Disclaimer: Alias belongs to JJ Abrams, ABC and the people at Bad Robot
Rating: PG-13, for language and sexual themes in future chapters
Pairing: Sydney/Sark, suggested Sydney/Vaughn and Sark/Lauren
Summary: When Sydney makes the fatal mistake of trusting Sark with a gun in Man of His Word, Season 4, Sark takes the opportunity to revenge himself on Vaughn for Lauren's murder. However, after spending a prolonged time together, Sark and Sydney begin to develop feelings that neither of them anticipated.
Author's Note: An AU version of the events in Man of His Word. What might have happened had Sydney trusted Sark with a gun during the fight with Anna at the club.Chapter 1- A Man of Broken Promises
"Ready?" Sydney Bristow asked sharply, using her cruel imitation of Lauren's melodious British voice. Sark turned away from watching her precious Agent "Boy Scout" Vaughn make his way through the dancing couples in the Venice club. Or perhaps the agent was no longer quite as precious to Sydney as he had once been. Sark had detected a distinct chilliness between them on the flight over to Italy. After Sydney had adopted her current disguise, the tension had been thick enough to slice through with a knife.
"I'm always ready, love," Sark smirked, knowing he was tormenting the CIA agent to no end.
"Lovely," she rolled her eyes. She began making her way towards the couch that was the rendezvous with Sanko. Sark followed after her, placing a casual arm around her waist. He hoped wherever Vaughn was, this was eating him up inside. Even if the agent wasn't looking, Sark couldn't help feeling an old twinge of enjoyment come back to him. Custody had been excruciating for a man so used to doing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to do it. The loud music in the club was making his blood pound and he felt himself sinking comfortably back into the game. In the dim light, Sydney actually did resemble Lauren quite nicely and as they sat down on the couch, Sark could almost pretend he was back in business with the only woman he had ever truly loved. That was until Sydney sat as far on the opposite side of the couch from him as she could.
He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Lauren and I were known for our public displays of…affection, Sydney," he said, in a whisper just loud enough to carry to her. "Please try to act as though you don't want to claw my eyes out."
Sydney rolled her shoulders uncomfortably, but then complied. She shifted towards him and sunk almost willingly into his chest. Sark realized she was actually almost nervous around him. He tried to remember what he had read on Sydney's personal history records. It was true she settled for long term relationships and it generally took her quite some time to develop a steady relationship with any man, but he had no idea that an agent would be this skittish in any situation. Especially one as good as she was. He found himself with an inane desire to comfort her, but settled for running a gentle finger up and down her arm. "We'll be out of here in no time and you can go back to your boy scout," he teased.
Sydney shot him a look that made him regret saying anything. Rather than reaming him out, however, she changed the grimace into a sultry grin. "When we are done, boy scout," she said in a rather loud and suggesting tone. "I'm going to drag you back to our room and show you why the Boy Scout motto is 'always be prepared.'"
Sark felt his mouth go dry, wondering at the extraordinary change. "I hope I am not interrupting anything?" said an almost jovial voice above them.
Sydney shot the speaker a half grin and Sark realized they had been joined by his contact, Sanko. He sat up a little straighter and shot a glance at Sydney. Gone was any meekness she may have displayed. This was not Sydney Bristow, but Agent Bristow. The hardness in her eyes certainly matched the one reflected in Lauren's when on mission. Sark had been a fool to think there would be any problem and he quickly began to make introductions. As Sanko kissed Sydney's hand and began the meeting, he tried to recall all he knew of the man. He was reputed to be one of the largest perverts in the spy world, having an impressive collection of pornographic materials. If the way he was eying Sydney was any indication, this reputation was not an exaggeration.
Sark had to admire Sydney as the meeting progressed. She became Lauren and he unwillingly found himself fighting back images of the woman he had seen recently, murdered in a coffin. He remembered her vivacity, her cunning mind and her complete disregard for the rules that perfectly mirrored his own. Sark stared hard at Sanko, at his double chin, brown comb over and greasy pores, trying to ignore the woman who was the temporary revival of the woman he had loved more than he thought entirely possible. His thoughts drifted to her husband, the cold hearted bastard who had murdered her. He knew forcing Vaughn to open the coffin had caused the agent plenty of pain, but somehow it wasn't enough. He would have to do more.
And even as Sanko suggested that he be given a show of 'Lauren' and Sark's sexual activities, Sark realized what he could take from Vaughn that would cause him as much pain as Sark was dealing with now. His thoughts were momentarily distracted from revenge as he tried to think of something he could do to Sydney that was erotic enough to satisfy Sanko, but mild enough to not earn one of her bullets in his chest. He was considering licking cocktail off of her collarbone, when Sydney took unexpected action.
Sark watched her, captivated, as she roughly stuffed a slice of lime in his mouth. Her touch was the first he had had since being taken into custody and it caught him off guard. Before he knew what was happening, her mouth was on his, delivering what was possibly one of the roughest kisses he had ever received. Before pulling back, Sydney bit his lip fiercely, puncturing the skin and causing a trickle of blood to drip down his chin. She sat back up again with a smirk, leaving him caught breathless and wiping blood off of his lips.
"Satisfied?" Sydney asked, her gaze losing none of its heat. Sark felt once again the desire to ravish her on the spot. Back in her days at SD-6, particularly when they were working together, and before Allison, it had been one of his most favourite sexual fantasies…making love to Sydney Bristow. Almost immediately a plan began formulating itself in his brain. He doubted it would ever come to fulfillment, but if the opportunity should arise, both revenge on Agent Vaughn and possibly a little something more from Sydney could be achieved.
Sanko licked his lips and rubbed his hands together. "I see your reputation has not been exaggerated in that area, Mrs. Reed."
"Nor in any others," Sydney responded quickly.
"Yes, well, now what you have come for," Sanko laughed. Before another word left his mouth, a gunshot rang out. He fell forward, shot through the head. Sydney let out a curse, but Sark immediately took action, pulling her to the ground. The club exploded in panic and shouting as the patrons made their frantic way towards the exits. Sark felt himself wondering if he could tempt Sydney to join him in an attempt at escape, but she was already shouting at Vaughn over their coms. Sydney grabbed his arm and began pulling him towards the stairs.
"It's Anna!" she hollered at him. He nodded, having deduced as much himself.
They reached the stairs and Sydney turned, pulling out a pistol, tranquillizer and a set of handcuffs. Realizing she was going to 'subdue' him first, Sark immediately began to protest. "Sydney, give me a gun!" he shouted. "I can help- you know I can. I'm more useful than your Agent Vaughn."
"I can trust Vaughn not to turn his gun on me!" Sydney snapped, clicking one of the handcuffs around his wrist.
"You can trust me," Sark implored her. "What do I have to gain by betraying you? Anna means nothing to mean, and I happen to have an explosive devise gauged in my neck!"
Sydney frowned, considering his words. Realising she was wasting time, she sighed and unsnapped the handcuff. "If you make me regret this, I will personally kill you!" she promised, handing him the tranquillizer gun. "Come on!"
She turned to run up the stairs. Sark immediately aimed the tranquillizer at her neck and shot. She let out a gasp, and turned to face him. He almost felt guilty at the look of shock and betrayal in her eyes. "I lied," he shrugged. She collapsed, unconscious. He hurried forward and lifted her over his shoulder, then began making his way towards the exit.
He pulled a cell phone out his pocket and dialled the number of one of his old Venice contacts. "Antonio," he hollered. "Its Sark. I need immediate extraction- and bring the equipment to disable a personal tracking-explosive devise. I'm at Club Vorda, the west exit."
"I'll be there in five minutes," promised Antonio.
Sark pushed his way through the crowd. He caught sight of Anna Espinosa making her way towards the staircase, no doubt looking for Sydney. He ducked into a corridor on the west of the building, probably used for employees and sat down to wait, gently easing Sydney down. There was no one around- most of the employees undoubtedly going the way of the patrons and running for their lives. He laid Sydney's head in his lap, prepared to knock her out again should she regain consciousness.
He began thinking up some sort of game plan. This impulsive action wasn't anything like him. He had barely had a half-formed decision on abducting Sydney before he had acted. The cold hard facts were he was in the middle of Venice with an explosive in his neck and with no allies, save an old Italian man who had to be nearing sixty-five. He would have to lay low for a while, until he could make contact with some of his old colleagues, either from the days with Irina's organization, or even a few stragglers from the Covenant. He suspected that he could have a small organization up and running within a couple of months. Of all of his residences, he knew the manor in Innsbruck would be the most logical. Yes, he could easily get everything running again. But what to do with Sydney?
He had considered the possibility of killing her and sending her mangled corpse back to Agent Vaughn. Although the immediate and striking pain that would cause was no doubt attractive, it was not really Sark's way and was certainly not a suitable ending to the animosity between himself and Sydney. No, a prolonged time in captivity should do the trick very nicely. He leaned back against the wall, studying the smooth face of the agent in his lap. And if anything more personal should form between them, well, that would be something even better to throw back at Agent Vaughn. To send back a Sydney Bristow in love with Julian Lazaery would be the ultimate revenge.
A black car came squealing up and out jumped Antonio Manna. He was a portly, rich Italian dressed all in black with a disposition that Sark suspected he had copied off of Marlon Brando's portrayal of the godfather. He nodded a short greeting to Sark and pulled out a small black computer, which he held up to his neck. "Hello, Julian," he greeted, tapping in the deactivation code. Antonio and his family were among the few people who knew Sark's birth name, having met Sark first through his father. Not a fact that Sark held against them. "I see once again you have managed to get yourself in a situation needing my personal assistance to extract you from."
"Yes, and as per normal I am eternally grateful," Sark assured him dryly.
"Who is the girl?" Antonio demanded.
"You have probably heard of this 'girl,'" Sark answered. "Sydney Anne Bristow, CIA. Largely recognized, with the aid of her father, Jack Bristow, of bringing down the Alliance."
Antonio's heavy eyebrows raised almost off his head. "And what is she doing here, unconscious in your lap?"
"Sydney and I have a history," Sark answered. "We've worked together, not ever willingly, on several occasions. But more importantly, she is the woman the man who killed Lauren Reed is in love with."
"I see," Antonio said slowly. "You're good, very good, my young friend." He passed a black device that almost looked like a checkout scanner over Sark's neck. "There, it has been deactivated. We'll take the device out when we get to my home."
"I am much obliged to you," Sark said honestly. Not that he had been in any real danger of being exploded. Jack Bristow would have immediately realized Sydney was no doubt in close contact with him and would have fought tooth and nail to stop the CIA from eliminating him.
Between the two of them, they carried Sydney relatively gently to the car and Sark slid her into the back seat, before climbing in after her. Before Antonio closed the door on them, the Italian man gave Sark a rare grin. "You should have been born an Italian, my old friend."
"Really?" Sark drawled. "And why is that?" He wasn't really interested, far more preoccupied with carefully taking off the blonde wig Sydney had been wearing and letting her brown hair come down. He understood women got headaches if their hair was up for too long and too tightly.
"You have a knack of getting attached to the very women you shouldn't," joked Antonio, closing the door and climbing into the front seat with his chauffeur.
Sark didn't laugh. He didn't find it at all amusing. Mostly because it was true. Allison. Lauren. And Sydney, occasionally. With a grimace he pushed the brunette off of his lap and propped her hastily up against the far window, hoping she got a crick in her neck.
"What do you mean, you lost her?" a very angry Jack Bristow snarled at Vaughn.
"I was up doing surveillance," Vaughn explained for what felt like the 100th time. "Anna shot Sanko and Sydney told me to go after Anna. I assumed she would follow. I lost Anna and by the time I returned to where I last saw Sydney and Sark, they were gone. I searched the club twice, but no sign of them."
Vaughn met the dark glare of Jack. He had just suffered an agonizingly long flight that he had been forced on to after spending eight hours combing Venice for Sydney. He really did not feel like sitting here and defending himself to her controlling, conniving old father who only showed her affection when she was in trouble or depressed.
"Look, there are only two possibilities," Nadia interrupted, laying a hand on Vaughn's arm. "Either Sark somehow managed to overcome her, or Anna took them both."
"Or Anna and Sark were allied," Eric added.
"Either way, my daughter is alone out there, because this incompetent boy couldn't keep surveillance on a raging elephant!" Jack hissed.
"Please do not make the mistake of thinking you are the only person who has any feelings for Sydney!" Vaughn exploded angrily. His breathing was heavy and he sat down in his desk chair, emotionally drained by the anger and fear he felt for the woman he loved. He once again found himself replaying their last hours together, how cold he'd been to her after she'd adopted the disguise of Lauren. Again the image of her kissing Sark replayed in his head. If that was the last time he ever saw- looking like his ex-wife and kissing Sark, he would never be able to find peace. After just getting her back to lose her so suddenly…he buried his head in his hands.
He felt the large hand of Dixon clasp his shoulder. "We're doing all we can, Michael," he said in his rich, calming baritone. "Nadia and Eric are leaving for Venice in half an hour. Sloane's pulled out all the stops. He's rerouting the guys in surveillance to watch all Italian airports, bus stations and train stations. If they leave the country, we'll know about it."
Vaughn looked up. "Of course we'll know about it…Sark has the tracking device…we've been following him…haven't we? They are still together, are they not?"
Marshall looked uncomfortably at the ground and then back up at Vaughn, his cheeks burning. "Less than two minutes after you reported Sydney and Sark MIA, the tracking signal was lost. Its likely Sark had it deactivated or removed."
"Are you kidding me?" Vaughn grew angry again and stood up. "She's been MIA for almost twenty-four hours! That son-of-a-bitch could have her half way around the world by now!"
"Vaughn, we're doing all we can," Dixon said. "We all love Sydney too."
"No, we're not doing all we can!" Vaughn growled. "We should have blown his head off the minute she went MIA!"
"And risk injuring Sydney?" Nadia exclaimed. "Besides, we don't even know if Sark is responsible for this. It could be Anna."
Vaughn drew a shuddering breath and then turned and left the room.
Sydney rolled her head, letting out an almost inaudible groan. She pried her eyes open, struggling to sit up. She was laying in a four poster bed of rich red. The room she was in was one of the finest she had ever seen, even with all of her travels. The walls were a rich brown with golden swirls. The furniture was all made of some dark wood that had a deep gloss to it. It was more of a suite than a room. One door led off into a washroom, while a second led to a sitting room. In the bedroom there were two great wardrobes, a full length mirror, a duvet covered in a red silk much like the bed covers and a table set for two, with a bottle of chilled wine next to it and accompanied by two comfortable looking chairs.
She pushed back the covers and laid her bare feet into thick carpet. She was dressed in a relatively simple linen nightgown that was pretty in its simplicity. She caught sight of herself in the full length mirror across from the bed. Her long brown hair had been recently washed and all traces of make up had been rinsed. She lifted a hand to her head, noting a small bruise on her forehead. She struggled to remember how she might have gotten that.
There had been a meet…in Venice. She was dressed as Lauren and had had to kiss Sark. She remembered thinking that she had enjoyed it a bit more than she should have. Then…Anna had killed their contact and Sark…Sark had shot her with a tranquillizer! That bastard.
Any comfort she might have felt from the beautiful room immediately left. She was clearly being held captive here. Her eyes darted around and saw to some surprise that the door to the balcony had been left open. She hurried outside and, quickly taking in the rolling hills, illuminated by a setting sun, that she was somewhere in Tuscany. She thought for a moment about trying to find some proper clothes, but decided the nightgown would have to do for a traipse in the Tuscan countryside. She could change at the safe house. She was in the process of calculating the drop to the ground, when the door to her room swung open. She turned to see two Italian women, one old and stately, the other young and very pretty, enter.
Upon seeing her half over the balcony, the elderly woman immediately lost any stateliness. She threw up her hands and began hollering at the top of her lungs. "Oh, no! No, manca, lei deve non! Julian sarà la maggior parte di è sconvolto! Ritornare! Ritornare direttamente!"
She threw herself against Sydney and began pulling her back over the railing. Sydney found herself flabbergasted for one of the few times in her life. She found herself over the railing and half way to her bed before she thought to run. She pushed the older woman away and dashed out of the door….
…and directly into Sark's chest. "Hello, Sydney," he greeted, taking a firm hold of her and escorting her back into the room. "I knew sending Josie and Lena into wake you was a bad idea, but they were so insistent."
"You let me go you, son-of-a-bitch!" she hollered. She tried to kick him, but the nightgown severely restricted movement, and he easily parried and knocked her to the ground. Josie and Lena let out anguished cries.
Sark shot the two ladies his charming grin that Sydney assumed he had used to melt many wills. "Sigra Josie, la signorina. Il Lena, ci scusa per favore. È abbastanza disturbata nella mente. Soltanto posso calmarla adesso."
The ladies both shot worried looks in Sydney's direction, but complied with his request. As soon as the door closed behind them, Sydney scrambled up and put the bed between herself and Sark. "What do you want with me?" she snarled. "You said yourself you don't have anything to gain from betraying me."
"I don't really look on it as betraying you," Sark shrugged. "I think you must have had some secret wish to come with me. You must admit, you didn't put up much of a fight back there."
"Because I'm confined in this ridiculous nightgown!" Sydney protested. "Its not exactly what I would have expected from you."
"I didn't chose it," Sark assured her. "That was Josie Manna's choice selection. The older one. She thought it made you look darling. Despite your opinion, I am not so unfeeling as to actually undress you. Nor am I quite so feeling as to bathe a prisoner and clothe her."
"A prisoner?" Sydney snorted. "In this place? If Josie or whatever the hell her name is didn't just interrupt me, I would have been on my way to the CIA safe house."
"Yes, well, this is only temporary," Sark admitted. "My contact in Venice- Antonio Manna- has not shared his profession with his family, so we must keep up appearances. I have to stay here tonight while he contacts some of my old colleagues from the Alliance and Irina's organization. Tomorrow, you and I leave for London, where you will have the option of entering a more proper prison or living in some form of comfort with me, depending on your behaviour."
"Why are you telling me this?" Sydney frowned. "Unless you're planning on killing me tonight." She resisted the impulse to bite her lip, knowing if Sark did want to kill her, she was in no position to stop him.
"I assure you, killing you is the furthest thing from my mind," Sark promised, a small half smile on his face. She had known Sark long enough to know what that meant. "Josie outdid herself in the kitchen when she heard she was to have the cousin of her husband's long time business partner joining her. Or rather, her cooks did."
Sark brought a tray Lena must have brought in, over to the table beside the balcony. "Will you join me for dinner, Sydney?" he asked, for the first time actually cordial. She stood stiffly, watching as he gracefully served the dinner. It was roast chicken, accompanied by a variety of fresh looking vegetable and fluffy potatoes with a rich gravy. Josie certainly knew how to please the American palette. Sark uncorked the bottle of wine and poured two glasses. "Trust me, Sydney. You don't want to pass this up. It's an excellent vintage…and that's coming from me."
Sydney finally gave way to the growlings of her stomach and crossed slowly to the table. Sark offered her a smile when he saw she was coming, with only a touch of gloating. "That's a girl," he grinned. "You had best try and make this as pleasant as possible. You and I are going to be spending an great deal of time together, and I am sure it won't be all unpleasant."
He held out her chair for her, and she began to sit down. "You're very beautiful, Sydney," Sark said suddenly. "Does Agent Vaughn ever tell you that?"
Something inside of Sydney cracked and in a swift movement, she grabbed the beautiful willowware bowl full of potatoes and brought it crashing down on Sark's head. It made an excellent smashing sound and she was pleased to see his eyes diluted for a moment before he could fully use his vision again. She had hoped he would grow angry and strike her, or drag her off to some cold cellar with cold porridge to eat. However, he remained insufferably calm. He wiped mashed potato off of his face slowly, wearing a wry grin.
"I suppose I asked for that," he admitted, slowly backing away to the door. "But you know, before we get to London, perhaps try to learn some table manners. Things will be much different there and I would hate for you to feel embarrassed by your atrocious way of carrying yourself."
Sark barely managed to whip out the door before the bowl of vegetables went sailing towards him. Sydney listened, almost satisfied, at the quickened pace of his footsteps as he walked down the wooden hall, clearly worried the gravy might be the next missile. Sydney almost immediately regretted sending Sark on his way. She was now alone to mull over her situation and worry over what was awaiting her. She might have gotten Sark drunk enough to reveal more of those half-glimpsed plans for her and his future employment.
She picked up a plate and fork and, ignoring the glasses of wine, the entire bottle and dragged herself up to bed. She gave no more thought to escape. Her 'host' sounded to be some form of Italian mobster, and would surely have guards, seen and unseen, all over his grounds. For now she was stuck and would have to rely on Sark's mercy. The way she looked at it, this could possibly be her last night in any form of comfort and she intended to eat to her heart's content and then go about getting stone drunk.