➤Black Sun On The Horizon
Remaining ahead of Jack, Mark searched around for a place where no one was around or would come about. After looking for a few minutes he found an abandoned warehouse and decided to settle there.
Going over to the backside of the building Mark stepped back and hook-kicked the handle and with the side of his shoulder he knocked the door down. Slowly entering the building he scoped the area and made sure there was no one in sight.
Even though it was still some time in the middle of the day, it was oddly dark and eerie inside the warehouse. Mark quietly walked around and continued scoping out the location. He wasn’t really sure if Jack would even find him in there. But if he spotted sight of Mark then he would abandon any other thought and head straight for the warehouse. As twisted as it sounded, that was exactly what Mark was hoping for.
While he stood alone in the middle of the building, Mark took advantage of the free time and unhooked the wires around him. Taking out the earpiece and untangling himself out of that mess he set it all aside. Brushing himself off a bit he remained as silent as possible and anticipated for Jack to come charging through one of the doors or windows.
Some time had gone by and soon Mark was starting to get a little antsy. He contemplated ditching the initial idea and trying something else. However, as he stood there alone in the middle of the room. All of a sudden Mark no longer felt like he was the only one in that building. He was being watched, and from somewhere above his head.
Glancing up to the ceiling beams, Mark reached for his holsters and pulled them off of his shoulders. Dropping it to the floor.
Then as soon as the holsters hitting the floor was heard. Jack leaped from one of the beams and nearly pounced right onto Mark. Backflipping out of the way just barely in time, Mark’s boot skidded and he quickly picked himself up again. Just as he did so, Jack charged at Mark and tried to get his hands onto Mark’s neck.
Mark quickly grasped Jack’s wrists and pinned them to his sides. Then as he quickly let go he kicked Jack away from him and stumbled back.
Having only a split second to catch his breath, Jack went up to Mark and attacked him. Hook-kicking Mark at the side of the face and knocking down onto the concrete floor. Luckily, Mark landed on his hands and didn’t get knocked out, but blood was already streaming from his face.
As soon as Mark felt Jack try to turn him around, he pushed himself up to his feet and the two went at it again. Mark tried to block as many hits as he could but he underestimated Jack’s skills and all-around strength. For a while /he/ had the upper-hand and was able to knock Mark down a few times. But each time he did, Mark got right back up and went at it harder than previously.
With one quick harsh shove, Mark moved Jack away from himself and knelt down. Sweeping his leg at Jack’s feet, Mark successfully knocked Jack onto the floor. Quickly hopping up to his feet again, Mark stepped on Jack’s back to keep him down and then moved down. Placing his knee on Jack’s back. Mark held him down as he reached in his back pocket to grab one of the sedatives to inject into Jack to sedate him.
However, Mark felt Jack squirm under him and after a few harsh jolts, Jack broke free of Mark’s hold and pushed him right off his back onto the floor. Mark rolled on the floor for a bit and the sedative flew right out of his hand.
In those short seconds, Mark tried to reach for the sedative but was quickly pulled out of reach. Feeling Jack grab hold of him by the vest and yank him up to his feet. Then all with one hand Jack threw Mark against the wall. Before Mark had any time to gather what was happening, Jack continued to slam Mark to the wall in hopes that soon his body would give out under him.
Mark’s vision kept fading as he slammed against the wall. But it wasn’t enough to get him to stop. After one last hard throw, Mark reached out and managed to grab Jack’s sleeve. Yanking Jack to him Mark spun around and switched places with Jack. Slamming /him/ against the wall now. But that was a short-lived success and Jack pushed himself forward.
Both having a firm hold on one another. Mark and Jack spun around the room, shoving the other back and forth. Some of the time it was Jack getting slammed against the wall, other times it was Mark. The two kept at it until Mark finally had enough.
Firmly planting his feet shoulder-width apart onto the floor. He grasped both hands onto Jack’s shirt this time and used up all of his strength to forcefully slam Jack against the wall behind him. The impact was strong enough to knock Jack out instantly as his head hit the brick.
Mark watched as Jack finally fell to the floor knocked out. Breathing heavily his vision was still fading in and out itself. As the adrenaline slowly started to drain, Mark was losing his balance and fell to his knees. Then everything went black and he fell forward and passed out on the floor.
Unsure of how long he was out. Nothing had come to Mark’s mind. No thoughts, or memories, or dreamy images of any kind. It was a strange sensation yet nothing out of the ordinary for someone like Mark. Over the years he had gotten so used to waking up with no memory or any actual feeling. So he really didn’t think anything of it when it happened again, even though he wasn’t activated that time.
The only thing that was pulling him back into consciousness was the faint muffled sound of crying. The sound made Mark twitch and he thought the crying was coming from himself. Often the sound of his own crying would bring Mark back from the blackout of being activated. However, the more Mark felt himself come back to reality, he realized that the crying wasn’t coming from him at all.
His memory slowly came back as he regained consciousness. He remembered that he was knocked out on the floor of a warehouse and that he had just fought off Kershaw himself. But he still couldn’t remember if he had won the fight or not.
A sudden massive wave of pain washed over Mark like a tsunami and he groaned with his face still on the floor. Gritting his teeth, Mark slowly lifted his head and felt wetness on the side of his face. As his eyes began to open, he looked at the concrete and noticed that the feeling was a small puddle of blood. Pressing his palms firmly on the floor he managed to push himself up.
Pulling himself to sit on his legs, another massive wave hit Mark. His head was pounding and spinning like crazy. He felt sore, weak, and nauseous. His limbs were wobbly and his vision was still so blurry that he temporarily had no peripheral vision. Mark slowly raised a hand to the side of his head and leaned down into it. Lowly groaning to himself he tried to remain conscious but was starting to fail.
Sitting there with his head in his hand, Mark heard that noise again. That faint muffled crying.
At first, Mark just thought it was coming from his own head, but it was real. Someone else was in the warehouse.
Very slowly and carefully he lifted his head up again and wiped off his face. Sniffling a little he rubbed his eyes a bit and picked himself up onto his feet. Using the wall for support, Mark leaned his body on it for a few seconds until the room stopped spinning. Then he shook his head and moved away from the wall. Moving with quiet steps, Mark followed the sound until it became more prominent.
Mark grabbed the wall again and peeked around the corner and saw the sight of the person who was crying. Sitting there alone all curled up on the floor, pressed up in the corner of the room. They had their face hidden in their hands, but Mark focused intently on them. After only a few confusing seconds he was able to make out who it was.
It was coming from Jack.
When Mark looked at Jack crying his mind flashed back to a time when he was in that state. Sitting on some floor or the ground staring at battered hands as tears poured down his cheeks. Lost and terrified over what he had done while having no memory of it at all. Eyeing the damaged and the unforgivable deeds he had done. Feeling so out of touch and inhuman.
Watching it from an outside perspective really hurt and all Mark wanted to do right then was to try to make things better. He knew he couldn’t fix it all, but the least he could do was make Jack feel less alone.
After standing still for a bit, Mark managed to regain some of his balance and he let go of the wall. Still moving silently he walked over to where Jack was and slowly knelt down to his level. Seeing it up close only made the feeling that much worse. But he quickly shoved that aside and focused solely on Jack.
Mark cautiously raised his hand and placed it on Jack’s shoulder to try and get his attention. Mark was sure he looked like a nightmare right then, but he didn’t dwell on that matter for long at all. The only important thing right then was consoling Jack.
Lightly flinching when Jack’s head popped up and Mark was able to see his face. All wet with tears, as well as beaten and battered much like his own probably was right then.
Jack’s eyes widened and he sharply inhaled a big gasp. He was surprised and seemed even a little relieved. His eyes were no longer so dark and lifeless anymore. They were full of sorrow, sadness, and regret, but they were normal. They were lighter and had life in them again. They were also glued onto Mark, flickering side to side and taking all of him in. He inhaled a shaky breath and spoke out in a wobble tone.
“Y-you... it’s, it’s you... y-you’re still here. You’re /here/.”
Saying to Mark, Jack reached out forward and Mark quickly grabbed onto Jack’s forearms gently.
Holding onto him and keeping him up and balanced. Mark looked to Jack softly and concern was laced throughout his facial features. He lightly nodded and spoke out in a soft tone of voice.
“It’s really me... I’m the guy.”
“You’re alive! I...I saw you down like that... I just... I got scared that I did it again...and...”
“Hey, hey, it’s alright. I know that it’s scary. Very, very scary.”
Jack sharply gasped again and the tears still continued to stream down his face. He breathed out a long shaky breath and shook his head.
“I didn’t mean to do it... I’m not a killer... I’m not!”
“Listen, Jack, none of this was your fault. I know you feel that way right now but isn’t and never was. That side of you isn’t /really/ you, but something controlled by them.”
Jack sniffled and dropped his head. Shaking it he slowly took his hands off of Mark and heaved out a now steady deep breath.
“I never meant to hurt... or try to kill you... I don’t even know you.”
“I know. But I know you and know that you’re just a kid who never deserved any of this.”
Mark heaved out a long breath himself and sat back a little. Jack had slowly started to calm himself down while Mark took some time to think things through.
Shaking his head to himself he started to feel irritated. But that wasn’t right. Mark shouldn’t just feel irritated. He should be angry, downright livid about the whole situation. Jack was a kid who had been turned into some kind of monster he didn’t want to be. It should drive Mark into seeing nothing but red. Deep down he really did want to, but he knew that he couldn’t. Now wasn’t the time to get angry and risk anything. Jack was hurting and Mark had to be there for him.
Using all of his self-control Mark still managed to keep his anger and emotions as bay. After all, he felt bad for Jack and wanted him to get out of there and to get the proper help and care that he needed. Right then that was what was the most important to Mark.
Looking over to the kid, he was back asleep and wasn’t running amok anymore. He was just lost and trying to figure out what happened to himself. It was safe to say that the hunt was over and that Jack could head back to his home base.
Finally making it back on his feet again, Mark went over to Jack and helped him up as well. Then he told Jack that he was going to take him back to the New York base. Jack only nodded and agreed fully to the plan right away. Mark figured that Jack was too afraid to go back to Langley, and Mark didn’t blame him for that at all.
Mark scoped out the equipment that he had dropped earlier and grabbed the radio communicator. Switching it on he called out for Buchanan and told him that he and Kershaw were to be heading back to the base. Of course, that led to Buchanan asking a bunch of questions, but Mark just quickly answered as much as he could before dropping it. After that, he went over to Jack and the two placed an arm around each other’s shoulders and began walking out of the warehouse.
When they made it outside. Mark squinted his eyes from the bright beam of sunlight that hit. That quickly indicated that it was early the next morning and they had been in that warehouse all night.
The walk back to the base was long and excruciating. Jack had done some serious numbers on Mark and he had been thrown against a brick wall like a rag-doll. So he was still having trouble staying on his feet. But Jack helped out as much as he could, as well as apologize profusely. Even though none of it was his fault.
It was strange to witness the turning from an outside point of view. Mark was finally understanding what everyone was talking about whenever they had to live through it from an outsider’s perspective. And it was awful and a little freaky.
Jack had no memory at all of the way he acted or how he hurt Mark the way that he did. Mark was the one who told Jack that he tossed him around like a rag-doll and tried all that he could to crack his skull. It was also strange to see Jack’s eyes go from dark and lifeless reflecting no emotion or mercy. To light and full of life and concern for none other than Mark’s health and well-being. Never before did Mark had to go after another Sleeper and now he understood just how brutal and terrifying it really was.
All of a sudden Mark started to feel even worse about the incident that happened with Shawn. That was a different story on its own. Mark had been an agent for years, and Shawn was still just starting out. Also, he had no idea what a Sleeper Agent even was, so Mark could only imagine how horrified Shawn was when Jack was activated and came straight for him. With no knowledge of the type of agent ahead of time, Shawn probably saw his whole life flash before his eyes trying to fight it off.
Thinking of that right then broke Mark’s heart. He missed Shawn terribly and was still beating himself up for not running after him. But he was so brainwashed into believing that the outside world would cause triggering, that he was afraid to leave the base. To him, it seemed better for Shawn to get out of there once and for all while he stayed back. Mark was willing to let Shawn go in order for him to live a happy and safe life as far from the organization as possible.
Still, Mark longed to see Shawn again and there was a big part of him that wanted to be with Shawn. He too wanted to be out of there and to be happy with someone he had fallen for. However, as much as he may have wanted it. He believed that he couldn’t have it. He wasn’t normal and didn’t get to live a normal life.
Snapping out of it, Mark noticed that they had made it to the base and quickly they were greeted by Buchanan. As well as a few fellow agents. They all had their eyes on Jack and couldn’t believe that he was really there and how beaten both he and Mark were. Mark became a little annoyed and wanted to shout something but refrained as he felt Jack walk him inside the base.
The two made it into the lobby and Jack checked Mark and noticed that he was starting to fade out. So he quickly took both of them two the elevator even though it was for one floor. Then as soon as the doors slid open, the two limped the rest of the way into the infirmary.
Jack carefully removed his arm from Mark’s shoulder and helped lay him down on one of the beds. Then he went to another one that was empty right beside Mark’s and quickly passed out the second his head hit the pillow. Even though it was Mark who had been through more physically. Jack had gone through a lot more mentally and psychologically. So when Mark saw that he was finally resting, he laid back a little more relaxed.
After watching Jack for a few minutes, Mark’s eyes slowly closed and he too faded back out. Just like before nothing came to mind. No thoughts, memories, dreamy images, or anything that he would remember once he was awake again. Despite everything that happened and the things that Mark had just lived through. It was bizarre that his mind never revisited those events.
Usually, something so drastic or tragic struck, the mind would replay those things. Over and over again. Either recap of those events, or even altering the outcomes. More often than not that was just how the normal human mind worked. Some would even say that when a person dreams it was the mind’s subconscious trying to resolve an internal problem. Or possibly something symbolic that reflected one’s deep emotions.
But for Mark, there wasn’t anything. Anything at all. Just never-ending darkness with no memory or emotion. No resolution for some problem, or any emotion whatsoever.
Soon Mark had gotten up again, got his wounds cleaned up a bit. Then he was instructed to take some meds for the pain and leftover soreness that was still lingering. Once that was all taken care of Mark decided on heading up the training floor and taking a shower to clean himself off.
Very cautiously he picked himself up onto his feet and by some miracle was able to make it down the hall to the elevator. On the ride up Mark was slowly starting to feel the meds kick in and help take some of the edge off.
As soon as the doors opened, Mark headed down to his room and grabbed everything he needed, and then headed over to the bathrooms. Hanging up his towel and setting his clothes down. Mark switched on the water and got in right after the water had warmed up.
The feeling of the hot water pouring onto his wounded self was both relaxing and painful. Although it soothed his sore muscles, it also stung his still open cuts and scrapes. Mark didn’t stay in the shower for too long as the stinging was starting to become unbearable. So, he quickly shut off the water and pushed open the door. Quickly grabbing his towel, Mark dried himself off and got dressed.
Going over to the mirror, he opened the cabinet and tried to find some bandages but came up with no luck. All he could find were shaving equipment and a few combs and brushes.
Rolling his eyes Mark closed the cabinet and with his towel wiped off the mirror. Lightly flinching, Mark was caught off guard by his reflection a little. As he looked at himself he noticed that it was worse than he could’ve thought. His face was all beaten and battered up, and as he glanced down the rest of him was just as bad. Although most of it was evident on his face and upper body. Since that was all left uncovered. Despite that, he could still feel most of it in his torso, back, and limbs. He knew for a fact that the brick wall completely tore up his back and was the worst of it.
Looking back into the mirror Mark shook his head to himself and turned away from the mirror.
Exiting the bathroom area, Mark tossed his dirty clothes in the trash bin since they were all blood-stained and torn. Then he went over to his room and grabbed some shoes to put on. After that, he stepped back out of his room.
Stopping abruptly from nearly running into Jack. Mark took a step back and was about to say something but had been stopped again as Jack wrapped his arms around him. Blinking, Mark stood completely still and confused for a couple of seconds. He couldn’t believe that after /everything/ that happened between the two. Jack was actually hugging Mark. Lightly furrowing in confusion, he couldn’t think of any words or... anything at all really. But luckily he didn’t have to as Jack softly spoke out.
“I’m so sorry and I’m glad you’re here.”
Heaving out a silent sigh, Mark could tell from Jack’s tone and the way he was holding onto him right then, that he really meant what he said. He was speaking genuinely and right from the heart.
Slightly shaking his head a little Mark returned the favor and hugged Jack back. Having his arms secure around him but not too tight. After all, they were both still pretty beaten and sore. But the embrace was still warm and comforting.
Jack was so apologetic over what he had done to Mark. Even though none of it was really his fault. He had been controlled by an outside source that programmed him into doing what he did. All with no memory of it afterword. It was Jack’s body, but it wasn’t his mind constructing those movements. So it wasn’t really /him/ even though it looked like it.
“It’s alright. None of it was your fault and it takes a lot to get me.”
Mark spoke out in a soft hushed tone. Holding onto Jack for a few more moments before dropping his arms and both of them pulling back. Jack said that he was going to go get washed up so the two went their separate ways.
Huffing out a breath Mark walked over to the end of the hall and marched up the steps all the way to the elevator. Luckily the medication was in full effect by then and the pain from moving wasn’t killing him.
As soon as he made it to the top floor he made a beeline right for the Director’s office. Not bothering to knock or anything, he quickly reached for the handle and let himself in.
“How the hell could you just let that happen?”
Mark asked, starting out as he closed the door behind himself. Making sure no one else was to come in or listen to them.
Buchanan lightly flinched at the random outburst and just looked to Mark confused. Lightly furrowing a bit he looked around before looking right at Mark again. Slightly tilting his head to the side.
“Let what happen?”
“He’s just a kid Clint. Hell, he just came of age to be a part of the first group like... last year. How could you let them do that to him?!”
Clint heaved out a breath and shook his head.
“Look, that was all out of my control. I was still new to the whole Director bit, I really didn’t have a say in any of it.”
“That’s not fair. I /really/ had no say in that and did all that I could after you woke up!”
“Because I was angry and couldn’t take it anymore! They kept taking innocent people and turning them into monsters like...”
“Oh fuck you!”
Mark shook his head and turned around to leave the office. Swinging the door open again he stepped out into the hall and headed in the direction of the steps. But as he tried to he felt pain radiate through his body again so he quickly turned to the other end of the hall and went over to the elevator.
As he shook off the pain and pressed for the ground floor, Clint went after him and came up from behind.
“Mark! You’re not okay right now. This is all getting to your head. You’re acting out! Whatever the hell it is your doing I forbid you until you get looked at!”
Mark just scoffed and entered the elevator, then he turned around and faced forward holding the doors open for a couple of seconds.
“You can’t forbid me to do anything. I’m not even /your/ agent!”
Releasing the doors Mark stepped back and rode the elevator all the way down to the ground floor. Then once the doors were open again Mark stepped out and went over to the back-end of the lobby and grabbed a pair of keys to one of the jets off of the hook. Followed by him going over to the back door and heading onto the backfield.
Mark quickly made his way to one of the jets and made sure it was unlocked and waited as the stairs came down. Looking over across the field he noticed the edge of the very top of the Executives’ building. Standing still all of a sudden another intrusive thought came to the forefront of Mark’s mind. Narrowing his eyes at the sigh he shook his head and abandoned that plan and continued to go with his original idea.
Climbing up the steps, Mark caught sight of Clint looking to him from the Director’s office and the two made eye contact. Mark sent off a salute over to him before pulling up the steps and closing the jet completely. After that, he headed for the cockpit and set the keys into the ignition. Flipping up all of the switches above the control panel, Mark kept off the headset and started the jet.
As soon as he lifted off he set course for Langley.