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Entering Crash, Max and Logan suddenly realized why there were so few parking spaces outside. For a Wednesday night, the club was unusually packed; it's atmosphere festively loud. Nearly shouting and using hand signals, Logan got the message when Max decided they should split up: him to get their drinks and Max to find Original Cindy and Alec.

Moving, pushing, elbowing his way through as politely as possible, Logan did his best to ignore the boisterous crowd around him as he slowly made his way toward the bar. Squeezing through Logan waited, then when the bartender came over he had to yell loud enough to be heard.

Waiting Logan turned in time to see Max on the stairs scanning the room looking for Original Cindy, then stop as she spotted her. Turning she caught his gaze and pointed out the direction where she'd be. He nodded, and watched her head the rest of the way up the stairs making a bee-line toward a woman Logan assumed had to be Cindy. Still waiting for his drinks, Logan observed as Max gave Cindy's shoulder a friendly nudge as she came up behind her; could almost hear Max's friendly, "Hey, what's up?" Even from here Logan could tell Cindy's response was stiff and robotic where she just gave a curt nod and just tilted her head toward the direction of what had captured her full attention.

Like Max, Logan followed the gesture, expecting to see some beautiful - if not stunning and probably attached - woman who had caught Cindy's interest; instead the sight that greeted them rendered him speechless. His mouth gaped open as Logan stared, blinking several times in an attempt to change the scorching image in front of him: Alec, standing on a table, more than a head above the crowd in clear view for anyone looking in that direction. Smiling as if without a care in the world, Alec laughed and continued dancing.... if one could call what he was doing dancing. Alec moved and swerved his hips in time to the music, an exaggerated bump and grind on top of one of the tables—naked. Or nearly naked, in tight boxer briefs with dollar bills sticking out from the waistband.

Logan didn't even realize the bartender was demanding his attention, asking if he was buying the drinks or not. Dazed, Logan shook his head to snap out of it, then dug into his jeans for a few bills, sliding them toward the bartender. Without another thought, he picked up their drinks, and headed toward Max and Cindy.

As he approached, Logan was close enough to see Max snapping her mouth closed, obviously flustered in a way she'd never acknowledge especially in front of him. Catching his presence Max immediately went on the defensive. "What the hell?" she muttered. "Is he crazy?"

Logan stood there taking in the scene that hadn't changed, oddly wondering the same thing.

Logan knew without looking that none of them had taken their eyes off of Alec, when he heard Cindy laugh. In his mind's eye could see her smirk nodding in agreement. "Seems so." Her tone dipped in flippant sarcasm as she added, "For scrawny bow legs, the boy can dance."

Curious Logan turned to fully see Cindy's expression, but stilled as he saw Max. He could only describe the look Max sported as comical disbelief, something he'd only seen between the pages of a comic book from his youth. A minute later, Max choked out, "But why the hell… wait, is that Normal?"

From his peripheral vision he saw Cindy nod then grunt in answer as they each watched disbelieving as Normal grinned, waving more dollar bills in Alec's direction.

Alec appeared to return Normal's smile as he scooted closer, dancing directly in front of Normal. Alec gripped his hips only to do a bump and grind tease. Fingers dipped under the elastic band of his boxers and slowly rolled them down several inches exposing more flesh—just a bit above indecent. Not to mention, the gray jockey boxer briefs did nothing to hide the erection Alec was sporting. In fact, his partially rolled boxers highlighted his arousal and the obvious wet spot that was spreading. Encouraged by Alec's reaction, Normal reached forward, tucking a few more bills into the waistband. Logan eyes widened as he realized that Normal, the repressive tight-ass, was copping a feel, his fingers lingering. Alec only grinned. He paused his movements for a second, allowing Normal's hands to move over him slowly. Not surprisingly, the crowd cheered them on. In response, Alec stepped back, turned around and thrust his jiggling ass and firm glutes into Normal's flushed face.

Still standing there, holding their drinks Logan quietly exclaimed, "Shit!" announcing his presence.

Without a moment's pause, Max snatched one of the drinks he was holding and downed half of it. He noticed she was flushed, though he couldn't decide if it was out of embarrassment or excitement that Alec's antics had gotten to her. Not that he could really blame her.

Like everyone else in the bar, Logan was mesmerized and continued to watch Alec dance, each movement sensuous and enticing to those around him. Logan's mind reeled as he watched Alec laugh, and flirt outrageously; he was every bit as flirtatious with the men as he was with the women. There was no question Alec was a flirt by nature, sure, but this was freer, more open, than Logan had ever seen Alec be.

Unable to tear his eyes away, Logan finally asked, "How long has he been…" His voice trailed off as Alec turned around and slowly bent over, his body pulled into a long, taut stretch as his hands lewdly traveled up the back of his legs to his thighs, caressing up and grasping his ass cheeks. Logan found himself nearly choking at the sight. Heard Max make a similar sound before finishing off her drink then nearly slamming the glass down on the table.

Cindy snorted. "Mmm hmm, boy's damn flexible, gotta give him that." Logan felt a tingle of heat around his ears as he silently agreed, then guilty glanced over to Cindy and Max to see if either had seen his reaction. Neither had taken their eyes off of Alec. Cindy paused only to take a sip of her drink, and then answered, "Ah, don't know... fifteen, twenty minutes ago?"

Max's hand abruptly snaked around, snatching Cindy's drink and she gulped down the remains before Cindy could protest.

Startled, Cindy turned and glared her annoyance but Max didn't react or take notice of anything other than Alec's erotic display. After licking the rim Max thrust the empty glass down on a table next to her own, then without even looking grabbed Logan's drink before he could react. "Sorry, thirsty," she stated without apology. After taking a healthy gulp Max glanced at the half full glass and tossed down the rest. Licking her lips she huskily continued, "Hot. Don't you think it's hot?"

Without waiting for a reply, Max put the glass next to the others. Her fingers busily unzipped and removed her jacket allowing it to fall to the floor. When she didn't stop and started to remove her shirt to reveal a camisole tee, Cindy hesitantly spoke, sounding as if she didn't really want to know the answer. "Max, what the hell you doing?"

Logan watched in shock as Max swayed, her body leaning until she plastered herself to Cindy's side. Though to anyone else Max might have appeared unsteady or drunk she was an X5, they didn't get drunk—at least not easily. As an X5, Max was agile and maneuvered quickly; her hands suddenly lively as they started to deftly travel Cindy's body. In shock, Logan stared, gaping as heard Max whispered breathlessly, "Hot," like that answered everything.

Stunned speechless, Cindy turned, quirking a brow in Logan's direction as if he had an answer. Logan could only shrug then curiously he glanced back toward Alec.

Max must of done something else as Cindy smacked Logan's shoulder to get his attention, but he was rooted to the spot taken in by Alec's new moves that clearly validated Cindy's earlier statement on flexibility.

"Shit! Logan, I'm thinking we have a problem here. Whoa, girl, hands…" He could hear Cindy unsuccessfully try to swat Max's hands away, obviously to no effect by the sounds of it.

With reluctance Logan turn toward her though his eyes still focused on Alec "Hm?" dazed he barely swallowed and muttered an automatic, "Whatt?" before he actually glanced and took in the scene before him. He gasped in shock to find Max molesting Cindy barely registering Cindy's attempts to stop her, her hands roving decisively over Cindy's body.

"Oh oh…"

Exasperated though her voice carried more worry than snark, "Duh! Thinking something's up with those drinks…."

Logan followed Max's hand as she tried unsuccessfully to garner access under Cindy's top then shook his head as he processed what Cindy just said. As he finally understood, he glanced to Max then took a fleeting look back toward Alec, then back again to the empty glasses on the table that Max had finished off, then - unable to resist - back to Alec. "Manticore…"

Looking annoyed, Cindy only rolled her eyes, too busy trying to placate Max's aggressive manhandling… where she was quickly losing ground.

Unable to stop himself Logan continued to stare at Alec who was performing a sensuous body roll. His eyes were glued to Alec's fingers, fingers that cascaded slowly up and down his chest. Swallowing hard, Logan stated the obvious; "We need to get them out of here."

"You thinkkkk…." Cindy's irritation trailed off into a shriek.

Finally Logan turned and stared dumbfounded as Cindy ineffectively tried to pull Max's hand out from where it had apparently snaked up and under her shirt. With his view partially blocked Logan could only guess what Max was doing now as Cindy suddenly shuddered and muttered, "Help…"

Logan stepped up behind Max and - carefully avoiding touching skin - placed his hands over her leather covered hips and tried unsuccessfully to pull her away. With a firmer grip, Logan leaned forward, his voice pleading, "Max, let go. You need to let Cindy go," then pulled.

Her answer was to hook an arm around him, pulling him closer. Though they didn't touch skin-to-skin, Logan's heart pounded. The adrenaline of excitement and danger collided as he was plastered against Max's back. Her small tight frame pressed back, intimately rubbing against him. Her hand on his hip tightened, holding him in place as she rocked her body between them.

Logan wasn't exactly sure what Max was doing with her other hand, but from the look on Cindy's scrunched up face and mutterings of, 'Fuck no… oh god,' Logan knew they were in deep trouble.

The crowd's sudden cheer drew Logan's attention. Alec was still on the table; his hands clutched at his sides, holding the bunched up material of his shorts with his fists. He had created an obscene bikini encasing his hard cock that he was teasingly grinding into someone's face.

Just as they leaned forward, mouth open, ready to inhale Alec's cock clothed or not, Alec stepped back and turned around, displaying the wedgie deeply embedded between his ass cheeks. Distracted by the raunchy exhibit of Alec, Logan didn't notice until it was too late. Max had untucked his shirt and was inching her way under his waistband.

The instant he became aware, he knew it was already too late as skin touched skin. Instinctively he jerked away, reacting just moments too late, frantically pushing Max away from him as he simultaneously stepped back. The heated scorch of nails raked across his hip as Max made an effort to maintain their contact.

Once out of reach, Logan held his breath, mentally trying to estimate how long he had. He only had one incident to compare to but the reaction had started within minutes - if not seconds - after Max's touch. Though that time they had kissed, deeply; this time he hoped it had only been Max's fingernails to his skin—maybe it'd be different. Shaking off the seeping dread, knowing that in reality he might not have time, Logan returned his focus to the immediate problem— how to get Max and Alec away safely before Manticore showed up. The only reason he'd survived the last time was because of Max and she was his priority.

Automatically Logan brushed Max's insistent fingers away again before guiding and wrapping them back around Cindy's waist where Max's other hand was busy doing something that he could only describe as having effectively made Cindy coo in delight.

Grasping Cindy's hands, Logan purposely secured them around Max. "Hold her tight. We need to get out of here now. Head for the back. I'll create a distraction and get Alec…"

Jerkily Cindy looked up. Her bewilderment was quickly replaced by anger as she opened her mouth to protest, though whether it was from being interrupted or the difficulty of having to maneuver Max, Logan didn't know or care. "GO!"

Cindy moved. Max was practically attached to Cindy and went willingly toward the back. Logan watched until they were at the back door before he turned toward Alec. He was pretty confident he could get Alec to follow him… it was the crowd he was concerned about, Alec's new fanbase... and Normal in particular.

As he worked his way through the crowd, Logan caught a glimpse of Sketchy in his peripheral vision, warily watching from a distance. Changing directions, Logan headed toward Sketchy, his hand already digging for cash, a plan forming as he reached him.

Thankfully Sketchy was relatively cooperative and didn't ask questions once he was given enough incentive—in the form of cash. Not that he had given Sketchy an easy task, creating a distraction so he could get to Alec. Logan headed back toward Alec, who was still shimmying his body in Normal's face. As he got closer, he realized he'd need more than a simple distraction to get Normal away. The man didn't waste a second of his attention on anything else other than Alec.

Suddenly turning around, Normal directed a heated stare his way.

At first, Logan didn't know what to make of it until he looked past Normal to Alec. He was surprised to find he had Alec's full attention. Alec had stopped dancing and was just standing there, grinning like mad. His hands unclenched the rolled up boxers only to roam freely over his torso—a torso that was glistening with sweat. Dilated green eyes bore into his. The intensity nearly knocked him on his ass right there.

Logan swallowed and licked his lips, trying to gather his senses and stay focused. It didn't help that Alec followed his actions.

The sudden body shove, and the cold possessive fury in Normal's voice as they stared at each other was almost as good as an icy shower. "He's mine, get the fuck outta here!" Normal shouted as he bodily blocked Logan from getting any closer to Alec.

Logan didn't have to answer as shouts of 'Fire' rose through the crowd and everyone else around them started rushing toward the front exit. Concerned Normal looked behind him and Logan took the opportunity to throw a right cross, putting all his weight behind the punch, having no time to question the man's uncharacteristic aggression. It connected solidly with Normal's jaw, knocking him out. Stepping over his fallen body, Logan made his way to the table where Alec still stood waiting. He smiled down at Logan, his head slightly tilted, bemused by Logan's actions. Without hesitation Logan reached out for Alec's hand. "Come on, let's get out of here."

Alec answered by grabbing Logan's hand and jumped down.

Not bothering to look for Alec's scattered clothes, Logan just unzipped and removed his jacket, wrapping it around Alec's shoulders as they moved in the opposite direction of the thinning crowd toward the back of the bar, in the same direction Max and Cindy exited.

Effortlessly Alec slipped into the jacket then entwined his fingers within Logan's. Startled, Logan stopped in mid-stride to stare down at their clasped hands. Alec's thumb was moving, caressing the back of his hand. Frowning, Logan shook his head, immediately dismissing the erotic spark he felt—he didn't have time nor did he want to acknowledge it, not to mention Alec was a natural flirt and drugged to the gills. "Alec, knock it off; it's just the drug that's coursing through your system," he explained, as much to persuade himself as Alec, then tried to shake Alec's hand off.

Alec held on and edged closer and simply stated, "No."

Bewildered, Logan just froze.

In fact, he was panicking. Methodically, rationally, panicking in fear. Logan wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of everything, of how this all could end – that he could die from Alec's and Max's spiral into heat. Distracted, he worriedly wondered if this attack was solely directed at Max, with Alec accidentally getting in the way first. It brought up too many questions: if Manticore actually knew of Max or Alec's approximate location, or if Crash was just one of many targets to supply the cocktail; if Manticore was intentionally after one, both, or any and all X5's within the targeted areas; if it was even designated to get at him, Eyes Only, through Max, or if he was just an inconsequential bonus. There was also the slight possibility that it had nothing to do with Manticore and that something else was going on. Not that it would make it any less sinister. On top of everything else and at the moment the most crucial was—Max had touched him.

And that alone, Max had touched him… Logan's breath hitched as he stood there—fear gripped his heart. His mind screamed he was wasting time, that he had no time left… numbly Logan zoned out and stared down blankly at his hand clasped within Alec's hand.

Alec tightened his hold, his thumb continuing its caress. Receiving no protest Alec leaned in, his hot breath ghosting over Logan's ear, virtually nuzzling him.

Logan's mind raced—it was impossible, but there was no doubt that it had been well over five-ten minutes and outside of his pulsing heart rate running off the charts, he wasn't feeling any ill effects. Previously the reaction had seemed to be almost instantaneous: the tight pull of skin, swelling, a burning itch racing across the stretched-taut skin, followed closely by his throat closing, lungs collapsing too tight to draw a full breath, a domino effect of symptoms until he'd fought gasping for each breath. Now ten, fifteen minutes after Max's touch and still nothing.

It was almost too much, but each trouble-free breath he took did help him to calm and refocus on the still-immediate danger of Manticore.

A hefty jolt of pleasure interrupted his thoughts as it slithered down his spine to settle within his groin. His cock stirred to life as Alec's wet tongue captured his earlobe, suckling it between his lips. Weak-kneed by Alec's fervent attention, he was startled by his own reaction. It was something Logan wasn't ready to deal with—not that Alec was giving him the space to think.

Resolute, Logan firmly pulled away. "Alec no." He shook his head, trying to pull himself further back to distance himself from Alec.

It didn't work. With ease Alec maneuvered his body, turning him around until his back was firmly pressed against the wall and their bodies were fully flush against each other, chest to chest. Without hands, just using his body, Alec was able to hold Logan firmly in place. A slow, wiggling slither lined up their bodies, hard cock to hard cock... then Alec held the position. His hands were busily skittering up over his shoulders and down Logan's sides, up and under his shirt - the same shirt Max had pulled out of his pants and that he had never tucked back in.

Thinking of Max only reminded him of the danger they were in, but Alec's fingers demanded his attention as they trailed over his body and lower back, almost molding to his skin and clutching, pulling him tighter. Hands purposely explored, caressing soothingly up and down Logan's skin.

Simultaneously Alec's tongue and lips were attached to his neck, licking and sucking steadily, setting a rhythm that matched his hips as they rolled and pressed against him.

Hands and fingers continued to dig, explore, and cascade up and down Logan's waist. He was rock hard. Alec only chuckled as he gently palmed, pressed, and cupped Logan's cock through his jeans. Breathless, Logan arched forward and was rewarded with a harder squeeze. Teeth raked his neck followed by a sharp nip; pleasure rippled through his body. Alec pressed forward, grinding his hips.

The initial shock of cool air was quickly dismissed when Logan felt the silky hot flesh of Alec's cock slick against his own that now stood out through the slit of his boxers. Logan couldn't decide what shocked him more: his reaction to Alec, that Alec wanted him, or that he wanted Alec now. His body was eager, impatient, and waiting for more.

But the nagging thoughts that they had to stop—that they were in danger, Alec was in danger. Meaning they had to stop now! Angry with himself for letting it get this far, for taking advantage of Alec's obviously drug-induced state, Logan struggled to push Alec away. "No, Alec no. Not like this, you have to stop."

Alec barely paused, continuing his rhythmic pace. Breathless, Logan pleaded desperately, "Please, it's too dangerous…Manticore, White, they're probably on their way."

This time Alec did falter as if he finally heard Logan. Taking advantage of Alec's hesitation, Logan pressed on; his hands captured Alec's face pressing his point. "You and Max, you're both in danger... we're in danger if we don't get out of here. It's a drug making you… please, while we still have time…"

At first Logan wasn't sure if Alec really heard him or even understood, but suddenly there was space between them. Unexpectedly and with no warning or finesse, Alec knelt before him. With fast efficiency Alec's fingers pulled his shaft completely free from cumbersome material, leaving just enough room for Alec to swallow him down, simultaneously gathering and pulling Logan's boxers and pants further down to bunch just above his knees.

Utterly shocked, Logan's head slammed back against the wall almost hard enough to make him see stars. A moment later, Logan's moral conscience kicked in, his mind screaming, stop him, he doesn't know, it's the drug. In response, Logan tried to push Alec away. Alec refused and held tight, his tongue doing unspeakable things.

Logan sighed and caved. He cursed himself over the pathetic, half-hearted attempt he'd made against Alec's talented mouth even as he gave into it. Defeated, his fingers threaded through Alec's hair and slithered down to the back of his head and neck, encouragingly caressing irregular patterns as he fought to breath.

Alec rewarded him by pulling back, licking and sucking on the head before he descended down and bobbed his head, creating the most obscene slurping sounds as he worked Logan's organ. With each bob, Alec's throat opened wider, taking him further on each downward stroke until Logan was deep within Alec's throat and his nose was nestled against Logan's pubic hairs.

Unable to stop himself, Logan muttered a deep guttural sound as his hips snapped forward.

Alec's only response was to grip Logan tighter around his hips, his throat muscles continuing to work ferociously as he sucked Logan down.

The steady hum of white noise blocked everything around them other than the chorus of Logan's sharp panting breath and the gurgling sucking sounds Alec created.

Consumed in heated lust, instinctively Logan's fingers gripped tighter as they re-threaded through Alec's hair. He rocked forward fucking Alec's throat, hips snapping once, twice; his body stiffened then spasmed as he came hard down Alec's throat. Alec seemed to approve as his fingers dug into his hips, swallowing everything Logan gave him.

Dazed and euphoric, Logan wearily tried to pull away, but Alec again refused and firmly held Logan, greedily swallowing through the aftershocks, milking him dry. Depleted, Logan slumped against the wall. Even as cool air greeted his softened cock, Logan wasn't allowed to move as Alec moved down toward his sac forcing his legs to part further. Then Alec nuzzled his inner thigh, followed by long licks saturating the skin that was quickly alternated with sharp nips.

With each nip lasting longer until Logan yelped. Logan's hands gripped Alec's shoulders as he tried to forcibly push Alec away.

Alec didn't budge, only holding tighter, and a sharp nip turned into a bite as teeth firmly grabbed and clamped onto a healthy fold of skin—suckling tight until it burned with pain. Minutely Alec let go when he heard Logan's hiss of pain, then re-gathered the bruised skin between his teeth and firmly bit down to suck even harder.

Logan howled, barely noticing when Alec's finger stroked along his perineum. Fingers still played with his scrotum, creating a delicious friction before Alec finally slid a finger into his puckered hole. Each inward stroke was followed with pain as Alec bit and chewed on the sensitive skin of his inner thigh.

Frustrated and anxious, caught between the pain/pleasure that Alec was creating and the fear that White and his Manticore goons were going to appear at any moment. His feelings didn't abate as Alec began finger fucking him, but that also didn't stop Logan from participating, riding Alec's finger just as he rode out the pain Alec was creating amidst the pleasure. His cock was heavy and ready for another go, a true testament to how long it'd been since he'd had sex with anyone beside his own hand.

Another finger was added, pistoning in and out in quick succession. The pain increased to a steady throb even as his hips were snapping of their own accord, fucking himself on Alec's fingers. His frustrated need built: to have Alec inside, to touch his…

Just as he made the connection of what he needed, Alec's finger brushed against his prostate. His muscles clamped down hard as Alec repeated the motion then simultaneously his teeth nipped and bit down, sucking hard. Pain and pleasure exploded as Logan came.

Long moments passed before Logan slowly opened his eyes with reality hitting, as he looked past Alec, and realized they were still in the bar. Breathing a sigh of relief that at least now the room was empty. Thankful that amid the commotion of everyone rushing to leave, he could only hope no one had lingered to watch. Not that Alec noticed or seemed to care instead he appeared unfazed. Blinking Logan tried to focus and catch his breath; he felt no better than a teenager coming so hard and fast, but instantly dismissed the idea. He glanced down at Alec, who leisurely alternated and continued to lick clean the evidence off his stomach then bent lower, as Alec soothingly licked the throbbing pain of his inner thigh before fingers skillfully tucked him back in.

Standing, Alec eyed Logan with a mischievous smile quirked over bloodstained lips.

Logan swallowed and shivered in excitement, unable to stop himself as he realized whose blood it was. Alec's green eyes pierced his and seemed to like whatever he saw displayed on Logan's face. Stepping back, Alec teasingly licked the blood away—not that Logan had forgotten or needed the reminder of what those swollen red lips could do, what they just did, or what they could do if given more time. Just the thought had his spent cock twitching in anticipation.

Instantly Alec's smirk widened like he knew exactly what Logan was thinking.

Leaning forward he licked across Logan's lips, his hand intertwined with Logan's, then pulled back just as quickly. Alec's eyes shifted, scanning the area. His hand tightened protectively around Logan's then pulled him in the direction Max had gone with Cindy.

Dazed by what had happened, Logan meekly followed. The only thing he knew for certain was that he didn't have time to fully analyze everything with Alec or Max, nor would he dismiss Max's touch as inconsequential. Instead he started to speculate if the drug Max and Alec consumed might have somehow delayed or altered the effects.

No sooner had they made their escape out the back door than they were faced with the sight of Max busily going down on Cindy. Partially bent over and leaning into Cindy, Max's hair acted as a curtain that obscured from view exactly what Max was doing to her... though it was perfectly clear from Cindy's response just how focused Max was at her present task.

From what he could see Cindy's eyes were squeezed shut, her lips barely moving in a halted breath. Desperation and need edged her words as Cindy begged, "Boo, please, you have to stop. I can't, please…"

Max swallowed the rest of Cindy's plea and only paused to pronounce between breaths, "Can… you can." A low whimper followed as Cindy's head fell back, her body surrendering to whatever Max was doing.

Logan found the sight of the two of them mesmerizing— Max's fervor and Cindy's utter abandonment under Max's hands.

Behind him there was a shift of weight as Alec's arm wrapped snugly around his waist. It was Alec's hand under his shirt lovingly stroking his stomach that jolted him back to the underlying situation and their immediate danger.

Abruptly he grabbed Alec's wandering hand in an attempt to impede its downward descent. Batting Alec's hand away Logan couldn't deny the frustration and confusion he felt from his body's signals. Logan purposely ignored Alec's exaggerated pout and the location of Alec's other hand, which stayed and was steadily roaming his ass and hips. Clearing his throat to allow his voice to carry over the sound of the coming sirens. Forcibly Logan tried to dismiss or at least ignore his feelings of excitement—of Alec's touch, of watching Max and Cindy. "Max! You have to stop. We need to get hell out of here before Manticore shows up?" Logan swallowed, even to his own ears he sounded desperate and shaky as his voice faltered, his arousal bleeding through.

At the sound of Logan's voice, Cindy snapped open her eyes. Dazed, she briefly closed them again and shook her head, only to reopen them and be confronted with Alec's smug, grinning face and his own anxious one.

Even as the sirens drew closer, Max didn't pause in her actions.

Alarmed, Logan and Cindy shared a look. Neither knew what to say. Cindy's mouth hung open. It was clear she wanted to say something, anything, that might ease whatever emotion she saw reflected in his eyes.

Both unable to look away, Logan clearly recognized several emotions as they flitted across her features: undeniable desire, shock, longing, and concern... mingled with questions he didn't have answers for. In return, he allowed whatever she saw in his eyes to be her answer because at the moment he couldn't articulate what he was feeling: he felt the sharp edges of lust, disconnection, guilt and desperation, spiked with fear and mixed with other emotions he couldn't begin to identify.

Cindy nodded to him, then broke the silence and addressed Max. Her voice was cracking, tentative. "Boo, you have to stop." Her hands caressed, then feverishly pushed Max away enough to pull her up so they were face to face. "Max! Not now, we're not safe. You're not safe." The sirens blared closer; Cindy cupped her face to emphasize the point, forcing her to listen. "Hear that? It's a safe bet that Manticore isn't far behind. We have to get you and Alec out of here before they take you away—Understand?"

Panting, lips swollen, Max just stood there staring at Cindy's lips. Hesitantly she nodded. "Not safe?"

Cindy smiled as she saw a small glimpse of her baby girl. "That's right, Boo. We need to get out of here, right now."

Without another word, Max clasped Cindy's hand within her own, and stepped back. Once Max moved Logan was able to see exactly how exposed Cindy was. Her top was twisted pulled down around her waist that exposed her breasts. Logan flushed, as his eyes automatically zeroed in on the wet saliva left from Max's mouth glistening over Cindy's hard nipples before they were hidden as Cindy one-handedly pulled up her top covering the hard nubs. Without relinquishing her hold on Cindy, Max's other hand simultaneously dug into her pants pocket to pulling out her keys. Then tugging on Cindy's hand as she started trotting toward where her bike was parked.

Still disheveled, worriedly Cindy glanced back at Logan. Not slowing her pace, Max called over her shoulder, "Let's bounce."

Startled and annoyed, Logan just stared until he found himself being pulled by Alec who muttered, "Not safe."

Logan wasn't sure what had happened, why Max suddenly understood, but it didn't really matter as long as they were finally leaving.

As they neared the end of the alley, it was near pandemonium. People were running in every direction, screaming to get away. Others, once they got outside, stopped to watch as smoke bellowed out the door, flames licking through a window. Losing a step, Logan was taken aback that Sketchy's distraction was a real fire and not a false alarm as he had originally assumed.

Alec gripped Logan's hand tighter, steadying him, and wrapped a protective arm around him before ushering him forward. He was alert, walking taller, apprehensive of those around them and shielding Logan as he pushed people out of their way. With little to no concern of those around them, Max and Alec made a path toward their bikes. The sirens sounded like they were nearly on top of them. Stepping up their pace, they moved quickly through the crowd. Still dressed in only Logan's jacket and boxers, Alec gripped Logan's hand as he followed Max; surprisingly no one seemed to take notice of either Cindy or Alec's disheveled semi-naked appearances as they weaved through the crowd.

Max didn't waste any time and got on, pulling Cindy up and behind her. Alec did the same, manhandling Logan until he was comfortably settled.

Max started her engine. Barely turning in her seat, she stated, "Logan's," then took off. Ignoring the chaos around them, Alec stayed focused. It was only then that Logan realized Alec's keys must have been left behind in his jacket or pants. Barely pausing Alec simply leaned down to hotwire his own bike before throttling the engine, then followed Max's example and took off.


Neither said a word as they arrived at the building. They had to be only minutes behind Max, but she and Cindy were already gone. Presumably they'd headed up to Logan's apartment. Parking the bike next to Max's, Alec gracefully got off in one smooth motion and stood close to where he stayed seated. Eliminating the space between them until Alec was swallowing Logan's heated breath.

Initially shell-shocked, Logan froze until an attack of nerves hit. Overreacting, Logan flinched and jerkily pulled back as far as he could in his seat, almost falling in the process. At the last minute, with Alec's grip as his anchor, Logan corrected himself: embarrassed, he mumbled his thanks.

Unfazed, Alec tilted his head, clearly amused. Intense green eyes glittered mischievously as he grinned. Lazily, his tongue peeked out, running over his bottom lip. Logan stared; Alec's lips pursed into an obscene pout before his front teeth raked and bit across his bottom lip, gnawing and sucking on the tender flesh—suddenly pausing almost in consideration.

The moment stretched as Logan's chest rose and fell in anticipation, overly conscious. Alec inched forward, his breath ghosting over Logan's lips. Logan would have liked to say his passiveness was unconscious, but that would have been a lie. Instead he was acutely cognizant of Alec's every movement and of his own reaction.

His awareness zeroed in on Alec's lips; unable to resist, his own tongue peeked out, mirroring Alec's earlier action. His vision blurred as Alec crossed the almost nonexistent distance between them. It didn't take any further coaxing on his part; as Alec's tongue followed the slick path he had created. Logan shuddered, exhaling the breath he didn't realize he was holding and eagerly opened his mouth.

Alec didn't hesitate but immediately dove in, foregoing any teasing as his tongue diligently caressed Logan's. At some point the dynamics changed from sensual to possessive—when, Logan couldn't say, he only knew when Alec twined and anchored one hand in his hair to maneuver, steady, and hold him in place while silently demanding that Logan comply as he proceeded to ravage Logan's mouth.

Dazed and breathless under the pleasurable assault, Logan didn't resist... only leaned forward into Alec, pressing himself closer, until their tongues dueled for the position of dominance. Not that it was much of a fight as Alec effortlessly took control, biting and sucking on his lips before diving back in and forcing Logan to open wider.

Moaning in response, Logan willingly gave and submitted the lead to Alec.

Admittedly Logan wasn't shocked when he felt the scorch of Alec's fingers against his skin under his shirt, not after what had happened earlier. Now they were nose to nose in a heated lip lock. Logan shivered in heightened anticipation as Alec's fingers started that dance again as his deft fingers traveled branding a heated path along his skin. Fingernails mapped and scraped up and across his chest then down around his waist to the hem of his shirt. Effortlessly, Alec's thumbs hooked and pulled his shirt up and off.

Each touch was systematic yet erratic, designed to tease and sharpen Logan's arousal. Alec's skillful hands balanced between rough scrapes, twisting one and then the other nipple before alternating it all with soft, delicate brushes against each nipple until Logan whined. It didn't stop Alec. Instead he took each stiff nub between a thumb and forefinger to roll, tug and pull on each nub, leaving Logan a quivering mess.

He gasped when Alec stopped only to whimper in eagerness as Alec's fingers slowly descended. Fingernails dug in and scratched downward over his trembling stomach as he begged for more.

Chuckling Alec reached around, dipping his fingers under Logan's waistband teasingly.

Shaking, Logan panted. In his seat, he twisted and slid closer until his upper body was pressed fully flush against Alec. He couldn't say exactly when it happened, only that he had suddenly become conscious of his need to take action, and of the placement of his hands — resting at the small of Alec's back.

Pleased, Logan smiled as both hands slid inside Alec's boxers. Roughly he grabbed and cupped Alec's ass cheeks, bodily pulling him forward, his mouth claiming Alec's.

Alec didn't resist instead he moved as Logan directed, enjoying his demands.

The rational world didn't exist, each of them moving to devour the other. Tongues dueled, spit swallowed each holding, taking, giving in the magnetic pull of a dance older than time.

Logan had no thought of where they were, or why they were there—only of a pulsating drive that consumed him, a need to have Alec inside him now.

Abruptly, Alec pulled away. A throaty whine of need escaped before Logan could stop himself.

Alec shushed him, his hands suddenly there to calm and soothe as they busily petted and stroked him but maintained a space between them. His need and want spiraling, Logan pushed forward, desperate to feel skin against skin, to taste Alec.

Easily Alec held their distance. Though he stayed close enough that Alec continued to run his hands over Logan's body, but kept Logan from achieving full body contact.

Feverish in his need, Logan pulled back and sat further up to swing his leg over in order to stand. With both feet grounded, he moved to step into Alec's space.

Alec ground out a "No!" and took a step back.

Baffled that Alec was denying him, even more confusing was that his body was obeying Alec's command, and refusing to move. The oddity of feeling a disconnection between his mind and his body was strange if not downright scary... or would have been if his need had dissipated. Instead, the pulsating want was escalating; he needed to touch—to be touched.

Logan bit his lip, his teeth pulling harshly on his lip in frustration as he struggled to ignore the blatant desire of want. Where it ached in need one that hummed throughout his body. He licked his lips, savoring Alec's taste; he needed, wanted more.

Alec silently stood there watching him resist, fighting to regain some control. Logan flushed when he realized it wasn't control of his senses that he was fighting for, but control over his body's immediate wants, to follow Alec's order.

Alec must have appreciated the difficulty that he was having because he softly reissued his order, "Stay!" and lifted his hands directing Logan's attention to them. Alec repeatedly caressed down his own chest, not stopping until he had Logan's full focus. On a downward stroke his thumbs hooked under the band of his abused boxers and stretched them out as he pushed them down enough to let them fall, freeing Alec's swollen cock.

Logan stared, fixated, his body trembling with the urge to fall to his knees. He watched avidly as Alec's hand wrapped around the base of his cock. His fist twisted then slowly stroked up, only to pause just below the head. His thumb and forefinger squeezed and locked around the head, the small slit glistening with wetness. Alec squeezed a pinch tighter forcing a healthy drop to slip from the slit. Unable to do anything more than watch, Logan licked his lips.

Alec's thumb met with the drop then swept it over the head of his cock gathering more dewy moisture until his thumb was wet. Logan didn't even notice that Alec was staring at him until Alec moved his thumb up toward his own mouth.

Logan locked eyes with Alec and stared longingly. His tongue peeked out eager as if given permission to follow the movements of Alec's thumb—the wide sweep across his bottom lip until it disappeared into Alec's mouth where he leisurely sucked it clean.

In response Logan moaned. Though he stayed rooted to where Alec wanted him, Logan struggled to move and leaned in as far forward as he could to close the distance between them.

Sucking his thumb clean Alec popped it free: his voice was low, even and firm as he seriously stated, "No, not yet." Then softer, slightly less demanding, "only what I offer." To demonstrate, he planted his palm in the center of Logan's chest and pushed him back, reestablishing their distance. With his other hand, he gripped his own cock again only to swipe more come. Once he finished, the back of his fingers lingered and stroked Logan's neck before moving upwards where he held his thump up. It was still slick and wet with Alec's come.

Logan opened his mouth and eagerly ran the tip of his tongue along his bottom lip, impatiently waiting to have a taste of Alec's essence. He heard Alec chuckle but didn't care. His need demanded a hell of a lot more than what he was getting—he wanted everything now but his body refused to obey, overriding his own wishes with Alec's.

It didn't make sense, but he didn't care. At least Alec didn't tease him as his thumb slid over Logan's lip.

Logan needed no prompting as his tongue wrapped around the digit, his senses exploding with the taste of Alec. By the second swipe of his tongue Logan had sucked Alec's thumb clean of his come. Although the lingering taste of Alec continued to drive him. He moaned and sucked harder until Alec forcibly pulled away.

A pathetic whimper escaped Logan's throat as his body continued to pulse in desperate need.

Staying just within arms length, Alec immediately started to pet him in soothing strokes up and down Logan's chest. Platitudes of, Shh, its all right baby, I'll take care of you… barely registering.

The driving pulse hummed to life within Logan's body and he started to zone out, his complete awareness disabled – an effect similar to white noise - to a point where he was scarcely aware of anything other than his body's need and Alec's presence. Even Alec started to fray at the edges, everything other than his hands, the sense of Alec's hands still on his body, his caresses soothing to the touch.

The harsh echo of a car door slamming, the engine igniting to life, its' closeness resounding in the garage, barely registered with Logan. Until suddenly Alec stepped back, pushing and shoving Logan behind him. Simultaneously yanking on his arm and forcibly pulling Logan down to duck down behind a car that had been parked beside them. It wasn't until then that Logan started to understand and make the connection. Remembering how, and why, they were there in the first place. He cursed himself under his breath: how could he have forgotten Manticore? The danger they were in? Logan firmly gripped his head with both hands, shaking it and trying to force himself to focus, as if he could jar his brain enough to function properly. He didn't know how long he stayed like that, kneeling at Alec's side, gripping his hair ready to pull out every strand, desperate to think, coherently to make his head function.

He only stopped gripping as tightly when he felt Alec's hand cover his, then felt it slide down to his face and jaw, his fingers petting and caressing Logan's face. Silently coaxing him to stop. The hum of need within his body had not stopped but its volume had lowered significantly. Although now with Alec's touch it beat louder. His mind and senses closing down, going back to focusing on Alec only.

With his eyes tightly shut Logan weakly shook his head, a pathetic attempt to make Alec stop. Frantic to hang on to the fact that they were in danger, that Manticore could come at any moment. Alec was drugged, he needed him, and Logan had to there to help him.

Alec shushed him, his hand going under Logan's chin and forcing it up, encouraging Logan to look at him. Logan refused and kept his eyes shut, desperate in his need to not lose himself, that he had to protect Alec and in order to do that he had to think. He felt Alec's thumb sweep up in feather-light caress over his cheek. Could feel and taste Alec's breath as he spoke, "Don't." Then Alec's other hand anchored under Logan's armpit, and in one sweeping motion Alec stood, taking Logan with him. Logan swayed at the abrupt movement. Standing, their bodies touching as Alec held him steady, wrapping an arm around his waist and ushering him forward.

Within Alec's embrace that humming pulse of need washed over Logan's body like an electrical surge, a jerk making him weak in the knees as he slumped further. Alec barely noticed as he kept moving easily, compensating and taking the bulk Logan's weight. Once inside the elevator Logan tried to pull away, only his body didn't respond. Surprised he was no longer panicking, too comforted within Alec's arms. With curious wonder he tried again, demanding that he pull away from Alec. It went unheeded, the hum of his body continuing. The demand became an order to just take one step. Opening his eyes Logan glared down at his leg, watching, waiting, pleading that his foot would move—it did. It shuffled closer toward Alec.

Amazed Logan just stared, his feelings conflicted. Logan had sensation down to his toes, could feel his foot actually moving. For that he felt relieved however it didn't stop his growing feelings of disconnection. The desperation he felt at trying to tell his body to do the simplest thing only to be ignored. Logan remembered only too clearly after the accident how he would spend hours focusing on the smallest movement, to have a single muscle twitch a toe wiggle, to move but a half a centimeter and then not have his body obey. This was similar in reverse - his body was moving and Logan could feel its movement, but it was the complete opposite of what he was trying to achieve.

But it wasn't just his body Logan was upset about, it was his feelings. Feelings he didn't have - like actually being upset when he should be. What he felt was calm. The driving pulse to have Alec take him, fuck him hard was still there, had never waned but was now subdued, bubbling just under the surface, a steady simmer. The need and want to drop to his knees to taste, suck and swallow Alec's come down was stronger than ever, but this time Alec's touch wasn't driving him to distraction - instead it was channeling a different response. Being wrapped in Alec's embrace he felt calm, secure, and though it was strange to think, treasured. When in fact, after everything that happened - the drug in Alec and Max's system, of his physical reaction to Alec; his physical reaction to Max - he couldn't deny that she touched him, that he should have reacted to the virus and he hadn't. What that meant for him and Max: he should be in the hospital, or dead. The reality was he should be freaking out.

Abruptly Logan felt Alec's fingers curiously tracing over his hip, then Alec shifted as he squatted down. Looking down, Logan realized Alec was tracing over Max's scratches. Alec cocked his head up, his eyes boring into Logan. They glistened, emotions flashing between hurt and defiance before Alec turned toward his hip. Alec's tongue took the place of his finger, tracing the short scratches almost reverently. Mesmerized Logan couldn't stop watching. It was like Alec was almost worshipping him. He felt the slick velvet wetness of Alec's tongue slowly, patiently lap over first one scratch, then the other.

Logan shivered in pleasure and something else he couldn't define. He straightened and looked down questioningly at Alec. As if he heard Logan's silent question Alec returned Logan's stare. This time his eyes sparked with possession. He felt more than saw when Alec's finger brushed over the mark of his inner thigh. Even through his jeans it was a jolt, a burst of fire that spread throughout Logan's body, setting that humming pulse free. It broke through the surface leaving him breathless in need. Instantly Logan knew without a doubt he would have slithered to the floor attacking Alec, striping as he went. Shredding what he had left of clothes, spreading his legs, literally mounting Alec there on the elevator floor. It was only Alec's stare that held him in place with his impish grin, his fingers rubbing then molding, the span of his hand over the mark squeezing hard, painfully. The assault ricocheted through his body, sending him into convulsions that tempered as Alec's mouth covered Max's scratches. The intensity of pain heightened as Logan bodily slammed back, suddenly needing the wall for additional support.

Alec didn't stop but rather lapped and continued suckling on the skin, concentrating on those scratches. The broad brush of his tongue pushed over the ragged length of the scratch but it wasn't pleasure, but pain. Marking, branding him, and that brought its own pleasure, as Logan's cock filled and lengthened at the thought.

With the abrupt jolt of teeth, Logan hissed. The harsh rake of teeth scraped over first one scratch then the other in quick succession. Logan's hand reached out to stop Alec, to push him away, but once his fingers touched Alec's head, the current spreading through his body changed. Alec never wavered and continued to suck and chew on his hip, effectively drawing out the pain. Though like a tidal wave rushing behind the pain was pleasure, exquisite pleasure, wave after wave crashing down on him. Blindly Logan's hand threaded through Alec's hair stroking, caressing, and encouraging Alec to continue.

The elevator seemed to disappear into the background, sounds, sight, and all of Logan's thoughts focused and zeroed in on the pulsing pleasure-pain Alec was creating. Willingly he submitted to Alec, spreading his legs wider: wanting, needing more—anything and everything Alec was willing to give.

Logan's spirit soared hearing the soft mewing cry that was coming from Alec. A warmth of serenity rolled through flooding Logan's system, encouraged by the sounds Alec was creating. The pain, even the pleasure no longer mattered, suddenly realizing that as long as he had Alec's approval, was with Alec… Logan no longer cared about anything else. In his mind, Logan heard a reassuring, resounding 'Yes!' Overly pleased, Logan clenched his fingers in Alec's hair as the world started closing in, fading around him.


The sound of the elevator bell dinged and the doors started to open on Logan's floor. Reluctantly and with haste Alec licked a broad stroke across the now nearly invisible lines Max had initially created. Pulling back Alec viewed his handiwork. Pleased to see the very clear indented teeth marks decorating Logan's hip—Alec's mark encircling what had been Max's nail marks. Scratches that should have endangered Logan, should have killed him.

Anger and possessive need drove Alec. He couldn't say why beyond a basic instinctive need that was driving him, but his feelings were clear- Logan was his. Something he'd make sure of by finishing what he had started: taking Logan and fucking him hard - finishing staking his claim that Logan as his. Something he could do right now and Alec was more than ready. Already naked, his cock hard, weaving freely, but they weren't safe, not yet.

The doors were closing. With a last lick leaving a trail of heavy saliva over his mark, Alec stood up from his crouch.

Reaching out, Alec hit the doors open button as he manhandled Logan off the elevator. Alec automatically reached into Logan's jacket pocket which he was still wearing and pulled out Logan's keys. The keys jingled as Alec inserted them and turned the doorknob. Opening the door he heard a whimper just as his senses were assaulted.

There was no mistaking the scent, Max was deep in the throes of heat: oddly he felt no pull or attraction, no impulse to take Max, to sink his throbbing cock into her moist heat.

Instead Alec ushered Logan inside, his body protectively pulling and holding Logan just behind him, his hand encircling Logan's wrist, holding it to his side. Once inside, with his other hand Alec swung the door closed, ready to fight.

He quickly scanned the room. Using all of his enhanced senses, Alec reached out to the rest of the apartment to garner if they were safe. It only took him a few moments to realize they were alone, safe and secure.

Bitterly Alec tried to ignore the absence of recognition that they were even there, or that Max didn't show any feral protection toward Cindy, reflecting the level of danger. Max's lack of response more than annoyed him. Maybe Max knew it was them, had already checked and secured the place before they arrived. Although right now from where he stood, he felt nothing but resentment. Understanding his feelings, his anger probably had more to do with her scent and scratches he found on Logan more than anything else. That she had endangered his mate.

The sentiment and word mate suddenly vibrated sending ripples throughout Alec's mind… Logan wasn't his mate.

That had to change, now!

Shaking his head, Alec tried to focus and ignore Max's scent. It didn't entice him sexually, to draw him to her, but it did tempt Alec's anger to throttle her for the nail marks she created. Instead Alec turned his focus on Logan. His thumb slid over Logan's skin.

The smell of sex was like a heavy shroud around them. Alec wanted more, wanted his and Logan's scent to drown out Max's. A desperate desire to cover Logan with his scent, spill his come in Logan, to fill Logan to the brim. Alec shifted in place, his hormones raging, demanding that he take, make Logan his.

Closing his eyes, Alec turned. Instinctively shuffling closer, closing the last gap between them as Alec started to nuzzle Logan's neck. Breathing in Logan's scent, his want until Alec heard Logan's throaty gasp. Leaning back, Alec opened his eyes, staring into Logan's eyes.

Normally Alec would have wanted to linger, to take his time, but he had passed that point. Animal instinct was at the fore driving him, demanding, but that wasn't the only voice he heard—Alec could hear Logan's body calling out to him. An internal a rhythmic beat that accelerated and encircled their need beckoning a promise of ecstasy. Behind it's pulsing source in his head Alec could hear Logan's unspoken cries, begging for Alec to finish and take him.

Dropping his hands, Alec shifted in order for his jacket to fall, crumpling at his feet. His hands reached out, caressing Logan's torso, sliding down toward his jeans. Blindly Alec finished unzipping, pushing the material down. Logan's legs shook in a jig, his bare feet stepped on the pants tugging on them as he pulled his legs out. Free of the material Logan almost bounced in giddy excitement. Propelling himself forward, open-mouthed, Alec kissed and thoroughly attacked Logan's mouth. His body pressed into Logan's. Their naked lengths pressed against each together, pushing, rolling, and banging against the wall.

Their need already tipped toward an abyss of pleasure.

Unable to slow down, Alec broke free and spun Logan around until Logan faced the wall. Logan braced his hands, arching his body back, eagerly opening his legs ready to be mounted.

Alec needed no further prompting. Quickly he sucked on his fingers, coating them generously with saliva. Enough where drool slithered down his hand, a string of spit lengthened and snapped as he moved his fingers down. Quickly Alec's thumb parted and pushed Logan's cheeks apart. The wet digits of his hands brushed and coated Logan's hole. Then his thumbnail pushed through, wiggling and pulling on the muscle ring. Removing his thumbnail Alec's easily slid two fingers in, driving hard. Slipping out, Alec grabbed his cock, rubbing the slick head over Logan's entrance once, twice, then slowly pushed. Alec didn't falter or slow down but continued moving until he was fully inserted within Logan's tight ass. Alec shook from tremors within his own body: fighting the impulsive need to take and drive his cock in and out over and over.

At Logan's practiced ease, Alec suspected Logan wasn't virginal even if the unyielding tightness would have made Alec a believer: Alec's hand moved around, his hand stayed covering and holding the wall of Logan's stomach. Where Logan's erect cock, ridged and hard, waved bouncing against the back of his hand. Alec wanted to take it in hand, to grip and pump Logan's cock, to milk him of come, spreading the essence over Logan's stomach. Instead he held his hand there: instinctively Alec leaned in, biting the back of Logan's neck. Each bite and nip was played off the other and in-between larger bites as his teeth sank in, then suckled on the skin. Logan's body twitched in excitement, his anal muscles squeezing tighter on Alec's cock as he started to piston in and out of Logan's ass. There was no tempo, no rhythm only primal instinct to take.

Driving hard, a minute later Alec was shaking as he ejaculated. His teeth bit down harder-imprinting his mark, his mind screaming out to Logan Now! Without hesitation as if he heard Alec, Logan's own body started to quake within Alec's hold. The first burst of come landed high on Logan's chest. Alec's hand moved, grasping Logan's cock pumping encouraging more spurts of come, directing it over Logan's chest and stomach—then did as he thought of only moments ago, spreading Logan's come over his chest and stomach, rubbing it into his skin.

As Logan's body calmed to smaller tremors, Alec leisurely licked at the dribbles of blood from the bite he had created. Still hard he was ready to go again, his hips slowly starting to move, sliding out only to drive back in. Angling each thrust deep then pulling out fast, only to pause and reenter slowly enjoying the rumbling mews that were coming from Logan.

Logan's moans, his panting for breath. Alec noticed even with his cock spent and only semi-hard, it did nothing to stop Logan's enthusiasm, his need to be taken again as Logan pushed back encouraging Alec's thrusts. Their tempo building, enthusiastically meeting each other, thrust for thrust, deeper with each plunge.

Without question Alec knew everything was different, that his instinct to take Logan, to mark went beyond anything transgenic for an X5. That and his gut told him they were just getting started.

There was something else almost tangible that was skirting close to the edges of his mind. The mutterings of whispered thoughts, moans, directives that were rapidly becoming louder more clear—not his own, but Logan's voice begging for more. At Logan's expletive, Alec started to piston into Logan's pliant body, to take and claim him. The connection sparked between them, building, pushing against invisible boundaries. Where Logan's thoughts started to bleed through to Alec, threading a connection strong enough that Alec started to hear Logan's whispered urgings for more.

Repetitive pleas followed and kept pace with Alec's movements. Irregular, rapid movements as Alec's hips snapped. Tilting his angle Alec dug deeper, Logan responded, his muscular walls clutched tighter, squeezing in a vice grip to hold Alec in place. Alec's teeth tore into Logan's neck, teeth hard— gnawing the skin on the tight muscle. Suckling only to let go then bite down again pulling the skin, marking Logan. On impulse mentally reaching through their connection, blindingly constructing something Alec knew he needed- had to make stronger.

Pushing through, stretching until he connected feeling Logan. Spontaneously Alec came, filling Logan again. The edges of his mind lightened, and he could hear Logan more clearly. Pleased Alec shook, riding the climax, pride swelling within him as he filled Logan. His hands wandered and took hold of Logan's engorged cock, caressing, his thumb swiping across the head …

Suddenly Alec heard or felt something. A pinging sense of danger filtered into his consciousness. Halting his movements, Alec forcibly held Logan still. Beyond Max and Cindy's coupling Alec couldn't hear anything, but his feelings of dread heightened.

Anxiously Alec glanced at the door, swallowing though his throat was dry he uttered Max's name. There was no response, sighing with frustration and regret, Alec slowly pulled out of Logan, painfully aware their connection wasn't complete. Unbalanced and disoriented, only the urgency of a perceived threat coloring his behavior, Alec manhandled and partially carried Logan across the room, shuffling them closer to Max. He extended his foot, kicking out at Max not to hurt her, but to get her attention.

Internal pings of danger increased, pushing him to hurry, telling him that he needed to protect Logan, to get away whilst another part of him, the soldier told him it was already too late.

Alec just called out Max's name, the feeling of danger heightened. Max looked up growling, at the same time men came through the window and door simultaneously. Alec pushed Logan to the floor behind him, his mind screaming orders: Stay down! Hide-take OC and hide!

Alec didn't look behind him to see if Logan did as he ordered, if he understood - Alec already knew he did. Beside him Max was on her feet. Back to back, they faced their enemies.

Between the two of them they brought down the first rush of men. It was the second charge; they were more forceful, less distracted by their nakedness. And it didn't help that White walked in barking orders.

Alec stumbled when he felt a sting, then another. He looked down and saw two, three tranquilizers had been shot in his thigh. Alec jumped toward the shooter, bringing him down. The man got up, Alec spun, his left leg kicking up and out, knocking the weapon out of the guy's hands. As Alec turned back, his elbow came up and jabbed the point of his elbow into his opponent's windpipe. Another half step toward him and Alec's palm ascended crushing his nose. The man fell at his feet.

Alec wavered, still swinging as he turned toward a new opponent. There were only a few now- they could do it. Steadying himself, Alec grinned, bouncing on his toes, loosening his hands before he raised them clenched. Then he signaled the man in front of him to go ahead and give it his best shot. Alec blocked the first two hits but his opponent landed a lucky punch. Shaking it off, Alec danced back: he had to focus to save and protect Logan. A piercing cry beckoned Alec. Shocked he turned, in his gut already knowing that they had Logan. His mind screamed when he saw Logan and Cindy struggling and fighting fruitlessly against them. The ferocity of his anger hit just as another dart hit him square in the chest.

Jerking, Alec stumbled back and started to fail- fear and adrenaline pumping the drug faster into his system. Defeated, unable to stop himself from collapsing, he couldn't even brace himself when he hit the ground hard. Through hooded lids Alec watched helplessly as Logan was knocked unconscious.

Next he watched Max fall. White's foot nudging her, making sure she was out. Alec bit the inside of his check as White cocked his head and squatted down. A finger trailed over Max's chest, inching toward her breast. White's voice was smug, loud enough that Alec heard, "How the mighty have fallen."

Internally Alec screamed for his body to move half a centimeter- nothing. He was dead weight-paralyzed. It was a struggle to stay conscious, but he had to, he couldn't leave Logan. Alec heard more than saw White stand. The order, "Take her.." then as an afterthought, "him too." Before he felt hands on his body, picking him up.

Jostled and dazed, Alec heard someone ask, "What about them?" Alec held his breath knowing he had to be talking about Logan and Cindy.

White's tone was uncaring, flat. "Get rid of them."

Alec felt the beads of sweat formed. He was already on the crest on panic, his fear irrationally screaming out to Logan. Only silence was returned. However, whatever bond they had, Alec knew without a doubt that Logan was only unconscious, was alive. He could feel a tentative pulse of Logan's heart beating expelling slow shallow breaths. For how long Alec didn't know… the bond was there but it wasn't strong enough. He had failed, had needed more time to thread and strengthen their bond.

Alec was suddenly slung over someone's shoulder and carried out of the apartment, behind Max. Distantly he heard a gunshot: it wasn't directed at Logan. Swallowing, he tried not to think of OC heard the ding of the elevator and waited. Knowing that when it did happen he'd feel it, their bond being irrevocably severed. Mentally Alec reached out, trying in vain to weave his way back to Logan, to touch him one last time. Physically squeezing his already closed eyes tighter, giving it everything he had waiting for the inevitable.

Another shot… pain spread through Alec's body.

Sounds of a scuffle commenced. Abruptly the person holding him like a sack was turned then shoved, Alec's head hitting a hard surface. The scramble of bodies, yelling – again it was chaos. Another fight broke out, a roar, sounds of a body being thrown. Alec's heart beat did double time, Joshua and fought to open his eyes, but pain that wasn't his sliced through his body as sharply as it did his mind. Their bond was there, weak, fading, the pain was Logan's. Alec wanted to weep, to kill, to open his eyes, but fading blackness was winning.

He heard White's anger, his panicked voice, "Get them out of here." The guy holding him started running. Could tell there was someone ahead of them running taking the stairs. The further away from Logan they got, the fainter the thread of their connection.

Doors were pushed open, the scent of fresh air.

Someone yelled out. "Stop!"

They didn't, but Alec suspected the people abducting them needed a distraction, and split going in different directions. The guy hauling him over his shoulder and a couple of his goons went one route while the guy holding Max went another. It was confirmed and more obvious when he heard a familiar voice give an order, one he thought was dead, Lydecker. "Leave him, get Max, we can't let them have her."

That had to be a mistake. Lydecker was dead. Not that Alec disagreed with the priority, not now with Logan's life slipping away. However Alec couldn't shake the sudden hurt feelings that Lydecker choose to save Max. Feeling hurt was irrational: Max was one his kids and she had those tattoos that made her White's main target. It didn't alter the unexpected emotions of Lydecker's rejection, of feeling unwanted. Maybe it was the drug that was, or Logan dying—Alec couldn't say, but the unexpected feelings on top of the isolated disconnect he felt from Logan, felt like he was drowning.

The abrupt sound of tires squeals and the slamming of brakes as a vehicle pulled up. A woman shouted above the chaos, "In here, quickly."

Alec felt his body being dropped, as the man carrying him suddenly dumped his body into the back of a van. "Go after her!" The woman ordered. Alec knew she was talking about Max— heard the fighting, Lydecker or whoever it was that was trying to save them. Then Alec corrected himself, save Max. White's people already had him and he didn't care, not after they shot Logan and left him to die. His connection to Logan was non-existent; he no longer felt Logan's pain. Didn't know if Logan was dead and just slipped away, or if he had died instantly —if it was only Alec's fevered imagination that was hanging on to hope. Hope he no longer had for himself - not without Logan. Nothing mattered now. Whatever hope he did have, was for Max, that whoever it was that was fighting for them would save Max.

The woman barked an order, "Go! Go; get us the hell out of here, now!" Whoever was driving didn't hesitate and hit the gas. Wheels spinning, as the gas hit and the vehicle accelerated as they tore down the road without Max. Alec tried, wanted to smile that they didn't get Max, but he couldn't move. Then he thought about it, it was a small victory since they had him, killed OC and left Logan to bleed out. As soon as he thought of Logan, Alec tried to reach out only to find silence the connection broken.

Fingers pinched his jaw, forcibly turning his head. Alec felt her heated breath, smelled the heavy scent of her breath as she angrily spoke. "You can wipe off that grin, 494. Yes, I know who you are. Let me assure you White will capture her. However if your friends interfered let's just say I'm not concern with any collateral damage. And for your sake you better hope 452 choose you to mate with. That'll be the only reason you're going to stay alive - as bait. Otherwise… well I might use you for recycled parts, or not!"

It didn't feel like he was smiling, that he had moved a fraction, but nevertheless he was pleased that he had pissed her off. Ignoring her demand he tried to widen his grin. He must have accomplished the task as her nails painfully dug into his jaw, before shoving him away—he didn't care.

The further away they drove Alec became acutely aware that his connection to Logan was gone as if it had never existed. He was alone now and that was more painful than anything Manticore had ever done to him. Collapsing under the pain Alec easily fell into an emotional void that allowed him the blissfulness of unconsciousness.


"Logan, Logan…" Logan recognized the panic-filled voice but couldn't place the name or face. "Come on, open your eyes. Come on. Come on, you can do it."

Logan didn't want to, the pain was too great, but their plea was so desperate. Slowly despite the pain coursing through his body, Logan opened his eyes to mere slits, just enough to see Asha bent over him.

"Thank God! You're going to be ok…. We just need to stop the bleeding…" To make her point her hand pressed harder into his side. He couldn't suppress the moan of pain the pressure induced.

"I'm sorry. We're gonna get you help. You and Cindy." At Cindy's name, Logan tried to move, ignoring the pain that flared as he tried to shift around. "No, don't move! She's okay, or will be. Joshua!" she yelled.

Confused, Logan struggled through the pain, but in spite of his efforts he barely moved enough to see around Asha. "He's awake," Asha continued, her voice lower. Although he couldn't see him, Logan realized Joshua had to be standing close. "We've got to get them to the hospital."

"No hospitals," someone interrupted. Logan knew that voice… Lydecker. But Lydecker was dead. There was no way he survived that car crash a year ago, even if his body had been missing when they pulled the car out.

Logan would have gasped if he had the breath to do so when Lydecker moved into his field of vision - the man he knew was gone. Chronologically, Lydecker wasn't that old - he'd only been in his late forties or early fifties and he been militarily fit but the man staring down at him was old and using a cane. His hair was stark white and his face scarred nearly beyond recognition. Only his gravelly voice was recognizable. "We can't afford to draw any more attention," Lydecker continued. "We'll have to get them back inside Terminal City. Bring a Doctor to them."

Logan blinked, fighting against the immobilizing pain. Suddenly Logan felt an undercurrent to his pain, and it had nothing to do with the gunshot wound he was profusely bleeding from, and more to do with Alec - pain increasing at the thought of Alec.

Asha interjected, "Are you crazy? We can't move them."

"Secure the front – we're leaving in sixty-seconds." Logan glanced up, his eyes widening as he saw the figure coming up behind Lydecker. It was Zack and he was carrying Max in his arms. "Get me some clothes for all three," Zack continued to snap out orders, "and something to dress his wound."

Seeing Max caused a dreaded ache - he needed Alec now. In desperation, he lifted himself up to see behind Zack. Ignoring the dizziness that swept through his body he tried to lift even further - to see if he was making a wrong assumption, that Alec was there, would walk through the door. Logan's heart pounded, scrambling for that connection he had with Alec- it wasn't there. Swallowing against his building fear, Logan didn't care as long as Alec was safe. His hope deflated when he saw that no one was behind Zack. Zack walked directly over to the couch. Laying Max's unconscious body down gently.

Exhausted, Logan dropped back to the floor, holding his breath as Zack's eyes turned toward him. He waited to see if Zack would remember and attack him to finish the job he had started the last time they met. Zack's eyes shifted over to Asha, and didn't sugar coat it as he told her. "No choice. Go and bring back a friendly - Carr, or Shankar. Bring them to the safe house north of Terminal City." After a moment, he added curtly, "I'll do what I can to keep him alive. You want him to live, go now!"

Logan waited, fully expecting to hear an earful from Asha. As he had discovered long ago, Asha wasn't the type to just stand there and be intimidated or just take orders. Logan was surprised when Asha just glared then shook it off as she turned her attention back to him. Her lips thinned stretching into a line that somehow was meant to be a facsimile of a smile. It didn't matter - Logan could see the stress line her throat as she picked up his hand and spoke, "Here, need you to hold this down." Her hand pressed down over his, pain searing through his at the touch but he maintained the pressure Asha wanted. "Good - just hold that down until he dresses you. I'll be back as quickly as I can," then tried to add weight to the resolution by demanding, "you just hang on!" She squeezed his free hand and stood. Before she turned away, Logan understood her fear the urgency as he saw the front of her shirt covered in blood - his blood. For the first time Logan suspecting the real seriousness of his condition.

Zack pointed toward someone and said, "You - go with her."

Logan heard the muffled sounds of them leaving, then someone else coming back into the room. "Sir?"

Dazed, Logan just lay there while everyone else around him moved about. It was surreal, like watching a silent movie, only eerie and in color. After Zack finished dressing Max he glanced down at Logan. He noted that Zack looked the same - with the partial metal plate, his red-eye flashing.

Zack squatted down, his face stoic, his voice flat matching his demeanor as he spoke.

"I remember everything - before and after." Pushing Logan's hand away he examined the wound. He ripped material effortlessly, quickly dressing the wound. Once Zack had finished, he dressed Logan by putting on a pair of sweats over his naked body. Abruptly Zack stood, turning and saying "Let's go. Joshua take Logan. He needs to be carried with as little movement as possible. "

Zack walked back to the couch, picking up Max. Suddenly his view was blocked by Joshua's large frame. "We go now." Joshua bent down and gingerly picked him up. As careful as Joshua was, the jostling movements left him sweating profusely, pain shooting through his whole body. Opening his eyes which he hadn't realized he had closed, Logan looked up into Joshua's face. He watched his nose twitch then heard Joshua's whispered, "Alec …"

It wasn't exactly a question or a statement, and Logan wasn't sure what Joshua wanted for an answer. In the end he just nodded, said, "Alec," and allowed Joshua to collect whatever data he could with his specialized canine DNA. Logan watched as Joshua's inhaled deeper before he nodded as if he'd gotten all the answers he needed. Then he turned swiftly to follow the others. Logan lasted only minutes before he passed out, still cradled gently within Joshua's arms.



Alec woke slowly. Feeling dizzy, confused and lost, he tried to swallow against his parched throat.

Down the corridor outside his door, Alec heard the sharp click of heels coming closer. They hammered hard against the tile, growing louder as the distance decreased. Cold dread filled his stomach when the steps slowed as they neared his room, coming to a full stop right outside his door.

His adrenaline spiked as his fear increased. It had to be Renfro. He strained against the straps holding him down, desperate to turn his head toward the door. Kept helplessly immobile, only his eyes were able to move in that direction. The knob turned and the door was unceremoniously pushed open.

His peripheral vision caught only the shadowed silhouette through the curtain but it was enough. Renfro, as predicted.

She paused for a moment in the entryway, letting the anticipation build - before she moved forward and drew the curtain aside.

It was Renfro… but then it wasn't. The image shifted and merged into someone else - it was the woman from the van. Alec could feel her heated glare as it traveled down his stretched out body. He was forcibly held, strapped down in restraints with a bit shoved into his mouth like an animal. All he could do was stare up at her imploringly.

The image shifted again and it was Renfro who stood staring down at him, blatantly ignoring his pleading look. Her gaze wandered over his naked body - fear increased his adrenaline. A young man was standing quietly behind Renfro. His handler, his jumbled brain supplied. He didn't remember the man walking in. Confused Alec tried to shake his head. Renfro and the handler were gone and standing in Renfro's place was the redhead from the van.

"494, or do you prefer Alec?" The question sounded oddly sincere even though she knew he couldn't answer. She nodded and smiled, like he had responded. Her voice was bright and cheerful, as if they were going to be close friends. "It's a pleasure, Alec." Her hand pressed against her chest, offering a sincere apology. "You'll have to forgive my faux pas earlier; I thought you were the wrong X5, just a bothersome gnat." Her eyes narrowed and then glimmered with sheer joy at whatever she saw within his eyes. "Although," shrugging "admittedly you could be useful as bait," she paused then added, "or parts. It's why I kept you alive." She sighed dramatically, "We knew about you. You were just a means to an end in order to achieve 452, who, as you might have guessed, was our original target." Abruptly she leaned over him and tenderly caressed the side of his face with the back of her hand. Sheer terror surged through his body and Alec's jaw clamped down painfully on the bit. "Imagine my surprise to discover I had who I wanted - that it was you, Alec."

Suddenly unexpected pain coursed through him, cutting through his fear until Alec's body arched spasming at the waves of pain; straining against his restraints. "Shh, it's alright… Just ride it through." She continued to coo gentle sentiments, her hands petting his body as he continued to convulse. "You're doing good, shush. So good! The sequence has progressed further than I would have thought. The fragrance you're emitting…" She inhaled deeply and practically purred, "it's intoxicating."

The look in his eyes must have shown his true fear. "No, no, no. Shush," She said soothingly. "Don't worry. You're just experiencing…" she paused to search for the right words then smiled when she did, her voice lifting in excitement, "growing pains." Pulling up a stool she sat down at his side, her eyes glinting in pleasure as they swept over his body. "Your body is changing, becoming what it was meant to be. You're already in the final stages.

"It's so exciting. I wouldn't have predicted… Not when the initial changes were forced into hibernation. Those changes to your DNA were made so long ago." Absently the tip of her fingernail trailed down his body. "It wasn't her fault, you know. Elizabeth was ordered to abandon project X – you." Suddenly over-sensitive to the wrongness of her, Alec's stomach muscles quivered in an attempt to escape her touch. "Elizabeth followed her orders and found 452, found your Max." The straps were starting to cut into his skin, but he couldn't stop pulling against them, couldn't stop the desperate hope that something might give.

"Of course, it cost her her own life." The redhead pulled away, sadness and loss unmistakable in her face and voice. She had loved this Elizabeth. Alec anxiously tried to think, to search his memory for any Elizabeth. He couldn't think of a single one until it suddenly hit him - Renfro, Dr. Elizabeth Renfro.

He must have made some kind of sound because the redhead looked down to meet his accusatory glance. She smiled when she understood that he realized whom she had been referring to. "Yes, Dr. Renfro, my Elizabeth." Her hands cupped Alec's face, the gleam in her eyes sparkling with adoration for a coveted prize. "And you, Alec, were one of her greatest projects." He wanted to glare, clamp his fingers around her neck and squeeze, to watch the life - that light in her eyes, slowly go out. She must have read the expression on his face because she leaned in close enough that he could smell a sour rank on her breath. "And you're mine."

The bit was pushed too deep, forcibly held in place so that Alec's screams went unheeded, his words internal fighting to get out, "No! You fucking crazy Manticore bitch"

He had no voice but she understood. Consumed with hate, Alec watched her pull back and sit up. He saw her arm lift to do something behind his head before she gave an order to someone who had been there in the room with them. "Add 10 cc's more, every half hour. I want to accelerate his changes. Call me as soon as you detect any physical evidence." Whatever the 10 cc were, Alec felt the difference immediately as the pain increased and ricocheted throughout his body. All of his senses were suddenly overloaded and one by one started to shut down, leaving him feeling muted and helpless in a cocoon of white noise. He felt himself falling, slipping into a memory that he had been programmed to forget.

Slipping into a memory, Alec opened his eyes and found himself staring up at Renfro. "Hmm, and this is…" Behind her, Alec could hear his handler fidget nervously with his clipboard. Not that he was surprised; the man was human, young, and obviously lacking in experience dealing with someone like Renfro.

His handler shuffled closer, nervously clearing his throat before finally answering, "X5 494, Ma'am." Alec watched as the clipboard that held his medical records was meekly passed over his body into Renfro's hands.

She took it but didn't even bother looking at it before asking, "493's twin, or clone?"

Startled by her cold mechanical response, his handler apprehensively stammered back, "Yes Ma'am."

Renfro moved idly toward the end of his bed, glancing back and forth between his medical pages and the machines to his left. His handler followed a half a step behind but faltered when she came to an abrupt stop; her voice sharp with annoyance, she demanded, "Which is it? Clone or twin?"

Alec's eyes followed as his handler ducked his head causing his hair to fall into his eyes. He silently nodded before nervously mumbling, "Twin." Somewhat surprised, Alec realized his handler was nothing more than a boy. His eyes shifted down his own body, belatedly realizing how young he was. This seeing Renfro, seeing his handler, it wasn't real. Somehow he knew that he wasn't supposed to remember this, but he was and it was playing out like some kind of virtual game.

As the memory played out Alec felt his body, his mind, his thoughts open –remembering, feeling experiencing the memory as it happened when he was designated X5-494.

Though his handler easily towered over Renfro by more than a foot, the boy was folded in on himself until he somehow looked smaller, his tall frame crouched and ready to run if given the chance.

Disregarding his obvious distress Renfro asked, "How many deposits today?"

494 would have rolled his eyes if he could, seeing the boy easily glance down over her shoulder at the pages she was flipping through before meekly repeating, "How many deposits today?" like he hadn't heard her the first time.

Not that 494 couldn't see why his handler was confused. Renfro excelled at intimidation. She never made it easy. The information was clearly marked on the previous page. One they both had just watched her scan through before she flipped onto the next page. Showing his nerves, the handler answered, "His third, Ma'am."

Renfro's lips lifted into a blatant leer. 494 flushed, clenching down on his bit. Thankfully, they were deliberately ignoring him, making it easy to watch their exchange. His eyes quickly scanned the room, one he knew he had been in dozens of times. He was naked, securely shackled to the exam table. Wires and probes… he glanced down at his cock, shocked to find himself forced erect with a cockring. Alec frantically searched his memories, but he couldn't remember anything about why this was happening.

Helpless, he could only to let the memory play out.

Obviously, she was here for some other reason than asking questions that could be answered by looking at his chart; otherwise she'd be dealing with Hamish, not Hamish's assistant – 494's glorified handler.

Huh, and what exactly is 494's potential daily deposit?"

"Five, Ma'am."

"Hmm, that's all? I would have thought the number would be higher for an X5?"

"Yes Ma'am."

"That was a question, I expect an answer—you are his handler, correct?"

"Yes Ma'am, I am… I just thought you'd prefer to confer with Dr. Hamish… I could go…"

"If I wanted to discuss this with Dr. Hamish, I would have," she interrupted him, impatience suddenly flaring. "Now if you are trying to tell me that you're not actually familiar with this case—I can rectify that…" The threat was clear in her voice.

"No, Ma'am, I mean yes… Yes, I am familiar with this case."

"Good. Now, please explain why it is deemed acceptable that 494's daily sperm deposit is lower than average compared to other X5s."

"In 494's case, it's been lowered to produce the optimum higher potency of sperm. Officially, 494 is still considered a risk. It was suggested that the number of 494's ejaculations for cloning and breeding be reduced, so as to not repeat 493's unexpected problems."

She raised an eyebrow when he paused, and he nervously added, "Initially 494 and the other clones were tagged for additional genetic testing, to study the flawed coding. Each counterpart of the original twelve were heavily monitored and thoroughly tested. Our tests show that 493's defects appear to be an isolated incident."

Renfro snickered, "Isolated incident?"

The handler flushed, "Yes Ma'am, according to the data that has been made available."

"So your conclusions are based on tests that do not include any data from 493?"

"Yes, Ma'am. As Dr. Hamish outlined in his report, it was discovered that reducing the amount of 494's ejaculations yields a higher potency sperm. Dr. Hamish is recommending that at the end of this study 494 be returned to his full status and be cleared for active duty. Until then, 494 presents a unique research opportunity. Doctor Hamish also proposes, at least for the time being, that 494 be suspended from the breeding program to remain here for a new study. If you'd like, I can go get a copy of Dr Hamish's proposal?"

At her snort, the handler lowered his head. This time even the heavy fringe of hair did nothing to hide his handler's blush as he belatedly realized what he had implied. It was ridiculous to think that Renfro wouldn't have read Dr. Hamish's proposal long before he ever had the chance to lay his eyes on it. 494 watched his handler's eyes widen with the dawning realization that she was testing him, though he was turned so that Renfro couldn't see. His handler's posture slowly straighten as he covertly tried to veil the naivety of his thoughts. 494 would have smirked if he could have.

"No, that won't be necessary," she replied condescendingly. "So explain to me what all this is designed to study."

Renfro was standing close to the handler, crowding him, and sweat was beading on his forehead. He swallowed nervously but continued, "494 consistently produces a higher-potency sperm than other males in the series. Pursuing an explanation for this anomaly, two critical differences have been documented. 494 is unique in that the twinning was natural and unintended rather than a deliberate part of the cloning process. Furthermore, he has had no direct human contact at any point in his development. Dr. Hamish feels that these two qualities isolate 494 from the other males in the series: he wants to continue to collect, study, store, and rate the potency of his sperm samples."

Renfro nodded, her eyes roaming over his naked body. She smirked and leaned down, addressing 494 as if he hadn't just heard the entire conversation. "Hmm, did you hear that, 494? Means you actually might be useful. Guess that makes you the 'good' twin."

She reached out slowly, her finger nearly touching 494's swollen erect cock before her hand was forcefully smacked away.

She turned and glared at the handler.

Again he flushed, but held his ground as he mumbled out, "Sorry Madame, but if you touch him you'll contaminate him and damage the procedure." He twisted around and grabbed a bottle. "You need to use this." He squeezed out some of the liquid into his hands before thrusting the bottle at her. "Squeeze out enough to generously coat your hands. Use it as you'd use hand lotion. It's silicone-based, and acts like gloves without any of the cumbersome weight or ill effects to your dexterity. It effectively protects the subject…" He put the bottle down before adding belatedly, "Completely harmless, averages between two and four hours of protection before it wears off."

Cautiously she followed his lead and coated her hands. This time when she leaned in she reached out and dug her nail into 494's hip, scraping at the skin before trailing over toward his cock. She let her finger linger there, barely touching with the tip of her nail. Both distracted and amused, she ignored his sharp gasp. "And this?" he felt her finger trail more firmly around the wide metal band wrapped around the base of 494's cock. "A cock ring?" The weight of her finger left the band as he watched her head incline. Her eyes following the same direction of the wires his handler had attached to a machine on the other side of the bed.

A moment later 494 locked eyes with hers with a combative heated glared, his teeth grinding into the bit. He hated her touching him, hated that he was her lab rat. She had called him the good twin and that might be the case, but he was here, strapped down and helpless, while his damaged bad twin was out there somewhere—free.

It was obvious before his handler avoided his gaze that he was too scared to acknowledge 494's distress in front of Renfro. Swallowing he continued on, "Of sorts. A small electrical pulse is emitted to help 494 achieve and maintain his erection in between ejaculations. It allows us to monitor him physically and collects statistics to compare with other X5s. It also calculates wait times between ejaculations in order to get the strongest possible deposits, and allows us time to prepare."

"Prepare?" She asked looking perplexed.

"Yes. We have to make adjustments and calculate variances for each deposit. Under the new program, each deposit will be frozen to activate at a later date. This will allow us ample time to conduct a controlled study of an X5 during optimum breeding years."

Renfro didn't take her eyes off of 494, but shook her head, clearly confused. "What's the purpose? You have ample X5s at your disposal, what makes 494 so special?"

494 wanted to know that too, and shifted his eyes to his handler.

Clearly intimidated, his body wilted under Renfro's scrutiny. "First off, as I mentioned before, 494 is not a clone but a true twin—one of the very few we have. The others, 453 included, were actually genetically created, cloned. Second, as you know, it was his twin, 493 that was among Colonel Lydecker's twelve—only four of their clones survived psy-ops, plus 494, of course. At this point, 494 isn't contaminated. He has been isolated since the original twelve escaped—meaning 494 is a perfectly clean specimen."

"Interesting. She pointed toward the cock ring, "So I take it that through this you'll indefinitely control his erections and the deposits? Even after he's returned to duty?"

494's eyes widened in fear and he closed his eyes, dreading the answer.

"Yes, once the project has been approved."

494 wanted to yell and lash out at them, wanted to make them see him, but there was nothing he could do. A piece of his soul splintered as his handler absentmindedly put a hand on his forehead to calm him as if he was no more than an animal.

Curious she asked, "How do you expect 494 to remain clean once he's returned to active duty?" Then scoffed in annoyance, as she continued talking. "He's still male, and, what, fifteen? If the world hasn't changed, even an average human male is nothing more than a walking erection at that age."

"True," the handler's head bobbed, pointing, "Though if you'd take a closer look..." With a firm, gentle touch the handler gripped 494's cock, pulling the skin further back. The pad of the man's finger trailed lightly over his skin, just under the metal band that circled the base of his cock, where 494 felt his finger trail down toward his sacs. The shiver of sensation was disquieting, and 494 instinctively jerked against his restraints. Once again, the handler ignored his response. "This, do you see?"

"Yes, and?"

"Once it is approved, these will no longer be needed…" his finger delicately brushed 494's inner thigh. "Instead, a flexible nero-pulse will be surgically implanted. The implant will control all of 494's sexual responses, and we'll control the implant indefinitely."

494 stiffened and jerked bodily against his restraints, his breathing overtly heavy as fear sliced through him. His handler absently reached out and started to purposely pet him down his flank, silently ordering him to calm down.

494 got the message loud and clear to shut the fuck up—it's not like there was anything he could do to change his treatment and it was foolish to let Renfro see his fear. But what they were so calmly proposing was…. His handler's large hand continued to stroke him, and he struggled to relax and stand down, struggled to do exactly what his handler wanted. Moments later his body had calmed under his handler's strong hand.

494 wanted to turn away when he saw Renfro's eyes glitter as she stared down, taking in his reaction. Her mouth quirked as their eyes connected. Nodding, she smiled at his immediate response to his handler's touch. "Interesting," she purred. And with that, 494 knew that the interrogation Renfro had given his handler had nothing to do with clarifying the physical aspects of the proposed project, but rather, everything to do with observing their interaction, and his response to his handler.

Renfro's chin suddenly tilted up, her eyes bearing down into his - he didn't look away when she asked, "But once 494 is cleared, all his other tests indicate he's a prime candidate for the breeding program. Though I agree test tubes are normally efficient and less messy, the successful birth rates of female X5s are sufficiently lower. As you know, due to their feline DNA, it's nearly impossible to impregnate a female unless she's in heat — yet you're suggesting they permanently shelve 494?"

His handler shook his head in denial. "Not permanently Ma'am. In a few months 494 will reach his sixteenth year when most X5s start tomcatting. Currently we have four groups slated to train male X5s to sexually interact with each other, before they enter into the breeding program, in order to heighten their prowess before they are introduced and matched with a female in heat. We only propose that 494 remain essentially virginal, isolated from those groups and the breeding program, for the next 3-4 years. We will happily return him to the breeding program afterwards."

She snorted, "Virginal?"

He nodded, "Of any unprotected contaminated DNA - skin contact."

"And the implant?"

The abrupt sound of beeping interrupted the discussion.

494 already knew what the alarm indicated. He had felt the rapid incline of build up since his handler's touch. Panic hit as he couldn't control his body; he didn't want to do this with Renfro watching. Frantically 494 struggled against his restraints under his escalating fear and anger.

Relieved, his handler smiled and shushed him, patting him reassuringly before moving to shut the alarm off.

494 watched helplessly as his handler moved toward another machine and keyboard to start typing. He pushed several buttons before returning to the exam table. Overtly pleased, his handler stated, "This is good. Nice timing, 494, now you can show Dr. Renfro just how special you are."

He glared at his handler and released a low growl from the back of his throat, but he knew nothing was going to stop this or get Renfro to leave. Quickly and with practiced efficiency the handler rolled what appeared to be thin latex over the head of 494's cock, but unlike a condom it only wrapped tightly over the head. "This sponge cap," the handler's thumb swiped over the tip, "is new. It's specially designed to absorb and hold all of 494's sperm. It was created to allow for easier testing and handling instead of having to deal with actual fluid." His fingers moved down 494's heavy cock and started to slowly stroke the swollen member. Sharp muffled moans escaped from the enforced bit jammed in 494's mouth, and once again he moved jerkily against his restraints, but this time he wasn't reprimanded - this time it was encouraged.

"These wires here?" the handler continued, one hand fisting 494's cock while the fingers of his other hand slid just under the wires, lifting them high enough that Renfro could see. "They read 494's internal data and send out emitted hyper pulses that further stimulate him a rhythm that's been enhanced based on previous data. The program continuously adjusts to keep 494 stimulated in order to procure an optimum ejaculated sample." The handler let the wires go and dropped his hand below Renfro's view to rub over 494's inner thigh. The handler's added pressure matched the increasing rhythm as he encouragingly stroked 494, building up to the crescendo. "A signal indicates when 494 has accomplished a full sample and is ready for final collection. At that point stimulation increases and then allows the ring to expand to ease extraction. It's all very precise."

Throughout the narration, his handler's hands continued to actively stroke and caress his inner thighs. He trembled, his body pulling desperately against the restraints, although this time it wasn't to get away. The stimulus drove his body and his need was too great: he wanted the touch, needed friction. It was obvious that Renfro found the situation entertaining. 494's muscles tensed, feeling more violated under the scrutiny of her piercing gaze than he ever had by his handler, and he finally caved and closed his eyes.

He didn't even realize that she'd moved until he felt her hot breath ghosting over his ear. Her voice was soft, encouraging, on the edge of excitement as she ordered, "Open your eyes, 494."

With reluctance he obeyed, his glare hostile and hiding nothing.

She chuckled, pursing her lips together in a faux pout, tsking at his threatening glare. Her eyes danced, clearly enjoying the show he was providing. He was too vulnerable, unable to hide his emotions, and while he didn't care about his furious anger, the humiliation colliding with the desperate need to come, shamed him.

Suddenly he felt the slick wetness of his handler's large hand over his cock, distracting him from Renfro and returning his attention to his more pressing need to come. Biting harder into the bit, he bucked. Already it was routine, almost a comfort, as he felt his handler's easy, steady pull. The restraints around his hips eased their hold, allowing him a small amount of movement so he could effectively fuck himself within his handler's hand. Long fingers gripped tighter around his cock, his reward as he lifted off the table, snapping his hips in rhythm. Only this time she was here, looking down at him, grinning manically. Sweat dripped from his brow; he was so close. His handler shifted, forcing Renfro to move down closer to 494's head and blocking her full view of his handler's hands.

She bent over him, watching, her hot breath whispering over his neck. Overwrought, the tendons of his neck were popping out as he purposely avoided her gaze. He felt her hand move and land on his skin. She dragged the pads of her fingers over his chest, pausing to flick at a bead of sweat and then swirl it around the heated wet mess that was pouring off his body. Almost absently, she raked her nails down his stomach and then back up to his chest. A sharp tip flicked roughly, scraping across his nipple. His head snapped in her direction, growling, but she only laughed as her nail bit into his skin again, increasing the pressure and digging deeper.

He couldn't see his handler, but every painful touch, scrape, and hard pinch by Renfro's hand was countered by his handler's steady open caresses. His touch ranged from gentle to sexually charged, his hands and fingers silently communicating to 494 that everything would be all right. 494 was surprised, not so much by his handler's gentleness, because they had done this numerous times already. No, he was surprised because with Renfro here he had thought it'd be like when Hamish was present—impersonal and detached.

Unlike Hamish who just stood to the side and watched. Renfro liked to touch and continued to abuse his nipples, pulling and twisting one nub and then the other. The pain did nothing to decrease 494's need. If anything it heightened his awareness, and he was thankful his handler didn't stay passive. Instead he was more demonstrative than usual his fingers inching toward 494's hole and brushed against his entrance. 494 wanted more but they couldn't, not with Renfro here.

His need increased and his handler's hand tightened in response. Grateful, his hips snapped up in double time. He was close, he just needed… He shook his head in denial and his teeth clamped down hard on the bit. He refused to beg, not now, not with her here. Suddenly he felt a shift, then caught a glimpse of his handler behind Renfro. The fringe of bangs did nothing to hide the concern nor the spark of excitement in his handler's hazel-green eyes. They locked eyes - he wasn't sure what his handler saw, he only nodded. Neither said a word, but gentle fingers caressed his sac then reached down rub across the periphery of his anus. A nail scraped and dug in toward his hole. He continued staring at the ceiling, knowing that their usual ritual had to stay private. It was a game that was sick and perverted 494 could only be thankful was just between them. He didn't want her to know.

He welcomed the intrusion and his muscles squeezed hard on the digit, his body arching rigid in mid air, his nostrils flaring. His voice ragged and breaking through the bit, 494 screamed and finally came.

His body still quivering in aftershocks, he barely registered their voices as they spoke above him. He missed more than half of their conversation but he did catch the ending. Apparently his handler was to report any and all activity regarding 494 back to her, regardless of Hamish's own reported findings. At his handler's consent to her new orders she turned and leaned down, obviously aware of his consciousness. Her eyes glittered in pleasure and she nodded, smiling her approval as she spoke. "Very good, 494."

She straightened and walked out of the room, her heels echoing—this time thankfully away from him. He focused on the sound until it dwindled down to silence.


Pain followed the orgasm, agonizing spasms that ricocheted throughout his body. Alec found himself gasping for air through a sea of misery, the memories too sharp, too vivid; it frightened him to his core.

It was just the beginning, the first wave of reliving a string of memories, one on top of another as the locks cascaded open. He remembered how Hamish relinquished him into Renfro's charge, trading one lab cage for another. He'd been moved to Renfro's lab cage, closer to the anomalies, and held prisoner away from his fellow X5's. She'd forced him to become a test subject of a different nature, made him endure injections that further manipulated his DNA—stretching boundaries that other X5's hadn't survived.

He remembered Renfro's daily visits, how she'd been almost disappointed when she'd find 494 alive – surprised to find that he had survived another night. He could see her standing on the other side of protected glass, watching and waiting patiently until he was restrained once again. His hatred had intensified every time she'd forced him to endure another new series of injections.

Then it had changed, he had survived what no other X5 did - the second series of tests.

You're progressing well, 494.

The battery of daily injections had continued but when he was worn out, nearly comatose from the treatments, she'd come in and pet him, muttering about how close they were. That he was her prize. That she had them working diligently on the last sequence whatever that meant. He had wanted to pull away, to just crawl into nothingness and just die. Instead he lay there motionless as she'd whisper nonsense, coaxing him into sleep.

By morning she'd be gone and he'd be alone to endure the pain.

Pockets of memory continued to burst in quick secession. He remembered one particular morning months later, she was there in the room waiting for him to wake. Renfro was grim, her anger and frustration clearly etched in her face. It was odd that she was there, even more so that he was strapped down even though he was still too weak to move. He spotted another woman who stood behind Renfro; the image pinged another, recognition hit, he knew her. Another face layered over the memory - it was Mia. Flashes, splintered scenes - Mia moving closer under Renfro's orders, her telling him to forget – forget the lab, Hamish, his handler, Renfro's injections.

He got glimpses of Mia, weeks later, in Psy-ops, overseeing aspects of his training, before he was herded back with his fellow X5s, then Mia telling him to hug Logan; Mia telling him it'd be okay for him to remember when the time was right…

The memories fused together to create a complete cohesive picture. He knew the truth now, remembered what Renfro had forced Mia to make him forget. How Renfro had ordered Mia to help him, play catch up, gain skills comparable to those of his fellow X5's. At some point Renfro made the mistake and left him alone with Mia that allowing Mia to leave triggers to help 494 build a foundation, to compartmentalize the experiences, his emotions. To nurture independence and strength that'd stabilize a core personality beyond his designation, separate from Manticore – from Renfro.

Though he had no tangible memory of Mia, he felt a kinship with her. When he saw her at Jam Pony, he somehow internally recognized her as a familiar face, one he could trust. He felt no sense of danger from her. With everyone else, whether they were connected to Manticore or not, he felt on edge, his awareness heightened. Mia was the opposite - he felt a closeness, that he was safe, and oddly that she cared.

His body continued to spasm, the pain agonizing. But once he stopped fighting against the tide of memories forcing their way through, Alec found an odd peace, a sense of comfort as each memory was revealed, a puzzle finishing creating a full picture.

With his memories intact, Alec felt a sense of strength as they cemented and rooted in place. He acknowledged to himself what he was becoming. He had survived the original experiments with Renfro, and instinctively knew he'd survive these changes.


Eyes closed, Logan slowly woke from a fog of unconsciousness. The first thing he sensed was that Alec wasn't there. Terror set in as he realized Alec was gone, abducted. Logan began to slowly count each breath – inhaling then exhaling – trying to still his panic, knowing that he couldn't give up. His mind zeroed in on one fact: he had to find Alec, somehow gain enough strength in order to make a rescue – if he didn't... At the fleeting thought of possibly losing Alec, his body shuddering in pain.

A hand reached out, offering comfort. Logan immediately tensed at the touch belatedly realizing the person was close and had already been touching his body. For a moment he struggled to open his eyes, tried to speak. When his body didn't co-operate, Logan focused on gathering what information he could. With each calming breath Logan took, instinct took over as his senses reached out and sharpened. Supplying him with enough information to realize it was Sam, Dr. Carr's touch. Suddenly Logan knew he was lying down on a soft bed while Sam hovered over him cleaning his wound. He was bare-chested but could feel the weight of material on his legs - sweats. Instinct told him they were alone in a room with the door shut. Though Logan could hear the shuffle of movement, and then heard Zack's voice as if he was standing right there. "You're sure it's not Max - she's marked with those damn tattoos all over her body?"

Logan tried to open his eyes but his lids wouldn't budge. Yet he knew Zack wasn't there in the room, but behind the closed door. He was alone with Sam who worked solemnly as he attended Logan's wounds.

Logan felt the warm cloth in Sam's hand and the shift of Sam's body as he moved to swish the cloth in a bowl of water then wring it out. Felt the warm wetness of the cloth hit his skin when Sam continued to gingerly swipe over Logan's stomach. Sam rinsed again then his angle shifted. Hands carefully pulled down the sweats just below his thighs. Felt Sam's hand with the cloth moved downward toward Logan's thigh. Logan felt the soft nudge then warm water wiping over the mark Alec had created. Logan moaned at the touch and the sudden desire for Alec that swept through his body and pooled into his groin.

Seemingly unaware of Logan's reaction, Sam stayed focused busily on caring for his patient, and continuing to clean the area then dropping the cloth into a bowl. Sam stood as he took the bowl, mumbling under his breath about fresh water and moved toward where Logan suspected was a bathroom. Free of his touch Logan shifted his focus and concentrated on the rise of voices in the other room.

"Yeah, I told you I'm sure. Not that I'm saying they wouldn't want to get their hands on her if they knew about that, but what they were trying to do… triggering an specific individual with a particular DNA sequence – yeah, it wasn't 452."

Logan heard Joshua's threatening warning.

"Sorry, right- Max. Listen they got who they wanted, …49" Logan heard the snap of fingers before the guy switched and supplied Alec's name. Logan recognized the guy talking to Zack, knew his voice but couldn't place a face, name or where he knew it from.

The guy nervously cleared his throat but his tone of voice remained arrogant and slightly defensive. "Listen I can only tell you what I know. I read the files, did the exams, and tested the blood you gave me. What I know is Alec was the one who went into heat first and triggered your female into heat. He was the target. That cocktail they used was specially targeted to only one person and he isn't here."

Sam returned, sitting on the edge of the bed, rambling on that he was going to be okay. Logan purposely tuned Sam out his mind focused on the words, …heat first, targeted… as he tried to make sense of what was being said in the other room.

"Once he ingested the agent, it activated and started a chain reaction altering his DNA. Within seconds – minutes, he changed enough to produce pheromones to attract a mate. My guess his body went into overdrive when it started secreting oxytocin and tapped into his civertone. Something he had an abundance of."

"Don't all X5's have civertone?" Lydecker questioned.

"Yeah they do. The civertone is a stable base that is already part of their feline DNA. But with your boy, his levels were already off the charts compared to other X5s."

Though he wasn't in the room Logan could hear slight shifts of movement. He could almost feel the palpable tension, the passing looks between Zack and Joshua to Lydecker then back to the man who spoke.

"Listen, this level of civertone it's only something you see in big cats. It only spikes and emits when triggered during heat otherwise normally it'd remain low. With X5's it's the same but their base level is much lower than in a big cat. These - from what Renfro recorded - the number of injections she gave him, Alec's base level civertone was on par to a big cat in heat. Add in the trigger of actually going into heat. It acts similar to pheromones in other animals, which is why it triggered her into heat. Although his was programmed with an agenda - to seek a mate."

Logan heard the heavy disbelief as Zack questioned, "He mated with Max?"

Logan bit his lip to keep from smiling as he already knew the answer.

Joshua snarled at the guy's sardonic laugh. "Yeah no. Maybe not you, but anyone else not deaf or blind could tell she mated with the…" Logan wasn't surprised when he heard Joshua step into the guy's face, heard the low threatening growl and in his mind's eyes pictured Joshua glaring down at the guy.

The guy panicked and tried to back away, stuttering. "Human. I was gonna say human. The girl - it's obvious the two ladies mated and your Alec had to have mated with him."

Logan closed his eyes: the memories of being with Alec were sharp and lucid, flooding his system tipping toward an abyss of want that collided with sheer panic. Internally Logan fought his way back, instinctively knowing he had to find Alec to save him. Emerging back into the present, he forced himself to focus on the guy's tone, the arrogant superiority as he went on. "And no, I don't fully understand why the guy in there has civertone in his system - he shouldn't, he's human. Or was: right now, I'd say he's more like any other anomaly. To figure it out I'd need a full lab with both subjects and do a full battery of tests."

…he's human…or was… It was true. The thought turned around in Logan's mind, the answer was there waiting for him to accept it. Although Sam had finished cleaning and bandaging his wound, Logan instinctively knew it wouldn't have mattered, his body was already in the process of healing. Internally he was already healed and only the surface skin was slower as it knitted together under the bandage. Then there was his hearing. How clearly he could hear their conversation behind a closed door, but it was also the small nuances he could hear, their subtle movements; he could hear their breathing, could distinguish each one- knew Cindy and Max were together, and that Cindy was asleep while Max looked on.

To know that seemed impossible… unless he was dreaming, delusional.

Gently he grabbed Sam's wrist to get him to stop his doctoring as he sat up on the bed. Slowly Logan opened his eyes and pulled up the sweats just before he swung his legs to the side. He easily brushed Sam's hands aside, when Sam tried to stop him. Logan wasn't having it: he needed to know the truth. Automatically he grabbed his glasses from the night table when he stood, unperturbed by the blurriness until he opened the door and the flood of bright light hit him. Reaching up, Logan pulled his glasses off and rubbed his eyes figuring he needed to clean them. Reopening his eyes, Logan blinked as his vision of the floor was crystal sharp. Looking back up, he was dumbfounded by his sudden perfect vision. Logan looked up in time to see the heated glares the guy received from both Zack and Joshua.

Logan stayed in the door-frame and scanned the room. He noticed the protective stance Zack took in front of Max, who was curled up on the couch doing her best to shield the sleeping Cindy from everyone else's eyes. Lydecker was just behind them, nervously pacing back and forth. His eyes shifted back to Joshua as he stood, even more menacing than Logan had envisioned. Joshua was looming over a disheveled man. His presence alone was frightening, but add the rumbled growl he was emitting (probably only meant for Engel's ears) was what sounded truly threatening and sent shivers down Logan's spine. Engel - the name suddenly popped into Logan's mind and he remembered and placed the face with a name. It was Engel, one of Manticore's scientists who had created the virus that kept him and Max apart.

"Engel, I'd suggest you stick with just the pertinent information. Not to mention remembering which side you're on, and who's protecting your ass…" Lydecker paused, adding, "something that can change at any given moment."

Engel got the message, flushed and bobbed his head in consent, losing a bit of that insolence. "I didn't mean… It was definitely Alec they were after. They might not have realized it at the time, but I'm sure that they know by now. What they probably don't know is who he actually mated with. I'd bet they're going to make the assumption that we did, that Alec mated with someone closer to his own kind - another X5, her. If I'm right, once they figure it out they'll be coming after her, probably to kill her."

Confused Zack interjected, "Why kill her?"

"They purposely changed him. Renfro was crazy: according to those files the subject was designed to only have one mate. She wasn't trying to just recreate…" he swallowed and nervously looked away from Joshua, his tone softer more cautious. "another one of Sandeman's creations. She was tweaking DNA, trying to create something slightly different and succeed where Sandeman failed. A being that could consciously and physically shift between two physical entities at will. Its core base would still have attributes of other anomalies. Only with increased physical strength, intelligence, and mental aptitudes of psych-ops, psychic strength beyond anything Manticore had manufactured- including those from Manticore's bottom-basement anomaly factory."

At Joshua's hostile stare, Engel swallowed and sighed. "Just highlighting what I read- alright?" Absently Logan watched as Engel started to fidget, his hands moving, waving about as he kept talking. Looking away, his mind racing as he listened to Engel, although he kept stumbling over the hideous thought that Alec was their lab rat once again.

"That wasn't the main thing. She mainly wanted a siren. Someone who could easily control any of the other series. Someone she could completely control. Although packaged within the body of an X5, someone who could walk undetected by humans, but then could change morph to physically and mentally dominate other anomalies." Engel paused, glanced up at Joshua, and paled as he nervously continued. "Hey a lot of Sandeman's work was like that. He was the one who set the groundwork, but none of the transformation shifts worked. The subjects died or were terminated." In a knee jerk reaction, Logan was across the room up in Engel's face, his fists grabbing Engel. One fist gripped his shirt and lab coat, the other clamped over Engel's throat shoving him back against the wall, his mind screaming, NO!

No one moved save Engel who twisted, his eyes popping in terror as his hands clawed at Logan's hand around his throat, trying to get him to let him go.

It wasn't until Lydecker ordered one of them to stop him that Joshua and Zack moved forward, pulling Logan away from Engel.

Sputtering, Engel rubbed his throat, "It wasn't me! It was Renfro and Sandeman. I didn't touch your mate."

What Engel said got their attention as Logan felt everyone's stare on him. Logan didn't care: it was true, Alec was his mate and through that bond he had changed. Even now, he could actually feel it as his body tissue continued to knit back together. Whatever Renfro did to Alec, in turn she had done to him when Alec marked him as his. It all made sense, the driving need he had to find Alec, to be with him, the epic loss he felt, the connection they had. What he felt for Alec, being with him, when Alec took him—the strength, the sense of being connected. From their bond, that he heard Alec ordering to take Cindy to run, hide… that wasn't his imagination or an assumption on his part, it was real. Just as real as the compulsive need he had to be with Alec right now, the ache he felt. The abrupt lost of connection, and even though he couldn't feel Alec through that connection, all of his instincts and logic told him Alec was alive, that White wouldn't dispose of Alec, not now.

Though Joshua had pulled him away from Engel he still maintained a grip on Logan, restraining him from going after Engel again. Shaking barely controlling his anger, the venom dripping in every word when he said, "Explain to me, what she did."

Coughing Engel glanced at his audience, his hand rubbing at his throat, then conceded and nodded. "Like Sandeman she ran into similar problems, too many variables that were problematic. Most of the defects were human based, everything from their emotional defiance and independence, to physical genetic ailments and abnormalities- some that weren't discovered until it was too late - usually they were quickly terminated and used for parts. Renfro's goal was to start with a clean specimen. Only Manticore refused to let her have any newborns. With X5's, her problems were two-fold. The first was maintaining the bestial chemical compound that'd allow an individual to morph. Her previous subjects died during the first phase, their body's torn apart when their organs tried to shift internally. That's when they decided to tap into civertone levels. It worked. Though it was that same chemical cocktail that fixed one area also presented new problems. Then Alec survived through the first phase. Afterwards, they continued with slow increments upgrading each sequence change.

Compared to any standard X5, company excluded, Alec was abnormal. That's where Renfro lucked out—why I suspect he survived through the first phase—he was a clean specimen. Manticore had already ordered him to be isolated from other X5s when you escaped, and it continued after discovering reports of 493's psychotic behavior, and he was assigned for experimentation. Once Renfro had him and he made it through the first phase, they continued to increase his civertone levels. Though his civertone levels were high they kept them dormant by surgically embedding and controlling any sexual activity.

What they did helped stifle his ability to mature while they continued searching for a solution on the second problem- to survive a complete physical shift. They were racing against time, once the subject obtained maturity, with a certain level of civertone, they'd have no control it'd drive him to mate - to bond and chemically attach to a mate. They wanted that, but they wanted to dictate who the subject mated with. They were grooming him for the final stages.

They'd have to mate him with someone who'd matched the high civertone levels in order to dominate him. It explains a few of the rumors that were going around… not that it matters now, but looking at all the evidence Renfro was prepping herself by self-ministering shots of civertone."

Engel turned, meeting Logan's heated gaze then flushing turned away. "You shouldn't, but I know for a fact you have civertone. I saw it in the tests I did. At the time I dismissed it – I was too scared with Manticore hunting us down. But you had civertone in your system when you had me working on a antidote for the virus. And the tests I did showed that your levels were high, especially for someone who wasn't genetically engineered. Let me repeat, humans normally don't have a pumping supply of civertone. Still they were nowhere near the levels that'd entice Alec away from Max…" Engel shrugged, "yet somehow he did."

Across the room, almost distractedly Sam spoke, "Would a blood transfusion from Alec do it?" Logan blinked in confusion and turned, at Sam's question, belatedly connecting what he and Engel just said.

Logan caught Sam's eye, silently asking. In his mind, he added the last puzzle piece together of how and why him, when Sam nodded confirming his suspicion, Logan answered, "Last month." He had no idea that Alec had given him blood.

Engel shrugged. "Alec gave him a blood transfusion? Yeah then that would do it. Alec's levels are high. You already had civertone- why I don't know, but Alec's civertone would attach to its new host. It'd override anything any of the other X5s had naturally."

Sam nodded in acceptance then added. "The other civertone was probably from Max. When you had surgery to remove that fragment, remember, Max donated a few pints of her blood. It saved your life."
Shaking his head in agreement, Logan slowly turned toward Max. Her eyes were open and she had been listening. Logan answered Sam while he continued staring at Max, remembering, still grateful for what she did. "It was more than a few. Right after you found pluripotents circulating in my bloodstream…"
Max interjected as she sat up, joining in the conversation even though she held her guard over Cindy, who hadn't moved. "I donated, plump a surplus of stem cells to rev you up, least Manticore could do."
Suddenly his curiosity over rode his fear as Engel interjected and looked from Logan to Max. "How much?"
Shrugging she answered, "I don't know, a few times a week, going into three weeks, until he was standing on his own."
"Huh, that'd definitely do it. Give you strong enough base that when Alec added his to the mix it really attached. When he went into heat, this one," Engel's head bent and inclined Logan, "was spiked with his own civertone, an aphrodisiac mix headier then catnip.
The problem is they have him now. Though she was cryptic on who her test subject was they'd have all of the same data. Her intention was to mate the subject once he fully matured, completing the final stages and physically altered. Her theory was the subject would be easier to contain and dominate immediately following their manifestation. Right now they probably have him tied down as they slowly pump more civertone into his system, prepping him for those last changes."

Zack prompted, "And?"

"And if they realized he mated and make the same mistake about who – they'll probably have a team ready to track down and eliminate his mate- her." Engel pointed to Max. "According to Renfro's files she designed the subject to mate only once. Knowing now her subject is male it makes more sense. Any X5s series is genetically a feline based, and with males their natural inclination is more like a typical tomcat. For all intents purposes she had fixed him—that once mated, he'd only be with that one person. Which was supposed to be Renfro, though Elizabeth was also pragmatic."

Lydecker asked, "Meaning?" Logan couldn't tear his eyes away from Engel. His stomach dropped as he replayed what Engel had just said, recalling his reactions to Alec, and the possessive way Alec took him.

Startled Engel answered, "Meaning if Renfro stayed true to her nature and was practical… X5s have a longer shelf life, they were designed that way. Renfro knew that and I'd suspect she wouldn't want her prize to be wasted by being put down. She'd manipulate the DNA it so that once she died, he'd be eligible to mate again. They have the same notes I do, and I knew Renfro well enough to make those jumps and come to the same conclusions – meaning, if I were them and had Alec my possession, and knew he had mated I'd eliminate the problem, and do so before I couldn't contain him- or be forced to put him down."

Put down, no! Logan's mind and body screamed in protest. Ignoring the phantom pain the thought created, Logan stated. "No, that's not going to happen. We can find him, rescue him."

It was Sam who interceded. "You're not going anywhere. Logan you've been shot, I'm not even sure how you're alive."

"Alec, I'm alive because of Alec. What they did to change him, changed me. We have to find him, now!"

Sam tried to block him, his concern and bewilderment evident.

"Don't!" Logan demanded then stared at Sam, beseechingly, "I won't just wait around and let them go after Max, or allow them to put…." He couldn't finish the sentence, but stared Sam down. "I won't."

Dumbfounded by Logan's vigor, his stance, the strength, and the fact he was even standing on his own. Sam muttered, "You shouldn't be able to…. how?"

It was Max who understood and answered for him. "Alec. It takes a lot to bring down us down, we heal faster. Logan is too, right? Because of Alec he's healing faster, more enhanced, right?"

Logan didn't look to see how Engel would respond as he demonstrated and ripped off the bandage to reveal the nearly healed wound –bright pink skin that was closed over where the bullet wound once was. Ignoring Sam's fingers as he tentatively touched the closed wound and gasped. Logan pulled away listening to an internal hum, one that only he could hear. Once he stopped to listen, he felt it. Jerkily Logan nodded. "It's not completely healed, but I feel the difference, the changes… and Alec's alive.


Alec was strapped down on a lab table. Eyes closed, he couldn't see who entered, only hear and recognized White's voice as he demanded angrily, "Where the hell were you? We lost her because you pulled out and left."

Katherine stood as Alec's side – she was the reason he kept his eyes close because he didn't want to see the bitch as she continued to pet him like an animal. She responded to White, "Hmm, I'd say you lost her, not me - I got what I came for."

"What the hell are you talking about? They got 452…"


"What? So we can go back in, use 494 to get her back, but.."

"But nothing, we have the right one, it's not 452 - they can have her for the moment." Alec felt her shift, her hand still in motion as her fingers trailed down his chest.

Small seizures continued to shift and make his body tremble.

Alec heard White step closer; felt the vibes of White's anger, that he was barely holding himself in check.

Seething he stated. "I want answers, now."

"You heard me correctly. She's not the one, he is. Feel…" Alec was sure White was just as startled by Katherine's reaction when he felt her hand covering White's hand over his chest. "What you're feeling is his body's internal shifts in preparation for his external shifts for his final stages."

White mumbled his shock, as he pulled away. "What?"

"I realize you were really looking forward to - taking 452, but get over it. 494 is our prize, he was Elizabeth's project. You'll have to make do and have your fun with him."


At White's obtuse reaction, Alec didn't need to see that Katherine was disgruntled as she dramatically sighed her disappointment. "Oh please, don't tell me you're homophobic - that you'd have a problem taking him?" Not waiting for a response, her irritation clear, she added. "I have a very small window and no time to prep anyone else. In a few hours, I expect you to get over your issues. You're already primed with enough civertone to dominate him. I have a team searching for 452 with orders to exterminate her. We can't leave anyone alive to challenge your dominance over him. Soon he'll be at his cycle peak, once that window closes, restraining him might prove to be too difficult to wait for another heat cycle to hit- I don't have the patience nor inclination to wait."

"But 452, she was the one Sandeman…"

"Sandeman's pet project was never our intention, only a side bonus. Regardless of the fact we mistakenly thought 452 was both… Rest assured, for wasting my time I have issued orders to bring her carcass back for research and parts. Then we'll have them both, but it was Elizabeth's project that was always our main objective."

White was silent, and Alec didn't think it was his imagination that he could feel White's heated stare.

The impatient lilt of Katherine's voice rose snidely as she remarked, "If you need assistance in order to adequately perform, it can be arranged."

Abruptly Alec felt her fingernail bite hard into his skin, waiting for his reaction.
"No need to feign sleep 494, I know you're awake."

Slowly Alec followed the silent order and opened his eyes, looking up at her smug expression when she nodded in approval. "That's better." She patted his jaw. "Now don't be too disappointed, I'm pretty sure he'll give you plenty of attention when he takes all of his frustration out on you. Fact is, your pleasure isn't a requirement." She paused, waiting as she stared into his eyes. Her eyes averted then came back to him as teeth pulled on her bottom lip. She leaned in closer, her voice softened as if she was going to share a secret, "Though we both know your body will respond, don't we? I have to admit the idea of your body actively responding, willing to submit is exciting." Her lips spread further into a leer, "And it will. The stages you've been going through triggered your heat cycle; your body" she laughed, "it's better than coffee when it's percolating – the aroma that it's almost ready." To make her point Alec felt her hand encircle his cock- he was erect. Shame, anger, denial and need pulsed through Alec's body as his hips unconsciously arched up. "Yes, I believe the end process will be quite entertaining."

Abruptly she let go of him and turned to White. "His heat will fully mature and be ready within three hours. Be in my office in two. You will take an enhancement" Alec heard a low growl emitting from White. "That was not a suggestion, but an order. I will not take any chances."

From the corner of his eye Alec watched their interaction. It was obvious White was brimming with anger however he submitted by lowering his eyes. Although she stood straight, it was a casual stance, yet even as White stood his ground his body gave him away as he physically leaned away from her. Not only was she in charge but he was afraid of her.

After a moment, seemingly satisfied by his reaction, she moved away from him, and flatly announced. "Do not disappoint me White." As she reached the door she added, "or you will not live out the day." Without another word she walked out, leaving Alec with White.

A thick silence descended. Just marginally White regained his composure as he moved closer to Alec. White's anger and frustration was palpable as he glared down at Alec, a sneer in place as he threateningly declared. "You can wipe off that smirk 494."

Alec hadn't realized he was, but didn't miss a beat when he met White's gaze, eyes flashing his full disdain.

White grunted, "This shit making your head turn to mush, is that it? Just a hard cock waiting to be taken, menial little beast to be controlled" he moved closer leaning down until Alec could almost taste the spearmint of White's breath. "You understand that I'm going to be the one doing the controlling, and you're just going to roll over - begging to be taken."

The bit shoved in his mouth made it impossible to speak; instead Alec growled his revulsion at the picture White created.

White stared and crocked his head curiously. "But you're not exactly there yet, are you? And that's what has me interested." Slowly the gleam of White's teeth showed as his lips spread out into a grin. His eyes roamed Alec's body as if he was seeing it for the first time. Tilting his head White said, "Katherine was right about one thing: I wanted 452, to break and tame her myself. You, you're a disappointment. Though she was wrong I'm not going to need any enhancements to get it up in order to claim your ass. However I'm not going to wait and let that bitch play voyeur. I'm going to take you now…" White pulled back enough that it was easy for Alec to see the downward drift of White's eyes as they settled on Alec's cock. His brow arched, the tone clear as he said, "Your body might be ready, begging – but not all of you" White's gaze shifted back up to Alec's face before they bored into his eyes. "But I can see it in your face, your eyes. I take you now - you're going to know it, feel it." White leaned over into Alec's face, his darkening eyes displaying the apparent disgust he felt when he added, "Not just a mindless whore spreading his legs in heat." More of White's teeth flashed as he leered. "And understand 494, I want you to feel every painful inch as I tear into you, ripping you in half."

In anticipation, White's tongue slicked across his lips, before he glanced around the room then made a hasty exit walking out of the room. Only to return a few minutes later locking the door behind him. Grabbing a chair White moved closer as he took off his jacket, and draped it over the chair. His hand lifted to remove his tie, fingers pulled and loosened the knot until he could pull it free, dropping it to the floor. Fingers swiftly unbuttoned the shirt even as his other hand undid his pants. Moments later his shirt followed the tie, his pants, and boxers that were pooled at his feet on the floor. White stood there naked, his hand wrapped around his cock and tugged on the flesh that stood out erect. Suddenly White stepped out of the pile of clothes. Alec's gaze was reverted back to White's face, an arrogant smirk in place as he stalked forward.

Alec's anger flared higher, panic flooding his thoughts as he mentally screamed out, no. It was Logan that Alec chose. Logan was his, and Alec only wanted Logan.

White's hands worked on unbuckling the strap holding his ankle down. Just as the buckle was free Alec expected to move, his foot smashing into White's face – it didn't happen. He stared wide eyed down his body.

White laughed, "You're too new and weak as a baby fawn." his eyes falling on Alec's cock. "Don't deny it a larger part of you wants it, to be taken."

Alec arched, his body straining against the straps holding him down. This time his foot connected with its target. The only problem was he was too weak against White's strength. White ignored his struggles and unbuckled his other leg. White's hands moved, bruising his skin as he climbed onto the table, pushing his legs further open. Alec's twisted and bucked against White's hold, his mind and body screaming for Logan.


Abruptly Logan collapsed, as the connection to Alec burst open and he heard, felt Alec's empathic screams.

Immediately Sam rushed to Logan's side, yelling for someone to get his bag as he bent down to Logan side. It was Joshua who squatted ready to help and moved to scoop Logan up into his arm. Logan waved his hands away, muttering he was fine and moved to get up.

"Logan you should…"

He didn't let Sam finish. "I'm okay; it's not me, its Alec." Logan pushed up until he was standing even if he was a bit wobbly on his feet. "He is alive, I can feel him, he's weak, scared… We have to get to him, now! Someone's, he's" Logan couldn't finish as he suddenly realized what was happening to Alec, he was being raped. He couldn't see it exactly, but he knew could feel the adrenaline, Alec's fear and the intense hatred toward the man and himself as his body's reacted to the man's touch. Logan swayed, his body tilting backward, someone's firm grip braced his fall.

Lydecker's voice interrupted, "You can feel him through that connection of yours?"

Logan silently nodded his reply, trying to gain his composer.

Zack said, "We have to get the hell out of here, if he can feel him, it probably means White's on his…."

"No, I… he's not close – it's White he's there with Alec, has Alec…" Logan trembled at the distorted images flashed before him. He couldn't completely make out what was happening, but he once he added in everything he could feel that Alec was feeling. Logan's imagination filled in the blanks.

Zack ordered, "Doesn't matter we need to move."Turning Zack faced Max who hovered protectively over Cindy's sleeping form. "Max…"

"Halt." Lydecker moved closer, his weight leaning heavily on his cane as he made his way closer to Logan. Lydecker's chin tilted up, his eyes narrowed as he stared Logan down and asked, "You can hear him?"

"Yes. No it's more feelings then actual words."

"Have you tried to reach him?"

Surprised Logan just stared at Lydecker. "There's not much the rest of us can do unless we know where he is. If you can get a fix on him?"

Engel pushed forward offering. "Like a homing beacon. That could work. All of the series have certain codes internally engrained 'em. With Alec it would be amplified, as his mate there's a good chance you could get a fix."

Logan glanced around the room then flushed under their intense stares, until he returned his gaze back to Lydecker, confirming what he didn't want to hear – that everything, their survival depended on him. "It's the only way. You want to save us, Alec and Max, then we need to find him. We get to him bring him back safe then at least we're back on an equal playing field. It won't end, but we'll be no worst off then we were before."

Logan felt himself wobble under the weight of responsibility. Max called out, her tone gentle full of concern, "Maybe you should sit down. Try to concentrate focus on Alec?"

Logan's gaze shifted toward her knew she wouldn't leave Cindy's side. Max didn't bother to hide behind her soldier persona; her worry for Cindy was palpable. Logan suddenly realized Max was a mated and as connected to Cindy as he was to Alec. Jerkily he nodded and moved to sit on the floor cross legged.

Joshua came forward, "Alec says it's good to find chi." And dropped a bag into Logan's lap. Joshua smiled, "Good chi."
Logan blinked as he stared at the bag of pork skins, and then laughed nodding his thanks.

Frustrated Zack question, "Wait a minute, what do we do while he's…" Zack stumbled searching for a word, then responded, "chi'ing."

Logan heard Lydecker's response, "We wait." then the scuffle of his body turning as Lydecker moved leaning heavily on the cane. Logan leaned back; his back supported by the wall behind him and closed his eyes, focusing as he shut out the voices around him until they were only white noise. A moment later, quicker than he thought, Logan opened his eyes to see a manifestation of himself across from where he was sitting. The manifestation stood, as it did Logan's view point changed and he was standing looking down at himself - sitting now with his eyes closed.

Dismissing the weirdness he felt at seeing himself, Logan returned his focus on finding Alec. The urgency to find Alec increased as everyone faded until they disappeared as a mist appeared and filled the room. It was strange like fog without any of the cool wetness. A low hum grew louder and seemed to surround him; oddly it left him feeling secure and needy for Alec. He called out Alec's name then waited for a reaction. He called out again, and heard nothing.

Logan closed and squeezed his eyes tighter as if that'd force him to focus harder. The worry he felt licked at his desperation and the hum grew louder around him. He tried to move, but something was preventing him – a barrier? At the thought Logan quickly realized his mistake and suddenly knew that Alec was shielding him, trying to block out what White was doing.

Mentally Logan reached out, pushing through until he could feel something tangible under his fingers like a taut rope. Hanging on he followed it out into blackness. The pulsating hum increased pushing him away, to go back. Logan understood what Alec was trying to do and refused to leave. Instead he pushed forward, reaching out to offer Alec his strength.

The more Logan zeroed in on Alec and pressed forward the weaker the shield became and Alec's feelings and thoughts bleed through filling Logan's head. Anger, shame, pain, and fear were the most predominate. Logan stumbled and fell to his knees as he suddenly felt hot burning pain, as if he was being split in two - Alec's pain. His heart rate increased as Logan realized where exactly the pain was emanating from. His own anger spiked as he arched back screaming the agony he knew Alec was enduring at White's hands.

Logan's body shook and it seemed to take a long time before he could think and move beyond the pain he knew Alec was still feeling physically and emotionally. Once Logan was calm enough, with more determination he reached out to Alec again through the bond, his thoughts wrapping Alec in cocoon of warmth and love, everything he felt for his mate.

When Logan's mind finally pushed through and touched Alec's mind, he pushed Logan away. Copious amounts of shame from Alec filled Logan's mind as he tried to turn away from Logan.

Logan shouted a fervent "No," and desperately reached out pushing until he was holding Alec within a tight embrace, trying to create a cocooned haven. Doing the only thing he could to keep Alec's mind safe from what White doing. Alec stopped his struggle instead he started to plead, begging for Logan leave, to go back to Max, to run before it was too late.

Logan held him tighter, one hand rubbed Alec's back in soothing circles as he hushed Alec, "It's already too late, you claimed me Alec, now I'm yours, only yours."

"No, it's not too late, you have to leave, run- they'll kill you, Max … I can't, I'm sorry but I have no control- it's too late, what they did to me, my body needs…" A pitiful cry escaped Alec's throat, as he choked, "Choose you, wanted you."

Though it was painful to acknowledge, Logan said. "It's okay Alec, I know. I know what White is doing, I…" Logan bit his tongue then inhaled and held his breath before he slowly exhaled forcibly loosening the tightness in his chest when he thought of what White was doing. He wanted to kill him, torturously flay White alive, but Alec needed his strength not his anger. "I need to rescue you, need to know where you are, do you know?"

Logan felt the wetness against his cheek as Alec rubbed his face into the crook of his neck. Alec shook his head, no, whimpering, "It was you I had claimed you, wanted you." Following his words Alec's lips opened his mouth running down Logan's neck, small nips pulled at his skin. He felt Alec's cock solid and hard pressing against his hip. A massive pulse of want flooded through Logan's body. The desire to be taken was there, but what was stronger was the need to take Alec. To mount and take him… Shocked, Logan tried to dismiss the thought, horrified with himself for having such depraved thoughts when Alec was being raped.

"Alec we can't, I don't even know how we're here, but this it's not even real – I have to save you. Have to find out where…" He didn't get a chance to finish as Alec pulled him into a kiss swallowing his words.

When Alec pulled back, he continued to lick Logan's lips. "Real, it's real, only you."

Logan didn't believe, it couldn't be real, was it? Though what Logan felt under his hands, the feel of Alec's body, his scent, his hard cock pressing against him was doing a damn good job of making it feel real. Alec continued grinding against him. Logan, swallowed tasting Alec's need, it was as thick and heavy as Alec's cock. His hands busily pushed Logan's sweats down until Logan felt Alec's hands on his skin pulling them together.

Though Alec was desperate, needy instinctively Logan knew Alec was holding back, was waiting for Logan – he wanted Logan to take him. Suddenly it hit Logan and he understood what Alec was doing- White might have Alec's body, but he wasn't going to have Alec's mind. Alec was here with him they were still connected. Though it pained Logan to see what Alec wanted, but he also couldn't deny him nor did he blame him. If it made it easier for Alec, Logan didn't care. Although the knowledge of what Alec wanted while he endured White - a heavy streak of possessiveness pained his heart demanding White's blood, that Alec was his. Simultaneously another part of him bombarded him with logic that staying here was doing nothing to rescue Alec- that this wasn't working. He still had no idea where Alec was, how to save him, to stop White…

Alec's hands swept over his body, and continued muttering in-between kisses, "You I chose, I chose you Logan…"

Helpless Logan wallowed in despair warring over what he should do: leave to find another way to rescue Alec, and refusing to go to leave Alec helpless and completely alone with White.

Logically Logan knew, realized he's still sitting on the floor in the room with Max, Joshua, and the others hovering over him. Each with hopes that he'd reach Alec and somehow get information that would rescue Alec before Manticore found them.

But without a lead to find Alec, they were all vulnerable and running out of time. If he couldn't find Alec soon… Logan remembered what Engel had said, if I had Alec, and knew he was mated I'd come for his mate and eliminate the problem, and do so before I couldn't contain him- or be forced to put him down."

His gut twisted because he couldn't let that happen, but he was at a lost in finding the answers to fix it… The hollow ache of failing, of losing Alec wasn't something he could face and he physically pulled Alec closer basking in Alec's heat. He couldn't go on without his mate. Logan knew he wasn't being overly dramatic, but a reality that if Alec was put down, he'd follow Alec through the bond to his death.

Alec's whimpered, "No!" broke through Logan's thoughts.

Logan gulped, realizing Alec had picked up his thoughts of his pending death. "I'm sorry I failed, it's too late- for both of us, and I couldn't survive without you, Alec- I've changed." His wistful awe was clear as Logan added; "Maybe not as dramatically as you" The tip of Logan's finger gently outlined the soft small nub that started to peek out and continued to grow from the top of Alec's head. Alec mewed in response to his caress, "Engel was right…" Saying Engel's name Logan recalled something else Engel said about Renfro notes of what she was trying to achieve: Someone who could easily control any of the other series. Engel had explained it was one of the reasons why she created it so Alec could only mate once – her intention was to control Alec and in affect control all of Manticore creations. The connection they shared right now confirmed that he was bonded to Alec. Alec's claim worked- no matter what White was doing he couldn't claim or mate with Alec not while Logan was alive. Engel had said they would eliminate the problem, and do so before they couldn't contain him.

Logan couldn't deny Alec's strength both physically and mentally. Logan had no doubt that it was Alec that had created this place within their minds. That they were connected by the bond, and the moment their minds touched and embraced the bond strengthened and solidified. Once they touched the mist had evaporated in its wake left them more physically present, solid- their touch heated in need.

Logan knew Alec had started to physically shift; his finger was still stroking over the delicate cat hairs surrounding the small growing nub of what was to be a new ear. He could feel the delicate whiskers swept over his face, but it was Alec's tail that brushed up and over his ass in soft caresses that Logan finally understood that if Alec completed his physical changes here, there was a high probability that he had in the real world. If he had then he's at or near the point where they won't be able to stop or control him.

Dismissing the threatening thoughts that White would realize what happened, or that someone else would find out, realize the truth and put Alec down. No he had to hang on to the fact that they had a slim chance. Pulling away Logan tried to force Alec to listen. "Alec you need to listen to me, we might have a chance, but I need you to focus."

Dazed in heat, Alec finally opened his eyes, and Logan was mesmerized by the sight. Large elliptical orbs stared imploringly. The color vivid and sharp, the clarity of moss green as Alec continued to stare unblinkingly back at him. Stunned by Alec's beauty; Logan could feel the intense pull of need and want clouding his mind. Quickly he closed his eyes against the distraction. Refocusing he opened his eyes again trying and failing to look away, Logan licked his lips, almost stuttering in desire, "Your changes- it's not just here in this place is it?"

It was Alec who looked away. Logan swallowed, "I know you don't want to think about what's going on there… but it's important Alec. Can you tell without going back? Does White realize?"

Solemnly Alec nodded no, "He, he hasn't noticed, he's too involved… I"

Logan didn't need to be told he can feel the weight of Alec's shame. Alec's emotions and physical need to shift were too strong and intense to fight against. The changes initiated Alec's heat cycle. Ensuring Alec's body to physically react, enthralled to his baser needs - leaving Alec vulnerable and weak, but he wasn't the only one.

Logan realized whatever White's cruel intentions were initially by raping Alec, White was as infected, and was responding to Alec's scent and heat. Logan cupped Alec's face forcing him to look at him. "This is good, it is, means you can control him, stop White."

Alec closed his eyes, "Tried, it didn't work. He stopped…" he paused; his gaze on Logan's mouth refusing to let on what he almost slipped of what White had done to him earlier. Logan didn't force the issue. It wasn't the right time or the right place. He wasn't sure he wanted to know not until after he slowly squeezes the last breath of life out of White. And he wasn't about to let Alec know he had felt most of it through their bond, and up until Alec's complete transformation had allowed Alec to shield Logan from the rest.

Out loud Logan reiterated, "You tried? I think Engel's a slimy asshole, but he seemed sure…"

"It was that bitch Katherine. She told me, went on about how she had Renfro's files, said they were lovers. Why she knew about Renfro's project. Heard her say they only had a small window of opportunity. Her plan was to have White claim me… Said I wasn't quite ready- think she meant I needed to shift. It was White who decided not to wait."

"Okay, I still think that can work to our advantage, but somehow we're missing something."

"It doesn't matter, Logan I need you now – don't want him, not again." Alec's whiskers brushed over Logan's face when he moved attacking Logan neck. The nips sharp until Alec took a bigger bite gnawing at the skin, suckling until Logan was weak kneed.

With difficulty Logan held his ground even as Alec's naked body pressed fully against his. Though he had an idea of what Alec wanted, Logan still asked, "Alec, Alec what is it?" His mind racing trying to figure out how to stop White, but each thought was chased away by Alec's bite followed by the sucking pressure that all he wanted to do was submit to Alec's wants.

Distracted by the onsought of Alec's attention, it didn't hit him until Logan started to descend falling to his knees, submitting to Alec. Submitting, that was it. Forcibly he pulled back and demanded Alec's attention, "Alec, submitting, that's it."

Alec smiled, agreeing "Sounds good."

"No White, you need to make him submit."

A frown graced Alec's lips, "Tried that."

"Biting, did you bite him?"

Alec didn't respond, panicked Logan's nails dug harshly into Alec's skin as he demanded. "Alec, stay with me!"

Wounded that Logan would doubt him, "Always with you."

Refusing to relinquish his hold, Logan pushed. "Then answer me, did you bite White?"

"No," shaking his head, "can't, she shoved a god-damn bit into my mouth."

"That's it then, you have to bite White, it's the only thing I can think of that makes sense. He can't mate or claim you until I'm dead. You shifted so you should be able to control him, but you have to make him submit by biting him."

"You don't know that for sure."

"You're right baby I don't, but what alternative do we have? They haven't found us, and once they realized you shifted – I can't lose you." Defeated Logan pressed his forehead again Alec's.

"I know I'm asking a lot baby, but you have to try." Alec pulled back; his eyes narrowed in what Logan assumed was assessing what he had just begged him to do. "You just called me baby, twice."

Logan nervously stammered, "Oh I, I…I didn't mean, well okay I did, but if you don't want me…" Alec leaned in and captured Logan's lips to shut him up. This time when he pulled back Alec flashed his trademark smirk as he demanded, "Just don't ever do that around Max."

Logan grinned back, "I see your point. You're feeling stronger aren't you?"

He nodded. "I am, here with you."

Logan hand cup around Alec's neck pulling him in closer as Logan tilted his chin up, "I know baby." His eyes met Alec's, saw the glittered of pleasure at the endearment. The corner of his lips lifted before he slowly leaned up licking Alec's lips open. Felt the soft tickle of Alec's whiskers. He met Alec's tongue when it peeked out in greeting, until they brushed together in a slow slick dance each stroke lingered unhurried. A dance both knew if they stayed they wouldn't be able to finish.

"You have to go. Do whatever it takes to bite him- I need you to do that for me, for us."

Slowly Alec pulled out of Logan's embrace, stepping back as he nodded his agreement. "I will." Standing apart, Logan's eyes roamed down and over Alec's body taking in his physical changes: the darker hue of skin and fur. The strips running up the sides of his body, the longer mane of hair that was no longer hid his new ears. Moments ago they were folded in now they were prominent as they visibly stuck out. Whiskers, Logan had felt them though he could barely see 'em. He wasn't positive, but Logan would guess the feather light softness he felt and would be invisible to a human's naked eye. His eyes traveled down Alec's body in appreciation, took in his larger mass, the taut muscles that appeared even more defined than Alec's soldier physique. Alec skin gleamed with a heavy sheen of sweat. Logan just had his hands there; there was no awkwardness he felt no different touching Alec's skin only the barest hint of soft patches of baby fine hair. Alec's long tail waved and twitched before it brushed against Alec's stomach before it took a dive and twirled around his calf. Logan remembered what Alec's tail felt like, the soft brush of hair against his skin as soft as any cats. He felt the strength of it when it had moved against his body; thinking of it now sent shivers of pleasure throughout his body.

Through his inspection Logan saw Alec's nervousness worry, his wide eyed stare steadily watching. It was obvious to Logan when Alec stood there and started to fidget uncertain and wary of what Logan would think. Suddenly Logan realized Alec was waiting for Logan's rejection.

Logan knew no words would carry the same weight; instead he opened his mind allowing Alec to pick up his thoughts. Though their connection and ability to communicate was gathering strength they still hadn't really communicated with actual words saved for when Alec ordered him to take Cindy to safety. Since then everything between them was more empathic of what they were feeling. Logan didn't have to concentrate very hard as he wrapped his want and appreciation around Alec. His eyes devoured Alec's body mentally relaying what he wanted to do. As Alec silently received and felt Logan's desires the steadier Alec's stance became his tail twitching about excitedly.

Logan wanted to take Alec in his arms, to taste him and fuck him hard, but they didn't have time. Alec had to go back, to somehow bite White. He didn't want to send Alec back, but he had no choice. Alec knew when Logan's thoughts shifted as his smile faltered, his body tensing, muscles flexing visibly showing his reluctance. Though it pained Logan he voiced what had to be done. "Baby you have to go back."

Logan watched as Alec's head hitched, he could see the soldier in Alec accepting the duty of his mission. Then Logan felt Alec's commitment and resolution to save Logan even if he had to consciously endure White's touch.

Alec's fierce gaze bore into Logan's, the immense intensity of Alec's emotions: a possessive need, want, and love he felt and had for Logan knocked him for a loop leaving Logan speechless.

With a graceful prowess of a four-legged large cat Alec turned around and disappeared back into the mist that slowly rose and swirled around him.

For a moment Logan stood there while the mist gathered and started to engulf him, he felt Alec's mental push for him to return to his own body. Logan didn't move, afraid to leave Alec to suffer White's abuse alone. He felt Alec reach out and immediately sooth his fears letting Logan know that he wasn't alone. With his changes complete he was stronger and could hold maintain his connection to Logan. But that Logan needed to go, be in his own body, to let the others know and be ready. Still Logan was reluctant to leave until he felt Alec's promise that he wouldn't block Logan. With that promise Logan felt himself moving against his will toward his body even as he held a tight grip on Alec's essence hating himself that he was leaving Alec to White.


Though Alec felt Logan's hesitation, he pushed Logan toward his body even as Alec continued to move forward toward the conscious world where White was busily engaged with his body. He maintained his connection to Logan to ease Logan's fear though he worked to create a sort of filter to keep Logan from feeling everything. It was illogical because Logan already said he knew still Alec wanted to somehow hide what White was doing. In truth, keeping their connection open wasn't just for Logan's benefit, but his own as Alec realized he needed and wanted Logan's strength.

The last steps by into his conscious body were more like an abrupt push as Alec was suddenly back in his body while White was mindlessly rutting over him.

The rush of physical sensations nearly knocked Alec out. He was in heat and his body responding to White - open willingly accepting and wanting the continuing pounding thrusts of White's cock. Physically Alec's want and need was there heightened because he was in heat, but after a moment he realized that's all it was, mentally he had no desire for White. Thankfully he had already bonded physically and mentally with Logan. What White was trying to do barely scratched the surface of an itch; one Alec knew only Logan would be able to satisfy.

It took Alec a moment to adjust mentally disregarding his physical reaction and to focus on White. Another moment to realize White was already enthralled to his body. It occurred to Alec, that regardless of White's cult origin ultimately he was just another anomaly of Manticore's. Where White was just as vulnerable and reacted just as easily to his pheromones, even if White continued to try to forcibly dominate Alec to submit. Something that was impossible unless they killed his mate. Even as the thought crossed his mind, Alec growled the sound damped by the bit in his mouth. He had to stop and control White now.

Alec's tail moved and twitched about in front of White's face, then brushed against his cheek. White didn't respond. The pupils of White's eyes were blown only showing massive dark orbs. Alec didn't hesitate as his tail moved toward his mouth where he used the appendage to brush aggressively against the bit prying it free enough that Alec was able to push and spit the rest of it out with his tongue.

Straining against the straps forcibly holding him down, Alec pushed forward. His jaw hitting just below the ball socket of White's shoulder – the next moment Alec tasted White's skin. His jaw clamped down over the ball of White's shoulder in a vicious bite. Teeth sinking through layers of White's skin only pausing as Alec's mouth filled with blood.

White screamed in pain, and for a moment he tried to push back and fight Alec off, to no avail. In a reprimand, Alec's teeth sank further into White's skin, purposely digging into his flesh until he hit bone. Excess blood dripped from his mouth; silently demanding White submit.

It didn't take long before White obeyed and his body stilled.

White angled his head so he could meet Alec's gaze head on. Alec saw White's confusion. Watched as White's haze of lust cleared enough for him to understand what had happened, to the blatant recognition that he'd fucked up. Wide-eyed, White's held Alec's stare. Whether Alec was reading it through White's face, through his eyes, or somehow he had the ability - unwanted emotions filtered through. White's emotional pain, his loneness, an aching desire to belong, his longing to be Alec's mate to be a part of someone – emotions that were soon over shadowed by White's need to submit to Alec, it was all there. Behind that need was also White's jealousy and anger toward Logan, White's only acknowledgment that Alec was already mated. Though it was White's loathing that really caught Alec's interest- it wasn't just a hatred for Logan or even Alec instead what Alec felt was White's a self loathing.

Alec didn't have time to consider what any of it meant; he needed to get out of there before that Manticore bitch came back. Instead he reacted and pushed his teeth further rubbing against the bone and clamped his jaw then waited. White understood and broke the eye contact, lowering his eyes in submission.

Slowly Alec eased his grip, not sure why White would understand still instinctively Alec silently communicated the words off and free.

White responded with whimpers whether it's from the pain Alec created as he moved, or in fear, Alec didn't know nor did he care. It's only when White complied that Alec had an understanding why he was whimpering that's it's not out of pain but because he's been rejected and ordered off of Alec's body.

Alec could feel White's emotional struggle to comply, his movements sluggish as he moved to follow Alec's order, and was thoroughly amazed when White was tender as he carefully and gently lifted up and pulled out of Alec's body.

Once White was off of him and had unstrapped Alec, he stood back awaiting Alec's orders.

It's odd, but Alec didn't want this from White, he wanted the man who hated him with a passion who'd rather have him dead. Belatedly Alec saw White flinch as if he heard him.

Though White just demonstrated he heard Alec, Alec needed to confirm that White really did understand and mentally commanded him to knee. Without hesitation White did.

Alec snickered; his only thought was if he had the time. Logan's voice filtered through the bond, You don't.

Relieved and strengthened to hear Logan, Alec conceded the point. Addressing White, Alec demanded. "Where are we, and how can I get out of here unseen, without setting off alarms?"

White didn't waver as he quickly gave Alec their address, and then rambled off codes and the safest route for him to avoid guards. Alec didn't have to stop and tell Logan to tell the others. He didn't even have to think in complete thoughts to know Logan understood and he'd be there to pick Alec up.

Alec started to leave, when he turned back. White hadn't said a word though his body trembled, and Alec felt White's sadness and the pulsing thought of yours. Reluctantly Alec squatted down to face White. White silently pleaded with him. Alec smirked, his voice low and even. His tail waving the only physical indication White had on how agitated Alec was that all he felt for White was hatred. "You wanted me dead, raped me. But worse than that, you ordered my mate's death. Even now you want my mate dead." Alec's pain and hatred for that act alone bled through as he stated, "I should have you present me your beating heart."

Logan's plea came through, Alec, you don't have time. Grudgingly Alec conceded he still needed White. "You will have my back, and die if necessary. Once I'm free, if you're alive you will come back here and wait for that bitch. Offer her your services in my place."

Alec licked his lips, taking in White's eagerness to follow his orders. "If for some reason you're somehow spared, you are to never to harm my mate, or anyone - anything that is mine ever. My mate, Ames you're to protect him to your dying breath, is that understood?"

Alec watched as White's eyes widened at the use of his first name, felt the sliver of hope as Ames nodded reverently. Alec easily heard the whispered acceptance, saw the glistening of tears that Ames tried to blink away, and felt the weighted vow behind his, "Yes."

"Good." Alec stood, and harshly ordered. "Now stand." Within two steps he reached for White's pants and threw them his way. "Put those on I want to get the hell out of here."

White obeyed and moved quickly intercepting the pants mid air.


There was no fanfare leaving the room as the corridors were empty. White had already ordered guards to be scarce prior to his attempt to claim Alec. At the last door, once White entered the code and the door swung open. He stood back and watched Alec move ahead of him breathing in the night air.

Alec felt the conflict, the acute pain that was emulating from White that he was no longer needed, that he'd be alone. He almost felt pity, but after what White did to Logan – that Alec almost lost Logan, it wasn't something he could ever forgive. "Go, and don't forget to strip and have yourself properly presented for that bitch – let her know you're mine even after I rejected you." Alec felt more than saw White cringe at his words before he glanced to see White nod his acceptance then turn around to flee, obeying the order.

Alec hesitated as he watched White disappear around the corner. It was only Logan's voice breaking through the bond, Go, you have to go now! that forced Alec into moving.

Alec crept within the shadows, moving as quickly as he dared for two blocks to keep hidden from the prying eyes of the sector police before he made his made down covered manhole. Logan argued telling him that they would meet him, but Alec abruptly stopped and refused. Insisted he'd meet Logan where it was safe at Terminal City, and he wouldn't go any further until Logan and the others started to make their way to Terminal City. Alec ignored Logan's cursing, and only started to move himself once he knew Logan and the others were on the move.

Inside the sewer Alec didn't bother to hide any of his enhanced abilities as he ran full out. Though his mate was slightly bitter for losing the argument, Logan continued to urge him on. Each of them feeling greater strength as distance continued to decrease between them.

By the tenth block Alec had passed from one sector into another, and the last sector separating him and Logan. Once he was a few streets away Alec climbed up to the surface, and made the rest of the way to Terminal City, where he knew Logan was anxiously waiting for him.

Alec no longer cared if the sector police saw him; here, he was just another anomaly they often spotted on the outskirts surrounding Terminal City. Alec walked pass the sector barriers. Could barely Logan's silhouette in the shadows standing behind two men. The larger Alec knew was Joshua, but only as he stepped closer did he realized the other was Zack.

Logan's annoyance and frustration came through the bond. "They've refused to let me go any further."

Alec chuckled, "Good. Need you safe."

Irritated Logan responded, "Damn it Alec, I am safe, I just need you." Alec watched as Logan elbowed his way to stand between them. Zack's hand clamped down on Logan's shoulder preventing him from going any further.

A spike of possessiveness hit Alec at seeing Zack's hand on Logan, conflicted even as he understood and wanted Zack to protect Logan. It wasn't until Logan's reprimand "Alec." That Alec even realized he was growling.

With renewed purpose Alec picked up his pace, he wanted Logan in his embrace now. Passing the bonfire, Alec stumbled to a stop less than a hundred feet away when he could clearly see Logan. Emotions hit, to know Logan was real, that he was alive, breathing not a figment of his imagination. Standing there truly safe and whole suddenly made it easier to push away the aching memory of White's order to terminate him. Overwhelmed, Alec had no words to express his feelings.

Logan didn't have a problem as he forcibly pushed passed Zack with a little help from Joshua. Through the bond Logan muttered, "Oh baby I'm fine, and very real." The words were suddenly accompanied by Logan's body as he press up against Alec.

Alec pulled Logan back just enough to attack him with a kiss. He wanted to go slow to savor Logan's taste, but the adrenaline and need pumping through his system continued to escalate pitched too high to think rationally as he started to devour the essence of his mate.

It barely registered when Joshua excitedly stated the obvious, "Alec and Logan gettin busy?"

"Fuck, get the hell in here!" Alec heard the exasperated order, and felt someone pass him until he stood at Alec's six. He was grateful, but he didn't immediately recognize the voice. Not until Logan mentally supplied with what he should have known since he saw him standing next to Joshua Zack's name, along with the memories of when Logan first woke. Alec lifted Logan's body making it easier for Logan to hitch his legs around the waist of Alec's larger frame. Logan's arms wrapped around Alec's body, one hand slid down, caressing just above Alec's tail. Excited by his mate's touch Alec's tail jerked about. While Logan's other hand settled into Alec's mane, his fingers threading through the silky strands.

With Zack's terse, "Move it!" Alec was attempted to tell him to go fuck off, but it was Logan's desperate want filling Alec's mind, "Yes let's go. I need to fuck you baby, Need you now." That had Alec moving, mewing his consent as he made his way to his living quarters within TC.

It didn't diminish his desire for Logan, but as they made their way through TC Alec was getting annoyed listening to their chatter as they continued following Alec. Zack's irritation gave into anger. "Thought the pheromones were bad enough with Max and Cindy. Since Cindy woke up they've been going at it non-stop." His tone harsher, "Now because of them, fuck! I'm a walking erection."

Joshua softly barked in assent then questioned. "Maybe Zack needs to get busy?"

Zack immediately snapped back, "No kidding."

"Joshua too, maybe Zack and Joshua get busy?"

He heard Zack's step falter. Alec almost wanted to turn around to see Zack's reaction at Joshua's proposal. Instead he was just pleased that maybe now they'd be distracted with each other that they'd stop following them and he could concentrate on Logan. "They have orders from Lydecker to protect you - us. But even if they didn't they'd still be here - they care Alec."

He had just reached his quarters, and was dismayed that Zack and Joshua kept his six. Alec was more than annoyed with Lydecker's orders as if he was one of Lydecker's kids; he wasn't part of their unit. He never had a unit. It was Logan who replied with the answer. "Not a unit Alec, but family they're family, our family."

The thought startled Alec, then he felt warmness spread to the pit of his stomach that maybe he finally belonged. He heard Logan's answer. "You do belong to me, always mine."

With that Alec growled his assent, and kicked the door open barely pausing in the entry as he addressed his new brothers. "This is as far as you go orders or no orders." Alec didn't bother waiting for an answer as his foot slammed the door behind him.


Teeth raked across Alec's neck before Logan clamped down to pull roughly, sucking hard on the skin. At that moment Alec let go of everything his need spiking into overdrive and in three steps was at the bed. Logan unhitched his legs to kneel at the foot of the bed then he aggressively pulled Alec's hand. Maneuvering his body until Alec laid spread out under Logan's gaze.

Logan didn't waste time, stripping off his shirt then busily pulled his sweats down. Logan's mind furnishing Alec with Logan's immediate need broken down to short spurts of: take, want, and claim now.

Excited Alec replied by spreading and pulling his knees up to his chest, his cock ridged and hard against his stomach. Logan partially stepped off the bed to kick off the sweats; only to hastily return to the bed and to his position, scooting in closer between Alec's legs. His hands moved soothing petting Alec's inner thighs spreading him wider, pushing Alec to pull his knees tighter into his chest displaying himself to Logan. Logan's hands caressed up and down Alec's inner thighs. His fingers gently petted and danced over the stripes decorating Alec's sides briefly before turned aggressively and pushed Alec's thighs further as he leaned down between the junction of Alec legs.

Alec watched, through a haze of heat, his desire to have Logan take him pulsed throughout his body. Like his cock, Alec's tail jerked rhythmically to the pulse of his desire. Alec zeroed in on Logan's mouth as he moved closer to his cock head.

Alec threw his head back when he felt the heat of Logan's breath, and anticipated the swipe of Logan's tongue.

He was so involved in the heady need to have Logan take him; Alec didn't realize when Logan started to pull back. Not until he heard the abrupt wail of anguish rent through the air.

Seconds later Zack and Joshua burst through the door breaking its hinge.

His desire was effectively doused by the extreme murderous thoughts running through Logan's mind. All Alec cared about was Logan. Alec tried to sort through why his mate suddenly had such vicious thoughts then he understood - Ames.

Alec bodily pulled Logan up and over his body, his legs wrapping around Logan, cradling him as Logan continued to thrash about in distress.

Alec was about to take his own anger out on Zack and Joshua as he looked over Logan's shoulder. But seeing them standing ready to defend and attack whatever threat had sneaked by them. Alec was humbled by the gesture as he remembered Logan stating they were family.

Glancing between them, Alec suddenly noticed Zack's shirt was tucked up to his armpits; his chest revealing trails of redlines mapped over his pale skin- claw marks. Alec almost smirked, wanting to congratulate them; pleased Joshua didn't wait to make a move.

Still he needed to be alone with his mate. "We're fine. Now get out."

For a moment neither moved. Zack was the first to move as he stepped further into the room. His mechanical eye scanning the room making sure it was secure. Once he was satisfied he nodded to Joshua and stepped out of the room. Joshua glanced toward Alec, "Logan safe…" It took Alec a second before he realized Joshua was asking a question not making a statement.

"Yeah Logan's safe, big fellow." Joshua smiled, then stood there for a moment longer staring at the door and the empty frame. Leaving the room, Joshua refitted the door into place. Alec listened for a moment as Zack and Joshua discussed how they were going to fix the door without disturbing them again, before Alec tuned them out and turned his attention back to Logan.

Logan sniffled, too choked up to talk. Instead he focused enough to make it easier for Alec to understand the train of his thoughts. "I'm sorry baby. I told you to do what you had to… I knew what he did; I encouraged you, but his scent…"

Alec couldn't stop the flood of shame. Everything with Ames was rape, but he couldn't deny physically there was a point he didn't care that Alec wanted.... He should have stopped it sooner. Figured out he had to bite Ames in order to control him. Should have killed him…

Logan's hands cupped Alec's face forcing him to look at him. "Shhhhsh… No, no baby, don't! It's not you… I just hated that they captured you, took you from me that he did that, hurt you, shhhhh, never again, you're mine…"

Alec moaned, Logan's followed the words with kisses covering his face and neck, his mind, reciting mine over and over. Alec whimpered, his need as it increased with each kiss, each sensation Logan created his hands wandered and stroked over his body.

Logan pulled back and looked into Alec's face, and held his gaze. Alec watched as Logan stared to read what was in his heart what he couldn't voice out loud. Logan focused to make sure he understood exactly what Alec wanted.

Logan nodded, his lips and tongue devoured Alec's mouth, his hands gripped with purpose. They massaged and stroked recreating the crescendo of heat. Logan lifted Alec's legs directing Alec to grab under his knees to hold himself open. Fingers swiped over his hole then he felt Logan insert one then two fingers gently stretching. Though he barely created a pace before Logan removed his fingers and Alec felt the tip of Logan's cock. Logan hovered there a moment feeling the stretch before he slowly moved until Logan's cock bottomed out.

Logan moved lifting then sinking down, to repeat again. Logan's movements swiftly became rapid even - his mind matched the same pace, stating over again mine. The closer Logan came to coming the more erratic his movements were, the more frantic and needy Logan got as he choked out MINE filling Alec with his come.

Alec reciprocated vocally yelling out, YOURS! His own body shook as his release splattered over his stomach. Alec barely had time to think before Logan started to move again, his cock still hard easily sliding through the come leaking from his ass. Breathless Logan's nipped his jaw drawing his attention. His mind supplying the words, "I'm gonna do what you need Alec, and cover you in my scent…" Logan followed each word, each thought with a driving force before he started to piston his body in and out of Alec, "you're mine, only mine!"



Logan inhaled breathing in the heavy scent of Alec. He was everywhere his scent surrounded Logan offering him the secure comfort that his mate was safe. Rousing to wake Logan slowly opened his eyes, squinting against the morning sun. A moment later he realized the blanketed warm covering him was Alec's body draped over him.

He should have realized it sooner by the solid weight of Alec's mass - still in cat form his body was larger than Logan's. Previous to Alec's change whenever they stood it was eye to eye possibly separated by only an inch or two. Now in cat form Alec towered over Logan. Though Logan suspected Alec was still shorter than Joshua. Instead of feeling crushed under Alec's weight Logan felt safe and protected. Alec sprawl was uneven as Alec' head overshot his shoulder to lie beside his own on the pillow. Logan turned, brushing Alec's hair out of the way, only to see a trail of drool that had escaped his lips to form a string down to dark puddle just under Alec's chin.

Logan's lips twitched breaking out into a smile at the normalcy of it. His fingers threaded through Alec's mane to comb out the morning tangles of Alec's new mane. Alec moaned softly, his lips moving that snapped the string of drool. Logan's hand stilled not wanting to wake his mate. A second later, still asleep Alec moved his head under Logan's hand, rubbing it under his palm, Alec wanted more.

Logan's complied, his fingers danced in a circular motion scratching Alec's head. Then maneuvered behind Alec's ears and gently rubbed. Alec let out a breathy moan. Delighted by what he heard Logan only paused a brief moment in order to switched hands. One hand went back rubbing between Alec's ears, alternating between each ear only to pause in the middle where he'd start again. While his other hand moved petting down over Alec's back in slow soothing strokes over and over. The more Logan petted and caressed the more responsive Alec became until he was literally purring his pleasure.

The sound of Alec's purr vibrated throughout Logan's body, giving Logan just as much pleasure as his touch apparently did for Alec.

How long they stayed like that Logan couldn't say. The feelings of contentment and leisure drove Logan on as their pleasure re-cycled feeding off of each other and then circling back again in a loop.

Though Alec was awake now, he kept his eyes closed his tail twitching as it brushed and teased over Logan's flesh. Effectively returning each stroke he received with his own petted caress over Logan's body. Logan frowned when he unintentionally broke the spell after Alec's tail moved over his stomach, and surprised them both when it grumbled to life.

Alec giggled then burst out laughing as his stomach continued to growling. Too delighted to see and hear Alec's laughter, Logan sheepishly returned Alec's grin. When another rumbled resounded, only it was Alec's stomach echoing Logan's sentiment - they were hungry. This time they both broke out laughing. Still laughing Logan mentally voiced the obvious. Guess we both need a break to refuel?

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Alec responded as if it was a threat, tensing as he stood bracing to fight in order to protect Logan.

It pained Logan to see. Not because Alec responded so quickly, but because his response was dictated by his trauma rather than the actual facts. Logan knew Alec's senses were sharper than his. That Alec had to of known it was only Joshua and Max behind the door with a tray of food - because he knew.

Alec turned and looked at him then his eyes darted away hissing in anger and shame by his overreaction. Logan wanted to go to him, but knew right now the soldier in Alec wouldn't allow Logan's soft comforting. Instead he offered the truth, "Don't! It's going to take time for both of us to adjust." Then if on cue his stomach grumbled again.

Logan watched Alec eyed his stomach then rolled his shoulders to shake off his defensive stance. Alec's nose wiggled before he shook his head and stifled his laughter listening to Logan's stomach continued growl for food. Alec moved toward the door, his hand was on the doorknob about to turn and open the door when he suddenly turned to Logan. His chin inclined as he silently told Logan to cover himself.

Logan could only smirk, his eyebrow arching questioningly at the absurdity since Alec stood there in all his glory. It didn't seem to matter as Alec's possessiveness cranked up a notch. Finally when Logan didn't move Alec quietly added, "please."

With reluctance, his stomach winning over Alec's possessive act Logan complied by grabbing the sheet, and covering his lower body. Though he silently warned Alec they were going to be talking about it afterwards.

Alec only nodded and opened the door allowing Max and Joshua to enter. Both were carrying trays of food piled high, but they stood there and winced, their noses twitching, obviously overwhelmed by the bombardment from the heavy musk of their sex. It might have been insulting if Logan cared, he didn't. In fact not only was already accustomed to the familiar scent that he no longer noticed. After a moment they adjusted and awkwardly walked in pass Alec. It was Joshua who recovered first lifting his tray as he greeted them, "Morning Alec, Logan."

Alec and Logan both returned the greeting "Morning."

Joshua strode over to the bed settling the tray down next to Logan. Logan eyed the tray, salivating. "Damn that smells so good, I'm staved." At first Logan didn't hear anything then a low rumble reached his ears. Joshua did too, and stood up before he moved back to stand closer to Alec.

Logan wanted to say something, to let Joshua know that it was okay, but he knew it'd be a lie. Everything between them was too new, and Alec wasn't the only one feeling possessive as Logan's eyes narrowed on Max who couldn't seem to take her eyes off of Alec.

Max didn't see or react to the exchange, but offhanded clearly distracted by Alec's new body she answered, "I bet, after you've been going at it for days. Engel thinks you'll continue at least until Alec can shift back."

Logan's jaw dropped as he looked up to Alec, "What? Days?"

Max turned to answer, but her head quickly swiveled back to Alec as if she couldn't stop herself and continued to gawk at Alec. "Yeah ask Joshua, since you guys got back you haven't left here, haven't eaten that we know of unless you had a stash of food in here. We figured you drank tap water from the bathroom. It was Lydecker who order provisions. Would have come earlier, but you guys weren't the only ones occupied." She crinkled her nose, "Have to say, you guys should consider sex in the shower you know while it's running, or just a shower cause it's pretty rank in here." Her eyes never wavered from Alec's body.

He hadn't even known he was growling until both Alec and Max turned surprised looks at him. Alec's eyes twinkled clearly amused by Logan's reaction, but Max flushed with embarrassment at having been caught.

Abruptly Joshua stepped in and took the tray from Max and placed it by the other one on the bed before he was standing beside her again, this time he was pulling her toward the door. Suddenly Max realized what Joshua was doing and waved his hand away as she turned toward Logan. Still flustered, her voice slightly loud, "Sorry about that, I didn't mean anything it's just a shock to see him like that...."

Logan's eyes narrowed as he openly glared at her, daring her to finish that thought.

"I mean… shit; I'm not, really Logan I'm not interested, okay?" Max's eyes shifted toward the floor, "Not like that." Then she hesitantly looked up, almost shyly. "I have Cindy now. We…" Her flush deepened.

Logan's eyes shifted over to Alec and saw the twinkle of laughter reflected in his eyes. It was what Logan needed to let go of the anger, jealousy, and possessiveness that he felt himself choking on. Focusing on what Max had said Logan started thinking about Cindy. It immediately brought him back to the attack: of Cindy's injuries, of how she had remained unconscious, how Max hovered over her mate was lost without her. Looking at Alec, he felt the shared empathy as they both understood. Concerned Logan gently asked, "She's okay then?"

Smiling more to herself Max nodded. Max bit her lip, it was obvious she was thinking of how she left Cindy, and Logan didn't have a hard time imagining not after what he saw at Crash. Max answered, "Yeah. It took her a little longer to heal. She had no civertone build up in her system, but we're together – like you and Alec." Shrugging she added, "Engel seems to think because I was there when Alec was initially triggered and then drank some of the cocktail it not only revved up my heat, but also triggered me to permanently mate – to mark Cindy as mine."

From Max's demeanor it didn't seem as if she had any problems with their new arrangements, or with Cindy as her mate.

Max's grin tilted as if she had a secret then started to rock on her toes, "Yup, it seems Alec's pheromones triggered a lot of us." There was humor behind those words, but it wasn't until Max's gaze flew upward landing on Joshua did Logan understand the implication.

Logan watched their exchange as Joshua glared at Max then stated, "Joshua doesn't kiss and tell."

No one said anything.

Logan was sure Joshua had heard Alec say the same thing on a dozen different occasions – even though they all knew it was a lie because Alec was always willing to share. Even though Joshua mimicked it perfectly, and hit the right note making the insinuations. It fell flat, something was lost in the execution, where it was suppose to come off as a joke, like it did whenever Alec had said it, but with Joshua instead it was just a simple truth.

Logan waited; Max seemed to expect that Alec would be the one to tease Joshua and Zack, one or both. Instead Alec offered Joshua a heartfelt smile, "I'm really happy for big fellow, for you both."

Joshua grinned, "Thank you Alec."

"That's it?" Max asked her disappointment clear.

Alec ordered as he held the door open, "No, now get the hell out."

Max whirled on him, "What?"

Alec licked his lips, and leered as he suggestively asked, "Unless you want to invite Cindy over? Do a little graphic show and tell?"

Logan watched as Max's eyes narrowed menacingly, without taking her eyes off of Alec she addressed him. "Logan, take care of yourself." She paused her lips thinned, then gasped in frustration giving up as Alec just continued his leer. "Alec you haven't changed a bit you're still a pig." Angrily Max stalked out of the room her hair flailing behind her. Alec leaned outside and baited her, "Aw come on Maxie, just talk to Cindy first maybe we can do a double?"

Joshua moved toward the door shaking his head. Abruptly he stopped and slowly looked Alec up and down then shook his head again. "Alec cat not a pig." Joshua leaned down into Alec's face. Joshua tapped his nose. "Nose knows."

Joshua barked in laughter as he left closing the door behind him, leaving Alec and Logan to stare at each other before they burst out laughing. Alec stumbled over to the bed jumbling the trays as he fell back against the headboard still cracking up. Logan was at his side laughing just as hard.

By the time they calmed enough, their stomachs growled in chorus. Together they sat up and started to attack the trays, devouring everything in sight not stopping until both trays were emptied. Once they were done, Alec moved and set the trays on the floor before he settled in next to Logan. Both sprawled out stuffed and content.

Curiously Logan turned his head and asked, "So days? You remember?"

"I remember most of it in the beginning, after that everything kind of gets a little hazy. By the way we did shower at least twice." Alec shrugged, "Or we tried to, even ripped the shower curtain."

"Huh." Logan tried to remember, but he only had broken fragments of pleasurable lust: tasting, feeling and fucking Alec. Being inside his mate amazed by how tight he was, and if he wasn't thoroughly exhausted he'd take Alec now.

Alec turned toward him as they lay side by side facing each other and coyly asked, "You would?"

Logan didn't have to answer he knew Alec read his thoughts, and then absently wondered when they started picking up more than just reading each other's feelings.

Alec's tail traveled over Logan's hips. "Don't know sometime after I changed. The closer we got, and then I touched you, it was like you were inside my head."

Logan's thumb swiped over Alec's lower lip. "Me too."

"Guess it's a happy ending?" Logan knew Alec was trying to be light happy, but he felt Alec's confusion how his world suddenly flipped especially his body - everything was different.

"It'll take time, but you're not alone. Won't go through it alone, we're in this together."

Alec lips slid into a small smile. "Like Max and Cindy, or Joshua and Zack?"

Logan cupped Alec's face making him look at him. "No, like Alec and Logan." He leaned in and softly kissed Alec, and whispered his thoughts to Alec's mind as he continued kissing refusing to let Alec go. "We're together, you're mine Alec. I love you, and even if I could I don't want to live without you. Alec you'll always belong to me, just as I'll always be yours Alec, only yours."

Logan felt Alec's body relax further as he scooted closer returning Logan's kiss, "Yours, only yours!"