Not My Brother, Chapter Eight
The fist that rose to meet her face was hard and punishing, sending her to the floor in shock.
Jumping to her feet, her lust momentarily forgotten, she struck back, only to find her blow blocked by the man in front of her.
Max gaped at White in shock, trying to piece together what was going on. She watched, almost detached, as his fists rained against her in a fury of violence. Some moves, she blocked automatically, others slid by, marking her skin almost immediately with deep, ugly bruises.
"How..." the question started on her lips and he backhanded her.
"Animals don't talk," he sneered, kneeing her in the stomach and kicking her repeatedly as she fell.
Rolling away from him quickly, Max jumped to her feet, eyeing her attacker.
He knew she was transgenic, which was the only reason he'd stopped. It all had something to do with the weird ass marks on her arm, but she could never find out if she didn't get away.
The mission was pretty much a bust at this point.
Focusing her energy, she blurred at him, not letting up her attack as she struck again and again, unmindful of the blows he landed on her body as well. Blocking the heat of his body and the need in hers. Above all other instinct, she needed to survive.
Max dropped, sweeping his feet. He went down hard, but flipped, pinning her to the ground as she struggled against him.
He stared into her eyes, unyielding, anger radiating from his eyes.
They were still for a moment and all that filled the air was their harsh breathing, quiet in a house surrounded by the racket of the city.
The sudden pause in fighting threw Max off kilter, her hormones rising to the forefront as she warmed to White's body, directly above her. She licked her lips, her body relaxing as she arched into him, need flowing through her more forcefully than before.
White swallowed, confusion overcoming his features as he stared at her, lowering his lips.
"Step away," the hammer of a gun clicked into place and Max's eyes flew to the door, her heart hammering at the voice.
A dazed smile spread over her as White got up, "What seems to be the problem here?"
Agent Gottlieb stepped into the room, "Sir, the woman with..." his voice trailed off as his mouth dropped.
Noticing his distraction, Max smiled at him.
Renfro followed her soldier grimly.
Everything about the situation felt wrong, but she couldn't put her finger on what it was. When Ben entered the building White was in, she picked up her phone.
"Sandeman? I think we have a problem."
Ben tried to block out the image of Max with the other man, but it was impossible. Tried to tell himself she was in heat, but the jealousy overwhelmed him.
He watched as her eyes flickered to the man next to her and she smiled, that damn seductive smile that destroyed his control was going to another man.
And suddenly, it didn't matter that he had a plan, didn't matter that things would work out just fine if he stuck to it, the fury inside him lashed out and backhanded the agent beside him.
Max's eyes went wide and she looked back at him, springing to her feet, her beautiful body lithe and lovely in movement. His gun never left White as he stared at her, frowning as he took in the odd markings and bruises. Bruises.
Gritting his teeth, he glared at White, "You hurt her?"
Every muscle in Ben's body tightened as he looked from White to Max and back. Never in his life had Ben wanted any one person to die more deeply than he did at that moment. Not even in psy-ops.
He hurt her. Ben hadn't even known it was possible for an ordinary to hurt her, but this one had done it.
"Ben..." her soft voice reached out to him and he was only more enraged.
"BEN!" Max gasped again, stepping up next to him, "We needed him alive!"
He blinked at her and then back to White, clutching his stomach on the floor, blood pumping from his body. Ben couldn't even remember shooting him, but wasn't sorry.
"He's better off dead," Ben muttered, tucking his gun into the back of his pants and turning to Max for the first real time, his eyes running over her.
"Target leaving the house, sir," the radio buzzed.
"Ben..." she was frowning, but stopped as their eyes caught and held.
He felt no rush of the pheromones he knew would be there, he wasn't overpowered with the primitive need to fuck her until they collapsed. His sense of smell didn't rob him of his choice.
That would be Max's nakedness.
The older man joined Renfro at the bus stop.
"What's the problem?"
"I think your son may be in danger."
Renfro shook her head, "Just a gut feeling. There was something off about the X5 I sent to protect the girl."
Max noticed his perusal and her body caught fire. She didn't have to pull away, she didn't have to do anything but jump him.
A wide smile broke over her face as she let go, allowing instinct to overwhelm her senses and focus on Ben.
He met her halfway and they came together in a possessive kiss that sucked the breath from her body. It was right, the completion of everything her body craved and she drank it in until she overflowed with the need to possess more and more of him.
"Ben…" she moaned against his mouth, "I need you."
He sent merely a glance to the body on the floor and brought her body so tightly against him, Max wanted to purr at the pleasure of it.
She could feel him more intensely than anything she'd ever felt and she needed it to survive, needed him.
His name was a prayer and a plea on her lips as they frantically tried to rid themselves of the obstacles between them.
Jondy knocked on Lydecker's door.
Zane kicked the door in.
Their commander looked up in alarm, shutting the computer off abruptly.
"That's bad for computers, you know," Jondy commented.
"Do I need to call security?" Lydecker raised his eyebrows.
"You could," Zane shrugged, "But if you want our help, that wouldn't be wise."
A half smile appeared briefly on Lydecker's face before he rebooted his computer.
"It seems that Director Renfro has some other business to attend to. She left right after Ben this morning."
"And that is unusual, sir?" Jondy frowned.
"When the helicopter goes the opposite direction of where she says, yes. Very."
"Do you know where she went?" Zane looked at Lydecker expectantly.
He couldn't smell her pheromones, but her heat consumed him to the marrow of his bones until he ached with the need to take her.
It wouldn't be slow like their first joining, but raw and wild. Max bit his lip, hard, and he slammed her against the wall.
A whisper of danger ran along his spine and Ben backed off immediately, leaving Max momentarily stunned until the door burst open.
"Against the wall," agents lifted their guns to the couple and Ben put up his hands tentatively, stepping between Max and the men.
"Let the lady dress," Ben nodded to the agents, holding his hands in the air as Max hurriedly re-dressed, casting frustrated glances at Ben and smirking as the officers watched her.
She slid the clothing on slowly, teasing all of them.
Ben shifted uncomfortably, pouting as the other men stared at her.
A look was all that was needed to inform Zane what Lydecker thought of his questions.
Did he know where she was? Deck rolled his eyes.
"Renfro isn't the only one that runs a few extra missions on the side," he pointed to the screen. "This is hover drone footage you can thank Max and Ben for."
"Who is that with Renfro?" Jondy frowned.
Lydecker swallowed as his boss's companion turned around. "His name is Sandeman."
"Where are they going?"
Max smiled, winking at the men at the door as their mouths dropped, their weapons lowering for a moment as she licked her lips slowly, buttoning her pants.
Suddenly, they were on the floor and Max blinked, turning to Ben in surprise.
"Stop that," he muttered, glaring at her.
"You're the one that pulled away," she shrugged, stalking him. "Don't you want me, Ben?" she licked her lips.
"Max, we need to get out of here," he took her hand, "And then I promise…" he kissed her hand, open-mouthed, running his tongue around her knuckle.
She pulled him after her fiercely, exiting the building.
"Hold it, 452."
Max leapt as a tazer met her back.
"Shit!" Jondy jumped off the chair, "Where will they take them?"
Deck was already on the phone, "I need a helicopter here asap for an emergency operation."
Blood covered the floor as Sandeman knelt next to the body of his son.
"There's nothing you can do," Renfro shook her head at her companion.
"He never agreed with me," the old man whispered, "Didn't believe we needed help to achieve the greatness we seek."
"But he saw the tests," Renfro shook her head.
"He cursed me for going against tradition."
"Was he expecting her?"
"One day, he knew it would happen. But my son would change nothing because of me. Even if it meant I won."
"What will you do, then?"
"My plans are forfeit now. I wanted it to be our blood with the power. My grandson to be the first of the line, death to all he chose," Sandeman shook his head. "But it's too late."
"Surely another one of us…"
"No, I gave up the faith and I'm being punished. It ends today."
"Bring the disks," Lydecker commanded, boarding the helicopter with Jondy and Zane.
"What are we looking for?" Zane scrolled through X5 genetic information, heat sequences, fertility and diseases.
"Anything about 452 or heat."
Slowly, Max woke up in a jail cell, shaking her head in confusion as she looked around.
"Ben?" she muttered weakly, trying to remember how they'd gotten here.
"Max?" his voice answered her and she turned to the next cell.
They both sat up on their cots, disoriented.
"Was that…Renfro?" Max frowned and Ben shrugged.
"I'm not sure, are you okay?" he lifted himself off the cot and leaned against the bars.
"Fine," she smiled, getting up to slip her arms around him and nuzzling against him through the bars.
"Finally some alone time and we're separated," Ben pouted playfully.
"There must be a way around that," Max whispered, licking his jaw line.
Ben's arms came through the bars and pulled her against him. They could just barely feel each other and Max rubbed herself against him, sliding up and down the bars to feel the friction against her.
Sighing his name, Max clawed at the back of his neck, trying to bring him closer to her through the bars.
He captured her lips and she devoured him, trying to push closer than the bars would allow.
"Are you sure about this?" Renfro looked at her leader in apprehension.
He nodded, "It's time. Our people will find their own way. Gather everyone for the ceremony."
"There's nothing here," Zane resisted the urge to through the laptop in exasperation.
"I got something…sorta," Jondy made a face. "It looks like Max's genetic make-up differs from the rest of us."
Zane looked over her shoulder, "That looks like a virus."
"It is," Lydecker muttered.
His taste was driving her crazy with need and she clawed desperately at his clothing. Mere touch wasn't enough.
She could barely think, let alone come up with a logistic solution to the driving need for him to take her.
It was all she needed or wanted at that moment and the mere fact that this was the man she loved only made the drive fiercer. Desperation built on desire until she wanted to explode from the heat inside her.
"Ben, help," she moaned against his lips.
Forcing himself to think, he tried to answer the instinctual call within his mate.
Surely, if they hadn't cut off his senses, he'd have broken the bars to get to her, or screwed her right through them.
Ben's eyes fell shut as he smiled, obeying the images in his mind as, in spite of smell, instinct overwhelmed his senses.
"There's tons of shit about blood," Zane shrugged, "Should I look at that?"
"Might be smart, dumb ass," Jondy rolled her eyes. "There's something weird about Max's blood."
"Besides the virus?"
"Her testosterone levels are way above normal. It's like she's…you."
"Are you sure you have the right file?"
"Yeah…I'm just not sure why she doesn't have facial hair."
Zane made a face, "You think Ben would still want her if she had facial hair?"
Jondy kicked him and Lydecker turned to them with a slight smile, "Something you need to tell me, soldiers?"
"Nope," Jondy went back to the computer in front of her.
"Ben thinks Max is hot," Zane grinned, "Don't we all?"
"Can we schedule him for psy-ops?" Jondy asked Lydecker.
Zane winked at her, "Jealous?"
"Is that the same as repulsed?" she gave him a wide-eyed look.
"They make a cute couple," Lydecker interrupted calmly, turning to Jondy, "You were saying something about hormones?"
"What the…" a voice interrupted the couple and Ben stilled, turning his head sharply to meet the gaze of a horrified young guard.
Max sent a look of pure frustration at the guard who interrupted them.
"Keep going," she moaned, "NOW, Ben!"
It didn't matter if the guard left or if he was still standing there, watching them. He could fucking record it, for all Max cared as long as Ben kept going forever.
"Oh, god, BEN!" echoed throughout the cell block.
The guard in the next room hesitantly uncovered the receiver of his phone.
"Yes, sir, I checked on the prisoners."
"We'll be over to get them soon."
"Uhh…could you give it a few minutes?"
"So the virus could be released if her testosterone levels drop," Zane frowned, "But what could do that?"
Lydecker shrugged, "Pregnancy, some type of birth control pills… Anything that really raises estrogen levels…the first few hours after she breaks her heat, in theory."
"So if Max took birth control pills, she could die?" Zane didn't appear happy with the idea.
"No, it shouldn't affect her," Jondy shook her head, "She's just a carrier. What do you mean 'breaks' her heat?"
"If she was assuaged sexually," Lydecker pursed his lips in annoyance.
"Can that happen?" Jondy wrinkled her nose, "I thought it just lasted a few days and then it was over."
"We've never studied heat in more than theory. It's possible."
"Would she pass the virus on to a child?"
"The trait to carry it, yes, but if everything went well, the baby wouldn't be affected."
Zane ran a hand through his hair, "We can only really assume that they wanted Max to get pregnant, since they made her go into heat and sent her to screw this FBI guy, but why him? I'm sure Ben'd love to take care of that mission."
"Ben slash every other male at Manticore," Jondy commented wryly.
"Actually, I always thought Krit might be batting for the other team-"
Lydecker cleared his throat.
"Yeah, anyway," Zane shrugged, "Why some cop when Manticore could knock her up in some lab or get our own volunteers for the job?"
Max felt almost delirious in her relaxation. Enough to almost ignore the bars that prevented her from properly cuddling in the afterglow of their wild lovemaking.
They were sitting against the bars, arms wrapped awkwardly around each other as they sighed in complete exhaustion.
"Keep going," Ben chuckled softly.
Max turned a playful glare on him, "Next time you're in heat, you try stopping."
"Oh, I couldn't stop as it was," he smiled, raising her hand to his lips.
"So…we seem to have ignored the fact that we're in jail," Max grinned, despite the potential danger of the situation. "How did that happen?"
"No clue," Ben smirked, "But I'd be up to doing it again sometime."
Max giggled, she'd never had more fun incarcerated.
The same guard stomped into their cell block and Ben bit his lip to hold back the laughter as the young man blushed brightly.
"Transport is ready for you," he announced as several other guards entered the cell block after him.
Sighing, Ben got to his feet. Whatever was in store for them couldn't possibly compare to the last couple hours.
A glance at Max was enough to make it clear that however unhappy she was at the interruption of their post-sex-goofiness, she was NOT still in heat.
It was a huge relief, as he wasn't sure he had the energy to kill anyone for at least half an hour.
"Where is that?" Zane gestured to his video display as Sandeman and Renfro got out of a car and entered a building, joining many others.
Jondy shrugged, "Guess we'll find out. Question…do we HAVE to dress like that?" she gestured at oddly cloaked and painted people. "Seriously, I'm not a grim reaper."
"We're gathered," Renfro turned to Sandeman.
"It is time, then."
They were brought in front of a huge audience. Some were public figures, some were normal people…all were dressed abominably.
Chains prevented them from moving as Renfro approached them.
"Sorry, 452, you should have obeyed your orders," she shrugged, pulling out a thick needle and digging it deep into Max's arm.
Ben's eyes widened in horror as blood flowed, thick, through a huge tube, pooling in a large basin as the crowd screamed in appreciation.They'll take you to the Nomalies…
His own words came back to him.
…and drink your blood…
"You'll kill her, stop!" he looked at Max in alarm as more and more blood flowed from her body.
"IT IS TIME!" Sandeman's voice rang out as he picked up a megaphone. "For a long time, I thought the way of our people was through science, through these animals I've brought today. But we are above them, above all! And it is coming. Without them! Time will bring us to our destiny!"
Zane and Jondy exchanged glances.
"Disturbed," they agreed.
Lydecker's lips twitched and Sandeman babbled on about their destiny and the mutant destruction.
"Why are they draining Maxie's blood, Deck?" Jondy tapped her foot in frustration, annoyed that they couldn't just snatch Max and Ben without getting all of them killed in such a large group of people.
Lydecker shook his head.
"Come FORWARD, to prove your mettle!"
Everyone in the large arena drew knives and walked forward.
Jondy held Zane back from protecting Max and Ben, wincing as she did so. "Too many," she shook her head helplessly.
"In the beginning!" Sandeman shouted, "We fought the animals for supremacy. Now, we do so again, but animals of my own creation, built to perpetuate our race. This female was the prototype, but in my blindness, my son lost his life and now I give her to you," he raised his own knife, "For our fathers!"
"And our sons!" the crowd cried back to him.
"Ohh…kay," Jondy turned to the others, "They wanted to use Max as some kind of…what, brood mare?"
Even Lydecker looked disgusted by the turn of events, which was odd considering his occupation.
The cult filed to the basin, each dropping their hand into the growing pool of blood as Ben struggled against his chains.
Jondy frowned, looking at Max. "Why isn't she looking at the men?"
Zane shrugged, "She's practically delirious, we need to get her."
"But she's in heat, she'd still be staring at the men…right?"
Lydecker's eyebrows furrowed at Jondy's question, but Zane shrugged it off.
"I guess that depends how long she was with Ben, doesn't it?" he smirked.
A small smile played on Lydecker's face. "Be ready to move."
Renfro pulled the needle from Max's arm much to late, to Ben's way of thinking, before drawing her own knife and dipping it, last, into the pool of her soldier's blood.
"Fenos' Tol!" Sandeman's voice rang out.
And all of the cult members answered back, raising their bloody knives in the air…and slicing into their own arms.
"Go!" Lydecker didn't have to speak twice before Zane and Jondy blurred across the stage, ripping the chains from their siblings and fighting off the oddly sluggish movements of all that opposed them.
Strolling calmly in their wake, Lydecker crouched next to Renfro, who blinked confusedly up at him as everyone else in the auditorium seemed to come across a similar malaise, falling in droves.
"Do you remember, Elizabeth, when we studied theories on how transgenics would react to heat…before and after?"
She blinked at him in a daze.
"Well, let me refresh your memory. I thought hormone levels would go haywire, taking a huge drop in testosterone. Just thought you should know…I was right," he smiled, strolling over to his kids as Elizabeth Renfro took her last breath.
With three blood donors, Max recovered quicker than most cult victims. Ben hovered over her, fussing like a woman.
"Just kiss her, 493," Lydecker sighed, "We know you want to."
Max and Ben just gaped at him.
Shaking his head, Deck turned to Jondy and Zane, "They really don't know how obvious they are?"
"No, Sir," Jondy shook her head
"They're pathetic, Sir," Zane chorused.
Max scowled at her traitorous siblings.
"So what happens now?" Ben coughed, trying to change the subject.
Lydecker smiled, "I'm sure we can arrange something more to your liking."
"That could be discussed," Jondy smiled, "Let's go…we'll leave them alone," she made a face at Max and Ben.
"So…" Max smiled shyly when the were alone, "An insane cult…just committed mass suicide."
Ben grinned, "And that wasn't even the most interesting part of the day."
Max chuckled, "How does it feel knowing that since we had sex, hundreds of people are dead?"
"Pretty powerful," Ben grinned, "I think it's our duty to continue as often as possible."
"To save the world from crazed cults?"
"It would only be fair," Ben nodded enthusiastically.
"Cruel of us not to, really."
"Come on, you guys!" Jondy yelled at them, "You can screw around later! Let's go eat!"
They ignored her.