Disclaimer: Characters courtesy of Dark Angel; no profits made. Dialogue from the episode Blah Blah Woof Woof also borrowed from DA & its writers, transcript borrowed from the "Eyes Only" website, darkangelfan(dot)com.
A/N:A scene missing from BBWW... note that I also borrowed from my own little DA world in which, along with his work for Logan, Bling is a hospital employee, where they know him by his family nickname, "BL." Special thanks to Mari & Lisa for holding my hand and hosing me down.
And I admit it: I'm a review junkie. Fixes craved! Please send whatever thoughts you may have ... I really do wanna know!
He drew a breath to speak, to offer the supportive, brave words he knew he owed her. He wouldn't let her see his heart breaking. "You're going to be okay, you know?"
"Oh, yeah. I'll be better than okay. It's the way I'm made." She offered softly, readily. As always, her words were confident. But, this time... there was more... "It's you I'm worried about."
He registered the sound of her words, even if he wouldn't allow the resulting emotion to show on his face. Admit how he really felt? Not here, not now; not safe for her, not wise, for a million reasons. But in the faintest semblance of what this was doing to him, how it was tearing him up inside, he offered, as smoothly as he could, "I'll miss you."
"You could always ditch it all and go on the lam with me," she urged, a soft, hopeful sound in her voice, even though she didn't believe he'd come. "Great way to visit exotic places, meet new people."
Her tone wasn't as light as she wanted it to be and as he looked back at her, even he could believe he could see the hope in her eyes. His resistance was waning as his body was healing... she wanted him to come with her and he might, just this once, give in to his own desires, just this once...
"I'd just slow you down," he wavered one last time.
Logan looked into the deep brown eyes and saw, no doubt left at all now, that Max wanted him to come with her as much as he wanted to go. Eyes Only, back surgery and everything else could wait because Max wanted him as much as he did her, and with that strong a magic, anything and everything was possible... and with the whisper of a smile, Logan finally nodded, to see her face light up happily, like the sun. "Okay..." he managed. "Okay..."
Their lives played out in many scenes, the swirling snippets of their lives together displayed before Logan's eyes, always together, always happy, no matter where or the circumstances: Max in tireless good humor, bantering with her customers at the truck stop as she waited tables, giving him a wink or a grin as he handed her the plates full of eggs or chili or burgers ... Max adding new acquisitions to the top shelves of the small, antiquated bookstore they'd bought, complete with the obligatory pair of cats sunning in the store window and packed to the rafters with previously owned and loved books, as Logan unpacked yet another box of books and carefully logged them in to their inventory ... Max's eyes shining over coffee as, excitedly, she told him about that morning's physics lecture, a perfect break in his morning of grading papers, the stack of exams piled at his elbow...
...Max telescoping away from him as the sudden, consuming, now-familiar pain overtook him, devouring him whole, the familiar tearing, rending pain pulling him down into the inky, fiery blackness that swallowed him...
...Max amid the shimmering, golden-citrus light, the air literally sparkling around them, Max looking like a queen in the long, ornate white gown, bringing him to his feet to take her in his arms...
"Whose dream is this, anyway... Yours or mine?"
"Don't ask me..."
"Do you want to stop?"
"No. Don't let go."
...images flickered around him but beyond his grasp. There were sounds, without meaning ... a weight on his chest, but welcome, not oppressive... angry voices ... the worried voice of his angel ... then only the golden glow, fading away...
He landed, with a thud. Like the spinning house in Wizard of Oz, he'd think later, all spinning and noisy and suddenly, with a thrump, he plopped to earth and his eyes opened in sudden, disoriented alertness. Machine sounds around him started to count softly with a slightly faster cadence...
"Hey." A tall, lean beauty with dark hair and darker eyes smiled at him from the doorway, crossing in closer to where he lay. "You're back among the conscious, I see."
Logan blinked, his myopic eyes not that bleary, but still, he was unable to avoid asking, "Max?"
The woman smiled, shaking her head. "I'm Joy, Dr. Carr's nurse. He wanted me to let him know when you woke up. So does BL – okay for me to call him too?"
Logan nodded slowly, watching the nurse then turn and leave on silent tread, and tried to put together where he was, what had happened.
...on the run with Max?
...but ... this is definitely a hospital. And Seattle, if Sam and Bling are here. How could I have been here and on the run...
...and how could I have had the surgery if I remember all those times with Max... but not remember coming here...?
Joy was back in only a very few moments. The nurse made him think of Max, making him ache for her even more. Joy was speaking again, still smiling. "I had to leave a message for Dr. Carr but I spoke to BL. He'll be down to see you in a few minutes." She came closer, and raised a glass full of amber liquid, complete with straw and sparkling ice. "If you go easy you can have some ginger ale."
... amber, liquid amber, sparkling like the lights swirling around them ... around Max...
"Mr. Cale ... are you feeling alright?"
His eyes snapped up to her and he tried to focus. "Oh. Yeah, I..." He paused, admitting, "I... I'm not sure how I got here, or when... I was scheduled for surgery today, I know, but..."
"Yesterday, but yes, you were scheduled. You just had some problems before you came in." At his puzzled look, she continued, "you began to hemorrhage as the fragment in your back shifted again. But BL found you and got you in ... he or Dr. Carr will tell you about it."
Logan nodded slowly, processing. "So... I never left Seattle?"
Joy looked a little concerned, watching him more closely now, but offered, "Not that I know of. Think you were dreaming, maybe?"
The realization that he must have been dreaming brought a pang of disappointment more painful than any shifting bullet fragment could have caused. Heavily, surrendering to reality and his responsibilities, as always, he sighed, and said softly, sadly, "Yeah. I suppose I was."
The nurse's compassionate eyes considered him for several long moments. Coming closer still, she dared, "you know... you were really lucky, in all this, with the shortage of available blood, and your blood type..."
...unbidden, the sweeping strains of a waltz ... Sebelius ... played in his head...
"There was even a point when Dr. Carr was afraid that ... because we had no blood to give you..."
"Dance with me..."
"...but there was this young woman ... she just ... hooked herself up to you, like battlefield first aid... it could have killed you if you'd been incompatible, but she must not have been, because not too long after she came in your BP was normal..."
"Logan ... Don't leave me..."
"Where is she now?" he asked, a sudden dread filling him. The soft monitor sounds around them rose again, more insistent...
The nurse suddenly looked – what? Guilty? Uncertain? "She was taken in, by the police... there've been wanted posters around the city the past couple days and they said..."
"No..." He struggled against the drugs and the haze, fighting to press himself up, out of bed... "Max..." he breathed, "she can't ... I need to..."
"Mr. Cale, lie back," Joy's cool voice was accompanied by a soft hand against his chest, enough in his weakness to defeat his efforts. "You're not in any shape to go anywhere."
"You don't understand; she's in danger – she was supposed to be miles from here by now," the memories flooded back. "I have to make some calls..."
"Calls made." The deep, calm, familiar voice interrupting him had never been so welcome.
"Bling!" Logan gulped, "I've got to call Matt; Max was taken in..."
"I've talked to Matt," Bling offered gently, coming close. "They figured out their mistake. Max is fine."
Logan looked at the two standing near his bedside, not sure yet if he could trust even Bling's words, but the woman smiled in soft understanding and said, almost apologetically, "I'll leave you two to catch up."
"Thanks, Joy." Bling watched her as she left, then turned to Logan. "Max is fine, man. I've talked to Matt. He said it looks as if all the folks with Lydecker have left town; nothing more in that investigation, they said. And I've even talked to Max," the therapist chuckled. "She's called me eight times in the past three hours to see if you were awake yet. She's at work in the meantime, 'til you wake up." Bling watched the expressive eyes as the full weight of the implication sunk in, then smiled as he added, "she said that if she's going to stay around Seattle after all, she'd better not lose her job..."
Logan leaned back, the tension knotting his shoulders and weighing his chest lifted from him, suddenly. Finally, he nodded, gratitude for Bling, for Max, for all the fates, in his voice. "Thank you."
Bling gave Logan a smirk. "Well, now that you know Max is fine – and with everyone where they should be – how are you doing? You feelin' alright, now?"
Logan sighed, a contented sound. "Yeah." He was aware that he probably had a sappy, contented smile on his face to match, but at this point, he didn't care. Max was safe, and even if the scenarios that had played out before him had been only in his imagination, and maybe just as far-fetched, Max was back here, in Seattle ... in his life ... and apparently planned to stay for a while. And with that, who knew what scenes they might play out in real life? Logan's smile went a little wider. "A lot better than yesterday."
Bling smiled sagely, understanding exactly the thoughts behind Logan's words. "Glad to hear it. And I'll give you another day or two before I beat on you for taking such lousy care of yourself..." At Logan's chuckle, he said, "I have to get back upstairs, I have another patient waiting. And you have another visitor coming ..." The look he saw in Logan's eyes was almost predictable, and his grin softened. "I called her when Joy called me – she said she'd grab a delivery as an excuse and be right over – so I suspect she'll be here any minute."
"Thanks, Bling." Logan relaxed a little further, smiling happily. As the big man left, Logan lay back, smile still lingering. Max rushing over to see me? The images from before came back into his mind, not nearly as hurtful as they'd been when he thought Max was gone forever ... some images only his imagination; some memories of the hours before... and almost involuntarily, his smile inched even higher, as he thoughtfully rubbed his lip, in sudden memory...
PS: This story's title, "In Between," wasn't my first choice, but Lisa browbeat me into changing my first one because it was too pfunny for a story that was "not humorous." Dunno about not being humorous (admittedly it wasn't intended to be, but ...) but I have a weakness for puns, even bad ones -- and had I not asked her, the title would have been "A Woof in Sleep's Clothing." So corny I just had to share... :D