutches of her divan and permits her to awake with the taste of a pint of Rocky Road and self-pity lingering on her lips. She rolls off her couch, puts time aside to quickly shower and takes a granola bar with her to Sark's apartment.

Weekend surveillance begins and ends with her. She curbs her pathetically small social life for a period of forty-eight hours to insure that the CIA's newest addition doesn't attempt any audacious escapes. After a two-year disappearance, her first priority wasn't finding herself a fan club, so time bubbles over in her cup.

She uses her set of keys to open his apartment door, walks in hesitantly with the granola bar poised on her lower lip. With Sark, there is no such concept as privacy, only amateur surveillance. Dixon is lenient with the eradicator, pities him enough to allow him to maintain his own wardrobe. Sydney is the only one who notices that the suits and casual clothes he purchases outdoes the salary he is provided with by the CIA, but she doesn't publicly announce it. Regardless of what she says, Sark will receive the benefit of the doubt for the storage of information he has trapped in his skull in reference to the Covenant. It infuriates her, but relieves some pressure at the same time. Just so long as he's still breathing by the end of her session of supervision, her job as a field agent is insured.

She hears him call her name from the bathroom, a habitual check to verify the identity of his supervisor. Sydney?

There's a brief silence as she throws the wrapper of the granola bar onto the kitchen table, purposely littering for her own satisfaction. His apartment is spotless and that irritates her. She'll use any reason he gives her to belittle him. It's Agent Sydney Bristow, not Sydney.

She swears she hears his chuckle flushed beneath the spray of his shower and reconsiders adding a derogatory term to the end of her warning. Too much time passes and she settles down at his kitchen table. Although the black leather armchair is inviting, it's unprofessional to enjoy the luxuries of his apartment. She's only here to speak to him condescendingly and intimidate him with her hawkish stares.

He swaggers out of his bathroom moments later, a lush green towel around his waist. Sydney scrutinizes him from the kitchen table, her attention turned away from the novel in her hands for bare seconds. She's seen him in this manner before so the fact that he is impeccably built with ideally broad shoulders and the lower body of a Greek god does not come as a surprise. He approaches the living room, then the kitchen, and finally the table, where Sydney proceeds to glower at him distastefully. Hello. He folds his arms across his defined chest, casually emphasizes the lean dilution of his arms, and runs a stray hand across his washboard abdomen. Sydney barely flinches at this display of masculinity.

Sydney ignores his greeting. Put on some pants.

She turns back to her book, imagines his groin shriveling in pain when she kicks it, and finds her niche of paradise. Before Sark can leave the room, he notices the crumpled wrapper on the table. I prefer Cinnamon. She glowers at the wood imprint on the polished kitchen table.

And I prefer my foot up your ass, but we don't always get what we want, do we? She sees his shoulders shake as he contains his laughter and disappears behind his bedroom door.


The apartment is gallingly silent until lunch. Sark emerges from his bedroom in a dark blue tee-shirt and black sweatpants. Sydney grimaces at his normalcy, his casual appearance blends him into the clusters of typical men that walk the streets, live in the building, do anything but murder for a living. He's scratching his shorn head thoughtfully, his other hand in his pants pocket. He suggests lunch, but Sydney refuses to listen.

Take out? The thought is tempting, but her inclination towards Chinese suddenly reverts when Sark takes a seat beside her.

No. She forces her stomach to be content with the remains of the granola bar and turns her attention away from lunch.

Well, that's a pity, because I've already ordered some. A staring contest ensues as Sark leans forward with his elbows resting on his knees. Sydney sets her book down, bending the corner of the page to bookmark her place. You're beautiful when you're angry.

She wants to slap the smirk out of his smug appearance but she can't bring herself to move her hand from the tabletop. She hasn't received a compliment as daring as his in months, years even. But then she remembers the psychosis that is Sark.

Save your pick-up lines for somebody who gives a flying fuck. He finds content in her retort and retreats to the leather recliner. Sydney conceals her jealousy and returns her notice to the swirling words on the pages of the novel before her.


The boxes of take out cover the kitchen table. It was inevitable that Sydney would eventually collapse beneath the scent of green beans and pork and as she skillfully handles a piece of chicken between her chopsticks, she admits that it was a morally good decision. She finishes before Sark, but there remains enough food on the table to last until next weekend.

Do you really have to do that? He glances up at her and washes down his mouthful of food with a flood of water.

Do what?

Stare at me like you're assessing a target.

What if I am?

Sark set his eating utensils on the napkin by his free hand. He leans back in his seat, places his arms behind his head, and smirks.

You're addicted to the job.

Yeah, your point?

Don't you spend your time doing anything other then work?

Well, your whore killed my roommate, then took her place and tried to kill my best friend, and then I went missing for two years and find out my boyfriend's gotten married to a two-timing tramp—I didn't spend the last few months searching for friends, Sark. I spent the last few months searching for answers. Sydney sits back, believing she's gotten the last word, but the smirk on Sark's face vanishes as he prepares his rebuttal.

I'm not sure if you noticed, Sydney, but I spent two years of my life in a cell. Then your best friend killed my girl friend and my ex-lover killed my father. Feel free to intervene at any time to point out the hilarity of my situation.

His uncaring demeanor becomes apparent when he chuckles as he concludes his brief refutation. And even through all that, I manage to go by in life without acting as though a pole has been lodged up my ass.

Sydney didn't want to dwell on the topic any longer then she had to, but his insult denied her the pleasure of leaving the conversation satisfied. You never shut up, do you?

I'm afraid not.


The day wears on slowly and Sydney's attention strays from the book. The sun is slowly setting but its only four in the afternoon and there are still six more hours until her baby-sitting shift is over. She calls out his name to elucidate his location in the apartment. Sark?

She receives no response and gladly takes the invitation to explore. He's probably sitting in his bedroom, reading over dossiers of their targets for future operations and too focused to reply to her call, but Sydney feigns ignorance. She runs her hand over the leather chair, enjoys the smooth and cold texture, and continues down the hall to his bedroom. She stops at each open door and takes her time examining the wallpaper and flooring, when finally her feet reach the threshold to his bedroom. The door is ajar, barely, but she pushes it open and walks in.

May I help you? He asks her before she's even gotten both feet into the room. He's crouched over his desk and flowing in a sea of office work, half of which Sydney believes does not relate to any business with the CIA. His bed is pushed up against the wall beside his closet, facing the door. She can see his wardrobe—his very large wardrobe, and his nightstand, void of all memorabilia. No pictures of anyone, just a digital alarm clock with a blinking red colon. She pities the hermit.

You didn't respond when I called your name. No reply. She pillages onwards. You have an interestingly large amount of clothes for the salary the CIA provides you with. Sark turns off the light at his desk and stands up, briefly stretches.

I only gave the Covenant a portion of the eight hundred million my father left me, but I think you already knew that, Sydney. Why are you wasting your time asking?

Sydney guessed that he had a convenient nest egg even before he surrendered himself to CIA custody. A man like Sark didn't easily part with such a large sum of money without investing some of it for himself. Just curious.

Sark nods as though he understands, but Sydney can see the gears in his head, manipulating her comment into a sexual innuendo. She quirks a brow and turns around to leave.

Are you curious about anything else? He asks as he follows her out the door, flicking off the light switch when he breezes past the threshold. She can't tell whether his tone is that of impatience or curiosity because his monotonous voice plays out unpredictably.

Should I be? She unfolds her arms and rolls her eyes as she tosses her palms out, as if she's about to catch the after effect of a tidal wave.

It depends on what your present state of mind is. She's losing track of his train of thought and can't see where he's leading the conversation. The lack of control vexes her and she turns around to face him.

Now, what does that mean?

Are you curious, or aren't you?

About what?

About anything. Sydney narrows her eyes and glares in an effort to conceal her confusion. Sark tilts his head back, smirks a little and tucks his hands into his pockets.

Yes, but nothing that concerns you. There's a pause, but not of awkward silence. 

Sydney, I'd be lying if I said I didn't find you interesting. Sark finally breaks the peace, leans forward on one leg and slowly turns his head so that he's staring at her once more. 

I get that a lot, Sark.

What I'm trying to get at is that you're a highly intriguing woman who I'd like to get to know better. Sydney quirks a brow, folds her arms back over her chest again.

In the past several years, after all that you've done to me—you decide now, of all times, to say that you want to get to know me better? She walks around his living room, searches for more space because the walls are suddenly looming above her.

I'm just curious. He's turned her words against her.

Wow, Sark, good one. I've definitely learned my lesson.

I was being honest. I'd be lying if I said in the entire time that we've known each other, I hadn't grown a liking for you.

            Really? I could never have guessed by your smart ass comments. Sydney turns around to face him again, a smirk composed of incredulity making itself apparent.

How about it, then? He follows her out of the room and places his hands on her shoulders. He lets his fingers dance their way down to her collarbone, insinuates that the heat emitting from her is of ardor, not of rage.

About what—and I'm going to warn you once—and only once. If you touch me again, I will break your legs, but if you're lucky, I'll break your wrists—because you can't run away on your hands. Sydney's not in the least amused by his seductive glares and wayward glances. If anything, she's completely ignorant to his movements.

What? You hate me without even knowing me. He sounds like a pubescent therapist with his pouting lips and naïve stare, but she doesn't easily give in to his amateur tactics. He's dancing around a topic and waiting for the perfect moment to bring it into the light. Though she's stubborn, her curiosity receives the best of her and takes the initiative to question his motives.

I know you well enough to say that you're one cocky son of a bitch who could care less who dies by your gun. You're heartless and if it was up to me, I'd kill you execution style.

She's luring him away from whatever conversation subject he's trying to preserve for later. He takes the bait and runs with it, like he does so often.

My, my, Sydney, you've got quite a temper. Do I really come off as cocky? I'd call it, confidence. You should know a lot about that, shouldn't you? His tone is slowly changing from humored to stern.

What the hell is that supposed to mean? She's displeased by his statement, doesn't understand what he's trying to get at.

Well, you're confident enough to analyze me and think that you've got it right.

And are you saying that your examination of me hasn't led to any incorrect implications? His ego is over shadowing hers and the hand that she was supposed to have had over the conversation is no longer where it should be. He looks as though he's gathering a rebuttal, his attention straying from her as he thinks.

In Denpassar, you were the Raslak Jihad correspondent with the latajang—in Paris, you were the lounge singer—you found the music box in Siberia before me—you refused my offer in Moscow—you were the only visitor I had after two years of being stuck in a cell— She's surprised by the numerous memories he can recall of their accidental run ins. It's a revelation that shocks her. But he's skipped a few memorable trysts.

Each time we met, you left the encounter unscathed. Do you know how much that sets you apart? The only person that has left an association with me with their life is the only person that I, unfortunately, can trust. Can you understand the irony of this situation? Sark laughs, a quick and short chuckle that leaves Sydney feeling unsatisfied. She remembers the shot he delivered into Vaughn, the shots he delivered into over fifty other people, and realizes that regardless of what he says to her, she'll still despise him.

Sark, I don't have time to deal with your crap. Stop wasting my time and save your monologues for somebody else.

Why do you loathe me so much, Sydney? We're two of a kind. Sydney's nostrils flare at his unneeded comment and she grits her teeth together to prevent her temper from lashing out again. She turns and places her palms on his chest, forcefully pushes, and continues to navigate around the foreign territory. When she's a safe distance away with an entire room separating them, she speaks again.

We're completely different Sark—don't you ever imply that we're alike ever again. I'd kill myself before stooping to your level. She balls her hands into fists at her side, distracts herself by looking out his large living room window. The ocean is only two blocks away, a perfect apartment location for somebody who deserves it, not Sark.

What makes you any different from me, Sydney? Think about it. I lost two years of my life, you lost two years of your life, I worked with your mother, you worked with my father. Regardless of what you have to say, we're alike and that eats away at your insides. In the time that she's known Sark, the coincidental similarities had crossed her mind but out of denial, she had rejected the concepts they stirred. And even now, she refuses to ensnare herself in Sark's deliberately placed ruse.

You're a backstabbing son of a bitch—your loyalty is to yourself. You're bad, I'm good, it's not that hard to understand. The Covenant scares the shit out of you and that's why you ran away. I never supported your integration into the CIA and I never will. Sark's slowly moving forward, his hands in his pockets and his chin tilted up. Even in casual wear, he still appears sophisticated and urbane.

Au contraire—a double agent's loyalty can only be with himself. You killed good and bad as soon as you chose to work for SD-6 and the CIA. After all, Lindsey was more then willing to sacrifice your life for answers, was he not? You've got it programmed into your head that everything you do is for the good of the people—but what people are you helping? All you do is perform mindless tasks and gather intel for operations that benefit the CIA and the CIA only. The Rambaldi pieces that you spent a year gathering and killing agents for—all that time, all those lives, wasted. In the end, Sloane took the pieces and used them to deliver a message of peace. What cause are you working for, now, Sydney? You're following the path laid out for you exactly the way they want you to. That's why your loyalty can only be with yourself. You can't trust anybody else. Sark concludes with his voice heightened in authority. He's only telling her what she already knows but can't acknowledge. He's gotten closer and Sydney's not keeping track of his movements anymore. All she can hear in her head are his words and the daunting truth that puts to waste the years she's invested into her career.

Sydney, like I said before, you and I, we're destined to work together. She turns to look up at him as he stands a mere foot away, stares at him defiantly and shakes her head.

My life is this, Sark. This constant running and fighting, the missions, the deaths. There's more to working for someone other then myself then what you're telling me. This life is all I know.

Sark leans forwards and places both hands on her cheeks, clutches onto her and closes the space between them in one step. Sydney stares at him and understands his boyish yearning for the untouchable. She feels the same way but can't bring herself to admit to the sentiment. His lips are on hers, molding, massaging, earning a reaction. Sydney realizes that the kiss is the most romance she's had in her life ever since her and Vaughn's final separation years ago. It's a different emotion that sprouts from the sparring tongues and groping hands. It's an uncontrolled lust covered in a coat of actual need where with Vaughn it began as love and ended with love. She finally pushes away and they both struggle to control their breathing.

Let's leave, Sydney. She clings onto the words like a life vest but recognizes the severity of his suggestion. He's staring at her with a mixture of anticipation and brutality. He isn't Vaughn, he's Sark who moments ago she would have been more then glad to throttle to death. She can't tell if he's being honest, but her answer is rock steady.

No. She swears she sees him hold his breath.

What—why not? I have over two million stored away. You wouldn't have to worry about anything. He relinquishes his hold around her waist and drops his hands to his sides. He's not accustomed to her response, although he should be.

I could never trust you, Sark. That just proves my point. You could never give one hundred percent of your trust to anyone. All you do is run away from your problems. You don't need me to run away with you, you just need a free pass out of this apartment. She's hit something because Sark is no longer all charm and dashing looks. His face is blank, a tense expression that separates him from taking her with him against her will.

Sydney—you're the only person left that I can trust. I could've left this box weeks ago—without your help. I've only come here with a proposition. A proposition that I'm sure you'd say yes to if you heard it. He narrows his blue eyes, hollows out her self confidence with his glare. She's reminded of their rendezvous in Moscow, when he had the buoyancy to believe that she'd accept his proposal to join him in his business. And for a brief moment, her mind almost leaned in favor of him.

Sark, I've heard enough to make me sick. You don't have any potential to become anything aside from what you already are and what you have been since I've known you.  

You always put up these walls. Who's to say that I haven't changed? I didn't give up my life so I could work for the CIA. I gave up my life so I could work with the CIA. Work with you. He cocks a brow and tucks his hands into his pockets again. I'm going to leave, tonight. At approximately one o' clock, I am going to knock on your bedroom door. After that—whatever happens, will happen.

Sark, I'm warning you now. I will not open the door for you. Ever. Sark shrugs as his tongue darts over his lips. Sydney turns away and walks towards the door. She doesn't believe a word of what he has to say. She can't. Even though it's a few hours until her session of surveillance is over, she leaves the apartment. Whatever kept Sark from leaving before can keep him from leaving this Saturday.


Sydney's sleeping when she hears the knock on the door, doesn't believe it's possible, but finds herself drawn to her living room nonetheless. The blankets are on the bedroom floor and the lights in her apartment remain turned off, but her fast paced breathing is enough to give away her position. She watches the shadow his feet cast through the sliver of light beneath her door. They shift back and forth for several seconds, then she hears the knock again. She glances at the clock over the stove. It's exactly one o' clock.

She places her palms on the door, wants to glance into the eyehole but knows that he'd notice. She slides down into a sitting position and holds her knees, wishes he would leave. He's already caused her to question her motive in life and her entire career. Leave it to Sark to pull such a stunt. Minutes pass by as she stares directly into the darkness ahead of her.

Another knock.

She leaps up and grabs hold of the doorknob, pulls the door open.

Sydney. Weiss stands before her, he looks flustered and delirious. He's gone.

She doesn't need to ask who, she just follows Weiss as they run next door and check Sark's apartment. It's void of all residents and wardrobe. She walks into the kitchen as Weiss rambles on about how the agents positioned outside the apartment spotted him climbing into a black BMW convertible and lost track of him. On the counter is his badge of CIA identification. Sydney picks it up and tucks it into her pocket, whispers the alias aloud.

Aidan Morgan.

To her, he'll always be Sark, the backstabbing man capable of manipulating her into believing in his honesty.

Author's Note: Just a quick one-shot, it could possibly turn into a prologue for a series? I thought it was a cute idea, having Sark point out all these subtle details to Sydney, because who else would have noticed them? Any ways, hope you enjoy, read and review, and have fun.