Author's note: So this first chapter is pretty short, subsequent chapters will be longer. Guys, I don't think I'll be updating this as quickly as I have with my past multi-chaps. I've been working through some real life dilemmas, but I'm hoping by posting this and getting some feedback I'll be inspired.
This one is for Renee (Rendall on this site. Check her out. She's got some lovely stories). It's her story, her idea, her plot. So thanks for the lovely idea, Renee. I hope you like it.
Okay, so, this deals with a bit of whimsy, a bit of magic and fate, so keep an open mind here, folks.
Oh, and, no promises of a happy ending. We'll just have to see.
"When will I see you again?"
The words fall from Logan's lips in that spot between sleep and wakefulness, the rough timbre of them pulling him to full consciousness. He's thankful to have the breathing tube out, finally, relieved he can speak at all.
"When will I see you again?" he whispers for the second time, softer now as though he needs to repeat the sentence again and again until he understands. He doesn't though.
"What?" a quiet voice asks, soft and full of concern.
"Yes, sweetie. How are you feeling?"
Logan begins to realize he's in the hospital, facing away from his mother as bright, white light streams through the window. He blinks a dozen times to clear his vision, focusing on a few green leaves on a tree branch dancing in the summer sun. There's something to remember, but it's so hard to think with his brain in a fog and a pain in his chest.
"I think I'm fine," he rasps, moving a sluggish hand to his torso, finding it swaddled in bandages. He turns his head to see his mother, Joanna, staring at him with teary smile.
"You'll be better than fine now, Logan," Joanna replies, reaching out to clasp her son's hand.
Logan makes a lazy attempt to return her smile but it must be more of a grimace.
"Are you in pain?"
"No, just," he takes a deep breath, starkly aware of the thump in his chest, "just a little woozy." Is the rhythm the same? Will the borrowed heart speed to the same staccato thuds when a new trauma is rushed into the E.R.? Probably not, if Logan trusts the most recent research.
Logan always trusts the most recent research.
But he's feeling more bizarre than he could have imagined, and he wonders what kind of person he's acquired this secondhand organ from. There's this wistful feeling too, like something new circulating from the four chambers and filling him up: a niggling sense of melancholy and aching want.
Maybe this heart has loved fiercely.
But Logan doesn't believe in that kind of love - the kind from the heart. The heart is an engine, pushing fuel to sustain life. Nothing lives inside of it but blood and muscle and tissue. A person needs a heart to survive, as he knows all too well.
The most fucked up part is that Logan has always been ridiculously healthy. His parents made sure he ate three squares a day growing up, limited junk food to holidays and special occasions, and enrolled him in gymnastics classes at the age of four. Once in his teens, Logan jogged every day before school, a habit which followed him to college, his residency and into the workforce. He did a hundred sit-ups every other day, unless the day happened to fall on a Sunday.
He ignored the chest pains far too long; in fact, if Logan were his own patient he would have chastised him to no end for ignoring so many warning signs. But Logan is barely thirty years old. Heart attacks aren't very common at his age, especially considering he was twenty-eight when it happened.
Logan's mom tried to joke, tried to lighten things by saying maybe Logan should've exercised his heart more, fallen in and out of love once or twice. He didn't think it was funny.
For the millionth time, Logan says, "You didn't have to come all this way."
"There are these wonderful flying machines called airplanes, Logie Bear. They make the trip from Texas to Minnesota pretty simple." Logan rolls his eyes as the use of his nickname as his mother adds, "Not that you would know, as rarely as you make the trip home."
"Mom, you know I'm busy and with all these issues I've been having—"
"It's fine. Sorry, Logan, I don't want to get you all riled so soon after surgery. I know it's been tough. But who else would be here for you?" Joanna looks at Logan with a reprimanding eye, causing Logan to sigh and turn back to the window.
"If I don't have time to go home what makes you think I'd have time to find a boyfriend?" Logan asks.
"What about Carlos?"
Logan snorts. "Carlos is straight, Mom."
"I know. I meant, why isn't he here?"
Carlos is Logan's best friend, a police officer by title, a hospital clown by choice. He visits the sick kids in the children's ward and is one of the only people in the world who have seen Logan smile. It would be hard not to, especially when Carlos is wearing floppy shoes and a big red nose a majority of the time, the white of his grin a shocking contrast to the dark skin of his face.
"I told him he'd better not dare worry over me," Logan replies.
"That explains the balloons then," Joanna says. Logan turns his head enough to take in the brightly colored orbs quietly floating in the waft of air coming through the vents. "The card just says Worried anyway. Get well soon or I'll scream."
A laugh bursts from Logan, causing a pain to flare in his chest, the laugh quickly turning to a groan.
"Where is that nurse? Isn't she supposed to be keeping a close eye on you? This is the ICU, for goodness sake," Logan's mom says, and she's gone before he can stop her.
Logan's mother seems to be gone ages, and he finds himself slipping back into an almost dream state as he thinks about his new, used heart. He knows most heart transplant recipients are encouraged to write letters to the family of the donor - an expression of gratitude to provide solace. How can he even begin something like that?
He's thinking about what to write, drifting in and out, hearing things without fully comprehending them. Maybe he falls asleep and maybe he's still awake, but he's feeling this niggling thing burning in his chest - not physical pain but more deeply rooted. It's like he falls into this baptismal of regret and guilt and Logan is breathing it in until he needs to scream for air. But he opens his mouth and only finds any sound he would have made cut off by angry words in a voice indistinguishable as anything other than furious. There's rage and pain and sobs and ragged breaths, but not from Logan. No, he's drowning in foreign emotions, regret and guilt, unable to make a sound, and it's all so unfamiliar Logan thinks this must be a nightmare.
Logan's eyes shoot open and he's gasping. He has this feeling he's been unconscious for hours, but it couldn't have been more than a moment or two, because his mother is approaching with a smiling nurse.
His lips form the words, his breath still so quick he doesn't make any sound other than panting, but, still, he mouths the phrase lingering in his mind.
When will I see you again?