Disclaimer: I do not own Glee. Or Brad Ellis.

A/N: I have no idea what this is. Beta done by the lovely Kivrin and Frings. Title is from the song "The Silent Man" by the band Dream Theater. (Literal titles ahoy! \o/)


Sometimes, he imagines being asked a question. Any question would do. He makes up monologues in his head, making sure to use as many words as possible in his response, to give out as much information that he can while still making it relevant.

No-one ever asks.

When you stop talking, people stop talking to you.

As he presses the keys of the piano, he looks up and catches the eye of the Lopez girl sitting in her chair listening to yet another solo from the insufferable tiny one. It lasts for half a second before her gaze moves on. She probably didn't even mean to, was most likely just rolling her eyes and looking around the room when she accidentally caught his eye. She's the only one in the Glee Club that he feels some amount of fondness for. As he continues to press the keys, he imagines being asked why.

The answer is simple. She was the first of the Glee Club to ever acknowledge him.

It may have been as an insult, sure. But the moment she walked into that choir room and made a snarky comment about the bearded mute behind the piano, she had acknowledged that there was a living, breathing being playing their music and taking all of their last-minute song changes in stride.

He hates the Glee Club. They remind him of himself at their age. Young and full of hope, fully believing that his love of music would get him out of this town. He and Suzie used to talk about it, sometimes - how the had the talent to make it big. And he did. But talent gets you nowhere, without a stroke of luck. And Brad Ellis has never been lucky.

He used to drive to auditions all over the state for hours every week. He hadn't made it into the college that he wanted, that would nurture and grow his musical abilities, but that was okay. There were a bunch of young artists being found every year without training, right? While he was good - better than good, actually - at the piano and the violin, he loved singing the most. He loved the way it made him feel, the way the notes would flow out of him when he sung at his highest. He had a gruff, low voice, but sometimes when he worked at it he could reach the higher notes and it just- it made him feel like he was flying. He had imagined himself sprouting wings and taking off into the sky - and getting out of this town for good.

He met Suzie at a café. It was eventually sold and remodeled, made into the Lima Bean. It seemed like something out of a movie, except Brad had never been a good romantic lead. He was too quiet, too withdrawn, too much inside his own world. But Suzie was the same - and the two of them just clicked. With her, Brad never felt pressured to speak. The two of them could sit in silence for hours without it being awkward, could hang out in opposite sides of the house and still feel better than when they were alone.

They never married. Sometimes Brad wishes they had. But then he remembers that Suzie was never one for marriage, and just because Brad was one for the classics didn't mean both of them had to be. Marriage was never necessary for them. They were happy, living their own silent lives, but together.

He kept going to audition after audition.

He was never found.

It put a bit of a strain on their relationship. Suzie was too empathetic not to notice Brad's anger growing day after day. He took a job as a music teacher at the local high school. The normality - the mediocrity- of the nine-to-five job grated on him. He was meant for something bigger, something larger than life. He stopped singing. He could feel his voice dulling down. Brad, a usually quiet man, almost stopped speaking at all.

Suzie was not pleased. She tried convincing him that just because he had not gotten the fame that he craved, it didn't mean that he couldn't be happy. That he couldn't live and be alive. He did not listen.

The night became a constant starless sky.

Then one day when he had gotten home, he got a call on his cellphone. It was from an unknown number. Frowning, he had answered it, while sneaking a look at the clock hanging on the kitchen wall. Suzie was a bit late from work that day, but he didn't think much of it. He assumed there was traffic.

Someone by the name of Dr. Richardson was on the line. She told Brad that there had been a traffic accident involving Suzie's car and another's, that she was currently in surgery and in critical condition.

Brad calmly nodded, as if there was nothing amiss. After being told what room to go to once he arrived, he hung up and drove to the hospital. He softly hummed along to the CD in the car as he navigated through the streets.

Sometimes he wonders if it was wrong of him to react that way. If hewas wrong. That most people would cry, or freak out, or do anything else but drum along with the beat on the steering wheel as he waited for a green light.

He had arrived at the hospital. After getting lost in the many halls, calmly asked a nurse for directions. Once he made it to the right room, he checked in with another nurse, who told him to wait in one of the plastic seats.

He sat.

He waited.

The doctor arrived.

He knew as soon as he saw her face that Suzie was dead. Nevertheless, he politely let her finish her speech on how there was nothing they could do and who to contact for help with the burial. He recalls asking how the other passenger had fared. Dr. Richardson said she had died on impact.

He wanted to say something more, but couldn't make his mouth move after that. So he nodded, and the doctor left, and he stayed sitting in his seat. He doesn't remember much after that. The nurse he had checked in with had kindly reminded him that it was dark out now, and wouldn't he like to go home and get to bed. He nodded, this time not even bothering to attempt to speak, and left.

He figures that if he were fictional, this would merely be his sad backstory that would have helped him evolve as a person and, after the proper grieving period, he would have found his true purpose in life. He would be the character everyone sympathizes with, who is sad and dark but ultimately the hero. But this is life.

The song ends slowly, the final notes dying away as the girl's voice falls silent. There is quiet for a moment, and then polite clapping. He readies himself for another song, and plays.

Most days have been the same since she died. He wakes up at half past seven in the morning, showers and dresses. He slices four pieces of bread and makes two double-sandwiches, one with cheese and ham, and one with turkey and lettuce. He eats the first one, and packs the other in plastic to be had for lunch. He drives to work, and tries to show inept students how to make music. He picked up how to play the guitar along the way, so sometimes he does that. Mostly though, he just plays the piano and waits for his students to understand how to do it themselves.

He breaks for lunch. He eats in a quiet park not too far away that he and Suzie used to visit sometimes. He goes back to the school, and continues the same way as the hours, and the days, before.

Once he is home, he takes out a frozen dinner and heats it. He always burns his tongue on the first bite. He watches a movie while he eats. When the movie finishes, he spends a few hours tinkling away at his piano and sometimes writing down a few melodies in a notebook he keeps. He doesn't plan to make anything out of it. But he remembers how Suzie used to like to hear him play, how she always grabbed a book and sat nearby when he started doing it. He likes to take the notebook with him when he visits her grave and just sit there with his gaze focused on those notes, listening to the songs playing themselves out in his head. He knows it's useless, that nobody hears them but him, but it gives him something to do rather than just sit there and stare.

Once he is done, he sleeps. And he wakes up in the morning and goes up to do it all again. The only change in his schedule he has kept for years is the Glee Club, when they first began. Schuester had come to visit him and asked for him to play for him, and then smiled and thanked him before he had even had the chance to nod or shake his head. Even so, the Glee Club eventually became just another part of his day, having to witness all these enthusiastic teens who believe themselves to be so much better the rest of them, who believe themselves to be it. They don't realize that life isn't like the movies.

He wakes up. He eats, he teaches (shows), he goes home, he eats again, he plays, and he sleeps.

He never speaks.

He doesn't have a reason for it, anyway.