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Author's Chapter Notes:
This story was written for a fan fic challenge at The Broken World Awards. The challenge (created by Drea Jackman) was to write for five minutes using the line "the memory burns" as inspiration for the fic. I was also inspired by the lyrics to Megadeth's song 1000 Times Goodbye. The story is told through Logan's POV. Published at fanfiction.net: 8-5-04
Last Goodbye

by Sorrow Reminisce

It always rains in Seattle. But every cold grey day since Max has gone, it's rained that much harder.

So much has changed. The energy I once had to make a difference in this world has been robbed of me. What's the point, when all around me I see the bleak stares of a society already lost to it's own intolerance? The compassion I once had for these weak and downtrodden people is replaced by the thick choking taste of utter betrayal. Their betrayal. These people don't deserve to be saved.

"Escape and evade. We divide up into teams, pick an azimuth, and go to ground."

When Mole said "go to ground", I'd expected Max to argue. She'd always clung to Seattle as a child clings to a security blanket. God only knows how often Zack tried to convince her to leave, and she never backed down.

For a moment she hesitated at Mole's suggestion, like she was trying to think of a good argument for staying. But there was too much resignation in her eyes, too much hopelessness. If they stayed, it'd be to die. Not to fight. Any fool could see that holing up in Terminal City would make them easy pickings for the military. So she shrugged, and nodded. And as much as I wanted her out of Seattle for her own safety's sake, my heart sank down to the pit of my gut like a lead weight.

The nod was all the confirmation they needed, before they began shifting out in such a well-organised manner, I couldn't help but wonder if the transgenics had been planning to make this break for a while. Would they have told me? Would Max have told me? Would anyone have invited me to come along? Maybe I was just being paranoid.

There wasn't much time for goodbyes, and for a while she was so busy barking out orders, I thought she'd forgotten I was still standing there. Still standing in the same place, frozen at the shock of how things could turn out this way so fast. And perhaps a bit indignant to see they didn't need me now. Everything was under control, and I was simply a bystander.

And then she was standing there in front of me, staring down at her hands like she couldn't quite bear to look up. I tried to smile, but it was like fighting gravity. My heart was breaking, and there I was trying to smile like it was okay. Like it didn't matter that I was losing her, and there were so many things I'd never get to say.

Finally she allowed her gaze to meet mine. I was surprised to see tears shining in her eyes. Surprised because, I thought it was all about her and Alec now. I thought she was done with me. But for a moment there, I thought I detected something else in her eyes, like regret. Despair. Love. I don't know. Or maybe just for one moment, I wanted to pretend it was all about us. Just give us this one moment to cling to. Just us.

"Logan, about Alec. I have to tell you that it's not -"

"Just... stop it Max"

I couldn't take this. I couldn't stand hearing her talk about him right now, not now. I won't pretend the thought of them together didn't make me bitter. Countless nights I'd lain awake, trying so hard not to think that he could be comforting her in a way I'd never be able to.

As for this kind scenario right now before me - I'd already played it out a million times in my head. Yup this was turning into scenario number 5 - the one where she tells me their "thing" isn't serious - that he's just a fill in because she's given up waiting for us. I didn't want to hear a word of it. I wanted her to tell me their relationship was a lie. A mistake. Or at least that she still felt something for me. But there was no time for that now. There was only time for goodbyes.

"I'm over it, okay? We were never like that anyway Max. And I wish you both the best. I really do."

The words were so damn hard to force out, and they grated out harsh and cold between my lips. But I refused to back down. I saw the hurt in her eyes, and the words went dry in her throat. Right there in that moment, I wanted so much to tell her how damn hurt I was. I wanted to ask her why - why him? How long had it been going on?

But we'd been down that road once before, and it was a dead end.

So the silence panned out before us, and finally Mole yelled for her to get a move on.

"I just - I'll miss you Max. It's been good. Right?"

She nodded and smiled through the tears. I wondered if I'd reacted stupidly by cutting off her words - if I'd been wrong. But the fantasy ended when she whispered, "I'm so sorry Logan." And spread her arms wide, adding "for everything."

I'll never be sorry for the times we've shared Max. Never. " Yeah. Me too."

"So... Thank you, for all you've done for us."

I did it for you Max. Only you. "Sure. It's what I do. You know."

There was that awkward silence again. As if there was so much more that needed to be said, but neither of us had a damn clue how to say it.

"You know Max, if you never need anything..."

And then she turned to me with such a look in her eyes, the offer crumbled as soon as it reached the air. We both knew this would be our last goodbye.

Would it be worth it to die, just to grab her and kiss her one last lingering time? I spent so long contemplating the notion, I forgot to speak, and maybe she took my silence as a dismissal because suddenly she was turning on her heel and walking briskly away. Half-running as if suddenly it was all too much for her, and she couldn't bear to look at me anymore.

Once again, I wondered if I'd been wrong to think she'd given up on us. Maybe I should've said things different?

But it was too late anyway. And she was gone.

I come to this place to be alone. Here up on the Space Needle. It terrifies me, sitting up here. But she taught me once to face my fear, and it's here that I feel close to her. If I close my eyes, I can pretend she's sitting right beside me, and that the wind is her fingertips tracing over my skin.

Original Cindy told me the truth. How I'd got the wrong end of the stick about Alec, and how Max let me believe it because she thought it would be better for me that way. And I realise now that Max was going to tell me the truth herself on that final day.

Of course, I kick myself now, each time I think of what a fool I've been.

I hate this place. Seattle. The barbarity of the people who live here, the way in which they bayed for transgenic blood like hounds driven mad on the scent of fresh meat. I long to get away and find a better place. A good place.

But I'm tied here by memories. The Space Needle was once Max's safe haven when all others had failed her. It's where I hope she'll one day return. Memories can fade, but true love lasts forever, right?

I can see why she loved it here so much. It's a good place to contemplate on the past and on the future, and on those final moments we spent... I wish so much I could've played that one out different. Found a way to make her stay. Tell her I love her at least. If I could return to that day and do things different... It would've been worth it to die, just to grab her and kiss her one last time. It would've been worth every last second of my dying breath.

The Seattle rain soaks me to the bone, and the memories burn. But I let them. Because until the day we meet again, those memories are the only things keeping me warm.

The End