Rating: PG - Gen - Alec & Cindy
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: She wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to work, but there had to be some way to bludgeon a serial rapist to death with nothing but a half empty bottle of hair conditioner and a sea sponge.
It didn’t seem possible to fall asleep while showering but there was first time for everything.
When her back hit cold wet tile, Cindy groggily snapped back to attention. She groaned and raised both hands to search through the steam for the nozzle. If precision was carefully applied, the there was an exact spot in which the water would magically settle on a perfect median of boiling alive and glacier run off. She cautiously twisted the twitchy tap before another fit of coughing sent white lights exploding behind her eyelids. The third day of a full blown strain of influenza had sunk her so far below functional that she’d been forced to call in one the precious sick days she had been hoarding all year for a trip out of town. It wasn’t as if there was any cash that could take her anywhere further than the curry house down the street, but it never hurt to maintain a good fantasy life.
A sudden unexpected noise startled her from out of her daze.
The unannounced presence of another person in the room caused the faucet to screech in her hand as it accidentally slipped wide open. It was the loud jarring smack of the toilet lid being dropped down onto the seat that made her brace herself back up in the corner. She wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to work, but there had to be some way to bludgeon a serial rapist to death with nothing but a half empty bottle of hair conditioner and a sea sponge.
A familiar voice followed after a moment of stunned breathless silence.
In a panic, Cindy automatically whipped the shower curtain to her naked chest. Unfortunately, the filmy clear plastic did a better job of concealing her nudity when not plastered against her body. Heart pounding, she gasped as the interrupted temperature adjustment shifted from unpleasantly lukewarm to painfully frigid. She promptly slapped the valve off, her body shaking with adrenaline and shivering with fever.
“It smells weird in here,” Alec observed, “Like combustible girly umbrella drinks.”
The aromatic cloud of Vicks vapor rub combined with the reek of various non-traditional medicinal oils was fairly potent. Cindy could even detect its stench through blocked sinuses and all her other chemically numbed senses. The questionable Chinese herbalist that had sold the stuff had insisted that the Piña Colada scented kind was all he had left in stock. Instead of a cure for nausea, she had discovered its sickening tang mixed with therapeutic menthol managed to make the situation worse. Dragging the curtain back on its noisy metal rings, Cindy’s blurry gaze found Alec seated comfortably on the bathroom sink with his boots resting on the closed toilet.
“Gimme that towel.”
Alec looked around until he realized he was sitting on the object in question. He slid off the counter and tossed it into her waiting hands. With or without the flimsy shelter of the curtain, she knew that his eyes wouldn’t lock onto her state of undress like a stupefied adolescent. To her mild surprise, he even lowered his eyes in an entirely ineffectual but honest form of respect. Long since Cindy had provided zero response to any hopeful attempts at physical attention, he’d defaulted the subject of her gender like it was a part of her name. She found the nonexistence of judgment as refreshing as it was baffling.
Folding the warm terrycloth over her chest, she drew the curtain the rest of the way back and grimly stepped onto the freezing tiles.
Alec watched her wind another towel over her hair with a detached curiosity.
The X5 concept of modesty was a learned and careful behavior that they implemented as well as any of the others in the repertoire. All sorts of mammalian appearances and function never seemed like a source for any embarrassment for the transgenics. Max’s own dismissal of humility usually put Cindy at ease with any of her own. The children of Manticore weren’t raised to view their bodies as private and sacred temples and the concept of being equipment that needed maintenance like any other machine wasn’t a simple lesson to unlearn. However, it was possible. Max shaved her legs just about everyday and Cindy knew the chore was performed only because the X5 thought it felt good. Occasionally skipping the use of a robe around her roommate had become second nature, but she’d never contemplated attempting that brazenness around anyone else.
The issue didn’t come up very often considering she only technically resided with one other person.
“You ever listenin’?” Cindy rasped through a sore throat.
Alec had found the curling iron that was kept in a constant state of readiness by the mousse, hair sprays and styling gel. Unsure of what the heated handheld clamp might be for, he carefully put it aside and made some effort to address her aggravation. Finally noticing that her annoyance was just a few shades from true anger, his distracted expression immediately shifted to a wholehearted seriousness that suggested that his only function was to receive and appreciate sound.
“I am.” He assured her.
“How ‘bout when a mouth moves and words come out?”
Alec nodded along sincerely.
“And what did this girl in particular ask you to always and at all times to do?”
“Knock!” Alec smiled and pointed at her triumphantly. “You told me I should always knock!”
Cindy pushed past him into the even colder air of the apartment.
“I did knock.” He offered in his defense. “Well, I would have but I heard the water running and you’d never hear me knocking all the way back here and I didn’t want to sit out there all night because no offense but that hallway smells like ass.”
There was no argument to be had there. Someone new and elderly on the floor liked to keep something rancid simmering on a boil on their stove all day long. It had added nicely to the curative ambiance of overpowering camphor and cherry flavored eucalyptol.
“You weren’t at work today.” Alec said.
The fog cleared in Cindy’s head long enough to remember she’d left her flannel pajamas on the radiator to bake under the living room window. They’d be sizzling by now.
Alec studied her in confusion until he realized she was ready to shed her towel. He reluctantly turned towards the wall and fidgeted with the backpack that was still hanging on his shoulder. The soft fabric of her night shirt was roasting hot. The kiss of it as it slithered down over fever sensitive skin was as sweet anything she could have hoped. Pulling on some oversized purple wool socks there was the bothersome realization that Alec had never been party to the extremely comfy but exclusively private ensemble.
Her hands smoothed down the soft pink front of the night gown, the rolling kittens and cloud-anchored rainbows faded from one thousand washings and as many wears.
“Why didn’t you come to work?” Alec asked from his exile in the corner. “You always come on Mondays. Never seen you miss a Monday since I started at the Pony myself! Never actually seen you arrive on time but—“
Cindy sneezed and noisily blew her nose in a tissue. Alec took that as his cue that he was allowed to turn back around.
“Are you sick?”
She ignored him in favor of her most favorite fleece blanket that was lying on the sofa.
“I mean, I know you’re sick.” Alec hastily amended. “Any guy can see that, I just mean does that mean you’re really sick? Like, maybe out of work again tomorrow kinda sick? Because if you’re gonna be that sick you really ought to let a co-worker such as myself know because I got handed a few of your runs and I had no idea you got all that sweet access into that shiny new business district down in Sector 22—“
“I don’t see any chicken soup.”
“I don’t see any flowers.”
“It’s the middle of January—“
“I don’t see a pile of movies starring my girl, Pam Grier.”
“Who’s Pam Gr—“
“If you aren’t here for healin’?” Cindy told him as sternly as she could while covered in baby cats. “Then sugar, you best not be here at all.”
She pointed suggestively towards the front door.
Cindy didn’t know what was in Sector 22 that he so urgently required in the next 24 hours and she really didn’t care. It was obviously something she could give him if another sick day was in the plan and whatever it was, he could have it. She wasn’t going to be dragging her sorry ass anywhere near Jam Pony for at least another two days. Two full days without pay.
She sighed with the weight of that reality.
“Take my runs.” Cindy mumbled miserably into the blanket. “But I better be seein’ a cut of the tips.”
Alec’s happiness at the promise of her continued absence was palpable. Catching the look on her face, he quickly cleared his throat and assumed a more sympathetic air.
“A-And of course I brought you something.” He said uncertainly. “I uh, I just didn’t give it to you yet.”
Cindy looked at his hesitant grin and the mud splattered backpack with equal doubt.
She wondered if she should drop off to sleep in the toasty pile on the sofa or venture out from the nest for some of that tea with honey and lemon. She didn’t own any of the honey or lemon part, but she had some citrus cough drops that would probably dissolve just as nicely.
Alec was digging in his pack, gnawing on his lip as the limited gift options became clear. He paused in relief when he got to the very bottom.
“Yup.” He turned to face her with regained confidence. “I did bring something.”
“You can keep the extra soy sauce you been swipin’ off noodle stands.” She yawned and burrowed down further under the fleece. “I don’t want none of those ginseng pills you pop neither.”
"Come on." Alec coaxed. “Can't hurt?”
Despite her misgivings, she rolled over to see what the boy was trying to sell.
There was a wadded up piece of cellophane in the palm of his hand. After tossing it once up into the air, he let the smashed offering plop onto the coffee table. Now that it was closer for inspection, Cindy could see the creases of plastic were filled with dark frosting. The pathetic lump was smashed almost flat but the bright candy sprinkles festively covered its top and coated its crushed paper bottom.
“It was Sketchy’s birthday.” Alec shrugged. “I think I’ve eaten about a hundred of these things since breakfast. Hey, are you really allowed to do that? Make your own cupcakes for your own birthday?”
Despite her stomach’s utter derision with food of any sort, the sight of the confection made her think about how good it would taste with the cold milk in the fridge. Sweet cake smeared with globs of sugar didn't sound like a half bad idea at all. The pain thudding in her head faded a little with the knowledge that her bike routes would be taken care of, no matter now fraudulently. The ache in her throat was soothed by the thought of some waiting tea and the next 48 hours to blissfully sleep until her body mended. Peeling the messy wrapping off, she licked it clean as Alec gave a small wave and headed out the door.
Listening to him walk past the elevator and wrench open the staircase emergency exit, she had to admit that the transgenic was right about one thing.
A mouth full of chocolate never did anyone any harm.
Behold! The rare and elusive Alec-n-Cindy! XD
Apparently while Alec-n-Cindy have very few scenes together, there are even less of them standing in the same frame. XD I'm obviously not a grand icon making iconic master, but I looked around a few screen caps sites and found pretty much every decent shot of Alec-n-Cindy that could be plausibly cropped. The scan quality was pretty low but they came out good enough for me and my unsophisticated icon needs.
If anyone would like to use them, change them, tweak them or include satirical text, please go right ahead. There is no need to credit me in any way, shape or form. I found all the screen caps at Eyes Only and could find no fine print asking that the makers be credited or any rules of any kind in regard to their images. (I'm not even sure if the website has been updated since 2005.)
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6)
(The last icon actually doesn't have Alec IN it, but the character reactions are based solely on Alec's unexplained presence in their bathroom in the middle of the night. haha! If that isn't an Alec Icon, then I don't know what is. ♥)
cross posted to: jam_pony_fic