Sark doesn't do jealous boyfriend so much as possessive power monger. He asks her about Tippin in an accusatory tone, slightly threatening although the threat is for Will as much as it is for her. Given the option Sark would kill Tippin on sight as a reminder that no one has the right to touch his girl's "knickers." Overkill probably, but for some reason necessary. She doesn't pretend to understand him.
She tells Sark she's going to Wisconsin to look for Tippin.
"And what will you do when you find him?"
Smoke from her cigarette curls between them. She smokes more now that she's invincible. Even if she proved to be susceptible to lung cancer the Covenant would find a way to kill her before it became an issue. She won't have to live long to out live her usefulness to the Covenant. But there's a certain freedom in not caring when she'll die and the cigarettes are a symbol of this. So is Sark.
"Kill him probably." She stubs the cigarette out on the windowsill, stains the clean white paint with a burn mark: Alison was here.
Sark eyes her warily, head turned slightly to see her better out of the corners of his eyes. "Really?"
She looks out the window. It's not that Europe isn't pretty this time of year and she has the Covenant to think about as her first priority, but she was shot in LA and she woke up a world away in Marseilles. She left too much behind, too much of herself, too much of Francie.
"Maybe." She shrugs. "What do you care?"
"Tippin knows too much and they will use him when the time comes. You can't afford to be - sentimental."
She reaches for the coat draped over the back of the divan. There's a packet of cigarettes, two thousand US dollars and a corporate credit card in the inside pocket. The name on the card reads "Drouet Holdings - Anita M. Drouet." The name was assigned. Not chosen. She wonders if the "A" and "D" were intentional. Her middle initial is "E". Francie's is "M". Maybe there's something in that.
She empties her pocket onto the divan, ignoring the money and the card in favour of the cigarettes. She lights up and blows smoke in Sark's direction.
"If you're so worried, why aren't you coming with me?" She smiles slyly. Sark's jealousy doesn't extend to risking his freedom. Fooling the CIA is so much easier when you're dead.
"Very funny," he says. He sinks down onto the divan and looks up at the ceiling fan. "You know, he's not going to be pleased to see you."
And here she was expecting a Welcome Back Alison party. "You must think I'm very naive."
He rolls his eyes. "I would have thought by now you would be used to British understatement. I meant to say he may be inclined to kill you."
She sits on the divan beside him, raises her hand to his shorn head and feels the bristles of his hair against her palm. "I like it better this way," she says. "You look serious."
"So in a fight between Tippin and myself your money is on Tippin."
He smiles. "I never said that." He reaches up to stroke her arm. Tippin is dangerous but Sark is a dead man walking. He sees his days numbered in the scars on her body and lives like a man with no future. She understands because she too will serve her purpose with the Covenant one day and will meet her fate much like Francie slumped against the wall of her own restaurant. Their deaths would bind them as one.
Even if Tippin wanted to kill her, she's not sure that's possible anymore.
She decides Sydney Bristow is not a nice person. She doesn't need this kind of reassurance to kill someone but it helps, makes her more focused on the task at hand. Sydney Bristow endangered her best friends - set up house with them and pretended they were having a nice normal life. She's either callous or stupid and no woman who plays the covenant like Sydney Bristow could be stupid. Tippin had an untouchable affection for Sydney Bristow that endured his capture, torture and rejection in favour of the bland Agent Vaughn. Tippin had qualities that made other men look weak but on him looked noble. If she hadn't killed him someone else was bound to do it eventually.
And that right is hers.
The Covenant showed her pictures of Tippin in Wisconsin. Tippin's a patriot and hence something of a thorn in the side of an organisation who relies on the fickle loyalties of agents to swell its numbers.
She imagines she was a patriot once. She doesn't remember when - but there must have been a time, before the car accident, before the covenant when the gifted teenager that she was actually believed she would do good in the world. When she believed there was good in the world.
"What are you going to do about him?" She asked them.
"He may prove useful yet."
"And when he doesn't?"
"Tippin is your concern - not that covenant's. You may dispense with him in any way you wish."
When they told her she could return to LA she requested a convertible.
"What colour?" they asked.
"You decide," she told them. As an afterthought she added, "just don't make me look like some rapper's ex-wife."
They gave her a dark blue, BMW convertible. The plates were government issue - it could have been a hire car but was most likely a gift from a grateful associate. She imagines they have a warehouse of them somewhere.
Los Angeles is yellow and orange and warmer than she remembered but it's an unusually hot day and those who aren't driving in air-conditioned comfort are shirtless or in bikini tops. It's crass and obvious and she really missed America.
She's started feeling different and maybe that's because she looks different. It's unsettling thinking her mother wouldn't recognise her if she saw her in the street. Her mother is dead but death isn't as final as it used to be so maybe her mother is out there someone looking as different as she does. Maybe neither of them would recognise each other in the street.
It's a joke. The funniest she's heard in a long time.
Not long after she woke up in Marseilles she started thinking about Francie. There was no real reason for it except now that she's no longer impersonating Francie it's something of a shock to see her face in the mirror every morning.
And that might be the reason why she drives past Francie's restaurant. Someone has turned it into a bar and grill. Francie would have been mortified but the place wasn't the same since Francie took a bullet in the kitchen. No amount of cooking classes taught her to cook like Francie and she never had the patience to handle customer service.
Her next stop is the house. She puts the top up on the convertible and parks on the other side of the road, letting the engine idle. She pushes her over-large sunglasses further up her nose (it would be difficult if the neighbours recognised her) and takes a long look at the house. Someone is renovating. The front room has been extended and the colour has been whitewashed. The real estate agent probably omitted the story of the grisly ends met by the previous occupants but the neighbours could have told a tale or two. Nothing inspires renovation and revamp like a few ghosts to exorcise.
Of course, as it turns out, no one actually died there. Francie was shot in the restaurant, Sydney Bristow has resurfaced after being a covenant player for the last two years, although, suspiciously, remembering none of it, and Will Tippin is alive and under witness protection. The Covenant doesn't like story endings they didn't write.
She left Tippin in the bath. Maybe it was the adrenalin and maybe it was those goddamn drugs but she couldn't stop talking at him as if he could hear her: Sorry baby, sorry - I had to do it, baby - you understand don't you? It was me all the time - it was never her - you know that don't you baby? She was probably going mad.
She puts the car in 'drive' and pulls away from the kerb. Nothing left to see here.
Further down the road is the park where she went jogging and tried not encounter Will and/ or Sydney while doing it. It was never easy. She told him she'd been working out to explain away her more-toned-than-Francie body and he'd insist they work out together. Fortunately she worked late and he worked early so the occasion never arose but some times she told herself they'd do it. One day. It would look healthy and pretty and it might have been a lot like having fun.
Today the park is full of near naked joggers inviting skin cancer and senior citizens feeding the park-life. It's a great day to be not-dead.
After Los Angeles she takes the blue BMW and does the road trip to Wisconsin. It gives her time to think and space to push the car to its limits, see what it can do.
It's not that she doesn't want to be where she's going but everything after LA seems to be painted in dull greys and browns with a patch of green thrown in to break the monotony. It's late afternoon when she reaches Milwaukee.
The file on Will Tippin is from an informant in the CIA. She didn't ask who it was. Informants never last long.
She parks on the side of the road outside a low-rise block of flats. The top right-hand corner (second floor) is Tippin's. A light comes on in one of the rooms visible from the street. It's getting dark.
A shadow moves across the window, too vague to be identifiable. It could be Tippin but for all she knows he has a cat. It could be ghost.
She lights another cigarette, smokes it all the way through as the sun goes down. Outside Tippin's apartment nothing changes. It's a quiet neighbourhood. She wonders if the former adventure-seeking, ex-journalist turned CIA research officer appreciates the quiet life or whether he resents it and everyone who got him there. He let them turn his world upside down and he took it on the chin for a college friendship.
She measures time in cigarettes. Days and hours slip away from her but she counts the number of cigarettes it takes to get from her hotel to the airport and from LA to Wisconsin (one packet and three) and she understands that time makes its mark even when you no longer measure it in seconds and hours.
Four cigarettes later and Will Tippin appears at the front of his apartment block. He holding the security gate open, waiting until he's joined by a Eurasian girl with hair in a long ponytail and jeans with patches. They talk on the pavement for a while, Tippin with his hands stuffed in his pockets and the girl fingering the shoulder strap of her satchel. It's a familiar dance, albeit one she remembers from more innocent times, college days of caffeine and cheap beer and boys who told her she had a beautiful smile.
Was that her or did she see that in a movie somewhere? The memory is grainy and tinted with sepia. Maybe that happened to Francie? She spent so much time becoming Francie she forgot to leave a space where she ended and Francie began.
Eventually Tippin touches the girl on the arm before turning and walking off. The girl watches him go for a few seconds before turning and walking off in the other direction. Tippin doesn't go far. He has a car parked further up the street. He gets in and pulls out into the empty street. She waits until the traffic lights on the corner turn green and then follows him.
She wonders how well the CIA equipped him to live a life in hiding - whether they trained him to listen for familiar footsteps behind him or to check the rear view mirror for lights that won't disappear. She wonders if they trained him to fight or to shoot a firearm.
It's of little consequence. No amount of training or preparation could make Tippin her equal if it came to a confrontation. But she knows she can't be the first to follow him like this. She knows there have been others and others still will come.
And Tippin is hers. There is something unsettling about the ease with which she might have been deprived of this right.
She follows him to a car park outside the library of the University of Wisconsin. It's dark now. It's difficult to keep track of him as he makes his way from the car to the library entrance. But she sees him go in and notices he's not carrying a bag, unlike the other students who display a selection of backpacks and satchels. His hands are, once again, in his pockets, looking remarkably casual and at ease. It's hard to imagine this is a man who not only dealt in state secrets but survived an assassin whose mission was to steal them.
This would be the ideal place to do it: dark lighting, few witnesses and a lack of attention to suspicious activity. Too bad the Covenant doesn't have more enemies in educational institutions. It would make meeting their personnel objectives so much easier.
Still, she doesn't move. Tippin disappears inside.
She sits in the car for a while, contemplates going after him. There's an argument taking place not far from where she's parked. A girl and a boy. She can see them in the rear view mirror. The girl is saying, "what do you want from me?" and he's saying, 'the truth! Tell me the truth!" and Alison thinks she's heard that debate a thousand times in a thousand different places and it never turns out any different. No one is satisfied.
After a time, her cell rings. "Unknown number" shows on the display so she knows it's Sark. She answers, "What do you want?"
"I see the California sun hasn't caused your charm to fade."
"I'm in Wisconsin."
There's a pause. "How dreadful for you."
The girl in the rear view mirror is saying, "get your hands off me." Alison sees her wrench herself free of her partner's grasp, calling him an "asshole" as she does it . Brute. Why accomplish with reason what you can accomplish with force?
"Why are you calling?"
"Did you find him?"
She checks the library entrance again. "Yes."
"Is he still alive?"
She can hear him smirk into the phone. "Feeling sentimental?"
Sark some times resorts to childish methods of manipulation in order to achieve the result he desires. She half expects clucking noises.
"I haven't made up my mind yet."
He switches to his business tone. "Well I suggest you decide one way or another. The Covenant wants you back."
She's not surprised. She didn't expect them to leave her alone for long. "When?"
"As soon as possible. You can leave the car at the airport."
The arguing couple have dispersed. She idly wonders who won. "Give me four hours."
"Very well. I'll be expecting you."
She catches sight of Tippin exiting the library. "I have to go."
She hangs up. Doesn't wait for him to say goodbye. Tippin is ambling toward his car, books tucked under one arm. He glances around the car park quickly, almost cursory, an action borne out of habit.
Once again, she contemplates her options: take him out here where the light is bad and the witnesses are few or take him out at home where his body may not be discovered for days.
Or not take him out at all.
She has four hours to be on a plane to Marseilles. She has four hours to end this forever, do what she came to do. If that is indeed what she came to do.
She wonders when she became so complicated. She never found the covenant's orders difficult or ambiguous. She did what she had to, fulfilled the purpose she was made for. It should bother her that she's practically an android - programmed, designer built - but it doesn't. There's something comforting in knowing why she's here, something to rely on.
She lets Tippin get into his car and drive away. She follows him home but it's perfunctory action at this stage, surveillance by rote.
When he parks his car on the road she drives past, hits the horn twice so that he turns and is caught in her headlights, a look of confusion on his face. When she checks her rear view mirror she sees him staring after her, probably memorising the plates for all the good it will do him.
Maybe it will teach him to be more careful. Maybe she left him something after all.
Hours later a stewardess is serving her Glenfiddich on ice. She eyes the menu but she's never really hungry these days.
Sark left her bleeding to death in a hotel in Moscow. A month later he took out the section heads with the help of some blonde Covenant operative who was married to Michael Vaughn. None of it really surprised her.
What did surprise her was Tippin's strength, the force with which he pushed the knife into her chest. He was thinking of Francie then which was weird because killing her must have been like killing Francie one more time, like killing her memory as well as her body.
She didn't know he had it in him.
She woke up in another Covenant hospital in another European location with bells going off outside her window and a doctor by her bed who introduced himself as Karim. She wondered whether Sydney Bristow told Tippin about her resurrective powers. She wonders if he became resolved then to hunt her down and burn her body, make sure she was finally dead.
If anyone was going to do it, somehow the thought that it might be him wasn't so bad.
From her bed she can see a mountain range in the distance and she wonders where she is this time.
She could have stopped him. She has ten times his strength and she could have stopped him.
Please post a comment on this story.
Title: Alison Was Here
Author: cgb [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG-13 | het | 16k | 05/15/04
Characters: Alison, Sark, Will
Pairings: Alison/ Sark, Alison/ Will
Summary: "It's a great day to be not-dead"
Notes: Everything up to "Blowback"
[top of page]
|Home/QuickSearch + Random + Upload + Search + Contact + GO List|