Oh so short piece inspired by Love Actually and the award winning Emma Thompson.

In my place.

"What would you do in my place, Max?"

Max spun around in surprise to see Alec standing by her locker with a look on his face that scared her.

It was late at Jam Pony and everyone had already gone home. Max had been given one last run to do by Normal and she'd forgotten her pager so she'd made the trek back to the almost totally empty building. Or so she'd thought.

"Alec?"

He swallowed and Max could see pain in his face that she hadn't seen since he had told her about Rachel, that night that she had confessed about Ben. His mask of "always all right" had vanished leaving a lost little boy with the pain of a man.

Max didn't know what to say as the haunted look etched shadows into his handsome face.

"What would you do in my place?" he repeated and Max turned to face him fully, closing her locker.

"What are you talking about? Are you okay?"

She was worried about him. She'd never heard his voice sound like this before, so totally lost and alone. It hurt her.

He took a deep breath as if to fortify himself and let it out so slowly she could see his chest deflate and along with it came his pain.

"What would do if you woke up one day and realised that the woman who hated you, the woman who thought that your every breath was a mistake, was the one woman that you couldn't live without?"

Max couldn't breathe. She had no idea what to say to that. Alec pinned her with his intense eyes and carried on.

"Would you tell her, knowing that she'd laugh in your face; knowing that there was no chance that you could ever be together? Would you stay and watch her with a man who only used her and made her unhappy, would you stay knowing that your life would always be that much worse?" He took a deep breath as if the next phrase was painful to him, "Or would you cut your losses and run. Leave her and go somewhere far away where she'd be just a memory?"

Max quivered at the intensity on his face. The idea of him leaving scared her and shook her to her core. He couldn't leave. He couldn't go.

"What would you do in my place, Max?"