Author: AuditoryEden

Rating: T

Warnings: None

Notes: This is where we are right now, don't you think?


She was standing in Doctor Pierce's empty office, standing next to the chair where he used to sit at all hours of the night grading papers. She was staring straight ahead, as though she couldn't bear to look around. There was a sense of tension about her, and her eyes are red.

He knew why.

People knew that Doctor Pierce was a schizophrenic. It's part of what gave him such acclaim, the man who understands it all because he lives it every day. And somehow, despite the caution taken by his TA and the Dean, by everyone at the FBI, it had gotten out that he'd had a major episode, and that the reason he had suddenly dropped off the face of the earth was that he had been hospitalized for his own safety.

How much was true he didn't know, but Doctor Pierce was certainly not teaching classes, and he had seen the man talking to thin air himself once, though only for a few brief seconds before their briefly intersecting sidewalks had parted again, hiding Daniel from view. And now Kate was standing here in his office, not looking like an FBI agent at all, but like a young, sad woman. She was beautiful, she was always beautiful, but some kind of vital force seemed to have been stripped away from her. Maybe her faith in Daniel. She looked like a young widow, even dressed in light colors as she was, far different from the severe clothes she wore for work. It was as though the light in the room sapped her away until she was nothing more than a ghost, haunting a familiar place in search of comfort.

Maybe she didn't know the door was open, for she slid sideways into the professor's chair, slid bonelessly, landed with her elbows on the desk and her face in her hands. For a long moment she sat unmoving, barely breathing, but then a tremor ran over her, and her shoulders began to shake, a spasmodic gasp issuing from her every now and again as she cried.

No, this wasn't crying, he thought as he watched her, this was weeping. These were the angry tears and the sad ones, the loving tears and the proud ones.

He'd heard that she'd walked through the hospital doors with him, held his hand as he committed himself.

From across the hall in a niche not unlike one she'd once used to hide from him, he watched her grieving, in the sunlit private of a room with an open door, her pain on display to anyone who cared to stop and watch, but no one did.

The man she loved wasn't dead. No, not death, but something worse, trapped inside a living hell, the prison of his own mind. And she knew, as he did, from the place where he watched her, that never again would she know the comfort of blind faith in him, the trust she had always given him so absolutely.

And as he watched, she sank her head into her arms as her body was wracked with sobs.