Author: A. X. Zanier

Title: Silence

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I do not own The Invisible Man or the premise behind the show. Any additional characters or premises are mine.

Timeline: Final in the "Always" Quatrain

Comments: I gave up and joined the bunnies in the hutchery.

Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend,

I've come to talk with you again,

Because a vision softly creeping,

Left its seeds while I was sleeping,

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence.

Every now and again silence is exactly what you want to hear.

The darkness was thick, cloying, viscous making it difficult to breath and harder to move. Struggling seemed to do little even though those behind continued their taunts, increasing the need, the urge to flee, to get away. Trying to scream was useless, as the heavy air would take on the quality of a think liquid and try to pour down the throat in a choking mass.

Pushed beyond fright, the struggle to break through, to break free became violent, arms beating on the thick mass, which suddenly became dagger-like to resist the attempt at escape. Pain shot up arms that refused to give up the fight for freedom and finally broke through to...

Alyx jerked awaked and caught herself just before she fell off the sofa, consciousness returning with a suddenness that was painful to her weak body and shaky mind. She forced herself back onto the sofa; her left arm aching from preventing her fall and just lay there trying to catch her breath.

Behind her she could hear Darien moving about in the kitchen, could feel that he was concentrating on something, probably another snack or tidbit to try and entice her into eating, which made her stomach roil in unhappiness.

The sound of dripping drew her attention back to herself and tipped her head down to glance at the floor where some red substance was falling onto the dark wood and splashing back up, a small pool growing swiftly larger and seeping into the tiny cracks between the boards.

She stared in fascination as the drops impacted the surface and flew outward, causing ripples upon the surface of the existing layer, a steady stream of red that flowed from ... from... She tried to focus on the source of the fluid, but couldn't seem to draw her attention away from the droplets falling in an almost hypnotizing pattern.

"Ah, crap." And a startling loud crash from the kitchen snapped her back to reality and she was suddenly able to process what she was seeing.

Her left arm dangling over the side of the sofa, blood running down the inside of it to drip off her fingertips onto the floor. Her heart felt like it dropped into the basement of the building even as it began to pound at trip-hammer speed.

"D... Dare?" she called out, but her voice was a hushed whisper and barely audible to even her own ears. She was stunned into immobility, seemingly unable to anything to help herself. Especially with part of her mind taunting her, daring her to just let go, to let this happen, hell to help it along by ripping open the bandage and doing even more damage.

She whimpered like a wounded animal not sure what to do.

That sound must have been just loud enough.

"Alyx? You awake?" Darien dried off his hands after setting down the pan, without dropping it this time, and walked over to the back of the couch to look her over. She'd been in and out of consciousness most of the day, though she'd never really been all there. "Sorry if I woke you..." His words cut off as he saw the blood on the floor.

"I think I need some help." Alyx managed to get out in nearly hysterical voice.

"Yeah, looks that way." He wasn't sure whether or not he should be angry with her for her trying this again, but after reaching down to scoop her up he somehow knew this wasn't planned. "Hold on. You'll be okay."

He carried her to the bathroom and set her down on the stool she kept near the vanity and got the necessary items to patch her up again. She just sat there through most of it, shaking, her eyes half closed and unfocused. He was just about finished when she finally spoke.

"Looks like I couldn't even make it through one day."

"One day? Sweet thing you've slept the clock round several times." Darien chuckled softly at the surprise and confusion that crossed her features. "Care to tell me what happened?" He lightly tapped the new bandage.

"Nightmare. When I woke up it was bleeding again and it took a few for it to ... to sink in, I guess. Sorry." Alyx tipped her head down, staring at the scrap of floor visible between her knees.

"Don't be. You woke up on your own and you asked for the help you needed." He watched as she began to shiver. "And now you're cold again." Getting to his feet he walked over to her huge tub, dropped the plug into place and turned on the water. Then he returned to her side and proceeded to cover the new bandage with waterproof tape.

Alyx just sat there, still numb, didn't argue when he began stripping her, said nothing when set her in the warm water and gave her a kiss on the top of her head. It wasn't until he climbed in behind her that she broke out of her reverie.

"Darien, I am not going to drown myself." she grouched as he slipped his arms about her and drew her back against him.

"I know. I just wanted to spend some quality conscious time with you." With a damp hand he tipped her head so he could look her in the eyes, eyes that were once again bright instead of dulled by pain and exhaustion. Eyes that still showed a touch of hurt and fear in them, understandable given the situation. When she sighed and relaxed back against him he smiled and kissed her gently.

"I made a few calls, waved my badge about and got some info. Trinity has been having problems for a few months now and her boyfriend had some serious mental problems. Hobbes is completely sane next to this guy." When she failed to react he added, "It wasn't your fault."

"We don't know that. What I did ... That could have been the final trigger that sent her over with him." Alyx snapped in a weak voice.

"You're right. And we'll never know, but it wasn't the only thing. You gotta believe that." He hugged her tighter, hoping she'd listen and actually hear the words this time.

"So you feel no guilt, no responsibility for what happened." She waved a hand with enough energy and violence to cause some of the water to lap up over the edge of the tub and land on the tiled floor.

"I didn't say that. But am I taking sole blame? No. What we did ... it wasn't us in many ways even if its part of ... who we could be." he explained in a soft voice. "I feel guilty as hell, but there are so many to blame. Kevin for putting the damn gland into my head. Arnaud for adding the madness. Hell, the Keep for letting you go through with the tests without realizing all the risks."

"And me?"

"Yeah, you too, for being willing to risk your life to make mine a little easier." Darien sighed and tipped his forehead down to rest on the top of hers. "Thank you, by the way."

"You're welcome. Just wish it had turned out better." Alyx said with a heavy layer of bitterness in her voice.

"Better?" Darien realized she'd been so out of it since the incident that she didn't know, that Claire had never told her. "Sweets, Claire got all sorts of useful data from the tests. Maybe more than she planned because you reacted unexpectedly. Last time I spoke to her she and Kat were all atwitter."

"Really?" The sudden burst of hope, the relief to know that some good might have come out of this mess lifted a huge weight off her heart.

Darien laughed softly as her relief washed across him. "Alyx, you could have come to me. Can come to me about anything. We'll get through this together." He could feel her warming up a bit, her body no longer doing an imitation of an ice cube. "Claire mentioned you had some bad luck at your lab."

Alyx nodded. "Some experiments that were looking very promising failed utterly when the live testing began." There was no way she was going to go into details and hoped he wouldn't press the matter to hard.

Instead he made a guess that was completely erroneous.

"The QSX work?"

Alyx chose to allow him to believe this to be the truth. "Yeah, major disappointment for everyone concerned." she mumbled around a yawn, the heat of the water and his presence relaxing and calming her. She closed her and drifted for a few minutes of peace and quiet only to jerk upright and out of Darien's hold as the realization of the meaning of those words sunk in.

"What?" he asked in concern, wondering what had happened now, what godawful thing was going to occur next.

"Nothing." She turned about to look at him. "They've stopped."

He blinked at her in confusion, his hands coming up to cup her face. "You're not making any sense."

"The whispers, the voices. They've stopped, just like you said they would." She leaned forward and rested her head on his chest, his arms curling about her and holding on tight, just the way she liked him to.

"See, I do know what I'm talking about on occasion." His hands moved along her back, caressing the muscles and removing the remaining tension there, feeling her go boneless in his hold. He could tell she was still standing near that cliff, her emotions still leaking to him and showing her to still be terribly upset and depressed by what had happened, but the urge to end it all was mostly gone. Only the tiniest wisps of it remaining and that she knew it. "One day, Alyx. Get through one before thinking about the next, okay?"

"And enjoy the silence."

All I ever wanted

All I ever needed

Is here in my arms

Words are very unnecessary

They can only do harm

Enjoy the silence.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Finis