My first K-PAX fanfic, after being upset because I finished the second book and can't get the third for another 6 weeks (Damn Amazon.com!) Let's hope my first attempt at a K-PAX story doesn't suck much. *hee* Maybe I'll write up some more if this one isn't too bad.

Thanks to Madam Foogie for her review, which helped me edit the first copy of this.

Protector and Friend By Vixen

Six years old and at his father's funeral, the small town had gathered, Robin surmised to pity him and to tell him how things would someday be better. Everyone had come wearing black, which just added to the melancholy atmosphere that surrounded the room. Robin's aunt had bought him a black dress shirt, but it felt itchy and was too warm for the summer day. He sat in the back, on an old beige couch that smelled like dried flowers, sulking and itching at his shirt and wanting to be anywhere but there.

He hadn't even gone up to see his father's casket yet, though all of his relatives had told him that this would bring "closure". Robin didn't want whatever this 'closure' was; he just wanted his Daddy back. He wanted to play chess with him again, to catch a baseball, to look out into the night sky and learn all the constellations one by one again. That time was over though.

All day he sat, as other people he knew, most of the small town walked up to the small silver casket and placed a flower on it, or cried, or did both. Frowning, Robin watched at his Uncle Dave said his goodbyes. The older man actually looked like he meant it, but still Robin feared him.

His brown eyes wandered over to his mother, whom was drying tears from her eyes while talking to Mrs. Thompson, the post office lady who worked in the small town in which he had grown up. Maybe his mother would be able to take him home again, now that she didn't have to care for his father. Even if she did though, Robin thought, home would never be the same again.

Once more the tears started to well up behind his eyes, but he couldn't cry. He had to be brave, had to be strong, couldn't cry in front of everyone. They would get angry with him if he cried. Trying to hold back his tears, though, was like trying to hold back the Missouri river with a twig. Still, not wanting to cry in front of everyone, he did the only thing he could think of and ran out of the parlor, out into the sunset lit grass in front of the church.

He sat down and for the longest time just cried. Robin had never been allowed to cry in his aunt and uncle's house, and had been holding back so much pain for the past year that once he finally started crying he couldn't stop for what seemed like an eternity. "It's not fair," Robin punched the hard ground, but it was futile he realized. Hugging his knees, Robin finally was still, he sat watching an ant try to carry a large leaf, but it was too heavy for the little ant to pick up.

Fascinated by the way nature was still moving ever forward in the midst of chaos; Robin didn't notice the stranger until he saw feet on the sidewalk right in front of him. Following the length of the stranger's body with his eyes, Robin finally looked up at him, though the little boy couldn't see him at first because of the way the sun was shining into Robin's eyes. The stranger moved slightly, and blocked out the sun, like an eclipse.

Almost all of the people who had come to the funeral were friends from town, and thus Robin had known all of them since the day they had moved in. Friends are made easily in small American towns, everyone knows everyone else, and nothing happens without word about it spreading. Which is why Robin was so surprised to see this new person, especially at his father's funeral.

"B-TIK sure is different that what I expected." The outsider donned a pair of sunglasses and looked down at the boy who had a quizzical look on his face. Thinking it would probably be best to introduce himself, the stranger tried out some of the English he had learned before his travel, "Hello, I'm prot." The language was remarkably simple, but the child was still looking at him curiously.

"Are you new in town?"

"You could say that," prot sat down on the grass beside the earthling, the first being he had seen on the planet; it didn't seem as inhospitable as some of his fellow dremers had told him.

"Oh," was all the small boy could say.

Obviously their communication skills could use some work, unless as prot began to realize, there was something bothering the boy. Always wanting to help another being in need, prot queried, "What's wrong?"

Wiping newly formed tears from his eyes, Robin looked over at the stranger. For the first time since his father had gotten hurt the boy felt he could trust someone. It was weird though, that it was a complete and total stranger. "I guess you are from far away, everyone in town knows tomorrow is my daddy's funeral, today's the 'viewing day' or 'wake' I forget what they call it."

Feeling the lush greenness of the ground that was foreign to him, prot looked over at the boy, "I'm sorry. I know the importance you beings place on family." Then with all the curiosity of a scientist, prot asked, "Does it hurt?"

Robin nodded, "Everyone wants me to go see my father and say goodbye, but I just want to be left alone."

"If you'd like me to go-"

"No." Robin almost frantically said. Then in a calmer voice added, "Pease stay."

"Alright." prot agreed, if only because this earthling intrigued him. He wanted to learn everything he could about them, and maybe find the reason they were letting themselves destroy their WORLD.

Trying to think about anything else besides where he was today, Robin started, "Where are you from, mister? I haven't seen you around here before."

Prot looked towards the sky, thankful to have brought sunglasses with him, "Way way up there," he told the boy, "The planet K-PAX, in the CONSTELLATION LYRA."

For a moment prot wondered if the beings on this planet were smart enough or technically advanced enough to realize that there was life out there in the universe. Surprisingly and somewhat unexpectedly all Robin had to say was, "That's cool."

Maybe there was hope for them yet, prot mused.

"My father used to show me all the constellations. I always wanted to meet an alien." In Robin's six-year-old logic aliens existed, but then again so did Santa Claus.

"Likewise," prot grinned softly at him.

"What's it like on K-Pack?"

"It's K-PAX. And it's very nice," prot whom always loved to discuss the wonders of his home world with anyone who would listen began describing it, "One of the highest planets of evolution. There aren't many beings there, but the ones that do live there are very friendly. Everyone helps each other, and life is very peaceful. The suns that surround the planet, there are a few, bathe the whole world with purples, pinks, and light blues so that it looks very much like your world's sunset. But, since I love meeting new beings, I've decided to start traveling the universe."

The boy, who had been listening intently, chose this moment to pipe up, "Have you been anywhere besides earth yet?"

"I stopped off at A-JIL before arriving here. It was pretty barren though. Nothing but gray rocks and some dirt."

"Oh well, K-PAX sounds nice." Robin looked up to the first star that had started to pop out against the dark midnight blue sky, wondering if that may in fact be the planet prot was talking about. "Maybe I could go there some day."

"Why? Don't you like it here?"

Robin hugged his knees and shook his head.

Silence fell between them for a few minutes, Robin lost in thoughts he didn't want to voice and prot just amazed by every little one of EARTH'S nuances.

Curiosity getting the better of prot he finally spoke again, "I've heard of your being's rituals of the dead, where people bury the ones they love in the soil so that they may be a part of the world forever.. I'd like to see that."

Robin looked at the alien and took a deep breath, "I could show it to you.. but only if you come with me.. and hold my hand."

Prot stood and offered his hand to the boy. Robin hesitated for a moment, not knowing whether he was more afraid of going back in or accepting the hand of this stranger. Finally he gave in, and took prot's hand in his. It didn't feel dangerous, as he had expected it to, not like Uncle Dave's did, it felt strong and comforting. As much comfort as he had felt all year.

Together, hand in hand, they walked back into the funeral parlor, past the other guests none of which seemed to notice the two of them, right down the middle aisle of the parlor and up to the casket. When they were just a few steps away, Robin hesitated, stopped and looked at prot. "I can't do this."

Prot only clasped Robin's hand a little firmer, giving him reassurance, "Yes, you can."

Taking a huge breath and three more steps forward, Robin was soon standing over his father's coffin. "Daddy..," Robin wanted to cry, but instead, feeling the warmth from prot's hand in his said, "Daddy, it's okay, I've found someone to take care of me, so you don't have to worry anymore."

"Will you stay with me, prot?"

"As long as you need me."

"Forever?"

The alien repeated what he had said before, "As long as you need me."

There was a flash of light that emanated from their clasped hands, still no one else in the parlor noticed, and as this brilliant light surrounded them prot somehow was absorbed into Robin, forever with him to take care of him as long as prot remained on earth.

People started to look up over at the boy, wondering how he could have gotten past everyone without being seen, but the general consensus was that this was something he needed to do. He had needed to say goodbye to his father.

Suddenly Robin found his mother coming over to him, and wrapping her arms around his waist and picking him up into a big warm hug. Buried in her shoulder, he spoke up, "It's okay now, mommy. I have someone to protect me now."

As he slowly started to believe this, Robin silently thanked prot for his gift, remembering his alien friend's promise, "As long as you need me."

The End