Title: Quietly Screaming
Author: aces
Rating: PG-13/R
Summary: He's crazy, and he's got little to no control over his impulses. He's not stupid.
Warnings: What some might call gratuitous use of the F-word, not-very-graphic attempted homicide/suicide, a moment of possible slashiness and a moment of possible het (blink and you'll miss 'em and you might miss 'em even if you don't blink), angst out the wazoo, plot holes large enough to drive beatup old vans through (but then, this really isn't about the plot).
Notes: Well, it's not very sexy, but it's most certainly fucked-up. I feel halfway accomplished in my mission. Takes place toward the end of the second season, after Darien starts building an immunity to the counteragent.

Quietly Screaming

"Fawkes! Goddammit, Fawkes, you don't want to do this!"

Hobbes fought, he struggled, he pushed like hell. But Fawkes's grip on his neck was relentless, fuelled by a maddened strength, red in his eyes and silver in his blood. Darien could barely see anything beyond the red in his eyes, but he could still feel skin and cotton under his fingers, and that was enough to keep a good strong grip.

"Don't I?" Darien hissed. He was pissed, pissed that he could barely see for the red, pissed that he was quicksilver mad again, pissed that he was on this stupid fucking mission, pissed that he still had this stupid fucking gland in his head, and if anyone was going to bear the brunt of his rage, it might as well be his partner.

That's what partners were for, wasn't it?

"No!" Hobbes hollered, gurgled, coughed. His hands were tearing at Darien's arms, trying to rip the other man off him. "Come on, Fawkes, I can help you!"

Fawkes released him suddenly, pushing Hobbes away as he pulled himself up, as he stumbled away from his partner. "No, you can't," he spat back, manically pacing the office they were locked in. The building was almost deserted, bar the night guards they'd avoided. They'd slipped in here an hour ago to find certain pertinent files for a case the Official had given them. But Fawkes had used too much quicksilver, and Hobbes had barely managed to call the Keeper before being tackled to the ground by his partner, and now it was a matter of waiting.

Bobby stayed where he'd spilled, in a corner of the spacious office between a filing cabinet and a table strewn with papers and folders they'd only just gotten started on when the madness hit. He tugged at his collar and cleared his throat, watching Darien warily. "Yes, I can," he said. "C'mon, partner. Stick with me. You can get through this."

"What do you know about it?!" Fawkes whirled around and hurled himself down in front of Hobbes. Hobbes instinctively tried to scrunch back, away, but he was in the corner and there was nowhere for him to go. Darien only stared at him, blinking past the red. "What the fuck do you know about it?" His voice was raspy, but he was so pissed off he didn't care. "Have you ever had voices whispering in the back of your head and ants crawling all over your body and needles sticking into your spine?"

"Not all at once," Bobby admitted, watching Fawkes carefully, "but I've felt that way before, yeah."

"I itch," Fawkes told him, ignoring him. He pushed away again, went back to pacing to get rid of the excess energy, adrenaline, whatever the fuck was coursing through him and making him restless. "My entire body itches, and there's nothing to scratch and I want out of this."

"I know." Hobbes stood up carefully, sticking to his corner, a hand slowly going for the holster on his side. "I do know that feeling, partner. And you're gonna get out of this. You've just gotta—"

"No!" Darien halted again, so violently he thought he could feel the bones shuddering against each other in his body while his arms threw themselves out to keep his balance. He could feel his heart beating, a constant heady pounding drumbeat that was also driving him up the wall, along with everything else. "I don't gotta do anything," he said. "I'll do what I damned well want, Robert."

Hobbes stared at him, but didn't say anything this time, hand hovering near his holster. Darien smiled a little; he could feel his lips twisting into the expression. "Oh good," he said, closing his eyes, "finally, you're learning."

Of course, without Bobby's voice prattling crap at him, the voices whispering in the back of his head were louder, the ants crawling all over his body were itchier, the needles in his spine more painful, the steady heartbeat echoing now in his fingers, his head, his toes. It was too much, too much, all too fucking much

"Shit," Darien heard the suppressed curse and opened his eyes, the little smirk blossoming into an oh-so-amused grin.

"Sorry," he said to his partner, dangling Hobbes' 9 mm in front of him, "looking for this?" He laughed at the expression on Bobby's face, at how Bobby's hand was still frozen over his empty holster. "Don't you know never to trust a thief, partner?"

"Fawkes," Hobbes's voice was steady, "Fawkes, gimme the gun. Come on, partner, just give it to me."

Darien shook his head coyly. "Uh-uh," he said and swung the loosely-held gun back and forth in time to the drumbeat pulsing through his body.

"Come on, Fawkes." Bobby's voice was still amazingly calm, and he took a step toward Darien. "Come on. Gimme the gun."

Darien immediately pointed the gun at his partner, aiming straight for Hobbes's chest. "I wouldn't do that if I were you," he warned in an almost sing-song tone. The voices in the back of his head were whispering louder, more excitedly, turned on by the hint of imminent violence. The needles were digging in deeper, twisting into the base of his neck.

But Bobby kept coming toward him, steadily, relentlessly, brown eyes fixed on Fawkes's red eyes. "Why wouldn't you, partner?" he asked. "I know you won't hurt me."

"Ohhh, do you?" Darien's voice was soft, caressing. His gun hand didn't waver, though the pull of the drumbeat in his heart was hard to resist. "I really wouldn't be so sure of that if I were you, Robert."

Hobbes stopped moving, the gun pressed right into his shirt. "You won't hurt me, partner," he repeated. "Come on, Darien. Give me the gun."

Darien stared at him, immobile. Bobby raised his hand, gently covered Darien's gun-holding hand with his own. "Gimme the gun," he said in that same steady, hypnotic voice.

Fawkes ripped away from him, quicksilvering his arm in the process, grip still secure on the gun. "Fuck off," he gasped, staggering away to the other side of the office, dropping into the swivel chair behind the compact, neat desk with only a computer monitor and a phone and some family photos on it. He de-quicksilvered the arm where it rested on the desk, the gun still in his clasp. He squeezed his eyes shut. "Fuck off, Hobbes," he repeated.

"Can't do that, partner," Hobbes's voice sounded like he hadn't come any closer, but Fawkes snapped his eyes open just in case, blinking rapidly.

"I want the red to go away," he whined irrelevantly, rubbing at his eyes with his left hand.

Bobby took a step toward him, involuntarily, and Darien raised the gun toward him again without thinking. "I said," he said, his voice rasping again, "get the fuck out of here."

"No," Bobby said. But he stopped moving toward Fawkes.

Darien felt his face crumpling, felt tears springing into his eyes. "Leave me alone," he cried, but he wasn't sure if he was still talking to Hobbes or if he was talking to the voices, and the ants, and the needles, and his own pulse. He slid down from the chair, curling up on the floor, desperate for any way to get rid of all of the—everything.

He felt the metal, warmed by his touch, in his hands, and he opened his eyes to stare down at the gun. He pointed it toward himself, almost idly. He thought he could hear the voices whispering in the back of his head stilling a little, as if in fear. A little grin played across his face again.

Ha, he thought. Take that, you fuckers. I am in control.

The drumbeat was steady, insistent, insisting he did something. He shifted the gun, bringing it up to the side of his head for a more comfortable aim.

Hobbes was suddenly there, pulling the gun up, up, away from Fawkes's head, forcing Fawkes's finger away from the trigger. "Damn you!" Fawkes yelled, hitting out at Bobby with his left hand, but Hobbes blocked him and wrenched the gun away from him, all in one too-slick move. "Damn you!" Darien howled, curling in on himself again, the voices clamouring again, viciously loud, the needles digging. He beat his fists against the carpet, trying to drown them out, trying to drown out everything that was going on inside him, where no one could see or feel or hear except himself.

"You bastard," he sobbed into the carpet. "Why didn't you let me shoot myself? Bobby you bastard, why didn't you let me die?"

He felt arms encircling him as best they could, trying to fold him up and encompass him whole and failing pathetically. "You're not gonna die on my watch, partner," Bobby's voice was quiet in Fawkes's ear. "You're gonna get past this, Darien; you just gotta wait for the Keeper to show up with the counteragent."

Fawkes untangled himself from Hobbes, crawling away until he could stand and pace away, give himself space. "I don't want to wait," he said tightly, "I want to fucking get out of here." Hobbes stood up slowly, turned to him. "Don't come near me," Darien warned him, skittering further away. "Just—don't—touch—me."

Hobbes held up his hands placatingly, in surrender, and even that niggled at Darien, irritated him, pissed him off. He strode back and forth, keeping away from Bobby even as half of him longed to get near Bobby, touch Bobby, strangle Bobby. And that struggle, that pull between staying away and going near, that also niggled at him, irritated him, pissed him off. He punched the wall, but even that didn't help.

"She'll be here soon," Hobbes said from the other side of the room, still watching him carefully without moving.

"She should be here now," Darien said tensely, stuffing his hands into his leather jacket pockets. They were still clenched into fists. "So help me god, if she doesn't show up soon, I am gonna—"

The door burst open, Bobby tackled Darien, Fawkes yelled and kicked blindly, something cold and slick and slimy shivered into the base of his neck, and he slumped. Something blue, cold, was running through him now, taking out the needles, brushing off the ants, shutting up the voices, making his heartbeat recede so that it wasn't a fucking dance club inside his body. Darien laid there for a while, eyes shut, breathing. He could feel tears leaking out of his eyes and buried his face in the carpet so they couldn't see.

A hand rested on his shoulder lightly, lightly enough it didn't hurt (his body always hurt after the shot, an all-encompassing ache that was worse if anything touched him too harshly), but strong enough he could feel it there. He knew that was Claire, cradling his shoulder in the palm of her hand, and it was moments like this that made him uncomfortably wonder if he wanted to kiss her or sob on her shoulder.

Another hand was near his elbow, a finger just barely brushing against his skin, and he knew that was Bobby. His fingers dug into the carpet spasmodically, and he wanted to curl up again, curl away from them both, deal with his misery alone.

"Darien?" Claire's voice was quiet, concerned, gentle on his aching consciousness.

"Fawkes," Bobby's voice was quiet, gruff, strengthening. "Come on, man. Get up."

Darien didn't want to move. He just wanted to lie there until they went away, until his body rotted away and he no longer existed. He just wanted to be left alone.

"Darien, we need to get out of here," Claire said. She trailed a comforting hand down his arm, still very lightly, but her voice had an undercurrent of urgency. "You can rest in the Keep, or at home, but we can't be found here."

Darien breathed.

"Fawkes," Hobbes said. "Partner."

Darien breathed, and nodded into the carpet, and slowly picked himself up. Hobbes and Claire helped, one on either side of him, but he brushed them off—gently—when he was standing, and he led the way out of the office, down the back stairs, out the fire door he'd left propped for their escape and the way Claire had gotten into the building undetected. He only staggered a little once they got near the van, and Bobby was right there, with an arm cinched around his waist, to keep him up.

"I'm okay," Darien said, voice flat, and pulled away again. Claire sat him down in the back of the van and checked him over efficiently, light in his eyes, hand on his pulse, the whole routine. He submitted to it dully. He didn't care what she did.

She put a hand against his cheek to lift his face so she could look into his brown eyes. "Go home," she told him like a good Keeper. "Get some rest. I'll see you tomorrow, alright?"

He nodded against her hand, his stubble tickling against her skin, and she let him go, disappearing into her green SUV and pulling away. He watched the headlights disappear before he stood up to walk round to the front of Golda.

Hobbes was already in the driver's seat, waiting with that patience he could magically pull out of his imaginary top hat when the situation called for it. Darien slumped into the passenger seat, barely having the energy to pull the safety belt over his front. "Go," he said, and Bobby started the van.

They drove in silence to Darien's apartment. When Hobbes pulled up in front of it and stopped the car, Fawkes just stared out the windshield, working up the energy to get out of the van, up the stairs, into his bed.

Instead he found himself speaking.

"You should've let me—"

"No," Hobbes cut him off. Darien could see out of the corner of his eye Bobby also staring through the windshield.

Darien sighed. "You should have," he repeated, and he took another moment just to breathe, let the silence of a night just before dawn seep into him and drive away the rest of the voices, the last too-loud echoes of his heartbeat.

"No." Bobby's voice was still firm, absolutely no room for argument. "You don't give up, partner. We'll fix this. Claire will fix this."

Darien just nodded, no energy to argue anymore tonight, and released the safety belt. "Go home," he said, pushing at the door handle. It took an unusual amount of effort to release the latch, get the door open. He slid off the seat, supported himself with the door while he turned back to his partner. "Get some rest."

Hobbes looked at him finally, with that same steady gaze he'd used in the office all night. "You too, Fawkes," he said.

Darien nodded wearily, pushed the van door shut, and trudged up to his apartment complex. He knew Hobbes would wait until he was inside before leaving, but he couldn't make himself move any faster.

He heard the van drive off, saw lights flash across the wall opposite, as he clicked the door shut behind him and contemplated the stairs up to his apartment. He rested his back against the door for a moment, breathing, and then he trudged up the stairs.

He collapsed face down on his unmade-from-yesterday-morning bed, fingers tangling into the sheets, and muffled his howl into the pillow.