Pas de Deux
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Dark Angel, just the thoughts in my head.
Summary: Max and Logan dance around each other
Author's Notes: Hi all. Thank you for all the wonderful feedback for my first story "Unfinished". It's what inspired me to write more. I hope this lives up to your expectations. Once again, I was inspired by music, but it is only a secondary feature of this story. Tchaikovsky's Pas de Deux from the Nutcracker is a fairly melodramatic piece; so keep that in mind as you read this. As always, feedback and constructive criticism is welcomed.
Sorry about reposting this. I just couldn't help fixing some mistakes and changing a few sentences around. What can I say? I'm a bit of a perfectionist. If you've already read this, you won't noitice a difference. Thanks again for all your reviews. I'll hopefully have some new stuff up soon.
Thanks to my mom for beating proper grammar into my head from a very young age and supporting my writing.
Max gripped the railing of the elevator and closed her eyes against the spinning world around her. She had been fighting off an especially bad bout of seizures and her body was tired of the battle. She had made it though the day at work without too much hassle thanks to regular doses of tryptophan and the odd smart-ass comment to Normal just to keep her morale up. Now she was on her way up to see Logan and she was having a hard time keeping up the brave front.
She tried not to think too hard about why she was heading to Logan's and not home. Now that Kendra was aware of her "neurological condition" she probably would have just made sure Max took her medicine and tucked her into bed, no questions asked. But instead, here she was staring blankly at the mirrored wall of the elevator as it chugged its way up to the penthouse.
She fought to maintain her balance as the car slid to a stop at the top floor. Clumsily, she crossed the short distance from the elevator to Logan's door. Leaning her head against the cool cherry wood, she sighed trying to muster up some semblance of her normal attitude. She hated it when Logan saw her weaknesses. 'Then why am I here?' She thought back to the last time he had cared for her during her seizures, the feel of his cool hand on her flushed forehead. The concern that had been glowing in his eyes as he gently stroked her hair had made her feel safe for one of the only times in her life. She was craving that feeling of security and the realization scared her back into reality.
Deciding she was better off on her own than facing all her troubling thoughts when she was too weak to fight, she was about to take her hand off the doorknob when the door flew inwards, sending her flying forward, with an uncharacteristic yelp, into the arms of Bling.
"Max!" Bling instinctively enveloped her tiny frame, holding her upright. "You O.K.?"
Max tried to regain her composure as she pushed herself into a standing position off his broad chest.
"Max, what's the matter?" Logan came up beside her, recovering from seeing his genetically enhanced best friend come flying almost literally through his front door.
"Yeah, I'm fine…just thought I'd drop by." She looked at the floor, still unable to admit her weakness, hoping they wouldn't notice her trembling.
Logan's eyes narrowed. "You're not fine," he countered. "Bad bout of seizures huh?" He nodded to Bling who disappeared down the hall. "Bling's gone to get the guest room ready. You can stay for as long as you need." He reached out to touch her arm gently, but caught himself. Max looked so lost. He wanted desperately to pull her into his lap, rock her to sleep and soothe away her fears, but he knew it was too much too soon. He and Max were slowly dancing closer and closer to each other, but he was afraid one wrong move might spook her into leaving for good. The fact that she had come to him today for comfort coaxed a reflective smile from his face as he waited for Max to argue back.
"I'm fine Logan; I just need to sit down for a few minutes." Max nearly tripped over Logan's wheelchair as she tried to make her way into the kitchen.
"Max you don't have to fight me on everything. Just let me help." Logan said softly as he fixed her gaze with his penetrating blue eyes and Max sighed resignedly. She really didn't want to fight. She shakily followed him down the hall towards the guest room. Bling met them in the hallway and flashed Max a reassuring smile.
"Everything you need is in there. Logan, I'm going to head out unless you need me for anything else."
"Thanks Bling. No, we'll be fine. I think all Max needs is a little rest."
Max glared sharply at Logan. "Hello! I'm standing right here! I am quite capable of speaking for myself, thank you very much." Had she not been fighting to remain standing, she would've likely slapped Logan for speaking of her like a child. Turning to Bling she smiled weakly. "Thanks Bling. I appreciate the help."
"No problem Max. I'll see you guys tomorrow." Bling nodded to Logan, who looked up at him sheepishly.
Logan herded Max into the guest room and she sat down on the bed, which had already been turned down. She was now shaking so hard, she couldn't undo her boots and she swore under her breath as she tried to pull the zipper down far enough to slip the offending footwear off her feet. At the feel of Logan's hands on hers, her head whipped up, and their gazes locked.
"Let me," Logan's voice was barely above a whisper as he bowed his head to the task at hand and unzipped her boots, gently slipping first one then the other off her feet and placing them on the floor, next to the bed. Max sloughed off her jacket and lay back against the small mountain of pillows. She was sure she had never felt anything so soft.
She sighed painfully, closing her eyes, trying to control another bout of tremors. Images of her childhood floated across her eyelids. The stark grey walls of Manticore came into focus as she remembered the first time she had ever had a seizure. She was six years old. The other kids were asleep in their bunks, when Max opened her eyes. Everything around her seemed to be moving of its own accord. Then she realized she was the one who was moving. Her body convulsed spasmodically and fear slowly crept into her heart. She couldn't control her own body. Ever since they were old enough to understand, Lydecker and his doctors, soldiers and teachers had taught them that control was the most important element of a good soldier and suddenly Max felt it slipping through her fingers. She stifled a cry, knowing that if her superiors found out she was defective, they would take her away, never to come back, like they had done to Ethan when he started to shake one day in ranks.
The feeling of Logan leaning across her midriff shocked her back into the present. "Logan, what are you doing?" she managed to croak, repulsed by the weakness in her voice.
"I'm covering you up." He answered matter-of-factly as he pulled the covers to her chin and sat back in his chair. "I figured even you get cold now and then." He smiled warmly as she felt instantly a little better, while in some dark recess, her mind wondered how he could have such an effect on her.
"Thanks." She whispered, trying to hold her eyelids open, which suddenly felt like they were made of lead.
"No problem." He couldn't seem to take his eyes off her face. She looked so small, buried in blankets and pillows in the king-sized bed. The fatigue had washed away her normal attitude and everything about her seemed softer, younger. He suddenly realized he had been staring just a little too long and quickly broke the spell, turning his head toward the door. "I'll go get you some milk and some tryptophan to help take the edge off." Max, her eyes closed, only nodded and he made his way out of the room toward the kitchen, his face feeling decidedly warm.
When he returned with the milk and pills, Logan found Max sound asleep, the blankets over her chest rising and falling slowly with her laboured breathing. The sight drew a slightly sad smile from his lips as he set the tray on the bedside table and turned to face the troubled angel asleep in front of him. Though his brain was telling him to leave her be, his deaf heart pushed him out of his wheelchair and onto the bed next to her. Shifting his weight as gently as possible so as not to wake her, Logan propped his back against the headboard and very gingerly placed a hand on her forehead. Her skin felt warm and slick from fever and he slowly ran his fingers through her dark curls, amazed how fragile she looked in sleep. Sighing, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, resigning himself to the thought that she would only allow him this close when she was unconscious. Soon he found himself losing the battle with his own body's fatigue and he slowly drifted off.
Max's eyes fluttered open and she bought her hands up to rub the last dregs of sleep from her lashes. As the world around her came into focus, she realized she had somehow moved out to the couch in Logan's living room. Blinking wildly, trying to remember how she got there, Max noticed that the room was lit only by the soft glow of candles. Assuming it was just another brown out, she scanned what she could see of the apartment for her host.
"Looking for me?" his deep voice in her ear caused her to shiver involuntarily. She froze. Logan's voice had been in her ear. She had felt his warm breath on her neck. Whipping her head around she found herself looking up at Logan, who was standing behind her, his face lit up with a tremendous grin, his eyes sparkling in the candlelight.
She nearly flew off the couch, spinning around to face him. "Logan! How? When?" The questions tumbled out of her mouth as he rounded the furniture to bring them face-to-face. Watching the confidence in his stride, Max sighed in realization. "It's a dream."
Logan continued to smile as he brought his hand up to brush a loose strand of hair from her face, a gesture he had wanted to do in his waking hours for as long as he could remember knowing Max. He could see the questions rolling through her mind, behind her dark eyes and he wanted to relieve her fears. "I'm not sure which one of us is dreaming this, but why not make the most of it."
Max felt his fingers brush lightly against hers and she looked down as he took her hand. His whisper in her hair brought her eyes back up to his. "Dance with me." His words echoed what she had asked of him in that strange but wonderful dream from the hospital, so many weeks before.
She was dimly aware of music fading into her consciousness as he led her away from the furniture, towards the window. Tightening his grip on her hand, he slowly drew her closer, sliding his other arm around her waist. Max responded by bringing her arm up around his shoulders. They stood like that, staring at each other intently, until Logan took a step forward and they began to glide around the room.
Max closed her eyes. She was certain it was a dream, but everything felt so real. She inhaled deeply, taking in the mix of soap and skin, that was uniquely Logan. His body radiated heat and his arm around her waist sent shivers up her spine.
"Max…you O.K.?" Logan's voice penetrated her haze. She must have had her eyes shut longer than she realized. She opened them and felt her breath leave her, as she met his gaze. His eyes shone with concern, like the ocean lit from below.
"Yeah, I'm good." She whispered, unsure of the stability of her voice this close to him.
Logan responded by tightening the grip on her waist and pulling her closer. Max tried to calm the storm of emotions whirling inside her at his touch by concentrating on the music. She recognized it. It was the Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Pas de deux, a dance for two. Max smiled inwardly at how well it described her relationship with Logan. For the last few months, they had been dancing around each other, never really touching, but unable to walk away.
Max knew it wasn't safe for her to get attached. She needed to be willing to walk away from Seattle for hers and her friends' safety. She'd even tried to walk away once, only to come running back in spite of the danger, when complications from Logan's spinal chord injury threatened to take him away from her forever. In the hospital, as she had laid her head on his chest and felt his heart beat slowly to the rhythm of the heart monitor, she realized that she needed Logan more than her safety and the realization scared the hell out of her. The sorrow and longing in the music seeped into her thoughts, echoing her own frustration. Sighing resignedly, she snuggled closer into Logan's comforting embrace.
Logan felt his heart speed up as he pulled her closer still, revelling in the feel of her soft curls against his face. He had dreamed of dancing with Max almost every night since she had saved his life in the hospital; but tonight, everything felt so much more real. He once heard someone say that dancing was really just the vertical expression of a horizontal desire and the thought made him smile. Logan didn't know if he would ever be able to express himself vertically for the rest of his life. Every day he worked to free himself from the confines of his chair so that he could give Max a reason to stay with him. He couldn't stand the thought of seeing her walk away again because he couldn't go with her.
Slowly they moved around the room as the music grew in intensity, whirling around them in a storm of unspoken thoughts and emotions. Suddenly, Max felt Logan pull away ever so slightly and the loss of contact caused a curious ache in her heart. She looked up at him and their gazes held; the air between them practically hummed with excitement. Logan brought his hand up and gently traced the line of her jaw. Max watched as determination spread across his face and she felt her heart speed up with anticipation and fear. Very slowly, the space between them dissolved and their lips touched. The connection was fleeting but the shock that ripped through them both sent the world around spinning into nothingness.
Max shot up in bed like she had been struck by lightening. The kiss had felt so real, that it had snapped her out of her dream. Movement on the bed caused her to whip her head around. She was surprised to see Logan sitting beside her, his glasses slightly off-kilter and an equally stunned expression on his face. They stared blankly at one another until Logan broke the spell.
"Did you just…"
"It was a dream." Max finished, a hint of uncertainty in her voice. She wasn't sure if it was a question or a statement.
"Yeah…" Logan looked thoughtful, as if he was planning his next words.
Panic started to rise in Max's heart. She was suddenly afraid of what he was about to say. Was he going to shrug it off like it meant nothing or… Max didn't know what kind of response she wanted from him and she started to shift uncomfortably on the bed.
Logan could see her eyes cloud with fear. Tentatively, he reached out towards her, hoping to keep her from running away. "Max…" he whispered, his eyes entreating her to trust him.
Max tensed and Logan could see the walls come slamming down around her. She broke away from his penetrating gazed and mumbled "Gotta blaze."
Logan tried to reach her, but she was up off the bed like a shot, her back to him, as she almost ran out of the room. "Max! Wait! Please!" Logan tried to get to his wheelchair, but in his haste to try and catch Max, he put too much weight on one side and he and the chair went crashing to the floor. "Dammit!" Logan cried, less from the pain of falling than from the rift that tore through his heart as he heard her hurried footsteps on the hardwood floor and the door slamming shut. "Max" he cried again desperately, knowing she couldn't hear him. He laid his head back against the floor as a single tear escaped his lashes. Max was gone.