Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue. The song is Gavin DeGraw's 'Just Friends' and it belongs to him.

Just Friends

By Lyra

The door felt cold and solid behind her, giving her the strength she lacked at the moment. Every time she crossed that door leaving him behind became that much harder. For a while all she could do was repeat over and over in her mind all the reasons why she had to keep going.

Finally her legs listened to her brain and she started moving away. One step, then another and another. Her body felt cooler with each one, like it missed his heat.

Lost in her feeling of loss she reached her bike without noticing. Her body knew the drill, but her mind was stuck beyond that door.

As if on autopilot, her bike took her to her destination. She got off the bike and struggled to make herself move, to make her legs start walking again. One step, then another and another. When she reached the door she stopped. Leaning her forehead on the wooden frame she repeated in her mind over and over again why she had to go through with this. Taking a deep breath she turned the knob.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Logan was standing in the middle of the living room, dark circles around his eyes, faint stubble shadowing his features, crumpled clothes, a glass of alcohol in his hand.

"Took you long enough."

Max was startled out of her jumbled thoughts upon hearing his voice. She focused on the man in front of her. Her eyes roamed his figure, never quite meeting his.

"You're up early." She said, feigning nonchalance, pretending she didn't know he hadn't been able to sleep at all.

Logan's snort was his only reply to that. There was no point in calling her on her lie. They both knew it.

"Heard the bike stop ten minutes ago." He insisted. He was determined to not look the other way again. It hadn't helped him before. It wouldn't help this time either.

He could still remember the first time they'd had this conversation some months ago, and what had brought it on…

Logan sat in his car, parked a block away from her building, waiting for her to come home so they could talk. He had called her that morning and she said she would stop by his place tomorrow but Logan just couldn't wait that long. He craved her, her presence, her company, he craved them.

He saw movement up ahead and focused his gaze on Max's entrance. And his breath left him in a rush, as if he'd been kicked in the gut.

They were standing in front of her building, both clothed in black, blending perfectly with the night. They were talking in hushed tones that Logan couldn't make out in the still of the night because he wasn't one of them.

Max smiled at something he told her and playfully smacked him upside the head. Logan had seen her do that thousands of times but it had never made him feel like this before.

Maybe because she'd never lowered her hand tenderly brushing his chest before, nor rested her hand over his heart while he smiled sincerely at her. No egotistical smirk in sight. He raised his hand to her face, pushing a stray lock of dark hair behind her ear.

It felt like a lifetime to Logan before Max stepped away from him and entered her building, a last look and a sweet smile over her shoulder for the one she left behind. For him. For someone other than Logan.

He'd gone home after that, not feeling up to talk to her any longer. And when she stopped by the next morning he asked her about it, after a long sleepless night of debating whether to mention it or not.

I saw you there last night

Standing in the dark

You were acting so in love

With your hand upon his heart

Something had flashed in her eyes for just an instant, but she was too good at masking her feelings and her thoughts. Too good for him to read her, and he couldn't make out if it had been guilt at being caught or anger at being doubted. She had denied the whole thing, saying in an affronted tone that they were just friends.

But you were just friends

At least that's what you said

Now I know better from his fingers in your hair

I forgive you for what you've done

If you say that I'm the one

She had sounded so vehement, so sure, so shocked at the idea that he had felt bad for even thinking about it, for doubting her. He'd believed her.

But not anymore.

"Max?" He pressed when she was still silent after a long uncomfortable pause.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

She knew it was time. She wasn't even sure why she had wanted to lie for so long. All those reasons that had been playing in her mind over and over again for months sounded empty and senseless all of a sudden.

She should have told him the truth that first time, but everything had been so shaky and new and confusing then…

They walked silently side by side, their arms brushing against each other occasionally. The rustling of their clothes the only sound in the night. The street seemed strangely empty all around them.

"Thanks for helping out." She said finally, and looked at him surprised when he chuckled.

"You're getting really good at the whole 'thanking me' thing, Maxie. You've been doing it quite often lately." Alec said, winking at her.

Max felt her lips twitching, fighting the smile that tugged at them out of habit. But Alec saw it. He put his arm around her shoulders and laughed, amused at her attempts to keep her façade in place.

They had gotten closer lately, but they still didn't touch often. It felt strangely comfortable to have him so close.

Right then they reached her place and stopped, turning to face each other. They stood silently looking at the other for a while, not sure what to do next.

"So, it was fun." Alec said finally into the silence. "Next time you distract them and I kick the hell outta them, ok?" Alec smiled at her, a hopeful look in his eyes.

"Really? And what do you propose I do to distract the guards?" Max asked him playfully, already knowing his answer from the mischievous glint in his eyes.

"Oh, I don't know… Getting naked comes to mind." Alec said, attempting an innocent look and failing completely.

Max smacked his head, almost as a token, more because he expected her to than anything else. His smile lighted the night and she couldn't tear her eyes away. Her hand caressed his neck and chest on her way down and, of its own volition, settled over his heart. He raised his hand to her face and for a moment she thought he was going to cross the line and kiss her, but instead he brushed some of her hair aside, letting it caress his fingers.

Maybe if he had kissed her she would have had the strength to come clean with Logan when he asked. But he hadn't and she hadn't been sure what was going on. She'd known her feelings had changed but she hadn't known to what exactly then. She hadn't known where the two men fit in her life and so she'd lied.

Max looked at Logan now and saw the hurt in his eyes, and something else too. He was mad.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Logan couldn't believe her. Wasn't she going to say anything? After everything they had gone through, after all the heartache, the waiting, the searching… after all they had given up to be together. Didn't he mean to her at least enough to tell him the truth?

"You know, Max, at least you could pretend it was a bit hard to betray me." He spat, his eyes hardening in the face of her behaviour. "You think you're the only one that has had a hard year? The only one that has had to resist temptation?"

I've had other options too

But all I want is you

Girl your body fits me like a glove

And you shower me with words of love

"I've been working my ass off trying to find the cure for this virus. Going to ends I never thought I would reach. I've associated myself with people I wouldn't have spat on just to be with you." Her ongoing silence made him lose the handle on his temper. "And I've been saying no to other women, you know, you're not the only woman." He taunted her.

"I know." Max said finally. Asha's face floating in her mind like a neon sign.

Logan felt the anger coursing through him. He could have taken Asha up on her silent invitation in any one of the countless times she had left the door open for him. But he had been obsessed with Max. She was the one he wanted, the one he loved. He'd dreamt of her for so long, of finally being able to touch her, to kiss her, to love her. His dreams had felt so real he sometimes forgot he had never felt the way she would fit into him. That the only thing they had ever done was talk. The only thing they had shared were looks of longing and vague promises of a maybe.

He should have known better.

And you were just friends

At least that's what you said

Now I know better from his fingers in your hair

I forgive you for what you've done

If you say that I'm the one

He hadn't really seen Max and Alec together much after that first night. Max had done a great job avoiding that particular scenario. He couldn't know how Alec had taken any chance to touch her, how Max had done her best to give him that chance. He didn't know, but he had a really vivid imagination.

It was time to stop.

It's not my style to lay it in on the line

But you don't leave me with a choice this time

Why weren't you true?

You know I trusted you

"Max, I never thought I'd say this to you, but I really wish you had never seen my Bast." Logan said darkly. "I never thought the day would come when I would wish I had never met you. Not even in our worst moments. And we've had our share of them."

"Logan…"

"No, Max. If you don't say the words, I'm gonna have to be the one to do it. You lied to me. You went behind my back to be with him." Logan's eyes glazed behind a sheen of tears. "How could you do that?"

"I'm sorry." Max said softly, staring at her shoes, dreading to see what she'd done to this man. But hearing it in the trembling of his voice. "I'm so sorry."

For a moment Logan thought he could feel her pain, that maybe she regretted what she'd done. That she'd realised she'd made a mistake and still wanted to be with him. That he still was her one. He tried to read her eyes, thinking of how she'd always said it wasn't true. That they were just friends.

When you were just friends

At least that's what you said

Now I know better from his fingers in your hair

I forgive you for what you've done

If you say that I'm the one

But she wouldn't meet his eyes and the fleeting, and absurd if he thought about it, hope disappeared behind her curtained face. She had never hidden from him before. It shattered the pieces of his already broken heart. If only she could still lie. If only he could still believe her.

You were just friends

At least that's what you said

Now I know better from his fingers in your hair

I forgive you for what you've done

If you say that I'm the one

I'll forgive you for what you've done

If you say that I'm the one

I'll forgive you for what you've done

If you say that I'm the one

I'll forgive you

Then Max finally raised her head and met his eyes.

"I'm sorry, Logan. I don't want to lie anymore. Not to you, or myself. And not to him." She felt a huge weight lift from her shoulders. She felt free.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Max closed the door behind her and leaned on it. A smile spread on her face and she walked to her bike, a lightness in her steps that hadn't been there for ages. She ran to her bike, dying to get to his place now that she could. Now that she was free to do it.

The ride was a blur on her mind. Probably in the minds of anyone that had seen her pass too. She didn't pay attention to the road, lost in thought. Last night's conversation with Alec echoing in her mind…

Max sat on the Space Needle looking ahead, watching the city in the night, waiting.

Alec had said he'd come. She had approached him before their shifts were over and asked him if he wanted to come with her but he had to do something first, so she waited.

They had spent a lot of time together lately. They made their runs at Jam Pony together. They hung out at Crash, trying to beat each other at pool – that wasn't working so well. Sometimes they raced the night away, or pulled heists together, be it for fun or necessity helping the transgenic-in-need of the week. They spent a lot of time with Josh too. Or they simply stayed in, usually at Alec's place because OC wasn't exactly thrilled with this new relationship. It was becoming kinda hard to find them apart. Max couldn't believe how right it felt to spend all that time together. Any awkwardness and tentativeness had given way to an easy companionship, closer than friendship.

Max heard his footsteps on the metal surface when he jumped through the window and walked towards her.

"Hey, Maxie." Alec greeted her, sitting beside her and bumping her shoulder with his.

"What took you so long? I was starting to think you'd stood me up." She said, only half-joking. It really had been a long time.

"Yeah, I know. Sorry about that. I had a minor disagreement with some steelheads."

Max looked him over checking for wounds. "Are you ok?"

"It was nothing, they didn't even touch me. Sad, really." He dismissed the incident. He knew Max had developed this weird mother hen thing where she would worry about him getting hurt or in trouble all the time. The thought made him smile. Who would have thought? "You're not worried about me, are you? You know I can handle those freaks with a hand on my back." He said poking her and tickling her ribcage.

"Of course not. Like I'm gonna worry what happens to you! Imagine all the piece and quite I'd get if I got my wish and you dropped off the face of the Earth." She huffed at him, her nose up in the air.

"Yeah, you're right… I should do that." He nodded thoughtfully. "I could go away and then you could do your runs with Sketchy talking your ears off with his drunken adventures trying to get laid. And of course OC would be delighted to go racing with you when you can't sleep." He finished smartly.

Max rolled her eyes at him. He was impossible. But she wouldn't want him any other way.

"What, you think she wouldn't?" Max challenged him. "I'll have you know the Original Cindy can do wonders on a bike. She had a thing with a hot biker once. Taught her a lot." Max made a face. "In many levels."

"Really?" Alec asked surprised.

Of course, that would catch his ear. "Freak's honour." She said, her hand high.

Alec laughed. "Like we have any." He said, and then he seemed to realise what Max had said. "Wait, you mean OC actually has things? I thought she never got past the one night stand. I swear that girl get almost as much ass as me." He thought about that a second and then amended, "Well, not that much. But a lot."

Max snorted. "Like it's possible for a normal person to slut around half as much as you do." Although they both knew it had been a while since the last time Alec had picked up a random girl at Crash they still joked about it as if he still did. "You wouldn't know what to do with a steady girlfriend."

"Come on, Maxie! I would make a great boyfriend." Alec put his arm around Max's waist and brought her closer to him, settling her against him. "I'd let her kick my ass so she felt good with herself. I'd keep her company and cheer her up when she felt like brooding for about her woes and her lost family. I'd hold her tight when she got the shakes… I'd be the perfect match for her when she went into heat…" He trailed off, looking down at her. Max's head rested on his shoulder and she was staring into the night.

Max couldn't look at him. She felt his eyes on her and knew he was waiting for some kind of sign from her. But she couldn't do it. She couldn't make herself say out loud what she was thinking, what she felt. She wanted those things so much. She wanted him. But…

They stayed silent for a while. They never crossed the line. They bordered it, quite often actually. Alec dropped hints all the time. Some more subtle than others. And when she couldn't take him on they just stayed together in silence, wondering what it would be like. Until it felt right to go on.

"See that woman on the rooftop, 10 o'clock?" Alec broke the silence a while later.

"Sure."

There was a young woman collecting the laundry from an improvised tent, barely a rope hung between two chimneys. Her movements were stiff and slow, and her hair hid most of her face. But the two transgenics could see the dark bruise on her jaw and her arms.

"There are many ways of hurting someone. And not all of them can be blamed on others." Alec said softly. He hugged Max tighter, kissing her hair. Then he shook his head. "What do you say we go to my place and drink ourselves into a stupor?" He proposed.

Max laughed. "How many times have we tried that? It never works, Alec. We drink, pretend we're drunk and share dirty little secrets and embarrassing stories and in the morning I leave your place sober as I got in, and regretting having told you about my stupid youthful mistakes." She complained half heartedly.

"So… we going?"

"Of course." Max got to her feet and helped him up.

Max turned off the engine and wheeled it inside the building. She took the stairs three at a time. And before she knew it she was back at his door. She couldn't believe how different it was in the light of the day, how different it felt to be here now.

She raised her fist to knock on the door at the same time it opened and she found herself face to face with a surprised Alec.

"Maxie?"

"I want that." She blurted out, forgetting he didn't know what she was talking about. "I want all those things you said."

"You lost me, Max." He said perplexed. "Are you okay?"

The concern in his voice made Max's heart soar. She looked at him, her gaze locked with his. "I want you to show me how good a boyfriend you can be."

Alec's heart stopped briefly before racing up. He couldn't believe Max was finally ready to let Logan go and be with him. He grinned at her wrapping his arms around her waist and hugging her tight. "About time, Maxie." He breathed out, nuzzling her neck.

Walking backwards Alec got them back inside his place, closing the door with his foot, never letting go of Max. He pinned her against the door with his body, his hands going to her face. He cupped her cheek with one hand, the thumb brushing over her full lower lip. His other hand slid around to her neck, caressing her barcode. His eyes locked on hers. After all the time he'd spent dreaming, waiting and wishing he was determined to savour every moment. He wanted to study every inch of her face with his fingertips.

Alec inhaled deeply, her scent going straight to his center, and it had never been so sweet. It was like even her unique scent had stopped lying. He'd smelled her arousal before, but it had never been given freely.

Max was mesmerised by his eyes. She could read them like an open book. And the emotions sparkling there left her breathless. For the first time she let herself read them for what they were and a pang of sadness filled her own eyes.

"What's wrong?" Alec asked, his voice barely a whisper, his breath tickling her face.

"I'm sorry it took me so long to-"

"Shhh." He hushed her, his finger pressing against her lips sweetly. "It doesn't matter. None of it matters now, Maxie." He closed the gap between them, his lips running over hers flittingly, teasing her. Her eyes fluttered close and Max was suddenly very grateful for the door behind her because her knees melted with only that light touch.

Alec sampled her, his lips skimming over hers, his tongue slipping out to trace them, delighting in the moan it elicited from her. He parted her lips with his own, nipping at her lower lip and licking the inner flesh, needing to taste her. Max opened up to him, her own need mounting fast. The first touch of their tongues sent shivers down her spine and she rose on her tiptoes to fuse their mouths together, her hands slipping around his neck for support. His arms held her to him, one angling her head for his kiss, the other stroking her back.

Alec kept devouring her mouth for what felt like forever, the world disappearing around them, their only care tasting each other, memorising every tasty morsel of their mouths.

Alec peeled her jacket off. He leisurely slid one hand down her back to her ass and pulled her even closer to him. Max clung to his shoulders, one leg coming up to his waist. His hand trailed down her leg, helping her find a better hold, before he took her fully in his arms and pulled her away from the door. He made his way to the bedroom, never breaking their kiss.

When he reached the bed, Alec lowered her carefully on it, one hand pillowing her head. But Max didn't let him settle down with her, pushing softly on his chest, keeping him kneeling on the bed over her, one knee on each side of her legs. She rose and tugged his T-shirt from his pants, her hands slipping under it and grazing over the firm muscles of his back on their way up.

Alec let her undress him, enjoying the rapturous look on her face, the need burning in her eyes while they followed the trail her hands made, taking all of him in. He was used to taking a more active role in this arena, but when it came to Max he felt compelled to let her be in charge, revelling in her obvious desire for him.

Max let the T-shirt fall to the floor on the side of the bed, her eyes riveted to the man before her. She'd been dying to run her hands over his skin for so long, wondering how he would feel against her fingertips. And it felt so much better than anything she'd ever imagined. That taut, smooth flesh doing nothing to disguise the raw power of the muscles underneath. She looked up into his hazel eyes, darkened with desire, locked on her and the intensity she found there took her breath away.

Max wriggled her way from under him, pulling his head down to meet hers, working her fingers into his hair. She brushed his lips with hers, capturing his mouth in an intense kiss, her tongue thrusting into his mouth, stroking his.

Alec couldn't hold back anymore. Swooping her in his arms while he devoured her mouth, he sucked on her tongue while his hands roamed her body, making her skin tingle with anticipation. He took the hem of her tank top and pulled it up, reluctantly releasing her mouth to slip it over her head, and smiled at her disappointed mewl. His smile faded, though, when he realised she wasn't wearing a bra. The sight of her making him swallow hard.

"God, Maxie, you're so beautiful." He breathed out, his voice low and husky.

"Not so bad yourself." She smiled sweetly at him, pleased by his reverent reaction. Her hands slid over his chest, her fingers splayed wide to caress as much as she could on her way up. Her hands slid around his neck and into his hair. Pushing herself up against his chest, Max purred at the feeling of their bare flesh together.

The moment they made contact the mood seemed to shift around them. It felt as if they'd finally realised they were together. That feeling of wonder, almost disbelief, at the other's presence… that feeling of cherishing the moment was over. They were consumed now by the urge to be one. There was no need to drag the experience as long as they could as if they feared they'd never get the chance again. Somewhere deep inside, in that part of them that made them different, they felt something 'click'. There was no need to pile up as much sensation as they could, no need to discover everything about the other in their first time, because suddenly they knew with all certainty that this wasn't gonna end any time soon, they had all the time in the world. They felt it with every fibre of their bodies. And after they got through this moment there would be countless more to come.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Alec cuddled Max's body close. His fingers traced circles on her belly, around her navel. He hadn't been able to stop touching her for even an instant. They'd spent the whole day in bed -job be damned- and she'd discovered his fixation with her tummy. Max had laughed when he'd told her how she'd been driving him mad, always wearing those tiny tank tops, showing her tummy, but then covering them with jackets and sweaters as if she were too shy to show that much flesh. But he'd known it was there, tempting him. He would be minding his own business and suddenly find himself staring at her covered waist almost willing it to show itself.

For her part, Max couldn't stop running her fingers through his hair. She'd joked saying she just wanted to keep him close, and gone on to kiss him senseless as if to prove her point. But Alec knew that wasn't it. She kept going back to his barcode, almost unconsciously, caressing the flesh softly. When he'd woken after their afternoon nap, lying on his front, facing away from her and directly into his bathroom mirror, visible from the bed, he'd found her propped up on her elbow, her fingers skimming lightly over his barcode, a mixture of wonder and contentment in her face.

Alec looked down at her sleeping form. He had never felt so whole and at peace in his life. He had finally found the piece missing in his life and she fit in with him perfectly. Smiling happily he closed his eyes and joined her in slumber as the light of day faded away.

The End.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Please review