Fandom: Dark Angel
-(Pairings) Max/Logan, Alec/Rachel
-(Other Featured Characters) Original Cindy, Joshua, Kendra
Spoilers: Entire series, specifically Berrisford Agenda and Freak Nation
Word Count: 2,018
Written For: promisetodepart
Prompt: Marriage and Children
Author's Notes for Recipient: Well, I didn't quite manage to fit children in. I had several plans for tying that in, but the story wanted to be told differently. Hope you're okay with that.
Credits: With grateful appreciation to rinkle for an insightful last minute beta.
Summary: In three years time, Max has learned a lot about love.
"Original Cindy never thought she'd see this day," Original Cindy said, shaking her head at Max.
"Never thought we'd get our acts together, huh?" Max mumbled around the bobby pins she held between her lips. Her hands tangled in her long hair as she experimented with different twists and up-dos.
Cindy laughed. "Never thought you'd want to."
Three years ago...
"Now that is a man I could marry," Kendra sighed, tossing a handful of popcorn in her mouth as the final credits of the movie rolled.
"Girl," Original Cindy drawled, "don't you know that marriage is a patriarchal institution meant to oppress women?" She smirked. "And take them fine shorties off the market before they can explore all their options."
Kendra rolled her eyes. "You're biased. Marriage can be a beautiful thing. It's about people in love showing their commitment. Back me up here, Max."
"Is that what it's supposed to be about?" Max asked, feigning surprise.
"Not you too!" Kendra cried, tossing a popcorn kernel at Max's head.
"Seriously, what's the point?" Max asked, batting the popcorn projectile away. "It's not like being married actually keeps people together. Marriage is a relic, some kinda leftover notion from days when women were busy little homemakers, barefoot and pregnant."
"And what is with the whole wedding deal?" Cindy asked, warming up to the topic. "Sisters spendin' wads of cash to dress up like layer cakes!"
"And they spout off about it being the 'happiest day of their life' but then do that slow march down the aisle like they're walking down death row!" Max exclaimed.
"Oh, and letting some man smear cake all up in their face?" Original Cindy pursed her lips disapprovingly. "That's just whack."
"A waste of perfectly good cake," Max grinned.
"You're both hopeless," Kendra huffed. She gathered up the popcorn bowls and walked to the kitchenette, giving Max a nudge with her hip as she passed. "You'll see, Max. One day you'll fall in love, and then you'll feel differently."
"I'll never fall that much in love, I promise you," Max insisted. Besides, she thought to herself, it'd be hard to be a barefoot-and-pregnant killing machine. She really needed her steel-toed boots for all the ass-kicking she did; without 'em, she'd mess up her pedicure.
Max laughed at the memory. "A lot of things have changed since then."
"Yeah," Original Cindy agreed. "You fell that much in love."
"I learned that much about love."
Three months ago...
"Oh! I'm... I'm sorry," Logan said, transitioning from embarrassment to bitterness in the space of just those few short words. "Forgive the intrusion."
As Logan closed the door to Max's makeshift quarters, Alec dropped his arm from around Max's shoulder, expecting her to go after him. Instead, she looked down at her lap.
"You know, with Logan living in Terminal City, it's not going to be so easy to fool him,” Alec pointed out. “If you keep this up, you might actually have to sleep with me."
Max rolled her eyes. "You've got less chance of that now than you had back at Manticore, Smart Alec. Now I know you."
"Seriously, Max. How long are you going to let that go on?"
"Nothing's changed," Max said sadly. "One wrong move, one second of carelessness, and bang! A quick, painful death."
"So, you'd rather let him suffer for a lifetime." Alec nodded, sarcasm coming through loud and clear. "Makes perfect sense."
"Whatever. He's better off."
"Bullshit." Alex got up from the edge of the bed and paced angrily toward the door. "When Logan busted into Jam Pony with guns blazing and got his face on camera, he gave up everything for you. He can't go back anymore."
"Why the hell do you care so much about Logan all of a sudden?" Max fired back, hurt more by the reminder of what Logan had given up than by Alec's unexpected anger. "Since when is he your pet project?"
Alec turned back slowly - a hard, blank expression on his face that Max knew meant nothing good. "Since he did what I couldn't do."
Max's breath caught in her throat as she remembered untouchable Alec crumbling at Rachel Berrisford's bedside. He'd tried to give up everything for her, the way Logan had for Max, but it was too little, too late.
By the time she took a breath, Alec was out of the room and into the hall. Max chased after him. "Alec, wait!" She grabbed his arm; he shook her off, but he stopped walking.
"Nothing to be sorry for," he said brusquely. "But you've got some funny ideas about love, kid."
Max tensed. "I know about love. I learned it from Zack, and from Tinga, and Brain. They sacrificed their lives to protect the people they cared about."
Alec leaned in and whispered in her ear, like he was sharing a secret. "Well, take a lesson from me. It's not always about making a sacrifice. Sometimes it's about taking a risk."
"Who'da thought you and Logan would have Alec to thank for getting you hitched?"
"Not Logan," Max smirked. "Three months ago, the only thing he woulda thanked Alec for was dropping dead."
Max put the final pin in her hair and stood back from the old cracked mirror to study the effect. "Of course, we gotta give Papa Sandeman his props too."
Original Cindy agreed. "That man thought ahead."
Three weeks ago...
"That should do it." The X5 Medical Concentrate they'd nicknamed Nightingale neatly slipped the IV from Max's arm, then from Joshua's. "Let me just run your blood work to be certain." She drew a sample from Max and walked to the other end of Sandeman's old lab where the restored equipment was up and running.
Logan clapped Joshua on the shoulder. "If this works, we're going to have so much to thank you for, Josh."
Joshua shook his head, holding out the pendant Sandeman had given him - caduceus, the symbol for medicine. "Not me. Father."
"Father was a pretty smart man," Max agreed, reaching for Joshua's hand. "Keeping you off Manticore's books so the Breeding Cult wouldn't find out what your blood could do. You're a walking, talking anti-venom."
"And anti-virus, it seems," Nightingale said as she walked back to where they were waiting. "This last transfusion seems to have done it, Max. Your blood is free of the virus."
Max and Logan looked at one another. "You ready to test this out?" Logan asked with a grin.
Max hopped off the exam table and walked toward him. "I'm ready."
Logan began to tug at the fingers of his gloves. Max scrunched up her face in confusion. "What are you...?"
Looking just as confused, Logan glanced down at his hands. "I was gonna..."
"Screw that!" Max grabbed him by the collar and kissed him hard, and for once, the world didn't end.
Max turned around to face her friend. "How do I look?"
"You look beautiful, Boo," Original Cindy replied softly, but with a smile.
"Not like your typical bride," Max noted, smoothing her short, form-fitting dress down over her hips.
"But this ain't no ordinary wedding."
"No," Max agreed, feigning the posh tones she'd once heard from Logan's family, "it's the transgenic event of the season."
Cindy laughed. "You know what I mean. You're special."
"I don't know about all that," Max said, glancing back at the room behind her, "but I know he makes me feel that way."
Three days ago...
Without even opening her eyes, Max knew that Logan was watching her with that look on his face again. "You are so sappy," she grumbled.
"Good morning to you, too."
She suspected he was doing that deep, husky thing with his voice on purpose, but she was still sleepy enough to be vulnerable to it. His arm tightened around her waist and she snuggled closer. Logan’s fingertips trailed down her spine and she curled into it like a cat.
"For someone who requires very little sleep, you sure wake up slowly."
Max peered at him through barely-opened eyes. "I had a busy night."
He kissed her softly. "So you did," he agreed. "Leading a revolution is a full-time job."
Max closed her eyes again and rested her head on his shoulder. "I was talking about after work."
"I wish that were a full-time job," he whispered, leaning over to trail kisses down her neck.
Max pulled back, giving him a wide-eyed stare. "You mean it? Logan Cale – tireless crusader for justice, defender of downtrodden freaks, the Great and Mysterious Eyes Only – would give up an exciting life of frustration and futility just to stay in bed with me?" She smacked him on the ass and hopped out of bed. "Awww. I'm so flattered."
Logan rolled back onto the pillows and watched unabashedly as Max started to get dressed. She rolled her eyes at him. "Had to go talking about work, didn't ya?"
"Actually, I was talking about sex," Logan grinned. "You're the one who's off to save the nation."
Max bent over him to grab her boots from under the bed and Logan pulled her down. "Hey!" she yelled, before giving in and letting herself be pulled back into his arms. She kissed him once then twisted away. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she reached down and grabbed her boots. "C'mon, Logan. We got things to do, nations to save."
"Together?" he asked, reaching for her hand.
"Of course together," she said. "That's what we've been doing since I met you, right?" She didn't see why he was getting so serious on her all of a sudden. She let go of his hand and bent down to zip her boots.
"Marry me, Max."
Max sat up slowly and brushed her hair out of her eyes. "What the hell am I supposed to say to that?"
"Customarily, if you love someone, you say 'yes.'" Logan smiled, but there was an underlying hurt there Max recognized from all the times she'd hurt him before. It softened her.
"Logan... Yes. Of course I want to marry you. But I don't think there's a chapel in Terminal City."
Logan's smile was unadulterated now. He sat up and kissed her. "We don't need a chapel."
"Right. I'll just go kidnap a priest and we'll get married in the old water treatment plant."
He kissed her again. "We don't need a priest."
"I really don't think they're handing out marriage license to transgenics, Logan. We don't have rights. It wouldn't even be legal."
"Since when have you cared what's legal?" Logan was outright grinning now. She shot him a look and he got serious. "Max, I don't care about anyone's approval. I don't care who's there and who's not, or where 'there' is. All I care about is you. It's about you, me, and a vow to love and care for one another. That's all that matters."
"That's all you want? Just the vows?"
"Just you, me, and the vows," he confirmed. "And I wouldn't say no to some cake."
"You won't mind my family being there when yours can't be?"
Logan shook his head. "They're my family too, now."
Max sighed, giving in. "If you think I'm vowing that 'honor and obey' crap–"
"I wouldn't dream of it," Logan laughed.
Max kissed him this time. "But, you know, if you wanted to..."
He wrapped his arms around her. "How about we just take that obedience part out?"
"You ready?" Original Cindy asked, bringing Max back to the moment.
"Just one more thing," Max said. She kicked off her heels, grabbed her boots from under the bed, and tugged them on.
"Interesting fashion choice, girl," Cindy said, looking a little perplexed.
"You know how things have gone for me and Logan in the past. It's a 'just in case.'" Max smiled and put her arm around Cindy's shoulders as they walked out of the room. "A girl never knows when she might have to kick some ass, and I don't wanna mess up my pedicure."