Disclaimer: I don't own Dark Angel.
A/N: Again big thanks to Shywr1ter for betaing and suggestions:-) All remaining mistakes are mine.
Just a possible missing scene after Max's and Cindy's visit to the casino in "CREAM"…
Max smiled as she leaned relaxed onto the doorframe of Logan's office, observing the perfect picture before her that was just so typically Logan. It would be a pity to disturb him.
But then she really was hungry after her adventurous trip to the 'Odessa Social Club' with Cindy – and the only contents of her fridge was one of Kendra's obscure, homemade bread-spreads which definitely didn't qualify as edible in Max's eyes. Of course she could just have stayed at Crash, where they'd gone to celebrate their glorious victory, but the only food available there at this late hour were peanuts and pretzels – and those paled in comparison to all the yummy creations Logan always produced for her. The mere thought of his delicious pasta or the leftovers of a Poulet à la Cale evoked a noisy complaint from Max's stomach
However, it hadn't only been her empty stomach that had brought her over to Fogle Towers. There was something else, a queasy feeling that didn't have a physical origin, but – as Kendra would put it – was more 'visceral'. Sure, the evening had gone well as Sketchy had been once more saved from the consequences of his own stupidity… but despite Cindy's exuberant mood, Max couldn't really enjoy their success. The thought that she'd just quite openly used her extraordinary abilities was chilling, creepy… and stupid. There was no other term for the reckless display of her repertoire including some fighting, estimating the exact speed of a roulette ball and last but not least memorizing a whole stack of cards by flicking through them with a speed in which a normal eye would have merely seen a flurry of colors. She just as well could have hung a sign around her neck reading 'Genetically enhanced creature. Please contact Col. Lydecker'.
She'd done it for her friend, sure, but that didn't diminish the risk that somebody would find all this a bit strange and start asking questions… and maybe then find out other things, like her reputation for never sleeping or her endless stamina.
Fortunately, at least, Cindy had reigned in her astonishment at Max's rather impressive performance. She had learned pretty early that commenting on her friend's usually well-hidden intelligence and talents was a sure way to make her clam up. Those were taboo-topics, just like everything concerning her past or her family.
Of course, most would consider the evening's events at the casino as pure luck, but the rumor about the two girls who not only had won the evening's lottery but also had beaten up a whole bunch of burly guys surely would become urban myth by the end of the week... How often could she do this before somebody got suspicious, maybe somebody with a military background who'd heard some strange rumors about super-soldiers created in a laboratory?
So… it hadn't merely been hunger that had made Max go see Logan at 2 o'clock in the morning. Even stronger than her need to refuel was the wish to see somebody who knew who she really was – and didn't seem to mind.
On her ride through the deserted streets she'd briefly considered taking a little detour for her place first to strip off her 'dancer'-clothes and get rid of the heavy makeup – in short, to transform back into the casually clad bike-messenger Logan knew. Somehow Max felt just the tiniest bit uncomfortable about visiting Logan dressed like a hooker. What would he think if he saw her made up like a street walker, he who surely knew only the sort of women who wore fancy designer clothes? Yet, in her eagerness to get over to him without further delay, this thought had been dropped fairly quickly.
And anyway, in all likelihood even Seattle's busiest cyber-journalist was asleep at this nightly hour.
And he really was asleep. There in his office, with his elbows perched up beside the keyboard and his head resting on his hands in precarious balance, Logan had given in to his fatigue. He seemed exhausted, even in his sleep, like someone who needed a good night of sleep, but didn't allow himself the badly needed time to rest. Obsessing again. Max sighed. Must be hard to be always one step away from saving the world…
The only light, cold and bluish, came from the screens surrounding him, their display caught and distorted by Logan's glasses which were slightly askew, pushed aside by his long, elegant fingers. He must have sat here since the late afternoon, obsessing with a project and not bothering to turn on the lights.
One of the screens showed the gentle, smiling face of Nathan Herrero, the man who'd discovered that life held more than only work and protecting the downtrodden. He had been Logan's mentor and seemingly was more important to him than the aunt and uncle who were mentioned every now and then in a rather bitter tone. Perhaps the unexpected meeting with his supposedly dead friend had unsettled Logan, had made him think over his own priorities...
Maybe it would really be better to let him sleep… but his awkward position there at the desk didn't look all that restful and his head would slip out of his hands and hit the keyboard any moment anyway. So, not leaving her place at the doorframe, Max called out a mellow „Hey stranger."
She hadn't meant to startle him, but nevertheless, Logan's head jerked up abruptly at the sound of her voice. Stretching his shoulders he gave his surroundings a groggy once-over, seemingly unable to utter more than a dull "Max…?" His voice, husky with sleep, carried a slightly hesitant note that was underlined by the confused drawing together of his brows.
She wasn't sure what this "Max…?" was meant to be – a greeting, a question, an expression of his bewilderment at her presence? Max doubted it was the last. Without either of them being aware of it, Max's dropping in at his apartment at any hour of day – or night – had become a mutually welcomed habit … Whatever it was, Max had to rein in the laughter she felt bubbling up at seeing him flustered like this. It was quite an achievement to render Logan Cale, the 'last free voice of Seattle', speechless. But then it was not fair to make fun of him when he wasn't even really awake. Suppressing the grin that was threatening to spread across her face, Max posed her question in the most serious tone she could muster. "Are you up to feeding a starving female?"
Instead of answering, Logan repositioned his glasses with deliberate care. Then he resumed the staring, his expression somewhere in between sleepy puzzlement – and appreciation for what he saw.
So it really was her clothes that had thrown him like that… the brown, sequin-covered top, the shiny gold hot-pants, the high-heels dangling from her hand… She just as well could have stood there nude.
Suddenly blushing in overt self-consciousness for her exaggerated attire, Max casually gestured downward, as if to magically cover herself with a pair of jeans and shirt. Then, hoping it was too dark for him to see her face coloring, she set about helping Logan's understanding along. "Sketchy."
However, the name of her co-worker provoked only more confusion, this time mixed with something else. It couldn't be jealousy, could it? With any other guy such possessiveness would have angered Max – with Logan though… it gave her a warm, fluttery feeling somewhere deep down in her belly. It was a feeling that was crushed efficiently as she forced herself to remember what he'd told her only weeks ago: "We're not like that." Plain and simple. And still… there had been something else in his reaction, just like when he'd asked about Eric, an emotion that was hard to read and even harder to trust…
Tearing her attention away from the complicated realms of their relationship, Max focused again on the tale of Sketchy and his Mafiosi friends. "He was in trouble… again" In comic exasperation Max's eyes were turned heavenwards.
Understanding started to dawn on Logan's face, together with an amused smirk – and hadn't there been just a hint of relief...?
"So me and Cindy dressed up as two stupid 'dancers from over at the Cherry Bomb'…offered a little performance…" While talking Max demonstrated the innocent, pouting look she'd used on the casino's doorman earlier, taking a secret delight from the thought that she was safe with him. He knew her well enough to know that this wasn't her, that she wasn't only a pretty face with no brains behind it. "…and we showed those thugs that you better not mess around with two oh-so-innocent-looking girls." A triumphant grin appeared, before, as an afterthought she added "Cindy isn't half bad in kicking ass."
"Oh, yes…" Logan chuckled as he remembered the resolute stance with which Original Cindy had accused him of being a rich, abusive playboy at their first encounter. He almost had backed out of Jam Pony right then, and might well have, had he not been so worried for Max. "I wouldn't want to mess with her."
Each wearing a pleased smile, their eyes locked, captivated by the simple presence of the other.
When, after some time, the silence threatened to become awkward Logan finally backed up from his place at the desk. "And now you're hungry?", It wasn't really a question. He already knew the answer and was glad, almost giddy, that she hadn't hesitated to come over, no matter the hour. Cooking for Max was a safe way to show that he cared, cared for her in way she'd missed out for so long living alone on the streets. She'd never experienced how it was like to come home to a waiting family, dinner already on the table…
Max followed him into the kitchen, noticing with a little grin how his hair looked even unrulier than usual after his little nap. "Yep. Nothing like a little sparring with some bad guys to work up an appetite."
"Hm…really?" Logan's head appeared for a quick, teasing peek from behind the fridge door where he was rummaging through his infinite supply of otherwise unattainable food items. "Then…how does sandwich à la Cale sound to you?"
Her smile – that in the first place had never stopped since she'd come in – widened again. "Sounds like you have to make heaps of them." She planted herself on one of the bar stools to observe, with an odd feeling of contentment and belonging, how he spread the ingredients for another culinary miracle over the work-table, obviously not bothered in the least by the idea of having to feed her in the middle of the night.
After a moment of companionable silence, Logan spoke again, a casual remark that was delivered without looking up while slicing a tomato. "You should be more careful about showing your abilities, you know."
Max just smirked lopsidedly, eyebrows going up in a silent "Oh, really." She didn't bother to tell him that she risked her safety on a regular basis on his Eyes Only missions, that breaking into a police station was far more likely to draw attention from the wrong side than playing poker with a couple of Mafiosi. It would be only an unnecessary reminder that ever since the shooting he was shut out from any tasks requiring legwork and inevitably put a dampener on his blessedly good mood. The one thing that counted, Max mused as she quietly watched how Logan placed the sandwich-filled plate onto his lap, was that he seemed to genuinely care for her. This in itself was enough, made up for all his occasional crankiness and misplaced priorities.
As he passed her the plate Max murmured a hushed, sincere "thanks", her fingers grazing his for an instant. Then, before she picked up one of the delicious-looking sandwiches, she finally replied, looking straight into his eyes. "Helping Sketchy was risky, yeah. But…isn't this the thing friends are supposed to do?"
Setting down the plate carelessly on the tabletop, Logan returned her gaze with a serious nod. "Right… that's what friends do." Then, a contented smile lingering on his face, he watched her taking the first bite with her usual, boundless appetite, the satisfaction of which always made him inexplicably happy.