DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement was intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 1: I stole an idea without permission from FiveOfFive, who knows how much I love the idea, and I hope she doesn't mind. If it bugs you, just let me know and I'll change it. :)
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: Special thanks go out to all of my reviewers because after the week I've had I was ready to give up and knowing that you guys thought that I was doing something worthwhile kept me going. If you were wondering why my week was so bad... I was making dinner the other night and managed to cut my hand with a butcher knife. Fun times. Several stitches later (I refused to watch or allow the doctor or my husband to tell me exactly how many, but it was more than five, less than a hundred) and I'm now typing one handed. And on pain killers so if this makes no sense, well there ya go. I've never written anything NC-17 but I might try and do a version of this chapter thats more smutty on my livejournal once I can type with both hands again.
WARNING: The following chapter contains some Logan bashing. I don't like the character, I never have, but some of you do. If my mocking him is likely to offend you, don't read this please, I really don't want to deal with the ensuing flames.
Since Manticore had been destroyed Alec had come to love waking up in the morning. Before Max had freed him, freed them all, he'd snapped awake everyday, instantly alert and completely aware of his surroundings as the first note of reveille sounded. But now he took his time, it was like coming alive slowly, noticing the light streaming in the window first, then the heavy feeling of having his muscles completely relaxed, relearning his body and surroundings everyday. It was, more than booze, more than women, more than friends, the best part of freedom. Or it was until that morning, when waking up entwined with Max made everything else pale in comparison. He smirked, just a little, thinking to himself, only half in jest, that had they been naked, his life would have been complete.
They'd kissed and caressed the night before but had eventually blown out the candles and made their way back to his apartment where they'd collapsed onto the bed and kissed and caressed some more. But mostly they'd talked. Being from Manitcore gave them a lot of common ground. There were things they understood without words, things that they could relate to in each other on an almost instinctual level but in talking they'd begun to really get to know and understand each other.
Before then Max wouldn't have needed to explain why she hated ice and snow, he knew that she'd escaped in winter and thats when she'd lost the only family and home she'd ever known. But now Alec knew how she'd felt running barefoot towards freedom and the unknown world outside Manticore.
Before they'd talked Max would have guessed that playing the piano was bittersweet but now she knew just how Rachel's smile had made him feel alive and now heavily having her blood on his hands weighed on his heart.
They hadn't told each other everything yet but they'd told each other enough.
Alec was surprised to find that Max was still asleep in his arms. Even as he'd fought to keep his eyes open in the early morning hours, he'd been expecting her to take off as soon as he lost the battle to stay conscious. The fact that she'd not only stayed but had allowed herself to fall deeply asleep, wiped the smirk from his face and dragged a grin of pure joy out to replace it. He settled his head gingerly onto his pillow and relaxed, prepared to enjoy the sight of her sleeping in his arms as long as possible.
It was almost twenty minutes later that she started to stir and Alec realized that he'd probably never get tired of watching her. He felt himself tense minutely, convinced she'd explode as soon as she realized where she was. She froze, eyes still closed, and he tensed even more. But then she smiled, a lighthearted grin of happiness, that made the tension all just melt away. And then she said, "Good morning," in a voice still husky with sleep and he found himself shivering with pleasure.
Her eyes opened and as he watched her wake up fully, he realized he'd never seen her look so happy. He'd put that look there, he thought with a flash of masculine pride. It must have shown on his face because Max was soon rolling her eyes and laughing.
Max knew that if they'd ended up having sex, she probably would have bolted, there would have been plenty of self recrimination and doubt about allowing herself become another notch on his bed post. And if they hadn't talked as long or as honestly as they had, she might have run, doubting her appeal where he was concerned. But they hadn't had sex and they had talked and she couldn't find it in her to doubt him or his feelings for her. Added to that was the best and longest night's sleep she'd had since Mia put the whammy on her and Max was one happy revved up female. Which probably explained why, when she saw him there, cheeks slightly flush from their combined body heat, light brown hair tousled, gazing at her with those sleepy green gold eyes, and felt the need to kiss him, she gave in to it. And why when she felt the need to feel more of his bare flesh pressed against her, she slipped her hands under his shirt and allowed them to glide up over his firm golden chest until she'd slipped the cloth off of him. It was the heat in his gaze the spurred her on, making her pepper kisses down the side of his neck and down his chest. She paused at the waist band of his jeans, looking up at his across the expanse of bare flesh and the wonder in his eyes made her grin wickedly before she bent her head again and undid the button of his jeans with her teeth.
Alec couldn't help but gasp at the sight of Maxie, her head hovering low over his body. A short conversation passed silently between them, him asking her if she was sure with his eyes and her replying that she was with a wink and a grin and then her mouth was on him and all coherent thought was abandoned.
Three days had passed, and they both thought that the time moved much too quickly when they were lost in each other, but eventually their responsibility to Freak Nation was remembered. The total lack of food in Alec's apartment might have driven the point home but no one else needed to know that. They'd showered and dressed and had headed to command hand in hand.
As far as Max was concerned, she'd be more than happy to start every day the way this one had. Her body was tingling and sated and just a little sore, in a good way, but more importantly, Alec was by her side, and there was a feeling of security inside her that she'd never felt before because of his feelings for her.
As for Alec, he was disappointed. Here he was, walking hand in hand with Max, both of them lit up with the kind of glow that only really mind blowing sex could give, and not one person seemed surprised. First no one suspected him, now no one was surprised that it was him? He let out a small snort of annoyance and it set Max off. Her laughter rang out across the room and seemed to drag smiles out of everyone within hearing distance, even Mole.
"Alec, we both disappeared for three days. The walls of your apartment are about as thick as double ply paper towels. Of course they know it was you and they know exactly how I responded to the news." She told him between giggles and she looked so cute he couldn't seem to stop himself from leaning down to kiss her.
His timing couldn't have been worse because at that exact moment, Logan came striding in to the Command Center, hell bent on getting some answers.
Logan stalked into the room and he was furious, he'd been trying to get a hold of Max for three days and it seemed like there was a conspiracy to keep him away from her. Well, he wasn't going to let them jerk him around any longer. He had an important mission that he needed her help with and the window of opportunity was closing. He was so focused on the speech that he was mentally preparing that it took a moment for what he was seeing to sink in.
Max, his Max, his in house cat burglar and personal army of one, was kissing Alec, the happy go lucky sociopath that was younger, better looking, and had better hair than him but only because Manticore had played with his DNA. He felt like his heart was breaking.
"Max..." He said in a mournful tone, the kind that was perfectly calculated to induce maximum guilt. "...how could you do this to us? I told you that we would find the cure, that you just had to have faith." He knew it was working when she pulled back from Alec, her dark eyes full of shame. He eagerly accepted, although he hid it behind the facade of a heartbroken man, when she asked him to come into her office to talk in private, convinced that he'd be able to maneuver her into dropping that penniless, culture-less loser like a hot potato.
He felt his anger flare back to life when she gestured for him to lead the way to her office and she didn't follow directly behind him. He turned in time to see her cupping Alec's cheek and whispering softly while gazing into his eyes. Clearing his throat loudly, he fumed silently when she didn't even glance his way and he resisted the urge to tap his foot impatiently. Anger built to fury as Max stayed rooted in place until Alec jerked his head once in a reluctant nod. He hid it well though and she was soon following behind him, allowing him to take the lead again.
He opened the door and allowed her to enter first. When she seated herself behind her desk, he remained standing, keeping his head higher than hers in a classic and calculated move using body language designed to show himself as the superior.
Staying out of Max's office when she went in to have her private talk with Logan was one of the hardest things Alec had ever done. He had opened himself up to her, heart and soul, sharing his past, his guilt, his triumph and his joy with her and she'd done the same but he'd seen the look of shame on her face when Logan caught them kissing. He knew that the Ordinary held some sort of sway with her. She'd told him about the guilt that she felt over the incident that lead to Logan being shot and a small part of him was afraid that the other man would use that guilt to manipulate Max again and that he would lose her.
Unable to stop himself, he ignored Mole's smirk as he grabbed a file full of reports and took up a position near the stairs in front of Max's office. He wouldn't be able to hear what was said unless voices were raised but he had an undeniable urge to stay close to her.
Half an hour later Logan came storming out of Max's office, the death glare that he shot Alec's way would have set a lesser man on fire but the transgenic just smirked and ignored him. "Alec," he heard Max call and there was something small and weak sounding about it. He was in her office in a flash. One glance at the way her hands were clasped tightly and resting on her desk and her face, just a little pale and the slightest hint of a tremor running through her and he knew she was beginning a round of seizures. He turned around and poked his head out the door, spotting Mole he caught the big lizard man's eyes and motioned him over.
"I've got a stash of tryptophan in the top right hand drawer of my desk, grab it for me." He ordered tensely when Mole got close enough, speaking softly so that no one else would overhear. The last thing the people of Terminal City needed to see was their leader showing weakness in the middle of a siege, it was bad for morale. Clearly Mole agreed because his only response was a tense nod and he was off to do as he'd been told. Alec wasted no time in getting back to Max's side. He didn't bother to tell her that he'd sent Mole for the medication, he knew that she had heard him.
"What can I do Maxie?" He was asking what comfort he could give, because even with the tryptophan she was in for a rough ride, he wanted to know how he could make the inevitable easier for her.
"Don't leave me?" She asked and it hit him like a sledge hammer. His Maxie was always so strong, so bad ass that this vulnerable, scared Max was freaking him out. He reached out and lift her easily up into his arms, settling himself onto her chair, he cradled her in his lap. He began stroking her hair and murmuring, telling her that he wasn't going anyway where and that he wasn't going to let anything happen to her.
Three days later, when Max was finally feeling better and had been talked into spending girl time with OC, Gem, and CeCe, Alec finally got the chance to go have a "talk" with Logan. During the course of Max's seizures, she'd let slip a few of the details of her break up with Logan and what he'd heard, he hadn't liked. Turns out that Logan really was a spoiled rich boy at heart and when it became clear that he wasn't going to win Max back, he did his best to tear her down. He'd shown his true colors when he told her that Alec was welcome to her, that he didn't want to have to coddle a broken toy like her any longer and that she'd outlived her usefulness to him.
Alec was good at pretending to be a normal guy but all the pretending in the world couldn't erase the fact that he had been a soldier since birth and had been trained in the fine art of assassination. And it wasn't Alec the happy go lucky sociopath that was creeping into Joshua's house to confront Roller Boy, it was the trained, remorseless killer that Manticore had created.
He found the human asleep at his computer and had to fight the urge to end him then and there. He wanted to, badly, but he wasn't going to give Max an excuse to push him away. Not when a few threats would work as well as a quick bullet.
He pulled his gun out in one smooth move and placed it to the back of Logan's head. Too bad it was a wasted effort, Loggie slept right through it. Alec stood there for a moment, debating his options and finally, spun Logan's chair around. He pulled another chair in and settle down to wait.
When the other man began to stir a few hours later, Alec ejected the clip from his gun and thumbed the bullets out quickly, making a show of pushing them back into place for Logan's benefit. He took his time, never even looked at the other man, making it clear that as far as he was concerned Logan wasn't a threat to him, exoskeleton or not.
Logan opened his mouth and began to speak heatedly, indignant over the fact that Alec had broken into his home. His chastisements ground to a halt when the transgenic looked at him though. There was something about the other man's eyes that scared the hell out of him. He didn't know how he would have described it if someone had asked him, which was odd because Logan Cale had never been at a loss for words before. The other man's eyes were cold, but that wasn't was was instilling the fear, it wasn't the emptiness either.
Logan was suddenly reminded of a jungle cat. There was something primal in the look. It was the look of a predator that knew that it could kill its prey with easy. He'd attack or not, depending on Logan's reactions, he didn't care either way. The only hope that Logan had was that he'd keep him pacified enough to prevent him from deeming the expenditure of energy worthwhile.
"What are you doing here Alec?" He asked abruptly. "Does Max know that you're here?" He knew bringing Max into it was a bad idea the second he said it, the coldness and emptiness drained from Alec's eyes and they were suddenly flooded with rage.
"You said some things, Logan, when you talked to Max." He began, pushing the last bullet into place.
His quiet tone immediately set Logan on the defensive, all thoughts of keeping Alec pacified were forgotten in the wake of the indignation he felt. "What, did poor little Maxie have to run to you and tattle on me because she was too afraid to match wits with me herself. Asha told me all about the conversation the two of you had, its not like you don't think she's a broken toy too." The sound of the clip sliding home into the gun was enough to knock some sense back into him.
"Oh, thats not the part that I object too Logan. I'm a broken toy too. We all are, everyone that Manticore ever created is broken, but in Terminal City, at least we're broken together. No, what I object to Logan, is the fact that you deliberately set out to hurt one of mine. Max is mine. Actually, Max is ours, Max belongs to us, with us, in Terminal City and we belong to her and when you set out to hurt one of ours, we tend to want to hurt you back. You're lucky really, that I won the coin toss. I'll just shoot you after all, Joshua would have bent you in half. Mole voted to string you up like a pinata and charge a couple bucks for a turn whacking you with a stick." Alec grinned at Logan and there was nothing humorous about the expression at all, "I almost let Mole win when I heard that you know?" He told the older man conspiratorially, "Cuz it just sounded like so damn much fun."
There was nothing Logan could do but sputter at that point. He'd never best Alec in a fight, his gun was too far away, he'd never reach it in time. The very idea that he might die at the hands of this less than human screw up was enough to disgust him. "Max will never forgive you if you hurt me." He said in desperation.
"Come on Wheels, if Max cared, she wouldn't have told me what was said. She knew what would happen if I found out the details of your conversation. But you're right, I'm not going to kill you today."
Logan grinned in relief, all he needed was to walk away from this encounter alive and he could work out a plan to make the X5 pay.
"But alive and intact are two different things." Alec continued and found himself thanking Manticore for the ability to hide his emotions because the way the other man paled and started quaking was almost too funny for words. He lifted his arm, training the gun on Logan and then dialed his cell phone with the other hand. "Its time, do it."
The door opened and Dix, Luke, and a couple other members of the Terminal City tech team hurried in. Logan was moved unceremoniously out of the way and they set to work. They broke though all of his file encryptions and protection programs within minutes. Anything and everything connected to Manticore, Terminal City, White, the Breeding Cult, Max, or just happened to look interesting was downloaded onto a thumb drive and wiped clean from the system. Every piece of paper, every file, every book was methodically gone over with a fine tooth comb as well, pertinent items boxed up and ready to take back to TC. Within an hour they had it all, every scrap of intel Logan had gather over the years and everyone but Luke and Alec left to return home.
That was when Luke took a small black box out of his coat pocket and Logan paled further at the sight of it. A powerful electro magnet, it let out a deep thrumming noise when it was turned on and Logan began to cry. His computer system, every electronic devise in the house, had just been wiped out in his very own mini pulse.
"When I said intact, I never said you were the thing I intended to take apart. Be very careful Roller Boy. This was me on my best behavior. You really don't want to make me angry." Alec said over his shoulder as he and Luke headed for the door.
Logan remained seated long after they'd left, trying to wrap his head around the fact that he, Logan Cale, had lost the girl and his life's work in one fell swoop.
For now anyway. I've got an idea for a sequel but I don't know if it'll get written or not.