Around eight months later…
Alec rode into town, feeling corny as he thought I'm home! He caught sight of transgenics as he went, not necessarily one's he knew, but it's hard to miss most of them. He smiled inwardly. Transgenics roaming the streets without mobs on their tails- Max really was good. He diverted his course from terminal city to Max and Cindy's crib. He'd been thinking about her non-stop for the last eight months, and couldn't wait to see her.
Alec knocked on the door, passing a hand through his hair and straightening his jacket. When Cindy opened the door, she gasped.
"Hey, Cindy! I'm back! Where's Max?"
"I'm fine, thanks for asking." Cindy grumbled, swinging the door wide and retreating in. Alec followed, looking hopeful. "As for Max…" Cindy's voice was tinged with sadness, "She gone sugar." Alec's face fell.
"What do you mean 'gone'?"
"I mean gone. She left town a coupla months ago when things got sorted here."
"Why?" Alec exclaimed, "If she worked so hard…"
"Don't ask me, boy. Max was… different… since a while after you left. She was even more withdrawn than before, wouldn't even tell me what went down. I wondered if it was cos of Logan. Y'know, since they officially split?"
"That was ages before I left!" Alec retorted.
"Yeah, well all I know is that Max hasn't had a single date since. Not one! An' its not as if they weren't throwing themselves at her either! Transgenic, transhuman, ordinaries…" Alec felt a selfish swell of happiness. "And y'know what?" Cindy continued, "When she was in heat- she locked herself in one of those top security labs in TC. Threw the keys outta this titchy window and told me not to let her out for a week!" Alec's eyes widened in disbelief. "I'm serious!" Cindy cried. Alec got an inkling that Cindy had been dying to talk to someone about this for a long time. He was beginning to panic. It sounded like Max was gone permanently.
"Look… don't you have some way to contact her?" He gabbled quickly, interrupting her stream of exclamations.
"I… sorta. I'm not s'posed to use it unless it's an emergency." She sighed. "I'll see what I can do. But some time you an' her are gonna have to tell me what the dealio is with you two."
"There is no 'dealio'." Alec replied far too quickly.
"Yeah right." She smiled. "I'll see you later." Alec took this as a cue to let him self out, and did so. Cindy picked up the phone and called the message box Max had set up.
Many, many miles away, Max phoned the message box- just to check. There was one message:
"Hey Bu, It's me, Original Cindy. I know you said only to call if it was an emergency… but hey, sue me. I just wanted to say that everythin's going cool here, and your girl Lucy is probably the most popular ordinary in the whole of TC. I'm jealous."
"Oh, also," the message continued, Cindy's voice overly casual, "Alec turned up today. He's back, and seemed kinda keen to see you. I swear he looked damn heart broken when I said you weren't here. What the hell went down with you two? Anyway… I thought you'd like to know. So… I guess I'll see ya sometime? Bye Bu. Look after your self."
Max's mouth was dry as her heart beat ridiculously fast. Alec was back in Seattle.
Alec returned to Terminal city, receiving a huge, rib-crushing welcome from Joshua, and though they tried not to show it, Alec could tell the others were glad to see him too. He soon realised that there were was a lot more transgenics in TC than there had been when he left. In fact, the only spare room was Max's old one. He took it reluctantly, having given up his apartment when he left Seattle, and about a week after he got back, he headed for Jam Pony in search of a job.
Alec strolled down the ramp, pleased to see old faces, as well as new ones, and again, some that were unmistakably transgenic. Normal, yelling at his employees and reading addresses off parcels, nearly bumped into him.
"Whoa, sorry." Alec grinned.
"Oh my God. My Golden Boy is back!" He gathered Alec into a hug, which he didn't return. (Not that normal even noticed this)
"Yeah, I'm back. Can I have a job?"
"Do you really need to ask? Chuck out whoever took your locker and make yourself at home!"
"Thanks, Normal." Alec said, frowning slightly. Normal freaked him out a little. He'd gotten so used to it before, but eight months away, and now it was weird again. He spotted Cindy and joined her by the lockers. "Hey Cindy. Any word?" He said, trying, and failing to sound off-hand. Cindy considered rolling her eyes, but thinking of Max, she couldn't. What she did say was the truth, and as they say, the truth hurts.
"No. I left a message, like I told you… but she di'n't call back." Alec nodded, heaving a sigh. "I'm sorry, Alec." Cindy scrutinized him. "What did go down between you two?"
"Nothing." He said, and went to get a parcel from Normal. Cindy watched him go, sighing. In the six months between when Alec left and Max did the same, she'd known something was up with Max. She did not leave because she needed to spread the word about Seattle being a transgenic homeland. She didn't even leave to find her sibs. Cindy knew even at the time that she left because 'home' wasn't anymore. And now Cindy knew why, just not how.
A couple of nights later, Alec lay restlessly in Max's old bed. His eyes were closed, but not matter how hard he tried, all Alec could see were images of the pain that had followed him all his life. Suddenly, for no conscious reason, he sat bolt up right. He peered around the room in an attempt to discover what had set off his Manticore senses. It wasn't hard. In the bluish moonlight coming through the open window, there stood a figure. Alec stood up.
"Max?" he gasped, barely believing what his senses were telling him.
"You nicked my room." She replied.
"There weren't any others."
"Max… I… I'm so sorry."
"I can crash with Cindy." She shrugged.
"You know that's not what I mean." He said quietly. Alec had rehearsed this in his head a thousand times, and it wasn't going the way he'd planned. Max shrugged again. "Max… I don't know how to…"
"Then don't." She said, apparently making a decision, and approaching him.
"Shut up." She said, pressing a finger to his lips. She stepped closer, and put the other hand behind his head, replacing the finger with her lips. Before Alec had a chance to object, he found himself holding her back. Max fumbled with the bottom of his shirt, and they parted momentarily while she ripped it off, and pushed him back so that he tripped onto the bed. Max followed close behind.
Alec awoke slowly, and smiled, remembering the previous night. He stretched out without opening his eyes… and found the other side of the bed empty. His eyes snapped open even as he leapt from the bed, wrapping the covers round himself. On the chair, there was a note. Filled with dread, Alec picked it up, and read.
I really am sorry- I just had to go.
Alec dressed faster than the nights when they'd had surprise training sessions back at Manticore and he'd had the threat of Manticore punishment to spur him on. He raced out of the room, glancing left and right, but seeing no sign of Max he continued. He broke every known speed limit on his bike on the way to Cindy's. He knocked desperately on the door, and when Cindy answered it, looking rather annoyed, he cried,
"Is she here? Tell me she didn't really leave? Cindy?"
"What the hell are you talking about boy?" she said, as he pushed past her into the apartment. Standing calmly against one wall, was Max, grinning broadly. Cindy looked back and forth between them, thoroughly confused.
"Max." Alec gasped. Max shrugged,
"When you gotta go…" She said cheekily. Alec looked as if he might faint. Cindy sighed.
"Right, I'm clearin' out, but sometime you two are gonna lay this down for original Cindy. K?" Max smiled and said,
"There's nothing to explain."
"Yeah right." Cindy murmured, leaving. Alec took a step closer to Max.
"I thought you…" He managed.
"Yeah. Hurts, doesn't it." Max snapped back. Alec looked like a lost child, so scared and alone. Max sighed, "I just… I was so angry… but I… it wasn't your fault." She admitted. "I shouldn'a done what… we did, when I knew you had to leave. I guess I wanted to pretend you weren't going…"
"Max." He said quietly, approaching her, "I'm still sorry. Just going like that… it was wrong of me." Max couldn't get any more words out. She had turned to the window to hide the tears that were falling. She felt his strong arms snake around her, and his warm breath on her cheek as he spoke softly. "I'm sorry, Max."
"Are you back for good?" she whispered.
"Yes." He replied, "You?" Max made a sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob, and turned in his embrace to face him,
"You dumbass. I only left because…I couldn't stand this place without you anymore." She hadn't admitted that to anyone, not even Lucy. "Every where I looked, everything I touched, I thought of you. I couldn't take it any more." Alec raised one hand, gently wiping the tears from her cheeks with his thumb.
"There hasn't been a moment since I left when I haven't thought about you."
"That's really corny." She said, choking a laugh. He smiled,
Slowly, Max stood up on her tiptoes, supported by Alec's arms, and kissed him tentatively. She wrapped her arms about his neck, and one of his hands moved to the back of her head. They kissed deeply, and all the worry of the past few months was lost. None of that mattered anymore, because they had finally found each other.
When Cindy returned, they were sitting together on the couch, fast asleep. Max' head was rested on his chest, and his arms were around her, fingers entwined with hers. Each of them wore a warm smile, the likes of which Cindy had never seen on either of their faces. It was a smile of utter contentment, formed simply by the other being there. She shook her head, still not understanding how this had come to pass. She dropped the groceries on the counter and put some water in the kettle. She smiled, unable to even think how weird it was that it was Alec, because of course she was Cindy, relationship master, and had in some way always known they would fit together. Or that's what she told herself, anyway.
He he, I know, corny as hell, but its cute, right? Reviews please!!