The Way Home
By Guardian Angel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Setting: Alternate ending to "Blah Blah, Woof Woof."
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters associated with Dark Angel, more's the pity.
Author's notes: AKK! How am I ever supposed to get anything done when all I can think of is fanfic? Anyway, I don't think this one is nearly as good as All The Possibilities, but after writing that fic last night I felt the need to do another alternate ending with a happier ending...
Many thanks to Mandy and Rachel, for beta reading all the stuff I churn out, and for making me feel confident enough about my work to actually post it.
After seven years away, I'm back. The streets of Seattle all look the same; I can't notice any differences as I walk.
I've spent the last seven years of my life on the prowl, never settling down for more than a few months in any one place. I've been all over Canada, Europe, Asia...
I spent the first year or so with Zach, but after a while it became too difficult. He wanted more from me than I could ever give him. He wanted my heart, though he never said so in so many words. He never pressured, never made any movements that were overtly threatening or obvious. But still, I knew, and he knew I knew. But my heart was promised to another, left behind all those years ago in Seattle.
After seven years on the move, I finally gave in to the overwhelming urge to come home. Because no matter how much I try to deny it, no matter how much I wish it wasn't so, this is home. This is where I went through the final stages of growing up...this is where I became a woman. It was on these streets, in these buildings, that I made friends, had a enormal' life...and fell in love.
Of course it took me a long while to realize just exactly how strong my feelings for Logan were, but eventually I knew.
When we said goodbye that afternoon, we both knew it was forever. Maybe that's why I kissed him...scratch that, I know that's why I kissed him. I couldn't bear the thought that I'd walk away from him for good, never giving him an inkling of how I felt about him. I had nothing left to lose...or so I thought.
Looking back, I know that up until that point I was on the verge of falling in love with him. Standing at the edge of that high cliff, looking down, but not yet ready to jump.
Then we kissed, and I went tumbling head over heels down into the abyss. I haven't been able to resurface ever since.
I still think of him every day, dream of him every night. I've imagined, more times than I can count, what it would be like to see him again. The joy of just walking up to him and putting my arms around him, the sense of homecoming. But no matter how often I dreamed, I knew it would never happen. I can't expect him to wait for me. He's a handsome, caring, compassionate man. He deserves to be happy, to find someone who loves him, someone who can actually be there for him.
Yet, here I am. The streets are dark; it's after midnight. In the past half hour I've only seen about ten people, everyone else is at home.
I don't know what ever possessed me to come back. After wandering aimlessly for over an hour, my feet seem to make a decision without even consulting my brain. They make a sharp right, then a left, then another left...and suddenly I'm standing in front of Logan's building, looking up. I can see his windows, even after all this time I haven't forgotten which ones are his.
I stand there, unsure of what I'm doing, for a long time...exactly how long I don't know. It's late; I should go. He's probably asleep, curled around his wife or his lover. He wouldn't want to see me, I'd just be a ghost from the past.
I try to convince myself to walk away. Go find Kendra or Original Cindy; I know they'd be happy to see me. But once again my feet seem to have a mind of their own, and I enter the building.
The door guard's asleep in his chair, and he never stirs as I slip past him. I use the stairs, for some reason needing to prolong this experience, this return. The elevator would be much too quick.
Here I am, standing outside his door. It looks the same...why does that surprise me? After a moment's hesitation, I silently pick the lock and creep inside.
The penthouse is dark, except for a single light glowing dully down the hall. His office. I can't help the smile that crosses my face at the thought, maybe he hasn't changed that much after all.
Not quite ready to face him, I soundlessly walk through the house, making sure no one else is home. We're alone. Wife-y must be out...or he never married.
Finally, I force myself to walk towards his computer room. Enough stalling, Max. I slide the door open, he's so absorbed in his computer that he never notices. Doesn't surprise me. I study him for a minute. I can't see his face, but what I do see looks the same...they same spiky hair, the same strong shoulders, the same nimble fingers flying quickly over the keys. He's sitting in a normal chair, there's no sign of a wheelchair. He must've recovered, I always knew he would.
I raise my hand and after another pause, accompanied by a deep breath, I knock softly on the doorframe.
"Knock, knock." My voice is hardly above a whisper.
He goes utterly still. Slowly he turns around. I can see the shock in his eyes as we wordlessly study each other. Just as I thought, he looks the same. Not a year older. His eyes are still that amazing blue, so deep I feel like I could drown in them. He still looks like he hasn't shaved in a day or two.
Suddenly he's up out of the chair. He takes a couple steps towards me, and then stops, unsure.
"Hey..." For some reason I can't seem to think of anything to say. That's surely gotta be a first for me, I'm always the queen of the smart comeback.
I can see him visibly pulling himself together, forcing himself to think.
"How are you? What are you doing back? How long have you been in town? Are you OK?" In his haste, his questions all seem to rush together. Doesn't matter, I know what he's asking.
"I'm good. I just came in a few hours ago, I've been walking." Unable to bear the stillness any longer, I prowl over to the window and look down.. I can remember countless other times when I stood here, watching the streets below.
"Where's Zach?" He doesn't even try to cover up the curiosity and the sadness in his voice.
"I don't know. We parted after the first year." I shrug. "I guess I'm just not made for long term relationships or commitments." I turn back to face him. "What about you? What've you been up to?"
He smiles, humor covering the sadness in his eyes. God he's perfect.
"Same old stuff." He shakes his head slightly, shrugs, as if to shove off the importance of whatever it is he's been doing.
Unable to keep my emotions hidden any longer, I turn away again, looking out the window. Hopefully he won't realize how hard this is for me.
Suddenly he's behind me. His hands are on my shoulders, turning me around. Forcing me to look at him. I meet his gaze, my eyes wet with unshed tears I can't control.
He silently gathers me into his arms, holding me close. After a moment I allow myself to relax against him, my arms around his waist, my head pillowed on his shoulder.
"I missed you." His voice is soft.
"I missed you too."
"Max..." And this time I can hear the longing in his voice. "Are you home for good?"
'Home,' what an odd word for him to use. Yet I know it's true. This is home, it always has been. This is where I belong.
I look up at him, unable to hide the confusion and the hope in my eyes. "Do you want me to be?"
He doesn't answer...at least not verbally. After studying me for a moment longer, I feel his gaze catch on my lips, stay there. Time seems to stop as we stand there, waiting for the kiss...
...and then it happens. He lowers his head those few extra centimeters, and our lips touch, retreat, touch, cling. I can't think, I feel like I'm drowning beneath the weight of all of the feelings that are exploding inside me. He grows bolder, nibbling on my lower lip before slipping his tongue inside to explore.
We're wrapped around each other now. I'm clutching his shoulders for balance, my body plastered against his. One of his hands is buried in my hair, holding my head steady, while the other is wrapped around my waist.
Finally, he pulls back slightly, and rests his forehead against mine for a few moments as we both try to catch our breath.
As our breathing finally starts to return to normal, he pulls back a little more, enough so that he can see my face. His arms are still around me, and mine around him.
"Do you still need an answer?" I shake my head, a smile coming across my lips. I can see my answer in his eyes, they are filled with love.
"I'm home." And as he gathers me close again, my head resting naturally in the curve of his shoulder, as if we always stood like that, I realize that it's the truth.
After seven years, I've come home.
Finished...please, let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcome; it's what keeps me writing.