In a panic, Max covered herself with one arm and reached out to the first piece of clothing she could find – Alec's crumpled long-sleeved tee. She slid it over her body, turned back to Alec and knelt at his side, pushing his too-big sleeves past her elbows and checking his bloodied face for the extent of his injury.

"Logan, what the hell are you doing here?" she yelled, craning her neck from Alec and leveling a murderous stare on Logan.

Alec was conscious and his face was starting to bruise and swell at the temple and cheekbone.

Staring down at the bleeding X5, Logan said, "If you get up, I'll fucking kill you." He tapped his right leg's exoskeleton. "Doesn't feel so good when you're not as strong as a machine, does it?" He trained his stare back on Max.

"What are you doing here?" she asked again.

"What do you mean? He was assaulting you!"

"He wasn't doing anything," Max spat, boring into his eyes. She stood and hurried to the kitchen. She grabbed a washcloth as Alec got to his feet. "I don't remember inviting you, Logan, so what are you doing here?" she repeated.

Logan watched as Alec zipped up and buttoned his jeans, not yet able to put it all together. He didn't understand why Alec wasn't already dead. Maybe Max was confused and that's why she hadn't snapped his neck, yet. "I came by because I had some information for you and I kept paging you but you weren't answering, so I thought you were in trouble."

"Yeah, but it's almost two AM," she countered, tossing the cloth to Alec.

"I thought you'd still be awake, but a couple of guys at Crash said you'd walked home. And when I got here, you were screaming 'don't' and 'stop'." Logan finally realized, after having said it out loud, what those two words meant when coupled with the image before him. Max was almost completely naked; Alec was about two seconds from losing his pants completely. Or maybe just partially.

And the whole of it enraged him further. "Max! How could you? With him!" It was a bitter mouthful for him to say at all. It seemed as if she was deliberately punishing him for being Eyes Only. It wasn't his fault Manticore found out about his secret identity.

Alec pressed he cool cloth to his cheekbone, testing its tenderness and checking for blood (which, he discovered, existed). His blood raced through his veins, turning from a lustful boil to a hot-tempered pump.

Max's face morphed into hard, angled lines. "Excuse me?"

"You're sleeping with Alec?" he almost shouted.

"That's none of your goddamned business!"

"Who's next? Ames White?" Logan stepped closer to the scantily clad brunette, a move Alec didn't like one bit.

Alec stepped between them. "You probably don't want to do that," he said, his jaw flexing as he grinded his teeth. He raised and lowered his hands in a push-down motion, trying to refrain from ripping Logan apart bit by bit.

"Oh, why? 'Cause you're gonna beat my ass?" Logan mocked. "Or slap my bitch face?"

Max wrapped her fingers gently around Alec's bicep, pulling him back toward her. He took a deep breath. "No, because if you touch Max, you'll trip the virus."

Logan stayed where he was, refusing to be intimidated. He peered around Alec at Max. "Max, you can't be serious," he started. "I mean, this guy's a liar and a cheat. You're being played." He thoroughly didn't understand how she couldn't see how little respect the male transgenic garnered.

Max let go of Alec's arm and stepped to his side. "No, Logan. I'm not being played. I invited Alec up here. Into my bed," she added, hoping he'd get the point.

"Are you in heat or something?" he asked, his eyes wild with trying to find some explanation for how she could have stooped so low.

Alec butted in, his voice steady with a scolding tone. "No, she's not in heat."

"And how would you know?"

He shut his eyes quickly. "Because I can smell her," he said bluntly.

Rebuffed, Logan frowned at Alec and turned his attention back to Max. "Max, you and me, we're supposed to be together, remember? It's supposed to be me kissing you. If you're longing for some human touch, I have the gloves."

Max's face twisted in disgust. What, did he think she wanted to wear a dental dam just to kiss him? Be finger-fucked by him for the rest of eternity? For now, she was having the most difficult time even looking at him.

She looked over to Alec, whose lean muscles smoothed over him and carried a slight sheen from their night so far. She had loved the desire she'd seen reflected in his eyes all night long, roaming over her body without control. She had loved his hands all over her, his lips, his tongue all over her. She had loved the way he said her name as if it was the only vocabulary which could encompass his passion.

Logan continued. "Don't you see? He's a fucking animal!"

Alec stepped forward, ready to snap this bespectacled douche's neck. "You call that an insult?" he started.

"Oh, don't tempt me,494," he mocked again. "She's only entertaining being with you because she can't touch me. You just happened to be the closest dick around on one drunken night."

Alec looked away with a fed-up grin. No one could talk about Max like that.

Logan, thinking he had bested Alec, glared triumphantly. Before Logan knew it was coming, Alec balled his hand into a tight fist with the cloth wrapped around it, and sent a right hook into Logan's cheek, simultaneously knocking the journalist's glasses askew.

Logan lost his balance and tripped toward the kitchen island. He caught himself on the barstool. "- the fuck, Alec?" he cursed, surprised. His lip was now bleeding from smashing so violently into his teeth. He regained his balance and raised his hand to his mouth.

He tongued something, pinched it and brought it out with his smooth fingers. It was a piece of a bloody tooth, which nearly shined in the shadows. Shocked, he looked at Max, expectantly, and held the tooth bit up in her line of vision. "You gonna let him do that?"

Max crossed her arms. "Get out."

"Max, I just got my teeth kicked in. Isn't that proof enough that he's an animal?"

Nevermind that we're both X5, which makes us both animals, she thought. "What the hell were you thinking?" she scolded Logan. "Baiting an animal like that?"

Logan righted his glasses and with sincerity, said, "I was thinking of you, Max."

"No, you were thinking of yourself."