This is the first story I've written since my school days. LOL Definately my first fanfic for any series at all. I came across I-Man again just recently and remembered just how much I loved that show. 10 years later and I still wish they'd brought it back! DANG YOU SCIFI!

After reading several stories on here it seems a disclamier is required so here's mine: I don't own any of the characters, the series, or anything. This is just my way of reliving the old I-Man days. Man, I miss them... So don't sue me. I'm broke so you wouldn't get anything anyway.

Sorry it's a bit long. Once I got started I couldn't stop. Written at about 2 in the morning so please forgive the insomnia talk. LOL

Let me know if you like it, hate it, whatever. Be honest in your opinions. I can handle it. ;-)


Tickticktickticktick

Strange how some things turn out. Here we are, all of us, in the keep. She was the first one I went after. Darted her with her own gun. She's used it on me often enough… One is crying, another is unconscious, yet another is bleeding heavily. How did this happen? Rather simply to be honest. Honesty… Now there is a novel idea. Not something any of them have a clue about.

{~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~}

It all started while I was asleep. The dreams had come again… Actually, it was a good thing this time, though. I woke up with a start only to hear someone picking the lock of my studio apartment. That caught my attention quick enough. I went see-through just in time. The door eased open as I quietly slipped from my bed to stand in the corner farthest from them. Six of them. All armed, silencers attached. Who were they? No idea but my instincts told me they were bad news. They combed my place obviously looking for me. Angry I 'wasn't there'. They took their time going through my things, my computer, my mail, my desk. One always waited by the door. I was trapped in my own apartment. To drop the quicksilver would be fatal. So I waited. For 25 minutes I waited. Four finally left. Two stayed. One by my door, one on the street below. I eased my way into my bathroom and slipped out the small window there, thanking God for my slim frame. I slithered my way down to the ally and ran. A few blocks away I let the quicksilver drop. Judging from the pounding in my head I was nearly out of time. I needed a shot NOW! I found a pay phone and called Claire collect. She didn't appreciate the 3 am wakeup call. I told her I was in trouble and would meet her at the keep ASAP. She agreed and we hung up in time for a blast of pain in my head to knock me to the ground. If I had cared to look I would have seen my tattoo was completely red. It was too late. The madness had taken me.

I beat her to the keep and I waited. Waited with my thoughts. It had been far too long. I was sick of being the 'experiment'. Poked and prodded constantly. Time for some pay back. This would be fun. She walked through the door looking for me. Thinking she had time to set up the shot. She didn't realize the predator was on the hunt. And he was armed with her own dart gun. She never saw it coming. I made sure of that. She was down. I had my first captive. I put her on that demented dentist chair she always had me sit in. Strapped her to it thinking to myself 'Let see how SHE likes it!'

The door opened again. It was him. She must have called him on her way over here. Asked him to back her up. He was going to be a bit trickier to take down. I quicksilvered before he came fully into the room. The dart gun was empty. So I had to get more creative. He walked in, saw her in the chair and drew his gun. 'Ah, a challenge' I thought. I waited. Stalking my prey until the moment came. I had picked up the tray she always laid her needles on and quicksilvered it. He stepped right in front of me and I promptly bent it over his head. He had just enough time to say "Aw Crap" before he hit the floor. I used his own handcuffs to chain him to the chair she laid in. He wasn't going anywhere either. I had my second captive.

I got bored watching them sleep away my attacks. I went to roam the building that had become the symbol of my captivity. I found the armory. Interesting toys in there. I smiled at the thoughts of what I could do with those things. Ah, the mass chaos I could create. The abject terror people would look at me with. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the thought! I frosted the lock on the cage. As if something that simple could keep me out. Ha! I started looking around and came across something even more interesting then the guns. Small, gray, and the shape of a brick. The letter C and the number 4 on them. All nice and tidy. In the cabinet I found their companions. I gathered them together and brought them all back to the keep. I had used similar things in my past. This would most certainly be fun! I always loved a big bang!

I heard him groan. It wouldn't due to have him wake just yet. So after some poking around I found a sedative for him. 'No need to be gentle giving it to him' I thought with a smile.

I continued to set things up in preparation for the others who would surely arrive looking for these two. The dart gun was cute but as the hours passed I felt a need to get a little closer to my prey. I wanted to bring them down up close and personal, not from a safe distance. With tape over the mouths of my two captives, I waited. Ready. I wasn't disappointed.

The cocky chick came in. She always thought she was so high and mighty. Well, we'll see about that. She proved to be more difficult then I had first thought. All that more satisfying to beat. After some rough and tumble games, I ended up having to use the safe distance technique. I used his gun. Pulled the trigger twice. TapTap. That's all it took. A crimson pool formed around her. I had beaten my third victim.

The shots had woken the other two. I turned to them with silver eyes and smiled. They looked at me in horror. I could practically smell their fear. It was exhilarating. I heard their muffled speech and ignored it as the phone started to ring. I picked it up and heard that fat one demand to know what was going on. I smiled but remained silent and hung up the phone. Let him worry. It was far more fun that way.

I dragged number three over by the other two. I was getting quite a collection over there! She moaned as I dragged her. Opened her eyes but had no strength to do anything else. I squatted down next to her with a smile. Kissed my fingers and put them to her lips. Told her to be a good girl and stay quiet. He started trying to yell at me through that tape over his mouth as I did this. I just chuckled and went back to my position. I knew more would be coming soon.

I listened through that door. Sure enough, I heard them. Lining up and taking position to storm the room. They must have heard the gun shots. I giggled to my self. Did they really think I hadn't prepared? Fools. Always underestimating me. I pulled the trigger from my pocket and waited. I backed away from the door, counted to 10 and pushed the button. That was a BIG boom! I laughed like a kid in a toy store, jumping up and down in glee. I opened the door and saw the hall outside the door was smoking. Several were moaning. Even more would never make a sound again. I'd never had some much fun in my life! It was almost ecstasy! But there were two more I needed to gather to complete my collection. The first of the two was simple to get. He was among those in the hall. Alive, unfortunately, but clearly not going anyway soon. So into the keep I dragged him. Dropped him next to the other bloodied one. Now for my final target. The one who tried so hard to control me. The one who thought he was going to rule my life. He was going to pay.

I went up to his office knowing he'd be there sitting behind that desk of his. I was right, of course. He was there, on the phone, yelling for someone to pick up that line and tell him what in the hell was going on. I laughed as I walked into his office. I just leaned up against the wall with my arms crossed against my chest and laughed. He noticed me quickly and hung up the phone slowly. He also seemed to notice the other man's gun in my hand. I had no intention of shooting him… yet… But he didn't know that… I saw his hands slowly go behind his desk.

"Uh uh, boss man. Hands back out where I can see them" I said.

He complied and said in a quiet and strained voice "Fawkes, what the hell is going on… what have you done…"

I just smiled. He was terrified. He ice blue eyes showing just how afraid of me he was. I was in heaven.

"Oh, I'm just starting a little collection in the keep. Why don't you join me?"

I pointed the gun at him and with it motioned for him to get up. He did and we walked down to the keep together, I was snickering most of the way. It was just too perfect.

When we got to the hall outside that horrible room, he gasped. He stopped to soak it all in and I let him.

I was just behind him and whispered into his ear "Your precious agency is going to be a bit short handed for a while." With that, I jabbed him in his soft back with the gun and we continued forward into that room.

Once inside he looked over and saw my collection. I smiled again and roughly pushed him over to them. He stood beside my first victim. She was crying her grey eyes out. My pathetic partner had managed to get the tape off his mouth and was loudly yelling for me to stop this. I just laughed. I had them all together now. The collection complete. The Fat one removed the tape from the woman's mouth and she pleaded with me to let her 'help' me. Seriously? She thought I needed help? HA! I was about to take my freedom! What did I need her help for! When I told her as much, there was a stunned silence. So I went and got my new toy to show off.

I stared at it as it ticked away. The soft sound made me giggle again. This would destroy them and everything they are, everything they created, everything they worked for. It'd all be gone in an instant. In one big boom. Oh what fun that'd be! I turned to face them starring the fat one dead in the eye. I could see how hard it is for him to look at my silver eyes. I just smiled.

"Are you proud of your experiment?" I taunted. "Are you pleased with the outcome?"

He didn't say a word. He just returned my glare.

The woman spoke again, begging for me to stop, saying she could help me, cure me. She'd say anything to stop what's coming. That made the situation even more entertaining.

I replied to her "How's it feel to have your life in the hands of someone you can't trust? How's it feel, Keepy, to know with certainty that you're going to die because of someone elses actions?"

That shut her up. The little man, my partner, just looked at me and sighed.

"Fawkes," he said. "Buddy, I know you're in there some where. Bro, you gotta stop and think for a second here. Think about what you're doing. I'm your best friend, man! Claire's you friend! Ebes is! You just gonna let us all die? Just blow us up? You gonna be responsible for killing your friends?"

I burst out laughing. I could hardly control myself so I didn't even bother. "Friends?" I said coldly. "Weren't you the one that once said friendship was an illusion? We're all alone, Robert. Always have been. Especially since I had this gland put in my head. But that's ok. Really. It bothered me having my freedom stolen from me…," my eyes slipped over to the fat one "and then it bothered me being a non stop lab rat…," my eyes then on that weeping woman "and being completely disrespected by everyone else. But, it's all ok now. See? I'm taking my freedom back. No one can stop me. We'll just all wait and let our time run out together." I smiled my knowing smile at him.

He just stared at me. The one called Bobby. He stared with tears in his eyes. But not tears of fear. They were tears of remorse.

"I'm sorry, Partner," He said in a voice barely above a whisper. "I failed you."

I just looked at him. I was actually confused by this statement. He saw my confusion and continued.

"I shoulda been there for ya. I shoulda taken better care of ya. I don't know what happened to make you go QSM but I shoulda been there to prevent it. To protect you. I thought I had proven to you that I was on your side. That I AM your friend and always will be. I guess I didn't prove it good enough cause here we are. What can I do to make it up to you? What can I do to prove to YOU that I'm your friend?"

I just stared at him. Was he serious? What did He think that would accomplish?

"If you're trying to appeal to my 'human side' I can assure you it ain't gonna happen, man. That side of me is gone." I snarled thinking that would shut him up.

He replied in a calm, even, soothing tone. "I don't believe that, Fawkes. Not for one second. I know you're still you, even if your darker side is showing now. You're too good a person to have a dark side big enough to wipe you out. You're too good a man to let it have full control over you. I know my partner, my friend, ... my brother can hear me. I know the good part of you wants to stop this. So tell me how. How can I prove to you that I'm your friend? How can I convince you to stop this? Come on, Partner. You know this isn't right. You know this has to stop. Think for a second, Darien."

I stood stone still. 'Darien? He used my first name? He never does that! Wait, what's it matter what he calls me? He's a nothing, a nobody!'

I turned back to my toy. It was ticking away. The hour had almost arrived. Just a few more minutes and this would all end. The pain, the torture, the captivity, the hate, the anger, the rage, everything. I would be free in a few more minutes. I turned to look back at him. Silver eyes lock on brown. There was something in those eyes that intrigued me. I couldn't put my finger on it. Something… comforting?... Hmmmm…. I walked up to him and squated down so we're on the same eye level. He was quiet but the questions he had asked were still in those brown eyes begging for answers. I wanted to hit him. I wanted to knock him out so those eyes close and I wouldn't have to look at them anymore. But I couldn't. I was frozen in place by them.

"Darien," he whisperd.

Something in me snaped. I felt again. I felt the need to protect him. I couldn't let him die.

I stood up and walked to my toy. I cut the wires that were causing it to tick down the hour. It went silent. My toy was dead. What a pity. It would have been so much fun to have seen go off.

I turned back to my collection. All eyes, now that they were all conscious, were on me. My eyes were locked back on the brown ones. I went back and crouched in front of him again.

He smiled gently. "I knew you were in there, Partner," He said quietly.

I shook my head. I couldn't believe I did that. Why was I choosing this insignificant person over my freedom? It made no sense! I had no conscience! I had no remorse! I could do anything to anyone and not feel guilty! That was the joy and freedom of what they call the madness! So why did I do that?

I closed my eyes as the two sides of me war on each other. Darien the partner/friend/brother versus the QSM Darien. I heard Hobbes speaking to me softly, encouraging me to fight off my 'demon'. I opened my silver eyes again and looked at him, my friend, for whom I had just given up my freedom. I took the cuffs off him and gave him back his gun.

"You want to prove your friendship?" I asked him "Kill me."

He looked at me, stunned. He looked down at the gun I put in his hand as I withdrew my hand from it and then back at my eyes.

"Free me," I pleaded.

"I can't do that, Partner. I can't give up on you like that. We can fix this. We can make you better again. Help me help Monroe and Eberts. Help me save them and then we can get you fixed up right." He said all that in his calming, soothing tone. "Please, Darien. Don't quit on me. Help me."

I just stared at him. I didn't know what to think. I felt no anger, no pain, no rage, nothing. I felt nothing. I was empty inside. But this small, balding man gotten to something deep inside me.

I can't explain why I helped him. I can't explain why I released the woman who has tortured, poked, and prodded me for so long. I can't explain why I lifted the bleeding woman to the chair the other had been confined to. Or why I stood back and let them be doctored by that one they call Claire, my tormenter.

All the while I kept watching Hobbes. He never stopped talking to me even when he was helping the others. He would have to look away at times but he always came back to my eyes when he could. It was also as if his eyes were my grip on their world. How strange…

They saved the annoying man and bleeding woman. Neither will be working any time soon but they saved them. They also saved several others from the hall outside that horrible room, though four were already dead from the blast.

My Keeper made the silver liquid that would 'cure' me of the 'madness'. She tried to approach me to give it to me but I backed away. I wasn't scared. I didn't feel fear. I just didn't want her anywhere near me. So Hobbes came forward and took the syringe from her and she backed away. He didn't come to me. He just faced me and waited with his hand out to me. He wanted me to come to him. Ha! He wanted me to volunteer to go back to their world and live by their rules! I wouldn't do that! I couldn't do that! That was not freedom, that was a cage!

He locked those brown eyes on mine again. He pleaded to me with them but remained silent with his hand, open, palm up, extended to me. My friend was begging me. I had to answer. I don't understand why but I had to.

I stepped toward him and gave him my arm. I felt the needle pierce my skin but we never broke eye contact. He depressed the plunger and the liquid cage surrounded me again as I lost consciousness. I never hit the ground. My friend caught me.

I woke up on a bed in one of the other labs. My mind was hazy, my memories like a half remembered dream. I groaned and shook my head trying to clear it.

"Fawkes? How you doin, Buddy?" Hobbes was there by my side. He had never left me.

"Bobby? What happened, man? Did I completely loose it again?"

He just smiled a sad smile at me. Happy that I was ok but sad about events I would soon have to face and accept.

"Just rest, Darien. Everything will be ok. You're safe." He patted my shoulder.

Darien. He'd used my first name. This was really bad…

Tickticktick

There was a clock on the wall counting down the seconds. The ticking sound brought some of the memories flooding back to my dreams. I woke up crying. What have I done? How could I do that? Oh God! What have I done!

Bobby was there. Claire was too. One on either side of me, trying to hold me and comfort me. Trying to tell me everything would be ok. That it hadn't been my fault. My sobs continued for a time. Four people dead because of me. Four people I had worked with and around. I had known their names and faces. They were dead because of me. I couldn't stop sobbing. Claire went to get a sedative. Bobby just held me, trying to comfort me. Trying his best to be a friend, a brother. Trying to soothe the pain he knew I would feel. Claire came back. I never felt the needle but I did feel the effects. They laid me back to the mattress and I just stared at Bobby.

"Why didn't you do it?" I asked in a drug slurred voice "Why didn't you just kill me?"

"Because Bobby Hobbes doesn't bail on his partner, my friend. And he also doesn't give up on his brother." He replied with a small sad smile. He gripped my shoulder as I started to fade into the drug induced sleep. "I'll always be here to help you, Darien. Brothers help each other. They pick each other up. And when everyone else is gone, they have each other to help them get through stuff. I'll be here to help you get through this. You have Bobby Hobbes word on that. And you know I always keep my word. You just trust me. You'll be ok."

I heard those words as I drifted off to sleep. The words themselves blended together but the honest meaning is what stuck with me. I'm not alone. I have someone in my corner ready to back me up whenever I need it. Bobby Hobbes is closer to me then any family I've ever had, Kevin included. When I can't trust another soul on this planet, I can still trust Bobby Hobbes to be there. I would have to accept what I did to those men, to Eberts, to Monroe, to Claire, and to the Official. I will have to accept I killed four, nearly killed several others, and nearly blew us all up with the building. But Bobby Hobbes wouldn't let me bare that weight on my own. He'd be there to help me with it every step of the way just because that's who he is. He always tells it like it is. He's the definition of honesty. That's just Bobby Hobbes…