Feral Compound 45HJ673

This is the first fic I've written for this pairing, although I've been reading them for years. This is also the first fic I've posted here. This is Max/Alec. This is not pro-Logan. Don't like it, don't read it.

Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. I'm just playing in James Cameron's sandbox for a bit.

What you need to know: Alec has been missing for about a week. This story picks up with Max finding him injured in her apartment building.

When Max found Alec curled in a ball in the stairwell of her apartment, she couldn't decide if she was relieved to see him or wanted to kill him for being irresponsible and disappearing for the last week. The anger won out and she started to kick at him before she realized how shallow his breathing pattern was and noticed the excessive perspiration on his barely exposed head. Fear instantly took over as she dropped to his side and whispered his name. As she touched his forehead to brush back the few unruly locks of hair stuck there by sweat, his eyes fluttered open, but he couldn't seem to properly focus.

"Alec. Alec! You have to focus and tell me what's wrong. Okay?"

His only response was to grunt and curl into a tighter ball on the dirty floor. Max tried to un-tuck his hands from around his knees but his grip was too tight and he refused to answer in more than grunts or flinches. Not knowing what else to do, Max started to rub her hands through Alec's hair and whispered calming (or what she hoped was calming) nonsense to him in a low tone of voice.

As his muscles finally started to relax and he was able to focus on her eyes more clearly, Max was able to straighten his body enough to lift and carry/drag him up to her apartment. Who knew he was this heavy? "You're like carrying a sack full of rocks?" Alec didn't respond and Max noted he still hadn't spoken. He was clearly injured. He was unable to stand without wobbling and he looked like he had spent the last week rolling in mud. She needed to assess his wounds, but he didn't look like he was about to assist her or volunteer any useful information.

"Okay. Alec." Max started tentatively while gently reaching out to touch his forehead again as she propped his body against the wall as she finally moved them into her apartment. "I need to know where you are hurt and what happened to you. Do you understand?"

Alec didn't respond but leaned gently forward to sniff Max's hair before dropping his head to her shoulder like he could no longer support it himself.

"Alec. Alec, you have got to help me here, okay?" Max continued though she knew she wasn't going to get a response from him now. Finally deciding to forgo further conversation and work on finding out how extensive Alec's injuries were, Max pushed his jacket back from his shoulders and let it drop to the floor with a thump. She pushed Alec back against the wall again and took note of his remaining attire. His t-shirt was hanging in shreds from his torso and what remained was coated in dried blood; his jeans were dirty but not destroyed; and his feet were bare. Max started to slowly lift his shirt up his chest. She paused with her hands under his arms to coax his arms over his head and allow her to remove the garment. Focusing on his jeans next she blushed when she realized what she was about to do, but the soldier took over and she quickly removed his jeans leaving him in plain white boxers that had definitely seen better days. Alec's body was covered in bruises and cuts but nothing that looked serious enough to explain his behavior or the irregular breathing and sweating until she saw the puncture marks on back of his arm. Alec had been drugged, but by who? And with what that could affect a transgenic in such a severe way?

Throughout Max's appraisal, Alec remained leaning silently against the wall watching her. When Max moved to step back from him though, Alec lurched forward and wrapped his arms around Max before burying his head in her shoulder again. Unsure of how to extract herself from Alec without hurting or further upsetting him in his fragile emotional state, Max wrapped an arm around his back before turning slightly to guide them both into the bathroom. He needed a shower, and it looked like she was going to be sharing it with him.

Twenty minutes later, an exhausted Max helped Alec out of the shower and into her bed. His physical wounds tended, but his emotional state still very much in question. Alec was still holding tightly to Max's hand as if his very life depended on staying in physical contact with her in some way. Max was finally able to slip from the room about an hour later when he fell into a fitful slumber. Two quick calls to Dr. Carr and Biggs later, she slipped back into the room and settled herself in a chair to watch over him while waiting for help to arrive.

Biggs arrived first and with fresh clothes for Alec. It took both he and Max to slip Alec into the sweats before carefully lowering him half-conscious back to the bed. Dr. Carr arrived shortly thereafter to take a blood sample. Alec was still unable to focus for more than a short amount of time and had once again attached himself to Max as she tried to keep him calm during the blood test. Dr. Carr departed quickly with a promise to call Max as soon as he had any results about whatever Alec had been injected with. Biggs took up sentinel duty on the sofa, and Max unable to escape Alec's hold without increasing his agitation significantly was lying stiff as a board in her own bed with a blond haired X-5 wrapped around her like a security blanket. As uncomfortable as Max was, it seemed to be just what Alec needed as he finally succumbed to restful sleep.

Thankfully Dr. Carr was able to quickly isolate the drug in Alec's system as 45HJ673. A chemical compound created by Manticore that had previously been untested on X-series soldiers but was designed to induce a feral state. Now the problem was: how to reverse it and quickly? Max had been unable to head into work today and without serious improvement by Alec it seemed unlikely she would be delivering packages anytime soon. Alec was perfectly calm when Max was in the same room but became agitated and aggressive when she moved out of sight. And with the looks he continued to giver her, it was almost like he knew something wasn't right, but couldn't work out what was wrong. Alec would also physically attach himself to Max if she was moved closer to Biggs than him. Biggs had taken the hint by mid-morning and left the two of them in her apartment alone, claiming he could be of more assistance looking for a cure. Max protested that he should stay with Alec or take Alec home, but Biggs had no desire to engage the feral alpha soldier, and he doubted anyone was going to separate Alec from Max in his present condition without a larger amount of force than would be worth it. He promised to check in later with CeCe and cover with Normal.

By the second day of being trapped in her own apartment with Alec hugging and sniffing her every chance he got, Max was going stir crazy. She tried to stop Alec from being quit so physically "familiar" but every time she pushed him away he whined and withdrew, and then she started to feel bad and would touch him to reassure him and things would go right back to the way they were- with Alec hugging, nuzzling, or sniffing Max. He cuddled her in his sleep at night. If she sat down on the couch, he would lay his head in her lap, which was where he was currently positioned with her fingers running through his hair. Max justified her actions by telling herself it was just to keep him relaxed. Was he purring? Max was not used to be this physically affectionate with anyone, much less Alec. What would Logan say?

"Oh, no, Logan!" At Max's outburst, Alec lifted his head from her lap and looked at Max with an almost quizzical expression; Max's unexpected agitation disturbing the peace that had settled over them. Max grabbed the phone to return the seven missed pages from Logan since finding Alec. To say Logan was upset would be an understatement. He kept going on and on about how Alec was not her responsibility and how she wasn't responsible for every transgenic in the world. Finally Max interrupted to ask why he had paged her so many times. It turned out Logan had needed Max to retrieve some data for Eyes Only but it was only in transit last night, so she had called to late. "I'm sorry Logan, but what was I supposed to do? Leave an injured friend bleeding in my stairwell to return a page?"

"Alec's not your friend Max." Logan argued.

"Yes, Logan, he is. I know you don't get this, but he's part of my family now, just like Zach, Tinga, O.C., Ben." Max trailed off slightly with the last name, her voice breaking with thoughts of Alec's twin.

Knowing he wasn't going to talk Max down from taking care of Alec over the phone, Logan insisted he was coming by to check on everything before hanging up.

The phone call to Logan seemed to drain Max more than the previous two days combined as Alec nuzzled her neck again before moving them both back to the bed for another night's sleep. When Biggs and CeCe dropped by an hour later, they found them cuddled together in the middle of the bed. Instead of waking the two, Biggs and CeCe made themselves comfortable on the couch in case trouble decided to find its way back to their friends.

The early morning sun announced the arrival of a new day with a whole new set of problems for Max and Alec. While the smell of brewing coffee was a good way to wake up, the sound of Logan's entrance to finding her and Alec curled together on the couch watching cartoons with Biggs was not.

Max rose quickly from the couch and tried again to explain to Logan what was going on, but before she could utter more than a few words, a fierce growl from Alec erupted as he put himself between the visibly angry and yelling Logan and Max.

"Alec! What the hell? Are you growling?" Max put an arm around Alec's body and flattened her hand on his chest to keep him from lunging at Logan. Alec's growling continued but became lower as he ducked his head down and to the right to look at Max. Alec's eyes showed confusion at her sharp words, so Max started to gently rub her hand over his heart in a gentle, relaxing manner trying to calm the feral transgenic. Max finally felt Alec's heart rate decline as his growling completely ceased and was replaced by a low purring.

Max was confused by Alec's suddenly aggressive behavior but she couldn't risk him lashing out at Logan or anyone else so she continued to touch him as she looked around his shoulder at Logan. "I think you should go now Logan. We'll talk later, but I can't deal with anything else right now. Until this bitch is cured, Alec is my only priority."

Logan paused at Max's last statement and then started to protest but a sharp glare from Max changed his mind. He grumbled a goodbye under his breath as he turned and quickly exited the apartment. When Logan was safely out of sight, Max stepped away from Alec and turned to CeCe, who was standing quietly in the kitchen watching the whole exchange with a grin of amusement. A quick glance at Biggs revealed the same expression.

"Do either of you want to tell me what exactly about this situation is funny?"

"Come on Max, are you honestly telling me you don't recognize the signs?" CeCe burst out. At Max's look of confusion, she continued on, "He growls when another male approaches you, purrs when you touch him, keeps nuzzling you and rubbing his scent on you every chance he gets. Really Max! None of this sounds like slightly familiar animal behavior to you."

Max defiantly looked around the room before responding, "So what you are telling me is that on top of being more feral than human at the moment and seemingly incapable of speech, Alec has also decided I'm his what? mate?"

"Yeah, that's pretty much it." CeCe responded with a barely concealed chuckle. Biggs didn't bother hiding his mirth and laughed out loud as he gathered his jacket to leave.

"No, just no. How am I supposed to deal with this?" Max pushed her hair back and turned to examine Alec again sitting quietly on her sofa staring at the ground in the same position he had been in since Max had forcibly pushed him there to keep him from following her and CeCe into the kitchen as there discussion unfolded. Her gaze softened despite herself. It wasn't like he asked for this to happen. Before Max's thoughts strayed further, CeCe stepped around her on her way out of the apartment as well. Her parting words completely serious continued to echo in Max's mind: "I guess you're going to have to decide whether you care as much about him as he obviously cares about you, and don't forget: we mate for life."

Stunned and confused, Max remained rooted to the spot until she could feel Alec's eyes examining her from the sofa. He still hadn't moved from where she had placed him earlier, but he was gazing intently at her now and fidgeting constantly. She knew he was distressed that she wasn't touching him and that in his present state and confusion, couldn't fathom why his "mate" was upset with him. Unable to stand the lost look on his face any longer, she moved back to the sofa and sat down next to him. Placing her right hand over his heart again as he buried his face in her neck. Max knew that they had to find a cure soon. She would never admit it out loud, but she missed her loud, boisterous smart-Alec, and life couldn't go on like this. It wasn't practical to need to touch someone 24/7, but until he was back to himself, she wasn't willing to leave him in distress by leaving him alone. The rest of the world could go screw itself, Logan and his Eyes Only missions included.

It took two weeks for Dr. Carr to create an antidote for the feral compound Alec had been injected with. Max had returned to work in the interim but with Alec accompanying her on her runs. Hiding Alec from Normal while keeping him close enough to Max to prevent an outburst was not easy, Biggs had told Normal Alec was down with a serious case of the chicken pox. It was the only way they could think to keep Alec with Max and still allow her to go to work. If Alec came in, he would be expected to make his own deliveries and speak, which he still hadn't done since arriving at Max's apartment. Max had become accustomed to having Alec live with her. He was playful and affectionate with her at home and protective of her at other times. They'd worked out a sort of comfortable routine. They'd even gone to see Joshua a few times. Although the feral cat dominating Alec's personality and emotions made the first meeting a little more interesting than was expected. The two had eventually engaged in a rather rambunctious game of chase.

But now, with the antidote finally done, Max was sitting on her sofa with Alec once again holding his hand as Dr. Carr administered the shot. Max was nervous. She wanted this to work, but she was also afraid of how the real Alec would respond when he found out they had been living together for over two weeks: sharing a bed, hell, sharing a shower. If Max were honest, she'd admit she enjoyed having him with her, especially holding her while she slept or nuzzling her on the couch to make her smile. She'd had more fun in the last two weeks living with Alec than she had in years and now it was about to end. Would he even remember the last two weeks? Would he still want her as his mate?

Alec could sense Max's agitation as she sat next to him while they waited for the antidote to take affect. Dr. Carr said it should work within minutes, but they all seemed to be suspended in an uncomfortable silence waiting. Finally, Alec opened his mouth a few times, testing his unused verbal skills for the first time in weeks. "What's wrong, Max?" Alec asked gently as he turned his body more fully towards hers.

Max glanced sharply at Alec before trying to withdraw her hand from his. Alec held firm and kept her seated next to him on the sofa, gently rubbing circles on the back of her hand with his thumb. Finally relaxing Max responded, "Alec, are you okay now? Do you remember what happened?"

"I remember." Alec responded quietly. "All of it." As he said the last part, he leaned down and nuzzled her neck again, before lightly kissing her pulse point.

Max froze at the unexpected contact. Alec continued to rub his head next to Max's before whispering in her ear, "Mate."