Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, but I wish I did! Just playing with them for a while.

Summary: Set during season two. A mysterious message from a supposedly dead Lydecker ends up being a trap that Max waltzes straight into. Will Alec be able to save 452, or will his attempt only end up risking his life as well? Hurt/Empathic!Alec.

A/N: This story is dedicated to my amazing friend, scifigeek22! Hope you enjoy it, hun!

Max pounded hard on Alec's door, hoping the suave transgenic was home and not out conquering the female population. She had an urgent matter to discuss with him and time was of the essence. "Alec? You in there? Open up!"

Tilting her ear towards the door, she was able to pick up on a familiar, though oddly rough and husky sounding, voice grumbling from the other side. "Alright, alright… I'm comin'!"

She stood back as he unbolted the lock and pulled the door open. Alec squinted down at her, raising a hand to shield his sensitive eyes from the assault of the hallway lights. He checked the hallway to the left and right to make sure they were alone before settling his gaze on the anxious brunette before him. "Somethin' I can do for you, Max?"

Max was temporarily startled by Alec's disheveled appearance. He was wearing nothing but baggy gray sweatpants and his hair was tousled like she had just woken him up. A quick glance around him proved that the entire apartment was shrouded in darkness.

Considering it was prime time for the young X-5 to be out tom-catting at Crash, she was more than a little surprised to find him already catching some shut eye. Unless…

"If you've got company in there, just say so and I'll…"

Alec rolled his eyes, then grimaced when the action made his head pound even harder. He leaned against the doorframe, crossing his arms over his bare chest as he attempted to pass off the wince as nothing more than indignation at her assumption. "No one else is here, Max. Contrary to common belief, I am capable of spending the night alone."

Max frowned, not willing to let him get away with the cover up so easily. She gave him a more critical once over, trying to pick up on any obvious injuries that the X-5 may have sustained recently.

"What's wrong with you? You look like death," she commented before she could stop herself. It was true; Alec was far from his healthy, happy-get-lucky self tonight.

Alec's lips quirked up in a small smirk. "Aww, Maxie… That's probably the nicest thing you've ever said to me."

Max flinched inwardly as she realized that statement could very well be true. She did tend to be a bit harsh on him, but in all fairness the smart ass usually deserved it.

"Seriously, Alec. If you're out of commission, I can go find someone else," she prodded.

Alec straightened immediately, not wanting to appear weak in her eyes, even for a second. "I'm fine, Max. Just a headache is all. What do you need?"

Ignoring his question, she countered with one of her own. "Have you been taking your tryptophan?"

He shook his head in denial. "It's got nothin' to do with that."

"Care to elaborate?" The demand in her voice made it clear she wasn't asking so much as telling him to report. He was never one for orders though and figured she should get used to his insubordination sooner rather than later.

"Not really," he replied, locking gazes with her defiantly. When she fastened her hands on her hips and gave him that look though, it took everything he had not to roll his eyes again. She was as stubborn as he was. "I told you, it's just a headache. They happen ya know. It'll be gone in a few hours."

She seemed far from convinced but, considering she had little choice in the matter, she decided to let it go for now. "Fine. In the meantime, Logan received a message twenty minutes ago and I think it's worth checking out."

"Oh yeah?" Alec raised an eyebrow. "And why's that?"

"Cause it was from Lydecker," Max stated matter-of-factly.

Alec pursed his lips and frowned in confusion. "Wait, the Lydecker? The one who died a few months back in a car wreck?"

"His body was never found, Alec. I think he escaped and has been laying low."

"So why break the vow of silence now?"

"Turns out he has some info on the breeding cult he wants to share."

"And he can't just email it to our friendly cyber hacker because…?"

"Because he doesn't want to risk it being intercepted and traced back to his location. They already tried to kill him once for this info, he's not going to risk it happening again."

Max held her breath as Alec massaged the back of his neck absently in thought. When he looked back down at her, she could tell he had made his decision. "Okay, I'll play along. Where's the meet?"

She tried not to let the relief show on her face in case it gave him an even bigger head. "There was an encrypted attachment that Logan is working on now. I think it's a set of coordinates. Logan said he should have it decoded by the time we get back to his place. So you comin' or what?" Of course, she already knew the answer to that question.

"Yeah. But can I get dressed first?"

"Make it fast. Patience has never been one of Lydecker's virtues."

Alec snorted his agreement as he turned his back to Max and made his way towards the bedroom to find a clean shirt and a pair of jeans.

Less than five minutes later, Alec was clinging to Max's back as they tore through the streets of Seattle on her motorcycle. Though it was a relatively warm night, she could feel his body trembling where it rested against hers, regardless of the heavy leather jacket he was clad in.

Not wanting to shout over the roar of the engine, she decided to wait until they arrived at Logan's to confront her fellow X-5 on his health once again. Clearly, something was not right.

By the time she slid off the bike and turned to face Alec, he had gone very pale and the pain was evident in his squinted eyes.

"Alec, if you're not up for this mission, tell me now."

He shrugged deeper into his jacket, hoping to protect himself from the chills wracking his body as well as from Max's intense scrutiny. "I've got your back, Max. Just waiting for the painkillers to kick in. I'll be fine."

She reached up to feel his forehead but he balked and caught her wrist inches from his face. "Told you I'm fine," he insisted before releasing her.

Max drew her hand back with a scowl. "Must you always be so difficult?"

He forced a smirk to try and reassure his companion. "Just part of my charm, Maxie."

"Well ass-kickin' is part of mine, and if you screw this up because you're too stubborn to admit you're sick, then you're gonna face the wrath of my charm pretty damn quickly, understood?"

"Sir, yes, sir…" He responded with a mock salute. Max strode past him with a frustrated huff and led the way into Logan's apartment. Alec took a deep breath to steady himself before following after her.

"Logan? We're here!" Max called out as she headed towards the computer room to find him.

"Hey, Max… Excellent timing. I've just about got it," Logan answered distractedly without looking up. He continued typing furiously on his keyboard. "And… done! You were right, he did send coordinates."

Keeping a safe distance from Eyes Only to avoid accidentally infecting him, Max allowed her vision to zoom in on the tiny numbers in the center of Logan's screen. "Can we get a visual on the location?"

"Just a sec…" Logan's fingers danced across the keys once again until another window popped up with a live image of a large warehouse. "I've seen this place before. It's in sector 8. It used to be a lucrative telecommunications factory until the Pulse hit and rendered their products useless."

"And now good ol' Deck is usin' the place as his very own bed and breakfast," Alec supplied, having heard the entire conversation from just outside of the doorway.

Logan glanced around. "Hey, Alec." He frowned as he took in the X-5's pallor. "Rough night?"

Alec shrugged casually. "I've had worse," he answered honestly. He tried to ignore the sheen of sweat that was now coating his body. Is it hot in here, or is it just me? He shifted uncomfortably as his clothes seemed to cling to his skin irritatingly.

Max launched into a long speech about how it was obvious something was wrong with Alec and if he would just stop being so stubborn and tell them what was going on, maybe there was something they could do for him.

Alec tried to focus on the words coming out of her mouth but after a while, her voice was outmatched by a loud ringing in his ears. He shook his head, then blinked rapidly as his vision started to tunnel.

Max was still mid-rant when she shot an ugly look at him and noticed he wasn't taking in a word she was saying. "Alec? Hey!"

Alec swayed dangerously on the spot as he tried to orient himself, his right hand latching onto the doorframe as a grounding point. He could see Max walking towards him, looking concerned now rather than irate, but when he blinked again, he was no longer seeing Max or Logan's apartment.

A quick visual of a hospital-like lab room flashed in front of him, and instead of a small brunette heading his way, he saw a masked doctor approaching him in full scrubs.

He blinked again, and while he saw Max now, she was standing in the middle of what appeared to be a large warehouse, surrounded by armed soldiers. "Where's Lydecker?" she ground out to someone out of his visual range.

Three of the men stepped forward with cattle prods and while Max attempted to put up a good fight, it wasn't long before Alec felt the fire race through his own veins as Max dropped painfully to the concrete ground.

Just as Max reached Alec's side, he let out an agonized scream and fell to his knees, curling forward as though trying to protect himself from inner pain. His hands clenched tightly, nails piercing into his palms, as he slammed his fists into the floor by his head, hoping for any distraction from the bomb going off in his brain.

"Alec!" Max placed a comforting hand on the other X-5's back, feeling the tremors and tense muscles even through his thick jacket.

Logan stood abruptly as soon as Alec's legs had given way, but he was completely useless unless Max moved aside so he had no choice but to watch with bated breath as his semi-girlfriend tried to figure out what was happening.

Alec's eyes were squeezed shut against the pain flooding through his body but he could still see images as plain as day flashing across his eyelids.

Ames White stood over Max's twitching body with a sinister smirk on his face. "Get her in the truck. We move out in five minutes."

The pain left Alec's body as quickly as it had come, leaving him feeling drained as he panted heavily on the floor, trying his best to stay conscious. He had to get up. He had to warn her. "Max…" he managed to whimper out, clutching at her arm as she tried to sit him up, but then the world tilted on its axis and he lost the fight, darkness quickly consuming him.

"Alec? Alec! Wake up!" Max demanded, shaking his over-heated body even as she pulled his limp form into her lap. She tapped harshly at his cheek, hoping she might get a response but his head just lolled into the crook of her other arm.

"What the hell was that?" Logan asked, his voice barely above a whisper but he knew Max had heard him anyway.

She shook her head. "I have no idea." She cradled the fallen X-5's body protectively in her arms, the symmetry to Ben's death not lost on her. "Can you get Dr. Carr to come and take a look at him? I'd stay but…"

"But you've gotta get to Lydecker before he disappears for good." Logan finished for her, then hesitated for a brief moment. "Don't worry, Max. I'll watch over him. Call me if you run into trouble."

"Thanks, Logan." She pulled Alec's arm over her shoulders and fastened her other hand around his waist, lifting his muscular body with a strained groan. She shuffled him towards the couch and gently deposited him on it, taking a second to brush her fingers over his hot forehead and through his silky, though sweaty, hair. "I'm so sorry," she whispered to his still form. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

"Be careful," Logan added, the words falling from his mouth like a mantra as Max straightened and headed for the door. Lydecker, this better be worth it…


This is my first attempt at a Dark Angel fic, so please review and let me know what you think! Thanks a bunch!