Six – Monsoon Perspective
Max knew she shouldn't leave TC in her condition, but she needed some distance, some space, she needed the Space Needle. Making her way slowly through the sewers, Max decided she also needed something to take the edge off the burning agony that her ankle had become. Detouring slightly, she popped out of the sewers in a dark alley near a bar she'd made deliveries to a few times that's in the same sector as the Needle. Creeping her way toward the bar, Max prayed to the blue lady that the door to the back store room would be open as she'd seen it on other occasions.
It seemed it wasn't too much for Max to ask for, as she reached the alley where the bar was and finds that, yes, the store room door was open and blessedly unattended. Quickly swiping as many bottles of bourbon as she could carry, Max made her way back out into the storm. Deciding that hobbling to the Needle on her bad ankle in a torrential downpour was not her idea of fun, Max spotted an El Camino that looked like it might run, not that far from the alley entrance. Checking her surroundings, she put her elbow through the passenger window and made short work of hotwiring her borrowed ride.
Pulling up to the Needle, Max pulled the car around near the dumpsters in the back hoping that by leaving it semi-out of the way it will still be there when she came back down. Grabbing her bourbon and the ratty blanket covering the seat of the El Camino, she began the slow, painful process of dragging her bruised and battered body up the stairs to the observation deck.
It was only early evening, but the storm clouds were blanketing the sky black. Max thought with satisfaction that at least she'd be able to savor the horrifically bad mood she was now in. Worse than her throbbing ankle, smarting tailbone, or tender ribs was the strangely choked feeling Max had in her chest when she thought of the look on Alec's face as she'd left him lying on the floor after telling him she was done with him. She didn't understand why she should feel badly about what she'd said; after all he'd said some pretty nasty things himself in the heat of the fight. And she definitely didn't feel at all badly about having used his junk against him again. It may have been a dirty move, but a girl's gotta' do what a girl's gotta' do to win. And that dirty move had definitely been the only way she was going to win against Alec, she admitted with a snarl. Bastard's been holding out on me all this time, she thought as she slugged back another belt of the sweet whiskey, enjoying the burn as it distracted her momentarily from the pain elsewhere in her body.
Max brooded and pouted about Alec holding back on her in fights for a while longer, but by the time she'd finished her second bottle of bourbon she realized that on some level she'd known it all along. Not only did he have ten years of training and a significant amount of body mass on her, but all the times they'd fought in the past she'd either had help, fought dirty, or she'd won so quickly she should have realized that he let her. Now that she'd accepted the fact that Alec had always held back with her, Max was forced to move on to the next step in the equation and ask herself why. Not being particularly sure she wanted an answer to that question, Max temporarily distracted herself by reaching out to her stash, twisting the cap off her third bottle, and downing about a quarter of the contents in one go. Yeah for Manticore, Max thought, no gag reflex is just one more thing they got right in their genetically engineered killing machines.
She may not have a gag reflex, Max realized, but Alec had certainly choked in their fight when he'd seen the blood flow from her split lip. The holding back, the hesitancy to hurt her, Alec cared for her. Amused by the simplicity with which that realization came to her, Max found herself laughing uncontrollably, great guffawing belly laughs that had her gasping for breath and clutching the bottle. Once she finally had herself under control again, she slugged back another healthy portion of the bottle's contents and let the temporary burn numb her mind for another moment.
As her mind resurfaced she assessed her new situation. So Alec cared for her on some level; cared for her enough that he didn't want to hurt her. How deep the care went and what exactly it meant, Max had no idea. She figured Alec probably didn't either, and she thought she was pretty okay with leaving that whole can of worms unopened for now. After all she'd just finally managed to mostly kick Logan to the curb, she didn't want to even think about getting into it with anyone else yet.
At the thought of Logan she let out another snarl and slugged back more bourbon. What the hell was she going to do about that idiot and his refusal to leave TC? As her thoughts started to spiral down into despair over her failed relationship and the way in which she'd been blinded by Logan, Max sharply pulled herself up and slammed back another belt of bourbon to stop herself. First things first, she told herself. Finish thinking through the Alec and TC situation, then figure out the bitch of a Logan dealio.
So, Alec didn't want to hurt her, which meant he definitely didn't want to mutiny against her. Again on some level, Max realized, she'd know this all along too. While she wasn't pleased about the way Alec had gone about things, and definitely not that he'd done it in front of Logan, she realized that OC was right, what he'd done had been necessary to convince the rest of the transgenics to stay in TC. Besides everyone would know that she'd left him lying in a heap on the gym floor for his insubordination, so the problem should take care of itself really.
That still left the little matter of her having told Alec she was done with him, and the crushing blow she'd delivered to his balls. While she'd originally had herself convinced that she didn't feel badly about any of those things, tiny twinges of guilt were starting to make themselves known as she polished off her third bottle of bourbon in about an hour. She'd have to make it up to him somehow so he'd stay and help her with TC. She definitely needed his help, Max realized, after all he knew most of the transgenics in TC personally. Plus all his black market contacts were bound to come in handy with getting supplies into the besieged city.
Yeah, she needed Alec, but how to make it up to him without ruining the cred she'd just built up by leaving him in agony on the gym floor? Getting up to stretch her stiffening muscles, Max twisted the cap off her fourth bottle of bourbon and headed to the glassless window frame of the observation deck. Staring out into the storm, Max let her mind wander as she sipped on the sweet whiskey. With each burn down her throat another idea of how to make it up to Alec would float in and out of her head. After fifteen minutes or so, she finally grabbed onto what seemed like the best idea to float by. Max knew Alec's love of television, didn't understand it but knew it. Having found himself suddenly cooped up, she refused to think caged, in TC he wouldn't have his precious boob tube, so she'd get him the T.V. from his old apartment.
Yeah, she could drive the El Camino up to the edge of the Space Needle's sector, then sneak and creep into the next sector over where Alec's place was, grab his T.V. and maybe a bag of his clothes and hit the sewers to TC in the next sector over. She'd have to wait until morning, though, Max realized, as she currently wasn't in any shape to be schlepping anything anywhere. So she could forgive Alec for the mutiny bit and fucking up things with Logan because she'd mostly taken her frustration out with beating him, and Alec would forgive her when she got him his T.V. Okay, so one problem worked through, and it only took me four bottles of bourbon, Max thought with a snort.
That left her five bottles of bourbon to work through the Logan issue, she grimly hoped it was enough as she turned back inside the Needle and grabbed for her fifth bottle. It was midnight by the time Max finally tossed back the last of the bourbon and fell into a drunken slumber. X5 metabolism or not, nine bottles of bourbon was bound to knock a girl on her ass. Max had mostly managed to muddle her way through the Logan mess before passing out. She'd realized she'd been an idiot for never seeing that he was using her, that she'd been a fool for convincing herself that just because he hadn't run in fear from knowing what she was that he loved her, that she'd been desperate to have something meaningful in her life and had created a fairy tale out of Logan Cale. Having come to terms with all those realizations didn't really ease the hurt or her broken and betrayed heart all that much, but at least Max had finally been able to let go of the absurd hope she'd been holding onto of ever making something work with the ordinary. The last thought she had before she slipped off to sleep was that she was going to enjoy throwing Logan out of TC tomorrow.
Max woke around five. It wasn't quite dawn yet, but the storm clouds were starting to clear and the monsoon had tapered down to a steady drizzle. She could feel that she'd already half healed from her adventures with Alec the day before. Her ankle was still sore, but the swelling had gone down enough that she could walk on it without too much pain. Her ribs were still achy, but breathing was less labored. Her split lip and the cut on her head were scabbed over and would probably be gone by tonight. Her tailbone was still throbbing a bit, as was her head she realized, a bit amazed that she actually managed to give herself a tiny hangover. Hangover or not, though, if she didn't get back to TC soon Alec would really take command from her because he'd think she'd left them for good.
Gathering up the empty bottles of bourbon, Max made her way down the stairs to the dumpster she'd parked the El Camino behind. Hotwiring the car again, she headed for the border of the Needle's sector and the one where Alec's old place was. About an hour later, Max was making her way out of the guarded sewer entrance inside TC. Jade and Drake, the guards at the entrance, looked at her a bit strangely as they helped her hoist the T.V. and duffle bag out of the sewer, but wisely didn't say anything about the odd state of their leader. "I'm gonna' leave this stuff here with you guys for a minute while I go find Joshua," Max said before turning and ever so slightly limping her way to Joshua's apartment.
About twenty minutes later, Jade and Drake watched in equal bemusement as Max returned with the giant dog-man rubbing sleep out of his eyes. Again, however, neither of them said anything as Joshua hoisted the T.V. and duffle heading off toward Oak Street, while Max headed in the direction of command.
When Josh got to Alec's place he found him sprawled half on his sofa and half on his floor with three empty bottles of Mole's homemade brew lying around him. Crinkling his nose at the strong smell coming off Alec, Josh shook his head and roused Alec awake. Once Alec was awake enough to remember where he was and that Josh was not a threat he worked up enough brain cells to ask the big guy what he was doing there at the crack of dawn.
"Uh, Josh, what's up big guy?"
"Max ask Joshua to bring Alec's things," the big guy supplied pointing toward the T.V. and duffle bag he'd placed on Alec's kitchen counter.
Getting up and momentarily inspecting the television set and contents of the duffle, Alec turned around to meet the patient eyes of the giant dog-man. "What do you mean Max asked you to bring my things? Did you go get them?" Alec asked, clearly confused.
"No, Joshua not leave TC. Joshua sleeping and Max come and say she need his help. Max take Joshua to TC sewer entrance and ask Joshua to bring Alec's things." Joshua finished his explanation with a beaming smile, sure that he'd done well and that his little fella' would be pleased with him.
"Yeah, well thanks Josh. I just. . . I mean. . . did she say why?" Alec stumbled out, unable to wrap his pounding head around this strange turn of events.
"Little fella' not say, but Joshua could feel sorry coming off Max. Little fella' like medium fella', want you to be happy." Having delivered his earth shattering pronouncement like it was nothing more than "gee nice day isn't it," Joshua yawned and headed for the door leaving a bewildered but goofily smiling Alec behind him.
While Max had fully intended for his T.V. and clothes to be an apology, she really didn't want to have to deliver anything close to an "I'm sorry" to Alec in person. Bastard was probably already going to gloat for days as it was. She knew it may have been a teensy bit chickenshitted of her to ask Josh to deliver the items for her, but she told herself she had a good reason. She had an ordinary to get rid of after all.
Marching, as much as one can with a slight limp, into HQ, Max sauntered up to Mole who was just coming in for the early shift. "Mole," Max barked, "gonna' need your help tossing Logan out of TC, come on."
"Get rid of your own damn love monkey," was Mole's curt reply.
Rolling her eyes and heaving an exasperated sigh, Max turned back to the lizard man. "Look I want him out of TC, but I don't want him dead, and given the whole virus dealio that means I'm going to require some assistance tossing his ass, so you in or out?" she asked with an arch of her eyebrow.
Noting the challenge in that arched brow, Mole didn't have to think on it too long before he decided throwing the pretentious Ordinary out of TC would be a damn fine way to start his day. Grunting his assent, Mole followed as Max led the way out of HQ.
Alec was still standing staring at his re-appropriated television when he heard a ruckus from the street, and went over to look out the window of his apartment. He had to do a double take and give his eyes a good rub to make sure it wasn't the booze making him hallucinate, but nope the sight before him was real. And what a sight it was. Mole was striding toward the sewer entrance out of TC with a flailing, screaming, red faced Logan tossed over his shoulder. The lizard man was sporting a grin so wide Alec was fairly sure there'd be cracks in Mole's scales later. But the best part of the scene was Max, confidently striding in front of Mole, head held high with the rising sun glinting off her long hair, not paying one bit of attention to the struggling Ordinary behind her as she led the little procession out of TC. Just as they were about to turn the corner, Max whipped her head around and looked up to Alec's window flashing him a quick grin. Once they had disappeared from sight, Alec headed toward his bathroom hoping a shower might make him feel a bit more human, he was really going to have to remember to congratulate Mole on the rotgut. His last thought before he let the stream of water quiet his brain for a moment was that with the sun shining through a mostly cloud free sky today would not be the kind of day that
lets you savor a bad mood, but that was just fine with Alec.