Word Count: 1,357
Summary: Five things they have that she realises she needs. S1-based.
Disclaimer: But no one else is using them... :}
They lied extensively to themselves and to all of their friends, but they tried hard not to lie to each other. Sometimes they failed, sometimes Max's past was too dark, her future too bleak, her family too heavy; sometimes Logan's blood was too cold, his duty too clear, his body too weak and they buckled, but they tried hard.
They tried hard not to tell each other the lie they told everyone else, the one they spent so much energy trying desperately to believe.
That they weren't like that.
She didn't know why they needed it, why the truth was so deeply terrifying to both of them, but that was how it was. They did need it and until the day they didn't, she was content to go on lying.
To herself, to Kendra, to OC, but not to Logan.
She tried not to tell the lie to Logan, because when they told it to each other, sometimes they really did believe it.
It was like barbed steel between her ribs, burning and cold and sharp and throbbing with ache. It was like a bone deep laceration, the loving him. Flaying her most vulnerable parts bare to a world proven to bring only rejection and pain on those who exposed themselves.
She'd known it so well before she met him. Understood that she must protect herself as best she could, keep all the people who could cut her, who could lay her bare, far enough away that they would never hurt her.
And she would suffer for having forgotten why she kept them at a distance. They would suffer.
But his eyes were tired and worried and his hand was warm and heavy on her brow and she realised that she would take all the hurt and all the danger in all the world if it meant she could have this.
He knew what she was, he knew completely, and still he looked at her with only caring. Tended her as no one ever had in her short brutal life, with more than compassion, with that selfish selflessness she was coming to accept was called love.
She knew what he meant to her, understood exactly where she would be without him, she did not need to fly across Seattle in the grip of an icy terror that he would take himself away from her to learn that. She felt a certainty she was being punished. For thinking of him as hers, for taking their glacial progress for granted, taking his strength for granted.
He in his ivory tower, buttressed by conviction, altruism, and genius; he was her rock, the most stable thing in her entire world. She knew that he hurt, knew that he fought within himself- a mighty soul and a frail body in violent conflict with each other- but she never imagined he would break.
She hadn't allowed the possibility to exist.
She liked to be needed, to feel that her life was more than just a lab experiment gone wrong.
That he needed her, person to person as well as mere mortal to reved up girl, made her feel human. And that he needed her made it possible to stay, possible to stop running, because she couldn't leave someone owing them a favour. She'd owe him one as long as he was willing to cash in, because she did blame herself. She always blamed herself and that was because it was her fault.
She was too selfish and now he tilted his head up to look at her instead of the other way around.
And the guilt would never go away because in her sick way, she was grateful. It wasn't better or easier for her that he was in the chair, he was so wrong about that, it made everything so much harder because it was all he could see in the mirror. That bullet messed him up in his head way more than in his spine.
No, she was grateful because if he'd pulled it all off by himself, she wouldn't have allowed herself to go back to him. They would never have had this thing they had, not with him playing deadly handsome man to get what he needed and her playing tough apathy to keep everyone out.
She couldn't bear the idea of never seeing him, not as he projected himself to her, but behind all the ruthless freedom fighting and the chilly playboy act. Never seeing into the heart of honest-to-Jah selfless idealism would have left her as the less than half a person that escaped Manticore.
His presence in her life, his intervention had made her whole.
She would spend the rest of it trying to return the favour.
She'd never meant anything so much in her life and she'd never needed so badly to take something back.
The human fog bank. The truth was, she'd never felt the slightest emotional investment in a guy. They were pieces of meat while she was in heat and the living, breathing, unignorable refuse of a horrible, fucked up biologically programmed mistake in the morning. She hated herself and she hated them a little bit too, because she was young and sometimes she liked to think it was pretty obvious they were taking advantage even if they'd never figure out how.
Physical stuff was just physical stuff. She didn't need a guy in her life for more than one night, it was as simple as that. When she was in her right mind, nothing much ever turned her crank and she figured she could go her whole life without touching any male if not for her wonderful genetics.
And then Logan happened to her like a taser to the gut. Her response was visceral, synapses she didn't know she had were firing so hard she'd wondered if he could see the sparks.
He was beautiful, but that wasn't it.
His presence- his heat, his smell, his movement- lit up her senses, but that wasn't it either.
For some damn reason, her body had just known, long before her brain had the slightest inkling, that he was the key to everything she was missing.
And when she thought she would never touch him again, she had needed to kiss him more than she needed to breathe.
Chemical? Whatever. Zack was so damn wrong, it wasn't even worth fighting with him about it. It definitely wasn't worth it, even if she had realised it back then, to tell him that Logan was more important, more a part of her than even her siblings. That 'family' had come to mean less them and more him.
They would never mean less to her, never, and she would never give up on them. But when her mouth smashed into his and every cell in her body became twice as alive, she realised there was a whole level of love and caring and needing way above everything she had ever felt. There was a whole part of Max she never knew existed that was only for Logan, that had been waiting for this moment.
And she carried away the seared impression of his lips on hers, the wetness of his mouth and the sharpness of their desperation to be joined.
And it didn't take long to realise it was something she couldn't carry far.
It bound her, it bound him. Together.
This is what they had.