A/N: Hello, yet again. Those of you that have read my previous epics, well, hopefully you'll know what to expect from this one. Pure M/L shippiness. Chapter after chapter of pure fluff. Buh bye virus bitch 'cause I just ain't got the heart to deal with it more than once every few months.

Before y'all ask, I've little to no clue how long this will be, nor do I know how often a chapter will be posted. My muse is doing the Buffy back from the dead thing: basically, slow as molasses, bitchy as all hell, and stubborn as a mule. Your regular post-reanimation sequence I suppose. I've rarely posted an unfinished chapter fic before, but I figure y'all can deal with it, even though it will be posted slower than my previous fics.

The title on her is a working one right now; it's taken me three weeks to come up with Fight or Flight, and although I don't expect it to change any time soon, please know that that is a possibility. Oh, and as it stands, I've no clue as to the rating of this fun creature. For now I'm going with R for language and some M/L fun, although I am uncertain as to whether it'll end up as one of my NC17s. Apparantly, it's an on going joke with my family, friends and boss that I'm a smut writer, so I'm determined to break out of that characterization. Unfortunately, the characters have minds of their own, and if they want to bang the gong, they will. We'll see how they feel by the end of this. :P

As always, reviews here or by email are welcomed, encouraged, and desperately craved. I'm only doing a base beta on these first chapters until the story is better situated in my mind, but things should be fairly well checked over. Also, any ideas that you may have regarding small M/L scenes for future parts would be greatly appreciated as well. I don't tend to write fun stuff, I tend more to dwell on the traumatic psychological fun, so ideas for fluffy parts are always welcome. :)

Future authors notes will not be as long winded as this one. LOL I'm just getting back into the swing now. *G*

They're so obviously not mine. I just like to borrow them sometimes and mutate their inner voices. What can I say? It's fun. Meanwhile, Cameron, Eglee and Fox are still getting all the cash.




Fight or Flight


Part One: Clean Slate


By: Danae Bowen


Email: logansfox@rogers.com



"No. We're not going to tell her. Not yet at least."

"You've both been waiting for this equally as much. How can you justify prolonging her suffering?"

"She'll understand when I do finally let her know."

"You hope."

"I know."

"She's a woman. Women don't react to things like this in a normal way, not like men. They tend to blame, and where there's blame, there's yelling, and where there's yelling, there are misunderstandings, and where there are misunderstandings, there's a cold bed that night. Trust me. Women don't like these kind of surprises."

Logan Cale ran a hand through his hair before returning it to the wheels of his chair. The one thing he hadn't been expecting today was a lecture from his doctor. If things had gone as he had hoped, if the virus did prove to be completely gone from Max's DNA, if it really was safe for the two of them to begin anew what it was Manticore had put on hold, he had a plan. The plan would involve romance, soft candlelight, gourmet dinners, and Max, but he also had a time frame, and telling her today was not in the plan.

Today was February 1, 2021. They had spent their second Christmas together much as they had their first; not touching, barely meeting each other's eyes, indulging themselves on a turkey with all the fixings, and exchanging tiny presents, but there had been no emotion. In the last months, they had conditioned themselves to not feel each other's presence, to not care beyond what pain they could afford, and Christmas had been no different. Now, with Sam looking down at him, holding the papers indicating Logan's and Max's "all clear", things were going to change. Logan could once again bring himself to lose his soul in Max's eyes, he wouldn't have to resist the urge to reach out and brush a stray lock of hair from Max's eyes, and in his sight was finally the night where he could take her to his bed and make love with her for long, sweet hours. Still, he had a plan. By the time the next two weeks had passed, Max would know exactly how loved and how treasured she truly was, and when the moment they'd been waiting for arrived, there would be no fear and no hesitation. There would only be Logan and Max, and his world would be complete.

"She'll understand, Sam, you don't know her like I do. Besides, I'm not going to wait long. I just need a few days to set things up."

"Logan..."

"Sam, I thank you, more than you will know. You went above the call of duty. I know this wasn't exactly your area of expertise, and I shudder to think with whom you've had to collaborate to finish this. What you've done with the formula my friend provided leaves me in your debt, so please, if there is ever a favor you need, don't hesitate to ask."

"But?"

"But this isn't something you can help me with. Max and I will figure this out on our own, and if she reacts poorly when I tell her, well then you can say, "I told you so". I just don't think that will happen."

"I'll never understand how you could have done this behind her back, Logan. She's a smart girl, she has to know you're up to something. How did you even get these blood samples from her?"

Logan smiled. "I told her a researcher I knew was going to take a crack at the virus."

"And she believed you? Every time?"

He shrugged. "She trusts me."

Sam nodded. "Yeah, and see what you've gone and done with that trust." He lifted an eyebrow as Logan winced. "Never mind. How did you get the antigenist into her then?"

"Tryptophan."

"Excuse me?"

"I hollowed out several of the tryptophan capsules I keep at the penthouse, refilled them with the oral formula of the antigenist, and gave them to her over a course of evenings telling her that she looked pale."

"All of this to surprise her?"

Logan shrugged. "I didn't want to raise her hopes if there was no point."

"If she doesn't kill you when you tell her, Logan, congratulations. You've outdone yourself this time. Although, on behalf of Max, I'm routing for her to at least break a bone or two."

Logan chuckled. "You just want the commission from patching me up."

"Damn straight." Sam grinned and shook his head, stretching out his hand to shake Logan's. "Glad I could be of help. When you do tell Max, let her know I'm thinking of you both, and to not hurt you too badly. I'm only one man, and next time I may not be able to put you back together."

Logan shook Sam's hand firmly before spinning his chair and rolling towards the door. "I mean it, Sam. Thank you."

The doctor shook his head softly, watching as Logan disappeared into the hallway.

*****

"It's me. You paged?"

Logan smiled softly into the receiver of his phone, carefully gauging the words he was about to use. "Yeah, was thinking maybe you'd like to come over tonight. It's been a while since we've had dinner together, and I thought it would be nice."

Max tried desperately to ignore the noises of Jam Pony around her, her eyes narrowing as Normal passed her by, bipping in her ear as he disappeared behind his desk. "Yeah, I could probably swing by. What's the damage?"

"No damage. I have everything here we'll need. Eight o'clock?"

"That'll work."

"This isn't social hour, Max, you want a job, here's a concept for you: work!"

"Listen, I gotta blaze. Normal's been riding my ass all day."

"It's good. See you tonight."

"Late."

Max turned around just as Normal appeared once more, waving a package in her direction.

"Save it, Normal."

"Excuse me?" His eyebrow's lifted as she stormed towards him, grabbing the package out of his hands.

"You see my feet moving? You see me heading for the door? You see my ass as I walk away? I'm going!"

Normal watched her for a moment, turning as Original Cindy approached from behind. He frowned at her. "What's her problem today?"

Cindy shrugged, grinning as she pulled a package off the counter. "Boo's still not over that psychological bitch. Got a lot goin' on upstairs, y'know what 'm sayin'?"

Normal swallowed. "Um, yeah. You just tell her to take it easy."

"What'm I, your messenger girl?" Cindy blinked, glancing down at the package in her hand. "Whatever, 'cause Original Cindy knows where her boo's at in life, and, sugar, ain't got shit to do with you."

"All the same..."

"Yeah, if she wants to know, Original Cindy'll pass the message, if she ain't in the mood, do it yourself. I'm so gone, now."

Cindy smiled to herself as she moved quickly out of Jam Pony, hoping to catch Max outside by their bikes. Sure enough, the tiny dark haired beauty was only just climbing onto her bicycle seat, and Cindy hollered her down.

"Hey, boo, s'up?"

"Got the crib to yourself for a few hours tonight." Max smiled up at her and shrugged.

"Mmm, the big man got ya jumping hoops again?"

"Nah, he's feedin' me."

"Y'all over this slump then? Gonna go with it till the bitch is kicked?" Cindy turned her warm eyes on Max, uncertainty fogging her usually direct gaze.

"Nah, girl, probably just a pity dinner. Y'know, 'if you feed her, she will come' type shit."

Cindy shrugged. "Well, boo, you could take that in two ways. Take that the bad way that's obviously floating through that thick skull of yours, 'n figure he's just doin' this to set you up for whatever shit that boy's always puttin' you through, or you could take it the good way that ain't hit your sometimes too sarcastic mind."

Max sighed. "So, tell me what I'm missing."

"Boo, you think maybe he's missin' you much as you missin' him? Maybe it is just dinner. You said it yourself: "If you feed her, she will come". Now, I know you ain't turned him down, but you go over there with that miserable as hell expression on your face, 'n you just gonna end up both hating the few hours you gonna get. If he wants to see you, boo, I say get your ass on that black deathtrap you ride 'n go over there 'n show him that no matter what shit's floating through your blood, you still you."

Max cocked her head to the side, and glanced up at Cindy, a half smile inching across her face. "How'd you get so smart?"

"Original Cindy's seen a lotta shit in her life; I know when my boo needs a kick in her genetically engineered ass."

"Where would I be without you?"

Cindy reached down and took the package out of Max's backpack, grinning down at her young friend. "The hell 'n gone over in Sector 12 delivering this shit. I got your back, Max. You go home 'n get yourself hooked up, you got a date. Meanwhile, Original Cindy's gonna hope whoever belongs to this package is a slammin' lickety chick, cause I think I just racked up about a hundred brownie points with Herbal's Most High."

"You're ace, my sister."

"Ain't I knowin' it. Now get outta here before I gotta kick your ass, twisted DNA 'n all, right the hell back to our crib."

Max watched as Cindy moved back into Jam Pony, her friend's loud voice carrying out to the streets. "Hey, Normal, you know that talk we just had? Well, now I'm gonna be doing Max's run on my way home, since your kind words just sent her into a tailspin." Max leaned forward as Cindy paused. "Why can't you learn to mind your own damn business? I told you my boo was in a place you shouldn't be trespassin' 'n instead of taking Original Cindy's advice, you go 'n make things worse."

Max laughed and shook her head, adding a mental note to find some way to thank Cindy one day for all the lies and stories she's had to make up over the years to get Max's back.

She pedaled slowly down the street at first before picking up speed, her heart racing but not from physical exertion. For some reason her senses were on high alert about tonight, and although Logan sounded normal on the phone, she couldn't shake the feeling that something was up, besides the obvious.

She bit her lip as the blocks passed by swiftly and she finally arrived back at her apartment. It took little effort to drag the light bicycle up the stairs, and she leaned it against the wall. She took a short detour through her kitchen to get a glass of water before collapsing back onto the sofa.

First things first, she had to take a bath. Then came figuring out what to wear. Max shook her head.

"God I hate dating."

//Especially when nothing can come of it.//

End Part One