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Reconstruction | Book 2: Dreaming

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The whir of the tool came closer and closer. He couldn't move; the straps over his chest and forehead forced him to watch the small circular saw's teeth blur. He saw her, that bitch of a doctor, looking down at him with a fond smile, like was so fucking proud of the X-494 bound and gagged on the gurney.

"Good boy," she murmured. A blue latex gloved hand patted him on the shoulder. She glanced past him. "We're ready."

"Good," Lydecker rasped unemotionally, "let's not waste any more time."

The woman in the scrubs stopped smiling. She nodded, gazed down at him. Her brown eyes looked sad, regretful as she moved the saw towards his right femur...

Alec woke up besides the bed.

Chest heaving, his heart hammering so hard, his ribs ached, Alec found himself crouched on the floor by the bed. He stared down at his hands. His fingers had dug bloody half-moon gouges into his palms.

"Shit," Alec wheezed. He wiped his face dry with a corner of a blanket crumpled by his feet. It didn't seem to help; his skin felt gross, sticky and clammy at the same time. He wanted to hurl.

Somewhere, out there, Lydecker was prowling Seattle, looking for clues with his angry beady eyes. Alec still remembered him frowning down at his stopwatch as the doctors' saws ate into bone.

All in the name of Manticore. Hip hip fricking hurray.

Alec stood because squishing himself into the corner the bed and the nightstand made was not his idea of fun and it was strategically a shitty position to be caught in. His knees wobbled and the rest of the chicken wanted to come up. He tasted the sourness on the back of his throat.

Even though it was dark, it was easy for Alec to stagger into the guest bathroom without turning on a light. He didn't lose his dinner, which was good because he hated waste. He stayed stooped over the toilet, gagging.

Lydecker's in town. Lydecker's in town. Lydeck—

Those carrots tasted way better going down than up.

Alec rinsed out his mouth. He brushed his teeth. Twice. But when he turned back to the bed, he...he just couldn't. He headed out to the couch and threw himself on top of it.

Minutes later though, Alec bolted up, choking on what he swore was chlorine-tasting water. He swallowed convulsively to remind himself he didn't need to hold his breath. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The nasty fuzzy taste still lingered. His feet vibrated even when he shoved them back into his boots because in the back of his mind, there was that damn chant again: Lydecker's in town, Lydecker's in—

With a choked sound, Alec kicked a wall. A few times. Punched it a few times, hard enough Logan's bedroom door opened.

Alec froze.

His breathing harsh in his ears, Alec stood in the dark, staring at the door now opened a crack. His fists throbbed. His stomach twisted.

Swallowing, Alec ventured a step. And another. He found himself at the foot of the bed. It was a big bed. He absently noted the corners weren't tucked in tight enough. The bed had a ridiculous amount of layers on top: a bed sheet, a mattress pad, a thick coverlet. It was a bed. All it really needed was a blanket, maybe a pillow because they're useful for hiding stuff in them. No one can take a wallet or gun out from under a head—well, Alec could, but that was beside the point. There was all this stuff on the bed, including the soft navy fleece that normally kept Logan warm at nights and the idiot didn't take it with him and he was probably going to get frostbite on his lower extremities and it would serve him right and—

The faint scent of coffee and almond filled Alec's nostrils when he pressed his face into the fleece. He groaned, his body sinking into the bed. His spine melted into the almost plush surface. Maybe there was something to all these ridiculous layers after all.

Alec reminded himself this was a bad idea. Then he yawned, burrowed deeper into the folds of the fleece and told himself to shut the hell up and went to sleep.

 

"Hello?" Logan answered distractedly. He sounded exhausted.

Alec was gnawing on a pork chop bone when Logan picked up the call. "Good morning, Heather. Day four. Still bored."

"...Alec?"

"No, it's Mrs. Moreno; who else do you think this is?" Alec wiped his mouth with a sleeve. Logan made a pretty good pork chop, even cold. He reached for one more in the pan. "This is your daily prank call. I'm here to breathe heavily in your ear."

"Sounds more like you're chewing in my ear," Logan remarked.

"Pork chop," Alec mumbled as he gnawed.

"For breakfast?"

"I'm a growing boy," Alec stressed. The leer came through because Logan sputtered.

Snickering, Alec smacked his lips. "Still needs a name."

"I thought we settled on pork chops with beets?"

"Hey, you settled on that. I thought it should be something fancy, rich folk sounding."

Logan chuckled faintly.

Alec frowned. "You sound perky. Not."

"Long night."

"Ooh, do share." Alec's stomach, however, knotted.

Logan sighed.

"Your guy still not talking, huh?"

"Not enough. He's just..." Logan sighed. "I thought he would do the right thing."

Alec shook his head. "Hey, these days? The only right thing left to do is stay alive."

"I don't believe that."

Of course Logan didn't. He didn't look like the type. Alec frowned into the phone.

"Doesn't matter if you believe it or not. Everybody else does."

"Can't be everybody. There are still those who want to do the right thing."

"Geez, do you believe in Santa Claus too?" Alec groused.

Logan exhaled.

"Seriously, if your time's being wasted, go. The guy sounds like a lost cause."

"I thought I could talk to him, convince him but guess he is a lost cause."

Alec chewed his lower lip.

"Sorry," Alec offered hesitantly. "That sucks, to drive all that way for nothing."

"Not necessarily nothing. Heard something interesting worth checking out. Someone else might know something though. Someone I didn't expect."

Logan's fortune cookie conversations were starting to grate. Alec snorted as he tore into a pork chop a lot harder than necessary. The bone knocked into the phone.

"Alec?"

Alec's jaw clenched. "We're still sticking with this need-to-know shit?" he said evenly.

"Alec—"

The bone rattled when Alec dropped it into the garbage bin. "No. I get it. Lydecker. Fine." His hand jerked around in the air. "I'm staying put. I don't need the hassle anyway." He dropped into the couch and glowered at his boots by the window.

"I'm just saying; you don't sound like things are going your way anyway. Just cut your losses and leave. Forget about the other thing, whatever it is."

"I can't ignore this."

Whatever this was. Alec was tempted to hang up but rolled his eyes instead. "Uh huh."

"Something has to be done."

"Uh huh."

Logan's exhale was tinny in his ear. "Look, I should be back soon."

"Whatever. No rush."

"Just don't go wandering out. Okay? Stop running into Steelheads."

"You checking up on me? Kind of flattering in a creepy sort of way."

"Hearing about unconscious Steelheads in alleys was a big clue. Just...don't go out, all right?"

Alec grunted. His upper lip curled up. He was about to fire back when Logan cleared his throat.

"Alec. Please."

Alec couldn't think of anything to say. He nodded and mumbled, "Yeah. Sure." He scrubbed a hand over his mouth. He recovered and weakly added, "But if I find your diary, I'm reading it."

"Sure," Logan agreed easily. "But I'm telling you right now: it's pretty boring."

"Want me to draw naughty pictures in it?"

"I'm hanging up now."

Alec grinned into the phone. "Party pooper."

 

"You bitch."

The black rook was surrounded by pawns. Again.

Alec couldn't find Logan's diary but he found a dusty chess set tucked in the back of the closet. He also found Logan's ratty gray sweats which he arranged flat on the couch. He sat across them, the coffee table between them and the rest of the pork chops for lunch. He played black. It felt fitting Logan's sweats played white.

However...

"You were my favorite." Alec glowered at the worn top draped on the couch. "You totally were. I can't believe you pulled another Chern maneuver on me."

It was a nice chess set. Alec wondered who Logan used to play with and why the set was buried under a mound of blankets. He cradled the newly captured white knight and imagined strong-boned tapered fingers rubbing the polished mahogany pieces as Logan contemplated his next move. Alec held the knight, rubbing it absently across his lower lip for the rest of the game.

So far it was Logan's Clothes five and Awesome Alec four. Alec contemplated his next move since Logan's sweats pulled a Berbus Gambit two moves back and got Alec at check. He tested three possible moves in his head but they all led to mate.

His hand blindly reached for the phone he kept in his lap before the first ring finished.

"I can't believe you're winning," Alec complained as soon as he has the receiver against his ear.

"I'm sorry?"

Alec smirked. "Never mind." He wiggled his fingers over the lone black pawn for a possible sacrifice move. "It's only been a few hours, snookums. Miss me already?"

"Just wanted to update you."

Alec's hand stilled over the pawn he was debating. "What is it?" He straightened.

"That new thing? I'm...things should be done here soon. Maybe by tonight." A click and a rattle could be heard on Logan's side.

Alec stiffened. It was the sound of a bullet sliding into the barrel of a shotgun.

"What the hell are you doing with a shotgun?" Alec demanded, game forgotten.

"How could you tell—"

"Shot pellets and double barrels resonate differently from a Glock. And I asked you a question." Alec eyed his boots and backpack by the window. Hell, with Lydecker sniffing around. Maybe staying in Seattle wasn't strategically smart anyway.

"Thought some extra firepower was in order. I might have visitors."

Alec gritted his teeth. Logan made it sound like he was talking about the weather. "And that would be because...?"

When Logan said nothing, Alec snagged his boots. He jerked socks up his feet.

"Alec. Don't."

Foot halfway in one boot, Alec stilled. "What? I'm not doing anything."

Logan scoffed. "You're breathing pretty heavy into the phone."

"Whatever turns you on."

"Alec. Look, I appreciate you wanting to come to my rescue and save the day but—"

"That's not what it is," Alec interrupted. The resigned tone made him want to hit something; preferably whomever that shotgun was for. "Look. I think someone should be there but not because I think you need rescuing. Don't you want some backup?"

"Backup?"

Alec continued putting on his boots. "Don't think it's free either. I'm charging your cute ass off. I'm not cheap, you know, no matter what some might say."

The phone was quiet even of the low clinking sound of bullets and of Logan's exhales. Alec waited but when Logan didn't reply, he stopped what he was doing.

"Backup, that's all."

"Thanks. But Lydecker is out there."

The face with the gun. The cool eyes staring down at him from outside the pool.

Alec swallowed. Then he set his jaw. "I don't care."

"You should."

"Hell, that bastard hasn't caught a whiff of me for how many years? He's been obsessing over his lab rats the whole time, but he can't find his way out of a box."

"He almost caught my friend."

"He didn't though."

"But he nearly did." Logan's voice wavered. "He almost did."

"You said your friend went to Canada."

"Barely."

"Look, I know he's out there. It's fine. I know now. Thanks for the heads up. But I don't care."

"I do."

Alec's retort stuck in his throat. He felt a flush creeping up the back of his neck.

"Oh," Alec stumbled. He picked at the hole in his jeans. "Cool. Uh...thanks."

"Uh...you're welcome." Logan resumed loading his shotgun. "It's fine. I have help here."

It was a bucket of cold water Alec wasn't expecting. His mouth contorted to a smile. "That's great." So Logan really didn't need him there. He toed off his boot. "I'll just continue squatting here then." He cleared his throat.

"Don't be surprised if you're missing a couple of things when you get back."

Logan made a sound like he was trying not to laugh.

"Thanks for not wanting to come to my rescue."

"Never thought you needed it." Alec leaned into the phone. His face felt tight. He settled back into his spot in front of the couch but his limbs still vibrated, demanding he move. Not that there wasn't any point, was there?

The call ended with what Alec thought was polite conversation; the kind where people sit around, drinking tea with their pinkies in the air, talking about nothing important for the sole purpose to fill the silence. He held the phone in his hand, long after the call ended. The boots behind him felt like an accusation.

 

All afternoon afterwards, the vague memory of Lydecker holding a stopwatch, its ticking the sound of a gun cocking against the back of his head kept Alec jittery. He fuzzily remembered patrolling the perimeter: living room to kitchen to foyer, even up to the skylight a few times. He remembered sleeping on the couch until the sensation of being underwater (and X-128 and X-215 voluntarily drowning next to him) repeated too many times.

The 'Things to Steal from Logan' list he made was reviewed, re-priced and re-evaluated. The amount he would have gotten with the devalued US dollar was nowhere as impressive as when he converted the total into Euros. When he later converted the sum into Yao, it was impressive enough he considered Logan's boring ass painting of some bridge over some equally boring ass river hanging in the guest room with renewed interest.

As the day progressed, Alec made three contingency plans on what to do should Lydecker find him. (As if.) There were places he could hole out and things he could do to change his appearance although he loathed to mess with perfection.

Alec avoided planning around the possibility of leaving Seattle altogether. He's too used to this shitty dump and invested too much time bilking it. The city has too many resources to leave behind. Alec hated waste.

It was in-between contemplating dyeing his hair black and squatting in the odd alcove in a forgotten network of sewers, Alec fell asleep.

When Alec woke up, he smacked his lips together. The gumminess in his mouth informed him it was a long nap. He had vague memories of a dream that involved Logan, the carpet and the heat of skin under his mouth. It was a hell of a lot better than his usual nightly feature. Lydecker was such a turn off.

Alec hummed at the faint smell of coffee and oddly enough, almonds that tickled his nose. He stretched, rolling his hips as he did, relishing on the sensation of not having to snap awake, his spine straightening out the muscles on his lower back until he heard a very satisfying series of pops.

He blinked, rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand and focused.

He was on Logan's bed again.

Springing off the bed, Alec landed on the balls of his feet. He stared at the rumpled king's size mattress from the doorway. Numbly, he glanced down at his crotch.

"Oh, you're a lot of help," Alec snapped at the tenting in his jeans, his erection more of a salute. He ducked into the shower to jerk off.

In the guest room's shower though; Alec was horny, not suicidal.

Logan's soap and shampoo was drenched in the heady scent of almond butter but there were no options to other smelly frou-frou soaps. Alec stood under the spray (shit, even Manticore's disciplinary hoses didn't have this kind of water pressure), idly running his thumbs through the bar of soap, coaxing thick suds. He thought of the soap, creamy yet slick skimming down Logan's torso, suds trickling down his ass and between his cheeks. Alec's mouth watered as he thought about traces of soapy water, milky white, skimming down over that tight entrance like cum, like...

Alec swallowed a mouthful of spray when he groaned out loud.

The tiled wall felt cool against Alec's forehead as he leaned forward. He rubbed suds down his chest. Unbidden, his thumbs brushed over his nipples. His nails traced the hardening nubs, pebbling under aggressive pinches.

The shower stall was misty with the nutty scent of Logan's soap. Alec's cock twitched under his own touch. He shouldn't, god damn, he knew he shouldn't, but he thought about those capable fingers tracing the shape of his pecs, green eyes dark and intent as he drew near, lining up his cock to Alec's.

His hand drifted to his cock flushed against his stomach now. It was hot and thick in his grip when he curled a trembling hand around the length. A shock rippled on contact, shivering up to the base of his cock. He tightened his fist. He groaned. No. Tighter. Logan would be tighter.

Suds seeped through Alec's fingers. Logan's scent surrounded him. Logan, slick and tight around his cock as Alec thrust in and out. Logan, crying out hoarsely as each relentless stroke pulled him closer and closer to a blinding edge.

Alec bit his lower lip. He tasted blood. His hand automatically clenched and his hips snapped forward as he fucked his own fist with enough force, he needed to brace an elbow on the shower wall before he slammed face first into it.

The shower glided over Alec's overheated skin, the soap trickled into the crack of his ass, his balls, between his toes. The steam perfumed with almond and shit, his dick felt like it was too swollen, too big for Logan but he can't stop, he can't, slamming into him over and over until—

White exploded behind his eyes and Alec came messily into his fist. He whimpered as he finished himself off with a few rough pulls. Weak kneed, Alec pressed his flushed face to the shower wall. He panted.

The shower turned cold, a cooling and rousing relief on his skin. Alec clenched his buttocks. He splayed his hands over the tiles. Took a deep breath. He smelled Logan's soap swirling around him.

Alec came once more. He didn't have to touch himself this time.

So much for avoiding the master bath.

The shower was icy on his skin now. Alec looked around the shower stall. Suddenly, jerking off in the shower felt like a bad idea.

 

The sun was starting its descent by the time Alec shakily stepped out of the shower. The sun's dying light streamed through the windows, promising a clear night. He crossed the living room as he scrubbed his short hair dry with the thickest towel he's ever felt. He wondered if Heather would notice a couple of towels missing.

Alec avoided looking at the phone and padded into the kitchen for an early dinner. It took a second to adjust to the fact there was a choice for dinner: apples, bread, hell, there were a couple of eggs in there, too.

It was weird. It was like Alec was watching himself as he debated what he was hungry for instead of which looked less past its expiration date. Manticore brewed their super soldiers with cast iron stomachs.

Still, the idea Alec ran more of a the risk of food poisoning from his cooking rather than from suspicious moldy spots left him grinning like an idiot. He made an egg sandwich and washed it down with goat's milk. It still tasted nasty, but it was growing on him.

As Alec ate, he periodically glanced across the living room. If he happened to gaze upon the phone, it was only because it sat smacked center of the cabinet up against the wall by the flat screen. He hastily dropped his eyes to clean the plate of yolk with a bit of crust, scrubbing until the bread crumbled and stuck to his fingers.

Alec scowled. He stuck a finger in his mouth to lick the remains of his meal. He veered a wide circle away from the phone, towards the windows instead. He surveyed the cityscape.

It felt weird to see the streets from up here. Alec's usual view was the rotting clap boards of the newest condemned building he was in. The buildings unfurled out beyond the window appeared clean, well kept, window panes glinting with fading daylight. He could imagine what Seattle must have looked like pre-Pulse. They stood high, almost proud and sparkled like polished glass and Alec bet they didn't smell and their money was counted out in crisp stacks of bills.

Alec grunted. Unable to help himself, his eyes dragged back to the phone before he snapped forward to the window again.

Seattle looked like it was going to enjoy a rare, beautiful night.

It felt like he was being mocked.

 

The jittery thrum underneath his skin began again soon after dinner.

Exercise knocked the sensation out for a good hour. Then, Alec found a couple of paperback books tucked in random nooks and crannies and thought, what the hell.

Dante's Inferno in its original translation lost its novelty halfway through because reading it in Italian reminded Alec why the language was hammered into him in the first place; an Italian geneticist suddenly struck with a dumb case of morals left the Manticore project. He was sent in to do the exit interview. You didn't quit Manticore. Manticore quits you.

Wizard of Oz was depressing because that Dorothy chick upped and left her platoon of tin, straw and feline. Conrad was a dark and twisted bastard. And what the hell was wrong with Heathcliff?

The books piled up on top of the dining table; an anemic yellowing, dog-eared tower next to the broad pillars of files. Alec stared at the folders, bemused at the quaint system of handwritten notes, colored flags and documents redacted by old fashioned Sharpies.

Alec's foot tapped against a table leg as he chewed on his lower lip. His gaze kept sliding back to the phone. He tore his gaze away. His eyes landed back on the folders. He wondered if any of these sent Logan to Cape Haven.

If they were so top secret, Alec reasoned as he brushed fingers along the curled, worn edges, Logan could have put them away.

Alec's hand reached out for a file.

 

The first stack Alec picked to nose through turned out to be random files of dirt bags, notes scribbled on the margins about what he or she may or may not have done. He poked, bored, at some of the photos and mused what Logan could be writing about. Some were police reports, old as dirt, some were interestingly enough, others were handwritten in code.

Alec tapped the edges of photos of goateed men and some with faces even a mother wouldn't love. He was tempted to decipher the encoded ones. Decryption was drilled in to be a skill as natural as breathing. But Alec couldn't bring up the energy to bother, unused to this targetless information mining. He wasn't infiltrating anything, just bored, bored, bor—Why wasn't that phone ringing?

The third stack Alec nosed through turned out to be an archive of Logan's old blogs, printed out in hard copy, references, notes and post notes no longer sticky stapled to the back side of the covers.

Alec never saw some of the articles when he first ran a background check on Logan. Some of his articles were purged off the Internet. Logan's neat handwriting inside some of the printouts questioned whether the blogs or articles were hacked and shut down by the insulted parties. Judging by the sample of the surviving articles and their scathing words, Alec thought it was a strong possibility. He smirked as he quickly read them, his fingers lingering at some choice sections where Logan had commented on his own stuff. Logan turned out to be his own worst critic.

The smile faded when Alec found an article about the shooting.

It was a clipping from a Seattle newspaper that was bought out. It couldn't sell news anymore nor the propaganda the government had it pitched with its desperate "I'm okay, you're okay" spin on their collapsed economy. The tiny article was a year ago, give or take. It talked about a shooting that occurred one hazy morning, in an intersection that was fortunately empty of traffic.

It called the shooting an 'incident'.

The 'incident' was described as random violence; possibly a robbery gone bad. Two unmarked SUVs bottle necked a silver sedan just after morning rush hour. Car was shot to hell. Unknown assailants. Unknown kidnapped victim. Two dead former Marines. One critically injured victim, name undisclosed to protect the victim clinging to life at an undisclosed location. Two bystanders were killed. No witnesses (yeah, right). The police (that was laughable) were investigating.

Despite the grainy screen capture from the hoverdrone, the sketchy descriptions, the lack of victims' names and the absence of handwritten notes on the margins, Alec knew.

A lump in his throat, Alec gingerly touched the photo with a finger. It pulled away smudged with ink and somehow, the lump in his throat expanded. He noted the date on the newspaper. He memorized the scant details. He set the folder down, back where he found it, buried at the bottom of a stack of Logan's accomplishments.

Lydecker's out there. Lydecker's out there.

The reminder thumped in his head like a drum beat, but Alec ignored it as he shoved his arms into his jacket sleeves and headed for the door. He glanced back once at the phone before he left.

 

Police stations were a joke.

It was morning again by the time Alec returned. He curled and uncurled a hand around the flash stick while he slipped back into the living room through the window. He detached himself from his rigging in one smooth move as he landed neatly, quietly on his feet.

The video Alec needed wasn't in the archives as he first thought; not that it made it any harder to slip into their central station. It was simply a matter of hacking into the Evidence Lockup's inventory files. There was an unsurprising amount of drugs, money and weapons that went missing in transit.

The file was finally tracked down but was lost (or relocated) to a bunch of servers deemed outdated, back-uped and slated for destruction.

Only the money ran out (again) and the decommissioned servers were stripped of anything that can be sold by for a personal bonus. The picked carcasses and their hard drives were left in a towel bin, covered with used body bags and stowed in a room that once housed their IA department.

Alec felt weird about using Logan's computers so he wired up the flat screen instead to take the antiquated drive. He hacked the screen's factory firmware, created an auxiliary channel off its wifi protocols and accessed the small file.

The screen flickered once then twice. Alec thought the file was too damaged but then the black screen flickered into pixilated muted grays and blues of a hoverdrove's surveillance camera.

The drone was too high to catch dialogue, but the screech of cars braking too fast, the sharp tack sounds of gunfire and the screaming of pedestrians were picked up faintly. Alec stared at the screen, throat tightening as he saw a large man jerk to his death despite his Kevlar. His ward, a middle aged brunette, ran after a beat of terrified hesitation. The driver shouted something into the car, lost in the barrage. He fired at their attackers before he too, fell.

Then the passenger door opened.

There was Logan, upright, vested with the same useless Kevlar, his body curled around a little girl. Distantly, Alec categorized her age, analyzed her body and how she struggled instead of cooperated and deemed her as a risk. He could see her, arms flailing for the woman who fled without her sentry. He could see Logan, his eyes wide and determined, flickering constantly back to his fallen comrade. There was no one else. Just him. And the girl.

Logan was left with a civilian with no redeeming skills to cover his six.

Let go of the girl, Alec thought. It was clear from where he stood rooted to the carpet that the ambush was for the child. The woman was ignored. No one gave chase and refocused on the pair of survivors inside the sedan.

Why wasn't anyone doing anything? Alec wanted to snarl at the hoverdrone impassively filming one of the worst ops he'd ever witnessed. The other should have taken the girl, draw the line of fire away from the car. It was a higher rate of survival, but instead, Logan was wrapped around the child, wearing a vest already proven inadequate, trapped inside the kill box.

The door kicked open wider and with a few volleying shots, Logan bolted.

Don't get out of the car!

It almost sounded like Alec spoke out loud. He flinched but his mouth was clenched so tight, only a thin hiss escaped when sure enough, Logan jerked, dropped into the asphalt and stopped moving. One of the gunman approached, military precision in his steps, rifle out to nudge Logan onto his bleeding back. The child huddled against Logan. She didn't even try to run. There was only a brief flailing of thin arms as she was pried out of Logan's hold with a simple yank.

Logan stirred, arms feebly moving as if subconsciously realizing the loss. The gunman stood over him, muzzle to the head, aimed, readied...

And the video was shot out by the other.

"Fuck!"

The word exploded out of him with enough force, Alec staggered back a step. He returned to himself, breathing hard, knees locked and feeling like he was one exhale away from losing his shit.

"He's okay," Alec snapped because hell, his spine vibrated, his legs quivered and he clenched hard to keep from moving. "Stand down. Stand down, damn it."

Of course Logan was okay. That was an old video. Alec's seen Logan in full living color. It didn't happen. The gunman never delivered the killing shot. He's fine. He's fine, damn it, get it together X-494.

Alec found himself rewinding the video, watching it again. And again. He memorized faces, details, calculated trajectories like a good little X-494. When he found himself automatically analyzing it to the demand of Lydecker in his head, Alec turned the video off. He restrained from doing anything to the screen. Because that would be stupid. It already happened. A response team would be pointless now. A play-by-play of what-not-to-do would be moot. Data analysis would be a waste of time. Facial recognition would be pointl—

Why did nobody help him?

Before Alec could stop himself, before he stopped to consider the rage choking him was redundant, he kicked the couch. It tilted back and crashed, landing on its back, pathetically prone with its four pegged legs up in the air.

"Screw this," Alec bit out. He snagged his boots, his head reeling as he mapped out the best route to Cape Haven. He'll need wheels, maybe a car, preferably with gas—

He nearly ripped the phone out of the wall when it rang.

Alec took a breath as deep as he could to keep his voice level. Then he realized no one spoke the time it took before he could finally offer a steady "Hey."

There was no response at first. A beat went by and Alec cleared his throat before a quiet "Hey." replied.

The couch righted easily with a careful nudge from his foot. Alec grimaced at the thud the couch made when it landed feet down. But there was no comment on the line.

"So how's Cape Haven? Got what you needed? Do a little sightseeing?" Alec tried as he eased onto the couch. "You do any fishing? It's a fishing village, right? Caught anything?"

"Actually, I did."

Alec knitted his brow. "You don't sound too happy about it."

"Catch of the day wasn't what I expected."

"Maybe you should have stuck with porn, Heather."

The laugh in the phone didn't sound like Logan found him funny at all. "Maybe."

Cheek flushed to the phone, Alec leaned forward in his seat. He turned a shoulder, away from the screen even though the video has long since played itself out.

"Thinking of coming back anytime soon?" Alec said casually. "I promise I didn't sell off all your stuff. I left you a toothbrush." He sagged into the couch, crossed his legs at the ankles and reminded himself not squeeze the handset closer to his face. It wasn't like he was having trouble hearing him.

"Actually...I already left." A beat later, Logan added, "I'm about five minutes away."

Unbidden, a grin stretched across Alec's face and this time, it felt easier to sink deeper into the cushions. "Aw, snookums, baby, you should have told me you were coming home. I would have made you dinner!"

"Oh. I could pick up something on the way. There's a few places open at this hour—what time is it?"

Alec's smile faded at Logan's voice dropping to a mutter. He slid forward to the edge of his seat. "Hey."

"I could pick up Chinese," Logan went on, seemingly haven't heard him. "They're open twenty four hours. I could get you something. It'll just be a few more minutes."

"No, it's fine. Just..." Alec gripped the phone tightly. He didn't know why, but he wanted Logan here. Now. He was only five minutes away. He didn't want food. "Just get back here. Okay?" Alec laughed, strained. "Don't you want to see what stuff's missing?"

"I'll get egg rolls. See you in ten." Logan hung up before Alec could shout back he didn't want any damn egg rolls.