The Story of Max Cale
by pari106

pari106@hotmail.com

Code: M/Z; AU (some M/L, implied. Logan/Syl? Damn, I don't know where I got that from, but now I
can't get rid of it.)

Rating: PG-13

A/N: This is an AU story I've been thinking about for a while. Recently I read "Through the Looking Glass", which is about the Dark Angel characters in reversed roles (another idea I'd been contemplating). Well, the author of that story inspired me to get back to work on those ideas, so here you go.

Summary: What if Max had grown up knowing Logan as her brother instead of Zack?

A/A/N: Oh, and I know I have a lot of projects up in the air right now...why can't I ever just finish one, right? Well, I'm working on it. But in the meantime, when something comes to me, I just have to get it out! I promise you, "the Gift of Darkness" and "An Emergency Change of Command" will be completed! Someday. Until then, hope you like this. This, too, is still in progress. So please review!





The Story of Max Cale
by pari106



Early that morning, Logan Cale slipped quietly through the rooms of his high-rise penthouse in Foggle
Towers. He very gently set his bags next to the door, trying not to make a sound as he pulled on a long,
black coat and pocketed his set of keys. It was still dark out and Logan turned a lamp on so that he
wouldn't stumble over his own feet in the dark.

Then he entered the guestroom and stared down at her.

Max.

His sister.

Logan resisted the urge to sigh as he neared her bedside, looking down at the shiny, black strands of her
hair, fanned out around her on the pillow. He stared at the long lashes that rested against her soft cheek as
she slept; at her soft, full lips. At the sheets covering her as she lay there on her belly, and the creamy
white shoulders that peeked out from beneath them.

He was staring at his sister…only he wasn't.

Max wasn't his actual birth sister. But she'd been adopted by the Cale family when she was just a toddler,
and Logan was 15.

'Fifteen.'

As Logan watched her, a part of him knew that he should probably feel ashamed. Birth sister, or not,
they'd known each other their entire adult lives. He'd watched her grow up. When their parents had died –
and Logan Sr. and Evelyn Cale had been every bit the parents to Max – they had had only each other. And
now they were inseparable. Logan would defend Max with his life, with his very soul if he had to. And,
apparently – as she had proven by her own actions – Max felt the same way.

And she was so young – only nineteen to Logan's thirty-two. They were more than a decade and a
lifetime's worth of experiences apart.

But looking at her…Logan didn't feel so much older. He felt like a little boy, staring through a store
window at the one toy he absolutely couldn't have.

Not that he'd compare the love he had for Max to a child's love for a toy. He would do anything for Max.
Sacrifice anything. Because he loved her that much.

That was why he was leaving today. For Wyoming.

Finally, Logan did sigh, sitting down on the edge of the bed, being extremely careful not to cause the
mattress to shift too much. He didn't want to wake her.

She'd had such an awful night – one of the worst in a long time. The seizures had been in remission for
almost a year now, and suddenly there they were again. Max had just arrived back in Seattle, as she did
every other two weeks, to visit her big brother. They'd just finished dinner, and suddenly the seizures were
upon her, just like that. They'd come so fast there hadn't even been time to give Max her triptophan, the
expensive, almost impossible to obtain, almost dangerously potent drug that kept Max's chemical
imbalance in check.

The seizures were just another reminder, another sign that his sister wasn't like anyone else Logan knew.
That she wasn't like him. He'd known this since she was a child, when she had her first seizure and his
parents had called him home from college in their distress. They'd taken her to an emergency room, but
their family physician had met them there, and had whisked them back to the family home. He'd been so
shaken up that night, they couldn't quite tell what was the matter. But he had given Max her first dose of
triptophan since she'd come to live with them. He'd begged the Cales not to take her to another doctor, had
been too distraught to even tell them why. He'd explain to them in the morning, he'd said.

And he'd died of a heart attack that night. The Cales never figured out why Dr. Baker had been so
adamant about Max's not seeing another doctor, but his disturbing behavior, and subsequent death, put the
fear of God into them. They hadn't taken her to a doctor since. As Max never got sick, other than with the
seizures, this wasn't a problem.

The only problem had been securing Max's triptophan. It was a narcotic – outlawed in every part of the
United States, and several other countries around the world. But if it was what his little Maxie needed, than
that was what Logan Cale Sr. was going to procure. Logan Cale – mild-mannered, law-abiding citizen that
he was, was going to smuggle triptophan into his home. Logan Jr. had balked at the very idea. The elder
Logan Cale was an upstanding citizen; he'd never even under-tipped before. There was absolutely no way
Logan was going to let his father commit such a crime, even to save his own sister's life.

He'd insisted that he be allowed to procure the triptophan himself.

And he'd been doing so ever since.

It had gotten easier – and safer – since he'd started Eyes Only. Now that he had the informant net to help
him locate the purest shipments, he no longer had to be on a constant search; a constant lookout for new
sources and better suppliers. He no longer had to rely on the lowest common denominator of society. He'd
found a reliable supplier and he stocked up now on the precious, life giving drug every several months or
so.

And if Eyes Only's' connections ever wondered about his extracurricular business affairs…

Logan supposed that the prospect of a better future – the future Logan looked forward to once his activities
could make a difference and change the sorry ways of their world - made people do things they normally
wouldn't. Every time he came into contact with the informants they were constantly sending their
protestations of gratitude and commitment to "the boss". They followed his orders, they followed him.
Loyally. Bravely. They'd followed him even if they'd suspected his part in the triptophan trade to be
everything it seemed and worse. They followed because they wanted the future that he promised. And
because they figured following the orders of a potential triptophan addict was a small price to pay for the
salvation of the world.

And Logan let them believe whatever they wanted to believe. Because having everyone else suspect him
of being a drug addict was a small price to pay for keeping Max safe.

But to keep her safe now, he needed more than just triptophan. He needed answers. Answers to the
questions he was travelling to Wyoming to ask.

Because the seizures weren't the only way in which Max was different.

Everything about here was just a little bit…more. She was faster, stronger. Unbelievably stronger. She
could see in the dark and she had a didactic memory. If she cut herself, the wound would heal in moments.
And only after years of training herself to do so, after years of pretending and practicing in order to fit in at
sleepovers, and to keep from worrying her parents, did Max actually sleep at night. If she needed to, she
could go days without resting. And even then, she'd only need three hours, tops.

She was different.

She'd always been different. But Logan's parents had tried so hard to get her to supress those differences.
Not because they didn't want her to be different, not because they loved her any less for her differences.
But because of Dr. Baker. Because of their fear that whatever had caused the doctor's anxiety over Max's
seizures, applied to everything else different about her, as well. They were afraid of what might happen to
her is someone else found out about her spectacular gifts; about who might come looking for her.

But they couldn't hide all of Max's differences. Not completely. They were bound to come out, and when
they did…

Logan sighed again, his hand forming into a fist where it lay on the bed.

When he'd first started Eyes Only, he'd known it would only be a matter of time before Max became aware
of his activities. She knew him too well for him to be able to keep anything from her. And once she found
out, Logan knew she'd want to be involved. But Logan absolutely refused that. How could he let his baby
sister put herself at risk like that? he'd asked her, feeling like a heel for playing the big brother card when
he knew damned well that wasn't how he felt about her. Max had insisted that if he could put his ass on the
line, day after day, then so could she.

Logan disagreed.

He'd kept on disagreeing. But that hadn't kept Max from trying to weasel her way into the organization.

It had started out with little things – some meetings here, some reconnaissance there. But, little by little,
Max began to increase her contributions to Eyes Only.

And, mostly, she was just trying to help, Logan knew. She was trying to protect him. She was also trying
to do her part to help people, just like he was. But she was also trying to do something for herself.

She had this great part of herself that never got to see the light of day because of their parents' fears. She'd
never been able to test her abilities, to really use them for a purpose. Working for Eyes Only gave her the
potential opportunity of doing just that.

And how could Logan deny her that?

How could he keep asking her to go on, day after day, denying herself?

Eventually Logan had given in and had started including Max in his activities. She thought it was because
he'd finally realized that "…I'm a big girl, Logan. I can take care of myself." Logan hadn't thought of
Max as a little girl in a long time. But the real reason he'd begun to include her is to give her that
opportunity she was seeking to express herself. To use her abilities the way they were obviously intended
to be used.

He included her to give her an outlet for her unique differences.

And he included her because he felt guilty.

He felt guilty that he couldn't give her more than just an outlet. He felt guilty because he couldn't give her
the answers to the questions he was preparing to ask now. All Max's life she'd wondered why she was the
way she was. Where did she come from? How could she possibly be capable of the things of which she
was capable? Why did she have to hide herself away all the time? How did Dr. Baker know that she had
to hide? Logan had wondered about the same things. But he'd never done anything but wonder.

Before Eyes Only, wondering was all they could do. Logan didn't have the resources or the connections to
find out more about Max's past. She'd been abandoned at an orphanage where a young social worker, who
had just signed on in the institution, had become her immediate keeper. That social worker had
recommended Max to the Cales. Logan and Evelyn had fallen in love with the precocious little girl, whose
big brown eyes seemed to hold far more intelligence than any two year old was meant to possess. And the
rest was history.

But once Logan became Eyes Only, he began to discover the resources necessary to research Max's past.
He began to build the connections he needed to help her.

But he hadn't. He'd told himself that he was looking, but just not finding anything, but really he hadn't
been trying with all of his heart.

Because his heart was with Max. And he had this insane, irrational, selfish fear that if Max had the answers
to all her questions then she wouldn't need him anymore. She'd know who she was and where she was
from and what wonderful, extraordinary destiny had been planned for her (for surely there had to be
something extraordinary awaiting someone so extraordinary herself). He was afraid he'd lose her.

But Max deserved to know herself. She deserved better than Logan, who'd had the power to help her all
this time, but didn't, out of concern for his own, selfish needs. She needed to know herself.

And Logan had almost lost her anyhow.

Without any other focus in her life, Max had quickly become dissatisfied with her small part in Eyes Only.
She wanted more responsibility. More action, more risk. And though Logan had fought her, she'd gotten
it. She'd been there during Logan's mission to help a woman and her child escape a powerful criminal
named Sonrisa.

She'd been there to take a bullet designed for him.

Ever since Logan had dedicated himself to finding out more about Max's past. He was still afraid that she
would leave him in the end, that he would lose her. But he was more afraid of losing her the way he almost
had – to a shooting, to an accident, to death. He was terrified of that. And, even if she did leave him,
shouldn't he want that? Not for himself, but for her? Shouldn't he want to give her the extraordinary life
she deserved? If he loved her enough to sacrifice his life, shouldn't he love her enough to sacrifice his
chance at happiness?

He should. And he did.

He was prepared to sacrifice both.


He'd finally had to take Max to a doctor, to deal with the temporary consequences of the shooting. He'd
gotten Sam Carr – a good man and an expert in his field. Then he'd hired the best physical therapist he
could find. Max had taken the shot in her spine, and had been temporarily paralyzed from the waist down.
It had been one of the darkest times of Max's life, and it had nearly destroyed Logan to see her that way, to
know that she was hurting, that she was helpless, because of him. It had nearly driven him mad.

But the paralysis *had* been temporary, after all. And Max's therapist, Bling, had become a quick addition
to their little family. He was a friend and an advisor and, after he'd learned about Eyes Only, he'd become
Logan's most trusted partner, as well.

And after Max had gotten back on her feet, literally, Logan had begun his research into her past. He didn't
have anything definite yet, but what he did have was shocking. He'd found information on a pre-Pulse
government program carried out by an institution called Manticore. The dates and the talk of genetic
engineering tied in perfectly with Max's age and abilities. And he'd found connections between the
orphanage where Max had been abandoned and a former government officer named Donald Lydecker.

Now Logan was going to Wyoming to look up this Donald Lydecker, and to see if the man could answer
his and Max's questions.

And Max had no idea about any of it. She didn't know that he'd been looking, or what he'd found. She
didn't know about the super soldier that was on his tail.

He probably should have told her about that – if for no other reason than to let her know to watch her back.
But he had Bling on the defensive, and a whole team just waiting for the call, should Max need help. And
he planned to tell her everything. After he'd been to Wyoming and he could confirm his theories.

Until then, she would be under the impression that the person who he'd caught trying to break into his
penthouse, nearly a month ago, was nothing more than your average cat burglar. That's what Logan had
thought, after all, when he'd seen the intruder the first time. But then he saw her again and he began to
think differently.

Actually, it was seeing her that had sparked his renewed guilt over not pursuing Max's past. Because
before then, Logan hadn't had any real reason to believe he'd find anything.

His mysterious cat burglar had proven otherwise.

Because the only person he'd ever seen with the type of abilities that Max exhibited was that woman. And
she'd had a barcode on the back of her neck, just like the soldiers of Manticore were rumored to possess.

Suddenly, Logan felt the bed shift beneath him, bringing him out of his reverie. He looked down at Max,
surprised to see her eyes open.

Max blinked, clearing away the last remnants of sleep. "Hey," she finally said, her voice thick.

Logan smiled at her. "Hey, sleepyhead," he told her. "Gonna rise and shine this early?"

Max looked past his shoulder, to the open drapes and the windows in the livingroom. The night's stars
were stills shining bright on the other side of the panes. Max grumbled and wrinkled her nose.

"Not on your life," she mumbled, burrowing back into her covers.

Logan laughed, but the sound faded away as he remembered he was sitting here in bed with Max. A very
unclothed Max.

"Uh…good. Get some rest." Logan awkwardly shoved his hands into the pockets of his coat. "And take it
easy for awhile, okay?" he told her, sincerely. "I told Bling to make sure you do."

'…Bling…'

That woke Max up. She opened one eye and looked up at him again. Then opened both, and sat up,
bringing the covers up with her as she did.

"Bling? Where are you going?" Max asked.

"Out," Logan replied. 'Smile. That's right. Act natural…' "I'll be gone a few days. Just some checking
up on that DeLandis case," Logan lied. "Pretty routine stuff, remember."

'Please, don't give me a hard time about this, Max. Please, please, please…'

"Do you have to?" she asked, and Logan inwardly cringed. 'Here it comes…' Logan opened his mouth to
speak, but Max spoke first.

"Okay," she said with a smile, causing Logan's jaw to drop. "When will you be back?"

Logan blinked.

"Uh…I told you a few days. Maybe more. I'd stay if I could, but I…"

"That's okay," Max was still smiling. "Be careful, alright?"

That was it. Maybe Logan *had* been hitting the triptophan, but he just couldn't remember it.

"Always," he replied, slowly. Then he just couldn't help it any longer. "Are you feeling okay?" he asked.

Max told him, looking as innocent as an angel: "Yeah, fine. Why?"

"I don't know. You just…" Finally, Logan allowed himself to relax. 'You're getting paranoid, Logan,' he
told himself. For once he was running off to do something dangerous, and Max wasn't insisting on putting
herself in danger, too? Why was he complaining?

Logan smiled, then shrugged.

"Letting me off a little easy, aren't you? No demands to know more? Where I'm going; why I'm going?
No threats to my bodily health if I don't take you with me?"

Max scowled, but her frown eventually shuddered into a reluctant smile, as she reached over and punched
him in the arm.

"Ow!" Logan told her, laughing even as he rubbed at the sore spot that had developed where her fist had
landed.

Max settled back into bed.

"I'm not that bad," she muttered, still smiling as she knew it was a lie.

"You? Oh, no. 'Course not."

The look in Max's eyes threatened retaliation, so Logan began to back away towards the door. Sobering, as
he remembered why he was leaving in the first place.

Meanwhile, Max shrugged.

"Look, you say you're just checking up, then I believe you," she explained. "Besides…I'm just a little
tired. you know, with the seizure and all."

Max winced, hating herself for playing that card. But it was the only one at her disposal. Logan wasn't
buying her easy-going routine, and she could tell.

Guilt immediately jumped to her brother's eyes, and Max winced again. The last thing she wanted was to
make Logan feel bad.

"Yeah," he said, coming back into the room. Max could sense his thoughts even before he voiced them
aloud. "Are you sure you're okay? If not, I can postpone…"

"No!" Max insisted, quickly backtracking afterwards to appear more casual. "You go, Logan. I'm fine.
I'm just gonna hang out here a while and veg out. Bling'll be around. Stop stressing already."

Logan sighed. He didn't want to leave her if Max really was sick. But he'd lied when he'd said he could
postpone. This trip, out of any, could absolutely not be procrastinated about.

"Alright…Well. Goodbye, then," he finally told her.

Max smiled up at her brother, the façade falling away as true concern and affection lit her features.

"Bye. Be careful," she told him, sincerely.

Logan just nodded and turned to leave.

"Oh, and Logan?" Max called after him.

Logan looked back over his shoulder. "Mmhmm?"

"Thanks."

That stopped him where he stood.

"For what?" he asked.

Max shrugged. "For always looking out for me. I appreciate it, I really do. I love you, big brother," she
told him.

And she was busy rearranging her covers so she didn't see the look that passed Logan's face when he said
that, but she caught his quiet response.

"Yeah. I know," is all he said. Then he was gone.

Max rolled her eyes and sighed.

Men. Her brother wrote poetry and risked his ass every day for widows and little children and the helpless
and homeless, blah blah, woof woof…but he couldn't tell his own sister 'I love you' without squirming.
She really felt for the future Mrs. Logan Cale, whoever she was. Because if Logan had those sort of issues
with her, how the hell would he handle his emotions for someone he'd fallen in love with?

Max just shook her head and left that question remain unanswered. She had other concerns than her
brother's lovelife. Or lack thereof.

She was back in bed, but she wasn't going back to sleep, she knew that. Instead, she just stared up at the
ceiling, thinking. Planning.

She hated lying to her brother. Letting him think she was oblivious to what was going on around them.
That she was sick, and that's why she let him go without a fuss. That that was why she didn't want to go
with. But if Logan knew what she was really planning, he never would have left. He never would have let
her help.

And he needed help, whether he was willing to admit it to her or not.

Max planned to help him.

After all, he was always looking out for her, wasn't he?

"Well, I'm looking out, too, big brother," she whispered, thinking of Logan. "I'm looking out for you."

'Whether you like or not,' she silently added.