Title- Pocketful of Lies
Part- 5 of ?
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]
Disclaimer- I do not own Dark Angel
Parts- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
“Who are you talking to?” Alec’s voice broke Max’s spell, words slamming into her brain like a physical blow.
“Alec,” she said amiably. “Didn’t know you were coming to Crash tonight.”
Logan’s mouth twitched, Max thought she saw a flash of jealousy in his face. That was ridiculous, of course, she and Alec were friends, nothing more. Going out with the replica of her dead brother would have brought too much baggage and she had more then enough to begin with. Add that to the fact that after too long in the same room the two of them would still on occasion, resort to blows….
“Don’t dodge the question,” Alec snapped. “Who are you talking to?”
“Nice to see you again too, Alec,” Logan said dryly. “It’s been a while.”
Alec must have heard him. He was standing directly behind Logan, and it wasn’t like he’d had bothered to keep his voice low. Which meant Alec was ignoring him. He had to be.
“Max,” Alec tried again. “Look, either tell me what’s wrong or tell me to beat it. The bug-eyed silence is creeping me out.”
Max blinked twice and looked from Alec to Logan. Alec glanced side to side, almost conspiratorially, and then leaned in towards her with both hands on the table. “Max, is this about White? ‘Cause you can’t keep me out of something like that. I deserve to know.”
She stared at him, eyes widening even farther as she looked at the bizarre form in front of her. Alec was leaning forward, straight through Logan and what Max saw was a hodgepodge of mismatched appendages with Alec’s face, carefully blank, hovering in front of her.
Logan cursed loudly, and for a moment, Max was sure she hear the screech of tires on the floor as he propelled him self out of Alec’s vicinity. She would have started laughing if the situation hadn’t been so serious.
“That,” Logan said in a sort of shock, “just wasn’t natural.”
“Max!” Alec snapped. “Listen to me! Whatever trouble’s going around, you’re obviously not in the shape to deal with it alone. You’ll need my help.”
Max blinked, forcing herself to focus on Alec. “Outside. I’ll try to explain.”
The alleyway was silent for a full minute after Max finished talking. No sound save the light pattering of rain in the distance. Alec crossed his arms over his chest and stared at Max with open skepticism. Logan watched the exchange so silently Max almost forgot he was there.
“Please tell me you’re joking,” Alec said finally.
She didn’t know what she had expected from him, but she’d hoped for something more than this. Despite how ridiculous it all sounded, she’d been counting on some sort of support. She needed someone to tell her she wasn’t crazy.
“I wish I had that kind of imagination.”
“So what, you’ve gone insane?”
“What? No!” Probably, she thought to herself, but there was no way she’d ever admit it.
“Fine,” Alec allowed. “Is your imaginary friend here?”
She could see Logan out of the corner of her eye sitting in that damn wheelchair with his cracked glasses and bruised face. His mouth worked as if deciding whether or not to break into the conversation. “I resent being called imaginary,” he muttered.
Max smiled despite herself. Alec’s face twisted. “If this is a practical joke, I swear to God…”
“Since when do you believe in God?” Logan asked. “I’m right here.”
Alec kept talking, plowing on like ahead like he hadn’t heard a thing. Which of course, was probably the case. Max could see the realization creeping across Logan’s face, followed closely by shock. Did a ghost ever realize he was dead? “Come on,” Max told him softly, “you have to have noticed something when he stepped through you. Or maybe the fact the no one sees you but me.”
“You’re the only one that mattered,” Logan admitted softly, his words pulling at some unknown part of her.
“You’re starting to scare me, Maxie,” Alec said, “Talking to this imaginary friend of yours might not be a good thing to do in public.”
“Logan’s pretty sure he’s not imaginary.”
“Max,” Alec said earnestly, “Logan’s dead. You’re the one who said you saw the obituary. All signs are pointing towards a ghost or insanity.”
It was and always had been hard to deny what she saw with her own eyes. But since her last stay at Manticore she had trained herself to look at the world differently. Forced herself to question what she saw, question any facet of reality that seemed wrong, out of place.
But the strange thing was Logan didn’t seem out of place at all. Not really. He fit into everything naturally with complete ease. Almost as if he had been there all along, lurking on the edges of her life without interfering.
Alec watched her face, his own expression studiously blank. “So how often have you been seeing this guy’s ghost?”
“I’m not a ghost,” Logan muttered but he didn’t sound like he believed it himself.
“First time was the day before yesterday,” Max recounted, closing her eyes. “I had a run to sector 9. Came back later that night, there was this abandoned penthouse… I’d been there before. I ran into Cale three years back, I think it was a couple days before he got shot.”
Got shot, she mentally berated herself for the minor omission, He got killed.
Alec nodded taking it all in, weighing his options. “Why you, Max? Out of everyone this guy had ever met, why would he possibly pick you to haunt? Didn’t he have any friends? A girlfriend? None of this makes a whole lot of sense.”
Except, Max realized, they were connected somehow. Something in the twenty minutes she’d known him had bound them inexorably. Enough so that the thought of Logan being dead burned with an uncanny, foreign intensity.
Alec was still watching her carefully. “Forget it, Max. Whatever went on between the two of you, I don’t want to know.”
“We were never like that. I just knew him in passing.”
“In passing?” Alec smirked.
Belatedly, it occurred to Max that in passing, for the transgenic community, had evolved to mean in heat. Her cheeks colored. “Not that kind of passing, Alec. Get your mind out of the gutter.”
She didn’t chance a glance at Logan. Something told her he’d be able to read her embarrassment.
Alec didn’t push past that, didn’t giver her that knowing leer she’d seen just after the escape. He just nodded, accepting it at face value and stood there silently. It was a sign of just how much he had changed in the past year. How little was left of the brash, annoying, devil-may-care persona that had been so fundamentally Alec for so long. It had been ripped down suddenly and violently, and not even Alec had known what was underneath.
She saw the next question coming before he even asked it. “So what does he know about White?”
She looked towards Logan who was wearing an almost stoic expression, mouth set and eyes resolute. “Don’t go looking for him, Max. That’s what he wants.”
“White’s dead,” Max said and the words echoed off the alley’s walls, losing their clarity with each reverberation. “Took a dive off the Space Needle. Went splat.”
“I don’t know how he made it out alive,” Logan said slowly, clearly, “but he’s looking for you and he’s not going to stop until he f…” And mid-word it happened, there was no flash of light, no flicker, just sudden nothing where Logan had sat a split-second before.
Max blinked twice suddenly sure that she’d missed something, because no matter what they showed in those pre-pulse horror movies, people didn’t just disappear in real life. They stayed where they were, something solid and firm that you could lean on, that you could trust.
“Max?” It was Alec, voice shaky, afraid.
Alec never used to get afraid.
“He’s gone,” Max said and kept her voice steady. One of them had to hold themselves together even if the other was falling apart. If they ever broke down at the same time, everything would fall apart. “Alec, we’ve got to figure this out.” She swallowed her pride and forced the words past her lips. “I need your help.”
The rain began to fall in earnest.
Alec insisted on tagging along when she went to Terminal City, but she suspected it was more for his benefit than hers. Max knew that he wouldn’t be going home tonight, that he’d stay up for the remainder of the night, making himself useful because anything less would leave him stewing in memories better left forgotten.
Dalton had nothing more for them, but then again she hadn’t expected anything. Logan Cale was, at least officially, dead. What more was there to see?
Alec on the other hand, had made Dalton go through the facts again, pulling up the video of the shooting and watching it over and over. Max left the third time he played it, unwilling to watch Logan die again.
When she got back to her apartment, Original Cindy was just about to head off to sleep. Max only glanced at her before heading towards the bathroom.
“You know what?” Original Cindy’s voice followed her, soft, but demanding. “Original Cindy has been through a lot with you, boo. And you trusted her enough to let her in on that Manticore dealio of yours and she’s down with that all. But lately, you been pushing me away like we’re back to the secrets and mistakenly flushed pills all over again.”
Max froze; something in her mind catching. “OC,” she said slowly, “Where were we when I told you about Manticore?”
“See this is what Original Cindy was talking about, boo. You stopped making sense!”
“Cindy,” she pleaded. Something wasn’t right. She remembered the scene clearly, remembered the words, but there was a hole where the setting should be.
“I don’t remember,” her friend said stubbornly. “Original Cindy was pretty damn mess up with her best friend lying to her, that much she remembers. Who cares where it was? I was more worried about that bitch in your neck. Damn near frying her friend was definitely not the highlight of Original Cindy’s week.”
“We had to short it out,” Max said, picking up speed. “You had to short it out. Put a thousand volts into the base of my neck. How did you know what to do?”
“What’s with the interrogation, Max? You know what happened.”
But she didn’t know, there was a hole where that knowledge should had been. The omission laid there, blindingly obvious when she examined it in the light of day. She thought of Logan and the familiarities that accompanied him and couldn’t help but wonder if they were connected.
You’d know if I was dead.
“I called Sebastian, Max. You know this.”
How the hell had she meet Sebastian? What could have possibly brought Original Cindy into contact with him? They certainly didn’t run in the same circles, and it wasn’t like Sebastian was mobile.
“What does Sebastian look like?” Max pressed, unsure herself of what she was she hoped to gain by the question.
She had a picture of him in her head clear as day. Dark hair, dark eyes, a quadriplegic…
Except, she couldn’t remember having met the man. When the Reds came after her, she had fought them alone…
“Original Cindy doesn’t have a clue,” her friend said slowly. “Max, what the hell is going on?”
“I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.”
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