Title : From A to Z and Everything in Between
Author : Melissa (a.k.a. CherryWolf713, or, Lyssa)
Summary : My own spin on the Max/Alec Alphabet craze.
Pairing : Max/Alec
Status : WIP
Disclaimer : I don't own 'Dark Angel' nor did I come up with these prompts. Anyone who hasn't been hiding under a rock (or, egads, has been a Logan fan as of late...) should know we all need to bow down to the awesomeness that is nickeldime17 for coming up with these terrific prompts and then allowing all of us lower beings to play and romp with them :)
A/N : I know, I'm terribly late to the game here people but I had to build up my nerve to actually try this - it's totally nerve-wracking cause the org is so awesome! I hope to do them justice! So enjoy :D
A is for Anything
Alec would do anything for Max.
It was a known fact. It was statement that he was sure Max had repeated (oh, sure, Alec will jump off this 4 story roof, no sweat; I mean, it's for me) and it was obvious to anyone with half a brain or an Ordinary.
Alec hated underground, enclosed spaces (par for the course with any transgenic sent to the 'basement') He hated sickingly sweet rotten smells. He hated dingy shoes and soggy socks, and grimy pants.
Alec hated going into the sewers.
But Alec would do anything for Max.
The oh-so-familiar smell hit his transgenic-sensitive nostrils and Alec scrunched up his face. She stood beside him impatiently, the metal cover balanced against her jean-clad leg. He cursed her inwardly for seeming impervious to the stank and smirked charmingly.
He was sputtering and cursing outwardly and loudly 2 seconds later. "Oh, god, there's an aftertaste..."
Max landed perfectly beside him on the slim, dry ledge. She barely paused to toss a cheshire-grin and a quip of "gotta be better than what's usually spewing out of that mouth," over her shoulder before leaving him there in the sludge and filth.
20 minutes later and the stank had ingrained itself into Alec's nostrils and he was positive that his clothes were never coming clean. A fact that he felt was totally unfair and that Max should've been made aware of. Repeatedly.
"Would you just shut up," she finally hissed, her voice floating back from her position a few feet in front of him. Alec slit his eyes, knowing full well that she was staying upwind from the reek that was now him and that was all Max's fault in the first place so why should she not reap the benefits? He was so sneaking his grime-encrusted clothes into her wash when they returned to TC; he wasn't ruining anymore of his shit for her campaigns.
Sure, he wanted to keep TC safe and thriving. And, yeah, he would feel bad if someone who had been helping the transgenic's cause got hurt in the crossfire; what kind of human being would he be if he didn't? But how that seemed to translate, in Max's mind anyway, into him and their Fearless Leader traipsing through god-only-knows-what with not so much as a flashlight for hours was beyond him.
And besides, Logan kinda had it coming.
Everyone knew the drill. Ames White was bad news with his high-profile and FBI contacts. Not to mention that he was a part of that damn looney snake cult that seemed hell-bent on overpowering humanity and anything that stood in their way. Like transgenics.
Keep your head down, do what was needed to survive but that's it; TC couldn't afford to take the fight to White quite yet so Max had put her booted-foot down. No one was to openly engage the former-FBI Agent or any of his crazy-ass 'Brothers or Sisters'.
But apparently Logan Cale wasn't just anyone.
Accidents happen. Sometimes laying low wasn't an option when babies needed food and kids were going without shoes in snow and muck covered streets. When you're cornered on a supply run by 7 Familiars running may not be an option. When you find a group of Familiars sweeping through your home-turf you have every right to defend your positions and take those bastard's out.
Sending hacks out on national TV, shoving the knowledge and presence of said cult out of the closet and into the view of normal human people wasn't quite the same thing.
Max was livid and Alec was sure of it cause he had gotten the pleasure of sitting in on her and Logan's impromptu 'bickering' over the subject. It wasn't everyday that the hardcore and steel-nerved transgenic C.O. stood up the disabled cyber-journalist. It made no sense to the other X-5 - Max could wipe the floor with Cale, with or without his annoyingly-screechy robo-legs. But for some damn reason she bowed down to the ordinary, much to Alec's cringe.
But that wasn't one of those times. Logan argued his side and even Alec had pursed his lips in thought. Letting all of America in on the cult's plan might help some and even shed some favorable light on the transgenics' cause, lets face it, they were the nations only real defense against the Familiars. But was it worth the risk? Was it worth Ames losing his cool and retaliating? The only thing really holding White back was the whole secrecy thing; get rid of that and then what? Full on war?
"No way," Max had told him, shaking her head back and forth in denial while Alec nodded in agreement with her, the two confusing Logan for a brief moment before he tried again to make Max see his view. If she would just listen he could convince her of how he was trying to help her side but Max was having none of it. She flat-out ordered him not to do the broadcast, her shoulders squared and her voice clipped; she was in charge and in command. Logan could either fall in line or leave and Alec couldn't have been happier that Max was finally throwing her weight around when it came to her 'were-not-like-that-but-we-are' boyfriend.
Too bad the high only lasted 3 days.
Three days after Logan had exited primely from the make-shift office behind command Max had been intercepted on her way back from Cindy's by White himself, hauling her off for some routine beatings, snide comments, and incessant demands on the whereabouts of his son. It had taken the inhabitants of TC less than 15 minutes to realize what had happened, especially since Alec knew without a doubt that Max would never leave her ninja anywhere that wasn't within her immediate presence.
Within the next half-an-hour Alec and a group of transgenics were on their trail, finding the Familiars newest headquarters-slash-lair by nightfall. Alec took two bullets to his shoulder and back while Pebbles, a laid-back, dark-skinned X-5 that had showed up in TC a few weeks back, got slugged in the gut and was still in critical condition in their make-shift ER.
Max was rescued, (though she insisted she was just about to get her plan together and high-tail it out of there on her own) White got knocked on his ass but still somehow escaped, and Alec had gotten shot - all was right with their little freak-show life again. But in the absence of their Commanding Officer and Second In Command, Mole had held down the fort and refused to deal with Logan, telling him to 'shove off' and wait till someone deemed him worthy of being told what was going on; in his eyes, the pompous ordinary wasn't no better than anyone else who had to wait to find out Max's fate. Plus Mole hated that guy anyway.
They caught the hack just as Max was finishing up the last few stitches on Alec's shoulder blade. Her eyes were cold as she watched the fleeting pictures accompanied by Logan's bland Eyes-Only monotone voice.
"What the fuck, Max!" Alec had cursed, wrenching away from her in an effort to quell the pain caused by her tugging the last stitch harder than necessary.
Mole, who was polishing his trusted riffle a few feet down the long table situated in the middle of command, off handily informed them, "been running every hour since not too long after you were captured."
"I'm. Going. To. Kill. Him," she had seethed, stomping her way into her office and slamming the door. Alec had simply sighed and, after retrieving his shirt and gingerly putting it back on, followed her trail and settled in for a night of ranting and being her normal punching bag.
She refused to answer any of his pages that night, her anger too intense to be rational at that point. Alec finally begged her the next night to just talk to the guy, if only to get Logan to stop calling his cell every 10 minutes after Robo-Legs finally grasped that her pager wasn't the best option anymore.
"Fine, but you're coming with me," Max finally relented. "I might need someone to hold me back..." Alec rolled his eyes but followed none-the-less cause really, what choice did he have?
The front door to Sandeman's old place had been slightly open, furniture was over-turned and papers were laying everywhere. Logan's computer equipment was in shambles and glass was broken in the kitchen where it looked like most of the fight had taken place. In less than a heart-beat Max shifted from her killing-Logan mind set back to her normal 'Woe-is-me-and-I-must-help-Logan' way of life.
Alec found a small blood-trail going out the back door and Max latched onto it like Joshua did a ham-hock. She was adamant in her assessment that Logan had gotten away, that he had taken cover in the sewers to out-wait White and his men or maybe even find his way to TC for help. Alec wasn't sure either way, but he definitely wasn't waiting around the scene of the crime for more cult-loony's to show up and shoot his ass up again.
But, come on, the sewers?
"This is ridiculous."
"Shut up, Alec," Max said automatically.
Her tone, that emptiness and clipped reply like she couldn't be bothered by anything he said, made Alec bristle and he snapped, easily over-taking her stride to come in front of her, blocking the only clear path.
"Max, it's late, pitch black, and it smells to high heaven. I seriously doubt Logan came down here," he bit out. He saw her jaw twitch and added, before she could, "and even if he had, he's long gone by now."
Arms locked across her breast and Max jutted out her hip, telling him icily, "the only thing down here that reeks is you."
"That's great," Alec mused, his face twisting into a sarcastic smile. "Make fun of me instead of listening to one freakin' word I say."
"Logan was hurt you idiot. He could be down here bleeding out-"
"It was a superficial wound, at best!" Alec pointed out. Growing frustrated, he ran a hand through his hair before sighing. "Damn-it Max, you saw the blood; it wasn't a lot. Leg, maybe, possibly an arm but nothing major."
"So what? We just leave him down here cause he may not be hurt bad?" Her tone and face clearly stated that that was not an option. "I don't think so. Now move it, we have a lot of ground to cover."
"Kinda hard to 'cover' something if ya can barely see 5 feet in front of your face." Sure, their cat-DNA gave them advanced eye sight but needed some light at least...
"I'm sorry, are you not part cat too? I can see fine," Max stated.
Alec scoffed. "Bullshit. If that's the case, then why you holding the wall?"
She grinned then, tilting her head to the side. "Maybe I just don't wanna fall into the sewage and smell like you."
Alec's tone was syrupy and full of malice when he leaned down, his breath washing across her face. "Keep being so nice and you won't have a choice..."
He could see her eyes roll in the darkness and rolled his own in response as she muttered, "whatever. You're scared of the dark, than do something about it."
"Like what?" he demanded, pulling back from his lean over her.
"How should I know?!" She ruffled her jacket, like his close proximity had somehow tainted her form. "Got a light?"
Alec pretended shock and patted down his sodden clothes. "Wow, gee-golly Max, you just now reminded me of that flashlight I always keep in my back pock-..." He trailed off there, his hand actually poised over said pocket, his face now scrunched up slightly.
"What?" Max asked warily.
Looking sheepish, Alec pulled out the pack of matches he kept on-body for Mole. No one was safe when the unofficial head of the transhumans was without a smoke and Alec, being the peace-keeper that he is (his usual job was to protect the masses from Max's caustic tongue and right-hooks but he was flexible) didn't feel like being served on a platter to the giant Lizards anger. Matches equaled a happy Mole, and a happy Mole made a happy command. It was also the reason Alec had a large stash of Cubans hidden in his closet to dole out whenever he needed a favor from the scaley-bastard or just whenever Mole was in a mood to rival Max's.
He ignored Max's scoff and a muttering of "lead on then" to pull out a single match, flipping the book into position to strike it. With a prayer he attempted to lite it, hoping the 'fall' he experienced earlier hadn't soaked the whole pack. Shit, he cursed in his head, the first match failing.
"Would you hurry up? We don't have all day-" Max suddenly snapped 3 attempts later, her patience wearing thin.
"Got it!" Alec suddenly exclaimed, turning to look at her smugly as if to say see, I can--he yelled out suddenly, causing Max to startle and scamper closer, her eyes wide and focused on their surroundings.
"What is it?" she demanded, her stance getting ready for a fight.
"I burned my finger..."
The smack echoed through the tunnel ahead of them.
They had scanned two more junctions before the cell in Alec's inside coat pocket started to ring. Curious as to who was calling him this late, he pulled it out, staring at the screen for a beat.
"Question," he said finally, his voice bland. "How stupid are we for just not just calling Logan's cell phone?"
"What?" Max squeaked, snatching the phone from Alec. Seeing that, yes, that was indeed Logan's number flashing on the screen she flipped it open instantly, the small silver electronic glued to her ear. "Logan?!"
Alec mimicked her breathless tone, earning himself an elbow to the ribs that almost sent him teetering over into the murky sewage once more. He growled and sent a murderous glare her way but was unsurprisingly ignored.
"Where are you?" Max demanded.
They found him holed up into the small crawlspace where he said he would be, his upper thigh nicked from where a bullet had snagged his exo-skeleton. Max fluttered around him helplessly, her hands not making contact but shaking with the need to want to.
"Max," he breathed out, her name falling like a prayer and she nearly swooned, getting a close as possible before replying in vain, his name sounding like a caress from her lips and Alec feared puke would be falling from his lips momentarily if they kept it up.
"This emotional display is making me sick," he muttered before pausing, his glance lingering on something floating in the raw sewage a few feet from them. "Or maybe it's whatever that is..."
"Are you ok? Can you walk?" Max questioned, her eyes taking in the blood on Logan's pants with a sinking heart. "How bad is it? I can't-I can't look myself..."
With a roll of his eyes, Alec pushed her aside with a brisk "move" and knelt beside the older man, taking in the wound with a clinical eye, doing his best to see in the darkness.
"I'll be fine," Logan assured Max, but his voice was shaky, as if he was trying to mask the pain but failing slightly. It took an effort but Alec held back a snort. What a baby! It was barely a scratch for crying out loud. Much more damage had been done to the exo-skeleton than to Logan's leg. And, hell, Alec had been actually shot - twice! - just yesterday and here he was, up and ready to go.
He was so glad he wasn't an ordinary.
But then Max seemed even more upset by the small quiver in Logan's voice and her eyes softened in a way that had never been directed at Alec when he had been shot and the X-5 couldn't help the spurt of enviousness that coiled in his stomach for the disheveled man before him.
"You'll make it," Alec snapped briskly. He ignored Max's confused face at his cold tone and got back up to his feet, giving the two lovebirds time to reconcile. He walked away a few feet and pretended ignorance to their sugary voices and moon eyes until the very, very-familiar hitch in Max's voice alerted him that everything wasn't all copacetic in Max-and-Logan-land.
"And I had asked you not to do that hack," Max stated calmly, the underlining tone making it seem like she was talking to the other X-5 instead of her sometimes-boyfriend, making Alec raise his eyebrows.
Asked, ordered, demanded - Max didn't seem to really remember how the conversation went down but Alec wasn't going to split hairs.
"No, Max, you told me not to; there's a difference."
"There were consequences to you doing that, Logan," Max insisted. "You think I wanted-"
"I'll be fine," Logan rushed to console her, completely blinded to the fact that that was the last thing he should be doing. "It's worth it to have you safe."
"Worth it?" Max repeated, slowly standing back up to her feet. Alec could sense the shift and walked back a few feet closer, his eyes going back and forth between the couple in front of him.
"That damn hack was not worth Pebbles being laid up with a slug in her stomach. It wasn't worth Alec getting shot twice (Alec's eyebrows rose even higher at the sound of his own name) and it sure as hell wasn't worth all of this," she raged, her hands pointing around them to the filthy walls and slime-encrusted floors.
"Max-" Alec started, placing a hand on her shoulder in a effort to calm her down, the action semi-working until Logan, with his hardened eyes focused on Alec's appendage, tried to smooth things over in his own way.
"You were taken Max; I didn't think things could get much worse." The older man was grasping at straws now, unused to being on this end of the enraged X-5's anger. "Mole wouldn't let me in command or tell me what was going on and-"
"We were on a lock-down," Alec piped in then, actually agreeing with the transhuman on this aspect. "He was doing what was supposed to be done."
"I could have helped," Logan insisted, his voice taking on a slight edge as he addressed the younger man.
"We had it all under control. Military, remember?"
"And I say I still could have helped."
Alec licked his lips then, his eyes slitting some at the tone Logan was using..
"You made things worse, Logan," Max finally said sadly with a shake of her head. She still hadn't moved out from under Alec's hand and she turned toward his embrace slightly then, seeming to take comfort in it.
But Alec wasn't watching her right then. His gaze was focused on the man sitting on the dingy concrete in front of him. Logan was seriously pushing his luck where Alec was concerned and then with the added tone...
To say it 'chaffed' would be an understatement.
"We were doing just fine without you."
Logan's gaze mirrored Alec's steely one and he raised his chin defiantly, stating calmly, "believe it or not Alec, you can't do everything."
"Oh, but I beg to differ." The X-5 smirked, his hand moving to rest more securely on Max's shoulder. "I saved Max, didn't I?"
At the sound of her name, Max looked up, her confused eyes going between Alec and Logan slowly before she looked back down at herself, taking in her position. She reared back from Alec so suddenly that she looked like she suddenly thought the male had caught fire. The tension in the small tunnel had upped considerably and she scowled, latching on the first thing she could find.
"And I told you before that I was working on a plan before you even got there, so don't kid yourself into thinking anything."
In true Alec-fashion, his face morphed then, almost as if a switch had been flipped. He was grinning, his eyes and voice dripping with charm as he crooned, "aw, come on, Maxie. I know you're picturing me dressed in shiny armor-"
"And being pulled down to the bottom of a lake cause of the ridiculous metal outfit you have on?" she interrupted cheerfully.
Unfazed by her comment, he amended thoughtfully, "actually, I was thinking more along the lines of riding up on my faithful steed, but whatever moves your furniture." He clapped his hands then. "So, now what?"
Which is how Alec spent his night practically dragging Logan's form through miles of underground sewer tunnels since his exo-skeleton finally crapped out and Max wasn't an option (which was just a copout in Alec's slightly resentful eyes at this point; virus his ass. She was still just pissed at non-Robo-Legs) By the time they reached TC it was daylight and Alec had relinguished another night to her.
Alec would do anything for Max.
But would she return the favor?
Sure, he mused as he finished up re-bandaging his shoulder, which had started to bleed under the strain of climbing in and out of the sewers and hauling Logan's ass around, she helped him out when he found himself screwed over by a deal-gone-wrong; she let him help run TC and arrange heists and even included him in her circle of friends (and by included he meant grudgingly relinquishing her hold over OC, Sketchy, and Joshua after fighting tooth and nail to keep him out) And when they had gotten back from rescuing her and Lizzie was busy patching up Pebbles and Alec didn't want to disturb anyone else with his less severe wound, Max had seen to stitching him up.
So she wouldn't do just anything for him, but she did most things. Ok, only certain things made the list; esp if they risked exposure for them or harm for TC. Or, well, just TC now cause they were already exposed so who cared if he went out and did something stupid and gave away his barcoded-past? And her whole 'been there, done that' attitude to him getting shot? Did he get worried sighs and moon eyes and words of assurance? Nope. He got eyes rolled at him and huffs of annoyance and lectures for letting his guard down. His mental list was getting smaller and smaller and...and...
Max hadn't really did shit for him unless it helped her too.
Which, really, just made his mood even more chipper as he exited the small bathroom, heading straight for the counter that held the last remains of his scotch. Forget putting a shirt back on, forget turning on the lights - all he needed was in the bottle in front of him and it was dismal with its lack of contents. The bottle was titled, the rim pressed up against his lips when the front door was suddenly flung open.
"Figured you needed this as much as I did tonight," she greeted him, holding out the six-pack of beers.
Alec let the empty bottle fall back down to the counter and sighed. "Another member for the pity club, huh?"
Max smiled ruefully then, pulling out a beer and cracking the top. "I am the president." She didn't wait for an invitation, just strode forward into his small, shabby apartment. He watched as she made herself comfortable on his sofa, his cat-eyes seeing every movement of her shoulders as she relaxed backwards; caught the way her chest heaved as she took in a deep relaxing breath, stared as her hands lazily stroked the worn leather, her caramel skin enticing against the dark sofa.
Alec took his time in crossing the dark room, allowing his body to fall down on the sofa against her side. She craned her head sideways from it's perch against the back of the couch and offered him her beer, her hand to sliding against his for just a moment before she relinguished control of the cool glass. He put the bottle up to his lips and took a sip, his actions slow and deliberate.
Max rolled her eyes before letting them fall close as she sighed and settled more into the sofa. She didn't offer why she wasn't with Logan while he got stitched up and Alec didn't ask why she had chosen him to come to; he just flipped on the old decrepit TV, the snowy screen turned in to some old western. Within minutes she was blissfully asleep, her head lulled on Alec's shoulder, her hand stretched across his chest and resting gently over his bandage.
Maybe Max hadn't really did shit for Alec unless it helped her too.
But she had let him in her life.
Which, to him, was better than anything.
A/N2 : I know I didn't really get Max and Alec together by the end but I love those opened-ended 'will they or won't they's'...
I already have idea's for B, C, and D so it shouldn't be too long before I get them out. I'm kinda using this as a way to get my muse back on track and into the habit of writing regularly and on somewhat of a 'schedule' so expect a new installment soon :)