A/N: Hey everyone! I am working on getting an alternative ending up for Desperately Wanted, but this little plot bunny popped into my head when I was sitting at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office with a killer headache (I am in the process of getting a visa for the UK). Since I was already planning on doing some writing and having a long wait ahead of me, this is what came out. This is my first jump into Dark Angel and I am not sure how I feel about it. I am definitely not as comfortable with these characters as I am with other fandoms, so let me know what you think!
Btw, it is going to be two chapters (maybe three, I am still reworking the second half).
Alec chalked the slight pain behind his eyes to Normal's singing for his not-birthday. Honestly, he didn't know when his birthday was; it wasn't like Manticore broke out the cake and candles for them growing up. But, it was cake, so he would take it where he could get it. Whipping out one of his pocket knifes, Alec cut into it and plopped a piece onto Sketchy's eagerly outstretched hand. He tuned into O.C.'s and Normal's conversation long enough to send out a playful comment about Normal's intelligence, but was surprised as he spoke to feel another painful twinge behind his eyes. Sending Sketchy a tight smile as he asked for more cake, Alec pushed the whole cake into his friend's hands and grabbed a package off the counter.
"Hey, Normal," Alec informed his boss as he walked towards the door, "I'm gonna get started on delivering some packages."
"You don't need to do that," Normal insisted, trying to coax his golden boy back towards the desk. "It's your birthday!"
"Nah, I've got it," Alec assured, hopping on his bike. "Thanks for the cake though."
Unconsciously tightening his grip on the handlebars, Alec road out of Jam Pony, intent on going back to his apartment in order to figure out what was wrong with him. X5s didn't get sick, he hadn't been in any fights, and he hadn't drank a liquor store lately...he shouldn't have a headache. All of his plans were thrown out the window though when he nearly ran into Joshua and Mole...and a pregnant woman?
"Alec, I'm so glad to see you," Joshua said eagerly.
"Uh huh," Alec responded in confusion.
"This is Gem, she's having a baby," Joshua explained rapidly.
"Oh, so naturally you thought of stopping by Jam Pony in broad daylight," Alec replied sarcastically.
"Max said to come see you and and..."
Alec blinked rapidly as Joshua tried to explain what in the hell he was doing out in public. He knew that he needed to get them hidden before too many people started to notice the transhumans, but it felt like someone had taken a hot poker and was stabbing it into his eyes. The time to plan was up when police pulled up to block the road.
For the first time in a while, Alec silently thanked his Manticore training that allowed him to push the pain away in order to focus on getting them all out of there alive.
Leaning his head against the pillar as he handed Dalton a knife, Alec cursed his Manticore training. Fat lot of good it did him. Ignoring the hateful and distrustful looks from those that a mere hour ago would have loved to get a drink and joke around with him, Alec rolled his eyes to the ceiling as Dalton pressed the knife into his shoulder.
"Easy kid, the ladies won't find me as attractive if I can only use one arm," he joked lightly. Dalton had been handling himself well, but he was young. Alec could tell that the kid really did not want to be digging a bullet out of his shoulder at the moment, he could feel the tension radiating off of him.
Dalton didn't respond, but Alec heard and felt him take a slightly deeper breath and his hands steadied a bit.
Alec had thought of asking Max to get the bullet out, but he needed her to take stock of the situation and see if there was anyway out of this that didn't end in a bloodbath. Also, bullet wound aside, he felt like crap and he didn't think he had it in him to listen to her hurl accusations of his screw ups at him. He was so busy trying to think through his headache that he didn't notice Dalton had stopped his work.
"I don't think I should be the one doing this," Dalton hastily told him. "I think I'm damaging some nerves."
Following Dalton's line of sight, Alec quickly clamped his fist closed, ignoring the pain that shot up his arm. "Nah, kid. You're doing fine, it's just a bit of shock."
"X5s go into shock?" Dalton asked in disbelief, one of his eyebrows shooting up.
"Sure," Alec informed him, gesturing with his other hand for Dalton to continue working on his shoulder. He waited for Dalton to get back to work before biting the inside of his cheek in anger and a bit of worry.
This could not be happening.
He felt another stab of pain behind his eyes before his hand clenched tighter on its own accord.
Trapped in Jam Pony, surrounded by cops, probably White, a city that hated them, a room full of people who distrusted and despised them, and his body was turning on him?
So much for being a super soldier.
After another minute, Dalton finally worked the bullet out, handed Alec back his knife and grabbed some gauze. Dalton was almost done wrapping him up when Max graced them with her presence.
"What's that?" She asked with mild curiosity.
"It's a hole in my body made by a bullet," Alec responded nonchalantly. Honestly, the bullet hole was the least of his concerns at the moment, but he really didn't want to let on that he was even more incapacitated than he appeared...or at least he would be soon.
"Been there, done that," Max brushed him off briskly with a wave of her hand. "Check the news."
"Uh," Alec lightly groaned as he rolled off of the pillar.
Check the news? Check the tranny-hating news? 'Grrreat idea, Max', Alec thought as the hateful words from ignorant asses echoed around the room. The tension when Scott had decided to go to the bathroom had been defused for the moment, but the news broadcasts were once again causing their former co-workers to mumble among themselves. They started off quietly, but the downside to being a genetically empowered super soldier? Sometimes you heard things that you wish you didn't.
"They're mutants. Freaks," whispered one girl who just the other day had nearly thrown herself at him. "I hope they get what's coming to them."
"They shouldn't be allowed to walk free, they should be locked up," argued a guy who he had gotten a beer with the night before.
Dalton had been sent back upstairs to keep lookout, and hopefully be spared some of the disparaging comments.
"They're dangerous, who the hell would create monsters like them?" asked someone who Alec had convinced Normal to give a job to.
"Do you think they are like normal people?"
"No, they were created, like lab experiments. There is nothing human about them, they are just designed to look like us."
Alec sat with his back against the lockers, hidden from sight. The tremors that occasionally wracked his body were getting harder to hide. No longer was just his hand seizing up, but his whole arm, and sometimes the tremor would slide through his entire body, trying to drop him to the floor. He didn't know how much longer he would be able to hide them from everyone, but he knew that if he succumbed to them, then their chances of making it out would diminish greatly.
There was another reason besides the tremors that had him seeking refuge behind the lockers. It hurt. Seeing people who he had laughed with, people who genuinely liked him, turn on him because of something that he couldn't prevent even if he tried. But, he couldn't hide out there forever.
Feeling fairly certain that he had a little while before the next one hit, Alec pulled himself off of the grimy floor and made his reappearance.
"What were you doing back there?" Max asked him suspiciously.
"I had to grab something out of my locker," he supplied smoothly, not wanting to add to the stressful atmosphere.
"What was it?" Max hounded him, looking for something in his hands.
"I just needed a quick drink," Alec told her, pulling a flask out of his back pocket. And wasn't that the truth. Not the actual drinking part, but the part about him needing it. He knew that if Max noticed his absence, then she would ask him about it; therefore, he had grabbed his flask out of his locker so he would have something to show her.
"Are you serious?" She hissed at him, invading his space. "We are in the middle of a standoff and you are drinking?"
"Just staying loose, we probably aren't going to make it out of this anyways, might as well enjoy ourselves," Alec replied, knowing that the best way to get her to leave him alone was to make her disgusted with him.
Mission accomplished, he thought as Max shook her head at him and turned to walk over to Joshua.
Another hour later and tensions were even higher. If the police didn't storm in, their hostages might attack on their own. No longer bothering with the whispering, they were openly expressing their disgust for the transgenics and transhumans. At first, the Manticore alum ignored the insults that were flung their way, after all, the news and general populous had been doing it for months. Hell, Normal had been doing it around Jam Pony with vigor. But...that was before everyone knew what they were. For some reason, it made a difference now that they knew. Perhaps some naive part of them thought that because they worked with them, hung out with them, sometimes called them friends, that once their co-workers found out, they wouldn't be as hostile.
They were wrong.
Everyone was told to hate them, to fear them. They weren't human, they were wolves in sheep's clothing, ready to rip them apart the moment they let their guards down.
But, they were wrong.
Transhuman, transgenic, human...it didn't matter. The desire for acceptance, the yearning for companionship, the ache of pain at feeling lost and alone...it was the same for all of them.
It was these feelings that drove Max to seek out the comfort of another transgenic. Joshua was upstairs with Dalton, Gem was currently getting a small break as she dozed lightly, Mole was guarding the back (not that she would want to spend time with him anyways) and CeCe was at the front, which left only one option. She found Alec leaning up against the front counter and she could almost hear Normal yelling, "bip, bip, bip!"
Turning around, Max let her body fall against the counter next to Alec, noticing offhandedly that he didn't send her a cheeky comment, or smirk, or acknowledge her arrival in any way. Thinking that he must be stressed due to their current situation, Max didn't worry about it. "I think I could use a drink right about now," she threw out as an olive branch, needing anyone in her corner she could get.
Alec knew he should respond, but for the life of him, he couldn't figure out what would be a normal response from him. He hurt. Everywhere. Every muscle was on fire and it was all he could do to keep from collapsing on the floor and letting the seizures take him. He had already raided the staff frig for milk, there was none. He broke into Max's locker to see if she had any pills, none. He was down to praying to a god he didn't think existed to get them the hell out of this mess before he collapsed on the floor and became another problem that had to be dealt with. Give him another hour or two and he wouldn't even be able to pray.
Max frowned as Alec let a perfect opportunity to tease her go. Looking closer at him, she grew more concerned as she took note of his glazed-over eyes, the grey pallor of his skin, the slight sheen of sweat that had broken across his forehead. Now that she was looking, he wasn't casually leaning against the counter, but was rigidly holding himself there.
"Alec," she tried, trying to squash down her growing concern. "Alec," she said again, this time a little louder, annoyed at the concern that was creeping into her voice. She almost sighed in relief as he shook himself out of his stupor and whipped his head around to look at her.
"Are you okay?" She questioned, keeping her voice down so that the Ordinaries could not hear her.
Alec focused intently on her words and broke through the pain long enough to reassure her, "I'm fine, but if you want to kiss me better, I wouldn't stop you." He even managed to add a small smirk.
Max narrowed her eyes, trying to figure him out, but whatever, he was probably just milking his injury for sympathy. You don't really believe that. Max ignored her inner voice and huffed at him. "I just don't want you messing anything up."
Alec nodded in agreement, he didn't want to mess this up either. "I won't," he promised.
A painful cry tore through the room as Gem woke up to another contraction. Max pushed herself off of the counter and away from Alec and made her way over.
"How's she doin'?" she asked O.C.
"Girl's havin' a baby. Soon," O.C. informed her grimly.
Max's response was cut off when she heard a sickeningly sweet voice coming out of the TV.
"Oh, there's no point in discussing human rights since they're not humans. So, they don't have rights, they don't even have souls and it's worse than that because animals don't have souls, but they were meant to be here. These things were never even intended by god to exist. They are an insult to every thing in his creation."
"That's right!" Someone in the room shouted.
"Yeah!" Seconded another voice.
Max looked around in panic as the room took up the call. This was getting out of control, fast. Giving Gem's hand a quick squeeze, Max stood up and hopped on to a table.
"Hey!" She shouted. "Listen up!"
Someone threw a bottle that was lying around and she heard Mole send a round into his shotgun. Throwing up a hand to halt him, Max tried again. "Everyone shut up!"
No such luck, the police probably thought they were in here beating people with the way they were screaming at her.
"Just listen to her!" Alec's voice cut through them. One by one, people began to quiet and Max sent a silent thanks to Alec. Even when they hated him, people still responded to him. There were times that his ability to charm and connect to people was a blessing. However, despite his help, he was not looking too good. When this was over, she was determined to get to the bottom of whatever was up with him.
"We aren't monsters, we're your friends, I've worked with some of you for years. You've been workin' with Alec. We've hung out, bitched about Normal, survived the day to day boredom of working here."
Max ignored Normal's indignant shout.
"Where we come from doesn't change any of that. Yeah, so we aren't exactly like you, but that doesn't mean we're evil."
"You're holdin' us hostage, I don't think that makes you good!" Someone cried out.
Max nodded, "We don't want to do this, we just want to be left alone, allowed to live normal lives."
"You'll never be normal," Normal claimed. "You were designed by scientists, not created naturally, you might as well have freaking superpowers...it's too dangerous to let you live with us!"
Max's jaw tightened angrily. "It wasn't our fault! We didn't choose this life!"
Alec tried to focus on the words being exchanged, but his last shout for the crowd to listen had zapped all of his energy. The images he was receiving kept flashing between bright white and angry mob...he didn't know which one he preferred. As the flashing sped up, he was vaguely aware that his body was winning the battle.
"It was all we knew from the time we were born," Max chanced a look at Alec, he should be the one giving this speech, people liked him, he knew exactly what to say to get them to trust him. "We just..." Max's words came out slower as she took in Alec's tightened muscles. "We just..." she repeated as her brain tried to catch up to what she was seeing. "...wanted...to..."
Everyone watched in confusion as Max seemingly lost the ability to speak.
O.C. had been just as confused as to why Max was falling apart up there when she noticed that Boo kept lookin' at her boy. Glancing up, O.C. noticed that Hot Boy was not looking so hot at the moment. Giving a quick check to make sure that Gem was good, O.C. stood up and was making her way over to Alec when he finally gave up the battle to remain upright and let his body collapse to the floor.
Max watched as Alec's body crumbled beneath him and he smacked into the ground with a loud thud. "Alec," she breathed out, jumping off the table and running over to him, everyone's eyes following her.