Title: The Itch
Author: Sheryl Nantus
Distribution Statement: anyone who wants it!
Relationships: Max/Logan UST
by Sheryl Nantus
It had started off as any other day with Original Cindy moaning again about
the lack of available women in her life and Herbal noting that physical
fulfillment wasn't necessarily the only thing she should be looking for.
"Hey, Max..." Cindy broke away from the Herbal mantra and looked at her
directly over the dirty coffee cups stacked on the table. "You look like hell,
"Gee, thanks." She muttered in response, rubbing her forehead. "I'm just
tired of listening to the two of you."
Herbal stopped his monologue, staring closely at the Manticore escapee.
man, you beginning to look like yesterday's meat market rejects."
"Thanks to you too." Max mumbled. Reaching into her pocket she dumped
handful of bills on the table. "Tell Normal I'm gone for the day. Coffee's on
"You take care, okay?" Original Cindy yelled after her as Max straddled
bike, wiping her sweaty forehead.
"Yah, sure..." The woman disappeared into the labyrinth of alleyways and
streets; weaving in and out of the makeshift stalls and shops that cluttered
the once-spacious streets.
"Max?" Logan pushed his wheelchair back from the door as she leaned
wearily on the doorframe, her hand rubbing her abdomen. "You look..."
"Sick, yah - I've heard that." Walking her bike in past him, she let out a
loud sigh. "I'm not doing too good and I figured that if there were any
"I hear you." Logan zipped up alongside her as she propped the bike up
against the far wall. "Let me get the thermometer and you lie down on the
couch. I haven't heard about anything serious racing around the general
"But..." Max lowered herself onto the thick plush couch, tossing her jacket
across the room towards a chair - which it missed.
She never missed. Unless she wanted to.
Her head flopped back on the pillow as Logan spun back into the room. He
glanced towards the leather jacket on the floor before waving the
thermometer in front of her.
"Two minutes. No more, no less. And No Talking." She heard the capitals
as he spoke. "And don't even think about moving off that couch."
Crossing her arms defiantly she lay there, bobbing the thermometer up and
down between her lips as Logan wheeled over to the fallen jacket. Picking
it up, he tossed it over the chair she had originally aimed for.
"You must be sick. Can't remember the last time you ever..." His voice
trailed off as he stared down at her.
"Whuf?" Max burbled through clenched lips. Tugging self-consciously at
her gray t-shirt, she frowned. "Whuttamaffer?"
"Look." Logan ran a finger along one exposed arm. "When did you get
these?" He tapped one red bump, then another.
The thermometer bobbled as he waited for an answer. Finally he reached
up and plucked it free.
"I don't know. I don't check my arms for bumps, ya know?" Scratching her
arm, she sat up. "Besides, it's not like..."
"What?" Her mouth fell open.
"You... have chicken pox." Logan announced, a bit of a smug smile on his
face. "Don't tell me you never heard of it."
"It's a childhood disease." Max ran her nails over her arm again. "I was
vaccinated against all of that..."
"Ah, but a new variant came out two years ago." Logan wheeled over to
his computer station, tapping eagerly on the keyboard. "Special shots were
available at all the free clinics..."
"Like I listened?"
"I rest my case." Picking up the phone, he dialed a familiar number. "Yes, I
need some calamine lotion and Epsom salts sent to..." He droned off his
address to the waiting drugstore attendant. "ASAP, please..." Before the
other line had clicked free he had tapped another number out on the
keypad. "Yes, Doctor Brunstein? I have a problem..."
Getting up from the couch Max walked around the table, reaching for her
leather jacket. Glancing down at her arms, she let out a low whistle at the
sight of a growing number of small reddish bumps covering almost every
inch of open skin.
"And where do you think you're going?" Logan spun around, free of the
telephone. "I'm having some medication sent up to break the worst of it -
but you're highly contagious and can't go anywhere..."
"Oh, right..." Max snapped back. "I have to work, and..."
"And you're going to give it to anyone else who's not inoculated." Logan
smiled. "I think you're going to call into work and tell them that you're out
of bounds for at least a week."
"A week?" She squeaked, the sound unfamiliar to her own ears.
"Or maybe two." His eyes twinkled with laughter.
"Two?" Her voice went even higher. "Logan, if this is some sort of stunt..."
"Hey, don't shoot the messenger." He came closer. "Lift up your shirt."
"Max, lift up your shirt." Adjusting his glasses, he smiled. "Work with me
Slowly lifting her shirt up, she stared down at the spreading rash. "Tell me
you can fix this."
"Not this time." Reaching out, he grabbed her hand as she went to scratch
her stomach. "And don't do that. Last thing you need is an infection."
"But it itches..." Max whined.
"Oh, you have no idea..." Logan let go of her hand. "This is going to be
The delivery boy arrived within the hour with Logan's requests, a bit
confused at the young woman screaming in the far room as the wheelchair-
bound man paid him quickly, with a fat tip.
"Okay, clothes off." Spinning into the far room, Logan waved a thick bag
of Epsom salts in the air. "I'll get the water running..."
"Excuse ME?" The icy words snapped across his face. "I don't think..."
Bringing his chair to a sudden stop, Cale stared at her. "You can't afford to
rip those blisters open. A hot bath in Epsom salts will take the worst of the
itching out. Then we'll use calamine lotion." He couldn't help smiling. "And
if you're really good, I'll scout out some ice cream for your sore throat."
He barely ducked in time as the first boot soared past his head.
He didn't escape the second.
As the bathroom door slammed shut behind her, he wheeled back to his
computer station; a smug grin on his face. And an aching shoulder where
the boot had left a sizable imprint on his skin.
Lips in full pout mode, Max lay in the tub; fully immersed in the hot water.
Lifting one hand out of the salty liquid she studied the small red bumps.
"Chicken pox." She groaned. Sinking further down into the tub she smiled.
"On the other hand, I can get used to lots of hot baths like this..."
Logan had thoughtfully left a thick white bathrobe hanging on the inside of
the door, slyly swiping all of her other clothing the second he had heard her
splash down in the tub. Bereft of all other choices, she dried off and
reached for the plush robe.
"Hey..." Logan looked over his glasses, putting the file he had been
studying down on the computer table. "Feel a bit better?"
"A bit." She mumbled. "Still feel pretty lousy..."
"Well, the doctor says that if you take these you'll be up and around in a
day or so..." He gestured to the pill bottle sitting on the kitchen counter.
"Knock it out of your system soon enough."
"Not two weeks?" Max rasped, feeling her throat begin to ache.
"Not if you behave yourself." He smiled. "Take the pill and I'll be right
Swishing the pill around in her mouth, she swallowed it as well as a long
mouthful of water.
"My throat does hurt... a little bit..." She turned around to see Logan
sitting there with a large bottle of pink lotion.
"Put this all over your body... your skin... wherever the rash is..." He
stumbled over the words a bit, causing her to smile. "It'll stop the itching
for a bit. And I have plenty of salt and lotion, so you'll be fine."
"Thanks." Sweeping by him she headed for the spare bedroom where she
usually crashed when she stayed overnight. "I'll call you in a few minutes to
do my back."
Logan's shocked expression as she shut the door was almost worth the
A scant two minutes later he heard a small voice. "Come on in - I need you
Shaking off the various thoughts racing through his head, Cale wheeled
himself to the doorway.
She turned towards him, the robe delicately reversed; exposing her bare
back as she held it up under her chin. "My back?"
"Oh. Yes. Your. Back." He seemed to have lost the art of sentence-forming
as he continued slowly into the room. "Yes. Your. Back. Needs. Lotion."
Passing the bottle back with one hand, Max smiled. "You said all over. And
I can't reach back there..."
Swallowing hard Logan took the bottle from her, watching as her hand
slipped back under her chin to keep the robe covering her front. Squeezing
a generous amount of the slippery substance into one hand, he paused on
seeing the silky white skin canvas before him.
"Logan..." Max murmured in a low voice. "My back?"
Gingerly he reached out, starting at the right shoulder. Shrugging lightly at
his touch, she relaxed as he began to spread outward in small circles; one
hand dancing lightly over the bar code at the back of her neck.
Adding a second hand he began to work the cooling lotion all over her bare
back, running from the base of her neck all the way down....
His mind wandered where his hands dared not go; his eyes darting to the
small indentation at the bottom of her spine where the crumpled sheets
He snapped out of the reverie, realizing that his hands had stopped their
movement and were now resting comfortably on her hips. Pulling back, he
"You sure?" Turning her head to look at him, Max smiled. "Did you go
everywhere you wanted to?"
"Oh. Yes." His slippery hands skidded to get a firm grip on his wheels. "I'll
go... go... get dinner. Yes, dinner. That's good." Turning around, he
bumped against the edge of the bed, then again into the doorframe. "I'll see
you in a bit. There's a set of track pants and sweatshirt in the drawers."
"I know. I put them there."
"Yes, well... I'll see you later..." Bumping his way out of the bedroom,
Logan retreated to the relative safety of the rest of the apartment.
"Hmm..." Pursing her lips, Max smiled. "Could be interesting, this chicken