A/N: I know it's been aaaages, but I've been kinda busy (aren't we all?). And suffering from a lack of motivation (started watching Supernatural and spend all my evenings watching that in other words, lol.) Hopefully you all enjoy this chapter, It's kind of a transition chapter so not much happens, apart from some snarky conversations, a hot time wasting scene, and a snippet of our favorite doggie boy.

So without further ado.......


"Methodology is not a word."

"It is so a word. It's in the dictionary and everything!"

"Sorry, but it's not a word if you can say the method and still be saying the same thing without sounding like a dickwad. And I resent the fact that you set that up four moves ago and somehow managed to pull out the letters for 'ology'." Cam glared menacingly at Kerr, she was determined to make him back down. "What you just did is tantamount to card counting with letter tiles."

"There's no rule against it. Not my fault you got shitty letters." He poked his tongue out and reached into the little green bag.

Cam sighed and continued shuffling her letters around on the tile rest, finally settling on the letters C-O-N-J-U with a triumphant "Ha!" and placed them next to 'gate' which had been sitting on the board all alone in the far right column. She quickly reached back into the tile bag pulling out the last three letters, "Fifty-seven points please. Suck on that triple word score!"

Two minutes later the game had degenerated to the obligatory 'to' and 'go' and the conversation had degraded to heckling.

"Go? Your vocabulary skills are worse than a newborn."

"What, and tan is such a stunning work of literary genius?"

"It's fifty percent longer than go. Oh by the way......I win." Kerr crossed off the last score on the bottom of the scorecard and replaced it with three hundred and four.

"Not so fast mister smarty-pants, I still have two letters left."

"Oh yeah. Like you can really score twelve points with two letters on your rack." He made a silly face and Cam grinned evilly.

"I will use your go and add a y to the left and a t to the right. Shame you left that z and e wide open for my use." She sat back against the base of the couch, casual satisfaction appearing to be the winners way for the day.

"Zygote? On the last two letters? Are you freakin' kidding me?!" The graceful winner gave way to a beast.

"Looooseeerr! Loser, loser, looooooseeer!" She jumped to her feet and danced around with her finger and thumb against her forehead. Looking like the pied piper on her toes she continued dancing until she reached the far side of the room and pranced right out the door. She stopped briefly to peer back around the doorjamb for a parting shot.

"You Looooooost." And like that she was gone.

Their coffee had long gone cold. Alec took a sip and grimaced, the mouthful had been mainly the sediment from the bottom of the mug.

"So waiting's fun then, huh?"

Max turned her head and took a sip of her own brown sludge. She then turned back to the monitor.

"Ooookay, so we're back to miss'I can't be bothered giving you the time of day but do you mind hanging around waiting for me until five o'clock?' Whatever" He stood abruptly and walked over to the small kitchenette, draining the last dregs out of the pot and filling the rest of the mug with hot water. He heard her stand quietly, moving towards him and he remained still, facing the slightly grotty soft porn calendar above the sink.

He forced himself to remain still when he felt her sidle up to his back, her hands reaching around him to rest on either side of the counter.

"Actually, would you mind waiting until six? I have a meeting with the chief of police." Her cheeky retort was almost enough to break his prickly demeanor, but not quite. He stayed still, only moving his arms to add sugar and powdered creamer to his drink. She moved closer, pressing her body to his back and standing on tip-toes, her breath hot against his neck.

He took a sip of slightly less sludgy brown gunk.

She licked his neck.

He took another sip.

The door banged open and a victorious sixteen year old bounced into the room, an L shape formed by her thumb and forefinger plastered on her forehead.

Alec felt Max press her forehead to his back and let out a breath. She wrapped her arms around his waist and squeezed him briefly before turning towards the younger girl. Alec let out an even bigger breath and took another sip of coffee.

He largely ignored the chit chat going on on the other side of the room, something about dumb boys and boxes. All he was bothered with was cooling down a couple of degrees.

"Max, we gotta go find Josh." He dumped the mug in the sink not bothering to rinse it. It wasn't like he was going to be needing it in the morning anyway.

"Why? We've still got twelve hours."

"I don't want him getting himself into any mischief between now and then. Besides, wasn't he supposed to be hanging around here anyway? What happened to him?" A worried expression flashed in Max's eyes and she nodded.

"Okay, I'll go find him. You stay here and watch the cameras." The sly bitch was messing with him.

"Nah, I'm sure we can trust Cam here to watch them. Kerr not so much but she should be fine." He looked at her pointedly.

"Why are you so desperate to come with me? Getting a bit antsy stuck in the same room for hours on end?" She smirked slightly and he glared.

He headed toward the door to the garage and snagged her arm as he went. She shrugged his hand off, but continued to follow calling out to Cam to text her if anything went south.

The door slammed loudly and the noise echoed around the nearly empty building. Alec continued walking towards the large roller doors at the far end of the garage, but Max had stopped mid stride.

"Someone's all talk no play." He turned on his heel and glared at her, his intense gaze connecting with her own. "What, kitty cat gone all skittish all of a sudden?"

He walked back toward her briskly, not bothering to add any extra swagger to his standard soldier stride, and stopped about a foot in front of her. Nose to nose for the second time in a night, This time, he was determined not to be interrupted.

"You've been playing with me all night, Max. What's the deal?" His voice came out gravelly and frustrated and he glared down at her, hoping to make her either come to her senses or get it over with already.

She just smirked and prodded him in the chest.

"Max, come on. Two hours ago you were all upset about your family and leaving Seattle and now you're acting like the queen of all teases." A flash of panic crossed her eyes, but it was quickly overtaken my the Manticore mask.

"So I might be a little bit in heat. No biggie." She shrugged and slid her finger from her chest up to his chin. His eyes went wide.

"No biggie? We're about to do a runner and you being in heat is no biggie? I need to find you a cold shower." He turned and ran a hand roughly through his hair. There was a hose over in the far corner of the garage, that would do.

"No, seriously. It's okay. I don't go all primal any more. They gave me some kind of treatment while I was back in Manticore. Some sort of experimental gene therapy drug that makes the symptoms less severe. All that happens now is like a dialled down version of old fashioned 'Maxie wants to fuck anything in pants'. Now it's more like 'Maxie really wants to fuck Alec, but knows she's not allowed to.'" She slapped her hand over her mouth and her eyes widened. "Oops."

He raised an eyebrow. "Looks like Maxie also doesn't know how to keep her mouth shut."

"Come on, Alec. Just forget this ever happened and lets go find Joshua?" She started in the direction Alec had been heading earlier, but he was too fast and pressed her up against the Tacoma.

"Can I just do one thing?" His lips were tickling her ear and his hands had her wrists pinned to the windows.

"Depends, does it involve a hose down?" She rasped.

"You might need one afterwards."

"Sounds fun, wheres the sign up sheet?"

He chuckled, letting his tongue slip out to tickle her earlobe. "I'm not sure if I can be bothered with try outs, shall we just say you got the lead and go from there?" His voice was unintentionally low and needy and he almost ducked away, tease her like she had done to him, but he was too slow. Her head had moved to the side and her lips were already pressing against his, her mouth open slightly nipping at his lips. She pressed her forehead against his and murmured against his mouth.

"Just don't expect me to repeat this performance any time soon."

He lifted her butt high enough for her to wrap her legs around his waist and pressed her hard against the side of the car. "I'll be happy with once every three months."

"Well it must be your lucky day," she paused and he cocked his head to the side in curiosity. "Seems to be happening almost monthly at the moment. Almost like I'm a real girl."

She opened her mouth and rubbed her nose against his, letting her bottom lip brush against his own and it was all he could take. He took her lip into his mouth, sucking on it almost roughly before lifting his hands to her cheeks, one continuing up to twist in her hair. It was a rough kiss, not at all romantic. His own desperation causing him to ignore the fact that she was pressed up against the hard metal and glass of an SUV, not that she appeared to care. Her own hands were twisting in the hair at the nape of his neck and her tongue darted into his mouth before retreating back to where it came from. Even in the heat of the moment she was still a tease.

He moved his hands to the zipper of her jacket and jerked it down, the metal protesting at the force and she let go of his hair long enough to shrug the leather off. He went back to focusing solely on her mouth but Max had other ideas. His shirt was gone before he even had time to realize she had worked her hands under the hem and hers had gone the same way moments after. More runes marred the soft skin of her torso and Alec reached into his back pocket.

"Those are incredibly sexy, you know." His forehead was resting on the window of the SUV, his back arched far enough to keep away from direct body contact.

"What?" Her eyes were closed and she was breathing heavily, head titled towards the ceiling. She lazily opened one eyelid when she felt the air around her cheek move and groaned at what Alec was dangling beside her head. "More? Seriously?"

He chuckled wryly and shook his head. "You know, if I didn't know better I would think old Sandeman was trying to stop us from hooking up." He moved away from her and turned on the camera, crouching down he began snapping shots of the new markings.

"Wait, stop!" She grabbed his neck roughly and shoved his head to the side.

"Max, what the hell?"

She snatched the camera from his hand and took a photo of his neck, slightly to the side of his barcode. He snatched it right back after a few moments and replayed the images on the screen.


"I thought it was just your barcode at first but then I noticed it was fading fast. See, if you look at the first image it's much clearer than the last two." She clicked a button on the camera and the image faded.

"Are you sure it's not just the light in here?" She looked at his neck again and shook her head.

"It's totally disappeared now, I hope that's the only one. If there were others they will be long gone," She frowned and looked down. "Uh, Alec?"

"Hmmm?" He was still clicking buttons on the camera, looking through the photos.

"Alec," her voice was slightly panicked and he looked up from the screen. She was peering down at her stomach, a look of dread marring her features. Alec looked down to the patch of skin in question and jumped back surprise. "Quick, start filming it!"

The runes he had captured earlier had begun to move across her abdomen forming a pattern just above her navel, more appearing as fast as the others moved. In just a few moments the collection of images finished their strange dance and completed an image around six inches square between her breasts and stomach.

"It looks like a message...." Alec stopped filming and started snapping photos. "Some of these I recognize but a lot are ones we haven't come across yet. Quick, turn around."

Max turned and peered over her shoulder, trying to get a good look at whatever Alec was snapping away at. "More?"

"It's almost like they're two pages from a book." He moved her hair over her shoulder. "Take your pants off, there might be more."

She hesitated.

"Come on, it's not like it's nothing I haven't seen before," he huffed.

"But I'm wearing see through underwear..." She reddened.

"I promise I won't look unless totally unavoidable."

She reached for the zipper of her pants and hesitated again.

"Come on Max, we haven't got all day here. Looks like these things aren't gonna hang around for long." She took in a deep breath and shoved the denims to the ground, kicking her shoes and socks with them. Alec began inspecting her legs for any sign of the black marks, but Max chose to stare back at the roof, holding her breath.


"Not yet, turn around." She turned to face the car.

"Bingo," he muttered.

"What?" She was peering back over her shoulder again, long hair brushing the small of her back. Alec took in a sharp breath.

"Two more pages." The camera flashed a few more times and he put it back into the little pouch. Max quickly pulled her jeans and top back on.

"Lemme see." She tried to grab the camera from his grasp but he held it away.

"You know that the files can go all screwy if you fiddle with it too much."

She growled. "But you were looking through them heaps before! Thats not fair!"

"But I know about computers. I know not to flick through them too quickly or piss about trying to adjust the image. You're hopeless. Like the kiss of death to file stability." He shoved the pouch back into his pocket. He started heading for the large doors at the end of the building. "Come on, lets go find Josh."

"But......" He knew she was still standing where he left her, bewildered.

"Come on," he didn't look back, instead swinging his arm to emphasize his words.

"What....that's it?"

He laughed.

"Prick." With a groan of frustration she stomped after him.

"Aaah Mister Cale, what brings you to this loathsome cesspool of a workplace? Surely not the scintillating company of the employees?"

Logan smiled at the man behind the counter and chuckled lightly. "Actually, I'm here to see you, Normal. You got a few minutes?"

"Anything to get a moment away from the inane conversation these reprobates seem to perpetuate." He raised his voice at the lass part and Logan heard snickers from a few of the staff.

"Are Cindy and Sketchy around?"

"Are you kidding? Those two seem to spend most of their time on their lunch breaks, haven't seen them on an actual run for over three days," he looked up at the mezzanine floor used for meal breaks and gestured for the two friends to join them. Cindy waved at Logan and stood quickly, dragging the scruffier messenger with her.

"Logan! You come bringin' the good word or the bad juju?" Cindy hugged him tightly and then took his arm, heading for Normal's office.

"Not so fast missy-miss! Only one person allowed in that room and it sure isn't you!"

"Come on Normal. We both know you're only grandstanding in front of the other staff," Cindy rolled her eyes and shoved open the door marked management only. Sitting down with a flop she looked expectantly at Logan. "So spill, Log-boy. What's the dealio with my boos?"

Logan sat gingerly on the edge of the desk and waited for Normal and Sketchy to make themselves comfortable. He took a breath and began to tell them the story.


"I don't think he's here, Max. The whole street seems pretty deserted." Alec opened the door to Joshua's studio and peered around the first room, nothing had changed except for the lack of a few paintings. Max's ears pricked up at the creak of bed springs from the next room.

"Josh, you in there buddy?" Max didn't wait for the reply to Alec's call and went through to the bedroom. She laughed.

"There's no point in doing that you know, it probably won't be here tomorrow." She smiled softly, Joshua looked up at her from his position on the bed with a grin.

"Joshua want to leave house tidy."

"Dude, you really want to waste your time doing that?" Alec was looking around the room in amazement. Instead of artworks stacked everywhere and random pieces of clothing draped over the frames the walls were free of almost any clutter. Cobwebs had been removed from the corners and the ceiling had been scrubbed clean. The big guy was currently cleaning his bedside table with a dry cloth and polish.

"Joshua decide cleaning better than sitting doing nothing." He stood and patted the shorter man on the head and reached under the bed for his duffel bag. "Joshua ready to go now." He picked up the polish and cloth and lumbered out of the building, throwing the rag to the side as he walked through the door.

"Nice, dude," Alec chuckled.

"Joshua not start on Lander street. Take too long." A goofy grin lit up his face and Max smiled.