This story is the result of the "spring cleaning" snippet challenge at Blah Blah Woof Woof, but it grew a little past snippet size, and since I've been wanting to start collecting all my snippets in one place anyway, I figured this would be a good way to begin. This story takes place immediately after Heat.
Out With the Old
Max walked in from a long day delivering packages to be greeted by the sight of her beloved motorcycle, completely buried under a pile of crap.
"Kendra!" she screamed as she pulled the myriad of junk that was strewn across the handlebars and piled on the seat of her bike onto the floor. Three large t-shirts, a jacket, a pairs of jeans, and a belt landed in an unceremonious heap. Max then kicked the offending pile of clothing further away from her bike, as though its proximity offended the delicate piece of engineering that she doted on so well.
"Oh hey, Max," Kendra answered as she emerged from the bedroom with a pair of men's boxer shorts, a baseball cap, and a lone black sock dangling from her fingertips. She tossed them onto the pile that Max had created. "You're home early."
"Kendra, I'm not even going to ask you why you always feel the need to use my bike as a clothes hanger; I'm just going to take this opportunity to remind you that as far as roommates go, you're replaceable, the bike's not!"
"Oh, don't be so uptight," Kendra said, completely unfazed by the daggers Max was shooting from her eyes. "Anyway, I'm glad you're home. We need to go sort through your closet."
"This guy down the street opened a used clothing store. Well, it's more of a shack, I guess…but he's paying cash for old clothes. So I started to do a little spring cleaning, looking for clothes and things I didn't want anymore, and I found this whole pile of stuff to go trade in."
"These are mostly men's things," Max said, poking her toe into the pile to see what her roommate planned to get rid of.
"Well, yeah. Why would I want to save a bunch of old men's clothes?" Kendra asked, perplexed.
"And why do you have all these men's clothes in the first place?"
"Guys just leave stuff. After awhile it just sort of builds up, you know? So we need to go through your closet and see what's there, and then we can go sell it. I bet Darren left tons of stuff behind," Kendra said, already disappearing into Max's bedroom. "He always struck me as the kind of man who never knew where he dropped his pants."
Kendra sorted through Max's things, searching for anything that looked unwanted or masculine. She did manage to unearth an old shirts and pair of boxer shorts that Darren had left behind, but Max had already used them to wash and polish her motorcycle long ago, so they were way beyond salvage. Kendra was filled with sympathy for Max's boring sex life and was about to give up when she stumbled on a navy blue fleece jacket that was decidedly not Max's. "And who did this originally belong to?" she asked, smirking and holding it up for Max's inspection.
"Just this guy named Logan. He doesn't even know I took it."
Max had taken the jacket two weeks ago.
She still wasn't sure why she went back to Logan's in the first place. The guy had survived, she already knew that much. What did she care how he was handling things? It was his own damn fault he got shot in the first place. Rich guys like him weren't supposed to run in front of bullets, they were supposed to get hired muscle to run in front of bullets for them while they sipped tea with the queen or whatever the hell rich people did. But not Logan Cale, original bleeding heart and friend of the unwashed masses. No, he had to go out there and get his ass shot off for some strangers who never did anything for him.
But then he had to go and use that word. "I need you to do some legwork for me." Leg-work. Because his legs didn't work…because he got shot up…because she didn't help him when he asked her to, and the last thing in the world she needed was this pain in the ass making her feel guilty for something that wasn't her fault or her problem.
And then he asked her to go pick up a file for him, something about people getting smuggled into Canada. Only it wasn't lying around on top of somebody's desk, it was locked up at the custom's office, and it would have been no big deal if the guard had stayed where he was supposed to be, but of course he hadn't. So Max had to hide out on the roof until the guy left, and she had been stuck out in the rain. When she had returned to Logan's apartment three hours later she was soaking wet and less then pleased with their new business arrangement.
She had been much colder and wetter doing training exercises back at Manticore. Hell, she had been colder and wetter delivering packages for Normal on a bad day, but she wasn't used to suffering for nothing, and when Logan had told her to come back the next week to do something else about that smuggling thing, she was more than a little pissed off. Only the promise of information about her siblings had been enough to get her to agree to this arrangement, but she had still swiped his jacket on the way out the door in minor retaliation. She was cold, she was wet, it was his fault, he owed her. Quid pro quo.
He had sure come through for her though. In only two weeks, he had actually found Hannah. That was more than her shyster P.I. had managed to do in two years. He might be able to find Zack and the others for her too. Add to that the minor consideration that he had totally saved her ass from Lydecker, and this guy Logan had jumped up a few notches in her book. She could pull some B&E jobs in exchange for that.
And as much as she hated to admit it, it was sort of fun. It had been a long time since anything was a challenge for her. She was still all about living below the radar, she wasn't stupid, but the occasional mission would keep her skills sharp, and it didn't totally suck doing things to help other people. And Logan had the money and the information that would make it worth her while. The fact that she liked the way he looked at her didn't influence her at all. At least, not that much.
"It's new," Kendra continued, "we could probably get a few bucks for it. Want to toss it on the pile?"
Max took the jacket from Kendra and reexamined it. It was fairly new. It was also soft and warm, and it smelled good. It reminded Max of security, or at least what she imagined security must feel like, and she liked it. She didn't want to toss it onto the pile with all the other abandoned apparel from the one night stands who never came back for them. Max had the feeling that this jacket was different; this jacket's owner was different.
Besides, she could always return it to him as pretence for going over there to get more information.
Or she could just keep it.
"No, I want to hang on to that," Max said as she returned the jacket to a slightly emptier closet.
I don't own Dark Angel and nobody has ever offered to pay me for any of this. Thanks for reading. Reviews are always appreciated.