First posted Summer 2005
Revised and edited Spring 2014
Disclaimer: "Dark Angel" is property of Fox, James Cameron and Charles Eglee. It is not of my creation, but some characters in this story are. Please don't sue me.
A/N: Takes place 7 and a half years after "Freak Nation." That's pretty much all you need to know. Oh wait, the wacky virus has been cured and has been gone for a while. The exoskeleton is out of commission and I'm not going to explain the reasoning in the story. It's just gone.
HUGE thank you to Mari83 for your time, your feedback, your thoughts, and your patience.
I urge you to read this from the beginning as some changes have been made.
Read, review, enjoy. : )
The sun had just risen. Max's senses were awoken when she heard the sounds of rustling and the television being turned on in the living room of the penthouse. She opened her eyes to a quiet bedroom filled with dim sunlight. Max felt refreshed after sleeping for four hours, she didn't need much sleep, and she reached her arms above her head to stretch. She ran he fingers through her hair as she took a quick glance over at the figure sleeping next to her. Max took a moment to watch as his clothed chest moved up and down with his rhythmic breathing and she smiled. She pulled back the covers and slipped out of bed.
Max took a comfortable dark blue bath robe from a hanger in the spacious closet and slipped it on, feeling its immediate warmth. In silence, she opened the bedroom door and closed it behind her, not wanting to wake her sleeping mate. Quietly, Max made her way down the hallway. She stopped when she reached the closest bedroom, pressing her ear to the door and putting a hand on the smooth handle. When she heard nothing but tiny puffs of breath from inside, she continued her path to the living room. Max grinned as she spotted a head of light brown curly hair leaning against the back of the couch. She walked over and knew that her 6 year old daughter didn't seem to take notice of her presence. She leaned over to place a kiss on the forehead of the young girl.
"Morning, little girl. Whatcha watching?" Max said as she made her way into the kitchen.
The girl shifted on the couch and turned to her mother with a slight smile.
"There's nothin' good on." She picked up the remote control and turned off the television before untangling her legs from under her small frame and jumping up from her seat.
"Are you hungry, Jaden?" Max glanced over her shoulder and saw her daughter nod.
Max reached up into a cabinet to retrieve two bowls and opened a drawer to retrieve two spoons. Jaden was soon in the kitchen and sat herself in one of the high stools at the counter when Max placed a bowl in front of her.
"What'll it be this morning? Milk or juice?" Max went to the refrigerator and opened the stainless steel door while she waited for a response.
"Um... juice, please. And milk, too." Jaden pulled the bowl to her and reached for the cereal box that was sitting close by. She poured herself some and set the box upright. Max brought the jugs of milk and juice to the counter and poured two glasses full of each. She slid the glasses over to her daughter and poured herself some cereal. She stood on the opposite side of the counter and ate her own breakfast.
"Why are you up so early today, Jay? I thought you'd be sleeping 'til noon." Max smiled as she took a bite and chuckled.
"Not tired," Jaden shrugged as she looked at her mother. "I couldn't sleep anymore." She stirred her cereal around in the bowl and reached for her glass of juice. Max thought that Jaden took after her a lot, especially when it came to sleeping habits.
"Well, you played pretty hard last night at your soccer game. Winning tires a girl out!" Max smiled and looked at Jaden lovingly.
"Yeah, it does." Jaden gave Max a wry smile and ate a spoonful of cereal.
Max pushed away from the counter and took her dirty dishes to the sink to rinse them. In an instant, she turned her attention toward the direction of the bedrooms when she heard some quiet noises. She dried her hands on her robe as she walked by Jaden and placed a hand on her back, nuzzling into her hair and giving her a soft kiss.
"I hear your brother. We don't want him waking your dad, do we?" Max said. She left the kitchen and made her way to the bedroom. Max opened the door, and peeked into the room to see the toddler sitting up in the crib. He clutched a blanket close to his chest.
"Hey, little man," Max whispered. "Good morning." She went to the side of the crib and peered down at him with a smile. "You ready for the day?" He looked up at her and grinned. Max lifted him out of the crib and placed him on her hip. Max patted his back as he leaned his head of dark brown onto her shoulder and sighed. With quickness, she changed his diaper as he babbled. As Max left the room with the little boy, she could hear a loud yawn and a stretch be made from next door.
"I think your daddy is up. What do you think?" The 18 month old turned his face to hers when she mentioned daddy.
"Yeah, that's right. He's awake, baby." She nuzzled close to his head and smiled. Max carried him into the kitchen to see Jaden still sitting at the counter finishing her cereal.
"Be ready to explain to your dad why you're eating plain ol' cereal instead of pancakes, little girl." Max teased her daughter. She smiled and hugged her son close, leaning side to side with him still on her hip.
Jaden gasped and looked at Max wide eyed. "Mom!"
Max laughed and leaned to let her son down when he tugged at her robe. "I'm sure he'll understand. Growin' girl has gotta eat, right?" Max nodded at Jaden and the little girl grinned.
While Max was preparing another breakfast, she heard the bedroom door open and the slight squeak of rubber on the hardwood floor. The noise approached the kitchen and when their son saw Logan coming around the corner he ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to where his father slowed to scoop him up.
"Hello, big guy!" Logan smiled and held the toddler up in the air with strong arms before balancing him to stand on his knees where he bounced with excitement.
"Da da da…." the little boy reached for Logan's face.
"Good morning, Atley. How was your night, little man?" Logan let him grab at his face.
"We're all up and at 'em then, huh?" Logan grinned and looked at the other two girls in the kitchen. He sat Atley down on his lap before moving forward to the kitchen. He crossed to Jaden at the counter and stopped to place a hand on the small of her back.
"Morning, sweetheart. You're already eating?" He glanced up at the bowl in front of her.
Jaden shrugged. "Yeah, Mom made me." She grinned at Max and slid down off the seat. Logan raised his eyebrows and turned toward Max who cocked her head with a sly smile. With Atley still situated on his lap, Logan rounded the the counter and stopped next to Max, who stood at the sink.
"Is that so?" He chuckled and looked up at her.
"Hey, don't be mad at me... she looked hungry. Maybe if the cook of this house were awake a little earlier…." Max's tone playful.
"Okay, okay... you're right. How about breakfast tomorrow? I promise to be up earlier." Logan glanced down at Atley in his lap who looked up at him with a broad smile.
"Sounds good to me." Max stepped towards Logan. She reached her arm around his neck and kissed him, taking care to keep a distance between herself and Atley in Logan's lap.
"Good morning to you, too." Logan said through a smile after their kiss. Max ran her thumb across his lips before pulling away from him.
She turned to place Atley's food on the counter before reaching down to take him. "How about I take this guy and let you get something to eat," she said to Logan. Max sat with Atley on her knee facing the counter and prepared for him to eat. Logan sat still for a moment. He watched Max feed Atley and then he looked over at Jaden who was putting her dishes in the sink. Content, he smiled then pushed off towards the refrigerator.
"Jaden, honey, could you grab me a bib from your brother's room? Please?" Max turned towards the living room where Jaden had returned to. Jaden didn't move from her position on the couch.
"Jaden? Like now, please?" Max raised an eyebrow at her daughter and gestured to the bedroom. Jaden sighed and got up. Max tried to keep Atley's face clean even though it seemed impossible as he was a messy eater. He loved to feed himself and sometimes he ruined his clothes in the process. Jaden returned and tossed the bib to Max on her way to the living room. Max smirked and shook her head.
"Thanks, Jay." Max secured the bib around Atley's neck and hoped for the best.
"We might as well start setting him a place at the table," Logan turned to Max, carrying a plate of toast on his lap. "The kid eats more than our six year old does." She flashed him a quick smile. He laughed and wheeled into the living room. Max watched Logan leave, and made a mental note to pick up the pieces of food that Atley was continuing to drop onto the spotless kitchen floor.
Entering the living room, Logan pushed to the opposite end of the couch from where Jaden sat watching television. He locked the brakes on his wheelchair and leaned forward, setting the plate he carried on the glass coffee table before transferring effortlessly from the chair to the couch.
"Do you want a piece, Jaden? I didn't put anything on this one." Logan looked to her and offered the plate.
"No, thanks," she shook her head. "I'm not hungry anymore, Dad. Cereal... remember?" Jaden didn't bother to look at him; she kept her eyes on the television set.
Logan pursed his lips and nodded. He and Jaden watched a cartoon in silence as he ate. A few minutes later he glanced towards the kitchen where he heard the tapping of small feet on the floor. He saw a blur of dark hair and red pajamas running to where he sat. Knowing what was going to happen, Logan placed the glass plate onto the table in front of him just in time to grab the toddler that came careening towards him with a huge smile and bright eyes.
"Well, aren't you quite the energetic little guy this morning?" Logan laughed and helped Atley climb onto the couch next to him and the little boy snuggled in close to his father. Logan's arm made its way around Atley's little body while the other rested on the arm rest of the couch. They sat in peaceful silence until a tiny voice shrieked when his neck began to be tickled.
"Who's making all that noise?!" Max slowly stood from her kneeling position behind the couch. She laughed when she saw the expression on Atley's face as she leaned down over him to look at him upside down.
"No, Ma Ma!" The toddler's mouth turned into a frown.
"Aw, baby... I'm sorry. I won't do it again." Max winked at him and smiled. She came around the couch and stepped between Logan and the table to sit with the rest of family. She plopped down and reached for Jaden's ankle, pulling her along on the smooth surface with ease so she was sitting closer. Jaden smiled as Max wrapped her warm arms around her.
"...Although there has been a significant decrease in crime in many of the sectors over the last few years, Seattle is far from being rid of the criminals that cause mayhem on our city's streets."
The newscaster continued to report about events taking place in Seattle. In a matter of seconds the screen flashed images and footage documenting everything from the baby born being born in the middle of their local market to the murder that took place just blocks away. Max snatched up the remote before Jaden could protest.
"Okay. TV off. Everybody up!" Max patted Jaden's leg and gave Atley a soft squeeze before reaching around and poking Logan's shoulder. He turned to look at her and was met with her loving gaze. He smiled and shifted so that he was sitting more upright before lifting Atley up and placing him on his little feet next to the edge of the couch.
"We've got to get moving, little man. The day is young." Logan scooted forward and reached for his chair. As he transferred and got situated, he watched as Atley fingered the empty glass plate he had used that sat on the low table. The toddler started to push it off the edge, and Logan reached out to grab both Atley and the plate before it went crashing to the hard floor.
"No, Atley." Logan shook his head as he reprimanded the little boy. "Don't do that again. It will hurt you if it breaks. Okay?" Logan's tone was serious as he spoke to the toddler, who scowled at his father. Max looked on without interfering. Logan made eye contact with her and gave a half smile, and she quirked an eyebrow. Max and Logan knew Atley didn't like to be disciplined, and Max guessed that it was her own rebelliousness shining through that she passed on to him. Parenting two small children was something she and Logan were learning how to do as they went along. It was unchartered territory for the both of them, but they made a good team together.
Logan set the plate in his lap and released the brakes on his chair. Still standing close to his parents, Atley's lip began to quiver as Logan was about to move away. Logan reached for him but their son moved to Max and held out his arms. Logan sighed with a smile while looking at Max.
"I don't think he likes to be told what to do, whaddaya think?" Max smirked before standing and scooping Atley into her arms.
"I'd say you're right," Logan started to push forward into the kitchen. Max began to walk towards the bedroom with Atley in her arms.
Once in the kitchen Logan opened the door to the stainless steel dishwasher and pulled out the bottom rack. "Hey, Jay," he called to Jaden. "You want to give me a hand real quick?" Jaden hopped off the couch and strutted into the kitchen.
"Sure," she waited for him to start unloading the dishes. Logan took the clean dishes from the dishwasher and sat them on the countertop. Jaden sorted them and began putting them away. She was tall for being six years old and barely needed to stand on her tip toes to reach into the upper cabinets to put things away. Logan wheeled backwards and opened a drawer to set in the silverware. They worked together to put away the last of the clean pots and pans.
"I only counted to one hundred and seventy this time... that's faster than we've ever done it." Jaden lifted the door of the dishwasher and latched it. She stepped closer to Logan.
"It's a new record then!" Logan put his hand up and Jaden gave him the high five he was expecting. He smiled and leaned over to kiss her forehead. Jaden leaned into him and grinned.
"I'll get the rest," he said. "You go see what your mom is doing." Logan put his hands on his wheels and pushed forward, positioning himself in front of the sink.
"'Kay," she smiled and departed the kitchen happily.
Logan reached over and opened the dishwasher door again, pulling out the racks. He loaded the dirty dishes and wiped his hands on a nearby towel. As he left the kitchen, he turned off the overhead light that was no longer needed since the morning sunlight was shining through the windows of the penthouse.