-1Summary: X5-494 was built strong, fearless and indestructible… So why then is he deteriorating from the inside out? Can Max figure out why a man built stronger then most machines is falling apart before her own eyes? Can she save him before it's to late?

Losing Time

Chapter One

- Let me start off by giving you the facts about Alec…. More importantly about the way I feel about the boy….

He is by far not my favorite person to grace this planet, however he is the only link I have to anything resembling a family… He wasn't in my group back at Manticore.. This is true, however he was genetically engineered there just the same as I was…. That was his mother ship, just as it was mine… We both had the same screwed up childhood… The same monstrous upbringing, and there are times when he is the only one who I believe can even remotely understand what I am feeling inside…

So therefore, as much as I want to beat the boy down and wring his cocky little neck… He is still in a matter of speaking all that I have to hold on to, and for that reason I need him around….

And when I watched him slipping from me, from himself…I knew I had to find a way to bring him back, to help him… Even if I'm not one hundred percent positive he would ever do the same for me.

Day One :

Jam Pony, the place where we work, is by far not the snazziest get up in town, but then again nothing was snazzy anymore after the great pulse… A day that will forever be written into history as the most destructive day the planet earth had ever seen….

But a person needs to make a living, so therefore, this is where I work… One of the few normal girl activities that actually exist in my life…. Alec, much to my disliking has also snagged a job at J..P. He quickly moved in on every aspect of my life… My job, my friends, even my war against crime… Also included him, ever since I blew up Manticore and released him out into the word, he has been a rash on my side that just won't go away….

But like most unfading rashes, I've learned to live with him, I just ignore him most of the time, unless he makes the task impossible… Then I yell and snap at him, until he's so annoyed he backs off…

Okay let me get back to the point here….

It was about a month ago now, and I was doing as I usually do, standing against the front desk listening to Normal, our boss, squawk at me about leaving early the pervious day, and pretending to listen… I mean what was I supposed to do? Tell him the truth? That I was some genetically revved up female and I was out fighting the big bad while he was here delivering messily packages to the unknowing public???

Yeah right… I'd be fired for sure…

So I twisted a pencil between my fingers nodding my head every now and again in an attempt to appear compliant, as I noticed Alec finally making his way through the front door….

"Typical.." I mumbled to myself before calling over my shoulder, paying him not much attention, "Your over an hour late…"

I waited for a reply, for a witty remark to be thrown back at me, but there was not so much as a word from his mouth as he continued his way toward the lockers in the back his head down eyes covered with his 'Joe Cool' shades.

"Now Get to work…" Normal grunted, ending the conversation and sending me on my way…

I stood headed back to my locker and stopped at the front of the row tilting my head a little, there stood Alec his sunglasses since removed, in front of my locker, the lock in his grasp as he studied it.

"Can I help you?" I took a few more steps closer to him closing the empty space between us…

When he looked up, I saw something in his eyes, that I had never seen before, that should not have been there, he looked confused…. Genuinely confused, almost lost…

"I think my uh. I think my lock is busted."

I felt my facial muscles scrunch in confusion and shook my head in his direction. "That's not your lock there buddy boy, that's mine, and it's attached to my locker….Yours is two more down remember?"

"Oh…" He dropped the lock and nodded, his eyes clearing up, "Right… right I knew that…"

"Yeah, I know you did, are you alright?" I tried as hard as I could to sound really concerned, when it came to Alec though questions like theses were always in vain, because he wouldn't open up even if something was wrong….

And as I expected, I got the same answer I always did… "I'm fine, I'm always fine…" He didn't even bother to look at me now as he threw his stuff into his locker and slammed it shut, showing off his manly muscles once again…

"Well alright then…." I shrugged and popped my neck turning to leave and completely erasing any worry from my mind, so he forgot his locker… A common mistake that could of happened to anyone right????

I saw OC coming toward me and grinned my usual welcoming grin in her direction, and not another Alec thought entered my mind from that moment on… Well for a while anyway.

- After lunch I returned to Jam Pony and immediately was summoned to join normal at his desk for what I guessed to be another verbal put down…

"What did I do this time Normal?" I wondered if he had finally discovered that I was the one taking the toiletries home with me at night…

"It's not what you did, it's what you will be doing…" He corrected me crossing his arms over his chest,. "We're all going to be pulling doubles around here tonight…."

"WHAT?!?!" I felt the anger already beginning to boil inside me, "I have plans tonight… I can't pull a double…" I thought now about the dinner that Logan and I were supposed to be sharing in less then five hours, he had scored a chicken from a local market… And he was going o share it with me…. I was going to be eating chicken….

"Well your going to have to cancel them…" He retorted sounding more annoying then ever his voice ripping through my brain like nails.

"But-" I cut myself off wanting to know whose fault it was this time, whose ass I was going to have to kick for making me unavailable to eat my damn chicken… "Whose fault is it this time…?"

"Mine." He cocked his brow, "I sent golden boy home…."

"Why?!" I didn't particularly care, but if I was going to suffer then I deserved an explanation didn't I?

"He delivered 3 packages in 3 hours, and that's far below his average…"

"So… maybe he's having an off day???"

"He delivered them all to the wrong addresses in the wrong sectors… I had to send Sketchy out to clean up his mess…"

I sighed, what else could I do… I had known Alec's tricks like the back of my hand, but this was by far the best he had pulled off yet to earn himself a couple of free days, he was so going to get his ass beat down for this….

He was going to have to pay…..

- So surprisingly tired from the twelve hour work day, my dinner plans having been canceled, it was finally time for me to go home, only home was not where I was headed….

I stood out in front of Alec's door, Anger boiling, no spilling over inside of me, I was going to definitely rip him a new one for this… Harder then I had ever ripped before…

If only he would answer the damn door…

I knocked louder. As anyone who knows me can tell you, patience is not my best virtue….

So I broke the door down,

The minute the door was open a thick cloud of smoke was surrounding me, the sound of Alec's smoke alarm ringing through my ears…

"Dip-shit." I mumbled to myself figuring he left the stove on when he went out and quickly made my way to the kitchen and shut off the pot that I am sure used to be boiling water, but was now bone dry….

After shutting it off, I coughed reaching over and opening the window above the stove welcoming the rush of cool air….

"I'm gonna kill him.." I mumbled to myself… Just as I picked up a sound coming from the other room, "ALEC!" I called out heading to the bedroom to investigate. There was definitely something strange going on…

I didn't bother knocking as I opened the small bedroom door and stuck my head inside…

I didn't believe what I saw…. My anger rose even closer to the surface, my eyes narrowing….

He was sitting there, just sitting there on the edge of the bed in no more than his sweat pants, as though nothing were going on, as though there weren't damn near a fire in his kitchen…

I flipped the light on. "ALEC FOR CHRIST SAKE DIDN'T YOU HEAR ME CALL-" My voice escaped me as his head tilted up and he looked at me his brows furrowed, that same lost little boy, confused look written in his eyes, that I had caught a glimpse of earlier…

"Max?" his voice was stronger then his features were saying that he was…. And I made my way into the room, "What are you doing here?"

"Saving you from a fire…" I tried to continue to sound angry, even though the look on his face had sent a chill of worry down my back…. "What the hell are you doing in here?"

"I don't…" He cut himself off and shook his head, "Nothing …"

"You don't what Alec?"

"Nothing." He repeated

"This is not funny anymore…" I warned him, "What the hell is going on with you? I mean I've heard of some pretty low things to get out of work, but you forced Sketchy to ride an extra like 4 hours today, and then I come over here to yell at you and find your stove on… and you sitting here in the damn dark hiding like a crazy person?"

"The water!" He jumped up as though that was the only part of my whole speech he had heard and forced himself past me toward the kitchen…

I fallowed, Our conversation was so not over… I wasn't done letting him have it yet, no matter how convincing his lost look act was… "Hey I'm talk-" I stopped in my tracks when I entered back into the front room and saw Alec standing there like in it's center like a horrible center piece…

His eyes were shifting and he was turning slowly in a circle…

"Alec?" I asked so totally and completely baffled by this time as I came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder…

He jumped nearly three feet in the air and turned to look at me, and for the first time, up close and personal I saw just how much confusion was placed behind his eyes his head tilting to the side as he looked at me for answers….

"What was I… Why was I… I was coming in here for something?"

All the cocky tone was stripped from his words, as I left my hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze with a nod, "Yes… You did, but I already took care of it alright…" I didn't know what else to say… Hell I had no clue as to what was even going on… Why the hell he was acting like this….

But I can tell you one thing, the answer wasn't going to give me any more comfort then the lack there of.