{author's note} Ryker/Rita. I love Ryker's backstory, not least of all the Rita subplot. Here's a oneshot set a little before "The Payment" (S3 e14). While not a full-blown songfic, this is also inspired by Owl City's "Vanilla Twilight".

Whisper Silently

He could sit for hours there, just listening to the sky. Most days it was all the individual noises . . . they sort of blurred together into a mountain, swelling and shrinking from hour to hour. A deceptively serene sky with a deafening serenade. The critters all had voices that sounded the same, somehow. Some days their silent whispers overwhelmed him, and he had to turn in, falling back into the creaky little cot in the first cell - some days. Then with tender care, Life would take a fist, and hammer out a few more thoughts into his eyes, to be broken shortly later by a crowing, or a clanking of a tin cup against the bars. Some kind of reality.

Tonight he didn't hear anything. Ryker shifted his chair forward a little on the porch, and was disappointed he could not hear the floorboards move. The street tonight was deserted, barring the customary saunter of a shadow, or two, over by the boarding house. Above him, it looked as if the stars themselves were hunched over the black outline of the buildings across the street, leaning intently in on his secret.

He had said nothing and too much already.

These? Well, these were just his letters. Telegrams with nowhere to go. The creases were getting worn soft and feathery, after his fingers had folded and refolded them so much. He might put them back, but he might as well see how long they could go before crumbling up for good. He wanted it both ways, to take the only memory he had and look it in the eye every night, and expect it to last the rest of his life. And why shouldn't it work that way.

He let a few morbid reflections drift by, then reviewed the events of the past day. These were not the last things he would think about tonight, so they must be the second or third-to-last. His mind would run through all of them thoroughly, make plans for the impending morning, and then revert back to these fingerprinted bits of paper. Sudden memories were sweeter; they hurt in the way that felt most real. It was hard to see her any other way, and he just wished she were here.

It made no sense, but he felt somehow, if he saw her again, he would know.