Endure No More.
Disclaimer: If it has anything to do with Dark Angel or its production company, then it's not mine. I wish I did own something, but I don't.
Author's Note: Thanks goes out to teegs for betaing this chapter so quickly, and to everyone in chat the other night who helped me get over my case of writers block - zac, NL, teegs, scar just to mention a few J
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Max was in two minds about what to do with the information that had been gathered from the trace. She now knew where Alec was so she could go to him. But she also knew that Alec wasn’t ready to see her yet. She had a difficult decision to make, follow her heart or take notice of what Alec said.
She deliberated all night before deciding to go to him and explain. She knew that if she could speak to him in person she would be able to convince him that they were meant to be together. She would be able to convince him to come home. Sure, a small part of her told her to give Alec more time - that was what he asked for, but she didn’t want to wait. She had already wasted enough time.
The next morning she took off on her bike with the mission to bring Alec back to TC.
Max couldn’t get over how different everything was up north. The air was cleaner and everything looked fresh and colourful. It was so beautiful, but yet so strange. There wasn’t the hustle and bustle that was so prevalent in Seattle. Instead, life appeared more peaceful. There was no grey and dingy apartments and squatter blocks and the streets were litter free and fairly graffiti free as well. She couldn’t really picture Alec living here. It just wasn’t him. He needed the action and the nightlife. But the one thing that surprised her the most was the temperature. She really thought it would have been colder up here, if anything it seemed warmer than Seattle did. Strange that.
As she approached the location of where Alec had made the phone call, the butterflies starting flying in her stomach. She wasn’t sure if it was from nerves, excitement or anticipation. Probably a combination of the three. Nerves, because she still had a nagging doubt that perhaps she should have given Alec more time, excitement because she couldn’t wait to see him again - that face, that smile…that ass. And anticipation of the fact that soon they would be together. She tried to push the nagging feeling of doubt that Alec might not be overjoyed to see her from her mind. But she knew she was doing the right thing. She was following her heart.
As she entered the transgenic settlement everyone looked at her with varying expressions. Recognition, confusion, curiosity and desire. Even though Max knew she was designed to be attractive to the opposite sex, she was unprepared for just how many men were looking at her with desire in their eyes. Now if only the man she was searching for had that look she would be happy.
“Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me where Alec is?” she politely asked a younger X5 female walking passed her. Max figured it was best to be nice in a new place where the majority of people didn’t know her but only knew of her.
“He’s not here,” she said, but continued when she saw the look of disappointment on Max’s face. “A group of them went away for the weekend. Up into the mountains for some hiking and hunting. I think they wanted to go before winter sets in.”
“Oh,” said a dejected Max. “So they won’t be back until tomorrow night then?”
“Probably not until Monday night. They all have Monday off work with it being a holiday,” answered the woman helpfully. “What’s wrong? Is it urgent that you need to see Alec?”
No. Yes. Maybe? Even Max didn’t know the answer to that question.
“Um…I don’t know.”
“Ah. You must be Max,” said the woman finally clicking to the identity of this mystery person asking about Alec.
“Yeah, how do you know my name?” Max questioned unsure if this was a good or a bad thing.
“After Friday’s broadcast we asked Alec what it was all about, and who the new Eyes Only was.”
“What did he say?” asked Max eagerly, hoping for some indication on exactly how Alec had taken the broadcast.
“He didn’t say much. Just that your name was Max, and that you probably needed your punching bag back.”
“BUT,” she continued taking pity on Max after seeing the crestfallen look on her face. “If it’s any consolation he looked really confused. Like he really wanted to believe you, but he couldn’t. I think that is one of the reasons for the weekend away. To think about things, or to not think about things - to clear his head.”
“Oh,” replied Max sadly. She really didn’t know what to do now. She never even thought of the possibility that Alec wouldn’t be here. Now she had two days to wait, and think over her actions. Reacting was Max’s strong suit, not contemplating her reactions. The next two days were going to be interesting because she now had time to think about the consequences of her decision to come here. Hmmm. Not a pleasant thought. The voice would probably come back too. Just what she wanted - NOT.
“Hey my name’s Bic. If you want you can stay with me and I’ll show you around and introduce you to anyone you don’t know,” she said with a friendly smile. Anyone who Alec obviously had feelings for had to be an ok person deep down. That and she would get the chance to find out about this woman who had broken her friend’s heart.
When Alec had first arrived he was an enigma. He looked happy enough, but sometimes Bic had seen a flash of such a deep anguish and self doubt - a complete contrast to his happy demeanor - that tore at her heart. She hated seeing anyone in pain: physical or emotional. She was already happily mated, so it was more than just physical attraction that made her want to reach out and help him. She wanted to know what had happened to cause him to doubt himself. Self-doubt was not something transgenics knew about, especially not the 494/Alec she had heard about. She had just wanted to be his friend, someone he could talk to. Of course it had taken something drastic - Max’s Eyes Only bulletin - before he would even slightly open up to her. After the broadcast (and the alcohol he had consumed) he had needed someone to talk to, to help him sort out his thoughts and feelings. He hadn’t let much slip, just that he had needed a change. He needed to get away from Max for a while, maybe forever. He wasn’t quite sure on that one. Bic had convinced him to call Max and find out why she had done the broadcast. Then he would have some more answers, which would help him with his decision.
“Are you sure? I don’t want to impose,” Max responded. Hopefully with company the voice would stay away. There’s nothing worse than having your alterego telling you ‘I told you so.’ Also Bic looked friendly enough with her twinkling blue eyes and a face that looked ready to break into a smile at the drop of a hat. It would be nice to have someone to talk to who didn’t blame her for Alec’s departure from TC.
“No worries. I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t mean it,” she said with a grin.
“What did you mean ‘anyone I don’t know’? I don’t think I’ll know anyone here.”
“You mean you don’t know that many of us of former TC residents?” Bic answered with surprise and shock evident in her voice.
“No. No one told me. How? When? And Why?” Max had so many questions, slightly pissed off that she didn’t know this in front of a stranger. A friendly, helpful stranger - but a stranger never the less.
“One of the first things Alec did when he realised what a great lifestyle and opportunity it was for us up here, was to organise an underground to get transgenics out of TC and up here.” Bic spoke with enthusiasm, using her whole body unconsciously as emphasis - from her voice to her hand gestures.
“How he did it and where he got his resources from, he won’t say. But then again,” she shrugged with a wry grin on her face. “That’s Alec. Never wanting to take credit for, or brag about what he has done.”
“You were at TC?” asked Max looking puzzled. She couldn’t remember seeing Bic before.
“No. I had gone to ground with Tai, my mate,” she said with a smile as she mentioned her mate.
“We were considering going to TC when we heard about this place. We thought it was some sort of Urban Legend, but we figured ‘what the hell’ and came to check it out. We knew TC would still be there if this did turn out to be a rumour. We loved what we saw and stayed.” Bic’s facial expressions matched her story from thoughtfulness, to disbelief and joy. This was a skill Max one day hoped to achieve.
“A couple of weeks later Alec showed up. Loved the place and set the wheels in motion for those who wanted a chance at a different life than the life offered in TC. And the rest is history,” she finished off with yet another grin, her arms finally coming to rest beside her sides.
All of a sudden there was a commotion behind them.
“Someone get the medic here NOW,” bellowed Alec as he came into view.
“What happened?” asked Bic as she rushed over to the guys.
“Quinn busted his leg.”
“How the hell did he manage that?”
“You don’t want to know,” Alec said rolling his eyes.
“Yeah I do. I wouldn’t have asked otherwise,” was Bic’s comeback.
All the while Max stayed in the background watching the way Alec interacted with the others and took charge of the situation. She was a little surprised when he appeared to lose his train of thought and start looking around - as though he knew she was there.
“Uh . . . What was that again Bic?” queried Alec still looking around as though he was searching for something, or someone.
“What happened?” she answered, speaking slowly as if to a child.
“Nothing major. He just wasn’t watching where he was going and fell into a rabbit burrow.”
“Thanks Alec. Just what I want - everyone to know how I broke my leg,” said Quinn sarcastically as he hobbled into view with the help of his friends. “And where’s the medic you raced ahead to get? I knew you just wanted to tell everyone my misfortune. Who needs enemies when I have you for a friend?” Quinn continued tongue in cheek, with a grin on his face.
“Stop your moaning Quinn. Here’s the medic now,” said Bic as she spied the medic coming down the street.
Alec still had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He just couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Something was different. He chewed on his bottom lip as he concentrated on what was different.
There was a unique smell in the air. He felt he should recognise it, but the answer was just out of his reach. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. That’s when he saw her, out of the corner of his eye.
Alec had a myriad of thoughts running through his mind. ‘MAX! What the hell was she doing here? How the hell did she find him? Why the hell was he purring? And why the fuck were the other males staring at her as though she was the best thing since sliced bread?’
Suddenly it clicked.
‘FUCK. Max is in heat.’