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Author: LoneGirl189

Rating: PG-13

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: I donít even know anymoreÖÖ

Comments: This is the 3rd Amanda F. Fic, thousands and thousands of thanks to CritterKeeper for beta reading this, and putting up with the same grammar and spelling mistakes over and over. Iím still working on that whole correct spelling thingÖÖ

 

My Keeper

 

 

Could you let your hair down your hair, be transparent for a while, just a little while, to see if you human after all, honesty is a hard attribute to find, When we all want to seem like we got it all figured out, but let me be the first to say that I donít have a clue, I donít have all the answers, not gonna pretend like I do, just trying, to find my way, the best that I know how.

-Life house, Trying

 

Richie walked through the halls of the Agency. He thought that his work with them was finished. He had helped them with some base work with biosynthetic glands. After the theorems were completed, he was sent on his way. He assumed it was because they didnít have the resources to continue the work. The agency, as he discovered, was rather low on funds.

He paused before entering the Officialís office to smooth out his suit and straighten his tie. Then he entered. The official was at his desk, and Eberts where he always was, but there was also a woman in the room. He had never seen her before.

"Mr. Raquin, please have a seat," Eberts instructed him. Richie took the chair that was sitting in front of the desk.

"Why did you call me here? Iím in the middle of a new project," he said, obviously annoyed at being bothered.

"I believe you should make plans to cancel your new project," the Official told him.

"Why would that be?" he asked, rolling his eyes. The Official was behaving as thought he was still his boss. Richie had hated it when he treated him like that when he was his boss, and he didnít want to take it now that he no longer was.

"Because we need your help with the QS9400 project," the woman stated.

"And you are?"

"Iím The Keeper," she introduced herself. She had a distinct accent, he thought it might be British like his own, but he wasnít sure. Of course it wasnít as if his accent was perfect, he hadnít been raised with it. He had lived in London for a few years and acquired it there. He silently scolded himself for not paying attention to the matter at hand, and got back to what was going on.

"Interesting title, now what is this QS9400 project?" he asked.

"The continuation of your previous work with the Agency," Claire explained to him.

"What do you mean?" he asked, confused.

"We have created a gland, and itís in a receptacle," The official explained.

"Youíre not serious, are you?" he asked in complete disbelief. It had just been theories, not anything that was proven. He looked around the room and felt that familiar sensation of stumbling on something big when her realized that they were completely serious."

Why are you calling me now?" he asked. If they had done this, he would have thought he would have been notified sooner, or not at all. He didnít understand why they would suddenly decide that they needed him.

"We have been having some problems with her, that we didnít have with the first recipient of the gland," Eberts explained.

"Eberts!" the Official said harshly, signaling that he had given away to much information to soon.

"You mean that there was already someone with a gland out there, before this new Ďreceptacleí?" he asked. There was obviously more going on here than he had previously suspected, maybe they did have more money than they let on. If they did, they hid it well.

"Correct," Claire told him.

"What is the problem with this woman? Is something wrong with the gland?" he asked.

"Not exactly, We canít seem to get her to cooperate," The Official stated, though Richie could tell that he seemed a little embarrassed by this fact.

"You mean you canít control her?" Richie smirked. So this was the problem they wanted him to fix. Well, if they expected him to stick around for this, they were sadly mistaken.

"We need her to be assigned a Keeper, we have chosen you. Youíre the head in your field, you have world wide credentials, and you have worked with this type of information before," Eberts said.

"I donít think so," he told them, standing up to leave.

"How would you like your colleagues to find out about the unfortunate accident you were involved in with project Alpha-x?" the Official threatened.

Richie swallowed, and sat back down. He couldnít risk that. It didnít matter how long ago, or how inexperienced he was, what had happened then was a mistake no one could ever find out about.

"So, you must be the original....receptacle's...Keeper, then?" he asked, turning to the woman named Claire.

"Yes, and I will be giving you the information you will need before you meet her," she said, handing him a folder.

"A police record, this looks like fun already," he said cynically. For a split the second the thought of Ďwhy would they put the gland in a criminal?í crossed his mind, but he would ask about it later. "Whatís this?" He asked as pulled out another report from the back of the folder. "You have a mental profile for her?" he asked.

"Standard procedure on all our employees," the Official stated, "Youíll be taking one to."

"Of course," he sighed before turning his attention back to the report.

----------------------------

"Amanda?" Darien asked. She was daydreaming again. They had been called to the Keep for some important meeting, and she was sitting cross-legged in the Ďdemented dentistís chair.í

"What?" she asked, startled, as she snapped out of it. She looked at Darien waiting to find out what he wanted to tell her.

"Shouldnít you be paying attention? They said that this meeting is about you," he told her.

"Yeah, Iím paying attention now," she told him, but still sounded like she was somewhere else. The door opened and The Keeper and The Official, with Eberts following, came in.

"Whatís up?" Darien asked. Amanda turned to face them and hung her legs over the edge of the chair.

"Well, this concerns Amanda more than you," Claire told them.

"What is it?" Amanda asked, not sounding particularly interested.

"Whenever we had an Ďexperimentí, like with the Catevari project, and the I-man projects, we assigned each subject a keeper," Eberts began to explain.

"Yeah, Claireís the Keeper, right?" Amanda asked.

"Iím Darienís keeper," she told her.

"Oh."

"Weíve gotten some more funding recently, so you are going to be assigned a keeper to keep tabs on you," the Official stated.

"We want to make sure that there is someone around to watch you," Eberts explained, as if trying to make it not sound like another attempt to control her.

"Yeah, wouldnít want to trust me," she said cynically.

"Of course we also believe it would be of benefit to have someone around to help Claire, we donít want to over work her," he added.

"Of course," Amanda remarked. "So where is my Keeper?" she smirked. The Official signaled to Eberts, who went to the door and opened it. He came back with a young man, who looked about 25-27 years old following him.

"You must be Ms. Fawkes," he commented as he held out his hand. She looked from his hand to his face warily, then took it.

"Yes, and I can call you?" She asked.

"Your Keeper," he stated.

"I can already tell how were going to get along," she replied sarcastically with a plastered smile on her face. "Youíre not from around here are you?" she said, noting his accent.

"No, Iím not," he replied.

"Where are you from?" she asked.

"Iím not going to tell you that either," he told her.

"Okay, then can you answer this?" Amanda paused as he looked at her skeptically. "Is being foreign a Keeper requirement, or is just a coincidence?"

--------------

"This is all about control," Amanda explained as she took another bite of Chinese food. She was at Darien's apartment, talking with Darien and Hobbes about her new Keeper.

"What do you mean?" Hobbes asked.

"Think about it, Darien is a man, they get him a female keeper, Iím a woman so they get me a male keeper," She pointed out. "Plus, heís around my age. Itís rather transparent," She finished before she took another bite, and sat down on the couch.

"Of course, Itís *all* a plan to keep us under control! At least you're not getting the dart-and-white-room routine," Darien remarked.

"The what?" she asked looking at him.

"Never mind," Darien replied.

"So whatís this guy like?" Hobbes asked.

"Heís an ass," Amanda complained.

"You just say that because he tells you what to do and doesnít take your crap, I think I got pretty lucky with Claire for my keeper," Darien told her.

"How did you learn her name and everything?" Amanda asked, sounding genuinely interested.

"Well, I uh, Itís not important," he said looking down at his food.

"He quicksilvered and followed her home," Hobbes told her, as Darien gave him a glare. Hobbes ignored him, he was interested to see what she would find out.

"But I got caught," Darien added, trying to avert the train of thought he already knew Amandaís mind was on.

"Hey, I always was better than you," she smiled.

-------------------------------

Richie finished putting the counteragent back into the fridge. He had been going through a small course in quicksilver training over the past few days with Claire. He had surprised her though, after all, he had been helping in the manufacturing of Amandaís gland, although he never knew that they were actually going to create it. He got together his things and headed out of the keep. He had made his first batch of Counteragent on his own. What Claire hadnít know was while she was teaching him about quicksilver, she had been giving him enough information about Amanda and her family to start to get a feel for what she was like, and therefore a better means of earning her trust.

That was his primary mission, as was Claireís. Gain the trust of the kept, and make sure that they stay with the agency, and stay in line. He believed that Claire might be forgetting the fact that they were not supposed to get to close to them, otherwise when it came time for a tough decision, they might not be able to make it. Either Claire was a little soft, or she was the best actress he had ever seen. She almost seemed protective of Amanda, although Amanda obviously disliked her. When she was around Darien and Hobbes she seemed to act like they were her family. He believed that she was too close to them, but the Official said that it just made them more likely to listen to her.

He went back to the desk and turned off the computer. He grabbed his papers, put them in his briefcase and put on his coat. He walked through the halls of the Agency, and noticed he was the only one left in the building. He left and went to his car. He thought he heard a noise as he got in, he glanced around, but nothing seemed out of place. He was home in about 20 minutes. He had taken the long way by the beach, the sight of it just seemed to calm him. He got out of his car and headed into the house. He put his coat on a chair next to his briefcase and headed for the bathroom. He locked the door as he went in. He didnít know why he always did that, it wasnít as though there was anyone else in the house, but he guessed that when your whole life was spent dealing with secrets and lies, you tended to lock doors more often. He shed his clothing and turned on the shower, letting the warm water sooth his aching muscles.

Amanda heard the shower turned on. She had checked her monitor after leaving the car. It was almost full.

ĎWhy the hell did he take so long to get home?í She thought to herself, but it was beyond her, and she had even thought about showing herself a couple times out of fear of going quicksilver mad. She had sneaked out of the car and de-quicksilverd after he went into his house. He had locked the front door, but that hadnít been much of a problem, he had a crappy lock.. She was hiding in the small hall right inside the house, until she heard him enter his bathroom and the shower start. She left he hiding place and started to look around.

"Nice place," She commented quietly to herself. She knew now that the agency had to have something on him, why else would someone who was obviously used to a large amount of money come to work for them.

He had locks on almost all the doors, but that was about has far as it went security wise. She doubted he knew much about locks, or he would have gotten a different brand. He obviously hadnít had many break-ins or he would know better. It didnít look like anyone else was around, but she couldnít be to careful.

She passed a few pictures on the wall next to the stairs. The first had a picture of her Keeper with an older man and woman, who she assumed were his parents. They were obviously as well off as their son, or so she thought from the way that they were dressed. The next picture was of a man and a woman. Probably friends or one of them was his brother or sister. The third picture was a wedding picture of him and a rather pretty woman. She looked around the place. It didnít look like two people lived there. It definitely looked like a bachelors house. She walked slowly up the stairs. She got to the top and went straight into the room directly in front of the stairs. She heard the shower running and remembered Darien talking about how tempting some things are when you donít think youíll get caught.

ĎNot right now Amanda,í she thought to herself. She walked into the other room. It was obviously his bedroom. She looked around, it was mostly clean, there were a few articles of clothing lying around, but for the most part very clean. She moved to the night stand, and opened it.

"What do you think your doing?" Richie asked.

Amanda spun around at the sound of his voice. He was standing the doorway in a robe, his hair was still wet.

"What does it look like?" she asked, as though he was the one doing something wrong.

"What are you trying to accomplish?" he asked, half ignoring her last comment.

"Well, first I was hoping to get a first name, then work from there," she explained, in a sarcastic voice.

"I know itís hard, but I will always know more about you than youíll know about me," he said.

"You donít know the first thing about me," she replied angrily.

"I know more than you think," he informed her.

"Oh really, like what?" she asked, not realizing that she would regret this.

"For instance, you changed your last name when you were 18, Your birth name was not Amanda Fawkes. Your last name was different. It was the same as your fatherís, but you changed it to be the same as your, mothers maiden name, same as your cousinís. Now at first I didnít quiet understand why you did that," he said as he moved closer to her, obviously making her uncomfortable.

"I did it because it was a prettier name," she said, obviously caught off guard, and lying.

"I looked at the agency psychiatristís analysis of you, and I think I figured it out," Amanda didnít answer, and was staring at her feet, so he continued without a response from her.

"You and your father never got along, did you?" he asked her, although he already knew the answer.

"We had our differences," she said.

"From the reports Iíve read, you had more than your differences. You even changed your last name so you wouldnít be connected to him anymore," he said.

"Shut up," she said as she pushed pass him, but he took a hold of her arm and spun her around to face him, grabbing her other arm and holding her there. He noticed the rather full monitor on her arm, she would need a shot tomorrow.

"I know enough about you to know where your attitude comes from. You donít want to depend on anyone, you think if you do theyíll just abandon you. Youíre afraid to trust anyone. I just want you to know it doesnít have to be that way," he said. He released her, and she quickly turned around and ran from the room, down the stairs, and out the door.

----------------------

 

Darien came home late. Hobbes had convinced him that he needed to get out and meet some people, preferably of the opposite sex. But the whole time, Darien was off in the corner while the girls were talking to Bobby. He couldnít figure it out, but right now he didnít care. He unlocked the door and walked in.

"What?Ö.," he said trailing off in his sleepy haze as he realized that all the lights in his apartment were on, and Amanda was sitting on his couch.

"Hi," she said flatly without looking up. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and her knees pulled up to her chest.

"Is something wrong?" he asked as he dropped his keys on the table and took his coat off. He didnít even think to ask how she got in, he already knew.

"Kind of," she said as he sat down on the couch next to her.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Iím scared," she said.

"Scared of what?"

"That I canít trust anyone. I was never even able to trust my own parents," she sighed as a tear fell down her cheek.

"What are you talking about? You trust them," he said rubbing an eye. He was not exactly awake, and this wasnít the best time for this conversation, but he was trying his best to get his mind moving again.

"No, I trusted Mom sure, but I know Dad could tell her what to do and she would do it. And I never trusted dad, he never cared about me, and I knew it," she commented more to herself than to Darien, she was staring forward, her face had gone blank.

"Look, you loved your family, and they loved you. So there was a level of distrust, all families deal with that crap," he said as his face split into a large yawn, he hadnít even noticed the look on her face.

"Yeah, but most of them donít have it follow them everywhere they go," Amanda stated, snapping out of her trance.

"You would be surprised," Darien said as he was dozing off.

"I better go, you can barely keep your eyes open, let alone carry on a conversation," she said as she got up.

"No, just get some coffee in me and Iíll be fine," he told her.

"Itís alright, it can wait until tomorrow," She said.

"Okay, see you later," Darien yawned as he walked over and flopped onto the bed, not even bothering to change before falling asleep as Amanda left.

----------------------------------

"Good morning," Richie greeted as Amanda walked in, but she didnít say anything, she just sat in the chair.

"I thought you would need a shot after yesterday," he said as he went to get out the counteragent. Amanda didnít say anything or look at him. He walked over and gave her the shot, he noticed she closed her eyes when the needle went in, then she opened one and looked at him confused.

"Why is the needle so small?" she asked. He laughed at the fact that she was genuinely puzzled.

"I donít think I need to intimidate my kept with a needle, and besides, youíre a smaller person than Darien, so you get a smaller needle," he said as he finished giving her the shot and went to take care of the syringe. She did notice that it took longer with the smaller needle, but before she could comment again, Darien came into the keep.

"Morning," he said. "Amanda, guess what?"

"What?" she asked, almost as a whine. Whenever Darien did that, it usually didnít turn out as a good thing.

"The fatman has decided itís time for you to do some field work, youíre on the next mission with us," he told her.

"Oh," Amanda sighed.

"Well, weíre starting now, so we gotta go," he said motioning to the door. With a sigh Amanda got up and followed him out the door. Richie watched them leave. It was a small victory, but he had her talking to him again. He was slowly laying the foundation he would need to gain her trust.

-----------------------

"So, one last time, what are we doing? I want to be sure," Amanda asked. Hobbes sighed.

"You and Darien are going to go in. see if the perps are in there. Youíre going around the back, Darien is going around the front. You find out as much as you can, then come back to the van. Itís pretty simple," Hobbes repeated, getting frustrated.

"Sorry, I just wanna make sure I donít get anyone killed," she complained as she moved away and quicksilvered. Hobbes looked over at Darien, and only received a shrug, before he too quicksilvered.

"Donít worry about it, your not going to get anyone killed," Darien told her as they walked off.

"Piece of cake, we should be in and out of here in a few minutes," Hobbes said to himself as he climbed into the van to wait.

--------------------

Richie walked through the halls of the agency from the Keep to the Official's office. He was very angry, he had gotten called, but they wouldnít tell him what they wanted. He was in the middle of an experiment, and he really didnít appreciate this. He walked into the Officialís office and slammed the door behind him. He folded his arms and stood in front of the desk. He looked over and saw Claire with a worried expression on her face. Richieís hard stance softened a bit.

"Whatís going on?" he asked.

"We have just received a report from agent HobbesÖÖ," Eberts said trailing off, looking unsure if he should continue.

"It was an ambush, both Amanda and Darien have been captured. Chrysalis was waiting for them," Claire said, in obvious distress over the situation.

"Well, what are you going to do about it?" Richie asked.

"Nothing yet, weíre just informing you that Amanda will not be around for an Ď'indefiniteí amount of time," the Official said.

"If you leave them there Chrysalis is going to open one of them up and get a gland," Richie replied angrily.

"It wonít come to that. Amanda still isnít very careful about checking herself for surveillance equipment. We will know if they try that, and if they do, no one will get out of that building. No one is going to get either of those glands. If either of them is cut open, weíre moving in," The official explained coldly.

"What do you mean?" Richie asked warily.

"It means, weíre sending in our agents with a Ďshoot now ask questions later policyí. Weíll just have to remind them to watch out for anyone with a gland."

"You canít do that, thereís no one there to help them," he said.

"We donít have a choice, I trust Darien to find a way out, and if he doesnít, theyíre just unlucky this time, "

"I think not," Richie said as he left. Claire followed after him.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Iím going to go help them," he said as they walked to the Keep.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"I mean, Iím going to get my gun, go down there and get Amanda out. Iím her keeper, and If I have to do this job, Iím going to do it right," he said. "You can come if you want, your choice,"

"Well Iím not staying here," she said as they reached the keep. Richie grabbed his jacket, and his gun out of his briefcase, while Claire got hers out of her bag.

"Letís go," she said.

--------------------------

"What are you two doing here?" Hobbes asked. He was still in the van across the street, waiting for word back on what to do.

"Weíre here to do our jobs," Richie stated as he took Hobbes binoculars and looked at the mansion across the street, it looked tighter than fort Knox. Hobbes glared at Richie, but didnít doing anything because Claire spoke before he could.

"What happened Bobby?" Claire asked.

"The second they were inside the fence they were attacked by guys with some of those thermal goggles, the really nice onesÖanyway, they were dragged into the house, I tried to get shot at one of those guys but...it didnít work," he said as he pulled the binoculars out of Richie's hands. Richie was looking at the building, it heavily guarded. It was more than he had been expecting.

"What do you suggest we do?" Claire asked.

"Itís not what youíre going to do, Itís what Iím going to do," Richie commented without looking away from the house. It didnít look like this would be as easy as he had thought it would be.

"What are you planning?" Claire asked.

"Iíll tell you on the way back to the agency, weíre going to need some supplies," he told her.

-------------------------

Richie stood outside the complex, wearing a suit, and also carrying the credentials of a man in the car they had intercepted coming to the mansion. The guy had been so scared that Hobbes was gonna shot him that he had told them everything they wanted to know. It made getting in easier, but getting out would still be a problem. It hadnít taken much to find that the man in the car had been sent to help with a surgery, but he said that they never told him what kind it was, and they believed him since he was so petrified he would have told them anything.

"Who is it?" came a voice over the intercom.

"Mr. Felp," Richie said.

"We have been expecting you," the voice said as two heavily armed guards came to the gate and allowed him in, following close behind as they led him up to the house.

"Weíll take you to prep for surgery," one of them said.

"May I see the patient first? I never operate before seeing the patient," he explained to them. One of the guards sighed as they led him to a corridor.

"Change first, then you can go see the patient, sheís down the hall and to the left," one of them said to him.

-------------------

"How long till sheís ready for surgery?" Stark asked the doctor.

"We could do it now, but I would prefer to have some more help," the woman responded.

"We have help prepping now," He said as he dismissed her with a wave of his hand. He turned his attention to the figure in the corner of the room. Darien Fawkes. He was tied to a chair, facing the rest of the room slumped forward. He wanted to make that man suffer for all the problems he had caused. He had already done major damage to two of their projects, and cost them one of their most valuable agents. He glanced back over to Fawkes cousin who was tied to the table. She was in hospital clothes, and was obviously about to enter surgery. He had decided to first dissect her and her gland, let Darien deal with that before the did the same to him. He could have been a very valuable agent, but if he wasnít on their side he was too dangerous to let him stay on the loose. Darien stirred and Stark walked over to stand in front of the restrained man.

"What the hellÖ..?" Darien started as he opened his eyes and shook his head. He sat up straight and found that he was restrained.

"Aw Crap."

 

"Hello Mr. Fawkes," Stark said. Darien's head snapped up and he locked eyes with Stark. His eyes then quickly moved around the room to fall on Amanda.

"What are you doing?" he asked, the panic rising in his voice.

"I think you already know the answer to that," Stark replied.

"Leave her out of this, if you want something, take it from me," Darien pleaded.

"And miss the look on you face, not for the world," Stark replied, contempt in his voice. "Iíll see you before the surgery," he said before exiting the room. Darien struggled again the restraints.

"Amanda!" he called. She didnít move. He assumed they had her under some heavy drugs All he could think was that this was a horrible dream. It had all happened so fast, it only added to the sense of unreality in the situation. He struggled against the restraints again. His arms and legs were tied to the chair, with a strap across his chest. He tired to use the quicksilver to weaken the restraints, but as he suspected, Stark had planned for that, and it didnít help at all. After a minute he leaned his head back in frustration.

"Where the hell is the rescue?" He yelled out loud to no one.

"Impatient are we?" Richie said as he entered the room, dressed in medical wear.

"What are you doing?" Darien asked.

"Iím saving you two," He said as he undid the bonds holding Amanda down, not that she was conscious to fight against them.

"A little help?" Darien sarcastically said. Richie went over and freed him.

"How did you get in here?" Darien asked.

"I pretended to be the help they were waiting for. Theyíre planning on cutting you both open," he said as he lifted Amanda up. He set her down in a sitting position against the wall. He picked up her arm and checked her indicator. Only 3 sections were red. He picked her back up, she was a small person, but she was still a little awkward to carry.

*I hope we donít run into anyone,* he though as he headed for the door.

"We need to get out of here," Richie said as Darien opened the door for him to pass through, seeing as his arms were full at the moment.

"You donít need to tell me twice," Darien commented as he followed him out of the room. Darien peered down the hall, looked like the coast was clear. Unfortunately, that didnít last long. They heard voices coming, and on instinct Darien quicksilvered himself.

"Iíll try and take care of them," he said to Richie before leaving. He rounded the corner to find two heavily armed guards coming their way. He waited silently as they passed, sticking out an invisible leg to trip the one closest to him. When the man fell forward with a scream, Darien took the opportunity to grab a vase in the hall and knock the man unconscious. He looked up to see that the other man had disappeared. He looked around, and he heard two gunshots.

"Aw, Crap," he said as he de-quicksilvered and ran around the corner to find the guard lying on the ground bleeding, with Richie still holding his gun. He looked up at Darien, He was propping Amanda up with one arm, and was obviously having trouble as she was slowly falling.

"He shot at us, luckily I got him before he got us," he panted out. "Could you take Amanda?"

"Sure," Darien said as he came over to get her, thatís when he noticed the blood stain growing across Richieís shoulder.

"Aw crap," Darien said. "He shot you."

"I know. Iíll be fine, we need to get out of here."

-----------------------

"Where the hell is he?" Hobbes impatiently repeated. He had been asking the same question every five minutes since Richie had gone into the building.

"Heíll be back soon," Claire reassured him again. "You need to give him time, this isnít something that is going to take ten minutes."

"I know that." Hobbes replied, but he still looked edgy. Suddenly a bang came at the side door, making them both jump.

Hobbes quickly exited the van.

"Fawkes, thank God you got out."

"Claire, I need a shot," Darien informed her as he set Amanda into the back of the van.

"Then letís go, I can give it to you on the way back to the Agency" she said as she went to climb back into the van. "I thought you might need some so I brought it with me."

She looked back as Richie leaned against the side of the van. His face was pale and he looked like he was in pain. He noticed her questioning look.

"Iíll be fine," he reassured her, just before he fell forward to the ground unconscious.

--------------------------

 

He could hear the machine monitoring his heart beat, but he still lay for a moment collecting his thoughts. He must have passed out due to loss of blood, and they had probably brought him to a hospital. He finally opened his eyes. The room was dark except for a lamp in the corner. He turned his head to see Amanda asleep with a book in her lap. From the looks of it she hadnít been home for a while. She had put her hair up, and she was wearing jeans and sweatshirt that was probably Darien's judging from how it was much too big for her. He coughed, and she sat up quickly, knocking the book to the ground with a thud.

"How are you feeling?" she asked as she rubbed her eyes, trying to wake up.

"Iím doing okay," he said, right before flinching at the pain from his wound.

"Sure," she said like she didnít believe him and she moved a chair over to sit next to the bed.

"Why did you do that?" she asked.

"It was my job," he responded.

"I still donít trust you."

"I donít expect you to."

"Iím glad we have that straightened out," she sighed. He suddenly stuck out his hand, and when she raised a quizzical eyebrow, he rolled his eyes and put her hand in his and shook it.

"Richie," he said.

"What?"

"My name, itís Richie."

She smiled at him and went back to sit down and read her book. Things had worked out better than he had planned. She was already starting to form the bonds of trust, and it hadnít taken as long as he had expected.

* Maybe this job wonít be as hard as I thought it would be, it seems to be working out alright, * He thought to himself. She had no idea that she was still just the kept, and that it was what she would always be the kept.

 

You could be right, and Iíll be real, Honesty wonít be a pain that you will have to feel, ÖÖ.You canít control me, and you canít take away from me from who I am.

-Life House, Quasimodo