A/N: Again, I can't take credit for the chapter title. It comes from a song by the band I Am The Avalanche.
Have a home tonight.
-- Bleed The Dream
Chapter Nine - No One Means As Much As You Do
The first rays of sunshine struggled to break through the dirty and smudged windowpanes of the cabin. The only other light was the soft glow from the burning embers of the fire. Max could see perfectly in the dim light, but fear rose within her as the room began to brighten. She knew Logan would be awake soon and she knew they'd have to have a real talk. She was afraid that after he'd slept on it, he'd change his mind. All she could imagine was the word killer tumbling from his perfect lips and stabbing her in the heart.
She watched as he opened his eyes. Her breath caught in her throat and she suddenly wanted to run from the cabin. She wanted to run through the woods and never look back. At the moment Logan scared her more than anything had ever scared her before.
"Morning," Logan said, his voice husky from sleep. He rubbed his eyes and sat up on the couch.
Words caught in Max's throat and she could force none of them out. She felt like she was choking on all the right things to say. She clasped her hands together and hoped for the best.
"I think we need to talk," he said. "We didn't finish last night. I'm not happy where things are right now."
"You're not the only one," she said quietly. She slipped gracefully from the back of the chair to the cushion.
"You're not Manticore," he said. "You're not what Lydecker wanted you to be. You're not anything bad, Max. I bet you didn't weigh all the good you've done against this one bad thing. You've done more for other people than most people will ever do."
"You had the anonymity you'd been looking for, but you gave it up," Logan continued. "You gave it up to help people. You fight against Manticore, against the broken world, and for what? Little to no thanks and the risk of getting caught by the people you hate most? Not many people would do that."
"I killed someone," she said quietly. "There's no going back from that."
"Out damned spot," Logan muttered. He sighed. "You didn't kill an innocent person. Thomas Maconick would have continued with his scam and he certainly would have killed someone if he was given the chance. Look, I'm all for the right thing and… Max, this isn't a guy to beat yourself up over. I know whatever I say won't be able to change your mind completely because you're stubborn, but don't forget I'm stubborn too, and I won't let you think that what you did was horrible. He was a bad guy. Honestly, the only thing I care to take from that night is the fact that we're both alive."
Her brow furrowed and she chewed her bottom lip. She mulled everything over in her mind. If Logan had lost faith in her, what did she have left? She had done it all for Logan - and she wasn't just thinking about the night before.
"What happened to you last night?" she asked suddenly.
Logan crossed his arms and his body tensed. "I woke up in the house. Thomas filled me in on the details. He found out about you and I… I was bait. He thought you might get away, so I was insurance. He assured me that either way I wad dead or as good as it. Everything was about getting you to Lydecker. But I think… I think it was more than that. The way that I heard them talking… it seemed like it was more Lydecker's show than it was Thomas's."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"It's no secret he knew you were in Seattle," Logan explained. "I think when Thomas told him about you… I think he warped the situation. I don't know how and I can't prove it, but…"
"He's Lydecker," she finished for him. She looked to the dying fire then back to Logan. He still looked worn. She asked quietly, tentatively, "What did they do to you last night?"
Logan's body tensed and he wrapped his arms around himself. "I got another dose of that drug, that's all. It was mostly mental… threats and things like that."
Logan lifted a hand and traced his jaw line as he spoke. His tone was grave when he spoke. "Lydecker had his gun and he just sort of put it against my face, under my chin. That didn't bother me, really. Just when he talked about Manticore, and you, and what… I think I would have preferred a beating, honestly."
Max remembered Lydecker's words to her and she shivered. "You've finally become what I've always wanted you to be."
"I could've killed him," Max said, an edge to her voice. "Lydecker was right there. I had a second chance to kill him… and I didn't. I want him dead, but… he's my link."
"I think he's more than just a link to your siblings," Logan said. "He's a link to your past - to what you don't want to be. He's everything you're not."
"What am I?" she asked.
She wasn't expecting an answer, but she got one.
"An angel," Logan answered quietly.
Max's smile was small, but it was a smile all the same. She got up from her seat and went to sit next to Logan on the couch. She didn't know what to say, so she pulled him into a hug and buried her head in his chest. She wanted to tell him so much, but instead she only cried. Sobs wracked her body and her only bit of peace in days came when Logan wrapped his arms around her.
"It's going to be fine," he promised quietly.
She wanted to believe him, but if Max knew anything at all, she knew the world was an uncertain and cold place - but it was warm in the cabin and, in Logan's arms, the world seemed so far away.
"Don't leave me," she managed through tears.
"Never," he whispered.
The real world was harsh and unforgiving, but right now the real world meant nothing to Max. All that mattered was that they were alive and no matter what, she would have Logan's shoulder to cry on and he would have her heart.
Her tears became less intense, but they were still steady. She repositioned her head so that it was resting on his shoulder and she gripped at his sweater so tightly it was in danger of ripping - but neither of them cared. They both needed each other, the rest of the world be damned.
After all, it would still be broken in the morning.
And they would be there to fix it - together.
Max raised her head to look in Logan's eyes. She said slowly, "There's something I have to tell you about your computers…"
The world doesn't mean as much as you do
No one means as much as you do
-- I Am The Avalanche
Footnote: Logan's line, "Out damned spot," is a line from/reference to Shakespeare's Macbeth. My senior year English teacher would love me right now.
A/N: Oh, I know, I'm awful. I ended it here because I don't see a reason to prolong it, really. I really didn't have any plans to make this a huge epic. I just wanted to do an experiment with emotions (hence why there's so little action) and such - was it a success? I feel like this is a good spot to end it. They're both on the way to emotional recovery and all, so to just keep going and going… blah! I'm not one to drag everything out and such. It's just not me. I'm happy with this. This one was more about emotion and description than anything else. If you have any questions or anything, feel free to PM me or whatever this crazy new FFN technology is! Right now I'm going to start work on another DA story… cause I'm so crazy! )