Fandom/Verse: Dark Angel
Pairing: Alec/Logan, past Logan/Max
Warnings: mild violence, language, m/m slash
Word Count: ~13,700
Summary: After the revolution, Alec must re-do his life: new apartment, two jobs, a lot of reconstruction, and a young man discovering himself. But there’s one thing Alec wishes he could go back to, one thing that gives his life meaning and purpose. If only he can convince Max and Logan to see it his way.
Author Notes: Written for da_reversebang 2013 prompt #103 by the very talented evian_fork. All artwork featured here belongs to her. Lyrics in italics are credited to the magnificent genius of Pink Floyd, either as a band, or separately as Richard Wright, Roget Walters and/or David Gilmour.
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April 19, 2022
We were cut off from our lives, by a wall of pain,
It can't be seen, it's so routine, it has no face or name.
But now the day has broken, can see in better ways,
A path leading to the light, a hope that never fades.
All power to the brave.
“Seattle nights are the darkest,” she says when she hears Alec coming.
“Well,” she shrugs to herself, not having turned to look at him yet. “Technically all nights are, at this time, just before dawn. But something about this city, from up here…”
She doesn’t finish, like she expects him to instinctively just get her; which Alec does, as always.
“Doesn’t help that you’re practically sitting inside a raincloud,” he suggests, folding his legs under himself to sit beside her.
He doesn’t need to remind her that the power supply is still being rationed and is cut off to most districts at night. His earlier comment about the clouds is pretty useless too.
Max, of all people, knows this view better than anyone.
She turns to him, sending her long black hair sashaying in the wind. “DC, on the other hand…”
“Has nothing this tall, so where would you go to hide out there?” he smirks until she rolls her eyes.
“I hate it when you smirk like that.”
She’s been trying to convince him for days, ever since she found out about him and… well, it’s just him now. Alec keeps his hands in his jacket pockets and looks away.
Dust quietly settles on the last battle of Washington. The Familiars have gone underground (for now), their extinction-level threat neutralized. The transgenics are still here, but their numbers have dwindled. Dear friends lost in one last stand to safeguard not just theirs but the lives of millions of ordinaries.
But for a change, not all has been swept under the proverbial governmental carpet, which is why Max no longer lives in her adopted hometown.
Together they sit atop the Space Needle (or what’s left of it), not talking, not touching, not even looking at each other, until the sky starts to meekly glow with dawn’s first light.
Max takes in a deep breath. “Do you remember what I told you the first time you came up here with me?”
”So… you got any deep thoughts you want to share? Any profound realizations about life?”
“Yeah. Love sucks.”
“But you never listen, do you.”
It’s not a question. Alec shrugs, not looking at her still. “What can I say – stupid, stubborn genetically engineered heart. Wants what it wants.”
“Genetically engineered hearts break too, as you know.”
For once, Alec doesn’t have a smart-aleck response. Max puts an arm around him and they sit quietly for another few minutes.
“Sure about DC? I could use a wingman on Capitol Hill against that merry bunch of politicians and their alphabet party.”
He shakes his head, “You got this, Max. I suck at diplomacy, you know that.”
Max scoffs, “Sure. Because that’s the only reason you want to stay here.”
Alec smiles, but there is sadness in there that only she, his best friend, will understand. She gets up to leave, has an F16 to catch. She starts to gracefully climb down the ladder that swings precariously off its hinges, not that either of them cares.
“By the way, that thing you’re doing on the side?”
Alec raises an eyebrow, “You gonna tell me it’s ridonkulous and a complete waste of time?”
Max shrugs, “Nah,” then drops out of sight, just as the sun rises behind her.
April 29, 2022
I can take or leave it, won't be the woebegone,
Don't need a model universe to hang your pictures on.
They're never going to make it easy
Of this you can be sure.
I greet you from the wilderness,
I'll stay inside your door.
Her name is Lola. She is a real estate agent. And even if it doesn’t quite work musically speaking, Alec can’t get this classic ditty he’s picked up somewhere out of his head.
Lola is energetic and high-pitched as she shows him around a very spacious studio loft, bouncing about on four-inch stilettos meant for girls twenty years less her age.
“And here it is – the colonial style fireplace I told you about. Isn’t it darling?”
He smiles, nods his head at all the right times. Truth is, Alec decided on this place the moment Lola mentioned its street address, long before he even got into her car today. Not because of the fireplace, or the fancy high ceilings, not even for the rare broadband connection available thanks only to this building’s proximity to the high-rise district next door.
“Ooh I can see it already; this’ll be the perfect bachelor pad for a handsome young man like you. Women will happily claw each other’s eyes out for a chance to come home with you…”
Alec grins. Apparently Lola likes to flirt with men twenty years younger too.
“I know you, don’t I? You were on the news last month. You got that, um, what’s it called… that big award from the President? I never forget a face, definitely not one as perfect as yours…”
Alec laughs. “Yep, that’s me. They’re also buying me this place to live in, actually.”
To show his gratitude for saving the world, the President made public all (okay, most of) the details of the government-sanctioned Manticore project, and apologized to transgenics for treating them so heinously, instead of like the soldiers they were meant to be. And to show he means business about their freedom, he offered everyone squatting in Terminal City a chance to live and assimilate in the mainstream.
Not everyone took him up on that offer though, not trusting that ordinary people could just change overnight. Prejudice runs deep in the human psyche. So deep that some days Alec doesn’t know why they bothered to save the lot at all.
“I’m sorry for your loss, I mean, for your friends.”
Alec didn’t expect the sincere sympathy in Lola’s words. He nods quietly before heading for the full-length glass doors that hide behind them a large balcony.
“These open, right?”
Without waiting for an answer, Alec throws the French doors open, letting a cool gust of wind push its way through. This… this is why he has no qualms accepting government funding for this place, given his newly homeless status and all.
This and the extremely rare ThyssenKrupp elevator, of course.
A third floor view offers nothing spectacular, not in this sector, seedy and downtrodden as it is. But then Alec isn’t looking down at all. He lifts his genetically engineered eyesight up to the neighboring sector – up at one penthouse in particular.
He smiles. Yes, this vantage point is totally worth the extremely unreasonable asking price even if he did have to pay for it.
“So when do they arrive?” Lola asks suddenly, the first question she asks him at the end of another long monologue he’s hardly paid attention to.
It takes him a couple seconds to understand what she means. “I don’t… actually possess anything.”
Alec looks at her briefly, then turns back to the penthouse and murmurs quietly. “Not yet.”
May 1, 2022
If I were to sleep, I could dream.
If I were afraid, I could hide.
If I go insane, please don’t put your wires in my brain.
If I were the moon, I’d be cool.
If I were a book, I would bend for you.
If I were a good man, I’d understand the spaces between friends.
The first thing he puts up is the TC flag on a wall right next to his bed. The original flag, the one Joshua painted himself. He misses that old dog. Whoever said it gets easier with time, lied. The anger, the grief, the survivor’s guilt… it’s all always there, perpetual, constant. One just gets better at learning to live with it.
He buys himself a bed but hardly ever sleeps in it. Maybe because, he suspects, after the last six months he may have gotten a little unused to the idea of going to bed all by himself.
Most nights he lies on it and just stares up at the fading red, white and black – remembering the way things once were, before they… weren’t. Thinks maybe he should get it framed. Some things don’t thrive in open air and light as much as others do.
Often he turns over on his stomach to look out the balcony doors. He remembers what it felt like to not live with this incessant, ever-present weight wrapped around his ankles dragging his steps wherever he goes, to a point where he stops bothering going anywhere at all. Or maybe it’s that burden he carries on his back, forcing his proud shoulders to droop, his neck to bow so he doesn’t really see the world passing him by. Alec believes the humans call it ‘loneliness’.
Other nights, he just sits there on the floor of his sparse apartment, knees pulled up to his chest. His eyes sift through the pitch dark night to fix at the penthouse, sometimes lit, other times not, trying extremely hard not to give voice to the screams bubbling up in his throat.
By the time the sun begins its futile struggle against the dreary summer fog, he can no longer resist. He picks up his cell phone and sends a text.
“We really should talk about this.”
He waits, reminds himself of the early hour and not everyone is an insomniac like him. He paces the length of his loft, alternately regretting his moment of weakness and worrying if the recipient of his text is alright. It takes twelve minutes and twenty seconds before he gets a response.
“There is nothing to talk about.”
Alec sighs, flings his useless cell phone onto the bed and gets ready for work – his new job at the local fire station.
Being a fireman suits his irregular schedule just fine. He works twenty-four hours and gets the next forty-eight off to do whatever the hell he pleases. It’s a pretty neat gig if you ask him. The money is decent so he doesn’t have to plan any more heists or fight in cages anymore. He gets to wear ‘the’ uniform, which isn’t as uncomfortable as it looks… it’s actually worse.
The guys down at the station are cool. Most of them are closet thrill-seekers who happen to have families they’d like to go back to at the end of the day, which leaves very little in common with a lonesome transgenic soldier to bond over.
There are two others who stand apart, like him. One’s a retired Army grunt named Washington. No idea if that’s his first name or last. The other is a reformed wealth manager in his twenties who calls himself Bullish and refuses to respond to anyone who shortens the name to its most obvious short form.
Both have something to hide. And if Alec were the person he was three years ago, he’d be digging all the way to China to find out what, but the person he is now doesn’t care. If there’s one lesson everyone ought to have taken away from the civil war, it’s that everyone’s entitled to their privacy. After their right to live, of course.
“McDowell!” Washington calls out as he saunters into the locker room that morning where Alec is getting changed. Bull is sitting on the bench beside him, lacing up his boots.
“Is it true? You done already?”
Alec turns to him, bracing himself. Here we go again. “Hey man, I told you from the start – if it can be done, I’ll do it.”
Washington shakes his bald head, eyes blown wide. “Sonofabitch.”
Yesterday, he completed the fireman training and it took him all of two weeks to do it. The same training that an Ordinary does in fourteen weeks.
Alec holds his breath, but Washington’s face suddenly melts into a lopsided grin. “Good thing we’re fighting on the same side now, huh.”
The X5 exhales, takes the hand Washington offers almost gratefully. Once he walks away, Bull looks up at Alec and tilts his head.
“If I haven’t said it before, I’m glad you’re on our side too.”
“Of course you are,” Alec snorts and throws a towel in his face. But he senses Bull is being serious this time.
“I never told you why I quit my job on Wall Street, did I? It was because of those snake cult freaks you brought down. What’d you call them, Familiars?”
“You telling me they actually did something good?”
Bull scoffs. “One of my biggest clients was one. He let it slip about the comet, how it was going to end everything and shit. I didn’t believe him, not at first. But it did make me think. I realized how much I hated my life. And if I had just a few days to live, I sure as hell wasn’t going to spend them working eighty-hour weeks, managing some billionaire’s money.”
He squints and pauses, if only to confirm what he already knows. “Except, the comet didn’t do anything, did it? Man, I wish I could’ve seen that asshole’s face that night.”
Alec sits down beside the blond man, and recalls that night with a smirk.
“Oops,” Max had said ever so eloquently, the night the comet came and went and nothing happened. Not an ounce of any deadly nerve gas it was ‘alleged’ to bring along with it.
“But they didn’t give up, you know,” Alec reminds him somberly.
To which Bullish promptly retorts, “Neither did you guys. I know that too.”
Alec nods but a little warily. Sure the Familiars were humiliated and devastated; many quit the cult for good. But the Conclave just went to Plan B for more ‘man-made’ means of extinction. They synthesized their own brand of nerve gas from hordes of their pet snakes (turns out they hadn’t just been breeding people all this time) and tried to poison all of America’s water supply.
That’s where Max’s blood came through. Using her annoyingly perfect DNA, Sandeman synthesized the antidote and they worked along with the NSA in time to stop the pandemic not just in America but across all continents.
So transgenics weren’t the villains anymore; enemy of my enemy, and all that. Ordinaries might still tiptoe around them, but at least they do it gratefully.
“That’s the good thing to come out of this whole situation,” Bull says, rising to get the rest of his gear out from his locker. “Prejudice is stupid, man.”
It was such a trivialized description of basically the last three years of his life. Friends lost, hearts broken, lives forever altered… for what?
Yep. Stupid sounds about right.
“Come on, Bulldog,” Alec says eliciting an eye-roll from his friend (like he’d never heard that one before). “Let’s get to work.”
The civil war took a lot out of Seattle. But now as it slowly climbs back to its feet, the city also needs to rebuild its emergency services. Alec is happy to offer his skills instead of having them rust in this time of peace. Besides, it’s nice to be seen as someone’s superhero instead of a freak. The warmth in Washington’s handshake and the hero worship in Bull’s eyes are all good reasons that keep him coming back every three days.
But some days, when he’s on call responding to a crisis, Alec feels more than just the hot lick of angry flames on patches of exposed skin. Some days he can also feel the intrusive buzzing of a hover drone forty feet above the action, specifically following his every move.
It’s a keen awareness that makes the back of his neck tingle and the corners of his lips curl up into a smile which he then struggles to suppress because, hello, emergency situation?
Alec knows exactly who’s been keeping track of his shifts; who has the interest and the resources to hack into the hover drone network to keep a surreptitious eye on him. He knows that person holds his breath every time Alec runs into a building on fire, and doesn’t relax until he runs out of it safe and sound.
And some days, that is all the reason Alec needs to be a firefighter for the rest of his lonesome, unnatural life.
May 13, 2022
If you didn't care what happened to me, and I didn't care for you,
We would zigzag our way through the boredom and pain,
Occasionally glancing up through the rain
Wondering which of the buggars to blame,
And watching for pigs on the wing.
Alec kicks the stand on his motorbike, parks it under his building and dawdles up to his apartment. It is six in the morning and the end of another shift at the fire station.
It’s been raining for two days non-stop, now going into day three with no signs of abating. Alec peels his clothes away and flops gracelessly onto the bed to sleep for exactly two hours. At o-eight hundred he wakes and switches on the TV, hoping to catch one of those sixty-second broadcasts; hasn’t seen one in a while which could be a good thing, or it could be a very, very bad thing. Then he drops to his hands and toes on the sleek wooden floor to do three thousand push-ups.
After a quick shower, he makes himself a cup of strong black coffee, a habit he picked up in his six months living with… up in the penthouse. Speaking of which, he carries his mug to the balcony and stands there in grey sweat pants that hang precariously off his narrow waist, sharp hipbones showing, not that anyone’s around to appreciate them.
He looks back at the television screen. No joy there. Turns back to the skyscraper and works his genetically enhanced eyesight like a camera lens, adjusting the zoom until he sees a short silhouette gliding from the west end of the penthouse to the north.
Alec shakes his head, guess he isn’t the only one working all night and sleeping after the sun comes up. He watches for a couple more minutes until the bedroom blinds are drawn; then heads back into his kitchen for a refill.
After all of this and it’s only just ten past nine? Alec groans softly.
Lightning cracks a whip somewhere in the sky, and thunder follows two steps behind. Another forty-eight hour break starts now, which sounded so cool back when he first started this gig but now… well…
Some days, Alec doesn’t really know what to do with himself.
He pulls on a fresh pair of jeans, his black jacket and a grey skull cap to hide his wet hair that he no longer bothers to style, then heads right back to where life as he knows it started (post Manticore) – headquarters of the notoriously unreliable and perpetually drama-inflicted Jam Pony messengers.
Sometimes also known as his second job, one he shows up to every now and then.
“Well, well, look what the cat dragged in,” is how Normal greets him.
“What can I say, Normal, I just missed you too much!” Alec grins.
“You are aware I fired your sorry ass months ago, right?”
“But am I not supposed to be your very awesome ‘honorary’ Jam Pony messenger or something?”
“Or something,” Normal drawls and turns away, preempting the possibility of any further conversation, which is just as well, as Sketchy and Original Cyndi walk over to meet him.
“Hey, you guys,” he bumps a fist with the man and plants a little peck on top of the woman’s head.
“Damn, boy, you smell like ash!” OC exclaims.
“What? Still?” Alec huffs, “Maybe I should find me one of those fruity smelling fabric softeners.”
She scoffs, “Good luck with that. You only just averted the apocalypse, ain’t fixed this cyberpunk economy yet, have you?”
“It’s what keeps me up at night,” Alec deadpans, and falls into step as they make their way to their bike lockers.
“Hey Sketch, read your new article in the Sun, man. Very cool.”
Sketchy bounces excitedly, “Thanks dude, someone had to defend our man from the sleazy politics of this city, after all.”
“Memory of a goldfish,” Original Cyndi shakes her head, her voice rife with contempt. “How quickly they forget what their friendly neighborhood vigilante’s done for this city.”
“It’s not just that,” Sketch explains, as Alec goes down on one knee to check his bicycle’s wheels. “I think it’s a deliberate and premeditated attack. First, DA Andretti declares war on the mob, she disappears. Then, Eyes Only starts investigating her disappearance and he’s come under fire. Everyone knows the new DA has his pockets lined with mob money, I bet he knows what happened to Andretti too.”
“Is any of that based in actual fact or just your spectacular speculation?”
Sketchy glares at OC indignantly. “The facts add up okay, maybe a little… circumstantially. But even if they didn’t, I’m a freelance journalist alright. I have a duty and a moral obligation to my readers to speculate.”
“Hey, ask Logan if you don’t believe me.”
OC turns to the one who’s yet to join this conversation. “What does your boy have to say about all of this, boo?”
Alec doesn’t look up, “Uh, I-I don’t know.”
“What do you mean?” Sketchy asks, frowning, “Haven’t you spoken to him about… oh.”
Alec rolls his eyes but doesn’t respond. He despises that ‘oh’. It’s the ‘oh’ he’s heard from Max, and Mole, and Original Cyndi, hell even Normal in these past few weeks, and it doesn’t get any easier.
But it’s the subtext within the ‘oh’ that rankles the most, one that says “Oh yeah, I saw that coming,” or “Oh sure, had to happen sooner or later,” or ‘Oh so surprised it lasted as long as it did.”
Like everyone expected them to fail from the get-go.
OC tried to tell him it’s not his fault (“He did it to Max too, boo,” and “It’s what he does. It’s in his nature.”) But nothing helps relieve the feelings of failure and inadequacy Alec lives with every second of every day.
Like he simply isn’t enough, like he isn’t worth the effort.
Sketchy’s apparently still processing it. “Oh,” he says again.
Alec stands up glaring at him. “My back wheel is worn. Do you have a spare I can borrow?”
“I-I do, I’ll just… yeah, I’ll be back,” Sketchy flounders for a few more seconds, like wanting to say something to console his friend somehow but comes up empty. Abruptly he turns on his heels and walks away.
“I’m sorry, Alec,” OC blurts soon as Sketchy is out of earshot. “I didn’t realize you guys haven’t spoken at all, thought he’d still have you working his cases, you being the only resident X5 left in a hundred mile radius that we know of.”
“Don’t worry about it. Sketchy had to find out sooner or later.” He shrugs and changes the subject. “So, heard from Max lately?”
It is OC’s turn to roll her eyes. “Original Cyndi’s got a thousand things to occupy her mind, body and soul besides just sitting by the phone waiting for Miss Washington DC to call home. Guess it’s time to make peace with the fact she ain’t just my home girl no more.”
Alec puts an arm around her and squeezes tight. “Max will always be your home girl first, I promise you, that’s never gonna change. Besides, you have me too, sweetheart. I ain’t going nowhere.”
OC half-heartedly tries to shrug him off, “That’s ‘cause nobody else can stand your annoying little ass beside generous ol’ me and your greatest fanboy ever over here,” she points her chin at Normal and starts marching them towards the said man who’s busy handing out jobs for the day.
“These packages won’t deliver themselves, so get moving people, bip bip!”
Alec catches a package that comes flying his way, while OC picks up one assigned to her from Normal’s desk. They read their respective addresses then OC casually swaps her run with his. He frowns before looking down at the new address, then smiles at her gratefully.
Sketchy returns dragging both his and Alec’s bikes behind him. “Hey, I changed your wheel. Good as new!”
“Thanks, man,” he says, getting ready to ride off.
“Where to, bro?” Sketchy asks. But before Alec can respond, someone else answers the question for him.
“The high-rise district,” Normal drawls, barely looking up from his clipboard.
Alec blushes softly and leaves without saying goodbye.
“Go get him, boo,” OC whispers, watching him go.
The rains still haven’t let up, not that Alec notices. Delivering the package was easy. The hard part is standing below the building he once thought of as home and sort of still does (it’s only been like three months, give me a break), and deliberating what to do next. He looks up at the penthouse again but can’t spot any movement from this angle.
Maybe no one is home.
Maybe he could sneak up for a second and lie in the bed that once was his, bury his nose in the pillow and the soft sheets, inhale deeply and fill his lungs with the citrusy scent of the man he misses with every iota of his being.
Or maybe he could leave now and not be such a psychotic creep.
Alec huffs and decides on a compromise. He digs out his phone, and with much self-derision for his lack of control, he sends another text.
“I need to see you.”
Immediately after hitting ‘Send’ he winces pathetically, knowing he won’t be getting a positive response and will only end up making a fool of himself.
He turns his bike around, shoulders slumped and movements erratic, and is about to ride off when his phone beeps.
It’s a text message: “Me too. Can you come over now?”
Alec turns around again, puts his bike on his shoulders and runs to the elevator, grinning like a total loon all the way up to the top floor.
May 14, 2022
I see the waters move above your face,
I feel your naked hand,
Please don't let it go again.
Your sacrifice, that meant so much,
Left us with no place to stand.
Please let me touch
And let me near, let me near.
It is well after noon the next day when Alec walks into Jam Pony with his black sunglasses covering half a sullen face. As is customary, he first stops at Normal’s desk. The two men stand there and just… stare at each other, Alec waiting for his early morning (afternoon in this case) insult and Normal waiting for another lame-ass excuse for being late, again.
But it seems neither man has the energy to come up with anything today. Not that they apply any dazzling creativity on any other day, but today it just seems especially hard.
Three seconds later, they pretend they’ve each said something the other needs to hear and in perfect synchrony, turn away from each other.
Alec looks around for Original Cyndi but she’s probably on a run. Disappointed, he starts for his locker and that’s where he spots Sketchy. The human brightens up when he sees him.
“Hey man, try and avoid OC today if you know what’s best for you. She had to cover for you again and she’s not too psyched about it.”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Alec says, not feeling sorry at all. “Something I had to do.”
“You mean that other other thing you’re doing on the side?”
Alec takes off his shades and squints at Sketchy. The mousy little human smirks. “OC told me. Not your firefighting, that one I already knew.”
Alec shakes his head, “Never trust a girl to keep your secret, my man.” He sits on the bench to change his shoes. “You’re gonna tell me it’s a waste of time too?”
“Nope, time you got a lot of, I know that. But all that newly minted money and this is how you spend it? I’m happy to take it off your hands if you like…”
Alec just throws him a lopsided grin that’s so lethargic even Sketch notices it. He sits next to Alec and leans towards him, while Alec instinctively leans away.
“Alright, talk to me.”
“The long face, man. You may not know this, but your face is a lot more expressive than I think your ‘makers’ intended it to be. That, and memorable, which is also not ideal in the espionage and murder business, one man’s opinion. And right now your face is telling me that you either need to talk… or you need to take a dump…”
“Maybe I need to take a life.”
“Mm, nah, I’m not seeing that.”
Alec just shakes his head and tries to stand up but for a transgenic he’s moving too slow today because Sketchy has no trouble putting a hand on his shoulder and keeping him in place.
“Seriously though, looks like you got t-blocked, didn’t you?”
“T as in ‘talk’, get it, talk-blocked?”
Alec has no energy to tell Sketchy how much his word plays suck, and that he prefers Sketchy tongue-tied like he was the day before. “I feel your pain, brother. Maybe we shouldn’t have helped him get his penthouse and all his equipment back. He’s hiding behind it all, that’s what I think.”
“It keeps him sane; man needs a mission; any mission.”
“Maybe then you should keep yourself involved in his missions too. Don’t wait to be summoned like a foot soldier, which you technically are, but think big man. Be proactive!”
Alec rubs his brow tiredly while Sketchy rambles on pointlessly for another few seconds, until his patience wears thin and he stands abruptly. “Look Sketch, I appreciate the… uh, talk, but I just spent all night wading through a swamp in the Wisconsin mountains looking for your dead prosecutor, and she wasn’t even there, and I’m just really exhausted, okay?”
Sketchy suddenly turns serious. “I was right, then, huh? He thinks Andretti was murdered by the mob too?”
Sketchy means well, but in his excitement he’s already forgotten all about Alec and trying to make him talk; which is just as well because he’s in no mood to relive the last twenty-four hours.
Yesterday did not go as well as he’d hoped.
He’d found the vigilante at his work station, surrounded by his twelve hundred monitor screens all streaming different data from all across the internet. His sandy brown hair was slightly wet (like Alec’s but he’d just come in from the rain) and slicked back for a change, and his face was freshly shaved as well. He was dressed in black sweatpants two sizes too big for him, as always, and his plain white well-worn t-shirt was damp around the collar thanks to his hair again.
He must have just stepped out of the shower, Alec surmised, and wondered if anyone was around to help him… or if he was doing it all on his own.
“Hey,” he offered as a soft greeting, so as not to startle the other man.
But Logan did startle.
He wasn’t expecting Alec to show up so quickly. Of course he had no way to know the other man had been standing on the opposite street when they texted. If he guessed it, he didn’t mention it, which was just as well. This interaction was poised to be embarrassing enough for Alec as it is.
Logan glanced up at him through slightly smudged glasses briefly before looking away. “I need you to go to Wisconsin tonight.”
Alec’s heart descended in slow motion to the pit of his stomach. He wasn’t even that shocked to learn he’d been granted this rare audience only for an Eyes Only thing. But hope could be a clingy little bitch sometimes.
“How’ve you been?”
“I’m texting you the exact coordinates,” Logan responded by not responding, looking down at his keyboard instead.
Alec took a second to look around. The place looked clean and well-kept. “You got some help for around here, I see.”
“You’ll need to take the ferry,” Logan continued in that annoyingly even tone, one he’d used to negotiate with the President on Max’s behalf.
“It’s the last location her cellphone was at before it switched off. I managed to hack into her phone service and track down her GPS footprint…”
“Looks like you’ve lost some weight. Who’s doing the cooking these days?”
“Stop,” Logan suddenly snapped at Alec, and for a second his eyes glinted dangerously, like he wanted to say more. But then just as instantly he calmed, taking off his glasses and looking up at Alec as if addressing a recalcitrant teenager.
When he spoke again his voice was firm but neutral. “Your concern is touching but unnecessary. I’m just watching my diet.”
“Or you’re being careless.” And not eating enough, just like he wasn’t sleeping enough, which Alec knew for a fact but wasn’t about to admit, like ever.
“It’s a side effect of the muscle atrophy, alright. Now can we please focus on Andretti? I’m afraid you won’t find her alive, but…”
“Looks to me you’re willing to accept help from complete strangers, but not from me. Why is that exactly?”
“Unless of course you only accept help that you can pay for.”
Alright so he couldn’t help it. He wanted another outburst, wanted Logan to lose that fake but hurtful veneer of indifference again.
Logan swallowed, but his eyes and voice refused to waver. “But I did call you for your help, Alec, in finding this poor woman’s body and giving her family some closure.”
“Evidence against the drug mafia, you mean…”
Alec suddenly took a step closer and that’s when the human’s composure broke. Logan slid a few inches back in a rush, and Alec couldn’t be sure if it was reflexive or intended. Either way, it hurt. He halted in his steps.
Closure, he says.
Another bullshit term Alec didn’t understand. Start something, fuck it up, then just declare closure and move on. Like the mess you left behind would go away on its own, no consequences, nothing. Alec wanted to scoff, maybe rail a little against the complete and utter unfairness of it all. His hands fisted by his sides as his frustrations started to boil, his insides feeling like a pressure cooker about to blow…
Alec’s cell phone beeped then, and the trance broke. It was the coordinates Logan just texted him. He put the phone away and turned to leave, but he couldn’t yet. He craned his neck to look at the only man he’d ever loved one last time.
“Maybe they don’t want closure, Logan. Maybe they want to keep hope alive, for just a little while longer.”
Alec starts and lets Normal’s high-pitched voice drag him back to the present.
“Package for Sixteenth and Broad, who wants it?”
“I got it,” he calls out, cutting off Sketchy mid-sentence, and steps up to grab the job before anyone else can even begin to make up an excuse to not do it.
“Hey,” Normal refuses to let go of the package that Alec now holds from the other side. “I have another one going to the high-rise district in a bit.”
Seriously, why does everyone here need to know everyone else’s business?
Alec just shakes his head wearily and turns to leave, “I’m good.”
Next part (2/2)