Disclaimer: Dark Angel ain't mind. Gosh diggity-darn.
A/N: The missing scene in "She Ain't Heavy" between Max and Alec and why she decided to stay in Seattle instead of skipping town like she planned. One shot.
"Well, there she goes…" said Alec, watching the SUV he'd borrowed from some gangsta-types drive away. "Can't believe she's tied herself to those Ordinaries," he muttered.
Then he glanced at Max and smirked. "On second thought, you guys do share much of the same DNA…it must be genetic," he quipped, nodding in the general direction of Logan, who at the moment, was excitedly talking geek-speak with Dix about TC's communication systems.
Max glowered at Alec. "I told you, it's over 'tween me n' Logan," she said. Even to her own ears the phrase was starting to sound worn.
There was a moment of silence as they just stared after the rapidly disappearing SUV. The rest of Terminal City was abuzz around them, still fired up after the encounter with White. They were excited to have finally put a face to the menace that had hunted them since Manticore burned down.
But Alec had noticed Max seclude herself, and he had gone over to her to watch her clone drive away into the proverbial sunset. It was already dark, after all.
"So, you're next, huh?" asked Alec, leaning against one of the chipped columns in Terminal City. He had his arms crossed over his chest, looking nonchalant.
"What do you mean?"
"You're leaving." He said it for the fact that it was.
Max looked guiltily up at him. "How'd you know?"
Alec shrugged. "I'm psychic. Didn't you know that was one of my Manticore-given gifts?"
Max glared at him. And he just smiled tightly back at her. He nodded instead to her bag strapped to the back of her Ninja.
Her eyes slid to the backpack. Funny, Alec was always so busy yapping, she always overlooked the fact that he was damned perceptive. This time, it was her turn to shrug. "I don't think there's anything left for me here anymore. Logan and I are history, Joshua doesn't need me, I'll only be putting Original Cindy and Sketchy in the line of fire, and White keeps hounding my ass. Yup, I've definitely overstayed my welcome in Seattle."
"I see," said Alec, thoughtfully, before shifting positions and stuffing his hands down his pockets. It hurt that she hadn't thought about him, that he wasn't at least in the list of people to say goodbye to. Even so, he wanted her to understand one thing at least. "But you've got me."
He knew it was a stretch of the imagination to really call him and Max good friends, but they were friends, nonetheless. At least, he'd always thought so. In every way that mattered, he knew that Max had his back, and he always had hers.
She just looked up at him, her brown eyes searching his green ones. Alec didn't give much away, his face was impassive.
But you've got me.
Alec would never know how much those words meant to Max at that moment. So, she remained silent, but a slight smile lifted the corners of her lips.
Alec pushed off from the column and stood in front of her, forcing her to look at him. Max never really looked him in the eye every time she talked to him. This time, she sighed. "I don't ever have to worry about you, Alec," she said. "You can take care of yourself. Always have. I just butt in sometimes…but you don't need me."
You don't need me. Her words echoed in his head. Ah, Maxie, if you only knew. Alec bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from blurting out words that would really send her packing. Instead he shrugged and smirked at her. He'd settle for the less-damning truth. "I worry about you," he whispered softly.
She blinked at him, startled.
He held her gaze, showing her with his eyes that it was the truth. "Sometimes, it's a helluva lot better not to be alone, Max," he said, his tone still low and soft. "And like I said, you've got me…if you ever need me."
Max's face was starting to crumble. There had been so much crashing at her in the last two weeks.
Breaking things off with Logan. That had been difficult, because he had been the one thing she had been sure would be constant. But that was gone now.
The Exposure of transgenics. She would never be able to walk down the street without feeling hunted ever again. Those ten years running from Lydecker were nothing compared to running from all the eyes of the public.
And then, there was finding out that most of Manticore's creations would never see past her 'traitor' status. They would never be able to look at her and see one of them. Sam had been right in thinking that she never once thought about those who had been left behind. They had every right to look at her like she was filth.
Finally, there was finding out she had a clone. But most of all, finding out that Sam had someone who loved her. Family.
Everywhere she looked, she didn't belong anywhere.
Suddenly, she realized that Alec was grabbing her upper arm. She noticed that tears were spilling down her face. She tried to stop them, but she couldn't. She just felt so lost. So…disconnected.
"Max, I'll be your family." He whispered.
Oh, God, how could he know? How could he know that those were the exact words she had needed to hear so badly? She could only stare at Alec. Again, he had managed to surprise her. First, it was finding out how easily she could actually talk to him about everything. Even about Ben.
Now, it was dawning on her that he understood her in a way that nobody had ever tried to before.
She suddenly found herself leaning into him. She felt his arms go around her in a fierce hug. "You sure, Manticore really didn't give you psychic abilities?" she asked, her question muffled against his chest.
"Naw, Maxie. I'm just good like that." He chuckled.
She finally pulled away, and wiped the tears carelessly with the back of her hand. It was such an unfeminine gesture, and it was so like Max, that Alec had to resist the urge to wipe those tears more gently for her. If only to prevent her bike gloves from scratching those perfect features.
She turned slightly away from him, looking at her Ninja. "So, this is goodbye, then?" he asked tentatively.
She threw him a smirk over her shoulder. "What? And leave family behind? No way!"
He laughed, his heart lightening considerably. She punched him on the shoulder. "Hey! I thought we were family now," he whined.
She shrugged expansively, her brown eyes dancing. "Yeah, but there's no rule saying that I can't still use you as my punching bag. What use would you be if I couldn't?"
His lips quirked into a sardonic smile. "I have plenty of other uses, if I don't say so myself," he said. Then he leaned close to her, his lips almost touching her ear. "You might find that some things I can do for you would relax you far more than punching me."
Max stifled the excited shiver that ran down her spine. Her nerve endings were tingling, the sensitive hairs all over her body were standing on end—aroused. But, of course, Max just pushed Alec away, rolled her eyes, and cried, "As if!"
Alec just laughed, and turned away towards Mole and his array of weapons spread out. But he paused, and looked at her over his shoulder. "I'm glad you're staying." He said sincerely.
"Me, too." She whispered to his retreating back.
Max found Logan sitting on a chair, a laptop on his knees, typing away and trying to get his cellphone to work. She approached him tentatively. "So, White really messed up your place, huh?"
"Yep." He said abruptly. He wasn't to keen on talking to her right now. He had witnessed the whole Max-Alec scene just a few moments ago. He had seen the tender way they had looked at each other, the ardent embrace they had shared. It had been Alec who had comforted her…not him. He felt bitter about the whole thing. Plus, tonight was the lucky night his Eyes Only operation had been shot up by White and his goonies.
And to top his whole night off, he had just seen Max's clone run off with a non-transgenic man—and she seemed to be okay with that. Why couldn't Max?
"I'm sorry." She said.
"Got my files out." He replied, not wanting to understand the implications for her apology. "It's gonna take some pricey equipment to get Eyes Only up and running again."
Max knew that Logan was intentionally not looking at her, giving her the cold shoulder. But, if she wasn't going to leave Seattle, she might as well repair bridges that she'd burned. "You're gonna need a good cat burglar."
This time Logan looked at her, a little bit of hope tingeing his voice. "Thought you were leaving town?"
Max glanced over her shoulder, and caught sight of Alec, talking animatedly with the transhumans. "Nah. Got some…family stuff to take care of."
Logan saw the small look she had sent Alec, and he nodded slightly. Resignedly. At least she was offering to keep him a part of her life.
Max looked around Terminal City, her gaze falling unbidden onto Alec's dark blond head.
He glanced up at her, and smiled. Then he winked boldly. She couldn't help but smile back. Yup, he was a real charmer all right. And he was her family.
He was hers. The thought came out of nowhere, startling Max. But her smile only grew wider. Damn right.