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Disclaimer: I don't own anything I-man related, I didn't steal anything, only thing that I have any claim to would be Amanda, but that's rather obviousÖ..
Time Frame: Sometime during the end of season 1
Comments: This is the second fic that I have written about Amanda Fawkes. Personally I think this one is about 100 times better than the fist. I would like to greatly thank Hei-Mao, and Critter Keeper for help with this. Especially Critter, Iíve even started to correct my families grammar when they are talking to me nowÖÖ.
Too many voices it wonít take long, which oneís right and which oneís wrong? And yours is most likely to be misunderstood,ÖÖ, when in my head what you said is ringing faster, and itís all good, if you would stop the world from making sense, and if I could just realize it doesnít really matter, Does it really matter?
-Life house, Cling and Clatter
"What time does your watch say?" Darien asked as Amanda strolled into the keep. She stopped, casually raised her arm and looked at it.
"Itís 11:30." she replied.
"Well then you know what time it was, so where were you?" Claire pressed. She had come to work to find Darien grumbling about Amanda being late, and they were just about to go after her. It wasnít so much that he was worried about her, as that he was mad that she didnít tell him she would be late.
"Well, until about 10:00, I was sleeping, then I got up and decided to come to work," Amanda responded flatly.
"Werenít you supposed to be here at 9:00 this morning?" Darien asked.
"Yeah, so?" she questioned as she lay down in the demented dentistís chair with her legs positioned so that her feet were hanging in the air. It was at the moment that Hobbes rushed into the Keep. He saw Amanda and frowned.
"The boss is looking for you, and he is not happy," he informed her.
"Like Iím afraid of him." she replied as she got up and left, Darien and Hobbes following close behind her.
"Who does she think she is?" Hobbes asked.
"She thinks sheís a twenty three year old whose life the agency stole." Darien replied sarcastically as they entered the office.
"Nice to see youíve decided to join us today," The Official said angrily as Amanda came in.
"Yeah, well I thought about staying home, but what was the point," she shrugged.
"What the hell do you think youíre doing?"
"I thought I was standing here," she replied cynically. The official frowned.
"You had better change your behavior, or there will be consequences," he informed her. This was the fourth time in the last week and a half she had been late. She was constantly leaving early, or skipping out on a day completely, and the Official wasnít about to let it continue.
"What are you going to do, fire me?" she smirked.
"Where have I heard that before?" the Official frowned, looking at Darien.
"I had nothing to do with this." Darien defended, looking from Amanda to the official. It was obvious from the way he was fidgeting that he was uncomfortable; he wanted to help Amanda, but the Official did have a point.
"What, Iím not allowed to come up with simple truths on my own?" Amanda asked dramatically.
"Amanda, I suggest stoppingÖ," Darien advised her.
"Iíll stop when I damn well feel like it!" she said, glaring at Darien.
"What has gotten into you?" he asked.
"Same thing as Kevin put into you! It doesnít really matter anyway , nothing I can do about it is there?" she asked as she slammed her hands on the armrests, pushed herself up and stormed out.
"I suggest you do something about this before that attitude gets her into serious trouble," the Official warned Darien.
"Amanda, we need to talk," Claire said as she came back into the Keep.
"Donít tell me, you have a speech tooÖ, right? Let me guess? ĎTrust works both ways?í Or is that just the line you feed to Darien? Maybe you have something new for me?" she asked.
"Itís not a line," Claire said. Amanda was constantly arguing with her, and Claire could never seem to find a way around it, but she wasnít going to show Amanda how frustrated she was.
"Why do you insist on behaving like this? Itís not helping anyone."
"What I normally do doesnít help anyone either."
"But you have the potential to help," Claire kept replying to her in an almost unemotional way, it was the best way she knew of to hide her anger at the situation, and the fact that Amanda was pushing her buttons.
"Who says I want to?" Amanda asked. "You might have Darien under you thumb, but if you want to control me, youíre going to have to work a lot harder."
"Iím not controlling Darien," Claire stated.
"Yes, you are! He doesnít see it, but I do, he might be trapped, but *I* am not going to spend the rest of my life like that!" Amanda finished before spinning on her heel and speedily walking out of the Keep. As she did Darien and Hobbes were about to come in. Hobbes managed to back out the way, but Darien ended up being pushed aside.
"Where is she going?" Hobbes asked.
"I donít know, but I think sheíll need some supervision."
"What is she doing?" Hobbes asked. They were following Amanda, and she appeared to be driving aimlessly around the city.
"I donít know, if I did I wouldnít have to follow her." Darien replied, not in a good mood.
"Whoa, sheís parking," Darien warned him, making sure Hobbes would have time to find a place to park, and not be forced to go past her. She would notice the van pretty quickly. They parked a ways down the street to see where she was going without her spotting them. Darien knew that if they were spotted, she wasnít going to be happy.
She got out of her car and went into a bar, it looked like on of those trendy places. Darien and Hobbes waited a few minutes before following her inside. They took a table by the wall where they could see her. The place was rather empty, so what was probably normally loud music was turned down lower than usual.
"Aw, crap." Darien said, sounding annoyed.
"What?" Hobbes asked.
"That guy, heís her old boyfriend." Darien groaned as Amanda met with a young man and gave him a hug. Hobbes noticed Darien winced when the young man gave Amanda a peck on the cheek. He was well dressed, and looked like a good guy, but appearances could be deceiving.
"Still seem quite friendly." Hobbes said.
"Thatís not a good thing." Darien frowned. "Parents hate him, so did Kevin, he even called and wanted me to come home to help break them up."
"Whatís so wrong with him?"
"He encourages her to do whatever she wants, even if that means being a thief." Darien explained.
"How are you doing?" Amanda asked Jonathan. It had been a while since she had seen him, and the truth was she missed him. They had to break it off when she got sent away to college, but a few months ago he had moved closer. Unfortunately, she still hadnít had time for him, at least not as much time as he wanted.
"Iíve been fine. What are you doing here, I thought you were a college girl now?" he smiled.
"I had to quit, is it any surprise?" she asked before ordering her drink, acting in a casual
way, and he knew her well enough to realize she didnít really want to talk about it.
"Yeah, hard as it is to believe, I never thought you would drop out of college," he said, almost apologetic. He put a hand on hers in a gesture of sympathy before continuing. " You are smart, at least most of the time," he joked, lightening the mood.
"You think youíre really funny, donít you?" she said smiling, still avoiding the subject.
"Yes," He responded. "You always did like that about me," his voice was softer now, and his tone sounded more upset than it had before.
"Youíre right, I did."
"So, come to visit us poor stupid people?" he asked.
"Thought I would grace you with my presence."
"What are you doing now anyway, seeing as college isnít in your way anymore?" he asked.
"My cousin got me a job where he works, Department of Fish and Game," She explained, almost laughing at the half-truth of it.
"You? Working for the government? Nope, just canít picture it," he said smiling.
"Neither could I," she responded.
"So, you living around here?" he asked her.
"Yeah, couple blocks away," she told him.
"Maybe you could show me your place?" he asked suggestively. He was hoping maybe things could get back to the way they had been, now that she was no longer occupied with school.
"You have no idea how much I would like to, but I canít," She frowned into her drink.
"Come on, why not? We could pick up where we left off," he said moving closer. Amanda looked away from him, then back at her drink. She then looked back up at him with tears in her eyes.
"No, we canít"
"Whatís going on?" he asked, suddenly concerned.
"IÖÖI gotta go," she stammered. She pulled out some money and threw in down before fleeing the bar. She got out to her car and she slammed a fist against it, the buried her face in her arms in an attempt to stop herself from crying.
"This is crap!" she yelled to no one.
"Youíre telling me," Darien quietly said. Amanda, suddenly alert, jerked her head up to see Darien leaning on the other side of her car.
"You here to give me a lecture, no picking up guys? I might let them know about quicksilver? Donít worry I already thought of that," she said.
"I know that you know you donít have that much control over the gland yet, Adrenaline and all that, I know your read all those files and stuff, and youíre a pretty smart person. "
"Why does everyone keep saying that?! Iím not that smart, I got myself caught! and I didnít even pull the job that they arrested me forÖÖ"
"You know that wasnít your fault. You had not control over that," he told her. "You were honestly trying to reform, it was that jerk who did this, heís the one who lied to that woman, and convinced her that you broke into her house, Itís not your fault that she listened to him."
"I just,Ö.I want things to be,Ö..manageable, and this situation,Ö..the gland,Ö.the agency, Kevin dying,,ÖÖitís way too far out my control," she broke down as she leaned her head against the cool metal of the car roof. She didnít even notice that Darien had come around the trunk to stand next to her.
"Listen, itís going to be okay," he comforted her, putting an arm around her shoulders. She tensed up and pushed his arm away, still upset, but she did feel slightly better.
"I know,Ö.. I better get going," she reassured him as she got into the car.
"Iíll see you tomorrow then, itís counteragent day," he smiled with a trace of sarcasm. Amanda checked her monitor to find he was right, Claire must have told him to remind her.
"I wouldnít miss it for the world," she drove off and Hobbes pulled up in the van.
"She okay?" he asked Darien. Darien was watching her car leave, with a thoughtful look in his eyes.
"I donít know," he responded, there had been something about the way she had been talkingÖÖ
"Darien, what is this message about?" Claire asked as he walked into the Keep the next morning.
"What message?" he asked as he sat in the chair, wondering where Amanda was.
"I just got here and when I checked the machine this is what I found," Claire walked over to the Keepís answering machine and pressed play.
"Hey Claire, just wanted to let you know, I wonít be there tomorrow. In fact, I wonít be back probably ever. I have something to do, and I canít be sane for it," Amandaís voice calmly said before the familiar sound of a phone being hung up.
"Aw, crap," Darien said as he started to head for the door, then stopped and turned back around when he remembered the original reason he had come here.
"Claire, I need my shot hurry!" he said, worry very apparent on his face as he impatiently waited for her to prepare the counter-agent and inject him. As soon as she was done her ran out of the keep, without saying another word to Claire, who was left in his wake, trying to figure out what she could do to help, and what she was going to do once Amanda got back.
Letting the madness take over was not easy, especially knowing that the counteragent was available, all she had to do was ask. Not to mention the fact she didnít know what she would do once she was completely gone. A man named Derek Smith worked in the building she was parked next to. He was the one who had framed her, which had led to her current predicament.
She had considered going straight to his office, but she wasnít sure where it was. The best she could do was focus her mind on him, and show up at approximately the time he usually left the building. Ever since she had gotten out of jail, she had been keeping tabs on him, thought she had never done anything with the information until now. She was parked right outside of the office building. It was rather tall, low security, but still nice looking.
Amanda braced herself as another wave of pain hit her. When it was over she looked into the mirror, her eyes were bloodshot. One more flash of pain, and she would be there. If what she had planned was right, during QuickSilver madness, she would kill him, and then the police would probably kill her. That was why she needed to be insane, she would never be able to do it normally.
Thinking about being killed didnít scare her as much as she thought it would. It was probably due to the fact that as far as she was concerned, her life was already over. Because of Derek, she could not longer live like a normal human being. She couldnít hang out with he old friends, couldnít have a relationship, what kind of life was that? And she doubted greatly that Claire was actually worried about her or Darien, and getting the gland out, all she cared about was that damn gland.
She put on her sunglasses as she prepared for then next wave of pain. She looked out the window right before, just in time to see him come out of the building.
Derek walked out into the sun and loosened his tie. It was such a nice day, he had been having so many recently. Everything just seemed to have gone his way since he had managed to place the blame of that job on Amanda. He closed his eyes and looked up at the sun and took in a deep breath. The air was slightly warm, and there was a slight breeze which felt nice after being cooped up in that office all day. As much as he hated the job his father had gotten him, he needed it to keep his cover. After the recent events, he needed to look more like a good citizen then he had in the past.
"Hey man, how you doing?" he quickly opened his eyes to see Amanda, the same one he had framed, the woman he had seen brought to jail forever, standing right in front of him.
"How the hellÖÖwho did you make a deal with?"
He demanded. He looked at her, she had always been a resourceful person, one of the things that had first attracted him to her, but deep down she was too good at heart for him.
"I donít think thatís any of your business. Could we go talk somewhere more private?" she asked.
"I donít knowÖ.," he was positive he couldnít trust her, and she had to made one hell of a deal to get out of all those charges that rich old lady had used against her.
"Trust me, you want to hear what I have to say. Otherwise you might just end up in a place you donít want to be." she said lowering her sunglasses just enough that he had a glimpse of her red eyes. He tried not to react, unsure of what had seen. He stood there contemplating what she had said, he knew he could never trust her, but if there was still a way out of this. There was no telling what kind of trouble she could get him in. He decided that he could risk being alone with her for a short time. Not to mention the fact that if it came down to it, he was sure he could defend himself against her.
"Fine, this way," he said as he led her into the building. Was what he saw real? Were her eyes completely red? How had that happened? Was it part of that deal she had made? He couldnít worry about it, if he did he would care, a mistake he had almost made last time, and he was not going to fall into that trap. He led her to his office, and closed the door, when he turned around, Amandaís sunglasses were lying on the desk. She was walking around, inspecting everything.
"Nice office, let me guess, your daddy got you a fake job to keep you out of trouble?" she asked.
"You know me all too well," he said.
"No, see thatís where youíre wrong, I thought I knew you, then you had to go and frame me, get me kicked out of collage, ruin my life," she explained as she shook her head, then she turned around to look at him. Her gaze had him fixed to the spot. There was something different about her. He had never considered her a threat, but now he was beginning to.
"Big Mistake, because now Iím going to kill you," she smiled insanely. He slowly started to back towards the door.
"You wonít get away with it, the guards will come!" he warned her. She easily jumped the desk and crossed the distance between them and grabbed the front of his shirt. He was surprised by how strong she was.
"What does that matter, you think I want to keep going? My life is over, and you ended it, so Iím going to end you!" she yelled as she threw him backwards and into his desk. He hit the middle of his backbone on the edge of the desk. He fell to the floor in pain, expecting her to attack him again. He felt vulnerable, out in the open with nothing he could do. When she didnít attack again, he managed to pull himself up and look at her, she was looking out the window next to the door.
"How the hell did they get here?" Derek looked outside two men were in the lobby talking to the receptionist, and she pointed toward the office.
Derek looked up to where Amanda had been, but she was gone.
"What the hell?" he wondered as the door to his office opened and two men came in.
"Are you okay?" the taller one asked.
"Iím fine, but youíre letting her get away, ÖÖI think."
"You think?" the shorter balding one asked.
"She was standing here, and then suddenly she wasnít," he explained. The taller man put on a pair of sunglasses first scanning the room then he slowly walked out the door.
Darien Quicksilverd his eyes as he put on his sunglasses and walked into the lobby. He quickly spotted her, outlined in green (He was going to have to ask the keeper about that color thing), sitting in a chair, obviously waiting for them to leave. She looked up and after she realized that he was staring at her, she bolted, and he ran after her, he was surprised she didnít know that one invisible person could see another. As soon as he was in the vestibule and out of sight of the confused people in the lobby, he quicksilvered.
He ran after her, out of the building, and started to have to dodge the things and people she was knocking over. Darien noted that it was a street full of very confused and scared people. She turned down an alley, Darien had already almost caught up with her, and then she tripped over a crack in the pavement and fell rolling over. She wasnít used to running without being able to see where her feet were landing. She instinctively put her hands out of stop her fall, but had twisted and landed on her shoulder.
Darien caught up with her and quickly tried to get her hands behind her back, but she used a leg to sweep his legs out from under him and throw him off balance and to the ground. When she started to get up he reached for her ankle and yanked it. She fell to the ground again. He grabbed her arms, and slapped the handcuffs on her. He was glad he had borrowed them from Hobbes earlier in case of this kind of situation .
"Why couldnít you just stay out of it?" She yelled as he dragged her to the van where Hobbes was waiting. People were staring at them, and more than once he had to flash his badge to prove to people that he was actually not kidnapping her.
"You already know the answer, so why ask?" he replied as he got into the back of the van with her. Hobbes was already climbing into the driverís seat. She sat in the van, her posture was more relaxed than it usually was. It was apparent she didnít care about much anymore. She stared at him, making him uncomfortable, and he was pretty sure she knew it.
"Could you stop that?" he finally asked.
"Is it bothering you?" she smiled sweetly.
"You like that donít you?"
"You are such aÖÖ," he didnít finish his sentence. This wasnít Amanda, she wasnít herself.
"Bad guy? Or was it another B-word you were thinking of? God, Why do you have to be the good guy? I mean, youíre not, otherwise why be a thief?" she asked.
"Itís not that Iím not a good person, I wouldnít have gotten caught otherwise?" he responded as the van stopped at a light.
"Thatís right. You know, thatís why I was always a better thief than you, I didnít have a conscience."
"Thatís not true and you know it."
"Wake up, Darien, Iím not the nice, sweet, sugar and spice little girl I was. Iím not a good human being, no matter what you want to think, thatís not going to change," she said. Darien ignored her. He looked over at the other side of the van away from her, but he could still feel those red eyes looking at him. She was just trying to get to him, and it was working.
"Did it ever occur to you I let myself slip into quicksilver Madness? What does that say about me?" she asked.
"Youíre young and Ö..foolish, besides, right before madness, youíre already not thinking straight, you just arenít used to it."
"Thatís BS!" she spat out at him, upset that he wasnít responding the way she wanted him too.
"Sheís still asleep, but I think she is going to be okay," Claire said. Amanda was in the chair, eventually they were forced to give her a tranquilizer so that they would be able to give her the Counter agent. Darien still couldnít believe that she just let herself go insane. What had happened to make her think that she had to do that? He could understand the logic behind it, but what was the thing that had finally set her off?
"Itís still going to be a while before she wakes up. Maybe you should go get something to eat?" Claire half-suggested. Darien hesitated, he didnít want to leave if he didnít have to.
"Darien, you need to eat, there isnít anything you can do here, and I would appreciate it if you would pick me up something to."
"Okay," Darien reluctantly sighed as he gave her a quick smile and went to go pick something up. He was going to make this fast so he could get back to Amanda as soon as possible. Claire turned back to Amanda. She was turning out to be a bigger problem than expected. The Official was sure to be upset about this, she was supposed to have gained Amandaís trust, and like with Darien, gained some control over her. No matter what Claire did to try and become Amandaís friend, it was deflected. She thought maybe it was time to try a new approach.
Amandaís eyes fluttered open then closed again. She moved around for a minute, then settled as she stopped to put together what was going on. She Suddenly bolted up.
"What happened?" she asked panicked, suddenly remembering bits of what had happened. "Never mind, I rememberÖÖ.."
"Itís alright," Claire comforted her as she pushed her back into the chair. "Youíre back at the Agency."
Amanda groaned as she lay back down slowly, and put her hands on her face.
"Youíre lucky, you could have killed that man."
"Oh, what a tragedy that would have been," Amanda said, half angry, and half sarcastically to herself.
"Look, you need to stop acting like this, youíre not going to do anyone any good. Youíre going to end up in the rubber room in a straight jacket. Is that what you want?" Claire asked, her voice betraying that she was upset about what happened.
"Why do I care? My life is over, Itís never going to be the same. I canít even talk to anyone I used to know anymore, they instantly know something is wrong!" Amanda yelled.
"You need to give it timeÖ. ,Being an agent isnít that bad. It could turn out to be something you like. And anyway, If it hadnít been for the agencyÖÖ."
"Life would make sense," Amanda cut her off. "If I was in jail, at least I would be able to tell people what was wrong, now I have to lie everyday about who I am, and why I canít get close to anyone. You just donít seem to get that."
"AmandaÖ..Darien went through this same thing, he has been just as alone as you. Now he has you around to talk to. If you need to you can talk to him or me. Please, Iím only trying to help," Claire pleaded with her.
"No youíre not, youíre trying to control me, Darien might not see it, but I do," Amanda said as she got up. "Where is he?" she asked.
"I donít know, and where do you think youíre going?" Claire asked.
"Wherever I want."
"Amanda!" Claire said forcefully, but she was already out the door.
"What are you doing out here? Claire said you would be asleep for a while yet," Darien asked after he had bumped into Amanda coming out of the agency, causing him to almost drop the bag of food he had with him.
"I bet she did," Amanda said.
"What does that mean?"
"Nothing," she replied as she went to get in her car.
"Should you be going without someone with you?" Darien asked.
"Iím fine," she responded.
"Look, I know what youíre going through, I even can understand why you did it, Iíve wanted to stay quicksilver mad beforeÖÖ"
"And did you want to be bothered afterwards?" she asked.
"Amanda, Iím worried about you, and I donít believe that you donít want to talk about it," he said putting a hand on her shoulder, but she just shrugged it off.
"Donít worry about me, Iíve already tried the crazy escape, doesnít work." she said. "By the way, how did you find me?" she asked.
"Check your shoes before you go anywhere," he said.
Amanda lifted up her foot and pulled the tracker off.
"Trust me, thatís not the only one, just the only one I know about," he told her.
"How can you live like this? Knowing that they control everything you do, and that if you were to get hurt the gland would be there first priority," she asked confused.
"I trust Claire to take care of me, and I trust Hobbes as my partner to watch out for me," Darien explained.
"You might not want to be so trusting of Claire," Amanda skeptically responded as she started to walk away.
"Hey, I would trust her with my life," Darien said. Amanda stopped her tracks, and turned. She walked back over to him and looked him in the eyes.
"If I were you I wouldnít."
"Look, Iíve know her for over a year now, I think I know her well enough to be able to trust her." he said, defending his position.
"Youíve only know her a year? As I recall, you told me Casey knew you a year, and you managed to hide a lot from her," Amanda replied. Darien looked down at his shoes.
"Thatís different," he said looking back up.
"Not from where Iím standing."
"You havenít been doing your job," The official said. Eberts was standing behind him, while The Keeper stood on the other side of the desk.
"Earning Amandaís trust is taking a little longer than I anticipated. If you recall, it took a while too gain Darien's trust," Claire replied.
"Darien didnít go around trying to kill people he used to know. We donít have time for an agent who goes around unchecked with a gland in her head," he continued.
"I donít think it will be a problemÖ."
"After todayís fiasco, Iím not so sure," The official reminded her.
"The official has decided that we need to bring in someone else," Eberts interjected. "We believe he might be able to better cope with Ms. Fawkes."
"What?! Who? No one knows enough about quicksilver, it could be dangerous, plus no one has the top level clearance for this," Claire angrily responded, they didnít need to bring someone in to help her, she would be fine on her own. This was an insult, and they knew it. Besides, for all they knew, this new person could make a mistake, they hadnít been around quicksilver that long enough, she herself had to be Ďtrainedí before coming in. And from the way Eberts was speaking, it sounded like this person would be here within a few days. That wasnít nearly enough time, this wasnít something a person could be careless about. She would be more inclined to agree to this if they would take some time to teach him first.
"There is someone who has that clearance, and who knows about quicksilver. Richard Raquin," The official said. "He has just as many qualifications as you, if not more, He is a young man and he happened to help with most of the base work for the new gland, of course he doesnít know that we actually created it, but he will."
"What makes you think he is going to be willing to work here?" The Keeper asked.
"He doesnít have a choice, everyone has something to hide, itís just a matter of finding out what that thing is," The official replied smugly.
"What do you have on him?" The Keeper asked curiously.
Finding my way back to sanity again, though I donít really know what Iím gonna do when I get thereÖÖIím looking past the shadows of my mind into the truth and Iím trying to identify the voices in my headÖÖ.let me feel one more time what it feels like to feel.
-Life House, Breathing