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[personal profile] last01standing
Title- Pocketful of Lies
Part- 9 of 12ish
Rating- PG-13
Summary- After hearing a news report on the disappearance of Eyes Only, Max is slowly drawn into the mystery of what really happened to Logan Cale…[ML but Alec friendly] 
Disclaimer- I do not own Dark Angel 
Parts1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12



CHAPTER NINE


Max stormed out of the Psy-Ops building, breathing heavily. Sandeman’s house; the very thought of the place made her stomach heave and churn. She found herself detouring into one of Terminal City’s back alleys, grasping at the grubby brick wall for support.

“Max,” a soft voice called, “Max, are you all right?”

“Logan,” she choked and turned around with a strangled half-sob to see him sitting there, as always, a little worse for the wear. She wondered how he managed to do it, managed to sit there, calm and serene even as his blood pooled underneath him. Even Alec, with his heightened pain threshold had been near tears after that sustaining that much damage. Yet there Logan sat, face twisted not with pain but worry.

“What’s wrong, Max?”

What wasn’t wrong? Her carefully constructed life was falling apart at her feet. Her memory failed her at every turn, the ultimate betrayal. “I want to know why,” she whispered. “Out of all the people in this broken world, why am I the only one who can see you? I met you once. And then you got shot.” She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to summon the memories lying just out of reach. “Only that’s not all is it? That’s not what really happened.”

His swollen eyes widened slightly and Max could see hints of blue through the bruises. “You came back,” he confirmed nostalgically. “You came to the hospital. Save my life more than once.” He gave her a sheepish look. “We worked together. You know, quid pro quo.”

“Worked together,” Max echoed, but the words sounded foreign to her lips. “That’s all?”

“It never was enough,” Logan said softly. “We were friends, about as close as you can get. We pissed away too much time to ever be much more. Every time we got close…” He looked to the ground and swallowed hard. “Doesn’t matter much now does it? You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. No matter what happened, no matter how bad things got, you always came back...”

There was something in his voice, a quiet sort of desperation that caught her attention and held it fast. She believed him, despite the sheer madness of the situation, she couldn’t help but trust him.

She remembered the photograph. She wished she remembered what it stood for.

“This is my fault, isn’t it? I shouldn’t have let them get to you.”

“It’s never been your fault,” Logan replied instantly. He started to reach a hand towards her, but he withdrew it quickly before it got too close.

“Talking to invis-o-boy again?” A voice called from behind her and Max turned to find Alec smirking at her. “I mean when I hear Original Cindy reporting your unfortunate illness I figured it was related to all this.” He turned to stare a few feet to the left of where Logan sat. “How’s it going, Cale?”

“I’ve had better days,” Logan replied, “but I’m doing fine.”

There was a long silence before Max abruptly remembered that Alec couldn’t hear Logan’s words. “He says he’s fine,” Max relayed, eyes fixed on Logan, “but he’s lying.”

Logan’s mouth split into a grin, bruised face twisting painfully. “Worst of it’s over anyway.”

“Did you kill Cy?” Alec asked, completely unaware of the other conversation taking place right in front of him. “I was really hoping I’d get here before you had a go at him.”

“I don’t see why you’re still defending him.”

Alec sidestepped her question. “Whatever he said, it obviously got you worked up. Are there bad-guys to vanquish? Where do we look?”

“Cy says we shouldn’t bother looking.” She didn’t have the energy to spare him the shock. “Dee says the answer’s are at Sandeman’s house.”

All color suddenly vanished from Alec’s face. It happened with such an astonishing speed that Max couldn’t even see the transition between normal and white. “Sandeman’s,” he choked, “Max, that’s …”

“Yeah,” she said abruptly. “I know. Me too.”

“Max,” Logan said behind her, “it’s not worth it.”

He said it like he wasn’t worth it either.

She reached out to touch him impulsively, to offer him some small measure of comfort. It belatedly occurred to her that it wouldn’t work. That whatever force had brought Logan to her hadn’t been strong enough to keep him tangible.

But unexpectedly, her hand hit flesh. Solid, warm and there.

Logan looked up at her, shock crossing his broken face. Max couldn’t move for a moment, she just stared, transfixed at her hand touching his. Suddenly, Logan started to laugh, softly at first and then escalating in volume. Max’s hand slipped off, no through, his arm and Logan just kept laughing.

“That just figures, doesn’t it?” Logan hooted and laughed some more. “Irony’s a bitch.”

“Max,” Alec said from behind her. “Max!”

Logan tried to restrain himself, forcing the huge heaves of laughter to a relatively sober expression. “Every touch, Max. It’s always been worth it.”

Max stared at him, her gut clenching as he dissolved back into those hysterical giggles. He was on his last thread, Max realized, only inches away from having his mind shattered completely. There was only so long someone could wait for rescue before losing all hope of survival and Logan was teetering dangerously on that line.

“Max,” Alec said again, roughly grabbing her wrist and spinning her around.

“What!?”

He forced open her hand that she hadn’t even realized she’d clenched. “Where did that blood come from?”

She looked down at her hand in surprise. Blood was smeared all across her palm. Logan’s blood. She didn’t know why she hadn’t noticed before. She looked towards Logan who met her gaze and held it for the barest moment before flickering out of existence.

“I think we’re running out of time,” Max said, eyes focused on empty spot where Logan had been just seconds before. She got the feeling that one of these days, he was going to disappear and never come back. And with Logan gone, there’d be no way to fill the gaping holes inside of her.

“I know. I get it,” Alec placated. “Calm down a second. We’ve got to figure this out.”

“He’s out there somewhere,” Max said desperately. “We’ve got to find him.”

“We will,” Alec assured her. But his face was still the same sheet white as it had been when she’d first mentioned Sandeman’s house. “I guess we don’t have much choice in this do we?”

“I’d never ask you to come,” Max said softly. “I’m perfectly capable of doing this on my own.”

“Yeah I know,” Alec allowed, looking slightly ill. “But I’ve got to face my demons sometimes. And besides, you’ll need backup.”

“I’ll only end up having to save your ass,” she said lightly.

Alec let out a strangled laugh. “Then at least something in this mess would be normal.”

They lapsed into an uncomfortable silence.

“You sure Dee said Sandeman’s?” Alec asked. “Not Sandman’s or Sandmen’s or Sanderhamns?”

Max forced a laugh. “Let’s just get this bitch over with.”

***


Max could see Joshua’s body burned into the rickety stairs of Sandeman’s house. Her legs felt like lead as she approached. The stairs groaned their protest under her feet. Alec was a step in front of her, moving with a steely resolve.

They paused at the door both unwilling to go inside. “It’s just a house,” Alec muttered under his breath. “It’s just a house.”

Max knew he was right, but in the end, it was Alec who overcome his fear and pushed the door open.

“Don’t do this, Max.”

She didn’t have to turn around to know that it was Logan, back from the abyss again, though who knew for how long. She got the feeling that she was running out of time.

She followed Alec inside.

The air didn’t have the stale musty smell of disuse she’d expected. Just because she hadn’t set foot in this place for months, she realized with a start, didn’t mean everyone else would have avoided it as well. In the time since the pulse, there were few livable buildings left unoccupied. It was just means of survival.

The living room was exactly how she remembered which was the scariest part of this whole thing because all she remembered of Sandeman’s was destruction.

And when she enter the house, destruction was all she saw.

Alec shook his head. “I thought you would have cleaned up this mess.”

That was just the thing. They had cleaned it up. When they’d been looking for Alec, Sandeman’s house had been the default base of operations. One the first day, they had picked out anything and everything helpful from the crime scene and then they’d cleaned it up with the thorough efficiency native to Manticore’s soldiers. The last time Max had been inside that place, the day she’d finally tracked Alec down, the house had been nearly spotless. Not that she’d really noticed. No matter how much the house changed, she would never be able to erase the trashed house from her mind.

She realized Alec had begun moving around the place with the same detached focus he’d shown back at the penthouse. It bothered her that he seemed so much better adjusted to the house and the memories. It was Alec, not her who had been abducted here, Alec who had been out manned and outnumbered and in the end, overtaken.

Yet it was Max who balked at the very sight of the place.

She could see her barcode number scrawled on the far wall. She closed her eyes and prayed that she was seeing things.

“Blood.” Alec announced suddenly. “Dried, but fairly recent if I had to guess.”

Max’s eyes snapped open.

Her barcode was still there.

She had hoped the image was just a mirage, an echo of the distant past just like Joshua’s crumpled body etched into the front steps.

“Whoever was here put up a fight,” Alec said, bending down to straighten an upturned chair. “But it looks like it was over pretty quickly. The destruction is pretty localized.”

A cracked table. Upturned chairs. A trail of blood. An Ordinary person would have called the cops upon entry, but Transgenics had always handled their affairs without involving police if they could.

“Check it out,” Alec said.

She blinked herself out of her haze. “What is it?”

“A clue,” Alec smirked and tossed the small object towards her.

She caught it without a second thought and examined it curiously. It was a small gray cell phone. She flipped it open and pulled up the call log. The last twelve calls had all been made to her pager.

Logan’s cell phone, her mind told her. He’d been here just days ago, alive and calling for her help. She’d gotten the pages too, all twelve of them over a span of four hours and she’d ignored each and every single call. And when they’d stopped, she’d been glad. If she’d only paid attention…

Her stomach churned at the thought of it.

“Max,” Alec called, “are you all right?”

She dropped the phone and backed quickly out of the house.

Outside, she stumbled down the creaky, wooden steps, clutching at the railing for support. She tried not to look at the empty space beside her where she could still see the echo of Joshua’s mangled body.

Logan was on the small strip of lawn in front of the house waiting for her. She could scarcely force herself to look at him. “I’m so sorry,” she muttered, dangerously close to tears. “This is all my fault.”

“You shouldn’t worry about me,” Logan said softly. “I’m all right.” He gave her a serene smile that looked all wrong on his face. It was too wide, borderline loopy contrasting sharply with his appearance: his teeth were coated in red, his cheeks were a pale, almost deathly white and his eyes were glassy and unfocused behind shattered glasses.

“You bastard,” she whispered, as a wave of sadness crashed through her. She still couldn’t remember this man yet the thought of him dying hurt like a physical blow. She was supposed to be a soldier, strong, emotionless, but the very thought nearly propelled her to tears. “You’re dying.”

“I’m all right,” Logan assured her with his glassy-eyed, too-wide smile. “It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

“I’m going to find you,” Max promised. “There has to be something in Sandeman’s. Some sort of hint as to where they took you.”

“Max, do we have to do this?” Logan asked. “Can’t we just talk like we always used to? Pretend none of this ever happened.”

“You’re not going to die on me after all this,” Max hissed. “I won’t let you.”

“It’s too late,” Logan said with the barest hint of regret. “It’s almost over. He’s started to give up on me. He’s been letting me sleep for longer and longer. It’s good. It means I get to see you and it means you stay safe. It’s better this way—for both of us.” He smiled in earnest. “Don’t worry, Max. I never told him anything.”

“Told who?” she asked.

Logan reached up to rub his neck and averted her eyes. Max recognized it instantly as the tick of someone who was about to tell a lie.

And then she saw them. Peaking out from underneath his tattered long-sleeved t-shirt were dozens of thin red cuts, a intricate lattice work of scars criss-crossing his skin and spiraling up his forearm and out of sight.

“Max,” Alec said cautiously from the steps behind her. “What happened? I thought we were supposed to be figuring this out. The answers are at Sandeman’s, remember?”

Max stared at Logan. She had seen that same pattern of wounds before. She hazarded a glance at Alec who had lapsed into an uncomfortable silence. “What’s wrong, Max?” Alec asked finally. “Staring like that isn’t exactly polite.”

“Can you do me a favor?” she asked and tried not to notice how the scene had started spinning before her, like something out of an old Hitchcock movie. She felt like she was falling.

“Sure,” Alec replied, “anything.”

“Max,” Logan said, panicked. He clutched at the rims of his wheelchair. Blood dripped slowly from his sleeve. “Max, just let it go!”

“Can you show me you scars?” Her voice broke. She tried not to look at Logan.

“Why?” Alec shuffled his feet and averted her eyes. Alec used to wear his bruises like a badge of honor, shamelessly using them to pick up the occasional pity date, but that was before White got to him. Max had patched him up the best she could while waiting for the medical help, but that was the one and only time Alec had willingly let her see the marks of White’s torture. When he came back to work a few weeks later, he was sullen and moody, and wore only long sleeves even in the middle of the summer.

“Don’t do this Max,” Logan said. “It’s not worth it.”

Logan was wearing long sleeves.

“Alec, please.”

Alec swallowed audibly and complied. Max watched as he rolled up his shirt sleeves to reveal dozens of thin white scars, that despite his accelerated healing, still marred his skin nearly six months after the incident. One glance was all she needed to confirm her suspicions. Alec was watching her carefully, trying to gage her reaction. “Max, what’s this all about?”

“White,” Max whispered as the pieces of the puzzle finally started to fall into place. The color seeped out of Alec’s face. Her stomach churned. “White has Logan.”
 | 10 | 

(no subject)

23/11/06 03:49 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] savannahjan.livejournal.com
This is really a great fic. You're a good writer.

(no subject)

26/11/06 21:09 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Thanks so much. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

(no subject)

23/11/06 05:56 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishara.livejournal.com
Hah! I had a feeling, this whole thing reminded me of their shared dream sequence between Max & Logan when he was near to death in BBWW. There are still a couple of things which haven't -quite- figured out, but I imagine you'll reveal the answers to those things in the coming chapters.

*glees* I'm enjoying this immensely, incidentally :D

(no subject)

26/11/06 21:15 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Woohoo! You have no idea how happy it makes me that someone caught onto the parallels with shared dream thing in BBWW because that's the one thing I haven't been able to work into the story yet (and at this point, I'm not sure I'll manage to get it in. Every time I try it gets chopped because of pacing)

As for other answers. They'll be here next chapter which is off with my beta as we speak. I am meanwhile attempting to write the big climactic end chapter. Let's hope it comes as easily as the rest of this story has...

Glad to hear you're still enjoying this. Writing it has been an absolute blast.

(no subject)

23/11/06 10:18 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ajzkitten69.livejournal.com
Haha, and here I thought I was just gonna glance at LJ and go to bed. But no, I see your story at 2:10 in the morning and just must read. Such a great chapter. Really excited that it's coming together. Hope to see more soon. Happy Thanksgiving.

(no subject)

26/11/06 21:17 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Sorry for keeping you up =), but I'm happy to hear you're still enjoying it. Even I've been surprised with how well this thing's come together (especially considering I'd originally conceived it as a plot for a Supernatural fic).

Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as well.