Description: Two months after AJBAC, Max is escaping from Manticore again. I can't tell you anymore cause that would ruin the fun of reading it on your own!

A/N: I KNOW the aftermath of the season finale has been done time and time again, but I thought I'd add my own ideas into the mix. Let me know if you like it or not all feedback is welcomed and encouraged. If people like it, I'll write more, otherwise, I wont. I hope you enjoy in nonetheless.

Disclaimer: I own nothin'

Please R/R!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

THE HUNT
Chapter One
Cookies and Milk


Run! Don't stop. Can't stop. Need to. No! Run!

Sirens still whirled in the distance and men shouted out their orders as Max ran through the forest. Max pushed her feet hard than she could. Hours of running were wearing her down. There was only so much an X5 could take. She couldn't stop, not when she was after her.

Max was aching, her feet were sore and her stomach was cramping. The snow crunched beneath her feet, so cold and slick. Her boots were untied and the laces whipped around as the picked up water from the ground and slashed wet marks across her gray pants. As the melted snow crept into the holes of her shoes, she felt a sudden relief as it cooled her blistered feet.

Must run faster! She thought. No, wait! Watch out! Log!

She realized all too late as he foot slid under a log that was hidden under the snow and she sprawled out onto the snow. "So much for not leaving a trail." She thought warily as she noticed the uprooted snow. Her chest was heaving and her heart was racing. No, that was wrong, Zack's heart was racing.

She felt tears sting her eyes, but quickly brushed them away. Now wasn't the time, not when she was so close. Max gathered herself up and started to run again. It was so cold outside. The snow was gently falling around her and getting caught in her hair and solider clothes. Suddenly she noticed it was silent, way too silent. Max mused to herself as she felt like a deer being hunted, all for sport, that's what she was.

"Gotta keep.... going." She breathed hard as the breath came out of her mouth stung her throat and made a cloud of warm vapor in front of her face. She rested her hands on her knees and panted for a moment before finding the energy to continue.

The sun was setting and she had been running since dawn. But she couldn't stop, not when her clone was after her, her and all those other clones that were made from her and her siblings. It was sick and twisted, that bitch Madame X made clones from the same siblings she saw die. It did make her feel somewhat better knowing that a duplicate of them was breathing, but they weren't the same. Nothing was the same.

Max whirled around as a twig snapped in the distance. Her pupils expanded and she looked clear into the massive maze of trees. Manticore was so big. She remembered the forest almost perfectly when her and her siblings had 'practiced' their techniques. She knew the way out, of course she did. But she also knew that her clone would know it too, so she ran the opposite way and into the dense forest, hoping to throw them off her trail. If she was right, Seattle was only a few miles ahead.

Someone was still following her! Damn those bastards! There was a pond frozen over a little way ahead, but she knew that even if she could get under there and hide like she had done when she was escaping as a child, her clone would find her. Max shook her head. This was bad.

Max tried to control her hard breathing, but it hurt to inhale and exhale when she did it so little at a time. Everything was hurting. Being cooped up in Manticore for two months had weakened her. Without her normal exercise or diet, she was being reduced to nothing. That's what they wanted. To Hell with them!

Max craned her neck as she peered into the forest in front of her. She could barely hear the traffic horns and beeps, but it was there. A new surge of hope filled her she was so close, she could feel it. She could almost taste a nice hot chocolate chip cookie and feel the warm chocolate milk slide down her throat.

Her reverie was interrupted as a foot step crunching in the snow was sounded. It was close, too close. Max listened as hard as she could and could faintly hear the ruffling of clothes as silent orders were being given. Manticore soldiers. It was wide gesture, they were fanning out and planning to trap her. What were these kids, wolves?

Great. More feet were thumping the ground and crunching the snow. Obviously her escape didn't go as well as she had hoped. She stopped and let herself try and breathe normally before going on again. Max gathered her composer and started to head towards the traffic of Seattle again, all too late. She stopped as she heard a gun being cocked behind her.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Logan, here." Bling handed Logan a warm cup of tea before sitting down next to him on the couch. Both looked out of the penthouse at the falling snow. It was so innocent and refreshing from the long bouts of rain they had been getting.

"Thanks." Logan returned after a moment of drinking the tea. "Ya know, today's the anniversary." He said dryly.

"Of what?" Bling asked, all ready knowing what it was, but wanting Logan to open up to him.

"Two months ago, Max was..." He stopped. He couldn't finished the sentence even though both of them knew he was planning on saying 'shot'. Bling nodded. The was the first time in weeks Logan had even spoken about it. Most of the time he had only been receiving simple gestures and remarks.

"I know." Bling said quietly as he sipped his tea. He encouraged Logan to go on, and after a few minutes, he did.

"I just wish, I wish that I could've done something. I mean, she was there, in my arms. Then, she just .... was gone." Logan swallowed another gulp of tea to press back the urges to let loose and sob. He hadn't cried since the night it happen and his bottled emotions needed to vent.

"There was nothing you could've done." Bling said, reassuring Logan with a pat on the back.

"I could've taken her back to Manticore, they could've saved her." Logan said quietly.

"And then what?" Bling said angrily. "Logan, you know she said she'd rather die than go back there. She would've hated it even if she got her life back. And you,"

"What about me?" Logan snapped.

"You would've been killed for knowing what you know." Bling said as he dropped his gaze to the floor. "I know you miss her, I do too, but there was nothing that could've been done." Bling and Logan were quiet for a few minutes before Bling rose and collected the mugs before retiring back to the kitchen to clean them.

Logan punched the couch cushion and let out a grunt. Damn, he let her go. He loved her and lost her. Lydecker was right, he shouldn't have gotten involved with her, someone did get hurt. And another was killed. Logan sighed and walked over to his computer, it was completely quiet in his penthouse except for the running water in the kitchen and the whirring of his exoskeleton.

He turned his computer on with a quick and hard flip of his wrist, gently shaking the computer a bit. As the screen came into focus, he went to his mailbox and scrolled through the lists. There was a new one from Sebastian. Interesting. He never liked to use e-mail, always preferred live confrontations. Logan shrugged and double-clicked on the letter. It popped up and said only three words.

"Your X5 lives."