Part One here.
May 30, 2022
Where were you when I was burned and broken?
While the days slipped by from my window watching.
Where were you when I was hurt and helpless?
Because the things you say and the things you do surround me.
While you were hanging yourself on someone else's words,
Dying to believe in what you heard,
I was staring straight into the shining sun.
The gym down at the station is his favorite place to hang these days.
Here he comes to work off his… particular issues and frustrations which may or may not be sexual in nature. He’s been getting bigger and stronger for all the time he’s spent here these past months. Especially under the tutelage of his good friend Washington, a man whose quiet company Alec finds infinitely comforting.
“This ain’t like department training, son,” he said to Alec one day after an especially punishing session with the bench press.
“You can’t cram all night to get an A in triceps the next morning. And you can’t work out for fourteen hours non-stop expecting to get fourteen days’ worth of results the next day. You gotta let your body rest, grow accustomed to the training.”
“But why the hell not? I am healthier, stronger, faster…”
Washington had smirked at the younger man. “Tell me something: can a transgenic birth a baby in four point five months?”
Alec looked it up. And sadly no, they couldn’t.
Original Cyndi likes to squeeze his expanding biceps, or at least she tries. She calls the gym his ‘safe place’ – which is not all that far from the truth. He often finds himself wandering down to it even on his days off, and today is no different.
No Washington today. So he commandeers the boxing ring and whales away at a punching bag. He wears nothing but a pair of grey sweatpants, showing off his toned chest, muscles rippling with every punch, shimmering under a layer of sweat that drips off his forehead and nose, and abs so hard you could bounce a nickel off of them.
Several thousand blows later, there is only so much a poor punching bag made in China can take. It bursts, ripping in two places, and the entire dojo is covered with sand and sawdust.
“Crap, not again,” he grumbles to himself.
“Want something your own size to vent on?”
Alec grins, he doesn’t need to look at the person to know who it is. Schooling his face into a mild smirk, he turns to face Max. “If you’re referring to yourself, I don’t know if you fit the bill, with your new sedentary lifestyle and all…”
Alec nods at the suit standing guard behind her. “Don’t you need to clear it with your babysitter first?”
She actually looks miffed at that. “He’s Secret Service, and he answers to me, not the other way round.”
“Well, in that case maybe you should re-think his uniform. Seriously Max, a bow tie?”
“We were just under cover at the… ugh, never mind. You up for a round or what?”
She smiles deviously and takes off her jacket, revealing a sleeveless black form-fitting top over perfectly tailored slacks that would be in clear danger of getting ripped but she doesn’t seem to care.
They go a few rounds until Alec finds himself flat on his back, Max bearing down on his throat with an effortlessness Alec will always envy.
“Alright, I give!”
“Seriously? Aren’t we too old for that shit?”
Max presses down harder at his jugular.
“Alright, alright! Uncle Sam of the United completely fucked up States of America. Let go…”
“You’re so stupid,” Max laughs and backs off, allowing Alec to stand up.
Alec smirks when abruptly she turns back into a ‘girl’ and starts fussing over her hair. “You know I hate that smirk of yours. What?”
He just grins more and by the time she realizes her tactical error, it’s too late. “No, don’t even think ab– ACK!! Alec!!” Max squeals when he grabs her into an inescapable bear hug, slathering his sweat and grime all over her bare skin and brand new pants.
An hour later, she sits on Alec’s bed in his apartment, gazing up at the flag Joshua painted (now framed in clear glass) and tries not to let the tears fall. Alec watches her from the kitchen island where he’s starting dinner for the two of them.
When she turns to him, her eyes are moist. He knows Max doesn’t like to be caught in her moments of weakness, least not anymore. So he quickly looks away. “Sorry about the onions,” he mutters, giving her an out before going back to chopping more vegetables for a Bolognese recipe.
Max pulls it together then comes over to perch on a bar stool opposite him. “So, when you said you were going to feed me, I didn’t think you were being literal.”
“Why not? I love cooking for my peeps,” he winks at her and then continues more seriously, “It sort of calms me down, or something.”
“You mean you don’t just whale away at a punching bag?”
He makes a face at her and ambles over to the freezer, pulls out two beers and throws one to Max. “Let’s just say, I’m diversifying my interests.”
Anything to fill the emptiness, make the loneliness easier to bear…
Max twists open her beer, takes a big gulp and smiles, which Alec assumes to be tacit approval. So he carries on, giving voice to thoughts he hasn’t articulated to anyone before.
“It’s like, for the first time in my life, I’m doing something just for the heck of it. Not because it’s a matter of life and death, you know? For the first time I’m in no hurry to get to the finish line, am not looking for a golden shortcut, not that there even is one – not if you want it done right. I actually just get to enjoy the ride, you know; and the taste of victory when everything falls in place perfectly and I know I didn’t screw it up. It’s…”
He looks up then to see Max watching him very intently; it makes him blush. “Yeah, whatever, it’s… so long as it’s edible I guess.”
Max laughs. “Don’t do that, Alec. This is really cool. I’m so proud of you.”
He blushes again, “Thanks. Probably something I picked up when I was with…” and then he halts abruptly, not wanting to go there tonight.
But Max doesn’t get the hint, not right away anyway. “Oh yeah, me too, but it didn’t stick. And I was with him for two years, you only had like six mo–”, stops when she spots Alec’s face starting to drop again.
She winces apologetically and changes the subject. “So, these new digs, do you like it?”
Alec shrugs nonchalantly as he grabs a skillet and the olive oil cruet, “I’ve lived in worse.”
“It’s got more personality than the other place you used to shack up in before. Actually that was always Brain’s place, never yours, even after he was gone.”
“Duh! Can you think of anyone who could dwarf that guy’s personality?”
They spend a few seconds in silence, honoring another fallen Manticore comrade.
Max stands up after a while and goes out to the balcony. Alec bites his lip, knowing what’s to follow and that there is simply no way to avoid it.
At first she notices nothing, simply leans against the railing looking more relaxed than she has all evening. She drinks from her beer and watches the bustling street below as folks head back to their homes at the end of the day. She shakes her hair out and stretches languidly, throwing her head back.
That’s when she straightens up, before slowly turning around to glare at Alec, who’s cringing already. “You wanna come out here and talk to me about this like a man?”
Not really, no. Alec sighs and starts to make his way over to her; like he has a choice.
“Get me another beer while you’re at it.”
Yes, ma’am. Sullenly, Alec turns back around to grab two more beers, switches off the gas stove as well because, yeah, this is going to take a while, and then walks out into the balcony.
“I see now why you chose this place. Do you even realize how creepy this is?”
“I didn’t do it on purpose, this was just…”
“A coincidence? This and an elevator? Do you actually expect me to believe that?”
Alec sighs again and takes a big swig of his beer. He’s done explaining himself, and apparently Max can see that. She shakes her head in obvious disappointment which Alec tries his best to ignore.
“So, how’s school?”
He doesn’t want to talk about that either, but mumbles a response anyway, “Starting third semester in a couple of weeks.”
Max frowns again. “Let me guess, you want to finish a four year master’s program in one year or less.”
“What can I say – genetically engineered noggin and all that.”
“Does he know you’re doing it?”
Alec sulkily shakes his head.
“When was the last time you guys spoke?”
Max blinks, “That I did not see coming.”
“It’s not what you think,” Alec stops her before she gets ahead of herself.
He explains to her how he’s been helping Eyes Only collect evidence against a drug cartel that had a Seattle DA killed last year. And once he gets talking, it’s like the floodgates open. Before he knows it, he’s telling Max all about how every time Alec does try to talk about anything other than the case, the man shuts down or kicks him out of the penthouse.
“Everyone left, either with you, or went their separate ways. And with his exoskeleton destroyed – he doesn’t have a choice so he’s stuck with me. But if he had a choice, I think he’d rather pretend I didn’t exist at all. He doesn’t even look at me, not even when I stand right in front of him.”
Max shows a little sympathy at that. “Back when we first met, he was like that with me too. Took him a whole year to get over himself and let me in.”
“Maybe that’s just it. Maybe he’s still in love with you…”
Max suddenly puts a hand over his. “Don’t even, bro. We were long over before you and he started seeing each other.”
Alec believes her. He looks up at the penthouse again. It’s after eight and the lights are out – which means the man either went to sleep or left to go out. It is a Friday night after all. Maybe he’s meeting a friend for a drink, maybe a special someone even. Asha still keeps trying her luck with him – maybe she’s getting some tonight.
Max senses his despondence and as always her first reaction is instinctual, unadulterated anger. “You know what I’m going to say.”
“Then don’t say it.”
That shuts her up, but only for a few seconds. “Did you ever stop to think that maybe this is a good thing? Ever since you got out of Manticore, you’ve been on the run, Alec, fighting for survival. For once you get to slow down and actually have a life of your own.”
“I thought I was building a life, Max, with him,” Alec whispers, still staring up at the penthouse.
“No, you weren’t, Alec. You were building a life around him, centered on him, it was all about him and it wasn’t healthy, not for you. But you’ve got this second chance now, please don’t squander it. Forget that man with his stupid martyr complex up in that ivory tower of his, and focus on yourself for a change.”
Alec bristles. “I’m trying, aren’t I?”
Max points up to the penthouse behind her. “No, you’re not! You’re not nearly trying enough. You’re practically stalking him for fuck’s sake! Don’t you get it, Alec – he doesn’t want you in his life anymore!”
Alec flinches violently at that. He wants to tell her to shut the fuck up, except he isn’t so sure anymore that she is dead wrong. And maybe, just maybe, he needs to hear this.
“You know what your new life needs? More of you in it.”
Alec still doesn’t reply, and at that point Max seems to give it up, for now. She is no fool. She can see exactly when Alec shutters down, desperate to protect that tiny bitch of a hope he still harbors deep inside.
“Here,” she takes out a small and nearly flat black box from her purse and throws it at Alec who catches without even looking at it. “I got it for your hero, since he didn’t have the time to come to DC to collect it himself. I’m flying back at o-five hundred, won’t get the chance to see him this time.”
Alec looks at it briefly before pocketing it in his denim jacket. But Max isn’t done trying his patience (and his feelings) just yet.
“You’re too alone, Alec. Please, I don’t want you to isolate yourself.”
Alec exhales heavily, and opens his arms. “I’m not, I swear. Besides, I have you, Maxie, who needs anyone else?”
She surrenders and walks into the hug, grumbling quietly, “Hate it when you call me that.”
He chuckles, “Sorry, Major Guevara.”
“Shut up, we’re not at war anymore.”
“Okay, Senator Guevara.”
She punches him and pulls away, while he struggles to catch his breath.
June 5, 2022
Now we're turning, towards the sun, unfolding everyday
From out behind, the clouded mind,
With more than words to say.
We're half-naked souls and a harmony
Is a song of tears, all washed into the sea,
As we stand along the shoreline.
Alec wraps up four back-to-back shifts at the fire station, which basically means a non-stop ninety-six hours (some people think it’s okay to ask him to do their shifts because apparently his genetically enhanced ass can take the stress). He is heading home, exhausted, not having slept in over a week. It’s not fair to put all of it on the job though; he’s been studying really hard to wrap up his semester early and all that.
Alec is about to straddle his motorbike when his cellphone rings.
It’s him again.
“I found a mole inside the cartel – he’s willing to testify. But we need to go get him from Bainbridge Island now. Can you come over?”
“Can it wait? I just need a couple hours to…”
“No it can’t, get here now.”
Alec is so tired.
Physically he’s tired, starting to feel the tremors because he hasn’t taken his tryptophan in a while too. And mentally he’s tired of being ordered around, taken for granted, all the while being completely ignored, without a word of thanks or any kindness whatsoever.
He’s tired of being on his own, eating alone, sleeping alone, watching a stupid building from two miles away hoping, wishing, but still alone. He’s tired of not being acknowledged for the man he has become, for the man he wants to be. He’s tired of being in love with a man who has very conveniently moved on, who clearly doesn’t give a damn. And right about now he just wants to kill something, very bad, but he’d settle for kicking it and yelling profanities at it too.
He is tired, and he just wants to close his eyes and go to sleep for a year.
Instead, he sighs and turns his bike around. “I’ll be there in five.”
They board the ferry to Bainbridge Island with Logan’s car (the one that’s been recently retrofitted with special controls again) and stay in it. The journey so far has been eerily silent – Logan still not saying anything that’s not related to the mission and Alec simply not up to the effort.
He places an elbow on the side door, rests the side of his face into his hand and closes his eyes.
“You alright?” Logan asks tentatively. Maybe he can’t take any more of this out-of-character behavior after all.
Alec barely shifts. “Peachy.”
“Ha-have you taken your Tryptophan for the week?”
Alec exhales heavily. “Your concern is touching but unnecessary,” he says, echoing the very words Logan had thrown at him not too long ago.
The vigilante bristles visibly, and it makes Alec softly smirk. But he decides not to be completely cruel after all.
“I just got off a long shift. Mind if I take a quick nap? Wake me when we hit land again?”
“Uh, sure,” Logan says and quickly looks away, even though Alec can see he’s agitated, like there is something else he longs to say but can’t. Or won’t.
He smiles, muses quietly to himself about how adorable Logan looks with his hair wildly astray, as usual, and his smooth, square jaw; chewing at his lower lip like a nervous teenager on his first date.
He closes his eyes and lets the darkness take him. Feels so good to surrender to sleep, something he hasn’t been able to do in three months. Maybe he feels safer, maybe it’s the proximity to Logan after all this time, maybe the two things are intimately related… either way, it doesn’t last for more than five minutes.
A couple of muffled pops that sound incredibly familiar send his spider-sense tingling and his eyes shoot open. A split-second later, the two bullets hit the left side of their car, Logan’s side.
“Get down!” Alec yells, and pushes Logan’s head down as he tries to locate where the gunfire is coming from.
In hindsight, he should have spent more time doing reconnaissance and less time snoozing. He probably should have spent more time listening to Logan’s ramblings about the case too; they may have been able to suss out a trap before they were caught in it.
“There is no damn mole, is there?” Logan wheezes.
In response, Alec puts a hand on top of his head and pushes him further down and out of range of the continuing gunfire.
There are three gunmen, far as Alec can tell. He scans the rest of the boat for activity: there are maybe ten other ordinaries including passengers and the crew but they’re too far to hear any gunshots because of the silencers. Just as well, they’re probably safest that way. It’s an off-peak hour, which is why it was chosen to draw Logan out in the first place.
“Don’t move until I say so,” Alec orders and gets out of the car himself.
“Wait, where are you going?” Logan asks, and Alec sees the concern brewing in his eyes.
“You brought me along for a reason, yes? Shut up and let me do my job,” Alec hisses and a second later he’s crouching behind an SUV, waiting for an opening to get the jump on one of the goons closest to them.
Taking the first six-foot-five man out is easy as pie. He grabs the dead man’s gun and aims at a second assailant about to take a shot at Logan from the right side of the car.
That leaves the third assassin. Alec should have been paying more attention to him instead of worrying about how many bullets he had left in his appropriated weapon. A momentary lapse is all it takes.
Two shots are fired within nano-seconds of each other – and as luck would have it, both find their target.
The final assassin drops dead instantly with a hole in his forehead. Alec doesn’t see but hears the scumbag’s body hit the ferry’s floor, and then he hears Logan screaming his name, a second after the assassin’s bullet punches him squarely in the chest.
The momentum sends him tumbling backwards to the starboard edge where his left foot gets tangled in a coil of rope. Next thing he knows, he’s falling, flying backwards through the cold air and fog, until he hits the cold and prickly surface of the ocean.
No! Alec! ALEC!!
A part of him is relieved, relieved he doesn’t have to fight anymore, doesn’t have to stick around to survive the deaths of his friends and loved ones anymore, doesn’t have to find things to keep himself occupied with, just to not be thinking about the people he’s lost anymore.
He’s even glad he doesn’t have to take the semester tests anymore, doesn’t have to feel his heart break every time Logan turns away from him, rejecting his feelings again and again.
He’s glad he finally gets to close his eyes and just… go to sleep.
June 5, 2022 (Logan’s POV)
You'll see, you feel like a banner,
Unfurled and gently blown,
And there before your opening eyes
The self you've never known.
They're never going to make it easy
Of this you can be sure.
You feel untied, beatified
And loved for ever more.
Logan watches Alec get shot in the heart and fall overboard. And for a second he just freezes.
Time slows down and loses all meaning. He remembers his voice just long enough to call for Alec, hoping it’s all just a hallucination borne of his addled mind; he’s had several of those in recent months. Surely he didn’t just see Alec go overboard. Surely he’s not… he’s still… isn’t he?
He calls out Alec’s name over and over again, but gets no response.
Gunshot to the heart – no one survives that, not even an X5. It’s what took Max away from him three years ago. It’s what took Joshua away from all of them last year, and now it has taken Alec from him – another person he’s loved and lost.
But that’s not really true, is it?
He’d given Alec up months ago, soon as he lost the use of his legs again. Being a physical cripple again had crippled his feelings too, allowed his ego to take over. No – it wasn’t a bullet that took his love away; it was his own damn pride. The bullet had just ensured he’d never get a chance to make amends again.
Logan is hyperventilating now, hands trembling, fingers struggling to find purchase with his door handle. The longer it takes to free himself of the confines of the car, the faster his panic escalates.
Images of Alec’s face contorted in pain as the bullet tore through him, his limbs flailing as he started to fall… Logan’s vision grows blurry and it doesn’t help with the damn handle either. Until, at last, the scream stuck in his throat breaks free and with it the lock gives way too.
He can’t believe this is happening.
Logan tumbles out of the car, literally, upper torso first because the rest of him is so fucking useless, and uses his palms to break his fall. He loses his glasses in the process, not that they were helping any. He probably should have tried to get his wheelchair from the back but that would’ve taken time and besides at this point he really doesn’t give a fuck.
Logan brings all his upper body strength to bear and drags himself across the jagged floor of the ferry to the edge where he’d last seen Alec. It takes him a while and he keeps screaming for help even though his voice is barely more than a whisper. By the time he makes it there and manages to pull himself up to look out into the dark murky waters, he’s completely drained.
His eyesight is worse than ever, what with all the fog and sweat conspiring to wash away his terrible flashbacks but failing miserably. There is a loud ringing in his ears, like a fire engine racing through his brain, flashing red and drowning out every other sound in existence.
Not seeing anything, not hearing anything, Logan lets go of the railing, collapsing to the deck like a marionette whose strings have been suddenly, ruthlessly, slashed. He’s numb, cold, just like he was after Max ‘died’ – he can’t move, he can’t speak, doesn’t want to, and is pretty sure he never will again.
He just sits there and stares away at nothing, wishing Alec had left one of the assassins alive so they could have finished the damn job.
“Alec…” the name rolls of his tongue pathetically, hopelessly, all by itself.
Suddenly, the aforementioned hoists himself up over the railing and topples back into the boat before coming to rest on his haunches beside Logan, panting.
It takes him a decade, give or take a few days, to make himself believe in what his incompetent eyes and ears seem to be telling him. A completely drenched and dripping X5 is sitting next to him, his full plum lips turned up into that annoying little smirk Alec McDowell is known for.
And still Logan just stares, silent, and wide-eyed. Then suddenly he launches at Alec, screaming at the top of his lungs for the world to hear.
“I hate you!” and
“Fucking transgenics!” and
“What the hell is wrong with you people?”
He pounds his fists against Alec’s chest and shoulders with all his might as the other man just sits there and lets him.
“How dare you do this to me again?? How could you…? Sonofa… I hate you! I hate you so fucking much!”
At some point Alec decides he’s had enough. He grabs Logan and pulls him against himself. The human is shocked into stillness for all of a second, before he starts struggling against the arms holding him, still trying his best to hurt Alec as much as he can.
He is angry. Not just angry, he’s furious! At Alec, at the fucking drug mafia, at his stupid legs, at himself… and he doesn’t deserve to be held so tenderly by this man and he surely doesn’t deserve the kind, soothing words he’s whispering softly in his ear.
“Shh, it’s okay, Lo, shhh…”
“Don’t fucking shush me!!” he screams and tries to pull away again but to no avail.
Logan feels his wrists gripped tight, his arms being twisted behind his back. Alec crushes the human to his own chest and holds Logan’s hands at the base of his spine where shards of another bullet from years ago still remain to torment him.
The grip is inescapable, as it’s been genetically engineered to be. Curses spew from Logan’s mouth in an unbroken litany and he’s contemplating biting Alec’s shoulder to try and break free. But as if reading his mind, Alec transfers both his wrists to one hand and uses his free hand to take Logan by the jaw. Then before he knows it, Alec closes his mouth over Logan’s roughly and silences him.
He kisses him, again and again and again. Logan gasps and Alec uses the opportunity to slip his tongue into the open mouth, making itself comfortable like it fucking belongs there. Logan closes his eyes, tears finally dripping out the corners to run down his face and into their conjoined mouths. He tastes the salt mixing with the familiar and oh-so-missed taste of Alec’s mouth. And it only makes him sob harder.
“Shh, I’m here, baby. I’m here… I’m okay, shh, we’re both okay.”
Logan can’t be sure when or precisely why, but at some point, he decides to give in and really listen to the words being poured down his throat, and his panic starts to dissipate. The muscles straining in his back start to unwind under the firm hand that repeatedly rubs them up and down. And once Alec lets go of his mouth, Logan lets his head fall forward until it rests on Alec’s shoulder. His breathing is still erratic but growing heavier, as do his tear-soaked eyelids.
“Alec?” he whispers quietly, meek and afraid he won’t hear anything back. That this is all just another hallucination; a really, really vivid dream of someone who’s no longer here.
“Right here, Logan, right here,” the not-hallucination responds promptly, and Logan almost believes it.
Minutes pass, hours maybe – they stay there, just like that, until the sun peaks out from behind the clouds and it gets bright, until Alec practically dries out, until Logan’s breathing returns to normal.
Until Logan starts to fidget and reminds Alec it’s not really playing fair to be holding a crippled man immobile like that. Alec lets go but his hands still linger, choosing to stroke the human’s back and shoulders instead.
“I saw you get shot.”
Alec clears his throat. “Yeah, about that,” he puts a hand inside his jacket and pulls out a small, nearly flat black box with a bullet embedded in the heart of it. He opens it and shows it to Logan.
It’s the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian award in the United States, or whatever is left of it.
“Max left this for you. I’ve been carrying it around for weeks hoping to be… summoned and, I guess I was waiting for us to get back to Seattle but…”
Alec makes a sheepish face as he pries the bullet out of the medal leaving a nine millimeter hole in its center, “Uh, sorry I broke it.”
Logan looks at it and back up at Alec. A multitude of emotions congregate inside his gut, little sparks growing stronger and brighter and warmer, blooming outwards so they wash all over his cold, trembling and now halfway drenched body (what with Alec still holding Logan tightly to himself).
He feels grateful… something he hasn’t felt in a long time, even though his mother raised him to be and he was too, until she died. He feels fortunate… something that before the Pulse always came with a generous side of guilt; and with a dogged sense of purpose after it.
But more than anything, he feels humbled… to have had the chance to love, not once but twice, to have been loved in return, and to be given more second chances at love than he probably deserves.
His eyes fill up with tears again, and this time he’s the one who leans in to kiss Alec with everything he’s got.
June 8, 2022
Sooner than wait for a break in the weather,
I’ll gather my far-flung thoughts together.
Speeding away, on the wind to a new day
And if you’re alone,
I’ll come home.
Around noon, Alec’s cellphone rings but he ignores it. Whoever is trying to reach him is adamant though, and dials Logan’s landline next to leave a message.
“Alec McDowell, I know you’re there! Pick up the damn phone, lover boy.”
Logan lets out a breathless snort and drops his forehead to the pillow underneath him. His lover behind him, and also currently inside him, has no intentions to stop though. He lowers his mouth to kiss the crook of Logan’s sweat-soaked neck, biting the sensitive skin there avidly, leaving his mark on the man he doesn’t intend to let go ever again.
Logan whimpers, gripping the rails of his headboard with both hands until he’s white-knuckling around them. Another couple of pillows have been strategically placed under his stomach, arching his back beautifully. Earlier, Alec had pulled his lover’s legs apart to make space for the X5 between them. He grips the said legs at the knee joints and with every thrust he pushes them further apart, boring deeper into the gorgeous ass.
“Look, I got your ass covered here with Normal, as always.” The female, slightly nasal, voice continues on the machine. "Original Cyndi actually considers it a part of her official job description, covering for all you transgenics.”
Both men chuckle at that, though Alec doesn’t let it sway his rhythm as he continues to fuck Logan, hitting his sweet spot with excruciating precision on every alternate thrust. How does he know? Because Logan fails to bite back his moans on every such occasion.
“Bet it’s all nice and comfy again up in the ivory tower again, seeing how you’ve been shacked up with your boy for three days and three nights. Bet you’re making up for all the lost time right now, as I speak.”
Alec pats Logan’s right buttock couple times before cupping it possessively, “You bet I am.”
Logan blushes prettily, and it fuels Alec’s lust even more. He’s glad he’s situated behind Logan right now though; the human would smack that satisfied smirk right off Alec’s face if he sees it.
“Now you better be careful with him, boo, or you might wear him down. Ordinaries are kinda fragile, you know.”
“Hey!” Logan exclaims, even as his protest promptly cross-fades into a particularly heartfelt moan.
“No offense, Lo’,” Original Cyndi says almost as if she just heard Logan. And then suddenly she switches gears, “Anyway. I just wanted to make sure you remembered to go take your tests. Please tell me you at least remembered to reschedule them?”
Alec did forget, but rescheduling shouldn’t be a problem, and OC knows it too. He also knows her better than she thinks he does. She wouldn’t be bugging him right now with something that can clearly wait. Nope, she’s done this on purpose – to get him to tear this last wall down between Logan and himself, knowing he didn’t have the guts to do it himself, yet.
She hangs up and as expected, Logan’s curiosity is piqued. “Tests? What tests?”
Alec is breathless as he struggles to hit pause on his libido. “It’s nothing. We’ll talk about it later, okay? In case you didn’t notice, I’m in the middle of something… ah, very important right now.”
But Logan’s not letting it slide. “Are you sick?”
Alec grimaces. “Not that kind of tests, baby. I… uh,” he’d really hoped to be able to share this with Logan in a more face-to-face setting. But, oh well, this will just have to do.
“I’ve been going to school – University of Washington – to get, um, like a Master’s degree.”
Logan twists his neck further to look into Alec’s flushed face, hazel eyes wide with wonder and what Alec likes to think of as approval. “That’s fantastic, baby, a degree in what? Is that what Max meant by the ‘other’ other thing you’re doing?”
“Um, yeah, I’ll tell you all about it later baby, come here…” He leans in to capture Logan’s mouth again but the human just tilts his head away. Clearly the investigator in him isn’t done investigating yet.
“I don’t understand why you didn’t tell me though.”
“You weren’t exactly talking to me, were you?”
Logan pouts. He doesn’t like to be reminded of all the months, days and hours they spent apart because he’d presumed all by himself that his quadriplegia would be an unbearable ‘burden’ for his allegedly too-young-to-be-responsible boyfriend.
“And what about now? You’ve been back three days, Alec.”
Alec is still not sure how to confess the complete truth. “Look i-it’s not a big deal, just something to kill time with, that’s all.”
“You mean you actually have time to kill after your two jobs and your work for Eyes Only? Maybe I’m not using you enough then…”
“Clearly you’re not,” Alec grunts unhappily because he really just wants to move again. “God, baby, can we please be done with the chit-chat? I’m trying to fuck you here.”
Logan chuckles and squeezes around him, giving him permission to carry on at last, which Alec happily does.
He pulls out of Logan before forcefully pounding right back in, taking his lover by surprise because these past three days Alec has mostly erred on the genteel side and Logan’s been the one ordering him to go harder (‘So is the six-pack just for show or what?’), and faster (‘Maybe I should find me an X7’) and rougher (‘I won’t break, Alec, promise…’).
Alec leans forward until he is chest to back with Logan, and pries his lover’s hands from the headboard to entwine the long, too thin fingers with his own. Logan’s eyes fall close, his mouth gapes open, and his head is thrown back in absolute ecstasy for the next several-teen minutes; gripping his lover’s hands back and hanging on for dear life.
Alec comes a couple of times in that duration, coating Logan’s insides with his seed, making his lover also come so hard he can feel it in his otherwise insensate toes.
“Ah! F-fuck, that… that was…” Logan gasps as he feels another sharp tingle course through his limbs. For a precious couple of seconds, he swears he can even flex his shins, just a little.
“It doesn’t hurt, does it?”
“Even if it did, it’d be something,” Logan rasps back, craning his neck again. The soldier lowers his face and they kiss tenderly.
The first time it happened three days ago, Logan was so shocked by it he’d broken down and sobbed uncontrollably. Alec held him like a child, rocking him, letting him expend his pent-up rage and feelings of helplessness to finally reach the grim but essential stage of acceptance.
Now when it happens, when that electrifying tingle makes Logan’s legs come alive fleetingly, the tears he cries are of back-breaking pleasure and overwhelming joy. They still don’t understand how it’s even possible, but it’s all Logan wants to feel over and over again. Alec is of course very happy to oblige, again, and again and again.
“I love you, Alec McDowell,” Logan mumbles sleepily once Alec pulls him into his arms before drawing up the covers.
The words take his breath away, even if it isn’t the first time he’s hearing them. “I love you more, Logan Cale,” he whispers back, pressing a kiss on top of Logan’s head. “And I’m never ever gonna stop.”
Couple hours later, when hazel eyes flutter open again Alec is still wrapped around his boyfriend, watching him lovingly.
“Do you want to see my new place?”
Logan blinks, and Alec senses his anxiety in that tiny gesture. The usually articulate man opens his mouth to say something, closes it, opens it again, then finally goes with an “uh, sure,” looking terribly disappointed with himself for that effort.
Alec wants to smile at his adorable lover, but instead just licks his lips. He’s nervous too. “I-I just thought maybe, you can come and… maybe… help me pack?”
Logan couldn’t have possibly grinned any wider.
They shower and change into their outdoor clothes. Logan puts on a steel grey turtleneck sweater with black jeans that once wouldn’t have fit him over his exoskeleton. Alec has no choice but to wear the blue jeans and leather jacket (now adorned with a bullet hole) he came wearing three days ago. But he discards the black t-shirt for a sky-blue one that he apparently forgot to pack when he moved out, and Logan never threw out.
“Come here and make yourself useful,” Logan calls to him, pointing at the laces on his brown suede shoes.
“Sure!” Alec runs over and kneels before Logan’s wheelchair to tie his laces. He looks up to find Logan watching him contemplatively.
Logan shakes his head a little sadly, “Nothing just… I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into, Alec.”
Alec doesn’t respond to that, simply leans forward and kisses Logan. “Come on, you have to see it in daylight.”
It’s a nice sunny day for a change, no rainclouds on the horizon. They drive to the neighboring sector where his apartment is. Logan is obviously excited to see it for the first time, and can’t stop asking questions about it.
“You actually have an elevator?! In sector four?”
He thinks it over while Alec concentrates on the road ahead. A second later, he’s squinting mischievously. “You fantasized about me coming over for a booty call, didn’t ya?”
Alec turns toward him, eyes brimming with emotions he can’t put into words. “Not just a booty call, baby.”
He’d dreamt of a million different scenarios that would someday bring Logan back to his doorstep, back into his life. And he sure didn’t want a stupid flight of stairs to come in his way.
In response, Logan takes Alec’s hand and plants a soft kiss on his knuckles, before promptly looking away to hide his own eyes glittering behind the still smudged glasses.
“Are you going to keep it?”
“It’s mine to keep. Besides, we might need it if your location ever gets compromised again. I have broadband too, you know.”
It’s after five PM when they reach their destination. After looking around briefly inside the studio, Logan wheels himself into the balcony, looks up at his own abode up in the sky and narrows his eyes at Alec. The younger man sheepishly scratches the top of his head and escapes to the kitchen.
“I’m starving. You want something to eat?” Without looking back to acknowledge Logan’s smirk of amusement, he starts pulling out ingredients from the fridge for dinner.
“Uh, what are you doing?” Logan asks when Alec starts to slice up some onions on a chopping board with a precision that would put the best chefs in Europe to shame.
“What’s it look like, baby, I’m fixing dinner! How does steak sound? Let’s see, what’d you call it… Chateaubriand?”
Logan’s eyes go wide and slightly skeptical.
“What? I watched when you cooked.”
“Oh, you watched alright, watched my ass in an apron!”
Alec snorts and doesn’t bother to deny it.
“But I’ll admit you do seem to have new skills with the chopper.”
Alec feels warmth creep up to his cheeks at those words of praise. He hears an unasked question in them as well.
He’s going to have to explain to the man how he kept himself busy just to keep himself from going insane. But he doesn’t want to do it in a way that makes Logan feel any guiltier than he does already.
“Fine, the Food Network’s the only free cable channel I get here, alright! Wine? Red or white?”
Logan chuckles and asks for red. Alec brings out a bottle of contraband Merlot he’s been saving just for this day.
The wine does its trick. Logan spins round and round a couple of times in his wheelchair – it’s the first time that Alec has seen him be so playful and carefree while confined to that thing. He throws his head back every time he laughs, which Alec knows is a very, very good thing. Alec gets him up to speed on all the antics he’s gotten up to with Bull and Washington lately, and they’re not even that funny. But Logan laughs for him anyway.
He suspects Logan is happy, and that is enough to make him happy too.
Then suddenly he isn’t laughing anymore. Alec looks up from his skillet, where he’s bringing the wine sauce to a boil, to find Logan still as a sculpture. He seems to be completely taken by something he hadn’t spotted until now.
It’s a stack of books on the floor sitting on the right side of the low bed, and also partially hidden by it. The right side is where Alec usually sleeps. No one knows that better than Logan.
Alec bites his lip. He watches Logan slowly wheel himself forward so he can read the titles printed on the stems better. There is a library label on each one of them, some from the Seattle Public library; others from the University library.
‘Pathology and Intervention in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation’, and
‘Rehabilitation of the Spine: A practitioner’s Manual’, and
‘Physical Rehabilitation’, to name a few.
Alec takes a swig of his beer and waits, anxiously waiting to see how Logan will react. Keeps stirring the sauce instead of gawking expectantly at Logan, even though he’d much rather be gauging his lover’s reaction.
It takes a couple minutes before Logan clears his throat. “Are you studying to be… a…?”
“Physiotherapist. Yes. Figured it’ll come in handy.”
Logan is quiet for the longest time.
“All of this… because I said you were irresponsible and unreliable, isn’t it?”
“Well, you also said I was selfish and reckless,” Alec quips softly, winks at Logan to indicate he doesn’t mean it in a resentful way.
Logan swallows hard. “So – the multiple jobs, the firefighting, the cooking, and… now this… just to prove me wrong,” he doesn’t frame it as a question.
“No,” Alec says firmly, and maybe even in a bit of a panicked frenzy. “To prove that I can change, for you, that I can be what you need me to be.”
Logan looks down into his lap, at his dormant legs. For a second, Alec doesn’t think he’d ever look back up again. But then he does, smiling ever so softly, at no one in particular. It’s a smile fraught with insecurity, and Alec doesn’t need genetically enhanced vision to see it doesn’t quite reach Logan’s eyes.
But Alec is okay with that. If the last few months spent discovering and reshaping himself have taught him anything, it’s this – some things must take time.
Logan clears his throat again, to get rid of that choking sensation no doubt. “So, um,” he adjusts his glasses with a trembling hand, “This… smells really good. New recipe?”
Alec longs to walk over to Logan, scoop him out of his wheelchair and just hold him, keep him close.
Instead, he lets the man keep his pride, and schools his so very expressive face into a classic smirk – one that Max loves to hate.
“New life. But with more ‘us’ in it.”
And you’re leading me down
To the place by the sea.
I hear your soft voice calling to me.
Making a date for later by phone
And if you’re alone,
I’ll come home.
*** THE END ***
A/N: Do let me know what you think?