She looked incredibly small.
That is all he could think about when he first laid eyes on her.
His father had send him to a boarding school when he was nine years old. Returning "home" after seven years, he learned that his father had started a new family. He didn't remarry but he did produce a child. Julian told himself to not become attached to the child. She was an easy weakness to exploit and if he wanted to be a successful business man, he could afford no weakness.
But she was so small.
His plan not to become attached to his baby sister worked in the first years of her life. Tatina was raised mostly by nannies. Her mother had taken to mentoring Julian who quickly realized how his father had fallen for her. Irina Derevko was an amazing woman.
She could wipe the floor with him without breaking into sweat.
She spoke a multitude of languages fluently.
She was an amazing shot.
She was ruthless.
Nevertheless, she could also be caring and supportive. She made him stronger, faster and just plain better.
He observed her playing with Tatiana. Scolding her in one breath and drying her tears in the next. Being a loving mother. Irina was also extremely protective of her family. Julian never felt happier than when he realized that she considered him family, too. When she first handed him his baby sister. It was awkward in the beginning. He did not know what to do. As Tatiana got older, she became curious and stubborn. While Julian was trying to keep his distance, both Irina's insistence that he was family and that he had to take care of his little sister, combined with his sister's stubborn will to play with her big brother, meant that he began to love the little girl.
His father tried to send her away to a boarding school. To keep up tradition and to keep his youngest child safe. As a Russian diplomat he was used to espionage, extortion and assassination attempts. That his lover and son were both wanted terrorists in a number of countries only meant bigger danger for his one chance of making sure that he had one child to be proud of. Apparently Julian had not turned out the way he wanted him to be.
It was not meant to be.
She flourished under the attention of her mother and older brother. In the end it was her father that left. Leaving both of his children behind.
Tatiana knew that her family was different. Her father was gone. Her mother and brother either spies or terrorists, depending on which country you asked. She was twelve years old when she learned the truth.
Her mother had sat her down in her office and explained what she did for a living. How she and her older brother, who in Tatian's eyes became even more amazing than before, run an underground spy network independent from any country.
The spy business sounded amazing to her young ears. Being told that is was a family business made Tatiana hopeful to follow in her mother and brother's footsteps.
But it was too good to be true.
"Tatja…I want you to realize that this is not a game. People can never find out who you are. Just having my family name is enough reason for many people to want to harm or use you. Julian is also making a name for himself. Never tell anyone your name. Don't acknowledge us as family."
"I don't mind people finding out! People won't mess with me if they know you or Julian will come after them and…"
Tatiana never was able to finish her sentence. While her mother could be described as a loving mother that let her willful young daughter get away with a number of childhood transgressions with little to no punishment (according to neighbors and teachers), she also did not tolerate any backtalk. When Irina Derevko gave anyone a command she expected that command to be followed. You did not argue with her.
She'd been send to her room five minutes later, crying and rubbing her stinging backside. It was the last time she saw her mother for nearly a year. There were no goodbyes.
When she asked her brother about their mother he used to say that she was "…undercover, now run along brat" and send her on her way either with a light slap or a kiss, depending on his mood.
Two months after her mother disappeared from the face of the earth, her brother also sat her down.
"Your mum and I are working on a big project which is why she needed to leave for a while. Tomorrow I will be also going away for some time."
"Where are you going? Can I come?"
She tried out her best puppy eyes. The ones that got her an extra serving of pudding when their mom was away.
"Sorry, Tatiana. I promised Irina that you would stay safely away from all this."
"How can I be safe if you go?"
Her brother took a big breath and closed his eyes. Preparing himself. She was not going to like this.
"Our father has agreed to look after you."
"What?! No! Please Julian, I can help…"
"No!", he shouted. "You need to stay safe. You can help me by staying safe. I will contact you once there is no threat to you but please… Keep your head down. Stay with father. I can't worry about you when I am out in the field."
He looked at her. Unlike Tatiana's mother, Julian rarely felt the need for physical punishment. He relied on her need to please her role model. Yet, Tatiana knew if she pushed now it would end with her being pulled over her brother's knee. The last time she saw her mom had ended the same way. Her mother had left with no real goodbye. She could not let Julian leave the same way.
"Okay, Julian", she complied and was rewarded with a big hug and a kiss to her forehead.
He left the next morning.
To a number of people Irina Derevko was a number of things.
Seeing her oldest child after all those years, made Irina realize how much she had missed. Sydney had grown to be a strong, independent and beautiful young woman. She could still see echos from her early childhood. Tucking her hair behind her ear. Those big eyes looking for answers. Irina also saw her husband's influence. The way Sydney walked was all Jack, her honor and pride were also all due to her father. Interestingly enough she also saw a lot of her youngest daughter in Sydney. Both of them looked the same when they were fighting tears.
(Taken from S02E02)
Sydney " You are not my mother. My mother was Laura Bristow.Laura Bristow died in a car accident You are a traitor and a prisoner of the United States government. Look at me. You will address me as Agent Bristow and answer only the questions I ask. There will be no personal anecdotes, no comments about my job performance, no condolences or congratulations. Do you understand me?"
She tried to be strong and lay down some rules. But all Irina could see is Tatiana bossing around her older brother when they were both playing a game. She could see her little girl trying to be tough after getting dressed down for skipping school...
Irina Derevko felt a pang of longing for Tatiana, her little Tatja. She had never been separated for this long from her little girl. It also reminded her of when she had to leave her oldest child behind who was now standing in front of her as an adult. Irina needed her plan to work out, she could not bear to loose a second child. She also longed for the day, both Sydney and Tatiana would meet.
She smiled when she thought about Sydney meeting Tatja. While they were startlingly alike, Irina knew that Tatja would wrap her older sister around her finger. Pretending to give in and just doing whatever she pleased behind her back. Sydney behaved in a similar pattern but rarely expected that behavior of others. Sydney could probably influence Tatiana into being a bit more considered towards others and more social. She sadly took after her older brother and father in that area.
Over the next couple of weeks Irina made sure to worm herself back into Sydney's heart. It was cruel to manipulate her own daughter in such a way but she did truly love all of her children. Seeing Sydney's success up close after she returned successful from mission after mission, made her proud. Not that she could tell Sydney or make her believe her that she actually felt pride in her success. Her oldest was still not trusting her completely and needed the illusion of her professional distance in order to cope. Irina let her have her little security blanket but she knew that Sydney had started to trust her more, that she was longing to have any kind of relationship with the woman she had mourned for all those years.
The next step of her plan became active. Her protegee, who she considered to be as good as her son, had made contact with Arvin Sloane. The pieces were slowly forming into a picture which at the moment only she and to an extend Julian knew about. Everything was going according to plan.
It was thrilling to see her mother after all these years. She had mourned her mother through all of her childhood.
Missed her on all the important dates.
Finishing high school, first date, entering university, meeting Danny, every birthday, mother's day and Christmas.
Sydney had felt so betrayed when her father told her and Vaughn about her mother. The betrayal, working for the KGB, killing Vaughn's father… Finding out she was still alive, had made her happy and scared. Seeing her in Taipei. Being shot. It was a very confusing time.
Her father Jack insisted that Irina Derevko had hidden plans, that she was going to betray them and that Sydney would be the one to suffer. He was probably right.
Seeing her mother nearly day after day in her glass cage was frustrating.
She longed to touch her, to fight with her, to smell her. Make sure she was real. Yet, she remained just as cautious as her father wished. She wanted to trust her mother. But she still feared Irina Derevko. Her father's paranoia was a little bit catching. Being blackmailed into attempting to kill her SD-6 boss Arvin Sloane, just so her mother's toyboy Sark could work at SD-6… It was too much of a coincidence. Both of them were hiding something. There had to be a hidden plan.
She enlisted a number of people to keep eyes on Sark, the cocky bastard. Marshall and Dixon needed little convincing. Vaughn took over when SD-6 could not. Her father monitored Sark from both offices. It was only a matter of time before they found out his or rather their secret.
Tatja had been patiently waiting for eleven months from her mother to make contact. Radio silence. Her brother Julian had been in contact twice. Short messages to tell her that he was fine. He had not seen mom but he had sources that said she was doing well. It was maddening.
Her father was not how she remembered him. Even if she had last spend time with him when she was six. After he left their family, he had still tried to remain in contact with her. She remembered him shouting at her mom, being full of energy that could explode at a moment's notice. In her memory he was bigger than life.
Now... He was old. He was quiet. Gone was the man who constantly fought. Which might have been because her mother, his favorite sparring partner was gone, or it might have been because he finally got what he wanted, something he thought was his right to possess and form. Andrew Lazzaray finally had her. Even if only on borrowed time, he had a chance to make her into a heir that he was proud of. Father had never taken to Julian, seeing him as a failure. This was his chance to mold his offspring into something extraordinary. Also in an attempt to keep her out of trouble he arranged to fill every single minute of Tatiana's free time.
Early morning sports. Private lessons in languages, history, science.
A tutor that made sure she studied and completed her assigned tasks.
At the end of a long day she fell into bed. Her head throbbing with new things she learned. Her muscles screaming from pain and exhaustion. While she had been physically active before and enjoyed learning, her life before was adjusted to her needs and level. After all she was still just a child. But her father's program... It was torture.
There was little to no fun in her daily life. No time to relax and just think. When she saw her father, he spend his time interrogating her about the lessons. Pushing her harder but never telling her she did well. He'd filled her days probably to zap her energy. To stop her from missing her family. To stop her from finding her family. After all he knew that he had to keep his daughter in line as well as save. Irina and his son Julian would unleash their furry, should Tatiana come to harm under his care.
The first couple of months she fell into bed exhausted and fell asleep soon after. The persistence of youth however, meant that her body adapted and her mind, still sponge like, started soaking in the knowledge faster. She became what her father wished. She was starting to excel.
Her tiredness did not last. Her mind got sharper. And Tatiana's mind was practically racing at night. She worried about her mom. She missed Julian. Was everything still okay? Where were they and what were they doing? How long until she could speak with her mother? When would she finally go home? What would happen to her if they never came back to her? She might survive some months with her father but she needed her family.
Pestering her father to make contact with her brother had been a mistake. At first she had just asked and he told he no. Then she tried to make deals with him, he refused to enter any kind of bargain. Annoying her brother worked seventy percent of the time. As in Tatiana's eyes her father was weaker than her perfect brother, she started to constantly pester him. Making up reasons and excuses for needing to contact Julian.
Andrew Lazzary was not as weak as she'd thought. He also was not a pushover. He'd locked her in a small dark room for a week. The only way to tell the time had been the regular meals she'd been given. She used this time to reevaluate her strategy.
If going through her father was not an option, she had to make sure her family was well on her own. For this she needed to get her father off her back. When he let her out again, she was quiet and subdued. She apologized and promised not to bother him.
Tatiana went back to her studies. Her father praised himself for excellent parenting.
Things calmed down again and went back to normal.So she started sneaking out.
First time she sneaked out of her room in the middle of the night, Tatiana had been terrified. She had been positive that every sound she heard, was her father or their staff. Maybe this time he would do more than just lock her up.
But as the nights went on and she wasn't caught, she grew less fearful. This was basically spying and it seemed to be in her blood. A childish thrill took over from her fear. It was fun to do something forbidden. Sneaking around at night was exciting, going through pockets and drawers was thrilling and her father not finding out, gave her sense of cockiness. She was still cautious but she also grew bolder.
Breaking into her father's office was the first of her many steps to make contact with Julian.
Finding a number to call in emergencies had been easy.
Getting access to a phone that was not traceable had required breaking more rules and laws than the twelve-year-old was comfortable with.
Still… the punishment was going to be worth is, Tatiana was sure about the possible consequences as she listened to the ringing of her phone.
"Hello?", her brother's voice came through the phone. Success!
"I must have been insane when I agreed to this", Julian Sark thought more than once over the months he had spend infiltrating SD-6.
He had gotten most of the information required on his end, he planted the seeds for later missions and was close to wrapping up his part of the mission. A few more weeks and he could leave. He could get Tatiana away from their controlling father. Oh, how he missed her. No matter how annoying baby sisters could get, no matter how much he hated to be the responsible one, it was all worth the love he got from his little bundle of trouble.
Being constantly on guard at SD-6 and around Sydney Bristow had taken a toll on him. Sark was positive that just one hug from his sister would lift his spirits.
Why wasn't her half-sister as nice?
She clearly distrusted him. She always looked at him as if he were something unpleasant she had stepped in. Tatiana had made that face years ago when she had stepped barefoot into dog poo.
When Julian had first started seeing his sister in Sydney, he had been a bit unsettled. While he saw pieces of Irina in her, there were moments when there clearly was Tatiana looking back at him. When he compared the two half-sisters with each other, he saw the strength most people admired in Sydney Bristow reflected in the stubbornness that was his sister. When he saw the weakness for the people she loved, that he exploited to make her attempt to kill Sloane, it reminded him of the vastness of love his little sister seemed to have.
He saw their strength and weaknesses.
It thrilled Sark to think that Tatiana would one day be as strong and capable as the formidable Sydney Bristow, or even like Irina Derevko, the potential she possessed was mind blowing. Yet, he feared that the weaknesses he saw in Sydney, and to a lesser degree in himself and Irina, would one day be a danger to Tatiana.
Being on a mission with Sydney was as close as he could get to spending time with his family. If Irina considered him to be her family and there was also the connection through Tatiana, so that actually meant that they were family, didn't it? But that was a thought to be examined at a later point.
After all neither Tatiana nor Sydney actually knew that the other existed.
Still it was not a bad feeling working together with someone as skilled as Agent Sydney Bristow, even if she despised every second she spend in his presence.
Then his phone rang.
The emergency phone.
Only his father had the number to this phone.
Working with Sark might have been a good opportunity for a number of things. It was easier for Sydney to follow his every move on the mission. That made life easier for her friends that were still helping her track his movements. It also would have allowed Sydney to ask Sark about her mother. He frequently boasted how well he knew her. While she was wrongly starting to trust her mother a bit more after each mission, much to her father's chagrin, Sark was a different problem.
Mister Sark was a cocky, spoiled British boy.
His attempts to flirt with her, left her confused. His constant bragging, made Sydney want to throttle him.,
The worst however, were the looks.
When Sark thought she was not paying attention, he locked at her.
It was a weird look.
He seemed to be fond of her. Sometimes he seemed surprised by her. Her father and Vaughn thought that Sark just recognized certain behaviors from her mother Irina Derevko. It still freaked her out that her mom might have been in a physical relationship with Sark who was even younger then she! Because how else could you interpret the adoration Sark seemed to have of Irina Derevko? She shuddered and focused on the mission at hand.
Sydney and Sark had been given the mission by Sloane to plant a listening device in the office of a French embassy during a party. It was an easy enough mission, they pretended to be a couple, danced a bit, ate some finger food and then sneaked off. Other guests thought, they were probably looking for a private place for some … private fun. Being a young couple and all that.
Once they sneaked off, Sark was supposed to wait outside making sure no one surprised them and she planted the bug for SD-6. The listening device had been modified by the CIA as they had done for many missions. It was an easy enough job.
She was just one her way to the door, where her "partner" was waiting for her, when she heard a phone.
During any mission phones were considered a no-go. For communication purposes they had comms, that were encrypted and safe to use. Comm-links could not ring and alert the enemy to your position. Even if you did have a phone on you, for emergencies or double crossing, you would never leave the ringer on.
Was this how Sark was going to end their working relationship?
Sydney silently inched closer to the door. If he had the phone on, which was highly unprofessional, he might even answer it. This was her opportunity!
"Hello?" Sark sounded tense and a bit surprised.
"Why did you call?" Not an expected phone call then, Sydney surmised.
"Don't call this number again!"
That was abrupt. And not very damming.
So far Sydney had learned that Sark had a non-authorized phone on his person during their mission. Which he had answered. He had sounded worried and then angry. Maybe one of his henchmen had made a mistake. There were two options from here on.
Tell Sloane about the phone so that he could force Sark to explain himself and follow the number. It was unlikely she would get all the answers then. Even if Sark did land himself into some trouble, it was not even guaranteed that he would stop being her partner. After all, he did try to kill Sloane and was given a job at SD-6!
Option two meant somehow acquiring the information herself. Getting the phone was the first step. Difficult but for a spy of her skill level, not too difficult.
He was going to kill her.
First chance Julian had, she was dead meat.
It had been very likely that Tatiana at some point would find a way to contact him. She was curious and resourceful. He had just hoped that she would not have just called him willy-nilly to say "I miss you". While that did fill his heart with joy, it also enraged him that she had been so careless. What if she had called while he was with Sloane? The one person who could never find out that Irina Derevko had another child. He was obsessed with Sydney far more than was healthy. He was obsessed with Irina. Sark would make sure his sister stayed out of the creeps hands. At least it seemed as if Sydney had not noticed the phone call. Probably busy doing her counter mission for the CIA.
It was only when they separated at the airport that he noticed the phone missing.