author's notes: so, i'm doing a fanfiction challenge over at livejournal. the community is fanfic100 - you pick a fandom and write 100 fics about your claim. you're given 95 prompts and five are authors choice. wanting a challenge, i signed up and picked - suprise surprise - max and logan. this fic is insprired partly by prompt number 33 - too much - and the song brighter than sunshine by the group aqualung. (one of 32 songs on my max and logan playlist.)

this is written as if the dream sequence at the end of AJBAC was what really happened. (and honestly, i wish it was, given how season two turned out.)

i hope you all enjoy it and i hope you'll give me feedback - i like to know that i'm not screwing up characterization and little things like that. ;) also, if you're interested in checking out my progress, you can at my writing gj, which is lindaeastman.

all that said, i hope you like it.

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I never saw it happening

I'd given up and given in

I just couldn't take the hurt again, what a feeling

I didn't have the strength to fight

But suddenly it all seemed so right

Me and you, what a feeling

What a feeling in my soul

Love burns brighter than sunshine

It's brighter than sunshine

Let the rain fall, I don't care

I'm yours and suddenly you're mine

Suddenly you're mine

And it's brighter than sunshine

- Brighter Than Sunshine, Aqualung

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Max wakes up at some point in the early, early morning, as the sun is trying to break through the cloudy skies. It takes her a minute to realize that she's in a different bed than her own and for a second she feels the familiar instinct that she's felt so many, too many times before, the instinct to run and not look back, with the knowledge that the body in the bed will wake up and not miss her because they knew what it was and now they know it is over.

This time it's different, the body lying next to her, still asleep, is someone she's grown so close to in the short amount of time that she's known him - a year seems like a long time when one thinks of all that they've been through and accomplished, but it seems short at the same time. Especially when she thinks about the events of the past few days.

Going into heat, trying to avoid him, sleeping with someone else when she went out and tried to clear her head, going back to him the next night and confessing everything and still seeing him there after she told him.

Zack interrupting and going to find Tinga. Holding Tinga in her arms and being held captive by Lydecker, going in with her siblings and Logan to take down Manticore and succeeding. Finding and fighting her cloned self. Introducing her friends to her siblings, Logan finally winning Zack's approval.

And then there was the first time. Gentle, slow, sweet. Testing. Exploring. Incredible.

And now they were here.

She watches him as he sleeps, leaning over him. Not even entirely aware she is doing it, she starts to touch his face, her fingers brushing his hair from his eyes, tracing lightly over his cheek. He stirs but does not wake, not yet, and her hand draws away and she pulls the sheet higher over her chest, a shiver running through her as she turns to face the big picture window.

It all feels so right. Perfect, the kind of things you hear about in fairy tales. Or romance novels, whatever parents are passing off to their kids as bedtime stories these days.

So why am I so afraid?

This is unfamiliar territory to her. She is somewhere in between happy and terrified and part of her still wants to run because she does not know how to handle it. After a year of denying to each other how they truly felt, this feels like too much, too soon.

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He wakes up. She feels a hand brush her hair out of the way before a pair of lips kiss the back of her neck, very lightly, as a hand runs over the skin of her back before coming to a stop between her shoulder blades. Another shiver, a different, delicious shiver, runs through her body, and she turns to look at him. He has one of his smiles on his face, but there is concern in his eyes as he studies her. He does not ask right away what's wrong, though, knowing by now not to push her, that she'll tell him what's up when she's ready.

So instead of asking what's wrong, he continues to smile sweetly and softly at her, his voice low and soothing as he speaks. "Hey."

She smiles back and he can probably tell that it's not quite genuine but she doesn't think about that right now. "Hey."

"Sleep okay?"

"Slept for about as long as I ever do." Her eyes flick briefly to the window, where the sky is preparing for daybreak. "Which isn't all that long. You still tired?" She smirks playfully. The smart-ass facade is back up, she's still feeling vulnerable even though she's with the one person she trusts the most.

He chuckles and pushes a stray curl back from her forehead, kissing her above her eyebrow. His eyes linger on hers for a moment, blue-green meeting brown, and he's hoping that he's conveying to her that she can tell him what's bothering her, that he won't push her.

They stare for a minute before she shifts and starts to leave the bed. "Feel up to making breakfast for me?"

Food. It's a consistency in their relationship, he's always making her dinner or offering her lunch, she's always stopping by with a grapefruit or a chicken or some other hard-to-find food item that he could probably find himself but she likes the idea of bringing him a present.

"Sure."

Logan follows her out of bed and she tosses him a bathrobe taken from his closet before heading to the kitchen - she's already slipped on the red one that she always wears when she stays the night at his house and steals his shower. Her robe is fastened tightly, as if she's trying to be modest even though the robe is the only thing she's wearing.

He fastens the exoskeleton on before throwing on a pair of sweatpants and the robe, which is blue. He goes into the kitchen and sees her sitting at a stool at the island, breakfast ingridents spread out on the table. Max is holding and sipping a glass of milk and facing the stove, her back to him, an unreadable expression on her face.

He comes up behind her and wraps his arms around her waist, kissing her on her neck. She does not respond except to set the glass down and he frowns, moving his hands to her shoulders and gently but firmly spinning her on the stool until she's facing him, only she's not, not meeting his eyes.

He cups her chin in his hand and tilts her head up to meet his eyes. "Max -"

"Is this how it's supposed to work?"

Her question comes as a surprise. "What?"

"This. You. Me."

"What about it?"

Her eyes flick downward and she inhales in a deep breath. "It feels like...I don't know. Like we've moved too fast and too slow at the same time. Like we've been denying and pushing each other away for so long it seems stupid to keep doing that and keep pretending we don't care. But at the same time, I almost wanna go back to that. 'Cause at least then, as lonely as it was, I knew what I was doing."

She waits for a response, a form of vocal protest. It doesn't come, and she continues.

"This just feels...I don't know. Too much. Too sudden. Too intense. I've never had this before." She swallows, hard, before she finishes. "I'm just scared that now that I have it, I'm gonna lose it. 'Cause nothing this good can last." She gives him a weak smile. "Not for me."

He tilts her head up again and captures her lips with his, soft and sweet but not without passion. One of his hands loses itself in her hair, fingers combing through tangled waves. She kisses back, hesitantly, but trusting, and it's a while before they break for air and he speaks.

"I'm just as scared as you are. You're not the only one with enemies out there, y'know," he says with a small smirk. She does not return the smirk and he winces slightly, bad time to try to make a joke, Cale. He tries again, taking one of her hands in both of his.

"There was probably a reason we danced around each other for so long."

"We were both afraid. Of what we'd think, of what would happen if we ever got to this point."

"Of how we'd handle it."

Her eyes go cloudy. "Of if we'd see another day together."

He squeezes her hand in his.

"I think it's worth the risk if you do."

She thinks of Tinga, of the family she'd had to leave behind, and feels her eyes well up.

Then remembers what Tinga told her about how it felt, to connect with someone, to click with someone so fast. She thinks of what her big sister would tell her to do.

Go for it, Maxie. Don't give it up for anything.

She grabs his face in her hands, bringing his face to hers, and kisses him intensely, like she did outside the cabin, only this time there was no need for urgency, only there was, she wanted to make up for lost time, all the time wasted when all they'd wanted was each other.

His arms go around her waist and hers around his neck, her legs lock around him and he carries her back to the bedroom and they fall onto the bed, undressing once again, not speaking, barely breathing, as their bodies connect once again. The sun has finally broken outside and even though it has started raining once again in Seattle, neither of them care.

Because they're not alone anymore, and whatever the challenge is, they're in it together.

But a little alone time is order first.