“So, did you get everything sorted out, yesterday?” Damian asked Logan. It was very early in the morning; way earlier than they usually got up at. But Logan had wanted to ensure that he would be back in plenty of time. He didn’t want to put Damian’s radar up. Not now that he got a confirmation from Seth that he would try to help Logan get out. “Did you find Steven’s brother?”
“Yeah, I did,” Logan said quietly. “Thank you, for letting me tell Julius. I know that is what Steven would have wanted.”
“No problem,” Damian shrugged easily, clapping his hand on Logan’s back. “I know it isn’t necessary to let you do that, but it seemed like a pretty safe bet that you would come back. You’ve been in this gang longer than practically everyone. If you didn’t come back, then I would have shot myself.”
The laughter that Logan had to force out tasted bitter and wrong, but he had to join in Damian’s amusement at what he had just said. It was necessary that he feel completely at ease around Damian. After all, Logan was his number two. Hell, for a very brief time, Logan may have actually been the one in charge of planning everything with Damien as his number two. Although, in a prefect world, if Logan could even believe that there was such a thing as that, his number two would have been Steven, with Harding as his number three.
So many things would be different, Logan thought to himself. I probably never would have met Tasha, and that would have been horrible. As much as being the number one would have been good, Tasha is better. I have to find a way out. Steven and Harding would have wanted me to find a way out. Tasha wants me to find a way out. I want to find a way out. If that means listening to Damian make jokes about how I will never leave, then that is what I have to do.
“So what did I miss yesterday?” Logan asked, trying to get Damian back on track. “Have you named a number three, yet?”
That did surprise Logan. Damian and Jonas were not friends. They weren’t even really acquaintances - not that Logan could tell. So, why had Damian named Jonas to his number three slot? Was it because Jonas was probably going to try and overpower him in a couple of years if Damian was still in charge by that point? Did he think that keeping his enemies closer was a good idea? And if that were the case, then did that mean that he was even more suspicious of Logan? Was that why he had kept Logan as his number two? To watch him?
“What’s wrong?” Damian asked, studying Logan’s expression and seeing all of those emotions flee across his face.
How do I handle that question? Logan wondered, turning his gaze back to Damian. Do I ask him if he trusts me? If I do that, wouldn’t that give him even more reason not to trust me?
“I’m just surprised that you kept Jonas on as your number three,” Logan said carefully. “I didn’t realize that you two were that close.”
“Fuck, that isn’t why I kept him as the number three,” he chuckled. “I kept him as the number three for two very important reasons. First, he had that job before, and he is very, very good at it. Second, I think there would be a revolt if I replaced him, and I really don’t want a revolt. Revolts tend to end very badly for the leader of the gang. And since I am the leader of the gang, for the moment, anyway, I wanted to keep things as peaceful as I could.”
Shit, Logan thought, It’s way worse than I thought. Damian is actually smart about how to run this gang. If he could see that, then he sure as fuck knows that leaving me out of his sight for any amount of time is dangerous.
Trying to play off that comment, Logan laughed and asked playfully (though the question was much more serious than he let on to Damian), “So, what, is that why you kept me as your number two? You wanted to replace me but thought that if you did there would be a revolt, or something?”
When Damian started laughing, Logan breathed a little easier, but he still wasn’t sure that he was in the clear yet.
“Well, sort of,” Damian said, after he finished laughing. Letting out a long exhale, he wiped a tear from his eye and turned his expression back to Logan. “I kept you as number two for three reasons. Just like I kept Jonas at his job, I kept you at number two because you are very good at your job and I thought there might be a revolt if I replaced you.”
“That’s only two reasons,” Logan smiled easily. “What was the third reason you kept me on at number two?”
The look that filled Damian’s eyes at that point dramatically shifted the feeling in the air. A couple of seconds ago, Logan felt completely at ease, as though he were just shooting the bull with Steven or Harding. Looking into Damian’s eyes now, though, was completely different. His expression was cold and hard. No hint of humor was in his eyes at all. For the very first time since Damian had joined the gang, Logan realized just how badly he had misread Damian. Damian was a much harder man than Logan had thought. There was nothing to the hard look that froze his face. When he spoke, the words were said in a much harsher tone than he had ever spoken in, before.
“The third reason?” he asked, his voice hard and flat. “I kept you on as number two because I want to be the first one to know when you fuck up. I don’t know what you and Steven were planning, but I am positive that it had something to do with either trying to overthrow Terrance or escape. Steven getting killed was probably the best way to ensure that whatever plan you were working on got fucked up. Terrance was a fucking moron; I am not going to be nearly so stupid as he was.”
Well, Logan thought in a cold, calculating mindset of his own. If that’s the way that Damian wants to play it, let’s dance. However, he did not let that cold interior show through, and instead, he laughed and put a broad smile on his face.
“Shit, Damian,” he tried, “you really had me going there for a moment. Are you being serious?”
“Yes,” he said, voice still hard. “I know that you can fool anyone in this gang, but you haven’t fooled me. I know that you were planning something, and I am sure that you are still trying to plan something now. Like I said, Steven getting killed was probably the only reason that you haven’t tried to run yet. He was your number two, and you didn’t know how to bounce back at first when he was killed.”
Fuck, Logan thought. He is not going to be nearly as easy to play as I originally thought. Once again, though, he kept that thought to himself. Clearing his throat, he turned away from Damian and said, voice much quieter than it had been a second ago, and said, “I will do everything in my power to earn your trust, Damian. Just say the word of what you want done, and I will do it.”
Damian let out a cool chuckle. “I thought you might say that. Do you mean it though? If I told you to do anything, that is what you would do?”
Logan didn’t like the sound of where this conversation was going. What exactly did Damian want him to do? If it was gang-related stuff, Logan could (but more importantly, would) do it. Even if it was something as bizarre as kill one of their boys. If it was not gang related though, and had something to do with Tasha, Logan couldn’t go through with it. He would just let Damian kill him and he’d call it quits. After a minute, he nodded to Damian and said, “Just say the word. I am yours.”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” Damian said. “Because I want to kill Jonas - and you’re going to help me do that.”
Logan did not see that coming. Giving Damian a confused look, he repeated slowly, “Kill Jonas? Why would you want to do that? He’s one of the more reliable men we have in the gang right now.”
“Exactly,” Damian agreed. “The kid is getting too powerful. I know he is young, but he has quite the following. I don’t like kids that can motivate our men. They are dangerous people to have hanging around, and Jonas is getting to be too much to handle. A large part of the reason that I haven’t killed you yet is because I know that Jonas trusts you. I know you want out of this gang, Logan. The others may be blind to your intentions, but I am not. However, the younger members of the gang trusting you has one key advantage for me; they let their guard down when you are around them. The fact that you haven’t killed anyone in a year and a half is also something that makes the younger boys trust you. So, here’s the deal, Logan: I want Jonas dead. You help me to accomplish that goal, and you are out of the gang.”
Logan did not like the sound of that. After all, “out of the gang” didn’t necessarily mean that he was going to be free to roam the streets. The way Damian said it, it sounded more like after he killed Jonas, Damian would kill him. However, even if he was being way too paranoid, he couldn’t confess any of his doubts to Damian. No; he safest way to handle all of Damian’s trust issues would be to let him think that he had discovered Logan’s plot in time and had a firm grip on Logan’s reins.
“Jonas will be dead,” Logan said firmly, not bothering to address the idea of him wanting out of the gang.
Damian looked at Logan for a long time, but finally nodded. “You know, Logan, you’re a really hard man to read. That’s probably why I never trusted you completely before. But if you were telling the truth a moment ago, I may actually like having you on the team, again.”
Though Logan tried everything he could think of to keep his facial expression strong and firm, he failed miserably. He knew that Damian saw the flicker of doubt and uncertainty, but he didn’t say anything about it. At least, he didn’t do that right then. Instead, he swallowed a drink of water and asked quietly, “When can I expect this deed to be done?”
Without hesitation, Logan answered, “By the end of the week.”
Damian considered that response for quite a while, much longer than Logan had been expecting him to think about it. But when he did finally speak, he ultimately decided to accept Logan’s statement and let the matter drop. All he said before he turned to leave was, “Let me know when it is finished.”
Logan nodded and watched Damian’s retreating figure.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, he thought once he was all alone. Damian doesn’t trust me. I’m not one of Jonas’s boys, so I can’t expect him to help me. Who does that leave? Doc and Shredder. Other than that? Probably no one. But would they really try to help me? Doc might; we’ve known each other a really long time, but Shredder? That kid’s only been with us for a year.
Shaking his head to try and clear the negative thoughts from his mind, Logan began walking over to where he knew that Doc often slept. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too early for him. And hopefully he could forgive Logan his vote to kill Terrance.
Doc and Logan had known each other for four or five years. Ever since Doc joined the gang, they had been pretty good friends. Logan could still remember when Doc earned the nickname of “Doc” - after all, when he first came to the gang, he went by his birth name (which was Jacob Riley). The nickname had come once the gang learned how handy Doc was with tools and knowing what to give the boys whenever they were sick.
Logan could remember the first day that Jacob had revealed that he knew a little bit about what he was doing when it came to medicine and stuff.
“It’s actually pretty easy,” he had shrugged when Logan asked how he had learned to give medicinal help to their gang members. “I could teach you, if you want.”
But Logan had never taken him up on that offer; he was much too weak-stomached to put up with that. Hopefully, though, none of that would matter. With any luck, Doc would be just as understanding as he had always been for Logan and he would agree to help him out. Walking up the stairs of the house that a lot of the guys lived in, Logan stopped outside of Doc’s door and tapped lightly on the wood to signal that he was outside.
“Yeah, come in,” he heard Doc call through the door.
Quickly, Logan stepped into Doc’s room and closed the door.
“Hi, Logan,” Doc greeted him once the door was firmly shut behind Logan. “How are you doing today?”
“Honestly?” Logan asked, running his hand through his hair. “Not great. That’s actually why I wanted to see you.”
Doc nodded easily and asked, “What’s the matter? Are you having migraines again?”
Briefly, Logan wished that he could say that the reason he had shown up in Doc’s room had to do with having migraines. Unfortunately, he could not. Shaking his head sadly to convey that fact, Logan said, “Sadly, no.”
“Sadly?” Doc asked, lifting his eyebrow to express his concern. “Something must be going pretty bad to get you to say that it would be better to have a migraine. What’s up?”
Though Logan didn’t know if this was the best idea or not, he dove right in, telling the truth from the beginning. “Well, basically Doc, my life has gone completely wrong since Steven and Harding were killed. I didn’t particularly like Terrance, as you probably know, so when he was killed, that didn’t particularly bother me. I initially thought that nominating Damian would be a good thing for the Bloods, but now, I’m not so sure. I am learning quickly that Damian doesn’t trust anything I do. But now, I don’t really have an easy way out, anymore. I was just wondering what you thought of the whole situation.”
For a moment, Doc just stood there and took it all in. When he did finally speak, he asked Logan a question: “Why don’t you just take off?”
“I tried that once before, remember?” Logan said slowly.
“But you wouldn’t run into Wyatt again, this time,” Doc said. Doc had been one of the only people in the gang that knew the full story about Logan trying to run away. It was Steven and Doc that were the only people that Logan had confessed his actions too. Steven he told because they were best friends; they were brothers. And brothers don’t’ keep secrets like that from their blood. He had told Doc more as a cleansing kind of thing. When Steven was badly injured - the same time that he had thought he was going to die, so he asked Julian to go see his brother, Logan stayed in the room that they called the lab, the infirmary, or the E.R., depending on what activities were being carried out in there.
While Steven was dying in the infirmary, Logan had a mental break down. Everything he had done that night had been wrong. He had no confidence in himself that night, because the way he saw it, it was his fault that Steven was lying in the hospital bed mere inches away from him. That had been the one time that Logan had tried to take the lead roll in a mission and it had gone terribly wrong. Steven had gotten hurt, as well as three or four other guys. One had died. And for a while there, it seriously looked like Steven was going to do the same, himself, so while his best friend lay there, bleeding and dying on the bed between them, Logan started confessing to Doc.
Doc was a great listener that first night. He didn’t judge Logan for his weakness. He didn’t judge Logan at all, actually. He just sat there and listened to Logan pour out his heart and soul about trying to keep his head long enough to make some life-changing decision.
“Steven can’t die like this, Doc,” Logan said, looking miserably at the younger man. “He’s been my best friend forever. If I lose him, then who will take care of me?”
Of course, Doc didn’t offer any opinion to answer that question for him. But that was ok; Logan hadn’t gone there for answers. He just went there to hear that someone didn’t blame him. If Steven were going to die, then Logan had to hear someone say that it wasn’t his fault. He wasn’t sure that he would believe them if he did hear that sentence, but he had to try. So, he told Doc everything that night. He told him about trying to run, about trying to escape, and even about running into Wyatt and taking the fall so that he would have enough time to make a mad dash for it.
Just like back then, Doc didn’t speak immediately. But how was Logan supposed to come up with something to talk to Doc this time? Last time, he could play off his emotions as shock and worry; after all, every single one of them thought that Steven was going to die that night. There was a reason that no one had assumed anything bad was going to happen that night. They all just chalked it up to the fact that in all likelihood, Steven was going to die, so Logan was just acting stressed out, but he would calm down once he got used to the fact that his best friend was no longer there. But now, that was not the case. Damian had given him some time to try and feel better, but Logan was much more trapped than he had been the month after he had been put on trial for trying to leave the gang.
Doc bought time by cleaning the room where Steven was lying bleeding on the table. He swept, mopped, dusted, and disinfected pretty much the entire area. Except for where Steven was lying and Logan was sitting, that room was immaculate.
“Why are you still in the gang, Doc?” Logan had asked suddenly. He didn’t know why Doc had joined the gang. He seemed to be the most put-together of all the gang members at the time (and since, really). It just didn’t make sense to him. At the time, Doc had just shuffled his feet uncomfortably, mumbled something, and turned the conversation to a much less private topic. Logan still wanted an answer to that question, though. Over the years, the fact that Doc never answered his question always bothered him.
“Just let it go, Logan,” Steven had said, waving his hand a couple of months after he had almost died. “Doc’s here now; how he got here doesn’t matter.”
But it did matter to Logan. On the one hand, Logan felt like he owed Doc his own life for saving his best friend. On the other hand, he wanted to smack Doc for ever joining the gang in the first place. He should have become a doctor, or something, saved other peoples’ lives - like the people that would matter to other people someday. But he didn’t. Instead, he was stuck with a gang, saving worthless criminal lives.
Shaking his head, Logan tried to refocus. What had he and Doc been talking about? Oh right - Logan had asked him why Doc was in the gang. Just like before, though, Doc didn’t provide an answer. Looking around Doc’s room, he saw that the door was still open, so he got up and shut it.
“What are you doing?” Doc asked, looking somewhat surprised by what Logan had just done.
“I need to know why you joined this gang, Doc. It doesn’t make sense to me why someone with medical training would join a gang. Most of us other guys, we either come from broken homes or broken neighborhoods. I don’t know much about you, but I know that you didn’t come from a broken neighborhood and you don’t seem angry enough to say that you came from a broken family. Besides that, you joined the gang when you were a lot older than most guys usually join. I’ve seen your driver’s license; I couldn’t believe that you were ten years older than me, but you are. So why did you join this gang, Doc”
Doc’s face paled slightly. Licking his lips, he asked in a shaky voice, “When did you see my driver’s license?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” he shrugged. “I think I saw it one time when I were helping you take care of the guys after a raid. For a while, I thought that it must be a fake ID . . . you know, one to make you look older so you could buy beer or something, but then I thought, well, hell, if it was a fake ID, why wouldn’t you say you were closer to 21?”
Looking baffled, Doc asked, “Logan, did you tell anyone about my age?”
Now Logan was confused. Why is he getting so worked up over seeing his driver’s license? Slowly, Logan said, “No.”
Doc breathed a sigh of relief.
Giving him a confused look, Logan asked, “What’s up, Doc? You’re acting like me seeing your driver’s license was a bad thing.”
“It was a really bad thing, Logan.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, looking perplexedly at Doc.
“Because, Logan,” he said quietly, “I’m an undercover cop.”