A/N. Hello, dear readers! I apologize for my absence but I promise that I haven't been neglecting my writing. Not at all. I've been writing this for nearly two weeks now. At first it was going to be another long one-shot but it ran away with me and is now almost 30,000 words and I still haven't wrapped it up. So I've decided to make it another multi-chapter. When it's complete, which should be soon, I will update 'Head On Collision' but please understand that I've never had a story consume me so much before. Anyway, a big thanks goes to my best friend and soul mate Lauren because I've been sending each finished scene to her and she's been reading them and encouraging me and staying up late to brainstorm with me. I couldn't have gotten this far without her. I LOVE YOU, LAUREN. Anyway, I'm done talking. I don't own anything.
"Lost and insecure, you found me, you found me. Lying on the floor, surrounded, surrounded. Why'd you have to wait? Where were you? Where were you? Just a little late, you found me, you found me." - 'You Found Me' by The Fray
Police Chief Carlos Garcia Sr. approaches the house with caution. He can feel the breath of his partner, Detective Luke Adams, on the back of his neck and he finds the closeness of the other man reassuring. Luke is the best guy to have on his side when they're about to do something risky and dangerous.
They reach the front door and after counting silently in their heads, the two men and the rest of the Minnesota state police force, shove open the door and rush in. "Police!" Garcia shouts as enters with his team right behind him. "Come out with your hands up!"
A shadowy form appears from the other room. He's an average looking man, completely innocent in everything about his confused demeanor. But it's just an act and they all know it. Still, he keeps the act going for as long as possible. "Can I help you?" He pretends to be polite and oblivious but he can only do so much.
The house absolutely reeks of illegal substances like marijuana and pot. It burns the chief's nose and makes his eyes water but he glares at the man in front of him. "Gregory Hampton?"
"Yes." The man steps forward and extends a hand to shake. "That's me. What can I do for you?"
"Mr. Hampton, you're under arrest for possession of illegal substances-" He ignores the man's offer for a hand shake because he doesn't trust him and starts to read him the charges that are against him, intending to then go into reading him his rights. But he was right not to trust him.
Gregory leaps forward and grabs the police chief's elbow and begins to twist the arm around him, while with his other hand, he reaches into his shirt and starts to pull out his own gun. It's a desperate move because he's outnumbered. He might have succeeded if it wasn't for the detective whose reaction is lightening fast.
Detective Adams whips out his own gun and fires, not fatally, but the shot in the knee cripples the criminal and he falls to the ground, dropping his gun only to have it kicked away by the chief. Adams' quick actions are acknowledged by a short nod from his superior and then the privilege to search the rest of the house while the majority of the others take care of Hampton. "Basement?" The detective guesses, acknowledged by another nod.
The two of them take another pair and split up. Garcia finds himself with a new recruit and they look around the floor level of the house while Adams and another man go down into the basement. Garcia prefers working with Adams. Today is a perfect example. The rest of his squad had frozen when Hampton made his move and the chief wonders what would have happened if the detective wasn't right behind him. But then again, he's the chief and it's his job to teach the newer officers as much as possible.
"Be careful." He warns as they move slowly through the rooms. "We're still not sure if Hampton was working alone." He shakes his head in disgust as they navigate around the numerous marijuana plants. How did he get away with it for so long?
Gregory Hampton had moved to the neighborhood some six months back and kept to himself as much as possible. The neighbors had all assumed that he was simply antisocial because why would any of them think that such evil would be brought into their small town? Garcia can't blame them. He lives an hour outside the small town in a very similar neighborhood. Everyone likes to think the best but sometimes they're wrong.
Garcia and the recruit jump at the unexpected sound of Adams' voice. The detective suddenly appears at the top of the stairs looking like he's seen a ghost. He's breathing heavily and his face is absolutely white. He grips the knob of the basement door with a trembling hand and opens his mouth to say more but he's silent.
"What is it?" Instantly Garcia is on the alarm. He's worked with Luke Adams for over ten years and he's never seen the other man so disturbed. On closer inspection there are tears in the usually hard and determined eyes. "Adams. . . Luke." He places a hand on Luke's shoulder to get his attention.
Luke swallows hard and finally manages to croak out a response. "Y-you better come down, Carlos."
The chief stiffens and ignores the way the recruit looks at them in confusion. Luke has never addressed him so informally while they're on the job. "Where's Richards?" He asks after the other officer that Luke was partnered with.
Instead of answering him verbally, Luke simply nods down the stairs. "He's fine." He finally says, quickly as if Richards is the last person on his mind. "But we found-" He cuts his explanation off and simply repeats his earlier words. "You better come down."
Garcia has always prided himself on having what other policemen call "nerves of steel". But seeing Luke so shaken has him rattled as well. "Okay, Luke." He says softly. He follows his partner down a rickety staircase and into a dimly lit cellar with a dirt floor. Right away he sees Richards crouched in the corner over- The chief stiffens. It's a body. From where he stands at the foot of the stairs, Garcia can't see if the person is alive or dead. He takes a deep breath and steps closer.
It's alive, he realizes right away. He can't make out any facial features but the small form is trembling badly. Richards looks up at his chief and waves him closer. Garcia moves again, catching the whispered words of Luke as he does. "Better prepare yourself."
The statement is confusing enough so that Garcia's steps falter and he almost turns to look back at Luke. But instead he nears Richards who looks hesitant to get closer to the unidentified person, afraid of adding to the obvious terror.
"Hey," He says quietly, putting himself between the person and Richards. "I'm Chief Carlos Garcia. I'm here to-" The rest of his words never make it past his lips. A shaft of light falls over the person's face and Garcia closes the remaining distance between them in two long strides. He sinks to his knees, trying to breath while the shock has robbed his lungs of the oxygen they need to function properly.
"Call the paramedics."
He hears Luke's voice instructing either Richards or the new recruit and a small part of him is rational enough to feel relieved that at least one of them has sense left. But that thought only flits through his mind and it's gone. All he can really focus on is the boy laying in front of him. "Logan," The name slips out in a tiny gasp of air and he wonders if anyone even heard him.
But then the familiar brown eyes lose some of their fear and a spark of recognition replaces that fear. One arm comes uncurled from the thin waist and a hand extends forward to touch the chief. Fingers brush against the material of the navy blue jacket and trail down a muscled arm, finding the bigger hand.
Before he can stop himself, Garcia closes his fingers and traps Logan's hand in his. But the boy doesn't pull away from the unexpected grip. Then he hears words and he nearly breaks inside.
"You found me." Logan uses the police chief's grip to pull himself closer. "I knew you would find me."
Then he's crying and Garcia instantly gathers him into his arms. "Logan," He whispers again in disbelief. Logan is shaking with sobs, his breath coming in short, sharp gasps. He frees his one hand and then clings with both, tightly to the front of Garcia's shirt. The "nerves of steel" shatter and Garcia begins to cry as well.
The one word means absolutely everything to Garcia because he knows that Logan is not hallucinating and mistaking him for his own, biological father who died when he was fourteen. When he was little, Logan use to call him 'Papa' because he liked the way it sounded. It was a term of endearment from a seven-year-old and he used to call Garcia's wife 'Mama' just like the rest of his friends.
His friends. Garcia tries as hard as he possibly can to think of Kendall and James and his own son, Carlos. But all he can think of is how he never truly imagined, only hoped, that he'd ever see Logan again. "I've got you." He bends his head and drops a fatherly kiss on the dark hair. "I've got you, Logan. It's over."
"Don't let go." Logan's voice is dry and hoarse from being so unused. It's also muffled from his face being smashed into the chief's shirt. But the words are as clear as day. "Please don't let me go."
Garcia hears sirens in the distance and he knows what this means. "Logan, I'm not going to let you go." He says gently but firmly to get the boy's attention. "But I need to get you out of here okay?" He waits for Logan to nod and then he shifts him just slightly in his arms and stands up. "All right," He breaths. "Doing okay?" Another nod is his only response. "Let's go then."
He moves to go up the stairs again but Logan suddenly tenses. Not wanting to frighten him because he's already doing so remarkably well after all this time, Garcia stops short. "What is it, Logan?"
"W-what about h-him?"
Gregory Hampton. The name is suddenly like poison and Garcia can't bring himself to say it. He looks to Luke and receives a nod. Good. "He's gone, Logan." When I get my hands on him- Garcia shakes his head and brings his attention back to the one person who needs it more than anything else. "He won't ever touch you again, I promise."
Logan squeezes his eyes shut tightly and nods. He takes a deep breath and nods. "Okay," He whispers. "I'm ready."
Garcia tightens his hold and makes his way slowly and carefully up the stairs as if he's holding something made of glass. He can see the ambulance ready and waiting for them just outside and once again he's incredibly thankful for Luke.
Even though his eyes are already closed Logan squints even more once they step outside. Garcia takes advantage of the bright sunlight to study him more closely. He's always been naturally pale but now he's a sickly gray color. His raven colored hair has grown long and shaggy and is matted to his head with mud and dirt and even a little blood. Marks cover his bare arms and in his face. There are bruises, cuts and burns. He's horribly thin and all too easy to carry. But he doesn't look like he's dying and Garcia hardly makes it to the waiting paramedics through his tear-blurred eyesight.
They have a stretcher set up and waiting but as Garcia moves to lay Logan down, he hears the boy whimper and then feels him tighten his grip. "No." He shakes his head and opens his eyes. The pupils are slightly dilated in fear and his breathing becomes shallow once more. "Please don't let me go."
"Shhh." Garcia sits on the back edge of the waiting ambulance and rocks Logan back and forth. "Logan, it's going to be okay. I'm going with you. We need to get you to a hospital though. I'll be right here with you the whole time, okay? I promise."
But this isn't good enough for Logan. "Please." He whispers, unable to say anything else.
Garcia glances up at the paramedics who nod to his silent request. "Okay." He soothes Logan. "You've got it, buddy." He eases up into the back of the ambulance and cradles Logan in his arms even more, desperate to get him to calm down.
As soon as he realizes that he's not about to be torn away from the first familiar face he's seen in months, Logan relaxes. His sobs slow and his breathing steadies but he never, for one instant, releases his hold on Mr. Garcia.
"Should I call?" Luke asks his chief before the paramedics can close the doors. He can't take his eyes off of Logan. He cannot believe what a routine drug bust has turned into. He sees the chief nod as tears continue to stream down his face and his own throat closes up tightly. Then he's shoved gently aside and the doors are slammed shut and he tries not to panic over the fact that he can no longer see Logan. Chief Garcia has him and Luke knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that there's nothing that's going to keep the older man from letting any harm get to Logan. He turns to leave when a paramedic catches his attention.
"He want you to just tell them to meet him at the hospital." The man has obviously recognized Logan as well and is just as shaken up but he manages to lean out of the window of the ambulance and rely the message.
Luke nods, relieved that his task is relatively simple because he has no idea how he's supposed to tell them that they've found Logan.
Inside the ambulance, Chief Garcia isn't completely oblivious to the stares that he and Logan are getting from the paramedics. They're all professionals but none of them can comprehend what's happening. He can't believe it himself.
It's been fifteen months, over a year since Logan disappeared. But that's not really the unbelievable part. The part that Garcia can't get past is the fact after being taken from the Palm Woods hotel in Los Angeles, California, Logan would turn up an hour outside of his home town. And has he really been right under their noses for six months ever since Gregory Hampton moved into town?
Garcia glances down at the boy in his arms and he feels the tiniest of smiles pull at the corners of his mouth. For now, none of that matters. Logan is back. He runs one hand carefully through the messy black hair, brushing it out of Logan's eyes so they can both see each other better. Logan meets his gaze and it's then that Garcia sees the most beautiful thing he's ever seen in his life.
Logan smiles at him. It's small and barely there. There is still a dark fear lurking in his eyes but it lightens a little. The chief ignores the fact that Logan can't possibly stay this well functioning and responsive after the hell that he's been through but he holds onto the bit of hope that Logan gives him with his smile. "I'm safe now, aren't I?" He says tiredly.
Garcia nods and holds Logan closer to him. "Yes you are, Logan. We won't let anything happen to you. I promise that you're safe."
"I believe you." Logan tells him before burying his face again into the shirt. "Thank you for saving me."
He can't wrap his mind around it but one thought becomes apparent. Garcia shakes his head slowly as he wonders at the inner strength that Logan has held onto: He's never given up hope that he would be found.
A/N. Originally, I was just going to leave 'All These Lives' as it was and nothing else. But then I heard Daughtry's song, 'September' and thought it would work perfectly for a sequel either way. Then Lauren and I decided that we wanted our hearts to be whole again so I opted for the happier version and the song will come into play throughout the story so you should listen to it. It's a beautiful song and Daughtry is officially my muse. I have to warn you though that this is going to be really angsty for obvious reasons. Logan isn't going to get kidnapped for fifteen months and be magically okay. So. I have the first several chapters written so I'll update about once a day. How did you like chapter one? Review?