Title: He kehau ho`oma`ema`e ke aloha
Author: Beth Pryor
Summary: In this sequel to "The Mix Tape," Max and Logan pursue another doctor whose research can potentially offer a cure for Logan. Despite Max's reservations, they set off on the adventure together. S1 M/L set after Female Trouble and sort of as alternative path to the end of S1. Will feature lots of Max/X-5 family action as well as M/L romance, angst and fluff. Hopefully a smidgen of a plot will emerge as well.
Disclaimer: Dark Angel and the recognizable characters belong to whomever they belong to but not to me. This exercise is completely for fun, and I'm not making any money from it. Specific scientific and trade-related resources will be sited when explicitly used. Please email or PM with questions, and feel free to leave reviews.
A/N: For those of you who watch South Park, I barely resisted calling this story "Cure-burger in Paradise," a little offering by Jimmy Buffett in my favorite episode Tonsil Trouble. Still, I did use it as my working title.
He kehau ho`oma`ema`e ke aloha
Translation: Love is like a cleansing dew. Love removes hurt. Love conquers all.
Logan Cale was going to spend the weekend online. Not that this was an uncommon thing, but Max was hoping that in light of their new personal developments that she'd at least manage to wrangle him away for an hour or two. But she knew she she'd lost him for the foreseeable future when he made his way directly to the computer after breakfast and lodged no protests when she offered to clean up the kitchen. She managed to break into his research long enough to give him the flash drive with the information she had collected. He stopped for another five minutes some three hours later when she brought him a cup of coffee and a turkey sandwich.
It was around that time that Max had tired of his inattention to her, frustration and grumbling with the dodgy server connection, and his return to classical music. Beethoven might be psyching Logan up, but if the stereo repeated the Fifth Symphony one more time, she was going to dive through the window again. It was a little after noon when she gathered some things to head back to her place. She couldn't remember if it had been two or three days since she'd been home as it was. Regardless, she definitely needed some girl time with Original Cindy, especially now that Logan was easing back to his cranky ways, an inevitability when there was work to be done. She stuffed the several days' worth of dirty clothes she'd amassed into her Jam Pony bag and took the elevator down to the garage. Disoriented for a moment, she searched for the Ninja, totally freaking out for about five seconds before she remembered she'd stopped at the penthouse the day before as a bike messenger, not a cat burglar. She trudged back to the elevator and back up to Logan's place.
"It's just me," she called into the foyer as she entered, knowing he might be a little jumpy after all the coffee and screen watching. "I forgot I have my Jam Pony bike instead of the Ninja. Can I take the car over to Cindy's?" She thought he must have called out some sort of answer, but she didn't hear it as she digested the word's she'd just heard herself speak. Can I take the car over to Cindy's instead of Can I take your car over to my place. She wasn't sure when the shift had occurred, but it most certainly had. She tried to tell herself that it was only because she'd spent the past three-ish days with Logan, staying in his house, sleeping in his bed. But she knew it was more. She belonged here. That scared her, maybe even more than the prospect of capture and return to Manticore. She'd been trained not to put down roots, not to become involved with anyone who couldn't be left forever if necessity called for it. For the past ten years, her survival had been contingent upon her ability to cut and run at any time. Jam Pony and her apartment in Sector 5 didn't count because they weren't a real life, a real home like she and Logan had here. Crap! She was doing it again. Suddenly she understood exactly why Zack had gotten so angry with her the last time she'd seen him, when she wouldn't run. She was standing in the front hall, completely still, barely breathing when Logan appeared.
"Max?" he asked as her approached slowly. "Are you okay?"
"Huh?" She looked up abruptly. "Logan, yeah, what? No. I'm fine. Can I take the car? Your car," she corrected quickly.
"Yeah, same answer as 30 seconds ago." He tossed her the keys. "Any idea when you'll be back?"
"Any idea when you'll be done with all this for the evening?" she shot.
He ignored her. "Try to be in before curfew, huh? We don't need any trouble with the sector police right now. Wanna pick up something for dinner, too?" He dug his wallet from his pocket and handed her a couple of bills. "Chinese maybe? Or whatever you're in the mood for."
She nodded silently and kissed his cheek before heading back to the door.
"Max?" Logan's voice stopped her. She turned back again. "Your bike?" He pointed to the vehicle, leaning against the wall just past where he had stopped in the foyer. "Don't want to forget that." She moved stiffly toward it. "You sure you're okay? Want me to come with you?" he tacked on as an afterthought.
She shook her head curtly. "No, I'm fine. It's fine. I'll be back in a few hours. Don't work too hard, okay?"
He grinned. "Never."
By five thirty that evening, a mere nine hours after she had first introduced him to the idea, he had transmitted his medical records along with personal correspondence to Dr. Makiko Takahashi in Osaka. Logan had also scouted the eight main Hawaiian Islands via USGS and NSA satellite images for terrain and population information. He'd contacted realtors and travel agents from Chicago to Seoul for more information on possible rental locations for a long-term stay somewhere in the Islands. Since it was Saturday afternoon and then evening in the US and Sunday morning in Asia, he hadn't gotten much feedback other than out of office messages. He sighed loudly as another email bounced back to him as yet another would-be contact informed him he or she would be available first thing on Monday morning and not an instant before. Why was no one else as ready to do business as he was?
It would still be hours, maybe even four, until Max returned, and he missed her already. He paced back and forth in front of the computers in the chair in a very poor attempt to harness some of the excited energy that sat knotted in his stomach. It was easier and safer for him to throw himself into research and planning than to think about what could possibly happen when they met the doctor, when the treatments started, when they were finished. But no one was giving him any assistance as he attempted to avoid those thoughts. He'd have to remember to tell Max not to break any crazy life-changing news on the weekend anymore. He had to do something before he exploded. He tried the loop of the apartment, but it didn't alleviate nearly enough tension. Finally, he broke down and entered the exercise room. He dropped to the mat and started the modified exercises Bling had given him for times just like this. After he'd stretched and worked out his unfeeling, unmoving muscles, he moved on to the upper body exercises, completing the prescribed number of reps with each maneuver. Bling would be so proud of him, that he'd channeled his nervous energy into something productive.
When he finished, he contemplated another shower. He had gotten a little sweaty, and he really had nothing but time and hot water to waste. As he slid under the water, all the pieces of information he'd collected in his head from the day seemed to flow over him with the warm spray.
The selection of Hawaii over Japan or California had been an easy one. Max had never been anywhere, really, so a Hawaiian vacation would be perfect for their first real getaway. Logan's first choice island base had been Lanai. That and Molokai had always been his favorites, but the reason for this trip differed vastly from any he had taken before. He doubted they'd be able to find suitable lodging on either of the two smaller islands comprising Maui County. Lanai's population hovered around 3,000, and while there were two resorts still in operation on the island, neither offered the type of privacy their journey would require. At either of the resorts, their group would require a suite plus another room, at least, and he had calculated it would run him close to $50,000 just for the rooms. Not that money was really an issue, but he felt he could spend it more wisely. He was also afraid they would find a paucity of available resources, not only in equipment and technology but also in day-to-day entertainment and distraction for Max, as the treatments reported in the case reports could take up to 12 weeks. He could just see her and her feline DNA stuck on the pineapple plantation island for three months with nothing to do but swim, dive and hike. She'd have it all scouted and explored in three days, tops.
It seemed like Maui was going to be the logical answer. Vacation rentals were readily available, it was still within his favorite area, and there were enough resources and entertainment to keep them all occupied for the entire time the doctor would prescribe. Yet, the area wasn't as heavily populated as Oahu or even the Big Island. They would certainly be able to find a private spot to set up a clinic-like location that would meet their needs. There were also plenty of resort locations available for a real vacation once they were finished. Logan found himself thinking back to the numerous retreats he'd spent in the area. There were so many things he wanted to show Max, so many things he wanted her to experience. Hopefully, by the time they were ready to leave, he'd be able to show her.
He stopped himself. There wasn't any need to go down this road again. He'd spent the better part of the past two hours scarcely avoiding it. He slapped the faucet down, stopping the flow of the water and reached for a towel. If he went really slowly and concentrated intently on conjugating Latin verbs, he would make it until she got back. Maybe. Or he could just lie back on the bed and rest his eyes until she got back.
"I had to tell him, didn't I?" The more Max thought about this whole thing, the worse she felt. She desperately hoped that OC would validate her fears but also agree with her decision to inform Logan of the treatment possibility.
"Yeah, Boo. You had to tell him. What if he heard from somebody else that you'd talked to the doctor or that you knew about it all along? He wouldn't ever understand that no matter how much he loves you." Cindy assured Max that this level of honesty in her relationship with Logan was vitally important.
Max nodded. OC was exactly right, but she still worried. "And now he's so excited. He's spent the whole day trying to get in contact with the doctor and setting up rentals in Hawaii. I finally had to leave. I just couldn't watch it anymore.
"What if we go there and it doesn't work, or worse yet, it does and he loses it again." She grabbed the pillow beside her on the couch and hugged it close to her, as though she needed support in vocalizing the next part. "Cindy, he was going to kill himself. He told me he wasn't going to live his life in the chair, and he meant it. He had a loaded gun on his desk. He was going to do it." Looking down, Max realized she held a white-knuckled grip on the throw pillow.
Original Cindy noticed this, too, and placed her hand on top of Max's, relaxing it. "He's got you now, Max," she tried to reassure the younger woman even though she was a bit shaken by Max's revelation of Logan's suicidal thoughts and gesture.
"I'm not enough." Max shook her head sadly. "It was my fault to begin with. My stupid transfusion started it all."
"And he would have died without it," Cindy reminded her. "That doctor told you he was dyin'. Like you gonna sit back and watch with Logan all sick like that, needin' somethin' you could give him. Of course you gonna give him your blood, and you'd do it again if you had to." She looked at Max and held her gaze. "Ain't no question about that in Original Cindy's mind."
Max dropped her eyes to her lap and concentrated on picking at the cuticle of her middle fingernail. "Yeah, I would, but this is different. He's healthy now. It's not a matter of life and death, and I don't want it to become one."
"Max, he'll be aiight." Original Cindy decided. "He knows what might happen, and he's gotta take that chance. Only this time he knows you'll be there beside him."
Max shook her head. "All he knows is that it was working before, so that means it'll have to work again." She rubbed the bridge of her nose. "God, I'm such a downer. It could work. It probably will, and his life will be so much better." She paused before adding, "Our life will be so much better."
"You just gotta make yourself think like that, Boo. You can't focus on the negativity. Focus instead on findin' you a hot bikini to be wearing out on the pristine beaches. My personal preference on a fine lady like yourself would be white, especially with the tan you'll be gettin'."
"White? Can't you see right through it?" Max asked, thinking a white bathing suit would be about like wearing cotton underwear in the ocean.
Cindy shot Max a sly grin. "If your boy's lucky."