Author: A. X. Zanier

Rating: G

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or basic story ideas to "The Invisible Man." Any additional characters or ideas are mine to do with as I please.

Timeline: One week after Prince of Thieves

Spoilers: None that I can think of

Comments: Okay, so it was partly inspired by Brother's Keeper. I couldn't sleep, again.


"The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting."

I had been waiting for so many things for so long and I was tired of it. There were so few I could talk to who would even try to be sympathetic. So I turned to the one person who can't help but listen to me. Although the conversations do tend to be a bit one sided.

"You know, I'm not sure why I'm here. I guess it's that you might be the only one who could understand. Its not like I have a whole lot of people to talk to. Really talk to, that is." She sat down cross-legged on the grass and sighed. She found this more than a little odd, but when she decided to get out of her apartment and felt the need to talk to someone she discovered her choices were limited.

Its not like she could talk to Claire or Bobby about this. She and Claire were still not very trusting of one another and Bobby would not be the least bit sympathetic. She didn't really have any friends outside of work. Acquaintances, associates, contacts, those she had. Friends were in short supply. So was family.

So she had come here.

"I guess I should introduce myself. I'm Alyx Silver, another government project that the Official... recruited." She laughed a bit at that. "Oh yeah, and he brought me in to keep Darien happy. I'm not doing that too well these days."

She stared off into the distance for a long moment toying with the item she held in her hand. "I'm not sure if you simply trusted him or were being a big brother and trying to straighten him out the hard way. Doesn't really matter, even on his worst days he is still inherently a good person."

She shook her head and smiled. There were days she wished she didn't know everything she did, days when she did nothing more than hurt because of who and what she was. Today had been slow at work, so she had taken off, not able to stay in the same building with him. With his presence, his emotions, impinging themselves on her mind. He was not very happy at the moment, hadn't been for the last week, though the anger had finally worn away, leaving an ache he tried to hide and that she could not ignore.

He had made his choice just as she had made hers.

"I know he doesn't understand and I'm not yet ready to tell him. Not that he'd be interested at this point," she said a bit ruefully. "He feels trapped enough without me insisting on rules or specific boundaries for our relationship. He can't, or maybe won't understand that." She shifted then, stretching out her legs and leaning over on one of her hands. "I spent years trapped in the relationship from hell. Willingly to a degree, I admit. I can't... won't risk doing that to him. He has too free a spirit. I... I don't want him to lose that part of himself and it's nearly been stolen from him a few times already."

She plucked a piece of grass from the carpet below her and examined it. "Not that he blames you anymore. He knows you were doing what you thought best and in some ways you did save him. The rest... the rest is not your fault. He just wants out of this so bad and I'm doing everything I can, but you were the only one who really understood all of it. I just fake it real well." she sighed. "I can't even do the job I was brought in for correctly."

She tipped her head back and looked at the few clouds drifting across the late afternoon sky. "I was supposed to be a toy, a convenience, a distraction. I don't think he was ever supposed to really care about me as anything more than that. I don't think the Official thought he was capable of it. He was wrong."

"I don't mean to dump all this on you. Its not like you can do anything about it anyway. He hasn't spoken to me in a week, except out of necessity." She closed her eyes. "There hasn't been much necessity."

She opened her eyes and set the item she'd brought with her on the ground. "He's had enough heartache. I wish I hadn't added to it."

She looked up then as a familiar presence registered on her mind and she was tempted to quicksilver and escape. She was an intruder here, but instead she stayed where she was and watched as he made his way towards her. His head down, shoulders slumped, and hands stuffed into his pants pockets. When he got a bit nearer he lifted his head and saw her. He froze.

She got to her feet quickly. "I'm sorry. I've no right to be here. I'll go." She began to turn away.

"Wait." he said in a barely audible voice.

She shook her head. She could feel the confused emotions pouring off of him and they hurt her more than she'd thought they would. Not that it mattered. She would not and could not, in good conscience, change her mind.

He moved then coming over to her and reaching out to grasp her arm, but stopped before he actually touched her. His hand stilled just inches from her and then dropped to his side. "What are you doing here?"

She shrugged. "I needed to talk to someone and I'm kind of limited on choices. I didn't think he'd mind." She waved at the ground below them. "If I had known you'd be stopping by here I wouldn't have come."

He shook his head. "Its okay. I... I was looking for you and came here when I couldn't find you."

She looked, felt stunned. "You were looking for me?"

He turned away and then sat down on the ground. "Yeah."

"Dare?" She found herself unable to move at that moment.

He sat there silent, not sure what to say now that he had indeed found her.

"I... I won't change my mind. I'm sorry you don't understand, but I have my reasons." she blurted out as quickly as she could.

"I figured, with the way you've been avoiding me all week." Darien grumbled without turning to look at her.

"Avoiding? I haven't been avoiding you. I've been in meetings with Ferndale all week and you and Bobby have been catching up with that Blackhawk mess." Alyx explained in confusion. "And you were rather angry at first. I didn't want to add to it."

"Are you saying I didn't have the right to be?" Irritation was creeping into his voice.

"No. Just stating a fact." she replied. "I... I don't want to fight about this. I think I should go."

He did turn about to look at her then. "Don't. Can we work this out somehow?"

She crouched down behind him. "I'd like to try." She leaned her head against his back and felt him tense. "I missed you, Darien."

It took several more minutes and she came very close to moving away, but he finally relaxed slightly. "Right now, part of me wishes we had never met."

Alyx didn't react visibly; in fact she could understand his feelings. "I know and I'm sorry." She did move away then. "I'll go." She started to get to her feet, but he turned and gently grasped her hand.


She gave him a sad smile. "You need to talk, but not to me." She nodded at the headstone before them. "He's a good listener."

He didn't release her and instead pulled gently until she was sitting beside him. "Kev, I want you to meet someone,"

"To feel that one has a place in life solves half the problems of contentment." A Mister George Woodberry came up with that pearl of wisdom. I still didn't feel like I belonged, like I had a place in this weird business I had found myself shoved in, but I did know I didn't want to lose the one good thing I had found there. Contentment, however, was a long way away.