Pitter Patter
by pari106

pari106@hotmail.com
http://www.geocities.com/pari106/damain.html

Disclaimer: None of DA belongs to me; Rating: PG-13; Code: M/A

Summary: Alec and Max are brought together by the thing that brings most breeding partners together…a
baby. Or two?

A/N: This may strike you as uncannily similar to a certain M/Z fic of mine...certain elements of it, anyway.
I promise it's not just a rip off of that one.

A/A/N: Oh…and, yes, this first chapter starts off Alec-free, but don't worry, the M/A aspect of the story is
coming soon...whenever I write more of this. Who knows when that will be.



Prologue…

"I can't even look at you right now…"

The words were harsh, but Max didn't take them back. She turned away from Alec, from that look on his
face…

Max swallowed the lump in her throat.

She *would* not cry. She wouldn't think about how close he'd come to dying just now. Wouldn't let that
*look* dissuade her from her anger.

"Max…"

"Get away from me," Max told him, forcing a lot more conviction into her words than she actually felt. "I
don't want to see you again."

She remained standing where she was, back turned, until she heard Alec at the door. Before he left, he
paused, and Max could feel his eyes on her.

"I really am sorry, Max," he said at last. His voice was softer, more sincere than she'd ever heard it. And
his words held more emotion than she'd thought he was capable.

Max didn't respond. And then Alec was gone, leaving her alone with Joshua…and the solitary tear
slipping slowly down her face.



**** ****


Chapter One…

"So when are you gonna tell Normal?"

Max was shoving her pack into her locker as OC said this, and her friend watched as Max's shoulders
stiffened at the question. But Cindy wasn't going to back off from this one.

Max shrugged, and Cindy sighed.

"Boo, you gotta tell him."

Max turned to her. "Why?"

"Because my boo's gotta watch out for her little boo, that's why!" Cindy told her. Then her tone became
more sympathetic. "Max, you can't just hide from this forever."

Max frowned. She wasn't hiding…really.

"I've made enough confessions lately, thank you very much," Max said sourly, but not without that same,
sad little flash of pain that was in her eyes so often. The last person she'd told about her…situation hadn't
been happy about it. But this was Normal, after all. What did Max care what he thought about it? Cindy
knew it wasn't so much the thought of telling Normal that had Max clamming up; it was the fact that doing
so would remind her all too much of the day a week ago when she'd told Logan.

"He'll get over it, Max," Cindy told her now, putting an arm around her boo.

Max didn't respond.

Then, suddenly, something seemed to catch her eye just over Cindy's shoulders. Max looked up.

"What the…" And her eyes widened with recognition.

Cindy turned to see what had got her so interested. "What is it?"

A girl, about sixteen or seventeen years old, was walking their way; pretty, Cindy supposed, except that she
looked nervous as a mouse. Blonde hair…and blue eyes that seemed to sparkle when they saw Max. The
girl smiled from across Jam Pony and hurried her step when she saw the two of them standing there.

"You know her?" Cindy asked Max.

"Yeah," Max replied, confused but pleased by this unexpected visit. "Yeah, I do. Her name's Ralph."

Cindy raised an eyebrow. "What kinda mother would name her kid Ralph?" she asked.

Max just rolled her eyes.

**** ****

"So why are you in Seattle?"

Max and Ralph were walking down the street. Ralph had said maybe one whole sentence since she'd
shown up at Jam Pony. Max had taken her along on her runs, hoping the younger girl would open up a
little, but so far her strategy wasn't working. What *was* Ralph doing back in Seattle? Where were
Bullet, Fixit, Zero, and Bugler? Max had told them to stick together, and they'd seemed to want to do just
that. What had changed? Was Ralph in some kind of trouble? Now Max was about ready to clock out for
the day and she had no more answers to her questions than she'd started out with.

Then Ralph finally put a hand on Max's arm.

"Max, can we…talk?" She looked so nervous. Max hadn't seen her this stiff since they'd first met, when
Ralph had still been X6 809. Only now, instead of blind obedience in her eyes, Max saw fright and
uncertainty. The younger woman was chewing her lip, and wringing her hands in her pockets.

"Yeah, sure," she told her with a comforting smile, but she was beginning to worry. Were things really that
bad?

The women stopped at a deli Max had learned she liked, but they didn't order any food, they just sat
outside on a bench.

"So spill," Max told her. Ralph just stared at her.

"What?"

Max smiled. "That means talk."

"Oh!" For a moment, she actually smiled, but then that look was back there again. Max decided to help her
out. "Where are the others?" she asked. She didn't have to specify what 'others' she meant.

Ralph shook her head and sighed, but if Max had worried that the problem lay with something happening to
one of Ralph's group, her worries were now laid to rest. At the mention of the kids she'd escaped
Manticore with, Ralph looked frustrated, but the nervous fear from before seemed to slip into the
background of her thoughts.

"Here and there," she replied with a frown. "Bullet and Zero got into a fight. I don't know what it is with
those two. I think sometimes they forget we're not back at Manticore and that they don't have to keep
trying to 'take command of the unit'." At these last words, Ralph rolled her eyes and Max had to laugh.
Yeah, she'd had the same problem with Zack. But this thought sobered her. Best not to think about Zack
now…she had enough problems on her hands without reviving her grief over losing him.

"So you split up?" Max asked. Ralph nodded.

"Zero said he thought he'd be better off on his own. I think he was just angry at Bullet, though, and he…"
Ralph looked a little uncomfortable with whatever she was going to say next. Was that a blush?

"He what?"

"He was…jealous. Of me and Bullet," Ralph admitted. Max smiled. Oh. She didn't have to ask Ralph to
clarify on that. She'd seen the way the two X6s had looked at each other, even back when they'd first
gotten out of Manticore. Apparently those looks hadn't stopped after the kids had left Seattle the last time.

"What about Fixit and Bugler?" Max asked.

"Fixit followed Zero. She's got a crush on him, you know," Ralph told her. Max shook her head. No she
didn't know. And here she thought her group had had all the drama. Apparently, Ralph's was getting its
fair share as well. "Bugler stayed with me and Bullet," Ralph continued.

Max had assumed he would. Out of all the X6s, Bullet and Ralph had seemed most protective of their
youngest companion. Only one thing confused her…

"And where are they?"

Ralph looked down at her tennis shoes and shrugged. "The last time I saw them…Buffalo."

Buffalo? As in *New York*? But before Max could question her yet again, Ralph looked up.

"I ran away, alright?" she suddenly burst out. "I got scared, and I ran away. When I got back to Buffalo
they were gone. I don't know where to look for them! I don't even know where to start! I wandered
around for a while, then I came here." Ralph was growing more agitated by the moment. By this time she
looked ready to cry, and she was on her feet and pacing. Max was shocked by how quickly all her
emotions were tumbling out.

"Ralph…"

"What do I do?" the girl suddenly asked her. "You've got to help me, Max, I don't know what to do! I
didn't know who else to go to…"

Max stood up, too. "Hey," she said, trying to calm the girl down. "Hey, you came to the right place. Of
course, I'll help you. Just calm down, okay?"

Ralph looked at her through eyes bright with tears.

"What are you talking about?" Max asked. "What do you mean, you got scared? Why'd you run away?"

Ralph hesitated a moment….just a moment, before dropping the bomb.

"Max…I'm pregnant."