Spoilers: Freak Nation

Notes: Takes place post "Freak Nation" but doesnít take the novels into account.

Mating Day

Orithain and Rina

January 2005

Disclaimers: You donít actually think we believe theyíre ours, do you? Weíre not delusional. ;) We donít make any money from this, just have fun.

"We need to leave."

Jason Kittridge looked up from the results of his latest tests and frowned, dark brown brows furrowing over equally dark brown eyes. "Is this another drill, Marnie, Ďcause Iím right in the middle of this?"

"Itís no drill. Weíre leaving, so pack!" The diminutive blonde began shoving data disks into a bag, only slowing when she looked back over her shoulder to find Jason still staring t her. "Will you move it!"

"How many times do we have to go through..." Jasonís voice died away when he focused on Marnieís side and saw the patch of red soaking through the fabric of her t-shirt. "Is that blood?"

"Most of itís not mine," she snapped, grabbing the reports heíd been reading and throwing them in another bag. "Whereís the data from those tests I asked you to do?"

"Uh, here." He reached under his desk and handed her a removable hard drive, suddenly taking this a lot more seriously. "What happened?"

"Iíll tell you when weíre on the road."

Realizing that Marnie was ready to leave, Jason dashed around the lab, grabbing what he could, then back into his office/apartment, determined not to leave without his favorite jacket, a medical kit, and his CDs. "Okay, letís rock, but once we get somewhere safe, weíre stopping so I can patch you up."

Marnie looked at him solemnly. "Iím not sure there is anywhere safe."

"Will you let me drive? The bleedingís getting worse."

"Weíre almost there, and my reflexes are still better than yours."

"Damn it, Marnie... Look out!" Jason ducked reflexively as a truck swung into the lane near them and he caught sight of a rifle in the window. "Fuck! I thought weíd lost them!"

Who Ďtheyí were, he had no idea, and Marnie wasnít telling. Reticence was something he wasnít accompanied to from her, and this silence was gnawing at his gut as was worry about her blood loss.

Cursing, Marnie swung their SUV onto a side street, swerving around a parked car and gunning the engine to put distance between them and their pursuers. "There it is," she said grimly.

"There what is?" Jason looked forward to see a barricaded fence looming in front of them. "Terminal City? Are you crazy?"

"No," was all she said in reply, cutting the wheel sharply to the left as the truck came up behind them, then hitting the fence dead on, crashing through it and into the no-manís-land beyond.

Jasonís head hit the dashboard hard when they jounced to a stop, and the last thing he saw was a gorgeous face looking down at him through the broken window. "Fuck, guess fags do go to heaven after all," he muttered before blacking out.

Alecís eyebrows rose over green eyes as he caught that comment, and he very carefully avoided meeting Max or Moleís gaze, knowing that theyíd be laughing their asses off at the idea of him as an angel. Instead he carefully extracted the man from the truck before glancing at the female transgenic behind the steering wheel. "Who are you?"

"And why are you here?" Max added, her voice hard as she watched the newcomers suspiciously. Though her instincts made her want to welcome a fellow X series, experience had taught her to be wary, especially now that sheíd somehow become the de facto leader of Terminal City. She had to take care for everyone.

Marnie got slowly out of the SUV, taking care to keep her hands in plain sight the whole while. "You must be Max. Iím Marnie, and thatís Jason; we need to see Logan." She looked back to where the truck that had chased them was backing away and winced, her hand going to her blood-soaked side. "After I talk to him, Iíll explain."

Maxís expression shut down. "You can talk to me, or you can leave." Nothing would make her bring an unknown transgenic to Logan; her kind had a habit of trying to kill him.

"Could you ladies decide quickly? I really canít spend the whole day carrying this guy around," Alec said wryly, gesturing slightly with the unconscious man in his arms.

"I think we should just shoot Ďem and be done with it. We donít need another pretty face with a superiority complex around here," Mole growled around his cigar. "No offense," he added to Max and Alec, who both just looked amused, used to him.

"Try it, Fish-face, and youíll get that gun rammed up your ass," Marnie growled, turning back to Max without missing a beat. "You donít want to take us to him, fine. Contact him then and tell him the answer he was looking for is here." She then turned to the X5. "And if heís too much for you to deal with, pretty-boy, give him to me; heís my responsibility."

"What answer?" Max demanded, ignoring everything else when Loganís safety was involved. "You havenít given me a reason to let you anywhere near him. Or did you really think it was going to be that easy to walk in here and assassinate him just because youíre a transgenic?"

"Take it from me, it ainít that easy," Alec snorted before glancing down again at the man he was holding. "Is something else wrong with him? He should be coming around by now if this is just from that bump on the head."

"If he had wanted you to know, he would have told you," Marnie snapped back. "Just go tell him. Iíll sit here quietly and bleed, and as you can tell, Jason isnít in any condition to do anything."

"Fuck, Marnie, did you get the number of that truck?" Jason groaned, reaching up to rub his forehead and opening his eyes when his hand smacked into a face that wasnít his own. "Iíve heard of sweeping people off their feet, but I donít even know you, man."

"You would have preferred that I left you slumped over the dashboard?" Alec inquired, lowering the other man to his feet but keeping an arm around his waist as he still looked alarmingly wobbly.

Momentarily distracted by the manís regaining consciousness, Max quickly returned her attention to the blonde transgenic. "Who do you think you are?" she bit out, color rising as her temper did.

"Wouldnít it have been easier to have asked me if I knew her?" Logan himself asked from Joshuaís side, the canine transgenic having come for him when it appeared that the two female X series were going to get stubborn.

He eyed Marnie. "Iíll need some proof of your claims though."

She nodded. "Jason is the one you need to ask about the details, but itís done, at least the mock-ups are. The breeding cult got wind of us, and we had to scoot."

Jason struggled to regain his balance, shaking his head when his vision went gray. "If youíre talking about the retro-virus work, yeah, itís done. What exactly do you want with it? Itís individual specific, so the cure isnít going to work for just anyone, plus I havenít done any trials yet." He realized he was leaning against the tall man whoíd been carrying him and straightened up. "Dude, you can let go now."

Mole switched his cigar to the other side of his mouth. "Heís not a dude; heís an angel," he smirked.

"Just wanted to make sure you werenít going to fall at my feet," Alec replied easily, a smug grin appearing. "Not that youíd be the first." He glared at Mole. "And itís easy to see why someone would make that mistake."

Max rolled her eyes. "I should have gone with my second choice," she muttered, eyeing Alec. "Dick."

Alec ignored her, concentrating on the newcomers.

"But it should work?" Logan asked desperately, and Maxís eyes suddenly widened as she realized what they were discussing.

"A cure for the virus? A real one?"

Ignoring the smug X5 at his side, Jason started to answer when he saw Marnie swaying. "Yes. Itís theoretical right now, but it should work. Look, can we discuss it inside somewhere? My head is killing me, and I need to play doctor on the super-soldier over there."

"Fuck you, Einstein," Marnie growled.

"And here I thought I was the angel of your dreams," Alec murmuring, grinning.

"Shut up, Alec," Max and Logan absently chorused, not even glancing at him. They stared at each other desperately, hope rising.

"You can use my apartment," Logan offered. "Itís in one of the safest areas of Terminal City for non-transgenics. And then... we can talk. This cure is more important to me than you can imagine."

"Great. Thanks. Now can I get some names to go with faces. Aside from Dick here, Iím at a loss." As he spoke, Jason ducked away from the tall X5ís side and moved over to Marnie, making her lean against the battered side of the SUV. "The dataís in here, if someone can help me with the hard drivesóNot you," he snapped when Marnie tried to push past him. He bent to retrieve the hard drive and felt the world spin. "Man, that was better than Disneyland."

Alec caught hold of the scientistís elbow, steadying him, before Marnie could. "The name is Alec," he growled, shooting a dirty look at Max, who smiled innocently back at him. "Thatís Max, the queen bee around here; Logan you already know, and the one with the cigar is Mole."

"Come on, letís get you both inside," Logan said. "We can offer something to eat too."

"Thanks," Jason said as he piled Alecís arms with printouts, keeping the hard drive and discs to carry himself. "Weíve been on the road three days; donít think we stopped for more than gas and pee breaks the whole time."

"If we had, want to guess where weíd be?" Marnie asked, straightening up and pulling the hard drive from Jasonís arm, wincing as she did so.

"Iím not arguing," Jason protested, "just making a statement is all."

"White and his cult donít like anyone who might be able to stop this plague of theirs from eliminating the rest of the world," Max said somberly, watching the shorter transgenic. Once sheíd realized Jasonís specialty, she know that Logan was interested in more than a cure for their own problem. "If they know you might be able to, you might knock me out of the position of worst enemy."

"Then again, they donít like much of anyone, so I wouldnít put too much weight on that." Alec eyed the wiry, very young doctor and wondered if he were really capable of what he claimed.

"Gee, someone not liking you, I canít imagine why," Marnie snorted, before looking at Logan. "You said something about your apartment?"

Jason was eyeing Mole and the canine-faced transgenic he hadnít been introduced to closely, clearly curious. Heíd learned a hell of a lot on the drive from Chicago to Seattle, and it seemed he was going to learn even more being here in transgenic central.

"Oh sorry, my man," Alec said, following Jasonís gaze. "Didnít notice you come back.

"Thatís Joshua, the first transgenic, and our resident artist. He painted our flag," Alec added with a thumb jerk toward the white, red and black flag flapping atop a nearby building in the late afternoon breeze.

"We can talk at my place," Logan said firmly.

"Iíll get back to sentry duty," Mole said in his usual abrasive tone. He disappeared before anyone could have replied if they had wanted to.

Marnie nodded sharply and waited for Jason to step in front of her, clearly guarding his back as they followed Logan and Max deeper into the territoryís core.

"I told you, Iíll explain more when Iím done here," Jason said in what he thought was a patient tone. "The dataís not going anywhere, but Marnie might be if I donít get this stitched up."

He glared back over his shoulder at the others, then dug into his med kit, searching for some anesthetic.

Alec and Max exchanged amused glances. "You do know what an X5 is, donít you?" Alec asked, trying not to laugh. "Itíd take a hell of a lot more than that to kill one of us. Actually, Iím surprised it hasnít already clotted," he added with a frown. "It should have." Unless the other X5 was so run down that even her bodyís most basic functions were slowing down.

"Jasonís a mother hen," Marnie hissed through gritted teeth as the man prodded the wound in her side, not bothering to explain that she wasnít exactly an X5 but rather an X5A, one of Manticoreís experiments into creating better footsoldiers by adding more ursine DNA to the predominantly feline cocktail of the X5 type.

"No, Iím a sadist," he snapped back, not sparing the others a glance. "And yes, I know what an X5 is; I just havenít had the pleasure of meeting any others."

"See, todayís your lucky day, youíve already met two more, and there are lots of others here. Not to mention X6s, X7s, and lots of others youíve never even imagined." Alec leaned closer to get a look at the wound, then rolled his eyes when he saw that it was healing fine.

"Mother hen all right," he murmured to Max, who smiled faintly.

"Most people worry when those they love are hurt, Alec," she pointed out, assuming from their reactions that Marnie and Jason were a couple.

"Itís natural with family, and I am not a mother hen," Jason sighed as he finished cleaning the wound, saw that it indeed was closing, and bandaged it instead of stitching it up.

Marnie glanced up at the others in the room and rolled her eyes. "No, not at all."

Max snickered. "Might as well get used to it. It makes no sense, but Loganís the same way with me." She shook her head. "The fact that I can pick him up with one hand doesnít seem to matter."

"Itís better than treating us like a piece of equipment," Alec said, his eyes momentarily focused inward.

"You can still get hurt," Logan protested.

"Pieces of equipment?" Jason asked, meeting Marnieís eyes, his own gaze questioning.

She shrugged. "Thatís what we were bred to be; some canít see past that."

"So we do our best to change their minds." Alecís smile turned feral. "However necessary."

Max simply nodded.

"So I gathered from the armed encampment here," Jason muttered, setting aside his instruments and looking up at Marnie. "No bench pressing the locals for a few days, okay?"

She chuckled. "Iíll try to restrain myself."

"Now, about that cure?" Logan urged, impatient for a solution to his and Maxís problem. "Iíd really prefer not to die."

After washing his hands in the bathroom, Jason returned and laid out the printouts in a semblance of order. "It really wasnít too hard to come up with a theoretical vaccine once I broke the sequencing down." He pointed out several series of genetic coding, then flipped to a scan of a virus. "Itíll just take time to produce it and try it. Do you really want to be a human guinea pig?"

"Considering that itís the only way Iíll ever be able to touch Max again, yes."

Max flushed faintly at Loganís emphasis, but she didnít deny the urgency of their need. They needed to resolve this situation.

Jason shook his head. "Man, thatís really gotta suck. Main problem I can see is getting the equipment I need. I mean, this isnít exactly Macyís here."

"But the reason itís called Terminal City is Ďcause of all the bugs that got loose... when the biggest medical research center outside the CDC or USAMRIID lost containment. Which means that no looters could get in here to steal the equipment. So it is the closest thing to Macyís youíre going to find for your purposes," Alec replied. "And if anythingís still viable, well, transgenics seem to be immune to pretty much everything."

Jason slowly smiled. "So all I have to do is make up a shopping list?"

"Gee, a shopping spree for Einstein, how thrilling," Marnie sighed.

"Yeah, it might take a while to track stuff down, but Iím pretty sure that whatever you need is here. And when everyone hears itís to help Max and Logan, theyíll all pitch in."

"Thanks," Max said softly, glancing over at Logan again, hope rising for the first time in a long time.

"Glad to help," Jason replied, rubbing at his forehead, the weight of the past three days and the realization that his whole life was gone finally hitting him.

"You can use one of the other apartments in the building," Max offered. "Itíll need to be cleaned out, but youíre welcome here as long as you want."

Alec chuckled. "Sketchy will be glad of another non-transgenic around here since Logan and Original Cindy donít seem to notice the difference."

Jason offered a wan smile. "Only difference I notice is that Marnie can kick my ass from here to Saturn and back and not break a sweat. Not that I mind in the least when itís my ass sheís guarding."

"Until we get somewhere else cleared out, is there somewhere Jason can crash?" Marnie asked, eyeing her charge closely.

Alec glanced at Joshua, waiting for the nod before he offered, "You could take my place, and I could stay with Joshua for a day or so. Donít think we could all fit in my crib."

"Iím not gonna kick you out of your place," Jason said quickly.

Alec shrugged. "Hey, I donít mind sharing if you donít, but I donít think thereís room for all three of us."

Marnie eyed the other X5 closely before glancing at Logan, who nodded, letting her know Alec could be trusted. "You let anything happen to Jason and your ass is mine," she stated flatly.

"Well, youíre not my usual type, but Iím sure I could make an exception."

Max groaned. "Leave now."

"Marnie needs somewhere to stay," Jason said, not moving until he was sure she was taken care of as well.

"Well, if you donít mind a baby crying, Gem has some extra room. Iíd offer my place, but itís pretty full with me and Original Cindy," Max said. "Iíd be happy to introduce you."

"A baby?" Marnie looked shocked by the idea, making Jason snicker. "Yeah, I could deal as long as I donít have to change it or anything."

Alec laughed. "Not likely. Gem doesnít let anyone she doesnít know near that baby. Libbyís the first free-born X5 that we know of. So donít try to get too close till Gem has a chance to get to know you. A mother lioness has nothing on an X5 protecting her baby."

"I donít think sheíll have anything to worry about," Jason chuckled. "Thatís the first time Iíve ever seen Marnie afraid of anything."

"Fuck you," she sighed.

"Iíd love to, but youíre the wrong gender for me, babe," he answered.

Alecís eyebrows rose, and Max snickered. "No wonder you thought Alec was an angel. It couldnít be based on personality."

"Hey!" Alec sounded insulted, but his eyes were laughing.

Jason rubbed his forehead again. "I was delirious at the time, what can I say?"

"I think you had perfect vision," Alec said, glaring at Max.

"Even Original Cindy admits youíre pretty, Alec," Max laughed, "right up till you open your mouth."

"I think itís time to call it a night," Alec said hastily, gesturing toward Jason. "Right this way."

"Logan, do you want me to leave you the printouts?" Jason asked.

"And just who is this Original Cindy? Does she have clones?" Marnie added.

"No, thanks, but they wouldnít mean anything to me," Logan admitted with a sigh. "We can talk tomorrow after you get some rest."

Max led Marnie toward the door, laughing. "Original Cindy isnít transgenic, but she is my best friend. And she is an original."

"You ready to go?" Alec asked.

Jason gathered up his things and nodded. "Yeah, I guess so." He caught Marnieís eye and grinned. "Take care of yourself."

She grinned back. "Only when Iím not taking care of you."

"So this is it, home sweet home," Alec said, opening the door to his small apartment and gesturing Jason inside. "Thereís only one bedroom, so you can have the bed, and Iíll take the couch."

"Itís, uh, cozy," Jason said, looking around, trying to get a feel for the place and the other man. "And Iíll take the couch; youíre taller, no need for you to be cramped."

"Iím transgenic, youíre not. Youíd probably be crippled after a night on that thing, while Iím used to a hard cot in a cell." Alec shrugged. "Manticore didnít leave us with much need for luxury."

"Alec," Jason said stubbornly, used to dealing with Marnie when she got like this, "keep your bed. Iíve slept on lab benches and on the floor; I wonít die from sleeping on a sofa." He grinned, pulling what he thought was his ace. "Or we can share."

Alec shrugged. "Okay, thatíll work if you donít have a problem sharing a bed with Ďinhuman scumí."

"Excuse me?"

"Just checking. A lot of people think that about transgenics." Alec shrugged again. "Better to find out before crawling into bed."

"Yeah, well Iím not most people, so deal. Actually, Iím amazed youíd agree to it; arenít you afraid Iím going to jump you?"

"Uh, transgenic versus humanówho do you think would win? And itís not like it would be the first time anyway." Alec shrugged. "No big. But you donít strike me as the rapist sort."

"I just meant..." Jason shook his head and waved a hand. "Whatever. I need some sleep."

Alec laughed finally. "Itís going to be fun confusing the hell out of you." He grinned wickedly as he led the way toward the bedroom.

Jason groaned. "This on top of a concussionómy day is only getting better."

"Itís not every day you get to meet an angel."

"Especially one whoís a Dick," Jason muttered, kicking off his sneakers and pulling off his over-shirt.

"You may never know," Alec retorted, stripping down for bed. "But we can figure that out another day. You look like youíre about to pass out."

After unfastening his jeans and shoving them down, Jason sat down on the bed, looking back over his shoulder at Alec. "Do you do that on purpose?"

"Do what?" Alec asked, honestly confused.

"Drive people nuts," Jason answered, carefully lying back on the bed and letting out a sigh as his bruised body relaxed.

"Oh, that. Yeah, pretty much." Alec grinned quickly. "Survival trait."

"Good thing you can take care of yourself then, I suppose."

"Yeah, thatís me, good old Alec, doesnít need anything from anyone."

With a slight groan, Jason rolled over on his side. "Do I detect a note of irony in that statement?"

Alecís smile as the green eyes looked down at the prone scientist was wry. "Do you know that youíre the first person ever to ask or care?"

"That sucks," Jason answered. "Maybe thatís why you act like you donít need anyone."

"Chicken or egg," Alec murmured. "And what about you? How did you end up with an X5 bodyguard?"

"Just lucky, I guess." Jason rolled to his back again and glanced at the empty space alongside him. "If youíre going to stand there all night, youíre never going to get any sleep."

Alec raised an eyebrow as Jason dodged the question but let it go, instead pulling off the rest of his clothes. "I could sleep on my feet if necessary, but youíre right that the bed would be a lot more comfortable." Naked, he slid into the empty space and drew the sheet over him.

Having gotten an eyeful of a gorgeously sculpted body as Alec walked around the foot of the bed, Jason groaned, feeling his libido wake up even though his body was aching. "You sure you donít want me on the couch?"

Looking surprised at first, Alec grinned as he turned his head to face Jason. "Back to that angel thing, are we? Donít worry, I didnít say no." Jason seemed pleasant enough, and if it would make him rest more easily, Alec had no objection.

Jasonís expression was one of pure surprise. "Youíre joking, right?"

"Why would I be?" Alec was equally surprised.

"Other than the fact that we just met and I thought you were straight, I donít know."

"I was trained as an assassin; that included all ways to get close to a target. And what does how long ago we met have to do with anything?"

"They trained you to have sex with your targets?" Now Jasonís eyes were about to pop out of his head, and he stuttered as he tried to recover. "Marnie never told me that part of her training, and the way I figure it, itís nice to know the other person at least a little before you have sex with them."

"Uh, okay. But why? Sex is just sex. I had plenty of breeding partners back at Manticore, and we met for the first time when we were paired off."

Jasonís expression turned wry. "Iím not quite breeding partner material."

"Well, no, but itís the same idea. I donít see what difference it would to know each other longer. Last I checked, the parts donít change."

"No, but itís nice to like someone youíre sleeping with as well as being attracted to them."

Alec shrugged. "The only time I liked someone, I got her killed."

"Oh." Jason had no idea what to say to that. "Iím sorry."

"Not your fault. It was mine. I was supposed to kill her father. In trying to save her, I failed my mission and got her killed. Like I told Max, transgenics are dangerous to the people around them."

"From what Iíve seen the past few days, that seems only because other dangerous people are out there. Hell, if it wasnít for Marnie, Iíd probably be stuck in some underground lab somewhere chained to a sequencer for the rest of my life, however short it might be."

"That sounds fairly boring." Alec rolled to his side to face Jason, green eyes curious as they observed the other man. "So Iím assuming this all means youíre not interested?"

"Uh, no, I thought it was sorta clear that I was, but Iíd rather sleep with something other than a hunk of meat. The person inside matters too."

"I can assure you I have plenty of personality. Just ask Max; sheíll go on for hours," Alec snorted.

Jason rolled his eyes, then winced and rubbed the purple bruise on his forehead. "I guess Iíll just have to do that."

"So youíre interested but not tonight?" Alec hazarded.

"Yeah, you could say that." Jason closed his eyes, continuing to rub at his forehead. "Aside from the getting to know you thing, thereís the good old cliched Ďnot tonight, dear, I have a headache.í"

Alec burst into laughter. "Okay, thatís the first time I heard that. But I offered you my bed with no strings attached, so get some rest. We have plenty of time to deal with any other possibilities."

"Itíd be nice to think that anyway," Jason sighed, pulling the blanket up to his chin and curling up on his side, slipping quickly into sleep.

Alec stared at him the dark for a long time, wondering what Jason had meant by that last comment. Finally, he closed his eyes and fell asleep as well, never noticing when they gravitated together as the night wore on.

Feeling a solid warmth at his back, Jason murmured in pleasure and wriggled back against it. His back protested the move, and he whimpered quietly, not awake enough to remember the previous dayís events or just who it was he was cuddling against.

The movement woke Alec instantly, and it only took him a moment to remember who was sharing his bed. He felt Jason pressing against his morning erection, and he smiled faintly, trying to remember if heíd ever woken up with anyone before. He didnít think so. Unconsciously, he tightened his grip around Jasonís waist, drawing him closer.

Jason relaxed again, leaning back against the body behind him and murmuring in pleasure as his aches eased.

Alec stroked Jasonís side, tempted to reach around but not wanting to take advantage of him when heíd been so emphatic about waiting the night before. "Wake up, Jason," he murmured, biting gently on the other manís ear.

"Too early," Jason muttered, shaking his head, then groaning at the pain it caused.

"If you donít wake up and say yes or no pretty soon, itís going to be too late," Alec replied wryly.

"Huh?" That got Jasonís attention, and he managed to wake up enough to realize just where he was and just whose erection he was rubbing against. "Shit. Alec... Yeah, Alec, man, Iím sorry. I just..." He started to move and ended up holding his head in his hands, trying to avoid the painful bump in the center of his forehead. "Got any aspirin?"

"And that would be a no," Alec sighed, surprised to realize that he was a little disappointed. "Sorry, no aspirin. Logan may have some though. I can go over to his place and ask if you like."

"Might have some in my bag," Jason grunted, slowly sitting up, each move careful. "And sorry for not being accommodating, itís just Iím still getting used to this whole being on the run thing."

"You donít think it might have something to do with being black and blue and having a concussion?" Alec shook his head. "X5s have a higher body temperature than normal humans; you gravitated toward the warmth."

Jason looked unconvinced. "If you say so."

"I do. But when youíre feeling better, weíll discuss it further."

"Maybe by then weíll know each other better," Jason answered, looking down at Alec and giving a bit of a smile.

Unable to resist, Alec sat up and kissed Jason lingeringly before rolling out of bed. "I can pretty much guarantee it."

Jason was treated to an eyeful of very male X5 as Alec walked across the room, and he took a deep breath, shaking his head and using the pain to distract himself before he started drooling. "That sure of yourself, are you?" he called, swinging his feet slowly out of the bed and onto the floor, not quite ready to try standing yet.

Alec turned to face him, his trademark smirk on his face. "Why wouldnít I be?"

"I seriously need coffee and drugs before I can deal with this," Jason muttered, forcing himself to stand and wincing as just about every muscle in his body protested.

"How about a hot shower? We actually have hot water here. Iíll even let you go first if you donít want your back scrubbed."

"Hot water?" Jason perked up some at the thought and smiled wryly at Alec. "You know, I was wrong when I thought you were an angel; devils were supposed to be even prettier, and you do seem to be trying to lead me into temptation."

"Devils are dull." Alec grinned. "Iím fun, a smart aleck."

"Just why do you think devils arenít fun?"

"All that torment and sulfur and brimstone?" Alex retorted, using the sum total of his knowledge of devils. "Boooring. Iíd much rather something more interactive."

"Going out and helping people sin rather then just reaping the benefits of it?"

"Exactly. The journey is as important as the destination."

Jason grinned. "Which is why Iíll be showering alone."

That surprised a laugh out of Alec. "Are you sure youíre not transgenic?" he chuckled, pleased by Jasonís quick wit.

"Nah, just a genius," Jason chuckled, grabbing up his clothes and making a face when he caught a whiff of them. "Donít happen to have a laundry anywhere here, do you?"

"Yeah, we do, but in the meantime, you can borrow some sweats and t-shirt. Theyíll be big on you, but I donít think anyone other than me will be noticing."

"They might if the sweats fall off."

"Drawstring," Alec replied succinctly.

Jason nodded. "Good point, you must be a genius too."

"That another detail about X5s Marnie forgot to mention? Iím starting to think you know less about us than the people reading the tabloids."

"I guess Iím kind of... sheltered," Jason sighed, scratching at his dark hair and making it stand up even more then it had been. "Iíve always known Marnie was a little different; it wasnít until the last year or so I learned why and how. Guess Iím still at the Ďeducate meí part of all this."

"At least you want to learn and not just call us animals or worse," Alec replied. "And youíre in the best place in the world for that education."

"I also had a good start," Jason reminded him. "Iíve lived with Marnie for the past five years; how can I see any transgenic as different?"

"That never seemed to bother Lydecker or our other Ďhandlersí," Alec replied, bitterness creeping into his tone. "And then thereíre the transhumans. There are actually a lot more of them than us X-series here."

"Who is Lydecker and who are the transhumans?" Jason asked before holding up a hand. "Hang on, I need a shower and some aspirin before we get into this, but I really want to knowóno, I need to know."

"Okay, doc, class is in session," Alec announced a while later after Jason had cleaned up, dressed, and taken something for his many aches.

"Transgenics include both the human-looking X series and transhumans, those whose other DNA makes them visibly different. Like Mole and Joshua," Alec added, giving Jason examples heíd met.

"Lydecker was the officer in charge of training the X5s, and a more cold, brutal son of a bitch youíll never meet. He treated five- and six-year-olds like seasoned soldiers, pushed us to and beyond our limits, and killed those who didnít measure up without a qualm." Alec was unaware that he was snarling as he spoke.

"Jesus..." Jason whispered, seeing that Alec spoke the truth by the look in his eyes. "Marnie said training was hard, but she never... Is this Lydecker still alive?"

"No oneís sure. His car was fished out of the water, but his body was never found. He helped Max and Logan last year, but that doesnít make up for everything he did to us. I think Max would rip his throat out with her bare hands and smile while she did."

"Sheís not the only one," Marnie commented from the doorway. "Your lock sucks by the way."

"Marn!" Jason stood as quickly as he was able and immediately began checking her side as she rolled her eyes.

"No one but us comes into Terminal City, and we donít steal from each other, at least not yet." Alec watched, trying not to laugh as he watched the scientist fuss over the X5.

"Thereís always a first time," she stated, glowering at him.

"Alecís been telling me more about the history of the transgenics," Jason said, glancing up at Marnie from where he was crouched at her side.

"Never came up, huh?" Alec asked Marnie, watching the two of them interact. "Not that I blame you, we all tried to forget those parts of it."

"There wasnít a need to go into details, at the time," she answered flatly, staring him down.

Jason slowly straightened up. "I think the time has come now though."

Alec shrugged. "Whatever you want to know. No need for secrecy, especially not if youíre going to be living among us."

After glancing at Marnie and seeing her slow nod, Jason settled himself down in the chair where heíd been sitting before and picked up his tea again. "All right, now weíre getting somewhere. So was he the one who developed the virus with Loganís name on it?"

"No, that was Renfro. She was one platinum bitch. She managed to shove Lydecker out by being even more manipulative than he was, and she was pretty much in charge of the day-to-day operations of Manticore just before Max brought it down. Max had been captured in a raid on Manticore, and while she was there, Renfro found out something about Logan that made her want him dead. So since she knew Max and Logan had the hots for each other, she infected Max with the virus and let her escape."

"Is she dead?" Jason asked almost plaintively as he tried to keep all the bad guys straight.

Marnie shrugged. "After my time at Manticore," she said shortly.

"Yeah, oddly enough, she took a bullet for Max. Of course, that was after she saw Maxís DNA workup."

Jason shook his head. "Weird, really weird."

"Welcome to the world of transgenics, cultists, race wars, and general insanity," Alec said with artificial brightness.

"I can see Iíve got a lot more lessons ahead of me," Jason murmured, sighing when Marnie moved behind him and rubbed his temples.

"Iíll be happy to be your teacher," Alec all but purred, ignoring the look he was getting from Marnie.

"Sex isnít on the lesson plan," she stated flatly, causing Jason to open one eye and look up at her.

Alecís eyebrows rose, and he glanced at Jason, waiting to see how he would react.

"Not until we know each other better anyway," Jason answered, hoping to ease the tension between the two X5s.

"At which point it will be our choice."

Marnieís eyes remained narrowed, though she didnít argue.

"Good." Jason leaned back in his chair again. "Now that weíve settled that, can we get back to transgenic history 101? Iíd like to know the basics before I talk with Logan and Max again."

"The basics?" Alec laughed shortly. "A nutcase named Sandeman, who was one of the Purebred cultists, went against the party line and started playing with DNA. He crossed people with a lot of different animals, trying to create the perfect race who could survive the plague thatís coming, especially trying to create Max, who can provide a vaccine for everyone. He got us."

"More than he bargained for," Jason said quietly, a troubled look on his face.

"And less," Alec replied, thinking of the seizures and progyria that some of them faced. "But weíre here now, and as Max said, weíre not going anywhere."

"Which is a very good thing for the world."

"Iím glad to see another person join the small minority who think that. Just donít let Mole bother you," Alec added as a thought struck him. "Heís not real fond of anyone whoís not a transgenic."

"Prejudice runs both ways, I guess," Jason murmured sadly.

"Until youíve been treated as a nonentity, you wouldnít understand it, Jase," Marnie said quietly.

For the first time Alec met Marnieís gaze with understanding. And seeing how Jason accepted them so easily, he could also understand her protectiveness. There were so few humans who treated them as equals that they had to be protected. He nodded slightly to her. But Jason interested him, and he wanted to see where this took them.

Noticing the look the other two shared, Jason frowned thoughtfully and drank more of his tea. "So, Marn, did you get any sleep last night?"

"Actually, yes. I knew Gem before, it turns out, and we spent some time catching up. Libbyís cute."

Alec rolled his eyes. Women and babies. "So youíre okay staying there for a little while?" He knew he should offer to start cleaning out a place for the newcomers, but Alec was enjoying having Jason stay with him and was in no hurry to change the situation.

"Yeah, itís fine until we can get Jason settled in somewhere safer," she answered.

"You mind having a roomie until then?" Jason asked Alec.

The X5 smiled slowly. "I think I can handle it." He looked Jason up and down before meeting his eyes with a grin. "Itíll give us lots of opportunity for those lessons."

"Why do men always think with their dicks?" Marnie sighed, reaching over Jasonís shoulder and taking his mug so that she could have a drink.

Jason snickered. "Must be genetic."

"Why do women always assume men are thinking about sex? I might have meant what Jason wants to learn about transgenics."

"Okay, this is the main equipment I need." Jason handed the list over to Max, who scanned it then handed it off. "I donít see how youíre going to get some of it back here though."

Max grinned. "Never underestimate a thief whoís also an X5. Besides, for the most part, we can just pick the things up and carry them." She shrugged. "Weíll get what you need, donít worry." She eyed Alec hovering behind the scientist. "Are you actually going to do anything?"

"Iím the docís official tour guide. Isnít that right, Jason?"

"So it seems," Jason chuckled before turning serious again. "I wasnít talking about the weight, but the size. Some of those instruments are pretty big; how are you going to get them out of the labs? Damn, I wish I could go in there with all of you, it would make this a hell of a lot easier."

"No," Marnie said flatly. "Everythingís probably dead, but on the off chance something isnít, Iím not letting you expose yourself to it."

Alec rolled his eyes. "Eight years later?" He decided then and there that the female X5 needed a distraction to get her focus off Jason. Maybe one of the X6s, they didnít mind being mother-henned. "Never mind, itís better to set up a single lab with everything you need anyway. Several of us working together ought to be able to move whatever you need. In the meantime, you can start setting up the area youíll be using."

"Thereís a lab in one of the buildings down the street that didnít have anything lethal in it at the time of the pulse, at least nothing that could live this long," Logan put in. "It ought to fulfill your needs."

Alec smirked at Jason at that comment but didnít say anything.

Jason missed the look, being distracted by double-checking to make sure everything he needed was on the list. "That sounds good. I am going to have to buy some supplies though; after this long, all the chemicals are going to be long out of date." He grabbed another piece of paper and started making notes. "Once we get this set up, Iím going to need samples from both you and Max, Logan."

"Whatever you need," Logan replied fervently as Max nodded her agreement. "If you can do this..." He trailed off, afraid to say it yet, and looked over at Max.

"Thank you, Jason," Max said. "Youíve given us hope again."

"God, someone get out the violins," Alec groaned, grabbing the second list and handing it to Original Cindy, whoíd just joined them. "Think you can track this stuff down?" It would be safer for a non-transgenic to do the shopping outside Terminal City.

Glancing over the list, Cindy nodded. "Original Cindy can do this bitch. After you introduce me to this fine woman," she added, noticing Marnie.

"So this is the infamous Original Cindy," Jason laughed, looking up at the woman and arching an eyebrow at her colorful appearance.

"Marnie," the short, blonde transgenic answered when it seemed no one else was going to. "Youíre Maxís roommate."

"Until we can get rid of that virus, I am." Original Cindy grinned, dark eyes admiring the other woman. "You know what the doctor dude needs better than I do. You want to come with and help Original Cindy find these things?"

Marnie shot Jason a glance, and he shrugged in answer. "Since you wonít let me out, youíre the next best thing," he said. "Anyone got any crossword puzzles I can do to keep busy since it seems I canít do anything around here?"

"You got any of those violins left?" Marnie asked Alec. "And sure, Iíd be glad to go help."

Seeing that the women had things in hand, Alec focused on Jason again. "Come on, Iíll show you around and introduce you to some of our residents. Itís best that they get to know who you are quickly anyway."

"Iíd rather not be shot or torn apart for trespassing," Jason mused.

"Exactly my point. So Iíll take you around and make sure that word gets out that youíre here. My plans for you donít include you bleeding, nor do Logan and Maxís, Iím sure." Alec moved a little closer, crowding Jason slightly, his innocent expression belied by the mischief in his green eyes.

Jason quirked a brow. "Should I bother to ask what your plans for me do include?"

"Do you really want me to say in front of all these people?"

"Probably best not to. So, do you want an umbrella to complete your tour guide uniform?"

"Naw, umbrellas arenít cool. It would ruin my manly image." Alec batted his lashes at Jason, hamming it up.

"In your dreams," Marnie muttered from where she was standing beside Original Cindy.

"Aw, you mean not even that could make me less than perfect? Thanks, I didnít think youíd noticed."

"Donít get him going," Jason groaned when Marnie bristled and started toward them. "I can only handle so much ego a day."

"That mean youíre gonna handle me?" Alec purred.

"I should have let your head explode," Max grumbled.

"Just why didnít you?" Marnie asked, looking at Max as if she was insane for passing up that opportunity.

"A moment of weakness," Max sighed. "But he does have redeeming moments."

"You know, none of this is getting me what I need," Jason said loudly.

"We should go start trying to find everything on this list," Original Cindy added, waving the paper.

Alec just smirked silently from beside Jason.

As everyone headed out on their searches, Jason looked up at Alec. "You really love stirring up the shit, donít you?"

"Who me?" Alec widened his eyes at Jason.

Jason snorted. "You arenít stupid, Alec, yes, you."

"I have to entertain myself somehow."

"Iím wounded. Are you telling me Iím not entertaining?"

"Youíre so entertaining that I have to distract myself to make sure I keep my hands off."

Jason had to grin at that. "So distract yourself; give me the grand tour of Terminal City, and show me where my lab is going to be."

Laughing, Alec led the way outside, where the first person they encountered was Mole.

Chewing on his cigar, the reptilian transgenic eyed the scientist as if wondering how he would taste. "Sticking around, are you?"

"Yeah," Jason met the transhumanís eyes squarely. "Got a problem with that?"

"Naw, Max deserves a break. Iíll make sure people know youíre here and that youíre okay."

Jason continued watching Mole for a moment before nodding. "Thanks, I appreciate that," he said, offering the other man his hand, which Mole shook briefly after a momentís hesitation.

Suddenly remembering that one of the X5s was going into her heat, Alec said, "Make sure Shayla knows to stay away."

Moleís eyes widened slightly, and he gave them a knowing look. "Like that, is it?"

"Mole..." Alec warned, making the other transgenic laugh.

"Iíll pass the word."

"Okay, you lost me somewhere along the line there. Care to explain?"

"Pretty boy here was staking his claim. And making sure it was clear enough that going into heat wouldnít be an excuse for trespassing."

Alec winced but didnít deny Moleís interpretation.

Jason rolled his eyes. "I got that part, what lost me was the part about who was it... Shayla? Going into heat?" He sighed and rubbed his forehead. "Guess I need Transgenics 201 now."

"Marnie hasnít had trouble with that? I guess she has a bit less feline DNA in her cocktail."

"She mentioned she had bear." At the odd looks that earned him, Jason shrugged. "Hey, I havenít run her DNA; Iím just telling you what she told me."

Alec blinked. "I guess I always just assumed that all the X5s had the same mix, but no one ever actually said that. Interesting. It might explain why some the breeding pairs were chosen and some others were never matched up."

"I suppose from a scientific viewpoint, that would have been a way for Manticore to maximize the genetic combinations, but itís still a shitty thing to do."

"Thatís Manticore," Alec shrugged while Mole just spit on the ground, his feelings clear. "And it makes sense when I think about it. We all have a mix of a lot of different things, and just like the differences between kids of the same parents, each will have different traits show up. I think we need a geneticist around here too."

Jason gave a wry smile. "You never know, maybe thereís another X5 out there guarding another prodigy, getting him or her ready to come here."

"It sounds like someone knew weíd need you and made sure youíd be around," Alec said slowly.

"They say thereís no such thing as coincidence..." Jason murmured, falling silent as he mulled over his past. "Iím beginning to wonder if my life wasnít almost as dictated as yours."

"Itís not like you can change it, so donít let it make you crazy. Weíre all here now, so letís just see where life takes us."

"Good point. I suppose Iíll have to do just that." Jason looked around, surprised to see that Mole had vanished. "Whereíd he go?"

Alec shrugged. "Could be anywhere. Spreading the word not to shoot you on sight probably." He looked around. "Címon, the lab Logan mentioned is just ahead."

"Iíll have to buy him a cigar for that," Jason answered, picking his way around a junked car as he followed Alec, distracted for a second by the flex of the transgenicís ass under his jeans.

"Heíll take it and demand more," Alec chuckled, picking his way along the street. So far, the transgenics were leaving Terminal City as theyíd found it to make it harder for any attackers.

Jason shrugged. "Hey, if it keeps me from getting shot, Iíll buy him a whole damn box." He stumbled, climbing over a piece of wreckage, and cursed under his breath.

Alec blurred as he moved back to catch Jason. "Hey, donít kill yourself. Iím not into necrophilia."

"You mean there are limits?" Jason asked, giving a bit of a smile. "Plus I donít think thatíll happen, now that Iíve got two mother hens looking after me."

"A rooster if you please!"

"You want me to call you a mother rooster?"

"I think Iím going to call you Dick," Alec laughed.

"Guess that means Iíd have to call you Cock," Jason shot back.

"I think maybe we should stick to non-verbal communication."

Jason chuckled as he stepped up onto the sidewalk. "So, you can dish it out, but you canít take it, eh? Does that apply to other areas of your life as well?"

"Youíll have to find that out for yourself." Alec shifted a rusted car out of the way so Jason could get past.

"Thanks." Stepping around the hulk, Jason looked back at Alec. "And I will, too, eventually."

"Like teasing, donít you?" Alec chuckled, recognizing the actions of a man who knew someone wanted himóas he should since he was usually that man.

"Well, considering the fact that Iím willing to bet good money you usually can have anyone you want by snapping your fingers, I figure to keep you interested, Iíd better make you work for it some." Jason stopped and crouched down to study a battered container in the street. "Plus thereís that whole getting to know each other thing."

"You and Max," Alec sighed, shaking his head. "Fine, we Ďget to know each otherí first. Donít forget to let me know when we reach that point." But being Alec he couldnít let it go at that and suddenly pulled Jason to him to kiss him.

Startled by the swift move, Jason caught hold of Alecís shirt to keep his balance, his mouth falling open under the X5ís and a low groan emerging from his throat when Alec took advantage of that fact.

As Jason kissed him back, Alec gentled the kiss, seducing rather than demanding, and one hand slid down to cup Jasonís ass, pressing them together.

Jason finally pulled back, panting for breath, his dark eyes dilated and luminous. "Iíll let you know, donít worry about that. Just donít start comparing me to Max, got it?"

"Wouldnít dream of it. Not to mention that I donít really think of Max that way. And sheíd kill me if I did." Alec grinned as he slowly stepped back, letting go of Jason.

"As would Logan," Jason reminded him. "Now we just need to keep our hormones under control and go look at the lab like good little boys, got it?"

"Who ever told you I was a good little boy?"

"Are you telling me you arenít good, or you arenít little?"

"Both. Iím far from little, and when Iím bad, Iím better," Alec quoted the famous line, grinning.

"What I think you are is full of it."

Laughing, Alec led the way inside the building, making sure it was safe for Jason. "Welcome to your new castle, Dr.... Huh. I donít think I ever got your last name."

"From the looks of this place, it might as well be Frankenstein," Jason chuckled. "In reality, itís Kittridge; thatís what the papers from the orphanage say anyway."

"So a Kitt for a part-cat?" Alec teased, smirking. "How appropriate."

Jason rolled his eyes. "I suppose I should be glad itís not Wolf. I donít think I could chase you up a tree."

"I could carry you up one if you want to get up there," Alec shrugged. "I prefer us both on the same level." He looked around, seeing the dust and grime of a dozen years of abandonment and neglect. "Look like we should have tossed a stick of dynamite in first."

"Or called in a cleaning crew." Jason looked around, feeling somewhat daunted by the work that lay ahead of them. It was going to take weeks to even get this place into a semblance of order, let alone up and running.

"That would be us."

The sudden statement made them spin around to find Mole and about a dozen other transgenics, all armed with mops, pails, rags, and dustbins.

"Cheer up, doc, you have no idea what we can do when weíre determined."

"I think Iím beginning to get an idea though," Jason murmured, watching in admiration as the transgenics got to work. "Max and Logan are lucky to have friends like you," he added. "Got some spare rags? Alec and I just canít stand around here." He winked at the X5 as he spoke.

"Hey, Iíve already been drafted once in my life!" Alec protested laughingly even as he accepted a broom.

"Just think of the job perks," Jason laughed as he got to work.

"You keep telling me I canít have them yet!" Alec groaned when Mole overheard that and burst into laughter.

"Does he always whine this much?" Jason asked a boy who was working industriously nearby.

Brushing his blond hair out of his eyes, Dalton grinned. "You should hear him when he gets shot."

"Hey, I just said it was a bullet!" Alec protested.

"I really need to hear this story," Jason snickered to the kid, though calling someone a kid when they could rip off your leg and beat you to death with it probably wasnít accurate.

"I do not want to be around to hear this," Alec moaned. "I think Iíll go jump off the roof."

"You mean you donít want to hear me tell Doc about how that girl beat you up?" Dalton asked innocently.

Jason almost cackled with glee. "Spill it, now!"

Six hours later, the buildingís lobby was cleared of junk and clean enough to make Jason happy, plus heíd heard quite a few stories about Alec, Max, and the other transgenics and had somehow become known as ĎDocí to everyone there. "Thanks for the help, everyone," he called as they packed up their things. "Any chance of a replay tomorrow so we can actually get some lab space clear?"

"Doc, youíre here to help Max, whoís done a lot for all of us. Whatever you need, you get," a woman with catís ears said.

"Besides, youíre keeping Alec away from the women so the rest of us have a chance!" a male X5 called, making them all laugh.

"From what Iíve been hearing, itís for the good of society," Jason laughed, even as he leaned against a wall and slid down to the floor. "Just wake me when you come back tomorrow, or maybe toss some food my way if you remember; Iím just going to pass out here."

"Oh, I get to be Prince Charming and carry my damsel off in my arms?"

"Call me a damsel again and Iím going to have to stand up and kick your ass," Jason grumbled.

Alec just smirked. "Uh huh. Come on, Doc, letís get you home. Iíll even make you something to eat after tucking you up snugly."

Jason got to his feet with a groan, rubbing his back as he straightened up. "Gee, you are a prince. You going to give me a back rub too?"

Alecís smile widened until he resembled the cat that got the proverbial canary. "Itíll be my pleasure," he purred, sliding an arm around Jasonís waist.

"Somehow I knew youíd say that."

"You mean Iím getting predictable? Iíll have to work on that. After I work on you."

"No." Jason smiled and hooked his arm around Alecís waist as well. "It means Iím getting to know you better."

"That sounds promising," Alec replied, steering Jason out of the lobby and away from their very interested audience. "So maybe this time I can wash your back?"

"So long as you feed me first, Iím starving."

"Of course, youíre going to need your energy. Maybe I should carry you." Alec pretended to be about to sweep Jason into his arms.

Ducking, Jason swept a leg out, catching Alec unaware and dumping him onto his ass in the middle of the street. "Damn," the scientist murmured, his eyes wide, "I didnít think it would work."

Alec stared up at him for a long moment before starting to laugh. "Looks like you can take care of yourself when you try." He flipped back to his feet, still grinning. "Not bad, Doc."

"Thanks," Jason laughed, "Marnie will be glad to know her classes paid off, but I somehow suspect that if you had any idea I knew some martial arts, it would have been my ass on the ground. Speaking of which..." He reached out and brushed Alecís butt off.

"I think you missed a spot," Alec said, peering over his shoulder at his own ass then raising his gaze to meet Jasonís. "You should always be thorough."

Jason nodded slowly, his eyes never leaving Alecís. "A very good point." That said, he ran his hand over Alecís ass again, this time taking his time about it.

Alec made a soft sound of pleasure, and his back arched like a cat being petted. "The middle of the streetís probably not the best place for this," he said reluctantly, eyes heavy-lidded as he looked back at Jason.

"I donít know, weíre getting quite the show here," Mole commented from where he was standing outside the building with the rest of the self-appointed cleaning crew.

"Yeah, well, thatís all the show youíre going to get," Jason muttered, feeling a blush heat the back of his neck.

"Definitely. No one else gets to see before I do. Or after either, for that matter." Alec surprised himself with how possessive he felt of Jason. "See ya tomorrow to finish up," he called over his shoulder as he led Jason away with an arm around his waist.

"If I live through tonight," Jason added.

"Where the hell did you take him?" Marnie asked, rising to her feet when Alec and Jason walked back into the apartment and taking in their filthy state. "Dumpster diving?"

"And hi to you too, Marnie. We had a productive day, thanks for asking. How was yours?" Alec wasnít going to put up with her attitude silently, and if she didnít like it, she could learn to ask politely before jumping down his throat with her assumptions.

"Hey, chill, both of you," Jason got in before Marnieís growl grew any louder. "We were starting to clean out the lab space; I mean, after a decade, it was a little gross, you know? How about you? Were you and Original Cindy able to track anything down?"

She nodded shortly. "Yeah, we were able to get some and order the rest. What we got is stacked up at Loganís; the rest should be here within the week."

"Great, youíll be able to get started as soon as we finish cleaning up then," Alec said, stretching and trying to ignore other X5.

Jasonís gaze centered on Alecís limber movements and stayed there as if locked on target. He was oblivious to everything else for a moment, then flushed when he realized Marnie had been talking to him.

"Oh, so thatís how itís going to be," she said flatly. "Guess heís your responsibility now, Alec."

"Címon, Marnie," Jason said, eyeing her with something akin to panic when she headed for the door. "Itís just that we..."

"Want to fuck." Her tone was as dead as her blue eyes. "Go for it. Hell, Iíve had to babysit you for five years, Iím glad someone else has to do it. Oh, and I got you some clothes, not that it matters." She stalked out the door, slamming it behind her and cracking the frame.

"Marnie... Shit," Jason snarled as he tried to open the door and found it wedged shut.

Although tempted to distract Jason, Alec knew what it was like to lose someone you cared about, so he sighed and wrenched the door open. "Go ahead, Iíll be here when youíre done." He was starting to think they were cursed, or he would have been if heíd believed in such superstitions. "Iíll see what I can put together for dinner in the meantime."

"Iím sorry," Jason called back over his shoulder as he chased after Marnie, knowing he wouldnít catch her if she didnít want him to, but also that he had to try.

Shaking his head, Alec wondered why women always had to make things so complicated. He wanted something entirely different from Jason than Marnie could, so what was the big deal?

Several hours later, Jason returned to the apartment, looking even messier then he had before he left. He knocked on the door and leaned against the wall, physically and emotionally beat.

Alec opened the door, eyebrows rising when he saw Jason. "I take it she wasnít happy?" He stood between Jason and the congealed mess that had been a quick casserole a few hours earlier, trying to hide it. "Everything okay now?"

"I think so, but yeah, she wasnít too happy." Jason looked up and met Alecís eyes, his own troubled. "Sheís my family, Alec, all I have, and Iím all she hasóat least until now. I guess she feels threatened by you and by how I feel about you."

"Thatís nuts," Alec said bluntly. "I donít think of you as a brother, and whatever happens between us is no more going to affect your relationship with her than mine with Max. Then again, women are crazy, so that wonít matter." He sighed, raking a hand through his slightly shaggy, dark blond hair.

Jason gave a quiet laugh at that comment. "I might have argued with you over that point earlier, but right now Iím inclined to agree. Iím also starving and in serious need of a shower, anything you can do about either of those situations?"

"Showerís easy. Food..." Alec glanced over his shoulder and made a face. "Let me see if I have anything left that might make dinner."

"Shit." Jason caught sight of the dried out bowl of food and winced. "I hope you ate at least."

Alec shrugged. "Some. Training says to eat when itís available because it wonít always be. Go get cleaned up and Iíll throw something together, though it may only be sandwiches."

"Anythingís good. If you have cereal, Iíve had that for dinner too many times to count." Wondering how the day had gone to hell so fast, Jason headed for the bedroom, feeling another twinge of guilt when he saw the clothes Marnie had brought for him laid out on the bed.

Watching him go, Alec considered joining Jason in the shower, but it looked like the other man needed some time to himself, what with being pulled between Alec and Marnie. Instead he turned to the small kitchen to put together some sandwiches. His lips quirked wryly as he worked, and he wondered what the normal humans would say if they realized that most of the transgenics were living a lot better than they were. Thanks to the bugs that got loose in the area, it had never been looted after the initial riots. The few who had tried had died.

"One lab creation protecting another," he murmured to himself.

Feeling a bit more clearheaded after standing under the hot water, Jason came out of the bedroom, wearing a pair of jeans and toweling his hair dry. "So, think weíll get to eat this time?" he asked.

"I put a chair in front the door," Alec replied wryly, gesturing him to a seat. "I managed to find a can of soup to go with the sandwiches, so dig in."

"Yes, Mother Rooster," Jason said, smiling as bit as he did as instructed, sitting cross-legged in the chair and digging into his food with gusto.

"I am so going to make you eat those words," Alec growled.

Deciding to set aside his problems with Marnie for the moment, Jason grinned. "For dessert?"

"That would be eating me."

"Cream filled transgenic, now thatís a tasty sounding dish." Jason licked his spoon as he spoke, teasing Alec.

"I wanted make sure that you had a full-course meal." Alecís eyes were fixed on Jasonís tongue as it dragged over the curved metal, and an instant later he was straddling Jasonís lap as he probed the lush mouth in search of that tongue.

Once he could speak again, Jason chuckled and slid his hands up under Alecís shirt, savoring the warmth of his skin. "Why do I think dessert just jumped the line?"

"No, Iíll be patient. Iíd hate to have you pass out from hunger in the middle of things," Alec teased, nibbling on Jasonís neck.

"But youíd have me choke because of trying to eat while distracted?" Jason groaned, tilting his head back to give Alec better access and pulling him closer.

"Multi-task," Alec purred, biting gently on the bared throat then licking hungrily. At first he only tasted soap and water, but when he licked that away, it was Jasonís natural flavor that made him growl deep in his throat and bite again.

Jason groaned in response to the feral sound and dug his fingers into Alecís back. "Iíd rather concentrate on one thing right now, and that one thing is you."

Alec only thought about it for a moment before standing up and pulling Jason up, urging him to wrap his legs around his waist. "I think Iíve been missing something pretty spectacular," he murmured before kissing Jason again, one hand supporting him under his ass and the other in the spiky brown hair.

"Whatís that?" Jason panted, doing a bit of exploring on his own and discovering that Alecís earlobe was very tasty.

"Men in general and you in particular. Ignoring my own gender seems to have been a mistake. One Iím very pleased to correct." Alec arched his neck, purring softly as Jason nibbled on him.

Jason froze and pulled back, staring at Alec in disbelief. "Are you telling me youíve never been with a man before?"

"Once in training," Alec shrugged.

From the sound of Alecís voice, it hadnít been all that great. "Well, I promise that youíll like this more," Jason murmured, exploring the X5ís ear again, enjoying the reaction it got.

"I already am," Alec agreed throatily, finally reaching the bed and turning around to lower himself to his back with Jason on top of him.

Jason smiled and pushed up on his knees, grabbing the bottom of Alecís t-shirt so that he could tug it over the other manís head. "Oh good," he breathed before leaning in to rub his face along Alecís firm stomach and up to his chest.

"You certainly are," Alec agreed, back arching in pleasure. He ran his hands over Jasonís back, exploring the ridges of his spine, and he smiled when Jason squirmed.

"Iím also ticklish, so watch it," Jason laughed, shifting up to lick his way over Alecís nipple, smiling smugly when it tightened into a hard point as if begging for more.

About to tease Jason about the use he could make of that information, Alec lost his train of thought when he felt the slightly raspy wet heat of Jaseís tongue on him. His hands caught hold of the other manís head, holding Jason to him as he arched and moaned, wanting more of that wonderful sensation.

Very pleased with that reaction, Jason closed his lips around the peaked nipple, suckling on it while he brought up a hand to play with the unattended one.

"Trying to drive me crazy, arenít you?" Alec panted, looking down at the light brown head pressed against his chest. "Oh fuck thatís good!" His fingertips massaged Jasonís scalp as he moaned and tried to remain still as he was tortured deliciously, and the small part of his brain still capable of rational thought mused that girls didnít know what they were missing by ignoring a guyís nipples.

Jason murmured something unintelligible against Alecís chest, grinding his hips down against the taller manís as he switched sides, trading mouth for fingers and vice versa.

"Oh yeah," Alec groaned, gasping as their erections rubbed together through their jeans. "Clothes off," he demanded breathlessly.

"Soon," Jason panted, lifting his head and licking his lips before scooting backward, bending down to trail his tongue down the center of Alecís chest to the waistband of his jeans.

"Now," Alec demanded, legs shifting restlessly. Trying to urge Jason on, he slid his hands under the waistband of the other manís jeans, filling his palms with Jaseís ass.

"Donít be pushy," Jason growled, nipping at the warm skin beneath his mouth before pulling back and mouthing his way along the hard ridge outlined by Alecís jeans.

"Why not?" Alec panted, hips thrusting in search of more of the teasingly light pressure. "Isnít pushing kinda necessary to the process?"

Jason rolled his eyes and dragged his teeth over Alecís groin. "Eventually."

"Definitely trying to kill me." He gasped at the sensation of Jaseís teeth. "More!"

"Skeptic," Jason sighed. "Iím trying to make you feel good, so shut up and enjoy." He raised his eyes to meet Alecís gaze and pressed harder against his erection.

"Yes, sir," Alec said smartly, saluting.

"Alec," Jason sighed, "be quiet." He slid a hand up and popped open the buttons at the X5ís waist and spread the denim, baring more of the tanned flesh to his gaze and taste.

"Make me," Alec purred, grinning up at him and raising his hips to urge Jason to pull the jeans off.

Tugging at the worn denim, Jason shook his head, nibbling at Alecís navel as he got rid of his clothes.

"Finally," Alec gasped, unable to remain silent for very long. "Youíre very good at that," he added in a near moan.

In answer, Jason moved lower, mouthing the head of Alecís cock, wanting him incoherent again.

"Fuck!" Alec let go of Jaseís hair and grabbed the sheets instead, afraid of forgetting himself and hurting Jason. His hips rose sharply, pressing into Jase, then fell back to the bed as he forced himself to follow Jasonís lead.

Jason hummed and slid lower, taking more of Alec into his mouth, lashing his tongue over the warm flesh and savoring the musky taste.

The sound of tearing fabric filled the room as Alecís nails shredded the sheets while he twisted under Jason. His legs spread wider, and he groaned as he felt the rasp of denim on his inner thighs.

His own cock throbbing against his jeans, Jason sucked harder, reaching between Alecís legs to play with his balls, loving the way Alec was responding.

"Jase!" Alec yelled, taken by surprise, and a moment later he was coming hard in Jasonís mouth. When the last spasms had passed, he murmured, "Sorry. But I guess itís true that men are better at that than women."

After swallowing, Jason looked up and chuckled, licking his lips. "Guess itís a case of knowing what you like and using that knowledge."

"Damn, you use it any better and my brains are going to leak out my ears!"

Jason grinned. "You know, my egoís not the only thing that likes being stroked."

"You want me to move?" Alec opened his eyes wide to stare, then grinned and rolled over to his side, one hand lazily stroking Jason through his jeans. "These need to go."

"Well, I could always take care of it myself if I wore the big, bad transgenic out," Jason chuckled, arching his hips into Alecís hand and squirming as he tried to get out of his pants.

"Like hell. Weíre only just getting started," Alec retorted, cupping and rubbing Jason, more interested in making him writhe than in helping get the pants off. Sooner or later theyíd go, and in the meantime, Alec was enjoying himself.

"Oh really?" Jason asked, managing to hook his fingers in his belt loops and tug his jeans down, wanting Alecís hands on him with nothing in between.

Alec eyed him hungrily, staring at the now naked body. "I thought you were the experienced one here. Arenít you supposed to know that?" Unable to resist, he reached out, his palm flattening against Jasonís chest and stroking downward.

"Such humor... stop me before I die laughing." Jasonís snicker turned into a moan as he pressed up against Alecís hand, catching it and dragging it lower, toward his aching cock.

"Die of pleasure instead. And satisfactioníll bring you back." Alec curled his fist around Jasonís erection, inhaling sharply as the hot length filled his hand.

Jason gave up trying to talk, and instead, reached for Alec, pulling him in for a kiss as he twisted up in the other manís grip, already on edge.

Alec opened his mouth, inviting Jason in as he continued to pump Jaseís cock, wanting to give him the same pleasure heíd just felt. He groaned into Jaseís mouth, tasting himself, and pressed closer, their legs tangling together.

Groaning into Alecís mouth, Jason came, the slide of his cock within the tunnel of Alecís hand becoming smooth and easy as his come lubricated their skin. "Oh fuck..." he rasped, breathing heavily and resting his face against Alecís.

"I think we need a few minutes to recover before we try that," Alec replied, rubbing his cheek against Jasonís and lying at ease against him.

"More attempts at humor," Jason sighed, rubbing a hand over Alecís back and nuzzling the transgenicís face. "But Iíll live with it, considering I like what it portends."

"You know," Alec said slowly, "you donít need to find a place of your own. You could stay here. If you want to, that is," he added hastily.

"Is that a serious offer?" Jason asked, eyeing Alec closely.

"I wouldnít have said anything if it wasnít. I like having you around."

"I like being around, especially being around you."

"Does that mean I get to top first?"

Jason groaned and smacked his forehead with his hand. "For that comment, you get to get your ass out of bed and bring me the rest of my food!"

Snickering, Alec rolled to his feet. "Made perfect sense to me. You lie there and get your ordinary human strength back." He gave Jason an innocent smile.

"Yeah, well just remember this Ďordinary humaní had you speechless and coming in under a minute," Jason snorted, piling up the pillows behind him and relaxing back against them.

"Just keep up the good work and Iíll have no complaints," Alec laughed, heading out of the bedroom of what had once been some executiveís personal suite to get the sandwiches theyíd abandoned earlier. "Hey," he called as he gathered the meal together, "can you test the air or whatever you do and make sure itís safe for you here? We might need to move farther out toward the edges of Terminal City. I like the security of being farther in, but itís redundant if breathingís going to kill you."

"Yeah, but itíll take some time to grow the cultures..." Jason frowned slightly. "Until I can do that, do you mind moving out a little more?"

Alec looked around a bit wistfully at the closest thing to an apartment that existed in the industrial park that was now Terminal City, but he nodded immediately. "Of course. Iíd hate to have you keel over on me before I have a chance to explore all your possibilities."

"Gee, that really makes me feel loved," Jason laughed around a mouthful of sandwich. "And do you have anything to drink?"

"Aside from me?" No way was Alec giving Jase tap water till they tested it, so he scrounged in his supplies and came up with a bottle of soda. "Here you go. Hope you like cola."

"Already had you," Jason laughed, unscrewing the lid of the bottle and taking a drink. "Not that I didnít enjoy it, Iíd just rather have you a different way next time." He waggled his eyebrows as he drank again.

"Iím all yours," Alec murmured, stretching out beside him again and indulging his urge to taste Jase by licking his chest.

Jason squirmed and jumped when he spilled some of his soda, then again when Alec licked it away. "Ticklish, remember?" he laughed.

Alecís smirk answered that question. "But you taste good," he replied innocentlyóif one ignored the gleam in the green eyes.

"Tell me another one, smart ass," Jason snorted. "You just like to cause trouble."

"Thatís smart Alec," Alec grinned, remembering the look on Maxís face when sheíd named him. "I have to live up to my name, after all."

Jason snickered. "So thatís where you got your name? Better than some I could think of!"

"Max seemed to think it fit me. Considering she named a couple of the kids we ran into after Manticore went down Bullet and Ralphóand yes, it means exactly what you think it doesóI think I came out ahead."

"Well, you could have been Dick," Jason chuckled, finishing his food and the last of his soda and setting the remains aside. "Thatís better."

"That was her second choice." Alec shook his head. "I ask you, do I look like a Dick to you?"

Jason glanced down and grinned. "Well, Iíd say that part of you does at least."

"Whoís the smart ass?" Alec snorted, hips thrusting forward slightly as Jason looked at him.

"Iím just a cute ass," Jason chuckled.

"Well, I canít argue with that," Alec agreed. "And speaking of asses..." He stroked Jasonís, wondering if the human male was ready for more.

Jason pressed back into the touch. "Interested in getting to know mine better?"

"You have to ask?" Alec leaned forward to kiss him, moving closer and pushing Jason down onto his back so he could stretch out over him.

"Just making sure," Jason laughed, pulling Alec down on top of him and groaning in pleasure at the weight.

"Considering that Iíve just been waiting for you to finish stuffing yourself so that I could stuff you..." Alec smirked.

"With jokes like that, Iím going to stuff your mouthówith my sock!"

"Sounds a little too kinky for me. How Ďbout we stick to vanilla for a while?" Alec suggested, chuckling. "You know, tab A, slot A stuff?"

Jason grinned and squirmed under Alec, teasing him. "With a judicious application of lubricant B, of course."

"Oh definitely. Iíd hate to wear you out before the warranty expires." Alec ground down against Jase as he lowered his head to bite sharply at a nipple.

Jason shivered and drew in a deep breath as he bucked upward. "Do that and Marnie will get you."

Alec made a face. "Definitely not my type. Iíd much rather you got me, so plenty of lubricant it is. But first..." He began to slide down Jasonís body, licking and kissing as he went, intent on exploring him orally.

"Justóoh fuckójust donít bite anything down there, got it?" Jason rasped, threading his fingers through Alecís soft hair and kneading his scalp.

"You mean you donít want me to do this?" Alec nipped at Jaseís inner thigh, then licked the reddened spot, repeating the action slightly higher.

Jasonís answer was a drawn out moan as he spread his legs wider.

"Apparently some bitingís okay," Alec murmured, chuckling softly before continuing his game, alternating bites and licks in no predictable pattern, peppering both thighs with small reddened marks. Then he suddenly raised his head slightly and sucked a bit of the loose skin of Jasonís sac into his mouth, lipping it carefully.

"God!" Jason wailed. "Are you sure youíve only done this once?"

Alec let go of him and raised his head to smirkóafter blowing lightly on the sensitized skin. "Iím a quick study."

Jason recovered enough to push up on his elbows and attempt to glare down at the smug transgenic. "Letís see you put your money where your mouth is."

"You sure youíd rather have money on you than my mouth?" Alec pretended to frown, then snickered at the glare he was getting. "Suck or fuck?"

"You donít need lube to suck, now do you?"

"Demanding little guy, arenít you?" Alec knelt up and reached for the tube, making sure to let his cock drag over Jasonís as he leaned over him.

"Little?" Jason bristled and contemplated kneeing Alec before discarding the idea as self-destructive. "Tell me you didnít call me that."

"Well, I didnít mean this!" Alec stroked Jaseís erection with a slick hand. "But you are shorter than I am, and you are kind of cute and cuddly."

"Cuddly!" Jason shrieked, his hips bucking up as he glared daggers at Alec. "If my mind wasnít on other things, youíd be so in for it, Dick."

"Yeah, but your mind is on my dick, so weíre down with it." Alec grinned as he slicked his other hand in the gel heíd squeezed out onto his own thigh with this in mind. He watched Jase avidly as one hand kept moving on the scientistís cock while the other hand slowly worked into his ass. Once he had three fingers inside Jason, he started fucking him with themóin a completely different rhythm than he was using on Jaseís erection.

Jason felt his eyes cross, and he dropped back to the mattress, moaning and writhing between Alecís hands, already on edge, but determined not to come until the other man was inside him. "Iíd rather you were down in me," he rasped.

"Your wish is my command." Alec shifted over him, his fingers vanishing only to be replaced moments later by something longer and thicker. "Oh fuck," he groaned harshly, his own control starting to slip, "you feel amazing."

"S-second that emotion," Jason whispered, hooking his legs around Alecís hips to buck up under him and threading his hands together behind the X5ís neck to pull him in for a kiss.

Alecís mouth opened hungrily, practically feeding on Jason as they moved together, his abdomen rubbing over Jaseís cock with every stroke.

Jason wailed and pulled Alec closer, his ass clenching around the other manís erection as he felt his prostate hit time and again. Finally, it all became too much, and he screamed as he came, his seed gouting out between them.

Alecís eyes flew open in shock as Jase convulsed around him. It was so different from a woman, so tight, and he groaned, hips moving faster and faster as he sought his own climax, barely able to restrain himself to what a human body could handle. He cried out sharply, body tensing and then shaking with the ecstasy of release, and poured himself into Jase.

They lay there, twined together, as the sweat slowly cooled on their skin and Jasonís breathing gradually returned to normal. "Whoa," he murmured, still unable to open his eyes though a silly grin played around his mouth.

"Iíll second that," Alec breathed, blindly nuzzling Jase and kissing whatever parts of him he reached.

Jason did the same, ending up nuzzling Alecís ear when he found it. "So... the other time you did it..."

"I bottomed. Learned to take it, but there wasnít much pleasure in it. It was just more training, another way to use my body as a weapon." Alec shrugged. "This, however, was pure pleasure."

A frown furrowed Jaseís brow for a split second as he thought of the people who would treat anyone that way but cleared again as he told himself to enjoy the moment. "Well then, weíll have to repeat it as often as we can stand it."

"Transgenic here," Alec chuckled. "I really would wear you out. But Iím sure we can find plenty of ways to satisfy us both." Alec heard his own words with a little shock, realizing that he was thinking in the long term. He raised his head to look down at Jason and smiled slowly. He didnít mind a bit.

Jason chuckled and pulled Alec in for a kiss. "Iíd be willing to risk being worn out, I think," he laughed. "And maybe one day I can convince you that itís not so bad on the bottom."

Alec blinked. "You were the one who wanted me to do you first," he pointed out. "I never thought this would be like that. And itís rather obviously enjoyable, judging by your reaction."

"No fair using logic on me when my brain is melted."

The smile Alec gave Jason should have come complete with cream dripping from his whiskers.

Jason snorted. "No Ďmeowí to go along with that?"

Instead Alec managed a purr that should never have been able to come from a human throat.

Jason cocked his head to the side for a moment before giving a truly evil smile.

Alec eyed him warily. "What?"

"Iím just imagining how it would feel if you did that while you were sucking me off."

Now it was Alecís turn to smirk. "Weíll have to find out some time. Iím eager to see what comes after your brain melting."

Jason snickered. "Just donít make it run down the drain, okay? Logan and Max might get pissed if they lose their best chance to get funky again."

Alec sobered suddenly. "Not a chance. I screwed up their chance once; I wonít do it again."

Jason frowned slightly. "Mind me asking what happened?"

Alec sighed. "It was shortly after Manticore went down, and I was still finding my feet out here. White and his Familiars caught me. They were going to kill me, but I talked my way out of it, saying Iíd kill transgenics for him." He winced at the memory. "I didnít really intend to do it, but he figured that. He stuck an explosive in my head, right at the brain stem.

"I tried to fake my way out of it, but it didnít work. I was going to kill Max and Joshua to save myself, but I couldnít hurt Max, even then, and Joshua doesnít have a barcodeóthe proof White demanded of a kill. I told her what was up, and she got this scientist whoíd worked for Manticore to get the explosive out of me about half a second before it went off.

"Only problem was she had to give him the money she was going to pay him to work up a cure for them, and once he had it, he took off out of town, taking the knowledge of how to help them with him." Unable to face Jason as he told him about this, Alec rolled off him and stared up at the ceiling, concentrating so hard on it he could count the cracks.

"Guess I shoulda told you what kind of a fuck up you were getting involved with, huh?"

Jason rolled to his side and looked down at Alec, catching his chin to make him return the gaze. "Hey, Iím no priest, so I canít be a confessor, but you did what you had to, you know? I canít fault you for that, and hopefully, if this all goes down okay, Max and Logan can be happy, and you can lose the guilt."

Alec gave him a wry smile, not understanding the analogy, but getting the meaning. "Sorry for dumping on you. Everybody thinks I donít care, but... I do." He shrugged.

"Thatís what friends are there for, right?" Jason asked, stroking a hand over Alecís stomach, hoping to relax him some.

Alec arched into the touch, exactly like a cat, and purred again.

"You know," Jase grinned, "I like this feline DNA thing."

"Offer me catnip and youíre a dead man."

Jason snickered but continued stroking Alecís stomach. "What about tuna?"

"I prefer cream to fish."

"Might be a while before you get that unless you want to lick our bellies clean."

"That would involve moving, so no." Alec eyed him lazily. "This is nice."

"Yeah," Jason replied, without thinking, "I could get used to it."

Suddenly intent green eyes fixed on him unblinkingly. "Really?"

Jason frowned. "Well, I wouldnít be here if I didnít like you, Alec."

"Thereís liking and then thereís... more." Alec couldnít bring himself to be the first one to bring up love or permanence.

"If it wasnít more, do you think Iíd be here?" Jason asked, pushing up to stare down at Alec, his hazel eyes narrowed slightly.

"How can I know?" Alec asked logically. "But Iím glad because I do want more."

Jason smiled. "I sort of thought that when you said youíd give up this place to be with me." He leaned in and kissed Alecís chest. "And if I didnít say it then, thank you."

"I rather enjoyed the non-verbal thanks," Alec chuckled. "Weíll get ourselves set up comfortably. Iíd hate to lose you now that Iíve found you."

"Same here," Jason nodded and yawned. "Being lost sucks."

"Donít worry about it. Cats are great trackers."

Jason chuckled again and squirmed around as he laid his head on Alecís chest, getting comfortable. "Glad to hear it."

Alec wrapped his arms around Jason, smiling. "Get some rest. We have a lab to create tomorrow and more lessons tomorrow night."

"Yes, sir," Jason murmured, curling closer and relaxing against the transgenicís body.

"Thatís it," Alec said, flinging his broom and himself to the ground in the newly cleared laboratory that was on the outer edge of cluster of biomedical research buildings. So far Jason hadnít shown any signs of illness, but Alec would be a lot happier once they got the results of the air sampling.

"Iím done. This place is as clean as itís going to get."

Jason looked around and nodded, grinning when the rest of the transgenics flopped to the floor as well. "Now we just need to get everything in and up and running," he said, laughing at the chorus of groans that greeted the announcement. It had taken them two days to get this far, and setting up the machinery was going to prove challenging.

"Alec, my man," Mole grumped, "you need to do a better job of distracting Doc."

Max kicked at him half-heartedly. "Forget it. I think Iíll get better results with an un-distracted scientist."

"Oh, yeah. Well, you move all the stuff then, oh mighty X5."

Max rolled her eyes at Mole, while Alec chuckled and shifted closer to Jason.

"We could make a break for it," he suggested in a stage whisper. "Before it gets bloody."

"Try it and Iíll tie you both in knots," Marnie murmured, opening one eye from where she was lying on the floor and looking over at them. "You arenít getting out of furniture moving that easy, pretty-boy."

"And I really want to start getting this place in order," Jason wheedled, looking round at the transgenics. "Even once we get everything set up, itís gonna take a while to get all the equipment programmed and calibrated."

Alec moaned. "Are you sure I canít interest you in some nice, sweaty distraction?" Knowing the answer already, he sighed and pushed to his feet, looking around with dismay. "You really need all this stuff, Jase?"

"No, I had you all bring it over because I thought it looked pretty," Jason snorted.

"Well, we know you like pretty things," Mole snickered with a glance at Alec.

"Ah, but Iím useful too. Arenít I, Jase?"

Jason snickered. "At times."

"When you arenít running your mouth, Iíll bet," Max laughed.

"Naw, he likes my mouth," Alec smirked. "Youíll never know what you missed, breeding partner." He winked at her before turning to one of the machines that lined the hallway. "Where do you want this?"

Max made a face and rolled her eyes.

"Be careful or itíll end up on your foot," Marnie muttered.

"Hey! No damaging my mass spec!" Jason protested.

"Your what?" Alec eyed the machine he was about to pick up. "This thing? Donít worry; I donít want to have to score another. Iím not going to drop it."

Jason grinned and patted Alexís butt. "Good boy, Iíll give you a cookie later."

"Iíd rather have the cream."

Max groaned. "Enough with the sexual innuendo. Some of us arenít getting any, ya know!"

"And the sooner we get all this up and running, the sooner I can do some serious work so you can be getting some," Jason laughed.

"Doc!" There was collective groan.

"Now Maxíll never let any of us rest till youíre set up," Alec sighed. "She could get the pyramids built in under a week."

Marnie shook her head. "You donít know Jason well yet. Once he has a problem to solve, he wonít let himself rest either; in fact, he might wear Max out."

"Should I be concerned?" Logan asked with a chuckle as he appeared in the doorway.

"Hardly. Any energies the doc has that way are all mine," Alec said emphatically, startling everyone, himself included, with his clear air of possession.

Jasonís eyes widened as he looked at Alec, then he smiled slowly. "Guess Iíll have to save you some then."

Mole grunted and hefted another piece of equipment into place. "Maybe you all could stop with the talking and start with the doing?"

"Looks like Max isnít the only one who likes to crack the whip," Alec muttered, knowing perfectly well all the transgenics could hear him.

"Okay, thatís it. Step away from the microscope." Alec eyed Jason with fond exasperation, wondering if the scientist had even noticed the others leave a couple of hours earlier.

Jason mumbled a response and continued typing notes into his laptop as he studied the calibration data, grumbling as the numbers still didnít match standard values.

"JASON!" Alec yelled so loudly that the last few cobwebs shook free of the ceiling and slowly floated down toward the floor.

"Hmm? What?" Jason looked up and blinked as he slowly focused on Alec, then past him. "Whereíd everyone go?"

Shaking his head, Alec stared at him. "They went home to get dinner and some rest... about two hours ago!"

"Two... but I was just going to run a few more tests. See? Itís almost set, just a few more tweaks..." Jason looked back toward the equipment almost longingly.

"It will still be there in the morning." Alec caught Jasonís arm in an unbreakable grip and drew him toward the door. "Food. You can even see our new place," he tempted. "Dalton and some of the younger ones moved our stuff for us this afternoon."

"But..." Jason protested, looking longingly back at the scanner before sighing. "Iíll have to remember to thank them for that, as long as they didnít break anything."

Alec eyed him. "What all do you have in your baggage thatís breakable? I thought it was all clothes and stuff?

"And do you want to grab something and take it back to our place or have dinner in the mess?"

Jason grinned. "Well, since I havenít even seen it, how about we eat there tonight? After all, I need some way to keep me distracted, donít I?"

"I thought that was supposed to be my job?" Alec chuckled, slinging an arm around Jasonís shoulders as they walked. "Hope youíre not expecting gourmet fare, though. We do okay, but nothing spectacular. I guess culinary skills werenít something Manticore thought to breed into us."

"I dunno, that stuff you made the first night was probably pretty good before it congealed," Jason offered, wrapping his arm around Alecís waist. "And the rest of it hasnít killed me yet."

"An easy audience. I knew I liked you." Alec smiled, not noticing the double takes as people saw him walking with Jason. "Iíll have to try cooking for you again."

"When I find a cure for Max and Logan, you can cook a feast," Jason laughed.

"You will eat between now and then!" Alec stopped in his tracks, staring down at Jason. "Iím not going to let you starve yourself."

"Donít want to bruise yourself on the hipbones?"

"Ouch! That sounds fairly unpleasant. But no, I was more concerned with you passing out on me."

"Or passing out because of you?" Jason asked wryly.

Alecís grin widened. "I can live with that. So keep eating so we can try it."

"So take me to food, then we can try it so Iíll be rested for tomorrow."

"Yes sir!" Alec snapped a salute. "Bossy, arenít you. Good thing I like that in a man." He opened the door to the former cafeteria that was again serving that purpose, this time for most of the inhabitants of Terminal City.

Jason chuckled and waved to those who looked up. "Considering you didnít know you liked men until me, Iíd say I formed your opinion."

"Good point. But since I donít feel any urge to go comparison-shopping, I guess Iíll have to stick with you."

"Be still my heart," Jason laughed, leaning against Alecís side. "It must be love."

Alecís eyes widened. "I guess it must."

Jason turned and looked up at Alec. "Excuse me?"

Alec shrugged uncomfortably. "Not that I know or anything. Only been in love once, and that didnít go so well. But... I like having you around, talking to you, being with you."

"Same here," Jason nodded. "I mean, Iím no expert either, so... I guess weíll just keep on going the way we are and see what happens."

"Sounds good to me. Does this mean Marnie might stop glaring at me sometime this century? Iím worried what might happen if she and Max team up."

"Dunno. I do think the two of you need to talk though."

Alec sighed. "I donít have a good history with female X series. Couldnít I just hide behind you?"

Jason quirked a smile. "Iím too short."

"I thought you were just right." Alec smirked, grabbing a couple of trays and handing one to Jase. "You know, I think this is just as bad as at Manticore." He eyed the meal unhappily. "We need to find a real cook."

"Donít look at me!" Jason exclaimed, accepting a plate of... just what it was, he wasnít sure. "Maybe we can run an ad somewhere."

"Gee, and how would we phrase that? Letís see, ĎHelp wanted. Ability to cook, immunity to bio weapons, weapons skill a plus.í" Alec snorted.

"Sounds good to me," Jason grinned. "Now letís eat up so you can distract me before I end up in the lab again."

"We certainly canít have that," Alec laughed. "And donít make me carry you back over my shoulder. Neither of us would ever live it down."

Jason laughed. "Do that and youíll end up with my dinner dumped on your head!"

"Marnie said she might come over later tonight to talk to you," Jason warned as they left the cafeteria.

"Sounds like you might get more of a distraction than you planned on. And not necessarily of the variety we hoped for. Whatís her problem anyway? Itís not like Iím trying to kill you or anything."

"Be nice," Jason murmured, poking Alec in the ribs. "Sheís trying to get to know youóI thinkóand weíve got a few hours. Are you saying you canít distract me until then?"

"Iím saying that I was planning on distracting you all night. But I think I can manage to fill a few hours quite nicely." Alec caught Jasonís hand and held onto it as they walked, making their way out closer to the perimeter of Terminal City.

"I have faith in you," Jason answered, smiling when he saw a group of X6s chasing each other around a cleared space.

Following his gaze, Alec smiled as well. "Thatís why we had to do it," he said quietly. "Even if Max and the others who got away were the only ones who realized it at first. Those kids will know what itís like to play. Theyíll never get this blank look and pretend to be like everyone else."

"You donít know how to play..." Jason said, a look of dawning realization coming into his eyes. "Wish I could help more, but I didnít have a lot of time for it when I was younger. I did know it existed, at least."

"I think I prefer grown up games now. And you play those very well from what Iíve seen so far."

"Why thank you, I had hoped, considering I brought you to the other side, that you found it worthwhile."

Alecís whoop of laughter momentarily drew the X6sí attention before they returned to their game. "I found it so worthwhile that I canít wait to try it again."

"Well then, get us home!" Jason demanded.

A raised eyebrow and a wide grin were all the warning Jase got before he found himself tossed over Alecís shoulder as the transgenic blurred, running for their new home. Mere moments later, Alec opened the door to another executive office suite with its own bathroom. "Kitchenetteís down the hall; we have the place to ourselves for now. Bedís right here." He tossed Jase down and followed him, straddling him on all fours.

"Really?" Jason laughed, pulling Alec in for a kiss while bouncing on the bed experimentally. "Comfy!"

Alec let himself drop down to sprawl over Jason. "Yes, you are."

Jason stuck his tongue out at Alec. "Too many clothes."

Alec pretended to try to catch his tongue, kissing Jason leisurely. He knelt up, hands going to the buckle of Jasonís belt. "Iíll see what I can do about that."

"Gee, and I thought you transgenics were supposed to be fast," Jason laughed, pulling at Alecís t-shirt, wanting to feel bare flesh under his hands.

"You want fabric burn on your entire body?" Alecís eyebrows rose again. "Kinky!"

"No!" Smacking Alecís shoulder, Jason squirmed, reaching for the button at the waistband of Alecís jeans.

"Then slower is good." Alec thrust his hips forward, groaning his appreciation as Jase freed him. "Or fast is good too." He made quick work of Jaseís clothes, green eyes scanning him appreciatively.

"Care to show me how good?" Jason asked, running his hands over Alecís back and rubbing against him.

"Love to, but isnít it my turn to be on the bottom?" Alec purred, back arching. "Want to see what all the commotionís about."

Jason blinked. "You sure?"

Alec nodded. "Yeah. You seem to be having a good time with it. I want to, with you." Alecís hands petted Jason as he spoke, calming his slight nervousness though the connection.

"Then maybe we should switch places?" Jason suggested, pushing on Alec until he rolled to his back.

"Mmm, I think I like you all dommy." Alec grinned up at him, the green eyes intent.

Jason shook his head and chuckled, leaning in to lick Alecís nipple. "Youíre such a nut."

Alecís reply was non-verbal. His back arched, and his fingers buried themselves in the thick, spiky hair, holding Jason to him. "Oh yeah. More!"

"Like this?" Jason murmured, nipping at the taut peak, one hand sliding down Alecís chest to stroke his burgeoning erection.

"Oh yeah," Alec repeated, purring low in his throat, legs spreading as he thrust upward. "Just like that, please, Jase."

Jason hummed in response, loving Alecís reaction before snapping his head up. "Shit!"

"What theóGet back here!"

"Is the..." Jason scrabbled in the bedside drawer for the lube and breathed a sigh of relief before groaning. "If the kids found this..."

"Jase, those kids have killed people. I donít think a little lube is gonna freak Ďem out. Now get back here and finish what you started!"

Not having a rebuttal for that, Jason took only the time to grab the lube before diving back on top of Alec. "Miss me?" he asked cheekily while spreading the cool gel on the fingers of one hand.

"Yes! Bastard." Alec promised himself to get even for the teasing... later. For the present, he simply wrapped his legs around Jason and pulled him closer.

"Hey! No name calling, especially when I donít know if itís true or not," Jason pouted, attending to Alecís nipples once more as he ran his fingers over the transgenicís balls and back between his legs, teasing the tight entrance to his body.

"Donít know..." Alec started before Jasonís touch distracted him, making him completely forget what they were talking about. "Jase," he groaned, arching his back to tilt his ass upward. "Feels good."

"Itíll feel even better soon," Jason promised, slowly pressing one finger inside Alec as he tugged at one peaked nipple.

"Oh fuck yeah," Alec breathed, hands gripping Jaseís upper arms. "Want you, canít hurt me," he panted, trying to urge Jason on.

"Maybe so, but I want you to feel good," Jason answered, kissing Alec again as he crooked his finger inside the transgenic.

Alec nearly bent in half as he arched that time. "Already do," he panted when he could speak again. "Want you, Jase."

"Want you too, Alec," Jason rasped, straightening up to slick his erection up and set it at the entrance to Alecís body. "Gonna have you now." That said, he pressed forward, eyes locked with the X5ís, his lower lip caught between his teeth at the exquisite sensation of it all.

Gasping slightly at the unaccustomed stretching, Alec stared up into the intent gaze, shivering as he felt himself slowly filled. Heíd wanted this, but it still surprised him with how good it felt. "Yeah," he panted, knees pressing into Jasonís ribs.

Jason paused, his gaze turning questioning. "You okay?" he asked, wanting to move but needing to know Alec was all right with this first.

"Fuck yes!" Alec didnít think heíd ever been better in his life. "Move, Jase!" he demanded.

Jason slowly smiled and reached in to tweak one of Alecís nipples. "Yes, sir!" he laughed, driving deeper into the other manís body, groaning when Alex clenched around him.

"Good soldier," Alec retorted, smirking around his gasps. He knew that there was more... but it hadnít felt like this in training! He yelped Jaseís name when he felt the nudge against his prostate, clenching down almost painfully before forcing himself to relax. "More!"

"You asked for it," Jason grinned, dipping his head down to bite at Alecís nipples as his thrusts sped up, wanting to hear that yelp again.

"Yeah." Alec began to move as well, meeting every thrust and nearly yipping with each impact on his prostate. "Oh fuck yeah, Jase, good, yeah..." he babbled senseless words of approval, his hands now cupping Jasonís ass and a thumb nudging at his entrance.

Jason nodded against Alecís chest and flexed his ass under the other manís hands as he drove inward again. "Uh huh," he gasped, his control slipping as Alec arched to meet his thrusts.

Alecís thumb pushed inside Jason as he pulled out, and Alec gasped again as he felt the muscles clench around him, letting him imagine what Jase was feeling inside him. The image made him groan and move his other hand off Jasonís ass to grab for his own cock, needing to feel something, anything, surround it.

"Do it, Alec, do it," Jason chanted, slipping a hand between them to cover Alecís, twining their fingers together as they jacked him off. "Gotta feel you come..."

Dazed green eyes stared up at Jase unseeingly, the rising pleasure overwhelming all other sensory input. All he was aware of was the cock pounding into his ass and the hands rapidly pumping his cock. Alecís cry this time was hoarse, guttural, and wordless, simply a wail of ecstasy as he spasmed and came, semen spurting over their hands and bellies in several long bursts.

Jason cried out as well as he felt Alec go wild under him, and he drove inward one last time before his orgasm rolled over him. The spasms drained him, leaving him collapsed on top of Alec, not caring that their hands were trapped between them. "Damn..." he murmured, closing his eyes and squirming a little to get more comfortable. "You blew my mind."

Alec managed a breathless chuckle. "Donít tell Max that or sheíll hurt me!" He mustered the energy to stroke Jasonís back. "That was incredible."

"Glad you liked it." Jason yawned and curled closer if it was possible. "Weíll have to do it again some time."

"Damn right. Weíll have to try itóand the oppositeóa lot so I can decide which I like better." Alec smiled slightly as Jason snuggled into him, thinking that the scientist was like a contented kitten.

"Mmm, same here." Jason yawned again and closed his eyes. "Think Iím gonna take a nap now, Ďkay?"

"Sounds good," Alec agreed, perfectly content to lie there with Jason even if he didnít need to sleep. "Iíll be here in the morning."

"Better be," Jason murmured. "Like waking up with you."

Alec stilled utterly. No one had ever said anything like that to him in his entire life. His eyes opened again to stare at the half-asleep man lying on his chest. "Me too."

Jason just made a contented sound and relaxed, falling asleep.

Alecís eyes flew open though he didnít move otherwise. Something had woken him, but he didnít know what. He waited, every muscle tense and ready to flip over, putting himself between Jason and whatever threatened.

"You might as well get up; I know youíre awake," Marnie commented from where she stood at the bedroom doorway.

Recognizing the voice, Alec relaxed now that he was sure there was no threat to Jason. He carefully slid out from under the doctor, smiling when Jason grabbed his pillow and curled around it. He ran a tender hand over the tousled, spiky hair and pulled the forest green sheet up over Jasonís shoulder before turning to face Marnie as he stepped into a pair of boxers he retrieved from the floor.

"Outside," he hissed. "Heís tired, and I donít want to wake him."

She rolled her eyes. "And here I thought weíd just start shouting at each other in his ear."

Growling under his breath, Alec shoved her though the doorway and shut the door behind them, though not without taking another fond look at the man softly snoring in the bed.

"What do you want?" he snapped as soon as the door was shut. "Or should I expect you to come wake me up every night?"

"As amusing as it might be, no, this is a one-shot deal," she answered as she walked down the hallway to the living room. "And donít worry, Pretty-boy, Iím not here for you, Iím here for Jason."

"And this explains why you woke me up how exactly?"

She sighed and ran a hand through her short blonde hair. "Because thereís things that he needs to know, and once he does, heís going to need you. Iím taking a chance here that you really care about him and just arenít fucking around."

Alec ignored the last in favor of concentrating on the rest. "What do you mean thereís stuff he needs to know? What have you been hiding?" His eyes narrowed, and he focused on her, ready to move if necessary.

"He didnít need to know, not before Manticore fell apart, and then..." Her chin came up, and she met Alecís eyes squarely. "We arenít the only ones who had people playing with our DNA, okay? Itís not something you just throw at a person. Weíve known all our lives we were differentóitís a big jump to go from thinking youíre really smart to knowing someone planned you that way."

Alec stared. "Like that Brainiac guy we met? He was a strategist. Really wild what he could do, almost like telling the future. You saying Jaseís something like that?"

"Could be. All I know is that while Sandeman was looking for one of us to give him a way to fight the plague, he also needed people he knew could create a vaccine." She paused and gave a mirthless smile. "You wanted to know why Jason had an X5A bodyguard."

"Fuck." Alec dropped into a chair. "So Jaseís a transgenic and doesnít even know it?" He scrubbed his hands through his hair. "Coulda told us, bear girl. Or didnít you think knowing that he doesnít have to worry about any bugs that may still be here would make a difference?"

"Iím telling you now," she said flatly. "And his group was tweaked mentally, not physically, so I donít know if any leftovers around here would hit him or notóare you willing to take the chance?"

"No," Alec sighed tiredly. "But donít make any assumptions. That guy I mentioned with the jazzed up mind? He could also make himself seem invisible. Donít know if that was mental or physical, but I donít think they ever did only one thing at Manticore." He slumped. "Sandeman has a lot to answer for."

"He thinks heís saving the world," Marnie answered, walking over to the window and looking out at the darkened streets below. "And I guess he is if you cut away the bullshit."

"You mean he started to and then walked away, leaving all his Ďchildrení to the monsters," Alec snarled. "You were at Manticore, at least I presume so, so you know what it was like. Fat lot of good Maxís miracle DNA would have done if sheíd died in that hellhole."

She spun back around and glared at him. "Yes, I was there, so I know just what they did to us; then I was a good little soldier and went out and did my job, so donít pile your problems on me, got it?" As she spoke, she advanced on Alec, indifferent to the foot difference in their heights. "From what I hear, you were a good little soldier too."

"Oh, fuck you," Alec said tiredly, not even bothering to stand up. "Youíve been with Jason for how many years? You didnít get the joys of Renfro and her breeding program, or being thrown into psy-ops because you were a clone of a guy who made it over the wall. You didnít end up back in pys-ops because you fell in love and fucked up a mission. So donít tell me how hard you had it, Marnie. Just donít." The wiseass cover had slipped, and the green eyes were old and tired and more real than Alec had ever allowed himself to be around Marnie before then.

Marnie paused, watching Alec assessingly and nodding as she took a seat across from him. "So you are human after all. Good."

Alec laughed bitterly. "Is it? Too human for the handlers, not human enough for the upstairs people as Joshua calls them. We donít fit anywhere, and they donít want us to. So tell me whatís good about it?" Alec couldnít believe he was saying all this to Marnie when he hadnít even been able to bring himself to talk about it with Max, who actually was his friend.

"If they wonít let us fit, we just have to make a place for ourselves, which you seem to be doing whether they like it or not. Normals are scared of differences; look at their history. They use it as an excuse to hunt and persecute others, but in time they adapt."

"Forgive me if Iíve never wanted to be a posterboy for transgenic rights." Alec sighed heavily. Marnie wasnít saying anything Max hadnít said a dozen times or more, and he knew they were right. "Just once Iíd like something to be easy."

Marnie looked toward the hallway that led to the bedroom and arched an eyebrow.

A laugh escaped Alec before he could stop it. "I donít think heíd care for that comparison."

"Not in the least." She smiled slightly, then the expression faded away. "I have to tell him, Alec, and once I do, youíve got to be there for him."

Alec only nodded. "Heís going to be hurt that youíve known all along and didnít tell him. And I get the feeling he doesnít forgive easily," he warned her.

"I know," she said quietly. "And I canít blame him. I also know heís not going to let me tell him everything, so the informationís hereówhat the Hourglass Foundation is, and the fact that there are others like him out there." She pulled a mini-DVD from her pocket and set it on the coffee table between them.

Alec glanced at it before returning his attention to her. He finally stood up and moved around the table to her side, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Iíll make sure he listens to it. And Iíll talk to him when heís ready to hear," he promised. "He doesnít need to lose a friend."

"Thanks," she said, swallowing hard and taking a deep breath. "Cut the sympathy crap though, okay? I need to do this, and Iím not going to be able to if you keep being nice to me. Itís not great timing for Max and Logan, but I need to do this tonight, then Iím going to take off for a while. Can you just wake him up and tell him I need to talk to him?"

Seeing how close she was to the edge, Alec just nodded again and went back to the bedroom, shutting the door behind him. He stood for a moment, his catís eyes letting him see as clearly in the near total darkness as in afternoon sunlight. Finally shaking his head, he continued across the room and sat down on the edge of the bed, one hand lightly stroking Jasonís shoulder.

"Jase?" he called softly. "Címon, I need you to wake up, doc."

Jason groaned and rolled over onto his back, yawning as he opened his eyes. "Ready to go again already? Sure you donít have bunny in the mix?" he chuckled as he spoke and reached up to pull Alec in for a kiss.

Alec met the kiss for a moment before sitting up, one hand stroking Jasonís chest. "Much as I like your idea, Jase, Marnieís waiting in the living room to talk to you."

That brought Jason a bit more awake, and he sat up, blinking away the sleep from his eyes. "Something tells me this isnít just a Ďhow are you, Jason,í talk, am I right?"

Alec straightened away from him. "Thatís for Marnie to tell you. Iíll be right here when youíre done."

"Why does that not reassure me?" Jason asked, slowly climbing out of the bed and grabbing his clothes. "Not the you being here part, but the rest of it."

"Itís nothing terrible," Alec tried to reassure him. "Itís just that itís her story to tell, not mine. Just donít forget to crawl back into bed when youíre done. I like having you here."

"Getting rid of meís going to be the problem," Jason said, managing a grin as he pulled a sweatshirt over his head, realizing too late that it was Alecís, then shrugging as he pushed the sleeves up over his forearms. "Be back in a few." He leaned in and gave Alec a kiss then headed out the door.

Hearing the door shut, Jason stood and walked mechanically down the hallway toward the bedroom. Somewhere along the way his mind had shut down, and right now he knew of only one way to get through the next few hours: work, and lots of it.

"Iím going to the lab," he announced, knowing that Alec was awake and watching him.

Alec raised himself to one elbow, mouth opened to protest, but he saw the look Jasonís eyes and changed his mind. "Want some company?" he offered, rolling to his feet in a sinuous movement.

"If you want." Jason shrugged and grabbed his sneakers, pulling them on and lacing them up.

Alec thought that it was more to the point whether Jason wanted his presence, but he didnít push the issue for the moment. It would be best to be nearby whenever Jase decided he was ready to talk... if ever.

He dressed quickly, keeping an eye on Jason to make sure he didnít leave without Alec, but the transgenic was ready before Jase grew too impatient. "After you," he said quietly, indicating the door.

Without answering, Jason opened the door and headed down the hall to the elevator, stabbing at the button impatiently while staring at the wall. He heard Alec come up behind him, and his shoulders tightened.

Alec tentatively raised a hand and placed it on Jaseís shoulder, feeling the tension vibrating through the slighter man. "Youíre still the same person you were yesterday."

"Just a little more Ďspecialí, right?"

Hearing the bitterness in that comment, Alec let his hand fall to his side. "No more so than Marnie or Max... or me."

The elevator arrived, and Jason placed a hand against the door to keep it open. "She knew all along, Alec. Why didnít she tell me?"

"At first, orders." Alec shrugged slightly. "I know it doesnít make sense to you, but orders are a big thing to us. We were bred to respond to them. Later... once you start to care about someone youíve lied to, youíre trapped because youíre afraid of their reaction to what you did, so you just let it go, waiting and hoping that somehow itíll fix itself."

Jason walked into the elevator and slowly turned around. "Thereís the difference. I donít care that youíreóweíre different; itís that youíve known all your life, and they kept it from me."

Alec faced him but didnít try to touch him. "Would you really have preferred to be raised by soldiers in a barracks? Never having a chance to be a kid." He smiled wryly. "At least thatís what I hear. Donít know since I have no idea how kids grow up out here."

"I studied a lot," Jason said quietly. "Looking at it now, itís what I was made to do, right?"

"Yeah, but itís also what you enjoy. Donít forget that; donít let them take that away from you. You like what you do, and youíve helped people. Hell, youíre here to help Max and Logan and possibly every person on the planet." Alec chuckled almost shakily.

"You make it really hard to stay pissed when youíre that logical."

"Shh! Donít let Max hear you say that. Sheís convinced Iím a congenital idiot."

Jason gave a reluctant snicker and let the elevator doors close. "Not congenital, but Iím not sure about the idiot part yet."

Alec clutched dramatically at his chest. "Careful, you might overwhelm me with such glowing praise."

"Just keeping your ego in line." Jason looked a little steadier, though he leaned against the rear wall of the elevator as it descended.

"The way everyone keeps trying to deflate it, itís a wonder I have any left at all. Fortunately, I know Iím amazing." Alec smiled smugly.

Jason rolled his eyes and aimed a half-hearted punch at Alecís shoulder. "You were pretty good."

"Oh, I still have to perfect my technique at that. Practice makes perfect, you know." Alec mock-leered at the other man. "Care to help?"

"One track mind," Jason sighed as the elevator dinged and stopped in the building lobby. "IóI just need to work some right now, okay?"

"Sure," Alec replied easily, finally moving away from his slouch against the elevator wall and pulling Jason into a rough hug. "Iíll even clean up some more of the damn place while you do."

Jason leaned into the hug for a moment, then straightened up. "I knew you were more than a pretty face."

Alec grinned wryly. "Yet another of my secrets, not that many people would believe you. Except Joshua," he said slowly. "He sees a lot more than people give him credit for. I think you two will be good friends."

"I guess Iíll have to talk to him then." They walked out through the lobby and out into the night air. "He was the first, right?"

"Yeah, no barcode," Alec agreed, hands in his pockets as he strolled along at Jasonís side, acknowledging the other transgenics in the shadows with the slightest of nods. "Heís sweet. Naive, you know? He comes off as simple at first, but when you get to know him, you realize itís just that he has no frame of reference. He gets people better than anyone Iíve ever met."

Jason nodded, seemingly lost in through as they walked to the lab building. "So he can be sort of a father confessor."

Alec looked at him blankly. "A what?"

"Guess Manticore didnít cover comparative religion in your training, eh?"

"Religion?" Alec snorted, his opinion clear. "No, we didnít waste time on that. Itís one of the few decisions that I agreed with."

Jason chuckled. "Well, itís a topic that would take about a year to cover even the surface of. Iíll just give you the quick and dirty explanation that a father confessor is someone people talk to about their sins and problems, and he helps them work through them."

"Sins, huh?" Alec shook his head. "Never really got that either, and Iím not real big on talking." He thought about that. "Though it does help to talk to Joshua sometimes."

"Thatís what counts then. Maybe..." Jason shook his head and pushed open the door to the lab building.

"Maybe what?" Alec asked curiously, following him inside and glancing around the cleared lobby with a certain degree of pride. It wasnít nearly as gleaming as the laboratory itself, but he thought theyíd accomplished a lot in a short time.

"I was going to say maybe Marnie should talk to him, but Iíd rather she deal with her guilt for a while," Jason muttered. "I know I sound like a bastard, but..." he shrugged and headed for the stairs.

"But youíre pissed." Alec shrugged. "If you think Iím going to lecture you, youíre wrong. Iím a firm believer in working out my issues by getting even."

"Youíre telling me to kick her ass? Alec, I may be smart, but I think I missed out on the strong and fast part of the mix."

"So use that super brain of yours. It doesnít have to be physical. Hell, mental works better with women anyway."

Jason rolled his eyes. "Youíre the expert on that front, never tried them myself."

"I have to admit that guys are a lot easier." Alec snickered suddenly. "Aside from the physical. Women are definitely easier that way."

"If you start listing the ways, Iím going to use this super brain of mine to come up with a way to take it out on you." That said, Jason walked into the lab and looked around, clearly ready to get down to business.

"I just have one word for youólube." Alec grinned and headed the other way, deciding that it would be good for his health to clean up for Jason.

Jason looked up from the computer monitor and rubbed his eyes. "Hey, Alec," he called, "come look at this." The lab had been up and running for two weeks, and he was finally making some progress with the retrovirus.

Rolling his eyes, Alec dropped the magazine heíd been flipping through to keep himself from jumping Jason and went over to his side. "Okay, what am I looking at?"

"Philistine," Jason snorted. "What youíre looking it is what makes Max deadly to Logan."

Alec eyed him over his shoulder. "It took you this long to find the bug?"

Jason scowled. "Do I tell you how to do your job?"

Raising his hands defensively, Alec replied, "Was just asking. You know I know shit about this. So this is good?" He nodded toward the monitor.

"Yeah, this is very good. I was working with theoreticals before, going on the information Marnie..." Jason took a deep breath and continued, "gave me. Now that I have real samples, I can do the real work."

"Will you hit me if I ask why you have samples now when youíve had Max and Loganís blood for a week?"

"Because I had to reprogram and recalibrate all the equipment, remember? You know, big bad pulse comes along and wipes everything out? Itís hard to run tests when nothing works."

"Ah. Finally he says something that makes sense to the non-scientists in the room," Alec muttered. "Iím very happy for you and your little friend." He eyed the monitor. "Weird that something so minute could be deadly, isnít it? I feel for them."

"It took some seriously fucked up minds to come up with this thing. Good thing mineís even more fucked up because I can unravel it." Jason hit a few buttons on the computer, and the image changed slightly. "And fix it."

"Max and Logan will be thrilled. We may declare it a transgenic holiday. Mating day." Alec snickered.

Jason laughed aloud at that. "Iíll stock up on the lube."

"Maybe we can try to break a bed. Or maybe youíll show me something new, something thatíll make you scream this time," Alec suggested.

"Mmm, now thereís even more reason to work fast on this, and get it right."

"A little inspiration never goes wrong." Alec stretched leisurely, knowing Jasonís eyes were on him as his t-shirt rode up, momentarily exposing the rippling muscles of his abdomen.

Jason actually whimpered before forcing himself to look back at the computer. "Go take your inspirational self somewhere else, or Iíll never get anything done, got it?"

Alec smiled smugly. "Iíll be waiting in bed. Naked." He backed toward the door. "Donít work too late, honey," he teased just before he disappeared.

"Max is going to kill you if I mess this up because I was too horny to think straight!" Jason hollered after him, giving himself a shake to try and get focused again.

Some time lateróbut not as long as Alec had thought it might beóJason finally made it back to their apartment. Having heard him coming, Alec was sprawled on the bed, one knee raised, lazily stroking himself. "I think you said something about being horny?" he purred.

"Gee, no, why would you think that?" Jason crawled up on the bed and sat on Aleís hips. "Just because Iíd look at the virus and see you?"

"Are you calling me a bug?" Alec laughed, sliding his hands up under Jasonís shirt.

"Well, youíve certainly infected me. Think you have an injection to cure me?" Jason snickered as he spoke and leaned in to nip at Alecís neck.

"Thatís one cure youíd better never develop," Alec growled, catching hold of Jase and pulling him into a more satisfying kiss.

Jason shook his head and ground down against Alecís groin. "No, youíre one thing I never want to be cured of."

"Good answer. But why are you still dressed?" Alec tugged at Jasonís shirt, wanting it gone.

"Because you havenít gotten me naked yet?"

"Ah, so Iím supposed to do all the work, am I? You brain, me brawn?" Alec waited a beat. "Works by me." He suddenly flipped them over, stripping Jason naked with inhuman speed, and smirked down at him. "Your next order, sir?"

Jason pretended to think about it, then grinned, running his hands over Alecís chest. "Fuck me."

"Your wish is my command." Alec reached for the lube on the night table, rocking against Jason as he did, and slowly began to coat the fingers of his left hand, taking his time and making sure to smooth the thick gel over every inch.

"So youíre a genie now?"

"You know that genies are also the concubines who fulfill their mastersí every desire in Paradise, donít you?" Alec purred, sliding down and rubbing his lightly stubbled cheek against Jasonís chest.

Jason sighed as he arched up against Alec. "Actually, Iíd rather have you here as yourself doing what you want to do."

Alec raised his head to look at Jason, startled. "I am doing what I want to. I want to be here with you, Jase. Donít you know that by now?"

"I know, I just want you to know that."

"If I didnít, I wouldnít be here. Iíve been used by the best, Jase, and I know the difference." Alec decided it was time to distract Jason, and he caught a nipple between his teeth, lightly biting and tugging.

Jason groaned and clenched his fingers on Alecís shoulders. "Good, because I want you for you, got it?"

"Got it. And got you." Alec gave him a purely feline smile of smug satisfaction, distracting Jason long enough that he only noticed Alec had moved when a finger pushed inside him.

"Not quite yet," Jason panted, spreading his legs wider and bucking upward while pulling Alec in for a kiss.

"Then Iíll have to try harder," Alec murmured against his lips, two fingers now moving back and forth inside Jason, slicking and stretching him.

"Hard is the key here," Jason panted, catching hold of Alecís cock and stroking it.

"Have I mentioned how much I love your ability to focus?" Alec snickered, his thumb gently nudging Jasonís balls every time he pushed his fingers into him.

"Have I mentioned how much I love you?" Jason asked quietly.

Alec stilled and raised his head to stare at Jason, the green eyes wide and haunted at first, then slowly clearing. "No," he whispered, "but I hope itís as much as I love you." As he said the words aloud for the first time in all their conversations circling around the subject, he tested how they felt, and he smiled slowly, realizing that he really did love the other man.

Jason smiled slowly and hooked a hand around Alecís neck for another kiss. "That had better be a hell of a lot then."

"It is." Alec let himself sink down on top of Jason, pressing him into the mattress as they kissed. But it wasnít enough for long, and soon he was kneeling between Jasonís legs, slowly withdrawing his fingers so he could press into Jason, gradually sheathing himself inside his lover.

"God, Alec," Jason sighed, arching upward and pulling the other man deeper into him. "Thatís the damn sexiest thing Iíve ever heard."

"Good, Ďcause youíre going to be hearing a lot of it." Alec stared down at him, loving to watch Jason react to what he was doing. He could never get enough of it.

"Even when Mole rags on you for it?" Jason asked, running his hands down to Alecís butt and kneading the firm flesh.

"Especially then." Alec rocked in and out of him, barely able to keep track of the conversation. "Iíll tell him to find someone of his own." He exclaimed wordlessly at the incredible pleasure and thrust forward, lowering himself so his belly rubbed Jasonís erection.

Jason gave up trying to talk and bucked upward, clawing at Alecís back. "Harder!" he groaned, wanting to feel more.

Nothing could have stopped Alec now, his hips driving back and forth as he fucked Jase, one hand squeezing between them to wrap around Jasonís cock and pump him, knowing he wasnít going to last very long.

"God, Alec!" Jason cried out, his orgasm rushing over him so that he went wild beneath Alec.

"Naw, just Alec, donít need any titles." Alec managed to get out one more wisecrack before he lost himself in the pleasure, slamming in and out of Alec until he came as well, crying Alecís name.

"Asshole," Jason muttered, managing a half-hearted smack against Alecís back.

"Right now thatís you. Iím the one on top, remember?"

"Oooo, thatís a good one. If I didnít feel so good, Iíd kick you out of bed."

"I guess Iíll just have to keep making you feel good then so Iíll have a place to live."

Jason nodded before growing serious. "I meant what I said, you know. It wasnít just the mind-blowing sex."

"So did I. Iím not very good at this, and I still think itís dangerous for anyone to be involved with an X5, but now I understand why Max never let that stop her. I... need you."

"Same here," Jason answered, shifting to stroke a hand over Alecís short hair, then down over the back of his neck where his bar code was. "Itís big and itís serious, but I wouldnít want it any other way."

Alec opened his mouth for one of his wisecracks but shut it again without speaking. He stared searchingly into Jasonís eyes. "I... really donít know how to do this, but I donít want to mess it up. I want this, us to work."

Jason nodded and leaned up to brush a kiss over Alecís lips. "Then just be yourself, okay? I havenít done this before either, so weíll just learn together."

"Most people have some problems with me being myself," Alec mumbled, slowly withdrawing from Jason and rolling them to their sides, still holding the other man close. "Iím not even sure who that is."

Jason sighed and nodded. "I think Iím a little familiar with that emotion right now."

Alec laughed wryly. "Youíre different from what you always believed, and I was never allowed to believe in myself at all. Weíre a fine pair."

"So we work it out, figure out who we both are."

"Both individually and together," Alec agreed. "And we may just figure out where transgenics fit into the ordinariesí world at the same time."

Jason managed to smile at that. "Tiny little things, all of them, right?"

"Yeah, just details." Alec laughed wryly. "We should be able to solve Max and Loganís problem and possibly arrange world peace at the same time."

"Sure, with our eyes closed and one hand tied behind out backs."

Alec started laughing. "Okay, maybe we should start with something a bit less ambitious. One day at a time?"

Jason laughed quietly. "That sounds good to me, plus I think itís about all any of us can stand."

"I think weíll do good together, Jase. Iíll drag you out of the lab when necessary, and youíll keep me from running my mouth off too much and driving Max to kill me." Alec smiled wryly.

"Something that will keep us all happy, I think."

"Well, I certainly hope you prefer me alive! Necrophiliaíd be a bit much." Alec grinned and kissed Jason to smother the comment he knew would be coming.

Jason laughed into the kiss and pulled Alec closer, knowing he was being distracted but not minding in the least.

Rolling to his back, Alec settled Jason on top of him, grinning up at the scientist when their lips finally parted. "I really like that single-minded scientist thing when itís focused on me," he said, panting slightly.

"Once I get Max and Loganís problem licked, youíll really see what having me focused on you is like," Jason promised.

Alec purred. "Good thing Iím genetically empowered then or it might kill me. And with that as inspiration, how can I help you finish faster?" He grinned crookedly.

Jason chuckled. "Donít distract me!"

"But thatís half the fun!"

"I thought you wanted me to finish so I could concentrate on you?"

"I donít want to be celibate in the meantime," Alec grumbled.

Jason cocked an eyebrow. "And what do you call what we just did?"

"Something worth repeating."

"Sure youíre up for it?"

Alecís eyebrows shot up. "You still have doubts? Iím going to have to try harder."

Jasonís expression was one of pure innocence. "Well, harder is the opportune word here."

Alec started to laugh. "Planning to take tomorrow as a day of rest? Or at least in bed."

"So, you arenít up to it..."

Flipping them over, Alec rocked down against him. "Still think so?"

Jason grinned, though he tried to keep his expression considering. "Hrmmm, not sure yet."

"So you want to bottom twice in the same night? Just donít blame me when you canít sit down tomorrow," Alec snickered, rubbing against him sensually.

"If you donít forget the lube, it ainít gonna be a problem," Jason laughed, squeezing Alecís ass.

"Greedy," Alec chuckled. "I like that in a lover." He pushed a knee between Jasonís thighs, spreading his legs, and settled between.

"You like anything in a lover that gets you laid more."

"Well yeah." Alec rolled his eyes. "What did you expect?"

"Youíre such a slut," Jason laughed, wrapping his legs around Alecís waist. "Good thing Iím one too."

"Thereís definitely some tomcat hidden somewhere in you, too." Alec bit at his chin.

"Canít be a natural born slut?"

"Sure, but youíve got great recovery time too." Alec reached between them to stroke their erections together in his fist.

"Hrmmm, you donít think itís because of you?" Jason asked, arching into Alecís hand and clenching his fingers against his back.

"Iím sure my extraordinary beauty and skill helps."

Jason snickered and moaned at the same time. "Yeah, for a beginner, youíre pretty good."

"Iíll just have to keep practicing to make sure I get it right."

"Iíll be glad to offer advice on your technique."

"And you, of course, are just helping me out of the goodness of your heart. How selfless."

Jason beamed. "Thatís me, working to end celibacy for transgenics and humans everywhere."

"Better be careful or youíll end up as Saint Jason."

"Naw, itíd be Saint Doc."

Alec snorted and lowered his head to kiss him. "Definitely need to keep that mouth occupied."

Jason just grinned into the kiss and nipped at Alecís tongue, circling his hips as they moved together.

A soft moan flowed from Alecís mouth into Jasonís, and he pressed harder, letting more of his weight settle onto Jason.

"God, Alec," Jason moaned. "Want you now."

Alec fumbled for the lube again, only pausing long enough to slick himself before he was sliding back inside Jason, groaning his satisfaction.

"Mmmm..." Jason groaned, arching his back and sighing. "Letís just stay like this till morning."

"You really think we can stay like this without moving?" Alec scoffed.

"Dunno, but we can try."

"Youíre trying to kill me," Alec gasped, fingers biting into Jasonís hips as he fought to remain still.

"Yeah, right, like I really want toóoh shitódo that."

"That?" Alec practically purred, flexing his hips the tiniest bit.

Jason whimpered in response.

"You sure you want me to stay still?"

"Well, a little movement is good."

"I thought you might see it my way."

"Yeah, youíre just a persuasive guy," Jason groaned, writhing as Alec made that small move again.

"You inspire me," Alec replied, his hands sliding up Jasonís ribs and inward until he could flick the hardened nipples with his thumbs. "I rise to new heights."

"That mean youíre going to fly next?"

"Yeah right, just call me Clark Kent." Alec rolled his eyes. "Leave it to you to ruin a perfectly good line. I think youíve been talking to Max again."

Jason snorted. "Trust me, Alex; Max is the last thing on my mind right now."

"So I donít actually need to do this," suddenly pulling back and driving forward again, "to remind you who youíre with right now?" Alec chuckled breathlessly as he rolled to his back with Jase on top of him.

"So... Oh, God, Alec... So fucking funny," Jason panted, sitting upright on top of the other man and trembling.

"Thatís me, a real smart aleck," Alec chuckled, reaching up to twist Jasonís nipples.

"A real ass is more like it!" Jasonís voice broke, and he gave up trying to hold still, instead, driving himself up and down over Alec.

"More interested in your ass right now," Alec panted, stroking Jasonís body and down to the rock-hard erection.

Giving up trying to talk, Jason moved faster, rocking between Alecís cock and his hand.

Alec immediately matched the more rapid rhythm, thrusting and pumping until he couldnít manage to concentrate on two things at once and simply held Jasonís cock, letting his movements drive him into Alecís fist.

"Alec..." Jason groaned, the pressure on and in him finally becoming too much for him, and he came, spasming on top of Alecís cock.

"Fuuuck." Alec thrust upward, hips moving rapidly and hard enough that heíd have hurt a normal human. He gasped as Jason rippled around him and his hands shifted to Jaseís hips, pulling him down to meet Alecís final thrust as he came.

Giving a dopey smile, Jason collapsed against Alecís chest, propped up only by the hands at his hips. "Yeah, we did that."

"We sure did." Alec turned his head to nuzzle against Jason until the scientist raised his head and Alec could kiss him.

"Youíre amazing, you know that?"

"Of course." Alec smirked at him.

Raising a vial of clear liquid, Jason tilted it from side to side, studying it musingly.

Perched on a nearby counter, Alec watched Jason, bemused by his total absorption in his work. "Never seen water before?" he finally said, wanting Jason to acknowledge his presence.

Jason rolled his eyes. "Itís not water, you doofus; itís the answer."

"Answer to what? I didnít know anyone was thirsty."

"The answer to life."

Alec blinked. "Have you been eating recently? Did you miss a few meals? ĎCause youíre not making any sense."

Jason cupped the vial in his hand and chuckled. "Whatís the most important thing in lifeóto you?"

"Um... you?"

"Good answer, you get a prize for that later, but that isnít quite what I was looking for. How about this; how would you feel if we could never touch each other again?"

Alec growled, tensing as if prepared to prevent Jason being torn away from him. He suddenly relaxed as he realized what Jason was saying. "Itís the cure for Max and Logan?"

Jason nodded soberly. "Thatís what it is."

"You did it!" Alec jumped off the counter and pulled Jason into a hug, careful not to make him drop the precious vial.

"I didóI hope." Jase sighed and leaned against Alec. "I just wish there was some way to test it."

"Canít youóI dunno, put some in a blood sample or something? I thought that was that other guy did the time they found a temporary cure."

"I did, and it worked, but I still wish there was a way to do live trials."

"Well, considering that itís specific to Loganís DNA, unless you plan to clone him, thatís not going to happen."

Jason turned slightly and picked up another vial. "Though this oneís tailored to me."

"Donít you fucking dare!"

"I think I can live without touching Max for the rest of my life," Jason said dryly.

"And if you happen to bang into her in the hallway? Whoís supposed to save you then? Youíre the genius scientist guy here."

"Well, if the vaccine works, it wonít matter, and if it doesnít... well, thatís a problem."

"Yeah, and there wonít be anybody to solve it! No, Jase."

Jason sighed. "Why did I know youíd see it this way?"

"Well, itís a relief to know that all your brains havenít leaked out your ears!"

"More like out my dick," Jason snorted.

"Ah, so I have all your brains now. Which explains why I knew right away what an idiotic idea that was."

"I repeat, not touching Max wouldnít be a problem for me."

"And I repeat, accidents happen. No!"

Jase sighed. "And what happens to the human race if Max dies?"

"Max isnít in any danger. The virus only affects Logan, if youíll recall. Max is just the carrier."

"Yeah, but what happens to her if something happens to Logan?"

"The same thing thatíd happen to me if something happened to you."

Jason set the vials down on the lab bench and hugged Alec close. "I love you."

"Then please stop trying to find crazy ways to get yourself killed. If it worked on the blood, itíll work on Logan. No one, including Max and Logan, would want you to risk yourself. And for the record, I love you too." Alecís arms tightened around Jason, holding him close.

After they stood that way for a while, Jason sighed. "So, should we go let Logan and Max know?"

"I think that would be a very good idea. Theyíve been waiting a long time for this."

"And if it works, itís Mating Day for everyone."

"Iíll finally get your undivided attention. Till the next crisis you decide to solve."

"Whatís next? World peace? Undoing the Pulse? Curing cancer? Keeping an insatiable X5 limp?"

"You do better at keeping this X5 hard, but keep it up and you wonít be finding that out for a while." Alec tried to glare.

"Idiot, I meant keeping you limp by keeping you worn out."

"Mmm, I like that plan. Please feel free to try."

"Once Iím sure this works, got it?"

"Not yet but I hope to." Alec decided to wait a couple of days before suggesting that Jason try to find a cure for the seizures X5s were prone to or at least a more readily available treatment than tryptophan.

"Idiot," Jason sighed, shaking his head.

"But you love me." Alec gave him a winning smile.

"Because Iím an idiot."

"Because you have good taste."

"Oh, go get Logan and Max."

Laughing, Alec saluted Jason and headed out of the lab to get Max and Logan. Once he told them why, it didnít take long for the three of them to return, and Alec moved aside, keeping out of the way.

Max stared at Jason, hope burning in her eyes. "Is it true? Have you found a cure?"

"All the tests Iíve done say I have," Jason allowed.

"So what do we have to do?" Logan asked, arms crossed to keep himself from reaching out to Max.

"Max doesnít have to anything. You get to have a shot, and then we wait 24 hours until I can do another blood test and prove that you arenít allergic to her any longer."

Max and Logan exchanged a look that was so full of hope, longing and fear that Alec had to look away, unable to bear the intensity of it.

"So what are we waiting for?" Logan asked, tearing his eyes away from Max. "I hope my arm will be sufficient?"

"What, afraid Iíll jump you?" Alec taunted, trying to lighten the moment. "Trust me, your ass isnít that hot, Cale."

"Wanna bet?" Max asked wryly.

Jason spared a glance at Loganís ass and chuckled. "Looks pretty good here, but all I need is the arm." He waited until Logan sat down, then drew the serum into a needle. "Ready?"

"Never mind his ass," Alec grumbled, frowning at Jason, which made Max laugh at him.

"You are so whipped, Alec," she chuckled, grateful that he was there to keep them from getting too tense.

"Like you wouldnít have smacked me through the wall if I looked any closer," Jason chuckled. "But no worries, Max, Iím a one-man man."

"Good!" both X5s said emphatically and in unison.

Jason looked at Logan, his expression wounded. "They donít trust me," he pouted, making the other man laugh just as he plunged the needle into his arm and injected the vaccine.

"Ouch!" Logan glared. "All doctors are vampires."

"But heís my vampire, so just sit there and be good," Alec ordered.

"The vampire part doesnít come until later, so make yourself comfortable; weíve all got a long day ahead of us."

"You mean we all have to sit here and stare at each other all day?" Alec sounded horrified.

"You think Iím going to have Logan run around unsupervised?"

"Oh, just great," Alec groaned.

"Youíre not exactly my idea of the best way to spend the day," Max shot back.

Jason groaned. "Why donít you two genetically superior types go run around the city or something to calm you down?"

"Are you telling me that you donít want me around?" Alec asked, looking injured.

"Not if you and Max are going to snipe at each other all day!"

"Fine." Alec slumped against the counter, arms crossed, looking sulky.

Jason groaned and turned his attention to Logan. "So?" he asked, picking up a blood pressure cuff and checking the other manís pulse. "Howíre you feeling so far?"

"I donít feel any different," Logan shrugged. "But how is this going to work? Everyone else we worked with tried to eradicate the virus from Maxís system, but youíre obviously going at from the opposite angle. But how can you change my DNA without killing me?"

Jase shrugged. "Thatís the point; they tried it and it didnít work. Iím trying the other angle, immunizing you to her."

"Not completely, I hope!" Max exclaimed. "I like having some effect on him."

Alec snickered.

"Iím not touching that one." Jason looked up when the others groaned, then made the same sound himself. "Not that way!"

Chuckling, Alec sauntered across to stand in front of Jason and kiss him lingeringly. "Next time you feel the urge to talk, let me know first. Iíll keep you from it."

"I hate to say it, but I think I agree with Alec," Max said.

"In what way?" Logan asked as Jason continued taking his vital signs.

"Sometimes itís best to keep Jason from talking."

"Ha!" Alec smirked at Jason.

Jason glared at all of them. "And I wanted to help you, why?"

"Because youíre a kind and selfless person," Logan replied with a big, toothy smile.

"I was thinking it was because youíre nuts, but thatís okay; we like you that way," Max added.

Jason just groaned.

"Just keep liking each other more," Alec said, sliding an arm around Jasonís waist.

"And youíre definitely nuts," Logan laughed.

Looking up from the printout from the blood sample, Jason nodded to himself, then looked at the others.

"Well?" Max asked impatiently.

"Guess we wonít know until you test it," he answered. "Iíve got a counter-agent here if I fucked up."

Max and Logan stared at each other, almost unable to believe that after more than a year they could finally touch each other again. Max was unable to move, afraid to reach out and find that theyíd failed again, so Logan stood up and stepped toward her, stripping off the rubber gloves he wore and tossing them aside as he cupped her cheek.

Everyone stood motionless for a long moment until Max sighed and leaned into Loganís touch.

Moving quickly, Jason checked Loganís temperature and blood pressure, much to the annoyance of the reunited lovers.

"So far, so good," he murmured, moving back to Alecís side, keeping a close eye on the readouts.

"Uh, Jase, you do realize thatís a horny, frustrated X5 you keep interrupting, donít you? Keep it up and sheís going to swat you like a bug."

"Would she rather have Logan dead?" Jason snapped, glaring at Max.

Logan glared back. "When weíve touched before, the virus took affect long before now. Iím fine, and Max and I would like to be alone now."

"Just who is the doctor here?" Jason snapped.

"You, but just how long are you planning on keeping watch?"

"Yeah, Jase, Iím not really into voyeurism, exhibitionism, or orgies," Alec added.

"Fine, fine," Jason growled. "Go find a room, but Iím going to be in the next one and Logan, if you start feeling strange, get me."

Logan nodded abstractedly. "Yeah, sure."

"Later," Max said, waving over her shoulder as she tugged Logan out of the lab and toward the nearest unoccupied room.

"Jason, if you follow them right now, itíll be questionable which of them will kill you first," Alec said warningly.

"Iím not following them, but Iím not going to go anywhere until Iím sure the immunity isnít temporary, got it?" Jason rounded on Alec, snarling at him.

"Whoa, maybe there is some cat in your cocktail after all," Alec said, holding up his arms in surrender. "Look, Iím not trying to drag you off to my lair, just keep you from getting yourself killed. They want to be alone, and believe me, Maxíd be the first to yell if there was the slightest thing wrong with Logan."

"Sorry." Jason rubbed his forehead and sat down on one of the stools around the lab bench. "Guess Iím a little strung out right now."

"I could help you relax," Alec purred, coming to stand in front of Jason, his palms braced against Jasonís thighs.

Jason smiled. "Thanks for the offer, but not until Iím sure of everything here. Once we get past the first twenty-four hours though, youíre on."

"Mmm, on you sounds good. But if I have to wait a day, how about something to eat? I could go down to Gemís and get you something," Alec offered.

"Sure Marnie wonít bite your head off?" Jason asked, giving a bit of a smile.

"Iíll sic her on you, tell her you skipped a meal," Alec retorted, smirking.

"Sheíd just growl at you and send you back with food; sheís still walking softly around me." Jason sighed then looked toward the door to the other room when he heard a loud thump.

"Jason, you do not want to interrupt them right now," Alec warned, visions of Jase torn limb from limb dancing through his head.

Jason stared at Alec. "I wasnít planning on it."

"Just making sure. You do that absent-minded professor a little too well for my comfort or your safety sometimes."

"Only when Iím working. Do I look like Iím working right now?"

"Sadly, yes, or weíd be naked and sweaty."

"Oh, boo-hoo. Suck it up, bucko."

"Iíd love to, but you told me I had to wait till tomorrow."

Jason groaned and resisted the urge to hit his head against the wall. "Go get me food."

Alec snickered and stole a kiss before heading down the cafe. When he came back a little while later, he was carrying sandwiches, slices of pie, and a thermos of coffee. "Gem wanted to make sure you were well fed. Iím not sure about the pie though; sheís just learning to bake." Alec eyed it warily.

Jason looked up from the printouts he was studying. "It got quiet in there. Want to go get a blood sample for me?" He smothered a grin as he asked this.

"Iím much too young and pretty to die," Alec demurred emphatically.

"And Iím not?"

"Of course you are. Which is why neither of us is going in there unless we hear Max specifically yell for us to do just that."

"Or until I say itís time. Eventually I need a sample, Alec."

"Eventually being the key word. You go in there before theyíre ready, and itíll be a contest to see which of them tears you to pieces first."

"You wouldnít save me?" Jason pouted, batting his eyes as he took a bite of the sandwich.

"You mean you want us to die together?"

"Well, itís romantic in a Shakespearean kind of way..."

"Does that mean youíre going to wear a long gown and peer down at me from a balcony?"

"Yeah right, weíll go to a Ren faire together."

Alec laughed. "Iím not wearing armor, not even for you."

"And you expect me to wear a dress? Right."

"Actually, Iím rather disturbed by the idea of you in a dress."

"You suggested it, not me."

"I should know better than to argue with a mind-enhanced transgenic," Alec sighed.

Jason smirked through another bite of food. "Yes, you should."

"Good thing I come out ahead on the physical side." Alec eyed Jason over his own sandwich.

Jason snorted, almost choking on his meal. "Donít forget the modesty."

"False modesty is so pointless."

"As you well know."

"And why I donít bother with it."

"Just the opposite Iíd say."

Alec grinned. "If youíve got it, flaunt it."

Jason groaned.

"Aw, you know you love me."

"At times. Prove you love me by tasting that pie."

Alec eyed it again and poked a slice with a fork as if afraid it would leap up and attack him. "I thought Juliet was the one who was supposed to eat poison?"

Jason shrugged. "You said you wouldnít wear armor, so you get the dress."

"How Ďbout neither of us wears the dress?" Alec suggested, cautiously breaking off a tiny piece with his fork and raising it toward his face. Rather than tasting it right away, he sniffed it. "Smells okay."


Alec glared at him and popped it in his mouth with an expression of dread. After chewing for a moment, however, he looked surprised. "Hey, thatís actually pretty good." He took another, bigger bite.

Jason grabbed the plate, trying to pull it out of Alecís grasp. "Hey, thatís for me!"

"You do not get both of them!" Alec held it protectively out of reach. "Eat your own." He gestured toward the other, still covered, plate.

Jason sniffed theatrically and went back to his sandwich.

"Forget it. While you might be cute fat, it wouldnít be good for you."

"Youíre saying we wonít work it off? Ahh, the romance is gone, just when I find it for others." He nodded toward the door to the other room.

"Oh, weíll work it off, all right," Alec promised. "But I prefer it to be for fun not exercise."

"How can I work off what you wonít let me have?"

"Greedy," Alec snorted. "And youíre still not getting my piece too."

Jason sniffed and finished his sandwich. "Guess Iíd better get back to work then since I canít have any fun."

"Youíre the one who said we had to wait till tomorrow." Alec wondered how many times he could turn the conversation back to sex before Jason threw something at him.

"You know, if youíre that hard up, you could always jack off; Iíd be glad to watch."

Imagining that almost instantly had Alec hard, and he kept his eyes on Jason as he hopped up on a counter in direct line of sight. "You should be careful what you wish for," he purred, unbuttoning his jeans and pulling his hard cock out.

"You are a cruel man," Jason muttered, unable to look away from Alec as he began to play with himself.

"It was your idea." Alec rubbed the pad of his thumb over his cock head until a bead of fluid formed at the tip. Capturing it on a fingertip, he raised his hand to his mouth and licked his finger clean, eyes never leaving Jason.

"I should have known better."

Alec pulled his finger out of his mouth with a faint, moist pop and smirked. "I like that just looking at me gets you hot."

Jason gave a strangled laugh. "You donít have to be playing with yourself for me looking at you to get me hot."

"But I like you tongue-tied too." Alec lazily jacked himself, watching Jason watch him.

Jasonís response was a strangled whimper, and he fisted his hands on the table to keep from grabbing Alec and burying his face in the other manís crotch.

"Mmm, feels good," Alec said throatily. "But not as good as your hands on me and nowhere near as good as your mouth. I love it when you do that, lick me, scrape your teeth over me, make me come in your mouth..."

With a groan, Jason half-leapt, half-climbed over the table, giving in to temptation and for the moment not caring about the couple in the other room, intent only on touching and tasting Alec.

"Oh fuck yeah." Alec let Jasonís weight carry him to his back, leaving them sprawled on the hard countertop. His naked cock caught between them, he thrust upward, trying to get more friction.

Squirming back, Jason bit Alecís stomach to feel the muscles quiver, then found his cock and swallowed it, rolling Alecís balls with one hand while propping himself up with the other.

"Just like I remember." Alec shivered and thrust upward, pressing into Jasonís mouth, his hands running over the other manís shoulders.

Jason growled then hummed, feeling Alec shudder under him.

Alecís hands shifted to Jasonís head, combing through the spiky strands. He fought not to grip harder and force Jason down harder while his legs spread and his knees rose, offering himself to his lover.

Jason moved a hand between Alecís legs, rolling his balls between his fingers as he sucked, wanting to bring the other man off fast and hard.

Groaning, Alec rocked into Jasonís mouth, his fingers clenching in Jaseís hair. "Oh fuck, so good," he rasped.

Jason swallowed again, tugging at Alecís balls.

Alec bit off a cry of pleasure, his hips thrusting forward as he tensed and spasmed, his climax ripping through him.

Swallowing the seed that filled his mouth, Jason continued to suck and lick at Alecís cock, loving the shudders that ran through the other manís body.

"Youíre wasting your time; thereís nothing left," Alec half-laughed.

"Doesnít mean I canít enjoy myself," Jason purred, pulling back to look up at Alec, grinning.

"That is not an all-day sucker," Alec pointed out, raising his head to peer down at Jason.

"So I canít be like a kid in a candy store?"

"Far be it for me to interfere with your second childhood." Alec reached down to cup the hardness between Jasonís legs. "You could fuck me with that."

Jason sighed. "Yeah, I could and Iím dying to, but that would be when Max came running in screaming for me, so Iím just going to have to save it until later."

Alec looked a bit sulky, but he didnít waste his time arguing. "Iím going to hold you to that."

"If you didnít, Iíd be severely pissed."

"We canít have that. Itís my job to keep Doc happy."

Jason snorted. "Oh, it is, is it?"

"Yup, if I piss you off, Iíll be Terminal Cityís public enemy number one."

"Then why didnít you give me that other piece of pie?"

"Because even an X5 has his limits!"

"Wimp," Jason chuckled before straightening up, adjusting his pants as he did so. "Besides, Iíve done my job, so I think your life is safe."

Alec rolled his eyes. "Youíve got to be kidding. Youíve just proved to everyone that you can do anything. Theyíre going to be lining up to get your help with everything you can imagine. Including the tryptophan issue for us X5s."

"Ahh, planning on keeping me around and busy then?"

"You took me, you bought me."

That startled a laugh out of Jason. "Iíve never heard it put quite that way before."

Alec smirked. "Iím unique."

"Thatís one way to put it."

"And how would you put it?"

Jason smiled. "Youíre mine."

"Works for me. And youíre mine too."

"And just so you know, Iím still alive," Logan commented.

Jason looked around to see the other man peering out from the other room. "And how are you feeling?"

"Very fine," Max purred from somewhere behind Logan.

"I suppose comments about cats and cream would get me knifed?" Alec snickered.

"Nothing you havenít said yourself," Jason reminded him.

Logan chuckled as he was drawn back into the room. "See you two later... Much later."

"Does this mean we can go to bed too now?" Alec asked plaintively.

Jason just looked at him. "You want to belong to a doctor, you deal with the sucky hours."

"You mean like the one we just had?"

Jason stared at Alec, then groaned. "That was so bad."

"Youíre the one who said it."

"Be quiet or youíre going in there to take a blood sample, Nurse Alec."

"No. That is so not happening. Loganís alive, and he and Max are busy and want to be alone. Sit. Stay."


"Good boy. Want another treat?" Alec leered at Jason comically.

"I donít think youíre up to it."

"But you are. So... Take me, Iím yours." Alec managed not to laugh.

Jason turned, grabbed a wadded up napkin, and threw it at Alec. "You do realize your dick was hanging out when Logan was here," he asked.

"I really doubt he noticed. He prefers a different variety of X5."

"Thank God."

"Tell me about it!" Alec shuddered at the thought of Logan wanting him.

"I donít know; he is hot in a scruffy kind of way..."

Alec glared. "Do you really want to piss off two X5s?"

"Mmm, youíre hot when youíre jealous."

"And youíre just hot," Alec replied, grabbing for him.

Jason let out an Ďoofí as he was dragged into Alecís arms, then chuckled. "Iíve created a monster; maybe they should have called me Frankenstein."

"Ha! You love every minute of it and you know it."

"Oh yeah, the ego, the over-active libido, the amazing man in my bed, itís a horrible trial."

"No trial about it. Youíre stuck with me for life."

Jason smiled. "I think I could live with that."


  since 02-03-07


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