Author: Rana Eros
Rating: Kissage, swearing.
Summary: All is not fair, but they're used to beating the odds.
Author's Notes: For musesfool, because. Subtitles from various songs. Betaed by Eliza.
You're A War I Don't Want To Lose
take a ride with me
The first time, it's an old-fashioned job. They're not saving anybody, they're not tangling with White, they're just liberating a few cases of hard liquor from a shipment destined for the black market anyway. There's a little excitement down at the docks with some armed guards and their dogs, and a little more with a washed-out bridge on their getaway route. Normals would have been caught, but she and Alec just run and fight and jump, growl the dogs down. She sees Alec blow the guards kisses before they gun their bikes and take the gap of the non-bridge in a wide, beautiful arc.
They pause on the other side to make sure the alcohol survived intact, trading hard grins. Alec's teeth are incandescent in the night, and Max has never denied that he's pretty. She might be the one to lean in first, raise her chin to meet him as he bends, slide her tongue over his lips and in. It's quick but deep, his mouth hot, soft, wet. He tastes like something metallic, something spicy; potentially explosive.
They can't stay here. She pulls away and he straightens, eyes on the road ahead. They ride into the dazzling night.
get a drink in this place
Perhaps as punishment to them both, she makes the second time about Logan.
They've set up a bar in Terminal City, someplace all the transgenics can go to unwind. Logan comes when he can, passes on intel like they don't have specialists for the job, like none of the X-5s or X-6s slip out to wander the streets, fishing for information. He maintains the fiction of a business relationship, or maybe she does, as though he needs an excuse to see her.
Then he shows up with no news and no gloves, says, "You know, Max, if I'm just a habit--"
"Yeah," she says, because suddenly she's done. Done with his push-me-pull-you routine, done with his jealousy and veiled accusations. Maybe done with her own uncertainty, the way she always tenses around him now, nothing even to do with the virus. "Yeah, okay."
She's not above making sure it hurts, though, so she catches Alec on his way to refill his beer, kisses him where Logan can see. He jerks away, but the damage is done. Logan slams out of the door as fast as his cybersuit will let him.
Alec stares at her for a minute, then takes the back way.
you can't go now
The third time, she lets Alec trap her in an alley and push her against the wall. She knows what's coming, raises her chin like the first time to take it, the angry, swift pressure of his mouth on hers. She digs her fingernails into her palms so she won't grab at him when he pulls away.
He kisses her exactly as long as she kissed him in the bar, barely a touch and then he's gone, out of easy reach. She waits for him to say something, but the only sound is their heavy, quick breathing. Her heart feels like it's trying to beat its way out of her chest and all he does is look at her with no expression.
Feeling ready to hit something, she lifts her hand, wipes the back of it across her lips. "Now we're even."
She doesn't expect him to laugh, low and bitter. "You would think that, Maxie."
"What's that supposed to mean?" She takes a step toward him, but he raises his hands as though to ward her off, backs away toward the mouth of the alley.
"Leave it, Max. Leave me alone."
He knows she's no good at following orders.
cannot quit me so quickly
The fourth time, Alec's in the bar when she brings Original Cindy in, teaching Joshua pool. He looks away when they enter, mouth twisting. Max tries to ignore him, guiding Original Cindy to the table farthest from where he's playing, but she can't help tracking him.
Her girl lets her get away with it for one bottle, then sighs loudly. "Go patch things with your boy, boo."
Max, who always objects to that title for Logan, who tries to take responsibility for every transgenic but Alec, stands and stalks to the pool table.
"Hi, little fella."
"Hey, Joshua. Mind if I borrow your tutor?"
"I--" Alec starts, but Joshua pushes him toward her.
"Go talk. I'll practice."
Max doesn't want to talk. She gets Alec outside and pulls him down. He lets her for one beat, two, and he still tastes so good, dangerous. He pulls away.
"I told you--"
"How much did you mean it?"
"How much do you mean this?"
She's in his space, but she pushes closer, feels his heat. "All the way."
That inscrutable look again, then he blows out a breath, finally puts his hands on her hips, big and warm. "Okay," he says. "Okay."
if you're going my way
They're rescuing people the fifth time, making a mess of White's new lair. They're both bruised and Alec's bleeding from a shallow cut across his chest, but they've got seven transgenics in tow, all alive and apparently healthy. Alec leads the group toward the van where Mole and Gem are waiting. Max brings up the rear and makes sure nobody's coming after them, occupied by the fires she and Alec set.
Alec's sliding the van door shut when she reaches it, Mole on guard with an M-16 and Gem in the driver's seat.
"Gonna be a crowded ride back to TC," Mole says, and Max grins at him.
"Good thing we came on bikes, then."
"Yeah, rub it in," but Mole sounds as amused as he ever does, and Alec's laughing.
"Come on, Maxie," he says, stepping away from the van. "Let's play escort."
She waits until they're a few feet from where the bikes are stashed before asking, "That your best pick-up line?"
"Depends. Is it working?" And yeah, god yeah, fuck White. Fuck Manticore for everything but this, the adrenaline flowing and her green-eyed boy smiling at her like the most beautiful dare in the world.
She takes it.