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[personal profile] chrysalitron
Again with the Zaxieness.....as I said before, events in the story might be a little bit different (or a lot different) from how they appeared onscreen. Poetic license, if you will.....or just a lack of a transcript. LOL. Either way, this is all Maxie's POV:

Maxie was still thinking about her argument with her sister a few hours later, when she looked up from the admit desk to see Zander wandering around. She didn’t know why he was there, but then again, citizens of Port Charles seemed to wander around the hospital for no reason at all. Sometimes, she thought Justus Ward might actually live there.

"Maxie?" Zander’s voice dragged her out of thought again. She swallowed nervously. "Hi, Zander."

"Hi.....can I ask your opinion on something?"

"Sure!" she responded, inwardly cursing herself for sounding so perky.

"What if......," he paused, sounding uncertain. She gave him what she hoped was a comforting look, and he went on. "Let’s say that there’s - a child. And that child’s father is a good guy - he really is - but he’s going through some bad stuff. His life is.....pretty messed up. And he doesn’t know how to fix it." He took another deep breath. "But he wants to be a part of that child’s life. But everyone else is telling him that there’s no way he can be a good father. That he’ll ruin this kid. I mean, do you think they’re right? Do you think the father will just mess this kid up beyond repair?"

Maxie paused, thinking. She knew Zander had problems with his own dad. He’d alluded it to her before, in the few conversations they’d had over the years. She wondered if this had something to do with that.

"Well....," she finally began. "I mean.....I can sort of sympathize with this situation. You know, Mac’s not really my dad."

Zander narrowed his eyes in confusion. "I wasn’t sure.....I mean, I wondered. But he acts like he’s your dad, and you and Georgie both act like he is. I just didn’t know."

Maxie nodded. "Mac loves us, and we love him. He might as well be our dad. But - he’s not. We do have a dad, and he does love us. He just.....has trouble showing it, I guess."

Zander chewed his lip thoughtfully. "How do you feelabout him, though?"

She shrugged. It had been so long since she’d honestly given it this much thought. "I love him. I always have, I always will. It’s never been any different, I suppose. There’s never been a time, that I can recall, where he was always there. It’s just the way he is. I’m used to it. But I do love him. I mean, he’s my dad, Zander."

He nodded, and seemed to think about this for a few moments. Finally, he rewarded her with a smile she felt clear down to her toes. "Thanks, Maxie.....you’ve really helped me out," he said, gently touching her arm before taking off. Maxie remained where she was, grinning stupidly. She had no idea what that conversation had been about, but she had apparently been able to give him some perspective. The thought of that made her day.

~*~

A few weeks later, Maxie was - yet again - at the hospital. Things at home hadn’t gotten much better. Mac was still at the PCPD more often than he was at home, and Georgie was now in the midst of an elaborate scheme to make Dillon think she’d moved on. Felicia hadn’t even called in weeks now. Maxie was starting to wonder if she would always feel this alone.

She was lost in her own thoughts when they brought Officer Beck upstairs. He’d been shot. Shootings were fairly routine at this point in Port Charles, but the thought still scared Maxie. Mac kept her and Georgie very well insulated from the violence that seemed to course through their town. Officer Beck seemed like a really nice guy - he hadn’t been in town very long, but Maxie had only heard good things about him. Mac himself had said that he thought Brian was a great addition to the PCPD. She wondered who could possibly want to kill him.

Mrs Hardy asked her to take some supplies to one of the spare exam rooms, but as she was walking away, she heard a conversation between Mrs Hardy and Ric Lansing. Maxie still wasn’t sure what to make of Ric. He was a handsome man, and certainly very charming when he wanted to be. When Elizabeth had had to stay in the hospital (this time because she was blinded after a car accident - though sometimes it felt like Liz never left the hospital, either), and Ric was trying to win her back, Maxie herself had been momentarily won over. He seemed like such a sweet and loving person.

But then again, the stories she’d heard about him made her skin crawl. Stories where he took Carly - who was the sister of her friend and cousin, Lucas - and locked her in a panic room, while she was pregnant with baby Morgan. Mac wasn’t very happy about having to work with him - he didn’t say much about it, but Maxie and Georgie could tell that he would prefer Ric Lansing be far away from the PCPD, and Port Charles in general.

At first, Maxie wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation between them - Ric was married to Mrs Hardy’s granddaughter, after all, so she didn’t think much of it. But then she heard Zander’s name, and decided to listen in.

"Audrey, if you see him anywhere in this hospital, you have to let me know. He’s very dangerous."

"Well, Ric, I can understand what you’re saying, but Zander has always been nothing but kind and courteous to Elizabeth. It just astounds me that he’s capable of shooting a policeman," Mrs Hardy responded, sounding shocked. She wasn’t the only one. Zander shot Officer Beck?!, Maxie thought to herself, stunned. As she walked away, not wanting to let on what she’d heard, Maxie couldn’t believe her ears. Sure, Mac had always told her Zander was a loaded cannon - but, like Mrs Hardy, she found it unbelievable that he would shoot somebody else, especially a cop.

She was still pondering this when she took the supplies into the little-used exam room. As the door swished shut behind her, she heard a noise. Turning around, she froze dead in her tracks to find Zander himself - and he was holding a gun on her.

"Oh, Maxie, thank god it’s you!" he said, quickly lowering his gun and tucking it back into his waistband. Beyond shocked, all Maxie could do was stare. "Maxie, you have to help me."

She finally found her voice. "Zander, they’re saying you shot a cop," she whispered, feeling panicked.

"I know, Maxie, but I didn’t do it. I swear to you!" Maxie appraised him critically for a moment. He looked sincere.....but she’d been known to fall for that before. She didn’t trust any guy anymore - why should she trust Zander? Sure, he said he hadn’t shot anybody, but he DID have a gun. "Zander...."

"Maxie, please....," he begged, his voice breaking. "I know how this looks, but I swear to you, I didn’t shoot Brian Beck. Somebody set me up!" Maxie shook her head, trying to make sense of everything. "Please.....there’s nobody else who can help me. I don’t trust anybody."

It was those words that made her head snap up. Looking into his eyes, she saw the desperation there. Just as she barely nodded her head, a sudden knock came on the door. Zander gave her one last pleading look, and ducked behind the exam table. Rolling her eyes, she opened the door to find Lucky Spencer.

"Oh.....Maxie, it’s you."

"Hi, Lucky.....what’s going on?" she asked, hoping to god she sounded casual.

He squinted suspiciously at her, which didn’t mean much. Since he became a cop, Lucky squinted at everybody. Maxie had the feeling he thought it made him look tougher. "Maxie, we’re looking for Zander Smith. Have you seen him?"

"N-no.....," she stammered. "Did he do something wrong?"

Lucky squinted some more. "He shot Officer Beck. Maxie, if you have any idea where he is, you need to tell us. Before he hurts somebody else."

Maxie shook her head. "I swear, Lucky, I haven’t seen him. I’d tell you if I did. Or I’d tell my dad." It never hurt to remind people that her stepdad was the police commissioner.

Lucky finally nodded. "All right.....thanks, Maxie."

"No problem." After he’d left and she closed the door, she exhaled loudly. Zander popped back up from behind the table. His gun was back out in his hand. Maxie’s eyes widened. "Were you going to shoot him?!" she asked him incredulously.

Zander looked conflicted. "I can’t get caught, Maxie. They think I shot a cop! Do you know what they’d do to me?"

Maxie shook her head. Before she could say anything, Zander touched her arm gently. "Thank you so much, Maxie. You have no idea how much this means to me." Opening the door a crack, he glanced up and down the hallway. As he disappeared, he gave her one last grateful smile.

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chrysalitron

July 2009

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