Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Alec & Cindy play a drinking game.
“What was your name?”
“Huh?” Cindy let the small shot of alcohol sit in her mouth and sweetly burn for a few moments before she swallowed it.
“What was it, you know, before?”
The rain thudded heavy and steady on the window that was the living room wall. Laying on her side, one hand up under her head, Cindy traced her finger around the open top of the bottle that sat on the floor between them. The sugary liquor was almost blood red on her fingertip before she licked it off. The gray stormy light competed with the wavering candles she lit so they could actually see each other. Brief bright flashes from the quiet television lit them up every now and then like weak lightening.
The bottle was half way done.
The game was to keep going until the thing was empty. It wasn’t a large bottle but it was enough to hold more than a few secrets. It was after, just a game. It was a game she never minded playing because she didn’t consider herself a girl with a whole lot to hide. The excuse to get pleasantly plastered was good enough most of the time.
“Before what?” She knew exactly what he meant but she didn’t really want to answer it. And if she really had to than she’d make him work for it a little bit.
“Before…” Alec leaned back against the foot of their sofa and looked like he was going to try to be poetic. He gave up. “Before Cindy.”
“Oh.” Cindy answered with a smile and a sigh. “That.”
It amused her that Alec assumed that really wasn’t her name at all. He was right of course, but she never considered him ever thinking about it long enough to even form the question. She ran her tongue over her lips. The stuff they were drinking was made from some strong and pungent fruit she’d never heard of. The peeling golden label was in a language with an alphabet she couldn’t even read. Alec had brought it. He was always picking up things you never found around in regular places. She watched Alec sip back his shot that they were supposed to be doing together. He always waited too long, held it for a while, talked, listened, all of that before he’d put the glass to his lips. She studied the strange long blue bottle.
It was almost like he didn’t know what was weird and what was normal. The guy just found and choose things that appealed to him. Max did it too in her own ways. Paying attention to colorful commercials and buying the box that had the most pictures on it. Things that only kids got fooled by most of the time.
But while Alec's choices were always kind of strange, his personal appearance was always well… as normal as it could get. It was as if Alec had taken some clothing right off a mannequin in a store and assumed it for himself. The way he dressed, the way he spoke, the things he claimed to have interest in were all very carefully average.
Cindy looked at him pretending not to look at the television which was on with the volume turned down much too low for her to hear anything. She bet he could hear it just fine though. Refilling their small glasses, some of it ended up on the floor as her armed swayed a little too far to the left.
“Maybe I should do that—
“No way,” Cindy declared. “Besides, it’s my turn to ask a question.”
“But you didn’t answer mine.” Alec looked at her with genuine indignance.
“That’s because there is no answer.” The shot glass was rotated with her sticky fingertips. “As in, the answer is forget it.”
Alec took his shot too early this time, his chest hitching in a short exhale of annoyance.
“Some game.” He mumbled.
“It’s my turn.” Cindy announced, saving her shot for after having said her question aloud.
She paused with it on the tip of her tongue, something foolish and nonsensical, everyday oddities that might be foreign to Alec just because he hadn’t been out in the world long enough to have done it all yet.
When was the first time you ever drove a car?
Where was the strangest place you’d ever done it outside?
Did your daddy ever hit you?
All these average questions would probably just make him call up that automatic smile. An easy gesture of dismissal to hide that he had no clue what she was talking about. A device he used when he had no idea how to even make up an answer that anyone would believe. She suddenly had an idea of her own. It wasn’t very original, but she felt herself saying it out loud anyway.
“What… what was your name? Before?”
Cindy knew some things about it. She knew about the numbers that marked them on the backs of their necks. She knew Max had been a little kid when she ran away from it all. But Max had had a name. Way before the big bright noise of the world had found her, she had already been Max. Before she emerged out from being tucked within cinder locks walls, she had been given a name by her brothers and sisters. Something others used to talk to you, not to call on you. Something that could be shortened or changed into something else that suited a time or someone else’s place. There was a reason people were given names. It was like your voice or your hands, it was something that was yours and yours alone.
Alec was pouring himself another glass even though they hadn’t moved on in the game yet.
“Before what?” He repeated her own response to the same question.
Without meaning to, her thoughts turned to the cold white walls she’d seen only in her imagination. The rows of delivery rooms and the barcodes that were mechanically mapped out on a strand of DNA that man had hand made himself. Borrowing from species of animals that had they had found superior. Cutting and hacking away what they considered a weakness or flaw. Enhancing what they found useful. The end product were children, parentless even by the women who bore them. Their mothers were pure science. Their fathers were lost in reams of computer print outs that read the code of their biology.
Cindy leaned back a little and watched his face. His easy demeanor had shifted to something stiff, uncomfortable. Surely before Max had come along he had something, some name amongst all the other transgenics that surrounded him. The ones that were just like him, living and breathing and thinking just like a human bein—
She all at once knew without saying that she had wronged him somehow with the question. Alec had turned his attention back on the television but now he was pretending to watch it. His gaze had withdrawn. His hand was slack on the bottle that sat between them on the floor.
Suddenly feeling sick, she put down her glass, the taste of the liquor too sweet and sugary on her tongue. It was cruel of her she realized, to assume he had had one. She might as well have asked him if the men that had imbued him with his life had also given him what every other human being rightfully owned. Cindy wanted to say that everything alive had something else that stood within the flesh and bone. She wanted to say that everything within the plan had to have been started with a small spark of the life that was infinite. Every drawn breath was for a purpose. Everything gone wrong had a meaning. Everlasting and beautiful. Fleeting and terrible. She wanted to assure him that it was all real.
But it wouldn’t come.
“It’s my turn.”
Alec’s voice interrupted her thoughts just as if he somehow knew what she might be about to say. Or at least try to explain. Whatever he thought Cindy was going to come out with, he didn’t want to hear it. Instead he poured them both another drink from the bottle.
“Now…” He began, his expression shifting again to something as real as he got. “When was it exactly that you knew that you liked the ladies?”
Cindy stared at him for a second, the wheels in her head seizing up for a moment with the speed in which she had to shift gears. Alec’s grin morphed into a full blown smile complete with a laugh he tried to keep in but failed.
“Wait, now are you ladies only, like 100%? Because 100% of anything is pretty rare. Not that I’m not 100%.” Alec paused as if he had confused himself but he shook it off. “Well, maybe, but is there ever a XY that slips through the uh, cracks? Because I just wanna know if I ever have a shot here.”
Cindy laughed at the thought of ever being in a bed or otherwise with Alec. As curious as she was about men at times, let alone a transgenic man, she wasn’t that curious.
“No?” Alec turned his face from side to side. “Do anything for ya?”
“Funny you should ask,” She felt her own smile come back. “Because it has a lot to do with just how Cindy came to be known as Original…”
It wasn’t a story she told many people. In fact, she couldn’t count the number of people who knew it on one hand. Cindy tossed back her last shot.
But tonight, she figured maybe Alec could be one of the lucky ones.
Cross posted to jam_pony_fic
Cross posted to darkangelfic
Cross posted to x5_darkangel_x5