A/N: I don't know what else to say. I'm impossibly grateful to my co-writer, Oyaji Murakami without whom I wouldn't be able to write jack-squat. Oneechan, you're awesome, you know that? These readers need to compliment you, not me!
A/N#2: Next chapter's almost ready but I won't be doing some editing for a while. I have a Marketing Plan competition coming up and a major exam on top of that. To those of you who are also wondering if I'm going to update Surrender, you have my word that I am not going to abandon that one. Just... not now. I hope you understand.
A/N#3: To all the new readers - Aggie12, gabbygirl89, heathersemmes, and (*oh my gosh* on this one!) Dark-Supernatural-Angel, author of "A Life I Thought Would Never Return" and several other works that I loved, thank you very much! Thanks to everyone who's still there! I love you with all my heart!
DISCLAIMER: Alec's mine (what? A girl can't name her cat after one of James Cameron's toys?).
Alec jolted awake. The cubicle he had barricaded himself in was back and so were the annoying screaming and pleading from demented women outside the door. He tried to move and was suddenly greeted by the pulsating of his legs which were sore and livid from his fall but numb from being seated in the toilet for a very long time.
God, I dozed off in here? It irked him to no end that he didn't even have control over his consciousness anymore. Granted, he was probably coming down with whatever medications they had given him at the hospital, but he was going to have to be more careful with his newfound weakness.
It just proved his point about how fragile Ordinaries could be and it made him wonder how most of them could be unbelievably strong as well, particularly in mind and spirit.
Moving off the toilet lid, Alec groaned as the pain in his ass and legs returned. It almost felt like getting hit by a semi running on full speed and now he understood why Ordinaries would ask a person jokingly if they caught the number of the vehicle that hit them. Next time he did something stupid like say, jump from a 20-feet height with his Ordinary legs, or actually get hit by a truck, or if luck just thought of screwing him over like it always did, he wouldn't be saying the expression just because it was what a normal human being would say, but because he could now truly relate and it brought a whole new slew of sympathy for the people he had once looked down his nose – had taken for granted when they were at their weakest.
Stripped of his "genetically empowered" sash and all the privileges of being the epitome of genetic engineering that he once was, Alec drew a conclusion: *being an Ordinary sucks... big time.*
Still, if he thought of the pros of being a normal human being, namely being Max's husband and having pretty little Marion as his daughter, it thumped being a transgenic a thousand times over. Heck, he wouldn't even mind getting stuck in a wheelchair.
Guilt at the thought lanced up from inside him, but Alec pushed it down. Logan didn't exist here. Even if he did, Alec hadn't infected Max with the retrovirus and Logan wasn't in a wheelchair.
There was no need for Eyes Only in this world and definitely no need for transgenics .
Everything was perfect in hindsight if he could just ignore the screaming fan girls outside the lavatory and the fact that he was probably going back to the hospital again, thanks to his stupid legs that couldn't handle a jump that a mere kitty-cat probably could.
Peeking through the narrow slits of the slightly-ajar bathroom door, Alec surveyed the department store which he had hoped to take refuge in. The Police stood guard at the doors, shooing curious onlookers away as the raging fans were forced to move at the store's front.
One of the police officers shoved the last one out, forcefully pushing the door behind him with his back as his radio crackled, informing him of celebrity Alec McDowell's escape from the hospital. He responded by saying he had found Alec's location which was confirmed by a mob of fan girls and that his team would be standing guard until assistance arrived.
Closing the door carefully, Alec frantically began searching for a way out. There were no windows and the vents were so small he would be lucky to fit his head through them.
In frustration, Alec punched the wall...
However, instead of feeling pain like he had expected, he was surprised to find that his fist had went straight through the wall. Smiling that stupid smile Max loved to hate (or hated to love, if anyone was to ask his opinion about it), Alec began pulling at the flimsy sheetrock with which the pathetic walls around him were made of until he created a hole big enough for him to crawl through. On the other side of the bathroom was a storage room and he couldn't help but grin at how easy this was going to be – almost as if it was a movie or a dream.
Snagging a black hoodie which was left hanging on a peg and to his horror, a pair of pink flip-flops way too big for his feet they would've fitted Joshua's, *Damn, I miss the Big Fella! Wonder where he can be in this universe.*, Alec slipped out of the loading dock and across the back lot toward the small wooded area.
He hadn't thought this through – he didn't know what his address was, let alone a single contact number. A cyclone of colourful vocabulary even he didn't know he possessed went shooting out of his mouth like Gatling gun bullets at the realization. For a guy with an IQ level above a hundred-ninety and two decades of military training, forgetting things as basic as those was indeed a stretch, he would give himself that.
Limping through the woods furthermore (all the while cursing every step of the way), Alec stumbled upon every root and rock he came across. As can be expected, his transgenic-sized ego had defied all logic and overestimated his injured feet's capacity that he ended up almost kissing the forest floor six times.
Standing breathlessly with one hand braced on a tree trunk, he almost knelt in relief as he heard the sound of running vehicles up ahead. He took five deep breaths and massaged his throbbing ankles before pressing forward once again, pausing twice for a few seconds to feel his forehead and his neck with the back of his hand. He noted that his temperature was more or less the same as it had always been, so why, then, was he feeling so out of it? Almost as if he was...
Oh crap. That's right. I'm an Ordinary – an Ordinary running a fever from my stupid fractures. For one moment he almost missed the comfort of that Psy-Ops smelling private room he had so foolishly ditched, but as the freeway slowly came into view, he quickly banished the thought and forced himself to limp faster, his weight favouring his left foot. Suck it up, soldier!
Lingering along the tree line to use as his guide, Alec exhaled and sluggishly trekked his way back to civilization.
Once at the heart of civilization, Alec permitted himself a full minute to appreciate the obviously Pulse-Free surroundings. He nearly landed on his ass as he caught sight of himself – modelling some fine time piece on a ginormous commercial billboard. He stood there for yet another minute – mouth gaping like an idiot until the sharp stabbing pain in his ankles reminded him of the task at hand. Glancing at the handsome son of a bitch one last time with a self-possessed grin on his face, he pressed forward.
There were a lot of stores, a court house and a library on a small square with other business buildings surrounding them. Deciding that his best chance was the library, Alec made his way across the street, flip-flops flapping like pink flamingos during mating season.
With a shudder at that thought, he pulled the hood over his head – the cool dry air of the library soothing his sweaty skin through the tattered hoodie. Making his way to the librarian, he asked the tiny redhead if the use of computer was free. She told him it wasn't. They were free to anyone local who had a library card, but Alec didn't know if he was a local or not.
"Look, I just need to look up an address. I'm... kind of lost." Alec pleaded, hoping the surly tone and glazed look caused by the fever would turn into an asset. When the woman gave him a once over and sighed sympathetically, he knew his MO worked like a charm.
"Very well, I'll give you a fifteen-minute pass. That's all I can do," the redhead said, walking over and assisting Alec with one of the computers. He sat down and began his research.
First he typed his name. The search engine came up with a Wikipedia page he'd already encountered, countless fan sites, concert tour guides and several blogs, but he couldn't find anything substantial like an address or contact number. It was a setback, especially now that his eyes couldn't scan the details as fast as they used to. Changing tactics quickly, he tried searching for Max.
Eyes skimming over details he'd already read from Ben's tablet PC, he stopped at the segment with the heading "Relationships and Family". At the bottom of the long paragraph was a mention of their mansion in Seattle.
He was in Olympia and it was an hour's drive from there. Worst of all, he didn't have a single dime in his pocket or a car. Should he risk stealing a car to drive all the way?
Shaking his head and instantly wishing he hadn't as it made him dizzy, he logged off, stood up and thanked the kindly librarian with a smile. By the time a hint of recognition graced the woman's features, Alec was already far from sight.
Traversing briefly at the closest gas station, Alec settled in a booth at the diner attached to it. Truckers sat and chatter, relaxing before the next leg of their trip.
Taking a deep breath to work up his nerves, Alec stood and slid into a booth that had a couple of men just eating.
"Hey," Alec said in way of greeting, trying his best to look bummed with both hands stuffed on his pockets.
"Hey yourself, kid. Get lost!" the grislier of the two men snapped while the other grunted in agreement.
"Well, I am... already lost. Look, I'm just wondering if any of you are header for Seattle." Alec said, a little more hopeful than he thought he should feel. The look the two truckers shot him told him they had picked up on it, too.
"I am. But I don't take passengers. I could lose my job if I do." The one who grunted said, his jacket told Alec his name was "Robert S.". His companion, an African-American with a beard, wore a vest printed with simply "R. Turner" on the back.
"Come on, please?" he beseeched, unaware of the childish pout that graced his lips.
"I've had a really bad day and I don't feel too good. There was this mob that jumped me and I lost everything I had... They took everything, even my shoes." Alec continued, wiggling his toes under the table as the African-American guy raised an eyebrow.
"Hey, Bobby, isn't that punk all over the news today?" R. Turner asked, using his dirty fork to point at Alec. "You know, one of those kids with barcodes like a box of Coco Puffs."
"Bobby" looked him over and Alec shifted nervously, afraid the people sitting at the diner might have heard. Once sure that no one was any wiser about his "superstar" status, Alec leaned forward and let the men take a good look at the back of his neck.
"Well I'll be damned! It's not every day a celebrity just sits down at a modest diner out of the blue." Bobby grunted in slight amusement, obviously not giving two shits whether this kid was Queen of England or Tina Turner.
"Look, I can pay you for any extra gas it might take. Hell, even the whole drive there, once I get home. I really miss my little girl and my wife's probably having a conniption fit right now with me missing." Alec told them. He could tell that the old grump was slowly starting to give in.
"All right, kid. But you have to sit still. And no talking, either." Bobby finally relented and Alec couldn't help the childlike grin that broke on his face. "And wipe that stupid look off your face, you idjet!"
Please kindly let us know what you think so far. And, like I said, the next few chapters are sitting in my desktop (thanks to my trustee co-writter, AGAIN) and just need a few editing (maybe a talk or two as well about some minor stuff with oneechan) so please hang in there and keep reviewing. GOD BLESS everyone!
I should have mentioned this before. My works are not beta-ed. All glaring errors are done by stupid ole me. So please just bear with me! :)