RUBBING IT IN
Summary: "Dude," he sighed. "What's your problem? It's not like it's a secret Max is hot." Alec doesn't know he's supposedly with Max. He's stuck in a car with Logan. He's accidentally rubbing it in.
A/N: This is a missing scene of a conversation Alec and Logan might have had while sitting in his car waiting for Max to rescue Joshua in Dawg Day Afternoon.
Logan stared at the screen on his laptop, a frown furrowing his brow. He massaged the back of his neck and readjusted his position. His car was not the most comfortable place to be sitting and staking out for a long period of time. He had hacked into the Sector Police's mainframe and was watching the little blue dots moving along the myriad of pipes on his screen. They were everywhere. If Joshua was really down in those sewers, it wouldn't be long before one of these blue dots would find him.
And then it would be FUBAR from there. Especially when it came to Max. She loved Joshua like a brother, and any trouble the transhuman got into would only get Max worked up. Logan's lips tilted slightly into a half-smile. It was exactly one of the reasons why he loved Max: she was intensely loyal to the people she cared about.
Joshua. Original Cindy. Her little ragtag group of friends from Jam Pony.
Logan frowned as one more name popped up in his mind.
His mouth went dry with bitterness. Did Max love Alec? Had the other transgenic somehow weaseled his way into Max's affections? His lips curled angrily. Of course, he had. A few weeks ago, he had watched them both have some sort of heated secret conversation. He had heard his name thrown around with the word "us". Max and Alec were an "us". He, Logan Cale, was not part of that equation. Then, just a couple weeks ago, he had seen Alec leaving Max's apartment first thing in the morning. Since then, they seem to have been inseparable.
He closed his eyes briefly as he tried to stave off the wave of pain and anger and betrayal at the circumstances. He gritted his teeth as he attempted to focus on the task at hand. What was he doing here?
Oh right…checking to see if Joshua was okay. Logan licked his lips as he acknowledged that the real reason he was here was in hopes of somehow running into Max. He hadn't seen her in weeks. She never answered her pages –and once, he had even called Alec looking for her, concerned that she was somehow hurt because he hadn't heard from her for so long. But no…Alec answered his phone and passed it right along to Max. Apparently, she was just fine…right where she was…with Alec.
Logan shook his head trying to erase the stab of pain from his memory. He took a deep breath and scanned the crowd outside. So far, there hadn't been any signs of Max. The crowd of spectators was growing larger and rowdier by the minute. More sector police were showing up. The media was showing up. This was not going to be an easy rescue.
He frowned as he tried to formulate a plan that would somehow get Joshua out of trouble.
If Joshua was really down in the sewers. If it was Joshua that was down in those sewers even. And even if it wasn't Joshua down there, a transgenic was. Whoever it was would still need help.
But, the question was, what could he do? In fact, the real question was, did Max already know?
He reached for his cellphone and quickly hit the redial button, calling Max's pager. This would be the eighth time in the last two hours. He still hadn't heard from her. This shouldn't be a surprise to him by now. Really, it shouldn't. But he still half-expected Max to call him right back with a jaunty "Me hittin' you back," or something.
He gritted his teeth as he accepted that this was probably not going to happen.
"C'mon, Max, where are you?" he muttered under his breath, watching the little dots on the screen move along the pipes.
"Hey, Buddy," a deep drawl called from outside his car window.
Logan stiffened in his seat, jaw tensed, as he plastered a somewhat unfriendly smile on his face as he turned to look at Alec who was peering into his car. "Hey," he replied coldly, clearly expressing his displeasure from the tone of his voice.
Alec seemed unfazed by Logan's tone. Instead he looked almost casual as he perused the crowds. He was wearing a green hooded sweater with the hood pulled over his head. He turned to lean casually against Bessie, everything about his demeanor screamed indifference. "I take it you saw the same newscast I did," commented Alec with barely a cursory glance at him.
Logan gave a brief terse nod of acknowledgment. At least it seemed like the transgenic was here to help.
Alec peered at him from over his shoulder, "Have you seen Max?" he asked with a small lift of an eyebrow.
Logan steeled his face into a stony mask. "No. You?"
Alec shook his head, and for the first time Logan saw a hint of concern in the younger man's smooth face. "Let me see if I can get her," said Alec as he pulled out his cell phone. Logan clenched his fists. If I can get her? Did he really have to rub it in? He already had her. Did he want to show off the fact that he, Alec, had access to Max that Logan didn't have?
Logan bit his tongue and watched as Alec dialed a series of numbers that Logan could only assume was Max's pager number. Then he punched in another set of phone numbers – presumably his callback number.
They waited in a somewhat tense, awkward silence. The both stared at the vendor that just passed by wearing an ugly t-shirt with the police sketch of Joshua. "T-shirts! Get your mutant t-shirts! Ten dollars!"
"Ten dollars, what a rip-off," Alec snorted, "But this wouldn't be the country that it is today if it weren't for capitalism exploiting the current craze."
Suddenly his phone rang. He pulled it out of his jeans and flipped it open. "Hello?"
Alec smirked at Max's hushed tones. "It's her," he reported to Logan. He noticed the slightly pained expression on the older man's face but chalked it up to whatever ailments it was Logan suffered from on a daily basis.
"Who're you talking to?" Max demanded.
"Oh, Logan. He's here with me."
"Here where?" she asked, a slightly strained, almost panicked tone in her voice.
Alec looked around at the commotion growing, the media, the vendors, the police. "Here in the All-American Media Circus," he drawled sarcastically. "Where are you?"
But before she could reply, a smirk twisted his lips in amusement. Her voice was echoing slightly, the reception was filled with static, and he could hear the slight splash of water with every footstep. Of course. "Wait, wait, wait…let me guess. You're in the sewers."
"Looking for Joshua," she confirmed, slightly indignant.
Alec rolled his eyes, wishing she were here so she could see his amused-exasperated expression. He noticed that she had a tendency to plan later and act first. Because really, if she had planned at all, maybe she wouldn't have to be in the sewers. "And what makes you think you're going to find him before the cops do?"
Logan should not be surprised she had returned Alec's page within five minutes. He should not be this hurt, this irritated, this angry that she would so blatantly ignore eight of his pages. Of course, Alec would get a callback. He didn't have to sit here and listen to their lover's banter, too. Logan snapped his fingers impatiently, indicating he wanted to talk to her and to remind Alec to get back to the task at hand.
Alec rolled his eyes. It was rude, but he would concede that it was necessary. He would just have to give Max a hard time later. "Hold on," he sighed and handed the phone over to Logan.
He listened in as Logan and Max discussed logistics. He had to admit, it was useful having Logan on their side. He just didn't like the way he was so bossy. And did he really have to talk so tenderly?
"We'll keep an eye out: Be in touch." Logan hung up and reluctantly handed Alec the phone.
Alec tapped the hood of the car. "So, mind if I get out of this weather and join you in there?" He didn't wait for an answer, but instead just walked over to the other side of the car slid right into the passenger seat. He shuffled around, trying to find the most comfortable position for his long body. Finally, he settled for slouching slightly against the side of the door. This gave him the best angle to look at the mounted computer screen on Logan's dashboard.
Alec tried not to notice how stiff Logan was sitting in his car. It was like the guy had an extra stick stuck up his ass. He almost smiled at that. Hah. A somewhat inelegant snort escaped from him instead.
Logan threw him a not-so-friendly glance. Granted he and Logan had never been buddy-buddy considering he had been the one that had been sent on the Mission to get Max to infect Logan with the retrovirus in the first place, but he thought that they had gotten past the glares and awkward silences.
"So," he drawled, "What's new with the fighting of the good fight?"
Another glare sent his direction. "What's it to you?"
Alec shrugged. "You really need to lighten up, Buddy. I'm just making conversation, is all."
"If you haven't noticed, this isn't exactly the time or place to 'lighten up'. Joshua could be in serious trouble and Max – well, she could still be in trouble!"
Alec shrugged. "Have a little faith, Logan. Max can take care of herself."
Logan stared at him hard. Alec returned the stare for all of two seconds before he looked away just to make sure Logan wasn't staring at something else. "What?" he asked, frowning as the older man continued to give him a somewhat incredulous look.
"Is that really how you treat her?" he demanded, his voice dripping acid.
Alec raised both hands in mock surrender. "Whoa, what do you mean 'treat her'?"
Logan shook his head, "Figures you'd be careless about her life, too."
Alec leaned towards Logan, his eyes narrowed. He was seriously getting annoyed and somewhat offended by this cryptic conversation with Logan. "For the record, Max is not a baby. She's a soldier. Whether we help her out or not, she'd be able to extract herself and her target from this mission."
Logan's jaw was clenched so tight, Alec was sure the older man would somehow break it. He managed to say a terse, "Right."
Alec sighed and rolled his eyes. "I said it once, I'll say it again, it's only cuz she's hot, y'know."
Logan glared at Alec.
"You're out here stickin' your neck out for someone who can outfight, outsmart, and outman you any give day," drawled Alec. "Admit it. It's the tight pants factor. I mean, I personally wouldn't mind if she created a diversion, if you know what I mean."
Logan's jaw was dropping just a little bit more with every second. He did not need to know the kind of sick things that went on in Alec's mind about Max. He wanted to smack the smirk off of the transgenic's face. He knew exactly what kind of diversion Alec would be thinking of. He felt a tick starting in his jaw, he was clenching it so tight.
Alec smirked even wider at Logan's discomfort. Those two were so lame. He'd be preening if other guys called his girl hot. And if Max were his girl… Alec dropped the smirk. It was just best not to think along those lines. At least, not while Logan was there staring at him like he was going to have an aneurism.
"Dude," he sighed. "What's your problem? It's not like it's a secret Max is hot."
Unbelievable. Logan thought. The guy was just unbelievable. Was he really one to rub it in this much? Of course he knew Max was hot. He had been pining for her since she first broke into his apartment. But he wouldn't deign discuss it with anyone…least of all the other guy.
Logan sighed. Great. He was the "other guy" in the equation now.
"But for someone so hot, did you know that she always has cold hands?"
Logan gave Alec an indecipherable sideways look.
"It's the most annoying thing when she touches you on the back of your neck with those cold hands," he continued conversationally, thinking about how Max last pushed the collar of his shirt down to check and see if his barcode needed to be lasered off.
Logan bit his lip realizing that this was one small intimate tidbit of a detail that he would never know. Only Alec would get to know.
Logan glared suspiciously at Alec. "What?"
"Okay, then, you're quiet and not agreeing to anything I say," shrugged Alec. "So if you're not here because she's hot…you're actually here to…what?"
"You wouldn't understand."
An eyebrow went up, a smirk followed. "You're actually here to take care of her?" There was a slight hint of amusement in his voice. Just slight. He didn't really want Logan to be any more worked up than he already was. It wouldn't be good for the mission. It would be funny. Just not good.
Logan gave him a look, somewhat condescending. "And what are you doing here?"
Alec shrugged. "You wouldn't understand."
Suddenly, Logan slammed his hand on the steering wheel, almost startling Alec. "That's it! That's enough!"
Alec leaned back further away from Logan, both arms raised in a sign of surrender, his face confused. "Who stuck the tree trunk up yours?"
Logan glared at him. "You can stop rubbing it in alright, Alec? I get it."
Alec was just plain confused now. "Rubbing what in?"
"You and Max."
"What?"he blurted out, utterly confused.
"Yes, she's hot. We both know that. And we both know we're here because we care about her. But I get that only one of us gets to do something about it," said Logan, his tone tight, his expression bitter. "I get it. So you can just stop rubbing it in right about now."
It dawned on Alec that maybe Logan was jealous of the fact that he and Max were transgenics. Jealous that he was always the one stuck in the car looking at a computer screen; jealous that he couldn't be the one fighting the big bad guy. And it had to suck on some level when your girl could hand you your ass with her pinky.
"All right," he said softly. "Didn't mean to, Buddy."
Logan continued to grind his teeth, the sound actually irritating Alec.
"Look, to be honest with you, I hate it just as much just sitting here, y'know? Max, she's not big on the communication thing," he said, somewhat surprised that he was actually sitting her trying to say comforting words to Logan, of all people.
Logan grunted in response.
"She likes to jump into things without a warning."
"Tell me about it."
"It's kind of annoying."
"I don't like the sidelines, either…but hey, if it helps you understand…it's cuz Max and Joshua…they're family, okay," admitted Alec.
"Understand what?" Logan actually turned to look him in the eye now.
"Why I'm here."
"Huh-good, or huh-bad?"
Logan blinked several times, surprised. Max always asked him the same question, whenever he "huh'ed" her. It was disconcerting to note one more similarity between her and Alec. "Just, huh—I almost understand."
Alec shrugged. "I don't always get it either."
Logan didn't know what to say. He never expected to have a moment of actual conversation with Alec. The guy had stolen Max right from underneath his nose for God's sakes. But he had to admit, Alec being here…it wasn't a bad thing. It was hard to pin him for being the bad guy. At that particular moment, he couldn't actually hate the guy.
Suddenly, Alec's phone rang. It was Max.
Logan gave her a series of directions to lead her out of the tunnels. He turned to Alec. "This is where I'm going to bring them out. Gotta figure there'll be soldiers posted on the street."
Alec gave him a long, hard look. It was a rare look from Alec, one that reminded Logan that the smirking young man in his passenger seat was also a soldier. "Hmm. Not for long," Alec drawled, unfazed. He turned and got out of the car and strode the direction of the street.
At that precise moment, Logan hated Alec. He hated him because he could confidently dispatch of whatever soldiers were out there to get in Max's way. He hated him because the moment Max popped out of those tunnels, it would be Alec's hands to reach out and help her. It would be Alec who would hug her and comfort her. It would be Alec who would be there.
And it would be Alec who could and would be able to always have her back. And in the back of his mind, Logan knew it was Alec she would need.