Disclaimer: Still don't own Dark Angel.

A/N: Not really a new story, just following the example of collecting some unconnected snippets that are strewn here in the BBWW-forum and at LJ. This one was a substitute birthday bit for Lisa0316.

Unbetaed, so if you find any mistakes please tell me.

xxxxxxxx

Escape and Arrival

The first time Max crashed through a window, curled up into a ball colliding with Manticore's prison bars, her only thought was to escape and never look back.

In the frozen winter breeze the burning bruises on her back felt like triumph, like freedom and victory and all the other emotions forbidden to them until now. It was everything but the dull aches after a day of drill and exercise or the stinging pain, sharpened by helpless fear, when the doctors poked them with their needles.

The powdery snow underneath her feet tingled like a promise of the things to come, every step taking her away further from the icy floor of their dormitories.

They were free, had broken the limits taken as natural for all their life and now the world outside was waiting for them, glorious and exciting.

xxxxxx

The second time Max crashed through a window, head first like a diver cutting through the black sky, it felt as if she was leaving behind something important.

With calm certainty she knew that it wasn't just the disappointment over abanoning the little figure of Bast, that it had something to do with the guy up there, Eyes Only. It was as if she had found an equal, somebody who could read her with one look, who wouldn't be scared off by her origins. Never before somebody had given her a relieved smile after witnessing her abilities, disregarding the gun pointed at her as he started to flirt with reckless nonchalance.

It was this odd lack of hostility, the way he addressed her as if they'd just met at an art exhibition that after a life of fear and hiding stirred a strange hope in Max.

Against reason and experience she wanted to stay and get tangled in his game of challenging banter and appraising looks… to just ignore the knocked-out bodyguard, his wife and child and to give in to that crazy chemistry between them.

But she could hear the angry shouts of the building security, unlike him eager to arrest her, and so she jumped, falling through the soothing night air to land with catlike security.

With a strange yearning that scared her more than her spectacular escape, Max gazed up at the tall silhouette in the broken window high above her, his expression wide-eyed and fascinated, the cool wind tousling his hair.

As he seemed to fight the vertigo threatening to soak him down, she could see his concerned shock yield to the relief at not seeing her body lying down there, smashed and broken. It was oddly unsettling how he really seemed to care about her being alive, about the thief who had invaded his safety. Hating herself for this short second of hesitation, she wondered what kind of a person he was, whether it was this unbiased empathy that made him risk his life with Eyes Only.

With that feeling of reluctant necessity she remembered from abandoning her siblings, Max jumped over the railing onto the next roof, reminding herself that it were unguarded moments like this that one day would cost her freedom.

Because running away was the only option life had for her.