Disclaimer: Logan is mine (don't buy the hype about Cameron/Eglee owning him). Most of the rest are theirs- except Alec I am also laying claim to him. What a hottie! I am going to be the ham in a Logan/Alec sandwich. ;) I'm such a pervo...

A/N: I know I haven't updated this story in months. Thanks to all of you who kept writing and telling me to get off my lazy ass and get on with it. I've been moving and was also promoted, so I have been hella busy. I don't have my Internet connection up at home, and that has taken a lot out of my online time. I'm kinda sick, so I'm goofing off at work today.

Special Thanks to: Zig, for being my beta-thanks boy. BlackWolf, for all his weapons knowledge (you are the coolest). The people who read and review my story. You guys really do keep me going. Knowing that there are people out there who are truly interested in the ideas from my whacked out head is pretty damn cool. :)
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The Enemy Within
Chapter 15
Dawning

Zack looked down at his grimy hands. Mud, leaves and blood covered the calloused skin, and black bags encircled his eyes. Even a superhuman marvel like himself was tired after the events of the past twenty-four hours. In the seemingly never-ending battle with Manticore, he had watched a man die to save him. Hell, he was responsible for that death. With all of his hyped up DNA, his extensive training and his superiority over most living things, he couldn't protect Bling. It should have been Zack. This wasn't Bling's war, it was the X-5's. Zack damned himself, not for the first time that long and grueling night.

Zack had spent at least six hours plowing the earth for the roughly six-foot deep grave. Now, in the chilly and misty predawn of Seattle's morning, Zack's bare upper torso was slick with sweat, and streaked with dirt. As he had worked throughout the night, the final minutes of the shootout had played over and over again in Zack's like some demented nightmare. But reality always proved worse than a dream, because there was no waking up in the morning thanking God or whatever that it had just been a figment of your imagination. No - if it were a dream, it may haunt you throughout your morning shower, tickle your mind while brushing your teeth, and nag a bit during breakfast just be tossed forever into that trash can in your brain. There would be no waking up from this. Not for Bling, who was in an eternal sleep - and not for Zack, who would never forget the blank and scared look on Bling's face as he took in his final breath.

Zack inhaled heavily and wiped a hand down his face, staring out into the nothingness of the dewy morning for just a bit longer. Finally, when he couldn't prolong it any further, he stood up to get Logan and Original Cindy so they could pay their last respects to their fallen friend. Off in the distance, a bird started singing it's cheerful morning tune, and the wind blew its friendly good morning to the earth. The sun peeked just barely through the trees. Zack damned himself on last time before damning the new day. It was time for the funeral.
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It was the man again, the one she had dreamed of often in the past few days. The man with eyes of an angel. If she had believed in such mythology, she would have sworn that he was in fact some sort of heavenly entity. This time he wasn't sitting in a wheelchair, but standing before her on strong legs. Her confusion was clear on her face as she gingerly stepped toward him.

"Why do I keep dreaming of you?" she asked.

"You know why," he answered.

"I think I- I know you," she said, the barest hesitation in her making the statement a question.

"Yes. You do." He said simply. He would wait for her to recognize him, but the pain he was feeling at her inability to do so was apparent on his face.

"How? You seem so familiar, but everything is a fog. I can't remember anything. Why?" As she spoke, her voice hitched slightly and became panicky. "Why can't I remember a damn thing?"

"Think."

"I don't want your cryptic answers! Tell me!"

He smiled. This was the Max he knew.

"Think, Max." he whispered, and his already near face grew closer.

Her eyes grew wide at the use of the name. Not just a name, her name! That was her name! For a second, she didn't recognize it, but then it reached right out and grabbed her. A small smile formed on her lips as she remembered more...

"Logan?" she spoke, almost as if she testing the word out to see if it sounded right.

It was joyous, being able to remember something; regaining a tiny part of herself that she hadn't realized was gone.

"Welcome back." Logan whispered and slowly closed the distance between them. He caught her lips and coaxed them open briefly, savoring the taste of her. When he lifted his head, he stared down at her with an intense look on his face. His voice was hurried, as if some sort of invisible hourglass was running and they didn't have much time left.

"Oh my God, Logan! I'm starting to remember! Original Cin-"

One minute Max was standing there in front of him, talking to him-the next, she was gone.

The dream was over.
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452 woke abruptly at the sound of steps in the room. In the early morning darkness she could just barely make out the shape of a man. She leapt off the bed and stood to attention, however that was a bad idea. The room spun at an alarming rate and she stumbled backward. The man's arm reached out to steady her and encircled her waist.

"Careful 452. You still need some time to recover." Lydecker's voice softly chided as he guided her back to her cot. His hands were soothing-almost fatherly-as he stroked her hair off her forehead. She as if his helping her should have repulsed her and she wasn't quite sure why.

"Sorry, sir." 452 answered without emotion.

"No need to be sorry, soldier. Just take it easy. Within a week, you should be back up to working order, and we can get you back to your daily routine. I know your eager to get out of bed, but we must let your body recover fully. Your last mission took a lot out of you."

She nodded her head in acknowledgement. Lydecker had told her about that mission. She had been sent to do away with a Manticore nuisance- some underground reporter in the Pacific Northwest who had been trying to expose Manticore. Something had happened on that mission, and she had failed and had suffered quite a head trauma, as well as going into cardiac arrest. Her heart appeared to be fine now, but as a result of the head injury, she now had amnesia. They didn't know when or even if her memory would ever return fully.

Quite honestly, her memory lost frightened her, but she didn't wallow in her fear. She was a soldier- a professional- and didn't have time to sulk in her sorrows. She was strong and trained quite well, and now her intention was to fully recover physically and complete that botched mission. X-452 never left anything incomplete.

Lydecker gave her a small, tight smile, and checked her vitals. He said nothing to her while he did this and she didn't initiate any sort of conversation. She wasn't to speak unless spoken too, after all. He was her commanding officer.

He grabbed her chart and wrote something down, then looked back at her.

"You are doing excellent, 452. Coming along quite nicely. Just keep resting for now, and regain your strength. At this rate your body is healing, I think you can be back on your routine in 2-3 days, not the week I had anticipated." As he spoke, he began preparing a needle with some medicine- a muscle-relaxer of some sort. He flicked the excess of the end, and injected the substance into his soldier's vein at the crook of her arm. 452 winced only slightly, but kept her voice devoid of any emotion.

"I am looking forward to training again, and finishing that mission. I'm sorry I failed you the first time. I will not fail again."

"I know, 452. You were always one of my best." Pride tinged his voice as he spoke, and with one final glance down at her, he left.

452 stared up at the ceiling above her and gave a small sigh. She felt her eyes begin to flutter closed as the medicine began taking its effect. All of a sudden a memory came rushing back at her out of the depths of her mind, and she whispered two words aloud. She felt compelled, as if she were finishing a thought that she hard started before. Yet for the life of her, she had no idea why or what she was really saying. What she had said sounded biblical, but that made no sense. She didn't believe in theology. Besides that, she had a feeling that the words weren't what she all she needed to remember, but only part of something- part of a name? That made no sense...

"Original sin?" She whispered again. A pain seared her head as she spoke and blinded her with its intensity. She hissed a breath out, but kept on searching for the rest of that memory. She felt so close; right on the brink of remembering something important. Then it came, and she remembered everything for one brief second. Then the medicine and Manticore won once again as sleep sucked her back down into its dreary and mindless depths.
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"Max!" Logan eyes flew open as he looked around. For just a moment he was distorted, and the small cabin's interior was unfamiliar, then reality reared its ugly head. Just a dream. Him and Max together was just a dream, the feel of his lips on hers, the feel of his hands in her hair. All just a damn dream. He both welcomed and feared sleep- the dreams themselves were wonderful, and they felt so real- like somehow he and Max were linked through some miracle of fate, destiny, the stars or whatever scripted this funny drama called life. But when he awoke, it was like losing her all over again, because he could still smell her, taste her, feel her for the briefest of moments afterward, just to have it fade away and leave a pit of nausea in his stomach.

Absently, Logan rubbed at the crick in his neck and looked around disgustedly at the cottage. He doubted that once all this was over, if he even came out of it alive, that he would ever come back to the cottage. No good memories could ever absolve the bad ones this place now carried. At this point, he could see this place go down in flames and he wouldn't give a damn. A heavy hand dropped on his shoulder, and Logan caught a sick whiff of sweat, blood, earth and death mixed in with grief. He may not care much for Zack, but he had to admire him. Of course, he would never say that aloud to anyone, especially the man in front of him, but the guy had such an admirable loyalty about him.

"It's ready. I've already told Cindy. We get this over with then get on the road. We can still make good time today." Zack said gruffly, and not waiting for an answer, walked away.

Logan sighed and straightened his silver framed glasses. Slowly, lethargically, he began wheeling himself for the front door of the cabin. He needed to pay his last respects to his best friend. His only friend besides Max.
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At the makeshift gravesite, the trio circled around the mound of dirt before them. Original Cindy had hand picked some flowers from the cabin's small garden and placed them on Bling's grave. No one spoke, and all three were silently blaming themselves for the death of the man beneath the earth's surface. A tear streamed down Cindy's face as she stood there, then two and three more followed before she began sobbing in full. She stifled a sob with her right hand before turning around and stumbling away. Logan didn't even notice. He just sat there, eyes unfocused and bleary as he thought of at least a hundred ways he could have done things differently and spared his friend's life. But none of them mattered now, of course, because it was too late. It was too damn late, and Bling was dead. Logan knew if he lived a million years, he would carry that burden on his shoulders, and his shoulders alone. Bling had saved Logan's life, and in doing so had paid the ultimate price. A price that Logan would forever be indebted to, and ashamed of.
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Zack couldn't stand it anymore. He couldn't stand seeing Cindy cry, and now he couldn't take the look on Logan's, so with a stony face, he left Logan alone and headed back for the cabin. He supposed he should check on Original Cindy, but he couldn't face her now. He knew that even if they didn't blame him directly, that he was at fault for this. Guilt and sorrow weighed heavily on Zack on shoulders, and he felt like Atlas. He couldn't afford to grieve over Bling, or play the blame game with himself. He had a mission to complete; Maxie was still alive- he couldn't bear to think otherwise- and in the hands of those bastards, no doubt being re-indoctrinated into Manticore's sick system. If they could hurry, they had a good chance of saving her without too much damage. So, no matter how much he wanted to lick his wounds and hide right now, he couldn't. He couldn't because he was already responsible for one death, and by God, he wouldn't be responsible for another.
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Original Cindy wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. Not long after she had left the somber gathering, she had felt the bile in her throat rise up and win it's sick battle with her body. Grabbing a hold of the nearest tree, she gave in and vomited repeatedly, before dry heaving till her ribs hurt. Finally- thankfully- her body seemed content and stopped. And, as much as she hated to say it, she felt better.

And she began getting angry.

Wrapping her arms around herself, she began making her way back toward the cottage. These bastards had killed Bling. The bastards who had Max had done this. And even though Manticore may have won a battle, they could still win this war. They got Logan back, didn't they? Just the three of them. And if they could get Logan back, they could Max back.

Stepping up onto the porch of the cabin, Cindy paused and looked back. The sun was shining in full now, and the morning was embracing the day. It was almost ironic how bright and alive everything was, considering that they had just put Bling to rest.

Cindy too a deep breath and one more, final tear seeped out in memory of Bling. She swiped at the wetness and determination settled over her. She didn't even realize she meant to speak until she heard her own voice.

"We're gonna get you back, boo. We won't let them win, so don't you, okay? Original Cindy never makes a promise she can't keep- especially not to her best friend." When she was done, she gave a small smile, the opened the front door and went in to get her stuff. They had a job to do and needed to get on the road as soon as possible.
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A little over an hour later, Logan started the Aztek. Original Cindy sat beside him, and Zack in the back. Driving away from the cabin- away from death- he began to feel a little better. By the time he turned on the long stretch of highway that would start their long journey to Wyoming, he felt empowered.
They made an unlikely A-Team- a superhuman soldier with extraordinary powers, a lesbian with miles of attitude, and a mere mortal with legs that didn't work but a mind that performed on overtime. They were all bound together with a deep love for Max- a sister, a best friend, and the love of a life.

Ahead, the road loomed long and endless, the white line in the middle leading them to a path not known. There were twists and turns, and obstacles unforeseen, but together they would stick it out and make it through. They would just take it one mile at a time, one day at a time.

For now, that's all Logan was sure of. But, for now, it was enough.


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A/N: Okay, I hope this didn't suck donkey balls. I am not having a beta read this, and I didn't do a read over myself (I never like what I write). Once again, I am sorry about the long sabbatical from this story....

Oh yeah, someone wrote a review talking about what an unlikely A-Team they made, and I liked that terminolgy, so I used it in this chapter. Hope I didn't offend anyone!! :)