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Title: Don't it always seem (to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone?)
Summary: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something really dark. Author really hoping not to fall flat on face with potentially really dumb idea. ML. Read carefully, there will be a quiz at the end.
Chapter 2: The Beginning.
Max was in the bathroom washing her face. She was trying to decide if she should try and carry on Eyes Only or just go on a killing spree, taking out every crook that might have been responsible for Logan's death. She knew Logan would want the former. The trouble was that she was created for the later.
She heard the ding of the elevator as it stopped at this floor. Whoever it was, she welcomed the diversion. If it was those responsible for Logan's death, they were about to find out how bad wrath could really be. The saying was 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' and the women that inspired that weren't even X5's.
She stopped when she heard Bling's voice. She was disappointed for only a moment. She stopped, sighed and tried to calm herself. Hopefully, Bling would know what had happened, and who was responsible. It would be more efficient if she could kill only those responsible, and all of their henchmen, goons, associates, friends, cousins, acquaintances … Max tried to focus, but it was so hard. Every fiber of her being wanted to go do what she was made to do. For the first, and only, time in her life she wanted to kill, let her training take over, and let her conditioning plunge her into an icy numbness where this agony couldn't reach her.
She leaned against the door frame, trying to calm herself so that she could listen to Bling's excuse why he survived when Logan didn't. She was cursing herself for not addressing that …failure … after the incident with Bronck, when what was being said finally penetrated her grief enveloped mind.
"You should really let me check you out. You don't know what kind of scrapes or abrasions you might have down there." Bling insisted.
Max stopped breathing. Who could Bling be talking to? Who else would not know if they had a cut 'down there'? Logan wasn't expecting her to show up here tonight. Maybe finding the letter was just an accident? For all her speed, Max couldn't make her feet move to go confirm or deny her hope. The relief from the oppressing grief was too precious. Then she heard him.
"I'll be fine." It was clearly Logan's voice.
Max smiled. Logan was alive! Logan was fine. Logan was sooooo busted! How could he possibly think that he wasn't good enough for her? He's wonderful, attractive, and noble; how could he not know? Then again, what did she know about expressing love? She did everything he asked her to do. She invited him out. She accepted whenever he invited her anywhere. What more could she do? Heck with it, she was just going to jump him.
She had taken one step when a small doubt crept into her mind. What if he didn't really mean it? What if he just wanted her to think that at least one person had loved her in her strange little life? To make her feel more human? So that she would be more humane? It didn't matter. She couldn't go through the guilt again. The only thing Max knew for certain, as she marched into the computer room to confront Logan, was that she was going to find out!
Logan pushed himself into his computer room and disabled the dead man program that he left running on his computer. He frowned when he saw the envelopes on the floor. He picked them up, counted them, noticed which one was missing, and frowned. "Uh oh," Logan said.
"Ya think?" Max asked from the doorway.
Logan spun around to stare at Max. "Did you …?"
"Yes," she replied. Logan stared at her for a few moments in the awkward silence that followed. Logan swallowed the lump that had appeared in his throat and continued to stare at Max in trepidation.
Eventually Bling said "I guess I should go."
"Good self-preservation instincts you have there, Bling… Bye." Max's stare never left Logan.
"Bye," Logan said softly. The fewer witness to his latest embarrassment, the better.
As soon as the door shut, Logan took a deep breath and began. "Obviously I didn't mean for you to find that. You need to understand that I don't expect anything from you. I never did."
"Is it true?" Max asked. She was trying to keep all emotion out of her voice but succeeded only in obfuscating which emotions that she was feeling.
Logan swallowed and pressed on. He couldn't tell exactly what Max was feeling, but she clearly wasn't happy. He needed to try and salvage this friendship that was the only bright spot in his otherwise desolate, life. "I know that I am much older than you are. I am …broken, obsessed with saving the world. I want you to know that I don't expect anything from you."
"Did you mean it?" Max pressed.
"Heck, I couldn't even maintain a relationship when I could walk and … do the other things that I can't do anymore. Even if I still could, I wouldn't expect you to ..." Logan looked so pained, but Max's doubts were still there.
"Logan!" she shouted. "I am not a patient person under normal circumstances and you have put me through … a lot of grief tonight. I am going to ask you two very simple questions and the next couple of words out of your mouth had better be either yes or no!"
Logan looked so forlorn, so lost. He simply nodded, and waited for her to tell him what a fool he was. He clenched his eyes shut and waited for the humiliation. He should be used to it by now, he thought bitterly.
"Is what you said in the letter true, other than the being dead part?"
"Yes." There, it was out. Logan Cale, cripple in love with the perfect woman and world's biggest fool.
Max knelt before him and placed her hand over his heart. Logan's eyes snapped open and he looked at Max. She looked up at him with such apprehension. "Doesn't it creep you out that I'm not entirely human? I'm something they made in a lab. Doesn't that bother you?"
"NO!" Logan's mind was reeling, how could she even think such a thing? He opened his mouth to tell her how wrong that idea was, when Max stuck her tongue inside. One hand was entwined in his hair, holding his face securely against hers. The other hand reached out and placed his hand on her body before gently cupping the other side of his face. She clung to him. After the initial shock wore off Logan held her for dear life, for she was the dearest thing to him in all the broken world. They lost track of time, of everything except each other, and the heady feel of finally exploring their love.
"Logan," Max murmured his name like a prayer. "You are never, ever, to go into a dangerous situation without me again! It's a good thing I have feline DNA, and the nine lives that go with it, 'cause I think you scared me out of one earlier tonight." Max looked to Logan for confirmation that her miscellaneous DNA really didn't bother him.
He smiled and reassured her lovingly, "You said the Birthday party was important."
"Nothing will ever be more important than you are!" she cried. Her voice softened as she realized the implications of what she had said, but she wasn't backing down. She had a chance now, and she was seizing it. "Not to me. …Not ever." She looked tentatively at Logan, biting her lower lip tentatively, waiting for his response.
Logan smiled and held her tight. Max, in her own way, was showing him how very much she cared about him. She wasn't doing it as he would have expected, but she'd never had an example. He could appreciate and love her for who she was now, not who she would be in a perfect world. He was well aware that he needed the same consideration from her.
"Max. I want nothing more than to sweep you off your feet, carry you to my bed, and make love to you all night … but …"
"We got screwed out of a lot more than hanging out for the afternoon in a cafe someplace wearing $2,000 wristwatches, planning our next vacation." Max lovingly took his face in her hands and looked deeply into his eyes, willing him to understand the sincerity of her declaration. "I know. So, would the next best thing be me carrying you to your bed or me curling up on your lap while you wheel us to your bed where we fool around and figure out what we can still do?" Max smiled, what she hoped was her most enticing smile, at him.
"I don't know what …" Logan began.
Max wouldn't let him finish that thought. She was in this relationship for him, regardless of what worked or didn't work below the waist. That didn't matter to her. She just needed to figure out how to convince Logan of that fact. "Obvious way to find out …if you want to. I know that I won't be able to … please you." Logan would have objected at that point, but he was shocked speechless. "Maybe it's selfish of me, but I still want to hold you and touch you." Max ran her hands up and down his arms, gently massaging.
Logan interrupted her with a kiss. "You do please me. Don't ever doubt that, Max."
She smiled back at her love, "And I want you to know that I'm sorry."
"I think I can forgive you for rummaging through my desk." Logan reassured her.
"I'm not sorry for that at all!" Max knew now that she was supposed to have found the note after all. Maybe Logan hadn't intended for her to find it, but some higher power she was very thankful for obviously had. Max made a mental note to discuss ESP with Logan, later. "What I am sorry for is that I …don't know how to …show you how I feel. If I did you would've known a long time ago, that …I love you." Max bit her lower lip nervously as she looked at Logan uncertainly, awaiting his reaction.
When he heard the words, Logan's heart soared. He knew how hard they must have been. In the same instant that he realized that he hadn't actually said the words to her, so he corrected that. "I love you, too." They kissed, long and tender and soft. "So, you wanted to go exploring?" Logan asked with a grin as he wheeled them down the hall.
"Oh, yes!" Max cried, for the first of many, many times that night.
1. Did you assume that Logan was dead, just because the note said so?
2. Was it lame or did it make you think about the things we are in the habit of assuming?
3. Is there enough fluff at the end to make up for the angst in chapter 1?
4. Is this quiz the most blatant gimmick to get reviews that you have seen?
Author's Note: For anyone who wants a better description of the secretroom with plants, see Concurrent Jurisdiction by Shywr1ter. I am such a horrible thief sometimes.