Part the Fourth: Vaughn

Every hour, every minute, was bringing me closer to my breaking point. I was lying to Sydney day in and day out, and she couldn't even see it in my eyes. As if that wasn't enough to kill me, Sark was an insufferable prick to work for.

"Sloppy?" I've spun and launched out of my chair in a heartbeat "Maybe if you acted like you had any investment in this at all, things would work a little more efficiently. Every week, every operation, she's been a hair away from being killed!" I can't help it, I'm yelling, I'm walking closer to him, the whole macho bit, and damn, it feels good "Maybe you don't care about Sydney, or the operations, but I know you have something riding on this. Your career to be exact, and if you don't get-"

"That's where you're wrong, Mr. Vaughn." he cuts me off "I don't. Nothing of mine is 'riding on this,' as you put it. Not my career, certainly not my life, not even a bit of monetary gratification." he looks me up and down like I'm lunch "You must understand that yourself and the lovely Agent Bristow are my pet project, kept around only as long as my interest holds."

He heads for the door, and I'm sickened by his freedom of movement in the office. I could handle that my life is his plaything, but Sydney's life, the entirety of the CIA, it's too much.

"This can't last." I tell him "I won't stand for it."

He pauses with hand on the knob "It's a little late for that."

"I don't trust you, you refuse to be of any help while disallowing me to coordinate with our other sources of 's not going to be so lucky one time, and sooner rather than later." It's the first time I've allowed myself to think it. It burns in the pit of my stomach.

"Any intel you could want, I can acquire, and faster than this hulking behemoth of an agency."

"Where is it, then? You don't tell me anything, so how am I supposed to keep her informed enough to keep herself alive?"

"I will dispense to you what is needed when I see fit. Have a good afternoon, Agent Vaughn." And he's out the door.

Fucking bitch-ass whipper-snapping cunt.

Okay, fine. Deep breaths. Deeps breaths and pacing. Everything seems better after deep breaths and pacing. Or maybe sitting. Sweet, calm sitting. Always conducive to rational thought. Because I am. Rational. All this is a set of equations, really. Sydney's life is in my hands. My life is in Sark's. The difference being that I give a damn about Sydney's life, balancing out the first equation. So it would follow that all there is to do is balance out the second. Hold his interest. Make him give a me. I can do that. I work in intelligence, I'm subtle. He's already called me a tease. I can give him a tease. I can make him give a damn about me.

Fuck.

Not my personal favorite moment of epiphany. I spent the rest of the workday in that conference room, downing pints of cold decaf, talking to Syd when she checked in from the ride home, planning. I don't know where, but somewhere in that room a barrier was broken through. Things I wouldn't have even considered as options before were viable and sounded completely reasonable. Sure, I could essentially seduce this man who'd done unspeakable things. Sure, I could make him think he was still in control. No problem. None at all.