Author: A. X. Zanier
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or basic story premises to "The Invisible Man." Any
additional characters or premises are mine, mine, mine.
Timeline: Nowhere in particular
Spoilers: Not really. Some minor references.
Comments: I had another thought. Maybe I should stop thinking?

Head Games

"... it came at us. Eight feet tall if it was an inch, roaring fit to scare the devil himself,
stinkin' to high heaven, and out for our blood." Bobby was saying.

Alyx rolled her eyes.

"I'm telling you, kid. It was the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Well, next to Fawkes here, that
is."

"Gee, thanks Hobbsey." Darien reached across the table and swiped some of Bobby's fries.

"Hey!" Bobby protested at the theft.

"He's just following his true nature." Alyx commented as she took the fries out of Darien's hand
and ate them herself. "Please continue, Bobby."

Darien didn't even bother to protest.

"Err, okay. Where was I?" Bobby said, his train of thought having momentarily derailed.

"Eight feet tall..." Darien offered.

"Roaring and stinkin' to high heaven..." Alyx added.

"Blood." They said in unison.

"Yeah, right. So it was coming straight at us and most of the guys turned tail and ran screaming
like babies, but not Bobby Hobbes. Oh, no. I stood my ground and began firing at the thing."
Bobby was leaning over the table his voice having dropped for dramatic effect. "The thing just
kept coming at me like it was unkillable or something." Bobby paused.

"Well, don't leave us hanging. What happened?" Darien was trying to sound enthusiastic, but was
having trouble believing a word his friend was saying.

"Oh, I got in a lucky shot and the thing fell on top of me, out cold." Bobby said as if it were no
big deal.

"All right, I'll bite. What was it?" Alyx asked. She was a little curious, Bobby's wilder
stories always had even wilder endings.

"Just a guy in a rigged up monkey suit." Bobby answered. "He'd lined the chest with kevlar so it
was a wild shot that nicked his head that put him out."

Darien began to laugh. "Why the hell was he running around the woods in a souped up gorilla suit?"
"Turned out he and his buddies were scaring away the locals so that they could harvest their
marijuana crop." Bobby said sounding a bit smug.

Alyx just shook her head.

"Hobbes you've been watching too much Scooby-Doo." Darien said to him. He didn't believe a word
of it.

"Ask Jones. He was on the same case. He was one of the guys who booked it when the thing came at
us." Bobby tipped his head a bit. "It was also where I earned the nickname 'Lithium Bob' if you
must know."

"Jones. FBI Jones was on that one?" Bobby nodded at him. "Well, then it must be true. Bet he
never lived that one down." He then turned to Alyx "Agent Jones of the FBI is..."

"A jerk." Alyx stated. "We've met." When they looked at her in confusion she said, "I sometimes
get borrowed."

"Got along well did you?" Bobby asked her. She could work with just about anyone he'd learned.

"He asked me how I managed to sleep my way to the bottom." Alyx answered flatly.

"What did you do to him?" Darien said knowing she would have done something.

"Nothing much. One punch. The guy has a glass jaw." Alyx answered with a grin.

Bobby chuckled. "Good one. Exactly what he deserved." Then to Darien, "Your turn."

Darien sat up a bit straighter. "All right this one is from my early days as a thief."

"How early, bub? We talking grade school here or what?" Alyx twirled her drink in circles,
spinning it in the condensation that had pooled beneath it on the table.

"Uh, not that early. I was about twenty-three, I guess, and had decided that being a thief counted
as a profession when med school became unappetizing." Darien answered.

"Self- employed." Bobby whispered leaning over at her.

"You saying bad things about me behind my back?" Darien asked trying to hide a grin.

"Nope, saying 'em right in front of you. No stalling, get on with it." Bobby said waving a hand
at him.

"So, this guy approaches me for a hire. Says he'll provide everything I need. Pass codes,
directions, guard routine, everything. I figure what the hell. Net me a few grand for an easy
night's work." Darien was watching them carefully making sure he had them ensnared. Though you
could never be sure with either of them.

"I bargained though, wanted half up front. He didn't even blink and handed over the cash. I
thought I had the guy over a barrel. Paid my rent a couple months ahead, bought some food, nice
change there, and grabbed a nap. Was gonna do the job that night, hand over the piece, and collect
the rest of my money."

"What were you going after? Where?" Alyx asked, having a feeling it was necessary.

"It was just a rock, semi-precious, nothing special, or so I thought. It was in a private museum
on one of those historical sites. It was called the Guardian Stone or something like that."
Darien answered her actually keeping the poker face he needed in place.

Alyx raised an eyebrow. "Guardian Stone?"

"Uh, huh. I show up as scheduled and follow the directions just as they were given to me and
everything went perfectly. Was in and out of there in ten minutes tops. With the rock." Darien
paused he could have gone into step by step details of how he had pulled off the job, but, even
though Alyx would have paid attention, he knew Bobby would get irritated quickly, so this time he
glossed over it.

"The next morning, and by morning I mean four thirty, I meet the guy and hand over the rock and get
the rest of my pay along with a bonus. I notice the guy looks a bit odd. White blonde hair, green
eyes, and, get this, pointed ears. I figured he must have a really good makeup guy 'cause it all
looks real." Darien paused and took a sip from his drink.

"Quit stalling Fawkes. Finish it already." Bobby growled at him.

"The guy thanks me like I just found his his long lost sister or something. Then there's this
flash of light and he's wearing this glowing silver armor and carrying a sword."

"Fawkes..." Bobby warned.

"Gorilla suit..." Darien tossed back which shut Bobby up for the time being. "He walks towards
this hill where the meet was and holds up the stone which is glowing with this weird green light
and the hill opens."

Alyx closed her eyes and tipped her head back shaking with silent laughter.

"The guy walks into the hill and then it closes up behind him leaving me standing alone out in the
middle of nowhere." Darien looked at Bobby who was staring at him with his mouth wide open. "That
ain't the weirdest bit. I head home, planning on stopping off for some breakfast on the way. I dig
into my pocket for the cash I'd been paid and find...."

Alyx interrupted him. "Leaves. Right? Leaves?"

Darien was actually surprised. "Yeah, how did you know?"

"That's typically what elves use when faking out us mortals." Alyx said with a grin. "They cast a
glamor on the leaves making it look like money." She started to laugh. "You got nailed by a
fairy." She lost it then and fell into uncontrolled laughter.

After a moment Bobby and Darien joined in.

"Good one Fawkes. Had me going there." Bobby said as the laughter wound down.

"And why do you think I was lying? My landlord at the time was not to thrilled to learn that his
deposit was short several hundred dollars." Darien said straight faced.
Bobby just shook his head. Elves in San Diego was a bit too much to believe, Bigfoot maybe, but
not elves.

Darien elbowed Alyx. "Your turn."

"Okay, mine's a little different this time, I haven't led the exciting life you guys have." Alyx
shifted relaxing back into the cushions. "Once upon a time there was a handsome young man who got
into trouble once too often and found himself about to be sent to prison for the rest of his life."

"This sounds familiar." Darien commented dryly.

"Can't imagine why." Bobby snickered.

"Hush you two. Its my turn." Alyx admonished them. "One day when all was looking dark for our
handsome hero he received a visitor, his brother, whom he had not seen for many a year. His
brother had come with a proposition for him. Help with some research and he'd be pardoned for his
crimes. A few months of his time and he would be free to do as he wished." Alyx paused her
recitation and yawned.

"Can't be that good if its boring you." Bobby said with a grin.

Alyx wagged a finger at finger at him. "It might have something to with the fact I've been awake
nearly twenty hours."

"The story, please." Darien found himself rather fascinated with hearing this tale told from and
outside perspective.

"Our hero seeing no recourse other than to become the bride of Big Butch, agreed. Things then
moved swiftly and he found himself whisked away to a secret lab in the desert where a magical gland
was to be granted unto him." Alyx looked over at Darien. He only thought he knew where this was
going. "Everything seemed to go well. Our hero slept as he was supposed to for a fortnight and a
half."

Bobby looked confused and Darien cleared it up for him. "Three weeks."

"Ah."

"At the end of that time he was supposed to awaken from his dreamless slumber with new powers
bestowed upon him, but alas he did not. Instead through some mistake in the magic he found himself
dreaming. About a life where he could turn invisible, but with a price: madness. An entire world
for himself. With friends and love and joy as well as enemies, fear, and pain. Oh, and madness,
of course. And there he slumbers still, awaiting the time when a new magic can be found to revive
him." Alyx looked at them impressed at the stunned expressions on their faces.

Darien broke first. "Not possible. This can't be a fantasy."

"Huh? Why not Fawkes?" Bobby asked him.

Darien leaned over towards Alyx. "Because never in my wildest dreams could I have come up with
you." he said to her.

But she was ready for that one. "You didn't. Much like Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz, your fantasy
people are from the real world around you. Bobby is the doctor who monitors your condition.
Claire is your physical therapist. Me, I'm your nurse. I'm the one who bathes you and feeds you,
and reads to you as you lie on your bed so still and so silent." She picked up her glass and took
a sip. "Think about it."

The two men looked at each other and as one dug into their wallets and each handed her a twenty.

"You win."


Finis