The Seige had lifted.

Everyone was free to do whatever they wanted.

But what was there?

Listless, Max made her leg muscles carry her to the top of the Space Needle.

It was over, the humans wouldn't fight them. There was no need.

All the people below her that had once made her feel so normal now shut her out. The fundemental difference between them driving a wedge that could never be undone.

Whatever they did, she could only see through eyes pierced with the clarity of foresight. Were they dancing? Celebrating? Watching TV or bitching at their next door neighbor?

She had never truly felt like part of them, but once, she had pretended.

It felt like a long time ago, when life was an adventure.

But now all she could feel was drained.

It was over.

Laying down, she closed her eyes to the future, feeling the wind against her cheek and pretending, for that moment.

He made no effort to be quiet and she heard his approach immediately.

"Not out getting laid?" she asked, not bothering to open her eyes.

"Not yet," Alec's rakish voice echoed back to her and she sighed.

It wouldn't disappear, none of it.

She heard him sit next to her and cracked an eye open.

"You don't have to do this," she whispered. "Use your time for you, don't worry about me."

"What, me?" he smiled, "I love the space needle."

Max snorted, pushing herself up to sit next to him. "I can't believe it's real."

He pulled her into his side and she went willingly, soaking his warmth and leaning against him.

"I knew all our research was for a good reason," he smiled into her hair.

"I didn't want to know," she whispered.

"Me neither. At least it stopped the siege. We aren't being hunted."

"Manticore did that job for them."

Tears welled in her eyes and she sat back from him, rubbing her eyes angrily.

"So what will you do?" he asked with a smile.

"Stay here, be with my family. Try to find my brothers and sisters," she shrugged. "What about you?"

"Try to change my life," he smiled.

"How so?" Max frowned.

"I want to be think it is possible?"

"Aren't you always?" she asked.


They sat in silence.

"What's one thing that would make you happy for the rest of your life, Maxie?"

Max shrugged helplessly, she had no idea.

"Really? Million dollars...cure to the virus?"

The virus. When was the last time she'd thought about that? Or Logan, for that matter.

"A brand new start," she finally whispered. "Or a solution to this whole problem," she shrugged.

"What would you do if you had a week to live?" Alec looked her in the eye as he spoke.

She swallowed, "We have a year."

Alec shrugged, "What difference does it make, ultimately? A week, a month, a year, five years? That's all we have. What are you going to do differently without seventy years stretched out in front of you?"

"I don't know," she murmured. "What about you?"

"Enjoy the year," he smiled.

"Aren't you mad? They knew what they were DOING when they built us like this, knew we would only live a fourth as long as humans. I've spent my whole life running and now I just have a year, one year."

"Max, you have a year. A full year with nothing holding you back. Look around you, some people will never appreciate freedom as acutely as we do now. We can go out in the street tomorrow and announce that we're transgenic and no one can do anything. If they built us like an energizer battery, they'd be bombing us right now."

Max shook her head, "So it was a lose-lose situation for us?"

"No, we won."

"We're dying."

Alec chuckled, "I guess I never expected to survive this year, let alone the next one."

"What is the most important thing you have to do this year?" Max asked, curious.

"I want to be with you, Max."

Her heart stopped and her stomach fluttered wildly.


"I know you think you want to be with Logan, but I also know there's something between us. Every day I wanted you to come to your senses and realize how perfect we'd be together, but I can't wait for you anymore, we don't have time."

Her breathing was erratic and she couldn't speak. He took her hand and looked into her eyes.

"Come with me, Max. We can be together for a year, the rest of our lives. It might not be as long as most people get, but it is more than I ever thought I'd have the chance at."

Alec kissed her hand and she thought if he let go, she'd fall off the space needle.

He waited and if he was hoping for some kind of indication from her, he would have to wait until her vocal cords worked again.

"Look, if you really love Logan, you should spend this time with him, virus or not...but if you don't, if I'm right about the pull between us, don't throw it away. This is our chance to be happy. Not everyone gets that."

He watched her as she tried to speak, tried to convey even one of the riot of thoughts running through her mind.

Finally, he sighed, rising to his feet.

"Alec!" she cried, fear loosening her tongue as she pulled him back to her side.

"Yeah?" His eyes searched her face and she swallowed.

One year.

Daring to be happy...

Could she do it? Could they?

"You can tell me tomorrow, Max. It's just a day..." he added quickly, looking scared.

"No," her voice trailed off and for the first time that evening, she was excited. They had a year.

"Well, I had to try," he was saying, trying to extricate himself from her.

"What?" her eyes widened, "Not 'No, I won't do it'...I meant, 'No, I don't need to waste a day," she smiled, squeezing his hand.

His eyes closed in relief. "I love you."

Max bit her lip, "You know, a year won't be enough time."

Alec nodded, "But what would be?"