Disclaimer: Dark Angel ain't mine. It's the product of James Cameron's genius. I was just borrowing, hoping that genius would rub off on me…I don't think it worked.

A/N: Challenge fic from Pai as quoted below:


Ok ... I've been noticing writers taking for granted that readers are familiar with JA's looks, and opt for the easy descriptions to convey his appeal. And while most of us are quite familiar with the lovely face etc ... Alec's personality, impulses and wit have to be a major part of why we call him sexy. At least it is for me. So I'm challenging anyone who will give it a shot to write a fic that does not mention JA's looks to emphasize magnetism. By that I mean his actual physicality: eyes, muscle, delicious skin ... you get the picture. However that does not include mannerisms, expressions or actions. (a "look" in his eyes, biting his lip, and the like)

Also let's try to refrain from the word "hot" in reference to the guy.



It was happening again.

Max swallowed briefly in discomfort, rolling her shoulders to ease the tension. But every inch of her was like a coiled spring, just waiting for release. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, and she knew just the reason why.

She turned to look over her shoulder as Alec sauntered into the room, a small smirk on his handsome face. Alec always walked into a place like he owned it: head tilted high, almost arrogantly, eyes roving, shoulders pulled back, and gait easy and relaxed. Each step he took rolled into one continuous motion: graceful and controlled at the same time.

"Miss me?" he asked Mole, as he passed by the lizard man. Mole just grunted something nonsensical, blowing a puff of smoke on Alec's face. He chuckled, waving the white cloud off his face, and coughed with comic exaggeration, one hand clutching his throat as if he was choking.

Max couldn't help it; a small smile tugged at her lips. She quickly turned away so no one would see, and focused back on the list of supplies Dix had handed to her earlier. She may not be able to see him anymore, but she couldn't drown out his voice.

The way he said, "Hey, Luke, I got the supplies you needed," shouldn't have caused her to close her eyes and let her sensitive hearing enjoy the way his voice rumbled, melting her. Alec had a beautiful voice: low and deep, always an octave or two lower than hers, sending waves of masculinity that brought shivers of awareness to every female within hearing distance. It was really quite annoying, since transgenics had such keen hearing, and that only meant that there were at least five women at any given time who would look at Alec appreciatively just for talking. Max wasn't sure why the fact that he had such a melting voice irritated her so much.

She heard Alec laugh out loud at something Chase, another X5, had said. Despite having her back to him, she could almost imagine the way he threw his head back and let the laughter roll out of him. Max bit her lip. Alec's laughter was rare. She never realized that until a few weeks into living in Terminal City. Alec liked to smirk a lot, or chuckle. But he didn't laugh much.

The first time she heard him laugh—really laugh with genuine pleasure—she had actually stopped mid-sentence with Logan and turned around to look at him. His laughter was like his voice: deep, rich, rumbling, slightly raspy, and really loud. But it wasn't the kind of loud that grated on her nerves. No, it was loud in a way that she was completely filled with the sound, shaking her to the core.

Right now, he was laughing with his friends in one side of the room, tossing greetings and jokes. Funny, but Max would be able to pick him out just by listening to the baritone of his voice, or the smooth darkness of his laughter. She would even recognize the grunts and snorts he made, as he scoffed at something Chase was claiming to have done.

Max shook her head, trying to focus her eyes on the piece of paper in front of her. She had to concentrate. Since Alec had walked into HQ, she was stuck on item number five: bathroom tissue. She blinked again. Yep, she hadn't gotten past bathroom tissue.

"Hey, Maxie," he drawled, as he approached her.

His voice sent goosebumps all throughout her body. Luckily she was practically covered from head-to-foot, so he couldn't know that. She steeled herself in preparation of coming face to face with him. She turned around and smiled stiffly, her eyes slightly glazed and blank.

This was the only way she knew how to face Alec: by not really focusing too much on him. To many, the way she looked at him may seem rude, offensive, and condescending, but to her, it was self-preservation. He was too good looking for his own good. "Hey," she replied quickly. "How was the job?"

"Long," he replied, his lips tilted to one side. Max had to look away quickly—resting on some lint on his shoulder—so she wouldn't focus on the way his lips moved. "Miss me?" he asked lightly, a smile in his voice.

You have no idea, she thought vaguely. She shrugged and turned her back to him, her eyes back on something much safer, like item number five: bathroom tissue. "Didn't even notice you were gone," she replied coolly.

She should be reading what number six was on the list. But all she could see was his face swimming around in her head, completely blinding her. Why in all of Manticore had he been designed to be so damned good looking?

He had a face that was just the perfect balance of smoothness and angles. He had high cheekbones, but not too high that they turned his face too angular. Those cheekbones gave his cheeks the perfect slope down towards a pointed, but squared chin. He also had a nose that was, just…well, perfect. He scrunched it up sometimes, wiggled it other times. And as far as she was concerned, his nose wasn't too small that it made his profile look weak, but wasn't too prominent that if she kissed him, it wouldn't get in the way.

If she kissed him? Oh no…thoughts of kissing him invariably just led to thoughts of those lips again.

"That hurts, Max," he quipped, his voice pitched slightly higher, the way she knew he did when he was kidding. He walked around the table and stood in front of her. She looked up at him briefly and he smiled blindingly at her. "It really does," he continued. "Somewhere right here." He placed a hand over the general area of his heart.

She chuckled; damn him for amusing her. "Yeah, kinda like when you have food stuck in the wrong pipe?" she retorted. "Heartburn, maybe?"

"Heartbreak, probably," he replied, a strange tremor in his voice. She looked up at him quickly, but he was looking down at the list she had. "What you lookin' at?"

"A list of…" her mind blanked, "Bathroom tissue."

"Huh?" He glanced up at her, his brow quirked in question. Max wanted to reach over and smooth a hand over his forehead, tracing the line of his tilted brow. Her hand twitched, and she shoved it deep into her pocket. Her other hand was flat on the table, holding the list down.

Alec placed his larger hand right next to hers as he, too, looked at the list—albeit upside down. Max's eyes, as if on their own volition, moved away from the words on the supply list and onto his hand, only a few centimeters away from hers. He had beautiful hands: large and strong. His fingers were long, but not narrow, ending in wide, blunt fingertips. His nails were clipped short, and surprisingly neat. The backs of his hands had a light dusting of fine blond hair, only noticeable because she was looking so closely. His knuckles were large, slightly scraped, an indication of his tendency to get into trouble and punch his way out of it. The veins that bulged out slightly also indicated the work he put in using those hands. He tapped his fingers lightly to an imaginary tune, and Max remembered how he could play the piano. The way those fingers moved caressingly over the keys, gentle and sure.

A thought struck her. He had capable hands, strong but gentle. The kind of hands that would make her feel safe if he held her with them. The kind of hands she could hold on to for support, or rely on to wipe away her tears.

She blinked rapidly, terrified of the avenue her thoughts were taking. When had she started thinking of Alec's hands as wiping away her tears? Of making her feel safe?

She quickly averted her eyes away from his hands, onto his forearms. He had beautiful arms, corded with muscle. Her finger jerked, as if telling her that it wanted to trace the outline of those muscles on his arms. She clenched her hand into a fist, instead, stamping down on the unwanted desire. But she wondered what it would be like to be wrapped in those arms…no doubt strong like banded steel.

Her heart started a faster rhythm at the thought of his hands on her skin, his arms wrapped around her waist. Her breathing quickened and she could feel a flush climb up around her neck. She fought to control her reaction to her wayward thoughts, but Alec had noticed.

He reached out to her with his hand, and with two very light fingers, he tilted her chin up to face him. "Max? Are you okay?" he asked, his voice low and soothing, concern swimming in his green eyes.

Max shut her own brown eyes, but she could still see the greenish glow in his hazel eyes, fringed with those dark, long lashes, telling her that his concern was genuine. How come she knew that his eyes glowed green when he was feeling strong emotions? They were more of a golden brown when he was masking his feelings. "I'm fine," she squeaked. "I think that…" she didn't have any excuses, her brain cells were a little fried from the electric currents running from his finger tips.

"Have you been sleeping?" he asked sharply. "How many times do I have to tell you that you have to sleep, and shark DNA be damned?"

Her eyes snapped open, ire showing in her own eyes. "Oh can it, Alec," she bit out. "You're not my keeper."

"You need one." He retorted.

She slapped his hand away, and he dropped it. But she could still feel the imprint of those two fingers on her chin, where he had burned her skin by his light touch. "Yeah, but not you," she hissed, her heart hammering, all instincts inside of her calling for self-preservation. He was so, so, so very bad for her. He threw everything inside of her into a wild mess.

She watched with hostile eyes as his jaw clenched, the green glow in his eyes dying into a darker ember, turning golden. "You know what? I just got back from an exhausting trip. I don't need this right now," he sighed. He ran a hand through his already tousled dark blond hair and glared at her.

Their heated gazes warred with each other for a moment, neither one understanding why the other was so angry. Finally he shrugged, and turned away, stalking out of HQ, ignoring everyone else.

As soon as he was out of the room, Max exhaled a heavy breath that she hadn't realized she was holding. She relaxed, her focus came back, and she saw number six on the supplies list: towels.

He was beautiful.

That was all Max could think at that moment. All other thought processes had come to a screeching halt. It took every ounce of self-control not to release the purr of appreciation that rumbled inside of her.

She had been looking for him, needing him to be in the supply run with her for tonight. Chase had told her that he was in one of the outbuildings, "Probably brooding," he had called out laughingly.

Max didn't think Alec was much of the brooding kind, nor that he really had much to brood about. So she'd shrugged that comment off and went to find him.

She had heard the shower running, and had only intended to stick her head in to yell at him and tell him she was waiting for him to talk business. But the moment she had opened the door, he had taken her breath away.

Of course, he hadn't slid the shower curtain shut for modesty's sake. Of course, he had picked the shower that was right smack at the end of the long line of stalls, completely adjacent to the door. Of course, he was standing under a spray of water, head tilted back, eyes closed, hands turned palms up, letting the water cascade down his back.

She should leave. Right now. She should.

But she couldn't.

He was beautiful, and she was appreciating the fact. He had the broad shoulders of a man, but the lean, lanky muscles of a young adult. Breathing unsteadily through her mouth, Max followed the waterfall down his body.

They fell on his head, darkening his blond hair into a brown, slipping down to those broad shoulders. The water slid into a V-shape, following the perfect proportions of his body, the muscles on his back rippled as he relaxed under the heat. His spine was arched back, and Max wanted to trace that arch with a wet finger, then wanted her hands to dig deep into the muscled flesh and feel them flex underneath her touch.

The water continued its downward journey, to the cleft of his bu—she shut her eyes, forced herself to look away. But he chose that moment to turn around, his eyes still closed.

He groaned in pleasure of his hot shower, and Max's knees weakened at the sensual sound. She leaned lightly on the doorframe for support, knowing in the back of her head that she should leave.

But her knees were too weak. If she left, she'd collapse into a puddle of mushy goo, she reasoned. So she stayed.

And watched.

His fingers reached blindly for the soap, and immediately lathered up his body. Max bit her lip, her eyes following everywhere his soapy hands touched.

The shoulders, the beautiful breadth of his chest, the chiseled ridges of his abs.

Her fingers gripped the doorknob tightly; damn she wanted to be the one to run the soap over his body. She wanted to be the one, to rub her hands over him. To rub…to touch…then to kiss, lick…taste…own every inch of him.

Suddenly, she saw his body tense, and her eyes flew to his face.

His eyes were open, and she gasped: caught.

They stared at each other for what seemed like forever. She knew that her eyes were hungry, her face flushed, her lips swollen from her imagination. She didn't have time nor the composure to hide her reaction.

And at the moment, he was too naked to hide his.

Green light glowed in his eyes, as he continued to hold her stare, and Max's heart hammered wildly, her fingers almost breaking the doorknob, the other hand clawing at the wooden frame.

Slowly, brazenly, she let her eyes wander down the length of him. She couldn't help but smile with pure feminine pleasure at his reaction to her presence. He was rigid, throbbing…wanting. She felt the answering, liquid ache low in her belly, the empty throb inside of her, yearning to be filled.

It was now painfully clear that somewhere along the line…from noticing everything about him…to acting irrationally around him…to being afraid of him because of the emotions he brought out of her…somewhere along the line she had fallen in love with him.

"Max," his voice brought her back to his face. His voice rasped, almost broken, but still commanding, his green eyes never wavered, his hand extended to her. "Come here."

Of course, she couldn't say no.

A/N2: Hope I answered the challenge. I don't think I called him 'hot'…did I? Just the water. Hehehe.