?pari106 5-19-01
"The Gift of Darkness"
by Pari106

Summary: At the hands of Lydeker, Logan undergoes a startling transformation. Is this "gift" a blessing?
Or a curse?

Code: M/L

Rating: PG-13, I guess, for language.

E-mail: pari106@hotmail.com
Web page: http://www.pari106.homestead.com/damain.html (a work in progress)

Author's Note: Takes place a week after "Meow". This is my first attempt at Dark Angel fanfiction ever,
so please let me know what you think…but be nice! And if all of this seems implausible and silly, just
excuse me. Also, I couldn't remember Tenga's number, so I took a wild shot at it. So if she's not 254, my
apologies!


Prologue

Donald Lydeker sat in the abandoned research facility, alternately clenching and unclenching his fists.
Next to him, on a lowered stretcher, lay Te…X5 #254.

Lydeker swallowed. He ran a hand over his face and through his graying blonde hair. He blinked back
what he stubbornly refused to acknowledge as the sudden urge to cry.

His kids. His beautiful, deadly kids. They had become his life's work. They had been born and bred
perfect. And now just look at them – look at what they had become. They'd been reduced to this – to
running; to thieving. To lying broken in the depths of some nameless wood or hanging, nearly lifeless, in
some overgrown petri dish, subjected to the utmost indignity.

Lydeker reached a hand forward and stroked 254's cheek, remembering the flesh beneath his fingers as it
had been the last time he had seen her – lovely and alive. Now she was pale; her veins visible through her
translucent skin in sickly hues of green and blue. Her long, once beautiful, black locks were now dull and
brittle. She was hooked up to more tubes now than she had been in her glass cage.

And, beneath his calm, Lydeker raged.

*She* had done this. She had turned 254 into this barely breathing mess. She had manipulated him; had
manipulated *them*. She had turned his exceptional children into hunted animals and broken shells. And
she would pay.

Lydeker reigned in the uncharacteristic emotions marking his features, hearing his men approach. Te…254
hadn't come out of her tank easily. They'd taken the utmost care to remove her without inflicting any more
traumas to her already badly abused body and mind, but even so, her prognosis wasn't good. She would
need long term care…the kind he couldn't provide in these perilous times. And so he'd employed his men
– the few he could trust – to take her away from here. To somewhere she could recuperate; where she
could wait for him while he finished his business in Seattle.

Lydeker turned his charge over to her new keepers and went in search of his South African friends. He had
a plan to propose. And the business of making war to attend to.



**** ****



Max sat next to Zack in a classy outdoor restaurant in one of the nicer locations of Sector 9, the high-rise
district. Zack had objected – strongly – to showing up in a place so public so soon after their last brush
with Manticore. But Max had told him that she was going, one way or the other. And if he just had to talk
to her today, then he'd have to come with. And so he had, reluctantly.

Max watched the building across the street, only keeping a portion of her attention on their conversation.
She was waiting for Logan to get out of his doctor's appointment. Had been waiting for half an hour now.
And had been cussing herself for about as long.

'What the hell are you doing here, Max?' she thought.

Zack was right. It was stupid to be here. It was stupid to be this close to Logan. In the daylight, in public.
In a part of town that was way too exclusive to be safe for a couple of refugees. But she'd wanted to see
him, if even from a distance. She missed Logan. They hadn't seen much of each other in the past week,
but she'd known that he'd be here and she wanted to see him. Although she assumed he was still working
the kinks out of Phil's exoskeleton, that didn't mean that Logan had given up on the conventional methods
of regaining his legs. Max wanted to see if today's session had had any luck in doing just that.

And she was becoming rather impatient as she glanced back at the building for about the thousandth time
and sighed.

'Wasting your time,' she thought.

What was she doing, stalking him like this? This wouldn't fix things between them. If they were even
fixable. The distance that had formed between herself and Logan over the past week was all her fault, she
knew. She was the one who'd drawn back after that night of their anniversary. She'd pushed him away
and Logan, who'd been pushed away so many times, who had always been so sure of himself, but who was
now so unsure about her and about his legs, who had nearly panicked when he'd lost contact with her,
there, just briefly during their mission to rescue Tenga…Logan had been hurt.

But Max just couldn't be with him then. Couldn't let him be there for her. She knew she would have to
learn how, eventually, if she and he were ever going to hook up. But she just couldn't yet. Seeing Tenga
like that…even thinking about it now made Max want to curl up and hide away from the world. From
Manticore and all the sick things it did to people. All the sick things it made them do. She felt so guilty
and ashamed. Ashamed of failing Tenga. Ashamed of failing herself, and Logan, by sleeping with
Rayford (Yeah, she still hadn't forgotten that, either).

In some part of her mind Max supposed she knew Logan understood. Being Logan, after all. He always
understood. And maybe a part of her problem was that she felt guilty about his being so understanding. It
seemed like she was always doing something she needed him to understand. She was tired of it, and afraid
that Logan was becoming tired of it, as well. And even though she told herself that she could go to him,
she held back. Not wanting to risk rejection.

Max sighed again.

But perhaps she was risking even more by keeping her distance.

"Will you stop doing that?" a voice suddenly said, interrupting Max' reverie.

"What?"

Zack shook his head, disgusted.

"That little noise you keep making."

He glowered at the building across the street.

"I wish you and wonderboy would just get this shit over with already so we could accomplish something."

Max glowered right back, but her voice didn't sound as convincing as she'd hoped.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

And Zack just made a little sound in the back of his throat.

"Whatever."

Then his eyes changed, just slightly, as he looked over Max' shoulder. They became bluer, icier. Full of
disapproval. Max smiled. That could only mean that Logan was near. Max started to turn in her seat, but
Zack stopped her.

"Wha…"

"Cale just stepped out of the building."

"Yeah, so…"

"And he's got friends waiting for him."

Max didn't know what Zack was getting at, but she didn't like the tone of his voice. Then, despite his
warnings, she turned. And saw a unit of Manticore soldiers headed for Logan's direction.

"Logan!"

Max yelled, but she was too far away to be heard, though the other diners in the restaurant heard her, loud
and clear. She and Zack began getting odd looks, and Zack hissed under his breath.

"Maxie! What the hell are you doing!"

Before he could stop her, she was dashing out of her chair and out of the restaurant, using that super human
speed of theirs for all it was worth. Zack shook his head and followed.

And up ahead, Manticore had met its target. A soldier was saying something to Logan, and Logan didn't
look happy about it. Max saw his hand drift to the back of his chair, saw Bling, beside him, reach into his
coat.

'No, no, no, no, no.'

As Max dashed across the street, dodging traffic, barely aware of the yells, curses, and honks that
accompanied her, she muttered to herself.

'This is bad. This is bad.'

Then the shooting started.

'This is real bad!'

Max saw Bling go down, lost Logan in the madness of soldiers and screaming public. And then she threw
herself into the fray.

She held her own pretty well. At first. But there were a lot of soldiers, and little time to fight them all as
Max suddenly caught sight of Logan being carried towards a black van.

"Logan!"

He wasn't moving; didn't respond when she called his name. And Max felt fear begin to claw its way up
her spine as she realized that was blood smeared across his temple and down the front of his shirt. Had he
just been hurt? Or shot? Max turned to race after him…and was then knocked flat on her back by the butt
of a rifle.

Dazed, she looked up, seeing a blurry figure come closer, towering over her. She vaguely recognized
Zack's voice in the distance.

And the Lydeker's face was inches away from her own.

"You son of a…"

Max got just that far, raising up on her elbows, preparing to pounce, when Lydeker got the better of her.
One swift movement and a small hiss and the instrument the older man had been holding had injected its
contents into Max' bloodstream. She immediately hit the pavement again.

"So we meet again, 452. A shame it isn't under better circumstances," he said.

Max could barely speak, the drugs had already taken such a strong effect on her system. But she gave it all
she had.

"Not…goin'…Manticore…alive," she managed.

Lydeker just gave her a casual shrug, pocketing the device he'd used on her neck.

"Fraid not," he told her. "At least, not today. I've got more pressing matters to attend to."

And then a van pulled up. The same van into which they'd carried Logan.

"Let…him…go," Max said. "'ve…got…me."

The world was starting to fade into black now, and Max struggled to hold onto it even as it spun out of her
control. From a distance, she could just make out Lydeker's response.

"It's not you we came for, 452. It's him."

And then she saw and heard nothing else.