[personal profile] trinityday
Title: Alphabits: Anything
Fandom: Dark Angel
Characters: Max, Alec, Sketchy
Word Count: 925
Written for: nickeldime17's alphabet challenge for Max and Alec lovers.

“What I? don’t, what I don’t get,” Sketchy slurred, wagging his finger somewhere in the general vicinity of Alec and the table, “is why you work here.”

Alec understood Sketchy to mean Jam Pony, not Crash where they’d been drinking for the past few hours. He shrugged. “Why not?”

“You could do anything, but you work as a bike.” Sketchy nearly knocked over his beer when he waved his arms to indicate just how many possibilities Alec had. Max’s quick reflexes saved it before she decided to save him by claiming it as her own.

“It’s not that bad of a job,” he said mildly. “You’ve all worked here for years.”

“Can’t do better,” Sketchy admitted.

“It’s not that bad a job,” Alec repeated, since his real reason—the sector pass—would probably raise a few more questions and might actually be remembered in the morning when Sketchy woke up.

“Bad hours, bad weather, bad money.”

“Good company,” Max said, though she deliberately looked away from Alec and towards Original Cindy, who was currently with her hottie of the night over at the pool tables.

Alec grinned at her anyway. “Right back at you, Maxie.”

“Horri-bad boss,” Sketchy added.

“Normal’s not that bad,” Alec said. “I’ve had worse bosses.”

Max met his eyes and briefly Alec raised his glass slightly. Max didn’t reciprocate, but she also didn’t scowl or roll her eyes, only looked contemplative and a little bit sad, which Alec counted as a victory even if she didn’t return the toast. Then she said something that made him wonder if he’d only imagined the moment of solidarity a few short seconds ago.

“You’re only saying that because Normal’s in love with you.” There was a distinct vein of nastiness behind the teasing.

“You’re just jealous,” he said dismissively.

“Of you?” Max asked. “Puh-lease. As if I’d want Normal tripping over himself for my approval.”

“How’d you do that?” Sketchy asked earnestly. “He doesn’t even know my name.”

“He knows your name, Sketchy,” Max assured him.

“My real one,” Sketchy corrected her, morosely.

“I don’t think Normal does names,” Alec said in attempts to cheer Sketchy up. Their co-worker could get very down when drinking, and had the bad habit of making everyone around him depressed, too.

“And we don’t use his, either,” Max added, joining in Alec’s attempts to cheer Sketchy.

“I guess you’re right,” Sketchy said. “But how do you get up in the morning.”

Alec turned to Max, hoping she’d been able to follow the conversation better than he had. Above average intelligence or not, there were some leaps of logic that Alec just couldn’t figure out.

Luckily for his ego, neither could Max. She shrugged, having turned to Alec in hopes that he would be able to clue her in, and then they both looked back at Sketchy and asked: “What?”

Sketchy frowned, clearly not expecting a follow-up question. “What?” he asked in return.

Alec was willing to let it go, but Max, if he didn’t know better, had some bloodhound DNA in her. Once she caught whiff of something, she was never willing to let it go.

“How do we get up in the morning?” Max said.

Sketchy, however, didn’t recognize it as a question he’d just asked them, so he answered it seriously.

“I dunno. Sometimes I just want to stay in bed forever. I hate to have to get up and go to work and what? But I hafta go to work. So that’s why I get up. It’s the worst feeling, waking up and knowing you hafta go to work. It’s a trap. It’s a big, rat race trap. Just once I wish, I just wish...” Sketchy petered off, unable to vocalize what exactly it was that he was wishing for.

“Then don’t,” Alec advised him.

“Not all of us have that option,” Max told him. “Not all of us have Normal wrapped around our pinky fingers.”

Alec just looked at her. “Which one of us gets fired roughly once a week, exactly?”

Max conceded he had a point by nodding her head a fraction of a degree. “Still, you can’t just never show up for work.”

“That’s not what I meant. Waking up in the morning and knowing that you can do anything you want to do? You can go to work or not and your boss will only bluster? Maybe he’ll finally get up the courage to fire you, but then wha? All you have to do is go look for another job. That’s not being trapped. That’s a reason to get up in the morning.”

He held Max’s eyes, knowing that she recognized the lack of choice he was alluding to that they’d both experienced at Manticore. He tried toasting her again. This time Max acknowledged Alec’s raised glass, moving her own (well, Sketchy’s former) in response. The moment was ruined by Sketchy, whom they had almost forgotten was still there.

“I don’t get it.” It wasn’t surprising that Sketchy was confused. Not just because he was drunk, but because most of that conversation had been between Alec and Max and them alone.

Instead of addressing Sketchy’s concern, Alec changed the subject. Clearing his throat, he said, “Speaking of doing anything I want, Missy over there has been looking my way all night.

Max groaned, but Alec ignored her and finished his drink so he could go join the redhead at the bar. He hoped that when he woke up the next morning, part of the anything that he could do that day was Missy.



October 2013

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