Title: Love Hurts

Author: Jade Hunter

A.N: Okay, last in my ITE series, and this is a Logan piece. I tried to be nice to him throughout the series, because I know there are some M/Z shippers that like him, just not with Max. It you don't think I was nice to him, well, I tried to be as nice as I could.

Disclaimer: Hate to admit it, but none of the charactors belong to me. I'm sorry if I shattered anyones dreams. I'm making no money in writing this, it is only for my writing and your reading pleasure.

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Love can be one of the most wonderful experiences in a lifetime. You're lucky if you fall in love even once in your life. I'm lucky enough to have fallen in love twice.

I remember when Val and I got engaged. We were so happy, even though I knew she drank once in a while, it didn't seem all that much of a problem for me. I was okay with it, I accepted it as a part of her; something that was a problem, but nothing I couldn't except. And I felt so happy, like I was floating away, or as if I was living out my life in a perfect dream. I believe I started writing poetry then.

Like I said, love can be a wonderful thing.

But love can hurt you too, more than any physical wound. It works away at your heart, eating you up from the inside. It can be a terrible thing to experience, this hurt that being in love causes, and I know, because I have felt it.

I remember with not an abundant amount of fondness the trouble that started when I first realized just how deep Val's love for alcohol went. I tried to be patient, tried to accept her for who she was, including her faults. I succeeded, and we lived in peace, if not happily. But then the accidents began. I would come home, and suddenly find police, or fire fighters swarming my penthouse. That normally led to me spending a chuck of money to replace my burnt or destroyed furniture, and soon, I began to find myself growing impatient with Val, and I knew that I was experiencing that hurt when I began to feel empty, and the pages of my poetry book had more blank pages than poems about Val.

Before I knew it, I was divorced, and Val was out of my life, not without a lot of struggle from her.

I was alone for a long time, and my heart was healing, slowly, but still healing. Then, I met Max, and I knew, even at the beginning, that she would be an important part of my life.

Of course, I wasn't sure she felt the same way, since I was the one who was pointing the shotgun at her.

As time passed, and we spent more and more civil time with each other, I knew that I was in that beautiful zone of love again. It seemed that she felt the same way, and I was content again, despite my worthless legs.

But like I said, love can hurt.

I think it all began the first time she came to my penthouse, almost desolate to a degree that panicked me. When she stopped snapping at me, she explained that she had, _finally_, met up with her big brother, Zack. I immediately felt my heart contract as I waited to hear the words, "I'm leaving." She didn't say that, much to my relief, but she didn't say much at all, only that he had left.

I suppose that should have been my first hint.

Things looked a bit out of perspective for me when, out of the blue, Max sauntered in with a massive guy slung over her shoulder, a reminder of her super natural origins. He was unconscious, and wounded, but was healing with a speed I grew envious of. It all made sense when she explained that it was her brother, Zack.

I had more to be envious of than his healing, as it became apparent that Max cared deeply for this guy, even if she hadn't seen him in about a decade. She flitted around, made sure he was comfortable, and checked his wounds every five minutes. Although I had heard Max call him her brother many times, I knew that it was more of a spiritual thing, a bond created from hard times, that it did not mean that they were related. It was easy to see the difference.

She was small and dark, whereas he was big and light.

The worries began as soon as he woke up. He was tense, even I could see, until Max reassured him. He didn't like that I knew who they really were, even I could tell, but he didn't say anything. It seemed that although a decade had passed, their trust in each other was still absolute.

That wasn't what bothered me, however.

What bothered me, still bothers me, was the way he looked at her, the way he looks at her even now. Almost reverently. Like she was the most important thing in his life, and if she were gone, the light in his life would be gone. Like she was fragile, made of glass, instead of the animal DNA that made up both of their beings, shaping their minds and bodies into that of predators.

And I knew then that he didn't feel for her as a brother should.

It bothered me as much as it did, I think, because of one thing. My legs. To be more specific, I could not use my legs. I had a weakness. What was worse, a weakness everyone could see as soon as they glanced at me. As I looked at him, I could not find a single weakness, even as hurt as he had been, I was sure that he could have killed me in nine different ways before I even got to poke one of the already yellowing bruises.

They got into an argument about whether or not they should rescue, or attempt to rescue another Manticore sibling, and all I could do was listen until I saw that neither of them was backing down. I sided with Max, and was rewarded with an agreement from Max, and a dark glare from Zack. The way he barked at me was surprising, and I could see the anger and hate smoldering in his eyes.

So, he knew that I loved Max. And he didn't like it one bit.

I wasn't thinking of the danger he could become when I felt the rush of smugness, and when I snapped back at him. All I could think of was that he was jealous, of Max and I, and that meant there was something to be jealous of.

That thought did not offer me any comfort as I reported the information I had gathered on Lydecker, and listened to both of them offer up sarcastic retorts. They even shared the same sense of humor. As if having the same origins, the same nightmarish past, the same hatred for Lydecker, the same brothers and sisters, and the same abilities weren't enough.

And what did I have in common with Max?

Not much.

Later, after the entire fiasco with Brin, and after Max had told me everything that had happened, she asked for my opinion. I answered her as best I could, but was distracted by another question which I was burning to ask, and which I did ask just a second after. About Zack. She answered in a flippant tone, but I could tell that she was hurt, a lot, and none of it was because he had gone with Lydecker's car.

We had a week or so of peace, but were interrupted by Lydecker posting those wanted posters. I was oh-so-kindly informed of that by the untimely arrival of the killer himself, Zack. We rescued Max from her trap, and I drove them to my cabin, dreading the idea of leaving them alone together, but willing to do so for the sake of her safety.

And she kissed me.

I was flying again, in that wonderful dream of love, despite the pains in my back. She had kissed me, and that was more important.

The dream didn't phase me; I had millions of those before. What really shocked me, was that Zack had given himself up to protect Max. I felt bitter as I thought about the sacrifice he had made in order to save Max. I wasn't sure if I could have done the same. It was obvious that Max was touched, and sad, and angry, all at the same time. I got up the courage to tell her about Zack's real feelings for her, unsure if it made a difference. She looked at me strangely, and then headed out.

My heart sank.

In that moment, I had seen something in her eyes, an interest of sorts, so small, that she probably did not notice it. But I did, and I knew what caused it. Deep down, she was interested in Zack, and not just in the sisterly way. She was attracted to him, and was relieved that the attraction was mutual.

The pain, the hurt of the love came back, for the second time in my life, stronger than ever before.

It faded away in time, as all wounds do, but still, a part of it lingered. Most of the pain retreated when I regained the use of my legs, due to Max's blood. I was confident that now that I could at least walk, I stood a chance against Zack. God knew that I wasn't going to give her up without a fight. Then, it didn't look like there was going to be any fight; Zack was in Manticore.

But I knew that nothing would keep him away from Max. I had seen it in his eyes when he had stalked into my cabin, keys in hand. And I knew that he would be back, one day.

I had expected him to come sneaking in the window, smiling smugly, arms crossed. I expected him to suddenly be there, sitting on my couch, smirking. I expected him to grin triumphantly at me as he and Max walked in, talking about the old days and how the others were doing.

I didn't expect him to call Max for help, nor for him to call Max at _my_ place for help.

I tried to stop her from going, knowing that it was a dangerous place. It was nothing against Zack; I actually felt pity for the guy when I realized what torture they must have put him through for him to be so beaten up that he had to risk calling her. It was just that there was little chance of her actually making it alive out of the place when guards were crawling around and in the perimeter like ants on an anthill.

It was then that the pain had a chance to rear its ugly head.

She was angry with me for trying to get in the way of saving Zack. I could see that clearly in her eyes. It wasn't the anger that normally consumed her when we disagreed, no, she was positively _livid_. I had never seen her so angry, not even when she talked about Lydecker. I never thought that she would ever get that angry, not with me, but she did, because of Zack, and enough to threaten me. I realized the moment that I looked into her eyes that I knew she would go through anyone and anything, including me, to save Zack.

And I felt the emptiness begin to set in.

She came back with Zack, more hurt than I had ever seen him. He looked like he had gone through six levels of hell and then some. Even beaten up, he managed the commanding air that always surrounded him, and he carried himself with the pride and confidence that only a soldier has.

That I didn't, don't, have.

He was having trouble remembering where the others were, that surprised me. He had made himself forget to protect them, but now had to try and remember for the exact same reason. How he had remembered Max's numbers and habits were beyond me. I almost wanted to let him suffer, but changed my mind almost as fast as the thought had come to my mind when I saw the anguish on Max's face. It was tearing her apart that her family might be in danger, and if there was something I could do to help her, I would.

I suppose I expected gratitude, a little less of the intense glares that Zack had always shot me, or at least a nod, but none were forthcoming from the tall, blonde commander. In fact, his glare had, if possible, increased. That glare was the first thing he directed at me when he hung up the phone from checking on who had called in, and it was the last thing he directed at me as he and Max left the car to rescue their sister Tinga.

Together.

In a way she and I could never be.

He and Tinga chose a car to steal as Max and I looked on. I was disgusted at how easily they could take from a person and not think a second thought about it. I watched with Max as Zack lifted up the hood and began to hot-wire the engine. The remarks about them all being thieves flew out of my mouth as I thought of how I would feel if someone had stolen my car. I wasn't very surprised by the intense glare of hatred Zack shot me, but I was surprised when Max shifted a bit, enough for me to see the scowl forming on her face. She hadn't liked the way I had said that.

No wonder, she was a thief herself. Good going, Cale.

She had this strange look on her face, a mixture of longing and indecision as she watched Tinga and Zack get in the car.

God, I had thought. Was she going to go with them?

Zack didn't make that much of an effort to get Max to join him, which surprised me. Tinga protested, but stopped when he practically growled at her. She immediately ceased much to my surprise. I hadn't realized how much the other X-5s still thought of Zack as their commander. I snuck a look at Max, only to look away as her expression melted into one of hurt, anger, and acceptance. As she and Tinga said goodbye and we watched them drive off, I felt saddened, more empty than ever, although Max was here.

The truth is, she's beginning to realize her feelings for Zack.

And when she sees the truth, she'll leave to find him, or go with him if he comes back.

There's no way to pretend that I don't realize how much she really loves him, even if she hasn't realized it yet.

But I can't help but feel selfish, and want her to remain here, with me.

If only to fill that emptiness that the hurt of love can bring, has brought to me.

Because the truth is, she loves him.

And the truth hurts.

So does love.

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~~~~~Jade Hunter~~~~~