Disclaimer: Don't own Dark Angel, James Cameron and unfortunately FOX does.
She used to blame Logan Cale. It was easy to assign blame to the ordinary that Zack ranted about even as he forgot his own little sister was in all that fighting for justice insanity as well. Ten years and nothing then with the space of a year- Brin and Zack were captured- Max, Tinga and Ben were dead and Manticore had never been harder on their tails. The man was a liability.
Then she had met him. Logan Cale may be many things but liability was not one of them. Asset- the man's hack had saved her own ass in San Francisco. Waiting the bar as the broadcast came- ten minutes later and Lydecker's men had swarmed the place. Back then she had seen it as Cale getting Eyes Only to cover his ass, now she saw it as what it was. Damage control.
Max. For ten years guilt had plagued her that she had left her sister to drown or be dragged back into hell. Her nightmares- with what sleep she did need the worst were not watching Eva fall again and again. Or even the Manticore docs playing Mengele. It was leaving Maxie behind.
Then after the failed attempt to take down Manticore, she went to Seattle… seeking her revenge and finding a broken Cale. Never have it be more accurately said that Manticore takes everyone who matters to a person and then leaves you on the floor crying and broken.
Nobody was there to help him, content to leave him to swirl the drain. But she had owed him and the universe doesn't treat you kindly if you shaft the people who help you. Besides she was into restoring America after all. So she helped him, and found that he was nothing like the man Zack painted. And as she figured out more and more over what had really happened in Seattle her bitterness grew towards her dead sister. Lydecker never would have found out what they looked like if Max hadn't shown him- would have led Zack to sacrifice himself. That had been how Lydecker had torn Tinga's family apart.
Max wasn't here to tell Case, a sweet innocent kid that his Mommy was never coming home. Or Tinga's husband. She went with him to Canada, claiming she needed to meet a potential recruit for the S1W. As Asha watched Charlie Smith lose the strength in his legs, watch a grown man break- it was hard to tell at that moment who she hated more- Renfro and Manticore or Max.
Asha never mentioned once who she was, he knew she was from San Francisco- that she had been involved with the S1W for awhile. She hadn't known he was Eyes Only before even with the times Asha had met him- if Zack is anything but keeping his cards to himself and she pretended she hadn't a clue. Asha tried to warn him from going after Manticore, short brief but nothing seemed to get through his head. He wanted them gone and nobody could say anything to stop him.
Not long before her 'dead' sister returned when Logan was being less emotional over the whole deal he mentioned the others, not a thing on their location just worrying about keeping them out of Renfro's hands. He mentioned Jondy and Asha had felt nothing. That's what her family called her back then; it was what Zack insisted on calling Asha every time they spoke despite her protests. But she had not been Jondy in a long time- maybe because it was a reminder of her past of just maybe because Asha didn't feel like being that girl anymore. Jondy was a child exploited by a government agency, a child with blood on her hands.
At first Asha hadn't known Max was back, and she had entered Logan's apartment to find a man who looked just like Ben about to kill her friend.
She pulled her gun as he put his piece on the ground. Then she let him take her own. Sounded stupid, but Asha would have rather have a bullet through her head than Manticore figure out who she was. Bartenders left all the time where she used to work- Manticore couldn't be sure which one she was. But before Asha had to make that call between her life and her secret he left.
Asha had seen the cable hack, and rushed right there planning to tell Logan everything. Whatever Manticore had infected him with- no hospital would be able to help. Then she showed up, Max alive. For a moment Asha had lost her voice, for a moment she was going to tell her who she was. Then she stopped herself. Max explained what had happened and all she could do was watch as Asha gave Logan the antigen. Manticore's virus was a new low, on a history of all time lows. Not that she hadn't developed feelings for Logan or didn't have a problem with Max. Just Asha was never the bitch who stood in the way like that, you know?
Asha said welcome back, pretending like it was nothing and not the mix of joy and disgust she truly felt felt. Asha couldn't tell Max who she was; she didn't trust her sister anymore. Asha loved her sister, but Max would get her killed. So Asha threw herself into her work, and played a deception that would have made Lydecker proud. And made Asha feel like dirt.
Asha Barlowe wasn't the lie. In her mind, she was Asha. But she was a transgenic, and X5 not the human she pretended to be. The second Zack reappeared on the scene Asha stayed low. If Zack saw her, he'd know who she was, and then she'd have to leave Seattle. When that programming kicked in and Max made her choice to let Zack go, it broke Asha's heart to agree with her. It wasn't just Eyes Only Manticore in likelihood programmed him against. As he and that farmer walked out of the hospital Asha watched silently, tears slipping down her face.
One night, Asha had gone through a bad patch of seizures and to top it off she got drunk. If an X5 drinks enough when their bodies warn out they are going to get smashed. Asha was just lucky she hadn't stand up on a table and sing or tell Alec when he asked her to come home with him she hadn't said that she had genetically engineered stamina in the bed. Alec didn't take advantage of her when she passed out- good thing too- chances were in the middle of ripping her clothes off he would have seen her barcode.
Her brother's twin Alec had to be Asha's biggest regret. She didn't mean to push Alec away, hell Asha could have told him right there when he told her to 'beat it' what she was. But Asha had pushed herself into a corner and she had to stay in it, because that's the way it goes. Asha could like him- heck she could more than like him…one moment she wanted Logan and then Alec… could she be anymore of head case? Relationships don't work. Look at Max and Logan, it's a train wreck that Max had the lack of grace to end by saying she and Alec were now together. Asha had priorities- S1W, and keeping free and alive.
It's why Asha had to leave Seattle. It was wearing her down, and she was not really a part of any of Max's world. So here Asha was packing what stuff she wanted to take, somehow the task is painful. It shouldn't be- she had to leave all kinds of people before and this time she got to keep the stuff she wanted. Why should this be different?
A knock on the door broke Asha from her musing and she opened the door, staring at Alec who looked uncomfortable. "Hey Asha"
"What do you want?" Asha asked looking at him as she returned to where she had been ditching her kitchenware into the trash.
Alec looked at his feet and then at her. "You aren't leaving because of…"
"Dream on" Asha replied almost laughing, not really much one for the outright sarcasm would have Max used. She could see Alec looked a little relieved- sometimes his lines for women were really bad. Asha wished she could blame that on Manticore training, but that's just an inherent skill of any guy.
"No there's just a pretty serious situation going on in Atlanta- with the national attention on you guys the government there has pretty much dropped any pretense of looking after their people- S1W is going to handle the situation" Trying to pull the broken zipper closed, Asha looked at him."So if that was all…?" she said turning her attention back to the suitcase mentally cursing the fact the damn thing wouldn't just close.
The occasional bane of her sister's existence, Alec nodded. "That was it" An obvious lie but Asha let it drop. "Is there anything I can help you with?"
Distracted, Asha shook her head. "Just this stuff and the junk in the bathroom" She looked up as Alec went into her room. "Alec" she snapped. Couldn't he be like the majority of the males and not want to help? She stood up and followed almost at a small running step.
Alec frowned as he opened her cabinet before Asha could reach him. He reached and pulled out a small bottle. "Tryptophan?" Alec looked confused and Asha felt herself tense.
"It's for somebody else, I was going to drop it off on my way- it's easier for an ordinary to slip past with their stuff right?" The explanation seemed to take some on that confusion away and Asha relaxed slightly and reached for the bottle. Alec grabbed her arm and twisted behind her back pushing her into the wall. "Get off me!" yelled Asha and Alec frowned and pulled down her collar suddenly letting her go.
Taking advantage of his lapse Asha took the bottle and went out into the main area and sat on top of the half open suitcase. She heard Alec enter the room and she swallowed. "Listen, it wasn't about you alright?" she said quietly.
Alec crossed his arms. "You're X5 210- what so you get off on lying to everyone, not to mention your sister? " That hurt.
Asha shook her head. "You have no idea, Alec-"she took a moment, and looked him right in the eyes. "Did I lie about who I was- not exactly, I don't consider myself 210 or Jondy- I just didn't say what I was and that is 'all' I ever lied about" She leaned back. " Why didn't I tell Max, that's easy- I think I'd be dead- I love her but her actions put her family- the one she claims means more to her than anything else through hell- I care about my sister but she can not know who I am for her safety and for my own"
"Why shouldn't I tell her Asha or whatever your name is" Alec's mouth tightened. " Why shouldn't I tell the whole damn city that a leader on the S1W freedom fighters is an X5, and an 09 escapee to boot cause that's a hell of a resume- it may have just gotten transgenics to trust you faster"
It took a moment for Asha to answer and she got up and stared out the window starring at the night skyline. "Because one day Manticore's coming back" Asha bit her lip and turned to Alec. "We didn't get Lydecker, we didn't get the Committee- this whole cult thing and everyone knowing about us will blow over and when that happens that's when they'll make their grand old re-entrance- I mean they need us to stop the cult so if the public still has a problem they can say these things are much better off controlled by us so we can ensure a better country for you"
Alec looked at her. "You really think it's inevitable?" he asked, almost as if she was stupid like that would be a defense mechanism against what would happen.
"Yes" Asha spoke bitterly. "It's the way this broken country works and when that happens I would rather make it hard for them to find me"
"If you truly believe that they will be back- maybe we should have all stayed in cages- what's the point?"
Crossing the room Asha stopped inches from him, her hand on his face. "Don't ever think that Alec- for all of my sister's mistakes getting everyone out- letting them see why being free this dirty , disgusting god forsaken world is so importantly is not one of them" She moved her hand away. "I'm sorry for what they put you though because of us"
"You should be" Alec said, tense.
"My twin died in the tank five months before the escape" Asha said coolly. Hitting Alec felt like a good idea at the moment. She kissed him instead. "Good bye Alec" she said, opening the door.
Alec seemed reluctant but she could tell the joking demeanor he had now, was forced. "Can't we have angry sex first?"
"Sorry Alec- should have taken advantage of me when you had the chance" Asha smiled and then her smile turned regretful, saddened. "If I did that, I'd have to stay and then I just might get you killed"
He walked out the door and then paused. "I'll keep your secret Asha but she should know" Alec said looking at her briefly and then he grinned like the devil, "I hope I see you again- you still get heat cycles - next one just call-" Asha didn't say another word; she just closed the door and smiled as he continued to talk as he moved away from the door. He was right… about something at least.
Max frowned, putting down the hot pot of water. "Asha?" She looked at the blonde woman. "What are you doing here- I thought you were leaving?" she asked without any malice. Had something…. "Is Logan okay?"
"Yes, of course" Asha replied and the line of her lips were set, a feeling of familiarity coursing through Max at that moment. "I'm still leaving but there's something I have to tell you first"
The point of this fic was more of filler and who I think ultimately Asha was. Leaving off just before she told Max was the way I felt it should end- I will do a answer to this one shot if people liked it enough to Max's reaction.