A/N: Well, this is it. This is the last chapter of my story. I'm glad that so many people enjoyed it, I had a lot of fun writing it. Thank you again for all the support and encouraging words you all have given me, it means a lot to me. Thank you. *Hugs*

Disclaimer: I own nothin' but the story. You can buy it from me if the price is right....

Please R/R!

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THE HUNT
Chapter Fifteen
Desserts


Max groaned as she shifted her weight and turned over. Her head was throbbing and her arms felt heavier than usual. The leather beneath her crunched and shifted as she changed her position and sighed. Everything in her body felt so relaxed even though she was somewhat sore in her legs, but she felt safe, and that was what was important.

Max's eyes whipped open in realization at what she remembered to happen and tried to focus on the things around her, but she had to squint against the light in the room that only irritated her headache further. Where was she? Didn't they make it out of Manticore? Where were her siblings? Where was Logan? Max tried to sit up, but the combination of the blinding light in the room and the previous dizziness held her back.

"It's okay." Logan said as he walked into the room and sat on the edge of the couch. "Everything's all right." He soothed softly.

"Where is everyone?" She asked urgently, fearing the worse. Snippets of the fight and the battle in Renfro's office came back to her, suggesting that she had lost another family member to Manticore. She wasn't sure if she could handle that, especially after her Krit and Syl had gotten closer.

"Syl and Krit are set up in a safe house for tonight," He said gently. "I'll set up a contact number so you can keep in touch. Everyone's all right." He reassured her. She relaxed by his words and fell into a comfortable groove in the couch. Normally she didn't need much sleep, but the leather and the pillows around her were very inviting.

"How did we get out?" She asked, referring to the surrounding guards they had faced earlier.

"Oh," He smirked. "We had a little help from and outside source. Seems that Sebastian hacked into the surveillance system and picked the perfect moment to set off the fire alarm."

Max laughed lightly. "I can't believe it only took a little fire alarm to take down the black helicopter boys."

"Do you need anything?" Logan asked as he reached out and softly caressed her cheek and gave her a warm smile. She returned the gaze and sighed contentedly.

Max thought a moment and then grinned slightly. "I could use some cookies and milk." She said softly. He looked at her quizzically before raising from the couch and leaving to the kitchen. Max could hear Logan talking to Bling in the kitchen about her condition as he poured the milk. She had hundreds of questions to ask him and her siblings, but they could wait until later. Right now, she just wanted her hard-earned dessert.

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Renfro tipped back in her swivel leather chair and adjusted the sling that had been wrapped snugly around her shoulder from her injury. A small white bandage resided on her split lip and her nose was a little swollen. The electricity that had been shot into her earlier that day had little side effects as the day wore on besides the lightheadedness and the slight queasy feeling she felt.

She sipped her steaming coffee and sighed. The surveillance equipment had been repaired, the guards had returned to their posts and her wounds had been tended too. Everything was back to normal, except she was three X5s short. The splattered memories cascaded and echoed through her mind, each in it's own importance and reminding her how close she had come to achieving her goal ... again.

The psychoactives failed on Cale, but that wasn't her fault. Her damn doctors didn't give him the proper dosage, just because they didn't believe he could survive it. Renfro scoffed. That didn't matter, he knows where X5s are. The only thing that mattered to her was retrieving that information and using it to bring back her meal tickets.

X5-452. Max. She had escaped Manticore not just twice, but three times. The score sickened Renfro. She was supposed to be there training to become the ultimate fighting machine and instead she's out in Seattle some where with Cale and her little friends, wasting away her talent for nothing. Syl and Krit also escaped and their absence was putting another damper on Renfro's horrible day.

She was suddenly broken out of her reverie as the doors to her office whooshed open. The sound made Renfro snap at attention and instinctively grab the gun that was now taped to the bottom of her desk for more protection. She eased back as her only X5, Brin, walked into the room and saluted her.

"Where were you when all this was happening?" Renfro demanded as her fear flew away and her previous rage came back. She stood up from her desk quickly and instantly felt a strong wave of dizziness push her back down.

"I'm sorry, Ma'am. X5-452 immobilized me and I was unable to aid in her recapture." She said solemnly.

"I understand that." Renfro said coolly. "But now, she has escaped once again with your other siblings and damaged Manticore ... internally and financially." Renfro took a gulp of her coffee before continuing to ease her shattered nerves.

"Will the search for X5-452 continue, Ma'am?" Brin asked.

"Defiantly. Once I can get another team up and running to trace the implant in her head, it shouldn't be a problem. The thing is, once we find her, getting her back to Manticore and reprogramming is the trouble." She said disappointingly.

"With permission, I will take full responsibility for leading that team and bring her back to Manticore." Brin said calmly. Renfro smiled at the idea before dismissing Brin with a simple hand wave, she saluted once more and marched out of the room. At least she had one.

Renfro leaned back comfortably in her chair and rubbed her injured arm. She sat back with a smile that slowly eased up her face and sighed. "Next time you won't get away. Next time ... you'll come back home for good." Renfro pulled out the childhood photos of her X5s and pulled out Max's picture. She stared at it for a long moment before placing it on her desk and immediately began to set up the next team to chase her X5.

There wasn't going to be another escape. Her X5s were coming back, even if she'd have to do it, one by one ... starting with Max.


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