Finding Robert Porter
by pari106

Disclaimer: Prote is not mine, nor are any of the other elements of "K-PAX". Rating: PG.

Summary: Short. One interpretation of the ending of this movie. I hope you enjoy :) Please review.

The first time I met Robert Porter he was an infant.

And I'd only taken interest in him on a whim.

I was curious. I'd never seen a human newborn before. And the newborn condition was
such a popular topic in K-PAXian social circles of the time. At least, the ones I
frequented. My closest friends had all finally done their civic duty and procreated, but I
had yet to "take the plunge". Or so goes the curious human expression.

When I first saw Robert, I was fascinated. And a little repulsed, I will admit. But I could
finally see the appeal procreation held for some, even on K-PAX, where the conception
process is such a chore. Robert's parents were so excited… And he was such a "cute"
little creature. Peculiar Looking. But cute, in his own, human way. I found it
inexplicable… How anything so tiny, with such a fragile little body, could survive on
such a barbarous planet as Earth.

If only I'd understood how the real fragility of the human form lies in its fragile mind.


The second time I saw Robert was several years later.

I'd dropped into the Porter household yet again on a whim; this time to check on "my"
little human and to see how he'd fared.

Not well.

So much had changed in the years since our last acquaintance. Robert's mother had died.
Not long after his birth, I learned. And then his father had gotten sick.

Robert was beside himself. And I could almost feel his pain.

After all, I felt we had a bond, he and I. I can't explain how. But after having watched
him being born… I felt almost as if I'd had some part in that amazing experience.
Imagine that… An "amazing experience" on such an unamazingly primitive little planet.

And Robert and I had so much in common. Well… Perhaps not. But he was a bright
boy. Brilliant, even. I could see great things ahead for him. And he always had his head
in the stars… What better place for a brilliant, young Earth boy to be, hmm?

Until his father died.

Then I don't know where Robert's head was. He wasn't just beside himself, he was
outside himself; withdrawing into himself. I was just a little over a hundred years old
then, and I didn't know what was going on. We don't have mental illness on K-PAX; we
don't have sickness. But I saw that Robert's father was sick, and I thought that he was
sick, too.

Humans haven't yet learned how to cure themselves, you know. So I tried to cure him. I
tried to help.

Instead I ended up doing more harm than I could ever know.

I didn't know how Robert would interpret my presence when we merged. Not only
because of his "sickness", but because no K-PAXian had ever merged with a human
before. It is how we've managed to avoid detection during our travels to Earth for all
these years. Usually, when we travel to Earth we do so in "disguise", I suppose you
could say. We manipulate wavelengths of light so as to make ourselves undetectable by
the human eyes. In a word, invisible. It's the most convenient way to move amongst

But I knew the cure Robert needed could not come from some invisible force outside
him, but from within his own mind. And I knew he could not find it himself. So I
entered his mind to find it for him.

The result was devastating.

Robert not only accepted my presence, he became dependent on it. He not only allowed
my consciousness to merge with his own, he began adopting aspects of it. So that, in his
mind, in the deepest recesses of his subconscious, he began to believe that those aspects
were his own. I wouldn't doubt it if, during those "hypnosis" sessions of Dr. Powell's
Robert claimed to be Prote himself; to be me, entirely. Or, at least, his perception of
what I am. His condition has debilitated that far.

But I had no idea it would be this way. I'd had no idea the damage I'd done the first time
Robert and I merged.

So we merged again.

Nearly ten years later, when I returned to check up on him. Robert was having problems
with his girlfriend, Sarah, whom he loved very much. But she was going to have a baby,
and he had no idea what to do. He was as anguished as he had been the day his father
had told him he had cancer.

This was when I realized that merging was not going to cure Robert. In fact, it was
making him worse.

During that merge, Robert didn't stop withdrawing from himself just because I was with
him. Instead, he withdrew even further. Suddenly, it was like I was the dominant
consciousness in Robert's mind, not Robert. A frightening experience.

I helped Robert make the right decision. The decision he had known he would make, but
had been frightened of all the same. And I didn't merge with him again. I only returned
for special occasions after that, not solemn ones – Robert and Sarah's wedding,
Rebecca's birth. I "loved" Robert, you know. I'd grown to love him, as you humans call
it. And I grew to love Sarah and Rebecca, as well. As though they were my own family.

How it hurts to think of them that way now. How it hurt to tell Dr. Powell that I have no
family. Because I don't. Not anymore. Sarah and Rebecca are both dead.

But then… Back then, everything seemed to be going so well. They were all so happy.
There was the issue of Robert's career… But besides that he was so happy. I didn't want
to mess that up by trying to play "doctor" anymore.

But on July 27th… I was given no other choice.

I don't want to think about it – the details. I won't think about it. Having seen what
became of lovely Sarah and sweet little Becky once was enough. I won't think of the
cruel, inhuman things humans can do to one another.

Or to themselves.

I'd had no choice but to merge with Robert then. Even if it meant losing him within
himself. I'd had to save him – when the current of that river caught him and Robert
refused… *refused* to fight. Refused to live. He hadn't the will for it anymore.

But I had. I willed him to live. And when that didn't work, I took over his life for him
and I made him live.

I had to. He was my responsibility. I made him my responsibility the day I came back to
check up on him, all those years after his birth, and I had to see it through.

Now I'm seeing it through.

'I've seen you through five years now, Robert. And I'm turning you over to Dr. Powell.'

Mark will take care of him, I know. He's a good person. What I told him tonight is true:
I will miss him. He's an excellent doctor. And despite his primitive surroundings,
perhaps he is better able to cure Robert than I will ever be.

What's more, he's made Robert his responsibility, too. He's made it clear he is willing to
take on that responsibility alone.

In fact, he probably needs to have that sort of responsibility. AT least…I know his
family needs for him to have it.

So I've made my arrangements to leave. I've processed my report. Bess has passed her
final task – going days without her medications, but without becoming mute yet again.
We will leave. And I will continue to watch over Robert.

'I will always be watching, Robert.'

But I will not worry, as Mrs. Powell said. She was right; families worry. But I will not.

Because when I found Robert, I began a chain of reactions that lost him his sanity. But
now that Mark Powell has found him, I believe he may just be able to regain that sanity.

And perhaps, in the meantime, the good doctor will be able to regain a little of what he's
lost of himself – by ignoring Michael, neglecting his wife and the girls – as well.