Summary: What happens when Alec and Max's latest mission gets a little muddy? Pranks & Sparks fly! MALEC
Rating: M (Just to be one the safe side)
Disclaimer: I keep the right to Dark Angel where I keep all my imaginary things that I wished existed.
Author's Note: Ok so this is my first Dark Angel fic. It's actually for a challenge that a saw a looong while back from CandyCentric on NWP. Here's the criteria:

Is it possible that we don't actually have a fic about Alec skinny dipping with someone?
+ Points for:
A) Alec taking the plunge with Max,
B) Having them go somewhere other than the ocean
C) NO NC17 - that's right. Naked Alec, naked Max & that's it. Of course - Keep in mind, no nc17 doesn't necessarily mean no fun at all.

Now I've never been one to write romance. I've tried in the past and it always comes out feeling a bit stiff and awkward. Still, I'm fairly satisfied with the way this one came out. I'd love to hear others opinions though too so I could get an idea on how to make it better next time.

It was supposed to be a simple mission. Find the cave, check out the paintings. No big bad mobsters or Familiars to deal with. Just trees and rocks. And, of course Alec…

"Ouch! Alec!" Max hissed in pain as Alec bumped into her, thereby stepping on her foot for about the hundredth time that day.

"Don't blame me! I'm not the one stopping every few yards! Abruptly too I might add!" Alec grumbled back.

"I'm checking our coordinates to make sure we're headed in the right direction." Max said, scowling at him. She turned back to the map she held in her hands. "The cave should be about a mile up ahead."

"Great! Just great!" Alec muttered. "You know Max, there's got to be a dozen caves out here in these woods. How do we know that this cave is the right one?"

"Because we've already looked everywhere else," Max replied as she continued forward.

Alec groaned but followed along behind her once more. He slapped at a mosquito that landed on his neck and continued making his way through the dense brush. "Of all the things the pulse destroyed, why couldn't it have fried these little suckers!"

"Because something has to be more annoying than you are," Max replied harshly. They had been wandering in these woods for hours and she was growing tired of Alec's constant jabber.

Alec feigned a pained look at Max's comment. "Ouch! That hurt Max! Really, it cut deep! You know one of these days I'm not going to…."

At that moment, Alec's foot hit a root, causing him to lose his balance and tumble down a steep incline. He grabbed a hold of Max's arm for support but it was no use. With a cry of surprise the two fell down the hill, bumping into a few rocks, branches, and other various objects along the way. If they had fallen twenty feet to the right they would have landed smack on a pile of sharp rocks which surely would have killed them. As it happened, they just missed the jagged rocks and instead landed in a huge pile of mud.

"Well, this is going well!" Alec groaned as he spit mud out of his mouth.

Max glared at him as she attempted to wipe the mud from her eyes. "If you would only watch where you're going!" She growled. "None of this would have happened!"

"Hey, don't blame me! You're the one that wanted me to come!" Alec replied. "I would have been happy just sitting home watching some good, old boob tube."

"The mission works better if executed by two people," Max said angrily. "At least it would have worked better with two people if you didn't have to go and screw it up! As usual!"

"Well at least now we blend in with our surroundings," Alec replied with his usual cocky grin.

Max didn't bother replying. Instead she knocked him upside the head, promptly feeling better.

"That's it! I can't work like this!" Alec groaned. Prying himself carefully out of the mud and back onto dry land, he shed his jacket followed quickly by his shirt.

"And just what do you think you're doing?!" Max asked, trying to hide her shock beneath her anger.

"According to the map there's a lake less than a click east of us. I'm heading down there to clean out the gobs of mud now stuck in my ears. Judging from your horrifying rendition of the swamp thing, I suggest you do the same."

"We have a job to do," Max reminded him.

Alec sighed. "The caves have been around for millions of years Max. I highly doubt that they'll be destroyed within the next five minutes."

Without another word, Alec headed off into the woods, toward the direction of the lake. Max stayed where she was for a few seconds before heading off toward the lake as well, deciding that as important as the caves were and all, a quick shower break wouldn't kill them.

"A girl's gotta have her priorities," she reasoned to herself as she trudged through the underbrush.

She arrived at the lake's edge to find Alec already in the water, his clothes, newly washed, laying out in the sun to dry.

"How's the water?" Max called out to him.

"Well, it's not Key West but it will have to do," Alec said with a smirk.

Max nodded. She sat down at the water's edge and carefully began to unlace her boots.

"You coming in?" Alec asked, watching her curiously. She was taking an awfully long time undoing those shoes.

Max shrugged. "I just thought I'd wait for a bit."

Alec chuckled. "What for? The water's not going to get any warmer!"

Max looked away from him, choosing instead to focus on the water that now lapped at her feet.

"I know that. I just…" Her voice trailed off as she tried to come up with a good excuse.

Alec's eyes grew wide as he realized just what was holding her back. "You've got to be kidding me! The great Max Guevera is shy!"

Max glared at him. "It's called having a little bit of modesty! Something that obviously wasn't mixed in with your genes!"

"Well can you blame me?" Alec said with a smirk. "I mean, hell, with a body like this, it would be a crime not to let the ladies have a little look see."

Max snorted, rolling her eyes.

"Come on Maxie," Alec continued, putting on his infamous puppy dog look as he pleaded with her. "A little dip won't kill you… Do it for me! I don't want to be forced to ride two hours back to Seattle with you smelling like a bear's ass if you don't wash all the mud off you. I promise I won't look!"

Max chose not to say anything and instead just sat there staring at him. Alec had swum closer. He was merely a few yards out and wading in closer and closer slowly. He stopped, the water coming up only a little past his waist. Droplets of water fell off his upper body as he stood there, looking back at Max with a pleading look on his face.

Max found herself momentarily stunned as she looked at him. Her transgenic sight zoomed in on the droplets of water as it ran down Alec's hard, smooth chest. She blinked suddenly, drawing her attention away from his chest and back to his face. Realizing he was still expecting an answer, she sighed.

"Fine, but no peeking!"

"Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a thousand needles in my eye." He vowed solemnly.

Max glared at him threateningly. "Sneak a peek pretty boy and those needles will be the worst of your worries."

Alec chuckled softly to himself. He had no doubt Max would put that threat to good use if the need arose for it.

Max slowly stood up, finally having tugged off her boots and socks. She unzipped her jacket, cleaning and laying it out neatly in the sun before doing the same with her shirt.

"Come on Max! We haven't got all day!" Alec groaned. "Caves to find! World to save!"

Max looked at Alec dangerously. She stood at the waters edge in her jeans and tank top. "Turn around." She ordered.

Alec obediently did as he was told. Max waited for a moment to make sure he wasn't peeking before finally removing the rest of her clothes.

"Can I look yet?" Alec called out, sounding much like an impatient child waiting for his surprise.

"No!" Max said sharply.

Alec grumbled something under his breath about the touchiness of women. Max ignored him. A second later Alec heard the splashing of water. He resisted the urge to turn around to watch Max dive in, knowing full well the beating she would inflict on him if she caught him watching.

"Is the coast clear now?" Alec called out.

"Mmmmhmmm…" Max replied, feeling much more relaxed and at ease now that she was actually in the water getting rid of all the mud that caked her body.

Alec turned around his mouth open for a snide remark concerning how Max took longer to undress than most females did to get ready in the morning. He froze however as soon as he laid eyes on her. Max swam lazily toward him, the water up to her shoulders, hiding more than he would have wanted it to. She stopped a few yards away from him, her hair floating around her face. Oblivious to his ogling, Max proceeded to tilt her head back in an attempt to get the mud out of her hair. Alec gulped and willed himself to breath.

'Ok there buddy, just look away slowly and it will all be alright,' he thought to himself. His eyes however refused to cooperate. Instead they remained glued to the striking transgenic before him.

Max turned slightly in the water, her eyes locking with Alec's. She sent him a look that he swore would have killed an ordinary man.

Alec quickly snapped out of his daydream. He smirked at Max, his mind finally able to operate once more. "What's the matter Maxie? Afraid to wash your hair underwater for fear it might ruin your makeup?"

Max glared at him but continued right on washing her hair. "What and give you the opportunity to pull some prank? No thanks! Don't want to risk you running off with my clothes or something equally as stupid!"

Alec smirked at the thought of Max running through the forest with no clothes on. Now that would be a sight to behold! "Awww, come on Maxie! Don't you trust me?" He asked innocently.

Max snorted in reply. She turned her head slightly, focusing on untangling the knots now from her hair. Alec took the opportunity to slowly sink under the water.

'I'll show her,' he thought to himself as he swam slowly toward Max till he was directly under her. He reached up and grabbed her leg, pulling her underwater. He vaguely heard a screech as she was dragged under. Alec smirked to himself at being so utterly sneaky. Before he realized what was happening, however, her leg kicked out hitting him squarely in the shoulder.

The surprise attack knocked the remaining air out of Alec's lunges. He was thrown backwards at the force of the impact, doing a somersault through the water as he did. Before he could recover his senses he felt a pain course through his head also as he was pulled up to the surface by the root of his hair.

"Ow Maxie! That hurt!" Alec said as he attempted to catch his breath again while rubbing his now sore head.

"Good!" She shouted, here eyes shooting daggers at the other transgenic. "I can't believe you Alec!"

Alec smiled charmingly at her. "Aww, come on Maxie! I was only playing," he said softly, drawing even closer to her. He stopped an arm length away from her, just in case she felt the need to hit him again. "I didn't mean it."

Max was suddenly acutely aware of everything around her. The crying of the birds, the lapping of the water, the distance between her and Alec. All her anger towards him had melted away and was now replaced with….

Max shook her head slightly, clearing her mind from the dangerous path it had just been about to go down. She willed herself to look away from the transgenic in front of her.

"You're such an ass," she called out behind her as she swam closer to shore.

"But a hot ass!" He replied to her with a slight chuckle. The smile was wiped off his face a second later however. "Max wait!"

Max felt Alec grab her arm and pull her back to him. She reached out to smack him across the face but he held out his arm in defense.

"Your shoulder," he explained slowly. "There's a rune on it."

"What!" Max cried in both anger and disbelief. She twisted her body slightly so she could look at it. She growled in frustration when she realized that it was out of her range of vision.

"Great," she muttered. "Just great!"

"Here," Alec moved around to her back. His fingers brushed lightly against the rune. He looked at Max warily to see if she would bite his head off but she seemed to have gone mute. "It's right here." His fingers traced along the rune lightly, following the curves of it slowly. Max shivered at his touch, her eyes closed slightly.

They stayed that way for longer than necessary. Consciously, Alec's mind was asking him what the hell he thought he was doing. If he had any will to live at all he would get as far away from her as possible before she came to her senses as well. He didn't move however.

Instead he moved closer, relaxing his body slightly at the relief of not being hit yet. He moved his hand across her shoulder slowly, reveling in the feel of it.

"God Max, you're so tense," he said, chuckling slightly as he massaged her shoulder gently. "You need to relax."

Alec expected a smart reply followed by the cracking of his bones and Max promptly crushed his hand. Max remained silent, however. Alec almost jumped in surprise when, instead of attacking him, she tilted her head back, leaning in closer to Alec, her head resting on his chest.

Max's scent was all around him as he breathed in sharply, fighting to keep control. His hand continued to rub up and down her shoulder blade, his thumb circling the newfound rune lazily. Hell, he had got this far. Might as well go for broke.

"You know Maxie, I'm kind of digging this whole rune thing." He tucked her hair behind her ear slowly, bending down to nuzzle her neck. "It's pretty sexy." He nipped at her skin lightly with his teeth, trailing down her neck and onto her shoulder blade.

"Damn sexy," he murmured.

"Alec," she said, turning around to face him. Alec prepared himself for the blow that was sure to come.

"Shut up." She smiled up at him, her chocolate brown eyes practically twinkling in laughter.

Alec was more than happy to oblige. Bending down, he cupped her face in his hand and kissed her, smirking to himself as she shivered against him. Max put her arm around Alec's neck, drawing herself even closer to him. She moaned as he bit down on her lip slightly. Her one arm stroked his hair that she had practically ripped of his head just moments before whole her other hand ran up and down his chest.

The sound of a twig cracking in the forest caused the two transgenic to jump to high alert. The looked over to the bank for any signs of an intruder but saw none.

"Must have just been an animal," Alec murmured.

Max nodded, coming out of her trance suddenly. Neither said anything for the moment.

Slowly, Max untangled herself from Alec, pushing him away slightly. "We better get going," she said finally, turning to head back toward land.

Alec nodded and followed close behind her, a smirk plastered across his face.

Max turned around suddenly, her eyes determined and was that… yep there was definitely fear there as well. "This… Us… Never happened."

Alec nodded his head in agreement. "Of course not."

Max glared at him. "I mean it Alec! If you tell anyone about what just happened I'll…"

"Beat me to a bloody pulp?" Alec offered.

"Exactly," Max said nodding her head. "Now turn around pretty boy."

"What?" Alec asked, confused at the sudden change of topics.

"You heard me!" Max said. "Turn around! I need to get out."

Alec sighed. "Max, do we really need to do this? I mean we just…"

Max sent him a murderous look.

"Alright, alright." Alec turned around obediently, a smile still spread across his face.

Satisfied that he knew better than to try and peek, Max wade back to shore to gather her things.

"Hey Maxie," Alec called out over his shoulder.

"What?" Max asked as she tried to dry her hair off as best as possible.

"We should go on missions like this more often."

Max groaned aloud as Alec chuckled softly in the water. She was never going to live this down. Ever!

Author's Note: Well there you go! What did you guys think? After I wrote this I had a neat idea on how to make this a multi-chapter fic. Some more romance as well as some action and drama. I'm not so sure though. Should I try it or is it best just to leave it alone?

Review please!