The Rise of Taj
Rating - R
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters seen before you. Any characters you don't recognize do belong to me and I would be delighted if you didn't steal them and make them your own.
Summery: After Manticore burned to the ground, Alec lived in Max's shadow, but after a member of his unit finds him, he has to pick up the role he thought he left behind.
Author's Note: I'm crazy starting something else when I have Instincts to write. This is different though. It's about Alec and his unit. It will eventually become MA. This started out as a need to write blood and gore and sadness and developed into something with original characters and other such things. Character pics along with designations are on my profile page. Tell me what you think.
The beginning is set almost immediatly after 'AJBAC', the second part is set two months after 'Designate This' sometime between 'Two' and 'Some Assembly Required'.
Chapter I: Copulation and Corpses
494 told Murphy to take him to 451's cell in place of 632. Told him he'd get cigars, vitamins anything his heart desired. He'd settled for a new necklace for his wife and a box of Cubans and he got 494 into 451's cell right after midnight.
494 walked in, stopping just inside the cell so the door could close behind him. He blinked, for a moment expecting to see the 4'8", honey blonde transgenic bouncing with tension, but 451 was a mess, sitting on her cot with her head between her hands, looking for the world like she wanted to crawl into a hole and die. 494's eyes softened at his unit mate's posture and stayed that way when she looked up at him, her eyes filling with hope to see him there instead of 632.
"632 told me what was going on," he interrupted, shifting on the balls of his feet, but keeping eye contact with her. "He told me about the breeding program Renfro's setting up. You two are the first test subjects?"
451 scoffed, her eyes shining with tears. She looked away from her CO, couldn't look at him. "She's got some sick thought in her head that since the DNA lab blew up she can make babies the old fashioned way."
"632 told me it was a life or death matter that I showed up here tonight instead of him," 451 could see how hard he was trying not to snark about the situation and stay serious, but his eyes were laughing at her, asking what the hell was going on that he had to be dragged out of bed to…what?
"He's not fertile," said 451 softly and any humor in 494's eyes vanished. "Lydecker told him, but Renfro never got the message."
"So what do you want me to do?" he was holding his breath. She couldn't ask him to-
"I've heard rumors from the medics that they'll kill him because he's defective," said 451, soft blue eyes dropping to the floor. "I need to give Renfro a pregnancy, and I don't know who else to ask."
494 stared at her for a whole minute, his mask reflecting nothing. Then he shrugged and tugged his shirt out of his pants, pulling it off. "Alright. Take your shirt off."
451 gaped at him. Just like that? He was taking her mission on and sleeping with her without any comment? Just like that? 494 looked up at her after not sensing any movement, his fingers playing with the snap on his pants.
"451?" she swallowed and looked away from him, feeling tears well up in her eyes because he didn't feel the way she did about this mission. Creating a living breathing person. She saw him move out of the corner of her eye and felt the cot dip next to her. She could feel the heat radiating off of 494 as he leaned closer to her, his fingers touching her chin gently and turning her face towards his so she would look at him.
"I'm doing this for you, 451," said Alec softly, brushing his hand over her shoulder. "I don't love you the way 632 does, but I do love you."
"You said it was the only way," 451 squeezed her eyes shut, sucking in a breath at the softness of his voice. She nodded and his hand moved from her shoulder to the waistband of her pants, pressing his hand flat against her stomach, pushing her onto her back while his other hand worked on the fly of her pants.
"494-" 451 was cut off by a shush, but his hands stilled, moving off her body and onto the mattress. His weight shifted and he moved on top of her, his body pressing against her. They weren't made for each other, so it would be awkward, but the way his nose brushed against her cheek made 451's heart flutter.
"We can do this," he said softly, and she knew he was trying to convince himself as much as he was trying to convince her. She turned her head slightly and pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. After a moment he moved to kiss her properly, sliding his tongue against hers.
The rest was instinct. Neither of them dwelling on the act itself, both of them keeping their eyes closed so they didn't have to think about who they were copulating with. It was easier if they pretended they weren't with each other. When 494 pulled his clothes on to leave they couldn't look at each other, it was too painful. He wasn't who she wanted and he loved her like a sister. They'd been in the same unit for almost eleven years and in two hours crossed the line so far they would never be able to go back. So 494 left before the sweat on his body had a chance to cool, hoping that they could salvage whatever slice of friendship they had left.
And hoped that in the morning they could look at each other without guilt and nausea twisting in their stomachs.
"X5-451, report," demanded Renfro the next morning, her head cocked to the side, looking positively amused by 632's uncomfortable shifting under her gaze. The little blonde girl at his side stared straight ahead, speaking for the both of them.
"Successful copulation, ma'am," Renfro nodded and gestured to the doctor in the white coat behind her. The great thing about transgenics was that the gestation period was faster than Ordinaries. Sure, it still lasted nine months, because there was a lot of extra little things transgenics had that Ordinaries didn't, but it made predicting pregnancy a hell of a lot faster.
The doctor took 451 buy the elbow and lead her out of Renfro's office and both Ordinaries missed the look that passed between the two transgenics before 451 was lead out and soon after 632 was dismissed as well.
He wouldn't look at 494 during drills, but that was fine because 494 was ignoring him right back. 598 (his SIC) frowned at him through training, having known him the longest, having been closest to him, but she didn't ask what was wrong.
451 didn't return to her unit for a week, and by then the rumors going around about a breeding program and one of the rouge X5's who blew up the DNA lab was in ReDoc had everyone suspicious. They weren't talking about it, but rumors still had a way of spreading and by the time 451 returned to her unit, Renfro had already decided that the breeding program would be up and running in no time. A successful pregnancy from 451 and 632 in her eyes. But the transgenic knew better. They could smell 494 on 451.
No one was going to tell Renfro. They weren't frickin' suicidal.
Eight months later.
Alec was getting out of Jam Pony late, plans to hit up a strip joint with Normal and Sketch. It'd had been raining steadily all day, but now it was starting to get nasty. Alec shrugged out of his wet t-shirt and pulled on another one, trying to ignore Normal's eyes burning into his flesh. The rain outside was dulling his senses and he was nearly floored when he caught the scent of someone so very familiar. He jerked sharply, his shirt almost over his head and turned to the entrance of Jam Pony, his eyes widening at the petite, very pregnant girl staring at him, her pale blue eyes wide with pain and relief.
With a jerk Alec pulled his shirt down the rest of the way, slamming his locker shut and nearly blurring up to 451, slipping his arms around her to keep her standing as she wavered on her feet.
"Alec?" her voice sounded pained and breathy in his ear, and Alec pulled her into his arms, smoothing down her wet hair from her face.
"Polly," he felt himself smirk at that, her name. It fit her perfectly.
"Who's your friend, Super Star?" asked Normal from the dispatch counter. Alec closed his eyes and reluctantly pulled away from Polly.
"This is my…friend, Polly," with his transgenic hearing Alec picked up the hitch in Polly's breath and he immediately turned back to her, searching her face, moving down the slope of her breasts and finally resting on her stomach, where she was carrying his child. He blinked back up at her face and frowned.
"Vin," she finished, her eyes welling with tears. She shook her head, brining a hand up to her face, trying to hide her hurt. "He's dead."
"Oh, god, Polly-"
"Some guy in a s-suit, FBI or something, killed him."
"White," said Alec softly, placing his hand on her shoulder, squeezing it gently. "Polly, I'm so sorry-"
He was interrupted by Polly's flinch of pain and his face darkened, his hand moving from her shoulder to her stomach. "Polly, how long have you been in labor?"
She flinched again, more at his tone than the pain and he saw how pale she was, the dark circles under her eyes. She was a night model, but she still had to sleep, and it looked like she hadn't in weeks. She looked away from him and he felt his eyes narrow with anger.
"I'm taking you to the hospital-"
"No doctors," she snapped, still not able to look him in the face. "No hospitals."
Alec rolled his eyes. "So what, you want me to deliver the kid myself?"
"It's your kid, Alec," she said softly, and he could see her eyes fill with tears and felt his heart constrict. She was right. Now that 632- Vin - was gone, and the rest of the unit was MIA, he was going to have to help her take care of the baby. It was their's after all. He couldn't deliver a baby though, he wasn't trained in that.
"Damn it, where's 724 when you need her?" Alec chuckled in agreement. Seriously, where was a medic when you needed one? Or the rest of their unit for that matter. She flinched again and reached out to grab onto the front of his t-shirt. Alec felt useless. If he couldn't go to a doctor then who could he-
"Fuck," he muttered under his breath, pulling out his cell phone and dialing the only person that came to mind who wouldn't kick his ass or ask too many questions. He waited, eyes closed, for someone to answer the phone.
"Logan," he said finally, releasing a breath he didn't know he had been holding. "I need your help."
Logan sighed on the other end and Alec could just imagine the older man rubbing his eyes under his glasses, sitting in front of his computer doing hero-y things. "Alec…"
"Logan, it's important," Alec couldn't help but notice that he was almost begging. Logan apparently noticed too, because Alec heard movement on the other line and a door shut.
"What is it, Alec?"
"I need you to help a friend of mine, can you get to Jam Pony?"
"Sure, Alec, but who-?"
"I'll explain when you get here," Alec snapped his phone shut, tucking it back into his pocket and turning his attention back on Polly. She was staring at him suspiciously.
"What are you doing, Alec? Calling for help? That's not like you."
"Desperate times…" started Alec, trailing off as his eyes fell to her abdomen and then back up. He gave her a half hearted smirk. "Desperate measures and all that."
Alec watched his unit mates blue eyes fill with tears. She tugged him forward by the shirt, letting her forehead fall against his chest. It felt like old times and Alec didn't hesitate to wrap his arms around his little sister, keeping her close and warm until Logan arrived.
It was twenty minutes before Logan called again, telling Alec he was near by. By then he had Polly in his arms, whispering things about his life outside Manticore. He learned that his SIC (598) had christened herself Tack, that she had been captured by White as well and Vin had given his life trying to get the three of them out. That Polly had left Tack to look for him, had been looking for him for months. Had finally found him after learning of his little stint in cage fighting. By the time Logan called Alec was getting seriously worried and Polly had started shaking in pain.
When Alec finally found the place Logan had parked he nearly wept with relief. That stupid, wore out car was probably the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Logan was leaning against Bessie, the whirling from his exoskeleton reaching Alec's ears from half a block away.
"Logan!" the older man turned, clearly annoyed by being there, his mouth opening to say something to Alec about how he had to fix the world or whatever but he froze instead, his eyes sliding over the small woman in his arms.
"I thought you said a friend needed help," said Logan when Alec was close enough and the shock wore off. Alec glared at him.
"She is my friend. Logan this is Polly. 451, this is Logan Cale." Alec knew he probably sounded a bit bitter, seeing as how Polly was slipping in and out of consciousness and wouldn't have hear him anyways. Logan nodded in understanding and moved around the car, opening the door for Alec so he could get his friend into the backseat more easily.
"What's wrong with her?"
"White got to her," said Alec, his eyes darkening at the thought. "She's in labor."
"We should get her to the hospital-"
"This has to be kept quiet," hissed Alec, interrupting Logan. "White's probably still looking for her. She's only eight months pregnant, they'll keep the baby for observation, Polly too and then White 'll find out... Please, Logan, call one of your contacts or something."
Logan knew he was right and despite feeling uncomfortable about helping Alec out he could never just ignore a person in need. He replied instantly. "Doctor Shankar. We can trust her."
Alec nodded and the discussion was over. He climbed into the back seat with Polly. While Logan moved to the drives side. He took a moment to glance back at Alec, who had pulled Polly into his chest and was stroking her hair soothingly, muttering into her hear in a volume only she could hear. His eyes flickered back to the road and he started up the car, pulling out his cell phone and hoping Shankar would answer.
Alec had his eyes closed, both hands holding one of hers and his lips pressed against her knuckles. This was torture. Logan was standing in the doorway watching Doctor Shankar work, his face as grim as the good doctors.
"Alec, just go," whispered Polly, turning her face to look at him, her eyes dull with pain. Alec kept his eyes closed and tightened his grip on her hand as an answer, he didn't move as she screamed, cursing himself and Manticore and Max for blowing up the DNA lab because if it wasn't for her Polly wouldn't be in this mess.
"It's a girl," said Shankar softly after what felt like hours. Alec flinched, not able to look at his daughter, not when Polly was lying on Logan's couch looking like the world just crashed on top of her. There was something wrong, Alec could smell it in the air.
"What's wrong," he asked darkly, his eyes never leaving Polly's. Whatever it was, Shankar had been sitting on it for a while, had known about it since she walked into the room.
"Whatever drugs are in her system," she hesitated. "They're killing her."
"What about the baby?" asked Logan. His voice was too loud. Shankar looked a the little girl in her arms and then back at Logan.
"She'll be fine. It's Polly that's dying."
"Please leave," said Alec seriously. He knew without looking that Logan and Shankar were glad to go, and they left quickly, giving the two transgenic privacy. In the kitchen Alec could hear the baby crying.
Polly groaned in pain and turned over, facing him, placing her hand against his chest and Alec place one of his over it quickly.
"Just leave me to die," she whispered, pushing her hand against his chest weakly. Alec swallowed the lump in his throat. That was it, wasn't it? She was going to die and he couldn't do anything about it.
"I'm not going to let you die by yourself."
"So you're going to subject yourself to watching me die? That's illogical."
She was never the logical one. That was always him. Alec moved his hand to her face, cupping her cheek and letting his palm warm the skin beneath it. He always let his mask fall when he was with his unit, they were the only ones who knew exactly what he was thinking just by looking at his eyes. Polly closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to look at him, the pain in his eyes, the determination. He wasn't going to let her die in peace, and he wasn't going to let her go.
"Promise you'll take care of her?" she asked softly and Alec realized he was crying. He shut his eyes for a moment, squeezing the remaining tears from his eyes before looking back at her.
Polly nodded, turning in her face into his hand. Alec leaned closer to her, pressing his forehead against hers and waited until the dull thump of her pulse in his ears slowed and stopped completely. She was gone and he let the tears fall down his face.
After what felt like hours Alec's tears subsided, his throat was burning from the strain and the cold of Polly's body was starting to sting his skin, but he couldn't pull away from her. He could smell Logan as he walked into the room, his scent too overpowering and unfamiliar for Alec's senses.
"Alec? I can call Max. In case you wanted to talk-"
"Please, Logan," snapped Alec, his voice hoarse and sore. "Leave me alone."
"She's gone, Alec," said Logan, continuing on as if he hadn't heard him. "You have to let her go."
"You wouldn't get it," said Alec. "You could never understand what this is like."
"You have to take care of the baby, Alec. Find Polly's breeding partner or someone who can take care of her. If you want I can use my contacts to-"
"I'm her father," said Alec softly.
Logan seemed floored by his confession and Alec could almost hear the cogs turning in the Ordinaries head before he spoke again.
"You? I thought you were Max's…"
"Polly's breeding partner was someone named Vin. He was infertile, so Polly asked me to… I was her CO so I… I don't know why I'm even explaining myself to you, it's not like you care."
"So find this Vin guy and-"
"Vin's dead," said Alec softly. "White killed him."
"You need to tell Max. Tell her-"
"Tell her what? That I got myself into another problem and need her to bail my ass out?" Alec snorted, suddenly feeling hysterical and tired. He shook his head angrily. "I used to be better than that. I am better than that. "
"Don't Logan," he interrupted again, moving his hand up to Polly's face, closing her eyelids. He sighed, his jaw clenching as he fought off a wave of grief. "I have to ask. Polly, she- She's my sister, I can't just dump her body somewhere-"
Alec cut himself off, overwhelmed that he was asking Logan to help him get rid of his sister's body. Logan, for all his people skills were worth, understood what he was asking and hesitated for a moment before relaxing into the door. "Of course."
Neither man moved for a long time until Alec finally shifted next to the couch, pressing a kiss to Polly's forehead and standing up. He turned around to move away from the couch and Logan's eyes widened at how terrible the younger man looked. Like he lost a piece of himself. The baby in the kitchen with Shankar started crying and Logan watched something pass over Alec's face, his head snapping towards the sound of the noise.
"You have a daughter now, Alec," said Logan, following Alec with his eyes as he made his way past him and into the kitchen. Shankar handed the little girl over to Alec gently, showing him out to hold her without breaking her.
"She's beautiful." asked Shankar.
"It's in the genes," said Alec softly, his lips tugging into a grin. He frowned suddenly, glancing over at the back of her neck, sucking in a breath at what he found there, or didn't find. "There's no barcode."
"Really?" muttered Logan. "Strange." something he could look into. If the children from the breeding program didn't have barcodes, they were free. Manticore never owned them, they were never numbers. He smiled at the thought, making a note to tell Max. She'd be happy.
"What are you going to do with her?" asked Logan, folding his arms over his chest, watching the younger man. The question had been hanging in the air for what could have possibly been hours.
"I have no idea."
End Chapter One.