I do not own Dark Angel or any of its characters... Only my daydreams.

Max felt White press the barrel of his gun even closer to the back of her head as he led her shuffled walk down the corridor. With her hands and feet manacled, there was little she could do about it, even if his tight grip on her upper arm made her sick to her stomach. They reached a large warehouse, full of White's government cronies. "Get out," he said in a tone of voice that said he expected to be obeyed. "I'll deal with 452 alone."

The agents left one by one until the warehouse was completely silent. White still hadn't released his grip on her arm and the gun was cocked and loaded over her barcode. "I've waited a long time for this 452," White growled into her ear. "Ever since I laid eyes on you in the woods outside Manticore I knew you were special."

"Ugh!" Max snapped back, "I told you then, I miss the old bad guy."

He continued as if he couldn't hear her, his voice taking on an almost dreamlike quality, as if he were living out a fantasy. "I didn't know HOW special you were until that idiot brother of mine brought you in. And now, I have a special way to destroy you."

Max would have shuddered if she didn't know it would give him joy. He had something up his sleeve. Something big.

"Bring in the first prisoner!" he barked. The doors swung open as two orderlies pushed in a hospital bed. Strapped in it was... Zack.

"Maxie!" He started to fight against his restraints when he saw her. "No! Maxie, No!"

Max went to run to her big brother but White's grip on her arm held her back.

"Get your hands off her! Let her go!" Zack was fighting so badly the orderlies looked frightened.

"Double his restraints you nitwits!" yelled White from behind Max. The orderlies quickly strapped him down even more. "And gag him, I've heard enough." Neither the restraints or the gag had any effect on how hard Zack was fighting, but it was significantly muffled.

"How did you find him?" Max asked, her eyes tearing up as she looked at her brother.

"It wasn't hard. He got into a bar fight close to that ranch you sent him to and killed two men. We have an agreement with the prisons to hand over any prisoner with a barcode. We've had him for weeks."

Suddenly Max noticed the little signs; the bruises, the red rimmed eyes, the stubble on his cheeks.

"And before you ask," White continued, "I believe all his memories are back. Amazing bit of technology in that metal head of his. He's been calling for you ever since he got here."

Max was so angry she couldn't breathe.

"Bring in Prisoner Number 2!" White called out.

"No," Max thought, "Another one?"

"Max! Max are you alright?" Alec called out as they rolled him in next to Zack. "I'm sorry, after you didn't come back from that supply run I came after you. Guess I needed you to watch my back."

Max felt both anger and fear. Of course Alec would get caught, only this time she wouldn't be able to save his ass.

"Tried to come in guns blazing. But we all know 494 isn't known for his subtlety. Eh Monty Cora?"

A glance at Alec's face showed Max he was trying to decided between anger and embarrassment.

"And now, for the best part. Prisoner Number 3!"

Max's heart dropped. White had said he meant to destroy her, and now he really could. "Logan?" It came out more as a sob than a name. He was already gagged and he came to a stop on the other side of Alec, which was good because Zack looked ready to kill him.

"The Great Eyes Only," sighed White, clearly enjoying himself. "Had to gag him before, wouldn't shut the hell up."

Max still couldn't take her eyes off him. "How?"

"Again, not really difficult. See I recognized his voice from your little house call last year." He shoved the gun in harder. "You remember, when you stole my son? From there I only had to retrace the steps my lying wife took to make contact."

Max's vision was going black around the edges as she realized her predicament. "Let them go!" The words came tumbling out of her mouth almost as fast as the angry tears from her eyes. "You know I'm really the one you want. You let them go and I'll do whatever you want with your sick breeding colony. Just let them go!"

White chuckled behind her. "You forgot to say please."

Max swallowed. Her eyes took in the three helpless men in front of her and she said it. "Please."

Now White laughed out loud. "As if I'd let you off that easy. But you did get one part right. You ARE the one I want. I don't care about the others. But," he leaned in close to her ear, "I DO care about making you suffer." He let go of her arm, but still stood behind her with his gun to her head. He shoved a glock into her hands before she could blink and grabbed her again. "You have to choose. Shoot one, and I'll let the other two go free, no questions asked. I'll give them a 24 hour head start before I chase after them again."

"You're insane!" Max screamed, the glock shaking in her hands. "There's nothing you could do to me to make me kill one of them!"

"Oh, I know." White was as calm as could be. "See I know you, so I have a little insurance." Again, he dropped her arm and pulled a little box out of his pocket. "By pressing one of these buttons I can send 50,000 volts into any of them. At that rate, they can't stand much more than 30 seconds. Shall we try it?"

"No wait!"

Again the warehouse filled with the sound of White's chuckle. "That's what I thought. So it looks like you have a choice to make, and a difficult one at that. I know I wouldn't want to make it alone. Lets hear what they have to say about it."

With a nod, he directed the orderlies to remove the gags. Logan was compliant, but both hesitated when it came to Zack, who looked ready to bite off a finger. He was throwing himself so hard at Logan his hospital bed was shifting. "Just leave it," White called to the orderlies, "I think we know his vote." With a grateful nod from both of them they rushed out of the warehouse.

"494?" Prompted White, and Max looked at her friend. For once, Max thought, he wasn't talking. He merely looked at her with sad eyes that terrifyingly reminded her of Ben's. "Need some motivation?" White quipped and suddenly Alec arched off the bed as electricity pushed through him.

"Stop it! Stop!" Max cried out, and suddenly Alec was still.

He struggled for breath, and then very quietly said, "I get it Maxie. It's OK. This is a no brainer; you brother, your first love, or the screw up? I'm sorry for always messing up your life. I seem to do it on a regular basis. It'll be OK, Maxie. Shoot me." His green eyes were fiery with both fear and determination, "Shoot me!"

It was Ben all over again; flashes of the forest, his pleading eyes, his too still body.

"How melodramatic," White yawned. "Next! Eyes Only!"

Logan looked first at Alec, in his eyes... Jealousy? Then he looked none too frightened at Zack, who looked like a rabid dog. Finally his eyes turned to Max, who hoped there would be an answer waiting there. "I'm sorry Max."

All her hopes fell with those words.

"I'm sorry you have to choose between your brother and your friend. But no one will hold you responsible for this. That lies with you White." He turned his eyes on the monster behind her.

"I've heard enough of his preaching. Well we've heard from all three. Time to choose. And you better make it fast. Wait too long and I'll just zap all three at once and none of them will survive."

Max could hear her heart beating. Her eyes flickered back and forth from Logan's pitying, yet confident gaze, to Zack's accusatory one, to Alec's... One second her mind was a whirlwind of emotion, and the next everything stopped. Before she had a chance to rethink her plan, she acted. She pulled the trigger.

"Max!"

"Maxie!"

She felt the bullet tear through her abdomen, but oddly she felt no pain. Over her shoulder, she felt rather than heard White gasp as the bullet entered him through her back. He stumbled, a look of pure shock on his face as he went down to his knees. Max fell onto her side, facing him. In a final attempt, White pressed one of the buttons on his little box and Max heard a scream behind her. As quickly as her damaged body could react she squeezed off two more bullets into his chest. White was dead.

"Maxie!" The word ripped out of Alec's body like he had been the one shot. A split second before she flipped the gun around, he could have sworn she sent him a smirk of satisfaction. Sparks shot off Zack's table a second later, then it was over. For a moment, he thought she was alright, but she suddenly went limp. "No!" The adrenaline mixed with his revved up strength had him ripping through his restraints in mere seconds. Another one, and he had blurred to her side. "Maxie, Maxie," he cried as he gathered her up in his arms. "You stupid, brilliant bitch. What have you done to yourself?"

"Is she alright?" From somewhere behind him Logan called out.

"No she's not alright Logan! She just took a bullet for all of us!"

Zack was recovering from his shock. Then he must have caught sight of Max's limp form in Alec's arms because he went ballistic.

"Alec?"

Her tiny moan was almost inaudible over Zack and Logan's noise. "Maxie?"

"Take me home," she whimpered.

Alec gathered her up and would have left the other two, but Max weakly gestured to them. He took her over and laid her on the bed he had vacated. "Can you walk?" Alec was all Manticore now, and his mission was to save Max.

"No, they took my exoskeleton when they captured me."

"Of course they did." Alec loosened his restraints and walked to Zack.

"What happened to her? What did you do to her? Who--" Alec shoved the gag back in as quickly has he had taken it out. Obviously the shock had yet again erased the X5's memory.

"Do you know that man?" Alec asked, pointing at Logan, knowing Max would kill him if he let her brother kill her boyfriend.

Zack's eyes were angry, but he shook his head no. Relieved, Alec quickly unhooked Zack and said, "Ok, I'll get her, you carry him and we'll get out of here."

"Forget that," the x5 was a CO through and through. "I'll carry Max and you can drag the cripple."

Alec wanted to fight it, but knew it would only waste time. "Fine." He pulled Logan into a fireman's carry and watched as Zack gently lifted Max to his chest.

The warehouse was empty, which explained why no one had investigated the shots. Obviously White wanted all the glory for himself. Once outside though, the compound was swarming with armed guards. "We need transportation. We can't fight with these two."

"There's some humvee's over there," Alec motioned to the left, "Saw them when I was trying to rescue Max."

A quick nod from Zack and they were off. Alec peeked around a corner, just in time to see a large contingent marching through. He held his finger to his lips and hoped no one had spotted them. Max let out a tiny moan, and for a second he thought it was all over, but the troops moved on.

Finally they reached the humvee's and Alec deposited Logan shotgun as Zack climbed in back with Max. In under four seconds Alec had it hotwired and off toward the gates.

"We've got to stop the bleeding," Logan was turned around as best he could, trying to help with Max. Alec knew he was covered in her blood and a glance in the rearview mirror told him Zack was too. The ordinary was right, she wouldn't last much longer.

Zack was already moving. Someone in the back he had found a knife and a lighter and was prepping to cauterize. Alec felt his stomach turn and wondered when he grew so squeamish. You'd think he had failed field med.

"This is gonna hurt Maxie," Zack muttered as he pressed the hot blade against her stomach.

"Ahh!"

Her scream ripped his eyes away from the road.

"Alec!"

Logan's shout pulled his eyes back to the front and he swerved, narrowly missing another car.

"One more time Maxie, gotta do the other side." Zack's face was as white as Alec's knuckles on the steering wheel. He braced himself for the second scream.

"Where are we going?" Zack asked a few minutes later. Max had passed out as they dressed her wounds and Alec kept glancing back at her in Zack's arms.

"Terminal City," Logan answered for him. "The only place where transgenic can be safe these days."

"Safe?" Zack snorted, "Safe like Max? I'd rather--"

"Zack?"

Max's voice stopped whatever comment he would have said. "That's right Max, I'm right here."

"No," she murmered, "Logan, where's Logan?"

"I'm here too Max. White got him with the tazer so... Everything's alright."

Alec drove on, and felt a little twinge of jealousy she hadn't asked for him. But why would she?"

"Alec? Alec?!?"

Her frantic call made him regret where that thought was going. He reached back and took her hand. "I'm here."

"Are you alright?"

The spasm his heart made at her concern for him did not go unnoticed by the X5. "Yeah, Maxie. I'm fine."

She took a deep shaky breath and squeezed his hand as she said, "If you ever tell me to kill you again... I'll kick your ass."

Alec laughed in surprise. Good ole Max. Even shot up she still managed to put him in his place. "You got a deal."

Even with the help from the Medical team in TC, Max's recovery was slow. Still it didn't take long for her and Zack to butt heads.

"You mean this was YOUR idea? You want to doom all these people? What about what happened to you? To Tinga? Those people are better off going to ground and you know it."

"That's no way to live Zack! That's surviving, not living, and I think we should have a choice. That's why we're making a stand."

"You're all crazy, but you're the craziest one of them all because you actually believe it. Don't you get it? They'll never just let us be. We'll never be like them."

"Well that's where you and I are different Zack. You run away to protect those you care about. I stay and fight."

The next day Zack was gone, and Max was trying to lose herself in her work.

And then there was Logan. TC was toxic to ordinaries if they stayed too long, but Logan didn't seem to care. He was there everyday, hovering. Alec didn't say anything to him, in fact he even kept the others from saying anything to him, because he thought Max wanted him there. But lately he walked in on them fighting more often than working.

Late one night, Alec came back to his TC apartment and heard them through the wall. Out of courtesy he tried to lose himself in some boob tube, but he caught bits and pieces with his genetically enhanced ears. Suddenly the fight seemed to rise in intensity and he heard a crash. He blurred to the door, and looked in to see Max standing over a broken lamp. "Logan! We're not even like that, and haven't been for a long time."

"And I suppose my being Eyes Only means I read minds too. How was I supposed to know you..."

"Please." Max held up her hands as if warding off an attack. "Just leave, OK? Just leave."

Logan turned and saw Alec standing there. His eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth to say something when Max interrupted. "Don't bite Alec's head off just because he's there." Logan looked back in disbelief. "That's my job," she muttered as she dropped onto the couch and wrapped her arms around her knees.

Logan brushed past him without looking back. Alec picked his way through the broken lamp and sat next to Max, his arm up on the back of the couch behind her.

"Sorry we were so loud. I'm sure all of TC heard us."

"Maybe closer to half of Seattle." Alec joked, trying to keep it light.

"I'm not going to see him anymore."

Still in the same vein, Alec quipped, "What, this week?"

"Ever."

It sounded so final, just floating out there in the air that it took him a few minutes to recover. He was about the question her when she cut him off.

"I can't really talk about it right now, but it's been a long time coming. I just..." she faltered, her voice threatening to give out.

No more words were needed. Alec simply pulled her into a hug. She tensed out of surprise, but he kissed the top of her head. She cried. Not loud sobs or melodramatic hiccups, just silent tears and a hand clutching his shirt. He held her for a few minutes, not very long, but then Max never was a really touchy-feely girl. She sat back and wiped her eyes. "Thanks," she murmured, her eyes radiating gratitude. "You're a really good friend."

The moment was touching, the kind of moment Alec liked to avoid because it left everyone vulnerable, but he had something he wanted to say. He took her hands in his and said, "I know I complain a lot, but you know I would do anything for you, right?"

Her face was surprised for a minute, but slowly realization dawned. With a smile she said, "I feel the same way about you."

Alec laughed. He could see she was offended, but it was too funny. "I'd already guessed that. I mean, lets look back; you got me out of Manticore, you helped us escape White when he was rounding us up, you sacrificed your future with Logan to keep my head from exploding, you got me the job at Jam Pony, you kept me from killing myself when Rachel died, you busted me out of jail, you didn't shoot me back with White when you could have, not to mention all the times on missions you've had my back--"

"You done yet?" Max interrupted his counting.

"Probably not." He looked at her angry face. "I'm just saying I've known for awhile."

"Well it's news to me." Max got up to leave, and he grabbed for her arm.

"Seriously? Maxie wait! I--"

Neither would ever know who kissed who first, but as their lips met they knew nothing would ever be the same again.