In the Happy Now
by pari106

Rating: PG-13 for language

Disclaimer: None of Dark Angel is mine (Oh woe is me). Kudos to James Cameron, Charles Eglee, and

Summary: Max once said that there was no happily ever after for Tinga…only the happy now that had
been hers for a short while. But for Logan, his happy now had ended before he truly realized it had even

In the Happy Now

"You can tell me later."

I sit on the edge of the space needle, not the least bit afraid of the height, as I once was. And those words
are here with me, haunting.

"You can tell me later."

I've said some pretty stupid things in my time. Hey, I make my living on words; cyber broadcasts. It's my
life's work. I suppose I was bound to screw up sometime, right? The thing is it wasn't Eyes Only that
messed up – it was me, Logan. The man behind the red, white, and blue Halloween mask…as Max had
once called it. I screwed up with the one thing that mattered most – Max.

You'd think that wouldn't be the biggest tragedy. I mean, Logan Cale's screwed up before – he lost his
marriage, lost his legs. But Eyes Only never has for the simple reason that if he did, people would die.
And that's just the thing…Eyes Only didn't screw up, I did. And someone still died. Max died.

God it hurts to feel that, to think that. I've held out for so long, hoped for so long. Denied the credibility of
all the evidence to the contrary and insisted that she was alive. That she *had* to be alive. And a part of
me will always hold onto that hope – hey, that's who I am. That's the way I work – I hope. Why else
would I keep breathing day after fucking day in this worthless little hole called America? If I didn't hope,
how could I continue?

So I hope. In part. But the rest of me has to let go. I *have* to. The same way I kept insisting that Max
*has* to be alive, I have to let go of her now. Get on with my life. Or else I'll keep on like I have been,
drinking and moping; pushing people away. Taking stupid risks and picking dangerous fights. I won't
have a life left to get on with much longer.

And so I'm up here, trying to let go. Losing hope so I can keep on hoping…does that make sense? ' Jesus,
Max, without you nothing makes sense. And it never will if I don't do this now. I'll never be able to carry
on my fight against the remnants of Manticore; never be able to carry on Eyes Only. Because if I keep on
imaging you somewhere, alive, free, not coming back to me….or back at Manticore, alive, with that cruel
bitch…I'm anything but sensible then.

I just can't take it, Max, do you understand? Please, please, understand. Please forgive me for letting you
go, if even just a little. Because I'll never really give up on you. But I've got to stop mourning for you.
Otherwise I'll spend the rest of my life looking for you everywhere, seeing your face, smelling your
shampoo, feeling your lips on mine...And when I do that this pain inside me overwhelms me just like it did
the day you died. And at that moment, it's just like I'm back there again, in the woods, crying over you
before Lydeker, the stupid bastard, knocked me out.

I broke his jaw for that, did you know? You would have loved it. Me, little old human that I am, knocked
him cold. Krit and Syl, they both wanted to, but I guess they didn't start hitting him because they knew
they wouldn't be able to stop. So it was me, I got to knock the mighty Donald Lydeker off his fucking feet.

It doesn't help, though. It doesn't take away any of the pain or the hatred or the love or the loss. It doesn't

"You can tell me later."

Even now that I've decided to let Max go those words are sharp in my mind. Cutting. How could I have
been so stupid? So afraid? And afraid of what? Of loving, of being loved? I ran from it and I lost Max
and I loved her anyways. I love her anyways. So what was I so afraid of? What did I protect myself from?

Nothing. And what's more, I knew it. I knew I loved her as I held her and she lay there, dying. I kept
telling myself that this couldn't' be happening, I couldn't lose her, she couldn't leave me; I kept praying to
God not to let her. Kept thinking she was too young to die, too strong, too beautiful and good…and I knew
that I loved her. And I knew she loved me.

All the time we'd spent together and all the time I'd spent trying to second-guess our emotions, worrying
how she felt; how I felt. It all disappeared when I looked into her eyes and I saw that she loved me. It was
humbling to see that. Her last moments alive and her eyes weren't filled with anger or fear or pain…but
love – for me. I knew it and I felt it and she was going to say it…but I didn't let her.

"…I never told you…"

"You can tell me later."

Why? Why did I say that? To this day I don't know why. I never will. She was going to say 'I love you,
Logan' – I know it and I didn't let her. Why?! I loved her. If she didn't know that about me – and I'm
convinced it must have been obvious – she had to know it then, looking at me. I've never loved anyone in
my life as strong as I loved her and surely it had to have been plastered across my face then. And she was
going to say it aloud – to give that to the both of us. She couldn't stay with me the way I wanted her to and
I couldn't help her, but she could at least give us that. I could have given us that. But I didn't. And I
didn't let her. It wouldn't have changed anything, but it still would have been special. To hear her say 'I
love you' and to say it back. She knew and so did I and yet I stopped her. I knew there would be no later,
but I stopped her because I wanted there to more time for us. As if wanting would make it happen. And so
I lost that moment, we lost that moment and I should have known better.

When she left with Zack the day all this shit started to go down, I should have known something would go
wrong. I should have felt it. 'Don't you think, Max, that we should have felt it? Wasn't there anything
ominous about it all? About that first, last, *real* kiss of our relationship?' Maybe not, but I think so now.
I think it was all like a bad movie. The hero and the heroine are alone together for the last time…

"This can wait, right?" the heroine asks.

"We have all the time in the world," the hero naively replies.

And then the heroine dies, shot in some woods somewhere by her own fucking clone and the hero turns out
to not be so much of a hero after all…

'Jesus. You see, Max? See why I have to try to move on? This is what I do – what I always do when I
think of you. I could just tear myself to pieces. And if I do that, who will fight the war for me? I said I'm
not much of a hero, but then my hero is gone; my angel… And Zack's gone, whether he's dead, too, or just
captured. We haven't been able to find him, either. Who will look after the X5s now? Krit seems to be
trying to fill in, but how long can he do that alone? He's so damned young…God, Max, you were all so
damned young. And I feel even older now that you're gone.

I've got to keep going. For Krit and your other brothers and sisters. For you. Because this isn't some bad
movie – it doesn't all end just because my world has. There's no credits to roll to let me know the danger
is over. Because it's still out there, the danger. Manticore. Pieces of it still exist; are still hunting the X5s.
Hunting me. And I've got to keep going, if only so they don't catch up. Even if the story is going to end
badly anyhow. Even if there are no happy endings.

You told me that once. We talked about Tinga and Charlie and Case and you said she never got her happy
ending, but that that was okay. That no matter what happened, she'd had something special, her husband,
her son, that Manticore couldn't take away. You called it the happy now – that's what Tinga had. You and
I had that. It's what those unspoken 'I love you's were all about – trying to prolong our own happy now.
It's why my not letting you say it haunts me so badly – because I didn't prolong anything. I just cut our
time even shorter, and I didn't even realize it. We had our time in the happy now and I didn't know it till it
was gone.'

But at least we had it, me and Max. In the happy now we had each other. It wasn't like it should have been
– we should have had those 'I love you's; should have had more than just a few kisses here and there, a few
awkward hugs. But at least we had something. And nothing – not Manticore, not even death – can take
that away.

And now I sit here – at the edge of the space needle, not fearing anything like I used to. And Max's
memory is up here with me, haunting. And I let it, just for now. Just for tonight. I remember how she told
me she used to come up here to make her problems seem smaller, and I don't know if that will work for
me. But I try to make my grief seem smaller, I try to keep the promise I made to myself – and her – when I
came up here. The promise that I would start to let go. And I do, even if I can't let go of the memories just
yet. I just have to take this one step at a time.

I reach into my pocket and pull out two objects; one of them is a locket. The locket my father gave my
mother; the one she's meant to give to me. The one Max recovered for me. I hold it in my hand like
something precious. It always used to remind me of my mother – but now, when I look at it, I think mostly
of Max. When I'd told Valerie about the locket she's said to forget it – that it wasn't worth the trouble of
causing a scene with Margot. She was my wife, but she'd never worn the locket the way I'd always
intended my wife to wear it. Now I'm glad she didn't; it wouldn't have been right, somehow. It was Max
who should have worn it. Max who would have been right for me.

The other object I retrieve is my cell phone, and I look at this for a moment, hesitating without any real
reason for doing so, before I dial a number.

Bling's voice answers.


I haven't talked to him for a while. A long while. He was always there for me; more than a trainer or a
therapist or an assistant, he was my friend. And he stuck by me longer than anyone. But even he hadn't
been able to stick it out for the long haul of my near-self-destruction.

The last time we'd talked had been after another night of drinking and bar fights and breaking things. He'd
made one last plea on my behalf and then he'd simply packed up the equipment he kept here and left.

"Max may be dead, Logan," he'd said. "But you aren't. And you're going to be, soon, if you don't get
your crippled, white ass back in line and stop all this bullshit."

My response to that wasn't pleasant, or particularly intelligible, I imagine. I was still drunk.

"Logan…" He really looked pitiful when he said that. It was a sad, disappointed kind of look he gave me
that made me feel worse than the quart or so of liquor I'd been continually consuming. "You're killing
yourself, man. Can't you see that? I've tried to help you, but you won't let me. And if you're that damn
determined to bring yourself down then noone can help you."

He was right, of course. Not that I realized this then.

"If you somehow survive yourself, and find your way out of that bottle of scotch…give me a call." Bling
had muttered that and left.

Now I pick up the conversation as though it were still happening.

"I ran out of scotch," I say. I can imagine his surprise as he finally recognizes my voice. It isn't a normal
way to greet your closest friend after God-knows-how-long, but I can imagine Bling smiling on the other
side of the line anyhow.

"Imagine that," he finally says. That's all. And then I hang up. One step at a time.

The next number I dial belongs to someone I'm not sure is still alive. Or if he kept the phone I gave him,
or the number. But I dial it anyways, just in case. I told Krit he could call me if he needed me, before I
descended into that place where I couldn't help myself, much less anyone else. He'd said the same, but
neither of us were really in the condition to make any promises at the time. Now I'm going to see if he's
willing to uphold his half of the bargain.

The phone rings quite a few times before anyone picks up. Just as I'm about to disconnect, I hear a voice
over the other end of the line.


It's Krit. I only met him briefly, during those last, fateful days, but I know it's him.

"Hey," I respond. "You still willing to make good on our deal?"

Silence. And then: "Logan?"

I smile. It's good to be back.

"Yeah. I got some leads on X-series activities in the Seattle area. Thought you might wanna participate in
the action."

Another hesitation and I know I've got a partner. "I'll be there," he says. And then he hangs up.

I put the phone back in my pocket, but I hold on to my mother's jewelry. And suddenly I smile again.

Yeah, the happy now is over. Max is gone and that still hurts. But my story isn't finished yet. I've still got
some more chapters to write. And who knows? Maybe there's room for the heroine to return in one of

A/A/N: This isn't part of my "Gift" series. That work is still in progress, I'm just at an impasse with it
right now ( I suppose I shouldn't have chosen such a weird plot line for my first story! ) Don't worry – I
haven't abandoned it. But this has been in my mind so I decided to get it out while I could. Let me know
what you think of it! I may continue with this story line – I don't know. That depends on reviews!