The Book of Max

by Inzane

Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Angel. I do not own, nor do I mean to infringe, on Miller Lite or their way cool Man Laws. No cash made here.

Summary: Oneshot. This fic ties in to my story The Friggin' Cure. You don't have to read that one to understand it (but please, go read it anyway.) Inspired a bit by Miller Lite's Man Laws.

A/N: I know, I know, this is not the next chapter of The Friggin' Cure. I just had to exorcise this demon, okay? Don't freak out. I'm steadily plugging away at the next chapter. When have I left you guys hanging, huh?

Alec leaned back in his chair, feet propped casually on his desk. He checked his watch again. Thirteen minutes. Damn. If she didn't show up soon, he was gonna lose the bet. When he heard the oh-so-familiar, angry tread of what could only be a pissed off Max heading toward his office, he smiled, bracing himself for battle. He knew she wouldn't let him down.

Max stormed through Command, hair streaming behind her, headed with single-minded focus toward her target. There was an unusual number of X's and transhumans milling about. When Max came storming through, they all suddenly busied themselves with a piece of equipment or found themselves in deep conversation with another transgenic. They needn't have worried, because Max ignored all of them--there was only one transgenic on her mind right now.

As soon as Max slammed open the door of Alec's office, Mole leaned over to Dix, never taking his eyes off of Alec's office, and asked "Time?"

Dix looked up from the stopwatch, which he had clicked as soon as Max crossed the threshold of Alec's office. "Thirteen minutes, forty two seconds," he called out so everyone could hear. There was a mixed chorus of groans and cheers. Cigarettes, candy bars, and other goodies proceeded to change hands. The transactions were handled quickly. No one wanted to miss the show.

Back in his office, Alec had wiped the smile off his face and whipped his legs off of his desk. Affecting a look of deep concentration, he'd learned over the paperwork on his desk and pretended to work. Showtime.

Max had slammed open his door, crashing it into the wall. She now stalked toward his desk like a panther closing in on its prey. Alec glanced up with what he hoped was a bored, unaffected look. Suddenly, his breath caught in his throat. She was beautiful when she was angry--hair a bit windswept, dark eyes flashing, cheeks flushed. He had missed it.

Alec had been concerned about Max. They were two months into the siege, and it seemed that Max was cracking under the pressure of leadership. She put too much on her shoulders, took everything to heart, and blamed herself for every little thing that went wrong. If he heard "I let them out into the world" one more time, he was gonna strangle her. He needed a way to relieve some of the pressure, to get her to ease up a bit. If he got a little damaged in the process, well, it was a small price to pay, wasn't it?

The raging bull, or cat, as it were, stopped directly in front of his desk and threw Alec's means of loosening Max up onto his desk. The small, homemade booklet spun around and came in for a landing right under Alec's nose. The words "The Book of Max" stood out in bold, yellow letters on the heavy blue cardstock cover.

Max pulled what Alec like to refer to as her typical "Max stance": hip jutted jauntily out to the side, hands resting on those wonderful, curvy hips.... Ugh. He shook his head to clear it. Don't go there, Alec.

"What the hell is that?!" Max asked him through clenched teeth, clearly trying to maintain some level of control.

Alec glanced down at the booklet as if he had never seen it before. He raised his eyebrows and looked up at her, all innocence and boyish charm. "Hmmph. It says it's The Book of Max."

Max leaned menacingly forward and placed both hands on his desk. "Yes. It's The Book of Max. And it's all over TC. What the hell were you thinking?"

Alec picked up the book and stood, opening the cover to peek inside. "Well, I don't know what you're talking about, Maxie. I'd better take a look." He paused for dramatic effect, bring his hand to his chin as if in deep thought. "Let's see... Max Law Number One... 'No one leaves Terminal City without backup'. Smart rule, that one."

Max fumed. She had said that exact thing to Alec two weeks ago when he had snuck out of TC to pick up a six pack of beer and some pork rinds. She had been so mad at him for risking his life over such a trivial thing. Who knows how many times he had done it before without her catching him? She had put a stop to it right then and there.

Alec read on, conviently skipping over the next law. "Max Law Number Three... 'X Series, Transhuman, whatever--we're a family, and family has each other's backs.' That's a pretty good motto, if you ask me. I don't see what you're so upset about, Maxie."

Alec could actually hear Max's teeth grinding. Excellent. He worked desperately to keep the grin that was threatening to break out locked down. She snatched the book out of his hands and flipped it over to read.

"Oh, yeah? What about Max Law Number Two? 'Everyone has a name. If you don't come up with one on your own, Max will come up with one for you. Best come up with one yourself.'" As she said the last part, her voice rose in righteous indignation. "And what about Max Law Number Five? 'Just because you have some shark DNA doesn't mean that you have to work extra night shifts.'" She stared Alec down. "And here's my personal favorite, Number Seven..." she said sarcastically, "'No taking advantage of female transgenics in heat.'"

Alec gave her a puzzled look. "What's wrong with that one?"

Max read on, her voice becoming a frustrated scream. "...Advice from SIC: If said transgenic female in heat threatens you bodily harm, it is suggested that you take one for the team." With that, she threw the book at his feet. He saw her shift her weight to the balls of her feet. Here it comes. Talk about taking one for the team!

Just then, Dalton walked in the door, eyes on the copies of The Book of Max in his hands, completely oblivious to the events taking place. Funny that none of the transgenics outside has seen fit to warn him of the confrontation taking place. "Hey, Alec, do you have any more copies of the book, 'cause were running out and I haven't even hit Oak Street yet..." His voice trailed off as he looked up to see a furious Max standing in front of Alec, who was giving Dalton a look that clearly said shitty timing, kid.

Alec had braced himself for Max's onslaught, but Dalton entering the picture changed the rules. He had dragged the X6 into this (though it didn't take much arm twisting as Dalton seemed to semi-worship the ground he walked on), and he didn't want him to get caught up in the fray. Shame, really. He had been looking forward to a fight. Max had been so tied up in knots, that she didn't even take the time to fight with him anymore, and he was amazed to find out just how much he missed it. Guess I'll have to take a rain check. Time for a hasty retreat.

When Max's attention shifted to Dalton, Alec saw her muscles tense and her eyes narrow. Eyes widening, he yelled, "Run, kid!" and he and Dalton blurred toward the door.

It was futile. Never run from an X5 alpha female--it only eggs them on. Max caught both male transgenics in a flying tackle and sent all three of them crashing to the ground. Alec and Dalton each ended up with a knee in the back, courtesy of said pissed off female, each grunting in pain as Max grabbed them by their hair and pulled their heads back. Then she smashed their heads together with a solid crack, causing an echoing ouch from both males.

Max leaned in, bringing her face between their now dazed heads. "Haven't you fellas learned..." she said in a tone that indicated she was in no mood to suffer fools. She grasped their hair a little tighter, causing each to wince. "Don't fuck with Max unless you plan to pay the price." With that, Max stood up, staring down at them, looking every bit the triumphant predator.

Alec and Dalton rolled over and sat up, their movements and the looks on their faces so synchronized that it was almost comical. Each rubbed their head at the spot where Max had crashed them together.

Dalton glanced over at Alec with a questioning look. He tilted his head, putting as much innocence in his tone as a boy his age could muster, and asked, "Max Law?"

Alec's face was suddenly transformed by a smile so brilliant that it was almost angelic. He was so proud. He must have been really rubbing off on the kid. He raised his arm, and he and the X6 proceeded to engage in the manly art of bumping fists. "Max Law."

With that, Max threw up her hands and gave a frustrated "Aarrgghh!" before storming off, muttering under her breath, " idiots... shoulda named him Dick."

On the other side of the room, Mole chewed steadily on his cigar. He scratched his scaly head and leaned back against the edge of the computer station, disappointed. "Huh... She let him off easy." He looked over at Dix, who held out his hand patiently. Mole harrumphed and slapped a flask of homemade whiskey into the monocled-transhuman's palm.

The show was over. Transgenics scattered, some muttering with disappointment, but most were encouraged by the brief showdown. The bitch was back. She may not have made a full comeback yet, but she was clearly back on the right path. Inside the gates of Terminal City, it was back to business as usual.

The end.

For those of you who are just dying to get a copy, here is the current Book of Max in its entirety:

Max Laws:

1. No one leaves Terminal City without backup.

2. Everyone has a name. If you don't come up with one on your own, Max will come up with one for you. Best come up with one yourself.

3. X Series, Transhuman, whatever--we're a family, and family has each other's backs.

4. No one gets left behind.

5. Just because you have some shark DNA doesn't mean that you have to work extra night shifts.

6. Don't kill anyone unless you absolutely have to. (This means you, Mole.)

7. No taking advantage of female transgenics in heat. Advice from SIC: If said transgenic female in heat threatens you bodily harm, it is suggested that you take one for the team.

8. Leadership has its perks; hence, if Max doesn't want to carry a gun, she doesn't have to.

9. Max is always right. If she is wrong, offer an alternate suggestion and make it sound like it was Max's idea.

10. Don't make fun of ordinaries. It's not nice. Making fun of Familiars; however, is completely acceptable and encouraged.

Just added:

11. Don't fuck with Max unless you plan to pay the price.

A/N: Okay, demon expelled. (Hmm...watching too much Supernatural, I guess.) I will get right on the next chapter of The Friggin' Cure. I promise.