Title: This Wall

Author: A. X. Zanier

Email: AXZanier@yahoo.com

Fandom: Invisible Man

Pairing: Darien/OFC

Rating: PG

Summary: Darien, Alyx and a wall.

Spoilers: None

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

Notes: Peja Challenge Fic.

This Wall

"I can't take it anymore. You've been sending me so many mixed signals I just don't know what you want from me," Darien professed to the dingy yellow paint of the wall in the little used basement hallway.

"And just who, pray tell, are you practicing that line for?" a voice requested, startling him so badly the Quicksilver began to flow and he lost an arm and half a leg before he got his heart rate back under control.

"Crap," Darien grumbled, the Quicksilver flaking away as he met Alyx's eyes for one instant, and then found the dirty linoleum between the scuffed toes of his shoes far more interesting. "No one," he mumbled, stuffing his hands into his back pockets and turning away, heading anywhere but where she was.

"Oooookay," she responded dubiously. "But I want you to know that if this wall has in any way impuned your honor that I will personally see to it that it is stripped and repainted forthwith."

Darien couldn't help the snort of laughter that escaped, and he allowed himself to be drawn back in her direction. "You'd do that for me?" he asked softly, the momentary amusement returning to the previous seriousness.

"You know I would," Alyx stated, making sure to meet his gaze.

Darien ducked his head; one hand making its way through his hair to hide his sudden attack of tongue-tiedness. "Yeah, I know.... I just..."

She stepped forward, reached out to place one finger under his chin and encouraged him to lift his head just enough to look into her eyes. "Darien, you can talk to me, y'know."

He shook his head, her hand shifting to rest on his shoulder. "Not about this. Don't know why I was even considering it."

"You don't know why you were considering breaking up with this... lovely wall?"

"I wasn't breaking up," Darien argued, "just trying to get a straight answer, for a change."

"Maybe you're just not asking the right questions," she suggested without a trace of humor in her countenance.

Darien thought about that for second and paced a few steps away. "So you're saying if I asked something like... if sh... it likes me I might get an answer?"

"Perhaps. If you actually listen and not just hear what you want." Alyx shifted slightly and leaned against the wall in question, her eyes bright in the watery light provided by every other poorly glowing fluorescent.

Darien mimicked her on the wall opposite, watching her carefully. "I have been, trouble is the... wall isn't answering."

"Are you certain of that?" One eyebrow had gone up on her graceful brow, but her tone was still perfectly serious.

"Damn certain. Not even an echo," Darien asserted, trying to keep his tone as casual as possible.

"You could be too close to hear the response, or anything else for that matter," she observed. "There needs to be some measurable distance for the sound waves to travel. Too close there's nothing to hear. Too far and the sound becomes distorted, undecipherable." She pushed away from the wall and moved to stand about three feet before him, just the amount that was considered proper for 'personal space.' "But at the right distance, everything comes clear."

"And if there's still no answer?"

"Then maybe it's time to find another wall," she offered, with a slight shrug of her shoulders. She stayed in place for a long moment while he gazed into her eyes, trying to figure out exactly what she meant with those words. Then she turned and continued on her way, heading wherever it was she'd been off to when she'd found him practicing his useless words in what he'd thought was an empty hall.

Once even the echoes of her footsteps had faded to nothingness and he was sure she was well out of earshot he muttered, "But I like this wall."