Asha's Arrival
by pari106

Disclaimer, etc, found in chapter one.

Chapter Nine…



"Good morning," he says.

I'm not so sure about that. But it's definitely better than the last couple of dozen
mornings I can remember.

"Morning," I say. I think I even smile as I do. Feels strange to smile again, after
everything, but there it is all the same. It's kind of hard not to smile and to feel like this
is a good morning, after all… With Logan sitting there, smiling at me, the only image
from my dreams to persist into reality. Thankfully.

Logan, wow. I take the first real, long look at him since I got here. Shaggy hair, yes…
A very different look for him. But not bad, exactly. Cute even.

Okay, so perhaps "cute" isn't exactly the word for Logan Cale. But let's not go there.

He's dressed differently than before. In cargo pants and a sweater.

"Feeling a little better?" he asks. Mostly, I think, because what else do you say to
someone who's dropped, naked and crying, through your skylight after a ten-year
absence?

"I'll live," I hear myself say, off-hand. But it's the wrong thing to have said. Because it
reminds me of certain facts that I don't need to be reminded about.

I drop into a chair with a kind of shaky sigh, and I guess my thoughts are clear by my
expression, because I see Logan's face go soft and concerned.

"Hey…"

He wheels closer to me, and I…

Wait.

*Wheels* closer? Oh…my God, is that a *wheelchair*?

I don't mean to stare; I really don't. God knows I don't want to make Logan
uncomfortable. But I can't help it. It *is* a wheelchair. Logan is sitting in it, and I don't
understand why. He was walking the night I arrived…wasn't he? I remember him
standing over me. Or am I really that screwed up? Now that I'm constantly plagued by
memories, I can't even trust what I remember?

But Logan must see the surprise on my face; the confusion. Something flickers through
his eyes – I'm not sure what – but his smile returns, softer and sadder than before, as he
answers my unspoken question. Sort of.

"It's a long story," he tells me. "And I guess we're full of those right now, aren't we?" I
guess we are.

"It's been a long time, Asha," he says, and I look down at our hands as he takes mine in
his own. It's been too long.

"What happened?" Logan asks.

God…

What hasn't happened?

Images of the last ten years pass through my mind. Images of the last month. And of
Mike. The excitement in his eyes, the day we got our first big lead on the Delgado
case… The anger and the hurt pride that was there during our last, big argument. The
look on his face as I held him, the night he died. The night Delgado got the drop on all of
us, and the S1W was executed.

It was an execution basically, A slaughter. Delgado's men came at us when we are all at
HQ, planning our next move. His men came in with gun's blazing. Literally. We didn't
have time to fight back. We just fled. I saw Parker and a couple of others duck out one
way, and I helped Mike (who'd already taken two hits that I saw – one to the shoulder,
and one to the leg) out the other.

Then we had to keep moving, as far and as fast as we could. Farther than I wanted. I
wanted to stop, to see just how bad Mike had taken the hits, but I couldn't. We'd left HQ
in Mike's old Chrysler, through a hail of gunfire, with Mike "passing out" almost
immediately, in the back seat. I couldn't risk stopping till I knew none of those goons
were on our tails. It wasn't till later – too late – that I realized Mike had taken a third
shot after we'd already gotten in the car.

He'd taken a shot to the stomach.

I didn't understand what that meant, at first. I guess I couldn't get my head around it.
Didn't want to. Still don't. I couldn't understand why Mike's blood looked so much
darker than blood usually looks… I'd never seen anyone die from a gunshot wound
before. I never… I…

Oh, fuck, I can't breathe…



**** ****

"Asha? Asha?"

I hear Logan's voice, as if from a great distance away, and no more than a minute,
maybe, has passed since I blacked out, but it feels like I've just woken up from a night's
sleep all over again.

"Logan?" I ask weakly. I feel so disoriented. But I don't think he really hears what I say.

"Shh. It's okay. It's alright. It's too soon, don't worry about it."

Too soon to talk about what happened? Yeah. And, damn it, I feel like crying again.
Because it will *always* be too soon to talk about what happened. But it doesn't worry
me. Nothing worries me. Because the only person I have left to worry about is myself.
I'm starting to realize that now.

"I'm sorry, Asha," Logan's saying. "I know you've been through a lot. I shouldn't have
pressured you. Just take it easy. You don't have to tell me anything until you're ready,
okay?"

I shake my head. "You don't have to apologize, Logan," I say. But, again, even my own
voice sounds as if it's someone else's. The disorientation is passing, but slowly.

"I just want to help you," Logan says. I know that. And it's surprising to me, through
the numbness that's taken over my body since Mike and the others died, that I can feel
Logan's hand when he touches my cheek, but I can. His touch is more real to me than
anything else I've felt since leaving San Francisco, and I cling to it. I put my hand over
his and just revel in the simple comfort of human contact. I don't even realize there's a
silence to be broken until Logan breaks it.

"It's good to see you again, Asha," he says. And when he finally draws his hand back I
feel colder than I should for the absence of his touch.