Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Angel and make no profits with this story.

Desperate Measures

It's her swollen sense of duty that leads her to his front door. They buried Rachael Berrisford today, and it's her job to see if Alec is okay. It's her self-appointed responsibility to look out for him, for all of them, and to wash, fold, and put away all of Manticore's dirty laundry whenever they trip and stumble over it. It's the burden she carries within her, though she doesn't always understand why.

Alec reluctantly opens the door for her. His eyes are red rimmed from stray silent tears that he never bothered to wipe away, and his breath shudders involuntarily with the strain of trying to control the hurt that just won't fade. He doesn't want to feel these emotions but he doesn't know how to suppress them. She asks him how he is and he looks at her like she's insane to make such a ridiculous inquiry; he's barely holding it together as he tells her that everything is fine.

"You're not fine, Alec. Do you want to...I don't know...talk about it or something?"

"What is there to say, Max?" he asks, and his eyes plead with her, like she might really have an answer. And he sees the pain mirrored in her eyes too, her own desire to run and erase the past, her inability to deal with the floodgate of emotions that threatens to drown them now that they're afloat in the real world.

"I don't know, I just..."

Before she can finish speaking, he kisses her, a wanting, hungry, reckless kiss that silences her potential small talk and platitudes as he pulls her roughly into his arms. He's determined to feel something other than the guilt and hurt and regret, so he backs her against a wall and kisses her hard.

At first, she's too shocked to react, taken aback by the turmoil in his touch. She finally pulls free and tells him no. "Alec, stop it! What are you doing?"

"Please. Please, Max," he begs her, his anxious entreaty lacking the confidence of a soldier and betraying the wild desperation within. He needs to feel something else because he can't take the emptiness anymore. "Please. You don't have to look at me, you can pretend I'm Logan if you want to, I don't care. I just need something...something to help keep it all away."

"Keep what away?" she asks, breathless and confused, infected by his frantic need.

"I don't know, the cold. This feeling. Please, help me keep out the cold. Please."

She stared at him blankly, as though trying to process what he was saying, trying to take in the urgent anxiety carved into his face as he quietly pleads with her. Still stunned, she nods her head a fraction of an inch. It's enough for him.

Suddenly, he's pressed into her again, with even more force than the first time, his fingers laced in her hair, framing her face and holding her to him, forcing her to meet his lips in an all-consuming quest for peace. He's crazed if he's not kissing her, vehement to touch all of her, burning with the need to take all the overwhelming pain and transfer it to her somehow.

She takes it, like she deserves it. As if she knows it's somehow all her fault and she deserves his pain added to her own.

Now Alec is caught in the needy desire to escape with her. He's determined to make both of them forget, so he kisses her lower and lower, until she gasps and grabs his shoulders to steady herself.

The force with which he throws her to the bed and takes her is enough to hurt someone else, but she meets him with an equally manic need. She knows the whole time that it's wrong, but her mind is half numb at this point, unable to think about anything but the determined frenzy to fight off the cold with him, about taking his hurt and her guilt away, about making the pain retreat for just a little while.

When it's finally over, he's bathed with a sense of calm, and he can face his feelings again, and they don't overwhelm them like they did before. She brings him peace after all, though not as she planned it. His sorrow is quieter as she holds him, the grief is back, but not as intense, and he can bury it now.

He falls into an exhausted sleep, and she silently gathers her clothes and leaves.

She sees him the next morning, he has returned to his little life. She says, "Hey." They don't talk about their glorious departure from common sense or how very wrong it was. He doesn't tell her it's the first night of real sleep he's had since Manticore burned. He makes no apology and she doesn't try to turn it into something it isn't, for which he is immensely grateful.

"You're all right?" She asks again. She still wants to save him. She doesn't realize that she already did.

"I'm always all right."

A/N: Since this is my first MA fic, I would really appreciate feedback. Thank you.