DISCLAIMER: Dark Angel and its characters lovingly borrowed. Not mine; no profits made.

A/N: Thanks to Mari83 and her recent thoughts in our discussions about what makes Logan tick – this fic bubbled up after sharing impressions back and forth about who he is and how he got there. This one's for you, Mari! Thanks to anyone reading; all comments and thoughts are welcome if you care to review.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Illumination

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I used to be tall.

I used to be agile. Fast. It used to be four minutes, tops, from phone to front door, whether it was for an hour ... a day... A week. And, no questions asked; no debate about ramps or working elevators or ground floor meets...

I used to be active. I used to celebrate the completion of an article with a game of handball or tennis or a run ... I used to unwind from a long week on a sailboat or a quick flight to the islands. My hips and knees and ankles were part of the machine that played those sports, took those trips and needed no individual attention. Their therapists used to be racquetball opponents, stairways, wave-tossed decks, not a philosophy-spouting bodyguard with a schedule of his own..

I used to play basketball, all six feet two inches going for lay-ups and jump shots, where the sounds on hardwood were rubber soles, not rubber wheels...

I used to be whole...

I used to catch women looking at me, smiling with that look of interest and appreciation that meant they liked what they saw. The looks now, when I catch them, are pitying... curious... or embarrassed as they redden and look away, caught, ashamed for staring... that's if they look at all, if they're immune to the cloak of invisibility the chair sometimes creates for others...

I used to be independent; all of my work – my research and investigation, my exposés and broadcasts, even intervention with safe-houses and bodyguards – I did it all. I was my own best resource, did my own best legwork, was my own best bodyguard... I left much of the computer work to others as I ran the coast, ran the streets... ran the show. The show now goes on outside the walls of this hushed penthouse where I sit, where I 'run' only through headsets and microphones, through satellite hook-ups and cell phones. The show goes on without me... around me... despite me...

I used to matter.

I used to be Eyes Only; ironically, was more the whole of "Eyes Only" when I was whole, when I was more than only eyes and hands and money ... Now it's "Eyes Only... and a cast of thousands." Thousands of feet, thousands of legs, all still doing what mine used to do...

"Logan...? Hey."

...and yet... she comes, still: agile, vital... eyes dark and deep and smiling as she comes near, warm and caring and here, looking me in the eye to see me, not the chair, not what I can't do... a look in her eyes reminiscent of the 'interest and appreciation' that I used to take for granted...? She sits close, unafraid of the chair... she sits, to talk with me, sits so we can be eye to eye. Does she know how important that is now?

"Whatcha doin'?"

I feel myself smile, despite the last few minutes. She can do that to me... "Thinking," I try. Maybe she'll buy it...

"Looks painful," she snorts.

And I laugh. Oh, Angel, if you only knew ... painful ... and enlightening. How else would I know how incredibly special you are, how good you are inside, to see me as you do, if I hadn't seen the pitying looks from everyone else? Or know how giving you are, putting your safety at risk every errand you do for me, knowing it's my lifeline to Eyes Only... "Can be," my smile lingers. Does she know that she brings sunshine into my life? "To what do I owe the pleasure?" The least I can do is turn away from the window and face her, let her know she has my full attention now. "I thought you had plans for Crash tonight."

She shrugs in that street-tough way that just makes her look more vulnerable to me, knowing what I know about her. "I did, but..." Now it's her turn to gaze out the window. "Original Cindy found a new shortie to pursue, Sketch was on about another crazy scheme and just like always, Herbal was tryin' to talk some sense to the boy." She shakes her head, then looks back at me. Something in her eyes vibrates in my chest, telling me it didn't matter what look I saw in others' eyes, as long as she kept this look in hers ... and she says, "I decided I wanted to come hang out with someone who ... thinks."

The vibrations become fireworks ... and I need to retreat just for a moment, so she wouldn't see just how powerfully she moves me ... no quick escape, but an unlocking of brakes, a turn, a push ... and a smile I try to hide from her, that I feel come from somewhere, down deep. "I'll get the chessboard..."

...I used to be glib and quick and driven, with the capacity to act on those traits...

...and maybe it was time, in all that, to slow down a little and think: to consider, and reflect... and appreciate all that Max is and does. To be the man she deserves...

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx