- And Then Again -

Title: And Then Again
Author: Brix
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers/Timeline: No spoilers…sequel to “Somewhere Along The Way,” so it’s sometime during Season 2
Summary: Directly follows “Somewhere Along The Way,” and probably makes more sense if you read that first. Weiss gets nabbed and Sark gets hurt. Again. There is far less plot here than you would realize. Really.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them. Imitation is the highest form of compliment. If I did, Weiss would get a lot more field time and Sark would be naked in every scene. Oh, come on, like you don’t want to see that?
Ship: Sark/Weiss
Feedback: M’yes! At shadesofbrixton@yahoo.com, please.
Author’s Note: Many grievous thanks to Madame D, for the snappy beta and getting me to finally finish this.


Weiss had always wanted to visit Spain. He just didn’t think it would have happened like this.

The villa below him was beautiful, with warmly tanned tourists milling easily about. Despite the nearby recent earthquakes and the late August heat, the streets were still crowded and he could see an especially persistent woman trying to barter down the price of a scarf.

Looking across the clothesline-dotted rooftops, Weiss made another mental count of the agents he could see across the city. His balcony view gave him a perfect Big Brother advantage. Beyond the city walls, little whirlpools and eddies of liquid sand danced and made the air shimmer like textured glass.

“Team One, advance,” came the call in his microphone. Agents to the west pulled in, surrounding the marketplace on one side and herding people toward the main gates of the city. Their target shifted nervously at his stall. He sold oranges. Weiss felt bad for him – he was only a driver – but they couldn’t risk letting him leave the city in anyone’s custody but their own.

Weiss caught a flash of metal where no metal should be. Frowning, he shifted his binoculars. “Unidentified gunmen,” Weiss reported over the closed-circuit wavelength he shared with eleven other eye-in-the-sky agents. “Six of them. Semiautomatics. Please advise.”

The gunmen were forming a small ring around their target.

“We need this one alive,” Jack stressed over the radio. He had said the same thing before they left Los Angeles, and had sounded, Weiss thought, vaguely disappointed.

“Team Two, advance,” came the order. Weiss switched from his binoculars to his scope and shouldered his gun. He spotted Sydney from her hair, watching it fan out as she galloped along the rooftops. She would be directly above their target in a few seconds. Sydney jumped, and he saw one gunman go down.

Three more crumpled simultaneously, snipers on the roofs of buildings with Weiss finally doing their job. He hadn’t heard the order, but they wouldn’t have fired without direct consent from Jack.

A body toppled off the balcony next to his, and he jerked his head up form the scope. Another sniper fell. There were masked men on the balcony.


“Code black,” Weiss yelled into his radio. “Code black, code black!”

A chill ran up his back as another mass collapsed, on his other side. The masked men were on all the balconies. The hackles rose on the back of his neck and he gripped his gun a little tighter. Taking one last glance at their target below, Weiss saw that the man was being hustled into a CIA van, Sydney giving him a little push of encouragement. Vaughn would be driving, Weiss thought. With one last sigh, he lowered the gun and held the barrel in one hand and the stock in the other.

He pushed off with one leg on the rail of the balcony, pivoted his weight, and slammed the butt of the stock into the face of a man in black waiting behind him. The gun jolted in his hands as it went off, and the man in black crumpled down on one leg.

“In the FOOT?!” the masked man yelped. “You shot me in the FOOT?”

Weiss slammed the gun into his face again, and the man toppled backward, unconscious.

“Report, Brother Six,” came the call from the radio. He grappled quickly for the small box and pressed the respond button.

“Six reporting.”

“Meet at rendezvous point,” Jack said. “Target has been acquired. Agents will be sent to retrieve any fallen bodies.”

“Roger that,” Weiss said, and shut the radio off. He stuck it in his bag and stooped, glancing over the railing at the now empty balconies around him. Where were the other men in black, and what was he supposed to do with this one? Scowling, he peeled back the mask and stared at the face.

Wouldn’t it just have been supreme irony, after searching for the man for over three months, for Sark to turn up here, and Weiss have felled him so efficiently? Of course, he had never seen this man before in his life. Weiss lowered the mask with an uncaring snap and sat back on his haunches. What to do, what to do? The hotel would be swarming with the masked men, and he had no way of getting an accurate count of how many there were. He glanced over his shoulder. He could try scaling down the balcony. It was only a few floors. But rappelling had never been easy for him, and he wasn’t sure how much rope he had…

“Hands in the air.”

The request came with complete calm. Weiss turned his head slowly back around and faced the man who was leveling a rather large handgun at him.

He raised his hands slowly, palms forward.

“Leave the gun on the ground. Stand up.”

This man did not have a mask, nor was he wearing black. It was more of a bluish gray jumpsuit, elasticized around the middle. The name “Brian” was stitched in red cursive lettering over the left breast of the suit, and he wore heavy cloth gloves. He had an aquiline face and a narrow nose, and motioned for Weiss to move faster.

“You are Eric Weiss, yes?”

Weiss blinked. “Excuse me?”

“Come with me, please.”

* * *

The beach was more amazing than he had remembered, and Sark wondered why he hadn’t been to Aruba for so long. The water was always beautiful, the women were always tan, and the government…well. Sark smiled to himself, his teeth flashing whitely in the sun. The government was simply lovely.

Finishing the voice mail he was listening to on the pay phone, Sark brushed a speck of sand off of his unbuttoned white linen shirt. He loved linen, but it was such a hassle to keep looking neat in it. Brush against a wall, and you get a wrinkle. Nothing he was wearing currently afforded him a concealed gun, so he wore a shoulder holster underneath his shirt, exposed to anyone who needed more than his presence to be warned off of trouble. The sun felt good on his skin – made him feel alive again, after a long hibernation.

When he tilted his head back, his subdued but obviously expensive sunglasses gleamed sharply and he could see some motion on his private boat, anchored not far away. He would have to make his way back to the dock soon, and take to sea. Sark didn’t like staying in one place for long, if he could help it.

For now, though, he allowed his feet to sink into the sand, appreciating the comfortably aesthetic feel underneath his soles and refusing to wiggle his toes. Because criminal masterminds just don’t do that.


Stifling a sigh and thanking the fact that he’d persuaded – at the barrel of a colt – his henchmen to stay on board, he started his way back down the beach. He had a business meeting in Italy in a few days, and it would be prudent to get matters out of the way before he took a much needed vacation.

Sark swore under his breath as he watched a small skipper slice through the water toward the docks. He welcomed the well-trained discipline that kept him from breaking into a run, and stuffed his hands into his pockets as he continued his stroll up the shoreline. The skipper was at the docks in no time, and a man was running toward him.

“Sir!” the figure cried.

He had given explicit orders not to be disturbed under any circumstances. Not to be approached under severe penalties. Drawing attention to himself was something Sark was very good at – and not what he wanted right now. He waited until the runner was within feet of him before he acknowledged the man.

“Sir, we’ve got a target on the move.”

“I see,” Sark said, tamping down on his urge to kill. A lot of Sark lately was the tempering of self. He needed to get to a shooting range before he went mad. “How long?”

“About ten minutes now.”

Nodding, Sark started toward the skipper and pressed one arm down to feel the comforting press of the gun underneath it. “Send a notification to the captain. I want the boat at full power by the time we get back.”

* * *


There was no momentary confusion. Weiss had honestly been hoping for something like the spy movies had promised; some form of ignorance before the reality slammed him upside the head. But the reality came with the rest of it; right away, and leaving no residual effects of pretending that he hadn’t just been kidnapped and beaten like a school girl.

So much for being ready for field work.

He also didn’t have to open his eyes to know that he was tied to a bed spread eagle. He knew it like he knew that he had four limbs, like he knew the grass was green and that Gene Hackman was the first choice to play Mike Brady in “The Brady Bunch.” He also knew that if he didn’t get out of here soon, dueling banjos and scenes from “Deliverance” were going to make him gnaw his own hands off to get away.

At least he was still wearing his clothes.

Weiss was also torn by the prospect of calling out and facing his kidnapper, and shutting the hell up, like he knew he should do.

He stared at the ceiling. He had a few options here.

One: sit tight, wait for rescue.

Two: get out, climb through the window he remembered seeing on the way in, break neck on the way down.

Three: charm kidnapper with masculine wiles.

Slamming his eyes back shut, Weiss concentrated on the knots that bound his right wrist. He could do this. It was only nylon line. This was the reason that Weiss worked as little as he did, and the reason that he was so popular with his little cousins. He wasn’t named after Houdini for nothing.

It was a double slip sailor’s knot, and simple compared to some that he had unbound in his showy orientation back at Langley. When he and Vaughn had been in school together, he had studied sailing knots and army knots primarily, and he used to know them as blindly as he knew the inside of a six-pin German lock.

He let his fingers be eyes for him, and felt a thin line of perspiration trickle down the side of his face, and its soft pat as it fell onto the bare mattress.

Fingertips probing, nails acting as tiny eyeballs, the first of the slips in the knot freed itself with a wrench of his wrist. Weiss gave a triumphant, silent cry that traveled in waves of joy from his closed, clenched teeth down his arm and into his hand, making his digits tingle.

Celebration was always distracting.

The knot slipped, Weiss bit the inside of his cheek to keep from yelling, and concentration shattered. Scowling, he nearly rubbed his other hand raw on the line to stretch far enough to retrieve the knot.

Time passed, and the sun set.

* * *

Oh, it was priceless.

It hadn’t taken a second thought to redirect his efforts with Italy to a later date, at least later enough to free up a trip to Spain.

Finding his mobile target was simply a matter of having Sark’s men hack into the satellites that tracked him, trace the chip they had implanted into him last year, and have a liter of Evian while he was waiting for his entrance to the national waters of Spain be approved.

Sark was wondering if, maybe, it wasn’t time to add a little excitement to his life. Things were becoming so mundane in the operations spectrum that he could run his entire program single-handedly and anonymous if he so chose – from this boat, maybe, or from a nice townhouse in Madrid. It was time he had a proper vacation, one without death threats or razor burn in places other than his face.

Crackling the bones in his wrist, Sark thought perhaps it was time he looked Eric up again, at least to throw a few ripples into the proverbial pond. He was beginning to miss ruffling Jack’s feathers.

“I’m getting soft in my age,” Sark told the wake his boat was leaving behind as they pulled into port. There were smaller fishermen pulling themselves with strain against the current to bring in their day’s share to evening market, and the rank smell of raw sea life brought Sark back to himself.

“Sir. There’s a car waiting.”

Sark checked to make sure that his clip was full, but otherwise made no reply.

The hollow sound of the boardwalk planks underfoot were the perfect arrival trumpets for Sark’s appearance on the shores, the glow of the dipping sun setting mud walls aflame as he passed. A black Cadillac from decades past was waiting for him, idling inconspicuously underneath a crude foot bridge that connected two buildings.

“It’s close by,” the driver told him, and Sark simply nodded. Their target had steadied in one location for the past few hours and wouldn’t be hard to find. Sark knew the building well enough – had completed one interesting transaction involving oil cans and crudely refined anthrax in its basement, if he recalled – and ran through the blueprints in his mind. Their target would be cocky, if he was running. Overconfident.

Sark would bet his life on it.

* * *

Brian had removed his jumpsuit, but it didn’t make Weiss feel any better. Neither did the kidnapper trade-patter that was going on between Brian and a man carrying a very large gun. They argued in Portuguese, which made Weiss reconsider his policy on it being a useless language, and promised himself he would take the six week course at Langley if he could just get out of this alive, please.

His knowledge of Spanish allowed him broken translation, and as much as he could understand they were fighting about whether to “do it” to Weiss now (the “it” of which Weiss didn’t learn until a few weeks later, when he had a linguistics specialist look up the words for him), whether or not the gunmen they had felled would be returning, what to do with the rest of the army of men-in-black, and whether or not chicken for dinner again would do.

He might have been wrong on that last one, though.

Because the door to the hall was open, he could see through his only escape route, the aforementioned window, and wondered if he would be able to break it with the sheer barreling weight of his body, or if he would need to grab a lamp or a small chair before hand. That would slow him down considerably.

But first, he needed to get the two men – particularly the one with the gun – out of the room.

Gesticulating wildly with his arms, Brian was pointing and getting angrier and angrier. Little flecks of spittle frothed at the corners of his mouth, and he swiped at them in what Weiss thought he probably hoped was a menacing manner. In the end, the man with the gun handed his weapon over to Brian, and Brian (but more importantly, the gun) left the room.

The second man closed the door, with himself inside the room. Weiss watched him cautiously.

“Do you know why you are here?” the man asked him in perfect English.

Weiss didn’t say anything.

“That’s probably better off for you, then,” the man said, almost sadly. “The more you know…” he shook his head, and waved in front of his face with one hand, as if swatting at the sentence. Weiss tried not to think about NBC education campaigns starring the cast of ER. “Your time will come, Agent Weiss. Unfortunately, so will your friends. So we will have to be just a bit quicker, won’t we?” The man winked, and Weiss curled his toes inside his shoes in disgust.

“Is this the part where I say, ‘You’ll never get away with this’?” Weiss asked mostly to himself.

The man chuckled, and opened the door again. “You’re going to make me a lot of money, son. Just you think on that. Isn’t it your job to protect the pursuit of happiness?”

And then the door was closed, and Weiss let slip the bonds on his right wrist. Bending himself awkwardly, he reached up to his left wrist and deftly worked the knot free. A clamor startled him as he began work on his feet, back cracking clumsily from hours of misuse. It sounded like something had either broken in – or out – the window in the hall. Cursing his luck, Weiss coiled the length of nylon line around his shoulder in case it might be useful later, tied it off, and stood to the inside of the door, listening.

He wasn’t disappointed. There was much shouting in Spanish, and then glass breaking, and what he could tell, after a day of listening, were two new voices in the hall. Weiss watched the shadows at the bottom of the door to see if anyone would approach, but, strangely, the unwelcome guests did not feel the need to investigate the rest of the rooms.

Three silenced gunshots went off in close proximity to the door, and in between the second and third bullet, a body slumped to the ground with sickening density.

This would complicate things.

If he hadn’t turned away from the door to ponder his next move, he wouldn’t have noticed the small penknife blade slicing through the wallpaper – from inside the wall – behind the bed where he had been chained. Weiss had the sense to extinguish the lamp on the desk next to him, and ducked down into the crawlspace, pulling his knees to his chest. In the light that came from under the poorly cut door, Weiss could see three sides cut into the wallpaper, approximately two feet wide and five feet high. Then the surgeon simply bent the paper door open and stepped into the room, pistol first.

Weiss didn’t move.

The figure moved to the place Weiss had previously occupied, back toward the desk, watching the flurry of footsteps go back and forth through the hallway, biding its time. Quietly, Weiss gathered up the cord of the lamp and stripped the wire in two. This he did efficiently, and was silently amused that he could, indeed, do it with his eyes closed, as he had often told his electronics department.

Once he had doubled the length of the wire, he slid out quietly from beneath the desk and squatted on his haunches directly behind the intruder. He had to risk the noise this struggle was going to make. Not only would it provide a body to block the door, it would allow him passage through whatever exit had provided this figure entrance.

The fact that it might be someone from the CIA did cross his mind, for a moment. He’d sent agents into the field poorly briefed enough to not even bother checking the obvious hiding places in the room for the retrieval package.

Weiss grimaced, and tried not to think of himself as a package.

But the man clearly wasn’t CIA. And it was Weiss’ moment of hesitation that nearly undid him. Through the preternatural sense every person who can break into a room through the wall-space possesses, he had nearly half turned just as Weiss lunged, slinging the wire around the man’s neck and raised gun arm. A bullet plugged itself noisily into the ceiling before Weiss had managed to plant most of his body weight into the slighter build. He used the nylon line to bind the man’s hands behind his back, pressing one knee into the back of his neck and the other at the small of his waist.

“OW,” the body complained, and with his face close to the light from the door, Weiss could make out the fair Norwegian features of the man underneath him, blonde hair covered by a black skullcap.

Weiss sighed, and eased off slightly. “Could you BE any noisier?”

Sark grinned, and lifted his hips. “Care to find out?”

“Hold still,” Weiss groused, and watched the door, untying Sark’s hands and casting the nylon aside. Sark turned his head to look underneath it, and saw feet advancing.

“Shoddy stitching,” Sark mused on the shoes. “There’s a gun in my left jacket pocket. I trust you’ll put it to good use. After you get it, close your eyes. One of us has got to be accustomed to the light change when this fine gentleman throws himself through the door.”

Weiss scrambled for the gun and thumbed the safety, chambering a bullet.

“And get off me, anytime now,” Sark suggested.

Sliding backwards only slightly guiltily, Weiss slatted his eyes for the explosion of light.

The door burst open in a staccato of Spanish oaths, and two shots were fired. Weiss fired a second two almost instantaneously, in the direction of the Spaniard. Then he swung his locked arm in the opposite direction and leveled his own weapon into Sark’s chest just in time. Two inches away from his own skull, a nasty looking gun stared at him with a pretty boy at the trigger.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this,” Sark said, grinning broadly.

“Put it down,” he told Sark.

“You’ve got blanks,” the blonde lied.

“You’re not going to shoot me,” Weiss said.

“But you’re going to shoot me?” The other man seemed genuinely amused by this.

“I have every reason to.”

“Fine,” Sark said, holding out his other hand innocently. Weiss ignored it, and stared at the one that held the gun. That was the important one.

“Sark,” he said. “If you still have your safety on?”

Sark’s eyes narrowing were all he needed to know something was wrong.

“Who killed that guy?” He gestured with his own free hand.

“You did. My gun jammed. I can’t get the safety off.”

Weiss lowered his gun. “Then what were the first two shots?”

Sark’s weapon dropped and clattered to the ground as his arm finally lost its power. That was when Weiss allowed himself to notice the two livid wet marks oozing through the black cloth. “They’re just grazes,” Sark insisted.

“Jesus,” Weiss said, “you just have to get yourself injured around me. Who are you trying to impress?”

“Could we please leave now?”

“Why are you here?”

“To kill that man,” Sark pointed at the body on the floor, “for disobeying my orders to not leave Nice.” He paused for a moment, peering down the hall distractedly. “So, many thanks, Eric. Would you deign fit to cover our exit?” He took a few steps forward, and gestured for Weiss to take the lead. While Weiss surveyed their surroundings, Sark tested the rope that was still attached to the window for strength.

“It should hold us both. Would you like to go first, or shall I?”

Weiss scowled. If he went first, it would leave Sark unprotected. If he waited, Sark could leave without him, and he had no idea where he was, in a country where he didn’t speak the language.

Throwing the other man the gun, he grabbed the rope and had already slipped down a story before Sark could turn and glance with minute surprise out the window.

“That was stupid,” Weiss told himself as he hit the ground. “Now you’ve given him a weapon. A man who you know you can’t take in hand-to-hand combat. And you’re putting your life in his hands.”

“I would not have rescued you only to kill you myself,” was Sark’s answer. “My goodness, you have a dramatic inner monologue. This way, please.”

* * *

Getting into the car had been much more difficult a decision than getting on the boat. Of course, at that point, Sark had given him back the gun and had become woozy enough from the pain of having his arm ripped up to allow Weiss to support him most of the way up the very short gang plank. But annoyance struck anew as Sark discovered that the crew had abandoned ship for an evening on land.

“Do you know how to navigate?” he asked Weiss tersely while pulling away from the docks. “I’m a little short handed.”

Weiss wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not, so he didn’t laugh until he was by himself, and he had set the course and the ship could plot itself without much direction from him. Weiss kept himself well in view of the navigation instruments, and Sark knew how to keep a general eye on the gadgets, while they collected changes of clothing.

Somewhere between Sark’s directing him toward the first aid kit and getting off his shirt and that ridiculous hat, Weiss’ adrenaline had slowed down and he began processing just what happened.

“God,” he said, and sat heavily beside Sark, who was lying on a sofa.

“Yes, I was wondering when you might say something like that.” He accepted the rubbing alcohol from Weiss and dabbed it on his wound with a cotton ball without even a wince. “What were you doing here, anyway?” Sark had his own suspicions, but preferred to keep them to himself.

“They didn’t say. They just…took me.” He turned to look at Sark. “They knew my name. They knew I’d be there. Someone had to have told them that.”

Sark nodded. “I’ve suspected for some time that the CIA’s security within is not as structurally integral as it should be. You were probably going to be used as some kind of bait or ransom.”

“The United States Government does not deal with terrorists,” Weiss said mechanically, tearing off a strip of bandage.

“My lord, is that what they tell you to get you to join? You really should find a new benefits package.” He offered his arm out to Weiss and held one end of the bandage tapped to his arm while Weiss wrapped the snowy gauze around a few times. “Tighter, please,” Sark said, as if reprimanding a child. Weiss started over. “But as it stands, Eric, you haven’t got the greatest track record.”

“You’re the one who got us trapped last time,” Weiss reminded him bitterly. He blinked. When had Sark taken his shirt off?

“True. I am indebted to you. And to pay that debt, I shall drop you on the steps of whatever CIA safe house you would like. And then we will be even. Do you understand?”

Weiss nodded, watching the man’s face. Debt, Weiss was learning, was something that Sark deeply despised.

There was a moment of silence as Weiss taped off the bandage and handed over some aspirin and a glass of water, and began to pack the supplies away.

“They had you tied up?”

Weiss nodded, searching for the tiny gauze scissors that seemed to have lodged themselves somewhere in the dark, mysterious dunes of cloth that made up the sofa cushions.

“How did you escape?”

Another second of rummaging near Sark’s thigh produced the blades, and he held them up proudly. “I untied the knots,” he said.

Sark made a noise that attempted non-committal but ended up more toward the respect end up the spectrum.

“Always know what you’re escaping to,” Weiss said.

“Sound advice,” Sark agreed. “What are you escaping to, Eric?”

The kit was stashed under the sofa, and Weiss toed off his long worn shoes. “I don’t know. I was hoping some sleep, maybe. But frankly, I’m afraid of you.”

Sark’s uninjured arm came from the other side of his body to take hold of Weiss’ wrist. “Eric. Listen to me.” He waited for Weiss to meet his eyes before continuing. “You’ve got nothing to fear from me. Do you understand that?”

Weiss didn’t say anything.

“Do you *believe* that?” Sark stressed.

“No,” he answered honestly. “And then again…” Weiss shrugged enigmatically. “This may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Sark closed his eyes and seemed to sink farther into the couch. “You can’t possibly be stealing lines from bad, old movies to seduce me.”

“No. There’s another reason.”

“Oh?” Sark sounded bored.

And then he didn’t sound anything, because Weiss was leaning down quietly, meeting the other man’s lips in the softest of Sleeping Beauty kisses. Sark cracked his eyes. “I owed you,” Weiss said.

“Hmm,” Sark replied, and studied the other man’s face. “Don’t let the ship crash.” And then he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

* * *

Sark was snoring when Weiss woke up. In fact, Weiss reflected, it was probably the vibrancy and richness of tone; the quality of the snore, if you will, that worked as his wake-up call. He had anchored last night with the help of some CIA agents who he had called, through the ship’s radio (after some quiet midnight tinkering), and Sydney was due to extract him within the hour.

He had sent the agents off, telling them that he would secure Sark peacefully and bring him to the safe house for questioning in the events of the past six months.

“Wake up,” he whispered in the man’s ear, and the younger awoke with a skin-crawling jump.

“Where are we?” he immediately demanded.

“Here,” Weiss said, and stood up. “I’m supposed to take you in for questioning.”

Sark nodded, and cracked his back, stretching his limbs with a feline quality. “You could stay here. We both need a vacation.”

Weiss nodded. “But I’ve got to go back.”

“I know,” Sark said irritably. “God damn, but you pick the early hours for this.” He stood up grumpily, if that was possible, and said, “Fine. I could use a visit to the good old US of A.” The last bit he said with a disturbingly accurate southern accent.

“You’ll come?” Weiss asked.

“Hopefully,” Sark gave a lecherous glare. “Besides…I think I like having you indebted to me.”