Thank You

Title: A Way to Say thank You

Author: aegean

E-mail: aegean11@hotmail.com

Genre: Story Romance, Max/Logan shippery

Rating: PG

Summary: This takes place several months after Female trouble. Logan's Birthday is coming up and Max gets him a life changing present.

Disclaimer: Dark Angel is a Cameron/Eglee vehicle. I get no money. I do it for fun. Please don't sue me. Song Dido-Thank You

Notes: This is my first fanfic. I have another one sitting in the wings. Please R&R. Good/Bad whatever. Advice. Anything works for me.

"Max," said Kendra, "I told you I would cook it for you." Max was standing in the kitchen, covered in spices and sauce. She had been cooking for most of the afternoon. Kendra and Cindy were trying to contain their laughter as they watched her in the kitchen.

"No," replied Max, "I think I can handle it. I just needed you here to stop me from any major disasters. Oh, and to find me some of that, what was it called spi, spu"

"Spumoni," Kendra interrupted. "Yeah, its not the easiest type of ice cream to find but Walter can get a hold of it." Max raised an eyebrow at Kendra. She knew Walter used to pressure money and goods out of people. She wondered if that was how he acquired the relatively rare dessert. "Max! Stop, I know that look," Kendra said as she shook her head. "He bought it from an Italian eatery. It was pretty pricey, but I told him he owed you for past transgressions." Max apologized and went back to her cooking. "Bye the way, I think its really nice what you planned for his birthday. Is he coming over later?"

"No, I'm gonna to take it over to his place. You know, I don't get how he can cook for me all the time. This has taken forever." Max looked up from her cooking. "Do you really think he'll like just spaghetti?"

"Max," Kendra said exasperatedly, "you made the sauce and the Swedish meatballs." "You," Kendra laughed a little as she shook her head, "who never cooks made an entire meal from scratch." She leaned over and smelled the sauce, grabbed a spoon, and tasted it and smiled. "If he doesn't like it, call me and I'll come over and beat some sense into him."

"Thanks," Max said as she gave Kendra a head nod of approval. "So do you think it'll be OK if I take it over there and put it back on the stove?"

"Yeah, I assume you'll also do the garlic bread there. That should leave his apartment smelling great." Kendra looked over at Max again. "You know I never would have figured that you would cook dinner for him again after the last time."

"How was I supposed to know that you need to put something under sweet potatoes when you poke holes in them or else they drip all over the oven and smoke up the kitchen?" Kendra remembered the day of that catastrophe and couldn't contain her laughter. Cindy had never heard the story so Kendra told it with great amusement.

"Well," she began, "Max went over to Logan's one day for whatever it is they do. As usual, she got hungry and wanted food. I guess he wears her out or something cuz I only eat like she does after spending the day with Mr. Multiples." Kendra looked over to see Max prepared to open her mouth in protest. She ignored her. Anyway, he wanted to take a shower so he told her to throw a potato in the oven and she could use the fixings in the fridge to make a really good baked potato. Logan told her to grab a potato from the fridge, poke holes in it, and throw it in the oven. Max grabs a sweet potato and does what he says. Well, when Logan came out of the shower, he thought his apartment was on fire. Apparently, the moisture in the potato dripped onto the heating element in the oven and since it was so sugary, it smoked up his kitchen. " Original Cindy started to laugh so hard she couldn't speak.

"How was I supposed to know that would happen? It's not like its common knowledge." A questioning look crossed her face. "Is it?" She shrugged off her thought and continued. "Anyway, that's why you're here. I don't want some random little lack of cooking knowledge to screw this up.

"So what did Logan do," Cindy asked.

"Once he figured out what had happened, he aired out his apartment and then took Max to the refrigerator and introduced her to every type of food he had giving an important fact about everything remembering to spend extra time on the different kinds of potatoes."

"He also vowed to never let me cook in his kitchen again because of the mess I made," Max said to Cindy.

"Well so far everything is going fine here. I'd say you're about done. What time is he expecting you," Kendra said in an attempt to get off an obviously touchy subject.

"He's not."

"Nice. Just show up at his door with food. That's every males fantasy. Well that and a woman dressed in a Princess Leah outfit." Max had seen enough pre-Pulse movies to catch Kendra's reference. She had been exposed to a lot of classic films in the past few months at Logan's. He had DVD copies of all six Star Wars tapes. He loved them, especially the one where the Princess dressed up in metal bra outfit and was chained to the fat slug. She would sit silently thinking 'great, he's a horny 15 year old boy right now. Thank God I'm not in heat.' Every time they watched it, he would try to convince her that it was a secret guide to the future. She just thought he reverted back to the age of ten. All she could say was, 'but he's her brother.' He, much to her own irritation would say, 'Uh-huh…don't you think Zack would like this movie?' She of course would hit him hard enough to leave a nice little bruise and he would laugh it off. "Hey Max," Kendra said as she looked down at her watch and noticed the time. "I think everything's under control here and I'm supposed to meet Walter in a few. Do you mind if I take off?"

"No go ahead. But, if anything explodes I will publicly blame you."

"OK. I can deal with that. Good Luck. Have Fun. Tell Logan Happy Birthday and …"

"Yeah I know. Make sure we bang the gong. I'll tell him."

"I was going to say make sure you don't overdue the amount of garlic on the bread but… I like you're thinking better. Bye." Kendra grabbed her bag and left.

"I gotta go too," said Cindy, "later boo."

"Later," Max said as Cindy closed the door.

Max knew Logan would be out meeting informants until later that evening so it gave her plenty of time to break in and set up. It was going to be the perfect birthday evening. She would break in, set things up in the kitchen, set the table, and change her clothes. She would light candles and she and Logan would have a nice quiet birthday dinner. After, she would serve the spumoni, give him his birthday present, and then go home. She was proud of how complete her plan was.

At five thirty Max packaged the sauce, fresh pasta, bread, and spumoni, and tied it tightly to the back of her Ninja and took off for Foggle Towers. Logan had told her that he wouldn't be back until around seven or eight. He was to call her and she would come over to discuss what he had learned. He didn't even hint that it was his birthday. She remembered the date from his medical files.

She parked her bike and took the elevator up. She picked the lock and went inside. It was always the same. The computer room looked as though it had been lived in with the wheelchair still collapsed in the corner as some sort of strange reminder of past times. He hadn't needed it for a few weeks. They had managed to find a new therapy, which much to Logan's surprise, had actually been successful. He was walking with a cane, but he was happier than he had been in months. However, he still kept the chair nearby to make sure that he never took anything for granted.

Max proceeded to go into the kitchen and unpack everything she had brought. She took out two pots, one for the noodles, and the other for the sauce. She put the spumoni in the freezer and then went to check out the dining room She decided to first set the table and then arrange candles around the room. She knew that Logan had candles enough to light every room in the event of a blackout. He also had flashlights, but the candles created a nicer mood during those times. She enjoyed the blackout with Logan. It was the closest they came to a romantic evening. Once the candles were in place, she went to take her shower.

Ten minutes later, she got out of the shower, dried off, and put on a nice but tight pair of jeans and a white tank. She pulled her hair into a ponytail and checked herself in the mirror. /Maybe a bit casual, but it's not like he's going to be dressed up./ When she was done, she proceeded to light the candles in every room. Her final step was to find a pre-Pulse red and put the wine glasses on the table.

Just as she finished, she heard her pager go off in the next room. It had to be Logan trying to get in touch with her- probably to tell her he was finished. That was her signal that he would be home at any minute. She called him back from his apartment.

"Hey are you finished"

"Yeah," he said, "it went pretty well. We should get started on this soon."

"OK," she replied, "I'll be by in an hour. Will you be home by then?" She smiled as she spoke because she wondered if he would have ever mentioned the fact that it was his birthday.

"Yeah, I'll be home in about fifteen minutes."

"Good, then you'll have time to fix me a snack." She laughed at her own little sadistic joke.

"Is this our relationship? I work all day and then I'm expected to come home and cook?"

"Yeah, isn't that the way it's supposed to be?"

"Cute. I'll have something, but don't complain if it's just crackers and cheese or cereal. I must admit though that I'm feeling taken for granted. I may just stop cooking one day"

"I promise I'll find a way to make it up to you...and cereal is one of the four basic food groups so its cool. See you in an hour. Bye." She hung up the phone quickly and then turned to survey the room to make sure everything was perfect.

She was leaning over the dining room table pouring the wine into the glasses to let it breath, when she heard the door open.

"What…Max?"

"Happy Birthday," Max said as she poked her head around the corner into the hall.

"What's all this?"

"Its obviously your birthday surprise from me," she said as she met him in the hall. "Did it work?"

"Yeah," he said. A large smile had formed on his face when his confusion subsided and he realized the extent of her preparation. "How did you know?"

"I have my ways," she said coyly. "I'm glad you're finally smiling…your face when you walked in the door made me think I had made a mistake in celebrating."

"Sorry…I just wasn't expecting anything."

"Yeah…why didn't you say anything?"

"Because, its weird reminding people about your birthday. What do you say 'hey my birthdays coming up in a week'? I mean I just didn't expect anything because I knew that there was no one in my life who would know."

"That makes no sense. You told me birthdays were important. You should have just told me, I may have many talents, but I'm not clairvoyant. Do you work with some stupid guy logic?"

"It smells great in here. Is that garlic bread?"

"Yep" she said proudly as she took his hand and walked him toward the dining room, "and spaghetti with Swedish meatballs. By the way don't think I didn't notice the way you just changed the subject." He just smiled and looked ahead. She decided to let it go at that point. "I actually cooked everything that you're about to eat tonight."

"O-K," he said slowly as he stopped just short of the table.

"Don't sound like that, she said as she hit his shoulder with an open palm. "Kendra looked over my shoulder the whole time. Its edible."

"I'm sure it'll be wonderful. I was only kidding."

"Well lets sit and eat."

They went into the dining room. Logan was amazed at just how many candles he owned. The room was a glow with light and Max looked amazing in it.

"Sit and I'll go get dinner." Max served the dinner and then as she was about to sit down, she ran into the living room. He didn't know why until he suddenly heard music. She had gone to pick out a few CD's to listen to during dinner. Everything was perfect.

They ate and talked about her day and his meetings. They laughed about her past cooking disasters and fought about her doing some recon at sector headquarters.

"But Logan, the info's probably there. We're talkin' about seriously crooked cops here. They're allowing new drugs into town"

"There's one of you and probably what 30 of them on a slow night. The odds are not in your favor. Let Matt dig a little first. He'll be able to give us a little more to work with."

"I really hate it when you worry needlessly. It's a waste of time. I can take care of myself."

"Look, I know your itching for action, and it will come again. However, don't throw yourself into a dangerous situation just because you're bored. He looked dead into her eyes and realized that she was getting annoyed so he decided to lighten the mood. Here I'll tell you what. I'll leave valuable things around the city and you can try to find them and steal them to keep yourself entertained."

"Funny. Sarcasm a family trait?"

"Yeah. You had to master its' complex nuances before you were even allowed to see the Cale Family Recipes." Logan took another sip of wine. "I started cooking at age five."

"So you were a child prodigy?" She said mockingly.

"Didn't you know that?" he said in a proud manner. Hey did Manticore have the same policy. No motorcycle repair training until you mastered that sparkling Manticore wit." He laughed a little bit and then there was a long pause in the conversation. "aren't you going to say anything?"

"I'm not gonna speak anymore for fear that you may start to sulk when I throw a witty comeback in your face." She picked up her wine glass and took a sip knowing that she had won the battle. Logan let out a slight laugh and then smiled at her. She smiled back and caught his pale blue eyes staring intensely at her. The attention made her blush slightly. She decided to serve the spumoni at that moment in order to get out of her seat. A chill crossed her body because of her embarrassment as she served the dessert so she told him she would be back. She went to his bedroom and into his closet. She found one of his blue shirts and put it on. She rolled up the sleeves which were too long and then returned to the living room to join in dessert. They talked more, ate more, and laughed. After some time, the conversation hit an awkward silence and Max knew that the night was coming to and end. They had eaten dinner and dessert and had a bit too much wine. She knew this because suddenly everything was just a bit funnier to her. So when the conversation hit a lull, she decided that it was the perfect moment to give him her present and run.

Logan was sitting on the couch. When he saw her begin to get restless, he asked her if she was up for a game of chess and she said 'no'. She told him that she had been working on the dinner all day and was a little tired. He looked a little sad but he didn't try to stop her. She walked over to her bag and pulled out a small package with a note attached, handed it to him, and turned to leave.

"What's this?" he said as he stood to approach her. She had already turned toward the door.

"You're present."

"Aren't you going to wait until I open it."

"No," she replied as she kept moving.

"Max stop." She did. She actually listened to an order from Logan. "Turn around and sit down." Another order. She barely took orders from Zach and he was her CO. Yet, there she was completely compliant, unable to refuse Logan. She chose to give him control.

"Logan I really think you should open it after I'm gone." Logan looked worried. He thought maybe it was a goodbye gift.

"Just sit," he said as he caught her wrist. He was too afraid of her leaving him to notice that she had relinquished herself to him. "It's usually tradition to stay while someone opens a gift. It gives them a chance to say thanks." He brought her back to the living room and sat her down on the couch.

"Fine!" she said as she sat.

Logan sat down and opened the letter Max had written.

Logan

My life has changed so much in the past year. I've stayed put, I have some sort of a purpose, and I have a birthday myself. You are the reason for all of these things. You know I'm not good at telling you how I feel about things. I guess I still hate to admit that I have emotions, but you've helped me with that as well. Thank You.

Happy Birthday

Max

Logan looked over at the woman he adored. She was sitting on the couch with her knees pressed to her chest. She was staring of into the distance. /God she hates to show emotion. She looks as though she's being tortured. Doesn't she know how I feel. I would never accuse her of being weak./ Logan decided not to say anything. He just looked at the little wrapped present and opened it. It was a tape. He was curious and walked over to his player to put it in.

"Please don't play it now," she said quickly as she jumped of the couch and toward him. "Can't we just play chess, or go for a walk, or something." She was at his side before he could say anything. She had put her hand on his in an attempt to stop him from pushing play.

/What is she so afraid of? What's on this tape. It can't be that bad. If it is than why would she give it to me?/ Logan decided to wait to play the song. He moved to go set up the chessboard instead. They played five games in near silence.

She let him win four out of the five games they played in honor of his birthday. After the fifth game, Max told him that she was really tired and said that she needed to go home. They walked around the apartment blowing out most of the candles and then she picked up her bag and headed for the door. Logan turned back into the living room and headed for the stereo. He pushed play and the music on the tape began to pump through the apartment causing Max to stop short in an almost frozen state near the door. It was that that pre-Pulse tune she had heard in a bar once. The only song that ever made her want to cry. The only song that she felt adequately summed up her feelings about Logan. The only gift she could give to the man who could have anything. The only gift whose meaning terrified her, was at that moment filling his apartment. Its effect was so powerful it caused her to stop short, in a frozen state by his front door.

My tea's gone cold, I'm wondering why I got out of bed at all

The morning rain clouds up my window and I can't see at all

And even if I could it'd all be grey, but your picture on my wall

It reminds me that its not so bad

It's not so bad

I drank too much last night, got bills to pay

My head just feels in pain

I missed the bus and there'll be hell today

I'm late for work again

And even if I'm there, they'll all imply that I might not last the day

And then you call me and its not so bad

It's not so bad

I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life

Oh just to be with you is having the best day of my life

Push the door, I'm home at last and I'm soaking through and through

Then you handed me a towel and all I see is you

And even if my house falls down now, I wouldn't have a clue

Because you're near me and

I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life

Oh just to be with you is having the best day of my life

Each stood motionless until the music faded away, Logan in the living room and Max in the hall. Both were just feet away from the one person they loved most in life but neither moved. He didn't know whether to approach her or let her decide. She didn't know whether to bolt for the door and never return or go to the man she knew she wanted. They both just stood there, moments away from making the biggest decision of their lives. Do nothing or do something. The fifty-fifty shot of success or failure.

Logan decided that he needed to move before he heard the door to his future happiness close. After all he was the one that had ambushed her with playing it. He thought it would serve him right if she left and didn't look back. Max at the same moment decided that she needed to go back into the room and face up to her fear. If she left then Manticore would have succeeded in taking away the thing she wanted most. They both took a step toward each other and then that step turned into a mad rush to get to the other. They each came around the corner with such speed and such force that they crashed into one another. They fell back in opposite directions. Max was sprawled on the floor a few feet away from Logan. She was so confused by the collision and her feelings, that she began to laugh and cry at the same time. Logan was laid out on his back. He turned to get up and heard a strange combination of sobs and laughter coming form Max. The collision had shocked him too, but when he got up to see if she was ok, he saw her laughing and began to laugh too. The adrenaline rush that he was experiencing had overloaded his system. He didn't cry he just laughed and reached over to hug Max. They sat there holding each other and laughing for a while.

When they finally stopped, they looked at each other and into one anothers eyes. He wanted to kiss her passionately and she wanted to kiss him. However, neither were ready to deal with implications of such a kiss. They hadn't verbally admitted their feelings. Each had shown the other how they felt through actions, but never with words. Before they entered the next stage of their relationship, they really needed to discuss it. And, since they weren't prepared to do it at that moment, they decided to take a midnight stroll through the park. Max and Logan both stood up. He grabbed his cane with one hand and her hand with his other. He said 'I know this may sound corny, but I thank you for coming into my life and staying put.' He then brought her hand up to his lips, kissed it and looked deep into her eyes. He wanted to make sure she was ready. She nodded to him in understanding, let her hand rest on his cheek and looked into his eyes. After a moment, she pulled his head toward hers and gently let her lips brush his. --- The kiss was one of devotion, love, and friendship. More importantly, it was a kiss that symbolized the start of a new relationship, a place for their future passion to be released. It wasn't a rushed kiss, or kiss out of fear. It was not a kiss that could be written off as the result of an emotional overload. It was a kiss that was sincere, intentional, and Max believed that if you asked her friends, they would say it was a kiss that was long overdue. The kiss they shared when she thought she would have to leave him was nothing compared to the kiss they shared the night of his birthday. To Max and Logan, that kiss, was the first kiss, in a series of perfect kisses.

Don't forget to R&R. Thanks