Sequel to: Heat
Rating: PG - Gen - No Pairings
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their respective creators.
Summary: Sequel to: Heat - With the help of Logan & Max, Alec has escaped Ames White and is back in Seattle trying to pull his life back together. Out of luck and money, he struggles to find his place again in the world he left behind. When an eccentric and wealthy doctor appears out of nowhere it seems like the answer to all his prayers. But her strange demands slowly start to only make things worse...
Thank you tammylee!
Notes on timeline: A few people have asked me just exactly where 'Heat' and the subsequent sequel are supposed to stand within the series. If S2 is projected like I think it may be, the span of time that Alec spends out of Manticore to the finale in Terminal City lasts only under a year. (I don't know if that info is actually listed anywhere but I'm basing my assumption on a pregnant X5 giving birth in the finale. If an X5 takes 9 months like anyone else that would make S2 under a year or so? Very flimsy canon that the DA writers might not have intended, but it's what I used. SO, that would make 'Heat' and the subsequent sequel 'Traces' exist somewhere in a S2 that magically lasted an extra year. XD I would label all this under an AU, but when I think AU, I think of 'Alec in Nazi Germany!' or 'Max is an octopus!' or other stuff like that... So! With that lamely explained... use that info as you will. ♥
The rain had flooded the basement floors of Jam Pony again.
Alec walked down the steps and through the water running like a waterfall down the rusty metal ramp. He paused at the bottom of it, standing aside for the messengers pushing their bikes up to the street. The loud billboard like plasma screen was on high enough to hear the downtown traffic being redirected around a four-car pile over on Aurora. A scheduling warning was blinking on and off as routes were remapped, runs reassigned, and packages pushed up to priority as every precious second of the clock ticked by.
"Hey! Hey, Alec!"
With all the chaos and noise Alec wasn't sure how Normal spotted him but he did. With a sigh, he broke into the stream of human traffic and let it carry him over to the dispatch counter.
"So you're back." Normal said without looking him in the eye. “Sorry to say that I filled your slot weeks ago.”
Alec shifted, his skin prickling when a fight between two riders at the exit turned into a shoving match. Every voice around him was clear and individual, every whisper loud in his ears. Just getting downtown had played havoc with his raw senses but he couldn’t stand one more silent night alone in his apartment.
"Oh," Alec didn't know what else to say. "I was hoping maybe you'd need some part time maybe?"
"Part time?" Normal clicked his tongue.
He’d left Logan’s days ago, unable to watch when the lights had been turned off for him or the sight of carefully cooked dinners he could barely touch. The looks and constant questions weren't made any easier by that doctor that always touched him like he was her own private lab animal. He’d never liked being available for anyone when they needed him. At least, after he realized he had a choice whether he wanted to be or not. One of the gifts of freedom was being able to vanish if you wanted to.
So he did.
“I-I could really use a job.” Alec heard himself say.
Normal’s gaze flickered up at him over his clipboard.
“Where’s your bike?”
Alec felt his grip on the counter tighten and he tried to smile, but it wouldn’t come on command like usual. He hadn’t had any time to get back into any of his games, all of that had spun to a stop or out of his reach without him anyway. He was completely broke and the first thing he noticed was gone, when he started noticing anything at all, was his ride.
“I’ve been- I’ve been away. It was outside my apartment. It got jacked.”
His ride wasn’t all that was missing. His entire apartment had been picked through, the door hanging off its hinges when he walked back through it. His stereo and anything that had resale value was gone. Books. Dishes. Booze. Even that cheap radio in the bathroom.
But most things outside of his own sphere of his life were left just as exactly he saw them last.
Jam Pony sure hadn’t changed much.
Someone bumped into him hard as they hurried by, shoving him into a stack of packages that toppled over onto the dispatch floor. Alec stared down at them, knowing that he should have been able to stop himself from almost being knocked over the counter with them. His heart was beating too hard. He started to get dizzy, his empty stomach churning with the rise and fall of the room's noise. He shouldn’t have come. He was so fucking stupid. He should have waited a few more days, maybe tried to reach out to his contacts he had down dockside. Maybe he could scrape up enough to start bribing a few of the harbor security again for some access to what came in on those cargo carriers over from Japan—
“You okay, Alec?”
Normal was looking at him full on now, the set to his features filled with open and genuine concern. Alec knew he must really look fucked up if Normal was looking at him like that. His smile came as required this time but Alec had no idea what the hell it might have looked like.
“Yeah. I’m fine,” he managed. “Rough few months.”
Normal studied him a moment longer before nodding. "Gimme a few minutes would ya?"
"You-You can wait in my office if you want. There's coffee in there that might still be warm."
Alec felt his smile come a little easier. "Thanks."
Normal had told him to wait around so he did.
Things started to slow down a little bit after the accident down town had been cleared and everyone’s runs had been sorted out. The five o’clock rush came and went and Normal left the desk to one of the riders that looked the least likely to commit suicide if they were left alone for more than ten minutes.
The back office was messy in an organized methodical kind of way.
Alec heard himself explain how he’d been offered a job out in New York but it hadn’t worked out. As soon as it left his mouth he remembered Max had said something about him joining a band. A band? Alec stared hard at the floor and tried to keep going. It was his cousin you see and Alec had owed him a few favors so when he asked, Alec had no choice but to go. He was really sorry he hadn’t given in any kind of warning or notice but Normal knew how crazy these things could be right?
Normal listened to his line of bullshit with more patience and for much longer than Alec expected. When Alec ran out of things to say he played with his hands in the ensuing silence and wondered if he should add a trip to Europe complete with a stolen passport in there too.
His former boss crossed and uncrossed his legs several times before removing his glasses and giving a good rub between the eyes. When he finally spoke, Alec was prepared to be sent out the door. Told to hit the street and never show his face around here again. In a city like this, Alec was a dime a dozen. Less even. There was an army of kids out there willing to work longer and harder than he had ever done for this place.
“There’s a bike out back," Normal said. "It’s in the alley chained up.”
Alec realized he had been holding his breath.
“At least it was the last time I was back there,” Normal shrugged with a tired roll of his eyes. “It needs a new chain and the brakes are shot.”
Alec shifted in his seat, suddenly swallowing back whatever it was that he had left to say. He could find a new chain no problem and the brakes he could fix.
Slipping a hand out from his back pocket, Normal slid a wad of cash over on the desk and nodded down at it.
Alec stared at the money. It wasn’t a lot but it was enough to maybe put a few things in that small empty fridge in his apartment. Maybe even buy a new chain instead of lifting one like he had already planned. He couldn’t find it in him to go out at night to fence and steal. Cajole or distract. Conjure and lie. He was just so tired.
“You’ll pay me back, all of it, right out of your check.”
Alec watched himself take it with a numb hand. He wondered what Normal thought he’d actually done. Gotten messed up with drugs. Blanked out for a month until he got homeless and then remembered his old job. Dragged his self back on the outside chance that his boss would give him a break.
“Try to get a few nights of sleep would ya?” Normal said softly. “You look—you look like you could use a few nights sleep.”
Alec looked back up and tried as hard as he could not to start babbling some incoherent stream of thanks. He was so grateful his eyes burned. He didn’t trust himself to speak without his voice breaking into pieces. Normal didn’t have to do this. Didn’t have to make this easy or nice in any way.
“Come in on Monday,” Normal pulled back on his glasses. “Early.”
“S-Sure thing boss.”
When Alec heard the door close behind him he thought maybe now that the hardest part was over. He couldn’t even meet the eyes of anyone that brushed by him. Maybe after some time he could lift his chin a little higher, maybe even reply to the tentative greetings and the distant sounds of questions that he knew were being addressed to him. The money burned in his hand, down in his pocket, hidden from sight.
He just wanted to get out of there, take the long walk back to his apartment and just sit in some silence for a while. It was only Friday but he’d come back tomorrow and take a look at that bike Normal said was rotting out back. It would be good to just work his days away until he was so tired he could barely pedal back up that ramp one more time. It used to take a lot to tire a guy like him out but maybe not so much these days.
Alec worked his shoulder over on his sore side, the side where he had been shot twice. His flesh had all healed but his muscles still didn’t feel like they were all entirely his yet. His entire body seemed like it belonged to someone else.
The cold rain that splattered down onto his face caused him to look up around at the world again. The gray sky was low with saturated clouds. It hadn’t stopped raining for days. Alec kind of hoped it wouldn’t stop anytime soon. It made it easier to hide himself away. It made easing into sleep at any hour of the day more simple and excusable—
Alec walked smack right into someone.
“I’m-I’m sorry.” He automatically said, bending down to pick up the things that had been dropped down onto the wet pavement.
When he stood up with the wet leather handbag, he met the woman he’d nearly knocked over right in the eyes. At first he thought she was angry, the typical but half-hearted fury of the average pedestrian being interrupted by anything and anyone. But she wasn’t angry; she was staring at him with one of those looks. It was as if she was trying to remember his name or his face from somewhere else.
Alec blinked at her.
He knew for a fact that he’d never seen her before in his lifetime. She was older, with carefully wound hair dyed into whatever shade of blond was popular at the moment. She was tall too, almost looking him in the eyes. She was dressed nicely. Too nice for this part of town and much too nice for the sector. Looking up briefly at her expensive umbrella with a glossy wooden handle and down at her knee-high suede boots, Alec wondered if maybe she’d gotten herself lost.
He had forgotten he was still holding her bag.
“Thank you.” She murmured, taking it quickly from his hands. “Do-Do you work here?”
Alec blinked again, looking up at the dripping metal sign above them that had seen better days.
“Uh, yeah?” He supposed he did.
“Does it run everyday?”
“Yeah. Best service in town.” Alec added with a small forced grin. "Probably."
The woman gave him a hesitant smile back and looked uncertainly down the crowded ramp down into the cellar’s depths.
“Most people just call their stuff in,” Alec heard himself explaining as he looked back down into the dismal appearance of what was Jam Pony. “They don’t usually come all the way down—"
The woman had gone.
Alec watched her as she merged and disappeared into the mass of people that moved away across the street as the light changed. He let people bump and push against him as he stood still amidst the bustling flow. He was still watching when the light switched from green to red. He couldn’t spot her black umbrella out of the hundreds that were moving back and forth under the masses of people who carried them. Alec thought he might have been wrong.
He may have never met her but she did look a little familiar.
Along with Jam Pony and his moldy apartment furniture, Crash also appeared to have not changed at all during his absence.
It felt a little wrong to put some of Normal’s money down for a stiff drink but Normal wanted him to get himself together didn’t he? Alcohol would do more towards that than anything else Alec could come up with at the moment. He was glad the bartender was new and didn’t know his face. He had almost not made it through the front door because of the thought of the people who would ask him where he’d gone. Max had told him what she had spread around; the gig out east, new job, some girl and all that shit.
A few faces appeared at his side before he’d even finished his first drink. Slightly out of concern and greeting, but mostly to see if he was dealing the drugs they usually came to him for before he made his vanishing act all those weeks ago. He assured him he’d be up and running again soon. He wasn’t sure if he meant it. It seemed to take all his energy just to sit there and lift the glass to his lips.
Alec hadn’t had a drink in a long time. He hadn’t really wanted one. His mind had been so clouded with drugs for so long and so hard that it was a fresh new confusion just to be clear of them for the first time.
It was also a little bit too much.
“Back out in the world of the living?”
Max slid onto the stool next to him.
Alec took another burning sip. “Just celebrating, that’s all.”
Alec held his glass up to her.
“Got my job back.”
Max held up her much more substantial beer.
“Don’t know why yer celebrating, but sure.”
Alec wanted to smile at her joke but he couldn’t. He could see her eyeing his drink. He could see her holding back what she would eventually end up just saying anyway.
He cut her off at the pass by speaking first.
“Tell Logan again, tell ‘em I said thanks.”
It was lame and he knew it, but he couldn’t imagine himself seeing Logan again any time soon. Not for a real long time. It was tough enough trying to have something to say to Max. Even after everything they’d done for him, he couldn’t bear to think of everything he’d done to them. Everything they’d seen him do. Everything he’d turned into.
Alec cleared his throat.
“When I get some money saved up, tell him I’ll send something his way, you know, for everything—“
“You know you don’t have to do that Alec.” Max said, pulling a rogue strand of hair behind her ear.
“That doctor alone…” Alec felt his grip on his glass grow too hard, his knuckles turning white as he fought to make himself relax. The pretty Indian woman that checked in on him everyday wasn’t from some street clinic. She was the real deal and the real deal got paid for their troubles no matter how exotic the specimen happened to be. “That doctor alone Max, it must have cost him—“
“Alec.” Her hand lay firm on his arm. “It’s not like that.”
She’d lowered her voice and looked at him with that… look. Just like everyone who had dared make eye contact him down at Jam Pony had done. Just like Normal had done, and Normal didn’t even know a damn thing that had happened. Alec figured he must just look like something that just dragged itself bleeding through the back door. He gritted his teeth and gulped down what was left in his glass.
Maybe it was why that woman on the street had looked at him like she had. Surprise mixed with worry. Maybe even startled. Alec shook his head, unsure of why that lady had popped back into his thoughts in the first place.
Her dark eyes held back all the questions she really wanted to drown him in. Was he keeping it together? Was he better off the drugs than on them? Should she let him roam these city streets alone? Was Alec sane?
“What could be wrong?” Alec stood and tossed a few more bills on the bar. “I got a job, I got a roof over my head, hell, by Monday I’ll even have some wheels.“
“Just try to stop by Logan’s when you can.”
Alec stopped, swallowing back the lump of sickening dread sitting in his throat. But he managed to shrug.
“If I get the chance, I’m goin’ to be pretty busy for while--”
“Do it soon Alec,” Max urged him. “He might have some info for you that you might be needing now. Now that yer out and about.”
Alec pulled on his jacket, the booze singing nicely through his blood now, faster than it usually ever had.
“Unless it’s about old Ames, I think I know enough to last me a while Max.” He told her.
“Just promise me you will.”
Alec left her promise hanging there unanswered as he shouldered aside some drunks lingering by the stairs. He wasn’t in any position to promise anyone anything. In fact the only thing he knew for certain was just exactly where he’d be first thing on Monday morning. And that was in the back of Jam Pony’s alley fixing up some wreck so he could get started back into his life again.
Other than that, Alec couldn’t honestly tell a soul otherwise.
The first week of work hit him harder than he thought it would.
It showed in his run times, his lag during the first day causing a schedule bump for two other riders to pick up his slack for the day. The physical exercise that had been near effortless to him before was now a struggle. Each steep road and steady rising grade making his lungs burn and his skin break out into a cold sweat. The bike he’d salvaged didn’t help matters much. Despite Normal’s charity, the thing was old, and even with a new chain it took about twice as much man power to get the thing going than his old ride had.
But he didn’t complain. He apologized when by the third day he still couldn’t finish his allotted drop offs, but by the fourth day Normal made a few changes. He eased off on Alec’s routes and gave him something close to what the average courier was expected to accomplish in one day instead of two. The first day Alec finally got the last signature for his very last assignment felt better than anything had in a long time. The cheap security system he spotted alongside the four-car garage did a little something to brighten his mood too.
The man signing for his package mistook his attention to his car collection as actual interest.
“Restored them all myself!” The poor guy provided proudly. “You have no idea what it cost to get all the original parts together.”
Alec was pretty sure he could get a pretty good idea by at least the end of next week.
When he got home that night he felt, for the first time in a long time, different. He wasn’t looking over his shoulder everywhere he walked. He wasn’t obsessively checking his new cell phone for strange numbers. His door had long been fixed, but he now always locked it after he entered, sliding in a new chain that hadn’t been there before. Although, what he thought it was keeping out he wasn’t quite sure. None of it made much sense considering how they had gotten to him the last time.
Alec slumped down onto his sofa with a sigh.
Logan had told him the same thing every day he spent laid up in his bed.
There’s no sign of them Alec. I think we got away with it. I think we really walked right in and out of there and we got away with it.
Seattle was a crowded city. Alec watched it glitter from the window where his television used to be. The town fed and housed millions of people. But it didn’t mean Ames wouldn’t try his hand again. Alec couldn’t say a ton of positive things about the guy but he could admit that he was nothing if not persistent.
But what if when he tried there was nothing left here in Seattle to find?
Alec could live out the story Max had configured and take off any night he wanted. He had enough paperwork to get him over to the east coast. And from there he had enough smarts of how to get anything else he needed to get right up to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean if that’s where he wanted to be. But Alec knew it didn’t matter where he went.
It was as safe here long among the crowds than it would anywhere else. He just had to settle back down into what his life was before any of this had ever happened.
He just had to get everything back to normal.
“You still here?”
Alec smiled at Cindy.
She was soaking wet with the rain, mud splattered up her sides and had about as many tips as there were smiles on their customers faces that day. But she still had hers, bright and easy, wide and welcoming.
“People are gonna start thinkin’ ya live here.”
“It’d be a step up.” Alec assured her.
It was going on almost a quarter hour past official stop shop time but Normal sometimes stretched the rules for customers willing to pay for it. And consequentially the ones willing to pay for extra service usually tipped better than any rider ever deserved considering the treatment their package got.
“Clean yourself up a little bit,” Normal muttered at his paperwork as he scribbled. “This is for Sector 12.
“Gotta hot run.” Alec informed Cindy, using the right air of the mysterious when he pointed at the ordinary wrapped box that Normal was busy filling out the last of the billing slip.
“Lucky you,” Cindy yawned. “Don’t sprain anything important on yer way out there.”
Alec watched her leave and sighed at the empty room.
“Remember to smile,” Normal told him. “And for god’s sake don’t spit anywhere, these people always have cameras all over the place."
“Gotcha.” Alec slipped the box into his waterproof backpack. “Smile. No Spitting.”
As he pedaled out into the cold he wondered just exactly when he’d finally manage to get back to his own sector. There were some phone calls he wanted to make that he hadn’t bothered with in a long time. A few people that he thought might still owe him some cash and he might settle for a trade in services rendered. What he needed was someone who could strip four vintage cars and sell them out of state.
The thought cheered him up as his tired legs started to burn again with the strain. It took him almost a half an hour to get there but when he finally reached the checkpoint there wasn’t much of a line. The sector check cop reluctantly waved him along into one of the richest sectors of the city without so much of a second glance.
Sailing through the first bank of red lights on the far less cluttered streets, he checked the address one more time before turning onto the steepest hill he’d encountered all day. Standing up on the pedals and forcing his body to work, he started thinking harder about that cheap security system on that fancy garage. It made him a little sad to think of that happy guy’s face when he opened up that showroom of his and found nothing but old oil stains on his white cement floors.
But not that sad.
The house, like many of it peers in this sector of the city, had its own well-lit road.
He was stopped at a guarded gate that he figured would be the end of his journey, but the guard wouldn’t sign for it.
“Go on up to the house.” The uniformed man told him before sitting back in front of his small satellite television.
Alec took his time, the solider inside him noting the poorly hidden surveillance cameras that lined the route. The owner of this house didn’t want to keep it any secret that the place was defended like a small fortress. He hit two more manned gates before he even saw the house itself. Waiting with weary curiosity at the back door, a uniformed woman eventually opened it. She didn’t invite him in. He was exhausted, he just wanted her pen on his clipboard, the tip and then just get the hell out of here.
“You’re supposed to open the box here.” She informed him in clipped English. "Right now."
“Excuse me?” Alec asked.
“The box,” The woman gestured to the one he was holding in his gloved hand. “Open it.”
The three cameras that were mounted around the back door all buzzed to life and turned in their direction. Alec looked up into them imagining whomever it was that sat on the other end of the close circuit monitors, watching and waiting for him to do as he was instructed. The idea that anyone may be enjoying his unease made him suddenly angry. Flashes of other cameras in other places blinked through his head. Being watched. Monitored. Studied. He looked down in frustration at the box he had come all this way to hand over.
Alec shrugged and roughly ripped the cord that sealed the package closed. The box seemed empty until he slid it to its side and a small weight clanked noisily out and landed in the palm of his hand.
It was a ring of keys.
“Wh-what’s this?” Alec glanced back at the camera. When no answer seemed to be forthcoming, he shoved the keys back into the box. “Look, I’ll just need a signature ma’am, and then I’ll be–“
The woman hastily signed his clipboard and then gestured behind him to the darkened roundabout driveway he had passed.
“It’s over there,” she said curtly. “Just take it and leave.”
Alec stepped back with his bike as the door slammed closed, the small dim lamp overhead going out as he heard all dozen locks cycle closed. Confounded as to what had just happened, he turned his attention on the finely raked gravel driveway the woman had pointed at. There was something there, parked in the darkness. As he got closer he realized what it was and stopped.
It was a motorcycle.
Not just any motorcycle; a brand new import. One of the newest Japanese hybrids that the bored rich kids raced for kicks down by the water. This thing looked like it had more horsepower than any city street knew what to do with. Dual exhausts jutted out like weapons, its chrome body sleek and stylized to look as powerful as it actually was. It sat solid and impressive, sparkling with beads of rain.
Alec blinked back down at the keys that rattled alone in the large box.
This was for him?
It had to be some kind of crazy mistake. Alec had never been given a thing in his life. Whoever sent this package had obviously gotten themselves all sorts of mixed up. Alec laid the box up against the pricey motorcycle and backed away to his own ratty bike. Checking the signature one more time, he flipped it closed and shoved the clipboard into his backpack. So much for coming all this way for some glorious tip. He looked back at the motorcycle over his shoulder. For more than a few moments he considered just taking the thing. Slipping in those keys and taking that small fortune on wheels straight down to a chop shop so he could pay his rent that was overdue by several months. Use the proceeds to score another bike that didn’t make his shoulders ache from being the completely wrong-shaped frame.
Alec started pedaling.
The last thing he needed was to take another few bullets at the sector check trying to take stolen property across the border. The road wasn’t lit when he rode down it a second time. The small red lights on the cameras were the only indication there was anyone watching his departure. By the time he finally reached the sector point, his dull annoyance was full-fledged anger. If it wasn’t a mistake than who the hell would go ahead and waste his time like that? Was it supposed to be some kind of fucking joke? It wasn’t until he’d made it two sectors over and had his dimly lit building in sight that he remembered the maid had given him a name.
While he waited for the elevator, he flipped through his receipts until he found his last run’s information. The addressee had been what those types of places usually had, some household employee who was required to sign for anything for the actual house owners. Sometimes the real person under all the paperwork was never even mentioned; but not this time. It was there in the fine print under the insurance clause.
Alec made a face.
The name didn’t mean anything to him but that didn’t mean a whole lot in a world where you could change a name as easily as a phone number. Snapping the folder closed, he decided that he would do good on Max’s promise after all. He’d stop by Logan’s place between runs tomorrow. Maybe he’d find out if Logan had heard anything on any of the high-speed cable grapevines.
Slamming the elevator’s gate closed, he sighed. If Alec was lucky, Logan wouldn’t ask him anything but how the weather had been.
He wasn’t up for much more than that.
“Gaboriault?” Logan asked with an eyebrow raised. “As in the Fairfield, Gaboriaults?”
He watched Alec shrug.
That was a gesture Logan knew well enough. Max did it all the time. She would appear with small snatches of information. Assumptions. A hunch. It always embarrassed her a little bit whenever he asked her beyond the small detail that had been provided. As if what she asked for may be ridiculous or a waste of time.
It seemed like Alec had a similar reaction to his gut instincts.
As usual, Logan hadn’t been expecting him to drop on by. Transgenics didn’t often announce themselves very well. They demanded time and attention with childlike expectation. They waited and listened carefully for your response in much the same way. There was something about it, in all the transgenics he had met, whether he had liked them or not, that caused him to treat them delicately.
“My family,” Logan began,”… they used to mix with another particularly well off clan called the Gaboriaults. Third generation Americans I think. Originally from right outside of Toulouse.”
He knew all that without even looking once at his computer. Logan sighed and wondered what other almost meaningless information his brain contained from his years when all that kind of thing was the only thing that mattered. Social politics. Family surnames and addresses in the right parts of town.
“Anyway,” Logan shrugged it all off. “Why do you ask?”
It was good to see Alec but he didn’t say so. There was something in the way Alec had appeared, nervous and edgy, that made it clear that the visit wasn’t intended for anything but information gathering. It was no time for catching up on old times. Or asking how the reconstruction of Logan’s bathroom was coming along, or well, anything at all that might even indicate what had occurred within the last few months.
The transgenic composed himself together long enough to speak.
"Max said, she said you had some info for me, about,” Alec looked around for the hundredth time, not sure if he should sit or continue standing. “… about me getting out I guess.”
Logan wheeled himself closer to the living room where the X5 was pacing.
“I hope it didn’t alarm you,” He said. “It’s nothing real solid just some well, I hope you’ll think it’s some good advice.”
“Well, before White found you again you were MIA. X5-494 was considered as good as gone in most of their active work files. Your status was deemed ‘unrecoverable’.”
Alec sat down carefully on the leather couch and looked out at the cityscape.
“White put you back into their active files. They know you’re out there so to speak. You are officially back on their map. But they just don’t know where or when or how…”
“White,” Alec stared hard out the window. “Any word on whether he’s still alive?”
“I don’t know.” Logan shook his head. “Nothing’s come my way to suggest either possibility.”
It was quiet for a moment, nothing but the sound of the rain drumming against Logan’s windows. In a way, looking at Alec now, Logan found he had missed his presence when he had stayed for his slow recovery in this house. The subdued quiet person that slept for hours in his room and sat for even longer out here with the books without ever reading any had been a strange kind of company. Logan hadn’t realized how quickly he’d become accustomed to it.
It was only when Logan had started to ask him questions did his stay suddenly and abruptly end. He realized now what this visit was costing the transgenic. The presence of his anxiety and shame were almost as profound as his engineered scent had once been.
He found himself at a loss, just as he was most of the time with Max. Wanting so badly to say anything at all and knowing that anything at all would be exactly what they didn’t want to hear.
“This family, the Gaboriaults?” Alec asked in a strange voice. “Do you know if they have connections with any government? With Manticore maybe?”
“As far as I know the majority of them are living off hedge funds and spend most of their time going in and out of rehabs.”
Alec stopped pretending to admire the skyline. Some kind of tension he was holding onto was gone. Logan recognized it as being some kind of hesitant relief.
Logan tilted his head. “Why are you asking about the Gaboriaults?”
Alec stood up and zipped up the front of his jacket.
“So what’s your advice?”
“My advice is to just be careful. More than careful, just--just watch yourself?”
“Sure.” Alec nodded curtly. “See ya Logan.”
Alec paused on his way towards the door, his face pained with the anticipation of any question Logan may have regarding him about anything at all.
“I heard about your job,” Logan gave him a small smile. “That’s great.”
“Yeah,” Alec returned a weaker version of the same. “Thanks.”
And just like he came, he was gone again.
Logan stared at the spot on the sofa where Alec had been sitting for a few moments before he turned to his terminal. Keying the various passwords that would get him on the nationwide phone grid, he sat back and waited for the window to fill with the coded national database of everyone in country that owned a telephone.
Gaboriault wasn’t that common of a name in the United States. Therefore it was no surprise when he quickly got back only a few returns listed all under private and locked numbers. As he suspected, they were all mostly all confined to the Atlantic northeast. But one listed number did surprise him. It was the very last one.
It was right here in Seattle.
“Elaine?” He murmured to himself.
Logan knew of three generations of the Gaboriault family. He knew married cousin surnames and even the names of their grandchildren’s boats. But he had never heard of any Elaine Gaboriault. Maybe she wasn’t a member of the family at all? With a small frown, he keyed in the address and what little else the database contained. Logan whistled. With an address like that in that sector alone, this woman had to have some kind of money. And she’d use plenty of it to protect what she had. With a sinking feeling Logan considered just exactly why Alec had been so interested in this name. Maybe he was trying to make some extra income the old fashioned way.
But why had he asked about any connection with Manticore?
Logan slipped on his headset and autodialed a number, activating his webcam at the same time. A familiar face popped up in the field.
“Hey Sebastian, you busy?”
Nope. Just playing Tetris.
Logan gave a tired smile at the man on his screen.
“I need to know a few things about someone.”
You’ll have to be a little bit more specific.
Logan smiled again.
“I need to know how a certain Seattle resident came across her good fortune.”
Let me guess? You don’t think it was the lottery?
“Something like that…”
While Logan waited, he picked up his cell phone and dialed Max’s pager. The only other person he knew that knew anything at all about Alec’s life was her. If Alec was about to try to rob some heiress with about as much fence as any national mint she might be in the know.
And if Max wasn’t, she certainly should be.
Cross posted to jam_pony_fic
Cross posted to darkangelfic
Cross posted to x5_darkangel_x5