There was blood on her face.
The day she showed up at his door, no warning, dirty, clothes torn, there was blood on her face and she didn't speak a word.
He didn't either. Just stepped out of the doorway and let her pass. The blood had already crusted over her cheek and lips, and the hair by her ear was matted with it. She walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower.
Alec went back to the sofa, but after fifteen minutes of listening to the sound of water hitting his bath tub, with nothing between it, he went and cautiously pushed open the bathroom door. Steam billowed out.
Max was standing by his mirror, staring at her reflection. She had taken her jacket off but she made no move toward the shower, instead lifted a hand to her face and smeared the blood on her damp skin. She didn't even turn her head to look at him when she spoke.
"Some of this is mine," there was no tone to her voice, no ups and downs, no tremble, no emotion. There was nothing. She sounded... dead. "Some of this is mine, and there's not a cut on me." Alec started at that, and realised she was right. The side of her face, her mouth and chin, there was blood all over her, but no sign of a wound. Her voice dropped lower as she turned to face him, she wiped her hand down her face and stared at the blood on it. "I saved his life with this blood, all that time ago. And now I've got it back again."
"Logan." Alec meant for it to sound like a question, but it came out a statement. A horrible truth. Max leant her back against the cabinet and silently sunk to the ground. She wrapped her arms around drawn up knees, and dropped her face down. She was shaking, but there were no tears.
"They weren't even White's people. Or trans. Or anything," she whispered. "They were just... people with guns looking for junk to steal." Alec sat down beside her, shoulder touching hers but nothing more. "I got there too late. They weren't even there anymore. It was just... mess and... Logan."
Alec wrapped his arm around her shoulder, familiar ground. Comforting for him and her. He rested his chin on her lowered head for a minute, then pulled back and looked down at her.
"I'm so sorry, Maxie." She squeezed her eyes tight shut. Tried to push back the tears. She couldn't. They came suddenly, and she was shaking even more. Body wracked, shuddering with her grief. The tears cut tracks through the blood on her cheeks, caught on the curve of her lips. Alec gathered her to him and hugged her tight.
They sat like that, moments, minutes, seconds meaning nothing. She tried to wipe away her tears and her hands came back red, and she wept harder. Alec said nothing. He just held her.
Finally, he lifted her up. She didn't resist, just curled into his shoulder. He stepped into the bathtub with her, and sat under the shower. He was drenched instantly, jeans sticking to his thighs, white t-shirt moulding to his pecs and stomach. He scooted forward a little, and positioned Max in front of him. He laid her head on his shoulder, and wrapped one arm around her middle. With the other, he wiped her face gently. The water was hitting the back of her head, and he washed it forward, down the side of her face, over her cheek and lips. There were still tears making their way down the other side of her face, and looking down he saw his t-shirt was staining pink down one side.
They weren't hard to find. Petty thieves never were if you knew the right people to ask, the other right people to bribe, which of them needed a slight shake or threat to loosen their tongues. Petty thieves were never difficult to find, unless they were transgenics. These weren't.
They weren't difficult for Alec to find.
He blurred. He was too fast and they realised it a moment too late. He crunched one man's nose, forcing cartilage past the point it should go. He kicked another in the head and threw the first's limp body into a dreadlocked man. He grabbed the second guy, and twisted his arm until he heard bone crunch. He grabbed the gun in his mangled fingers and twisted them. Alec blocked himself with the man's body as he fired at the remaining two men. Two bullets used, two lives ended. Quick, efficient.
Lydecker would be so proud.
The third guy had struggled out from underneath his buddy, and fired at Alec. Alec twisted again, and felt blood splatter across his face as the man he held was shot in the head by his friend. He threw him across, knocking the dreadlocked man to the floor once more. He blurred across to him, and kicked his weapon away. Alec stared down at the man.
"We're just trying to survive, dude," No pity, where once Alec may have felt some, came to him. Instead he felt Max. He saw her in his arms. Saw himself washing away the blood and tears. Logan's blood. Her blood. Her constant sacrifices.
"Shut up." He raised his foot, and stomped it down on the man's throat. He felt bone and cartilage crunch under his boot. He watched, coldly, waited out the man's struggles. Let him choke and shudder. Saw the blood pooling, foaming in his mouth. When he was sure he was gone, past the point of resurrection, Alec left.
There was blood on his face.
Alec walked through the door, and the first thing Max noticed was that there was blood on his face.