Author: A. X. Zanier
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or basic story ideas to 'The Invisible Man.' any
additional characters or story ideas are mine. Timeline: Couple of weeks after 'Brother's Keeper'
but before 'Insensate' Spoilers: Brother's Keeper
Comments: Due to popular demand I decided to go ahead and write out an entire story. If the
beginning seems familiar, well it should.


One of America's greatest patriots, Patrick Henry, once said, "Is life so dear, or peace so
sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not
what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

I couldn't agree more. For over a year I had been a slave to the Agency, to the counteragent, to
the gland. It was time for those chains to be broken.

Claire walked the nearly empty halls of the Harding building, making her slow way from the Keep to
the Official's office. The last two weeks had seemed so very long. She was supposed to remain
detached, professional, but it was difficult. Two men she cared about, though differently, were
gone, each in their own way, and it hurt.

When Darien suggested that they try to bring Kevin back using memory RNA, who knew that that it
would work? She hadn't even thought she'd be willing to go through with it, especially after the
Official had so adamantly said no. Once again, Bobby had done something that, half a year ago, she
would have thought impossible for him. He had been the one to steal the sample, right out from
under everyone else in the Agency. But it had been Darien, throwing her own words back in her face,
that made any potential argument useless. That and the sight of him standing, soaking wet, on the
curb outside of her house.

For months he had relied on her to keep him sane, to find a way out for him. She had been less than
successful on both counts. He was alive and technically sane, most of the time. He was also angry,
depressed, and very unhappy. Nothing like the person she knew he could be. Gone were any attempts
at flippancy, sarcasm, or humor. She thought it had been bad a few months earlier when he had taken
off after that little casino trip. It had been his anniversary of a sort, but it was anything but a
day of celebration. This was ten times worse. she wasn't sure what to do. His chance at parole had been snatched away, and with it had
gone what little hope he'd still clung to. Kevin might have been a genius, but Claire was starting
to think he was also a fool.

Kevin. That was a topic in and of itself. It was a good thing the Official had no idea of their
past relationship. Had he known, she would never had been chosen for this project, and, in spite of
all the problems, she found the work both fascinating and rewarding. Learning she would be working
with Kevin's brother had been a surprise. Adjusting to him -- Darien was so very different from
Kevin -- had taken time, but she now liked him for himself.

She just wished she could help him.

Kevin, in some fit of moral superiority, had decided that Darien was better off, a better person
with the gland and had, after revealing he knew how to remove it, given himself that damned
anti-peptide shot and erased himself from the gland. Erasing any hope of a quick solution. Erasing
any chance of peace for Darien. Erasing any chance of a resolution between herself and Kevin. She
had loved him, did love him, but right now she was very angry at him and it confused her. He was
gone, and she hadn't gotten a chance to say goodbye. It hurt.

She opened the door to the Official's office and closed it behind her. She'd been hoping Bobby
would be here, and gave him a wan smile as she moved closer to the desk. "Have any of you seen
Darien today?"

"No, why?" The Official barely glanced over at her. He was still angry with her and Bobby for
helping Darien, though she wasn't quite sure why.

"I haven't seen him since yesterday morning, and he was supposed to meet with me an hour ago. I...
I'm a bit concerned about his state of mind." Claire was reluctant to admit this, but she was not
capable of finding him on her own if he decided to do something foolish.

"Is he due for a shot?" The Official really didn't want a repeat of his last little act of

She shook her head, not surprised that this was the Official's first concern. "No, he got one
yesterday." She wasn't sure how to explain it. "I'm just worried about him."

"As long as he cooperates, I don't see a problem." The Official turned back to the paperwork lining
his desk.

"Sir!" His callous attitude was beginning to annoy her. It was bad enough before all of this mess,
but it had only gotten worse since. Darien might not have a whole lot of choices these days, but
that didn't mean he should be treated like a thing, a tool to be used and then put away until
needed again. Once again she wanted to curse Kevin for his selfishness.

"Oh, all right. Hobbes, find him and keep a watch on him." He lifted his head to look at the
Keeper. "Does that satisfy you?"

"Not even close," she snapped, but before the Official could comment, she turned and left the room.
Bobby followed a moment later.

"I might know where he is. Care to take a little ride with me?" Bobby asked her, and she nodded.

Darien was standing over Kevin's grave again. This was getting to be a habit with him, but instead
of guilt, anger, or comfort, all he could feel was hate.

He had always wondered why Kevin had pushed him out of the way that day, why Kevin had died instead
of him. Now he knew. In the end, it hadn't been his brother Kevin was saving; it had been the
precious gland. His life's work. His hope to make the world a better place. His mark on the world.
Saving Darien guaranteed that someone, someday, would point at his freak of a brother and say 'look
at what Kevin Fawkes gave mankind.'

It had taken him such a long time to forgive Kevin for doing this to him the first time. To be able
to thank Kevin for giving him another chance. To be able to look forward with a bit of hope in his
heart. Hope that had dwindled as the months dragged by, only to return along with Kevin. His best
chance for finally getting free of the gland, and now it was gone. Like everything else in his life
he cared about. He was tired -- tired of living day to day without hope, tired of risking his life
for some nebulous cause he cared nothing about. Tired of being someone he wasn't.

Well, he wouldn't play their game any more.

Hearing voices, he lifted his head to see both Claire and Bobby approaching.

"So they've set the dogs on me already?" He tried to keep his voice neutral. He had been expecting
something like this since he took off yesterday.

"Fawkes, the Keep was a little worried is all," Bobby said, hoping to prevent Fawkes from bolting.
He knew his partner hadn't been dealing with things too well, but he'd been rebuffed at every
attempt to help. In fact, except when Bobby had gone out of his way to corner him, Darien had been
avoiding him entirely.

"Right. Worried I might take off with that precious gland," Darien's voice was flat, toneless.

Before Claire got a chance to answer, Bobby attempted to change the subject. "He was a good man,
your brother." Bobby truly believed this. Truly believed he was that fallen hero the flag he set
at the grave represented. Even with the side effects, he'd seen Fawkes turn from a belligerent punk
who only cared about himself into someone Bobby truly liked and trusted. He didn't make friends
easily, but when he did it was for life. Or death, if necessary.

Darien laughed, harsh laughter. "Good man? Maybe. Good scientist? Yeah. Good brother? Never."

"Darien, that's not true. He... he did what he thought was best for you." Claire tried to keep the
pain she felt out of her voice, but only partially succeeded. She hated seeing him like this, but
there was very little she could do about it.

"No!" Darien shouted. "Like always, he decided that my feelings, my wants, my needs didn't matter,
and he took away the last chance I had to get free of this mess." He turned to glare at them. "He
never once took the time to ask what I wanted out of my life. Did he even ask how I was? How I felt
about being a lab experiment? Take the time to understand the hell I'm living?" His hands balled
into fists. "He had no right to decide what was best for me, no matter what he thought he knew."

Neither Bobby nor Claire could answer immediately. Claire found her voice first. "He gave me a
place to start. It will just take a bit longer is all."

"Oh, yes. You told me. 'Gene therapy'." He turned to her. "Did it ever occur to you that he already
performed the 'gene therapy' by removing himself?" Based on the shocked look on her face, it was
obvious she had not considered that. Darien shook his head. "You don't get it. Even after a year of
watching the hell I've gone through, you still don't understand." He threw up his hands in anger.
"This... thing is like a cancer eating away at me. I spend every day in fear of going mad, of
hurting innocent people, of becoming so addicted to the counteragent that nothing will fix it."
His anger drained away suddenly. "I'm tired of it. My cure was dangled in front of me and then
yanked away again, by my self-serving brother who never once in his life thought I worth anything."

They both stood there, stunned. "Darien, I..." Claire began.

"I want out." He turned quickly and grabbed her arm. "I want it out."

Claire was sure she had heard him wrong. "I still can't take it out without killing you," Claire
reminded him.

"I know that. Do you think I could ever forget that?" he shouted at her.

"Fawkes, you can't mean this. You can't want to die," Bobby said to him. He didn't like seeing his
friend like this.

"I won't live like this anymore." Darien had turned to look at Bobby. "It's killing me, Hobbes,
and I can't...won't do it any more." He really looked at his partner, trying to make him
understand. "What the hell do I have to look forward to, to live for? Eventual tolerance to the
counteragent and a gland harvesting party? Might as well do it now and get it over with, before
anyone else gets hurt."

"I can't do this, Darien." Claire said, pulling her arm from his now-painful grip. She realized he
was quite serious, but.... She couldn't do as he asked. "I'm sorry, but I can't do it."

"Fine," he snarled. "If you won't, I'll find someone who will." He turned and walked away from

Bobby stared after him for a long moment, until Darien's words sank into his stunned mind. Then he
ran lightly to catch up. Grabbing Darien's arm, he yanked and spun him around. "I can't let you do
that, my friend."

"What, you think you know what's better for me, too? Gonna take Kevin's place in running my life?"
Darien's voice was tight, cold. "I thought you were my friend." When he walked away this time,
Bobby let him go.

"Bobby, we can't let him do this." Claire had moved to stand next to him. If she had realized he
was this upset, this desperate, maybe she could have done something earlier to help. But she had
been dealing with her own pain, and had failed to take as much notice of his condition as she

Bobby shook his head, not sure what to do. He didn't want to become what Darien had accused him of,
but he also wanted no part of losing his best friend. "Claire, if he really wants to do this,
nothing will stop him."

"Bobby..." Claire let the emotions seep into her voice.

"I know. We'll follow him." Taking her arm, they headed for the van at a fast walk.

They didn't have much luck. Apparently some of what Bobby had tried to teach Darien over the months
had sunk in; he managed to lose them in the late morning traffic. After several minutes of grumbling
about 'smart-ass partners,' Bobby pulled over.

"Can he do this, Claire?" he asked her. He needed to know, because the answer she gave would decide
what he would do next. He had to try and balance his loyalties to the Agency and the Official with
his duty to Fawkes, his friend and partner.

"I'm not sure," she answered honestly. Never had she claimed to know Darien well enough to be sure
what he would do. "I don't think he would go to just anyone. It would raise too many questions."

"So, who could remove the gland?" Bobby started thinking. "Who would he trust with something like
that, besides you?"

"Bobby, I don't think 'trust' is anything he's worrying about right now." She paused, a frown on
her face. "He could contact Arnaud; he'd be happy to remove it for him. Then there's Stark." Claire
realized that this was exactly what Darien might do. When your friends won't help, don't seem to
care, and you are as desperate as Darien seemed to be... At this point she could see him doing it.

"Damn it. You think he'll do it. You think he'll contact one of them." Bobby allowed the disbelief
he felt into this voice. Not that long ago, Fawkes had been trying to kill Arnaud. He couldn't
believe his partner would go to the Swiss bastard now, even for this. Stark, though, was another
matter. "Not Arnaud, but his doc girlfriend, maybe."

Claire nodded in agreement. "What do we do now?"

"We go tell the boss and hope he'll let us try and find him, before Fawkes does something stupid
even for him." Bobby moved the van back into traffic and drove back towards the office.

" that wise? Especially after last time?" Claire could not keep the worry from her voice.

"If you can come up with a better suggestion to find him and keep him from doing this, I would be
glad to hear it," Bobby said, glancing over at her as he drove.

"Can't you track him, watch him?" Claire knew Bobby would try to do his best for Darien, even if it
meant going against the Official. He'd proven that again just recently.

"Claire," he sighed, "Even I can't be everywhere at once, and I do have to sleep sometime. If I go
to the boss, we can set up stake-outs at his place and watch Rendell to see if he contacts her.
Watch his phone for calls. The two of us alone can't cover everything." Bobby hated the look on her
face as the truth sank in.

"What if he calls in Orion and orders the gland harvested?" Claire had to present the possibility
to him.

"Claire, isn't that what Fawkes wants?" He turned at the light. "Would you do it if the Fat Man
told you to? Would you harvest the gland?"

Claire took a moment to consider. "Bobby, there are only two reasons I'd remove the gland. When
I've solved the problem, or if Darien were already dead." She looked at Bobby. "I'd quit if he
ordered me to do it for any other reason."

Bobby could not help but feel some disbelief at her words. After the last incident, she'd seemed
far more concerned that the gland had survived the experience with Stage Five than she had about
Fawkes. He decided to call her on it. "Are you sure your not just worried about the gland? I mean,
it doesn't really matter who the receptacle is, now does it?"

"Bobby!" She was truly shocked. "Yes, I'm supposed to protect the gland. If it becomes
non-functional, even partially, the results could kill Darien." She ground her teeth and argued
with herself. "Look, thanks to the changes Arnaud made, he is chemically dependent on both the
gland and the counteragent. I don't yet know how to break the addictions. Plus you can throw in the
fun fact that the gland itself is susceptible to illness. You've seen this."

"Keepy, I had to know, ya know. You may have sided with Fawkes before, but you're still his Keeper
first. Even I know that." Bobby needed her to understand that he wasn't accusing or placing blame.
They would need to work together if they were to have any hope of getting Fawkes back in one piece.

"I understand, Bobby. I'll help you all I can, but I can only go so far without raising suspicion,"
Claire answered. There was still that Keeper/friend line that she could not completely cross. No
matter how much she might want to.

"Good enough." He pulled into his usual spot in front of the building. It was time to face the Fat