Disclaimer: NOTHING IS MINE.
A/N: I live! I LIVE!
A/N2: This is much, much shorter than it originally was. I cut a bunch of unnecessary stuff (that'll probably end up in OA&D). And now it all kind of makes sense.
A/N3: This is by no means the end of sightings, in case your worried. There is more in the works, but it might take me a while. Sorry about the long waits.
A/N4: (Holy crap there are a lot of author notes today) Eva Cassidy's cover of Cydi Lauper's Time After Time is why your finally all reading this. There was nothing coming and then I heard that song and it was like a light bulb went on.
"Should I call the sheriff?"
"What?" Startled, Max unthinkingly broke eye contact and sharply turned to her concerned co-worker. Wide-eyed and breathless she stammered an excuse for her startled demeanor and cryptic responses.
"No! No, Maggie, it's not that kind of trouble…"
"Oh… Boy trouble then?"
"Yeah," she almost laughed, "boy trouble."
She turned back to the kitchen doorway only to see that his gaze was directed at Bling, who leaned forward and nodded as Logan said something. His eyes were intense and focused. She gripped the doorframe, remembering the way her pulse used to quicken when he'd turn away from the computer or the widows and look at her in a way only he could. She'd dreamed of those eyes. Of the different meanings they could reveal, of the varying emotions they could draw out of her. Of the things they could make her do, if only she'd dare. Such responses only Logan could produce from her. Only he could make her shudder at a mere remembrance.
"Want me to get rid of them?" She'd almost forgotten that Maggie was there.
"No, that's alright," she went to the microwave, retrieved Bob's pie, and took a deep breath to steady herself. Every half decent soldier knows that there is always more than one way to approach a volatile situation. Attack, retreat, or wait – those were the basics. But, once again, he's thrown her off balance. He was not an enemy, not a threat nor a target. No, he was something much more dangerous. Zack would call him a resurfaced liability; Kendra would say he was a lost love.
"It's nothing. Everything's fine." She replied automatically. She went to the door and like the finely trained soldier Lydecker had striven so hard to create, held her head high, forced the nervousness from her mind, and focused on her mission – get Bob his pie.
Bling was starting to get concerned. Logan face had changed from pale to green.
"You going to be sick?"
"What? No. I'm fine."
There was that word again.
"Uh huh. You've pretty much destroyed that sandwich. Why don't you put it down?" Logan looked down to see that he was gripping what used to be a slice of a grilled cheese sandwich – now mush in his hand.
"Damn it." He grabbed a napkin angrily as Bling watched, bemused.
He crumpled the napkin into a ball and glanced at his reflection in the closest window.
"I look pretty bad don't I?" He asked, keeping his eyes on his transparent mirror image.
Bling shrugged and finished his coffee.
"You've looked better."
Logan gave a disgruntled grunt and ran a hand through his hair.
"This is ridiculous," he muttered.
"This! She's... she's…"
"There! Here! In this diner, in the middle of nowhere."
"Yeah, but then again so are we."
"This is serious Bling. This doesn't happen – you don't just stumble into a diner and find people who have disappeared."
Bling nodded solemnly but couldn't hold back a smirk. He shouldn't be enjoying this. His friend was obviously in the midst of a panic attack… but it was all so wonderfully familiar. The fidgeting, the anxiousness – the nervous energy that had left with her was back in full swing. Of course it was a bit more desperate than he remembered and not as finely hidden as it used to be, but it was there. It had been so long since Logan had been anything else but focused, that the squirming confusion was nothing short of refreshing.
"People don't just cross paths like this," Logan muttered, absently scratching at his beard as he picked up the beat-up metal napkin dispenser on the table and studied his blurred likeness.
"Maybe it's fate."
Bling went to sip his coffee, but then remembered he'd already finished. As he frowned down at the empty cup he missed the look of recognition that overcame Logan's features at his words
"Crossed paths by fate?" He whispered before looking out the big windows, as if to contemplate the dark outlines of the trees shaking in the wind.
She was always very good at missions. Bob happily picked up his fork and began devouring the pie as soon as Max placed it in front of him. She nodded curtly and attempted a small smile at his brief thanks before wiping her damp palms on her apron. She nearly glanced over at their table but stopped herself. For some reason she could not yet bring herself to approach them. Lydecker would call her a coward; Original Cindy would tell her to step into real and face the man.
Jim coughed loudly and the radio announcer declared it was time for a change of pace and named the upcoming song, but all Max could hear was thunder booming in the distance. She had tasted rain in the air on her way to work that morning and Maggie had been complaining about her hip all day. This storm was expected. The heavy wind, freezing rain, and resulting wreckage would come of no surprise to anyone. Unforgiving forces of nature Max could handle. Blizzards and hurricanes were damaging but temporary disturbances. She'd survived enough of them to know how navigate around the debris.
Maggie came out behind her, coffee in hand. The older woman started towards the table with the two strangers, but then stopped when Max put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'll take it over," she said quietly. Maggie looked like wanted to say something for a moment, but then sighed and wordlessly handed her the pot. Max gripped it firmly and took a deep breath. Before she could make herself move the questions came in a rush - Why had he come? How had he found her? Did he miss her?
No, don't think. Just go.
"Lizzie, did I ever tell you about the time I nearly got Maggie to marry me?" Max blinked and turned to Roy – in all the excitement she'd forgotten he was even there. Roy eagerly leaned forward on his stool, barely containing a grin as he looked from the shocked Lizzie to the fuming Maggie. If looks could kill, Roy would have fallen down dead from the glare Maggie sent his way.
"She doesn't want to hear that stupid story Roy," Maggie spat, and Roy shrank down into his stool.
"Actually," she could not, even at this crucial moment hold back the burst of curiosity and thrill of gossip. A side effect of small town living. "I would like to hear that story. But right now-"
"I almost got a woman to marry me once," Jim slurred from his corner. He stared at the three empty bottles in front of him, but said no more.
Max opened her mouth to speak, but could not think of an appropriate response. She looked to Maggie, but saw she was still glaring at Roy.
She was thinking that this night could not possibly be anymore random when she felt his eyes on her once again. And just like that Maggie's menacing expression, Roy's unfortunate bragging, Jim's mysterious past, Bob's pie eating habits – all the strange, normal things that had become part of everyday life simply faded away. And there was only him, this man she had left behind.
The little old man had carelessly yelled out her alias and of course there she was. It was like being woken from a dream too real or finally resting after hours of traveling. She was real and holding a pot of coffee and side stepping an angry waitress and walking towards him. Her pale yellow uniform seemed soft and odd on her – so unlike the warrior in leather jackets who had lounged about his apartment so long ago. As she came closer and closer time seemed to slow and for a terrifying moment he thought perhaps it was a dream after all. But the look in her eyes, though familiar, was not one he could have dreamed up.
Is it really you? They seemed to ask.
He could only hope his returning look held the appropriate response.
They were silent when she reached the table. Distantly, she heard Maggie's yelling and Bling clearing his throat. From the radio Doris Day coyly sang out "perhaps, perhaps, perhaps," but all she could hear was that strange little word Original Cindy used to use all time.
She had a million things to say, but they all fled her head the moment she needed to say them. So she looked down at their table and asked what every good waitress should.
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