Okay, so I know I haven't finished the sequel to Trust yet, but this idea sort of stuck with me, and I usually update pretty fast, so I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to get to both of them.

This chapter takes place right after Exposure. It's short but it's just my prologue. I'll get the next one out as soon as I can.

Don't own anything.

Max rode her bicycle through Seattle, not really looking at anything. The events of the last week kept playing over in her mind. She couldn't help but to worry about it.

The revelation of who White really was, the fact that she was somehow immune to their test. Whatever White was planning, and it had to be something big, of course. It was all leading up to something big and she wasn't sure what would happen.

It didn't seem right. Government agents she could deal with. She'd been dealing with those types for ten years, running from them, and Lydecker had been bad enough. She'd had people looking to kill her or lock her up for as long as she could remember, that was nothing new.

But now? Now she had some psycho breeding cult after her. It was a little surreal, and she had to admit it sounded like the plot of some bad sci-fi movie. Then again her whole life was like that.

Max glanced to the side of the street and braked abruptly, staring. Surprise went through her and she sat there, frozen for several seconds. She blinked a few times, like maybe she could make the figure disappear. When he turned slightly and she caught sight of the messy dark blonde hair, she knew that it was him.

Before she knew what she was doing, she had dropped her bike and was making her way towards him. He hadn't noticed her, she guessed, because he kept his pace and didn't turn towards her until she reached him and grabbed a hold of his arm.

"Alec?" She heard him groan slightly before he turned to her, dark green eyes meeting her own.

"Hey, Max."

--

When she'd told him to leave, she'd meant it. It wasn't until he really had disappeared that she realized that she hadn't been expecting him to listen to her. He never had before, and despite the fact that she hadn't known him for very long, she was sure he wouldn't start then.

She had thought that there was something good about him after all, after he had helped her escape from White and get that group of kids away from him. And then she'd thought she'd been wrong after he'd cost her the chance at the cure.

The thing was she'd seen the real remorse in his eyes when he'd walked out of that place after she'd saved his life at the cost of the cure. Then he'd disappeared through the door and she'd never seen him again.

The next few months had been interesting to say the least. She'd met many more Manticore escapees. She'd found, and lost Zack again. She'd through way to many 'I can't see you anymores' with Logan.

Through it all, she couldn't explain or help the small pang of disappointment that Alec had listened to her this time and stayed gone. She wasn't sure why she felt it, but after a while with everything that had been going on, he'd been pushed to the back of her mind.

When she'd met Brain, though, he'd been brought to the forefront again. She'd mentioned Alec when they started talking for some reason, and he'd frowned, saying that he should have been there.

Max had frowned herself and changed the subject. She didn't like thinking about Alec, especially since she probably wouldn't ever see him again. He had left, just like she'd told him to.

She really did not like the feeling that welled in her stomach when she thought about how she didn't even know if he was alive or not. It was strange, and once again she couldn't explain it, and didn't even want to try and analyze it.

She had hated him, but at the same time there was something about him that got to her like nobody had in a while. It was the same something that made her want to break his nose whenever she saw him.

In the end, she really tried to not think about Alec. He confused he hell out of her, had since he'd walked into her cell back at Manticore.

--

"Your back." Max said now, dropping her arm and staring at him.

"Yeah." He said, crossing his arms across his chest. She frowned, taking him in. He looked a little ragged to tell the truth.

"Where the hell have you been?" Alec shrugged, his face unreadable.

"Does it matter?" She sighed.

"Why are you back then?"

"Careful, Max," he said, his voice slightly dull, "people might start thinking you care."

"About you? Right." The words left her mouth of their own volition and she almost stopped in shock again. Her frown deepened. Something was wrong. Max noted the barely visible flinch at her words, the way the very small smile on his face was slightly brittle, the dark circles under his eyes, the slightly slumped set of his shoulders.

"Alec, what happened? Why are you back?" Alec sighed and his shoulders slumped further.

"I don't know." He said. He sounded incredibly tired and almost defeated. He ran a hand through his hair, making it stick up even more. "I just..." He trailed off, biting his lip. Max felt herself softening at the sight of him. He looked...lost, and almost broken.

"Come on." Max said, reaching out and taking his hands. Unease settled in her gut as she led him back to her place. He didn't say anything as they walked. When they got there, she pushed him down on the couch and after a minute, he rested his head back against it and closed his eyes.

"Alec." She nearly stepped back when he looked up at her with hollow eyes.

"You were right before, Max." He said quietly. "You should have just let my head explode."