Rating: PG - Gen - Alec & Cindy
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Beta: Thank you Kat!
Summary: One more direct punch into the dry wall and she would be able to watch her neighbor’s television from the comfort of her own shower.
There was nothing in the instruction booklet about sitting absolutely still but Cindy did it anyway.
She also liked to hold the mirror right up to her face and grin like a lunatic to observe the teeth whitening strips work their unfathomable magic. She had an egg timer on standby for the 20-minute cut-off. There was also a glass of highly inflammable vodka just in case of any emergencies. Cindy was willing to pay a few bucks for cleaner, brighter teeth, but she wasn’t willing to startle others every time she smiled too broadly under a black light.
To celebrate her impending improved smile, she had baked two dozen chocolate chip cookies. They were hacked with a penknife out of the pre-made roll, but the tantalizing scent of hot brown sugar was as good as real for her. A bottle of white wine, some fancy cheese, and this was what one would call an awesomely lame Friday night.
A frantic pounding on the front door interrupted her tooth inspection.
“Cindy!!!” The gigantic pine wreath hanging over the threshold muffled Alec’s roar. “CINDY!!!!”
“Yer late, sugar.” Cindy muttered at the clock. “Said you’d be here an hour ago.”
Taking a better look at her watch, she confirmed that Alec had indeed called more than an hour ago. The hysterical phone call had been cut off mid-sentence when the line dropped. The shitty signal hadn’t allowed enough time to derive an explanation for Alec’s highly aggravated state, but Cindy had faith.
She jumped when a fist exploded through the door. She watched it flex in a black riding glove before being yanked backwards through the splinters.
Cindy appreciated Alec’s knack for emphasizing the urgent.
She turned back to study the box of whitening strips and the brightly printed instructions. Touching her tongue along the slimy plastic adhesions, she considered the dire product warnings. These things always said 20 minutes for safety, but if you really wanted all the FDA approved bleach for your buck you left those suckers on for an hour. If you could withstand the tingling burning sensation then the dazzling results were completely worth the chemical burns—
“I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE.”
The time for knocking was over. In fact, the boy had gone and shoved her entire lock and doorknob through the frame like a swinging door. The few seconds of dramatic pause provided her a moment to reflect on every time she had demanded he enter the house like a normal human being. As pitiful as those daily attempts had been, the boy had seemed to be actually restraining himself by not just kicking in the walls. The begrudging appreciation at his self-discipline quickly evaporated at the sight of her front door falling off its hinges.
Alec angrily swung his arms through the clouds of settling debris and advanced in her direction.
“Why didn’t you answer your door!?” He yelled.
“Looks like you took care of that problem all on yer own.”
The freshly shredded Women of Fitness 2021 calendar fluttered down to the floor like confetti. The table stand that, supposedly, kept track of rogue keys and mail was brutally reduced to kindling. One more direct punch into the dry wall and she would be able to watch her neighbor’s television from the comfort of her own shower. Keeping dust out of her wineglass, Cindy sighed. She wasn’t exactly a stranger when it came to infuriated transgenics. Max usually took out a few windows when she really got started; but Alec seemed to be more of a ‘knock some shit over’ kind of guy.
“Something wrong?” She guessed.
She cringed when Alec swept his arm across the kitchen counter top. Not only did she not know the actual wooden base could come completely off, but the destruction also sent six brand new holiday mugs crashing to the floor. With a frown, she dismally looked at the silvery remains of what would have looked very cute filled with spiked eggnog.
Sighing at the timer, the teeth beautification process was not going to be over for a good long while. The instructions emphatically stated that unnecessary talking might mess up the chemicals’ effectiveness. However, priorities were priorities, and any X5 on a homicidal rampage usually got bumped to the top of the list.
“Let’s skip the formalities, honey.” Cindy’s tongue moved over the strip on her front teeth. “Why don’t we proceed directly to the problem?”
“THIS!” Alec ripped out a piece of paper from his pocket. “I demand that you read this!!”
Ignoring her sofa now flying into the wall, Cindy studied the Jam Pony stamped form. She saw hundreds of the coffee stained things come off Normal’s desk everyday. It was the form that the rider gave the recipients when they got their package in order to complete the contract with a signature. It was signed proof that whatever was in the courier’s possession was now safely with its designated owner.
Alec eagerly hefted a sickly potted cactus.
“Oh, hells no.” Cindy held up a hand and shook her head. “It was my grandmothers’.”
He slammed it down in frustration and headed determinedly for a large bookcase.
Flipping through a few more of the documents, Cindy saw the same address accompanied by the required signatures. There was no problem here. If anything, this was a perfect picture of Jam Pony efficiency, which was in of itself a remarkable sight.
“These are all from last week.” Cindy observed. “If the customer didn’t get their shipment you have to take it up with Normal—“
The heavy stack of books came down as if a wrecking ball had smashed into the side of them. Dust spread out from the impact, but from the look on Alec’s face, she could tell he was hoping for something a little more spectacular. Some more remarkable breakage, or even better, a shattering glass fish bowl complete with an explosion of flames. When no such theatrical event occurred he sighed shortly and scrubbed his face with gloved hands.
The transgenic seemed to have calmed enough for coherent speech.
“Did you read them?” Alec growled. “Did you maybe somehow manage to notice whose name is on every single one of those—“
“Would ya look at that!” Cindy pointed down in feigned surprise. “It’s my name.”
“Yes!” Alec sent a lamp hurtling through the kitchen where it shattered in the sink. “It’s yours.”
“I remember this now.” She said with a fond smile of recollection. “Last week, right?”
“Last week.” Alec collapsed into a chair and tangled his hands into his hair. His voice suddenly lowered, his outrage set aside by the abrupt realization of food in his immediate vicinity. “D-Did you make cookies?”
Although Cindy was surprised it took Alec that long to acknowledge baked goods, she decided to stick to the subject at hand. Clearing her throat, she got ready to compose herself to sound lyrical. It was the tone of voice she’d heard others use when they were about to engage into a fantastical tale of bullshit.
“It was the strangest thing, Alec.”
He listened to her despondently.
“Sky kept showing up with all sorts of packages for me, but it was weird because the addresses were all wrong. They were all marked for #109.” Cindy tossed up her hands in mock wonder. “Now why would someone keep sending me packages with all the right everything on it but my unit number?”
“So what did you do with them?” Alec’s fear was disintegrating his wrath. “Did you send them back to the hub? Oh god, please tell me you didn’t send them back to the—“
“So every time another box popped up, I sent it on down the hall to #109.”
Alec whimpered somewhere in the arms folded across his knees.
“Hold up.” Cindy suddenly pretended to understand. “Did you want ME to handle those suspiciously unmarked parcels?”
“Maybe?” He scowled.
“Parcels with some possibly highly dangerous and illegal substances inside?”
“I was goin’ to tell you everything! Alec said. “Eventually.”
“You thought it was a real great idea to use my building for storage because this dump don’t have no drug sniffin’ dogs?”
Alec didn’t have many humble moments but Cindy had learned to savor them when they came around. Without looking her directly in the eye, he awkwardly nodded.
“Lemme guess.” She checked her whitening strips in the mirror. “Your very life is at stake?”
“I mean come on?” Alec’s shoulders hitched in a small laugh. “Possession of that much dope and the sector cops would put you away for 100 years!”
Cindy’s eyes narrowed dangerously.
He pointed at her sincerely.
“I provided you with plausible deniability!”
Alec sheepishly surveyed the wreckage before sinking back down into his seat. Cindy took a look around her demolished living room. Nothing a few trips to the flea market wouldn’t fix right up. Taking up her wine glass again, she considered the wrung out transgenic beside her.
The X5 was so miserable he had resorted to silence.
But not for long.
“So-So you sent the boxes somewhere else?” Alec asked in exasperation. “You gave my drugs to some… to some strangers?”
“I guess.” Cindy casually shrugged. “With the holiday rush all that shit completely slipped my mind.”
Alec’s smoldering gaze made her consider just how firmly fastened her stove and refrigerator were to the foundations. Watching his hands fold back into fists, she decided it was time to finally put his mind at ease. Besides, she wasn’t interested in precisely how much collateral damage one pissed off X5 could accomplish within one city square block.
“All is well.” She assured him. “Your stuff is fine.”
“What?” Alec blinked at her in shock. “What do you mean? Where is it? Is it—“
“The folks in #109 aren’t never home.” Cindy uncomfortably adjusted her hair. “Truth be told, those folks are dead.”
Alec brightened slightly at that news.
“I let your nasty boxes stack up in there until the landlord starting getting’ nosy.” She explained. “Then I had to go move it all.”
The transgenic’s panic resurfaced.
“And well, this girl didn’t wanna get busted on a raid with 13 lbs of dope in the house.” She rubbed at her treated teeth and wondered if she could sense their new brilliance by touch alone. “So other arrangements were made in the meantime.”
“A-Arrangements?” Alec’s newfound hope started fading away as quickly as it had arrived. “What do ya mean, ‘arrangements’?”
“This girl might have hid it all.”
“Hid it all?”
Cindy studied Alec’s bewildered eyes for a moment. The expression of wide-eyed astonishment on a transgenic was similar to the highly intoxicated, or the very young and confused. Either way, they just started repeating whatever they heard until it all starting making any kind of sense.
“I hid them in boxes.” Cindy waved a hand towards the corner under the window. “For the tree.”
The three-foot high plastic pine was the finest in synthetic design a biker budget could buy. Abandoning the traditional shades of green that existed in nature, its bright lime branches guaranteed its artificiality. The neon plastic lent a glow to the silver and reflective ornaments that hung festively on its art-deco construction.
Alec’s relief shifted back into mystification at the sight of the boxes. They weren’t the coarse brown casing he was accustomed to seeing on the Pony dispatch counter. The waterproof, scuffed cardboard was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Cindy had taken a full afternoon to unroll some cheery wrapping paper she’d forgotten about in the back of the closet: Silver sparkle of kaleidoscopic snowflakes, green and red velvet bows. The shiny gold knots and carefully taped frosted tissue caused an affect not unlike something off an obnoxious magazine cover. When she ran out the good stuff, she’d resorted to the colorful comic sections of the newspaper. But with plenty of shimmering garland as string, it still came out pretty nice.
“All of it…” He gestured uncertainly. “It’s all in there?”
“Safe and sound.”
Alec got up and started ripping off his jacket to allow full range of hands and arms.
“Wait a damn minute.” Cindy’s raised hands stopped the X5 from lunging at the pile like home plate. “Don’t get all sorts of excited just yet.”
“What?” He countered in annoyance. “Why not?”
“This ain’t Christmas morning.”
Eying the glittering knee-high tree, Alec stood back indecisively.
“But I’ll tell you what it is?” She offered.
The transgenic looked hopefully in the direction of the cookies on the stove.
“It’s called Alec Cleans up All the Crap He Broke Eve.”
“Great." Alec’s reluctant smile was back. “I celebrate that one a couple times a year.”
“You lucky you didn’t go messin’ with my room.” Cindy sipped her wine. “Your sorry ass would’ve ended up on the front sidewalk courtesy of a window.”
Alec looked in alarm at the large sheet of glass that filled an entire living room wall. After a moment, he remembered that not every resident of this particular apartment had the ability to accomplish the threat. To drive the point home he gave a lopsided grin and leaned comfortably against the windowpane in question.
“Oh yeah. I know it.” Cindy met his cocky look. “But I can assure you that my efforts to give it a try would be as equally unpleasant.”
The egg timer for her whitening strips dinged and startled them both.
“So what kind of cookies did you make?” Alec offhandedly inquired.
“Start with the bookcase.”
Cross posted to jam_pony_fic