If her bedmate had been a normal man, she would have woken up with him sprawled all over her. Human men were oafish dogs like that. They tangled and trapped their partners. When a man was with Max, who had a body and face designed to be surpassingly attractive, the possessive sprawl was even worse. Men could not believe their fortune to have slept with such a gorgeous woman, and they flopped over her in bed every chance they got, as though they could physically hold her down and keep her. They knew, instinctively, they could hold on to her in no other manner. Men had a way of knowing they'd slept with someone out of their league and had the most pathetic panic reaction to it.
Every time Max woke underneath the arm, leg, or body of someone she'd had sex with, momentarily her heart would race. She didn't think it was romantic or sweet or comforting. She was pinned. If an enemy burst through the door, she'd have to untangle herself from mister whoever-at-the-moment before she could face an attacker.
This time, she woke in just the same position she had fallen asleep in, and Alec was exactly where he had fallen asleep. Their backs touched and nothing else.
Part of Max wanted to scream 'yes! that's what I want the person in my bed to do!'. Instead, she lifted her head and listened to the sounds in the apartment beyond Alec's breathing. Cindy was back; Max could hear her moving around with obvious caution in the kitchen.
Glancing over her shoulder at Alec, Max gauged the rhythm of his breathing. He was still deeply asleep.
Careful not to rouse him, Max slipped out of bed, dressed in fresh clothes, and left her bedroom.
Cindy was giving her the 'boo, spill' look the second Max laid eyes on her roommate.
Max rested her elbows on the kitchen counter and Cindy lifted an eyebrow. "Well… looks like I wasn't the only one who got lucky last night."
The thought of her and Alec breeding… but Max didn't want to explain who and what Alec was. She was still trying to rebuild the wall that used to exist between Manticore and her world outside the Constantine wire. The further apart she could keep Cindy and Alec for now, the better.
"Heading out early?" Max asked, noting Cindy was already dressed and ready to head out the door.
"Yeah, boo. I've got some business to take care of before I hit the Pony. But I will be getting details tonight." Cindy wagged a finger at Max, at the bedroom where Alec slept, then back at Max.
Max just gave Cindy the answer she wanted so she'd leave it alone. "Sure. Later."
When Cindy was gone, Max rummaged around the kitchen for breakfast and a glass of milk.
An hour later, she heard Alec get up. She braced herself for his entrance. He'd been compliant last night because he was dead tired. Now he'd be rested, in top Alec form, and that meant Max would want to skin him alive after the first thing that came out of his overactive mouth.
Time for regret at helping him to show itself.
Instead of Alec meandering into the living room, she heard him go into the bathroom and close the door. A minute later, the shower started.
A short reprieve.
Max finished eating and wandered into the living room to look over her motorcycle. Cindy wasn't mechanically inclined, and doubtless while Max was a captive her baby had missed some much-needed TLC.
Alec was still in the shower. Max cast a glance toward the bathroom, irritated. Manticore did not stand for dawdling in the shower. Soap up, scrub down, rinse off, get out. It just figured primping and half-hour long showers would be the kind of crap Alec would pick up from the outside world.
She ignored him as long as she could, but when she really began to think there wouldn't be any hot water left for her, she marched up to the bathroom door and pounded on it.
"Hey, Alice! Today!"
There was no answer.
Max pounded harder. "Some others would like to shower this year!" Max scowled in sudden annoyance when a thought occurred to her. "You better not be jerking off in there, you pig."
"… a minute…" came Alec's voice.
It was strained. Taut.
Something was wrong.
Max glanced hesitantly at the doorknob, up at the painted white of the door, then put her hand on the doorknob and opened the door.
The air in the bathroom was steamy and thick from the hot water running in the shower.
A shaky voice answered from within the shower. "Leave… m'lone. I'll… b'okay…"
Max moved to the shower and pulled back the curtain.
Alec was curled on the shower floor. His hands were braced against the wall, hot water cascading over his shoulders and back. He was jerking and shaking violently. His muscles were tight, fighting the seizure, trying to control it, but Max knew that the shakes could not be fought like that.
"Shit," she murmured.
Alec's head was bowed, his body jerking, muscles jumping, spine going into uncontrollable spasms. "I… be fine…"
"Shut up," Max snarled, but there wasn't fire in her voice. She felt sorry for him. She knew what the seizures were like and she wouldn't wish them on anybody, not even pain-in-her-ass Alec.
She turned off the water and left Alec twitching in the shower to paw through her medicine cabinet. She hadn't needed them since she got back; she hoped her bottles, like her motorcycle, had been left alone in the time she was gone.
She found one of her bottles of tryptophan and returned to the shower.
She hoped she'd see some small sign of improvement during her short absence, but no such luck. Alec was having a particularly bad one this time.
Max wrapped her arms around his chest from behind and hauled him out of the shower and on to the bathroom floor. Alec twitched on his back, helpless to fight her. Max was drenched just from trying to hold his wet body to her with one arm as she popped the cap on her pill bottle with the other.
She worked loss three pills, palmed them, and brought her hand up to Alec's mouth. His lips were closed, his neck muscles corded as he tried to swallow the whimpers. That was training from Manticore they had never had a class for. Everyone knew what happened to soldiers when it was discovered they had the shakes. If Alec was still alive, he'd learned to hide it.
"Open your mouth," Max said gently.
Alec opened his eyes and looked at her. Panic and pain were in his eyes as he locked gazes with her. There was silent pleading in his eyes.
They fought like crazy, they'd threatened each other with injury and death a dozen times at least, they hated each other and made it no secret. Alec had no reason to trust Max and accept whatever she was trying to make him swallow.
Without a sound, Alec opened his mouth and Max put the pills in.
Alec swallowed with effort and closed his eyes, body jerking and twitching.
Max wrapped both arms around him and held him tight. She was soaked from holding on to him. She held him and waited for the pills to help.
She looked over his flinching, seizing body in her arms. His muscled chest and stomach, his long legs and defined arms, his inviting face with bright, lively eyes. For whatever could be said about his character and personality, he was a beautiful specimen. Manticore made them all beautiful, and Alec was no exception.
It seemed like hours before Alec's shakes began to abate, though Max knew it could not have been more than fifteen minutes. The savagery of the convulsions coursing through his body lessened as she held him to her. His breathing went from tight and shallow to deep gulps for air. His muscles relaxed and he went from rigid and tight against her to sagging loosely in her embrace.
Max discovered, with some embarrassment, that she was raking her fingers through his hair. She didn't really mean to do it. She just did for him what Logan had done for her once. She remembered finding it unspeakably comforting. But that had been Logan. She was afraid to find out what kind of recriminations and mockery Alec would throw her way for being so sentimental.
Instead, Alec sighed and closed his eyes, turning his face slightly into her calming touch.
Finally, all signs of the seizure were gone. Alec lay in Max's lap, limp and motionless but for his breathing, propped semi-upright against her chest.
For a long time, neither of them spoke. Max got the sense neither of them wanted to reintroduce who exactly they were into the moment. Because when Alec and Max were brought back to the present, they would start bickering.
Alec broke first. He rolled out of her lap, out of her arms, and struggled to his hands and knees. Using the bathroom wall for balance, he rose to his feet. He didn't look at her.
Max stood and faced him. "Alec…"
Alec, looking peaked and spent, tensed at her voice.
The telephone rang.
Max almost ran to answer it.
It was Logan. He wanted her to come over and look at some research he had. She wasn't sure what it pertained to this time. Max, honestly, was only half-listening. She was too conscious of Alec in the apartment with her, moving around in the background.
When she got off the phone with Logan and turned to go change clothes, Alec was dressed and heading for the door.
"Hey," Max called after him.
Alec froze. After a second of silence, he turned and finally looked at her. He offered up a cocky smirk, "I took some of your pills."
"You're going to pay me back for those," she retorted angrily.
"Whatever. I take back what I said last night about this place," Alec said with a glance around the room. "It's not a dump."
"It's a shit-hole."
"See you around, Max."
"Are you trying to ruin my day?"
"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," Alec said expansively then left the apartment with a grand, arrogant gesture of self-adoration.
Max shook her head, fuming, and went to change her clothes. She knew Alec was right, though. They'd be seeing each other again.
For better or worse, Alec in her life would definitely make it different.
A/N: Wow... you guys make me feel bad that there wasn't more to this story than what you read. You have been such great reviewers (i.e., more than just 'good story, can't wait to read more', which are fine and good but a dime a dozen) that I wish I'd written more for y'all! Unfortunately, I have absolutely no plot ideas for anywhere else to take this :( It was just me wanting to write a little bit of Max/Alec goodness.