shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Default)
[personal profile] shallowness
Title: Out in the cold.
Fandom: Dark Angel
Rating: PG – 13 (just in case.)
Pairing: Alec/Gem, Max/Alec implied.
Word count: 1,181
Date first posted: May 2004

Summary: An X-5 female goes into heat and chooses an available alpha male.

Disclaimer: Don’t own or profit from the characters, only playing with them.

Author’s notes: Max’s POV. Takes place almost immediately post 'After the Dark'. Big thank you to FridayAngel for betaing, any idiocies are all my fault.

Our in the cold: shallowness

Luke was still chuckling at the ‘getting back to normal’ crack Max had made, as she ducked her head, focusing on the inventory. Some stocks were low enough to cause concern. Sure, they’d been distracted the past few weeks, but they were going to need to work on firming up the supply lines. As Logan said, with some effort and persuasion, the Freaks might actually be able to afford turning to legitimate markets.

She was dimly aware that the transhuman’s laughter had stopped. It then occurred to her that Command was weirdly quiet. Biting her lower lip, she surveyed the room, discovering that she was the only X5 there. Near the main entrance, two X6 girls were sorting through salvaged binoculars, while a huddle of transhumans – the nomalies of her childhood – were huddled up at Dix’s level, watching something on his monitors.

“Hey, gents,” she called sharply, “what’s up?”

Mole, the tallest and so the farthest away from the screens, was the only one to pay her any heed. Maybe it was the way the lighting fell on the exact spot he stood, but his face was unreadable to her, and she’d found out months ago that he was capable of more than derisive glares. She tensed up, anxious.

“X5 girlie’s gone into heat, no big,” he spat out. For him it was a measured tone. But knowing this could mean havoc, Max blurred from her position in the main area, up the stairs, wriggling through unmoving bodies. She found her way to stand between Luke and a seated Dix.

“Uh, Max,” she turned to look at the usually good-humored digger, before getting more than a glimpse of Terminal City Artworks’ first floor restaurant on the screen. ”You sure you want to be watching this?”

She scowled at him.

“If it’s X-rated, should any of us be watching?”

Terminal City was still working out how to deal with the females’ heat cycles. This wasn’t Manticore, so reinforced cages weren’t an option, but sometimes Max wished that she had some for the more frustrated members of her small community.

“She’s making her choice,” Dix commented, his voice almost as tense as the crush of bodies around her. Max turned to watch the action.

It was not what she expected to see.

They’d set the camera up soon as it became obvious that the sector cops and the good people ordered to guard Terminal City liked the joint, just not the people. So the Freaks had made sure that any threatening behavior was on tape. Through Max’s new and recently improved connection with Logan, they had a line to Eyes Only, who was always up for sharing any police misdemeanors with the good folk of Seattle. The camera was set up to see most of the serving area, leaving only a few booths out of the sight-line.

Leaning against the counter, an apron lying on its top, right at the back of the shot was a short, dark-haired woman, surrounded by a group of X-series males. Fivers mainly from their size, but one or two adolescent sixers. Otherwise the place was empty, in the mid-afternoon lull. Something to be thankful for.

“Tell me someone was babysitting Eve,” the CO in Max said crisply.

“We’re good, Joshua is,” replied Dix. She nodded and looked closer at the monitor, trying to assess the situation they had going down, Gem was making a move. Stepping forward from her counter with the confidence of too many days’ training on a marching ground, head tilted up, shoulders pulled back defiantly, displaying her curves for all that she was in jeans and a t-shirt. There was nothing ordinary about this woman - she had the full attention of her court of men, all on her territory, and the confident smile on her face let the world know she was enjoying the choice she was about to make.

Did she look like that, Max wondered? She’d always run when it came upon her, never embracing it like this. Of course, she was different, with a human boyfriend now, and she’d always suffered her cycles on the outside with regular guys before. One downside of leaving Manticore before puberty.

Gem stepped forward, looking over every man and boy as if she wanted them all. But it was in her genes to choose one – an alpha – good enough to be her breeding partner. And eyes shining cat-like, ease and promise in her gait, none would refuse her. Looking for a mate, she took her time, giving every one of them hope.

A tantalizing smile on her lips gave away that the choice had been made. All the watchers inhaled. She raised her hand and pointed.

“Him,” said her lips. Although the cameras weren’t equipped to pick up the sound, Max heard the voice in her mind nonetheless, a sort of purring.

He stepped forward, the edge of a shoulder growing into a body on the screen, as if he hadn’t needed to flaunt himself, because he was always going to win this contest. His barcode was hidden by unkempt light brown hair, covering the collar of his jacket, but the keen eyed watchers knew who he was from just that movement. A space was created around Max, as if they all sensed the shockwave hitting her.

Alec must have said something, because the other Xs stepped away, beaten. The youngest ones looked the most humiliated.

It was only seconds, and Max couldn’t breathe, as her stomach dropped out, then the transgenic male blurred towards the female, a hand going to her dark hair to bring her face forward for a kiss. It was hungry. Primal.

And Max watched her friends with a sick fascination. Gem was pressed up against him, none of his hands free as he possessively brought her closer.

“Oh, get a room,” Mole drawled as if it were exactly the same as when Kace and Darrow nearly copulated outside the medical center. As if there wasn’t something very wrong with the world.

It was as if Alec heard the admonition though, because he let her go. Gem looked up immediately at him, beyond controlling her expression now. He had to be saying something to make it right, making some promise for what was ahead, because she took his hand. They blurred out of the camera’s sight.

Max’s hands smacked down on Dix’s shoulder even as he reached out to track them via the Mall’s cameras.

“Give them some privacy,” she said, her voice deadly.

“Ok, ok.”

“Best set up a sparring tournament for the losers,” Mole offered. “’Least make sure they’re not beating each other up without witnesses.”

Violence, Max thought, sounded like a great idea about now. Perhaps she could pound out the image of her breeding partner unrestrainedly kissing another X5 with those full lips of his, of those muscled arms crushing another body to him. And the thoughts of hurried undressing and revealing, lips to skin, teeth and more bared. . .

“Set it up, Mole,” she ordered loudly. “Open to anybody who wants in.”


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