Walking on Water
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Dark Angel, just the thoughts in my head.
Summary: A closer look at the waterfront scene in The Kidz are Aiight.
Spoilers: Takes place during the Kidz are Aiight and refers to Rising.
Author's Notes: I just couldn't seem to get this scene out of my head, so I decided to delve a little deeper. For those of you still waiting for the other half of Pas de Deux, thanks for the interest. It's coming. I promise. I just had to get this out first. I also apologize in advance to anyone who also decided to take this scene and run with it. This is just my own interpretation.
The sand is cool beneath my feet, as I stand gazing out over the blue-grey water at the mountains beyond, shrouded in mist. The dejected remains of the harbour mar the view, but in the morning light, it's still beautiful. Everything is beautiful. How could it not be? I'm standing again, on my own two feet. It feels suddenly like the world is in colour again. How would Max put it? Oh yeah, 'it's all good.'
Max. My saving grace. My angel. She's the reason I'm standing at all. I pushed every day, fighting to free myself of that damned chair, so that I could give her a reason to stay in Seattle. Never in a million years would I have guessed that Max would be the one to set me free, to give me back my life. It was in her blood. And now here I stand, blood of her blood, forever connected to her in a way I never thought possible.
The look on her face the other night, when I rose to stand unaided in front of her for the first time, nearly took my breath away. Her eyes were wide with wonder, as she said it was like some kind of miracle. It was a miracle all right. Max was the miracle, in more ways than one. Her blood may have given me my legs back, but it was her who gave me my life back. From the night she went crashing though my living room window, Max has given me a reason to live, a reason to get up in the morning and face this broken and corrupt world, and the strength to keep trying to change it.
I almost managed to show her how I feel then, but I wasn't strong enough. Standing so close to her, I could feel her warm breaths coming quickly over my face. At that moment, every fibre in my being ached to close that distance between us and kiss her. If only I had been stronger, but the feel of her arms around me, supporting me as my legs gave out, was almost enough, almost. Today I'm stronger.
"Hey! No Trespassing! Can't you read?"
My heart trips over itself as her voice reaches me over the gentle lap of the waves. Max came looking for me. That simple realization suddenly gives me the courage to get her where I really want her, closer. I turn around and grin. "Take off you shoes and come here." I'm sure she can hear the playful edge in my voice. I feel like a kid again, my first time at the beach and like a kid, my inhibitions float away on the breeze. I know what I want, and she came looking for me.
Max flashes me a rare look of childlike delight as she slips off her shoes and comes to meet me at the water's edge. "Left you a little present back at your place."
I furrow my brow. Max brought me a present? The last thing she gave me was a grapefruit, if you don't count her giving me my life back.
"A fresh chicken," she finishes, likely reading the confusion on my face. I feel a lopsided smile forming. I knew it had to be food-related. I am her meal ticket after all. I guess I'll have to reciprocate.
"Ah! Wow! I see a Poulet Chez Cale in your future with a prepulse bottle of Louis St. Georges, say around… eight o'clock?"
Her smile, albeit fleeting, sends a wave of warmth through my body, straight to my water-numbed toes. I can't take my eyes off of her, as she moves closer.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" I can't keep the grin off my face. She knows I'm not talking about the scenery, but she turns her gaze towards the water and I feel a slight sense of loss at the break in contact. But nothing can really bother me today. I'm standing next to Max, feeling the water lap at my feet. I thought this moment would never come.
"It's funny," I start to say, as I walk out further into the water. "For the first time, in a long time, I feel like anything and everything is possible." Honestly, I haven't felt this light-hearted in as long as I can remember. I can feel Max's eyes on my back. I can just imagine the look on her face, one of a confirmed cynic, probably smiling in awe at my newfound optimism. I really do feel like anything is possible. Today I feel like I could walk on water.
"Aren't you cold?" Her question seeps into my pleasant haze. I smile to myself; trust Max to point out the obvious.
"Freezing" I answer, smiling up at her. "But it feels great." It feels wonderful actually, the soft sand under my toes, the icy water swirling around my ankles. Each new, yet familiar sensation brings a new joy to me. I have to share this with Max. After all, she made this all possible.
I reach out to her, almost like an invitation to dance. She declines with a scrunch of her nose and a shake of her head, but today I'm not taking no for an answer. Today I'm stronger. With a sidelong glance in her direction, I grab the tip of my cane, and in one swift move, accompanied by a grunted "C'mon," I hook her arm and pull her into the water with me.
Before either of us can react, she's thrown against my chest and my body goes into overdrive. She's so close. I can feel her warmth and my skin tingles beneath my clothes at every point of contact. Her eyes are sparkling as she smiles up at me. This is what I've been waiting for, to have her close enough to feel her breath on my cool face. My chair always kept us at a certain distance, never touching. Of their own volition, my hands begin to travel, ever so slowly, up her arms and the playfulness between us evaporates, and her eyes darken just a little. Time stops. The air between us is alive with palpable tension, like an electrical charge humming from one body to the other. We're only inches apart, and the distance is closing fast. I'm I moving closer or is she? All I have to do is lean in ever so slightly. My heart swells with satisfaction as her eyelids drop just a little in anticipation. I can hear a voice screaming in the back of my head 'Just do it already Cale! Kiss her! You know you've wanted to forever. Do it!' My own eyelids close, as I'm about to obey my inner voice, when another voice finds its way into my spinning mind.
"This is a restricted area! Repeat! This is a restricted area!" The hover drone's mechanical voice snaps us back to reality and just as swiftly as it came, the moment is gone.
Reacting to her natural instinct to hide, Max whips her head around, away from the drone's cameras and I'm suddenly overwhelmed by the scent of her, laced with the sweet odour of cherries. I reluctantly pull my face from her silken hair and glare up at the offending little robot as it floats away.
"I hate those things," she whispers into my chest and I have to fight the urge to run a comforting hand through her soft dark curls.
Instead, I manage to choke out, "Yeah, I guess we'd better go." My heart beats wildly in protest, but my rational mind is winning this battle. It takes everything in my power to keep myself from burying my face in her sweet-smelling hair. Slowly, almost reluctantly, Max turns to meet my gaze and, in that one moment, all rational thought flies out my mind. Her lips are just a breath away…
"Guess so." Her voice is soft and tinged with…disappointment? As she pulls away, I suppress a shiver, as the chill at the loss of contact races through me.
Reluctant to leave this peaceful place, we make our way slowly up the shore. Having slipped my own shoes on, I watch silently as she ties her bootlaces and reaches for her bag, her loose curls cascading over her head like a dark wave. My fingers itch to reach out and touch her, but my newfound strength fails me and all I can manage to do is stand stiffly and ask "So I'll see you tonight?"
Max stands back up and again we're only inches apart and my heart notices right away.
"Sharp." I'm positive she has no idea what she does to me. She's not moving away…
"I should get to work." I can't help but smile. She sounds determined, like she's trying to convince herself.
"Yeah, I gotta get home." 'No! Make her stay!' There's that voice again.
"Bye." 'Coward.' I'm sure my blood is turning more and more yellow with every step I take away from her. 'Dammit!' As a sudden realization hits me square in the face, I spin on my heel to face Max, expecting her to be gone, but to my utter amazement, she spins around to face me. I take a deep breath and move forward. Determinedly, we stride towards each other and meet in the middle.
"Wrong way." Our voices echo in concert as we pass each other by, again. My heart aches in disappointment and I curse my weakness. Oh well, I'll see her tonight. Tonight I'll be stronger.