Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Angel, or any of its characters, or the episode Hello, Goodbye, which will be heavily referenced in this fic. Since I do not own any of the above, I obviously am not making any money from this.
Summary: How much abuse can a guy take before he snaps? Events in Hello, Goodbye take a different turn. AU from that point.
A/N: It kind of bothered me in Hello, Goodbye that Alec almost immediately blew of the fact that Max thought he could murder someone in cold blood. What if he didn't blow it off? What if it did bother him, and more than just a little bit?
Warning: This fic will have language, violence, and, of course, angst, because, apparently, my muse is heavily into all three. And, in case you didn't notice from the previous sentence, there will be extreme abuse of commas. Sorry. I can't help it. It's a compulsion.
Chapter 1: Betrayal
"So you did it. It's over."
Original Cindy could barely believe that Max had gone through with it, that she had ended it with Logan. Her girl was stubborn, and OC hadn't thought that she would've given up so easily.
Logan had survived Max's touch of death, thanks to Joshua. Logan wasn't blaming Max for what had happened, which made him an okay guy in Original Cindy's book. OC had never thought that the older man was really right for Max, but Max cared about him, so that had been good enough for Cindy. She figured Max must've finally had enough of the drama, though, and was calling it quits. She just hoped her friend wasn't making a rash decision that she would regret later.
"Yeah. It's over." Max replied tiredly.
She slumped heavily against the bar at Crash, trying hard not to think about how much her life sucked. She really wished that she could somehow slow down her metabolism a bit so she could get drunk. Then maybe she wouldn't have to think about the fact that she had almost killed Logan. She wouldn't have to think about the fact that Alec had cared more about his stupid scams or getting laid than coming through for her, and Logan had almost died because of it.
Max had reluctantly come to terms with the fact that it was over with Logan. He was alive, but it was no thanks to her. She'd had to end it, because next time, they might not get so lucky. She had no right to risk him like that, no matter what he said. She realized now that she never should have let their relationship get this far in the first place. She couldn't bear to have his death on her conscience, so she'd decided to take matters into her own hands and end it.
Alec's words from before kept echoing in her head. We don't belong with 'em. Okay? We're a danger to them. When are you gonna finally see that?
Alec was right. She did finally see, and she hated him for it. And she hated that he couldn't be bothered to save Logan's life, that he didn't even have the common decency to help a man in need.
As she sat at the bar, moping, she found that what she was unable to come to terms with was Alec himself. Over time, she had allowed her opinion of him to change, and he had let her down. She told herself that she shouldn't have been surprised, but she was. She couldn't figure out why this upset her so much, why this was the thing that continued to bother her. Logan had almost died, and yes, it sucked, but she was dealing. What she couldn't deal with was the fact that Alec wasn't the man she'd thought he'd become.
"Ladies, did you hear what happened to our buddy Alec?" Sketchy had pushed in between her and OC to get to the bar, and Max felt like her friend had somehow read her thoughts, that he knew Alec was on her mind.
"Don't care," she replied offhandedly, determined to maintain that front. Nope. Don't care at all, she told herself. Don't give a damn that he let you down … that he's an unreliable jerk … that he had more important things to do than be there when you needed him.
"He's in jail," Sketchy said conspiratorially, raising his eyebrows a bit.
At these words, for the briefest moment, Max felt a hint of fear for Alec, but she shut that down. "Whatever," she replied flatly. Inside her head, she kept repeating don't care, don't care, don't care ...
"You know Hummer," Sketchy continued, "the bartender from last night? Saw him get pinched right outside of here. Kind of makes you wonder what he did, huh?"
"Not really," Max muttered, keeping her voice devoid of emotion.
As Sketchy walked away with his pitcher of beer, Max's internal thoughts were in a frenzy. No, I don't wonder. I don't care. He means nothing to me. Nothing. I don't feel anything. If Max had taken a minute to examine her inner thoughts, she would have realized that she was desperately trying to convince herself of this.
Original Cindy looked at Max in disbelief. "You're not gonna go help?"
OC was kind of shocked. She'd thought that things had changed a bit between Max and Alec--thought that there might be something there. Something the two of them were actively ignoring, but still, she was pretty sure it was there. Something more than the lukewarm thing Max had with Logan. OC knew about passion, and Max and Logan just didn't have it. Love, maybe, but passion? Uh uh. Max and Alec, though … definite fireworks.
When Sketchy had been talking about Alec, OC could see that Max was trying to hide her pain--pain that had nothin' to do with Logan. No one else would have picked up on it, but no one else knew Max like she did. She knew that if Max had no feelings for Alec whatsoever, that she wouldn't've been hurting like she was. Cindy figured Max's feelings about Logan and her feelings about Alec were butting heads right now, and it had her girl completely spun.
'I got my own problems," Max replied, all tough-chick mode, which OC could see right through. "Alec can take care of himself." Despite her words, Max felt an instinctual urge to help him, to get him out of trouble like she'd always done. No, she scolded herself. He got into this, he can get himself out. He doesn't need you. He doesn't need anybody. He's all about himself, so let him deal with it himself.
Original Cindy stared at Max. She knew that if something happened to Alec, Max would never be able to forgive herself. She had to make Max see that somehow, to give her a little push in the right direction before it was too late.
"Now, you know you gotta come correct on this. Suppose they tip to his barcode? Exposure. Bad for Alec, bad for you, bad for Joshua, bad for everybody." OC held her breath for a moment, hoping that Max would do the right thing.
Max's eyes rolled slightly, and OC let go of the breath, knowing that she had succeeded. "Not like saving his butt isn't already my full-time job." Max gave her a weak smile, then added, "Thanks for the beer."
Max got up from her stool and headed for the door. Secretly, in a dark corner of her mind that she liked to ignore, the place where she pushed all the feelings she was uncomfortable with, she was glad for an excuse to go rescue Alec. But that thought stayed in that dark corner of her mind. On the surface, her mind was occupied with different thoughts.
You're not doing this for him. You're doing this to protect yourself and Joshua and other transgenics from exposure. It's not about Alec. You don't give a damn about him.
In that dark little corner, her inner voice whispered one word to her.
Max shifted on the seat of her Ninja as she blazed through the streets of Seattle, a bit uncomfortable in the pants suit she had donned for her role as a public defender. Ever since she decided to spring Alec, she had worked hard to maintain her front, to pretend that she didn't care, that bailing him out of trouble was just business as usual. But inside, that dark little corner of her mind refused to be ignored. All she could think about was how much it hurt that he wasn't there when she asked him, that his dumbass schemes had gotten him busted when she'd needed him the most.
She'd stupidly fooled herself into believing that Alec had changed. That night at the Berrisford mansion a while back, she'd thought she'd found out there was more to him than the devil-may-care façade he presented to the world. But there wasn't. She'd been wrong. He had played her for a fool. Alec was a self-centered, egoistical asshole that only cared about himself. He didn't give a damn about her, or anything that mattered to her. She was disturbed by just how much that thought that Alec didn't care about her actually hurt.
She felt betrayed.
Max hated the way he'd made her feel, all sorts of mixed-up emotions messing with her head, so she transferred all those emotions into anger. Much of her anger was directed at Alec, but she was also mad at herself. Mad because she had started to depend on him ... to trust him ... to need him.
She should have known better.
By the time Max walked into the police station, she was deep in a cold rage.
As soon as the cop ushered him through the door into the interview room, Alec felt a relief and a little bit of dread--relief that Max had come to save his ass, like always, and dread, because she looked like she was pissed at him, again, like always.
"Whitney Mann, public defender's office. I'll be handling your case." Alec took in Max's tone, facial expression, and body language as she rose to her feet.
Yep. Max was definitely pissed.
"Pleasure," Alec replied, eying her warily, then found himself being roughly shoved into the chair across from Max.
"You need anything, I'm right outside. You got five minutes," the cop that had escorted him to the room said, then turned to leave.
"Officer …" Max called out, getting the man to stop and turn back to her. She walked over to the cop and leaned a bit closer, lowering her voice. "Can you tell me, has he displayed any violent tendencies?" She batted her lashes once and reached out to touch his arm lightly, trying to advertise that she was a bit worried about her safety without being too over the top.
At the sight of those deep brown eyes, the officer softened a bit. Why a girl that pretty would decide to be a public defender of all things, he'd never know. "Don't worry. He hasn't really been much trouble, aside from the smart mouth. I don't think he'll be a problem."
"Good," Max said, turning back toward Alec for a moment before slamming her elbow backwards into the guard's face, sending him crashing unconscious to the ground. Max knelt to retrieve the handcuff keys from the cop, then unerringly tossed them to Alec without looking. "Let's go," she called to him in clipped tones, already turning to leave.
Alec was out of the chair and after her, fumbling with the key to the cuffs as he moved down the hall. "Wait up! Max!" he called out in a harsh whisper.
He frowned as she continued down the hall as if she hadn't even heard him. She couldn't be that mad, could she? She'd come here to spring him, hadn't she? If she'd been that pissed off, she probably would've just left him, right? Convincing himself that it couldn't be that bad, he got the cuffs off and increased his speed to catch up with her.
After walking ledges, hanging from drainpipes, and dodging a multitude of bullets to escape the police station, Alec was frankly ready to call it a night. It wasn't like he was going soft or something. He just preferred to avoid anything that reminded him of his days at Manticore if he could help it. Unfortunately, his whole new fugitive-from-justice status kind of put a cramp on that idea. He'd have to pick up some stuff from his place and go under. Back to the old sneak and creep. Maybe he could hang with Josh for a while, lay low with the big guy until he got this mistaken identity thing cleared up.
Max slowed her Ninja as she entered the alley behind Alec's apartment building. As soon as they slowed, Alec leaned closer to her so he could talk in her ear.
"Thanks for saving my ass back there, Max. And I mean that literally." When Max slowed her bike to a stop, Alec got off, looking up at the building, figuring it might be the last time he entered its dingy halls for a while. Preoccupied as he was, at first he didn't notice that Max didn't move from her bike.
"There was this huge guy in holding--you'd think he had his DNA spliced or somethin', with like, an elephant, maybe--anyway, he looked like he wanted me to be his bitch, though I clearly don't swing that way. So I was thinking, how can I fend this guy off without tippin' anyone to the fact that I could break him in two with my hands tied behind my back and blindfolded, you know?"
Alec finally noticed that Max wasn't talking to him and turned back to face her, eyebrows raised. For a moment, he was worried something happened to Logan. The guy was not his favorite person and all, but he was okay, and Alec certainly didn't want to see him dead.
"Max … Logan's all right … isn't he?" Alec asked hesitantly.
Max slowly got off her bike, but she still refused to look at him or say anything. Alec didn't see grief on her face, so he figured that Max found some other option to get Logan fixed up. No, he didn't see grief. What he did see was anger.
Dammit, she's mad at me again, and I didn't even do anything wrong this time. No matter what I do, I'm always the fuckin' bad guy.
Alec took a step toward her, starting to explain. "Hey look, I'm sorry, I was on my way to the hos..."
His words were cut off suddenly as Max's fist flew up and slammed into his mouth. He'd been so unprepared for the blow, he lost his balance and landed hard on his butt. His hand automatically came up to feel out the injury, and when he drew it back, he could see his own blood on his hand. He looked up a Max, his look of shock turning to confusion as he saw the fury in her eyes.
Max stared down at him, letting her rage control her. Her thoughts were dark, and anything but clear.
God, now he's gonna lie to me? Of course he is. He's been lying this whole time, pretending that he was someone he's not, that he wasn't just a product of Manticore, but he was lying.
"Shut up. I was gonna bail your sorry ass out, 'cause I figured you got grabbed up off of one of your scams going sideways. But then I have to go and bust you out 'cause I found out you killed somebody!"
Alec got to his feet, shaking his head. "I didn't do it."
Max took a step closer to Alec so she could glare directly up into his face. How could he lie right to her face like that? "They said you got I.D.'d. There's a perfect DNA match."
Alec closed his eyes for a second, tilting his head slightly. Why does she have to be so fucking stubborn? "I'm telling you…" he began, but once again, Max cut him off.
Max let her anger get the better of her. She was beyond rational thought at this point, beyond being reasoned with. She wanted to hurt him, like what he'd done had hurt her.
"I don't wanna hear it. I'm sorry I let you out of Manticore. I'm sorry I inflicted you on the world," Max hissed, her face inches from his own.
The venom in Max's words cut Alec like a knife. He took a step back from her, unable to hide the flicker of pain in his eyes. Why won't she listen? She won't even give me a chance to explain!
Max crossed her arms and cocked out a hip, flipping her dark hair over her shoulder. "I only busted you outta there so you don't expose the rest of us. But as of right now, I wash my hands of you."
Alec blinked at Max's words, unable to process them at first. When his brain finally caught up, he refused to accept those words. She wouldn't really cut him out of her life. Not now, after all they'd been through since Manticore. He was so used to fighting with Max, that he convinced himself that she was just busting his chops, like she always did.
"Dammit, Max, I was…" As he spoke, he grabbed her arm, planning to tell her that he'd been in Manticore at the time of the murder, that it couldn't possibly have been him.
As soon as Alec touched her, grabbing her arm in almost the exact way that Logan had back at Crash, Max's anger flashed white-hot. The only thing she could think of was how unfair it was that Alec could touch her and Logan couldn't. Alec's words were cut off as she violently shook him off and gave him a shove to the chest.
Alec stumbled backward into the wall of the apartment building, shocked by the violence and anger in Max. His hazel-green eyes met her deep brown, and, in that moment, he realized that Max was completely serious. She had meant every word.
She thinks you're a killer.
When Alec spoke again, his voice was hushed, his tone mired in disbelief. "You really think I could do it? You think I could murder someone in cold blood?"
"Yes, Alec, I think you could." Max was so mad at him that she'd snapped out the response without really thinking about it.
She saw something shift in his expression. His face went slack, and she could tell he was trying to hide his feelings like he was trained to do back at Manticore, but his eyes… he couldn't keep the pain and the hurt from showing in those expressive eyes.
For the briefest moment, Max's anger faltered and she felt just a flicker of regret, and something else, some unnamed emotion that wanted to make that hurt look in his eyes go away. It was a strange feeling, and it made her uncomfortable. She didn't want to feel that way. Not about him.
Max pushed the feeling aside and gathered her anger around her. She reminded herself that this was Alec, and he didn't give a shit about anything or anybody but himself. She reminded herself of all the times he'd done something stupid, of how many times he had screwed things up. She didn't want to think about the mixed-up emotions she'd been feeling lately when she was around him or thought about him.
All he'd done since she'd met him was complicate her life. It wouldn't be so complicated if he wasn't around any more. Maybe then, she wouldn't be so confused about who she was and what she wanted.
"Better get the hell outta Seattle, Alec, before the cops find you." Max turned and started to head back toward her Ninja. When she reached it, she turned her head, and he could see her profile, the glow from the street lamp at the head of the alley highlighting her features. Her tone, when she spoke her last words to him, was so cold that Alec felt the ice of it in his heart.
"This time, do us all a favor and stay gone."
Alec watched, stunned, as Max slung a leg over her motorcycle, gunned the engine, and then took off, leaving him behind. He was speechless. He just stood there, in the alley behind his building, staring after her for a full minute, his mind unwilling to believe what had just happened.
Suddenly, there was a horrible ache in his chest, making it hard to breathe. It reminded him of when they'd put you in the tank back at Manticore, to see how long you could go without breathing, and you felt like your lungs were gonna burst before they'd let you out.
The one person he had thought he could count on had turned her back on him. Sure, they had started out on the wrong foot, but he thought that things had changed at some point along the way. Even though they still fought all the time, he'd thought that her hatred of him had cooled, that she even sort of trusted him. He'd always been there when she asked, had her back when she needed him.
And she had needed him. She'd called him, asked for his help, time and time again, and the first time he gets hung up, which was completely not his fault, she turned on him. She wanted him gone. She'd be happier if he just dropped of the face of the earth.
He felt betrayed.
A little voice in his head started speaking to him. It was the same inner voice that used to speak to him those last six months he had spent in Psy Ops, when they were trying to figure out if he was as crazy as his twin. The one that had started talking to him back when they had fucked with his head so badly, he hadn't been sure of who he was anymore. At the reappearance of the voice he'd thought was long gone, a voice from the most horrific period of his life, Alec closed his eyes and clenched his jaw to keep it from trembling as that dreaded voice spoke to him.
All this time you've known each other, and she thinks you're a heartless, cold-blooded killer.
She doesn't need you. She doesn't give a damn about you.
No one does.
You've got nothing. Nobody.
She thinks you're nothing more than what Manticore made you.
Alec slowly opened his eyes, staring off into the distance but not really seeing. "Maybe she's right," he whispered aloud.
Alec felt like something inside his chest broke, and he was overwhelmed by a flood of painful emotion.
It was too much to bear. He didn't know how to deal with it. He started to shut down, just like they taught him back at Manticore.
He had told Max once that Manticore had ways of making you not care, and that's what he wanted to do. He wanted not to care. He did what Manticore had taught him, taking everything that made him more than just 494, everything that made him Alec, and locked it away, hiding it deep in the recesses of his mind. Alec was the one in pain, so he would just stop being Alec.
Everything that made him who he was slid away. He became a shell. No emotion. No feeling. No pain. It was gone. Everything but the little voice that continued to whisper in his mind…
A/N: You may be wondering which direction this story will be taking. Is this a Max/Alec story, or a Max/Logan, or no ship at all? I don't really wanna tell, because I don't want to give anything away, but those of you that have read my previous stories could probably take a guess. I make no promises, however. You'll just have to hang in and see where this goes.
Oh, and try not to hate Max. She's only human. Well, humanish, anyway.
Please review. My muse needs a fix.