by Shrift

His information and contacts are two years out of date. They grew ever more useless as he paced his cell while wearing paper slippers, his ankles cold and the tape from the electrodes sticky on his skin. Even so, procuring biological weapons for the Covenant is a directive he can perform in his sleep. Irina had trained him well.

Sometimes he wonders where she is. Sometimes he wonders if she had betrayed him. Sometimes he thinks about her daughter.

Mostly, these days, Sark just thinks about himself.


The first time Sark meets Simon Walker, he considers putting a bullet between his eyebrows. More extensive contact with Mr. Walker only leaves Sark with the feeling that he is not alone in this regard. The man is loud, arrogant, and prone to violent mood swings. Sark likes his women stunning and dangerous, and his men attractive and vulnerable. Walker isn't his type, but he's very good at his job, which is why the Covenant wants him, and why Sark is here in this dank room. Something sizeable scuttles over his foot, and Sark stares at the dirty floor in distaste.

Next time, Sark will insist that he choose the location. Their activities may be illegal, but there's no need for them to be uncivilized.

"Why, it's only a puppy!" says Walker from the shadows of the abandoned warehouse. "You're practically still in nappies. For shame."

Sark says nothing. He waits patiently, briefcase in hand, and instead thinks on what wine he'll have during his evening meal. He's been indulging lately. After all, he has two years of enforced sobriety to make up for. This also keeps him from reaching for his gun; he had patience prior to his imprisonment, but these days, patience is in as short a supply as his control over his own life.

At his continued silence, Walker emerges from behind a stack of crates and grins, and it makes him look equal parts handsome and psychotic. "Woof. Now, what has the puppy got for me?"

Sark places the briefcase on a crate and slides it across to him. "The Covenant wishes to hire your team to procure a series of items. The first is located within a French epidemiology lab."

"I see," Walker says, looking him up and down in unmistakable invitation. "Business before pleasure."

"You've dealt with biologics before, I trust?" Sark says blandly.

Walker turns the briefcase locks with his thumbs and opens it, then reaches for the schematics as if they are birthday presents. Distracted and thumbing through them, Walker says, "Oh yes. No worries."

"I'm not worried," Sark tells him. "If you accept this contract, failure to acquire these items is a price you, and you alone, will pay."

Unimpressed, Walker whistles and stares at him from underneath his eyelashes. "I'll take that under advisement."

Sark hands him a PDA. "Half up front, as agreed. All you need to do is enter your account numbers."

Walker stares at him a little longer, and then turns his attention to the small screen. "It will be a pleasure doing business with you."

There are a plethora of things Sark could say in response, and holding his tongue proves surprisingly difficult. "Will it?"

"Oh, I think so," Walker says confidently, and hands him the PDA.

"I'll contact you with delivery information," Sark says, taking a step back. "Until then."


Sark considers killing Walker each time they meet thereafter, but for the sake of expedience and the untried good will of his current employers, Sark stays his hand.

Walker doesn't make it easy.

"One of your team members was captured," he says when Walker arrives.

Walker scowls, and the grooves in his face seem endless. "Bogdan got careless, and now he's suffering for it. But we've got the goods, as promised."

Sark takes the case Walker offers, and then he smiles. He always finds competence delightful. "Excellent. How much time will you require to replace Bogdan?"

"A few days," Walker says, stepping close. "Shouldn't take long."

"Use the safe house outside of Ibiza for the next job. I'll see you in Spain."

"Leaving so soon?" Walker grabs his arm, and Sark tenses.

"That was my intention, considering the volatile contents of this case."

"The contents of that case are secure," Walker says, and his smile makes Sark wary. He wants something. "I'm good at what I do."

Walker slides his hand up the arm of his suit and covers the nape of Sark's neck with his palm. Sark doesn't move. Walker's dark hair gleams in the sunlight. Sark had insisted that they meet during the day, in the open, near the waterfront; he finds the lack of fetid surroundings refreshing.

"Told you working with me would be a pleasure," says Walker.

Sark watches him carefully. "You don't know what I find pleasurable, Mr. Walker."

"Call me Simon," he says, and kisses Sark.


There is something that he doesn't want to admit.

It doesn't matter that Simon isn't his type. Sark is skin hungry. Simon is dangerous. Sark is always willing to compromise.


The hand on his neck is warm, and Simon kisses like it's one of his favorite things to do, his mouth mobile and his teeth sharp. He can feel the sun on the top of his head and the case bumping against his leg. Simon pushes Sark against his car and fucks his mouth with his tongue.

Sark lets him.

His arousal is sharp and unexpected. Unwanted. Simon's hands are clever and ruthless, and unfastening his belt. He takes Sark's cock in his hand and squeezes hard, and then stops kissing him in order to say, "I want you to suck me."

Sark leans his head back and lazily pushes his cock into Simon's fist. "Do you?"

Simon cocks his head. His grin is wild and hungry. He looks deranged. "Yes."

Sark shoves him back, and waits long enough to put down the case that Simon looks slightly apprehensive, his forehead wrinkling under his widow's peak. Sark drops to his knees and unfastens Simon's trousers. His fingers are quick and efficient, and Simon sucks in a noisy breath when Sark takes him into his mouth.

His hair is still too short for Simon to get a good grip; Simon's fingers run over the growing stubble with a rasp. He sucks around the hard cock in his mouth, his jaw open wide and aching slightly, and he watches Simon's reactions with interest.

Pleasure twists Simon's face. "Pretty little cocksucker you are."

Sark's lips are stretched and hot, and Simon tastes bitter on his tongue. He takes him deep and doesn't gag as Simon shouts curses at the sunny sky.

It would be very easy to kill Simon right now. He squeezes Simon's balls and runs his thumb over the butt of his gun. Simon's eyes are squeezed shut. His breath is harsh. He keeps trying to fuck Sark's mouth.

Sark doesn't let him.


Two years of prison. Traded to the Covenant. His inheritance taken. This is the litany that he repeats.

He once had millions of dollars and a small army at his command, and now he is little better than a common foot soldier.

This is unacceptable.


Sark knocks on the door of Simon's apartment in Seville. The next job is imminent, and Simon has failed to contact him regarding Bogdan's replacement. Simon wrenches open the door and glares at him. He's shirtless and his hair is mussed, like he's been running his fingers through it all day.

"Buenos dias," Simon says, and opens the door wider to let Sark inside.

Sark walks through the door. Simon's apartment is a wreck, chairs overturned, shattered glass glittering on the floor.

"You'll have to excuse the mess," says Simon. He crosses the room, barefoot, and pours himself a drink. "Scotch?"

"Thank you," says Sark. He approaches the dining room table. Photographs spill across the top, their surfaces glossy.

They are all photographs of Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn.

Their operation is, no doubt, extremely compromised.

Sark takes the glass of scotch from Simon and sips it. "The original drop point is no longer acceptable. I need to be elsewhere at that time. We'll have to move up the exchange."

"Fine," says Simon shortly. "Send me the coordinates."

Sark gestures at the pictures with his glass. "Who is this?"

Simon sneers. "That bitch," he says, "is Julia Thorne."


An optimist would say that he has nowhere to go but up. A pessimist would say that CIA custody always awaits his return. Sark will say that he'll very much enjoy killing his way to the top, and that it will help matters if the Covenant has not burned through all of his father's money by the time he does.

Sark is angry; he has been for quite some time. Now is not the time for him to indulge it.

Soon, he thinks, it will be soon.


Sark leans closer to Simon and taps a surveillance photo with his fingertip. "Tell me about Julia Thorne."

Simon leers. His eyes are slightly unfocused. Sark can tell that he has been drinking. "What's that information worth to you, puppy?"

If the Bristows are involved, Simon's a dead man, and he doesn't even know it. Sark doesn't particularly care, as long as Simon lives long enough to deliver the merchandise.

Sark smiles. "I'll make it worth your while."


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