Disclaimer: I don't own Dark Angel so don't sue me. Thanks. :-)
A/N: First chapter of Part 2 of Ex Multus Familia! Enjoy and leave a review if you like it or don't!
Ex Multus Familia: Part 2
It was a summer afternoon in Seattle, so it was lukewarm and raining buckets outside while everyone in the city proper went about their regular day's work. In Terminal City, however, it wasn't all business as usual. Robin was sitting in the middle of Max's apartment, a couple hundred small, square swathes of white cloth, silk and lace spread around her in a circle. She reached out and touched one square briefly before dancing her fingertips across the four other patterns that were closest to her.
"Which one's the least expensive?" she asked. She lifted her head and gave Max a pointed look. The dark-haired woman didn't look up from smiling down at Robin's baby, Taylor, who was nestled in her arms.
"Don't worry about the cost, Robin," Max chided, "I already told you that it's covered."
"We've got bigger things to worry about than the material for my wedding dress," Robin replied half-heartedly. She really was enjoying all these wedding arrangements, but it seemed like they were costing too much. Every time she brought up the concept of payment for all this with her, Max always shot her down and said it was being handled. How this handling was happening, Robin had no idea.
Robin stole a glance at Max. The female transgenic leader had been visibly happier since the geneticists and Marie had been brought to Terminal City, and now that the geneticists had promised to cooperate as long as they weren't turned over to the government for processing, the search for the Cure was progressing nicely.
This had put Max into such a good mood that she had set up a lottery to give half the city leave to go to the farm until winter started and then proceeded to hijack arranging Robin's wedding. The job was actually supposed to be Sidda's since she was the maid of honor, but the short blonde had put up such a fuss about not knowing what to do and not wanting to be in charge of the wedding that Robin had been grateful to give most of the responsibility to Max, who wanted the first transgenic wedding to be absolutely perfect. If Sidda had been left in charge, Robin might just be getting married in an apartment somewhere with an X5 presiding instead of at the farmhouse. Yes, it was definitely a good idea that Max was running the show instead of Sidda. Besides, it gave Max something to worry about that wasn't a life or death situation.
Robin picked up one of the pieces of cloth. "What about this one for the base?" Another snatch. "And this one for any extra parts?"
Max leaned over and inspected the pieces of cloth before giving a curt nod. "I like them." She smiled at Robin before walking over to the kitchen counter. There was a book on the smooth surface, full of wedding plans and ideas that Max and Robin had come up with. Max picked up a pencil and made a note on the corner of one of the pages. "We'll need to get someone to make it…"
"Mona offered," Robin said, mentioning the X5 female that lived down the hallway with her mate, Everett. "She had a mission where she had to know how to sew, so she's willing to do it."
"That's nice of her," Max said. The pencil scribbled across the page again. "That takes care of the dress, at least, and we've already finished the guest list and the flowers are arranged." She put down the pencil and looked at Robin. "What about the cake?"
"Sidda's handling that part," Robin said. She swept her hands across the patches of cloth, gathering them together. "She's also taking care of the bachelorette party."
Max's eyebrows rose. "She is? Good." She closed the wedding planning book and turned around toward Robin. "Speaking of parties, who's doing the bachelor's party? Logan said he would if no one else knew how."
"Actually," Robin said as she got to her feet. She flashed Max a smile. "Alec said he would handle that."
"Oh, that's…" Max's voice trailed off, and her grip on Taylor tightened. "That's really frightening. Are they working together?"
"I don't know," Robin said with a shrug. She put the pieces of cloth back into the bag they had been poured out of and put it on the kitchen counter. "They've both told me that that they've been arguing and trying to figure out what each other's doing, but it's Alec and Sidda. They could be lying."
Max frowned. "If they try anything stupid—"
"They won't," Robin said. She smiled and reached over to take Taylor from Max. Taylor gurgled and made a valiant attempt to grab her mother's long blond hair, but Robin pulled the thick strands from her grasp before she could tug them out. "I made both of them swear not to be too outrageous."
"Yeah, sure," Max grumbled under her breath, "That'll work."
Before Max could make another comment, Robin changed the subject. "So, I heard that Agent Kenton was at your office yesterday. Any assignments from the suits yet?"
Max sighed. She leaned back against the counter and brushed her dark brown hair back behind her shoulders as she glared at the opposite wall.
"I'm taking that as a yes," Robin said. She rocked Taylor back and forth. "Where are they going?"
"They haven't told me any specifics yet, but I think it's out in the Middle East," Max said. She picked up a piece of fruit, an aging orange, from the small bowl on the counter and started peeling it, her sharp fingernails digging into the tender skin. "There was some unfinished business, you know, leftover from that whole abandoned War on Terror thing."
"Oh, yeah, the war that the Obama administration stopped," Robin said. "They had bigger things to worry about, with the Pulse and everything."
Max gave a half-smile. "Yeah, when your country's breaking down around you, it's probably better to bring the troops back home. So they did, and now Iraq's flaring back up again." She finished peeling the orange and split the juicy fruit down the middle. She handed Robin half of it. "Some fanatic crazies over there just took a group of American diplomats hostage, Washington nodding-heads, you know, so the President and the rest of the military wants us to prove ourselves by going over and rescuing them." Max made a face as she bit down into a slice of the orange. "It's bad enough that they've got this contract on us, but when they make us risk our lives to go save their asses—"
"It's like Manticore never stopped," Robin said, finishing Max's sentence.
Max nodded. She reached out and brushed her finger down Taylor's soft, rosy cheek. "I just don't want us to always have to answer them."
"We won't," Robin said, putting on an optimistic smile, "So don't worry about it just yet. We'll tackle this mission and keep going, just like we did back then."
Max managed to smile too. "Yeah, you're probably right."
"Of course I am," Robin said confidently. "Now, what do you think I should do about food at the wedding? I guess we should have some kind of dinner or something..."
"So how is wedding planning coming along?" Seth asked, surveying the disaster that was his and Robin's apartment later that day. There were flower samples and drapes of cloth everywhere, not to mention the magazine photos and articles that had been taped to the walls. Taylor gave a happy gurgle and waved her fists at Seth.
"Yeah, I bet you're happy to see a male face," Seth said, lifting Taylor out of her bassinet. He walked into the kitchen area, wondering where Robin was.
"Oh, hey, I didn't hear you come in!" Robin kissed him quickly before running back to the stove to stir a pot of some meat mixture stuff that smelled surprisingly good.
"Experimenting again?" Seth asked, leaning over to look at the mix.
"I'm making tacos," Robin said proudly.
"I'm the envy of every guy on the street," Seth said, unashamedly using his free hand to pull a piece of meat from the pot and test it. It had a nice spice to it. "No one cooks as well as you."
"Just trying to fatten you up for the wedding."
"Oh, so now I'm a sacrifice?"
"Yes, didn't I tell you?" Robin laughed and pulled a bottle from the microwave. She handed it to Seth. "Mind feeding her?"
"And the sacrifice falls under the woman's spell and willingly obeys," Seth said, taking the bottle from Robin.
"Love you," Robin said, grinning and kissing him again.
Just then, there was a knock at the apartment door. Seth and Robin didn't even bother to open it because Alec and Sidda immediately opened the door. Knocking was just a courtesy warning when it came to them.
"Oh, my poor apartment," Sidda moaned dramatically. "What have you guys done?"
"Don't look at me," Seth said, shaking his head. "I was away all afternoon."
"And it's not your apartment anymore, dork." Robin said, waving the spatula threateningly at Sidda. "You refused to stay once Seth and I were engaged, remember?"
"I most certainly do," Sidda said, coming to lean against the counter. "I didn't feel like dealing with the constant mushiness between you two." Robin rolled her eyes, and Alec chuckled.
"But she'll put up with it for dinner," Alec said. He picked up one of the tomatoes that was sitting on the counter and started tossing it from hand to hand.
"Yes, well, I happily admit that I have no cooking skill when compared to Robin. And I'd rather not go through food poisoning, thank you very much."
"Apparently I owe you my life," Alec said, looking at Robin.
"Yes, you do." Robin said. She handed him a knife and looked pointedly at the tomato he'd been messing with. "Now cut."
"Damn, wedding planning makes her bossy, doesn't it?" Alec asked, looking at Seth. He gave Robin a cheeky grin as he started cutting.
"I will refrain from answering," Seth said.
"Good idea." Robin mock-scowled at him.
"I won't," Sidda said cheerfully, grabbing another knife and cutting into the second tomato. "Wedding planning hasn't made her bossy, Alec. She was always this way." Sidda ducked as Robin threw a block of cheese at her.
"I will withhold food," she said threateningly.
"No, you won't, you made too much." Sidda said.
"We could eat it for lunch tomorrow," Seth suggested. He grinned as Sidda gave him an exasperated look.
"Thanks for the help, Seth. You're no fun anymore now that you live with her." Sidda turned to look at Robin. "But really, you would starve your maid of honor? How terribly cruel of you."
"Yes, I know. Withholding something from my maid of honor who withholds the exact nature of the dreaded bachelorette party from me." Robin started setting the plates on the table.
"Dreaded? More like anticipate, I should think. You know it wouldn't be as fun if it wasn't a surprise." Sidda glanced at Alec. "Not to mention that it would give Alec a leg-up on his bachelor party."
"By all means, go ahead and tell her," Alec said, grinning at Sidda.
"As if I believe for one second that you two haven't already told each other," Robin said. She scooped their tomato slices into a bowl and set it on the table. "It's too easy to find stuff out when you're in the same apartment anyway. I know that's why you won't let me come down."
"Or maybe it's just to provoke you," Sidda said.
"That is a definite possibility," Seth said. He moved Taylor back to her bassinet; her eyelids kept blinking rapidly as she tried to fight off sleep. "That seems to happen quite a lot."
"I know." Robin gave a pained sigh and glared at Sidda. "Which makes guessing what she's doing very frustrating."
"Always happy to give you a challenge," Sidda said, sitting down at the table. Alec and Robin had just carried the last few things needed to the table; the meat mixture, tortillas, grated cheese, some lettuce, and some sort of sauce. Robin must have done a lot of bribing to get a hold of all these colorful ingredients. Sidda surveyed the mixture of foods that Robin placed there; it didn't exactly look like a finished meal. "What are we having again?"
Robin smiled and handed Sidda one of the tortillas. "Tacos. It's a popular food in the southwest."
"I've seen them served before," Sidda said. "But usually not in pieces like this." Usually everything was all nice and together and then wrapped up in aluminum foil, served from some random food joint. If she'd wanted to know how to make the darn tacos, she would have gotten a job at a restaurant.
Robin laughed. "Just try it. I'm pretty sure you'll like it."
Sidda glanced at the food again. At least most of the items on the table were things she normally liked separately. "Ok, so how exactly does this taco thing work?"
"It's not genetic engineering," Robin said. She pointed at the tortilla in Sidda's hand. "Get a tortilla. Fill it with meat. Put anything else you want on it. Done. Taco-making accomplished."
Sidda arched her eyebrows. "What if I don't want the tortilla? What if I refuse a piece of the taco?"
"Mission failed," Alec said, smirking at her, "More training for you."
The two males immediately began digging into the food set in front of them.
Robin sighed. "You can eat whatever you want, Sidda. Make a taco salad for all I care."
"Taco. Salad." Sidda put her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her clasped hands, a smirk playing around the corners of her mouth as she tried to maintain a serious expression. "Aren't those two separate meals?"
"Just do what I do when she's being a smart ass," Alec said to Robin. He threw a devilish smirk at Sidda. "Ignore her."
"You don't ignore me," Sidda said, flicking her gaze at him as she grabbed another tortilla to add to her plate, "I make sure of that."
"Oh, I know how to treat her," Robin said, "I just pity you having to live with her now."
"Okay, now that we've established the art of making tacos and exactly how to deal with Sidda, can we enjoy the meal?" Seth asked. He grabbed at the bowl of taco meat and piled it onto a tortilla before covering it with toppings. "Isn't that easy?"
"Nah, show me again, Seth, I think I missed it," Sidda drawled sarcastically as she reached for the meat.
Alec beat her to it, and for a couple seconds they played tug-of-war with the bowl before Sidda let go and let him have it.
"Keep watching, maybe you'll learn eventually," Seth said. He looked at Robin. "Sort of slow for an X5, isn't she?"
"Undeniably," Robin replied, grinning back at him.
Sidda rolled her eyes at them and took the bowl from Alec as he passed it to her. "So, anyways," she said, "What kind of dresses are we supposed to be getting for this wedding of yours? No cupcakes or pink. Nothing pink."
"But you'd all look really good in light pink," Robin said as she spooned tomatoes onto her tortilla, "Except maybe Gem. Pink might clash with her hair, but then again, maybe not if we got the right shade." She smirked as Sidda grumbled and made faces at her tortillas. Out of her four bridesmaids, only Max would probably be willing to wear pink. Syl, Gem and Sidda just didn't wear the color.
"Pink's not the color," Seth said, "I'm actually pushing for yellow."
"You are not," Robin said, "You know I don't like yellow."
"I don't understand why women don't like certain colors," Alec said, his mouth half full of tortilla and meat. He swallowed and licked his lips, savoring the last bits of his first homemade taco. "They're just colors."
"Not to women," Seth said, "They attach colors to feelings, memories, thoughts."
Both Robin and Sidda frowned at the guys, but neither of them was looking up from the food. Sidda reached over to thump Alec on the ear, but he deflected her by grabbing her hand and forcing it back to the table, a smile curling up the edge of his mouth.
"I was actually thinking blue," Robin said, "If that makes you happier."
"Much," Sidda said, brightening instantly as she tickled Alec's palm with her fingertips, "Tons better than pink."
The rest of dinner was mostly taken up with chatting about the wedding and random happenings around Terminal City. There were a lot of renovations going on, especially on Dogwood Street, where the most of the transhumans lived, and up near headquarters. The transhumans had torn down a lot of the buildings on their street, which had been mostly industrial buildings and warehouses, and were turning the place into a large greenhouse to grow plants in. Gatorade's gym was almost complete; she just wanted a swimming pool and a trampoline, things that would probably take months to build or find.
Max had decided to clean out and fix up another apartment building for the new group of transgenics that had swarmed into the city when the government deal had been sealed; people wanted protection, even when it came with a heavy price. Besides, a lot of them had been bored and tired of trying to live normal lives. The government missions were actually considered to be good things by some transgenics, and quite a few were hoping to be sent out with the first team.
"Mole will probably be going, if the mission is in the Middle East," Seth said. They had moved on to desert, a death-by-chocolate creation of Robin's that had them still eating even though they were full.
"That'll make him happy," Alec said, "I'm pretty sure the guy is going nuts around here." He was sitting on the couch, holding a grumpy, still tired but determined to be awake Taylor so Robin and Seth could finish eat. Sidda was sitting beside him, her legs tucked up under her while she flipped through the wedding planning book Max and Robin were sharing.
"Who else is going?" Robin asked, looking at Seth. Everyone had been saying since the deal with the government had been agreed on that one of the X5s would probably lead the first team, and Seth was a likely choice since he had been a commanding officer back at Manticore.
Seth blushed and took a wide mouthful of desert and then pointed to his mouth as an excuse not to answer Robin. Robin stared at Seth a moment, then pointedly lay her fork down and fixed Seth with a determined stare. She wasn't going to let the issue rest.
Alec, trying to save his friend, quickly said, "Well, I heard Krit is going. His dark hair makes it easy for him to travel in the Middle East."
"I'm sure it will," Robin said, not looking away from Seth. Alec and Sidda exchanged glances as Seth finally swallowed his food.
"Well, they needed someone to command and they said that whoever went would be gone less than a week, so everyone will be back with plenty of time to spare before the wedding…"
"I'm glad everyone else will be back," Robin said, head tilted slightly as she studied Seth. She had already figured everything out though. "I want to know why you have to go. Right now. Can't someone else lead? You don't even look Middle Eastern."
"I dunno, if you dye his hair and give him a full body tan…" Sidda gave Robin a teasing smile, trying to lighten her friend's mood up. "I bet you would enjoy giving him a full-body tan, wouldn't you?"
"I would if it didn't mean he was going to the Middle East," Robin said, stabbing her dessert angrily without eating any of it. She didn't want it anymore.
"If I go now, this guarantees I won't be called up again before the wedding," Seth said, trying to placate her. "Plus, I didn't really have much choice in the matter."
Robin's eyes narrowed. "Max is making you? I can't believe that she would do that, after eve—"
"Whoa, whoa," Seth laughed. "Don't blame her, love. She's got nothing to do with it. The government looked at the list we provided them and chose who was going. We didn't really have any say in the matter since everyone they chose was fit, healthy, and currently not on any missions."
"Damn government," Robin said, abruptly standing up from the tale to carry her plate to the kitchen. It was easier to be mad at them then at Seth. She slammed her dishes into the sink, fighting with the emotions she knew she couldn't afford to have right now. They'd made the agreement with the government, and for now they had to stand by it. Ultimately, it would mean her friends and family were more protected than they had been before. That was what really mattered. And she knew Seth would be able to take care of himself; he always did. Everything would be fine, he would come home, and they would have the wedding.
She still didn't have to like it though.
"Hey Robin, we're gonna head on home." Sidda popped her head into the kitchen and glanced back at the table were the guys were, then looked at Robin again. Robin knew what that look meant.
"I know, I know, I'll talk to him. Robin grumbled a bit, "Though if he'd mentioned it sooner…"
Sidda laughed and came into the kitchen to hug Robin.
"I'm pretty sure they only told the people going today," she said. "So don't get too grumpy with Seth."
Robin smiled. "I won't. You know I can never stay mad at him for long."
"As much as you try," Sidda teased. She skipped out of the kitchen before Robin could hit her. Robin shook her head then went back to cleaning up, listening as Sidda and Alec left. Then Seth came into the kitchen.
"I can try to talk to Max and see if I can get pulled off this one," Seth said, sitting on the edge of the counter. He seared Robin's face anxiously. "I can't promise anything, but…"
Robin looked up and smiled at him. "No, don't do that. They asked you to go 'cause they thought you'd be useful, so you should go. I don't want to feel guilty for the rest of my life if something happens to that team because you weren't there."
"Me neither." Seth looked immensely relieved. He wrapped Robin in a hug, pulling her closer to him so that he could rest his chin on her head. "I promise I'll be careful, ok? You'll still have a sacrificial groom for your wedding."
Robin laughed and looked at him playfully. "Just as long as I get to give you that full body spray tan…"
"I was thinking that was a good idea of Sidda's," he said, leaning in for a kiss.
Sidda was lounged on top of Alec, flipping through magazines and occasionally bumping her elbow into his face as she did so. She was waiting to see when his breaking point was. Alec knew that, and so he was very purposefully not saying anything about it, instead just trying to shift out of the way. But Sidda kept shifting too.
"I was thinking that we could have a cook-out sort of party or something afterwards," Sidda said casually, looking back at Alec. Her elbow was now resting on his nose. "Everyone is going to be pretty hungry, don't you think?"
Alec's eyes glared at her above her elbow. He grabbed Sidda's sides and dug his fingers in, tickling her. Sidda laughed as Alec found her weak spot, and she twitched, losing hold of the magazine she'd been reading.
"What was that for?' she giggled, holding on to him as she tried to keep from toppling off the couch.
"I think you know very well." Alec now had her pinned, and he smirked down at her. "Hmmm…what should I do now that I have you in such a compromising position?"
Sidda attempted to maintain some semblance of dignity. "I think that you should let me up so that we can discuss plans for the bachelor and bachelorette parties."
"Mmm, no, I don't think so," he said.
"It's very important to Robin!" Sidda protested.
"Of course it is." Alec gave her a mischievous grin, quickly shifting to pin her legs better before she could wrap them around his neck and choke him. "I'm thinking we should try out possible party games…."
"Games that Robin would never play?" Sidda said, lifting an eyebrow.
"You wouldn't want her to never experience them before getting married, would you?" Alec said.
Sidda rolled her eyes. "You're enjoying this whole party planning experience way too much."
Alec's smile was wicked. "I know."
A/N: First chapter's done, hope you enjoyed it!! Let me know what you think!