Title: Kiss the Stars

Author: Ashantai

E-Mail: ashantai@hotmail.com

Archive: Please ask!

Pairings: M/A

Rating: G... so far :)

Spoilers: Just Pollo Loco so far but it takes place in the second season, so...

Summary: My first attempt at a romance ever. (M/A)

Disclaimer: I don't own Dark Angel, wish I did, don't sue me please.

Author's Notes: I have never done a Max/Alec fic, and I don't know if I'm even a M/A shipper (!). I just wanted to do a romantic-ish fic and I thought about all the options and M/A seemed to be the one to do (sorry, M/L shippers, but he's like 13 years older than her and as a 17-year-old, the thought of dating a 30-year-old scares me). PLEASE, PLEASE REVIEW THIS as it's is my first attempt at both M/A and romance... so I'll continue if you guys like it because I'm really not sure about it at all at this point.

Author's Note #2: "Kiss the Stars" is a working title. If you have a better suggestion please suggest it!


The music was loud at Crash that night, louder than usual, or maybe it was just her. Sometimes she got like that, edgy in situations she would normally be completely comfortable in. Like tonight- there was nothing odd about Crash's selection of music, but it was making her tense for some unknown reason. It wasn't that she was in heat; at least, she didn't think so.

Max took a sip of her beer and leaned back in her chair. Alec was sitting beside her, Original Cindy across the table from them; they were both eyeing the same beautiful East Indian girl playing pool. The woman caught OC's eyes after making a particularly difficult shot and gestured at her; Cindy almost melted and Alec looked disappointed at finding out the girl wasn't straight. After a moment, Cindy stood.

"I'm goin' for it," she said, grinning at Max. "Wish me good luck, boo."

"Good luck," Max said, smiling at her friend as Cindy headed over to the pool table, her hips swaggering flirtatiously.

"You look edgy," Alec remarked after they sat there for a moment. He annoyed her with his ability to read her so well when she couldn't even hope to see his emotions unless he let her. She felt his blue eyes boring into her and chose to ignore him. "Want to leave?" he asked, surprising her.

"And go where?" she answered curiously. He shrugged and took another sip of his beer.

"Every time the base makes a sound over 100 decibels you wince. I thought you might want to get out of here."

"I would," she decided. "My ears seem to be hypersensitive for some reason tonight- well, I mean more hypersensitive than usual." They shared a smile.

"Yeah, actually, mine are too," he admitted, seeming as confused as she. Max drained the last of her beer and grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair, pulling it on. She scanned the room for Cindy to say she'd see her later but she was nowhere in sight; Max smirked and followed Alec outside.

"Where to?" he asked once the door shut behind them and the night air of Seattle met their hot faces. She was already feeling better, outside where it was cooler and her eardrums weren't being constantly pounded on.

"I don't know," she said, glancing sideways at him.

"Want to go to my place?" he asked. "It's got all the alcohol and not so much base."

"Sounds good to me," Max said, grinning at him. They climbed onto her motorcycle and she gunned the engine, roaring off into the night, revelling in the feeling of the wind through her hair. Alec, meanwhile, was not revelling at all in the feeling of Max's hair whipping him in the face. He brought his hand up and gathered her tresses up, shoving them to the side; he laid his chin on her shoulder and smiled with satisfaction, both at the new lack of whipping and the slight tensing of Max's body next to his as his action surprised her. After a moment he felt her shake it off and relax slightly.

Suddenly his eyes widened a little- no, he must have been imagining it, but... did she just lean back into him a little?

Alec poured them each a drink and they sat on his sofa; he was amused to see that they both sat the same way: on the back, their shoed feet pressing into the seat-cushions. Max took a sip of her drink and glanced over at him; they weren't speaking, but oddly the silence wasn't uncomfortable. After a while Max sank down onto the sofa, bringing her knees up to her chin and wrapping her arms around her legs. She rested her cheek against her knee and tilted her head at Alec, giving him a small smile. He, too, lowered himself to the couch, putting his arm over the back of the sofa. Max was gazing at him openly, something she didn't normally do; Alec met her eyes and they shared a long look, strangely comfortable staring at each other though unspoken social rules said theat shouldn't have been the case.

"Every time I used to look at you all I could see was him," she said suddenly, softly. There was a long silence; he didn't have to ask who she was talking about.

"And now?" he finally managed.

"And now..." She looked at him. "Now I see you. Alec. I don't see him anymore." She glanced away, shook her head in frustration and slowly turned toward him, dropping her head against the back of the sofa. She sighed, played with a piece of lint on one of the cushions. "It's hard to see him now even if I'm trying." She sounded sad.

"I'm sorry," Alec said; what else could he say?

"No," she said immediately. "No, that's not what I meant. You can't help who you look like. It's just- I feel guilty about it... about you..." She glanced away. "I miss him."

"How did he die?" Alec asked softly; she looked over at him, surprised, thinking that he would have known, would have been told at some point. Somehow she still thought that Manticore would have had at least the decency to tell a man when his own brother was dead. Obviously not; she should have figured they wouldn't.

"I killed him," she said. "He was murdering people... out of control. It wasn't-" She shrugged, looked away from his intense gaze, feeling defensive. "Anyway, that's how he died."

"I'm sorry," Alec said again. Max looked at him, narrowed her eyes.

"Stop saying that."

"What do you want me to say?" he asked calmly; Max threw her hands up and stood quickly, pacing. He followed her movements with his eyes. After a moment she stopped in front of him, sat back down and leaned forward, staring into his eyes again. He watched her curiously, waiting.

"Do you even care?" she asked, hating that as she looked at him she saw not one thing she could read and so many she couldn't. "Do you even care that he's dead? He was your brother. He was our brother."

"I'm not your brother."

"I didn't say that."

"I didn't know him, Max."

"That doesn't matter."

"I guess I don't think that." Now he was the one feeling defensive.

"You should," she snapped; she glanced away from him, hugged herself. She rubbed her hands up and down her arms angrily, looking very much like she was thinking of standing up to pace again. Alec leaned over before she could, put his hands on her shoulders. Her skin was hot; she met his eyes, confused and hesitant and maybe a little frightened at his surprising action. His deep blue eyes bored into her dark brown ones.

"I knew," he said softly after a long moment. Slowly he let her go and pulled back, but now she had no intention of getting up.

"You knew," she repeated blankly, not understanding.

"That he was dead. I knew. I can't explain it. I knew he existed before they told me. I knew that. And I knew before they told me that he died, too."

"How is that possible?"

"I don't know. I've heard there's some pretty freaky things about twins; I guess even Manticore couldn't program it out."

"How did you know?" Her voice was a near-whisper.

"I woke up once in the middle of the night, a couple of years ago. I had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'd just died, or a bit of me had just died, but I was alive." He shook his head. "Like I said, I can't explain it. I just... knew." He swallowed, glanced away. "It hurt."

"I'm sorry." Now it was Max's turn to apologize. Alec gazed over at her.

"You loved him." It wasn't a question; she gazed at him, not sure what he wanted her to say, or what that look in his eyes was as he stared at her. "I heard it in your voice when you thought I was him. Hope. And then when you realized I was someone else..." He glanced away again, stifled a sigh. "The first thing I was to you was a disappointment."

"You weren't what I expected," Max admitted; pain flashed through his eyes. Then she touched his arm, smiled at him. "But you're not a disappointment, Alec. You're different. You can't help being..." Her smile faltered. "...not him. It was hard for me to allow myself to get to know you." She let her breath out, long and shaky. "I was afraid."

"That I would be like him?" he asked, soft. No judgement, only hope. His eyes said, Just tell me.

"No, that wasn't it." She looked away. No annoyance, only sadness. You won't understand.

"That I wouldn't be like him?" he asked. I'm trying.

Max shook her head. "No," she said again, softly. You can't understand. I can't make you. Alec's brow furrowed in frustration and confusion at her answer.

"What, then?" he asked, and the gentleness in his voice surprised her; she looked up, met his soft blue eyes, swallowed. He tilted his head at her. Just tell me. You'll feel better if you do, I promise.

"I was afraid..." Her voice was barely there. "I was afraid... that..." She swallowed again, with more difficulty this time, averted her eyes. I don't tell people things.

"What were you afraid of, Maxie?" Neither do I. That must mean something.

"I was afraid that I would lose you." There, I said it. She looked at him. "I was afraid that if I let myself know you I would lose you and it would be like losing him all over again, and I couldn't go through that, so I just kept pushing you away. I've been pushing you away."

Alec stared at her; for once in his life he actually didn't know what to say.

A/N: I wanted to get Ben out in the open now so he doesn't conflict with later plot developments... also because I like Ben and I want to give more attention to the Ben/Alec issue Max must have than the show has... anyway, please review and I know it's not too romancy yet but it will be if I continue. :)