Lights Out 10
Max showed no outward sign of pain as the attending physician probed her thigh to clean the grit and sand out of the bullet wound. He'd given her the appropriate dose of pain medication, but she had already shut herself down into a place where she couldn't feel the pain. Her breathing was deep and slow, her eyes half-closed, her mind carefully focused inward. Lydecker's field training never came in so handy than when she was in excruciating pain. If she stayed in the meditative state she could forcibly put herself into a coma. It was similar to the technique that she would use if she wanted to forget her barcode, or Zack's phone number, or any other critical information someone wanted to torture her for.
Logan held her hand tightly, his eyes never leaving her face. She had warned him she'd probably zone out while they treated her, but he was unprepared for the unresponsive behavior, her unfocused eyes, the absolute stillness of her body. He kept up a light conversation with the doctor, trying to steer him away from questions like, "Why is her hair wet" and "did you two have a fight?"
When she came out of the trance, she acted normal, smiling and trying to laugh off the bullet wound. She charmed the doctor and Logan was amazed to find himself driving back to the cabin just before dawn, with no snags or repercussions from their trip to the emergency room. The new day was raw and a cold rain swept in from the ocean. Max scowled at the rain, claiming that after her shower she didn't intend to go outside until it had stopped completely. Logan joked about cats hating to get wet and she readily agreed.
Logan lit a fire to ward off the chill and Max plopped down in front of it, beckoning him down from his wheelchair to join her on the floor. He sat with his back against the couch and she snuggled into his arms, wrapping his arms around her. They watched the flames for a long time as Max's hair dried into messy curls around her shoulders and Logan drifted in and out of sleep.
"It's not just a reaction to the trauma, you know," Max blurted out.
Logan snapped awake and asked her to repeat herself.
"The coma, this whole search and destroy mission… that's not why I'm like this."
"Why you're not like what?" Logan asked, trying to understand. She spoke as though her words had context—and maybe they did, in her own brain, but he was missing a few salient plot points.
"Sometimes people get together because they've been through war or whatever, and it's great for awhile and then just dries up and they go their separate ways. I don't want you to think I love you just because of this whole mess with Terry Harbor. I loved you way before that. Overstand?"
Logan grinned widely and kissed her neck. "So, you're in love with me?"
"Honestly," Max huffed, tilting her head to the side to give him better access.
"Just trying to get all the information," Logan teased her. "Can't take action without all the facts."
Max turned in his arms and bravely met his eyes, which gleamed in the firelight with obvious love for her. It was simultaneously the safest and most afraid she'd ever felt.
"I love you," she said simply, and felt a chill run up her spine that had nothing to do with the weather.
Logan bent his head and kissed her gently, then pulled back to smile at her. He knew he didn't have to say the words back to her; she knew how he felt, knew he'd die for her. Still, he wanted to erase the speck of doubt he saw lingering in her soulful brown eyes, and banish it forever.
"I love you, too."