Fandom: Dark Angel
Title: The Return, Chapter 1/?
Author: Esti //death_of_dreams // Through Darkness
Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Angel in any way or any of its characters.
Warnings: Sexual situations, non-explicit.
Summary: Alec moved to Washington as the official transgenic representative three years ago. He's back in TC to get re-elected, but he never expected he'd be coming home to this...
Alec wasn’t sure what he was expecting when he came back to Terminal City
. He hadn’t been expecting a parade, or even a celebration but…maybe some warmth? Maybe people who were happy to see him?
He’d only be inside the gates for five minutes, though. The big welcome home would be there once he got to command.
Alec smiled and lengthened his stride towards the center of the biohazard city, the two transgenics behind him moving to keep pace. The smile morphed into a large grin as he considered who he was rushing to see.
Mole, Josh, Gem, Dalton, Max. Of course, she was in a category all her own. As per usual.
He turned his head to look behind him at the two catching up. A tall redheaded woman dressed in a navy suit with her hair clipped up and high heels clacked along in front of a short transhuman (who was essentially a 5 foot turtle) with a rifle clutched in his hands (which made little sense to Alec, as turtles had webbed feet, but he assumed this was part of Ajax’s human DNA).
The woman blinked and stopped next to Alec, clutching a large clipboard to her chest, pen poised for writing. He raised an eyebrow at her.
“You know Cass, part of coming to TC was for some relaxation – a little down time. You might even try wearing a pair of jeans – or hell, even just pants.” He nodded towards her perfectly pressed skirt and she bristled.
“We came to TC because you have to be formally re-elected as the transgenic population’s representative in Washington. That’s work, not a vacation.”
“There’s no one else even running. The vote’s a formality. I demand that you relax and wear pants. Or hell,” he grinned and wiggled his eyebrows, “we could both wear no pants.”
“I have to admit, Alec, I’ve been your assistant and secretary for nearly three years, and I’m impressed that you still flirt with me despite your consistent failure in seducing me. You have quite the determination.”
“I appreciate the thought Cass. But seriously. Relaxing and pants while we’re here, okay?”
She chuckled, good naturedly. “I’ll try.”
Ajax raised what would be the turtle equivalent of an eyebrow. “Could we get going please? I have to get back to my post.”
“Yeah, sure, sorry buddy. To command.”
The rest of the walk was spent with Alec pointing out various buildings of interest to Cassandra, like where different groups lived – those who liked the heat, those who liked the cold, and those who just really liked pizza.
After nodding to the apartment building where he lived (across the hall from Max, his mind shouted) across the street, the three turned and walked into command. The building was just as Alec remembered; bustling and full of life with transgenics running every which way and yelling different places.
A few people stopped to say hi to Alec, and some just nodded. He didn’t know everyone – even five years after the siege, transgenics were still coming out of hiding and into TC. Alec was constantly surprised they hadn’t needed to expand – although another similar (though smaller) compound had been established in Texas.
They stopped and waited before heading up to the upper level of command, waiting to be greeted by Mole to issue security clearance. If it had been just Alec, he probably would have just barged upstairs and into Max’s office, but since he was with Cassandra and here in an official capacity, he had to wait. Ajax leaned against the stairs waiting for the large lizard transgenic to come downstairs.
After less than a minute of waiting, Alec’s nose caught the scent of cigar smoke, gunpowder and beat up leather – Mole. He turned and grinned.
“Mole, you scaly bastard, how are you?” Mole grunted.
“I’m fine.” He grunted, puffing on his cigar. Alec dug a hand into his jacket and pulled out a package of Cuban cigars and tossed them at the lizard.
“I picked up a couple of packs of those. I’ll get the rest to you later.” Mole nodded (the closest thing to thanks he had ever expressed) and held out a security pass to Alec. “Really, Mole? I think everyone knows what I look like. I’m on the news enough,” he chuckled.
“’S for the skirt,” the transhuman replied, shrugging. “Nobody’s got a clue who the hell she is if she’s not trailing your sorry butt.”
Alec rolled his eyes and passed the pass to Cass. “Mole, meet Cass, my assistant. Cass, this is Mole. Feel free to skin him next time you need a new pair of boots. In theory, he’ll just grow a new layer.”
Cass said nothing, but clipped the pass to the pocket of her blazer. Mole let out a ‘hmph’ under his breath and nodded to Ajax who nodded and walked out of command, heading back to his post.
Alec put Mole’s uncharacteristic coldness (well, his politeness added up to coldness, as fondness was shown through insults and annoying pet names) up to his guard being up around Cassandra.
Mole turned and led the two remaining transgenics up the stairs into the heart of command. They immediately stopped short of Dix’s terminal, various monitors stationed around the desk and three keyboards, Dix typing away, scowling at the screen.
Mole kicked the corner of the desk but Dix didn’t look up, keeping his good eye focused on his computers. “Welcome back, Alec,” he said.
“Hey Dix. How’s it going?” Dix glanced up, gave Alec a half smile and continued his typing. Alec’s brow wrinkled but he didn’t say anything.
“Medium fella!” A large voice boomed out. Alec spun on his heel and grinned as the large canine transhuman ran forwards and scooped Alec up into a rib-crushing hug. Cass, shocked, jumped back with a startled yelp, but Alec and Joshua just laughed.
“Okay, okay, big fella, needing air.” Josh put Alec back down on the ground and smiled happily. “I’m happy to see you too, Josh.”
Josh grinned and put a large paw on top of Alec’s head, rubbing fondly. “Medium fella home now.”
“Yeah, I’m home for now.” Alec smiled and dug his hands into his pockets. “Josh, I want you to meet someone.” He turned to look back at Cassandra, who was standing back, studying the larger transhuman. “Josh, this is Cassandra. Cassandra, you know that painting in the office you really like? Meet Joshua, the artist.”
Cassandra blinked and held out a hand to shake Josh’s paw, but he just by-passed her arm and hugged her. When he let her go, she straightened her suit and smiled. “I love your work,” she said.
“You should come see whole collection! Alec needs to see new paintings,” he grinned and patted Josh’s shoulder.
“Sure, Josh. I’ll come by tomorrow and you can show me them, okay?” Joshua nodded.
“Medium fella needs to see Little fella,” Josh said in what Alec thought of as his ‘wise-sage voice’.
Alec nodded. “Yeah.”
“Okay!” Josh smiled and turned to Cassandra. “Would Cassandra like to come see paintings?” She blinked, considering and looked at Alec, who nodded. She agreed, and Joshua grabbed her arm and tugged her off in the direction of wherever he was keeping his paintings now – to Alec’s knowledge, TC didn’t have an art museum.
Alec turned and started walking towards Max’s office. Max. He’d barely allowed himself to think her name for the three years he’d been in Washington.
Passing Luke on the way, Alec started to smile except Luke just brushed on past him, looking intently determined to finish whatever he was doing. Alec shrugged it off.
She’d never been far from his thoughts of course – that was impossible – but he tried extremely hard to discipline his mind to never focus on her. He never allowed himself to actually think about her…except for a few times in the shower, which he didn’t think was entirely fair, but he couldn’t force himself not to picture her as he stroked himself to release.
Sleep was another thing all together. It seemed like she was there, smiling at him, every time he closed his eyes. All of his other dreams seemed to no longer exist – and while one or two about Rachel, Biggs or other missions occasionally popped up, his dreams focused on her smiling and laughing and his nightmares on her dying.
It felt like a slow weight had been pushing down on him for the last three years; he’d labelled that weight Max and been all too eager to ignore it.
He stood in front of her closed door and sighed, trying to mentally prepare himself for seeing her. The last time he’d stood in a room with her was a year and a half ago, and he could hardly call that quality time. The last time they’d just relaxed in each other’s presence and talked about something other than TC or the transgenic cause had been more than three years ago now.
Alec rubbed the back of his neck, oddly nervous at seeing Max. He raised his fist to knock, but before he could connect his knuckles with the door, it swung open to reveal two curious looking blond women with large eyes. The two exchanged a look and quickly shut the door on him, retreating back inside. He sighed.
Syl and Jondy were complete opposites. Syl was more calm, relaxed and rational while Jondy was a bundle of emotions with more mood swings than Max. When Syl was more about being a voice of reason (albeit, a voice of reason who really liked to blow things up), Jondy was about chaos and finding the fun. Unfortunately for him, Jondy had a tendency to bring out the most devious in anyone – especially her sisters.
Which sincerely worried him, considering her current location was inside a locked office with two of her sisters.
About half a minute later, the door reopened. Syl had a scowl on her face and stomped past Alec and Jondy’s trademark grin was nowhere to be seen. His eyebrows scrunched up in curiosity, but he turned to look inside the office and his breath caught in his throat.
Max. Actually seeing her was like a combination of a breath of fresh air and doubling the weight he felt.
She looked different. Her hair was cropped short, just perfectly above where her barcode would be so that it was visible for all to see. She was thinner, and she looked like she hadn’t slept properly in weeks – which Alec knew was likely true. She was dressed in a black t shirt and jeans, wrinkled and probably worn over the course of more than a day.
He stepped into the office with caution, not entirely sure of what her reaction to his homecoming was. Last time they’d seen each other wasn’t a pleasant memory for either of them, and they’d barely talked since – just communications passed between Dix and Cass on their behalf.
She shuffled through papers on her desk, picking things up and moving them around. Max didn’t even look up at him, just kept moving around, occasionally stopping to write something down on a piece of paper. When he cleared his throat, she glanced up at him, blinking slowly. She paused and bit her lower lip.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey,” he answered back, feeling like a moron.
“How long are you staying for- two weeks?”
“The vote’s in eight days, so I should be here for ten.”
She nodded and the room was thick with tension between them. Alec was mentally berating himself for not having some smooth line to make her laugh, the way he used to.
But they weren’t like that anymore.
“Your apartment’s the way you left it, so you don’t have to worry about having a place to crash.”
“Thanks. I figured you would’ve needed the space.”
“We’ve been okay. Some people moved to the Texas base.”
He nodded. “Cass can crash with me.”
She nodded, agreeing. “Yeah, uh sure. If you want.”
A shrug. “I just figured it’d be easier.”
“We can give her a place for two weeks.”
“That’d be great, then. Just let me know where to send her.”
“You guys have stuff?”
“I didn’t know women could travel without at least two anvils worth of shoes,” he quipped, somewhat proud of himself for finally cracking a joke.
Max didn’t laugh.
A tall dark transgenic that Alec didn’t recognize knocked on the door and stepped in the room. “Max, looking gorgeous as always.”
Max didn’t acknowledge the compliment, but Alec was filled with the instantaneous need to hit him.
The man stopped, grinned and held a hand out to Alec. “Hey, I’m Conner.”
Alec gripped his hand tightly. “Alec.”
Conner smiled and turned back to Max. “Well, Max, my lovely, you ready to go?” He asked, digging his hands into his pockets. She nodded.
“I’ll see you later, Alec.” It wasn’t a question and she didn’t sound hopeful as she breezed on by him, walking out of her office with Conner on her heels. Alec looked around the empty office and sighed dejectedly.
Well, that went splendidly.
Alec walked slowly back to his old apartment, taking in some of the changes to TC. The transgenics were freely standing in the streets, though most closer to building entrances or sewer tunnel openings for quick escapes if need be. A handful of younger kids were talking animatedly. He sighed – it was nice to see them able to be able to be (almost) free and safe somewhere, even if it was an enclosed wreck like TC.
He’d passed several transgenics he knew and was friends with, but never got more than a nod of acknowledgement from any of them. Frowning at the obvious lack of warmth, he walked into his apartment building.
He jogged up the steps to his apartment quickly, opening the door and walking inside. Everything was exactly as he left it – down to the dishes in the sink he hadn’t put away and the pair of sneakers he left by the door. He exhaled in relief – it was nice to have a place that was his.
Walking into his bedroom, he coughed – the air was a little stale. He opened his window and moved to the closet, opening it. All of his clothes were still hanging there. He ran through them quickly with a frown developing on his face. His leather jacket was missing. He groaned. He loved that jacket – it wasn’t particularly professional, so he’d left it here last time he came to TC, which was clearly a stupid mistake.
He kicked his shoes off and pulled his clothes off then dropped onto his bed, burying his face in a pillow. He inhaled slowly, than sat up. His pillow smelt like Max.
Shaking his head and assuming that seeing her had just gotten to his head, he closed his eyes for five minutes before he heard a loud knocking at the door. Standing, Alec tugged on a pair of sweat pants and trudged to the front of the apartment.
He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and tugged it open to see Cass on the other side of the door. He nodded her in and she closed the door behind her.
“So I checked in and around and there’s a meeting tomorrow at ten o’clock to go over the election procedures with Max, Kipp, Mole, Swift, Schue and Moose.”
“No problem.” He nodded. “Are you liking TC?” He asked. The redhead shrugged and slid onto a stool, letting her high heels fall off her feet as she dangled her legs.
“It’s interesting. I never came because I figured you guys would just be attacked or blown up at any random minute, but it’s really neat to see all of our own kind mingling. In Washington I just assume everybody’s human until told otherwise.”
“Yeah,” Alec nodded. He opened his cupboards, hoping he’d left a bottle of scotch. He didn’t find one, and he sighed with defeat, leaning on the counter.
“You missed it, didn’t you?”
He turned around and raised an eyebrow.
“Come on, I’ve been practically stalking you for three years. I can tell that you’re glad to be home. And I know you were really excited to see Max – even if you didn’t say so. But now you kind of look like someone kicked your puppy.”
“Gee, thanks Cass. Never buy me a puppy.”
“I would never. I’d end up having to take care of it.”
“And that’s the real problem.”
“Gonna tell me what happened?”
“Nope,” he shrugged.
“Fine. I’ll meet you here at nine thirty and we’ll go to the meeting ten minutes early?”
“Make it five. They’ll have moved their weekly meeting to nine to bump in us.” Cass nodded and shrugged.
“G’night boss,” she called as she sauntered out the door.
Alec yawned and headed back into the bedroom, but found sleep evasive.
Max drifted into her apartment silently, almost aimlessly. She swayed slowly over to her closet, and started pushing hangers of clothes away to the very back.
She pulled the worn leather jacket off the hook and tugged it to her face. It didn’t smell like him anymore, but she could pretend. She slipped into it, seeking comfort in its larger size.
Sinking down on her bed, she buckled and began to sob, clutching the coat to her.
+comments are love!
+Chapter 2, as well as new chapters for Bad habits and In Treatment to be written by the end of the summer!