Stop stealing my LJ! (auchic) wrote,
Stop stealing my LJ!
auchic

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Temporary Insanity

Woo. Ok. Um, this was...heh...written for lunasky's Deflowering Alias Challenge. The requirements are:

1. The fic must be NC-17
2. The fic must be centered around at least 1 Alias Character
3. The fic must be about a first sexual act.

And this is what evolved from that. Well, um, this is my first attempt at slash. Please don't kill me.

Title: Gentlemen Prefer Blonds
Rating: NC-17
Timeling: Post-'The Telling'.
Summary : Written for lunasky's Deflowering Alias Challenge. Sometimes dreams do come true; you just can't control which ones do. Sark/Weiss.

A/N: This fic is dedicated to Becs (becca_radcgg)!! She gave me the idea, she listened night after night to me bitching about it, she beta-ed it, she did just about everything she could to get me to finish. It was all for her, woo! Thanks darling. Hope you like.



Eric Weiss had always had a thing for blondes, so he wasn't THAT surprised when he first dreamt about having sex with Sark. It was when Sark became the only damned thing on his mind that Eric started to get worried.

The first dream he justifiably blamed on Sydney and alcohol. During one of their tequila soaked conversations, one of them (he wasn’t quite sure who; they were both pretty toasted) started on the topic of forbidden sexual fantasies. At first they’d been pretty tame, mostly stories about having random sex on the conference table at the Ops Center with various agents, but as the night went on and on and they drank more and more, the ideas left the land of rationality and descended into a level of perversity that Eric hadn’t heard of since his college years. After he had shared a particularly warped vision involving the meek girl who worked in Research and duct tape, Sydney blurted out that she’d been having a recurring dream about Sark. She went on to describe the kinkiest ordeal he’d ever heard, complete with vivid imagery. By the time she got to the part with the harness and leash, his mouth was hanging open and his eyes bugging out of his head as he wondered how sweet little Sydney Bristow could know all those things. Not to mention he suddenly needed to get rid of all the clothing below his waist. In a quick bout of sobriety, Sydney had swore to turn him into a eunuch if he spoke of it again and after a couple more drinks, they’d passed out on her couch. Eric woke up in the morning upside down, hung over, and images of Sark wearing only a pair of skintight leather pants while handcuffing a naked Eric to the bed burning in the back of his brain. He’d stood in the shower and swore to himself never to talk about sex when drinking with Sydney again.

The second dream, three weeks later, he was able to attribute to violent indigestion. He’d made dinner for him and Syd, a nice Italian meal, and for dessert he had made huge ice cream sundaes with marshmallow topping and hot fudge to drizzle over it. Miraculously they’d ended the night sober and after watching the sports highlights on ESPN, Eric had gone to bed. Suddenly he had been naked and skintight leather Sark was pouring hot fudge on his torso. Then the blond had started to lick it off. Eric had woken up just before Sark’s mouth had licked the chocolate off his raging erection. He wasn’t quite sure if he was disturbed or disappointed. He just blamed it on bad ice cream and swore off dairy products for a little while. Just until Sark got out of his dreams.

Try as he might, though, he couldn’t really blame the third dream on, well, anything except himself. It had been a quiet Sydney, alcohol, and dairy free evening in front of the TV. He’d just been surfing through channels, watching shows here and there. Eric had a huge crush on Marilyn Monroe, so when he saw that TCM was showing “Some Like It Hot”, he had watched her for a few minutes before flipping over to “Gone in Sixty Seconds”. He’d gone to bed and expected to see Angelina Jolie and her luscious lips, but immediately he was lying naked in Jack Lemmon’s bunk on the train. Only instead of Marilyn crawling in with him, Sark appeared. As his lips caressed Eric’s in a gentle manner, those long tapered fingers had brushed down the bulkier man’s body, whipping him into a sexual frenzy. Eric woke up completely sated and resigned to his fate; he couldn’t stop dreaming about Sark.

It wasn’t as if Eric had ever done any of those things in real life, other than the usual college experimentation shit. He just chalked it up to normal healthy sexual fantasizing. Hell, everyone around him had probably had the same type of dreams; maybe Sark wasn’t the special guest star for them, but that was just a technicality. He just sat back and accepted it and kept his mouth shut.

Of course, life just had to throw a few curveballs in there. Since Sark swore up and down that he knew nothing about Sydney’s disappearence, and since he’d been pretty helpful lately, what with being in their custody for three years, Dixon and the higher ups had relented and occasionally Sark was brought up to the Ops center for certain missions. When he’d been confined in that little cell, it had been so much easier for Eric: he didn’t look at the nice surveillance video and he had no reason to go down there and start chatting, so his Sark-views were limited. But now that Sark was working with him and Syd, giving them intel or working specs for certain missions, Eric had to see the guy at least once a day. As if he needed the mental stimulation; after about a month of Sark showing up in his dreams at night, the blond actually began making cameos in his daydreams. Eric was frantic at first, imagining himself having tons of conversations laden with double innuendos, but the first meeting had calmed his fears. There wasn’t a chance for him to say something potentially embarrassing; Sark barely said a word outside of occasional comments. And Eric sure as hell wasn’t going to strike up a conversation. He’d leave that for dream world.

So Eric just kept on dreaming about Sark at night and working with him during the day. After all, it wasn’t like he was really working with Sark; he was like a computer they used. A sexy, blond computer that did marvelous things for leather and Armani, but a computer nonetheless. As long as they kept their relationship professional, there was no need to worry about the dreams. Right?

**********************************************************

“Eric, come on, she’s really nice. Plus, she’s a hockey freak. You’re not going to find a lot of those in L.A.”

Eric held the door open for Sydney as they walked into the conference room. After her months of Vaughn-mourning, she had decided she’d try embracing the single life for a while. Unfortunately, ‘embracing the single life’ in Sydney-speak really meant ‘I’m bored, so I’m going to play matchmaker for Eric.’ He’d just about used his entire quota of excuses, but it seemed like Sydney had an endless list of single friends in the L.A. region that, quote, “would be dying to meet a sensitive, thoughtful, fun guy like him.” And the girl complained that she had no social life. His own list of friends that he was still in contact with was nothing compared to the plethora of people she knew.

He pulled out a chair for her and then plopped down beside her. “Sorry, Syd, but…”

“Oh no, don’t you start with the excuses again. I’ve looked at your day planner; you’ve got nothing coming up this weekend. Why not give it a try? You’ll really like her!”

“Syd, no offense, but I’m not cool with this whole blind date, getting set up thing. Makes for awkward evenings. I’m putting my foot down: no more setting Eric up.”

She looked so crestfallen that he felt horrible. “Come on, Bristow, don’t give me that.”

She shook her head. “I don’t get it Eric. You’re a great guy, yet you’re happy to spend the rest of your life alone, being my shoulder to cry on and my drinking buddy? That’s no life for such a swinging bachelor.”

“Look, all I’m saying is not now. I’m not really looking for a relationship anytime soon. And I like having you as a drinking buddy. You furnish the good stuff.”

She punched him in the shoulder, and he grabbed her wrist, but before he could coerce her into a mercy fight, the door opened and the rest of the team came in. Eric gave her a warning look, one that said she’d pay for beating on him later before facing Dixon and putting on his game face.

He listened to the discussion of old news, the report Lauren was working on for the NSC, blah blah blah. Eric stared blankly ahead and let his mind wander. It was late spring, and the weather was getting warmer every day. Maybe this weekend he’d go to the beach, do a little surfing, check out all the hot girls in bikinis…he blinked back inside when the talk switched to a new topic.

“…as you know, Sark has been very helpful these past months…” Dixon was saying.

Ah. Sark. Sark on beach, in a pair of wet trunks. Eric could see it now: standing together on the dunes, the wind whipping the blond curls around, those blue eyes getting darker as he leaned in for a kiss…Eric was completely lost in his fantasy when everyone turned his way.

“…shouldn’t be a problem for you, should it, Agent Weiss?”

He jolted, then shook his head as he realized the room was staring at him. His face flamed red when he noticed that everyone was waiting for an answer to some question, and here he’d been dreaming about making out with Sark on a beach. In swim trunks. “Uh…who with the what now huh?”

Dixon looked slightly pissed. “As I said, having Sark live with you shouldn’t be a problem.”

He could feel all the blood drain out of his face. “Ummm…you want Sark. To live with me. Wha…why me?” He looked around the room and surveyed the candidates: the Vaughns, Marshall, Dixon, and the Bristows. “Wouldn’t Agent Bristow be a better choice?”

Since he hadn’t specified which Agent Bristow, both gave him the Famous Bristow Death Stare. Dixon rolled his eyes. Marshall was trying to hide a smile and Vaughn’s eyebrows had disappeared into his forehead wrinkles, which wasn’t a big problem, seeing as Lauren had enough for both of them.

Dixon started to gather up the files. “Seeing as we’ve covered everything, I think we’re done for the day. Agent Weiss, you’ll come by my office later for briefing on this. Everyone’s dismissed.”

The people began to file out, but Eric waited until the room was empty before falling back into his chair and wiping a hand over his face. He pretty much had no say in this; Sark was going to be living with him. In his apartment. Just the two of them.

Shit. He was so fucked.

************************************************************

He didn’t know what was worse: Sydney practically rolling on the floor laughing her ass off or Vaughn’s atomic forehead reaching a new level of furrowedness. Then again, Vaughn wasn’t really talking to him, while Sydney had lots to say.

“I think the look on your face was the best part for me,” she grinned over a coffee break. He just scowled. “Seriously, your face went this really awful puce colour, and then your mouth did that twitchy thing it does when you’re nervous…yep, I won’t be forgetting that reaction for a long time.”

“Yeah, yeah, ha ha, let’s all have a laugh at poor Eric’s expense,” he groused. “Can we please talk about something else? It’s not like this is going to go away if we stop discussing it. Whether we like it or not, I’m gonna be living with Sark.”

Sydney giggled, then rubbed his arm. “He’s been cooperating for so long, I doubt he’s going to do something and end up back in that cell. Besides, the CIA has everything under control, what with the multiple trackers and stuff they’re injecting into him right now. By the time we’re ready to go home, Sark’s basically going to be the equivalent of a neutered puppy. The worst he can do is snark you to death. I’m sure you’ll be able to handle him.”

Oh if she only knew, he thought. He wasn’t afraid of Sark hurting/killing him; well, not really. As they spoke, Sark was currently unconscious, getting 17 chips put into his skin so they could monitor him 24/7. They were also hooking some kind of watch device for Eric that linked to the trackers. Marshall had explained in typical Marshall style, which Eric did not understand, but the gist of it (Sydney later informed him) was that if Sark ever got a certain distance from Eric, the watch thingy would start bleeping and screeching and would send an emergency message to the Ops Center so they could hopefully catch Sark before he had a chance at real freedom. Eric had rolled his eyes at the extreme lengths the CIA was going through for this. If Sark really wanted to run, some little watch wasn’t gonna stop him.

No, Eric wasn’t afraid that one night Sark would sneak into his room one night and smother him with a pillow. Eric was afraid that one night Sark would get up to use the bathroom and hear Eric screaming his name in total ecstasy. He’d never had a history of talking in his sleep, but the way his luck was running, a trip to the hardware store for some duct tape for his mouth might be in order. Couldn’t hurt to be cautious.

“Eric? You okay?” Sydney touched him again on his arm. He smiled reassuredly at her, even though his insides were twisting all to hell. Damn it, how was he going to be able to keep the Sark fantasies under control if the guy was living with him? This was very not good. He considered going to Dixon and begging it off, but he didn’t want to seem like he was scared of living with an international assassin, and he wasn’t about to explain that having Sark around him might induce extreme sexual tension beyond anything the office had seen. Then again, they had survived the Sydney/Vaughn fiasco, but everyone had known about the forbidden lust then.

He was so screwed. He spent the rest of the day doing pretend busy work, praying that an atomic bomb would go off somewhere in L.A. before 6 PM. Or maybe someone would kidnap Syd and he’d have to go hunting for her. Or some evil terrorist group could hold them all hostage for a few days. Anything to delay going home with Sark. Oh god he did not just think that. He walked to the bathroom and laid his head on the tiled wall, taking a few deep breaths. He could do this. He was a CIA agent. He’d faced much more delicate situations than this. Just be calm and cool and everything will be fine.

He was so fucked.

**************************************************

“Well, this is it,” Eric opened the door and made a sweeping motion with his arm, but he was sweating bullets and so the motion came out jerky. He watched Sark’s eyes dart over the place and he swallowed hard. “Umm…I’m gonna go change; make yourself at home.”

He practically ran to his bedroom, only breathing when he was safely behind the closed door. The ride home from the JTF building had been hell. He was so goddamned nervous that he was fidgeting with everything and tapping his fingers over the steering wheel, the console, his knee. He’d tried to break the tension by making small joking comments, but Sark had merely stared straight ahead silently. Eric really couldn’t blame him; the poor guy hadn’t seen natural light for almost three years. Not that it had hurt him any physically. There was something about that pale, almost translucent skin that made the man dangerously sexy. The CIA had given him a haircut whenever the mood struck them right (i.e. never), so the blond curls were long and extremely messy. He’d also only been eating whatever his captors had decided to feed him, so his facial features were sharper. The piercing blue eyes were all the more pronounced against the high cheekbones. Somehow Sark still managed to be sexy as hell without doing a damned thing for himself. How was that even fair?

Eric changed out of his suit and made to pick up his sweats, but thought better of it and grabbed his wrinkled jeans. He didn’t want whatever effect Sark could have on his traitorous body being out there for the world to see. At least if he suddenly got hard, the jeans would hide it, and the confinement might actually bring him down from the brink of arousal. He pulled on a sweatshirt as well, opened his door and plowed into Sark. “Jesus! What the hell, man?” He told himself that his suddenly rapid pulse was from the shock instead of the nearness of Sark.

Sark just stepped back and regarded Eric. “That is your bedroom? That’s the only bedroom in this place.”

Eric rolled his eyes. “Yeah. So?”

Sark glared at him. “Where am I supposed to sleep? I don’t presume the CIA pays you enough to share a bed.”

Eric bit the inside of his cheeks and tried not to dwell on the lovely image that sentence put in his mind. “You saw the living room?” Sark nodded. “You saw the couch?” Sark nodded again, slower this time. “Enjoy.” He walked over to the kitchen and opened the fridge, trying to decide what to make for supper.

“You’re not serious, are you?” Sark’s silky voice brought Eric back up. The other man was staring at the couch with a disdainful look. “I’m not sleeping on a couch.”

“You could always go back to that board in your old cell,” Eric replied, turning back to the fridge. He heard Sark heave a sigh behind him and could still feel those eyes glowering into his back, but he ignored it. He pulled out a beer and twisted off the cap, taking a long drink. He gestured the bottle toward Sark. “Want one?”

Sark eyed the bottle with the same look he gave the couch. “Do you have any wine?”

“Do I look like I would drink wine?”

Sark scowled. “I’ll be content with water then.” He brushed past Eric to grab a glass and Eric was thankful that the sweatshirt hid the goosebumps on his arms. He picked up the phone and dialed his favourite pizza place.

While it was ringing, he turned to Sark. “What’s your poison?” When Sark shot him an incredulous look, Eric sighed. “What kind of pizza toppings do you want?”

Sark scoffed. “Takeout pizza? Cheap American beer? Sleeping on the couch? This is what I have to look forward to? The CIA suddenly looks good compared to this.”

“Hey, in case you were wondering, I didn’t ask to be the official babysitter for the US government. I’m not loving the idea either, but at least I’m making an effort here. It’d be nice if you could do the same,” Eric snapped. He turned his back on the other man, ordered his pizza, then sat on the couch and flipped on the TV. He tried to ignore the impatient little sounds Sark was making behind him until they got beyond annoying. “Will you shut up and sit down?”

Sark came around and sat next to him on the couch. “Do you have anything to read?”

“What do I look like, a librarian?” Sark just stared at him, unblinking. Eric sighed. “I’m not a really big reader. Sydney’s got a large collection though. We could go check out what she has.” He stood. “Anything to get you off my back,” he muttered.

Sark slowly followed as they left the apartment and walked down to Sydney’s place. “Look, I apologize for being so distant before. It’s going to take me a little while to adjust to pseudo-freedom.” He gave Eric a crooked smile. “Perhaps we should start over. Friends?” He stuck out his hand. Eric tentatively grasped it and tried like hell to ignore the shiver he felt the moment he touched the soft skin. Their eyes met and suddenly the air was electrified with something. They stood there for countless minutes; hands still clasped, eyes locked together. Eric could feel his breath start to quicken. Somehow without moving Sark was standing closer to him…he could feel his knees getting weak…he could smell the faint soapy scent of the other man’s skin…

Sydney’s door swung open and Eric nearly fell over himself backing away from Sark. “Hey, Syd, uhh…we were just wondering if you might have something for Sark to read. You know, like a book or something, because I know you like to read, and you had that whole English degree and all, so…yeah,” he trailed off, his cheeks flaming red. Good god, close proximity to Sark was turning him into Marshall.

Sydney gave him a strange look. “Yeah. Come on in.” The two of them went inside and Eric fell back against the wall, taking in deep breaths. This was not good. Not good at all.

The rest of the night wasn’t so bad, Eric mused later, lying in bed. No, not bad at all. You know, after that near kiss with Sark, then brushing his hand about a million times while eating supper, then sitting so close while we watched TV that I could almost feel the guy’s pulse…no, that wasn’t bad at all. He groaned quietly and hid his face in his pillow. And this was only the first night. He was desperately trying not to imagine Sark stretched out on his couch only wearing a pair of boxers, approximately 30 feet from where Eric was trying to sleep. He was so dead. So dead.

Yeah, he wasn’t going to sleep much anymore.

*********************************************************

Eric sighed into the shower, absently rubbing the shampoo out of his hair. At about 3 AM, delirious from no sleep, he had mentally slapped himself upside the head. Having Sark live with him was not going to go away any time soon. Yeah, okay, so he had been having sex dreams about Sark. Big deal. He’d had a few kinky fantasies about Sydney and he was still able to joke around with her. If he kept acting like a total spaz whenever Sark came near him, the other man would begin to suspect something was up, and Eric didn’t need that. He just had to keep reminding himself that the Sark in his dreams and the Sark in the living room were not one and the same. He’d lived with other guys before, during his college years. He could get through this fine.

Of course, he’d never had to live with his college buddies after having dreamt about one of them sucking water of his naked body, like he had last night. He shivered, wiped off the rest of the soap, turned off the water and threw back his shower curtain. The sight before him made him scream and he nearly slipped and fell back on his ass.

“I’m sure your neighbours appreciate the morning wakeup call, but I know I can do without the primal call of Agent Weiss,” Sark was standing at the sink, glaring at Eric in the mirror. He went back to shaving, passing the razor carefully over his neck. And if seeing him hadn’t already unnerved Eric, the younger man was doing it completely naked.

Sweet Jesus.

“What in God’s name are you doing in here, trying to give me a heart attack? I would have rather you’d slit my throat while I slept.” As he spoke, Eric turned away slightly, grabbed a towel to cover himself and tried not to look at Sark. Unfortunately, his Benedict Arnold cock was very happy this morning, so he closed his eyes and tried to think of the unsexiest thing he could. A picture of Arvin Sloane in a leather thong popped up. Oh yeah, that would do. He took a breath and turned back to Sark. “Dude, do you not have any boundaries? I was showering!”

“I can see that, Agent Weiss,” Sark finished shaving and used a damp facecloth to wipe the rest of the lather off his face. He stroked a hand over his cheek and Eric couldn’t help but think how incredibly hot that motion was. Sloane in thong…Sloane dancing in a thong…

“But we both need to get ready for work and you only have one bathroom. How was I to know how long it takes you to run through your morning toilette? Besides,” he smirked, “we’re both men. It isn’t like I was getting a glimpse of something I’ve never seen before.” He winked in the mirror and Eric nearly melted on spot. SLOANE! THONG! FOCUS!

He swallowed and frowned, stepping out of the tub. “Yeah, well, next time give me a little warning, and if it’s not too much, maybe you could be dressed too. How the hell did you get in here anyway? I locked the door.” He caught Sark’s eye and shook his head. “Never mind; spy amnesia. It happens sometimes.”

He was trying to ignore Sark, but the bathroom was pretty small and so their bodies brushed when Sark moved passed him to step into the shower. Eric stopped breathing. Kendall in a thong now…come on, come on… “I do hope you left enough hot water for me,” Sark fiddled with the knobs and let out a quiet yelp when the water came on. “Christ!”

“Sorry,” Eric couldn’t help but laugh. “Still not used to the whole sharing thing.” Sloane and Kendall in thongs, doing the tango…

“Well, you better start or next time I’ll climb in there with you.”

That did it. Eric stumbled off to his bedroom, not really caring that the image in his head was now of Sark and the leather thong.

****************************************************

The next month flew by extremely fast. After that one brief morning fiasco, Sark and Eric had managed to come to some kind of system that worked out pretty good. Eric had been named Sark’s handler (ironically), but since the CIA still didn’t trust sending Sark on any missions, they were grounded at their desks, doing the boring side of work while Sydney got to hop all over the place. At first Eric was envious, but he actually found it kind of nice not to be living out of his gym bag and hotel rooms for a while. It was almost like a mini-vacation, and here he had his own cabana boy to enjoy it with. Except not.

So Eric got back into the routine of living again. He actually was a great cook, but since he never knew how long he’d be home at times, he stocked up on frozen dinners and canned foods. But with all the extra time he had, he went shopping one day and went nuts planning his meals out. Sark had trailed behind him, avoiding contact with almost everything he could. The man had raised his eyebrow when he noticed the contents of Eric’s cart, but all he did was smirk. Eric couldn’t wait to show him what this agent could do with the right ingredients. Not that he was trying to impress Sark. Really.

It took them a couple days, but the two men settled into a somewhat comfortable routine, consisting of them ignoring each other. Sark really wasn’t big on conversation and while Eric had gotten over his initial discomfort, he still couldn’t find anything to talk about. They spent a few nights traipsing over to Sydney’s for reading material for Sark until she got fed up and handed him her library card. Occasionally, she came over for supper when Eric was tired of the silence. Even though Sark was cooperating, Sydney still felt the need to hate the guy on principle, so she never bothered to try to make nice with Sark. She was being sent on a lot of missions lately, so most times it was just Eric and Sark ignoring each other.

The Sark sex dreams hadn’t stopped; in fact, they had taken on a whole new level. Since Eric no longer had to imagine what the other man looked like naked, his imagination could concentrate on other things. Like how Sark’s sweaty skin might feel sliding along his own. Or how blue those eyes could get when aroused. Or how those crooked lips would look wrapped around his cock. He woke up most mornings rock hard and praying that he hadn’t moaned his pleasure during the night. He couldn’t stop the dreams and by now he wasn’t sure he wanted to. It was the best sex he’d ever had and he wasn’t even getting any.

After three years of incarceration, Sark’s limited wardrobe consisted of a few ill-fitting outfits the CIA had given him. At first it hadn’t been a big deal, but after a few days, Eric felt sorry the guy had to live in sweats after Armani and silk. So one Saturday, he packed a suspicious Sark in his SUV and drove to the closest mall. He parked in front of Macy’s and got out. He was nearly at the door before he realized that Sark wasn’t following. “Dude, you better start walking before you get zapped or something. I’m not really sure what those chips’ll do to you, but I’m not in the mood to find out.”

Sark sauntered up. “Why are we here?” he asked. Eric pushed him through the doors and guided him toward men’s wear.

“I’m getting tired of doing your laundry every second day. Go wild.”

Sark’s eyes nearly bugged out. “You cannot be serious.”

“That’s the same thing you said about sleeping on my couch. The answer hasn’t changed at all. Start shopping, unless you want me to pick out a wardrobe for you. And I should warn you, I only look this good because I shop with Syd and she picks out stuff for me.”

Sark folded his arms across his chest. “I am not shopping here. It’s so…pedestrian, it’s disgusting.”

“Hey, priss boy, this is all I can afford, okay? Welcome to the exciting world of CIA salaries. The minute you get your hands on some cash, I’ll drive you over to the Armani shop myself. Until then, get moving. If you don’t have something picked out in the next ten minutes, I’m taking you to Wal-Mart and you can fight with the white trash and the college students. Go.”

If looks could kill, Eric would be incinerated by now, but he just grinned at Sark. The blond made a small noise that sounded a lot like a growl then began to pick through the racks. Eric looked as well, but didn’t dare suggest anything, even though he found some stuff that would make Sark look like an absolute god. An hour passed before Sark finally found him again and dumped a load of clothing in his arms. He chuckled as he paid for everything, noticing that Sark had picked the most expensive stuff. Oh well, at least it would look good. Sark could make anything sexy as hell.

Sark had turned to go back to the car, but Eric began to saunter toward the mall entrance of the store. “You’re going the wrong way,” Sark said, a tiny hint of desperation in his voice.

Eric just rolled his eyes. “I’m hungry. Come on.” He heard a frustrated sigh from behind him and grinned. It was so much fun to play with Sark. Mentally that is.

It was kind of funny, watching an international assassin who was used to the finer things in life walk down the aisle of a mall, busy with the usual Saturday afternoon crowd. Like he had at the grocery store, Sark was trying to avoid contact with anything, but the mass of people made it hard. When his shoulder was jostled for the tenth time, Eric was sure that if there were a gun handy, Sark would whip it out and start blasting away. “Relax,” he teased. “It’s just a mall. Thank your stars I didn’t bring Syd along. She’s a bit more exuberant about her shopping. I swear I’ve been in almost every store this place has now.”

This earned him another scorching glare. They kept walking until they found the food court, packed full with hyper kids, screaming toddlers, yelling teenagers and all the other stereotypical Saturday mall rats. Sark looked like he was going to lose his breakfast all over the floor. Eric pulled out his wallet and handed Sark a twenty. The other man just looked at it. “What?”

Eric inclined his head. “Go. I’m getting tired of having to hold your hand for everything. It’s just twenty bucks, it’s not gonna get you anywhere. Besides, I’m not waiting in line twice.” When Sark opened his mouth, Eric cut him off. “If you say ‘you can’t be serious’ one more time, I’m stuffing a rag down your throat.”

To Eric’s surprise, Sark suddenly grinned. Eric’s heart thudded at the sight, the light expression making the other man look very boyish and innocent. He turned before he could blush and headed off to the Philly cheese steak place. He needed a good shot of grease right now. When he got his food, he scanned the place quickly, but he couldn’t catch sight of Sark, so he weaved through the tables until he found an empty one. He just hoped that Sark would be able to find him. About thirty seconds later, the blond pushed his way through a group of giggling pre-teen girls and sat down. “That was something I never want to experience again,” he mumbled.

Eric just took a huge bite of his sandwich. “What the hell is that?” he asked when he swallowed, pointing to Sark’s tray.

“A gyro,” he answered, picking it up and taking a small bite. Eric cocked an eyebrow in confusion. “It’s Greek,” Sark explained further. Eric just shrugged and took another bite. “Well, it’s a hell of a lot better than what you’re shoving into your mouth,” Sark took a drink of his water.

“All right, that’s it,” Eric finally snapped. “You know, I’ve had to put up with a lot of shit from my job in the past, but it’s nothing compared to listening to your whiny little ass these last few days. I’d rather get shot in the neck by Irina Derevko again than spend another moment with you either ignoring everything I say or griping about my efforts to try to make you feel more at home. I’m going to tell Dixon this isn’t working out. Hope you’re happy to go back to that cell again; I guess anything’s better than spending time with me.” He stood up, even though he had barely touched his food and picked up his tray. He almost turned away before Sark grabbed his arm.

“Please sit down,” he said quietly. Eric complied, but stared malevolently at his companion. Sark crossed his hands on the table and shifted, looking down at them. “Look, I apologize again. This…just…I…I’m sort of used to doing things a certain way, of having everything how I want it. A small taste of freedom puts me back in that mode. I guess I have to adjust to living a certain way. And,” he looked up and gave a little smirk, “you’re really not that bad of a ‘roomie’, even if you use all the hot water in the morning.”

Eric was trying hard not to, but he couldn’t hold in his smile. “That’s real funny, man,” he said sarcastically, but from the spark in Sark’s eye, he knew he wasn’t that successful. He finally sat back and let an easy grin cross his face. “Apology accepted.” He picked up his sandwich and started to eat again, but paused when Sark didn’t move. “Okay, what’s wrong now?”

Sark looked him hard in the eye. “Why don’t you talk to me?” he asked, his voice still quiet and serious.

Eric gave him a strange look. “Dude, I just yelled at you, what do you call that?”

Sark waved a hand dismissively. “Not this. Whenever Sydney comes over, you two never shut up. But the minute she leaves, you become silent. I hardly doubt you’re afraid of me, because when you do manage to say something, it tends to run along the lines of glaringly sarcastic. You’ve a reputation as a friendly man, but I have yet to see it. So why?”

Eric picked up his Coke and took a long drink. Sark’s unblinking stare was starting to unnerve him a bit. “What’s the big deal? You’re not the most talkative guy in the world. Our conversations mostly consist of you bitching about whatever manages to bite your ass at them moment. What are we supposed to talk about, sports? Girls? The political ramifications of the situation in the Middle East? Sark, I don’t see you as the kind of guy who makes meaningless small talk with people like me.”

“How do you even know that?” Sark glared at him again. “You don’t bother to talk to me about those things, so how are you able to judge what sort of a person I am?”

“Look, if you’re so pissed about being ignored all the time, why don’t you ever start any conversations with me?” Sark just glowered at him and Eric grinned. “See? It’s not that easy, is it? Face it, we’ve got nothing in common.”

Sark pulled at his lip and Eric nearly choked. “We work together. That’s something in common.”

Eric snorted. “No offense Sark, but after ten hours doing CIA paperwork, I’ll be damned if I’m gonna come home and spend another couple hours talking about it. Try again.”

“I do have a name, you know. You could try referring to me by that.” Eric looked at him quizzically. “Julian,” Sark said helpfully.

“I know. It’s just…”

“What?”

“It doesn’t quite fit…your image, you know? Julian’s kind of a…”

“What?”

“Never mind.”

“No, say it.”

“It’s a gay name, dude.”

“Well, I’m glad someone agrees.” And to Eric’s surprise, Sark gave him another of those boyish grins. Eric shot him one in return. “You mentioned sports?”

“Big hockey fan.” He saw Sark’s lip start to curl back. “Yeah, kinda figured you wouldn’t be into that. And we’ve covered the issue of different tastes in food.”

Sark finished off his lunch. “Actually, that’s only in the realm of this slop,” he waved his hand around the food court. “I do enjoy the meals that you prepare. You’re quite a good cook.”

“Thanks,” Eric smiled. “What about you? Are you a master chef as well as a master spy?”

Sark laughed. “I wouldn’t say ‘master,’ but I can manage for myself. Finding the time, though…” Eric nodded in agreement. “What was your other topic? Girls? I’m sure we could find some common ground there.”

“Oh you do?”

Sark smirked.

“In case you haven’t noticed, Julian, I don’t really have much time for girls, what with the fin-filled life I lead. And now that I’ve got you permanently attached to my hip, my love life’s gonna take a sound beating.”

“What about Sydney?” Sark asked, his eyes sparkling with mischief.

“What about her?” Sark just smirked more. “Oh, please don’t tell me you’re a member of the ‘Sydney Bristow Forbidden Lust Club’ too. Is no man safe?”

“I may not pay my dues regularly, but you can’t deny that she’s an intriguing and sexy woman.” Sark’s face turned serious. “You have quite a close relationship with her as a friend, but I’ve seen the way you look at her. Admit it, don’t you wish that there were something more there? That she would look at you the way she looks at that idiot Michael Vaughn?”

“Watch it, boy, that ‘idiot’ is one of my best friends,” Eric warned. Sark just rolled his eyes. “Well, okay, ‘idiot’ can be pretty accurate sometimes. But that’s not the point.”

“No, the point is you’re avoiding the issue,” Sark drained the last of his water.

Eric sighed. “What I feel about Sydney or not is irrelevant. She’s never going to see me as someone besides Eric Weiss, the platonic best friend. Do I wish she could? Hell yeah. I’d die for a chance with Syd, but it’s never gonna happen in my lifetime, so I don’t bother feeling sorry for myself about it.” He tossed his empty soda cup in a nearby trashcan. “How ‘bout you?”

Sark looked down, watching his fingers methodically align his tray on the table. “I’m in the same situation as you, except I don’t have the luxury of a close friendship like you do. Regardless of how much I do for the CIA, or how much time I spend in their custody, she’s still going to see me as the man who tortured one of her best friends and had a part in killing the other, not to mention bargaining with her for Agent Vaughn’s life. I can’t do enough to atone for all my sins, and in her eyes I’ll never be more than a dog looking for a new master.” He looked up at Eric and gave him a wry smile. “You know, the other night I lay awake and figured I had the better end of the deal. At least she hates me and doesn’t try to mask that. You, on the other hand, have to contend with her talking to you, smiling at you, touching you and hugging you and you know deep in your heart that you can never have her. I don’t think I could be able to stand it. But then I see you with her and then I have to rethink my whole theory.”

They sat in silence for a while, contemplating each other’s words. Finally Eric gave a little laugh. “Guess we do have something in common after all,” he said, standing. Sark gave him a small smile. “Well, I think you’ve suffered enough of the mall experience for a while. Wanna jet?”

Sark stood as well. “Yes.” Then he stopped. “No.” Eric gave him a strange look. “Wait,” and then he was walking away. Eric panicked for all of three seconds before following. When he finally caught up, Sark was leaning on the counter of the Cinnabon place, flirting with the teenage girl at the till. Eric watched dumbfounded as the giggling girl handed him a box of a dozen buns and a Styrofoam container. Sark gave her one last smile and a small wink, then sauntered back to Eric. “All right, I’m ready,” he said, and handed Eric the box, taking the container for himself.

As they walked back to Macy’s, Sark practically attacked his cinnamon bun. “You are the strangest person ever,” Eric said, watching the other man out of the corner of his eye.

Sark took another bite, licking his lips to catch some errant icing. “Why? Because I like cinnamon buns? Am I not allowed to like them?”

“Well, not something as ‘pedestrian’ as cinnamon buns.”

Sark looked slightly offended. “Don’t you dare call these pedestrian. They’re the best pastries I’ve found anywhere. They’re the only thing that sustained me through those days of working at SD-6 and living here. Well, these and…” he gave Eric a sidelong glance.

Eric shook his head. “Yup. Very strange.” Sark finished off his cinnamon bun, his fingers sticky with icing. “You need a Kleenex?”

Sark smirked. “That would be a tremendous waste.” He proceeded to lick his fingers clean and Eric didn’t even bother fighting with the warm feeling in his chest at the sight.

**************************************************

Eric kicked off his jeans and slid into bed, falling onto his back in exhaustion. The last week had been absolutely nuts for them. A couple of agents had been severely injured on a mission the week before and so Eric had been pulled from desk duty back into the field. Since no one was willing to deactivate the proximity chips under Sark’s skin, he was also sent along. He was bound up like Hannibal Lector in the process, just to ensure that he wouldn’t try anything. Instead of feeling sorry for him, Eric just stared, bondage fantasies going wild in his head.

After lunch at the mall, Eric had tried a lot harder to make nice with Sark. Besides the brutally honest confession he had had about Sydney, the blond really wasn’t big on long heart-to-heart talks. At first it was a little hard to get around it, but after a while Eric embrace the superficial conversations they had. They still couldn’t find much in common with each other, but at least now they were trying.

The dreams had not decreased at all, but Eric was fairly sure that he wasn’t talking in his sleep, so he didn’t try to do anything about it. He started to worry, though, about his mounting attraction for the real Sark. The only reason he had accepted the dreams was because Dream Sark was a very different person from Real Sark. But now that he had gotten to know the real Sark a lot better, he wanted to see if his dreams could become reality. He had never been attracted to a man before, and since his track record with women wasn’t that good, he had no idea what the hell to do. He didn’t want this to happen, but there was really nothing he could do about it. Well, nothing that didn’t involve a scene out of a cheesy porn flick.

He didn’t realize that he had drifted off, but when he opened his eyes, he was stretched out on a huge silk bed. And of course, he was naked. The light was low and there was a sensual tune playing somewhere. Before he had time to sit up and get a better look around, strong hands were caressing his chest and soft lips kissing his shoulder blade. He turned his head and his eyes met with smoky blue ones. “I was wondering when you’d wake up,” Sark murmured.

Eric blinked. This was the first time there had ever been talking in one of his dreams. “Well, you know, a little beauty sleep never hurts. And in my case, it really helps.”

Sark propped himself up and looked down at Eric, tracing his face gently. “Funny,” he chuckled before lowering his head and pressing his lips to Eric’s. Eric opened his mouth and slipped his tongue across the crooked line before Sark reciprocated, sliding his tongue into Eric’s mouth. Eric ran his fingers through the soft hair and ground his body into the other man’s.

Sark pulled back, breathing hard. His eyes radiated pure desire. “Do you want this?” he asked. His hand brushed down Eric’s body and gripped his cock. Eric groaned and thrust his hips up. Sark smiled. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’” He lowered his head again and kissed Eric hard while his hand stroked up and down the throbbing erection. Eric could feel fire coiling in his groin, the feel of silk, hot lips and Sark’s hand driving him insane. He thrust harder, groaning with passion and…

He was jolted out of his dream with a start. He was back in his own bedroom, alone in his bed. He blinked at the ceiling a couple times and took a deep breath. That was the most realistic dream he had, and the evidence was roused hard in his boxers. He gingerly shifted his hips a bit and threw out his arm across the mattress. Only instead of hitting the cotton sheets, his arms smacked into something hard that shifted. It gave a yelp and Eric scrambled out of the bed, his hands searching for his gun.

In the dim light he saw the lump in his bed move. He found his gun and clicked off the safety, then aimed it at the lump. “Don’t shoot,” a familiar muffled voice said. The blankets fell back and as Eric’s eyes adjusted to the black, he caught a glimpse of curly hair standing straight up.

“Sark! Jesus Christ you idiot, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Eric was slightly relieved that he didn’t have some random robber in his bed, but then he realized that Sark must have been in bed with him while he had that last dream. Well, fuck. He lowered his gun and put it back in his dresser. “You scared me near to death, man. What the fuck are you doing in my bed, though?”

Sark sat up. Eric’s eyes almost bugged out of his head as he took in the sight of Sark’s messy hair and bare chest. “Don’t be mad,” Sark said softly. “My back has been killing me from that straightjacket I had to wear all week long and the couch from hell wasn’t helping me any. I just needed one night on an actual bed. I didn’t mean to scare you; I thought you’d be asleep by now.”

“I was,” Eric grumbled, sitting back down and swinging his legs back up. “I just…never mind me. Get back on the couch! Christ!”

“Come on Eric,” Sark said. “You’ve got a big enough bed to share. I just need a comfortable place to sleep tonight.” He cocked his head. “Please?”

The look in his eyes melted his resolve. Damn Sark and his kicked puppy look. Eric sighed and lay back down. “Just stay on your side, okay?”

“What’s the matter, Agent Weiss,” he could hear some smugness in Sark’s voice. “Are you that homophobic? Afraid that I’m going take advantage of you?”

“I’d like to see you try,” Eric muttered, then blushed. “Actually, I-uh-don’t share sleeping space well with people. I have a tendency to…use the other person as a punching bag.”

Sark flipped over onto his side and faced him. “Really?” he asked, amusement in his voice.

“Yeah, well,” Eric shifted around, trying like hell not to look at Sark. “I don’t know why, but I’ve been doing it forever. The worst time was this girl I dated in college. I warned her and everything, but I guess she really didn’t take me seriously. Until I launched her across the room.”

Sark laughed, throwing his head back and exposing his neck. Eric fought himself not to lean over and taste it. “You’re serious? You actually did that? What happened?”

Eric smiled a bit. “She started freaking out and she woke me up. Of course, I was confused as hell because I had no idea what had happened. By the time she actually left, she had woken up the rest of my roommates. They thought it was the funniest thing ever. They still bring it up every time I get together with them.” He chuckled in spite of himself. “Not one of my finer moments.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Sark said teasingly. “There’s something to be said for a little rough play in bed. But I’ll remember to keep my distance, unless I’m feeling the need for some ‘punishment.’”

“If you don’t shut up in two seconds, I’ll launch you back to that couch. Sleep.” He heard Sark give a little snigger as he lay back down. Eric turned his back to the other man, and scooted over to the edge of the bed. He was beyond tired, but with Sark sleeping less than three feet away, he wasn’t going to risk slipping back into his dream world. He gripped the comforter tighter in his fists and gave a silent sigh. Just for tonight… he thought.

***********************************************************

Unfortunately that night turned into two nights, then three more, then two weeks. At first, Eric was just too tired to boot Sark out of the bed and even though he still had his dreams, apparently he wasn’t talking in his sleep or doing anything to make Sark suspicious. The CIA had still been sending them on missions, with Sark trussed up like a holiday turkey, so Eric kept feeling sorry for the guy. The minute that they were sent back to desk duty, though, Sark could kiss comfort goodbye.

As luck would have it, the day they were sent back to desk duty, Marshall brought his son in to show him off. The toddler had charmed the staff with his smiles, even though he was covered with chicken pox. Of course, no one had really cared because every one had had the pox as kids themselves. They just sympathized with Marshall and Carrie, and thanked their stars that it wasn’t happening to them.

A few weeks later, Sark refused supper a couple nights in a row and went straight to sleep. Eric woke up late one night to the sound of someone groaning in pain. He found Sark curled up on the kitchen floor, burning up a fever. The doctor in the ER confirmed it; Sark had chicken pox and would probably be laid up for a couple weeks. Eric couldn’t refuse the guy a comfortable sleep and gave up the bed. Two nights on his own couch and he knew why Sark was bitching so much. Besides, he needed to sleep near Sark, just in case the man needed anything during the night. Yeah, that was it.

The nausea passed after three days, but the fever lingered and small red bumps appeared all over Sark’s pale skin. Eric practically had to tie him down to stop him from scratching himself bloody. Sick leave for Sark though meant sick leave for Eric, so they spent the days talking, whenever Sark wasn’t sleeping. Somehow sharing a bed had the magical touch of opening Sark up. Or maybe it was the fever, but still. They joked around like college boys, and Eric noticed that Sark was much more relaxed, almost laid back. If it weren’t such a fucked up premise, Eric would be calling Sark a friend.

Of course, the changing relationship with Sark did squat for getting rid of the dreams, or that funny feeling Eric felt whenever Sark smiled or laughed. He was pretty sure he wasn’t gay, but there was something about Sark that made Eric feel differently than he had about anyone else. It wasn’t just that Sark was physically attractive; he was. Hell, no one could deny that Sark had been blessed with good looks and the sexual energy to use them to his advantage. But there was something else too, something Eric wasn’t sure he wanted to know more about. If this started to get any worse, the CIA was going to have to find Sark a new home because Eric didn’t want to have to live with these feelings anymore and not do anything about them.

He was heating up some canned chicken soup one night when Sydney came by, throwing herself onto the couch in a huff. “You would not believe the day I had,” she snarled. “Beer me. No wait, we need something stronger. Get out the tequila.”

Eric came over and sat on the arm of the couch. “Oh uh, did baby Bristow have a bad day?” he teased and was rewarded with a kick to his thigh. “Ow! Be nice, Syd, or I’ll send you back home sober.”

“You do that and I’ll kick your ass so hard,” she snapped. He got up and picked out a couple beers, handing one over to her. She sat up and he sat down next to her, slinging an arm around her shoulder. She took a long drink before speaking again. “I cannot believe that woman! Not only does she accuse me of having an affair with her husband, whom I haven’t spoke to in three whole months, but she has the audacity to question my being sent on missions without another female operative! She says that it’s for my own safety, in case someone tries to take advantage of me, which is the stupidest reason I’ve ever heard of in the first place. I think she’s just doing it because she doesn’t trust me with her stupid husband, who didn’t even stick up for me at all! She is such a bitch!” She finished off the rest of her beer and thumped the bottle down on the coffee table.

Before Eric could reply to her rant, the microwave beeped and he got up to grab the soup. Sydney looked at him questioningly. “You’re eating canned soup for supper?” she asked.

Eric rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. This is for the patient. Which reminds me, if I don’t get it to him right away, he’ll start whining about dying of hunger. God, he’s killed how many people and he can’t handle some itchiness and a fever?” He tossed her another beer and carried the bowl and some ice water to the bedroom.

He found Sark sitting up, scratching his chest violently. “Hey, hey, you’re just making it worse, you know?”

Sark glared at him. “Easy for you to say. You’re not covered with these damned things that feel like I have little bugs crawling under my skin.” He brought his hands away and scowled at the dry skin underneath his fingernails. “Go get me more lotion.”

“Go get it yourself,” Eric set the food down on the bedside table and sat down on the bed. “If you’re well enough to bitch, you’re well enough to get up and get some lotion.”

Sark flopped back on his back. “I’m hot,” he complained. “And tired. I want to die.”

“Oh, grow up. Shut up, eat your food and I’ll draw you a cold bath later, okay? God. This is worse than having a child.”

“Like you would know,” Sark grumbled, but he drank his ice water and picked up the bowl of soup, sniffing it. Eric fought the urge to tousle the already messy blond hair and went back to the living room, where Sydney was watching TV, flipping through channels.

He sat down next to her again. “So, you were commenting on the bitch?”

Sydney turned to him. “What’s up with that?” she asked.

“What?”

She nodded her head toward the bedroom. “You, taking care of Sark. What, is he threatening to kill you if you don’t?”

Eric laughed. “Obviously, you haven’t heard him when he’s pissed off about something. I swear, he’s even worse than you and that’s saying something. Besides, he’s sick. He shouldn’t have to suffer.”

“Yes, he should suffer for all that he’s done, Eric. What, just because you guys are living together, you’re best buddies now?”

Eric shrugged and took a drink. “It makes life easier when we get along. What the hell’s wrong with it anyway? Are you jealous? Sydney Bristow, jealous of Julian Sark?”

“Fuck you,” she snapped. She kicked the coffee table and it fell over with a crash. She brought her arm back to throw her bottle at the wall, but Eric caught her wrist and yanked it back. She glared at him. “You’re a bastard, Eric.”

“Whoa whoa whoa, Bristow, calm down!” he held her arms as she struggled. “Whoa. Was joking! Geez kiddo, I didn’t know that your day was so bad, okay? I’m sorry, really sorry. But don’t freak out on me just ‘cause I’m doing my job, okay? Look, I’m trying to make the best of a really fucked situation here and you’re not helping.”

Eric let go of her and scratched the top of his head. “I know you hate Sark, and Vaughn, and his wife, but Syd, you gotta let go. Yeah, okay, you lost two years, but life’s changed a lot and you have to accept that and move on. I thought you’d already worked out getting over Vaughn. Well, start doing it with Sark. You don’t have to be his ‘best buddy ever’, but stop acting like the bitch of the world around him, ‘cause he’s not going away any time soon. It’s about time you learned that the world as we know it does not revolve around Sydney Bristow.”

Sydney stared at him for a long time, then launched herself on him, throwing her arms around his neck. “Oh Eric, I’m so sorry,” she murmured, and Eric was surprised to feel tears on his shoulder. “I’m just so bugged all the time, and now I never get to spend any time with you. You know, all the stuff we used to do before this, like going out to movies, or having long dinners together. I just need some quality Weiss time, and every time I come over, I have to share you with him.” She sniffed and sat back again. “It’s not fair,” she whined.

“Awww,” Eric grinned, pushing her hair back from her face. “I miss you too, Bristow. But there’s nothing I can do about it. Suddenly we’re a package. The good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly. And I may be the good, but I ain’t the pretty.”

“Don’t say that,” Sydney smacked his chest. Then her face lit up. “Hey! I’ve got an idea! We could go out this weekend, just you and me.”

“And how do you propose we get rid of Sark? I doubt Dixon’ll let you kill him.”

“No! Sark can stay with someone else. He doesn’t have to be with you all the time, just this little thing.” She pointed to the watch on his wrist. “So when you get back, you go to Dixon and tell him that you need a night or two away from Sark. Just a breather or something. Then he can find someone else to do the Sark watching and you and I can go out.” She smiled brilliantly. “Isn’t that a great idea?”

Her joy was contagious. “Actually, that does sound…great,” he said. A date with Sydney Bristow? He’d never turn that down in a million years. And a night away from Sark would be a good thing. “Wow, now I know why I keep you around.” She laughed and poked him. “But you better be prepared, Syd, because I’m gonna plan the best date you’ve ever had. But I think we’ll wait until you’re no longer PMS-ing. Because as much fun as Bitchy!Syd is…”

“Hey!” she swatted him again, then hugged him. “Oh, I’m sorry. I just need a break. And I bet you do too. Have you been suffering, sleeping on this couch?”

“Huh?” he looked at her, and then realized that she wouldn’t know. “Oh! Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass, that’s for sure.”

She slung her arm around his neck. “Now I’m so excited for this! I don’t know how you do it, but you’ve managed to make my week, Eric Weiss! You’re the best.”

The rest of the night was a relaxing disruption from his current routine. He made stir-fry for he and Sydney, followed by ice cream and hot fudge, then watched bad sitcoms and made fun of them. By the time she went back to her place, Eric couldn’t remember the last time he had had so much fun. He cleaned up, then flicked off all the lights. He brushed his teeth, then walked into his bedroom to find a visibly livid Sark sitting in bed. “What happened to you?” he grumbled.

Eric undressed and got into bed. “Well, I see you’re feeling better.” Sark just glared at him. “Geez, what’s your problem? You’re worse than usual.”

Sark just scowled deeper. “Yes, it was a lot of fun for me to sit here and listen to you two joke around. Next time it would be nice to be included.”

“You’ve got legs, you could’ve come out there at any time.” Sark just lay back down and rolled toward the wall. “No, I had it wrong before: it’s not like having a kid, it’s like having a jealous wife.” When Sark didn’t move, Eric sighed. “Christ, what is with you guys tonight? At least with Syd I could blame it on the PMS.”

Sark still didn’t say anything. “Fine,” Eric mumbled. He rolled over and rubbed his temples. Stupid Sark.

That night was the first time he didn’t dream.
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