Disclaimer: I don't own Dark Angel
A/N:Lisa0316's story for the Jampony Ficathon at LJ.
Her prompts were:
Logan and Alec working together to solve a problem
Some good ol' fashioned ML smut (Sorry, total failure here)
Logan has to rescue Max from a dangerous situation
Beaming over Shywr1ter for a shopping trip in pre-Easter Marzipan heaven for the faster-than-you-can-look X5-speed beta and helping me with my first attempt of writing Alec.
Timeline: In between 'Bag'em' and 'Proof of Purchase'
He hadn't exactly followed Max, just hung around in her part of the city, figuring he might just as well learn how to get around from an almost-native.
It wasn't like he couldn't survive on his own or was unprepared for the world beyond Manticore's walls and electro-fences. In the months before his first mission he had been briefed on the most trivial details and trained for all possible situations, from a casual conversation to the subtle art of dealing with the opposite sex.
But back then being on the outside had had a specific purpose and structure, hadn't left him with an abundance of leisure time and the need to somehow earn a living.
Now… he was just bored, didn't know what to do with his days after his most basic needs, of food and sleep, had been taken care of.
Fully aware that Max knew of his presence, Alec observed from his noncommittal distance how effortlessly she slipped back into her old life, happily welcomed by friends and colleagues as one of them. With the tired superiority of someone more weathered by life, the disillusioned cynic in him laughed about her childish illusion of belonging … and still, on that irrational level where he allowed himself to play with the what-ifs of a different life, he admired her for having built such a perfect network of normalcy.
He wondered where Max had acquired that strange idealism she'd shown these past weeks helping the kids, her strange belief that those highly effective child soldiers could be transformed into valuable members of society by simply baptizing them with civilain names. Seeing her act with such natural responsibility had forced him to ponder why she had become an optimist when his own experiences with life on the outside had only made him a misanthropic stranger who didn't belong to either world.
She was a living legend, no question. All of her group had been, the myth of their escape passed on to younger generations with the grudging and admiration of those left behind to bear the consequences.
Then, four months ago, gossip had claimed that two of the '09 escapees were back at Manticore, caught in a rather amateurish attack against a whole building complex of perfectly trained transgenics.
For some weeks it had been the number one topic of their whispered discussions how one of them, 452, had been rushed, in severely injured, saved only by 599's suicide, which seemed like such a crazy act of self-abandonment to them.
With the fatalistic acceptance of those knowing that things couldn't be changed, they had coolly pitied her for coming under the director's personal attention, the older among them remembering that she had been brought up under colonel Lydecker's relatively harmless hands. And eventually she had submitted to the life as a Manticore soldier, at least on the surface, just like they all did.
In the end it was just plain curiosity that made him follow Max and her dark expression to the Space Needle.
He wondered what it meant to her. After all, she had never experienced those better times when buildings like this had attracted a never-ending stream of tourists. Probably, Alec thought with a sarcastic smirk, it was simply one of those sentimental habits she had acquired in her years of feigning normalcy.
He found her out on the platform, shaking violently with one of the seizures Manticore had so graciously built into some of them.
"Max…" Her name had slipped out before he could control himself, not caring what she might think at his seeing her losing control over her limbs, so close to an abyss of several hundred feet.
She turned her head just enough to give him a look of surprised hope, her mouth forming the name of his clone.
He was confronted with an unfiltered confusion on her face that seemed so alarmingly wrong for someone who like him had learned early to hide any treacherous emotion. As he coolly observed how realization set in, Alec hated her for comparing him with her brother, who despite his obvious failings had meant so much to her. He despised her for subconsciously measuring him by the fond memories of a childhood companion, for not considering the endless battery of tests and procedures that Ben's killing spree had meant for the person sharing his genetic make-up.
But her weakness lasted only for a few seconds, the exhaustion of the seizure weakening her ability to effectively shield her emotions. As Max's gaze hardened with a roughly uttered "Go away" that under different circumstances would have sounded intimidating, her face had nothing but cold resentment for the stranger looking like her brother.
Alec was smart enough not to take seriously something said in her depleted state, sufficiently hardened by years of emotional abuse to ignore that minuscule, irrational needling her behavior caused anyway. Shoving away his irritation, he broke with his resolution of getting as far away as possible from anything Manticore. "Forgot your tryptophan?"
"Thing is, when people think you're dead they throw away your meds." Her ironic laugh came out as a rough hiccup, sabotaging the effort to keep away the bitterness.
He smirked nevertheless, wry amusement both at her attempt of black humor and his own imagination hurrying ahead and already seeing himself getting arresting for breaking into a pharmacy. Still not sure why he was making Max his good deed of the week, Alec finally asked, "Nobody else who could have a bottle?"
The look she gave him said everything. Lost longing and aching sadness, the desperate hopelessness of an impossible love, everything but her usual disguise of smart toughness. It was an attitude he easily recognized it as his own for numbing the painful experiences caused by those who had thought it to be a good idea to equip their little toy soldier with emotions.
The crazy rich guy with the walking machine who was so madly in love with her that he was willing to bring down Manticore just by himself, the pitiable ordinary who had become a part of Renfro's twisted plan to kill Eyes Only and break X5 452 in one elegant move.
Before Alec could say anything the professional blankness which they had beaten into all of them took over Max's face, wiping away any remainder of frail vulnerability. Resting her chin on her knees, she averted her face to put her focus into keeping her wracked body together.
If someone had happened to watch the two isolated silhouettes against the grey afternoon sky, the male's seemingly indifferent distance to the female's suffering must have seemed cold and cruel. However, a person familiar with their dysfunctional upbringing would have recognized his behavior as just his social awkwardness from having been denied, after the escape of their clone group, any kind of human contact outside of drill hours.
So, hampered by all the missed years of normal companionship, Alec concentrated on practical matters and tried to come up with a plan. Dismissing the option of just dragging her inside while her limbs were jerking uncontrollably, he decided on passive waiting for now, tensely relying on his reflexes to kick in if her shaking got her into real danger.
xxxxxxxxx to be continued xxxxxxxxx