Disclaimer: No infringement intended, no profits realized…
Dedication: If I owned Logan, I would lend him out to Tigrou for her birthday and smear him with frosting and cover him with sprinkles and maybe get him to jump out of a cake for her. But since I don't have a Logan to share, I hope she'll enjoy this story I wrote for her instead. Happy birthday, Tig!
Advisement: This story contains some sexual imagery and is not intended for young audiences.
Max let herself into her shabby apartment and headed straight for the bedroom.
She had spent that evening like most of her evenings, at Crash with her friends, but she hadn't really enjoyed it. Original Cindy's attention had been steadily focused on some hot redhead across the room all night long, and as a result she paid little attention to her friends. Sketchy annoyed her with yet another get rich quick scheme until Max couldn't take it anymore and slapped some sense into him. And Alec just would notshut up all night long, making her grind her teeth in irritation at his constant prattle. Logan hadn't been there. Again.
The stupid, Goddamned virus kept him away.
It was good that he stayed away, she reminded herself. If he stayed away, he couldn't touch her. And if he didn't touch her, she wouldn't kill him. And if he didn't die, well…that was the goal: to keep him from dying. Still, she missed him.
She peeled off her clothes and crawled into her small bed to try to sleep. She had been sleeping a lot lately; almost every night, for hours at a time. At first she feared that there might be something wrong with her, needing so much sleep, like she was getting sick or something, or that Manticore had messed her up somehow. But she felt fine, at least physically.
Then she figured she was sleeping so much because she was depressed. Unhappy people had a hard time getting out of bed, didn't they? They sleep a lot. With all the shit in her life, she figured she was entitled to a little depression, so she slept. What did she have that was worth staying up all night for?
But then it became about the dreams; one dream in particular. Different variations of the same dream that made her want to go to bed early. A dream about him, about them. A beautiful, impossible, perfect dream that just made her miss Logan even more when she was awake, but still made her anxious to go to bed every night to experience it over and over again.
With a deep, exhausted sigh that summed up just how hard she thought her life sucked, Max closed her eyes, turned over, and went to sleep. After awhile, she started to dream.
It was a beautiful day. Beyond beautiful, it was spectacular. The air was sweet and warm. The sky was rich blue dotted occasionally by fluffy white clouds; the type of sky you enjoy during the pristine summers in the Pacific Northwest
It was a day made for hiking in the Cascades, which is exactly what Max and Logan were doing as the put their energy into climbing a particularly steep rise. Logan could feel the exertion, but he welcomed the burning in his legs. For too long he had been denied any sort of sensation below his line of injury, and now every feeling was a welcome reminder that he was alive. Although Max was unfazed by the incline, she slowed her strides to keep pace with Logan, or at least not too far ahead of him.
The view when they reached the top was worth the effort. They stood at the top of the hill looking down on the miles and miles of green valley that stretched out below them. Max leaned against Logan and rested her head against his chest as he put his arms around her, holding her close as they admired the stunning scenery. He slowly ran his hands up and down her bare arms and rested his lips against the top of her head as he felt the warmth that her dark hair had absorbed from the sunshine. He inhaled deeply, savoring the smell of fresh mountain air mixed with evergreens and Max's shampoo, and he allowed himself to indulge in the feeling of peaceful calm and satisfaction that washed over him.
A small, content smile played at the corners of his mouth and he murmured, almost to himself, "This is absolutely perfect."
"Yeah, it's pretty," she agreed quietly. Logan's smile deepened when he realized that she thought he was referring to the view.
"Come on. We've got ground to cover," he said as he started to lead her further along the hiking trail.
They continued walking, hand in hand and happy. The trail had leveled out and they ambled along at a more leisurely pace when Logan spotted something and they stopped. He took her slightly off the path to a tall hedge overgrown with thorns: a wild blackberry bramble. He watched Max's face as it lit up with delight at the discovery.
She immediately began picking blackberries and popping them into her mouth. She had no childhood memories of picking wild berries, and there was a new, innocent joy in hunting for the ripe fruit. Logan watched her eagerness with a smile on his face, happy that she was finally able to take the time to enjoy life's innocent pleasures and grateful that he was there to share them with her. He raised his eyebrows in concern when she reached into the thorny bramble almost to her bare shoulder to find more ripe blackberries, but relaxed and allowed himself to be impressed when she removed her arm without even the tiniest scratch. She never ceased to amaze him.
As she happily ate berries, Max said, "We should have done this sooner. Coming out here, I mean. It seems like we talked about it forever."
"I know, but we had to wait for the right time," Logan reasoned as he started to gather a handful of choice berries.
"What do you mean 'the right time'? The weekend?"
"No, the season: blackberry season," he explained. "Blackberry season is the best time of the year. The rain is over and the days are finally long and sunny. Blackberries on the vine mean that summer is finally here, and it feels like it's never going to end. So it's worth waiting for."
They shared a secret smile as they thought of all the other things in life that were worth waiting for and he offered her the handful of blackberries that he had collected for her. Instead of taking them from him, she grabbed his wrist and began eating the berries from his hand. A slight shiver traveled down Logan's spine each time her lips gently caressed his palm or she chased a berry with her tongue. She looked up at him, and his eyes darkened as he watched her intently.
"The dark ones are the sweetest," Max observed as she picked up the last berry and fed it to Logan, her fingers resting on his lips.
His eyes quickly raked over her raven hair and large, brown eyes and glowing, olive skin, all furtherer enhanced by the black tank top she wore, and he considered the flirtatious double entendre of that statement, wondering if it was intentional. "They certainly are," he agreed mischievously.
Logan brushed his fingers against her cheek, cherishing the feel of her smooth skin that he had waited so long to touch. He focused his gaze onto her full lips that were stained a darker shade because of the juicy berries and he slowly leaned in to capture her mouth with his own, enfolding her tightly in his arms and kissing her gently and thoroughly in the shade of the cedar trees.
A few miles away, Logan woke with a start. He immediately shut his eyes again and threw his head back against his pillow, trying to force his waking mind to memorize the taste of Max's kisses mixed with sweet blackberries before it faded away into a sleepy haze. A few minutes later he let out a slow sigh and felt around his nightstand for his glasses, but once he located them, he continued to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling, remembering. It was that dream again. The dream he had been having for weeks, gracing him or haunting him, he wasn't sure which.
Logan decided it was absolute agony having these dreams, reminding of what he so badly wanted and could never have. Things were so strained between Max and him since the last attempt to find a cure had failed. It hurt too much to hope; they cut down on hoping. Instead, they "gave each other space". He paged her a little less often, her visits were becoming shorter and infrequent, she stopped inviting him out as much and he stopped showing up. Logan bitterly recalled the prior year when Max had done everything she could think of to cajole him into going to the club with her, and he had always politely declined. That was one more thing to add to his ever-lengthening list of things to kick himself over for the rest of his life. He missed Max so much, and every day she seemed to drift further away from him. He still treasured those torturous dreams, though, because they were the closest he could get to touching her.
With another weary sigh he sat up and pulled himself out of bed. He made his way into his bathroom and started the shower. As he let the hot water hit his shoulders and run down his back, he continued to think about Max and the dreams he kept having about her. Logan wondered if sleeping pills might chase the dreams away; or even a good, stiff drink before bed. They were getting too hard to handle, and he could swear they got more realistic every night. He wondered if it wasn't time for Max and him to just face the cold, hard facts and move on with their lives. The problem with that plan was that the thought of a life without her hurt even more, and there were times when he thought death might not be too high a price to pay to just be able to kiss her one more time. Since he was willing to risk his life to simply share her company, he figured he might as well sacrifice his sanity to be with her in his dreams.
Before Logan started to get dressed, he contemplated the benefits of wearing the exoskeleton, but he decided there was little point to it since he had no plans to leave his apartment. He also glanced at his reflection in the mirror and contemplated shaving, but he decided there was even less point to that. When you stop to think about it, what was the difference between three days' growth and four days' growth anyway?
He wheeled into his kitchen to start a pot of coffee and forage for something to eat. Just because his own life was falling apart didn't mean he was allowed to stop fighting the good fight, he reminded himself, even if he didn't attack it with the same passionate fervor that he used to.
Lately his time had been divided between two main projects. First and foremost, Logan was trying to track down somebody from Manticore who could develop a cure for the virus. The lack of leads and information on that quest was downright depressing, but he forged on none the less, as the alternative would be admitting he couldn't find a cure, and he wasn't ready to face defeat yet. He was also helping the S1W gather information on a military supplier that was embezzling tax dollars with the help of corrupt officials. He decided he would work on that today. Logan's heart wasn't really in it, but he figured he owed them. They had helped him get Max back.
After running his security checks and skimming news reports and answering messages, Logan settled down and began working. He spent his morning focused on research, occasionally stopping to make notes for himself about other areas of inquiry to pursue at a later time. After a few hours, a noise made him stop.
Logan wasn't as alarmed as he once would have been upon hearing his locked front door being opened, especially since it was accompanied by the sound of a bicycle being leaned up against his wall and a quick glance at the clock on his computer monitor confirmed that it was just about lunch time.
"Hey, yourself," Logan gave her a warm smile in greeting as he wheeled towards her. He stopped at a safe distance; he had long ago figured out about how close to Max he could get before she would back away from him. "What are you doing here? Did you need something?"
"No," she answered, feeling slightly put off and insecure at his questions. Did he want her to leave? She mentally berated herself for coming at all. "I was in the neighborhood and I just wanted to stop by. Is that alright?"
"Of course it's alright, Max," Logan answered, hearing the wistful sorrow in his own voice as he spoke. He decided Max must have heard it too, because her expression softened.
"Just haven't seen you in awhile," she added, her voice echoing his sad tone, indicating that she had missed him as badly as he missed her. As much as it stung, she was glad she had given in to the temptation to see him. Just being together in the same room helped, at least for a little while, at least until the next time they remembered…
Her mood suddenly shifted with the lightening fast speed that always made Logan do a mental double take and her smile turned sunny with a hint of mischief. Max determined she wouldn't ruin what they had left to them by wallowing in self-pity. "Got anything to eat?"
"Got lots of things," he answered her challenge with a smile of his own and pushed himself into the kitchen as Max trailed behind him. "You're in luck; I went to the farmers market yesterday. Here, try these," he said pulling something out of his refrigerator. He handed her a bowl of berries.
She started to carefully take the bowl, and then hesitated. "Do you want to pour some of these into another dish? If I eat out of here you won't be able to have any."
"Or you could just eat them all," he offered, trying to keep the mood playful. "I daresay it wouldn't be horribly out of character for you to do so. Go ahead, they're good. The dark ones are the sweetest."
"They certainly are," she smirked automatically as she popped a berry into her mouth.
The both froze as they each remembered the words from their recurring dream. Max ventured a quizzical look at Logan as his thoughts began to race. It couldn't be, his logical mind reasoned; yet he couldn't help but wonder as his eyes darted over Max's expression. He had that feeling once before, at the hospital, when she transfused him and saved his life. He was sure that Max knew something about his dream, but he quickly dismissed the idea. It was impossible! They had both lost a lot of blood after all, and neither was too coherent afterwards. Still, it was always in the back of his mind.
Max continued to curiously stare at him, as though the same types of thoughts were racing through her own mind. Logan decided on a cautious trial to seek more information. "I had this really vivid dream last night," he began with a conversational tone of voice, as though he were just making small talk. "You were in it. We were hiking in the Cascades."
"And we stopped to pick wild blackberries," she confirmed, her own voice sounding much more serious as she realized what was happening.
"And I kissed you," he almost whispered. He looked up at her intently and asked, "Have you ever had a dream like that before?"
"I have it all the time," she confessed. "For the last few weeks, almost every time I go to sleep. How do we…I mean…Do you dream about me a lot?" she tried.
"You have no idea," he answered in a low, rueful voice, rolling his eyes at all the different interpretations that question could take on. "That particular dream, though? Yes, for the last few weeks, almost every time I go to sleep," he repeated.
"But we can't be having the same dream, because that's freaky and psycho and not possible," she reminded him.
"In your dreams, what happens after we pick blackberries?" he challenged, seeking yet another conformation to prove what was quickly becoming obvious.
"We hike up to the hot springs," she answered immediately, validating Logan's strange hypothesis. He nodded to affirm that his dreams followed the same path, answering that question for them and opening up so many others.
"Tell me about it. What happens in your dreams?"
The hot spring was a natural treasure, discovered by Logan in his youth and known only to a few neighbors and the naturalists that explored those mountain paths. The small pool was filled with clear water and heated to bathtub temperature by the volcanic activity that surged deep beneath the mountains. The huge, dark grey rocks that surrounded one side of the pool were overgrown with moss and ferns, and the other half was a stone and pebble beach that quickly gave way to grassy turf. The tall trees cast streaks of black shade across the pool, contrasting with the bright sunshine that danced and reflected on the surface of the spring.
Max and Logan moved through the water, not swimming so much as floating along, enjoying the relaxing warmth. They drifted around each other, occasionally splashing, Logan enjoying the sound of her laughter as she exploited her tactical advantages. He watched Max dive under the water and emerge seconds later on the other side of the pool. She surfaced and threw her head back to get the hair out of her face, causing an arc of water to circle around her that mesmerized Logan. He swam out to meet her there and they held on to an outcropping boulder for support.
He stared at her, absolutely enchanted by the water that traveled down her face and neck. At that moment, he wanted nothing more than to kiss her and was happy to realize there was finally nothing stopping him from doing so. He smoothed her wet hair away from her face, letting his fingers linger in her hair as he leaned in to softly kiss her lips. He pulled a few inches away and they shared a slow, intimate smile before he leaned in to kiss her again. He moved to her eyes, gently kissing the closed lids before moving to her ear and down her neck to her shoulder.
Max released her hold on the rock and wrapped her arms around Logan's neck, relaxing and submitting completely to his halcyon ministrations. Logan continued to hold her close as he pushed them away from the rocks and they drifted into shallower water. He slowly twirled her around, making lazy circles in the heated spring water as he continued to kiss her senseless.
Her hands moved down the muscles of his chest and over his shoulders, across his strong back and around his waist, wanting to feel all of him under her hands at once. His powerful arms entwined around her as he made a trail up and down her neck, biting carefully at her soft skin, each sweet kiss taking her breath away. He lapped the spring water off of her skin at the hollow of her neck and was sure he had never tasted anything so good, deciding he could get drunk off that intoxicatingly warm water infused with her flavor.
When Logan felt her untying the lower half of her bikini top he struggled with the need to stop her, ruefully wondering why self-control was always so damn difficult when Max was involved. As much as he appreciated the idea of separating Max from her scant clothing at that moment, practicality and good judgment had decided to make a brief appearance, and he wasn't fond of the idea of a troop of boy scouts walking by.
"Max, wait. What if somebody comes?"
"Logan, there's nobody around," she assured him with a raised brow and a devilish grin. "I can hear people coming a half a mile away. I'm very aware of my surroundings, you know."
"Are you sure?" Logan questioned, his reserved nature battling with his unabashed desire for her.
She nodded and leaned in to kiss his collar bone and tempted her way down his chest. Her sinful smile was infectious and he reached back to untie the other string that was holding the top of her bikini in place.
"Would you really have been able to hear people coming a half mile away?" Logan asked her.
"Probably more like a mile, if it wasn't too windy," she confirmed. "Maybe one and a half, if they were really noisy, but that might be pushing it…" She gave a small shrug of her shoulders, as though apologizing for her lack of accuracy.
Logan nodded and stored that information away in the back of his mind for future reference. He had a bemused smile on his face and he noticed a slight blush tinting Max's cheeks behind her smirk, confirming his suspicions that Max knew what was coming next next.
"I suppose you remember that sunny patch near the water?" She questioned, her blush darkening.
"Max," Logan growled her name, a guttural rasp against her ear as he lifted her from the water up in his arms. His eyes were dark with desire and Max was drawn in to them, tightening her hold around his neck and wrapping her legs around his warm, wet body. Their lips sealed together again as he carried her to a patch of mossy grass framed in bright sunlight. The plaid flannel shirt he had worn that morning was thrown down as a makeshift blanket to protect her back from the soft turf as he rested over her.
He kissed her lips, her face, her neck, her shoulder, down the inside of her arm, the valley between her breasts, her flat abdomen, the delicate hollow at her hip. He kissed every square inch of her dear skin that he could reach, each individual contact mocking that horrific, ludicrous virus that had kept her from him for too long. His demanding touch sent her body into a shiver, his breath instantly cooling the water that still dripped from her and making her squirm at the contrast.
His knowledgeable lips on her flesh made her clutch at the grassy clumps beside her. Before Logan, Max had never experienced anything like this. She had no trouble attracting the attention of men, she knew what she looked like, but she had never been with someone who craved all of her Logan lovingly worshipped her body, yet he also demanded her mind and her heart; he was even willing to believe she had a soul and he wanted that as well. The very concept that such an amazing man could care so much for her started a burning fire inside of her, and his stimulating touch simply served to fan the flames. A need that once before would have been scary overtook her as she stared into deep blue-green eyes filled with love and controlled passion, making her arch her back in search of more of him.
She writhed under his gentle weight as his body moved to meet hers again and again. His breathing grew fast and hot as his lips trailed up the side of her neck and his tongue found her ear. Her breaths came out in irregular gasps as she dug her nails into his back and begged him not to stop as she exploded around him. All his careful control was gone now. His fingers clenched her tightly to him as he worked inside of her until they couldn't stand it anymore and he plummeted over the edge with her.
Logan gasped for air as Max's body went limp, the blood pounding loudly in her ears and her center. He carefully shifted his weight off of her, rolling to his side and bringing her with him as they fought to control their breathing and waited for the ground beneath them to stop spinning. His reverent hands ran along her body, soothing the over sensitized skin. A heartfelt sigh escaped him as he gathered Max closer and kissed her tenderly.
"I love you," he told her, his face glowing with wonder and adoration.
"I love you more," she answered as she rested her head on his chest and ran her fingers over the fine hairs that grew there before settling on his shoulder.
He leaned back and smiled, wondering aloud, "Now how is that even possible?"
Max let out a deep breath and her voice was filled with both awe and disbelief. "How is this even possible?" she asked him. "How can we be having the same dream at the same time?"
Logan was suddenly filled with a hopeful determination that he hadn't felt in a long time as a new idea occurred to him. "Maybe we're not dreaming at all, Max. Maybe we're seeing visions of the future. Prophecy."
"That's impossible too," she countered.
Logan reminded her that it wasn't any less possible than the idea of sharing a dream with another person over and over again.
"Do you really think it could be the future?" She asked him, her question brimming with both longing and the sad skepticism she still couldn't completely shake off.
"I hope so." He stared at her intently, his eyes serious and intense as he took in her expression. She looked at him with such wishful yearning, and all he could think about was how remarkably beautiful she was. As she met his stare, he determined that he would make it true, no matter how long it took.
He moved as close to her as he could without touching her, the pining and intensity of his feelings overwhelming his good judgment. He regarded her steadily and said, "God, I wish I could kiss you right now."
"I know," she answered quietly, returning his burning look with one just as ardent. "I wish you could too."
"Max, I will find a cure for this, and when I do, I am pinning you to my bed and I'm not letting you up for at least a week."
She held his serious gaze but a smile quirked at the corners of her mouth. "Better make it a month," she cautioned him. "I have amazingly high endurance levels."
He chuckled softly and they continued to look at each other hungrily, their eye contact almost a tangible substitute for the physical caresses they were desperate to exchange. "I'll keep that in mind."
Suddenly overcome with the agonizing strain of the situation and aware of Logan's dangerous proximity, Max pulled away from him and rushed towards the door, calling over her shoulder, "I need to go. I have to get back to work."
"Max, wait!" Logan tried to stop her as best he could without reaching for her, but she was too quick for him.
Without looking up she said, "I'm sorry. I'll call you later, OK? Sorry," as she darted away, leaving Logan alone with his very confusing thoughts.
A long time later he returned to his desk. He didn't return to the S1W project as he had intended to. Instead he began a new search for any sort of doctor, scientist, lab geek, virologist, geneticist, or escaped-secret-government-mad-scientist-freak that could be bribed, blackmailed, or threatened into helping them. His encounter with Max filled him with a fresh determination to conquer this obstacle and make those dreams a reality. That would be their future. He would see to it that they got their blackberry season, would do whatever it took to beat this thing. After all, she had died in his arms but still managed to come back to him. Together they had fought off secret government agencies, corrupt power lords of a broken world, genetic monsters, and clandestine breeding cults. If they could survive all that, they could certainly survive some germs.
Logan went to bed early that night, determined to dream about Max. He tried to fill his mind with every image he could remember about the way she looked in the water and the way her lips had tasted as she kissed him on the banks of the hot spring. He hoped that if he put enough of those thought into his conscious mind before falling asleep, his unconscious mind would take over and he would be able to relive that day again in his sleep.
Unfortunately, dreams have a way of controlling themselves. He didn't dream of Max and berries that night. Instead he had dreams of Max breaking into his bedroom, standing in the doorway watching him sleep, smiling down on him like an angel framed in the moonlight from his window. She kept her distance, but she was there with him none the less. He dreamt she was sitting on the foot of his bead and touching his leg through the sheet and blanket that covered him, although he couldn't really feel it, and he heard her whispering but couldn't make out the words.
When he woke up the next morning and reached for his glasses, his hand brushed against something unfamiliar. He looked at his nightstand and smiled when he saw a small basket of blackberries waiting for him.
The author would like to go on record as stating that she always thought the shared dream at the end of Blah Blah, Woof Woof was really lame and that the idea has already been thoroughly explored by talented fanfic authors. But since there are so few opportunities to get Max and Logan together, and the author so desperately wants them to be together, and the author's friend Tigrou so desperately wants them to be together and it is her birthday after all…the author has come to the conclusion that in the interest a fluffy, happy ending for our heroes, she's not above exploiting the idea either. She sincerely hopes her audience will forgive her. (Sorry.)
Reviews greatly appreciated.