A/N: Okay guys. Here it is. The final chapter. I can't believe I actually finished this story. :p Well, I hope you like it!!!
He had no time to get emotional. Time was running out. He had to get to the Space Needle, where Sandeman had told him to go to do the ritual. It was just like the old days, when he had had a mission to accomplish. He needed to get his head in the game.
494 was back.
Her mind was foggy, shapes slowly starting to take form in front of her flickering eyelids. She registered a dull throbbing at the back of her neck as well as a terrifying need to wake up. Something was wrong, that much she knew. Fighting her dizziness, she forced her eyes open, shutting them quickly as she was momentarily blinded by the light in the room she was in. A second later, she opened her eyes again and they adjusted to the brightness as she took in her surroundings.
I'm in the bathroom, she realized. What am I doing here?
She tried to get up, stopping when she felt cold metal tugging at her right wrist. Her eyes narrowed as she tried to remember who had put her there.
"I love you Max." His hand curled around her neck and he pressed down slightly. She frowned at him.
"Alec, what are you doing?"
"Max, I'm so sorry." He applied more pressure and she winced in pain, trying to pull herself out of his grasp.
"Alec, stop it!"
Her eyes flared in anger. How dare he? That bastard. How dare he knock me out like that and leave me here! Doesn't he understand what he's done? It wasn't his decision to make!
Straining her neck to peek through the window above, she judged she had been unconscious for a little less than an hour by the darkness outside. Her hands shook as she caught sight of something else.
Hundreds of Familiars fought the transgenics outside on the grounds. She scanned the field, looking for her siblings or Alec. She frowned when she couldn't find any of them among the other transgenics.
Where did they –
Max froze as something clicked into place.
"So all you have to do is read the ritual with the necklace on and mix your blood with your siblings'?"
Why had Alec been so curious?
She angrily dug her nails into her palm. How could I have been so stupid! I told him exactly how to do the ritual! And now the idiot's gone to do it himself. He's going to sacrifice himself for nothing, because it's never going to work if he does it. He's not the One!
She stared at the cuff attached to her wrist, her lips curving into a small smile as she thought of what Alec would probably say if he was in her situation.
I wonder where Maxie got the cuffs? Kinky, kinky.
Her heart warmed as she remembered the way she had imprinted his face in her mind only a short time ago. She remembered his grin, and his twinkling hazel eyes, and then cold fear took the place of her dissipating anger.
I can't lose him. I can't.
Fueled by her fear, she yanked hard at the cuff, wincing as all it was doing was injuring her wrist. Ignoring the pain, she took her other hand and pressed as hard as she could on the metal, hoping to snap it in half. She used as much force as she could muster, but the cuff still didn't give. She slammed it in frustration, leaning against the bathtub to rest before she tried again.
She breathed out slowly in an effort to calm herself down, but her breath hitched as her enhanced ears caught quiet footsteps coming down the hall towards her room. Seconds later, she heard strangled cries coming from outside her door.
Alec must have put guards on my door to make sure that I couldn't get out.
She heard the muffled sound of bodies crumpling to the floor, and in desperation she tried to snap the cuff, to no avail. She heard someone open the door to her room, and her mind frantically ran through a mental list of people that she had not seen outside. The footsteps came closer to her bathroom door, stopped, and then Max watched as the knob turned. The door swung open and she looked at the devil himself.
"There you are, 452."
"I don't get it," Zane breathed, huffing a bit as they ran up the stairs to the top of the Space Needle. "Why is it that you can do the ritual?"
"Looks like you're a little out of shape, little brother," Tinga commented, smirking as she ran alongside him easily. He glared at her, and pumped his legs to go faster. He looked at Alec for an answer to his question.
Alec didn't look at him, or even show signs that he had heard. His eyes were focused on the top of the stairs, his goal.
Complete the objective. Do the ritual. Nothing else matters but the objective.
"Alec!" Jondy looked him over with a concerned glance, noticing the grim determination in his eyes. "Alec?" she asked again, tentatively.
He didn't respond. His eyes stared forward, eerily reminding her of the blank look the soldiers used to have back at Manticore.
Complete the objective. Have to save… Max. Have to keep Max safe.
Jondy shrugged to the others, the worry evident on her face, then looked up and found that they were nearing the top. She waved her hands to her siblings, signaling them to hurry up, and then they were at the door. Alec kicked it open but froze when he noticed that they weren't alone.
A middle-aged man stood before them, with silvery hair framing a harsh face. His eyes were as cold as ice, and though he wasn't of great height, his body was compact and strong. Behind him stood a dozen Familiars.
"You're not the one I'm looking for," he said coldly, looking at Alec. "Where's the girl?"
Alec didn't respond, but he just stood there guardedly, assessing his opponent.
Rule C: 43 in Tactics: Never go into battle without knowing what you're up against.
"Answer me transgenic filth!"
The man moved towards Alec and as quick as lightning, Alec grabbed his arm and threw him across the room like a rag doll. The action sent the other Familiars into a fury, throwing themselves at the other transgenics. Alec moved without hesitation snapping a Familiar's neck before he had the chance to reach him. His body was tensed as he moved toward another Familiar. He let himself go and became the predator, his need to save Max stimulating him. His mind went blank, and he relied on instinct while he fought.
A voice penetrated his mind and he searched to find the owner of the voice. It was Eva.
"Alec!" she yelled, ducking a blow from the Familiar she was fighting. "Zack!"
He turned around to see Zack losing the fight against his opponent, blood smeared across his face. He moved toward the blonde man.
"He's not strong enough yet!" Eva called. "He doesn't remember how to fight – " She choked on the last word, and her hands trembled as they made their way to her stomach. A blade protruded from her belly, and the Familiar grinned evilly at her, having taken the opportunity while she was distracted. Her knees buckled and she fell onto the ground, unmoving.
"Eva!" Jondy yelled. Her green eyes narrowed in anger, she feigned a punch to the left and while the Familiar ducked, she kicked out at his jaw, smiling satisfactorily when she heard a crack. Feeling no pain, the Familiar got up, but she had already flipped behind him and snapped his neck easily. She stood still for a moment, eyeing the blood on her hands, and then ran to her fallen sister. She cradled Eva in her arms, sighing in relief as she felt a weak pulse at her throat. Looking up, she saw Zack, badly beaten, shielding his head with his arms in anticipation of the blow about to come. An arm descended but stopped about an inch from his face. Alec twisted the man's arm, breaking it, and punched him hard enough to knock him out. He then offered a hand to Zack, who gratefully accepted it.
"We have to start the ritual now," Alec said. Zack nodded.
"So, you're the One." The leader, the man who had first approached them, stepped menacingly towards Alec. "All this time, we thought it was the girl." His eyes fell on the pendant that hung from Alec's neck. "You're not going to win, you know. The world belongs to us. We will finally get what we deserve! The strong shall inherit the earth and – "
His body crumpled to the floor and Ben stood behind him. "Yeah, yeah, we got it. Now be a good boy, and shut up." He kicked the man's head and it lolled to the side.
Seeing that all the Familiars were either dead or unconscious, Alec sat down cross-legged on the floor, opening the book with the ritual.
"Remember when Lydecker said that they all had a part in the Coming? Apparently the Ancient Minoans believed in unity, so during all their rituals, their tribe was present and they mixed their blood together."
Remembering Max's words, he held out the pendant. "I need you to put some of your blood on here," he ordered. Adhering to his command, they all swiped some blood from their wounds and touched their blood-stained hands to the pendant. Jondy shakily withdrew the knife from Eva's stomach, and wiped some of the blood from the blade onto the pendant. She checked her sister's pulse again. It was weaker now, but still there.
"What now?" Ben asked. He looked uncertainly from the book to his clone, who seemed to be coming back to reality. Alec no longer looked like the ruthless soldier he had been back at Manticore and only moments ago, but like a lost man who was giving up everything.
This is it. Max will be okay. She'll be safe now. All I have to do is the ritual and then… the sacrifice. But she'll be safe. And that's what matters. I won't lose her.
He looked at the faces surrounding him, staring at him nervously. They'll protect her when I'm gone.
"So, this is fun. My first Wicca party," he joked. "Think that you guys can do a spell to bring me back after? Nah, forget it. I'll probably be a zombie and we know how pale their complexions are. I wouldn't be Normal's golden boy anymore."
I think I'm actually gonna miss this world. A year ago, back at Manticore, I couldn't have cared less about the outside world, much less the people in it. Funny how things change.
Taking a deep breath, he started to read.
"I'm surprised you're hiding here like a little girl, rather than help your people fight." White crouched low in front of her, a menacing smile starting to form on his lips. "I never really figured you for a coward, but then again, I'm not surprised. You didn't even have the balls to do that ritual. I guess I should be thanking you for that. You've made life easier for me."
"You just love to hear yourself speak, don't you?" Max watched as he stood from his crouched position.
"It's going to be wonderful, you know? A brand new world to wake up to tomorrow. The start of a new generation, a new beginning. We'll finally get what should have been ours from the start."
"And the stupid ordinaries deserve to die, blah, blah, blah…" Max mocked. "Is that right?"
"You don't understand, 452. The world should be controlled by the strong. The ordinaries, as you call them, aren't capable of doing that. As much as I hate to say it, even your kind would do a better job of keeping things together. Look outside, 452. Look at the filth and the state of things. Look at the dilapidated buildings, and the poverty. These people should be thanking us for saving them from this hell."
"And of course, you think 'killing them' is 'saving them'," Max said. "You're more twisted than I thought."
"He never used to be," a frail voice interrupted. "It's my fault that he's the way he is."
White's body grew taut, and with clenched fists he faced the owner of the voice. Sandeman looked at his son sadly, the old man clutching the frame of the door for support.
"Get out," White growled.
"Uh hey, in case you forgot, it's kinda my room," Max remarked. "I think I get the right to kick someone out." Despite her smart-ass comments, she still felt the pressing urge to go find Alec. She had to stop him before he made a huge mistake. Time was running out, and she had no idea how far along in the ritual he had already gotten.
"Ames, stop this insanity. It's my fault that you're this way, I know that. I should have gotten you away from them. I'm sorry son; I shouldn't have left you there. But I had to save C.J."
"That's a lie!" White shouted, his attention now on his father. Max took the distraction to continue working on the cuff, cursing its durability.
Alec must have gotten the strongest one he could find.
"You left because of her! It was always about her! About your 'special one'," White mocked. "You cared more about that stupid filth," he shouted, pointing at Max, "than your own son!"
There it was. Out in the open. He had said it.
"You know what, old man?" He pulled out a gun and pointed it at Max. "Say goodbye to your precious special one."
Max pressed her fingers down on the cuff and heard it snap. Finally liberated, she blurred forward and knocked the gun out of his hand. Blinded with rage, White struck the side of her head with an enormous force, knocking her down. She struggled to get up in the small space, but managed to sweep his feet out from under him and flip to a standing position.
"I'm going to kill you," he muttered.
"Well, that's original," she answered. She blocked his arm as he attempted to punch her, but fell to the ground as his other arm came up and dragged her down. Max hissed in pain as her head hit the bathtub, and they struggled on the floor, neither of them able to get the upper hand.
"I'm going to destroy you," White grunted. His hands closed over her throat, cutting off her air supply. She clawed at his hands, trying to get him to loosen his grip. She started to choke, and she kicked her legs out in an effort to get him off of her. He ignored her and continued to strangle her. Max was starting to lose consciousness when the weight was suddenly lifted off of her.
She sat up, massaging her throat, and stared at the clean hole through White's head. His eyes were still open and even in death he didn't lose his icy glare.
"I, I…" Sandeman lay on the floor, the force of the shot throwing him backwards. The gun White had dropped dangled from his fingers, and tears came to the old man's eyes. "My son." He crawled to White and held his body. "My son."
Max watched the scene sadly for a moment before running off. As much as she would have liked to comfort the old man, Alec was more important. She had to find him.
And then I'll kick his ass.
"Take cover!" Mina shouted. Ducking behind one of the Familiar's cars, she signaled to some other transgenics. She held up three fingers, then two, then one, counting down. When she nodded to them, they pulled the tab on a handful of grenades and threw them towards the Familiars coming their way. She plugged her ears, and a second later she heard the sounds of explosions.
"I think that's the last of them," Biggs shouted. He stepped out from behind the car and nodded. "Yup, they're – "
A Familiar's arms wrapped around his neck and Mina rushed forward to help him.
"Get." Punch. "Your hands." Kick. "Off." Left uppercut. "My boyfriend!"
The Familiar crumpled to the ground.
"Oh, so I'm your boyfriend now?" he asked her playfully.
Mina shrugged. "Just wanted to hear how that sounds out loud. I kinda like it."
"Oh, do you?" Biggs teased. He wrapped his arms around her waist and was about to kiss her when he caught sight of someone behind her. She let go and stared at Jay, watching them from across the grounds. Using her enhanced eyesight, she could see a myriad of emotions flitting across his face. Surprise, hurt and finally acceptance shone in his eyes. He knew she saw him. She watched his eyes go from her to Biggs and back again, and he gave her a little smile and a nod.
She released a sigh of relief. Jay wouldn't make things complicated, she knew that much. It wasn't his way. In the past, he had respected her decisions whatever they were and went along with them.
Maybe in time, he can be the brother he had been to me again.
She smiled to herself and then to Biggs, who was watching her carefully. It was finally time for her to let go of the past and move on with the future. She looked at the full moon, illuminating the sky beautifully. It almost seemed like a normal night, despite the dead bodies on the ground. She smirked.
Fights and bodies? I guess that's as normal as it gets for us.
"Cantare sli'ohar morches'lam kar'os," Alec chanted. The pendant felt warm against his skin, and he felt it burn hotter with every word he spoke. He almost wanted to stop the ritual, to be selfish as he once had been and spend his life with Max, the ordinaries be damned, but he knew he would never be able to live with the billions of lives lost. Besides, if he didn't do it he knew Max would, and that was something he would never allow to happen. A stray thought at the back of his mind told him that she was probably awake by now, and no doubt pissed. He imagined the furious look on her face and longed to be there to kiss her frown away.
She'd probably bite my head off if I tried, he thought reminiscently.
"Tra'chin kolar sa'chor."
Something's not right.
"Portaysis lava'l shune'tra."
There. A shadow behind Ben. One of the Familiars had come to. Alarm shot through his body and he sprang forward, pushing Ben out of the way. The knife, ornately decorated, caught the moonlight for a second. The blade shimmered dazzlingly, before it plunged into the right side of his chest.
Flames of pain burned through his body. He couldn't breathe, couldn't finish the ritual. Blood seeped out from the corner of his mouth and as he lay on the cold floor, he felt the movements of the other X5s and their shouts. He was dimly aware of someone kneeling beside him, but couldn't turn his head to see who it was. More shouting. People screaming his name.
And then someone's hands were caressing his face. He didn't have to see who it was. He knew by her touch, and her scent. She gently lifted his head into her lap.
"You idiot. Why do you always have to go and screw everything up?"
Though the words were sharp, he sensed no malice behind them, only fear.
"He didn't finish the ritual," someone said.
"It was all for nothing."
"It wouldn't have worked anyway. He's not the One." Max's voice.
"Yes, it would have. His blood is just like yours. It's immune to the toxin. Sandeman created him as an out for you." Ben.
Everything was getting darker. It was getting harder and harder for him to see.
Except usually I can see in the dark. I guess the whole cat sight thing doesn't apply when you're dying.
"What if I finished it?" That was Max again. Or was it? He could barely distinguish their voices now.
"What are you talking about?" Jondy? Tinga? He couldn't tell.
"To finish the ritual, we have to have a sacrifice. One sacrifice. Alec doesn't have to die. We can do it together."
No, he wanted to yell. No. His lips strained to form the one word, but no sound came out.
"He's in pretty bad shape, Max. And what if it doesn't work?"
"It will work," she said determinedly. "It has to. I'm not going to just let him go. If we both – I don't know, half die or something, maybe that'll do the trick."
No, he shouted, the words never making it past his mouth. No, Max. Max, please.
He felt the knife being eased from his chest, the movement making him want to scream in pain.
Without even thinking about it, Max put the knife to her wrists and slit them, the knife clattering to the floor as soon as she had done it. Blood trickled down her arms and she fell forward onto Alec's body, her wrist coming into contact with the pendant. Her blood dripped onto it, staining the necklace red.
Alec could feel the tension in the air. They all held their breaths, waiting for something to happen. When it seemed as if they couldn't wait any longer, the pendant started to glow. A brilliant white light shot into the air from it, illuminating the sky so that it seemed like it was daylight. The world stayed like that for a moment, bathed in the iridescent light, and then a blink later, it was nighttime again.
Max's siblings shot into action, two of them picking Max and Alec up gently, blurring down the stairs to get to the car. Zane placed Alec down as comfortably as he could in the back while Zack placed Max beside him. As fast as he could, Ben turned on the engine and raced out of there.
"Alec?" Max's voice was weak. Her shaking fingers searched for his own, which were cold and clammy. She held them as tightly as she could.
I love you too, Maxie.
"I should have named you Dick."
With that, they surrendered to darkness' sweet embrace.
It was a week later. Terminal City's occupants were bustling about as usual, going this way and that trying to get their own personal jobs done.
"Who the hell stole my smokes?" Mole shouted. He stood opening and slamming drawers in HQ with his rifle slung over one shoulder. "Which bastard stole my cigars!"
Sitting in front of his computer as usual, Dix chuckled to himself. He opened a box to his left containing computer disks and rifled through them. At the very back were about a dozen Cuban cigars.
"Gee, I don't know Mole. Have you asked that guy from the Arctic Division? He seemed pretty pissed a couple of days ago when you guys were arguing about the fridge and heat lamps."
"That asshole," he muttered, off in search of the other transgenic.
"Hi!" Joshua bounced into the room. "Come! Come see! We put up the flag!"
Dix and the other transgenics got up and followed the dog man up onto the rooftop of Terminal City. Dozens of transgenics were already there, watching as an anomaly, a transgenic from the Desert division, an X5 and a Psy Ops soldier, secured a flag into place. It was something that Joshua had painted in the last few days, feeling that they needed something to represent themselves to the outside world. They had laid their dead to rest a couple days before in the Terminal City grounds. It wasn't a terribly organized or lavish affair. They didn't have any stupid sermon or proper caskets, but the leaders of each division came forward to say a few words about each fallen soldier, and that was enough for them.
Most of the wounded had recovered almost fully by now, Eva, Max and Alec among them. They stood together with their family around them, Eva having to lean against the railing of the rooftop for support. Her stomach was bandaged and recovering nicely, but she still had trouble walking around.
Max had sent Logan home after he was completely cured from his illness. They had a new understanding. He knew who she had chosen to be with, and he finally respected that. She was happy that he valued their friendship enough to let her go.
Mina stood beside Max with Biggs beside her, and beside him was Jay. The two men were wary around each other, but for the time being that was alright. Mina knew they were never going to be the best of friends, but she was happy that she had the two most important men still in her life.
Zack stood strong beside Jack, his blue eyes focused on the flag. More and more of his memory had been coming back to him by day, and now he remembered almost everything from his past, the good and the bad. Maybe he wasn't as strong as he used to be, but he was still their rock as always.
"Do you like it Father?" Joshua asked Sandeman eagerly. The old man, seeming to have gotten even older in the past week, patted the dog-man's head softly.
"It's very good, Joshua."
The flag flapped around in the wind, advertising to the outside world their freak nation. They weren't going to worry about another battle, this time with the ordinaries. That could be dealt with tomorrow. And already, the ordinaries were different. Walking through the streets in Seattle, they no longer stopped to yell obscenities at the fence of Terminal City, or to set up flaming Xs. They were far from accepting them, but at least for now, they were tolerant.
"Do you think we should tell them?" Dix asked, eyeing Max and Alec.
"Not right now. Let them be with their family. Besides, they'll find out in time."
He looked at the deformed transgenic beside him, and then the other ones all around. The people he had created.
Ames was right about one thing, he thought. It is a new world. With new friends…
He looked at a Psy Ops soldier laughing happily with an Aquatic Division soldier.
He looked at Mina and Biggs, and then to Seth and Wylie. Jondy was leaning against Zane, her fiery red hair blowing in the wind.
And a new generation.
He watched Max and Alec. Alec had his arms wrapped around her waist, his hand unconsciously massaging her belly. Her hand was over his, also resting on her stomach.
Sandeman smiled to himself and looked to the sky. The sun shined down on his wrinkly paper-thin skin.
It truly is a new beginning for us all.
A/N: So, there it is. I hope you guys liked this story! I was thinking about doing another MA story, this one a Supernatural crossover, but I wasn't sure. What do you think? I also had another idea for an MA story set in season one. Well, feedback is always appreciated:)