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I'm Nothing Like You

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He lets it happen.  He let’s go and let’s the other man just take and take and take.  He doesn’t know how many times it’s come to this, how many times shaky hands have reached for him, how many times he’s felt violent kisses and bruising fingers grip his hips too tight.  He knows he shouldn’t let him, but he understands better than most what he’s going through and he’d never been able to say no. 

People can say what they want about Alec, but he knows who he is, for the good and the bad.  Manticore was always quick to point out his faults, show him where he was weak.  He learned really fast that living outside of Manticore was the same.  Life pointed out your weaknesses.  The only problem was that people had a way of making your weaknesses seem like strengths. 

Max always talked about their freedom like it was a gift and he knew that for her it was.  For some of them, the harder ones, it was easier to cope with.  Him though?  Alec was made for the con, made for letting people close and taking them down.  In the real world, it was a problem.  Letting people close meant getting hurt because he had no orders to take them down anymore and all he got out of these encounters was pain. 

So when Ben showed up, panting and needy, Alec gave in.  He gave him his body to rest in, let him take what he needed because he knew Ben thought he was strong enough to be this, thought his extra years at Manticore had made him hard enough.  It hadn’t.  Life had been his real teacher in that, but even then it was sometimes a thin veneer.

Alec rolled up and away from Ben’s arms and sat at the edge of the bed, running his hands through his hair.  He had to get to work sometime today.  Max would give him shit about being late, about his latest conquest.  Some days she’d slip into the big sister, you need to be more careful, more responsible routine but she’d never know that he was taking care of her little brother.  Ben had made him promise not to tell her, not to let her know that he’d been brought back even after she’d killed him.  He didn’t want her to know that for all her pain, they’d still gotten to him. 

“Alec?”  He felt Ben’s hand on his back, his fingers caressing the bruises that were fading from their last encounter.  He’d have new ones tonight but he didn’t mind. 

“Need to get to work.”  He said, trying to push away the haze that always came with hearing his own voice sound so uncertain about him.  He could look at Ben and see the differences, but their voices were the same and it was far harder for him to listen to Ben talk than to look at him.

“Stay with me.”  Ben commanded but Alec didn’t need this the way Ben did and he’d never been good at taking orders anyway.  Certainly not from someone who’d never learned how to give them.

“Can’t man.  I need to get to work.  It might not seem like much, but it’s something.”  He didn’t know how to explain it to Ben.  He didn’t know how to say anything to him really.  He was unstable and nothing Alec did could change that.  He knew the other man spent a lot of time at Church and that in itself made Alec cringe.  He’d listened to stories of the Blue Lady and the nomalies and thanked whatever might be out there that he’d been in another unit, instead of listening to the crazy ramblings of this other version of himself.  He’d tried to talk to him about getting a job, about doing anything productive with his time, but he never seemed to be listening.  He was stuck and Alec just kept hoping time would make it better.

He turned back to look at Ben and there was something wild in his eyes.  “I know you don’t understand it, but I need this job.  I need something to ground me out here until I get my head straight.”

Ben shifted and Alec saw something else flash in those green eyes, something possessive.  “I said stay.” 

There was anger in his voice and Alec’s eyes hardened as he looked at the other man.  Just because he let him take, didn’t mean he couldn’t stop him.  “And I said no Ben.  Don’t do this.” 

Ben reached forward slowly, gripping the back of Alec’s neck and pulled their lips together in a brutal kiss.  Alec let him for a moment, then pulled away.  He felt Ben trying to pull him back in, but he resisted.  He put his hands against Ben’s chest and pushed until the other fell back on the bed.  “I said no Ben.  I’m leaving.”

Ben rolled off the other side of the bed as Alec pulled on a pair of pants.  “You don’t need them Alec.  You don’t need the crap there.  Maxie doesn’t care about you!  She’d leave you too, just like she left me.”  He wasn’t yelling, but there was a fevered pitch to his tone.

Alec shook his head.  “I don’t have any illusions about Max’s opinion of me.”  That was true enough.  Max tended to surprise him with her sometimes warmer side, like she was still trying to learn to like him, to let him in.  He always let her get away with it, the warm and the cold, because he could give when she needed it, but sometimes, when he wasn’t expecting it, she’d give him something back.  He didn’t let himself rely on it, didn’t even let himself see it as anything other than Max and her plan to save the world’s transgenic population, but it happened none the less.  

He had his shirt over his head when he felt Ben’s hands on his stomach.  He felt soothing fingertips and warm skin and part of him really would rather stay than go to work but he wasn’t lying to Ben about needing this.  It was something that normal people did, holding down a job and making money and trying not to get taken advantage of by your boss.  Hanging with co-workers after hours.  Making fools of yourselves and laughing the next day.  It was… fun.  It was something Manticore had never bothered to teach them.  When he leaned in and brushed his lips over Ben’s he smiled.  “I’ll come home early tonight.”  He offered.

He didn’t feel the anger coming off the other man until it was too late.  He was thrown back against the wall with Ben on top of him then, Ben pushing at him, fingers bruising as he pushed his arms up over his head and bit at Alec’s neck.  “I said stay.”

If he hadn’t been through this already, if he didn’t need the time for himself today, to replenish his batteries so to speak, it might have been enough of a turn on to keep him there but Ben had been there for too many days in a row now, too needy and graspy and Alec needed time for himself so it just pissed him off. 

He waited until Ben shifted, tried to hold Alec down with one hand so he could shift his other hand down his chest and work it into his pants, then he reacted.  He pulled his hands free and pushed Ben back, grappled with him until it was Ben with his back on the wall, Ben at his mercy.  “I’m leaving now.  You can stay for a bit, but I think it’d be best for us both if you were gone when I get back.”

“No.”  Ben said, his eyes wild again.  It was the look he always had when he showed up at Alec’s door and he was afraid if he pushed Ben away now he’d never come away from the precipice again, but he couldn’t do this.  Ben was not in control of his life and he wouldn’t allow him to try to dominate him like that. 

“Ben, get out of here.  Come back in a few days, but be gone tonight.”

“No.  You need me here.” he said, his voice soft and certain.  “You need me as much as I need you.  I know it.”

When Ben brought a hand up to Alec’s face, his caress soft and slightly shaky, they both knew the words were true.  Alec needed someone to need him like this.  It gave him focus and gave him something to take his mind off all the other things.  Without Ben, he would become Ben.

“I know it Alec.”  Ben continued, leaning up and catching his bottom lip in a gently kiss.  “You and me, we’re the same.”

Alec pushed Ben back, pushed him hard and he ignored the way Ben’s eyes widened in fear. 

He moved as fast as he could away from the other man and grabbed his coat.  He was fast even for his series because he’d always liked being the sly speedy one, so he was at the door before Ben could even speak.  He stopped there for one second and looked back at the other man, wondering if it was a genetic fault that made him give too much or if it was just something about him, something about this flesh that was too easily taken in.  He feared it was the latter because Ben showed no sign of being too willing to give anything, let alone what Alec needed.  When he spoke his voice was calm and cold, betraying nothing of his own personal pain. 

“I’m nothing like you.”