Debt by scarlet

It had seemed natural, like it was meant to happen and she was powerless to stop it.

From the day she met Alec, Ben had stood between them, preventing them from being anything real.

For some twins, there is love. For some, hate. Ben had never even been aware of Alec's existence, but had shaped the way he grew since Alec was nine. For everything he did wrong, Alec had acted as his whipping boy.

And now, Ben was back.

Alec's face had drained of color, but he'd turned to Max, asking if she was okay.

"He's killing again," she'd whispered, burying her head in his chest. His arms had been there immediately, surrounding her.

"We'll stop him," he assured her and his voice came back to her as she watched them fight, spellbound.

It was a dance and joining it was futile. Not only was she unsure which one was which as they twisted, kicked and jabbed at each other, but she couldn't bring herself to do it again.

There wasn't a doubt in her mind that Alec would win, he had ten years of training and anger that Ben couldn't compete with. But she couldn't do it again. Alec had understood that immediately. Taking Ben's life had ripped her apart and doing so again would destroy her.

She didn't want him to die, she loved him, and yet she stood, unable to move as they battled back and forth. It was beautiful, but deadly as they both warmed to each other's movements, adapting readily and anticipating the other's movements.

Max had never seen anything like it. The flash of metal caught her by surprised, and as though in a dream, she couldn't move as her scream ripped through the air, tearing through the room as the knife slashed through Alec's shirt.

Ben had the knife and Alec ducked him, spinning and grabbing him from behind. Pushing backward, Ben pushed both himself and Alec through a window.

"No!" Max didn't know if she'd spoken, but she was at the broken window, gazing down as shards continued to fall.

One story beneath her, soft hazel eyes met hers before closing, a soft apology on the lips below them. Panicked, she turned to the other brother. Which one was it? Out in the world for the same length of time, their hair was the same length and they were both wearing black. The feral look of satisfaction answered her question and she flew at him, jumping from the ledge and kicking him.

"You killed him!" she screamed, eyeing the Ben's knife, protruding from Alec's chest. Rage flew through her and she fought, unmindful of the fact that he was only blocking her blows, not fighting back. "I loved him!"

"I'm sorry, Max, I didn't want to."

"But you had to?" she asked bitterly. "You wanted to."

"Fine, Max, I wanted to, can you BLAME ME? He's been fucking up my entire life, he still is!"

Max stopped, backing off and surveying him carefully. Her eyes holding on the rip in his shirt at his side.

"I should have known," Alec turned away from her and she blurred to stop him.

"NO! I thought he was you," she murmured, "I'm sorry."

She threw her arms around him and after a slight hesitation, he embraced her.

"Wait," he pulled back from her, holding her at armslength. "You thought I was dead."

Max nodded.

"So you said you..." his voice trailed off and he swallowed.

Eyes widening, Max back away. "I-I-"

"Just tell me if it's true."

Her back hit the wall as she tried to find her voice.

"Then I'll have to find out myself," he whispered, eyes on her lips as he approached her.

Sudden realization of her location hit Max suddenly and she held her hands out to stop his approach. "It's true," she whispered and his eyes darkened. "But we can't, not yet."

"Why?"

Max nodded toward Ben's body, "Just one more thing," she told him. One more thing that seperated them.

"Say goodbye," Alec nodded, pressing his lips to her hand and walking away.

Kneeling by her brother's body, tears of grief poured down her cheeks, cleansing her from the guilt of relief as she looked at him, knowing he wasn't Alec.