Title- Shards of Yesterday
Summary- Forgetting is the easy part. AU from AJBAC. [ML]
Disclaimer- I do not own Dark Angel
Author’s note- I finally figured out why it’s so hard for me to write in this fandom—it’s too normal. Fic like this in Supernatural or the Jossverse would be considered normal, but throw this into DA and it seems like crack. So that said, this has an odd story-line, fragmented timeline and some seriously f-ed up povs. It might seem weird, but really, this is one of my saner ideas. AU from AJBAC.
Shards of Yesterday
She has this picture in her head where she’s wearing a red dress and smiling down at someone. Everyone else around her seemed to be walking, bustling around in every direction, but she’s standing still and grinning. She’s got no idea when it happened, or where, but it’s the only thing she can really remember of her life outside.
And she lies alone in her dark bunk, staring at the ceiling because no one at Manticore seems to understand that she doesn’t fucking sleep and just thinks about that single sliver of memory. The details are never clear and the whole scene seems like she must have dreamed it. But…
She thinks she was smiling at a guy. She thinks he might have blue eyes. She thinks she must have been happy…
The secret to forgetting is to stop caring. It’s not as hard as you might think. After all, you’re used to being brainwashed. You’ve just got to beat Manticore at their own game.
She sleeps in cardboard box on the street for nine days after the second escape. Curls into a little ball and allows herself to sink into unconsciousness despite the fact that she doesn’t need the rest sleep.
She never used to sleep, but now she doesn’t want to do anything but it. When she closes her eyes, she can see her old life dancing by and sink into the sea of friendly faces, but when she’s awake, there’s a wall in between her and everything from before.
When the fire breaks out, she doesn’t move, for a long time. From every end of the facility there are soldiers banging on doors, desperate to escape the flames. And then there’s someone at her door, at her cage. “Ben?” she mutters when the familiar peeks through the bars only to start picking the lock a second later.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Ben asks. “What’s with you, Maxie? I’ll be Alec or 494’s fine by me, but calling me by my dead clone’s name is just adding insult to injury.”
“You knew this already. We’ve got to get out of here. They’ve torched the place.”
“There were no orders,” Max says distantly, “got to wait to be deployed.”
“You’re the one who was harping on how evil this place was. Now it’s being destroyed. Hooray.” The lock clicks and the cage opens. “Let’s move.”
“What’s the point?” Max mutters, and when she stops talking she can here the crack of fire in the distance, salvation so very close. Sending her straight to hell where she could have that sort of salvation every single day.
“Max,” Alec pleads and when she doesn’t move, he changes his entire demeanor and tries again. “452!”
Max snaps to attention faster than humanly possible. Alec flinches before putting on his best soldier’s voice. “Escape and evade.”
452 goes to work.
Someone comes up from behind her and touches her shoulder as she walks onto the main street. She wheels around and pins them to the side of the building before she can stop herself.
“Max,” the African American lady chokes, “Max, it’s me.”
“I don’t know you,” Max hisses.
“Original Cindy!” the muffled voice croaks.
The name means nothing to her, the face holds no familiarity, but something about the look in her Original Cindy’s eyes makes her let go. Cindy collapses to the ground. “Damn girl, Roller Boy said you were dead.”
She narrows her eyes. “Who the hell is Logan?”
Just lie back and look at the ceiling. It’s not hard, Max, just focus, think. If you want to survive here, the less you remember, the better. If you want him to survive, you have to let go. They’re going to be looking for him. They’re going to kill him. If not because of Eyes Only, then as repercussion for helping with the attack.
Tell yourself you don’t love him.
Tell yourself you never met him.
Obscure his face, erase his voice, repress every touch.
You don’t need him, you can’t have him. You’ve got to push him out before they pry him out of you. It’s best for everyone, Max, you’ve got to…
There’s a point you can push to, the point that separates the soldier from the girl and maybe if you can break that barrier can you can get him out of your head. Erase the life you had for ten years. Let Max leave and 452 take over.
The laser bores into her eye. Emergency heart surgery keeps may have kept her bedridden for a month, but it doesn’t excuse her from psy-ops. “Who is Eyes Only?” Renfro asks calmly and there’s a that red white and (traitor) blue mask over the unmistakable (vermin) blue-green (enemy) eyes.
“Cable hacks,” Max tells Renfro. Forget she tells herself. “Streaming Freedom Video Bulletin.” The drugs are making her feel like-headed, like she’s on her twenty-first beer of the night and once she starts talking she can’t stop. “Cannot be traced. Cannot be stopped.”
Something beeps and the doctor flies to the machinery.
“And it is the only free voice,” (kill) “left in this city.”
“Blood pressure’s falling! We’ve got to pull her out. Her heart can’t take this. It’s too soon!”
Renfro bends down and touches and slim, finger to her cheek and ice spreads from everywhere it trails. “Where can I find Eyes Only?”
“You’re going to kill her!”
She had worn a red dress.
When she marches back into Jam Pony, she doesn’t know what to expect. Original Cindy announces, “Look who’s back from the dead.”
And there is suddenly a barrage of faces and voices that she doesn’t recognize and a boss she doesn’t remember despising and friends she swears she’s never met. Cindy keeps telling her that something will jog her memory, but nothing and no one does.
“Who’s Logan?” Original Cindy repeats in disbelief. “You’ve got to be kidding, Boo. You’ve only spent every waking hour with him for the past year.”
“Me and some guy? I think you’re the one who’s tripping.”
Cindy’s leading them back to the apartment they supposedly share. It’s in a run down neighbor inside an abandoned building and the stark contrast between this place and Manticore takes her by surprise.
“He’s going to want to know you’re back.” Cindy continues as they walk inside, incident with the choking all but for gotten. “You should call him.”
“Call a guy I don’t remember and tell him what? I’m not dead, want to hook up some time? It’s better for all parties involved that I just stay away until I at least figure out who I am.”
There’s a red dress in the closet of their shared apartment and she bypasses the motorcycle to examine it. Cindy watches her with an odd look on her face. “Maybe you’re right on this one, ‘cause the one I know is way more preoccupied with her motorcycle than fashion.”
“Yeah,” Max agrees, staring at the smooth red fabric. “It’s weird.”
452 wonders what happened to Manticore. She is supposed to wait for orders, but 494 catches up to her on the twelfth day, gives her a clap on the back and says, “Welcome back outside, Max. Got to admit, I can see why you made a break for it in the first place.”
“Do we have orders to redeploy.”
“Redeploy? Max, Manticore is gone. That cable hack guy put it on TV and now it’s ashes. You were the one who was so set on getting back to that life of yours. Go find it.”
And the girl starts to push her way back into existence.
The voice drifts to her ears through the noise of Crash. And when she first hears it, she almost chalks the sound up to an overactive imagination, but then it comes again. “Max.”
The name sounds like a prayer. She almost doesn’t turn around because she doesn’t want to face anyone who would put that much reverence into a single syllable. But curiosity get the better of her and she turns around to look.
She sees nothing at first, and then her eyes drift downwards and he’s there staring at her. He’s in a wheelchair, but just looking at him, she wouldn’t be able to tell you why. His hair in long and unkempt and he’s wearing big round glasses that mask striking blue-green eyes. There’s about two days worth of scruff on his chin and when he speaks again, she gets distracted by the way his mouth moved.
“Max,” he whispers again and keeps staring at her like maybe she’d disappear if he blink.
“You died,” the guy says quietly. “I saw you die.”
“I got better,” she mutters.
And the guy smiles, a full-blown unabashed look of pure joy on his face and that flicker of memory unexpectedly floats into her mind. He was in a tuxedo. She wore a red dress. They were happy… happy…
She wishes she remembered this man, the earnest face, the bright eyes. Hell, at one point she had probably had known him everything about him even if all that remained was a single hazy memory. She wishes she could offer him more than that. “I’m sorry,” she fumbles and turns away.
A hand, his hand, reaches out to grab her arm. “Max, don’t go.”
“I don’t remem…” she starts, but he pulls her down to his level and kisses her.
And as his lips meet her’s, it starts flooding back, everything that Manticore had tried to beat out of her, everything that she’d forgotten, everything that made her Max all comes crashing back as she moans his name.
ENDFeel free to drop me a review. Or, hell a prompt for something DA that wouldn't be so trippy. It'll be fun