Caveat Emptor (Part II)
Summary: Sark's incarceration takes a detour when someone has questions for him.
Spoilers: Season two finale, season three (mild)
Disclaimer: The author claims no ownership of the characters. She is not making a profit from their appearance here, and no celebrity endorsement is implied. In other words: don't sue.
. . .
'Is he alive?'
'Just. You'd better do whatever you're gonna do and quick.'
Jack crouches to search for a vein in Sark's right ankle. 'Give me your tie.'
'My tie? He gets my tie now?' Weiss grumbles as he unknots the navy silk and drags it free.
Jack is feeling for a pulse in Sark's throat. He holds out a hand and takes Weiss's tie, using it to fashion a tourniquet above the unchained ankle.
'What happened to his veins anyway?'
'Collapsed.' Jack slaps two fingers on the ankle. 'Come on Sark, your will to live is stronger than this.'
'Marshall give you any clues about who planted the tracker?'
'He said it was Russian.' Jack's terse tone warns Weiss not to push the point.
'He was talking about Syd before he blacked out.' He watches with a frown as Jack lines up the needle containing the antidote. At his words, Jack hesitates. 'I didn't mean - Jesus, Jack, just do it. You're not the only one who's gonna get hauled up in front of Lindsey to explain why the hell we let him die like this.'
'What was it Sark said?'
'That he hoped she was alive. Seriously. It was cathartic and then some. I don't like the guy any more than you but I swear he wasn't jerking your line. Give him the antidote.'
Jack does. He unfastens the tourniquet and hands it back to Weiss together with the empty syringe. (Weiss takes both with a grimace). Jack's fingers are back at Sark's throat, checking his pulse. As Weiss watches he removes the hand, puts his cheek to Sark's mouth and straightens quickly. 'He's stopped breathing, help me get him flat.'
Between them they pull Sark's head back off the mattress onto the floor. Jack closes Sark's nose with the fingers of one hand, opening his jaw with the other. He glances at Weiss who backs up, showing his palms. 'He's all yours.'
Jack puts his mouth to Sark's and performs the CPR with expert efficiency until with a hiccupping sound Sark comes back to live. (Weiss releases the breath he was holding). Jack rolls Sark onto his left side as he starts retching emptily. To Weiss he says, 'When the antidote kicks in his body temperature is going to drop rapidly. There are blankets in the car, and bottled water.'
Weiss nods, goes to fetch the kit. When he returns, Jack is lifting Sark's body away from the mess of blood and sweat generated by the fever. 'Help me turn the mattress.'
When Jack puts him back down Sark's head rolls brokenly to the left. The overalls are black with blood from his injured shoulder. Jack reaches for the first aid box packed by Marshall. He selects needle and thread, preparatory to stitching the wound.
Weiss watches in silence. Sark's hands twitch but he makes no sound as the needle is drawn through his bruised flesh. By the time Jack finishes Sark is starting to shiver. They bundle him in the blankets. Jack washes the blood off his face with a little of the bottled water, lets a little more trickle between his parched lips.
'Jesus,' Weiss says when they're done and Sark is sleeping fitfully, 'what a night. Bet you'd have thought twice about taking him out of custody if you'd known the trouble he was gonna be.'
Weiss shuffles his feet (Jack makes him nervous, always has, god alone knows what Sark must have felt when he found out Jack Bristow had him all to himself, axe to grind, the lot). 'The Agency knows, right?'
'Kendall does. Off the record. We agreed that Sark was unlikely to talk from the relative safety of a prison cell but that he might have valuable information he would share if he imagined his life was in immediate danger.'
'Immediate danger. Yeah.'
Jacks fixes him with a stare. Weiss shrugs big shoulders. 'If I'm judging anyone I'm judging Sark. Did he have any information, d'you think?'
'It's impossible to tell. What else did he say to you before he blacked out?'
'Oh you know we chatted about this and that - baseball, hockey - he's a regular jock.' Weiss frowns. 'Actually he did say one thing that was weird. That he's not a Brit. Said he didn't know what he was.'
Jack glances down at the slight figure on the mattress. 'Why would he say that?'
'Search me. It's all part of the Mystery That Is Sark.' Weiss stretches, glances at his watch. 'So what now, back to the State Pen?'
'In due course. I had him for ninety-six hours.'
'Sure, get your money's worth, I'm all for that. I'm headed out for some breakfast. You want me to bring something back for you and Bill Powell here?'
'William Powell, The Thin Man. 1934 film with Myrna Loy? Cesar Romero?' Weiss trails off. 'So, I was thinking salt beef sandwich and latte with an extra shot. You?'
Jack nods. Weiss goes.
. . .
Jack stands for a long moment looking down at the sleeping figure on the floor. He crouches and checks the pulse in Sark's right wrist. It's light, too fast still. The fever is falling away as rapidly as Marshall warned it would. Sark's skin is clammy to the touch and he hasn't stopped shivering since he started.
Jack tucks the narrow wrist back under the blanket and rests his eyes on Sark's averted profile. The escapade of the last forty-eight hours served to confirm his suspicion that there is more to Julian Sark than a killer on a career ladder. Who planted the tracker? And how? (Sark wasn't aware of its existence, Jack is nearly sure of it). Whoever planted the bug can't have meant Sark to die, otherwise why make the poison so slow to take effect? It was intended, Jack feels sure, to force Sark's captors into delivering him to the nearest hospital. But there was no time in the schedule to launch a counter operation to find whoever was staking out the local emergency rooms, waiting to retrieve their lost property.
Sark's life has a distinctive pattern, of lucky escapes and near-death experiences. It was never adequately explained how he escaped the library in Moscow where he held a gun to Sydney's head, and there have been other instances that nag at Jack's neat reasoning, making him question the true extent of Sark's association with the sort of powerful people who sacrifice errand boys, even ones with Sark's dubious talents, as a matter of ritual.
One might almost imagine Julian Sark has a guardian angel (or devil).
On the mattress he stirs, coughs and goes still again save for the shivering. Jack fetches a chair from the room upstairs and settles himself to keep watch.
It was telling that first Derevko and then Sloane adopted Sark as errand boy. Sloane with his Svengali-like need to search and destroy, take the raw material of youth and mould it to his own ends. (As a point of principle, Jack will never forgive himself for letting the man snare Sydney in his net). Irina, with her more perverse and less concerned self-interest, collecting and discarding trophies, her eye always drawn to the greater prize just beyond the horizon. He makes a mental list of his wife's trophies to date: Sydney's love (given freely as a child and again more recently, a reluctant offering hollowed out of his daughter like a beating heart); Jack's devotion; Sark's obedience, or was there something more? Jack recalls the bright challenge in that blue stare, 'Your issues with my association with your wife,' but rejects the idea. Sark trades on bluff and bravado, nothing more.
Jack makes no mistake. Julian Sark was a sociopath before either Sloane or Derevko discovered him. There's a dark core to Sark, a fracture line that invites exploitation (and worse). But only a fool would entrust their secrets to fledgling assassin, and neither Arvin nor Irina is a fool.
Which brings him back to the tracking device. And how much Sark knows about Sydney's whereabouts, which remains Jack's most immediate concern. Thirty hours left before Sark is due to be returned to the Agency. But with Sark in this state, what chance is there of finding out what he knows in the time that's left? (If indeed he knows anything).
It occurs to Jack that he has just played the part of Sark's guardian angel, delivered him from certain death to a less-certain future (for everyone).
The thought is not a comfort.
. . .
He wakes to whitewash and the inevitable migraine. It isn't until he attempts to move that he remembers this is more than the usual routine of his recent life.
Pain wrenches a reluctant sound from his chest, a sob in fact. He struggles to recover unconsciousness, not wanting to be awake. His body flares with hurt, from ankles to temples. The surprise at being alive is lost in the overwhelming sensation of sickness and frailty. He was so sure he had died, can still feel the embrace of blackness, the welcome release from more pain than he could manage, more pain than he'd known. And now he's awake and it's back, feasting on him from the inside out and it's too much, too much -
He shuts his eyes, hard, then opens them to look up at the man. The wetness on his face is the final insult, a betrayal by his own body (he's weeping, pathetic).
'Agent Bristow,' he forces the words through his teeth (they're chattering - he's cold? When did that happen? The last he remembers he'd have given his right arm to be rid of the furnace that started in his lungs and burned through every bit of him; now he can't stop shivering, his body bound in ice). 'So Weiss wins his bet.'
'Save your strength,' Jack advises. 'In case you don't remember, you came close to dying.'
'Not close enough it seems.'
Jack gives him a strange look, eyes boring into him like steel. He turns his head away with another sob. (What's happened to his self-control? Did it die with the fever? God help him, if that's the case).
'We need to talk, Sark.'
He fights an urge to curl into a foetal position, to hide from the man and whatever inquisition he's planning. His fingers find the edge of the blanket and twist there, trying to get warm. The blanket is new. So Agent Bristow did more than save his life, is in fact prolonging it. (The thought is not a comfort).
Oh... God. 'What?'
'The tracking device I removed from your shoulder was Russian.'
'You told Weiss you're not British.'
'One of many intimacies we shared while you were away. Until you have spent your dying hours in Agent Weiss's company, I suggest you suspend judgement on what does and does not pass for casual conversation.'
'That's all it was?'
He looks at the man with loathing. 'Since you were good enough to deliver me from the jaws of death back into your tender care, it hardly matters does it?'
Jack's eyes drill down into him.
'Perhaps if you'd sent Eric to fetch the antidote and stayed here yourself you would have managed to prize out of me whatever information it is you are after. But you weren't here and I'm no longer in the mood for sharing.'
'You asked if Sydney was still alive.'
'And?' He rubs a hand across his eyes, leaves it there to block out the light. 'I suppose I'm to live to regret that, too.'
'What did you imagine the answer would be?'
'From Weiss? I imagine I expected him to put an abrupt end to my suffering. The same approach worked wonders with Agent Vaughn.'
'Weiss says your concern sounded genuine.'
He's silent, feeling confused. What is it this man wants from him?
'What makes you think my daughter is alive, Sark?'
When he still doesn't speak, Jack places a light, warning hand on his right shoulder. 'The idea of hurting you at this juncture is nearly farcical. But you should know that I'm prepared to allow this to slip into farce if that is what it takes to get an answer to my question.'
The threat helps him to focus. He removes the hand from his eyes to meet the man's gaze. 'You want to know why I think she's alive? Because for the first time you are registering my existence as something more than a trivial annoyance. Quite misguidedly I might add since as I pointed out during act one of this melodrama had I information to share I would have done so before it became a matter of my life or death.'
The last word is wrung out of him in a gasp. The man's hand is like an iron bar being driven into the recent wound. Perhaps, if it's done again, he'll pass out.
'Of course if she was alive,' he pushes the words past the contraction in his throat, 'you would hardly be here indulging a positive fetish for torture.'
That's it - his vision is splintering, the blackness sucking him back where he wants to be - then Agent Bristow releases his grip and he's suspended somewhere desperate between pain and oblivion. He gropes for the right words to make the man finish what he started. 'If she's not dead - whose body did you bury?'
'Shut up, Sark.'
We're back to that?
'If she's not dead - '
'I said shut up,' Jack is icy-calm, 'I know what you're doing and frankly I don't have the time or patience to drag this out to another round.'
He gives up, and they stare at one another. Stalemate, again. Maybe that explains the taste in his mouth.
It's impossible at this point, to tell how this will end.
. . .
It speaks for his defeated condition when, five minutes later, he is grateful for the return of Agent Weiss. Weiss is so... uncomplicated, has no hidden depths (or shallows), all his layers on the surface, in plain view.
Weiss brings with him a strong smell of the outdoors, and something else. 'Beef subs and lattes all round.'
Sark's stomach performs a backward flip, retreating from the overpowering aroma of the food.
'You coming upstairs?' Weiss asks Jack. 'Not much of a café ambiance down here.'
But, 'I'm staying with Sark.'
In which case...
He drags himself upright, using the wall as a prop. He's shaking so hard the bones in his elbows make a knocking noise on the stone. He sends a stare in Jack's direction (as flatly defiant as he can make it) and puts everything he's got left into a smile for Weiss.
'Eric, did I thank you for your scintillating conversation, which saved my life?'
'Funny man Sark,' Weiss speaks through a mouthful of sandwich, 'not very. But funny.'
Jack's cell-phone chimes and he retreats to the stairs to take the call.
Weiss tosses a brown paper bag onto the mattress and, more carefully, hands over the cup of coffee. 'Tuck in, Lazarus.'
He wraps his hands around the insulated cup, coveting its warmth. There's a good chance he'll throw up if he puts anything stronger than water into his empty stomach. But the heat is irresistible. He puts his lips to the hole in the moulded cap and sucks in a mouthful of aerated milk.
'Here.' Weiss prises the lid from the cup and puts it aside.
The coffee is unbelievably good, hot and sweet. He shuts his eyes and drinks, slowly, a sip at a time, feeling the heat weave its way around his battered body.
'I have to go in,' Jack's voice from the doorway, 'stay with him.'
'An hour, maybe two.'
There's something else, some signal that passes between the two of them so keenly that he registers it even with his eyes shut (but right now all that matters is getting warm).
Jack goes. Weiss pulls up the chair and sits down, still eating. After a while he says, 'So what were you and Jack talking about? I miss anything?'
That's it (of course). They're working as a team. He's careful not to delay his answer long enough to let Weiss know he understands this. 'The likelihood of his daughter being alive.'
The honesty works wonders. He opens his eyes to see Weiss measuring him up, looking surprised. 'You truly believe I'm incapable of telling the truth, don't you?'
Weiss shrugs. 'I think you prefer lies.'
'Not lies,' he leans his head back against the wall, 'deceit perhaps. But that is our stocking trade.'
'Don't start up with the we're all in the same business bull. That makes me sick.'
'I apologise. But it wasn't what I meant.' He sucks in his bottom lip, slightly burned by the coffee and tasting of old blood. 'I am - painfully - aware of the differences between us.'
Weiss sits looking at him. (Come along Eric, jump to it, I'm primed and ready, could hardly be more easily routed). He has to admire the man's no-nonsense approach when he says only, 'You could save yourself a lot of trouble if you just told us what you know.'
There's nothing subtle or devious about Eric Weiss, thank god. But Jack knows this and still imagines Weiss can make him talk. If only he wasn't so dizzy, if only his coordination wasn't shot to pieces -
'Just tell us what you know, Sark.'
'I tried that. Unfortunately knowing nothing didn't impress Agent Bristow.' He returns to the coffee, eyeing the brown paper bag with misgiving (it's oozing all sorts of grease). 'Is that edible?'
'Salt beef sub? Food of the gods.' Weiss nudges the bag nearer to his unchained hand.
He peels back a corner of the paper wrapper. Breaks off a piece of bread and rolls it between his fingers. His stomach starts to panic, sending out confused signals of hunger and nausea. He puts the rolled pellet of bread between his teeth, swallows it with a further mouthful of coffee.
Weiss watches him in silence. If the man is capable of pity, this should strike the right note: the simple act of satisfying hunger, everything reduced to a primeval struggle for survival.
(It must be wonderful to be Weiss, so easily sated, so little conflict).
'I don't suppose you'd allow me to use the bathroom?' he suggests in due course.
'Don't push it Sark.'
'Eric, it must be obvious to you that I'm incapable of pushing anything. I'd require your assistance to climb the stairs. Believe me, there is no pleasure in confessing such a thing.'
'It's not happening so don't tease yourself. And don't call me Eric.'
'No? You don't think after everything we've been through together..?'
Weiss snorts. 'Eat the sandwich and shut up.'
He does what he can with the food. Then, inevitably, 'No criticism of your menu choice implied, but I suspect I'm about to be sick. Agent Bristow was shrewd enough to supply a bucket but I'm not sure - ' He looks around, one hand holding his stomach.
'You're one long joyride aren't you?' Weiss fetches the bucket, hands it over and backs away.
He is comprehensively sick. Caffeine, yeast and blood. Delightful. Weiss rises to the occasion, offering him a bottle of water and a paper towel to wipe his mouth. 'Thank you.'
The man pulls a face, making him sigh. 'I promise you I wasn't being facetious.'
'Yeah and that's what bugs me. You're a freak of nature Sark you know that?'
'It's been said,' he admits, leaning his head back against the wall. At least the shaking has stopped. He toys with the steel cuff around his left wrist. (He was right: it's taking his skin off). Weiss removes the bucket, returning when he's swilled it out. There's running water then, in this place.
'So what happens now?' he asks. 'Assuming I can persuade you and Agent Bristow to accept the fact that I know nothing about Sydney's fate?'
'Let's just get to that point first.'
He drinks a mouthful of water, retches but with no result. 'I fail to see what else I can do to convince you of my ignorance.'
'Why don't you have a think about that?' Weiss unfolds a newspaper, starts to read.
'How long have I been here?'
Weiss glances at his watch. 'About seventy hours.' He turns to the sports section, looking up as Sark makes a sound of wonder. 'What?'
'I wasn't aware I had a reputation for stoicism, of any kind. Let alone the sort needed to remain silent during three days of unremitting torture.' He shuts his eyes. 'You must have a higher opinion of me than I imagined.'
'You want to know my opinion of you?' Weiss puts down the paper.
He says, 'Not desperately. But feel free to open up.'
'I think you're the kind of coward who gets a kick out of holding back information that could save lives, or prevent suffering. I think you like sticking it to Jack, and Vaughn, and anyone else you can stick it to because that's the only bit of power you've got. It's pathetic. You're pathetic.'
'For a man of few words, Agent Weiss, you have a talent for picking the ones that do most damage. Bravo.'
'Yeah like anything I say means more than squat to you.'
'You underestimate yourself.' He pauses, considering, then opens his eyes and meets the man's unfriendly stare. 'Agent Bristow, however, does not. He left you here to see what further indiscretions you could wrest out of me. Didn't he?'
Weiss snorts. 'Like the line you spun about not being a Brit? Yeah I'm fishing for more pearls like that one. Can't get enough of your bullshit, Sark.'
'Has Jack Bristow tried contacting Irina Derevko?'
'What else d'you want to know? My pin number? Jesus, you'd think by now you'd know how this works.'
'I'm trying to find a way to satisfy your need for information from me. I don't see that I can do a great deal from my current position of ignorance. If you were to tell me how much Agent Bristow already knows - '
Weiss returns to his paper. 'Put up or shut up Sark but either way quit jerking my chain. I'm sick of it.'
He retreats, again, to silence.
. . .
An hour passes, possibly two. He sits in silence, his back to the wall, summoning what strength he has for Agent Bristow's return.
Weiss appears to have given up on him, reads his paper in silence and when he's finished, sits sending text messages on his cell-phone (or pretending to, since the reception down here is sketchy at best).
He's fading in and out of consciousness, knows he needs intravenous fluids to fight the lingering effects of the poison. The pain becomes manageable, after a fashion. If he keeps still and concentrates on controlling his breathing. (He thinks of Irina and her meditation, but the pain keeps seizing him back from the brink of sleep, actual or otherwise). The ice settles in his feet and fingers, a slow thaw uncovering fresh aches in the rest of his limbs.
He oughtn't, he knows, indulge in imagining how Agent Bristow might kill him. But he does. A bullet in the brain is too much to hope for. The worst he can imagine is being left like this, chained to the wall for however long it takes him to starve (or dehydrate) to death. But Jack may well have something in mind that would make that a welcome alternative.
He opens his eyes. 'That I'm alive? Regrettably so.'
Weiss goes back to ignoring him. Is he supposed to crack, start craving the man's conversation? Unlikely. Weiss has lost interest in the game that is all. And who can blame him? Sark lost interest around about the time Jack Bristow chained him to the wall.
Silence settles again, punctuated by the inane sound of Agent Weiss's finger jabbing at the miniature keyboard of his cell-phone.
After time, it occurs to Sark that this is a new strategy for tormenting him. The ping-pinging of the phone, the fretful poking of Weiss's fingers (too large for the purpose) is the modern-day equivalent to water torture. He finds himself entertaining the prospect of watching Weiss suffer a massive (salt beef) coronary from which he - Sark - is unable to save the plucky agent on account of being on the end of a shortened chain driven insane by the interminable texting.
(What can a man like Weiss possibly have to say that takes him so long? Is he perhaps writing his life-story? Poetry? And who is the unfortunate recipient of the communication? He distracts himself from the pain for a short while by dreaming up titles for Eric's autobiography: Of Weiss and Men; The Weiss-Man; Naughty but Weiss. None of which helps, greatly).
Footsteps down the stairs.
Weiss snaps the cell-phone shut and pockets it, reaching for a weapon. Jack's footsteps are distinctive; Sark can't really see why Weiss suspects an intruder in their midst.
He rolls his head disinterestedly to the left as Agent Bristow steps into the room. Watches as Jack, ignoring him, looks towards the other agent. Sees such a species of surprise and panic in Eric's eyes that the hairs of the back of his own neck rise up.
Weiss throws a look from Jack to Sark and, catching it, Sark presses back into the wall, rigid with apprehension.
'Jack, what's going on?'
Ignoring Weiss, Agent Bristow crosses the room to where Sark is sitting and crouches to unlock the chains. He removes the steel cuffs from Sark's ankle and wrist and lays them aside. Only when he's done this, does Jack look at him.
(He draws back from the expression on the man's face, in fright).
'Get up Sark.'
'Jack, what the hell is going on?'
'I said get up.'
'Agent Bristow I swear I know nothing about - '
Jack grabs a handful of the overalls and surges to his feet, hauling Sark with him. 'You swear? You give me your word? Puppy. I'm going to do what they should have done with you at birth.'
He spins Sark about, twists his right arm up between his shoulder-blades, takes him by the scruff of his neck and thrusts him towards the door.
'For Christ's sake Jack you can't - '
'Keep out of this.'
He can barely put one foot in front of the other but Jack drags him up the stairs into a gutted kitchen - black stains on the wall where stoves have been disconnected, a large metal sink overflowing with water, the smell of ancient cooking fat - his prison-issue plimsolls squeak on the wet floor as Jack thrusts him towards the sink. He sucks in a frantic breath as his head is slammed through the blistered surface of the water and held down, hard.
He tries to push back up, his free hand scrabbling for purchase on the slippery lip of the sink but Jack bats it away, hauling on his right arm until he feels the man's stitches tear in the shoulder wound, his tendons frayed and screaming.
Jack heaves his head out of the water and leans close to hiss in his ear, 'I know about the Covenant. I know about Andrian Lazarey.'
(The name, the words, mean nothing to Sark).
His head is thrust back below the water, which is booming and crashing and clawing its way into his eyes and nose and ears and into his mouth when he can no longer keep it closed. He struggles and has his arm nearly ripped from its socket.
(Weiss is protesting but the words are ineffectual, coming from too far away to make a difference to the pressure in his head or the pressure on his head as Jack's hand pushes him deeper under the water).
He's hauled back up, choking, and again the hiss in his ear, 'I know about Julia Thorne, Sark.'
Back under again.
Water sluices, slices into his lungs like knives. He goes loose in the man's grip, drowning.
It is Agent Weiss who pulls him free and drops him to the floor. His chin strikes the lip of the sink in landing and he tastes blood. It's almost over. The last thing he hears is Weiss saying, 'Jesus Christ Jack - !'
His lungs labour, shuddering in his chest, then give up abruptly. (He's finished).
Weiss rolls Sark onto his side and slaps him hard on the sternum. Twice more. Until water sprays out of his mouth in a bitter arc stained with blood.
Sark coughs, gasps, coughs. Weiss checks for a pulse. Slaps him again. More bloody water.
'Jack are you going to tell me what the hell just happened?'
Bristow stands for a moment, his right arm dripping water, his gaze stunned and hard, down at Sark, across at Weiss, back again. He turns on his heel. 'I have to go.'
'Whoa whoa whoa! Go where? What about Sark?'
'Take him back to the Agency. I doubt he knows anything.'
'You doubt he knows anything? It's taken you this long to figure that out? What were the last eighty hours about? Jack?'
Jack is going.
Weiss curses, starts after Bristow then stops, glancing back at Sark who looks about as lifeless as it's possible to look, right shoulder oozing blood, the rest of him oozing water. Curses again. He goes back, crouches by Sark's side, re-checks his pulse and swipes the latest spill of water from his mouth.
'Wake up Sark.'
He curses a third time as the figure on the floor stays unresponsive. (Hardly a surprise after the shoulder wound, the fever, the drowning - all on top of a year in custody being fed a diet of sodium pentathol and little else as far as Weiss can tell).
He bends, scoops Sark into an easy grip (he weighs next to nothing, even unconscious) and carries him back down the stairs to the mattress and blankets. He does what he can to dry Sark's head and shoulders before wrapping him up like a mummy. (He's shivering again, just about the only sign he's not dead).
Weiss sits back on his heels, figuring out what to do next. No point trying to warn anyone Jack's on the warpath. Jack in any case can look after himself. What's less certain, is Sark. Even a prisoner as despised as Sark gets to voice complaints about his treatment, and if Sark decides to lodge a complaint that Jack Bristow tried to drown him, it would spell all sorts of serious trouble. Weiss knows just how much the NSC - and that son of a bitch Lindsey - would love an excuse to hang Jack out to dry. Sark's word would be enough, maybe. (Then there's Marshall's involvement in making up the antidote, not to mention Weiss himself).
He eyes the exhausted body on the floor with mixed feelings. If Jack had drowned him (if Weiss had kept out of it like he was told), Sark wouldn't be in a position to talk one way or the other. On the other hand, a corpse takes some serious explaining; no knowing what Lindsey would be able to make out of that.
'Sark, hey Sark. Wake up.'
The fair head rolls his way with reluctance. The blue eyes are bleak. He doesn't speak, just looks at Weiss with an empty expression. (Poor bastard probably expects more pain if he plays dead).
'Talk to me. You're OK, yeah?'
Sark blinks slowly, looking straight into his eyes.
'OK dumb question. Listen. I'm gonna get you to a hospital.' He pauses, sees the scepticism in Sark's face. 'Yeah it'll mean you'll be back in custody. But you'll see a doctor, get some painkillers, get patched up.'
Sark is blanking out, disbelieving him.
'I'm cutting you a deal here. You talk to anyone at the Agency about what happened in the last four days and they'll have you straight back on the sodium pentathol, right back where you started - interrogations, the whole routine. Think about it. You don't want that, right? You keep quiet when I take you in and I'll make sure they leave you alone. You can have a decent cell, food, exercise, fresh air even. But you let them think even for a minute that you've got information and I swear they'll turn you inside out to get it. You're in no shape to take that sort of punishment, Sark. You know it. I know it. Jack's a little crazy right now, but we both know why. Since Syd's death - ' He breaks off. The mention of Jack's name draws a sound like a snarl from between Sark's clenched teeth.
(Weiss thinks, Give him a chance to get even with Jack for this, and he'll take it).
He sucks up a breath. 'It's your call, Sark. You've got the power back. Feels good, I guess. So what's it gonna be? Jack, or you?'
Sark stares a moment longer, then turns his head away. Shuts his eyes.
It's answer enough, for now.
Weiss goes back upstairs, puts in the call. (Discovers Jack is long gone; no-one knows where or why).
Returns to Sark's side. 'Chopper's on its way.'
(Come on Sark, snap out of it, talk to me, give me a sign you're gonna play this my way).
'There's a med team coming in. They're bringing what you need.'
'Painkillers. Fluids. An hour from now this'll be a bad memory.'
Sark looks at him at last, and there's enough of his usual expression there (thinned out with cynicism, the softest of sneers) to make Weiss breathe a sigh of relief.
'I'm taking you in myself,' he adds.
Finally, Sark speaks.
'Every silver lining,' he murmurs, 'has its cloud.'
Weiss gives a grin.
Shut up Sark.'
. . .