Code: Dark Angel, slash (m/m)
Disclaimer: (sigh) If only they were mine. You'd get to watch Max kick ugly-bad-guy-butt seven nights a week...But all the pretty boys would be off-screen with me. So maybe it's best they belong to Cameron and Eglee, huh?
Feedback: oh, please.
Archive: if you ask.
Summary: Alec meets Max's sibs and he and Krit do some "bonding". Or something.
AN: I'm back! I'm writing something DA! I'm writing *something*! So yay for me! Please let me know what you think about this. And...
AN2: Keep in mind: this was written after Cape Haven Virtual Season Episode 3.5. "Reunion". Kudos to the writers of that. (check it out at www.darkangelvirtuality.com ). Some dialogue and the story setup can be attributed to them. The naughty twist events that take place later on are all mine ;)
Thanks: to Owl, my beta :) Kimmy for inspiration. And everybody at Cape Haven for bringing DA VS3 to life.
Krit heard Syl's voice in the background, as she tried to rouse their baby sister and he and Lydecker checked the perimeter. Satisfied that no more of their enemy were present in what seemed to be Terminal City's Headquarters, the men turned to the other fallen transgenics in the room. There was a large, reptilian-looking male that, quite frankly, made Krit take a second look when he spotted him. Lydecker was already kneeling at the man's side, checking for a pulse. Or. Whatever. And so Krit went to the, presumably, X5 slumped facedown near Max.
Shaggy blonde hair. Broad shoulders underneath a leather jacket. Handgun lying nearby on the table. Krit turned the man's body over... And felt a flood of recognition hit him so hard he felt nearly breathless.
The name slipped past his lips before he could stop it. Shock and maybe a little awe tinged the single word and made it sound reverent. And Krit could sense Syl stiffening behind him, even though he wasn't turned so that he could see her face.
But Lydecker...Good 'ol Deck didn't seem at all affected. He barely spared a glance in Krit's direction, then raised a single eyebrow when he saw the man unconscious at Krit's side.
"Ben's dead," the Colonel said. As if he was commenting on the weather or the sports. Forty-five percent precipitation out there today. The Reds lost again last night. Oh, and yeah, your brother's dead. Krit and Syl turned to face him. "Must be a twin," Lydecker went on, oblivious. Or indifferent.
"His name's Alec," came the surprise response.
Surprise because it came from Max.
Krit turned sharply to dark eyes so much like his own, a smile already thawing the icy expression on his face.
Max. Maxie. She'd been at the back of his mind since '09, the first time they'd all been separated. She'd been in his and Syl's nightmares since the raid on the Gillette facility. But there she was. Alive.
And bitching at Lydecker.
"I thought you were supposed to be dead," she snapped, finally able to pull herself to her feet...Almost. Syl caught her as she swayed. And shared a look with Krit over the younger woman's shoulder.
They listened as Max and Lydecker squabbled, like Alpha males trying to dominate the same pack. And then Logan was on the phone. Nearly having been gassed and sounding worse for the wear. And not caring about anything but Max.
"I'm alive – that' s good enough for now. I'm on my way to Command."
The X5s smiled.
Some things had changed so much over the years. Over the year since they'd bombed the Gillette lab. But some things never changed at all.
"Syl, you're with us. Krit, can you keep things under control here till we get back?"**** ****
"There're eight in the bed..."
'...and the little one said roll over...' the old nursery rhyme completed itself in Alec's head.
Before a splitting pain erased all memory of language from his mind except that of...
Spin. Room spinning. Or was it his head? Doing a little dance on the top of his shoulders, and damn but Alec wished it would cut that out. And Mole in the background reciting nursery rhymes? Heh. He must not have been the only one to have too much to drink last night...
But wait. That wasn't last night, was it? And he hadn't been drinking anything. Unfortunately. Memory caught up with Alec in a rush. Max; Max's runes. The Familiars. The gas...Max.
Alec came to, looking for Max and reaching for his gun both at the same time...
And ended up eye to eye with the business end of his very own weapon. 'Now that's just rude,' he thought, before raising his sights to the man pointing the aforementioned sidearm.
'Max,' indeed. The man standing a couple of feet away...could be Max. If Max were a man. And he was looking at Mole, though the gun was still aimed at Alec.
"I wouldn't do that," the young man had been saying. And Mole was saying something back.
Okay, so no nursery rhymes. Mole was saying something about "dead", not "bed". Damned freaky Familiars and their freaky gasses. Well, at least no one *was* dead.
"Like I said," Male Max continued. Soft voice. Deeper than Max's, of course, but softer, too, somehow. Soft voice coming from lips that were Max's, and weren't, with a stronger jaw beneath but the same deep, dark eyes above..."I was just keeping an eye on you boys till you woke up.""With a Glock?" Mole deadpanned.
Male Max kinda grinned. "Don't miss much with these."
Mole snorted and Alec smiled.
"We're here to help," Krit continued. His trigger finger relaxed just slightly. Lizard-boy seemed to be coming around. At least he no longer looked like he wanted to chew the skin right off Krit's face.
And too late, the young X5 realized why.
A body suddenly appeared in a doorway to Krit's left. A body other than the two Krit and the others had found unconscious with Max. And said body – an Albino-looking man in jeans and a heavy coat – didn't look happy.
"What the hell are you doing?"
It was a distraction. A brief, almost nonexistent distraction, but a distraction all the same. To Krit, who knew better than to become distracted in a delicate situation. Like those involving handguns and Lizard men. But, really...He was amongst friends here. Right? And he'd just found Max. After so long, too long, he'd finally found Max, and it was like he'd just realized how exhausting the search had been, now that it was over.
And there sat Ben's ghost. Just out of Krit's line of vision. With too- bright eyes icy and penetrating. Who wouldn't be easily distracted given the givens?
It was a distraction. And Alec took advantage of it.
Male Max swung, at Jake's arrival. Lost sight of Alec. The gun in Male Max's hand lost sight of Alec, which was the important issue. And Alec took advantage of the other man's temporarily divided attention. He leapt.
Leapt, and barreled into the guy just as he realized his mistake. Turned to meet Alec, head-on, but too late.
'Too late,' Alec thought, with a grin that turned into a groan as both he and the other man hit the ground. Rolled for the gun. And...
Oh. Okay. So Male Max was definitely more male than Max. Alec let himself take note, for just a teeny tiny moment, of the long, lean frame and wiry muscles trapped beneath his own. The scent of leather and soap and man. Maybe Max was right. Maybe it had been way too long since Alec had gotten any...
But then the moment ended and Alec's mind returned to more pressing matters.
His fingers came into contact with his gun. Slid into position like they would into a glove. Easy; like second nature, the feel of a gun in his hands. As second nature as the cocky grin on Alec's face and the little gleam in his eye. That gleam that only Max was crazy, or oblivious, enough to ignore.
Alec rose to his knees and set his aim on the suddenly still form at his mercy.
"You've been a lot of help," he drawled, going back to the last thing the man had said, as if only moments had passed since then. Oh, yeah. Only moments had passed since then. "I was looking for this," Alec explained, waving the gun a bit.
He was on his feet in one, smooth movement, having wiped all expression from his face. Playtime was over. He needed to find out what the hell was going on.
"Who are you?" he asked. In the background, he heard Jake helping Mole with some wire Male Max had apparently used to tie the transhuman. And wondered why he hadn't been restrained himself. 'Never underestimate an X5, kid,' Alec thought. 'Even the ones without scales.'
But, then, to his surprise...The 'kid' smiled. He just smiled. Raised up onto his elbows and crossed his ankles. Like he was getting comfortable. And raised one eyebrow.
"What?" came that soft voice, quietly amused. "Don't see the family resemblance?"
Alec wasn't easily distracted, himself, in the middle of a confrontation. By anyone but Max. Who had a tendency to do things like drive a bus through a billboard or knock down an electricity pole with him and her still clinging to the top of it. But for a moment he paused.
And just then, the radio that had fallen out of Krit's pocket, in the middle of his little "skirmish" with the man currently – apparently – about to shoot him, came to life.
"Krit? Krit...what's going on over there?"
Syl. Lizard-boy and the albino walked up to Ben's twin. All three looked to the radio as the woman with its companion continued to speak.
"You playing nice with the locals, big brother?" Syl asked.
Krit looked to his would-be captives. The blonde who could easily have *been* his brother nodded, fielding speculative looks from his transhuman friends. Krit picked up the radio and responded, keeping his eyes on... What did Max say was the guy's name? Alec?
Krit locked eyes with Alec and tried to keep his poker face firmly in place. Damn. Looking at him was so much like looking at Ben – and so *not* like looking at Ben, in certain ways – that it was downright disturbing.
"Yeah," he was saying to Syl. "Making friends already."Great. Lizard- boy was back to wanting to chew his skin off. "Is Maxie there?"
The two transhumans above stiffened, but – surprisingly – the X5 with them seemed to relax a bit as Krit spoke his sister's name.
After a slight pause, Max's voice came over the radio.
"Right here, Krit. What's wrong? Alec and Mole aren't giving you a hard time, are they?"
Krit noticed, with some satisfaction, how the reptilian- like transgenic cringed at having been singled out by his "leader". Alec, if anything, looked genuinely amused. He lowered the gun. And answered for himself.
"Course not," he said, full of cheer. And offered a hand to help Krit off the ground. Krit took it. Hoping he'd come off as casual as he'd been aiming for. To be honest, he felt like his heart was beating in his throat. The adrenaline that comes with battle, or some shit like that.
Alec clapped Krit on the back as he stood and Max mumbled something in the way of signing off.
"After all...who doesn't enjoy having a gun pointed at him every now and then. Right?" Alec said once he was sure Max could no longer hear him."Keeps you on your toes."
Krit brushed some dirt off his denim jacket and jeans. He produced a lopsided smile.
"Yeah. No problem."
"So just go talk to him already."
Krit, in the middle of peeling the label from his bottle of beer, startled then stilled. Brown eyes met twinkling blue as he looked up at his sister, across the table.
To his right, Jondy laughed. A full, friendly sound Krit would never get tired of hearing. God. He'd missed the others so much. As much as he'd loathed following Lydecker's orders, to get to Terminal City, he couldn't regret their tentative alliance with the man. He'd reunited him and Syl with Jondy and Zane; with Max. That earned him brownie points in Krit's opinion. If only just a few.
Deck would have to earn a lot more before he could stop watching his back around the X5s.
Jondy tossed long, red curls over her shoulder, and exchanged a look with Zane.
"He's cute, isn't he?" she teased, as if Krit weren't sitting right there. He frowned.
Zane took pity on the boy and kicked Jondy under the table. Earning himself a glare he just *knew* he would pay for later on. Lucky him.
"Sorry, bro," he said, with a shrug. "You are kinda obvious."
Which pleased Krit's sibs, really, more than it genuinely amused them. Teasing was just the only way they knew of interacting when they weren't fighting, or working together to beat the shit out of someone else. Syl was especially ruthless. She hadn't seen Krit get so hot and bothered, so quickly, over a guy since...Well. Since he'd crushed on Zack. Which had been really unhealthy.
Not that lusting after a dead brother's identical twin is particularly healthy...But C'EST la vie. Syl didn't think anything could be quite as *not* healthy as having a crush on Zack. Which, she was certain, they'd all had at one point or another. Had to be the Alpha male thing.
Or maybe it was just a Zack thing.
But Syl didn't want to think about Zack. A week had passed since the attack of the Phalanx. And the X5s had only just that night gotten any time to spend together and with Max. They'd waited eleven years for the sort of reunion they'd had before Max had left to..."work" on something with Logan. She'd said she wasn't ready to talk about Zack, or Brin. So Syl and the others had agreed that they could wait just a little longer, until she was. Syl knew the only way she could uphold her end of the bargain, was to just not think about Zack or Brin at all. If she did...waiting wouldn't be possible. Syl had never been accused of patience.
"Why doesn't he talk to us?" Krit was saying meanwhile, bringing Syl out of her short reverie.
Zane shrugged. "Maybe he's just giving Max some space."
Syl nodded at the suggestion and rolled her eyes. "And, jeez, if anyone needs it, it's those two," she said.
Krit had to smile. Max had always had a special gift for getting under people's skin. Although he'd never told anyone else Max's location, Zack had talked about their baby sister's antics in Seattle more than once. Max had driven Zack crazy. But now it seemed that *he* - Alec – was doing the driving. Max practically bristled anytime the X5 entered a room. While Alec, though often irritated by Max's outbursts, was more amused than anything else. Krit mentioned this to the others and there was a general consensus that Max had met her "match".
In a truly confrontational sense, of course.
And, of course, Krit had no personal interest in Max's relationship with Alec, confrontational or otherwise. "He does look an awful lot like Ben, doesn't he?" Syl said quietly, when things had settled down again. No one spoke. Ben was another subject Max hadn't been ready to broach. And damned if any of them would ask Lydecker for his version of the news he'd sprung, oh-so-casually, on them a week before.
But then, Jondy surprised them all by suddenly saying: "Nah."
Zane, Krit, and Syl looked at her, incredulously. She shrugged.
"Well, he doesn't. I mean, sure there's the face...and everything. But look at him." Jondy did, and the others followed her lead. The others excluding Krit. Not looking at Alec was something he'd been trying to do all night. Alec was leaning on a pool table – and who knew how the fuck they'd gotten one of those into Terminal City. He was talking and laughing with a couple of X6s, an X5, and a few of the transhumans. Including that Lizard-guy, Mole was his name, who Krit still felt uncomfortable around. Jondy loved him. Flirted constantly. But that was probably just for Zane's benefit.
"I see what you mean," Syl was saying. Krit knew what she was referring to.
In actuality, although Krit had mistaken the man for Ben, asleep, Alec awake didn't really resemble Ben at all. To an unfamiliar observer maybe...But Krit had known Ben. Known him better as a boy than a man, but still...
And that was the perfect word for Ben – "still". There had always been this almost unnerving "stillness" about Ben. This silent certainty and humble wisdom. When they were children, Brin – who was always coming up with fanciful stuff like that – once said that this lake, in the middle of the woods outside the barracks in Wyoming, reminded her of Ben. Calm. Reflective. Taking everything it saw and throwing it back; the way Ben did whenever he told them scary stories. He took all their fears and used them to get the greatest effect out of his tall tales.
Well, if Ben was a lake...Krit figured Alec was more like the predatory things that must have hunted near that lake, in the dark of night.
Alec didn't strike Krit as the silent, certain type. Or the silently needy type, which is the way Krit had always pictured his brother. Ben had always needed so much. He'd needed the closeness of their storytelling nights more than any of them. He'd needed reassurance that the Nomalies were things he'd made up in his head, not real monsters, waiting down in the basement to eat him. But he'd never asked. Because he hadn't wanted to appear needy. He'd clung to the *appearance* of normalcy and strength that Manticore had provided and encouraged.
Alec didn't strike Krit as being interested in appearances. He was who he was and he seemed to carry himself in a way that dared anyone to challenge him. He was cocky, not humble. But cocky, not in the way of being certain of everything, but in the way of not seeming to need utter certainty in anything. Uncertain but unafraid. For all his wisdom, Krit knew Ben had been afraid his entire life.
But maybe Krit had it all wrong. Maybe out of Ben and Alec, Ben had been the predator. Even if Krit felt like something preyed upon, whenever Alec's hazel gaze turned on him. Hunted. If only in his head.
"You think that's why Maxie and him don't get along?" Zane was asking. After what seemed like an eternity that the four of them had been sitting there, staring at or contemplating the X5 across the room. Even Krit had given in and gotten a glimpse. And regretted it once he had.
Alec was leaning over the table again. This time with his back to *their* table. And what a nice, strong back it was...Muscles taut beneath a denim jacket, rather than the leather one he'd been wearing the day he and Krit had met. He was also wearing denim jeans. And wearing them a little too well for Krit's tastes. He shifted, uncomfortably, in his seat.
No wonder Max was always threatening to "kick Alec's ass". An ass like that just begged attention in one form or another.
"I don't know if it's so much how Alec reminds Max of Ben," Jondy replied, "that bothers her. As how much he *doesn't* remind her of Ben." Which kinda made sense.
Then, again, so did Syl when she said: "Plus there's the fact that she wants to jump him."
Krit nearly choked on the beer he'd just swallowed, sending Syl and Jondy into a fit of laughter.
"And I don't blame her," Jondy confessed, grinning. And earning a glare from Zane that she just *knew* she would pay for later on. Lucky her. Jondy licked her lips.
"You're not the only one," Syl said, casting a knowing look in Krit's direction.
Which made Krit want to blush. Which pissed Krit off because, really, he was hardly the blushing, virginal type. He just found it a bit disturbing to be harassed about his lovelife by Syl, of all people. Not to mention Jondy and Zane, who'd really ought to concentrate on themselves. For fuck's sake! They'd all been on his back about getting over Zack ever since they'd found out about that particular travesty. And once they'd sensed a certain "something" between him and Alec...They'd been on his back about that, too.
"So he's hot," Krit blurted out before he could stop himself. "That doesn't mean that Max wants to screw him. She's got Logan."
"And thank God for that," Zane mumbled under his breath.
Even in the midst of his own irritation, Krit felt sympathy for his brother. Jondy had been flirting with Logan constantly, too. Trying to get a confession out of Zane that he was still reluctant to give. By coming on to everything male within shooting distance. If Jondy didn't watch herself, particularly around Max...Krit doubted she'd be alive to hear that confession once Zane was willing to make it.
"Besides..." Syl began. "I don't think Max is the one Alec wants to want to screw him." She borrowed her brother's crude words and threw them back at him, nodding over his shoulder as she did. Krit turned...And caught Alec's eyes, bright but unreadable, on him.
A pause...Then Alec grinned. And went back to his game.
'Holy fucking hell.'
Krit reminded himself to breathe, then turned back to his sibs. They were each eyeing him with barely contained mirth.
"So..." Zane said. "Are you gonna sit here and let us rag on you all night?" He gave Jondy a pointed look. She was *still* staring at Alec in exactly the same way Krit had just been. "Or are you gonna get over there before Jondy does and I have to kick her ass?"**** ****
'Fucking hell...' Alec thought.
And had to concentrate hard on keeping his next shot from going wild. Which really was pathetic. He could usually play this game with his eyes closed.
Except now, when he closed his eyes, he saw the same big, brown eyes he saw staring at him from across the room. And his aim was good for nothing but making a fool of himself with that kid looking at him like that.
"Why don't you just tell the little prick something already?" he heard Mole snarl around his cigar.
Alec made his shot and stepped back. He shrugged with deceptive nonchalance.
"Nah," he said. "Let 'em look." He forced a decidedly wicked grin and winked at a female X6 sitting a couple of tables over. As expected, the girl blushed, causing Mole and the X5 near him to roll their eyes. "Maybe the ladies just like what they see."
Mole snorted, but didn't disagree. Actually...With the exception of issues pertaining to Max and/or Logan (and/or any combination of the two)...the transgenics in Terminal City who *weren't* Max rarely disagreed with Alec. Which was both a blessing and a curse. It was nice to get a little respect every now and then. It was also unnerving. Because, like Max, the last thing Alec wanted from his "fans" at TC, respectful or no, was the "yes, sir/no, sir", blindly devoted mentality that all too many of the transgenics still possessed.
Not that blind devotion didn't have its uses.
"Hey, Ewan," Alec called to one of the X6s standing to the side. The young man straightened.
"Yes, s-...Yeah, Alec?"
Alec caught the momentary slip, but didn't mention it. He smiled, and held up an empty beer bottle.
"Think you'd mind grabbing me another one of these?" he asked.
Ewan - X6-623, Alec remembered - smiled and agreed, heading off to the makeshift bar across the room. X5-42...Matt, wandered off, too, noticing some wagers being made on a card game in the corner. Nobody ever made wagers on games involving Alec or Mole. And Mole persuaded the other X6 that had been in their company – Rogue, Alec believed to be the kid's name – to grab him another beer, as well. Mole's method of persuasion being mostly a command, met by reluctance, and followed up with a low, angry growl.
It was Alec's turn again when Mole returned to throwing glances at Max's siblings.
"You know, I meant it, man..." he said, satisfied that none of the younger soldiers were around to hear. And Alec knew that the subject of Max was about to arise. Mole seemed to love talking about Max. Even if that was all he dared do – so far – to defy their reluctant CO. Talk.
Well. Sometimes a bit more than talk. Mole threw a glance at Max's brothers and sisters and looked genuinely ready to speak with more fists than words. "You should tell them something. So what if *Max*," Mole always made that word sound more like a profanity than a name, "used to share a crib with the fuckers back at Gillette. That tall one's been staring at you all fucking night. What the hell is his problem?"
"I don't know," Alec shrugged again and said. And he was being partially truthful.
He wasn't really sure what was going on in Max's siblings' heads. And thought he probably didn't want to be. That whole fiasco with Mrs. Ryan, a few months before, had been as close to the ghost of 493 as Alec had ever wanted to get. If the Niners found him so fascinating because they saw Ben whenever they looked at him...Alec would just as soon not know.
He'd pretty much left the whole lot of them alone for that reason. That and because he'd wanted to give Max a little privacy where her family was concerned. Alec remembered how unwanted his interference had been, back when Zack was around. The truce, of sorts, that he and Max had come to since then, was still tentative, and he didn't want to do anything to fuck it up.
However, if anything, Max had seemed more than happy to introduce her brothers and sisters to the rest of the ragtag populace of TC. When she had time. Probably because she felt guilty for not having enough of that time to spread around. Being the figurehead of the transgenic "rebellion" and all. And having finally gotten past the virus with Logan.
And after the first, few, awkward encounters with Jondy, Zane, Krit, and Syl...Alec hadn't seen much of Ben in their blue, brown, or green eyes. What he had begun to see...
Well. That would be the reason Alec was having to concentrate so hard on his pool game and losing anyhow. But he wasn't about to tell that to Mole, so a simple "I don't know" was all he said on the subject.
Alec didn't know for sure why Krit had been staring at him all night. The same way he was almost certain the same sort of attention he'd been getting from Jondy was more contrived than natural. Contrived, no doubt, for Zane – the big guy that looked sort of like Zack, but younger. Happier. Alec didn't know the story between those two, but there were shades of Max-and-Logan written all over them. Unspoken emotion and melodrama and all that other nonsense. AT least Jondy seemed to be working her way to a resolution. Even if her methods were a little bit twisted.
Alec wasn't sure of what Krit was thinking...But he could guess. He'd spent more than a night "guessing" since Max's brother, quiet and intense, had shown up.
Seemed he had a habit of that – showing up when Alec wasn't conscious of it. Because a shot or two later, Alec looked up...And suddenly Krit was there. Standing on the other side of the table. Dressed all in black, t- shirt clinging to pecs and abs. Long lashes framing those nearly black eyes, and the ghost of a smile playing across his lips.
"Play the winner?" Krit offered, bringing the rim of a glass to those lips.
Not that Alec was focusing *too* much attention on that particular part of his anatomy. Or anything.
A brief silence ensued. Alec stared. Krit stared back. Mole watched the both of them through the small cloud of pungent smoke that followed him everywhere.
"Sure," Alec finally replied.
Mole acknowledged the agreement with a snort.
His game pretty much went to hell after that.**** ****
"Oh, man...that's wrong." Krit cringed in sympathy, shaking his head.
Alec sighed. "Yeah...Hurt like hell, too. Lost the match. Lost the money. And..." Alec tossed another empty beer bottle onto the pile he and Krit had accumulated. Their game of pool had turned into two, then three... Then they'd found themselves sitting at a corner table, talking about anything they could think of and didn't have the sense to shut up about. Which was quite a bit – with that much beer working its way through their systems. Across the bar, Ginger was sending Alec nasty looks but he ignored her.
"And," Alec continued, "I lost my chances with the hot bell girl."
"The 'bell girl'?"
"Yeah... You know. The girl that rings the bell."
Krit just shook his head.
"Now she was hot."
Alec complained, but somehow the sincerity beneath his laments fell a little flat, with Krit sitting right there across from him. Who needs a hot bell girl with a hot drinking buddy like Krit?
"So...did you get her back?"
Krit was all for solidarity of the unit and sticking up for his baby sister. But, really...Talk about a low blow.
Alec squirmed in his seat. "I'm working on it," he claimed.
And Krit giggled. Krit always knew he'd had too much when he *giggled*. Except, Alec seemed to like his giggle... Hazel eyes, more potent than liquor, suddenly pinned Krit in his seat, and the X5 could care less about the dignity, or lack thereof, in the way he laughed...
Then a bundle of blonde hair and flailing limbs landed in Krit's lap. Since neither belonged to the blonde Krit was currently imagining in his lap... The moment was effectively ruined.
Yes, it was indeed a drunken Syl, blonde hair flying and arms flailing, that had descended upon Krit. Albeit involuntarily.
"Jondy!" With a flash of icy blue eyes, Syl sprung to her feet. Staggered to her feet. But in a springy way. With a little nod in the guys' direction, she took off after the redhead in the process of exiting the establishment. Luckily, it was late and there weren't as many patrons for Syl to run over on her way.
"Krit. Alec," she called in passing.
Zane was standing nearby, sighing.
"Why do those two always get physical when they're drinking," he mumbled.
If Alec hadn't still been trying to decide what had just happened, he might have enjoyed that comment. As things were...
Alec blinked, looking back and forth between Krit and Zane and the direction the girls had gone.
"Are the four of you...always like this?" he asked. Krit and Zane shared a smile.
Then Zane slapped Krit on the shoulder, nodded at Alec.
"I'd better catch up with them and make sure they don't break anything," he said. "Maxie just got this place up and running. Wouldn't do to bring Terminal City down now, over an argument about nail polish."
Zane grinned. "See you guys later." With a look in Krit's direction, he left.
"Later," Krit called after him.
"So what is it with you guys and heights?"
Alec walked to the very edge of the floor, where it dropped away into nothing. Krit had found himself a place to bunk down in one of the still less populated areas of Terminal City. The building they were in was riddled with large holes like that one, in the exterior walls, which were otherwise windowless. Alec had no idea what the building's purpose had been before the Pulse. Currently Krit was living in it. On the very top floor, of course.
Krit walked up beside him, staring out into the darkness as well. He stuffed his fists into his pockets. It had seemed only natural, when he and Alec had decided to finally leave the bar, as well, to just keep talking as they had been all night. To keep talking, and walking, all the way back to Krit's "quarters", if you could call them that. Once they were actually there, however, Krit was starting to sober up. And the nerves he'd had when he'd first approached Alec, at the pool table, were returning full force. He concentrated on their conversation in order to calm down and shrugged.
"I don't know," he finally said. He didn't really. 'The High Place' had been so important to them all, since before Krit could remember. He couldn't even remember who had started it. The trips to the roof in Gillette, where he and his brothers and sisters had made grisly alters. Prayed to gods who didn't exist or didn't care. Krit couldn't remember if anyone had really started it all. Or if it had just happened. If the need to shuck off the cares of the world by towering over it was instinctual or learned. He knew one thing, though.
"Ben loved them," he said, before he could think better of it. He felt Alec's eyes on him, but figured the damage was done so he might as well continue. "He always said we should feel safe up there, on the roof. And we did. We called it 'the high place.'" Krit sought out Alec's eyes then, in the dark. Maybe to be sure he wasn't making the other man uncomfortable. Maybe to be sure he wasn't being laughed at. Maybe both.
Alec was simply studying him, silent and serious; tense, but not exactly uncomfortable-looking. Just...focused.
"He said they couldn't get to us up there." Under the "watchful" eye of the Blue Lady. Ben had believed his Blue Lady would protect them all, on the High Place. Keep them safe; keep them alive. If they were good soldiers. For the most part, he'd been right, in one way if not the other. None of them had ever died on the roof. But it had been close. After Jack had been taken, Ben had very nearly gotten himself shot down from there. When he'd gone to protest Jack's death to his beloved Lady, and upset the guards.
"I'm sorry," Alec said, bringing Krit out of the reverie he hadn't realized he'd slipped into. He just nodded.
"I mean, you know that..."
"Yeah. Yeah, I know. I just don't know how."
Alec took a step closer, just a step. But it felt like the room had contracted, and when Krit felt Alec's breath against his ear his own breathing shallowed in response. Alec placed what was meant to be a comforting hand upon Krit's shoulder, but the contact, innocent though it was – through Krit's thin t-shirt – felt like anything but that.
"Max'll tell you," Alec said. Somehow keeping up with the conversation. Despite the tension that had emerged between them, at the mention of 493. And then disappeared, leaving emotions still exposed; leaving tension of another kind, charging the night air around them.
"She told you?" Krit breathed.
"Yeah." Alec remembered Max's eyes the night she spoke about Ben. The pain and the ghosts there; the keening, little sobs Max had made against his shoulder, as he'd held her and she'd cried.
He eclipsed those memories with eyes shining in the moonlight; dilated with desire, not grief. The ghosts rapidly retreating, put back in their place. Alec focused on the sound of Krit's breathing. The scents of denim and spice. Not those of the stucco on the walls in Max's kitchen; the lilac in Max's shampoo.
"It's just hard for her, you know?" Alec tried to explain. Knowing he didn't really understand himself. But he wanted to. For Max's sake, and Krit's. For all of them. "Just give her time."
"Do you need that? Time?"
Krit's question paused Alec's movements; the almost unconscious gravitation of Alec's lips towards Krit's.
"If me mentioning Ben weirded you out or something..."
A touch. Nothing more. A soft brush of mouth over mouth; simple, silencing.
"Nah. It's okay..."
A touch. Fueling the hunger for more, so strong Alec wanted to hiss through his teeth and forget the fucking small talk. Forget everything. And touch and taste and take. And he knew he wasn't the only one. Krit's eyes were narrowed and glinted, almost dangerously, in the dark. Twin pools of black flame. He practically radiated pent desire, soon to be unleashed. But...
Talking. Why was Alec still talking?
"I feel like I should be asking you that question. It's got to be "weird" for you, huh? Seeing some guy wearing Ben's face?"
"It was a surprise." Why was Krit bothering to answer?
Finally he said something to put all other words to rest.
"I don't see Ben when I look at you.
Breath. Alec's breath, then against Krit's cheek, his lips. Warm; near. Krit's weren't the only eyes that shone in the light of the barely there moon. Alec's hazel gaze bore into Krit, steady and searing. Bringing back that feeling of being preyed upon Krit had mused about at the bar.
"What do you see?" Alec asked.
And then, no more room to talk. Barely there room to breathe. Just Krit's lips crashing against Alec's, and tongues and teeth following suit. Alec's hands dropping to Krit's hips, pulling their bodies flush against one another. Krit's hands dropping easily onto Alec's arms. Dark and light, melding together into the shadows of Krit's quarters and the soft glow of the moon. Standing there at the edge of a six-story drop.
Stumbling towards the bedroll a few feet away.**** ****
"I can't believe you're leaving."
Max clung to Jondy for long moments, before she was finally forced to let go as Zane swept her up in a crushing bear hug.
"It's not for forever, little sister," he told her, ruffling her hair. Max had twenty-one years of life and nearly nine years of military training under her belt. She'd been battling Familiars and anti- transgenics for nearly a year. And every time Zane did that, she felt like a little girl again. She tried not to smile and punched him in the shoulder, before moving on to Syl.
Not for forever. What was anymore? What was certain? When Alec had asked Max before, if she ever thought about her brothers and sisters anymore... She'd told him that she hoped she didn't see them again. She hoped that they wouldn't get mixed up in all the crazy shit that had gone down in Seattle. That was slowly spreading across the country; across the world. But now that they'd been to Terminal City... Now that she'd seen them again... Max didn't want to let any of them go.
"You don't have to listen to him, you know," she felt the need to remind them. Lydecker. Max eyed the General where he sat, waiting, in a Jeep. No teary-eyed farewells for him. Logan stood nearby, discussing something with the older man. Max wished she could put her own dislike of Deck aside the way he could. The way her brothers and sisters seemed able to do.
"We know," Syl insisted, voice as hard as steel. Well. Maybe 'put aside' wasn't the right word for how Syl and the others were handling their lingering dislike of the Colonel.
"There are transgenics out there who need our help, Maxie. Ones you can't get to from here," Jondy explained, though they'd been over this before.
"Yeah, the good Colonel's just a means to an end. He's got connections from here to kingdom fucking come and back."
"We'll be okay, Max," Zane promised. Max smiled and tried to believe. "We'll be back. And we'll be in touch before then."
"We'll be looking for the rest of our family, sis," Syl said. Max nodded. Speaking of which...
Syl, Jondy, and Zane exchanged a look.**** ****
"Man, you're gonna get me into so much fucking trouble..."
Alec grinned, helping Krit rearrange his clothing. The clothing that had become considerably *disarranged* in the midst of Alec's...um...saying goodbye to Krit. He kissed Krit thoroughly, cutting off his protests as if they'd never been. They kissed so thoroughly that Alec could taste copper. Blood. Krit bit at Alec's lower lip until the tender skin broke, then sucked away the pain. A subtle, perhaps subconscious, marking of territory? How sweet.
Alec drew back. "What? Afraid Lydecker's gonna give you latrine duty or something?"
Krit smiled. "Or something." Deck couldn't stand his little soldiers being late for anything. And Krit could hardly explain that he'd been exchanging blowjobs with one of his fellow soldiers, if Lydecker asked for an excuse.
Alec didn't really know what to say after that. Good-byes weren't really his thing, honestly. He couldn't remember ever having cared about someone enough to want to tell them goodbye, when the time came. The few people he had cared about, throughout his life, had died before he'd ever had the chance to tell them anything.
And Alec *refused* to go the Logan-esque route of "Be careful." "Keep your head down."
In the end, Alec didn't have to say anything. Good-byes weren't really Krit's thing, either. Especially since he had every intention of coming back to Terminal City. Once he'd taken care of a little family business.
Alec had every intention of being there when he did. He didn't figure he'd be going anywhere, anyways.
Alec kissed Krit one last time. Drinking in the taste of him, the feel of him. Those deep, dark eyes. Then he slipped something into Krit's pack, smiled, and walked away.
Krit headed off to meet the others, and reached into his pack as he did, curious. He found Alec's Glock.
Okay, so maybe Alec did say something after all.