Title : Anything
Author : CherryWolf713 a.k.a. Melissa
Disclaimer : Sadly, I don't own DA or anything like it, so please don't sue - trust me, it's not worth the lawyer fees...
Summary : A night out on the prowl leads Max to a slow revelation...
Pairing : Max/Alec...duh...
Status : Complete
The music was acceptable, if not a bit much for her taste, but she didn't waver from her stride, heading slowly but determinedly to the make-shift bar. Bright, surprised purple eyes greeted her, their shock wearing off into polite acknowledgment after a long beat.
"To what do we owe this honor?" a rich tenor voice asked, sparkling white skin, almost translucent, tightening around their smile.
"Whiskey, straight," was all she replied. The tall transhuman nodded and turned, their long black hair contrasting against the deathly pale skin. She waited with baited breath, forcing a natural shrug through her shoulders, relaxing the tense muscles with force. The darkened liquor's scent entranced her senses and she took the offered tumbler, staring at the answers that seemed concealed inside the glass. Turning her back on the bar, she leaned against the wooden slate, refusing to sit down.
She could feel the varied glances in her direction; some shocked, some curious, some polite, some not so much. The amber liquid drew her attention once more and she lifted the glass, taking a short sip, her lips clinging to the rim a beat longer before she deftly slid the tumbler away, twirling it in her hand absent-mindly as she finally looked up to meet a few of those infuriating looks. It wasn't the looks that irked her, necessarily.
It was the reason behind those looks.
People talked, and the same could be said of transgenics and transhumans. Rumors were bound to be alive and thriving in a place as small and confined as Terminal City; it was human nature to look upon and judge those around yourself. And there was still human DNA in every one of them, no matter what the other half was. It wasn't heard of, what she was; no one in the history of Manticore had tried to do what she was succeeding at.
Being a strong, independent woman wasn't her downfall.
It was being a strong, independent unmated female was.
She was their ruler, their mayor and governor and president all rolled into one; she was their C.O. She was strong and fast and intelligent; she knew how to fight and evade - she could plan and scheme and get anything and everything they needed and wanted for their small community. She was a Alpha female.
But it was never enough...for them or for her.
Rules of the jungle were as alive and as well as the rumor mill seemed to be nowadays. Manticore may have given them feline DNA to enhance their hearing, their sight, their reflexes and speed, but she wasn't quite sure if those damnable scientist and doctors and government-board members really understood what else would come from the unstable cocktail : heightened smell receptors, territorial tendacies, pairings, mating.
And jungle law demanded that a strong Alpha female should have an equally - if not more - male Alpha at her side.
It didn't matter that she had the support of the top Alpha male in her court; it only seemed to matter that he wasn't hers, that his teeth imprint was nowhere on her skin, nor hers on his. Her general public was unhappy with how she - and it also seemed how her SIC - were handling things. It didn't seem to matter to them that she was an insightful and qualified leader, that she had finally relented and let go of her biggest hindrance, Logan Cale, and was striving to convince them that she was in this, 100-percent.
It was un-natural for her to be alone in all this, they were saying. She wasn't the most Alpha X-5 out there, male or female. Some were more sympathetic about it, stating they didn't want their leader to bare the burden all alone, while others were less caring, bringing up her past as an '09er' and demanding someone else hold the reigns too; someone who wasn't known to run in the face of adversity. But through it all, the general census was the same : she shouldn't be alone, she needed a mate.
Max Guevera was starting to hate that word.
But during nights like these, when the only thing she wanted comfort from was bitter to the taste and burned down her throat, she agreed. She didn't need the whiskey to be reminded that it was lonely at the top. But she wasn't one to turn up her nose and snub all those that were indeed in her corner, transgenic, transhuman, or ordinary.
Original Cindy was her true sister, even if they didn't share an ounce of blood or DNA. She had been by her side since day one and never strayed once, not even when faced with the truth of Manticore and what her 'boo' was indeed was. Sketchy, never one to rock the boat that was his simple life, even came clean from his distrust over transgenics and transhumans alike, staying true to his friendship with her; hell, even Normal had somehow ended up on her side, letting her know he'd keep a place for her at Jam Pony for when everything died down.
She had the benefit of more than one of her public, starting with the few she had met before becoming CO, including Gem and Dalton - both of whom stood by her side more than once. Then there was Joshua, her most energetic and upbeat friend; the Big Fella never blinked an eye or stepped down from the assistance of his CO and SIC. His and, surprisingly, Mole's support really helped with the transhumans.
Then there was Alec. He was her partner in crime, her sidekick, her SIC. No matter how rocky their relationship had been in the beginning, no matter how many times she had kicked him to the curb and called him a 'loser', and a 'failure', or a 'screw-up', he had stayed right by her side. He let her bitchiness slide, her un-reliable mood swings, her hostile right hooks - he took it all in stride and had become her most loyal and unflinching supporter.
And lastly there was Logan Cale, Mr. 'Eyes Only', and her almost-love. He had been there waiting through it all : when she didn't trust him in the beginning, when he thought she was dead, when it turned out Manticore had implanted her with that damn virus, when she broke his heart and betrayed his trust by letting him believe she was skirting around with Alec. He had took all that in and still stayed around; even when she had finally confessed that her relationship with Alec wasn't sexual.
But it soon became obvious - through whispers behind her back and more up front ones from her closest confidants - that Logan and hers 'relationship' wasn't healthy; for herself, for him, or for her position in TC. She had to let him go. It had been one of the hardest things to do in her life but in the end, she was able to convince him to let her run TC without his interference; he no longer came to the bi-weekly meetings nor would stay inside the fences for days at time.
In the end Logan was a man of his word and backed off, letting her have free run again; of her people and her heart.
But for once, it wasn't that strained relationship that drove her to the whiskey. Nor was it the other likely option of a failed-opt or a more devastating cloak of a loss of someone near and dear to them. No...tonight this was all about her.
Her burdens, her skeletons, her distance, her loneliness.
She didn't care for the claiming, nor what everyone seemed to think was needed of her to successfully run Terminal City; she was a good leader and she was well aware of it and that was enough for her most days. But she was lonely. And while she did indeed not want a mate, she wasn't above the idea of wanting some kind of comfort from the male persuasion. And what got to her the most was that everyone seemed to notice and realize this small fact.
Case in point, she suddenly felt the air shift around her as she stared around the small, run-down version of a bar that had sprung up in TC; she could smell him before he waltzed up the bar, his usual swagger there and prominent in the way he moved his agile body. She never once wavered from her slow sipping of the amber liquor or the seemingly casual flicker of her eyes over the male X-5's nearby.
He shared a few choice words with the violet-eyed bartended before sighing deeply and, bringing his own tumbler filled with the bitter liquid, sauntered the last few feet to her, leaning lazily on his elbow. His body was facing hers, his chest nearly pressing up against her left arm as it braced her against the bar also.
"Enjoying the scenery?" he asked, taking a small sip from his glass, his hazel-green eyes not even looking in her direction.
Max shrugged then, her mind far from their conversation as she took in everything she knew about the transgenics milling about; comparing faces, bodies, and general information that she was aware of.
"You could say that." A head of dark hair caught her attention and she focused on it, looking the male up and down.
Alec nodded his head a few times before stating, "his name is Space."
"Excuse me?" Max asked, eyeing her friend finally.
"Space," he repeated, giving her a short look before turning back to the long-haired transgenic she had been looking out, allowing her to do so also. "I asked him once why the name, and he so gently implied that it's what he likes." Thinking about it for a beat, Alec mused, "you two might actually get along..."
Scoffing, Max took a sip of her whiskey and realized she was running low before letting her eyes fall from the brown-haired X-5 she had been inspecting.
"I don't know what you're babbling on 'bout," she told Alec, letting her gaze swing casually to the right, taking in a tall, dark-haired male in the corner. He seemed older, most likely one of the first X-5's developed, maybe even a X-4.
"Ah...you would fancy the older ones, wouldn't ya?"
Sucking on her tongue, Max ignored his comment and continued to analyze her target. Clearly handsome, muscles in all the right places, penetrating eyes, and a aura around him that clearly stated he was there, taking up his surroundings.
"That, my dear delusional comrade, is Rife."
"Rife..." Max played with the name, wrapping it around her tongue.
Giving Max a knowing look, Alex continued, "short for riffle. Guy loves him some firepower and ammo; he's taken quite the liking to Mole." When Max thinned her lips and looked away from the older male, he laughed slightly. "Thought that might throw a little kink into ya..." Smirking, Alec leaned in a little closer and told her, his voice deeper, "though not in the good way..."
Annoyed, Max sent the usual glare at her friend, the same look that never had worked in the first place with him, and asked smartly, "and you're here, again, why?"
"Aw, come on Maxie," he coaxed, sending a charming smile her way. He still hadn't moved back, his chest now actually touching her bare upper arm. "As your Second-In-Command, I should have a say in your man of the night."
"You're delusional," was all she replied with.
"Fine. As your best friend then."
Shocked by his casual admission, Max glanced at him from the corner of her eye, but he had already looked away, searching the crowd once more. Piking up his hand with the glass tumbler in it, Alec pointed to his left, urging Max to follow with her own gaze.
"His name is Taz-"
"Like the cartoon?" Max asked, her voice rising in interest.
Obviously not liking being interrupted, Alec answered with an annoyed voice, "yes."
Looking over the blonde hair, boyish eyes and lean body, Max cocked her head to the side slightly. "He's not bad..."
"You wouldn't like him."
"How do you know?" Max asked him, her voice rising again, though this time in mock-anger. It suddenly dawned on her that it seemed all her anger towards him was now fake, hardly ever justified anymore as real.
Taking a rather long drink from his glass, Alec swallowed before stating plainly, "he's a player-playa. Like's 'em hot and sweaty then dips right out. You two wouldn't have nothin' in common."
Sending her friend a disbelieving look, Max told him in a mocking tone, "no, I can't see how I would have anything in common with anyone like that."
"Please," Alec told her, getting slightly defensive now. "I've mended my tom-cat ways, and you know it."
"Whatever," she grumbled, sipping the last drop of whisky out of her glass.
If she had to be some-what honest with herself, Max would adheed and agree. Alec had indeed come a long way from his 'Pretty Boy' ways. Granted, yes, he was still pretty, but now it was different somehow, more genuine if you could even call it that. He still screamed sex appeal and seduction, still had that cocky swagger and charming smile that could melt hearts faster than a flaming torch, but now it was almost as if he came to a conclusion to be more responsible about it.
And if Max had to be completely honest with herself, she would acknowledge how much more appealing it made him in her eyes.
Refusing to let her thoughts linger, Max straightened her back some but didn't come out of her backwards lean completely, her arm brushing up against the warm and soft material of Alec's shirt. "What about him?" she questioned, nodding her head toward a beefy, muscle enclosed battle model. "What's his deal?"
Clearing his throat, Alec eyed the large X-5. "You don't want him."
"I didn't ask if I'd want him," Max pointed out.
"Fine," Alec snapped, standing up now. "He's X-5 461; no name, just a designation. It's how he likes it. He'd use your position for his benefit and take over, plan and simple," he finished up harshly, then turned his back on her and leaned his elbows onto the bar this time, looking down to stare at his shot.
"What does that mean?" Max asked after a long minute, not sure how to take his reaction.
Scoffing, Alec shook his head. "I'm not stupid Max, so quite acting like you think I am; it's not very becoming of you."
Even more confused, she just stared at the side of his head, not being able to see his eyes. "Alec..."
"How's the whiskey?" he asked instead, his voice mocking.
Biting the inside of her cheek, Max took in a deep breath through her nose, the all-too-familiar smell of him confirming her thoughts that they had been spending way too much time together recently; he knew her too well for comfort.
"You're fault..." she finally mumbled, sitting the tumbler down on the counter as she took a seat beside him. Alec had been the one to show up at her apartment that night, a gallon of whiskey in tow, to help them 'handle' the death of a young X-6 who had been brutally beaten by a familiar. She had let him help her drown her sorrow and guilt with the amber poison, the bitter sting and burn the only comfort she had found that night.
Alec cocked an eyebrow, giving in to her statement. He finished off his drink then sat it down also, telling her finally, "you need a mate to stand at your side, not in front of you or behind you."
A flash of Alec at her side, his shoulder braced up against hers, flew past Max's eyes and she swallowed before sniffing, making her eyes focus on the glass she had started to twirl in her fingers.
"I don't even really know why I came here tonight; I don't need a mate," she admitted finally.
Max took in her friend's tone, almost actually hearing the second, unspoken part of that statement : but it doesn't mean you don't want one.
"You don't want a mate either, Alec," Max whispered finally.
"Nope...why would I?" he asked in a defeated voice.
Max once more found herself speechless and just licked her lips, hating the feeling his dejected voice made spring to life in her stomach.
"Screw what they say Maxie...you don't need anyone to help you run this dump; never have." His shoulders slumped some at his confessions, making him look lonelier than she had felt earlier.
But I do - I need you, she thought sadly, still staring at the bar top. Everything she had gotten done, everything she had made happen only came to be because Alec had helped make it happen. If she was the last great hope for her people, then Alec was her last great hope.
She suddenly felt rather than saw Alec move, his back tensing as he placed a few bills down on the wood - more than enough to cover both of their shots, she was sure; as this was his ritual, paying for her drinks - and starting to stand.
"Thank you," Max told him impulsively, her voice low.
When he finally looked in her direction, Alec's face was composed but his eyes let her know he understood that her appreciation wasn't just for tonight.
"Sure, Max. Anything for a friend."
A/N : Ok, so, if anyone wants some visual's of all my male X5's, check out my bio for the link to my homepage. I personally chose some of my fave hottie actors to help ya guys see what me and Max were seeing! LoL
As always, I'd love to know what you think - I'm telling you, that button wants to be pushed, I can hear it begging you... ;D
Thanks for reading!