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Max finished Logan's range of motion exercises. She did them exactly as Bling instructed her, except sometimes she lost count, and had to start over. Logan was lying there unconscious, maybe fighting for his life, maybe dying, and she was enjoying being able to touch him. How sick was that? She finished doing all the exercises Bling told her to. Then she started over doing them again.
"Please, don't leave me," she begged. She wasn't sure if Logan could hear her. She wasn't sure if anyone or anything could. Even if there were a god, she wasn't exactly one of his creations, was she?
This was her fault. She wasn't watching over him. She hadn't protected him, again! She hadn't the stomach to watch the end of the tape. She finished Logan's range of motion exercises, again. She positioned him on his side to avoid bedsores and pulled the covers up over him. She'd been selfish enough. When John got in she was going to blow off work and go finish the tape. Then she was going to come back here and give him a does of revved up Manticore blood. He was going to get better. Of course, she still didn't know what she was going to say to him when he did wake up. She needed to let Logan know, immediately, that she loves him, she doesn't consider him broken, and he was not pathetic and was never to think of himself that way again. Of course she also needed to not screw things up. That was going to be the real trick. But not knowing how things were going to end never stopped her before. Heck, making it up as she went along was practically her trademark.
"Please, please, wake up. I need you." Max softly kissed his forehead. A single tear fell unto his face. She wiped it away with a finger. "I need him," she pleaded of any that might be listening.
Logan finally woke up just after 4 am. Max was by his side, typing away on his laptop.
"Hey," he said, getting her attention.
"Hey!" she said. She smiled and closed the laptop. Max turned to him and placed her hand on his forehead, as he had done for her when she had seizures. She hoped that it offered him as much comfort as she had received from it. "How are you?"
"Peachy," he managed to say through his parched throat.
"That slang for feeling like you've been beaten and unconscious for three days?"
"Yep," replied Max.
"Oh no! I have to …" Logan tried to prop himself up on his arms, but winced at the pain.
"Hey!" Max gently eases Logan down unto the bed. "Dr Carr has stopped by several times. He and Bling have been here every day… everything is covered. Your next …" Max pauses, uncertain how to phrase this. "…bathroom … isn't for another four hours."
Logan closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh. "So, you know?"
"Yeah, I know. No big dealio."
Logan was lying there, wondering how he was ever going to face Max again, when he noticed he wasn't wearing anything. He ran a hand down to his still legs to confirm. He was wearing nothing, well maybe some socks, but still. He had an IV in his arm, but nothing else. "Where are my clothes?"
Max brought him the bag with his clothes and a glass of water. "If you can hold down liquids we can take the IV out."
Max helped Logan to sit up and take a drink. She propped pillows in behind him, trying her best to make him comfortable.
"What happened to my clothes?" he asked.
Max looked as if she was slightly confused at the question. "Logan, they were soaked … in blood. Don't you remember?"
"Not much," he confessed.
"Probably for the best."
"I feel terrible," he said.
"That is to be expected," Max tried to reassure him.
"So, is Dr. Carr going to be showing up in about four hours?"
"No, but I'll call him and let him know you're awake. He can stop by before he goes to work in the morning."
"Dr. Carr?" Max made an effort to avoid giving him the answer he deserved, but wouldn't enjoy.
"Max, who has been…taking care of … me?"
"Umm ...I've been taking care of you." Max says, hesitantly. "Dr. Carr and Bling both have jobs, they can't be here 24 hours a day. I have been here, except when I was at work." Logan looked pretty uncomfortable. "I'm sorry. I just didn't trust anyone else. Dr. Carr offered to have a home care nurse show up, but …the FBI is looking for an injured Eyes Only."
Logan just sat there, his beautiful green eyes tightly shut. "What happened?"
Max tried to stifle the sob, but what came out sounded like the soft mew of a lonely kitten. Logan's eyes snapped open and he stared at the tears brimming in hers. He had never seen Max so upset.
"I don't know where to start."
"The beginning would be good. I don't remember anything." Logan stared down at his hands, trying to brace himself.
'Thank you, whoever is up there!' Max thought. "Bling paged me three days ago. Told me you'd been captured. So I dropped everything and ran. Apparently you went to a meeting without me and it was a trap. The GPS signal from your phone said that you were in a house on Yancy Street in Sector 7. I went in to get you, but by the time I got there, they had already hurt you."
Logan looked at Max when she stopped talking and was amazed to see tears running down her face. "Max?"
"I'm sorry. I wasn't there for you. I didn't get there before they …" Max hesitated.
"Max, you obviously got there before they killed me. I take it you rescued me again?" Logan asked, trying to smile.
Max nodded. "Yeah. I apparently just missed the undercover FBI agent that was in with Vivaldi's gang. The FBI knows that he grabbed someone that the thought was Eyes Only, but they didn't get an ID. They are kinda freaked about the mess I left at the house." Max paused, looking at Logan uncertainly. She didn't want to tell him, but he was going to find out eventually and it was probably better if he found out from her. "I kinda freaked myself when I saw what they had done to you. I thought that …you would die. I was afraid. …My training kicked in. I did exactly what they taught me to do; what they made me to do."
"You killed them," Logan said.
"It was war. You won." Logan reached out to comfort her.
"I was scared." Max said quietly.
"No one understands."
"Max, I would have thought that with all that you have been through you would be used to being scared." Then a thought occurred to him. "Were you hurt?"
"No. No. I wasn't hurt. But…Logan I …I've never felt fear, not like that." Max looked up at him with tears in her eyes.
"I know you are the only one that might understand. The only one I can talk to… trust. I was never afraid. Not even when I was in situations where I knew I might die. It didn't bother me. I was conditioned, from the very beginning, to accept my death if it meant fulfilling the mission, doing my duty. …but ever since we escaped, I haven't had a mission. I've been running and hiding and surviving because that is what we were trained to do, not because I had anything worth living for. There was nothing … important to lose ... nothing that mattered …until I thought I might lose you!" She looks up with tears running down her cheek. "I don't know how to explain to you … how to tell you …I don't ..."
Logan could barely breath as the enormity of what she was trying to tell him sank in. "Max, it's OK. I'm all right. I understand. Come here. I want to try something." Logan remembered a line from an old movie 'I am not worthy, but there is no one else.' It seemed to apply here. "Put your head on my shoulder. Normally a man can comfort a woman like this. I am not sure I am up to it but…"
Max lays her head on his shoulder; he wraps his arms around her and strokes her hair.
"I feel better." She hastily reassures him that he is man enough to comfort a woman. She does feel better, better than she has in …she can't even remember. The warmth of his body and the feel of his chest, with the light sprinkle of chest hair under her hand, was very comforting to her.
Logan thinks about the magnitude of what she has just confessed. She must already know about … his condition, right? He has to know for sure. "Max?"
"If you've been taking care of me, then you know …there are things I can't do. That I may never able to do."
"I know," she replies very peacefully. She lay there, making nonsense patterns on his chest, reveling in his scent, his warmth, his touch.
"Could we take the IV out?" he asked
"Oh, sure!" Max jumped up and retrieved the first aid kit. She removed the IV and put a bandage on his arm. "So," she asked when she finished, "Hungry?"
"Starving!" Logan replied. Max started to stand up, to go get him some food, when he grabbed her and pulled her to him. This kiss was calmer than their first. A beginning, instead of a desperate attempt to express a thousand things left unsaid in a single moment. Logan resolved that he wasn't leaving things unsaid between them.
Max opened her mouth to his tender invasion, her hands exploring his bare chest. Logan held her close to him, molding her body to him, headless of own nudity. There were things he could do for her. Not that he was quite up to most of them, but there was one thing that wasn't going to wait. "I love you."
"Yeah," Max said and tried to kiss him again.
"Huh?" Logan asked. He hadn't been talking in his sleep, had he?
"I mean, me too. That is …" Max took a deep breath and tried again. "I love you," she said. Logan smiled and slid his arm under her shirt. They made out for a few more minutes, until Logan stifled a yawn.
"You shouldn't overexert yourself." Max smiled at him, hoping he would understand.
"Stay. Stay with me," he asked sleepily.
"Always!" Max slipped off her shoes and pants and snuggled under the covers with Logan. The feel of his naked body against hers was the most wonderful thing she'd ever known. She laid her head on his chest and relaxed in his warmth. "By the way, I took over as field commander while you were out."
"Mm'kay," Logan mumbled as he drifted off to sleep.
"I'm keeping it. You go out without proper backup again and I'll put you on KP for a month!"
Logan couldn't help but smile. Only his Max! His Max, he could get used to that. He tightened his arms around her briefly as he lifted his head and kissed her. "Yes, dear," he murmured.
This is going to work out just fine, was Max's last conscious thought as she drifted off to sleep, for once with no fear of bad dreams.
John let himself in the morning as usual. He was surprised that Max didn't greet him. She always checked on anyone opening the door. When he found them asleep in each others arms, with Max's pants on the floor, he smiled. 'Not my girlfriend, my ass!' he thought. He couldn't wait to tell the others!
And this, my fellow fanatics, is the end of this story! Thanks in advance for reviewing.