By Allegra

See part 1 for disclaimers etc.

AUTHOR'S NOTE : I have to give my profuse apologies for the way I ended this story. I know there are some people who are unhappy with it and I guess it is a bit of a cop-out after you've stayed with this for sooooo long. I think my DA streak finally died and, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't resurrect Alec enough to do him justice anymore. I think Dean Winchester has just sucked me in too much now! So, I am apologising and hoping that it will be enough that I managed to finish at all, rather than leave the story to die! I promise the next thing I write will have a much firmer deadline for myself so this doesn't happen again!

Perhaps to appease a small portion of my own guilt about winding 'Make Me Mad' up so fast, here's a tiny epilogue for anyone who might still be interested!

On a nicer note though, Hilz72 took up the mantle and has offered a story about Alec's long road to recovery in a sequel called 'Make Me Mad 2' which is here at So, check her out if you'd like a different continuation.

Crash was heaving with bodies, the smell of sweat mingling in the air with cigarette smoke and the reek of alcohol. Max had been there for three hours already and, even in her hardened state, was starting to feel the worse for wear after a few too many beers. But one thing kept her sober, or one person at least. He was conspicuous in his absence, although the trauma of the past few months was making it a more normal occurrence with each passing day.

Alec used to be an elusive creature, popping up late for work, if at all, huddling in some corner with his latest victim, intent on the most recent scam to enter his head. Max had despaired of him then, but never more than she did now. He was all too easily found these days, holed up in his musty apartment, rarely going out. His smile was an occasional flash but it never lasted and even Joshua was struggling to find ways to keep his spirits up. Barely a day had passed without some medical test to be taken and it was wearing the young transgenic down.

Max wished there was something she could do but her words sounded hollow and empty, devoid of real meaning. It felt like Alec was sinking away from her and, no matter how far she reached down to pull him out, the quagmire dragged him further.

Muttering a word of excuse to Original Cindy, Max grabbed her jacket and stepped out into the fresh, damp Seattle night. She walked the streets slowly, barely noticing how her footsteps led her in one direction alone A dim flicker of electric light registered a few floors up in the derelict apartment block and Max drew her jacket tighter around her as she made her way up the staircase. Already knowing she would receive no answer, Max knocked on the door. "Alec? You home?" No answer. "It's Max." Still no answer. "I'm coming in." She pushed the door open. Part of her hated the fact that her friend left himself so vulnerable to attack but, without his lack of security, she would be unable to check up on him either.

The hallway was dark but the feeble light ahead showed her the way. Alec was slumped in the battered, leather chair he always frequented. The television was on low, the picture fuzzy and distorted. In days gone by, this scene would have still been familiar, but the figure in the chair would have been several pounds heavier with a bag of chips in his hand, commenting constantly on every action unfolding on the TV. Now, as Max neared him, she could see that Alec was asleep. His face was drawn and haggard, a mere shadow of his former self. The delicate skin around his eyes was dark, red-rimmed with fatigue. Max leaned forward and rested one hand over his. "Alec?"

His eyelids fluttered then opened, hazel green eyes locking onto her own. "Hey," she smiled, hoping to transfer some of the warmth she felt into his cold body. "Been watching too many Oprah reruns again?" she quipped.

Alec smiled weakly. "Guess so." He pulled himself upright in the chair and looked out of the window. "It's dark. Man, I must have been sleeping a while." He caught Max's concerned gaze and ran one hand through his hair. "Don't give me that look, Max. What did you want?"

"I'm not looking at you like anything!" she protested. "I just wanted to check on you. You said you were coming to Crash but you never showed."

"I never said I was coming. I said I might come. There's a difference." Alec levelled an accusatory look. He knew Max had heard well enough the first time. She was trying to guilt him into going out for the night. "I'm just…"

"…not ready," Max finished for him. She regretted her words the instant they left her lips. She couldn't even begin to fathom how hard the past months had been on Alec and now she was getting snappy about one night at Crash. "I'm sorry," she added, weakly.

"It's okay," Alec shrugged. "I know I've been a drag, Max. Hell, I get on my own nerves some days."

"It's fine. We'll get through this eventually," Max tried to sound reassuring, despite the fact that, right now, she couldn't imagine things ever being the same again. For a few minutes, silence filled the space between them, the muffled television voices only amplifying their loss of words.

"Listen, Max. There's something I wanted to say." Alec idly examined his fingers, bluntly refusing to meet her gaze. "Today Muir ran his last test. He said I was in the clear, that he had done everything he could…"

"That's great!" Max grinned. "So no more needles. You must be thrilled."

"Yeah, I am."

"But…?" Max could sense a 'but' a mile away.

Finally, Alec looked at her. "I can't just flick a switch overnight, Max, and go back to being the person I was. Hell, I don't even know that person!" His voice crescendo-ed and fell, suddenly aware of how defensive he was already sounding. "I need some space, Max." Her mouth opened and closed but Alec continued, "I know that's probably not what you want to hear, but it's the truth of it. There's nothing medically wrong with me, no more drugs I need to take or try to stop taking. I just need time to find out who I really am again."

Max nodded, wishing she understood better but knowing Alec's words came from the heart. "Okay," she managed, biting back the desperate question of how long he was going to need. How long is a piece of string?

"I'm leaving Seattle, gonna take a road trip or something, just get away from…all this." He looked around at the damp walls and scuzzy furniture. Already reading Max's mind, he added, "Don't worry. I'll be careful…and I will be back."

Max nodded again, "Sure you will. Us brothers and sisters have got to stick together, right?" She playfully punched Alec's knee.

"Exactly." Alec swallowed then leaned close to Max. "I owe you everything, Max. I know I owe you my life. I won't forget that."

"Don't, Alec. Don't hold this over us. It's over. You need the space to clear your mind, I get that. Just promise me that you won't bring it back as a debt to pay. We're good." She pressed her hands into his, willing him to believe her. Then, in a gesture she never dreamed she would make, she ran one hand lightly over Alec's cavernous cheek. "Just stay in touch, okay?"

"Always," he replied, hoarsely.

Max swept the briefest of kisses across his brow and stood up, hastily chasing away the awkwardness of her actions. She knew the moment had passed and that it was time to go but she needed to look into those hazel green eyes one more time. She needed to believe she would look into them again one day and that the person reflected back would no longer be haunted.

"Bye, Alec."

THE END – for real!