Summary: Alec is hunting a man from his Manticore past, but Max isn't sure he's chasing the right person.
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing. Just borrowing Max and Alec for a few chapters.
So, umm… a Dark Angel urge strikes again… We'll see what comes of it…
"This contact of yours going to show up sometime today?" Max asked.
Alec just shrugged, ignoring her attempt to get under his skin. "Look, you asked me if I knew someone who could help you find the part for your bike. I found someone."
"Yeah. But I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have to wait here all day." She narrowed her eyes as she looked up at him. "Your contact's apparently as reliable as you are."
"Go ahead." Alec raised an eyebrow. "Insult me. That'll get you help next time your motorcycle breaks down."
Max clenched her teeth together angrily and Alec fought not to grin. She was so easy to bait. The truth was that Alec was about to go and hunt down Digger himself. It was pouring rain, they were both soaked to the bone and Digger was forty five minutes late. Granted, Digger was never really the most reliable person to deal with, but he somehow managed to come up with the goods. Eventually.
Alec looked down at her, mock astonishment on his face. "Is that what this is? I've led such a sheltered life I wasn't sure. Thank you, Max."
"I can beat the crap out of you along with your very late contact, you know."
"Digger will be here," Alec said, hoping that it was the truth. He really wanted in out of the rain. Manticore had loved to make them stand out in the rain. No moving or complaining allowed. No breaking formation even though you were miserable and freezing. He supposed they'd been trying to toughen them up. Alec was tough enough, however, and he certainly wasn't at Manticore anymore. He could eat what he wanted, drink what he wanted, sleep when he wanted and he could go inside when he wanted. Except, apparently, when Max's bike broke down. For her sake, he'd given up the good sense he had to come in out of the rain. Go figure.
Finally. Alec and Max turned to see a man in his mid-twenties walking toward them. He was average height and weight, brown hair and eyes. Nothing to stand out in a crowd. He was fast though. Smart, too. Impressive, really, since he was an ordinary. Alec had learned to be wary of impressive ordinaries. Now that he thought of it, he'd learned to be wary of pretty much everybody. An eighty year old granny could shoot him just as dead as anybody else if he wasn't paying enough attention.
Alec rubbed his hands together in anticipation. "Tell me you've got it."
"Would I let you down?" the man asked, as if shocked Alec could have doubted him.
"No," Max said through clenched teeth. "We've been standing here in the rain for an hour because you're so reliable."
Digger frowned. "Who's the chick?"
Max bristled. "The chick-"
Alec quickly cut her off. "This lovely lady is the person who's gonna pay you, Dig." He spared a glare at Max. "You want the part, be nice," he muttered for her ears only.
"Oh," Digger beamed. "Pleased to meet you, then. Where's the cash?"
"Where's the part?" Max shot back.
The man produced the no doubt stolen motorcycle part from his coat pocket and Max snatched it out of his hand in a blur of speed.
Alec frowned and shook his head. Max just didn't play well with others. More importantly, however, Digger was now looking at her with more interest than was necessary or comfortable. Alec had always been careful not to do anything particularly unusual around his overly-observant contact.
"Any problems, Dig?" Alec asked, trying to draw the man's attention away from Max.
"You kidding?" Digger grinned for effect. "This is me, we're talking about!"
"And that's why I spent a complete afternoon trying to outrun the sector police last time we had a little deal?"
"Not my fault, man. Not my fault." Digger shook his head. "I told you those things were too hot to try for."
"You told me after you'd already taken my money and headed for the hills."
Digger just shrugged. "A man has to make a living."
Alec gave a little snort of approval. He could appreciate the need to be pragmatic in a world like theirs. Of course, that didn't mean he hadn't wanted to kneecap the guy.
Max had continued examining the part and finally nodded. She pulled a wad of cash from her own pocket and threw it to Digger who caught it nimbly and pocketed it in one smooth movement.
"Not going to count it?" Alec raised an eyebrow.
"Out in the open? In this neighborhood?" The man laughed. "I don't think so. Besides…" He eyed Alec intently. "I can find you if I need to."
The man probably could at that, Alec thought. Too smart by half. He had to fight the urge to remove the source of the little feeling of danger he felt every time he dealt with Digger. Self-preservation told him that Digger could be a problem some day.
Alec gave him a wolfish grin and Digger took a step back. Yup. Smart guy. Today wasn't the day though and Digger still had his uses. Had to be practical. The guy managed to find the scotch that Alec liked so much. "Thanks for your help, Dig. Knew you could find it."
"No problem." Digger nodded and hightailed it, nonchalantly of course.
"How do you do that?" Max asked.
"Grin and make people run. I don't see what's so scary." If Alec didn't know better, he'd say she was jealous.
Alec shrugged, watching Digger weave his way through the remains of various burnt out cars and other garbage left in the street, then head down the alley opposite where he and Max were standing. "Glaring takes so much more work. That and it requires actually caring."
"You still scared him," Max observed.
"More like gave him a gentle reminder not to threaten me," Alec replied.
"Same thing. He's still running away."
They both watched as Digger disappeared into the distance and Alec grinned again. "What can I say? It's a gift."
"Please," Max rolled her eyes. "Your only gift is harassing every female that walks into Crash."
Alec opened his mouth to reply, but the words died on his lips. The man who'd walked past the alley opening… It couldn't be. It's wasn't possible. Not him. Not here.
He vaguely registered the worry in Max's voice, but he couldn't draw his eyes away from the mouth of the alley where Digger had vanished and this other man had appeared. A man he knew. A man he would never forget.
It was a command now. Max was demanding he pay attention to her, but he didn't answer, couldn't as his feet began moving almost of their own volition. Max set a hand on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off, breaking into a run. He heard Max following, but kept moving. He couldn't let the man get away. Rain was pouring down, obscuring Alec's vision, but he refused to let it slow him down.
Alec ran down the alley and turned in the direction he'd seen the man walking. He stopped abruptly, trying to find him in the crowd of people milling their way through the intersection, and felt Max run into his back.
"Alec, what are you doing?"
"Where did he go?" Alec spun in a circle trying to find the man, but he was nowhere to be seen.
"Where did who go?" Max stepped in front of him and physically forced him to look at her. "What are you talking about?"
"There was a man…" Alec stepped back from her and once again turned in a circle, hoping to catch sight of his quarry.
"Describe him," Max ordered.
"Medium height, about 35, short blond hair." Alec closed his eyes for a moment, trying to recall the bare glimpse he'd had. "He was wearing dark pants, a brown jacket."
"And what are you going to do if you find him?"
Alec felt a wave of determination wash over him. It was almost peaceful, the absolute certainty of what he needed to do.
"Alec!" Max snapped impatiently.
Alec grinned, and knew that it was not a pretty sight. "If I find him… I'll kill him."