1 The procedure went very well. Bane was frustrated that she wouldn’t let him move around much for a couple of days, but Max catered to his every whim. She had to, because Erik was terrified of him. She showed him scans of what had been done and what would come next and how much more efficient things would be once the new mask was ready. He was back in the old breathing apparatus, as she didn’t want him wearing the mask while the back of his head healed. It wouldn’t take long, as the incision she made was small.
“What are you going to do with the old one?” he asked. He reclined on the couch in her laboratory. She had taken to sitting on top of him whenever he lay down. It kept him from moving so much, even though they both knew that if Bane wanted to get up, she wouldn’t be able to keep him from doing so.
“Keep it to remember you by.”
“I didn’t take you to be a sentimental kind of woman.”
“I’m only sentimental about the sex, honey. I like how we get down. You have to admit, it’s fantastic. Don’t lie either, because we both know how fast I can make you skeet.”
“I wouldn’t lie about that.” After that night, they both settled down to prepare for his procedure, but it was difficult to keep their hands off one another. But since Max was on her own schedule, it was acceptable to both parties.
“Don’t scratch your head,” she said as his hand wandered to the back of his skull for what seemed like the thousandth time. I’m hoping to get you hooked up in a day or two.” She had him practice assembling the new mask on a synthetic model of his head. Two tries and he was perfect at doing so. Max wasn’t surprised; the man was fiercely intelligent. Smart men turned her on.
“This is going to be much better for you when you gather your soldiers. Where are you going to get them from?”
“I’m returning to Nepal,” he said. He had formed a bond with some other League fanatics. “From there, we will pick up other disenfranchised individuals. There are those who will serve.”
Max examined her toes. “Well, you certainly aren’t planning to walk, are you?”
“I’ll get there by any means necessary.”
“I’m sure you will. You can take the Ducati.”
He eyed her. “You’re giving me your motorcycle?”
Max looked at him. “I’m loaning it to you. For the cause. Just make sure it finds its way back to me before you leave the continent.”
Bane cocked his head and stared at her. Max rolled her eyes and said, “Or you can just buy it from me.”
He glared at her. “You do realize that you don’t make a bit of sense.”
“Why? Because I expect you to pay for certain things?”
“You can keep it if that’s the case. I don’t have any money.”
“You’ve forgotten the two million dollars I’m giving you.”
“Think just a bit harder, why don’t you?”
Max groaned. “Fuck it. Just take the damn bike. I can buy another one. Jeez, you’re such an asshole.”
“But you keep giving me things. Things I need. So I’m obviously an asshole you like.”
Max looked at the reclining giant and then moved, stretching out on top of him. “I’m very fond of you, Bane,” she said, placing a kiss on his forehead. “But you are still a huge douchebag.”
He took a deep hit of anesthesia and pulled down the apparatus. “I can live with your petty little insults, Max.”
“I’m sure you can.” She kissed his nose and then his lips. Bane put a hand on the small of her back. It never failed to blow his mind that Max liked kissing him. She wasn’t the least bit affected by the damage to his face. She was always very careful and very tender and it only took a short while before he had come to crave the feel of her mouth and tongue on his. It was different.
She slipped the mask back over his nose and mouth. “You’d better take a hit, don’t you think? I’d rather you not be in pain.”
“I like that,” he said. “I like the way it feels.”
“Not something you do, is it?”
“It’s not necessary for me.”
“Do you want me to stop?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Kissing is personal. It’s intimate. It’s sexy and if you’re with someone that matters to you, it makes things that much more interesting. I like kissing you. I don’t care about your deformity.”
He pressed his hand in the small of Max’s back and groaned softly. She had a way of making him hard within seconds. “I need a shot. Get me a syringe.”
“No,” she said. “Just relax and take a hit instead.”
“I assure you, Max, that it’s necessary.”
“It may be, but considering that I just did a procedure on your spinal cord, I’m not willing to risk your health just because you want some.”
“You do know that I can get it myself.”
“I’m well aware that you do whatever you want to do. But as your doctor, I’m asking you to please calm down. Take a hit.”
He inhaled deeply and stared at her. Max pressed her knee into his groin. “Is it really that bad?”
“It is now.”
She moved the breathing apparatus once more and kissed his lips. Max replaced it and casually made her way down his body, pressing into his chest at random points with her knuckles. Without batting an eye, she unbuckled his belt and unfastened his pants. Max reached in and pulled out his dick. Smiling evilly, she kissed the head. “Haven’t seen you in a while,” she said, looking into Bane’s eyes. They hadn’t had sex since before the procedure, and while she was good, he was frustrated. She teased him and told him he’d better get used to life without access to pussy as good as hers.
Max slid her hands under his shirt to massage his chest while she gave him head. Bane lay on the couch, eyes on her the moment she took him into her mouth. He never ever ever thought that a woman could bring him to his knees the way Max did over the past few weeks. It was like he had fallen out of time and space into an alternate universe where there was nothing before and nothing after; all that existed was the now. Max’s mouth moved slow and steady, keeping a pace and pressure that was…exquisite.
She flashed a sultry smile at him. “So good, baby, so good…” Then she adjusted her position so that she was on her knees and he accommodated her by spreading his legs. Max took him in once more, taking her time. Bane threaded his hands in her hair and began to guide her head. He closed his eyes as he was drawn into his private, secret place. Max let Bane control her movements and relaxed her jaw so she could handle as much of him as she could. She caressed his testicles and the guttural sounds he emitted, distorted by the breathing apparatus, were downright sexy.
He increased the speed; at which point she resumed control, lest he jackhammer the back of her throat. Bane was strong and Max wasn’t interested in a damaged uvula. She slid her fingers up and down, matching the rhythm of her jaws and lips, moving faster and faster. Then, just to be raunchy, she stopped and spit on his dick. Then she resumed, increasing the pace while kneading his balls until they were hard and tight. His hips moved in time and Max asked him where he wanted to come. It clearly didn’t matter to him, as he didn’t respond, and so she lifted her shirt and cradled him in her tits. Shortly afterwards, he came all over her chest, gripping her hair so tight that she thought that he was going to rip out a chunk.
“Ease up,” she said, careful not to move her head. “Ease up, Bane…you have my hair in a death grip and I’m not trying to be bald. Let go of my hair, please.”
“Max,” he finally said as his grip on her hair loosened.
She smiled at him and folded her arms across his abdominals before resting her chin on them. “Do you feel better now?”
“I should make you do this every morning.”
“Big talker. Unfortunately, darling, you are in no position to return the favor. You need that.” She motioned towards his breathing apparatus. “Unless, of course, your idea of a beautiful death is to go out with my pussy in your mouth. There are far less enjoyable ways to die. I’m game if you are.”
He took a big pull on his anesthesia. Max kissed his navel and got up.
“Where are you going?”
She gestured towards her chest, shiny with his semen. “You came all over my boobs. I have to take a shower. Take a nap or something. After this,” she gestured again, “you can’t be much good for anything else.”
Max walked out of the lab. Bane watched her go and then abruptly got up, tucked and zipped, and then followed.
2 She had her head resting on her folded arms as he adjusted the new mask before attaching the new gas cartridges to it. He was very careful in making sure the tube in his neck was secured to the one in the back of the microfiber cap. Then he turned on the gas. Max wanted him to do it all on his own.
Bane looked at her. “So?”
“Two minutes. Pretty good. The good thing about this rendition is that you don’t have to remove the entire faceplate to clean the gas tubes. They can be removed individually to be cleaned. And when you actually have time for some real maintenance, then you can scrub the inside of the faceplate. I’d hate for your handsome visage to go to rot.”
“You really think I’m handsome.”
“I do believe I told you this before.”
“In spite of my scars.”
“I kiss them every time we have sex, don’t I? If I found you repulsive, Bane, you would have never gotten any pussy, trust and believe. Don’t be stupid. Besides, do you find my scars off-putting?”
“Of course not.” He couldn’t say that she wouldn’t have gotten any sex from him even if he did think so. Bane was a complex man with simple needs, and nothing as superficial as scars was going to keep him from getting what he desired. Especially something he enjoyed, and he enjoyed the hell out of Max’s considerable charms.
“So again, take care of your mask and your face. You’re already going to have one hell of a tan-line.”
Bane dialed down the amount of anesthetic he was receiving. “I want you to give me Kirrah.”
“I want a chemical weapon. I want Kirrah.”
“Why, Bane? Kirrah’s dangerous.”
“Bane, I don’t know. Kirrah’s very special.”
“I know that I will have a use for her in the near future.”
Max bit her lip. “Let me think about it. What are you willing to do in exchange for her?”
“What do you want?”
Max sighed. “You know, other than the pleasure of your company, there isn’t anything you can give me in return. You have nothing other than what I’ve given you so far.”
“I don’t need her right now, but if I contacted you later and asked for her?”
“I told you, I don’t know. You need to be absolutely sure that you want her, Bane. And you absolutely can’t let her get into the hands of your enemy. She’s mine.”
“She will stay with me at all times, Max. I will protect her the same way I do my injections.”
Max nodded. “I need to think about it, Bane.”
“I don’t want you making anything else. I want Kirrah, and I want both versions of her.”
“No,” she said. “Pick one. You can’t have both. And you’re assuming that I’m going to give it to you.”
“Which would you choose?”
“It depends on the objective. If I want to be a malicious bitch, I’d use the version that requires ingestion so I could watch my enemy die. If I can’t get to said enemy, then I’d have a package sent to them. I guess I’m being a malicious bitch either way.”
Bane stared at her, suddenly hard. Max was irresistible when she was ruthless. It was a quality he found highly appealing. He wondered what she’d be like if she decided to join his cause. She was definitely correct in that she’d be constantly by his side, and that they would continue having sex. Of that, there was no question, and she was even more right when she said that he didn’t give a damn about what his soldiers thought about it.
“You need to think about it,” Max said. “But I don’t want to talk about it anymore while you’re here.”
“That’s fine. I have something else I’d rather discuss with you.”
She eyed him. “What?”
He stood up and grabbed her, tossing her carelessly over his shoulder. Max couldn’t help it; she started laughing. Bane was just so abrupt. On him, it had become an enduring characteristic. She wouldn’t tolerate it from anyone else. “What brought this on? I haven’t done anything to warrant this kind of treatment!”
“You don’t have to do anything in particular to get a rise out of me.”
“Is that what my foot just bumped? Ten seconds ago, we were talking about chemical weapons and now you want some pussy. You just can’t seem to focus, can you?”
“I’m very focused, in case you haven’t noticed.” He walked upstairs. Erik was cleaning up in the living room when Bane strolled past him with Max hanging off his broad back like a sack of potatoes.
Max looked at Erik as Bane headed towards her bedroom. “You may as well take the rest of the day off. I won’t be needing you anytime soon.”
3 In time, he was healed and everything worked perfectly. Max handed him a large backpack that contained a change of clothes, a jump drive, a disposable cell phone and any other things she thought he would need on his journey back to Nepal. She also gave him a wad of ready cash and admonished him to take care of his mask and his drugs. Then she gave him the keys to her Ducati. She sent Erik out earlier that week to get a bigger helmet and jacket, as her own was far too small for Bane.
“Thank you, Max,” he said as he got on the motorcycle. “You didn’t have to do any of this and I do appreciate you taking me in when I was down. You gave me what I needed when I wasn’t exactly sure what that was.”
Max shrugged. “You’re welcome. Show me that you appreciate it by taking care of yourself.”
He nodded. “I’ll do that. And I’ll be back for Kirrah in due time.”
“You’d better call first.”
There was an awkward moment. Max was sad to see him go, but it was time. She reached out and ran her fingers over his faceplate. Then she leaned forward and pressed a kiss against his forehead. She gave him a proper send off earlier that day, first with the mask on and then with it off.
“Goodbye, my friend,” she said, stepping back.
“Goodbye,” he said, starting the Ducati. Bane looked at her for a very long moment before he put the helmet on. Max stood with her arms folded, her mass of hair blowing in the breeze. He would never forget her, but he meant it when he said he would return for Kirrah.
She gave a wave of her fingers, a smile on her face. “Take care.” Then she took several steps back and opened the garage door. Bane gunned the engine and just before pulling out, he looked back at her. Max waved again.
Then he took off. Max closed the door and went back inside the house.
Epilogue He actually did something she asked of him, for once. Bane contacted her to ask for Kirrah. Max asked him where he was, because it wasn’t something that could be shipped without people asking questions. He told her that he was in Tibet, and that he could be there in a few days. She told him to come on by; that she would have it ready. Bane didn’t question what made her decide to give him the poison.
When he arrived, she looked just as beautiful as she had when he last saw her and she was still as soft as he remembered. Max hugged him and kissed his forehead, pleased to see the mask was still intact. It had been almost two years. If possible, he had gotten bigger.
“I see you’ve been taking care of yourself.”
“The mask is very efficient. I told you that your work is unparalleled.”
“Follow me to the lab. I have what you need. I hope you’re ready for this, Bane.”
“I wouldn’t have contacted you otherwise, Max. I know how you feel about it.”
As they walked down the stairs, she paused and looked at him. “Where the hell is my motorcycle?”
“I crashed it.”
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “You just couldn’t do right by me, could you?”
“I’m not sure why you expected any different.”
Max unlocked her lab once they were downstairs. “Where are you going when you leave here?”
“Hmmm. I see you didn’t come alone.” He arrived in a truck, and there were others with him.
“Don’t worry. They will not speak of this place. You have my word.” His men were loyal fanatics and would die before talking.
“You better make sure, Bane. You know I don’t have visitors.”
Max unlocked her floor safe and extricated a silver briefcase. She unlocked the briefcase and revealed two large glass containers. One looked empty; the other was filled with a clear liquid.
“You’d better be certain about this, Bane. Be careful with her, and don’t use her unless you mean it.”
“I’m sure about this, Max.”
Max nodded and locked the briefcase again. “Passcode is 112212.” She handed it to him.
Bane nodded and looked at her for a very long moment. “You look well.”
“I am. Come on, let’s go back upstairs.”
He followed her, openly staring at her ass. The thought occurred to him that if she was willing, he was definitely able. He hadn’t been with anybody since leaving her last year; there was far too much to do. But he definitely had memories to sustain him. Bane wondered how he would broach the subject.
His men would wait.
“Are you still selling your drugs?”
“No. I stopped. Would you believe I actually went straight?”
Max went into the kitchen, ignoring the look in Bane’s eyes. “Yes, I did. I’m actually doing legitimate research now, publishing and everything. Of course, it doesn’t pay nearly as well as my last gig, but that’s okay. I’ve got plenty of money.”
She leaned against the wall, unscrewing a bottle of water. “Surprised?”
“What name are you working under? I would like to read your research.”
Max chuckled and took a swig. “Nice try, darling.”
A moment passed and Bane shifted the briefcase to his other hand. “Come with me, Max.”
She stared at him, her expression tender. “I told you I couldn’t do that.”
“You also said you might change your mind if I caught you on the wrong day.”
“That won’t happen,” she said. “Things are different now.”
Max smiled. It was so wide and so bright that he had no choice but to question it.
“What’s going on, Max?”
She beamed. “I’m in love.”
“You heard me, Bane. I’m in love. I’ve got a new life, a new man, and I’m really not trying to leave him for you. Don’t get me wrong, he absolutely can’t fuck me as well as you can, but I’m not with him for his dick. And before you ask, I’m not with him for his money, either. He’s as broke as you are.” She corrected herself. “Were, unless you’ve spent the two million I gave you.”
Bane stared at her. For the first time in his life, he was caught completely by surprise. He didn’t know what to think. Max had a boyfriend. He shouldn’t have been surprised, for she was a very desirable woman. But he was.
“I see you’re shocked by this.”
“I admit, I didn’t see it coming. I thought that you don’t have strange men over.”
“Well, I did it for you and it turned out rather well. So I tried again and hit the jackpot.”
“Max…” He really didn’t know what to say.
“You want to meet him? He’s here.”
Bane stared at her. “What?”
“Would you like to meet him? His name is Kyle and he actually knows all about you.”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea, Max.” He certainly didn’t come here to meet Max’s new lover.
“Don’t be a pussy, Bane. It doesn’t become you. Come on. Kyle would get a kick out of meeting you.”
Max walked to her spare bedroom, waving for Bane to follow her. When he entered the room he once slept in, he couldn’t process everything at first. Again, he felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under him. The room had been converted into a nursery. Bane swallowed, completely at a loss for words. Max leaned over the bed and picked up a baby. She turned to look at him. “Bane, this is the love of my life. Meet Kyle, my son.”
Max stared at him as she rubbed the baby’s back. The look in Bane’s eyes was one she’d never seen before.
“I thought you couldn’t have any more children.” Everything he thought he knew about Max had been turned upside down and inside out. She was holding a child and claiming it to be hers. “I thought there was too much damage.”
“So did I. Imagine my surprise when I started feeling poorly and my OB-GYN tells me that I’m pregnant. In spite of the uterine damage and my age, this little guy found a safe place to hide and held on for dear life. I spent the last six weeks of my pregnancy lying on my side to save him, and even with that, he was two months’ premature.”
Bane just stared. He literally couldn’t do anything else. All he could see was Max holding her child and glowing from the inside out. She had never looked lovelier than she did right then. Then he realized that her breasts were huge. How had he missed that, especially since he knew them so intimately? She was obviously nursing.
“I see you’re having a bit of trouble with this. Let me explain. I was wrong, Bane. I was so wrong. I didn’t think there was a way you could ever repay me for taking care of you. But you did. Kyle is yours. I started having morning sickness shortly after you left. In the process of trying to get you back on your feet and give you what you needed to survive, you also gave me what I needed. You gave me a child.”
Bane took two steps back, feeling like he’d just been hit over the head. He reached up and adjusted the dials on his mask. He needed his anesthetic and he needed it now. Nothing had ever prepared him for this. He had fathered a child with a woman whose name he did not know. But he recalled that he and Max never used any form of protection, and like she’d said, babies were a side effect of fucking. They’d done plenty of that during the time he spent with her.
Max laughed. “Bane, I have no illusions; I’m too old for that shit. You would have never known about him had you not come back. I wasn’t going to tell you. Kyle is mine. You’re his father and I thank you for giving him to me. But let’s be real about this. I don’t need your help; I can raise him all by myself. He won’t want for anything and you know that I would give up everything for him. I even plan on leaving Macau when he’s old enough to travel because I don’t want even a smidgen of my old life touching a single hair on my sweet little baby’s head. I don’t need anything from you and we never have to speak again once you leave here.”
The only question Bane could think to ask was, “Where will you go?”
“Europe. I’ll settle in Spain, Greece or Italy; I haven’t decided. There are so many things to consider now that I’m a mother. I want the best for my son. We’ll be all right. I don’t know how to break it to you, Bane, but you’re simply not Daddy material.”
He cocked his head to one side and stared at Max. Max stared back, a small smile on her face. “Do you want to hold him? I know that you know how to hold a child, or at least you did.”
Bane put down the briefcase and held out his arms, as if being guided by something other. Max walked over to him and handed him the little boy. He pulled the child close and studied him. The baby stared back at him calmly.
“Hm,” Max said. “Apparently you don’t scare him. That’s interesting.” She was sure the baby was going to shit himself in terror upon laying eyes on his father.
“He’s my son,” Bane said. “I can’t believe this.” He was actually holding his progeny. “I expected a lot of things from the life I lead, but fatherhood wasn’t one of them.”
The baby actually reached out to try and touch Bane’s mask. Max’s heart leapt. “He’s such a wonderful little guy. He sleeps through the night and he’s a very peaceful soul. But he’s greedy as hell.” She grinned. “He reminds me of his father.”
Bane kept looking at the baby. “He’s my son.” It was as if he couldn’t say anything else.
Max snorted. “It’s ridiculous because he has your eyes, your cheeks, your nose, your chin, your hands and your feet. He has your lips. He’s even going to be big like you. I swear, if I didn’t know I was the one lying on the table giving birth to him, I wouldn’t believe he was mine. But he is. Kyle’s all mine, but he looks like you. Maybe I’ll see more of me when he gets older, unless you have those super-dominant genes.”
Bane examined the cooing, kicking baby. She was right. He could see himself in Kyle’s features.
Max snorted again. “But you can best believe he won’t inherit your ability to be indelicate and your other less than stellar qualities.”
He was thoughtful. “I didn’t think that…I never thought that…”
Max put a hand on Bane’s shoulder. “I stare at my precious little boy and I can’t help but remember all that happened between us, even the night we made him. I’ll cherish those days. So as you can see, Bane, I’ll never be able to forget you, and I don’t want to. But I don’t think we should see each other again.”
“How do you expect me to forget about this, Max?” He wouldn’t be able to, no matter what happened next. While he was out instigating anarchy and planning mayhem, his son would be walking around somewhere on this earth wondering who he was.
“You’ve got a revolution scheduled, remember? You’re building an army and you’re eventually going to get to your destination and get up to some next-level fuckery. You might even get yourself killed. The only reason why I gave you Kirrah is because you gave me Kyle. I have grown a conscience since we last spoke; right around the time I realized I was pregnant. So I admonish you: don’t use her unless you’re absolutely sure.”
He nodded. The baby squirmed, farted, and let out a cry. Max took him away and rubbed his back while Bane stared at the child. He had to admit; the baby was beautiful.
“What are you going to tell him?”
“That you died shortly after he was born. It’s best this way. I can’t have anything touching Kyle, especially the chaos you plan to cause. You need to understand that. I love him way too much to have him tainted by what you’re doing. I’d better walk you out now,” she said. “He’s hungry and I have to nurse him.”
Bane looked at her as he picked up the briefcase. He wasn’t sure how he felt upon hearing her casual explanation. “Max, I don’t know what to say.”
“You can say whatever you want. Just be truthful. I know you’re not thinking anything other than I’m right.”
“You are right,” he said. “I can’t be a father to him. I just feel like I’ve been gut-punched.” To know that there was a pure, innocent version of himself that existed; a part untouched by prison or pain or hell or darkness…it was a lot to take in. He would have a lot to think about on the road to Africa.
“Yeah, well…in that you’re no different from a lot of men when they hear the news that they have to get a damn job with medical coverage, insurance benefits and shit like that. At least I’m not taking your ass to court.”
“You will take care,” he said as they reached the front door. “You will take the utmost care.”
Max nodded. “Of course I will. You know what this baby means to me.” She opened the door. “Goodbye, my friend. For real this time.”
Bane nodded. Then he ran a finger over Kyle’s head. “Goodbye, little one.” The baby squalled and farted once more while kicking his legs and waving a fat fist in the air.
Max gazed at her son, adoration making her radiant. Then she put an arm around Bane’s neck and pulled him close. She pressed a kiss against the upper set of tubes on his faceplate and then one against the lower set. Then she kissed both his cheeks and his forehead. “Thank you.”