DISCLAIMER: All "Dark Angel" characters belong to James Cameron and Charles Eglee (Cameron Eglee Productions) and "Dark Angel" itself belongs to FOX.


The Best Laid Plans 2: Death and Life
By Valjean


Chapter 23
Not My Problem

It wasn't fair ... it wasn't fair that it had ended this way.

Max stood beside the newest grave in Chimera's cemetery. Flowers in her hand, she knelt and gently placed the blossoms at the base of the monument, a beautiful grey granite stone Luke had carved especially for her ... for him.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I never wanted things to be like this. I'm sorry you had to die."

Brac came running to her across the velvety green of the cemetery lawn, his chubby little arms outstretched for his mommy and his tiny powerful legs pumping in strides far more graceful than an ordinary 18-month-old. Max swept him up in a big hug and buried her face in his soft blonde hair. Then her hand went to her flat stomach and a small smile touched her lips. "Before long you're going to have a baby sister," she said, nuzzling her son's ear. "You'll get to be a big brother, her protector, just like your daddy always protected me."

A shadow fell across her. "You know, I never in a million years pictured myself as a family man," a familiar beloved deep voice said. Alec bent over and took Brac from her, grimacing slightly when the baby playfully kicked out and his little foot hit him in still sore ribs.

"Dr. Makari said you weren't supposed to lift anything for another week," Max chided.

Alec shrugged, then smiled as Brac's tiny fingers grabbed the lapel of his brown leather jacket. "I'm all right." His eyes slid to his mate's, a sly grin on his handsome face. "Hell, I'm always all right."

"Watch your language," Max said, but her voice was lilting, not scolding. "Brac's picking up more words every day and he doesn't need profanity in his vocabulary just yet."

Alec ducked his head, a mea culpa in his eyes. Then he gestured to the grave. "I didn't like this at first," he said. "Not after what he did to you ... to us. But I suppose we do owe Logan something. After all, there was a time you loved the guy, and he wasn't always a raving maniac."

Max frowned. "I'm just glad his grave is the only new one," she said. "I'm glad Dr. Makari's drug, the one that saved you, is working on all the X's. Now, so long as we can keep our tryptophan supplies replenished, we should be all right."

"And Father's newly cloned army?" Alec asked, one eyebrow raised. "You were in such a hurry to get off Calvi--"

"In order to save your life," Max interrupted. "You were drowning in your own blood. I didn't have time to play Superwoman and destroy the lab beneath the castle. We'll just have to worry about that later. It's a miracle I found a doctor willing to call in a Medivac chopper, and those emergency room attendants in Calenzana are probably still talking about the mystery patient who's heart stopped four times but walked out of the hospital three days later."

"Because of your blood," Alec said. "Three units ... In case I forgot, thanks Max ... for savin' my ass again."

She smiled tartly, mischief glinting in her eyes. "I only bother because it's such a very fine ass you know, and I really would miss it if it was gone."

Alec looked down at where her hand still rested on her stomach. "Makari says things are all right with her?"

"Just fine," Max replied, her tone softening. "Pure X5 and this time I get to pick the name."

"Fair enough."

There was a sound behind them and both transgenics turned to see Joshua standing at the edge of the cemetery in the early morning mist, his head bowed.

"Hey, Josh," Alec called out. "You all right?"

Joshua raised his eyes and gestured toward Logan's grave. "Father should be here too," he said. "He should be with his children."

"It was hard enough haulin' one body off Calvi, Big Fella," Alec said sympathetically. "Actually, it was two if you count what bad shape I was in." He glanced down at Max. "I'm sure Sandeman's people took care of him ... and Otto."

"We could only look out for our own, Joshua," Max added. "And no matter what he did, Logan was still really one of us ... belonged with us at the end."

"I know," Joshua said with a huge sigh. "But I wish ..."

"Wish what, Big Fella?" Alec asked, handing Brac to Max and walking over to put a hand on his friend's shoulder.

"I wish we could really have been Father's army ... that we could have defeated the evil for him. Now ..." He shrugged. "We don't have a purpose any more." He looked at Brac who had pulled out of his mother's arms and was chasing a butterfly, darting between the headstones. "We're a lost people, Alec. No one in the world cares about us any more."

"Which ain't all that bad," Alec said softly, his eyes also on his son. "There's an ancient oriental curse that goes 'May you live in interesting times.' Well, I've had about all the 'interesting' I need for one life. Personally, I'll be glad to just hunker down here on Chimera and let the rest of the world pass me and my family by." One corner of his lips quirked up in a small secretive smile. "With, of course, the occasional cat burglary foray outside just to keep me from gettin' bored."

"The rest of the world isn't going to ever be the same, you know," Max said, looking up at him from where she knelt, her hand now resting on the headstone of Logan's grave. "With Sandeman dead the vaccine distribution will be affected. Thousands more will die, maybe tens of thousands. And then, one day, the breeding cult's going to come out of hiding and stage a takeover. Without us to fight against them ..." She didn't finish the sentence, didn't need to. Instead her dark eyebrows crept up, sad resignation on her face.

"I know, I know, the regular human race is toast," Alec said tiredly, pacing, gesturing with his hands now, not liking where Max seemed to be going with this. Then he stopped, his hazel-green eyes hardening as he added flippantly, "But it's not my problem." Off Max's sharp look, "And not your problem either." He pointed a finger at her, emphasizing his words. "Not any more. Hell, let Sandeman's clones handle things. He still has people ... followers to continue his work. Maybe that will be enough." Joshua was looking at him now too. "After all," Alec added rather lamely. (He felt like he was losing a battle.) "In spite of Father's precious Prophecies about me bein' the one who was gonna foil his plan we left the tanks intact. Which means I'm not the bad guy, right?"

Max had gotten to her feet and was staring at him now, her eyes still demanding more from him.

"Ah, geez, Max!" Alec turned desperately to Joshua, seeking some support. "I want out! I want my whole family out of this nightmare! I'm not goin' back to Calvi. I'm not gonna use our people here to still try and build some kind of army to fight the cult. And most of all I'm not gonna--"

"Shut up," Max said, and her lips on his made him do just that.

The End

Anyone who wants to read "The Best Laid Plans 2: Death and Life" in its entirety is invited to my website: http://www.michaeleaston.com/DA/DAfanfic.html. I also have a number of other DARK ANGEL M/A fanfiction stories there that I've not made available on ff.net as of yet. I even keep an email list of interested readers whom I notify when I post new work on the site.

Also, I'd like to encourage all M/A DARK ANGEL fans to read Max Collins' official prequel novel BEFORE THE DAWN. True, Alec isn't in the story (yet), but there's lots of canon background material in the book that would be pertinent to Alec later on. Plus, Mr. Collins says that Alec and Joshua will be "centerstage" in the DARK ANGEL sequel novel SKIN GAME coming out next February. -- author's note