This is an AU of Pollo Loco. In this story, Alec escaped after the Berrisford mission and…

I don't own anything.

Max sat perfectly still at first when he started up the isle of the church. She'd found him but now she wasn't sure what to do. What was she supposed to do about this? She'd found one of her family members but…

He looked fine. The leather jacket was worn he wore a pair of baggy jeans. She couldn't get a look at his barcode, though.

He didn't notice her presence until she was right behind him and he spun. There was an instant of surprise in his eyes.

"Ben?" He frowned, stepped closer to her.

"Who are you?" He asked, frown deepening. The question was urgent and he took another step closer.

"You don't remember me?" She'd expected him too. They were family. Maybe he was too far gone for that.

"Probably because we've never met," he said with a tilt of his head, studying her. "You're X-5," he stated after a moment. "Which one are you?"

"Its Max," she said with a frown of her own. There was something wrong here. He looked like Ben but there was something different about his eyes. They were the same color but the light in them was different than she remembered.

"Max. Huh. Heard some things about you. Look, I'm not your brother. Names Alec…and you can thank him for that name."

"You're not…" Max studied him this time, unsure of whether she should believe him. If Ben was killing people, multiple personalities weren't too much of stretch. He rolled his eyes like he could hear what she was thinking.

"We're twinned. My designation is 494. Met him after I got out." He turned away from her, seemingly forgetting about her for a moment. He stared down where Max had found the teeth before. "I didn't know about this." He said the words quietly but Max heard them. She stepped up behind him and moved his collar to get a look at his barcode. He jerked and turned back to her.

"How do you know Ben?"

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"I got out two years ago," Alec said, sitting across from her. "Found Ben a little after that."

"How'd you get out?" Max asked skeptically. He seemed sincere. He looked exhausted, green eyes weary with dark circles under them. He ran a hand over his face.

"Had a long term mission that went wrong." Something dark and painful crossed over his eyes but it was gone in an instant. "Ben found me after."

"So, you've been hanging out since?" She couldn't help but to feel a little bit jealous of that fact. She'd been searching for her family for years. This guy hadn't even been in her unit. Then she felt guilty for feeling that. He looked like he'd been beaten down pretty badly and she wondered how close Ben and Alec had gotten, if they were family now.

"He used to talk about this stuff," Alec said, looking away from her and staring off into space. "He used to sound like such a fanatic. I never believed it and he actually used to get worried, like if I didn't believe it then something bad would happen to me."

"Yeah." Max remembered that too. "You're looking for him."

"Yeah. When I found out what he was doing, I tried the whole confronting strategy. Didn't work out to well. I've never been too good at the empathy thing." A ghost of smirk crossed over his face but it wasn't out of amusement.

"I'm with you on that one," Max said, letting a small smile cross hers. Her suspicion of this guy had faded completely.

"We have to find him." She could see the worry in his eyes, the fear as he said the words and she knew that if they couldn't save Ben then it would hurt him just as much as it would hurt her.

"We will."

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Alec walked next to Max after they'd found out the priest was missing from the church he had gone to earlier to find Ben. He didn't really know this girl but she had meant something to Ben.

The fear he'd been feeling since he'd found out what, exactly, Ben had been doing in his free time was building fast. Sometimes, he wished he could go back to before, before he had something to lose. Before Ben…before Rachel.

He'd let himself get close to Ben. He was pretty sure that he would have gone insane after what happened with Rachel if it hadn't been for Ben and now…He'd never formed connections to anyone before and he was beginning to think that that road only led to misery and death because he was pretty sure he wouldn't survive if Ben didn't.

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"What about Alec?" Max sat across from her brother. She'd been trying to figure a way to get through to him and nothing so far had helped. She'd split with Alec on the search not fifteen minutes before she'd figured out where Ben would go. Ben flinched at the name and his face contorted.

"He doesn't believe either."

"He's worried about you. What do you think this is doing to him?" Max wasn't sure where the question was coming from but she had seen Alec's face and if Ben and Alec had known each other for two years, Alec had to mean something to him.

"I'm doing this to protect us. It's the only way."

"And when Lydecker catches up to you? You want Alec dragged back to Manticore with you. He didn't tell me exactly how he escaped but I get the feeling they're not going to be to happy with him. They might even put him down."

"She won't let that happen," Ben said angrily. Max shook her head.

"She's not real, you are. You're not protecting him this way. You're only going to bring Manticore down on both of your heads. Tell me how she protects people? How she protected Jack and Eva. How she's going to protect Alec when they drag him back to Manticore and rip him apart because he's got the same genes as you. She's not real, Ben."

"Don't you say that. She is real." Max knelt in front of him.

"You'll get taken back if you keep doing this. Don't you understand? There is no Blue Lady. If you don't care about yourself, you should care about your brother. Will she step in when they drag him down to Psy-Ops? When they're torturing him? When they're ripping him apart piece by piece to see if whatever went wrong with you is genetic?"

Max could see it in his eyes. She was getting through to him. There was misery dancing in his dark green eyes and he was staring past her, over her shoulder. Max turned to see Alec standing there, eyes wide.

Max stood and stepped away, allowing Alec to move closer to Ben. She walked across the room. They talked in low voices and Max made it a point not to listen. This was a mess and even if they got Ben to tell them where Destry was, it still wouldn't fix it.

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"They'll kill you," Alec said in as calm of a voice as he could manage. He wasn't sure about this. He had no idea how to get through to Ben. He'd wasn't great at this sort of thing.

"I was trying to protect you too," Ben said. Alec nodded. It looked like Max had already gotten through to him, at least somewhat. He understood Ben's statement.

"You saved my life after I got out of Manticore."

"We never should have left. Everything made sense there." Alec frowned at this. He'd had that thought before too. For months after he'd ran, he'd wished he could go back to being a soldier that didn't feel anything, with no connections and nothing to lose but himself.

"You're wrong," he said. "Manticore makes you do things that you'd never forgive yourself for." He paused a moment and met Ben's eyes. "I've heard your stories about this lady that you think will protect us all if you keep doin' what you're doin'."

"Max doesn't believe anymore."

"I think you're not giving yourself enough credit. Blaming it all on some higher power is pretty popular now days but I think that sometimes too much credit is thrown to 'them'. I mean, you guys escaped on your own, didn't you? Look, you're the one who saved my life after we met, not this all powerful higher being that you've been sacrificing these people to. And take it from me, Manticore is not better."

Ben was crying now, misery in his eyes and Alec was unsure of how to comfort him. He'd never really cried himself, even after Rachel. He'd been more…blank, numb. Sitting in one spot for hours on end, replaying what happened over and over in his head. He figured he would have sat there until he died if Ben had pulled him out of it.

He shifted so that he was sitting beside his brother, so that his shoulder was pressed against Ben's. He hoped he was helping. He was good at a lot of things. This was not one of them. Max came over a minute later, knelt in front of them. She reached out to take Ben's hand.

"Tell us where he is."

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Max sat sobbing over her brother's body. She had split from Alec again when they'd made it into the woods to track Ben down and she had no idea where he was but she wished that he was there.

"You have to take care of him. You have to! He won't handle it well. He's already lost too much."

The request Ben had made before he'd asked her to make sure that Lydecker could never hurt him again rang in her ears. His eyes had been clear at that moment. She looked up when she heard someone approaching.

Alec stood on the other side of the clearing, frozen in place. Through her own pain and guilt, Ben's words still echoed in her ears and she forced herself to stand, to go to him, to get him out of the these woods before Lydecker caught up with them. She'd honor that wish.