Run That By Me Again
written by Somebody's Angel and MissBehaving

A/N: my friend Jess and I have been writing this story since before Christmas, first part is finally finished…we're mapping out a whole 'nother future for Max, Logan, Alec and the rest of the DA gang.


We got a hundred dollar bill, hands up, hands up! Make some noise, I can't hear ya! Can ya feel this, yeah, yeah yeah! Pick it up, pick it up, oh, oh! Keep it moving, ladies, fellas, ladies, fellas.

"Hey Max." Cece took the empty seat next to Max in the back room of Crash. "How long have you been watching them?" she jerked her head in the direction of the main room where her partner Biggs, and Alec were playing pool. It looked as though they were attracting a large crowd.

Max moved her slightly head to the beat of the music and waved her hand in the air to catch Sky's attention. "Got off work about an hour ago."

Original Cindy came back from the bar with two pitchers of beer. "Hey homegirls." She nodded over to where Sketchy was standing near Alec. "Who's winning?"

"No-one. It's their sixteenth game tonight night and they're dead even." Cece swallowed some beer and frowned. "This has been watered down."

"Always is, but it's better than moonshine. If you want something harder, you can always raid Alec's liquor stock behind the counter." Max offered, picking at a nearly empty plate of nachos.

"Nah, I'll stick with this." Cece looked over her shoulder at the crowd. "Hey, let's check it out."

The three of them pushed their way through to the front line of onlookers where Biggs was accepting a drink from Sketchy. Alec was tucking a piece of paper into his pants and it didn't look like the green paper.

Max snorted and muttered to Cece. "He's scouting the honeys and pressing the paper."

"He's multitalented." She sounded vaguely proud.

"Hey Max!"

Max jerked her head up and scowled at Alec. "What?" she snapped loudly.

Alec wasn't undeterred by her cold answer and grinned. "Wanna play? I'll let you break," he offered.

"Nope."

"I'll play left-handed. You can blindfold me."

"No."

"Come on, Max."

"Nobody likes a showoff, Alec," Cece called over.

Alec frowned. "Max, come on. Fifty bucks and you get to humble your old buddy Alec. What do you say?"

"Humble? Yeah. Right."

Alec shrugged noncommittally. "Well, thanks anyway. Anybody? Logan? Wanna play me in a little game of pool?"

Logan stood on the fringe of the crowd. "Oh. Uh...I break?"

"Yeah"

"Rack 'em."

Max smiled and pushed Sketchy. "Move over." Sitting in the seat Sketchy vacated, Max watched as Logan lined up his first shot, then played it and sank several balls. She ignored Alec's whistle and focused on how cute Logan looked when he concentrated.

Alec moved closer to watch as Logan lined up his next shot. "Alec…"

"Yeah?"

Logan gave a very forced smile. "Can you stand back?"

Alec stood back but Logan's concentration was gone and he missed his next shot. "He's gonna run it now." Sketchy announced. And true to his words, Alec sank four balls in succession.

Cece was watching the crowd, noticing a figure move through the crowd. "Someone's heading for Alec," she muttered to Biggs.

Biggs scanned the crowd, picking out a stocky man in jeans and dark jacket almost instantly with trained eyes. "I see him," he murmured. "What's he doing?"

Alec leaned down to line up his next shot as the man in question made it through the crowd and purposely bumped into him roughly. Alec's cue stick jerked and hit the white ball at an odd angle. Biggs saw red. Alec spun around and looked at the man with cold calculating eyes. Biggs made a deep noise in his throat.

Cece grabbed her mate before he could do something irrational. "Alec's got it covered."

The shorter man just smirked with a 'whatcha-gonna-do-'bout-it' look in his eyes and kept moving.

Alec narrowed his eyes and nodded to Logan. "Your turn."

Logan lined up his next shot and sank his fourth ball. There was a ball directly between the cue ball and the one that he needed to sink. Logan hit the white ball so that it jumped over the first and rolled the second green ball into the side pocket.

Max leaned over O.C. shoulder. "You gotta admit, that was pretty cool."

Original Cindy gave her a fake smile. "Silly boys playing with their sticks and balls. I may hurl."

Logan sank the eight-ball into the middle pocket and Max smiled. Alec just laughed and pulled out a crumpled fifty. "Good game Logan." He wandered over to Cece and Biggs to get his share of ribbing.

Max made her way over to Logan, a congratulatory beer in her hand. "Nice game." She commented.

"Thanks" Logan replied, taking the beer she was holding out to him. Their fingers came very close to touching, and both looked at each other in alarm.

Before either could say anything, Sketchy came over to Logan and shook his hand. "Dude, you rock!"

Alec shook his head. "Sketchy, where's the love, huh?"

"Go wash your hands." Max said to Logan, her concern for Logan's wellbeing making her oblivious to Sketchy. I can't believe I was that stupid. What if we touched? What if he collapses in the bathroom and I never speak to him again?

"What? I'm clean." Sketchy protested.

Logan gave his drink to Sketchy and ducked into the bathroom.

"What's going on?" Alec was standing to the side a little behind Max. Max, however, was a little too preoccupied to pay him any attention.

It was O.C. that answered him. "The whole love-bug dealio. After he beat your ass, Max handed him a beer and they might have touched and dosed him with the virus." She held up a hand as he saw his mouth open. "And now would not be a good time for one of your smart-ass remarks."

Alec looked annoyed. "Hey, I hate to lose, but I'm not wishing the guy dead."

O.C. glared at him. "What did I just say?"

"I was being serious!" Alec exclaimed.

When Logan came out of the bathroom, he smiled and held up his hands. "I'm okay."

Max crossed her arms, "I could have killed you over a stupid game of pool."

I could agree with her, but that'll make her all the more paranoid, Logan thought. "I thought it was a very satisfying game of pool, actually. Want to get a drink?" He asked, indicating the table where Original Cindy and Alec sat.

"Better not risk it." Max responded, feeling very annoyed with herself. Why didn't I just get someone else to give him the beer? I know what kind of risk it is to do anything without gloves around him…but isn't it always shown in the movies that a girl gives her man a beer when he wins?…wait, did I just call Logan my man? "Um…I'm gonna go home." Max turned to leave Crash, leaving Logan wondering what he had said wrong

Alec turned around and hurried after her. He grabbed her elbow. "Hey Max, can I scam I ride?"

"Why?" Alec opened his mouth to answer but Max reconsidered and rolled her eyes. "Hurry up."


"f divided by xy…no, xz. It's gotta be right. That Manticore creep coulda been onto something and didn't even know it." Max commented to Joshua as she examined Joshua #2, trying to make out her 'virus papers'.

Joshua looked ashamed. "Sorry for painting over your virus papers, Max."

Max shrugged, "It's okay. I can still make out most of it. It's just this function that's screwing me up. f(x1) times delta x equals…what is that?" Max narrowed her eyes, trying to make out the writing that was partially painted over.

Joshua looked over Max's shoulder. "It's a squiggle." He nodded affirmatively. "Squiggle."

Wait a second… "Could be an approximate sign. f(x1) times delta x is approximately equal to delta q. the messenger RNA would codify an interruption in the protein strand, the DNA wouldn't be able to replicate, and the virus would hit a dead end."

Joshua looked at Max in confusion. "No. It's a squiggle." He clarified, rubbing the page. The squiggle disappeared. "See?"

"Yeah." Max said, not paying attention. "Still…it makes sense."

Joshua looked hopeful. "So the virus bitch is going down?"

"Could be." Max replied, still not paying proper attention. "You know, I never would've caught this if you hadn't painted over my papers." She added, trying to make Joshua feel better. She stood up and gathered her things.

"Oh, you gotta blaze?" Joshua asked.

Max nodded. "I'm gonna see if I'm on the right track. Thanks big fella."


"You're shaking your head. Why are you shaking your head?" Max asked the lab tech. "Are my calculations wrong?"

"Well," he said, "They're not so much wrong as not right."

Max sighed, "Great." So I still have no change with Logan.

"You never told me where this virus, uh, came from." The lab tech continued, "do you mind my asking?"

Max smirked, "A secret government agency gave it to me, hoping I'd give it to a friend of mine they were looking to kill."

The lab tech laughed, "Okay, fine. You don't want to tell me, don't tell me."

"Whatever." She looked down. "Serves me right for getting my hopes up." It took all of her training to control her emotions.

"Hey, you're not gonna start crying, are you?" he asked nervously.

Max kept her face free of emotions as she held out her hand. "Just gimme my papers."

The lab tech shook his head, "Okay, hold on, hold on. Your numbers were off a little bit, but the theory behind them's viable."

Max's curiosity was piqued. "Which part?"

"Well, the whole luring-the-virus-into-a-protein-dead-end part. It's pretty cool. It has a kind of Pied-Pipper-ness to it, you know, with a little Chuck Heston thrown in there. 'Take that, you damned dirty virus!'"

Max just stared at him. Could this guy get any lamer?

"So you're saying you can make it work?" she asked hopefully.

"Yeah…yeah all I need is a blood sample. And um…twenty thousand dollars?"

Typical. Max thought as she headed out the door.


"You ask me, twenty large is still a small price to pay for you and Logan to get together." Original Cindy pointed out as she and Max walked through Jam Pony.

"I just want to know I'm not gonna kill the guy if, say, I…touch his hand by accident." Max replied.

Original Cindy grinned, "Or if, say, you spend a long weekend making hot monkey love to the man…by accident."

Max laughed, damn she knows me too well. But can I help it if he has those cute little glasses that make him look all sexy and intellectual, and that scruffy beard…

"Does he know about the man with the cure?" Original Cindy continued, breaking Max out of her reverie.

Max shook her head. "I'm gonna try to get my hands on the cash first. I don't want to have to owe him again if this guy falls through." And I don't want to hear his 'we can find someone else' speech.

"How you gonna get the money?" Original Cindy asked as the approached the lockers.

Max shook her head tiredly. "I'm gonna sell my soul."

"There's the devil," Original Cindy jerked her head toward Alec, then left Max to tackle Alec.

Max approached Alec with trepidation; not only was he completely unreliable but he was possibly the last person she wanted to know about her quest to cure the virus. "What are you going tonight?"

Alec looked up in surprise. "And why do you ask?"

"Got word from this fence I know. There's a collector willing to pay top dollar for Star Wars: Episode VII. After the Pulse, they shut down production. Apparently this is the only footage that exists."

"Is that the one where Captain Kirk dies?" Alec asked.

Max shrugged, "I guess. Anyway, the reel's locked up in a vault at the Fox Building in Belltown."

"Max, are you asking me to steal something with you?" Alec asked smugly with a knowing grin.

Max looked annoyed. "It's a two-man job."

"I'm shocked. I don't do that kind of stuff anymore, Max." Alec declared insincerely. "I mean you yourself showed me the error of my ways."

"Did I mention your take is twenty grand?" Max dropped her hook.

Alec raised his eyebrow and smiled. "What time do I pick you up?"


"...Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, twenty thousand." The lab tech finished counting Max's cash, then set it aside and took up needle filled with a clear liquid. "Okay, so let's do this. Roll up your sleeve." Max followed instructions, and the lab tech began injecting the liquid into her vein. "The immunoglobulin's going to take a quick lap through your system. It's going to neutralize any virulent cells in your bloodstream." He finished injecting her and pulled the needle out gently. "There you go."

Max rolled down her sleeve. "How do I know it worked?" Please let work.

The lab tech indicated for Max to look into a microscope. When she did so, she saw purple spots being surrounded by green circles.

"You see the little green circles?" The lab tech asked. "Those are antibodies. They're completely encasing the virus nuclei and protein coating."

"So it's working?" Max asked, trying not to let her excitement be obvious in her voice.

The lab tech nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, this thing's completely dead in its tracks."

Now Max's excitement was too great to contain and she grinned widely. "I'm cured. I can't believe it." Now Logan and I will have the chance we should have taken last year.

The labtech also smiled, obviously pleased that he had done his job. "Yeah, this thing couldn't hurt a flea now. I mean it's totally-" He looked into the microscope again, and immediately stopped rambling. "Uh-oh."

Max's smile faded. "Uh-oh? What do you mean, uh-oh?"

The lab tech looked nervous. "Uhhhh…this virus, uh, is mutating."

"Mutating how?" Max was cautious to keep her voice even; it wasn't the lab tech's fault.

"Well, the little buggers are eating through the protein coating. I mean, once they do that, the virus is back in business." The lab tech looked at Max, and could see her emotions in her face. "You're, uh, you're not gonna cry, are you?"

It took all of Max's training to hold back her tears. I knew it was too good to be true! "How long until the coating is history?"

The lab tech looked in the microscope again, "Well, at the rate they're going, thirteen, maybe fourteen hours. I wouldn't put it past twelve though, just to be on the safe side. I mean, I can say with complete confidence you'll be virus-free for twelve hours."

Great! So it worked, but only kind of. Now I have to see what Logan will think of this. I hope he wants to take this chance, I don't think I could live with myself if I let this opportunity slip through my fingers. Max thought as she practically flew out the door.


I can't believe I'm not going straight over to Logan's. Max thought, twelve hours where I can touch Logan and I'm wasting time going to Joshua's? I must be crazy. But with my luck I know that the minute Logan and I get…into anything is the minute that Joshua comes barreling in her wanting me to do something or save someone. So it's better that I waste 20 minutes explaining the situation to Joshua rather than spend a couple of hours helping him save someone later.

Max thought,

She ran up the steps at the front of what used to be Sandeman's and was now Joshua's house.

"Hey big fella." She remarked when she walked in the door.

"Hey little fella." He replied, coming over to give her a hug. "You come to hang out with Joshua?"

"No, actually I just wanted to tell you that I won't be available tonight." Joshua looked confused so Max continued quickly. "You know those papers you painted over?" He nodded, "I found a lab tech who could help me with the cure."

Joshua grinned. "So the virus bitch is going down?"

Max grimaced. "Well, sorta. It worked, but the virus mutated. The cure is only gonna work for twelve hours. So for the next…" Max checked her pager. "Eleven hours and forty minutes, you gotta go to Alec if you need help with something OK?"

Joshua nodded. "Go to Alec for help. OK little fella. You go get busy with Logan."

"Thanks big fella." Max hugged her canine friend, then went out the door and rode to her apartment to get ready for her rendezvous with her…with Logan.


Max stood outside Logan's door, resisting the temptation to throw it open. She checked her pager, it said 10:51:01. OK, all I've got to do is tell him. It won't be that hard…what am I saying of course it will be hard; we haven't been able to touch each other for six months and all of a sudden I turn up and say that we have ten hours where we can touch. What is he going to think? She checked her pager again, it said 10:50:56. Logan opened the door, confusion obvious in his face; why hadn't she just picked the lock and entered, the way she usually did? Good question. Max thought to herself.

"Got a minute?" she asked, cringing inwardly as she did so. God could that sound anymore lame?

Logan smiled slightly, and ushered her in without touching her. He followed her to the living room, wondering why she had brought a bottle of wine when she apparently only wanted to talk. He sat down on the couch, watching as she took off her coat and stood awkwardly near the chair. Wow, she's dressed up tonight, wonder what's up? Logan thought, as he took in the beauty before him. She looks gorgeous, as always…she looks gorgeous in anything.

"What did you want to talk about?" he asked.

Max looked uncomfortable for a second, like she was trying to find a way to say something. She sat down on the arm of the chair as she spoke, "Let me ask you a hypothetical question."

Logan smiled, "those are my favourite kind."

"Supposing…just supposing…I found a temporary cure for the virus."

Logan was taken aback, he hadn't expected their talk to be about this, "Is there such a thing?"

"That's where the supposing part comes in." Max replied.

"Okay." Logan tried to think of what he should say next…what was the right thing to say? "Uh, hypothetically, how long would this temporary cure last?"

Max checked her pager, OK, now it's time to tell him, she thought. "Ten hours and fifty minutes." She looked up at him, searching for his reaction in his eyes. Please, please, please let him not be mad that I did this without telling him.

Logan was again taken aback…this thing was real? "You're serious?"

Max nodded.

"So we can touch and nothing will happen?" Logan asked, hoping his voice didn't sound too eager.

"I don't know about nothing, but you won't die." Max let the innuendo of her words hang in the air, hoping Logan would catch on, but at the same time, hoping he wouldn't. Please don't let him think I only came over for sex. He has to know that I care too much for him for tonight to just be about sex.

Logan caught her innuendo, and was surprised, Whew, it's not like Max to talk so blatantly…but I don't want tonight to be just about sex. If we only have ten hours, this has to be perfect. But what is this "Oh, my…" Logan sat back, overwhelmed, what do we have together? "Max…"

"We have to think about this. Because when it's over, it's over. No repeats." Why the hell did I say that? It sounded like there was no future for us, like I'm giving up on us being together.

"We'd be back where we started." Logan added, thinking the opposite thoughts to himself. Who am I kidding! After tonight, whatever happens, everything will be different even if we can't touch.

"Exactly." Max didn't really agree with Logan's assessment, but from the look in his eyes it seemed he didn't either. "Ten hours seems like a long time, but it isn't. Not really." Not when you've been waiting a year and a half for this to happen.

"It'll have to be long enough." At least long enough for us to admit our feelings, the ones I should have admitted when I first felt them, and I didn't even tell her when she was dying in my arms!

Max smiled, "I was hoping you'd say that. We've got ten hours." And by god I want to use them well.

"Evidently," Logan stated, hoping Max would make a move soon. If he made the first move, Max would run, he was sure of it.

"We've been waiting for the right time." Alec's words from earlier that night came back to Max, 'I can see how the right time might elude you...for a year.' "Here it is."

They stood up simultaneously. Stared at each other for a moment. Then Logan walked over to Max, the faint whir of his exoskeleton echoing in the silence. He held out his hand. She moved her hand towards his, but was hesitant. What if it didn't work? No, I saw the protein coating myself, it definitely worked. Moving her hand, she slipped it into his waiting one, mirroring his smile.

Logan curled his fingers around Max's, reveling in the feel of her skin, after not feeling it for so long. It was warm, smooth and soft, everything he remembered, but better, somehow.

Max rubbed her thumb across the back of Logan's hand. How she had missed touching him. His skin felt the same as the last time she had touched it; warm, slightly calloused, but still soft.

Moving closer to Max, Logan lifted his hand to her hair. He let it run through his fingers, feeling the silky strands, committing them to memory. Bringing his head down to hers, he attempted to kiss her.

No! Max's inner voice rang out as Logan tried to kiss her. If he kisses you, it won't stop at one kiss. She moved away slightly. "I don't…I can't believe I'm gonna go all girly on you, but…I don't want to blow this on a quickie. It should be perfect."

Logan smiled in relief. For a minute there he thought Max had still wanted to be just-friends. She doesn't want to blow this on a quickie. That's a good sign, it means this means more to her than just one night of sex. "Perfect." He repeated. "How about a perfect quickie?"

Max laughed. The nerve of him! But he's only joking…I think. Looking into Logan's eyes, Max could see he was kidding. But she still wanted it to be perfect. "Open this." She said, pulling up the bottle of wine between them.

Logan gripped the wine and grinned. "OK." He turned to get the corkscrew, but spun back. "But can I get a kiss first?"

Max thought about it for a second, before giving in. "Fine." She placed a hand on either side of his head and gave his a quick peck on the lips. "Now go."

Logan pouted at her, but complied, retrieving the corkscrew and two glasses. Upon turning to go back to the living room, he found Max had followed him into the kitchen. Sitting on a stool, she motioned him over. He placed the glasses on the counter in front of her, before uncorking the wine and taking the stool closest to her.

Max poured them each a glass of wine, then handed one to Logan. "To us." She said, raising her glass.

Logan smiled, and raised his own glass to clink with her own. "To us." He repeated, and they both took a sip of wine.


Alec was back at Crash a few hours later, slouched at the bar, staring at the blue shade of a poster behind the counter. He scowled and polished off his drink. "Barkeep! Another scotch." He looked to his left. "And a uh, tequila shot for the pretty blonde."

Asha glanced up and grabbed her jacket. "That's all right. I was just leaving." She left her glass of beer on the counter passing him as she moved towards the exit.

Alec shrugged, full of arrogance. "All right, but once you hear the good news about Max and Logan, you might be wanting that drink."

"What news?" she asked sharply

"Why don't you fortify yourself?" he suggested calmly, handing her the shot. "Bottoms up."


"So how long were you and Alec stuck in the closet?" asked Logan, in response to Max's explanation of how she obtained the money for the virus cure.

"About an hour. He was yapping the entire time."

Logan joined Max in her laughter. The two were sitting at a counter in Logan's kitchen, sipping wine and talking about the day's events.

"He's a yapper." Logan chuckled at the image of Alec yapping like a dog would. "Yeah, stuck in the closet with Alec - you're pretty much describing my worst nightmare." And one that I've had more than once, Logan thought. After all, how was I to know that while we couldn't touch, you weren't touching someone else?

Max smiled, "It was worth it though. It got me here."

They looked at each other, the love reflected in their eyes.

"It feels like old times." Logan commented, taking Max's hand again. He couldn't stop touching her. I suppose after six months of not being able to even hold her hand, it's acceptable to want to touch her as much as possible.

"Better." Max replied, raising her glass.

Logan clinked his glass with hers, took a sip, then set it down. Standing up, Logan pulled Max to a standing position, then led her over to a mirror that she recognised.

"Hey isn't this…" Max asked, attempting to turn her head. She found that she couldn't as Logan had a hold of her chin.

"Yeah. And this," Logan said, indicating Max's face, "is still the most singularly beautiful face I've ever seen."

Logan released Max's chin and she turned her head to look directly into his eyes. He closed the distance between their lips in a sweet, yet passionate kiss filled with promise of things to come.


"Logan and Max," Asha toasted with a shot of bourbon.

Alec clinked his glass with hers, "Max and Logan."

"Every happiness."

"Ha!" Alec snorted, before downing his shot.

"Wonder what they're doing right now." Asha speculated. Alec gave her a 'are-you-kidding-me?' look "You know what I mean. Logan's so romantic – I bet he made her dinner. Wine…candles…I bet it's perfect."

Alec nodded, "Yeah, that sounds like them. I mean, why consummate two years of unbridled passion when we can have pasta?"

"You're a pig. You don't know anything about love."

"Well, I know more than you think." Rachael… Failure… Mission… Betrayal. "Besides, you're a liar."

"How so?"

"Because you don't wish them all the happiness in the world; you want Logan for yourself. I mean, come on. You had it all dialled in when Max was back at Manticore, presumed dead. You and Logan, doing your hero thing, spending hours together in his fancy little apartment, all tuned up about the ways of the world. It was a good time for you, right?"

Asha took another sip of beer, "Yeah, he was thinking about Max every second of every day. He never believed she was dead. And when she came back, he was the happiest I'd ever seen him."

"Yeah, until the virus thing."

"Even with the virus, they never gave up on each other. And no matter how I feel about it, I have to respect that. Because that, my friend, is true love." Asha raised her glass at Alec and took another mouthful of beer.

"Yeah, right. Have they ever even once said 'I love you'? No. No. Max…Max would choke on the words. Logan…eh, he'd say it, in an email." He mimicked Max's earlier words "'He's not my boyfriend. We were never even like that. It was never the right time.' No, Logan is a repressed WASP and Max is a…a broken toy. The two of them will never work out together." He concluded decisively.

Asha refused to believe Alec's conclusion, "And you are cynical."

"No. I'm someone who believes in going after what he wants, and damn the consequences. When you've been dead a hundred years, little girl, you have only just begun to be dead. We're living on borrowed time. And if you don't put your heart out there on the line, then you're never really living at all. If I loved someone, I'd tell 'em. And if I wanted someone, then I would let her know, straight up."


The melancholy tunes of Valse Triste by Jane Sibelius floated through Logan's penthouse as he and Max danced around the living room. He held her tightly, revelling in the feeling of her in his arms. It's been torture trying to keep my hands to myself these past couple of months. All I wanted to do was touch her, but I couldn't… Logan forced himself to put that thought out of his mind and concentrate on the beautiful woman in his arms.

He feels so…good. It just feels right to be here in his arms, dancing, Max thought as she pulled herself a little bit closer to Logan's body, enjoying the feel of his body under her hands. It's been so long since I've touched him…I can't believe I denied my feelings for so long…as Alec said, we had a year before this virus happened, and we never found the right time…now is the right time, and even though it's only ten hours, it's going to be the best ten hours of my life! Max looked into Logan's piercing blue eyes, only centimetres from her own, then allowed her eyes to trail down his face to his lips, resisting the temptation to kiss him.

I can't believe I denied my feelings for her for so long. Logan thought as he looked into Max's eyes. The emotions in them mirrored his own, and he knew that he had to tell her what he felt for her. "Max…" he began, and her eyes moved back up to his own, "there's something I've been wanting to tell you…for a long time."

Max smiled slightly. "Yeah…me too." She paused, I have to know, before I tell him. "You first."

"Max, I…I don't just think of you as my own personal cat-burglar. You are so much more to be than the legs behind Eyes Only. When I first realised that, I was afraid, afraid of what it would do to our…relationship, our friendship. I wanted to be more than your friend, but I didn't want to scare you by moving too fast."

Max smiled, but didn't interrupt him; just let him speak what was on his mind.

"So instead I just stayed silent and let you come to your own conclusion about what you wanted to be between us. Max, that night you died in my arms, I thought I'd lost you forever, and something died in me too. Lydecker knocked me out and took me back to the van; otherwise I probably would have been caught trying to carry your body to the van. I woke up on the sofa and I couldn't get up for days. It seemed like the world left me behind somewhere when you died. The sun came up, the sun went down, and I didn't notice a thing. All I could think about was that you were never coming back. How I'd never again see your beautiful face, or feel your lips against mine, or feel you in my arms. You were gone and I couldn't get my head around it because I hadn't told you how I felt, how I still feel about you. When you came back, alive, that dead part of me came alive again, and after the virus I told myself that no matter what happened, I would find a way for us to be together. Max, I love you. I have loved you ever since I realised I was willing to let you go for your own safety. I love everything about you. I love your eyes, your hair, your barcode. I love that Manticore made you, because without Manticore, you wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't be able to love the person you are. The person who is perfect, no matter what she says." Max's eyes were shining with tears, and as some of the drops trailed down her face, Logan wiped them away with the pad of his thumb, caressing her cheek.

"Logan, I love you too." Max stated simply, too overwhelmed by his 'speech' to respond in kind.

Logan's own eyes filled with tears of happiness as he took Max's face in his hands and kissed her. The kiss was soft and gentle, an expression of their love for one another. Max traced Logan's lips with her tongue, and he gladly obliged, turning their kiss passionate.

A few minutes later, Logan broke the kiss, the need for oxygen overwhelming his need to imprint the taste and feel of Max's lips on his. He smiled at his love, and they continued their dance, stealing kisses along the way.

When Val Triste finished, Max whispered "stay here" into Logan's ear before moving to take something out of her jacket. Logan watched as she fished out a CD and placed it into his CD player before returning to his arms.

"What was that?" he asked.

"I heard this song recently, and it reminded me of what we have, and I wanted to share it with you, especially tonight." Max replied mysteriously as the music filled the air.

What if I told you it was all meant to be
Would you believe me
Would you agree
It's almost that feelin'
We've met before
So tell me that you don't think I'm crazy
When I tell you love has come here now

A moment like this
Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this
Some people search forever
For that one special kiss
Ohh, I can't believe it's happening to me
Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this

"Who sings this?" Logan asked softly.

"Kelly Clarkson." Max replied.

Logan nodded as he remembered, "The first American Idol. This is the song she sang after she won."

"I think it describes us, this moment perfectly, don't you?"

Logan listened to the words of the chorus before he replied, "Yeah, I'd have to agree."

Capturing her lips in an adoring kiss, Logan gave Max her 'one special kiss'.

Everything changes
But beauty remains
Something so tender
I can't explain
Well I may be dreamin'
But 'till I awake
Can we make this dream last forever
And I'll cherish all the love we share

A moment like this
Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this
Some people search forever
For that one special kiss
Ohh, I can't believe it's happening to me
Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this

"I can't believe we waited so long to admit what we felt. That year we wasted, dancing around each other…" Logan was cut off by Max pressing her finger to his lips.

"I know. But still, it makes this time we have now all the more precious." She smiled and laid her head on Logan's shoulder, holding him tighter as he moved them around the room.

Could this be the greatest love of all
I wanna know that you will catch me when I fall
So let me tell you this
Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this
Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this
Some people search forever
For that one special kiss
Ohh, I can't believe it's happening to me
Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this

Ohh!
Like this!

Ohh!
I can't believe it's happening to me!

Some people wait a lifetime
For a moment like this

Ohh
Like this

When the song finished, Max turned in Logan's arms, so she faced away from him, and led the two of them to the couch. She allowed Logan to sit down, and then seated herself on his lap, snuggling into his chest. They sat there in a comfortable silence for a few minutes, before Max spoke.

"Logan?" She asked, moving her head so she could look into his eyes. "What's going to happen tomorrow? What happens when we can't touch anymore?"

Logan silenced Max with a kiss. "Why don't we just enjoy what we have tonight, and we let tomorrow take care of itself." He kissed her again, with more passion this time.

Max smiled against his lips. "Mmm, I think I like that idea. After all…" she continued, in between kisses, "we have…" she paused to check Logan's watch, "Nine hours and five minutes still. And I plan to make good use of every one of those minutes." She said seductively, as she reclaimed Logan's mouth with her own.

Kissing Max was like nothing Logan had ever felt before, and he was lost in the taste of her, the feel of her lips against his, and the scent of her. It was only when Logan felt Max's hands pulling up his sweater did he come back to reality. Clasping her hands in his own, he broke the kiss. "Max…" he breathed, voice husky with desire, "you said you wanted this to be perfect, so how 'bout we make it perfect?"

Max nodded, and, giving him one last peck, stood up. "Shall we move this to the bedroom?" she asked, holding out her hand to help him up.

Logan allowed Max to help him up, then put his arm around her waist and led her to his bedroom. He deposited her on the bed, then lit the candles that graced almost every available surface in the room. Just as he was lighting the last one, the lights died, another brown out.

Max smiled, and indicated for Logan to join her on the bed, which he did. He then leaned down to remove both his and Max's shoes before rising back up to meet Max's amused brown depths. When he finally sat up, Max moved towards him, pressing her lips to his in a passionate kiss. As they kissed, Max ran her fingers through Logan's hair, then lowered them to play with the hair at the nape of his neck.

Lowering his hands to the hem of Max's top, Logan caressed the sliver of exposed skin between the top and her jeans, causing Max to shiver. Moving his hands up under her top, Logan explored Max's torso with his hands, learning her curves.

When oxygen became an issue for Logan, he broke the kiss, which allowed Max to remove her top, revealing her strapless black bra. Wrapping his arms around her now-bare waist, Logan ran a finger the length of Max's spine, before claiming her lips once again.


Alec reached into his coat, and flipped open his cell phone, cutting off the ring, "Yeah?"

"There's a situation at T.C. Fighting among our unit. You'd better get down here pronto and sort it out." Biggs told him.

"Who?" He demanded curtly into the phone.

"Mikel was having a good go at Hart."

"Damm. Where are they now?"

"Temporary holding cell, Sir. They're all waiting for you."

"What do you mean they're all waiting for me?"

"We respect Max for who she is, but she's not our leader. You are, and it's high time you started taking charge of T.C."

"What are you not telling me here, Biggs?"

"Look, get your ass over here before things get worse."

Alec rubbed his forehead in frustration. "I'll be there in five. I want our unit in the command center. No-one goes out of T.C. until I say so."


Max awoke and looked around, confused. Where am I? And… Max felt arms around her waist and a warmth beneath her head. Who… Looking at the owner of the chest she had been sleeping on, Max remembered the events of the night. Checking the clock on Logan's nightstand, she noted that they had 5 hours and 41 minutes left.

Untangling herself from Logan's body, Max sat up and gazed at the face of the man she loved more than anything else in the world. One day soon I'm gonna have to tell him exactly how I feel about him, the way he told me earlier…but I'm nowhere near ready to do anything like that just yet. Look how long it took the both of us to even admit we loved each other…I know I'm gonna try my damndest to make this relationship work, but… Placing a hand on Logan's shoulder, Max shook him gently.

"Logan." She murmured in his ear. "Logan."

Logan slowly opened his eyes, grinning when he saw Max sitting next to him butt naked. "Hey." He said, pulling her close.

"Hey yourself." Max replied, kissing him softly.

"How long do we have left?" Logan asked, stroking his fingers along Max's thigh.

"About five and a half hours."

"Well then we'd better make good use of them." Logan replied, pinning Max to the bed under him. He moved to kiss her, but Max moved her head away.

"You know what I've been wanting to do for the longest time?" She asked, not moving out of his embrace, but not allowing him to kiss her lips either.

"Max, if this is another of those double-barreled questions…" Logan trailed off, remembering the last time she had said something like that…

FLASHBACK:

"You're going to have to take it slow."

"I don't want to take it slow. I want to go fast."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah."

"Well, in that case... There's something I've been wanting to do with you ever since we first met. I think you might be up for it."

END FLASHBACK

Max smiled, moving her head up to kiss Logan. "No…well it is a double-barreled question but it's not like the last time. I want us to take a bath together."

"A bath…I think we can manage that." He smiled, and moved to the edge of the bed.


Alec drove through the narrow gap made in the perimeter of T.C. He nodded to the two X5s guarding the entrance and they snapped to a quick salute that he returned half-heartedly. He drove through the streets, parking outside the command center, glaring a Biggs as he hurried over.

"I want a full explanation, Biggs. Now." Alec could feel a headache coming on, and he couldn't be bothered hiding his foul mood.

Biggs glanced behind him where Mikel and Hart stood with the rest of the unit. "I'll let them explain." And danced out of the way of Alec's frustrated fist.

Alec stomped over to his unit. "Report."

"Sorry, Sir." The two men with bruises on their faces stepped forward.

Alec nodded and they lowered their hands. "Do I want to know what happened?"

"We had a disagreement regarding the ordinary Max is seeing. We feel that she shouldn't be with the ordinary." Mikel explained. "We were looking out for your best interests."

"We?" Alec asked.

"I tried to stop Mikel, and we fought."

Alec nodded, noting the way they didn't stand fully upright. "Have you seen medical yet?"

"No, Sir."

"Go see medical, then confined to quarters till morning. See me then. Biggs, put the word out, that we're regrouping and 494 is in charge."

"Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir." His unit snapped a quick salute.

"And guys, not that's it's any of your business, but just let Max be with whomever she wants to be with. I don't want to see another argument like this again, okay?"


"Mmmm, this is heaven." Max commented, as she relaxed against Logan's chest in the bubble-filled bath.

"Hmm, so is this better than the baths you enjoy by yourself?" Logan asked, raking his fingers over Max's flat stomach.

Max turned her head to kiss him, "Of course it is."

Grabbing a bottle from the shelf behind him, Logan pushed Max away from him and gently pushed her head under the bubbles. She came up dripping, with a questioning look in her eyes.

"Turn around again," Logan said, motioning with his free hand. Max obeyed, and Logan pulled her head down so it was lying on his stomach. Taking the bottle, he squirted some shampoo into his hand and began to lather Max's hair.

"Mmmm, Logan that feels soooo good." Max moaned, as Logan's skillful fingers worked the shampoo into the roots of her hair, massaging her scalp.

He asked her to dunk her hair under the water, then repeated the process with the conditioner. After rinsing her hair one last time, Max snuggled into Logan's chest, content to just lie in his warm, loving embrace.


With twenty minutes to go, Max and Logan were snuggling on the couch, sharing a tub of ice cream.

These twelve hours have been so perfect. Now I know how Logan feels about me, and he knows how I feel about him. I still want us to be together though, well as together as we can be without touching. Max turned her head to face Logan, and watching his striking blue eyes, she could see he was thinking the same thing that she was.

If I touch Max tomorrow I'll die. But I'll die if I can't touch her. It brings to mind the lyrics 'my hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me, so won't you kill me, so I die happy'…Whoa, that was morbid, but understandable. But what's going to happen now? Can we still be together without being able to touch? Logan looked into Max's chocolate brown eyes and knew that no matter what happened in the future, nothing could change their love for one another.

"Logan?"

"Max."

"What's going to happen now?" Max asked, worry evident in her eyes, "I mean, can we still be together when we can't touch? I don't think I could stand the thought of losing you…" She trailed off, tears glistening in her eyes at the mere prospect of losing the love of her life.

Logan smiled and kissed away the tears that clung to her eyelashes. "We will be together no matter what. We'll just have to be extra careful."

"You know, I was so nervous coming here tonight. I was scared that you wouldn't feel the same as I do, that you wouldn't want to take the risk of getting into a relationship with a person you can't touch. But now…all I want is to be with you, even if we're not touching. I love you and that's never going to change. I don't have to touch you to show how much I love you, and you don't have to touch me to show me how much you love me. I can see it in your eyes, and now that I've seen it, I know that that love has been there for a very long time. And I…" Max was interrupted by her pager beeping.

"Well I guess that's it then." Logan said, squeezing Max's shoulder one final time before removing his arm.

Max stood up, then knelt on the floor in front of Logan. She kissed him, and felt tears spring to her eyes. "Why does it feel like I'm kissing you goodbye?" she asked.

"You're not." Logan replied. "We will fix this."

Max smiled, "I know. I love you Logan." She kissed him one final time, then stood up, moving to the other seat.

"I love you too Max."


THE END