DISCLAIMER: Dark Angel isn't mine. No profit is being made out of this endeavor.
A/N: Here's the missing scene from The Berrisford Agenda. It follows Brainiac. It actually turned out to be a missing couple of scenes. Hahaha…well, here goes.
Max was feeling a little shaken.
No, scratch that. She was completely shaken.
She leaned heavily against a beautifully wall-papered panel of wall, her head falling against it tilted slightly upward, her hands hanging limply by her side. She'd been so wrong about him. She'd been too quick to judge. She'd thought she'd known him. But she'd never stopped to think about how wrong she could be. And now…well, now she just didn't know where to begin.
Thirty minutes ago…
Max drove like only a Transgenic could through the cluttered streets of Seattle. She wove back and forth between cars and pedestrians on her jet black Ninja motorcycle, running against time. She needed to get to the Berrisford Mansion knowing in her gut that it was where Alec was headed.
She didn't know why she gave a damn whether he was in some kind of jam or not. She kept telling herself that she was here to stop him from killing whoever this Robert Berrisford person was. She told herself that it wasn't about Alec at all. It was about doing the right thing. It was about saving someone innocent from Alec. No, it really wasn't about saving Alec.
She arrived at the mansion gates and effortlessly jumped over them, timing her movements to the cameras that dotted the perimeter of the property. Using her Manticore-given telescopic vision, she saw the front door was ajar, light spilling onto the darkened driveway. She crept swiftly towards the mansion and slipped through the door, making sure she didn't touch anything along the way.
Alec was already here, and she had to act fast.
The unconscious bodies that were strewn across the mansion floor seemed to confirm her worst fears. Alec had been assigned to kill Berrisford. He had failed, and now Berrisford was out to get him. Any good Manticorian knew that eliminating your opponent first was the only way out of this jam. Alec was out for Berrisford's blood, and she had to stop him.
She narrowed her eyes as she realized that he could be anywhere in this gigantic household. She paused, standing in the middle of a large foyer next to a grand staircase. She extended her transgenic senses, searching for Alec's presence.
She heard his voice first.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" He was goading someone into doing something. That in of itself wasn't such a surprise coming from Alec, but there was an unfamiliar note of such anguish in his tone. It was that tone, tinged with hatred and anger that sent alarms blaring in her mind.
She quickly followed his voice through the mausoleum of a mansion, climbing the winding staircase. "I deserve it." This time, there was a slightly crazed pitch to his voice. Max picked up her pace, not only guided by the voice, but also following the trail of useless guards that littered the mansion floor. She gritted her teeth, not really knowing what to expect. A brief memory of Brain flashed through her mind. 494 has always been a rogue—unpredictable battle behavior…1 Max shut her eyes briefly, hoping that Alec hadn't gone and done something irrevocably stupid.
Alec, what the hell are you up to now? She thought a little desperately as she crept through a brightly lit hallway. She always knew Alec was trouble with a capital T. But by the looks and sound of things, he was in way over his head. And I have to save his ass again.
She turned into a large room that appeared to be a study, ready to crash the party with a barrage of kicks and punches. But his next words mad her stop dead in her tracks.
"Kill me!" There was no doubt in her mind that Alec completely meant those two words. Her eyes swung to the man—Berrisford—in front of him. For a moment, time seemed to stand still for her. Max felt the breath lock in her chest; felt her heart constrict painfully.
The sight of Alec, blood trickling down from a gash in his lip, staring down the barrel of a gun at almost point-blank range, struck fear in her heart—the kind of fear that made a genetically enhanced supersoldier freeze in her tracks. It was the kind of fear that changed a person's whole perspective of the world.
"DO IT!" His anguished cry broke through her momentary paralysis and her eyes darted to Berrisford's finger over the trigger. He hesitated, and that was all the second Max needed as she rushed forward in a blur. She came to stand next to the would-be shooter quietly, shocking him into facing her.
For a second, their eyes locked, and Max saw fear flash through his blue eyes. That's right, be afraid, she thought savagely, giving in to the animal satisfaction that it brought. Max let her anger flare in her eyes just before she knocked him out with a single, efficient punch to the jaw.
As he fell to the floor, Max turned her attention to Alec. He was glaring up at her, his eyes glazed over with anger and pain. He was looking at her reproachfully, as if she had taken away something that he had been waiting for.
As if she had taken away salvation itself from his grasp.
"What are you doing here?" he asked bitterly.
Anger interlaced with fear rushed through her as she realized that he had wanted to die. She quickly clamped on the distracting unfamiliar emotion, her Manticore training coming to fore, as she walked over to pick up the keys on the desk. "Saving your ass." She said shortly as she unlocked his handcuffs.
She leaned over him from behind, trying to assess his state of mind. "And I told you to ask for my help before it was too late and you messed everything up." While her voice was whispered, her words were a little bit harsher than she had intended. Her earlier fear was translating itself into full-bodied anger—anger at how he could be so stupid as to get himself into this position and make her go so far as to actually worry about him
"And Max, I told you to leave me alone." He said, his tone dripping with contempt. He twisted his lips bitterly and glanced at her briefly. There was a flash of regret and darkness in them before he looked away.
He hopped out of the chair as soon as the cuffs were off, leaving Max standing there, her mouth hanging open. "Well, gee, you're welcome," she whispered angrily at his retreating figure.
She followed his rushed exit into the hall only to find that he was nowhere in sight. Impatient anger and growing concern made her grimace. She was going to seriously have a talk with him about this whole fiasco. This entire situation was beginning to look less like her taking Alec out of his mess, and more like her jumping into it. She shook her head, unable to put together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that didn't even look like they came from the same puzzle.
She didn't know where to start looking for him, so she tilted her head slightly, listening intently for anything that might give her a clue. She crept quietly down the hall, alert. What the hell was he up to now?
And then she heard it. The unmistakable sound of a broken sob. Her step faltered, but she continued down the hall towards Alec, uncontrollably drawn to him.
Alec stood just inside Rachel's room, transfixed by the sight in front of him. Oh, God, this is my fault, he thought painfully.
Rachel, still beautiful, was lying on her bed, hooked to several machines. The small beep of the heart monitor was the only indication that she was still alive. All other signs of life were non-existent. She didn't look like the Rachel he knew anymore.
Where was the vitality? The sheer joy for life that had always marked her presence? Alec felt a keen sense of loss at that moment, as he recognized the gaping hole in his heart that she had left behind. How could he have ever forgotten her?
He fell onto his knees by her bedside, weighed by the guilt, the pain and the regrets that were suddenly seeping through every inch of his being. He had given her memory up to Manticore. He had let them win. He had completely lost her. "I should've tried harder, Rachel." He whispered to her still form. "I should've fought them. I didn't understand."
He took her hand in his, feeling their limp weight. He remembered how it felt when she used to grab his hand and squeeze it happily. The difference was heartbreaking. "I didn't understand how much I loved you."
He reached into his pocket, fingering the locket that he had ripped from her the last time he had seen her. He had taken it from her, in the same way he had inadvertently taken her life. He felt tears trail down his face. He knew what he had to do.
He placed the locket back into her lifeless hands, wrapping her fingers closed around the golden trinket. He was letting her go. He had no right to be here anymore. Just as he never had the right to impose himself into her life in the first place.
But she had loved him, and by God, he had loved her the best he could.
That was something that he would selfishly never regret. Because it was the only time he had ever truly felt whole. He leaned over Rachel and hugged her still form. A broken sob escaped from his lips as memories of her assaulted him. He buried his face in the crook of her neck, remembering her, memorizing her scent. He cried softly against her, hoping in his heart that she would somehow understand just how sorry he really was.
He could only hope that she had somehow known that not everything had been a lie—that at some point along the way, she had been the only thing he had known that was real.
He heard a small footfall of someone walking away, but ignored it. He knew Max had seen him—but at the moment, he just couldn't make himself care.
Max had walked in on him as he cried brokenly over a girl. She wasn't dead, but neither was she alive, but hanging in that limbo in between. She had heard his whispered words, and had felt the emotions that had stained those words. She should have looked away, but she couldn't, helplessly riveted to the sight of Alec as a man.
He had always been self-centered, strong, transgenic-cocky, somehow fearless, and always superhuman. It was a persona that he cultivated so well, that even Max had believed it. But to be faced with an Alec that had been brought to his knees by human emotion was something Max had been ill-prepared for.
It was a shattering image. One that left her grasping at straws, wondering why it mattered so much.
So, now, here she was: standing outside a beautiful girl's room, leaning against the smooth wall of an ornate hall, inside a majestic mansion, feeling a little shaken.
No scratch that. She was completely shaken.
This was a part of Alec that she had never thought existed. It was vulnerability and honesty. It spoke of the capacity for deep strength of character and an even deeper love. It was a part of him that was perhaps, the real Alec. The one that hid behind his happy-go-lucky, carefree façade that she had always disdained.
It was a part of Alec that she had never wanted to see.
Because that made him all the more precious to her.
She had already been scared when she had thought she was going to lose him—and that was when he had been nothing but an annoying acquaintance to her. Now, she didn't know how to feel about him. Seeing him this way brought a gentle throbbing in her heart and a curiously warm sensation that spread through every part of her.
She leaned against the wall and waited with uncharacteristic patience.
Finally, he stepped out of the room. She pushed off the wall and peered up at him, making sure her face was a polite mask of blankness. He stared down at her, his face equally blank, although there was still a blood stain on his lips and tear streaks on his cheeks.
"You're still here." He said flatly. It was a half-question, half-statement.
She smiled briefly. "Yeah, well, I figured you might need a ride home."
He nodded, acknowledging her offer of friendship, but not necessarily accepting it at the moment. He glanced back towards Berrisford's study, his expression unreadable.
"I walloped him pretty hard," she said, "he won't be up for a while."
A ghost of a smile played on his swollen lips. "Yeah, you sure did."
She took a step forward and laid a hand on his wrist. "I was more than a little bit worried 'bout the fact that he had a gun to your face." She said gently. Her tone was probing, asking him silently to explain everything to her.
His smile disappeared and his face became cold. "Don't, Max." he whispered curtly.
"Fine." She nodded, stepping away and dropping her hand. "Let's go before something else happens, okay?" She turned away and started walking, not bothering to look behind her. She knew that Alec would follow when he was ready. A few steps later, she heard him come after her, his footsteps heavy.
1 See my story, UNPREDICTABLE for this reference. It's completely AU.