DISCLAIMER: Despite all my begging and pleading…Fox still didn't grant me ownership and copyrights to Dark Angel.
A/N: This fic is in response to one of Pai's Dark Angel Challenges at Nuns with Pens. And for those who have read this at NWP, thanks! It's the same story, so you don't have to re-read it!
The challenge is as follows:
Alec is hurt in public - how and why is up to you.
A stranger finds him and Alec manages to tell them no hospitals
The person tries to get his friends to help by calling people on his speed dial.
Who will pick up?
Who will come to his rescue?
It didn't even hurt at first.
But as the metal slid smoothly out of him, Alec McDowell could feel the burn every centimeter of the way. He gasped out loud, not even realizing the agony in the sound he made.
The pain made him lash out angrily. He grabbed his assailant by the throat with his right hand and pushed the man hard against the wall. His left hand found the man's wrist. Without a qualm, Alec locked the wrist and broke it with a sickening snap.
The man howled in pain, the sound only as satisfying as hearing the thud of his blood-soaked knife hitting the ground, his broken hand unable to hold on.
In an adrenalin-induced rage, Alec fought off the rest of his attackers. It was relatively easy since he was no longer holding back, no longer amused.
He'd been stabbed dammit! And it was beginning to throb like hell. As soon as all of his opponents were down, Alec pressed a hand to his wounded midsection, immediately assessing his condition.
Blood. There was too much of it. He pushed his hand against his wound, hard. He hissed in pain, but it was necessary to try to staunch the bleeding. He could feel the blood seep into his pants and down his leg. He limped towards his motorcycle.
He couldn't just stay here in this God forsaken town. He had to get back to Seattle. He had to take care of this shit he'd gotten himself into. He briefly entertained the idea of calling Max. But she'd just yell at him and make him feel even worse than he did at the moment. He really didn't have any more energy, much less patience, for what she was liable to dish out to him.
What about Logan? He considered the bespectacled cyber-journalist, but then he mentally shook his head. No way was he gonna turn to Eyes Only and his slightly patronizing treatment of him. That was even worse than having Max on his ass about this latest scheme gone sideways. Last resort, he promised himself.
He straddled his bike painfully, each movement seeming to force the stab wound to gape ever wider. Shit! He thought through gritted teeth as he leaned forward over his bike to start the engine. It was going to be hell just holding on to the damn ride.
Alec rode past the small town he had stopped in and onto the interstate. The road was straight and lonely, surrounded on all sides by greenery. It would have been a blast, with the wind in his hair and face, the trees blurring into a whirlwind of every shade of green, and the roar of the motorcycle beneath him. But all he could feel was the throbbing wound, the sticky trickle of the blood, and a slight light-headedness. Soon, the greenery disappeared from his vision, and the road seemed to be getting smaller and narrower by the second.
He was losing too much blood. He had to stop soon and do something about it. He gritted his teeth, unwilling to give up just yet. Just a couple more miles, Soldier, he rallied himself. Even if he had to stop, the closer he was to Seattle, the better his chances of getting help were.
The next thing Alec knew, he was crushed beneath his bike, under a black pick-up truck.
He groaned as he struggled to breathe. He must have passed out for a second. He couldn't remember how he had gotten into this position. He blinked and tried to move. His body wouldn't respond. He was too weak even to panic.
All he could do was focus on taking the next breath. He heard frantic voices. He blinked and swallowed as he tried to call for help. "H..elp," he whispered feebly.
"Ohmigod, Ohmigod, Ohmigod…" Obviously a woman, her voice rising hysterically with each repeat of the phrase.
"Shut up, woman and help me!" A gruff male voice. "He's still alive!"
Alec was blessedly numb from the adrenaline his system was no doubt pumping in profusion into his blood stream. But he was seeing dancing red and block spots. His vision was tunneling quickly, a sure sign that he was about to pass out again. He focused on what he could see.
A pair of scuffed boots. Blue jeans. A ten-gallon cowboy hat. A grizzled, weathered face filled with concern.
"Don't worry, kid! We're gonna call for help!" the old man assured, his gruff voice calm and kind. He hid his panic and concern well. But Alec was too used to assessing people to know that the man was clearly terrified.
"No…" he groaned. Exposure. White. Manticore. "Just…get…me…out…" he groaned. Max.
"Irving!" cried the woman, her voice panic-ridden. "Irving, 911 is busy!"
"Damn Pulse has screwed with everything!" Irving growled in frustration. The boy pinned underneath his truck was bleeding profusely. Bright red blood was oozing out of a gash on his forehead. His leg underneath his bike was obviously broken. His clothes were torn, and the skin that was exposed was raw and bleeding—obviously from being dragged over the road.
"Kid, we're doing our best," he reassured. "The ambulance is coming." He lied, hoping the boy hadn't heard the screeching from his sister.
"What'd ya say?" he asked, astounded that the kid could still speak. He'd've gone and passed out by now if it were him underneath all this wreckage.
Irving blinked in surprise. Then he realized that the kid probably didn't know how serious his situation was. He probably couldn't feel a thing because of adrenaline. Either that or his injuries were far worse than they looked. "Look, you might not feel nuthin', but you look real bad, boy. You need a hospital."
"No!" cried the boy, his voice strong and clear.
He'd be damned, but the kid was strong. Hell, he'd straight yelled out his answer. "Are you sure, boy?"
"Yes…just…get me out…" gasped Alec, relieved that this Irving fellow was finally listening to him. He tried to move, but pain burst all throughout his left leg and abdomen, making him see red for a few seconds. The pain was making it hard to breathe. He gasped, fighting for the simple act of inhaling and exhaling. Fuck. This really hurts.
For a moment, he briefly entertained regret that he wasn't back with Manticore. At least, whenever he got hurt there, he was assured of the best possible medical care. Now, all he had was this old cowboy and a panicky woman.
"I don't think moving you is such a good idea," said Irving, uncertain.
Alec almost rolled his eyes, except that doing so might make him black out. He was on the verge of losing consciousness again. He didn't have time to argue with this hick! What was he supposed to say? I'm a human-animal genetic hybrid made in a secret government facility? I'll be okay, cuz I have rapid healing abilities? I have people hunting my ass down so I can't be exposed? "I…can't afford…hospitals…" he said in a hoarse, gasping whisper.
Irving sighed heavily. Poor kid. He knew that with the Pulse and all, emergency room rates had skyrocketed and the government no longer subsidized them. He even knew some people who preferred to die rather than pay the hefty hospital rates.
"All right, kid, we'll get you out of there," he sighed. Then he turned over his shoulder to look at the woman he was with. "Janine! Stop calling the damn hospital and help me get him out of here!"
"We should find out who he is, Irv," whispered Janine, her eyes raking appreciatively over the young man lying on her bed. Sure, he was bloody as all hell, but he still had a fine physique. And despite the gash on his forehead, it was clear that he was a handsome young buck.
Irving rolled his eyes at his younger sister. "Janine, just help me get him cleaned up. He's gone and passed out on us again."
They had managed to drag the young man out from under the pick-up. He had been amazed at the fact that the boy had pulled himself out half the time. Took a lot of will-power and determination to do that. Kid didn't want to die. Must have something to live for.
Or maybe he was just damn stubborn.
Either way, Irving could appreciate the guts it took the kid to save himself through all the pain.
As soon as the boy had been pulled out from under the truck, he'd fallen unconscious on Irving. He'd had to drag the man onto the back of his pick-up and ordered Janine to stay with him as they drove home.
The undercarriage of his truck had been screwed up by the accident. What with the kid veering so suddenly onto his lane and falling under it. The boy's bike couldn't even be salvaged anymore.
"I reckon he's got himself a broken left leg that's needing to be set straight," he assessed. "And what looks like to be a stab wound on his stomach. That's gotta be why he fell off his bike, poor kid. Can't understand the shenanigans boys these days get themselves into. All the vandalizing and the fighting, and to top it off, none of them can afford them damn hospitals no more."
Janine clucked her tongue. "And that's an unfortunate scar that gash on his head's gonna make, Irv." She sighed. "He's such a pretty young thing."
Irving rolled his eyes at his sister. Janine was hitting forty soon, but she still acted like a damn school girl. "I'mma give Doc Johnson a holler. Have him come down for a looksie. You clean up that boy real good and see if you can find out who he is."
"With pleasure, Irv," smiled Janine, already reaching for a wet towel to wipe off the blood. She wanted to see what he looked like without all the bloody mess.
They'd ripped the leg of his jeans off with a knife to check his leg, so Janine just reached under and felt the back of his jean pockets for his wallet. She pulled out a brown leather one, and flipped it open. There was a mighty fine looking wad of cash in it, but nothing else. No ID, no little business cards, no pieces of scrap papers with ladies' phone numbers on them…nothing.
"Huh, mystery man," she sighed. It was all so romantic. She reached over again and tried to feel if there was anything else in his pockets. She wanted to make sure she didn't miss any ID's or anything, she reasoned to herself. So what if it required poking around in that area?
The young man groaned. "Hey, boy," she whispered. "Is there anyone we ought to call? A young wifey you got out there somewhere, worried sick 'bout you right about now?"
"Max…" he sighed, before falling back into unconsciousness.
Janine wrinkled her nose a bit. "Max?" she repeated. "Huh. Well, I guess if that's where you swing. What a damn waste of a fine piece of meat as you." She shrugged, and began to slowly wipe the blood off of his face. Aw, but he really was handsome.
His face was all about perfection: smooth, clean lines defined his brow, nose and cheekbones. His jaw was dusted with a slight stubble, making him look more manly than boyish, accentuating the strength of his jawline. His lips were full, but perfectly-defined. Janine sighed.
As her wet cloth traveled down his neck, to his chest, her eyes followed suit and wandered just a little bit. She sure was glad Irving had found it necessary to cut up his shirt open as well.
He wasn't too badly cut up on his chest, which was perfectly fine by her. He had a broad, leanly-muscled chest, and a flat well-defined abdomen. So, he wasn't quite as meaty and heavily muscled as most men she preferred, but it didn't mean he wasn't finely sculpted. In fact, she found herself wondering why she'd never considered the lankier type before.
She frowned when her eyes found the spot where he'd been stabbed. The wound was deep, she was sure. The tissue around it was turning a terrible reddish, purple color. But at least he wasn't bleeding quite as much from it. She clucked her tongue and shook her head at the carelessness of the youth these days.
"Now what do you think your young Max is gonna have to say about this, boy?" she berated him softly. "I'm sure he's not gonna enjoy finding little scars all over your perfect body."
She gingerly laid a clean, warm, wet cloth over his wound. "Speaking of Max…" she trailed off, as an idea hit her. "Now, why didn't you think of that, Janine?" she scolded herself. She looked around the room until she found the boy's leather jacket.
"What a waste of fine material," she sighed, seeing all the tears and scuff marks from the accident. Finally, she found his phone.
"Doc says he'll be right over," said Irving, walking into the room. "What you got there, Janine?"
"The boy's phone." She replied. "He ain't got nuthin' but cash in his wallets and pockets. No ID's or nuthin', Irv. So, I figured, we'll find out who he's got on his cell phone to contact."
They both watched as Janine flipped the phone open. She pressed the call button, hoping for the most recently called number to pop up. The screen displayed the word "Empty". She tried checking for the most recent Incoming calls, too. Again, they found the memory empty.
"Hmm…must be one of 'em knock-off phones from the black market that don't got all them fancy features," commented Irving. "Try checking his phone book for someone to call." He tried to reach for the phone himself.
"I know that!" she said, swatting his hand away. She followed the Menu options, but found the entries in gibberish, mostly a series of numbers and symbols. "What the—!'
"Well, I'll be damned," whispered Irving. "I don't know who this kid is, but his phone book is encrypted."
"What's that mean, Irv?" asked Janine, her voice in awe. She'd never met anyone important enough to have bought a phone that could be programmed for encryption. Maybe…just maybe, he'd been stabbed because he was somebody important. Maybe, she had a real-live secret service agent, CIA-type spy in her very room!
Irving just scratched his head and glanced down at their unconscious guest. "Well, I guess it means we might find someone interesting on his speed dial."