A Day in the Life

By: Lucy Hale

Something was wrong with Darien.

It was nothing overt, or I could probably have pinned it down easily enough. There were small signs, none of them large enough to make any fuss over. Put all together, though…

He'd not been sleeping. With Darien, that in itself was obvious and troubling. I wouldn't say that he's typically lazy, but if anyone in this Agency made a point to get in all nine hours of required sleep a night, it was he. Not recently -- his eyes were starting to look horribly puffy and red, and his feet were dragging.

He was also becoming downright snippy towards certain people. His behavior to me didn't change at all, but the moment Bobby Hobbes entered the room, he became almost defensive, and even more sarcastic than usual. With the Official and Eberts, he was openly resentful. Again, more resentful than usual. Which is saying something.

Theories? I had a few. Nightmares, perhaps. It wouldn't be the first time for Darien. He seems to be cursed with them often. But to put him in that state, they would have to be reoccurring almost every night, and they would have to be pretty bad to keep him up nights.

If it was something that minor, though, I would expect he'd have come to me and talked about it. Darien seemed by then to have accepted me as his Keeper to a great extent, and he'd stopped fighting every little test or shot or order. That seemed like the kind of thing he would trust me with.

Unless it wasn't that simple. Perhaps his old life was calling him yet again; that was my next theory. Maybe he was staying up late planning robberies. But I didn't believe that to be true. I wouldn't use the word reformed when describing Darien, but he had found a way to channel his energy and thrill of danger into the job he does for us. He shouldn't be tempted back into that life.

I couldn't choose any one theory over another, so I made it my task to study my Kept one particular day. It was my turn to feign invisibility. I talked to the Official, and received keys to Darien's apartment. I thought it would be worth standing guard over him for one night to find out why he was losing sleep.

My observance started when he came to the lab for his morning check-up. This used to be a more involved process. We've made it simpler with time, until basically he comes down and shows me his arm, and if the Quicksilver is at adequate levels he can go. That day I decided I'd hold him a bit longer in conversation.

The door opened right on time. With his acceptance of his place here came punctuality. "Morning, Keeper Claire."

I smiled brightly. "Good morning, Darien."

He came over and lifted the band of his watch, flashing his tattoo. One segment red, just what I'd expect.

I nodded my approval at him, but sat back, keeping my eyes on his so he didn't leave right away. "What does the Official have planned for you boys today?"

Darien shrugged. "Some BS any two schmucks could pull off. Surveillance, arresting some idiot fishing over his limit. Who knows?"

"Would you rather he find you something more interesting to do?" I asked with a half-smile.

"You know, I can't say I enjoy getting shot at all that much, but I think I prefer it to this crap he's got us doing lately. Paying the rent, he calls it. Fulfilling our duties to Fish and Game. Makes me wonder why this Agency is the one with the 17 million dollar gland, when the FBI or the CIA could use it so much better."

That surprised me. "Darien, the work you do here is just as important as anything you could do for the FBI."

"You think so?" He shrugged again. "Guess I'll never know."

"One thing you should know for sure, you wouldn't get the kind of treatment from the FBI or CIA that you get here. This is a small Agency, relatively speaking. You would be a foot soldier to a larger group. Nothing more. You may not consider the treatment you get with us as being preferential, but it is."

"You think so?" Darien shook his head with a sigh, dropping into his chair. "I dunno."

I took the opportunity to study him a little more closely. The bags under his eyes were no smaller, but he seemed relaxed enough. "Are you feeling alright, Darien?"

He glanced over, looking as tired as I knew he must be. "Yeah, I'm good."

I let my doubt show, and he looked away with a sigh. "Darien, you know you can talk to me if something's wrong."

The door slid open before he could answer, and I silently cursed the bad timing of one Bobby Hobbes.

"Hey, hotshot, you planning to join us upstairs anytime soon?"

Darien looked over at the sound of his voice, and his body tensed. I didn't fail to notice. "You mind? I'm getting checked over by my Keeper, here."

"You dying?"

"Not that I'm aware of."

"Then get up here. Don't make me get physical, pal." Bobby sent a strange little smirk Darien's way.

Darien tensed up even more, his eyes flashing the same strange look. He stood. "Sorry, Claire. My master's voice."

"And don't you forget it." Bobby watched him coming with a grin.

Strange. I watched them as Darien passed Bobby and headed out the door. Both men grew a little tenser, and Bobby's grin became slightly forced and unnatural.

Was something going on between them? Something to cause this unusual tension? No, a better question -- was this a result of Darien's loss of sleep, or the cause of it?

I thought it might be worth checking out.

I was in the Official's office when the partners returned later that afternoon, and had a better chance to study Darien's behavior than I did before.

They came in close together, not tense at the physical closeness like they were that morning. They were both grinning like a couple of friends. Darien seemed relaxed at first glance.

"How'd it go, boys?" The Official turned to them for once without comment about their habit of barging in without knocking.

"Well, we ran into a little snag," Darien reported, dropping into a seat.

"A snag?" The Official's eyebrows went up. "What kind of snag could you have possibly run into?"

"Well, these innocent deer hunters who keep bagging over their limit?"


"They're packing Uzi's, and binoculars, and a real grudge for government agents. And they knew we were coming from a mile away."

"So? Did they fire at you? That's great, that's more to hold them for."

Bobby spoke then. "They've also got a rolled up copy of the Constitution under their pillows, apparently. If we don't get a warrant, we don't get on the property. They just might fire at us, and they could probably get away with it."

"A warrant." The Official repeated it as if the words tasted bad. "You want me to waste my time in a court for two hours because you can't find another way to get to these guys?"

Bobby smirked. "Forgive me for implying you'd might want to obey the law on this one, sir."

The Official smirked right back at him. "Well, forgive me for assuming an agent under my command would have enough common sense to sneak his invisible partner in past the boys with the guns."

Bobby went a little still, his smirk fading. He stood up and nodded one sharply. "Got it."

"But if you really want us to get a warrant, I'm sure Eberts would mind going to the courthouse and sitting around waiting for a judge. Would you, Eberts?"

"Of course not, sir. Not if that's the only way Agent Hobbes can think to get on the property."

Darien stood next to his partner, any trace of a grin gone. "Let's get out of here, Hobbes."

Bobby was out the door before Darien even finished talking. Darien went after him, but stopped in the door and glanced back at the two men by the desk. I don't know if he even noticed me sitting there in my corner, watching the whole thing.

"You know," he said with an element of real disliking towards the men. "If you didn't treat him like a joke, maybe he wouldn't act like one."

The Official seemed as surprised as I felt by that. "If Agent Hobbes has some complaint about my behavior, I'm sure he'll talk to me about it."

"Just like you told us to come talk to you before I use the Quicksilver again? Yeah, you really made yourselves seem approachable." He shook his head and went through the door, shutting it behind him.

I was more surprised by the second. That morning they were awkward around each other. That afternoon they seemed like best friends. And now Darien was sticking up for Hobbes? Odd. Hobbes didn't strike me as an oversensitive person. True, the Official and his right-hand man tended to get a little blunt sometimes, and there had never been a shortage of sarcasm in that office. And Agent Hobbes had never received what could be called respect. But he had never had a problem with it before.

Strange for Darien to feel protective towards his partner. Where exactly did it fit in with his behavior lately? I wasn't sure. For a few moments I envied Darien his invisibility. It would be interesting to go along with those two men on one of their jobs and listen to them when they're alone.

If Bobby Hobbes didn't hold the key to Darien's shifting attitudes, then perhaps Darien talked to Hobbes more openly about why they're shifting.

The Official and Eberts were quiet while I thought that to myself. The Official studied some random sheet of paper, and Eberts read over his shoulder. I wonder if they actually felt a little chagrined, being reminded that they ordered Bobby and Darien to report to them before using the Quicksilver if it was at all possible and then practically laughed in Bobby's face when he followed those orders. Perhaps an apology was forthcoming. But I doubted it then, and I doubt now that it ever happened.

Still, it was interesting to see Darien get up in arms about the matter. Either he and Bobby were closer than I imagined they were, or Darien was just looking for an excuse to express resentment to the Official.

I had to find out which of those it is.

The rest of the day passed quietly. I had no idea how things went with Darien and Hobbes, and no one bothered to call down to the lab and fill me in if something did happen.

I spent the day doing mindless research and testing a few of my animal friends, nothing exciting by even my own standards. It let me do some serious thinking, though.

I wondered what it is that had me so eager to spy on Darien. Was the fact that he seemed tired really enough to encourage me getting copies of his keys and planning to break in to his apartment to spy on him? It was abnormal behavior for me, but I explained and rationalized it to myself. I was his Keeper. Something was odd, and he wouldn't tell me what it was. So I had to find out, just to be sure it wasn't going to turn around and bite him later.

Looking back, I was probably a little obsessed with Darien at that point. The matter with Gloria had been solved -- she was back with her family, happy, and her and I still talk on a regular basis. So that part of my work was done. Now, Darien was left. And Darien was quite an interesting project. He was one-of-a-kind, and the chance to be there, helping him and studying him and trying to figure out ways to remove the thing that made him one-of-a-kind, was enough to get anyone with a scientific mind obsessed.

And maybe I just liked him. No, I know I liked him. I might even have had something akin to a schoolgirl crush on him. He was an ex-con, a bad boy, but full of heart, courageous, strong, and good-looking as the devil. I knew nothing would come of it, even if he had returned my feelings. The one thing a Keeper can't do is get too personally involved with her Kept. We were already close to being real friends, which was too close, by most scientific standards. I didn't have any distance, any scientific shields keeping me unemotional.

Then again, that was never the kind of person I was. Even when I worked for the Department of Defense, I made it clear that the check-your-emotions-at-the-door policy would never work for me. I imagine that's one of the reasons I eventually left and started work for the Agency. I knew, when the Official accepted my deal to bring Gloria to the Agency labs and find a cure for her in return for my work with Darien, that the standards were a little looser there than with other agencies.

So yes, I was too close to the situation, and it showed with my concern about Darien those few days. I felt justified, though, with the recent matter of Simon Cole that had come up, and the revelations about the QS and pineal glands interfacing the way they did. If he wasn't sleeping, the reason could have been darker than simply bad dreams, and Darien would have had no way to remember.

When I was packing my briefcase to leave that night, I was surprised by the door opening and a voice shouting for my attention.

"Keeper! We need a shot, fast!"

I turned and went over immediately, as Bobby helped an obviously pained Darien up onto the chair. "What have you two been doing?" I asked, disapproving, as I took in the tattoo and the one small green section left. "He's too close. You're not supposed to let him get this close."

"What was I supposed to do?" Bobby snapped back at me.

A gasp from Darien cut off any argument that might have followed. I hurried over to the storage unit, where fortunately I had a vial of the antidote stored. I prepared the shot, and heard Bobby talking quietly behind me. His voice was surprisingly gentle, and if I hadn't been so angry, I would have mentioned something to him about it.

When I turned back to them, I stopped for a moment, surprised.

Bobby had sat down right beside his partner, perched facing him on the chair, and was rubbing his arms lightly, reassuringly. He spoke too softly for me to hear, but Darien was meeting his eyes, pale, and obviously listening.

Until another gasp rang out suddenly, and he grabbed the back of his head, doubling over on the chair.

I moved fast, going to the two men. "Hold his arm down," I ordered brusquely.

Bobby followed my instruction quickly, pushing Darien flat on the reclined chair and grabbing his arm, holding it still against the padding of the chair.

I injected the shot of Counteragent quickly.

Bobby had been through this enough to know what would happen. He kept his hands on Darien's arm until Darien let out the familiar, small cry of pain that meant the counteragent had hit his system.

I stepped back, relaxing as Darien sagged against the bed. My heart was thumping from the suddenness of the whole thing, and the adrenaline was probably what caused me to turn to Bobby. "Do you realize how close to madness he was?"

Bobby glanced over at me, shooting a withering look in response to my harsh question, and then turned back to Darien, moving back into place on the chair. "You okay, hotshot?"

Darien was breathing a little heavily, but the color was back in his face. "Yeah." He flexed his arm and winced slightly. "Not so hard next time, huh?"

Bobby actually looked apologetic. "Sorry. I didn't bruise you or anything, did I?" He grabbed Darien's arm and frowned at the red marks that had been left by his fingers. "Damn. Sorry," he said again, sounding sincere.

Darien smiled somewhat. "Better some bruises than complete mental instability, I suppose."

I was definitely right about one thing -- these two men were obviously friends. Just seeing the closeness between them, the physical contact, told me they were more than just reluctant partners. It was a good thing to see, in a way. It probably had a lot to do with Darien growing so accepting of his life at the Agency.

But at that moment I was still a little put out by the entire experience. There was a reason we didn't want Darien using that Quicksilver too much -- if I hadn't had any Counteragent on hand, he would have gone into madness, and we couldn't have gotten him out until the new batch was ready.

"Do you too mind telling me what happened? Why were you so close, Darien?" My words were directed at Darien, but my eyes were on Hobbes. It was the reason we sent Darien out with a partner -- for someone to keep an eye on him, to make sure he stayed in line, and to make sure he didn't tax himself. Bobby's job was to watch for that madness and make sure he got Darien back here in plenty of time to prevent it. It was the whole reason I put the monitor in in the first place.

"Don't look at him like that." Darien's response was angry. "I got stuck, okay? Bobby told me to stay out of the house. I didn't listen. Some of the men we were after came in, and I was stuck there until they left. I had to stay invisible."

My anger moved from one man to the other easily. "Darien, you know better than to--"

"Don't start, lady." Bobby spoke up quickly. "I've reamed him out, and I'm sure the fat man will have something to say about it. He doesn't need to hear it from you, too."

Anger was moving into sheer outrage. For a moment I just gaped at them, taken aback by how defensive they were. Until, as usual, thoughts started coming together in my brain, and I realized there was something odd about the conversation.

I shut my mouth. They took that as a dismissal, and Bobby reached out to grab Darien's hand and help him off the chair, even though Darien was almost fully normal again.

They both seemed almost jittery. They stayed close as they moved to the door, arms touching, and neither of them looked back as they left.

I was left alone, to think about what had just happened. Strange, I realized. They had spoken up, both of them, and raised their voices to me more than usual. And both times it was in response to something I said to the other one. They were defending each other.

Definitely friends. Good friends, from the look of it. I could still see Darien's face as he spoke to the Official and Eberts earlier that day about how they'd treated Bobby. Those two men were growing downright brotherly.

It was something to remember. I wasn't sure when the stakes had changed -- when it went from Darien against the rest of us to Darien and Bobby against the world -- but I would make a note, and keep it in mind next time I was dealing with the two of them together.

Now, I was in the lab thinking those things over when Bobby and Darien checked in with the Official, but I heard about how the meeting went later. From Eberts.

As stiff and official as that man acts most of the time, get him in the privacy of your home with a carton of ice cream and he was as big a gossip as any woman alive. I learned a lot from Eberts that way. He was surprisingly fun to talk to.

This time around, there was a lot of speculation in what Eberts told me. He was observant, and as much as he obviously resented Bobby, for what reason I still can't get out of him, he tried to stay free of judgement when he relayed that meeting to me.

As he described it, when Bobby and Darien came in they were still almost right on top of each other. They took their seats, and Eberts noticed each man unconsciously moving his chair closer to the other before they sat. And he got the same impression I did of them both being jittery and uncomfortable.

"So?" The Official got right down to business.

"We did it. Your pals the hunters should be here any minute now, with the suits you sent after us to make sure we did our jobs." Bobby sounded tense, according to Eberts.

"Now, now. No need to get defensive. If you two were going to be shot out by crazed hunters, I wanted help to be nearby."

"Uh huh." Darien shifted in his chair, his hands drumming the arm rests. "So is that it for the day?"

The Official made a point of looking at his watch. "I guess you earned your pay for today."

"You got anything for the rest of the week yet?"

"We're working on something. It might be that a familiar face is back in town."

"Oh yeah?" Bobby put annoyance away for interest. "Who's that?"

"Phillip Harvey."

Bobby let out a low whistle. He glanced at Darien and spoke before his partner could ask. "Rogue Agency. He's best of the best, and he went bad a few years ago. We've dealt with him a couple of times, but he keeps getting away."

Eberts nodded. "He knows all the tricks. He was trained at Quantico, and moved through quite a few top-ranked agencies before coming here. He knows our methods, and most of our agents."

"But he doesn't know about me," Darien guessed with a slight grin.

"Exactly. We’re counting on that to be the factor that brings him in. If he's the one our man spotted. We've got a couple of men checking it out. If it's him, they'll tail him until tomorrow."

"And then we get to put him away." Bobby grinned. "I like this."

"I thought you might." The Official shut the file in front of him. "That's it, boys. Go home. Be here early."

They didn't need to be told twice. The two men stood and headed for the door. Before it shut behind them, Eberts could hear Darien's voice, asking Bobby if he wanted to grab some dinner. Bobby agreed, and they were gone.

Eberts related all this to me with something like amusement. He said that the two men were sitting so close their arms were touching, and they didn't even seem to notice. Darien was on edge, fidgeting and restless, and Bobby seemed distracted, at least until the Official mentioned Harvey.

I hurried him out of my house when he was done, and left as soon as he had driven away. Hoping Darien and Bobby had taken a while for dinner, I got in my car and headed for Darien's apartment building.

Something inside me was driven to sort this whole thing out. By all appearances, Darien should have been fine. If he and Bobby were really getting to be such friends, he should have been happy. He shouldn't have looked so tired, or acted so defensive. There was something here that I was missing, and I wanted to know what.

Sure enough, neither the car nor the van that Bobby and Darien drove was in the parking lot. I parked far in the back, in a spot shaded from the overhead lights. I doubted Darien would suspect it was my car, even though he knew what I drove. But better safe than sorry.

I want up, using the keys the Official had given me. There was no security system in the front, which made it easier.

I felt uncomfortably like a criminal, skulking up the stairs and into the hall that led to Darien's door. This wasn't me. I didn't break into other people's houses. Darien was the expert there, not me. But there I was, using my key, moving ridiculously slowly and wincing at every tiny sound the door made as it swung open.

I shut it behind me quickly, and took my first look at Darien's home.

It was nicer than I expected. It was large for an efficiency, and surprisingly tastefully arranged. Messy, but that was to be expected. He wasn't expecting company, after all.

A photo of his aunt and uncle, and Kevin Fawkes, sat on a dresser. Another one of the two boys as children was on a small table. Various other photos and posters spotted the walls.

I felt like an intruder, which was what I was. But the scientific part of me was cataloguing and noting things, and what they might say about Darien's psyche. I took a peek in the bathroom, and saw that he used two different toothbrushes. Strange, but nothing to write in the logs.

A picture caught my attention as I wandered some more. It was near the one of Kevin's graduation. A man and woman in a weathered picture were smiling brightly at the camera. The man was vaguely familiar, but I was sure I'd never seen them before.

I had studied pictures of almost everyone in Darien's life. I had seen copies of every photo in the apartment, except that one. I had never seen those two people before in my life.

Interesting. Could there be two people the Agency had missed in their probe of Darien's life? The picture was old, so the couple would now be in their sixties, approximately. Friends of his parents, or his aunt?

There was no telling. And I knew it was a petty kind of detail that would drive me mad until I found the answer.

I had been there maybe twenty minutes when I heard footsteps right outside the door, and low voices talking.

I panicked for a moment. All my snooping and I hadn't looked for a place to hide out. I was close to the closet, though, and it was easy enough to slide the door open and slip in, sliding it shut behind me.

It was perfect. The doors were slats, with gaps in between wide enough for me to see clearly out of. But it was too dark in this corner for Darien to see inside. As long as he didn't open the closet, I would be safe. If he did, I could probably crouch down enough not to be seen under the hanging clothes.

My heart was going a mile a minute. I was sure it was loud enough to be heard, although my mind told me that was impossible.

The door opened, and Darien came in.

Bobby followed right behind him, shutting the door and dropping the jacket he held on a chair as if it was his place.

I stayed as still as I could, watching Darien go to his phone and press the button to check for messages. He didn't seem to care if Bobby overheard whatever could be on there, which told me a lot.

Bobby headed for the kitchen and right to the fridge, pulling out a couple of beers. He was at home here. As familiar with it as if it was his own apartment.

It seemed they were even yet closer than I imagined.

Darien grumbled something under his breath at the one message, which was a hang-up. He stripped his own sweater off and tossed it on top of Bobby's jacket, leaving him in one of those bright, too-tight shirts he seemed to be fond of.

"Anything good?"


"Wasn't me this time," Bobby remarked with a grin, coming over and handing him a bottle.

Darien swallowed gratefully. "Thanks."

There was silence for a minute, and I noticed something.

The jitters were gone. The restless impatience that made Darien fidget through the day was completely absent. The two men looked comfortable together.

Even as I found myself thinking that, Bobby must have seen something in Darien's face that I didn't. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he answered automatically.

"Fawkes…" Bobby said the name as a warning.

Darien smiled at that, as if it was some joke between them. "I don't know," he replied more honestly. "I think that place is starting to drive me nuts."

"Aw, come on. You're getting a grip on it, right? I thought you said you've come to terms with this thing."

"Yeah, I have. I know the gland's gonna be there for a while, and I know I have no choice but to work for the fat man. I can even tell myself most of the time that I like what were doing. But it gets to me. Having people order us around all the time, bitching us out if we do something wrong -- even if we get the job done anyway. It's getting old fast. And the way they treat you, it's--"

"What?" Bobby grinned suddenly. "Is that what this is about? The way they treat me?"

Darien shrugged. "You're the best they've got, and they act like you're some big joke."

Bobby laughed quietly. "Damn, kid. I must have gotten to you. I am a big joke. You shouldn't forget that."

"No, you're not." Darien's reply was fierce, surprising me with its intensity. "Okay, so you take some meds. You may be a little paranoid, so what? You're better at this than they give you credit for. I've told you that."

I looked out in interest. It sounded like an old argument between them. Funny, this was a side of the two men I hadn't imagined. Bobby seemed less secure than he acted, and Darien was serious about changing that.

"Look, don't get all out of step over it. The boss doesn't have to like me. He knows I'm good -- that's why he put me with you. That's good enough for me. Although a vacation would be nice."

Darien shook his head for a moment, but blew out a sigh. "All right, all right." He grinned suddenly, setting his beer down on a small table a couple of feet away. "You know what drives me nuts about that place more than anything?"

Bobby returned the smile, setting his own bottle down with something like expectation. "What's that?"

"I can't do this."

And then he suddenly had his arms around Bobby, and the two men were locked in a kiss.

I almost blew my position right there. I'm surprised I didn't. A gasp came out, but they must not have heard it. My hand flew to my mouth to stop any more vocal reactions and my eyes had to be close to popping out of my head as I stared in disbelief.

Darien? And Bobby? Kissing? It was too much for me to compute. I sat there on the floor of that closet and gaped out at two men who didn't know I was there, watching one of the longer, more intense kisses I'd ever seen in my life.

A part of me rebelled against the idea. The part that wanted Darien for myself said this couldn't possibly be happening. But the scientist that never stopped computing things inside my head put it together. Two toothbrushes. The strange picture. That man who had seemed familiar; Bobby must take after his father.

Their familiarity, their closeness. The awkwardness at being too close early in the day, that grew through the hours into inability to stay away from each other. It was there, clear as anything.

Right in front of my face, as a matter of fact.

I couldn't tear my eyes away. Two men I thought I had a good grip on, stunning me with something like this.

They broke apart finally, and Bobby was practically gasping for air. "I see your point," he said with a low chuckle. His voice was different to my ears, somehow. Like it was lower, more gentle than usual. There was something…sexy…about it.

This day was one surprise after another. As much as Darien attracted me, I never even thought about Bobby as a man, not in a sexual way.

Darien only gave him a second to fill his lungs, and then fastened himself onto Bobby again. That impatience was back times ten. His hands moved to Bobby's shirt, and I could just stare as Darien quickly unfastened the buttons and slid it off him.

Bobby's arms left him jut long enough for the shirt to drop, and then moved back, taking their turn at pulling Darien's shirt off eagerly.

I was stunned. Were they actually…did these men really physically have sex? Together?

They were attached at the mouth again as fast as possible and both men let out small groans as their chests pressed together.

They were. They were going to have sex. And I was sitting here, glued to it.

Darien had to stoop to kiss Bobby so fully, and he pulled back a second later, grabbing his partner's arm and tugging him towards the bed.

Bobby let out a slight growl, and his hands moved to his slacks, unfastening them quickly.

Darien followed his lead, and almost frantic hands quickly had the two men completely naked.

I was hypnotized. If there was something wrong with what I was doing, spying on them at this most private moment, I wasn't thinking of it right then. I was sitting there staring at the two men I worked closest with, seeing their bodies revealed.

They were very different, the ever-faithful scientist noted. Darien was tall, slender. He was muscular, but his height gave him an appearance of being lanky. Bobby was shorter, and I was surprised at how much of him was pure muscle. He was stocky, compact, but there was strength in that body I couldn't have guessed at before.

Both men were fully erect, and I could feel a flush forming as I allowed myself time to take in that part of them as well.

I'd never be able to look at Bobby in the same way again. No wonder he acted so cocky all the time.

I almost giggled out loud at the thought. Cocky.

Dear God, what was happening to me? I was a voyeur, an intruder, and here I was making jokes about it. I was in no way inexperienced. A doctor, yes, but that doesn't make me cold. I'm a woman, and fairly attractive, so I've been told. I'm very familiar with sex. But this part of me, the part that was getting such a deep thrill from watching these men, was a stranger to me. I had no idea this part of me existed.

But I was finding more and more every second that I didn't mind. Perhaps I was unredeemable for what I was doing, but I couldn't exactly leave at that point, so why even turn my eyes away?

The two men before me were locked on to each other once again, and Darien pushed so that they hit the bed, Darien almost covering his partner's body.

Their hands were moving in quick, restless strokes, looking like they were desperate to touch everywhere on the other's body. Their kisses were hard and deep, muffling passionate moans. I could see tongues flashing every now and then as they broke apart for air, and something inside of me, the part that remembered what such passion felt like, was getting severely turned on by the sight.

There was nothing very romantic about it. They were moving with sheer animal instinct, driven by frustration at being so professional the entire day, and, I imagined, a great deal of sheer lust.

I wondered if that's what this was. They were friends, and maybe they simply one day decided to share this with each other. I couldn't tell if they actually felt love.

One thing was for sure -- they had enough desire to compensate if there wasn't any love there. Darien was moving his hips on top of Bobby, rubbing them together in a quick, jerky, ungraceful pattern.

It was fire and passion and lust, like nothing I'd ever seen before. They hadn't stopped kissing since they started, as if they couldn't get enough of each other.

Darien's hand suddenly disappeared in between their bodies, and I grew even more flushed imagining what it was doing. I watched Bobby break away from Darien's mouth and fall back against the pillow, letting out a drawn out, deep moan.

My own body tightened at the sound. I never imagined Bobby Hobbes in this way, but the sounds that man made were the most erotic things I'd ever heard.

Darien was quiet, in contrast, his breathing getting harsher and less controlled. His hips kept sliding against Bobby, faster and faster, almost like he couldn't control the movements.

I saw something fall from Bobby's far hand, the one I could barely see. A tube.

My heart thundered as I realized what it meant. They were going to do everything, right there in front of me. I was shocked, and aroused, and excited, and gladder than anything that I had asked the Official for those keys.

There was time enough later to be appalled at myself. I wouldn't let this turn physical on my part -- there was enough going on here for me to start trying to get something out of it. But I would let whatever happened, happen.

"Wait! Wait," Bobby gasped out suddenly, breathless.

Darien forced himself to stop his hips, and he dropped his head on Bobby's shoulder, panting in air.

Bobby moved an arm to the back of his neck, and kept it resting there when Darien looked up at him. "I'm ready," he said in a hoarse voice.

Darien nodded quickly, dropping down to capture his partner's mouth again. Bobby's legs came up and around Darien's hips, locking there comfortably.

Darien rose slightly, his hand disappearing between them, and his hips moved in small, slow thrusts a moment later.

A part of me was surprised. Somehow I thought this would work the other way around, with Bobby on top. I guessed then that they probably switched around a lot.

Another slight laugh threatened to bubble up. These were my coworkers, for God's sake.

Bobby's head fell back, venting another of those erotic groans, and I stopped caring again.

Darien's hips flexed again, and he stopped moving, his hand coming up to brace him over Bobby. He let out a breath that was almost a sob of relief. I knew he was inside as far as he could go, and the thought started my veins pounding with blood again, and that tingle going through me to magnify.

They stayed frozen like that, and I watched Bobby slowly raise his eyes and meet Darien's. They locked gazes, and so much passed between them that I could feel it where I sat in the dark corner of the closet. The same emotions were painted over both faces -- pure adoration, relief, pleasure. Love.

Yes, they were definitely in love. In radiated from them now, shining the more brightly, I supposed, after being hidden away for so many hours during the day. It flowed from them, from one to the other, so tangibly I could see it. It was absolutely amazing.

Darien caught his breath, and with a nod from Bobby he started to move. I watched the muscles clench down his back as his hips lifted and then plunged back down.

Bobby drew in a gasp of pleasure, and he met the next thrust with a movement of his own hips.

They worked up to a rhythm, staying slow to begin with. I could hear the catches in breath from both men, the inarticulate grunts from Darien, and a noise from Bobby's throat that was practically purring.

I saw Bobby's hands going down Darien's back, leaving faint white tracks from his fingernails. I watched Darien drop down and meet his partner in a slow, deep kiss. From the position they were in, as unlikely as I'd have thought, they fit together perfectly. They stayed in that kiss for so long I nearly got short of breath just watching it. Their bodies kept moving together and apart in a well-practiced dance that they had down perfectly.

It was beautiful. Watching those two men, their expressions, their muscular forms moving together, hearing the soft sounds, it was erotic and beautiful. Seeing the love that was now so free and blatant between them put a bit of a pang in my heart. It was hard to look at happiness like that when I didn't have my own to go home to. But I couldn't have stopped watching even if I’d wanted to.

They started moving faster bit by bit, moving steadily together. It went on for what felt like ages. It could have been minutes, it could have been hours, I wasn't sure.

Finally, though, out of nowhere, it seemed to get a little out of control. The faster pace went a little ragged, and those purrs from Bobby gave way to full-out moans. Darien stopped controlling himself, driving into his partner over and over again as he let loose with his own moans and whispered words.

"Jesus…so good. Love you. Bobby…perfect. So perfect…" I almost blushed at the endearments that passed from my Kept's mouth. This was definitely something another person shouldn't have heard.

Bobby cut them off by pulling Darien down in a probing kiss, but they broke it off fast, both men getting rapidly short of breath.

The whispers were gone, though, and the pace between them was growing back to being almost frantic. They came together again and again, so hard I could hear the sounds of flesh slapping flesh. Darien let his hand slip out of sight again, and Bobby almost jerked.

A few seconds later, with a sharp cry, Bobby arched up into Darien. Right on cue, Darien echoed the cry with the sound of Bobby's name, and stiffened against him.

They stayed frozen together for another eternity, and then Bobby sagged back onto the pillow, and Darien sank down on top of him.

Both men were fighting for breath, and I could see their bodies moving with every gasp of air they took in.

Darien lifted himself a minute later and slowly moved his hips up and back, and Bobby let his legs drop to the bed.

Bobby held his arms out without even opening his eyes, and Darien settled into them without looking, curling one leg over Bobby's and resting his head on Bobby's shoulder.

Bobby moved his arm slightly to give his partner better support, and was unconscious a moment later.

Darien's eyes opened as I watched, and he lifted his head slightly to look down at his partner. His lover, I guess I should say. His eyes were gleaming with the same waves of feeling that had passed between them earlier, and he raised up to kiss Bobby lightly on the lips.

Bobby unconsciously tightened his hold around Darien, mumbling something under his breath.

Darien smiled and lay down again. A moment later, his breathing matched Bobby's deep, steady rhythm.

It had to be safe. After what they just did, I'd be surprised if they woke up in time to get to work.

I stood awkwardly in the small space, and held back a gasp. My legs were almost totally asleep. How long had I been in there, anyway?

I moved slowly, hugging the door so the clothes behind me didn't move, and slid the closet door open.

Neither man stirred as I slowly, silently made my way out and across the apartment. I paused nearer to the bed than I should have and shook my head slightly. I couldn't quite believe it, but that didn't mean it wasn't the most incredible thing I'd ever seen in my life.

I made it to the door and out without a sound from the bed, and I couldn't help but breathe my relief to be safely out of there. We all would have been mortified if they had caught me.

I went down the stairs and to the door, pulling out the small pair of keys the Official had given me. Part of me really really wanted to keep them, but I knew I wasn't brave enough to try something like that again. Concern and worry had motivated me that night, but if I went again it would be for another reason, and that wasn't justifiable. Not at all.

Still, at least my concerns were rested. I looked down at the clock on the dashboard as I drove home. Three thirty in the morning.

No wonder Darien looked so tired. This explained why he wasn't sleeping enough. My guess was, in the morning, when they got to work, once again they'd be awkward about being close, probably out of fear they'd give too much away. They would be overly sarcastic, and try too hard to recreate the relationship they first had.

And then they'd lose control. Somewhere during the day they'd stop fighting it, probably without even noticing, and they'd be back to walking almost right on top of each other.

I've been lying awake the last three hours. I'll have to get up and shower soon, and get ready for work.

I don't know how I'll handle it when I get to work, and Darien comes in for that check-up. I probably won't be able to stop blushing, especially if Bobby shows up with him.

I really ought to say something to him, though. Losing so much sleep isn't healthy, for either of them.

The images from the night flash through my head again, as I know they will in my dreams for a while after this.

I know I won't say a word.