A/N: Alright so this was sitting in my computer for a while now, meant to be a response to the prompt 'fire' over at the LJ Aurlco group. Forgot about this story for a *really* long time, and so after months of collecting dust on my hard drive, here it is, somewhat unpolished because I sort of lost interest halfway through the third reread of this piece.

Nothing belongs to me, save for any mistakes I haven't been able to fish out.

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When Jondy left Max under the ice, nine years of military training took over as she sank. It told her to keep still as she felt the cold slicing through the thin military issue gown and threatened to put her under for good. Her heart screamed at her to get up, punch through the ice and follow her sister. Her feet itched to continue running. The adrenaline coursing through her begged her to break through the already hardening ice and continue onwards with the escape. To join the others, catch up with Jondy and then give her a good earful for leaving her under the ice.

But she didn't.

It was the first time Max's short life that she ignored her instincts, the very ones she would later learn to trust her life with without hesitation.

So she waited, counted to a hundred, willed her heart to stop pounding erratically in her ear, ignoring the numbing pain in her toes and fingers. Eyes shut tightly; she lay motionless, drifting away to the sounds of thudding footsteps above her and the engines of snowmobiles humming in the distance.

It was the first time not listening to herself saved her life.

It also lost her her family, and that experience left her with scars running so deep that the next few times and for the rest of her life she faced a dilemma she stuck to her gut feelings, not willing to lose more than she already had the last time she ignored them.

As the years passed by, Max learned to always count on her instincts. In fact, she prided herself in her ability to make things up as she went along, trusting her gut feelings without fear or hesitation. It was her subtle way of rebelling against what Manticore had tried to instil in her in the years of hell they put her through.

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When Logan walked into her make shift bedroom in Terminal City, her first instinct was to back away and tell him she was busy. The voices in her head screamed at her to move, sidestep past Logan and make up an excuse to leave.

You don't want to kill him, do you? Do the right thing and go.

It would be the last time Max decided to go against her instincts. She ignored the cold and menacing voice which somehow reminded her of dear ol' Deck. Her passion for the man standing in front of her had not been forgotten, and deep down within the depths of her dark soul, she wanted to believe.

She stood eerily still, her eyes tracking Logan's slow movements as he advanced towards her, a calm smile gracing his features. An owl hooted far off in the distance, and she blamed her feline DNA for being distracted for that one moment, causing her to whip her head around to look for the source of the noise, taking her eyes off Logan. Because the minute she looked back around, her heart beat slowing down from the sudden interruption, Logan was already standing inches away from her.

"It's just a bird, Max." His voice was so hauntingly beautiful.

No doubt it was a different bird from the one that marked the beginning of the nightmarish chain of events that had led them to this point, but the significance of it was not lost on either of them. His eyes were shining with anticipation of something he had yet to share with her, although by this point Max was painfully aware that Logan would only have had one reason to venture into her quarters in the dead of the night.

Words didn't need to be exchanged between them. It was their special way of not communicating, letting their eyes spin the stories they each desperately wanted to tell one another. His hand reached out to her, agonizingly slow. The muted excitement she had suppressed when he walked in to the room spiked to a crescendo as her eyes followed his hand. He was so close. He paused hesitantly before actually touching her. His fingers curled back into fists, and he let his hand fall back down to his side.

"Do you want me to kill you?" She whispered fiercely, heart thudding with excitement and fear.

Lightning crashed outside and it started pouring. The rain beat heavily against the window, interrupting the quiet solitude the couple were in.

Interruptions seemed to be part of their courtship.

"No, I just thought of a better way to mark the end of one of the evils in our lives."

The kiss that followed was a fiery combustion of passion. Wild, messy, brimming with the angst and love so long denied, bruising and gentle at the same time. They were pressed flushed against each other within seconds, their hearts thumping together to their own distinct melody.

End.

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And yes I do realise that the last couple of things I've produced are along similar lines, cure found - happy ending. Guess I'm still a sucker for desperately fluffy stories. I'm still working on my other stuff, believe me, I'm still trying. RL keeps getting in the way (along with VERY crappy internet connection for the past few months).

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