AN: Okay so I swear I just told X-318 no more of this story and here I am posting it. This chapter was 75 percent written and I went to write fluff for Babyangel and my mood decided to work against me (Halloween is a time of highs and lows, yesterday I was high- I found great shoes, today is low- my dress resembles a potato sack…Never ever make a commitment to a costume that you can't get out of :-( ). This story totally suited my mood tonight, so I decided to finish this chapter up and post it.
I still stand by that I liked the ending of the other story, but hey I'm one of those people who crave all the details (Hmm yea like you didn't realize that by just how detail oriented I tend to be), so this is for those like me. Scream if you hate it (or don't review, but that doesn't work quite as well), review if you want more. And as always thanks for reading! Oh and I totally repeat words even more than I normally do in this chapter and wow I have a teacher who would be so proud of me for noticing that (course he'd probably been prouder if I changed them :-).
Attempts at Living
She had woken up from many dreams in the past year. Watching Logan die, being poison to him, those were the basics, but there were more.
Dreams in which he'd turn on her, she'd escape from Manticore and run back to Logan only to be told he wanted nothing to do to her, he'd call her a whore and a monster. Dreams in which her brother would scream at her that he'd sacrificed himself for nothing; that she hadn't been worth saving. She'd dreamed of all of her friends turning on her, she'd dreamed of getting them killed. She even dreamed a few times of being the one to kill them, of actually turning into that monster, trapped in a body that took the lives of everyone she loved.
So maybe it wasn't surprising that she kept waiting to wake up now as she had after they'd rescued her.
She felt trapped in a dream.
Funny little dream, if she was actually dreaming it she'd probably be happy.
Cutesy kinda dream, the kind Kendra would make fun of her for. She was in the kitchen chopping the vegetables Logan had brought home with him. He was behind his computer diligently working as she'd ordered him to do once he returned home. There were three sounds filling the air leading to Max's sensitive ears, the chopping, the typing and the grainy strands of a lullaby drifting in from the living room. So the very type of dream that should make her happy.
It didn't though.
She was detached as Bling had told her was normal after a trauma. He'd reassured her without her even asking that first week that it would pass. He'd been the one to ask, 'Feels like a dream doesn't it?' He'd proceeded to tell her it was common and told her to ask Logan how many times he'd try to get up in that first week. The mind sometimes needed time to catch up to the reality.
So for now she was simply resigned. She knew in her head what had to be done. Will needed a mother and all that entailed.
Her mind tried ordering her heart to knock down the walls that had been erected. She had to love him as much as she knew it would hurt, she had to do it. She was being sacrificed for him.
Of course things like that seemed to make the wall thicker, every time she'd tried to just sit and hold him, she'd felt herself stiffen.
One step in front of the other. Logan had said that to her as she'd admitted (to him and only him) that she kept waiting to wake up. 'One step in front of the other…Eventually you're going to realize you were where you were heading.' It was how he'd gotten through those tough first days of being paralyzed…Of losing her. You woke up and did what you had to do and that's what she was trying to do now as she was trapped in this surreal existence.
"Smells good," he said taking over her normal role and slipping his arms around her waist as she was going to taste the stew that had finished cooking almost a half an hour ago, but had been left waiting for him to emerge. Odd niceties, she's have once never thought herself capable of.
"Not half bad if I do say so myself," she changed the direction of the spoon towards Logan's mouth.
"Hmm…Much better than that time you thought you could liven it up."
"Hey it's not my fault you've got weak taste buds."
"You dumped the entire jar in, admit it," he said patting her on the side as he moved away still smiling to grab two bowls.
"Like two dashes," she smirked as she took the bowl he outstretched.
"We're going to have to review your cooking terms again."
"My cooking terms are just fine thank you very much, you're just a wuss. Original Cindy likes Cayenne Pepper."
"Even you turned red," he said as they switched bowls.
"You're a wuss," she restated looking up with a serious face as her skilled hands quickly filled the second bowl.
His eyebrows raised for that, but he didn't say anything as his eyes scanned around the kitchen.
"Everything's already on the table," she supplied knowing he was looking for the bread and wine.
Yea funny little dream, she thought a few moments later looking up with a small smile at Logan as he poured the wine before sitting down.
They discussed his interview as they slowly made their way through dinner, followed it up with the going ons of Jam Pony from the previous day before moving on to the scandal Logan and Krit had been trying to figure out. That relationship advice about keeping work away from the dinner table didn't work for them; that and she knew it helped Logan to think about it in a relaxed environment, just casually brainstorming about it, more often than not he'd speed up dinner and head straight to his computer or the phone afterwards. The relationship gurus (aka Kendra and OC) had some pretty serious words about that too, but meanwhile Max still remained in shock that 9 out of ten times Logan actually managed to remain seated at the table after having a breakthrough.
No such breakthroughs today though, she knew the reason his mind wasn't relaxed, there was still the lurking presence of the blissfully asleep third person in this apartment. The person she knew she'd eventually have to talk about.
"You know there are still a lot of things we need to discuss," he said as they neared the end of the bottle of wine still residing in the dining room, Max having never initiated the move towards the living room because of that third person.
"Like Sketchy getting trapped in the stirrups at Natalie's appointment?" she threw out with a smile.
It threw him off track as it was intended to, his brow furrowed, his head tilted, his mouth opened for a second without speaking, "How…"
"I don't know the details, I just know he somehow managed to twist his ankle coming off the table," she shook her head. "I really feel sorry for that kid." Damn kid, she cursed her own story. Logan started to open his mouth, "Almost had you off track."
He smiled and shook his head, "Almost. Max waiting to talk about this isn't going to make it any easier."
"What else is there to discuss Logan, kid's got a name and a place to live."
"He still needs a middle name," he decided to start off easy.
"Not Zack," she said knowing from earlier exactly where he was going with this conversation.
"Not Zack," she repeated.
He sighed and took off his glasses before pinching the bridge of his nose, "What about what do you want to tell people?" he asked with his eyes still shut.
"What do you mean?"
His eyes opened, "I mean there's suddenly a newborn living with us Max and you've never been pregnant."
"He's adopted," she shrugged her shoulders.
"So when he grows up looking like you…"
She glared in annoyance, "Obviously you have an opinion on this so why don't you just share instead of trying to prod me into it."
He suddenly felt as if he'd been transported back two years in time. Patience, he reminded himself knowing she was just retreating into what she viewed as a safe place. "Do you want to deny the fact that you are his," he paused, "the biological source of his X chromosome."
She just looked at him.
"Max I'm just saying, there's a difference between now and five years from now."
More looking, that screaming voice inside of her that reminded her she wasn't that little boy's mother.
"What happens if he takes after you Max?" He shook his head and leaned forward onto an awaiting hand propped up on the table, "We could tell people there was a family tragedy." Partial truth right?
She thought briefly about it before shaking her head, "Too many questions. I don't want to deal with that. We'll probably be gone in five years anyway."
"And if we come back when he's a teenager and is almost the male version of you? Or he comes back on his own when he's older trying to find out about his past?"
Why was he making this more difficult?
"Logan, I…" her voice just trailed off. He was talking about a future she wasn't even sure they'd have. A teenager, that was implying they'd make it through the next thirteen years. She wasn't even sure about the day.
His head shook slowly, but his mind wasn't allowing his heart to take the lead on this as it often did where she was concerned. He was about to suggest a surrogate, but the idea of taking credit for Zack's DNA was suddenly reprehensible and not in the sense he would have originally thought, he just couldn't take credit for the last part of Zack, the other man didn't deserve it.
"What?" she asked viewing his changing expressions.
"Forget it," he answered.
"I was thinking a surrogate,"
Her head tilted for that, Logan and Zack did have the same basic physical characteristics, but…"Somehow I can't imagine anyone thinking you and me would resort to a Petri-dish when we can do it the old fashioned way."
The old-fashioned way? No one knew he could still have kids, hell he'd been shocked to find out he could. "That could actually work," he leaned back and thought about it for another second as she continued to look confused, "I'm paralyzed, you had heart surgery…" More than a few had seen the tip of her scar when a v-neck would move the wrong way.
"Wait let me get this straight, you want him to be my kid and not yours?" Granted it was the truth, but still…
"Max, I can't just take credit for him."
"Yet you want me to?" her voice rose a bit.
Oh god not this again, "Max, I don't mean like that. I can't take credit for the things I'm not responsible for."
Another serious look as she repeated the words, "I'm not his mom."
Those words scared him and he started to wonder if she was ever really going to be. His mouth opened and the shut as he looked at her, vulnerable, innocent, completely and utterly headstrong even as she was petrified. His voice softened even further, "You've got to be, you know that right?" She'd always craved her mother's love, even if it was just the words of another person telling her of it. He'd always known his parents love, maybe not in the form he'd wanted, but he'd known it. Kids needed that, without it he couldn't imagine Will being much worse off in Manticore.
Eyes widened, lips trembled, "Not like this." Not like this, she couldn't handle this.
"I'll think of something else," he said after a moment of viewing her and fighting the urge to rush over and take her in his arms. He would just have to evade straightforward answers for awhile, he was good at evading, of never really answering the question asked, he had a lot of practice.
His body started to align itself with his heart and his arms were twitching to go to her. He stood.
"What are you doing?" she asked suddenly in fear that he'd had enough of this and he finally wised up to the fact that he was better off without her. Where had that come from? She wondered shocked by her own thoughts.
"Dishes?" he answered as he lifted his bowl and hers.
"Oh," God what was happening to her lately?
He'd moved to clean up the dishes and put away dinner all so it could lead to his moment, sitting on the couch with his arm draped around Max, who was curled into him. Sometimes the need to just hold her was so overwhelming…Wasn't just in situations like this, it was her being off in the bathroom, off on a ride, out at work, sometimes even just sitting inches away from him. Sometimes the urge would hit while they were working and he'd try to alleviate it with phone calls, but they never really satisfied it, he often showed up at her job to pick her up just to have her in his arms fifteen minutes earlier. They both received hell from it from everyone they knew about it, but as they'd all say it wasn't their place to judge. Of course they all proceeded to do just that, but still none of them would ever know what they had gone through and they were all thankful about it.
They stayed that way in near silence and occasional side comment about the news as he allowed her emotions and thoughts to settle. She just moved away from Logan's body as the baby made sounds of stirring, leaving no room for doubt that she expected him to get up with Will. He did and then he returned and she moved back into her spot.
"So what about Samuel," he asked long after the news had ended.
Samuel, as in the name her brother had used when first coming to Seattle to check up on her. She could live with that. She nodded into his chest.
"William Samuel Cale sounds a little strange, Sam should probably go first," he said some time later.
Her head moved up to look him in the eye, "Don't push it," was all she said before dropping her head back down.
He laughed and rubbed her arm, eliciting a small smile from her and went back to watching the mindless tv.