Rating: PG - Gen - Alec & Cindy
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Hard to throw a party when only one person shows.
The gathering wasn’t a party so much as it was a preemptive strike.
It was always a more efficient scheme to drink all your own cheap stuff before you hit the clubs. Once you got to the celebrations with a cover charge down by the docks the whole game plan changed. It got real easy to start spending the rent on theme mixed watered down crap complete with orange food dye and black ice cubes. To avoid that unfortunate quandary it was always good policy to get half way to tanked in the convenience of your own home.
Cindy had a holiday appropriate greeting all set and ready to go for when she heard that first impatient bang on the door. Although the loud knock was insistent, she paused at the mirror to admire what meticulous application of color could do to a face.
She'd always had a deep-seated longing to deck herself out like the last suicidal Pharaoh that ever walked the planet. The gray, drizzling landscape of the city didn't offer many opportunities to indulge in that level of ludicrous. Reality didn’t provide many occasions that allowed adults a time to play pretend that wasn’t in the sterile anonymous backdrop of cyberspace. But Cindy was aware there were alternative channels in which she could perform the outrageous out amongst real breathing people.
The steady knocking turned into an incessant pounding.
Cindy gave her coiffure a few more passes with the hair spray.
In a town like this a girl could find a place to show off all 365 days of the year. Every night was an invitation to slide on tinted clear vinyl and cast your body in anyway anyone wanted under the grind of retro house and a sea of stuttering black lights. Tonight there'd be more than a few circuit parties that fostered the bizarre but Cindy was feeling more nostalgic than adventurous. Painting her face under the hot glow of vanity bulbs made her feel like a 12 year old girl again, messing in her mother's makeup case.
This midnight exertion wasn’t to mesmerize or dazzle. This magical date on the calendar was for utter and complete childish distraction.
The fist on the door came again, this time striking hard enough to knock loose the small harvest wreath of synthetic stalks and some fake plastic Indian corn. The use of artificial decorum had never appealed to her but it went so nicely with everything else she’d bought that there was really no helping herself. A large round styrofoam pumpkin sat prominently in the dark corner, the flickering dim light inside giving actual menace to its block eyes and gaping down turned mouth. The stage grade cobwebs looked like the pulled cotton it basically was, stretched dramatically between doorways and lamps with no spiders in sight. All she needed was a black and white slasher flick on the tube and some lightening cracking the sky across the window.
Cindy lightly touched the cold door knob and let the metal twist in her hand.
“What’ll it be?” She whispered but she knew the man outside could hear every word. “Trick or Treat?”
The door knob abruptly stopped turning in her grip.
“Does kicking your door in count as a trick or a treat?” Alec asked. “Because it’s not much of a trick but it sure would be a treat if it landed right on top of you—“
Cindy unlocked the door.
She had been eagerly waiting to do a nice slow reveal for the lucky first person who had the fortune of seeing her in full costumed glory. It figured the first person to show up was Alec and he didn’t even look in her direction as he pushed his way in. Once he’d shouldered her aside, he dropped a sopping wet backpack on the floor and made a beeline straight for the bathroom.
That explained some of the unremitting urgency.
“Sorry!” Alec didn’t shut the door behind him. “I woulda used the hallway like everyone else but then I thought about that old lady that lives next door and she’s a little twitchy on the trigger when it comes to that taser of hers and ever since I got nailed with 50,000 volts for taking her Magic Wok menu I’m not ashamed to admit that she scares the shit out of me—“
“That seat better be down when you get done in there.”
She’d actually made an effort to provide some food even though party planning wasn’t anything she practiced often. A box of bread stix. A dish of that highly questionable canned salsa. A bowl of stale popcorn from a movie she watched the night before. There was some left over cheddar from her failed try at home made Mac-n-cheese. It’d even all been cut into little blocks with toothpicks stuck in them and everything.
Lay that crap out with some jack-o-lantern napkins, toss on a retro death metal CD and you had yourself a good time. Looking at the admittedly lame spread, Cindy thought she’d gone above and beyond what the mooching individuals she’d invited truly deserved. As long as the booze was flowing she’d call this event a finely organized success.
Checking the careful electric blue outline of her eyes, she rearranged the elaborate head piece and matching shimmer liquid gold of a dress. With the resources available she knew she wasn’t quite as authentic as often imagined in her girlish dreams. The get up was more of an all powerful Egyptian queen if she existed circa 1978 and wore metallic copper platform boots. Cindy tilted the mirror so she could watch how the hanging sparkle of the costume jewelry fell down along her jaw and feathered over her collar bone. She turned around when she realized Alec was staring at her from the doorway.
“Well?” She posed with plenty of hip because it made her legs look longer and her waist narrower. “What do ya think?”
Cindy majestically opened her arms and waited for the humbled awe she’d been looking forward to all evening. From the baffled look on the transgenic’s face she already knew the forthcoming reaction was going to be nothing like she'd anticipated during the three hours of makeup application.
“Right, yeah sure? I get it.” Alec nodded slowly in feigned understanding. “It’s really nice. I totally get it.”
Cindy let her arms drop in disgust.
“Cleopatra.” She gestured down the split length of the gown with her oversized disco ball ring with a battery powered mini-strobe. “Supreme ruler of Egypt?”
Alec bewilderment evaporated and his smile was back in full effect.
“Reign marked the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era in the eastern Mediterranean!” Alec pointed at her with triumph. “Bitten by asps. To death!”
“Yeah.” Cindy sighed and rattled some ice into a glass. “That’d be she.”
“I read that her purported legendary beauty is inconsistent with modern day standards of physical aesthetics.” Alec studiously considered the flashy and flesh revealing ensemble. ”But I had no idea that the lady liked to dress up like a deranged prostitute—whoa.“
Cindy experienced a profound satisfaction when the heavy ashtray shattered into pieces on the wall right where Alec’s head had been moments before. She never used the thing for anything but loose change anyway.
“Sugar, you see anything wrong with this picture?”
“Picture?” Alec absently kicked at the shattered remains of ceramic but was quickly distracted when he spotted the attempt at hors d’œuvres.
“This party?” Cindy prompted. “You got the memo?”
The memo had been a badly typed text message sent en masse to Cindy’s entire phone list about four hours ago, but it had made the rounds like any fancy written invite would. In fact, it was probably faster given how half her friends didn’t possess a home address.
“I got it.” Alec patted his jacket pocket that housed his phone. “It said there would be food. Is this all the food?”
Cindy moved towards her favorite chair with a strong rum and coke. She made sure to do it proudly, like a regular queen would with a waiting throne. The throne in question just happened to be comfortable vinyl lawn furniture. Alec tried his best to make room for her sweeping passage but didn’t quite make it. But rather than shredding her finery with a misplaced foot, he staggered back out of the way to the safety of the generically labeled but ample bar.
She looked the transgenic up and down.
All she saw was what she saw everyday. Dirty jeans streaked with bike chain grease, tightly laced muddy boots, and a sopping wet jacket that reeked suspiciously like the Chinatown fish market. Although this time the stench of day old fish was mixed with an extra special something else. Cindy wrinkled her nose and tried not to think of how subtle one thousand nuances of dank dumpster could be.
“You were supposed to bring yer ass dressed.” She continued. “Where’s the costume?”
“Mine’s uh…” Alec glanced doubtfully down the glitter of faux gems Cindy had applied to long plastic ruby toned fingernails. “More understated.”
Cindy pushed out one leg out to display maximum thigh up the slit in the fabric. It draped perfectly to pool around her knee high boots. With a groan, she dropped the pose when she realized the pitiful sum of her one man audience. It wasn’t a spectator she had any interest in charming and her cleavage was losing the fight with the current competition of a bowl of lime nachos. She sat back and took another gulp of the dark sweet rum in her glass. She was pretty sure the former and very last Pharaoh of the mighty fertile crescent probably drank nectar with ambrosia or some other classical lovely bullshit. However, underneath all the glamour Cindy was after all simply another common working girl trying to get an economical buzz in the shortest amount of time possible.
She reconsidered Alec’s understated masterpiece.
“I dunno, honey.” Cindy sipped from her thick glass. “Not a lot of kids running around the streets tonight in their ‘Alec Worked Double Shifts For Three Days Straight & Smells Like Low Tide’ masks.”
“No.” Alec uncapped the whiskey and studied a few glasses until he deemed one clean enough for use. “That disguise would be cheap and obvious.”
Cindy waited expectantly.
Alec held out his arms grandly to mimic her previous grandiose gesture.
“I’m a rogue experimental genetic death machine that is trying to blend into society.” He used one hand to display his jacket, while using the other to showcase his jeans. “My desperate secretive existence forces me to endure the menial tasks and humble plight of the average man. It is in this way, and no other, that I may elude my former masters who wish nothing but my recapture and utilization in their worldwide master plan of certain doom.”
Cindy laboriously crossed her legs. The damn platform boots must have weighed about tens pound each.
“So you just forgot.”
“Yup.” Alec confirmed.
She looked dismally at the clock and wondered if a whole lot of people were late or a whole lot of people weren’t coming.
“But hey! What about this? I could bring my bike and be ‘Bike Guy’—“
“What about ‘Really Drunk Guy With Bike’—“
The small apartment went silent as her only guest tentatively tested the remaining buffet. It was coming close to midnight real fast and all the good parties had already started well on their way without her. Pulling up a flimsy stretch of shiny gold fabric, she let it flutter back down to the floor. Cindy thought about filling her glass back up again and found she didn’t even want to.
Dragging the bejeweled headdress off, she sadly admired the hood ornament she knocked off a Jaguar she saw parked on her way home. It wasn’t exactly like a spread hood of a striking cobra but it still looked pretty fabulous.
She leaned over and dejectedly blew out the candles flickering warmly on the table.
“Okay, screw this.”
Cindy looked up in surprise at the tone in Alec’s voice.
“Get me a skirt.” Alec boldly declared.
“Not one of those little leather snakeskin whatever numbers you wear either, it’s gotta be tastefully pleated or you can forget the whole thing—”
“Hold up.” Cindy swung a hang of weaved braids over a shoulder. “What whole thing?”
“This whole thing.” Alec tossed up his hands in resignation. “All my life all I have ever thought about was how I want to dress up like Mark Antony.”
Cindy raised a disbelieving eyebrow.
“Okay, I haven’t actually ever even thought about impersonating a triumvir of Rome until just now but seeing on how you’re all tricked out and everything and besides, skirt or no, Mark was tragically cool and I can relate to a guy that liked to kick some ass before all that Ten Commandment crap came into the equation—“
“Y-You can wear my Kevlar vest with it!” She wobbled on her substantial heels in her haste to get to her feet. “It’s covered in silver duct tape!”
Cindy lurched for the closet and started tearing through its packed contents. There was for sure a Catholic schoolgirl uniform she’d bought a while back when looking like a slutty underage student was all the rage. She knew it wouldn’t zip all the way up on a person with no waist but she had plenty of shortcuts to solve that little problem. She held the hanger up against his body for a rough approximation of how many safety pins would be required for the operation. Alec swung back the rest of his scotch when the gravity of his commitment sank in.
“I’ll be needing a sword.” He stared down at the attire that ended mid thigh. “A really big hefty sharp huge sword.”
Cindy hurriedly found him her finest, largest and most heavy wooden stirring ladle. With a sigh, Alec started peeling off layers of damp work clothing. He paused when she handed him a stiff coil of golden rope off a festive cognac bag. Alec gave a small nod of begrudging approval when the tassels fit perfectly over each of his ears. She stuck in a few leaves from a dying house plant and it looked practically royal.
Keeping his boots on, Alec stumbled into the navy pleats and mustered what was left of his faltering smile.
“This is gonna get drafty.”
Shoving the stiff carapace of the armor over his head, Cindy really didn’t care what it was. She just wanted to hit the streets and find a cab so she wouldn’t have to walk more than ten more feet in the magnificent but agonizing platform boots. All she wanted was to get out in the moonlight and the teeming laughing crowds before last call.
If she was real lucky, she could ditch the Roman general and hook up with a Joan of Arc.
Cross posted to jam_pony_fic