TITLE: Ties that Bind

TIME FRAME: Post Haven, and set after the Author's previous story, 'Mud.'

DISCLAIMER: No, I don't own Dark Angel, I just like to write about it.

Thanks to Alaidh for being kind enough to Beta for me once more.

Prologue.

"So, who d'you think's gonna win the game tonight?" Bling asked as he lifted Logan's right leg, bending it then gently stretching it out.

The evening was wild and windy outside. Every now and then the low moan of the wind swirling and whipping between the tall buildings of sector 9 could be heard even inside the penthouse, but it did nothing to disturb the ambience of the discreet downlighting, nor was it able to force its way in to penetrate the warmth and comfort inside.

Logan lay on his back on the workout table, idly watching Bling and wondering for the thousandth time if he'd ever get used to seeing someone touch his leg and not feel it.

Bling threw him a look as he proceeded to rotate Logan's ankle.

"So, what d'you think?" he prompted

Logan shrugged and looked up at the ceiling. "Lakers I'd guess," he said eventually.

"They haven't done too well the last coupla games," answered Bling, looking up suddenly as the doorbell rang.

He gave Logan an enquiring look as he lowered his leg to the table, preparing to answer the door, when the door unexpectedly opened and a young man strode in purposefully, stopping at the partitioning when he saw Logan and Bling, a slight look of embarrassment crossing his handsome, dark features.

"Oh, sorry, Logan ... didn't know you were busy."

Logan gave him a cool, appraising look. "Martin," he said, with a faint note of surprise.

"We all done?" Logan asked Bling, then as the trainer nodded, he grasped the forearm Bling held out in front of him, and pulled himself into a sitting position.

"Why don't you wait in the living room, Martin," Logan suggested.

"I really need to talk to you," the younger man insisted.

"Well, it can wait till I'm in my chair," Logan replied edgily.

Martin nodded vaguely, opened his mouth as if he were about to say more, and then walked around to the other part of the penthouse.

Bling watched him go then brought Logan's wheelchair over to the table, holding it steady while Logan lowered himself into it.

"My cousin, Bennett's younger brother," Logan told him by way of explanation.

Bling nodded. "Thought it must have been family," he grinned.

"Mmm," murmured Logan, putting his feet on the footrest and grabbing his watch and glasses from the table.

"You want me to take your water through for you?"

"Thanks Bling," responded Logan a little distractedly, his mind intent on working out what possible reason Martin could have for visiting him.

The glass of water deposited on the low table in front of the sofa, Bling walked back through to the training room. "You need me for anything else?"

"No, that's all. Thanks, Bling. I'll see you tomorrow."

Logan watched as Bling let himself out, and then slowly wheeled through to the living room.

Martin paced restlessly in front of the huge windows that looked out onto a forest of high -rise buildings stoically resisting the buffeting winds and driving rain.

He looked up with a relieved expression when Logan came in.

"So, to what do I owe the pleasure?" Logan asked a touch sardonically.

To Logan's annoyance, several members of his family had insisted on visiting him when he'd finally returned home from hospital after the shooting. Martin, much to Logan's relief at the time, had been conspicuous by his absence, which only made his visit now all the more inexplicable.

"I need your help," Martin admitted quickly.

Logan looked at him in some surprise.

"You sure it's 'my' help you want?"

Martin came around to stand in front of him, running a hand nervously through the almost black, wavy hair cut in the latest style.

Leaning forward and picking up the glass of water Bling had left for him, Logan took in the impeccably cut dark suit and the gold signet ring encrusted with diamonds on his cousin's finger.

"Perhaps 'you'd' like a drink of something a bit stronger?" Logan suggested to him, very much aware of his own grey sweat pants, T Shirt and feet clad only in sports socks.

For a moment he thought his cousin was going to decline, but as if on an impulse, Martin said curtly, "That's just what I need."

Finishing his own glass of water, Logan wheeled out to the kitchen, returning shortly with a glass and a bottle of Scotch.

"So, do you wanna tell me what this is all about?" asked Logan as he poured his cousin a drink.

"You're not having one?"

Logan shook his head. "I just filled up on water."

Taking a good gulp, Martin blurted out, "It's about my girlfriend."

Logan raised his eyebrows at that. "Considering my track record, I'd hardly say I was the right one to come to for advice on affairs of the heart."

Martin broke in quickly. "It's not like that. She disappeared," he said bluntly.

Logan leaned back in his chair, one hand on the wheel.

"Have you gone to the police about this?"

"Hah, fat lot of good that would do!" snorted his cousin.

Logan shrugged. "Just what have I got to do with all this?"

Martin looked at him, his eyes taking in the wheelchair. All of a sudden he slumped down on the sofa dejectedly. "I don't know, Logan," he muttered. "I just didn't know who else to turn to. I knew before ..." He stopped for a moment, as if uncertain how to proceed.

Logan did nothing to make it easier for him, just sat there, watching him with a slightly ironic gaze, wondering where the suave, self-assured young man from Bennett's housewarming had gone to.

"I knew you had 'contacts'," Martin changed his sentence suddenly, "from all your investigative work."

"What about your father? Surely he has contacts you could use?" asked Logan curiously.

Martin grunted at the mention of his father's name. "Since when did my father ever do anything that wasn't going to benefit himself in some way."

"So, I gather your father didn't approve," hazarded Logan.

Martin looked at him ruefully. "He wanted me to end it."

Logan nodded. "What about Bennett?"

Picking up the bottle and pouring himself another drink, Martin shrugged derisively, "He's been too wrapped up with Marianne and the new house and everything to have time for this, and Dwayne will never do anything to get in Dad's bad books."

"But you figure Logan's already in the bad books, so what the heck?"

Martin looked a little uncomfortable at that. "I don't know why Dad is that way about you."

Logan made a dismissive gesture with his hand.

"What's your girlfriend's name?"

"Emma Belding."

"When did she disappear?"

Martin sighed, "Eleven days ago."

Logan frowned. "That's a long time, Martin."

"I don't mind telling you, Logan, I'm going out of mind with worry," Martin said, jumping up again with a nervous energy.

"Doesn't she have family who are looking for her?"

"There's only her and her father, and he's out of the country. I can't even contact him."

Martin looked at his cousin hopefully.

"Do you think you know anyone who can help me with this, Logan? I know before you were ...you know ...you used to know all sorts of strange people," Martin stumbled on.

"You must have been 'desperate' to turn up here," Logan said ironically.

Martin stopped his pacing for the moment, and had the grace to look a little sheepish, suddenly realizing how his words had sounded.

"You know what I mean, Logan," he muttered a little self-consciously. Taking in Logan's unresponsive expression, Martin dug into his pocket and brought out a photo.

"This is her picture," he said, handing Logan the photo.

A little reluctantly, Logan put out his hand and took it. "When was this taken?" he asked.

"Maybe three weeks ago."

Logan looked down at the photo. Emma Belding looked to be in her early twenties, with light brown hair, hazel eyes, and a smile that showed even white teeth. Not a great beauty in the classical sense, but she had a sweet look about her – more your girl-next-door. Logan raised his brows slightly. She was hardly the type of girl he remembered Martin being interested in.

"When did you last see her?"

With more of his usual manner, Martin replied, "Eleven days ago. We'd had dinner together at 'Alexander's'. I dropped her home afterwards. It was about ten."

"Did you go in?"

Martin shook his head. "She told me she was tired. Wanted to go to bed early. It's the truth," he added, seeing Logan's slightly sceptical look. "I was never the smooth mover that you were."

Logan shrugged impassively. "Whatever."

"She's a nice girl. We'd only been going out a short while," Martin added in a subdued manner.

Logan looked down at the photo again, and studied her face. What if Martin was right? What if she was simply a pretty girl with no hidden agendas? Did such girls still exist in post pulse Seattle and would someone like Martin be attracted to her?

Logan swivelled his chair around and headed into his office, returning with a notebook and pen. "Let me take the details down. I'll see what I can do."

Martin looked relieved. "Thanks, Logan."

Without looking up as he opened the notebook, Logan said, "I don't know if there's much I can do. I'll try a few of my 'strange' contacts."

"That's fine."

"So, what does Emma do? Does she have a job?"

"She was an administrative assistant for Quintor."

"Was?" stressed Logan.

"Hopefully still is," Martin corrected. "I called them but no-one has seen her since the day I did. This is her address," he added, handing Logan one of his own business cards with an address written on the back.

Logan wrote it down, then asked, holding the card out to Martin again, "Did she live alone?"

"Keep it, and no, she had a roommate. I met her a few times. Charlie someone-or-other."

Glancing at his watch, Logan closed his notebook with an air of finality and said, "Well, I'll start with this, see if I can shed some light on where she's gone."

Martin looked a little dissatisfied, but had no choice but to follow Logan as he wheeled to the front door and opened it to let his cousin out.

Pausing in the doorway, Martin said, "When will I hear from you?"

"When I have something to tell you," Logan stated flatly.

Martin looked a little dissatisfied, but nodded at that, then left, leaving Logan to thoughtfully close the door after him.

*****************************************

"Logan, Logan," Max's voice rang through the apartment. "You still awake?"

"Well if I wasn't before, I am now," he replied with a grin, coming from the direction of his bedroom.

"'Were' you asleep?" she asked.

"No. Just thinking about taking a shower."

"You got time for coffee?" asked Max.

"Sure."

Max leaned against the counter, watching as he set about making it.

"Whew, it sure is wild out there," she commented, pushing her wavy hair back from her face.

"Yeah? I haven't been out in it," Logan replied glancing at the windows before opening the coffee.

"Funny," she said casually, "I thought I saw your cousin Martin outside the front doors of the building."

Logan paused almost imperceptibly as he got two mugs out. "Really?"

Max picked up an empty glass that was on the bench. She put it to her face and smelt it, wrinkling her nose at the strong smell. "Is this what Bling prescribes after your workout?" she asked innocently.

Logan wheeled up and took the glass off her, looking slightly peeved as he rinsed it under the faucet, and then finished pouring their coffees.

"So, was it just a social visit?" she dug a little deeper, taking the two mugs of coffee through to the living room and putting them on the table in front of the sofa.

Logan followed her through, setting his brakes as he stopped in front of the sofa where she sat.

"You're awfully full of questions tonight," he remarked to her as picked up his hot drink.

Max just looked at him.

"Maybe it was," he said eventually.

"Maybe it was... a social visit? Or maybe it was Martin?"

"Not a social visit, and it was Martin," Logan admitted cautiously.

"You mean the cousin Martin with the octopus arms and hands like leeches?" Max asked sarcastically.

"That sounds like him," Logan agreed dryly.

"I thought he hated you," said Max bluntly.

Logan looked startled at that. "I hope not."

"Well, it didn't appear to me as if you were his favourite cousin at Bennett's and Marianne's housewarming the other week," commented Max, watching him closely and wondering why he was being so evasive.

"Well, I was always closer to Bennett," Logan replied without committing himself, quickly finishing off the dregs of his drink.

"You want more coffee?" he asked, unlocking his brakes and picking up their mugs.

"Wow, you going for a record?" Max queried, eyeing his now empty cup. When he didn't reply, she looked at him sceptically.

"Nope," she replied airily, in answer to his previous question and standing up abruptly. "I just remembered something important I gotta do." Looking directly at him she deadpanned, "My bathtub needs scrubbing."

Logan looked a little taken aback at that, but said, "Okay," adding, "fine," with a hint of attitude. "I'll call you tomorrow if anything comes up."

Assuming it was his rather pathetic way of being conciliatory, Max favoured him with one parting look before she walked to the front door and let herself out.

Logan studied a point somewhere in the middle of the room for a few moments, and then finally, with a grunt of exasperation, he took the cups through to the kitchen and left them next to the sink.

Returning to his computer, he went over once more the scanty information that Martin had left him, wondering if doing this for Martin was worth an argument with Max. He doubted it. Max had a way of making life very uncomfortable for him when she wanted to. Of course, he could have told her the truth, but he wasn't particularly keen to subject himself to one of her scathing remarks. He knew full well what she thought of Martin – well, truth be known he didn't think all that much of him himself and after the debacle the night of the housewarming party, he was sure Max wouldn't be impressed to learn that he had agreed to help him. In all likelihood she would just think he was being gutless by not standing up to his family again as he had been about his mother's locket. How could he explain to her just how unpleasant Cale family confrontations could be, and how long the ramifications could be felt?

Then there was Emma Belding.

"Damn you, Martin," he muttered as he shut down his computer and headed for bed.

TBC