Disclaimer: I don't own Dark Angel. Believe me, I wish I did…

NB: After Freak Nation. Max and Alec are NOT together at the moment, but Max and Logan have (finally) agreed that nothing can ever happen between them and that they need to move on. So other than that… enjoy (and review, please!! I have some more to come but I wont bother if no one reads it…)

"Max?" Alec called out as he knocked on the door.

            "Uh-huh? Come in!" she called back. He entered tentatively. He stood at the edge of the room nervously. Max glanced up, then sighed. "Ok, what's up?" Alec laughed shortly. Max always knew how to read him.

            "It's just… Max… I have to leave. I got word from some friends…. They need help."

            "Yeah, cool. For how long?" Max said brightly.

            "That's the thing. I think, maybe… for good." Max stiffened.

            "Like… forever?" Even Max herself didn't quite understand the strain on her voice.

            "Max, I know there's a lot going on here at the moment… But…"

            "That's fine. You sound like you're asking my permission. Why'd you do that? Just go." She said it all very quickly, and set about tidying her already military neat room.

            "Max…" He sighed.

            "What?" she snapped.

            "I don't mean to…"

            "When do you leave?" She said quieter, refusing to face him.

            "Tomorrow morning. Max, I'm sorry. I wouldn't go if I didn't have to."

            "I know." She said in barely more than a whisper.

            "If there was anything I could do…"

            "Just…" Max gasped. Alec frowned a little… was Max crying?

            "Max… I don't want to…."

            "Then don't." She breathed turning around. "Don't leave."

            "I have to." He said, coming to her. He instinctively reached out, trying to comfort her, a little confused. "I didn't think that you would take it like this."

            " I didn't." Max snapped, turning away and wiping the tears from her eyes. "I don't know what you're talking about." Alec breathed a laugh.

            "I'm sorry, ok?" She didn't answer, and refused to turn round, so he sighed, said, "Bye then." And walked out. Max spun as soon as he was gone.  She hesitated, then strode after him into the deserted hall.

            "Alec!" she exclaimed. He turned to her, frowning slightly. "Alec… I just… I …" She stood right before him, and couldn't say another word. He sighed, and turned to leave once more. Max grabbed his arm, spinning him back, their lips meeting immediately. Max wrapped her arms around his neck. Alec held her close, and they stumbled back towards Max's room, their lips never parting. The door swung closed behind them.

            Max awoke slowly, and smiled, remembering the previous night. She stretched out without opening her eyes, and found the other side of the bed empty. Max's eyes snapped open. She leapt from the bed, bundling the sheet around her. But Alec was nowhere to be seen. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a folded piece of paper on the chair by her bed. She picked it up, and read:

Max,

            I'm long gone- don't try to follow. I'm hopeless at good byes. Take care of yourself, Max. I really am sorry.

            Yours, Alec.

The ink ran with Max's tears as she slid down to the floor. She didn't even bother to run outside in an attempt to catch him- if he said he was long gone, then he would be.

A few hours later, Max had pulled her self together, taken a cold shower, and restored her room to a state that would have made Lydecker proud. She dressed, and taking a deep breath, headed out into the corridor that lead to the control room of terminal city. Of course she still had her room with Cindy, but as she often had to spend late nights working on things here, it was easier to have somewhere to crash in TC too.

Max marched into the control room, to find Mole and several others already at work with computers, weapons, and other necessary business.

"Wha's up guys?" she asked, startling even Mole.

"Shit Max, do you always have to do that sneaky cat-silent crap?" Dix exclaimed, "Gives me the wiggins."

"Sorry." Max murmured, "So…? Any news?" She asked Mole.

"Nope. The 'guard aren't movin'; No one listens to Clemente…" Max tried to say something, but Mole continued, with an expression that said, I know, I know. "… Who, I agree, does seem to be giving us a chance, ok?" Max seemed satisfied. "So basically there ain't anythin' new. Sorry Max. It don't look like this is gonna get better any time soon. An' it doesn't help Alec leavin' either, I tell you that. I really can't believe him, y'know? He knows how difficult shit is around here, and…"

"Leave him out of it. He's gone. He said he had to go, but whether he had a choice or not, he's gone and its that simple." Max rapped out. Mole seemed very put out, and wasn't the only one that wondered how long the yelling had gone on between her and Alec the night before. They'd all cleared out very quickly the moment they saw Alec head towards her room. Max glanced around, and decided she couldn't take those awkward looks much longer. She didn't want to lose her temper, so she mumbled, "I gotta jet." And left.

She was half way to JamPony, (in the sewers) before she remembered that it still wasn't safe to go to work. Normal was now sympathetic to the cause, but the cops, and most of  Seattle still weren't, so she, Alec, and the other transgenic employees had been forced to keep their distance. Still, it was never the less useful to have friends and contacts in a messenger service. It made getting supplies without drawing attention much easier. Max paused, unsure where to go. She considered the space needle, but the idea was quashed by the fact that it was daytime, and the last thing she needed was headlines of 'Trannies seek refuge on old time tourist site', or 'Nutter on the needle'. She allowed herself a grim smile at these and headed instead for her and Cindy's apartment, hoping beyond hope that if for some reason Cindy was home, she wouldn't be able to read Max's mood as she often could.

Max crept into the apartment, and found it empty. She breathed a sigh of relief and set some water to boil for coffee. Then she fished out the laptop she recently acquired in order to work from home. She set it up and entered the various passwords that gave her access to all reports of anything transgenic to reach the eyes only informant net, whether from eyes only supporters or just news reports. Logan had helped her set this up so that she could see them easily, instead of having to go through him every time. Max made her coffee and settled down in front of the large number of new files that had just made their presence known. She opened the first, which was a tabloid headline, reading,

TRANSGENICS: FRIEND OR FOE?

Max raised her eyebrows, that was a step in the right direction, surely? She found that the article did put forward some valid points in their favour, stating many things Max had been trying to communicate for several months. This included the fact that the police had declared that Joshua had been clear of the sewers long before the time the coroner placed Annie's time of death, as well as the fact that the police had truly attacked first in the original public display of 'transgenic brutality' that White had set up. Of course Logan had tried to convey these points many times, but those opposed to transgenics had taken to ignoring eyes only long ago. However when written in a popular tabloid, it was possible more people could listen. Max scanned the rest of the article, eager to see who had written it. But the name was not familiar. Max had for a fleeting moment thought that perhaps it had been Sketchy, but she knew he didn't work for this paper, so that had been ridiculous. This was by a 'Betty Clurra'. Max did not know the name, but it gave her an odd feeling of recognition all the same. She frowned, and saved the document in a file to go over again before moving on.