Shattered Glass

An Alias drabble by Merrie

Disclaimer: If wishes were horses I'd sell mine and buy Sark.

Summary: Can they overcome all that separates them? Or are they doomed to be forever apart?

Characters: Sark and Sydney primarily, others mentioned

Author's Note: Now generally, I write novel-length fics but as I'm writing on a deadline here I simply didn't have time. This is written for the Holiday Sarkney Challenge on SD-1 and is my first Alias fic. So do please send me your reviews and encouragement and I just might get around to writing a novel length one for all of you. Thanks and I hope you like what I come up with.

A/N 2: This fic takes place after Revelations and is AU from there.

With her switchblade eyes and gunmetal grace, she walks with her toes to the wire.

-Jackie Green, Miss Madeline (3 Ways to Love Her)

Rating: PG-13.

Sark paced and paced and paced some more. He had quickly found during his last little stay in the quaint…well to call it a cell would be disgracing the name of cells everywhere. It was in fact nothing more than a bloody glass box in which he was put on display. One thing was positive about this whole experience though. He had plenty of time for self-reflection. More than plenty, actually. If the CIA got its way he would never leave this cell. The thought depressed him, but he refused to let it beat him. He had survived two goddamn years in this hell hole, he could, no would survive it again if need be. He refused to spend the rest of his life in this cage.

In keeping with the mystique of his persona, few knew how old he actually was. He used to this advantage as he used everything. He took great pleasure in allowing himself to both look and act his age, causing foe and friend alike to underestimate him. He can't do anything to me. He's just a kid, they'd say. He should be in college somewhere going to parties and sleeping through classes. In truth, Sark had never needed to go to college. In addition to a near photographic memory, his mentor and almost mother Irina had taught him everything he had ever wanted to know; from foreign languages to literature to how to ballroom dance to a failed attempt to teach him how to play soccer. And she had taught him about the real world; the world of lies and betrayal, of rape and murder. She had taught him those lessons when he had been just barely old enough to comprehend them. She had wanted to prepare him for the grim realities of this world, and he did not begrudge her for it. He did not blame her for making him the man he was today. He did not even blame her for never coming to his aid in those two long years the CIA had taken from him. He didn't care. He knew she wasn't going to ever come for him. He wasn't her problem. He had no illusions about their relationship. She would never come to his aid. She was a woman who believed in letting others fend for themselves. The only person whom Irina Derevko had ever truly been willing to give her soul for, was Sydney.

Sydney. Her very name sent his mind reeling with confusing thoughts and emotions. She was an equal, and enemy, a bright spark in an otherwise dreary existence. She was beautiful and graceful and deadly and beyond reach. He didn't know why he cared. It wasn't as if she would ever lower herself to even consider being with him. No, not Sydney Anne Bristow, patron saint of all things good and honest. Never her. She would never sully herself with the likes of him. He tried to tell himself that he was only interested in her because she was her mother's daughter, but the lie rang hollow in his own ears. Take the pain. She doesn't love you and she never will. You're nothing to her. The words rang true but oh how he wanted to deny them. He might have brooded over the subject more were it not for the mind-numbing screeching noise bounced effortlessly off the concrete and glass that made up his prison and into his ears. He denied himself the urge to clasp his hands over them and instead turned a glare at whoever was the source of the horrendous noise.

He couldn't believe his eyes. As if she had sprung fully grown from his thoughts like Athena, Sydney stood before him, pushing a cheap looking aluminum chair across the ground. After a minute of mute staring, he shook himself out of his shock and zeroed in on the source of the noise. It would seem that one of the wheels on the chair was stuck, he could see it sticking out at an odd angle in argument with its three brothers causing it to scrape and squeak along the ground as it was forced into movement by Sydney's strong but clearly feminine hands.

It would seem the surprises were destined to keep coming because she inexplicably apologised for the squeaky wheel, citing poor government spending or some such as a reason why the CIA didn't provide state-of-the art completely ergonomic chair sans squeaky wheels. And yet the surprises still came. "Merry Christmas, Sark. Or Happy Christmas if you prefer." Sark just stared at her blankly. Christmas? It was Christmas time already? How bloody long had he been in this cell? And then paranoia set in. Was it really Christmas or was she simply toying with him to get some kind of reaction? His eyes narrowed as he glanced at her shrewdly through the thick glass that separated them, trying to discern her intentions. Again, surprisingly enough she seemed to be without malice or ill intent. Perhaps it truly was Christmas? "You know it's customary to acknowledge such a greeting with one of your own," she said wryly.

Sark blinked at her, utterly confounded as to what the hell she was doing here.

"I can come back later if you like; give you time to properly compose yourself," she said with a soft laugh.

The laugh galvanized him into action and he was filled with irritation that she had been able to send him into the realm of speechless idiocy with a mere greeting for the holiday. "Happy Christmas, Agent Bristow."

Sydney shook off the title, making a face at it. "Call me Sydney, Sark. I figure that since you're going to be with us for awhile then you can at least call me by my first name. I'd do the same but I don't know it." That wasn't true, she did know it, but she wanted to see if he'd tell it to her.

"Julian," he murmured, his eyes suddenly widening at the admission. He hadn't even hesitated to tell her.

"Julian," Sydney repeated, trying the name out, secretly pleased that he had told her. "It suits you. Now if you'd only tell me your place of birth and your age we'd really be getting somewhere," she teased.

"Maybe if you've been good this year. Although I prefer naughty girls," he said slowly, his impenetrable smirk finding its way back to his face. She had wrong-footed him, it was true, but he was quickly regaining his equilibrium.

She gave him a benevolent smile as if he were merely a wayward child rather than a convicted assassin and terrorist. "Anyway," her mood seemed to shift to nervousness now and he tilted his head in curiosity, wondering at the cause. It was then that he noticed the brightly wrapped package she had been trying to hide behind her back. She had got him a present? This was beyond comprehension. "I'm not saying I felt sorry for you, I didn't, but I thought that maybe you wouldn't want to have Christmas alone. And if you're going to be an ass about it, I'll just leave and you can kiss any goodwill I might feel towards you goodbye." Her tone was harsh, brooking no nonsense. She was deathly serious.

"I'll be good," he said with all the innocence of a horned imp. He held up his hand in a three-fingered oath. "Promise."

"I somehow doubt you've ever been a boyscout," she said wryly, taking in his raised hand.

"I've been a boy and I've been a scout," he argued. "I think that entitles me to a little leeway regarding their oaths."

"You've been a boy? I don't believe it. You've always been Mr. Sark: gentleman spy and assassin."

He shrugged with his relaxed shoulder. "Are you going to take my oath or not?"

"Fine, fine. Put your hand down."

He did so. "What did you get me? And why did you get me anything?"

She brushed a lock of her hair behind her ear in a nervous gesture that Sark found himself loving. "Now I'm not so sure I want to give it to you. This was a stupid idea. We're enemies."

"Oh come on, Sydney. You can't come down and show that you got me a Christmas present and then not give it to me. That's cruel and unusual punishment and illegal under the Geneva Convention."

"Alright, have it your way, Mr. Smartyspy," she drawled as she put the present into the slot that connected them, nodding for him to open it once her hands were free. "And at the first rude comment about it I'm coming in there to kick your ass."

"Understood," Sark said with a smirk, puling the package out of the slot and making a show of trying to X-ray it with his eyes, even going so far as to shake it.

Sydney rolled her eyes. "Stop acting like a 4 year old and just open it, Sark."

"Do forgive my curiosity, it's not every day I'm given gifts by members of the CIA." When she didn't respond to that, he walked over to his feeble excuse for a cot and sat down; setting the silver and gold package on his lap so he could more easily open it. He could sense her eyes on him and wondered what she expected from him. Did she expect him to carefully bend back the seams of the carefully wrapped paper like a surgeon? She probably did. Honestly, that was probably what he would have normally done. Instead, he decided to defy convention and tore into the package like the 4 year old she had earlier compared him to. He was rewarded by her surprised laugh at his antics and a murmured, "You're very strange, Sark."

Then abruptly, the paper was gone and he was staring down at the gift she had seemed fit to give him. He hadn't quite known what to expect, but he hadn't even imagined this. "You got me a book? A picture book? I know you don't know how old I am but it's older than 4, I assure you."

"That's it; I'm coming in there to kick your ass. You didn't even look at it!" Her cheeks were flushed with embarrassment and anger and Sark thought she looked beautiful.

Before she could make good on her threat however, he took a second look at the book. It was indeed a picture book like he had surmised, but more specifically it was a book of famous paintings. If he had bothered to really look at the printed copy of the Mona Lisa on the cover before snarking at her, he might have not upset her. "You got me a book of paintings? Why?"

She pushed a lock of hair behind her hair again as it had fallen to her face, and Sark found the gesture even more endearing this time. "I thought…since they don't let you have any pictures or the window open, you might…appreciate it." Her manner hardened. "Just forget it, Sark. Do whatever you want with it." She got up from her seat on the squeaky-wheeled chair, intending on leaving.

"No, don't go," he called after her. She stopped but didn't turn back to him or regain her seat so he pressed on. "Thank you for the gift. I…can't remember the last time I got one."

"Forget it. It's nothing. It was a stupid idea anyway," she murmured.

"I said thank you, Sydney," he reiterated. "I'm sorry I didn't…I didn't get you anything. I wasn't aware that the season was upon us."

"I know what you can give me," she said after a brief moment's thought.

"You want to know about me, don't you? Knowing my name wasn't enough?" he predicted with a slight sigh.

"Not everything, just…I don't know, the basics," she agreed with a short nod.

"Fine," he murmured glancing warily at the security cameras that observed his every move. "I hope you don't mind sharing your present with the rest of the CIA," he said wryly. "No matter. You already know my name is Julian. I was born in Galway, Ireland in 1981."

"1981?" She asked incredulously, like he had known she would. "You're only 23? I don't believe it. You've got to be older," she insisted, feeling the weight of her own 32 years a little bit heavier at the information.

"Do you want me to take an oath again?" She stopped him before he could raise his hand. "I'm 23," he said with a little shrug. "A little young for our field I guess, but I've never let it stop me."

"No, I don't think you would," she said absently, trying to wrap her mind around the fact that he couldn't own drink or own a handgun a mere three years ago. Julian Sark, a skilled assassin and something of a snob when it came to wine was only recently old enough to legally do either. She found the notion amused her after the initial shock had worn off.

"Was that basic enough?" Sark asked slowly, not really wanting to share more with the CIA. He still expected to escape from this place one day soon, and giving up all of his secrets to his pursuers before the chase had even begun was never a good idea. He had already said too much. Now if it had just been Sydney who was hearing his answers…well, that was a different story. He wasn't sure how much he'd share with her were that the case.

She nodded and rose from her chair to walk up to the glass. He did the same until they were standing close enough to embrace were it not for the wall of glass that separated them. "There was another reason I gave you the gift." Her voice was just above a whisper now and he had to strain to hear it. He would have asked her to speak up, but he figured that she was speaking so softly for a reason. Not to be overheard by her superiors, perhaps? The notion was laughable, but why else would she be talking so quietly as if for his ears alone? He waited for her to go on without comment. "You're being transferred to Camp Harris tomorrow afternoon," she whispered, her eyes filled with regret and sadness for having to be the bearer of such news."

"I expected as much," he said solemnly. "Beware of CIA agents bearing gifts. I should have known better. Was this just an attempt to soften me up before your dear colleagues broke me? My congratulations, Agent Bristow. I didn't know you had it in you."

"That's not why I gave it to you, you ignorant son of a bitch," she hissed angrily, her voice still barely above a whisper. "I got you the book so you'd have a picture of something to keep in your mind while they…tortured you. It helps, believe me. But since you're obviously too strong to be broken, the indomitable Mr. Sark, who would sell out his own mother before being tortured," he voice was laced with bitterness and hate. It seemed things were getting back to normal between them and he hated it.

"I'm sorry, Sydney. The gift…it's more than I ever dared to hope for from someone. Thank you for your consideration although I don't understand it." He frowned, looking at her intently through the glass he wished he could shatter. "Why did you even bother? Why do you care?" He didn't ask the questions to be sarcastic, he truly wanted to know.

"I-I don't know. I guess I couldn't let anyone go through that alone Sark, not even you," Sydney said slowly. He could have sworn he saw something spark in her eyes when she looked at him, but it was gone before he could properly identify it.

Before he could comment, the most unexplainable thing happened. Sydney was as always dressed to kill-a wine-red blouse for the season, a mid-thigh length black skirt, and strappy heels that seemed to make her legs stretch on for miles, simple but elegant-but this time she could might have truly killed him. As she shifted in front of the glass, the sleeve of her dress caught on the handle of the slot connecting them and stuck fast. Sydney, unawares of what had occurred, kept moving her hand despite her sleeve being caught. What happened next could only have happened in his wildest fantasies and yet it was unbelievably real. Her blouse, already stretched tightly across her breasts in a provocative manner that left little to the imagination, couldn't withstand the stress of Sydney's quick jerk to free her sleeve. Buttons flew towards him at top speed and he flinched as they ricocheted off the glass leaving scratches in its formerly pristine surface. The shock didn't last long as he stared at what had been revealed to him. The top of Sydney's blouse was spread open now that it's buttons had been lost, revealing just enough of a lacy black bra and the tops of pale breasts to make all his Christmas wishes come true.

Just as quickly, Sydney had clenched her blouse shut, staring up at him with wide eyes. He couldn't help but sigh in regret as the show was ended, but then a small smile made its way to his face as he was treated with a deep blush that he was sure ran down to the tops of the breasts he had just been fortunate enough to witness. "Exquisite," he breathed, keeping all innuendos and sarcasm out of his voice in favor of simple appreciation of her beauty. It wasn't worth getting his manhood handed to him for one well-timed comment. Well, he almost managed to keep his mouth shut in any case. "While I thank you for the book, I don't think I'll be needing it anymore."

Sydney sniffed, holding her head high, her cheeks still flushed in embarrassment. She handled herself superbly however, and he had to give her credit. "Thank you. If you're good I might just give you a present for your birthday as well." The look she gave him was wicked, leaving him to wonder if she hadn't planned the little "show" all along. He liked to think that she had.

When the armed guards came to get him the next afternoon, he had the image of her firmly locked away in his mind where it couldn't be touched. She had given him a glimpse of heaven before he tasted hell and he couldn't help but love her for it.

END

A/N: Ok, a little longer than normal drabble length, but the story seemed to run away with me. Anyway, I hope you liked it. It didn't turn out quite as angsty as I had originally envisioned, but I like this too. ;)