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The Crunch

(A tongue-in-cheek but entirely faithful rendering of the interrogation scene between Vaughn and Sark from the season 3 finale. Spoilers for the rest of season 3 abound). Warning: violence because that's the way it was.

Scene Setting:

Way back when, Sydney told Vaughn, "Sark is like the good-looking guy in high school who knows how cute he is and won't take no for an answer."

Vaughn took exception to this (well, he was the pretty one before Sark turned up on the scene), and has been targeting Sark's "cute" face ever since.

The first time they met, Vaughn smashed Sark's face into an ornate cast-iron gate (there was no blood).

During the season 2 finale, Vaughn smashed Sark's face into a glass table (there was a little blood but no bruising).

The gloves came off in Season 3 Finale...

The CIA has apprehended Julian Sark (again). Agent ("I don't know Jack") Bristow tells Vaughn to interrogate Sark because Sark has a "pattern of caving out of fear" (I think you'll find that's called cold calculated pragmatism, Jack) and Sark will be afraid of Vaughn as a result of their recent history (Jack's referring to an incident two episodes earlier, but see above for additional history). The CIA director claims that he cannot sanction the beating of a prisoner in his custody but it's taken for granted he's going to, because it's Sark.

The scene opens with Sark in a darkened room, sitting in a chair to which he's chained at ankles and wrists, in front of a metal table. Wearing a tight black t-shirt and khakis. (The dim light plays on the silky down on his forearms as if to emphasise his youth and vulnerability). He's sitting under a spotlight which is bringing out bronze highlights in his golden hair. He is, of course, utterly composed.

Vaughn enters, slowly rolling up the sleeves of his blue shirt. Sark pointedly ignores him. Vaughn says, "The last time we were together, our roles were reversed. Funny, how things happen."

Sark lifts his head (tilts his chin, gives this disdainful semi-smile) and says distantly, "I'm afraid the irony is lost on me."

His eyes follow Vaughn's, then drop to Vaughn's hands as he leans them on the table. (He's thinking, these are the hands that are going to hurt me - how badly?). Vaughn leans closer to say, "You liked the electric batons, injections. I'm not into accessories."

Sark says softly, "I am more than willing to cooperate, Mister Vaughn. I will tell you everything you want. But I will need something in return." (He dips his head at the end of the sentence, all eyelashes and beguiling candour).

"No deals."

"Well then it seems we're at an impasse. I assure you it will not take Lauren long to solve Rambaldi's equation."

Vaughn nods, smiles, "Well, better get started then."

Goes to stand behind Sark's chair. "Where is Lauren Reed?"

Sark stares straight in front of him, in pensive silence.

Vaughn grabs his head and smashes his face into the metal table.

(Scene cuts to Sydney)

Cuts back to Vaughn pressing the ball of his thumb into the bloody bridge of Sark's nose. "I think I broke it."

Sark flinches, hisses. Says in a desert-dry voice, "Clearly."

"Ready to talk?

Sark closes his eyes, grimaces through the pain, appears to be considering his options. On a note of reluctance, he says at last, "Yes."

Vaughn settles himself on the edge of the table, folds his arms.

Sark starts to speak, his eyes lowered submissively (as if he knows he can't disguise the contempt in his gaze), "When I first learnt of your wife's true allegiance, I almost felt pity for you. How embarrassing it must have been to find that the woman you shared your bed with was only using you as the unfortunate means to an end."

As he reaches the full stop, he raises his eyes to Vaughn's face. There's a challenge in his stare - he's chained, bloody, completely at Vaughn's mercy - but he's the one in the position of power.

Vaughn says, "I wouldn't do this if I were you." He's not happy.

Sark quirks his crooked mouth. "But then she wasn't sharing your bed lately was she? She was in mine."

He watches Vaughn as he speaks, lifts his eyebrow a fraction as he measures up the words against Vaughn's reaction. He wants to see how far he can push Vaughn, how much he'll take. He pauses, just for a moment, drawing a breath in through his mouth (he knows he's going to get hurt for this, but he's going to continue either just for the hell of it or because he can't stop, is compelled to go on pushing, see where it gets him).

Vaughn straightens, stands. Sark's eyes follow his every movement.

Sark continues musingly, "Or... in my car," (the way he says it, it sounds like "whore in my car"), "or in an elevator. Or a garage." (Terrific emphasis on the English pronunciation: ga-rah-juh).

Vaughn has taken a key out of his pocket and is about to unlock the left handcuff. For the first time Sark drops his stare; the rest of the speech is delivered like an amused monologue to himself.

Vaughn unlocks the handcuff. We see Sark's cut knuckles but his wrist and hand and arm are all entirely relaxed, unresisting, as if Vaughn's about to measure him for a suit.

"One time," a breath, "this was my favourite," (a soft, whimsical laugh as if the memory is touching), "we were... engaged in an alley," (Vaughn grabs the white wrist), "and she called you up," (Vaughn hauls the wrist hard until the whole arm is taut; Sark catches his breath, laughs up into Vaughn's face), "to tell you she loved you!" (Laughs, gasps, laughs again).

Sark's face closes in on itself as Vaughn applies pressure; through the pain he bites out the next words with real relish, "That woman was deliciously filthy."

Vaughn wrenches the arm; he has it at full stretch, one hand on Sark's wrist, the other on his shoulder (Sark snatches a breath, really hurting). Vaughn says, "Feel that? Feels like a knife slicing through you, doesn't it? Now where is she?"

He doesn't give Sark a chance to respond, just hauls and twists and - crunch - the shoulder pops.

(Cut to scene with Sydney)

Cut back to a close-up of Sark's face; his lips are slick with blood, his nose and left cheekbone both appear to be broken, cut and bleeding. He's grinding his teeth. His eyebrows are drawn together, the broken bridge of his nose wrinkled in agony. Vaughn has his arm twisted in this unspeakably cruel way: we can see Sark's wrist up between his own shoulder blades. The sound of grating bone tells us that his wrist and elbow and shoulder are all broken.

Vaughn says, "I'm not going to kill you, that would be too easy. But I'll leave you so disfigured that when you walk down the street people will pity you."

Sark's head is down, he's making this soft sobbing sound in his throat. Vaughn's hand is on his shoulder. Sark pants, gasps, sobs.

Vaughn says, "Lauren is going to pay for what she's done to the people I care about. Not for having an affair with you. I don't give a rat's ass who she's sleeping with."

Sark's sobs become ragged (he's not crying, just trying to breathe).

"So for the last time, where is she?"

And he hauls on the broken arm, grinding it, as the camera closes in on Sark's agonised face.

Scene ends.

(Afterthoughts: the arm was definitely broken in three places, we see it in a cast and sling later on. Sark ought to have a scar on his left cheekbone in season 4 but given the show's history of risible continuity with regard to Vaughn's scars it's a fair guess that he'll be pristine again by then).

Many thanks to Sarah for letting me post this!

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