The Mix Tape
Author: Beth Pryor
Summary: Logan spends the day sorting through boxes of junk from his past and in the meantime comes to terms with his present and possibly his future. S1, M/L probably set somewhere between Female Trouble and Haven. Mostly canon, just moving things along a little.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, including Dark Angel, the concept or characters, nor do I own rights to any of the songs mentioned or quoted. Lyrics listed are from Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" and "Fix You." Additionally, this is my first foray into the DA universe after just finishing watching season 1 in its entirety. I hope you enjoy and find that the characters aren't too heavily influenced by me, but well, I wrote it, so they probably are more me. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to review with your constructive criticism or PM with any questions!
The Mix Tape
Chapter 1 – Livin' La Vida Logan
As far as Logan was concerned, this was all Bling's fault. The therapist was the one who had pushed Logan to clean out his storage unit in the building's basement. Bling had been down there several times during the "remodel" while Logan was still at the rehab center. Logan knew the cage was full of boxes of crap, but he had just never had the time to go through that stuff. Besides, who ever really went through all their stuff from childhood, boarding school, or college? Everyone either kept it all or threw it all out. Logan guessed he should have thrown it out, but he hadn't yet. And Bling insisted that they needed to make more room down there so they could either move things down from the apartment or just to have a place for storing other extraneous stuff not requiring the security of the penthouse. Logan agreed. It was more important to keep the floor clear now, for maneuvering and all, especially as the computer room continued to expand like some sort of amoeba, extending outside the confines of the small office into other parts of the house. So on this Thursday morning, the informant net had been virtually dead for two days, and following his workout, Logan was actually twiddling his thumbs. Bling found this to be the perfect opportunity to start hauling boxes into the penthouse.
Logan was at least relieved to find as he surveyed the cargo that Bling had omitted anything marked "Val" or "Logan and Val" or "Wedding." He knew he had stacked the boxes in reverse chronological order, so the wedding stuff was probably the most easily accessible, but the newest boxes Bling brought up were his labeled files from stories he'd investigated when he was with the Pacific Free Press. For that obvious omission, he was almost grateful enough to go along with what the big man was asking him to do without grumbling. He opened the lid of the first box and tried to sift through notes. As a post-Pulse journalist, most of his notes were handwritten and he had employed some sort of organizational system, but he had been wary of throwing anything away since he couldn't know he'd have reliable computer access and file back-up. Logan realized that this first box alone could be an all-day job, and he just didn't have the stamina for trudging through the summation of his life's work, especially when it reminded him that he was no longer able to do his own legwork on his current assignments.
Instead, he turned to another box labeled "Yale, 08-09," his senior year. He had been on staff at the Yale Daily News and a serious student, but there had plenty of time for fun and extracurriculars. One of his favorites had been his intramural softball team. He pulled out a photo of the group following the championship tournament. Even though he played a lot of basketball back in the day, he had been athletic in general, and the guys on the softball team had been among his closest friends. Logan's position had been center field, and he was actually good at it. He smiled, remembering a diving catch he'd made in short center during the championship game. Those had been fun times.
By virtue of pedigree and legacy, he was also a member of one of the fabled secret societies on campus. Members of the "brotherhood" had become Senators, Supreme Court Justices, Ambassadors, Cabinet Members and several had even been President of the United States over the generations. Logan let out an ironic little laugh as he held his year's roster scroll in his hand and looked over the names. He recognized several of them as up and coming businessmen and politicians, mostly in the east. At least two were family names speculated to be involved in more than one of his Eyes Only investigations. He turned the scroll over in his hands, inadvertently rolling it up again. He was probably supposed to have burned this or something by now, but he couldn't imagine that anyone would ever believe that he'd even been a part. If his brothers could see him now…
He pushed the scroll out of the way along with his mortarboard and a Yale mug. Underneath was a stack of photos and CD's. Suddenly smiling genuinely, he pulled them out of the box. He sat the photos on the desk; he'd look at them later and turned instead to the CD's. His aquamarine eyes lit up as he realized the stack held hard copies of almost all of his old music preserved in data format. He popped the disc in the Mac's drive and held his breath. Certainly it would work, wouldn't it? An error box appeared on his screen, and Logan scratched his head for a second before attempting to download the appropriate application to make the music play. He held his breath and pushed play once again. His speakers roared to life, and his four years of college played out in song.
Bling, who had been bringing up more boxes from the basement in an attempt to give Logan a little private time with his past, heard the racket from the elevator.
"You'd better turn that down. Mrs. Moreno's liable to call the cops for a noise violation," he yelled as he walked into the main part of the penthouse.
"What? I can't hear you. My music is too loud," grinned Logan, as he reached forward and turned down the volume.
"What was that exactly?" Bling inquired as this was quite unlike anything he'd ever heard playing in Logan's presence, even when Max was around.
"T.I. featuring Rhianna." Bling's eyebrows shot up hearing this from the guy who preferred Beethoven to Beyonce these days. "I liked the video," Logan explained, shrugging and blushing a little. "Besides, it was really popular."
Bling grinned. "I'm not here to judge. Frankly, I have a feeling I'm gonna like what's on that better than the muzak you pump in here all the time. Just because you have an elevator doesn't mean you have to play its music, you know." Logan shook his head but Bling motioned to the computer. "What else do you have on there?"
Logan held up the CD's to show Bling that they were largely unlabeled. "I'm not sure, really. I don't even remember making these. I thought that when my iPod and laptop went under in the Pulse that I'd lost all of this. I can't believe it. I haven't heard most of this stuff in years!"
"And you wouldn't have even known about it if someone hadn't made you go through this stuff. Do you think you could actually get rid of a few of them while you listen to your tunes?" Bling dropped off two more boxes, bringing the total in the room to ten.
"Yeah, um, think you can hold off on the retrieval mission right now until I have a chance to do something with some of these first?" Logan let his eyes sweep over the room. He barely had a path to the bedroom. Bling followed his client's line of sight and nodded in agreement.
"Sure. I think you have plenty to wade through here. You want me to head to the market while you work on this stuff or do you want me to stay and help?"
Logan scratched his head again as the song changed to a Michael Bublé ballad. His face reddened a little. "Yeah, the market is a good idea. The list is on the counter, and I'll dig into these." Bling barely held back his grin as he grabbed the slip of paper and headed to the door.
Alone and now energized to get some work done, he moved back toward the boxes and began sorting them in earnest this time. He was able to consolidate four boxes down to two, using the others for trash and give-aways. He organized his belongings into piles and began repackaging the "keep in storage" stacks. All the while, he listened to each successive track, finding that with each one, specific memories of people, places and activities flooded back over him.
"I used to rule the world. Seas would rise when I gave the world. Now in the morning I sleep alone, sweep the streets I used to own." Logan felt his breath catch as Chris Martin's words knifed through his contentment. He exhaled slowly. "Tell me about it," he sighed to no one. Suddenly this wasn't as much fun.
He slalomed through the boxes back to his bedroom as the song continued to play. The full-length mirror caught him in all his reminiscent glory, beer hat, crew sweater, Mardi Gras beads, and blue and white rugby scarf. He looked down at his feet. Why in the hell was he wearing his softball cleats and stirrups? When had he even put those on? He streaked back down the hall, running into two boxes labeled "Andover" and one labeled "Stuff Won from Bennett." From the computer, Timbaland was introducing Madonna and Justin Timberlake as he grabbed the closest empty box and started throwing stuff in it. He didn't even hear her come in, but of course, he hardly ever did anyway.
When he pivoted to put the filled box with the others in the trash pile, she was sitting on the counter, legs swinging, watching him with a completely amused smirk. He wasn't sure how long she'd been sitting there, well, less than four minutes, but long enough. He gave the box a push and reached over to turn off the music as the song changed again. Suddenly, remembering how he was dressed, his entire face reddened. Pulling the novelty hat off of his head and unwinding the scarf and beads, he searched frantically for another box. She hopped off the counter and walked over toward him. She plopped on the floor beside him and flipped through the contents of one of the loosely packed boxes.
"What's all this?"
Logan was still searching for someplace to deposit the memorabilia other than his lap. He tugged the sweater over his head; it was too tight across the chest and shoulders now. All that remained of his getup were the spikes and stirrups. He wasn't about to touch those with her around, though. She was watching him so intently, as she always did.
"Just going through some stuff from the storage unit. Early lunch today?" He was trying to be nonchalant, but she'd just caught him in the middle of a bit of a breakdown, wearing a collection of artifacts from his college days, no less.
"It's almost 2:30, Logan. You must have been hard at work for a while." She surveyed the stacks of boxes and piles of his belongings spaced neatly around the room.
"Bling said I needed to get rid of some stuff. Most of that is just old papers. We'll have to shred or burn them, up at the cabin, maybe." He pointed to another pile. "You and Cindy and Kendra might be able to use some of that stuff, or you might know someone who can."
She grinned. "I'm sure we can find good homes for all of it. Thanks."
"Bling's not back yet, I guess. He went to the market a little bit earlier, but I can try to find you something to eat." He was working really hard to act naturally, but he was struggling.
"It's okay. I already ate with Sketchy, but I gotta blaze. Normal is going to be all over my ass if I'm gone much longer. I only had one delivery over here." If she realized that she had caught him at a bad time, she didn't let on, nor did she push it.
"Come for dinner, then. I promise I'll have all this cleaned up by the time you get back."
Max grinned as she held up her hand and he pulled her up from the floor, "Don't have to ask me twice. I'm on call until 7:30, not a minute sooner."
"Eight o'clock, then?" he asked.
Max shrugged, "Sure, why not. Need me to bring anything?" There were some nice items in his refuse pile. Even if she gave most of it away, she'd still make a few bucks off the rest of it. The least she could do was offer to help with dinner.
"Well, thanks for asking, but I think I'm all set." Or I will be when Bling gets back, he thought.
She continued to pick through the pile, indicating items of particular interest to her.
"I'll bring a bigger bag for this stuff. Cindy has been looking for a new lamp, and I know Kendra's teakettle is rusted through."
"Or I could drop it off tomorrow or whenever. It would be kinda bulky on the bike," he offered.
Max smiled again. He was always thinking of her, how he could make her life easier, better. "If it's not too much trouble," she started.
"It's not," he quickly answered, smiling to cover the blush he felt creeping again. Her eyes met his and she flushed slightly, too.
"I gotta go," she reiterated, breaking eye contact and slinking toward the door. "Later."
"Yeah," Logan felt his grin fade as he surveyed the room. He and Bling had some serious work ahead of them. He dumped the rest of the Yale stuff in a box and removed the stirrups and athletic shoes, tossing them in a pile of give-aways.