So...I should be posting a chapter for either "Scrambled" or "Extension" but I really needed to get this out first. Get my M/A juices flowing again. So, it's been a couple of weeks, so if this seems a little OC, I do apologize. This is post Freak Nation. Once again, I disclaim. I alas, own nothing. Though if anyone is willing to sell me Alec, I'll happily keep him busy and out of trouble...;-)


"Okay, I need a favor."

Alec glanced up from his desk, the low lamplight hiding his face in various degrees of shadow. She shut the door firmly behind her, and shrugged out of her leather jacket. With a big huff she threw it down on the wobbly wooden chair in front of his desk.

"Max? What're you doing here? I thought you had the night off?"

"I do. And I was at Logan's earlier," she noticed and ignored Alec's sudden little frown. "I thought to go over what he'd figured out about my runes."

"Let me guess, more pasta and wine?" Max's face fell miserably.

"Yeah." She said distractedly. Alec let out a deep sigh before standing up and walking around the side of his desk to lean on the front and watch her pace.

"Maxie, -" he started but she interrupted him, deep frown on her face.

"I know, I know. I shoulda known better. You set up the weekly statuses with Dix, Logan and me for this very reason."

"So why'd you go?" he asked. Max worried her lower lip with her teeth.

"Because before all this stupid crap, we used to be friends." Alec's eyebrows raised up to his hairline. Friends. Yeah, right. Max sensed his disbelief and stopped right in front of him. "Okay, so we were more like business associates, but my point is I used to be able to go over there without him making Mooney eyes at me." Alec snorted.

"I think there was mutual mooning going on. In fact, it often used to make me sick." She slammed her fist into his shoulder and he flinched a little.

"Shut up." she muttered "We're not like that. He's supposed to think we're -" she flicked her fingers back and forth between the two of them. "- Like that." Alec gave her an annoyed look and rubbed his shoulder.

"Gee, I wonder why he doesn't believe it?" Alec said in a mocking voice. "Especially when you show me such love and affection." Max pouted at him, and tossed her hair over her shoulder.

"Whatever, you big baby." She glanced at him and away again. "Besides. We hold hands sometimes." Alec rolled his eyes.

"Please. You held Logan's hand at the flag raising ceremony with the gloves. He figures you just got freaked because of the tear."

"I did get freaked-okay? But it's more than that. You were right, there was more wrong with us than the virus." Alec gave her a disbelieving look.

"Then why don't you just tell him the truth already? Because you aren't being a very good girlfriend." Max gave him a disgusted look.

"I tried after the torn glove incident- but he's being stubborn and it's gonna get him killed!" She reached out and gripped his biceps. "Can't you go all Alpha male on him and get him off my back? I don't have the time or energy to put into dodging all his carefully placed emotional traps. It's just so exhausting." She pouted prettily at him, eyes wide.

Alec looked pointedly down at her hands on his arms.

"Oh yeah. You're really above the emotional manipulation." Max looked guiltily at him. There was a sinking feeling in his gut. "Oh no. Say you didn't."

"I'm sorry Alec, but I don't know what else will convince him!" Alec looked behind her at his door.

"What time do you expect him?" he asked wearily. Max shifted uncomfortably, crossing her arms across her chest.

"About 10-15 minutes?"


"What?" she shot back at him equal parts irritated and guilty. "I thought you were always ready!" Max regretted snapping at him the moment his eyes went hooded and the tension in the room flipped.

"Hmm..." he rumbled thoughtfully from his chest his heavy gaze on her, flicking over her from head to toe. "That I am. And maybe that's the problem."

Max felt a sort of nervous anticipation settle in her belly.

"Huh?" she managed to stutter out.

"Max, nothing has really changed with us, right?"

"Besides me putting up with you to help run T.C.?" Max asked shifting her weight back on her heels.

Alec waved her response away with his hands.

"That's not what I mean." There was something heavy and intent in his voice. Max swallowed and took a half step back, while Alec moved forward.

This seemed to amuse him, sparking life into his green-gold eyes and it caused Max to narrow her gaze in response. She planted her feet refusing to give anymore ground.

"We've been dating-" he curled his fingers into air quotes "-according to you, for what? Five months?"

"Six and a half..." she muttered under her breath to his surprised expression.

"Well then. No wonder he doesn't really believe we're dating. Nothing's progressed. We've still got all of this unresolved sexual tension and-"

"Wait, what?" Max gasped out blush rising in her face. "We do not!" His eyes darkened to green in response and all of a sudden he was in her space.

"We do." he rumbled "And Logan thinks that the only reason that hasn't changed is because we haven't slept together yet-" Max spluttered and blushed furiously."-And that I'm a chump who doesn't realize you're only using me to keep him away."

Max jerked away from his warm presence pressing down on her and stalked a few feet away. She ran a hand through her hair, and pulled it back into a customary ponytail. Finally, feeling a little more composed she faced him.

"Logan thinks I'm in-" she started but Alec cut her off.

"Logan thinks he's still got a shot with you. As you pointed out, I'm always ready. You clearly aren't taking advantage of that," Max rolled her eyes. "And so Logan's still trying to play hardball for your affections."

Max wanted to haul off and slap him, call him an idiot, along with a few other choice words but she desperately tried to hold onto her temper. Thanks to her careful manipulation, Logan was due to show up soon looking for Alec. It wouldn't help their cause if he caught them arguing, again. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, releasing it slowly. She flashed her eyes back to his face caught in a neutral expression.

"I am NOT sleeping with you to warn off Logan!" she hissed out, clenching her hands into fists to keep herself from smacking him. Alec's eyes snapped in interest and his stance loosened. He stepped towards her again, away from his desk backing her towards the wall. His eyes swept up and down her body, the gaze heating her up.

"A tempting suggestion Maxie, but that's not what's on my" he trailed off suggestively. Max shivered and tried to ignore his emphasis on "today".

"Then what-?" she started to say before Alec suddenly pounced and wrapped his arms around her. She let out a surprised squeak. He couldn't be, I mean THEY couldn' would be...oh my god. "Alec" she stressed pushing back on his chest with her hands "-what in the hell are you doing?!"

"Granting you your favor." he purred in response, pressing the side of his face to hers. His breath was heavy and warm in her ear. It sent a tingling sensation she shouldn't be feeling down the entire left side of her body. Max froze when he slipped an arm low around her back and hips.

"Trust me Maxie, he catches us fooling around..." he trailed off sweeping his nose under her jawbone. She bit down on her lip to keep the gasp from escaping her lips. "It'll be better than any warning I could give...just say the word Maxie. I'll have him backing out of your life, maybe even moving on. If that's what you really, truly want." he trailed off affectionately nuzzling his nose behind her ear.

Max felt a strange sort of vertigo, like she'd missed the step at the end of the stairs. She was nervous and not really sure if she was ready. Not sure she could handle this next step in her relationship, that twisted as it was, with both the men in her life. Max let out a stilted breath.

"I won't hurt you Maxie, promise..." he whispered in her ear causing her eyes to fall shut.

"I-I know." she said.

Things with Logan weren't going anywhere. It was cruel to them both to think otherwise. Manticore made things to last, and the chances of finding a true cure for the virus was very slim. Holding out hope for that impossible fairytale ending was pointless. Their previous relationship before she was recaptured by Manticore was spotty at best.

She'd built up the minor attraction she'd felt for Logan while she was in Manticore. He became her reason to get out. And while she was thankful to him for a lot of things-his optimism that there was good in everyone for one, it just wasn't working anymore. Living in T.C. and truly seeing the marked differences in the real world vs. her hopeful future had certainly woken her up. If she truly cared about Logan, she should let him go. Let him have a chance at happiness with someone who could give him more than a few nights a month.

"Okay." she said quietly and it was like she'd switched Alec to life.

He pulled her close and began walking them back towards his desk chair. Even though she'd agreed to this, nervous anticipation coiled low in her belly and she radiated tension. She pressed her hands together, caught between them.

"Max," he breathed into her hair "Relax. Or he's never going to believe you. Don't worry I'll protect your modesty." She could hear the smirk in his voice and it caused her to glare sharply up at the side of his face.

"Watch it pretty boy." she growled and felt some of the earlier nervousness slip away. She slipped her arms up around his shoulders and slowly pressed her lips to his cheek. He glanced at her in mild surprise. He'd kind of figured he'd be doing all the work, pleasurable as it was and that kiss surprised him. His heart thudded hard in response to her soft lips against his stubbled cheek. She pulled back a little, breath washing over his face. Alec turned slightly towards her, her lips grazing his face until they were an inch from his own.

Looking down into her slightly worried gaze he studied her face, looking for something. Max shifted uncomfortably as they stood still in front of his chair. What was he waiting for? Maybe for all his teasing and flirting he really wasn't in the least bit attracted to her? She started to pull away when his grip suddenly tightened and he swept down and captured her lips.

The wave of desire that rolled through her surprised her and she pulled back slightly, gasping for air. It was fast, too fast. She wasn't ready for that...yet.

"Alec I don't think-" she whispered nervously.

"It's okay Maxie." he said reassurance in his voice. He sat down in his chair and tugged her into his lap. Max blushed a little bit as he settled her intimately against him. He arched his eyebrow at her, a slight challenge in his eyes. Max scowled at him and reached forward to tug his shirt out of his jeans.

She leaned in and pulled him forward to free his shirt from the back of his pants and he slowly pulled her hair out of the ponytail. Max tugged his jacket off his shoulders but paused when Alec delved his hands into her dark hair. He pulled her face down towards him and Max felt her heart pick up in response. His gaze was heavy on her face before he pulled her closer and settled his lips on her neck.

Max felt her eyes fall shut and she took a deep breath as the need to touch him slammed into her again. She moaned when he slid his lips to her pulse point and grazed his teeth over her skin. She delved her hands into his silky hair, dragging her nails lightly across his scalp. He groaned in response and swept his hands up her side, capturing the hem of her black T-shirt with his palms. He tugged the material over her head and flung it across the room. It surprised her and she couldn't help but gasp in shock and clutch her arms back over her black mesh bra.

"Alec!" she shrieked quietly

"Easy, Maxie..." he murmured sliding his hands up her rune covered arms and pulling her back in closer. Max bit her lip and watched as his eyes darkened with desire. It made some feminine part of her want to squirm in happiness. Contrary to her put downs of him, he was a very attractive specimen. To know she had the power to turn him on...well it was starting to melt her nerves.

She dropped her arms from her chest and settled her hands on his shoulders. Alec's eyes dropped to her breasts and he licked his lips in anticipation. Max wiggled experimentally deeper into his lap and he let out a hiss and gripped her hips to keep them still.

"Max..." he growled out warningly.

"What?" she panted and squirmed some more. "You're the only one who gets to enjoy himself?" She arched a playful eyebrow at his startled expression.

"Oh, no Max. I'm ALL about give and take..." he trailed off before sliding a hand back into her hair and pulling her chest to chest. His right hand slipped up her spine leaving fire in its wake. Alec went back to nuzzling and sucking at her neck and Max rocked her hips forward into his in response.

Alec's left hand kept her head angled so his lips, tongue and teeth could drag over the sensitive skin of her neck and collarbone. His right hand slid up her back and over to her shoulder and slipped his fingers under the strap of her bra, tugging it down. Max was so caught up in the sparking sensations Alec was sending across her body, she failed to notice that the door at the end of the hallway had opened and closed firmly.

Logan was walking briskly down towards Alec's office where Max had mentioned her SIC would probably be working late. He was on his way to inform Alec that he couldn't dictate WHEN he saw Max anymore. She'd implied that he wasn't appreciative of her spending a lot of alone time with him.

Not that Logan could exactly blame him. He was obviously being used as a front to keep Logan away from Max. She'd gotten scared again when they'd had another close call with the virus here, behind the barricade in T.C. Poor guy didn't even seem to realize that Max was still in love with him. Logan was confident of this very fact because it was so obvious that Max was only "dating" Alec in name only. She hardly touched him, and he could only hope that it hadn't progressed to the physical yet. What surprised him was the fact that Alec was still around. He thought for sure he would've moved on by now.

He paused, hand freezing in surprise when he heard low throaty moans coming from beneath Alec's door.

Logan felt his face flush in indignation. How dare Alec cheat on Max?! He was supposed to take care of her, and now he was sneaking around behind Max's back with some floozies just because she wouldn't sleep with him? He squared his shoulders firmly and pushed the door open hard. But his scathing comment died on his lips when the door banged into the wall and he was faced with a terrible image that burned into his memory.

"Max?!?!" She jumped a little in surprise and whipped her head over her naked shoulder to look into his horrified eyes. A blush started at her hairline and continued right down her back.

Her bare back marked only by black runes and Alec's large graceful hands.

"Logan!" she stuttered out and Alec finally pulled his head up and around her shoulder to look into the older man's face. A dirty little smirk bloomed across his face and he tugged Max closer to his chest and she pressed gratefully to him. She buried her face in the crook of his neck and murmured something Logan couldn't hear but that made Alec chuckle.

"M-max?" Logan managed to force past his tight throat.

"Hey buddy!" Alec called out cheerfully to Logan's embarrassment. "You mind turning around here so Maxie can put her shirt back on?" Logan blushed deeply and spun around so quickly he missed Max smacking Alec's arm in annoyance. Jeez. He didn't need to rub it in. She stood up quickly and grabbed for her T-shirt and scowled because she couldn't find her freaking bra anywhere. Max turned a suspicious look in Alec's direction. He shrugged his shoulders innocently.

Max tugged her hair out from the back of her shirt and crossed her arms across her chest hoping Logan wouldn't notice it wasn't cold in here.

She glanced back at Alec, but he'd made no effort to tidy himself up. His hair was still mussed from her fingers, shirt pulled out of jeans and the top button of his pants undone...Hard on still very prominent. Her eyes widened and he smirked at her, wiggling his eyebrows. Max stepped in front of him before clearing her throat awkwardly.

Logan was looking so uncomfortable she couldn't help but feel a little sorry for him.

"So...Logan buddy. What can I do for you?" Alec said after another moment of uncomfortable silence reigned.

"I-no, I guess that...I thought..." Logan was a little speechless and his vocabulary was rushing to catch up. The twinkle in Alec's eyes had him hardening his gaze at them both. "Max, what in the hell is this about?"

"What do you mean?" Max asked shifting back towards Alec when he continued to glare at her.

"Max, what were you and Alec doing-" but Alec cut him off.

"Um, Logan I think it's pretty obvious what we were doing. And I don't think it's any of your business what I do with my girlfriend."

"Your girlfriend?" Logan asked, "I don't think so-" This time Max was the one to cut him off.

"Excuse you?" she asked in a dangerous tone.

"Oh please. You don't expect me to believe that you actually want Alec? You guys barely touch! If you're worried about the virus Max, we just need to focus time and energy back on finding a cure then things will go back to-" Max slashed the air between them.

"Normal?! Oh please. Logan, we were never even like that! I'm sorry, but Alec and I have been discrete for your sake, nothing else!"

"Are you telling me you want the guy you once called a happy-go-lucky sociopath?" Logan felt a flicker of satisfaction when Alec shifted uncomfortably behind her.

"I never called him that, you did. And yes I do. We have chemistry, Logan."

"You love him?" He was satisfied to see her startled expression. "I'll take that as a no."

"How I feel, or don't feel about Alec is none of your business! I would like to see where our relationship is going, without you always interfering because you think you know what's best for me!"

"I do! You don't want him Max!"

"Are you trying to convince me, or yourself?" she hissed at him eyes narrowed in a gaze she usually only leveled at Alec. It threw Logan for a loop.

"I-do you mean that-"

"Logan. You're my friend. I appreciate your willingness to help out our cause. And I hope the fact that we aren't dating won't affect our working relationship. But my sex life is between Alec and myself, nobody else. Okay?" Max felt her face soften when she saw the horrified expression on his face break into despair. "I'm sorry." She said quietly

Logan stared at her for a moment longer before he nodded stiffly, turned on his heel and stalked out, exoskeleton whirring.

When she heard the doorway at the end of the hallway slam, Max sighed deeply and buried her face in her hands.

After a moment Alec's hands settled on her shoulders, silently offering comfort. She twisted in his arms and burrowed into the safety of his arms. He held her firmly, and rubbed a soothing circle down her back.

"Sorry Maxie." He murmured and she sighed unhappily.

"I never wanted to hurt him, you know?" she said quietly

"Yeah, I know. You okay with it? You can still catch him, tell him the truth. If you want."

"I did tell him the truth. We CAN'T be together. I care about him, but I don't think its love anymore. If it was, I'd stay and fight…wouldn't I?" She turned her troubled gaze up at him. Alec smiled down at her.

"Yeah you would. You're good at turning around hopeless causes. Just look at me." He winced slightly when she smacked him lightly on the back of his head.

"Shut up." But there was no malice in her voice, just a bit of determination. "And just what in the hell did you do with my bra?" Alec's eyebrows darted up high, and he slid an innocent look on his face.

"Nothin'…I swear!" he yelped as he ducked away from another swat of her hand. His eyes darted back down to her chest, support free. "Besides, it's a good look for you Maxie. Ow!" She caught him around the back of his head while he was…distracted.

"Pig." She muttered and hurriedly crossed her arms again. Alec's face slid into a pout.

"Now Maxie, that's hardly fair. I did you a favor…don't I get one in return?" He waggled his eyebrows suggestively and darted out of her reach and to his door. "Sorry Max, but I'm protecting my virtue."

"What virtue!?" she sputtered and glared when she caught his knowing look. "Oh, shut up!"

Alec's real and true blinding smile in response was enough to daze her…and the sneaky basted made his escape. Max frowned in thought. Maybe today had sucked because she'd firmly booted Logan out of her romantic life…but she had a sneaking suspicion she was about to have a whole 'nother kind of trouble to replace it.

Alec was always very good about remembering who owned who…favors. Max felt a naughty little smile of her own form across her lips. Well…she didn't think she'd mind collecting a few more favors from Alec…

Just as long as every time she jumped him he didn't keep her underwear.

Ah, it's wonderful to finish another story. For those of you waiting on either of my other two stories, more to come. It's just been frustrating and hectic lately. But, it's a New Year. So a clean slate and time to complete my other projects. Reviews are always so very, very, nice.