A/N: This was originally going to be for both the SD-1 Sarkney challenge and the official Feb. challenge but I didn't finish it in time for the second one... so, now it's just Sarkney challenge.

Thanks muches to my favoritest Nichole for the betanessosity! You're awesome!

Requirements: Sydney must have been with Sark for at least PART of her two year disappearance; use of a Monty Python quote {I used 'I'm not dead yet!' from Holy Grail}; use of the quote: "Agent Vaughn was just a little boy who was never good enough for you;" a tissue box; some secret, revealed by anyone.

Much unhappiness has come into this world because of things left unsaid. Truer words may never have been spoken, you think to yourself.

You're not the type of man to regret things you've done; things you haven't done is an entirely different concept, but also one you don't indulge in. But as you grasp her motionless hand in your own, willing her to come back to you, you're hit with a wrenching sorrow- regret for everything you ever did to hurt her, and all the things you never did tell her.

It's my fault this happened… I promised her she'd be safe with me, you reprimand yourself, knowing that you've once again failed to live up to your word. As you push back a lock of her brunette hair, you can't help but wonder what it is that compels her to continue trusting you. She certainly has no reason to, nor reason to trust anyone else, for that matter. And yet, she does. She's learned to not only see, but also accept, the good and the bad in everyone.

Which is the only reason I've been given this chance with her… and I've squandered that. You know that if it weren't for the series of traumas she'd endured the past few years, she would never entertain a civil thought towards you, much less utter the occasional words of love you can no longer live without. All those years ago, when she'd lost Vaughn to Lauren and Tippin to witness protection, her seemingly unbreakable strength had faltered, but Jack Bristow held her together. But when she'd lost him to a mission gone awry, she had also lost herself.

She couldn't stay at the CIA; they'd cost her too much already. She needed to disappear, and ended up turning to her last possible resort: me. You still recall that belligerent first confrontation: her attempts to make contact with Irina had failed, CIA contacts had proven useless, and even Sloane had told her that his hands were tied. The minute you understood exactly what it was that she was asking of you, you realized there was no way you could say no. You also knew that if she figured that out, she would exploit it endlessly. And so, throughout the tears, the screaming, and the various deals offered, you steadfastly held your supposedly neutral ground.

It was the quiet, simple, 'Please. I can't do it alone.' That finally cracked your armor. You promised only to help her disappear and relocate to Austria, with the agreement that she would somehow repay you one day. And so, two days after resigning from the CIA, Sydney Bristow embarked on a road trip to Canada and was never heard from again. Meanwhile, halfway across the world, Audrey Ottoman was easing into her new life in Austria.

But of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone. It was supposed to be a business deal, nothing more, nothing less. And yet I often made excuses to be 'in the area' simply so I could check on her. She had to have noticed. Next came the day, over a year later, that she called me just to ask when I'd be by again. That was it; I knew things had changed, and would never be quite the same again. And I liked it.[/I] Your business dealings had progressed into friendship, but you never let yourself entertain serious thoughts of it moving beyond that. Even after all the time that had passed, she still mourned the loss of what she'd had with Vaughn, as well as the destruction of her old life.

She never has learned that this isn't the first time she's ended up by my side. You almost laugh at the thought; for Sydney Bristow, the experience of living with one Mr. Sark seemed to be wholly new; for you, it was a return to the only time in your life you'd actually been content. A year after she'd been presumed dead in her burning apartment, and mere weeks after you'd finally escaped CIA, you had rescued her from the Covenant. She seemed to think she owed you something; rather than running straight back to LA as you'd expected she would do, she merely disappeared for two days, only to turn up at your London apartment and ask if she could stay a while.

Only much later did you find out that those two days had been spent seeking out the remains of the life she'd lost; Vaughn's new love, Will's witness protection status, and all the other changes that had shaken up what was once her world. And so she returned to you, to safety.

To what you thought was safety.

I lost her… she lost herself. You still don't know how it happened; all you know for certain is that she left one night to 'deal with issues' and never came back. Next you heard, she'd resurfaced in LA, no memories of the last two years of her life.

No memories of me… no memories of us… nothing but emptiness and pain. It didn't take long for her to realize that Los Angeles, the CIA, was no longer where she belonged. But still she stayed, clinging to the remnants of her past, until word came through that Jack Bristow wouldn't be coming home- ever. Nine days later, she was once again at your doorstep, and you were once again all too happy to help, even if she wasn't quite aware of that.

I couldn't very well tell her that we'd been together for almost a year… she would never have believed it. And so you kept up your cool, professional exterior until the day she took that first step and called you 'just because.' Your relationship with her grew progressively warmer after that, slowly but surely. One cool winter evening in your Austrian hotel room, she fell asleep against your chest while watching Young Frankenstein; as you looked down at her, you knew that was where she belonged. You could only hope that she'd one day see it too.

The next morning, Sydney seemed a curious mix of embarrassed and pleased when she realized how you'd both spent the night, but wouldn't say anything about it. You hadn't pressed the issue right away, merely smiling as you promised that she hadn't damaged your breathing capabilities in any way. As the two of you strolled casually back to her apartment, she surprised you by absentmindedly taking your hand in hers.

It didn't seem to be a conscious gesture, nor something she'd planned… it just happened. And yet, once we'd both realized it, neither of us wanted to let go. So you walked in amiable silence until you reached her door. Once there, you expected her to smile as she released your hand and went in. Instead, she kept a firmly gentle grasp as she pushed the door open and led you inside. You obediently sat on the couch next to her, waiting for her to speak. She spent several long moments studying your still interlocked hands, seemingly trying to find words.

You weren't quite sure what to expect, but you certainly didn't anticipate hearing her say 'I don't want to be here anymore.' Your breath caught as you looked away, trying to keep control of your suddenly spinning emotions. You never thought she would want to return to LA, not after all that had happened. But you nodded, prepared to take her there as soon as she was ready. As she looked at you, she seemed to understand what you were thinking, as she laughed lightly and shook her head, assuring you she had no intention of ever returning to America at all, much less Los Angeles.

I didn't exactly realize what she meant. I had my hopes, but I couldn't allow them to be raised for fear of being shot back down. So when she quietly asked if she could go back to London with you, you couldn't stop the small smile that crossed your face as you nodded your agreement. A mere two hours later, you were both in the air, on the way to London.

You worried about her safety; living with you wasn't exactly the most secure thing to do. She waved off your concern, insisting that she knew you wouldn't let anything happen to her. You had to smile again, swearing to her that you would die before you let any more harm come to her. With a soft 'I know,' she allowed her head to rest on your shoulder as sleep overcame her.

You did an appalling job in living up to that promise, you think bitterly. She's been living here not four months, and look what's already happened. She may well die, and there's no one to blame but you. You wearily drop your head into your hands as the dark thoughts consume you.

The beginning of her second stint with you had gone well. She was happy, you had drastically reduced the amount of time you spent working for anyone but yourself, and life had been relatively peaceful. As was the norm in both your lives, the tranquility was not to last.

You'd taken her to a small cottage in Ireland, intent on enjoying a week of relaxation, just the two of you. Upon returning from buying food one day, you noticed something amiss. While the relative quiet had been savored by both of you, your gut instinct told you that this was just a little too quiet. You cautiously approached the cottage, searching for Sydney but seeing no sign of her. A flash of dark hair caught your eye, and you peered around the corner to catch sight of a face you never thought you'd see again.

Allison Doren smiled coldly, but didn't move a muscle other than that. You frantically looked around, trying to locate Sydney, but to no avail. Allison began to speak, but you wouldn't allow her to finish her sentence, rocketing across the room and tackling her to the floor, demanding to know what she'd done with Sydney. She merely laughed mirthlessly, allowing her eyes to settle on the modest kitchen not far from where you had her pinned.

Allison was forgotten immediately as you jumped to your feet and ran. Sydney lay on the floor, breathing heavily in a small puddle of blood, a knife discarded on the floor next to her. 'Payback,' Allison whispered as she slipped out the door. You started to go after her, but quickly changed your mind as you realized Sydney was dying. You leaned over her, brushing back her hair as you quickly dialed the number of a local doctor who was familiar with you and your line of business. Once the doctor had promised to be there in no more than ten minutes, you began tending to Sydney as best you could.

I cleaned away the blood and urged her to hang in there; I couldn't deal with losing her now. At times, I almost thought I already had. To your immense surprise, she slowly opened an eye and smiled up at you. 'I'm not dead yet,' she cracked, causing you to smile in relief. 'You had better keep it that way,' you replied.

A few hours later, she was stitched up and resting, and the doctor had told you she should be able to recover, but it could still go either way. And so you sat by her bedside, moving only when you absolutely had to, not wanting to let go. Sometimes you toyed with the tissue box sitting on her nightstand; sometimes you talked to her, not knowing if she could hear you. Most of the time, you just watched her, held her hand, and willed her to come back to you.

There was one scare, a moment where her breathing suddenly hitched and the next few minutes were a struggle. You continued to hold her close, urging her to make it through. 'This is your fight Sydney, and you've never been a quitter. Don't you dare give up on me now,' you whispered fearfully. Eventually she calmed, and you were both able to breathe easy again.

That was four days ago, and there's been no sign of anything since then, you note to yourself. You choose to take this as a good sign, hoping it means she's recovering without having to battle for it. She talks in her sleep sometimes, and you're only too happy to reply. Right now is one of those times, as she wonders aloud what Vaughn would think of her current situation. You can only shake your head, asserting that 'Agent Vaughn was just a boy who was never good enough for you.' She doesn't respond to you, but you no longer expect her to.

Finally, you succumb to the exhaustion that's been tearing at you for days, and fall asleep with Sydney carefully but tightly held in your arms. When you wake up hours later, you can see that it's well into the night, and you curse yourself for sleeping so long. You climb out of bed and flick on the light, and are shocked as you turn to see Sydney looking at you with a smile. You hurry to her bedside and can only smile in relief as she slowly sits up.

I almost lost her for the second time… I won't take that chance again. I have to tell her the truth, consequences be damned. You nod to yourself as she looks at you curiously.

'Sydney… there's something you don't know. About us.' You briefly wonder if this is too much to burden her with so soon after waking up, but quickly decide that you have to go through with it now, or you may never have the nerve to do so. You look at her again and quickly reveal that this isn't the first time she's been with you, nor the first time she's lived in your London apartment. Rather than looking surprised, as you expected, she merely nods as you conclude your tale.

'I know,' she whispers. You stare at her, uncomprehending, waiting for her to elaborate. 'I remember… everything,' she states unflinchingly, before proceeding to tell you that it all came back to her while she was unconscious after Allison's attack. She smiles gently as she slowly lies back down. You look at her uncertainly, wondering if she's truly going to be ok.

A sudden fit of coughing from her worries you even more, and you take hold of her hand again. She clutches your hand tightly as the vicious coughing continues. When it finally subsides, she collapses weakly, and you see blood on her pillow.

'Sydney?' you question tentatively. She smiles at you softly, but doesn't say anything. A moment later, she silently mouths the words 'thank you' as you continue to stare at her in confusion. Her eyes slowly slide shut, and you anxiously touch her face, then move to check for a pulse.

I can't lose her now… she can't leave me like this. You being to grow agitated as you can't find a pulse, nor sight any breaths being drawn by her. You gather her into your arms, softly pushing back an errant strand of hair.

'Sydney, please… don't give up. You can't let go like this… you're too strong to let Allison beat you.' She still doesn't stir, and you feel yourself beginning to fall apart. 'Don't you dare quit on me, Sydney. I can't make it without you… you know that!' You shut your eyes as you finally realize you're fighting a battle long since lost. Reflecting back on your words, you realize that they're true; you've no desire to go on without her, and no intention of even trying.

I never thought it would end like this… a mission, yes, or perhaps a house bomb. But I never imagined we could be beaten by an ambush like this. You glance over at the knife Allison had used on Sydney, but before you can pick it up and carry through, something stops you. I must be dreaming, you decide, thinking you've heard Sydney mumble something. But as you draw closer, you're shocked to see her chest rise and fall, weakly, but she's breathing nonetheless.

'I'm not dead yet,' she whispers again, and you can't help but laugh. 'I knew you were too strong for that. You promise this time?' she nods, and you slowly get into the bed next to her, wrapping your arms around her and vowing to defend her with everything you have.

'I have a secret too,' she says quietly, and you look at her, waiting to hear it. She says nothing for at least ten minutes, until finally she turns her head to look you in the eye.

'Adam Sark, I think I love you.' She nods quickly and turns away again, effectively stopping any reply you had in mind. You can do nothing but smile and kiss the top of her head as you both drift off to a cathartic sleep.