And here you have it all fixed up…
Max woke slowly. She opened her eyes and took her time focusing on the ceiling, allowing for the distinct possibility of falling right back asleep which is what had happened every other time she'd awakened. She knew she was back at Logan's. She knew Alec had been at her side every single time, always talking, always frightened, always urging her to stay with him.
He'd also kissed her.
When Max determined she wasn't going to fall back asleep, she gave more effort to remembering how she'd gotten to this point. Her mind wandered through the past several days. She remembered asking everyone to stay and then the police blowing Terminal City to pieces. She remembered the abandoned warehouse, then the school, the situation devolving from completely disastrous to completely beyond repair. She remembered ending up at Logan's where they'd brought their non-relationship to its inevitable end. She remembered the massacre of so many Transgenics and her one last hope of maybe, just maybe, saving Ming and his people. It had been a stupid hope, in retrospect, a hope she'd clung to after so much loss, only to have it, too, smashed to pieces like all of her other hopes and dreams.
Max turned her head toward the other side of the bed. Alec was stretched out beside her, fast asleep. He was on his side, facing her, with one hand curled around her bicep. She moved her arm and Alec's fingers tightened, although he didn't seem to actually wake. It reminded her of what Logan had told her. Alec was watching over her, not to mention being territorial. Idiot, she thought fondly.
"It finally caught up to him."
Max turned quickly toward the voice and found Logan sitting in a chair a few feet away. He looked tired and… sad. "What did?"
"He hadn't slept since you got hurt," Logan said. "Even a Transgenic has to rest eventually."
"How long have I been out?"
"Four days." Logan sighed and sat forward in his chair. "You woke up a few times, but I doubt you remember it. You weren't really coherent."
"He ok?" She didn't know if he'd been hurt escaping from City Hall. She wanted to check him herself for injuries, but it would require forcing him to let her arm go and she guessed that would probably wake him.
"I don't know," Logan answered wearily. "He hasn't really talked to me and he wouldn't really let me near you or him."
"That's putting it mildly."
Max was getting a crick in her neck from trying to talk to Logan while she was lying down. She scooted up on the bed, feeling a sharp twinge low in her belly at the movement. It made her grit her teeth, but it still felt better than lying down. Her body told her she'd been lying in the same position for far too long.
The movement did, however, pull her away from Alec. He immediately began to stir and Max quickly took his hand in hers. With the contact reestablished, he seemed to settle again and Max sighed in relief. He looked badly in need of rest. There were dark circles under his eyes and Max was well aware of what poor shape he'd been in before she asked him to go to City Hall.
Max heard a sound from the other side of the room and looked up to find Logan watching her, once again with that sad look on his face. She felt herself flush in embarrassment and glanced back down where she was holding Alec's hand, but she couldn't bring herself to let him go. She honestly had no idea what she and Alec were to each other at this point, if they were anything at all, but if Alec needed her there so he could rest, then that was what she was going to do.
Logan cleared his throat uncomfortably. "I found evidence that the mayor called in the team and arranged for the deaths of the Transgenics. It hasn't been enough to cancel the citywide lockdown, and there's some mixed sentiment, of course, but it's starting to swing against him. They don't seem to care about the transhumans, but there were too many children in the massacre."
"Too many human looking children," Max said, unable to keep the bitterness from her voice.
Logan nodded and looked down. "Right."
Max pursed her lips, once again feeling guilty, this time for letting her anger spill over onto Logan. He'd been nothing but generous and helpful to her and the others. "Thanks," she finally said. "The mayor deserves whatever they do to him."
"And more," Logan added.
Max nodded in agreement, then stopped, unease creeping up at what else she knew needed to be said. "I'm… I'm sorry we had to come back here. It can't have made any of this easier."
Logan smiled kindly. "You were dying, Max. Just because we can't be together, it doesn't mean you aren't welcome here, or that you have to go someplace else when there's trouble."
"We're friends, Max," Logan said seriously. "I hope we'll always have that."
Max's lips quirked up on one side. "The potentially lethal, best at a distance, but always helpful kind of friends."
Alec shifted in his sleep, drawing both of their attention. Max held her breath, waiting to see if he would wake. She brushed her thumb in a soothing motion across the back of his hand and once again he settled. Max wasn't sure what it meant that she felt the need to soothe him or that Alec accepted it so easily, but it felt right all the same.
She suddenly remembered what Alec had said to her in the sewer. She remembered the look on his face, the absolute determination. She remembered how her heart had pounded and the thought of being with Alec hadn't seemed like the crazy idea it once had. In that second, he hadn't seemed like the same screw-up she was used to seeing. He'd seemed like a man, a serious, resolute, handsome, yet damaged man who'd been by her side through this whole mess. It had scared her so badly, she'd shoved him away and run for it. Looking at Alec now, she was sorry that the last time she'd really talked to him she'd been angry.
When Max turned back to Logan, he was once again regarding her sadly, as if he understood all too well what she'd been thinking. "Do you know what you'll do now?" Logan asked, almost as if he didn't want to know.
"We'll leave," Max said with certainty. "We can't stay here. It's too dangerous."
"It might get better," Logan tried, "with all the publicity."
Max immediately shook her head. "We'll go. I nearly got us killed at City Hall. I won't risk that again on a possibility that things might get better."
Logan nodded in acceptance and stood as if to leave. "You should rest. I'll be in the other room if you need me."
"Thanks." Max slid back down on the bed. Her stomach was hurting and she was suddenly exhausted from all the talking. She had to release Alec's hand to do it and the last thing she remembered as she drifted back to sleep was Alec putting an arm around her and pulling her close. Logan saw it and turned away. Max's eyes closed as he left the room.
Alec woke abruptly and immediately cursed himself for falling asleep. He'd meant to stay awake until he was absolutely sure Max was out of the woods. His second realization was that he was wrapped around Max, holding her tightly to him, and it was everything he could have hoped for. She was warm and wonderful, muscled, but soft in all the right places. She would also kill him if she knew what he was thinking.
Alec slowly unwrapped his arm from around her and rolled to lie flat on his back. He was still tired, but the days he'd waited for Max to wake up had at least given his body time to repair some of the damage done. His shoulder was taking the longest since he'd reinjured it repeatedly, but given another few days it too would be fine. He only hoped the same could be said for Max.
Alec startled at the question, which meant she'd been awake while he'd been holding her. That raised a whole different set of questions and Alec didn't even know where to start, so he just said, "Yeah."
Max rolled onto her back and clasped her hands across her stomach. "You ok?"
"Yeah," he said again. "You?"
Silence fell and they both remained where they were, staring at the ceiling. Alec wasn't really sure what else to say. He didn't want to talk about their failures, or the mess they were in, or about the mayor, or about anything really. Selfish as he was, all he was really concerned about was Max and why she hadn't done anything about him sleeping with his arm around her.
Apparently Max's thoughts had wandered in the same direction because she cleared her throat and asked, "What you told me when we were in the sewer… Why didn't you ever say anything before?"
Rather than answer directly, he asked a question of his own. "Why do you think I was so annoyed when you used me to keep Logan away?"
"Ah." Max made a sound of realization. "You didn't want to be the bad guy."
"Pretty much." Alec couldn't stand it anymore and sat up. If she was going to smack him back into oblivion for getting ideas, then he didn't want to take it lying down. If she wasn't, then he wanted to be able to see her. Max seemed to feel the same. She sat up, leaning against the headboard for support. She couldn't quite bring herself to make eye contact and settled for a few nervous glances in his direction, which made Alec smile. Oh, he was definitely getting to her.
"So how long…"
Alec raised an eyebrow. "How long have I been wishing you and Logan would figure out you were doomed?"
Max finally looked at him to give him a glare. "Yeah."
"Dunno," he replied simply, and it was the truth. "It kinda snuck up on me at some point. One day, it just dawned on me. I was looking at you and looking at Logan and I realized I was wishing that I was still a complete jerk with no conscience who could take him out so you'd quit mooning over him." He gave her a roguish grin. "I was also prepared to comfort you in your time of need."
"Do I even need to say how sick that is?"
Alec let out a little huff of a laugh. "Take it as a sign of growth that all I did was think about it."
"Yeah. You're Mr. Mature."
"And you thought I had no self control," he said wryly.
She regarded him carefully. "You didn't exactly show any around the black ops team, or Ming for that matter."
Alec winced. He didn't care about the soldiers, but just mentioning Ming brought back a flash of guilt for multiple reasons. First for killing someone they'd been there to save and second for not killing him soon enough. Finally, he said, "They murdered more than half of our people. As for Ming… He could have killed you. I couldn't allow that."
To Alec's surprise, Max didn't seem to hold what he'd done against him. She cocked her head to one side. "Is this part of your attempt to impress me?" she asked. "You want to kill anyone who comes near me?"
"Hey," he shrugged, "I have to impress you somehow and unfortunately, the only skills I have involve killing people. Not really your thing, but it's all I got."
Max rolled her eyes. "This isn't the jungle, you know."
"Your brain says that, but your DNA says it is. I have to impress them both."
"You want to impress my DNA?" she asked in disbelief.
Alec smirked. "I'm prepared to impress you in any way I can think of."
"Well, right now I'm impressed with the fact you're an idiot."
Alec gave her a mock-serious expression. "It's a start I guess. Give me a century or two and maybe you won't look like you smell something nasty every time I come around."
Max frowned and actually looked at him again. "I don't-"
"You do," he cut her off. "It's ok. I can be patient. For a while anyway."
Max pressed her lips together in thought. "Ok."
"Ok?" Alec said, completely shocked.
"Give me some time. And… maybe."
Alec's heart that had seemed to be in a vise ever since Max had been hurt suddenly felt like it was going to swell to bursting. "Maybe's… good." He felt a wide grin spread across his face.
"Stop smiling like that," Max ordered, scowling.
"I can't," he answered. "I'm making plans to sweep you off your feet."
"That's fine," he answered happily. "I don't have to talk to do it."
Max just rolled her eyes, but he could see it. She was smiling, just a tiny one, but it was there. Finally, she cleared her throat. "Where's my phone?" she asked.
"Just get it."
Alec obliged. He rose from the bed and retrieved her cell from a table across the room where he'd set her things several days ago to wait for her. He returned to the bed and instead of sitting on the other side, he sat beside her at her hip and handed it to her.
She gave him a suspicious look as if she knew what he was up to, but took the phone. She scrolled through several things and Alec wondered exactly what she up to. Finally, she dialed and waited for someone to pick up.
"You know who this is?" she asked.
"Yes." He definitely sounded wary. "You want to tell me what happened a few days ago?"
"We saved the mayor's life and nearly got killed doing it. My guess, the guy's not half as grateful as he should be."
"Uh huh." Alec wasn't sure the guy was totally buying it, but with all the news coverage of what the mayor had done, everything about their situation was screwy.
"You remember what you told me before?"
"Refresh my memory."
"You said to hold onto your number… in case we needed something."
Alec heard him sigh heavily. "What is it?"
"Every other Transgenic has already left Seattle. I need safe passage for two and you'll never have to deal with us again."
"They're all gone?" he asked, surprised.
"We're not stupid. They blew up our home and then sent a death squad after us," Max said, barely disguising her anger. "We decided to take the hint."
Clemente had the good sense not to comment. Instead, he got right down to business. "When?"
"As soon as possible."
There was a pause and Alec could hear the background noise of wherever Clemente was. Since his answers had all been short and he'd been careful not to say anything that would catch someone's attention, he was probably at work.
"I'll call when it's arranged."
"Thanks," Max said and hung up.
"He must really want us out of town," Alec observed.
"Want us out of town?" He raised his eyebrows. "I definitely want us out of town. I just… don't know how you feel about that."
Max took a deep breath. "I already talked to Logan again. I told him we were leaving."
Alec was beyond surprised. He'd expected her to waffle. He'd expected her to want to take Logan with them or stay or… something. He really didn't want to ask, but he had to know. "You ok with that?"
"It's time," she answered, and he could hear the decisiveness in her voice. She looked shocked at it herself, but somehow at ease. It was beautiful to see her finally look content. He'd seen her looking harried or frustrated or horrified or heartbroken for so long, maybe as long as he'd known her, but this, now that she'd finally made the decision and was comfortable with it… This was a new Max, a beautiful Max, one he was looking forward to getting to know better.
Max's phone chirped and she looked at in surprise. "That was fast." She looked down at it and froze.
"What?" He could tell it wasn't from Clemente, which couldn't be good.
Suddenly Max broke into a wide smile and Alec's anxiety faded. "It's coordinates."
She turned the phone and showed him the screen. It said, "For Little Fella," followed by a set of latitude and longitude coordinates.
"Joshua." Alec smiled broadly, matching Max. "We need to go. He's exposed whoever he's with sending those. They'll only stay where they are long enough for us to catch up."
"Then we'd better get ready. Clemente will call soon."
Alec frowned. "So we'll meet up with Josh… Then what?"
Alec watched in awe as Max turned a brilliant rose red. She glanced at him nervously, then away, then back again.
"What?" he asked softly.
"I…" Finally, she worked up the nerve and met his gaze. She smirked. "How do you feel about Tahiti?"
Alec slid closer on the bed. "I hear it's nice this time of year."
Alec put his arms around her, tentatively, carefully, mindful that he was still dealing with a skittish animal that could bolt at any moment. "Max, as long you're there, it'll be a nice time of year."
Max brought her hands up and placed them on either side of his face. She smiled mischievously. "Then kiss me already, and let's get going."
Alec laughed heartily and obliged. Maybe they would find the others, maybe they wouldn't. Maybe they would end up on a sun-drenched beach, maybe not. Maybe one day being a Transgenic wouldn't be a death sentence or maybe they'd have to remain in hiding the rest of their days. To Alec's way of thinking it didn't matter. He would be with Max and that would make all the difference.
And there you have it. Been a pleasure and hope you enjoyed it.