His Eyes Only
By: All Grown Up
Disclaimer: Dark Angel isn't mine.
Summary: On a rainy afternoon at the penthouse, Max tries to decide what color Logan's eyes are. Set mid-Season 1.
A/N: Blue, green, greenish-blue, bluish-green... my (hopefully) amusing take on the general indecision surrounding Logan's eye color. Also, I can't really take credit for the whole graffiti idea... I'm almost positive M/L Only used it in one of her stories back in the day.
Soft Seattle rain pattered rhythmically on the large picture windows of the Cale penthouse, smudging the usually crisp, clear view of the skyline into a finger-painting of light. The warm glow of candles bounced off the glass and illuminated the room previously darkened by a brownout that had been rolling through Sector 9. Strains of classical music and a dark wine blended in Max's senses, and as she leaned back on the couch and closed her eyes she had to laugh at how romantic the scene would have been to anyone else. But this was Logan - wine and music and candles were a way of life, and some of the few luxuries he really allowed himself to enjoy in the midst of his crusade against evil and corruption, or whatever he wanted to call it. At the moment, Max was too full and content to dwell with any bitterness of thought on Eyes Only.
The hush of wheels on polished hardwood announced Logan's entry, and rather than open her eyes, Max used her senses to follow his movements around the room. She heard him place the bottle of wine and his own glass on the coffee table, then lock his brakes a few feet from the couch. There was stillness for a few soft moments, and then Logan let out a throaty chuckle that caused her to open her eyes and turn her head in his direction.
"Something funny?" she asked with mock umbrage.
He smiled and crossed his arms, leaning back easily in his chair. "You look comfortable," he observed, amusement clear on his face.
"Long day," was all she said in reply, closing her eyes again.
"And how are the streets of Seattle these days?"
She heard him pour more wine into his glass and held out her own for a refill. "The usual... dirty, crowded, corrupt... and full of lousy tippers."
Logan laughed again and handed her a full glass, which she sat up to receive.
"Actually, I saw some Eyes Only fan art today."
A bemused, quizzical look was his only reply.
"I met Original Cindy and Kendra in the park for lunch, and there was a big mural on the wall. Looked just like one of your cable hacks."
"Really? I had no idea Eyes Only had that kind of... fan base. Do you see that a lot?"
"Oh yeah, you're all over the place in Seattle, especially the poorer sectors. 'Peace. Out.' and all that, scratched into tables, spray-painted on election posters, you know. Vandalism for a cause." Max grinned and sipped some more wine.
Logan twirled his wine glass deftly between his fingers, a sign that he was deep in thought. "Well, I suppose it's important to have a presence out there," he murmured after a minute or two.
Not willing to allow any Eyes Only business to ruin her peaceful evening, Max reached out and captured his wine glass, setting it within his reach on the table. "No no, this is not something for you to obsess over. Don't make a huge deal out of this. You inspire people and they respond, however they can. It's a good thing." Max smiled, and Logan couldn't help but smile back.
"I suppose I'm some sort of modern-day Robin Hood. Rob from the rich, give to the poor?"
"Nah, I think you're more like their Batman or something."
Logan laughed. "Batman, huh?"
"Yeah, you know, superhero, secret identity, save the world, blah blah..."
"Woof woof," Logan finished. "So would that make you Robin?"
"Depends. Would that nickname make me want to beat you up?"
"Probably. How do you feel about spandex?" He grinned playfully. Max avoided that dangerous grin and drained her glass of wine instead. While Logan filled her up again, she considered asking the question that had been bothering her all day. Well actually, two questions...
"Want me to get the chess table?"
Chess – a welcome diversion from her thoughts. "Only if you're ready to get your ass whooped."
"I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment." Logan smirked, tossed back the remnants of his wine, and wheeled into the next room, unaware that Max's eyes were trained on him. She frowned as her mind recalled more of that afternoon's lunch break in the park...
"That's new," commented Original Cindy as she claimed the park bench that appeared to be the cleanest.
"Huh?" Max left off fiddling with the chain on her bike, and Original Cindy extended a manicured finger in the direction of the wall facing them from across the street.
"Fresh paint," she said. "Pretty damn good, too."
Max contemplated the careful re-creation of the red, white and blue mask; the artist had certainly captured the piercing determination and sense of justice in Logan's eyes. Below the mask in strong black letters was written: EYES ONLY IS ALWAYS WATCHING.
"Hey girls." The bike messengers turned as Kendra arrived and perched on the bench.
"Hey Kendra, whatchu doin' here, homegirl?" Original Cindy bumped fists with the blonde bombshell.
"Well, seeing as how I currently don't have a job or a boyfriend, eating lunch with you two is as close as I get to having a reason to leave my apartment."
All three women laughed, and then Kendra spotted the Eyes Only graffiti.
"Oh, I wish he were always watching me," she sighed. "I could lose myself in those baby blues in an instant."
"Blue? Girl, whatchu trippin' on? The man's eyes are green."
Max looked up from her lunch, trying to figure out where this conversation had come from.
"No way! Ocean blue, I'm sure of it."
"Okay, maybe greenish-blue. But Original Cindy was always sure they were green. Like a spring rain."
"Look at you being all poetic," Kendra laughed.
"Hey, Original Cindy may not be all about the mens, but that don't mean she can't appreciate beauty wherever she sees it."
Max cringed as she slowly realized that they were still discussing the graffiti across the street – or, more specifically, the subject of the graffiti. A subject with whom she happened to be well acquainted... not to mention a subject that occupied too many of her thoughts even without the help of her friends.
"What do you think, Max?" Kendra was appealing for the heterosexual vote.
"Never thought about it," she answered shortly, keeping her eyes on her food. That was true – the thought had never crossed her mind – but now she realized that she had no definite idea what color Logan's eyes were. She should know at least that much; after all, she was good friends with the man, and her Manticore training had taught her to note important descriptive details of this kind. Max frowned slightly. It was all so trivial... why did it bother her?
"What? Are you kidding?!" The overly-hormonal and always-lustful Kendra gave Max a disbelieving stare, and even Original Cindy seemed surprised.
"Boo, you tellin' us you've never wondered 'bout the man behind the mask? You watch every time he's on, same as the rest of us."
Max shrugged as noncommittally as possible. "Whatever. He's just a guy on the TV. I mean, what does it matter whether he's..."
"Hot," finished Kendra. Max appreciated her roommate filling in the word she hadn't been able to get out. "Probably smokin' hot, by the sound of his voice."
Despite herself, Max was intrigued by this female attraction to Eyes Only that she had somehow missed the boat on. "Seriously? You've fantasized all of this from fuzzy 60-second cable hacks?"
"It's not just about what you see or hear, Boo," Original Cindy explained. "It's what he is. The knight in shining armor. He's deep and soulful cuz he cares about the little guy, and strong to stand up against all the corruption in this town. All the things a girl wants in a man, am I right?" Cindy looked towards Kendra, who nodded emphatically.
"Oh yeah. Plus there's the mystery. He's like Batman or something."
"Batman?" Max queried.
"You know, superhero, secret identity, saves the world by night, rescues damsels in distress..." Kendra finished the statement off with a girlish giggle. Max hadn't known, of course, but she logged the tidbit of pre-Pulse popular culture anyway.
Original Cindy rolled her eyes. "Sugah, if you want Mr. Eyes Only to swoop in and rescue you, ya best get in line behind every other straight female in Seattle. They's all wantin' a piece of the mystery man."
"It's your move, Max."
"Huh?" Max came slowly back to the present to see that Logan had already moved one of his pawns and was waiting for her to go.
"I said, your move."
Max's eyes swept the chessboard, and it was the work of a moment to analyze Logan's most probable tactic and prepare a counter attack, but she took a little longer to make her move, buying time to regain her composure. For once, Max was thankful that her genetic gifts allowed her to do things like play chess on autopilot.
"So do you feel like a celebrity?"
"Hm?" Logan was concentrating on the game much more than she was, leaning slightly over the board, elbows on knees, hands folded in contemplation. This might be to her advantage...
"Do you feel famous? I mean, your face, or at least your voice and your eyes, are all over Seattle. Every person in the city knows Eyes Only." Max hoped to God that he was too preoccupied with chess to notice the way her voice had caught on "eyes."
Logan moved another pawn and then looked up, and Max couldn't help but think that his eyes were green, the softest green... "like a spring rain..."
"Well," he said the word carefully, "I don't really think of myself as being Eyes Only. It wouldn't be safe, for one thing. No one is supposed to know that I'm Eyes Only," and here Max gave him a cheeky grin, "and if I made even one little mistake, it could undo everything."
"So every time you get behind the camera you have an identity crisis?" Max made her next move without needing to think about it.
Logan chuckled. "In this line of work you can never be too careful. Even to the point of living a double life – or developing multiple personality disorder."
"Preachin' to the choir, Mr. Cale."
They laughed, and suddenly Max felt a warm sense of relief, because this was Logan. Every woman in Seattle could lust after Eyes Only and it made no difference, because that was just a face and a voice that lived in television screens, not a man at all; but Max was the one here, right now, privileged by fate or whatever to be drinking wine and playing chess with... the blue-eyed crusader? Had that been a trick of the light? Max had to make a conscious effort to stop staring at Logan and focus on the chess board instead...
"Do you think we'll ever find out who he really is?" Kendra wondered. "Maybe one day, years from now, he'll be able to reveal himself..."
"Doubtful," replied Cindy. "Besides, where'd be the fun in that?"
"Just to know what he's really like," the blonde sighed wistfully.
Original Cindy snorted. "Don't worry. It's not like he's perfect – he is just a man, after all."
Max glanced at both of them and permanently changed the subject.
"Did this question have anything to do with seeing that graffiti today?"
Max looked up from the chess board into Logan's bluish-green... no, greenish-blue... eyes and wondered if she was giving away too much concerning her private reflections.
"Yeah, I suppose," she said, attempting to disarm him with her most charming yet insouciant smile. "Just wondering what it's like to be Logan Cale, savior of the universe."
"I see," he smiled, and moved a knight. "Anything else you wanted to know?"
And all Max could think was "Damn, is that sea green or ocean blue?"
She contemplated the board for a full minute, weighing her inherent kitten-curiosity against her need to remain detached and nonchalant... she moved a bishop, gulped her wine, and decided "to hell with it."
"Well, there was something else."
"All right." Logan moved a rook and then crossed his arms and leaned back into his 'I'm ready for anything' pose.
"It's kinda personal." Max fiddled absentmindedly with the pawn she had advanced.
"What kind of personal? Embarrassing?" Ever so slightly, Logan went on his guard, and Max felt bolder. Maybe that was just the wine. She shook her head.
"Not embarrassing. Not for you, anyway."
The next moment felt like an eternity to Max; they sat staring at each other, eyes locked, his daring her to ask the question, and she could feel her resolve slipping away – but eventually Logan leaned imperceptibly forward, slid a knight across the board, and his smile widened. "Checkmate."
She looked down, sincerely startled, and saw that it was true – a testament to her utter distraction. And now Logan sat there, gloating silently, knowing that he had won, won more than just the chess match, and that was what really bothered her. A tactful retreat was necessary now – as tactful as you could be with your tail between your legs.
"All right, mere mortal, you won this round – but miracles don't happen twice. Set the board up again. I'm getting more wine."
Max stood up gracefully and reached for the empty wine bottle that stood between them on the table. She couldn't resist glancing at his face to see how her counterplay had taken. Logan looked up at her, smiling a smile that reached all the way up to his eyes and Max felt her breath catch in her throat. Bending slowly toward the chess pieces, she solemnly tipped over her king in the sign of surrender, then turned towards the kitchen. She quickly drank the remainder of the bottle's contents in order to swallow the unasked question, thought briefly of the thrill of the mystery and the danger of intimacy, and decided that sometimes, it was just better not to know.