"C'mon, people! These packages don't have little feet! They can't deliver themselves! Get out there, do work. You know, that thing I'm paying you for!" Normal yelled to his employees as Kris and Alec walked in.
Alec shook his head as he grinned. "Some things will never change," he said cheekily as he and Kris went to their lockers.
"Thank goodness for that," Kris replied.
It had been four months since Kris had gotten out of the hospital. Thankfully Normal never asked any questions regarding her two-week absence from work nor the fresh scar on her neck that was in clear view for all to see. It had been this awful, raw red color for weeks, but now it was a thin white line on her neck resembling all the other scars on her body.
Kris closed her locker after putting her lunch away and heard Alec shut his locker as well. She looked at him, smiling a bit before saying, "Ready?"
"Yeah," Alec replied as he extended a hand for her to take.
She took it and they walked towards Normal. Alec grabbed two of the packages on the growing pile with his free hand and handed one to Kris. He smiled at Normal and gave him a facetious salute as he held his package. Normal rolled his eyes and waved off the couple. Kris laughed and let go of Alec's hand so she could wrap an arm around his waist.
As they were about to head out to deliver the packages, O.C. came in.
"Hey Boo Numba Two, Soldier Boy, got plans fo this evenin'?" she asked.
Kris shrugged. Alec raised his eyes ever so slightly at Kris, though she didn't see, before giving a mischievous and, well, rather suggestive smirk to O.C.
O.C. sighed dramatically. "I meant before that. Soldier Boy, you one horny little foo," she said reproachfully, but with a small level of amusement.
Having missed the look Alec gave O.C., Kris was momentarily confused, before she realized what he must have silently suggested.
She nudged him hard, "Geez, Alec," she berated before blushing.
"What?" Alec asked innocently.
Kris rolled her eyes, and Alec laughed before grabbing her from behind and hugging her tightly to him.
"Anyway," O.C. started again, "Max, Logan, Sketchy and yours truly will be at The Crash, if you wanna swing by. We haven't all be togetha much."
Kris nodded. "Sounds good, what do you think?" she asked, looking at Alec.
"Well, I think my idea was better..." Alec started.
"Arg! You are impossible!" Kris screamed with annoyance, but with a smile on her face. She chased him out of Jam Pony, leaving O.C. to shake her head and sigh at the couple.
"So, are you saying that you don't like my idea?" Alec asked as they walked back to her place after work.
"What idea? Oh, you mean the one where we ditch our friends to have mind blowing sex for the entire night and early morning?" Kris asked innocently.
"Mmm, yeah, pretty much," Alec said confidently.
"Yeah, I don't like that idea," Kris deadpanned, causing Alec to stop walking and look at her with genuine shock.
Kris laughed triumphantly before pulling him close to her. "We really haven't gone out in a while with our friends. I was resting for all that time and then we got busy with stuff from T.C. and then there's always work and so I would like to go out before we do the second part of your idea," she said.
Alec smirked, "So you do like me idea..."
"After we hang out with friends, yes."
"Fair enough," Alec replied, now knowing what was in store for the night. He did miss beating Sketchy in pool and hearing O.C. keep him in line. He had spent a lot of time with Max and Logan lately, but it was always about transgenetic stuff rather than just socializing.
The past four months had been an adjustment period. At T.C., all the focus in the past had been on eluding the government and Familiars. But now half the focus was on improvement of the area since the media and government attention was on the Familiars and their millennia long deceptions. Kris and Logan tirelessly helped out at T.C. to create a homely environment rather than just a place of refuge and survival. Little things like scrubbing the walls, cleaning the grungy furniture, replacing the piping, and putting actual sheets on the bed rather than just rags improved the morale and attitudes of all who lived there. Also, all the transgenetics respected Logan immensely since he was the one who funded this endeavor. In the mean time, Alec and Max continued to help out by snatching supplies for T.C. and securing the area more from intruders.
But that didn't mean that the world had forgotten about the transgenetics. People were still scared of them, but they feared the Familiars more and began to have sympathy for the transgenetics. Perhaps it was because the Familiars willingly changed themselves into the creatures that they were whereas the transgenetics had no control over their fate.
Some government officials had actually gone into T.C. to talk with the transgenetics instead of just shooting them dead. Although it was obviously a publicity ploy to capitalize on the recent surge of sympathy towards the transgenetics, it was a small step towards creating understanding between the transgenetics and the rest of the world. Luke had somehow become the unofficial spokesman of T.C. to the media. Alec thought it was a good choice considering how smart and articulate he was.
A federal investigation verified what Eyes Only had said about Senator McKinley and others being Familiars. The government was dealing with a huge fallout when people as high up as the Secretary of Defense were discovered to be Familiars. Investigations to determine which Familiars were harmless and harmful would probably go on for a year, though in Alec's biased opinion all the Familiars were dangerous. Kris had reminded him that people had thought all the transgenetics were dangerous and that wasn't the case. Alec couldn't believe that she was defending the Familiars after all that they did to her. But her only reply had been that she wasn't defending the Familiars, she hated them, she was defending anyone who was born a Familiar and chose a different path. Alec could have still argued with her over it, but he relented, knowing she would have her opinions regardless of what he said and that was okay.
Alec thought about all the changes that had happened in such a short amount of time as Kris and he entered her apartment. He didn't know what would be next.
"What are you thinking of?" Kris asked as he sat on her sofa and stretched his legs on her coffee table, and she made her way over to the refrigerator.
He shrugged. "Just all the stuff," he replied vaguely. Yet she knew what he meant because she often thought about all the changes as well.
"Me too," she replied absently as she sat next to him, opening the pint of chocolate sorbet and digging in with a spoon.
But she had more on her mind than just the normal stuff. For the past couple of weeks, she had been wanting to ask him something very important, but it just never seemed like the right time. There was work, T.C., and the wonderful benefits of being in a relationship that distracted her from this question, but she wanted to ask.
Alec gave an exaggerated pout. "No spoon for me?" he asked innocently with those puppy dog eyes.
She closed her eyes, "Ah, no, not the eyes..." When she opened her eyes, he was still looking at her with those eyes. "Fine, we'll share," she relented, although she had intended on sharing with him anyway. She scooped up a spoonful and began feeding him sorbet.
During the beginning of her recovery, Alec had taken care of her every minute. She had been drugged up on painkillers which made her feel sleepy and woozy. Alec had interpreted this as Kris regressing twenty years to where she was a baby and needed everything done for her. He bathed her, dressed her, and carried her around the apartment when she wanted to go somewhere. She grudgingly allowed Alec to do those things for her, but she drew the line at him feeding her. Granted she lived off soup for a few weeks because anything harder than that she couldn't swallow, but she was at least feeding herself.
So Alec found it ironic that she was now feeding him sorbet. He looked at her mischievously and she rolled her eyes.
"I know what you're thinking," she said, taking a scoop of sorbet for herself.
"I'm not thinking anything," Alec replied.
Kris smirked, "Good." She scooped out some more and fed him, watching him melt the sorbet in him mouth and swallow. She looked away as she blushed, thinking about his mouth melting things other than sorbet - herself for instance. How after all this time he managed to make her blush when he wasn't even trying still boggled her mind.
"I'm just enjoying this," Alec added.
Kris' features darkened momentarily. "Yeah, well, I'm just buttering you up," she said quietly, becoming suddenly fascinated with the pint of dessert in her hand.
Alec looked at her curiously. "Buttering up for what?"
She gripped the pint of sorbet tightly, her fingertips turning white. Alec noticed this and realized that whatever it was, it was serious. He gently pried the sorbet from her fingers and placed it on coffee table. He turned towards her and watched as she fisted her hands in her lap since they now had nothing to hold on to.
Kris inhaled deeply as said, "Well, I've just been thinking about this for a while and I figure I should just ask you because it seems like the most practical thing to do. I mean, there are other reasons why I'm asking you this, but I figure that we've gone through a lot, and it's a lot safer now and it's not like it makes no sense..."
"Kris?" Alec cut off. "What's the 'it'?"
"How do you feel about moving in with me?" she asked quickly without looking at him.
There were very few times when Alec was speechless. But right then he was in such genuine shock that he didn't know how to react.
She probably just scared him shitless with that question. She knew how scared he was of commitment and she knew that being committed to her was amazing alone, but she just had to push it and ask for more. She didn't want to become the suffocating and needy girlfriend. But it wasn't a completely outrageous question. For the near two years she had known him, he had spent more time at her place than at his. They slept in her apartment most nights that he didn't have to be at T.C. overnight, and she had even taken to staying at T.C. occasionally. They didn't really go to Alec's apartment too often because Alec had said he liked her place more than his. So what was the point of him paying rent on a place that he rarely stayed in? And she liked the assurance of him being there every morning and every night and sharing a bathroom with him - stupid little things that were part of living together.
But he was being silent and that wasn't a good sign.
"You know what, that was a stupid question, I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking. Do you want more sorbet?" she asked him as she reached for the pint, undeniably embarrassed.
He stopped her from reaching the sorbet and looked at her hand. He intertwined her fingers with his and looked up.
"Yes," he whispered hoarsely. He hated how when it came to anything regarding growth in their relationship, he could never sound confident when he oozed confidence in any other situation.
She became flustered. "Well, if you want more sorbet then you have to let go of my hand," she said.
"No," he said. "Not the sorbet. I want to move in with you."
It was her turn to be shocked.
"Say something," Alec urged.
"I don't want you to do something because I'm pressuring you into it," Kris said.
"But I feel like I am. C'mon Alec, you didn't say anything!" she replied, still flustered.
"Well, you caught me off guard," he retorted, equally flustered.
"Is this something that you want to do?" Kris asked.
"Yes." Alec had been shocked at her question because it implied such concreteness with their relationship. Yes, their relationship was emotionally concrete, but this meant it would be spatially concrete. Previously if for some reason he needed an escape, he could go to his apartment. But he had actually stopped using his apartment as an escape when he and Kris had first gotten together. However, the knowledge that he always had the option of escaping to his place was oddly comforting. But he liked Kris' place more.
He knew exactly when the change happened. It was the night she had killed Sean. They had gone back to her apartment and she had dressed his wounds and pleaded with him to sleep with her. He had refused her that, but he couldn't stay away. For days afterwards Alec stayed in her apartment for majority of the time and since then they had regularly stayed at her place rather than his. Well, except that rainy night when she had gone to his place and told him that she wanted him. But when he talked about home, he meant her place. And that was what mattered. He could take this next step. He was ready.
"But do you think it's safe to? With everything that's happened?" Kris asked.
Alec laughed. "Since when has that stopped us?"
"Are you sure?" she asked. She was giving him a way out.
"Yes," he replied, his voice not hoarse this time but rather deep and wholehearted, finally reflecting what he was feeling inside.
Kris stared at him for a moment in complete silence. Then she broke out in a wide smile and started laughing. She lunged at him and hugged him tightly.
"I love you," she whispered.
He squeezed her harder. "I love you too," his voice doing its customary cracking whenever he said that. She smiled at hearing him say those words.
She had asked very little of him in their relationship, and he was glad that he could do something to make her so happy. He squeezed her tightly in return and kissed her. The kiss grew more passionate and before Kris fully comprehended what was happening, Alec lifted her up and carried her into their room.
They had lot of time before they were supposed to go to The Crash.
"Well, well, look who decided to finally show up?" Sketchy teased the couple as they sat down at the table.
"It was all her fault," Alec said quickly, point to his side.
Kris scoffed and rolled her eyes, but didn't argue. She liked staying in bed, what could she say?
"Uh huh," O.C. looked at the two skeptically.
"So where's Logan and Max?" Kris asked, looking around for her friends.
"Playing pool," Sketchy said. Kris followed his eyes a pool table where Logan and Max were laughing carelessly. "Which reminds me, how about a game, man?" Sketchy added, looking at Alec.
"Sketchy, you really wanna lose your money...again?" Alec looked at him skeptically as he sipped his drink.
"Hey man, we haven't played in forever. I've improved, I'll have you know," Sketchy said proudly.
Alec shrugged. "Alright," he said, getting up from the table and following Sketchy to an open pool table.
"So who won?" O.C. asked as Max and Logan returned from their game.
"Max did, but barely," Logan answered.
"Hey, winning is winning," Max retorted.
Kris laughed as Max looked at Logan triumphantly. The four friends talked until Sketchy and Alec rejoined the group.
"At least I came closer this time," Sketchy said adamantly as he handed a twenty dollar bill to Alec.
"Yeah, you did," Alec relented.
"Drinks on me," Alec said. "Well, more like on Sketch," he amended.
O.C. looked at Alec skeptically. "Since when do you go around buying the drinks? Even if it's from money you won?" It was true, usually Logan bought the drinks since he was, well, rich, or Max did from a night's winnings at the pool table.
"Well, there is reason to celebrate," Alec said looking at Kris and flashing her that charming smile.
"Oh, no, don't make me regret this change..." Kris said, putting her head in her hands to shield her eyes from that smile. It was quite a sickening smile - so perfect, so charming, so to-die-for. She actually didn't like looking at it and he knew it. She preferred the smiles he had during a tickle fight, or even that smirk when he knew he was going to get lucky with her.
"Ah, Kris, you wound me," Alec said dramatically.
"Just run along and get the drinks," Kris retorted dismissively, but not without smiling at him.
He returned her genuine smile and Kris wanted to just stare at his smile for a few more hours. He quickly got the drinks and settled back into the chair next to Kris.
"So what is this reason to celebrate?" Logan asked.
"You tell them," Alec said, nudging Kris.
"No, you," Kris insisted.
Alec inhaled and looked at his friends, "I'm moving in with Kris," he stated, a hint and anticipation and pride in his voice.
Sketchy's eyes bulged and O.C. looked genuinely shocked. Max and Logan were surprised, but seemed to suspect that would happen. Alec and Kris were, after all, completely whipped.
"Woow, man, that's intense," Sketchy said, scratching his head. "You're really ready for the whole cohabitation thing?" he asked Alec.
"Wow, Sketch, cohabitation. That's a big word, especially for you."
The friends all laughed and Sketchy shook his head, looking embarrassed.
"But to answer your question. I am ready, man," Alec said, patting Sketchy on his back in assurance.
"You sure about this Boo Numba Two? You really want his ass around all the time?" O.C. asked facetiously.
Kris laughed and shrugged. "He has a nice ass," she said casually.
The table erupted in laughter and Max and O.C. waved hands in front of themselves saying, "Too much information!"
When everyone settled down again, Max and Logan gave their congratulations and conversation headed down a different topic. After about a half an hour, Alec nudged Kris again.
"Hey, do you wanna play a game?" Alec asked Kris, motioning towards the pool table.
"And watch you lose? Absolutely," Kris replied, taking his offered hand to help her up.
"You're a little rusty," Alec reminded her.
"It's like riding a bike, you never forget," Kris retorted.
Logan and Max watch the couple banter back and forth, amused at their antics. Max then turned to Logan and watched him. She wondered if he wanted them to live together and if she was holding them back.
"This is pretty big for them," she said to him.
"Yeah, it is," Logan replied.
"I'm really proud of Alec. I mean, he's the guy who was fighting in rinks for money and doing other crap two years ago," Max said.
"They go well together, I've always thought. Living together will be good for them," Logan said, looking at Max.
Max looked away, uncertain now with what to say.
"Max, we're not them. I don't want to be them. I like the way we are," Logan said, as though he knew what she was thinking.
"But don't you want something like that?" Max asked.
"Sure, but when we're both ready. I like the fact that you're so fiercely independent and I like my independence too. And I like the fact that even with that, we're together." He leaned in closer to her and rested an arm over the back of her chair. "And it's not like I don't wake up with you looking at me everyday anyway," he added in a whisper.
Max laughed but soon became serious again, "I want that eventually too, Logan. Really I do. I like the idea of living together, maybe getting married, the whole white picket fence thing."
Logan smiled. "I can't believe you just said that."
Max actually blushed. "Well, it's true. But right now..."
"Max, stop. Don't explain yourself. I agree. Someday, but not today." Logan leaned down and kissed her lightly on the lips to silence anymore concern about when they would live together.
"Get a room," Sketchy teased, which was met by Max slapping him in the chest. He quickly shut up and continued watching Kris and Alec play each other from his seat.
"Uh oh, look whose in trouble?" Alec chimed as he and Kris played.
Kris gave him a dirty look. "Oh shut up."
"Ah, where's your good sportsmanship, Kris?" Alec continued to tease. Kris was, actually, for the first time in a long while, losing.
"Kiss my ass," she retorted, truly put out that she wasn't playing very well. Or was it that Alec was just playing better?
"Later," Alec quipped.
Kris was about to make a retort, but Alec's comment caught her off guard. She realized that anything Alec said with sexual innuendo got her so...flustered.
"Eight ball, side pocket," Alec said, aiming.
"Oh! Would you look at that!" Alec said proudly.
Kris frowned and sighed. "So what do you want since you won?"
Alec thought about that a long time, but surprisingly had little to ask for. It was weird to feel so...satisfied with life.
But then he heard something.
"Dance with me," he requested.
Kris looked at him quizzically. "Now that was something I wasn't expecting. We haven't done that in..."
"Fifteen months, twenty-six days, one hour and thirteen minutes," Alec supplied.
Kris shook her head and smiled. "I don't think I will ever get used to that," she admitted.
Alec smirked. "Well, then you'll never get tired of me," he replied as he took her hands and headed towards the dance floor.
"I suppose," Kris said.
Alec drew her close on the dance floor and began swaying. He hadn't forgotten how good of a dancer she was and enjoyed watching her move with him.
Then a smile crept over Kris' lips. "I remember this song," she said. It was the same Pre-Pulse song by Craig David, "Key to My Heart" that blared throughout The Crash the last time they had danced together.
"See, your memory is pretty good too," he replied, never taking his eyes off her. He had to remember to dance with her more often - he was having way too much fun.
"I remember that I was so nervous dancing with you. I was feeling things that I hadn't wanted myself to feel again after Sean. That guy had been bothering me when I was dancing with O.C. and then you called me your girl. I loved that thought," Kris admitted.
Alec smiled. "I wanted you to be my girl, ever since I met you. And I was nervous too."
Kris scoffed. "You? Nervous?"
"I wanted to kiss you, but I didn't know if you would like that or not," Alec replied.
Kris laughed. "Such a gentleman," she teased.
Alec buried his head in her neck and groaned with embarrassment.
Kris laughed some more and ran her fingers through his hair lightly. "We got there eventually though, after a lot of work and time," she said, wrapping her arms around Alec's neck tighter as they danced. "I'm glad we took the harder route. Made it all mean more."
Alec smiled. "This living together thing. It's gonna work," he said confidently.
"Even with the outside world constantly wanting to screw us over?" Kris asked, knowing what the answer would be but wanting assurance nonetheless.
"Oh, especially because of that. They can't control us. We'll just stick it to them all," Alec replied, kissing her softly as they danced.
Kris smiled against his kiss and returned it wholeheartedly. "Sounds perfect."
They danced together for a few more songs before deciding it was time to go back home and begin the second half of Alec's original plan. Over the time they had known each other, Alec and Kris realized that life would throw whatever it would in their path, but they were going to be together regardless. It wasn't about waiting for the storm clouds to part to begin to live life again, it was about dancing in the rain.
They intended to do a lot of dancing.
Author's Note: WOW, I can't believe this is the end of my story. In the beginning, I was going to stop it after Kris and Alec got together, but with all the support and my love of the story (particularly Alec) the story continued and I'm so thankful it did. I thank everyone whose read the story. With the way I ended it, I think it's assumed that there would be more obstacles for Alec and Kris, probably for the rest of their lives, but that doesn't mean they will stop living. There will not be a sequel because I have said everything that I wanted to say. Please let me know what you think and thank you for all the support!