Disclaimer: Nothing from Dark Angel belongs to me; I've just borrowed Max for a while.

Summary: Max's thoughts about Alec during the Episode 'Hello, Goodbye'.

Rating: T for a small amount of swearing

Author's Note: Thank you for reading my attempt here. Please review - helps bolster my efforts with whatever I write next - otherwise I'm not sure people like it. Helpful crit is welcome. Please and thank you.

Thoughts on a Friend

At the bar in Crash

He makes me so angry – he's so self-righteous. I mean everything he's done and the way he treats people and he's telling me we're a danger to them and that I should finish with Logan. What would he know! I've seen the way he treats women. The girls he picks up at Crash, how he loves them and leaves the – not that there's any loving involved. It's all sex and lust. He was obviously a regular at that strip joint too. He's despicable but…

I look at Logan as Alec walks away and I know that he's right. Don't you just hate it when that happens? I mean the guy's a jerk, he's arrogant and selfish and inconsiderate… and right. We are no good for them. We are a danger. We aren't normal. I can't be here with Logan; I've got to think about this…

He's back, he's called the ambulance, he's standing by me as they sort Logan and try to help him. He saw what happened, he was right. Logan is dying, Alec was right. I am a danger to him. He doesn't say anything but his presence is solid at my side. He doesn't leave my side until he's made sure that I'm in the ambulance with Logan but he's said nothing to me.

In the hospital

It never occurred to me that if I asked he wouldn't come but what hurts most is not that he didn't come for me, or that he didn't come for Logan but that he said he would come and didn't. I knew he was pathetic but why would he treat us like that. Even to say no he wouldn't come would have been better. Logan is going to die so Alec can prove he was right and I am a danger. Bastard!

Back in Crash

So I was wrong. Maybe he did intend to come to the hospital but the guy is such an ass he got arrested. I wouldn't be getting ready to go get him out though if it weren't for Original Cindy. She's softening towards him. I would have thought she'd be more immune to his charm. I mean he's not her type! She's probably right though so I'm on my way down to the station to get him.

At the Police station

Murder! That's what he's being charged with. Murder for fuck's sake! So much for thinking he'd changed. He's Manticore through and through. He can rot here. I don't care anymore. He's a monster and I let him out. Does that make me as guilty as he is?

I can barely bring myself to look at him. Do I believe he could kill someone in cold blood? That's what he asked me. Of course I do, Alec. You were an assassin at Manticore. It's what you do. I thought you'd changed; I thought it could be different, you could be different. I thought you knew Manticore was evil but I was wrong. You said it, you were right, we are a danger to them; you more than most. Was that you trying to tell me; what you'd done? Are you like Ben? Is that what happened? You couldn't handle the outside? Not that it matters, you can die, I don't care anymore.

Teeth! Ben! No! I'll give you this much, this one isn't yours. I'll get you out. God, Alec, is there no end to the repercussions of Manticore. Will we ever be free?

In Max's Apartment

I tell you it's over with Logan and you look at me. I say don't say you told me so and you look at me and say you weren't going to. I look at you. I was wrong: you are changing, you are growing and, right now, you are sincere. For how long, I don't know, the cheeky façade will be back but maybe that's what it is a façade. What's behind it Alec? What's inside? Manticore? Ben? Or are you something different? Joshua described you as tricks and treats on the outside and dark and confused inside. Is he right?

You ask me about Ben. Do you know how much it hurts to talk about him? I think maybe you do. You've gone so still, so quiet, waiting, listening. There you know now, you'll hate me, like I hate myself. I killed my brother and left him.

You hold me and the world stops for a moment. You say 'I'm sorry' and the world skews then starts again. I look at you. It's not hate in your eyes, it's sympathy. You understand. No-one else could.

We sit talking for hours. We've never really done this before. It would never have felt right before. We talked about Rachel, you still hurt. The legacy of Manticore to us all: pain and hurt. You tell me about what Manticore was like after we left. Do you know how strong you really are? I accused you before of being Manticore through and through. I was wrong. It's taken me all this time to realise that you, Alec, are stronger than I have ever been. I escaped from Manticore with my brothers and sisters, you survived inside alone. You were brainwashed, you were indoctrinated and re-indoctrinated, tortured and abused. How much haven't you told me? You glide over whole chunks of what happened to you. 'I spent six months being checked out by Psy-Ops', 'I spent time in lockdown', 'They tried to encourage me round to their way of thinking', what does it really mean? I know what our check-ups and punishments were like when we were kids – horrible, but we had no experience of outside, they didn't have much to look for but you'd been outside, you'd seen what we didn't have and you'd disobeyed their orders big time. What did they do to you?

You laugh and make light of it, glossing the facts but now I'm really looking I can see what Joshua see – tricks and treats on the outside, confusion inside. You don't want to dig inside more than you have to. Are you worried what you'll find? You shouldn't be because inside is someone good, or mostly so, just like the rest of the world.

You're strong, Alec, I should tell you this, but we're not ready for that. You survived Manticore alone on the inside. You saw through everything they did and knew it was wrong. You didn't run from it, you tried to change it for Rachel. You, my brother, are a good man. You just need to see that in yourself. One day we'll be sure enough of our friendship for me to tell you this. Now it would smack too much of emotional insecurity, we aren't ready. We'll stick together – family, you, me and Joshua. We'll look out for one another.

Outside Max's Apartment

You leave to go to Joshua's. You put your arm around me before you go. I feel safe, protected by my brother. Sometimes, I am so lonely. Now, I can go on knowing I have a friend, a brother here. We'll be okay, Alec, you and I. We might be alone, but we'll have family.