by Voleuse

He mixes business with pleasure whenever possible. Sadly, tonight's excursion cannot be counted as such.


His current target, an arms dealer and occasional pimp, believes she has a discerning eye for art. As he eyes the garish walls of her gallery, Sark decides to disabuse her of her pretensions before he kills her.

The champagne, at least, is passable, so he accepts a proffered glass before escaping to the gardens outside. His target will spend the next three hours ingratiating herself to the local critics. There's no need to follow her quite so closely, now.

The grounds are lovely, though deserted. The grass is lush, and an enterprising custodian has strung white Christmas lights in the trees. He strolls over to the railing-encircled rose garden, hoping the subtle petals will cleanse his palate of the monstrosities on display inside.

The chatter of the crowd drifts loudly, even outdoors, so he doesn't hear the footsteps until they are directly behind him.

"I should have known I'd find you here." The familiar voice fairly oozes with scorn.

"Sydney." He turns, casually. The light of the gallery pools at his feet, and his glass of champagne is half-full. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

She is not amused. "Walking through that hallway, I spotted at least three wanted terrorists, an arms dealer, and a man that's tried to kill me twice." She is sheathed in burgundy silk, and the hair sweeping her shoulders is black. "So you tell me, you son of a bitch."

"Perhaps I'm here to enjoy the exhibit."

She stares at him. The look of incredulity in her eyes, combined with the absurdity of the statement, becomes too much to bear.

He bows his head, smiles, and laughs.

After a moment, she joins him, briefly, in his merriment.

"Sark." There is a ripple in her voice.

His head snaps up, and he regains his composure.

"Why are you here? She is, again, serious. "Who are you negotiating with?"

He remains silent for a moment, contemplating the champagne and truth on his tongue. "I guarantee, Sydney," he says, "I am not here to negotiate anything."

There is doubt in her expression, and something else he can't identify. Finally, however, she nods, and turns away. Her voice floats back to him as she walks. "If I find out you lied..."

"You'll have to kill me." He shrugs. "I know."

She re-enters the gallery, and an hour passes before he follows.


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