When Gray Was Yellow
She listened as the barrel of the lock turned over, watched as the door started to open, then paused as Logan pulled the key out before allowing it to fully swing. "Well here we are, home sweet home" his voice had a sarcastic edge.
She didn't gasp in shock of the sight that stood before her, she had been here before. She'd come when it wasn't safe, when White was still after them.
She'd needed to know; she needed to see the visual depiction of what her life had become.
His once pristine apartment destroyed.
They went beyond tossing the place, priceless antiques were shattered, glass and debris littered the floor, there were even stains on the walls, from what she had no idea, but they were there. The super had sent someone up to repair the door, install a new lock and toss out all the food in the fridge, but everything else was exactly how White left it.
No, she remembered, that was a lie. Alec had snuck in almost a week ago to make sure White had left no surprises waiting for them.
She remained standing in the doorway as he walked in, the only sound filling the apartment was that of the exo until the clunk of the box he was carrying was placed on the counter. She followed him in, in her hand a bag full of groceries.
He let out a long sigh as he surveyed the living room, they'd not only knocked everything over, they'd pulled the stuffing out of his sofa, he was pretty sure that one was just out of spite.
"I'm sorry" she whispered.
He turned, his expression at first confused, then remorseful, "This isn't your fault Max, how many times have I told you that?"
She shook her head, "Doesn't make it any easier though." She walked over next to him and put the groceries down next to his box of cleaning supplies.
"I'm sorry" he said wrapping an arm around her and pulling her in close.
She looked up at him, "Why are you apologizing?"
"Because I can't take away the pain. I can't give you back your sister or Joshua."
He held her tighter as a shiver rolled over her body. She hadn't seen Brin die, but she was with Joshua in his final moments…
She saw him lying there as the battle ebbed, she'd gone up against that psycho bitch again, but this time she'd been able to finish the job because the whole world wasn't watching. She'd looked around after the other woman had fallen to see Alec suddenly finish off the person he'd been fighting with a fierceness she'd never witnessed before from him and the other person clearly hadn't expected. He hadn't even waited for the man to fall as he took off.
She heard him cry out "Josh!" she was confused as she chased after him, her mind unable to process what that meant until she saw him lying there with a knife in his stomach. White lying dead just feet away, Joshua had gotten his revenge, but at a price.
He'd comforted her in his final moments as Alec frantically tried to stop the bleeding while the others finished off the stragglers, fighting more passionately as they realized they had lost one of their own in this fight.
"It's gonna be okay, we're gonna get you help. Just hold on" Max had tried to reassure him as she stroked the side of his face. "We gotta get him up Alec," she said as she turned to see Alec trying to apply pressure to the wound below the knife. That bastard hadn't just stuck him like a pig, he'd pulled the knife up as Joshua finished him off. The shirt Alec had stripped off was soaked through with blood even though he'd only gotten there seconds earlier than she.
He'd just looked at her, his eyes wide as he was unable to say anything.
She'd turned back down to Joshua and her tears fell upon his face, "Big Fella, you gotta stay with me."
"It's alright Little Fella." he said limply raising a hand to her face.
She held it there, "No, no it's not, you can't leave me…You gotta fight, we're finally free. No more hiding, no more basements, we're free."
"Free, Joshua free" he said with a smile as his eyes rolled back. She pulled him into her arms and cried over him as Alec fell back across from her in shock.
It had been Zack that had finally approached her as the final enemy fell, "Maxie" he said softly and she shook her head.
"I'm not leaving him here." Her tears had abated and she was left numb.
He'd crouched down to her level, a softness had developed in him during the six months he'd spent as a farm boy and not a soldier when he didn't have to hide his feelings and pretend that nothing affected him. A softness that was retained, even after he found his way to Terminal City as Logan risked his life to help him overcome the brainwashing and finding out that in the end it had Max's decision to send him away.
He understood fully as he watched from the doorway as Sandeman announced that the virus was gone. Logan just took Max into his arms and held her, tears started to stream down her face and she shook; the tension and pain that had been with them for over a year finally breaking free. He'd just pulled her closer and murmured, It's alright, it's all over, we're okay, we made it, over and over as he allowed her to soak his shirt. The best soldier Manticore had ever produced couldn't do anything but weep despite the fact that others were watching.
"I wouldn't ask you to Max" he said softly as he placed a hand on his sister's shoulder, "Come on, let's take him home."
She nodded and he helped her raise him up, but then Alec stopped him and shook his head and Zack transferred Joshua's weight over to him.
"So what should we tackle first?" she asked
He once more surveyed the room and shook his head, "Groceries. Then check out the bedroom…See if we're sleeping on the floor tonight."
She watched him carry a shattered TV to the mini dumpster on wheels that one of the maintenance crew had brought up for them. His strength still remarkable because of the exo even though Joshua's cells were slowly but surely breaking down.
He walked slowly with a cane when he wasn't wearing it. He sometimes couldn't shower standing up, which led to him to putting his fist through a wall the first time it happened, fifteen stitches and being told how lucky he was not to have nerve damage.
His legs were a wait and see game.
It had taken only days for Joshua's blood to fully reverse the damage, but almost a year for it to start to fail and here they were five months later wondering if any of Joshua's gift was going to remain with Logan.
She in the meantime was being forced to learn to not baby him.
It had been easier the first time around, she'd been too busy pretending not to care and he'd been busy hiding when he needed help. Then during and after Vertes she'd just been trying not to piss him off.
He was like that at times now, even though he tried not to be, especially after losing Joshua four months ago. He had too much to be thankful for to be angry about his legs, but they frustrated him and she knew that. Just like she knew every time he took off the exo and found out how much closer he was to losing them, it took everything in his power not to scream.
It was hard though, for her to watch him sometimes collapse if he'd pushed them too far that day. Or those moments after he took off the exo and he couldn't stand because his legs were suddenly so weak and his mind couldn't process it.
She was learning though, she didn't fight him as he took the box with the cleaning supplies out of the trunk and left her with only a light bag of perishables. She reminded herself everyday that for the moment he was still physically stronger than most men and for her to let him have it.
They worked until almost nine before they stopped to do more than munch on the box of crackers they'd opened. She went out for food since neither of them felt like doing the dishes twice that day. She came back to find that he'd brought up all of his computer stuff and he was setting it up in his newly cleared office area. She didn't say anything about him pushing himself, she didn't say he should have waited for her. She just asked if he wanted soda or water to go with their food.
They fell into bed soon after, both of them dirty and neither of them caring. They slept entwined as they always did, still needing the reassuring touch of the other after being without it for over a year.