Lessons In Time. PG-13. Gen.

A remix of Nine Months Ago by Kara --For remix-redux over at LJ.


"What's this for, again?" Max was weary of this little interview already. Logan watched her eyes dart around, looking for some chore to get her out of it, he smirked to himself. Lord knows where the kid had scrounged up the video camera from.

"It's for posterity! So tomorrow's youth will have a chance to see how all this shit went down, so we can all be immortalized, for the good of--"

"-Yeah, yeah, alright. Geez...Just get on wth it, wouldjja?" There it was, the grouchy reluctance that he was used to seeing from Max. Logan could tell that this kid, Watch, Warren?- The kid had a certain flourishing enthusiasm that was rather contagious. Reminded him of someone.

"Where was I? 'Kay, So -494, you and him go way back, right?" Max sat up a little straighter, always made her tense when folk around here still used designations instead of names. It was at the top of the to-do list to give everybody in TC an actual name, ASAP. Logan followed her gaze when she glanced across to where Alec was helping unload crates of stolen un-perishables.

"Alec? Not really. I met him at Manticore just before the place got torched." She shrugged like it was nothing. Logan smiled again, knowing better, and pretended to get back to work--meddling with a CPU that was maybe salvageable. No one was really paying any attention to him, one of the three ordinaries that were still trying to negotiate with outside authorities for their safe passage out of Terminal City.

"So that was what, nine months ago? How'd you two meet?" The kid was insatiable, X-6 and sharp as he was designed to be. Much to Max's chagrin, he wasn't missing a trick. Wasn't hard for Logan or anyone else listening to notice that Mr. Interview here had taken a particular shine to Alec. All the younger ones did straight away. Logan heard Max sigh in annoyance.

"Yeah, nine months," she agreed.

"And how'd you meet?" The kid prompted, one hand encouraging in a rolling in a motion behind the camera, yes, and? Go on, go on. Logan could hear the grin in the question, was pretty sure the kid already knew the answer but just wanted Max to say it, out loud and on the record, for later mockage.

"We were assigned as breeding partners," She spat it out, like the words tasted sour, then hastily continued, "-he wandered into my cell, Mr. High an' Mighty, started spouting off about our orders, said we had to copulate..." Logan could imagine it, the look that must've appeared on Max's face, and was stifling another grin 'til the thought of a mini-Alec popped into his head. A mini-Max/Alec hybrid. Now there was a disturbing thought. Nobody would stand a chance against that spawn.

"What happened?" The kid was gleeful now, a couple of other members of his unit loitering around near-by, carefully within eavesdropping proximity.

"I kicked his skinny ass an' told him where he could shove his orders," Max said, crossing her arms, looking slightly appeased.

"And then he helped you escape?" The kid asked, through the murmurs of laughter, angling his camera to better view her face. The question prompted a pause. Logan looked up, couldn't not, wondering just how much these kids had heard, wondering how there were already rumors circulating about their leader like old fashioned celebrity gossip.

Logan watched as Max started chewing on her bottom lip, watched for signs of the internal debate that was surely raging in her head. What to tell these kids? No, sorry, charming, happy-go-lucky, artful dodger Alec, who they all already idolized had actually been working for the bad guys at the start. Actually he didn't help, and was planted there only to hinder. Set Max up, went ahead and watched as she infected Logan with the virus, and was primed and ready to haul her ass right back into captivity when it was done.

But then, despite all of that, Max had given up their chance for a cure. Swapped it for Alec's life. Despite what he'd done. Logan didn't like to think too hard on it, it made his mind twist and turn, uncomfortable with the knowledge that Max would probably never cease to shock him with her unexpected compassion. A deep, instinctual loyalty to her roots, her family, that Logan might never be able to wrap his mere ordinary mind around.

"Yeah...Joshua and Alec helped me escape," Max said eventually. It was still true enough, and everyone had a dark side. All of them had started out the same way, followers of orders. Things could have gone a lot differently for all of the transgenic's. And besides, Alec had proved what side he was loyal to plenty of times since then.

Had to wonder, though, whether Alec would always be exerting himself to make up for his bad beginnings. Logan thought about Rachel Berrisford, thought that; for all his bravado, even a non-transgenic might be able to smell the guilt that came off Alec like a vapor sometimes.

Alec had been shown family. Over the last nine months he'd been unwittingly schooled on the kinds of loyalty that love and family automatically constituted. Logan had watched the transition, watched as Alec got curious about it, struggled and rebelled against it, experimented with it. Made predatory circles around it like he wasn't sure whether it was something he should take out first, before it got the better of him.

And now. Just a few days ago, during the Jam Pony siege and the assertion of this new Freak nation, Logan'd had the pleasure of watching Alec finally just accept it. Logan'd had the pleasure of watching Max's mouth tug into a rare real smile when he'd held her hand and over saw the flying of the flag.
He'd watched as Max slipped her other hand into Alec's, how it'd made Alec's mouth tilt in a semblance of the same thing, plus many thanks. The same thing they were all feeling.

Never mind what kind of beginning any of them had endured, it didn't matter 'cause they were all feeling the same hope. Swelling and proud and undeniable. Hope for themselves and each an' every one of the others.

"Ah-ha, I thought my ears were itching." The kid swivels 'round, ensuring the capture of Alec's arrival onto the platform on tape, looking happily exhausted and wiping his filthy hands on his t-shirt.
Logan looks at the way Alec has finally let his hair grow out into something without discipline. Alec might not have realized at first, it's taken him nine months or so to adapt, twenty years of Manticore and then just nine months to make him realize how grateful he is for his freedom. It's pretty damn remarkable.

They're all pretty remarkable, Logan thinks. He cant even imagine what it must have been like for them all, having to live without freedom. Being innocent, and having to live without freedom just the same.

"It's burning," Max snaps, feigning exasperation. Logan see's that she's covertly appreciative of the interruption, and is ready to use it as a distraction for her departure any second now. Let Alec work the crowd, he's extraordinarily good at it.

"Well, you should probably have it checked out at the med station then, Max." Alec sails a smirk at her and gets a swift kick to the shin for his trouble. Logan gets back to the futile attempts at resuscitation on his busted CPU. It's easy sometimes, imagining them all as brothers and sisters. They certainly squabble enough.

"The expression. It's 'my ears are burning', you jackass," Max corrects strictly, unimpressed as ever with Alec's attempts at humor. Alec dismisses her with a care-free roll of his eyes, mutters something profane about to-mate-o's and tom-ato's as he straddles an empty chair in the corner.

"So, has our fearless leader here told you squirts about the time we rescued a mermaid? She was almost breeding cult tuna fish before I swooped in and saved the day, right Maxie?"

"Yeah, sure," Max snorts, standing up. She gestures to Logan with a jerk of her chin. "C'mon, I'll help you find one of those that might actually work one day." Logan follows her obediently, looking back once at Alec and his captivated audience of kids, all wild gestures, undoubtedly elaborate and ridiculous truths.

When Logan turns back to Max, she's watching, too. A stern look on her face that could easily be mistaken for disapproval if you didn't know her.

"You think Alec'll have kids of his own one day?" Logan ventures, maybe more curious about Max's reaction to the question than the actual answer.

"I hope so," Max says. It's quiet, like a secret and another surprise that Logan can't get enough of. "Might help keep his ass outta trouble, at least," she amends after a second. Logan nods, loves her more than ever.

Yeah, Logan thinks. This whole freedom thing that Max has been striving for all her life? It might just be a real good thing for everybody.


Notes: I can't believe I managed to write something Gen. That means there's no sex in it! Sex isn't even mentioned! Max and Alec in the same fic, with no sex, I dunno if whether to call it a miracle or a travesty.