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Title:Marco's Hallucination (two BLINK missing scenes)

Author:Rodlox.

Summary:Marco's hallucinating too, but will it help save his relationship?

Characters:Marco, Diana, Devon, Josh.

Rating:T

Spoilers:Blink.

Author's note: How could I resist the urge to put two of my favorite characters in the same fic:)

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4400 CENTER:

Devon Sharpe looked up from where she was helping one of the new secretaries get a handle on the Center's operating system, and saw who it was the cat'd dragged in. "Mr. Pacella," she said.

"You busy?" Marco asked, and glared at someone over one shoulder -- there wasn't anyone there that Devon could see.

Returning her attention to the secretary, "I'll be right back, okay?" The girl nodded. "If anything comes up, Ann's just down the hall." Another nod. To Marcus, "The garden," and he nodded, letting her lead.

In the garden, Marcus waited until they were at one of the pavilions before he started pacing. "Shh," he said, barely audible.

"Excuse me?" Devon asked.

"Not you..." and sighed. "There's a new drug out, called Blink. Over the course of an investigation, I think I came into contact with a very tiny amount of Blink. Appearantly even that's enough to generate hallucinations."

"Why are you telling me this?" And given that your car's parked outside the Center... "Dehabilitating hallucinations?"

"Not so far, no. But all the affected NTAC agents have been sent home on medical leave." Jarvis just doesn't know that I'm one of the affected, not yet that is.

"That's why you're telling me this?" Devon asked.

Marco paused in the middle of his stride, looking at her, focusing on her nose. "No. I'm telling you this because you're my hallucination."

"Me?"

"Yes, you," pointing a finger to one side. "Right beside me," and, looking in that direction, "Please stop grinning." Cute as it is, I've moved on. You've moved on too. To the real Devon, "It's not funny."

"No, its not," she said.

"Agent Baldwin's seeing his father, agent Skouris' seeing...an old flame."

"I suppose that would explain why you're seeing me," Devon said, nodding.

"I told you so," the hallucination of Devon said, to which Marco nodded.

Marco sat down on the concrete planter, his forehead on one palm. "Do you think we missed something? That there're feelings we still have for each other?"

"Marco," Devon said, reaching out a hand, not wanting to hurt his feelings, but still not going to lie to him. It hadn't been lies back then, either, but we still parted company.

"You still don't get it."

"Then try explaining," Marco snapped. "Sorry," he apologized to Devon; "Meant the hallucination, not you."

Devon nodded. "You're still my friend, Marco. I just don't... I'm sorry, but I don't."

He nodded back. "I understand. It's the same with me." Marco sighed. "I'm just at a bit of a loss to explain what she's here for," thumb pointing at the hallucination again, "when this is the case."

Devon shrugged. "Maybe I'm a symbol."

Closing her eyes and wincing, "God!" sounding none-too-proud of her real self. "Think, Marco."

I am, I am, Marco thought. To the hallucination, "Though a little help would go a long way. Why exactly are you here?"

With rare bluntness, "You've got issues." A pause, then, "No, she's got issues, and you let her walk all over you."

"And 'she' would be who?" Marco asked, then repeated the hallucination's words to Devon. Devon never walked on me, and Diana never would - she always gives me space.

"Now you're getting it."

Devon's beeper went off. "I'm sorry I couldn't be more help, Marco," she said as she stood up.

"You're always a help," Marco said, shaking her hand. "Best of luck in all you do."

"Thanks. Best of luck for you too. And I really hope you figure out why you're seeing two of me," with an almost impish grin.

Marco nodded. Maybe because back when we were dating, I don't think I could've survived that sort of attention. "I'll see you in the fullness of time."

"Expect me when you see me," Devon said, and went back into the Center...

...Leaving Marco outside with the hallucination of Devon. "Very warm."

"Really? I thought the forecast was for a cold snap."

"Funny. You take a step forward, then you joke around while you dawdle. You're so close."

"Close to what?"

"To figuring this out. Once you do that, I can leave or I can stay...it's up to you."

"Can you give me a hint?"

"I thought I was your subconcious."

"And that means you know something that I'm not conciously aware I know."

"So much for failing psychology."

I got my only B in neuroscience...and my only D in psychology. "Thanks. Could you at least drop a few breadcrumbs? I'm not smart enough to solve a puzzle that doesn't have any pieces."

"Sometimes people will walk through hell, Marco," she told him.

The fellow fan recognized the passage. "Just to see if anyone follows them."

The hallucinated Devon breathed a sigh of relief. "Thought you'd never get it." I wasn't afraid...knew he'd figure it out sooner or later. Just wasn't sure how much longer he'd take.

"Marco!" Maia cried, running towards him during recess. Marco looked over and waved to her, and briefly looked back to -- an empty slab of concrete -- and returned his attention to the approaching Maia.

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LATER:

SKOURIS RESIDENCE:

"You okay?" Marco said, stepping inside.

"M-hm," Diana said.

"I brought some Italian food."

"Don't be nice to me," Diana said.

"What did I tell you?" Devon asked him.

Here I thought you'd left. What's left? "Not sure I like the sound of that," Marco said.

As Marco took the opportunity to go place the bag of Italian on the dining room table, Devon made a frustrated sound in her throat, a noise Marco hadn't heard since their last argument several years ago. "You're still blind, Marco, just like when we dated. I admit, I was blind too."

You used to be so full of constructive criticism.

"This cuts a little too close to home, Marco, and if you can't see that...God."

Meanwhile, Diana was asking Josh, "Does this mean you're leaving?"

"Actually, it does," Josh said.

Diana looked back, and saw that Josh truly was gone. Taking a deep breath, she faced forwards and strode towards Marco. "You want me to put this in the fridge?" Marco asked.

"If you want," Diana said, finding herself unable -- unwilling? -- to make eye contact with him. I have to do this, I have to do this, I have to... she kept telling herself.

Looking around, "Anything I can help with?" Marco asked.

"Marco," Diana said. "I..."

He reached towards her, holding her, his hands just above her elbows. She didn't flinch, just made a half-hearted effort to back away, but didn't leave his grip. "I'm here, Diana," Marco assured her. "You want me to back off, I'll do it. You want me to wait, that's fine. But there's one thing that I will never ever do."

Here it comes, Diana thought to herself.

"I will never stop being nice to you," Marco said. "And nothing you say or do will convince me otherwise."

"Nice to know you didn't get the wrong impression."

Yeah, Marco thought, waiting for Diana's response.

"I just... I was hurt before, and I don't want either of us to get hurt." There. I said it. Marco just looked at her. Go ahead, say something. Yell at me for toying with you, pulling your heartstrings, leading you on, letting you think there was - there could be - something between us. Josh was right. I'm too well-armored for amour. Marco just stood there, looking like he was weighing something in his mind.

Devon waited patiently to one side, giving the couple plenty of room.

"I'm not Josh," Marco said at last. Guiding Diana to the sofa, "There's something I need to tell you."

Devon nodded.

"Really?" Diana asked as she sat down. There was half a cushion between her and him...that was just how they sat, not a deliberate spacing.

Marco nodded. "It wasn't eleven years ago, but I was in a relationship with someone else, a relationship that ended several months before I was transferred to NTAC. We both threw ourselves into our work. I was always busy with my job, just as she was always busy with hers. Even in the time we had together, the late dinners and early breakfasts and the odd holiday, we worked to keep each other from getting hurt. Tried too hard, I guess." He sighed. "Guess I fell back on the one thing I knew, when I started dating you, Diana."

"Then you're agreeing with me," Diana asked. "That we should -"

"We should keep trying what we have," Marco said. "If we try too hard not to hurt each other, we'll end up hurting each other -- believe me, I know."

Devon nodded.

"We can but try," Marco said. "I wouldn't deliberately hurt you, and I believe you wouldn't deliberately hurt me."

"Of course I wouldn't," Diana said. "But -"

"Accidents happen. Nobody's perfect." Grinning, he considered tapping the tip of her nose. "It's the imperfections that make cuteness."

"That's my cue to leave," Devon said. "Best of luck, Marco," and vanished.

"The best of luck," Marco said. Finishing the sentance for Diana, "...it's a hope, an aim...not a precondition."

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The End