Disclaimer: Don't own Dark Angel.
A/N: This is just pure, fluff-tending silliness (so will not publicly associate any inspiration from certain objects and their owners)…
Also be warned of errors, this was way too silly and pointless to be worth beta-time (actually meant to be only a snippet before it mutated).
Sometimes in early S1….
The item provoking Max to break into one of the renovated waterside warehouses on a chilly Wednesday evening wasn't exactly her usual prey. Seemingly trivial to the point of being worthless, it certainly was the most peculiar object of her burglaries… and yet she took the risk of being caught.
Over the years Max's had acquired all kinds of preciosities during her nightly activities.
She had stolen jewelry and ancient vases, raided a stock of best Canadian maple syrup and organized a year's supply of Mexican toothpaste, found an antique French dictionary for Logan or underwear in giraffe fur-style for Kendra.
But this little thing topped all that. Light and not even the size of a thumb, it was to be treated like a rare gem… and still she wouldn't have bothered to pick it up from Seattle's dirty streets. One week ago Max wouldn't even have thought that somebody might want it enough to make her leave Crash early.
But here she was, sneaking through the dark corridors of Stanley Import & Export in search of this tiny piece of plastic.
At least she knew exactly where she needed to go, remembering the way from another Eyes Only mission. Her objective was Jeremiah Stanley's laptop, its owner high up on Eyes Only's list for monopolizing the city's supply of baby food. At two in the morning though Stanley's headquarter was deserted except for the one or other lazy security guard and just like before Max easily made it into Stanley's office.
The laptop was where she remembered it and so that all she had to do was to poke and prod it
until the object of her desire was freed: The left shift key, its blue, rectangular plastic looking almost unused.
Having a functioning laptop clearly was a top priority for Logan. For somebody who already sat hours and hours in his computer-crowded office, he still managed to spend enough time with his old, dark blue notebook.
Constantly worried over the informant net's safety, he hardly ever left it behind and was a walking map of the few wireless spots available now. Sitting outside in the Aztec during their missions, Logan used it to hack into security systems, disabling them to give Max the unused luxury of somebody watching her back. She'd even see him dragging it along to the basketball court, his smirk boyish while pointing out the convenience of filming and analyzing their training sessions right on the spot.
But it was more than just a matter of convenience and being prepared for all occasions. It was almost like laptop Logan was more relaxed than computer Logan. At the desk, amid cables and screens and the looming presence of Eyes Only's camera he was tense and driven, not allowing himself any break or distraction. With his laptop, however, on the sofa or just parked in front of the big windows Logan seemed more easygoing, less subdued, the difference subtle and just enough to make her wonder how he'd been before Eyes Only.
Occasionally catching him with an amused smirk, Max even suspected that he took a break from saving the world every now and then, perhaps watching old photos or indulging in another kind of pre-Pulse entertainment. Laptop Logan was more likely to ask about her plans before assigning her with some leg work and less apt to react with that look of hard impossibility to her teasing about just going out and having fun.
Or at least he had been, until their trip to that water-polluting paint factory that had cost him his shift key.
If Max had been given any say in the matter, he wouldn't have taken the computer in first place. Logan, however, had insisted that feeding it with the factory's data chips right away was much easier, bringing them back before somebody even noticed. Unfortunately though they had noticed, forcing Max to perform a crazy somersault over the fence and into the car.
Maybe it had happened in the jumble of their hasted escape or on the bumpy ride home, but when they arrived at Fogle Towers the shift key was gone and couldn't be found even with the help of transgenic eyes and bendiness.
Ever since Logan emanated the jumpy discomfort of somebody squeezed into the backseat of a tiny car. His fingers, usually flying ease over the keys, now were awkward, remembering the gap just always a split-second too late.
Finally, after a week of watching him fumbling around, Max inquired, hands on her hip: "See Logan, I don't get this: With all your money, why didn't you long buy a new laptop? It's not like you need to cling to this ugly, blue monster while it's falling apart."
The look he gave her reminded Max why she kept coming back. At first self-conscious, as if feeling irrationally guilty over his bank account, it morphed into something else, soft and wistful.
"This… isn't just any laptop… Actually it's the first computer I had after the Pulse. Cost me my skiing boots and my emergency stash of Canadian dollars, but…," his quick glance checked her reaction to such a sentimentality, "it was worth it. And first thing I did was to drive up to the Canadian border, trying to catch a signal and connect to the internet, after three years of isolation… It worked and it took me almost a day and about ten attempts, but eventually even downloaded a handful of family pictures." Face pensive, his lips softened into a fine line that was at least as alluring as one of his wide, dazzling grins.
Max's face vaguely mirrored his expression, taken in by his absent generosity with memories and emotions.
Still gazing at the laptop, Logan's eyes regained their usual composed focus, as if tackling the memories of those years. "Of course I had to replace most parts over the years, but the casing still is the same… ," he smirked and with a sigh added, "so antiquated that it's impossible to find a new keyboard other than maybe waiting for people to clear out their basements."
Their basements, or…
Sometimes Max's perfect memory was more a burden than a blessing, constantly forcing her to be careful with all the details ordinary people wouldn't remember… sometimes though it came in handy. Right now it took her back to Stanley Import & Export, her recollection so vivid that Stanley's office almost materialized around her. And there, sitting unnoticed on a side table, it had been: A laptop almost like Logan's, bigger but more importantly with a perfectly intact keyboard in just the same shade of blue.
Triumphing Max grinned at the little piece of plastic in her hand, Stanley's keyboard now as incomplete and irritating as Logan's.
Making her way out of the building as stealthy as she had come, Max mused that this had almost something of poetic justice, stealing from the bad side to give it to Eyes Only.
The penthouse was quiet and dark when she arrived, the hour late enough for even Logan to be asleep. Hoping that he hadn't taken the computer to the bedroom, Max tiptoed through the pattern of shadow and moonlight, extra careful now that Logan seemed to have developed a sixth sense for her presence.
She was lucky. Screen black and ready for her operation, the notebook was sitting on the coffee table, the missing key still like a tooth gap.
It took some wiggling and fumbling and good old transgenic force, but finally the shift key was where it belonged. Satisfied Max's hand rested on the cool frame, imagining how Logan would get up in the morning, heading for his computers still foggy with sleep. Maybe his first cup of coffee would lead him to be laptop, his long fingers, expecting the faulty hole, instead finding the smooth, perfect surface.
It was this image that dissolved the mission's thrill into a soft, pleased smile, one that lingered and fortified as she reached for pen and paper. Not even bothering to sign her note, Max just scribbled down one short, unmistakable line:
"You owe me breakfast…"
xxx The End xxxx
Okay, I know we only saw Logan using a laptop a few times and also admit to have no knowledge at all about laptops, keyboards or single keys, so yes, this is both canon- and reality twisting.