A/N: This was for a prompt fill left over on Dreamwidth, which I can't remember the exact wording of and am too lazy to go back and look it up...lol. Anyway, it had something to do with trying to convince Max to trade her pager for a cell phone. Enjoy!
Max slapped her palm hard against the handle of her bike, whispering out several choice words as she raced through a windy wooded road at a dangerous pace. How many times had he tried to tell her that she needed to "get with the times, Max"? But no, she had to put her foot down, had to play the stubborn, better-than-thou attitude that she often enjoyed inflicting on the sometimes-arrogant X5. She didn't even know why she had fought with him so hard on the issue. His reasoning had actually made perfect sense, and right now was a prime example of one of the reasons he had given.
Alec was in trouble and hadn't been able to reach her in time for help.
She felt the stupid pager in her pocket, wanting nothing more than to throw it in the road ahead of her and ride back and forth over the thing until nothing remained of it. She couldn't, though, not when it was the only thing that would give her the occasional sign that Alec was still alive, even if it had been a while since his last attempt to contact her. She prayed that didn't mean she was too late.
The first page he sent, she had ignored. She was busy, had glanced at his number and shoved the useless device back in her pocket without second thought. The second call came almost an hour later, this time sparking her curiosity but not enough for her to leave her location in order to track down a phone. He called her pager a third time over two hours after that. Finally, she was worried enough to stop was she was doing in search of some means to return his calls.
He picked up after the sixth ring just in time to prevent his voicemail from taking the call.
"Alec, this had better be important," she started.
His voice didn't sound right. It was weak, shaky, not Alec-like at all. The alarm bells in her head began to blare in a deafening scream against her guilty conscience.
"Where are you? What happened?"
A cough. Silence. Several short breaths. A sharp gasp. A pained chuckle.
"Saw a…treehouse, once. …Manticore had us out…training." He paused and she could practically hear the unseen wince. "Somehow…I don't think…this was how it was…supposed to be."
"Alec, tell me what's going on." She wanted to race after him now, wanted to move, but instead she had to stay in the suffocating confines of the phone booth until he told her where he was. If she had just ditched the pager for a cell like he'd told her to time and time again, she could've already been at her bike and ready to go.
A low moan. A mumbled curse.
"I told you, Max. …I'm hiding…in a tree." He chuckled again; this time it turned into a cough that ended with a groan. "Should've seen me. …One tree to…another. …Like freakin' Tarzan. …But, I got away, Max…I got away."
His voice dropped in volume significantly as he got to the last few words, and his speech had begun to slur.
Max sucked in a breath. "Alec, please, focus. Tell me exactly where you are. I'll come get you."
A pause. A hiss. A whimper that stalled her heart.
He ground coordinates into her ear, obviously speaking through clenched teeth as he rode out a wave of pain.
"Okay, Alec, hang on, alright? I'll be there soon. Don't go anywhere."
Nothing but silence.
"I can't hear a nod, Alec," she said softly. "Page me every ten minutes, okay? That way I know-" She closed her eyes. "Just page me, alright?"
A feather-light laugh. "I could tell you…I'm still alive…with my voice…if you…" He cried out softly.
Max felt her eyes tear up. "If I had a cell, I know. You'll have to help me pick one out when we get back, okay?"
"Uh huh," he answered breathlessly, and hung up on her.
That was one hour and thirty-seven minutes ago. It had been twenty-three minutes since his last page. Since the first page, Alec had gone over five hours total, and she had no idea exactly when during his calls that he had been injured. Had he tried contacting her at the first sign of danger? Had he already holed himself up in his tree when he sent the first page? Had she been ignoring him for hours while he was in pain? Possibly bleeding? Possibly dying?
"Hold on, Alec," she begged to the thick trees as she whipped her bike to a stop. She crept through the woods, fast, agile, on alert for any signs of danger, and all the while wondering how the hell Alec wound up all the way out here, and whether he'd be alive to tell her once she found him. She traced his coordinates to a spot where she located one tree that was thicker, taller, older than all the rest.
"Alec?" she called quietly, mindful not to alert any possible threats to her's and Alec's location. She was answered with a rustling from high above just before her pager buzzed in her pocket, followed suddenly by a black plastic object hurtling down towards her through the branches. She caught it out of the air, smiling slightly as she looked at the cell phone in her hand, then immediately frowned when she noticed the blood sticking to her fingers. With frightened speed born of determination, she shot up to the lowest branch of the old maple, utilizing her heightened transgenic abilities to their full extent. Getting up to the crook near the top where Alec lay hidden was as easy for her as climbing a step stool is to a child who's aiming for that cookie jar mom had pushed just out of reach; except Max didn't find a sweet treat within her grasp when she took that last step. Instead, she nearly cried when she looked at the shape her silently adopted brother was in. Too many purpling blotches, too many gashes, too much swelling, too much blood, and that damn cocky grin as he looked at her through half-hooded eyes.
"Hey, Jane…welcome to the jungle," he whispered.
A small laugh escaped her lips. "Hi, Tarzan. You dropped something," she said, holding out his cell.
He shook his head. "Battery's dying…gonna be useless…for a while."
She looked pointedly at him as she hit the power button, lighting up the screen for a few seconds before it shut itself off again. "But it's not dead, yet. Come on, we'll go get it recharged and it'll be good as new."
With a nod, he held up a weak hand and waited for her to help him. She'd get him home, get him fixed up, then she'd be back to catch whoever did this to him.
After she got herself a cell phone.