Epilogue: Something Gained
Zach took them to a small town hospital out of the way of the main road and hopefully out of the way enough that Lydecker would not come looking for them. Hopefully the doctor would be able to treat Logan's injury well enough that he could travel again in a couple of days.
Zach sighed impatiently as he watched the doctor's work on Logan's leg wondering if they would even be able to save it. It was a mess, severely infected to the point that gangrene had set in. The doctor had said that they would have to surgically remove some of the dead tissue at the very least. Hopefully there would be no need for amputation. He laughed shortly, wondering why he cared. He wanted to say because he owed him a couple, that sixth sense… that radar of Logan's had saved him twice and he knew it.
But there was more to it than that. Suddenly Logan didn't seem like such a pompous overindulgent rich man. He was just like the rest of them struggling to get through, struggling with his own inner demons. Zach felt a pang of jealousy thinking about the relationship that Logan was able to share with Max while she was alive. That had been special and Logan had understood her better than anyone including himself. He actually sympathized with Logan's loss.
Zach looked next to him at Tinga, she looked worried. She seemed to sense him looking at her for she looked up taking a deep breath and turning toward him slightly, "So you going to tell me the whole story about Logan?"
"I'm not sure that I know the whole story myself. He didn't give me any kind of details about it. I just know he went from being in a wheelchair to being able to walk in a very short period of time. When I went to enlist Max for help on this little fiasco he and I got into a fight," He shrugged, "I spoke before thinking."
"Sounds like you," Tinga said elbowing him.
His lips thinned but continued as if she had said nothing, "And when he nearly beat me at my own ability I knew that something was up. He mentioned something about Max's DNA rewriting his own, but beyond that it is all conjecture."
"You know what Lydecker would do if he found out about this," Tinga said giving voice to a thought that had run through Zach's head already about three times.
"Yeah," Zach said looking down and crossing his arms, "Hopefully he'll never find out."
Logan woke several days later still in pain and found himself in unfamiliar surroundings. He frowned blinking heavily as he took in the quaint little room around him feeling oddly like a man out of time. The room was painted in a warm peach color with lacy curtains and pictures of like colored flower arrangements. There was one large window and glancing out it he still could see hillsides covered in evergreen trees. He wasn't home but he was no longer in Yreka either, he almost thought that he was in someone's house. That thought was quickly overridden when he looked down his own body.
The bed he lay on was a hospital bed and he could see the IV lines and monitor wires coming off of him like leeches. There was a monitor on his right side where all the EKG wires were hooked up keeping the masses informed of any changes. There was a small rollaway bedside table next to the monitor that held a pitcher of water and a small plastic glass. There was a privacy curtain pushed back against the wall on his left side.
His brow furrowed a moment as he thought about the reason for him needing a doctor when memory suddenly flashed back, and he bolted upright throwing back the covers in fear. He sighed heavily finding that his left leg was still intact, just to be sure he wiggled his toes wincing in pain at the pulling of his freshly treated thigh. It was neatly bound in gauze and there was a healthy amount of blood on the bandage, but no puss. He gingerly set one hand on the bandage finding that it was less feverish than before. They'd been able to save it, Logan closed his eyes, thanking God for that small miracle, especially after his last remembrance of it.
Suddenly he felt every little overworked muscle, torn ligament and open cut on his body in agonizing burning detail. He sat there a moment longer until the pain subsided again. He raised a hand to his face, the swelling was down but that only served to make it hurt worse and some of the faster healing sections were already beginning to itch. He could almost see out of his right eye now though the site was blurred by blood. Slowly he ran his hand over his ruined good looks then ran a hand through his hair sighing, convinced he'd paid the price for his stupidity. All of that and Lydecker was still alive and a threat to him and the remaining X-5's. He vaguely remembered the satisfaction of breaking the man's jaw, but he had to make the choice between taking Lydecker's life or saving Zach's from the soldier his internal radar had picked up. He had chosen to save a life and beyond that all had been blackness.
About that time the door opened and Logan's eyes shot to the entrant, then went wide and he hastily pulled the covers back over his less than decent attire, "Tinga?" He croaked, then cleared his throat feeling suddenly like he had swallowed glass, and trying not to sound or look embarrassed.
Tinga smiled coyly at his modesty as she shut the door quietly behind her. That smile turned to admiration of the glimpse that she had caught. He was pretty well built for a man who was nearly forty. Then again he had fought pretty well both for a man of that age and for someone with no formal training under his belt in the use of his extraordinary talents.
Logan found the controls for the bed and raised the head of it so that he would not have to lean too far back and still remain upright. He leaned slowly back to meet the adjusted head of the bed wincing and slowly crossed his arms, looking at her through still exhausted eyes.
"How're you doing?" Tinga asked as she slowly approached the bed.
"I hurt, and I couldn't honestly pinpoint which cause is worse," He joked smiling, then his brows furrowed, "Where are we?"
Tinga looked up, "Oregon, little town of Lincoln. Had to stay away from the major cities, that'd be the first place Lydecker would try to find us, and you were in no condition to keep going."
"How long have I been out?" Logan asked honestly not even remembering what day it was when he had lost consciousness.
"'bout four days," Tinga replied shortly.
Logan nodded slowly, "That bad, huh?"
"That bad," Tinga reached over and grabbed his left foot making a tent of the covers, "How's the leg?"
Logan sucked in a pained breath as she moved his foot and thereby his leg, he tilted his head to one side looking at Tinga crossly for that act. Then he glanced down laying his hand on the leg that by every right he should have lost, "Still there, thankfully," He said solemnly, "It hurts like a son of a bitch, but its all good. At least it's still there to hurt."
Tinga smiled not looking at him, "Doctor's not a hundred sure about it yet, but it looks as if you'll continue to keep it. That is as long as you stay off of it and treat it right...this time. But he adds that at best you'll have a permanent limp. He had to remove a good amount of tissue both skin and muscle to get you cleaned up," She smiled at him apologetically. She looked him dead in the eye now, "Zach says that you were shot trying to get away from Lydecker, that it had only been two weeks since the injury when you accompanied him," she looked puzzled a moment, "Why didn't you tell me you were still injured?"
Logan chewed on the inside of his lip looking down at the bed covers a moment, "Look Tinga, I wasn't myself back there… I had some… issues that I was having a hard time wrapping my head around."
"Max's death," She said bluntly.
Logan nodded repeating slowly, "Max's death…. She was everything that really mattered in my life and in less than a minute Lydecker took her away from me… And after that nothing mattered anymore, beyond getting to and killing Lydecker all else was moot, including my health… my life," He frowned a moment, "There was a point when I didn't care if I died."
He didn't look at her for long moments, "I…" he started his eyebrows raising above blank eyes, "I knocked on Hell's door," Then he looked at her, "And when it came down to it… I wasn't ready to make a deal with the devil," He shrugged smiling a small smile, "I was too afraid of dying. There are things I still have to live for…I just haven't figured out what they are yet," His smile broadened, "But that is the adventure isn't it?"
--And that is a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed this story. Thank you all ever so much for all of the support while this was being written! It is only because of all of you that I was able to continue and finish this story. I had some real dry patches and you all kept the imaginative fire lit under my butt! Thanks again!
--Up next will be the sequel to Kito's story, tentatively titled "After the Fire". It will be a serious change of pace from me… oh my, an actual romance style story… I hope that I can pull it off, give me some time it will be slower going.