DISCLAIMER: Dark Angel isn't mine. I am only borrowing them, and not making any money off of this. Don't sue. I've got nothing.

A/N: For those of you who are reading Till the Fat Lady Sings and couldn't wait for some Max/Alec interactions…here you go. This is a stand-alone story. Please review. I'll be continuously updating both stories.

CHAPTER 1:

"When are you gonna tell Little Fella, Alec?" asked Joshua. He was so excited the almost seven-foot man-dog transgenic was practically jumping up and down. His blue eyes sparkled eagerly as they touched on a white box on a table in his apartment.

Alec just smiled tightly at Joshua, but didn't answer. In his enthusiasm, the normally perceptive transgenic missed all the signs of Alec's discomfort and unwillingness to talk.

"When are you gonna tell Max that the virus bitch is finally going down?" Joshua prodded again. If he had a tail, it would be wagging furiously by now. He could just imagine his Little Fella's face when she found out about the cure. She would be so happy. And that thought made Joshua happy. It would make Alec happy, too. He glanced over at the X5 who was staring out a window, and frowned. Alec didn't seem too happy.

Joshua padded softly over to his friend. He noticed that Alec's green-gold eyes were sad. He had once described Alec as "tricks and treats" on the outside, referring to the man's appearance. Alec had dark blond hair, hazel green eyes, and a sculpted face. He was also built with broad shoulders and long lean muscles. He was happy-go-lucky, laughed easily, and never seemed to take life seriously. Alec was someone who claimed that he was "always alright."

But Alec was "darkness" inside. Joshua had always sensed a deep confusion and pain inside the young man. There were still so many things the former soldier didn't understand about life, mostly those things dealt with emotions: love, fear, guilt, regret, pain, and even happiness.

"Uh, Alec…you alright?" Joshua ventured softly, uncertainly.

Alec glanced briefly at Joshua, the answer coming automatically to his lips, "I'm always alright." Then he smiled the charming "tricks and treats" Alec smile. Except this time, Joshua noticed his eyes didn't smile along. His eyes were lost and faraway.

Without hesitation, Joshua did what his instincts told him, and hugged his friend.

Shocked, Alec could only welcome the comforting hug. Normally, he would have pulled away after topping two seconds of physical touch, but not this time. He wasn't one for invading personal space, well except for the…one night stands that required such invasion. But as much as possible, a clap on the back, a brief handshake, or his fist connecting with someone else's face, were his usual choice of physical contact. What would you expect from someone bred to be an assassin and taught to always be wary of the proximity of the people around him?

Alec had forgotten (or had he ever really known it?) the comfort there was in leaning on someone you could trust enough to hug. Even if it was a seven-foot dog-man that smelled vaguely of wet fur and ham hocks. It was still a great comfort.

But of course, the big guy couldn't know that. So, he pulled away and smirked, "Well, that was…uh…nice. I love you, too, buddy." He said casually, throwing a light punch on Joshua's shoulder.

Joshua knew that Alec's moment of weakness was over. He watched as the handsome young transgenic sauntered over to a table that had a box on top of it. For a moment, Alec's shoulders tensed, then he forced himself to relax and pick up the box.

"I'm giving you the honor of telling her," said Alec, spinning around to hand Joshua the box.

And suddenly, like a flash of lightning, it dawned on Joshua. "Alec loves Max," he whispered in awe.

There was a look of such fear in Alec's face that Joshua almost felt pity for the young man. And then, with his quicksilver personality, Alec smirked charmingly, "Of course, I love her. She's family. Just like you. You, me, Max, and the whole transgenic world—one big happy, loving family." His tone was dripping with sarcasm, but he couldn't help it. Joshua didn't deserve his sarcasm, and he wasn't even sure his friend understood sarcasm, but Joshua had hit too close to home. He had said out loud the words that Alec had not even had the courage to formulate in his head. "Just, tell her okay?" he said, before turning around to leave.

"No."

Alec turned back around in surprise. "Don't you want to see her happy?" he asked, his head tilted slightly to the left.

"Don't you?" Joshua's question held a challenge that Alec wasn't so sure he could take up. Of course, he wanted to see Max happy. Of course. But how could he? Damn! He swiped the white box away from Joshua's outstretched arm. His pride wouldn't let him admit that he was afraid he wasn't going to survive the pain of seeing Max and Logan finally together. "Of course, I do." he replied flippantly. Then before Joshua could say anything else, Alec stalked out of his apartment in TC. He really shouldn't have told Joshua that he had found the cure. He shouldn't have told anyone.

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"Love is a moment that lasts forever." –Julie Wittey-

Alec loves Max. Alec loves Max. Alec loves Max. Joshua's words revolved over and over again in his head. He couldn't drown them out and it was driving him insane.

He was sitting in his own tiny apartment in TC now, staring at the white box on the table in front of him. Just give it to her, he told himself. Then you can leave. Your debt will be repaid. You'll be free.

He knew that was the pragmatic way out. But somehow, everything inside of him had roiled and rebelled against the idea. He had started all of this on a whim. Everyone knew that Alec had a finger in all kinds of side schemes. He had decided that he ought to do something nice for Max, and what was nicer than helping her find the cure for the virus? He had never really expected anything to come out of it. In fact, he had almost forgotten he had ever commissioned anyone for it.

But ever since his contact had called him back two days ago with the news, Alec had felt physically sick at having the cure in his hands. He had run away from scrutinizing his feelings, had stashed away the box in his closet, and had pretended everything was all right.

But he found that he couldn't look Max in the eyes. He couldn't sleep at night. He couldn't keep this a secret. So, he had told Joshua, hoping his friend would be the one to tell Max. He hadn't anticipated being read like an open book.

Because it was true: Alec loves Max.

He smiled ruefully, feeling like a flashing neon sign had been attached to his chest, proclaiming it to the world.

Alec had loved Max for a very long time. It had happened in a moment, and lasted forever.

He could still remember it, quite vividly, in fact. They say love either creeps up on you over time, or hits you in a flash. Well, they lied. It was more a constricting of the heart, a freezing of all of his voluntary muscles, a moment of paralysis, and then an exhalation of his body—a feeling of being completely and utterly drained as the realization struck his heart.

He shook his head sadly. It was so typical of him. The moment he fell in love with Max would have to be the moment he had tried, and almost succeeded, in killing her. He could still see her on the ground, spasms shaking her body, effects of the taser he had ruthlessly thrust into her midsection. He had been kneeling over her, knife in his hand, ready and more than willing to strike, when her eyes had locked with his. And that's when it all happened. The constricting, freezing, and the general act of dying inside. Because, to Alec, that was what falling in love with Max had felt like. Heartstopping. Breathtaking.

His whole world had shifted. His whole life had changed. Not that it would have mattered because he thought he was going to die soon, anyway.

And she had to go on and save his life—at the risk of her happiness. How could he not love her more? And how could he ever be worthy of loving someone like that?

Alec leaned his elbows onto his knees and dropped his head into his palms. He was going to have to tell her, even if it killed him. He wasn't sure if X5's could die of broken hearts, but he was about to find out.