a/n: This really should have been a one-shot, I think, now that I've finished it. Sorry if I've offended anyone with my depiction of the characters, this is just how I picture them acting in this type of a situation.

I took rocknroll923's idea, sort of, about the guards wanting them to shut up, and a test. Thanks for the idea!


Chapter 2

"Come on!" Logan motioned to Lydecker in annoyance, "What was in the box? There's no use in hiding something here."

"What about tactical advantage?" Zack couldn't help saying.

"Oh please!" Asha argued, "We're all stuck here, show me the advantage of being trapped here!"

"There was nothing." Lydecker insisted.

They all started to gag almost instantly. Lydecker had been telling the truth. It seemed there was some sort of gas that he released upon opening the box.

"What is this stuff?" Asha asked, coughing.

Max fought the gagging, trying to figure it out, before having a fear come over her. "Oh, no!" she said aloud.

"What?" Logan asked.

Max recognized the gas. She didn't want to think about what she would probably say and do under the state she was sure to be forced into soon by breathing it in.

Asha was the first to cave. She started laughing hysterically and then turned to Logan, "Can you believe we are stuck here! Haha, I mean, I wanted to spend more time with you, but this isn't exactly my idea of a date!" She smiled bigger than Max had ever seen.

Alec returned her laughter, "But what is, Asha? I'm picturing a protest together! Romantic!"

"If this is a Logan date, tell me where the pasta is!" Max said, smiling bigger than she wanted to.

"Oh, Max," Logan replied with some giggles, "It's probably keeping warm on the burner for when you decide it's too awkward and you have to leave!"

"More likely," Max argued, though smiling as if she was having a good time, "He's working at his computer trying to hack into security systems to alter a stop light so that a group of ducklings can cross the road without being hit!"

Alec laughed at her comment. "Hey, Log', we could always offer up your skills as a chef to get us out of here!"

Logan responded, this time laughing, "Or we could just have Alec wrestle for our freedom, Mr. ManticorA! Way to keep your cover, man! I'm so glad you think before your actions!"

"Yea," Alec agreed, "And then you would do one of those this is a Streaming Freedom Video Bulletin! You all suck! I'm going to expose you, because I know everything!"

Logan did the voice, to correct Alec, and show him how it really would go, "This is a Streaming Freedom Video bulletin. The cable hack will last exactly 60 seconds. It cannot be traced, it cannot be stopped and it is the only free voice left in the city. Don't be suspicious of ManticorA, even though the name is almost exactly the same as a government program that was started to create perfect soldiers. Don't be suspicious even though ManticorA manages to beat every opponent with ease unlike any wrestler we've seen ever. Don't be suspicious even though he has a barcode on his neck, just like the Manticore soldiers."

"Cale, will you cut the Eyes Only crap?" Lydecker requested. "Do you realize how long we've known your position? You think you're safe with all your hacks, your security programs. We've known, we never took you out because despite what you'd like to think, you really aren't that great of a threat. You don't know hardly anything about the program." At the end of Lydecker's statement, he began to cough. It seemed he was finally succumbing to the fumes.

"At least Logan didn't fail his only mission in life!" Asha pointed out, laughing. "Here are your perfect soldiers. So obedient to you that they broke out of your 'perfect' facilities!"

Asha then began to laugh uncontrollably. It seemed she was becoming exhausted quickly. She would probably be the first to pass out.

"Oh, Asha!" Max said smiling at her, "It's cool, girl! We all see it! You're jealous! Logan wants me, and not you, and really, he never is going to want you. Hate the playa, girl, not the game!" Max realized it didn't make any sense, but she didn't care. She felt she'd said what she wanted to.

Alec smiled at Max, "But why does Log' lead her on, Maxie? Is it more of his protecting the world?" He looked at Logan, "You can't really give a shit about that S1W crap!"

Logan nodded, agreeing with Alec while laughing. "I really don't! I mean, it's a good cause-"

"We all know you can't say no to a good cause!" Max interrupted.

"-But I just don't care! She comes by, wants me to drop everything, help with a protest!" Logan said laughing.

Zack finally began to laugh with the rest. "But you're too busy focusing on how to find information about Manticore, right Cale? So you can hold it over Max's head, like a carrot on a stick!"

Asha seemed to have finally taken in Max's comment, that Logan didn't want her. She stared at Alec, who she finally registered had agreed with Max. "Well we all know what you want, Alec!"

She turned to everyone, "He goes around the bars with his little speech, If I wanted someone, I'd let her know. We're living on borrowed time, if you don't put your heart out there on the line, you're not really living at all!" She turned to Alec and stroked his cheek slightly, "You really are cute, Alec. You didn't think that line would work, did you!"

Alec laughed, "Yea, you're right. I should have had some self-righteous scheme and pasta instead!"

Asha leaned against Logan, looking ready to collapse. "Alec wants Max," she said with a yawn, before closing her eyes as her head rest upon Logan's shoulder.

Zack turned to Alec, "So that's something else we have in common!" "Here's to losing out to an Ordinary!" They high fived each other since there were no glasses to cheer.

Lydecker laughed with them, "So everyone wants Max! With her physical appearance and abilities she could have any man in the world, and she's chosen him!"

Zack laughed hysterically at the truth of his statement, before showing his exhaustion. He blinked a few times before collapsing on the floor.

Logan yawned slightly, but was still laughing quietly. "See that's the thing, it's okay for me to want Max. But you guys, you're like her father! And he's her brother! And you.." he paused at Alec, before closing his eyes. He was losing consciousness.

Max first noticed that Logan wasn't rejecting Asha's position, but instead turning toward it. She focused to really understand what Zack had just said.

Max turned to Alec, "It's not true! You didn't lose!"

Alec focused on Max, laughing, "Don't mock me, Max. This has really been one hell of a day, I don't know that it could get worse!"

Alec stopped laughing for only one reason. Max had grabbed him, forced her lips against his, and was showing him how she really felt.

Alec kissed her back, stroking her hair gently, running his hand through her curls, while grabbing onto her not wanting to let go with his other hand.

Max, even in her state, knew she ought to save her energy, maybe they would find a way out before she passed out, but instead she used all the strength in her, focused on kissing Alec. Their lips parted, allowing the other in.

Lydecker clapped while laughing hysterically. "Your mating partner! Finally you're following our plans for you!" He slid to the floor, realizing he had only seconds left before he, too, would collapse.

"You passed the test!" he said to Max, holding up a key before falling to the floor.

Alec held Max close to him as they both stared at the key. They heard the vents open. The room would be airing out soon. They had made it, them alone. They wouldn't collapse like the rest, and there lay the key to their freedom.

"We can escape," Alec pointed out to Max, feeling the gas begin to wear off. He wondered how long till she yelled at him for holding onto her.

Max smiled, this time of her own free will, though not sure if Alec would know that. "They'll be out for a while." She pointed out. "And we have this room as long as want until we decide to open that door with the key. No one will bother us."

As she kissed Alec again, she knew it was true, it wasn't just a fluke of the room. She wanted Alec, just as he wanted her. She closed her eyes to the room, to the world, and allowed herself to only sense Alec and the taste of his lips.

Alec held onto Max, realizing this wasn't the gas talking anymore. He was surprised, but somehow he felt like he'd known, seen it all along. He no longer felt trapped. All he felt was the happiness of the moment, and the touch of Max surrounding him.