Disclaimer: I wish I own Dark Angel, but unfortunately I don't. Otherwise it would never ever be cancelled! Dark Angel and its characters do not belong to me. No infringement intended.
A/N: Hopefully, this is the end of the confusion, lol! And again, thank you, Shallowness for fixing the grammar and all the inconsistencies that I was too blind to see! And oh, by the way, I've just started another story, 'Rules Can Be Broken'. Not MA this time, but MZ, so if you are interested...
Calistra – Dan's working for someone under duress and you'll see soon why Moss is so important. Thanks for reviewing!
Mel11 – Thank you for your review and for allowing my fingers some rest, lol! Do you have doubts that Max would get to Alec? (winks)
Doza – Wow! That was a long review, lol! Thanks! And NO, I haven't seen either, much to my shame. Not even sure if they have it on regular TV (which I switch on about once in a week only), and I don't have cable. Haha, you should get paid for your wonderful promotion of the two shows! As for doing something you all won't expect, read this chapter and let me know if I managed it.
Kungfuchick – Thanks for reviewing! Let me know what you think of this one okay?
Roxyroo – You're registered finally! Yep, Dan was after Moss, hehe! You'll see soon who he's working for. Thanks for reviewing!
Pookie vampires – Where have you been? Gee, I thought you must have given up on my stories, lol! Missed your reviews, by the way. And I love your review (blushes) and yeah, Alec and Max should get busy real soon. But (sighs) dreams are a wonderful thing.
Kim – Thanks for your review. Hehe! I'm glad that it managed to be surprising. Purposely set it up that it seemed like Alec, but not quite. I know what you mean about Alec giving up – I didn't want him to do that here. I mean, it's not really his fault, so why should he want to die?
Lakergirl08 – Hehe! Well, the good news is, you'll find out everything (I hope) soon! So read on and let me think if everything finally made sense. Thanks for reviewing!
X5898 – I'm not particularly surprised that you got it, lol! After all, you almost always managed to guess what's about to happen (grins). But you haven't guessed everything yet (thanks goodness!). When you read this chapter, you'll see why only ONE of them is being hunted. No. Alec would probably sink into depression if Rachel hated him, and he needed closure to get on with Max. Anyway, thanks for your review and read on!
Eva – Thanks for reviewing. Glad you found it exciting (I try!). Let me know what you think of this one, okay?
Alana84 – Hehe! Your questions will be answered soon. I'm glad you found it exciting – means that my hard work didn't go to waste! Thanks for reviewing!
Kay – I'm back! LOL! Don't worry…I won't leave you hanging at the end of this chapter! Thanks for your review!
Darkangelgirl – Of course! Max sweeps in and saves the day, hehe! You'll get your answers in this chapter. Hopefully it'll satisfy your curiosity (grins). Thanks for reviewing!
Sea Fire – Me? Cruel? Of course not (grins)! Thanks for your compliments (blushes). I hope this chapter will meet with your approval. Thanks for reviewing!
Lotamoxie – Glad you have such confidence in Max, lol! Of course she will come in time. I won't want you to hunt me down, hehe! I grinned when I read your review. You'll soon see why! Thanks for reviewing!
Angelofdarkness78 – Thanks for your review. Yep…It's concluding now, that's why it's falling into place. And on a completely different note, how's school? Must be quite busy seeing that I haven't seen an update from you for awhile (Hint! Hint!)
Berrisford returned to Alec, raising his gun.
Uh-oh, this is not good, Alec thought as he stared into the barrel of the gun.
His eyes shifted from the barrel to Berrisford, suddenly noting the hesitant look on the older man's face. The pressure in Alec's chest eased a little as he digested that little fact.
Alec could not help himself from doing a little test. "Look, if you want to do it, then do it. All this waiting is driving me nuts," he taunted, hoping that his suspicions were correct; that Berrisford was not a killer. He did not even want to think of the alternative.
Berrisford still hesitated, and this time, Alec's sharp eyes noticed a slight lowering of the gun.
"Do it!" Alec prodded.
The door slammed open, the sound distracting Berrisford from Alec.
Alec's eyes lit up as he saw Max.
Her quick glance at Alec told her that he was okay. Then she blurred towards Berrisford, snatched the gun from his hands, and threw it into the opposite corner of the room before he could even blink. Mindful of what Rachel had asked of her, but not quite understanding why she bothered to listen, she stepped away from him.
"Took you long enough," Alec muttered at her, but he was relieved that she had turned up.
"Well, yeah. Had more important things to do," she said flippantly and then turned to Berrisford, "Release him," she demanded of the stunned older man as she gestured to Alec.
Finally finding his voice, Berrisford shouted, "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Max rolled her eyes. "I thought it was pretty obvious. Now un-cuff him before I decide to break my word to your daughter."
"You spoke to Rachel?" Alec asked, surprised. He wondered what Max felt about the fact that Rachel was still alive. When he had confided in her about his feelings, he had thought that Rachel was dead. At that time, he had thought that she had looked a bit uncomfortable, maybe even jealous, when he had spoken of his feelings. Now, he just hoped that she would not come to the wrong conclusion about this whole thing.
Berrisford paled visibly. "What did you do to her?"
"Nothing. But that might change soon if you don't quit stalling," Max warned, impatient now.
Wordlessly, Berrisford made his way to Alec and unlocked the cuffs. Alec jumped up, rubbing his wrist as he studied the older man.
"Listen, I'm sorry for what happened," Alec said.
Berrisford did not say anything. The fight seemed to have gone away from him as he slumped to the chair, looking weary.
"Come on, let's go," Max said, grabbing Alec's arm.
When they stepped out, Alec halted in his tracks as he spotted Rachel sitting by the door. He flicked a quick glance to Max to see that she had averted her gaze from them.
"I'll be just around the corner," Max said, not bothering to look back as she went. She did not think she could stand seeing them together.
Alec stood uncomfortably as he looked between Max's retreating back and Rachel.
Looking up at him, Rachel said, "You'd better leave."
Running a hand through his hair uncomfortably, Alec said, "I'm sorry…"
Rachel interrupted him. "It's alright. Go, and I think you'd better not come back," she said with a sad tone of finality.
"That's probably a good idea," Alec said with a small smile. "Bye, Rachel."
"Goodbye," she returned, and got up to go into the room.
As she had told him, Max was waiting for him just around the corner.
"Can we go now?" she asked irritably when he appeared.
Taken aback by her hostile manner, he asked, "Hey, what's wrong?" He could guess what was bothering her, but he had to ask.
"Nothing. We need to get to Moss," she said tightly, hurrying down the stairs without looking at him.
Moss? I almost died back there and the only thing she can think off is Moss? Alec seethed inwardly. So it was not Rachel that put her in that mood, it was her wanting to go to Moss. Outwardly, he just said coldly, "Right."
Max did not answer as she made her way out of the front door, Alec not far behind. They made their way across the grounds and leapt over the fence.
They were both silent as Max guided her bike back to her apartment.
Moss jumped up into a fight stance as the door to the apartment opened. Then he relaxed when he saw Max and Alec.
"Well, looks like you survived," Moss said.
Alec, who was still annoyed about the issue of Max and Moss, smirked coldly and said, "What can I say? I always land on my feet."
Moss snorted. "You're lucky because you've got Max watching your back," he mocked.
"Don't you two start," Max warned them. Then her eyes landed on Dan who was tied up to the radiator, his head tilted forwards. "Still out, I see," she said, raising a questioning brow at Moss while she pointedly ignored Alec.
Moss said a little sheepishly, "Maybe I hit him a bit too hard when he came to just now."
"What's he doing here? Who is he?" Alec asked, confused as he noticed Dan. Then he saw the barcode. "204?"
"Yeah, he was trying to take me down earlier, then Max came to the rescue," Moss explained as he flashed her a smile.
"I see you had a busy night, first Moss, then me," Alec said with a hint of annoyance. Max probably had a good reason for saving Moss first, he tried to reassure himself.
Max ignored their words, instead she asked, "So, did he say anything when he woke up just now?"
"Nah, didn't get a chance."
"I think we should find out what's he up to," Max said, grabbing a bowl and filling it with water. Alec sat back on the couch, making himself comfortable for the pending show.
A splash later, Dan woke up spluttering.
"Welcome back, 204," Moss greeted with a sneer.
Dan just glared back up from his undignified position on the floor.
"Okay, spill. What are you up to?" Max asked, her hands on her hips as she looked down at him expectantly.
Dan remained mute for a moment before he finally released a weary breath. "What do you want to know?"
"Why are you after Moss?"
"It's not me who wants the guy," Dan replied in a disgusted tone. "I don't remember what happened. One minute I was injured in a mission, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in a warehouse all restrained." He nudged his head at Moss. "466 was there. I saw him passing by with some lab techs and guards."
Alec and Max cast Moss a questioning glance, but he looked away.
Dan continued bitterly, "For weeks, all I saw was a Manticore scientist and couple of lab techs coming in and out. I asked them what they wanted but I had no answer. Then one day, the guards came in and took me. The scientist, who I presumed was the leader, showed me a picture of him and a girl and told me to find them. They inserted a micro-explosive in my brain stem," Dan paused when Max gasped.
Alec exchanged a look with Max as he remembered having the same experience, ignoring Moss's exclamation of outrage.
"What?" Dan asked nervously, seeing the look of horror that passed between Alec and Max.
Moss interrupted, shouting, "You were going to bring me back there?"
"Shut-up Moss! He didn't get you, did he?" Alec snapped, knowing exactly how Dan felt.
"I had one not too long ago," Alec stated emotionlessly, feeling guilty as he recalled the expression Max had had when he had lowered his knife at her.
"How did you get it out?" Dan asked with a hopeful look in his eyes. "Do you know how to get mine out?"
"Well, kind of. Do you know where to find them? And how much more time do you have?" Max asked as she knelt down and pushed Dan to his side to get at his bonds.
"A couple more days. I remember…"
"What are you doing, Max?" Moss snapped as it registered on him that Max was going to let Dan go.
"Letting him go. What does it look like? It's not like he had a choice, Moss," Max said impatiently as she continued to unravel the knots.
"Fine," Moss said grudgingly as he glared at Dan.
"I guess we're going to go teach these guys a lesson, huh?" Alec said with a strange gleam of excitement in his eyes.
When Dan was released, he stood up, eyeing the rest of the transgenics warily. "Why are you doing this?" he asked.
"Why, you want those people running loose so that they can get hold of more of us?" Moss asked incredulously.
"What did they do to you anyway?" Max asked curiously.
"Nothing," Moss answered shortly, obviously unwilling to say more.
Max did not press him, but turned to Dan. "Let's go. You lead the way," she said instead.
The four of them hid behind a large broken down truck as they peered at a dark warehouse hidden deep in the forest. Max had secured her bike, and Alec his stolen one, some distance away to ensure that their approach remained undetected.
Alec held up his hands and made a series of signs, instructing them to split up in pairs. He hesitated for a moment before he indicated that Max should go with Dan, hoping that he was not making a mistake. He could hardly send Moss with Dan considering what had just happened earlier that night. And he definitely had no intention of sending Max off with Moss.
Silently, Alec moved out of the shadows, keeping low with Moss tailing him. They made their way to the side door.
A second later, the door opened and two guards came out. They barely had time to notice Moss and Alec's presence before they were knocked unconscious. Picking up both guards' weapons, Alec straightened and tossed one to Moss, keeping the other one for himself.
Both transgenics entered the warehouse, their alertness at a constant high as they scanned their surroundings. It was dimly lit, and there was a sterile smell in the air. They walked further into the building until they came to a lab. Recognising the room, Moss's lips compressed in a tight line. Alec signalled to him to move in.
Moss barged into the room and instantly noted a figure in a white lab coat. Surprised, the man turned around, dropping his clipboard.
"Dr Selden, I bet you didn't expect to see me walking back in here, huh?" Moss said mockingly, but there was a dangerous glint in his eyes.
"What the…" Selden exclaimed in bewilderment as he took in the presence of the two transgenics.
But before he could finish his sentence, Alec shot forward and grabbed him, effectively immobilising him.
Moss spat at him. "I guess you haven't got enough from me. You even risk losing a transgenic to hunt me down. Because that's what it was, wasn't it? A hunt. We're like animals to you, just lab rats."
"If it wasn't for me, you would be dead already, cauterised beyond recognition!" Selden yelled as he struggled ineffectively.
"And I suppose it was my fault that you were testing me when the whole place blew up? And where is 467?" Moss demanded, hoping that she was alright after he had left her in the forest.
Feigning ignorance, the man repeated, "467?"
Moss rushed forward and punched him in the face. Selden's head snapped back as he howled in pain. Pressing his face close, Moss snarled, "467. My sister. She ran off with me but didn't manage to get out. What did you do to her?"
Alec released his hold and stood back, his gun pointed to Selden. He had decided to stay out of it. Moss obviously had some issues with the guy. Better to let Moss sort it out.
"Fine! You'd love to hear this. She'd dead," Selden replied with a snarl, wiping the blood off his lips.
Moss stilled as he digested the words, not wanting to believe it. "You're lying!" he shouted as he started to tremble from his fury. He punched Selden again, this time in the stomach. She can't be dead, he thought, anguished.
Doubling over, Selden gasped, "By the time the guards got to her in the woods, she was almost gone. They were too scared to bring her back, so I didn't know until a few days had passed. I had even asked someone to look for her."
"I think he's telling the truth, Moss," Alec said softly, feeling sorry for Moss. He remembered who 467 was. She was Moss's twin sister, and his CO. He then addressed Selden. "So, what are you doing keeping the transgenics here, huh?"
Selden remained silent, but the transgenics could see the fear in his eyes. He darted a quick look at Moss.
Moss strode angrily across the room to a shelve full of small bottles, his face twisted in disgust as he surveyed the labels. Pheromones, he read. MY pheromones! And 467's pheromones! A vicious smile graced his lips as he brought the gun back and swung it forwards.
"NO!" Selden yelled in protest and was about to lunge forwards but Alec yanked him back, sticking the gun at the small of his back.
Moss ignored them as he continued to smash all the bottles in the shelves with Alec watching him in bafflement, wondering if Moss had suddenly cracked.
"What's all that?" Alec asked when Moss finally finished trashing the shelves.
"My pheromones," Moss replied bitterly. He turned to Selden and said with a sneer, "Sorry to ruin your money-making schemes, but I really don't feel like sharing a part of me with others. Call me selfish."
Alec grimaced as he now understood why Moss was so angry, having his pheromones extracted and sold while he was kept in captivity.
Selden was trembling with rage as he surveyed the destructed remains of his work.
A moment later, Max and Dan showed up.
"Got two guards and one lab tech down, and another ran off. But we're sure that she won't come back," Max said with a satisfied grin. She turned to Selden with disgust. "I see that you've learnt well from Renfro, kidnapping transgenics and all. She would be so proud of you," Max mocked.
Selden's eyes narrowed as he looked past Max and saw Dan. "You! You won't get away with this!"
Dan raised his brows. "Brave words, considering that you're the only one with a gun pointed at you."
Selden blustered, "You don't have much time anyway. I made sure of that."
"I guess you're talking about this," Alec said lightly, pointing at Dan's neck. "One of your other friends helped put one of these babies in me. And I'm still feeling very hurt about it. Now if you don't remove it from this guy here, I will not hesitate to put into practice what Manticore taught us. Since you used to work for them, I'm sure you know that we are capable of finding many creative ways to torture you before we let you out of your misery," Alec said threateningly.
Max did not know if he was actually serious about it, but she held her tongue, trusting that he knew what he was doing. She had known for a long time now that he was not the screw up that she had thought he was, but she had to admit that she was impressed at the way he had handled this entire situation so far.
Selden paled visibly, clearly terrified now as his eyes darted left and right.
Moss noticed Selden's desperate attempts to find help. "Don't bother, the other two guards are gone as well. I guess that means you're not as popular as you thought huh?"
"Now, remove the explosive," Alec ordered, prodding Selden with the gun.
Seemingly resigned to his fate, Selden nodded wearily as he gestured for Dan to sit in a chair.
"Try anything funny and we'll blow your head off," Alec warned.
The scientist went for a small tool on the table and brought it to Dan's neck. For something that practically ruled a man's life, it only took him a minute to remove the implanted explosive.
As he watched, Alec's mind when back to that day when he had his removed. The implant had exploded just a second after it had been extracted. If they had delayed only by a second, he would have been dead. He had a close call, but he was saved, thanks to Max.
Dan exhaled a sigh of relief when Selden pronounced him done.
"Now we have no need for him anymore, right?" Moss said quietly.
Max looked at Moss to see him smiling in such a predatorial manner that she had to suppress a shiver up her spine.
Selden's eyes widened, as he stuttered, "But you said…"
Suddenly realising what Moss intended to do, Alec interrupted quickly, "We should go now."
Moss's eyes narrowed as he growled, "You can all go. But he's mine now."
"Come on, Moss. He's not worth it," Max said, tugging at him arm.
Yanking his arm away from her, Moss snarled, looking at the frightened-looking Selden, "He imprisoned us here. He tied us down and extracted our pheromones for his own gain. And it's his fault 467 died. That's more than enough reason for me to waste him."
Before anyone could stop him, Moss raised the gun in his hand and released a shot right through Selden's forehead.
It was almost dawn when they exited the warehouse and walked towards their bikes. Alec rode behind Max as they sped towards his apartment. Moss and Dan, after their initial hostility, had finally decided to leave Seattle together on Alec's stolen bike.
When the bike rumbled to a stop in front of his apartment, Alec made no move to get off.
Wondering what he was waiting for, Max peered over her shoulder at him. "Hey, are you waiting for a written invitation or what?" she asked. Her tone was chilly, as Rachel was still fresh in her mind.
Alec got off slowly and came around to face her. "You want to come up? For a drink?" he asked casually.
Max hesitated for a moment before replying, "Alright."
They made their way up the stairs and entered Alec's apartment. Max immediately went to the couch and sat down with a sigh. Alec went to the cupboard and brought out a bottle of scotch with two glasses.
"Here. I think we need this after the night we had," he said, handing her a glassful of scotch.
Max took a sip and leaned back on the couch. "Yeah," she said simply, then fell silent.
"You okay?" he asked, concerned at her uncharacteristic silence.
Max decided that she could not continue to remain wordless for what was left of the night. "Just thinking about what happened tonight. Rachel, Moss and that Dan. I wonder what make people do what Selden did," she said, turning to Alec. "I'm still not sure what happened with Moss in there."
Alec sighed, rubbing the back of his neck as he explained, "Moss didn't want to talk when I asked him. Don't blame him really. But from what I gathered, Selden took 204, Moss and his twin sister when Renfro decided to cauterise the facility back when Logan exposed Manticore. They must have been unconscious or something at that time, otherwise there's no way Selden could have handled three transgenics with just a handful of guards and lab techs. Selden brought them to that warehouse and held them there while the lab techs worked on them, extracting pheromones. Not from Dan, of course. Just Moss and his sister. Moss found shelves full of his and his sister's pheromones that were apparently meant to be sold for profit. He smashed them all. Somehow, Moss and his twin escaped, but she didn't make it."
"That's when Selden sent Dan to collect Moss, after implanting the explosive. And Dan used Rachel to distract you, and I guess, me as well," Max added thoughtfully.
"Yeah. Dan was supposed to find Moss's twin as well, but she was already dead. Dan had never met her, he had just seen Moss when Moss passed his cell when they were in captivity. Anyway, the whole thing was a mess," Alec said, leaning against the couch with his hands behind his head. "Well, at least Moss has gone elsewhere now," he said with a small amount of satisfaction.
"He's not that bad, you know."
Alec looked at her out of the corner of his eyes, irritated. "Sure you'd say that," he said icily.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Max snapped, offended at his tone.
"His charms, the present he gave you. Come on, Max. You're not even a tiny bit tempted?" he challenged.
Max bristled. How could he say something like that to he when he was the one who went rushing to Rachel without even asking her to come along? Gritting her teeth, she said, "Maybe."
Alec could not believe his ears. Fuming inwardly, he said with a tight voice, "I'm surprised that it was Dan who went with him then."
"Well, maybe I should have. After all, you have Rachel here to keep you company," she said before she could stop herself.
A switch suddenly clicked in Alec's head. So she was giving me a hard time because she was mad about Rachel, he thought. A grin began to form on his face as he turned to face her fully. "Max? Is that the sound of jealousy I'm hearing?" he asked, placing one hand behind her at the back of the couch.
Max just scowled at him.
"Oh come on, admit it," he said, poking her in the ribs.
"Stop it," she snapped irritably and then fell mute again, her face averted from him.
He stopped grinning and took on a serious look. Grabbing her chin, he turned her to face him, their faces just inches apart. "Listen, Rachel and I had some unresolved issues, but that's all done now. And Max? I meant what I said to you that evening at the Space Needle," he said softly, staring into her eyes.
She blinked at the seriousness of his tone. "Who are you and what have you done to that smart-ass?"
Alec grinned. "You need to seek help with your obsession with my ass."
Max snorted. "I don't obsess," she declared haughtily.
Raising an eyebrow, Alec said, "Yup. Still in denial. In denial about your obsession, in denial about your background," he paused for effect, and then continued in a soft voice, "And in denial about your feelings for me."
Max smacked him hard on his chest with the back of her hand. Seizing the opportunity, Alec grabbed that hand tightly.
"Let go," she said half-heartedly.
Alec smirked. They both knew that if she really wanted to, she could have easily yanked it back, but she did not. "Admit it," he said.
The silence was deafening while Max just stared at him. It was more than clear to her how she felt about Alec, so what was the problem? An image of Rachel flashed across her mind and she instantly brushed it away. Alec had already told her that it was over.
And she trusted him.
"Fine, I admit it alright!" she said in a tone more suited for a war-cry than a declaration of love.
Alec's lips curved in a triumphant smile. "Finally! Thank you!"
Max scowled again.
Ignoring the expression on her face, he asked cheekily, "So where is it?"
"Huh?" Max gave him a confused look.
Alec released an exasperated sigh. "This…" he said, before claiming her lips with his.
Max melted as his lips caressed hers. Suddenly hungry for more, she lifted her arms and wrapped them around his neck, pulling him closer. She was not even aware that she moaned his name as they continued to kiss.
Alec was the one who pulled away first. Flushed with desire he just gazed at her wordlessly, noting the heightened colour on her cheeks.
"So, can we move on to the good part now?" he asked, waggling his brows as he did so.
Max's lips twisted as she tried to suppress her laughter. He has a one-track mind, she thought in amusement.
"Aw, Max! What did you do that for? You completely ruined the mood of the moment!" Alec grumbled, rubbing his stinging arm as he glared at her playfully.
Max could not help it. Her laughter rang out as she noted the look on his face.
Alec grinned. "Ah well, if that turns you on, who am I to complain?"
Max gave him an exasperated look. "Alec!"
A/N: That's IT! Yippee! I'm so happy I finished this! So, tell me…What do you think of the whole thing. I hope everything is answered now. Please give me one last review on this story. I love to read your comments. You guys have been great in supporting the story! I really appreciate it, thank you!