A/N: Even as I'm writing this, I'm not sure what it'll turn into. I'm in a real melancholy mood tonight, and I'm going to see where it takes me. I'm listening to "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down, on repeat. I think this fic really has no relation to the song, but we'll see. You'll likely also see an overuse of pronouns, like I am want to do.
A/N2 (post-writing): Yeah, I really don't know what this is. Other than a big emotional pooball splattered on Word.
Alaidh, u rok.
She was playing with a rook. Her fingertips traced the spines of the chess piece, first moving along the outer-circled edge of it, before hopping up and down each of the upper edges of the small castle. While she was toying with the piece, she should have been twitchy – a bouncing leg, a hand beating a nameless tattoo on the tabletop, a sigh of impatience for his lack of movement. Instead she was still, and silent.
Logan eyed her over his more sparse side of the chessboard. Even in whatever the hell mood she was in, she was still kicking his ass. Of course, he liked to think of it as "just warming up." He reached for a knight, knowing well that, in this point in the game, he would just be sacrificing it any direction he chose. He was more doing it to see if some reaction could be gained. She didn't blink, didn't even frown at him in disgust at his lack of ability. He mentally rolled his eyes and did the equivalent of tossing a grenade in the room. He made a clearly illegal move, shifting the piece five squares down, three up, and four in a diagonal. "Checkmate."
Max showed the barest hint of reaction, as she blinked in confusion, and squinted at the board. Logan could see Max re-playing the entire game in her mind, move by move, until she got to the current one. Still obviously not processing well, she just frowned. "I don't see how—"
"That's what happens when you don't pay attention. Mere mortals begin to win." Logan crossed his fingers under the chessboard. Even though it was a very, very, very hollow victory, won entirely by cheating while his opponent was distracted, he was still going to mark it on his mental tally. He didn't doubt for a second that she occasionally cheated either, so he figured it was really a step towards making things even…just a smidge. "Care to tell me what's on your mind?"
She gave a careless one-shouldered shrug. "Nothin'."
Logan stared at her. "Right," he said blandly.
She sighed and pushed away from the table, meandering slowly over to the window, watching the drizzle outside. She heard the hum of his wheels on the wood floor, but basically ignored it until she saw his reflection in the window.
They both watched the rain for some interminable length of time. Seconds, minutes, hours. He wasn't going to make a move until she did. As the drizzle turned into a mist through which the sunrise hit like millions of tiny prisms, she finally shifted, which was good for him, because he felt like his entire body was beginning to go numb. She sighed again and leaned her head against the window. "You ever just want to…give up?"
Logan blinked in surprise, not sure where this was coming from – or leading. He shrugged and nodded, knowing she would see his reflection mirror the movement. "Sure. Hundreds of times, for a thousand different reasons. Why?"
She didn't respond to the question, just asked another one. "How do you not?"
Logan pondered that. He couldn't really put his finger to any one thing that made him not give up those hundreds of times, those thousand different reasons. "I don't know."
Max snorted. Oddly enough, Logan felt a little uplifted at the only lively sound she'd made all evening. "Great answer. So helpful."
Logan exhaled sharply, really wanting to just grab her and give her a good smack or two. Instead, he moved a little closer to her and put a hand gently on her arm. "Max? What do you want to give up?"
She didn't make a sound. She looked down through dropped lashes, not entirely looking at him. "Never mind," she said softly. She turned away from him, and just left.
Logan watched the door swing closed behind her and moved back over to the chessboard. He moved the knight back to its original position. Then he tipped her king onto the side, watching it roll slightly between other pieces close by.