Disclaimer: I don't have any rights to collateral...

Notes: Just some Vince Max slash since the fandom was lacking some... basically how I think the movie should have finished...

Leap Of Faith


Last Train Home

Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life.

I. F. Marcosson & D. Frohan

Vincent slammed down onto the train-station platform and watched as the train pulled away, picking up speed. He jumped down onto the tracks and jolted, catching sight of Max in the last few windows of the carriage. After the train had sped off Max was still in front of him, standing rather nervously on te bleach white platform.

"Where's Annie?" Vince sighed pulling himself up onto the tile, weary of the gun Max still probably had.

"Train." Max said simply, pointing after the metal monstrosity, or at least the furthest bend in the track. Even that now was empty... Annie was well and truly gone. Fuck! Vincent thought and stayed seated on the platform ledge. Max dropped down next to him. Max his fall guy, had screwed up everything... The irony of this isn't lost on Vincent. Though really he should have seen it coming. How many times had he framed a cabbie for his hits? A half a dozen? A dozen? The laws of probability would be working against him by now.

"So why aren't you with her?" Vince askes, past anger and violence. Besides neither will help to fix this. Well at least not as far as Max is concerned.

"Hey man not too point fingers but the bad gys think I'm you... What am I just suppose to go home... Go back to work... Hope I don't get a bullet in the head... yeah great idea." Max snaps and Vince has to admire the nerve behind this, or stupidity, it's always a fine line.

"Well I can fix that..." Vince breathes and Max glares at him...

"Let me kill Annie and you won't have a problem." Vince smirks.

"No. Hell no." Max snorted, looking off up the tracks.

"Why not?" Vince breathes, not getting it.

"Because," Max screeches, indignant.

"She's not some crooked banker, some dope pedlar, who got in over their heads. She's a good person." Max grates.

"So?" Vince questions, there's something so alluring about pressing Max's buttons. The reactions he gets.

"She doesn't deserve to die." Max defends, voice just a little whiney.

"Excuse me." Vince frowns.

"So if I killed people who did deserve it... That would what? Make me a better person?" Vince poked.

"Not killing people at all would make you a better person..." Max said and Vince almost thought he heard a hint of laughter.

"Only killing arseholes would make you less of one..." Vince looked at him in surprise. That was definitely a joke.

"Well then I guess you're screwed." Vince whiled.

"Hey man don't you put this on her... This is your fault... I let you kill her and half the New York P.D. is still looking for my arse." Max snapped.

"Well if you'd done your job and had just driven, not gotten all moral on me..."


"Not complicated things..."

"Oh, Bullshit... Vince even I ain't that stupid you were planning on pinning all this on me from the start!" Max accused and Vince has to hand it too him... This man has a lot more different sides than he originally thought.

"So why are you still here...?" Vince asks again, buying time.

"I told you, beside you can't kill me before you kill Annie anyway... Last time I checked the police frowned upon dead bodies strangling ADA's." Max smirked, the bastard actually had the nerve to smirk at him.

"I wasn't going to choke her." Vince defended.

"I was going to shoot her." Vince clarified.

"Big difference." Max huffs, chewing a nail.

"So, you don't want me to kill Annie." Vince spits, adding a snarky little hitch when he says Annie, as though everything is her fault.

"You don't want to be arrested for the murders of six plus people and you don't want me killing anyone else..." Vince surmised.

"You're a very demanding man." Vince teased, Max scowled.

"Luckily I can do all that!" Vince said pulling himself up, Max blinked at the sudden shift.

"How?" He asked hopping up behind Vincent.

"Well all except the last one." Vince clarified, heading out of the gate to the train platform.


"Well you know the guy who hired me?" Vince offered as they started up the stairs.

"The one who really doesn't want to be indited." Max said remembering an earlier conversation.

"Yeah that one!" Max didn't get it.

"What about him." Max asked frowning.

"Well, if we kill him then that means he won't be getting indited anymore. Problem solved." Vince said loving the symmetry of it.

"Because he'll be dead." Max cried. He was slowly beginning to realise that Vince didn't see the world along the same lines that most people did.

"Exactly..." Max couldn't help but worry. Especially since this was his best option...

Chapter One


There are only two emotions on a plane: boredom and terror.

Orson Welles

"Shouldn't I have like a bag or something." Max asked once again straightening his clothes.

"Passport?" Vince asked.

"Yeah." Max said.

"Then that it." Vince said clicking his tongue slowly.

They made a quick stop at Max's apartment after Vince had shown his finer points as a fence and hot-wired a car. Max had tossed on some cleaner clothes and had scrubbed the dried blood from his face, the gash on his head already healing. Then had watched in morbid fascination as Vince heated the top of a lighter and pressed it to the bloodied edge of his ear. Where Max himself had clipped him earlier on in the night. Vince himself hadn't so much as winced, but Max being of a slightly less psychotic nature, usually, had cringed like a girl. Vince had tossed his jacket and then dragged Max out the door.

"Really?" Max asked, sceptical, though on some level he knew it was his own paranoia, it felt like everymen was watching him. He shifted inside his clothes again.

"Trust me." Max choked back a chuckle, obviously unconvincingly, Vince shooting him a little glare.

"You don't wanna take bags into where we're going... To much chance of a misunderstanding." Vince smirked.

"And where are we going?" Max asked, slowing a bit in thought. He hurried after Vince as the man approached the ticket desk. Even at six o'clock in the morning there was still six people in front of them. Max fidgeted and bounced in his shoes, eyes caught on the back of Vince's neck where the greying hair met the stark collar.

"Would you stop!" Vince finally hissed after three people had been served.

"You look like a terrorist..." Vince grumbled as Max placed his hands behind his back to keep them still.

"Excuse me." Max snapped quietly.

"I get a little nervous when I leave the country on short notice with a contract killer." Max said the last part a little too loudly, earning him a withering look from Vincent and an appraising somewhat worried look from the lady standing behind.

"Try to keep it together." Vince growled over his shoulder as they were called up to the desk.

"Good morning Sirs how may I help you." trilled a petite blonde, with a headset perched precariously in her ear. She looked fresh, for the time of morning, either there had just been a shift change or airport staff kept coffee companies in business.

"Hi." Vince said curtly and Max got the impression he wasn't invited into the conversation.

"I had tickets to pick up... under Petersen." The blondes smile was dazzling when she looked at Vince, it dimmed considerably though when she turned her eyes on Max. For a second it looked like she was a bout to call security... Maybe it was just him...

Max sculled half of his second coffee, sighing in delight as it scorched his tongue and burnt his throat. It was such a good feeling at the moment to have a sense removed, his mouth starting to tingle in numbness.

"I'm sure they could just hook you up with an IV if you asked." Vince said coolly, still stirring his first cup, which had taken him about five minutes to order... Not deciding what to have either, but rather tell the puzzled looking girl what he wanted. She unlike the blonde seemed to prefer Max who had just straight black coffee.

"Enjoy your cinnamon mocha twist..." Max shot back.

"Are you making fun of my coffee." Vince asked with a touch of bemusement.

"No, no. i just hope it doesn't take you as long to drink it as it did for you to order it... Or we could be here for a really long time." Max said raising brows.

"Well its unfortunate that we can't all be as easy as you." Vince retorted, watching for Max's reaction. He's right in the middle of a mouthful and chokes.

"I am not easy." Max coughs finally, the waitress giving them an odd look from behind the counter.

"Of course not..." Vince says smoothly.

"Your just not that hard." Vince taunts looking Max up and down. Feeling a happy little jolt when the other shifts uncomfortably.

"Leave my anatomy out of all this." Max frowns finally. Vince smirks.

"Hey you could have gotten on the train with Annie." Vince pushes... He doesn't know what it is. This compulsion to shove and tease the other.

"You could have gotten in another cab." Max hits back.

"And you still have your boring, timid little life... That it?" Vince bites a little cruelly.

"Fuck you..."

"Where are you going?" Vince questioned quickly as Max hopped up...

"To get another ticket." Max said dropping the odd one in front of him.

"Fucked if I'm going to sit next to you the whole plane trip." Max spat. Vince sat back and watched him cross the airport.

Miraculously, for some inexplicable reason this time the desk was empty. Unfortunately Max got caught with the same blonde bimbo as last time. She didn't seem to be any crazier about him.

"Hi, I just need a ticket for flight 422." Max sighed quickly.

"Sorry Sir, most of flight 422 is booked... we do have one cancellation in first class though." She said tersely, Max glared at her.

"That's fine." Max gritted coolly, handing over his credit card.

Vince waited until after Max had headed onto the plane in a huff before approaching the desk himself. He sidled up to the blonde and smiled with mock awkwardness.

"Hi." She said brightly.

"Hi." He bit his lip boyishly.

"You just served my friend a moment ago." Vincent smiled.


"He changed his ticket, because we're fighting... But he'll regret it later. I was just wondering if you could change mine to beside him." Vince purred.

"Sorry sir but there just aren't anymore seats free." She shrugged girlishly.

"Maybe you could change some one for me..." Vince suggested slyly.

"We're not really allowed to do that!" She said.

"I know. I was just hoping that a smart, beautiful, compassionate, considerate, lady like yourself would... bend the rules just this once." Vince soothed sliding a hundred across the counter to her. She smiled quickly and started taping at the computer.

"Seat 22. Have a lovely flight." She said a moment later.

Max was in the process of looking over the in-flight guide and marvelling at the legroom in first-class when he heard the compartment over his head opened and closed. He looked over as someone took the aisle seat next to him.

"Oh hell no..." Max cried as Vincent crowded his vision.

"Miss, miss..." Max called waving his hands as a tall leggy brunette headed up towards them.

"Is something wrong sir?" She asked politely.

"Yeah, that's not his seat." Max said pointing emphatically. Vince handed over his ticket.

"Sorry sir this says it's his seat." She explained pleasantly after examining the slip of paper. Max bared his teeth in something that was supposed to be a smile. She beamed back.

"Is there anything i can get you." She offered to both of them.

"How about a couple those little bottles scotch." Max cooed grittily.

"Anything else?" She asked without missing a beat.

"Tequila, Vodka... Anything over 30 proof." Max trilled.

"Hey no..." Vince said finally, evenly.

"Do you have to have a bottle of Moinette..." Vince said as Max's eye widened in anger.

"I'll see what I do." She said smiling broadly. She stepped off before Max could get out a word.

"How the hell did you get the seat next to me." Max snapped.

"Charm." Vince smirked. Max rolled his eyes and stuck the headphones in his ears.

"Oh that's mature." Vince breathed.

"We're fighting, lover's spat." Vince said lasciviously to the attendant when she returned with a bottle and twin glasses. Her eyes widened for a second and then she covered it with a quick smile and continued on.

"Have a drink with me." Vince said after tapping him on the shoulder and pulling one of the headphones from his ear.

"Hell no." Max blinked.

"Your very fond of that word." Vince pointed out as he filled the thin stemmed glasses.

"You messed with my seat and my drinks, don't mess with my music." Max threatened as Vince kept ahold of the speaker. Vince held out the cup and after a brief glaring match Max sighed and took it.

"Oh, come on honey don't be like that." Vince teased as Max turned away from him.

"Hey," he snapped, head whipping back around.

"I heard what you told her before... Cut that shit out." Max warned. Vince smirked.

"See your problem is you don't respect anyone else's... space..." Max said with somewhat sluggish hand moments.

"Is that why you won't sleep with me... Because you don't think i'd respect you in the morning?" Vince lilted. The couple across from them shooting odd looks. They started this conversation after Max's second glass, Max making relevant observations and Vince making smutty innuendo.

"Your childish." Max murmured, slumped low in his chair. The thin maroon liquid had a sharp fruity taste and a deep woody after flavour. It crept through Max's body warmly, slowly, leaving everything mellow and relaxed.

"Have another glass." Vince said already pouring.

"You just trying to get me drunk so can take advantage of me." Max slurred slightly.

"Please you're easy enough without the alcohol." Vince laughed and received another withering look from the couple across the way.

Chapter Two

Mornin' Sunshine

Two wrongs do not make a right! But they do make a good excuse.

Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin 1973

Max squinted at the bright overhead light.

"What theā€¦?" he mumbled as hazy consciousness returned.

"Here." Vince said handing him a cup of water.

"Thanks." Max said thickly, trying to talk around the fuzz in his mouth.

"Come on." Vince said rubbing feeling back into his arm.

"What happened?"

"You fell asleep and spent the rest of the flight using my shoulder and your arm as a pillow."

"Really." Max said sitting up, his arm tingling.

"Mmmm" Vince said through pursed lips.


"Don't be i haven't actually felt that loved in a while." Vince joked.

"Nothing else happened?" Max asked with a bit of apprehension, upon finding blank spot in his memory.

"Oh," Vince chuckled giving Max a look that clearly said he was flattering himself.

"Well actually I did molest you in the bathroom while you were passed out." Vince lathered. The couple across sniffled as the plane started to land.

"God I'm glad i didn't bring any bags." Max said in exasperated tones, after almost being body cavity searched in Mexican customs... Vince chuckled lightly.

"Shit!" Max shaded his eyes as they stepped outside in the bright midday sun.

"Out of my own morbid curiosity..." Max said trailing Vince up the street.

"Don't you usually need like 50,000 shot before you step foot inside of Mexico?" Max frowned.

"You'll sleep better not knowing." Vince pricked.

"Charming." Max said inspecting a suspicious looking puddle of brownish colour. The streets where old and dirty. The houses run down and crumbling. It seemed that with a few feet Vincent had taken him into the less respectable part of town.

"Waiting till you see the lodgings." Vince poked. Max shuddered inwardly.

"I can't wait..."

"Wait what happened to the brothel." It's too loud and Vince shoots him a look. It serves him right though for pushing Max's buttons earlier. It's a small, pleasantly clean, airy little establishment, that to Max's relief doesn't charge by the hour. It's almost the Mexican equivalent of a bed and breakfast, though not quite. It has tall red brick walls running all along it, a small garden and patio off to the left side.

A short, olive skinned woman in her fifties with her dark hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. Pops up from a back room and pulls Vince into a hug. Rattling off sentence in Spanish. Vince much to Max astonishment hugs back and not only understands her but replies in those same quick verses.

"Rosa, this is Max." Vince said extending a hand.

"Max, Rosa." Max stiffened slightly as she swooped in and hugged him too.

"Nice to meet you, I always told Vince him needed a..." The English was fractured and oddly inflected, Max still catching most of it, except the last word which he was pretty sure was in Spanish. He could guess though.

"Why is it that everyone thinks we're a couple." Max huffed after Rosa had disappeared once more.

"She said friend." Vince bit, scowling.

"Oh, well i don't speak Mexican." Max ruffled after a minute.

"Maybe you need to come out of the closet." Vince murmured quickly as Rosa reappeared. She haded Vince a key and titter out more Spanish. Vince only smiles as he heads off up the stairs.

"What did you mean by that!" Max demands as they head up the stairs. Knowing but wanting a fight.

"Mean by what?"

"Don't get cute with me..."

"Why? Afraid you couldn't keep your hands off me?" Vince lathers.

"See that's what I'm talking about. Don't do that." Max growls.

"Hey I just suggested that you may need to get in touch with your inner-self." Vince said opening the room's door.

"Well don't!" Max ordered. It really wasn't the way to get Vince to do anything.

"Why not?" Vince pushed the door shut behind them. Max both curses and thanks the heavens at the slight of a large bed and a rather comfy looking couch.

"So which side do you want?" Vince questions opening the cupboard.

"I'll take the couch and stop that!"

"What?" Vince says pulling out a suit and laying it out on the bed.

"Acting..." Max can't even say it...

"And what your stealing other peoples clothes now." Max accuses trying to take the focus of himself. Vince puts it back.

"How do you know I'm acting... I might like that neurotic, pensive, up-tight stiff thing you've got going." Vince digs invading the others space.

"Okay firstly don't do 'that' and secondly the suit?" Max chokes slightly, cheeks red.

"Don't change the subject and the suits mine... I rent this room from Rosa on a permanent basis... She doesn't ask questions and she doesn't sell information about her guests." Vince explained.

"Looked like a surrogate mother to me?" Max said off-handedly.

"How would you know?" Vince snapped suddenly, hotly. Max just looked at him.

"Sorry." he mumbled as Vince disappeared into the bathroom in a huff, a second later he heard the shower start to pour.

Left alone in a room that a sociopath frequented Max did what any sane person would... He snooped... and was vaguely disappointed... though Vince claimed to frequent here it looked like little more than a lived in hotel room. Clothes and not much else, Max found himself wondering if Vincent's actual house looked like this, bare and impersonal. Did he even have a house, apartment... flat... boat house... Max frowned inwardly, he couldn't really see Vince living on the bay, all scuba-shoes and neon board-shorts... Actually now he could and it was quite amusing. Max paced about one corner of the room, near the cupboard, bending down to finally fix a folded piece of carpet after trying unsuccessfully to flip it with his toe. He pushed it down and straightened back up, tipping forward and hitting the dresser with his shoulder. Slips of paper fluttered from off the top. Max scooped them up carefully and turned them over in his hands. The first was of a woman with dark hair and light skin, in the stark black and white of the photo it looked like she was standing with her back against a metal railing, the sea behind her. Lara Philips was scrawled across the back of the photo... What? Vincent's mother maybe? The second was in colour, though odd and faded, it looked like it was from when colour pictures were rare, the dyes still being figured out. It looked like a school photo from what Max could see. The eyes had been scratched out, the word arsehole scrawled across the bottom. This had to be Vince's father, it made sense that he'd scratch out the eyes. Though not really since why would anyone keep a picture... even a maimed one of someone who use to get pissed and hit them. This starts Max wondering about his own hang ups. About the pictures of his mother spread all across the apartment. True, she'd barely raise her voice to him growing up... But still she wasn't about to win mother of the year... then again.

"Having a good look..." Vince asked from across the room. Max jumped a mile and almost redropped the pictures. Max's eyes flick to Vince nervously and then he really is getting a good look. The other had on a black singlet and navy short and little else, Max decides right then and there that he could have done without ever seeing him in any less than a suit. Not that he's looking, well he is... But its not like he can't. Vince rolls his eyes after a moment.

"Put those back..." He sighs and starts to pull on the rest of his clothes. Max stuffs them on top of the dresser quickly, trying to act obvious, like he doesn't know what he was just holding...

"Where are you going?" He asks.

"To see a friend... don't wonder off, be nice to the family and stay away from the honey wine." Vince advises as he pulls on his shoes.

"Because its neither honey nor wine. I'll be back sometime tonight." Vince explained.

"You'd better, you leave me alone in Mexico and I'll..."

"Put me out on the couch." Vince said as he headed out the door. Max sighed as he heard the footstep retreat. He had the overwhelming urge to take the pictures back down. He fights it, just his luck Vince would come barging back in.

He contents himself instead with a shower, his clothes might be reasonably clean but he's not. He's just started to soap himself when Vince barges back in. Max squeaks, actually squeaks, much to Vince's enjoyment and pulls the shower curtain around himself.

"Do you mind?" Max cries. Vince turns and studies him...

"No not at all..." Vince says with a small quirk of lips. Max glares at him, pulling the rather see through curtain tighter.

"Don't flatter yourself Max, I've seen better... I forgot my watch." Vince explains pulling it off the sink.

Chapter Three

Family and Friends

It's a party Marge it doesn't have to make sense.


After his rudely interrupted shower, Max spent the rest of the afternoon practically passed out sprawled across the bed. In was just getting dark when a sharp tap came from behind the door. Max practically rolled out of bed and slumped to the door. The moment of confusion having passed, where he tried to work out what exactly was going on.

"Mum said to come up and tell you that we're all having dinner and that if you don't come down now there probably won't be any left later." A short boy with crooked front teeth informed him.

"Thanks." Max said squinting and blinking, trying to clear clouded eyes.

Dinner turned out to be a colourful assortment of people and food. Ian and Lily Spence a pair of Australians who were staying for the week as part of their honeymoon. The rest of the crowd was Rosa two sons and three daughters. The youngest of who was Juan, who'd, woke Max up earlier. Everyone there seemed to know Basic English and with Ian speaking a bit of Spanish they seemed to get along well enough. Though there was a brief misunderstanding when Max complimented Rosa on the pork dish he had been eating.

Vince turned up sometime during the conversation he, Ian and Pedro where having about American car names.

"Good to see you're not in trouble." Vince said upon taking a seat next to Maira, the eldest girl.

"I could say the same about you." Max shot back.

"So now that you're here and we've heard so much about you..." Vince's eyes drifted to Max, he shrugged. Part of the conversation had been about him, but Rosa had been the one behind it and Max hadn't told them anything specific, managing to dodge most questions, though not without them noticing. Rosa had let it drop eventually, obviously working out that he didn't want to talk about it.

"So what's the story with you two?" Lily asked after a moment, taking another drink.

"Max has spent the evening dodging almost every question about you." She laughed and Vince's expression relaxed slightly.

"Lily." Ian half snapped.

"What, I can ask." She said, secretly Max had the suspicion she may have been drunk. He wasn't about to say anything though.

"Well actually he's just here to keep me fed." Vince smiled stealing a chilli off of Max's plate.

"Hey." He pulled the plate closer to him scowling as Vince popped the pilfered vegetable into his mouth.

"Oh, that is so cute, how long have you two been together?" Lily said fanning her eyes.

"Okay time for bed..." Ian said quickly raising and pulling up Lily. Who as Max had suspected was a little legless.

"Ooh, yay." She breathed leaning heavily against him as he steered her from the room.

"They're a colourful couple." Vince said as he watched them disappear inside.

"Cut that out!" Maira snapped and slapped his hand as Vince stole a piece of chicken off her plate. Much to Max's astonishment he dropped it back down.

"I'm hungry." He wined slightly, teasingly.

"So serve yourself some..." She ordered handing him a plate.

"How do you do that?" Max asked in wonder as Vince started filling the dish.

"Just smack him around first." Maira huffed.

"Get him in line..." She breathed.

"You do offer other French benefits that I don't think Max would be willing to give up." Vince summarised. Maira slapped his shoulder, still smiling warmly. It was then that Max realised that all joking aside, there was something going on between them.

Maira dumped the last of the dishes down net to Vince as he stood up to his elbows in hot water.

"How long are you in town for?" She asked quietly, the house sitting in silence. Pedro had left a while ago and the rest of the kids had been sent to bed. Rosa and Max were still currently outside having a long and tenuous discussion about bug's bunny cartoons.

"Not long..." Vince breathed eyes fixed firmly on the water. She grabbed a towel and started to dry.

"Maybe later..." He offered.

"There's not going to be a later." Maira smiled.

"You kicking me out?" Vince joked.

"I'm getting married." Vince paused a moment, dropping the dish back into the sink.

"When?" he asked coolly.

"Next month." She explained. Silence settled.

"I'd reconsider if you... if there was still something between us... But there's not is there?" She asked bluntly several dishes later.


"I'm not a child Vince, don't coddle me." She said.

"Sorry." He settled for finally.

"Don't be, I'm not... It was fun, it just wasn't one of those forever type things..." She breezed.

"And this new guy is?" Vince said with mock scepticism.

"Well I don't know." She sighed.

"Do I get to meet him?" Vince questioned, not sure why he wanted too.

"That depends, are you going to shoot him." She laughed.

"i had been considering it."

"So what is the story between you and Max." She asked after a beat. It came spilling out like a question somebody wants to ask and doesn't know how. So they simply dive in with it at a random interval.

"Nothing... He's here with me on business..."


"Yep, and that's all there is there isn't anymore." He said quoting the end lines from Madeleine.

Chapter Four

Bright And Early

Homer: I love Saturdays, so lazy, so relaxing.

Marge: Its Wednesday.

It was times like this at seven o'clock in the morning when Vincent was incessantly shaking him awake that Max decided he really didn't like the other.

"Vince... leave me alone..." He groaned and rolled over pulling the sheet up over his head. He tugged it off leaving the other uncovered on the couch. Max curled up and still refused to move.

"Max..." Vince, said dangerously, already fully dressed.

"If you don't get up right now, I will be forced to do something really ugly." Vince warned.

"Put me on your Christmas list." Max frowned, arm over his face.

"No, I'll kiss you." Vince smirked, watching the other stiffen.

"Max..." The other still didn't move. Vince perched himself on the edge of the chair and grabbed Max's arms.

"Cut it out." Max puffed as he struggled with Vincent, accidentally letting go off a giggle as the other's fingers brushed a sensitive spot on his stomach.

"Stop..." He cried as Vince took to digging in the tips of his fingers anywhere he could mange.

"Not... funny..." Max puffed around panting laughs. His face was burning and his sides felt achy and bruised as Vince squeezed even more chuckles from him.

"Stop..." Max cried and shoved the other off onto the floor.

"Owww." Vince grinned pulling himself back up.

"Serves you right." Max wheezed, scowling at the other.

"So what the hell is so important." Max murmured still rubbing sleep from his eyes almost an hour later.

"Nothing... Stay here." Vince said leave Max in the corner of a dinner. Max watched as he headed towards the back and took a seat across from a guy who looked like George Bush, only older.

"Can I get you something?" A waitress questioned.

"A really big, really black coffee... Like something you could use to clean motor engines with." Max asked, using vague hand gestured. She nodded heading off, returning a moment later with something that could indeed have been motor oil.

"Thanks." he sighed.

"Anything else... We have the best Strawberry pancakes here..." She offered.

"Actually a really big plate of those would be lovely..." It was the same strange hand gestures again.

"And do you think you could slap that guy up side the head as you go past..." Max called after her... If she heard she ignored him.

"Are you enjoying that?" Vince asked dropping down across from him once more as Max made his way through the plate. He ordered a coffee and stole a strawberry.

'Damn, would you get your own..." Max ordered.

"Look its not complicated, you just ask the lady when she gets back with your coffee and she'll fix you up." Max snarled still half-asleep and irritable.

"But that wouldn't even get half the reaction from you." Vince breathed taking another strawberry. Max glared as the waitress pooped back up with his coffee.

"Can you get him his own plate..." Max snapped as Vince took yet another piece of fruit. She nodded and disappeared once more.

"What are you doing?" Max asked in disgusted later after Vince's plate had been sat down in front of him. He had proceeded to smoother the dish in syrup and was currently in the process of spooning mountains of sugar on. Vince looked at him.

"What? I happen to like sugar." He frowned.

"No shit." Max sighed.

"So what was up the guy." Max eyed the big black bag that the other had sat back down with. Vince smirked and pointedly didn't answer.

"You're a freak." Max shook his head as Vince forked a sugared strawberry into his mouth.

"As apposed to you who eats plain pancakes, who does that?" Vince teased.

"They're not plain, their strawberry."

"Fruit does not count."

"Since when?"

"Since I just said so." Vince smirked, Max rolled his eyes.

"Here try this." Vince's fork is extended across the table.

"No." Max pushes if away.

"Come on..." Vince insists.


"Its one strawberry..."



"Fine..." Max grabs the end of the utensil and sticks the little red globule in his mouth, because the last thing he wants is to draw anymore attention to is the fact that Vincent is feeding him.

Max chokes as the acidic sweetness, hits the back of his throat. His teeth ache as he chews quickly and swallows. Washing down the aftertaste with motor-oil-coffee.

"You like that?" Max coughs, thinking how Vincent would be a diabetic's worse nightmare.

"Well excuse me." Vince says rumpling his nose.

"Talk about me being a pig." Max commented as Vince finished his sugar and pancakes in record time. But the other wasn't listening, instead he was staring almost vacantly out of the window at a couple having a fight in the parking lot.

"See there are just some things that really piss me off at this time of morning." Vince sighed as he picked up a spoon from the table and pushed it up into his sleeve. The guy now laying into his girlfriend and of the ten or so guys sitting around watching no one did anything.

"Vince?" Max questioned as he stood up and tossed the bag across his shoulder. He dropped a few bills on the table. Max headed quickly after the other as he headed out the door and across the lot toward the couple.

"...stupid...little...bitch..." Each word was punctuated by a slap. Vince grabbed him by his hair and pulled back... Max watched in sickened wonder as the spoon was driven into the base of his neck and blood started to pour. The girls screaming got louder and Vince casually continued on, not missing a beat.

Chapter Five

What The Hell Was That?

There was much in it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognised it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for.

George Orwell

"What the hell was that?" Max asked as he hurried up the street after Vincent, several blocks from the dinner.

"What was what?" Vincent asks quite casually.

"The guy, and the spoon." Max feels hot and sick and a little not, which is scarier.

"What i was just supposed to sit there like everyone else?" he snapped angrily, not even looking at the other.

"No but you could have talked to he guy."

"Didn't seem like the talking type to me." Vincent breezed.

"Break his hand then... But you didn't have to kill the guy." Max said throwing up his hands.

"Break his hand so what... it can heal and he can go back to beating the crap out of his girlfriend." He snapped.

"She looked pretty upset to me." Max tried wanningly.

"She'll get over it."

"Ya know its that kind of reasoning that makes you insane." Max puffed.

"What reasoning..." Max grabbed Vincent's shoulder.

"You just killed someone." Max presses, looking for something in the others eyes. Looking for... what? Apology, fear... regret? Since he'd met Vince the man had killed seven... eight people... Why should any one matter. But... he'd let Annie go... well not exactly... Was Max just wasting his time here...

"Max I kill a lot of people." Apparently so...

"You think you care? You don't! You just can't politely ignore it."

Max spent the rest of the day sulking in the room, milling over what had happened. Was Vincent right, did death only bother him because he couldn't push it aside this time. Thousands of people die everyday, did Max really not care. Did everyone? No, families and friends out there cared, everyone left someone behind...how could Vince not see that... It was this line of thought that lead Max to ask...

"How did you become a hit-man?" Vince looked at him as he closed the door behind his back.

"What do you want from me Max?" Vince sighs lifting the bag onto the bed. He's never though about anything until the last few days... Use to be pleasantly numb from the head down...

"You want me to tell you that it was a gradual thing, i got in with the wrong people... that it was the worse choice of my life... What?" He breathes heavily.

"Just how..." Max breaths into the darkening air. It's peculiar, this time of day. Too dark to see properly and yet too light to turn one on. Max is sitting back against the headboard, legs stretched out in front of him. Vince is on the other side, becoming silhouetted in dark.

"I was at party one night in College, one of the football players started to rape one of the cheerleaders... I tried to break it up and broke his neck... Then I was recruited." Vince explained simply, if a little stiffly.

"By the mob?" Max asks.

"By the government." Max's eyes widen.

"All they need is a willingness to kill... everything else they can teach... ten years of that and I got tired of the low pay... Became freelance." he finished.

"That's it?" Max asks in despair because theirs nothing there... No great reason why... Nothing to explain anything, least of all the world. Vince steps around the bed and Max has to tilt his head up because suddenly Vince is towering over him.

"That's it. No big secrets, dramatic twists or crisis of conscience... I do what I do because it's a job... I don't like it, I don't hate it, its just how it is..." Max finds that after everything he really isn't that surprised, isn't really that disappointed. Because he thinks hes found something better... He's just realised that in the half-light, that silhouettes him, Vince looks like some sort of fallen angel. Light and dark warring in him right there. Realises that he wants things from the other that he shouldn't.

Vince pauses in his rant, dropping whatever else he was about to say, because in the fading day, looking tired and downcast... With his mouth set in a thoughtful line and his eyes lowered, Max looks like something deep and dark. Vince can see all the layers and sides layed out.

He leans in and kisses the other, surprised when the he doesn't pull away, even more so when he parts his mouth slowly. Vince tilts his head further back, hand resting beneath Max's jaw, thumb caressing softly. Max tastes dark and rich and bitter like coffee and that thankfully isn't surprising.

"Vince dinner is being served..." Comes the small wondering voice of Juan, its punctuated by knocking and they pull apart quickly. Panting into the still dead air.