Disclaimer: DA, not mine.
A/N: Got sucked into it, too, folks. Thanks Nickeldime17 for the prompts. I figure short one shots like these would help me write again. It's been too long, and I desperately need a distraction from Finals.
She stared out over Seattle, the wind whipping her dark hair behind her. She inhaled the cold, wet air deeply, feeling her lungs expand to its full capacity until she almost suffocated on air. Then she exhaled. The sudden release left her with a heady, almost dizzying feeling of relief.
She did it again.
Some days, she could actually live with what she was. Some days, she could actually forget who she was.
Then, there were days like today. She reached into her back pocket and pulled out the piece of paper that Logan had given her. He had looked so distraught when he had handed her the slip of paper that she just knew.
Rancher Adam Thompson, Missing, Presumed Dead
Right underneath the small headline was a picture of a man with dirty blond hair, a chiseled jaw, and a stern mouth. She traced his face on the picture, remembering how the angles and planes had felt underneath her palm. The picture may have been in black and white, but she knew those serious eyes staring right into the camera were blue—the cool, pale, hard-to-forget kind. Those ice-colored eyes had once been the warmest color she could remember.
"Zack—" she whispered out into the wind. "I'm so sorry."
Her hands turned into fists, crumpling the short news article. Logan had said that it was possible Manticore had somehow tracked him down—something about how there might have been a microchip embedded in his mechanical heart.
Tears streamed down Max's face. She could almost feel every single beat of her heart—his heart—inside of her. Why?
Max didn't even realize she had asked the question out loud until a voice answered her from behind.
"Because he would have done anything for you."
She spun around in surprise and anger. "What are you doing here?" she hissed, her voice like acid. She scrubbed the back of her hand over her face, impatiently wiping away the tears. Her motorcycle glove scratched her face, but she didn't care, welcomed the slight pain, instead.
Alec stood a few feet away from her, his face devoid of its usual amused smirk. He shrugged easily. "Came to enjoy the view,"
She narrowed her eyes angrily at him.
He pursed his lips and looked away, staring in the same distant direction she had been staring at. "Logan called. He said you might need…a friend."
Max laughed. The sound was hollow and mirthless. "And he sent you?"
Alec stared at her, his hazel eyes boring into her, searching. "Who else?"
Max looked away quickly. He was right. Who else would have found her? Who else would have come up here? Who else knew? Who else understood?
"Leave me alone, Alec," she sighed heavily.
"It wasn't your fault, Max," he murmured, defying her and walking towards her instead. He stood next to her, his shoulder close, but not touching hers. He stood right at the edge of the Space Needle just like she did. Fearless. Showing her that he was right there next to her where no one else in her life would ever stand next to her like this.
The look she flashed him was bitter. Angry. "Not my fault? Do you even know what happened?"
"You can tell me."
"I got shot. I failed. I had a mission and I failed." She said, her voice flat and emotionless. "He could have gone out. He could have saved himself…" she broke off as sudden tears choked her. "But he saved me instead."
There was a strange silence between them, punctuated by Max's deep, sobbing breaths. Alec felt paralyzed, unable to comfort her, not really knowing how. All he knew was that…he understood Zack.
"Why?" she whispered again.
"Anything. He would have done anything for you."
She looked at him, her dark eyes blazing with the fire of anger and swimming in tears. "I never asked him for anything!"
Alec stared at her, not knowing how to explain. "Sometimes, you don't have to ask. Sometimes…it's just the way it is." He shook his head trying to find the words to make sense of the rightness in what Zack had done. He turned to look at her, peered into her tear-streaked face. "You were important to him…you meant something…and for that something, he would do anything."
She was shaking her head. He sighed. He couldn't say it any better than he already had. It wasn't something he could put into words. It was something he felt and understood. "Max," he whispered, his voice low and hesitant. "I understand him."
She looked at him from the corner of her eyes.
"I would do anything for you."
She moved so fast he was laying on the hard metal surface of the Space Needle before he even registered the numbing pain in his jaw. Suddenly, she straddled him and grabbed both his wrists. Her grip was so strong he didn't doubt that she could snap his bones if she added any more pressure. There was such fury in her eyes.
"Don't. Ever. Say. That."
X5-599, I have a heart for you. BANG!
Max flinched at the memory. Her heart was pounding so hard that it actually hurt. All she could hear was Zack's voice floating in her head. And then all she could see was Alec's lifeless eyes staring at her. And it scared her. It shook her to her very core.
I would do anything for you.
"Never, Alec, do you hear me?" Her voice was urgent and almost hysterical. If she could just make him promise, if she could just make sure…she didn't think she could live knowing he would die for her, too. She didn't think she would survive if he did. She didn't understand why her reaction was the way it was. But she knew, deep down inside, that it was true. Her grip on his wrists tightened at the thought, until he actually flinched. "I said, do you hear me!" she screamed.
She dug her fingernails into his wrists until they drew blood. Until he finally nodded.
Max released her grip on his wrists suddenly, as if they burned her. She got up abruptly and stared down at him. "I also asked you to leave me alone," and with that, she spun around and walked away, heart still pounding, legs shaking.
I would do anything for you.
Please don't, she thought achingly to herself. She threw one last look at him over her shoulder. He was sitting up, flexing his wrists, his eyes searching and meeting hers in the dark. He looked young and vulnerable in the moonlight, his confused expression marring the handsomeness of his face. She felt annoyance, almost anger, at the thought of him saying something so ridiculously stupid.
At the thought of him doing something even crazier…like dying for her.
She would stop at nothing to make sure he didn't.
Her step faltered, and she looked away from his eyes quickly. Her heart raced and she almost gasped. In that moment, Max understood.
She would do anything for him, too.